Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)
“It is the custom in Catholic countries for the bells to ring the Angelus at dawn … “The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.”
This peal of bells, after the darkness of the night, represents the light that returns in splendour, while the heavens bow down to meet the earth.
The angel’s greeting is answered by our prayer which recalls the wonderful truth: “and she conceived by the Holy Ghost.”
The woman, daughter of Eve, chosen before all ages for this privilege, is called to a unique motherhood, to become, by a divine miracle, the Mother of Jesus.
How our hearts throb with joy as we repeat together, a prayer in which Mary is invoked as our Mother too! …
These are simple and familiar words – but it is good to meditate on all they stand for, in recollection and peace of mind.
The Son of God has become the Son of Mary, our brother and has lived among us – and we know well what this means for us.
First of all thirty years of silence, work and obedience.
Then three years of the apostolate, teaching, miracles, all-conquering light.
Then the hour of humiliation and sacrifice, but, in the end the triumph!”
Thought for the Day – 15 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Power of Mary
“Virgin most powerful, pray for us.” This is one of the invocations to Our Lady in her Litany. Mary’s power derives from her divine Motherhood. The Eternal Word was made man in her most chaste womb. By assuming our human nature in the Hypostatic Union, He became her Son. In the same way as a mother can give instructions to her son, Mary can pray to Jesus with full confidence that she will be answered. Not only has she the power of love, over Him but, also the power of a mother. Her prayers have the force of a command and it is impossible for them to go unheeded. When Mary seeks a favour from her divine Son for us, who are her adopted sons, says St Peter Damian, she commands rather than prays, she is more like the mistress than the handmaid of the Lord (Serm 41 de Nativitate). Some ecclesiastical writers go as far as describing Mary as being omnipotent in grace and in intercession, even as God is omnipotent by reason of His nature. “O Mother of God,” writes St Gregory of Nicomedia, “you have such invincible power, that the multitude of our sins can never exhaust your mercy. Nothing can resist your power, for your Creator regards your glory as His own” (Orat de Exitu B Virg). This doctrine should console even the most hopeless sinners. It is enough to have loving recourse to Mary and we shall be sure of salvation.”
Quote/s of the Day – 15 May – Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 15:22-31, Psalm 57:8-12, John 15:12-17
“Love one another as I have loved you”
“Jesus carries us to the inn. Imagine you are in the arms of Jesus, being carried, half-dead in sin—some of your own making, some done to you—to a place of help. You can rest in His arms. In another surprise, the inn is the Church, the hospital for sinners. The innkeeper might be a priest, family member, or friend who helps you through a dark time in your life.
This is the rest of the story – the Good Samaritan is Jesus! He always pursues us, even when we don’t ask for it—even in our sins. We must receive the Good Samaritan’s love and mercy first, or we have nothing to give away (1 Jn 4:19)! And then our response to this love is repentance—going beyond the mind we have now/giving up the lies we believe about God or ourselves—and then going to confession. This is followed by The Ultimate Challenge – to be that good neighbour or the innkeeper in a world where everyone is wounded by something! Be like Jesus—be a good spiritual neighbour in a dark and lonely world!
In a world which demands of Christians a renewed witness of love and fidelity to the Lord, may all of us feel the urgent need, to anticipate one another in charity, service and good works (cf. Heb 6:10).”
One Minute Reflection – 15 May – “Mary’s Month” – Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 15:22-31, Psalm 57:8-12, John 15:12-17 and the Memorial of St Dymphna (7th Century) “The Lily of Éire”
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”” ... John 15:12-13
REFLECTION – “Love, indeed, is the source of all good things, it is an impregnable defence and the way that leads to heaven. He who walks in love can neither go astray, nor be afraid, love guides him, protects him and brings him to his journey’s end.
My brothers, Christ made love the stairway that would enable all Christians to climb to heaven. Hold fast to it, therefore, in all sincerity, give one another practical proof of it and by your progress in it, make your ascent together.” … St Fulgentius of Ruspe (460-533) Bishop – An excerpt from his Sermon 3
PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, You gave us a new birth in holy baptism and a new life in Your Son, who first loved us and gave His life for us. Grant us, we pray, the grace to love all as He did and bear much fruit, always striving after what He has taught who goes ahead of us, to lead us to You. May the prayers of His beloved Mother and ours and St Dymphna, grant us help and inspiration as we travel the road to eternal life. Through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God now and for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 15 May – “Mary’s Month” – Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter
My Lady, My Refuge and my Strength By St Germanus (c 634- c 733) Patriarch of Constantinople
My refuge and my strength
my refuge, life and help,
my armour and my boast,
my hope and my strength,
grant that I may enjoy
the ineffable, inconceivable gifts of your Son,
your God and our God,
in the heavenly kingdom.
For I know surely
that you have power to do as you will,
since you are Mother of the most High.
Therefore, Lady most pure,
I beg you
that I may not be disappointed in my expectations
but may obtain them, O Spouse of God,
who bore Him, who is the expectation of all,
Our lord Jesus Christ,
true God and master of all things,
visible and invisible,
to whom belongs all glory, honour and respect,
now and always and through endless ages.
Saint of the Day – 15 May – Saint Dymphna (7th Century) “The Lily of Éire” Virgin Martyr, Princess. Born in the 7th century in Ireland and died in Gheel in Belgium. Patronages – runaways, mental disorders, neurological disorders, survivors of incest, survivors of sexual assault, depression, anxiety.
The story of Dymphna was first recorded in the 13th century by a canon of the Church of St. Aubert at Cambrai, France. It was commissioned by Guiard of Laon (1238–1248), the Bishop of Cambrai. The author expressly stated that his work was based upon a long-standing oral tradition as well as a persuasive history of miraculous cures of the mentally ill.
Born during the 7th century to Irish royalty, St Dymphna’s mother, the Queen, had the girl baptised and raised in the faith in secret because of her husband’s pagan beliefs. When Dymphna was only fourteen, her beloved mother died and the King went mad in his great state of grief. He decided that he wanted to marry Dymphna, his own daughter, because she looked so much like her mother. Dymphna, who had made a vow of virginity before God, was horrified by her father’s proposal and adamantly refused.
To escape the king’s inevitable outrage over her rejection, Dymphna fled the kingdom. She was accompanied by her Confessor, Fr Gerebran, as well as several faithful servants from her father’s court. The group settled in Belgium in a city called Gheel near a shrine of St Martin of Tours. While there, Dymphna used her wealth to care for the sick and poor of the region.
Unfortunately, her father discovered her whereabouts and he sailed to Gheel in the hopes of bringing her back with him. Upon his arrival, the King continued his attempts to convince Dymphna to marry him, promising great wealth and esteem if she accepted his offer. Still, she would not change her mind, staying true to her vow of virginity and refusal to enter an incestuous relationship. In his anger, the King ordered his men to kill Fr Gerebran while he himself beheaded Dymphna. She was only fifteen years old at the time.
Both Dymphna and the priest, Fr Gerebran, were later named Saints and Dymphna was honoured with the crown of Martyrdom. She was declared Patroness of those with mental problems because of the great anguish her father’s mental affliction caused.
A church was built in Gheel in her name and many people suffering from mental disorders began travelling there for cures. Soon, the church was so full that an addition was added onto it but even then it still could not contain all the visitors. As a result, the townspeople of Gheel began accepting the mentally ill travellers into their homes. This tradition continues to this day.
The remains of Dymphna were later put into a silver reliquary and placed in the Gheel Church. The remains of Fr Gerebran were moved to Xanten, Germany. During the late 15th century the original St Dymphna Church in Gheel burned down. A second “Church of St Dymphna” was then built and Consecrated in 1532. The church still stands on the site where her body is believed to have first been buried.
Good Saint Dymphna,
great wonder-worker in every affliction of mind and body,
we humbly implore your powerful intercession
with Jesus through Mary, the Health of the Sick,
in our present need.
………………………… (Mention it)
Martyr of purity,
Patroness of those who suffer
with nervous and mental afflictions,
beloved child of Jesus and Mary,
pray to Them for us
and obtain our requests.
(Pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be.)
Bercthun of Beverley
Bertha of Bingen
St Caecilius of Granada
St Caesarea of Otranto
St Cassius of Clermont
Bl Clemente of Bressanone
St Colman Mc O’Laoighse
St Ctesiphon of Verga
Bl Diego of Valdieri St Dymphna (7th Century) Virgin Martyr “The Lily of Éire”
St Euphrasius of Andujar (1st Century) Martyr St Euphrasius’ Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/05/15/saint-of-the-day-15-may-saint-euphrasius-of-andujar-1st-century/
St Hallvard of Oslo
St Hesychius of Gibraltar
St Hilary of Galeata
St Indaletius of Urci
St Isidore of Chios
Bl Joan Montpeó Masip
St Maximus of Clermont
St Nicholas the Mystic
St Rupert of Bingen
St Secundus of Avila
St Simplicius of Sardinia
St Sophia of Rome
St Victorinus of Clermont
St Waldalenus of Beze
Martyrs of Maleville: 50 Mercedarian friars murdered for their faith by Huguenots. 1563 in the Mercedarian convent of Maleville in Rodez, France.
Martyrs of Persia: Three Christians who were tortured, mutilated, imprisoned, starved and finally executed together for refusing to worship the sun and fire during the persecutions of Shapur II. We know nothing else about them but their names: Bohtiso, Isaac and Simeon. They were beheaded or burned at the stake (records vary) in the late 3rd century somewhere in Persia
Martyrs of Lampsacus:
Andrew of Troas
Denysa of Troas
Paul of Troas
Peter of Lampsacus