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 – 16 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
I Am Not Able
“Whenever we feel called upon to make some sacrifice for Jesus or, to form some good resolution, how often do we cry: “I am not able!” It may be a question of praying more fervently, of performing some mortification or, of helping our neighbour spiritually or materially. Or perhaps, it is a matter of saying a few words of apology or, of encouragement to our neighbour, whom we have previously treated with coldness and selfishness. Or. it may be something entirely more generous which is demanded; it may be that God is inviting us to renounce ourselves completely and to dedicate ourselves to Him. Naturally, this requires sacrifice and great generosity of heart. But we say to Jesus when He calls us: “I cannot, it is too difficult!” And yet, the Lord says: “You shall make and keep yourselves holy because, I am holy” (Lev 11:44). “You, therefore, are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). We must not refuse God, Who became man for us in his love and mercy and shed His blood for our redemption!”
Quote/s of the Day – 16 January – Saturday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 4:12-16, Psalms 19:8, 9, 10,15, Mark 2:13-17
“Cast Upon Us a Look of Mercy”
“Those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous but sinners.”
“For John came, neither eating nor drinking and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”
“He became small because you were small – understand how great He is and you will become great along with Him. This is how houses are built, how the solid walls of a building are raised. The stones brought to construct the building increase, you, too, increase, understanding how great Christ is and how He who appeared to be small is great, very great indeed…”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church
“But He still follows behind us and counsels us, that we have despised Him but He still does not cease to call us. We turn our backs on His face, so to speak, when we reject His words, when we trample His commandments underfoot but He who sees that we reject Him, still calls out to us by His commandments and waits for us by His patience, stands behind us and calls us back when we have turned away.”
St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) Father & Doctor of the Church
“In order that you may have the same experience, reflect within yourself that your sin is great but that it is blasphemy against God and an injury to yourself, to despair of His forgiveness, because your sin seems to you to be too great. He has promised to forgive your sins, however many they are; will you tell Him you cannot believe this and dispute with Him, saying that your sin is too great and He cannot heal your sickness? Stop at that point and cry out with the prophet: “Lord, I have sinned against you” (Ps 51:6). At once He will reply, “As for me, I have overlooked your fault, you shall not die.” Glory to Him from us all, through all ages! Amen, Amen.”
An anonymous Syrian writer of the 6th century
Cast Upon Us a Look of Mercy By Blessed Pope Pius IX (1792-1878)
O Jesus! Cast upon us a look of mercy, turn Your Face towards each of us as You did to Veronica, not that we may see it with our bodily eyes, for this we do not deserve but turn it towards our hearts, so that, remembering You, we may ever draw from this fountain of strength, the vigour necessary to sustain the combats of life. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 16 January – Saturday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 4:12-16, Psalms 19:8, 9, 10,15, Mark 2:13-17 and the Feast Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners and Memorial of St Fursey (Died c 648)
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Mark 16-17
REFLECTION – “He came in humility – He, the Creator, was created amongst us, He made us but He was made for us. God before time began, man in time, He delivered man from time. This great physician has come to heal our cancer… by His example, He has come to heal pride itself.
This is what we must give our attention to, in the Lord – let us consider His humility, drink the cup of His humility, clasp Him, contemplate Him. How easy it is to have elevated thoughts, easy to take pleasure in honours, easy to give one’s ear to flatterers and people who praise us. But to bear with insult, patiently undergo humiliation, pray for those who persecute us (Mt 5,39.44) – that is the Lord’s cup, that is the Lord’s feast.“… St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church – Sermon for the ordination of a bishop, Guelferbytanus no.32
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, You offer the covenant of reconciliation to mankind through Your Son Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. Lord God, grant Your people constant joy, in the renewed vigour of their souls. They rejoice because You have restored them to the glory of Your adopted children, through Him who saves them. Grant that by the assistance of Mary, His mother and theirs, they may look forward gladly to the certain hope of resurrection. Through Christ, the Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 16 January – Saturday of the First week in Ordinary Time and the Feast of Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners (Spain)
Shelter Me Under Your Mantle Refuge of Sinners By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
Most holy Virgin Immaculate, my Mother Mary, to you who are the Mother of my Lord, the Queen of the Universe, the Advocate, the hope, the refuge of sinners, I, who am the most miserable of all sinners, have recourse this day. I venerate you, great Queen and I thank you for the many graces you have bestowed upon me even unto this day, in particular for having delivered me from the hell which I have so often served by my sins. I love you, my dearest Lady and because of that love, I promise to serve you willingly forever and to do what I can, to make you loved by others also. I place in you all my hopes for salvation, accept me as your servant and shelter me under your mantle, you who are the Mother of Mercy. And since you are so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to overcome them until death. From you I implore a true love for Jesus Christ. Through you I hope to die a holy death. My dear Mother, by your love for Almighty God, I pray you to assist me always but most of all, at the last moment of my life. Forsake me not then, until you shall see me safe in heaven, there to bless you and sing of your mercies through all eternity. Such is my hope. Amen
Saint of the Day – 16 January – Saint Fursey (Died c 650) Irish Missionary Monk, Abbot who did much to establish Christianity in the British Isles and in France, Mystic, whose visions played a pivotal role in the Church’s developing understanding of life after death. St Fursey is one of the Four Comely Saints – a collective name for Saints Fursey, Brendan of Birr, Conall and Berchán, at their burial place on Inishmore a Church was built in the fifteenth-century and dedicated to them. Born in c567 at Munster, Ireland and died in c 648 at Mezerolles, France. Also known as Fursey of peronne, Fursey of Lagny, Fursa, Furseo, Furse, Fursae, Fursu, Fulsey, Furseus. Patronage – Peronne, France.
Fursey was born in Ireland in the closing years of the 6th century. as the son of an Irish Prince and was baptised by St Brendan the Traveller, his father’s uncle. He early showed desire and aptitude to study the Sacred Scriptures and his growth in the faith was matched only by a monastic discipline of life. In his early twenties he received visions that focussed his life on the urgency of preaching the Good News of Christ. His visions were also to play a pivotal role in the Church’s developing understanding of life after death and God’s continuing desire to show love and forgiveness. Fursey’s visions are among the first major accounts of a journey of a soul in the other world to be composed in the early medieval period.
For the next decade Fursey went around Ireland and his preaching was powerful. But his growing popularity disturbed him for he wished people to focus on Christ. Already a Monk, he went with some monastic companions on retreat to a small Irish island to seek guidance. The desire to become ‘a pilgrim for the love of God’ grew stronge, and the group left Ireland, never to return.
Fursey and his companions journeyed to England, where Sigebert – the new and Christian King of East Anglia – had returned from exile in 630 with a desire to share his new faith with his new subjects. Sigebert welcomed Fursey and his group and allowed them to base themselves at Cnobheresburgh (which has been traditionally identified as the Roman Fort at Burgh Castle near Great Yarmouth). Becoming ill, Fursey fell into a trance and, according to St Bede, left his body from evening till cock-crow and was found worthy to behold the chorus of angels in Heaven. Fursey’s visions of Heaven and Hell, experienced throughout his life and widely recounted, are thought to have inspired Dante’s Divine Comedy. After almost a decade in East Anglia Fursey felt called to continue his missionary pilgrimage.
Going to France, he was received by King Clovis II and his leading official Earconwald. With their blessing he founded a Monastery at Lagny-sur-Marne (east of Paris). His journeys continued and many Churches in Picardy are dedicated to him.
He died at Mézerolles c 648. His body lay unburied and unsullied by decay and emitting a sweet odour for thirty days pending the Dedication of the Church and was during that time, visited by pilgrims from all parts. Finally, he was buried in a Church (built specially by Earconwald) in Peronne which has claimed him as Patron ever since. Four years later his still incorrupt body was moved to a new shrine east of the altar. At nearby Mont St Quentin, an Abbey was founded in his honour, which became such a great centre for pilgrims that Peronne was known as ‘Peronne Scottorum’ (Peronne of the Irish). In its scriptorium one of the Monks wrote the Vita of Fursey, which tells us so much about him. The Vita has the vitality and insights that come from an eyewitness account, making it of especial value.
It was this almost contemporary Life, that the Venerable St Bede drew on, in his “History of the English Church and People” (iii,19). St Bede obviously admired Fursey deeply. “He was renowned” wrote St Bede “for his words and doing, and was outstanding in virtue.”“Inspired by the example of his goodness and the effectiveness of his teaching,” St Bede went on, “many unbelievers were converted to Christ and those who already believed, were drawn to greater love and faith in him.” St Bede wrote, as he himself said, so that his readers would understand “how great a man Fursey was.” It is a view echoed by writers of our own day who place Fursey as the most influential Irish Missionary in Europe, after his predecessor Columbanus . Fursey’s Visions were to play a pivotal role in the Western Church’s developing understanding of the world to come.
The worst evil that can befall us is unquestionably SIN, which makes us an object of abhorrence in the sight of God. God’s infinite mercy has not only prepared for us a potent remedy against sin, in the merits of Jesus Christ, our Saviour but, He has also given us poor sinners, a secure refuge in the assistance of Mary, Our Lady Refuge of Sinners. In the Old Law there were cities of refuge to which the guilty could flee for safety; in the New Law, Mary’s mantle is, for us, that citadel of refuge for sinful souls. How can the Divine Wrath strike us, if we are covered by the mantle of Mary, the chosen daughter and the honoured Mother of God? Our Lady Refuge of Sinners is thus not merely a pledge of our safety but, by her unrivaled sanctity, she is as earnest of pardon for all sinners who have recourse to her intercession. She not only disarms the just anger of God roused by our sins but also, obtains for her true clients, sincere and heartfelt conversion. All we need do is turn toward her with Faith, to obtain Divine Clemency and the means to rise from the mire of sin.
St Berard and Companions (Peter, Adjute, Accurs, Odo and Vitalis) St Dana of Leuca St Dunchaid O’Braoin St Fulgentius of Ecija St Fursey (Died c 648) Missionary Monk
St Juana Maria Condesa Lluch Bl Konrad II of Mondsee St Leobazio St Liberata of Pavia St Pope Marcellus I St Melas of Rhinocolura St Priscilla of Rome St Sigeberht of East Anglia St Titian of Oderzo St Triverius St Valerius of Sorrento
Thought for the Day – 15 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Two Standards
“Apart from the throngs of the apathetic, we can see today, as in every stage of the history of Christianity, two armies in battle array, the enemies of Christ and His faithful. Both the forces of good and evil and, the weapons which they have at their disposal, have increased tremendously in modern times. Between them, there is Christ, “a sign that shall be contradicted,” (Lk 2:34) as Simeon prophesied. There are those who give themselves completely to Jesus, their abilities, their health, their virginity offered as a sacrifice for a higher ideal and, if necessary, their life’s blood. But, there are also those, who use every means which progress has provided, such as the press, cinema and television, in order to destroy God’s dominion over human souls.
Evil today, is organised on a vast scale. Why, then, can we not employ every modern means, in order to diffuse goodness throughout the world? This may require sacrifice but, we cannot refuse to make sacrifices on behalf of Jesus Christ, Who did not spare Himself for us!”
Quote/s of the Day – 15 January – Feast of Our Lady of Banneux/Our Lady of the Poor (1933)
Our Lady’s Words
“Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.”
Our Lady of Guadalupe ourladyofbanto Juan Diego 9 December 1531
“Penance, penance, penance. Pray for sinners.”
Our Lady to St Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, 1858
“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.”
“Look, my Daughter,” Our Lady said to Lúcia on 10 December 1925, “at my heart, surrounded with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce me.”
“Say the Rosary everyday to obtain peace for the world. And after each decade, say the following prayer: ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.’”
Our Lady of Fatima 1917
“All who wear it [the Miraculous Medal], will receive great graces. They should wear it around the neck. Graces will abound for persons, who wear it with faith.”
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal to St Catherine Labouré. 1930
Marietta described the lady: “Her robe was long and white; she wore a blue belt and rays of light shone from her head. She was a little more than five feet tall; her right foot was bare and under it a golden rose. Her hands were raised to her breast on which was a golden heart. A rosary hung from her right arm…”
Mariette Beco, The Visionary, 1933
“I come to alleviate sufferings…. I am the Virgin of the Poor….. I am the Mother of the Saviour, the Mother of God. Pray very much.”
One Minute Reflection – 15 January – Friday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 4:1-5, 11, Psalms 78: 3 and 4, 6-7, 8, Mark 2:1-12and the Feast of Our Lady of Banneux/Our Lady of the Poor (1933) and St Maurus OSB (c 512-584)
And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”– Mark 2:5-6
REFLECTION – “O God, fullness of goodness, You do not forsake any, except those who forsake you. You never take away Your gifts, except when we take away our hearts. We rob the goodness of God, if we claim the glory of our salvation for ourselves. We dishonour His mercy, if we say He has failed us. We offend His generosity, if we do not acknowledge His blessings. We blaspheme His goodness, if we deny that He has helped and assisted us. In short, O God, cry loud and clear into our ears: “your destruction comes from you, O Israel. In me alone is found your help” (Hos 13:9). – St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritatis – Treatise on the Love of God, Ch 9
PRAYER – Lord God, You hold out the light of Your Word to those who do not know You. Strengthen in our hearts, the faith You have given us, so that no trials may quench the fire Your Spirit has kindled within us. Grant us the grace of approaching You in sorrow and repentance, so that we may hear Your Word, “your sins are forgiven you, go and sin no more.” May the prayers of Our Blessed Lady of Banneux and St Marus, grant us eyes to see and ears to hear and strength to hear and obey You. Through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 15 January – The Feast of Our Lady of Banneux/Our Lady of the Poor (1933)
O Virgin of the Poor, Our Lady of Banneux Prayer of Monsignor Louis-Joseph Kerkhofs (1878-1962) Bishop of Liège at the time of the apparitions
O Virgin of the Poor, May you ever be blessed! And blessed be He Who deigned to send you to us. What you have been and are to us now, you will always be to those who, like us and better than us, offer their faith and their prayer. You will be all for us, as you revealed yourself at Banneux: Mediatrix of all graces, the Mother of the Saviour, Mother of God. A compassionate and powerful Mother who loves the poor and all people, who alleviates suffering, who saves individuals and all humanity, Queen and Mother of all Nations, who came to lead all those who allow themselves to be guided by you, to Jesus, the true and only Source of eternal life. Amen
Saint of the Day – 15 January – Saint Maurus OSB (c 512-584) Benedictine Abbot and Deacon, miracle-worker. Maurus was the first disciple of Saint Benedict of Nursia (512–584). He is mentioned in Saint Gregory the Great’s biography of the latter as the first oblate, offered to the Monastery by his noble Roman parents as a young boy, to be brought up in the monastic life. Born in c 512 in Rome, Italy and died on 15 January 584 of natural causes. Patronages – Benedictine Novices and Oblates (c0-patron with St Placidus), cripples, invoked against rheumatism, epilepsy, gout, hoarseness, cold, charcoal burners, cobblers, coppersmiths, shoemakers, porters, tinkers, tailors, latern and candle makers, of the Azores, Badajoz, Spain, Casoria, Italy, Saint-Bonnet-de-Vieille-Vigne, France.
Four stories involving Maurus recounted by St Gregory formed a pattern for the ideal formation of a Benedictine Monk. The most famous of these involved Saint Maurus’s rescue of Saint Placidus, a younger boy offered to Saint Benedict at the same time as Saint Maurus. The incident has been reproduced in many medieval and Renaissance paintings.
“Saint Maurus—one of the greatest masters of the Cenobitical Life and the most illustrious of the Disciples of St Benedict, the Patriarch of the Monks of the West—shares with the First Hermit, St Paul, the honours of this fifteenth day of January.” (From the Benedictine Liturgy). The Benedictines today, liturgically honour the first companions of Saint Benedict, Saint Maurus and Saint Placidus. They are the Patron saints of Benedictine Novices and Oblates.
St Maurus, Abbot and Deacon, son of Equitius, a nobleman of Rome, was born about the year 510 and died in 584. When he was about twelve years old, his father placed him under the care of St Benedict at Subiaco, to be educated in piety and learning. When he had grown up, St Benedict chose him as his co-adjutor in the government of the Monastery. He was a model of perfection to all his brethren but especially in the virtue of obedience.
St Placidus, one of his fellow disciples, the son of the Senator Tertullus, going one day to draw water, fell into the lake and was at once carried away by the current. St Benedict saw this in spirit in his cell and bade Maurus run and draw him out. Having asked and received the holy Father’s blessing, Maurus hastened down to the lake, walked upon the waters, thinking he was on dry land and dragged Placid out by the hair, without sinking in the least himself. He attributed the miracle to the command and prayers of St Benedict but the holy Abbot, to the obedience of the disciple.
St Maurus was sent to France in 543 to propagate the order of St Benedict in that country. He founded the famous Abbey of Glanfeuil, over which he ruled as Abbot for thirty-eight years. In 581 he resigned the Abbacy, built for himself a small cell near the Church of St Martin, so that, in solitude and prayer, he might prepare himself for his passage into eternity. After two years he fell sick of a fever, he received the Sacraments of the Church, lying on sackcloth before the Altar of St Martin and in that posture expired on 15 January 584.
Maurus was originally buried in the Abbey Church at Glanfeuil. When, in 868, Odo and the monks of Glanfeuil were obliged to flee to Paris in the face of Vikings marauding along the Loire, the remains of St Maurus were translated to the Abbey of Saint-Pierre-des-Fossés, later renamed Saint-Maur-des-Fossés. In 1750 the relics were relocated to Saint-Germain-des-Prés, where they remained until dispersed by a Parisian mob during the French Revolution. Saint Maurus is still venerated by Benedictine congregations today, many Monks adopting his name and dedicating Monasteries to his patronage.
The cult of Saint Maurus slowly spread to Monasteries throughout France and by the 11th century had been adopted by Monte Cassino in Italy, along with a revived cult of Saint Placidus. By the late Middle Ages, the cult of Saint Maurus, often associated with that of Saint Placidus, had spread to all Benedictine Monasteries. Saint Maurus is venerated even as far as in India, where he is highly honoured in certain areas of the southern state of Kerala.
St Maurus was favoured by God with the gift of miracles. To show in what high degree the Saint possessed the gift of miracles, it will be sufficient to cite a few examples of how he miraculously cured the sick and restored to health those who were stricken with a grievous affliction. It has already been stated, according to the testimony of St Pope Gregory the Great, in the Second Book of his Dialogues, how when a youth, St Maurus rescued St Placidus from drowning.
A few more examples of miracles wrought by the Saint, as related by the Monk St Faustus (Bollandists, Vol. 2), who accompanied St Maurus to France and later wrote his life, will be given here. They were invariably wrought by means of the Sign of the Cross and the relic of the true Cross, which he had taken along to France.
When St Maurus, at that time Prior of the Abbey of Monte Cassino, was returning with the brethren from gathering the harvest in the fields, he met a boy who was mute and crippled, accompanied by his parents. When the father and mother of the boy cast themselves at the feet of the Saint and implored him to cure their child of his maladies, St Maurus, having for some time given himself to prayer, imposed upon the head of the boy his levitical stole, for he was a Deacon and made the sign of the Cross over him, saying to him: “In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity and supported by the merits of the-most holy Father Benedict, I bid you to rise, stand upon your feet and be cured.” And forthwith the boy arose, walked about and with a loud voice praised and glorified God.
A certain Vicar, Ardenard, had been sent by Innocent, the Bishop of Mans, to Monte Cassino, in order to petition St Benedict to send some Monks to France. Arriving at a place called Vercella, the Vicar fell down headlong from a high stairway in the place where he was lodging. His body was so crushed by the fall that his life was despaired of. His right shoulder, arm and hand had so swelled with inflammation, that amputation of the arm was deemed necessary. Recourse was then had to their companion, St Maurus, who was engaged in prayer in the oratory. Moved by the earnest supplications of his brethren and the misery of the sick man, the Saint cast himself prostrate at the foot of the Altar, pouring forth his soul in fervent prayer. Having finished praying, he took from the Altar the case of relics which had been sent him by his master, St Benedict and went to the bedside of the sick man. Having exposed the relic of the Cross, he made the Sign of the Cross over every part of the arm from the shoulder to the fingers, saying:
“O God, the Creator of all things, You ordained that Your only Son should take flesh of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, for the restoration of your people and You deigned to heal the wounds and infirmities of our souls, by the redemption accomplished upon the sacred and glorious wood of the life-giving Cross, do You also vouchsafe through this powerful Sign, to restore health to Your servant.”
His prayer being ended, all the poisoned blood, by which the Vicar’s arm had beer inflamed, began to flow off from three different places in his arm and his arm was cured.
While continuing their journey and reaching the Alps, one of the servants, Sergius, riding on horseback, fell from his horse and struck his leg against a huge rock and so crushed it, that it was but one bruised mass. Whereupon St Maurus went up to the unfortunate man, seized his crushed leg with his left hand and with his right made the sign of the Cross over it, saying: “In the name of almighty God, arise and be cured” and immediately, to the joy of all, his crushed leg became whole and sound.
When St Maurus and his little band came to the Church of the Holy Martyrs Sts Maurice and his companions, they entered it to pray. At the entrance of the Church sat a certain man who was born blind, begging alms from those who entered and left the holy building. He had learned that Maurus, the disciple of the holy man Benedict, had arrived, the fame of his sanctity having already preceded him. When Maurus and his companions had finished their prayers and left the Church, they found the blind man lying prostrate on the ground, begging and imploring the Saint to obtain for him by his prayers the light of his eyes. Maurus commanded him to rise and pressing the fingers of his right hand upon his eyes, he imprinted on them the sign of our redemption. Thereupon, the blind man instantly obtained his eyesight.
Blessing of St Maurus Since St Maurus miraculously freed many persons from their bodily afflictions through the Sign of the Cross and the relic of the true Cross of Christ, in many Monasteries of the Order of St Benedict from time immemorial, after the example of this miracle-worker, the custom of blessing the sick with the relic of the true Cross, has prevailed, in order to restore their health. But until recent years, there was no uniform and approved formula of blessing of the Church. There existed a number of old and new formulas, which were essentially the same but differed from each other in many details. Some formulas were exceedingly lengthy. In the face of these facts, Dom Maurus Wolter OSB, President of the Beuronese Congregation, petitioned Rome for an approved and authentic formula. A carefully prepared and much abbreviated formula was therefore presented to the Sacred Congregation of Rites for its approval.
The formula and prayer of St Maurus, was approved by the Sacred Congregation for all Priests and Deacons, secular as well as regular clerics, to impart the blessing, provided the formula approved by the Sacred Congregation is used.
In art, St Maurus is depicted as a young man in the garb of a monk, usually holding an Abbot’s cross or sometimes with a spade (an allusion to the monastery of Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, literally “Saint Maurus of the Ditches”). Another of Saint Maurus’ attributes, is a crutch, in reference to his patronage of cripples. He was invoked especially against fever, and also against rheumatism, epilepsy and gout. He is also sometimes depicted with a scale, a reference to the implement used to measure a Monk’s daily ration of bread, given to him by Benedict when he left Monte Cassino, for France. The Monks of Fossés near Paris (whence the community of Glanfeuil had fled from the Vikings in 868) exhibited this implement throughout the Middle Ages.
Our Lady of Banneux, Belgium (under 2 Titles – Our Lady of the Poor and Queen of Nations) 15 January: Our Lady of Banneux, or Our Lady of the Poor, is the sobriquet given to the apparition of the Virgin Mary to Mariette Beco, an adolescent girl living in Banneux, province of Liège (Belgium). Between 15 January and 2 March 1933, Beco told her family and parish priest of seeing a Lady in white who declared herself to be the “Virgin of the Poor,” saying I come to relieve suffering and believe in me and I will believe in you.
Bl Peter of Castelnau St Placid St Probus of Rieti St Romedio of Nonsberg St Sawl St Secondina of Anagni St Secundina of Rome St Tarsicia of Rodez St Teath — Martyrs of Suances – 5 beati: A priest and four laymen in the archdiocese of Burgos, Spain who were martyred together in the Spanish Civil War. • Blessed Donato Rodríguez García • Blessed Emilio Huidobro Corrales • Blessed Germán García y García • Blessed Valentín Palencia Marquina • Blessed Zacarías Cuesta Campo They were martyred on 15 January 1937 near Suances, Cantabria, Spain Venerated on 30 September 2015 by Pope Francis (decree of heroic virtues) and Beatified on 23 April 2016 by Pope Francis. The beatification was celebrated in Burgos, Spain, presided by Cardinal Angelo Amato.
Thought for the Day – 14 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Those Who Will to be Damned
“Only those who will it themselves, are damned. God wishes all men to be saved. It was for this, that He came into the world and shed His Precious Blood. Moreover, He has given us the means necessary for salvation. “God our Saviour, wishes all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4).
What can be wanting to us, therefore, in order to obtain salvation? Divine grace is certainly not lacking, for God gives it to us without reserve. “I come that they may have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). Nor are we lacking in strength, for, as St Paul says, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). We have the Sacraments, good inspirations and the example of the Saints. All that we can be deficient in, then, is our own goodwill and co-operation with the grace of God. We must be prepared to play our part in our own salvation.
Our first thought and purpose, therefore, must be our own salvation. The treasure hidden in a field and the pearl of great price (Cf Mt 13:44-46) are symbols of the Kingdom of God and of everlasting happiness. We should be prepared to sacrifice everything else, in order to find this treasure an to acquire this pearl!”
Quote/s of the Day – 14 January – Thursday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 3:7-14, Psalms 95:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, Mark 1:40-45
“If you will, you can make me clean.”
“Today, for those who will not repent at the approach of the kingdom of heaven, the reproof of the Lord Jesus is the same… As for when the end of the world will be, that is God’s concern… Even so, the time is very near for each of us, for we are mortal.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of Grace
“Our God, … being good and merciful, wants us to confess [our sins] in this world, so that we may not be ashamed because of them in the next. So if we confess them them, He, on His part, shows Himself to be merciful; if we acknowledge them, then He forgives … ”
St Caesarius of Arles (470-543) Bishop and Monk
“To do penance is to bewail the evil we have done and to do no evil to bewail.”
“If some rich and powerful friend were to enter your home, you would quickly clean the entire house, for fear something there, might offend your friend’s eyes, when he entered. Let anyone then who is preparing his inner house for God, cleanse away the dirt of his evil deeds. … The Lord comes into the heart and makes His home in one, who truly loves God and observes His commandments…”
St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) Father & Doctor “Father of the Fathers”
“It is clear, my brethren, that we live outside ourselves, we are forgetful of ourselves whenever we fritter our lives away in empty pursuits or distractions, decked out with trifles. That is why Wisdom is more concerned to invite us to the house of repentance than the house of feasting, that is to say to call back into himself, the man outside himself …”
Bl Isaac of Stella O.Cist (c 1100 – c 1170)
“And when I hear it said, that God is good and He will pardon us and then see, that men cease not from evil-doing, oh, how it grieves me! The infinite goodness with which God communicates with us, sinners as we are, should constantly make us love and serve Him better but we, on the contrary, instead of seeing in His goodness an obligation to please Him, convert it into an excuse for sin, which will, of a certainty, lead in the end, to our deeper condemnation.”
One Minute Reflection – 14 January – Thursday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 3:7-14, Psalms 95:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, Mark 1:40-45
“If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will, be clean.” – Mark 1: 40-41
REFLECTION – “As for me, what can I appropriate that I lack, from the Heart of the Lord who abounds in mercy? … He was thinking thoughts of peace and I did not know it, for who knows the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counsellor? But the piercing nail has become a key to unlock the door, that I may see the goodwill of the Lord. And what can I see as I look through the hole? Both the nail and the wound cry out, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. The sword pierced His soul and came close to His Heart, so that He might be able to feel compassion for me in my weaknesses.
Through these sacred wounds we can see the secret of His Heart, the great mystery of love, the sincerity of His mercy, with which He visited us from on high. Where have Your love, Your mercy, Your compassion shone out more luminously, than in Your wounds, sweet, gentle Lord of mercy? More mercy than this no-one has, than that He lay down His life for those who are doomed to death.
My merit comes from His mercy; for I do not lack merit so long as He does not lack pity. And if the Lord’s mercies are many, then I am rich in merits. For even if I am aware of many sins, what does it matter? Where sin abounded grace has overflowed. And if the Lord’s mercies are from all ages forever, I too will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever. Will I not sing of my own righteousness? No, Lord, I shall be mindful only of Your justice. Yet that too is my own, for God has made You my righteousness.” – St Bernard of Clarirvaux (1090-1153) Doctor of Light – Excerpt from his Sermon 61 On the Song of Songs
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, we make our prayer to You at morning, noon and evening. Dispel from our hearts, the darkness of sin and bring us to the true light, Christ Your Son. Grant that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, all your Angels and Saints, we may deny ourselves in love and obedience to You the reward of our love. Through Jesus, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 14 January – Month of the Most Holy Name
Jesus, Name Full of Glory By St Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444)
Jesus, Name full of glory, grace, love and strength! You are the refuge of those who repent, our banner of warfare in this life, the medicine of souls, the comfort of those who morn, the delight of those who believe, the light of those who preach the true faith, the wages of those who toil, the healing of the sick. To You our devotion aspires, by You our prayers are received; we delight in contemplating You. O Name of Jesus, You are the glory of all the saints for eternity. Amen
Saint of the Day – 14 January – Blessed Odo of Novara O.Cart. (c 1105-1200) Priest, Carthusian, Prior – born in c 1105 at Novara, Italy and died in 1200 at Tagliacozzo, Italy of natural causes, aged around 94. Patronages – Tagliacozzo.
Of the period of his life prior to his settling in Tagliacozzo, that is around 1190, there is uncertain information, so much so, that various attempts have been made with specialised publications to restore order to the most contrasting points of his ‘Life.’
He was born in Novara in c 1105, was professed Carthusian at Casotto or at the Grande Chartreuse, was sent to the Charterhouse of Seitz (in Yugoslavia) in the period of its foundation (1160) where he remained until 1189 writing the Sermons, then in 1189 he arrived at the Charterhouse di Gyrio (now Jurklo_ter near La_ko in Yugoslavia) founded in 1169, with the office of Prior, it is assumed, however, that he arrived some time earlier, sent by the Pope from the Carthusian monastery of Casotto.
His priory did not last long. In the same year, at the latest in 1190, due to administrative differences that arose among the Monks, he left for Rome to ask Pope Clement III for justice; the local Bishop took advantage of these differences and expelled the Monks in a period that lasted nine years.
From Rome, he moved to Tagliacozzo and from here on, his life is all documented. The Abbess of the Benedictines of the Monastery of Sts Cosmas and Damian, a relative of the Pope, asked the Pontiff for a real approval of the work of Blessed Odo. Documents describe the blessed as a Monk wearing a robe of coarse wool, wearing a sackcloth, small in stature, pale and gaunt. He spent almost ten years in Tagliacozzo in a small cell built near the Monastery, engaging in prayer, reading, work, running the Convent Church and effective Preaching.
Many miracles accompanied his activity in Tagliacozzo and continued after his death which occurred on 14 January 1200. Blessed Pius IX approved the cult and the title of Blessed on 31 May 1859. He was very honoured in the past centuries, especially by Tagliacozzo which was the only town of the region to escape the terrible earthquake of 14 January 1784, the day of his feast.
Our Lady of the Word, Montserrat, Spain (1514) – 14 January: In the year 1514, Our Lady was venerated at a Shrine near Montserrat, Spain. Her aid was invoked on behalf of a dumb man who went on pilgrimage there and the Blessed Virgin miraculously restored his speech. From that time on, she was given the title Our Lady of Speech. Here again the words of the “Memorare” were verified: “Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection,implored thy help or sought thy intercession,was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence,I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions but in thy mercy hear and answer me.” When God was made man, it was she who gave voice to the Word. In the Magnificat, God the Holy Ghost, her mystical spouse, spoke though her. When Christ was a child, she was His voice. When Our Lord was a man, He spoke for himself, while his mother remained silent. After the Ascension, she again became His voice as she guided the infant Church through those perilous times. Over and over again, the words of God came through her, for she is His Mediatrix of grace, the link between us and Him.
Vested with the almighty power of her Divine Son, Mary, imitating Him, visits the earth, going about doing good, granting petitions, supplying the needs of those who invoke her and giving solace, comfort and aid to her children. She is indeed Our Lady of the Word; Mother of the Word Incarnate; “And the Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us,” through her “Fiat.”
As a consequence, even while on earth, His Mother’s word had great influence upon Christ. “They have no wine,” uttered in behalf of the embarrassed newlyweds at Cana, was all that was necessary to bring forth her Sons’ first miracle.
And so, down the ages, Mary hearkens to the words of her Calvary-born children and speaks in their behalf to Jesus. Her intercession, her word, her speech, is never in vain. Let us never cease to invoke this powerful protectress, who wants nothing more than to intercede for us, her children, before the throne of God.
St Potitus Bl Rainer of Arnsberg St Sabas of Sinai St Sava of Serbia St Successus of Africa St Theodolus of Sinai Bl William de Sanjulia — Martyrs of Mount Sinai: A group of monks on Mount Sinai who were martyred by desert Bedouins. Their names and exact number have not come down to us. Martyred by Bedouins.
Martyrs of Raithu – 43 saints: A group of 43 monks in the Raithu Desert near Mount Sinai, Palestine, near the Red Sea. They were martyred for their faith by desert Bedouins. Their names have not come down to us. Martyred by Bedouins.
Thought for the Day – 13 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Grace of God
“It is astonishing to consider how much St Paul accomplished when he had been transformed by the grace of God. Formerly, a persecutor of Christians, he became the Apostle of the Gentiles. Enlightened by faith and inspired by charity, he travelled the globe, spreading everywhere, the religion of Jesus Christ.
He feared neither the anger of the hostile Jews, nor the tribunals of the Roman judges, neither long and difficult journeys, nor scourging, shipwreck and imprisonment. “The love of Christ impels us,” (2 Cor 5:14) he said. It was the love of God which drove him on and on, until he met his martyrdom. But what about ourselves? We also have received grace from God. Often we hear His voice appealing to us to abandon our sinful ways, to practise virtue, to love Him more ardently and to prove our love, by deeds. If we co-operate, we shall be able to say with St Paul: “by the grace of God, I am what I am and his grace in me has not been fruitless,” (1 Cor 15:10) and “I have laboured … yet, not I but the grace of God with me” (ibid).
It is wise to recall, however, that Judas also received special graces from God. He did not correspond with them and was probably damned for eternity. If we fail to correspond with God’s graces, the result will be tragic for ourselves.”
Quote/s of the Day – 13 January – The Memorial of St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church
“He conquered death, broke the gates of hell, won for Himself a people to be His co-heirs, lifted flesh from corruption up to the glory of eternity.”
“There is no space where God is not; space does not exist apart from Him. He is in heaven, in hell, beyond the seas; dwelling in all things and enveloping all. Thus He embraces and is embraced by, the universe, confined to no part of it but pervading all.”
“The utter folly of our time is lamentable, that men should think. to assist God with human help and to protect the Church of Christ by worldly ambition.”
“The Son of God is nailed to the Cross but on the Cross, God conquers human death. Christ, the Son of God, dies but all flesh is made alive in Christ. The Son of God is in hell but man is carried back to heaven.”
St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 13 January – Readings: Hebrews 2:14-18, Psalms 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9, Mark 1:29-39 and the Memorial of St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church and Blessed
That evening at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick, or oppressed by demons. – Mark 1:32
REFLECTION – “Let us set before our interior consideration someone gravely wounded who is about to breathe his last. … Now, the soul’s wound is sin, of which Scripture speaks in these terms: “Wound and welt and gaping gash, not drained or bandaged or eased with salve” (Is 1:6). Oh you who are wounded, recognise your physician within you and show Him the wounds of your sins. May He understand your heart’s groaning Who already knows its secret thoughts. May your tears move Him. Go as far as a little shamelessness in your beseeching (cf. Lk 11:8). Ceaselessly bring forth deep sighs to Him from the depth of your heart.
May your grief reach Him so that He may say to you also : “The Lord has pardoned your sin” (2 Sam 12:13). Cry out with David, who said: “Have mercy on me, O God, in (…) the greatness of your compassion” (Ps 50:3). It is as though one were to say: “I am in great danger because of an enormous wound, that no doctor can cure, unless the all-powerful Physician comes to help me.” 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 – Commentary on Psalm 50
PRAYER – God our Saviour, through the grace of Baptism, You made us children of light. You lead us by the hand and guide and protect us by Your commandments. Fill us with joy at Your nearness and the light of Your Son, by whose beam we see You and follow. St Hilary and Bl Veronica were shining examples to us all, grant, we pray, that their prayers may aid us. Through Jesus our Lord and Christ, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 13 January – The Octave of Epiphany and the Memorial of St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church
I Owe You a Most Particular Duty By St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368)
I am well aware, Almighty God and Father, that in my life I owe You a most particular duty. It is to make my every thought and word speak of You. In fact, You have conferred on me, this gift of speech and it can yield no greater return than to be at Your service. It is for making You known as Father, the Father of the only-begotten God and preaching this to the world, that knows You not and to the heretics, who refuse to believe in You. … Grant that I may express what I believe. Amen
Excerpt from a Sermon On the Trinity (Lib 1, 37-38: PL 10, 48-49) by Saint Hilary of Poitiers. It is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the feast of St Hilary, today.
Saint of the Day – 13 January – Blessed Veronica of Binasco OSA (c 1445-1497) Virgin Nun of the Order of St Augustine, Mystic, endowed with the gifts of prophecy and discernment- born as Giovanna Negroni in c 1445 at Binasco, Italy, a small village near Milan and died on 13 January 1497 in Milan, Italy of natural causes. Veronica of Binasco was known as a great contemplative who also gave loving care to sick sisters in her community and ministered to the people of Milan. Additional Memorial – 28 January (Augustinian calendar).
Veronica grew up in the small town of Binasco, Italy, not far from Milan. She and her family were poor and she worked with her mother and father, doing chores and in the fields. Her parents set their daughter on the path to Christian virtues, as it was said that her father was a scrupulously honest man, never selling a horse without first disclosing its faults or imperfections to the buyer. As she developed a desire for saintliness and perfection, she became tired of the joking and songs of her companions, even hiding her head and weeping as she worked.
Having no formal education, she attempted, unsuccessfully, to teach herself to read. While making this effort one night, the Virgin Mary appeared to Veronica, telling her that while some of her pursuits were necessary, her reading was not. Instead, the Virgin taught her in the form of three mystical letters:
The first signified purity of intention; the second, abhorrence of murmuring or criticism; the third, daily meditation on the Passion. By the first she learned to begin her daily duties for no human motive but for God alone; by the second, to carry out what she had thus begun by attending to her own affairs, never judging her neighbour but praying for those who manifestly erred; by the third she was enabled to forget her own pains and sorrows in those of her Lord and to weep hourly but silently, over the memory of His wrongs. – Alban Butler, Lives of the Saints.
Veronica became accustomed to nearly constant apparitions and religious ecstasies. She saw scenes from the life of Christ, yet these never interrupted her work. She joined an Augustinian lay order at the convent of Saint Martha in Milan at the age of 22. She took the religious name Veronica, reflecting her devotion to the Passion of Christ.This community was very poor; Veronica’s job was to beg in the streets of the city for food.
She was known and respected by the secular and ecclesiastical leaders of her day. Several times Christ gave to her in prayer important messages which she carried to influential persons, such as the Duke of Milan and Pope Alexander VI.
Her spiritual life was intense. She was particularly devoted to the Eucharist and to the Suffering and Death of Jesus. She experienced physical mistreatment from the devil but found strength in prayer, remaining at peace and overcoming difficulties through the power of Christ. She cheerfully helped others when help was needed. In spite of her growing reputation for holiness and wisdom, Veronica remained humble.
After a six-month illness, Veronica died on the date she had predicted, 13 January 1497. So numerous were her admirers who came to pay their respects, her burial was delayed for nearly a week. Many sick persons who touched her body were restored to health. Her remains are preserved at the parish Church in Binasco.
She was Beatified in 1517 by Pope Leo X (cultus confirmed). In 1672, Pope Clement X extended the devotion to the entire Augustinian Order and in 1749 Pope Benedict XIV added Blessed Vernoica to the Roman Martyrology.
Our Lady of Victory, Prague, Czech Republic (1620), home of the Infant of Prague: 13 January: Among shrines dedicated to Our Lady of Victory, that at Prague has become world-famous because it is also the home of the statue of the Infant of Prague. The story of the Shrine is an unusual one. In 1620 the Austrian Emperor, Ferdinand II and Prince Maxmilian of Bavaria gained a major victory over a coalition of Protestant armies in the battle of the White Mountains near Prague. The previous day, Fr Dominic of Jesus-Maria, a Discalced Carmelite, had found, in the castle of Strakowicz, a picture representing the nativity of Christ. It showed the Blessed Virgin kneeling before her Divine Son, while St Joseph stood behind her holding a lantern. In the background were two shepherds. The Calvanists had shown their fanaticism, by piercing the eyes of Mary and her spouse, St Joseph. Carrying the picture to the camp, the Monk held it up and urged the soldiers to restore Mary’s honour. His words decided the hesitation of the generals and gave courage to the men. They adopted Mary’s name as their battle cry and Mary blessed their efforts. In the moment of success, they hailed the painting as Our Lady of Victory and carried it in triumph into Prague, where their leaders adorned it with rich jewels. In gratitude to God for his great success and in recognition of the help given by Father Dominic, Ferdinand II founded several Carmelite Monasteries, including one at Prague which was solemnly blessed under invocation of Our Lady of Victory. Before this time, however, Father Dominic had taken the picture of Our Lady of Victory to Rome where it was first venerated in the Basilica of St Mary Major, then carried – in the presence of Pope Gregory XV – to the Church of St Paul near the Carmelite convent, on 8 May 1622. Pope Paul V subsequently changed the name of the Church to Our Lady of Victory and the feast was officially inaugurated. The original painting was destroyed in a fire in 1833 and has been replaced by a copy. Another copy hangs in the church of Our Lady of Victory in Prague, in a building erected in 1706 replacing the earlier church. From the Shrine of Our Lady of Victory in Prague, came to the entire world the devotion to the Infant of Prague. Our need for Mary’s help continues as long as we live and so long, too, we need her guidance. The struggle between the forces of evil and the forces of good, will continue until the end of time. The devil, whose intelligence and power exceed those we can command in our own right, has an acute appreciation of the value of our souls bought with a great price. Our sure way to defeat him, is to range ourselves under Mary’s banner, to call on her to bring us victory and to acknowledge her, as Our Lady of Victory when she protects us from dangers and brings us triumphant through temptation.
St Agrecius of Trier St Andrew of Trier St Berno of Cluny St Ðaminh Pham Trong Kham St Designatus of Maastricht St Elian of Brittany St Emil Szramek St Enogatus of Aleth St Erbin of Cornwall Blessed Francesco Maria Greco (1857-1931) Blessed Francesco’s Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/01/13/saint-of-the-day-13-january-blessed-francesco-maria-greco-1857-1931/ Bl Francisca Inés Valverde González St Giuse Pham Trong Ta St Glaphyra St Gumesindus of Córdoba St Hermylus Bl Hildemar of Arrouaise Bl Ida of Argensolles Bl Ivetta of Huy St Kentigern “Mungo” of Glasgow (c 518-614) About St Mungo: https://anastpaul.com/2020/01/13/saint-of-the-day-13-january-saint-kentigern-mungo-of-glasgow-518-614/ St Leontius of Caesarea St Luca Pham Trong Thìn Bl María Francisca Espejo y Martos Bl Matteo de Lana St Peter of Capitolíade St Servusdei of Córdoba St Stephen of Liège St Stratonicus Blessed Veronica of Binasco OSA (c 1445-1497) Virgin Mystic St Viventius St Vivenzio of Blera — Forty Martyred Soldiers at Rome: Forty soldiers martyred in the persecutions of Gallienus. They were martyred in 262 on the Via Lavicana, Rome, Italy.
Second Thought for the Day – 12 January – The Memorial of St Benedict Biscop OSB (c 628-690)
“How Venerable Benedict Did Prophesy to His Monks the Time of His own Death.”
(St Gregory’s Dialogues, Book 2, Chapter 37)
In the year that was to be his last, the man of God foretold the day of his holy death to a number of his disciples. In mentioning it to some who were with him in the Monastery, he bound them to strict secrecy. Some others, however, who were stationed elsewhere, he only informed of the special sign they would receive at the time of his death.
Six days before he died, he gave orders for his tomb to be opened. Almost immediately, he was seized with a violent fever that rapidly wasted his remaining energy. Each day his condition grew worse until finally, on the sixth day, he had his disciples carry him into the chapel where he received the Body and Blood of our Lord, to gain strength for his approaching end. Then, supporting his weakend body on the arms of his brethren, he stood with his hands raised to heaven and, as he prayed, breathed his last.
That day, two monks, one of them at the monastery, the other some distance away, received the very same revelation. They both saw a magnificent road covered with rich carpeting and glittering with thousands of lights. From his monastery, it stretched eastward in a straight line until it reached up into heaven. And there in the brightness stood a man of majestic appearance, who asked them, “Do you know who passed this way?”
“No,” they replied.
“This,”he told them, “is the road taken by blessed Benedict, the Lord’s beloved, when he went to heaven.”
Thus, while the brethren, who were with Benedict witnessed his death, those who were absent knew about it, through the sign he had promised them. His body was laid to rest in the Chapel of St John the Baptist, which he had built to replace the altar of Apollo.
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.”
Quote/s of the Day – 12 January – The Memorial of St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167) “St Bernard of the North”
“We should consider how much good our Lord did us, by His first coming and how much more He will do for us, by His second. This thought will help us, to have a great love for that first coming of His and a great longing for His return.”
“Let us then learn from the Cross of Jesus our proper way of living. Should I say ‘living’ or, instead, ‘dying’? Rather, both living and dying. Dying to the world, living for God. Dying to vices and living by the virtues. Dying to the flesh but living in the spirit. Thus in the Cross of Christ, there is death and in the Cross of Christ, there is life. The death of death is there and the life of life. The death of sins is there and the life of the virtues. The death of the flesh is there and the life of the spirit. … It was fitting, that we, who had fallen because of a tree, might rise up because of a tree.”
“Faith is not even a virtue, unless it is expressed by love, nor is hope, unless it loves, what it hopes for.”
“When insults have no effect on us, when persecutions and penalties, have no terror for us, when prosperity or adversity, has no influence on us, when friend and foe, are viewed in the same light… do we not come close, to sharing, the serenity of God?”
“If I see him [my neighbour] in distress, whether it be on account of the austerity of the food. or because of work or the vigils – if, I say, I see that he is tormented in body and tempted in spirit, if I see him in such affliction, and…do not on occasion accommodate myself to the infirmities of the weak I am not running in the fragrance of Christ’s ointments but with the harshness of the pharisees.”
St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167) “St Bernard of the North”
One Minute Reflection – 12 January – Seventh day in the Octave of Epiphany, Readings: Hebrews 2:5-12, Psalms 8:2 and 5, 6-7, 8-9, Mark 1:21-28 and the Memorial of St Benedict Biscop OSB (c 628-690)
But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” – Mark 1:25
REFLECTION – “Jesus rebuked the devil and said, ‘Be silent! Come out of him!’” Truth has no need of the Deceiver’s testimony. “I did not come to get the confirmation of your testimony but to cast you out of what I have created…, I have no need of the recognition of one whom I have vowed to destroy. Shut your mouth! Let your silence be My praise. I want no praise from your mouth, My praise is your torture, your punishment … Silence! and come out of this man!” It is as though He said: “Come out …, what are you doing in My house? It is I who want to enter in, so be silent and get out of the man, he being endowed with reason. Get out of the man! Leave the home prepared for Me! The Lord wants His house – vacate this man” …
See just how precious man’s soul is. This contradicts those who think that we human beings and animals have an identical soul and are animated by a same spirit. In another incident the devil is cast out of a single man and sent into two thousand pigs (Mt 8:32) – what is precious is saved, what is unclean is lost. “Come out of the man and get into the pigs…, go where you want, get along with you into the abyss. Leave the man, My private property, alone … I won’t allow you to possess the man, it would be an insult to Me if you were to make your home in him in My place. I took on a human body and dwell in man – the flesh you are possessing, is part of my own flesh – get out of this man!” – St Jerome (347-420) Father and Doctor of the Church – Homilies on Saint Mark’s Gospel, no. 2
PRAYER – King of heaven and earth, Lord God, rule over our hearts and bodies this day. Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed, according to the commandments of Your law, so that now and forever, Your grace may free and save us. Sanctify our hearts, minds and actions with Your power, that all we are, may speak of Your Light. May the prayers of the Blessed Virgin our Mother and the ever-zealous St Benedict Biscop, bring us to peace and confidence. We make our prayer through Your Son, our Lord Jesus, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 12 January – Seventh day in the Octave of Epiphany and the Memorial of St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167) “St Bernard of the North”
Behold Me, O Sweet Lord, Behold Me! By St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)
Behold me, O sweet Lord, behold me! For I hope. that in Your loving kindness, O Most Merciful One, You will behold me, either as a loving physician to heal, a kind teacher to correct, or an indulgent father to pardon… confident in Your sweet powerful mercy and most merciful power, I ask in virtue of Your sweet Name and of the mystery of Your sacred humanity that, mindful of Your kindness and unmindful of my ingratitude, You forgive me my sins and heal the languors of my soul. Amen
Saint of the Day – 12 January – St Benedict Biscop OSB (c 628-690) (pronounced “bishop”) – Bishop and Abbot of Wearmouth, who introduced Stained Glass windows to England and raised the Venerable Saint Bede, Founder of Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Priory (where he also founded the famous library) – he was known as a Bibliophile, Confessor, a man of great piety and learning. Born in c 628 in Northumbria, England as Benet Biscop and died on 12 January 690 of natural causes at Wearmouth, England. Patronages – English Benedictines, musicians, painters, Church libraries and librarians, Sunderland, England, St Benet Biscop Catholic Academy in Northumberland, England.
Benedict’s idea was to build a model Monastery for England, sharing his knowledge of the experience of the Church in Europe. It was the first Ecclesiastical building in Britain to be built in stone and the use of glass was a novelty for many in 7th-century England. It eventually possessed, what was a very large library for the time – several hundred volumes – and it was here, that Benedict’s student St Bede wrote his famous works. The library became world-famous and manuscripts that had been copied there became prized possessions throughout Europe, including especially the Codex Amiatinus, the earliest surviving manuscript of the complete Bible in the Latin Vulgate version.
Benet was born of the highest Anglo-Saxon nobility. He held office in the household of King Oswy (Oswiu) of Northumbria. But, after a journey to Rome, the first of his five such trips, when his was 25 (653) in the company of Saint Wilfrid, the saint renounced his inheritance and dedicated himself to God. He then spent his time in studying the Scriptures and prayer. Following a second visit to Rome with Oswy’s son Aldfrith in 666, he became a Monk in the Monastery of Saint-Honorat in Lerins near Cannes, France, taking the name Benedict. He remained there for two years strictly observing the rule.
His third pilgrimage to Rome in 669, coincided with the visit of Archbishop-elect Wighard of Canterbury, who died there, prior to his consecration. Saint Theodore was finally selected to replace Wighard as Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Saint Vitalian, ordered Benedict to accompany Theodore and Saint Adrian to England, as a Missionary, which he did in obedience. Theodore appointed Benedict Abbot of Sts Peter and Paul (now St Augustine’s) Monastery in Canterbury, where he remained for two years before returning to Northumbria. (He was succeeded as Abbot by Saint Adrian, whose feast day was yesterday and who held this position for 39 years.)
Thereafter, Saint Benedict travelled to and fro between Britain and Rome (beginning in 671), returning always with books and relics and bringing back with him craftsmen to build and enrich the Churches of Britain. This fourth journey was made, with the view of perfecting himself in the rules and practice of a monastic life, so he stayed a while in Rome and visited other Monasteries.
In 674, he was granted 70 hides of land by Oswy’s son, Egfrid, at the mouth of the river Wear (Wearmouth), where he built a great stone Church and Monastery dedicated to Saint Peter. He was the first to introduce glass into England, which he brought from France along with stone and other materials. His foreign masons, glaziers and carpenters taught their skill to the Anglo-Saxons. He spared no trouble or effort in seeking far and wide for all that would richly embellish his Romanesque church.
From his trip to Rome in 679, Benedict brought back Abbot John of Saint Martin’s, the precentor (Archcantor) from Saint Peter’s. This was a result of Benedict persuading Pope Saint Agatho that Abbot John would be able to instruct the English monks, so that the music and ceremonies at Wearmouth might follow exactly the Roman pattern. Upon his return to England, he held training classes in the use and practice of church music, liturgy and chants. (John also taught the English monks uncial script and wrote instructions on the Roman liturgy for them.)
But, chiefly, he brought books, for he was a passionate collector. His ambition was to establish a great library in his Wearmouth Monastery. He also imported pictures from Rome and Vienne, beautiful paintings and musical scores. Among these treasures imported from Rome were a series of paintings of Gospels scenes, of Our Lady and the Apostles and of incidents described in the Book of Revelation, to be set up in the church.
Benedict also devised his rule based on that of Saint Benedict and those of the 17 Monasteries he had visited. He doubtlessly organised the scriptorium in which was written the manuscript of the Bible which, his successor as Prior at Wearmouth, Saint Ceolfrid, took with him in 716 as a present to Pope Saint Gregory II – the very book was identified in the Biblioteca Laurentiana at Florence in 1887, the famous Codex Amiatinus. All this immeasurably enriched the early English Church.
Because his Monastery and Church at Wearmouth was so edifying, in 682 Egfrid gave him a further gift of forty hides of land, this time at Jarrow on the Tyne River. Here he established a second Monastery, six miles from St. Peter’s and dedicated it to Saint Paul (now called Jarrow) in 685, which became famous as a great centre of learning in the West and the home of Saint Bede. our Saint’s charge and spiritual son. Among its inmates were many Saxon thanes turned Monks, who ploughed and winnowed and worked at the forge, like the rest and at night, slept in the common dormitory, for rank and class had no place among them.
And because Benedict was busier than ever with all his enterprises and still governed both Abbeys, he handed over some of his authority. Benedict first took to help him at Wearmouth, his nephew, Saint Eosterwin, a noble like himself and then Saint Sigfrid. In Jarrow, he placed Saint Ceolfrid in charge. While Benedict still ruled the Abbeys as their Founder, he made these men the Abbots under his direction of the two foundations, so that the Monasteries would not be without leadership during his absences.
Benedict made his last voyage to Rome in 685, returning with even more books and sacred images and some fine silk cloaks of exceptional workmanship, which he exchanged with the King for three hides of land.
It was due to Benedict Biscop that so much material lay to hand for Bede and other scholars and that, a solid foundation was laid for the later glories of the English Church. After his death, the school at Jarrow alone, comprised 600 scholars, apart from the flow of constant visitors. It was also in large part due to him, that the Church of Northumbria turned from the old Celtic forms, to those of Rome. Out of his labours and travels came a rich and abundant harvest.
At the end of his life, Benedict suffered from a painful paralysis in his lower limbs. (It is interesting to note that Sigfrid was afflicted with the same paralysis about the same time.) Throughout his three-year confinement, he asked the Monks to come into his room to sing Psalms and he joined them when he could. His last exhortations to his Monks, before he died at age 62, were to continue his work, to preserve his great library, to follow the monastic Rule of Saint Benedict and, to elect an Abbot, based on his holiness and ability rather than his lineage. He said, he would rather the Monasteries be turned into wildernesses than to have his brother succeed him as Abbot.
Benedict’s biography was written by Saint Bede, who had been entrusted to his care at age seven and whose learning was made possible by the library Benedict collected at Jarrow. Bede, the historian, says that the civilisation and learning of the 8th century rested in the Monastery founded by Benedict.
Proof of a very early public cultus of Benedict Biscop comes from a sermon of Bede on him (Homily 17) for his feast but the cultus became more widespread only after the translation of his relics under Saint Ethelwold about 980. Saint Benedict’s relics are thought to rest at Thorney Abbey, although Glastonbury also claims some of them.