“We ought to pray and invoke the Holy Spirit, for each one of us greatly needs His protection and His help. The more we are lacking in wisdom, weak in strength, burdened with trouble, prone to sin, the more we should turn to Him, Who is the never-ceasing fount of light, strength, consolation and holiness.”
Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903)
The novena in honour of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Ghost on the first Pentecost. It is still the only novena officially prescribed by the Church. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian. Whilst this is often called the Pentecost Novena, it can be said at any time you wish. For the Traditional Novena, Day One here with the Act of Consecration:https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/pentecost-novena-to-the-holy-spirit-for-the-seven-gifts-day-one-11-may-2018/
Begin by reciting the following prayer…
O Holy Spirit, Divine Consoler!
I adore You as my True God.
I offer You my whole heart,
and I render You heartfelt thanks
for all the benefits You have bestowed upon the world.
You are the author of all supernatural gifts
and enriched the Blessed Virgin Mary,
the Mother of God,
with all favours,
I ask You to visit me by Your grace and Your love,
and grant me the favour
I so earnestly seek…
…………………………………. State your request here…
O Holy Spirit,
spirit of truth, come into our hearts.
Let us Pray:
O Holy Spirit,
bestow upon us Your seven holy gifts.
Enlighten our understanding, that we may know You.
Give us wisdom, that Your will may be clear to us
and that we may accept it.
Grant us the gift of counsel,
that we may always perceive what is right.
Fortify us, that we may always be capable
of fulfilling Your Divine Will.
Inspire us, with the spirit of learning
that we may be able to penetrate more deeply,
into the truths that You have revealed.
Let our hearts be steeped in the spirit of childlikeness
that we may bring You joy.
Let us have proper fear of God
that we may never grieve You,
or wander from the path of goodness.
Give us the fullness of Your gifts,
that we may glorify You.
Look with compassion upon us,
O Holy Spirit,
and grant us the favour we seek in this novena…
if it be in accordance with Your Holy Will.
Come, O Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of Your faithful,
and kindle in them the fire of Your love.
Today is the First Feast Day since his Canonisation, of dearly beloved St Pope Paul VI. So, although a rather belated post for those in the Southern Hemisphere, I simply could not allow this day to go unrecorded.
Saint of the Day – 29 May – St Pope Paul Paul VI (1897-1978), born Giovanni Battista Montini, on 26 September 1897, at Concesio, near Brescia, Italy—died 6 August 1978, at Castel Gandolfo. Priest, Bishop of Rome, Social Reformer. He reigned 1963–1978 during a period including most of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) and the immediate postconciliar era, in which he issued directives and guidance to a changing Roman Catholic Church. His pontificate was confronted with the problems and uncertainties of a church facing a new role in the contemporary world. His Mottos were: Cum Ipso in monte (With Him on the mount) and In nomine Domini (In the name of the Lord). Patronages – Archdiocese of Milan and the Ambrosian Rite, Paul VI Pontifical Institute, Second Vatican Council, Diocese of Brescia, Concesio (his birth town), Magenta and Paderno Dugnano.
Early Life And Career
The son of a middle-class lawyer—who was also a journalist and local political figure—and of a mother belonging to the same social background, Montini was in his early years educated mainly at home because of frail health. Later he studied in Brescia. Ordained a priest on 29 May 1920, he was sent by his bishop to Rome for higher studies and was eventually recruited for the Vatican diplomatic service. His first assignment, in May 1923, was to the staff of the Apostolic Nunciature (papal ambassador’s post) in Warsaw but persistent ill health brought him back to Rome before the end of that same year. He then pursued special studies at the Ecclesiastical Academy, the training school for future Vatican diplomats and at the same time resumed work at the Vatican Secretariat of State, where he remained in posts of increasing importance for more than 30 years.
In 1939 Montini was appointed Papal Undersecretary of state and later, in 1944, acting Secretary for Ordinary (or non-diplomatic) affairs. He declined an invitation to be elevated to the Sacred College of Cardinals in 1953. In the beginning of November 1954, Pope Pius XII appointed him Archbishop of Milan and St Pope John XXIII named him a Cardinal in 1958.
He was elected pope on 21 June 1963, choosing to be known as Paul VI.
Vatican II And Paul VI’s Pontificate
The Montini pontificate began in the period following the difficult first session of the Second Vatican Council, in which the new pope had played an important, though not spectacular, part. His lengthy association with university students in the stormy atmosphere of the early days of the fascist regime in Italy, in combination with the generally philosophical bent of his mind—developed by a long-standing habit of extensive and reflective reading—enabled him to bring to the perplexing problems of the times an academic understanding, coupled with the knowledge derived from long years of practical diplomatic experience. Paul VI guided the three remaining sessions of the Second Vatican Council, often developing points he had first espoused as Cardinal Archbishop of Milan. His chief concern was that the Roman Catholic Church in the 20th century should be a faithful witness to the tradition of the past, except when tradition was obviously anachronistic.
Upon the completion of the council (8 December 1965), Paul VI was confronted with the formidable task of implementing its decisions, which affected practically every facet of church life. He approached this task with a sense of the difficulty involved in making changes in centuries-old structures and practices—changes rendered necessary by many rapid transformations in the social, psychological, and political milieu of the 20th century. Paul VI’s approach was consistently one of careful assessment of each concrete situation, with a sharp awareness of the many varied complications that he believed could not be ignored.
This prevalently philosophical attitude was often construed by his critics as timidity, indecision and uncertainty. Nonetheless, many of Paul VI’s decisions in these crucial years called for immense courage. In July 1968 he published his encyclical Humanae vitae (“Of Human Life”), which reaffirmed the stand of several of his predecessors on the long-smouldering controversy over artificial means of birth control, which he opposed. In many sectors this encyclical provoked adverse reactions that may be described as the most violent attacks on the authority of papal teaching in modern times. Similarly, his firm stand on the retention of priestly celibacy (Sacerdotalis caelibatus, June 1967) evoked much harsh criticism. Paul VI later likened the large numbers of priests leaving the ministry to a “crown of thorns.”He also was disturbed by the growing numbers of religious men and women asking for release from vows or who were abandoning out of hand their religious vows.
From the very outset of his years as pope, Paul VI gave clear evidence of the importance he attached to the study and the solution of social problems and to their impact on world peace. Social questions had already been prominent in his far-reaching pastoral program in Milan (1954–63). During those years he had travelled extensively in the Americas and in Africa, centring his attention mainly on concern for workers and for the poor. Such problems dominated his first encyclical letter, Ecclesiam suam (“His Church”), 6 August 1964 and later became the insistent theme of his celebrated Populorum progressio (“Progress of the Peoples”), 26 March 1967. This encyclical was such a pointed plea for social justice that in some conservative circles the pope was accused of Marxism. (- ring any bells folks?)
In an address to the Council Fathers at the end of the first session of the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Montini formulated a question that may be called the theme of his pastoral service as pontiff: “Church of Christ, what say you of yourself?” In an effort to answer this fundamental question, Paul VI undertook a series of apostolic journeys that were unparalleled occasions for a pope to set foot on every continent. His first journey was a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (January 1964), highlighted by his historic meeting with the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, Athenagoras, in Jerusalem. At the end of that same year, he went to India, becoming the first pope to visit Asia. The following year (4 October 1965), in the first visit by a pope to the United States, he delivered a moving plea for peace at a special session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City and said mass at Yankee Stadium. In 1967 he undertook short visits to Fátima (Portugal) and to Istanbul and Ephesus (Turkey), a journey that had special ecumenical significance – a second meeting with Athenagoras in the patriarch’s own episcopal city (Constantinople). In August 1968 the pope went to Bogotá, Colombia, and he appeared before the International Labour Organisation and the World Council of Churches in Geneva in June 1969. The following month he was in Uganda, East Africa. In the autumn of 1970 he undertook the longest papal journey in modern history up to that time – 10 days spent in visits to Tehrān, Pakistan, the Philippines, Western Samoa (now Samoa), Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), each stop bringing Paul VI into personal contact with different peoples of the world of the Universal Catholic Church! His arrival in Manila almost ended in tragedy – within minutes of his descent from the plane, an attempt was made on his life but with no serious injury.
The themes treated by Paul VI on these trips were basically the same – world peace, social justice, world hunger, illiteracy, brotherhood under God and international cooperation.
Social And Ecumenical Interests
On 6 January 1971, in the Clementine Hall in the Vatican, Paul VI conferred the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize on the Albanian-born Mother Teresa, who had spent most of her life in India, where she had founded a special religious congregation of women dedicated to the alleviation of the countless ills of the poorest classes in the country. Paul VI declared on this occasion that the award was intended to centre attention on how even a humble individual without means can further world peace without fanfare, simply by proving in day-to-day action that “every man is my brother.” Here, as in other instances, Paul’s aim was to confront the world at large with the inescapable problems of justice and peace while at the same time proving conclusively that even these apparently insoluble problems can and must be settled with realistic courage and individual perseverance.
Paul VI’s human concern found further expression in his efforts to lessen the long-standing tensions between the church of Rome and other churches and even with those professing no religion at all. He sought out closer understanding with numerous religious leaders throughout the world, both Christian and non-Christian, placing more emphasis on those aspects that unite the churches than on those that divide. To show that mutual acquaintance is at the very foundation of any plans or hopes for unity, Pope Paul met with prominent religious leaders from various communities in Great Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union as well as other countries. Paul VI also set up a special secretariat for nonbelievers, stressing the need of understanding and endeavouring to solve the problems posed by atheism.
Under his guidance the Roman Catholic Church drastically revised its legislation governing marriages between its own members and those who profess other faiths, expressing a firm desire to diminish the threat of human tragedy following possible clashes of individual consciences. For this reason Paul VI’s motu proprio was welcomed and praised for its understanding of human problems and its desire to find a satisfactory solution to the problem of mixed marriages without demanding of either side any renunciation of basic principles of conscience.
In the rise of modern ecumenism, Paul VI saw excellent opportunities to encourage world brotherhood, which, he hoped, might further efforts for human well-being in the pursuit of happiness in unity of faith in God. On 15 May 1971, commemorating the 80th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum novarum on the reform of the social order, Pope Paul issued a forceful apostolic letter, Octogesima adveniens, with particular insistence on the necessity of involvement of all human beings in the solution of the problems of justice and peace.
In 2012 Pope Benedict XVI declared that Paul had lived “a life of heroic virtue.” Two years later he was Beatified by Benedict’s successor, Francis. He was Canonised by Pope Francis on 14 October 2018.
I think I am superwoman but have now realised I am not! I am so sorry but I have an imminent deadline for original work I am doing for my Diocese. It needs to be ready by Pentecost and I have done absolutely nothing as yet!
So no posts for a few weeks. I will be back as soon as I have made some progress and prepared at least 3 months of the 12 month-long programme.
I will be praying for you all! Please pray for me and keep on keeping on.
For those who would like to read about today’s Saints:
Marian Thoughts – 24 May – ‘Mary’s Month’ – Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter, C
Mini Series – Pope Francis and the Holy Rosary
“Throughout her life, Mary did everything that the Church is asked to do in perennial memory of Christ. In her faith, we learn to open our hearts to obey God, in her self-denial, we see the importance of tending to the needs of others, in her tears, we find the strength to console those experiencing pain. In each of these moments, Mary expresses the wealth of divine mercy that reaches out to all in their daily needs.”
Pope Francis – 9 October 2016
The Fifth Luminous Mystery: The Institution of the Eucharist
“It is in the Lord, who gave His life for us on the cross, that we will always find that unconditional love which sees our lives as something good and always gives us the chance to start again.
In the Eucharist, Divine Mercy reveals itself in a special way. Celebrating the greatest mysteries of our faith, we touch the source of mercy.
The Eucharist is flavoured with Jesus’ words and deeds, the taste of His Passion, the fragrance of His Spirit. When we receive it, our hearts are overcome with the certainty of Jesus’ love. (18 June 2017)
Let us pray that frequent participation in the Holy Mass would expand our hearts, enrich our strength and enable us to give ourselves to our neighbours.”
Thought for the Day – 24 May – Friday of the Fifth Week of Eastertide: Today’s Gospel John 15:12-17
Firstborn of Many Brothers
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide”…John 15:16
Blessed Isaac of Stella O.Cist. (c 1100 – c 1170)
Cistercian Monk, Abbot, Theologian, Philosopher
An excerpt from his Sermon 42
Just as the head and body of a man, form one single man, so the Son of the Virgin and those He has chosen to be His members, form a single man and the one Son of Man. Christ is whole and entire, head and body, say the Scriptures, since all the members form one body, which with its Head is one Son of Man and He, with the Son of God is one Son of God, who Himself with God is one God. Therefore, the whole body with its Head is Son of Man, Son of God and God. This is the explanation of the Lord’s words – Father, I desire that as you and I are one, so they may be one with us.
And so, according to this well-known reading of Scripture, neither the body without the head, nor the Head without the body, nor the Head and body without God, make the whole Christ. When all are united with God, they become one God. The Son of God is one with God by nature, the Son of Man is one with Him in His person; we, His body, are one with him sacramentally. Consequently, those, who by faith, are spiritual members of Christ, can truly say that they are what He is – the Son of God and God Himself. But what Christ is, by His nature, we are as His partners, what He is of Himself in all fullness, we are as participants. Finally, what the Son of God is by generation, His members are by adoption, according to the text – As sons you have received the Spirit of adoption, enabling you to cry, Abba, Father.
Through His Spirit, He gave men the power to become sons of God, so that all those He has chosen might be taught by the firstborn, among many brothers to say – Our Father, who are in heaven. Again He says elsewhere – I ascend to my Father and to your Father.
By the Spirit, from the womb of the Virgin, was born our Head, the Son of Man and by the same Spirit, in the waters of baptism, we are reborn as His body and as sons of God. And just as He was born without any sin, so we are reborn in the forgiveness of all our sins. As on the cross, He bore the sum total of the whole body’s sins in His own physical body, so He gave His members the grace of rebirth, in order that no sin might be imputed to His mystical body. It is written – Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes no sin. The blessed man of this text is undoubtedly Christ, who forgives sins insofar as God is His head. Insofar as this Man is the Head of the body, no sin is forgiven Him. But insofar as the body that belongs to this Head consists of many members, sin is not imputed to it.
Just in Himself, it is He who justifies Himself. He alone is both Saviour and saved. In His own body on the cross, He bore what He had washed from His body by the waters of baptism. Bringing salvation through wood and through water, He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, which He took upon Himself. Himself a priest, He offers Himself as sacrifice to God and He Himself is God. Thus, through His own self, the Son is reconciled to Himself as God, as well as to the Father and to the Holy Spirit.
Quote/s of the Day – 24 May – Friday of the Fifth Week of Eastertide: Today’s Gospel John 15:12-17
Speaking of Love…
“This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you…
“What is the mark of love for your neighbour? Not to seek what is for your own benefit but what is for the benefit of the one loved, both in body and in soul.”
St Basil the Great (329-379)
Father & Doctor of the Church
“Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.”
“God is always trying to give good things to us but our hands are too full to receive them!”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger or higher or wider; nothing is more pleasant, nothing fuller and nothing better in heaven or on earth, for love is born of God and cannot rest except in God, Who is above all created things.”
Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471) – Imitation of Christ
“Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope, it can outlast anything. Love still stands, when all else has fallen.”
One Minute Reflection – 24 May – Friday of the Fifth week of Easter, C, Gospel: John 15:12–17 and the Memorial of Our Lady Help of Christians and Blessed Maria Gargani (1892-1973)
“You did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide”…John 15:16
REFLECTION – “Oh, how happy and blessed are those who love God and do as the Lord Himself says in the Gospel – “You shall love the lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and your neighbour as yourself.” Let us love God, therefore and adore Him with a pure heart and a pure mind…
And let us love our neighbours as ourselves. And if there is anyone who does not wish to love them as himself, at least let him do no harm to them but rather do good. But those who have received the power to judge others, should exercise judgement with mercy, as they themselves desire to receive mercy from the Lord… Let us then have charity and humility, let us give alms since this washes our souls from the stains of our sins. For people lose everything they leave behind in this world but they carry with them, the rewards of charity and the alms which they gave, for which they will have a reward and a suitable remuneration from the Lord…
Upon all men and women, if they have done these things and have persevered to the end, the Spirit of the Lord will rest and He will make His home and dwelling among them. They will be children of the heavenly Father whose works they do. And they are spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ… Oh, how glorious it is, how holy and great, to have a Father in heaven! Oh, how holy, consoling, beautiful and wondrous it is to have a Spouse! Oh, how holy… humble, peaceful, sweet, lovable, and desirable above all things to have such a Brother and Son, who laid down his life for his sheep and who prayed to the Father for us, saying: “Holy Father, protect those in your name whom you have given to me…; and I wish, Father, that where I am they also may be with me so that they may see my glory in your kingdom” … St Francis of Assisi (c 1181-1226) Founder of the Friars Minor – Letter to all the faithful, 2nd version
PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, You gave us a new birth in holy baptism and a new life in Your Son, who gave His life for us. Give us the grace to bear much fruit always striving after what He has taught who goes ahead of us to lead us to You. May the prayers of His beloved Mother and ours and Blessed Maria Gargani, grant us help and inspiration as we travel the road to eternal life. Through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God now and for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 24 May “Mary’s Month” – Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians and Friday of the Fifth week of Easter, C
Our Lady, Help Of Christians By St John Bosco (1815-1888)
Most Holy Virgin Mary,
Help of Christians,
how sweet it is to come to your feet
imploring your perpetual help.
If earthly mothers cease not
to remember their children,
how can you,
the most loving of all mothers forget me?
Grant then to me, I implore you,
your perpetual help in all my necessities,
in every sorrow and especially in all my temptations.
I ask for your unceasing help
for all who are now suffering.
Help the weak,
cure the sick,
Grant through your intercession,
many vocations to the religious life.
Obtain for us, O Mary, Help of Christians,
that having invoked you on earth
we may love and eternally thank you in heaven.
Saint of the Day – 24 May – Blessed Maria Gargani OFS (1892-1973) – Religious, Founder of the the Sisters Apostles of the Sacred Heart, a member of the Secular Franciscan Order, Teacher and was involved with Catholic Action during her teaching career but is well known for having been the first spiritual daughter and correspondent of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968) from World War I until St Pio’s death in 1968. He wrote a total of 67 letters to Gargani during this period. Blessed Maria is the Patron of the Order she founded.
Maria Gargani was born in the evening on 23 December 1892 in Morra de Sanctis as the last of eight children to Rocco Gargani and Angiolina De Paola. Her devout father instructed the children in catechism and it was from him that Gargani’s faith grew over time.
Her education was spent in her hometown before finishing it in Avellino where she was the guest of an uncle. She obtained a master’s degree in 1913 that would allow her to begin work as a teacher.
She began teaching in San Marco la Catola in Foggia from 1913 to 1928 and lived there alongside her married sister Antonietta. It was also there, that she first met Father Benedetto and Father Agostino Daniele who both became spiritual guides for her as she discerned her vocation. It was in 1914 that this manifested and she recorded that she wept as she discerned her call to follow God, due to the seriousness of the task. Gargani later entered the Secular Franciscan Order after having discovered Saint Francis of Assisi. St Francis represented to her, a model of love, that served as an influence on her religious convictions. Not long after this she began teaching catechism to children while also preparing them for the reception of their First Communion and she even purchased a machine to project images to explain to them the life of Jesus Christ, a very rare possession in those days. Blessed Maria also began collaborating with Catholic Action around this time. From 1928 to 1945 she began teaching in Volturara Appula.
In 1915 her adviser Father Agostino was summoned to serve in World War I as a chaplain and so entrusted her to the spiritual care of the Franciscan Capuchin priest Padre Pio, while advising her to maintain correspondence with the friar. Gargani made first contact with the friar at the beginning of August 1916 via letter which began several decades of spiritual guidance, friendship and correspondence that lasted until the saint’s death in 1968. The first letter he wrote to her was dated 26 August 1916. St Padre Pio became a spiritual guide to Blessed Maria and a source of moral support. The two met for the first time, face-to-face, in the Capuchin convent at San Marco la Catola in mid-April 1918.
In 1934 she received diocesan permission to form a group of companions in the former convent of Santa Maria della Sanità – this became the foundation for the religious congregation that she would establish not long after. She later established the Sisters Apostles of the Sacred Heart on 11 February 1936 with the permission of the Archbishop of Lucca Antonio Torrini. The first convent for the order opened that 21 April. In 1945 the order moved its headquarters to Naples – with other companions, she made her profession as a professed religious as “Mary Crucified of Divine Love” “Maria Crocifissa del Divino Amore”.
From 1946 until her retirement she taught in Naples. On 21 July 1951 she met the zealous priest Antonio Fanucci who became their spiritual director. Her order later received diocesan approval from Cardinal Marcello Mimmi on 2 June 1956 and she made her perpetual profession a month later on 22 July. St Pope John XXIII granted her order full pontifical approval on 12 March 1963 and the sisters continue their good work today in many centres and countries.
Blessed Maria died on the evening of 23 December 1892 at Morra de Sanctis, Avellino, Italy, of natural causes. Her remains were later exhumed and relocated to the order’s motherhouse on 17 May 1992.
The cause for her beatification opened in 1988 and she became titled as a Servant of God. Pope Francis named her as Venerable in mid-2017 and later approved a miracle attributed to her in 2018. The Beatification took place in Naples in the metropolitan cathedral on 2 June 2018, by Cardinal Angelo Amato on behalf of Pope Francis.
Our Lady of China: Our Lady of China is a title for the Virgin Mary in China who is believed to have appear at the small village of Donglu in 1900. In Chinese she is called Zhōnghuá Shèngmǔ. She is also known as Our Lady of Donglu.
St Afra of Brescia
Bl Benedict of Cassino
St David of Scotland
Bl Diego Alonso
St Donatian of Nantes
St Gennadius of Astroga
St Hubert of Bretigny
Bl Isidore Ngei Ko Lat
St Joanna the Myrrhbearer
Bl John del Prado
Bl John of Montfort
Bl Juan of Huete
Bl Louis-Zéphirin Moreau
St Marciana of Galatia Bl Maria Gargani OFS (1892-1973)
Bl Mario Vergara
St Meletius the Soldier
Bl Nicetas of Pereslav
St Patrick of Bayeux
Bl Philip of Piacenza
St Rogatian of Nantes
St Sérvulo of Trieste
St Simeon Stylites the Younger
Bl Thomas Vasière
St Vincent of Lérins
St Vincent of Porto Romano
Martyrs of Istria: A group of early martyrs in the Istria peninsula. We know little more than some names – Diocles, Felix, Servilius, Silvanus and Zoëllus.
Martyrs of Plovdiv: 38 Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian and Maximian. We don’t even known their names. They were beheaded in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
Martyrs of the Small West Gate: Additional Memorial – 20 September as part of the Martyrs of Korea. A group of lay catechists and catechumens who were imprisoned and executed together for the crime of being Christian.
• Saint Agatha Kim A-Gi
• Saint Agatha Yi So-Sa
• Saint Anna Pak A-Gi
• Saint Augustine Yi Kwang-Hon
• Saint Barbara Han A-Gi
• Saint Damianus Nam Myong-Hyok
• Saint Lucia Pak Hui-Sun
• Saint Magdalena Kim Ob-I
• Saint Petrus Kwon Tug-In
They were beheaded on 24 May 1839 at the Small West Gate, Seoul, South Korea and were Canonised on 6 May 1984 by Pope John Paul II.
Marian Thoughts – 23 May – ‘Mary’s Month’ – Thursday of the fifth Week of Easter, C
Mini Series – Pope Francis and the Holy Rosary
“Mary helps us to understand what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Eternally chosen to be his Mother, she learned to become his disciple. Her first act was to listen to God.”…
Pope Francis 9 October 2016
The Fourth Luminous Mystery: The Transfiguration
“The Transfiguration helps the disciples and also us, to understand that Christ’s Passion is a mystery of suffering but it’s especially a gift of infinite love on Jesus’ part. The event of Jesus, who is transfigured on the mountain, makes us also understand better His Resurrection. To understand the mystery of the cross it’s necessary to know in anticipation, that He that that suffers and is glorified, is not only a man but the Son of God, who has saved us, with His faithful love to death. Thus the Father renews His Messianic declaration on the Son, already made on the banks of the Jordan after the Baptism and He exhorts: “listen to Him!” (v. 7).
The disciples are called to follow the Master with confidence and hope, despite His death – Jesus’ divinity must manifest itself precisely on the cross, precisely in His dying “in that way,” so much so that the evangelist Mark puts on the centurion’s mouth the profession of faith: “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (15:39).
We now turn in prayer to the Virgin Mary, the human creature transfigured interiorly by the grace of Christ. We entrust ourselves confidentially to her maternal help, to continue the … journey with faith and generosity.”
Thought for the Day – 23 May – Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter, C, Gospel: John 15:9-11
“I have said these things to you, so that my joy may be in you”...John 15:11
Saint Francis maintained: “My best defence against all the plots and tricks of the enemy is still the spirit of joy. The devil is never so happy as when he has succeeded in robbing one of God’s servants of the joy in his or her soul. The devil always has some dust on hold that he blows into someone’s conscience through a small basement window so as to make opaque what is pure. But in a heart that is filled with joy, he tries in vain to introduce his deadly poison. The demons can do nothing against a servant of Christ whom they find filled with holy gladness, whereas a dejected, morose and depressed soul easily lets itself be submerged in sorrow or captured by false pleasures.”
That is why he himself always tried to keep his heart joyful, to preserve that oil of gladness with which his soul had been anointed (Ps 45:7). He took great care to avoid sorrow, the worst of illnesses and when he felt that it was beginning to infiltrate his soul, he immediately had recourse to prayer. He said: “At the first sign of trouble, the servant of God must get up, begin to pray and remain before the Father until the latter has caused him or her to retrieve the joy of the person who is saved.” (Ps 51:12)…
Thomas of Celano (c 1190-c 1260)
Biographer of Saint Francis (c 1181-1226)
and Saint Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)
Vita Secunda of St Francis, §125 and 127
St Francis, Pray for Us
that we may be filled with the true joy of a servant of Christ!
One Minute Reflection – 23 May – Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter, C, First Reading: Acts 15:7-21 and the Memorial of St John Baptist de Rossi (1698-1764)
“He made no distinction between us and them, for by faith he purified their hearts.” …Acts 15:9
REFLECTION – “Faith in God purifies the heart, the pure heart sees God. But faith is sometimes defined, as followed by people, who wish to deceive themselves, — as if it were enough merely to believe — some people, you see, promise themselves the vision of God and the kingdom of heaven for believing, while living bad lives. Against these the apostle James indignantly took umbrage out of spiritual charity, so he says in his letter, “You believe that God is one.” You pat yourself on your back for your faith, you observe that many godless people assume there are many gods and you congratulate yourself for believing that there is only one God. “You do well. The demons also believe — and shudder.” Shall they too see God? Those who are pure of heart shall see Him. Whoever would say, that the unclean spirits are pure of heart? And yet, “they believe—and shudder.”
So our faith must be distinguished from the faith of demons. Our faith, you see, purifies the heart, their faith makes them guilty. So let us distinguish our faith and see that believing is not enough. That is not the sort of faith that purifies the heart. “Purifying their hearts,” it says, “by faith.” But which faith, what sort of faith? The one, surely, which the apostle Paul defines when he says “faith that works through love.” This faith is different from the faith of demons, different from the morals of dissolute and desperate people. “Faith,” he says. “Which faith?” The one “that works through love,” hopes for what God promises. You could not have a more perfect, a more carefully thought-out definition than that.”…St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor (Sermon 53)
PRAYER – Lord God, we were sinners and Your grace made us holy, we were without hope and You filled us with faith and joy. Stand by us, in Your saving work and stay with us, in Your gifts of grace. May we never fail to persevere in the holiness that comes from faith. Listen to the prayers of the Mother of our Lord and our Mother and those of St John Baptist de Rossi, whom we ask for supplication. Through Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 23 May – ‘Mary’s Month’ – Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter, C
The Depths of the Love of Your Heart By St Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897)
Virgin full of grace,
I know that at Nazareth you lived modestly,
without requesting anything more.
Neither ecstasies, nor miracles,
nor other extraordinary deeds enhanced your life,
O Queen of the elect.
The number of the lowly,
“the little ones,” is very great on earth.
They can raise their eyes to you without any fear.
You are the incomparable Mother
who walks with them,
along the common way
to guide them to heaven.
Beloved Mother, in this harsh exile,
I want to live always with you
and follow you every day.
I am enraptured by the contemplation of you
and I discover the depths of the love of your heart.
All my fears vanish under your motherly gaze,
which teaches me to weep and to rejoice!
Saint of the Day – 23 May – St William of Rochester (Died c 1201) Martyr – also known as William of Perth – Patron of adopted children.
Practically all that is known of William comes from the Nova Legenda Anglie and that is little. He was born in Perth, at that time one of the principal towns of Scotland. In youth, he had been somewhat wild but on reaching manhood he devoted himself wholly to the service of God. A baker by trade (some sources say he was a fisherman), he was accustomed to setting aside every tenth loaf for the poor.
He went to Mass daily and one morning, before it was light, found on the threshold of the church an abandoned child, whom he adopted and to whom he taught his trade. Later, he took a vow to visit the Holy Places and, having received the consecrated wallet and staff as a Palmer, set out with his adopted son, whose name is given as “Cockermay Doucri”, which is said to be Scots for “David the Foundling”. They stayed three days at Rochester and purposed to proceed next day to Canterbury (and perhaps thence to Jerusalem) but instead, David wilfully misled his benefactor on a short-cut and, with robbery in view, felled him with a blow on the head and cut his throat.
The body was discovered by a mad woman, who plaited a garland of honeysuckle and placed it first on the head of the corpse and then her own, whereupon the madness left her. On learning her tale the monks of Rochester carried the body to the cathedral and there buried it. He was honoured as a martyr because he was on a pilgrimage to holy places. As a result of the miracle involving the madwoman as well as other miracles wrought at his intercession after death, he was acclaimed a saint by the people.
In 1256 Lawrence of St Martin, Bishop of Rochester, obtained the canonisation of William from Pope Alexander IV. A beginning was at once made with his shrine, which was situated first in the crypt, then in the northeast transept and attracted crowds of pilgrims. At the same time, a small chapel was built at the place of the murder, which was thereafter called Palmersdene. Remains of this chapel are still to be seen near the present St William’s Hospital, on the road leading by Horsted Farm to Maidstone.
The shrine of St William of Rochester became a place of pilgrimage second only to Canterbury’s shrine of Saint Thomas Becket, bringing many thousands of medieval pilgrims to the cathedral. Their footsteps wore down the original stone Pilgrim Steps and nowadays they are covered with wooden steps.
St Basileus of Braga
St Desiderius of Langres
St Epitacius of Tuy
St Euphebius of Naples
St Euphrosyne of Polotsk
St Eutychius of Valcastoria
St Florentius of Valcastoria
St Goban Gobhnena
St Guibertus of Gorze
Bl Ivo of Chartres
St Jane Antide Thouret St John Baptist de Rossi (1698-1764) About St John: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/05/23/saint-of-the-day-23-may-st-john-baptist-de-rossi-1698-1764/
Bl Józef Kurzawa
Bl Leontius of Rostov
St Michael of Synnada
St Onorato of Subiaco
St Spes of Campi
St Syagrius of Nice St William of Rochester (Died c 1201) Martyr
Bl Wincenty Matuszewski
Martyrs of Béziers: 20 Mercedarian friars murdered by Huguenots for being Catholic. Martyrs. 1562 at the Mercedarian convent at Béziers, France.
Martyrs of Cappadocia: A group of Christians tortured and martyred in the persecutions of Diocletian and Galerius. Their names and the details of their lives have not come down to us. They were crushed to death in c.303 in Cappadocia (in modern Turkey).
Martyrs of Carthage: When a civil revolt erupted in Carthage in 259 during a period of persecution by Valerian, the procurator Solon blamed it on the Christians, and began a persecution of them. We know the names and a few details about 8 of these martyrs – Donatian, Flavian, Julian, Lucius, Montanus, Primolus, Rhenus and Victorius. They were beheaded in 259 at Carthage (modern Tunis, Tunisia).
Martyrs of Mesopotamia: A group of Christians martyred in Mesopotamia in persecutions by imperial Roman authorities. Their names and the details of their lives have not come down to us. They were suffocated over a slow fire in Mesopotamia.
Martyrs of North Africa: A group of 19 Christians martyred together in the persecutions of the Arian Vandal King Hunneric for refusing to deny the Trinity. We know little more than a few of their names – Dionysius, Julian, Lucius, Paul and Quintian. c 430.
Marian Thoughts – 22May – ‘Mary’s Month’ – Wednesday of the fifth Week of Easter, C
Mini Series – Pope Francis and the Holy Rosary
“Through prayer and meditation on the life of Jesus Christ, we see once more his merciful countenance, which he shows to everyone in all the many needs of life. Mary accompanies us along this journey, pointing to her Son who radiates the very mercy of the Father.”...Pope Francis 9 October 2016
The Third Luminous Mystery:
The Proclamation of the Kingdom
Jesus Christ came to proclaim and bring about the Lord’s everlasting time of grace. He brought good news to the poor, freedom to prisoners, sight to the blind and freedom to the oppressed (cf. Lk 4:18-19).
Proclaiming the Gospel, forgiving, carrying out His will – when we do these things, we are never alone. Jesus walks ahead of us, taking our steps before us, preparing the way.
Thought for the Day – 22 May – Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter C, Gospel: John 15:1-8
“I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit and everyone that does, he prunes so that it bears more fruit” … John 15:1-2
The Christian in the World
An excerpt from A Letter to Diognetus
(Nn. 5-6; Funk, 397-401)
Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.
And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labour under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country . Like others, they marry and have children but they do not expose them. They share their meals but not their wives. They live in the flesh but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law.
Christians love all men but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death but raised to life again. They live in poverty but enrich many, they are totally destitute but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonour but that is their glory. They are defamed but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference, their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.
To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.
Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself…Vatican.va
Father of all holiness, guide our hearts to You. Keep in the light of Your truth all those You have freed from the darkness of unbelief. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
Prepared by the Spiritual Theology Department of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
Quote of the Day – 22 May – Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter C, Gospel: John 15:1-8 and the Memorial of St Rita of Cascia (1386-1457)
Blessed by God, you were a light in darkness through your steadfast courage when you had to suffer such agony upon your cross. You turned aside from this vale of tears to seek wholeness for your hidden wounds in the great passion of Christ. . . . You were not content with less than perfect healing and so endured the thorn for fifteen years before you entered into the joy of your Lord.
This poem was engraved on the casket of St Rita of Cascia and is one of the few contemporary sources that tell us about her. St Rita received her “hidden wounds” in an unfortunate marriage. For eighteen years she endured the abuses and infidelities of a violent husband. She also suffered the rascality of two sons who were strongly influenced by him. She was delivered from these miserable circumstances in a horrific way – one day her husband was brought home dead, brutally slashed by his enemies. Her rambunctious sons planned to get revenge but died before they could obtain it.
At every stage of her life, Rita seems to have bravely endured unendurable circumstances – frustration because her parents overrode her wish to become a nun, married an abuser, refused three times by the Augustinians, afflicted with the pain and embarrassment of the stigmata. None of these things, however, prevented her from serving God and her sisters. We can pray for her intercession in our desperate need but we should also imitate her love in action.
One Minute Reflection – 22 May – Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter C, Gospel: John 15:1-8 and the Memorial of St Rita of Cascia (1386-1457) and St Julia (5th Centrury) Martyr
“I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit and everyone that does, he prunes so that it bears more fruit” … John 15:1-2
REFLECTION – “Holiness is like a sculpture. Leonardo da Vinci defined sculpture as “the art of removing.” The other arts consist in adding something – colour to the canvas in painting, stone on stone in architecture, note after note in music.
Only sculpture consists of removing, of taking away the pieces of marble that are in excess, so that the figure can emerge that one has in mind. Christian perfection is also obtained like this, by removing and making useless pieces fall off, namely, desires, ambitions, projects, carnal tendencies that disperse us and do not let us finish anything.
One day, Michelangelo walking through a garden in Florence saw a block of marble in a corner protruding from the earth, half covered by grass and mud. He stopped suddenly, as if he had seen someone and turning to friends, who were with him, exclaimed: “An angel is imprisoned in that marble, I must get him out.” And, armed with a chisel, he began to work on that block until the figure of a beautiful angel emerged.
God also looks at us and sees us this way – as shapeless blocks of stone. He then says to Himself: “Therein is hidden a new and beautiful creature that waits to come out to the light, more than that, the image of my own son Jesus Christ is hidden there, I want to bring it out!”We are predestined to “be conformed to the image of his son” (Romans 8:29).
Then, what does He do? He takes the chisel, which is the cross and begins to work on us. He takes the pruning shears and begins to prune us.
We must not worry ourselves thinking of what terrible crosses He may send us! Normally, He does not add anything to what life presents us in terms of suffering, effort, tribulations. He makes all these things serve for our purification. He helps us to not waste them.”…Father Raneiro Cantalamessa OFM – Preacher to the Papal Household
PRAYER – Holy God and Father, help us to discern through prayer and meditation what You truly want of us. Then enable us to offer it to You and indeed, to offer ourselves and all we have and all we are, to You. When You bring us sufferings to mould us closer and make us more like You, help us to accept them and offer them back to You. Following Your divine Son, let us pick up those crosses in peace and love. St Rita of Cascia, you prayed so earnestly to give yourself totally to the Lord and suffer for Him, please pray for us, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 22 May – ‘Mary’s Month’ – Wednesday of the Fifth week of Easter
My Lady, My Refuge and My Strength By St Germanus (638-730) First Bishop of Cyzicus, Patriarch of Constantinople
My refuge and my strength
my refuge, life and help,
my armour and my boast,
my hope and my strength,
grant that I may enjoy
inconceivable gifts of your Son,
your God and our God,
in the heavenly kingdom.
For I know surely
that you have power to do as you will,
since you are Mother of the most High.
Therefore, Lady most pure,
I beg you
that I may not be disappointed
in my expectations
but may obtain them,
O Spouse of God,
who bore Him,
who is the expectation of all,
Our lord Jesus Christ,
true God and master of all things,
visible and invisible,
to whom belongs all glory, honour and respect,
now and always and through endless ages.
Saint of the Day – 22 May – St Julia (5th Centrury) Martyr and Virgin – also known as Julia of Corsica and Julia of Carthage. Patronages – Corsica, Livorno, Brecia, torture victims, pathologies of the hands and the feet.
St Julia was a virgin martyr who is venerated as a saint. The date of her death is most probably on or about 439. She along with St Devota (Died c 303), are the patron saints of Corsica. She was declared a patroness of Corsica by the Church on 5 August 1809 and St Devota on 14 May 1820. Both of these were martyred in pre-Christian Corsica under Roman rule. Although Julia is included in most summary lives of the saints, the details somewhat vary. A few basic accounts emerge, that tell us the story. A Bishop of Africa wrote most of the story, from her time. She was captured as a slave from Carthage and was taken to Africa to serve her Master. When refusing to make sacrifices to their pagan gods, she was beaten, flogged and crucified. She was a beautiful young girl that didn’t compromise her faith and an early saint of our Church.
Julia was a noble virgin of Carthage, who, when the city was taken by Genseric in 439, was sold as a slave to a pagan merchant of Syria named Eusebius. Under the most mortifying employments of her station, by cheerfulness and patience she found a happiness and comfort which the world could not have afforded. All the time she was not employed in her master’s business was devoted to prayer and reading books of piety. Her master, who was charmed with her fidelity and other virtues, thought proper to carry her with him on one of his voyages to Gaul.
Having reached the northern part of Corsica, he cast anchor and went on shore to join the pagans of the place in an idolatrous festival. Julia was left at some distance, because she would not be defiled by the superstitious ceremonies which she openly reviled. Felix, the governor of the island, who was a bigoted pagan, asked who this woman was who dared to insult the gods. Eusebius informed him that she was a Christian and that all his authority over her was too weak to prevail with her to renounce her religion but that he found her so diligent and faithful he could not part with her. The governor offered him four of his best female slaves in exchange for her. But the merchant replied, “No, all you are worth will not purchase her, for I would freely lose the most valuable thing I have in the world, rather than be deprived of her.”
However, the governor, while Eusebius was drunk and asleep, took upon him to compel her to sacrifice to his gods. He offered to procure her liberty if she would comply. The Saint made answer that she was as free as she desired to be as long as she was allowed to serve Jesus Christ. Felix, thinking himself derided by her undaunted and resolute air, in a transport of rage caused her to be struck on the face and the hair of her head to be torn off and, lastly, ordered her to be hanged on a cross till she expired.
Certain monks of the isle of Gorgon carried off her body but in 763 Desiderius, King of Lombardy, removed her relics to Brescia, where her memory is celebrated with great devotion. The Basilica of Santa Giulia near Bergamo is dedicated to her.
St Rita of Cascia (1386-1457) (Optional Memorial) About St Rita: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/saint-of-the-day-22-may-st-rita-of-cascia-patron-of-impossible-causes-abused-wives-and-widows/
St Aigulf of Bourges
St Atto of Pistoia
St Aureliano of Pavia
St Ausonius of Angoulême
St Baoithin of Ennisboyne
St Basiliscus of Pontus
St Bobo of Provence
St Boethian of Pierrepont
St Castus the Martyr
St Conall of Inniscoel
Bl Diego de Baja
Bl Dionisio Senmartin
St Emilius the Martyr
St Faustinus the Martyr
St Francisco Salinas Sánchez
St Fulgencio of Otricoli
Bl Fulk of Castrofurli
Bl Giacomo Soler
Bl Giusto Samper
St Helen of Auxerre
St Humility of Faenza
Bl John Baptist Machado Bl John Forest OFM (1471-1538) Martyr of Oxford University Biography: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/05/22/saint-of-the-day-22-may-bl-john-forest-o-f-m-1471-1538-martyr/
St John of Parma
St José Quintas Durán St Julia (5th century) Martyr
St Lupo of Limoges
St Marcian of Ravenna
St Margaret of Hulme
Bl Maria Rita Lopes Pontes de Souza Brito
Bl Pedro of the Assumption
St Romanus of Subiaco
St Timothy the Martyr
St Venustus the Martyr
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Francisco Salinas Sánchez
• Blessed José Quintas Durán
Marian Thoughts – 21 May – ‘Mary’s Month’ – Tuesday of the fifth Week of Easter, C
Mini Series – Pope Francis and the Holy Rosary
“The prayer of the rosary is, in many ways, the synthesis of the history of God’s mercy, which becomes a history of salvation for all who let themselves be shaped by grace. “…Pope Francis 9 October 2016
The Second Luminous Mystery
The Wedding Feast at Cana
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him....John 2:11
“In the context of the Covenant, we are also to understand Our Lady’s observation: “They have no wine” (v. 3). How can one celebrate a wedding feast and make merry without what the prophets indicated as a typical element of the messianic banquet? Water is necessary for life but wine expresses the abundance of a banquet and the joy of a feast. This wedding feast was short of wine, the newlyweds are ashamed of this. But just imagine ending a wedding feast drinking tea, it would be a shame. Wine is necessary for a feast. By transforming into wine the water of the jars used “for the Jewish rites of purification” (Jn 2:6), Jesus preforms an eloquent sign – He transforms the Law of Moses into the Gospel, bearer of joy. As John states elsewhere: “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (1:17).
Sometimes, even our best, beautiful dreams, our hard work and troubles – all go to nothing. Great works demand making sacrifices but sometimes we reach a wall. Let us pray that we – like Mary – know how to humbly show this situation to Jesus and that we strongly believe that even out of the greatest failure, He is able to produce the most unexpected good.”
Thought for the Day – 21 May – Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter, C and The Memorial of St Eugene de Mazenod OMI (1782-1861)
Born into a noble family in Aix (Provence), Saint Eugene spent part of his childhood in Italy because of the French Revolution. Ordained a priest at Amiens in 1811, he soon organised missionaries to go to rural parts of Provence, instructing the people whose religious training had been disrupted for many years by the French Revolution and its aftermath.
Eugene began the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1816, obtaining papal approval for them 10 years later. From rural preaching, they soon moved into running seminaries to improve the quality of the clergy. Their first foreign mission was in Canada in 1841; soon they were in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America.
In 1851, Eugene followed his uncle as archbishop of Marseilles where he died 10 years later. He had focused his energies on Church renewal and reform while vigorously defending the Church’s right to spread the Good News.
His congregation has grown to become one of the largest in the Church, serving in over 68 countries, especially in Africa and Canada. Many of its members have become missionary bishops.
At Eugene’s Canonisation in 1998, St Pope John Paul II praised his vision, perseverance, and conformity to God’s will, saying: “His influence is not limited to the age in which he lived but continues its effect on our time…
Saint Eugene de Mazenod allowed the grace of God to bear rich fruit in his life. That required a certain amount of flexibility, as well as courage, to face the problems every growing group encounters. We look to saints like Eugene not to borrow their courage and zeal but, with God’s grace, to discover our own, always seeking first God’s kingdom (see Matthew 6:33).
Note: We have these Oblates in our Diocese in the Western Cape, South Africa, whilst they look the same as any other priest, they are not – they follow the pattern of St Eugene and are vessels, by the grace of God, of His marvellous and effective love and zeal!
One Minute Reflection – 21 May – Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter, C, Gospel: John 14:27–31 and the Memorial of St Eugene de Mazenod (1782-1861)
“My peace I give to you”... John 14:27
REFLECTION – “We could have great peace if we were willing not to busy ourselves with the sayings and doings of others, for which we bear no responsibility. How can you remain long at peace, if you interfere in other people’s business, if you are on the watch for a chance to leave your solitude, if your inner recollection is slight and sporadic? Blessed are the simple, for they have great peace. What is it that made some of the saints such perfect contemplatives? Their whole study was to deaden themselves to every earthly desire and so they could wholly cleave to God, from the very depth of their heart and freely give time to Himself. But as for us, we are too much taken up with our appetites, too anxious about transitory things. We seldom perfectly conquer even one fault, so frigid and tepid we remain.
If we were perfectly dead to ourselves and free of all inner involvements; then we could also taste the things of God and have some experience of heavenly contemplation. It is total and utter hindrance to me that we are not free from passion and lust and we do not undertake the perfect way of the Saints. When we meet with even slight adversity, we are quickly thrown and we turn to human comforts. If we were to try like gallant warriors, to stand firm in battle, then surely we should see the help of God upon us from heaven. For He is ready to help those who struggle, hoping in His grace… If you did but mind what peace for yourself, what joy for others your good dispositions would secure! I think you would take much more thought for spiritual progress.”… Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471) – The Imitation of Christ – Book 1, ch.11
PRAYER – Loving Father, grant us the grace to strive after perfect love. Help us to bring forth frequents acts of love so that we may grow in this greatest of virtues. In the great love of Your divine Son, who gave Himself for us, He filled us with peace and hope. May these gifts grow always in our hearts. We ask for the intercession of Mary, the Blessed Virgin, His Mother and of St Eugene de Mazenod, who overflowed with love, they said his heart was as big as the world. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 21 May – ‘Mary’s Month’ – Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter, C
Mary, our Queen By St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231)
Mary, our Queen,
Holy Mother of God,
we beg you to hear our prayer.
Make our hearts overflow with divine grace
and resplendent with heavenly wisdom.
Render them strong with your might
and rich in virtue.
Pour down upon us the gift of mercy
so that we may obtain the pardon of our sins.
Help us to live in such a way
as to merit the glory and bliss of heaven.
May this be granted us by your Son Jesus
who has exalted you above the angels,
has crowned you as Queen,
and has seated you with Him
forever on his refulgent throne.
Saint of the Day – 21 May – Saint Arcangelo Tadini (1846-1912) – Priest, Founder of the Worker Sisters of the Holy House of Nazareth, of which Order, he is the Patron, Social Reformer, Apostle of the Holy Eucharist, Prayer and Charity.
Arcangelo Tadini was born on 12 October 1846 in Verolanuova (Brescia), Italy. At the age of 18 he entered the seminary in Brescia, however, an accident was to leave him with a limp for the rest of his life. He was ordained in 1870 but illness obliged him to spend his first year as a priest with his family.
From 1871 to 1873 he was a curate at Lodrino, a mountain village and then at the Shrine of Santa Maria della Noce near Brescia.
He was known for his attention to his people’s needs. After flooding left many parishioners homeless, he organised a soup-kitchen in the parish house that served 300 meals a day. In 1885 he was transferred to Botticino Sera as curate and two years later was appointed parish priest and dean of the same parish, where he spent the remaining 25 years of his life.
A zealous pastor of souls, he provided catechesis for every age group, started a choir, organised various confraternities, rebuilt the church and cared for the liturgy. When he preached, people were amazed at the warmth and power that his words instilled.
With the spread of the industrial revolution, he founded the Workers’ Mutual Aid Association to help labourers suffering from illness, accidents, disabilities or old age. He used his own inheritance to plan and build a spinning factory, providing it with the latest equipment and later building an adjacent residence for working women. To educate young working women, he founded the Congregation of Worker Sisters of the Holy House of Nazareth, who went into the factories to work alongside the other women, sharing their toil and tensions, while teaching them by their example. To the sisters and the young working women, Fr Tadini held up the example of Jesus, who not only sacrificed Himself on the Cross but spent the first 30 years of His life in Nazareth where He was not ashamed, to use a carpenter’ s tools, or to have calloused hands and a brow bathed in sweat.
He taught his parishioners that work is not a curse but rather the way in which men and women are called to fulfil themselves as human beings and as Christians. His strength came from prayer – his parishioners would see him stand for hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament, despite his disability, absorbed in contemplation of God. Fr Arcangelo Tadini ended his earthly life on 20 May 1912….Vatican.va
He was Beatified on 3 October 1999 by St Pope John Paul II and Canonised by Pope Benedict XVI on 26 April 2009.
His order now operates in countries across the world such as Burundi and the United Kingdom. He had died without his order having received full approval, the Bishop of Brescia, Giacinto Gaggia issued diocesan approval on 30 November 1931 while Pope Pius XII issued the decree of praise on 12 January 1953. St Pope John XXIII issued papal approval a decade later on 16 March 1962.