Thought for the Day – 30 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Divided Heart
“To whom does your heart belong?
To the devil, perhaps?
It may be that you have allowed him to insinuate himself into your soul, so that you have fallen under his tyranny and are trying to find happiness in the satisfaction of your lower impulses.
Remember the warning of St Paul – “If anyone destroys the temple of God, him will God destroy, for holy is the temple of God and this temple you are” (1 Cor 3:17).
If you have fallen this low, you will suffer the penalty decreed by the Holy Spirit – “There is no peace to the wicked” (Is 48:22).
You expected to find satisfaction and you have found disillusionment.
You hoped for peace and found remorse.
Instead of the happiness you expected, you will know only despair, unless you turn back to God immediately.
There is only one way out of your predicament, the way chosen by the prodigal son – “I will get up and go to my father” (Lk 15:18).
Rise up, then and cast yourself into the merciful arms of your heavenly Father, Who is waiting for you.
There, you will find that peace of soul, which will remain with you until you die.
If you never allow your heart to be separated from God again, this peace will flower into eternal happiness in the next life.”
One Minute Reflection – 30 April – Thursday of the Third Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 8:26-40, Responsorial Psalm 66(65):8-9.16-17.20, John 6:44-51 and the Feast of Our Lady of Africa
“No-one can come to me, unless the Father who sent me, draw him” … John 6:44
REFLECTION – “Mother, I think it is necessary to give a few more explanations on the passage in the Canticle of Canticles: “Draw me, we shall run in the odour of your ointments” (Sg 1:4 LXX). … “No-one can come after me, unless the Father who sent me draws him,” Jesus said. Again … He teaches us that it enough to knock and it will be opened, to seek in order to find, to hold out one’s hand humbly to receive what is asked for (Mt 7:8f, Lk 11:9f). He says that everything we ask the Father in His name, He will grant it (Jn 16:23)….
What is it then to ask to be “Drawn” if not to be united in an intimate way to the object which captivates our heart? If fire and iron had the use of reason and if the latter said to the other, “Draw me,” would it not prove that it desires to be identified with the fire in such a way that the fire penetrate and drink it up with its burning substance and seem to become one with it? Dear Mother, this is my prayer. I ask Jesus to draw me into the flames of His love, to unite me so closely to Him that He live and act in me. I feel that the more the fire of love burns within my heart, the more I shall say: “Draw me,” the more also the souls who will approach me (poor little piece of iron, useless if I withdraw from the divine furnace), the more these souls will run swiftly in the odour of the ointments of their Beloved, for a soul that is burning with love cannot remain inactive. No doubt, she will remain at Jesus’ feet as did Mary Magdalene and she will listen to His sweet and burning words. Appearing to do nothing, she will give much more than Martha (Lk 10:39ff.)” … St Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1873-1897) Doctor of the Church – Autobiographical Ms. C 35
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, in Your Word, You shed the light of Your glory on the peoples who are living in the shadow of death. By Your Word, You teach us all things and ‘draw’ us in the way of hope and love. For Your Word is Truth and Your Word became flesh and filled our world with the Sun of Justice, Your Son, He who is the Sun and the Truth. May our steps be guided by His Mother, Our Lady of Africa, as we follow in the footsteps of Your Word and be a protection in our trials. Through Christ, our Lord Jesus, with You in union with the Holy Spirit, now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 30 April – Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
“Let us Pray together, entrusting ourselves to the intercession of St Joseph, Guardian of the Holy Church, the Holy Family, Guardian of all our families. Even the carpenter of Nazareth knew precariousness and bitterness. Though he worried about the future, he knew how to walk the darkness of certain moments, always letting himself be guided by God’s will without reservation.” ... -Pope Francis, 18 March 2020
Prayer to St Joseph For the Opening of our Churches Adapted from a Prayer by Pope Francis
Protect, O Holy Guardian, this our Holy Church.
Enlighten our Bishops,
so that they might know — like you do —
how to care for those entrusted to their responsibility.
Bless, O St Joseph, the Church,
beginning with her ministers,
make her the sign and instrument
of your light and your goodness.
Accompany, us O St Joseph,
as we await the re-opening of our Churches.
We are bereft and suffering without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The Food for our journey is necessary to grant us strength,
although we call Our Lord to come to our hearts,
we miss His Real Presence.
Preserve the elderly from loneliness,
especially those who are recipients of the Holy Eucharist
in their homes, grant that no-one might be left in desperation
from abandonment and discouragement.
Comfort those who are the most frail,
encourage those who falter in faith,
strengthen all of us,
intercede for the poor.
With the Virgin Mother, beg the Lord to liberate the world
from every form of suffering and want
and to come back to us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Saint of the Day – 30 April – Saint Erconwald of London (Died c 693) “The Light of London” – Bishop, Monk, Abbot, Confessor, known as a miracle-worker, founder of a Monastery and Convent – born in the 7th century in East Anglia, Enland and died in c 693 in London. He was the Bishop of London between 675 and 693, until his death. Patronages – of London, against gout. Also known as Earconvaldo, Erkenwald, Erkenwold, Erkonwald.
Saint Erconwald was born at “Stallyngeton in Lindsey” (possibly Stallingborough, near Grimsby) in the early seventh century. His father is variously described as Anna or Offa, King of East Anglia and a pagan. Erconwald was converted to Christianity at an early age by St Mellitus, the companion of Augustine and first Bishop of London. He then converted his younger sister Ethelburga and Baptised her, much to the fury of their father. Ethelburga eventually fled her parents’ home with one servant to escape being forced into marriage with a pagan.
In the year 666 Erconwald founded the Monastery of Chertsey, on an island in the Thames, apparently at the junction of several kingdoms. It is described as being founded in the reign of King Egbert, King of Kent . The foundation was confirmed and richly endowed, by Frithwald, Viceroy of Surrey, under Wulfhere King of Mercia. The Viceroy put himself and his son under obedience to Erconwald in return for prayers. Wulfhere confirmed this endowment. There is a further charter of Frithwald and Erconwald, to increase the lands of the Monastery.
Shortly after this Erconwald founded a Convent at Barking in Essex, intended to be a refuge for his sister Ethelburga. The foundation charter, countersigned by Hodilred, King of Essex, provides us with a specimen of the saint’s handwriting. In the course of building the house at Barking one beam was found to be too short and was miraculously extended to the correct length by Erconwald and his sister.
Erconwald remained as Abbot of Chertsey until 675 when he was Consecrated third Bishop of London by St Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury. St Erconwald appears to have been the first resident Bishop and probably began the building of St Paul’s, although traditionally this was adapted from a pagan temple of old Londinium. In 677 he visited Rome and obtained a number of privileges for his Diocese and Monastery from Pope Agatho I.
During his time as Bishop, Erconwald became noted for miracles and for evangelisation. He instructed St Neot, afterwards of Crowland Abbey and the two Kings of Essex, Sebbi and Sigheri, the former of whom afterwards became a Hermit in St Paul’s under Erconwald’s successor Waldhere.
In 690 Erconwald was summoned, together with St Wilfrid, to the deathbed of St Theodore. Both ministered to him but Theodore was more concerned to speak to Wilfrid, whom he wished to succeed him. In 692 King Ine of Wessex mentions his “Father Erconwald” who assisted him in codifying the Laws of Wessex.
Thus Erconwald is associated with the Kings of East Anglia, Mercia, Essex, Wessex and Kent, all of whom seem to have had interests centering in the Chertsey area. The King of Sussex, Æthelwealh, was godson to Wulfhere of Mercia, so six of the Seven Kingdoms are involved in his story.
Towards the end of his life Erconwald was confined to a wheelchair, about which many stories are told. On one occasion a raging river parted to allow the Saint to cross in his chair, on another one wheel fell off but the chair miraculously did not upset. After his death many miracles of the curing of illnesses were worked by the same wheelchair.
In 693 Brithwald, Archbishop of Canterbury, consecrated Waldhere as fourth Bishop of London, so it seems likely that Erconwald died in that year, on 30 April. He died while on retreat at Barking Abbey and there was the usual unseemly dispute over who should have the burying of him, between Barking, Chertsey and London. The Canons of St Paul’s prevailed and despite a last-ditch attempt by the nuns of Barking, succeeded in capping their miracle with a greater. (The nuns prayed for rain to swell the river at Ilford to make it impossible for the cortege to cross and to extinguish the candles but the men of London persuaded the candles to relight and the river to part again so that they crossed dry-shod.) Despite all this he was buried in a common earthen grave where he remained until 1087 when a fire destroyed the Cathedral and everything in it, except the coffin containing his remains. These were then translated to a splendid new shrine behind the high altar, where they remained right up to the Great Fire of London of 1666, despite the depredations of the Reformation. He was venerated throughout the Middle Ages and today his Memorial is 30 April with further celebration remembering him on the Translations of his relics, being celebrated on 1 February and 13 May.
Our Lady, Mother of Africa: (Feast) North Africa, the land of Saints Monica, Augustine, among others, as part of Roman Empire began to become Christian in the 3rd century under Emperor Constantine. It remained Christian until the Arab invasions in later centuries. The French re-established themselves early in the 19th century.
The first bishop, Bishop Dupuch found it impossible to build a church because the local population was hostile to the French. He went back to France for assistance. The Sodality of Our Lady in Lyon offered to the bishop a bronze statue of the Immaculate Conception with the understanding that she would be the Protectress of both the Mohammedans and the natives. It was brought from France in 1840 and was entrusted to the Cistercian monks of Staueli. Later, Cardinal Lavigiers, founder of the White Sisters, enshrined it in the new basilica at Algiers, where in 1876 the image was crowned. This bronze statue, very dark in colour, is known as Our Lady of Africa.
Pilgrims began to come to venerate the image where the lame, the blind and the crippled were miraculously healed and sailors came also, to beg for protection of their long and perilous voyages. At this and other North African shrines the veneration given to Mary by Mohammedans is very marked. This feast commemorates the crowning of the Algiers statue.
St Adjutor of Vernon
St Aimo of Savigny
St Amator of Córdoba
St Aphrodisius of Alexandria
St Dedë Plani
St Diodoro of Aphrodisias
St Donatus of Euraea St Erconwald of London (Died c 693) “The Light of London”
St Lawrence of Novara
St Louis of Córdoba
St Mariano of Acerenza
St Maximus of Ephesus
St Mercurialis of Forlì
St Peter of Córdoba
St Pomponius of Naples
St Quirinus of Rome
St Rodopiano of Aphrodisias
St Sophia of Fermo
St Swithbert the Younger
Bl Ventura of Spello
Bl William Southerne
Thought for the Day – 29 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Dignity and Responsibility of Being a Christian
“It is a great dignity to be a Christian.
By Baptism, we become sons of God, heirs to Heaven, temples of the Holy Spirit and members of the Mystical Body of Jesus, which is the Church.
God’s grace raises us to the supernatural order and makes us, as St Paul expresses it, sharers in the divine nature.
By the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Holy Spirit fortifies our faith and gives us the strength to resist the temptations of the devil and to fight like loyal soldiers, for the triumph in ourselves and in others, of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
The Sacrament of Penance, is our plank of salvation in the shipwreck of sin.
Although, we are all wretched sinners, by this give of the divine mercy, we can recover our lost innocence and return to the grace and friendship of God.
Moreover, in order to prevent us from falling back into sin, Jesus give us Himself in the Blessed Eucharist, which is called, by St Thomas Aquinas, the greatest miracle of His infinite love (Opusculum 56, Officium de festo Corporis Christi, lectures 1-4).
But this is not all.
If it is our vocation for form a family, God consecrates our union at the altar and gives us the graces necessary, to sanctify it, so that it may produce a good Christian family.
If God has called us, on the other hand, to become spiritual fathers of the souls redeemed by His Precious Blood, He raises us to this high dignity, by the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
Finally, when we shall have come to the end of our mortal lives, the Priest will be still by our side, to wash away, by the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, the last traces of sin and to comfort us in our passage to eternity.
The whole life of a Christian, is a chain of favours which accompany him, from the cradle to the grave.
We should be grateful to God for the goodness with which He has treated us and continues to treat us.
We should co-operate generously with His gifts by recognising the lofty honour it is, to be a Christian and by living in accordance with this dignity.”
Quote/s of the Day – 29 April – Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 8:1-8, Psalm 66:1-7, John 6:35-40 and the Memorial of St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church and Bl Mary Magdalene of the Incarnation FSPA (1770-1824)
“I am the bread of life; he who comes to me, shall not hunger and he who believes in me, shall never thirst.”
“He will provide the way and the means, such as you could never have imagined. Leave it all to Him, let go of yourself, lose yourself on the Cross and you will find yourself entirely.”
“Speak the truth in a million voices. It is silence that kills!”
St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church
“May Jesus be known, loved and adored by all and be, in every moment, the receiver of thanksgiving, in the most holy and most divine Sacrament.”
One Minute Reflection – 29 April – Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 8:1-8, Psalm 66:1-7, John 6:35-40 and the Memorial of Bl Mary Magdalene of the Incarnation FSPA (1770-1824)
“This is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life”…John 6:40
REFLECTION – “We wish to see Jesus” (Jn 12:21). This request, addressed to the Apostle Philip by some Greeks who had made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover, echoes spiritually in our ears too… Like those pilgrims of two thousand years ago, the men and women of our own day — often perhaps unconsciously — ask believers not only to “speak” of Christ but, in a certain sense, to “show” Him to them. And is it not the Church’s task, to reflect the light of Christ in every historical period, to make His face shine, also before the generations of the new millennium?
Our witness, however, would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated His face… The contemplation of Christ’s face, cannot fail to be inspired by all that we are told about Him, in Sacred Scripture, which from beginning to end, is permeated by His mystery, prefigured in a veiled way in the Old Testament and revealed fully in the New… Remaining firmly anchored in Scripture, we open ourselves to the action of the Spirit (cf. Jn 15:26) from whom the sacred texts derive their origin, as well as to the witness of the Apostles (cf. Jn 15:27), who had a first-hand experience of Christ, the Word of life – they saw Him with their eyes, heard Him with their ears, touched Him with their hands (cf. 1 Jn 1:1). What we receive from them is a vision of faith based on precise historical testimony.”… St John Paul II (1920-2005) – Apostolic Letter “ Novo Millennio Inuente ” Nos 16-17
PRAYER – Holy almighty God, in Your wisdom You created us and by Your providence You rule us. Penetrate our inmost being with Your holy light, so that our way of life may always be one of faithful service, as we follow Your Son, who leads us to eternal life. May the prayers of Mary our Mother and Blessed Mary Magdalene of the Incarnation, help us to shine Your light on our neighbour. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 29 April – Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter and the Memorial of St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church
O God of Truth and Love A Prayer of Penitence By St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)
O omnipotent Father,
God of truth,
God of love
permit me to enter into
the cell of self-knowledge.
I admit, that of myself,
I am nothing
but that all being
and goodness in me
comes solely from You.
Show me my faults,
that I may detest them,
and thus I shall flee from self-love
and find myself clothed again
in the nuptial robe of divine charity,
which I must have,
in order to be admitted
to the nuptials of life eternal.
Saint of the Day – 29 April – Blessed Mary Magdalene of the Incarnation FSPA (1770-1824) Religious Sister and Founder of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Mystic – born as Caterina Soderini on 16 April 1770 in Porto Santo Stefano, Grosseto, Italy and died on 29 November 1824 in Rome, aged 54. She is also known as Blessed Caterina Soderini. Patronage – the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. The Order falls under the Franciscans as the St Francis Sisters of Perpetual Adoration – FSPA.
Caterina Sordini was born on 16 April 1770 at Grosseto, Italy, the fourth of nine children born into a deeply Catholic family. When she was 17 her father arranged for her to marry a maritime merchant. At first she was against it but later complied with her father’s wishes. The young man gave her a casket of jewels and, having adorned herself, turned to admire her reflection in the mirror but saw the image of the Crucified Christ who asked: “Do you want to leave me for another?”.
She took the question seriously and in February 1788 visited the Franciscan Tertiary Monastery in Ischia di Castro. Caterina entered then and there, thus shocking her father who had thought it was merely a visit. She was clothed six months later, taking the name of Sr Mary Magdalene of the Incarnation.
On 19 February 1789, she fell into ecstasy and saw a vision of “Jesus seated on a throne of grace in the Blessed Sacrament, surrounded by virgins adoring him” and heard Him telling her: “I have chosen you to establish the work of perpetual adorers who, day and night, will offer me their humble adoration…” Thus, she was called to become a foundress and to spend her life adoring Jesus in the Eucharist. In that turbulent period for the Church, she set an example to all.
She was elected Abbess on 20 April 1802. The period of her governance was accompanied by extraordinary phenomena and an increasingly fervent spiritual life, and the abbey thrived. With the consent of her spiritual director and the local Bishop she drafted the rules of the new Institute and set out for Rome on 31 May 1807.
On 8 July that year, she and a few Sisters moved into Sts Joachim and Anne convent, near the Trevi Fountain. Under the French occupation it was confiscated and the Napoleonic laws suppressed her Order. She was exiled to Tuscany.
There she formed a new group of Adorers. On 19 March 1814, when they could return to Rome they settled at Sant’Anna al Quirinale. On 13 February 1818, Pope Pius VII approved the Institute dedicated to perpetual, solemn, public exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
In 1824, Mother Mary Magdalene predicted she would die in the autumn, despite the fact, that she was not taken at her word. She died at 11:00 pm on 29 November 1824. She was buried at Sant’Anna al Quirinale and in 1839 her remains were translated to the Church of Santa Maria Magdalena, the new generalate of the Perpetual Adorers in Rome. St Pope John Paul II decreed her heroic virtues in 2001 and in 2007, Benedict XVI recognised a miracle attributed to her intercession. … Vatican.va
She was Beatified on 3 May 2008, Basilica of Saint John Lateran, Rome, Italy by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI.
The order now operates across Europe, the Americas, as well as in Africa and has more than ninety monasteries scattered around the world. The Order locates its Monasteries in cities, in order to provide people access to the Blessed Sacrament for veneration. So, the Monastery’s Chapel is usually open to the public every day, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., for Eucharistic Adoration. Visitors kneel adoring Christ in the consecrated host, exposed in a large, golden monstrance, while in another section of the chapel, the nuns take turns in Adoration from behind the cloister grille.
But even while performing daily chores or praying elsewhere in the Monastery the nuns strive to continually focus on the Blessed Sacrament.
Abbots of Cluny: A feast that recognises the great and saintly early abbots of Cluny Abbey:
• Saint Aymardus of Cluny
• Saint Berno of Cluny
• Saint Hugh of Cluny
• Saint Mayeul
• Saint Odilo of Cluny
• Saint Odo of Cluny
• Saint Peter the Venerable
St Antonius Kim Song-u
St Ava of Denain
St Daniel of Gerona
St Endellion of Tregony
St Fiachan of Lismore
St Hugh of Cluny
St Gundebert of Gumber Blessed Mary Magdalene of the Incarnation/Caterina Soderini FSPA (1770-1824)
St Paulinus of Brescia St Peter of Verona OP (1205–1252) – St Peter Martyr His Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/04/29/saint-of-the-day-29-april-st-peter-of-verona-op-1205-1252/
Bl Robert Gruthuysen
St Senan of Wales
St Severus of Naples
St Torpes of Pisa
St Wilfrid the Younger
Martyrs of Cirta: A group of clergy and laity martyred together in Cirta, Numidia (in modern Tunisia) in the persecutions of Valerian. They were – Agapius, Antonia, Emilian, Secundinus and Tertula, along with a woman and her twin children whose names have not come down to us.
Martyrs of Corfu: A gang of thieves who converted while in prison, brought to the faith by Saint Jason and Saint Sosipater who were had been imprisoned for evangelizing. When the gang announced their new faith, they were martyred together. They were – Euphrasius, Faustianus, Insischolus, Januarius, Mammius, Marsalius and Saturninus. They were boiled in oil and pitch in the 2nd century on the Island of Corcyra (modern Corfu, Greece.
Also known as:
• Martyrs of Corcyra
• Seven Holy Thieves
• Seven Holy Robbers
• Seven Robber Saints
Thought for the Day – 28 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Word of God
“After Holy Communion, the Word of God is the most nourishing food of the soul.
St Augustine urges us to listen to the Word of God with the same devotion with which we approach the Blessed Eucharist.
It is the normal method God uses to communicate with our souls in order to instruct and enlighten them and to lead them along the path of virtue.
It is true, that God sometimes makes direct contact with us by means of good inspirations or extraordinary graces but, the ordinary way in which He calls us to eternal life, is by His divine Word, whether it is proclaimed by His ministers, read in Sacred Scripture, illustrated in the lives of the Saints, or, outlined by masters of the spiritual life.
Most important of all, is the living word of the lawful representatives of God.
Jesus did not specifically command His Apostles to write but to preach.
“He who believes and is baptised,” He added, “shall be saved but he who does not believe, shall be condemned” (Cf Mk 16:16).
Mary Magdalen was converted by the preaching of Jesus and wept for her sins.
The sermons of St John the Baptist called upon the Jewish people to do penance.
Centuries earlier, the prophet Nathan had converted David by means of the inspired Word of God and the prophet Jonah, had roused the Ninivites to repentance. We should treasure the Word of God. We should read and listen to it, with humility and devout attention. Whenever we hear a sermon, or read Sacred Scripture, or some spiritual book, we should reflect, that, it is God Himself Who is preaching to us!
We should not be guided merely by a spirit of curiosity, desire for knowledge, or love of eloquence or literary style but, by the determination to apply such instruction to ourselves and to put it into practice.”
Quote/s of the Day – 28 May – Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter and the Memorial of St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716), St Peter Chanel (1803-1841) Priest and Martyr, St Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962), Blessed María Felicia of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament OCD (1925-1959)
“Chosen soul, how will you bring this about? What steps will you take to reach the high level to which God is calling you? The means of holiness and salvation, are known to everybody, since they are found in the Gospel, the masters of the spiritual life have explained them, the Saints have practised them… These means are – sincere Humility, unceasing Prayer, complete Self-denial, abandonment to Divine Providence and obedience to the Will of God.”
“Since grace enhances our human nature and glory adds a still greater perfection to grace, it is certain, that our Lord remains in heaven, just as much the Son of Mary as He was on earth. Consequently, He has retained the submissiveness and obedience of the most Perfect of all Children, towards the Best of all Mothers.”
True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, #27
“The greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue, will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her, as the perfect model to imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them. “
St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716)
“It does not matter, whether or not I am killed, the religion has taken root on the island, it will not be destroyed by my death, since it comes not from men but from God.”
St Peter Chanel (1803-1841) Priest and Martyr
“The stillness of prayer is the most essential condition for fruitful action. Before all else, the disciple kneels down.”
“Our body is a cenacle, a monstrance – through its crystal, the world should see God.”
St Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962)
“Father, for Your glory, accept the total surrender of my being, in union with the perfect sacrifice of Your divine Son. In Him, through Him and with Him, I live, love, believe, suffer and die….”
Blessed María Felicia of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament (1925-1959)
One Minute Reflection – 28 May – Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 7:51–8:1, Psalm 31:3-4, 6-8, 17, 21, John 6:30-35 and the Memorial of Blessed María Felicia of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament OCD (1925-1959)
“I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” … John 6:35
REFLECTION – St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) – Sequence for the feast of Corpus Christi “ Lauda Sion ”
Laud, O Sion, thy salvation
Laud with hymns of exultation
Christ, thy King and Shepherd true,
Spend thyself, his honour raising,
Who surpasseth all thy praising,
Never canst thou reach His due.
Sing today, the mystery showing
Of the living, life-bestowing
Bread from heaven before thee set,
E’en the same of old provideth,
Where the Twelve, divinely guided,
At the holy table met.
Full and clear ring out thy chanting,
Joy nor sweetest grace be wanting
To thy heart and soul today …
Lo, the new King’s table gracing,
This new Passover of blessing
Hath fulfilled the elder rite,
Now the new the old effaceth,
Truth revealed, the shadow chaseth,
Day is breaking on the night.
What He did, at Supper seated,
Christ ordained to be repeated,
His memorial ne’er to cease
And His word for guidance taking,
Bread and wine we hallow, making
Thus our sacrifice of peace.
This the truth to Christians given,
Bread becomes His flesh from heaven,
Wine becomes His holy Blood (Jn 6:55). …
Whoso of this food partaketh,
Christ divideth not nor breaketh,
He is whole to all that taste.
Whether one this bread receiveth
Or a thousand, still He giveth
One same Food that cannot waste. …
Lo! the Angel’s Food is given (Ps 78:25)
To the pilgrim who hath striven,
See the children’s Bread from heaven
Which to dogs may not be cast (Mt 15:26).
Truth the ancient types fulfilling,
Isaac bound, a victim willing (Gn 22),
Paschal lamb, its life-blood spilling,
Manna sent in ages past.
O true Bread, good Shepherd, tend us,
Jesu, of Thy love befriend us,
Thou refresh us, Thou defend us,
Thine eternal goodness send us
In the land of life to see (Ps 27:13)
Thou who all things canst and knowest,
Who on earth such Food bestowest,
Grant us with the saints, though lowest,
Where the heavenly Feast Thou showest,
Fellow-heirs and guests to be.
PRAYER – Almighty Father, to whom this world, with all it’s goodness and beauty belongs, give us grace joyfully to begin this day in Your name and to fill it with the active love for You and our neighbour. By the food You give us, to sustain us on this journey, we are brought to holiness in Your Son, our Lord Jesus the Christ, whom You gave to us as our food. May the Mother of Your Son and our mother, lead us to You and may the prayers of Bl Maria Felicia of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, be a succour on our way. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 28 April – Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter
O Christ Jesus, When All is Darkness By St Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)
O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing
may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
through all things.
Saint of the Day – 28 April – Blessed María Felicia of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament OCD (1925-1959) “The Lily of Paraguay,” Virgin, Discalced Carmelite Sister, Apostle of the poor and marginilised – born as María Guggiari y Echeverría on 12 January 1925 in Villarica del Espiritu Santo, Guairá, Paraguay and died early in the morning of 28 April 1959 in Asunción, Paraguay of infectious hepatitis, aged 34. Also known as María Guggiari y Echeverría, “Chiquitunga” – her father’s pet name for her as a child. Patronage – Paraguayan youth.
Maria Felicia Guggiari Echeverria was born on 12 January 1925 in Villarica del Espiritu Santo, Guairá, Paraguay. She was the first of seven children. At the age of 16 she enlisted in the ranks of Catholic Action. Despite the strong opposition she received from her family, she made the “Dedication to the Apostolate” and added the subject of virginity. She committed herself to daily Communion and a joyful and unconditional dedication to the Apostolate on behalf of children, young people and the sick, the elderly and needy. She achieved a total forgetfulness of self and a total surrender to God and neighbour. Her love for the poor and suffering was exceptional.
She soon fell in love with Saua Angel, a young leader of the Catholic Action and a medical student who was very close to becoming a doctor. Equipped with a deep faith and love for Saua at the same time, she wondered if God was calling her to marriage like the parents of St Therese of Lisieux who had, at first, chose virginity. Maria waited with confidence for the manifestation of God’s will and about a year later, Saua told Maria he felt called to the Priesthood. As soon as she heard of his vocational call, she offered to help him achieve his goal.
To avoid the opposition of his family because his father was a Muslim, Saua was sent to Madrid for specialisation in psychiatry and time to discern the call to the Priesthood. He left for Europe in April 1952 and in November decided to enter the Seminary. Maria Felicia, happy with his decision, in turn felt that God was calling her to total dedication to the religious life. During 1953 Maria Felicia suffered severe opposition to her vocation from her family but supported by her faith and a boundless hope in the Lord, did not cease her prayer life and the sacraments or her apostolic work with the young and marginalised. She never lost her peace of heart or her infectious smile. She even smiled when she cried.
Despite the opposition of her family and almost all the Priests who saw a great loss for the pastoral care of the young and marginalised, Maria entered the Carmel of Asuncion at the age of 30 and took the Discalced Carmelite habit on 14 August 1955, the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.
Sister Maria Felicia, who in the last two years had written at least 48 letters to Saua, some of great length, and most of which are still preserved, ceased to write so that she could be immersed forever in a “life hidden with Christ for God.” “Goodbye to Eternity”was her last written words of farewell.
A year later, on 15 August 1956 Maria professed her temporary vows and took the name Sister Maria Felicia of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. She lived the next three years with fervour, in fellowship, distinguished by charity, sacrifice and joy. She sacrificed love for Saua, for the Church, her homeland and in a very special way for Priests.
In January 1959 Sr Maria took ill with infectious hepatitis and was forced to move into a sanatorium in the city. At about 4:10am on Easter Sunday, 28 March 1959, with all her family present, Sr Maria Felicia of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, lying on cushions, sat up with a burst of energy and spoke her last words : “Jesus, I love you! What a sweet encounter Virgin Mary!” And with her characteristic sweet smile on her face, she died at the age of 34.
Chiquitunga (pronounced Chichitunga), as she was affectionately called, had been within the walls of Carmel for a little less than four years but she left a profound impression on the Mother and sisters of her community who remember her for her great spirit of sacrifice, charity and generosity, all clothed in an outstanding gentleness and infectious happiness.
Described as their “lily’ by the Catholic Church of Paraguay, Blessed Maria Felicia of the Blessed Sacrament is the first Saint from Paraguay. Many of her writings, poems and letters still exist. Writings of spontaneity, simple yet piercing, reveal that she lived to the full her Baptismal vocation as an apostle.
Blessed Maria Felicia’s cause for sainthood commenced under St Pope John Paul II in 1997 after she received the title Servant of God, and the confirmation of her heroic virtue led to Pope Benedict XVI conferring the title of Venerable on 27 March 2010. Pope Francis confirmed her Beatification and it was celebrated on 23 June 2018. The Beatification miracle involved the healing of a newborn, Ángel Ramón, who showed no vital signs at birth but recuperated after 20 minutes, following the prayers by the obstetrician for the intercession of María Guggiari Echeverría. The Beatification recognition celebrated at the Estadio General Pablo Rojas, Barrio Obrero, Asunción, Paraguay and was presided by Cardinal Angelo Amato presiding on the pope’s behalf.
Thought for the Day – 27 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“The Gospel contains a frightening condemnation of those who give scandal.
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it were better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of scandal! … If thy hand or thy foot is an occasion of sin to thee, cut it off and cast it from thee! It is better for thee to enter life, maimed or lame, than, having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire …” (Cf Mt 18:6-9).
Why was Christ so strict on scandal-givers?
He condemned them because they are the accomplices of the devil.
Not satisfied with doing evil themselves, they seek by means of bad example, to draw others towards ruin as well.
They try to destroy Christ’s work of Redemption and the fruits of the shedding of His Precious Blood.
Let us examine our own conduct.
If we discover anything which could provide an occasion of sin for others, let us remedy it immediately.
Thoughtlessness in such matters can be very dangerous.
Something which seems perfectly innocent to us, could be a source of scandal to others.
Prudence and delicacy are necessary in our relations with our fellow-men.”
Quote/s of the Day – 27 April – Monday of the Third Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 6:8-15, Psalm 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30, John 6:22-29 and the Memorial of Bl Nicolas Roland (1642-1678)
“Do not labour for the food which perishes but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you…”
“This very moment, I may, if I desire, become the friend of God.”
Saint Augustine (354-430)
Father & Doctor of the Church
“In this daily life which is doubtlessly your own, Listen to your heart… .. Discover a Presence which is more real than this visible presence, which dazzles you and attracts your whole being…”
“Take a higher flight, giving yourself completely to the unique Goodness and Beauty. Be content with God, He will be your light, your strength, your shelter at all times.”
“Ask God to lead you by Faith, Only God, seek only Him.”
Bl Nicolas Roland (1642-1678)
“Jesus Christ came to this earth to reign here but not, says Saint Augustine, as other kings do, to raise tribute, enrol armies and visibly do battle against His enemies, for Jesus Christ assures us that His kingdom is not of this world but to establish His reign within our souls, according to what He Himself says, in the holy Gospel, that His kingdom is within us.”
St John Baptiste de La Salle (1651-1719)
“You leave the land just as it is when you depart, you do not carry anything away. Our first aim is to go to God, we are not on earth for anything but this!”
One Minute Reflection – 27 April – Monday of the Third Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 6:8-15, Psalm 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30, John 6:22-29 and the Memorial of Bl Nicolas Roland (1642-1678)
Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” … John 6:29
REFLECTION – “It is Yours to grant our prayer, Yours to bring our seeking to its term, Yours to open the door where we knock (Lk 11:9). For You see us to be naturally dulled by some sort of spiritual laziness and our spirit’s feebleness … prevents us from understanding Your mysteries. … Here, then, is our expectation – that You will strengthen the first beginnings of this daunting project, affirm the progress of our enterprise and call us to participate in the Spirit who guided Your prophets and apostles. In this way we won’t understand their words in a different sense to the one they intended.(…
Indeed, we will affirm what they declared in their sacred teaching, that You, eternal God, are the Father of the eternal God, Your only Son. You alone are the only one not to have been born and our Lord Jesus Christ is the only one to have been born of You by an eternal birth, yet without differing from You to the extent of suggesting there to be really two gods. Yes indeed, we must make it known that He, who is the Only God, was fathered by You. We must firmly declare it – He is nothing other than true God born of You, our true God and Father.
Therefore, grant us to give these words their true meaning, pour light into our minds … and set our faith firmly in the truth. Enable us to say what we believe… that You are one God and Father and that there is one Lord Jesus Christ. May we acclaim You …, may we revere You, one God, who yet is not alone and may we declare Him to be, Himself, true God.” … St Hilary (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Divinity of Christ
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. Let us walk in Your ways and be Your lights and thus by our lives, help others to follow You. Grant that the prayers of our blessed Mother, the Mother of Jesus Your Son and Bl Nicolas Roland, who always lived for You alone, may help us, as we work through each day to reach our heavenly home. Through Jesus the Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 27 April – Monday of the Third Week of Easter
A Song of Praise St John Baptiste de la Salle (1651-1719) (Instructions and Prayers Ch 17. 81-82)
My tongue is untied
in praise of my God.
because His mercy
for mankind has no limits
and He is loving
with all his creatures across the centuries.
I unite my voice with that of the angels and saints
to sing the glory of God in heaven
and His peace on earth.
Through Christ in whom You, Father, are pleased,
with Christ and in Christ
may every praise,
honour and glory
be given to You
throughout the ages.
SO BE IT.
Nicolas Roland was born on the small town of Baslieux-les-Reims in the ancient province of Champagne, 9 kilometers away from Reims, son of Jean-Baptist Roland (1611–1673), Commissioner of the Government and antique merchant. He was Baptised on 23 July 1643. His Godfather was his uncle, Fr Matthieu Beuvelet.
In 1650 he joined the Jesuit College at Reims, where he showed an active intelligence and the wish to become a Priest. In 1653 he obtained the tonsure from Bishop Pouy at the Abbey of Saint Pierre les Dames. Completing his preliminary studies, he travelled around France for while.
The young student then moved to Paris in 1660 to continue his studies in Philosophy and Theology, staying at the college of Bons Amis. He joined several pious associations such as the “Friends Association” of the Jesuit Jean Bagot and one of Vincent de Paul. He considered joining the Jesuits and was also interested in the work of the Missionaries for a time and considered going to Siam after finishing his doctorate on theology. But he was appointed to a well-endowed Canonry at Reims Cathedral, before being ordained a Deacon and was highly regarded as a Preacher but realised that his elegant style reached few of the faithful. On 3 March 1665 he was Ordained a Priest.
In 1666 he left his parents house, moving to a house on Barbâtre Street, in Reims, where he began a life of poverty dedicated to charity. He established contacts with the Saint Nicolas-du-Chardonnet Seminary where his uncle worked and there he was exposed to the ideas of Adrian Bourdoise, Fr Jean-Jacques Olier (the Founder of the Sulpicians) and the movement for the renewal of the French clergy. Of all his apostolic activities, education of the poor, was the apostolate to which he was most attracted.
In Rouen he met yet another clergyman passionate about education of the poor, the Minim Blessed Father Nicolas Barre, who arrived in the city in 1659. Barre had organised a group of men and women who worked in free schools located in several neighbourhoods of the city. Roland returned to Reims with the intention of starting similar projects there. On 15 October 1670 a Reims’ orphanage founded by Marie Varlet was entrusted to him and he gradually transformed it into a real school. He asked Fr Barre to send two teachers from the Sisters of Providence to help. On 27 December 1670, the teachers, Francoise Duval and Anne Le Coeur, arrived. Fr Nicolas would later found with them, the Congregation of Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus, dedicated to the education of poor and abandoned girls.
In 1672 he met a young Canon, John Baptist de la Salle and became his Spiritual Advisor. They stayed in touch while La Salle studied at the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice in Paris. Roland influenced La Salle to learn a type of spiritual detachment that he later demonstrated when he founded the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
After the death of his father in 1673, Roland became more involved in encouraging the growing community of the “Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus.” On 13 July 1673 he opened the first school of the sisters, at his own expense. The Order received Diocesan approval and confirmation in 1675.
He wrote many spiritual works and published the “Notices for the regular people”. One of the notices left for the sisters reads:
“The sacred fire must embrace the sisters, it makes them inflame the others and above all the teachers, the students and all the people they come in contact with. That way with their example and edifying words, they will do good as the divine providence wishes. With this fire they will love their neighbour. God does not wish to divide the charity with which we love Him, we must give this one equally to all humanity. This is the principle on which we must encourage the teaching of girls in the schools, not making any distinction of their human and natural qualities.”
The following year he gave all his inheritance to consolidate the young congregation and increased his activities in favour of the poor and all those in any need, gathering a group of Priests around him who assisted in all these endeavours.
On 30 March 1678 he assisted, with great joy, in the first Holy Mass of Saint John Baptist de La Salle. He encouraged De La Salle to trade his Canonry for a small parish but the Archbishop opposed this move and so the matter remained unsettled for the time being.
On 19 April 1678, he had to stay in bed due to a severe headache. On the 23rd of the same month he prepared his Last Will and Testament, leaving the administration and care of his Order and their works in the hands of Saint John Baptist de La Salle. On the 27th he died peacefully at Reims and was buried in the Sisters’ Chapel on the 29th. Below is his Shrine, relics and the Chapel. He was only 35 years old and yet he left behind a huge apostolic project, an infirmary, a hostel and four schools.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle then continued with the final approval of his work and later on followed in his footsteps, founding the Congregation of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools for the Christian education of the poor.
He was Beatified on 16 October 1994 by St Pope John Paul II, who, at the Beatification of Blessed Nicolas said:
“This young Priest, Canon and Theologian of Reims’ Cathedral, friend and counsellor of Saint John Baptist de La Salle and Founder of the Sisters of the Child Jesus… This young man from a middle-class family, well educated, able to see various sides of a question, could have become rich and powerful and a man of distinction. But he was called to follow another course, another route to which he became passionately devoted. He lived in the world of his day, with its poverty and wretchedness, uncertainty and fear, where the rich dominated and the poor never had a say, he found the road shown him by God, a road shown him by and in prayer. And he invited everyone, the young, adults, children, priests to follow the same road and he trained them how to do so. He discovered that “God has so loved the world, that he has given his Son” to teach us how to pray to Him as a son, and how to speak to one another as brothers and sisters. This prayer is given to us in Jesus, by Jesus and with Jesus ……… .. This road is “the life we live”, in which “we converse” , and have ‘relationships.'”
Be our guide Blessed Nicolas Roland
With the heart of a poor man, you gave up position and honour,
you gave away your wealth and your health,
to come to the help of poor and abandoned children.
With a gentle and humble heart, you,
a young man with a vivacious character,
managed to unite strength and patience,
in order to take on the gentleness of the Child Jesus.
Your heart was often sad to see God so little known,
so little loved and to see mankind disfigured.
To repeat to everyone that God is love,
and His greatness as a son of God,
you founded a religious family
completely devoted to Jesus in His Incarnation.
Enamoured for justice, you worked endlessly
to that the child would be recognised in his dignity
To achieve that, you have raised up loving and attentive teachers.
Priest moved by all human wretchedness,
enlightened by the merciful love of the Father,
you trained your brother priests to show God’s gentleness
and to forgive others in God’s name.
Enlightened by the presence of God,
your pure heart discovered Him in all kinds of work
and in his suffering members.
As a spiritual guide, you knew how to calm anguished souls
and taught them how to abandon themselves to God with confidence.
You yourself kept calm in spite of trials.
As an apostle with a passionate heart,
you suffered because of His name
and until the hour of your death,
you suffered misunderstandings
but all in peace and joy, for the glory of His Kingdom.
Our Lady of Montserrat: (718) Our Lady is venerated under the invocation of the Virgin of Montserrat or “Rosa d’abril” – because of the Virolai hymn sung to her – at the Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery in the Montserrat mountain in Catalonia, Spain.
It is one of the black Madonnas of Europe, hence its familiar Catalan name, la Moreneta (“The little dark-skinned one”).
Believed by some to have been carved in Jerusalem in the early days of the Church. Legend has it that the Benedictine monks could not move the statue to construct their Monastery, choosing to instead build around it.
On 11 September 1844, Pope Leo XIII declared the Virgin of Montserrat, Patroness of Catalonia, Spain.
St Adelelmus of Le Mans
St Asicus of Elphin
St Castor of Tarsus
St Floribert of Liege
Bl Hosanna of Cattaro Bl Jakov Varingez OFM (c 1400–1496) His Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/04/27/saint-of-the-day-27-april-blessed-jakov-varingez-ofm-c-1400-1496/
St John of Kathara
St Joseph Outhay Phongphumi
St Laurensô Nguyen Van Huong
St Liberalis of Treviso
St Maughold Blessed Nicolas Roland (1642-1678)
St Noël Tenaud
Bl Peter Armengol
St Pollio of Cybalae
St Simeon of Jerusalem
St Stephen of Tarsus
St Tertullian of Bologna
St Theophilus of Brescia
St Winewald of Beverley St Zita of Lucca (1212-1272) Biography: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/saint-of-the-day-27-april-st-zita-of-lucca/
Martyrs of Nicomedia: A group of Christians murdered together for their faith. In most cases all we have are their names – Dioscurus, Evanthia, Felicia, Felix, Germana, Germelina, Johannes, Julius, Laetissima, Nikeforus, Papias, Serapion and Victorinus. They died at Nicomedia, Bithynia, Asia Minor (modern Izmit, Turkey).
Thought for the Day – 26 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Only Remedy for All Our Ills
“Life is a continual battle. “Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?” (Job 7:1).
If we consider, only the material aspect of this battle, we are all among the vanquished.
Admittedly, there is some joy and some victory.
But, our pleasures are as short-lived as the flowers of the field, they are soon “withered and dried up like grass” (Cf Ps 101:5).
Our conquests are also very insignificant; they can inflate us for a while but they do not last long and cannot satisfy us.
After death, only our triumphs in virtue will persist.
Moreover, whereas the joys of this life are few and fleeting, the physical and moral sufferings, are innumerable.
Sometimes, they are so heavy and overwhelming, that they cause us to despair.
But, surely there is a remedy for all the evils which afflict us?
God is infinitely good and He has permitted suffering.
Will He not give us the means of enduring it and the medicine to cure it?
In fact, Our Lord, has given us a remedy for all our ills, even for the most distressing.
It is a bitter medicine but, it will heal anyone who has the courage to swallow it and, it will give him perfect peace of soul.
The treatment consists of three stages:
(1) Doing the will of God in all things with complete resignation.
(2) Doing everything for the love of God.
(3) Doing everything and enduring everything for the love of God alone.
When a man reaches this highest peak of the spiritual life, he acquires that perfect peace of soul, which the Saints possessed.”
Quote/s of the Day – 26 April – Third Sunday of Easter
“…He certainly meets us where we are in life – and – He will never leave us where He found us!”
Fr Mark J Hunt STD
“Spiritual Communion is an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Holy Sacrament and a loving embrace, as though we had already received Him.”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
Doctor of the Church
“In the morning let your first act be to greet My Heart and to offer Me your own. Whoever, breathes a sigh toward Me, draws Me to himself.”
Jesus to St Matilda/Mechtilde of Hackeborn
“O blessed Jesus, give me stillness of soul in You. Let Your mighty calmness reign in me. Rule me, O King of Gentleness, King of Peace.”
St John of the Cross (1542-1591)
Doctor of the Church
“There are some who make a spiritual communion everyday … If we are deprived of Sacramental Communion, let us replace it, as far as we can, by spiritual communion, which we can make every moment; for we ought to have always, a burning desire to receive the good God. Communion is to the soul, like blowing a fire that is beginning to go out but that has still plenty of hot embers; we blow and the fire burns again. After the reception of the Sacraments, when we feel ourselves slacken in the love of God, let us have recourse at once, to spiritual communion. When we cannot go to the church, let us turn towards the tabernacle; no wall can shut us out from the good God.”
St John Vianney (1786-1859)
“Do not neglect to say, ‘Jesus, I love You’ and make one Spiritual Communion, at least, each day, in atonement for all the profanations and sacrileges He suffers because He wants to be with us.”
St Josemaria Escrivá (1902-1975)
“…Let us continue Immaculate Mary’s mission. All is included in it. May [we].. follow her example and be the handmaid of the Lord in everything, everywhere and always.”
One Minute Reflection – 26 April – Third Sunday of Easter, Readings: Acts 2:14, 22-33, Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11, 1 Peter 1:17-21, Luke 24:13-35 and the Memorial of St Rafael Arnáiz Barón (1911-1938)
“Stay with us” … Luke 24:29
REFLECTION – “My brethren, when was it that the Lord made Himself recognised? When He broke the bread. So we ourselves are convinced, too, that when we break the bread we recognise the Lord. If He hadn’t wanted to be recognised until that moment, it was for our sakes, we, who were not to see Him in the flesh but who were yet to eat Him in the flesh. So you who believe in Him, whoever you are, you who do not bear the name of Christian in vain, who do not come casually into church, who hear the word of God in fear and hope – for you the broken bread will be a consolation. Our Lord’s absence is not a real absence. Trust, be faithful and He is with you even if you do not see Him.
When the Lord hailed them, the disciples had no faith. They did not believe in His Resurrection, they did not even hope that He might be raised. They had lost faith, they had lost hope. They were dead men walking alongside a living one, they were walking, dead, with life. Life was walking with them but, in their hearts, life was not as yet renewed.
And do you long for life? Imitate the disciples and you will recognise the Lord. They offered hospitality, our Lord seemed determined to proceed on His way but they held Him back … You too, then, keep hold of the stranger if you wish to recognise your Saviour … Learn where to look for the Lord, where to possess Him, where to recognise Him – in breaking bread with Him.” … St Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo, Father and Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Lord God, grant Your people constant joy in the renewed vigour of their souls. They rejoice because You have restored them to the glory of Your adopted children, let them look forward gladly to the certain hope of the resurrection. May the prayers of our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Good Counsel and St Rafael Arnáiz Barón, be of assistance to us amidst the storms of this mortal life. We make our prayer through our Resurrected Christ, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen, alleluia!
Our Morning Offering – 26 April – Third Sunday of Easter, Year A
Most of us are still deprived of Holy Mass and the Holy Eucharist but this practice of making an Spiritual Communion, has been especially used by Christians in times of persecution, such as during the era of state atheism in the Eastern Bloc, as well as in times of plagues, such as now, during the current 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic, when we are unable to receive the Eucharist on the Lord’s Day.
Act of Spiritual Communion By Servant of God Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930)
At Thy feet, O my Jesus,
I prostrate myself
and I offer Thee repentance of my contrite heart,
which is humbled in it’s nothingness
and in Thy holy presence.
I adore Thee in the Sacrament of Thy love,
the ineffable Eucharist.
I desire to receive Thee into the poor dwelling
that my heart offers Thee.
While waiting for the happiness of sacramental communion,
I wish to possess Thee in spirit.
Come to me, O my Jesus,
since I, for my part, am coming to Thee!
May Thy love embrace my whole being in life and in death.
I believe in Thee,
I hope in Thee,
I love Thee.
Let us remember the words of St Pope John Paul in his Encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia:
In the Eucharist, “unlike any other Sacrament, the mystery [of communion] is so perfect that it brings us to the heights of every good thing – Here is the ultimate goal of every human desire, because here we attain God and God joins Himself to us in the most perfect union.” Precisely for this reason it is good to cultivate in our hearts a constant desire for the sacrament of the Eucharist. This was the origin of the practice of “Spiritual Communion,” which has happily been established in the Church for centuries and recommended by Saints who were masters of the spiritual life. St Teresa of Jesus (1515-1582) Doctor of Prayer, wrote: “When you do not receive Communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a Spiritual Communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you”[The Way of Perfection, Ch. 35.].1.
Saint of the Day – 26 April – St Richarius of Celles (c 560-645) Priest, founder of Monasteries, spiritual adviser, apostle of the poor, the sick and prisoners and finally, a Hermit – born at Centula, France and died on 26 April 645 at Foret-Moutier, France of natural causes. In France he is known as St Riquier. Patronages – the cities of Saint-Riquier, Centula and Saint-Riquier-en-Rivière in France.
Richarius was born a pagan in the late 6th century in the county of Ponthieu near Amiens in Picardy in the north-west of France. According to the vita written by St Alcuin, Richarius gave shelter to two Welsh missionaries, Caidocus and Frechorius, who were treated with great hostility by the local people who blamed the strangers for crop failure. Because he “welcomed God in the persons of the travellers… this was why he was granted God’s mercy.”
Richarius converted to Christianity under their influence. After his conversion, he fasted on barley bread mixed with ashes and drank only water. He was ordained a Priest and travelled to England, preaching the Gospel and curing the sick. Travelling by donkey rather than horse, he read the psalter as he rode.
In 638, after some years in England, Richarius returned home and founded a Monastery in his hometown in Ponthieu that was named Centule (or Centula, alteration of Latin Centum Turres – hundred towers). This monastery practised according to the Rule of Saint Columbanus.
A city developed around this Monastery, also named Centule. In the Middle Ages it was renamed to Saint-Riquier. Nowadays it has some 1200 inhabitants, who still refer to themselves as Centulois. The Frankish king Dagobert I once came to visit the Monastery, and Richarius offered the king advice. He was frank and clear in his speech to the king, speaking without fear or flattery and the king thereafter, became a benefactor of the Monastery. Others also gave generously to Richarius’s Monastery and he was able to use the money to help lepers and the poor and to ransom prisoners held by England.
Richarius eventually founded a second Monastery called Forest-Montier. He made a shelter in the forest of Crécy, fifteen miles from his Monastery. He lived there as a hermit with his disciple Sigobart. On 26 April 645, he bid farewell to Sigobart and died.
His relics were first put in a coffin made of an oak trunk and then translated to the Abbey of Centula. One hundred and fifty years later, Charlemagne built a golden shrine to enclose the relics and had the Saint-Riquier Gospels made for the shrine. In 950 Count Arnulf I transferred the bones to Montreuil, then to the Abbey of Saint Bertin in today’s St-Omer. In 980, Hugo Capet returned them to St-Riquier. Above the tomb of Richarius, an Abbey was built, which was later named after him, as was the city.
Aside from Saint-Riquier, the city of Saint-Riquier-en-Rivière in Normandy bears his name and there is one church in England St Ricarius Church, Aberford, a town the saint is supposed to have visited in 630.