Quote/s of the Day – 10 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Readings: First: Second Corinthians 3: 15 — 4: 1, 3-6, Psalm: Psalms 85: 9ab and 10, 11-12, 13-14, Gospel: Matthew 5: 20-26
“Go first and be reconciled with your brother”
“Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times but seventy times seven.”
“There are three things, my brethren, by which faith stands firm, devotion remains constant and virtue endures. They are prayer, fasting and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. Prayer, mercy and fasting, these three are one and they give life to each other.”
“If you want God to know that you are hungry, know that another is hungry. If you hope for mercy, show mercy. If you look for kindness, show kindness. If you want to receive, give. If you ask for yourself what you deny to others, your asking is a mockery.”
St Peter Chrysologus (400-450) Bishop of Ravenna, Father & Doctor of the Church
“To the extent that you pray, with all your soul, for the person who slanders you, God will make the truth known to those who have been scandalised by the slander.”
St Maximus the Confessor (c 580–662)
“See to it that you refrain from harsh words. But if you do speak them, do not be ashamed to apply the remedy from the same lips, that inflicted the wounds.”
Quote/s of the Day – 11 May – “Mary’s Month” – Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter,Readings: Acts 16: 22-34, Psalms 138: 1-2, 2-3, 7-8, John 16: 5-11
“I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord; he will guide you to all truth.”
“If one of us has a conscience polluted by the stain of avarice, conceit, vain-glory, indignation, irascibility, or envy and the other vices, he has “a daughter badly troubled by a demon” like the Canaanite woman.”
St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father and Doctor of the Church
“A good man is not a perfect man; a good man is an honest man, faithful and unhesitatingly responsive to the Voice of God in his life.”
St John Fisher (1469-1535) Bishop, Martyr
“Just as speech has been given to men to be the interpreter of their feelings and desires, so it is through the conscience, that God teaches us, what He judges of everything and what He expects of each one of us. This divine Voice forms various interior words, to express various lessons and the different orders, that it pleases God to give to His creature. It is the bond of communication that the Lord desires to have with us and the most usual organ he makes use of, to touch our hearts and open to us His own.”
St Claude la Colombière SJ (1641-1682)
Christian reflections (Spiritual writings, coll. Christus no 9,)
“The Heart of Jesus is with me.”
“Three things I cannot escape: the eye of God, the voice of conscience, the stroke of death. In company, guard your tongue. In your family, guard your temper. When alone guard your thoughts.”
Venerable Matthew Talbot (1856 – 1925)
“Then steer your ship with steady arm, Trust Me and rest your soul. Your little boat I’ll keep from harm, I’ll guide it toward its goal. … Be therefore, steadfast, calm and true, Your God is at your side. Through storm and night He’ll see you through With conscience as your guide.”
St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross OCD.(1891-1942 Edith Stein “At the Helm”
One Minute Reflection – 28 April – Wednesday of the Fourth week of Easter, Readings: Acts 12:24–13:5, Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8, John 12:44-50 and the Memorial of St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716)
“I am come as light into the world, that whosoever believes in me, may not remain in darkness..” – John 12:46
REFLECTION – “The humility with which Christ “emptied himself, assuming the condition of a servant” (Phil 2:7) is our light. His denial of the world’s glory, He who chose to be born in a stable rather than a palace and to undergo a shameful death on the cross, is light for us. Owing to this humility, we can know just how detestable is the sin of a creature of clay (Gn 2:7), a wretched man of no worth, when he puffs himself up, vaunts himself and refuses to obey, while we see the infinite God, humiliated, despised and delivered up to men.
A light for us, too, is the meekness with which He bore hunger, thirst and cold, insults, blows and wounding, when “like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep before its shearers, he did not open his mouth” (Is 53:7). Indeed, in view of this meekness, we see how pointless anger is, as also threats. Then we consent to suffer and do not serve Christ out of habit. Thanks to this, we learn to pay heed to all that is asked of us, weeping for our sins in submission and silence and patiently bearing the sufferings that come our way. For Christ bore His torments with such great meekness and patience, not for sins He had not committed but for those of others.
From now on, dearest brethren, ponder over all the virtues Christ taught us by the example of His life, that He recommends to us through His preaching and. gives us the strength to imitate, by the aid of His grace.” – Lanspergius the Carthusian (1489-1539) Monk, theologian – Sermon 5
PRAYER – Lord God, life of those who believe in You, glory of the humble and happiness of the Saints, listen kindly to our prayer. We long for what You promises, fill us from Your abundance, give us true faith and obedience. May the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Your Son, be our constant recourse. and may her cliet and Yours, St Louis Marie de Montfort, pray for us all. Through Our Lord, Jesus with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Acts 12: 24 — 13: 5a 24 But the word of the Lord increased and multiplied. 25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, having fulfilled their ministry, taking with them John, who was surnamed Mark. 13:1 Now there were in the church which was at Antioch, prophets and doctors, among whom was Barnabas and Simon who was called Niger and Lucius of Cyrene and Manahen, who was the foster brother of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 And as they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Ghost said to them: Separate me Saul and Barnabas, for the work whereunto I have taken them. 3 Then they, fasting and praying and imposing their hands upon them, sent them away. 4 So they being sent by the Holy Ghost, went to Seleucia and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when they were come to Salamina, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.
Gospel: John 12: 44-50 44 But Jesus cried and said: He that believes in me, does not believe in me but in him that sent me. 45 And he that sees me, sees him that sent me. 46 I am come as light into the worl, that whosoever believes in me, may not remain in darkness. 47 And if any man hears my words and keeps them not, I do not judge him: for I came not to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He that despises me and receives not my words, has one that judges him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken of myself but of the Father who sent me, he gave me commandments what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting. The things, therefore, that I speak, even as the Father said unto me, so do I speak.
Thought for the Day – 16 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Steadfastness in Suffering
“When we feel depressed or when we are tempted to strike out angrily against human injustice and misunderstanding, there are two considerations which should help us to be patient.
The first, is the reflection, that everything comes to us from God, or is at least permitted by Him. Why should we rebel against the will of God? Jesus was innocence itself yet He willed to suffer for love of us. Are we unwilling to suffer for love of Him?
The second, is the realisation, that we are sinners who have offended God many times and deserve to be punished. It is necessary to accept patiently, all the sufferings which God sends us in expiation ofour sins. “We are receiving what our deeds deserved” (Lk 23:41).
Above all, we ought to resolve, never to give way to anger in word or deed when we are offended. On these occasions, we should wait until we have calmed down and have asked God for peace of mind. Before we do anything, we need time for reflection and prayer. If we act in this way, we shall not have to be sorry afterwards.
Patience can help us to achieve anything and will eventually help us to gain Heaven.”
Thought for the Day – 26 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“As We Also Forgive Our Debtors”
“If thou art offering thy gift at the altar,” Jesus tells us “and thou remember that thy brother has anything against thee, leave thy gift before the altar and go first to be reconciled to thy borhter and then come and offer thy gift” (Mt 5:23-24). Prayer is futile, therefore, unless we have first forgiven our enemies!
“Learn from me,” Jesus said when He proposed Himself as a model to be imitated, “for I am meek and humble of heart.” Then He added, “you will find rest for your souls” (Cf Mt 11:29). The foundation of our hatred, anger and resentment, is always our wounded pride. We need Christlike gentleness and humility, if we are to forgive sincerely and generously. Only when we have this gentleness and humility, moreover, shall we find joy in forgiving and only then, shall we have peace. As long as there is room in our hearts for pride and hatred, we can never enjoy peace of soul!”
One Minute Reflection – 11 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary” – Friday of the Twenty Third week in Ordinary Time, Readings: 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22b-27, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 12, Luke 6:39-42
“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye and then you will see clearly, to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” … Luke 6:42
REFLECTION – “The Lord in this passage warns us against rash and unjust judgement. He wants us to act with a heart that is single and intent on God alone. Because there are many things about which, it would be rash to pass judgement, since we do not know with what kind of a heart they are done. For the most part, those who readily judge and condemn, are those who love to find fault and to condemn rather than to reprove and correct – and this is the vice of pride or envy. (…)
So if, for instance, someone sins through anger, you would reprove him through hatred. There is as much difference between anger and hatred, as there is between a speck and a beam. For hatred is an inveterate anger which, in time, has come to such a pitch that it may aptly be called a beam. Even though you are angry with someone, you may nevertheless wish them to amend. But if you hate someone, you cannot wish them to change for the better (…) First rid yourself of hatred, and then you will immediately be able to correct the person you love.” … St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace – Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, 19,63
PRAYER – Lord God, in Your wisdom, You created us, in love. By Your providence, You rule us, in love. Penetrate our inmost being with the holy light of Your Son. Penetrate our hearts with the overwhelming love for Your love, so that we may weep in consolation. May the Light that is Jesus Christ our Lord, enlighten our hearts that we may see clearly the way we should tread. May the prayers of Your holy Angels, Martyrs, Saints and our Sorrowful Martyr Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, be our guiding inspiration. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever amen.
Thought for the Day – 14 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Very few people are destined to great things by Almighty God.
More of us must offer ourselves in the relatively unimportant walks of life in which we have been placed by Providence.
Only some of the Saints were endowed with exceptional virtues and miraculous powers which attracted the attention and the admiration of the world.
In the normal course of events, Christian perfection must be acquired little by little, through the practice of ordinary virtues and unspectacular good actions.
There is always scope for these.
An upsurge of anger can be suppressed from the motive of the love of God and of our neighbour.
We can behave courteously towards people who are unsympathetic towards us or who offend us by their unmannerly conduct.
We can combat pride by acts of humility and egoism by acts of charity.
We can mortify ourselves in speech, in behaviour and at table and, we can give alms to the poor, good advice to the ignorant and comfort to the afflicted.
All these virtuous actions are insignificant in the eyes of men but, they are great in the sight of God.
The blades of grass and the flowers in the meadow are tiny things but, joined together, they constitute the pasture which provides nourishment for the herds and the flocks.
Let us perform these small actions everyday and so cultivate the ordinary virtues.
We shall attract the attention and favour of God, Who, will help us to advance, step-by-step, towards the peak of Christian perfection.”
Quote/s of the Day – 13 August – The Memorial of St Maximus the Confessor (c 580-662) Father of the Church
“For indeed, what is more dire than the evils which today afflict the world? … What is more terrible for the discerning than the unfolding events? What is more pitiable and frightening for those who endure them? To see a barbarous people of the desert overrunning another’s lands as though they were their own, to see civilisation itself, being ravaged by wild and untamed beasts whose form alone is human.”
“All the ends of the inhabited world … look directly to the most holy Church of the Romans and her confession and faith as to a sun of eternal light, receiving from her, the radiant beam of the patristic and holy doctrines.”
“Since He causes the darkness of ignorance and the evil of men to vanish, my Saviour and my God is called a lamp in Scripture. And since He is the only one able to obliterate the darkness of ignorance and disperse the shadows of sin, He has become the way of salvation for all … The lampstand is holy Church because the Word of God shines out through her preaching. This is how the beams of its truth can enlighten the whole world…”
“To harbour no envy, no anger, no resentment against an offender is still not to have charity for him. It is possible, without any charity, to avoid rendering evil for evil. But to render, spontaneously, good for evil – such belongs to a perfect spiritual love.”
“He who busies himself with the sins of others, or judges his brother on suspicion, has not yet even begun to repent or to examine himself so as to discover his own sins…”
“We adore one Son, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning before all time, is now and ever shall be, for all time and for the time after time. Amen!”
Saint Maximus the Confessor (c 580-662)
Father of the Church
Thought for the Day – 29 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Jesus Lost in the Temple
The Gospel of St Luke relates that when Jesus was twelve years of age, He went with Mary and Joseph to Jerusalem to celebrate the Pasch.
When the feast was over, Our Lady and St Joseph set out on the return journey and, as was the custom, they went in separate caravans, one being for men and the other for women.
Each believed that the Child Jesus was in the other group but, at the end of the first day’s journey, they failed to find Him in either.
They were stricken with worry and sorrow and returned immediately to Jerusalem, where they searched anxiously for Him.
At last they found Him in the Temple.
There He was, carrying on a discussion in the midst of a gathering of doctors of the Law, who were amazed at the wisdom of His answers.
When the Blessed Virgin gently reproved Him, Jesus replied: “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Cf Lk 2:41-51)
After this, He went back readily with them to Nazareth “and was subject to them.”
We have a great deal to learn from this chapter of the Gospel.
Above all, let us learn the humility and mildness of Jesus, Who quietly replied, in answer to Mary’s gentle reproach, that it was His special mission to look after the work of His Heavenly Father, for He owed obedience, in the first place, to God and then to men (Cf Acts 5:29).
What is our attitude when we are rebuked or criticised?
Are we humble in the manner of Jesus Christ?
Or, are we angry and resentful?
Let us earnestly examine ourselves in this matter.
Thought for the Day – 25 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Mortification and Penance
“In Christian teaching, death is the beginning of life. “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies,” Jesus said, “it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. He who loves his life, loses it and he, who hates his life in this world, keeps it unto life everlasting” (Jn 12:24-25).
This paradox of dying to this life in order to live in Heaven, was enacted in a wonderful way in the lives of Jesus and of the Saints.
It must be put into effect in our lives also, if we are to be genuine Christians.
Jesus shed His precious blood for us and His death was the beginning of His triumph.
The Apostles, Martyrs and Saints, gave their lives for Christ and received, as their reward, the happy and eternal life of Heaven.
By dying to our own ego and to our passions, we shall find the true life of Christ.
We must die to ourselves, so that Christ may live in us, as He lived in St Paul.
We must die to pride, so that Christian humility may live in us;
we must die to anger, so that patience may live in us;
we must die to lust, so that purity and innocence may live in us
and, we must die to selfishness, so that charity may live in us.”
Thought for the Day – 18 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“We must all experience privation, because everybody, has to do without something, in this life.
Some people are never in good health. Besides their actual sufferings, they have to put up with their inability to work or to enjoy themselves.
Others, have no means of earning their livelihood. Their lives are a daily battle, not merely against poverty but against squalor and wretchedness. They have not enough bread to eat, nor have they homes where they and their families, can live.
In families where there is no such want, on the other hand, there may be no peace in the home.
Individuals, too, can lack peace of soul, because they are ridden by false ambition or jealousy.
Other people have a plentiful supply of this world’s comforts but, are destitute of the most necessary thing in life, which is goodness.
They are depressed because they have become slaves to sin.
Is there any remedy for all these privations and sorrows?
Yes! we must embrace our cross.
We must turn confidently to God and ask Him that may be resigned to doing without, those temporal things, of which we are deprived.
We must ask Him for the grace to rise from our sins and climb towards Christian perfection.
There is no use in revolting, nor, in despairing.
There is no real happiness in this world.
If we are vexed and rebellious, our cross grows heavier.
If we accept privation from God’s Hands, we are soon consoled.”
Thought for the Day – 22 August – Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Queen of the World and of Peace
Saint Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159)
An excerpt from a Sermon
Observe how fitting it was that even before her assumption, the name of Mary shone forth wondrously throughout the world. Her fame spread everywhere even before she was raised above the heavens in her magnificence. Because of the honour due her Son, it was indeed fitting for the Virgin Mother to have first ruled upon earth and then be raised up to heaven in glory. It was fitting that her fame be spread in this world below, so that she might enter the heights of heaven on overwhelming blessedness. Just as she was borne from virtue to virtue by the Spirit of the Lord, she was transported from earthly renown to heavenly brightness.
So it was, that she began to taste the fruits of her future reign while still in the flesh. At one moment she withdrew to God in ecstasy, at the next, she would bend down to her neighbours with indescribable love. In heaven angels served her, while here on earth she was venerated by the service of men. Gabriel and the angels waited upon her in heaven. The virgin John, rejoicing that the Virgin Mother was entrusted to him at the cross, cared for her with the other apostles here below. The angels rejoiced to see their queen, the apostles rejoiced to see their lady and both obeyed her with loving devotion.
Dwelling in the loftiest citadel of virtue, like a sea of divine grace or an unfathomable source of love that has everywhere overflowed its banks, she poured forth her bountiful waters on trusting and thirsting souls. Able to preserve both flesh and spirit from death, she bestowed health-giving salve on bodies and souls. Has anyone ever come away from her troubled or saddened or ignorant of the heavenly mysteries? Who has not returned to everyday life gladdened and joyful because his request had been granted by the Mother of God?
She is a bride, so gentle and affectionate and the mother of the only true bridegroom. In her abundant goodness, she has channelled the spring of reason’s garden, the well of living and life-giving waters, that pour forth in a rushing stream from divine Lebanon and flow down from Mount Zion, until they surround the shores of every far-flung nation. With divine assistance, she has redirected these waters and made them into streams of peace and pools of grace. Therefore, when the Virgin of virgins was led forth by God and her Son, the King of kings. amid the company of exulting angels and rejoicing archangels, with the heavens ringing with praise, the prophecy of the psalmist was fulfilled, in which he said to the Lord:
At your right hand stands the queen, clothed in gold of Ophir.
Quote/s of the Day – 22 September – The Memorial of St Thomas of Villanova O.S.A (1488-1555)
“I am, notwithstanding, inexcusable, if I do not love You; for You grant Your love to all who desire or ask it. I cannot see without light: yet if I shut my eyes in the midst of the noon-day light, the fault is in me, not in the sun.”
“What great profit you gain from God when you are generous! You give a coin and receive a kingdom; you give bread from wheat and receive the Bread of Life; you give a transitory good and receive an everlasting one. You will receive it back, a hundred times more than you offered.”
“If you want God to hear your prayers, hear the voice of the poor!”
“If you wish God to anticipate your wants, provide those of the needy without waiting for them to ask you. Especially anticipate the needs of those who are ashamed to beg. To make them ask for alms is to make them buy it.”
“Dismiss all anger and look into yourself a little. Remember that he of whom you are speaking is your brother and as he is, in the way of salvation, God can make him a saint, in spite of his present weakness.”
Quote/s of the Day – 13 September – the Memorial of St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Church
“Never separate yourself from the Church. No institution has the power of the Church. The Church is your hope. The Church is your salvation. The Church is your refuge.”
“When you are before the altar where Christ reposes, you ought no longer to think that you are amongst men; but believe that there are troops of angels and archangels standing by you and trembling with respect before the sovereign Master of Heaven and earth. Therefore, when you are in church, be there in silence, fear and veneration.”
“If we approach with faith, we too will see Jesus… for the Eucharistic table takes the place of the crib. Here, the Body of the Lord is present, wrapped not in swaddling clothes, but in the rays of the Holy Spirit.”
“It is simply impossible to lead, without the aid of prayer, a virtuous life.”
“Let the mouth also fast from disgraceful speeches and railings. For what does it profit if we abstain from fish and fowl and yet bite and devour our brothers and sisters? The evil speaker eats the flesh of his brother and bites the body of his neighbour!”
Quote/s of the Day – 27 June – The Memorial of St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father and Doctor
“He who receives Communion is made holy and divinised in soul and body in the same way that water, set over a fire, becomes boiling… Communion works like yeast that has been mixed into dough so that it leavens the whole mass; …Just as by melting two candles together, you get one piece of wax, so, I think, one who receives the Flesh and Blood of Jesus is fused together with Him by this Communion and the soul finds that he is in Christ and Christ is in him.”
“If the poison of pride is swelling up in you, turn to the Eucharist and that Bread, Which is your God humbling and disguising Himself, will teach you humility.
If the fever of selfish greed rages in you, feed on this Bread and you will learn generosity.
If the cold wind of coveting withers you, hasten to the Bread of Angels and charity will come to blossom in your heart.
If you feel the itch of intemperance, nourish yourself with the Flesh and Blood of Christ, Who practiced heroic self-control during His earthly life and you will become temperate.
If you are lazy and sluggish about spiritual things, strengthen yourself with this heavenly Food and you will grow fervent.
Lastly, if you feel scorched by the fever of impurity, go to the banquet of the Angels and the spotless Flesh of Christ, will make you pure and chaste.”
“Our Saviour went to the wedding feast to make holy the origins of human life.”
“From Christ and in Christ, we have been reborn through the Spirit, in order to bear the fruit of life, not the fruit of our old, sinful life but the fruit of a new life founded upon our faith in Him and our love for Him. Like branches growing from a vine, we now draw our life from Christ and we cling to His holy commandment, in order to preserve this life.”
“That anyone could doubt, the right of the holy Virgin to be called the Mother of God, fills me with astonishment. Surely, she must be the Mother of God, if our Lord Jesus Christ is God and she gave birth to Him!”
St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father and Doctor
Quote/s of the Day – 28 January – The Memorial of St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor angelicus (Angelic Doctor) and Doctor communis (Common Doctor)
“Nothing created has ever been able to fill the heart of man. God alone can fill it infinitely.”
“It is only God who creates. Man merely rearranges.”
“When the devil is called the god of this world, it is not because he made it but because we serve him with our worldliness.”
“To pretend angels do not exist because they are invisible, is to believe we never sleep because we don’t see ourselves sleeping.”
“Charity is the form, mover, mother and root of all the virtues.”
“To love is to will the good of the other.”
“The greatest kindness one can render to any man consists in leading him from error to truth.”
“Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth, by command of the will, moved by God through grace.”
“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!”
“The celebration of Holy Mass is as valuable, as the death of Jesus on the cross.”
“Mary means Star of the sea, for as mariners are guided to port by the ocean star, so Christians attain to glory through Mary’s maternal intercession.”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor of the Church