Second Thought for the Day – 8 February – Blessed Esperanza’s Spiritual Testament

Second Thought for the Day – 8 February – The Memorial of Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus (1893-1983)

Extract from Blessed Esperanza’s Spiritual Testament

“In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, I write to my beloved sons and my beloved daughters this Testament.

I leave entrusted to the Most Holy Virgin, all my sons and daughters and my two beloved Congregations and all the poor people received in them.

I wish to leave to my sons and daughters the precious inheritance that I have, freely and without any merit, received from the Good Jesus.

Recommendations that I make to my beloved sons and to my beloved daughters:
Be humble, love one another, eradicate from your heart the rash judgements, never look for responsibilities or high positions, stay in the hands of obedience like little children; never have discussions or quarrels, never occupy yourselves with things for which you are not responsible, be very charitable and attached to prayer, because the means to obtain grace and glory is prayer;  always follow the narrow path of mortification; work to acquire detachment and disdain with respect to yourselves; you will succeed in this with the knowledge of Our God, His love and the knowledge of your nothingness and your miseries; always and in everything, try to accomplish the Will of Our God and always seek His glory and not yours.

Keep yourselves free, my children, from all greed, try hard to have no attachment to earthly things, because the Son and Handmaid of Merciful Love must be occupied with charity, divine and spiritual things and you will arrive there easily if your hearts are strongly attached to the Good Jesus.

Walk with great attention in order to not become implicated in cares foreign to your vocation and to your state, never get involved in secular business contrary to your vocation, not even in the name of charity or prudence.

The Request I address to the Good Jesus, at the time of the death of my body and the life of my soul, by the mercy and the love of my God. I ask that the Good Jesus personally and the glory of God be the cause of the actions of all the sons and daughters and that He always be their Advocate and defend them against the enemies of the respective Congregations, always repeating in their favour: “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing!”

Jesus, at the time of death, see to it that all the sons and daughters can say, full of love and confidence, what I say to You in these moments, with hope in Your charity, love and mercy:  “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Blessed Esperanza de Jesus, Pray for Us!

bl esperanza de jesus pray for us no 2 8 feb 2020


Thought for the Day – 8 February – Doing Everything for the Love of God

Thought for the Day – 8 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Doing Everything
for the Love of God

“The beginning of perfection consists in doing the will of God, even in our smallest actions.
But, to do everything for the love of God, is the summit of Christian perfection.
If we aimed always at doing God’s will and acting from the motive of love for Him, we should be contented and at peace, because we should be holy.
The saints are the only people who remain calm and undisturbed in the midst of worldly adversity.
They are always content, because they live in God.
Their lives are in full conformity with His Will, guided by His Love and dedicated to His Service.
As a result, they live in a kind of spiritual stratosphere far above the storms of this world.
There they are above the clouds of pride, ambition, avarice and all the other major vices.
There they see and contemplate everything in the Light of God.
Let us become saints!
Then we shall have solved all the problems of life!.” Amen

Antonio Cardinal Bacci


Quote/s of the Day – 8 February – Prayer

Quote/s of the Day – 8 February – The Memorial of Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus (1893-1983)

Speaking of:  Prayer

“The means to obtain grace and glory is prayer.”

Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus (1893-1983)

the means to obtain grace and glory is prayer bl esperanza de jesus 8 feb 2020

“Half an hour’s meditation
each day is essential,
except, when you are busy.
Then a full hour is needed.”

St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Doctor of the Church


“Do not neglect prayer,
however busy you may be.”

Blessed William Joseph Chaminade (1761-1850)

do-not-neglect-prayer-however-busy-you-may-be-bl-william-joseph-chaminade-22-jan-2020 and 8 feb 2020

“How many things Jesus tells us in our heart,
when we stand at His feet,
if we are careful to listen to His Voice!”

Blessed Giovanni Maria Boccardo (1848-1913)

how-many-things-jesus-tells-us-in-our-heart-bl-giovanni-boccardo-30-dec-2019 and 8 feb 2020

“Prayer is our strength, our sword,
our consolation and the key to paradise.”

St Joseph Freinademetz (1852-1908)
“Fu Shenfu” – Lucky Priest

prayer is our strength our sword our consolation and the key to paradise st josep freinademetz 28 jan 2020

“And delicately, gently,
by means of this sweet and peaceful dawn,
God taught me, too, to obey …
God who offers me a little corner
on this earth for prayer,
who gives me a little corner
in which to wait for what I hope.”

St Raphael Arnaiz Baron (1911-1938)

and-delicately-gently-by-means-of-this-dawn-god-teaches-me-to-obey-he-gives-me-a-little-cornr-st-raphael-arnaiz-baron-19-dec-2019 8 feb 2020


One Minute Reflection – 8 February – If you wish to come and find Me, seek me aside.

One Minute Reflection – 8 February – Saturday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Tme, Year A, Readings: 1 Kings 3:4-13, Psalm 119:9-14, Mark 6:30-34 and the Memorial of Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus (1893-1983)

“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile” … Mark 6:31

REFLECTION – “If you wish to come and find Me, seek me aside.   As Mark says: “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.   People were coming and going in great numbers and they had no opportunity even to eat.” (Mk 6:31).
Alas, such are the passions of the flesh and the turmoil of thoughts coming and going in our hearts that we have no time to eat the food of everlasting sweetness nor perceive the taste of interior contemplation.   That is why our Lord says: “Come away” from the noisy crowd “to a deserted place,” to solitude of mind and heart, “and rest awhile.”   For truly, as the book of Revelation says:  “There will be silence in heaven for about half an hour” (Rv 8:1); and in the Psalm:  “Who will give me wings like a dove that I might fly away and find rest” (Ps 54[55]:7 LXX).
But let us listen to what the prophet Hosea says:  “I will seduce her and lead her into the wilderness and I will speak to her heart” (cf. Hos 2:16 Vg).   These three expressions: seduce, lead into the wilderness, speak to her heart, represent the three stages of the spiritual life – the beginning, development and perfection.   The Lord seduces the beginner when He enlightens him with His grace so that he may grow and progress from virtue to virtue.   Then he leads him aside from the din of the vices and disordered thoughts into peace of spirit.   Finally, once guided to perfection, God speaks to his heart. Then the soul experiences the sweetness of divine inspiration and can surrender totally to joy of spirit.
What depth of devotion, of wonderment and happiness in his heart!   By devotion he is raised above himself, through wonder he is led above himself, through happiness he is transported out of himself.” … St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Doctor of the Church – Sermon for the feast of Saint John the Evangelistmark 6 31 come away by yourselves and rest - if you wish to find me seek me aside - st anthony of padua 8 feb 2020

PRAYER – All-powerful, eternal God, splendour of true light and never-ending day, let our striving for Your kingdom not fall short through selfishness or fear, may the universe be alive with the Spirit and our homes be the pledge of the world redeemed.   May our eyes see and our hearts have compassion, to all those who need us.   May the intercession of our Holy Mother, Bl Esperanza de Jesus and all the saints, be a strength and a comfort. Through Jesus, our compassionate and loving Redeemer, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You forever, esperanza de jesus pray for us 8 feb 2020

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SACRED and IMMACULATE HEARTS

Our Morning Offering – 8 February – Jesus, my Saviour, Help me

Our Morning Offering – 8 February – Saturday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Tme, Year A

Jesus, my Saviour, Help me
By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Most Zealous Doctor

Jesus, my Saviour, help me.
I am resolved truly to love You
and to leave all to please You.
Help me to free myself from everything
that hinders me from belonging wholly to You,
who have loved me so much.
By your prayers, O Mother Mary,
which are so powerful with God,
obtain for me this grace
to belong wholly to God.
Amenjesus my saviour help me - st alphonsus liguori 8 feb 2020

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 8 February – Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus (1893-1983)

Saint of the Day – 8 February – Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus (1893-1983) Religious Nun and Founder of both the Handmaids of Merciful Love in 1930 and the Sons of Merciful Love in 1951.   Born as Maria Josefa Alhama y Valera on 30 September 1893 in Santomera, Murcia, Spain and died on 8 February 1983 in Collevalenza, Perugia, Italy. She took the name of “Maria, Esperanza of Jesus”  “Mary, Hope of Jesus” when she became a esperanza and cross

Maria Josefa was born in a shed, into a humble farming family of Spain.   Her father, Jose Antonio, tried his best to work their poor piece of land despite the harsh sun and flooding that their area typically suffered.   Maria Josefa was the first of nine siblings and she was the typical mischievous little girl.   About age seven, she went to live with her parish priest and his two unmarried sisters, who raised and educated her.

At the time, children received their First Holy Communion around age twelve.   Maria Josefa, however, decided she would do otherwise.   Around age nine, she decided to “steal Jesus” and received him into her little body.   Since then, she experienced a deep closeness with the Lord in her life  . She reported at age twelve that Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus appeared to her, saying, “I come on behalf of the Good Jesus to tell you that you have to continue what I began…”   Almighty God wanted Maria Josefa to spread devotion to His Merciful Love everywhere in the world.

Growing into maturity, Maria Josefa wanted to consecrate her life to Jesus.   She knew that Jesus is close to the poor and needy, so she went to places where people were suffering in order to discern her vocation.   On visiting a hospital once, she was disappointed and surprised by a nun who was accompanying a dying man. The nun told her, “Don’t worry; your heart will soon harden.”   Maria Josefa responded, “Before letting my heart harden, I prefer to leave.”

So, she did.   On the feast of Saint Teresa of Avila, twenty-one year old Maria Josefa left her hometown to join religious life.   She entered the Daughters of Calvary, which was later united with the Claretian Missionaries.   She received the religious name Maria Esperanza de Jesus.   Throughout her first years, she experienced many hardships, including serious illnesses.   Her spiritual directors attested to some mystical experiences during this time and she also received unexplained cures to her health ailments.

A turning point in Esperanza’s vocation happened at Christmas 1927.   She lived in a house that belonged to an Association of Catholic Ladies.   There, she prepared a meal for 400 poor and hungry people, who began filling the house.   A lady from the Association approached her:  “Who gave you permission to bring all of these filthy people here to dirty everything?”   Esperanza responded, “Ma’am, they have not come here to dirty anything but to eat, since it’s Christmas.”   But the woman said, “You would do well to not bring the poor here again.   You can do that in your own house.”   Deeply hurt, Esperanza brought herself to the Lord in prayer.   She felt Him say, “Esperanza, wherever the poor cannot enter, neither can you.   Leave this house!”   She asked, “Lord, where shall I go?”   She soon requested that she be released from her esperanza de jesus 2

On Christmas night three years later, Mother Esperanza took new vows with a small group of women, founding the Handmaids of Merciful Love.   Their mission was to spread the Merciful Love of God through merciful work.   These women ate cabbage soup and slept on the floor, yet they opened twelve houses for children, the sick and the elderly and devoted themselves to other good works.   Over the door of each house, a sign reads, “Knock poor and be helped, knock suffering and be consoled, knock sick and be assisted, knock, orphans and find that the Handmaids of Merciful Love are mothers.”   Today, they exist in 11 countries.   Yet, at the time, the local Bishop instructed that no-one should associate with them.   They were not allowed to have the Blessed Sacrament in their houses and so walked to the local parish each day.

Mother wrote, “God is a Father of kindness who seeks by all means to give comfort, help and make his children happy.   He searches for them with untiring love as if he could not be happy without them.   The most perverse person, the most miserable and lost one, is loved tenderly by Jesus who is to him a Father and a tender Mother…”   In her diary she wrote, “He dwells within us and seeks our love tenderly, as if He could not live without us…”bl esperanza de jesus

In 1936, the Spanish Civil War broke out.   Six years after founding the Handmaids, Mother Esperanza left her home country for Rome with her closest friend, Pilar de Arratia.   The two women pleaded their cause against defamations and inflammatory language that had been directed against the Handmaids of Merciful Love.   During this extremely frustrating and trying time, Pilar was Esperanza’s dearest confidant and supporter.

Then, World War II began.   Amid the violence, the Handmaids continued and spread. They received children, hid fugitives without concern for their ideology, aided and stitched up the wounded, fed thousands and consoled countless.   People ran to the Handmaids when alarms sounded.   In 1944, Pilar died, a terrible blow for Esperanza.

Yet, she pressed on.   In 1951, she founded the Sons of Merciful Love, whose mission is to proclaim God’s Merciful Love by holiness of life and dedicating themselves with attention to Diocesan Priests.   The Brothers promote diocesan priests’ continued growth in spiritual life, attend to sick and elderly priests and collaborate with them in ministry.

Mother Esperanza relocated to the small town of Collevalenza, devoting herself to a worthy goal – that one day, the Sons of Merciful Love would include priests.   Her efforts bore fruit with Diocesan approval in 1968.   There are now religious Priests devoted to the Congregation, as well as Diocesan Priests who take vows according to the Family of Merciful Love, while remaining obedient to their own Diocese.   They serve in 11 countries.

During her time in Collevalenza, Mother Esperanza became convinced that Jesus wished her to build a sanctuary Shrine for today’s world, devoted to God’s Merciful Love.   She worked with an artist to create a crucifix which is the centre of the Sanctuary – A living Jesus, upright, eyes full of serenity and looking tenderly toward the Father to remind Him of his chosen and effective offering, “Father, forgive them.   They know not what they do.”   Over his head, the sign in three languages says, “Jesus Nazarene King of the Jews.” On His neck, a scar from the rope.   The Latin word Caritas appears over His heart.   A great white Host in the background reminds us that Jesus’ sacrifice is perpetuated in the Eucharist.   In Spanish: “The Merciful Love” is written at the foot of the Cross.   The Cross itself is raised on top of a globe (the world), which carries a royal crown and an open book, the Gospel.   On the book there is written:  “Love one another as I loved you” and on the cushion under the crown there is the following sentence:  “O Christ, you are the King of Glory” – demonstrating that Jesus Merciful Love wants to rule the world and bring His love into it.8-el-crucifijo-original bl esperanza

As Mother’s life waned with old age, she said that she felt like a flute diffusing the melody of mercy, like a handkerchief for tears, or like the doorkeeper of the Good God, who opens His arms to draw all to His fatherly heart.   She received thousands of visitors and lived at the Sanctuary of Merciful Love.   An Italian writer said that Mother received visitors with the nobility of a Spanish woman – always standing, attentively listening, raising spirits and encouraging visitors to pray to Jesus Merciful Love, promising that she would do the same.   She spent several hours each night in front of the Crucifix, making good on her promises.

Outside the Sanctuary’s entrance is a fountain where pilgrims quench the thirst of their body and spirit. Its waters come from the Sanctuary well, known as the water of Merciful Love.   It was dug at Mother’s request, 122 meters deep.   The well fills baths for the sick, and pilgrims take water home for devotional esperanza

In May of 1981, St Pope John Paul II was attacked in St Peter’s Square.   For his first visit outside the Vatican since the attempt on his life, John Paul II made a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Merciful Love in November because, he said, “we owe our health to God’s mercy.”   He already knew Mother Esperanza, because he had visited with her twice while he was Bishop of Krakow.

He bowed down and kissed her on the forehead.   A year earlier, he had released his encyclical on Divine Mercy, Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy).   “This circumstance,” he said, “has brought me to the Sanctuary of Merciful Love.   By my presence, I want to restate in a special way the message of this encyclical. […]   Since the beginning of my ministry in the office of Saint Peter in Rome, I have considered this message as my particular task.”   He was the Pope to officially recognise and approve the Handmaids and the Sons of Merciful Love.

Esperanza’s body and mind declined after years of service.   On a snowy morning, 8 February 1983, she died peacefully at almost ninety years of age.   Her body rests in the crypt of the Sanctuary of Merciful Love, which itself was declared a Basilica in 1988 by St John Paul II.tomb of bl esperanza de jesus

In 1999, a miracle was obtained through Mother Esperanza’s intercession.   Francesco Maria, an infant living near Vigevano, Italy, was suffering from multiple protein intolerance.   In June, he was hospitalised.   While watching television, Francesco’s mother learned about Mother Esperanza and the water from the Sanctuary of Merciful Love.   She began giving him the water to drink on 28 June.   After five days, on the occasion of his first birthday party, Francesco was able to eat all food given to him.   A laboratory report confirmed the termination of allergic phenomena and verified the normalisation of intestinal permeability.   There was no sign that he had ever suffered the ailment.

On 31 May 2014, Pope Francis Beatified Esperanza de Jesus.   The following day, he told the pilgrims at St Peter’s Square, “May her witness help the Church to proclaim everywhere, through concrete and daily actions, the infinite mercy of our Heavenly Father toward every person.”beatification bl maria esperanza

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

FIFTH World Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking in Persons under the Patronage of St Josephine Bakhita, her Memorial and that of the Saints – 8 February

St Jerome Emiliani CRS (1486–1537) (Optional Memorial)
About St Jerome:



St Cointha of Alexandria
St St Cuthman
St Cyriacus of Rome
St Dionysus of Armenia
St Elfleda of Whitby
St Emilian of Armenia
Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus (1893-1983)
St Giacuto
St Gisela
St Honoratus of Milan
St Invenzio of Pavia
St Isaias Boner
St Jacoba
Bl Josephina Gabriella Bonino
St Kigwe
St Lucius of Rome
St Meingold
St Mlada of Prague
St Nicetius of Besançon
St Oncho of Clonmore
St Paul of Rome
St Paul of Verdun
Bl Peter Igneus
St Sebastian of Armenia
St Stephen of Muret

Martyrs of Constantinople: Community of 5th century monks at the monastery of Saint Dius at Constantinople. Imprisoned and martyred for loyalty to the Vatican during the Acacian Schism. 485 in Constantinople.

Martyrs of Persia: An unknown number of Christians murdered in early 6th-century Persia. Legend says that so many miracles occurred through the intercession of these martyrs that the king decreed an end to the persecution of Christians.