Quote/s of the Day – 19 October – The Memorial of St Paul of the Cross CP (1604-1775)
“We ought to glory in nothing other than, the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. You are blessed and don’t know it. You have Jesus Crucified, with you!”
“Your crosses dear God, are the joy of my heart. How beautiful to suffer with Jesus.”
“Oh cherished cross! Through thee my most bitter trials are replete with graces!”
“The passion of Jesus is a sea of sorrows but it is also an ocean of love. Ask the Lord to teach you to fish in this ocean. Dive into its depths. No matter how deep you go, you will never reach the bottom.”
“Do not live any longer in yourself but let Jesus Christ live in you in such a way that the virtue of this Divine Saviour may be resplendent in all your actions, in order that all may see in you a true portrait of the Crucified and sense, the sweetest fragrance of the holy virtues of the Lord, in interior and exterior modesty, in patience, in gentleness, suffering, charity, humility and in all others that follow.”
“Look upon the face of the Crucified, who invites you to follow Him. He will be a Father, Mother–everything to you.”
One Minute Reflection – 19 October – Monday of the Twenty Ninth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Ephesians 2:1-10, Psalms 100:1-2, 3,4, 4-5, Luke 12:13-21 and the Memorial of St Paul of the Cross CP (1604-1775)
“What shall I do? For I do not have space to store my harvest ” – Luke 12:17
REFLECTION – “What shall I do?” There was a ready response to this: “I will satisfy hungry souls, open up my barns, call in everyone in need… I will speak out words of generosity – all you, who are short of bread, come to me; each according to your needs, take your share of God’s gifts flowing like a public fountain.” Yet you, you foolish rich man, are very far from doing this! And why? Jealous of seeing others enjoy their wealth you give yourself up to wretched calculations – you are not anxious about how to distribute to each according to their need but how to take everything and deprive everyone else, of the profit they might have drawn from it…
So then, my brethren, take care you don’t experience the same fate as that man! If Scripture gives us this example, it is so, that we can avoid behaving in the same way. Imitate the earth! – bear fruit and don’t prove yourself worse than it, soulless as it is. It yields crops, not for it’s own pleasure but to serve you. To the contrary, all the fruit of the kindnesses you show, will be gathered for yourself, since the graces that arise from good works, return to those who bestow them. You have given to the hungry and what you gave, remains with you and even comes back to you, with increase. As the grain of wheat that fell into the earth brings profit to the sower, so the bread given to the hungry, will bring you superabundant profit later on. May the end of all your labours, be for you, the commencement of your sowing in heaven.” – St Basil The Great (329-379) Monk and Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Father and Doctor of the Church – Sermon 6, on Wealth
PRAYER – Almighty God, Your Priest Saint Paul, loved only the cross. May he obtain Your grace for us, so that, inspired with a new courage and the virtue of obedience and sacrifice, by his example, we may take up our cross without flinching. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God now and for all eternity, amen.
And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore, render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God, the things that are God’s.” – Matthew 22:20-21
REFLECTION – In an ancient work known as the Incomplete Work on Matthew, an anonymous Ancient Christian Writer (ACW) offers the following insight on these verses from today’s Gospel: “The image of God is not depicted on gold but is imaged in humanity. The coin of Caesar is gold; that of God, humanity. Caesar is seen in his currency; God, however, is known through human beings. And so give your wealth to Caesar but reserve for God the sole innocence of your conscience, where God is beheld. For the hand of Caesar has crafted an image by likenesses and lives each year by renewable decree. However, the divine hand of God has shown His image in ten points.
What ten points? From five carnal ones and five spiritual ones through which we see and understand what things are useful under God’s image. So let us always reflect the image of God in these ways:
I do not swell up with the arrogance of pride; nor do I droop with the blush of anger; nor do I succumb to the passion of avarice; nor do I surrender myself to the ravishes of gluttony; nor do I infect myself with the duplicity of hypocrisy; nor do I contaminate myself with the filth of rioting; nor do I grow flippant with the pretension of conceit; nor do I grow enamoured of the burden of heavy drinking; nor do I alienate by the dissension of mutual admiration; nor do I infect others with the biting of detraction; nor do I grow conceited with the vanity of gossip.
I will reflect the image of God in that I feed on love; grow certain on faith and hope; strengthen myself on the virtue of patience; grow tranquil by humility; grow beautiful by chastity; am sober by abstention; am made happy by tranquillity and am ready for death, by practicing hospitality.
It is with such inscriptions that God imprints His coins with an impression made neither by hammer nor by chisel but has formed them, with His primary divine intention. For Caesar required his image on every coin but God has chosen man, whom He has created, to reflect His glory.” (Incomplete Work on Matthew, «Homily 40»)
PRAYER – Lord God, You chose St Luke to reveal the mystery of Your love in his preaching and his writings. Grant, we pray, that we may grow in love for the Holy Face of Christ, His words and His directions, revealed to us in the Gospels, in the example of your saints. Today, on his feast, we especially look to St Luke, to guide, teach and pray for us. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever and ever, amen.
Quotes of the Day – 15 October – The Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus of Avila OCD (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church – “Doctor of Prayer”
“There is more value in a little study of humility and, in a single act of it, than in all the knowledge in the world.”
“You ought to make every effort to free yourselves, even from venial sin and to do what is most perfect.”
“There are more tears shed over answered prayers, than over unanswered prayers.”
“The surest way to determine. whether one possesses the love of God, is to see, whether he or she loves his or her neighbour. These two loves are never separated. Rest assured, the more you progress in love of neighbour, the more your love of God will increase.”
“Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life. . . . If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing.”
“There is no such thing as bad weather. All weather is good because, it is God’s.”
Thought for the Day – 14 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Second Glorious Mystery The Ascension of Jesus into Heaven
“Forty days after His glorious resurrection, Jesus came, with all His friends, among them His Mother, to the Mount of Olives. This area had already witnessed the opening phase of His passion, which was all the more poignant, perhaps because in Gethsemane, it was not only His body which was lacerated by scourges and nails but, His soul, which experienced the agonising vision of the sins and ingratitude of the human race. Now, however, He is here with a glorified body as the Conqueror of sin and of death. He looks for the last time on His small band of followers, to whom He has entrusted His mission of transforming the entire universe by preaching and putting into practice, the Gospel message, throughout the world. Now, He promises them the Holy Spirit, Who will give them the power to overcome evil. Then He is lifted up toward Heaven, until a bright cloud hides Him from their sight.
Perhaps, the Blessed Mother, was the last to take her eyes off the disappearing cloud which had removed Jesus from view. Her human eyes never saw again the beloved figure of her divine Son but, in her soul, she saw Him entering triumphantly into Heaven among choirs of Angels and sitting at the right hand of the Eternal Father. She saw and thought with infinite yearnng of the not too distant day, when she would have passed from mortal exile, into the everlasting happiness of Heaven, where she would embrace her divine Son again in an ecstasy of love.
We have all been called to ascend to Heaven with Jesus and Mary. Let us remember, however, that only the innocent and the repentant can be admitted into Paradise. If we have been unfortunate enough to have lost our baptismal innocence, only the second way is left to us – the way of penance. We must purify ourselves of our sins by means of good works. We must ascend higher and highter, towards the summit of Christian perfection.”
“But when the king came in to meet the guest,s he saw a man there, not dressed in a wedding garment.” – Matthew 22:11
REFLECTION – “But you, my friends, since you have already come into the house of the marriage feast, our holy Church, as a result of God’s generosity, be careful lest when the King enters He finds fault with some aspect of your heart’s clothing.
What do we think is meant by the wedding garment, dearly beloved? For if we say it is baptism or faith, is there anyone who has entered this marriage feast without them? A person is outside because he has not yet come to believe. What then must we understand by the wedding garment but love? That person enters the marriage feast but without wearing a wedding garment, who is present in the holy Church. He may have faith but he does not have love. We are correct when we say that love is the wedding garment because this is what our Creator Himself possessed, when He came to the marriage feast to join the Church to Himself. Only God’s love brought it about, that His only begotten Son ,united the hearts of His chosen to Himself. John says that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son for us.” – St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) Father and Doctor of the Church – Homilies on the Gospel, no. 38
PRAYER – Lord Holy God and Father, open our hearts o Your grace. Let it go before us and be with us. Open our hearts to Your love. Let it be the foundation of our love, let our love be Your love. Stepping in the footsteps of Your Son, in imitation of His Saints as St Alexander Sauli lived, grant that by his intercession, we too may reach Your eternal Feast. Through Jesus our Lord who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 5 October – Monday of the Twenty Seventh week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Galatians 1:6-12, Psalms 111:1-2, 7-8, 9 and 10, Luke 10: 25-37 and the Memorial of Blessed Raymond of Capua OP (c 1330-1399) “The Second Founder,” Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos CSsR (1819-1867), Blessed Bartholomew Longo (1841-1926) “Apostle of the Holy Rosary”
“The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’” – Luke 10:35
REFLECTION – “Who is my neighbour?” In answer the Word explained, in the form of a story, God’s entire economy of salvation. He told of man’s descent from heaven, the robbers’ ambush, the stripping of the garment of immortality, the wounds of sin, the progress of death over half of man’s nature while his soul remained immortal. Then came the passage of the Law that brought no help—neither the priest nor the Levite tended the wounds of the man who fell among robbers—for “it was impossible for the blood of goats and oxen to remove man’s sin” (Heb 10:4). And then He came, clothed in our human nature as the first-fruits of the mass in which there was a portion of every race, Jewish, Samaritan, Greek — all mankind. With His body (that is, the beast of the story) He proceeded to the place of man’s disaster, healed his wounds and set him upon His own beast. He created for him the inn of His loving providence, in which all those who labour and are burdened can find rest (Mt 11,28) (…)
“Whoever abides in me, and I in him” (Jn 6:56) (…) Whoever finds shelter in Christ’s mercy accepts two denarii from Him, one of which signifies the love of God with one’s whole heart and the other the love of one’s neighbour as oneself, according to the lawyer’s reply (Mk 12:30f). But “not the hearers of the law are just before God but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Rm 2:13). Hence we must not merely accept these two coins (…) but we must, by our own good deeds, co-operate in the fulfilment of these two commandments. And so, the Lord says to the innkeeper, that whatever he does in caring for the wounded man will be made up to him at the Lord’s second coming according to the measure of his devotion.” … St Gregory of Nyssa (c 335–C 395) Father of the Church, Monk, Bishop – Sermons on the Song of Songs, no14 – [Brother of St Basil the Great (Father & Doctor)]
PRAYER – God our Father, we are Your children and You have set us aside to come home to You by the light of the way of Your divine Son. Grant we pray, that we may grow in faith and love for You and our neighbour daily, by the intercession of Saints Bl Raymond of Capua, Francis Xavier Seelos, Bartholomew Longo, may we learn the gentleness and tenderness of love, to all around us. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 4 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Second Joyful Mystery Mary’s Visit to St Elizabeth
“When the Angel told Mary that she had been chosen to be the Mother of God, he proceeded to reveal also the imminent birth of the Precursor of Jesus Christ. Her cousin, Elizabeth, he told her, who had been sterile for such a long time, would soon have the joy of bearing a son. When the Blessed Virgin heard this good news, she set out for a long and difficult journey to congratulate her cousin.
The devout soul is always motivated by charity and pays no attention to difficulties or obstacles because, the grace of God possesses it completely. We also have received and, continue to receive, many graces from our Creator. We were nothing and God gave us being. We were in darkness and He gave us the light of faith. We were slaves of sin and Jesus Christ broke the bonds in which the devil held us and gave us the freedom of the children of God. We were exiles on this earth and God became our companion and our guide. We hungered for the supernatural and, He nourished us with the divine Bread in which He gave Himself to us completely!”
Quote/s of the Day – 4 October – The Memorial of St Francis of Assisi (c 1181–1226)
“Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.”
“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you, nothing that you have received— only what you have given – a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”
“Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve.”
“Your God is of your flesh, He lives in your nearest neighbour, in every man.”
“O you sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? … Behold – daily He humbles Himself as when from heaven’s royal throne He came down into the womb of the Virgin. Daily, He Himself, comes to us with like humility; daily He descends from the bosom of the Father, upon the altar, in the hands of the priest.”
Quote/s of the Day – 30 September – The Memorial of St Jerome (347-419) Father and Doctor, “The Man of the Bible”
A Light for Our Path By St Jerome
O Lord, You have given us Your word for a light to shine upon our path, grant us so to meditate on that word and follow its teaching, that we may find in it, the light that shines more and more until the perfect day. Amen
“Let sleep find you holding your Bible and when your head nods, let it be resting on the sacred page.”
“Someone who shows no clemency, who is not clothed with the bowels of mercy and tears, no matter what sort of student he is in spirituality, such a one does not fulfil the law of Christ.”
“Instead of speaking saintly words, we must act them.”
“If Christ did not want to dismiss the Jews without food in the desert, for fear that they would collapse on the way, it was to teach us, that it is dangerous to try to get to Heaven, without the Bread of Heaven.”
“You say in your book that while we live, we are able to pray for each other but afterwards, when we have died, the prayer of no person for another, can be heard. But if the apostles and martyrs, while still in the body, can pray for others, at a time, when they ought still be solicitous, about themselves, how much more will they do so, after their crowns, victories and triumphs?” (St Jerome from ‘Against Vigilantius,’ 406)
St Jerome wrote to Augustine in 418: “You are known throughout the world; Catholics honour and esteem you as the one who has established anew the ancient Faith.”
Quote/s of the Day – 28 September – The Memorial of St Wenceslaus (907-935) King of Bohemia, Martyr
St Wenceslas was considered a Martyr and a Saint immediately after his death, when a cult of Wenceslas grew up in Bohemia and in England. Within a few decades of Wenceslas’ death, four biographies of him were in circulation. These hagiographies had a powerful influence on the High Middle Ages conceptualisation of the rex justus, or “righteous king”, that is, a monarch whose power stems mainly from his great piety, as well as from his princely vigour. The chronicler Cosmas of Prague, writing in about the year 1119, states:
“But his deeds I think you know better than I could tell you; for, as is read in his Passion, no-one doubts that, rising every night from his noble bed, with bare feet and only one chamberlain, he went around to God’s churches and gave alms generously to widows, orphans, those in prison and afflicted by every difficulty, so much so, that he was considered, not a prince but the father of all the wretched.”
Several centuries later the legend was claimed as fact by Pope Pius II.
The hymn “Svatý Václave” (Saint Wenceslas) or “Saint Wenceslas Chorale” is one of the oldest known Czech hymns in history. It’s roots can be found in the 12th century and it still belongs to the most popular religious songs to this day. In 1918, in the beginning of the Czechoslovak state, the song was discussed as one of the possible choices for the national anthem. His feast day is celebrated today, while the translation of his relics, which took place in 938, is commemorated on 4 March.
Good King Wenceslaus
Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen, When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even; Brightly shone the moon that night, tho’ the frost was cruel, When a poor man came in sight, gath’ring winter fuel.
“Hither, page, and stand by me, if thou know’st it, telling, Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?” “Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain; Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes’ fountain.”
“Bring me flesh and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither: Thou and I will see him dine, when we bear them thither.” Page and monarch, forth they went, forth they went together; Through the rude wind’s wild lament and the bitter weather.
“Sire, the night is darker now and the wind blow stronger; Fails my heart, I know not how; I can go no longer.” “Mark my footsteps, my good page. Tread thou in them boldly Thou shalt find the winter’s rage freeze thy blood less coldly.”
In his master’s steps he trod, where the snow lay dinted; Heat was in the very sod which the saint had printed. Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing, Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.
Thought for the Day – 24 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“A man without the light of faith is like a blind man groping in the dark. The world which surrounds us is an inconceivable absurdity, unless, we have faith in a God who creates and orders. Life is an aimless journey if it is not illuminated by faith in a Creator, Who will reward us. Everything without us and within us, speaks to us of God and directs our steps towards Him, our supreme benefactor, our judge and our eternal reward. The stars of the heavens and the flowers of the fields, tell us of the infinite beauty and goodness of their Creator. In the pages of the Gospel, we find, a clearer and more penetrating light which invites us to adore and love the divine Redeemer and to believe in Him, Who alone, has the words of eternal life and Who alone can satisfy the infinite desires of our hearts.
All this is true. Everything around us and within us leads us to God and invites us to have faith. The virtue of faith, however, is a supernatural gift, which we must humbly and perseveringly beg from God. It is, as St Thomas Aquinas says, the foundation of the entire spiritual life (Summa Theologiae,III,q 73, a 3); without it, the spiritual edifice would collapse. How thankful, therefore, we should be to God for having been called to the faith and for having been born in the Catholic Church. There are so many souls outside Her, who grope in the darkness, longing for the truth. We should pray for them that they may reach the port of salvation and may be able to join with us in praising, loving and serving Our Lord Jesus Christ. We should also be well aware that, as pointed out by St James, faith without good works is dead (Cf Js 2:17-20). Even the devils believe, as St Augustine observes (De Caritate, 10) but, this does not help their salvation. Besides faith, the love of God and love of our neighbour are necessary. The result of this double charity, should be a gradual increase in good works.”
Quote/s of the Day – 25 September – Friday of the Twenty-fifth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, Psalms 144:1, 2, 3-4, Luke 9:18-22
“Then he said to them, But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, The Christ of God.”
“If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter, your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.”
“It is I, be not afraid”
“What determines that the gifts of God dwells in us, is the measure of each one’s faith. Because it is to the extent that we believe, that the enthusiasm to act is given us. And so those who act, reveal the measure of their faith proportionate to their action, they receive their measure of grace according to what they have believed. …”
St Maximus the Confessor (c 580-662) Monk and Theologian
“I believe though I do not comprehend and I hold by faith, what I cannot grasp with the mind.”
St Bernard (1090-1153) Mellifluous Doctor
“Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth, by command of the will, moved by God through grace.”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus Doctor Communis
“O Heart of love, I put all my trust in Thee, for I fear all things, from my own weakness, but I hope for all things, from Thy Goodness.”
St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690)
“Faith is that which makes us believe from the depths of our souls… all the truths that our religion teaches us, all that the Gospel holds and all that the Church sets before us. The just man lives truly by this faith (Rom 1:17), for it replaces for him, the greater part of his natural senses. It so transforms all things, that the senses are of little use to the soul, which through them is only deceived, whilst faith shews it realities. Where the eye sees but a poor man, faith sees Jesus (Mt 25:40).”
Bl Charles Eugène de Foucauld of Jesus OCSO (1858-1916)
Thought for the Day – 17 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Commandments and the Desires of Jesus Christ
“Sanctity consists, in doing the will of God, in all things. We can become perfect by doing His will, from the motive of love alone. “He who has my commandments and keeps them,” said Jesus, “he it is who loves me. But he who loves me, will be loved by my Father and I will love him and manifest myself to him. If anyone love me, he will keep my word and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our abode with him” (Jn 14:21-23).
Do we wish to know if we love God sincerely? The proof is this. If we do His will and obey His precepts, it is a sign that we love him but, if we do not observe His commandments, we lie when we say we love Him. We must, therefore, show our love, by observing in all things, the commandments of God. He gave us these commandments our of love for us, so that, by observing them, we should be saved and should be happy with Him. Even as He has given them out of love, we should observe them out of love, for He is our supreme and only good. Just as Jesus lovingly did the will of His heavenly Father, from Bethlehem to Nazareth, from Nazareth to Calvary and from Calvary to Heaven, so we should follow in His footsteps, by doing the adorable will of God in all the circumstances of our lives, both joyful and sorrowful. But, we must obey the divine will out of love, that is, because we love God whole-heartedly and above all created things.
Everything is easy to him who loves. “When we love him who gives us orders,” says St Francis de Sales, “even the hardest of actions becomes easy.”
Let us examine ourselves. Are we always ready to obey the commandments of God at any cost and would we die rather than offend Him? Let us examine ourselves also, to see, if we do all this out of love for Jesus. “He who does not love,” writes St John, “abides in death” (1 Jn 3:14).”
Quote/s of the Day – 17 September – The Memorial of St Robert Bellarmine SJ (1542-1621) Doctor of the Church
“The school of Christ is the school of love. In the last day, when the general examination takes place … Love will be the whole syllabus.”
“What is easier, sweeter, more pleasant, than to love goodness, beauty and love, the fullness of which, YOU ARE, O Lord, my God?”
“If you are wise, then, know that you have been created for the glory of God and your own eternal salvation. This is your goal; this is the centre of your life; this is the treasure of your heart. May you consider truly good, whatever leads you to your goal and truly evil, whatever makes you fall away from it.”
“It is granted to few, to recognise the true Church, amidst the darkness, of so many schisms and heresies and, to fewer still, so to love the Truth which they have seen, as to fly to it’s embrace!”
“Charity is that, with which no man is lost and without which, no man is saved.”
“It seems unbelievable that a man should perish in whose favour Christ said to His Mother: ‘Behold thy son’, provided that he has not turned a deaf ear to the words, which Christ addressed to him: ‘Behold thy Mother.’”
St Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) Doctor of the Church
Thought for the Day – 15 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Christ’s Work in Us
“It is not enough that Jesus live in us ; He must increase and act in us continually. The Spiritual life is like natural life. It cannot stop, for to halt would mean death! If Jesus is our life, He should live in us with ever-increasing intensity. Life is like a stairway, we are either going up or coming down.
If we continue to climb energetically towards Jesus, we shall be coming nearer to Christian perfection. If, on the other hand, we halt, the supernatural life of Jesus in us, will begin to weaken. Tepedity will replace fervour and sin will succeed tepidity. It is difficult to remain unchanged because, life involves movement. ‘Jesus Christ,” writes St Augustine, “was born a baby but, He did not remain one. He grew to boyhood, to adolescence and then, to maturity.”
It is necessary for us to grow also. More precisely, it is necessary that Jesus grow continuously in us through faith, charity and good works. “Court the good,” admonishes St Paul, “from a good motive always … until Christ is formed in you” (Gal 4:18-19).
It is not enough that Christ be born in us, it is necessary that He increase to the fullness of perfection (Cf Eph 4:13-16). “Jesus increases daily,” writes Origen, “in the soul of the holy and just man, which mirror His grace, His wisdom and His sanctity. In the soul of the unfortunate sinner, however, Christ decreases and dies.”
Quote/s of the Day – 13 September –The Memorial of St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Church
“The waters have risen and severe storms are upon us but we do not fear drowning, for we stand firmly upon a rock. Let the sea rage, it cannot break the rock. Let the waves rise, they cannot sink the boat of Jesus.”
“Let the world be in upheaval. I hold to His promise and read His message, that is my protecting wall and garrison. What message? ‘Know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!’”
“Jesus Christ, the God-Man, was born in a manger and is spiritually reborn on the altar. He suffered on Calvary and continues to offer Himself on the altar. In His earthly life, He spread His teaching and worked miracles among the crowds. In the Eucharist, He spans the centuries and communicates Himself to all.”
“When you see the immolated Lord lying on the altar and the priest who, standing, prays over the victim… can you still believe you are among men, that you are on earth? Are you not, on the contrary, suddenly transported to Heaven?”
“By virtue of this Body, I am no longer dust and ashes, I am no longer a prisoner but free, by virtue of this, I hope in Heaven and to receive its goods, the inheritance of the angels and to converse with Christ!”
“Lift up and stretch out your hands, not to heaven but to the poor… if you lift up your hands in prayer without sharing with the poor, it is worth nothing.”
“Jesus, open the eyes of my heart, that I may hear Your word and understand and do Your will. Open the eyes of my mind to the understanding of Your Gospel teachings. Speak to me the hidden and secret things of Your wisdom. Enlighten my mind and understanding with the light of Your knowledge, not only to cherish those things that are written but to do them. Amen”
“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.” … Matthew 18:21-22
REFLECTION – “The perfection of brotherly love lies in the love of one’s enemies. We can find no greater inspiration for this, than grateful remembrance of the wonderful patience of Christ. He who is more fair than all the sons of men, offered His fair face to be spat upon by sinful men. He allowed those eyes, that rule the universe, to be blindfolded by wicked men. He bared His back to the scourges. He submitted that head which strikes terror in principalities and powers, to the sharpness of the thorns. He gave Himself up to be mocked and reviled and, at the end, endured the cross, the nails, the lance, the gall, the vinegar, remaining always gentle, meek and full of peace. In short, He was led like a sheep to the slaughter and like a lamb before the shearers He kept silent and did not open his mouth. Who could listen to that wonderful prayer, so full of warmth, of love, of unshakeable serenity – Father, forgive them – and hesitate to embrace his enemies with overflowing love? Father, He says, forgive them. Is any gentleness, any love, lacking in this prayer? Yet He put into it, something more. It was not enough to pray for them, He wanted also to make excuses for them. Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. They are great sinners, yes but they have little judgement, therefore, Father, forgive them. They are nailing Me to the cross but they do not know who It is that they are nailing to the cross, if they had known, they would never have Crucified the Lord of glory. Therefore, Father, forgive them. They think it is a lawbreaker, an impostor claiming to be God, a seducer of the people. I have hidden My Face from them and they do not recognise My glory. Therefore, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
If someone wishes to love himself he must not allow himself to be corrupted by indulging his sinful nature. If he wishes to resist the promptings of his sinful nature, he must enlarge the whole horizon of his love, to contemplate the loving gentleness of the humanity of the Lord. Further, if he wishes to savour the joy of brotherly love with greater perfection and delight, he must extend even to his enemies the embrace of true love. But if he wishes to prevent this fire of divine love from growing cold because of injuries received, let him keep the eyes of his soul always fixed on the serene patience of his beloved Lord and Saviour.” … St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110 – 1167) – Speculum Caritatis 3,5
PRAYER – Lord God, strength of those who hope in You, by Your will, St John Chrysostom became renowned in the Church, for his astounding eloquence and his forbearance in persecution. Grant that we may be enriched by his teaching and thus grow in sanctity, to follow the commandments You set forth in Your Word, Your Son who is our Saviour and Redeemer. By the prayers of St John Chrysostom, may we attain the place You have prepared for us. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 10 September – Thursday of the Twenty Third week in Ordinary Time, Readings: 1 Corinthians 8:1b-7, 11-13, Psalms 139:1-3, 13-14, 23-24, Luke 6:27-38
“Love one another as I have loved you”
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
“Once for all, then, a short precept is given you – Love and do what you will, whether you hold your peace, through love, hold your peace; whether you cry out, through love cry out; whether you correct, through love correct; whether you spare, through love do you spare. Let the root of love be within, of this root, can nothing spring but what is good.”
St Augustine (354-430) Great Western Father and Doctor of the Church
Homily 7 on John
“My brothers, Christ made love the stairway that would enable all Christians to climb to heaven. Hold fast to it, therefore, in all sincerity, give one another practical proof of it and by your progress in it, make your ascent together.”
St Fulgentius of Ruspe (c 462 – 533)
“So hold fast to the sweet and salutary bond of love, without which, the rich are poor and with which the poor are rich. What do the rich possess if not charity? (…) And since “God is love,” (1 Jn 4:8) as John the evangelist says, what can the poor lack, if they merit to possess God by means of charity? (…) So love, dearest brethren and hold fast to charity. without which no-one will ever see God.”
St Caesarius of Arles (470-543)
“At the end of your life, you will be judged by your love.”
St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Doctor of the Church
Quote/s of the Day – 9 Sepember – The Memorial of St Peter Claver SJ (1581-1654) “Slave of the slaves” and Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813–1853) “Servant to the Poor” and Founder of the St Vincent de Paul Society
“We must speak to them with our hands, by giving, before we try to speak to them with our lips.”
“To love God as He ought to be loved, we must be detached from all temporal love. We must love nothing but Him, or if we love anything else, we must love it, only for His sake.”
“To do the will of God, man must despise his own; the more he dies to himself, the more he will live to God.”
St Peter Claver (1581-1654) “Slave of the slaves”
“Let us complain less of our times and more of ourselves. Let us not be discouraged, let us be better!”
“Let us learn of Him, that holy preference, which shows most love, to those who suffer most.”
“Let us go in simplicity, where merciful Providence leads us, content to see the stone on which we should step, without wanting to discover, all at once and completely, the windings of the road.”
Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813–1853) “Servant to the Poor”
Quote/s of the Day – 7 September – Monday of the Twenty Third week in Ordinary Time, Readings: 1 Corinthians 5:1-8, Psalms 5:5-6, 7, 12, Luke 6:6-11
“Stretch forth your hand.”
“While the withered hand was restored, the withered minds of the onlookers were not. … Are you debating what you will do? Worship Him as God. Worship the Wonder-worker. Worship One who worked good things on behalf of another.”
St Athansius (297-373) Father and Doctor of the Church
“What He receives on earth He returns in heaven. … A poor man is begging from you and you are begging from God, he asks for a scrap, you ask for eternal life.”
St Caesarius of Arles (470-543)
“O God, grant that whatever good things I have, I may share generously with those who have not and whatever good things I do not have, I may request humbly from those who do.”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor anglicus
“If we look forward to receiving God’s mercy, we can never fail to do good, so long as we have the strength. For if we share with the poor, out of love for God, whatever He has given to us, we shall receive according to His promise, a hundredfold in eternal happiness. What a fine profit, what a blessed reward! With outstretched arms He begs us to turn toward Him, to weep for our sins and to become the servants of love, first for ourselves, then for our neighbours. Just as water extinguishes a fire, so love wipes away sin.”
St John of God (1495-1550)
“So when you leave prayer to serve some poor person, remember, that this very service, is performed for God.”
St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
“Yours must be a work of love, of kindness, you must give your time, your talents, yourselves.”
Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813–1853) “Servant to the Poor” and Founder of the St Vincent de Paul Society
“On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching and there was a man whose right hand was withered.” … Luke 6:6
REFLECTION – “Are you angry at me because I have healed the whole man on the sabbath day?” In this place he revivified, with the salutary strength of good works, the hand which Adam stretched out to pluck the fruit of the forbidden tree. The hand which had withered through a crime, was healed by good deeds. Christ thereby rebuked the Jews who violated the precepts of the law with evil interpretations. They thought that they should rest even from good works on the sabbath, since the law prefigured in the present, the form of the future, in which indeed the days of rest from evils, not from blessings, would come.
Then you heard the words of the Lord, saying, “Stretch forth your hand.” That is the common and universal remedy. You, who think that you have a healthy hand, beware lest it is withered by greed or by sacrilege Hold it out often. Hold it out to the poor person who begs you. Hold it out to help your neighbour, to give protection to a widow, to snatch from harm one whom you see subjected to unjust insult. Hold it out to God for your sins. The hand is stretched forth, then it is healed. Jeroboam’s hand withered when he sacrificed to idols, then it stretched out when he entreated God” … St Ambrose (340-397)- One of the 4 original Doctors of the Latin Church – Exposition on the Gospel of Luke, 5
PRAYER – God of mercy and love, You offer all peoples the dignity of sharing in your life. Rule over our hearts and bodies this day. Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed, my our hands be held out to our neighbour in imitation of Your love and mercy. By the intercession of Mary the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ and our Mother, strengthen us to love each other as brothers and sisters. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 6 September – Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Readings: Ezekiel 33:7-9, Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9, Romans 13:8-10, Matthew 18:15-20
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church.”
“You shall not hate your brother in your heart but you shall reason with your neighbour, lest you bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people but, you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord”
“Someone who shows no clemency, who is not clothed with the bowels of mercy and tears, no matter what sort of student he is in spirituality, such a one does not fulfil the law of Christ.”
St Jerome (347-420) Priest, Translator of the Bible, Father & Doctor of the Church
“If you do not close your ear to others, you open God’s ear to yourself.”
“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
An excerpt from his Sermon 43
“Be gentle to the weak, firm to the stubborn, steadfast to the proud, humble to the lowly.”
St Columban (543-615)
“Charity may be a very short word but with its tremendous meaning of pure love, it sums up man’s entire relation to God and to his neighbour.”
St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)
“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.”
St Francis of Paola OM (1416-1507)
“O man, when the world hates you and is faithless toward you, think of your God, how He was struck and spat upon. You should not accuse your neighbour of guilt but pray to God, that He be merciful to you both.”
St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)
“You must be reconciled with your enemies, speak to them as if they had never done you anything but good all your life, keeping nothing in your heart but the charity, which the good Christian should have for everyone, so that we can all appear with confidence before the tribunal of God.”
“If your brother sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.” … Matthew 18:15
REFLECTION – “He does not say “accuse him” or “punish him” or “take him to court.” He says “correct him.” For he is possessed, as it were, by some stupor and drunk in his anger and disgrace. The one who is healthy must go to the one who is sick. You must conduct your judgement of him privately. Make your cure easy to accept. For the words “correct him,” means nothing other, than help him see his indiscretion. Tell him what you have suffered from him.
What then if he does not listen, if he stubbornly flares up? Call to your side someone else or even two others, so that two witnesses may corroborate all that’s said. For the more shameless and boldfaced he is, so much the more must you be earnest toward his cure, not toward satisfying your anger and hurt feelings. For when a physician sees the sickness unyielding, he does not stand aside or take it against himself but, then is all the more earnest. That then, is what Christ orders us to do. You appeared too weak since you were alone, so become stronger with the help of others. Two are sufficient to reprove the wrongdoer. Do you see how He seeks the interest not of the aggrieved party alone but, also that of the one who caused the grief? For the person injured may be the one who is more taken captive by passion. He becomes the one that is diseased and weak and infirm.
This effort may occur many times, as He attempts to lead him first alone and then with others. If he persists, then make the effort with the whole congregation. “Tell it,” He says, “to the church.” If He had sought the interest of the aggrieved alone, He would not have told him to approach the sick individual seventy-seven times. He would not have attempted so many times or brought so many treatments to the malady. He might have just let him be, if he persisted uncorrected from the first meeting. But instead, He shows us how to seek his cure once, twice and many times, first alone, then with two, then with many more.” … St John Chrysostom (347-407) Bishop of Constantinople, Father and Doctor – The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 60.
PRAYER – Since it is from You, God our Father, that redemption comes to us, Your adopted children, look with favour on the family You love, give true freedom to us and to all who believe in Christ, Your Son and our Saviour and bring us all alike, to our eternal heritage. May we, in turn, give ourselves in true love to You and our neighbour in all things, treating him as we would want ourselves treated. And may the prayers of our glorious and merciful Mother, lead us to our heavenly home. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 30 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“He who has persevered to the end,” Jesus tells us, “will be saved” (Mt 10:22; 24:13). Elsewhere He says that “no-one, having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the kingdome of God” (Cf Lk 9:62). It is necessary, therefore, to persevere in goodness, if we wish to be saved.
It is easy to begin but, it is difficult to continue. In a moment of fervour, perhaps, you promised to be holy. Maybe some misfortune came your way, such as the loss of someone very dear to you and you were moved to meditate upon the vanity of earthly things and promised to dedicated yourself entirely to God. In that moment, you experienced the truth of the words of Ecclesiastes, summarised in The Imitation of Christ: “Vanity of vanities and all is vanity but, to love God and serve Him alone” (Bk 1, c 1:4).
Unfortunately, your good resolutions wore away with time. You may have been swept away once more by the deceptive pleasures of this world. Or perhaps, your charity grew cold and in your tepidity, you gave into the violent onslaught of temptation.
Christian perseverance has three main enemies. (1) Firstly, there is time, which slowly consumes this virtue. You must conquer time by resolving to begin the battle anew every morning of your life. (2) Then there is the devil, who goes about, as St Peter warns us, like a lion in search of his prey (Cf 1 Peter 5:8). You must resist him by the strength of your faith. (3) Finally, there is spiritual sloth, which easily invades the soul. You must take your cue from St Paul’s exhortation: “My beloved brethren, be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor 15:58).
Quotes of the Day – 28 August – The Memorial of St Augustine of Hippo (354-430) – Father and Doctor of Grace
“To fall in love with God, is the greatest romance; to seek Him, the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement.”
“You ask what you might offer to God? Offer yourself! What does God expect from you, except yourself?”
“He bought brothers for Himself by His blood, He made them welcome by being rejected, He ransomed them by being sold, He honoured them by being dishonoured, He gave them life by being put to death. So, brethren, rejoice in the Lord, not in the world. That is, rejoice in the truth, not in wickedness, rejoice in the hope of eternity, not in the fading flower of vanity. That is the way to rejoice. Wherever you are on earth, however long you remain on earth, the Lord is near, do not be anxious about anything!”
“God provides the wind but man must raise the sails.”
“A man may lose the good things of this life against his will but, if he loses the eternal blessings, he does so with his own consent.”
“Do you wish to RISE? Begin by DESCENDING. You plan a tower that will pierce the CLOUDS? Lay first the foundation of HUMILITY.”
“If we live good lives, the times are also good. As we are, such are the times.”
“He who calls us, came here below, to give us the means of getting there. He chose the wood that would enable us to cross the sea – indeed, no-one can cross the ocean of this world, who is not borne by the Cross of Christ. Even the blind can cling to this Cross. If you can’t see where you are going very well, don’t let go of it, it will guide you by itself. ”
“We pray then to Him, through Him, in Him and we speak along with Him and He along with us. ”
“The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.” … Matthew 25:3-4
REFLECTION – “It is some great thing, some exceedingly great thing, that this oil signifies. Do you think it might be charity? If we try out this hypothesis, we hazard no precipitate judgement. I will tell you why charity seems to be signified by the oil. The apostle says, “I will show you a still more excellent way.” “If I speak with the tongue of mortals and of angels but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” This is charity. It is “that way above the rest,” which is, with good reason, signified by the oil. For oil swims above all liquids. Pour in water and pour in oil upon it, the oil will swim above. If you keep the usual order, it will be uppermost, if you change the order, it will be uppermost. “Charity never fails.” … St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor – Sermon 93
PRAYER – Renew in Your Church, we pray , O Lord, the spirit with which You endowed Your Bishop Saint Augustine, that, filled with the same spirit, we may thirst for You, the sole fount of true wisdom and seek You, the author of heavenly love. 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. St Augustine, pray for us! Amen