Lenten Thoughts – 23 March – Saturday of the Second Week of Lent, Year C
“Remember that you will derive strength by reflecting that the saints, yearn for you to join their ranks, desire to see you fight bravely, and behave like a true knight in your encounters with the same adversities which they had to conquer and that breathtaking joy is the eternal reward, for having endured a few years, of temporal pain. Every drop of earthly bitterness, will be changed into an ocean of heavenly sweetness.”
Thought for the Day – 23 March – Saturday of the Second Week of Lent, Year C and The Memorial of St Turibius of Mogrovejo (1538-1606)
Turibius Alphonsus Mongrovejo, whose feast the Church honours today, was born on 6 November 1538, at Mayorga in the kingdom of Leon in Spain. Brought up in a pious family where devotion was hereditary, his youth was a model to all who knew him. All his leisure was given to devotion or to works of charity. His austerities were great and he frequently made long pilgrimages on foot.
The fame of Turibius as a master of canon and civil law soon reached the ears of King Philip II, who made him judge at Granada. About that time the see of Lima, in Peru, fell vacant and among those proposed Philip found no one who seemed better endowed than our Saint with all the qualities that were required at that city, where much was to be done for religion. He sent to Rome the name of the holy judge and the Sovereign Pontiff confirmed his choice. Turibius in vain sought to avoid the honour. The Pope, in reply, directed him to prepare to receive Holy Orders and be consecrated. Yielding at last by direction of his confessor, he was ordained priest and consecrated.
He arrived at Lima in 1587 and entered on his duties. All was soon edification and order in his episcopal city. A model of all virtue himself, he confessed daily and prepared for Mass by long meditation. St Turibius then began a visitation of his vast diocese, which he traversed three times, his first visitation lasting seven years and his second four. He held provincial councils, framing decrees of such wisdom that his regulations were adopted in many countries. Almost his entire revenues were bestowed on his creditors, as he styled the poor.
While discharging with zeal his duties he was seized with a fatal illness during his third visitation and died on 23 March 1606, at Santa, exclaiming, as he received the sacred Viaticum: “I rejoiced in the things that were said to me – ‘We shall go into the house of the Lord.'”
The proofs of his holy life and of the favours granted through his intercession induced Pope Innocent XI to Beatify him and he was Canonised by Pope Benedict XIII in the year 1726.
The Lord indeed writes straight with crooked lines. Against his will, and from the unlikely springboard of an Inquisition tribunal, this man became the Christlike shepherd of a poor and oppressed people. God gave him the gift of loving others as they needed it, with all fervour and total self-giving, a Saint for Lent, indeed!
Lenten Reflection – 23 March – Saturday of the Second Week of Lent, Year C
Micah 7:14-15, 18-20; Psalms 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12; Luke 15:1-3,11-32
“Who is a God like you, who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but instead delights in mercy …” …Micah 7:18
“For what was it Jesus’ detractors said? “No man can forgive sins but God alone.” Inasmuch then, as they themselves laid down this definition, they themselves introduced the rule, they themselves declared the law. He then proceeded to entangle them by means of their own words. “You have confessed,” he says in effect, “that forgiveness of sins is an attribute of God alone; my equality therefore is unquestionable.” And it is not these men only who declare this but also the prophet Micah, who said, “Who is a God like you?” and then indicating his special attribute he adds, “pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor
Daily Meditation: We must celebrate and rejoice.
The Saturdays of Lent have a wonderful spirit.
Our lesson today takes us to the parable of the two sons:
– one who is ungrateful and leaves but returns, and
– one who will not accept the forgiveness
the father lavishes on the other.
Let us too think of this Father, Our God, who is so taken for granted by all of us! and let us say, Our Father, who art in Heaven…………
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons”...Luke 15:11
“In the parable there is another son, the older one, he too needs to discover the mercy of the father. The poor father! One son went away and the other was never close to him!”
Pope Francis – General Audience, 11 May 2016
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy…
God of infinite love,
You shower me with limitless gifts in my life.
In my every thought and action today
guide me to the bright and loving light of Your kingdom.
Help me to be aware of
the many ways You allow me
to share in Your life so intimately today.
Thank You for the gifts You have placed in my life.
Let me be grateful every moment of this day.
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
One Minute Reflection – 23 March – Saturday of the Second Week of Lent, Year C, Gospel: Luke 15:11:1-3, 11-32
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons”...Luke 15:11
REFLECTION – “How beautiful is the father’s tenderness! The father’s mercy is overflowing, unconditional and shows itself, even before the son speaks. Certainly, the son knows he erred and acknowledges it: “I have sinned… treat me as one of your hired servants” (vv. 18-19). These words crumble before the father’s forgiveness. The embrace and the kiss of his father makes him understand that he was always considered a son, in spite of everything. This teaching of Jesus is very important – our condition as children of God is the fruit of the love of the Father’s heart, it does not depend on our merits or on our actions and thus no-one can take it away, not even the devil! No-one can take this dignity away.
Jesus’ words encourage us never to despair. I think of the worried moms and dads watching their children move away, taking dangerous paths. I think of the parish priests and catechists who wonder at times if their work is in vain. But, I also think of the person in prison, who feels his life is over. I think of those who have made mistakes and cannot manage to envision the future, of those who hunger for mercy and forgiveness and believe they don’t deserve it…. In any situation of life, I must not forget that I will never cease to be a child of God, to be a son of the Father who loves me and awaits my return. Even in the worst situation of life, God waits for me, God wants to embrace me, God expects me.
In the parable, there is another son, the older one, he too needs to discover the mercy of the father. The poor father! One son went away and the other was never close to him!”…Pope Francis – General Audience, 11 May 2016
PRAYER – Almighty God, whose healing grace even here on earth, brings us the gifts of heaven, guide us in this present life to constantly seek You and to know You and to love You. Lead us to that Light in which You have Your dwelling. By following Your Son, faithfully bearing our crosses, may we be His light here on earth. And may Mary, the Blessed Mother, constantly be our succour and lead us to You. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for all ages, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 23 March – Saturday of the Second Week of Lent, Year C “Marian Saturdays”
In his General Audience on Ash Wednesday, 5 March 2014, Pope Francis highlighted the special protection and help of the Blessed Virgin for the journey of Lent:
“Let us give thanks to God for the mystery of His crucified love, authentic faith, conversion and openness of heart to the brethren. These are the essential elements for living the season of Lent. On this journey, we want to invoke with special trust the protection and help of the Virgin Mary.
May she, who was the first to believe in Christ, accompany us in our days of intense prayer and penance, so that we might come to celebrate, purified and renewed in spirit, the great paschal mystery of her Son.”
These words of Pope Francis help us to appreciate one reason why Mary is the perfect companion for Lent. She is the model of the perfect disciple because she entrusted herself completely to God. At the Annunciation, Mary tells the angel: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).
In 1974, Pope Paul VI taught that Mary is “worthy of imitation because she was the first and the most perfect of Christ’s disciples” (Marialis Cultus, No. 35).
Lent is a perfect time to renew our devotion to Mary as our spiritual mother who cares for us in the midst of challenges and difficulties.
My Sorrowful Mother, Help Me to Bear My Crosses By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church
My sorrowful Mother,
by the merit of that grief
which you felt
at seeing your beloved Jesus
led to death,
obtain for me the grace
to bear with patience,
those crosses which God sends me.
I will be fortunate
if I also shall know how
to accompany you
with my cross until death.
You and Jesus,
have borne a heavy cross
and shall I,
a sinner who has merited hell,
I hope you will help me
to bear my crosses with patience.
Saint of the Day – 23 March – St Joseph Oriol (1650-1702) Priest, Confessor, prophet, healer, apostle of penance, prayer and the sick and miracle-worker. Known as the Thaumaturgus of Barcelona. Born on 23 November 1650 in Barcelona, Spain and died on 23 March 1702 in his hometown of natural causes. Patronage – Barcelona.
St Joseph was born into a poor family but managed to study at the University of Barcelona where he was awarded a doctorate of theology on 1 August 1674. He was ordained on 30 May 1676.
He went on a pilgrimage to Rome, Italy in 1686, when Pope Innocent XI granted him a benefice at Santa Maria del Pino (Our Lady of the Pines), Barcelona, Spain, a parish he served for the rest of his life.
EPSON DSC picture
He went to Rome to offer himself for the foreign missions, seeking to evangelise the infidels and become a martyr. On the way to Rome, Joseph fell ill at Marseilles, France and had a vision that gave him a new mission – to revitalise the faith in his own country.
He returned home and worked with the youngest of children and roughest of soldiers and prayed without ceasing for the living and the dead. He wore a hair-shirt, lived for 26 years, half his life, solely on bread and water. He became a famed confessor, prophet, healer and miracle worker. The dying, the blind, the deaf and dumb, the lame and the paralytic, were said to be instantly cured by him.
Joseph was Beatified by Pope Pius VII on 5 September 1808 and Pope Pius X later Canonised him on 20 May 1909.
He is buried in the Chapel of the Virgin Mary of Montserrat in Church of the Parish which he served all his life, between 1687 and 1702, Our Lady of the Pines in Barcelona, although a Basilica has also been built in his honour.
The Canonisation Miracle:
On 6 April 1806, priest José Mestres fell off a walkway on the outside of the church’s apse. He rose unscathed from the experience and attributed the event to St Joseph Oriol, whose remains are interred inside the church.
Although St Joseph was renowned for his healing miracles in 17th century Barcelona. He cured the deaf, blind, mute and otherwise disabled people who came to him. But despite his accomplishments in life, sainthood can only be bestowed upon someone after their death. As a result of this posthumous miracle, Oriol was canonised by the pope in September of the same year. A small plaque was installed on the corner of the church to commemorate Padre Mestres’ blessed fall.
This tiny landmark, located on the side of the Church of Santa Maria del Pi in the middle of Barcelona’s dense Gothic Quarter, marks the memory of this miracle of Fr José.
While St Joseph Oriol is little known outside of Spain, his Feast day today is celebrated with a wonderful festival in Barcelona every year and flowers are placed at the numerous statues of St Joseph throughout Barcelona.