DAY THREE – NOVENA of DEVOTION to the PRECIOUS BLOOD of JESUS
Opening Prayer for each Day:
Grant me the grace to know You, to love You and to be truly sorry that I have offended You. I ask this grace by Your Precious Blood – By that Precious Blood, which bathed Your Sacred Body and trickled down to the ground in the Garden of Olives. By that Precious Blood, which poured forth from Your Sacred Body during the scourging. By that Precious Blood, which which covered Your Sacred Face when You were crowned with thorns. By that Precious Blood, which burst from Your hands and feet on Calvary. By that Precious Blood, which came forth from Your Sacred Heart after Your death. By that Precious Blood, which we drink in Holy Communion and of which You said: “He who feeds on My Flesh and drinks My Blood has life eternal.” Amen.
Day Three : Jesus Sheds Blood in the Agony in the Garden
Eternal Father, we offer You the Blood of Jesus shed in the Garden of Olives. Jesus Christ, Your Son, during the days of His mortal life, presented prayers and supplications with great tears and sadness and the shedding of His Precious Blood. As Your suffering Son and Servant, He humbly obeyed Your Will. Give us, oh Father, through the Precious Blood of Jesus, shed in the Garden of Olives, the strength and perseverance to fulfill Your Will. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Our Father … Glory be … V. Praise and thanksgiving be evermore to Jesus. R. Who by His Blood has saved us. V. Glory to the Blood of Jesus! R. Now and forever. Amen
Thought for the Day – 24 June – 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 mortification and went as far as imposing on themselves, sufferings which horrify us today. What are we doing in the way of penance? Let us remember the command of Jesus and His precursor, St John the Baptist: “Unless you repent, you will all perish!” (Ibid).”
Quote/s of the Day – 24 June – The Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist
“ And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit … “For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”
“What, then, will this child be? For surely the hand of the Lord is with him.”
“At my birth, I took away my mother’s barrenness and while still an infant, I healed my father’s dumbness, for You gave me in childhood, the gift of working miracles.”
St Gregory the Illuminator (c 213-270) Bishop
Homily on the holy Incarnation, 4
“John is a voice for a time but Christ is the eternal Word, from the beginning.”
St Augustine (354-430) Bishop, Father, Doctor of Grace
One Minute Reflection – 24 June – The Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist – Readings: Isaiah 49:1-6, Psalm 139:1-3, 13-15, Acts 13:22-26, Luke 1:57-66, 80
“The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.” – Isaias 49:1
REFLECTION – “The birth of John the Baptist is full of miracles. An Archangel announced the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus; similarly, an Archangel announced the birth of John (Lk 1:13) and said: “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb.” The Jewish people did not see that our Lord did “signs and wonders” and healed their illnesses but John leapt for joy when he was still in his mother’s womb. It was impossible to hold him back and when the mother of Jesus arrived, the child already tried to come out of Elizabeth’s womb. “The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby leapt in my womb for joy.” (Lk 1:44) Still in his mother’s womb, John had already received the Holy Spirit …
Scripture then says: “Many of the sons of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.” (Lk 1:16) John brought back “a large number,” the Lord brought back not a large number but everyone. For it is his task to bring all men back to God the Father …
I, for my part, think that the mystery of John is being fulfilled in the world until the present. The spirit and the power of John, must first fill the soul of whoever is destined to believe in Christ Jesus, “to prepare for the Lord a people well-disposed” (Lk 1:17) and to “make ready the way of the Lord, [to] clear him a straight path” (Lk 3:5) in the roughness of their hearts. Not only at that time were “the winding paths … made straight and the rough ways smooth;” rather, the spirit and the power of John still go before the Lord and Saviour’s coming today. Oh greatness of the Lord’s mystery and of his plan for the world! ” – Origen Adamantius (c 185-253) Priest, Theologian, Exegist, Writer, Apologist, Father – Homilies on St Luke, no. 4, 4-6
PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, You sent St John the Baptist, to the people of Israel to make them ready for Christ the Lord. Give us the grace of joy in the Spirit and guide the hearts of all the faithful, in the way of salvation and peace, as they harken to the voice of John, the Lord’s herald and bring them safely to Jesus, whom John foretold. St John the Baptist, may your intercession for the Church, bring us to the Light and the Way. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever amen.
Saint of the Day – 23 June – St John Theristus (c 1049-1129) Italian Basilian Monk and Hermit, called Theristus or “Harvester,” miracle-worker. Born in c 1049 im Palermo, Sicily and died on 24 June 1129 at Calabria, Sicily.
John’s father, Arconte di Cursano, a farmer near Botterio Signore in the territory of Stylus, was killed in a Saracen raid on the coasts of Calabria. His Calabrian mother was captured Saracens and brought to Palermo, where she gave birth. He grew up in the Christian faith in a Muslim environment. At the age of 14, he was encouraged by his mother to flee to his native country. He crossed the Strait of Messina in a boat without oars or sail and reached Monasterace. The inhabitants, seeing him dressed as a Moor, took him to the Bishop, who interrogated him. The boy answered that he was seeking Baptism but the bishop subjected him to harsh trials before giving him his name, being ‘John” after St John the Baptist, whose feast day it was, telling little John to spend his life in imitation of the great Precursor of Christ.
Once he grew up, he felt more and more attracted to the life of the Monks who lived in the caves around Stylus, fascinated by the example of two Basilian ascetics, Ambrose and Nicholas. After much insistence, despite his young age, he was admitted into the community. He distinguished himself by virtue, so such an extent, that he was later elected Abbot. He found in Cursano a treasure that belonged to his family and following the rule of Saint Basil. he distributed it to the poor.
Once in June, at harvest time, he went to visit a knight who had provided food for the Monastery. He took with him a flask of wine and some bread. When he arrived at two fields, called Marone and Maturavolo, he offered the farmers the bread and wine. A furious storm arose, risking destruction of the harvest but through John’s prayer the storm retreated until the wheat had been harvested and gathered in sheaves. Thus he helped to miraculously harvest a large crop ahead of destructive weather, saving the locals from starvation. This and other miracles testifying to the help given to the farmers, earned him the nickname of Therìstis, that is “harvester” or “reaper.” The owner of the fields, struck by the incident, donated much of his harvest to the Monastery.
According to tradition, King Roger, suffering from an incurable wound on his face, was healed upon contact with John’s tunic and many others were healed: crippled, blind, deaf and demonic. Roger II then founded the Monastery of St. John in Nemore and named it after John Theristus.
The memory of John Theristus is found in all Greek traditions. It also entered the Roman Martyrology on 24 June. In 1660 Pope Alexander VIII had his body transferred to Stylus to avoid the raids of brigands and earthquakes. On 12 March 1662, together with the relics of Saints Ambrose and Nicholas, the remains were placed in a Church built by the Minims Fathers and later purchased by the Basilians who dedicated it to our Saint In 1791 it passed to the Redemptorists, who embellished the Church and Convent with marble works. In the left aisle, under the Altar, are venerated the relics of St John and his fellow Monks and mentors, Ambrose and Nicholas. The Convent is accessed through a marble portal. In the centre of the Cloister stands an ancient well in pink granite with four columns, covered by a canopy surmounted by a tin ship, with a praying child holding a Cross, in memory of the young John’s miraculous journey by sea.
Madonna della Navicella / Our Lady of the Ship , Chioggia, Venezia, Veneto, Italy (1508) – 24 June:
On 24 June 1508, in the afternoon, a strong storm, with disastrous effects, hit the inhabited area of Chioggia and Sottomarina. Rain, wind and storm had lashed the coast for a few hours. In the evening, fortunately, the storm abated and the weather improved. A greengrocer, Baldissera Zalon, went to the vegetable gardens, where the Sanctuary now stands , to see for himself the damage that the powerful storm had caused. Baldissera was a simple man, a peasant, who lived near his fields and lived on his work in the vegetable gardens. As soon as he left the house, after scanning the clouds of the sky that were moving away and the setting sun was peeping, he heard himself called by name. After the first moments of amazement, Baldissera turned and saw a majestic Lady, all dressed in black, who sat on a treetrunk thrown on the beach by the waves of the stormy sea. The greengrocer was stunned, so much so, that he was about to pass out, when the Lady revealed to him that she was the Mother of God, giving him courage and inviting him to go to the Bishop to warn him that the sins of the Chioggia challenged the justice of God and that penance had to be preached tenaciously, to avoid worse punishment. Then the Lady got on a craft that was near the shore but before leaving and disappearing, she opened her cloak showing the wounded and bleeding body of Jesus, making it clear that it had also been reduced by the sins of the Chioggiotti.
Baldiserra wasted no time and went to the Bishop, who organised a pilgrimage to the place of the apparition and the turnout of the faithful became more and more consistent day after day. In a short time, a Chapel was built on the spot and then, in 1515, a Sanctuary which was, however, destroyed in 1814. The current Church was built between 1952 and 1958 and was Consecrated on 24-25 June 1958 by Bishop Piasentini. The miraculous image was found, according to popular belief, a few days after the apparition, together with the log on which the Madonna sat when she appeared to Baldissera. The image and the LOG are preserved and are visible in the Basilica of San Giacomo.
St Aglibert of Créteil St Agoard of Créteil St Alena of Brussels St Amphibalus of Verulam
Bl Christopher de Albarran St Erembert I of Kremsmünster St Faustus of Rome and Companions St Festus of Rome St Germoc St Gohardus of Nantes Bl Henry of Auxerre/the Hagiographer St Ivan of Bohemia St John of Rome St John Theristus (c 1049-1129) Monk St John of Tuy St Joseph Yuan Zaide Bl Maksymilian Binkiewicz
St Rumold St Simplicio of Autun Bl Theodgar of Vestervig St Theodulphus of Lobbes — Martyrs of Satala: Seven Christian brothers who were soldiers in the imperial Roman army. They were kicked out of the military, exiled and eventually martyred in the persecutions of Maximian. We know little more about them than their names – Cyriacus, Firminus, Firmus, Longinus, Pharnacius, Heros and Orentius. The martyrdoms occurred in c 311 at assorted locations around the Black Sea.