Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on DIVINE PROVIDENCE, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on GRATITUDE, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on SIN, QUOTES on THE LIGHT of CHRIST

Thought for the Day – 12 January – The Beggars of God

Thought for the Day – 12 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Beggars of God

“Both in the natural and in the supernatural orer, we are in continual need of the help of God.
We did not exist and God, in His infinite goodness, created us.
It is He, Who preserves us in existence from day to day and from moment to moment.
The act of conservation, is like a continuous creation.
If God did not sustain us, we should return immediately to the dust from which we came: “Remember, man, that dust you are and unto dust you shall return” (Gen 3:19).

We are continually dependent on our Lord and Creator for our existence and activity.
If we remained always aware of this tremendous fact, we would never offend God.
We would show Him a filial gratitude and humbly implore His assistance.

We are so poor and He is so rich.
We are so weak and He is so strong.
We are blind and He is the true Light, which illumines every man who comes into the world (Jn 1:9).
Ask for God’s help with confidence, perseverance and resignation to His Holy Will.
As St Augustine says, we are the beggars of God.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in "Follow Me", CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on ETERNITY, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on The HUMAN SOUL, The MOST HOLY REDEEMER

Thought for the Day – 17 January – The Help of God

Thought for the Day – 17 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Help of God

“There are several passages in Sacred Scripture which emphasise clearly and effectively, our utter weakness and dependence on God.
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves,” says St Paul, “to think anything, as from ourselves but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Cor 3:5).

Jesus warns us, that without Him, we can do nothing: “Without me, you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5).
He uses the allegory of the vine and the branches as an illustration of this.
I am the vine, He says and you are the branches.
So it is necessary for you to remain united to me and I to you.
In the same way as a branch that does not live on, in the vine, can yield no fruit of itself, so you can do nothing, if you do not live on in Me.
If anyone does not remain united to Me, he will be like a withered branch which is thrown into the fire to be burned (Jn 15),

We must remain united to Jesus, therefore, if we wish to do anything good and to merit everlasting life.
Otherwise, the supernatural life of grace will not be transmitted to us.
If Jesus is not there, death comes into our souls.
Let us remain close to our Divine Redeemer.
If we continue to live in Him, He will give us everything we ask, as He has promised: “If you abide in me and, if my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done to you” (Jn 15:7).

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Part One of this thread here:
https://anastpaul.com/?s=the+beggars+of+god

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2020, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on PRIDE

One Minute Reflection –12 March – “God resists the proud”

One Minute Reflection –12 March – Thursday of the Second week of Lent, Readings: Jeremiah 17:5-10, Psalm 1:1-4, 6, Luke 16:19-31

The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. … Luke 16:22-23luke 16 22-23 the poor man died - 29 sept 2019

REFLECTION – “Was that poor man welcomed by the angels solely on account of his poverty?   And the rich man, was he delivered up to torment by fault of his wealth alone? No.   Let us clearly understand that it was humility that was honoured in the poor man and pride condemned in the rich.

This is the proof, briefly, that it was not his wealth but his pride for which the rich man deserved his punishment.   So then, the poor man was carried into the bosom of Abraham, yet Scripture says of Abraham that he had much gold and silver and was rich on earth (Gn 13:2).   If every rich man is sent into torment, how is it that Abraham could precede the poor man so as to welcome him into his bosom?   It was because, in the midst of his wealth, Abraham was poor, humble, respectful and obedient to all God’s commands.   He held his riches in so little esteem that, when God asked it of him, he consented to offer in sacrifice the son for whom these riches were destined (Gn 22:4).

Learn to be poor and needy, then, whether you possess something in this world or whether you don’t possess anything.   Because we find beggars full of pride and rich people who confess their sins.   “God resists the proud” whether they are covered with silk or with rags but “he gives grace to the humble” (Jas 4:6) whether or not, they have possessions in this world.   God looks at what is within, it is there He assesses, there He examines.” … Saint Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church – Discourses on the psalms, Ps 85 [86]; CCL 39, 1178god-resists-the-proud-god-looks-at-what-is-within-st-augustine-29-sept-2019 and 12 March 2020

PRAYER – Dear and Holy God, let us offer You all our daily struggles against sin and evil. Grant us the strength to resist all forms of idolatry, to seek only You and never to allow the material goods of this world to seduce us.   Sustain us ever more with Your word and help us to find in it, the source of life.   Grant that by the intercession of our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, may defend us during our life on earth and protect us from evil. Grant this, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amenmother-mary-trusted-guide-pray-for-us-1-nov-2018and 2019

Posted in CATHOLIC Quotes, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MARTYRS, QUOTES on DEATH, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD, VATICAN II - Documents

One Minute Reflection – 23 November – God has called man and still calls him ….

One Minute Reflection – 23 November – Saturday of the Thirty Third Week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 20:27–40 and the Memorial of Blessed Miguel Pro – Martyr (1891-1927)

“He is not God of the dead but of the living…” … Luke 20:38

REFLECTION – “It is in the face of death that the riddle a human existence grows most acute.   Not only is man tormented by pain and by the advancing deterioration of his body but even more so, by a dread of perpetual extinction.   He rightly follows the intuition of his heart when he abhors and repudiates the utter ruin and total disappearance of his own person.   He rebels against death because he bears in himself an eternal seed which cannot be reduced to sheer matter.   All the endeavours of technology, though useful in the extreme, cannot calm his anxiety; for prolongation of biological life is unable to satisfy that desire for higher life, which is inescapably lodged in his breast.

Although the mystery of death, utterly beggars the imagination, the Church has been taught by divine revelation and firmly teaches, that man has been created by God for a blissful purpose beyond the reach of earthly misery.   In addition, that bodily death from which man would have been immune had he not sinned, will be vanquished, according to the Christian faith, when man, who was ruined by his own doing, is restored to wholeness, by an almighty and merciful Saviour.   For God has called man and still calls him, so that with his entire being, he might be joined to Him, in an endless sharing of a divine life beyond all corruption.   Christ won this victory when He rose to life, for by His death, He freed man from death.   Hence to every thoughtful man, a solidly established faith, provides the answer to his anxiety about what the future holds for him.   At the same time, faith gives him the power to be united in Christ with his loved ones who have already been snatched away by death, faith arouses the hope, that they have found true life with God.” … Vatican Council II – Constitution on the Church in the modern world “ Gaudium et spes ” # 18luke 20 38 he is not god of the dead - for god has called man - gaudium et spes no 18.jpg

PRAYER – O God, source and origin of all fatherhood, who kept the Martyr, Blessed Miguel Pro, faithful to the Cross of Your Son, even to the shedding of his blood, grant, through his intercession, that, spreading Your love among our brothers and sisters, we may be Your children both in name and in truth and thus come to our resurrection with Jesus Christ, Your Son.   Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever, amen.bl miguel pro pray for us 23 nov 2019.jpg

Posted in ARCHangels and Angels, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FORGIVENESS, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on PRIDE, SAINT of the DAY, The SEVEN LAST WORDS of CHRIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 29 September – “God looks at what is within, it is there He assesses, there He examines.”

One Minute Reflection – 29 September – Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 16:19–31 and The Feast of Sts Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.   The rich man also died and was buried and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. … Luke 16:22-23luke 16 22-23 the poor man died - 29 sept 2019.jpg

REFLECTION – “Was that poor man welcomed by the angels solely on account of his poverty?   And the rich man, was he delivered up to torment by fault of his wealth alone? No.   Let us clearly understand that it was humility that was honoured in the poor man and pride condemned in the rich.

This is the proof, briefly, that it was not his wealth but his pride for which the rich man deserved his punishment.   So then, the poor man was carried into the bosom of Abraham, yet Scripture says of Abraham that he had much gold and silver and was rich on earth (Gn 13:2).   If every rich man is sent into torment, how is it that Abraham could precede the poor man so as to welcome him into his bosom?   It was because, in the midst of his wealth, Abraham was poor, humble, respectful and obedient to all God’s commands.   He held his riches in so little esteem that, when God asked it of him, he consented to offer in sacrifice the son for whom these riches were destined (Gn 22:4).

Learn to be poor and needy, then, whether you possess something in this world or whether you don’t possess anything.   Because we find beggars full of pride and rich people who confess their sins.   “God resists the proud” whether they are covered with silk or with rags but “he gives grace to the humble” (Jas 4:6) whether or not, they have possessions in this world.   God looks at what is within, it is there He assesses, there He examines.” … Saint Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church – Discourses on the psalms, Ps 85 [86]; CCL 39, 1178god resists the proud - god looks at what is within - st augustine - 29 sept 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Dear and Holy God, let us offer You all our daily struggles against sin and evil. Grant us the strength to resist all forms of idolatry, to seek only You and never to allow the material goods of this world to seduce us  . Sustain us ever more with Your word and help us to find in it, the source of life.   Grant that the angels who always minister to You in heaven may defend us during our life on earth and protect us from evil.   Grant this, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amenholy-archangels-pray-for-us-29-sept-2018.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 17 July – Saint Alexius of Rome – (Died early 5th Century) “the Man of God” 

Saint of the Day – 17 July – Saint Alexius of Rome – (Died early 5th Century) Hermit, recluse, apostle of Prayer, Mystic, beggar – known as “the Man of God”  – Patronages – Alexians (a religious apostolate), beggars, belt makers, nurses, pilgrims, travellers.st alexius-of-rome-f7c534c7-3fc3-4fac-ad99-14bbf9779a6-resize-750.jpg

Saint Alexius, born in Rome in the fourth century, was the only son of parents pre-eminent among the Roman nobles for both their virtue and their great wealth.   They were particularly noted for their almsgiving; three tables were prepared every day for all who came for assistance — pilgrims, the poor and the sick.   Their son, fruit of their prayers, was married with splendid feasting to a noble young lady of the imperial family but on his wedding night, by God’s special inspiration, he secretly left Rome, longing for a solitude where he could serve God alone.

Garcia_Fernandes_-_Casamento_de_Santo_Aleixo,_1541
The Wedding of St Alexius

He went to Edessa in the far East, gave away all that he had brought with him, content thereafter to live by alms at the gate of Our Lady’s church in that city.   His family, in the deepest grief, could not fathom the mystery of his disappearance and would have been consoled if God had taken him instead through death.

It came to pass that the servants of Saint Alexius, whom his father had sent in search of him, arrived in Edessa and seeing him among the poor at the gate of Our Lady’s church, gave him an alms, not recognising him.   Whereupon, the man of God, rejoicing, said, I thank You, Lord, who have called me and granted that I should receive for Your Name’s name’s sake an alms from my own slaves.   Deign to fulfil in me the work You have begun.

After seventeen years spent at the portico of the church, when his sanctity was miraculously confirmed by the Blessed Virgin, speaking through Her image to an officer of the church, Saint Alexius once more sought obscurity by flight.  st alexius snip catholic art On his way to Tarsus contrary winds drove his ship to Rome.   There no-one recognised him, in this pale and tattered mendicant, the heir of Rome’s noblest house, not even his sorrowing parents, who had vainly sent throughout the world in search of him.   From his own father’s charity Saint Alexius begged a miserable shelter in his palace, under a staircase, with the leavings of his table as food.   There, he spent another seventeen years, bearing patiently the mockery and ill usage of his own servants and witnessing daily, the still inconsolable grief of his spouse and parents.

At last, when death had ended this cruel martyrdom, they learned too late, who it was that they had unknowingly sheltered.   A voice was heard by all in attendance at the Pope’s Mass, saying –‘Seek the man of God, he will pray for Rome and the Lord will be favourable to it, he will die on Friday.’   All the city undertook in vain to find this unknown Saint.  st alexius snip artBut God had commanded Alexius himself to write down his life story and sign it, in this way He Himself confirmed His servant’s sanctity, when he was found lifeless in his retreat, holding that document in his hand.   The Pope read aloud what was written on the parchment of the Saint and everywhere in Rome there was a single cry of admiration, impossible to describe. -saint-july-17-alexius-of-rome-wellcomeimages-org-cc

The house of Alexius’ father Euphemian was later transformed into a church dedicated to Saint Alexius and St Boniface and the staircase – suspended above an altar, under which he had lived for 17 years, is enshrined there as a relic.

the holy staircase of st alexius
The Holy Staircase of St Alexius at the Church of Sts Alexius and Boniface in Rome.   Below it is a statue of the pieta of St Alexius.

st alexius from the church of st pierre-es-liens in france header.jpg
Saint Alexius, from the Church of Saint-Pierre-ès-Liens in Pomport, Dordogne, France

Posted in "Follow Me", MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on PRAYER

Thought for the Day – 25 February – How We Should Pray

Thought for the Day – 25 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

How We Should Pray

“We must pray with deep humility.
Once again we find, that the Man-God Jesus, has given us an example.
In Gethsemane He fell prostate on the ground and begged that, if it were possible, the bitter chalice might be taken away from Him.
Immediately he added. with full submission to the will of His Heavenly Father – “Yet, not my will but thine be done” (Lk 22:42).
Let us remember, moreover, the parable of the Pharisee and the publican.
The former appeared to be full of virtue but he was proud and was rejected.
The latter, recognised in all humility, that he was a poor sinner and he was exalted.
“Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled and he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Lk 14:11).
“God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (Js 4:6).
“The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest, until t reaches its goal” (Ecclus 35:17).

When we kneel down to pray, therefore, we should make an act of humility.
We are poor beggars, as St Augustine puts it, before the throne of God.
Let us pray with confidence in God’s goodness but also with a proper realisation of our own helplessness.
Then God will take pity on us.

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

PART ONE HERE:
https://anastpaul.com/2020/03/16/thought-for-the-day-16-march-how-we-should-pray/

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN TITLES, MATER DOLOROSA - Mother of SORROWS, NOVENAS, SEPTEMBER-The SEVEN SORROWS of MARY

The Seven Sorrows Novena By St Alphonsus Liguori – 9 September – Day Three

The Seven Sorrows Novena
By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Most Zealous Doctor

Day Three – The Third Sorrow
The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple

Opening Prayer

V/. O God +, come to my assistance
R/. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Gloria Patri …

Reflection (St Alphonsus de Liguori)

Meditation:
When Jesus is twelve, He is taken to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. On the return journey Joseph and Mary find at the end of the first day that Jesus is not with them. Racked with anxiety, they search for Him. Nobody in the streets, not even the beggars, can tell them where He is. Not till the third day do they find Him, in the Temple.

I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful,
in those anxieties which tried thy troubled heart
at the loss of thy dear Jesus.
Dear Mother,
by thy heart so full of anguish,
obtain for me the virtue of chastity
and the gift of knowledge.
And this my special intention
……………………. (mention your intention)
Amen

Ave Maria …

Prayer of St Alphonsus:
O blessed Virgin,
why art thou afflicted, seeking thy lost Son?
Is it because thou dost not know where He is?
But dost thou not know that He is in thy heart?
Dost thou not see that He is feeding among the lilies?
Thou, thyself have said it:
“My beloved to me and I to Him who feeds among the lilies.”
These, thy humble, pure and holy thoughts and affections,
are all lilies, that invite the divine spouse to dwell with thee.
O Mary, do thou sigh after Jesus,
thou who loves none but Jesus?
Leave sighing to me and so many other sinners
who do not love Him
and who have lost Him by offending Him.
My most amiable Mother,
if through my fault thy Son has not yet returned to my soul,
will thou obtain for me, that I may find Him.
I know well, that He allows himself to be found by all who seek Him:
The Lord is good to the soul that seeks him: ”
Bonus est Dominus . . . animse quaerenti ilium.”
Make me to seek Him as I ought to seek Him.
Thou art the gate through which all find Jesus;
through thou, I too hope to find Him.
Amen

Posted in CARMELITES, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 7 June – Blessed Ana of St Bartholomew OCD (1550-1626)

Saint of the Day – 7 June – Blessed Ana of St Bartholomew OCD (1550-1626) – Bl Ana was an early member of St Teresa of Àvila’s Discalced Carmelite Order, Mystic, Spiritual writer, apostle of the poor, Prioress – born Ana García Manzanas on 1 October 1549 at Almendral, Spain and died on 7 June 1626 at Antwerp, Belgium at the time known as the County of Flanders, Spanish Netherlands of natural causes, aged 75. Patronage – Antwerp.bl ana of st bartholomew lg header

Ana García Manzanas was born in Almendral de la Cañada on 1 October 1550 as the seventh child to Ferdinand García and Maria Mancanas.   On the date of her birth she was also Baptised in the Parish Church of His Holiness the Saviour.   Together with her three brothers and three sisters she was raised to be close to God by her pious parents.   The entire household – on a frequent basis – attended Daily Mass and recited the Holy Rosary together.   Her father had a Priest teach the children the doctrine of the faith, while her mother opened their home to the poor and adopted orphans to raise as her own.

In her childhood she loved the paintings that depicted the Passion of the Lord and she wanted to be associated with His suffering – even if in a minor way by giving her food to beggars.   She often walked barefoot along stoney paths, in order that she could offer the pain, to her suffering Lord.   She said later in this regard:

“I will say here, for the glory of our Lord, that He always gave me consolations when I did good to my neighbour, when the occasion presented itself and when I aided them in their need.   I inconvenienced myself, it is true, on these occasions but I found instead of an inconvenience it was a real consolation.   It is to the good Master I owe it and it has remained so with me until this day.   May His holy Name be blessed!”bl ana of st bartholomew

In 1559 her mother died and in 1560 her father died.   This period turned out to be a time in her life, that she described as being flung into her “deepest affliction.”   When she was of the proper age, her older siblings wanted her to enter into marriage, though in her heart she desired to become a religious.   Her older brothers tried to test her will, by giving her the difficult task, of sharing the work of the labourers in the fields, in the hope that she would renounce her calling.   But once her brothers did this, she refused to speak to them and to any men and thus granting them the opportunity to converse with her, so as to defend herself from marriage, since she wanted to be married to God.   The brothers felt that she was too tenderhearted to withstand the austere mode of Monastic life and presumed she would soon leave the Convent life and thus burden the household with dishonour.bl ana-of-st-bartholomew

Ana experienced visions and apparitions that made her unwilling to give up her dream, though on one occasion had a frightful apparition of a giant demon that scared her to the point of illness.   Her relatives became quite concerned for her wellbeing and so took her to a hermitage dedicated to Saint Bartholomew to make a novena.   Once she arrived outside the hermitage she was at once seized with paralysis and when her relatives carried her in – and not long after entering – she found herself cured of this extreme affliction.

Finally, on 2 November 1570, Ana entered the Discalced Carmelites as a secular member.   She was the first secular that the foundress Teresa of Ávila accepted.   She made her religious vows on 15 August 1572.   For the next decade she filled the post of a nurse in the Infirmary.bl ana icon

In 1577, when St Teresa broke her left arm, she chose Ana as her personal assistant, nurse and secretary and during the next 5 years Ana was her inseparable companion, travelling with her and assisting in the last four foundations.   All of Teresa’s letters in the last few years of her life were dictated to Ana.   Teresa died in Ana’s arms in 1582 at the monastery in Alba de Tormes.

Following the death of the Foundress, she returned to Ávila and took part in the foundation of a Convent at Ocana (1595).   And she was one of the seven nuns selected for the introduction of the Order into the Kingdom of France on 15 October 1604.   In 1605, the French Carmelites appointed Ana the Superior of the Convent in Pontoise.bl-ana-of-b-prayer-card  This was a highly unusual step, as Ana was a “secular Carmelite,” meaning she was not part of the choir and removed from the Convent’s life of prayer.    She was thus consecrated as a religious sister and took over the Convent at Pontoise.   So unusual a step met with the disapproval of her companions but – as the Foundress – had once foretold – she offered no resistance.   Ana had also been forewarned that her elevation would cause her great sufferings.

Ana became the prioress of several different Convents:  Tours, Flanders, and finally Antwerp, which she governed to the end of her life.   Twice she was instrumental in delivering the town from the hands of Protestant forces.

Ana died on 7 June 1626.   Soon after her death, miracles were attributed to her intercession and by 1632 over 150 miracles had been approved.   She proved herself, like St Teresa, a daughter of the Church in her great zeal for souls.   In 1735 Pope Clement XII declared the heroicity of her virtues and Pope Benedict XV Beatified Ana on 6 May 1917.bl Ana_de_San_Bartolomé sml

Her spiritual writings and letters are preserved in Antwerp and Paris.

Father,
rewarder of the humble,
you blessed Your servant Ana of Saint Bartholomew
with outstanding charity and patience.
May her prayers help us
and her example inspire us,
to carry our cross
and be faithful in loving You
and others for your sake.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
Amen

bl ana relic
Relic of Bl Ana of st Bartholomew

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, FRANCISCAN OFM, Lady POVERTY, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on DIVINE PROVIDENCE, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on MISSION, QUOTES on TRUST in GOD, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 6 February – ‘Follow the humility and the poverty of our Lord Jesus’

One Minute Reflection – 6 February – Thursday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: 1 Kings 2:1-4, 10-12, Responsorial psalm 1 Chronicles 29:10-12, Mark 6:7-13 and the Memorial of St Francesco Spinelli (1853-1913)

He charged them to take nothing for their journey...Mark 6:8

REFLECTION – The Lord commands us in the Gospel: “Watch, be on your guard against all malice and greed” (cf. Lk 12:15).   “Guard yourselves against the preoccupations of this world and the cares of this life” (cf. Mt 6:25; Lk 21:34).   Therefore, none of the brothers, wherever he may be, or wherever he goes, should in any way carry, receive, or have received either money or coins, whether for clothing or books or payment for any work-indeed, for no reason-unless it is for the evident need of the sick brothers, for we must not suppose that money or coins have any greater value than stones.   And the devil would like to blind those who desire it or consider it better than stones.   Therefore, let us who have left all things behind, take care, that we do not lose the kingdom of heaven for so little (cf. Mt 19:27; Mk 10:24.28).   And if we were to find coins in any place, let us give them no more thought than the dust which we crush with our feet, for all this is “vanity of vanities and all is vanity” (Eccl 1:2).

All the brothers should strive to follow the humility and the poverty of our Lord Jesus Christ (…).   And they must rejoice when they live among people who are considered to be of little worth and who are looked down upon, among the poor and the powerless, the sick and the lepers and the beggars by the wayside.   And when it may be necessary, let them go for alms.   And they should not be ashamed but rather, recall that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the living and all-powerful God (…) was a poor man and a transient and lived on alms, He and the Blessed Virgin and His disciples.” … St Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) – Founder of the Friars Minor – Earlier Rule, §8-9he charged them to take nothing for the journey - therefore none of the brothers - st francis of assisi 6 feb 2020

PRAYER – Grant us Lord, a true knowledge of salvation so that, freed from fear and from the power of our foes, we may serve You, unhampered by any worldly ties, trusting only in Your loving and guiding hand. Help us to give our hearts, minds, bodies, our all to You, serving faithfully all the days of our life. May the prayers of St Francesco Spinelli, Your faithful servant, give us strength. We make our prayer, through our Lord Jesus with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.st francesco spinelli pray for us 6 feb 2020

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 26 November – Blessed Gaetana Sterni (1827-1889)

Saint of the Day – 26 November – Blessed Gaetana Sterni (1827-1889) Widow, Religious, Founder of the Sisters of Divine Will, of which Order she is the Patron.   Apostle of charity.   Born on 26 June 1827 at Cassola, Vicenza, Italy and died on 26 November 1889 of natural causes.  Gaetana’s life became marred due to the deaths of close relations including her husband and sole child which prompted her to look towards an apostolate to aid others and to ease others’ sufferings. The order she founded was dedicated to total consecration to Jesus Christ and to an active apostolate of charitable works to the lowliest of all.bl gaetana sterni

Gaetana Sterni lived her whole life in Bassano del Grappa, an ancient and cheerful city in the province of Vicenza (Italy).   She arrived with her family, at 8 years of age, from the nearby Cassola, where she was born on the 26th June 1827.   Her father Giovanni Battista Sterni, worked as administrator for the country property of the Mora, noble Venetians and lived comfortably in the Mora habitat with his wife Giovanna Chiuppani and their six children.   In 1835 he moved with his family to Bassano.   However, a series of unfortunate episodes were to change the conditions for the family of Gaetana, drastically.   At 18 years of age her elder sister, Margherita, died and shortly after, following a grave illness, her father too died.   In the meantime, her brother Francesco, with the aim of becoming an actor left the home and thus, left the family, in a dire financial situation.

These events left their mark on Gaetana, who was forced to grow up before her time, having to share with her mother, the many problems of day to day life.   Being blessed with a good intelligence she showed herself to be sensitive and mature but also full of life “ desiring to love and be loved”.

Her religious education was solid and guided by the teachings of her mother, her prayers and her frequenting the church.   She soon acquired in her environment, respect and appreciation for her radiant character, full of good sense and for her strong femininity. “Her delicate features and rare beauty” and her fascinating presence, soon attracted a young entrepreneur, Liberale Conte, a widower with three children who asked her to marry him.

After a deep analysis of her feelings and the responsibilities that she would have to assume and overcoming the opposition of her tutor, Gaetana accepted Liberale’s proposal.   The young bride, who still hadn’t reached her sixteenth birthday, entered into her new home filling it with her vitality, giving back to her husband joy and serenity and loving his three children as if they were her own.   When Gaetana discovered that she was expecting his child, the happiness of the couple was complete.

While she was praying, Gaetana was shaken by a premonition of the imminent death of her husband and felt as though she would “die of a broken heart” at the thought of losing he who was “more precious than life,” however, deep inside, she felt a strength that would keep her from despair and lead her to have faith in God with all her heart. Unfortunately, her premonition came true and Liberale, at the height of youth and health, after a brief illness, died.   The young bride now found herself in terrible anguish for the loss of her husband, whom she loved more than herself, for the children who once again found themselves to be orphans and for her unborn child, who would never know it’s own father.   She was completely destroyed by the pain but when she started coming back to her senses, she remembered the premonition that she had had and what she had felt.   She once again found faith in the Lord, entrusting her life to Him.   In Him she found the strength to live, to take care of the three children and to complete her pregnancy.

Unfortunately, even Gaetana’s child died just a few days after it’s birth.  Here began years of bitter widowhood.   The family of her husband did not appreciate the strong links that bound Gaetana to the orphans and many misunderstandings, suspicions and false rumours arose.   Eventually, she was separated from the children and distanced from the house.   At nineteen years of age she returned to the home of her mother.   In spite of this ordeal and not thinking of herself, she helped the children to accept the difficult separation.   Approachable but strong, she defended the rights of the children, forgave freely and obtained the full reconciliation and serenity of the two families.   The suffering didn’t make her bitter and, through her natural sensitivity, she grew in her capacity for compassion and solidarity.

She never thought of entering into a religious order and looking into her future, she prayed, that the Lord would help her to understand who was the husband that God had destined to be hers.   But it was through her prayers that she began to perceive clearly that God wanted to be “the only husband for her soul” and Gaetana was stunned.   She confided to her holy confessor who confirmed that it was an authentic call to God. Consequently, she asked to enter the convent of the Canosians of Bassano and was accepted as a postulate.   For five months she lived happily in the community but once again, in her prayers, she had a premonition that prepared her for the death of her mother, which then happened within a few days.   Consequently she was forced to leave the convent to assume the responsibility of looking after her younger brothers.   For years she faced difficulties, family illness, misfortunes and financial hardships.   In spite of everything, she managed to create a way of life that permitted a continued spiritual devotion.bl gaetana with jesus

She confronted her confessor and prayed intensely as to know what was God’s will for her.   Becoming more humble and prepared, she was ever more attentive to what He asked her in the depths of her heart and also through the happenings and needs of the poor of her city.

Whilst she was still with the Canosians and had the premonition of her mother’s death, Gaetana had also sensed that He was preparing her “to employ there all of herself in the service of the poor and thus fulfil His will.”   She held this vocation hidden in her heart for a long time before finding the courage to talk about it with her confessor, because it seemed to her strange and terrible.

When at last she had told him, he seemed to give no weight to the idea.   However whenever Gaetana saw a poor person “recovered”, she re-felt that invitation “I want you among my poor”, and said “the idea of the Recovery follows me constantly”.   She was 26 years old when she was finally free from all obligations to her family and could at last do as she wished.   Upon conclusion of a serious and shared discernment, it was a Jesuit, Fr . Bedin that confirmed to her, saying “yes Gaetana, the Lord wants you in the Recovery.” In 1853, “only to do the will of God”, Gaetana entered into the hospice for beggars, known as the Recovery, which in miserable conditions, cared for 115 guests “the large part victims of unruliness and vice” in whom “disorders and abuses of almost every type”.

She remained there for 36 years until her death and employed in this ministry all of herself with untiring charity.   While watching over the beds of the dying and in the most humble service of the ill and the old, she treated all with the abnegation, the delicacy and gentleness of those who in recoveries serve the Lord.   She was driven by a great faith in God, from the desire to be His and to please Him in everything.  When she was 33 years old and with the consent of her confessor Don Simonetti, she took a vow of total devotion of herself to God, “ready to accept absolutely anything that the Lord might ask of her”.

With unlimited faith she gave herself into the hands of God, “weak instrument which He uses for His own purposes”.   She attributed to providence, the birth of the congregation, that came from the simplicity and humility, with the profession of the first two companions in 1865.

Beata-Gaetana-Sterni-e-compagne
First Daughters of the Divine Will

The name “Daughters of the Divine Will” suggested to the heart of Gaetana and the young women that followed her, indicated that which should define them “complete uniformity to the Divine Will through a total abandonment in God and a strong zeal for the well-being of one’s neighbour, ready to sacrifice anything in order to make them well.”

Like her, the first companions, driven by the same spirit, devoted themselves to the will of God, dedicating themselves to serve the poor in the Recovery and those in need, especially helping those who were ill at home and other acts of charity depending on the particular needs that arose.   The Bishop of Vicenza, Saint Giovanni Antonio Farina (1803–1888), approved the first rules of the congregation in 1875.

Gaetana died on the 26th of November 1889 lovingly assisted by her daughters and venerated by her fellow citizens.   Her mortal remains are venerated in the Mother House.   Since the beginning the communities have multiplied and today the congregation is diffused in Europe, America and Africa.

The path to holiness that Gaetana followed is, for it’s essential nature a proposable itinerary for all Christians – to achieve in everything and always, that which pleases the Lord, trusting oneself to Him in enlightened confidence, to change, with only the force of love, all evil into good, in the manner of Jesus. … Vatican.va

Blessed Gaetana was Beatified on 4 November 2001 by St Pope John Paul II, after approval of the first miracle.   At her Beatification St John Paul said:

“Blessed Gaetana Sterni, who learned that the will of God is always love, dedicated herself with untiring charity to the excluded and the suffering.   She always treated her brothers and sisters with the kindness and love of the one who serves Christ in the poor. She urged her spiritual daughters, the Sisters of the Divine Will, “to be disposed and content to put up with privations, fatigue and any sacrifice to help your neighbour in need in all that the Lord might want of them”.   The witness of evangelical charity that Blessed Sterni left us reminds each believer of the need to seek the will of God in confident abandonment to Him and in generous service to one’s brothers and sisters.”

bl gaetana holy card.jpg

Posted in Lady POVERTY, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 27 September – Serving the Poor is to be Our First Preference

Thought for the Day – 27 September – The Memorial of St Vincent de Paul C.M. (1581-1660)

Serving the Poor is to be Our First Preference

Saint Vincent de Paul
Priest and Founder

An excerpt from a Writing by St Vincent de Paul

Even though the poor are often rough and unrefined, we must not judge them from external appearances nor from the mental gifts they seem to have received.   On the contrary, if you consider the poor in the light of faith, then you will observe that they are taking the place of the Son of God who chose to be poor.   Although, in His passion He almost lost the appearance of a man and was considered a fool by the Gentiles and a stumbling block by the Jews, He showed them that His mission was to preach to the poor: He sent me to preach the good news to the poor.   We also ought to have this same spirit and imitate Christ’s actions, that is, we must take care of the poor, console them, help them, support their cause.

Since Christ willed to be born poor, He chose for Himself, disciples who were poor.   He made Himself the servant of the poor and shared their poverty.   He went so far as to say, that He would consider every deed which either helps or harms the poor, as done for or against Himself.   Since God surely loves the poor, He also loves those who love the poor. For when one person holds another dear, He also includes in His affection, anyone who loves or serves the one He loves.   That is why we hope, that God will love us for the sake of the poor.   So when we visit the poor and needy, we try to understand the poor and weak.   We sympathise with them so fully, that we can echo Paul’s words:  I have become all things to all men.   Therefore, we must try to be stirred by our neighbours’ worries and distress.   We must beg God to pour into our hearts sentiments of pity and compassion and to fill them again and again, with these dispositions.

It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible.   If a needy person requires medicine or other help during prayer time, do whatever has to be done with peace of mind.   Offer the deed to God as your prayer.   Do not become upset or feel guilty because you interrupted your prayer to serve the poor.   God is not neglected if you leave Him for such service.   One of God’s works is merely interrupted, so that another can be carried out.   So when you leave prayer to serve some poor person, remember, that this very service is performed for God.   Charity is certainly greater than any rule.   Moreover, all rules must lead to charity.   Since she is a noble mistress, we must do whatever she commands.   With renewed devotion, then, we must serve the poor, especially outcasts and beggars.   They have been given to us as our masters and patrons.charity is certainly greater than any rule - st vincent de paul 27 spet 2019.jpg

St Vincent de Paul, Pray for Us!st vincent de paul pray for us.2.jpg

Posted in MARIAN PRAYERS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 16 August – St Stephen’s letter to St Emeric

Thought for the Day – 16 August – Friday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C and The Memorial of St Step  hen of Hungary (c 975- 1038)

At the turn of the second millenniu  m, St Stephen succeeded his father as leader of the Magyars in Hungary.   Looking to strengthen his authority, he determined to consolidate the state and extend Christianity throughout the land.   In 1001 he arranged to have Pope Sylvester II name him king of Hungary.   The pope obliged.   As an additional sign of support, Sylvester had a special crown fashioned for Stephen that has become world famous.

Stephen extended his control over Hungary by restricting the power of the nobles. By creating dioceses and establishing monasteries, Stephen strengthened the church and positioned it for expansion. Politically, he aggressively used his power to establish Christianity as Hungary’s religion. He ruthlessly abolished pagan customs, outlawing adultery and blasphemy.   Stephen ordered everyone to marry, except religiou, and forbade marriages between Christians and pagans.

But Stephen had a kinder, gentler side.   Like St Louis IX, he made himself accessible to his people.   He also took personal concern for the poor  . He used to walk the streets in disguise so he could give alms to needy people.   Once he barely escaped when some beggars beat and robbed him.   But he refused to stop the practice.   Stephen was a family man.   In 1015 he had married Gisela, the sister of emperor St Henry II. The couple had one son, Emeric, whom Stephen groomed as his successor.   In the following letter to his son, Stephen lays out his vision of what a Christian monarch must be.  His counsel remains a letter to us all.   For this and your intercession, we bless and thank you St Stephen!

“My dearest son, if you desire to honour the royal crown, I advise, I counsel, I urge you above all things to maintain the Catholic and apostolic faith with such diligence and care that you may be an example for all those placed under you by God and that all the clergy may rightly call you a man of true Christian profession.   Failing to do this, you may be sure that you will not be called a Christian or a son of the Church.   Indeed, in the royal palace – after the faith itself – the Church holds second place, first propagated as she was by our head, Christ, then transplanted, firmly constituted and spread through the whole world by His members, the apostles and holy fathers.   And though she always produced fresh offspring, nevertheless in certain places she is regarded as ancient.

However, dearest son, even now in our kingdom, the Church is proclaimed as young and newly planted and for that reason, she needs more prudent and trustworthy guardians, lest a benefit which the divine mercy bestowed on us undeservedly, should be destroyed and annihilated, through your idleness, indolence or neglect.

My beloved son, delight of my heart, hope of your posterity, I pray, I command, that at every time and in everything, strengthened by your devotion to me, you may show favour not only to relations and kin, or to the most eminent, be they leaders or rich men or neighbours or fellow-countrymen but also to foreigners and to all who come to you. By fulfilling your duty in this way you will reach the highest state of happiness.   Be merciful to all who are suffering violence, keeping always in your heart the example of the Lord who said:  “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”   Be patient with everyone, not only with the powerful but also with the weak.be-merciful-to-all-st-stephen-of-hungary-16-aug-2018.jpg

Finally be strong, lest prosperity lift you up too much or adversity cast you down.   Be humble in this life, that God may raise you up in the next.   Be truly moderate and do not punish or condemn anyone immoderately.   Be gentle so that you may never oppose justice.   Be honourable so that you may never voluntarily, bring disgrace upon anyone. Be chaste so that you may avoid all the foulness of lust, like the pangs of death.be-humble-in-this-life-st-stephen-of-hungary-16-aug-2019.jpg

All these virtues I have noted above make up the royal crown and without them no one is fit to rule here on earth or attain to the heavenly kingdom.”

Sadly, Emeric died in a hunting accident, leaving Stephen no successor.

In 1038, on the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Stephen delivered his final words to leaders of the Church and state, telling them to protect and spread the Catholic faith.

To the Virgin Mary, the king directed one of his final prayers:
“To thee, O Queen of heaven
and to thy guardianship,
I commend the holy Church,
all the bishops and the clergy,
the whole kingdom, its rulers and inhabitants
but before all, I commend my soul to thy care.”

St Stephen of Hungary died on Aug. 15, 1038. He was buried alongside his son St Emeric and the two were Canonised together in 1083.

St Stephen the Great, King of Hungary, Pray for us!st-stephen-of-hungary-with prayer to mary pray-for-us-16-aug-2019.jpg

Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 26 June – Blessed Jacques Ghazir Haddad OFM Cap (1875-1954)

Saint of the Day – 26 June – Blessed Jacques Ghazir Haddad OFM Cap (1875-1954) aged 79 – Priest, Religious of the Order of Friars Minor as a Capuchin Friar, Founder of the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Cross of which he is the Patron, noted Preacher and founder of many orphanages and schools across Lebanon, Apostle of Charity.   Called the “St Vincent de Paul of Lebanon,”  “the Apostle of the Cross” and “the Apostle of Lebanon.”bl jacques ghaxir haddid.jpg

Fr Jacques Ghazir Haddad was born on 1 February 1875, in Ghazir, Lebanon, the third of five children.   He attended school in Ghazir and then the College de la Sageese in Beirut, where he studied Arabic, French and Syriac.

In 1892 he went to Alexandria, Egypt, to teach Arabic at the Christian Brothers’ College, and there he felt the call to the priesthood.   He entered the Capuchin Convent in Khashbau the next year.   He was ordained a priest on 1 November 1901 in Beirut, Lebanon.

As an itinerant preacher from 1903 to 1914 he walked all over Lebanon proclaiming the Word of God and was given the name “the Apostle of Lebanon”.   He was also seen preaching in Syria, Palestine, Iraq and Turkey.

In 1919 he bought a piece of land on the hill of Jall-Eddib, north of Beirut, where he built a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Sea.   Nearby he erected a great Cross.

Fr Jacques was tireless, he would help anyone in need following in the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi.   In 1920, to assist him in this mission to help the sick and the poor, he founded the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Cross of Lebanon.  Sister Marie Zougheib was his first collaborator and aided him in setting up his new congregation.  He set out in the rule of his order with the insistence, above all else, that the works of mercy never be neglected in the pursuit of the order’s work.   He had been titled as the “Vincent de Paul of Lebanon”. bl jacques ghaxir haddid 2

The modest work of Fr Jacques aroused the people’s admiration, many poor and sick people began to go to the “Cross” and Fr Jacques would welcome them all.   In 1950 the “Cross” became exclusively a psychiatric hospital, one of the most modern in the Near East.   The movement of charity began to spread throughout Lebanon and Fr Jacques and his Sisters multiplied their works of social assistance.

In 1933 he opened the House of the Sacred Heart in Deir el-Kamar, a girls’ orphanage, which later became an asylum for the chronically ill.   In 1948 he opened the Hospital of Our Lady for the aged, the chronically ill and the paralysed.   In 1949 St Joseph’s Hospital became one of the most important medical centres of the capital.   It was followed in 1950 by St Anthony’s House in Beirut for beggars and vagabonds whom the police found on the streets and Providence House for homeless girls.F73_james_00

Even though Fr Jacques was very busy with the hospital mission, he and his Sisters carried on the important work of education and opened several schools as well as an orphanage for 200 girls.

Fr Jacques was worn out by vigils, fatigue and travel.   Although he suffered from numerous illnesses, became almost completely blind and was stricken with leukemia, he did not stop blessing God and working.   He was lucid to the end, at dawn on the day of his death, he said “Today is my last day!”   His last hours were an uninterrupted series of prayers invoking the Cross and the Virgin Mary until he died on 26 June 1954 in Lebanon.bl jacques ghaxir haddid 3

His cause for Beatification was introduced in February 1979, on 24 February 1979, His Holiness St Pope John Paul II signed the Decree of Introduction of the Cause for Beatification.   On Sunday, 22 June 2008, he was Beatified during a special Mass in Beirut by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, C.M.F., Prefect of Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Since Blessed Haddad’s death, additional hospitals have opened to assist those injured during the war and to assist the Kabr-Chemoun region where medical services were scarce…Vatican.va

Father al-Haddād received from President Émile Eddé the Palm Medal of Lebanese Merit on 5 January 1938 while President Bechara El Khoury awarded him the Golden Medal of Lebanese Merit on 2 June 1949 and then the Officer Degree of the Lebanese Cedars Medal on 26 November 1951.

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 20 March – St Jósef Bilczewski (1860-1923)

Saint of the Day – 20 March – St Jósef Bilczewski (1860-1923) Aged 62 – Archbishop of Lviv, Professor of Dogmatic Theology, Apostle of the Holy Eucharist, Marian devotion, the poor, the homeless, the needy, refugees, Social Reformer and Evangelist, Apostle of Catechesis both of the laity and of priests, Peace-maker. Patronages – Archdiocese of Lviv, Teachers, Wilamowice, Beggars, Homeless people.jozef archbishop bilczewski.jpg

Archbishop JOSEPH BILCZEWSKI was born on 26 April 1860 in Wilamowice near Kęty, in the present day Diocese of Bielsko Żywiec, then part of the Diocese of Krakow.   Having finished elementary school at Wilamowic and Kęty, he attended high school at Wadowice receiving his diploma in 1880.

On 6 July 1884 he was ordained a priest in Krakow by Cardinal Albino Dunajewski.   In 1886 he received a Doctorate in Theology from the University of Vienna.   Following advanced studies in Rome and Paris he passed the qualifying exam at the Jaghellonic University of Krakow.   The following year he became professor of Dogmatic Theology at the John Casimir University of Leopoli.   He also served as Dean of Theology for a period of time prior to becoming Rector of the University.   During his tenure at the University, he was appreciated as a professor by his students and also enjoyed the friendship and respect of his colleagues.   He arduously dedicated himself to scientific work and, despite his young age, acquired a reputation as a learned man.

His extraordinary intellectual and relational abilities were recognised by Francis Joseph, the Emperor of Austria, who presented Monsignor Joseph to the Holy Father as a candidate for the vacant Metropolitan See of Leopoli.   The Holy Father, Leo XIII responded positively to the Emperor’s proposal and on 17 December 1900 he named the forty year old Monsignor Joseph Bilczewski, Archbishop of Leopoli of the Latin Rite.

Given the complex social, economic, ethnic and religious situation, care for the large diocese required of the Bishop a deep commitment and called for great moral commitment, strong confidence in God and a faith enlivened by a continual contact in prayer with God.

Archbishop Joseph Bilczewski became known for his abundant goodness of heart, understanding, humility, piety, commitment to hard work and pastoral zeal which sprung from his immense love for God and neighbour.Józef_Bilczewski

Upon taking possession of the Archdiocese of Leopoli he spelled out very clearly his pastoral plan which can be summed up in his motto “totally sacrifice oneself for the Holy Church”.   Among other things he pointed out the need for the development of devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament and frequent reception of Holy Communion.

A particular form of pastoral action of Archbishop Bilczewski were the pastoral letters and appeals addressed to the priests and the faithful of the Archdiocese.   In them he spoke of the problems of faith and morals of the time as well as of the most pressing issues of the social sphere.   He also explained devotion to the Eucharist and to the Sacred Heart in them and the importance of religious and moral formation of children and youth in the family and in school.   Above all, he took great care to cultivate many holy priestly vocations.   He saw the priest as first and foremost a teacher of faith and an instrument of Christ, a father for the rich as well as for the poor.   Taking the place of Christ on Earth, the priest was to be the minister of the Sacraments and for this reason his whole heart had to be dedicated to the celebration of the Eucharist, in order to be able to nourish the people of God with the body of Christ.

He often exhorted the priests to adoration of the most Blessed Sacrament.   In his pastoral letter devoted to the Eucharist he invited the priests to participate in the priestly associations – The Association for Perpetual Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament and the Association of Aid to Poor Catholic Churches, whose goal was to rejuvenate the zeal of the priests themselves.   He also dedicated a great deal of care to the preparation of children and to full participation in the Mass, desiring that every Catechesis would lead children and youth to the Eucharist.jozef with the holy eucharist

Archbishop Joseph Bilczewski promoted the construction of churches and chapels, schools and day-care centres.  He developed teaching to help enable the growth in the instruction of the faithful.   He materially and spiritually helped the more important works which were springing up in his Archdiocese.   His holy life, filled with prayer, work and works of mercy, led to his meriting great appreciation and respect on the part of those of various faiths, rites and nationalities present in the Archdiocese.   No religious or nationalistic conflicts arose during the tenure of his pastoral work.   He was a proponent of unity, harmony and peace.   On social issues he always stood on the side of the people and of the poor.   He taught that the base of social life had to be justice made perfect by Christian love.

During the First World War, when souls were overtaken with hate and a lack of appreciation of the other, he pointed out to the people the infinite love of God, capable of forgiving every type of sin and offence.   He reminded them of the need to observe the commandments of God and particularly that of brotherly love.   Sensitive to the social questions regarding the family and youth, he courageously proposed solutions to problems based on the love of God and of neighbour.  During his 23 years of pastoral service he changed the face of the Archdiocese of Leopoli   Only his death, on 20 March 1923 could end his vast and far-sighted pastoral action.jozef older.jpg

He was prepared for death and accepted it with peace and submission as a sign of God’s will, which he always considered sacred.

He left this world having enjoyed a universal recognition of holiness.   Wanting to rest among those for whom he was always father and protector, in accord with his desires, he was buried in Leopoli in the cemetery of Janów, known as the cemetery of the poor.  buriel place 1024px-Lwów-cmJanowski-GrobJozefaBilczewskiego.jpgThanks to the efforts of the Archdiocese of Leopoli the process for his beatification and canonisation was initiated.   The first step was concluded on 17 December 1997 with the declaration of the life of heroic virtue of Archbishop Joseph Bilczewski by The Holy Father, St Pope John Paul II.   In June 2001, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints recognised as miraculous the fact of the rapid lasting and unexplainable “quo ad modum” healing through the intercession of Archbishop Bilczewski of the third degree burns of Marcin Gawlik, a nine year old boy, thus opening the way for his beatification. The Beatification took place in the Diocese of Leopoli on 26 June 2001 during St Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Visit to the Ukraine…Vatican.va

One final miracle was required for sainthood.   St John Paul II approved a second healing on 20 December 2004.   Cardinal Angelo Sodano formalised the date on 24 February 2005 at a consistory, representing the then very ill St John Paul II who died a month later.   The new Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the Canonisation in Saint Peter’s Square on 23 October 2005.

jozef - statue - Bilczewski-KatedraLacinska-Lwow
Statue in Lviv Cathedral

 

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 28 October – Today’s Gospel: Mark 10:46–52 – Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B and the Feast of Sts Simon and Jude, Apostles of Christ

One Minute Reflection – 28 October – Today’s Gospel: Mark 10:46–52 – Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B and the Feast of Sts Simon and Jude, Apostles of Christ

And Jesus said to him, “Go your way, your faith has made you well.”   And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.…Mark 10:52

REFLECTION – “We are always in need of salvation.   And all of us should take this step everyday – from beggars to disciples.   And thus, the blind man sets out behind the Lord, becoming part of His community.   The one they wanted to silence, now witnesses aloud to his encounter with Jesus of Nazareth and “all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God”.   Let us also allow ourselves to be called by Jesus and let us be healed by Jesus, forgiven by Jesus and let us follow Jesus, praising God.   So be it!”…Pope Francis – General audience, 15 June 2016mark 10 52 and immediately he received his sight - pope francis - we are always in need of - 28 oct 2018

PRAYER – Lord God, You taught us to call upon Your name, through the preaching of the Apostles.   Open our eyes each day, grant that we may see Jesus Your Son at our side, open our ears that we may hear His voice, open our mouths that we may beg forgiveness and proclaim the good news as we follow the way Your Son carved out for us.   At the intercession of Sts Simon and Jude, may Your Church continue to grow and to hope in Your love.   We make our prayer through Jesus our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.sts simon and jude pray for us 29 oct 2018

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 13 October – St Edward King and Confessor (c 1003-1066)

Saint of the Day – 13 October – St Edward King and Confessor (c 1003-1066) – born c 1003 at Islip, Oxfordshire, England and died on 5 January 1066 (aged 60–63) at London, England. The last king of the House of Wessex, he ruled from 1042 to 1066.   Confessor reflects his reputation as a saint who did not suffer martyrdom, as opposed to King Edward the Martyr.   Patronages – of difficult marriages, England (before 1347); English Royal Family; Kings.   St Edward was Canonised on 7 February 1161, Rome by Pope Alexander III. His major Shrine is in Westminster Abbey, which Cathedral he built. His body is incorrupt.st edward at st saviours - chels

st saviour's edward the confessor - my pic
This Window is in my home Parish, St Saviour’s Cathedral, Oudtshoorn, near Cape Town.   It dates from 1860.

Saint Edward, son of King Ethelred, whose kingdom of England fell to the Danish invaders, was unexpectedly raised to the throne of England in 1041, at the age of forty years. God had shown Edward to a pious bishop in a vision, as England’s King, anointed by Saint Peter –  Behold the one who will be King through My favor; he will be cherished by heaven, agreeable to men, terrible to his enemies, loving to his subjects, very useful to the Church of God.edward

The English people, tired of being governed by a foreign domination, decided in 1041 to reinstate the surviving son of their legitimate sovereign, and under the leadership of three noblemen, succeeded in crowning Edward on Easter Sunday of the year 1042. Edward had spent twenty-seven years of his forty in exile in Normandy, in the palace of his maternal uncle.st edward - v lg

When he was raised to the throne, the virtues of his earlier years, simplicity, gentleness, humility and a tender charity but above all his angelic purity, shone with new brightness.   By a rare inspiration of God, though he married to content his nobles and people, he preserved perfect chastity in the wedded state.   So little did he set his heart on riches, that three times when he saw a servant robbing his treasury, he let him escape, saying the poor man needed the gold more than he.   He loved to stand at his palace-gate, speaking kindly to the poor beggars and lepers who crowded about him, and many of whom he healed of their diseases.   The people rejoiced in having a Saint for their king.st edward glass

Long wars had brought the kingdom to a sad state but Edward’s zeal and sanctity soon wrought a great change.  His reign of twenty-four years was one of almost unbroken peace.   He undertook only one war, which was victorious, to reinstate Malcolm, legitimate king of Scotland.   The country grew prosperous, the ruined churches rose again under his hand, the weak lived secure, and for ages afterwards men spoke with affection of the laws of good Saint Edward.   The holy king delighted in building and enriching churches – Westminster Abbey was his last and noblest work.

The left panel of the Wilton Diptych, where Edward (centre), with Edmund the Martyr (left) and John the Baptist
The left panel of the Wilton diptych with St Edward in the centre, flanked by St Justin Martyr ,left and St John the Baptist, right.

He had a particular devotion to the holy Apostles Saint Peter and Saint John the Evangelist and had made a promise never to refuse an alms asked in the name of the latter.

One day when he had no money with him, a poor man reached out his hand in the name of the Apostle and the king gave him a valuable ring he was wearing.   Some time later, Saint John appeared to two pilgrims returning from the Holy Land.   He gave them a ring and said:  Take it to the king; he gave it to me one day when I asked for an alms in the habit of a pilgrim.   Tell him that in six months I will visit him and take him with me, to follow the unblemished Lamb.   The King received it from them after hearing their telling of this incident and broke into tears.   And Edward did indeed die six months later, on 5 January 1066.st edward statue

Unfortunately for his kingdom, Edward’s death left England in turmoil.   His vow of chastity meant that he died without an obvious heir.  The Saxon people rejected his promise of the throne to the Duke of Normandy.   Three contenders to the kingdom emerged – Edward’s brother-in-law, Harold Godwinson;  the Viking king, Harold Hardrede;  and William, Duke of Normandy.   Hardrede was defeated by Godwinson at Stamford Bridge.   Godwinson died at the Battle of Hastings, leaving William “the Conqueror” to succeed and start the Norman era.

In 1102 his body was exhumed and found intact and flexible, with its clothing perfectly preserved, appearing to be new.Painting of St Edward_s Tomb

st edward tomb
A painting of St Edward’s Tomb and a photo of it today and dates from 1269

Many miracles occurred at his tomb and King Henry III rebuilt a new and costly shrine in 1269.   St Edward was the Patron saint of England until 1415 (succeeded by St George).

 

Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on DIVINE PROVIDENCE, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on MERCY, QUOTES on PERSEVERANCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY, Uncategorized

Quote/s of the Day – 27 September – The Memorial of St Vincent de Paul C.M. (1581-1660)

Quote/s of the Day – 27 September – The Memorial of St Vincent de Paul C.M. (1581-1660)

“Perfection consists in one thing alone,
which is doing the will of God.
For, according to Our Lord’s words,
it suffices for perfection to deny self,
to take up the cross and to follow Him.
Now who denies himself and takes up his cross
and follows Christ better than he who seeks
not to do his own will but always that of God?
Behold, now, how little is needed to become as Saint?
Nothing more than to acquire the habit of willing,
on every occasion, what God wills.”perfection-consists-in-one-thing-alone-st-vincent-de-paul-27-sept-2018

“…We have all been called by God to work on a masterpiece!”we have all been called - st vincent de paul - 27 sept 2018

“Extend your mercy towards others,
so that there can be no one in need
whom you meet without helping.
For what hope is there for us if God
should withdraw His Mercy from us?”extend your mercy - st v de p - 27 sept 2018

“With renewed devotion, then,
we must serve the poor,
especially outcasts and beggars.
They have been given to us
as our masters and patrons.”we-renewed-devotion-st-vincent-de-paul-27-sept-2018

“It is not enough to give soup and bread.
This the rich can do.
You are the servant of the poor,
always smiling and good-humoured.
They are your masters, terribly sensitive
and exacting master you will see.
And the uglier and the dirtier they will be,
the more unjust and insulting,
the more love you must give them.
It is only for your love alone,
that the poor will forgive you the bread you give to them.it is not enough to give soup - st v de p - 27 sept 2018

“Go to the poor – you will find God!”

St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)go to the poor you will find god - st v de p - PREFER THIS ONE - 27 sept 2018.jpg

Posted in DOMINICAN OP, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 18 September – St Juan Macias O.P. (1585-1645)

Saint of the Day – 18 September – St Juan Macias O.P. (1585-1645) – vowed Dominican Lay Friar, Mystic, Apostle of Charity and Prayer, MiracleWorker – St Juan was born on 2 March 1585 Ribera del Fresno in Extremadura, Spain and died on 16 September 1645 in Lima, Peru.   He was Beatified in 1837 together with his close friend, St Martin de Porres, by Pope Gregory XVI and Canonised in 1975 by Pope Paul VI.   His main image is located at the main altar of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Lima and is venerated by the local laity in Peru.   A church was built in his honour in 1970 in San Luis, Lima, Peru.header - st juan macias

St Juan Macias is a saint dear to the heart of Dominicans.   To the chorus of Dominican saints, this humble lay brother adds his characteristic notes of contemplation and spiritual friendship, a living example of the Dominican motto, “to contemplate and to give to others the fruits of our contemplation.”

Juan Macias was born on 2 March 1585 in a small village in southwestern Spain.   His parents were poor farmers – both died when Juan and his sister Agnes were young.   The two children were raised by their uncle whose last name, “Macias,” they took as their own.

st juan macias

When he was sixteen, Juan met a Dominican priest while attending Mass in a neighbouring village.   Like most young people, Juan was full of wonder about what his future would hold.   This experience made a new impression on Juan and opened his heart to the possibility of a Dominican vocation.   Unlike most young people, Juan received another special grace – it is said that as he began to seek God’s will for his life, he was frequently visited by the Blessed Virgin Mary and by his patron, St John the Evangelist.

At the age of 35, Juan still felt drawn to the Dominican Order.   St John told him that it was not to be in Spain that he would become a Dominican, but in Lima, Peru.   In 1622, Juan Macias entered the Dominican convent of St Mary Magdalene in Lima, Peru. H  e entered as a lay brother, a non-ordained friar who, instead of preaching, would do the manual labour necessary in the monastery.   Juan was the assistant Porter (doorkeeper) until his death in 1646.   Although he was uneducated, Juan Macias exemplified the Dominican charism.   Like St Dominic, he learned the most sublime theology by studying the “book of charity,” the Cross.    Juan Macias’ entire life preached the Word of God to those he met.st juan macias beautiful statue

One of Juan Macias’ chief duties was to meet the poor who came to the convent seeking material or spiritual assistance, often over two hundred people every day.   Besides his cheerful disposition and encouraging manner, Juan Macias became known for the sometimes miraculous nature of his service to the poor.   Everyone knew that Juan worked extremely hard to collect alms for distribution.   Still, he would often return empty handed.   Yet, somehow Juan never turned anyone away.   From what he had been able to collect, he would have enough to feed all who came to him for help.St.-Juan-Macias

Juan Macias knew that he must help meet the physical needs of those who came to him, but he also knew that their spiritual hunger was much greater.   Juan was an instrument of conversion for many.

Juan Macias is well known for his close friendship with another Dominican saint, Martin de Porres  (1579–1639).   The two saints often met on their daily rounds of the city and became close spiritual friends as well.   They were a constant source of encouragement and ideas for one another.   The two were beatified together in a single ceremony by Pope Gregory XVI in 1837.st martin de porres and st juan macias

John Macias was well known mainly for two things during his life.   First, he was known to love the rosary, which he began to pray as a child in Spain while he shepherded his uncle’s flock of sheep.   Secondly, he was known for his generosity to the poor, 200 of whom he fed every day.   He was greatly aided in this by a little donkey that he sent through Lima.   He had a small sign put on it asking for donations for the poor.   The donkey, knowing his route perfectly, would travel through the streets and come back with benefactions for the city’s poor.   Often the donkey would stop at certain locations and make loud noises so that the people inside would come out to make their donations.ST-JUAN-MACIAS

At the priory, Macías’s life was filled with fervent prayer, frequent penance and charity. As a result of his austerity, he quickly fell ill and had to have a risky surgery. Nevertheless, he continued to care for other sick and needy as they waited at the friary gates.   Beggars, disabled people and other disadvantaged people were commonplace throughout Lima where they flocked to him at the monastery gates for counsel and comfort.   The poor came for food and the rich for advice.st juan macias engraving

Macias, however, expressed a greater desire to spend more time in contemplative solitude rather than engage in conversational activities with others.   He confessed this to Father Abbot Ramírez who said, “If he were to never follow his vow of obedience, nobody would have ever seen his face.”   But his official position as the priory’s porter, which he held for over 20 years and went against his natural inclinations of solitude, served to continue disciplining his vow of obedience.   This filled him with a joyful sense of fulfillment.   He died of natural causes in 1645.San_Juan_Macias_official_sidest__joseph_of_cupertino___icon_by_violacaeli-d99myw4

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 16 August – St Stephen of Hungary (c 975- 1038) Apostle of Hungary

Saint of the Day – 16 August – St Stephen of Hungary (c 975- 1038) Apostle of Hungary, King and Confessor, Marian devotee,  Apostle of Charity, Evangeliser and Missionary – born at Esztergom, Hungary and died on 15 August 1038 at Szekesfehervar, Hungary.   Also known as – Stephen the Great, Apostolic King, Istvan.   Patronages – Patron saint of Hungary, of kings, masons, stonecutters, stonemasons and bricklayers and a protector against child death.st stephen lg

The fourth Duke of the Huns of Hungary, by the name of Geysa, was converted to the Faith and baptised with his wife and several ministers.   With the Christian missionaries, he laboured to convince his pagan subjects of the divinity of this religion.   His wife saw in a vision the protomartyr Saint Stephen, who told her they would have a son who would perfect the work already begun.   This son, born in the year 977, was given the name of Stephen.

The little prince was baptised by Saint Adalbert (c 956-997), bishop of Prague, who preached to the Hungarians for a time and was educated under the care of that bishop and a pious count of Italy.

When he was fifteen years old, his father gave him the commandment of his armies, seeing his virtue and Christian ardour.   Already Stephen was beginning to root out idolatry and transform the pagan customs still existing among the people.   At twenty years of age, he succeeded his good father, who died in 997.   He suppressed a rebellion of his pagan subjects and founded monasteries and churches all over the land.   He sent to Pope Sylvester, begging him to appoint bishops to the eleven sees he had endowedand to bestow on him, for the greater success of his work, the title of king.   The Pope granted his requests, and sent him a cross to be borne before him, saying that he regarded him as the true apostle of his people.

st stephen 2

Saint Stephen’s devotion was fervent.   He placed his realms under the protection of our Blessed Lady and kept the feast of Her Assumption with great affection.   He established good laws and saw to their execution.   Throughout his life, we are told, he had Christ on his lips, Christ in his heart and Christ in all he did.   His only wars were wars of defence, and in them he was always successful.   He married the sister of the Emperor Saint Henry, who was a worthy companion for him.   God sent him many grievous trials amid his successes, one by one his children died, though his successor, Emeric, survived and was the love of his heart but he too died as a young adult.Benczúr_-_Painting_of_St_Stephen_in_the_Basilica_of_Budapest.preview

He often went out in disguise to exercise his charities and one day a troop of beggars, not satisfied with the alms they received, threw him down, tore out handfuls of his hair and beard and took his purse.   He prayed to the Lord and thanked Him for an insult he would not have suffered from enemies but accepted gladly from the poor who, he said to Him, “are called Your own and for whom I can have only indulgence and tenderness.”   He bore all reversals with perfect submission to the Will of God.

When Saint Stephen was about to die, he summoned the bishops and nobles and told them to choose his successor.   He urged them to nurture and cherish the Catholic Church, which was still a tender plant in Hungary, to follow justice, humility and charity, to be obedient to the laws and to show at all times a reverent submission to the Holy See. Then, raising his eyes towards heaven, he said:  “O Queen of Heaven, August Restorer of a prostrate world, to Thy care I commend the Holy Church, my people and my realm and my own departing soul.”   It was on his favourite feast day, the Assumption, that he died in peace, in the year 1038.saint-stephen-king-hungary-detail-windowpane-holy-shrine-marianka-28167381

St Stephen’s Canonisation ceremony began at Stephen’s tomb, where on 15 August 1083 masses of believers began three days of fasting and praying.   The opening of Stephen’s tomb was followed by the occurrence of healing miracles.   Stephen’s biographers also say that his “balsam-scented” remains were elevated from the coffin, which was filled with “rose-coloured water”.   On the same day, Stephen’s son, Emeric and the bishop of Csanád, Gerard, were also canonised.st stephen of hungary

“Having completed the office of Vespers the third day, everyone expected the favours of divine mercy through the merit of the blessed man;  suddenly with Christ visiting His masses, the signs of miracles poured forth from heaven throughout the whole of the holy house.   Their multitude, which that night were too many to count, brings to mind the answer from the Gospel which the Saviour of the world confided to John, who asked through messengers whether he was the one who was to come:  the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the lepers are cleansed, the crippled are set straight, the paralysed are cured…”Bishop Hartvic, Life of King Stephen of Hungary

THE HOLY CROWN OF STEPHEN
The Holy Crown of St Stephen

st stephen's basilica budepest
Basilica of St Stephen in Budepest & the interior below

Interior-St.-Stephens-Basilica-Budapest-Hungary

Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Thought for the Day – 17 June – The Memorial of St Albert Chmielowski (1845-1916)

Thought for the Day – 17 June – The Memorial of St Albert Chmielowski (1845-1916)

At the beatification on 22 June 1983, St Pope John Paul II said:
“Brother Albert…reached [the] heights of holiness…by way of love… Adam Chmielowski studied painting and for a number of years engaged in artistic activities before following his vocation, which, after a first attempt in the Society of Jesus, led him to the Third Order Franciscans, from where his Albertine vocation took shape… Brother Albert laid down his life in the service of the very poor and of social outcasts.   [He] gave his life completely to Christ.   And in Christ [he] discovered the fullness of knowledge, of love and of service….”

Brother Albert confessed:  “I look at Jesus in His Eucharist.   Could His love have provided anything more beautiful?   If He is bread, let us too become bread…let us give ourselves.”   Brother Albert did this to the very end, until he died in his “beggars’ refuge” in Krakow in 1916.

On the basis of a new miracle worked by God through the intercession of Brother Albert (beatified 22 June 1983), St Pope John Paul II canonised him only six years later, on 12 November 1989, to the joy of the Polish people and for the consolation of all homeless people, for whom this Polish saint can be a powerful intercessor, just as he was a generous helper to them while on earth.

St Albert Chmielowski, Pray for us!st albert chmielowski - pray for us - 17 june 2018

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 28 May – St Germanus of Paris (c 496-576) “Father of the Poor”

Saint of the Day – 28 May – St Germanus of Paris (c 496-576) Bishop, Monk, Teacher, Reformer, Writer, Apostle of the Poor – known as the “Father of the Poor”, Miracle Worker.  Born Germain in 496 at Autun, France and died on 28 May in 576 in Paris, France of natural causes.   His remains were interred in a decorated tomb in the chapel of Saint Symphorien next to the abbey church c 635 and then translated to the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (St Germanus-in-the-Fields) in 754 by order of King Pepin the Short.  He was Canonised in 754 by Pope Stephen II.   Patronage – archdiocese of Rimouski, Quebec.

Saintgermanusofparis

Saint Germanus, the glory of the Church of France in the sixth century, was born in the territory of Autun, a city in south central France, about the year 496.   In his youth he was conspicuous for his fervour.   After being ordained priest, he was made abbot of Saint Symphorian’s monastery, built near the walls of the city;  he was favoured at that time with the gifts of miracles and prophecy.   It was his custom to pray for the greater part of the night in the church, while his monks slept.   He bestowed on the poor of the region all that he could of the monastery’s resources in provisions, and provoked at times the indignation of the religious, who at one time had him arrested and imprisoned. He had scarcely been placed in a cell, when the doors opened of themselves and the bishop, being informed of it, recognised his sanctity and treated him with great respect.

One night, in a dream, he thought a venerable old man presented him with the keys of the city of Paris and said to him that God committed to his care the inhabitants of that city, that he might save them from perishing.   Four years after this divine admonition, in 554, happening to be at Paris when that see became vacant by the death of the bishop Eusebius, he was raised to the episcopal chair, though he endeavoured by many tears to decline the charge.

His promotion made no alteration in his mode of life.   The same simplicity and frugality appeared in his dress, table, and furniture.   His house was perpetually crowded with the poor and the afflicted and he always had many beggars at his own table.   He had edifying books read during the meals, that their souls and his own might be nourished. God gave to his sermons a wonderful influence over the minds of all ranks of people, so that the face of the whole city was in a very short time entirely changed.

King Childebert of the Francs, who until then had been an ambitious, worldly prince, was converted by the sweetness and the powerful discourses of the Saint.   He founded many religious institutions and sent large sums of money to the good bishop, to be distributed among the indigent.   When Saint Germanus learned that some poor folk, inhabitants of a village he was passing through one day, had been imprisoned by their lord for non-payment of debts, he went to pray and shed tears, face to the ground, at the gate of the subterranean jail where the unfortunate victims were lamenting.   The overlord refused to open its doors but an Angel came down and did so and the entire crowd, scarcely believing in their good fortune, came as one person, to kneel in gratitude before their benefactor.   At that point the overlord gave them full amnesty and cancelled their debts.   Demons fled from the bishop’s presence, as they had before Our Lord, his Master, asking to be allowed to remain in the forest on the mountains.

In his old age Saint Germanus lost nothing of the zeal and activity with which he had filled the great duties of his station in the vigour of his age.   Nor did the weakness to which his corporal austerities had reduced him make him alter anything in the mortifications of his penitential life, which redoubled in celestial ardour as he approached more closely the end of his course.   By his zeal, the remains of idolatry were extirpated in France.   The Saint continued his labours for the conversion of sinners, the deliverance of prisoners and the relief of the poor, until he was called to receive his reward at the age of eighty, on the 28 May, 576.   Below is the Church of St Germanus in Paris.

Fortunatus had visited  Germanus’ Shrine in Paris and was described the shrine as “nothing but a string of miracles”.   Germanus, according to Venantius had performed his first miracle in the womb, preventing his mother from performing an abortion.

The most valuable work of St Germanus, is An Exposition of the Liturgy, published from an ancient manuscript by Dom Martenne.   The greatest virtue of St Germanus was his unbounded charity to the poor.   Liberality in alms moves God to be liberal to us in the dispensations of His spiritual graces but he who hardens his heart to the injuries and wants of others, shuts against himself the treasury of heaven.

Tomb of st germanus-SGP_Chapelle_St_Symphorien_02

Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 26 May – The Memorial of St Philip Neri Cong. Orat.(1515-1595)

Thought for the Day – 26 May – The Memorial of St Philip Neri (1515-1595)

Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy:  the whole post-Renaissance malaise.

At an early age, Philip abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God.   After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination.   The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate.

As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends, from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals.   He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality.   Initially, they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome.

At the urging of his confessor, Philip was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor himself, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke.   He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents, in a room above the church.   He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way.

Some of Philip’s followers became priests and lived together in community.   This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded.   A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers and composed music for the services. The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns!

Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day.   He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself.   His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.

After spending a day hearing confessions and receiving visitors, Philip Neri suffered a hemorrhage and died on the feast of Corpus Christi in 1595.   He was  Beatified in 1615 and Canonised in 1622.   Three centuries later, Cardinal John Henry Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory in London.

Many people wrongly feel that such an attractive and jocular personality as Philip’s cannot be combined with an intense spirituality.   Philip’s life melts our rigid, narrow views of piety.   His approach to sanctity was truly catholic, all-embracing and accompanied by a good laugh.   Philip always wanted his followers to become not less but more human through their striving for holiness.

St Philip Neri, Please Pray for us!st philip neri - pray for us - 26 may 2018

 

Posted in FRANCISCAN OFM, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 11 May – St Ignatius of Laconi O.F.M. Cap. (1701-1781)

Saint of the Day – 11 May – St Ignatius of Laconi O.F.M. Cap. (1701-1781) Franciscan of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin born as Vincenzo Peis on 17 December 1701 at Laconi, Nuoro, Italy and died on 11 May 1781 in Cagliari, Italy of natural causes.  Known as  “the Holy Friar,” “the Apostle of the Streets, “ “the Wonder-worker”,  “the Miracle-Worker” and “Padre Santo.”   His conquering a serious illness prompted him to consecrate his life to God and therefore entered the religious life though not as an ordained priest.   Peis was better known in Sardinia for his humble demeanour coupled with his concern for those who were poor.   He mingled with all people he met and was generous towards those who were ill.   But he became known as something of a wonder worker during his life and he had performed 121 miracles during his life. Patronages-Oristano, Students, Beggars.St Ignatius of Laconi

Vincenzo Peis was born on 10 December 1701 in Sardinia as one of seven children to the poor peasants Mattia Peis Cadello and Anna Maria Sanna Casu.   He was baptised as “Francesco Ignazio Vincenzo” since he was born out of a difficult pregnancy in which her mother invoked the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Ignatius worked on the fields to support his parents.   He suffered a serious illness circa 1719 (aged seventeen) that made him vow that he would consecrate himself to God and join the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin if he managed to recover from it.   He did so recover but put off the fulfilment of his vow after his father convinced him to wait;  his father was anxious about it because he depended on Ignatius for support in the fields. But there seems to be some indication that his parents objected to his entering the order. In 1721 he was in danger once more when the horse he was riding panicked.   He could have been thrown off but he called upon the assistance of Saint Francis of Assisi and renewed the vow he had made during his illness.   This time his parents did not raise objections to his becoming a friar and granted him their blessing.   In his childhood he often called the local church his “home” and took St Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619) as his personal role model.

He asked for admission at the convent in Cagliari but the superiors there hesitated because of his delicate health.   He then called upon an influential friend who interceded for him and he was allowed to be received into the novitiate on 10 November 1721. Ignatius made his profession on 10 November 1722.    Despite his infirmities his ardour allowed him to attend the spiritual exercises of the order and to excel in perfection of his observance of the order’s Rule.   From 1722 until 1737 he worked at the house’s weaving shed and from 1737 onwards was an alms beggar.

Ignatius spent his time in a number of different occupations and was later appointed as the quester of alms due to his humble and modest conduct.   He had good relations with the people in Cagliari who realised that although he was begging alms, he was also giving back to them in a spiritual manner.   His modest demeanour was seen as a quiet sermon for all who saw him going about which made him a noted figure.,, He seldom spoke; when required he spoke with exceptional kindness and great affection.   He would also instruct the children and the uneducated that he came across as well as going out to comfort the sick and urging sinners to be converted and to do penance.

There is a legend that he was known for his strict and total obedience to his superiors even when it required the denial of his own will.   He was accustomed to go to the house of an usurer because he feared that in accepting an alms from him he would share the guilt of this man’s injustices.   But when the man complained and the superior commanded him he accepted alms from the man.   It was when he returned that he opened the sack that the usurer offered and blood started to flow out.   To those around him the saint said:  “This is the blood of the poor squeezed from them by usury”.

His sister had often written to him asking him to visit her so that she could get his advice in certain matters.   Brother Ignatius had no mind to heed her request but when his superior ordered him to do so he at once undertook the visit.   But he left again as soon as he had given the required advice.   His brother was sent to prison and it was hoped that – in view of reputation of Brother Ignatius – the latter could obtain his brother’s release.   His superior sent him to speak to the governor but he asked that his brother be dealt with according to justice.

Despite his poor health and other infirmities he continued on in his work no matter how arduous it seemed.   Even after he became blind in 1779, he continued to work on for the benefit of those around him. Ignatius died on 11 May 1781 at 3:00pm in Cagliari where his remains were interred.

St Ignatius’ grave soon became a place in which miracles flourished and this was one dimension towards the opening of his cause for canonisation.   He was beatified on 16 June 1940 and was Canonised on 21 October 1951 by Pope Pius XII.   St Ignatius of Laconi WITH MARY

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 28 January – St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor angelicus (Angelic Doctor) and Doctor communis (Common Doctor)

Saint of the Day – 28 January – St Thomas Aquinas O.P. (1225-1274 aged 49 ) Doctor angelicus (Angelic Doctor) and Doctor communis (Common Doctor).   Priest, Religious, Master Theologian, Philosopher, Write, Teacher, Jurist.   Also known as:  The Angelic Doctor/Doctor Angelicus, Common Doctor/Doctor Communis. The Great Synthesiser, The Dumb Ox, The Universal Teacher.    Patron of Academics, Theologians, against storms, against lightning, apologists, book sellers, Catholic academies, Catholic Schools – (proclaimed on 4 August 1880 by Pope Leo XIII), Catholic universities, Catholic Colleges, chastity, learning; pencil makers, philosophers, publishers, scholars, students, University of Vigo and of St. Tomas, Batangas, theologians, Aquino, Italy; Belcastro, Italy, Diocese of Aquino,  Falena, Italy.   Attributes – chalice, dove, usually speaking into his ear, sometimes as he writes, monstrance, ox, star, sun, teacher with pagan philosophers at his feet, teaching, person trampled under foot.   By universal consent, Thomas Aquinas is the pre-eminent spokesman of the Catholic tradition of reason and of divine revelation.   He is one of the great teachers of the medieval Catholic Church, honoured with the titles Angelic and Common Doctor, being one of the 36 Doctors of the Church and is regarded as the “Master Theologian.”

HEADER AA - ST thomas-aquinas-007HEADER 2 - ST THOMAS AQUINASHEADER - Apotheosis-of-St.-Thomas-Aquinas-1200x450

St Thomas Aquinas is known as the greatest philosopher and theologian of the intellectually rich 13th century and for many hundreds of years the work of this Patron Saint of Catholic Schools dominated the curriculum of seminaries and colleges around the world.   He has been called one of the most profound teachers on Eucharistic doctrine, not only expounding on the mysterious processes in which bread and wine become the actual Body and Blood of Christ but coining the word transubstantiation used to describe it.   And, because he wrote not only for scholars but also for the simple Catholic worshipper down the ages, the church has officially accorded him the titles “Angelic” and “Common” Doctor of the Church.”

THOMAS INFOcrash-course-aquinas

It is generally believed Thomas Aquinas was born about the year 1225 at the castle of his father, the Count of Aquino, in Rocca Secca near Naples, Italy.   A precocious child, he amazed his teachers at the Monastery of Monte Cassino, where he received his early education, with one persistent question:  “What is God?”   It was a question he would reflect upon all his life.

When attending the University of Naples, he was attracted to the intellectual apostolate of the Dominican Friars and joined the order.   Outraged at his rejection of their own plans for him to become a prestigious abbot and looking down on Dominicans as beggars, his aristocratic family kidnapped him on his way to Paris and imprisoned him at Rocca Secca.   It took almost two years and the intercession of the Pope and the Emperor before his family finally gave up and allowed him to rejoin the Dominicans.

St Albert the Great (1200-1280), also a Doctor of the Church, who taught him Aristotelian philosophy at Paris and Cologne, soon spotted his genius and became his mentor.   When Thomas was nicknamed the “Dumb Ox” by his classmates, most likely because of his bulky frame and quiet manner, Albert prophesied:  “You call him a dumb ox, but I tell you this dumb ox will bellow so loudly that his bellowing will fill the world.”snip - thomas and albertst thomas and albert

Indeed, this master teacher attracted thousands of people to his public lectures, compiled more than 20 volumes of work, was consulted by popes and a king (Louis IX), and showed that one could use pure reason, not faith, to defend theological tenets such as the existence of God.   His greatest work, the Summa Theologica (Summary of Theology), which he began in 1265, is, a comprehensive treatise on all the Christian mysteries.

Despite his reputation as a thinker, Thomas remained a humble, devout priest who resisted attempts to make him a bishop, fasted frequently and spent whole nights in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and the Crucifix.   He told his intimate friend, St Bonaventure(1217-1274), another Doctor of the Church, that it was while he leaned his head against the tabernacle and turned his mind in sorrow to the image of the crucified Christ, that he derived all his learning.

Once, when Thomas was lost in prayer while living in the Dominican priory in Naples, a sacristan concealed himself to watch.   He saw Thomas lifted into the air and heard Christ speak to him from the crucifix on the chapel wall, “Thomas, you have written well of me.   What reward will you have?”

“Lord, nothing but yourself,” he heard Thomas reply.

Soon after, while saying Mass on 6 December 1273 in that same chapel, Thomas had a profound revelation.   He told his longtime secretary that compared to this experience, “All that I have written seems like straw to me.”

After that, he never wrote again, leaving his Summa Theologica unfinished.

In May of 1274, Thomas was called to the Second Council of Lyon, where his works for Pope Urban IV would be presented.   While journeying to the meeting, Thomas hit his head on the branch of a fallen tree and fell ill.   He was escorted to Monte Cassino to recover, then he set out again.   Unfortunately, he became ill once again and stopped at the Cistercian Fossanova Abbey, where the monks cared for him for several days.

He received his last rites and prayed, “I receive Thee, ransom of my soul. For love of Thee have I studied and kept vigil, toiled, preached and taught…”

On the day of Thomas’ death, 7 March1274, St Albert the Great, then in Cologne, suddenly broke into tears among the community and exclaimed, “Brother Thomas Aquinas, my son in Christ, the light of the Church, is dead!   God has revealed it to me.”

St Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!Thomas-Aquinas-Black-large for quote jpgSt-thomas-aquinasST THOMAS - LGAnonymous_Cusco_School_-_Saint_Thomas_Aquinas,_Protector_of_the_University_of_Cusco_-_Google_Art_Projectthomas aquinas!Thomas_Aquinas_in_Stained_GlassClonmel_SS._Peter_and_Paul's_Church_West_Aisle_Window_11_Saint_Thomas_Aquinas_Detail_2012_09_07

 

Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 27 September – The Memorial of St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)

Quote/s of the Day – 27 September – The Memorial of St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)

Humility and charity are the two master-chords:
one, the lowest;
the other, the highest;
all the others are dependent on them.
Therefore it is necessary, above all,
to maintain ourselves in these two virtues;
for observe well that the preservation of the whole edifice
depends on the foundation and the roof.humility and charity - st vincent de paul - 27 sept 2017

With renewed devotion, then, we must serve the poor,
especially outcasts and beggars.
They have been given to us as our masters and patrons.we renewed devotion - st vincent de paul - 27 sept 2017

As it is most certain that the teaching of Christ cannot deceive,
if we would walk securely, we ought to attach ourselves to it
with greatest confidence and to profess openly that we live
according to it and not to the maxims of the world,
which are all deceitful.
This is the fundamental maxim of all Christian perfection.as it is most certain - st vincent de paul - 27 sept 2017

Perfection consists in one thing alone,
which is doing the will of God.
For, according to Our Lord’s words,
it suffices for perfection to deny self,
to take up the cross and to follow Him.
Now who denies himself and takes up his cross
and follows Christ better than he who seeks
not to do his own will but always that of God?
Behold, now, how little is needed to become as Saint?
Nothing more than to acquire the habit of willing,
on every occasion, what God wills.

St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)perfection consists in one thing alone - st vincent de paul - 27 sept 2017

Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 16 August – The Memorial of St Stephen of Hungary

Thought for he Day – 16 August – The Memorial of St Stephen of Hungary

At the turn of the second millennium, St Stephen succeeded his father as leader of the Magyars in Hungary.   Looking to strengthen his authority, he determined to consolidate the state and extend Christianity throughout the land.   In 1001 he arranged to have Pope Sylvester II name him king of Hungary.   The pope obliged.   As an additional sign of support, Sylvester had a special crown fashioned for Stephen that has become world famous.

Stephen extended his control over Hungary by restricting the power of the nobles.   By creating dioceses and establishing monasteries, Stephen strengthened the church and positioned it for expansion.   Politically, he aggressively used his power to establish Christianity as Hungary’s religion.   He ruthlessly abolished pagan customs, outlawing adultery and blasphemy.   Stephen ordered everyone to marry, except religious and forbade marriages between Christians and pagans.

But Stephen had a kinder, gentler side.   Like St Louis IX, he made himself accessible to his people.   He also took personal concern for the poor.   He used to walk the streets in disguise so he could give alms to needy people.   Once he barely escaped when some beggars beat and robbed him.   But he refused to stop the practice.   Stephen was a family man.   In 1015 he had married Gisela, the sister of emperor St Henry II.   The couple had one son, Emeric, whom Stephen groomed as his successor.   In the following letter to his son, Stephen lays out his vision of what a Christian monarch must be:st stephen and his son emeric

“My dearest son, if you desire to honour the royal crown, I advise, I counsel, I urge you above all things to maintain the Catholic and apostolic faith with such diligence and care that you may be an example for all those placed under you by God and that all the clergy may rightly call you a man of true Christian profession. However, dearest son, even now in our kingdom the Church is proclaimed as young and newly planted;  and for that reason she needs more prudent and trustworthy guardians. . .

Finally, be strong lest prosperity lift you up too much or adversity cast you down. Be humble in this life, that God may raise you up in the next.   Be truly moderate and do not punish or condemn anyone immoderately.   Be gentle so that you may never oppose justice.   Be honourable so that you may never voluntarily bring disgrace upon anyone.   Be chaste so that you may avoid all the foulness of lust like the pangs of death.   All these virtues I have noted above make up the royal crown and without them no one is first to rule here on earth or attain to the heavenly kingdom.”

Sadly, Emeric died in a hunting accident, leaving Stephen no successor.   But Stephen is a Saint and is still loved and honoured by his people, for whom he is still an inspiration and a model – and for all of us!

St Stephen, icon of charity and love, pray for us!

st stephen of hungary pray for us 2

 

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 16 April – St Benedict Joseph Labre

Saint of the Day – 16 April – St Benedict Joseph Labre T.O.S.F. (1748-1783) “Beggar of Perpetual Adoration” – Patron against insanity and mental illness, of tramps, bachelors, beggars, hoboes, homeless people, mentally ill people, people rejected by religious orders, pilgrims – Attributes – beggar in a tri-cornered hat sharing his alms.

St Benedict Joseph Labre was born in 1748 in the village of Amettes, near Arras, in the former Province of Artois in the north of France.    He was the eldest of fifteen children of a prosperous shopkeeper, Jean Baptist Labre and his wife, Anne Grandsire.

Labre had an uncle, a parish priest, living some distance from his family home;   this uncle gladly received him and undertook his early education for the priesthood.    At the age of sixteen, he approached his uncle about becoming a Trappist monk but his parents told him he would have to wait until he grew older.    When Benedict was about eighteen, an epidemic fell upon the city, and uncle and nephew busied themselves in the service of the sick.    While the uncle took care of the souls and bodies of the people, Benedict went to and fro caring for the cattle.    He cleaned their stalls and fed them;   exchanging the life of a farm labourer for that of a student under his uncle’s roof.    Among the last victims of the epidemic was the uncle himself.

Labre set off for La Trappe Abbey to apply to the Order but did not come up to their requirements.   He was under age, he was too delicate, he had no special recommendations.    He later attempted to join the Carthusians and Cistercians but each order rejected him as unsuitable for communal life.    He was, for about six weeks, a postulant with the Carthusians at Neuville.    In November 1769 he obtained admission to the Cistercian Abbey of Sept-Fonts.    After a short stay at Sept-Fonts his health gave way and it was decided that his vocation lay elsewhere.

Labre, according to Catholic tradition, experienced a desire, which he considered was given to him by God and inspired by the example of Saint Alexius of Rome and that of the holy Franciscan tertiary pilgrim, Saint Roch, to “abandon his country, his parents, and whatever is flattering in the world to lead a new sort of life, a life most painful, most penitential, not in a wilderness nor in a cloister but in the midst of the world, devoutly visiting as a pilgrim the famous places of Christian devotion”.

Labre joined the Third Order of Saint Francis and settled on a life of poverty and pilgrimage.    He first traveled to Rome on foot, subsisting on what he could get by begging.    He then travelled to most of the major shrines of Europe, often several times each.    He visited the various shrines in Loreto, Assisi, Naples, and Bari in Italy, Einsiedeln in Switzerland, Paray-le-Monial in France and Santiago de Compostela in Spain.    During these trips he would always travel on foot, sleeping in the open or in a corner of a room, with his clothes muddy and ragged.    On one occasion he stopped at the farmhouse of Matthieu and Marie Vianney, who would later become the parents of the future saint, the Curé d’Ars.    He lived on what little he was given and often shared the little he did receive with others.    He is reported to have talked rarely, prayed often and accepted quietly the abuse he received.

Bjmaster
Benedict Joseph Labre depicted by Antonio Cavallucci (1752–1795)

In so doing, Labre was following in the role of the mendicant, the “Fool-for-Christ” . He would often swoon when contemplating the crown of thorns, in particular, and, during these states, it is said he would levitate or bilocate.    He was also said to have cured some of the other homeless he met and to have multiplied bread for them.    In the last years of his life (his thirties), he lived in Rome, for a time living in the ruins of the Colosseum and would leave only to make a yearly pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Loreto.   He was a familiar figure in the city and known as the “saint of the Forty Hours” (or Quarant’ Ore) for his dedication to Eucharistic adoration.

The day before he died, Labre collapsed in the church of Santa Maria ai Monti, blocks from the Colosseum and despite his protestations was charitably taken to a house behind the church at Via dei Serpenti 2.    He died there of malnutrition on 16 April, during Holy Week, in 1783 and was buried in the Church of Santa Maria ai Monti.

S.Maria ai Monti: Tomb of St Benedict Joseph Labrerome2007_img_1029-1

Church_of_Santa_Maria_ai_Monti_in_RomeSanta_Maria_in_Monticelli_(Rome)_-_interiorSanta_Maria_in_Monticelli_interno_d0