Posted in NOVENAS, St PAUL!

Novena to St Paul – Day SIX – 21 January

Novena to St Paul in preparation for the Feast of The Conversion of St Paul on 25 January

Day SIX – 21 January

Various daily acts cause our conversion and ultimately our sanctification to grow: examining our conscience and admitting our faults; undertaking works of penance and reconciliation; receiving the correction others give us with an open and humble heart; reaching out to the poor; standing up for what is right and just; accepting the suffering and persecution that come our way; desiring to better our life (see CCC1435).

LET US PRAY:

Glorious St Paul,
your conversion is a powerful witness to the world
that God loves us and does not give up on us,
no matter how far we stray.
Help me to live a life of ongoing conversion.
True conversion means converting my life to the
design of God, the plan He has for me right now.
Pray for me, that I may be filled with passion
for the evangelisation of all those around me,
that my life may be a beacon of the light of Christ.
May the witness of my life inspire other sinners to conversion.
May faith move me to believe that God can
and will change the things in me that seem impossible to rectify.
In this confidence, I entrust to you, St Paul,
these, my intentions
…………………………..
(mention your request)

I ask this through Christ, Our Lord, amen.day6stpaul-2018.jpg

Posted in NOVENAS

Novena to St Francis de Sales Day SEVEN – 21 January

Novena to St Francis de Sales
Day SEVEN – 21 January

“Our intellect is ordinarily full of ideas, opinions and considerations suggested by self-love.   This is the root of many conflicts within the soul, putting before us all sorts of reasons dictated by human prudence to justify our pretensions.   People who make use of this false prudence, instead of enlightening their intellect, obscure it.   They reject advice given to them and let those reasons prevail in their minds which support their own opinions, even wrong ones.   Make use of the virtue of prudence because it is good but make good use of it.   Employ it only rarely, with simplicity and solely for the glory of God.” (St Francis de Sales – Sermons 30; O. IX, pp. 297-298)

O blessed Francis de Sales,
who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbour,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people, especially
……………………………..
(names of those whom you wish to include)
may experience the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern that I now lift up in prayer.
………………………………………
(mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all, You desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many along the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St Francis de Sales, pray for us.day-seven-st-francis-de-sales-novena-21-jan-2018jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, POETRY, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on MARTYRDOM, SAINT of the DAY, SPEAKING of ....., The CHRIST CHILD, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The PASSION

Thought for the Day – 21 January – The Burning Babe

Thought for the Day – 21 January – Monday of the Second week in Ordinary Time –  and The Memorial of St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyr

Seeing as it is the Memorial of St Agnes and we are thinking about martyrdom, I have included the post below, which is an excerpt from my post on St Robert Southwell’s Memorial – 21 February.    It is talk by Servant of God, Fr John A Hardon SJ (1914-2000) (a hero!).   If you wish to read the whole post, it is here:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/saint-of-the-day-21-february-st-robert-southwell-s-j-1561-1595-martyr/

“There are two books, prose writings, that Robert Southwell wrote that are worth reading.   They are of course written in 16th century English but, powerful, written to encourage his fellow Catholics to remain firm in their faith.   The one is called ‘Mary Magdalene’s Funeral Tears’.   And the other one is called ‘Epistle of Comfort‘.   We would probably call it a letter of encouragement.   

His poetry – we don’t know exactly when he began to write but it must have been very young because he wrote a great deal of which we have the record and by now the English speaking world knows Robert Southwell.   His two outstanding poems are ‘The Burning Babe’ and ‘The Virgin Mary to Christ On The Cross.’”

The Burning Babe, by St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595) Martyr

As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear;
Who, scorchëd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I!
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men’s defiled souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas day.

It’s not surprising, it’s one of the great poems of the English language.burning babe excerpt - st robert southwell - mem 21 feb - 21 jan 2019 on martyrdom mem of st agnes

St Agnes, Pray for Us!bernardo-lorente-german-sevilla-1680-sevilla-1759-e2809csaint-agnese2809d-pray-for-us

St Robert Southwell, Pray for Us!st robert southwell - pray for us - 21 feb 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, MARTYRS, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on MARTYRDOM, SAINT of the DAY, SPEAKING of ....., The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 21 January – The Memorial of St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyr

Quote/s of the Day – 21 January – The Memorial of St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyr

Speaking of:   Martyrdom

“For me to live
is Christ
and to die,
is gain.”

St Paul – Philippians 1:21for me to live is christ and to die is gain st paul phil 1 21 - 21 jan 2019 martyrdom - no 2

“Christ made my soul beautiful
with the jewels of grace and virtue.
I belong to Him whom the angels serve.”

St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyrchrist-made-my-soul-st-agnes-21-jan-2018.jpg

“She is too young to know of death,
yet is ready to face it.”she is too young - st ambrose on st agnes - 21 jan 2019.jpg

“One victim but a twin martyrdom,
to modesty and religion.
Agnes preserved her virginity
and gained a martyr’s crown. “

From an essay ‘On Virgins’ by

Saint Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctor of the Churchone victim but a twin martyrdom - st ambrose on st agnes - no 2 - 21 jan 2019.jpg

“…As we are under great obligations to Jesus,
for His Passion endured for our love,
so also are we under great obligations to Mary,
for the martyrdom which she voluntarily suffered,
for our salvation, in the death of her Son”.

St Bonaventure (1217-1274) Doctor of the Churchas-we-are-under-great-st-bonaventure-on-the-sorrowful-mother-the-third-word-28-march-2018.jpg

“Nothing can happen to me
that God doesn’t want.
And all that He wants,
no matter how bad
it may appear to us,
is really for the best.”

St Thomas More (1478-1535) Martyrnothing can happen to me - st thomas more - 16 march 2018.jpg

“I do not much dread the tortures,
as I look forward to the crown.”

St Robert Southwell S.J. (1561-1595) Martyri do not much dread the tortures st robert southwell sj 21 jan 2019 on martyrdom.jpg

“The tyrant dies and his rule is over,
the martyr dies and his rule begins.”

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
The Journals of Kierkegaardthe tyrant dies and his rule is over the martyr dies and his rule begins - soren kierkegaard 21 jan 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 21 January – Today’s Gospel: Mark 2:18–22

One Minute Reflection – 21 January – Monday of the Second week in Ordinary Time – Today’s Gospel: Mark 2:18–22 and The Memorial of St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyr

“As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.”…Mark 2: 19b

REFLECTION – “Lord, I invite you to a wedding banquet in songs.   In Cana, there was not enough wine to express our praise.   You, the guest who filled the jars with good wine, fill my mouth with your praise!
The wine at Cana is symbol of our praise because those who drank of it marvelled.   At that wedding banquet which was not your own, You, the truly righteous, filled six jars to overflowing with delicious wine.   So at the banquet to which I am inviting You, You can fill the ears of a multitude with Your sweetness.
In times past You were invited to the wedding feasts of others.  Here now is Your own banquet;  it is chaste and beautiful.   May it give joy to Your people!   May your songs delight Your guests, may my zither accompany Your song!
Our soul is Your betrothed, our body is Your bridal chamber, our senses and our thoughts are the guests.   If for You, one single person is a wedding banquet, how great will be the banquet, for the whole Church!”…St Ephrem (c 306-373) Father & Doctor of the Churchmark 2 19 as long as they have the bridegroom - our souls is your betrothed - st ephrem  21 jan 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty Lord, God and Father, protect us by Your power throughout the course of this day, even as You have enabled us to begin it.   Let our every thought, word and deed rejoice and strive always to please the love of our souls.   For we, Your people, are the bride of Your Son, who came to betroth us to Himself.   Grant that by the prayers of one so young, who lived each moment for Him, we may be brought to perfection with You in our final home.   St Agnes, pray for us!   We make our prayer through Jesus, our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.st-agnes-pray-for-us-21-jan-2018.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The WORD

Our Morning Offering – 21 January

Our Morning Offering – 21 January – Monday of the Second week in Ordinary Time – Today’s Gospel: Mark 2:18–22

“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins;  if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but new wine is for fresh skins.”…Mark 2:22

Complete Us, O Lord Jesus Christ
By St Anselm (1033-1109) Doctor of the Church

O Lord Jesus Christ,
our redemption and our salvation,
we praise You and give You thanks.
Though we are unworthy
of Your benefits,
and cannot offer to You
the devotion You deserve,
let Your loving-kindness
complete whatever our weakness tries to do.
Before You, O Lord,
we lay all our desires,
and whatever our heart rightly wishes,
it is because of Your gift.
Help us love You as You command.
Do not let Your gift be unfruitful in us.
Complete what You have begun,
give what You have made us desire,
convert our lukewarmness
into fervent love of You;
for the glory of Your holy name.
Amencomplete us o lord jesus christ - st anselm - 21 jan 2019.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 21 January – St Agnes (c 291- c 304), Virgin and Martyr

Saint of the Day – 21 January – St Agnes (c 291- c 304), Virgin and MartyrBORGOGNONE_Ambrogio_St_Agnes.jpg

“A new kind of martyrdom!” exclaimed St Ambrose (340-397) , bishop of Milan.   The assembly cheered and applauded.   He was celebrating St Agnes because she was a virgin, a martyr—and a child.   She was executed at Rome in 304 during the Emperor Diocletian’s vicious persecution.   Here are Ambrose’s observations on her death:

“Today is the birthday of a virgin, let us imitate her purity.   It is the birthday of a martyr,let us offer ourselves in sacrifice.   It is the birthday of Saint Agnes, who is said to have suffered martyrdom at the age of twelve.   The cruelty that did not spare her youth shows all the more clearly the power of faith in finding one so young to bear it witness.

There was little or no room in that small body for a wound.   Though she could scarcely receive the blow, she could rise superior to it.   Girls of her age cannot bear even their parents’ frowns and, pricked by a needle, weep as for a serious wound.   Yet she shows no fear of the blood-stained hands of her executioners.   She stands undaunted by heavy, clanking chains.   She offers her whole body to be put to the sword by fierce soldiers.   She is too young to know of death, yet is ready to face it.   Dragged against her will to the altars, she stretches out her hands to the Lord in the midst of the flames, making the triumphant sign of Christ the victor on the altars of sacrilege.   She puts her neck and hands in iron chains, but no chain can hold fast her tiny limbs.

A new kind of martyrdom!   Too young to be punished, yet old enough for a martyr’s crown; unfitted for the contest, yet effortless in victory, she shows herself a master in valour despite the handicap of youth.   As a bride she would not be hastening to join her husband with the same joy she shows as a virgin on her way to punishment, crowned not with flowers but with holiness of life, adorned not with braided hair but with Christ himself.francisco_de_zurbarán_-_santa_inês

In the midst of tears, she sheds no tears herself.   The crowds marvel at her recklessness in throwing away her life untasted, as if she had already lived life to the full.   All are amazed that one not yet of legal age can give her testimony to God.   So she succeeds in convincing others of her testimony about God, though her testimony in human affairs could not yet be accepted.   What is beyond the power of nature, they argue, must come from its creator.

What menaces there were from the executioner, to frighten her;  what promises made, to win her over;  what influential people desired her in marriage!   She answered: “To hope that any other will please me does wrong to my Spouse.   I will be His who first chose me for Himself. Executioner, why do you delay?   If eyes that I do not want can desire this body, then let it perish.”   She stood still, she prayed, she offered her neck.

You could see fear in the eyes of the executioner, as if he were the one condemned, his right hand trembled, his face grew pale as he saw the girl’s peril, while she had no fear for herself.   One victim, but a twin martyrdom, to modesty and to religion – Agnes preserved her virginity and gained a martyr’s crown.”

Exasperated and egged on by her first accuser, the governor ordered her execution. Agnes was taken to the Stadium of Domitian, where she courageously faced a nervous soldier who hacked her to death with his sword. snip martyrdom st agnes.JPG

Over the centuries the little virgin martyr became one of the most popular saints in Christian history.Agnes_Miracle-of_TINTORETTO.jpg

St Agnes’s death was “a new kind of martyrdom!”   She taught us adults the meaning of valour while she was still a child.   Agnes hurried to the place of her execution more joyfully than a bride goes to her wedding.   And she was adorned not with plaited hair, but with Christ Himself.saint-agnes-of-rome-08