Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, LENTEN THOUGHTS, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on LOVE

Lenten Thoughts – St Leo the Great – Purification of spirit through fasting and almsgiving

Lenten Thoughts – 7 March – Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Purification of spirit through fasting and almsgiving

Saint Pope Leo the Great (400-461)
Father & Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Sermo 6 de Quadragesima

Dear friends, at every moment the earth is full of the mercy of God and nature itself is a lesson for all the faithful, in the worship of God.   The heavens, the sea and all that is in them, bear witness to the goodness and omnipotence of their Creator and the marvellous beauty of the elements, as they obey Him, demands from the intelligent creation, a fitting expression of its gratitude.

But with the return of that season marked out in a special way, by the mystery of our redemption and of the days that lead up to the paschal feast, we are summoned more urgentlyM to prepare ourselves by a purification of spirit.

The special note of the paschal feast is this – the whole Church rejoices in the forgiveness of sins.   It rejoices in the forgiveness, not only of those who are then reborn in holy baptism but also of those, who are already numbered among God’s adopted children.

Initially, men are made new by the rebirth of baptism.   Yet, there still is required a daily renewal to repair the shortcomings of our mortal nature and whatever degree of progress has been made, there is no-one, who should not be more advanced.   All, must, therefore, strive to ensure that on the day of redemption, no-one may be found in the sins of his former life.

Dear friends, what the Christian should be doing at all times, should be done now with greater care and devotion, so that the Lenten fast enjoined by the apostles, may be fulfilled, not simply by abstinence from food but above all, by the renunciation of sin.

There is no more profitable practice as a companion to holy and spiritual fasting than that of almsgiving.   This embraces under the single name of mercy, many excellent works of devotion, so that the good intentions of all the faithful, may be of equal value, even where their means are not.   The love that we owe both God and man, is always free from any obstacle, that would prevent us from having a good intention.  The angels sang – Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth.   The person who shows love and compassion to those in any kind of affliction, is blessed, not only with the virtue of good will but also, with the gift of peace.

The works of mercy are innumerable.   Their very variety, brings this advantage to those who are true Christians, that in the matter of almsgiving, not only the rich and affluent but also those of average means and the poor, are able to play their part.   Those who are unequal in their capacity to give, can be equal, in the love within their hearts.the works of mercy are innumerable - st pope leo the great - thurs after ash wed 7 march 2019.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 7 March – A heart, forged in the love of God and the Church

Thought for the Day – 7 March – The Memorial of Blessed Leonid Feodorov (1879-1935) Martyr

“A heart, forged in the love of God and the Church”

In 1913 as the political situation destabilised in Serbia Fr Leonid decided to return to his homeland, Russia where he could then embark on evangelising the people.   But fate was not to be kind to Fr Leonid, who’s faith would soon be tempered in steel.   For upon arriving in St Petersburg, he was arrested and sent to Tobolsk a very inhospitable land in the Ural Mountains, where he spent the next 3 years.

But things did not quieten down, as rumours of revolution swirled around the courts of Imperial Russia.   So in haste Leonid was proclaimed a Bishop of the Russian Catholic Church, this was done in secrecy, as even the Royal Czar was opposed to a Catholic ‘presence’.

It was during this time that Exarch Leonid remembered a prophetic statement he had made when he was at Anagni, “Russia will not repent without travelling the Red Sea of the blood of her martyrs and numerous sufferings of her apostles.”   How true his words would be, much to his and his people’s sorrow.

And so it was that the red terror would launch itself upon the world in the form of its leader Lenin a name synonymous with evil.   And under the Communist regime the persecution of the Church began, for Lenin understood that the greatest threat to his power would come from the Catholic Church.

The order went out to arrest Catholic Priests, Monsignors and Bishops among which was Bishop Leonid Feodorov.   During the bogus trial Bishop Leonid was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Siberia “the Gulag”.

These were hard and difficult years for Bishop Leonid, in such an unforgiving terrain as Siberia but through it all his faith sustained him and his prayer life strengthened him for the rigours which lay ahead of him.

Bishop Leonid would find himself released and upon practising his faith he would then be re-arrested but his faith in God was tempered in steel and the communists could never break this heart, forged in the love of God and the Church.

For nothing would stand in the way of this indomitable Bishop as he secretly held Mass and gave Catechism classes to the youth and those who wished to learn about the Catholic Church.

Through it all, confusion, decision, peace, war, revolution and persecution. Bishop Leonid’s faith remained intact and strengthened by his ordeals.

Bishop Leonid Feodorov died in 1935.

Blessed Leonid Feodorov was beatified in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

Glory be to You O Christ, King of the heart of Blessed Leonid!

May his strength by Your Grace, be given in part to us all, amen!

Blessed Leonid, Pray for Us!bl leonid feodorov pray for us no 2 7 march 2019.jpg

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONSCIENCE, QUOTES on PERSECUTION, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on the CHURCH, QUOTES on UNITY, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 7 March by Blessed Leonid Feodorov (1879-1935) Martyr

Quote/s of the Day – 7 March – The Memorial of Blessed Leonid Feodorov (1879-1935) Martyr

“When I feel overwhelmed by misfortune,
the greatest joy that the Lord can give me,
is to go to the altar, to put my forehead against it
(as on the day of my ordination to the priesthood)
and to feel the presence of the only reality.
Not only does calm return
but my body seems to be annihilated,
the only true life begins,
the life of that which is intangible.”

(Fr Paul Mailleux, SJ “Exarch Leonid Feodorov, Bridgebuilder Between Rome and Moscow,” page 166)when i feel overwhelmed by misfortune - bl leonid feodorov - 7 march 2019.jpg

“If the Soviet Government orders me
to act against my conscience, I do not obey.
As for teaching the Catechism,
the Catholic Church holds that children
must be taught their religion,
no matter what the law says.
Conscience is above the law.
No law which is against the conscience can bind.”

(Adressing the court during his political ‘show trial’ in 1923)conscience is above the law - bl leonid feodorov 7 march 2019.jpg

“My whole life has been based on two principles –
the love of the Church to which I am united
and the love of my country, which I adore.
If I do not care, whether I am sentenced
to ten years imprisonment or to be shot,
it is not because I am a fanatic…
Since I joined the Catholic Church,
my sole object has been,
to reconcile my country to that Church
which I believe to be the One True Church.”since i joined the catholic church - bl leonid feodorov 7 march 2019.jpg

“Our hearts are full, not of hatred but of sadness.
You cannot understand us,
we are not allowed liberty of conscience.
That is the only conclusion,
we can draw from what we have heard here.”

(Addressing the court shortly before being sentenced to ten years in the GULAG)our hearts are full not of hatred but of sadness - bl leonid feodorov 7 march 2019.jpg

“The true messianism of the Russian (Catholic) Church
is not what the Slavophiles have imagined
but it is the example of suffering.
It is in this way that She shows,
that She is the continuation of Christ in this world.”

(Addressing a friend and confidant who was imprisoned with him at Solovki prison camp)the true messianism of the russian catholic church - bl leonid feodorov 7 march 2019.jpg

Prayer for Unity by Blessed Leonid

O Merciful Lord Jesus, Our Saviour,
hear the prayers and petitions
of Your unworthy, sinful servants,
who humbly call upon You
and make us all to be one
in Your One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Flood our souls with Your unquenchable light.
Put an end to religious disagreements
and grant that we Your disciples
and Your beloved children,
may all worship You,
with a single heart and voice.
Fulfill quickly, O grace-giving Lord,
Your promise,
that there shall be one flock
and one Divine Shepherd of Your Church
and may we be made worthy
to glorify Your Holy Name
now and ever and unto the ages of ages.
Amen

Blessed Leonid Feodorov (1879-1935) Martyrprayer for unity by bl leonid feodorov - 7 march 2019.jpg

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, LENT 2019, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, The HOLY CROSS, The WORD

Thursday after Ash Wednesday – 7 March -“Let him take up his cross daily and follow Me”

Thursday after Ash Wednesday – 7 March

“Let him take up his cross daily and follow Me”lent-thursday-after-ash-wed-15-feb-2018

Lord, help us to see in Your Crucifixion and Resurrection an example of how to endure and seemingly to die in the agony and conflict of daily life, so that we may live more fully and creatively.   You accepted patiently and humbly the rebuffs of human life, as well as the tortures of your Crucifixion and Passion.   Help us to accept the pains and conflicts that come to us each day, as opportunities to grow as people and become more like You. Enable us to go through them patiently and bravely, trusting that You will support us. Make us realise that it is only by frequent deaths of ourselves and our self-centred desires, that we can come to live more fully,
for it is only, by dying with You, that we can rise with You.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)

(A Gift for God – prayers and meditations)it is only by dying with christ - mother teresa - 7 march 2019.jpg

Daily Meditation:
The Journey Begins

God has revealed Himself in Christ.   Let us praise His goodness and ask Him from our hearts:
Remember us, Lord, for we are Your children.

Teach us to enter more deeply into the mystery of the Church,
– that it may be more effective for ourselves and for the world as the sacrament of salvation.
Lover of mankind, inspire us to work for human progress,
– seeking to spread Your kingdom in all we do.
May our hearts thirst for Christ,
– the fountain of living water.
Forgive us our sins,
– and direct our steps into the ways of justice and sincerity.

Closing Prayer:
Lord,
Let everything I do this day and in this season of Lent
come from You, be inspired by You.

I long to be closer to You.
Help me to remember, that nothing is important in my life
unless it glorifies You in some way.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day of my life and keep saying,
“Tomorrow, I will spend more time in prayer”
but now my longing meet Your love and I want to do it now.
Help me to rely on You for help.

Please, Lord, remind me that “perfection”
isn’t the crazy, “successful” way I try to live my life
but a perfection of my most authentic, real self.
My “perfection” might be holding my many flaws in my open hands,
asking You to help me accept them.

Make me whole Lord and help me to find You in the darkness of my life.
Let me reach out in this darkness and feel Your hand and love, there to guide me.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.luke 9 23 thurs after ash wed - if any man will come after me - 7 march 2019.jpg

Posted in LENT 2019, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, QUOTES on LOVE, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 7 March – “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”…Luke 9:25

One Minute Reflection – 7 March – Thursday after Ash Wednesday – Gospel: Luke 9:22-25 and the Memorial of Blessed Leonid Feodorov (1879-1935) Martyr

“For what does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”…Luke 9:25

REFLECTION – “For what does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”. (v. 25).   This paradox contains the golden rule that God inscribed in the human nature created in Christ – the rule, that only love gives meaning and happiness to life.   To spend one’s own talents, one’s energy and one’s time only to save, protect and fulfil oneself, in reality leads to losing oneself, i.e. to a sad and barren existence.   Instead let us live for the Lord and base our life on love, as Jesus did – we will be able to savour authentic joy and our life will not be barren, it will be fruitful.”… Pope Francis – Angelus, 3 September 2017luke 9 25 - this paradox contains the golden rule - pope francis - 7 march thurs after ash wed 2019

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, Your great mercy, gave us Your Son!   Surely nothing can be a greater proof to us of Your unending love and mercy to Your lowly creatures, we who are dust.   Through Him, who died and rose for us, You have shown us the way of true mercy.   Grant us this day that by the intercession of Blessed Leonid Feodorov, who gave himself without reserve, we may take up our crosses with Him, never leaving the love of His Sacred Heart, so that we may join Your holy saints in eternal life.   Through Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.bl leonid feodorov pray for us 7 march 2019

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, LENT 2019, Our MORNING Offering, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH

Our Morning Offering – 7 March – Forgive my sins, O my God

Our Morning Offering – 7 March – Thursday after Ash Wednesday

ACT OF CONTRITION

Forgive my sins, O my God,
forgive my sins –
the sins of youth,
the sins of age,
the sins of my soul
and the sins of my body,
the sins which, through frailty,
I have committed,
my deliberate and grievous sins,
the sins I know
and the sins I do not know,
the sins I have laboured so long
to hide from others,
that now they are hidden
from my own memory;
let me be absolved
from all these iniquities
and delivered from
the bond of all these evils,
by the Life, Passion and Death
of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Amenact of contrition - 7 march - thurs after ash wed 2019.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 7 March – Blessed Leonid Feodorov (1879-1935) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 7 March – Blessed Leonid Feodorov (1879-1935) Priest, Martyr, Monk, Exarch of the Russian Greek Catholic Church of the See of Peter, Philosopher.   Born as Leonid Ivanovich Feodorov on 4 November 1879 at Saint Petersburg, Russia and died on 7 March 1935 of “natural causes”.   His body is buried at Kirov, Russia.BL LEONID - GOOD.jpg

Feodorov was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on 4 November 1879, into a Russian Orthodox family.   His father, Ivan, was a moderately successful restaurant owner and the son of a serf.   His mother, Lyuba Feodorov, a woman of Greek descent, raised him as a single mother after his father’s early death.   Although she attempted to raise her son as a devout member of the Russian Orthodox Church, she simultaneously encouraged him to read the popular novelists of the day.

He later recalled, “So I began to devour the best known French novelists of the day, Zola, Hugo, Maupassant and Dumas.   I became acquainted with the Italian Renaissance and its corrupt literature, Boccaccio and Ariosto.   My head came to be like a sewer into which the foulest muck was emptied.”

After his graduation from the Second Imperial Gymnasium in 1901, he enrolled in the Orthodox Ecclesiastical Academy in order to study for the priesthood in the Russian Orthodox Church.   After much soul-searching, he left the academy in the summer of 1902 and travelled to Rome by way of Austrian-ruled Lviv, where Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church blessed his mission.

On 31 July 1902, Feodorov was formally received into the Catholic Church at the Church of the Gesù in Rome.   In the aftermath, he began studying at the Jesuit seminary at Anagni under the pseudonym of “Leonidas Pierre,” which was meant to keep the Tsar’s secret police, or Okhrana, off his trail.BL Leonid 2

Although Leonid had originally promised to adopt the Latin Rite, while studying in the Jesuit seminary at Anagni, he came to believe that it was his duty to remain faithful to the liturgy and customs of the Christian East.   With the full permission and encouragement of Pope Pius X, Leonid transferred to the Russian Byzantine Catholic Church.   As a result of his decision, Leonid was disowned by his former Jesuit mentor and afterwards depended for his finances on Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky of Lviv.

On 25 March 1911, he received ordination in Bosnia as a Byzantine rite priest.   He spent the following years as a monk in Bosnia and Ukraine and was tonsured with monastic name ‘Leontiy’ on 12 March 1913.

On the eve of the First World War, he returned to Saint Petersburg whereupon he was immediately exiled to Tobolsk in Siberia as a potential threat to the Tsar’s government which held Russian Orthodoxy as its state religion.

After the February Revolution, the Provisional Government ordered the release of all political prisoners.   Pope Benedict XV named him Exarch of Russian Catholics of Byzantine rite.   A three-day Synod of the Russian Byzantine Catholic Church opened in Saint Petersburg under the leadership of Metropolitan Andrey.leonid-feodorov-3032e4c7-6452-4a94-8f77-1425791a05d-resize-750.jpg

Open persecution of religion began in 1922.   The clergy were forbidden to preach religion to anyone under eighteen years of age.   Then, all sacred objects were ordered to be seized for “famine relief” and lay councils were installed in each parish with the intention of making the priest a mere employee.   When both the Exarch Leonid and the Latin Rite Archbishop Jan Cieplak refused to permit this, all Catholic parishes were forcibly closed by the State.

In the spring of 1923, Exarch Leonid, Archbishop Cieplak, Monsignor Konstanty Budkiewicz and fourteen other Catholic priests and one layman were summoned to Moscow trial before the revolutionary tribunal for counter-revolutionary activities.   The international uproar which followed the trial gave the Soviet government pause, however.   Leonid was sentenced to prison but serving the first three years of his sentence in Moscow’s Butyrka prison, he was transported to enforced labour in Siberia – the Gulag in the White Sea.

There, in a former monastery, now a prison, Blessed Leonid was a pioneer of ecumenism together with the Orthodox with whom he shared the harsh captivity.   In Solovki, Roman Catholic Mass was offered in a chapel which had been restored for the purpose with the permission of the guards.   Exarch Leonid would offer the Divine Liturgy of the Russian Byzantine Catholic Church every other Sunday.   When the camp authorities cracked down on this in 1929, the Masses continued in secret.

On 6 August 1929, Exarch Leonid was released to the town of Pinega and put to work making charcoal.   After continuing, against all odds, to teach the Catechism to young boys, he was transferred to the village of Poltava, 15 km from Kotlas, where he completed his sentence in 1932.   He chose to reside in Kirov, Kirov Oblast, where, worn out by the rigours of his imprisonment, he died on 7 March 1935.

On 27 June 2001, Exarch Leonid Feodorov was Beatified by Pope John Paul II.   He remains deeply venerated among Russian Greek Catholics and by the Eastern Catholic Church.   He is regarded as a Martyr Killed Under Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe and is included in an additional memorial commemorating all of them on 29 June.BL LEONID.png