Second Thought for the Day – 25 March – The Annunciation by Thomas Merton

Second Thought for the Day – 25 March – The Annunciation

the annunciation poem by thomas merton 25 march 2020

The Annunciation
By Fr Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

Ashes of paper, ashes of a world
Wandering, when fire is done:
We argue with the drops of rain!

Until one comes Who walks unseen
Even in elements we have destroyed.
Deeper than any nerve
He enters flesh and bone.
Planting His truth, He puts our substance on.
Air, earth and rain
Rework the frame that fire has ruined.
What was dead is waiting for His Flame.
Sparks of His Spirit spend their seeds, and hide
To grow like irises, born before summertime.
These blue thinas bud in Israel.

The girl prays by the bare wall
Between the lamp and the chair.
(Framed with an angel in our galleries
She has a richer painted room, sometimes a crown.
Yet seven pillars of obscurity
Build her to Wisdom’s house, and Ark and Tower.
She is the Secret of another Testament
She owns their manna in her jar.)

Fifteen years old –
The flowers printed on her dress
Cease moving in the middle of her prayer
When God, Who sends the messenger,
Meets His messenger in her Heart.
Her answer, between breath and breath,
Wrings from her innocence our Sacrament!
In her white body God becomes our Bread.

It is her tenderness
Heats the dead world like David on his bed.
Times that were too soon criminal
And never wanted to be normal
Evade the beast that has pursued
You, me and Adam out of Eden’s wood.
Suddenly we find ourselves assembled
Cured and recollected under several green trees.

Her prudence wrestled with the Dove
To hide us in His cloud of steel and silver:
These are the mysteries of her Son.
And here my heart, a purchased outlaw,
Prays in her possession
Until her Jesus, makes my heart
Smile like a flower in her blameless hand.

Fr Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Trappist monk and priest is recognized as one of the major spiritual fathers of our times.   His longing for silence and solitude, his contemplative vision, his engagement with need for world peace through inner life of the spirit, his journey across religious traditions, cultures and disciplines, make him a man for all times but especially for our own.   Thomas Merton expressed this vision in his poetry, novels, essays, devotionals and autobiographical writings.


Thought for the Day – 25 March – Mortification and Penance

Thought for the Day – 25 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Mortification and Penance

“In Christian teaching, death is the beginning of life.
“Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies,” Jesus said, “it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. He who loves his life, loses it and he, who hates his life in this world, keeps it unto life everlasting” (Jn 12:24-25).
This paradox of dying to this life in order to live in Heaven, was enacted in a wonderful way in the lives of Jesus and of the Saints.
It must be put into effect in our lives also, if we are to be genuine Christians.
Jesus shed His precious blood for us and His death was the beginning of His triumph.
The Apostles, Martyrs and Saints, gave their lives for Christ and received, as their reward, the happy and eternal life of Heaven.
By dying to our own ego and to our passions, we shall find the true life of Christ.
We must die to ourselves, so that Christ may live in us, as He lived in St Paul.
We must die to pride, so that Christian humility may live in us;
we must die to anger, so that patience may live in us;
we must die to lust, so that purity and innocence may live in us
and, we must die to selfishness, so that charity may live in us.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci


Quote of the Day – 25 March – Mary’s Titles

Quote of the Day – 25 March – The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

“Mary’s titles are numberless…
she is the palace in which the mighty King of kings abode,
yet He did not cast her out when He came,
because it was from her that He took flesh and was born.
She is the new heaven in which dwelt the King of kings,
in her, Christ arose and from her, rose up to enlighten creation,
formed and fashioned in His image.
She is the stock of the vine that bore the grape,
she yielded a fruit greater than nature
and He, although other than her in His nature,
ripened in colour on being born of her.
She is the spring from which living waters
sprang up for the thirsty
and all those who drank them,
yielded fruit a hundredfold.”

Saint Ephrem (306-373)

Father and Doctor of the Church

Sermons on the Mother of God, 2, 93-145

More here:

mary's titles are numberless - st ephrem - annunciation - sermon 25 march 2019

Posted in Catholic NEWS, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, NOTES to Followers, The LORD'S PRAYER

Holy Father Calls on World to Pray the “Our Father” Together at 12 Noon and announces the Urbi et Orbi Blessing on Friday 27 March which will include a Plenary Indulgence

Holy Father Calls on World to Pray the “Our Father” Together at 12 Noon and announces the Urbi et Orbi Blessing on Friday 27 March which will include a Plenary Indulgence

Pope Francis has called for all Christians throughout the world to join in praying the Our Father on Wednesday, 25 March 2020, at noon.

25 march 2020 pray the our father at noon today pope francis coronavirus 25march2020

He made the appeal after praying the noonday Angelus on 22 March broadcast from Apostolic Library in the Vatican.

“In these days of trial, while humanity trembles because of the pandemic’s menace, I would like to propose to all Christians to unite their voices to Heaven,” the Pope said after Sunday’s Angelus.   “I invite all the Heads of Churches and the leaders of all the Christian Communities, together with all the Christians of the various Confessions, to invoke the Most High, Almighty God, reciting contemporaneously the prayer that Jesus Our Lord taught us.   I invite all, therefore, to do so several times a day, but, all together, to recite the Our Father .the Lord's Prayer - matthew 6 9-13 - 20 june 2019

On the day in which many Christians recall the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary of the Incarnation of the Word, may the Lord be able to hear the unanimous prayer of all His disciples that are preparing to celebrate the victory of the Risen Christ.

With this same intention, next Friday, 27 March at 6:00 pm, I will preside over a moment of prayer in the courtyard of St Peter’s Basilica, with the empty Square. From now on I invite all to take part spiritually through the means of communication.   We will listen to the Word of God, we will elevate our prayer, we will adore the Most Blessed Sacrament, with which at the end I will give the Urbi et Orbi Blessing, to which will be annexed the possibility to receive a Plenary Indulgence.”


Lenten Reflection – 25 March – Mary’s Fiat must be our fiat!

Lenten Reflection – 25 March – The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord –- Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10, Psalm 40:7-11, Hebrews 10:4-10, Luke 1:26-38

“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.” … Luke 1:38

Daily Meditation:
Today we step out of Lent, in one way.
We are nine months away from Christmas.
This is the feast of the Incarnation – the enfleshment of our God for us.
In Jesus, God entered this world, our world.

“God, who is Mighty has done great things for me, holy is his name” … Luke 1:49luke-1-49.GOD WHO IS MIGHTY HAS DONE GREAT THINGS FOR ME - 21 DEC 2017, 2018 2019jpg

“Contemplate Mary, my beloved, see how Gabriel went into her house and her questioning: “How can this be?”   The Holy Spirit’s servant gave her this answer:  “Nothing is impossible for God, for him, all is easy.”   Consider how she believed the word she had heard and said: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord.”   From that moment the Lord descended in a way known to Him alone, He bestirred Himself and came according to His good pleasure, He entered her without her feeling it and she opened herself to Him without experiencing any suffering.   She bore within herself, as a child, Him by whom the world was filled.  He descended to become the model that would renew Adam’s ancient image.”Saint Ephrem (306-373) – Father and Doctor of the Church – Sermons on the Mother of God, 2, 93-145mary's fiat - luke 1 38 behold i am the handmaid of the lord - 11 may 2019

Let us give thanks to God, our Father:
through the power of the Spirit He purifies our heart and strengthens us in love.
Let us humbly ask Him:
Lord, give us Your Holy Spirit.

Help us to receive good things from Your bounty with a deep sense of gratitude;
-and to accept with patience the evil that comes to us.
Teach us to be loving not only in great and exceptional moments,
-but above all in the ordinary events of daily life.
May we abstain from what we do not really need,
-and help our brothers and sisters in distress.
May we bear the wounds of Your Son,
-for through His body He gave us life.

Closing Prayer:
God of infinite love,
I thank You for this feast of our salvation,
right here in the middle of Lent.
I turn to You to beg for Your help.
I need the inspiration and help of Mary on this journey.
Please grant me the grace to be humbly faithful
to what You are calling me to do.
Please give me what I need to be free and to be Your servant.
Please let Mary guide us in the path to peace in our world.
I ask You this, through Jesus our Lord.
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amenmary's fiat must be our fiat 25 march 2019 annunciation


One Minute Reflection – 25 March – ‘And Mary’s body enfolds Him, whom the heaven of heavens does not contain.’

One Minute Reflection – 25 March – The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord –- Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10, Psalm 40:7-11, Hebrews 10:4-10, Luke 1:26-38

“The Holy Spirit shall come upon you and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you.”   And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word.”...Luke 1:35, 38

luke 1 35 the holy spirit shall come upon you - 25 march 2020 annunciation

REFLECTION – “The Word came from Himself and came down beneath Himself and dwelt among us (cf. Jn 1:14), when He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant (Phil 2:7).   That emptying was a decent.   Yet He descended in such a way that He did not lose Himself.   He was made flesh in such a way that He did not cease to be the Word, nor did the taking of humanity lessen the glory of His majesty. (…)
Indeed, just as the sun’s brightness penetrates glass without breaking it and as a glance of the eyes plunges into calm clear water without parting or dividing it, while it opens up all things to their very depth, so the Word of God drew near the Virgin’s dwelling and went forth from it, her virgin womb still closed. (…)  Therefore, the invisible God was made visible man, the impassible and immortal showed Himself passible and mortal.  He who was not confined within the garments of our substance, willed to be so confined. There is enclosed within the womb of a mother one whose immensity encloses the whole range of heaven and earth.   And Mary’s body enfolds Him, whom the heaven of heavens does not contain.
If you ask how it was done, hear the Archangel setting forth the plan to Mary and saying to her:  “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you.” (cf. Lk 1:35) (…)   For He chose you before and above all others, that you may surpass all those who have been before or after you or shall be in the fullness of grace.” … Saint Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) Cistercian Monk, then Bishop – In praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Homily IIIthere is enclosed within the womb of a mother - 25 march 2020 annunciation

PRAYER – Shape us in the likeness of the Divine nature of our Redeemer, whom we believe to be true God and true man, since it was Your will, Lord God, that He, Your Word, should take to Himself, our human nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for always and forever, amen.

the nicest word - servant of god guy pierre de fontgalland - 24 feb 2018-no 2


Our Morning Offering – 25 March – The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Our Morning Offering – 25 March – The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Prayer to Our Lady of the Annunciation
By Blessed James Alberione (1884-1971)
(The founder of the Daughters of St Paul)

Queen of heaven and earth,
daughter of the Father,
Mother of the divine Son,
spouse of the Holy Spirit,
I praise God
for the unique grace given to you.

Mary, you became the great Mother
of our divine Saviour,
our Master, true Light of the world,
uncreated Wisdom,
source of all Truth and first Apostle of Truth.
You gave the world
the book to read, the eternal Word.

For this I bless the holy Trinity
and I ask you to obtain for me
the grace of heavenly wisdom,
to be a fervent disciple of Jesus
and to be lovingly devoted to the Church,
the pillar of truth.

Make the light of the Gospel
shine to the farthest bounds of the earth.
Queen of the Apostles, pray for us!
Amenprayer to our lady of the annunciation by bl james alberione 25 march 2019


Saint of the Day – 25 March – St Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas (1843-1927)

Saint of the Day – 25 March – St Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas (1843-1927) Palestinian Nun and Founder of the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of Jerusalem (the Rosary Sisters), the first Palestinian congregation, Mystic, Apostle of the Holy Rosary – born as Soultaneh Maria Ghattas on 4 October 1843 in Jerusalem and died on 25 March 1927 at Ain Karim, Jerusalem of natural causes.   Patronage – the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of Jerusalem439px st-Marie-Alphonsine-Danil-Ghattas

Sultanah Maria Ghattas was born in Jerusalem on 4 October 1843 and baptised on 19 of November the same year.   On 18 July 1852, she received the Sacrament of Confirmation from the hands of His Beatitude Giuseppe Valerga, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.

At the age of 14, she joined the Congregation of St Joseph of the Apparition as a Postulant. On 30 June 1860, she received the Holy Habit of the Religious of St Joseph of the Apparition and took the name of Sr Marie-Alphonsine.   Two years later, in 1862, she pronounced her three vows.   In Bethlehem where she was assigned, she was entrusted with the teaching of Catechism.   Besides, she founded Confraternities and Associations and promoted the devotion to Our Lady through the prayer of the Rosary.

She was favoured with several apparitions of Our Lady who revealed to Mother Marie- Alphonsine Her desire to begin the Congregation of the Rosary.   The Virgin Mary appointed Fr Joseph Tannous as her Director to administer the Congregation of the Rosary.

Father Tannous rented for the first five postulants – including Sr Marie-Alphonsine – a modest house in Jerusalem in which they entered on 24 July 1880.   H.B. Vincent Bracco, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, vested them with the Holy Habit on 15 December 1881. Mother Marie-Alphonsine went through many difficult time prior to obtaining the dispensation from her vow of obedience to the Superiors of St Joseph and the permission to enter the new Congregation of the Holy Rosary.   Father Tannous was always there to help her during those critical times.   On 6 October 1883, she received the Habit of the Rosary Congregation from the hands of Msgr Pascal Appodia, Patriarchal Vicar.   On 7 March 1885, together with the first eight sisters, Mother Marie-Alphonsine was admitted to profession and pronounced her three vows in a ceremony presided over by Vincent Bracco, Latin Patriarch of marie-alphonsine-danil-ghattas-45-01

On 25 July 1885, Mother Marie-Alphonsine was assigned, together with another sister, to Jaffa in Galilee.   There, one day, a miracle happened – Nathira I’d, a young girl, fell into a deep cistern filled with water.   The only thing that Mother Marie-Alphonsine could do was to throw her large rosary of 15 decades in the well, to invoke Our Lady to help them and to go into the church with other girls to pray the Rosary.   Nathira came out safe and sound, saying that she saw a great light and a ladder shaped like a Rosary which assisted her in climbing her way out.

In October 1886, she was sent to a new foundation in Beit Sahour (the Shepherds’ village) where, it was expected, she would open a school.   In 1887, together with three sisters, she left Beit Sahour for Salt, the first mission in Trans-Jordan.   Two years later she was sent to Nablus but soon taken to the Mother House in Jerusalem for health reasons.   Once healed, she was sent to Zababdeh.   In 1892, she was sent to Nazareth to assist Fr Tannous on his deathbed.

In 1893, Mother Marie-Alphonsine established a workshop in Bethlehem, to give work to poor girls.   She remained 15 years in Bethlehem, at the end of those years full of zeal and enthusiasm, in 1909, she was recalled to the Mother House in Jerusalem where she remained till 1917, when she was charged with the foundation of an orphanage in the town of Ain-Karem.   There she could return to her life of prayer to fulfill Our Lady’s wish that the Rosary may be recited perpetually.

On 25 March 1927, Mother Marie-Alphonsine breathed her last while praying the rosary with her sister, Hanneh Danil Ghattas.

Thus, Mother Marie-Alphonsine was distinguished by her total abandonment to the Divine Providence.   She is the apostle of hope and trust in God and Our Lady.   She firmly believed in our Lady’s words: “The Rosary is your treasure!”st marie-alphonsine danil ghattas

His Holiness St Pope John Paul II announced the acknowledgement of the heroic virtues of Mother Marie Alphonsine on 15 October 1994 and in 1995 she was proclaimed “Venerable”.

On 22 November 2009, she was Beatified in Nazareth.

At her Canonisation on 17 May 2015 in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said:

“An essential aspect of witness to the risen Lord is unity among ourselves, His disciples, in the image of His own unity with the Father.   Today too, in the Gospel, we heard Jesus’ prayer on the eve of His passion: “that they may be one, even as we are one” (Jn 17:11). From this eternal love between the Father and the Son, poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom 5:5), our mission and our fraternal communion draw strength;  this love is the ever-flowing source of our joy in following the Lord along the path of His poverty, His virginity and His obedience and this same love, calls us to cultivate contemplative prayer.   Sister Maria-Alphonsine Baouardy experienced this in an outstanding way.   Poor and uneducated, she was able to counsel others and provide theological explanations with extreme clarity, the fruit of her constant converse with the Holy Spirit.   Her docility to the Holy Spirit made her also a means of encounter and fellowship with the Muslim world. “

The ceremony was attended by more than 2,000 Christian pilgrims from the Middle East and by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.   Four days before the Canonisation of Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas, the Vatican announced a treaty that reaffirms Palestinian statehood by the Holy See.

The members of the order she founded run schools, catechetical programs, clinics and orphanages throughout the Middle East.

Blessed Mother Marie-Alphonsine, pray for us and for the Holy Land!tapestry_of_saint_marie_alphonsine_danil_ghattas_st_peters_basilica_may_16_credit_daniel_ibanez_cna-e1458905143422


The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord and Memorials of the Saints – 25 March

The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord – 25 March

Our Lady of Betania:
The name Betania means Bethany in Spanish. It was originally given this name by Maria Esperanza and was the site of their farm, in Venezuela. Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary were reported and eventually a small chapel was built here and the faithful began to gather, especially on Feast Days but throughout the year.

St Alfwold of Sherborne
St Barontius of Pistoia
St Desiderius of Pistoia
St Dismas
St Dula the Slave
Bl Emilian Kovch (1884-1944) Priest, Martyr
About St Emilian:

Bl Everard of Nellenburg
Bl Herman of Zahringen
St Hermenland
St Humbert of Pelagius
Bl James Bird
Bl Josaphata Mykhailyna Hordashevska
St Kennocha of Fife
St Lucia Filippini
St Marie-Alphonsine/Mariam Sultaneh Danil Ghattas (1843-1927)

St Matrona of Barcelona
St Matrona of Thessaloniki
St Mona of Milan
St Ndre Zadeja
Bl Pawel Januszewski
St Pelagius of Laodicea
Bl Placido Riccardi
St Procopius
St Quirinus of Rome
Bl Tommaso of Costacciaro

262 Martyrs of Rome: A group 262 Christians martyred together in Rome. We know nothing else about them, not even their names.