Thought for the Day – 26 November – Tuesday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 21:5–11
“When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified” … Luke 21:9
Saint John Chrysostom (c 345-407) Father & Doctor
The nearer the king approaches, the more we should pray. The nearer the moment arrives for bestowing the trophy on the combatant, the harder we should struggle. This is what they do at the race – as the end of the course nears and they are reaching the goal, they stir up the horses’ enthusiasm even more. In the same way Saint Paul says: “Now is salvation nearer to us than when first we believed. The night is far gone, the day is at hand” (Rm 13:11-12).
Since night is disappearing and day is coming to view, let us carry out the works of day and leave behind the works of darkness. This is what we do in the course of life – when we see night giving way to dawn and hear the swallows singing, then we rouse one another even though it is still dark… We hurry to our daily tasks; we get dressed after being snatched from sleep so that the sun will find us ready. What we do then, let us do now. Let us shake off our dreams, rouse ourselves from thoughts of this present life, leave our heavy slumber and put on the garment of virtue. This is what the apostle clearly says to us: “Cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light” (v.12). For day is calling us to the battle, to the fight.
But don’t be afraid when you hear these words about fighting and combat! For if it is uncomfortable to put on heavy material armour, it is pleasant, on the other hand, to put on spiritual armour, for this is an armour of light. In this way you will shine more brightly than the sun and, even as you sparkle brightly, you will be safe because these are weapons… weapons of light. So then? Are we excused from fighting? Not at all! We are to fight but without being overcome by fatigue and without pain. For it is not so much a war to which we are being summoned, as a feast and celebration.
O Yes, Lord Jesus, come and reign! Let my body be Your temple, my heart, Your throne, my will, Your devoted servant, let me be Yours forever, living only in You and for You! Amen
Quote/s of the Day – 26 November – Tuesday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 21:5–11
“Speaking of: False Prophets – The Culture of our Times”
“Take heed that you are not led astray, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’“
“If you believe what you like in the Gospels and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe but yourself.”
Saint Augustine (354-430)
“If you only follow the teachings of the Church that you like and reject what you don’t like, then it is not Christ and the Catholic faith that you claim to believe in but yourself. The creed that we profess does not begin by saying, “I believe in me…”
“A dead thing goes with the stream but only a living thing can go against it.”
G K Chesterton (1874-1936)
“Really great moral teachers never do introduce new moralities, it is quacks and cranks who do that.”
C S Lewis (1898-1963)
“We are no longer able to hear God. There are too many frequencies filling our ears.”
Pope Benedict VXI
“No age has been more prone to confuse the sin with the sinner, not by hating the sinner along with the sin but by loving the sin along with the sinner. We often use “compassion” as an equivalent for moral relativism.”
“We have laws against polluting our rivers but not against polluting our minds!”
Bishop Robert Barron
“I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, to swim against the tide, yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture.”
One Minute Reflection – 26 November – Tuesday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 21:5–11
“And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified” …Luke 21:9
REFLECTION – “Jesus’ words are perennially relevant, even for us today living in the 21st century too. This Christian virtue of understanding, is a call to discern where the Lord is and where the evil spirit is present. Today, too, in fact there are false “saviours” who attempt to replace Jesus – Jesus warns us: “Do not follow them, do not follow them!” The Lord also helps us not to be afraid in the face of war, revolution, natural disasters and epidemics. Jesus frees us from fatalism and false apocalyptic visions. Despite the turmoil and disasters that upset the world, God’s design of goodness and mercy will be fulfilled! And this is our hope – go forward on this path, in God’s plan, which will be fulfilled. Jesus’ message causes us to reflect on our present time and gives us the strength to face it, with courage and hope, with Mary who always accompanies us.” … Pope Francis – Angelus, 17 November 2013
PRAYER – True Light of the world, Lord Jesus Christ, as You enlighten all men for their salvation, give us grace, we pray, to herald Your coming, by preparing the ways of justice, love and peace. Help us to live as Your children and by our lives to bring Your salvation and joy to all the world. May the Holy Spirit fill us with all His gifts and virtues so that we may await the coming of Your Son, guided by His Light and may Mary, the blessed Virgin, accompany us, guarding and giving us her prayerful help. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 26 November – Tuesday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C
I Wish to Clasp Your Hand – Do Not Refuse Me! Prayer of Count Eugene de Ferronays (1827-1894)
It is just when I am in the world
that I have most need of You
because You know it is full of snares
that the devil has set for me.
You must hold my hand, dear Lord,
if You will not abandon me.
A little of the world is not bad for me,
it is even good, for it teaches me how small it is
and I feel the greater happiness
when I come back to You.
But, that I may surely do so,
You must only loose Your hold a little,
that it may not try me too far,
You must not entirely leave hold.
Do You see dear Lord?
I wish to clasp Your hand – do not refuse me!
Saint of the Day – 26 November – Blessed Gaetana Sterni (1827-1889) Widow, Religious, Founder of the Sisters of Divine Will, of which Order she is the Patron. Apostle of charity. Born on 26 June 1827 at Cassola, Vicenza, Italy and died on 26 November 1889 of natural causes. Gaetana’s life became marred due to the deaths of close relations including her husband and sole child which prompted her to look towards an apostolate to aid others and to ease others’ sufferings. The order she founded was dedicated to total consecration to Jesus Christ and to an active apostolate of charitable works to the lowliest of all.
Gaetana Sterni lived her whole life in Bassano del Grappa, an ancient and cheerful city in the province of Vicenza (Italy). She arrived with her family, at 8 years of age, from the nearby Cassola, where she was born on the 26th June 1827. Her father Giovanni Battista Sterni, worked as administrator for the country property of the Mora, noble Venetians and lived comfortably in the Mora habitat with his wife Giovanna Chiuppani and their six children. In 1835 he moved with his family to Bassano. However, a series of unfortunate episodes were to change the conditions for the family of Gaetana, drastically. At 18 years of age her elder sister, Margherita, died and shortly after, following a grave illness, her father too died. In the meantime, her brother Francesco, with the aim of becoming an actor left the home and thus, left the family, in a dire financial situation.
These events left their mark on Gaetana, who was forced to grow up before her time, having to share with her mother, the many problems of day to day life. Being blessed with a good intelligence she showed herself to be sensitive and mature but also full of life “ desiring to love and be loved”.
Her religious education was solid and guided by the teachings of her mother, her prayers and her frequenting the church. She soon acquired in her environment, respect and appreciation for her radiant character, full of good sense and for her strong femininity. “Her delicate features and rare beauty” and her fascinating presence, soon attracted a young entrepreneur, Liberale Conte, a widower with three children who asked her to marry him.
After a deep analysis of her feelings and the responsibilities that she would have to assume and overcoming the opposition of her tutor, Gaetana accepted Liberale’s proposal. The young bride, who still hadn’t reached her sixteenth birthday, entered into her new home filling it with her vitality, giving back to her husband joy and serenity and loving his three children as if they were her own. When Gaetana discovered that she was expecting his child, the happiness of the couple was complete.
While she was praying, Gaetana was shaken by a premonition of the imminent death of her husband and felt as though she would “die of a broken heart” at the thought of losing he who was “more precious than life,” however, deep inside, she felt a strength that would keep her from despair and lead her to have faith in God with all her heart. Unfortunately, her premonition came true and Liberale, at the height of youth and health, after a brief illness, died. The young bride now found herself in terrible anguish for the loss of her husband, whom she loved more than herself, for the children who once again found themselves to be orphans and for her unborn child, who would never know it’s own father. She was completely destroyed by the pain but when she started coming back to her senses, she remembered the premonition that she had had and what she had felt. She once again found faith in the Lord, entrusting her life to Him. In Him she found the strength to live, to take care of the three children and to complete her pregnancy.
Unfortunately, even Gaetana’s child died just a few days after it’s birth. Here began years of bitter widowhood. The family of her husband did not appreciate the strong links that bound Gaetana to the orphans and many misunderstandings, suspicions and false rumours arose. Eventually, she was separated from the children and distanced from the house. At nineteen years of age she returned to the home of her mother. In spite of this ordeal and not thinking of herself, she helped the children to accept the difficult separation. Approachable but strong, she defended the rights of the children, forgave freely and obtained the full reconciliation and serenity of the two families. The suffering didn’t make her bitter and, through her natural sensitivity, she grew in her capacity for compassion and solidarity.
She never thought of entering into a religious order and looking into her future, she prayed, that the Lord would help her to understand who was the husband that God had destined to be hers. But it was through her prayers that she began to perceive clearly that God wanted to be “the only husband for her soul” and Gaetana was stunned. She confided to her holy confessor who confirmed that it was an authentic call to God. Consequently, she asked to enter the convent of the Canosians of Bassano and was accepted as a postulate. For five months she lived happily in the community but once again, in her prayers, she had a premonition that prepared her for the death of her mother, which then happened within a few days. Consequently she was forced to leave the convent to assume the responsibility of looking after her younger brothers. For years she faced difficulties, family illness, misfortunes and financial hardships. In spite of everything, she managed to create a way of life that permitted a continued spiritual devotion.
She confronted her confessor and prayed intensely as to know what was God’s will for her. Becoming more humble and prepared, she was ever more attentive to what He asked her in the depths of her heart and also through the happenings and needs of the poor of her city.
Whilst she was still with the Canosians and had the premonition of her mother’s death, Gaetana had also sensed that He was preparing her “to employ there all of herself in the service of the poor and thus fulfil His will.” She held this vocation hidden in her heart for a long time before finding the courage to talk about it with her confessor, because it seemed to her strange and terrible.
When at last she had told him, he seemed to give no weight to the idea. However whenever Gaetana saw a poor person “recovered”, she re-felt that invitation “I want you among my poor”, and said “the idea of the Recovery follows me constantly”. She was 26 years old when she was finally free from all obligations to her family and could at last do as she wished. Upon conclusion of a serious and shared discernment, it was a Jesuit, Fr . Bedin that confirmed to her, saying “yes Gaetana, the Lord wants you in the Recovery.” In 1853, “only to do the will of God”, Gaetana entered into the hospice for beggars, known as the Recovery, which in miserable conditions, cared for 115 guests “the large part victims of unruliness and vice” in whom “disorders and abuses of almost every type”.
She remained there for 36 years until her death and employed in this ministry all of herself with untiring charity. While watching over the beds of the dying and in the most humble service of the ill and the old, she treated all with the abnegation, the delicacy and gentleness of those who in recoveries serve the Lord. She was driven by a great faith in God, from the desire to be His and to please Him in everything. When she was 33 years old and with the consent of her confessor Don Simonetti, she took a vow of total devotion of herself to God, “ready to accept absolutely anything that the Lord might ask of her”.
With unlimited faith she gave herself into the hands of God, “weak instrument which He uses for His own purposes”. She attributed to providence, the birth of the congregation, that came from the simplicity and humility, with the profession of the first two companions in 1865.
The name “Daughters of the Divine Will” suggested to the heart of Gaetana and the young women that followed her, indicated that which should define them “complete uniformity to the Divine Will through a total abandonment in God and a strong zeal for the well-being of one’s neighbour, ready to sacrifice anything in order to make them well.”
Like her, the first companions, driven by the same spirit, devoted themselves to the will of God, dedicating themselves to serve the poor in the Recovery and those in need, especially helping those who were ill at home and other acts of charity depending on the particular needs that arose. The Bishop of Vicenza, Saint Giovanni Antonio Farina (1803–1888), approved the first rules of the congregation in 1875.
Gaetana died on the 26th of November 1889 lovingly assisted by her daughters and venerated by her fellow citizens. Her mortal remains are venerated in the Mother House. Since the beginning the communities have multiplied and today the congregation is diffused in Europe, America and Africa.
The path to holiness that Gaetana followed is, for it’s essential nature a proposable itinerary for all Christians – to achieve in everything and always, that which pleases the Lord, trusting oneself to Him in enlightened confidence, to change, with only the force of love, all evil into good, in the manner of Jesus. … Vatican.va
Blessed Gaetana was Beatified on 4 November 2001 by St Pope John Paul II, after approval of the first miracle. At her Beatification St John Paul said:
“Blessed Gaetana Sterni, who learned that the will of God is always love, dedicated herself with untiring charity to the excluded and the suffering. She always treated her brothers and sisters with the kindness and love of the one who serves Christ in the poor. She urged her spiritual daughters, the Sisters of the Divine Will, “to be disposed and content to put up with privations, fatigue and any sacrifice to help your neighbour in need in all that the Lord might want of them”. The witness of evangelical charity that Blessed Sterni left us reminds each believer of the need to seek the will of God in confident abandonment to Him and in generous service to one’s brothers and sisters.”
Bl Albert of Haigerloch
St Alypius Stylites
St Amator of Autun
St Basolus of Verzy
St Bellinus of Padua
St Bertger of Herzfeld
St Conrad of Constance
St Ðaminh Nguyen Van Xuyên
Bl Delphine of Glandèves
St Egelwine of Athelney Bl Gaetana Sterni (1827-1889)
Bl Giacomo Alberione
Bl Hugh Taylor
St Humilis of Bisignano
St Ida of Cologne
St James the Hermit St Peter of Alexandria (Died 311) Martyr
St Magnance of Ste-Magnance
St Marcellus of Nicomedia
Bl Marmaduke Bowes
St Martin of Arades
St Nicon of Sparta
Bl Pontius of Faucigny
St Sabaudus of Trier
St Siricius, Pope
St Sylvester Gozzolini
St Tôma Ðinh Viet Du
Martyrs of Alexandria – 7+ saints: A group of approximately 650 Christian priests, bishops and laity martyred together in the persecution of Maximian Galerius. We have the names and a few details only seven of them – Ammonius, Didius, Faustus, Hesychius, Pachomius, Phileas and Theodore. The were born in Egypt and were martyred there in c 311 in Alexandria, Egypt.
Martyrs of Capua – 7 saints: A group of seven Christians martyred together. The only details about them to survive are the names – Ammonius, Cassianus, Felicissimus, Nicander, Romana, Saturnin and Serenus. They were martyred in Capua, Campania, Italy, date unknown.
Martyrs of Nicomedia – 6 saints: A group of six orthodox Christians martyred by Arians. Few details have survived except their names – Marcellus, Melisus, Numerius, Peter, Serenusa and Victorinus. Martyred in
349 in Nicomedia, Bithynia, Asia Minor (modern Izmit, Turkey)