Novena in Preparation for the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Resplendent Lily of Paradise, lovable Mary, the Holy Spirit takes delight in your birth for He sees in you the soul never stained by sin, which would forever be His worthy Temple. May your birth give joy to my soul too, by obtaining for me from the Holy Spirit His divine love and final perseverance. Dearest Mother, please pray for me and for these my intentions… …………………….. (State your intentions)
Prayer: Your Nativity, O Virgin Mother of God, was the herald of joy to the whole world; since from you arose the Sun of Justice, Christ our God, Who, destroying the curse, bestowed the blessing and confounding death, rewarded us with life everlasting.
V. Let us celebrate with joy the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
R. That she may intercede for us with Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us pray: Grant to us Your servants, we beseech you, O Lord, the gift of Your heavenly grace, that as our salvation was begun in the child-bearing of the Blessed Virgin, so from this solemn festival of her Nativity may we obtain an increase of peace. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Thought for the Day – 3 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Falling into Sin
“The just man falls seven times,” says the Book of Proverbs (24:16). Unfortunately, we have all experienced how true this is. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves” (Cf 1 Jn 1:8).
We fall often in many ways – in though, in speech, in action and by omission. Sometimes, we fall in a moment of weakness or of impatience, at other times, we sin by an act of premediated malice. “Watch and pray,” Our Lord warns us, “that you may not enter into temptation” (Mt 26:41).
Our Lord also said that we “must always pray and not lose heart” (Lk 18:1). In other words, we should have a spirit of prayer which is based on the love of God and keeps us close to Him. It is only when we are united to God, that temptation cannot hurt us and we are protected by His grace, from falling into deliberate sin.
It is idle to protest that this would require the virtue of an achorite and that we are entangled in all kinds of other business. Virtue is necessary for everybody, not only for anchorites. “The kingdom of heaven has been enduring violent assault and the violent have been seizing it by force” (Mt 11:12). In order to attain to the kingdome of God, therefore, we have to do violence to our corrupted nature. A life of solitude is not essential for prayer, however. One can be busy from morning till night and pray continuously, so that his work is offered to God and done for the love of God. In this way, work becomes prayer and will save us from falling into sin.”
Quote/s of the Day – 3 September – The Memorial of St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) – Father & Doctor of the Church
“God is within all things but not included; outside all things but not excluded. God is above all things but not beyond their reach.”
“Let no seductive good fortune lead us astray, he is a foolish traveller who sees pleasant meadows on his journey and forgets where he is going.”
“To do penance is to bewail the evil we have done and to do no evil to bewail.”
“If some rich and powerful friend were to enter your home, you would quickly clean the entire house, for fear something there, might offend your friend’s eyes, when he entered. Let anyone then who is preparing his inner house for God, cleanse away the dirt of his evil deeds. … The Lord comes into the heart and makes His home in one, who truly loves God and observes His commandments…”
“The Sacred Scriptures grow with the one who reads them.”
“After He [Jesus] had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and lower your nets for a catch…” … Luke 5:4
REFLECTION – “He told Simon and his companions to sail off a little from the land and to let down the net for a draught. But they replied that they had been toiling the whole night and had caught nothing. However, in the name of Christ, they let down the net and immediately it was full of fish.
By a visible sign and by a miraculous type and representation, they were fully convinced that their labour would be rewarded and the zeal displayed in spreading out the net of the gospel teaching would be fruitful. Within this net they should most certainly catch the shoals of the heathen. But note that neither Simon nor his companions could draw the net to land. Speechless from fright and astonishment—for their wonder had made them mute—they beckoned to their partners, to those who shared their labours in fishing, to come and help them in securing their prey.
For many have taken part with the holy apostles in their labours and still do so, especially those who inquire into the meaning of what is written in the holy Gospels. Yet besides them there are also others – the shepherds and teachers and rulers of the people, who are skilled in the doctrines of truth. For the net is still being drawn, while Christ fills it, and calls to conversion those who, according to the Scripture phrase, are in the depths of the sea, that is to say, those who live in the surge and waves of worldly things.” … St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father and Doctor of the Incarnation – Commentary on Luke, Homily 12
PRAYER – God our Father, Your rule is a rule of love, Your providence is full of mercy for Your people. Through the intercession of St Gregory, grant the spirit of wisdom and understanding in Your Word through Your Son Jesus Christ. Grant that by the light of His Resurrection we may know our eternal home and strive to attain eternal joy there with You. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 3 September – Thursday of the Twenty Second week in Ordinary Time – The Memorial of St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) – Father & Doctor “Father of the Fathers”
Prayer of Praise By St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) Father & Doctor “Father of the Fathers”
It is only right, with all the powers of our heart and mind, to praise You Father and Your Only-Begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Dear Father, by Your wondrous condescension of loving-kindness toward us, Your servants, You gave up Your Son. Dear Jesus, You paid the debt of Adam for us to the Eternal Father by Your Blood poured forth in loving-kindness. You cleared away the darkness of sin by Your magnificent and radiant Resurrection. You broke the bonds of death and rose from the grave as a Conqueror. You reconciled heaven and earth. Our life had no hope of eternal happiness before You redeemed us. Your Resurrection has washed away our sins, restored our innocence and brought us joy. How inestimable is the tenderness of Your Love! Amen
Saint of the Day – 3 September – St Phoebe (1st Century) – Deaconess at Cenchrese, Matron and possibly a widow. She is mentioned by the Apostle St Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, verses 16:1-2. A notable woman in the church of Cenchreae, she was trusted by St Paul to deliver his letter to the Romans. St Paul refers to her both as a Deacon (Gk. diakonon) and as a benefactress or patron of many (Greek. prostatis). This is the only place in the New Testament where a woman is specifically referred to with these two distinctions. Paul introduces Phoebe as his emissary to the Church in Rome and, because they are not acquainted with her, Paul provides them with her credentials. The name Phoebe means “pure”, “radiant” or “bright.”
The mission of the Church owes an enormous debt to the early Apostles and all those who assisted them as they went beyond the Jewish circles of Jesus’ heritage toward all of the world. We are indebted to St Paul and all who assisted him in a particular way. Besides being the Memorial of St Gregory today, 3 September it is also the Memorial of St Phoebe.
“I commend you to our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchraea, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints and help her, in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself, as well.” So begins the sixteenth chapter of St Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome.
The office of Deaconess was mentioned by St Paul in the letters to the Romans and to Timothy but we also have evidence of the office in a letter from Pliny, a Roman governor who was writing to the Emperor Trajan for advice on dealing with Christians. He mentions two women ministers among the Christians in Bithynia. The office of Deaconess is also mentioned in the Apostolic Constitutions of Hippolytus and the office developed greatly during the third and fourth centuries, although it is quite different from the office Phoebe held. The Council of Chalcedon, held in the year 451, legislated that women could become Deaconesses at the age of 40.
A Deaconess was to devote herself to the care of sick and poor women; she was present at the interviews of women with Bishops, Priests, or male Deacons (so that the clergy wouldn’t be alone with strange women) and kept order in the women’s part of the church. Her most important function was the assistance at the Baptism of women. For the first five centuries of the Church, people were Baptised naked, and so, for the sake of propriety, male deacons couldn’t Baptise women. When adult Baptism became rare and was eventually replaced by infant Baptism, the office of Deaconess declined in importance. The office was actually abolished by the Council of Epaon in the year 517 but in the Nestorian Christian communities in Syria and later in India and China, Deaconesses administered Holy Communion to women and read the Sacred Scriptures in public.
In one of the later New Testament letters is a passage about diakonoi that outlines their moral qualifications. The diakonoi of 1 Timothy 3:8 were most probably official Deacons with a recognised position in the church. St John Chrysostom weighed in on the debate about whether the women in 1 Timothy 3:11 were Deacons. In his Homily 11 on 1 Timothy he wrote: “Some have thought that this is said of women generally but it is not so, for why should [Paul] introduce anything about women to interfere with his subject? He is speaking of those who hold the rank of Deaconesses.” In response to 1 Timothy 3:12, including the idiomatic phrase “a one-woman man” which some believe excludes women, he added “This must be understood therefore to [also] relate to Deaconesses. For that order is necessary and useful and honourable in the Church . . .” St John Chrysostom may have had the Deaconess Olympias, his close friend and patron, in mind when he wrote this.
I think that the fact that Phoebe was a Deacon in the Church in Cenchreae is important because it shows that women were vital to the mission of spreading the faith. Women owned house-churches, women administered and supervised the work with the poor and widows, women handled financial affairs for the churches and women helped spread the gospel. Jesus came to turn everything upside down – the last would be first and the first would be last and the Church was shaking up the society of Late Antiquity.
This feast of St Phoebe is in many ways a celebration of the on-going apostolate of women throughout the centuries, including you and me!
St Aigulphus of Lérins St Ambrose of Sens St Ammon of Heraclea Bl Andrew Dotti St Auxanus St Balin St Basilissa of Nicomedia Bl Brigida of Jesus Morello (1610-1679) Her Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/09/03/saint-of-the-day-3-september-blessed-brigida-of-jesus-morello-1610-1679/ St Chariton St Chrodegang of Séez St Frugentius the Martyr Bl Guala of Brescia St Hereswitha Bl Herman of Heidelberg St Macanisius St Mansuetus of Toul St Marinus (Died c 366) St Martiniano of Como St Natalis of Casale St Phoebe (1st Century) Disciple of St Paul St Regulus of Rheims St Remaclus St Sandila of Cordoba — Martyrs of Aquileia – 4 saints: Four young women, variously sisters and cousins, who were born to the nobility, the daughters of the pagans Valentinianus of Aquileia and Valentius of Aquileia. Each woman converted and made private vows, dedicating themselves to God. They were arrested, tortured and martyred by order of Valentius for becoming a Christian. We know little else but their names – Dorothy, Erasma, Euphemia and Thecla. They were martyred by beheaded in the 1st century in Aquileia, Italy and their bodies were thrown into a nearby river.
Martyrs of Nagasaki – 6 beati: A group of priests and clerics, native and foreign, murdered together in the anti-Christian persecutions in Japan. They were scalded in boiling water and then burned alive on 3 September 1632 in Nishizaka, Nagasaki, Japan and Beatified on 7 May 1867 by Pope Pius IX.
• Anthony Ishida • Bartolomé Gutiérrez Rodríguez • Francisco Terrero de Ortega Pérez • Gabriel Tarazona Rodríguez • Jerome of the Cross de Torres • Vicente Simões de Carvalho
Martyrs of Seoul – 6 saints: A group of Christian lay people martyred together in the persecutions in Korea. They were beheaded on 3 September 1839 at the Small West Gate, Seoul, South Korea and Canonised on 6 May 1984 by Pope John Paul II. • Agnes Kim Hyo-Ch’u • Barbara Kwon Hui • Barbara Yi Chong-hui • Ioannes Pak Hu-jae • Maria Pak K’Un-agi • Maria Yi Yon-hui
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: • Blessed Andrea Calle González • Blessed Concepción Pérez Giral • Blessed Dolores Úrsula Caro Martín • Blessed Joaquim Balcells Bosch • Blessed Pius Salvans Corominas