To you, O Blessed Joseph, we come in our trials and having asked the help of your most holy spouse, we confidently ask your patronage too. Through that sacred bond of charity, which united you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the fatherly love, with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you to look graciously upon the beloved inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by his blood and to aid us in our necessities with your power and strength and the special grace we now implore: ……………. (Mention your request)
O most prudent Guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen family of Jesus Christ. Most beloved father, dispel the evil of falsehood and sin. Our most mighty protector, graciously assist us from heaven in our struggle with the powers of darkness. And just as you once saved the Child Jesus from mortal danger, so now defend God’s Holy Church from the snares of her enemies and from all adversity. Shield each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your help, we may be able to live a virtuous life, to die a holy death and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. St Joseph Most Prudent, Pray for us! Amen
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
Thought for the Day – 9 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
THE SALVATION OF SOULS
“If you still belong to the category of those who desire to be good and virtuous, remember that your obligations do not stop at this. You are obliged to work as hard as possible, for the return of sinners to the fold and for the reawakening of the faith of the indifferent.
A man who really loves God, cannot remain inactive when he witnesses the desertion of so many of his fellow-men, the corruption of public and private morals and the continuous insults offered to the Creator of the human race. ANYONE WHO REMAINS INACTIVE BECOMES AN ACCOMPLISH!
Everyone is obliged to do his best to prevent the spread of such errors and evils. Do NOT make the excuse that there is very little which you can do. Although the resources of those who are still faithful, may be individually insignificant, they become, when combined, an irresistible force.
Remember that you have three invincible weapons – prayer, mortification and sacrifice. These are the weapons which can and should be employed in order to convert the world and to establuish the Kingdom of God.”
Day Twenty three of our Lenten Journey – 11 March – Thursday of the Third Week of Lent, Readings: Jeremiah 7:23-28, Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7,8-9, Luke 11:14-23
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)
“The kingdom of God has come upon you” – Luke 11:20
Oh, when will these evils end? When shall I be freed from the miserable slavery of vice? When, Lord, shall I think of You alone? When shall I fully rejoice in You? When shall I be without hindrance, in true liberty, free from every grievance of mind and body? When will there be solid peace, undisturbed and secure, inward peace and outward peace, peace secured on every side? O good Jesus, when shall I stand to gaze upon You? When shall I contemplate the glory of Your kingdom? When will You be all in all to me? Oh, when shall I be with You in that kingdom of Yours, which You have prepared for Your beloved from all eternity?
Blessed is the man who for Your sake, O Lord, dismisses all creatures, does violence to nature, crucifies the desires of the flesh in fervour of spirit, so that with serene conscience he can offer You a pure prayer and, having excluded all earthly things, inwardly and outwardly, becomes worthy to enter into the heavenly choirs. (Book 3 Ch 48:3)
“Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste.” – Luke 11:17
REFLECTION – “No-one can have God as his father, if he does not have the Church as his mother… The Lord warned us of this when He said: “Whoever is not with me, is against me and whoever does not gather together with me, scatters.” The person who breaks the peace and concord of Christ, acts against Christ; the person who gathers together, outside of the Church, scatters the Church of Christ.
The Lord said: “The Father and I are one.” (Jn 10:30) It is also written of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: “These three are one.” (1 Jn 5:7) From now on, who can believe, that the unity, which has its origin in this divine harmony, which is linked with this heavenly mystery, can be divided up in the Church… through conflicts of will? Whoever does not observe this unity, neither observes the law of God, nor faith, in the Father and the Son – he keeps neither life, nor salvation.
In the gospel, this sacrament of unity, this bond of concord, in indissoluble cohesion, is shown us through the Lord’s tunic. It could neither be divided nor torn but they drew lots, so as to know who would put on Christ (Jn 19:24)… It is the symbol of unity, that comes from on high.” – St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200- c 258) Bishop and Martyr, Father of the Church -On the unity of the Church
PRAYER – Stand by Your Church and Your people Lord, who place all their trust in You. Was away the stain of our sins, make us live in Your presence in unity and love and bring us to the inheritance You have promised. May the love and care of Your Mother and the Mother of Your Church, teach us her holy way. We make our prayer in the unity God our Father, with You, our blessed Saviour and the Holy Spirit, one God for all time and all eternity, amen.
Our Morning offering – 11 March – Thursday of the Third week of Lent
Rescue Me, Most Merciful God By Father Martin von Cochem OSFC (c 1630-1712)
Most merciful God, remember at how great a price Thou didst purchase me and how much Thou didst suffer for me. For the sake of that inestimable price, do not permit me to be lost, rescue me, number me amongst the sheep of Thy fold. With them, I will then praise and magnify Thy loving kindness, to all eternity. Amen
Fr Martin von Cochem was a German Capuchin theologian, preacher and prolific ascetic writer. Father Martin’s works embrace a great variety of subjects: a huge volume of apologetics against Protestantism, the life of Christ, lives of the Saints, edifying narratives, the setting forth of certain points in Christian asceticism, forms of prayer, methods to be followed for the worthy reception of the sacraments, etc. The prayer above is from the renowned “The Four Last Things.”
Saint of the Day – 11 March – Saint Vindician of Cambrai (c 632-c 712) Bishop of Arras-Cambrai. He was a spiritual follower of Saint Eligius (588- 660) (Saint Eloi). Born in c 632 at Bullecourt, France and died in c 712 at Brussels, Belgium of natural causes. St Vindician was a dedicated prelate who visited his Parishes and promoted Monasticism. He also courageously opposed the actions of the Frankish king Thierry III ( 670-687) and his Mayor of the palace, Ebroin, in executing Bishop St Leodegarius of Autun and he secured reparations for the sin from the ruler,
Vindician’s birthplace is given as Bullecourt, near Bapaume. This is the birthplace indicated in the documents dating much later than the Saint’s death but which claim to reproduce an ancient local tradition. Nothing is known of his early years.
On the death of St Aubert, Bishop of Cambrai-Arras (about 668), Vindician was elected his successor. Legend has crept into the history of the holy bishop, but the following facts may be regarded as certain.
In 673 Vindician supervised the translation of the body of St Maxellende to Caudri. In the same year, he Consecrated the Monastery of Honnecourt sur l’Escaut, which was given in 685 to St Bertin. In 675 he signed a charter of donation in favour of the Abbey at Maroilles, rendered illustrious by St Humbert. In the same year, he Consecrated the Church at Hasnon.
In 681, he claimed for his Diocese, the honour of possessing the body of St Léger, the unfortunate victim of the political strife which was then filling Neustria with blood but he did not succeed, the remains of St Léger being confided to Ansoald, the Bishop of Poitiers. His predecessor, St Aubert, had founded the Monastery of St Vaast, the building of which he had been unable to complete, therefore, Vindician ensured that the construction was completed, apparently in 682 and placed it under the protection of King Thierry III, who conferred numerous gifts on the Monastery.
In 685 a certain Abbot Hatta was placed at its head by Vindicianus. In the following year the latter dedicated the Church at Hamaye and acted at the exhumation of the bodies of Sts Eusebia and Gertrude, who had been Abbesses of the Monastery of that name.
He spent his final years at St Vaast Monastery, Arras, which Vindician had completed and an institution that King Thierry supported. Vindician died while on a visit to Brussels, Belgium.
The events of his life after this date (686) are unknown. He was buried at Mont-St-Eloi. The region was ravaged by the Normans in the ninth century and on more than one occasion the relics of the Saint were in danger, until in 1030 Bishop Gerard I of Cambrai had his body removed to the episcopal City. After having been at Douai and Arras, the relics were returned to Mont-St-Eloi in 1453. After still further translations, especially in 1598 and 1601, the body was finally placed in the Cathedral at Arras, which is dedicated to Our Lady and to St Vaast. The Cathedral was badly damaged during World War II but it seems, St Vindician’s relics were safely re-instated after the restoration.
His successor on that See about 695 was St. Abelbert.
Our Lady of the Forests, Porto, Portugal (12th Century) – 11 March:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “This image was found again in a forest, where it had been hidden by Queen Matilda, wife of Alphonsus I.”
In searching for information about this title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I could find no specific reference to Our Lady of the Forests. There are a great number of Catholic Churches and Cathedrals in Porto, Portugal but none of them, seem to speak of an image once known as Our Lady of the Forests. Porto, Portugal, is a City second only to Lisbon in size. Checking with the Diocese, there does not appear to be a Church by the name of Our Lady of the Forests and I could find no mention of such an image. Alphonsus I was the first King of Portugal. His wife, Queen Matilda, better known as Mafalda of Savoy (1125-1158), married him in the year 1146. She was the daughter of Amadeus III of Savoy, Count of the Holy Roman German Empire and her sister was Blessed Umberto. Matilda died young, long before Alphonsus was King – yet her life still had great significance. Alphonsus I was almost constantly at war with the Moors of Andalusia and Portugal did not become formally recognised as an independent Kingdom, until 1179, when Alphonsus I was recognised as King by the Pope. Perhaps there was a crisis during these years of upheaval, when Queen Matilda was forced to hide, in a forest, with a cherished image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and although this seems not unlikely, I can find no story relating to such an event. Although little is known of Queen Matilda, it is believed that she built a small Abbey Chapel in honour of the Blessed Virgin on the outskirts of Fatima, in a place called the Rock of Fatima. There was also an attached Monastery at this site, that was built by the Cistercians, although nothing remains of that Monastery now and its foundations have become the floor for the Parish Church at Fatima. Built in the 18th century, it was originally called Our Lady of the Rosary. One of Queen Matilda’s descendants was Blessed Margaret of Savoy, who founded a Convent for women. On 16 October 1454, Blessed Margaret was present, when her dying cousin, Sister Filipina, spoke aloud the names of the Saints who came to assist her on her way to heaven. Sister Filipina revealed during that last ecstasy, that in the future, there would be terrible wars and that there would be a monster who would rise in the East as a scourge of all mankind. He would eventually be slain by Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Fatima. She said: “The Most Holy Virgin will speak about very grave future events, for Satan will wage a terrible war. But he will lose because the Most Holy Virgin Mother of God and of the Most Holy Rosary of Fatima, more terrible than an army in battle array, will defeat him forever.” After saying this, Sister Filipina died in the arms of the holy Foundress, Blessed Margaret. The documents attesting to these events surfaced in the year 2000 but keep in mind. that this revelation was nearly 500 years before the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima at the Cova da Ira!
St Firmian the Abbot St Firmus the Martyr St Gorgonius the Martyr St Heraclius of Carthage Bl John Kearney Bl John Righi of Fabriano St Marcus Chong Ui-Bae St Peter the Spaniard St Pionius St Piperion the Martyr St Rosina of Wenglingen St Sophronius of Jerusalem St Thalus the Martyr Bl Thomas Atkinson St Trophimus the Martyr St Vigilius of Auxerre St Vincent of Leon St Vindician of Cambrai (c 632-c 712) Bishop St Zosimus of Carthage — Martyrs of Antioch: A group of Christians martyred together by Emperor Maximian Galerius. Martyred in c 300 in Antioch, Syria.