Posted in LENT 2019, LENTEN THOUGHTS, ON the SAINTS, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on FASTING, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on SANCTITY, SAINT of the DAY, The PASSION

Lenten Thoughts – 21 March – The Primacy of the Spiritual:  Saint Nicholas of Flue

Lenten Thoughts – 21 March – Thursday of the Second week of Lent, Year C and the Memorial of St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)

The Primacy of the Spiritual:  Saint Nicholas of Flue (Excerpt)
By Christopher O Blum

Born to a pious, upstanding peasant family, young Nicholas stood out for his goodness, simplicity and mortification.   While still a young man, labouring in the fields and meadows of the valleys south of Lucerne, he fasted four times per week, explaining himself, when pressed, by saying, “Such is the will of God.”   Until his fiftieth year, his life was that of an exemplary Swiss free man.   Like many of his fellow countrymen, he served his canton both under arms and by holding civic office.   And this pillar of the community raised up five sons and five daughters with the help of his exemplary wife Dorothy.   Yet God persisted in calling him to a life beyond that of the domestic holiness he had already embraced and sent visions to him in his late-night prayer vigils and his moments of afternoon solitude in the fields, visions that beckoned him to leave all.st nicholas of flue pray for us 21 march 2019 no 2.jpg

As the eminent Swiss theologian Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) explained in his biography of the hermit-saint, “it no longer sufficed for him to walk along the roads of the world with God in his heart, he had to take the path set aside for him, that he might be taken by the hand and led to where he knew not.”   What praise of Dorothy of Flue could be lovelier, Journet asked, than to admire her magnanimity in being able to “comprehend the drama of this great soul”?   They parted friends, just thirteen weeks after the birth of their youngest child and remained so.   Several years later, a pilgrim visitor to Nicholas’ hermitage saw the saint, with joyous mien, lean out of the window of his tiny cell after the morning Mass to greet his family with a blessing:  “May God give you a blessed day, dear friends and good people!”

Nicholas had initially thought to join a monastery, perhaps one in nearby Alsace known for its austerity.   But a chance conversation with a peasant helped him to understand another of his mystical visions – this one of the nearby town of Liestal wrapped in flames. His good works were needed in his own neighbourhood.   And so, he built himself a hermitage one valley over from his home and spent the next twenty years there, clad only in a tunic, with bare feet and a bare head, to do penance for his beloved people.   His piety was simple, for he was illiterate.   A neighbouring priest had taught him the practice of meditating on Christ’s Passion in stages to match the seven canonical hours of the Church’s daily prayer.   This method bore good results.   He soon became known for the wisdom and holiness of his counsel and pilgrims flocked to his hidden valley to listen to his simple, direct words:  “O man, when the world hates you and is faithless toward you, think of your God, how he was struck and spat upon.   You should not accuse your neighbour of guilt but pray to God, that he be merciful to you both.”

Writing during the Second World War, Cardinal Journet saw in Nicholas of Flue the “supreme incarnation of the genius of Switzerland.”   By this he did not mean that the hermit was a pacifist.   He was something higher and more important.   His greatness “was to have affirmed the primacy of the spiritual life.”   “For the saints”, the Cardinal explained, “are sent to us by God as so many sermons.   We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.”   Those were years of exceptional trial for the Swiss but they were also years in which men and women of good will prepared the ground for spiritual renewal and rebuilding.the saints are sent to us by god - card charles journet 21 march 2019.jpg

What lesson might Nicholas of Flue hold out for our generation?   Were he alive today this simple Swiss peasant would doubtless be startled by our wealth.   The recession of recent years seems to have done little to dull the edge of our consumption.   The adjective “worldly” is now being used as a term of approbation, to signify the savoir-faire of the person who knows the latest fashions and ways of thinking.   It is a telling linguistic development.   Nicholas of Flue spent the last twenty years of his life in a tiny room with two windows.   Through one of them, he could see something of the beauty of his native land, a beauty that nourished his reflection and piety:  “O man, think of the sun so high in the sky and consider its splendour – but your soul has received the splendour of the eternal God.”   Through the other, he saw the altar, whence came the very food of his soul.   “We should carry the Passion of God in our hearts, for this is the greatest consolation to a man at the hour of his death.”   The one thing needful indeed.we should carry the passion of god - 21 march 2019 st nicholas of flue.jpg

My Lord and my God
St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)

My Lord and my God,
take from me everything
that distances me from You.
My Lord and my God,
give me everything
that brings me closer to You.
My Lord and my God,
detach me from myself
to give my all to You.
Amen

The above prayer of St Nicholas, is cited in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraph #226.
CCC 226 – It means making good use of created things: faith in God, the only One, leads us to use everything that is not God only insofar as it brings us closer to Him and to detach ourselves from it insofar as it turns us away from Him.

prayer-of-st-nicholas-of-flue-no-226-my-lord-and-my-god-take-from-me-everything-21-march-20181.jpg

Posted in QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The HOLY SPIRIT

Thought for the Day – 21 March – “Do everything for the love of God”

Thought for the Day – 21 March – Thursday of the Second week of Lent, Year C and the Memorial of St Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello (1791 – 1858)

“O most blessed Light, fill the interior of the hearts of your faithful.”   The words of the Sequence are a beautiful summary of the life of Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello and explain its extraordinary spiritual richness.

Guided by divine grace, the new saint was concerned to accomplish God’s will with fidelity and coherence.   With boundless confidence in the Lord’s goodness, she abandoned herself to his “loving Providence”, deeply convinced, as she liked to repeat, that one must “do everything for love of God and to please Him”.   This is the precious inheritance that St Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello left to her spiritual daughters that today is offered to the entire Christian community.

Come Holy Spirit, enkindle the hearts of your faithful!   Help us to spread the fire of your love in the world.   Amen!

St Pope John Paul on the Canonisation of St Benedetta, Sunday, 19 May 2002

St Benedetta Frassinello, Pray for Us!st benedetta frassinello pray for us 21 march 2019 do everythingforthelove of god.jpg

Posted in QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on SUFFERING, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 21 March – St Nicholas of Flue

Quote/s of the Day – 21 March – Thursday of the Second week of Lent, Year C and the Memorial of St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)

“O man,
when the world hates you
and is faithless toward you,
think of your God,
how He was struck and spat upon.
You should not accuse your neighbour of guilt
but pray to God,
that He be merciful to you both.”

St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)o man when the world hates you - st nicholas of flue 21march2019.jpg

Posted in CATECHESIS, LENT 2019, MORNING Prayers, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on CHARITY, The WORD

Lenten Reflection – 21 March- The rich man and Lazarus

Lenten Reflection – 21 March – Thursday of the Second week of Lent, Year C

“There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple
and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.
And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus…”
Luke 16:19–20Luke 16 19–20 rich man and lazarus turs2ndweeklent-21march2019.jpg

St Peter Chrysologus (400-450)
Bishop of Ravenna, Doctor of the Church

Sermon 122, On the rich man and Lazarus

“Abraham was very rich,” Scripture tells us (Gn 13:2)… My brethren, Abraham wasn’t rich for himself but for the poor, rather than keeping hold of his fortune, he intended to share it…This man, who was himself a stranger, did not hesitate to do all he could so that the stranger might not feel himself to be a stranger.   Living in a tent, he was unable to let a passer-by remain without shelter.   Perpetual traveller, he unfailingly welcomed the travellers who came his way…  Far from taking his ease in God’s bounty, he knew himself called to spread it abroad, he used it to protect the oppressed, set prisoners free, even to snatch those about to die from their fate (Gn 14:14)…  Abraham did not sit but remained standing before the stranger he had received.   He was not his guest’s host but made himself his servant.   Forgetting that he was master in his own home, he himself brought the food and, concerned that it should be carefully prepared, called on his wife.   Where he himself was concerned he relied entirely on his servants, but for the stranger he had received he thought it barely enough to entrust it to his wife’s skill.
What more could I say, my brothers?   It was so perfect a consideration… that drew God himself to Abraham’s home and compelled him to become his guest.   Thus the very one who would later claim to be welcomed in the person of the poor and the stranger, came to Abraham, rest for the poor, refuge of strangers.   “I was hungry,” he said, “and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt 25:35).
And again, we read in the Gospel:  “When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.”   Isn’t it only right, brethren, that Abraham should welcome all the saints even into his own rest and should exercise, even in the blessedness of heaven, his service of hospitality?…  Doubtless, he could not have considered himself wholly happy unless, even in glory, he was able to continue to practice his ministry of sharing.”

Daily Meditation:
Bring us back to you.

The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus is our lesson today.
We beg to be open to the workings of the Spirit,
that we might not settle for the consolations of this life alone.

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers
but his delight is in the law of the Lord
and on his law he meditates day and night.
Psalm 1:1-2

LOVE OF OUR NEIGHBOUR

St John Vianney (1786-1859)

“All of our religion is but a false religion and all our virtues are mere illusions and we ourselves are only hypocrites in the sight of God, if we have not that universal charity for everyone, for the good and for the bad, for the poor people as well as for the rich, for all those who do us harm as much as for those who do us good.
No, my dear brethren, there is no virtue which will let us know better whether we are the children or God than charity.
The obligation we have to love our neighbour is so important, that Jesus Christ put it into a Commandment, which He placed immediately after that by which He commands us to love Him with all our hearts.   He tells us that all the law and the prophets are included in this commandment to love our neighbour.   Yes, my dear brethren, we must regard this obligation as the most universal, the most necessary and the most essential to religion and to our salvation.   In fulfilling this Commandment, we are fulfilling all others.   St Paul tells us that the other Commandments forbid us to commit adultery, robbery, injuries, false testimonies.   If we love our neighbour, we shall not do any of these things because the love we have for our neighbour would not allow us to do him any harm.”

all of our religion is but a false - st john vianney thurs2ndweeklent 21 march 2019.jpg

Closing Prayer:
Loving God,
I hear your invitation, “Come back to me”
and I am filled with such a longing to return to You.
Show me the way to return.
Lead me this day in good works I do in Your name
and send Your Spirit to guide me and strengthen my faith.
I ask only to feel Your love in my life today and if You are with me, how can I not love my neighbour?

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen

Posted in LENT 2019, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on CHARITY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 21 March –  To ignore a poor man is to scorn God!

One Minute Reflection – 21 March – Thursday of the Second week of Lent, Year C

“There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.   And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus…”… Luke 16:19–20

REFLECTION – “Lazarus is a good example of the silent cry of the poor throughout the ages and the contradictions of a world in which immense wealth and resources are in the the hands of the few.   To ignore a poor man is to scorn God!   We must learn this well – to ignore the poor is to scorn God.  to ignore a poor man is to scorn god - pope francis 21 march 2019 thurs2ndweeklent

There is a detail in the parable that is worth noting – the rich man has no name but only an adjective – ‘the rich man’, while the name of the poor man is repeated five times and ‘Lazarus’ means ‘God helps’.   Lazarus, who is lying at the gate, is a living reminder to the rich man to remember God but the rich man does not receive that reminder.   Hence, he will be condemned not because of his wealth but for being incapable of feeling compassion for Lazarus and for not coming to his aid.

God’s mercy toward us is linked to our mercy toward our neighbour, when this is lacking, also that of not finding room in our closed heart, He cannot enter.   If I do not thrust open the door of my heart to the poor, that door remains closed.   Even to God. This is terrible.”….Pope Francis – General Audience, 18 May 2016luke 16 19-20 there was a rich man - there is a detail - pope francis - 21 march 2019 thurs2ndweeklent

PRAYER – Lord God, You love innocence of heart and when it is lost, You alone can restore it.   In Your bounty, You give us all that is good, You give us Your Spirit who teaches us to think and do what is right.   Turn then our hearts to You and to our neighbour, especially those who are in need, so that we, may be unwearied in good works.   Always helped by the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Charity, we strive to make our lenten journey, one of total self-giving.   Through Christ our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.mary mother of charity pray for us 21 march 2019.jpg

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, LENT 2019, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The PASSION

Our Morning Offering – 21 March – My Lord, I Offer You Myself

Our Morning Offering – 21 March – Thursday of the Second week of Lent, Year C

My Lord, I Offer You Myself
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

My Lord,
I offer You myself in turn,
as a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
You have died for me,
And I in turn make myself over to You.
I am not my own.
You have bought me:
I will, by my own act and deed,
complete the purchase.
My wish is to be separated
from everything of this world;
To cleanse myself simply from sin;
To put away from me even what is innocent,
If used for its own sake
and not for Yours.
I put away reputation and honour
and influence and power,
For my praise and strength,
shall be in You.
Enable me to carry out what I profess
Amenmy lord i offer you myself - by john henry newman 21 march 2019 thurs2ndweeklent.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 21 March – St Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello (1791 – 1858)

Saint of the Day – 21 March – St Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello (1791 – 1858) aged 66 – Wife, Religious and Foundress of the Benedictine Sisters of Providence.   Patronages – her Order and Teachers.

Saint Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello was born on 2 October 1791 in Langasco (Genoa) Italy and she died on 21 March 1858 in Ronco Scrivia in Liguria.   She was wife, religious and foundress.   She let the Holy Spirit guide her through married life to the work of education and religious consecration.   She founded a school for the formation of young women and also a religious congregation and did both with the generous collaboration of her husband.   This is unique in the annals of Christian sanctity.   Benedetta was a pioneer in her determination to give a high quality education to young women, for the formation of families for a “new Christian society” and for promoting the right of women to a complete education._Benedetta_Cambiagio_Frassinello_(1791-1858).jpg

Call to marriage, then to religious life:
From her parents Benedetta received a Christian formation that rooted in her the life of faith.   Her family settled in Pavia when she was a girl.   When she was 20 years old, Benedetta had a mystical experience that gave her a profound desire for a life of prayer and penance and of consecration to God.   However, in obedience to the wishes of her parents, in 1816, she married Giovanni Frassinello and lived married life for two years. In 1818, moved by the example of his saintly wife, Giovanni agreed that the two should live chastely, “as brother and sister” and take care of Benedetta’s younger sister, Maria, who was dying from intestinal cancer.   They began to live a supernatural parenthood quite unique in the history of the Church.

Congregation founded by wife, who is supported by her husband:
Following Maria’s death in 1825, Giovanni entered the Somaschi Fathers founded by St Jerome Emiliani (1486-1537), and Benedetta devoted herself completely to God in the Ursuline Congregation of Capriolo.   A year later, she was forced to leave because of ill health and returned to Pavia where she was miraculously cured by St Jerome Emiliani. Once she regained her health, with the Bishop’s approval, she dedicated herself to the education of young girls.   Benedetta needed help in handling such a responsibility but her own father refused to help her.   Bishop Tosi of Pavia asked Giovanni to leave the Somaschi novitiate and help Benedetta in her apostolic work.   Together they made a vow of perfect chastity in the hands of the bishop and then began their common work to promote the human and Christian formation of poor and abandoned girls of the city. Their educational work was of great benefit to Pavia.   Benedetta became the first woman to be involved in this kind of work.   The Austrian government recognised her as a “Promoter of Public Education”.

She was helped by young women volunteers to whom she gave a rule of life that later received ecclesiastical approval.   Along with instruction, she joined formation in catechesis and in useful skills like cooking and sewing, aiming to transform her students into “models of Christian life” and so assure the formation of families.benedetta st 20020519_cambiagio

Benedictine Sisters of Providence:
Benedetta’s work was considered pioneering for those days and was opposed by a few persons in power and by the misunderstanding of clerics.   In 1838 she turned over the institution to the Bishop of Pavia.   Together with Giovanni and five companions, she moved to Ronco Scrivia in the Genoa region.   There they opened a school for girls that was a refinement on what they had done in Pavia.

Eventually, Benedetta founded the Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of Providence. In her rule she stressed the education of young girls.   She instilled the spirit of unlimited confidence and abandonment to Providence and of love of God through poverty and charity.   The Congregation grew quickly since it performed a needed service.   Benedetta was able to guide the development of the Congregation until her death.   On 21 March 1858 she died in Ronco Scrivia.

Her example is that of supernatural maternity plus courage and fidelity in discerning and living God’s will.

Today the Benedictine Nuns of Providence are present in Italy, Spain, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Peru and Brazil.   They are at the service of young people, the poor, the sick and the elderly.   The foundress also opened a house of the order in Voghera.   Forty years after the death of Benedetta, the bishop separated this house from the rest of the Order. The name was changed to the Benedictines of Divine Providence who honour the memory of the Foundress.

She was Beatified on 10 May 1987 and Canonised on 19 May 2002 by St Pope John Paul II…Vatican.va