O most powerful Patriarch, Saint Joseph, Patron of the universal Church, which has always invoked you in anxieties and tribulations. From the lofty seat of your glory, lovingly regard the Catholic Church. Let it move your paternal heart to see the mystical Spouse of Christ weakened by sorrow and persecuted by powerful enemies. We beseech you, by the merits of the most bitter sufferings of Christ, to wipe away the tears of His pilgrim people, to defend and liberate them and to intercede with the Giver of peace and charity, that every hostile power be overcome and every error be destroyed, so that the whole Church may serve the God of all blessings in perfect liberty and peace. We too raise our hearts to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for our 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, We feel confident, that your prayers on our behalf, will be graciously heard before the throne of God St Joseph Most Holy Patron of the One Holy Catholic Church, 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
Remember, a very important aspect of daily life is MAINTENANCE! This word applies to our temporal affairs and, of course, most importantly, to our spiritual lives.
South Africa’s problem is lack of this big word, “Maintenance” – for very many years – around 30 odd! – Now we stumble in the darkness, the only light being the light of fires – I doubt the analogy is lost on you all.
Please pray for us – let us pray constantly for each other.
Day Twenty Seven of our Lenten Journey – 15 March – Monday of the Fourth week of Lent, Readings: Isaiah 65:17-21, Psalms 30:2 and 4, 5-6, 11-12 and 13, John 4:43-54
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)
“Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” … John 4:48
“Whoever examines the majesty of God will be crushed by His glory” (Prv 25:27 Vg). God can do works that pass man’s understanding. … Faith is required of you and sincerity of life, not high intelligence, nor penetrating knowledge of the mysteries of God. If you do not understand nor grasp what is below you, how will you comprehend what is above you? Be subject to God, submit your feeling to the faith and the light of knowledge will be given to you, as much as you need and can use.
Some have grave temptations concerning faith in the Blessed Sacrament, which are not to be imputed to them but rather, to the enemy. Take no notice, do not argue with your thoughts, nor answer the doubts with which the devil attacks you, believe God’s word, believe His saints and prophets and the wicked enemy will be routed. It is often most profitable to God’s servant to endure such things. For the devil does not tempt the infidel or sinner, of whom he has already secure possession but, he uses various means to tempt and harass the devout faithful.
Go on then, with simple unquestioning faith and approach the Sacrament with reverent beseeching. Anything you cannot understand, commit it surely to God who is omnipotent. God does not deceive you, the over-confident person deceives himself. God walks in step with the simple ones, He shows Himself to the humble ones, He grants understanding to the little ones, “He reveals hidden meanings to little ones” and hides away His grace from the inquisitive and the proud. Human reason is feeble and fallible but true faith cannot be deceived. All use of reason, all human inquiry should walk in the footsteps of faith, it should not go on, in front of it, nor call it in question. (Book4 Ch 18)
“Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” … John 4:48
REFLECTION – “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe!” The royal official seems not to believe that Jesus has the power to raise the dead. “Come down before my son dies!” He seems to believe that Jesus does not know how serious his child’s illness is. That is why Jesus reproaches him, to show him that miracles are done, above all, in order to win and heal souls. Thus, Jesus heals the father, who is no less spiritually ill, than the son, who is physically ill and He does so, in order to teach us, that we must be attached to Him, not because of miracles but because of His teaching, which the miracles confirm. For He does not work miracles for those who believe but for those who do not believe …
When the man returned home, “he and his whole household became believers.” People who had neither seen nor heard Jesus … believed in Him. What teaching can we draw from this? We must believe in Him without demanding miracles; we must not demand of God that He prove His power. In our own day, how many people show greater love of God, when their children or wife have received some sort of relief in their illness. But even if our wishes are not heard, we must persevere, just as much, in thanksgiving and praise. Let us remain attached to God in adversity, as much as, in prosperity.” – St John Chrysostom (347-407) Bishop of Constantinople, Doctor of the Church – Homilies on the Gospel of Saint John, no. 35
PRAYER – Teach us Holy Father to do Your will! Grant us Your guiding hand and Your grace, that we may trust You in all things. Strengthen us by Your grace and give us a heart willing to live by the love of Your Son, who so loved the world that He gave Himself up to death for our sake. For if we love as He loved, nothing will lead us from You. Grant that the prayers of St Pope Zachary, may intercede in our necessities. We make our prayer through the Christ, our Lord, one God with You and the Holy Spirit, now and for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 15 March – Monday of the Fourth week of Lent
O Merciful God By St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus Doctor Communis
O merciful God, grant that I may ever perfectly do Thy Will in all things. Let it be my ambition to work only for Thy honour and glory. Let me rejoice in nothing but that which leads to Thee, nor grieve for anything, which leads away from Thee. May all passing things be as nothing in my eyes and may all which is Thine be dear to me and Thou, my God, dear above them all. May all joy be meaningless without Thee and may I desire nothing apart from Thee. May all labour and toil delight me, when it is for Thee. Make me, O Lord, obedient without complaint, poor without regret, patient without murmur, humble without pretence, joyous without frivolity, and truthful without disguise. Amen
Saint of the Day – 15 March – Saint Pope Zachary (Died 752) – Papal Ascension 5 December 741- 752, abolitionist of slavery, apostle of the poor, Diplomat, Administrator of great renown, peace-maker. Born at Calabria, Italy of Greek ancestry and died on 22 March 752 of natural causes. He was the last Pope of the Byzantine Papacy. Zachary built the original Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, near the Pantheon and restored the decaying Lateran Palace, moving the Relic of the head of Saint George to the Church of San Giorgio al Velabro, he forbade the traffic of slaves in Rome, negotiated peace with the Lombards and sanctioned Pepin the Short’s usurpation of the Frankish throne from Childeric III. Zachary is regarded as a capable administrator and a skilful and subtle diplomat in a dangerous time. He is also known as Zacharias. The Roman Martyr ology states: – “At Rome, the birthday of St Zachary, who governed the Church of God with great vigilance and was renowned for his merits, rested in peace.”
Nothing is known of Zachary’s his early life, except that he was the son of a Greek, Polychronius of Calabria. He was most probably a Deacon of the Roman Church and as such, signed the Decrees of the Roman Council of 732. He was selected to succeed Gregory III as Pope on 5 December 741.
His Pontificate was marked by charity for the Clergy and poor of Rome but especially, by vigorous diplomatic relations with the Lombards, the Byzantine Empire and the Franks. Under Zachary’s predecessor, Gregory III, the Papacy had continually suffered the depredations of the Lombard King Liutprand. In line with his new political orientation, Zachary repudiated the alliance of the Papacy with the Duke of Spoleto against Liutprand and, instead, personally met with the King on two occasions, persuading him to return the four Cities he had taken from the Duchy of Rome and to desist from attacking Ravenna. Thus he achieved peace with the Lombards.
In accord with his desire to maintain friendly relations with Byzantium, Zachary immediately dispatched envoys to the Church of Constantinople and to the iconoclastic Emperor Constantine of Copronymos, to inform them of his election and to exhort the Emperor to restore the use of sacred images. His envoys shrewdly withheld their letters from the usurper Artabasdus, who at that time, had seized Constantine’s throne while he campaigned against the Saracens. They finally presented their letters in November 743, after the rightful Emperor had regained his throne and he replied with a gift to Rome of two large estates in South Italy.
Zachary’s close association with the Frankish Church began immediately, as he received St Boniface’s renewed expressions of loyalty and submission to the Chair of Peter and, confirmed for him, the establishment of the Bishoprics of Würzburg, Buraburg and Erfurt. Zachary corresponded with Archbishop Boniface of Mainz, counseling him about dealing with disreputable prelates such as Milo, Bishop of Reims and Trier. “As for Milo and his like, who are doing great injury to the Church of God, preach in season and out of season, according to the word of the Apostle, that they cease from their evil ways.” He also confirmed Boniface as a Papal Legate to a Frankish Council in 742. Until his death Zachary corresponded with Boniface and the Frankish Bishops and rulers, fostering ecclesiastical and moral discipline and extending papal jurisdiction among the Franks. Again in 745, Zachary held a Council at Rome, in which he confirmed the condemnation for heresy, of Aldebert and Clement, previously condemned by a Frankish Council under Boniface. When Pepin took the throne, he inaugurated a new era in Church-State relations, when he obtained the support of Zachary for the deposition of Childeric and for his own Coronation (751).
History has remembered Zachary for his part in creating the Carolingian-Papal alliance. In his own time, he was noted for his Greek translation of the Dialogues of Pope Gregory I the Great.
Notre Dame de Sous-Terre/ Our Lady of the Underground, Chartres, France (911) – 15 March:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “In the year 911, the City of Chartres was miraculously delivered from the siege laid to it by Rollo or Raoul, Duke of the Normans; for as he was on the point of taking the City, Gaucelin, the forty-seventh Bishop of Chartres, mounted on the top of the ramparts, holding a relic of Our Lady as an ensign, which struck such terror in the camp, that all retreated in disorder; in memory of this fact, the meadows of the gate of Drouaise, are called, to this day, the meadows of the fugitives (des Recules).”
The Statue is kept in the Crypt of Chartres Cathedral, hence the name.
Due to the circumstances of its geographic location, the City of Chartres was subject to Viking raids during the 9th and 10th centuries. In the year 858, the City was sacked and burned. Early in the 10th century, a Viking chieftain (later known as Normans, having founded Normandy) named Rollo came to power and he led an army of a few thousand Vikings, against Chartres in the spring of the year 911. Chartres was surrounded by a strong wall, which held the Vikings in check, so the Vikings were forced to lay siege to the City, his men spoiling the surrounding countryside as the days progressed. Eventually Duke Robert and Duke Richard, assembled an army south of Chartres to oppose the fierce Vikings. The relieving force was made up, mainly of Burgundians and Franks and they hoped they were strong enough to attack and drive off the Vikings, as the inhabitants of Chartres continued to resist. They finally attacked the Vikings on 20 July 20 911, before the walls of Chartres. When the Franks and Burgundians advanced, Rollo had his army drawn up in a concave pattern which pressed hard against the centre of the opposing army. Huge, berserk Vikings smote the French line and Duke Richard, under great pressure, began to slowly give ground, which would mean the collapse of his army. Rollo was fighting valiantly, certain he was about to vanquish his enemy, when suddenly Bishop Gaucelin, who led the defence of Chartres, sallied forth from the gates of Chartres surrounded by the steel clad defenders of the City. Unmistakable in his Episcopal mitre, holding aloft the Tunic of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a Relic then kept at Chartres, the defenders of the city fell upon the Vikings with sword and spear. The Vikings, caught between the enemy forces, retreated in defeat.
Dudo, the Norman historian of Saint Quentin, wrote:
“Rollo, mighty and powerful and vigorous and most fierce in arms, do not feel ashamed if you now are considered a runaway. No Frankish or Burgundian assembly, of manifold nations and host,s puts you to flight, fells you, but the nourishing Tunic of the Virgin Mother of God and likewise amulets and relics and the reverend Cross Which the Reverend Prelate carries in his worthy hands.”
In Chartres amongst the famous windows is the one below, honouring Our Lady of the Underground who saved the City in 911.
St Eoghan of Concullen St Eusebius II Bl Francis of Fermo Blessed Jan Adalbert Balicki (1869-1948) About Blessed Jan: https://anastpaul.com/2019/03/15/saint-of-the-day-blessed-jan-adalbert-balicki-1869-1948/ St Leocritia of Córdoba St Longinus the Centurian Bl Ludovico de la Pena St Mancius of Evora St Matrona of Capua St Matrona of Thessaloniki St Menignus of Parium Bl Monaldus of Ancona St Nicander of Alexandria St Peter Pasquale St Pío Conde y Conde St Sisebuto St Speciosus St Vicenta of Coria Bl Walter of Quesnoy Bl William Hart St Pope Zachary (Died 752) – Papal Ascension 5 December 741- 752
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