Second Thought for the Day – 31 January – Never underestimate the power of the Saints to assist us on this journey home!

Second Thought for the Day – 31 January – The Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier Bianchi CRSP (1743-1815) “Apostle of Naples”

Trainer of many candidates for the altars

In 1776 he met a Franciscan Tertiary, Maria Francesca delle Cinque Piaghe (aka Anna Maria Rosa Nicoletta Gallo, Canonised in 1867), to whom supernatural gifts were attributed.   He was her Spiritual Director until her death on 6 October 1791.
Among his disciples for whom the causes of Beatification and Canonisation have been opened, in addition to the aforementioned Francesco Maria Castelli, there are Don Mariano Arciero (Beatified in 2012), Don Placido Baccher, Don Agnello Coppola and Giovanni Battista Jossa.
Don Vincenzo Romano (Canonised in 2018) and Queen Maria Clotilde of Savoy, in exile in Naples with her husband Carlo Emanuele IV, as well as many cardinals and bishops, also had spiritual relationships with him.

His style, between special gifts and cheerfulness

Father Francesco Saverio remained in his convent even when the subversive laws of 1809 suppressed his Order.   He had the gift of prophecy and visions of events distant in time and space.   Miracles and charismatic gifts increased his reputation for holiness – one of many, the arrest, with a sign of the cross, of the lava erupted by Vesuvius in 1804 and 1805.
Similar in joyfulness to Saint Philip Neri, he had mysterious tremors like him and heart palpitations during the prayer and the celebration of the Mass, which he officiated with a fervour, which amazed those who attended.   Maria Francesca delle Cinque Piaghe said: “We have two Filippo, one black and one white”, referring to similar spiritual qualities and also to the two surnames “Neri” and “Bianchi.”

Never underestimate the power of the Saints to assist us on this journey home!

St Francis Xavier Bianchi, Pray for Us!st francis xavier bianchi pray for us no 2


Thought for the Day – 31 January – Blessed are Those who Love Peace

Thought for the Day – 31 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Blessed are Those who Love Peace

“Blessed are the peacemakers,” Our Lord says, “for they shall be called children of God” (Mt 5:9).

All those who are in the state of grace and, therefore, living on the supernatural plane, are the adopted sons of God and shares in His divine nature (Cf 2 Peter 1:4), which they will enjoy one day in the Beatific Vision.
Our Saviour, however, refers to those who love peace, as being in a special way, the sons of God.
Why is this?
St Augustine offers the real explanation (Cf De Serm Domini, lib 1, Cap 2) God is perfect peace and harmony.   In Him, there is no conflict.   His being and His activity, are identical.   He is perfect unity and simplicity, eternal and unaffected by the limitations of space and time.
Now, the son, should be a living image of the father.
Those who reflect, although necessarily in a limited way, this peace, harmony and serene activity in their own personality, deserve to be called, in a special way, the sons of God. They are the true lovers of peace.

Antonio Cardinal Bacci


Quote/s of the Day – 31 January – St Francis Xavier Bianchi

Quote/s of the Day – 31 January – Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time, Year A, the Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier Bianchi CRSP (1743-1815) “Apostle of Naples” and St John Bosco (1815-1888)

“When you hear, that I cannot
celebrate Mass anymore,
count me as dead.”

St Francis Xavier Bianchi

Quotes of St John Bosco: you hear that i cannot celebrate mass - st francis x bianchi 31 jan 2020


One Minute Reflection – 31 January – ‘The grain of mustard seed is the Lord’

One Minute Reflection – 31 January – Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: 2 Samuel 11:1-10, 13-17, Psalm 51:3-7, 10-11, Mark 4:26-34 and the Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier Bianchi CRSP (1743-1815) “Apostle of Naples” and St John Bosco (1815-1888)

“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed…” … Mark 4:30-31

REFLECTION – “The Word of God is like a grain of mustard seed, before cultivation it looks extremely small.  But when it is cultivated in the right way, it grows so large, that the highest principles of both sensible and intelligible creation, come like birds to revive themselves in it.   For the principles – or inner essences of all things, are embraced by the Word but the Word is not embraced by anything.   Hence, the Lord has said, that whoever has faith like a grain of mustard seed, can move a mountain by a word of command (cf. Mt 17:20), that is, he can destroy the devil’s dominion over us and remove it from its foundation.

The grain of mustard seed is the Lord, who by faith is sown spiritually in the hearts of those who accept Him.   Whoever diligently cultivates the seed by practising the virtues, moves the mountain of earthbound pride and, through the power thus gained, expels the obdurate habit of sin.   In this way, the activity of the principles and qualities, or divine powers, present in the commandments, is revived as though they were birds. (…)   Those who seek the Lord should not look for him outside themselves.   On the contrary, they must seek Him, within themselves, through faith made manifest in action.

For it is written, “The word is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart” (Rm 10:8), that is, the word of faith, Christ, being Himself, the word that is sought.” … Saint Maximus the Confessor (c 580-662) Monk and Theologian – Second Century on Theology, nos. 10-11, 35mark 4 30-31 the grain of mustard seed is the lord - st maximus 31 jan 2020 to what shall I compare

PRAYER – Almighty Father, we bless You Lord of life, through whom all living things tend.   You are the source of all, our first beginning and our end!  Grant holy Father, that we may allow the Word to enter our hearts and grow by Your grace, so that we may always live for Your glory.   May the intercession of St Francis Xavier Bianchi and St John Bosco, who consistently tended Your seed, grant us strength and zeal.   Through Jesus Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.Saint_Francis_Xavier_Bianchi PRAY FOR US 31 JAN 2020st john bosco pray for us 31 jan 2019

Posted in Our MORNING Offering, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY SPIRIT

Our Morning Offering – 31 January – Come, O Spirit, from on High!

Our Morning Offering – 31 January – Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time, Year A and the Memorial of St John Bosco (1815-1888) Founder of the Society of St Francis de Sales now known as the Salesians

Come, O Spirit, from on High!
A Salesian Morning Invocation

Come, O Spirit, from on high!
Shine upon our inward eye,
Pierce the blindness of our sight!
Come, O Kinsman, to our aid.
Come with gifts that never fade,
Come and bathe us in Thy light!

Come, Consoler Spirit best,
Troubled Soul’s most welcome Guest,
Soothing hand on fevered brow!
Restful ease in toil and stress,
Cooling wind when heats oppress,
Comfort in all grief art Thou!

Light of lights in darkness shine,
Flood our hearts with light divine,
Burn within us, living Fire!

come o spirit from on high a salesian morning invocation - 31 jan 2020 st john bosco

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 31 January – Saint Francis Xavier Bianchi CRSP (1743-1815) “Apostle of Naples”

Saint of the Day – 31 January – Saint Francis Xavier Bianchi CRSP (1743-1815) “Apostle of Naples” – Priest of the Barnabite Order (The Clerics Regular of St Paul), Apostle of the poor, Eucharistic Adorer, Marian devotee, Ascetic and Mystic, Spiritual Director and Confessor, Professor – born as Francesco Saverio Maria Bianchi on 2 December 1743 in Arpino, Frosinone, Italy and died on 31 January 1815 in Naples, Italy of natural causes. Patronage – Naples.    St Francis gained a reputation for sanctity during his lifetime from his commitment to his students, his guidance of all who sort his spiritual direction and to the poor of Naples.Saint_Francis_Xavier_Bianchi

Francis was born in 1743 in Arpino in the Lazio region, then part of the Papal States, into a loving and pious family.   His mother taught him to care for the poor around them, giving him example by setting up a small clinic in the family home where she would nurse up to 16 needy people.   He was, nevertheless, far from a standard pious child.   He would later confess to how he would occasionally pilfer money from his parents.

He made his first studies in the Collegio dei Santi Carlo e Filippo in Arpino, run by the Regular Clerics of San Paolo, also called Barnabiti, founded in 1530 in Milan by Father Antonio Maria Zaccaria (Canonised in 1897).   What changed Bianchi’s life was a slow and steady resolve to conquer his own will.   As he grew older, he felt called to religious life.  He initially thought of entering the Society of Jesus but then he chose the Order to which his teachers belonged.   The parents, on the other hand, would have preferred to see him as a diocesan priest.    As a result, at the age of 15 he was enrolled in a minor seminary in Nola, while at the same time, he began the study of law at the University of Naples Federico II.   During this period, he came under the spiritual guidance of St Alphonsus Maria de Ligouri, the founder of the Redemptorists.

In 1757, Francis was admitted by the Barnabite Order into their novitiate in Zagarolo that same year, professing religious vows as a member of the Order the following year. He was then sent to pursue his study of philosophy and theology, first at Macerata, followed by Rome and Naples, where he was ordained a priest in 1767.   Prior to his ordination he had taught at the Barnabite college in his hometown.   He was immediately appointed the Superior of the College of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Portanova, which office he filled for 12 years.

His superiors then assigned him to the Barnabite monastery attached to the Church of Santa Maria di Caravaggio, Naples, where he was to spend the rest of his life.   In 1778 he was appointed a professor at Regia University (now the University of Palermo), as well as a member of the Royal Academy of Science and Letters of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.   Despite his academic honours and pride of place in the Order, his fellow Barnabites also saw another side to him, as he became known among them for the deeply ascetic way of life he followed, with a deeply contemplative prayer life and for his constant concern for the poor of the cities where he lived.SFRANCESCO-SAVERIO-MARIA-BIANCHI

He became part of a circle of notable religious figures living in Naples in that era. He became the Spiritual director and Confessor of Mary Frances of the Five Wounds, a Franciscan tertiary, who lived in one of the most crime-ridden neighbourhoods of the city and is now also honoured as a saint.   In turn, he became friends and under the guidance of such figures as Placido Baccher, the Blessed Mariano Arciero, his fellow Barnabite and student, the Venerable Francesco Maria Castelli, Giovanni Battista Jossa, the Servant of God Agnello Coppola.   He was in frequent communication with the Blessed Vincent Romano as well as with King Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia and his niece, Princess Maria Clotilde of Savoy, then in exile in Naples.

Fr Francis’ life changed in 1800, when he fell into a state of religious ecstasy while praying before the exposed Blessed Sacrament on Pentecost of that year.   Shortly after this, he developed an illness which left his legs twisted and with open sores for the rest of his life.   During the last three years of his life, he continued to preside daily at Mass, despite the agony of having to stand.   Mostly bedridden, he used this time to deepen his spiritual life even further as well as guiding others spiritually and hearing Confessions.san_francesco

Fr Francis also begun to tremble and experiences palpitations of his heart whenever he prayed, in a manner similar to that which had been experienced by St Philip Neri two centuries earlier.   The tertiary Mary Frances commented that we have two Philip’s, one white and one black, which was a pun on the meanings of their family names in Italian.

He was still living in the Barnabite monastery of Naples when it was closed in 1809, as part of the suppression of all monasteries and religious houses under the Napoleonic Kingdom of Naples.   He was able to remain in the city, where he died in 1815.

Fr Francis was Beatified on 22 January 1893 by Pope Leo XIII, who also declared him to be the “Apostle of Naples.”   He was Canonised on 21 October 1951, by Pope Pius XII.   His remains are enshrined in the Church of Santa Maria di Caravaggio in Naples.   His feast day is celebrated on 30 January by the Barnabites (moved to avoid being in conflict with St John Bosco’s feast) but the Catholic Church in Naples celebrates today, the feast of their beloved Saint with great honour and festivities each year.relics of st francis xavier bianchirelics of st francis xavier bianchi.2JPG

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 31 January

St John Bosco “Don Bosco” SDB (1815-1888) (Memorial) Founder of the Society of St Francis de Sales now known as the Salesians
All about beautiful Don Bosco:


St Abraham of Abela
Bl Adamnan of Coldingham
St Aedan of Ferns
St Aiden
St Athanasius of Modon
St Bobinus of Troyes
St Eusebius of Saint Gall
St Francesco Saverio Maria Bianchi/Francis Xavier Bianchi CRSP (1743-1815) “Apostle of Naples”
St Geminian of Modena
Bl John Angelus
St Julius of Novara
Bl Louise degli Albertoni
Bl Luigi Talamoni
St Madoes
St Marcella
Bl Maria Cristina di Savoia
St Martin Manuel
St Nicetas of Novgorod
St Tryphaena of Cyzicus
St Tysul
St Ulphia of Amiens
St Waldo of Evreux
St Wilgils

Martyrs of Corinth – 14 saints: A group of Christians tortured and martyred together in Corinth, Greece in the persecutions of Decius. We know nothing about them except some names – Anectus, Claudius, Codratus, Crescens, Cyprian, Diodorus, Dionysius, Nicephorus, Papias, Paul, Serapion, Theodora, Victor and Victorinus.

Martyrs of Canope:
Cyrus the Physician
John the Physician
Martyred in Alexandria, Egypt

Martyred in Alexandria, Egypt:

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
José Acosta Alemán
Juan José Martínez Romero
Pedro José Rodríguez Cabrera

Martyrs of Korea: Thousands of people were murdered in the anti-Catholic persecutions in Korea.
• Saint Agatha Kwon Chin-i
• Saint Agatha Yi Kyong-I
• Saint Augustinus Park Chong-Won
• Saint Magdalena Son So-Byok
• Saint Maria Yi In-Dok
• Saint Petrus Hong Pyong-Ju