The month of March is known as the Month of St Joseph and is punctuated by the Solemnity of St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary on 19 March.
The Year and this month of March of St Joseph, are an ideal time to “go to Joseph” for all the help we need to be holy. Even small details, like adding the invocation, “St Joseph, pray for us!” following grace before meals, and after the family Rosary each day, setting an alarm on your phone to spend a moment with the Holy Guardian of the Church and ask him to pray especially for our Holy Mother Church in these most difficult times, all these, can be effective reminders of the closeness of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Amen!
Thought for the Day – 1 March– Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Commandments and the Desires of Jesus Christ
“Whoever has Jesus in his heart,” writes St Francis de Sales, “has Him also in his actions.” If God really lives in us, He cannot be inactive but will work with us for our sanctification. Our actions must be the actions of Jesus Christ. Remember that the Gospel says, that a good tree will produce good fruit, while a bad tree will produce bad fruit (Cf Mt 7:17). From the fruits which we produce, we can see clearly, if Jesus is working in us. Holiness consists in accepting the will of God, whatever it is, whether it be sacrifice, sorrow or humiliation. We must allow Jesus to act in us as He desires. Not only must we conform to His holy will but, we must do so, with enthusiasm. We must be obedient instruments of His grace, doing precisely what He wants us to do. If He wishes us to suffer, we must be prepared to do so for Him, knowing that we are participating and, co-operating, in the work of His Redemption. If He desires us to be happy, we should humbly accept happiness from His Hands. Everything must be as Jesus wills. We must transform ourselves into Him, like the white host which first is bread and through the act of consecration, becomes Jesus Christ!”
Day Thirteen of our Lenten Journey – 1 March – Monday of the Second week of Lent, Readings: Daniel 9:4-10, Psalms 79:8, 9, 11 and 13, Luke 6:36-38
Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
In You is the source of life and in Your Light Lord, we see light Psalm 35(36)
“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” – Luke 6:36
NEVER do evil for anything in the world, or for the love of any man. For one who is in need, however, a good work may at times be purposely left undone or changed for a better one. This is not the omission of a good deed but rather its improvement.
Without charity external work is of no value but anything done in charity, be it ever so small and trivial, is entirely fruitful, inasmuch as God weighs the love with which a man acts, rather than the deed itself.
He does much who loves much. He does much who does a thing well. He does well who serves the common good rather than his own interests.
Now, that which seems to be charity is oftentimes really sensuality, for man’s own inclination, his own will, his hope of reward and his self-interest, are motives seldom absent. On the contrary, he who has true and perfect charity seeks self in nothing but searches all things for the glory of God. Moreover, he envies no man, because he desires no personal pleasure nor does he wish to rejoice in himself; rather he desires the greater glory of God above all things. He ascribes to man nothing that is good but attributes it wholly to God from Whom all things proceed as from a fountain and in Whom, all the blessed shall rest as their last end and fruition.
If man had but a spark of true charity, he would surely sense that all the things of earth are full of vanity! (Book 1 Ch 15)
Quote/s of the Day – 1 March – Monday of the Second week of Lent, Readings: Daniel 9:4-10, Psalms 79:8, 9, 11 and 13, Luke 6:36-38
“Judge not and you will not be judged; condemn not and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give, will be the measure you get back.”
“Someone who shows no clemency, who is not clothed with the bowels of mercy and tears, no matter what sort of student he is in spirituality, such a one does not fulfil the law of Christ.”
St Jerome (343-420) “The Man of the Bible” Father and Doctor of the Church
“Lift up and stretch out your hands, not to heaven but to the poor… if you lift up your hands in prayer without sharing with the poor, it is worth nothing.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you, nothing that you have received— only what you have given – a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”
St Francis of Assisi (c 1181–1226)
“Let us learn of Him, that holy preference, which shows most love, to those who suffer most.”
Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813–1853) “Servant to the Poor”
“For the measure you give, will be the measure you get back.”… Luke 6:38
REFLECTION – “Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things – they leave behind them in this world but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve.” – St Francis of Assisi (c 1181–1226)
PRAYER – We beseech Your mercy Lord, let Your Spirit come upon us in power and fill us with His gifts, to render our minds and hearts pleasing to You and make us docile and merciful as Your Son has taught us. May our Lord Jesus, Your Son, guide us and may the prayers of St Albinus of Angers assist us to engrave Your precepts in our hearts and actions. Through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 1 March – Monday of the Second week of Lent
Alone With None but Thee, My God Attri. St Columban (543-615)
Alone with none but Thee, my God I journey on my way, what need I fear when Thou art near, O King of night and day? More safe am I within Thy hand than if a host should round me stand.
My destined time is known to Thee, and death will keep his hour; did warriors strong around me throng, they could not stay his power. No walls of stone can man defend when Thou Thy messenger dost send.
My life I yield to Thy decree and bow to Thy control in peaceful calm, for from Thine arm no power can wrest my soul, could earthly omens e’er appal a man that heeds the heavenly call?
The child of God can fear no ill, His chosen, dread no foe; we leave our fate with Thee and wait Thy bidding when to go, ’tis not from chance our comfort springs, Thou art our Trust, O King of kings.
Saint of the Day – 1 March – Saint Albinus of Angers (469-549) Bishop, Confessor, Monk, Abbot, miracle-worker. Born in 469 at Vannes, Brittany, France and died in 1 March 549 of natural causes. Patronage – invoked against pirate attacks. Also known as Aubin of Angers, Albino of Angers.
Albinus was born of an ancient and noble family in Brittany and from his childhood, was fervent in every exercise of piety. He ardently sighed after the happiness which a devout soul finds in being perfectly disengaged from all earthly things. Having embraced the monastic state at Cincillac, called afterwards Tintillant, a place somewhere near Angers, he shone a perfect model of virtue, especially of prayer, watching, universal mortification of the senses and obedience, living as if in all things he had been without any will of his own and his soul seemed so perfectly governed, by the Spirit of Christ, as to live only for Him.
In 504, at the age of thirty-five years, he was chosen Abbot and remained so for twenty-five years and thereafter, was chosen as the Bishop of Angers. He restored discipline, being inflamed with a holy zeal for the honour of God. His dignity seemed to make no alteration either in his mortifications, or in the constant recollection of his soul. Honoured by all the world, even by Kings, he was never affected with vanity. Powerful in works and miracles, he looked upon himself as the most unworthy and most unprofitable among the servants of God and had no other ambition than to appear such, in the eyes of others, as he was in those of his own humility. By his courage in maintaining the law of God and the canons of the church, he showed that true greatness of soul is founded in the most sincere humility.
At the third Council of Orleans, in 538, he procured the thirtieth Canon of the Council of Epaone to be revived, by which those are declared excommunicated who presume to contract incestuous marriages in the first or second degree of consanguinity or affinity (marriage between those closely related through blood), as well as other immoral practices. This action caused a great deal of persecution by the wealthy families of the time, who were guilty of these sins.
Many Christians of his Diocese had fallen into slavery through the invasions of the barbarians and Saint Albinus used every resource available to him for their redemption. To the graces of charity from which his people benefitted, were joined those deriving from his public miracles. He resurrected a young child and when one of his servants died during his absence, those who carried the man to his grave were unable to lower him until the Bishop arrived to give the final benediction.
One of the miracles recorded states that as St Albinus passed a prison tower in Angers he heard the cries and moans of badly treated prisoners. He entered and added his moans to those of the prisoners in his pleading for clemency. He then went to the local Magistrate and formally submitted a plea for their release but it was refused. He returned to the tower and prayed in front of it, after several hours, a landslide brought down part of the tower, the prisoners escaped, followed Albinus to the Church of Saint Maurichies, reformed their ways and became model citizens and Christians.
Albinus was a contemporary of St Bede. We owe appreciation to St Albinus for assisting St Bede in composing his “Ecclesiastical History of the English.” St Bede records this fact in the letter he sent to Albinus with a copy of the work. St Bede also spoke very highly of Albinus, stating that he was a most learned man in all the sciences and giving Albinus credit for his assistance.
He died on the 1st of March, in 549. In 556, his relics were taken up and enshrined by St Germanus of Paris and a council of Bishops, with Eutropius, the Saint’s successor, at Angers. The most considerable part still remains in the Church of the famous Abbey of St Albinus at Angers, built upon the spot where he was buried, by King Childebert, a little before his relics were enshrined.
Many Churches in France and several Monasteries and Villages, bear his name. He was honoured by many miracles, both in his lifetime and after his death. Several are related in his life written by Fortunatus, Bishop of Poitiers, who came to Angers to celebrate his festival seven years after his death, also by St Gregory of Tours. From St Gregory of Tours too, we know that the cult of St Albinus was extremely widespread, spreading to Germany, England and Poland, making Albinus one of the most popular Saints of the Middle Ages.
St Albinus, we need your intercession in our times, please pray for us!
Madonna Della Croce, “Holy Mary of the Cross,”Crema, Italy (1490) – 1 March:
There is a Sanctuary of the Madonna on the Bergamo Road, about a mile away from the city of Crema, Italy. The structure is a circular form, with four additions in the shape of a cross, which gave rise to the name: “Holy Mary of the Cross,” or Our Lady Della Croce. The Sanctuary is located in a place where, in years gone by, there stood a dense little wood called “Il Novelletto.”
In the late 15th century, a young woman named Caterina Uberti lived with her brother in the city of Crema. When she arrived at marriageable age, her brother induced her to wed one Bartolomeo Petrobelli; it was an unfortunate arrangement – Caterina was good and pious; Bartolomeo was quite the opposite, tending toward the wicked and corrupt. The marriage was unhappy for Caterina and uncomfortable for Bartolomeo – his rather crude and brutal ways shamed her, while her refined and holy life was a silent reproach to his somewhat scandalous mode of living. So, after a year of turmoil, Bartolomeo decided to kill Caterina. Having made up his mind, he lost no time in carrying out his evil design. He suggested that they journey to Bergamo and visit his parents; she agreed and in the late afternoon of 3 April 1490, they mounted their horses and set forth from the city. When they arrived at the wood about a mile from Crema, Bartolomeo left the highway and rode into the forest; Caterina was puzzled but not knowing what else to do, followed him. When they reached the middle of the wood, Bartolomeo dismounted and made Caterina get down from her horse. Then, without warning, he drew his sword, raised it and fiercely brought it down, intending to split her head with one clean cut. Instinctively she drew up her arm to ward off the savage blow, saved her head but lost her right hand – the poor severed hand hung from the stump of her arm by a strip of skin and Bartolomeo brutally tore it off and flung it to one side. He then slashed at her like a maniac until she fell to the ground in a pool of blood; thinking her dead, he leaped on his horse and fled. Caterina was not dead, nor was she afraid to die, though she felt her time was short. With all her dying heart she wished for the Last Sacraments; so she prayed to the Mother of God, who heard her prayer. A glow of light pushed back the gathering darkness and a beautiful lady approached her. Reaching down, the Lady, Our Lady Della Croce, took her by the arm and helped her rise – the blood stopped flowing and new life coursed through her mutilated body. The Lady bade Caterina follow her but Caterina asked if she might look for her lost hand. The Lady promised it would be returned to her in due time. Taking Caterina to a hut, she told her these people would help her and then vanished. The kind peasants did all they could for Caterina, and the next morning they placed her on a rude stretcher and tenderly carried her back to Crema. As they passed through the wood, one of the men found the severed hand and returned it to Caterina. They took her to the Church of St Benedetto, where the Priest, after hearing the story, anointed Caterina who died there. The story spread rapidly; some believed, others doubted that the Blessed Virgin worked such wonders. An eleven year old boy, living in Crema plagued with an unhealable abscess on a foot, begged to be taken to the wood to put his foot on the spot where the Lady appeared. His mother and a group of relatives carried him there and he was instantly cured, all abscess traces gone. Many other sick and infirm came also and were cured . The people erected a small Chapel on the spot and placed in it a plaster image of Our Lady. More favours followed; many offerings were made by the faithful and by 1500, in a few years a fitting Sanctuary to the Madonna was completed. Later a fine new statue of Mary was enshrined in the Sanctuary and in 1873, Our Lady Della Croce was crowned with a golden crown by order of the Vatican.
St Abdalong of Marseilles St Adrian of Numidia St Agapios of Vatopedi St Agnes Cao Guiying St Albinus of Angers (469-549) Bishop St Albinus of Vercelli St Amandus of Boixe St Antonina of Bithynia Bl Aurelia of Wirberg Bl Bonavita of Lugo St Bono of Cagliari Bl Christopher of Milan Bl Claudius Gabriel Faber St David of Wales (c 542-c 601) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2017/03/01/saint-of-the-day-1-march-st-david-of-wales/ St Domnina of Syria St Domnina of Syria St Donatus of Carthage St Eudocia of Heliopolis St Felix III, Pope Bl George Biandrate Bl Giovanna Maria Bonomo Bl Gonzalo de Ubeda St Hermes of Numidia St Jared the Patriarch St Leo of Rouen St Leolucas of Corleone St Lupercus St Marnock St Monan Bl Pietro Ernandez Bl Roger Lefort St Rudesind St Seth the Patriarch St Simplicius of Bourges St Siviard St Swithbert St Venerius of Eichstätt
Martyrs of Africa – A group of 13 Christians executed together for their faith in Africa. The only details about them to survive are ten names – Abundantius, Adrastus, Agapius, Charisius, Donatilla, Donatus, Fortunus, Leo, Nicephorus and Polocronius. c290
Martyrs of Antwerp – A group of Christians martyred together, buried together and whose relics were transferred and enshrined together. We know nothing else but their names – Benignus, Donatus, Felician, Fidelis, Filemon, Herculanus, Julius, Justus, Maximus, Pelagius, Pius, Primus, Procopius and Silvius. Died in the 2nd Century in Rome. They are buried in the St Callistus Catacombs and their relics were enshirned in the Jesuit Church in Antwerp on 28 February 1600.
Martyrs of the Salarian Way – A group of 260 Christians who, for their faith, were condemned to road work on the Salarian Way in Rome, Italy during the persecutions of Claudius II. When they were no longer needed for work, they were publicly murdered in the amphitheatre. Martyrs. c269 in Rome.
Martyrs Under Alexander – A large but unspecified number of Christians martyred in the persecutions of Emperor Alexander Severus and the praefect Ulpian who saw any non-state religion to be a dangerous treason. c 219.