NOVENA to St Padre Pio/St Pius of Pietrelcina – DAY EIGHT – 21 September
St Padre Pio you have said:
Is it possible that you are never satisfied with yourself? Jesus loves you with a loving partiality in spite of all your unworthiness. He sends down a torrent of graces upon you and yet you complain. It is about time this ended and you convinced yourself that you are greatly in the Lord’s debt.
Hence, less complaints, more gratitude and a great deal of thanksgiving. You ought to ask Our Lord for just one thing – to love Him. All the rest should be thanksgiving.
Let us Pray:
You generously blessed Your servant, Padre Pio, with the gifts of the Spirit.
You marked his body with the five wounds of Christ Crucified,
as a powerful witness to the saving Passion and Death of Your Son
and as a stirring inspiration to many people,
of Your infinite mercy, forgiveness and love.
In the confessional, Padre Pio laboured endlessly for the salvation of souls.
Through his powerful intercession,
many who suffered were healed of sickness and disease.
Endowed with the gift of discernment, he could read people’s hearts.
With dignity and intense devotion, he celebrated daily Mass,
inviting countless men and women to a greater union with Jesus Christ,
in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
His life was a celebration of love for You
and an oblation of himself in gratitude to You.
We pray that You will bless us too
with total love and thanksgiving.
Through the intercession of Saint Pio,
we confidently beseech You to to grant us the grace of
………………… (state your petition here).
Help us to imitate his example of prayerful holiness and compassion,
so that we, too, may faithfully follow the Risen Lord
and one day rejoice in the Kingdom,
where You live and reign forever and ever.
Thought for the Day – 21 September – The Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist- Today’s Gospel: Matthew 9:9–13
Thank you, Matthew, for your story, because it is you who writes your own story. Thank you, because you were a sinner and became an Apostle. And that is very encouraging for me because I’m a sinner and have to become an Apostle. Thank you, Matthew, because you were a publican who was lining his pockets with the money of the Jews but when Jesus called you, you were ready to leave everything and follow Him.
Thank you, Matthew, because you could have stayed where you were thinking that it was crazy to leave your job, your money, your plans and your future… but you were brave enough to follow Jesus instead. And I give thanks with you to Jesus because He knew you well and was aware of the great things that you could do. While on that day some of the Jews looked at you with disdain, that Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, passed by your tax office and smiled at you. He stood there, gazing at you with affection, a loving look, the like of which a publican in Palestine had probably never experienced. And you couldn’t look anywhere else. That loving face of Jesus was inviting you to do something special with your life.
You weren’t happy and Jesus offered you Happiness. You were wasting your life and Jesus invited you to do something great with it. You only loved your money but Jesus helped you to expand your heart to love God and others more than yourself. Your talents were wasted in that tax office and millions of souls were waiting for you. Thank you, Matthew, because you said ‘yes’ to Jesus.
Mary, Queen of the Apostles, help me to have the courage to say ‘yes’ to Him as well and become a saint, like you, like St Matthew and please pray for us all!
Fr George Boronat M.D. S.T.D is a Catholic priest from the Prelature of Opus Dei, working in the Archdiocese of Southwark in London.
We thank You, heavenly Father, for the witness of Your apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of Your Son our Saviour and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow Him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Quote/s of the Day – 21 September – The Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist- Today’s Gospel: Matthew 9:9–13
“But as you have seen the power of Him that called, so consider also the obedience of him that was called – how he neither resisted, nor disputing said, ‘What is this? Is it not indeed a deceitful calling, wherewith He calls me, being such as I am?’ nay, for this humility again had been out of season but he obeyed straightaway and did not even request to go home and to communicate with his relations concerning this matter -as neither indeed, did the fishermen but as they left their net and their ship and their father, so did he his receipt of custom and his gain and followed, exhibiting a mind prepared for all things and breaking himself at once away, from all worldly things, by his complete obedience, he bore witness, that He who called him, had chosen a good time.
…Because He who is acquainted with the hearts and knows the secrets of each man’s mind, knew also when each of these would obey.” (Homily 30 on Matthew)
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church
“On hearing Christ’s voice, we open the door to receive Him, as it were, when we freely assent to His promptings and when we give ourselves over to doing what must be done. Christ, since He dwells in the hearts of His chosen ones through the grace of His love, enters so that He might eat with us and we with Him. He ever refreshes us by the light of His presence insofar as we progress in our devotion to and longing for the things of heaven. He Himself is delighted by such a pleasing banquet.”
St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Doctor of the Church
“That gaze overtook him completely, it changed his life. We say he was converted. He changed his life. As soon as he felt that gaze in his heart, he got up and followed Him. This is true – Jesus’ gaze always lifts us up. It is a look that always lifts us up and never leaves you in your place, never lets us down, never humiliates. It invites you to get up – a look that brings you to grow, to move forward, that encourages you, because the One who looks upon you loves you. The gaze makes you feel that He loves you. This gives the courage to follow Him – ‘and he got up and followed Him.’”
Pope Francis 21 September 2013
“He looked on sinners, called them and brought them to sit beside Him.”
One Minute Reflection – 21 September – The Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist- Today’s Gospel: Matthew 9:9–13
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” …Matthew 9:11b
REFLECTION – “Our Lord chose Matthew, the tax collector, to encourage his fellows to join Him. He looked on sinners, called them and brought them to sit beside Him. What a wonderful sight! Angels stand trembling while publicans, seated, rejoice. The angels are struck with awe before the Lord’s greatness while sinners eat and drink with Him. The scribes choke with hatred and indignation, the publicans rejoice because of His mercy. The heavens saw the sight and were filled with wonder; hell saw it and was maddened. Satan saw it and was enraged; death saw it and withered; the scribes saw it and were much troubled.
There was joy in heaven and happiness among the angels because the rebellious had been persuaded, the recalcitrant quieted and sinners reformed and because publicans had been made righteous. Just as our Lord did not turn away from the shamefulness of the cross in spite of the entreaties of His friends (Mt 16:22) so he did not refuse the company of publicans in spite of the taunts of His enemies. He despised mockery and scorned praise, thus accomplishing all that is for mankind’s good.”…St Ephrem (306-373) Father & Doctor of the Church – Commentary on the Gospel, or Diatessaron, 5, 17 (SC 121, p.115 rev.)
“He looked at Matthew calmly, peacefully. He looked at him with eyes of mercy; he looked at him as no one had ever looked at him before. And this look unlocked Matthew’s heart; it set him free, it healed him, it gave him hope, a new life, as it did to Zacchaeus, to Bartimaeus, to Mary Magdalene, to Peter, and to each of us. Even if we do not dare raise our eyes to the Lord, he looks at us first. This is our story, and it is like that of so many others. Each of us can say: “I, too, am a sinner, whom Jesus has looked upon”. I ask you, in your homes or in the Church, to be still for a moment and to recall with gratitude and happiness those situations, that moment, when the merciful gaze of God was felt in our lives.”…Pope Francis – 21 September 2015, The Feast of St Matthew
PRAYER – Lord, You showed Your great mercy to Matthew the tax-gatherer,by calling him to become Your Apostle,supported by his prayer and example, may we always answer Your call and live in close union with You. We make our prayer, in union with God our Father and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. St Matthew, Apostle of Christ, pray for us, amen.
Lord, be the Centre of Our Hearts by St Claude de la Colombiere S.J. (1641-1682)
O God, what will You do to conquer
the fearful hardness of our hearts?
Lord, You must give us new hearts,
tender hearts, sensitive hearts,
to replace hearts
that are made of marble and of bronze.
You must give us Your own Heart, Jesus.
Come, lovable Heart of Jesus.
Place Your Heart deep in the centre of our hearts
and enkindle in each heart a flame of love
as strong, as great, as the sum of all the reasons
that I have for loving You, my God.
O holy Heart of Jesus, dwell hidden in my heart,
so that I may live only in You and only for You,
so that, in the end,
I may live with You eternally in heaven, amen.
Saint of the Day – 21 September – The Feast of St Matthew – Apostle and Evangelist
One day, while seated at his table of books and money, Jesus looked at Matthew and said two words: “Follow me.” This was all that was needed to make Matthew rise, leaving his pieces of silver to follow Christ. His original name, “Levi,” in Hebrew signifies “Adhesion” while his new name in Christ, Matthew, means “Gift of God.” The only other outstanding mention of Matthew in the Gospels is the dinner party for Christ and His companions to which he invited his fellow tax-collectors. The Jews were surprised to see Jesus with a publican but Jesus explained that he had come “not to call the just but sinners.”
Although relatively little is known about the life of St Matthew, the account he wrote of Christ’s ministry – traditionally considered to be the first of the four Gospels – is of inestimable value to the Church, particularly in its verification of Jesus as the Messiah.
The Gospel accounts of Mark and Luke, like Matthew’s own, describe the encounter between Jesus and Matthew under the surprising circumstances of Matthew’s tax-collecting duties. Jewish publicans, who collected taxes on behalf of the Roman rulers of first-century Judea, were objects of scorn and even hatred among their own communities, since they worked on behalf of the occupying power and often earned their living by collecting more than the state’s due.
Jesus most likely first encountered Matthew near the house of Peter, in Capernaum near the Sea of Galilee. The meeting of the two was dramatic, as Matthew’s third-person account in his Gospel captured: “As Jesus passed on,” the ninth chapter recounts, “he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, ‘Follow me’. And he got up and followed him.”
Matthew’s calling into Jesus’ inner circle was a dramatic gesture of the Messiah’s universal message and mission, causing some religious authorities of the Jewish community to wonder: “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus’ significant response indicated a central purpose of his ministry: “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
A witness to Christ’s resurrection after death, as well as his ascension into heaven and the events of Pentecost, Matthew also recorded Jesus’ instruction for the apostles to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Like 11 of the 12 apostles, St Matthew is traditionally thought to have died as a martyr while preaching the Gospel. The Roman Martyrology describes his death as occurring in a territory near present-day Egypt.
Both the saint himself and his Gospel narrative, have inspired important works of religious art, ranging from the ornate illuminated pages of the Book of Kells in the ninth century, to the Saint Matthew Passion of J.S. Bach. Three famous paintings of Caravaggio depicting St Matthew’s calling, inspiration and martyrdom, hang within the Contarelli Chapel in Rome’s Church of St Louis of the French.
Reflecting on St Matthew’s calling, from the pursuit of dishonest financial gain to the heights of holiness and divine inspiration, Pope Benedict said in 2006 that “in the figure of Matthew, the Gospels present to us a true and proper paradox: those who seem to be the farthest from holiness can even become a model of the acceptance of God’s mercy and offer a glimpse of its marvellous effects in their own lives.”
St Alexander of the Via Claudia
Bl Diego Hompanera París
St Eusebius of Phoenicia
St Francisco Pastor Garrido
St François Jaccard
St Herminio García Pampliega
St Isaac of Cyprus
Bl Jacinto Martínez Ayuela
St Jacques Honoré Chastán
St Johannes Ri
St Jonah the Prophet
Bl José María Azurmendi Mugarza
Bl Josep Vila Barri
Bl Manuel Torró García
Bl Mark Scalabrini
St Maura of Troyes
St Meletius of Cyprus
Bl Nicolás de Mier Francisco
St Pamphilus of Rome
St Pierre Philibert Maubant
St Tôma Tran Van Thien
Bl Vicente Galbis Gironés
Bl Vicente Pelufo Orts
Martyrs of Gaza – 3 saints: Three brothers, Eusebius, Nestulus and Zeno, who were seized, dragged through the street, beaten and murdered by a pagan mob celebrating the renunciation of Christianity by Julian the Apostate. They were burned to death in 362 on a village garbage heap in Gaza, Palestine.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Diego Hompanera París
• Blessed Jacinto Martínez Ayuela
• Blessed José María Azurmendi Mugarza
• Blessed Josep Vila Barri
• Blessed Manuel Torró García
• Blessed Nicolás de Mier Francisco
• Blessed Vicente Galbis Gironés
• Blessed Vicente Pelufo Orts