Marian Thoughts –20 May – Pope Francis – The First Luminous Mystery: The Baptism of the Lord

Marian Thoughts – 20 May – ‘Mary’s Month’ – Monday 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. She obeyed the message of the Angel and opened her heart to receive the mystery of divine motherhood.   She followed Jesus, listening to every word that issued from His lips (cf. Mk 3:31-35).   She kept all those things in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19) and became the living memory of the signs worked by God’s Son to awaken our faith.   But is not enough simply to listen.  That is certainly, the first step but listening, then, needs to be translated into concrete action.   The disciple truly puts his life at the service of the Gospel.”…Pope Francis (9 October 2016)

The First Luminous Mystery

The Baptism of the Lord

“We then understand the great humility of Jesus, the One who had not sinned, in lining up with the penitents, mingled among them to be baptised in the waters of the river.   In doing so, He manifested what we celebrated at Christmas – the availability of Jesus to immerse Himself in the river of humanity, to take upon Himself the shortcomings and weaknesses of humanity, to share our desire to be free and to overcome everything that separates us from God and makes us strangers to our brothers and sisters.  Just like in Bethlehem, along the banks of the River Jordan, God keeps His promise, to take charge of the fate of human beings and Jesus is the tangible and definitive sign.”

Pope Francis (Angelus – 7 January 2018)

pope francis rosary meditations - the baptism of the lord - the 1st luminous mystery 20 may 2019.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY NAME

Thought for the Day – 20 May – St Bernardine, a human dynamo….

Thought for the Day – 20 May – Monday of the fifth Week of Easter, C and the Memorial of St Bernadine of Siena OFM (1380-1444)

Most of the saints suffer great personal opposition, even persecution.   Bernardine, by contrast, seems more like a human dynamo who simply took on the needs of the world.

He was the greatest preacher of his time, journeying across Italy, calming strife-torn cities, attacking the paganism he found rampant, attracting crowds of 30,000, following St Francis of Assisi’s admonition to preach about “vice and virtue, punishment and glory.”

Compared with Saint Paul by the pope, Bernardine had a keen intuition of the needs of the time, along with solid holiness and boundless energy and joy.   He accomplished all this despite having a very weak and hoarse voice, miraculously improved later because of his devotion to Mary.

When he was 20, the plague was at its height in his hometown of Siena.   Sometimes as many as 20 people died in one day at the hospital.   Bernardine offered to run the hospital and, with the help of other young men, nursed patients there for four months. He escaped the plague but was so exhausted that a fever confined him for several months.   He spent another year caring for a beloved aunt whose parents had died when he was a child and at her death began to fast and pray to know God’s will for him.

At 22, he entered the Franciscan Order and was ordained two years later.   For almost a dozen years he lived in solitude and prayer but his gifts ultimately caused him to be sent to preach.   He always travelled on foot, sometimes speaking for hours in one place, then doing the same in another town. For nearly a quarter of a century he crisscrossed Italy on foot, calling people to repentance in exhortations like this:

“A sinner who repents learns to be prudent. He is like a donkey that, once he has fallen in a spot, afterwards looks more carefully where he sets his foot. For fear of punishment he takes care not to fall into those sins again, or into any others. Now, I want to ask older people about this. Old man and old woman, are you there? “Yes.” Tell me, have you fallen into sin over and over again? “Yes.”
Well, have you returned to God? “Yes.” They have fallen often and so they walk more gingerly. They think about how they had better set their feet. As they see death approaching, they thank God that they have had time to turn to him. And they do not trust themselves not to fall, but always ask God to help them not to fall again.”

Especially known for his devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, Bernardine devised a symbol—IHS, the first three letters of the name of Jesus in Greek—in Gothic letters on a blazing sun.   This was to displace the superstitious symbols of the day, as well as the insignia of factions – for example, Guelphs and Ghibellines.   The devotion spread and the symbol began to appear in churches, homes and public buildings.   Opposition arose from those who thought it a dangerous innovation.   Three attempts were made to have the pope take action against him but Bernardine’s holiness, orthodoxy and intelligence were evidence of his faithfulness.

General of the Friars of the Strict Observance, a branch of the Franciscan Order, Bernardine strongly emphasised scholarship and further study of theology and canon law.   When he started there were 300 friars in the community, when he died there were 4,000.   He returned to preaching the last two years of his life, dying while travelling.

Another dynamic saint once said, “…I will not be a burden, for I want not what is yours but you…. I will most gladly spend and be utterly spent for your sakes” (2 Corinthians 12:14).   There is danger that we see only the whirlwind of activity in the Bernardines of faith—taking care of the sick, preaching, studying, administering, always driving—and forget the source of their energy.   We should not say that Bernardine could have been a great contemplative if he had had the chance.   He had the chance, everyday and he took it.

St Bernardine of Siena, Pray for us!st brnadine of siena pray for us 20 may 2019.jpg


Quote/s of the Day – 20 May – St Bernadine of Siena (1380-1444)

Quote/s of the Day – 20 May – Monday of the fifth Week of Easter, C and the Memorial of St Bernadine of Siena OFM (1380-1444)

“The name of Jesus, is in fact,
the great foundation of the faith
that turns people into children of God.
The Catholic Faith indeed,
consists in the news of Jesus Christ,
as light of the soul,
gate of life
and foundation
of eternal salvation.”the-name-of-jesus-is-in-fact-the-reat-foundation-st-bernardine-3-jan-2019

“The Name of Jesus is the glory of preachers
because the shining splendour of that Name
causes His word to be proclaimed and heard.
And how do you think such an immense,
sudden and dazzling light of faith came into the world,
if not because Jesus was preached?
Was it not through the brilliance
and sweet savour of this Name
that God called us into His marvellous light?”the-name-of-jesus-st-bernardine-of-siena-3-jan-2018

“The last degree of love
is when He gave Himself to us
to be our Food;
because He gave Himself to be
united with us in every way.”the-last-degree-of-love-st-bernardine-of-siena-20-april-2018

“Let Mary never be far from your lips
and from your heart.
Following her, you will never lose your way.
Praying to her, you will never sink into despair.
Contemplating her, you will never go wrong.”let-mary-never-be-far-from-our-lips-st-bernardine-26-aug-2018

“The power of the priest,
is the power of the divine person,
for the transubstantiation of the bread,
requires as much power,
as the creation of the world.”

St Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444)the-power-of-the-priest-st-bernardine-2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection -20 May – “We will come and make our home with him.”

One Minute Reflection -20 May – Monday of the fifth Week of Easter, C, Gospel: John 14:21–26 and the Memorial of St Bernadine of Siena OFM. (1380-1444)

“We will come to him and make our dwelling with him”…John 14:24

REFLECTION – “My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him.”   Consider, dearly beloved, how great this solemnity is, that commemorates the coming of God as a guest in our hearts.   If some rich and powerful friend were to enter your home, you would quickly clean the entire house, for fear something there, might offend your friend’s eyes, when he entered.   Let anyone then who is preparing his inner house for God, cleanse away the dirt of his evil deeds.

You see what Truth tells us – “We will come and make our home with him.”   He does indeed enter the hearts of some but does not make His home there, because through repentance, they acquire respect for God but during a time of temptation, they forget that they have repented and so return to committing sins, as if they had never wept over them at all.   The Lord comes into the heart and makes His home in one, who truly loves God and observes His commandments, since the love of His divine nature, so penetrates him that he does not turn away from it during times of temptation.   That person loves truly, whose heart does not consent to be overcome by wicked pleasures…   Hence the following clarification – “Whoever does not love me does not keep my words.”   Dearly beloved, enter into yourselves and inquire if you truly love God.    But let no-one believe the answer his heart gives in his own case, apart from the testimony of his works….St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) Doctor of the Church Homilies on the Gospels no 30.john 14 24 we will come to him - if some rich and powerful friend - st gregory the great 20 may 2019

PRAYER – Lord, by Your grace, we are made one in mind and heart.   Give us a love for what You command and a longing for what You promise, so that, amid this world’s changes, our hearts may be set on the world of lasting joy.   May the angels and saints intercede for us and may our Mother, the Mother of God, be a constant assistant and guiding hand.   We make our prayer, through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever and ever, amen.mary immaculate holy mother of god - pray for us - 28 may 2018



Our Morning Offering – 20 May – Most Holy Virgin, I Choose You this Day

Our Morning Offering – 20 May – ‘Mary’s Month’ – Monday of the Fifth week of Easter, C and the Memorial of Saint Bernadine of Siena OFM (1380-1444)

Most Holy Virgin, I Choose You this Day
By St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Doctor of the Church

Most Holy Mary, Virgin Mother of God,
I am unworthy to be your servant.
Yet moved by your motherly care for me
and longing to serve you,
I choose you this day to be my Queen,
my Advocate and my Mother.
I firmly resolve ever
to be devoted to you
and to do what I can
to encourage others
to be devoted to you.
My loving Mor,
through the Precious Blood
of your Son shed for me,
I beg you to receive me
as your servant forever.
Aid me in my actions
and beg for me the grace
never by thought, word or deed
to be displeasing in your sight
and that of your most holy Son.
Remember me, dearest Mother,
and do not abandon me
at the hour of death.
Amenmost holy virgin I choose you this day - st francis de sales - 5 may 2018.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 20 May – Saint Ethelbert (died 794) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 20 May – Saint Ethelbert (died 794) Martyr – also known as Albert or Albrigh), King of East Anglia – Patronages – Hereford, England, Hereford Cathedral where a portion of his remains lie.

He was most probably born in 779 to a Christian family belonging to the ancient royal lineage of East Anglia.   His father’s name was Aethelred and his mother bore the name Leofruna.   He was brought up in the Christian tradition and obtained an education at the monastery in Bury St Edmunds.   From his childhood Ethelbert was very serious, polite, kind-hearted and friendly and was filled with the desire to imitate Christ in everything.   At that time most of England was under the control of King Offa of Mercia, who had a great ambition to place all the lands of England and part of Wales under his control and wanted the Church to be subordinated to the State.  aethelbert_eanglia.jpg

When Ethelbert was 14, his father died and the young man was crowned king and started to rule his kingdom.   It was in the year 793 or 794 that Ethelbert was offered marriage but the devout king first declined, wishing to keep his virginity.   But as he needed an heir, Ethelbert finally agreed.   His adviser, Oswald, suggested as a candidate the daughter of King Offa and his Queen Cynethryth of Mercia, Alfreda (also called Etheldritha).   Ethelbert and all the court consented; only the saint’s mother, Leofruna, was hesitant as she feared the Mercian family and their dishonesty.   Nevertheless, it was decided that Ethelbert would set out for Mercia.

As soon as the young king mounted his horse, a sudden earthquake occurred that made all his companions panic.   Leofruna saw in this a sign from the Lord that her son would never return home alive.   “Let the will of God be done!” exclaimed Ethelbert.   But another sign followed.   The sun darkened and such a dense fog rose around, that all who accompanied the king could not see each other or anything near them.   Seeing this solar eclipse, the king commanded everybody to kneel and pray together –  “May the Lord give us His mercy!” he said.   As soon as they offered up a prayer, the fog dispersed.

On their way to Mercia, Ethelbert was filled with spiritual joy and asked his companions to sing joyful songs, promising to give his bracelet to the most skilful singer.   They started singing spiritual hymns and songs relating his royal lineage.   The king took off his bracelet immediately and promised other gifts on his return.   Eventually, they reached Mercia, deciding to stop at Sutton in present-day Herefordshire.   The following night Ethelbert had a strange vision – his palace was in ruins and his mother, weeping, was coming up to him, meanwhile, he himself, turned into a beautiful bird with golden wings which flew very high to the heavens, where it finally heard the angelic choir glorifying the Most Holy Trinity.   Waking up, he asked his adviser Oswald to explain the dream to him.   Oswald kept silence for a few moments and then replied –  “Oh, king! Whatever happens to you, by the mercy of God all will be for the good”.

Thus, the trusting Ethelbert sent his messengers with gifts to King Offa while he followed behind.   Offa, however, believed the wicked false rumours spread by his impious wife Cynethryth that the young king was allegedly coming with the hostile intent to invade the kingdom.   As pious Ethelbert was approaching the royal palace, young Alfreda, his would-be betrothed, spotted him from the window.   The young princess at once ran to her mother, exclaiming – “Dear mother! King Ethelbert has come! Such a pleasant young man! I would surely marry him!” These words enraged Cynethryth—she hurried to her husband Offa and said to him – “The rumors are true.   If this marriage takes place, you will lose your kingdom very soon.   So go and offer half of your riches to him who agrees to kill him”.St._Ethelbert_the_King,_with_Christ.png

Ethelbert was welcomed near the palace by Wimbert, the court officer, who (after a conversation with the king) was treacherously going to murder the unsuspecting King of the East Angles.   Ethelbert got down from his horse and said he wished to speak with King Offa.   Wimbert slyly responded that the king was aware of his arrival and was waiting for him but, he must remove his sword, as it was not proper to appear before the king with a weapon in peacetime.   The ingenuous Ethelbert gave up his sword and, accompanied by several nobles, proceeded to the king.   He came to Offa. The doors were closed.   The innocent Ethelbert was then seized, tied and beaten severely.   After that Wimbert beheaded Ethelbert with his (the saint’s) own sword.   The young Alfreda mourned the loss of her fiancé very bitterly and, unable to endure the callousness of her parents, retired to Crowland in the Lincolnshire marches where she lived as anchoress for 40 years.   Famous for her prophecies, Alfreda reposed in c. 835 and afterwards was locally venerated as saint.

Since then Ethelbert has been known and venerated by English people as a martyr, a saint of God who gained abundant divine grace.   Although Ethelbert did not die for Christ, he fell victim to evil, being personally very pious, so he is regarded as a martyr. King Offa, who arranged his murder, did not repent (according to most of the sources) and is remembered as a cruel king with a lust for power.   It is supposed, that the scene of St Ethelbert’s martyrdom was the royal villa at or near Sutton.   His body was buried like rubbish but a heavenly light identified it and it was eventually relocated.

Ethelbert was locally canonised by the Church.   (Local canonisation took place before official papal canonisation had been established.   The individual was ‘locally venerated’) He became the subject of a series of vitae that date from the eleventh century and he was venerated in religious cults in both East Anglia and at Hereford. 12 ancient churches and several chapels were dedicated to him, besides the Cathedral, together with the Blessed Virgin, in which he lies.   During one of the moves of his body, the head fell off the body, fell off the cart it was being carried in, touched a pedestrian who had been blind for eleven years and cured him.  The head is now enshrined at Westminster Abbey, ethelbert of east anglia

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 20 May

St Bernadine of Siena OFM (1380-1444) (Optional Memorial)
About St Bernardine:

St Abercius
Bl Albert of Bologna
St Alexander of Edessa
St Althryda
St Anastasius of Brescia
St Aquila of Egypt
St Arcangelo Tadini
Bl Arnaldo Serra and Companions
St Asterius of Edessa
St Austregisilus of Bourges
St Basilla of Rome
St Baudelius of Nîmes
St Codrato
Bl Columba of Rieti
St Ethelbert of East Anglia (died 794) Martyr
Bl Guy de Gherardesca
St Helena
St Hilary of Toulouse
St José Pérez Fernández
St Lucifer of Caglieri
St Marcello
Bl Maria Angelica Perez
St Plautilla of Rome
St Protasius Chong Kuk-bo
St Rafaél García Torres
St Talaleo of Egea
St Thalalaeus of Edessa
St Theodore of Pavia
St Tomás Valera González