Mini Series – THE PRECEPTS OF THE CHURCH – First Precept


These “precepts” are the most important laws of the Catholic Church.   They are meant for each of us.   Through her precepts the Church, our loving Mother and teacher, puts before our minds the minimum participation which is necessary to maintain our Catholic identity.

Recalling Our Lord’s words that the wise man “built his house upon the rock” (Matt 7:24), we can ask ourselves this Lent how far we are built on the rock of Christ, who is present in his Church and active in her life-giving sacraments, how firmly rooted we are in the community of faith which is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:1-13).

The Precepts of the Church are to be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) Nos. 2042-2043.

First Precept:

“You shall attend Mass on Sundays

and Holy Days of Obligation and Rest from Servile Labour.”the precept of the church - first precept - 18 feb 2019

From the earliest times the Christians celebrated the Eucharist on the Day of the Lord’s resurrection (see Acts 20:7).   It is no surprise that the vision of St John in the book of Revelation, a vision deeply linked to the Christian liturgy, occurred “on the Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10).

St Justin Martyr (100-165), one of the first Church Fathers, wrote in about 150 AD:   “on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place …”.

He goes on to explain the reading of the Scriptures and the consecration of the bread and wine and concludes:  “Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God … made the world and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead.”   Christians understood that, now, the Old Testament commandant to “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exod. 20:8) applied to Sunday rather than the Jewish Saturday.

It was also clear to Christians that, developing the tradition of the Jews, the Christian sabbath calls for rest from our usual occupations, “to abstain from those labours and business concerns which impede the worship to be rendered to God, the joy which is proper to the Lord’s Day, or the proper relaxation of mind and body.”  (Code of Canon Law 1247).

The Catechism challenges us also when it adds:  “Christians will also sanctify Sunday by devoting time and care to their families and relatives, often difficult to do on other days of the week.” (CCC 2186)
Sunday is rightly a time for recreation, yet a Catholic must prioritise the Sunday Mass for the simple reason that God himself must be given first place.

The precept to be present at Mass on Sundays (or Saturday evening) is non-negotiable for Catholics – it is a “grave” obligation (CCC 2181).   If it happens that we fail to observe it through negligence or without a serious reason, we should confess it in the Sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving Holy Communion again.
If, on the other hand, we did have a sufficient reason not to be present, for instance we were ill, had to stay at home to look after young children, or were a great distance from a church, or have no choice but to work on Sunday during Mass, then we’re not obliged BUT let us not ‘look for excuses’ and let us choose our work carefully and do all we can to make it known to our employers that we only need ONE HOUR per week – could we perhaps EXCHANGE our lunch- or off-times for this ONE HOLY HOUR ON SUNDAYS?!

We must further attend Mass on holy days of obligation that usually fall during the week, such as Christmas Day.

The precepts of Church are not regulations trying to catch us out but crucial reminders of what it means to be a Christian.   Saint John Paul II, in his encyclical letter on the Lord’s Day, wrote:

“Sunday is a day which is at the very heart of the Christian life.   From the beginning of my Pontificate, I have not ceased to repeat – ‘Do not be afraid!  Open, open wide the doors to Christ!’.   

In the same way, today I would strongly urge everyone to rediscover Sunday –

Do not be afraid to give your time to Christ!   Yes, let us open our time to Christ, that He may cast light upon it and give it direction. …

Time given to Christ is never time lost but is rather time gained, so that our relationships and indeed our whole life may become more profoundly human.”

(Dies Domini 7)


time given to christ is never time lost but rather it is time gained - st john paul - 18 feb 2019 first precept.jpg


Thought for the Day – 18 February – “However, you killed at the beginning”

Thought for the Day – 18 February – Monday of the Sixth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, First Reading – Genesis 4:1-15

“Cain said to Abel his brother, “Let us go out to the field.”   And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.   Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”   He said, “I do not know;  am I my brother’s keeper?”   And the Lord said, “What have you done?   The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.   And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.   When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength;  you shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” …Genesis 4:8-12

“Cain favoured instinct – he preferred to let this feeling stew inside him, festering and allowing it to grow. This sin, which he will later commit, which is couching behind the feeling, grows.

This, is how hostilities grow between you – they begin with something small – jealousy, envy and then this grows and I pull away from my brother, saying this person is not my brother, this one is an enemy, this one must be destroyed, driven away… and so people are destroyed -it is thus that animosity destroys families, populations, everything.   It is that eating away at you, that being constantly obsessed with that person.

No!… there is no brother.
It is just me;  there is no brotherhood – it is just me.
What happened at the beginning, can happen to all of us – it is a possibility. For this reason, it is a process which must be stopped immediately, at the beginning, at the first sign of bitterness.   It must be stopped, because bitterness is not Christian – pain, yes, bitterness no.
Indeed, resentment is not Christian – pain yes, resentment no.
Instead, how much hostility and how many cracks exist and it ends in a war that kills.

However, you killed at the beginning.   This is the process of blood and today the blood of many people in the world is crying to God from the ground.

And it is all connected – that blood has some connection, perhaps a small droplet of blood that I caused to ooze out with my envy and jealousy when I destroyed a brotherhood.”

Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 13 February 2017genesis 4 10 and the lord said what have you done - and it is all connected - pope francis 18 feb 2019.jpg

It is not enough to simply “follow the rules” and stay out of trouble.   If that is all we do then we are trying to achieve heaven by our own merits. God wants more from us than that.   God invites us into a relationship of friends and family, a relationship of love.   This type of relationship is a living, dynamic one.   To love Christ and to want to be near Him is to be crucified with Him.

It means standing up for the Truth even when it is unpopular.   It means finding time to pray.   It means that we stay faithful to the teachings of Jesus.   And it means that when we fail, we humbly confess our sins as we would apologise to a friend we have hurt, so that that relationship can be restored.   It means that we must reflect Christ to the whole world, so that when people look at us they do not see us, they see Christ.

But in the end that is what it means to live for Christ and not for ourselves, to love for Christ and not for ourselves, to give of ourselves for Christ!

Blessed Fra Angelico, you gave your all for Christ, please Pray for Us!bl fra angelico pray for us 18 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on LOVE, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 18 February – “Man believes with his heart…”

Quote/s of the Day – 18 February – Monday of the Sixth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Mark 8:11–13

And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said,
“Why does this generation seek a sign?…Mark 8:12-13

Happy is the man who has found wisdom.
Even more happy is the man who lives in wisdom,
for he perceives its abundance.
There are three ways for wisdom
or prudence to abound in you –
if you confess your sins,
if you give thanks and praise
and if your speech is edifying.
Man believes with his heart and so he is justified.
He confesses with his lips and so he is saved.
In the beginning of his speech,
the just man is his own accuser,
next he gives glory to God and thirdly,
if his wisdom extends that far,
he edifies his neighbour.

St Bernard (1090-1153)
Mellifluous Doctorman believes with his heart - st bernard - 18 feb 2019.jpg

“We are born to love,
we live to love
and we will die
to love still more.”

St Joseph Cafasso (1811-1860)we-are-norn-to-love-st-joseph-cafasso-no 2 - 18feb2019 - 23-june-2018.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, SAINT of the DAY

One Minute Reflection – 18 February – “But for one who comes among friends, there should be no need of such signs.”

One Minute Reflection – 18 February – Monday of the Sixth week in Ordinary Time, Year C – Gospel: Mark 8:11–13 and the Memorial of The Memorial of St Flavian of Constantinople(Died 449) and Blessed John of Fiesole/Fra Angelico OP (1387-1455)

And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign?...Mark 8:12-13

REFLECTION – “But for what sign from heaven were they asking?   Maybe that he should hold back the sun, or curb the moon, or bring down thunderbolts, or change the direction of the wind, or something like that?   In Pharaoh’s time there was an enemy from whom deliverance was needed.   But for one who comes among friends, there should be no need of such signs.
No sign more impressed the crowds than the miracles of the loaves.   Not only did they want to follow him but also seemed ready to make him a king.   In order to avoid all suspicion of usurping civil authority, he made a speedy exit after this wonderful work. He did not even leave on foot, lest they chase after him but took off by boat.”…St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor (Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily 53)mark 8 12-13 and he sighed deeply - but for what sign where they asking st john chrysostom 18 feb 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty Lord and God, protect us by Your power throughout the course of this day, even as You have enabled us to begin it.   Your grace is all that we need to see the loving kindness of Your Son, our Lord Jesus in all we meet.   Do not let us turn aside from His path but by the faith You have granted us, let us find meaning in all, which is the sign of Your glory.   Do not let us turn aside to sin and may the intercession of St Flavian and Blessed Fra Angelico, grant us courage and peace. Through Jesus Christ, our Saviour, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, flavian of constantinople pray for us 18 feb 2019



Our Morning Offering – 18 February – Keep Me, O God…..

Our Morning Offering – 18 February – Monday of the Sixth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Today’s Psalm: Psalm 50:1, 8, 16-17, 20-21

But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to recite my statutes, or take my covenant on your lips?
For you hate discipline and you cast my words behind you.   You sit and speak against your brother, you slander your own mother’s son.”...Psalm 50:16-17,20

Keep Me, O God…..
Mary Stuart’s Prayer (Mary Queen of Scots)

Keep me, O God, from pettiness.
Let us be large in thought, word and deed.
Let us be done with fault-finding
and leave off self-seeking.
May we put away all pretence
and meet each other face-to-face
without self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgement
and always generous.
Let us take time for all things.
Make us grow calm, serene, gentle.
Teach us to put into action
our better impulses
and make us
straight-forward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realise
that it is the little things in life
that create differences;
that in the big things we are all as one.
And, O Lord God,
Let us not forget to be kind.
Amenkeep me o god - mary stuart's prayer - 18 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 18 February – St Flavian of Constantinople (Died 449) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 18 February – St Flavian (Died 449) Archbishop of Constantinople, Martyr, Confessor, Defender of the Christ’s two natures, both divine and human.

St Flavian endured condemnation and severe beatings during a fifth-century dispute about the humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ.   Though he died from his injuries, his stand against heresy was later vindicated at the Church’s fourth ecumenical council in 451.San_Flaviano_B

St Flavian is closely associated with St Pope Leo the Great (400-461), who also upheld the truth about Christ’s divine and human natures during the controversy.   The Pope’s best-known contribution to the fourth council – a letter known as the “Tome of Leo” – was originally addressed to St Flavian, though it did not reach him during his lifetime.

Flavian’s date of birth is unknown, as are most of his biographical details.   He was highly-regarded as a priest during the reign of the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II (which lasted from 408 to 450) and he became Archbishop of Constantinople following the death of Saint Proclus in approximately 447.

Early in his reign, Flavian angered a state official named Chrysaphius by refusing to offer a bribe to the emperor.   The ruler’s wife Eudocia joined the resulting conspiracy which Chrysaphius hatched against Flavian, a plot that would come to fruition in an illegitimate Church council and the patriarch’s death.Saint Flavian

As head of the Church in Constantinople, Flavian had inherited a theological controversy about the relationship between deity and humanity in the person of Jesus Christ.   In an occurrence that was not uncommon for the time, the doctrinal issue became entangled with personal and political rivalries.   Flavian’s stand for orthodoxy gave his high-ranking court opponents a chance to act against him by encouraging the proponents of doctrinal error and manipulating the emperor in their favour.

The theological issue had arisen after the Council of Ephesus, which in 431 had confirmed the personal unity of Christ and condemned the error (known as Nestorianism) that said He was a composite being made up of a divine person and a human person.   But questions persisted:  Were Jesus’ eternal divinity and His assumed humanity, two distinct and complete natures fully united in one person?   Or did the person of Christ have only one hybrid nature, made up in some manner of both humanity and divinity?

The Church would eventually confirm that the Lord’s incarnation involved both a divine and a human nature, at all times.   When God took on a human nature at the incarnation, in the words of St Leo the Great, “the proper character of both natures was maintained and came together in a single person,” and “each nature kept its proper character without loss.”

During Flavian’s reign, however, the doctrine of Christ’s two natures had not been fully and explicitly defined.   Thus, controversy came up regarding the doctrine of a monk named Eutyches, who insisted that Christ had only “one nature.”   Flavian understood the “monophysite” doctrine as contrary to faith in Christ’s full humanity and he condemned it at a local council in November of 448.   He excommunicated Eutyches and sent his decision to Pope Leo, who gave his approval in May 449.425px-San_Flaviano_incisione

Chrysaphius, who knew Eutyches personally, proceeded to use the monk as his instrument against the patriarch who had angered him.   He convinced the emperor that a Church council should be convened to consider Eutyches’ doctrine again.   The resulting council, held in August 449 and led by Dioscorus of Alexandria, was completely illegitimate and later formally condemned.   But it pronounced against Flavian and declared him deposed from the patriarchate.

During this same illicit gathering, known to history as the “Robber Council,” a mob of monks beat St Flavian so aggressively that he died from his injuries three days later.   Chrysaphius seemed, for the moment, to have triumphed over the Archbishop.

But the state official’s ambitions soon collapsed.   Chrysaphius fell out of favour with Theodosius II shortly before the emperor’s death in July 450 and he was executed early in the reign of his successor Marcian.

St Flavian, meanwhile, was Canonised by the Fourth Ecumenical Council in 451.   Its participants gave strong acclamation to the “Tome of Leo” – in which the Pope confirmed St Flavian’s condemnation of Eutyches and affirmed the truth about Christ’s two natures, both divine and human.

We bless you, holy St Flavian, pray for us, Amen!

Altar of Recanati polyptych the left wing. SV. Thomas Aquinas and St. Flavian
From an Altarpiece, depicting St Thomas Aquinas and St Flavian
Posted in ART DEI, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorials of the Saints – 18 February

St Angilbert of Centula
St Colman of Lindisfarne
St Constance of Vercelli
St Esuperia of Vercelli
St Ethelina
St Flavian (Died 449) Martyr
Bl John of Fiesole/Fra Angelico OP  – The Angelic Friar Giovanni (1387-1455)
The Artist:

St Gertrude Caterina Comensoli
St Helladius of Toledo
St Ioannes Chen Xianheng
St Ioannes Zhang Tianshen
St Jean-François-Régis Clet
St Jean-Pierre Néel
Bl Jerzy Kaszyra
Bl John Pibush – one of the Martyrs of Douai
St Leo of Patera
St Martinus Wu Xuesheng
Bl Matthew Malaventino
St Paregorius of Patara
St Sadoth of Seleucia
St Simeon
St Tarasius of Constantinople
St Theotonius
Bl William Harrington

Martyrs of North Africa – 7 saints: Group of Christians who were martyred together, date unknown. We know nothing else but seven of their names – Classicus, Fructulus, Lucius, Maximus, Rutulus, Secundinus and Silvanus.
They were born and martyred in North Africa.

Martyrs of Rome – 5 saints: A group of Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know nothing else but their names – Alexander, Claudius, Cutias, Maximus and Praepedigna. They were martyred in 295 in Rome, Italy.