Quote/s of the Day – 25 February – Thursday of the First week of Lent, Readings: Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25, Psalms 138:1-2,2-3, 7-8, Matthew 7:7-12
“Ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.”
“Prayer is the wing, wherewith the soul flies to heaven and meditation, the eye, wherewith we see God.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Ask with tears, seek with obedience, knock with patience.”
St John Climacus (c 525-606) Father of the Church
“All who ask receive, those who seek find and to those who knock it shall be opened. Therefore, let us knock at the beautiful garden of Scripture. It is fragrant, sweet and blooming with various sounds of spiritual and divinely inspired birds. They sing all around our ears, capture our hearts, comfort the mourners, pacify the angry and fill us with everlasting joy.”
St John Damascene (676-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
“He promises to be [our] strength, in proportion to the trust which [we] place in Him.”
St Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682) “Apostle of the Sacred Heart”
“On the journey of this life to eternity, let me carry You in my heart, following Mary’s example, who bore You in her arms, during the flight to Egypt.”
St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) Bishop and Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 25 February – Thursday of the First week of Lent, Readings: Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25, Psalms 138:1-2,2-3, 7-8, Matthew 7:7-12 and the Memorial of Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio OFM (1502-1600) “The Angel of Mexico”
“Ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7
REFLECTION – “Try hard to please the Lord, pay Him unwearying attention within yourself, seek for Him with the aid of your thoughts, keep a check on your will and its decisions, control them so they are constantly directed towards Him. Then you will see how He draws near you and makes His dwelling within you… He stands there, taking note of your reasoning, thoughts, reflexions, examining how you are seeking Him, whether it is with all your soul or whether sluggishly and carelessly. And as soon as He sees you seek Him fervently, he will make himself known to you. He will appear to you, grant you His help, bestow the victory on you and save you from your enemies. In fact, when He sees how you are looking for Him, how you continually place all your hope in Him, then He will instruct you, teach you true prayer, give you that authentic charity that is Himself. Then, He will become everything to you: your paradise, life-giving tree, precious pearl, crown, architect, farmer, one subject to suffering but not afflicted with suffering, man, God, wine, living water, lamb, bridegroom, soldier, armour, Christ who is “all in all” (1Cor 15,28).
Just as a child cannot feed or take care of itself but can only look at its mother and cry until she takes pity and gives it her attention, so believing soul,s always hope in Christ and attribute to Him, all righteousness. As the shoot withers if it is separated from the vine (Jn 15,6) so does someone who wants to become faultless apart from Christ. Just as “someone is a thief and robber who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere” (Jn 10,1), so it is with someone, who wants to become just, without Him who justifies.” – St Macarius of Egypt (c 300-390) Monk – Spiritual Homilies no 30, 3-4
PRAYER –May We Love Only YouBy St Columban (543-615) Loving Saviour, be pleased to show Yourself to us who knock, so that in knowing You, we may love only You, love You alone, desire You alone, contemplate only You, day and night and always think of You. Inspire in us the depth of love that is fitting for You to receive as God. So may Your love pervade our whole being, possess us completely and fill all our senses, that we may know no other love but love for You, Who are everlasting. May our love be so great, that the many waters of sky, land and sea cannot extinguish it in us – many waters could not extinguish love. May this saying be fulfilled in us also, at least in part, by Your gift, Jesus Christ, our Lord, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen
Day Four of our Lenten Journey – 20 February – Saturday after Ash Wednesday, Readings: Isaiah 58: 9-14, Psalms 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, Luke 5:27-32
Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis CRSA (1380-1471)
In Your Light Lord, we see light
“Those who are well, have no need of a physician but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” – Luke 5:31-32
The holy Martyr, Lawrence, with his priest, conquered the world because he despised everything in it that seemed pleasing to him and for love of Christ patiently suffered the great high priest of God, Sixtus, whom he loved dearly, to be taken from him. Thus, by his love for the Creator, he overcame the love of man and chose instead of human consolation the good pleasure of God. So you, too, must learn to part with an intimate and much-needed friend for the love of God. Do not take it to heart when you are deserted by a friend, knowing that in the end we must all be parted from one another.
A man must fight long and bravely against himself before he learns to master himself fully and to direct all his affections toward God. When he trusts in himself, he easily takes to human consolation. The true lover of Christ, however, who sincerely pursues virtue, does not fall back upon consolations nor seek such pleasures of sense but prefers severe trials and hard labours for the sake of Christ. …
In what can I hope, then, or in Whom ought I trust, save only in the great mercy of God and the hope of heavenly grace? For though I have with me good men, devout brethren, faithful friends, holy books, beautiful treatises, sweet songs and hymns, all these help and please but little when I am abandoned by grace and left to my poverty. At such times there is no better remedy than patience and resignation of self to the will of God.
The devil does not sleep, nor is the flesh yet dead, therefore, you must never cease your preparation for battle, because on the right and on the left are enemies who never rest. (Book 2, Ch9, 2-3,6,8)
Quote/s of the Day – 20 February – Saturday after Ash Wednesday, Readings: Isaiah 58: 9-14, Psalms 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, Luke 5:27-32
“This is the glory of man – to persevere and remain in the service of God. For this reason, the Lord told His disciples: ‘You did not choose Me but I chose you.’ He meant that His disciples did not glorify Him by following Him but, in following the Son of God, they were glorified by Him. As He said: ‘I wish that where I am they also may be, that they may see My glory.’”
St Irenaeus (130-202) Father of the Church and Martyr
From his Against Heresies (Book 4)
“Christ is the artist, tenderly wiping away all the grime of sin that disfigures the human face and restoring God’s image to its full beauty.”
St Gregory of Nyssa (c 335–C 395) Father of the Church
“To welcome the Word of God into the interior depths of one’s heart is to be revived by food in plenty and the eternal spring. It is to hunger and thirst no more (Jn 6,35).”
St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan Father & Doctor of the Church
Commentary on Saint Luke’s gospel, 5, 16 ; SC 45
“Where, then, is true freedom? It is in the heart of one who loves nothing more than God. It is in the heart of one who is attached neither to spirit nor to matter but only to God. It is in that soul which is not subject to the “I” of egoism, which soars above its own thoughts, feelings, suffering and enjoyment. Freedom resides in the soul whose one reason for existence is God, whose life is God and nothing else but God.”
Saint Raphael Arnaiz Baron (1911-1938) Spanish Trappist Monk
One Minute Reflection – 20 February – Saturday after Ash Wednesday, Readings Isaiah 58: 9-14, Psalms 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, Luke 5:27-32 and the Memorial of St Elutherius of Tournai (c 456-532) Bishop and Martyr and Saints Francisco (1908-1919) and Jacinta (1910-1920)
“Those who are well, have no need of a physician but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” – Luke 5:31-32
REFLECTION – “The Apostle Paul said: “Take off the old self with its practices and put on the new self” (Col 3,9-10)… This was the work Christ accomplished when He called Levi; He refashioned him into a new man. Similarly, it is as a new person, that the former publican prepares a banquet for Christ since Christ takes pleasure in him and he himself, merits to have a share in happiness with Christ… He followed him now, happy, light-hearted and overflowing with joy.
“I have the aspect of a publican no more,” he said, “I don’t carry around the old Levi any longer; I put off Levi when I put on Christ. I flee from my earlier life; my Lord Jesus, you alone, who heal my wounds, I desire to follow. Who shall separate me from the love of God … ? tribulation? anguish? hunger? (Cf Rom 8,35). I am bound to You by faith as by nails, I am held fast by the worthy bonds of love. All Your commandments will be like a cautery that I will apply firmly to my wound; the remedy stings but it takes away the ulcerous infection. Lord Jesus, with Your powerful sword, cut away the corruption of my sins: come quickly, lance my hidden and varied passions. Purge away all infection in the new bath.
“Listen to me, you people who are fixed to the earth, you whose thoughts are intoxicated by your sins. I, Levi, was also wounded by similar passions. But I found a doctor who dwells in heaven and pours out His remedies on earth. He alone can cure my wounds since He Himself has none. He alone can remove the heart’s pain and the soul’s lethargy, for He knows everything that lies hidden.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church – Commentary on Saint Luke’s Gospel, 5, 23.27
PRAYER – Come my all-powerful, ever-living God, look with compassion on our frailty and for our protection, stretch out to us Your strong right hand. Grant that by the prayers of Mary, our Mother and all your angels and saints we may change our ways, leave everything behind, proclaim the glory of Your kingdom and come safely home to You. St Eleutherius and Sts Jacinta and Francisco, pray for us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – – 12 February – Readings: Genesis 3:1-8, Psalms 32:1-2, 5, 6,7, Mark 7:31-37
The Divine Remedy
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows, that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God …”
“Those who have been tricked into taking poison, offset its harmful effect, by another drug. The remedy, moreover, just like the poison, has to enter the system, so that its remedial effect may thereby spread through the whole body. Similarly, having tasted the poison, that is the fruit, that dissolved our nature, we were necessarily, in need of something, to reunite it. Such a remedy had to enter into us, so that it might, by its counteraction, undo the harm the body had already encountered from the poison. And what is this remedy? Nothing else than the body that proved itself superior to death and became the source of our life.”
St Greogory of Nyssa (c 335– c 395) Father of the Church
“An inborn imperfection in our human dough was removed, thanks to the leaven that comes from His perfect body… To complete what was missing, in these human bodies of ours, He gave something of Himself, just as He gives Himself to be eaten …”
St Ephrem (306-373) Father and Doctor of the Church
“This Body He gave to us to keep and eat, as a mark of His intense love’.”
St John Chrysostom (347 to 407) Father & Doctor of the Church
“Dust, so to speak, had forcibly entered humanity’s eye; earth had entered it, had injured the eye and it could not see the light. … That physician made a salve for you. And because He came, in such a way, that by His flesh, He might extinguish the faults of the flesh and by His death He might kill death … ”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the Church
“And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears and, after spitting. touched his tongue.” – Mark 7:33
REFLECTION – “The Lord heals all your ills” (Ps 102:3). Never fear, all your ills will healed. You say they are big ones but the Doctor is even greater. For an all-powerful Doctor there is no such thing as an incurable sickness. Simply let yourself be cared for, don’t push away His hand, He knows what to do. Don’t be happy only when He acts with gentleness but bear with it, too, when He prunes. Accept the unpleasantness of the cure, by thinking of the healing it will bring you. Notice all those things, brethren, that people put up with in their physical ills, so as to prolong their lives a few days… You, at least, are not suffering for an uncertain result – He, who has promised you your health, cannot be mistaken. Why is it that doctors are sometimes mistaken? Because they have not created the body they are treating. But God has made your body, God has made your soul. He knows how to re-create what He has created; He knows how to re-fashion what He has formed. You have only to abandon yourself into His Doctor’s hands… Endure His hands, then, O soul that “blesses him and forgets not all his benefits – he heals all your ills” (P2 102:2-3). He who had made you never to become sick, if you would kept his precepts, will He not heal you? He who made the angels and, in re-creating you, will make you equal to the angels – will He not heal you? He who made heaven and earth, will He not heal you, after having made you, in His image? (Gn 1:26) He will heal you but you must consent to be healed. He heals every sickness perfectly but He does not heal it, in spite of himself… Your health is Christ!” – St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the Church – Sermon on the Psalms, Ps 102: 5-6; PL 37, 1319
PRAYER – Almighty and merciful God, open the ears and eyes of our hearts and fill us with Your grace. May we follow You in holiness all the days of our lives. Grant we pray, that as You brought Your Saints and Martyrs to overcome fearlessly, the persecutions of Your people, that we too may remain invincible under Your protection and by their prayers, be strengthened against the snares of the enemy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
One Minute Reflection – 10 February – Monday of the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time, Readings: Genesis 1:1-19, Psalms 104:1-2, 5-6, 10 and 12, 24 and 35, Mark 6:53-56 and the Memorial of St Jerome Emiliani (1486–1537)
And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him, that they might touch, even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it, were made well. – Mark 6:56
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). Bring forth deep sighs to Him, without ceasing, 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 Pope Gregory the Great (c 540-604) Father and Doctor of the Church – Commentary on Psalm 50
PRAYER– Father of mercy, You chose St Jerome Emiliani to be a father to orphans in their need. Grant that through his prayer, we may keep faithfully the spirit of sonship, by which we are not only called but really are Your children. Help us to imitate his love and faith, manifesting by our commitment to Your commandments, our true faith. May we seek your grace in temptation and seek ever to avoid the occasions of sin and if we should fall, to run to You in grief and beg Your forgiveness. We make our prayer through Jesus, our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.