Marian Thoughts – 6 May – Pope Francis and Mary

Marian Thoughts – 6 May – ‘May, the Month of Mary’ – Pope Francis and Mary

Mary, Pope Francis said, “shows us the way home.
She brings us to Jesus, who is the Gate of Mercy.”

Francis’s love affair with Our Lady is well documented and it began long before Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio was made a bishop – in 1990, the future pope gave up TV because of a promise he made to the Virgin of Carmel.

After he was appointed archbishop of Buenos Aires, in Argentina, he’d participate in a massive pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Lujan, patroness of his country.

Before and after every foreign trip today, he visits Rome’s Basilica of St Mary Major to venerate the famous icon of Our Lady known as Salus Populi Romani (protectress of the Roman people) and usually leaves a bouquet of flowers presented to him during the trip.pope francis bows in front of populus mary.jpeg

In early 2016, he made a politically-charged trip to Mexico, visiting Ciudad Juarez on the border with the United States to deliver a strong appeal in favour of immigrants.   Yet before and during the trip, he said time and time again he would visit Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and everything else was decided after.   “How could I not come?” Francis asked the Mexican bishops when he met with them.   “Could the Successor of Peter, called from the far south of Latin America, deprive himself of seeing la Virgen Morenita?”

Francis has spoken about how his devotion to Mary helped him through his election to the papacy, about praying the Rosary three times a day and that he always makes a point of stopping and even presenting flowers at the feet of Our Lady when she’s in St Peter’s Square or, wherever, he celebrates Mass during his trips abroad.

In 2005, after the death of St John Paul II, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Beroglio wrote a piece for a special issue of the Italian magazine 30 Giorni, dedicated to the late pontiff.  In it, the man who today leads the Church wrote about once praying the rosary with the Polish pope and the impact it had on him.

“I felt that this man, chosen to lead the Church, was following a path back to his Mother in the sky, a path set out from his childhood,” he wrote. “I understood the presence of Mary in the life of the pope, a witness he never ceased to give.   From that moment, I recite the 15 mysteries of the Rosary every day.”

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee!hail mary and ave maria -stpetr canisius holy mary - 21dec2018 .jpg


Thought for the Day – 6 May – The Contest of Faith

Thought for the Day – 6 May – Monday of the Third week of Easter, Gospel: John 6:22–29 and the Memorial of St Francois Laval (1623-1708)

The Contest of Faith

Saint Cyprian of Carthage (200-258)
Bishop, Martyr, Father of the Church and Martyr

An excerpt from his Letter 58

Dear brothers, the commands of the Gospel are nothing else than God’s lessons, the foundations on which to build up hope, the supports for strengthening faith, the food that nourishes the heart.   They are the rudder for keeping us on the right course, the protection that keeps our salvation secure.   As they instruct the receptive minds of believers on earth, they lead safely to the kingdom of heaven.

As we do battle and fight, in the contest of faith, God, His angels and Christ Himself, watch us.   How exalted is the glory, how great the joy of engaging in a contest with God presiding, of receiving a crown, with Christ as we do battle and fight - st cyoprian of carthage - 6 may 2019 the contest of faith

Dear brethren, let us arm ourselves with all our might, let us prepare ourselves for the struggle with uncorrupted minds, with a whole faith and with devoted courage.

The blessed Apostle teaches us how to arm and prepare ourselves – Put round you the belt of truth, put on the breastplate of righteousness, for shoes wear zeal for the Gospel of peace, take up the shield of faith to extinguish all the burning arrows of the evil one, take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.

Let us take this armour and defend ourselves with these spiritual defences from heaven, so that when the evil day comes we may be able to resist the threats of the devil and fight back against him.

Let us put on the breastplate of righteousness so that our breasts may be protected and kept safe from the arrows of the enemy.   Let our feet be shod in the teaching of the Gospel and armoured so that when we begin to trample on the serpent and crush it, it will not be able to bite us or trip us up.

Let us with fortitude bear the shield of faith to protect us by extinguishing all the burning arrows that the enemy may launch against us.

Let us wear on our head the helmet of the Spirit, to defend our ears against the proclamations of death, to defend our eyes against the sight of accursed idols, to defend our foreheads so that God’s sign may be kept intact and to defend our mouths, so that our tongues may proclaim victoriously the name of Christ their Lord.

Let us arm our right hand with the sword of the Spirit so that it may courageously refuse the daily sacrifices and let the hand—mindful of the Eucharist—that took hold of the body of the Lord, embrace the Lord Himself and so gain from the Lord the future prize of a heavenly crown.

Dear brethren, have all this firmly fixed in your hearts.   If the day of persecution finds us thinking on these things and meditating upon them, the soldier of Christ, trained by Christ’s commands and instructions, will not tremble at the thought of battle but will be ready to receive the crown of victory.   Amen!

St Francois Laval, who have received the Crown, please pray for us!st francois laval pray for us no 2  6 may 2019.jpg


Quote/s of the Day – 6 May – Dangerous Affections

Quote/s of the Day – 6 May – Monday of the Third week of Easter, Gospel: John 6:22–29

Speaking of – Dangerous Affections – St Augustine

“Do not love the world
or the things of the world.
If anyone loves the world,
the love of the Father, is not in him.”

1 John 2:151 john 2 15 - do not love the world - 6 may 2019.jpg

“The honours of this world,
what are they but puff
and emptiness
and peril of falling?”the honours of this world what are they but - st augustine - 6 may 2019.jpg

“What do you possess
if you possess not God?”what do you possess if you possess not god - st augustine 6 may 2019.jpg

“The love of worldly possessions
is a sort of bird line,
which entangles the soul
and prevents it flying to God.”the love of worldly possessions - st augustine 6 may 2019.jpg

“This is the business of our life –
by labour and prayer,
to advance in the grace of God,
till we come to that height of perfection
in which, with clean hearts,
we may behold God.”this is the business of our life - st augustine - 6 may 2019.jpg

“Daily advance,
then, in this love,
both by praying
and by well-doing,
that through the help of Him
who enjoined it on you
and whose gift it is,
it may be nourished
and increased,
until, being perfected,
it render you perfect.”daily advance then in this love - st augustine - 6 may 2019.jpg

“God does not
command impossibilities
but by commanding,
admonishes you do what you can
and to pray for what you cannot
and aids you,
that you may be able.”god does not command impossibilities - st augustine 6 may 2019.jpg

“This very moment,
I may,
if I desire,
become the friend
of God.”

Saint Augustine (354-430)
Father & Doctor of the Churchthis very moment - st augustine - friend of god - 6 may 2019.jpg


One Minute Reflection – 6 May – “Our first aim is to go to God…”

One Minute Reflection – 6 May – Monday of the Third week of Easter, Gospel: John 6:22–29

“Do not labour for the food which perishes but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you...”John 6:27do not labour for the food which perishes - john 6 27 - 6 may 2019.jpg

REFLECTION – “Someone who works frenziedly on Sundays, thinking he is going to earn more money or get more done, is making a mistake in his calculations!   Can two or three dollars ever compensate for the harm he does himself by violating the law of God?   You imagine everything depends on your work, but then an illness, an accident…!   It takes so little: a storm, hail, frost…  Do not work for food that perishes but for that which dwells in eternal life.   What will you gain by having worked on Sunday?   You leave the land just as it is when you depart; you do not carry anything away.   Our first aim is to go to God, we are not on earth for anything but this!   My brethren, we should die on Sundays and come back to life again on Mondays.   Sunday belongs to God – it is His day, the Day of the Lord.   He made all the days of the week and could have kept them all.   He has given you six of them and has only held back the seventh for himself!”…St John Vianney (1786-1859)you leave the land just as it is-stjohn vianney 6 may 2019.jpg

PRAYER – King of heaven and earth, Lord God, rule over our hearts and bodies this day. Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed, according to the commandments of Your law, so that now and forever, Your grace may free and save us. Let us walk in Your ways and be your lights and thus by our lives, help others to follow You.  Grant that the prayers of our blessed Mother, the Mother of Jesus Your Son and St Francois Laval, who always lived for You alone, may help us, as we work through each day to reach our heavenly home. Through Jesus the Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.holy-mary-mother-of-god-pray-for-us.jpg

st francois laval pray for us 6 may 2019.jpg


Our Morning Offering – 6 May – Prayer to Mary, Woman of Listening

Our Morning Offering – 6 May – “Mary’s Month” – Monday of the Third week of Easter

Prayer to Mary,
Woman of Listening
Pope Francis

woman of listening,
open our ears,
grant us to know how to listen
to the word of your Son Jesus,
among the thousands of words of this world,
grant that we may listen
to the reality in which we live,
to every person we encounter,
especially those who are poor, in need, in hardship.
woman of decision,
illuminate our mind and our heart,
so that we may obey, unhesitating,
the word of your Son Jesus,
give us the courage to decide,
not to let ourselves be dragged along,
letting others direct our life.
woman of action,
obtain that our hands and feet move
“with haste” toward others,
to bring them the charity and love of your Son Jesus,
to bring the light of the Gospel to the world,
as you did.

Prayer to Mary at the conclusion of the recital of the Holy Rosary

(Saint Peter’s Square, 31 May 2013)
===============pray to mary, woman of listening - pope francis - 6 may 2019.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 6 May – St Francis-Xavier de Montmorency Laval (Francois Laval) (1623-1708)

Saint of the Day – 6 May – St Francis-Xavier de Montmorency Laval (1623-1708) Bishop, Missionary, Apostle of Prayer, of the Poor and the sick, of great Charity, Reformer,founder of schools, hospitals, churches, the first Seminary in Canada, he took took a great interest in practical education for craftsmen and farmers, founding a school of arts and crafts, Social reformer, administrator, commonly known as St Francois Laval, was the first Bishop of Quebec, appointed when he was 36 years old by Pope Alexander VII.ST 800px-Portrait_of_Monseigneur_François_de_Laval,_Québec_city,_1700.jpg

Born of a noble background in France’s Perce province in 1623, St François Laval was trained and educated by Jesuits.   During those formative years the young Laval grew in awareness of the order’s missionaries in North America.   He was impressed by their missionary zeal to such a degree that he wanted to join their work, following in the footsteps of his missionary namesake St Francis Xavier.   Ordained a diocesan priest in 1647, it seemed that Father Laval would be unable to fulfil his missionary dreams because of obligations with several ecclesiastical appointments in France within the first years following his ordination.   However, the dream seemed closer to a reality after spending more than a year in Rome training to become an apostolic vicar to missionary regions in Asia.   Father Laval was disappointed to learn that the mission ceased to develop after a variety of political problems arose.

He returned to his native France and spent three years living in a retreat house called the Hermitage at Caen.   In his time there, his reputation grew as a man dedicated to prayer and works of charity.   He also helped in reforming monasteries.   Bishop François de Servien of Bayeaux described the zealous priest to be of “great piety, prudent and of unusually great competence in business matters (and) fine examples of virtue.”   Taking into consideration these qualities and his earlier experience in Rome, Father Laval’s appointment as apostolic vicar to New France in 1659 made good sense.sT 474px-Portrait_de_Mgr_François_de_Laval

French exploration and colonisation in the New World having begun some 50 years earlier, the ministry of a bishop became a necessity in 1646.   Ecclesiastical authority of New France initially was given to the archbishop of Rouen, France and Father Laval was appointed his delegate in the New World in 1658.   He was then ordained a bishop the next year in Paris by France’s apostolic nuncio and arrived in Quebec by mid-June.   From the very beginning of his time in the New World, Bishop Laval was regarded as a consummate pastor.   His first day was marked by baptising a young Huron and administering the last sacraments to a dying man.   A funeral orator remembered the newly arrived bishop as even helping the sick “make their beds every day and performing all of the most demeaning services for the sick.”   His life as bishop also was marked by simplicity and poverty and he was generous with the poor.   “He gives away everything and lives in poverty,” St Marie Guyart (1599-1672) said of Bishop Laval.   “His home, his life, his furnishings, his servants are all a reflection of how he lives his live in poverty.”santo-st-françois-de-laval-de-montmorency-mep-agustus-2018-hidup-katolik.jpg

In 1674, Bishop Laval successfully requested that the Holy See erect a separate diocese — the first in the New World north of Mexico — encompassing most of North America.   In his tenure as bishop of the vast diocese, he was responsible for building an ecclesiastical infrastructure.   Parishes and hospitals were constructed at his direction.   He was a great proponent of building a strong educational system for all, not just the elite.   The project of which he was proudest was the Grand Seminaire, founded in 1663 to support the Church of New France by training future priests and leaders.   It housed an academy and a home for priests.   Bishop Laval shared a large part of the administration of the Seminary but he was met with great resistance when he levied an ecclesiastical tax on parishes and farms in order to provide for the upkeep of the seminary.   The seminary eventually evolved into Laval University, the oldest institution of higher education in Canada.ST François_de_Laval

His ecclesiastical position required that he be involved in a certain amount of colonial politics and he was never afraid to disregard civil authority when needed.   He boldly defended civil rights in the New World, especially among the natives.   Recognising the destructive behaviour among Native Americans when introduced to alcohol, he excommunicated those who sold it to the natives.   His decision was supported by a royal decree in 1679.

As his health began to show signs of deterioration in 1688, he resigned his office.   He spent several years in retirement caring for the poor and living a life of prayer.   He experienced great sorrow in his declining years as he witnessed two raging fires at his beloved seminary, which was rebuilt with his assistance.

Bishop Laval died in 1708 after developing a stomach ulcer, though he never missed a Mass or a day of fasting.  ST FRANCOIS DE MONTMORECY LAVAL ICONAn observer of his funeral noted, “Immediately after his death the people canonised him, as it were, having had the same veneration for his body as for those of the saints … they even cut off pieces of his robe, which several have had enshrined in silver and they treat them as relics.”

His body was placed in the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec (“Our Lady of Quebec City”) he had built, however, his heart was kept in the chapel of the seminary to which he had dedicated a large part of his life and love.

He was Beatified on 22 June 1980, in Vatican City, by St Pope John Paul II and was granted equipollent Canonisation by Pope Francis on 3 April 2014.  The city of Laval, Quebec, north of Montreal, is named after him.

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Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 6 May

St Acuta
Bl Anna Rosa Gattorno (1831-1900)

Bl Anthony Middleton
Bl Bartolomeo Pucci-Franceschi
St Benedicta of Rome
St Colman Mac Ui Cluasigh of Cork
St Colman of Loch Eichin
St Edbert of Lindisfarne
Bl Edward Jones
St Evodius of Antioch
St Francis-Xavier de Montmorency Laval (1623-1708)
St Heliodorus
Bl Henryk Kaczorowski
St James of Numidia
St Justus of Vienne
Bl Kazimierz Gostynski
St Lucius of Cyrene
Bl Maria Catalina Troiani
St Marianus of Lambesa
Bl Peter de Tornamira
St Petronax of Monte Cassino
St Protogenes of Syria
Bl Prudence Castori
St Theodotus of Kyrenia
St Venerius of Milan
St Venustus of Africa
St Venustus of Milan
Bl William Tandi