Sunday Reflection – 8 April – Low Sunday the Octave Day of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday
“He is not past, He is present now.”– Bl John Henry Newman (1801-1890) on the Eucharist
In every Mass Christ comes to us, in the Blessed Eucharist, Christ remains with us – Christ counteracts Time and the World
What makes Christianity in its fullness, much more than a historical religion – though Protestants claim their religion to be just that, and, indeed, Christ died long ago – is the fact that He is “living among us with a continual presence”.
In every Holy Mass we are touched by Christ’s spiritual presence when the Gospel is proclaimed. We are touched by His real, full and personal presence in the Eucharist. When we walk up to receive the Eucharist, Christ Jesus comes to us. He remains with us in the Blessed Sacrament, whether in the tabernacle or exposed for our adoration. With Newman’s words from a sermon of 25th May 1858:
“He is not past, He is present now. And though He is not seen, He is here. The same God who walked the water, who did miracles, etc., is in the Tabernacle. We come before Him, we speak to Him just as He was spoken to … years ago.”
We receive Christ Jesus, when we receive the consecrated host. We adore Him, we listen to Him and we dare to speak to Him. When we receive Holy Communion, He wants to grow in us and wants us to grow towards Him:
“In every holy mass and especially in communion but also whenever we adore Christ Jesus, kneeling before the tabernacle or before the exposed Blessed Sacrament, our fleeting lives touch eternity as the living God touches us. God, does not merely present Himself before us as the Object of worship but God actually gives Himself to us to be received into our breasts. wonderful communion”!
The Eucharist brings Christians of all times, whether in the action of holy Mass or in the stillness of the Blessed Sacrament into the presence of Christ and is the living reminder that we live at all times in the presence of God and have the presence of God within us and before us in a passing world. It makes us realise that although every day and hour passes and will never come back, we are held and find our stay in the presence and love of God. The real presence of God in the Holy Eucharist makes us realise that eternal life, our life with God, has begun for us with baptism and cannot be lost to us by any outward force, only by severe sin. Therefore Newman can say that by the Holy Eucharist “We are brought into the unseen world.” (Excerpted Sr Brigitte Maria Hoegemann FSO)
Thought for the Day – 8 April – Low Sunday the Octave Day of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday
What many do not know is that St John Paul II had been anticipating preaching a homily on Divine Mercy Sunday 2005 at a new parish in Albis, Rome. It was dedicated to God, the Merciful Father. We all watched with grief as his health rapidly declined during that Lent of 2005. He began to prepare his homily for the event, what some believe may be the last handwritten lines of our saintly pontiff. He left this world hours before it was to be delivered.
It would be his successor, Benedict XVI, who would deliver to that community the pope’s final words . In fact Pope Benedict called them St John Paul II’s spiritual last will and testament. It’s clear he didn’t intend them solely for a parish in the suburbs but for all of us. It represents his final mercy mandate to the world. ”To humanity, which sometimes seems bewildered and overwhelmed by the power of evil, selfishness and fear, the Risen Lord offers His love that pardons, reconciles and re-opens hearts to hope. It is a love that converts hearts and gives peace.”
Ten years later, with the emergence of unimagined evils perpetrated by groups like ISIS and others, we may be more overwhelmed than ever. Jesus and the Gospel are our only hope. He continued, “How much the world needs to understand and accept Divine Mercy!…Jesus I trust in You, have mercy upon us and upon the whole world.”
This Divine Mercy Sunday invites us each to evaluate our lives in light of St John Paul II and the Church’s profound message of mercy. Take a few moments to reflect on the meaning of your life, evaluate your plans and goals. Consider where you spend your attention, energy and affection. Gathered together would a fitting summary of your life be, “Here was one who modelled God’s Divine Mercy in prayer, word and deed. Here was one who loved, forgave, pardoned, reconciled and reopened hearts to hope”? It is my prayer for you and it is certainly possible by God’s grace and the intercession of St Faustina and St John Paul II……Thomas Smith – writer/presenter/speaker and more
Quote of the Day – 8 April – Low Sunday the Octave Day of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday
“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God, Who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people at all and now you are the people of God: once you were outside the mercy and now you have been given mercy.”
One Minute Reflection – 8 April – Low Sunday the Octave Day of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday and the Memorial of Bl Augustus Czartoryski S.D.B. (1858-1893)
“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts. My soul is longing and yearning, is yearning for the courts of the Lord…. One day within your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere” …Psalm 84: 2, 11
REFLECTION – “Blessed Augusto Czartoryski wrote these words of the Psalm, his motto of life, on the holy card of his first Mass. In them is contained the rapture of a man who, following the voice of the call, discovers the beauty of the ministerial priesthood. In them resounds the echo of the different choices that the person who is discerning God’s will and wishes to fulfil it must make. Augustus Czartoryski, a young prince, carefully prepared an effective method to discern the divine plan. In prayer, he presented to God all questions and deep perplexities and then in the spirit of obedience he followed the counsel given by his spiritual guides. In this way he came to understand his vocation and to take up the life of poverty to serve the “least”. The same method enabled him throughout the course of his life to make decisions, so that today we can say that he accomplished the designs of Divine Providence in a heroic way. I would like to leave this example of holiness especially to young people, who today search out the way to decipher God’s will relating to their own lives and desire to faithfully forge ahead each day according to the divine word. My dear young friends, learn from Blessed Augustus to ask ardently in prayer for the light of the Holy Spirit and wise guides, so that you may understand the divine plan in your lives and are able to walk constantly on the path of holiness.”…St Pope John Paul on the Beatification of Blessed Augustus on Sunday, 25 April 2004
PRAYER – Heavenly God and Father and Your divine Son, dear Jesus in whom we trust, send Your Holy Spirit to guide and teach us, to lead us into the ways of holiness. Grant, we pray, that by the intercession of Blessed Augustus, we may fulfil Your Holy Will by the light of the Holy Spirit. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 8 April – Low Sunday the Octave Day of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday
Most Merciful Jesus,
whose very nature it is
to have compassion on us
and to forgive us,
do not look upon our sins
but upon our trust which we place
in Your infinite goodness.
Receive us all into the abode
of Your Most Compassionate Heart
and never let us escape from It.
We beg this of You by Your love
which unites You to the Father
and the Holy Spirit.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze
upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners,
all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus.
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion,
show us Your mercy,
that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy
forever and ever.
Saint of the Day – 8 April – Blessed Augustus Czartoryski S.D.B. (1858-1893) Religious Priest of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Royal Prince and Duke – born Prince August Franciszek Maria Anna Józef Kajetan Czartoryski/the Duke of Vista Alegre on 2 August 1858 in Paris, France – evening of 8 April, 1893 in Alassio, Savona, Italy of tuberculosis. His remains were interred in the family mausoleum in the parish crypt in Sieniawa, Poland and later re-interred in the Salesian church in Przemysl, Poland.
Augusto Czartoryski was born on 2 August 1858 in Paris, France, the firstborn son to Prince Ladislaus of Poland and Princess Maria Amparo, daughter of the Duke and Queen of Spain. The noble Czartoryski Family had been living in exile in France for almost 30 years, in the Lambert Palace. Here, with the hope of restoring unity in Poland, they continued to direct activities between their fellow Polish countrymen and the European chancellery.
Plans for a future Prince
It was already planned that Augusto would be a future “reference point” for this restoration and would carry on the “Czartoryski” name. God’s designs, however, were to unfold differently.
When Augusto was 6, his mother died of tuberculosis; the disease was also transmitted to him and for the rest of his life he would be plagued by ill health. Although he had to make “forced pilgrimages” with his father to Italy, Switzerland, Egypt and Spain in search of a cure, he never regained his health.
As he grew up, Augusto felt that he was not meant for the life of nobility and one day, when he was 20 years old, he wrote to his father: “I confess to you that I am tired [of all the parties; they are superficial entertainments that cause me anguish and I feel myself “forced’ to make acquaintances with others at these banquets”.
Augusto already received spiritual direction from his tutor, Joseph Kalinsowski (later Saint Raphael of Saint Joseph Kalinowski O.C.D. (1835-1907) , who would later become a Carmelite and who, before leaving for Carmel in 1877, wrote to Prince Ladislaus to suggest that it would be wise, considering the boy’s love for God, to entrust him to the direction of a priest.
Encounter with Don Bosco
Prince Ladislaus accepted the counsel given by Augusto’s tutor and Fr Stanislaus Kubowicz began to guide him. Augusto was already feeling more and more called to religious life and was hoping for a clearer indication of what God wanted from him: this “decisive event” took place when he was 25 and met Don Bosco, founder of the Salesians.
When Don Bosco came to Paris and celebrated Mass in the family chapel of the Lambert Palace, Augusto saw in this holy founder and teacher the “father of his soul” and guide for his future. While Augusto remained quiet and withdrawn in the face of matrimony plans made for him by his father, he had no intention of continuing the “noble line”. Indeed, after his first encounter with the Salesian saint, he was more resolute than ever to answer God’s call by becoming a Salesian.
When his father gave him permission, Augusto would travel to Turin to meet with Don Bosco and participate in spiritual retreats. He became comfortable with the “poverty” of the Salesian Oratory and was not disturbed by his frequent ill health or his father’s opposition; he instead saw God’s hand in all these circumstances.
He would say: “If God wants this, all will go well since he can take away every obstacle. If he does not want this, then neither do I”.
A “Prince’ for God’s Kingdom
Don Bosco was somewhat reluctant to accept Augusto into the Salesian community: it took Pope Leo XIII to remove his doubts when he gave Augusto this message: “Tell Don Bosco that it is the Pope’s will that he receives you among the Salesians”.
Don Bosco replied: “Well then, my dear son, I accept you. From this moment, you are a part of the Salesian Family and I desire that you belong here until you die”.
In 1887 he began his novitiate under the guidance of Don Giulio Barberis. The young man had to overcome many “habits” and adjust to community life, schedule, frugal meals and other sacrifices. All this he did with great serenity and abandonment to God.
When his father came to try to convince him to return home and accept his nobility as “Prince”, he refused. On 24 November 1887, the day of his vesting in the hands of Don Bosco, the holy founder whispered into Augusto’s ear: “Courage, my prince! Today we have conquered, and I can also say with great joy that one day when you become a priest you will do much for your Country”.
One year as Christ’s priest
Don Bosco died two months later. Augusto’s health was also worsening and his father continued to try to dissuade him from becoming a priest, using his ill health as an “excuse”.
When Prince Ladislaus asked the “help” of Cardinal Parocchi to dismiss him from the Salesians, Augusto wrote: “In full liberty I made my vows and I did this with great joy of heart. From that day I continue to live in the Congregation with an immense peace of spirit and I thank the Lord for allowing me to know the Salesian Family and for having called me to become a Salesian”.
On 2 April 1892 he was ordained a priest by the Bishop of Ventimiglia. Although Prince Ladislaus was not present at the Ordination, a month later, joined by the entire family in Mentone, he reconciled himself with his son’s decision and renounced his own dreams of prestige and nobility for Augusto.
Fr Augusto died on 8 April 1893 in Alassio, where he lived his year as a priest, occupying a room which looked out onto the courtyard where the children of the Oratory played. He was 35 years old.
St Agabus the Prophet
Bl Augustus Czartoryski (1858-1893)
St Amantius of Como
St Asynkritos of Marathon
St Beata of Ribnitz
Bl Clement of Osimo
St Dionysius of Alexandria
St Dionysius of Corinth
Bl Domingo Iturrate Zubero
St Gonzalo Mercador
St Herodion of Patras
St Julia Billiart
Bl Julian of Saint Augustine
Bl Libania of Busano
St Perpetuus of Tours
St Phlegon of Hyrcania
St Redemptus of Ferentini
Martyrs of Africa – 3 saints: A group of African martyrs whose name appears on ancient lists, but about whom nothing is known but their names – Januarius, Macaria and Maxima.Martyrs of Antioch – 4 saints: A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. We know little more than their names – Diogene, Macario, Massimo and Timothy. Antioch, Syria.
Martyrs of Antioch: A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. We know little more than their names – Diogene, Macario, Massimo and Timothy. Antioch, Syria.
Martyrs of Seoul – 5 saints: A group laymen who were martyred together in the apostolic vicariate of Korea.
• Augustinus Jeong Yak-jong
• Franciscus Xaverius Hong Gyo-man
• Ioannes Choe Chang-hyeon
• Lucas Hong Nak-min
• Thomas Choe Pil-gong
They were martyred on 8 April 1801 at the Small West Gate, Seoul, South Korea and Beatified on15 August 2014 by Pope Francis.