Thought for the Day – 17 July – Tuesday of the Fifteenth week in Ordinary Time, B – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 11:20-24
To be converted and return to the Lord
Verse Homily of
Saint Jacob of Sarug (c 449-521)
Syrian monk and Bishop
I will go back to my Father’s house like the prodigal son (Lk 15:18) and He will welcome me. For I was dead through sin as though by sickness; raise me up from my distress that I may praise Your name! O Lord of heaven and earth, come to my help and show me Your way, that I may come to You. Draw me to You, Son of the Most Good and bring Your compassion to completion. I will set out towards You and there be filled with joy. Knead for me now the grain of life at this time when I am crushed.
I set out in search of You and the Evil One spied on me like a thief (cf. Lk 10:30). He bound and chained me in the pleasures of this wicked world: he imprisoned me in its pleasures and slammed the door in my face. There was no one to free me, so that I might set out in search of You, O Lord, my good!… O Lord, I long to be Yours and walk Your way. See how I meditate Your commandments by day and by night (Ps 1:2). Grant my request and accept my prayer, O merciful one! Do not cast off the hope of Your servant, for he is waiting for you.
Quote/s of the Day – 17 July – Tuesday of the Fifteenth week in Ordinary Time, B – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 11:20-24
Speaking of: Seeking Repentance with the Fathers
“When once you have departed this life, there is no longer any place for repentance, no way of making satisfaction. Here, life is either lost or kept. Here, by the worship of God and by the fruit of faith, provision is made for eternal salvation. Let no one be kept back either by his sins or by his years from coming to obtain salvation. To him who still remains in this world, there is no repentance that is too late.”
St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200- c 258)
Father of the Church
“Do you fast? Then feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, visit the sick, do not forget the imprisoned, have pity on the tortured, comfort those who grieve and who weep, be merciful, humble, kind, calm, patient, sympathetic, forgiving, reverent, truthful and pious, so that God might accept your fasting and might plentifully grant you the fruits of repentance.”
“Since it is likely that, being men, they would sin every day, St Paul consoles his hearers by saying ‘renew yourselves’ from day to day. This is what we do with houses: we keep constantly repairing them as they wear old. You should do the same thing to yourself. Have you sinned today? Have you made your soul old? Do not despair, do not despond but renew your soul by repentance and tears and Confession and by doing good things. And never cease doing this.”
“If repentance is neglected for an instant, one can lose the power of the Resurrection as he lives with the weakness of tepidity and the potential of his fall.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407)
Father and Doctor of the Church
“Reform yourself and so be always ready. Be not afraid of the last day, as a thief, who will break up your house as you sleep but awake and reform yourself today.”
“In failing to confess, Lord, I would only hide You from myself, not myself from You.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the Church
“To do penance is to bewail the evil we have done and to do no evil to bewail.”
St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604)
Father & Doctor of the Church
“Repentance raises the fallen, mourning knocks at the gate of Heaven and holy humility opens it.”
“Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life. A penitent is a buyer of humility. Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort. Repentance is self-condemning reflection of carefree self-care. Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair. A penitent is an undisgraced convict. Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins. Repentance is purification of conscience. Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions. A penitent is the inflicter of his own punishments. Repentance is a mighty persecution of the stomach and a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness.”
“Confession is like a bridle that keeps the soul which reflects on it from committing sin but anything left unconfessed we continue to do without fear as if in the dark.”
One Minute Reflection – 17 July – Tuesday of the Fifteenth week in Ordinary Time, B – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 11:20-24.
“But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgement than for you..”…Matthew 11:22
REFLECTION – “The final judgement is already in progress, it begins now over the course of our lives. Thus judgement is pronounced at every moment of life, as it sums up our faith in the salvation which is present and active in Christ, or of our unbelief, whereby we close in upon ourselves. But if we close ourselves to the love of Jesus, we condemn ourselves. Salvation is, to open oneself to Jesus, it is He who saves us.”…Pope Francis – General Audience, 11 December 2013
PRAYER – Almighty God, to whom this world with all its goodness and beauty belongs, give us grace joyfully to begin this day in Your name and to fill it, with an active love for You and for our neighbour. Grant us the grace to repent of our sins, to turn to the Cross of Your Son and to beg Him in His great love and suffering to forgive us again! Mary, Holy Mother, intercede for us in our weakness and help us to turn our backs on sin and look only at the face of Christ. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 17 July – Tuesday of the Fifteenth week in Ordinary Time, B
Steer the Ship of My Life, Lord By St Basil the Great (329-379) Father & Doctor of the Church
Steer the ship of my life, Lord,
to Your quiet harbour,
where I can be safe from
the storms of sin and conflict.
Show me the course I should take.
Renew in me the gift of discernment,
so that I can see the right direction
in which I should go.
And give me the strength
and the courage
to choose the right course,
even when the sea is rough
and the waves are high,
knowing that through enduring
hardship and danger in Your name
we shall find comfort and peace.
Saint of the Day – 17 July – Blessed Pavol Peter Gojdic “The Man with a Heart of Gold”(pronunciation Goydich) O.S.B.M. (1888-1960) Martyr, Monk, Teacher, Basilian Bishop, Apostle of Charity, Eucharistic and Marian devotee. Born on 17 July 1888 at Ruské Peklany, PreSov, Slovak Republic as Peter Gojdic and died on 17 July 1960 in the prison hospital at Leopoldov, Hlohovec, Slovak Republic of illness and maltreatment received in prison. (O.S.B.M. The Order of Saint Basil the Great (Latin: Ordo Sancti Basilii Magni) also known as the Basilian Order of Saint Josaphat is a monastic religious order of the Greek Catholic Churches that is present in many countries and that has its Mother House in Rome (Santi Sergio e Bacco degli Ucraini). The order received approbation on 20 August 1631 and was based at the Holy Trinity monastery in Vilnius. Its monks, brothers and priests work primarily with Ukrainian Catholics and are also present in other Greek-Catholic churches in central and eastern Europe.
Pavol Gojdič was born on 17 July 1888 at Ruské Pekľany near Prešov, into the family of the Greek-Catholic priest Štefan Gojdič; his mother’s name was Anna Gerberyová. He received the name of Peter in baptism. Obeying God’s call to the priesthood he began his study of theology at Prešov, immediately after school. Since he obtained excellent results, he was sent a year later to continue his studies in Budapest. Here too he tried to lead a profoundly spiritual life. While still a seminarian, he was directed by his spiritual director on these lines: “Life is not difficult, but it is a serious matter”– words that were to guide him throughout his life. Having finished his studies on 27 August 1911 he was ordained priest at Prešov by Bishop Dr Ján Valyi. After his ordination he worked for a short period as assistant parish priest with his father. After a year he was appointed prefect of the eparchial seminary and at the same time taught religion in a higher secondary school. Later he was put in charge of protocol and the archives in the diocesan curia. He was also entrusted with the spiritual care of the faithful in Sabinov as assistant parish priest. In 1919 he became director of the episcopal office.
To everyone’s surprise on 20 July 1922 he joined the Order of St Basil the Great at Černecia Hora near Mukačevo, where, taking the habit on 27 January 1923 he took the name Pavol. He took this decision as a sign of modesty, humility and a desire to lead an ascetic life in order to better serve God. But God willed otherwise and had ordered him to a higher office as bishop. On 14 September 1926 he was nominated Apostolic administrator of the eparchy of Prešov. During his installation as Apostolic Administrator he announced the programme of his apostolate: “With the help of God I want to be a father to orphans, a support for the poor and consoler to the afflicted”.
The first official act of Pavol Gojdič in his office as newly appointed administrator of the eparchy of Prešov was to address a pastoral letter on the occasion of the 1100st anniversary of the birth of St Cyril, apostle of the Slavs. Thus he began his activity in the spirit of the apostle of the Slavs, always faithful to Rome, as they were. He was a Slav and was very fond of his oriental rite.
A short time later, on 7 March 1927 he was nominated bishop with the title of Harpaš (Church of Harpaš – in Asia Minor). The episcopal consecration took place in the basilica of San Clemente, Rome, on 25 March 1927, the feast of the Annunciation of Our Lady. After his episcopal ordination he visited the basilica of St Peter in Rome, where he prayed on the tomb of the Apostle. On 29 March 1927, together with Bishop Nyaradi, he was received in a private audience by the Holy Father Pius XI. The pope gave Bishop Pavol a gold cross saying: “This cross is only a faint symbol of the heavy crosses that God will send you, my son, in your work as bishop”.
For his episcopal programme he chose as a motto the following words: “God is love, let us love Him!”As bishop he was engaged in the promotion of spiritual life of both clergy and faithful. He insisted on the proper celebration of the liturgy and of church feasts. He erected new parishes, for instance, in Prague, Bratislava, Levoča and elsewhere. Thanks to his hard work the orphanage at Prešov was built and entrusted to the local sisters. His activity in the scholastic field was outstanding, as is proved by the foundation of the Greek-Catholic school in Prešov in the year 1936. He supported also the teaching academy, the seminary, colleges etc. He was interested in every aspect of spiritual reading, which resulted in the launching of the review Blahovistnik (Messenger of the Gospel), Da prijdet carstvije Tvoje (Thy Kingdom Come) and various prayers etc., published by the PETRA publishing house. For his kindness, caring and charitable relationship with the people he was described as “the man with a heart of gold”.
An important characteristic of the bishop was also his strong affection for the Eucharistic Saviour, which he continually strengthened through his visits to the Blessed Eucharist in the chapel at his residence. Another characteristic, not less evident, of his spiritual life, was his devotion to the Sacred Heart. Already as a Seminarian in Budapest he had consecrated himself to the Sacred Heart and this he confirmed every morning with the words “All the prayers, sacrifices and crosses, I offer, in reparation for the sins of the whole world!”. One must not forget that the bishop had great devotion to the Mother of God and as as a Marian devotee held in his residential chapel a picture of the Virgin of Klokočov, in front of which he prayed every day and to whose protection he entrusted himself and the whole eparchy.
On 13 April 1939 he was appointed apostolic administrator in Slovakia of the Apostolic Administration of Mukačevo. In the difficult situation of the Slovak State he became a “thorn in the flesh” for the representatives of the government of the time and so offered his resignation from the post – in fact the Holy Father refused his resignation but also made him residential bishop of Prešov. And so on 8 August 1940 he was solemnly enthroned at Prešov and then on 15 January 1946 confirmed in his jurisdiction over the Greek-Catholics in the whole of Czecho-Slovakia.
The progress in religious and spiritual life in the eparchy that followed the personal example and fervour of Bishop Pavol was interrupted by the events of war and especially with the coming to power of the communists in 1948. Their ideological programme made itself felt above all against the Greek-Catholic Church. Bishop Gojdič resisted any initiative to submit the Greek-Catholics to Russian orthodoxy assisted by the communist party and the power of the State, even though he knew he was risking persecution and arrest, maybe even death. Gradually he was isolated from the clergy and the faithful.
Even though put under severe pressure to renounce the Catholic faith and break unity with the Pope, he refused every attractive offer and exclaimed: “I am already 62 and sacrifice all my goods and residence but I will not deny my faith in any way because I want to save my soul. Do not even speak to me.”
During the sad event of Sobor of Prešov, 28 April 1950, when the State outlawed the Greek-Catholic Church and forbade her activity, Bishop Pavol Gojdič was arrested and interned. Thus began his via crucis in many prisons of what was Czecho-Slovakia, which ended with his death. In the days from the 11 to the 15 of January 1951 in a trial set up against the so called high treason Bishops (Vojtaššák, Buzalka, and Gojdič) he was given a life sentence; fined two hundred thousand crowns and deprived of all his civic rights. Transfers from one prison to another followed. Blessed Pavol suffered physical and psychological punishments, humiliations; he was forced to do the most difficult and degrading jobs. However, he never complained and never asked to be relieved. He made use of every available time to pray and celebrated the sacred liturgy in secret. Following the amnesty in 1953, given by State President A. Zapotocký, his life sentence was changed to 25 years detention. He was then 66 and his state of health deteriorated continuously. Yet all further requests for amnesty were refused.
Bishop Pavol Gojdič could only leave prison at the cost of his faithfulness to the Church and to the Holy Father. Various offers were made to him, as is proved by an event that he himself recounts: In the prison of Ruzyň he was received in an office, where he had been brought from his cell, by a high official in uniform. They informed him that from that office he could go straight to Prešov, on condition that he was willing to become patriarch of the Ortodox church in Czecho-Slovakia. The bishop refused this offer excusing himself and explaining that this would be a very grave sin against God, a betrayal of the Holy Father, of his conscience and of his faithful, most of whom were then suffering persecution.
Even in the most difficult situation he abandoned himself to the will of God, as can be seen from these words of his: “I do not really know whether it is a gain to exchange the crown of martyrdom with two or three years of life in freedom. But I leave the good Lord to decide”.On the occasion of his 70° birthday even the Holy Father Pius XII sent him a telegram in prison. In it he assured him he would not forget his heroic son. For the bishop this was one of his best days of his life.
A great desire of Blessed Pavol was to die comforted by the sacraments on his birthday. Both desires were fulfilled.
Father Alojz Vrána was transferred to the room of the prison hospital of Leopoldov (Slovakia), where the Bishop passed his last days and could hear his confession. The chalice of suffering of Blessed Pavol was about to overflow. An eye-witness of the last moments of his life was his fellow prisoner – the nurse František Ondruška, who has given a unique testimony. He confirmed that the desire of the bishop had been fulfilled – he died on 17 July 1960 that is on the day of his 72nd birthday. He died in the hospital of the prison of Leopoldov as a result of illness resulting from the ill treatment he had suffered. He was buried without ceremony in the prison cemetery in a nameless tomb, with the prison number 681.
As a result of the easing of the political situation in Czecho-Slovakia in 1968, the state autorities after many delays gave permission for exhuming the mortal remains of Blessed Pavol. This happened in the cemetery of Leopoldov on 29 October 1968 and was followed by the transfer of the remains to Prešov. By a decision of the authorities set up after the soviet occupation, these were transferred to the crypt of Greek-Catholic Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Prešov. From 15 May 1990 they are to be found in a sarcofagus in the chapel of the cathedral.
Bishop Pavol Gojdič was legally rehabilitated on 27 September 1990. Subsequently he was decorated posthumously with the Order of T G Masaryk – II class, and with the Cross of Pribina – 1st class.
The Holy Father, St John Paul II during his historic visit in Slovakia, while visiting Prešov, prayed at the tomb of this bishop-martyr in the chapel of the cathedral. He Beatified him on 4 November 2001.
St Alexius of Rome
St Andrew Zorard
Bl Arnold of Himmerod
Bl Biagio of the Incarnation
St Clement of Ohrid
St Ennodius of Pavia
St Fredegand of Kerkelodor
St Hedwig, Queen of Poland
St Hyacinth of Amastris
St Pope Leo IV
St Nerses Lambronazi
Bl Pavol Gojdic (1888-1960) Martyr
St Petrus Liu Zeyu
Bl Sebastian of the Holy Spirit
Bl Tarsykia Matskiv
St Theodosius of Auxerre
St Theodota of Constantinople
Martyrs of Compiegne (16 beati): Sixteen Blessed Teresian Martyrs of Compiègne.
Eleven Discalced Carmelite nuns, three lay sisters and two lay women servants who were martyred together in the French Revolution. They were the earliest martyrs of the French Revolution that have been recognized.
• Angelique Roussel • Anne Pelras • Anne-Marie-Madeleine Thouret • Catherine Soiron • élisabeth-Julitte Vérolot • Marie Dufour • Marie Hanniset • Marie-Anne Piedcourt • Marie-Anne-Françoise Brideau • Marie-Claude-Cyprienne Brard • Marie-Françoise de Croissy • Marie-Gabrielle Trezel • Marie-Geneviève Meunier • Marie-Madeleine-Claudine Lidoine • Rose-Chretien de Neuville • Thérèse Soiron •
They were guillotined on 17 July 1794 at the Place du Trône Renversé (modern Place de la Nation) in Paris, France.
Martyrs of Scillium (12 saints): A group of twelve Christians martyred together, the final deaths in the persecutions of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Upon their conviction for the crime of being Christians, the group was offered 30 days to reconsider their allegiance to the faith; they all declined. Their official Acta still exist. Their names –
• Acyllinus • Cythinus • Donata • Felix • Generosa • Januaria • Laetantius • Narzales • Secunda • Speratus • Vestina • Veturius
They were beheaded on 17 July 180 in Scillium, Numidia (in North Africa).