“And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life…” – John 3:14-15
REFLECTION – “Let us praise the Son first of all, venerating the blood that expiated our sins. He lost nothing of His divinity when He saved me, when like a good physician He stooped to my festering wounds. He was a mortal man but He was also God. He was of the race of David but Adam’s creator. He who has no body clothed Himself with flesh. He had a mother who, nonetheless, was a virgin. He who is without bounds, bound Himself with the cords of our humanity. He was victim and high priest—yet He was God. He offered up His blood and cleansed the whole world. He was lifted up on the cross but it was sin, that was nailed to it. He became as one, among the dead but He rose from the dead, raising to life also many who had died before Him. On the one hand, there was the poverty of His humanity, on the other, the riches of His divinity. Do not let what is human in the Son permit you, wrongfully, to detract from what is divine. For the sake of the divine, hold in the greatest honour, the humanity, which the immortal Son took on Himself, for love of you!” – St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Archbishop of Constantinople, Father & Doctor – Poem 2
PRAYER – “All-powerful God, Benefactor and Creator of the universe, hearken to my groaning in my peril. Deliver me from fear and anguish, free me, by the strength of Your might, You who can do all… O Lord Christ, cut the threads of my net with the sword of Your triumphant Cross, with the weapon of life. This net encompasses me on every side, holding me captive so as to bring me to my death. Guide to their rest, my tottering and unsteady steps, heal the stifling fever of my heart.” – St Gregory of Narek (c 951-c 1010) Doctor of the Church – Book of prayers, no 40 (Excerpt)
Saint Joseph, you lived for one purpose — to be the personal servant of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. Your noble birth and ancestry, the graces and gifts, so generously poured out on you by God — all this was yours, to serve our Lord. Your every thought, word and action, was a homage to the love and glory of the Incarnate Word. You fulfilled most faithfully the role of a good and faithful servant who cared for the House of God. Glorious Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, pray for me to have a pure, humble, faithful heart and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father and my model throughout life, that I may die as you did, in the arms of Jesus and Mary. Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore: …………….. (Mention your request) Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers on my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God St Joseph Most Faithful, 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.
My Lord and my God By St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)
My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from You. My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to You. My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to You. Amen
Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday) +2021 __ Notre Dame de la Breche, Our Lady of the Breach, Chartres, France (1568) – 14 March:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “Our Lady de la Breche, at Chartres, where a procession takes place every year, in thanksgiving for Our Lady’s having delivered the City, when besieged by heretics, in the year 1568. It was during this siege that the image of Our Lady, placed upon the Drouaise gate, could not be injured by the cannon and musket balls, which the besiegers fired at it and the marks of which, are still seen at two or three inches from the image.”
“I shall place enmity between thee and the Woman. She shall crush thy head…” is indeed verified at the Shrine of la Breche. The procession mentioned by the good Abbot was a custom that took place annually in commemoration of the miracle, until the time of the French Revolution. The Mayor, or on occasion some other important personage, who happened to be the guest of the town, at the time, traditionally lit the first candle before the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady de la Breche. Thereafter, the procession began, winding its way from the Cathedral down the steep curves of the Rue Muret towards the Porte Drouaise. Those who took part, could read the inscription engraved on the ramparts, which recorded the events of the siege in Latin, for the instruction and example of posterity. Pursuing their way up the Rue de la Breche, the procession would next arrive at the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-la-Breche. Inside, there was a Statue of the Blessed Virgin which stood on the keystone of the old Chapel that was erected in 1599, in memory of this even, and near the site of the famous breach. About the Altar, are there were numerous cannon-balls of stone, which were relics of the siege. Entering the large annex on the right, the visitor would see a still more curious relic of the siege – the fourteenth or fifteenth-century Statue of Notre-Dame-de-la-Breche, whose name was graven on the keystone, mentioned above. And, if he should inquire, how that name was earned, he would be told, that this was the very Statue which had been set over the Porte Drouaise and, by a miraculous intervention, had saved the Town.
The contemporary chronicler, Duparc, informs us that for all that the men of the Huguenot army were esteemed the greatest soldiers in Europe, yet they miraculously blinded by a manifest miracle. And the miracle was in this way. The defenders of Chartres, placed the Statue above the gate of Drouaise against which, the enemy fired many cannon shots but without being able to ever hit it. And to demonstrate how many shots were fired at the gate, on which was the said image, the bridge of that gate was broken and cut in two by the cannon-balls and all round the image, up to a few inches of it, the marks of many bullets may still be seen. Through it all, the Statue remained whole and intact; in spite of the efforts of the enemy to destroy it, but it was never struck by a single shot.
I know well, Duparc adds, that the heretics and some others, will scoff at this but Herod also mocked at Christ, when he beheld Him. There is another, even more wonderful story told by historians. As the Huguenots approached a breach in the walls they had made, on 9 March, a “grand lady” stood before them, carrying a child in her arms. Rather than trying to avoid the woman and child, they turned their guns directly on her. Having decided to attack her with murderous intent, they became enraged to see that although they fired dozens of rounds, they seemed to be missing their target, for the woman and child remained before them, standing silently in the breach. Screaming foul threats, the Huguenots fired, reloaded, and fired again but the woman seemed to be catching their bullets and collecting them in her apron. The Catholics recognised that it was the Mother of God herself, holding Our Lord in her arms and that they had personally taken up the defence of the City. The enemy raged and fired at them to no effect. Encouraged to see what they could never have even dared to hope for, the ecclesiastics and women began to pray anew, as the men picked up their weapons and returned to the fight, vigorously repelling the invaders. The Huguenots were forced to retreat full of spite and confusion, for they had counted on looting the City and the Church, whose treasury was one of the richest in Christendom. The Prince of Conde had sold, in advance, much of the treasure he expected to plunder from the Cathedral, to which the Canon Souchet said he would never deliver, for the glorious Virgin defended the City, which she recognised as her own, against the hate of those heretical fanatics who showed such malice for her Son. Mothers in particular come to invoke the Virgin of the Breach and also the Virgin of the door Drouaise, for the protection of their sons, exposed to the perils of war. The Chapel mentioned above, was destroyed during the French Revolution. The first stone of the new Chapel was laid by M Lecomte, General Vicar, on 7 April 1843.
St Maximilian Bl Pauline of Thuringia St Peter of Africa St Philip of Turin St Talmach Bl Thomas Vives — 47 Martyrs of Rome – Forty-seven people who were baptised into the faith in Rome, Italy by Saint Peter the Apostle, and were later martyred together during the persecutions of Nero. Martyred c.67 in Rome, Italy
Martyrs of Valeria – Two monks martyred by Lombards in Valeria, Italy who were never identified. After the monks were dead, their killers could still hear them singing psalms. They were hanged on a tree in Valeria, Italy.