Thought for the Day – 6 June – The Memorial of St Marcellin Champagnat (1789-1840) Founder of the Marist Brothers and St Norbert (c 1080-1134)
Today’s 2 Saints certainly confirm, once again, that there are two sure ways to sanctity – through the Holy Eucharist and the Mother of God. These are the absolute totality of our Faith, these are the Source and the Heart, these are the only ways we will achieve our goal!
The relationship of Marcellin to Mary was deeply marked by an affective and total trust in her, as the “Good Mother” because it was her work that he undertook.
He wrote once: “Without Mary we are nothing and with Mary we have everything because Mary always has her adorable Son within her arms or in her heart.”
This belief remained constant all through his life. Jesus and Mary were the treasure on which Marcellin had learned to place his own heart. This intimate relationship helped shape the Marian dimension of the Marist spirituality. In the Marist tradition, the phrase “Ordinary Resource” has come to encapsulate our constant reliance on Mary. The motto attributed to Champagnat by his biographer, All to Jesus through Mary, all to Mary for Jesus, captures this close relationship between the Son and the Mother and our Founder’s attitude of confidence in Mary, which we are invited to live.
Mary, Mother, Intercede for us!
St Marcellin, Pray for us!
Excerpt from the Thought for the Day last year:
St Norbert was 33 years old before he took God seriously and during the next 20 years he made up for lost time. He did not stop to bewail lost years but gave everything he had to God. It is never too late to begin and God is always waiting for our service. We do not need a bolt of lightening to get started.
Unswerving loyalty to the Church and fervent devotion to the Eucharist, as practiced by Norbert, will continue immeasurably toward maintaining the people of God in accord with the heart of Christ.
Quote/s of the Day – 6 June – The Memorial of St Norbert (c 1080-1134)
On the day of his ordination, St Norbert said:
“O Priest! You are not of yourself because you are of God. You are not of yourself because you are the servant and minister of Christ. You are not your own because you are the spouse of the Church. You are not yourself because you are the mediator between God and man. You are not from yourself because you are nothing. What then are you? Nothing and everything. O Priest! Take care, lest what was said to Christ on the cross be said to you: ‘He saved others, himself he cannot save!”
St Norbert (c 1080-1134)
“All to Jesus through Mary, all to Mary for Jesus.”
One Minute Reflection – 6 June – Wednesday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time, Year B – Today’s Gospel Mark 12:18-27 and The Memorial of St Norbert (c 1080-1134) and St Marcellin Champagnat (1789-1840)
“As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, (the) God of Isaac and (the) God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled.” …Mark 12:26-27
REFLECTION – “How blind are the eyes of the intellect on its own! For they have not noticed that “the blind see, the lame walk” (Mt 11:5) on earth at the Saviour’s word… so that we might believe that the flesh in its entirety will rise again at the resurrection. If He cured diseases of the flesh on this earth and restored wholeness to the body, how much more, will He do so at the moment of resurrection, so that the flesh might rise again wholly and without blemish… It seems to me that such people fail to look, at the divine action in its totality, at the beginning of creation, in the forming of man. They don’t attend to the reason why earthly things were made.
The Word said: “Let us make man in our image and likeness” (Gn 1:26)… Obviously man, formed in the image of God, was flesh. Therefore how absurd it is to claim that flesh formed by God in his own image is despicable and worthless! Clearly flesh must be precious in God’s eyes since it is His creation. And since the culmination of His plan for all the rest of creation is to be found in it, this is what has the greatest worth in the eyes of the Creator.”…St Justin (c 100-160), Martyr, Apologist, Philosopher, Father of the Church (Treatise on the resurrection, 2.4.7-9)
PRAYER – Holy Father, You made us, we belong to You. Grant that by the prayers of all your holy saints, we may attain eternal life with You to praise and worship You for all eternity. May the prayers of St Norbert and St Marcellin, assist us our earthly pilgrimage. We make our prayer through our Lord, Jesus, with You and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 6 June – Wednesday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time, Year B
Excerpt of the Lorica St Patrick (c 385-461)
I arise today
Through God’s strength
to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation,
It is believed that St Patrick composed the prayer in 433, before he was about to convert High King of Ireland Lóegaire mac Néill. It is called a “lorica,” which literally means “deer leap” but is usually translated as “breastplate” and is a prayer of one who is going into battle, a prayer for protection. In this case, it was a spiritual battle against the paganism and evil spirits of the Emerald Isle.
Saint of the Day – 6 June – Saint Marcellin Champagnat (1789-1840) – Priest of the Society of Mary and Founder of the the Institute of the Little Brothers of Mary (Marist Brothers) ‘FMS’, a religious congregation of brothers devoted to Mary and dedicated to education. St Marcellin was born as Marcellin-Joseph-Benoît Champagnat on 20 May 1789 at Hameau du Rosey, Lyon, France and died on 6 June 1840 in in Saint-Chamond, Loire, France of natural causes.
MARCELLIN CHAMPAGNAT was born on 20th May 1789, in Marlhes, a village in the mountains of east-central France. The Revolution was about to burst upon the scene. He was the ninth child of a very Christian family, from whom he received his basic education. His mother and his aunt, a religious driven from her convent, awoke in him a solid faith and deep devotion to Mary. His father, who was a farmer and merchant, possessed an above-average education and played a significant role in the politics of the village and the region. He imparted to Marcellin his aptitude for manual work, a penchant for direct action, a sense of responsibility and openness to new ideas.
When Marcellin was 14, a priest passing through the village helped him to see that God was calling him to the priesthood. Marcellin, whose formal schooling was practically non-existent, began to study because “God wills it!”, even while those around him, aware of his limitations, tried to dissuade him. The difficult years he spent in the minor seminary in Verrieres (1805-1813) were for him a time of real human and spiritual growth.
Among his companions in the major seminary in Lyons were Jean-Marie Vianney, the future Cure of Ars and Jean-Claude Colin who was to become the founder of the Marist Fathers. He joined a group of seminarians whose goal was to found a congregation bearing Mary’s name and including priests, sisters and a lay third order the “Society of Mary” for the re-Christianisation of society. Deeply aware of the cultural and spiritual poverty of the children of the countryside, Marcellin felt a strong urge to include a branch of brothers for the Christian education of young people. “I cannot see a child without wanting to tell him how much Jesus loves him.” The day after their ordination on 22nd July 1816, these young priests went to consecrate themselves to Mary and to place their project under her protection at the shrine of Our Lady of Fourviere.
Marcellin was sent as curate to the parish of La Valla. His ministry there included visiting the sick, catechising the children, helping the poor and helping families to live the Christian life. His simple, direct style of preaching, his deep devotion to Mary and his apostolic zeal, made a profound impression on his parishioners. His encounter with a dying 17-year-old boy, who had absolutely no religious instruction, shook him to his depths and moved him not to delay any longer in putting his plans into action.
On 2nd January 1817, only six months after his arrival in La Valla, Marcellin, a 27-year-old curate, brought together his first two disciples; the congregation of the Little Brothers of Mary, or Marist Brothers, was born in poverty, humility and total trust in God under Mary’s protection. While still carrying on his parish ministry, he went to live with his brothers, whom he trained and prepared for their mission as Christian teachers, catechists and educators of young people. Passionately devoted to the Kingdom of God, conscious of the tremendous needs of young people and an instinctive educator, Marcellin turned these uncultured young country lads into generous apostles. He lost no time in opening schools. Vocations arrived and the first little house, even though enlarged by Marcellin himself, was soon too small. There were many difficulties. The clergy in general did not understand what this inexperienced young priest with no material resources was trying to accomplish. However, the nearby villages continually requested brothers to see to the Christian education of their children.
Marcellin and his brothers shared in the construction of their new house, which could hold more than 100 persons and which would bear the name of “Our Lady of the Hermitage”. Freed from his parish duties in 1825, he thenceforth devoted himself totally to his congregation: the spiritual, pedagogical and apostolic formation and accompaniment of his brothers, visits to the schools and the opening of new ones.
Marcellin, a man of deep faith, never ceased to seek the will of God through prayer and dialogue with the religious authorities and with his brothers . Very conscious of his own limitations, he counted only on God and on the protection of Mary, his “Good Mother”, “Ordinary Resource” and “First Superior”. His deep humility and his acute awareness of the presence of God, helped him to live through many severe trials with great inner peace. He often prayed psalm 126: “If the Lord does not build the house”, convinced that this congregation of brothers was the work of God and Mary. His motto was, “All to Jesus through Mary and all to Mary for Jesus”.
“To make Jesus Christ known and loved” is the brothers’ mission. The school is the privileged setting for this mission of evangelisation. Marcellin taught his disciples to love and respect children and to give special attention to the poor, the most ungrateful and the most neglected, especially orphans. Spending a great deal of time with young people, with simplicity, family spirit and love of work and all of this carried out as Mary would have, were the essential points of his vision of education.
In 1836, the Church recognised the Society of Mary and entrusted to it the missions of Oceania. Marcellin took his vows as a member of the Society of Mary and sent three brothers with the first missionary Marist Fathers to the islands of the Pacific. “Every diocese of the world figures in our plans”, he had written.
Steps for obtaining legal recognition of his congregation made great demands on his time, energy and spirit of faith. He never stopped repeating, “When God is on your side and you rely only on Him, nothing is impossible!”
A lengthy illness gradually wore down his robust constitution. Worn out by his labours, he died at the age of 51 on 6th June 1840, leaving this message with his brothers: “May you be of one heart and one mind. May it be said of the Little Brothers of Mary as of the first Christians: see how they love one another!”…Vatican.va
St Marcellin Champagnat was declared Venerable in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV, Beatified by Pope Pius XII on 29 May 1955 and Canonised by St Pope John Paul II on 18 April 1999.
Today there are about 5,000 Marist Brothers in 72 countries; their sloganA Heart Without Borders.
St Agobard of Lyon
St Alexander of Fiesole
St Alexander of Noyon
St Amantius of Noyon
St Anoub of Skete
St Artemius of Rome
St Bazalota of Abyssinia
St Bertrand of Aquileia
St Candida of Rome
St Ceratius of Grenoble
St Claudius of Besançon
St Colmán of Orkney
Bl Daniel of Bergamo
St Euphemia of Abyssinia
St Eustorgius II of Milan
Bl Falco of La Cava
Bl Gerard Tintorio
Bl Gilbert of Neufontaines
St Grazia of Germagno
Bl Gundisalvus of Azebeyro
St Hilarion the Younger
St Jarlath of Tuam
St John of Verona
Bl Józef Wojciech Guz
Bl Lorenzo de Masculis
St Marcellin Champagnat (1789-1840)
St Paulina of Rome
St Phêrô Dung
St Phêrô Thuan
St Rafael Guízar y Valencia
St Vincent of Bevagna
St Vinh-Son Duong
Bl William Greenwood
Marytrs of Tarsus: A group of 20 martyrs who were killed together during the persecutions of Diocletian. They were martyred in Tarsus (in modern Turkey).
Mercedarian Fathers of Avignon: Several Mercedarians from the Santa Maria convent of Avignon, France who worked with plague victims in that city and died of the disease themselves. They died in Avignon, France of plague.