Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, The PASSION, The WORD

23 February 2018 – Friday of the First Week of Lent – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Apostolic Father of the Church

23 February 2018 – Friday of the First Week of Lent – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Apostolic Father of the Church

Ezekiel 18:21-28, Psalms 130:1-8, Matthew 5:20-26

Ezekiel 18:21-22 – “But if a wicked man turns away from all his sins which he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness which he has done he shall live.”

Matthew 5:20 – “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

friday of the first week - 23 feb 2018

Who wants to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Certainly all of us do! That should be our primary goal in life. And, along with that goal, we should seek to bring as many people with us as possible.

Too often we fail to see this as an ultimate goal in life. We fail to keep our eyes on Heaven as the primary reason we are here on Earth. It’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day satisfactions of what we may call the “mini goals” of life. These are goals such as entertainment, money, success, and the like. And we can often make these mini goals our only goals at times.

So how about you? What is your goal? What is it you strive for and seek throughout your day? If you honestly examine your actions throughout each day you may be surprised that you are actually seeking unimportant and passing mini goals more than you realize.

Jesus gives us one bit of clear direction in this passage above on how to attain that ultimate goal of life – the Kingdom of Heaven. The path He points to is righteousness.

What is righteousness? It’s simply being real. Being authentic. Not fake. And most especially, it’s being real in our love of God. The Pharisees struggled with pretending they were holy and good followers of the will of God. But they were not very good at it. They may have been good at the acting job, and they may have convinced themselves and others, but they could not fool Jesus. Jesus could see through the fake veneer and perceive that which was underneath. He could see that their “righteousness” was only a show for themselves and others.

And a great part of this, is our relationship with our neighbour – with everyone we come into contact with! This is not easy – “whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift.” So we have been told – this is as clear as daylight – there can be no desenting or pretending – go and do it!

Reflect, today, upon your own righteousness – your honesty and sincerity in striving for holiness. If you want to daily keep Heaven as your ultimate goal, then you must also strive to make each daily mini goal an honest attempt at holiness. We must daily seek Christ with all sincerity and truth in all the small things of life. We must then let that sincerity shine through, showing what truly lies beneath. To be righteous, in the truest sense, means we sincerely seek God throughout our day and make that sincerity the constant goal of our life.

Is there someone I need to make peace with?

Pray for the grace of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Am I keeping my eyes on my ultimate goal
or do I allow this daily life to become the goal?

Fr Nicholas King S.J.

Learn the kindness of the Crucified. His enemies said, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.”   Not so Christ, but supplicating the Father, He said:  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”   For if His blood had indeed fallen upon them and upon their children, the apostles would not have been made out of their children, neither three thousand nor five thousand would have believed on the spot.   See how barbarous and cruel those were towards their descendants – they ignored even nature itself, while God was more loving than all the fathers put together, and tenderer than any mother.

He did not at once let the chastisement and penalty fall upon them, but He allowed forty years and more to pass after the cross.   Our Lord Himself was crucified under Tiberius, and their city was destroyed under Vespasian and Titus.   Now why did He allow so long a time to elapse after all these things?   Because He wished to give them time for repentance, so that they might put off their impieties and be quit of their crimes.  As, having a respite for conversion, they remained in their impenitence, He at last inflicted punishment upon them, and destroying their city, sent them out wanderers over the, face of the earth.   And this He did through love. He dispersed them that they might everywhere see that Christ whom they had crucified adored, and that seeing Him adored by all they might learn His power and acknowledge their own exceeding wickedness, and in acknowledging might come to the truth….St John Chrysostom

Support us all the Day Long
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

O Lord,
support us all the day long
of this troublous life,
until the shades lengthen
and the evening comes
and the busy world is hushed,
the fever of life is over
and our work is done.
Then, Lord, in Your mercy,
grant us a safe lodging,
a holy rest and peace at the last,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amensupport us all the day long - bl john henry newman - 23 feb 2018 - lent

Posted in MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL MESSAGES, PAPAL PRAYERS, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS

Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace: 23 February 2018 Especially for People of Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan

Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace:  23 February 2018

Especially for People of Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudanday if prayer and fasting DRC & SOUTH SUDAN - 23 feb 2018

Pope Francis has called on all local Churches to join him in a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, on 23 February (Friday of the first week of Lent).   On 4 February he said:

“In the face of the tragic protraction of situations of conflict in different parts of the world, I invite all the faithful to a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace next 23 February, Friday of the First Week of Lent. We will offer it in particular for the populations of the Democratic Republic of Congo and of South Sudan. As on other similar occasions, I also invite non-Catholic and non-Christian brothers and sisters to associate themselves to this initiative in the way they consider most opportune, but all together.

Our heavenly Father always listens to His children who cry to Him in sorrow and anguish, who “heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). I make a heartfelt appeal so that we also listen to this cry and, each one of us in his/her own conscience before God, ask ourselves: “What can I do for peace?” We certainly can pray but not only: each one can say concretely “no” to violence in as much as it depends on him or her. Because the victories obtained with violence are false victories while working for peace does everyone good!”

Daily Prayer for Healing from Racism

Loving God, You hold us in Your hands
for we are all made in Your image.
Help us to celebrate our differences.
Help us to use our diversity
to share with each other
the richness of our many cultures,
languages and backgrounds.
Help us to dissolve racism
still found in our hearts
and in the Church
and help us work for a loving society
in which none are despised
and discriminated against
by virtue of their colour.
We ask this through Jesus, our Lord,
who taught His disciples
to see beyond all human division
and reach out to the good within each person.
In the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever.
Amen.daily prayer for healing from racism - 23 feb 2018

Posted in MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Apostolic Father of the Church

Thought for the Day – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Apostolic Father of the Church

The story of Polycarp’s martyrdom is the earliest recorded account of a Christian martyr.

Polycarp was a disciple of St John the apostle.   While still quite young, he became the bishop of Smyrna and was one of the most respected leaders in the first half of the second century.   St Ignatius of Antioch and St Irenaeus spoke highly of him and people loved him very much.

Polycarp was seized for being a Christian.   Persecution and death would not tear him away from Jesus now.   Polycarp was led into the stadium of Smyrna.   The crowd demanded that he be left to the lions but instead he was sentenced to death by fire.   An eyewitness account claims that the flames didn’t harm him.   He was finally killed by the sword and his body was burned.

The community of believers celebrated the anniversary of Polycarp’s death with great joy, for in him they had seen an outstanding example of love and patience.   He had held strong and had won the treasure of eternal life.   Polycarp is remembered as an Apostolic Father, one who was a disciple of the apostles.

St Polycarp was a Christian leader in a pagan world.   He spoke clearly and simply, fearless in love and defense of Christ, even though persecutions raged around him.   He sought only to hand on the message he had been given by John.   Even as Polycarp prepared for martyrdom, his joy and confident trust were evident to all.

St Polycarp pray for us!st polycarp - pray for us - no 2 - 23 feb 2018

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on PERSECUTION, QUOTES on SUFFERING, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church

Quote/s of the Day – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church

“Stand fast, therefore, in this conduct
and follow the example of the Lord, firm
and unchangeable in faith, lovers of the brotherhood,
loving each other, united in truth,
helping each other with the mildness of the Lord, despising no man.”

“You threaten me with fire
which burns for an hour
and after a little is extinguished
but are ignorant of the fire
of the coming judgement
and of eternal punishment,
reserved for the ungodly.”

“Let us, therefore, forsake the vanity of the crowd
and their false teachings and turn back to the word
delivered to us from the beginning.”

“Hear me declare with boldness, I am a Christian!”

St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Churchquotes of st polycarp-23 feb 2018

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, LENT, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on SUFFERING, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church

One Minute Reflection – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church and Friday of the First Week of Lent 2018

Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear news of you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind struggling together for the faith of the gospel...Philippians 1:27

REFLECTION – “Eighty and six years have I served Christ, nor has He ever done me any harm.   How, then, could I blaspheme my King who saved Me?….I bless Thee for deigning me worthy of this day and this hour that I may be among Thy martyrs and drink the cup of my Lord Jesus Christ.”…St Polycarpeight and six years have I served Christ - st polycarp - 23 feb 2018

PRAYER – Lord of all creation, You gave St Polycarp, a place in the company of the Martyrs.   Grant that, through his intercession, we may, like him, drink from that cup which Christ drank and so rise to eternal life.   Through Christ our Lord, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.st polycarp - pray for us - 23 feb 2018

Posted in MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church

Our Morning Offering – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church

Prayer Before His Martyrdom
St Polycarp

Lord God almighty,
Father of Jesus Christ,
Your dear Son,
through whom we have come to know You,
God of the angels and powers,
God of all creation,
God of those who live in Your presence,
the race of the just, I bless You.
You have considered me worthy
of this day and hour,
worthy to be numbered with the Martyrs
and to drink the cup of Your Anointed One,
and thus to rise and live forever,
body and soul,
in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit.
Amenprayer before his martyrdom - st polycarp - 23 feb 2018

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 23 February – St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church

Saint of the Day – 23 February – St Polycarp of Smyrna – (69-155) – Martyr, Apostolic Church Father and Bishop of Smyrna, Writer, Preacher, Theologian – Patron against dysentery and earache.   Bishop of Smyrna (Asia Minor), Polycarp was martyred between 155 and 167.   His name means “much fruit”.HEADER - st polycarp

It is recorded by St Irenaeus, who heard him speak in his youth and by Tertullian, that he had been a disciple of John the Apostle.    Saint Jerome wrote that Polycarp was a disciple of John and that John had ordained him bishop of Smyrna.

 

With Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp is regarded as one of three chief Apostolic Fathers.   The sole surviving work attributed to his authorship is his Letter to the Philippians and a letter addressed to him by Ignatius of Antioch, he is known especially for the account of his martyrdom, the first such account to be written after the narrative of Stephen’s martyrdom in the Acts of the Apostles.   This extraordinary narrative was composed shortly after Polycarp’s death.   Many passages should be quoted here, like this one, where the governor invites Polycarp to curse Christ.   Here is the bishop’s response:

“For eighty six years I have been His servant and He has done me no wrong.   How can I blaspheme against my king and saviour?”   

 

This text is also the first one where we find a mention of the cult of relics and of the celebration of the anniversary of the martyrdom:  “Collecting the remains that were dearer to us than precious stones and finer than gold, we buried them in a fitting spot. Gathering there, so far as we can, in joy and gladness, we will be allowed by the Lord to celebrate the anniversary day of his martyrdom, both as a memorial for those who have already fought the contest and for the training and preparation of those who will do so one day.”

 

Last year’s post with more detail:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/02/23/saint-of-the-day-23-february-st-polycarp-of-smyrna/

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 23 February

St Polycarp of Smyrna (c 69 – c 155) (Memorial)


St Alexander Akimetes
St Boswell
St Dositheus of Egypt
St Felix of Brescia
St Florentius of Seville
St Giovanni Theristi
Bl Giovannina Franchi
Bl John of Hungary
Bl Josephine Vannini
Bl Juan Lucas Manzanares
Bl Ludwik Mzyk
St Martha of Astorga
St Medrald
St Milburga
Bl Nicolas Tabouillot
St Ordonius
St Polycarp of Rome
Bl Rafaela Ybarra de Villalongo
St Romana
St Serenus the Gardener
Bl Stefan Wincenty Frelichowski
St Willigis of Mainz
St Zebinus of Syria

Martyrs of Syrmium – 73 Christians who were martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know no details about them, and only six of their names – Antigonus, Libius, Rogatianus, Rutilus, Senerotas and Syncrotas.