24 February 2018 – Saturday of the First Week of Lent

24 February 2018 – Saturday of the First Week of Lent

Deuteronomy 26:16-19, Psalms 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8, Matthew 5:43-48

Deuteronomy 28:16 –  “This day the Lord your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances;  you shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Matthew 5:48 – “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”saturday of the first week of lent - 24 feb 2018

The theme of today’s liturgy is law but not just any kind of law.   The Law of the Lord rests on the single crucial fact of God’s having chosen the Jewish people as His very own. He made an agreement, a covenant with them.   He never intended His covenant to be a burden on them.   He chose them simply because He loved them.   He Himself compared the covenant to marriage between a man and a woman.   Marriage implies mutual respect, mutual obligation and above all, mutual love.   Marriage cannot be static – if it does not evolve into deeper and deeper love and trust, it deteriorates and falls apart. Both parties have to be faithful to the obligations they freely have taken upon themselves.   And that is what this law of the Lord is all about.

We Christians believe, that the Old Testament people of God has evolved into the Church, the Body of Christ, His Spouse.   At the Last Supper, Jesus said “This cup … is the new Covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:29)

We, as the people of God are still responsible for fulfilling our part of the Covenant.   But we, like the Old Testament people can and do grow careless.   The marriage ‘cools off’, as it were.   It needs renewal, it needs a ‘marriage encounter’ with our God.   Lent is an extended ‘married couples retreat’ for us and for Him!

At the Last Supper, Jesus established the new Covenant and He also gave us a new law “a new commandment” that we love one another.   Yesterday, He told us how much we need forgiving hearts.   Today He gets tough: “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?” And He ends with the command that may seem impossible to fulfil – “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Fulfilling Jesus’ command is what our Christian life and above all LENT, it all about.   It is a progressive process of co-operating with God in His will to make us a perfect spouse for Himself.   We can fast, give alms, pray day and night but it is all a waste of time unless we at least try to fulfill this new commandment of the Lord.   The ideal Jesus sets before us is not just tolerance of those who do not like us or whom we do not like, or the stranger who make us feel afraid and protective of our ‘patch’.   Too often tolerance comes close to mindless indifference, which is the exact opposite of love!

Life with God, like any marriage, has to be worked at.   Love is hard, it is a lifetime task that is never finished.   Nor will Christ’s Bride, the Church, be the perfect bride until the end of time.   BUT, we can be sure our God will do His part.   It is only when we do all in our power to love and forgive that He will take over and love in us, with our hearts and then we will be perfected as our heavenly Father is perfect!…..Fr E Lawerence OSB

Is there someone who has hurt me or who is ‘an enemy’?   Pray for them!
Who are the groups in the world whom I hate or fear?   Pray for them!
Are there strangers in my neighbourhood of whom I am perhaps nervous or afraid, go to them and pray for them!

Prayer for the Gift of Prayer
By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church

O Incarnate Word,
You have given Your Blood and Your Life
to confer on our prayers that power by which,
according to Your promise,
they obtain for us all that we ask.
And we, O God,
are so careless of our salvation,
that we will not even ask You for the graces
that we must have, if we should be saved!
In prayer You have given us the key
of all Your Divine treasures;
and we, rather than pray,
choose to remain in our misery.
Alas! O Lord, enlighten us,
and make us know the value of prayers,
offered in Your name and by Your merits,
in the eyes of Your Eternal Father.
Amenprayer for the gift of prayer by st alphonsus liguori - 24 feb 2018


Thought for the Day – 24 February – The Memorial of Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco (1831-1891)

Thought for the Day – 24 February – The Memorial of Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco (1831-1891)

The outstanding vitality of faith, …. emerges in the life and activity of Tommaso Maria Fusco, founder of the Institute of the Daughters of Charity of the Precious Blood.   By virtue of the faith he knew how to live in the world the reality of the Kingdom of God in a very special way.   Among his aspirations, there was one which was his favourite:  “I believe in you, my God, increase my faith”.   It is this prayer that the Apostles direct to the Lord in the Gospel reading today (cf. Lk 17,6).   Bl Tommaso understood that faith is first of all a gift and a grace.   No one can conquer it or obtain it by himself.   One can only ask for it, implore it from on high.   For that reason, enlightened by the teaching of the new Blessed, we never tire of asking the gift of faith because “the just man will live by faith” (Hb 1,4)

“God is wonderful in his saints!”.   With the communities in which the Blessed lived and for which they spent their best human and spiritual energies, we want to thank God, who is “wonderful in his saints”.   At the same time, we ask Him through their intercession, to help us respond with renewed eagerness to the universal call to holiness. Amen….St Pope John Paul on the Beatification of Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco – 7 October 2001

Blessed Thomas, pray for us!bl thomas mary fusco - pray for us - 24 feb 2018


Quote of the Day – 24 February 2018 – Saturday of the First Week of Lent

Quote of the Day – 24 February 2018 – Saturday of the First Week of Lent

“The nicest word to say to our Lord is: “Yes”.
If our Lady hadn’t said that at the Annunciation,
where would the world be now?”

Servant of God Guy Pierre de Fontgalland (1913-1925)

guy pierre de fontgallandthe nicest word - servant of god guy pierre de fontgalland - 24 feb 2018-no 2

Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES on SUFFERING, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 24 February – The Memorial of Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco (1831-1891) and Saturday of the First Week of Lent, Year B

One Minute Reflection – 24 February – The Memorial of Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco (1831-1891) and Saturday of the First Week of Lent, Year B

…”for he causes his sun to rise upon the bad as well as the good and sends down rain to fall on the upright and the wicked alike.“…Matthew 5:45 (Today’s Gospel Matthew 5:43-48)

REFLECTION – “May work and suffering for God always be your glory and in your work and suffering, may God be your consolation on this earth and your recompense in heaven.”……………..Bl Thomas Mary Fuscomay work and suffering for god - 24 feb 2018

PRAYER– O Lord my God, give me the strength to endure with patience the sufferings I encounter in my life. Teach me to do my daily work for You alone and to do more than that in every way I can, for your greater glory. Teach me, Holy Father, to obey the words of Your Son, to pray for those who persecute me and to suffer for the glory of the Kingdom. Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco, pray that we may achieve the crown of glory in heaven, feb 2017

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 24 February – The Memorial of Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco

Our Morning Offering – 24 February – The Memorial of Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco

The One Thing Necessary
By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church

O my God,
help me to remember,
that time is short, eternity long.
What good is all the greatness of this world
at the hour of death?
To love You, my God
and save my soul is the one thing necessary.
Without You, there is no peace of mind or soul.
My God, I need fear only sin
and nothing else in this life,
for to lose You, my God, is to lose all.
O my God, help me to remember,
that I came into this world with nothing,
and shall take nothing from it when I die.
To gain You, I must leave all.
But in loving You,
I already have all good things,
the infinite riches of Christ and His Church in life,
Mary’s motherly protection and perpetual help,
and the eternal dwelling place Jesus has prepared for me.
Eternal Father, Jesus has promised
that whatever we ask
in His Name will be granted us.
In His Name, I pray:
give me a burning faith,
a joyful hope,
a holy love for You.
Grant me perseverance in doing Your will
and never let me be separated from You.
My God and my All,
make me a saint.
Amenthe one thing necessary - st alphonsus liguori - 24 feb 2018

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 24 February – Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco and Tommaso Maria Fusco (1831-1891)

Saint of the Day – 24 February – Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco and Tommaso Maria Fusco (1831-1891).   Priest, Founder, Apostle of Charity, Apostolic Missionary, Spiritual Director, Confessor, Preacher, Writer, Blessed Thomas was born on 1 December 1831 at Pagani, Salerno, parish of San Felice e Corpo di Cristo, diocese of Nocera-Sarno, Italy and he died on 24 February 1891 of a chronic liver disease at the age of 59.   He was Beatified on 7 October 2001 by St Pope John Paul II.   The beatification miracles involved the healing of Mrs Maria Battaglia on 20 August 1964 in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicily.   Patronages – of Daughters of Charity of the Most Precious Blood.HEADER - BL THOMAS MARY FUSCO

Thomas Mary Fusco, the seventh of eight children, was born on1 December 1831 in Pagani, Salerno, in the Diocese of Nocera-Sarno, Italy, to Dr Antonio, a pharmacist and Stella Giordano, of noble descent.   They were known for their upright moral and religious conduct and taught their son Christian piety and charity to the poor.   He was baptised on the day he was born in the parish of St Felice e Corpo di Cristo.   In 1837, when he was only six years old, his mother died of cholera and a few years later, in 1841, he also lost his father.   Fr Giuseppe, an uncle on his father’s side and a primary school teacher, then took charge of his education.

Since 1839, the year of the canonisation of St Alphonsus Mary de’ Liguori, little Tommaso had dreamed of church and the altar;  in 1847 he was at last able to enter the same diocesan seminary of Nocera which his brother Raffaele would leave after being ordained a priest in 1849.   On 1 April 1851, Tommaso Maria received the sacrament of Confirmation and on 22 December 1855, after completing his seminary formation, he was ordained a priest by Bishop Agnello Giuseppe D’Auria.

In those years, sorrowful because of the loss of his loved ones, including his uncle (1847) as well as his young brother, Raffaele (1852), the devotion to the Patient Christ and to his Blessed Sorrowful Mother, already dear to the entire Fusco family, took root in Tommaso Maria, as in fact his biographers recall:  “He had a deep devotion to the crucified Christ which he cherished throughout his life”.

Right from the start he saw to the formation of boys for whom he opened a morning school in his own home, while for young people and adults, bent on increasing their human and Christian formation, he organised evening prayers at the parish church of St Felice e Corpo di Cristo.  This was a true place of conversion and prayer, just as it had been for St Alphonsus, revered and honoured in Pagani for his apostolate.

In 1857, he was admitted to the Congregation of the Missionaries of Nocera under the title of St Vincent de Paul and became an itinerant missionary, especially in the regions of Southern Italy.   In 1860 he was appointed chaplain at the Shrine of our Lady of Carmel (known as “Our Lady of the Hens”) in Pagani, where he built up the men’s and women’s Catholic associations and set up the altar of the Crucified Christ and the Pious Union for the Adoration of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.

In 1862 he opened a school of moral theology in his own home to train priests for the ministry of confession, kindling enthusiasm for the love of Christ’s Blood;  that same year, he founded the “(Priestly) Society of the Catholic Apostolate” for missions among the common people;  in 1874 he received the approval of Pope Pius IX, now blessed.

Deeply moved by the sorry plight of an orphan girl, a victim of the street, after careful preparation in prayer for discernment, Fr Tommaso Maria founded the Congregation of the “Daughters of Charity of the Most Precious Blood” on 6 January, the Solemnity of Epiphany in 1873.   This institute was inaugurated at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in the presence of Bishop Raffaele Ammirante, who, with the clothing of the first three sisters with the religious habit, blessed the first orphanage for seven poor little orphan girls of the area.   It was not long before the newborn religious family and the orphanage also received the Pope’s blessing, in response to their request.

Fr Tommaso Maria continued to dedicate himself to the priestly ministry, preaching spiritual retreats and popular missions;   and from his apostolic travels sprang the many foundations of houses and orphanages that were a monument to his heroic charity, which was even more ardent in the last 20 years of his life (1870-1891).

In addition to his commitments as founder and apostolic missionary, he was parish priest (1874-1887) at the principal church of St Felice e Corpo di Cristo in Pagani, extraordinary confessor to the cloistered nuns in Pagani and Nocera and, in the last years of his life, spiritual father of the lay congregation at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount fusco - larger

It was not long before Fr Tommaso Maria, envied for the good he achieved in his ministry and for his life as an exemplary priest, was faced with humiliation and persecution and, in 1880, even a brother priest’s slanderous calumny.    However, sustained by the Lord, he lovingly carried that cross which his own Pastor, Bishop Ammirante had foretold at the time of his institute’s foundation:  “Have you chosen the title of the Most Precious Blood? Well, may you be prepared to drink the bitter cup”.

During the harshest of trials, which he bore in silence, he would repeat:  “May work and suffering for God always be your glory and in your work and suffering, may God be your consolation on this earth and your recompense in heaven.   Patience is the safeguard and pillar of all the virtues”.

Wasting away with a liver-disease, Fr Tommaso Maria died a devout death on 24 February 1891, praying with the elderly Simeon:  “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word” (Lk 2, 29).

He was only 59 years old!   In the notice issued by the town council of Pagani on 25 February 1891 the Gospel witness of his life, known to one and all, was summarised in these words:  “Tommaso Maria Fusco, Apostolic Missionary, Founder of the Daughters of Charity of the Most Precious Blood, an exemplary priest of indomitable faith and ardent charity, worked tirelessly in the name of the Redeeming Blood for the salvation of souls: in life he loved the poor and in death forgave his enemies”.

His life was directed to the highest devotion of Christian virtues by the priestly life, lived intensely in constant meditation on the mystery of the Father’s love, contemplated in the crucified Son whose Blood is “the expression, measure and pledge” of divine Charity and heroic charity to the poor and needy, in whom Fr Tommaso Maria saw the bleeding Face of Jesus.   His writings, preaching and popular missions marked his vast experience of faith and the light of Christian hope that shone from his vocation and actions. He had a vital, burning love for God; it enflamed his words and his apostolate, made fruitful by love for God and neighbour, by union with the crucified Jesus, by trust in Mary, Immaculate and Sorrowful, and above all by the Eucharist.

Fr Tommaso Maria Fusco was an Apostle of Charity of the Most Precious Blood, a friend of boys and girls and young people and attentive to every kind of poverty and human and spiritual misery.   For all these reasons he enjoyed the fame of holiness among the diocesan priests, among the people and among his spiritual daughters who received his charism and witness to it today in the various parts of the world where they carry out their apostolate in communion with the Church.

The cause for the beatification of Fr Tommaso Maria Fusco was initiated in 1955 and the decree of his heroic Christian virtues was published on 24 April 2001.   The miraculous healing of Mrs Maria Battaglia on 20 August 1964 in Sciacca, Agrigento, Sicily, through the intercession of Fr Tommaso Maria Fusco was recognised on7 July 2001.

With his beatification, St Pope John Paul II presents Fr Tommaso Maria Fusco as an example and a guide to holiness for priests, for the people of God and for his spiritual daughters, the Daughters of Charity of the Most Precious Blood…vatican.vabl thomas mary fusco 2 - snipfusco

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 24 February

St Adela of Blois
Bl Antonio Taglia
Bl Arnold of Carcassonne
St Betto of Auxerre
Bl Berta of Busano
Bl Constantius of Fabriano
St Cummian Albus of Iona
St Ethelbert of Kent
Evetius of Nicomedia
Bl Florentina Nicol Goni
Bl Ida of Hohenfels
Bl Josefa Naval Girbes
St Liudhard
Bl Lotario Arnari
Bl Marco De’ Marconi
St Modestus of Trier
St Peter the Librarian
St Praetextatus of Rouen
St Primitiva
St Sergius of Caesarea
Bl Simon of Saint Bertin
Blessed Tommaso Maria Fusco (1831-1891)