Our Morning Offering – 11 March – Ember Friday of the First Week of Lent
Have Mercy, Lord By St Peter Damian (1007-1072) Doctor of the Church
Have mercy, Lord, on all my friends and relatives, on all my benefactors, on all who pray to Thee for me and on all who have asked me to pray to Thee, for them. Give them the spirit of fruitful penance, mortify them in all vices and make them flower in all Thy virtues. Amen
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 – 11 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Growth of Jesus
“It is impossible to stand still in life. This is true, whether we are speaking of the natural or of the supernatural order of life.. Life is motion and activity; there can be no cessation. In the natural order, life begins in the womb and passes through the various stages of infancy, adolescence, maturity and old age.
The supernatural life begins in Baptism, matures in Confirmation and is made entirely holy in the Eucharistic union with Jesus But, if this life begins to fail, the result can be everlasting ruin. It is true that in His infrinite goodness, Jesus has provided the Sacrament of Penance for those who fall and extinguish in themselves, the supernatural life of grace. The Sacrament of Penance, has been instituted for their salvation.
At the hour of death moreover, the Sacrament of Extreme Unction heals the soul of sin and soothes the worn-out body with a refreshing ray of the spiritual life.
But woe betide those who abuse God’s gifts! If anyone repeatedly rejects His favours and appears, instead of advancing in goodness, to be sliding backwards into ruin, he will be engulfed in the languor of spiritual death!”
Friday of the First Week of Lent – 11 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Ezechiel 18:10-28, John 5:1-15
“Bring me out of distress, O Lord; put an end to my affliction and my suffering and take away all my sins.” – Psalm 24:17-18
“Now a certain man was there who had been thirty-eight years under his infirmity. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been in this state a long time, He said to him, Do you want to get well?”
“The Lord has had pity on us”
“HAPPY ARE WE if we do the deeds of which we have heard and sung. Our hearing of them means having them planted in us, while our doing them, shows that the seed has borne fruit. By saying this, I wish to caution you, dearly beloved, not to enter the Church fruitlessly, satisfied with mere hearing of such mighty blessings and failing to do good works. For we have been saved by His grace, says the Apostle and not by our works, lest anyone may boast; for it is by His grace that we have been saved. It is not as if a good life of some sort came first and that thereupon, God showed His love and esteem for it from on high, saying: “Let us come to the aid of these men and assist them quickly because they are living a good life.” No, our life was displeasing to Him. He will, therefore, condemn what we have done but He will save, what He Himself has done in us.
WE WERE NOT GOOD but God had pity on us and sent His Son to die, not for good men but for bad ones, not for the just but for the wicked. Yes, Christ died for the ungodly. Notice what is written next: One will hardly die for a righteous man, although perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. Perhaps someone can be found who will dare to die for a good man but for the unjust man, for the wicked one, the sinner, who would be willing to die except Christ alone, Who is so just, that He justifies even the unjust?
AND SO, MY BROTHERS,we had no good works, for all our works were evil. Yet although men’s actions were such, God in His mercy did not abandon men. He sent His Son to redeem us, not with gold or silver but at the price of His Blood poured out for us. Christ, the Spotless Lamb, became the Sacrificial Victim, led to the slaughter for the sheep that were blemished — if indeed one can say that they were blemished and not entirely corrupt. Such is the grace we have received! Let us live so as to be worthy of that great grace and not do injury to it. So mighty is the Physician Who has come to us, that He has healed all our sins! If we choose to be sick once again, we will not only harm ourselves,but show ingratitude to the Physician as well.
LET US THEN FOLLOW Christ’s paths which He has revealed to us, above all, the path of humility, which He Himself became for us. He showed us that path by His precepts, and He Himself followed it by His suffering on our behalf. In order to die for us —because as God, He could not die — the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The immortal One took on mortality, that He might die for us and by dying, put to death our death. This is what the Lord did, this the gift He granted to us. The mighty one was brought low, the lowly one was slain and after He was slain, He rose again and was exalted. For He did not intend to leave us dead in hell but to exalt, in Himself, at the Resurrection of the Dead, those whom He had already exalted and made just by the faith and praise they gave Him. Yes, He gave us the path of humility. If we keep to it we shall confess our belief in the Lord and have good reason to sing: We shall praise You, God, we shall praise You and call upon Your Name.” – St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from a Homily 23).
Quote/s of the Day – 11 March – Ember Friday of the First Week of Lent – Ezechiel 18:10-28, John 5:1-15
“Now a certain man was there who had been thirty-eight years under his infirmity. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been in this state a long time, He said to him, Do you want to get well?”
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.”
One Minute Reflection – 11 March – Ember Friday of the First Week of Lent – Ezechiel 18:10-28, John 5:1-15
“Jesus said to him, “Do you wish to be healed?”The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool’ … Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your pallet and walk.” And at once the man was cured.” – John 5:6-8
REFLECTION – “We read in the Old Testament that in the times of Noah, since all humankind had been won over by sin, heaven’s floodgates opened and rain poured down for forty days… This was a symbol – it was less about a flood, than about a baptism. For it was indeed a baptism that bore away the misdeeds of the sinners and spared the uprightness of Noah. And so today, just as it was then, our Lord has given Lent to us so that the skies can open for the same number of days to inundate us with the floods of divine mercy. Once washed in the saving waters of baptism, this Sacrament enlightens us and, just as formerly, its waters bear away the evil of our sins and confirm the uprightness of our virtues.
Today’s situation is just the same as in Noah’s time. Baptism is flood to sinners and consecration for the faithful. In Baptism the Lord rescues justice and destroys injustice. We can see this in the example of one and the same man – before he was cleansed by the spiritual commands, the Apostle Paul, was a persecutor and blasphemer (1Tm 1,13). But once he had been bathed with the heavenly rain of Baptism, the blasphemer died, the persecutor died, Saul died. Then the Apostle, the just man, Paul, came to life… Anyone who lives Lent in a religious manner and observes the Lord’s decrees will see sin die in him and grace come to life… such as these die as sinners and live as righteous persons.” – St Maximus of Turin (?-c 420), Bishop – Sermon for Lent 50
PRAYER – Forgive my sins, O my God, forgive my sins: the sins of youth, the sins of age, the sins of my soul and the sins of my body, the sins which, through frailty, I have committed, my deliberate and grievous sins, the sins I know and the sins I do not know, the sins I have laboured so long to hide from others, that now they are hidden from my own memory. Let me be absolved from all these iniquities and delivered from the bond of all these evils, by the Life, Passion and Death of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
Saint of the Day – 11 March – Blessed John Baptist Righi of Fabriano OFM (1469–1539) Priest, Friar of the Friars Minor, Confessor, Ascetic, rEcstatic, enowned Preacher, peace-maker, Hermit. Born as Giovanni Battista Righi in 1469 at Fabriano, Ancona, Italy and died on 11 March 1539 of natural causes. Also known as – Giovanni Battista da Fabriano, Giovanni da Fabriano, Giovanni Righi, Joannes de Fabriano, Johannes Baptista Righi, John Baptist of Fabriano. His body is incorrupt.
John was born in Fabriano of the Righi family. From an early age, he was very obedient to the teachings he received in his family. Reading the life of St Francis of Assisi, he decided to become a Franciscan Friar. And so, in the prime of his youth, our Blessed wore the Franciscan habit in the Convent of Forano, near Rieti. After his profession, he devoted several years to the study of philosophy and theology before being Ordained a Priest. For many years he was a very obedient and humble Friar. It is assumed that the young professed went from Forano to the solitary Convent of La Romita, a former Monastery of the Camaldolese.
Giovanni spent practically the rest of his life, about fifty years, up there in Romita, sometimes dedicated to the apostolate and more often, to silence and prayer, penance, reading the works of the Holy Fathers of the Church. In the solitude of La Romita, our blessed found what his heart desired. In the Church, there was a venerable image of Jesus Crucified, which belonged to St John of the Marches – John made it the object of frequent visits, ardent prayers, profound meditations and even,, by permission of the Lord, not rare ecstasies.
Emulating his seraphic Father, he ardently wanted to unite himself to the sufferings of Jesus, to transform himself into the Crucified Love, so little loved by much of the world. He found another object that touched his heart and fueled his filial piety: a terracotta image, which represented the Blessed Virgin contemplating the Child Jesus lying on her lap and which was flanked by the figures of the Apostle St James the Greater and St Francis of Assisi. And so, the solitary devotee spent long hours at the foot of the new and captivating image of the Mother of the Lord, exchanging affections and feelings. In the evening, after the Matins prayer, when his brothers retired to rest, he remained in the choir to continue his prayers which often ended in ecstasy. exchanging affections and feelings. In the evening, after the Matins prayer, when his brothers retired to rest, he remained in the choir to continue his prayers which often ended in ecstasy. exchanging affections and feelings.
In the dense forest that surrounded the solitary Convent, there was and still is, a small cave, like a hermitage inside the hermitage, where John went to devote himself to prayer and penance . For our blessed, Heaven on earth was in his retreat and solitude. But charity and obedience required him, from time to time, to undertake long journeys.
At that time, the different lords and noble families of the region were in conflict. Society and the Church experienced the ups and downs of the progress of a rebirth in all orders. And in high society, as well as among soldiers and ordinary people, demoralisation and the decline of good manners was the norm. John was not an eloquent orator but with his simple and persuasive word he managed to touch hearts and lead them to conversion.
He embarked on long journeys with joy of spirit to pacify the belligerents or to exhort both warring parties to convert and change their lives. When he travelled, always accompanied by another friar as was obligatory, he brought with him nothing but his peaceful poverty and his firm trust in God. his word was always a warm exhortation to the fulfillment of the divine Commandments, to the frequency of the Sacraments, to love one’s neighbour, to free the world from slavery. And he spoke with such zeal and persuasion that many were converted to God, reconciled, confessed, they did penance for their sins. The fame of the simple Friar spread throughout the Marches of Ancona.
Great was the charity of John with all those who met him on his travels or with those who came to him for spiritual guidance and Confession.. But what he practiced with the Friars of his Convent was even greater. He was attentive to their wants and needs and his greatest joy was to serve the sick, giving them every care promptly and gently.
His love for Jesus Crucified, the constant object of his love and contemplation, led him to practice the austerities and penances typical of the ancient anchorites, whose writings he read with pleasure, in particular those of St John Climacus. He continually fasted on bread and water, eating only one meal a day and even less during Lent. As a true son of St Francis, he loved poverty and practiced it, contenting himself with the patched tunic and the Breviary for the liturgical praise of the Lord. His cell, later transformed into an oratory, was small and sober. Indeed, his reputation for holiness soon spread throughout the region and when our Friar travelled, sick people were brought to him even from distant regions, to bless them,and there were numerous votive offerings that were and still are displayed.
One day he was seized by a great malaise. The Friars came, gave him first aid and looked after him until it seemed to them that the danger had passed, then they withdrew . Soon after, left alone in his small cell, he fell asleep peacefully in the Lord. His body was buried in the cemetery of the Convent but, ten years later, it was unearthed, found incorrupt and placed in an urn under the Altar of the Holy Christ. And there, in the Church of San Giacomo della Romita, he is still preserved and venerated today. His cult was confirmed by Pope Leo XIII on 7 September 1903.
St Firmian the Abbot St Firmus the Martyr St Gorgonius the Martyr St Heraclius of Carthage Bl John Kearney Blessed John Baptist Righi of Fabriano OFM (1469–1539) Priest, Friar of the Friars Minor 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