When I think that God gave me my guardian angel and St Michael to daily watch over me and defend me, I’m not afraid. But then, when I think that you, you who are even more powerful before God, are my spiritual father, when I think that you are the “Terror of Demons,” when I think of how you protected the Baby Jesus from Herod, then I am completely at peace (or, at least I know I should be).
Saint Joseph, please pray that I will have the peace that comes from trusting in your fatherly protection. Saint Joseph, I believe that you will protect me from my enemies, seen and unseen. I believe that you will protect me from bodily and spiritual harm. I trust in your fatherly care. Saint Joseph, I will do my best not to give into fear, knowing that you are praying for me in a special way as a child who has formally consecrated himself to your fatherly care.
Saint Joseph, Strong Guardian, please defend me with your prayers. Amen
Lenten Thoughts – 14 March – Thursday of the First week of Lent, Year C, Today’s
Christ Calls Us Deeper Still
Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
Called on from grace to grace
All through our life Christ is calling us. He called us first in Baptism but afterwards also, whether we obey His voice or not, He graciously calls us still. If we fall from our Baptism, He calls us to repen,; if we are striving to fulfil our calling, He calls us on from grace to grace and from holiness to holiness, while life is given us.
Abraham was called from his home, Peter from his nets, Matthew from his office, Elisha from his farm, Nathanael from his retreat – we are all in course of calling, on and on, from one thing to another, having no resting-place but mounting towards our eternal rest and obeying one command only, to have another put upon us. He calls us again and again, in order to justify us, again and again—and again and again and more and more, to sanctify and glorify us.
Christ calls us right now! It were well, if we understood this but we are slow to master the great truth, that Christ is, as it were, walking among us and by His hand, or eye, or voice, bidding us to follow Him.
We do not understand that His call is a thing which takes place now. We think it took place in the Apostles’ days but we do not believe in it, we do not look out for it in our own case. We have not eyes to see the Lord, far different from the beloved Apostle, who knew Christ even when the rest of the disciples knew Him not. When He stood on the shore after His resurrection and bade them cast the net into the sea, “that disciple whom Jesus loved said unto Peter, It is the Lord” (John 21:7).
Do you accept Christ’s’ call?
There is nothing miraculous or extraordinary in His dealings with us. He works through our natural faculties and circumstances of life. Still what happens to us in providence, is in all essential respects, what His voice was to those whom He addressed, when on earth – whether He commands by a visible presence, or by a voice, or by our consciences, it matters not, so that we feel it to be a command. If it is a command, it may be obeyed or disobeyed, it may be accepted as Samuel or St Paul accepted it, or put aside after the manner of the young man who had great possessions.
Thought for the Day – 14 March – the Memorial of Blessed Giacomo Cusmano (1834-1888)
St Pope John Paul on the Beatification of Blessed Giacomo, 30 October 1983
“To heal the wounds of poverty and misery which were afflicting such a large part of the population because of recurring famines and epidemics but also because of social inequality, (Blessed Giacomo Cusmano) chose the way of charity – love for God which was translated into effective love for his brethren and into the gift of himself to the most needy and suffering in a service pushed to the point of heroic sacrifice.
After opening a first “House for the Poor”, he began a broader work of social promotion by instituting the “Morsel for the Poor” Association, which was like the mustard seed from which a very vigorous plant sprung up. Making himself poor with the poor, he did not disdain begging in the streets of Palermo, soliciting everyone’s charity and collecting food which he then distributed to the innumerable poor who gathered around him.
His work, like all of God’s works, encountered difficulties which severely tested his will but with immense confidence in God and with his indomitable will power, he overcame every obstacle, giving origin to the Institute of the “Sisters Servants of the Poor” and to the “Congregation of Missionary Servants of the Poor”.
He led his spiritual sons and daughters to the practice of charity in fidelity to the evangelical counsels and in striving for holiness. His rules and spiritual letters are documents of an ascetic wisdom in which strength and gentleness are merged. The central idea was this – “To live in the presence of God and in union with God, to receive everything from God’s hands, to do everything out of pure love and the glory of God.”
Lenten Reflection – 14 March – Thursday of the First week of Lent, Year C, Today’s Gospel Matthew 7:7-12
“Ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.”...Matthew 7:7
The Prince of Peace
“Launch your soul on the waves of confidence and abandonment and remember that anything that troubles it or throws it into fear does not come from God, for He is the Prince of Peace and He promises that peace to “those of good will” (Lk 2:14 Vg.). When you are afraid you have abused His grace, that is the time to redouble your confidence, for, as the Apostle Paul says: “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more,” (Rm 5:20) and farther on: “I boast of my weaknesses, for then the power of Jesus Christ dwells in me.” (2 Cor 12:9) “Our God is rich in mercy because of His immense love.” (Eph 2:4)”
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906) (Letter 224 (I Have Found God)
Help us to be eager in doing Your will.
In today’s lesson, we learn more about prayer.
We are touched by the bold, full-hearted prayer of Esther.
We hear with a freshness how sincerely Jesus invites us to:
ask and receive
seek and find
knock and find the door opened.
Dependence is not a virtue we ordinarily admire.
Today we grow in our sense that we need God’s grace very much –
even to know what is right –
but certainly to fan our desires into a flame.
Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Psalm 138 Closing Prayer:
I am not always eager to do Your will.
I’d often much rather do my own will.
Please be with me on this Lenten journey
and help me to remember
that Your own Spirit can guide me
in the right direction.
I want to fix my weaknesses
but the task seems overwhelming.
But I know that with Your help,
anything can be done.
With a grateful heart,
I acknowledge Your love
and know that without You,
I can do nothing.
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
One Minute Reflection – 14 March – Thursday of the First week of Lent, Year C, Today’s Gospel Matthew 7:7-12 and the Memorial of Blessed Giacomo Cusmano (1834-1888)
“Ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.”...Matthew 7:7
REFLECTION – “Please be bold, because when we pray we usually have a need. The friend is God – He is a rich friend who has bread, He has what we need. As Jesus said – “In prayer be intrusive. Do not get tired.” But do not get tired of what? Of asking. “Ask and it will be given to you”.”…Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 11 October 2018
PRAYER – Heavenly Father, with confidence we pray, for in Your bounty Lord, You give us all we need. You hear our plea and grant us our needs. You give us the Spirit, who alone can teach us to think and do what is right, so that we, who without You cannot exist, may live in loving obedience to Your Will. Hear the prayers of Blessed Giacomo Cusmano on our behalf and add them to our own imperfect petitions. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Saint of the Day – 14 March – Blessed Giacomo Cusmano (1834-1888) – Priest, Founder, Physician, Surgeon, Apostle of the Poor. Bl Giacomo was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and the founder of the “Congregation of Missionary Servants of the Poor” which is also known as the Morsel of the Poor. Cusmano also established the Sisters Servants of the Poor. He was beatified by St Pope John Paul II on 30 October 1983. His older sister was Vincenzina Cusmano (1826-1894), who joined his female religious order was declared Venerable in May 2017, putting her on the path to beatification.
This Italian Blessed was born on 15 March 1834, in Palermo on the island of Sicily. He received his first schooling in his parents’ house from a priest-tutor. This perhaps laid the foundation for his piety, which was then deepened at the Collegio Massimo of the Jesuits in Palermo. Hence, the young medical student was armed against the threats to religion and morals during his studies at the University in Palermo.
After Giacomo Cusmano had brilliantly completed a doctorate in medicine and surgery, he practised the medical profession from 1855 to 1859 with intelligence, skill and zeal, caring particularly for those poor sick people who could not afford a doctor. Soon he noted that many of his patients from the poorer sections of the city of Palermo were in much greater need of a priestly physician of souls. He began to study theology as well, and on 22 December 1860, he was ordained a priest.
Now both doctor and priest, he felt compelled to start an institution for his poor patients that he called Boccone del Povero (Food of the Poor). He began by gathering medicines, foodstuffs and other material relief for the poor and by distributing these donations to them in their lodgings. Out of this developed a society, which was authorised in 1867 by Archbishop Naselli of Palermo and was finally approved and blessed by Pope Pius IX.
The physician-priest Father Cusmano wanted to provide his institution with a band of auxilliaries, women and men who would help serve the poor. After twelve years of labour pains, such an association of lay brothers and sisters came into being. On 13 May 1880, the Blessed was able to present the habit to the first Sisters, on 14 October 1884, after a long preparation, he conferred the habit upon the first lay Brothers of the Servants of the Poor. On 21 November 1887, Blessed Giacomo erected also the Congregation of Missionary Fathers, who were commissioned to proclaim the Good News to the poor and furthermore to direct and minister to the Servants of the Poor. Then Dr Cusmano founded additional hostels, hospitals and orphanages for the poor people in Palermo and in other Sicilian localities. His work soon extended to other regions of Italy, as well as to Africa and to both North and South America.
The ideal that personally motivated this Blessed and that he wanted the members of his societies to put into action was “unlimited charity”. One of his first collaborators, later the Archbishop of Palermo, Cardinal Giuseppe Guarino, wrote about Giacomo Cusmano: “God has placed deep within the bosom of this physician and priest the heart of Saint Vincent de Paul. The fervour of his love for the poor was unsurpassed, the integrity of his blameless conduct was truly angelic, the kindness beaming from his face recalled Saint Francis de Sales. I have followed him very attentively through all the stages of his virtuous life and I must acknowledge, I have never met a priest who was so zealous for the salvation of souls, so amiable and so holy as he.”
On 9 February 1888, Giacomo Cusmano said at the inaugural meeting of the committee of the Ladies of Charity – presumably with a view to his approaching death – “My mission is now finished.”In fact, he died a few weeks later, on 14 March 1888, at 04:30am in Palermo, Italy of natural causes following a severe bout of pleurisy, in his fifty-fourth year just a day before his birthday and in the odour of sanctity, lamented and mourned by countless people. The orations that were given at his funeral were very moving, they spoke quite clearly of a saint who had gone home, of an Italian Vincent de Paul.
Bl Pauline of Thuringia
St Peter of Africa
St Philip of Turin
Bl Thomas Vives
47 Martyrs of Rome – Forty-seven people who were baptised into the faith in Rome, Italy by Saint Peter the Apostle, and were later martyred together during the persecutions of Nero. Martyred c.67 in Rome, Italy
Martyrs of Valeria – Two monks martyred by Lombards in Valeria, Italy who were never identified. After the monks were dead, their killers could still hear them singing psalms. They were hanged on a tree in Valeria, Italy in the 5th