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Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Four – 28 February 2019 “Come Back to Me With all your Heart”

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Four – 28 February 2019
“Come Back to Me With all your Heart”

Lent 2019 will begin on
Wednesday, 6 March
The Holy Triduum is
Thursday 18 April – Holy Saturday 20 April
Easter Sunday 21 April 2019

The salt of repentance

Following the Master, every Christian must renounce himself, take up his own cross and participate in the sufferings of Christ (Mt 16:24).   Thus transformed into the image of Christ’s death, he is made capable of meditating on the glory of the resurrection. Furthermore, following the Master, he can no longer live for himself but must live for Him who loves him and gave Himself for him.   He will also have to live for his brethren, completing “in his flesh that which is lacking in the sufferings of Christ…for the benefit of his body, which is the church” (Ga 2:20; Col 1:24).

In addition, since the Church is closely linked to Christ, the penitence of the individual Christian also has an intimate relationship of its own, with the whole ecclesial community.   In fact, not only does he receive in the bosom of the Church through baptism the fundamental gift of “metanoia,” namely the transformation and renewal of the whole person but this gift is restored and reinvigorated, in those members of the Body of Christ, who have fallen into sin, through the sacrament of penance.   “Those who approach the sacrament of penance receive from the mercy of God forgiveness for offences committed against Him and at the same time become reconciled with the Church on which they have inflicted a wound by sinning and the Church, cooperates in their conversion, with charity, example and prayer” (Vatican II : LG 11).   And in the Church, finally, the little acts of penitence imposed each time in the sacrament, become a form of participation, in a special way, in the infinite expiation of Christ.

St Pope Paul VI (1897-1978)following the master every christian - st pope paul VI 28 feb 2019

A Meditation for this ‘Prelude to Lent’

Reflection“We cannot escape punishment, here or hereafter – we must take our choice, whether to suffer and mourn a little now, or much then.”

“And then, alas! the truth flashed upon him, he uttered a great and bitter cry, when it was too late.   It would have been well, had he uttered it before he came for the blessing, not after it.   He repented when it was too late—it had been well if he had repented in time.   So I say of persons who have in any way sinned.   It is good for them not to forget that they have sinned.   It is good that they should lament and deplore their past sins. Depend upon it, they will wail over them in the next world, if they wail not here.   Which is better, to utter a bitter cry now or then?—then, when the blessing of eternal life is refused them by the just Judge at the last day, or now, in order that they may gain it?   Let us be wise enough to have our agony in this world, not in the next.   If we humble ourselves now, God will pardon us then.   We cannot escape punishment, here or hereafter – we must take our choice, whether to suffer and mourn a little now, or much then.”

Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)so i say of persons who have ibn any way sinned - bl john henry newman 28 feb 2019

Lenten Preparation Novena
DAY FOUR

Loving Father,
may I live this Lent
as an unceasing act of love for You.
Let me grow in understanding
of the riches hidden in Christ.
In my prayer,
grant me a spirit to see what must be done
and the strength to do what is right.
Make me radiant in Your presence
with the strength of my yearning for You.
By my fasting, fortify my resolve
to carry out Your loving commands.
Bless me with an increase in devoutness of life,
so that I may be found steadfast in faith.
And by my almsgiving, renew and purify my heart,
so that I may hold to the
things that eternally endure.
Help me to repent of my sins now
and make reparation throughout
this Lenten season and each day thereafter.
United with your Son,
who makes His way to Calvary,
I offer You my intentions
……………………………………………
(Mention your special intention)
Amenlenten preparation novena day four no 2 - 28 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in NOTES to Followers

To My Pinterest Followers and Collaborators

To the Awestruck Pinterest Community

because of currency fluctuations,
I cannot pay the fees attached to the site
in US dollars this year.
Any Donation, no matter how small,
will be received
with LOVE and TEARS
and all the GRATITUDE of my HEART.

Holy Mass will be said for all Donors
regularly, mentioning you by name.

To make a Donation please go here:

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Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, LENT 2019, NOVENAS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on LOVE, The PASSION

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Three – 27 February 2019 “Come Back to Me With all your Heart”

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Three – 27 February 2019
“Come Back to Me With all your Heart”

Lent 2019 will begin on
Wednesday, 6 March
The Holy Triduum is
Thursday, 18 April, Good Friday, 19 April, Holy Saturday, 20 April
Easter Sunday – 21 April 2019

WE ARE WRETCHED CREATURES

We cannot dwell upon the conduct of the Jews, my dear people, without being struck with amazement.   These very people had waited for God for four thousand years, they had prayed much because of the great desire they had to receive Him and yet when He came, He could not find a single person to give Him the poorest lodging.   The all-powerful God was obliged to make His dwelling with the animals.

And yet, my dear people, I find in the conduct of the Jews, criminal as it was, not a subject for explanations but a theme for the condemnation of the conduct of the majority of Christians.

We can see that the Jews had formed an idea of their Redeemer which did not conform with the state of austerity in which He appeared.   It seemed as if they could not persuade themselves that this could indeed be He who was to be their Saviour;  St Paul tells us very clearly that if the Jews had recognised Him as God, they would never have put Him to death.   There is, then, some small excuse for the Jews.   But what excuse can we make, my dear brethren, for the coldness and the contempt which we show towards Jesus Christ?

Oh, yes, we do indeed truly believe that Jesus Christ came upon earth, that He provided the most convincing proofs of His divinity.    Hence the reason for our hope.   We rejoice and we have good reason to recognise Jesus Christ as our God, our Saviour and our Model.   Here is the foundation of our faith.

But, tell me, with all this, what homage do we really pay Him?   Do we do more for Him than if we did not believe all this?   Tell me, dear brethren, does our conduct correspond at all to our beliefs?   We are wretched creatures.

We are even more blameworthy than the Jews!

St John Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)oh-yes-we-do-indeed-truly-believe-st-john-vianney-27-feb-2018.jpg

A Meditation for this ‘Prelude to Lent’

“He thought he was as sure of the blessing as if he had not sold the birthright.”
And then, when all is done and over and their souls sold to Satan, they never seem to understand that they have parted with their birthright.   They think that they stand just where they did, before they followed the world, the flesh and the devil  they take for granted that when they choose to become more decent, or more religious, they have all their privileges just as before.   Like Samson, they propose to go out as at other times before and shake themselves.    And like Esau, instead of repenting for the loss of the birthright, they come, as a matter of course, for the blessing.   Esau went out to hunt for venison gaily and promptly brought it to his father.   His spirits were high, his voice was cheerful. It did not strike him that God was angry with him for what had past years ago. He thought he was as sure of the blessing, as if he had not sold the birthright.

Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890)and then when all is done and over - bl john henry newman - 27 feb 2019

Lenten Preparation Novena
DAY THREE

Today Lord I choose life,
I choose Your love
and the challenge to live it
and share it,
I choose hope, even in moments of darkness,
I choose faith, accepting You as Lord and God,
I choose to let go of some part of my burdens,
day by day handing them over to You,
I choose to take hold of Your strength and power
ever more deeply in my life.
I choose repentance and reparation and suffering,
for all my sins
and those of all the world.
Forgive me my Lord!
May this truly be for me,
a time of new life, of change, challenge and growth.
May I come to Easter
with a heart open to dying with You
and rising to Your new life, day by day.
Help me to repent of my sins now
and make reparation throughout
this Lenten season and each day thereafter.
United with your Son,
who makes His way to Calvary,
I offer You my intentions
…………………………………………..
(Mention your special intention)
Amenlenten preparation novena day three - 27 feb 2019

Posted in NOTES to Followers, The WORD

Can you help? AND Thank you!

Can you help?

Thank you!

My words alone are inadequate to express such bountiful generosity.

“You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us..”
2 Corinthians 9:11

An update on my situation – 

Holy Mass will be offered for:

Jairo Carmona
Gladys Soto Villalon
Melanie Jean Juneau

To make a Donation and assist this Site to keep going, please go to:

PayPal.Me/anastpaul

breathing catholic - thanks and mass 27 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, NOVENAS, Papa FRANCIS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SACRIFICE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, QUOTES on the DEVIL/EVIL, The WORD

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Two – 26 February 2019 “Come Back to Me With all your Heart”

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Two – 26 February 2019
“Come Back to Me With all your Heart”

Lent 2019 will begin on
Wednesday, 6 March
The Holy Triduum is
Thursday, 18 April, Good Friday, 19 April, Holy Saturday, 20 April
Easter Sunday – 21 April 2019

And he sat down and called the twelve and he said to them,
“If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
Mark 9:35

Reflection:

“Answer those whom the marks of the Passion in Christ’s body plunge into uncertainty and who put the question:   “Who is this king of glory?” (Ps 24[23]:8).   Answer them that He is the Christ,“the mighty, the valiant” (ibid.) in everything He has done and continues to do…

Is He insignificant because He made Himself humble for your sake?   Is He to be despised because, as a Good Shepherd laying down His life for His flock, He came in search of the lost sheep and, having found it, brought it back on the shoulders that bore the cross for its sake and, when He had carried it back to the life on high, set it down amongst the faithful flock who remained in the fold? (cf. Jn 10:11; Lk 15:4).

Do you despise Him because he lighted a lamp, His own flesh and swept His house in search of the lost coin, cleansing the world from sin, while losing the beauty of His royal likeness through His Passion? (Lk 15,8f.; Mk 12,16)…

Do you consider Him less great, because He girds Himself with a linen towel to wash His disciples’ feet, showing them, that the certain way to be exalted, is to humble oneself? (Jn 13:4f.).   Do you hold a grievance against God because Christ humbles Himself, turning His mind to earth so as to raise up with Himself those who are bowed beneath the weight of sin? (Mt 11:28).

Do you accuse Him of having eaten with publicans and sinners… for their salvation? (Mt 9:10).   How can you take to task a doctor who bends over the sufferings and wounds of the sick to bring them healing?”

St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390)

Father & Doctor of the Churchhow can you take to task a doctor - st gregory of nazianzen - 26 feb day two lenten novena 2019.jpg

A Meditation for this ‘Prelude to Lent’

Do I despise the great gift of God’s Love?

“Is it not, I say, quite a common case for men and for women to neglect religion in their best days?   They have been baptised, they have been taught their duty, they have been taught to pray, they know their Creed, their conscience has been enlightened, they have opportunity to come to Church.   This is their birthright, the privileges of their birth of water and of the Spirit but they sell it, as Esau did.   They are tempted by Satan, with some bribe of this world and they give up their birthright, in exchange for what is sure to perish and to make them perish with it.   Esau was tempted by the mess of pottage which he saw in Jacob’s hands.   Satan arrested the eyes of his lust and he gazed on the pottage, as Eve gazed on the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.   Adam and Eve sold their birthright for the fruit of a tree—that was their bargain.   Esau sold his for a mess of lentils—that was his.

And men now-a-days often sell theirs, not indeed for any thing so simple as fruit or herb but for some evil gain or other, which at the time they think worth purchasing at any price, perhaps for the enjoyment of some particular sin, or more commonly for the indulgence of general carelessness and spiritual sloth, because they do not like a strict life and have no heart for God’s service.   And thus, they are profane persons, for they despise the great gift of God.”

Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890)is-it-not-i-say-quite-a-common-case-bl-john-henry-newman- no 2 used 26 feb 2019

“The world tells us to seek success, power and money.
God tells us to seek humility, service and love.”

Pope Francisthe world tells us to seek success - pope francis - which is your choice lent 2019 26feb2019.jpg

Lenten Preparation Novena
DAY TWO

Lord, during this Lenten Season,
nourish me with Your Word of life
and make me one
with You in love and prayer.

Fill my heart with Your love
and keep me faithful to the Gospel of Christ.
Give me the grace to rise above my human weakness.
Give me new life by Your Sacraments, especially the Mass.

Father, our source of life,
I reach out with joy to grasp Your hand;
let me walk more readily in Your ways.
Guide me in Your gentle mercy,
for left to myself, I cannot do Your Will.

Father of love, source of all blessings,
help me to pass from my old life of sin
to the new life of grace.

Help me to repent of my sins now and make reparation throughout
this Lenten season and each day thereafter.
United with Your Son,
who makes His way to Calvary,
I offer You my intentions
…………………………………………..
(Mention your special intention)

Prepare me for the glory of Your Kingdom.
I ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.
Amenlenten prep novena day two - come back to me - 26 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, NOVENAS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on ETERNITY, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on FASTING, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on HELL, QUOTES on PRAYER, The LAST THINGS

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day One – 25 February 2019 “Come Back to Me With all your Heart”

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day One – 25 February 2019
“Come Back to Me With all your Heart”

Lent 2019 will begin on
Wednesday, 6 March
The Holy Triduum is
Thursday, 18 April, Good Friday, 19 April, Holy Saturday, 20 April
Easter Sunday  – 21 April 2019

How do I want to be during Lent this year?   More quiet and thoughtful?   More open to God’s desires? B  etter able to sit with people who need me?   More attentive to sacred readings, whether in church or in private?   Do I need to be more compassionate toward my own fears and failings?   Do I need to become more courageous about using the gifts God has given me?

If we want this year’s Lent to be life changing, we have to start preparing now.   Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, not the first day to start thinking about your Lenten practices for this year.   The devil and his minions have already begun preparing their attack to dislodge your Lenten sacrifice.   What are you doing to prepare yourself and gather reinforcements against him?

The Big Three:
Fasting is not just a spiritual
diet.   By denying our bodies,
our physical hunger reminds us
of the hunger of our souls for
God, our longing for a deeper
relationship with our Lord.

Almsgiving teaches us to
separate ourselves from material possessions. By freely giving
of our money and possessions,
we learn to trust the Lord more
deeply for our own daily needs.

Finally, an emphasis on prayer
during Lent is a way to stir up
our love and ardour by having a
deepening conversation with the
Almighty.   Remember that the
light of God’s love shines more
brightly in the darkness of the
recognition of our own sinfulness

Pre-planning – what will I do?
• Begin each morning with the prayer: “Lord, I offer you this day and all that I think and do and say.”
• Attend Daily Mass as often as possible.
• Pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.
• Make the Stations of the Cross at home or in a parish celebration.
• Read Scripture for 10 minutes every day.
• Pray the Seven Penitential Psalms (Psalm 6, 31, 50, 101, 129 and 142).
• Spend some time in quiet prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
• Abstain from meat for an extra day or two each week.
• Listen to spiritual music or a spiritual speaker.
• Keep a Lenten journal with your spiritual insights, special intentions, people you want to pray for, hurts and disappointments that you want to offer up and progress reports on your Lenten resolutions.

10 tips for making the season more meaningful
Slow Down – Set aside 10 minutes a day for silent prayer or meditation.   It will revitalise your body and your spirit.
Read a good book – You could choose the life of a saint, a spiritual how-to, an inspirational book or one of the pope’s new books.
Be kind – Go out of your way to do something nice for someone else every day.
Get involved – Attend a Lenten lecture or spiritual program.
Volunteer at your parish – Whether it’s the parish fundraiser, cleaning the church or helping with the charity project, it will give you a chance to help others.
Reach out – Invite an inactive Catholic to come with you to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday.
Pray – Especially for people you don’t like and for people who don’t like you.
Tune out – Turn off the television and spend quality time talking with family members or friends.
Clean out closets – Donate gently used items to your local Catholic charity or your Parish Charity.
Donate — Google “Catholic Missions.” Then pick one mission and decide how you can help by sending money, clothing or supplies.

“Prayer, mercy and fasting:
these three are one and they give life to each other.
Fasting is the soul of prayer,
mercy is the lifeblood of fasting.
Let no one try to separate them, they cannot be separated.
If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing.
So if you pray, fast,
if fast, show mercy,
if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others.
When you fast, see the fasting of others.
If you hope for mercy, show mercy.
If you look for kindness, show kindness.
If you want to receive, give.”

St Peter Chrysologus (c 406 – c 450)

Father & Doctor of the Churchprayermercyandfasting-16-feb-2018-first-friday-of-lent-st-peter-chrysologus.jpg

A Meditation for this ‘Prelude to Lent’

“Each of us must come to the evening of life.   Each of us must enter on eternity.   Each of us must come to that quiet, awful time, when we will appear before the Lord of the vineyard and answer for the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or bad.   That, my dear brethren, you will have to undergo. … It will be the dread moment of expectation when your fate for eternity is in the balance and when you are about to be sent forth as the companion of either saints or devils, without possibility of change. There can be no change, there can be no reversal.   As that judgement decides it, so it will be for ever and ever.   Such is the particular judgement. … when we find ourselves by ourselves, one by one, in His presence and have brought before us most vividly all the thoughts, words and deeds of this past life.   Who will be able to bear the sight of himself?   And yet we shall be obliged steadily to confront ourselves and to see ourselves.

In this life we shrink from knowing our real selves.   We do not like to know how sinful we are.   We love those who prophecy smooth things to us and we are angry with those who tell us of our faults.   But on that day, not one fault only but all the secret, as well as evident, defects of our character will be clearly brought out.   We shall see what we feared to see here and much more.   And then, when the full sight of ourselves comes to us, who will not wish that he had known more of himself here, rather than leaving it for the inevitable day to reveal it all to him! …………………….We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe.”

Blessed Card. John Henry Newman (1801-1890)we can believe what we choose - bl j h newman - 14 march 2018

Lenten Preparation Novena

DAY ONE

Lord, during this Lenten Season,
nourish me with Your Word of life
and make me one
with You in love and prayer.

Fill my heart with Your love
and keep me faithful to the Gospel of Christ.
Give me the grace to rise above my human weakness.
Give me new life by Your Sacraments, especially the Mass.

Father, our source of life,
I reach out with joy to grasp Your hand;
let me walk more readily in Your ways.
Guide me in Your gentle mercy,
for left to myself I cannot do Your Will.

Father of love, source of all blessings,
help me to pass from my old life of sin
to the new life of grace.

Help me to repent of my sins now and make reparation throughout
this Lenten season and each day thereafter.
United with your Son,
who makes His way to Calvary,
I offer You my intentions

………………………………………
(Mention your special intention)

Prepare me for the glory of Your Kingdom.
I ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.

Amenlenten prep novena day one 25 feb 2019 .jpg

Posted in NOTES to Followers, The WORD

Away for a week Seeking Help

Remember folks, I am gone this week, except for the Lenten Preparation Novena.

I am reaching the end of my WordPress free data and have to find a way to raise the money to continue with ‘Breathing Catholic’.

As I am in South Africa, the dollar exchange rate is very high and beyond my means. Therefore, I am seeking to create a Paypal account and perhaps, an appeal on a ‘Funding Site’ to allow Donations, every bit helps!the widow's mite - can you help = 25 feb 2019.jpg

I will keep you posted.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make His face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

numbers 6 24 26 may the lord bless you and keep you - widow's mite post - 25 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in ARCHangels and Angels, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on LOVE, The WORD

Thought for the Day – 24 February – Love your Enemies

Thought for the Day – 24 February – Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C – Gospel: Luke 6:27–38

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.”…Luke 6:32

The Lord Himself reminds us:  Whoever loves me will keep my commandments.   And this is my commandments – that you love one another.   So the man who does not love his neighbour does not obey God’s command.   But one who does not obey His command, cannot love God.   A man is blessed if he can love all men equally.   Moreover, if he truly loves God, he must love his neighbour absolutely.   Such a man cannot hoard his wealth. Rather, like God himself, he generously gives from his own resources to each man according to his needs.

Since he imitates God’s generosity, the only distinction he draws is the person’s need.   He does not distinguish between a good man and a bad one, a just man and one who is unjust.   Yet his own goodness of will makes him prefer the man who strives after virtue to the one who is depraved.

A charitable mind is not displayed simply in giving money, it is manifested still more by personal service as well as by the communication of God’s word to others.   In fact, if a man’s service toward his brothers is genuine and if he really renounces worldly concerns, he is freed from selfish desires.   For he now shares in God’s own knowledge and love.   Since he does possess God’s love, he does not experience weariness as he follows the Lord his God.   Rather, following the prophet Jeremiah, he withstands every type of reproach and hardship without even harbouring an evil thought toward any man.

For Jeremiah warns us:   Do not say:   “We are the Lord’s temple.”   Neither should you say: “Faith alone in our Lord Jesus Christ can save me.”   By itself, faith accomplishes nothing. For even the devils believe and shudder.   No, faith must be joined to an active love of God which is expressed in good works.   The charitable man is distinguished by sincere and long-suffering service to his fellow man, it also means using things aright.”

Saint Maximus the Confessor, Abbot (c 580–662)

May the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Perpetual Succour and the angels and saints, pray for us!mother of perpetual succour - pray for us - 27 june 2018

holy angels pray for us 24 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, DOMINICAN OP, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 24 February- Humility

Quote/s of the Day – 24 February – Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Do not be attached, therefore,
to clothing and riches
because they divided My garments among themselves.
Nor to honours, for I experienced harsh words and scourgings.
Nor to greatness of rank,
for weaving a crown of thorns,
they placed it on My head.
Nor to anything delightful,
for in My thirst, they gave Me vinegar to drink.

St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
Doctor of the Church

(The Cross Exemplifies every Virtue
An excerpt from a Conference)do not be attached therefore - st thomas aquinas - 24 feb - humility.jpg

Nothing is to be done out of jealousy or vanity; instead, out of humility of mind everyone should give preference to others, everyone pursuing not selfish interests but those of others…Philippians 2:3-4

“Once humility is acquired,
charity will come to life, like a burning flame
devouring the corruption of vice
and filling the heart so full,
that there is no place for vanity.”…

St Vincent Ferrer (1350-1419)once-humility-is-acquired-st-vincent-ferrer-5-april-2018.jpg

Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SUNDAY REFLECTIONS, The HOLY EUCHARIST, Uncategorized

Sunday Reflection – 24 February -Your Intention at Holy Communion

Sunday Reflection – 24 February – Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

“When you go to Holy Communion, you must always have an intention and say, when you are on the point of receiving our Lord’s Body:

“O my good Father, who art in heaven,
I offer You, at this moment,
Thy dear Son, as He was taken down from the Cross
and laid in the arms of the Blessed Virgin
and offered by her to You, as a sacrifice for us.
I offer Him to You, by the hands of Mary
to obtain ‘such-and-such a grace – faith, charity, humilty….’

My children, mark this well – whenever I obtained a grace, I asked it in this way and it has never failed!”

St John Vianney (1786-1859)when you go to holy communion st john vianney - sun reflection 24 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in Papa FRANCIS, QUOTES on FORGIVENESS, QUOTES on PERSECUTION, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on SUFFERING, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 24 February – Love your enemies

One Minute Reflection – 24 February – Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C – Gospel: Luke 6:27–38

“But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”…Luke 6:27-28

REFLECTION – “To pray for those who want to destroy me, my enemies, so that God may bless them – this is truly difficult to understand.
There is an infinite distance between us – we who frequently refuse to forgive even small things – and what the Lord asks of us, which He has exemplified for us – to forgive those who seek to destroy us.
It is often very difficult within families, for example, when spouses need to forgive one another after an argument, or when one needs to forgive their mother-in-law.   The child asking forgiveness from their fathers.   It’s not easy… Rather, we are invited to forgive those who are killing us, who want us out of the way… Not only forgive but even pray that God may watch over them! Even more, to love them.
Only Jesus’ word can explain this – I cannot go further.
It would do us well, today, to think of our enemy – I think all of us have one – someone who has hurt us or wants to hurt us.   The Mafia’s prayer is:  ‘I’ll pay you back.’
The Christian prayer is: ‘Lord, give them Your blessing and teach me to love them.’
Let us think of one enemy and pray for them.
May the Lord to give us the grace to love them.”…Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 19 June 2018)luke 6 27-27 love your enemies - it would do us well today - pope francis 24 feb 2019.jpg

PRAYER – O Lord my God, give me the strength to endure with patience the sufferings I encounter in my life.   Teach me to do my daily work for You alone and to do more than that in every way I can, for your greater glory.   Teach me, Holy Father, to obey the words of Your Son, to pray for those who persecute me and to suffer for the glory of the Kingdom.   May our Blessed and loving Mother, who had to bear the pain and forgive those who killed her Son, be at our side to help us to forgive, to pray for our enemies and offer our pain in reparation for our sins and those of the world.   Amenblessed virgin mary loving mother pray for us 24 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in DOMINICAN OP, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Our Morning Offering – 24 February – Grant me, O my God

Our Morning Offering – 24 February – Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Grant me, O my God
By St Vincent Ferrer OP (1350-1419)

Good Jesus,
let me be penetrated with love
to the very marrow of my bones,
with fear and respect toward You;
let me burn with zeal for Your honour,
so that I may resent terribly all the outrages
committed against You, especially those
of which I myself have been guilty.
Grant further, O my God,
that I may adore
and acknowledge You humbly, as my Creator
and that, penetrated with gratitude
for all Your benefits,
I may never cease to render You thanks.
Grant that I may bless You in all things,
praise and glorify You
with a heart full of joy and gladness
and that, obeying You with docility
in every respect, I may one day,
despite my ingratitude and unworthiness,
be seated at Your table
together with Your Holy Angels and Apostles
to enjoy ineffable delights.
Amengood-jesus-let-me-be-penetrated-with-love-st-vincent-ferrer no 2 -24 feb-2019.jpg

Posted in DOMINICAN OP, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 24 February – Blessed Constantius of Fabriano OP (1401-1481)

Saint of the Day – 24 February – Blessed Constantius of Fabriano OP (1401-1481) Dominican Priest, Prior, Reformer, Preacher of renown, Writer, known as a Miracle-Worker and had the gift of prophecy, peacemaker – born Constantius Bernocchi in 1401 at Fabriano, Marches of Ancona, Italy and died in 1481 at Ascoli Piceno, Italy of natural causes.

Constantius had an remarkable childhood, not only for the usual signs of precocious piety but also for a miracle that he worked when he was a little boy. Constantius had a sister who had been bedridden most of her nine years of life.   One day, the little boy brought his parents in to her bedside and made them pray with him.   The little girl rose up, cured and she remained well for a long and happy life.   Naturally, the parents were amazed and they were quite sure it had not been their prayers that effected the cure but those of their little son.Beato_Costanzo_Servoli_da_Fabriano

Constantius entered the Dominicans at age 15 and had as his masters Blessed Conradin and Saint Antoninus.   He did well in his studies and wrote a commentary on Aristotle. His special forte was Scripture and he studied it avidly.   After his ordination, he was sent to teach in various schools in Italy, arriving eventually at the convent of San Marco in Florence, which had been erected as a house of strict observance.   Constantius was eventually appointed prior of this friary that was a leading light in the reform movement.   This was a work dear to his heart and he himself became closely identified with the movement.

Several miracles and prophecies are related about Constantius during his stay in Florence.  He one day told a student not to go swimming, because he would surely drown if he did.   The student, of course, dismissed the warning and drowned.   One day, Constantius came upon a man lying in the middle of the road.   The man had been thrown by his horse and was badly injured, he had a broken leg and a broken arm.   All he asked was to be taken to some place where care could be given him but Constantius did better than that–he cured the man and left him, healed and astonished.

Constantius was made prior of Perugia, where he lived a strictly penitential life.  Perhaps the things that he saw in visions were responsible for his perpetual sadness, for he foresaw many of the terrible things that would befall Italy in the next few years.   He predicted the sack of Fabriano, which occurred in 1517.   At the death of Saint Antoninus, he saw the saint going up to heaven, a vision which was recounted in the canonisation process.bl constanzo snip

He was also credited with the power of working miracles and besides the care of his office, he acted as peacemaker outside the convent and quelled popular tumults.

Blessed Constantius is said to have recited the Office of the Dead every day, and often the whole 150 Psalms, which he knew by heart and used for examples on every occasion.  He also said that he had never been refused any favour for which he had recited the whole psalter.   He wrote a number of books, these, for the most part, were sermon material and some were the lives of the blesseds of the order.

He was esteemed so holy that it was reckoned a great favour to speak to him or even to touch his habit.

On the day of Constantius’s death, little children of the town ran through the streets crying out, “The holy prior is dead!   The holy prior is dead!”   Upon the news of his death, the senate and council assembled, “considering his death a public calamity” and resolved to defray the cost of a public funeral.   The cultus of Blessed Constantius was confirmed in 1821 by Pope Pius VII.

The relics of Blessed Constantius have suffered from war and invasion.   After the Dominicans were driven from the convent where he was buried, his tomb was all but forgotten for a long time.   Then one of the fathers put the relics in the keeping of Camaldolese monks in a nearby monastery, where they still remain.

bl constanzo right - virgin and child with saints.jpg
Virgin & Child with Dominican Saints, Bl Constantius on the right
Posted in SAINT of the DAY

7th Sun in Ord Time, Year C & Memorials of the Saints 24 February

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (2019)

St Adela of Blois
Bl Antonio Taglia
Bl Arnold of Carcassonne
St Betto of Auxerre
Bl Berta of Busano
Bl Constantius of Fabriano OP (1401-1481)
St Cummian Albus of Iona
St Ethelbert of Kent
Evetius of Nicomedia
Bl Florentina Nicol Goni
Bl Ida of Hohenfels
Bl Josefa Naval Girbes
St Liudhard
Bl Lotario Arnari
Bl Marco De’ Marconi
St Modestus of Trier
St Peter the Librarian
St Praetextatus of Rouen
St Primitiva
St Sergius of Caesarea
Bl Simon of Saint Bertin
Blessed Tommaso Maria Fusco (1831-1891)

Blessed Tommaso;s life:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/02/24/saint-of-the-day-24-february-blessed-thomas-mary-fusco-and-tommaso-maria-fusco-1831-1891/

Posted in MARTYRS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 23 February – A rich and pleasing sacrifice –

Thought for the Day – 23 February – A rich and pleasing sacrifice – Memorial of Saint Polycarp of Smyrna, Apostolic Father, Bishop and Martyr

Saint Polycarp of Smyrna (c 69 – c 155)
Bishop, Apostolic Church Father and Martyr

An excerpt from a Letter on the Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp by the Church of Smyrna

When the pyre was ready, Polycarp took off all his clothes and loosened his under-garment.   He made an effort also to remove his shoes, though he had been unaccustomed to this, for the faithful always vied with each other in their haste to touch his body.   Even before his martyrdom he had received every mark of honour in tribute to his holiness of life.

There and then, he was surrounded by the material for the pyre.   When they tried to fasten him also with nails, he said:  “Leave me as I am.   The one who gives me strength to endure the fire will also give me strength to stay quite still on the pyre, even without the precaution of your nails.”   So they did not fix him to the pyre with nails but only fastened him instead.   Bound as he was, with hands behind his back, he stood like a mighty ram, chosen out for sacrifice from a great flock, a worthy victim made ready to be offered to God.

Looking up to heaven, he said:  “Lord, almighty God, Father of Your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have come to the knowledge of Yourself, God of angels, of powers, of all creation, of all the race of saints who live in Your sight, I bless You for judging me worthy of this day, this hour, so that in the company of the martyrs I may share the cup of Christ, Your anointed one and so rise again to eternal life in soul and body, immortal through the power of the Holy Spirit.   May I be received among the martyrs in Your presence today as a rich and pleasing sacrifice.   God of truth, stranger to falsehood, You have prepared this and revealed it to me and now You have fulfilled Your promise.   I praise You for all things, I bless You, I glorify you through the eternal priest of heaven, Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son.   Through Him be glory to You, together with Him and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.”prayer-before-his-martyrdom-st-polycarp-23-feb-2019.jpg

When he had said “Amen” and finished the prayer, the officials at the pyre lit it.   But, when a great flame burst out, those of us privileged to see it witnessed a strange and wonderful thing.   Indeed, we have been spared in order to tell the story to others.   Like a ship’s sail swelling in the wind, the flame became as it were a dome encircling the martyr’s body.   Surrounded by the fire, his body was like bread that is baked, or gold and silver white-hot in a furnace, not like flesh that has been burnt.   So sweet a fragrance came to us that it was like that of burning incense or some other costly and sweet-smelling gum.

The fire was lighted but it did him no hurt, so he was stabbed to the heart and his dead body was burnt.   “Then,” say the writers of his acts, “we took up the bones, more precious than the richest jewels or gold and deposited them in a fitting place, at which may God grant us to assemble with joy to celebrate the birthday of the martyr to his life in heaven!”

St Polycarp was a Christian leader in a pagan world. He spoke clearly and simply, fearless in love and defense of Christ, even though persecutions raged around him. He sought only to hand on the message he had been given by John. Even as Polycarp prepared for martyrdom, his joy and confident trust were evident to all.

The community of believers celebrated the anniversary of Polycarp’s death with great joy, for in him they had seen an outstanding example of love and patience.   He had held strong and had won the treasure of eternal life.   Polycarp is remembered as an Apostolic Father, one who was a disciple of the apostles.

St Polycarp, Pray for the Church, Pray for Us!st-polycarp-pray-for-us-23-feb-2019.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on PERSEVERANCE, QUOTES on the CHURCH, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, QUOTES on TRUST in GOD, QUOTES on TRUTH, QUOTES on UNITY, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 23 February – “Stand Fast!” – St Polycarp

Quote/s of the Day – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69–c 155) Martyr and Apostolic Father of the Church

“Stand fast, therefore,
in this conduct
and follow the example of the Lord,
firm and unchangeable in faith,
lovers of the brotherhood,
loving each other,
united in truth,
helping each other
with the mildness of the Lord,
despising no man.”

St Polycarp, Letter to the Philippiansstand fast therefore in this conduct - st polycarp - 23 feb 2019

“Let us, therefore,
forsake the vanity
of the crowd and their
false teachings
and turn back
to the Word delivered to us
from the beginning.”let us therefore forsake the vanity of the crowd st polycarp 23feb2019

“Hear me declare
with boldness,
I am a Christian!”

St Polycarp (c 69–c 155) Martyr

and Apostolic Father of the Churchhear me declare with boldness i am a christian st polycarp - 23 feb 2019

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, SAINT of the DAY, The TRANSFIGURATION, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 23 February – The witness of the Prophets leads to the witness of the Apostles

One Minute Reflection – 23 February – Saturday of the Sixth week in Ordinary Time, Year C – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69–c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain, apart by themselves and he was transfigured before them and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses and they were talking to Jesus…Mark 9:2-4

The witness of the Prophets leads to the witness of the Apostles

REFLECTION – “It was the will of the Lord Jesus that Moses alone (though he was accompanied, it is true, by Joshua (Ex 24:13)) should climb the mountain to receive the law.   In the gospel too, out of His many disciples He limited the revelation of His risen glory to three – Peter, James and John.   Wishing to put no stumbling block in the way of His weaker followers, whose vacillating minds might prevent them from taking in the full meaning of the paschal mystery, He chose to keep His redemptive plan a secret and repeatedly warned Peter, James and John not to talk freely about what they had seen. Peter, in fact, did not know what to say.   He thought of setting up three shelters for the Lord and His attendants.   Then he found himself unable to bear the brilliance of the glory radiating from His transfigured Lord.   Together with those “sons of thunder” (Mk 3:17), James and John, he fell to the ground (Mt 17:6)…

They entered the cloud in order to receive knowledge of hidden, secret matters and there they heard the voice of God saying:  “This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”   What does “This is my beloved Son” mean?   The implication is as follows: Make no mistake, Simon.   Do not imagine God’s Son can be put into the same category as the servants who attend him.   This man is my Son – neither Moses nor Elijah can be given that title, even though the one opened the sea and the other closed the heavens. Both of them exercised dominion over the elements but it was by the power of the Lord’s word that they did so (Ex 14; 1 Kgs 17:1).   They were only servants, it was the Lord who made the waters into a solid wall, the Lord who caused the drought that closed the heavens and the Lord who, in his own time, opened them to release the rain.

For evidence of the resurrection to be accepted, the combined witness of those servants is required.   But when the glory of their risen Lord is revealed, the servant’ aureole is lost in shadow.   Sunrise obscures the stars, the light of the heavenly bodies grows pale before the brilliance of the sun shining on this material world.   How then could human stars attract notice in the presence of the eternal Sun of Justice?   (Mal 3:20).”…St Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctormark 9 2 and he wwas transfigured - sunrise obscures the stars st ambrose 23 feb 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Lord of all creation, let us praise You with voice and mind and deed. Let us too give glory to Your Holy Son and bask in the Sun of Justice! Grant us a place in the reflection of His Light to shine on those around us.   As You gave St Polycarp, a place in the company of the Martyrs, grant us our eternal joy with him and all Your angels and saints.   May his intercession, give us the strength to drink from that cup which Christ drank and so rise to eternal life.   Through Christ our Lord, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.st-polycarp-pray-for-us-no-2-23-feb-2018.jpg

Posted in MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN Saturdays, Our MORNING Offering, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Our Morning Offering – 23 February – O Sweet Mother of God

Our Morning Offering – 23 February – Saturday of the Sixth week in Ordinary Time, Year C – Marian Saturdays

O Sweet Mother of God
By St Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938)

O sweet Mother of God,
I model my life on You.
You are for me the bright dawn.
In You I lose myself, enraptured.
O Mother, Immaculate Virgin,
In You, the divine ray is reflected,
Midst storms, ‘tis You
who teach me to love the Lord,
O my shield and defense from the foe.
Amen

(Diary 1232)o sweet mother of god - st faustina 23 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 23 February – St Serenus the Gardener (Died 307) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 23 February – St Serenus the Gardener (Died 307) Martyr – born in Greece and was beheaded on 23 February 303 at Sirmiun, Pannonia (modern Hungary). Patronages – bachelors, falsely accused people, gardeners.

Serenus was by birth a Grecian.   He left his family estate, friends and country to serve God in celibacy, penance and prayer.   With this design he bought a garden in Sirmium in Pannonia, which he cultivated with his own hands and lived on the fruits and herbs it produced.st serenus the gardener 2

One day a woman came to his garden with her two daughters.   Serenus, seeing them come up, advised them to withdraw and to conduct themselves in future as decency required in persons of their sex and condition.   The woman, stung at our Saint’s charitable remonstrance, retired in confusion but resolved on revenging the supposed affront.   She accordingly wrote to her husband that Serenus had insulted her.

He, on receiving her letter, went to the emperor to demand justice, whereupon the emperor gave him a letter to the governor of the province to enable him to obtain satisfaction.   The governor ordered Serenus to be immediately brought before him. Serenus, on hearing the charge, answered, “I remember that, some time ago, a lady came into my garden at an unseasonable hour and I own I took the liberty to tell her it was against decency for one of her sex and quality to be abroad at such an hour.”   This plea of Serenus having put the officer to the blush for his wife’s conduct, he dropped his prosecution.

But the governor, suspecting by this answer that Serenus might be a Christian, began to question him, saying, “Who are you and what is your religion?”   Serenus, without hesitating one moment, answered, “I am a Christian. It seemed a while ago as if God rejected me as a stone unfit to enter His building but He has the goodness to take me now to be placed in it; I am ready to suffer all things for His name, that I may have a part in His kingdom with His Saints”   The governor, hearing this burst into rage and said, “Since you sought to elude by flight the emperor’s edicts and have positively refused to sacrifice to the gods, I condemn you for these crimes to lose your head.”

The sentence was no sooner pronounced than the Saint was carried off and beheaded, on 23 February, in 307.st serenus the gardener

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorials of the Saints – 23 February

St Polycarp of Smyrna (c 69 – c 155) (Memorial)
St Polycarp’s life and death: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/saint-of-the-day-23-february-st-polycarp-c-69-c-155-martyr-and-father-of-the-church/

St Alexander Akimetes
St Boswell
St Dositheus of Egypt
St Felix of Brescia
St Florentius of Seville
St Giovanni Theristi
Bl Giovannina Franchi
Bl John of Hungary
Bl Josephine Vannini
Bl Juan Lucas Manzanares
Bl Ludwik Mzyk
St Martha of Astorga
St Medrald
St Milburga
Bl Nicolas Tabouillot
St Ordonius
St Polycarp of Rome
Bl Rafaela Ybarra de Villalongo
St Romana
St Serenus the Gardener (Died 307) Martyr
Bl Stefan Wincenty Frelichowski
St Willigis of Mainz
St Zebinus of Syria

Martyrs of Syrmium – 73 Christians who were martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know no details about them, and only six of their names – Antigonus, Libius, Rogatianus, Rutilus, Senerotas and Syncrotas.

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on the CHURCH, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Thought for the Day – 22 February – St Pope Leo the Great “The Chair of Peter”

Thought for the Day – 22 February – The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter

Pope Saint Leo the Great (400-461)
Bishop of Rome and Great Latin Father & Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from Sermo 4

Out of the whole world one man, Peter, is chosen to preside at the calling of all nations and to be set over all the apostles and all the fathers of the Church.   Though, there are, in God’s people many shepherds, Peter is thus appointed, to rule in his own person, those whom Christ also rules as the original ruler.   Beloved, how great and wonderful is this sharing of His power that God in His goodness has given to this man.   Whatever Christ has willed to be shared in common, by Peter and the other leaders of the Church, it is only through Peter, that He has given to others, what He has not refused to bestow on them.

The Lord now asks the apostles as a whole, what men think of him.   As long as they are recounting the uncertainty born of human ignorance, their reply is always the same.

But when He presses the disciples to say what they think themselves, the first to confess his faith in the Lord, is the one who is first in rank, among the apostles.

Peter says:  You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.   Jesus replies:  Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father who is in heaven.   You are blessed, he means, because my Father has taught you.   You have not been deceived by earthly opinion but have been enlightened by inspiration from heaven. It was not flesh and blood that pointed Me out to you but the one whose only-begotten Son I am.

He continues:  And I say to you.   In other words, as my Father has revealed to you my godhead, so I in my turn make known to you, your pre-eminence.   You are Peter:  though I am the inviolable rock, the cornerstone that makes both one, the foundation apart from which no one can lay any other, yet you also are a rock, for you are given solidity by my strength, so that which is my very own because of my power is common between us through your participation.

And upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.   On this strong foundation, He says, I will build an everlasting temple.   The great height of my Church, which is to penetrate the heavens, shall rise on the firm foundation of this faith.

The gates of hell shall not silence this confession of faith;  the chains of death shall not bind it.   Its words are the words of life.   As they lift up to heaven those who profess them, so they send down to hell those who contradict them.

Blessed Peter is therefore told – To you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth is also bound in heaven.   Whatever you lose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven.

The authority vested in this power passed also to the other apostles and the institution, established by this decree, has been continued in all the leaders of the Church.   But, it is not without good reason, that what is bestowed on all, is entrusted to one.   For Peter, received it separately, in trust, because he is the prototype, set before all the rulers of the Church.

Saint Pope Peter
Apostle and Martyr
Pray for us!st pope peter apostle and martyr pray for us 22feb2019.jpg

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on the CHURCH, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 22 February – “On this rock I will build my Church”

Quote/s of the Day – 22 February – The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16:16matthew 16 16 you are the christ the son of the living god 22feb2019.jpg

“On this rock I will build my Church”

Matthew 16:18on-this-rock-matthew-16-18-22-feb-2017.jpg

“How blessed is the Church of Rome,
on which the Apostles poured forth
all their doctrine along with their blood!”
(De Praescriptione Hereticorum, 36)

Tertullian (c 155- c 240)
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianushow-blessed-is-the-church-of-rome-tertullian-22-feb-2018.jpg

“I decided to consult the Chair of Peter, where that faith is found exalted by the lips of an Apostle;
I now come to ask for nourishment for my soul there, where once I received the garment of Christ.
I follow no leader save Christ, so I enter into communion with Your beatitude,
that is, with the Chair of Peter, for this I know, is the rock upon which the Church is built.”
(cf. Le lettere I, 15, 1-2)

St Jerome (343-420) Father & Doctori-decided-to-consult-the-chair-of-peter-st-jerome-22feb-2017

“The Cross is God’s chair in the world.”the cross is god's chair in the world - st john paul 22feb2019.jpg

“Today’s celebration highlights
the role of Peter and his Successors
in steering the barque of the Church across this “ocean”….
Let us thank God together
for founding His Church on the rock of Peter.feast-of-the-chair-of-st-peter-22-feb-2019-todays-celebration-highlights-st-john-paul.jpg

“Today, …Christ is repeating to each of you:
“I have prayed for you”
that your faith will not fail in the situations
in which your fidelity to Christ,
to the Church,
to the Pope,
may be put to the greatest test.”

St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)today christ is repeating to each one of you - st john paul 22feb2019 chair of peter.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY

One Minute Reflection – 22 February – The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter

One Minute Reflection – 22 February – The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter

“And I tell you, you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it..”…Matthew 16:18matthew 16 18 and i tell you you are peter and on this rock 22 feb 2019.jpg

REFLECTION – “You are Peter and on this rock I shall build my Church.”   He was given this name of ‘Peter’ because he was the first to set the foundations of the faith among the nations and because he is, the indestructible rock on which rests, the judgement seat and the whole edifice, belonging to Christ Jesus.   It was on account of his faithfulness that he was called Peter, whereas our Lord receives the same name on account of His power according to Saint Paul’s words:  “They drank from a spiritual rock that followed them and that rock was the Christ” (1Cor 10:4).   Yes, the apostle chosen to be His co-worker, merited to share, the same name as Christ.   They built the same building together – Peter does the planting, the Lord gives the increase and it is the Lord, too, who sends those, who will do the watering (cf. 1 Cor 3:6f.).
As you know, my beloved, it was following on from his own failure, when our Saviour suffered, that blessed Peter was raised up.   It was after he had denied the Lord that he became the first next to him.   Rendered more faithful when he wept over the faith he had betrayed, he received a still greater grace than the one he had lost.   To him Christ confided His flock, so that he might guide it like a good shepherd and he who had been so weak, would now become the support of all.   He who had fallen when questioned about his faith, must now establish the others, on the unshakeable foundations of faith. Hence he is called the foundation stone of the piety of the Churches.”…St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Churchyes, the apostle chosen to be his co-worker - st augustine - 22 feb 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Holy Father, send Your Divine Enlightener into the hearts of all Your faithful, filling us with the strength to fulfil our mission as the followers of the Chair of St Peter. And most of all, we pray Lord Holy God to inspire and light the way of our Holy Father, Francis. Sustain and guide him, keep him in health and strength, to lead Your people by the Light of the Way and the Truth. Holy Father, have mercy on us, Holy Spirit guide and lead us, Lord Jesus Christ be our intercessor and teacher, amen.st peter pray for us 22 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in Our MORNING Offering, PAPAL PRAYERS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL

Our Morning Offering – 22 February – May the mystery of Your Passion, enlighten our life

Our Morning Offering – 22 February – The Memorial of St Margaret of Cortona TOSF (1247–1297)

O St Margaret of Cortona
By St John Paul (1920-2005)

O Saint Margaret of Cortona,
I too come today as a pilgrim and I pause to pray with you
at the feet of the image of Christ Crucified and Risen,
whom, as a penitent, you contemplated at length.
Lord Jesus, crucified for us,
in offering yourself on Calvary for all humanity,
You have revealed to us, the wellsprings of everlasting life.
May the mystery of Your Passion, enlighten our life,
making us ready to follow You on the way of holiness and love.
Rekindle our faith, teach us to recognise and welcome
in our everyday life, the plans of Your mysterious Providence.
Give us the courage to confess our sins
and open our hearts to sorrow,
in order to receive the gift of Your mercy.
Empower us to forgive our brethren
following the example of Your love that knows no bounds.
Help us to be humbly disposed to repair the harm we have done
by actively and generously serving the poor, the sick
and all who are marginalised and without hope.
Give everyone the joy of persevering faithfully,
in full harmony with the Church,
along the way of the particular calling.
Above all others, show the young,
the splendid plan of love that You intend to bring about for them
and with them, in the new millennium.
Enable us to be peacemakers,
tenacious weavers of daily relationships of fraternal solidarity,
artisans of reconciliation,
witnesses and apostles of the civilisation of love.
O glorious Saint Margaret of Cortona,
present this request to your Crucified Lord and ours.
Guide us with the strength of your example,
support us with your constant protection,
be our companion, we beg you,
till we reach our Father’s house.
Amen

Pope John Paul II, 1999o st margaret of cortona by st john paul - 22 feb 2019.jpg

St Margaret of Cortona, Pray for Us!st margaret of cortona pray for us 22 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 22 February – St Margaret of Cortona TOSF (1247–1297)

Saint of the Day – 22 February – St Margaret of Cortona TOSF (1247–1297) Penitent, Franciscan Tertiary, Mystic, Apostle of Charity, Founder of a charitable Lay Apostolate and an Order of Sisters – born in 1247 at Loviano, Tuscany, Italy and died on 22 February 1297 at Cortona, Italy of natural causes.   Patronages – against insanity or mental illness, against sexual temptation, against temptations, of falsely accused people, hoboes, tramps and homeless people, against the death of parents, stepchildren, midwives, penitent women, people ridiculed for their piety, reformed prostitutes, single laywomen, tertiaries, Arezzo-Cortona-Sansepolcro, Italy, diocese of, Cortona, Italy, diocese of, Cortona, Italy.snip st margaret

Margaret was born of farming parents, in Laviano, a little town in the diocese of Chiusi.  At the age of seven, Margaret’s mother died and her father remarried.   Stepmother and stepdaughter did not like each other.   As she grew older, Margaret became more wilful and reckless and her reputation in the town suffered.   At the age of 17 she met a young man, according to some accounts, the son of Gugliemo di Pecora, lord of Valiano and she ran away with him.   Soon Margaret found herself installed in the castle, not as her master’s wife, for convention would never allow that but as his mistress, which was more easily condoned.    For ten years, she lived with him near Montepulciano and bore him a son.

When her lover failed to return home from a journey one day, Margaret became concerned.   The unaccompanied return of his favourite hound alarmed Margaret and the hound led her into the forest to his murdered body.

That crime shocked Margaret into a life of prayer and penance.    Margaret returned to his family all the gifts he had given her and left his home.   With her child, she returned to her father’s house but her stepmother would not have her.   Margaret and her son then went to the Franciscan friars at Cortona, where her son eventually became a friar.   She fasted, avoided meat and subsisted on bread and vegetables.36952739804_18fa72f735_b.jpg

In 1277, after three years of probation, Saint Margaret joined the Third Order of Saint Francis and chose to live in poverty.   Following the example of St Francis of Assisi, she begged for sustenance and bread.   She pursued a life of prayer and penance at Cortona and there established a hospital for the sick, homeless and impoverished.   To secure nurses for the hospital, she instituted a congregation of Tertiary Sisters, known as “le poverelle” (Italian for “the little poor ones”).italian-school-roman-(17)-saint-margaret-of-cortona-kneeling-before-a-crucifix

While in prayer, Margaret heard the words, “What is your wish, poverella?” (“little poor one?”) and she replied, “I neither seek nor wish for anything but You, my Lord Jesus.”   She also established an order devoted to Our Lady of Mercy and the members bound themselves to support the hospital and to help the needy.Giovanni-Lanfranco-Ecstasy-of-St-Margaret-of-Cortona-2-

On several occasions, St Margaret participated in public affairs.   Twice, following divine command, she challenged the Bishop of Arezzo, Guglielmo Ubertini Pazzi, in whose diocese Cortona lay, because he lived and warred like a prince.   She moved to the ruined Church of St Basil, now Santa Margherita and spent her remaining years there, she died on 22 February 1297.Calvi_J._A._Estasi_di_santa_Margherita.jpg

After her death, the Church of Santa Margherita in Cortona was rebuilt in her honour.  In the church of Santa Margherita you can view her incorrupt body of Saint Margaret. Hundreds of reports of miracles, both physical and spiritual, were reported by those who come here to venerate her.   Saint Margaret was Canonised by Pope Benedict XIII on 16 May 1728.Cortona-bodyof-st-margaret-of-cortona.jpg

MargaretOfCortona1-683x1024.jpg

st margaret glass.JPG

Posted in Uncategorized

Feast of the Chair of St Peter and Memorials of the Saints – 22 February

The Chair of Saint Peter (Feast)
About this great Feast: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/feast-of-the-chair-of-st-peter-cathedra-petri-22-february/

St Ailius of Alexandria
St Angelus Portasole
St Aristion of Salamis
St Athanasius of Nicomedia
St Baradates of Cyrrhus
Bl Diego Carvalho
St Elwin
Bl Émilie d’Oultremont d’Hoogvorst
Bl Isabella of France
St John the Saxon
St Limnaeus
St Margaret of Cortona TOSF (1247–1297)

St Maximian of Ravenna
St Miguel Facerías Garcés
St Mohammed Abdalla
St Papias of Heirapolis
St Paschasius of Vienne
St Raynerius of Beaulieu
St Thalassius

Martyrs of Arabia – A memorial for all the unnamed Christians martyred in the desert and mountainous areas south of the Dead Sea during the persecutions of Emperor Valerius Maximianus Galerius.

Posted in LENT, NOVENAS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, Uncategorized

Preparing for Lent and Announcing a Lenten Preparation Novena – 21 February

“Come Back to Me with All Your Heart”

Lent with All My Heartcome back to me with all your heart - lent 2019

Each year, when Lent comes near, I easily return to my old instincts that Lent is supposed to be a time when I do some sacrifice to please God for six weeks.   I know, in my head and heart that this isn’t the meaning of Lent but it is deeply ingrained in me, and I suspect it is for many of us.

The first Preface (the prayer that introduces the Eucharistic Prayer) of Lent is titled: “The spiritual meaning of Lent.” It sets the tone for Lent with this prayer, worthy of our reflection:

For by your gracious gift each year
your faithful await the sacred paschal feasts
with the joy of minds made pure,
so that, more eagerly intent on prayer
and on the works of charity,
and participating in the mysteries
by which they have been reborn,
they may be led to the fullness of grace
that you bestow on your sons and daughters.
(The Roman Missal, Third Typical Edition, 2011)

We are invited to await the Three Holy Days – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday – “with the joy of minds made pure.”   Rarely does it seem that we are going through Lent with joy, or that this joy comes from “minds made pure.”   And, rarely is it so clear that the “fullness of grace” to which we are led comes from being “more eagerly intent on prayer” and “on the works of charity.”   Finally, this journey is framed at “participating in the mysteries by which they have been reborn.”

I want to begin Lent this year, using Ignatius’ naming of a grace I desire:  “Lord, lead me to the fullness of your grace.”   I want to ask that I might be more intent on prayer and works of charity.    And, I want to experience, through the readings and the liturgies each week during Lent, that I’m really reliving the mysteries of my rebirth and salvation.

I desire that this be what I “do” during Lent.   This gets me closer to a Lent experience that is about what God wants to give me, rather than what I try to give God.

When we are more “intent on prayer,” what will that look like?   If we let our prayer become more personal – more about our relationship with Jesus – we will discover all we need for our Lenten journey.   We will discover who we are.   We will discover pockets of independence, areas of resistance, patterns that are unhealthy and sinful.   And, if we stay open to graces being offered us from Jesus who always desires a deeply relationship with Him, we will be drawn – reading by reading – story after story – into admiration and affections for Jesus, His way and His invitation to us.   Lent can become a day-by-day process of being more and more aware of the gift being offered us.   The gift becomes a person and a more intimate relationship with Him.   We will be drawn to greater freedom and deeper self-sacrificing, dying-to-self love.

It is in this context that sacrifices will come.   The Preface above suggests that what flows from this kind of prayer is “works of charity.”   It seems to imply that when we desire to be closer to Jesus in prayer, we live that out, not by giving up candy or alcohol, or even by chipping away at our bad habits.   It appears that the next step in living out a closer relationship with Jesus is to offer ourselves in service of others – that is, to love as Jesus loves us.   Lent will lead us to ask who we are called to love and serve.   Often, it will be those who are closest to us.   Sometimes, it will be purifying and transformative to let our hearts be open to and compassionate for those who are deeply in need in our city, or in our world.   Almsgiving has long been a central part of Lent.   It allows us to exercise compassion.   But, there may also be times when we can find ways to do more – to let ourselves experience greater proximity with those on the margins of our world. Sometimes we may only be able to exercise that desire by intentionally reading more about their plight, and growing in compassion that way.   At other times, we may take acts of solidarity that lead to political advocacy on their behalf.   We may even decide to take the step of going to and serving in a place when we can meet and let my heart be touched by, personal encounters with people in need.

When we let ourselves fall in love with Jesus and then let our hearts desire to be more like His, Lent comes alive.  Then, Lent moves quite directly to celebrating His love for us on those major feasts and a profound desire to love as He has loved us.   What a fruitful Lent that could be!

May our Lent with all my heart, be a journey of desire, that my heart be more like His.
Fr Andy Alexander, SJ

The Lenten Preparation Novena

begins Monday 25 February

I will be away during the Novena (though I will pre-schedule it) and back on Ash Wednesday.preparing for lent 2019.jpg

 

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY CROSS, The SIGN of the CROSS

Thought for the Day – 21 February – Peter, Servant of the Servants of the Cross of Christ

Thought for the Day – 21 February – the Memorial of St Peter Damian OSB (1007-1072) Doctor of the Church

Excerpt from Pope Benedict’s Catechesis on St Peter Damian
General Audience
Wednesday, 9 September 2009

One detail should be immediately emphasised – the Hermitage at Fonte Avellana was dedicated to the Holy Cross and the Cross was the Christian mystery that was to fascinate Peter Damian more than all the others.   “Those who do not love the Cross of Christ do not love Christ”, he said (Sermo XVIII, 11, p. 117) and he described himself as “Petrus crucis Christi servorum famulus Peter, servant of the servants of the Cross of Christ” (Ep, 9, 1).
Peter Damian addressed the most beautiful prayers to the Cross in which he reveals a vision of this mystery which has cosmic dimensions for it embraces the entire history of salvation: “O Blessed Cross”, he exclaimed, You are venerated, preached and honoured by the faith of the Patriarchs, the predictions of the Prophets, the senate that judges the Apostles, the victorious army of Martyrs and the throngs of all the Saints” (Sermo XLVII, 14, p. 304).
Dear Brothers and Sisters, may the example of St Peter Damian spur us too always to look to the Cross as to the supreme act God’s love for humankind of God, who has given us salvation.

St Peter Damian, who was essentially a man of prayer, meditation and contemplation, was also a fine theologian – his reflection on various doctrinal themes led him to important conclusions for life.   Thus, for example, he expresses with clarity and liveliness the Trinitarian doctrine, already using, under the guidance of biblical and patristic texts, the three fundamental terms which were subsequently to become crucial also for the philosophy of the West – processio, relatio and persona (cf. Opusc. XXXVIII: PL CXLV, 633-642; and Opusc. II and III: ibid., 41 ff. and 58 ff).
However, because theological analysis of the mystery led him to contemplate the intimate life of God and the dialogue of ineffable love, between the three divine Persons, he drew ascetic conclusions from them for community life and even for relations between Latin and Greek Christians, divided on this topic.   His meditation on the figure of Christ, is significantly reflected, in practical life, since the whole of Scripture is centred on Him.
The “Jews”, St Peter Damian notes, “through the pages of Sacred Scripture, bore Christ on their shoulders as it were” (Sermo XLVI, 15).   Therefore Christ, he adds, must be the centre of the monk’s life:  “May Christ be heard in our language, may Christ be seen in our life, may he be perceived in our hearts” (Sermo VIII, 5).   Intimate union with Christ engages not only monks but all the baptised.   Here we find a strong appeal for us too not to let ourselves be totally absorbed by the activities, problems and preoccupations of every day, forgetting that Jesus must truly be the centre of our life.

Communion with Christ creates among Christians a unity of love.   In Letter 28, which is a brilliant ecclesiological treatise, Peter Damian develops a profound theology of the Church as communion.   “Christ’s Church”, he writes, is united by the bond of charity to the point that just as she has many members so is she, mystically, entirely contained in a single member – in such a way that the whole universal Church is rightly called the one Bride of Christ in the singular, and each chosen soul, through the sacramental mystery, is considered fully Church”.   This is important – not only that the whole universal Church should be united but that the Church should be present in her totality in each one of us.   Thus the service of the individual becomes “an expression of universality” (Ep 28, 9-23).
However, the ideal image of “Holy Church” illustrated by Peter Damian does not correspond as he knew well to the reality of his time.   For this reason he did not fear to denounce the state of corruption that existed in the monasteries and among the clergy, because, above all, of the practice of the conferral by the lay authorities of ecclesiastical offices; -various Bishops and Abbots were behaving as the rulers of their subjects rather than as pastors of souls.   Their moral life frequently left much to be desired.   For this reason, in 1057 Peter Damian left his monastery with great reluctance and sorrow and accepted, if unwillingly, his appointment as Cardinal Bishop of Ostia.   So it was that he entered fully into collaboration with the Popes in the difficult task of Church reform.   He saw that to make his own contribution of helping in the work of the Church’s renewal contemplation did not suffice.   He thus relinquished the beauty of the hermitage and courageously undertook numerous journeys and missions.

Dear brothers and sisters, it is a great grace that the Lord should have raised up in the life of the Church a figure as exuberant, rich and complex as St Peter Damian.   Moreover, it is rare to find theological works and spirituality as keen and vibrant as those of the Hermitage at Fonte Avellana.

St Peter Damian was a monk through and through, with forms of austerity which to us today might even seem excessive.   Yet, in that way he made monastic life an eloquent testimony of God’s primacy and an appeal to all to walk towards holiness, free from any compromise with evil.   He spent himself, with lucid consistency and great severity, for the reform of the Church of his time.  He gave all his spiritual and physical energies to Christ and to the Church but always remained, as he liked to describe himself, Petrus ultimus monachorum servus, Peter, the lowliest servant of the monks.

St Peter Damian,

‘Peter, Servant of the Servants of the Cross of Christ’

Pray for the Church, Pray for Us All!st peter damian pray for us 21 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on EVANGELISATION, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY SPIRIT, The SIGN of the CROSS

Quote/s of the Day – 21 February – St Peter Damian

Quote/s of the Day – 21 February – the Memorial of  St Peter Damian OSB (1007-1072) Doctor of the Church

“Let us faithfully transmit to posterity,
the example of virtue,
which we have received,
from our forefathers.”let us faithfully transmit - st peter damian 21 feb 2019.jpg

“He pours light into our minds,
arouses our desire and gives us strength…
As the soul is the life of the body,
so the Holy Spirit, is the life of our souls.”he-pours-light-into-our-minds-st-peter-damian-21-feb-2018.jpg

“When you are scorned by others
and lashed by God, do not despair.
God lashes us in this life,
to shield us from the eternal lash, in the next.”when-you-are-scorned-by-others-st-peter-damian-21-feb-2018.jpg

“May Christ be heard in our language,
may Christ be seen in our life,
may He be perceived in our hearts”
(Sermo VIII, 5)may christ be heard - st peter damian 21 feb 2019.jpg

“O Blessed Cross,
You are venerated, preached
and honoured by the faith of the Patriarchs,
the predictions of the Prophets,
the senate that judges the Apostles,
the victorious army of Martyrs
and the throngs of all the Saints”
(Sermo XLVII, 14, p. 304)o blessed cross - st peter damian - 21 feb 2019.jpg

“Those, who do not love
the Cross of Christ,
do not love Christ”
(Sermo XVIII, 11, p. 117)

St Peter Damian (1007-1072) Doctor of the Churchthose who do not love the cross of christ do not love christ - st peter damian 21 feb 2019.jpg

those who do not love no 2 st peter damian 21 feb 2019.jpg