Thought for the Day – 27 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Blessed are the Clean of Heart
“There is a purity of heart and chastity, which is an obligation for everybody, even for those who are married or preparing for marriage.
Everybody is obliged to avoid any act of impurity, insofar as it is opposed to his own particular state, to the natural law and to the Divine law. Do not think that this degree of chastity is any easier than the first. Sometimes, the obligations it imposes, are even more difficult than those of absolute virginity.
There is only one remedy for impurity. It is the practice of virtue, to the point of sacrifice. Only a man who is ready, with the help of God, to make any sacrifice can preserve purity of heart. It is a difficult struggle but only those who win, can see God. Our Lord has said: “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8). Only the clean of heart will be able to see and enjoy Him forever in Heaven and, by means of His grace, will be able to see Him, in a less perfect manner, on earth. St Thomas Aquinas says, that mental blindness is the main effect of impurity (Summa Theologiae II-II q 55, a 6). This is because, anyone who gives himself up to impurity, loses all spiritual enlightenment and easily loses his faith, as well! He no longer sees God and he does not believe anymore because his heart is steeped in the mire of impurity. “The sensual man does not perceive the things that are of the Spirit of God, for it is foolishness to him and he cannot understand …” (1 Cor 2:14). He is like the blind mole which creates its own dark little underground world and cannot see the sky anymore.”
Thought for the Day – 9 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Second Sorrowful Mystery The Scourging
“The Saints voluntarily imposed on themselves flogging and other severe penances, which would make us shudder in modern times, in order to control their bodily impulses and to expiate, along with Jesus, the sins of their fellowmen. Today, the pleasure-loving world cries out against such barbaric folly and extravagance. But you who are a Catholic, educated in the school of Christ Crucified, know that suffering has a mission in your life, that mortification is necessary for the control of the body.
We must make sacrifices in order to combat our evil impulses. We should avoid weakness and self-indulgence. Let us always remember that we are followers of Christ Crucified and should, therefore, be prepared to chastise our bodies, even to the point of undergoing martyrdom, if this is necessary, in order to avoid sin and to preserve our chastity.”
Thought for the Day – 1 August – “Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” -Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Virginal Purity of Mary
O Mary, my Heavenly Mother, I am so weak, yet the danger in which I find myself, is so great. Turn your eyes of mercy upon me and come to my assistance. Most of all, do not allow the demon of impurity to seduce my soul. Grant that I may never yield to the temptations of the flesh. Protect for me, the flower of my chastity, until I can deliver it, unsullied, into the hands of Jesus in Heaven. Amen.
Thought for the Day – 6 May – “Mary’s Month” Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Virginal Purity of Mary
“Purity is the most beautiful of virtues. It is a virtue which is admired by God and by men, even by the most corrupt. It is often said, that it makes us like the angels but in fact, looking at it in a particular way, it makes us superior to the angels. Since they have no bodies, the angels cannot sin against purity, while we have to fight many battles and overcome many temptations, in order to preserve our chastity. Jesus had a very special love for this virtue. He chose to be born of a virgin and, He showed a particular affection for St John, who was a dedicated celibate. On one occasion, He placed His Hands on the head of a little child and said: “Unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter into the kingdom of Heaven “(Mt:18.3)
Unfortunately, the virtue of purity is as fragile as it is beautiful. It can be lost in a single moment of weakness. We must love ths virtue as Mary loved it. We must be prepared to make any sacrifice, even the most heroic, rather than lose it. Worldly charm and beauty attract us and the devil works hard to control our imagination and our affections. On account of the disturbance of original sin, the flesh is like a terrible weight retarding our spiritual advancement. Sometimes it seems as if it is irresistibly drawing us towards the abyss of impurity. But we need not be dragged down, if we are prepared to fly from the occasions of sin and to pray to God and to our heavenly Mother for her intercession. We must always act at once, for there is no time to dally. It is fatal to remain inactive and to allow temptation to make its way into our soul. This kind of battle, said St Francis de Sales, is won only by soldiers who flee. We must fly from the occasions of sin, no matter what sacrifice this entails. Jesus has warned us, that it is better to enter Heaven without a hand or a foot, than to be cast into hell.
We know the remedies – instant flight, heroic sacrifice and constant prayer. We can leave the rest to the grace of God and to the maternal protection of Mary.”
Quote/s of the Day – 18 January – Monday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A – Readings: Hebrews 5:1-10,Psalms 110:1, 2, 3, 4, Mark 2:18-22
The Spiritual Power of Fasting
“The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them and then they will fast in that day.”
“… Now is the time in this life of suffering, when we journey apart from Him. … So let us fast and pray now because, we are in the days of childbirth!”
“Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one’s flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust and kindles the true light of chastity. Enter again into yourself!”
St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo Father and Doctor of Grace
“Let us offer our souls in sacrifice by means of fasting. There is nothing more pleasing that we can offer to God, as the psalmist said in prophecy – A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit, God does not despise a bruised and humbled heart.”
St Peter Chrysologus (400-450) Bishop of Ravenna, Father & Doctor of the Church
“Let my fasting be based on temperance, my soul in a state of grace, my intention solely to please God, then my efforts will ring true, fit to enlarge my store of charity.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Bishop of Geneva OFM, Cap. Doctor Caritatis
Thought for the Day – 26 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Feast of St John the Apostle and Evangelist, the Beloved
St John the Apostle and Evangelist
“St John was the beloved disciple of Jesus Christ. He was allowed, along with St Peter and St James, to enjoy the glory of the Transfiguration and, he was invited with them into the Garden of Gethsemane to witness the agonu ofour divine Redeemer. In the Cenacle, moreover, after he had received the Blessed Eucharist, he was the only one of the Apostles privileged to rest his head on the breast of Jesus. He stood at the foot of the Cross on Mount Calvary and heard his Master entrust to him, with His dying breath, the most precious treasure which still remained to Him on earth, the Blessed Virgin Mary. “Son, behold thy Mother.”
It is true, that Jesus loved all His Apostles, to all of whom He granted the happiness of enjoying His company, listening to His teaching and witnessing, His miracles. Even so, He had a special affection for St John. This was because John was a virgin when Jesus called him and remained so, all his life. The state of virginity is especially pleasing to God. It makes us like the Angels and, in a sense, superior to them, since these pure spirits are naturally chaste and, we can only succeed in being so, by means of great self-control. “Blessed are the pure of heart,” says Jesaus in the Gospel, “for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8).
The privilege of the vision of God is attributed, in a special way, to the pure of heart. Therefore, St John, the virgin Apostle, begins his Gospel with a descriptio of the intimate life of the eternal God. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word, was God” (Jn 1:1). He soars above the earth like an eagle, as St Jerome observes and penetrates into the presence of God Himself.
We know that we shall never be called to scale such heights. We may not even have a vocation to live as virgins. But, we are all required to be clean of heart. Purity is a virtue which all Christians should possess in whatever manner is appropriate to their position in life. Let us examine ourselves strictly on this matter and make suitable resolutions for the future.”
Saint of the Day – 27 December – St John the Apostle and Evangelist.
The days following Christmas are full of symbolic meaning, as on 26 December we honour the first Martyr, St Stephen, who shed his blood for Jesus. 27 December, honours St John the Evangelist, the Disciple of Jesus who wrote the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation. Interestingly enough, he is the only Gospel writer to omit a narrative of Jesus’ birth. Based on this fact alone, it seems strange to include him during the Octave of Christmas. What is the Church’s reason behind this choice? Servant of God, Dom Prosper Guéranger in his Liturgical Year, points to St John’s pure chastity and his focus on the Divinity of Christ, as the reasons why he is honoured now at the Crib of Christ.
Dom Prosper Guéranger OSB (1805-1875)
The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved, the Eagle
“Nearest to Jesus’ Crib, after Stephen, stands John, the Apostle and Evangelist. It was only right, that the first place should be assigned to him, who so loved his God, that he shed his blood in his service; for, as this God Himself declares, greater love than this hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friends [1 John, 15:13] and Martyrdom has ever been counted, by the Church, as the greatest act of love and as having, consequently, the power of remitting sins, like a second Baptism. But, next to the sacrifice of Blood, the noblest, the bravest and, which most wins the heart of Him, who is the Spouse of souls, is the sacrifice of Virginity. Now, just as St Stephen is looked upon as the type of Martyrs, St John is honoured as the Prince of Virgins. Martyrdom won for Stephen the Crown and palm; Virginity merited for John most singular prerogatives, which, while they show how dear to God, is holy Chastity, put this Disciple among those, who, by their dignity and influence, are above the rest of men.
St. John was of the family of David, as was our Blessed Lady. He was, consequently, a relation of Jesus. This same honour belonged to St James the Greater, his Brother; as also to St James the Less and St Jude, both Sons of Alpheus. When our Saint was in the prime of his youth, he left, not only his boat and nets, not only has lather Zebedee but, even his betrothed, when everything was prepared for the marriage. He followed Jesus and never once looked back. Hence, the special love which our Lord bore him. Others were Disciples or Apostles, John was the Friend, of Jesus. The cause of this our Lord’s partiality, was, as the Church tells us in the Liturgy, that John had offered his Virginity to the Man-God. Let us, on this his Feast, enumerate the graces and privileges that came to St John from his being The Disciple whom Jesus loved.
This very expression of the Gospel, which the Evangelist repeats several times — The Disciple whom Jesus loved [John, 13:23, 19:26, 21:7, 21:20] — says more than any commentary could do. St Peter, it is true, was chosen by our Divine Lord, to be the Head of the Apostolic College and the Rock whereon the Church was to be built – he, then, was honoured most but St John was loved most. Peter was bid to love more than the rest loved and he was able to say, in answer to Jesus’ thrice repeated question, that he did love Him in this highest way and yet, notwithstanding, John was more loved by Jesus than was Peter himself, because his Virginity deserved this special mark of honour.
Chastity of soul and body brings him, who possesses i,t into a sacred nearness and intimacy with God. Hence it was, that at the Last Supper – that Supper, which was to be renewed on our Altars, to the end of the world, in order to cure our spiritual infirmities and give life to our souls – John was placed near to Jesus, nay, was permitted, as the tenderly loved Disciple, to lean his head upon the Breast of the Man-God. Then it was, that he was filled and from their very Fountain, with Light and Love, it was both a recompense and a favour and became the source of two signal graces, which make St John an object of special reverence to the whole Church.
Divine wisdom, wishing to make known to the world, the Mystery of the Word and commit to Scripture, those profound secrets, which, so far, no pen of mortal had been permitted to write — the task was put upon John. Peter had been crucified, Paul had been beheaded and the rest of the Apostles had laid down their lives in testimony of the Truths they had been sent to preach to the world; John was the only one left in the Church. Heresy had already begun its blasphemies against the Apostolic Teachings; it refused to admit the Incarnate Word as the Son of God, Consubstantial to the Father. John was asked by the Churches to speak and he did so in language heavenly above measure. His Divine Master had reserved to this, his Virgin-Disciple, the honour of writing those sublime Mysteries, which the other Apostles had been commissioned only to teach — THE WORD WAS GOD, and this WORD WAS MADE FLESH for the salvation of mankind.
Thus did our Evangelist soar, like the Eagle, up to the Divine Sun and gaze upon Him with undazzled eye, because his heart and senses were pure and, therefore, fitted for such vision of the uncreated Light. If Moses, after having conversed with God in the cloud, came from the divine interview with rays of miraculous light encircling his head – how radiant must have been the face of St John, which had rested on the very Heart of Jesus, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! [Col. 2:3] how sublime his writings! how divine his teaching! Hence, the symbol of the Eagle, shown to the Prophet Ezechiel, [Ezechiel 1:10, 10:14] and to St John himself in his Revelations, [Apoc. 4:7] has been assigned to him by the Church and, to this title of The Eagle has been added, by universal tradition, the other beautiful name of Theologian. This was the first recompense given by Jesus to his Beloved John, a profound penetration into divine Mysteries. The second was the imparting to him a most ardent charity, which was equally a grace consequent upon his angelic purity, for purity unburdens the soul from grovelling egotistic affections and raises it to a chaste and generous love. John had treasured up in his heart the Discourses of his Master, he made them known to the Church and, especially, that divine one of the Last Supper, wherein Jesus had poured forth His whole Soul to His own, whom he had always tenderly loved but most so, at the end [John, 13:1]. He wrote his Epistles and Charity is his subject – God is Charity — he that loveth not, knoweth not God — perfect Charity casteth out fear — and so on throughout, always on Love. During the rest of his life, even when so enfeebled by old age as not to be able to walk, he was forever insisting upon all men loving each other, after the example of God, who had loved them and so loved them! Thus, he that had announced more clearly than the rest of the Apostles the divinity of the Incarnate Word, was by excellence, the Apostle of that divine Charity, which Jesus came to enkindle upon the earth.
But, our Lord had a further gift to bestow and it was sweetly appropriate to the Virgin-Disciple. When dying on His cross, Jesus left Mary upon this earth. Joseph had been dead now some years. Who, then, shall watch over His Mother? who is there worthy of the charge? Will Jesus send His Angels to protect and console her? — for, surely, what man could ever merit to be to her as a second Joseph? Looking down, he sees the Virgin-Disciple standing at the foot of the Cross – we know the rest, John is to be Mary’s Son — Mary is to be John’s Mother. Oh! wonderful Chastity, that wins from Jesus such an inheritance as this! Peter, says St Peter Damian, shall have left to him the Church, the Mother of men; but John, shall receive Mary, the Mother of God, whom he will love as his own dearest Treasure and to whom, he will stand in Jesus’ stead; whilst Mary will tenderly love John, her Jesus’ Friend, as her Son.
Can we be surprised after this, that St John is looked upon by the Church as one of her greatest glories? He is a Relative of Jesus in the flesh; he is an Apostle, a Virgin, the Friend of the Divine Spouse, the Eagle, the Theologian, the Son of Mary; he is an Evangelist, by the history he has given of the Life of his Divine Master and Friend; he is a Sacred Writer, by the three Epistles he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; he is a Prophet, by his mysterious Apocalypse, wherein are treasured the secrets of time and eternity. But, is he a Martyr? Yes, for if he did not complete his sacrifice, he drank the Chalice of Jesus [Matt. 20:22], when, after being cruelly scourged, he was thrown into a caldron of boiling oil, before the Latin Gate, at Rome. He was, therefore, a Martyr in desire and intention, though not in fact. If our Lord, wishing to prolong a life so dear to the Church, as well as to show how he loves and honours Virginity, — miraculously stayed the effects of the frightful punishment, St John had, on his part, unreservedly accepted Martyrdom.
Such is the companion of Stephen at the Crib, wherein lies our Infant Jesus. If the Protomartyr dazzles us with the robes he wears of the bright scarlet of his own blood — is not the virginal whiteness of John’s vestment fairer than the untrod snow? The spotless beauty of the Lilies of Mary’s adopted Son and the bright vermilion of Stephen’s Roses — what is there more lovely than their union? Glory, then, be to our New-Born King, whose court is tapestried with such heaven-made colours as these! Yes, Bethlehem’s Stable is a very heaven on earth and we have seen its transformation. First, we saw Mary and Joseph alone there — they were adoring Jesus in his Crib; then, immediately, there descended a heavenly host of Angels singing the wonderful Hymn; the Shepherds soon followed, the humble simple-hearted Shepherds; after these, entered Stephen the Crowned and John the Beloved Disciple; and, even before there enters the pageant of the devout Magi, we shall have others coming in and there will be, each day, grander glory in the Cave and gladder joy in our hearts. Oh! this Birth of our Jesus! Humble as it seems, yet, how divine! What King or Emperor ever received, in his gilded cradle, honours like these shown to the Babe of Bethlehem? Let us unite our homage with that given him by these the favoured inmates of his court. Yesterday, the sight of the Palm in Stephen’s hand animated us and we offered to our Jesus the promise of a stronger Faith: to-day, the Wreath, that decks the brow of the Beloved Disciple, breathes upon the Church the heavenly fragrance of Virginity — an intenser love of Purity must be our resolution and our tribute to the Lamb.
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.
Quote/s of the Day – 24 July – Friday of the Sixteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Jeremiah 3:14-17, Responsorial psalm Jeremiah 31:10-13, Matthew 13:18-23
“This, beloved, is the way in which we found our salvation, Jesus Christ, the High Priest who offers our gifts, the patron and helper in our weakness (Heb 10:20; 7:27; 4:15). It is through Him, that we look straight at the heavens above. Through Him, we see mirrored, God’s faultless and transcendent countenance. Through Him, the eyes of our heart were opened. Through Him, our unintelligent and darkened mind shoots up into the light. Through Him, the Master was pleased to let us taste the knowledge that never fades, He who is “the radiance of His splendour, who towers as much above the angels, as the title He has inherited, is superior to theirs.”
St Pope Clement I (c 35 – c 99)
O Lord and Master of My Life Prayer of Saint Ephrem the Syrian (306-373) Father & Doctor of the Church
O Lord and Master of my life, give me not a spirit of sloth, vain curiosity, lust for power and idle talk. But give to me, Thy servant, a spirit of soberness, humility, patience and love. O Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to condemn my brother. For blessed art Thou to the ages of ages. Amen O God, be merciful to me a sinner. O God, cleanse me, a sinner. O God, my Creator, save me and for my many sins forgive me!
“A Christian is: a mind through which Christ thinks, a heart through which Christ loves, a voice through which Christ speaks and a hand through which Christ helps.”
St Augustine (354-430)
Father & Doctor of the Church
“You have the words of eternal life”
“These words surely make quite obvious to us the necessity for sitting at the feet of Christ, taking Him as our one and only teacher and giving Him our constant and undivided attention. … Keeping with their guide was the Israelites’ salvation then, just as not leaving Christ is ours now. … We will stay with You always and hold fast to Your commandments. We will receive Your words without finding fault, or thinking Your teaching hard, as the ignorant do but thinking rather: “How sweet are Your words to my throat! Sweeter to the mouth are they, than honey or the honeycomb!”
St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444)
Father and Doctor of the Church
“Paul says: I appeal to you by the mercy of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice, living and holy. The prophet said the same thing: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire but you have prepared a body for me. Each of us is called to be both a sacrifice to God and His priest. Do not forfeit what divine authority confers on you. Put on the garment of holiness, gird yourself with the belt of chastity. Let Christ be your helmet, let the cross on your forehead be your unfailing protection. Your breastplate, should be the knowledge of God, that He Himself has given you. Keep burning continually, the sweet smelling incense of prayer. Take up the sword of the Spirit. Let your heart be an altar. Then, with full confidence in God, present your body for sacrifice. God desires, not death but faith; God thirsts, not for blood but for self-surrender; God is appeased, not by slaughter but by the offering, of your free will.”
St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450)
Bishop, Father & Doctor of the Church
“Doctor of Homilies”
“Fix your minds on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Inflamed with love for us, He came down from heaven to redeem us. For our sake He endured every torment of body and soul and shrank from no bodily pain. He Himself gave us an example of perfect patience and love. We, then, are to be patient in adversity.”
St Francis of Paola OM (1416-1507)
“There is One very near you Who knocks at your door every hour of the day, Who begs you to listen to Him and to keep silence in order to hear Him.”
St Simon-Marie-Just Ranfer de Bretenières (1838-1866)
Thought for the Day – 4 October – The Memorial of St Francis of Assisi OFM (1181/2–1226)
We must be Simple, Humble and Pure
Saint Francis of Assisi Religious
An excerpt from his Letter Written to All the Faithful
It was through His archangel, Saint Gabriel, that the Father above, made known to the holy and glorious Virgin Mary, that the worthy, holy and glorious Word of the Father would come from heaven and take from her womb, the real flesh of our human frailty. Though He was wealthy beyond reckoning, He still willingly chose to be poor, with His blessed mother. And shortly before His passion, He celebrated the Passover with His disciples. Then He prayed to His Father saying – Father, if it be possible, let this cup be taken from me.
Nevertheless, He reposed His will in the will of His Father. The Father willed that His blessed and glorious Son, whom He gave to us and who was born for us, should, through His own blood, offer Himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross. This was to be done not for Himself, through whom all things were made but for our sins. It was intended to leave us an example of how to follow in His footsteps. And He desires all of us to be saved through Him and to receive Him with pure heart and chaste body.
O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord Himself said, in the gospel – You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul and your neighbour as yourself. Therefore, let us love God and adore Him with pure heart and mind. This is His particular desire when He says – True worshippers adore the Father in spirit and truth. For all who adore Him must do so in the spirit of truth. Let us also direct to Him our praises and prayers saying – Our Father, who art in heaven, since we must always pray and never grow slack.
Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our neighbours as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. 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. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father’s children who do His work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.
NOVENA to St John Paul the Great DAY ONE – 13 OCTOBER
Little Known Fact #1: During his Theological Studies in Seminary, Karol Wojtyla greatly desired to read the works of St John of the Cross in the original Spanish language. He mastered the language very quickly and was even asked by the Spanish instructor to assist him in translating a Spanish text that was to be read over the Polish new radio a few hours before it would be broadcast.
REFLECTION:“Follow me.” The Risen Lord says these words to Peter. They are His last words to this disciple, chosen to shepherd His flock. “Follow me” – this lapidary saying of Christ can be taken as the key to understanding the message which comes to us from the life of our late beloved Pope John Paul II. …” …Pope Benedict
Let us Pray:
O Holy Trinity, we thank You for having given to the Church Pope John Paul II and for having made him shine with Your fatherly tenderness, the glory of the Cross of Christ and the splendour of the Spirit of love.
He, trusting completely in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, has shown himself in the likeness of Jesus the Good Shepherd and has pointed out to us the way of holiness as the path to reach eternal communion with You Grant us, through his intercession, according to Your will, the grace that we implore,
………………….. [state your intention here].
Continue, beloved St John Paul, we implore you, to sustain from heaven the faith of God’s people. We praise and thank You Father that St John Paul has been numbered among Your saints and make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, one God forever.
Totus Tuus, Amen.
Quote Day One:“Only the chaste man and the chaste woman are capable of real love.”
Quote/s of the Day – 17 August – Friday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year B – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 19:3–12
“Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” Matthew 19:4-6
“Speaking of Marriage”
“By their very nature, the institution of matrimony itself and conjugal love are ordained for the procreation and education of children and find in them their ultimate crown.”
Second Vatican Council
Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World), 48
“The obvious effect of frivolous divorce will be frivolous marriage. If people can be separated for no reason, they will feel it easier, to be united for no reason.”
G K Chesterton (1874-1936)
“To defend his purity, Saint Francis of Assisi rolled in the snow, Saint Benedict threw himself into a thorn bush and Saint Bernard plunged into an icy pond… You – what have you done?”
St Josemaría Escrivá (1902-1975)
“Do not forget, that true love sets no conditions, it does not calculate or complain but simply loves.”
St John Paul the Great (1920-2005)
“No one justifies lying, cheating, betraying, promise breaking, devastating and harming strangers. But we expect and we tolerate doing this, to the one person in the world, we promised most seriously, to be faithful to forever – we justify divorce.”
“Marriage is the real vocation crisis in the United States… We have a vocation crisis to life-long, life-giving, loving, faithful marriage. If we take care of that one, we’ll have all the priests and nuns we’ll need for the Church.”
Quote/s of the Day – 16 August – The Memorial of St Stephen of Hungary (c 975- 1038)
“Be HUMBLE in this life, that God may raise you up in the next. Be truly MODERATE and do not punish or condemn anyone immoderately. Be GENTLE, so that you may never oppose justice. Be HONOURABLE, so that you may never voluntarily bring disgrace upon anyone. Be CHASTE, so that you may avoid all the foulness of lust like the pangs of death.”
“Be merciful to all who are suffering violence, keeping always in your heart the example of the Lord who said, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’”
Quote/s of the Day 30 July – The Memorial of St Peter Chrysologus “Golden Words”
(c 400-450) Father & Doctor
“Each of us is called to be both a sacrifice to God and His priest. Do not forfeit what divine authority confers on you. Put on the garment of holiness, gird yourself with the belt of chastity. Let Christ be your helmet, let the cross on your forehead be your unfailing protection. Your breastplate should be the knowledge of God that He Himself has given you. Keep burning continually the sweet smelling incense of prayer. Take up the sword of the Spirit. Let your heart be an altar. Then, with full confidence in God, present your body for sacrifice. God desires not death but faith; God thirsts not for blood but for self-surrender; God is appeased not by slaughter but by the offering of your free will.”
“He is The Bread sown in the virgin, leavened in the Flesh, moulded in His Passion, baked in the furnace of the Sepulchre, placed in the Churches and set upon the Altars, which daily supplies Heavenly Food to the faithful.”
“For he who touches the Body of Christ unworthily, receives his damnation.”
“Now that we are reborn,… in the likeness of our Lord and have indeed been adopted by God as his children, let us put on the complete image of our Creator so as to be wholly like Him, not in the glory that He alone possesses but in innocence, simplicity, gentleness, patience, humility, mercy, harmony, those qualities in which He chose to become and to be, one with us.”
“The poor stretch out the hand but God receives what is offered.”
” 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.”
“Anyone who wishes to frolic with the devil cannot rejoice with Christ.”
“We exhort you, in every respect, honourable brother, to heed obediently what has been written by the Most Blessed Pope of the City of Rome; for Blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own see, provides the truth of faith to those who seek it.”
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 – 8 May – Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Eastertide
Speaking of: Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) Seeking Gilbert Keith, Part Two ……
English Catholic Convert, writer, poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, lay theologian, biographer, and literary and art critic. Chesterton is often referred to as the “prince of paradox” (Part One – https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/04/18/quote-s-of-the-day-18-april-wednesday-of-the-third-week-of-eastertide/)
“Among the rich you will never find, a really generous man even by accident. They may give their money away but they will never give themselves away, they are egotistic, secretive, dry as old bones. To be smart enough to get all that money, you must be dull enough to want it.”
A Miscellany of Men, 1912
“To have a right to do a thing, is not at all the same, as to be right in doing it.”
A Short History of England, 1917
“Once abolish the God and the government becomes the God.”
Christendom in Dublin, 1933
“If there were no God, there would be no atheists.”
Illustrated London News, Where All Roads Lead, 1922
“There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.”
Illustrated London News, 1906
“These are the days, when the Christian is expected, to praise every creed except his own.”
Illustrated London News, 1928
“A Catholic is a person, who has plucked up courage, to face the incredible and inconceivable idea, that something else may be wiser than he is.”
The Surrender on Sex, 1934
“Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc. In a word, God paints in many colours; but he never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white. In a sense our age has realised this fact and expressed it in our sullen costume. For if it were really true that white was a blank and colourless thing, negative and non-committal, then white would be used, instead of black and grey for the funereal dress of this pessimistic period. Which is not the case.”