Saint of the Day – 18 January – Blessed Cristina Ciccarelli OSA (1481–1543) Religious of the Order of Saint Augustine, Mystic, Stigmatist, Apostle of the poor, Reformer, she had a had a particular devotion to the Eucharist and to the Passion and Death of Christ, she was granted the gift of Prophecy, visions and levitation – also known as Cristina of Aquila – born on 24 February 1481 at Luco, Abruzzi, Italy as Matthia Ciccarelli and died on 18 January 1543 at Aquileia, Italy of natural causes.
Mattia Ciccarelli was born in 1481 in Luco dei Marsi as the last of six children to Domenico de Pericolo and Maria de Pericolo. An image of the Pieta was kept in the Luco home from which she developed a strong and lifelong devotion to the Passion of Christ. Her parents taught her the importance of constant prayer. Her call to the religious life solidified during her childhood and she decided to enter the religious life as a nun.
In 1492 she was placed under the spiritual direction of the Franciscan priest Vincenzo dell’Aquila and took his advice on joining the Order of Saint Augustine.
Mattia entered the convent of Santa Lucia in Aquileia in June 1505 and assumed the habit and the religious name of “Cristina.” She served as the abbess several times and was noted for being a prophetic figure.
She became revered for her humble outlook as well as for her tender care of the poor. On one occasion – on the Feast of Corpus Christi – she was seen to have levitated and the image of the Eucharist as a host appeared and radiated from her upper chest.
On one Good Friday, she received the stigmata and the pains that Jesus felt until Holy Saturday when the pain subsided. This would be repeated every Friday of her life.
Blessed Cristina had a great devotion to Saint Mark. However, on one occasion Saint Martin of Tours appeared to her and asked why she had a devotion to the latter saint rather than to him – this prompted her to foster a devotion to him too.
Once a man accustomed to cursing, blasphemed Saint Anthony of Padua and she told him to be careful for if he continued to blaspheme she saw a black devil behind him set to choke him for such offences. The man – riding a donkey – did it again and was thrown to the ground where he fractured his skull and broke his neck which led to his death.
Blessed Cristina died in 1543 after a lengthy illness and was interred in the convent of Santa Lucia to the right side of the main altar.
The first biographical account of her life was written in 1595 by the nobleman Giampietro Interverj from l’Aquila and the Belgian Augustinian scholar, Cornelius Curtius, wrote another hagiography, in the Latin language, in Cologne.
Blessed Cristina was Beatified on 15 January 1841, at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Papal States by Pope Gregory XVI.
St Agathius the Martyr
St Ammonius of Astas
St Archelais the Martyr
Bl Beatrix of Este the Younger
Bl Charlotte Lucas
St Catus Blessed Cristina Ciccarelli OSA (1481–1543)
St Deicola of Lure
Bl Fazzio of Verona
Bl Félicité Pricet
St Leobard of Tours Blessed Maria Teresa Fasce OSA (1881-1947) Blessed Maria Teresa’s Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/01/18/saint-of-the-day-18-january-blessed-maria-teresa-fasce-osa-1881-1947/
Bl Monique Pichery
St Moseus of Astas
St Prisca of Rome
St Susanna the Martyr
St Thecla the Martyr
St Ulfrid of Sverige
Bl Victoire Gusteau
St Volusian of Tours
Martyrs of Carthage – 3 saints
Martyrs of Egypt -37 saints
Martyrs of Nicaea – 3 saints
Thought for the Day – 17 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Friday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A
“The Vicissitudes of Life”
“There are times, when life is like a stream which flows peacefully between two flower-strewn grassbanks.
The sun shines brightly overhead and the whole world seems to smile.
The days pass pleasantly and the future is full of fair promise.
Virtue itself, seems to flower effortlessly, in our hearts.
But God grants these intervals of rest during our earthly voyage, so that we may renew our energy.
Life is a battle.
Therefore, we have to be armed and ready and always on the alert (Job 7:1) “Wait here and watch” (Mt 26:38).
We must resolve to be prepared, from the earliest hour of the morning, to face the difficulties and temptations which can arise at any moment.
We must be armed with the weapons of the spirit, which we can easily obtain, if we live all the time, in the presence of God.
If we fail to acquire this habit of spiritual watchfulness, the trials and temptations of the day, will catch us off our guard and there is a danger that we may yield.’
Quote of the Day – 17 January – Friday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A – The Memorial of Blessed Teresio Olivelli (1916–1945) Martyr “Rebel for Love”
The Rebel’s Prayer
By Blessed Teresio Olivelli
Lord, who among men raised Your Cross as a sign of contradiction, You, who preached and suffered the revolt of the spirit from the treachery and attacks of the powerful, the inert deafness of the mass, oppressed by numerous and cruel abuses we, who have trampled on You, source of free life, grant us the strength of rebellion.
O God, You who are Truth and Freedom, make us free, strong and zealous, breathe in us new purpose, inspire our goals, tend to our wills, multiply our strengths, help clothe us in Your armour. We pray You, Lord.
You who were rejected, reproached, betrayed, persecuted, crucified, in the hour of darkness support us by Your victory, be the Viaticum of consolation, in dangers, of support, of comfort, in our bitterness.
The more the opponent grows stronger and darkens, make us bright with Your Light.
In torture, clamp our lips. Strengthen us, don’t let us bend.
If we fall, let our blood join Your innocent blood, may our death help to grow justice and charity in the world.
You who said “I am the Resurrection and the Life” make Italy, in it’s pain be reborn in a new life in You.
Free us from the temptation of affections, for You watch over our families.
On the windy mountains and in the catacombs of the cities, from the pits of the prisons, we pray to You, grant us the peace that You alone know how to give.
God of peace and armies, Lord who carries the sword of joy, hear the prayer of us the “Rebels for Love.” Amen.
Blessed Teresio Olivelli (1916–1945) Martyr
“Rebel for Love”
(Note: I cannot find a very good translation of this beautiful Prayer, so this is an adaptation of the best of them, by myself).
One Minute Reflection – 17 January – Friday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A – Readings: 1 Samuel 8:4-7, 10-22, Psalm 89:16-19, Mark 2:1-12 and the Memorial of Blessed Teresio Olivelli (1916–1945) Martyr “Rebel for Love”
“My son, your sins are forgiven.” … Mark 2:5
REFLECTION – “Why are you downcast? See. Someone’s hands are fishy; a little oil makes them clean. How much more can God’s compassion purify you. For just as you have no difficulty in washing your garment, in the same way – and even more – it is not difficult for the Lord to wash you clean from all reproach, even if each day you naturally have to experience temptation. Indeed, the instant you say: “I have sinned against the Lord”, the response is given you: “Your sins are forgiven” (Mt 9:2). “It is I who wipe out and remember no more” (Is 43:25 LXX). As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed your sins. As a father has compassion on his children, I have had compassion on you” (Ps 102, 12-13 LXX).
Only do not keep away, or distance yourself, from He who has chosen you to sing and pray but all your life long, remain close to Him, either through pure confidence, or by a holy audacity and courageous confession. Then He will hear and purify you. Is He not God who has justified us in His love for human souls? Who will condemn us? (cf. Rm 8:33). If we invoke the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, our conscience is easily purified and nothing separates us from the prophets and other saints.
For God has not destined us for wrath but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us. So, whether we are awake in virtue, or asleep in some kind of woe, or are bearing certain circumstances according to nature, we will live with Christ (1 Thes 5:9-10), turning our eyes towards Him, sighing deeply, weeping constantly and only breathing Him. Let us then put on the breastplate of faith and wear the helmet of salvation (cf. 1 Thes 5:8) that the arrows of discouragement and despair may not penetrate us.” … John of Karpathos (7th Century) Monk and Bishop – Texts for the monks in India (The Philokalia)
PRAYER – Lord God, You hold out the light of Your Word to those who do not know You. Strengthen in our hearts, the faith You have given us, so that no trials may quench the fire Your Spirit has kindled within us. Grant us the grace of approaching You in sorrow and repentance, so that we may hear Your Word, “your sins are forgiven you, go and sin no more.” May the prayers of Blessed Teresio Olivelli, grants us eyes to see and ears to hear and strength to approach You. Through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Saint of the Day – 17 January – Blessed Teresio Olivelli (1916–1945) Martyr – known as the “Rebel for Love” – Layman, Lawyer, Professor, Soldier,Defender of Human dignity and rights, apostle of the poor, those in need, apostle of prayer, the Holy Eucharist, the Blessed Virgin, of love of Christ and His Church – born on 7 January 1916 at Bellagio, Como, Italy and died by being beaten and kicked to death by guards on 12 January 1945 at Hersbruck, Nürnberger Land, Germany, he was 29 years old. His body was cremated at the Hersbruck camp and his ashes dumped in a common grave. Patronage – Italian Catholic Action, soldiers, young people.
Teresio was born in Bellagio, in the province and diocese of Como, on 7 January 1916, son of Domenico Olivelli and Clelia Invernizzi. He spent his childhood between Carugo Brianza and Zeme Lomellina (Pavia), receiving a profoundly Christian education from his parents and his uncle Fr Rocco Invernizzi.
At the age of 10, in 1926, the family moved to Mortara in the province of Pavia, where Teresio attended gymnasium, becoming passionate about Latin. His adolescence revealed him full of vitality and capable of not being afraid of anything or anyone.
He ardently professed his love for Jesus, not caring about those who derided him. His faith was crystal clear – every week he attended the Sacrament of Confession and received daily Communion in the parish of San Lorenzo. He meditated every day on the Word of God and on the text of the “Imitation of Christ”.
At the high school in Vigevano (Pavia) he distinguished himself among his peers for intelligence and maturity. He became involved in Catholic Action, taking part in many conferences on religious and social issues and organising some himself. When, in 1931, the Catholic Action circles were forcibly closed, the young Teresio became inflamed against the Fascist regime, saying: “Either Mussolini changes course or we change it!”
Referring to the apostles James and John, called by Jesus “sons of thunder” for their zealous and impetuous character, he often stated that, having been born and baptised in the parish of St James, he too had to become “son of thunder”.
At 18, he was a confident young man, tall and slender, with a firm faith, in other words a convinced and credible Catholic. He enrolled at the Faculty of Law of the University of Pavia, staying at the Ghislieri University College (founded by St Pius V). He attended the University from 1934 to 1938, the year in which he graduated with honours in Law.
In those years in Pavia, Teresio won the affection of professors and classmates, for his generosity and the spirit of sacrifice, for the devotion with which he prayed during Mass and with which he was in Adoration before the Eucharist. He, so cheerful and cultured, immersed himself in long and intense prayers with the Rosary in his hand, isolating himself from everyone – he thus deserved, from those who admired him and those who were just teasing him, the nickname of “Father Olivelli” from the companions of the college.
In 1936 the civil war broke out in Spain – the Church suffered one of the most ferocious persecutions of the modern era, with thousands of priests, religious and lay Catholics, killed by the communist and anarchist revolutionary militias. Teresio, now in his twenties, immediately proposed himself as a volunteer to fight the Godless. To his uncle, Father Rocco, he wrote: “Youth is either heroic or miserable. The man cannot give half measures of himself, he must give everything. When then Christ is the Ideal that impels us, I believe that our duty is realised in total love to Him and must be consumed until the last drop. Either faith is experienced as conquest or it is anaemia of invertebrates. In Catholic Spain, the Divine is fought in us. We must overcome the anti-Christ, the denial of man and of Christ. The future does not belong to the soft. Life is perfect when love is perfect.” His family members prevented him from leaving but from that moment Teresio, while continuing his studies, devoted himself to prayer and self-offering, so that Christ would triumph not only in Spain but also in Russia which was prey to atheistic Bolshevism.
Almost immediately after graduating, he was assistant Professor of Administrative Law at the University of Turin. During his stay in that city, he also undertook to take young stragglers on the right path and took care of the poor of Cottolengo. For him it was a period of intense work, studies and research on legal and social issues.
It was a time when much of the Catholic world believed that it was possible to apply Christian principles to fascism. Teresio, therefore, worked with the ambitious aim of detaching the regime from the German National Socialism as much as possible.
He won the “Littorali della Cultura” of Trieste (competitions of oratory skills and cultural preparation), supporting the thesis that establishes the equal dignity of the human person, regardless of race. He then wrote legal and social articles in the university newspaper “Libro e Muschetto” and in the journal “Civiltà Fascista.” Finally he was appointed Littore and secretary of the Institute of Fascist Culture and a member and first secretary to the Office of Studies and Legislation at Palazzo Littorio.
In 1939 and in 1941, for reasons of study, he stayed in Berlin. At that time, he came into contact with the culture and politics of half of Europe, in Prague, Berlin, Vienna and then in Rome at the National Institute of Culture. He soon discovered the reality that surrounded him and the hatred of opposing ideologies, which developed violence in every sense. The news of the occupation of various nations by the Nazis began – the Second World War had broken out.
In June 1940, Italy also went to war alongside the German ally. Meanwhile, Teresio had been called to military service – he refused the exemption as a teacher. In 1940 he was appointed officer of the Alpini and asked to volunteer in the war of Russia. On 10 September 1941 he found himself on the front line, despite being at the head of the 31st Battery, he shared the dangers and the sufferings of his soldiers. He provided them with help of all kinds, in short, he appeared to them as a big brother rather than a superior in rank. During the disastrous retreat of the Italian troops of the VIII Armata, ill equipped for that frost and attacked by the Russians, the second lieutenant Olivelli succoured the wounded, he comforted the desperate and assisted the dying. He often lingered in the march to help the fallen, regardless of the grave danger. He went through these terrible conditions for two thousand kilometers on foot.
He returned to Italy with the survivors in March 1943, deeply marked in his spirit and increasingly eager to give all of himself to others, especially if suffering. His first occupation was to inform the families about the fate of the soldiers, by letter or personally, also by taking an interest in the prisoners.
A few months later, at the age of 27, he won the Rector’s post at the Ghislieri College of Pavia. However, the position only lasted a few months, because in July 1943 he was recalled again to arms. Shortly thereafter, after the 8 September armistice, Italy was invaded by the Germans. Teresio, who deeply loved his homeland, refused to surrender himself to Hitler’s troops, so as not to be complicit in their occupation. As a result, on 9 September 1943, he was captured and imprisoned in a prison camp in Innsbruck. After two failed attempts to escape, he succeeded on the third attempt, on the night between 20 and 21 October, he managed to escape from the Markt Pongau camp. After a long and exhausting walk he reached Italy, finding refuge a family in Milan. He recovered his health but by now, he was an outlaw. He became part of the Italian resistance movement in Milan as part of the triangular resistance including Brescia and Cremona branches. He worked to create the newspaper “Il ribelle”. His paper was the underground newspaper for the Green Flames Brigades partisan group. In the newspaper he published the article “Rebels”, a manifesto of the moral revolt against fascism and its time and a prayer, commonly called the “The Rebel’s Prayer” considered the most inspiring and beautiful spiritual testimony of the whole Catholic Resistance.
On 27 April 1944 he was arrested in Milan by the fascist police and locked up in the San Vittore prison, where he suffered beatings and torture until 8 June when he was sent to the concentration camp of Fossoli near Modena, from where he again tried to escape, unsuccessfully. In August 1944 he was deported to the concentration camp of Gries. His prison garment was marked not only with the red triangle of political prisoners but also with the red-rimmed white disk of the fugitive prisoners, who needed to be monitored more. Even in Gries he tried to escape, taking refuge in a warehouse, where he remained hidden for about a month. Discovered, he was cruelly and violently beaten and in September 1944 transferred to Flossenburg in Bavaria.
The conditions of life became unbearable but Teresio did not give up – his faith and his charity were opposed to the hatred and violence of the torturers. He confronted the SS by speaking German perfectly, to help alleviate the sufferings of his fellow inmates. In the evenings he organised the recitation of the Rosary and, assisted all who needed him for spiritual guidance and advice.
After 40 days of arrival, he was sent along with others to the satellite camp in Hersbruck. The surviving prisoners later remembered him for his serenity and courage, for the solidarity with the most exposed inmate. He was himself suffering terribly, wasted and beaten, developing many ancillary illnesses due to the conditions and the hunger, the torture and the beatings.
He assisted his friend Blessed Odoardo Focherini (1907-1944) Martyred at aged 37, originally from Carpi, interned for his relief work to the Jews and forced to be admitted to the infirmary for a serious leg injury. He was able to assist him on his deathbed on 27 December 1944. Blessed Odoardo Focherini was an Italian Roman Catholic journalist. He issued false documents to Jewish people. Yad Vashem later recognised him as a Righteous Among the Nations in 1969 for his efforts. He was Beatified in June 2013.
In early January 1945, while Teresio served as a shield with his emaciated and wounded body to a young Ukrainian beaten up unjustly, the irritated wardens launched a violent kick to his belly, followed by twenty-five further kicks. Hospitalised in the infirmary of the Hersbruck camp, he remained lucid and praying to the last. He died on 17 January 1945, at age 29, after having donated the last intact clothes to a friend.
Civil recognition, such as the Gold Medal for Military Valor, were conferred on Teresio on 25 April 1953.
The Beatification process opened in the Diocese of Vigevano in a diocesan process that Bishop Mario Rossi inaugurated on 29 March 1987. The formal introduction to the cause came under St Pope John Paul II on 19 January 1988 after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued the official “nihil obstat” and titled him as a Servant of God. On 1 December 2015, the confirmation of his life of heroic virtue allowed for Pope Francis to name Olivelli as Venerable. The pope approved his beatification on 16 June 2017 and on 3 February 2018 the Beatification recognition was celebrated at Palazzetto di Vigevano, Vigevano, Italy presided by Cardinal Angelo Amato, on behalf of Pope Francis.
“The Gospel and the constant reference to the figure of Jesus were his strengths.”
O God, You who are Truth and Freedom, make us free, strong and zealous, breathe in us, new purpose, inspire our goals, tend to our wills, multiply our strengths, help clothe us in Your armour. We pray You, Lord. from The Rebel’s Prayer (Teresio Olivelli)
Our Lady of Pontmain – 17 January: During the Franco-Prussian War, German troops approached the town of Pontmain, France and the villagers there prayed for protection. On the evening of 17 January 1871, Mary appeared in the sky for several minutes over the town. She wore a dark blue dress covered in stars, carried a crucifix and below her were the words – Pray please. God will hear you soon. My son lets Himself be touched. That night the German army was ordered to withdraw and an armistice ending the war was signed eleven days later on 28 January. Approval of diocesan bishop.
St Achillas of Sketis
St Amoes of Sketis
St Antony of Rome
Bl Euphemia Domitilla
Bl Gamelbert of Michaelsbuch
St Jenaro Sánchez Delgadillo
St John of Rome
Bl Joseph of Freising
St Julian Sabas the Elder
St Marcellus of Die
St Merulus of Rome
Thought for the Day – 16 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Thursday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A
“Faith teaches us, that the soul which is in the state of grace and has expiated all the temporal punishments due to it’s sins, goes immediately to Heaven when it is separated from the body.
There, the soul enjoys eternal happiness. It sees God, face-to-face. It sees Him without any intervention of created things but, as He is, in Himself, in the Unity and Trinity of His infinte perfections.
In this beatific vision, the intellect remains completely satisfied, because, in God, there is every truth, beauty and goodness.
The will abandons itself entirely to the will of God, desiring nothing else and loving nothing else but God alone.
There springs from this abandonment, a love which satisfies every desire, an inexpressible joy and a boundless peace.
The happy soul will see the Blessed Virgin, too and she will smile upon it with maternal tenderness.
It will see the Angels and Saints gathered around the King of Kings and the Queen of Heaven, singing their praises.
St Paul, who was taken up to the third Heaven, tells us, that it is impossible to imagine or to describe, the unknown joys which are experienced there.
In comparison with the eternal happiness of Heaven, the poor pleasures of this world are empty shadows.
We cannot imagine the happiness of those, who have gained Heaven, by their good lives upon earth.
The concept of Heaven is so beautiful and immense, that it caused the Saints to desire death as a means of going there.
They welcomed suffering, too, because it brought them nearer to their goal.”
Quote/s of the Day – 16 January – Thursday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A
“Christ is among us, His heart like a rose, expanding within us.”
“God’s will for you is to serve Him, in His way, as He chooses, now. It is only a want of humility. to think of extreme vocations, like being a nun or a nurse, while you try to by-pass your present obvious vocation . . . Today, you have to use what you have today and do not look beyond it.”
Caryll Houselander (1901-1954)
Caryll Houselander (29 September 1901 – 12 October 1954) was an English lay Roman Catholic ecclesiastical artist, mystic, popular religious writer and poet.
One Minute Reflection – 16 January – Thursday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: 1 Samuel 4:1-11, Psalm 44:10-11, 14-15, 24-25, Mark 1:40-45 and the Memorial of Blessed Gonzalo de Amarante OP (1187-1259)
And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.”… Mark 1:40
REFLECTION – “It is possible to see leprosy as a symbol of sin, which is the true impurity of heart that can distance us from God. It is not, in fact, the physical disease of leprosy that separates us from God, as the ancient norms supposed but sin, spiritual and moral evil. The sins that we commit distance us from God and, if we do not humbly confess them, trusting in divine mercy, they will finally bring about the death of the soul. This miracle thus has a strong symbolic value. Jesus, as Isaiah had prophesied, is the Servant of the Lord who “has borne our griefs / and carried our sorrows” (Is 53: 4). In His Passion He will become as a leper, made impure by our sins, separated from God, He will do all this out of love, to obtain for us reconciliation, forgiveness and salvation. In the Sacrament of Penance, the Crucified and Risen Christ purifies us through His minister, with His infinite mercy, restores us to communion with the heavenly Father and with our brothers and sisters, makes us a gift of His love, His joy and His peace.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us invoke the Virgin Mary whom God preserved from every stain of sin so that she may help us to avoid sin and to have frequent recourse to the Sacrament of Confession, the sacrament of forgiveness, whose value and importance for our Christian life must be rediscovered today.”… Pope Benedict XVI – Angelus 15 February 2009
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, we make our prayer to You at morning, noon and evening. Dispel from our hearts, the darkness of sin and bring us to the true light, Christ Your Son. Grant that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Bl Gonzalo de Amarante, we may deny ourselves and love You above all things. Through Jesus, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 16 January – Thursday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A
Behold me, O Sweet Lord, Behold me! By St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)
Behold me, O sweet Lord, behold me!
For I hope that in Your loving kindness,
O Most Merciful One,
You will behold me
either as a loving physician to heal,
a kind teacher to correct,
or an indulgent father to pardon…
confident in Your sweet powerful mercy
and most merciful power,
I ask in virtue of Your sweet Name
and of the mystery of Your sacred humanity,
that, mindful of Your kindness
and unmindful of my ingratitude,
You forgive me my sins
and heal the languors of my soul.
Saint of the Day – 16 January – Blessed Gonzalo de Amarante OP (1187-1259), Dominican Priest, Hermit, Marian Devotee – born as Gonçalo de Amarante in 1187 at Vizella, diocese of Braga, Portugal and died on 10 January 1259 of natural causes. His memorial is celebrated on 10 January by the Dominicans. Patronages – Amarante, Itapissuma, Cajari, Matinha, Viana. He became a Dominican friar and hermit after his return from a long pilgrimage that took him to both Rome and to Jerusalem. He was noted as a wonderworker through whom miracles occurred and he was known for his solitude and silence in reflection, in order to better achieve communication with God.
Gonzalo de Amarante was a true son of the Middle Ages, a man right out of the pages of the ‘Golden Legend.’ His whole life reads like a mural from the wall of a church–full of marvellous things and done up in brilliant colours.
In his boyhood Gonzalo gave wonderful indications of his holiness. As he was being carried to the baptismal font as an infant, he fixed his eyes on the church’s crucifix with a look of extraordinary love. While still young, he was consecrated to study for the Church and received his training in the household of the Archbishop of Braga. After his Ordination he was given charge of a wealthy parish, an assignment that should have made him very happy. Gonzalo was not as interested in choice parishes as some of his companion – he went to his favourite Madonna shrine and begged Our Lady to help him administer this office fairly.
There was no complaint with Gonzalo’s governance of the parish of Saint Pelagius. He was penitential himself but indulgent with everyone else. Revenues that he might have used for himself were used for the poor and the sick. The parish, in fact, was doing very well when he turned it over to his nephew, whom he had carefully tutored, before making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Gonzalo would have remained his entire life in the Holy Land but after 14 years his Archbishop commanded him to return to Portugal. Upon his arrival, he was horrified to see that his nephew had not been the good shepherd that he had promised to be, the money left for the poor had gone to purchase a fine stable of thoroughbred horses and a pack of fine hounds. The nephew had told everyone that his old uncle was dead and he had been appointed pastor in his place by an unsuspecting Archbishop. When the uncle appeared on the scene, a bit ragged and, of course, older but very much alive, the nephew was not happy to see him. Gonzalo seems to have been surprised as well as pained.
The ungrateful nephew settled the matter by turning the dogs on his inconvenient uncle. They would have torn him to pieces but the servants called them off and allowed the ragged pilgrim to escape. Gonzalo decided then, that he had withstood enough parish life and went out into the hills to a place called Amarante. Here he found a cave and other necessities for an eremitical life and lived in peace for several years, spending his time building a little chapel to the Blessed Virgin. He preached to those who came to him and soon there was a steady stream of pilgrims seeking out his retreat.
Happy as he was, Gonzalo felt that this was not his sole mission in life and he prayed to Our Lady to help him to discern his real vocation. She appeared to him one night as he prayed and told him to enter the order that had the custom of beginning the office with “Ave Maria gratia plena.” She told him that this order was very dear to her and under her special protection. Gonzalo set out to learn what order she meant and eventually came to the convent of the Dominicans. Here was the end of the quest and he asked for the habit.
Blessed Peter Gonzales was the Prior and he gave the habit to the new aspirant. After Gonsalvo had gone through his novitiate, he was sent back to Amarante, with a companion, to begin a regular house of the order. The people of the neighbourhood quickly spread the news that the hermit was back. They flocked to hear him preach and begged him to heal their sick.
One of the miracles of Blessed Gonzalo concerns the building of a bridge across a swift river that barred many people from reaching the hermitage in wintertime. It was not a good place to build a bridge but Gonsalvo set about it and followed the heavenly directions he had received. Once, during the building of the bridge, he went out collecting and a man, who wanted to brush him off painlessly, sent him away with a note for his wife.
Gonzalo took the note to the man’s wife and she laughed when she read it . “Give him as much gold as will balance with the note I send you,” said the message. Gonzalo told her he thought she ought to obey her husband, so she got out the scales and put the paper in one balance. Then she put a tiny coin in the other balance and another and another–the paper still outweighed her gold–and she kept adding. There was a sizeable pile of coins before the balance with the paper in it swung upwards.
When workers who helped briefly with his bridge building ran out of wine, Gonzalo prayed, smacked a rock with a stick, it split open and wine poured out. When the workers ran out of food, Gonzalo went to the water, called out and fish jumped onto the river bank to feed them.
Gonzalo died on 10 January 1259, after prophesying the day of his death and promising his friends that he would still be able to help them after death. Pilgrimages began soon and a series of miracles indicated that this holy man was indeed the saint he was believed to be. Forty years after his death he appeared to several people who were apprehensively watching a flood on the river. The water had arisen to a dangerous level, just below the bridge, when they saw a tree floating towards the bridge and Gonzalo was balancing capably on its rolling balk. The friar carefully guided the tree under the bridge, preserving the bridge from damage and then disappeared (Benedictines, Dorcy).
Dominicans are noted for their ability to preach. Sermons are their speciality. Yet even among them, Gonzalo must have stood out. During a homily, in which he wanted to show the horror of exclusion from the Church, he ‘excommunicated’ a basket of bread, the loaves immediately became black, rotted and inedible. When he removed the ‘excommunication’ a few minutes later, the bread became fresh and wholesome again.
He was Beatified on 16 September 1561, Saint Peter’s Basilica, Papal States by Pope Pius IV. But Pope Julius III had on 24 April 1551 allowed for public worship in his honour in Portugal though did not allow his Beatification at that time. Pope Clement X – after the Beatification – extended his public worship with a Mass and Divine Office to Portugal and the entire Dominican order.
St Juana Maria Condesa Lluch
Bl Konrad II of Mondsee
St Liberata of Pavia
St Pope Marcellus I
St Melas of Rhinocolura
St Priscilla of Rome
St Sigeberht of East Anglia
St Titian of Oderzo
St Valerius of Sorrento
Thought for the Day – 15 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“The greatest punishment, however, will be that of LOSS.
This is the knowledge that we have lost forever, our one, true and highest good.
The soul will now understand, fully, what it means to have lost God forever.
It will feel irresistibly, the need to be united with Him and to see, enjoy and love Him.
But, at the same time, it will KNOW that God has cast it away from Himself for all eternity, “Go, accursed soul, into everlasting fire!”
Then, the irresistible need for God, will turn to hate and eternal malediction.
The terrifying reality of hell, should not leave us amazed, as if it were an act of implacable severity.
Rather, it should be a warning to us.
God should not seem to us to be a pitiless judge but a judge who is infinitely just and infinitely good.
Rather than send us to hell, God gave us His only-begotten Son, Who died on the Cross for our sins.
Just as the Redemption is a work of infinite love and goodness, so hell is a work of infinite justice.
If we reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation, on the Redemption and on the death of the Son of God, it will appear that, omnipotent though He is, He could not have done more to save us.
The divine work of the Redemption explains the mystery of the eternity of hell.
It is not God Who is relentless.
It is the damned soul which was relentlessly ungrateful towards the infinitely good and merciful God.”
Quote/s of the Day – 15 January – Wednesday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A – The Memorial of St Arnold Janssen SVD (1837-1909)
“Proclamation of the Good News is the first and most significant expression, of love for one’s neighbour.”
St Arnold, in his youth, invented a means of personally keeping in contact with God. To do so, he prayed the acts of faith, hope and charity every quarter hour at the signal of the church tower clock or the chime of the clock at home or in school. He would pray:
O God, eternal truth, I believe in You. O God, our strength and salvation, I trust in You. O God, infinite goodness, I love You with my whole heart.
St Arnold Janssen (1837-1909)
Founder of the Missionaries of the Divine Word Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters
One Minute Reflection – 15 January – Wednesday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A – Readings: 1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20, Psalm 40:2, 5, 7-10, Mark 1:29-39 and the Memorial of St Arnold Janssen SVD (1837-1909)
And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up and the fever left her and she served them...Mark 1:31
REFLECTION – “And he helped her up.” As she couldn’t stand up by herself, it was the Lord who helped her. “He grasped her hand and helped her up.” When Peter was in danger on the sea, just as he was going to drown, he too was grasped by the hand and raised up… What a beautiful sign of friendship and love towards this sick woman! He helped her up by taking her hand, His hand healed the sick woman’s hand. He grasped that hand as a doctor would have done, He, who is both doctor and remedy, took her pulse and assessed the gravity of the fever. Jesus touched it and the fever vanished.
Let us want Him to touch our hand so that in this way what we do may be made pure. Should He enter our house, let us get off our bed at last and not remain lying down. Jesus stands at our bedside and will we remain lying down? Come on! To your feet!… “There is one among you whom you do not recognise” (Jn 1:26), “the kingdom of God is among you” (Lk 17:21). Let us have faith and we shall see Jesus among us.”…St Jerome (347-420) Father & Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – God our Saviour, through the grace of Baptism, You made us children of light. You lead us by the hand and guide and protect us by Your commandments. Fill us with joy at Your nearness and the light of Your Son, by whose beam we see You and follow. St Arnold Janssen was a shining example to us all, grant, we pray, that his prayers may aid us. Through Jesus our Lord and Christ, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 15 January – Wednesday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A and the Memorial of St Arnold Janssen SVD (1837-1909)
O My God, I Believe in You By St Arnold Janssen (1837-1909)
O my God,
I believe in You,
because You are
the eternal truth.
O my God,
I hope in You,
because You are
infinitely merciful, faithful and almighty.
O my God,
I love You with my whole heart
and am sorry for having offended You.
Out of love for me
You are present in the Blessed Sacrament,
therefore, I long for You,
O my dearest Jesus.
From the Father
send me the Holy Spirit
with His seven gifts,
that I may glorify God
in all things.
Saint of the Day – 15 January – St Arnold Janssen SVD (1837-1909) Priest, Founder, Missionary, Teacher, advocate of the Sacred Heart, Director of the Apostleship of Prayer, He founded the Society of the Divine Word, a Catholic missionary religious congregation, also known as the Divine Word Missionaries, as well as two congregations for women. In 1889 he founded in Steyl, Netherlands, the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit, SSpS and in 1896 at the same place the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, SSpSAP. He is the Patron of all of the Orders which he founded.
Arnold Janssen was born on 5 November 1837 in Goch, a small city in lower Rhineland (Germany). The second of ten children, his parents instilled in him a deep devotion to religion. He was Ordained a Priest on 15 August 1861 for the diocese of Muenster and was assigned to teach natural sciences and mathematics in a secondary school in Bocholt. There he was known for being a strict but just teacher. Due to his profound devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, he was named Diocesan Director for the Apostleship of Prayer. This apostolate encouraged Arnold to open himself to Christians of other denominations.
Little by little, he became more aware of the spiritual needs of people beyond the limits of his own Diocese, developing a deep concern for the universal mission of the church. He decided to dedicate his life to awaking in the German church its missionary responsibility. With this in mind, in 1873 he resigned from his teaching post and soon after founded The Little Messenger of the Sacred Heart. This popular monthly magazine presented news of missionary activities and it encouraged German-speaking Catholics to do more to help the missions.
These were difficult times for the Catholic Church in Germany. Bismark unleashed the “Kulturkampf» with a series of anti-Catholic laws, which led to the expulsion of Priests and Religious and to the imprisonment of many Bishops. In this chaotic situation, Arnold Janssen proposed that some of the expelled priests could go to the foreign missions or at least help in the preparation of missionaries. Slowly but surely and with a little prodding from the Apostolic Vicar of Hong Kong, Arnold discovered that God was calling him to undertake this difficult task. Many people said that he was not the right man for the job, or that the times were not right for such a project. Arnold’s answer was, “The Lord challenges our faith to do something new, precisely when so many things are collapsing in the Church.”
With the support of a number of Bishops, Arnold inaugurated the mission house on 8 September 1875 in Steyl, Holland and thus began the Divine Word Missionaries. Already on 2 March 1879 the first two missionaries set out for China. One of these was Joseph Freinademetz (1852-1908) – he would be Canonised on the same day as St Arnold.
Aware of the importance of publications for attracting vocations and funding, Arnold started a printing press just four months after the inauguration of the house. Thousands of generous lay persons, contributed their time and effort to mission animation in German-speaking countries, by helping to distribute the magazines from Steyl. From the beginning the new congregation developed as a community of both Priests and Brothers.
The volunteers at the mission house included women as well as men. From practically the very beginning, a group of women, including Blessed Maria Helena Stollenwerk, served the community. But their wish was to serve the mission as Religious Sisters. The faithful, selfless service they freely offered and a recognition of the important role women could play in missionary outreach, urged Arnold to found the mission congregation of the “Servants of the Holy Spirit,” SSpS, on 8 December 1889. The first Sisters left for Argentina in 1895.
In 1896 Fr Arnold selected some of the Sisters to form a cloistered branch, to be known as “Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration,” SSpSAP. Their service to mission would be to maintain an uninterrupted adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, praying day and night for the church and especially for the other two active missionary congregations.
Arnold died on 15 January 1909. His life was filled with a constant search for God’s will, a great confidence in divine providence and hard work. That his work has been blessed is evident in the subsequent growth of the communities he founded – more than 6,000 Divine Word Missionaries are active in 63 countries, more than 3,800 missionary Servants of the Holy Spirit and more than 400 Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration. … Vatican.va
St Arnold was Canonised on 5 October 2003, by St Pope John Paul II, together with St Joseph Freinademetz and St Daniel Camboni, Apostle of Africa.
Our Lady of Banneux, Belgium (under 2 Titles Our Lady of the Poor and Queen of Nations): Our Lady of Banneux, or Our Lady of the Poor, is the sobriquet given to the apparition of the Virgin Mary to Mariette Beco, an adolescent girl living in Banneux, province of Liège (Belgium). Between 15 January and 2 March 1933, Beco told her family and parish priest of seeing a Lady in white who declared herself to be the “Virgin of the Poor,” saying I come to relieve suffering and believe in me and I will believe in you.
St Alexander of Goma
Bl Angelus of Gualdo Tadini St Arnold Janssen SVD (1837-1909)
Bl Peter of Castelnau
St Probus of Rieti
St Romedio of Nonsberg
St Secondina of Anagni
St Secundina of Rome
St Tarsicia of Rodez
Martyrs of Suances – 5 beati: A priest and four laymen in the archdiocese of Burgos, Spain who were martyred together in the Spanish Civil War.
• Blessed Donato Rodríguez García
• Blessed Emilio Huidobro Corrales
• Blessed Germán García y García
• Blessed Valentín Palencia Marquina
• Blessed Zacarías Cuesta Campo
They were martyred on
15 January 1937 near Suances, Cantabria, Spain
Venerated on 30 September 2015 by Pope Francis (decree of heroic virtues)
and Beatified on 23 April 2016 by Pope Francis. The beatification was celebrated in Burgos, Spain, presided by Cardinal Angelo Amato.
Thought for the Day – 14 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Tuesday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A
“In that place of never-ending suffering, there will be three punishments to torture us.
There will be the worm of conscience which does not die – “Their worm dies not” (Mk 9:43).
This is the awful realisation that we could have saved ourselves but are lost for all eternity, that God gave us so many graces and we damned ourselves, by abusing them.
Now there is no longer any remedy, because the mercy of God has been succeeded once and for all, by His justice.
In the second place, there is fire!
This is a real fire but altogether different from the material fire we know in this world, which was created by God for our benefit and service.
The fire of hell, on the other hand, was created by Divine Justice, purely to punish us.
It is a special kind of fire which tortures body and soul and the rebel angels, as well as damned human beings.
It could be called discerning, insofar, as it torments, more or less mercilessly, according to the gravity of the sin.
These flames embrace every evil and exclude every good.
They are flames which will never be extinguished, flames which burn but do not consume, flames without light – dark and accompanied by the shrieking of eternal despair.
The very thought of this horrible dungeon of torments should spur us onto begin immediately, a life of virtue and Christian perfection.”
Quote/s of the Day – 14 January – Tuesday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A
Speaking of: The devil
“The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all, how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.”
St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
“Not only the devil is involved in spiritual warfare but the Holy Spirit is equally involved, or more involved in it, bringing men and women of goodwill, the ability to overcome evil in their lives, so that they too can say: “Where evil abounded, grace super-abounded!” (Rom 5:20).”
St John Paul II
(The Holy Spirit (Dominum Et Vivificantem – 1986)
“It is not enough for a Christian to condemn evil, cowardice, lies and use of force, hatred and oppression. He must at all times be a witness to and defender of justice, goodness, truth, freedom and love. He must never tire of claiming these values as a right both for himself and others.”
One Minute Reflection – 14 January – Tuesday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: 1 Samuel 1:9-20, Responsorial psalm 1, Samuel 2:1, 4-8, Mark 1:21-28
“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” … Mark 1:24
REFLECTION – “Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. Scripture and the Church’s Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called “Satan” or the “devil”. The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: “The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God but they became evil by their own doing.”
Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels (2 Pt 2:4). This “fall” consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and His reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter’s words to our first parents: “You will be like God” (Gn 3:5). The devil “has sinned from the beginning” (1 Jn 3:8), he is “a liar and the father of lies” (Jn 8:44). It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels’ sin unforgivable. “There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death” (St. John Damascene).
Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls “a murderer from the beginning” (Jn 8:44), who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father (Mt 4:1-11). “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn 3:8). In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God.
The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God’s reign.” … Catechism of the Catholic Church #391-395
PRAYER – King of heaven and earth, Lord God, rule over our hearts and bodies this day. Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed, according to the commandments of Your law, so that now and forever, Your grace may free and save us. Sanctify our hearts, minds and actions with Your power, that all we are may speak of Your Light. May the prayers of the Blessed Virgin our Mother and all your Angels and Saints, bring us to peace and confidence. We make our prayer through Your Son, our Lord Jesus, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen.
Saint of the Day – 14 January – Blessed Alfonsa Clerici SPS (1860-1930) Virgin, Religious of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of Monza – an order that Venerable Maria Matilde Bucchi founded. Alfonsa served as an Teacher and a apostle of the education of the poor while serving in leadership positions to that effect.
Alfonsa Clerici was born on 14 February 1860 near Milan, the eldest of ten children to Angelo and Maria Romano Clerici, four of whom died in infancy. She was baptised on 15 February in the church of San Vittore Martire and received her entrance into the faith from Father Francesco Spreafico.
Two of her brothers, Ildefonso and Prospero, joined the Clerics Regular of St Paul, while her sister, Bonaventura became a professed member of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood in Monza. On 6 October 1868, at the age of eight, Alfonsa received Confirmation in the church of Saint Stephen and her First Communion was celebrated sometime between 1870 and 1872.
In 1875 Alfonsa enrolled at the College of the Precious Blood in Monza. She graduated in 1879 and went on to teach in the Lainate community school for four years. Alfonsa felt a strong desire to enter the religious life but decided to postpone her plans, since she still had to support her parents and her siblings. She pursued her call not long after and joined the Monza sisters on 15 August 1883, the Feast of the Assumption. Their apostolate is the education of young people. Alfonsa received the habit and commenced her period of novitiate in August 1884 while making her first vows on 7 September 1886, a few weeks prior to this her sister made her solemn profession into the congregation.
Alfonsa served as a teacher at the Monza sisters’ college from 1887 to 1889 and was made vice-director on 18 October 1898. The following month she was appointed director. She also served as secretary and general adviser to her Institute.
In 1911, Bishop Teodoro Valfré di Bonzo asked Alfonsa to take over management of the lead the House of Providence established in Vercelli in 1840 for the education of the girls and daughters of poor families. Alfonsa relocated to Vercelli on 20 November 1911 and would remain there for the next nineteen years.
Mother Alfonsa suffered a cerebral haemorrhage on the night of 12–13 January 1930 while in prayer and fell face down on the ground. She died at 13:30 on 14 January 1930, one month short of her seventieth birthday. She was buried in Vercelli after a 16 January funeral but was re-interred in Monza on 8 May 1965.
The miracle needed for her Beatification involved the healing of the near-fatal heart condition of Nedo Frosin,i after his wife Carla Demi Frosini turned to the intercession of the late religious. With the recognition of the miracle on 1 July 2010, Pope Benedict XVI approved the Beatification to take place. Archbishop Angelo Amato, Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided over the Beatification on the Pope’s behalf on 23 October 2010, in the Piazza of San Eusebio, Diocese of Vercelli, Italy.
Blessed Alfonsa Clerici SPS (1860-1930)
Bl Amadeus of Clermont
St Caldeoldus of Vienne
St Datius of Milan
Bl Devasahayam Pillai
St Eufrasio of Clermont
St Euphrasius the Martyr St Felix of Nola (Died C 253) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2019/01/14/saint-of-the-day-14-january-st-felix-of-nola-died-c-253/
St Felix of Rome
St Fermin of Mende
St Glycerius of Antioch
Bl Godfrey of Cappenberg
St Isaias the Martyr
St Jesaja of Sinai
St Macrina the Elder
St Nino of Georgia
Bl Odoric of Pordenone
St Odo of Novara
Bl Pablo Merillas Fernández
St Paul of Africa Blessed Petrus Donders C.Ss.R. (1807-1887) About Blessed Petrus:
Bl Rainer of Arnsberg
St Sabas of Sinai
St Sava of Serbia
St Successus of Africa
St Theodolus of Sinai
Bl William de Sanjulia
Martyrs of Mount Sinai: A group of monks on Mount Sinai who were martyred by desert Bedouins. Their names and exact number have not come down to us. Martyred by Bedouins.
Martyrs of Raithu – 43 saints: A group of 43 monks in the Raithu Desert near Mount Sinai, Palestine, near the Red Sea. They were martyred for their faith by desert Bedouins. Their names have not come down to us. Martyred by Bedouins.
Thought for the Day – 13 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Monday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A
“In whatever you do, remember your last days and you will never sin.” (Eccl 7:36)
“The meditation considered, by the masters of the spiritual life, to be the most useful for rousing the soul from sin, or from a state of torpor, is that on the last things, in other words, on what will happen to us at the end of life.
Amongst these last things, hell is the most terrifying.
Yet, if the mercy of God did not sustain us, we could fall into hell at any moment.
St John Chrysostom meditated on hell everyday.
All the Saints have found in this meditation, the first steps on the way to perfection.
Remember, that a single mortal sin, would merit hell for us.
In that moment, the sinner could have been already hurled into the abyss of torments.
Let us imagine, that we are there …. and, that the goodness and mercy of God has released us from those everlasting, all-devouring flames. If this should happen, all the sacrifices, which virtue demands, would seem so easy and pleasant.
How ready we should be to do anything, sooner than return to that chasm of eternal sorrow!”
Quote/s of the Day – 13 January – Monday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A and the Memorial of St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father and Doctor of the Church
“The privilege of our Church is such that it is never stronger, than when it is attacked, never better known, than when it is accused, never more powerful, than when it appears forsaken.”
(Treatise on the Trinity)
“The Church is the Ship outside which it is impossible to understand the Divine Word, for Jesus spoke from the boat to the people gathered on the shore.”
“God only knows, how to be love and He only knows, how to be Father. And the one who loves is not envious and one who is Father is so totally. This name does not permit compromises, as if God were only father in some aspects and not in others.”
St Hilary of Poitiers
Father & Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 13 January – Monday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: 1 Samuel 1:1-8, Psalm 116:12-14, 17-19, Mark 1:14-20
And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him…Mark 1:17-18
REFLECTION – “Follow me!” Jesus says these words (…) to every Christian. Follow me, naked as I am naked, free from every hindrance as I myself am. Jeremiah said: “You will call me ‘My Father’ and never turn away from me” (Jer 3:19). So follow Me and put down the burdens you are bearing. For, laden as you are, you cannot follow Me who am running ahead. “I ran in thirst” says the psalmist about me (Ps 61:5 LXX), the thirst to save humanity. And where is He running? To the Cross. You too, run after Him. As He bore His cross for you, take up your own for your good. From whence these words of Saint Luke’s gospel: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself” by renouncing his own will, “take up his cross” by mortifying his passions, “daily”, that is all the time, “and follow me.” (Lk 9:23) (…)
Jesus speaks to us like a mother who, wanting to teach her child to walk, shows him apiece of bread or an apple and says to him: “Come with me and I’ll give it to you.” And when the child is so close that he can almost catch hold of it, she draws away a little, showing the thing to him and repeating: “Follow me if you want it.” Some kinds of birds lead their little ones out of their nest and, by flying, teach them to fly and to follow them. Jesus does the same. He shows Himself as an example and promises us His reward in the kingdom so that we might follow Him.
So “follow me” for I know the right way and will guide you. We read in the book of Proverbs: “I will show you the way of wisdom; I will lead you by the ways of equity. When you have entered, your steps will not be constrained and when you run you shall not meet a stumbling block” (cf. Prv 4:11-12 LXX). (…) Therefore, “follow me”.” … St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Franciscan, Doctor of the Church – Sermon for the feast of Saint John the Evangelist
PRAYER – Holy Lord God, grant that we may live constantly in Your presence. Grant that we may possess a spirit of joy and gladness because of the firm knowledge that You are always with us and in You and through You and with You, the extraordinary is commonplace! And turn around Lord and call us, for we are behind You. Be with us Lord, always, we pray! Hear the prayers on our behalf, of St Mungo of Glasgow, whom we ask for intercession. Through the Lord Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, God forever for all eternity, amen
Our Morning Offering – 13 January – Monday of the First week in Ordinary Time
I know, Lord, You are with me. Stand by me. By Archbishop + S Michael Augustine (1933-2017)
When I grow old, weak and stumbling
And my strength fails me
When I have run my course
And I feel just emptiness as a sore
I know, Lord, You are with me. Stand by me.
When those whom I have known and loved
Are no more around with me to guide indeed.
When my friends leave me, one by one to yonder life
And when I am left in sadness but in deep faith,
I know, Lord, You are with me. Stand by me.
When I feel hurt and dejected, rightly or wrongly
When insults and gossips pelted on me merrily.
When I feel dejected and dismayed selfishly,
I turn back to God, to ask Him, why I should suffer so badly
I know, Lord, You are with me. Stand by me.
The world moves on, for all on earth rapidly or dimly
The new ones may ignore the old and the grumpy
And all these earthly woes, why bother, will pass away
And I shall be led to You, in deep faith and love for You
I know, Lord, You are with me. Stand by me.
I know Lord, You are with me, deep in my heart
With Mother Mary, all the Angels and Saints
Lord, I am never alone, never old but ever in the heart
Of all my friends, old and young, on earth or in heaven.
I know, Lord, You are with me. Stand by me.
Lord, I offer You, my ‘Fiat’ kept safe and sound by You I bet
Along with Yours and Mother Mary’s, I offer my tiny dot
With my parents and all my class friends, here on earth or in heaven
To the Glory of the Father and the Holy Spirit
ForEver and Ever, Amen.
I know, Lord, You are with me
Stand by me, Stand by me and Stand by me!
Archbishop Emeritus of Pondicherry and Cuddalore, India Augustine was sometimes referred to as the “People’s Bishop” and “Bishop of the Poor.” He was fluent in English, French, Tamil and Latin. He was a Tamil scholar, as well as a lyricist, poet, writer, singer, magician and artist.