Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes – DAY TWO – 3 February (we Pray the Novena for our own intentions and for the sick, the infirm within our own communities but also for all those throughout the world who suffer, especially those who have no-one to pray for them in preparation for the Wold Day of the Sick on 11 February.)
Be blessed, O most pure Virgin,
for having vouchsafed to manifest yourself shining with light, sweetness and beauty,
in the Grotto of Lourdes, saying to the child Saint Bernadette:
“I am the Immaculate Conception!”
O Mary Immaculate, inflame our hearts with just one ray of the burning love of your pure heart
Let them be consumed with love for Jesus and for you,
in order that we may merit one day to enjoy your glorious eternity.
O dispenser of His graces here below,
take into your keeping and present to your Divine Son
the petition for which we are making this novena.
……………………………….(make your request)
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes,
glorious in your assumption,
triumphant in your coronation,
show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God.
Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother,
be our comfort, hope, strength and consolation. Amen.
Thought for the Day – 3 February – The Memorial of St Ansgar (801-865)
The “apostle of the north” (Scandinavia) had enough frustrations to become a saint—and he did. He became a Benedictine at Corbie, France, where he had been educated. Three years later, when the king of Denmark became a convert, Ansgar went to that country for three years of missionary work, without noticeable success. Sweden asked for Christian missionaries and he went there, suffering capture by pirates and other hardships on the way. Fewer than two years later, he was recalled, to become abbot of New Corbie (Corvey) and bishop of Hamburg. The pope made him legate for the Scandinavian missions. Funds for the northern apostolate stopped with Emperor Louis’s death. After 13 years’ work in Hamburg, Ansgar saw it burned to the ground by invading Northmen – Sweden and Denmark returned to paganism.
He directed new apostolic activities in the North, travelling to Denmark and being instrumental in the conversion of another king. By the strange device of casting lots, the king of Sweden allowed the Christian missionaries to return.
Ansgar’s biographers remark that he was an extraordinary preacher, a humble and ascetical priest. He was devoted to the poor and the sick, imitating the Lord in washing their feet and waiting on them at table. He died peacefully at Bremen, Germany, without achieving his wish to be a martyr.
History records what people do, rather than what they are. Yet the courage and perseverance of men and women like Ansgar can only come from a solid base of union with the original courageous and persevering Missionary. Ansgar’s life is another reminder that God writes straight with crooked lines. Christ takes care of the effects of the apostolate in His own way, He is first concerned about the purity of the apostles themselves and thus, through them, we learn the way of zeal, courage and a true missionary spirit, the way we are all called to live.
3 February – The Memorial of St Blaise – Martyr (Died c 316)
THROAT BLESSING of ST BLAISE
Although separated by customs, language, politics and more, Catholics around the world celebrate many of the same God-inspired devotional acts, practices and rituals handed down through the centuries by Holy Mother Church. Such a devotion is the optional memorial celebrating St Blaise and the blessing of throats today, every 3 February.
The candles used in the blessing of throats may be those blessed yesterday, on Candlemas, or when blessed during the St. Blaise memorial.
With the crossed candles touched to the throat of each person, the celebrant says immediately:
Through the intercession of Saint Blase, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness. In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.
Quote of the Day – 3 February – The Memorial of St Blaise – Martyr (Died c 316)
“Speaking of Prayer”
The heart-rending and beautiful words of another Martyr, St Maximillian Kolbe (1894-1941), on the power of prayer.
The day was long, The burden I had borne Seemed heavier than I could longer bear And then it lifted but I did not know Some one had knelt in prayer; Had taken me to God, that very hour, And asked the easing of the load and He, In infinite compassion, had stooped down And taken it from me. We cannot tell how often, as we pray For some bewildered one, Hurt and distressed, The answer comes, But many times those hearts, find sudden peace and rest. Someone had prayed and Faith, a reaching hand, Took hold of God and brought Him down, that day! So many, many hearts have need of prayer. Oh, let us pray!
One Minute Reflection – 3 February – The Memorial of St Blaise – Martyr (Died c 316) and St Ansgar (801-865)
...Do not use your freedom as an opening for self-indulgence but be servants to one another in love….the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control; no law can touch such things as these…Galatians 5:13,22-23
REFLECTION – “If I were worthy of such a favour from my God, I would ask that He grant me this one miracle: that by His grace He would make of me a good man.”- St Ansgar to a parishioner who was praising him for being a miracle worker
PRAYER – Holy Father, You sent St Ansgar, Monk and Bishop, to bring the light of Christ to many nations of Northern Europe. Through his prayer give us grace to live always in the light of Your truth. Grant too, that by the prayers of St Blaise, we too may be granted the grace to follow Your only Son, no matter our sufferings, to You, in our heavenly home. We make our prayer, through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever amen.
A Morning Offering of St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
My God, I give You this day.
I offer You, now,
all of the good that I shall do
and I promise to accept,
for love of You,
all of the difficulty, that I shall meet.
Help me to conduct myself,
during this day
in a manner pleasing to You.
Saint of the Day – 3 February – St Blaise (Died c 316) – Martyr, Bishop of Sebaste, Armenia, Physician, miracle-worker. Died in c 316 by his flesh being torn off his body by iron wool-combs, then beheaded. Patronages – against angina • against bladder diseases • against blisters • against coughs • against dermatitis • against dropsy • against eczema • against edema • against fever • against goitres • against headaches • against impetego • against respiratory diseases • against skin diseases • against snake bites • against sore throats • against stomach pain • against storms • against teething pain • against throat diseases • against toothaches • against ulcers • against whooping cough • against wild beasts • angina sufferers of ; of children, animals, builders, drapers, against choking, veterinarians, throats, infants, of 21 Cities, of , stonecutters, carvers, wool workers. St Blaise is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers – https://anastpaul.com/2018/07/25/thought-for-the-day-25-july-the-memorial-of-st-christopher-died-c-251-one-of-the-fourteen-holy-helpers/
Today the Church remembers the life and witness of Saint Blaise, a 3rd century Armenian bishop who endured terrifying torments and surrendered his life rather than repudiate his profession of Faith.
Much of the life of Saint Blaise is history that has passed into legend but even these legendary accounts offer spiritual insight.
Blaise was renowned as a wonderworker, effecting miraculous cures. T his would have been enough to attract attention but he was also not averse to calling out the Roman officials who ruled the region in which he lived, Cappadocia, for their tyranny and intolerance of Christian faith and practice. The combination of a reputation for supernatural power and the courage of his convictions was not welcomed by Rome and the governor ordered Bishop Blaise to be arrested. Blaise was able to elude capture and took refuge in the wilderness. It was there in the caves of Cappadocia that his ministry and his mission continued.
There is an account of Saint Blaise that identifies not only his pastoral care for the Christian faithful but also for the animals of the wilderness.
A woman had witnessed her piglet carried off by a wolf and spoke of her plight to the bishop. Saint Blaise called for the wolf, demanded her return the piglet to its rightful owner and reminded the wolf of the grave penalty that awaited a thief. The wolf complied and returned the piglet to its owner- a credit to the bishop’s power of persuasion. The woman would later return the favour to Saint Blaise when he was finally captured and imprisoned. She brought to him candles to illuminate his dank and dreary cell.
This legend hints at how the saints represent, in their holiness, the restoration of a paradise lost and regained in Christ. The ease and familiarity with which the Biblical character of Adam is believed to have communed with nature before the fall is recapitulated in Saint Blaise- he is a sign that anticipates the restoration of all things in Christ where the lion will rest with the lamb and in this case, the wolf will return stolen property to its rightful owner.
Saint Blaise has been invoked for centuries as a specialist in diseases of the throat. The origin of this practice might be in the story of a child brought to the saint who was either choking or suffering from some other malady of the throat. Saint Blaise blessed the boy and he was restored to health.
The practice of blessing throats on the Feast of Saint Blaise is a commemoration of this miracle, that crossed candles are often used to impart this blessing might also be a recollection of the kindness of the woman who gave candles to the saint as he languished in prison.
Saint Blaise was an extraordinarily popular saint during the Middle Ages in Europe. Presentations of his miraculous and mighty deeds were commonly represented in art and sculpture, and he was included in a listing of saints called the Fourteen Holy Helpers (or Auxiliary Saints), holy men and women who could be counted on as intercessors for all manner of maladies from madness to travelers in distress. During times in which a sore throat could be a signal of an impending epidemic or an early death, the faithful were all too happy to accept the help of a heavenly specialist in such matters like Saint Blaise.
The legends regarding Saint Blaise report that his sojourn in the wilderness did not protect him for very long. He was eventually arrested and brought to trial. The judge advised him that only a pinch of incense offered to the image of Caesar and the gods of Rome could win him his freedom. Blaise refused. He was cruelly tortured and beheaded.
The Church does not mourn Saint Blaise, for we know that in Christ this world is not all that there is. While tyrants like Caesar and his successors can threaten us with death, Christ promises us a life that like his own, is transformed through suffering and death, into resurrection.
The scriptures proclaim, “though they slay me I will trust in you.”
Saint Blaise did precisely this. He trusted that Christ would not abandon him to the power of death nor allow his suffering to be meaningless. Our lives might never be raised to the legendary status of Saint Blaise but we can trust in Christ as he did and live in hope that one day we will join him in communion with all the saints who have gone before us in faith and who, from their place in heaven, guide and protect us still. (Fr Steve Grunow)
St Ansgar (Optional Memorial)
Bl Alois Andritzki
St Anatolius of Salins
St Anna the Prophetess
St Berlinda of Meerbeke
St Blasius of Armentarius
St Blasius of Oreto
St Celerinus of Carthage
St Claudine Thevenet
St Clerina of Carthage
St Deodatus of Lagny
St Evantius of Vienne
St Felix of Africa
St Felix of Lyons
St Hadelin of Chelles
Bl Helena Stollenwerk
Bl Helinand of Pronleroy
St Hippolytus of Africa
St Ia of Cornwall
St Ignatius of Africa
Bl Iustus Takayama Ukon
Bl John Nelson
Bl John Zakoly
St Laurentinus of Carthage
St Laurentius of Carthage
St Lawrence the Illuminator
St Lupicinus of Lyon
St Margaret of England
Bl Marie Rivier
St Oliver of Ancona
St Philip of Vienne
St Remedius of Gap
St Sempronius of Africa
St Werburga of Bardney
St Werburga of Chester
Benedictine Martyrs: A collective memorial of all members of the Benedictine Order who have died as martyrs for the faith.
Profiled Benedictine Martyrs
• Blessed Agustí Busquets Creixell
• Blessed Ambroise-Augustin Chevreux
• Blessed Àngel Maria Rodamilans Canals
• Blessed Antolín Pablos Villanueva
• Blessed Augustin-Joseph Desgardin
• Blessed Càndid Feliu Soler
• Blessed Cipriano González Millán
• Blessed Claude Richard
• Blessed Conrad of Seldenbüren
• Blessed Ignasi Guilà Ximenes
• Blessed Joan Grau Bullich
• Blessed Joan Roca Bosch
• Blessed John Beche
• Blessed John Eynon
• Blessed John Rugg
• Blessed John Sordi
• Blessed John Thorne
• Blessed José Antón Gómez
• Blessed José Erausquin Aramburu
• Blessed Josep Albareda Ramoneda
• Blessed Josep Maria Fontseré Masdeú
• Blessed Josep Maria Jordá i Jordá
• Blessed Konrad II of Mondsee
• Blessed León Alesanco Maestro
• Blessed Lluis Casanovas Vila
• Blessed Louis Barreau de La Touche
• Blessed Louis-François Lebrun
• Blessed Luis Palacios Lozano
• Blessed Luis Vidaurrázaga González
• Blessed Mark Barkworth
• Blessed Pere Vallmitjana Abarca
• Blessed Pere Vilar Espona
• Blessed Peter of Subiaco
• Blessed Philip Powel
• Blessed Rafael Alcocer Martínez
• Blessed René-Julien Massey
• Blessed Richard Whiting
• Blessed Roger James
• Blessed Suzanne-Agathe Deloye
• Blessed Thiemo of Salzburg
• Blessed Thomas Pickering
• Blessed Thomas Tunstal
• Blessed William Scott
• Five Polish Brothers
• Martyred Subiaco Benedictines of Barcelona
• Martyrs of Cardeña
• Martyrs of Croyland
• Martyrs of Messina
• Saint Abbo of Fleury
• Saint Adalbert of Prague
• Saint Ageranus of Blèze
• Saint Agigulf
• Saint Aigulf
• Saint Aigulphus of Lérins
• Saint Alban Bartholomew Roe
• Saint Altigianus
• Saint Amarinus of Clermont
• Saint Ambrose Edward Barlow
• Saint Arnulf of Novalesa
• Saint Beocca of Chertsey
• Saint Berard of Blèze
• Saint Bernard of Lérida
• Saint Bertha of Avenay
• Saint Boniface
• Saint Bruno of Querfort
• Saint Deusdedit of Montecassino
• Saint Donatus of Messina
• Saint Elleher
• Saint Eobán of Utrecht
• Saint Ernest of Mecca
• Saint Ethor of Chertsey
• Saint Eutychius of Messina
• Saint Faustus of Messina
• Saint Firmatus of Messina
• Saint Frugentius the Martyr
• Saint Genesius of Blèze
• Saint Gerard Sagredo
• Saint Gibardus of Luxeuil
• Saint Gundekar
• Saint Hadulph
• Saint Hedda of Peterborough
• Saint Hedda the Abbot
• Saint Hilarinus
• Saint Hildebert of Ghent
• Saint John Roberts
• Saint Marinus of Maurienne
• Saint Placidus of Messina
• Saint Porcarius of Lérins
• Saint Rodron of Blèze
• Saint Rumold
• Saint Sifrard of Blèze
• Saint Stephen of Burgos
• Saint Victorinus of Messina
• Saint Vincent of Léon
• Saint Wiborada of Gall
• Venerable Abel Ángel Palazuelos Maruri
• Venerable Ángel Carmelo Boix Cosials
• Venerable Antoni Lladós Salud
• Venerable Antonio Fuertes Boira
• Venerable Antonio Suárez Riu
• Venerable Fernando Salinas Romeo
• Venerable Jaume Caballé Bru
• Venerable Julio Fernández Muñiz
• Venerable Leandro Cuesta Andrés
• Venerable Leoncio Ibáñez Caballero
• Venerable Lorenzo Sobrevia Cañardo
• Venerable Mariano Palau Sin
• Venerable Martín Donamaría Valencia
• Venerable Ramón Sanz De Galdeano Mañeru
• Venerable Santiago Pardo López