Second Thought for the Day – 31 December – Blessed Alain de Solminihac (1593-1659) Bishop of Cahors

Second Thought for the Day – 31 December – The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas and the Memorial of Blessed Alain de Solminihac (1593-1659) Bishop of Cahors, France

2018 was the 400th Anniversary the Priestly Ordination of Blessed Alain de Solminihac. His Diocese of Cahors, France launched a Year of Vocations to conincide with this event of their former Bishop. One of their aims, besides promoting vocations, was to make known the life and holiness of Blessed Alain. Bishop Laurent Camiade, the current Bishop of Cahors, wrote:

“It is wonderful to know that you are called to holiness and it is inspiring to answer the call, to give your whole life, for consecration in the Church.   All Christians are concerned with the “universal vocation to holiness.”   Some are specifically called to give their whole life – religious consecration, or in an institute, hermit or order of the virgins, or commitment to celibacy with a view to being ordained a priest.

Providence wanted 2018 to be the 400th anniversary of the Priestly Ordination of Blessed Alain de Solminihac.   He was Ordained Deacon on 25 March 1617 and Priest on 22 September 1618.   In 1636, he was called again to become Bishop of Cahors.   This is why, after having spoken to different councils, I hope that we will take advantage of this Anniversary to return to listening to the teachings of Blessed Alain.   He teaches us with his vigorous and profound words … and by his exemplary life, to strive to be courageous, ardent and sober.

Today, as in Alain de Solminihac’s time, devoting his whole life to God involves difficulties.   Celibacy according to a sober lifestyle has never been obvious.   In the time of Blessed Alain, the choice of becoming a priest, religious or nun, made it possible to ensure material security, thanks to a system of benefits attached to abbeys or dioceses. As a result, in the 17th century, not all consecrated persons had internalised, the spiritual conditions, for living in accordance with their state and the clergy did not always give a good testimony.   It is in this context, that Blessed Alain would become a “reformer”, that is to say, a demanding promoter of coherence between vocation and lifestyle.

Alain de Solminihac put spirituality and fidelity to the duties linked to the received mission first.   “You must follow the good pleasure of God as soon as you know it , he wrote, and accomplish it by immediately turning your eyes to God, remaining in a simple expectation to receive another sign or command, without wasting time delight in the satisfaction of having accomplished this adorable Will of God.”

The requirements of Blessed Alain sometimes provoked reactions of opposition but they also attracted many young people, happy to give themselves, in a way that made sense and above all, pushed by the Holy Spirit who wanted this for the Church.   His motto was Faith and Valour! and he lived up to it!

It is clearly a current need to relaunch the call to specific vocations (priests, religious, nuns, consecrated).   The desire to give all of one’s life to follow Christ, exists in many young people (recent statistics prove it) but this is seldom realised, as we can see.

The priests and seminarians of our Diocese are deeply attached to Our Lady of Rocamadour, who played an often decisive role in their engagement.   Blessed Alain fought with all the vigour of his temper, to keep this sanctuary in the Diocese of Cahors. We are therefore grateful to him for these graces which, by the will of God, reflect from the pierced heart of Christ, to our local Church.   Blessed Alain considered Rocamadour to be the most famous Marian place in the kingdom  . He was very attached to Mary who, he explains, “had more humility than all the other saints, because, holier than the others, she had a more perfect knowledge of the excellence of God and by consequence of her own nothingness. “

relics of bl alain
Relics of Blessed Alain de Solminihac in Cahors

May Blessed Alain de Solminihac help us to share his missionary ardour and his discreet humility.”

Blessed Alain de Solminihac, Pray for Us!bl alain de solminihac pray for us 31 dec 2019


Thought for the Day – 31 December – The Word made Flesh makes us Divine

Thought for the Day – 31 December – The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas, Readings: 1 John 2:18-21, Psalm 96:1-2, 11-13, John 1:1-18

The Word made Flesh makes us Divine

Saint Hippolytus, Bishop of Pontus (c 170-c 235)
Bishop, Father of the Church and Martyr

An excerpt from his On the Refutation of All Heresies, Chapter 10

“Our faith is not founded upon empty words, nor are we carried away by mere caprice or beguiled by specious arguments.   On the contrary, we put our faith in words spoken by the power of God, spoken by the Word Himself at God’s command.   God wished to win men back from disobedience, not by using force to reduce him to slavery but by addressing to his free will, a call to liberty.

The Word spoke first of all through the prophets but because the message was couched in such obscure language that it could be only dimly apprehended, in the last days, the Father sent the Word in person, commanding him to show Himself openly, so that the world could see Him and be saved.

We know that by taking a body from the Virgin He re-fashioned our fallen nature.   We know that His manhood was of the same clay as our own, if this were not so, He would hardly have been a teacher who could expect to be imitated.   If He were of a different substance from me, He would surely not have ordered me to do as He did, when by my very nature I am so weak.   Such a demand could not be reconciled with His goodness and justice.

No.   He wanted us to consider Him as no different from ourselves and so, He worked, He was hungry and thirsty, He slept.   Without protest He endured His passion, He submitted to death and revealed His resurrection.   In all these ways, He offered His own manhood as the first fruits of our race, to keep us from losing heart, when suffering comes our way and to make us look forward to receiving the same reward as He did, since we know that we possess the same humanity.

When we have come to know the true God, both our bodies and our souls will be immortal and incorruptible.   We shall enter the kingdom of heaven, because while we lived on earth we acknowledged heaven’s King.   Friends of God and co-heirs with Christ, we shall be subject to no evil desires or inclinations, or to any affliction of body or soul, for we shall have become divine.

Whatever evil you may have suffered, being man, it is God that sent it to you, precisely because you are man but equally, when you have been deified, God has promised you a share in everyone of His own attributes.   The saying “Know yourself” means, therefore, that we should recognise and acknowledge in ourselves, the God who made us in His own image, for if we do this, we in turn will be recognised and acknowledged by our Maker.

So let us not be at enmity with ourselves but change our way of life without delay.   For Christ who is God, exalted above all creation, has taken away man’s sin and has re-fashioned our fallen nature.   In the beginning God made man in His image and so gave proof of His love for us.   If we obey His holy commands and learn to imitate His goodness, we shall be like Him and He will honour us.   God is not beggarly and for the sake of His own glory, He has given us a share in His divinity.”

St Hippolytus (c 170–c 235) was one of the most important second-third century Christian theologians, whose provenance, identity and corpus remain elusive to scholars and historians.   Many unconfirmed ‘facts’ concerning him abound.   I will follow Rome, as in all things – Pope Pius IV identifies him and confirms him as “Saint Hippolytus, Bishop of Pontus” who was martyred in the reign of Severus Alexander through his inscription on a statue found at the Church of Saint Lawrence in Rome and kept at the Vatican.
Hippolytus’ voluminous writings, which for variety of subject can be compared with those of Origen, embrace the spheres of exegesis, homiletics, apologetics and polemic, chronography and ecclesiastical law.   The Apostolic Tradition, recorded the first liturgical reference to the Virgin Mary, as part of the ordination rite of a bishop.
His Feast day is 13 August.he wanted us to consider him as no different - st hippolytus of rome 31 dec 2019.jpg


Quote of the Day – 31 December – Blessed Alain de Solminihac (1593-1659)

Quote of the Day – 31 December – The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas and the Memorial of Blessed Alain de Solminihac (1593-1659) Bishop of Cahors, France

“You must follow the good pleasure of God
as soon as you know it and accomplish it
by immediately turning your eyes to God,
remaining in a simple expectation,
to receive another sign or command,
without wasting time,
delight in the satisfaction of having accomplished
this adorable Will of God.”

Blessed Alain de Solminihac (1593-1659)you must follow the good pleasure of god - 31 dec 2019 bl alain de solminihac.jpg


One Minute Reflection – 31 December – ‘As Your Word descended, our heart has been melted…’

One Minute Reflection – 31 December – The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas, Readings: 1 John 2:18-21, Psalm 96:1-2, 11-13, John 1:1-18

He came to his own home and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God…. John 1:11-12

REFLECTION – “Lord, we have heard Your works and we have been astounded.   We have pondered Your marvels and we have fainted.

As Your Word descended, our heart has been melted and all our innermost being, trembling, has been laid bare to Him.   For while silence, held all things and night, in her journey reached her mid-course, Your Almighty Word came from its royal abode (cf. Wis 18:14-15).   You poured out, O Father, the tenderness of Your love upon us and You could no longer contain the multitude of Your mercies.   You shed light in the darkness, dew upon the dryness and in the bitter frost, You kindled a raging fire.   Your Son appeared to us as an abundance of food when grievous famine threatened, as a spring of living water, to a life in distress and fainting from thirst in the heat.   Or surely, just as there is wont to appear, a strong helper and deliverer for men besieged, who are about to rush out into battle, with death before their eyes and with the enemy’s threatening sword (…): so He appeared for us and became our Salvation.

Yet it is an excellent and salutary thing to recount again the beginning of our Salvation and to treat of His incarnation, to recall whence He came and in what sort He descended.” … St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) Cistercian Monk, Bishop – On the praises of the Blessed Mary, homily III, SC 72.john 1 11-12 he came to his own and his own received him not - your son appeared to us - st amadeus of lausanne 31 dec 2019.jpg

PRAYER – All-powerful, ever-living God, we thank You for the human birth of Your Son, which is the source and perfection of our Christian life and worship.   Number us among His people, for the salvation of all mankind is found in Him, for the Word became flesh who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever, amen.the word became flesh alleluia alleluia 31 dec 2019.jpg


Our Morning Offering – 31 December – Let Me Spend My Life Near Thee, O Mother

Our Morning Offering – 31 December – The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas

Let Me Spend My Life Near Thee, O Mother
Blessed Miguel Pro SJ
Martyr (1891-1927)

Let me spend my life near thee, O Mother
to keep thee company
in thy solitude and deepest grief.

Let me feel in my soul
the sadness of thine eyes
and the abandonment of thy heart.

On life’s highway I do not seek
the gladness of Bethlehem,
I do not wish to adore the infant God
in thy virginal hands,
nor to enjoy the winsome presence of Jesus
in thy humble home of Nazareth,
nor the mingle with the angelic choirs
in thy glorious Assumption.

My wish in life is for the jeers
and derision of Calvary,
for the slow agony of thy Son,
for the contempt, the disgrace
and infamy of the cross.

My wish, O most sorrowful Virgin,
is to stand near thee,
to strengthen my soul through thy tears
to complete my offering
through thy martyrdom,
to temper my heart through thy solitude
and to love my God and thy God
through my self-sacrifice.
Amenlet me spend my life near thee o mother - 31 dec 2019 bl miguel pro


Saint of the Day – 31 December – Blessed Alain de Solminihac OSA (1593-1659)

Saint of the Day – 31 December – Blessed Alain de Solminihac OSA (1593-1659) Bishop of Cahors from 1636 until his death, religious of the Order of the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine of Chancelade in Périgueux (now the Confederation of St Augustine).    Blessed Alain was Abbot, Reformer, Marian devotee most especially to Our Lady of Rocamadour, Apostle of the Holy Eucharist especially by his promotion of Adoration, he was also a member of the Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement.   Born on 25 November 1593 in the family castle at Belet, Dordogne, France and died on 31 December 1659, aged 66, at Mercues, Lot, France of natural causes.   Patronage – the Diocese of alaino desolminihac.jpg

Alain was born into an aristocratic family in castle Belet near Perigueux in France.

He wanted to become a member of the Knights of Malta in order to serve God but felt a strong call to the Priesthood and to the religious life so joined the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine of Chancelade in 1613 as a postulant.  The completion of his theological studies soon saw him Ordained to the Priesthood on 22 September 1618.  While still a young man he became the Abbot of Chancelade, which had fallen into disrepair as a result of the turmoil of the times.   He strove with great effort and effect to reform his brothers in the Congregation of the Canons Regular of Chancelade.

In 1636 he became Bishop of Cahors.   He was as a zealous shepherd of the flock with which he was entrusted.   As Bishop he visited each of his 800 parishes at least nine times during the course of his episcopate and he held an episcopal consecration on one alain de solminihac icon.jpg

His great devotion to the Holy Eucharist prompted him to promote Eucharistic Adoration as well as restoring a many pastoral devotions within his Diocese.

He attended the Council of Trent and followed the lead of Saint Charles Borromeo in enforcing it’s decrees in his diocese.   During this time, he met Saint Francis de Sales during Lent in 1619 and the two became friends and had many more meetings following this.   Another friendship was his close relationship with Saint Vincent de Alain_de_Solminihac_(1593-1659).jpg

His reform work not only blessed his Diocese but influenced other parts of France.

Moreover, he remained always faithful to the Holy See.   Misconceptions, which surrounded him, were resolved in his favour.   His convincing love of neighbour made him a brilliant light of faith in 17th Century France.   After a long, zealous, faithful and strenuous life he died on 31 December alain sml.jpg

He was declared a Servant of God after Pope Pius VI opened his cause for sainthood on 6 August 1783 and Pope Pius XI declared him to be Venerable on 19 June 1927.   St Pope John Paul II Beatified him on 4 October 1981.   The miracle required for his Beatification involved the cure of Marie Ledoux on 29 June 1661 in alain de solminihac book.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 31 December

St Pope Sylvester I (Died 335) (Optional Memorial)

Blessed Alain de Solminihac OSA (1593-1659)
St Anton Zogaj
St Barbatian of Ravenna
St Columba of Sens
Bl Dominic de Cubells
St Festus of Valencia
St Gelasius of Palestine
Bl Giuseppina Nicoli
St Hermes the Exorcist
St Marius Aventicus
St Melania the Younger
St Offa of Benevento
Bl Peter of Subiaco
St Pinian
St Potentian of Sens
St Sabinian of Sens
St Theophylact of Ohrid
Bl Walembert of Cambrai
Bl Wisinto of Kremsmünster
St Zoticus of Constantinople

Martyrs of Catania – 10 saints: A group of early Christians martyred together, date unknown. The only other information to survive are ten of their names – Attalus, Cornelius, Fabian, Flos, Minervinus, Pontian, Quintian, Sextus, Simplician and Stephen. They were martyred in Catania, Sicily, Italy.

Martyrs of Rome – 10 saints: A group of Roman women martyred in an early persecution, date unknown. We known the names of ten of them – Dominanda, Donata, Hilaria, Nominanda, Paolina, Paulina, Rogata, Rustica, Saturnina and Serotina.
Their relics were enshrined in the catacombs of Via Salaria, Rome, Italy.

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Leandro Gómez Gil
• Blessed Luis Vidaurrázaga González