Dear fellow “ardent travellers and noble company,” as we were so beautifully described by St Theodore the Studite in this morning’s One Minute Reflection, I have to leave you for a while to prepare for my frightening move in 2 weeks time.
Please remember me in your prayers – we all know the huge stresses of moving. I definitely need assistance from on high! I could probably take a lesson from our Blessed Mother when the Holy Family fled. I am sure they packed a little lighter than what I am trying to do. Between our Blessed Mother Mary and St Joseph, all will be well. And perhaps, St Jude, as the Patron of hopeless causes, will add his prayer to theirs!
I will, as always, be keeping you all, in mine.
May our good Lord bless us all and our beloved Mother Mary and St Joseph, constantly intercede for us.
Be our Shelter, Lord, when we are home, our Companion when we are away and our welcome Guest when we return. And at last, receive us into the dwelling place You have prepared for us in Your Father’s house, where You live forever and ever. Amen
Devotion for the Month of November – The Holy Souls in Purgatory
The month of November is dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory. The Church commemorates all her faithful children who have departed from this life but, have not yet attained the joys of heaven. St Paul warns us, that we must not be ignorant concerning the dead, nor sorrowful, “even as others who have no hope … For the Lord Himself shall come down from heaven … and the dead who are in Christ shall rise.
The Church has always taught us to pray for those who have gone into eternity. Even in the Old Testament prayers and alms were offered for the souls of the dead by those who thought “well and religiously concerning the resurrection.” It was believed that “they who had fallen asleep with godliness had great grace laid up for them” and that “it is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” We know that a defiled soul cannot enter into heaven.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord and may perpetual light shine upon them and may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen
Thought for the Day – 1 November – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Feast of All Saints
“Today’s feast should inspire in us, a burning desire to become holy. Men long for many things in this world, things which are often useless and, even sinful. They desire riches, pleasure, honours, success and material comfort. These things may be lawful but, they cannot satisfy the human heart, which is made for God. Whenever we achieve any of our ambitions in this world, are we in fact, happy or even perfectly satisfied? The truth is, that we are not! because, the soul is greater than the objects which surround us. God alone can fill and satisfy it.
Sanctity should be our principal ambition. We should yearn to be more closely united to God, so that His Divinity may be reflected in our thoughts and in our actions. If we enjoy God’s friendship, we shall become more like God and shall be lifted up above petty mundane considerations. Perhaps, we doubt our ability to reach such a high spiritual level? Even so, we should, nevertheless, desire to reach it and, not just in a passing and indifferent manner but, constantly and actively. We should keep our desire alive by repeating it to ourselves and by continually praying for God’s grace to fulfil it. “I intend to become holy,” said little Dominic Savio and he kept the promise which he had made to God. Many people have formed the same resolution, both desert hermits and University professors, both humble workmen and rulers of nations. Since we ought to have the same intention, what is there to prevent us? Let us make this resolution now and put it into effect, with the help of God.”
Quote/s of the Day – 1 November – The Solemnity of All Saints
“Let listening to worldly news be BITTER FOOD for you and let the words of Saintly men be as combs filled with honey.”
St Basil the Great (329-379) Father and Doctor of the Church
“The Saints must be honoured as friends of Christ and children and heirs of God. Let us carefully observe the manner of life of all the apostles, martyrs, ascetics and just men who announced the coming of the Lord. And let us emulate their faith, charity, hope, zeal, life, patience under suffering and perseverance unto death, so that we may also share, their crowns of glory.”
St John Damascene (675-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Those in the Catholic Church, whom some rebuke for praying to Saints and going on pilgrimages, do not seek any Saint as their saviour. Instead, they seek Saints, as those whom their Saviour loves and whose intercession and prayer, for the seeker, He will be content to hear. For His Own sake, He would have those He loves honoured. And when they are thus honoured for His sake, then, the honour that is given them, for His sake, overflows especially to Himself.”
St Thomas More 1478-1535) Martyr
“Be often reading the lives of the saints for inspiration and instruction.”
St Philip Neri (1515-1595)
“God, because of the great love He bears us and His great desire to see us saved, has given us, among other means of salvation, the practice of devotion to the Saints. It is His will that they, who are His friends, should intercede for us and, by their merits and prayers, obtain graces for us, which we ourselves do not deserve.”
St Alphonsus Maria Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
“Every so often, unite oneself interiorly with the Saintly souls who serve God and praise Him… with the holy angels and all the heavenly court …”
One Minute Reflection – 1 November – The Solemnity of All Saints, Readings: Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 1 John 3:1-3, Matthew 5:1-12
“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” – Matthew 5:12
REFLECTION – “Rejoice in the Lord without ceasing (cf. Phil 4:4), my dear children. I beg you rejoice, citizens of heaven but exiles on earth, inhabitants of the Jerusalem on high (cf. Gal 4:26) but banished from affairs here below, inheritors of the kingdom of heaven but disinherited from taking any part at all, in earthly pleasures! Rejoice, ardent travellers, at undergoing exile and maltreatment in a foreign land in the name of the commandment of God! Rejoice, you who are last in this world but lords of blessings that exceed our understanding (cf. Phil 4:7). Rejoice, noble company, brought together by God, assembly united in heart and soul, who give life to filial and fraternal love, a replica on earth of the host of angels! (…) Rejoice, God’s workers, apostolic men. (…) Rejoice, you who set your joy in each other, each making his own the reputation of his brother, you in whom is found neither jealousy, rivalry nor envy but, in their place, peace and charity and life in common. In truth, I do not say that we are not attacked – indeed, who is crowned if not the one who struggles and fights, who exchanges thrusts and wounds with his assailants? – but I say that we should not let ourselves be brought down by the machinations of Satan. Yes, my children, assembly of God, nourish yourselves with the food of the Spirit and drink the water given by the Lord: whoever comes to possess this water will never thirst again but it will become, in Him, a spring of living water welling up to eternal life (cf. Jn 4:14). (…) Yet a little while and we shall have vanquished. And blessed shall we be; blessed also, it shall be said, are the places, family and countries that have borne you (cf. Lk 11:27-28).” – St Theodore the Studite (759-826) – Catechesis 47 (The Great Catecheses)
PRAYER – Father, All-Powerful and ever-living God, today we rejoice in the holy men and women of every time and place. May their prayers bring us your forgiveness and love. Blessed Virgin, Mother of God, our trusted guide and loving mother and all you holy Saints of the Church Triumphant, pray for us! We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Saint of the Day – 1 November – Blessed Peter Paul Navarra SJ (1560-1622) Priest, Martyr, Missionary, Writer – born as Pietro Paolo in 1560 at Laino Borgo, Cosenza, Italy and died by being burned alive on 1 November 1622 at Ximabara, Nagasaki, Japan. As he was burning he prayed aloud the Litany of Our Lady. He is also known as Paul Navarro and Pietro Paolo Navarro. Additional Feast with the 205 Martyrs of Japan is 10 September.
Peter Paul Navarro was born in the small town of Laino, Basilicata in southern Italy. In 1579 when he was eighteen, he entered the Jesuit novitiate in Nola and requested to be sent to the Japanese mission. His request was granted and in 1584 he was sent to Goa, India for his studies and was Ordained in 1585. A year later in August, 1586 he arrived in Hirado, western Japan. There he spent a year studying Japanese and served in mission posts in Shikoku and Honshu. Fr Navarro knew that to be successful in evangelising the Japanese, he himself, must become one of them and this motivated him to speak and write fluently in the language. To prove to the Japanese that they did not have to relinquish their customs and cultural traditions to become Christians, he dressed like them, ate their food and used their type of furniture.
Fr Navarro went to northern Kyushu which became the centre of his missionary activity after he was expelled from his Hirado missions because of persecutions against Christians. Later, in 1614 when all foreign missionaries from Japan were expelled by the edict of Shogun Iyeyasu, Fr Navarro was one of the two dozen Jesuits who went underground rather than leave the country, as more than eighty other Priests had to. For the next seven years, he went about his priestly duties in Shimabara, western Kyushu, disguised as a beggar, wood seller, tradesman or farmer. In these disguises, Fr Navarro was able to enter the homes of Christians to celebrate Mass or administer the Sacraments at night to avoid being captured, since he was being hunted. During this period he wrote in Japanese, “An apology of the Christian Faith against the Calumnies of the Pagans.”
Peter Onizuka and Dennis Fujishima were the two lay Catechists helping Fr Navarro during his final years in Shimabara. Peter was a teenager whose father housed fugitive Priests. Dennis was in his forties and had been a Christian as a young man. Both of them were with Fr Navarro and his servant, Clement Yuemon, after Christmas in 1621 when they were all captured by priest-hunters. They were brought before the daimyo of Arima who treated the captives with great respect. The daimyo detained them in a house owned by a Christian where they were cared for by Christians and he even allowed Fr Navarro to celebrate Mass. He also came frequently to converse with Fr Navarro. The daimyo was prepared to release them if they could renounce Christianity, an offer which they turned down. The daimyo wanted to transfer them secretly to Macao where they could be set free. But before he could do anything, he received orders from the shogun that the three were to die by slow fire.
When Fr Navarro was informed of his impending death, he was happy that his prayers had been answered and wrote to his Jesuit friend, Fr John Baptist Zola, saying: “I give infinite thanks to the Lord and I ask you to thank him with me. I also ask your prayers for perseverance until my final breath.”
On the day of execution, 1 November, Fr Navarro celebrated the Mass of All Saints and the two Catechists, Peter and Dennis, who had asked to enter the Society, pronounced their Jesuit vows during that final Mass. While waiting for the executioners, Fr Navarro wrote his last letter to Fr Matthew de Couros: “For many years I have prayed for this great grace from God but always with some fear, that I would not be heard because of my many sins. The Father of mercies now gives me this long-desired grace. May he be blessed forever.”
In the afternoon the four prisoners escorted by fifty soldiers and a large crowd of Christian,s made their way to the place of execution, with Fr Navarro chanting the Litany of Our Lady and his companions joyfully sang the responses. As they approached the shore, the Martyrs saw the standing stakes awaiting them. The daimyo had instructed the soldiers to place the wood around the stakes so as not to prolong the prisoners’ suffering.
The three Jesuits, Frs Peter Paul Navarro, Peter Onizuka and Dennis Fujishima and their faithful servant, Clement Yeumon, alight in flames, gave final heroic witness of their great love for God.
They were beatified by Blessed Pope Pius IX together with another 201 Martyrs of Japan on 7 May 1867.
All Saints Day – 1 November (Solemnity) – (a Holy Day of Obligation) Instituted to honour all the saints, known and unknown. It owes its origin in the Western Church to the dedication of the Roman Pantheon in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the Martyrs by Pope Saint Boniface IV in 609, the anniversary of which was celebrated at Rome on 13 May. Pope Saint Gregory III consecrated a Chapel in the Vatican Basilica in honour of All Saints, designating 1 November as their feast. Pope Gregory IV extended it’s observance to the whole Church. It has a vigil and octave and is a holy day of obligation – the eve is popularly celebrated as Hallowe’en. Patronage – Arzignano, Italy.
St Amabilis of Auvergne St Austremonius St Benignus of Dijon St Cadfan St Caesarius of Africa St Caesarius of Damascus St Ceitho St Cledwyn of Wales Bl Clemens Kyuemon St Cyrenia of Tarsus St Dacius of Damascus St Deborah the Prophetess St Dingad Bl Dionysius Fugixima St Floribert of Ghent St Gal of Clermont St Genesius of Lyon St Germanus of Montfort St Harold the King St James of Persia St Jerome Hermosilla St John of Persia St Julian of Africa St Juliana of Tarsus St Lluís Estruch Vives St Marcel of Paris St Mary the Slave St Mathurin St Meigan St Nichole St Pabiali of Wales St Pere Josep Almató Ribera Auras St Peter Absalon Blessed Peter Paul Navarra SJ (1560-1622) Priest and Martyr Bl Petrus Onizuka Sadayu St Rachel the Matriarch St Ruth the Matriarch St Salaun of Leseven St Severinus of Tivoli St Valentin Faustino Berri Ochoa St Vigor of Bayeux