25 February 2018 – Lenten Reflection – The Second Sunday in Lent, Year B THE GLORY OF THE CRUCIFIED CHRIS

25 February 2018 – Lenten Reflection – The Second Sunday in Lent, Year B

Genesis 22:1-2, 9-13, 15-18, Psalms 116:10, 15-19, Romans 8:31-34, Mark 9:2-10

Mark 9:2-3 – And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves;  and he was transfigured before them and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them.second sunday lenten reflection - mark 9 3

On the second Sunday in Lent we always read the Gospel of the Transfiguration of our Lord.   We do so in order that our focus may be directed towards the glory of Easter and our Lord’s victory over sin and death by His glorious Resurrection.   Our Lenten penance is not an end in itself but a means to an end;  that cleansed of our faults and sanctified in both body and mind we might more fully appreciate and participate in God’s own glory. The word that Sacred Scripture most commonly uses to describe the nature of God is glory.   We associate glory with power, majesty, radiance, awe and wonder.   Yet all the Gospels, especially the Gospel of John, speak of God’s humiliation as His exaltation, His glory.   By faith, we are seized by the beauty and glory of the Crucified Christ.   In this mystery of the Transfiguration a twofold glory is revealed:  the glory which our Lord possesses as the eternal Son of the Father and the glory that is manifested in His sacred Passion;  the glory that is manifested from the unsurpassable torture of Holy Week.   God Himself is “whipped to blood, crowned with thorns, mocked, spat upon, ridiculed, nailed, pierced…   In this consummate ugliness, this unspeakable outrage, shines a picture of divine beauty, of divine glory.   The Gospel of the Transfiguration presents us with a vision of the glory of God on its way to the Passion”… (Cardinal Hans Urs Von Balthasar 1905-1988).

The glory revealed to Peter, James and John is a glimpse of the glory of the Resurrection, a glory that we too are destined to share;  however, it is the Passion that “leads to the glory of the Resurrection” (Preface for the Second Sunday in Lent, The Roman Missal). Consequently, we are ever mindful that “we preach Christ crucified … Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:23-24).   Our Lord Jesus Christ “is the radiant light of God’s glory and the perfect copy of His nature” (Heb 1:3).   Those who gaze on the Crucified Christ in faith are able to perceive that His hour of highest spiritual beauty—and glory—is a moment of utmost bodily degradation.   In the humiliation of the Cross the Saviour brings near and makes visible the divine glory for we see in Him the ineffable love of God for sinners.   This is a love, a beauty and a glory that can only be perceived by a prayerful, contemplative gaze  . It is only by means of prayer and penance that we can come to some understanding of why our Lord brought about our salvation in such weakness, diminishment and pain.

No human life is exempt from diminishment and pain.   If we are given the grace to grow older, the weight of years alone brings about diminishment.   Why must it be so?   Perhaps our own diminishment is meant to conform us to the self-emptying of the Son of God on the Cross.   This may very well be the grace of old age.   That our redemption has taken place through suffering of the flesh and spilling of blood may mean that it could take place in no other way.   It is for this reason that above all things we must seek simply to be with Jesus and to learn from Him what He alone can teach us in the silence of prayer.   On the Cross we have the ultimate and only adequate answer to the problem of evil, the only solution to the mystery of sin.   The world’s redemption could only be brought about “in the mystery of a love that by suffering understands all the insults inflicted upon it” (Hans Urs Von Balthasar).   Our profession of faith, if taken seriously, is journey into the depth of this Mystery.

What do we discover as we come to know more of this mystery?   Quite simply, that the essence of Christian discipleship is to be with Jesus and to learn from Him who accompanies us on life’s journey and who is never distant from us by means of His grace. We must endeavour to abandon ourselves to the will of the Father as He did and in this is our peace:  not only our peace but also our way to holiness, to glory.   Christians are not immune from suffering.   Indeed, our long history teaches us that often we suffer more precisely because of our Christian faith but as St Paul asks, “who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him who loved us” (Rom 8:35-37).   These words are more than ever relevant as we witness the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.   Our faith enables us not only to overcome the trials we suffer but also to be sanctified by them and through them.   We understand these as our means to holiness; a state to which we are called.

“The entire virtue of what we call holiness lies in faithfulness to what God ordains” (Jean Pierre de Caussade, The Joy of Full Surrender, [Paraclete Press], p.17).   Surely, this is what we learn when we contemplate the life and Passion of our Lord.   Fidelity to duty, discipline of life, moral rectitude;  these are the ways in which we are faithful to what God ordains.   They are no less the means by which our lives are so transformed and so transfigured that we come to “live for the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:12).   Anything that contradicts these principles is a path to misery and destruction and a betrayal of the Cross of Christ.

After His glorious resurrection our Lord asked the disciples on the road to Emmaus, “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Lk 24:26).   And so it is with us; we must be willing to recognise what is best for us in what God ordains for us.   Like the disciples on the mountain, the revelation of God’s will for us, whether it be in the suffering that He asks of us or permits us to endure, or simply in the challenges that we face in living; these may confound us and might even cause us to be very much afraid.   Like Peter, James and John, however, we too are privileged to perceive the glory of the Lord;  a glory however that is veiled in the poverty, humility, and vulnerability of the Crucifix that hangs before us and in the Sacrament of the Cross, the Eucharist.   These reveal a love so powerful that neither hate nor death could conquer it.   Because we receive and worship this Sacrament, this same love is at work in the hearts of all who believe.   By its power great deeds of love are done and great evils are faced and overcome.   The Passion of our Lord gives a human face to the love of God for a fallen humanity.   Our own sufferings, mysterious as they may be in both their origin and purpose, place us in the very heart of the Paschal Mystery.   Suffering is not meaningless nor is it without purpose and neither is our life.   “Nothing short of suffering, except in rare cases, makes us what we should be;  gentle instead of harsh, meek instead of violent, conceding instead of arrogant, lowly instead of proud, pure-hearted instead of sensual”   (Bl. John Henry Newman (1801-1890), “The Sweet Yoke of Christ,” 1839).

By Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

They were talking to Him about resurrection,
about law, about the suffering ahead.
They were talking as if to remind Him who He was and
who they were. He was not

Like his three friends watching a little way off,
not like the crowd At the foot of the hill.
A grey-green thunderhead massed
from the sea

And God spoke from it and said He was His.
They were talking about how the body, broken or
could live again, remade.

Only the fiery text of the thunderhead could explain it.
And they were talking
About pain and the need for judgement
and how He would make Himself

A law of pain, both its spirit and its letter in His own
and then break it,
That is, transcend it.
His clothes flared like magnesiumtransfiguration by bl john henry newman - 2nd sun lent 25 feb 2018

My Lord, I Offer You Myself
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

My Lord,
I offer You myself in turn,
as a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
You have died for me,
And I in turn make myself over to You.
I am not my own.
You have bought me:
I will, by my own act and deed,
complete the purchase.
My wish is to be separated
from everything of this world;
To cleanse myself simply from sin;
To put away from me even what is innocent,
If used for its own sake
and not for Yours.
I put away reputation and honour
and influence and power,
For my praise and strength,
shall be in You.
Enable me to carry out what I profess
Amenmy lord i offer you myself - bl john henry newman - lenten prayer - 25 feb 2018 - 2nd sun lent


Sunday Reflection – 25 February 2018 – Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

Sunday Reflection – 25 February 2018 – Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

Referring to the Emmaus event, Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890) reminded his congregation:

“Only by faith is He known to be present;  He is not recognised by sight.   When He opened his disciples’ eyes, He at once vanished.   He removed his visible presence and left but a memorial of Himself.   He vanished from sight that He might be present in a sacrament;  and in order to connect His visible presence to His presence invisible, He for one instant manifested Himself to their open eyes;  manifested Himself, if I may so speak, while He passed from His hiding place of sight without knowledge, to that of knowledge without sight.”

What He left to the disciples in Emmaus is what He left to us:  His memorial and more than that:  His living presence spiritually in the Church and – through the Holy Spirit – in each of its members through baptism and His Real Presence, communion with Himself, the living God and man in the Blessed Eucharist and in the Christians who have just received Him in the Blessed Eucharist and adore Him in this Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.   Christ’s real presence is given to each communicant in a most personal and if accepted with a sincere and humble heart, transforming way.   With Newman’s own words:

“Christ then took on our nature, when He would redeem it;  He redeemed it by making it suffer in His own Person;  He purified it, by making it pure in His own Person.   He first sanctified it in Himself, made it righteous, made it acceptable to God, submitted it to an expiatory passion and then He imparted it to us.   He took it, consecrated it, broke it and said, “Take, and divide it among your-selves.”

Newman was convinced that no one “realises the mystery of the Incarnation but must feel disposed towards that of the Holy Communion.”   Both are mysteries of the coming of Christ, longed for as the hope of mankind for salvation.   If we accept that God unites Himself, His divinity and His spirit, to humanity, nature and matter in His birth as man, then we can also accept that He binds His presence to the species of bread and wine.   When Jesus says, “This is my body, this is my blood”, this remains a mystery but our faith in it is not against our reason.

Years later this Catholic priest wrote:

“O wisest love! That flesh and blood
Which did in Adam fail,
Should strive afresh against the foe,
Should strive and should prevail.”
“And that a higher gift than grace
Should flesh and blood refine,
God’s presence and His very Self,
And Essence all-divine.”christ then took on our nature - bl john henry newman - no 2 25 feb 2018 - sunday reflection


Thought for the Day – 25 February 2018 – Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

Thought for the Day – 25 February 2018 – Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

“Now is the accepted time, now the day of salvation.”

Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

“These are thoughts, I need hardly say, especially suited to this season.
From the earliest times down to this day, these weeks before Easter have been set apart every year, for the particular remembrance and confession of our sins.   From the first age downward, not a year has passed but Christians have been exhorted to reflect how far they have let go their birthright, as a preparation for their claiming the blessing.   At Christmas we are born again with Christ;  at Easter we keep the Eucharistic Feast.

In Lent, by penance, we join the two great sacraments together.   Are you, my brethren, prepared to say—is there any single Christian alive who will dare to profess—that he has not in greater or less degree sinned against God’s free mercies as bestowed on him in Baptism without, or rather against his deserts?   Who will say that he has so improved his birthright that the blessing is his fit reward, without either sin to confess, or wrath to deprecate?

See, then, the Church offers you this season for the purpose.   “Now is the accepted time, now the day of salvation.”

Now it is that, God being your helper, you are to attempt to throw off from you the heavy burden of past transgression, to reconcile yourselves to Him who has once already imparted to you His atoning merits and you have profaned them.”

are-you-my-brethren-bl-j-h-newman.- lenten reflection - 2017 - 25 feb 2017 (in the novena for lent) jpg





Quote of the Day – 25 February 2018 – Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

Quote of the Day – 25 February 2018 – Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

Watch over your thoughts because they become words.

Watch over your words because they become actions.

Watch over your actions because they become habits.

Watch over your habits because they become your character.

Watch over your character because it becomes your destiny.

Unknown Authorwatch over your thoughts - unknown author - 25 feb 2018 2nd sun lent

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, LENT, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on SANCTITY, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 25 February 2018 – Second Sunday of Lent, Year B and the Memorial of Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani (1806-1855)

One Minute Reflection – 25 February 2018 – Second Sunday of Lent, Year B and the Memorial of Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani (1806-1855)

Work with anxious concern to achieve your salvation….Philippians 2:12

REFLECTION – “You have been created for the glory of God
and your own eternal salvation….this is your goal;
this is the centre of your life;
this is the treasure of your heart.
If your reach this goal, you will find happiness.
If you fail to reach it, you will find misery.”….St Robert Bellarmineyou-have-been-created-st-robert-bellarmine-17-sept-2017

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, teach me to do everything for Your honour and glory.
Grant me the grace to work out my salvation with anxious concern each day of my life.   Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani, you focused your whole life on achieving salvation and helping all those who came in contact with you to do the same, please pray for us, maria adeodata pray for us - 25 feb 2018


Our Morning Offering – 25 February 2018 – The Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

Our Morning Offering – 25 February 2018 – The Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

I Place myself in Your Presence (Prayer before Holy Mass or at Eucharistic Adoration)
Bl John Henry Newman  (1801-1890)

I place myself
in the presence of Him
in whose Incarnate Presence
I am before
I place myself there.
I adore You, O my Saviour,
present here as God and Man,
in soul and body,
in true flesh and blood.
I acknowledge and confess,
that I kneel before
that Sacred Humanity,
which was conceived
in Mary’s womb
and lay on Mary’s bosom,
which grew up to man’s estate
and by the Sea of Galilee
called the Twelve,
wrought miracles
and spoke words of wisdom
and peace.
Which, in due season
hung on the Cross,
lay in the tomb,
rose from the dead
and now reigns in heaven.
I praise and bless and give myself
wholly to Him,
who is the true Bread of my soul
and my everlasting joy.
AmenI place myself in your presence - bl john henry - 17 Sept 2017

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 25 February – Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani OSB (1806-1855)

Saint of the Day – 25 February – Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani OSB (1806-1855) (29 December 1806 at Naples, Italy– 25 February 1855 from heart problems at the Benedictine monastery at Mdina, Malta ) (also known as Blessed Maria Teresa and Blessed Adeodata) was a Maltese nun, Writer, Apostle of Charity, whom St Pope John Paul II venerated on 24 April 2001 (decree of heroic virtues) and beatified on 9 May 2001.   Blessed Maria Adeodata’s beatification miracle occurred on 24 November 1897 when abbess Giuseppina Damiani from the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist Subiaco, Italy was suddenly healed of a stomach tumour following her request for Maria Pisani’s intervention.   Blessed Maria Adeodata’s Cause was delayed for years due to lack of funds, and political problems between Malta and Italy.

header - bl adeodata

Maria Adeodata Pisani, OSB was born in Naples on the 29 December 1806, the only daughter of Baron Benedetto Pisani Mompalao Cuzkeri and Vincenza Carrano.   She was baptised on the same day in the Parish of St Mark at Pizzofalcone and named Maria Teresa.   Her father had the title of Baron of Frigenuini, one of the oldest and richest barony in Malta, whilst her mother was an Italian.
Unfortunately, her father took to drink and this soon led to marital problems, so much so that whilst Maria Teresa was still a small child her mother left the conjugal house and entrusted the child to her husband’s mother, Elisabeth Mamo Mompalao, who lived in Naples.   The grandmother took good care of Maria Teresa but when she died her grandchild was only 10 years of age.   After her grandmother’s death, she was sent to a famous boarding school in Naples, known as the ‘Istituto di Madama Prota’, where the aristocratic ladies of the area used to get their education. 

Maria Teresa stayed in this college till she was 17 years of age and here she received her religious and social education.   In the meantime, her father continued to create problems and in 1821, due to his involvement in the uprising in Naples, he was sentenced to death.   Since he was a British citizen, his sentence was suspended and he was expelled from Naples and deported to Malta.

In 1825, Maria Teresa and her mother came to live in Malta.   They settled in Rabat where her father was also living his dissolute life but they never lived together with him. Although her mother had been trying to find a suitable man to get her married, Maria Teresa always declined such proposals.   She preferred to lead a quiet life, going out to Church daily and when the occasion presented itself to help the poor she met on the streets.   The people who knew her started to comment about her pious behaviour.   She was never put off by her father’s behaviour and whenever she met him she would ask for his blessing.

On one occasion, she was impressed by a sermon she heard at the ‘Ta’ Giezu’ church in Rabat.   She went to pray in front of the picture of Our Lady of Good Counsel, in the Augustinian’s Church in Rabat, the church where she usually went for her daily mass and evening prayers.   There for the first time she felt the calling to become a nun and dedicate her life to God in prayer.   Her parents immediately opposed her wish to become a nun and her mother forced her to wait for a year before making any final decision.   Maria Teresa waited obediently for a whole year but her resolve did not change.

On the 16 July 1828, she joined the Benedictine Community in St Peter’s Monastery in Mdina.   In choosing this kind of life, she had chosen a life of prayer, work, silence and obedience.   After six months as a postulant, at the beginning of 1829  in a special ceremony of investiture as a novice took place, surrounded by her parents and relatives and she changed her name to Maria Adeodata.   During the one year she was a novice, she impressed not only her companions in the novitiate but also the nun who was in charge of the novices.   This nun confessed that she never found any fault in Adeodata, and that instead of teaching her, she used to learn from her.

On the 4th March 1830, the required Notarial Act of Renouncement was performed, which was the last formal step required to be admitted as a nun.   In this Act, she renounced to her titles and distributed the vast inheritance she had inherited from her paternal grandmother, keeping just enough for herself to be able to help others during her lifetime.

The solemn monastic profession took place on the 8 March 1830, and for the next 25 years she lived as a cloistered nun in St Peter’s monastery.   During this period, not only the nuns in the monastery but many persons outside benefitted from her acts of charity and her saintly life.   She held various official responsibilities within the monastery but the ones she treasured most were that of looking after the chapel, which gave her more time to be near the Blessed Sacrament and that of porter, which kept her close to the poor people who used to come daily to the monastery seeking help.   For four years she was in charge of novices and from 1851 to 1853 she was elected as Abbess.   During the two years’ mandate she had to face difficulties from a few members of the community, since she tried to bring about some changes in community life in order to help the community live more in accordance with the Benedictine rule and monastic way of life. Some nuns were also jealous of her since so many people revered her for her saintly way of life.

She was renowned for her spirit of self-sacrifice and self-denial.   The best she had, whether food or clothes, were always given to those in need, whilst she was happy to live on leftovers and worn out clothes.   During her life in the monastery she also wrote various works, the most famous of which is “The mystical garden of the soul that loves Jesus and Mary”, which collects together personal spiritual reflections written in the form of a diary between 15 August 1835 and 3 May 1843.   She also wrote her reflections about spiritual direction and a good number of prayers some of which were meant to be used in the community.   Although her native language was Italian, she did her best to learn how to speak and write in Maltese and she wrote some prayers in Maltese for common use in the Monastery.   Throughout her life as a nun, she was a shining example to all in her observance of the Rule of St Benedict, obedience to her superiors, her acts of charity, her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin and her total commitment to love God.

During the last two years of her life, heart trouble slowly eroded her health which was never all that good.   Yet she continued to force herself to live a normal life within her community, always striving for perfection and leading others through her example.

On the 25 February 1855, at the age of 48, she realised that the end was near.   Against her nurse’s advice, she dragged herself to the Chapel for the early morning conventual mass, and after receiving communion she had to be carried back to her bed, where she died soon afterwards surrounded by her community reciting prayers.

As soon as news of her death reached the people outside the monastery, the same phrase was repeated throughout Malta:  “the Saint has died”.   She had a simple funeral and she was buried in the Monastery’s crypt the following day.

Many people claimed miraculous cures and other graces from God through Adeodata’s intercession.   In 1892, the Canonical Process for her Beatification and Canonisation was initiated.   In 1897, the miracle which was later to be presented to the Congregation for Causes of Beatification and Canonisations for official examination and eventual acceptance took place.   This miracle happened in Subiaco in Italy and it involved a Benedictine Abbess who was so sick that the last rites were administered to her but after prayers through the intercession of Adeodata she got better and the doctors looking after her could not explain such a recovery.

Due to economic reasons, the Canonical Process for Adeodata’s Beatification was stopped in 1913 but in 1989, the Benedictine Community at St Peter’s Monastery presented a petition for the resumption of the Canonical Process for Adeodata’s Beatification and Canonisation.   She was Beatified by St Pope John Paul on 9 May adeodata venerationparish church in maltarelikwa tal-Beata Marija Adeodata Pisani

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 25 February

St Adelelmo of Engelberg
St Aldetrudis
St Ananias of Phoenicia
Bl Avertano of Lucca
St Caesarius of Nanzianzen
St Callistus Caravario
Bl Ciriaco Maria Sancha Hervas
Bl Didacus Yuki Ryosetsu
St Domenico Lentini
St Donatus the Martyr
Felix III, Pope
St Gerland the Bishop
St Gothard the Hermit
St Herena the Martyr
St Justus the Martyr
St Laurentius Bai Xiaoman
St Luigi Versiglia
Bl Maria Adeodata Pisani (1806-1855)
St Nestor of Side
St Riginos
Bl Robert of Arbrissel
Bl Sebastian of Aparicio
St Tharasius
St Toribio Romo González
St Victor of Saint Gall
St Walburga

Martyrs of Egypt – A group of Christian men who were exiled to Egypt for their faith and were eventually martyred for their faith in the persecutions of Numerian. We know little more than their names: