In the last General Audience, held by St Pope John in the Vatican Basilica (15 May 1963) before his death. He exhorted us to:
Look to Mary
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)
“Is it possible for a Christian not to love the holy Mother of Jesus, whom He has regarded with affection since His childhood, to whom He prayed with the first words He ever uttered and to whom He has trustfully turned for help in the difficult moments of His life?
All find in her and for her, a tender expression of confidence and gentleness – this is a great comfort to us, a great comfort at all times.
In this month of May, good Christians, increase a hundredfold, their tributes of profound veneration for Mary ….
We must cherish in our hearts, a fervour that will strengthen us and enable us, to look to Jesus and to Our Lady with great confidence, so that we may not only await but, hasten the triumph of the Lord’s charity and grace, by our enthusiasm and virtuous living and through our apostolate.
This fervour, must promote brotherly love and induce us to reject all motives for division among us.
We must be impelled, in short, to love all that unites us, because the Lord came to redeem the whole world and He is always continuing His work of salvation, mercy and peace.”
Thought for the Day – 31 May – “Mary’s Month” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Pray for Us … at the Hour of Our Death
“We have come to the end of this month, which we have dedicated to Mary.
Let us remember, however, that apart from this month of May we should dedicate our whole lives to her, up to final moment of death.
We are always in need of Mary’s patronage and intercession with God.
Let us always have recourse to her, therefore, especially in danger and in suffering but, most especially, at the decisive moment of death, for this is the moment on which eternity depends.
This day will arrive sooner or later but, it will certainly come, “at an hour that you do not expect” (Lk 12:40).
In the second part of the Hail Mary, the Church places on our lips, these words of supplication: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.”
How many times we have recited this prayer!
But do we ever think of death?
Let us remember that a mediation on death is the most valuable lesson in life.
One day, we shall find ourselves face-to-face with God, drawing our last breath on earth.
It may be on a sick bed, it may be in the middle of a street – we do not know.
It may be after a long illness at the end of which we are comforted by the Holy Sacraments and blessed by a priest, or it may be quite unexpected.
But, it is certain that death will come.
Let us aim, therefore, at being always prepared, so that it may not come when we have no good works to offer and when our hearts are full of ourselves and of worldly interests.
Like Mary, let us lead lives of holiness and we shall be sure to die holy deaths.
Let us beseech our heavenly Mother to be by our side at that final moment to sustain us in the conflict and to consign our souls to her divine Son, Jesus. Amen.”
Quote/s of the Day – 31 May – The Solemnity of Pentecost
“But it is God, who establishes us, with you in Christ and has anointed us, by putting his seal on us and giving us his Spirit in our heart, as a first instalment.”
2 Corinthians 1:21
“Accordingly, in the Church, one God is preached, one God who is above all things and through all things and in all things. God is above all things as Father, for He is principle and source, He is through all things through the Word and He is in all things in the Holy Spirit.”
St Athanasius (c 295-373)
Father and Doctor of the Church
“Remember, then, that you received a spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear. Keep safe what you received. God the Father sealed you, Christ the Lord strengthened you and sent the Spirit into your hearts as the pledge of what is to come.”
St Ambrose (340-397)
Father & Doctor of the Church
“O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Your cheerful beams.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of Grace
“As the soul is the life of the body, so the Holy Spirit is the life of our souls.”
St Peter Damian (1007-1072)
Doctor of the Church
“Enrich your soul in the great goodness of God – The Father is your table, the Son is your food and the Holy Spirit waits on you and then makes His dwelling in you.”
St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)
Doctor of the Church
“The Holy Spirit leads us like a mother. He leads His child by the hand… as a sighted person leads a blind person.”
St John Vianney (1786-1859)
“We ought to pray and invoke the Holy Spirit, for each one of us greatly needs His protection and His help. The more we are lacking in wisdom, weak in strength, burdened with trouble, prone to sin, the more we should turn to Him, Who is the never-ceasing fount of light, strength, consolation and holiness.”
Sunday Reflection – 31 May – The Solemnity of Pentecost
Wishing Holy Mother Church
and you all a Blessed and Holy Birthday!
“…We have only to say “yes” to let Him take us there.“
St John Vianney (1786-1859)
“If the damned were asked – Why are you in Hell? they would answer:
‘For having resisted the Holy Spirit.’
And if the saints were asked – Why are you in Heaven? they would answer: ‘For having listened to the Holy Spirit.’
When good thoughts come into our minds,
it is the Holy Spirit who is visiting us.
The Holy Spirit is a power.
The Holy Spirit …. sustained the martyrs. Without the Holy Spirit, the martyrs would have fallen like the leaves from the trees. When the fires were lighted under them, the Holy Spirit extinguished the heat of the fire by the heat of divine love.
The good God, in sending us the Holy Spirit, has treated us like a great king who should send his minister to guide one of his subjects, saying, “You will accompany this man everywhere and you will bring him back to me safe and sound.”
How beautiful it is, my children, to be accompanied by the Holy Spirit!
He is indeed a good Guide and to think that there are some who will not follow Him!
The Holy Spirit is like a man with a carriage and horse, who should want to take us to Pans. We should only have to say “yes,” and to get into it. It is indeed an easy matter to say “yes”!…
Well, the Holy Spirit wants to take us to Heaven,
we have only to say “yes” and to let Him take us there.“
“O Divine Spirit, draw us to the highest heaven where Jesus lives forever, interceding for us. Come, fill our hearts with Your fire, show us the way to the Lord, that we may find Him shining with beauty and love. Amen”
One Minute Reflection – 31 May – The Solemnity of Pentecost, Readings: Acts 2:1-11, Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34, 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13, John 20:19-23
“When you send forth your spirit … you renew the face of the earth.” … Psalm 104:30
REFLECTION – “In the beginning, according to God’s plan, God’s Spirit filled the world, “reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other and governing all things sweetly.” (Wis 8:1) But where the Spirit’s work of sanctification is concerned, it was on the day of Pentecost that “the Spirit of the Lord filled the world.” (Wis 1:7) For it is today, that this Spirit of sweetness is sent by the Father and the Son, to sanctify every creature according to a new plan, in a new way, a new manifestation of the Spirit’s power and strength.
Before this, “the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.” (Jn 7:39) … Today, the Spirit, coming from His heavenly abode, is given with all His richness, all His fruitfulness to the souls of mortals. Thus this divine dew, with its diversity and its spiritual gifts, is spread out over all the earth. And it is true, that the fullness of the Spirit’s richness flowed down for us from the highest heaven, since a few days previously, through our earth’s generosity, heaven had received a marvellously sweet fruit… Christ’s humanity is all of earth’s grace; Christ’s Spirit is all of heaven’s sweetness. Thus, a very salvific exchange was brought about – Christ’s humanity went up from earth to heaven and today, the Spirit of Christ descended from heaven to us…
The Holy Spirit is active everywhere;,the Spirit speaks everywhere. Of course, before the Ascension, the Lord’s Spirit was given to the disciples when the Lord said to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them, if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (Jn 20:23) But before Pentecost, the voice of the Holy Spirit was not heard, His shining power was not seen. And knowledge of Him had not been given to Christ’s disciples, who had not been confirmed in courage, since fear still made them hide in a locked room. But starting on that day, “the voice of the Lord is over the waters …it lashes forth flames of fire … and all say, ‘Glory!’ (Ps 29:3-9)” … St Aelred of Rielvaux (1110-1167) Cistercian Monk
PRAYER – Lord God, pour out the gifts of the Holy Spirit on all mankind and fulfil now, in the hearts of Your faithful, what You accomplished at the beginning of the world, every second of everyday and when the Gospel was first preached on earth. Come, O Holy Spirit, come! We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 31 May – Pentecost Sunday, Alleluia!
Veni Sancte Spiritus – The Golden Sequence
Come, Holy Spirit and bring from above
The splendour of Thy light.
Come, father of the poor, come, giver of graces,
Come, light of our hearts.
Best of Consolers, sweet guest of the soul,
And comfort of the weary.
Thou rest in labour, relief in burning toil,
Consoling us in sorrow.
O blessed light, fill the innermost hearts
Of those who trust in Thee.
Without Thy indwelling there is nothing in man,
And nothing free of sin.
Cleanse what is sordid, give water in dryness,
And heal the bleeding wounds.
Bend what is proud, make warm what is cold,
Bring back the wayward soul.
Give to the faithful who trustingly beg Thee
Thy seven holy gifts.
Grant virtue’s reward, salvation in death,
And everlasting joy.
“Veni Sancte Spiritus,” the “Golden Sequence”, is a sequence prescribed in the Roman Liturgy for the Masses of Pentecost and its octave, exclusive of the following Trinity Sunday. It is usually attributed to either the thirteenth-century Pope Innocent III (c 1160 – 1216) or to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Stephen Langton (c 1150 – 1228).
Saint of the Day – 31 May – Saint Camilla Battista da Varano OSC (1458-1524) Italian Princess, Virgin, Poor Clare Nun and Abbess, Mystic, Spiritual Writer, Stigmatist – born on 9 April 1458 in Camerino, Macerata, Italy and died on 31 May 1524 in Camerino, Macerata, Italy of natural causes.
Camilla Battista was born into nobility in Camerino, Italy on 9 April 1458. As a Princess in the home of her father Duke Giulio Cesare da Varano she grew up in the court and received a good education.
Around the age of 9 she listened to a sermon on Good Friday preached by Domenico of Leonessa, a Franciscan friar who later became one of her confessors. He ended his sermon by encouraging his listeners to shed one teardrop for the Passion of Christ. She resolved to show her love for Jesus by shedding a tear each Friday. Though not initially drawn to the spiritual life, she persevered in her vow and would squeeze out a tear before running off to play. She found a booklet that contained a meditation on the Passion of Christ divided into 15 parts to be prayed like a rosary. She began to pray this devotion each Friday while on her knees before a Crucifix. Other spiritual practices like fasting and night vigils began to attract her even though she continued to spend time in the youthful pursuits of court life.
During Lent of 1479 a sermon she heard touched her deeply, inspiring her to take a private vow of chastity. Her father initially opposed her desire to enter religious life as he wanted her to marry. She wanted to enter the Poor Clare Monastery in Urbino. Her spiritual life deepened during the few years before she actually entered the Monastery. She wrote Lauda (Praises) during this time – a work in which she expressed the joy she felt in knowing that Jesus loved her.
On 24 November 1481 she entered the Poor Clare Monastery in Urbino and made her profession in 1483. Early in 1484, she transferred to the new Monastery of Santa Maria Nuova at Camerino which was close to her father’s castle. Her father had made arrangements with the Pope and the Vicar General of the Friars to have her moved there. She was reluctant to do so and went only under obedience.
While living in the Monastery in Urbino, she experienced visions and composed several other spiritual works. She was elected Abbess in 1500. The following year, due to political disagreements, her father and her brothers were killed and she was forced to flee to the Abruzzo region until 1503 when she felt safe to return to Camerino. She founded a Monastery in Fermo and trained a group of nuns in San Severino Marche who adopted the Rule of St Clare.
She died in her Monastery in Camerino during a plague on 31 March 1524, on the Feast of Corpus Christi, at the age of 66. Her remains were placed to rest in the crypt of the Monastery of the Poor Clares of Camerino.
St Camilla wrote with equal facility in Latin and Italian and who was accounted one of the most accomplished scholars of her day. The Major Works of St Camilla Battista da Varano are: Praises of the Visions of Christ, 1479 – 1481 Remembrances of Jesus, 1483 Treatise on the Mental Sufferings of Jesus Christ our Lord, 1488 The Spiritual Life, 1491 (Autobiography)
Her Autobiography from 1466-1491 which is considered a “jewel of art” and of the spiritual life. In this work, she describes how two Seraphim with wings of gold, appeared to her because they were assigned to help her understand the mysterious working of unitive love.
“Two angels came to me, dressed in resplendent white garments which I have seen only worn by Jesus. They had wings of gold. One of them took my soul from the right side, the other from the left side and they elevated it in the air, laying it down near the crucified feet of the Son of God made Man. This state lasted about two months almost continually, I seem to walk, to speak and do what I wished, deprived however of my soul. It remained there where the two Angels had placed it but they never abandoned it.
…They (the celestial spirits) declared to me, that they were so intimate with God that God is not ever separated from them. They also explained to me, that the Seraphim were likewise united to the Cherubim, in that none of them could ever go without the other to a soul.” – Camilla Varano, The Spiritual Life
Both Saint Philip Neri and St Alphonsus Liguori recorded their admiration for her.
On 8 April 1821 Pope Leo XIII approved the acts of the process for her Canonisation. She was Beatified by Pope Gregory XVI on 7 April 1843, following recognition of her long-standing public cult. On 4 February 1893 her writings were also approved. On 17 October 2010 Pope Benedict XVI Canonised her, along with five others.
Prayer for the Intercession of St Camilla Battista da Varano
Holy and Blessed Trinity,
You granted Camilla Battista the ability
to live as a true daughter of the Father,
to adhere to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and to allow herself to be moulded
by the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Grant me the grace to imitate her example
and to make, of my life,
a reflection of her beauty
and of her sanctity.
Grant me, I pray,
through the intercession of Saint Camilla Battista,
this grace that I ask
………………………………………….. (here state the favour you are requesting) Amen
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be…
St Alexander of Auvergne St Camilla Battista da Varano OSC (1458-1524)
St Crescentian of Sassari
St Donatian of Cirta
St Felice of Nicosia
St Galla of Auvergne
St Hermias of Comana
Bl Jacob Chu Mun-mo
Bl James Salomone
St Juan Moya Collado
Bl Kasper Gerarz
St Lupicinus of Verona
St Mancus of Cornwall
Bl Mariano of Roccacasale
St Mechtildis of Edelstetten
St Myrbad of Cornwall
Bl Nicolas Barré
Bl Nicholaus of Vangadizza
Bl Nicholaus of Vaucelles
St Nowa Mawaggali
St Paschasius of Rome
St Petronilla of Rome
Bl Robert Thorpe
St Silvio of Toulouse
Bl Thomas Watkinson
Bl Vitalis of Assisi
St Winnow of Cornwall
Martyrs of Aquileia – 3 saints: Three young members of the imperial Roman nobility and who were raised in a palace and had Saint Protus of Aquileia as tutor and catechist. To escape the persecutions of Diocletian, the family sold their property and moved to Aquileia, Italy. However, the authorities there quickly ordered them to sacrifice to idols; they refused. Martyrs all – Cantianilla, Cantian and Cantius. They were beheaded in 304 at Aquae-Gradatae (modern San-Cantiano) just outside Aquileia, Italy.
Martyrs of Gerona – 29 saints: A group of Christians martyred together in Gerona, Catalonia, Spain, date unknown. No details about them have survived but the names – • Agapia• Amelia• Castula• Cicilia• Donatus• Firmus• Fortunata• Gaullenus• Germanus• Honorius• Istialus• Justus• Lautica• Lupus
• Maxima• Paulica• Rogate• Rogatus• Silvanus• Tecla• Teleforus• Tertula• Tertus• Victoria• Victurinus• Victurus
Martyrs of the Via Aurelia – 4 saints: Four Christians martyred together. No information about them has survived except their names – Justa, Lupus, Tertulla and Thecla. The martyrdom occurred in 69 on the Via Aurelia near Rome, Italy.