Holy Mass was offered for
Stacy Andres and Mary Anne Miller
on Tuesday, 12 March
Holy Mass was offered for
Stacy Andres and Mary Anne Miller
on Tuesday, 12 March
Novena to St Joseph
By Fr Michael Gaitley, MIC
St Joseph, Who Did God’s Will
Dear St Joseph,
You did God’s will. Dare I say, you did it perfectly? Saint Joseph, I want to also do God’s most perfect will. But on my own, I will fail. I need your help. I trust that with you as my spiritual father, you will guide me to always do God’s most perfect will. Truly, St. Joseph, I want to reach the degree of glory that God has prepared for me in heaven. I want to bear fruit that will last. I don’t want to let God down. I want to be a saint. Help me, St Joseph. You see how weak and sinful I am. But teach me, good father. Help me to follow the commandments and please make my heart sensitive to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.
I know that as I entrust myself to your care, you will guide me and show me how to always do God’s will. I give you permission to redirect the stream of my life if it ever departs from God’s most perfect will.
Saint Joseph, who did God’s will, please always keep me in God’s most perfect will. Amen
Thought for the Day – 15 March – The Memorial of St Clement Mary Hofbauer C.Ss.R.(1751-1820) “The Apostle of Austria” and “The Second Founder of the Redemptorists”
Among the passengers sharing a coach with Father Hofbauer on one occasion was a young man who was described as being infirm both in body and soul. Possibly embittered by his unfortunate physical state, the young man continually heaped coarse insults upon the holy priest, who endured the vulgarity in silence. At noon, when the coach drew up at an inn, all the other passengers disembarked to dine, giving no thought or concern for the crude cripple left behind. Hofbauer lifted the man in his arms, carried him into the inn, ordered his meal, then carried him back to the coach. The man’s behaviour toward the saint was totally changed for the rest of the trip. Filled with sorrow for his meanness, he declared that he would never have sunk to such moral degradation had he met such a priest earlier in life.
A Polish countess who had frequented St Benno’s reminisced in after years: “Whenever I recall him, I see him before me as a venerable priest, refined and awe inspiring in his deportment but withal very plain. Wherever he went, he radiated the beauty of peace and spread about him the consolation that springs from divine love. His language was always simple, he never made use of choice expressions. Still, his words always manifested great depth of mind and invariably awakened immediate confidence. The love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which filled his heart, shone forth in all his actions but there was about him no trace of singularity or affectation. Purity of soul, peace of heart, the radiance of that holy joy which is born of the intimate union of man with his Maker, beamed from his countenance. The Holy Spirit had bestowed upon him a special talent for directing souls in the ways of virtue and holiness and he toiled on with unrelenting fervour, granting himself no rest or respite until his physical energy was exhausted.”
He was unrelenting in pursuing souls cut off from the life of grace, especially those facing imminent death. A nun entered the church one day and found Father Hofbauer kneeling before the altar. Unobserved by the saint, she saw his cheeks wet with tears as he pleaded for the conversion of some sinner outside the fold.
“Lord,” he begged, “give me this soul, for if Thou refuse, I shall go to Thy Mother!” The nun was so deeply affected by this scene that she immediately knelt before an image of the Blessed Virgin and united her own prayers to those of Hofbauer’s.
Even a tiny grain of imitation of this great Redemptorist Saint would be a huge impetus on our own road to holiness!
Lenten Thoughts – 15 March – Friday of the First week of Lent, Year C Gospel: Matthew 5:20–26
An excerpt from his Catecheses, 13
The Catholic Church glories in every deed of Christ. Her supreme glory, however, is the cross. Well aware of this, Paul says – God forbid that I glory in anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!
At Siloam, there was a sense of wonder and rightly so. A man born blind recovered his sight. But of what importance is this, when there are so many blind people in the world? Lazarus rose from the dead but even this affected only Lazarus. What of those countless numbers who have died because of their sins? Those five miraculous loaves fed five thousand people. Yet this is a small number compared to those all over the world who were starved by ignorance. After eighteen years a woman was freed from the bondage of Satan. But are we not all shackled by the chains of our own sins?
For us all, however, the cross is the crown of victory! It has brought light to those blinded by ignorance. It has released those enslaved by sin. Indeed, it has redeemed the whole of mankind!
Do not, then, be ashamed of the cross of Christ, rather, glory in it. Although it is a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles, the message of the cross is our salvation. Of course it is folly to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. For it was not a mere man who died for us but the Son of God, God made man.
In the Mosaic law a sacrificial lamb banished the destroyer. But now it is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Will He not free us from our sins even more? The blood of an animal, a sheep, brought salvation. Will not the blood of the only-begotten Son bring us greater salvation?
He was not killed by violence, He was not forced to give up His life. His was a willing sacrifice. Listen to His own words – I have the power to lay down my life and take it up again. Yes, he willingly submitted to His own passion. He took joy in his achievement, in His crown of victory He was glad and in the salvation of man He rejoiced. He did not blush at the cross for by it He was to save the world. No, it was not a lowly man who suffered but God incarnate. He entered the contest, for the reward He would win by His patient endurance.
Certainly in times of tranquillity the cross should give you joy. But maintain the same faith in times of persecution. Otherwise you will be a friend of Jesus in times of peace and His enemy during war. Now you receive the forgiveness of your sins and the generous gift of grace from your King. When war comes, fight courageously for Him.
Jesus never sinned, yet He was crucified for you. Will you refuse to be crucified for Him, who for your sake was nailed to the cross? You are not the one who gives the favour, you have received one first. For your sake He was crucified on Golgotha. Now you are returning His favour, you are fulfilling your debt to Him.
Quote of the Day – 15 March – The Memorial of St Clement Mary Hofbauer C.Ss.R.(1751-1820) “The Apostle of Austria” and “The Second Founder of the Redemptorists”
“We are living in evil times here.
The Church of God is vilified,
oppressed and persecuted,
while we look on,
helpless to defend or rescue,
the Bride of Christ
from the hatred of her foes.”
An acquaintance one day met the saint returning exhausted from attending to a dying man who lived far removed from the city and who had been away from the sacraments for seventeen years.
“It is a good thing when such a one lives far away,” he said. “For then I have ample time to recite the Rosary on the way and I have learned from experience, that sinners invariably repent before death, whenever I have had a chance to say the beads before reaching them.”
Lenten Reflection – 15 March – Friday of the First week of Lent, Year C Gospel: Matthew 5:20–26
Christ, the model of brotherly love
Saint Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)
An excerpt from his The Mirror of Love
“The perfection of brotherly love lies in the love of one’s enemies. We can find no greater inspiration for this than grateful remembrance of the wonderful patience of Christ. He who is more fair than all the sons of men, offered his fair face to be spat upon by sinful men, He allowed those eyes that rule the universe, to be blindfolded by wicked men, He bared His back to the scourges, He submitted that head which strikes terror in principalities and powers to the sharpness of the thorns, He gave Himself up to be mocked and reviled and at the end endured the cross, the nails, the lance, the gall, the vinegar, remaining always gentle, meek and full of peace.
In short, He was led like a sheep to the slaughter and like a lamb before the shearers He kept silent and did not open His mouth.”
Renew us and prepare us.
Our lesson today is about reconciliation
Our Lord forgives us all our sins –
nothing can separate us from the love of God for us in Jesus
And we are called to forgive others
with the same compassion, mercy, patience and love given to us.
Our Lenten practices help us to
experience the renewing love of God
and they prepare us for our journey to Easter
to celebrate the mystery of our death to self
and rebirth in the new life Jesus won for us.
I do not wish the sinner to die, says the Lord,
but to turn to me and live.
Creator of my life,
renew me,bring me to new life in You.
Touch me and make me feel whole again.
Help me to see Your love
in the passion, death and resurrection of Your son.
Help me to observe Lent
in a way that allows me to celebrate that love.
Prepare me for these weeks of Lent
as I feel both deep sorrows for my sins
and Your undying love for me.
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
One Minute Reflection – 15 March – Friday of the First week of Lent, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 5:20–26 and The Memorial of St Clement Mary Hofbauer C.Ss.R.(1751-1820)
“If you are bringing your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and first go and be reconciled with your brother. Then come and offer your gift.”…Matthew 5:23–24
REFLECTION – “Christ gave His life for you and do you hold a grudge against your fellow servant? How then can you approach the table of peace? Your Master did not refuse to undergo every kind of suffering for you and will you not even forgo your anger?… He has offered me an outrageous insult, you say. He has wronged me times without number, he has endangered my life. Well, what is that? He has not yet crucified you as the Jewish elders crucified the Lord.
If you refuse to forgive your neighbour’s offence your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins either (Mt 6:15). What does your conscience say when you repeat the words: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…,” and the rest? Christ went so far as to offer His blood for the salvation of those who shed it. What could you do that would equal that? If you refuse to forgive your enemy you harm not him but yourself… You earn for yourself eternal punishment on the Day of Judgement.
Listen to the Lord’s words: “If you are bringing your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and first go and be reconciled with your brother. Then come and offer your gift.” What do you mean? Am I really to leave my gift, my offering there? Yes, He says, because this sacrifice is offered in order that you may live in peace with your brother… For the Son of Man has come into the world to reconcile humanity with its Father. As Paul says: “Now God has reconciled everything to himself” (Col 1:20) “putting enmity to death through the cross” (Eph 2:16)…. St John Chrysostom (347-407)
PRAYER – All-merciful Father, help me to be ever open to Your love and mercy, running to You in all my needs and in all my fears. Allow me too, to run to the confessional when I have sinned, to ask for and receive forgiveness and love. Through Your mercy and forgiveness, teach me too to forgive and open my heart to kindness, reconciliation and care for my brother. Grant that the prayers of St Clement Mary Hofbauer, may assist us all in living holy lives according to Your Commandments and the laws of the Church. Amen