To Jesus Through Mary
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)
The simple words of the first page of Matthew’s Gospel: “Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ” (Mt 1:16) suffice for me, to establish the fundamental principle of all the great theological teaching which illustrates the connection between the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady.
Christian piety has rejoiced to learn from the Book of Acts, that Mary was present at the first gatherings of the faithful, when they broke read together as brothers and spent long hours in prayer.
And modern art has often portrayed the heavenly Mother in the act of receiving, from the hand of St John, the beloved apostle, the Communion of the Body and Blood of her Son.
But all this is superfluous and unnecessary for our convinced belief.
When we say, that in the Eucharist, we have the Son and in Mary, we have His Mother, have we not said all?
The great genius of Hippo, St Augustine, with his eagle-eyed power of vision, found the words which so brilliantly contain the Doctrine – Ave corpo vero, nato de Maria Virgine – Hail, true body, born of the Virgin Mary!
In this way – a delightful thing to say, a sublime thing to contemplate – the terms of this twofold mystery are merged into one, so that Mary appears to us radiant in the light of the Eucharistic mystery; they are merged and yet they are the two extreme points, between which is evolved and developed, the whole Catholic Dogma of the Incarnation and of the continuing life of the Church.
Thought for the Day – 12 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed”
‘A Jewish girl, poor in this world’s goods but rich in virtue, arrived after a long and difficult journey at a village in the hills of Judea, called Hebron.
There, she paid a visit to her cousin, Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth saw the girl, she was immediately enlightened by the Holy Spirit with the knowledge, that her visitor, was the Mother of God. “How have I deserved,” she cried out, “that the mother of my Lord, should come to me?” (Lk 1:43).
At these words, Mary looked up towards Heaven and gave spontaneous expression to a hymn of humble acknowledgement to God, Who had “regarded the lowliness of His Handmaid” (Lk 1:48).
Then she made a solemn prophecy, which would surely have assured the cynical intellectuals and nobles of the land but, which history has wonderfully fulfilled. “Behold” she said, “all generations shall call me blessed” (ibid).
We can testify today, that this miracle came to pass.
All the nations have paid reverence to the Jewish girl, who became the Mother of God and our Mother, the Queen of Heaven and earth, the comforter of the afflicted, the conqueror of Satan and the invincible Guardian of the Church.
From the engravings in the Catacombs, to the celestial Madonnas of the Angelico, from the rudimentary sculpture of Roman art, to the prayerful statues on the pinnacles of more modern Cathedrals, the image of Mary has shone as a beacon of hope for all generations.
Men bow before her and ask for light, for comfort and for pardon. “If anyone follows Mary,” says St Bernard, “he will not lose his way; if anyone pray to her, he will not despair; if anyone thinks of her, he will not sin; if anyone reaches out to her, he will not fall; if anyone places himself under her protection, he need have no fear; if anyone places himself under her leadership, he will never give up; if anyone pays homage to her, he is certain reach his destination safely” (Homil Missus est 2:17).”
Quote/s of the Day – 12 May – “Mary’s Month” Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 14:19-28, Psalm 145:10-13, 21, John 14:27-31
“Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
‘He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit” ‘
Lord Jesus Christ, once again grant that of us, too, there may be but “one heart and mind” (Acts 4:32) for then there will be “a great calm” (Mk 4:39).
My dear listeners, I exhort you to good will and kindness to one another and peace with all. For were we to have charity among ourselves, we would have both peace and the Holy Spirit. Let us undertake to become devout and pray to God… since the apostles persevered in prayer… If we set ourselves to fervent prayer then the Holy Spirit will enter us and say: “Peace be with you! It is ,; be not afraid” (cf. Mk 6:50)…
And what ought we to ask God for, my brethren? For all that is for His honour and the salvation of your souls and, in a word, for the help of the Holy Spirit – “Send forth your Spirit and they will be created” (Ps 104:30) – peace and tranquillity…”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Bishop of Geneva and Doctor of the Church
First Sermon for Pentecost
“Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all. Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity. It is right and it is duty.”
St Óscar Romero (1917–1980)
“May the God of love and peace, set your hearts at rest and speed you on your journey, may He meanwhile, shelter you from disturbance by others, in the hidden recesses of His love, until He brings you, at last, into that place of complete plenitude, where you will repose forever, in the vision of peace, in the security of trust and in the restful enjoyment of His riches.”
St Raymond of Peñafort (1175-1275)
“Father of Canon Law”
One Minute Reflection – 11 May – “Mary’s Month” Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 14:19-28, Psalm 145:10-13, 21, John 14:27-31
“My peace I give to you”… John 14:27
REFLECTION – “God’s Spirit is a spirit of peace, even after our most serious failings He makes us feel a sorrow that is peaceful, humble and confident, precisely because of His mercy. The spirit of evil, on the other hand, agitates, irritates and makes us feel a sort of anger at ourselves when we have failed. Yet it falls very much to ourselves to practice charity in the first place. So, when you are bothered by certain thoughts, the agitation never comes from God but from the devil, since God, being a spirit of peace, brings you serenity.” … St Pio of Pietralcina “Padre Pio” (1887-1968) – Letter 549
PRAYER – Loving Father, grant us the grace to strive after perfect love. Help us to bring forth frequents acts of love so that we may grow in this greatest of virtues and thus find perfect peace. In the great love of Your divine Son, who gave Himself for us, He filled us with peace and hope. May these gifts grow always in our hearts. We ask for the intercession of Mary, the Blessed Virgin, His Mother. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 12 May – “Mary’s Month” Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Gracious Lady, Mother and Virgin By St Augustine (354-430) Doctor of Grace
you are a Mother and Virgin.
You are the Mother of the body and soul
of our Head and Redeemer.
You are also truly Mother
of all the members
of Christ’s Mystical Body.
For through your love,
you have co-operated
in the begetting of the faithful in the Church.
Unique among women,
you are Mother and Virgin,
Mother of Christ and Virgin of Christ.
You are the beauty and charm of earth, O Virgin.
You are forever, the image of the holy Church.
Through a woman came death,
through a woman came life,
yes, through you, O Mother of God.
Be with us through this life.
Saint of the Day – 12 May – Blessed Joanna of Portugal (1452-1490) Virgin, Princess of Portugal of the House of Aviz, daughter of King Afonso V of Portugal and his first wife Isabella of Coimbra, Penitent, Apostle of Charity, Dominican Nun. She was born o 16 February 1452 at Lisbon and died on 12 May 1692 in Aveiro Portugal, possibly as a result of poisoning. Patronage – Diocese of Aveiro, Portugal. Also known as Jane, Joan, Joana.
Joanna, a child of many prayers, was born heiress to the throne of her father, King Afonso V, at a time when Spain and Portugal had divided the colonial wealth of the earth between them. Her sickly brother Juan was born three years later and soon after this their mother, Queen Elizabeth of Coimbra, died. Joanna was left to the care of a wise and pious nurse, who cultivated the child’s natural piety. By age five, the little princess had exceeded her teacher in penitential practices. She fasted and prayed, rose at night to take the discipline and wore a hairshirt under her glittering court apparel.
Although Joanna would not inherit the throne of Portugal while her brother was alive, a wise marriage would do much to increase her father’s power. Accordingly, he began early to arrange for her marriage. Joanna, whose knowledge of court intrigue was as good as his own, skilfully escaped several proposed matches. She had treasured the desire to enter the convent but, in view of her father’s plans, her desires met with violent opposition. She was flatly refused for a long time, finally, her father gave his reluctant consent but he withdrew it again at her brother’s insistence.
She was Regent of Portugal when her father and brother went to war against the Moors, and when they defeated the Moors in 1471, her father, in the first flush of victory, granted her request to take the veil. Joanna and one of her ladies-in-waiting had long planned to enter the Dominican cloister of Jesus at Aveiro, which was noted for its strict observance. But when her father finally gave consent for her to enter religion, he did not allow her to enter that Dominican convent. She had to go to the nearby royal abbey of the Benedictines at Odivellas. Here she was besieged by weeping and worldly relatives who had only their own interests at heart. After two months of this mental torture, she returned to the court.
The rest of Joanna’s life is a story of obedience and trials. Her obligations of obedience varied. She was required to bend her will to a wavering father, who never seemed able to make a decision and abide by it; to bishops, swayed by political causes, who forced her to sign a paper that she would never take her solemn vows and to doctors, who prescribed remedies that were worse than the maladies they tried to cure The trials came from a jealous brother, from ambitious and interfering relatives, from illness and from cares of state.
After 12 years of praying and hoping, Joanna finally received the Dominican habit at the Convent of Jesus at Aveiro in 1485. Once again, she was deprived of it by an angry delegation of bishops and nobles and, at another time, her brother tore the veil from her head. Despite the interruptions of plague, family cares and state troubles, Joanna lived an interior and penitential life. She became an expert at spinning and weaving the fine linens for the altar and busied herself with lowly tasks for the love of God. She used all her income to help the poor and to redeem captives.
Her special devotion was to the Crown of Thorns and, in early childhood, she had embroidered this device on her crest. To the end of her life she was plagued by the ambition of her brother, who again and again attempted to arrange a marriage for her and continually disturbed her hard-won peace, by calling her back to the court for state business.
On one of these trips to court, Joanna was poisoned by a woman – a person she had rebuked for leading an evil life. The princess lived several months in fearful pain, enduring all her sufferings heroically. She died on 12 May 1490, aged 38, as it says in an old chronicle, “with the detachment of a religious and the dignity of a queen” and with the religious community around her.
She was Beatified in 1693 by Pope Innocent XI – (cultus confirmed). Although she has not been Canonised, in Portugal she is known as the Princess Saint Joanna.
in the midst of the Royal Court,
You strengthened Blessed Joanna
with purity of heart.
By her prayers,
may Your faithful
turn from the things of earth
and seek after the things of heaven.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Your Son, who lives and reigns with You
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
St Pancras of Rome (c 289 – c 303) Martyr (Optional Memorial) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2017/05/12/saint-of-the-day-st-pancras/
St Cyril of Galatz
St Dedë Malaj
St Diomma of Kildimo
St Dionysius of Asia
St Dominic de la Calzada
St Ejëll Deda
St Ephrem of Jerusalem St Epiphanius (c 315 – 403) His story: https://anastpaul.com/2019/05/12/saint-of-the-day-saint-epiphanius-c-315-403-the-oracle-of-palestine/
St Erc Nasca of Tullylish
St Ethelhard of Canterbury
St Euphrosyna of Terracina
Bl Francis Patrizzi of Siena
Bl Gemma of Goriano
St Germanus of Constantinople Bl Joanna of Portugal OP (1452-1490) Princess of Portugal
Bl Juan de Segalars
St Lucien Galan
St Modoald of Trier
St Palladius of Rome
St Philip of Agira
St Richrudis of Marchiennes
St Theodora of Terracina
St Thomas Khampheuane Inthirath
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