Thought for the Day – 29 August – St Bede -Precursor of Christ in Birth and Death

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.he preached the freedom of heavenly peace - st john the baptist - by st bede 29 aug 2019.jpg

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.

St John the Baptist, Pray for us!st john the baptist - pray for us - 24 june 2018.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The WILL of GOD

Quote/s of the Day – 29 August – Whatever He wants I want

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 & Doctorthus-the-ministry-of-the-voice-falls-short-st-augustine -28 ayg 2019.jpg

“God’s will is my will.
Whatever He wants I want.”

Blessed Sancja Szymkowiak (1910-1942)

Blessed Sancja’s personal mottogod's will is my will - bl sancj szymkowiak 29 aug 2019.jpg


One Minute Reflection – 29 August – Pleasing other people is of little value …

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 6:24mark-6-24-she-went-out-and-asked-her-mother-29-aug-2017

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. 2he chose to despiase the commands of a tyrant - lanspergius 29 aug 2019.jpg

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,

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS

Our Morning Offering – 29 August – Do, What I Cannot.

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.
I try
but by myself,
I can do nothing.
Do, what I cannot.
Admit me
to the inner room
of Your love.
I ask.
I seek.
I knock.
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.
Amendo what i cannot st anselm - 29 aug 2019.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 29 August – Blessed Sancja Szymkowiak CMBB (1910-1942) – The “Angel of Goodness”

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.Janina-Szymkowiak

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.sancja szymkowiak

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. …

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.400px-Blessed_Sancja_Janina_Szymkowiak,_memorial_at_Poznan_convent

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.

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST

The Beheading of St John the Baptist and Memorials of the Saints – 29 August

The Beheading/Passion of John the Baptist (Memorial)
And here:

St Adelphus
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 Medericus
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 Velleicus
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