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
Our Morning Offering – 15 March – Friday of the First week of Lent, Year C
I have nothing, O my Saviour and my God!
By Father John Croiset SJ
I have nothing,
O my Saviour and my God!
I have nothing which can be
pleasing unto Thee;
I can do nothing,
I am nothing
but I have a heart
and this is enough for me.
Health, honour and life itself
may be taken from me
but no man can rob me of my heart.
I have a heart
and with this heart
I can love Thee,
O my Saviour Jesus,
worthy of all adoration!
And with this heart,
it is my determination to love You
and always I resolve
to love Thee,
only to love Thee always.
Fr John Croiset, SJ was spiritual director to St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), the great apostle and visionary of devotion to the Sacred Heart. St Margaret Mary told Fr Croiset that it was Jesus’s ardent wish that he assist her in making devotion to the Sacred Heart, until then a private devotion of chosen souls, generally known to all of the faithful.
After St Margaret Mary’s death, Fr Croiset duly compiled an account of her revelations concerning the Sacred Heart, together with her prayers concerning this devotion, into a volume entitled The Devotion to the Sacred Heart which was published in 1691. In 1704, due to Fr Croiset’s failure to observe certain formalities, the book was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books, where it remained for two centuries. During this time Fr Croiset’s book was nearly forgotten. However, a certain bishop, wishing to call attention to devotion to the Sacred Heart within his diocese, came upon the text and finding that it had been placed upon the Index, called for the Sacred Congregation of the Index to re-examine the book. The Sacred Congregation determined that no error could be found in the work and so it was at last removed from the Index.
Saint of the Day – Blessed Jan Adalbert Balicki (1869-1948) – Priest, Professor of dogmatic theology at the Seminary, Spiritual Director, Preacher – born on 25 January 1869 in Staromiescie, Poland and died on 15 March 1948 of pneumonia and tuberculosis in Przemysl, Poland. He was Beatified on 18 August 2002 by St Pope John Paul II at Krakow, Poland.
John Adalbert was raised in a deeply religious family and, although materially poor, they were a family rich in honesty and virtue. From 1876-1888 he attended the schools of Rzeszow under the guidance of high level educators imbued with a love for Polish culture. In September 1888 he entered the diocesan Seminary of Przemysl. After four years of study and spiritual preparation, he was ordained on 20 July 1892.
The bishop sent him to be assistant pastor in the parish of Polna. He was appreciated as a man of prayer, a patient confessor and a gifted preacher. After about a year, he was sent to Rome to pursue his formation at the Pontifical Gregorian University. During his four years of study (1893-1897), he was aware of a dual responsibility – as a priest, to continue to make progress in Christian perfection and as a student, to complete his studies. His spiritual approach to theology bore fruit later on in his teaching. He listened to the lectures in the morning. In the afternoon he read the authors referred to and, above all, St Thomas Aquinas. Then he went to the chapel to pray over what he studied. He spent his freetime in Rome visiting the shrines of the Apostles and the rooms of the saints. It was a concrete way of learning about the faith.
Professor of theology, prefect of studies:
In the summer of 1897, he returned to Przemysl of the Latins, where he was appointed professor of dogmatic theology in the diocesan seminary. He was convinced that theology is not only the science that regards God but the science that can turn man to reach God. His lessons were meditations on the mysteries of God and had a good influence on the moral formation of his students. Up till 1900, Fr Balicki was also prefect of studies.
Rector of the seminary:
In 1927, in a spirit of obedience, he accepted the post of vice-rector of the seminary and a year later he was appointed rector. He was concerned about the spiritual formation of the priests. Before he presented the candidates to the bishop, he studied the reports and prayed for light to make the proper decision.
Spiritual direction and confession:
In 1934 he was forced to resign as rector and professor of theology due to poor health but he continued to live at the seminary. From 1934-1939 he could only hear confessions and give spiritual direction. Many of his penitents testified that he had an extraordinary gift of penetrating the profondity of their soul. As confessor he had an open heart for everyone who approached him with sincerity. He was always available for confession despite poor health. He was not just a judge or giver of absolution but he did all he could to motivate his penitents to grow spiritually. He regularly gave direction through letters.
World War II: restrictions, worsened health:
In September 1939, Poland was plunged into the tragedy of the Second World War. Right away the city of Przemysl was divided into two parts – the old section occupied by Soviet troops and the rest of the city occupied by the Germans. Although the priests and the bishop and his collaborators thought it safer to move to the German side, Fr Balicki remained in the Soviet zone hoping to start again the activity of formation in the Seminary. In the end, he was forced to move into a room in the bishop’s temporary housing.
In October 1941, the fighting in the area stopped and the artificial barrier that divided the city was abolished. Fr Balicki stayed there in his temporary room with the bishop.
In the second half of February 1948, he became gravely ill and was diagnosed as having bilateral pneumonia and tuberculosis in its advanced stage. He was admitted to the hospital where he died on 15 March 1948. He was considered by all to be a “holy priest” and “humility in person”.
Teaching and example:
After his death, the fame of his holiness spread throughout Poland and beyond Poland by means of the Polish emigrants. Eventually the people began to report to the authorities the answers to their prayers in which they begged John Adalbert to intercede for them.
Those who knew him report that his whole life was motivated by the desire to be the least among his brothers. His humility was simple, natural, authentic. There was no room for pride or vanity. He was gentle and careful in his dealings with others. He never desired to call attention to his own pains or sufferings.
What stood out as the fruit of humility was his great love of God and neighbour. Love was the dominant attitude. Humility allowed him to tend constantly toward God. He said that the life of grace was revealed in the dominion of the spirit over the flesh and its disordered inclinations. He stressed the role of the virtues in the growth of the spiritual life, especially mortification, patience and humility. Mortification submits nature to grace, patience, inseparable from love, makes man capable of sacrifice for God, humility dethrones the ego to place the Lord at the centre of his heart.
He held up prayer as the indispensable nourishment for the growth of the interior life and for final perseverance. Prayer is the elevation of the mind and heart to God so that we can live for Him and we love God with the love that He infuses into our hearts.
He did a study of mystical prayer in which he emphasised four degrees – prayer of quiet, prayer of simple union, ecstatic union and perfect union.
He also gave a list of the 7 steps for progress in the spiritual life. They are a serious approach to life, readiness to be critical of self, unshakeable confidence in prayer, joy of spirit, love for suffering, praise of divine mercy and continuous self amendment.
Model for Diocesan Priests:
On 22 December 1975, the then Cardinal Wojtyła wrote to Pope Paul VI to hold him up as a model for priests in our time….Vatican.va
Bl Jan was Beatified on 18 August 2002 by St Pope John Paul II at Krakow, Poland.
Bl Anthony of Milan
St Aristobulos of Britannia
Bl Arnold of Siena
Bl Artemide Zatti
St Bodian of Hanvec
St Clement Mary Hofbauer C.Ss.R (1751-1820)
St Eoghan of Concullen
St Eusebius II
Bl Francis of Fermo
Bl Jan Adalbert Balicki (1869-1948)
St Leocritia of Córdoba
St Longinus the Centurian
Bl Ludovico de la Pena
St Mancius of Evora
St Matrona of Capua
St Matrona of Thessaloniki
St Menignus of Parium
Bl Monaldus of Ancona
St Nicander of Alexandria
St Peter Pasquale
St Pío Conde y Conde
St Vicenta of Coria
Bl Walter of Quesnoy
Bl William Hart
St Pope Zachary