The Light Comes from the Altar
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)
“When He ascended into Heaven, the majestic flow of the Blood of Jesus did not cease on this earth; it still flows in a ever-widening stream through untold centuries of grace – the vision which began with the Immaculate Conception, ends in the Blessed Sacrament!
In this way, one mystery corresponds to the other, the one illuminates, completes and confirms the other.
From the Eucharist, back to the Passion, from the Passion to the public life and, further back, to the hidden life of Jesus in Nazareth, from this hidden life to His Birth – from far beyond the Annunciation to the heights of the [Immaculate] Conception and back to us again – it is a continual rising re-descending, unutterable, divine.
Because of this, we see Mary Immaculate present at every Mass and in every Communion.
The light of the Immaculate which streams upon us comes from the Altar, from the Tabernacle and, in the same way, when we draw near to the Altar and the Tabernacle, it is almost as if we hear Mary’s voice inviting us: “Eat, O friends and drink, drink deeply, O lovers” (Song 5:1).
This, my brothers, is the doctrine.
On this foundation is built the reality, the great and thrilling reality which re-assumes so fully, in all ages, the best Christian piety of the whole world.
In fact, when persecution rages, the Christians draw strength to resist and to extend their conquering apostolate and, if need be, even to die, from the Bread of the strong, from the inebriating Chalice offered over the tombs of martyrs in our ancient cemeteries, under the kind eyes of Mary, whose roughly drawn images smiles among the symbols and ornaments of primitive Christian art.”
Thought for the Day – 24 May – “Mary’s Month” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Recollection of Mary
“It is believed that when the Angel Gabriel visited the Blessed Virgin in order to tell her that she was to be the Mother of God, she was in a quiet corner of her home, absorbed in prayer. She had no love for the noise and confusion of the world but preferred to be recollected in the company of God. This was to be the pattern of her whole life. In the midst of her domestic duties, on her journey to St Elizabeth and on her travels in Galilee and Judea, in the wake of her divine Son, her mind and heart were always concentrated on God.
Interior recollection is a wonderful thing. It helps us to hear God’s voice more clearly. It keeps us removed from the temptations of the world and assists us in sanctifying every moment of our lives.
“The cell continually dwelt in growth sweet,” (Bk 1, C 20:5) says The Imitation of Christ and goes onto ask: “What can thou see elsewhere that thou does not see here? Behold the heavens and the earth and all the elements, for out of these are all things made” (Ibid C 20:8). “As often as I have been amongst men,” it exclaims, “I have returned less a man” (Ibid C 20:2). When we move around chattering with different people, we have lost something of ourselves by the time we return home. Perhaps we have wasted a good deal of time in useless conversation or, worse still, have seen or heard unpleasant or disturbing things. When we go about in the world, we do not often see much that is edifying or instructive and rarely meet people whose conversation does us good. For this reason, even when we cannot remain apart, we should carry in ourselves, as Mary did, a spirit of interior recollection and communication with God.”
Quote/s of the Day – 24 May – “Mary’s Month” – The Seventh Sunday of Easter, Readings: Acts 1:12-14, 1 Peter 4:13-16, Psalm 27(26):1.4.7-8a, John 17:1-11
“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours. All mine are yours and all yours are mine and I am glorified in them. … Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.”
“… Rather, we pray in public as a community and not for one individual but for all. For the people of God are all one. … The urgency and the unity of their prayer declares that God, who fashions a bond of unity among those who live in His home, will admit into His divine home, for all eternity, only those who pray in unity. …Profess your belief that you are sons of God by giving thanks. Call upon God who is your Father in heaven.”
“The Lord’s words were spoken about His own Church and addressed to members of the Church. If they are agreed, if, as He commanded but two or three are gathered together and pray with one mind, then, although they are but two or three, they can obtain from the divine majesty what they ask. … That means, of course, with the single-hearted and peaceable, with those who fear God and keep His commandments.”
St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200-258)
Bishop, Father of the Church and Martyr
“Out of compassion for us He descended from heaven and although He ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in Him by grace. Thus, no-one but Christ descended and no-one but Christ ascended, not because there is no distinction between the head and the body but because the body, as a unity, cannot be separated from the head.”
St Augustine (354-430)
Father and Doctor of Grace
“A Christian has a union with Jesus Christ – more noble, more intimate and more perfect than the members of a human body have with their head!”
St John Eudes (1601-1680)
“Let us consider that mosaic of Jesus in Monreale Cathedral. Each of us is like a little glass tile in that great mosaic. Therefore, each of us must understand our role and help others understand theirs, so that together, we can make up the unique face of Christ.”
Sunday Reflection– 24 May – “Mary’s Month” – The Seventh Sunday of Easter, Readings: Acts 1:12-14, 1 Peter 4:13-16, Psalm 27(26):1.4.7-8, John 17:1-11 and the Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians
“Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one and come. For the winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have appeared in our land.”
“One thing alone I know – that, according to our need, so will be our strength.
One thing I am sure of, that the more the enemy rages against us, so much the more, will the Saints in Heaven, plead for us;
the more fearful are our trials from the world, the more present to us will be our Mother Mary and our good Patrons and Angel Guardians;
the more malicious are the devices of men against us, the louder cry of supplication will ascend from the bosom of the whole Church of God, for us.
We shall not be left orphans;
we shall have within us, the strength of the Paraclete, promised to the Church and to every member of it.
My Fathers, my Brothers in the Priesthood, I speak from my heart when I declare my conviction, that there is no-one among you here present but, if God so willed, would readily become a martyr for His sake.
I do not say you would wish it;
I do not say that the natural will would not pray that that chalice might pass away,
I do not speak of what you can do by any strength of yours – but, in the strength of God, in the grace of the Spirit, in the armour of justice, by the consolations and peace of the Church, by the blessing of the Apostles Peter and Paul and, in the name of Christ, you would do what nature cannot do.
By the intercession of the Saints on high, by the penances and good works and the prayers of the people of God on earth, you would be forcibly borne up as upon the waves of the mighty deep and carried on out of yourselves by the fullness of grace, whether nature wished it or no.
I do not mean violently, or with unseemly struggle but calmly, gracefully, sweetly, joyously, you would mount up and ride forth to the battle, as on the rush of Angels’ wings, as your fathers did before you and gained the prize.
You, who day by day, offer up the Immaculate Lamb of God, you who hold in your hands the Incarnate Word under the visible tokens which He has ordained, you who again and again drain the Chalice of the Great Victim;
who is to make you fear?
what is to startle you?
what to seduce you?
who is to stop you, whether you are to suffer or to do, whether to lay the foundations of the Church ‘n tears, or to put the crown upon the work in jubilation?”
St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
1852 – “The Second Spring” at the first Provincial Synod of the newly restored Roman Catholic hierarchy in England.
(John Henry Newman – Spiritual Writings – Selected by John T Ford)
One Minute Reflection – 24 May – “Mary’s Month” – The Seventh Sunday of Easter, Readings: Acts 1:12-14, 1 Peter 4:13-16, Psalm 27(26):1.4.7-8a, John 17:1-11 and the Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians
“Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” … John 17:11
REFLECTION – “In this seeking after God, the principle of our holiness, we cannot find a better model than Christ Jesus Himself. But, you will at once say, how is this? Can Christ be our model? How could He “seek God” since He was God Himself? It is true that Jesus is God, true God come forth from God, Light arising from the uncreated Light, Son of the living God, equal to the Father (cf. Creed of the Mass). But, He is likewise man, He is authentically one of us through His human nature. … And we see Christ Jesus, like a giant, rejoice to run the way in the pursuit of the glory of His Father. This is His primal disposition.
Let us hear how, in the Gospel, He clearly tells us so: “I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me” (Jn 5:30). To the Jews, He proves that He comes from God, that His doctrine is divine, because He seeks the glory of Him that sent Him (cf. Jn 7:18). He seeks it to such a degree, that He has no solicitude for His own (cf. Jn 8:50). He has ever these words upon His lips: “My Father,” His whole life is but the magnificent echo of this cry: “Abba, Father!” All for Him is summed up in seeking the will and the glory of His Father. And what constancy in this search! He Himself declares to us that He never deviated from it: “I do always the things that please [my Father]” (cf. Jn 8:29). At the supreme hour of His last farewell, at the moment when about to deliver Himself up to death, He tells us, that all the mission He had received from His Father was accomplished (cf. Jn 17:4). …
If, as God, Jesus is the term of our seeking, as Man, He is the unique Exemplar, wherefrom we ought never to turn our gaze.” … Bl Columba Marmion (1858-1923) Abbot – To seek God (Christ, the Ideal of the Monk)
PRAYER – Since it is from You, God our Father, that redemption comes to us, Your adopted children, look with favour on the family You love, grant us to seek You and to to find You in Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.,, May our whole being become a copy of Your Son’s obedience and thus follow Him to You in our eternal heritage. We entreat Our Lady, Queen of Heaven and Help of Christians to offer her prayers to You to strengthen us in our trials. Through Christ, Our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 24 May – “Mary’s Month” – The Seventh Sunday of Easter and the Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians
She, who stands at the Altar of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, without many of us today, will always be our help, most especially in these times of ‘lockdown.’ Though deprived of the Sacraments, we will never be deprived of her perpetual succour.
Prayer to Our Lady, Help Of Christians By St John Bosco (1815-1888)
Most Holy Virgin Mary,
Help of Christians,
how sweet it is to come to your feet
imploring your perpetual help.
If earthly mothers cease not
to remember their children,
how can you,
the most loving of all mothers, forget me?
Grant then to me, I implore you,
your perpetual help in all my necessities,
in every sorrow and especially in all my temptations.
I ask for your unceasing help
for all who are now suffering.
Help the weak,
cure the sick,
Grant through your intercession,
many vocations to the religious life.
Obtain for us, O Mary, Help of Christians,
that having invoked you on earth
we may love and eternally thank you in heaven.
Saint of the Day – 24 May – St David, King of Scotland (1085-1183) King of Scotland from 1124 to 1153 – born as Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim in 1085 and died on 24 May 1183 in Carlisle, Scotland of natural causes. King David was a social and religious Reformer, a man of great administrative skills, apostle of charity and of holy piety. He transformed his Kingdom by the widespread introduction of Catholic Churches and Monasteries, thus also assisting in the international diplomatic influence of his country, it’s farming and agricultural wealth and it’s education. He was the main force and instrument of God in Christianising Scotland. Patronage – Scotland and various Dioceses and Churches there.
St David was the youngest son of King Malcolm III of Scotland and his wife Margaret who is herself a Saint. Although David spent most of his childhood in Scotland, he was educated for some years at the Anglo-Norman court in England. When his brother Alexander acceded to the throne of Scotland in 1107, David became Prince of Cumbria. He married Matilda, daughter of Waldef, Earl of Northampton and Huntingdon and thus became an English Earl. As Prince of Cumbria he was entitled to an inheritance in southern Scotland.
Upon Alexander’s death, David reluctantly became King of Scots in 1124. He brought with him many knights and courtiers from Norman England, many of whom became the future aristocrats and even Kings of Scotland including Bruce, Balliol and FitzAlan, who later became the Stewart kings.
King David oversaw the continuing development of the Scottish state and the organisation of Christianity within it. He established the Royal cities of Edinburgh, Berwick, Roxburgh, Stirling and perhaps Perth and founded Diocese at Brechin, Dunblane, Caithness, Ross and Aberdeen. He founded and endowed numerous Monasteries. Among them were the Cistercian Houses of Melrose, Kinloss, Newbattle and Dundrennan and Holyrood itself for Augustinian canons as well as the Benedictines at Dunfermline. This period in Scottish history has become known as the “Davidian Revolution.”
Not only were such Monasteries an expression of David’s undoubted piety but they also functioned to transform Scottish society. Monasteries became centres of foreign influence and provided sources of literate men, able to serve the crown’s growing administrative needs. These new Monasteries and the Cistercian ones in particular, introduced new agricultural practices. Cistercian labour, for instance, transformed southern Scotland into one of northern Europe’s most important sources of sheep wool.
When Queen Matilda died, he gave even more attention to religious matters, reciting the Divine Office himself each day and devoting himself to almsgiving and other works of charity. In all he exercised a wholly civilising influence upon his family and upon the nation.
Perhaps the greatest blow to David’s plans came on 12 July 1152 when Henry, Earl of Northumberland, David’s only son and heir, died. David had under a year to live and he may have known that he was not going to be alive much longer. David quickly arranged for his grandson, Malcolm IV, to be made his successor and for his younger grandson William to be made Earl of Northumberland. The 11 year-old Malcolm around Scotland-proper on a tour to meet and gain the homage of his future Gaelic subjects.
St Ælred of Rievaulx (1110-1167) (his life here: https://anastpaul.com/2018/01/12/saint-of-the-day-12-january-st-aelred-of-rievaulx-1110-1167-saint-bernard-of-the-north/) who was, in his earlier years, master of the household to David with whom he kept up a close friendship with the King, gives a circumstantial account of David’s death at Carlisle on 24 May 1153. On the Friday he was anointed and given Viaticum and then spent much time in praying psalms with his attendants. On Saturday they urged him to rest but he replied, “Let me rather think about the things of God, so that my spirit may set out strengthened on its journey from exile to home. When I stand before God’s tremendous judgement-seat, you will not be able to answer for me or defend me, no-one will be able to deliver me from His hand.” And so, he continued to pray and at dawn of Sunday, he passed away peacefully as if he slept. St David had helped to endow Dunfermline Abbey, founded by his father and mother and he had peopled it with Benedictine monks from Canterbury. There he was buried and at his shrine, his memory was venerated until the Reformation.
After the King’s death, St Ælred delivered the eulogy at the Requiem Mass, praising Saint David’s reluctance to become king, his sense of justice and his accessibility to everyone, his efforts to maintain concord among the clergy, of his personal piety and in general, of the great work he did for the consolidation of the Kingdom of Scotland.
Ælred’s only criticism was of his failure to control the savagery and rapacity of his troops when he invaded England, on behalf of his niece Matilda, against Stephen. For this, David was very contrite and is said to have looked on his defeat at the Battle of the Standard and the early death of his only son, as just retribution therefor.
St David, Pray for Scotland, Pray for us all, amen!
Our Lady of China: Our Lady of China is a title for the Virgin Mary in China who is believed to have appear at the small village of Donglu in 1900. In Chinese she is called Zhōnghuá Shèngmǔ. She is also known as Our Lady of Donglu.
St Afra of Brescia
Bl Benedict of Cassino St David, King of Scotland (1085-1183)
Bl Diego Alonso
St Donatian of Nantes
St Gennadius of Astroga
St Hubert of Bretigny
Bl Isidore Ngei Ko Lat
St Joanna the Myrrhbearer
Bl John del Prado
Bl John of Montfort
Bl Juan of Huete
Bl Louis-Zéphirin Moreau
St Marciana of Galatia Bl Maria Gargani OFS (1892-1973) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2019/05/24/saint-of-the-day-24-may-blessed-maria-gargani-ofs-1892-1973/
Bl Mario Vergara
St Meletius the Soldier
Bl Nicetas of Pereslav
St Patrick of Bayeux
Bl Philip of Piacenza
St Rogatian of Nantes
St Sérvulo of Trieste
St Simeon Stylites the Younger
Bl Thomas Vasière
St Vincent of Lérins
St Vincent of Porto Romano
Martyrs of Istria: A group of early martyrs in the Istria peninsula. We know little more than some names – Diocles, Felix, Servilius, Silvanus and Zoëllus.
Martyrs of Plovdiv: 38 Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian and Maximian. We don’t even known their names. They were beheaded in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
Martyrs of the Small West Gate: Additional Memorial – 20 September as part of the Martyrs of Korea. A group of lay catechists and catechumens who were imprisoned and executed together for the crime of being Christian.
• Saint Agatha Kim A-Gi
• Saint Agatha Yi So-Sa
• Saint Anna Pak A-Gi
• Saint Augustine Yi Kwang-Hon
• Saint Barbara Han A-Gi
• Saint Damianus Nam Myong-Hyok
• Saint Lucia Pak Hui-Sun
• Saint Magdalena Kim Ob-I
• Saint Petrus Kwon Tug-In
They were beheaded on 24 May 1839 at the Small West Gate, Seoul, South Korea and were Canonised on 6 May 1984 by Pope John Paul II.