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)
Thought for the Day – 25 November – Monday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 21:1-4
Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813–1853)
“Servant to the Poor”
and Founder of the St Vincent de Paul Society
“Society today seems to me to be not unlike the wayfarer described in the parable of the Good Samaritan. For while journeying along the road, mapped out for it by Christ, it has been set upon by thieves of evil human thought. Bad men have despoiled the wayfarer of all his goods, of the treasures of faith and love… . The priests and the Levites have passed him by. But this time, being real priests and true Levites, they have approached the suffering, wretched creature and attempted to cure him. But in his delirium he has not recognised them and has driven them away. Then we, weak Samaritans, outsiders as we are, have dared to approach this great sick patient. Perhaps he will be less affrighted by us? Let us try to measure the extent of his wounds, in order to pour oil into them. Let us make words of peace and consolation ringing in his ears. Then, when his eyes are opened, we will hand him over to the tender care of those, whom God has chosen, to be the guardians and doctors of souls.”
Blest are the pure in heart, for they shall see our God, the secret of the Lord is theirs, their soul is Christ’s abode.
The Lord, who left the heavens, our life and peace to bring, to dwell in lowliness with men, their pattern and their King.
Still to the lowly soul, He does Himself impart and for His dwelling and His throne, chooses the pure in heart.
Lord, we Thy presence seek, May ours this blessing be: give us a pure and lowly heart, a temple fit for Thee.
Quote/s of the Day – 25 November – Monday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 21:1-4
Speaking of: Mercy
“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!”
“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.”
Saint Caesarius of Arles (470-543)
“When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice.”
St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604)
Father & Doctor of the Church
“Father of the Fathers”
“The poor are our masters, let us love them and serve them, as we would serve Jesus Christ Himself. “
Blessed Vincenza Maria Poloni (1802-1855)
“Yours must be a work of love, of kindness, you must give your time, your talents, yourselves. The poor person is a unique person of God’s fashioning with an inalienable right to respect. You must not be content with tiding the poor over the poverty crisis, You must study their condition and the injustices which brought about such poverty, with the aim of a long term improvement.”
“It is our vocation to set people’s hearts ablaze, to do what the Son of God did, who came to light a fire on earth in order to set it ablaze with His love.”
“I would like to embrace the whole world in a network of charity.”
Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813–1853)
“Servant to the Poor”
and Founder of the St Vincent de Paul Society
“True friendship with Jesus is expressed in how one lives, in the goodness of one’s heart, in one’s humility, kindness and mercy, in one’s love for justice and truth, in one’s sincere commitment to peace and reconciliation. This, we might say, is the ‘identity card’ that qualifies us as true ‘friends,’ it is the ‘passport’ that will let us enter eternal life.”
One Minute Reflection – 25 November – Monday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 21:1-4
“… for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” … Luke 21:4
REFLECTION – “Although the spite of some people does not grow gentle with any kindness, nevertheless the works of mercy are not fruitless and kindness never loses what is offered to the ungrateful. May no-one, dearly beloved, make themselves strangers to good works. Let no-one claim, that his poverty scarcely sufficed for himself and could not help another. What is offered from a little is great and in the scale of divine justice, the quantity of gifts is not measured but the steadfastness of souls. The “widow” in the Gospel put two coins into the “treasury” and this surpassed the gifts of all the rich. No mercy is worthless before God. No compassion is fruitless. He has given different resources to human beings but He does not ask different affections.” … St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father & Doctor of the Church (Sermon 20)
PRAYER – God our Father, You give us a share in the one bread and the one cup and make us one in Christ. 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 – 25 November – Monday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C
The Elder Brother’s Prayer
Teach me, my Lord,
to be sweet and gentle in all the events of life,
in the thoughtlessness of those I trusted,
in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied.
Let me put myself aside,
to think of the happiness of others,
to hide my little pains and heartaches,
so that I may be the only one to suffer from them.
Teach me to profit by the suffering
that comes across my path.
Let me so use it that it may make me
patient, not irritable.
That it may make me broad in my forgiveness,
not narrow, haughty and overbearing.
May no-one be less good
for having come within my influence.
No-one less pure, less true, less kind,
less noble for having been a fellow traveller
in my journey toward Eternal Life.
As I go my rounds from one distraction to another,
let me whisper from time to time,
a word of love to Thee.
May my life be lived in the supernatural,
full of power for good,
and strong in its purpose of sanctity.
Saint of the Day – 25 November – Blessed Elisabeth Achler TOR (1386-1420) known as ” Blessed Elisabeth the Good” and Elizabeth of Reute, Betha, Elsbeth – Franciscan Tertiary Sister, Mystic, Stigmatist, Apostle of the Holy Eucharist, prayer and charity, gifted with the charism of prophecy – born on 25 November 1386 at Waldsee, Wurttemberg, Swabia, Germany and died on 25 November 1420 at Reute, Germany of natural causes. Patronage – Swabia, Germany.
Elisabeth was born on 25 November 1386 to Hans and Anna Achler in Waldsee in the region of Upper Swabia (a historic and linguistic region in Germany). She was raised in a pious home, hearing the Gospels explained to her by her mother in the form of stories, where she developed a strong devotion to the Passion of Christ.
She became a member of the Third Order of St Francis at the age of fourteen. Seeking to further her spiritual growth, she took as her confessor the provost of the local Canonry of St Peter in Waldsee, Dom Konrad Kügelin (1366-1428). Under his guidance, she and several other Franciscan tertiaries sought to follow a more intense experience of their Franciscan vocation. To this end, they acquired a house in Reute on the outskirts of Waldsee in 1403.
This community was a proto-monastery of the Order, as tertiaries of the mendicant orders had not yet been allowed to profess vows. Elisabeth threw herself into a life of prayer and service, working in the cloister kitchen and in the garden, where she would spend long hours in prayer.
She was known for her hospitality to visitors to the little monastery, especially for her concern for the poor who came to the gate to beg. Her love of the Blessed Sacrament was so great that she lived the last twelve years of her life subsisting solely on the consecrated hosts.
Her head showed the marks of the crown of thorns worn by Christ and her body the marks of Christ’s scourging. Although the Stigmata only occasionally appeared on her hands, she always felt its pain. She was credited with the gift of prophecy foretelling the election of Pope Martin V and the end of the Great Western Schism. She died on her birthday in 1420.
She was buried in the parish church of Reute. A biography of her was written by Kügelin, her confessor and sent to the Bishop of Konstanz. However, popular veneration for Elisabeth occurred only after 1623, when her tomb was opened by the then-provost of Waldsee.
Miracles were attributed to her, which were compiled into a formal document by a contemporary canon, Heinrich Scheffler (d. 1635). Pope Clement XIII officially approved her cultus on 19 June 1766.
Her major shrine is at the Convent of the Franciscan Sisters of Reute, Bad Waldsee, Germany where her feast is celebrated today.
Bl Adalbert of Caramaico
St Alanus of Lavaur
St Audentius of Milan
St Bernold of Ottobeuren
Bl Conrad of Heisterbach
Bl Ekbert of Muensterschwarzach Bl Elisabeth Achler TOR (1386-1420)
St Erasmus of Antioch
Bl Garcia of Arlanza
Bl Guido of Casauria
St Imma of Wurzburg
Bl Jacinto Serrano López
St Jucunda of Reggio Aemilia
Bl Maria Corsini Beltrame Quattrocchi
St Mercurius of Caesarea
St Moses of Rome
Bl Santiago Meseguer Burillo
Martyrs of Africa – (13 saints): A group of 13 Christians murdered together for their faith in Africa, date unknown. The only details to have survived are their names – Claudian, Cyprian, Donatus, Felix, Januarius, Julian, Lucian, Marcian, Martialis, Peter, Quirianus, Victor and Vitalis.
Thought for the Day – 24 November – The Solemnity of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year C, Gospel: Luke 23:35–43
“Jesus remember me”
These words are brought to mind by a line from the Eucharistic hymn “Adoro te devoto,” by St Thomas Aquinas – “I ask for what the repentant thief asked” (Peto quod opetivit latro paentitens). – “Jesus, remember me.” What a beautiful aspiration!
Each day and throughout the day, we can ask Jesus for the many things we need, summing up our prayers of petition, by asking Jesus to remember us, according to His mercy, remembering not our sins (Ps 25:7).
And, like the good thief, let us ask at the moment of our death: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42)
“Angels, saints and nations sing ‘Praised be Jesus Christ, our King. Lord of life, earth, sky and sea, King of love on Calvary.”
Quote/s of the Day – 24 November – The Solemnity of Christ the King
“Christ, has dominion over all creatures, a dominion not seized by violence nor usurped but His, by essence and by nature.”
St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444)
Father & Doctor of the Church
“Christ’s kingdom is not just a figure of speech. Christ is alive, He lives as a man, with the same body He took when He became man, when He rose after His death, the glorified body which subsists in the person of the Word together with His human heart. Christ, true God and true man, lives and reigns. He is the Lord of the universe. Everything that lives is kept in existence only through Him.”
St Josemaria Escrivá (1902-1975)
“Jesus Christ You have heard Him spoken of, indeed the greater part of you are already His – you are Christians. So, to you Christians I repeat His name, to everyone I proclaim Him – Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega. He is the king of the new world. He is the secret of history. He is the key to our destiny.”
St Pope Paul VI (1897-1978)
“You say that I am a king. For this I was born and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”
“But what is the “truth” that Christ came into the world to witness to? The whole of His life reveals that God is love – so this is the truth to which He witnessed to the full, with the sacrifice of His own life on Calvary.”
Pope Benedict XVI
“When did Jesus reveal Himself as king? In the event of the Cross!”
Sunday Reflection – 24 November – The Solemnity of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year C
He is in the hands of sinners once more
St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
He took bread and blessed and made it His Body. He took wine and gave thanks and made it His Blood and He gave His priests the power to do what He had done. Henceforth, He is in the hands of sinners once more. Frail, ignorant, sinful man, by the sacerdotal power given to him, compels the presence of the Highest; he lays Him up in a small Tabernacle; he dispenses Him to a sinful people. Those who are only just now, cleansed from mortal sin, open their lips for Him; those who are soon to return to mortal sin, receive Him into their breasts; those who are polluted with vanity and selfishness and ambition and pride, presume to make Him their Guest; the frivolous, the tepid, the worldly-minded, fear not to welcome Him.
Alas! Alas! even those who wish to be more in earnest, entertain Him with cold and wandering thoughts and quench that Love which would inflame them with It’s own fire, did they but open to It! Such are the best of us and then for the worst? What shall we of sacrilege? of His reception to hearts polluted with mortal, unforsaken sin? of those further nameless profanations, which from time to time occur, when unbelief dares to present itself at the holy Altar and blasphemously gains possession of Him? …. I place myself in the presence of Him, in whose Incarnate Presence I am, before I place myself there!
I adore Thee, O my Saviour, present here as God and man, in soul and body, in true flesh and blood.
I acknowledge and confess, that I kneel before that Sacred Humanity, which was conceived in Mary’s womb and lay in Mary’s bosom; which grew up to man’s estate and by the Sea of Galilee, called the Twelve, wrought miracles and spoke words of wisdom and peace; which in due season hung on the Cross, lay in the tomb, rose from the dead and now reigns in heaven.
I praise and bless and give myself wholly to Him, who is the true Bread of my soul and my everlasting joy. Amen.
One Minute Reflection – 24 November – The Solemnity of Christ the King, Year C – Gospel: Luke 23:35–43
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” … Luke 23:42
REFLECTION – “Today paradise, closed for thousands of years, is opened to us. On this day, at this very hour, God brings the brigand into it. Thus He fulfils two wonders – He opens up paradise to us and causes a thief to enter in. Today God has given us back our former homeland, today He has brought us into the city of our ancestors, today He has opened up a home to be shared by all humanity. “This day,” He says, “you will be with me in paradise.” What are You saying, Lord? You are crucified, nailed down and do You promise paradise? Yes, He says, so that through the Cross You may learn my power…
Because it isn’t by raising a dead man, commanding the sea and wind, or casting out demons that He is able to change the thief’s sinful soul but by being crucified, pinned down by nails, covered with insults, spitting, mockery and torture, so that you might see the two sides of His sovereign power. He shook all creation, split the rocks (Mt 27:51) and drew to Himself the brigand’s soul, hard as stone, to cover it with honour…
Obviously, no king would ever allow a brigand or other of his subjects to be seated at his side when making his entry into his city. Yet Christ did so, when entering His holy homeland. He brings a brigand into it along with Him. In so doing… He does no dishonour to it by a brigand’s presence, for it is a glory for paradise, that it has a master, able to make a brigand worthy of the joys to be tasted there.
In the same way, when He brings publicans and prostitutes into the Kingdom of heaven (Mt 21:31)…, it is for the sake of the glory of that holy place. Because He shows it, that the Lord of the heavenly Kingdom is so great, that He can restore all their dignity, to prostitutes and publicans, even to their being worthy of this honour and this gift. We admire a doctor all the more when we see him heal people suffering from illnesses said to be incurable. So it is only right to admire Christ… when He restores publicans and prostitutes to such a state of spiritual health, that they become worthy of heaven.” … St John Chrysostom (345 407) Bishop of Constantinople, Father & Doctor of the Church – Homily 1 on the cross and the brigand, for Good Friday, 2
PRAYER – Lord God, You gave the peoples of the world as the inheritance of Your only Son, You crowned Him as King of Zion, Your holy city and gave Him Your Church to be His Bride. As He proclaims the law of Your eternal kingdom, may we serve Him faithfully and so share His royal power forever. We make our prayer, through Him and with Him and in Him, our King and our Redeemer, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 24 November – The Solemnity of Christ the King
Above All That is Not You Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
O most loving Jesus,
give me this special grace to rest in You
above all created things,
above all health and beauty,
above all glory and honour,
above all dignity and power,
above all knowledge and prudence,
above all riches and talents,
above all joy and gladness,
above all fame and praise,
above all sweetness and consolation,
above all hope and promise,
above all merit and desire,
above all gifts and rewards
that You may give or send –
except Yourself –
above all joy or happiness
that the human mind and heart
can grasp or feel,
above all Angels and Archangels,
above all the heavenly hosts,
above all things visible and invisible
and above all that is not You,
Saint of the Day – 24 November – St Albert of Louvain (1166-1192) Bishop, Cardinal and Martyr. Born in c 1166 in Brabant (in modern Belgium) and died by stabbing on 21 November 1192 on the road outside Rheims, France.
Albert de Louvain was born in 1166 as the second of two sons to Duke Godfrey III, Count of Leuven and his first wife Margareta van Limburg. He was the brother of Henry I, Duke of Brabant.
Albert was educated at the cathedral school of Saint-Lambert in Liège. Saint Albert of Louvain entered into religious life at the age of 12. However, he left the Canonric at the age of 21 to become a knight of Count Baldwin. In 1187, when news of the fall of Jerusalem reached Liege, Albert resigned his offices, took the cross and had himself knighted in order to become a Crusader. The following year Cardinal Henry of Albano, restored his ecclesiastical status, within the Church and he received the sub-diaconate in 1191. That same year he was elected Bishop of Liège and despite the fact that he had not reached the canonical age of 30, his appointment was widely approved. Gilbert of Mons, chancellor of Count Baldwin V of Hainaut, who attended the election, along with other princes and nobles, described the proceedings as a power struggle between Albert’s brother Henry and Baldwin.
Albert’s appointment was opposed by Baldwin, who had a second group of canons elect his own relative, Albert de Rethel. Albert took the matter to Rome and appealed to Pope Celestine III. In May 1192, Pope Celestine III made Albert a Cardinal and ordained him in Rome as a Deacon on 30 May 1192. He was then Ordained to the Priesthood on 19 September 1192 by Cardinal Guillaume de Champagne. He received episcopal Consecration the next day and celebrated his first Mass on 21 September in the Rheims Cathedral.
Albert met three German knights in 1192 who persuaded him to ride on horseback with them outside of Rheims. Outside of the city they attacked Albert with their swords and struck him on the head which crushed his skull and caused him to fall, where they made sure they killed him prior to making an escape.
The immediate reaction to the murder was an uprising of the princes of Lower Lorraine led by the dukes of Brabant and Limburg, brother and uncle respectively of the slain bishop. They formed a group that eventually came to include the archbishops of Cologne and Mainz and other princes and laid waste the territory of Dietrich of Hochstaden. Faced with the hostility of the people of Leige, Bishop-elect Lothar fled to the imperial court. He was excommunicated by Pope Celestine. The assassins, including one Otto of Barenste, fled to the imperial court, where Henry seems to have taken no particular action against them. Historians are divided as to the part the Emperor may or may not have played in planning the murder of the Bishop Albert.
The reputation of the holiness of Albert de Louvain soon spread after his death and was hailed as a Martyr, thus, leading to the opening of his cause for Canonisation. Pope Paul V Canonised him on 9 August 1613 and instituted his feast day as the date of his death. His body reposed at Rheims until 1921, when it was moved to Brussels. Below is an image of his Crozier which is kept at his shrine in Brussels.
St Albert’s life was written around 1194 or 1195 by an anonymous monk of Lobbes, from information supplied by Abbot Werrich, who knew Albert well.
St Cardinal Albert of Louvain (1166-1192) Bishop and Martyr
St Alexander of Corinth
St Balsamus of Cava
St Bieuzy of Brittany
St Colman of Cloyne
Bl Conrad of Frisach
St Crescentian of Rome
St Eanfleda of Whitby
St Felicissimus of Perugia
St Félix Alonso Muñiz
St Firmina of Amelia
St Flora of Cordoba
St Francisco Borrás Román
St Hitto of Saint-Gall
St Kenan of Damleag
St Leopardinus of Vivaris
Bl Maria Anna Sala
St Marinus of Maurienne
St Mary of Cordoba
St Phêrô Võ Ðang Khoa
St Pierre Rose Ursule Dumoulin Borie
St Portianus of Miranda
St Protasius of Milan
St Romanus of Le Mans
St Vinh-son Nguyen The Ðiem
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War – Martyred Carmelite Sisters of Valencia – 12 beati:
• Blessed Antonia Gosens Sáez De Ibarra
• Blessed Cándida Cayuso González
• Blessed Clara Ezcurra Urrutia
• Blessed Concepción Rodríguez Fernández
• Blessed Daría Campillo Paniagua
• Blessed Erundina Colino Vega
• Blessed Feliciana de Uribe Orbe
• Blessed Félix Alonso Muñiz
• Blessed Francisco Borrás Román
• Blessed Justa Maiza Goicoechea
• Blessed María Concepción Odriozola Zabalía
• Blessed María Consuelo Cuñado González
• Blessed Niceta Plaja Xifra
• Blessed Paula Isla Alonso
Thought for the Day – 23 November – The Memorial of Blessed Miguel Pro – Priest and Martyr of the Cristero War (1891-1927)
“You have not only my forgiveness but my thanks.”
Often Our Lord gives His saints a premonition that the curtain is soon to close on their earthly pilgrimage.
Back in September, when he was beginning his Mass for a community of nuns, he asked the angelic flock to pray that God would accept his life as a victim for priests and for the welfare of the Mexican Church. One of the nuns present, noted, that during the Mass he was totally transported and bathed in tears the whole time they were chanting. At the end of the Holy Sacrifice, he mentioned to someone in the community, “I know not whether it is mere imagination or has actually occurred but I feel clearly,. that Our Lord has evidently accepted my offering.”
One could almost see his mother smiling down upon him from Heaven and repeating those words she had answered him when he was a little boy, “May God hear you, child. But that is too great a happiness for me.”
One of the officers who had captured Father Pro led him out of jail to be executed. He begged Father to forgive him. Miguel put his arm around him and said, “You have not only my forgiveness but my thanks.”He also softly told the firing squad, “May God forgive you all.”Then with arms spread as if on a cross, Father Pro shouted, “Viva Cristo Rey – Long live Christ the King!” before a bullet silenced him.
Although the real criminal and one of Miguel’s brothers were also shot, the other brother was pardoned at the last moment. Despite the government’s ban on a public funeral, thousands came to Father Pro’s wake, for the ‘Blood of the Martyrs, is the seedbed of Faith!’
When Fr Miguel Pro was executed in 1927, no one could have predicted that 52 years later the bishop of Rome would visit Mexico, be welcomed by its president and celebrate open-air Masses before thousands of people. St Pope John Paul II made additional trips to Mexico in 1990, 1993, 1999, and 2002. Those who outlawed the Catholic Church in Mexico did not count on the deeply rooted faith of its people and the willingness of many of them, like Miguel Pro, to die as martyrs.
Quote/s of the Day – 23 November – The Memorial of Blessed Miguel Pro – Priest and Martyr of the Cristero War (1891-1927)
“We ought to speak, shout out against injustices, with confidence and without fear. We proclaim the principles of the Church, the reign of love, without forgetting that it is also a reign of JUSTICE!”
“Does our life become from day-to-day more painful, more oppressive, more replete with sufferings? Blessed be He a thousand times, who desires it so. If life be harder, love makes it also stronger and only this love, grounded in suffering, can carry the Cross of my Lord, Jesus Christ.”
After he had taken his vows in the Society, he recorded the following meditations in his spiritual notebook. The booklet was entitled My Treasure. The words speak for themselves:
“Deceitful are the ephemeral pleasures and joys of this world. Our supreme comfort in this life, is to die to the world that we may live with Jesus crucified. Let others seek gold and other earthly treasures. I already possess the immortal treasure of holy poverty on the Cross of Jesus crucified. The angelic virtue, growing like a pure, fragrant lily in the hidden beauteous garden of the cloister, adorns the forehead with heavenly tints, for it has roots in the Cross of Jesus crucified. A third crown completes my oblation, it is the seal of glory, whereby the obedient, spotless Lamb gained victory. Obedience is the secure science of living with Jesus crucified. With this triple treasure, I can hope to pass beyond the fleeting confines of mortal man, by living poor on this earth and rich in heaven, united with Jesus crucified.”
One Minute Reflection – 23 November – Saturday of the Thirty Third Week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 20:27–40 and the Memorial of Blessed Miguel Pro – Martyr (1891-1927)
“He is not God of the dead but of the living…” … Luke 20:38
REFLECTION – “It is in the face of death that the riddle a human existence grows most acute. Not only is man tormented by pain and by the advancing deterioration of his body but even more so, by a dread of perpetual extinction. He rightly follows the intuition of his heart when he abhors and repudiates the utter ruin and total disappearance of his own person. He rebels against death because he bears in himself an eternal seed which cannot be reduced to sheer matter. All the endeavours of technology, though useful in the extreme, cannot calm his anxiety; for prolongation of biological life is unable to satisfy that desire for higher life, which is inescapably lodged in his breast.
Although the mystery of death, utterly beggars the imagination, the Church has been taught by divine revelation and firmly teaches, that man has been created by God for a blissful purpose beyond the reach of earthly misery. In addition, that bodily death from which man would have been immune had he not sinned, will be vanquished, according to the Christian faith, when man, who was ruined by his own doing, is restored to wholeness, by an almighty and merciful Saviour. For God has called man and still calls him, so that with his entire being, he might be joined to Him, in an endless sharing of a divine life beyond all corruption. Christ won this victory when He rose to life, for by His death, He freed man from death. Hence to every thoughtful man, a solidly established faith, provides the answer to his anxiety about what the future holds for him. At the same time, faith gives him the power to be united in Christ with his loved ones who have already been snatched away by death, faith arouses the hope, that they have found true life with God.” … Vatican Council II – Constitution on the Church in the modern world “ Gaudium et spes ” # 18
PRAYER – O God, source and origin of all fatherhood, who kept the Martyr, Blessed Miguel Pro, faithful to the Cross of Your Son, even to the shedding of his blood, grant, through his intercession, that, spreading Your love among our brothers and sisters, we may be Your children both in name and in truth and thus come to our resurrection with Jesus Christ, Your Son. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 23 November – The Memorial of Blessed Miguel Pro – Martyr (1891-1927)
Heart Of Jesus By Blessed Miguel Pro – Martyr (1891-1927)
I believe, O Lord
but strengthen my faith,
Heart of Jesus, I love Thee
but increase my love.
Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee,
but give greater vigour
to my confidence.
Heart of Jesus,
I give my heart to Thee,
but so enclose it in Thee
that it may never
be separated from Thee.
Heart of Jesus, I am all Thine,
but take care of my promise
so that I may be able
to put it into practice even unto
the complete sacrifice of my life.
Saint of the Day – 23 November – Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro SJ (1891 – 1927) Priest and Martyr of the Cristero War, Jesuit – known as “Cocol” – born José Ramón Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez on 13 January 1891 in Guadalupe, Zacatecas, Mexico and died by being shot by firing squad on 23 November 1927 in Mexico City, Mexico. He was 36 years old.
Don Miguel and his wife were the happy parents of eleven children. Miguel Jr, was the third born. Four died in infancy. The two eldest, Maria de la Concepcion and Maria de la Luz, became Sisters of the Good Shepherd. Two of the boys, Miguel and his younger brother Humberto, were martyred. The rest of the children, Ana Maria, Edmundo Jose, and Roberto married. Since a young age, he was called “Cocol” as a nickname.
One of his companions, Pulido, said that he “had never seen such an exquisite wit, never coarse, always sparkling.” He was noted for his charity and ability to speak about spiritual subjects without boring his audience. Pulido remarked, that there were two Pros – the playful Pro and the prayerful Pro. He was known for the long periods he spent in the chapel.
Long-time President of Mexico Porfirio Díaz was ousted in 1911 after staging a rigged re-election and a struggle for power – the Mexican Revolution – began.
He entered the Jesuit novitiate at El Llano on 15 August 1911 and studied in Mexico until 1914 when a massive wave of governmental anti-Catholicism forced the novitiate to dissolve and the Jesuits to flee to Los Gatos, California, in the United States. He then went to study in Granada, Spain (1915–19) and from 1919 to 1922 taught in Nicaragua.
For his theological studies Pro was sent to Enghien, Belgium, where the French Jesuits (also in exile) had their faculty of Theology. His health continued to deteriorate. There he was ordained a priest on 31 August 1925. He wrote on that occasion: “How can I explain to you the sweet grace of the Holy Spirit, which invades my poor miner’s soul with such heavenly joys? I could not hold back the tears on the day of my ordination, above all at the moment when I pronounced, together with the bishop, the words of the consecration. After the ceremony the new priests gave their first blessing to their parents. I went to my room, laid out all the photographs of my family on the table and then blessed them from the bottom of my heart.”
His first assignment as a priest was to work with the miners of Charleroi, Belgium. Despite the socialist, communist and anarchist tendencies of the workers, he was able to win them over and preach the Gospel to them.
Three months after ordination, he was forced to undergo several operations for ulcers. He remained cheerful and courageous, explaining that the source of his strength was his prayer.
In summer 1926 – his studies in Europe completed – Pro returned to Mexico. On the way he visited Lourdes where he celebrated Mass and visited the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.
He arrived at Veracruz on 8 July 1926. Plutarco Elías Calles was now president of Mexico. Unlike his predecessors, Calles vigorously enforced the anti-Catholic provisions of the 1917 constitution, implementing the so-called Calles Law, which provided specific penalties for priests who criticised the government (five years’ imprisonment) or wore clerical garb in certain situations outside their churches (500 pesos). This law went into effect on 31 July 1926.
By this time, some states, such as Tabasco under the notorious anti-Catholic Tomás Garrido Canabal, had closed all the churches and cleared the entire state of serving priests, killing many of them, forcing a few to marry and the remaining few serving covertly at risk of their lives. On his return, Fr Miguel served a Church which was forced to go “underground.” He celebrated the Eucharist clandestinely and ministered the other sacraments to small groups of Catholics. Details of Pro’s ministry in the underground church come from his many letters, signed with the nickname Cocol. In October 1926, a warrant for his arrest was issued. He was arrested and released from prison the next day but kept under surveillance.
A failed attempt to assassinate Álvaro Obregón, which only wounded him, in November 1927, provided the state with a pretext for arresting Pro again, this time with his brothers Humberto and Roberto. A young engineer who confessed his part in the assassination testified that the Pro brothers were not involved. Miguel and his brothers were taken to the Detective Inspector’s Office in Mexico City.
President Calles gave orders to have Pro executed for the assassination attempt. Pro and his brothers were visited by Generals Roberto Cruz and Palomera Lopez around 11 p.m. on 22 November 1927. The next day, as Pro walked from his cell to the courtyard and the firing squad, he blessed the soldiers, knelt and briefly prayed quietly. Declining a blindfold, he faced his executioners with a crucifix in one hand and a rosary in the other and held his arms out in imitation of the crucified Christ and shouted out, “May God have mercy on you! May God bless you! Lord, Thou knowest that I am innocent! With all my heart I forgive my enemies!”Before the firing squad was ordered to shoot, Pro raised his arms in imitation of Christ and shouted the defiant cry of the Cristeros, “Viva Cristo Rey!” – “Long live Christ the King!”.
When the initial shots of the firing squad failed to kill him, a soldier shot him at point-blank range.
Calles had the execution meticulously photographed and the newspapers throughout the country carried photos on the front page the following day. Presumably, Calles thought that the sight of the pictures would frighten the Cristero rebels who were fighting against his troops, particularly in the state of Jalisco. However, they had the opposite effect.
Calles is reported to have looked down upon a throng of 40,000 who lined Pro’s funeral procession. Another 20,000 waited at the cemetery where he was buried without a priest present, his father saying the final words. The Cristeros became more animated and fought with renewed enthusiasm, many of them carrying the newspaper photo of Pro before the firing squad.
At Pro’s Beatification in Saint Peter’s Square on 25 September 1988, St Pope John Paul II said:
“Neither suffering nor serious illness, nor the exhausting ministerial activity, frequently carried out in difficult and dangerous circumstances, could stifle the radiating and contagious joy which he brought to his life for Christ and which nothing could take away. Indeed, the deepest root of self-sacrificing surrender for the lowly was his passionate love for Jesus Christ and his ardent desire to be conformed to Him, even unto death.”
Bl Miguel Agustin Pro SJ (1891 – 1927) Priest and Martyr (Optional Memorial)
St Adalbert of Casauria
St Alexander Nevski
St Amphilochius of Iconium
St Augusta of Alexandria
St Cecilia Yu Sosa
St Clement of Metz
Bl Detlev of Ratzeburg
Bl Enrichetta Alfieri
St Falitrus of Chabris
St Faustina of Alexandria
Bl Felícitas Cendoya Araquistain
St Felicity of Rome
St Gregory of Girgenti
Bl Guy of Casauria
St Jaume Nàjera Gherna
St Loëvan of Brittany
St Lucretia of Mérida
Bl Margaret of Savoy
St Mustiola of Chiusi
St Paternian of Fano
St Paulinus of Whitland
St Rachildis of Saint-Gall
St Severin of Paris
St Sisinius of Cyzicus
St Trudo of Hesbaye
St Wilfetrudis of Nivelless
Thought for the Day – 22 November – The Memorial of St Cecilia (died 3rd Century) Virgin Martyr – Patron of Musicians
Sing to God with Songs of Joy
Saint Augustine (354-430)
Bishop and Great Western Father & Doctor of the Church
An excerpt from his Discourse on Psalm 32
Praise the Lord with the lyre, make melody to Him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to Him a new song. Rid yourself of what is old and worn out, for you know a new song. A new man, a new covenant—a new song. This new song does not belong to the old man. Only the new man learns it, the man restored from his fallen condition through the grace of God and now sharing in the new covenant, that is, the kingdom of heaven. To it all our love now aspires and sings a new song. Let us sing a new song not with our lips but with our lives.
Sing to Him a new song, sing to Him with joyful melody. Everyone of us tries to discover how to sing to God. You must sing to Him but you must sing well. He does not want your voice to come harshly to His ears, so sing well, brothers!
If you were asked, “Sing to please this musician,” you would not like to do so without having taken some instruction in music, because you would not like to offend an expert in the art. An untrained listener does not notice the faults a musician would point out to you. Who, then, will offer to sing well for God, the great artist whose discrimination is faultless, whose attention is on the minutest detail, whose ear nothing escapes? When will you be able to offer Him a perfect performance that you will in no way displease such a supremely discerning listener?
See how He Himself provides you with a way of singing. Do not search for words, as if you could find a lyric which would give God pleasure. Sing to Him “with songs of joy.” This is singing well to God, just singing with songs of joy.
But how is this done? You must first understand that words cannot express the things that are sung by the heart. Take the case of people singing while harvesting in the fields or in the vineyards or when any other strenuous work is in progress. Although they begin by giving expression to their happiness in sung words, yet shortly there is a change. As if so happy that words can no longer express what they feel, they discard the restricting syllables. They burst out into a simple sound of joy, of jubilation. Such a cry of joy is a sound signifying that the heart is bringing to birth what it cannot utter in words.
Now, who is more worthy of such a cry of jubilation than God Himself, whom all words fail to describe? If words will not serve and yet you must not remain silent, what else can you do but cry out for joy? Your heart must rejoice beyond words, soaring into an immensity of gladness, unrestrained by syllabic bonds. Sing to Him with jubilation.
One Minute Reflection – 22 November – Gospel: Luke 19:45–48 – Friday of the Thirty Third week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 19:45–48 – and the Memorial of St Pedro Esqueda Ramirez (1887-1927) Priest, Martyr of the Cristero War
And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”…Luke 19:45-46
REFLECTION – “Have I learned to watch over myself, that the temple of my heart is only for the Holy Spirit? Purify the temple, the inner temple and watch. Be careful, be careful, what happens in the heart. Who comes in and who goes out, the feelings, the ideas… Do we speak to the Holy Spirit? Do we listen to the Holy Spirit? Watch out. Let us be attentive to what happens in our temple, in (us) ourselves.”…Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 24 November 2017
PRAYER – Lord our God, in Your mercy listen to our prayers! Teach us the peace of Your love. Guide us in the ways of Your Commandments. Let the path laid out by Your Son, be our Light and our Joy. Grant that by the prayers of Your Martyr, St Pedro and all Your Saints, we may receive strength for our journey. Through Jesus our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 22 November – Friday of the Thirty Third week in Ordinary Time, Year C
O God, send forth Your Holy Spirit By St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Doctor of the Church
send forth Your Holy Spirit
into my heart
that I may perceive,
into my mind,
that I may remember,
and into my soul,
that I may meditate.
Inspire me to speak
Teach, guide and direct my thoughts
and senses, from beginning to end.
May Your grace,
ever help and correct me,
and may I be strengthened now
with wisdom from on high,
for the sake of Your infinite mercy.
Saint of the Day – 22 November – Saint Pedro Esqueda Ramirez (1887-1927) Priest, Martyr of the Cristero War, Apostle of Eucharistic Adoration, of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Charity, devoted to the youth and especially their Catechesis – born on 29 April 1887 in San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco, Diocese of San Juan de los Lagos, Mexico and died by being shot three times on 22 November 1927 in Teocaltitán, Jalisco, Mexico, he was 40 years old. Additional memorial 21 May as one of the Martyrs of the Mexican Revolution
St Pedro was born in San Juan de los Lagos, Jal. (Diocese of San Juan de los Lagos), on 29 April 1887. His parents Margarito Esqueda and Nicanora Ramírez did not realise that they had brought into the world, an authentic, brave and holy Priest, who would witness Christ to the world.
At 4 years of age he began his instruction in a private school. His early association with the parish as a choir and altar boy awakened his vocation to the priesthood. His academic record was impeccable. His childhood was enriched by piety and hopeful joy. He erected altars at which he pretended to be celebrating the Mass, the dream that fed his spirit.
At age 15 he entered the seminary in Guadalajara but in 1914 the Seminary was forcibly seized and closed by the Government. Pedro returned to San Juan de los Lagos where he helped as a Deacon in the parish. He completed his studies at the Seminary in Guadalajara and was ordained a Priest in 1916 and appointed Parish Priest of his native parish, a position he held during the 10+ years of his priestly ministry. The ministry to which he dedicated himself with true passion, was the Catechesis of children. He founded several study centres and a school for the formation of Catechists. He also promoted the Eucharistic Crusade association fed by his love for the Eucharist, devotion that, together with his love for the Blessed Virgin, he extended among the faithful. From the Eucharist he drew his strength and encouragement. He was also spared nothing of the little he had, in his kindness and help to the poor.
In 1926 Government forces began a fierce anti-clerical campaign and issued an order of persecution and the good people of the town tried to convince Pedro to flee to another place. He only agreed to take refuge on a provisional basis in some places always close to the faithful, whom he continued to attend pastorally.
Fr Pedro continued his work but lived in several private houses, in one of which, they opened a hole in the floor where they kept the ornaments and sacred vessels and where at times the priest had to hide.
At the beginning of November 1927 he sought refuge in Jalostotitlán, Jalisco. But he returned to San Juan, led by his love to the parishioners. He didn’t want to leave them without assistance. He stayed at the Sacred Heart hospital . And the hosts of the homes where he was welcomed, seriously begged him to escape. But Peter was not willing to do so and testifying to his great faith, he said: “God brought me here, I trust in God”.
He was arrested on 18 November of that year 1927. In a miserable and dark room he suffered patiently the fierceness of the scourges and other cruelties that caused the fracture of one of his arms. But the most painful torment was to see the sacred objects desecrated before him, the ornaments destroyed and the parish archive ransacked. A cruel and infamous torture for a man of God, an innocent person whose only mission was to love Christ and others. The incessant torture lasted until 22 November. Battered and full of wounds, they forced him to climb a tree by himself. There he was shot mercilessly by a high officer who poured into him his torrent of anger when he saw that he could not stand on the pyre they had arranged to burn him to death by setting fire to the tree in question.
On the way to his particular Calvary, wrapped in a heroic silence, he left his will of fidelity to Catechesis and the Gospel to some children who walked beside him in tears.
He was Beatified on 22 November 1992 and Canonized by St Pope John Paul II on 21 May 2000.
St Amphilochius of Iconium
St Ananias of Arbela
St Benignus of Milan
St Christian of Auxerre
St Dayniolen the Younger
St Mark of Antioch
St Maurus of North Africa St Pedro Esqueda Ramirez (1887-1927) Martyr
St Pragmatius of Autun
St Sabinian the Abbot
Stephen of Antioch
Apostles of Bulgaria – 7 saints
Martyrs of Armenia – 8 beati: A group of eight Franciscans martyred in the region of Mujuk-Dersi, Armenia (modern Turkey) by invading Islamic Turks who tortured them, demanded they convert, and murdered them when they did not. They were
• Baldji Oghlou Ohannes
• David Oghlou David
• Dimbalac Oghlou Wartavar
• Geremia Oghlou Boghos
• Khodianin Oghlou Kadir
• Kouradji Oghlou Tzeroum
• Salvatore Lilli
• Toros Oghlou David
They were martyred on 22 November 1895 in Mujuk-Dersi, Armenia (in modern Turkey) and Beatified on 3 October 1982 by St Pope John Paul II.
Martyrs of England, Scotland and Wales – 85 beati: 85 English, Scottish and Welsh Catholics who were martyred during the persecutions by Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. They are commemorated together on 22 November.
• Blessed Alexander Blake • Blessed Alexander Crow • Blessed Antony Page • Blessed Arthur Bell • Blessed Charles Meehan • Blessed Christopher Robinson • Blessed Christopher Wharton • Blessed Edmund Duke • Blessed Edmund Sykes • Blessed Edward Bamber • Blessed Edward Burden • Blessed Edward Osbaldeston • Blessed Edward Thwing • Blessed Francis Ingleby • Blessed George Beesley • Blessed George Douglas • Blessed George Errington • Blessed George Haydock • Blessed George Nichols • Blessed Henry Heath • Blessed Henry Webley • Blessed Hugh Taylor • Blessed Humphrey Pritchard • Blessed John Adams • Blessed John Bretton • Blessed John Fingley • Blessed John Hambley • Blessed John Hogg • Blessed John Lowe • Blessed John Norton • Blessed John Sandys • Blessed John Sugar • Blessed John Talbot • Blessed John Thules • Blessed John Woodcock • Blessed Joseph Lambton • Blessed Marmaduke Bowes • Blessed Matthew Flathers • Blessed Montfort Scott • Blessed Nicholas Garlick • Blessed Nicholas Horner • Blessed Nicholas Postgate • Blessed Nicholas Woodfen • Blessed Peter Snow • Blessed Ralph Grimston • Blessed Richard Flower • Blessed Richard Hill • Blessed Richard Holiday • Blessed Richard Sergeant • Blessed Richard Simpson • Blessed Richard Yaxley • Blessed Robert Bickerdike • Blessed Robert Dibdale • Blessed Robert Drury • Blessed Robert Grissold • Blessed Robert Hardesty • Blessed Robert Ludlam • Blessed Robert Middleton • Blessed Robert Nutter • Blessed Robert Sutton • Blessed Robert Sutton • Blessed Robert Thorpe • Blessed Roger Cadwallador • Blessed Roger Filcock • Blessed Roger Wrenno • Blessed Stephen Rowsham • Blessed Thomas Atkinson • Blessed Thomas Belson • Blessed Thomas Bullaker • Blessed Thomas Hunt • Blessed Thomas Palaser • Blessed Thomas Pilcher • Blessed Thomas Pormort • Blessed Thomas Sprott • Blessed Thomas Watkinson • Blessed Thomas Whitaker • Blessed Thurstan Hunt • Blessed William Carter • Blessed William Davies • Blessed William Gibson • Blessed William Knight • Blessed William Lampley • Blessed William Pike • Blessed William Southerne • Blessed William Spenser • Blessed William Thomson •
22 November 1987 by St Pope John Paul II.
Thought for the Day – 21 November – The Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
She Who Believed by Faith, Conceived by Faith
Saint Augustine (354-430)
Bishop, Father and Doctor of the Church
An excerpt from Sermon 25
“Stretching out His hand over His disciples, the Lord Christ declared: Here are my mother and my brothers; anyone who does the will of my Father who sent me is my brother and sister and my mother. I would urge you to ponder these words. Did the Virgin Mary, who believed by faith and conceived by faith, who was the chosen one from whom our Saviour was born among men, who was created by Christ before Christ was created in her—did she not do the will of the Father? Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the Father’s will and so it was for her, a greater thing, to have been Christ’s disciple, than to have been His mother and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb, Him, whom she would obey as her master.
Now listen and see if the words of Scripture do not agree with what I have said . The Lord was passing by and crowds were following Him. His miracles gave proof of divine power and a woman cried out: Happy is the womb that bore you, blessed is that womb! But the Lord, not wishing people to seek happiness in a purely physical relationship, replied: More blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it. Mary heard God’s word and kept it and so she is blessed. She kept God’s truth in her mind, a nobler thing than carrying His body in her womb. The Truth and the Body were both Christ – He was kept in Mary’s mind, insofar as He is Truth, He was carried in her womb, insofar as He is man but, what is kept in the mind, is of a higher order than what is carried in the womb.
The Virgin Mary is both holy and blessed and yet, the Church is greater than she. Mary is a part of the Church, a member of the Church, a holy, an eminent—the most eminent—member but still only a member of the entire body. The body undoubtedly is greater than she, one of its members. This body has the Lord for its head and head and body together make up the whole Christ. In other words, our head is divine—our head is God.
Now, beloved, give me your whole attention, for you also are members of Christ, you also, are the body of Christ. Consider how you yourselves can be among those, of whom the Lord said: Here are my mother and my brothers. Do you wonder how you can be the mother of Christ? He Himself said: Whoever hears and fulfils the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and my sister and my mother. As for our being the brothers and sisters of Christ, we can understand this, because, although there is only one inheritance and Christ is the only Son, His mercy would not allow Him to remain alone. It was His wish, that we too should be heirs of the Father and co-heirs with Himself.
Now having said that all of you are brothers of Christ, shall I not dare to call you His mother? Much less would I dare to deny His own words. Tell me how Mary became the mother of Christ, if it was not by giving birth to the members of Christ? You, to whom I am speaking, are the members of Christ. Of whom were you born? “Of Mother Church,” I hear the reply of your hearts. You became sons of this mother at your baptism, you came to birth then as members of Christ. Now you, in your turn, must draw to the font of baptism as many as you possibly can. You became sons when you were born there yourselves and now, by bringing others to birth in the same way, you have it in your power, to become the mothers of Christ. Amen!”