Thought for the Day – 26 April – Thursday of the Fourth Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Rafael Arnáiz Barón (1911-1938)

Thought for the Day – 26 April – Thursday of the Fourth Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Rafael Arnáiz Barón (1911-1938)

“This humble worship that surely is more pleasing to God than many deeds that the world calls charity. . . How much greater in God’s eyes is a heartfelt ‘Hail Mary’ than even the greatest thing done without wholehearted love for God.”

Rafael had only four more years to live.   A few months after entering the monastery, he was diagnosed with a virulent form of diabetes.   The illness brought with it melancholy and perplexity.   Three times the novice’s superiors sent him home to rest and recover his strength.   Drafted into the Nationalist Army at the very height of the Spanish Civil War, Rafael was declared unfit for active duty.   Returning to the monastery for the last time, he was received as a regular oblate, that is, a man living within the cloister without vows and following a personal rule of life approved by the abbot.   Regular oblates were, at that time, somewhat marginalised in monastic communities.   Their peculiar status — monks living without vows and without the security that comes from having made profession — was not without its own challenges.   Rafael entered fully into the vocation of the oblate, understanding that the oblate is destined for the altar, that is, for sacrifice.

St Rafael, in spite of the brevity and discontinuity of his monastic experience, lived it fully.   He remained faithful in the face of bewildering contradictions, uncertainties and apparent failure.   He found the Will of God in weakness, in illness, in war, in the inability to make monastic profession and in the sufferings inherent in community life.

Brother Rafael Maria was humble because he accepted one humiliation after another without ever despairing of the mercy of God.   He died stripped of everything, without having fulfilled even the legitimate human aspirations that so appealed to him. Configured to the poor and crucified Jesus, he died in the splendour of the Resurrection on 26 April 1938 at the age of 27.

St Pope John Paul II proclaimed Rafael a model for today’s youth but for me, he is a model for us all on how to learn to love suffering, how to learn to love the Cross of Christ and thus suffering in our own crosses in total abandonment to Divine Providence.

“The whole community is gathered in adoration
to ask the Lord for peace,
to pray for those who are dying and to make reparation for so many sins . . .
But one mustn’t spread discouragement. . . .
When we ask for mercy and pardon, we are doing as David did . . .
that is, the Lord will blot out all our sins and those of the whole world,
not by any poor merits of ours
but by the multitude and the greatness of His mercy.”

Saint Rafael Arnáiz Barón, Pray for us!st rafael arnaiz baron - pray for us no 2- 26 april 2018


Quote/s of the Day – 26 April – Thursday of the Fourth Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Rafael Arnáiz Barón (1911-1938)

Quote/s of the Day – 26 April – Thursday of the Fourth Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Rafael Arnáiz Barón (1911-1938)

“Every day, I am happier, in my complete abandonment,
into His Hands.   I see His will, even in the most insignificant
and tiny things that happen.
In everything I find a lesson, that serves to make me
understand better, His mercy toward me.
I love His designs, with my whole being
and that is enough.every day i am happier - st rafael arnaiz baron - 26 april 2018

If at times, God is not in the soul,
it is because we do not want Him there.
We have such an accumulation of things to do,
of distractions, of interests, vain desires, conceit,
we have so much world within us,
that God distances Himself…
but, all we have to do is want Him.if at times, god is not in the soul, st rafael arnaiz baron - 26 april 2018

It is difficult to explain why one loves suffering!
But I believe, that it can be explained,
because it is not suffering in itself
but rather as it is in Christ
and whoever loves Christ
loves His Cross.

To savour the Cross…to live sick,
unknown, abandoned by all—
only You…and on the Cross.
How sweet the bitterness,
the loneliness, the grief, the pain,
wolfed down and swallowed in silence,
without help.
How sweet the tears shed next to Your Cross.

Ah! If I knew how to tell the world where true happiness is!
But this the world does not understand, nor can it…
because to understand the Cross…one must love it.
To love it one must suffer
and not only suffer
but love the suffering…
In this, Lord, how few follow You to Calvary.”

St Rafael Arnáiz Barón (1911-1938)it is difficult to explain- ah if ia knew how to tell - to savour the cross - st rafael baron - 26 april 2018


One Minute Reflection – 26 April – Thursday of the Fourth Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Rafael Arnáiz Barón (1911-1938)

One Minute Reflection – 26 April – Thursday of the Fourth Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Rafael Arnáiz Barón (1911-1938)

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us, who are being saved, it is the power of God…1 Cor 1:181 corinthians 1 18

REFLECTION – …(I am) “a humble lay brother who has chosen the road of truth in the dark night of the world…only the Cross of Christ sheds light on the path of this life….God is in the detached heart, in the silence of prayer, in the voluntary sacrifice to pain, in the emptiness of the world and its creatures.   God is in the Cross and, as long as we do not love the Cross, we will not see Him, or feel Him…. If the world and men knew…. But they will not know;  they are very busy in their interests;  their hearts are very full of things that are not God.”…St Rafael Arnáiz Barón (1911-1938)

only the cross of christ sheds light - st rafael baron - 26 april 2018

PRAYER – Lord God, we were sinners and Your grace made us holy.   We were without hope and You filled us with joy.   Stand by us in Your saving work and stay with us in Your gifts of grace.   May we never fail to persevere in the path of holiness that comes from following You, carrying our crosses behind the Cross of Your Son and looking forward in hope to the promise His Resurrection.   Grant Lord, that our faith may increase and our courage grow, by the prayers of St Rafael Arnáiz Barón.   Through Jesus our Lord, one God with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever, amen.

st rafael arnaiz baron - pray for us - 26 april 2018

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS

Our Morning Offering – 26 April – Thursday of the Fourth Week of Eastertide

Our Morning Offering – 26 April – Thursday of the Fourth Week of Eastertide

O Christ Jesus,
When All is Darkness
By St Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)

O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness
and helplessness,
give us the sense of
Your presence,
Your love
and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing
may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose,
Your will
through all things.
Ameno christ jesus when all is darkness - st ignatius loyola - 26 april 2018

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 26 April – St Rafael Arnáiz Barón O.C.S.O. (1911-1938)

Saint of the Day – 26 April – St Rafael Arnáiz Barón O.C.S.O. (1911-1938) 9 April 1911 in Burgos, Spain – 26 April 1938 in Dueñas, Palencia, Spain – Religious Brother of the Cistercian Monastery of the Strict Observance (Trappists), Apostle of Eucharistic Adoration and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Artist and Writer.   Known as Brother María Rafael.   Patronages – against diabetes, diabetes mellitus, World Youth Day 2011.


St Rafael Arnáiz Barón was born in Burgos, Spain, on 9 April 1911 into a well-to-do Christian family.   He was the eldest of four.   As a boy he attended several schools run by Jesuits and his sensitivity to spiritual topics and to art was apparent from boyhood. These qualities were remarkably well balanced giving him an open, joyful attitude to the world, combined with exuberant good humour, respect and humility.

Bouts of fever and pleurisy interrupted his education.   When he had recovered his father took him to Zaragoza to consecrate him to Our Lady of the Pillar and his family moved to Oviedo where he completed his secondary schooling.

In 1930 Rafael embarked on architectural studies in Madrid.   It was in this year that his deeper commitment to Christ began.   After completing his secondary schooling, that summer he had spent a holiday near Avila at the home of his uncle and aunt, the Duke and Duchess of Maqueda.   It was they who introduced him to the Trappist Monastery of San Isidoro de Dueñas whose beauty and prayerful atmosphere attracted him.

Rafael was a talented artist, His pictorial powers both in concept and in actual completion were considerable and he was far from fussy.   His teacher says of him:

“He was magnificent in the art of decoration and had done
some truly outstanding pieces . . . both in oils and in watercolour,
he worked to large design and without fussiness; he
needed only a few highly descriptive brush strokes to bring
it off;   he knew how to give strength and setting to all he did.
He had a very exact sense of colour and in some of his pictures
he was able to achieve the most difficult tints.   One peculiarity
was that when Rafael did landscapes, he preferred
to completely exclude from them any sign of people;  none of
his works contain a single human figure that could take or
distract from the luminosity of the whole.”

He was called up but declared unfit for active duty.   He decided to abandon his architectural studies in Madrid and seek the mystery of the “Absolute” in this Cistercian Monastery of the Strict Observance, which he entered on 16 January 1934 and joyfully received the white habit.   He was 23.   He said upon entering that this decision had not been prompted by suffering or disappointments but rather by God who, “in his infinite goodness” had given him far more in life than he deserved.   Rafael felt deeply suited to the monastic rhythm of Gregorian chant and the Liturgy of the Hours.   He wrote many letters to his mother, who after his death collected them in a book and to his uncle and aunt with whom he had a close friendship.


Four months after entering the monastery, after an austere Lent, he was smitten by a serious form of diabetes mellitus which forced him to go home for treatment.   Indeed, he was obliged to go back and forth between his home and the monastery again and again between 1935 and 1937.   It was at the height of the Spanish Civil War.

Thus, on his final return to the monastery, he was made an oblate, taking the last place and living on the fringes of the community.   Canon law at the time did not permit a person in his condition of poor health to take monastic vows.

The Virgin Mary was the love and consolation of Rafael’s life.   “It is a pity,” he wrote, “that David [the psalmist] didn’t know the Most Holy Virgin! What marvelous things he would have said about her! A heart as big as his would certainly have been full of love for Mary! Mary! If only I knew how to write!”

He died in the monastery’s infirmary on 26 April 1938 after a final attack of the disease at only 27 years old.   He was buried in the monastery cemetery and his remains were later translated to the Abbey Church.

Despite his brief life, he embodies the Cistercian grace in a remarkably pure way.   From beginning to end he let himself be led through a series of bewildering contradictions and perplexities illness, war, the inability to pronounce his vows, abnormal community relations until he totally renounced himself.   Humiliation was his constant companion.

His one desire was to live in order to love:  to love Jesus, Mary, the Cross, his Trappist monastery.   His reputation for holiness spread rapidly throughout Spain and his grave at San Isidro became a place of pilgrimage where many favours were received.

On 19 August 1989, at the World Youth Day in Santiago de Compostela, John Paul II proposed Bro. Rafael as a model for young people today and beatified him on 27 September 1992, in Rome.   In his Homily at the beatification Mass, the late Pope said of this Spanish Trappist that he set an example, especially for young people, “of a loving and unconditional response to the divine call”. (


The sainthood process started in Palencia in an informative process that spanned from 28 June 1961 until 30 April 1967 while theologians agreed on 25 January 1974 that all of his spiritual writings were in full accordance with the norms of the faith.   The formal introduction to the cause came later on 15 January 1983 and the late Trappist became titled as a Servant of God.   The Congregation for the Causes of Saints validated the informative process in Rome on 26 June 1987 and received the Positio dossier in 1987. Theologians approved this dossier on 12 May 1989 as did the C.C.S. on 11 July 1989.   The confirmation of his heroic virtue on 7 September 1989 allowed for St Pope John Paul II to sign a decree that titled him as Venerable.

The process for a miracle took place in the location that it originated in and it received C.C.S. validation on 6 October 1989;  a medical board approved it on 31 October 1991 as did the theologians on 4 March 1992 and the C.C.S. on 7 April 1992. St John Paul II approved this miracle on 13 June 1992 and beatified the Trappist on 27 September 1992 in Saint Peter’s Square.   The process for another miracle opened in Madrid and spanned from 9 April 2005 to 7 May 2006 before its validation on 30 November 2006.   Medical experts assented to this on 13 March 2008 as well as theologians on 7 June 2008 and the C.C.S. members on 4 November 2008.   Pope Benedict XVI approved this miracle on 6 December 2008 and formalised the date for the sainthood celebration in a consistory on 21 February 2009.  Pope Benedict XVI Canonised him on 11 October 2009.


Canonisation miracle
The miracle that led to the Canonisation was the January 2001 healing of Begoña Alonso Leon in Madrid.   She was 30 and in the fifth month of being pregnant with her daughter Laura and began to feel severe contractions and headaches as well as signs of eclampsia. On 25 December 2000 – Christmas – she was admitted at seven months into a Madrid hospital due to the symptoms worsening and after an ultrasound was directed to the surgical theatre for a cesarean section.   Her daughter was born in good health but Leon’s condition worsened and she was in the intensive care unit for over two weeks.   Her rapid healing after this was attributed to the late Trappist whom she appealed to during her illness.

canonisation snip


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Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel and Memorials of the Saints – 26 April

Our Lady of Good Counsel (Memorial) –


Bl Alda of Siena
St Antoninus of Rome
St Basileus of Amasea
St Clarence of Venice
St Claudius of Rome
St Pope Cletus
St Cyrinus of Rome
St Exuerantia of Troyes
Bl Gregory of Besians
Bl Juli Junyer Padern
St Lucidius of Verona
St Pope MarcellinusSt
Paschasius Radbertus
St Pelligrino of Foggia
St Peter of Braga
St Primitive of Gabi
St Rafael Arnáiz Barón (1911-1938)

St Richarius of Celles
Bl Stanislaw Kubista
St Trudpert of Munstertal
St William of Foggia
Bl Wladyslaw Goral