Passionate Catholic. Being Catholic is a way of life - a love affair both with God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, our most Blessed and Beloved Virgin Mother Mary and the Church. "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco
With the Saints, we "serve the Lord with one consent and serve the Lord with one pure language, not indeed to draw them forth from their secure dwelling-places, not superstitiously to honour them, or wilfully to rely on the, ... but silently to contemplate them for edification, thereby encouraging our faith, enlivening our patience..."
Blessed John Henry Newman
Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions.
"For the saints are sent to us by God
as so many sermons.
We do not use them, it is they who move us
and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.”
Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975)
This site adheres to the Catholic Church and all her teachings but rejects the Second Vatican Council as heretical and, therefore, all that followed it.
Thought for the Day – 20 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Death is approaching. How many years have we left? How many months? How many hours? We do not know. Perhaps this could be the last day or the last hour of our lives and, if that were true, in what state would we appear before the majesty of God? How terrible if we were in mortal sin – we would be damned for all eternity!
But, even if we find ourselves in the state of grace, what merits have we to present to the eternal Judge? What sacrifices have we made to prove our love for Him? What mortifications and penances have we voluntarily undertake to purify ourselves of our sins? What good works have we done, what alms have we given, what prayers have we said? We may have to admit that we have wasted most of the time which God has given us in useless or even sinful occupations. Let us treasure, at least, the years, days, or hours which God still wills to grant us, for our full conversion and for our spiritual perfection.”
Quote/s of the Day – 21 January – Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 7:25 – 8:6, Psalms 40:7-8,8-9, 10, 17, Mark 3:7-12
“For he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him.”
“Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened and I will give you rest. ”
“I speak out in order to lead Him into your hearts but He does not choose to come where I lead Him, unless you prepare the way for Him.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the Church
“For this all-powerful Physician, nothing is incurable. He heals without charge! With one word, He restores to health! I would have despaired of my wound were it not, that I placed my trust in the Almighty.”
St Gregory the Great (540-604) Pope, Father, Doctor of the Church
“My children, eternal life is being offered to us, the kingdom of heaven is made ready and Christ’s inheritance awaits us … So let us run from now on with increased energy and above all you, lazy, recalcitrant, dull of heart, friends of murmuring who, unless you improve, are like the cursed fig tree. … Let us seek out the fight, bravely pour with our sweat, adorn ourselves with crowns, gain praises and gather up, like a treasure, “what eye has not seen and ear has not heard and what has not entered the human heart” (1 Cor 2:9).
St Theodore the Studite (759-826)
“I have come, to warn the faithful, to amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not continue to offend Our Lord, Who is already too much offended.”
One Minute Reflection – 23 January – Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 7:25 – 8:6, Psalms 40:7-8,8-9, 10, 17, Mark 3:7-12 and the Memorial of Saint Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyr and Saint Meinrad of Einsiedeln OSB (c 797–861) Martyr, Priest, Monk, Hermit
“A great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him.” – Mark 3:7-8
REFLECTION – “God did not create man to be lost but so that he might live eternally; this intention remains unchanging … For He “wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth,” (1 Tm 2:4). It is the will of your Father in heaven, says Jesus, “that not one of these little ones be lost,” (Mt 18:14). It is also written elsewhere: “Neither will God have a soul to perish but brought back” meaning, that he that is cast off should not altogether perish, ( 2 Sm 14:14 Vulg [Douai]; cf. 2 Pt 3:9). God is true; He does not lie when He promises on oath: “As I live! I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man but rather in the wicked man’s conversion, that he may live,” (Ez 33:11).
Can we then think, without gross sacrilege, that He might not want the salvation of all in general but only of a few? Anyone who is lost, is lost contrary to God’s will. He cries out to him every day: “Turn, turn from your evil ways! Why should you die, O house of Israel?” (Ex 33:11). And again, He protests: “Why do these people rebel with obstinate insistence? They set their faces harder than stone and refuse to return,” (Jr 8:5; 5:3).The grace of Christ is, therefore, always available to us. Since He desires that all men should be saved, He calls to all without exception: “Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened and I will give you rest,” (Mt 11:28). – St John Cassian (c 360-435) Father, Monk, Founder of Monasteries, Disciple of St John Chrysostom – Conference 13
PRAYER – Lord God, true light and creator of light, grant us the grace to see clearly by the light who is Light, Your only Son. Lead us in His path and send us Your Spirit. Grant us the strength to grow in holiness so that our struggle against the powers of darkness may we a victory over temptation. May the intercession of the extraordinary fortitude and love of Your holy Martyrs St Agnes and Meinrad, help us and protect us. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.
O Most Compassionate Jesus! By Bl Pope Pius IX(1792-1878) Indulgence of 100 days, once a day 6 October 1870
O Most compassionate Jesus! Thou alone art our salvation, our life and our resurrection. We implore Thee, therefore, do not forsake us in our needs and afflictions but by the agony of Thy Most Sacred Heart and by the sorrows of Thy Immaculate Mother, succour Thy servants, whom Thou hast redeemed by Thy most Precious Blood. Amen
Saint of the Day – 21 January – Saint Meinrad of Einsiedeln OSB (c 797–861) Martyr, Benedictine Priest and Monk, Hermit, known as “Martyr of Hospitality” – born at Solgen, Swabia (Sülichgau near Wurtemberg, Germay) and died by being beaten to death with clubs by robbers, on 21 January 861 at Einsiedeln, Switzerland. Patronage – Hospitality, Einsiedeln Monastery in the United States.
Meinrad received his education and entered the Order of St Benedict at Reichenau Abbey in his native Germany. After Ordination to the Priesthood around the year 824, he taught at Reichenau and then served at the Benedictine Priory at Benken in Switzerland.
Around the year 835, seeking greater solitude, he was allowed to establish a Hermitage and Chapel on Mount Etzel, the present site of Einsiedeln Abbey. He had with him a small miraculous statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, given to him by Hildegard, Abbess of Zurich, which is now known as Our Lady of Einsiedeln.
His life of simple austerity and his reputation for holiness soon drew pilgrims to his remote hut and they brought him gifts and alms which Meinrad distributed to the poor and needy. He always welcomed all visitors with Christian hospitality, even the two robbers who finally took his life after 26 years in that lonely place. In 835 he retreated to a Hermitage in the forest on the site of today’s Monastery in Einsiedeln. Inspired by the Desert Fathers, Meinrad practiced a strict asceticism. He was killed in 861 by two robbers who wanted the treasures which pilgrims left at the shrine. Meinrad is known as the Martyr of Hospitality.
When his brother Monks found his body, they buried him at the at Reichenau Abbey on Reichenau Island.
Over the next eighty years, the Hermitage was occupied by a succession of hermits. One of them, named Eberhard, previously Provost of Strasburg, erected a Monastery, Einsiedeln Abbey and became its first Abbot.
In 1039, the year of Meinrad’s Canonisation as a Saint, his remains were brought back to Einsiedeln. During the French Revolution, Meinrad’s relics were hidden at Tyrol, Austria, by Abbot Conrad Tanner and his reliquary is now enshrined in the Grace Chapel of the Abbey Church at Einsiedeln.
During the Middle Ages, Einsiedeln became a popular place of pilgrimage for people from southern Germany, Switzerland and the Alsace. Meinrad’s cell became the Shrine of the Black Madonna of Einsiedel. Over the years dust and the smoke of candles, oil lamps and incense darkened the image. In 1803 the hands and face were painted black.
The Chapel St Meinrad at the summit of the Etzel Pass is first mentioned in the 13th century. The Chapel and a nearby inn are located on the pilgrimage route of Camino de Santiago.
Our Lady of Altagracia – 21 January – Also known as: Our Lady of High Grace (Altagracia) – Our Lady of Grace – Protector and Queen of the hearts of the Dominicans – Tatica from Higuey – Virgen de la Altagracia – Virgin of Altagracia. Today is Día de la Altagracia, or Altagracia Day! A portrait of the Virgin Mary in a Nativity scene. It is 13 inches (33 centimeters) wide by 18 inches (45 centimeters) high and is painted on cloth. It is a primitive work of the Spanish school, painted c 1500. The Spanish brothers Alfonso and Antonio Trejo, two of the first European settlers on Santo Domingo, brought the portrait to the island some time prior to 1502 and eventually donated it to the parish church at Higuey. It’s first shrine was finished in 1572 and in 1971 it was moved to its present Basilica. The image was crowned on 15 August 1922 during the pontificate of Pius XI. Due to its age, centuries of handling by the faithful and exposure to candle smoke, it was in sad shape, and was restored in 1978. On 25 January 1979 St Pope John Paul II crowned the image with a gold and silver tiara, his gift to the Virgin. It’s frame is made of gold, enamel and precious stones and was constructed by an unknown 18th century artisan. The Dominicans see the image as exemplifying Our Lady watching over the island and the growth of Christianity there. The feast day is marked by services, all-night vigils, singing, dancing and festivals in many of the towns. Legend says that the pious daughter of a rich merchant asked her father to bring her a portrait of Our Lady of Altagracia from Santo Domingo but no-one had heard of that title. The merchant, staying overnight at a friend’s house in Higuey, described his problem as they sat outdoors after dinner. An old man with a long beard, who just happened to be passing by, pulled a rolled up painting from his cloak, gave it to the merchant and said, “This is what you are looking for.” It was the Virgin of Altagracia. They gave the old man a place to stay for the night but by dawn he was gone, not to be seen again. The merchant placed the image on their mantle but it repeatedly disappeared only to be found outside and the family finally returned it to the church.
St Nicholas Woodfen St Patroclus of Troyes St Publius of Malta Bl Thomas Reynolds St Valerian of Trebizond St Vimin of Holywood St Zacharias the Angelic —
Blessed Martyrs of Laval – 19 beati: Fifteen men and four women who were martyred in Laval, France by anti-Catholic French Revolutionaries. • Blessed André Duliou • Blessed Augustin-Emmanuel Philippot • Blessed François Duchesne • Blessed François Migoret-Lamberdière • Blessed Françoise Mézière • Blessed Françoise Tréhet • Blessed Jacques André • Blessed Jacques Burin • Blessed Jean-Baptiste Triquerie • Blessed Jean-Marie Gallot • Blessed Jeanne Veron • Blessed John Baptist Turpin du Cormier • Blessed Joseph Pellé • Blessed Julien Moulé • Blessed Julien-François Morin • Blessed Louis Gastineau • Blessed Marie Lhuilier • Blessed Pierre Thomas • Blessed René-Louis Ambroise The were born in French and they were martyred on several dates in 1794 in Laval, Mayenne, France. They were beatified on 19 June 1955 by Pope Pius XII at Rome, Italy.
Martyrs of Rome – 30 saints: Thirty Christian soldiers executed together in the persecutions of Diocletian. They were martyred in 304 in Rome, Italy.
Martyrs of Tarragona: Augurius, Eulogius, Fructuosus
Thought for the Day – 20 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Carrying our Cross – The Royal Road
“There is only one way to become holy and to win Heaven. This is the way of the Cross. The Imitation of Christ contains some moving thoughts on the subject of the royal road of the Cross. We shall summarise them here.
The words of Jesus seem hard to many: “Renounce yourself, take up your cross and follow Me.” But, it would be much harder to hear on the last day those terrible words: “Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire.” Those who listen now and accept the message of the Cross, need not be afraid of hearing this irrevocable sentence on that day. Why avoid the way of the Cross if it is the only road which leads to Heaven? In the Cross there is salvation; in the Cross there is protection from our enemies. If we carry our cross with submission and love, we shall find peace of soul. If we intertwine our cross with the Cross of Jesus, we shall obtain energy of mind, joy of spirit and perfect holiness. If we die on the Cross with Jesus, we shall live with Him in eternal happiness. If we are His companions in suffering, we shall also be with Him one day in glory (Rom 6:8).
Everything depends on our dying on the Cross with Jesus. There is no other way to life and to true interior peace but the way of the Holy Cross and of daily mortification (Imitation of Christ, Bk II ch 12).”
“Do not let love and fidelity forsake you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then will you win favour and esteem before God and human beings. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely. In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.”
“Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ.”
“So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. … But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
“He [Christ], protects their faith and gives strength to believers, in proportion to the TRUST, that each man, who receives that strength, is willing to place in Him.”
St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200- c 258) Bishop and Martyr, Father of the Church
“Remember God more often than you breathe!”
St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Father and Doctor of the Church
“… There is one Road and one only, well secured against all possibility of going astray and, this Road is provided by One Who is Himself both God and man. As God, He is the Goal, as man, He is the Way.”
St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo Father and Doctor of Grace
“Loving You, O God, brings its own reward here on earth, as well as the eternal reward of heaven. By becoming mirrors of Your love, by wearing the mask of Your likeness and by allowing You to make us perfect, we can know the joy of heaven, even while we abide here on earth.”
William of St Thierry O.Cist (c 1075 – c 1148) Cistercian Monk, Mystic, Theologian, Writer
“May He, Who is the Track of the runners and the Reward of the winners, lead and guide you along it – He, Christ Jesus!”
Bl Guerric of Igny O.Cist (c 1080-1157) Cistercian Abbot
“Christ is both the way and the door. Christ is the staircase and the vehicle …”
St Bonaventure (1221-1274) Seraphic Doctor
“He who wishes for anything but Christ, does not know what he wishes; he who asks for anything but Christ, does not know what he is asking; he who works and not for Christ, does not know what he is doing.”
St Philip Neri (1515-1595)
Transform me into Yourself By St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840) Martyr
O my Divine Saviour, Transform me into Yourself. May my hands be the hands of Jesus. Grant that every faculty of my body May serve only to glorify You. Above all, Transform my soul and all it’s powers So that my memory, will and affection May be the memory, will and affections Of Jesus. I pray You To destroy in me all that is not of You. Grant that I may live but in You, by You and for You, So that I may truly say, with Saint Paul, “I live – now not I – But Christ lives in me. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 20 January – Wednesday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 7: 1-3, 15-17, Psalms 110:1, 2, 3, 4, Mark 3:1-6
“Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. – Mark 3:5-6
REFLECTION – “You have not seen God; you have not recognised the Lord; you did not know that it was He, God’s Firstborn, who was begotten before the morning star (Ps 110:3), who caused light to spring up, who caused day to shine forth when He separated it from darkness, who set the first limits, suspending the earth, drying up the great abyss, spreading out the firmament …, who created the angels in heaven, setting thrones there and who shaped man of the earth. He it was who chose Israel and guided it from Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abraham, from Abraham to Isaac and Jacob and the twelve patriarchs. It was He who led your fathers in Egypt, who protected and fed them. He, who gave them manna from heaven, who quenched their thirst from the rock, who gave them the Law and the promised land, who sent prophets to them and raised up their kings. It is He who has come to you, healing the sick and raising the dead … It is He whom you wanted to put to death, He whom you handed over for money. …
How have you esteemed the benefits bestowed on you? … Esteem now the withered hand He has restored to its body. Esteem now those born blind whom He has restored to the light with a word. Esteem now those dead He has raised from their tombs after three or four days. The gifts He has given you are priceless. And you …, you have repaid Him evil for good, affliction for joy, death for life.” – St Melito of Sardis (Died c 180) Bishop and Apologist – Homily on the Pasch, 82-90
PRAYER – Shed Your clear light on our hearts, Lord, keep us in Your Way, that we too may stretch out our hands and love to those who come our way. May Your law be our light and Your love our only way. Hear the prayers of the Your Angels and Saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Our Lord and our mother and lead us to eternal life. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 20 January – Acts of Faith, Hope and Charity
ACT of FAITH
O MY GOD, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in Three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe that Thy Divine Son became Man and died for our sins and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived. Amen
ACT of HOPE
O MY GOD, relying on Thy almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace and Life Everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen
ACT of CHARITY
O MY GOD, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul because Thou art all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbour as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me and ask pardon. of all whom I have injured. Amen
Saint of the Day – 20 January – Saint Euthymius (c 377–473) Abbot, Hermit, Ascetic, founder of Monasteries, spiritual teacher. Born in c 377 at Melitine, Armenia (modern Malatya, Turkey) and died on 20 January 473 of natural causes. Also known as Euthymius the Great.
Euthymius was educated by Bishop Otreius of Melitene, who afterwards Ordained him Priest and placed him in charge of all the Monasteries in the Diocese of Melitene.
At the age of twenty-nine he secretly set out on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and remained for some time with a settlement of Monks, about six miles east of Jerusalem. In 411 he withdrew, with St Theoctistus, a fellow-hermit, into the wilderness and lived for a while in a rough cavern on the banks of a torrent. When many disciples gathered around them, they turned the cavern into a Church and built a Monastery which was placed under the Abbacy of St Theoctistus.
A miraculous cure which Euthymius effected for Terebon, the son of the Saracen chief Aspebetus, spread the fame of the holy hermit far beyond the confines of Palestine. Aspebetus was afterwards Ordained Priest and became Bishop over his area and people, in which capacity, he attended the Council of Ephesus in 431.
When the report of this miracle had made the name of Euthymius famous throughout Palestine and large crowds came to visit him in his solitude, he retreated with his disciple Domitian, to the wilderness of Ruba, near the Dead Sea. Here he lived for some time on a remote mountain called Marda whence he afterwards withdrew to the desert of Zipho. When large crowds also followed him to this place, he returned to the neighbourhood of the Monastery of Theoctistus, where he took up his abode in a cavern.
Every Sunday he came to the Monastery to take part in the Divine services. At length, because numerous disciples desired him as their spiritual guide, he founded, in 420, on the right side of the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, a Monastery made up of separate cells or huts where the hermits met in a communal area for meals, similar to that of Pharan. The Church connected with this Monastery was dedicated in 428 by Juvenal, the first Patriarch of Jerusalem.
When the Council of Chalcedon (451) condemned the errors of Eutyches, it was greatly due to the authority of Euthymius that most of the Eastern recluses accepted its decrees. The Empress Eudoxia was converted to Catholic unity through his efforts.
The Church celebrates his feastday on 20 January, the day of his death.
Our Lady of the Tables, Montpellier, France “Arms of the City of Montpellier” – 20 January: The Basilica of Our Lady of the Tables is intimately linked to the history of the city of Montpellier. It is located on the outskirts of town at Montpellier, France. The Shrine is said to have taken its name from the many tables of merchants and money changers who stood about the Church in the Middle Ages, for the Church was a stopping point for pilgrims to pray while on their way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
There once stood, at this site, a very ancient, renowned Church containing a shrine of Mary – the Blessed Virgin Mary holding her Son in her arms, extended over the city, so to say. She stood upon a byzantine pedestal or table and was fondly called the “Arms of the City of Montpellier.” In 1198, there were a series of miracles connected to devotion to the statue and attributed to Our Lady. The feast dates from the ninth century and is annually celebrated on 20 January. The final destruction of the ancient Church of Our Lady of the Tables, built in 1230 and known as Arms of the City of Montpelier, occurred during the French Revolution, and now only the wreck of the Crypt and burial vaults remain.
This statue housed at the Shrine was a famous statue of black wood – Notre-Dame-des-Tables. In an attempt to preserve it during the Protestant uprisings the icon was hidden for a long time within a silver statue of the Blessed Virgin, life-size and screened from the public view. It was stolen by the Calvinists and has since disappeared from history. The original Church was destroyed by the revolutionaries but the current Basilica was begun, after the French Revolution had ended and the cult transferred to a Jesuit chapel. The Jesuit Church of Montpellier, Notre Dame des Tables, was begun in 1707. Although the statue has disappeared, the people of Montpellier believe Mary still extends her arms over the children of the city, as mentioned above. Her arms of love wield miraculous power, for she is the Mother of God.
St Ascla of Antinoe Bl Basil Anthony Marie Moreau St Basilides the Senator St Bassus the Senator Bl Benedict Ricasoli Bl Bernardo of Poncelli Bl Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi St Daniel of Cambron Bl Didier of Thérouanne St Eusebius the Senator St Eustochia Calafato St Euthymius (c 377–473) Abbot, Hermit St Eustochia Smeraldo Calafato OSC (1434-1485) Her Life: https://anastpaul.com/2020/01/20/saint-of-the-day-20-january-st-eustochia-smeraldo-calafato-osc-1434-1485/ St Eutyches the Senator St Fechin of Fobhar Bl Francesco Paoli Bl Jeroni Fábregas Camí St Maria Cristina dell’Immacolata Concezione St Molagga of Fermoy St Neophytus of Nicaea St Stephen Min Kuk-ka St Wulfsin
Thought for the Day – 19 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Thirst for Justice
“Jesus commands us, in the Beatitudes, to seek justice, that is perfection in the fulfilment of our obligations to God, to ourselves and, to our neighbour. He commands us, to hunger and thirst for this justice, which is identical with holiness.
When Christ tells us to hunger and thirst for justice, He imposes on us, the obligation of doing our very best to acquire the virtue of Christian justice, which is the sythesis of all the virtues. We must be aware, therefore, of laziness, apathy, tepidity, or mediocrity, for our advance in spiritual perfection, must be continuous. There must be no hesitation or backsliding. The high target which God has set for us, demands hard work and boundless generosity on our part. Jesus Christ loved us so much that He gave Himself entirely for us and shed His Precious Blood to the last drop, for our Redemption. How can we possibly be niggardly or half-hearted in our relatioas with Him?
Whenever God’s cause is at stake, whether in our efforts to achieve our own spiritual perfection or in the fulfilment of our obliations towards our neighbour, we should never refuse anything but, should display absolute dedication to God and to our fellow-man. “Let us hunger,” said St Catherine of Siena, “for God’s honour and for the salvation of souls” (Vrev di perfezioe, p81). The hunger and thirst for justice, nourished by the love of God and of our neighbour, should exclude all mediocrity and selfishness from our lives. It should urge us on, as it did the Saints, towards the highest pinnacles of sanctity.”
Quote/s of the Day – 19 January – the Memorial of St Wulfstan (c 1008–1095) Bishop of Worcester
This is true love of Christ and His Church. O Lord, send us such men in our day, where have they gone!? Today, those we have, are hiding behind closed doors and locking the Churches from the faithful, withholding the Sacraments or reporting souls for not complying with satanic rules. They are co-operating in evil schemes to subject all peoples to a totalitarian rule, turning the sheep of the Good Shepherd, into goats, who will be cast into the flames!
“Let the man truly possessed by the love of Christ keep His commandments. Who can express the binding power of divine love? Who can find words for the splendour of its beauty? Beyond all description are the heights to which it lifts us. Love unites us to God; it cancels innumerable sins, has no limits to its endurance, bears everything patiently. Love is neither servile nor arrogant. It does not provoke schisms or form cliques but always acts, in harmony with others. By it, all God’s chosen ones, have been sanctified; without it, it is impossible to please Him. Out of love, the Lord took us to Himself because He loved us and it was God’s will, our Lord Jesus Christ gave His life’s blood for us— He gave His body for our body, His soul for our soul.”
St Clement I of Rome (c 35-99) Martyr for Christ, Bishop of Rome, Apostolic Father
“We unfortunates, are destroying the works of Saints, in order to win praise for ourselves. In that happy age, men were incapable of building for display; their way, was to sacrifice themselves to God, under any sort of roof and to encourage their subjects, to follow their example. But we strive to pile up stones while neglecting souls.”
St Wulfstan (c 1008–1095) Bishop of Worcester
“He who is not ANGRY when there is just cause for anger is IMMORAL. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid INJUSTICE WITHOUT ANGER, you are IMMORAL, as well as, UNJUST.”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus Doctor Communis
“Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church’s enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith.”
St Peter Canisius (1521-1397) Doctor of the Church
“The declared enemies of God and His Church, heretics and schismatics, must be criticised as much as possible …. It is a work of charity to shout: ‘Here is the wolf!’ when it enters the flock or anywhere else.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of Charity
“The sole reason why society is perishing is because, it has refused to hear the word of the Church, which is the word of God. All plans for salvation will be sterile, if the great word of the Catholic Church, is not restored in all it’s fullness!”
“Woe to me if I do not preach and warn [sinners], for I would be held responsible for their condemnation.”
St Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870)
“A day will come when the civilised world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them. Like Mary Magdalene, weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, ‘Where have they taken Him?’”
One Minute Reflection – 19 January – Tuesday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 6:10-20, Psalms 111:1-2, 4-5,9 and 10, Mark 2:23-28 and the Memorial of St Wulfstan (c 1008–1095) Bishop of Worcester
Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.” – Mark 2:27
REFLECTION – “‘When God rested on the seventh day from all His works and sanctified that day’, this is not to be understood in any childish way, as if God had toiled at His work, seeing that ‘he spoke and they were made’ by a Word, which was intelligible and eternal, not vocal and temporal. No, the ‘rest of god’ means the rest of those who find their rest in Him, just as the ‘joy of a house’ means the joy of those who rejoice in that house, even if it is not the house itself but, something else which is responsible for the joy. … And so, it is most appropriate that when God is said, on the authority of the prophetic narrative, to have ‘rested,’ what is meant, is the rest of those who find their rest in Him and to whom He gives rest. The prophecy promises this to men also, for it speaks to men and was in fact written for men’s benefit. It promises them, that they also, after the good works which God performs in them and through them, will have eternal rest in Him, if they have already, in some measure, drawn near to Him already in this life, through faith.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Father and Doctor of Grace – City of God – Book XI, Chapter VIII
PRAYER – Almighty Lord and God, shed Your clear light on our hearts so that we may praise You Lord with voice and mind and deed and, since life itself is Your gift, may all we have and are be Yours. Listen dear Lord, we pray, to the intercession of St Wulfstan, whose example to us, is one of total oblation. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for all time and for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 19 January – Tuesday of the Second week in Ordinary Time
An Act of Oblation By St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of Charity
I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me, my memory and my actions, to God the Father; my understanding and my words, to God the Son; my will and my thoughts, to God the Holy Spirit. I consecrate my heart, my body, my tongue, my senses and all my sorrows, to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, Who consented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross for me. Amen
Saint of the Day – 19 January – Saint Wulfstan (c 1008–1095) Bishop of Worcester from 1062 to 1095, Monk, Prior, a man of extreme holiness and penitence who was admired by all, he was a he was a man of iron will, immense charm and unworldly humility and piety. and suffered no luxury, preferring always the poor to himself. Born in c 1008 at Long Itchington, Warwickshire and died in January 1095 at He was the last surviving pre-Norman Conquest Bishop and the only English-born Bishop after 1075. Patronages – Vegetarians and dieters.
Saint Wulfstan was an impressive character. As Bishop, he fought against the continuing of married Priests in his Diocese – announcing that they should either give up their women or their Priesthood! This was in accordance with the reform of the Church as promoted by the Papacy from the mid 11th century in which clerical marriage was censured. Wulfstan expected his Monks and congregation to adhere to Christianity in the strictest sense; it is recorded that he recited Psalms repeatedly when travelling on horseback anywhere as a sign of his unwavering faith and conviction, inviting all to follow his example.
Wulfstan was born at Itchington in Warwickshire on the eve of the Danish Conquest (c 1008 or a little later), into a well-connected family. His mother may have been the sister of Wulfstan, Archbishop of York, the prominent homilist and law-maker who was an influential adviser first to King Æthelred and then to the Danish conqueror Cnut. (So the elder Wulfstan was also a bishop adept at making himself acceptable to conquerors – clearly it ran in the family.) The younger Wulfstan was probably named for his famous uncle but Coleman’s life says, that Wulfstan’s parents named him from a combination of their own names: his father was called Æthelstan (‘noble stone’) and his mother was called Wulfgifu (‘wolf gift’), so they named their son ‘Wulfstan’, joining elements from the two names
Wulfstan was educated in the Monastery of Peterborough, where he was taught by a Monk named Earnwig, an expert scribe and illustrator. Coleman’s Vita of our Saint, tells how Earnwig gave young Wulfstan some books to look after – a Sacramentary and a Psalter, with letters illuminated in gold. The boy fell in love with these beautiful books, captivated by the rich decorations but his teacher, with an eye to winning royal favour, presented the books to Cnut and his queen, Emma. The child was heartbroken at the loss but the story has a happy ending for Wulfstan had a dream, in which an angel promised the books would be returned to him and much later in lif,e they were! Cnut sent the books to Cologne as a diplomatic gift to the Holy Roman Emperor and, in the reign of St King Edward the Confessor, they happened to be brought back to England and were given to Wulfstan as a gift by someone who did not know of his dream! The Lord indeed, works in strange and wondrous ways to the eyes of men!
Wulfstan became a Priest and then a Monk at Worcester. One night he was praying in the Church, when an old peasant came in and scolded him for being there so late and challenged him to a fight. Wulfstan – knowing, of course, that it was the Devil in disguise, wrestled with the peasant until he vanished in a puff of smoke.
“But so that [the Devil] should not seem to have failed altogether, he trod on the good man’s foot with all the force wickedness could muster and pierced it, as though with a red-hot iron. The damage penetrated to the bone, so Godric, a Monk of that house, bore witness; according to Coleman, he said he had often seen it, he said “I do not know whether to call it wound or ulcer.’ The same Coleman avows, that he knew the rustic whose shape the Devil took on, a man well suited from his superhuman strength, wicked character and grim ugliness, to be the one into whom that wicked bandit transformed himself. (SL, 29)”
Wulfstan was Consecrated Bishop of Worcester in 1062, late in the reign of St King Edward the Confessor. The tone of his time as Bishop was set, according to William of Malmesbury, by the Bible verse chosen at his Consecration (at random, as was customary, as a prognostication): ‘Behold an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile’. The stories about Wulfstan’s career as Bisho, illustrate this idea of his guilelessness, his remarkable simplicity and humility, even when he was mixing with the most powerful people in the land. Wulfstan had been closely associated with Harold Godwineson but he nonetheless, managed, to retain his position after the Norman Conquest when many English Abbots and Bishops were deposed. Later legend said ,that when he was ordered to surrender his Episcopal Staff, he stuck it into the tomb of St King Edward, declaring that as Edward had appointed him, only Edward could take it from him. No-one could pull the staff out of the tomb except Wulfstan himself – his own sword-in-the-stone miracle. So he kept his position.
Typical of the stories about Wulfstan’s simplicity of life, is this witty exchange with a Norman Bishop who teased Wulfstan for dressing in humble lamb-skin, rather than grander clothes: “When he was on one occasion told off for this by Geoffrey Bishop of Coutances, he retorted with some witty remarks. Geoffrey had asked why he had lamb-skins when he could and should wear sable, beaver or wolf. He replied neatly, that Geoffrey and other men well versed in the way of the world, should wear the skins of crafty animals but he, was conscious of no shiftiness in himself and was happy with lambskin. Geoffrey pressed the point and suggested he could at least wear cat. But ‘Believe me,’ answered Wulfstan, ‘the Agnus Dei is more often chanted than the Cattus Dei.’ That made Geoffrey laugh – he was pleased that he could be made fun of and that Wulfstan could not be moved (SL, 107-9).”
Many post-Conquest Bishops embarked on ambitious building projects at their Cathedrals, replacing the Anglo-Saxon Churches with larger, more impressive buildings in the new style. Wulfstan did the same at Worcester but he mourned the loss of the old cathedral:
“When the bigger church, which he had himself started from the foundations, had grown large enough for the Monks to move across to it, the word was given for the old church, the work of St Oswald, to be stripped of its roof and demolished. Wulfstan stood there in the open air to watch and could not keep back his tears. His friends mildly reproved him, saying that he should rather rejoice that in his lifetime, so much honour had accrued to the Church that the increased number of Monks made larger dwellings necessary. He replied: “My view is quite different. We unfortunates are destroying the works of Saints, in order to win praise for ourselves. In that happy age men were incapable of building for display; their way was to sacrifice themselves to God under any sort of roof and to encourage their subjects to follow their example. But we strive to pile up stones while neglecting souls.” He said more along these lines, undermining opposed views with his own assertions (GP, 429-31).”
Wulfstan can be regarded as a modern man through his efforts to decry and abolish the slave trade. The Diocese of Worcester extended as far down as Gloucestershire, which included the city of Bristol. Wulfstan made regular journeys to Bristol and would reside there for 2 to 3 months at a timEe, in order that his residence there, would make an impression upon the community. Bristol was one of the capitals of the slave trade in Britain and traded slaves native to England, Scotland and Wales. People resorted to slavery when they were severely impoverished, often families would sell their children into the trade. When a person was enslaved in Bristol, the process had to be undertaken in a public place with witnesses so that the slave could not deny their slavery at a later date. Thus, this measure reveals, that it would have been nigh impossible to work a way out of the slave trade as, during the public process, you had relinquished all personal rights to your master. Wulfstan succeeded in abolishing the slave trade in Bristol by converting the traders, this accomplishment initiated a reform of the slave trade elsewhere in Britain.
Wulfstan’s unworldliness was fondly remembered: “If he was ever forced to go to the Shire Court, he started by pronouncing a curse on evil judges and a blessing on upright ones. Then he would sit down and if some religious matter was under consideration, he would concentrate hard but if it was secular, as more often happened, he would grow bored and go to sleep. But if anyone thought fit to speak against him, he soon found out that Wulfstan was no dullard when it came to replying (GP, 429).”
St Wulfstan died on 20 January 1095 after a protracted illness, the last surviving pre-Norman Conquest Bishop. After his death, an Altar was dedicated to him in Great Malvern Priory, next to those of St Thomas Cantilupe and St King Edward the Confessor.
At Easter of 1158, Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, visited Worcester Cathedral and placed their Crowns on the Shrine of Wulfstan, vowing not to wear them again. Their son King John is buried at Worcester Cathedral.
Soon after Wulfstan’s death, a hagiography, or saint’s life, was written about him in English by his former Chancellor Coleman. It was translated into Latin by the medieval chronicler and historian William of Malmesbury. One of the many miracles, which were granted through the intercession of St Wulfstan was the curing of King Harold’s daughter.
Wulfstan was Canonised on 14 May 1203 by Pope Innocent III and he was much venerated by later English Kings, including Henry II and John, who chose to be buried in Worcester Cathedral next to St Wulfstan’s tomb. John is still there, in pride of place, although Wulfstan’s tomb is gone, probably desecrated by the minions of Henry VIII.
St Maris of Persia St Messalina of Foligno St Ponziano of Spoleto St Remigius of Rouen St Wulstan (c 1008–1095) Bishop — Martyrs of Numidia – 9 saints: A group of Christians martryred together for their faith. The only details to survive are nine of their names – Catus, Germana, Gerontius, Januarius, Julius, Paul, Pia, Saturninus and Successus. 2nd century Numidia in North Africa.
Thought for the Day – 18 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“The interior mortification of self-love and of our sensual inclinations is not enough. Bodily mortifiation is also necessary. St Paul provides the reason. “the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh” (Gal 5:17)
Original sin disturbed the perfect harmony which existed between man’s body and soul. “I see another law in my members,” said the Apostle Paul, “warring against the law of my mind” (2 Cor 12:7).
There is no such struggle between the flesh and the spirit in brute animals, which are concerned only with the satisfaction of their sensible appetites. It is because he is endowed with reason and an immortal soul, that man experiences this conflict. The result is, that either the soul is conquered and becomes the slave of man’s lower instincts, or, the soul is victorious and uses the body as a instrument of virtue.
We can see from this, how necessary it is to mortify our bodies, so that they will not rebel against the mastery of the soul. Our body will be either the faithful servant, or the relentless tyrant of the soul!
What penances do I perform? When do I fast? Little or never, perhaps? If so, it is not surprising that my body rebels and causes me to fall into sin. We must follow the example of Jesus and the Saints in this matter, if we wish to remain in the state of grace.”
Quote/s of the Day – 18 January – Monday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A – Readings: Hebrews 5:1-10,Psalms 110:1, 2, 3, 4, Mark 2:18-22
The Spiritual Power of Fasting
“The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them and then they will fast in that day.”
“… Now is the time in this life of suffering, when we journey apart from Him. … So let us fast and pray now because, we are in the days of childbirth!”
“Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one’s flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust and kindles the true light of chastity. Enter again into yourself!”
St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo Father and Doctor of Grace
“Let us offer our souls in sacrifice by means of fasting. There is nothing more pleasing that we can offer to God, as the psalmist said in prophecy – A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit, God does not despise a bruised and humbled heart.”
St Peter Chrysologus (400-450) Bishop of Ravenna, Father & Doctor of the Church
“Let my fasting be based on temperance, my soul in a state of grace, my intention solely to please God, then my efforts will ring true, fit to enlarge my store of charity.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Bishop of Geneva OFM, Cap. Doctor Caritatis
“The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them and then they will fast in that day.” … Mark 2:20
REFLECTION – “The bridegroom is with them Beneath the apple tree, (cf Ct 8:5) there I took you for My own, there I offered you My hand, and restored you, where your mother was corrupted In this high state of spiritual marriage the Bridegroom reveals His wonderful secrets to the soul, as to His faithful consort, with remarkable ease and frequency, for true and perfect love knows not how to keep anything hidden from the beloved. He mainly communicates to her sweet mysteries of His Incarnation and the ways of the redemption of humankind, one of the loftiest of His works and thus more delightful to the soul. Even though He communicates many other mysteries to her, the Bridegroom in the … mentions only the Incarnation as the most important. … The Bridegroom explains to the soul … His admirable plan in redeeming and espousing her to Himself through the very means by which human nature was corrupted and ruined, telling her, that as human nature was ruined through Adam and corrupted by means of the forbidden tree in the Garden of Paradise, so on the tree of the Cross, it was redeemed and restored when He gave it there, through His passion and death, the hand of His favour and mercy and broke down the barriers between God and humans that were built up through original sin. Thus He says: “Beneath the apple tree,” that is: beneath the favour of the tree of the Cross where the Son of God redeemed human nature and consequently espoused it to Himself and then, espoused each soul, by giving it through the Cross grace and pledges for this espousal.” – St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Carmelite, Doctor of the Church – The Spiritual Canticle B, Stanza 23, 1-3
PRAYER – Almighty God, ruler and creator of all things in heaven and on earth, listen favourably to the prayer of Your people. Through Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave us His life to lead us to You and made us His own body in His Church, grant us the grace of always listening for His word and following His deeds in all that we are and all that we do. May we too follow His teachings in our Holy Mother Church, for she is His and we are hers. May the prayers of our Mater Ecclesiae, the Blessed Virgin, intercede for us. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Saint of the Day – 18 January – Blessed Andrés Grego de PeschieraOP (1400-1485) Priest and Friar of the Order of Preachers, Confessor, Missionary, miracle-worker, known as “the Apostle of the Valtelline,”“Father of the poor.” Born in 1400 in Peschiera del Garda, Italy and died on 18 January 1485 in the Dominican convent at Morbegno, Sondrio, Lombardy, Italy of natural causes. Roman Martyrology – In the convent of Morbegno near the Italian Alps, Blessed Andrew Grego of Peschiera, a priest of the Order of Preachers, who for a long time walked all over the region, where he lived austerely with the poor and tried to reconcile everyone fraternally (1485). Also known as – Andrés Gregho, Andrés of Peschiera, Andrew… Patronages – Peschiera and Valtelline, Italy.
Born early 15th Century in Peschiera, Italy. As a child, Andrés lived on the southern shore of Lake Garda, in northern Italy. His training for a life of heroic sanctity began early, with voluntary penances and unquestioning obedience to his father. Andrés’ first desire was to be a hermit, an ambition that was met with ridicule from his brothers. Failing to realise this hope, he made for himself a severe schedule of prayer and penance and, in his own house, lived the life of one wholly given to God. He was remarkable for his prayer, abstinence, charity for the poor and obedience to his father. Blessed Andrés, as a child, always fasted on only bread and water during the whole of Lent.
After the death of his father, it became increasingly difficult to carry out his plan, so he resolved to enter the cloister. Although his brothers had persecuted him without mercy, he knelt and humbly begged their prayers and forgiveness for having annoyed them. Then he gave them the only possession he had, a walking stick. This stick, thrown carelessly in a corner by the brothers, was forgotten until, long afterwards, it bloomed with flowers, like the legendary rod of Saint Joseph in token of Andrés’ holiness.
The 15-year old received the Dominican habit at Brescia and then was sent to San Marco in Florence. This convent was then at its peak of glory, stamped with the saintly personalities of Saint Antoninus and the Blessed Lawrence of Riprafratta, Constantius and Antony della Chiesa. Andrés soul caught the fire of their apostolic zeal and set forth on his mission in the mountains of northern Italy.
Heresy and poverty had combined to draw almost this entire region from the Church. It was a country of great physical difficulties and, in his travels in the Alps, he risked death from snowstorms and avalanches as often as from the daggers of the heretics. Nevertheless, he travelled tirelessly, preaching, teaching and building–for his entire lifetime (45 years). He worked tirelessly and without fear in the area preaching against heresy and founding many orphanages and refuges for the poor. He caused several churches and monasteries to be erected and was so loved by the poor that he was given the popular title, “Father of the poor.”
He would retire from time to time to these convents for periods of prayer and spiritual refreshment, so that he could return with renewed courage and zeal to the difficult apostolate. He was known as “the Apostle of the Valtelline” because of the district he evangelised.
Andrés performed many miracles. Probably his greatest miracle was his preaching, which produced such fruits in the face of great obstacles. At one time, when he was preaching to the people, the heretics presented him with a book in which they had written down their beliefs. He told them to open the book and see for themselves what their teachings amounted to. They did so and a large viper emerged from the book.
Andrés had a tender devotion to the Passion of Our Lord and in the ancient pictures of him (none of which appear to be electronically available today) Blessed Andrés is usually pictured with a Crucifix. There is also historical accounts that Blessed Andrew is pictured, at the Chapel in Peschiera dedicated to him, near a Crucifix, from which issues a light that is directed at Andrés’ heart. This is said to refer to some miraculous favour that was granted to Blessed Andrés while he was contemplating Our Lord’s passion. Tradition also tells that on Fridays, Andrés wore a crown of sharp thorns which he concealed under the hood of his habit.
Blessed Andrés died on 18 January 1485 among his Dominican brethren at the priory of Morbegno, Valtellina, Italy. So many miracles were reported to have occurred at his tomb, that Blessed Andrew’s mortal remains were moved twice to allow better access for pilgrims. Blessed Andrés was Beatified (cultus confirmed) by Pope Pius VII in on 26 September 1820.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst adorn Blessed Andrés, Thy Confessor, with the apostolic spirit, grant us, in imitation of him, so to benefit others, both by word and example, as to reap abundant fruit. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen
Our Lady of Dijon – 18 January: In the fifth century, the Abbey of St Etienne of Dijon had a regular chapter which observed the Rule of St Augustine; it was given over to the secular canons and later, Pope Clement XI made the Church the cathedral of Dijon. The image of Our Lady of Dijon in Burgundy was formerly named the “Black Virgin” and “Our Lady of Good Hope.” In the year 1513, Mary miraculously delivered the city of Dijon, the ancient city of the Dukes of Burgundy, from the hands of the Swiss. The German and Swiss forces coming against them totalled 45,000 men and although Dijon was well stocked for a siege, they only had perhaps 6,000 defenders. There were plenty of arrows but little gunpowder and most of the French cannon needed repairs. The invading force was so sure of success, that they there were columns of empty wagons pulled behind the army to bring back the loot they expected to take from the French towns and monasteries. The Monastery at Beze was not spared, as even dead Monks were dug up in search of treasure. The army arrived on 8 September the solemnity of Our Lady’s Nativity. There were so many men, that the defenders saw nothing but a vast sea of shining armour, wherever they gazed. The Swiss opened up with heavy cannon fire the next day, yet there were surprisingly few fatalities. When breeches were made in the walls and the enemy attacked, they were repulsed with heavy loss of life. On Sunday, 11 September, a procession was organised after Mass. The “Black Virgin” was carried through the streets as the French prayed to the Mother of God, to spare them from their deadly enemies. The following day a treaty was signed and the conflict ended unexpectedly. In thanksgiving for this favour, she was titled Our Lady of Dijon, and general procession to her shrine is made every year.
During the French Revolution the Church suffered the outrage of being transformed into a forage storage house. Afterward, in atonement to Our Lady for this insult, the faithful of France rebuilt the Shrine and pleaded, that the Holy See grant numerous relics and valuable keepsakes to be placed there. Our Blessed Mother responded to the generosity and love of the people by granting favours and cures and extending her God-given miraculous power over the people. In 1944 the German army occupied the city of Dijon. The people turned to Mary, praying: “Holy Virgin, Compassionate Mother, you who protected our knights of old and who delivered our city from enemy attack, you maintained our ancestors in their times of trouble…Our Lady of Good Hope, pray for us.” On 11 September, the Nazi army unexpectedly left Dijon.
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).
Quote/s of the Day – 17 January – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Readings: 1 Samuel 3:3-10, 19, Psalms 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10, 1 Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20, John 1:35-42
“Come and you will see.”
“Speak Lord for your servant hears.”
1 Samuel 3:10
He said to them, “Come and you will see.”
“Go your way, behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.”
“A person who wishes to become the Lord’s disciple must repudiate a human obligation, however honourable it may appear, if it slows us, ever so slightly, in giving the wholehearted obedience we owe to God.”
St Basil the Great (329-379) Father and Doctor of the Church
“He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the Great Light, bathed in the glory of Him who is the Light of Heaven.”
St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctor of the Church
“Be strengthened in Almighty God and in the power of His might, for with His help, nothing is difficult. Throw off the heavy load of your own will, cast aside the burden of sin and gird yourselves as valiant warriors. Forget what you are leaving behind; strain forward to the great things before you. I tell you, that every place where you set foot, shall be yours. For the Spirit who goes before your face is Christ the Lord. He will carry you to the topmost peak in the arms of His love.”
St Francis of Assisi (c 1181-1226)
“Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes, through which, the compassion of Christ, looks out to the world. Yours are the feet, with which, He is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands, with which, He is to bless others now.”
St Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church
“It is our vocation to set people’s hearts ablaze, to do what the Son of God did, who came to light a fire on earth in order to set it ablaze with His love.”
Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813–1853) “Servant to the Poor”
“The well-being of souls is only in Christ. Therefore, let the love of Jesus be our perfection and our profession, let us light our hearts from the eternal flames of love that radiate from the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”
Bl Paolo Manna PIME (1872-1952) “A Burning Soul”
Priest, Missionary in Burma (Myanmar), Superior General of PIME, Founder of the Pontifical Missionary Union
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” … John 1:29
REFLECTION – “When he saw Jesus coming toward him John said: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29). No longer does he say: “Prepare the way of the Lord” (Mt 3:3). That would be out of place, now that at last He who was prepared for is seen, is before our very eyes. The nature of the case, now calls for a different type of homily. An explanation is needed of Who is present and why He has come down to us from heaven. That is why John says: “Behold the Lamb of God.”
The prophet Isaiah told us of this in the words: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter and like a lamb before his shearer he opened not his mouth” (Is 53:7). In past ages He was typified by the law of Moses, but (…) its salvation was only partial; its mercy did not reach out to embrace the whole world. But now, the true Lamb, the Victim without blemish obscurely prefigured in former times, is led to the slaughter.
It was to banish sin from the world, to overthrow the world’s Destroyer, to abolish death by dying for the entire human race and to release us from the curse: “Dust you are and to dust you shall return” (Gn 3:19). He will become the second Adam, Who is not of earth but of heaven (1 Cor 15:47) and will be for us, the source of every blessing (…) and our way to the kingdom of heaven. For one Lamb died for all, to restore the whole flock on earth to God the Father; “one died for all” to make all subject to God; “one died for all” to gain all, so that “all might live no longer for themselves but for him who died and was raised to life for them” (2 Cor 5:14-15).” – St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Known as ‘The Pillar of Faith,” Archbishop of Alexandria, Father and Doctor Incarnationis – Commentary on Saint John’s Gospel, 2, Prologue
PRAYER – Almighty God, Your Son’s manhood, born of the Virgin, was a new creation, untainted by our sinful condition. Renew us then, in Christ and cleanse us from our sins. May the Holy Name of Jesus, be our light, our safeguard and our shield. Through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all time and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 17 January – Sunday in Ordinary Time
O Lord, My God, I Am Not Worthy Prayer Before Holy Communion By St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church
O Lord, my God, I am not worthy that You should come into my soul but I rejoice that You have come to me because, in Your loving kindness You desire to dwell in me. You ask me to open the door of my soul, which You alone have created, so that You may enter into it with Your loving kindness and dispel the darkness of my mind. I believe that You will do this, for You did not turn away Mary Magdalene when she approached You in tears. Neither did You withhold forgiveness from the tax collector who repented of his sins or from the good thief who asked to be received into Your kingdom. Indeed, You numbered as Your friends, all who came to You with repentant hearts. O God, You alone are blessed always, now and forever. Amen
Saint of the Day – 17 January – Saint Sulpicius of Bourges (Died c 647) Bishop, miracle-worker, apostle of the poor – born in the 7th century as Sulpicius le Debonnaire in France and died in c 647 of natural causes. Also known as – St Sulpicius the Pious, Pius of Bourges, Sulpice of Bourges.
According to his Vita, Sulpitius was born at a place in Vatan in the Diocese of Bourges, of noble parents, before the end of the sixth century. From his youth he devoted himself to good works and to the study of Scripture and donated his large patrimony to the Church and the poor.
Austregisilus, Bishop of Bourges, ordained him cleric of his Church, then Deacon, Priest and finally made him director of his Episcopal school. Clotaire II (King of the Franks from 613 to 629), who had heard of his merits, summoned him and made him almoner and Chaplain of his armies. Upon the death of Bishop Austregisilus (. 624) Sulpicious was recalled to Bourges to succeed him. Thenceforth he laboured with much zeal and success to re-establish ecclesiastical discipline, for the relief of the poor.
In 626 Sulpitius attended the Council of Clichy and held several others with the Bishops of his See. St Desiderius of Cahors, treasurer to King Clothar II and later Bishop of Cahors, was his personal friend – three letters survive which St Sulpicius addressed to him. In the settings of Vita Sulpicii Episcopi Biturgi, Sulpicius’miracles show him receiving “Theudogisilus,, a noble from the palatium of the king with entertainments and a “great heaped fire” (in a fireplace in the centre of the great hall, the smoke issuing through a vent in the roof). Sulpitius allegedly extinguished this fire, when it threatened to get out of control, with an outstretched hand. The Vita asserts with approval that “he, the holy man gave leave for no-one, neither heretic, gentile or Jew, to live in the city of Bourges without the grace of Baptism” – with many consequent conversions from the Jews of Bourges.
The Vita tells that Dagobert I sent his representative the merciless general Lollo (Lollonius) to reside at Bourges and to bring the city more closely under the King’s command. Sulpitius intervened with King Dagobert on behalf of his flock, of whom a too heavy tax was exacted. When the people came complaining of their treatment to Sulpicius, he decreed a three-day fast for clergy and laity but also sent one of his clergy, Ebargisilus by name, to the King.
Towards the end of his life, Sulpitius took a co-adjutor, Vulfolnde and retired to a Monastery which he had founded near Bourges. There he died on 17 January 647, which day several manuscripts of the Hieronymian Martyrology indicate as his feast. The reports of miracles at his tomb in the Basilica he had ordered built, began soon after his death and the place became a place of pilgrimage.
That place, where Sulpicius had the Basilica built and where the memorable man of God is buried, is called Navis, because the port of ships is seen to be there. It is a most lovely place between two rivers with pastures and woods and vineyards in great number, with fields and rivers flowing between huge plains so that there, the inhabitants may be seen to possess the image of paradise.
In his honour the Church of Saint-Sulpice was built in Paris, from which the Society of Saint-Sulpice ( is a society of apostolic life of Pontifical Right for Priests) derives its name.
Our Lady of Hope, Our Lady of Pontmain – 17 January: During the Franco-Prussian War, German troops approached the town of Pontmain, France and the villagers there prayed for protection. On the evening of 17 January 1871, Mary appeared in the sky for several minutes over the town. She wore a dark blue dress covered in stars, carried a crucifix and below her were the words – “Pray, my children, God will answer your prayers very soon. He will not allow you to be touched.” That night the German army was ordered to withdraw and an armistice ending the war was signed eleven days later on 28 January. In May 1872, Bishop Wicart authorized the construction of a Sanctuary, which was consecrated in October 1900. In 1905 Pope Pius X elevated the Sanctuary to the status of a Basilica – The Basilica of Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain. Pope Pius XI gave a final decision regarding the mass and office in honour of Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain. A final papal honour was given to Our Lady of Hope on 16 July 1932 by Cardinal Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII, by passing a decree from the Chapter of St Peter’s Basilica, that the Statue of the Blessed Lady, Mother of Hope, be solemnly honoured with the crown of gold. The Lady then was crowned in the presence of Archbishop, Bishops, Priests and the laity by Cardinal Verdier, Archbishop of Paris. The coronation took place on 24 July 1934. At Pontmain, it was a matter of a message of prayer, very simple in the dramatic circumstances of war and invasion. At Pontmain, Mary is a sign of hope in the midst of war. A place of pilgrimage, it attracts annually around 200,000 drawn from among the people of the region, with some international pilgrimages, especially from Germany.
It was in the winter of 1871 in the village of Pontmain, France, Eugene Barbedette was busy in his father’s barn helping prepare the animal feed. He stood briefly in the open doorway, admiring the beautiful evening. Suddenly the gaze of the 12 year old was held there, for opposite the barn and in a framework of stars, stood a beautiful lady – motionless – smiling at him. “Do you see anything?” he shouted to the others, “Look, over there!” “Yes,” cried his brother Joseph, “a beautiful lady dressed in a blue robe with golden stars, yes and blue shoes with golden buckles…and, she has a golden crown which is getting bigger and a black veil.” Since the father did not see her, he told the boys to get on with their work; then curiously, he asked, “Eugene, do you still see anything?” “Yes, she’s still there,” the boy answered and ran to fetch his mother; she saw nothing but with a woman’s intuition, she thought it might be the Blessed Virgin and assembling the family gently, all prayed five Paters and Aves in honour of the Mother of God. She called for a nun at the convent next door, who brought her two little charges with her, the latter, Francoise and Jean Marie, reaching the door of the barn, called out, “Oh, look at that lovely lady with the golden stars!” and clapped their hands with delight. The news spread quickly, people gathered, with them the Cure, M Guerin. The Magnificat was intoned and Eugene shouted, “Look what she is doing!” Slowly a great white streamer unfolded and in large letters they read: “Pray, my children, God will answer your prayers very soon. He will not allow you to be touched.”
The Cure then intoned the hymn: “My Sweet Jesus…” At that a red cross with the wounded body of Christ appeared before the Virgin, who held it. At the top in large red letters was written, “Jesus Christ.” The crowd burst into tears, while the Cure ordered night prayers to be said; a white veil hid the vision, while our Lady smiled at the children, a smile which haunted them all through life with its beauty. Something of the sorrow of farewell was depicted on the faces of Eugene and Joseph, for the cure said quickly, “Can you still see anything?” “No, it is quite finished,” they answered.
At the moment the message was being written in the sky, a messenger passing in front of the crowd had shouted, “You may well pray, the Russians are at Laval.” But they never entered it. On the 17th of January, at six o’clock at night, the very hour the Virgin appeared to the children of Pontmain, the division of soldiers, without apparent reason, received the order to retire. On the 28th of January, the armistice was signed at Versailles. After long and searching inquiry, Mgr. Wicart, the Bishop of Laval, proclaimed the authenticity of the vision and at the very spot where Our Lady had appeared, a cHURCH was erected in honour of Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain. There the Queen of Heaven receives her countless children and gives them fresh hope in their trials, as she gave France peace in her hour of need. The Basilica is a magnificent structure in the 13th century style and one may still see the barn where Eugene and Joseph worked when Mary appeared.
St Achillas of Sketis St Amoes of Sketis St Antony of Rome Bl Euphemia Domitilla Bl Gamelbert of Michaelsbuch St Genitus St Genulfus St Jenaro Sánchez Delgadillo St John of Rome Bl Joseph of Freising St Julian Sabas the Elder St Marcellus of Die St Merulus of Rome St Mildgytha St Nennius St Neosnadia St Pior St Richimir