Most Chaste Spouse the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God
Saint Joseph, Foster Father and Guardian of Jesus and Protector of the Blessed Virgin, to whose faithful keeping , Christ Jesus, Purity and Innocence itself and Mary, the Virgin of virgins, were entrusted, we pray and beseech you by that twofold and most precious charge, by Jesus and Mary, to save us from all uncleanness, to keep our minds untainted, our hearts pure and our bodies chaste. Help us always, to serve Jesus and Mary in perfect chastity. And for this special grace we now implore you, ……………. (Mention your request) 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. May the wholesome fear of God, strengthen us, that virtue may adorn our lives and lead us to heaven. St Joseph, Most Chaste, 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 – 13 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Mortification and Penance
“Our Lord reiterates many times, the command to do penance. “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mt 4:17). He even insists on penance as a necessary condition for salvation. “Unless you repent, you will all perish in the same manner” (Lk 13:3). It is a stern command and it may even seem cruel to some. Why does the infinitely good God, Who is our loving Father, wish us to impose penances and sufferings on ourselves? The answer is simple. God makes us suffer and do penance because He knows that it is necessary for our salvation. It is because He loves us and desires our welfare.
Mortification and suffering are necessary for two reasons. They are particularly necessary because, we are all sinners and must expiate our sins. Secondly, they are necessary because, without penance and suffering, we become attached to the world and forget all about Heaven, which is our real home. In His love for us, therefore, God commands us to do penance.
The Saints were gluttons for penance and mortifiation and went as far as imposing on themelves, sufferings which horrify us today. What are we doing in the way of penance? Let us remember the command of Jesus: “Unless you repent, you will all perish!” (Ibid).”
Day Twenty Five of our Lenten Journey – 13 March – Saturday of the Third Week of Lent, Readings: Hosea 6: 1-6, Psalms 51:3-4, 18-19, 20-21, Luke 18: 9-14
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)
‘O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’ – Luke 18:13
YOU thunder forth Your judgements over me, Lord. You shake all my bones with fear and trembling and my soul is very much afraid. I stand in awe as I consider that the heavens are not pure in Your sight. If You found wickedness in the angels and did not spare them, what will become of me? Stars have fallen from heaven, and I — I who am but dust — how can I be presumptuous? They whose deeds seemed worthy of praise have fallen into the depths and I have seen those who ate the bread of angels delighting themselves with the husks of swine.
There is no holiness, then, if You withdraw Your hand, Lord. There is no wisdom if You cease to guide, no courage if You cease to defend. No chastity is secure if You do not guard it. Our vigilance avails nothing if Your holy watchfulness does not protect us. Left to ourselves, we sink and perish but visited by You, we are lifted up and live. We are truly unstable but You make us strong. We grow lukewarm but You inflame us. Oh, how humbly and lowly should I consider myself! How very little should I esteem anything, that seems good in me! How profoundly should I submit to Your unfathomable judgments, Lord, where I find myself to be but nothing!
O immeasurable weight! O impassable sea, where I find myself to be nothing but bare nothingness! Where, then, is glory’s hiding place? Where can there be any trust in my own virtue? All vainglory is swallowed up in the depths of Your judgments upon me.
What is all flesh in Your sight? Shall the clay glory against Him that formed it? How can he, whose heart is truly subject to God, be lifted up by vainglory? The whole world will not make him proud, whom Truth has subjected to itself. Nor shall he who has placed all his hope in God, be moved by the tongues of flatterers. For behold, even they who speak are nothing, they will pass away with the sound of their words but the truth of the Lord, remains forever. (Book 3 Ch 12)
Quote of the Day – 13 March – Saturday of the Third Week of Lent and The Memorial of St Leander (c 534-c 600)
As we pray the Nicene Creed every Sunday, we might reflect on the fact that, this same prayer is being prayed by every Catholic during Mass, throughout the world. Saint Leander introduced its recitation as a means of uniting the faithful. Let’s pray that the recitation, may enhance that unity among Catholics today- each time you pray it, pray in your heart “let them be one.”
The Nicene Creed
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father, through Him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation, He came down from heaven
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, He suffered death and was buried and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and His kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen
“…For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled but he who humbles himself, will be exalted” – Luke 18:14
REFLECTION – “You know what our divine Saviour, who is very truth and goodness, said to His disciples: “Unless your justice abound more than that (…) of the Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:20). These words are truly those of Christ. He who would not condemn the woman taken in adultery; who vouchsafed to speak to the Samaritan woman and reveal heavenly mysteries to her in spite of her guilty life; He who consented to eat with the publicans, socially disqualified as sinners; who allowed Magdalen to wash His feet and wipe them with the hairs if her head; He who was so “meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29), publicly hurled anathemas at the Pharisees: “Woe to you (…) hypocrites, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 23:13). (…)
Call to mind the Pharisee whom Christ depicts going up to the Temple to pray. What is his prayer? “My God, I am a man altogether irreproachable; I fast, I give tithes (Lk 18:11-12); You cannot find me in fault on any point; You ought to be proud of me.” And in the literal sense, what he said was true – he did observe all these things.
However, what judgement does Jesus pass upon him? This man went out of the Temple without being justified, his heart empty of God’s grace. Why this condemnation? Because the unhappy man glorified himself, for his good actions and placed all his perfection, in merely outward observance, without troubling himself about the inward dispositions of his heart. Therefore, our Lord tells us: “Unless your justice is greater than that of the Pharisees, you will have no part in the Kingdom of heaven.” (…) It is in the heart that perfection lies; for love is the supreme law.” – Bl Columba Marmion (1858-1923) Abbot – The “instruments of good works” (Christ, the Ideal of the Monk)
PRAYER – We turn to You our God and Father and seek Your comfort and assurance. Jesus, our Lord, Your Son, taught us how to pray in humility and all we need to be and do, to reach You. Be patient good Father, as we grow by Your grace. May the prayers of the Mother of Christ, help us to attain our home Through Jesus our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 13 March – Saturday of the Third week of Lent
Mother of Sorrows, of Love, of Mercy By Fr Lawrence Lovasik SVD (1913-1986)
Mary, most holy Virgin and Queen of Martyrs, accept the sincere homage of my childlike love. Into your heart, pierced by so many sorrows, welcome my poor soul. Receive it as the companion of your sorrows at the foot of the Cross, on which Jesus died for the redemption of the world. Sorrowful Virgin, with you, I will gladly suffer all the trials, misunderstandings and pains which it shall please our Lord to send me. I offer them all to you in memory of your sorrows, so that every thought of my mind and every beat of my heart, may be an act of compassion and of love for you. Loving Mother, have pity on me, reconcile me to your Divine Son Jesus, keep me in His grace and assist me in my last agony, so that I may be able to meet you in heaven and sing your glories. Mary, most sorrowful Mother of Christians, pray for us. Mother of love, of sorrow and of mercy, pray for us! Amen. Amen!
Saint of the Day – 13 March – Saint Roderick (Died 857) Priest and Martyr of Córdoba. Born as Rodrigo in 9th century southern Spain and died by beheading in 857 in Cordoba, Spain. He is also known as Rodriguez, Rudericus, Roderic, Ruderic. The Roman Martyrology lists him, together with Solomon, under the Latin name of Rudericus in the list for today.
Roderick was a Priest from Cordoba, in Andalusia, a region that had been part of the kingdom of the Visigoths of Spain.
He found himself in a not uncommon situation in that territory, then under Arab rule – one of his brothers had remained a Christian and the other had become a Muslim. And he, Roderick, would die at the hands of the Arabs, so that he is usually depicted with the vestments of a Priest and with the palm of the Martyrs.
But, it is not a question of the uusal form of persecution in this case. At the time, the region saw Muslims, Christians and Jews co-exist quite peacefully. Roderick became the victim of family and fraternal disagreements and violence.
The Muslim brother reproached the third brother for his “obstinacy” in remaining a Christian. Roderick tried to make peace between the two but without success.
One day, in fact, Roderick found the two in a physical battle with each other. When he tried to divide them, as is often the case, they both turned on him and began beating him. He collapsed unconscious under their blows. At that point, the Muslim brother took him away on a cart – he seemed dead – and to the amazed people, he gave a lying explanation – he said that Rodrigo was seriously ill and that, feeling death close, he too became a Muslim.
The rumour spread but Roderick, upon his recovery, was unaware of this slander. Healed, he returned to Cordoba in his priestly garb and his brother-accuser, dragged him to the Muslim judge saying – “This one had become a follower of Islam and now he has returned to Christianity, he has betrayed our faith.” This accusation would be regarded as apostasy under Sharia law and would incur the death penalty!
The judge tried to help Roderick save himself, even suggesting a declaration of fidelity to Islam, which would set him free immediately, without asking him for specific commitments on the practice of the Muslim faith. But Roderick maintained his loyalty and refused to deny Christ and His Church, instead, choosing rather to die. We presume he denied the lies told by his brother but there is no account of this. The reluctant judge, then sentenced him to death, at the insistence of that brother. Fratricide, more than persecution.
Roderick was then put to death with another Christian named Solomon, convicted for the same reason. Thrown into the Guadalquivir river, the bodies were recovered by the Christians, who buried Roderick in the Basilica of San Genesio, near Cordova and Solomon, in the nearby Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian.
For both, holiness was proclaimed immediately, from below. The festival has been celebrated since 1581, today, 13 March.
St Roderick’s Convent and Hospital in Cabra, established in the 16th century, bears his name.
“The Salus Populi Romani” / Our Lady of the Empress, Rome (593) – 13 March:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “A tradition records that this image spoke to Saint Gregory the Great, in the year 593.”
Salus Populi Romani means literally health or salvation, or Protectress, of the Roman People. The title of Salus Populi Romani reverts to Emperor Constantine the Great and the Edict of Milan when, after Christians were no longer persecuted, the phrase became another of many Marian titles for the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. The icon Salus Populi Romani, or Our Lady of the Empress, is one of many images believed to have been painted by Saint Luke. When the Blessed Virgin lived with St John, after her Son had ascended into heave, she had few personal belongings but among them was a table built by Christ Himself when He was working in the carpenter shop with his foster father, the good Saint Joseph. Saint Luke, yielding to the repeated requests of pious virgins, painted a portrait of Mary using the tabletop as his canvas. As the portrait was being painted, Saint Luke listened carefully as the Queen of Heaven spoke of her Son’s life, facts that Saint Luke recorded in what became his Gospel. The image is surprisingly large, being five feet high by three and 3/4 but if one considers that a tabletop was used, then this size seems appropriate. Modern examiners admit the painting was made on a thick cedar board. The Virgin Mary holds a map in her right hand, which is an imperial symbol meant to depict the bearer as “Queen,” or in Roman times, “Empress.” The icon came to Rome from Crete in 590 when Pope Gregory the Great was the Holy Father and according to tradition, he went out upon the Tiber in his own vessel to greet the icon. Three years later, Pope Gregory I had the icon carried throughout Rome in solemn procession, as all prayed to the Mother of God for an end to the Black Plague that had been devastating the people of Rome. Pope Gregory’s predecessor, Pope Pelagius, had himself died of the same plague. When the icon of Salus Populi Romani, with the prayerful entourage following alongside the Tiber River, neared Hadrian’s Mausoleum, a choir of angels could suddenly be heard singing the joyous Resurrection hymn as Pope Saint Gregory looked up to see the heavens open. Then, just above Hadrian’s Mausoleum, an angel believed to be Saint Michael appeared. He was holding a sword of vengeance over the City and above him, the Pope saw the Blessed Virgin, seated upon a throne above the angels.
“Regina coeli, laetare, alleluia; Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia; Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia.”
“Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia; for he whom thou didst merit to bear, alleluia; has risen as He said, alleluia; pray for us to God, alleluia.”
The scent of a heavenly perfume filled the air and without hesitation, the holy Pontiff concluded the Regina Coeli:
“Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia! Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, alleluia! Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia. “Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.”
Pray for us to God, alleluia! Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia! For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia!
At that, the Pope, St Gregory, watched as Saint Michael sheathed his sword. To the great relief of the people of Rome, the Black Plague was ended, at that moment. Since the year 1613, the icon Salus Populi Romani has been kept in the Altar Sanctuary of the Cappella Paolina that was created for it, known in English as the Lady Chapel. The Basilica of Saint Mary Major, where it can be seen. St Mary Major is one of the four ancient Churches of Rome and the Marian Shrine is under the special patronage of the Popes.
St Mochoemoc St Nicephorus of Constantinople Bl Peter II of La Cava St Pientius of Poitiers St Ramirus of Leon St Roderick of Córdoba.(Died 857) Priest and Martyr St Sabinus of Egypt St Sancha of Portugal — Martyrs of Cordoba: Roderick, Salomon,
Martyrs of Nicaea: Arabia Horres Marcus Nymphora Theodora Theusitas Martyrs of Nicomedia Eufrasia Macedonius Modesta Patricia Urpasian