Thought for the Day – 21 July – The Memorial of St Lawrence of Brindisi OFM Cap (1559-1619) Doctor of the Church
St Lawrence’s compassion for the poor moved him to make a dangerous trip to Spain to oppose an oppressive tyrant. He realised that evil has to be opposed and that if good men do not oppose it, the evil will continue and grow.
Our voices – small as they may be – individual or collective – MUST be heard, always, in the cause of truth and justice.
Quote/s of the Day – 21 July – The Memorial of St Lawrence of Brindisi OFM Cap (1559-1619) Doctor of the Church
“God is love and all his operations proceed from love. Once he wills to manifest that goodness by sharing His love outside Himself, then the Incarnation becomes the supreme manifestation of His goodness and love and glory. So, Christ was intended before all other creatures and for His own sake. For Him all things were created and to Him all things must be subject and God loves all creature, in and because of Christ. Christ is the first-born of every creature and the whole of humanity. as well as the created world, finds its foundation and meaning in Him. Moreover, this would have been the case, even if Adam had not sinned.”
“God is love and all His operations proceed from LOVE…”
“For Him all things were created and to Him all things must be subject and God loves all creature, in and because of Christ.”
“Christ is the first-born of every creature and the whole of humanity. as well as the created world, finds its foundation and meaning in Him.”
“The Holy Spirit sweetens the yoke of the divine law and lightens its weight, so that we may observe God’s commandments with the greatest of ease and even with pleasure”
“The word of God is replete with manifold blessings, since it is, so to speak, a treasure of all goods. It is the source of faith, hope, charity, all virtue, all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, all the beatitudes of the Gospel, all good works, all the rewards of life, all the glory of paradise…”
“…The word of God is a light to the mind and a fire to the will.”
St Lawrence of Brindisi(1559-1619) Apostolic Doctor
One Minute Reflection – 21 July – Saturday of the Fifteenth week in Ordinary Time – The Memorial of St Lawrence of Brindisi OFM Cap (1559-1619) Doctor of the Church – Today’s Readings: Micah 2:1-5, Psalm 10:1-4, 7-8, 14, Matthew 12:14-21
“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased…. and in his name will the Gentiles hope.”…Matthew 12:18,21
REFLECTION – “My dear souls, let us recognise, I pray you, Christ’s infinite charity towards us, in the institution of this Sacrament of the Eucharist. In order that our love be a spiritual love, He wills a new heart, a new love, a new spirit for us. It is not with a carnal heart but with a spiritual one, that Christ has loved us with a gratuitous love, a supreme and most ardent love, by way of pure grace and charity. Ah! One needs to love Him back with one’s whole, whole, whole, living, living, living and true, true, true heart!!” …… St Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619) Apostolic Doctor
PRAYER – Lord God, You bestowed on St Lawrence of Brindisi the spirit of counsel and fortitude, so that Your name might be glorified and souls be saved. At the intercession of St Lawrence, grant that we may see what we have to do and, in Your mercy give us the strength to do it and the courage, love and charity to persevere. Grant above all, that by his prayers we may love You above all and with all we are. St Lawrence pray for us, amen.
“Woe to those who devise wickedness and work evil upon their beds!”…Micah 2:1
The Peace Prayer
By St Francis of Assisi (c 1181-1226)
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace, where there is hatred, let me sow love, where there is injury, pardon, where there is doubt, faith, where there is despair, hope, where there is darkness, light and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love, for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Saint of the Day – 21 July – St Lawrence of Brindisi OFM Cap (1559-1619) Doctor of the Church. He was created a Doctor of the Church by St Pope John XXIII in 1959 with the title Doctor apostolicus (Apostolic Doctor). Patronages – Brindisi, Italy.
St Lawrence is known as the “Franciscan Renaissance Man” – he was a Religious member of the Franciscan Friars Minor Capuchin, a Priest, Theologian, Vicar General of the Franciscans, Language scholar, Apologist of immense and calm resources, Humanist, Philosopher, Biblicist, Preacher, Missionary, Professor, International Administrator, Confidant of Popes, Emperors, Kings and Princes, Diplomatic envoy, Army Chaplain, Military Strategist and Morale builder, Polemicist, Prolific writer.
Saint Lawrence of Brindisi
By Pope Benedict XVI
General Audience, 23 March 2011
I still remember with joy the festive welcome I was given in Brindisi in 2008. It was in this city that in 1559 was born a distinguished Doctor of the Church, St Lawrence of Brindisi, the name that Julius Caesar Russo took upon entering the Capuchin Order.
He had been attracted since childhood by the family of St Francis of Assisi. In fact, his father died when he was seven years old and his mother entrusted him to the care of the Friars Minor Conventual in his hometown. A few years later, however, Lawrence and his mother moved to Venice and it was precisely there that he became acquainted with the Capuchins who in that period were generously dedicated to serving the whole Church in order to further the important spiritual reform promoted by the Council of Trent.
With his religious profession in 1575, Lawrence became a Capuchin friar and in 1582 he was ordained a priest. During his ecclesiastical studies for the priesthood he already showed the eminent intellectual qualities with which he had been endowed. He learned with ease the ancient languages, such as Greek, Hebrew and Syriac, as well as modern languages, such as French and German. He added these to his knowledge of Italian and of Latin that was once spoken fluently by all clerics and by all cultured people. Thanks to his mastery of so many languages, Lawrence was able to carry out a busy apostolate among the different categories of people. As an effective preacher, his knowledge, not only of the Bible but also of the rabbinic literature, was so profound that even the Rabbis, impressed and full of admiration, treated him with esteem and respect.
As a theologian steeped in Sacred Scripture and in the Fathers of the Church, he was also able to illustrate Catholic doctrine in an exemplary manner to Christians who, especially in Germany, had adhered to the Reformation. With his calm, clear exposition he demonstrated the biblical and patristic foundation of all the articles of faith disputed by Martin Luther. These included the primacy of St Peter and of his Successors, the divine origin of the Episcopate, justification as an inner transformation of man, and the need to do good works for salvation. Lawrence’s success helps us to realise that today too, in pursuing ecumenical dialogue with such great hope, the reference to Sacred Scripture, interpreted in accordance with the Tradition of the Church, is an indispensable element of fundamental importance. I wished to recall this in my Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini (n. 46). Even the simplest members of the faithful, those not endowed with great culture, benefited from the convincing words of Lawrence, who addressed humble people to remind them all to make their lives consistent with the faith they professed.
This was a great merit of the Capuchins and of other religious Orders which, in the 16th and 17th centuries, contributed to the renewal of Christian life, penetrating the depths of society with their witness of life and their teaching. Today too, the new evangelisation stands in need of well-trained apostles, zealous and courageous, so that the light and beauty of the Gospel, may prevail over the cultural tendencies of ethical relativism and religious indifference and transform the various ways of thinking and acting into genuine Christian humanism.
It is surprising that St Lawrence of Brindisi was able to continue without interruption his work as an appreciated and unflagging preacher in many cities of Italy and in different countries, in spite of holding other burdensome offices of great responsibility. Indeed, within the Order of Capuchins he was professor of theology, novice master, for several mandates minister provincial and definitor general and finally, from 1602 to 1605, minister general. In the midst of this mountain of work, Lawrence cultivated an exceptionally fervent spiritual life. He devoted much time to prayer and, especially, to the celebration of Holy Mass — often protracted for hours — caught up in and moved by the memorial of the Passion, death and Resurrection of the Lord.
At the school of the saints, every priest, as was emphasised frequently during the recent Year for Priests, may only avoid the danger of activism — acting, that is, without remembering the profound motives of his ministry — if he attends to his own inner life.
In speaking to priests and seminarians in the Cathedral of Brindisi, St Lawrence’s birthplace, I recalled that “the time he spends in prayer is the most important time in a priest’s life, in which divine grace acts with greater effectiveness, making his ministry fruitful. The first service to render to the community is prayer. And, therefore, time for prayer must be given true priority in our life… if we are not interiorly in communion with God, we cannot even give anything to others. Therefore, God is the first priority. We must always reserve the time necessary to be in communion of prayer with Our Lord” (Address of Benedict XVI to priests, deacons and seminarians of the Archdiocese of Brindisi, Cathedral of Brindisi, 15 June 2008).
Moreover, with the unmistakable ardour of his style, Lawrence urged everyone and not only priests, to cultivate a life of prayer, for it is through prayer that we speak to God and that God speaks to us: “Oh, if we were to consider this reality!”, he exclaimed. “In other words that God is truly present to us when we speak to him in prayer; that he truly listens to our prayers, even if we pray only with our hearts and minds. And that not only is he present and hears us, indeed he willingly and with the greatest of pleasure wishes to grant our requests”.
Another trait that characterises the opus of this son of St Frances, is his action for peace. Time and again both Supreme Pontiffs and Catholic Princes entrusted him with important diplomatic missions, to settle controversies and to encourage harmony among the European States, threatened in those days by the Ottoman Empire. The moral authority he enjoyed made him a counsellor both sought after and listened to. Today, as in the times of St Lawrence, the world is in great need of peace, it needs peaceful and peacemaking men and women. All who believe in God must always be sources and artisans of peace.
It was precisely on the occasion of one of these diplomatic missions that Lawrence’s earthly life ended, in 1619 in Lisbon, where he had gone to see King Philip III of Spain, to plead the cause of the Neapolitan subjects oppressed by the local authorities.
He was Canonised in 1881 and his vigorous and intense activity, his vast and harmonious knowledge, earned him the title of Doctor Apostolicus, “Apostolic Doctor”. The title was conferred on him by St Pope John XXIII in 1959, on the occasion of the fourth centenary of his birth. This recognition was also granted to Lawrence of Brindisi because he was the author of numerous works of biblical exegesis, theology and sermons. In them he offers an organic presentation of the history of salvation, centred on the mystery of the Incarnation, the greatest expression of divine love for humankind.
Furthermore, since he was a highly qualified Mariologist, the author of a collection of sermons on Our Lady entitled “Mariale”, he highlighted the unique role of the Virgin Mary, whose Immaculate Conception and whose role in the redemption brought about by Christ he clearly affirms.
With a fine theological sensitivity, Lawrence of Brindisi also pointed out the Holy Spirit’s action in the believer’s life. He reminds us that the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity illumines and assists us with his gifts in our commitment to live joyously the Gospel message.
“The Holy Spirit”, St Lawrence wrote, “sweetens the yoke of the divine law and lightens its weight, so that we may observe God’s commandments with the greatest of ease and even with pleasure”.
I would like to complete this brief presentation of the life and doctrine of St Lawrence of Brindisi by underlining that the whole of his activity was inspired by great love for Sacred Scripture, which he knew thoroughly and by heart and by the conviction that listening to and the reception of the word of God produces an inner transformation that leads us to holiness.
“The word of the Lord”, he said, “is a light for the mind and a fire for the will, so that man may know and love God. For the inner man, who lives through the living grace of God’s Spirit, it is bread and water but bread sweeter than honey and water better than wine or milk…. It is a weapon against a heart stubbornly entrenched in vice. It is a sword against the flesh, the world and the devil, to destroy every sin”.
St Lawrence of Brindisi teaches us to love Sacred Scripture, to increase in familiarity with it, to cultivate daily relations of friendship with the Lord in prayer, so that our every action, our every activity, may have its beginning and its fulfilment in him. This is the source from which to draw so that our Christian witness may be luminous and able to lead the people of our time to God….vatican.va Pope Benedict
Our Lady of Kazan: This miraculous icon, also known as the Theotokos of Kazan, is thought to have originated in Constantinople in the 13th century before it was taken to Russia. When the Turks took Kazan in 1438, the icon may have been hidden. Ivan the Terrible liberated Kazan in 1552 and the town was destroyed by fire in 1579.
The icon was eventually found in the ruins of a burnt-out house at Kazan on the River Volga on 8 July in 1579. According to tradition, the location of the icon was revealed during a dream by the Blessed Virgin Mary to a ten year old girl named Matrona. Matrona told the local bishop of her dream, but he did not believe her. There were two more similar dreams, after which Matrona and her mother went to the place indicated by the Blessed Virgin and dug in the ruins what had been a house until the uncovered the icon. It appeared untouched by the flames, with the colours as vivid and brilliant as if it were new. The bishop took the icon to the Church of Saint Nicholas and immediately there was a miracle of a blind man’s sight being restored to him. A monastery was built over the place where the icon had been found.
Known as the Holy Protectress of Russia, the icon was stolen on 29 June 1904. The thieves were later caught and claimed that they had destroyed the icon after taking the gold frame and jewels attached to the image. In any event, the original has never been found, though there are many copies in existence, thanks to the popularity of the icon. Many of the copies are known to be miracle working.
In 1993 a copy of the icon was given to Pope John Paul II, who kept it in his personal study before it was given to representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2004.
Bl Agrícola Rodríguez García de Los Huertos
St Alberic Crescitelli
St Arbogast of Strasbourg
St Benignus of Moyenmoutier
Bl Claudius of Avignon
St Claudius of Troyes
St Corona of Marceille
Bl Cristóbal López de Valladolid Orea
Bl Daniel Molini
St Daniel the Prophet
St Eleutherius of Marseille
St Eternus of Evreaux
Bl Gabriel Pergaud
St Iosephus Wang Yumei
St John of Edessa
St John of Moyenmoutier
Bl Juan de Las Varillas
Bl Juan de Zambrana
St Jucundinus of Troyes
St Julia of Troyes
St Justus of Troyes
Bl Parthenius of Thessaly
St Praxides of Rome
St Simeon Salus
St Victor of Marseilles
St Zoticus of Comana
Martyrs of Africa – 6 saints: Six Christians who were martyred together. We know no other details about them but the names – Emilian, Hugal, Motanus, Saphus, Stercorius and Victor. They were martyred in an unknown location in Africa, date unknown.
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