Devotion of The Seven Last Words of Christ – The First Word – 26 March – Monday of Holy Week 2018

Devotion of The Seven Last Words of Christ – The First Word – 26 March – Monday of Holy Week 2018

The Seven Last Words of Christ

The Seven Last Words of Christ refer, not to individual words but to the final seven phrases that Our Lord uttered as He hung on the Cross.   These phrases were not recorded in a single Gospel but are taken from the combined accounts of the four Gospels.   Greatly revered, these last words of Jesus have been the subject of many books, sermons and musical settings.

For centuries The Seven Last Words have been built into various forms of devotion for the consideration and consolation of the Christian people.   English Catholics of the late Middle Ages were especially devoted to this pious exercise and passed it on in latter-day prayer books.

Hear the famous English mystic, Julian of Norwich (1342-1430) :

Suddenly it came into my mind that I ought to wish for the second wound, that our Lord, of His gift and of His grace, would fill my body full with recollection and feeling of His blessed Passion, as I had prayed before, for I wished that His pains might be my pains, with compassion which would lead to longing for God. . . . And at this suddenly I saw the red blood trickling down from under the crown, all hot, flowing freely and copiously, a living stream, just as it seemed to me that it was at the time when the crown of thorns was thrust down upon His blessed head. . . . With this sight of His blessed Passion and with His divinity, I saw that this was strength enough for me, yesand for all living creatures who will be protected from all the devils from hell and from all spiritual enemies.

Holy Week, especially Good Friday, is an ideal time to make use of this devotion for personal prayer:  to silently and prayerfully contemplate Jesus’s passion and death, to be united to Him in His suffering and to dwell on the strength and mercy of His love.

The following meditations are from on the writings of St Josemaria Escrivá (1902-1975)

The First Word

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Lk 23:34)

Gospel:  When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left   [Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”]   They divided his garments by casting lots…Lk 23:33-34

Reflection:  “Christ’s generous self-sacrifice is a challenge to sin.   We find it hard to accept the reality of sin, although its existence is undeniable.   Sin is the mysterium iniquitatis: the mystery of evil, the inexplicable evil of the creature whose pride leads him to rise up against God.   The story is as old as mankind.   It began with the fall of our first parents;  then came the unending depravities which punctuate the behaviour of mankind down the ages;  and, finally, our own personal rebellions.   It is very difficult to realise just how perverse sin is and to understand what our faith tells us.   We should remember that even in the human context the scale of an offence is frequently determined by the importance of the injured party — his social standing, his qualities. But with sin man offends God, the creature repudiates his creator.

“But ‘God is love.’   The abyss of malice which sin opens wide has been bridged by His infinite charity.   God did not abandon men.   His plans foresaw that the sacrifices of the old law would be insufficient to repair our faults and re-establish the unity which had been lost.   A man who was God would have to offer Himself up.   To help us grasp in some measure this unfathomable mystery, we might imagine the Blessed Trinity taking counsel together in its uninterrupted intimate relationship of infinite love.   As a result of its eternal decision, the only-begotten Son of God the Father takes on our human condition and bears the burden of our wretchedness and sorrows, to end up sewn with nails to a piece of wood.”…St Josemaria Escriva – Christ is Passing By, no. 95

Prayer of Abandonment to God’s Providence

My Lord and my God:
into Your hands I abandon the past and the present and the future,
what is small and what is great,
what amounts to a little and what amounts to a lot,
things temporal and things eternal.
Amen.   Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.THE FIRST WORD - LUKE 23 34 - THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST - THE DEVOTION - 26 MARCH 2018


Thought for the Day – 26 March – What is Holy Week? – St Josemaria Escrivá (1902-1975)

Thought for the Day – 26 March

What is Holy Week?

St Josemaria Escrivá (1902-1975)

Holy Week (Latin: Hebdomas Sancta or Hebdomas Maior, “Greater Week”; Greek: Μεγάλη Ἑβδομάς, Megale Hebdomas) in Christianity is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter.   It includes the religious holidays of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) and Good Friday and lasts from Palm Sunday until but not including, Easter Sunday, as Easter Sunday is the first day of the new season of The Great Fifty Days. It commemorates the last week of the earthly life of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels.holy week info

holy week with border

The tragedy of the passion brings to fulfilment our own life and the whole of human history.   We can’t let Holy Week be just a kind of commemoration.   It means contemplating the mystery of Jesus Christ as something which continues to work in our souls.   The Christian is obliged to be altered –  Christus, ipse Christus:  another Christ, Christ Himself.

Everything we do
Through baptism all of us have been made priests of our lives, “to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”   Everything we do can be an expression of our obedience to God’s will and so perpetuate the mission of the Godman.

Once we realise this, we are immediately reminded of our wretchedness and our personal failings.   But they should not dishearten us; we should not become pessimistic and put our ideals aside.   Our Lord is calling us, in our present state, to share his life and make an effort to be holy.   I know holiness can sound like an empty word.   Too many people think it is unattainable, something to do with ascetical theology — but not a real goal for them, a living reality.   The first Christians didn’t think that way.  They often used the word “saints” to describe each other in a very natural manner:  “greetings to all the saints”;  “my greetings to every one of the saints in Jesus Christ.”

A chance
Take a look now at Calvary.   Jesus has died and there is as yet no sign of His glorious triumph.   It is a good time to examine how much we really want to live as Christians, to be holy.   Here is our chance to react against our weaknesses with an act of faith.   We can trust in God and resolve to put love into the things we do each day.   The experience of sin should lead us to sorrow.   We should make a more mature and deeper decision to be faithful and truly identify ourselves with Christ, persevering, no matter what it costs, in the priestly mission that He has given every single one of His disciples.   That mission should spur us on to be the salt and light of the world….Christ is Passing By, 96

Symbol of the Redemption
Let us not forget that in all human activities there must be men and women who, in their lives and work, raise Christ’s Cross aloft for all to see, as an act of reparation.   It is a symbol of peace and of joy, a symbol of the Redemption and of the unity of the human race.   It is a symbol of the love that the Most Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit had, and continues to have, for mankind….Furrow, 985

Thinking about Christ’s death
So, in thinking about Christ’s death, we find ourselves invited to take a good hard look at our everyday activities and to be serious about the faith we profess.   Holy Week cannot be a kind of “religious interlude”;  time taken out from a life which is completely caught up in human affairs.   It must be an opportunity to understand more profoundly the love of God, so that we’ll be able to show that love to other people through what we do and say. …
That’s the key.   Jesus says we must also hate our life, our very soul — that is what our Lord is asking of us.   If we are superficial, if the only thing we care about is our own personal well-being, if we try to make other people and even the world, revolve around our own little self, we have no right to call ourselves Christians or think we are disciples of Christ.   We have to give ourselves really, not just in word but in deed and truth.   Love for God invites us to take up the cross and feel on our own shoulders the weight of humanity.   It leads us to fulfil the clear and loving plans of the Father’s will in all the circumstances of our work and life.   In the passage we’ve just read Jesus goes on to say: “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27)

if we are superficial - st josemaria escriva - 26 march 2018- no 2
Let us accept God’s will and be firmly resolved to build all our life in accordance with what our faith teaches and demands.   We can be sure this involves struggle and suffering and pain but if we really keep faith we will never feel we have lost God’s favour.   In the midst of sorrow and even calumny, we will experience a happiness which moves us to love others, to help them share in our supernatural joy….Christ is Passing By, 97

“Conversion is the task of a moment;
sanctification is the work of a lifetime.
To begin is for everyone,
to persevere is for saints!”conversion is the task of a moment - st josemaria


Quote of the Day – 26 March 2018 – Monday of Holy week

Quote of the Day – 26 March 2018 – Monday of Holy week

“In the passion of our blessed Saviour,
six things chiefly are to be meditated upon.

First, the bitterness of His sorrow,
that we may compassionate with Him.

Secondly, the greatness of our sins,
which were the cause of His torments,
that we may abhor them.

Thirdly, the greatness of the benefit,
that we may be grateful for it.

Fourthly, the excellency of the divine charity
and bounty therein manifested,
that we may love Him more fervently.

Fifthly, the convenience of the mystery,
that we may be drawn to admiration of it.

Lastly, the multiplicity of virtues
of our blessed Saviour which did shine
in this stupendous mystery, that we may
partly imitate and partly admire them.”

St Peter of Alcantara (1499-1562)in the passion of our blessed saviour, six things - st peter of alcantara - 26 march 2018


One Minute Reflection – 26 March 2018 – Monday of Holy week and the Memorial of St Braulio (590-651)

One Minute Reflection – 26 March 2018 – Monday of Holy week and the Memorial of St Braulio (590-651)

Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was filled with the scent of the ointment…John 12:3

john 12 3

REFLECTION – “O souls! Seek a refuge, like pure doves, in the shadow of the crucifix. There, mourn the Passion of your divine Spouse and drawing from your hearts flames of love and rivers of tears, make of them a precious balm with which to anoint the wounds of your Saviour.”…St Paul of the Cross (1694-1775)o souls, seek a refuge - st paul of the cross - 26 march 2018

PRAYER – Almighty God, grant that we who are constantly betrayed by our own weakness, may draw the breath of new life from the passion and death of Your only-begotten Son.   St Braulio, you who worked so zealously to assist those in weakness, both in body and soul, please pray for us too.   Through our Lord and Saviour, who suffered and died for us, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, braulio - pray for us - 26 march 2018


Our Morning Offering – 26 March 2018 – Monday of Holy week

Our Morning Offering – 26 March 2018 – Monday of Holy week

Raise My Heart
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

O my God,
whatever is nearer to me than You,
things of this earth
and things more naturally pleasing to me,
will be sure to interrupt the sight of You,
unless Your grace interfere.
Keep You my eyes,
my ears,
my heart,
from any such miserable tyranny.
Keep my whole being fixed on You.
Let me never lose sight of You
and while I gaze on You,
let my love of You
grow more and more every day.
Amenraise my heart - bl john henry newman - 26 march - mon of holy week - o my god whatever is nearer

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 26 March – Braulio (590-651)

Saint of the Day – 26 March – Braulio (590-651) –  (also known as Saint Braulius) – Bishop of Saragossa, Monk, Confessor, Reformer, Scholar, Advisor, Writer, eloquent Preacher, Apostle of Charity.   Saint Braulio was friend and disciple to Saint Isidore of Seville (560-636) Doctor of the Church (feast celebrated 4 April) and a prolific writer of letters, hymns, martyrologies, hagiographies and history.   He fought against heresy and provided both strength and encouragement in the faith to his congregation.

St Isidore recognised the young nobleman Braulio as an outstanding graduate of his college at Seville in Spain and took him under his wing.   He made Braulio his colleague, a peer to whom he submitted his books for editing.   Isidore ordained him and appointed him bishop of Saragossa in 631.

St Braulio maintained the pattern of life he had learned earlier as a monk.   He lived simply, dressed in rough clothes, ate sparingly and gave alms generously.   He collaborated with Isidore in completing the conversion of the Visigoths from Arianism and in renewing church order in Spain.

Forty-four of Braulio’s letters that have survived give us a good picture of the saint and his ministry.  He counselled priests on liturgical and pastoral questions.   Sometimes he discussed complex theological matters like the resurrection of the body.   Often he consoled relatives and friends on the death of loved ones.   In his most famous letter he defended the Spanish bishops to Pope Honorius I, who had accused them of laxity. Braulio’s sense of humour bursts forth in letters requesting manuscripts, teasing friends who failed to visit and lightly reprimanding an arrogant young priest who was to succeed him.

Braulio is remembered as an eloquent preacher.   We can almost hear the power of his voice in this letter to his brother Frominian, who wanted to resign his office as abbot:

I am shocked that you are so upset by all these routine scandals that you prefer to spend your life in silence rather than to stay in the duties entrusted to you.   Where will your blessed perseverance be if your patience fails?  Remember the apostle who said: “All who want to live piously in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (see 2 Timothy 3:12).   Endurance exists not only in confessing the name of Christ by sword and fire and various punishments.   But differences in customs, insults of the disobedient and barbs of wicked tongues and various temptations are also included in this kind of persecution.   There is not a single occupation that is without its dangers…Who will guard against wolves if the shepherd does not watch?   Or who will drive away the robber if the watchman sleeps?   You must stick by the work entrusted to you and the task you have undertaken.   You must hate the sins, not the people.   Even though tribulation brings us more than we can endure, let us not be afraid as if we were resisting with our own strength.   We must pray with the apostle that God give us “the way out with the temptation” (see 1 Corinthians 10–13)…

He prepared a list of the works of St Isidore and reportedly completed some of his master’s unfinished works.   St Braulio went partially blind in 650 and died in the same year.  He was buried in what is now the church of Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Saragossa. He was succeeded as bishop of Zaragoza by Taius (Taio), who had been his pupil. Later his remains were translated to La Seo Cathedral, Saragossa – images and statue below.

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints 26 March

St Basil the Younger
St Bathus
St Bercharius
St Braulio (590-651)
St Castulus of Rome
St Eutychius of Alexandria
St Felicitas of Padua
St Felix of Trier
St Garbhan
St Govan
St Ludger of Utrecht
Bl Maddalena Caterina Morano
St Maxima the Martyr
St Mochelloc of Kilmallock
St Montanus the Martyr
St Peter of Sebaste
St Sabino of Anatolia
St Sincheall of Killeigh
St Wereka

Martyrs of Rome – 5 saints: A group of Christians martyred together. The only details to survive are the names – Cassian, Jovinus, Marcian, Peter and Thecla. Rome, Italy, date unknown.