Thought for the Day – 31 August – Saturday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 25:14–30
“And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness,
there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’” ... Matthew 25:30
Christ will Impose a Reckoning on me
Saint Gertrude of Helfta “the Great” (1256-1301)
Benedictine nun Exercises VII, SC 127
Behold, I become passionately alarmed by what I have committed, I blush very much at what I have omitted, I become exceedingly frightened at the wastefulness of my life. I fear, that future investigation, at which Christ, a noble man, will impose a reckoning on me.
If He wanted to exact a deposit from me for my time and interest from the talent of understanding He conferred on me, I would, in short, not find any worthy answer for Your charity. What will I do? Where will I turn? I lack the strength to dig, I should blush to beg. (Lk 16:3) O Loving-kindness. Loving-kindnes,. speak up now, may Your dulcet counsel, I entreat You, warm my spirit back to life. Ah, answer me – what does it seem to You I should do in this [situation), for according to Your name You have a truly loving and kind heart and You know best what may be expedient for me in all this. Ah, pardon me and bring me help and in this tribulation, do not be detached from me. Let the poverty of my spirit move You and, touched by the compassion of Your heart, say to me with loving-kindness: “May there be one purse for me and You.” (Prv 1:14)
O Loving-kindness, Loving-kindness, You have stored up with Yourself riches so immeasurable, that heaven and earth do not suffice to contain them. You have driven my Jesus to give His soul for my soul, His life for mine, so that You might make everything that was His, mine and thus, out of your abundance, this pauper’s substance might increase. Ah, call my starved soul to Your food supply, so that in this life, I may live from Your riches and, reared by You and nourished by You, may not grow faint under the discipline of the Lord until at length, under Your guidance, I turn back to my God and give my spirit back to Him who gave it. (Eccl 12:7)
One Minute Reflection – 31 August – Saturday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 25:14–30
“For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property….”…Matthew 25:14
REFLECTION – “The universal destination and the private ownership of goods – In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labour and enjoy their fruits (Gn 1:26-29). The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. However, the earth is divided up among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence. the appropriation of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic needs and the needs of those in his charge. It should allow for a natural solidarity to develop between men. The right to private property… does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind, the universal destination of goods remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise. “In his use of things man should regard the external goods he legitimately owns not merely as exclusive to himself but common to others also, in the sense that they can benefit others as well as himself” (Vatican II, GS 69). The ownership of any property makes its holder a steward of Providence, with the task of making it fruitful and communicating its benefits to others, first of all his family. Goods of production… oblige their possessors to employ them in ways that will benefit the greatest number. Those who hold goods for use and consumption should use them with moderation, reserving the better part for guests, for the sick and the poor.”…Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2402-2405
PRAYER – Holy God and Father, help us by Your grace, to remain “good and faithful servants” so that we may use all You have bestowed upon us and left to our care, in the loving care of our neighbour and of Your gifts. May Mary, the Mother of Your divine Son and our Mother, walk at our side and teach us to be true children and users of our talents and Your creation. May we guard Your world with great wisdom. Holy Mother pray for us, that we may one day enter “into the joy of our Lord”. We make our prayer, through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 31 August – Saturday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year C and the last day of the Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
O Immaculate Heart of Mary Heart of Love and Mercy
O Most Blessed Mother,
heart of love,
heart of mercy,
ever listening, caring, consoling,
hear our prayer.
As your children,
we implore your intercession
with Jesus your Son.
Receive with understanding
the petitions we place before you today,
especially those so deep in our heart.
We are comforted in knowing
your heart is ever open
to those who ask for your prayer.
We trust to your gentle care and intercession,
those whom we love
and those who are sick or lonely or hurting.
Help all of us, Holy Mother,
to bear our burdens in this life
until we may share eternal life
and peace with God forever.
Saint of the Day – 31 August – Blessed Pere (Peter) Tarrés i Claret (1905-1950) aged 45 Priest, Medical Doctor, apostle of Eucharistic Adoration and of Mary, the Blessed Virgin, apostle of the sick and poor. Co-Founder, with Dr Gerrado Manresa, of a clinic dedicated to the Blessed Mother for the ill but in particular for those who suffered from tuberculosis, he also ensured that the clinic would be able to cater to those people who could not afford adequate medical treatment.
Pere (Peter) Tarrés i Claret was born on 30 May 1905 in Manresa, province of Barcelona, Spain, to Francesc Tarrés Puigdellívol and Carme Claret Masats. His parents were deeply religious, which was a positive influence for himself and his two sisters, Francesca and Maria, who both entered the convent.
Pere had a very joyful and open spirit and loved nature and helping others. As a boy, he assisted at the local pharmacy and the shop owner, Josep Balaguer, encouraged him to continue his studies in medicine. In 1921 Pere transferred to Barcelona to study, he made the decision to follow his dream and one day become a doctor to help others.
During these years of study, Pere received spiritual direction from Fr Jaume Serra, a priest who encouraged him to enter the “Federation of Young Christians of Catalonia”. This organisation, which met regularly at the Oratory of St Philip Neri, worked for a renewal of the Christian spirit within society. Pere was appointed President of the Federation and with his openness and enthusiasm, he knew how to give extraordinary “vigour” to the group. He was a beacon of good example for others and his zeal motivated him to travel the roads of Catalonia in his little automobile (which he called his “instrument of work”) as a lay missionary. He spoke openly of God, the Church and Christian living to the youth and those who were gathered along the streets, he also assisted in the formation of new Federation groups. Pere maintained a written correspondence with many members of the Federation (of whose federal council he was later appointed vice-president) and wrote articles that were published in the Federation’s weekly paper.
In addition to his work within this group, the young man was also involved in Catholic Action. In 1935 he was appointed vice-secretary of the new diocesan committee, he later became secretary of the archdiocesan committee, having received the recommendation of the Cardinal, Francesc Vidal y Barraquer of Tarragona.
A year later, having earned his degree in medicine, Pere began his residency in Barcelona. Here, together with Dr Gerardo Manresa, he founded a medical clinic for all those who needed assistance but could not afford it.
As a doctor, Pere was exemplary in his charity and life of piety. He never lost his habitual joy and was always available to help and speak to those who needed him. During the Spanish Civil War (July 1936-April 1939), Pere lived as a “refugee” in Barcelona because the persecution of Christians forced many into hiding, during this time he prayed, read and studied.
In May 1938 he was forced to enter the Republican army to provide medical assistance; these were eight long months of suffering for Pere and living through the horrors of war probed deep into his soul. Day after day he wrote about his life on the battle front in his “War Diary”. The war experience and assistance given to the wounded and dying made Pere understand the necessity for “spiritual assistance” and he felt that God was calling him to be a “doctor of souls” by entering the priesthood. As a result, he entered the Seminary of Barcelona on 29 September 1939 and was ordained a priest on 30 May 1942.
Fr Pere began by serving as a parochial vicar at the Parish of St Stephen Sesrovile and a year later he was sent to the Pontifical University of Salamanca to study theology. After he earned his degree in 1944, Fr Pere returned to Barcelona where he dedicated much of his time to Catholic Action, as well as providing spiritual assistance to religious congregations and material and spiritual help to the sick, especially the poorest of the poor. He also served as the diocesan delegate for the Protection of Women and as spiritual director of the “Magdalen Hospital” for female prostitutes.
Fr Pere lived his days to the full and had little time for res,; nonetheless, he carried out all his activity in peaceful recollection and a prayerful spirit. Everyone who came into contact with him was left with the impression that he was a very holy priest who truly cared, sacrificing himself for the spiritual and physical well-being of all, particularly the most desolate.
At the beginning of 1950, Fr Pere noticed that his health was deteriorating. Shortly thereafter, he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. He accepted his illness and offered it up for the sanctification of priests, resolved to die “as a good priest”.
Fr Pere said that it was a “joy to have the possibility to be a priest and to die in a continual act of love and suffering… worthy of the Heavenly Father”.
His “secret” in the spiritual life was Eucharistic devotion and filial love towards the Mother of God.
Fr Pere died on 31 August 1950 in the clinic that he founded. He was 45 years old. … Vatican.va
His remains were re-located to the parish church of San Vicente de Sarria on 6 November 1975 where his Shrine now resides, see below.
In 1985 the Archbishop of Barcelona, Narcís Arnau, founded the Foundation Blessed Pere Tarrés in honour of the late priest, a nonprofit devoted to charitable works (above)
Thought for the Day – 30 August – the Memorial of Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster OSB (1880-1954)
Today is the anniversary of the death of the Blessed Cardinal Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster, who passed to his reward in heaven in 1954, after serving the church of Milan as her shepherd for just over 25 years and was Beatified in 1996.
Blessed Alfredo had several difficult years as the Shepherd of Milan with rise of Fascism and then advent of WWII. What is keenly recalled of Schuster as Bishop, is his solicitude for the people. He visited every parish of the diocese five times, holding several diocesan synods, writing many pastoral letters and founding a Seminary in Venegono. Monk or not, he was a true apostle for the good of the Church’s holiness and engagement in the world.
The funeral Mass was offered by the Cardinal Roncalli, now St John XXIII. In 1985, the cardinal’s tomb was opened and his mortal remains were found to be intact, the monk-bishop-cardinal-man of God was beatified by Saint John Paul II on 12 May 1996. The relics were given for the veneration of the faithful in one of the side-altars of the Duomo in Milan.
A treasure of Blessed Schuster is his scholarship in the Liber Sacramentorum, known in its English translation as The Sacramentary. It was written while he was Benedictine monk with the supreme reverence for tradition, adoration and intellect. In some ways, the volumes are dated, yet the work remains an invaluable reference point for liturgical scholarship today.
To the seminarians of Milan he taught in a characteristically Benedictine manner of the futility of ministry without personal holiness:
“I have no memento to give you, apart from an invitation to holiness. It would seem that people are no longer convinced by our preaching but faced with holiness, they still believe, they still fall to their knees and pray. People seem to live ignorant of supernatural realities, indifferent to the problems of salvation. But when an authentic saint, living or dead passes by, all run to be there. Do not forget that the devil is not afraid of our [parish] sports fields and of our movie halls – he is afraid, on the other hand, of our holiness.
Prayer on the occasion of the Beatification of Cardinal Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster
Father, origin and source of all good,
we praise You and thank You
because, in the Blessed Cardinal Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster
You have given us and made known
a gentle and tireless pastor,
witness to the peace that only You can give.
Lord Jesus, Son of God,
You have been for the Cardinal Schuster, a model of life,
for Your love, he was a passionate servant of all.
Lord of life, peace and joy, grant that
his example may inspire us
and his prayer accompany us,
as we also give our lives
to the service of every human being.
Spirit of love, that makes us saints,
grant us to remember
his constant invitation to holiness.
Make us capable, as he was,
to love the poor, the forgotten, the persecuted;
give us the strength to dialogue with everyone,
with the confidence, to discover in every heart,
the seed of God.
May we not forget, the devil is afraid of our active striving for holiness.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen.
Blessed Alfredo, Pray for our Seminarians and Priests, Pray for us All!
One Minute Reflection – 30 August – Friday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 25:1–13 and the Memorial of Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster OSB (1880-1954)
“The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.” … Matthew 25:3-4
REFLECTION – “It is some great thing, some exceedingly great thing, that this oil signifies. Do you think it might be charity? If we try out this hypothesis, we hazard no precipitate judgement. I will tell you why charity seems to be signified by the oil. The apostle says, “I will show you a still more excellent way.” “If I speak with the tongue of mortals and of angels but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” This is charity. It is “that way above the rest,” which is with good reason signified by the oil. For oil swims above all liquids. Pour in water and pour in oil upon it, the oil will swim above. If you keep the usual order, it will be uppermost, if you change the order, it will be uppermost. “Charity never fails.” … St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor – Sermon 93
PRAYER – God our Saviour, through the grace of Baptism you made us children of light. Hear our prayer, that we may always walk in that light and work for truth, love and charity, as Your witnesses before men. Dispel from our hearts the darkness of sin and keep us ever watchful for the true light, Christ Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God forever. Blessed Alfredo Schuster, you lived a life of total charity ever watchful to the needs of your neighbour, please pray for us, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 30 August – Friday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year C
Send Us Your Sevenfold Grace By St Bonaventure (1217-1274) Doctor of the Church
Send upon us, O God,
the Spirit of sevenfold grace –
the spirit of wisdom,
enabling us to relish the fruit of the tree of life,
which is indeed Yourself;
the gift of understanding,
to enlighten our perceptions;
the gift of strength,
to withstand our adversary’s onslaught;
the gift of knowledge,
to distinguish good from evil
by the light of Your holy teaching;
the gift of piety,
to clothe ourselves with charity and mercy;
the gift of fear,
to withdraw from all ill-doing
and live quietly in awe of your eternal majesty.
These are the things for which we ask.
Grant them for the honour of Your Holy Name,
to which, with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
be all honour and glory,
and lordship forever and ever.
Saint of the Day – 30 August – Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster OSB (1880-1954) aged 74 Cardinal, Archbishop of Milan, Benedictine Monk and Abbot, Writer, Liturgical scholar – born Alfredo Ludovico Luigi Schuster on 18 January 1880 at Rome, Italy and died on 30 August 1954 at Venegono, Italy of natural causes. Patronage – Archdiocese of Milan. His body is incorupt.
Alfredo Ludovico Schuster was born on 18 January 1880 in Rome, Italy, the son of Giovanni (Johann) Schuster, a Bavarian tailor and double widower and Maria Anna Tutzer. Schuster’s sister, Giulia, entered the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul. Schuster also had three half-siblings from his father’s second marriage. As a young child, Schuster was briefly kidnapped. He served as an altar boy at the church of the German Cemetery, next to St. Peter’s Basilica.
Schuster completed his secondary-level studies at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in November 1891. On 13 November 1898, he joined the Order of St Benedict at the novitiate of the monastery community of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, when he took the name Ildefonso and later professed monastic vows on 13 November 1900. He graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy on 14 June 1903 and later received a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Atheneum of St Anselm in Rome.
He was ordained on 19 March 1904 at the patriarchal Lateran Basilica in Rome by Cardinal Pietro Respighi, its archpriest and Vicar general of Rome. He returned to the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in 1904 and became Master of novices in 1908, prior in 1916 and was elected abbot-ordinary of the abbey on 6 April 1918.
On 26 June 1029 he was elected Archbishop of Milan. On the following 13 July, he took the oath of loyalty to the Italian state in front of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, the first Italian bishop to do so, as required by the Lateran Treaty.
He was created Cardinal priest by Pope Pius XI on 15 July 1929, receiving the titular church of Santi Silvestro e Martino ai Monti on 18 July 1929. He was consecrated on 21 July 1929 in the Sistine Chapel by Pope Pius personally. Cardinal Schuster served as a papal legate on several occasions. On 15 August 1932, he was appointed legate to the celebration of Our Lady of Caravaggio; on 21 March 1934, to the millennial anniversary of Einsiedeln Abbey in Switzerland; on 15 September 1937, to the inauguration of the new facade of the cathedral of Desio; and on 2 August 1951, to the National Eucharistic Conference in Assisi. Bl Alfredo participated in the papal conclave of 1939, which elected Pope Pius XII on the eve of World War II.
There were claims during the process for Schuster’s beatification that he was sympathetic to Italian Fascism. While there is evidence of some support for Italy’s military ambitions, there is also evidence that he denounced the anti-Christian element of Fascist philosophy. He reportedly refused to participate in ceremonies involving Mussolini and condemned racist legislation during the Fascist period.
Schuster was an enthusiastic supporter of the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935, comparing it to the Crusades and viewing it as a potential source of converts. On 28 October 1935, while celebrating Mass in the Cathedral of Milan, he asked God to protect the Italian troops as “they open the door of Ethiopia to the Catholic faith and Roman civilisation”and blessed the banners of the departing troops. In 1938, Bl Alfredo’s views changed sharply, after the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany and the introduction of German racial doctrines into Italy with the Italian Racial Laws. During World War II the Cardinal was attacked by the Fascist and Nazi press without suffering any loss of esteem among his people. In the postwar years, Cardinal Schuster frequently emphasised the danger of totalitarianism inspired either by Fascism or Communism.
Although the cardinal sought Mussolini out on 25 April 1945 and urged him to make his peace with God and his fellow man, Mussolini spurned the admonition and was assassinated within a week.
Bl Alredo died on 30 August 1954 in the Archiepiscopal Seminary Pio XI near Milan. Cardinal Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (the future St Pope John XXIII) celebrated his funeral. He was buried on 2 September 1954 in the metropolitan cathedral of Milan, next to his two immediate predecessors. He was honoured with the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
The diocesan process of his cause for sainthood was opened on 30 August 1957 by Archbishop Giovanni Battista Montini (the future St Pope Paul VI) and concluded on 31 October 1963. After his tomb was opened on 28 January 1985, his body was found to be intact. Schuster was declared Venerable on 26 March 1994 by St Pope John Paul II and Beatified on 12 May 1996, after acceptance of a miracle involving the curing of an eye disease.
As a Liturgical scholar. his mosst famous work Liber Sacramentorum, known in its English translation as The Sacramentary, was written while he was still a Benedictine monk of the Roman Rite and although dated in some respects, remains an invaluable reference point for liturgical scholarship. When he was appointed Archbishop of Milan by Pope Pius XI, (who was himself Milanese and had held that office for six months before his Papal election), he embraced the Ambrosian liturgy wholeheartedly, and as the ex-officio head of the Congregation for the Ambrosian Rite, strongly defended and promoted the authentic uses of that tradition. He also oversaw important new editions of the Ambrosian musical books, which are still used in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form of the Rite to this day. He wrote:
“The Church’s Liturgy may…be considered as a sacred poem, in the framing of which both heaven and earth have taken part and by which our humanity, redeemed in the blood of the Lamb without spot, rises on the wings of the Spirit even unto the throne of God Himself. This is more than a mere aspiration, for the Sacred Liturgy not only shows forth and expresses the ineffable and the divine but also, by means of the sacraments and of its forms of prayer, develops and fulfils the supernatural in the souls of the faithful, to whom it communicates the grace of redemption. It may even be said, that the very source of holiness of the Church is fully contained in her Liturgy; for, without the holy sacraments, the Passion of our Lord, in the existing dispensation instituted by almighty God, we would have no efficacy in us, since there would be no channels capable of conveying its treasure to our souls.” Ildefonso Schuster, The Sacramentary, vol. I
Almighty God, through Your grace,
Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster,
by his exemplary virtue, built up the flock entrusted to him.
Grant that we, under the guidance of the Gospel,
may follow his teaching and walk in sureness of life,
until we come to see You face-to-face in Your eternal kingdom.
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.
St Adauctus of Rome
St Agilus Bl Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster OSB (1880-1954)
St Arsenius the Hermit
St Boniface of Hadrumetum
St Bononius of Lucedio
Bl Bronislava of Poland
Bl Edward Shelley
Bl Ero di Armenteira
Bl Euphrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1877-1952)
Bl Eustáquio van Lieshout
St Fantinus of San Mercurius
St Felix of Rome
St Gaudentia of Rome
Bl Giovanni Giovenale Ancina St Jeanne Jugan LSP (Mary of the Cross) (1792 – 1879) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2018/08/30/saint-of-the-day-30-august-st-mary-of-the-cross-1792-1879-jeanne-jugan/
Bl John Roche
St Margaret Ward
Bl María Rafols-Bruna
St Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran
St Pammachius (c 340 – 410)
St Pelagius the Hermit
St Peter of Trevi
Bl Riccardo of Lotaringia
Bl Richard Flower
Bl Richard Leigh
Bl Richard Martin
St Rumon of Tavistock
St Sylvanus the Hermit
St Thecla of Hadrumetum
St Theodosius of Oria
Bl Yusuf Nehme
Martyrs of Colonia Suffetulana – 60 saints: A group of 60 Christians martyred for destroying a statue of Hermes.
They were martyred in Colonia Suffetulana, Africa.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed José Ferrer Adell
• Blessed Manuel Medina Olmos
• Blessed Vicente Cabanes Badenas
Martyrs of Barranco del Chisme (Spanish Civil War) – 10 beati:
• Blessed Alberto José Larrazábal Michelena
• Blessed Antonio María Arriaga Anduiza
• Carles Canyes Santacana
• Blessed Caterina Margenat Roura
• Diego Ventaja Milán
• Blessed Eleuterio Angulo Ayala
• Blessed Josefa Monrabal Montaner
• Manuel Medina Olmos
• Blessed Maria Dolores Oller Angelats
• Blessed Nicasio Romo Rubio
Thought for the Day – 29 August – The Beheading of St John the Baptist
Precursor of Christ in Birth and Death
Saint Bede (673-735)
Priest, Father and Doctor of the Church
An excerpt from Homily 23
As forerunner of our Lord’s birth, preaching and death, the blessed John showed in his struggle, a goodness worthy of the sight of heaven. In the words of Scripture: Though in the sight of men he suffered torments, his hope is full of immortality. We justly commemorate the day of his birth with a joyful celebration, a day which he himself made festive for us through his suffering and which he adorned with the crimson splendour of his own blood. We do rightly revere his memory with joyful hearts, for he stamped with the seal of martyrdom, the testimony, which he delivered, on behalf of our Lord.
There is no doubt that blessed John suffered imprisonment and chains as a witness to our Redeemer, whose forerunner he was and gave his life for Him. His persecutor had demanded, not that he should deny Christ but only, that he should keep silent about the truth. Nevertheless, he died for Christ. Does Christ not say – I am the truth?Therefore, because John shed his blood for the truth, he surely died for Christ.
Through his birth, preaching and baptising, he bore witness to the coming birth, preaching and baptism of Christ and by his own suffering, he showed, that Christ also would suffer.
Such was the quality and strength of the man who accepted the end of this present life by shedding his blood after the long imprisonment. He preached the freedom of heavenly peace, yet was thrown into irons by ungodly men, he was locked away in the darkness of prison, though he came bearing witness to the Light of life and deserved to be called a bright and shining lamp by that Light itself, which is Christ. John was baptised in his own blood, though he had been privileged to baptise the Redeemer of the world, to hear the voice of the Father above him and to see the grace of the Holy Spirit descending upon him. But to endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John, rather it was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward.
Since death was ever near at hand through the inescapable necessity of nature, such men considered it a blessing to embrace it and thus gain the reward of eternal life by acknowledging Christ’s name. Hence the apostle Paul rightly says: You have been granted the privilege, not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for his sake. He tells us why it is Christ’s gift that his chosen ones should suffer for Him: The sufferings of this present time, are not worthy, to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.
Quote/s of the Day – 29 August – The Beheading of St John the Baptist and the Memorial of Blessed Sancja Szymkowiak CMBB (1910-1942)
“O great and admirable mystery! He must increase but I must decrease, said John, said the voice which personified all the voices that had gone before announcing the Father’s Word Incarnate in His Christ…. But He is said to grow in us, when we grow in Him. To him, then, who draws near to Christ, to him who makes progress in the contemplation of wisdom, words are of little use, of necessity they tend to fail altogether. Thus, the ministry of the voice falls short, in proportion as the soul progresses towards the Word, it is thus, that Christ must increase and John decrease. The same is indicated by the beheading of John and the exaltation of Christ upon the Cross, as it had already been shown by their birthdays – for, from the birth of John the days begin to shorten and from the birth of Our Lord they begin to grow longer.”
St Augustine (354-420)
Father & Doctor
“God’s will is my will. Whatever He wants I want.”
One Minute Reflection – 29 August – The Beheading of St John the Baptist, Gospel: Mark 6:17–29
She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”…Mark 6:24
REFLECTION – “John did not live for himself alone, nor did he die for himself alone. How many there were, burdened with sin, who were led to conversion by his hard and austere life. How many who were strengthened to bear their own trials by his undeserved death. And what about us? From where does the opportunity come to offer faithful thanks to God today, if not from the the remembrance of Saint John, put to death for righteousness’ sake, that is to say, for Christ?…
Yes indeed, John the Baptist sacrificed his life with all his heart here below for love of Christ. He chose to despise the commands of a tyrant, rather than those of God. His example teaches us, that nothing should be dearer to us, than the will of God. Pleasing other people is of little value, indeed, it often causes great harm… Therefore, let us die to our sins and anxieties with all God’s friends, tread underfoot our misguided self-will and be careful to allow fervent love for Christ, to grow within us.” … Lanspergius the Carthusian (1489-1539) – Monk, Theologian – Sermon for the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist. Opera omnia, t. 2
PRAYER – God our Father, You appointed St John the Baptist to be the herald of the birth and death of Christ Your Son. Grant that as he died a martyr for justice and truth, so we may also courageously bear witness to Your Word. We make our prayer, through Jesus Christ our Lord with the Holy Spirit, one God forever. St John the Baptist, pray for us, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 29 August – The Beheading of St John the Baptist
Do, What I Cannot By St Anselm (1033-1109) Doctor of the Church
Lord, my heart is before You.
but by myself,
I can do nothing.
Do, what I cannot.
to the inner room
of Your love.
You have made me ask,
make me receive.
You have enabled me to see,
enable me to find.
You have taught me to knock,
open to my knock.
Saint of the Day – 29 August – Blessed Sancja Szymkowiak CMBB (1910-1942) aged 32 professed religious from the Daughters of the Sorrowful Mother of God, commonly known as the “Seraphic Sisters”. Born on 11 July 1910 in Mozdzanów, Wielkopolskie, Poland as Janina “Giannina” Szymkowiak and died on 29 August 1942 in Poznan, Wielkopolskie, Poland of tuberculosis of the pharynx. Patronages – Labourers and Translators.
Bl Sancja Szymkowiak, was born on 11 July 1910 in Mozdzanów (Ostrów Wielkopolski), Poland, to Augustine and Mary Duchalska. She was the youngest of five children, her parents’ only girl. She was baptised “Giannina.” On 29 August 1942, she died of tuberculosis of the pharynx, brought on by the hardships of the war. Throughout her life, she desired to become a saint in a “hidden way” and wanted only to do God’s will, living a profound union with Him in every event.
Her motto was “God’s will is my will. Whatever He wants I want”. By abandoning herself into the arms of a loving Father, she offered a wonderful example of serene acceptance of her sufferings.
Giannina was born into a believing and well-to-do family, who gave her a wonderful education. In 1929, after her high school studies, she studied Languages and Foreign Literature at the University of Poznan. During her school years, she was an attractive person because she was a happy and joyful person who thought of those around her and was generous in reaching out to them in any need. Throughout her school years, she was a member of the Sodality of Mary and was remembered for a discrete and effective apostolate of trying to share her happiness with those around her.
Giannina also went beyond her own circles and showed a special attention to the needs of the poor of the city. She was interested in everyone, was open to others and had a “spirit of holiness” that struck those around her.
Call to religious life:
While still young, Giannina felt called to the religious life. During the summer of 1934, she went on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Lourdes, France and here offered herself to the Blessed Virgin, wanting to put her life entirely and without reserve into the hands of the Mother of God. In June 1936, at Poznan, after spending a year with the Congregation of the Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart at Montluçon, she returned to Poland and entered the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of Sorrows, better known as the “Seraphic Sisters.” It was then that she received the name Mary Santia or Sancja in Polish. From the beginning, she was zealous in observing the rules of the Congregation and in performing every kind of service. Her life, which apparently had nothing extraordinary about it, hid a profound union with God with a total readiness to embraceHhis will in everything. She desired to become a great saint and all her life tended to communion with Jesus, ready to bear any sacrifice and humiliation to console His Heart and make reparation for sin.
First Vows and apostolate:
On 30 July 1938 she made her first vows. She once wrote in her diary: “Jesus wants me to be a holy religious and He will not be happy with me until I use all my strength for Him and become a saint. God is everything, I am nothing. I have to become a saint at all costs. This is my constant preoccupation”.
After her first vows, Sr Sancja worked for a year in the nursery school of Poznan-Naramowice and also began a course of studies in pharmacology. However, she was unable to continue her studies, because in September 1939 the war broke out.
World War II:
Poznan was occupied by the Germans and the sisters were put under house arrest. They were forced to look after a hundred German soldiers who were housed there and English and French prisoners of war, who were lodged in and around the convent. She was able to translate for the foreign prisoners. The forced labour was very difficult but she was willing to serve everyone as she would Christ Himself.
In February 1940, the religious persecution worsened and Sr Sancja was given permission to return to her family for safety. However, she stayed in the convent and submitted to the hard labour imposed by the occupying forces. She believed it was God’s will that she remain, that she be a “mother” to those around her – the prisoners, the soldiers and her own sisters. Sr Sancja was an instrument of God’s love and peace and became a sign of hope to those around her. The English and French prisoners called her the “angel of goodness” and “Saint Sancja”.
The constant fatigue and difficult conditions took their toll on Sr Sancja and she began showing symptoms of tuberculosis. She continued with the same spirit of abandonment and serenity and accepted her sufferings as a “preparation” for her solemn vows, which she professed on 6 July 1942 . She died a little more than a month later, on 29 August 1942, when she was 32 years old. … Vatican.va
Bl Sancja’s sainthood cause commenced under St Pope Paul VI on 24 March 1968 when she became titled as a Servant of God and St Pope John Paul named her as Venerable, upon the confirmation of her heroic virtue – on 18 December 2000 he presided over her Beatification on 18 August 2002 at Krakow, Poland.
O God, You made Blessed Sancja, who lived, imitating the meek and humble Heart of Jesus, unite with You in perfect love, grant that we, following her path, may reach sainthood. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
St Adausia of Rome
St Alberic of Bagno de Romagna
St Basilia of Sirmium
St Candida of Rome
Bl Dominik Jedrzejewski
St Edwold the Hermit
St Euthymius of Perugia
Bl Filippa Guidoni
Bl John of Perugia
St Louis-Wulphy Huppy
St Maximian of Vercelli
St Nicaeus of Antioch
St Paul of Antioch
Bl Peter of Sassoferrato
St Repositus of Velleianum
Bl Richard Herst
St Sabina of Rome
St Sabina of Troyes Bl Sancja Szymkowiak CMBB (1910-1942)
St Sator of Velleianum
St Sebbe of Essex
Bl Teresa Bracco
St Victor of La Chambon
St Vitalis of Velleianum
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Constantino Fernández Álvarez
• Blessed José Almunia López-Teruel
• Blessed Josep Maria Tarín Curto
• Blessed Pedro Asúa Mendía
Thought for the day – 28 August – The Memorial of St Augustine (354-430)
Father and Doctor of Grace
O Eternal Truth, True Love and Beloved Eternity
Saint Augustine of Hippo
Bishop and Great Western Father of the Church
An excerpt from his treatise, The Confessions
Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under Your guidance into the inmost depth of my soul. I was able to do so, because You were my helper. On entering into myself I saw, as it were with the eye of the soul, what was beyond the eye of the soul, beyond my spirit: Your immutable light. It was not the ordinary light perceptible to all flesh, nor was it merely something of greater magnitude but still essentially akin, shining more clearly and diffusing itself everywhere by its intensity. No it was something entirely distinct, something altogether different from all these things and it did not rest above my mind as oil on the surface of water, nor was it above me as Heaven is above the Earth. This light was above me because it has made me, I was below it because I was created by it. He who has come to know the truth knows this light.
O Eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity. You are my God. To You do I sigh day and night. When I first came to know You, You drew me to Yourself, so that I might see that there were things for me to see but that I myself was not yet ready to see them. Meanwhile, You overcame the weakness of my vision, sending forth most strongly, the beams of Your light, and I trembled at once with love and dread. I learned that I was in a region unlike Yours and far distant from You and I thought I heard Your voice from on high: “I am the food of grown men, grow then and you will feed on Me. Nor will you change me into yourself like bodily food but you will be changed into Me.”
I sought a way to gain the strength which I needed to enjoy You. But I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who is above all, God blessed for ever. He was calling me and saying – I am the way of truth, I am the life. He was offering the food which I lacked the strength to take, the food He had mingled with our flesh. For the Word became flesh, that Your wisdom, by which You created all things, might provide milk for us children.
Late have I loved You, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved You! You were within me but I was outside and it was there that I searched for You. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which You created. You were with me but I was not with You. Created things kept me from You, yet if they had not been in You they would not have been at all. You called, You shouted and You broke through my deafness. You flashed, You shone and You dispelled my blindness. You breathed Your fragrance on me, I drew in breath and now I pant for You. I have tasted You, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me and I burned for Your peace.
One Minute Reflection – 28 August – Wednesday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 23:27–32 and The Memorial of St Augustine of Hippo (354-430) – Doctor of Grace
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” … Matthew 23:27
REFLECTION – “You are before God. Question your heart, see what you have done and what you have been yearning for there—your salvation or the windy praise of men. Look within, for a person cannot judge one whom he cannot see. If we are assuring our heart, let us assure it in His presence.
“Because if our heart thinks badly”—that is, if it accuses us within, because we aren’t acting with the spirit with which we should be acting —“God is greater than our heart, and he knows all things” (v.20).
You hide your heart from man – hide it from God if you can. How will you hide it from Him to whom it was said by a certain sinner in fear and confession: “Where shall 1 go from your spirit, and where shed! I flee from your face?”… For where does God not exist? “If,” he said, “I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to hell, you are present” (Ps 139:7-8). Where will you go? Where will you flee? Do you want to hear some advice? If you want to flee from Him, flee to Him. Flee to Him by Confessing, not from Him by hiding, for you cannot hide but you can Confess. Tell Him. “You are my refuge” (Ps 32:7) and let there be nursed in you the love that alone leads to life.”…St Augustine (354-430) – Doctor of Grace
PRAYER – Renew in Your Church, we pray , O Lord, the spirit with which You endowed Your Bishop Saint Augustine, that, filled with the same spirit, we may thirst for You, the sole fount of true wisdom and seek You, the author of heavenly love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. St Augustine, pray for us! Amen
Our Morning Offering – 28 August – Wednesday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year C and The Memorial of St Augustine of Hippo (354-430) – Doctor of Grace and one of the original Four Fathers & Doctors of the Latin Church
Go on, O Lord and Act By St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
Go on, O Lord and act,
stir us up and call us back,
inflame us and draw us to Thee,
stir us up and grow sweet to us,
let us now love Thee,
let us run to Thee.
Are there not many men …
who, out of a deeper pit of darkness..
return to Thee–who draw near to Thee
and are illuminated by that light
which gives those
who receive it power from Thee
to become Thy sons?
Saint of the Day – 28 August – Saint Vicinius (Died 330)- also known St Vicinius of Sarsinaas – Bishop, Hermit, Miracle-Worker, healer.
Vicinius, who, according to tradition, was the first Bishop of the diocese of Sarsina (now joined to Cesena), is considered to be of Ligurian origin. He retired as a hermit on a mountain that now bears his name. While priests and people of Sarsina were gathered to choose the bishop, a divine sign appeared on the top of the mountain. Thus the solitary Vicinio became pastor of the Romagna community, from the early 4th century to 330, the date of his death . His charisma was to cast out demons and heal the faithful from physical or spiritual illness through a iron collar that he had placed around his neck.
The historical research on St Vicinius stops at an anonymous 12th century manuscript, called Lectionarium. This is almost certainly the transcription of previous written notes on the life of St Vicinius, dating back at least a century before. From this manuscript we learn that Vicinius is believed to have come from Liguria but it could also originate from the districts of the Savio area. In the wake of the more consolidated tradition, we believe he came from Liguria in the period between the third and fourth centuries.
Vicinius, driven by the love of solitude, dedicated himself to prayer, meditation and penance in a solitary place that tradition identifies with Monte St Vicinius, located about six kilometers from Sarsina.
The holy life of Vicinius was of such satisfaction to the Lord, that He chose him pastor of the Christian community established in Sarsina. Prayer and penance had certainly increased the zeal for the House of the Lord and Vicinius devoted himself to structuring the divine flock by spreading the Gospel even in the most inaccessible areas of the Diocese. The historical records of the bishops of Sarsina, places him first bishop of the diocese and affirms that he was the leader of the Church until 28 August 330, the day of his birth in heaven.
Penance and prayer, evangelisation and conduct of the people of God are the cornerstones to which Saint Vicinius had chained his life and are also the high road he chose to carry out his personal call to holiness.
Each saint embodies a particular charism and St Vicinius expresses the power of God in the fight against the evil one in the spiritual battle of adhesion to the Gospel.
His entry into the ranks of the blessed with death to eternal life occurred after twenty-seven years and three months of episcopal ministry in Sarsina. Even before his death, the intercession of St Vicinius proved to be powerful in favour of those who carried infirmities in body and spirit. Many of them used to come to him when they suffered from ailments in the body, even very serious ones, anxieties, fatigues, pains, upset but above all, when existential and spiritual problems were manifested and through the use of a iron collar that the Saint himself used, by placing it around the neck of the faithful, they manage to find peace and serenity.
We can still read in the Lectionarium of a beggar who attributed a high market value to the collar of Saint Vicinius, he stole it and fled. He reached the river Savio, trying to get as far away as possible but in reality, he spent the night running, only to find himself in the morning, at the same point of the river at which he had begun. Caught in fear and remorse, battered and wounded, he threw the collar into a river vortex, where it was found three days later floating near the shore.
St Vicinus relics are kept in the Sarsina Cathedral in the Chapel of St Vicinius. The miraculous collar is there too and it still brings many pilgrims seeking healing.
St Facundinus of Taino
St Felix of Venosa
St Fortunatus of Salerno
St Gaius of Salerno
St Gorman of Schleswig
Bl Henry Webley
St Hermes of Rome
Bl Hugh More
Bl James Claxton
St Januarius of Venosa
St Joaquina Vedruna de Mas
St Julian of Auvergne
St Moses the Black
St Pelagius of Istria
St Restitutus of Carthage
St Rumwold the Prince
St Septiminus of Venosa St Vicinius/of Sarsina (Died 330)
St Vivian of Saintes
Bl William Dean
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Martyrs of Griñon – 10 beati
Martyrs of Tarragona – 6 beati
• Blessed Agustín Bermejo Miranda
• Blessed Alejandro Iñiguez De Heredia Alzola
• Blessed Andrés Merino Báscones
• Blessed Antonio Solá Garriga
• Blessed Arturo Ros Montalt
• Blessed Aurelio da Vinalesa
• Blessed Celestino Ruiz Alegre
• Blessed Cesáreo España Ortiz
• Blessed Eladi Peres Bori
• Blessed Evencio Castellanos López
• Blessed Francisco López Navarette
• Blessed Germán Arribas y Arribas
• Blessed Graciliano Ortega Narganes
• Blessed Isidre Fábregas Gils
• Blessed Jaume Tarragó Iglesias
• Blessed Javier Pradas Vidal
• Blessed Joan Tomás Gibert
• Blessed Joaquim Oliveras Puljarás
• Blessed José Gorastazu Labayen
• Blessed Josep Camprubí Corrubí
• Blessed Juan Bautista Faubel Cano
• Blessed Lázaro Ruiz Peral
• Blessed Manoel José Sousa de Sousa
• Blessed Modest Godo Buscato
• Blessed Modest Pamplona Falguera
• Blessed Nicolás Rueda Barriocanal
• Blessed Serviliano Solá Jiménez
• Blessed Teodoro Pérez Gómez
Thought for the Day – 27 August – Tuesday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year C and The Memorial of St Monica (322-387)
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
Sermons preached on various occations
“Many a mother, who is anxious for her son’s bodily welfare, neglects his soul.
So, did NOT the Saint of today – her son might be accomplished, eloquent, able and distinguished – all this was nothing to her, while he was dead in God’s sight, while he was the slave of sin, while he was the prey of heresy.
She desired his true life.
She wearied heaven with prayer
and wore out herself,
with praying –
she did not at once prevail.
He left his home,
he was carried forward by his four bearers –
and ambition –
he was carried out into a foreign land,
he crossed over from Africa to Italy.
She followed him,
she followed the corpse,
the only mourner-
she went where he went, from city to city.
It was nothing to her to leave her dear home and her native soil, she had no country below; her sole rest, her sole repose, her Nunc dimittis, was his new birth.
So while she still walked forth in her deep anguish and isolation
and her silent prayer,
she was at length rewarded by the long-coveted miracle.
Grace melted the proud heart
and purified the corrupt breast of Augustine
“How many difficulties there are also today in family relationships and how many mothers are anguished because their children choose mistaken ways! Monica, a wise and solid woman in the faith, invites us not to be discouraged but to persevere in our mission of wives and mothers, maintaining firm our confidence in God and clinging with perseverance to prayer.”
Pope Benedict XVI (27 August 2006)
St Monica, Pray with us for our sons, Pray for Us!
Quote/s of the Day – 27 August – Tuesday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 23:23–26 and The Memorial of St Caesarius of Arles (470-542) Father of the Church
“What sort of people are we? When God gives, we want to receive, when He asks, we refuse to give? When a poor man is hungry, Christ is in need, as He said Himself: “I was hungry and you gave me no food” (v. 42). Take care not to despise the hardship of the poor, if you would hope, without fear, to have your sins forgiven… What He receives on earth, He returns in heaven!”
” For true charity, beloved brethren, is the soul of the whole of Scripture, the strength of prophecy, the structure of knowledge, the fruit of faith, the wealth of the poor, the life of the dying. So keep it faithfully, cherish it with all your heart and all the strength of your soul.”
“I put you this question, dearly beloved – what is it you want, what is it you are looking for, when you come to church? What indeed if not mercy? Show mercy on earth and you will receive mercy in heaven. A poor man is begging from you and you are begging from God, he asks for a scrap, you ask for eternal life… And so when you come to church give whatever alms you can to the poor in accordance with your means.”
“So hold fast to the sweet and salutary bond of love, without which, the rich are poor and with which the poor are rich. What do the rich possess if not charity? (…) And since “God is love,” (1 Jn 4:8) as John the evangelist says, what can the poor lack, if they merit to possess God by means of charity? (…) So love, dearest brethren and hold fast to charity without which no-one will ever see God.”
One Minute Reflection – 27 August – Tuesday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 23:23–26 and The Memorial of St Caesarius of Arles (470-542) Father of the Church
“You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean.”…Matthew 23:26
REFLECTION – “And so, dearly beloved brethren, let us each examine his conscience and when he sees that he has been wounded by some sin, let him first strive to cleanse his conscience by prayer, fasting, almsgiving and so dare to approach the Eucharist. If he recognises his guilt and is reluctant to approach the holy altar, he will be quickly pardoned by the Divine Mercy, “for whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Mt 23:12). If then, as I have said, a man conscious of his sins, humbly decides to stay away from the altar until he reforms his life, he will not be afraid of being completely excluded from the eternal banquet of heaven.
I ask you then, brethren, to pay careful attention. If no-one dares approach an influential man’s table in tattered, soiled garments, how much more should one refrain in reverence and humility from the banquet of the Eternal King, that is, from the altar of the Lord, if one is smitten with poisonous envy, or anger, or is full of rage and fury? For it is written, “Go first and be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift” (Mt 5:24). And again, “Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?” And when he kept silent, that man said to the attendants, ‘bind his hands and feet and cast him forth into the darkness outside, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” (Mt 22:12,13). The same sentence awaits the man who dares present himself at the wedding feast, that is at the Lord’s table, if he is guilty of drunkenness, or adultery, or retains hatred in his heart.” … St Caesarius of Arles (470-542) Bishop of Arles, Father of the Church
PRAYER – Lord God, renew Your Church with the Spirit of wisdom and love which You gave to St Caesarius. Lead us by that same Spirit, to seek You, the only fountain of true wisdom and the source of everlasting love. May we turn to You in sorrow and true repentance when we fail and strive always and everywhere to live in Your truth and Your love for all. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, in union with the Spirit, one God, forever and ever. St Caesarius, pray for the Church and for us all, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 27 August – Tuesday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year C and The Memorial of St Monica (322-387)
Late Have I Loved You By St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor
Late have I loved You,
Beauty so ancient and so new,
late have I loved You!
Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for You
and upon the shapely things You have made
I rushed headlong – I, misshapen.
You were with me but I was not with You.
They held me back far from You,
those things which would have no being,
were they not in You.
You called, shouted, broke through my deafness.
You flared, blazed, banished my blindness.
You lavished Your fragrance, I gasped
and now I pant for You.
I tasted You and now I hunger and thirst;
You touched me and I burned for Your peace.
Saint of the Day – 27 August – Saint Caesarius of Arles (470-543) – ArchBishop and Church Father, Theologian, Preacher, apostle of charity, legislator, administrator, writer, reformer – sometimes known as Caesarius of Chalon due to his birthplace, born in 470 at Châlons, Burgundy, Gaul (modern France) and died on 27 August 543 at Saint John’s convent, Arles, Gaul. Patronages – against fire.
Caesarius was born at what is now Chalon-sur-Saône, to Roman-Burgundian parents in the last years of the Western Empire. His sister, St Caesaria, to whom he addressed his “Regula ad Virgines” (Rule for Virgins), presided over the convent he had founded. Unlike his parents, Caesarius was born with a very strong and intense feeling for religion which alienated him from his family for the majority of his adolescence.
He entered the monastery of Lérins when quite young but his health being affected, the abbot sent him to Arles in order to recuperate. The Monastic community he joined there nursed him back to health and he was soon popularly elected as their bishop. By middle age, he had “become and was to remain the leading ecclesiastical statesman and spiritual force of his age.” His concern for the poor and sick was famous throughout and beyond Gaul as he regularly provided ransom for prisoners and aided the sick and the poor. Upon arriving in the city, the Vita Caesarii Life of Caesarius, says that Caesarius discovered, completely to his surprise, that the bishop of Arles – Aeonius – was a kinsman from Chalon (concivis pariter et propinquus – “at once a fellow citizen and a relative”. Aeonius later ordained his young relative as deacon and then Priest. For three years he presided over a monastery in Arles but of this building, no vestige is now left.
On the death of the bishop Caesarius was unanimously chosen his successor. He ruled the See of Arles for forty years with apostolic courage and prudence and stands out in the history of that unhappy period as the foremost bishop of Gaul. His episcopal city, near the mouth of the Rhone and close to Marseilles, retained yet its ancient importance in the social, commercial, and industrial life of Gaul and the Mediterranean world generally. As Bishop, Caesarius suffered much political hardship and attacks from many sides but he consistently remained true to his role as Bishop of the faith.
Caesarius, is, however, best known in his own day and is still best remembered, as a popular preacher, the first great ‘peoples’ preacher’ of the Christians, whose sermons have come down to us. As a preacher, Caesarius displayed great knowledge of Scripture and was eminently practical in his exhortations. Besides reproving ordinary vices of humanity, he had often to contend against lingering pagan practices, as auguries, or heathen rites.
Caesarius also has the reputation of being the faithful champion of Augustine of Hippo in the early middle ages. Thus Augustine’s writings are seen to have profoundly shaped Caesarius’ vision of human community, both inside and outside the cloister and Caesarius’ prowess as a popular preacher, is understood to follow from his close attention to the example of the Bishop of Hippo. A certain number of these discourses, forty more or less, deal with Old Testament subjects and follow the prevalent typology made popular by St Augustine.
Caesarius has over 250 surviving sermons in his corpus. His sermons reveal him as a pastor dedicated to the formation of the clergy and the moral education of the laity. He preached on Christian beliefs, values and practices against pagan syncretism. He emphasises the life of a Christian as well as the love of God, reading the scriptures, asceticism, psalmody, love for one’s neighbour and the judgement that would come. His works travelled to all parts of the Christian West, spreading his medieval sermon tradition and its topics. His writings were used by monks in Germany, repeated in Anglo-Saxon poetry and turned up in the important works of Gatianus of Tours and Thomas Aquinas.
As the occupant of an important see, the bishop of Arles exercised considerable official, as well as personal, influence. Caesarius was liberal in the loan of sermons and sent suggestions for discourses to priests and even bishops living in Spain, Italy, and elsewhere in Gaul. The great doctrinal question of his age and country was that of semi-Pelagianism. Caesarius, though evidently a disciple of St Augustine, displayed in this respect, considerable independence of thought.
Caesarius instituted many reforms, was the first to introduce in his cathedral the Divine Office, Hours of Terce, Sext and None and he also enriched with hymns, the Psalmody of every Hour. On a visit to Rome, Pope St Symmachus gave him the Pallium and made him the apostolic delegate to France. St Caesarius was the first in western Europe to receive the Pallium, thus being a forebear of this custom, which now is a rite of the Church.
St Caesarius published the Brevarium Alarici, an adaptation of Roman law which became the civil law of all Gaul. Following the fall of Arles by the Franks in 536, Caesarius moved his offices and residence to Saint John’s convent where he lived out his last seven years, spending much of his time in prayer.
Caesarius was a perfect monk in the episcopal chair and as such, his contemporaries revered him. He was a pious and a peaceful shepherd amid barbarism and war, generous and charitable to a fault, a great benefactor of his Church, mindful of the helpless, tactful in dealing with the powerful and rich, in all his life a model of Catholic speech and action.
St Ebbo of Sens
St Etherius of Lyons
St Euthalia of Leontini
St Fortunatus of Potenza
Bl Gabriel Mary
St Gebhard of Constance
St Giovanni of Pavia
St Honoratus of Potenza
Bl Jean Baptiste Guillaume
Bl Jean-Baptiste Souzy
St John of Pavia
St Licerius of Couserans
St Malrubius of Merns
Bl Maria del Pilar Izquierdo Albero
St Narnus of Bergamo
Bl Roger Cadwallador
St Rufus of Capua
St Sabinian of Potenza
St Syagrius of Autun
Martyrs of Tomi – 5 saints: A group of 17 Christians imprisoned and excuted for their faith during the persecutions of Diocletian. They miraculously were unburned by fire and untouched by wild animals. We know the names and a few details on five of them – John, Mannea, Marcellinus, Peter and Serapion. They were tied to stakes and burned alive; they emerged unharmed – thrown to wild animals in the amphitheatre; the animals ignored them; they were beheaded in 304 in Tomi, Mesia (modern Costanza, Romania).
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Buenaventura Gabika-Etxebarria Gerrikabeitia
• Blessed Esteban Barrenechea Arriaga
• Blessed Fernando González Añon
• Blessed Francisco Euba Gorroño
• Blessed Hermenegildo Iza Aregita
• Blessed José María López Carrillo
• Blessed Juan Antonio Salútregui Iribarren
• Blessed Pedro Ibáñez Alonso
• Blessed Pelayo José Granado Prieto
• Blessed Plácido Camino Fernández
• Blessed Quirino Díez del Blanco
• Blessed Ramón Martí Soriano
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