Thought for the Day – 8 September – Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Luke 14:25–33
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”… Luke 14:26
Saint Augustine comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed during today’s Mass:
“The Lord gives the signal for us to stand guard in camp and to build the tower from which we may recognise and ward off the enemy of our eternal life. The heavenly trumpet of Christ urges the soldier to battle and his mother holds him back.
What does she say or what argument does she give? Perhaps is it those ten months when you lay in her womb and the pangs of birth and the burden of rearing you? You must kill this with the sword of salvation. You must destroy this in your mother that you may find her in life eternal. Remember, you must hate this in her if you love her, if you are a recruit of Christ and have laid the foundations of the tower. Passers-by may not say, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.” That is earthly affection. It still has the ring of the “old man.” Christian warfare invites us to destroy this earthly affection both in ourselves and in our relatives. Of course, no one should be ungrateful to his parents or mock the list of their services to him, since by them he was brought into this life, cherished and fed. A man should always pay his family duty but let these things keep their place where higher duties do not call.
Mother church is also the mother of your mother. She conceived you both, in Christ. Know that, her Spouse took human flesh, that you might not be attached to fleshly things. Know that, all the things for which your mother scolds you were undertaken by the eternal Word, that you might not be subject to the weakness of flesh. Ponder his humiliations, scourging and death, even the death of the cross.” (Letter 243)
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me a sinner!
One Minute Reflection – 8 September – Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 14:25–33 and the Feast of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre
“So, therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” … Luke 14:33
REFLECTION – “…We realise that the Lord is not speaking merely of a few individuals and their specific task, the essence of what He says applies to everyone. The heart of the matter He expresses elsewhere in these words: “For whoever would save his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Lk 9:24f.). Whoever wants to keep his life just for himself will lose it. Only by giving ourselves do we receive our life. In other words, only the one who love, discovers life. And love always demands going out of oneself, it always demands leaving oneself. Anyone who looks just to himself, who wants the other, only for himself, will lose both himself and the other. Without this profound losing of oneself, there is no life.
The restless craving for life, so widespread among people today, leads to the barrenness of a lost life. “Whoever loses his life for my sake … “ says the Lord, a radical letting-go of our self is only possible, if in the process, we end up, not by falling into the void but into the hands of Love eternal.
Only the love of God, who loses Himself for us and gives Himself to us, makes it possible for us also to become free, to let go and so truly to find life. This is the heart of what the Lord wants to say to us in the seemingly hard words of this Sunday’s Gospel. With his teaching He gives u, the certainty, that we can build on His love, the love of the incarnate God. Recognition of this is the wisdom of which today’s reading speaks to us. Once again, we find that all the world’s learning profits us nothing unless we learn to live, unless we discover what truly matters in life.” … Pope Benedict XVI – Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna, Sunday, 9 September 2007 – on the occasion of the 850th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariazell (Feast day today!)
PRAYER – Since it is from You, God our Father, that redemption comes to us, Your adopted children, look with favour on the family You love, give true freedom to us and to all who believe in Christ, Your Son and our Saviour and bring us all alike, to our eternal heritage. May we, in turn, give ourselves in true love to You and may the prayers of our glorious and merciful Mother, Our Lady of Charity, lead us to our heavenly home. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 8 September – Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
My Lord, I am Unworthy! Prayer before Holy Communion By St Bonaventure (1217-1274) Doctor of the Church
Who are You
and who am I,
that I should dare to take You
into my body and soul?
A thousand years
of penance and tears
would not be sufficient
to make me worthy
to receive so royal a Sacrament
How much more am I unworthy of it,
who fall into sin daily,
I, the incorrigible,
who approach You so often
without due preparation!
Nevertheless, Your mercy
infinitely surpasses my unworthiness.
Therefore, I make bold
to receive this Sacrament,
trusting in Your love.
Nuestra Senora de la Virgen de la Caridad / Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, Cuba (1612) – 8 September – – Queen, Mother and Patroness of the Cuban Peoples. Patronages – Cuba, Cuban peoples, salt and copper miners. Our Lady of Charity also known as Our Lady of El Cobre or Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre or “la Virgen de la Caridad” is a popular Marian title of the Blessed Virgin Mary known in many Catholic countries.
Several known Marian images with the same title exist around the world while a particular Hispanic image is pontifically designated by Pope Benedict XV as the Patroness of Cuba. The present image is enshrined in the National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, built in 1926 and situated in the village El Cobre, near Santiago de Cuba. Pope Pius XI granted a Canonical Coronation for the image on 20 December 1936. The feast day of Our Lady of Charity is today, the solemn Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Various similar Marian images predating the Cuban image have a similar title as well as having been granted a canonical coronation by the Popes and can be found in the Spanish cities of Cartagena, Villarrobledo, Illescas, Loja, La Garrovilla and Toledo, Spain along with its replicated copies in Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Charity in Agoo and the image of Bantay Church in Ilocos Sur, Philippines.
The history of the La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, began around 1612. The image is thought to have been brought by Spaniard colonists from the town of Illescas, a province in Toledo, Spain where a similar statue of the Virgin Mary of Charity was already well-venerated.
Local legend recalls the Spanish captains who bring with them religious Marian images to guide and protect them from English pirates at sea. Two Native American or Indian brothers, Rodrigo and Juan de Hoyosand an African slave child, Juan Moreno, set out to the Bay of Nipe for salt. They are traditionally given the moniker the “three Juans”. They needed the salt for the preservation of the meat at the Barajagua slaughter house, which supplied the workers and inhabitants of Santiago del Prado, now known as El Cobre. While out in the bay, a storm arose, rocking their tiny boat violently with incoming waves. Juan, the child, was wearing a medal with the image of the Virgin Mary. The three men began to pray for her protection. Suddenly, the skies cleared and the storm was gone. In the distance, they saw a strange object floating in the water. They rowed towards it as the waves carried it to them. At first they mistook it for a bird but quickly saw that it was what seemed to be a statue of a girl. At last they were able to determine that it was a statue of the Virgin Mary holding the child Jesus on her left arm and a gold cross in her right hand. The statue was fastened to a board with an inscription saying “Yo Soy la Virgen de la Caridad” or “I am the Virgin of Charity.” Much to their surprise, the statue remained completely dry while afloat in the water.
Overjoyed by what they had discovered, they hurried back to Barajagua. They showed the statue to a government official, Don Francisco Sánchez de Moya, who then ordered a small chapel to be built in her honour. One night, Rodrigo went to visit the statue but discovered that the image was gone. He organised a search party but had no success in finding Our Lady of Charity. Then, the next morning, she was back on the altar, as if nothing had happened. This was inconceivable as the chapel had been locked. This event happened three times. The people of Barajagua came to the conclusion that she wanted to be in a different spot, so they took her to El Cobre. She was received with much joy in El Cobre and the church there had its bells ring on her arrival. It was at this point that she became known as “Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre.” Much to the dismay of people in El Cobre, the disappearance of the statue continued to happen.
One day, a young girl named Jabbawas playing outside, pursuing butterflies and picking flowers. She went towards the mountains of the Sierra Maestra, where she came across the statue on top of a small hill. There were those who did and those who did not believe the little girl’s testimony but in the end, the Virgin was taken to the spot of her discovery, where a church was erected for her.
Before the famous image on 19 May 1801, a royal edict from king Charles IV of Spain decreed that Cuban slaves were to be freed from the El Cobre copper mines. The story circulated around the island quickly. Many felt that the Virgin purposely chose to have her sanctuary in El Cobre because it is located in Oriente Province. Later folk legends associated the taking of copper materials to their homes after having it blessed near the Virgin’s sanctified image as a form of souvenir and miraculous healing.
The Cuban statue venerated measures about 16 inches tall. The head is made of baked clay covered with a polished coat of fine white powder. Her feet rest on a brilliant moon, while angels spread their golden wings on a silver cloud. The child Jesus raises his right hand as in a blessing, and in his left hand he holds a golden globe. A popular image of Our Lady of Charity includes a banner above her head with the Latin phrase “Mater Caritatis Fluctibus Maris Ambulavit” – Mother of Charity who walked on the road of stormy seas. Originally, the robes on the image were white in colour. Newer robes are embroidered with gold and silver, which includes the national shield of Cuba. Among Cuban religious devotees, the image is given the familiar title of La Cachita.
On 24 September 1915 the Cuban revolutionaries wrote a letter petitioning the Pope Benedict XV to honour her as Patroness of their country.
Pope Benedict XV declared Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre Patroness of Cuba on 10 May 1916 at the written request of the soldier veterans of the Cuban War of Independence.
Pope Pius XI granted a Canonical Coronation for the image during the Eucharistic Congress at Santiago de Cuba on 20 December 1936 by Monsignor Valentin Zubizarreta y Unamunsaga.
St Pope Paul VI, in his Papal bull Quanto Christifideles then raised her sanctuary to the category of Minor Basilica on 22 December 1977 through the appointed Papal legate Cardinal Bernardin Gantin.
St Pope John Paul II solemnly crowned her again during his apostolic visit on 24 January 1998.
Pope Benedict XVI awarded a Golden Rose in honour of the image and her shrine on 27 March 2012.
Pope Francis enshrined a brass statue given to Pope Benedict XVI by Cuban bishops (in May 2008) within the Gardens of Vatican City in August 2014, then enshrined it in 2016.
The Virgin is one of the island’s most treasured figures, representing hope and salvation in the face of misfortune. Over time, La Cachita “has become a quintessential symbol of Cuban identity.” She unites both those at home and abroad, across lines of race and class. Wherever Cuban immigrants settled, they brought with them their devotion to la Caridad. Emilio Cueto points out the Christian themes suggested by La Cachita: “She came to Cuba bearing the greatest of gifts—her own child—and appeared not to a priest or bishop but to common men. She spoke not just to the aboriginal people but also to the Spaniards, Creoles and African slaves.”
On his visit to Cuba in 2015, Pope Francis said:
“She has accompanied the history of the Cuban people, sustaining the hope which preserves people’s dignity in the most difficult situations and championing the promotion of all that gives dignity to the human person. The growing devotion to the Virgin is a visible testimony of her presence in the soul of the Cuban people …. I will have occasion to go to El Cobre, as a son and pilgrim.”
In 1954, American author Ernest Hemingway donated his Nobel Prize in Literature medal for The Old Man and the Sea to the people of Cuba at the shrine of Caridad del Cobre in Cuba. The medal was stolen in 1986 but was recovered days later upon the threat of Raul Castro that it be returned or the thieves suffer the consequences. After its return, it was, for some time, hidden from view. The medal is very rarely present in the image and only worn during solemn and Papal occasions.
Our Lady of Covadonga: is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the name of a Marian shrine devoted to her at Covadonga, Asturias. The shrine in northwestern Spain rose to prominence following the Battle of Covadonga in about 720, which was the first defeat of the Moors during their invasion of Spain. A statue of the Virgin Mary, secretly hidden in one of the caves, was believed to have miraculously aided the Christian victory.
Our Lady of Covadonga is the patron of Asturias, and a basilica was built to house the current statue. St Pope John Paul II visited the shrine to honour Our Lady of Covadonga to honour, whose feast day is 8 September.
Our Lady of Health of Vailankanni: This is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by people as she twice appeared in the town of Velankanni, Tamil Nadu, India, in the 16th to 17th centuries. The Feast of the Nativity of Mary, is also commemorated as the feast of Our Lady of Good Health. The celebration starts on 29 August and ends on the day of the feast. The feast day prayers are said in Tamil, Marathi, East Indian, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Konkani, Hindi and English.
Our Lady of Meritxell: This is an Andorran Roman statue depicting an apparition of the Virgin Mary. Our Lady of Meritxell is the patron saint of Andorra. One 6 January in the late 12th century, villagers from Meritxell, Andorra were going to Mass in Canillo. Though it was winter, they found a wild rose in bloom by the roadside. At its base was a statue of the Virgin and Child. They placed the statue in a chapel in the church in Canillo. The next day the statue was found sitting under the wild rose again. Villagers from Encamp took the statue to their church but the next day the statue had returned to the rose bush. Though it was snowing, an area the size of a chapel was completely bare and the villagers of Meritxell took this to mean that they should build a chapel to house the statue and so they did. On 8-9 September 1972 the chapel burned down and the statue was destroyed, a copy now resides in the new Meritxell Chapel.
The feast day of Our Lady of Meritxell is 8 September and the Andorran National Day.
Our Lady of Ripalta: Patroness of Cerignola, Foggia in Puglia.
St Adam Bargielski
St Adela of Messines
Bl Alanus de Rupe
St Disibod of Disenberg
St Ethelburgh of Kent
St Faustus of Antioch
St Isaac the Great
St István Pongrácz
St Peter of Chavanon
Bl Seraphina Sforza
St Pope Sergius I
St Timothy of Antioch
Bl Wladyslaw Bladzinski
Martyrs of Alexandria – (5 saints)
A group of Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian – Ammon, Dio, Faustus, Neoterius and Theophilus. Martyred in Alexandria, Egypt.
Martyrs of Japan – (21 beati):
A group of 21 missionaries and converts who were executed together for their faith.
• Antonio of Saint Bonaventure
• Antonio of Saint Dominic
• Dominicus Nihachi
• Dominicus of Saint Francis
• Dominicus Tomachi
• Francisco Castellet Vinale
• Franciscus Nihachi
• Ioannes Imamura
• Ioannes Tomachi
• Laurentius Yamada
• Leo Aibara
• Lucia Ludovica
• Ludovicus Nihachi
• Matthaeus Alvarez Anjin
• Michaël Tomachi
• Michaël Yamada Kasahashi
• Paulus Aibara Sandayu
• Paulus Tomachi
• Romanus Aibara
• Thomas of Saint Hyacinth
• Thomas Tomachi
Died on 8 September 1628 in Nagasaki, Japan
Beatified on 7 May 1867 by Pope Pius XI
Martyred in England:
Bl John Norton
Bl Thomas Palaser
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Adrián Saiz y Saiz
• Blessed Apolonia Lizárraga Ochoa de Zabalegui
• Blessed Bonifacio Rodríguez González
• Blessed Dolores Puig Bonany
• Blessed Eusebio Alonso Uyarra
• Blessed Ismael Escrihuela Esteve
• Blessed Josefa Ruano García
• Blessed Josep Padrell Navarro
• Blessed Mamerto Carchano y Carchano
• Blessed Marino Blanes Giner
• Blessed Miguel Beato Sánchez
• Blessed Pascual Fortuño Almela
• Blessed Segimon Sagalés Vilá
• Blessed Tomàs Capdevila Miquel