The Apostolic Penitentiary has issued a decree granting special indulgences to the faithful at this time of pandemic.
Signed on 19 March, the Feast of St Joseph, by Major Penitentiary Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, the decree states that:
“The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful suffering from the Coronavirus, subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they unite themselves spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, to the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfil the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), as soon as possible.”
Cardinal Piacenza adds that the same gift of Plenary Indulgence will be given “under the same conditions” to:
“Health care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer. “No man has greater love than this: to give his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13).”
He adds that the decree also “willingly grants” the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions to:
“Those faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic Adoration, or the reading of Sacred Scripture for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and the eternal salvation of those whom the Lord has called to Himself.”
Thought for the Day – 21 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Christianity is the religion of love.
This is not to say that charity is sufficient, without justice, for there can be no real charity without justice.
But justice cannot always bring us very far.
There are many complex and tragic problems, which justice alone is powerless to solve.
Only Christian love can comfort the human heart and heal some of the deeper wounds of poor suffering humanity.
There is a sense, in which it is true to say, that Christianity is charity.
This is what Jesus meant when He said: “This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). “God is love and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him” (1 Jn 4:16).
Anyone who is without charity is not really a Christian.
Egoism is the absolute negation of Christianity.
The egoist is deaf to human sorrows and loves only himself.
A Christian should love God above all things and his neighbour as himself.”
Quote of the Day – 21 March – Saturday of the Third Week of Lent
“You must be reconciled with your enemies, speak to them as if they had never done you anything but good all your life, keeping nothing in your heart but the charity, which the good Christian should have for everyone, so that we can all appear with confidence before the tribunal of God.”
Lenten Reflection – 21 March – Saturday of the Third Week of Lent, Readings: Hosea 6:1-6, Psalm 51:3-4, 18-21, Luke 18:9-14
“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ … Luke 18:13
Daily Meditation: Fill our hearts with your love.
“We must only pray by placing ourselves before God just as we are. Not like the pharisee who prays with arrogance and hypocrisy. We are all taken up by the frenetic pace of daily life, often at the mercy of feelings, dazed and confused. It is necessary to learn how to rediscover the path to our heart, to recover the value of intimacy and silence, because the God who encounters us and speaks to us, is there. Only by beginning there can we, in our turn, encounter others and speak with them.”…Pope Francis – General Audience, 1 June 2016
“Come, let us return to the Lord, for he has torn, that he may heal us, he has stricken and he will bind us up.”
Thanks be to Christ the Lord, who brought us life by His death on the cross.
With our whole heart let us ask Him:
By Your death raise us to life.
Teacher and Saviour,
You have shown us Your fidelity and made us a new creation by Your passion,
– keep us from falling again into sin.
Help us to deny ourselves today,
– and not deny those in need.
May we receive this day of penance as Your gift,
– and give it back to You through works of mercy.
Master our rebellious hearts,
– and teach us generosity and love.
God of infinite love,
You shower me with limitless gifts in my life.
In my every thought and action today
guide me to the bright and loving light of Your kingdom.
Help me to be aware of
the many ways You allow me
to share in Your life so intimately today.
Thank You for the gifts You have placed in my life.
Let me be grateful every moment of this day..
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
“The one who requests less than he deserves from God will surely obtain more than he deserves. This is clearly shown by the tax-collector who requested forgiveness but obtained justification. And the thief merely requested to be remembered in His Kingdom but he inherited Paradise.”
One Minute Reflection – 21 March – Saturday of the Third Week of Lent, Readings: Hosea 6:1-6, Psalm 51:3-4, 18-21, Luke 18:9-14 and the Memorial of St Enda of Aran
“…For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled but he who humbles himself, will be exalted.”… Luke 18:14
REFLECTION – “It is of capital importance that you emphasise what is the basis for holiness and the foundation of goodness. I mean, to talk about the virtue of which Jesus presents himself explicitly as the model – humility (cf. Mt 11:29).
Inner humility, more inner than outward.
Recognise who you truly are – a nothing, something quite miserable, weak, full of defects, capable of turning good into bad, to let go the good, for the bad, to attribute to yourself the good and to justify yourself in doing bad and for love of evil, to despise the One who is the Supreme Good.
Never go to bed before having first examined your conscience to consider how you spent your day. Turn all your thoughts towards the Lord and consecrate to Him your own person, as well as all Christians. Then offer to His glory, the sleep you will get, without ever forgetting your guardian angel, who is always at your side.” … Saint Pio of Pietralcina “Padre Pio” (1887-1968) – Buona Giornata
PRAYER – We turn to You our God and Father and seek Your comfort and assurance. Jesus, our Lord, Your Son, taught us how to pray in humility and all we need to be and do, to reach You. Be patient good Father, as we grow by Your grace. May the prayers of St Enda, be heard together with the Mother of Christ and of Humility, as they pray on our behalf. Through Jesus our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 21 March – Saturday of the Third Week of Lent
Pope Francis Prayer recited by video on 11 March
asking Mary to protect Italy and the world during the coronavirus pandemic.
Prayer to Mary, Health of the Sick
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain,
keeping your faith firm.
You, Salvation of the Roman People,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon Himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the Cross,
to the joy of the Resurrection.
Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God.
Do not disdain the entreaties of we, who are in trial
but deliver us from every danger,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.
Saint of the Day – 21 March – St Enda of Aran (c 450 – c 530) Priest, Monk, Abbot of Aran “Patriarch of Irish Monasticism” and Aran is known as “Aran of the Saints” – also known as Éanna, Edna, Éinne, Endeus, Enna – born in Meath, Ireland and died in c 530 of natural causes. Enda was a warrior-king of Oriel in Ulster, converted by his sister, Saint Fanchea, an abbess. About 484 he established the first Irish Monastery at Killeaney on Aran Mor. Most of the great Irish saints had some connection with Aran.
According to the Martyrdom of Oengus, Enda was an Irish prince, son of Conall Derg of Oriel (Ergall) in Ulster. Legend has it that when his father died, he succeeded him as king and went off to fight his enemies. The soldier Enda, was converted by his sister, Saint Fanchea, an abbess. He visited St Fanchea of Rossory (died c 585), who tried to persuade him to lay down his arms. He agreed, if only she would give him a young girl in the convent for a wife. He renounced his dreams of conquest and decided to marry. The girl she promised turned out to have just died and Fanchea forced him to view the girl’s corpse, to teach him that he, too, would face death and judgment.
Faced with the reality of death and by his sister’s persuasion, Enda decided to study for the priesthood and studied first at St Ailbe’s monastery at Emly. Fanchea sent him to Rosnat, a great centre of Monasticism. There he took Monastic vows and was Ordained.
In this way, St Fanchea succeeded in turning her brother not only from violence but even from marriage. He left Ireland for several years, during which time he became a Monk and was ordained as a Priest.
Upon his return to Ireland, he petitioned his King Aengus of Munster – who was married to another of Enda’s sisters – to grant him land for a Monastic settlement on the Aran Islands, a beautiful but austere location near Galway Bay off Ireland’s west coast.
During its early years, Enda’s island mission had around 150 monks. As the community grew, he divided up the territory between his disciples, who founded their own Monasteries to accommodate the large number of vocations. Enda did not found a religious order in the modern sense but he did hold a position of authority and leadership over the Monastic settlements of Aran – which became known as “Aran of the Saints,” renowned for the monks’ strict rule of life and passionate love for God.
Enda’s monks imitated the asceticism and simplicity of the earliest Egyptian desert hermits. He established the Monastery of Enda, which is regarded as the first Irish Monastery, at Killeany on Inismór. He also established a Monastery in the Boyne valley and several others across the island and along with St Finnian of Clonard is known as the Father of Irish monasticism. At Killeaney, the monks lived a hard life of manual labour, prayer, fasting and study of the Scriptures. The monks of Aran lived alone in their stone cells, slept on the ground, ate together in silence and survived by farming and fishing. St Enda’s monastic rule, like those of St Basil in the Greek East and St Benedict in the Latin West, set aside many hours for prayer and the study of scripture.
Enda divided the island into two parts, one half assigned to the Monastery of Killeany, and the western half to such of his disciples as chose “to erect permanent religious houses on the island.” Later he divided the island into 8 parts, in each of which he built a “place of refuge”. The life of Enda and his monks was frugal and austere. The day was divided into fixed periods for prayer, labour and sacred study. Each community had its own church and its village of stone cells, in which they slept either on the bare ground or on a bundle of straw covered with a rug but always in the clothes worn by day. They assembled for their daily devotions in the church or oratory of the saint under whose immediate care they were placed. The monks took their meals in silence in a common refectory, from a common kitchen, having no fires in their stone cells, however cold the weather or wild the seas.
They invariably carried out the monastic rule of procuring their own food and clothing by the labour of their hands. Some fished around the islands, others cultivated patches of oats or barley in sheltered spots between the rocks. Others ground grain or kneaded the meal into bread and baked it for the use of the brethren. They spun and wove their own garments from the undyed wool of their own sheep. They could grow no fruit in these storm-swept islands, they drank neither wine nor mead and they had no flesh meat, except perhaps a little for the sick.
During his own lifetime, Enda’s Monastic settlement on the Aran islands became an important pilgrimage destination, as well as a centre for the evangelisation of surrounding areas. At least two dozen Canonised Saints had some association with “Aran of the Saints.”
Enda’s Monastery flourished until Viking times but much of the stone was ransacked by Cromwell’s men in the 1650s for fortifications, so only scattered ruins remain. Most survive as coastal ruined towers. Cattle, goats, and horses now huddle and shiver in the storm under many of the ruins of old walls where once men lived and prayed. These structures were the chosen home of a group of poor and devoted men under Saint Enda. He taught them to love the hard rock, the dripping cave and the barren earth swept by the western gales. They were “Men of the Caves” and “also Men of the Cross.”
St Enda himself died in old age around the year 530. An early chronicler of his life declared that it would “never be known until the day of judgment, the number of saints whose bodies lie in the soil of Aran,”on account of the onetime-warrior’s response to God’s surprising call. His remains are buried at Tighlagheany, Inishmore, Ireland.
Saint Ciaran of Clonmacnoise (c 516 – c 549) came there first as a youth to grind corn and would have remained there for life but for Enda’s insistence that his true work lay elsewhere, reluctant though he was to part with him. When he departed, the Monks of Enda lined the shore as he knelt for the last time to receive Enda’s blessing and watched as the boat bore him from them. Saint Finnian left St Enda and founded the Monastery of Moville (where Columba spent part of his youth) and who afterwards became Bishop of Lucca in Tuscany, Italy.
Those who lived there loved the islands which “as a necklace of pearls, God has set upon the bosom of the sea” and all the more, because they had been the scene of heathen worship – according to a prophecy, “there will be left only three islands altogether, when Innish is sent from mortal planes, Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer.” On the largest will stand Saint Enda’s well and altar and the round tower of the church, where the bell was sounded, which gave the signal that Saint Enda had taken his place at the altar. At the tolling of the bell the service of the Mass began in all the churches of the island.