Thought for the Day – 27 November – Wednesday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 21:12–19
“But not a hair of your head shall perish.” … Luke 21:9
What is the surest kind of witness?
St Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctor of the Church
“You can be a witness to Christ every day. You were tempted by the spirit of impurity but… you considered that chastity of spirit and body should not be soiled – you are a martyr or, in other words, a witness to Christ… You were tempted by the spirit of pride but, seeing the poor and needy, you were seized by tender compassion and preferred humility to arrogance – you are a witness to Christ. Better still – you have not given your witness in word alone but in deed as well.
What is the surest kind of witness? “Anyone who acknowledges that Jesus Christ came among us in the flesh” (cf. 1Jn 4,2) and who keeps the commands of the Gospel… How many there are each day of these hidden martyrs of Christ who confess the Lord Jesus! The apostle Paul knew that kind of martyrdom and witness of faith rendered to Christ, he who said: “Our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience” (2Cor 1,12). For how many people have made a confession of faith exteriorly but denied it interiorly!… So be faithful and courageous in interior persecutions so that you may also win the victory in exterior persecutions. There are “kings and rulers,” judges of formidable power, in the persecutions within, likewise. You have an example of these in the temptations undergone by our Lord (Mt 4,1ff.)”… (Sermon 20 on Psalm 118)
“When I feel overwhelmed by misfortune,
the greatest joy that the Lord can give me,
is to go to the altar, to put my forehead against it
(as on the day of my ordination to the priesthood)
and to feel the presence of the only reality.
Not only does calm return
but my body seems to be annihilated,
the only true life begins,
the life of that which is intangible.”
Blessed Leonid Feodorov (1879-1935) Martyr
Sunday Reflection – 24 November – The Solemnity of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year C
He is in the hands of sinners once more
St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
He took bread and blessed and made it His Body. He took wine and gave thanks and made it His Blood and He gave His priests the power to do what He had done. Henceforth, He is in the hands of sinners once more. Frail, ignorant, sinful man, by the sacerdotal power given to him, compels the presence of the Highest; he lays Him up in a small Tabernacle; he dispenses Him to a sinful people. Those who are only just now, cleansed from mortal sin, open their lips for Him; those who are soon to return to mortal sin, receive Him into their breasts; those who are polluted with vanity and selfishness and ambition and pride, presume to make Him their Guest; the frivolous, the tepid, the worldly-minded, fear not to welcome Him.
Alas! Alas! even those who wish to be more in earnest, entertain Him with cold and wandering thoughts and quench that Love which would inflame them with It’s own fire, did they but open to It! Such are the best of us and then for the worst? What shall we of sacrilege? of His reception to hearts polluted with mortal, unforsaken sin? of those further nameless profanations, which from time to time occur, when unbelief dares to present itself at the holy Altar and blasphemously gains possession of Him? ….
I place myself in the presence of Him, in whose Incarnate Presence I am, before I place myself there!
I adore Thee, O my Saviour, present here as God and man, in soul and body, in true flesh and blood.
I acknowledge and confess, that I kneel before that Sacred Humanity, which was conceived in Mary’s womb and lay in Mary’s bosom; which grew up to man’s estate and by the Sea of Galilee, called the Twelve, wrought miracles and spoke words of wisdom and peace; which in due season hung on the Cross, lay in the tomb, rose from the dead and now reigns in heaven.
I praise and bless and give myself wholly to Him, who is the true Bread of my soul and my everlasting joy. Amen.
Thought for the Day – 18 November – The Memorial of Saint Odo of Cluny (c 880–942) Monk and Abbot
In the following passage, John of Salerno, Odo’s biographer, says he combined the power of his position as Abbot, with wry humour, to compel members of his entourage to behave charitably:
“The blind and the lame, Odo said, would be the doorkeepers of heaven. Therefore, no- one ought to drive them away from his house, so that in the future, they should not shut the doors of heaven against him.
So if one of our servants, not being able to put up with their shameless begging, replied sharply to them or denied them access to the door of our tent, Odo at once rebuked him with threats.
Then, in the servant’s presence, he used to call the poor man and command him, saying:
“When this man comes to the gate of heaven, pay him back in the same way.”
He said this to frighten the servants, so that they should not act in this way again, and that he might teach them to love charity.”
Perhaps Odo’s notion was not fictitious—that the poor we refuse or people we snub, will be our greeters after death.
Imagine that the person meeting us at heaven’s gate, will be the person we have offended most, now empowered to welcome or to reject us.
That thought, should make us hurry to be reconciled, with anyone we have hurt!
Let us run in haste and follow Odo’s bidding!
St Odo of Cluny, Pray for us!
Thought for the Day – 30 October – Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time, Year , Gospel: Luke 13:22–30
And someone said to him,
“Lord, will those who are saved be few?” … Luke 13:23
“Easy circumstances are generally thought a special happiness, it is thought a great point to get rid of annoyance or discomfort of mind and body, it is thought allowable and suitable, to make use of all means available, for making life pleasant.”
“We build ourselves houses, in which the flesh may enjoy its lust
and the eye its pride.”
Saint John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
“Such advice is especially suitable to an age like this, when there is an effort on all hands to multiply comforts and to get rid of the daily inconveniences and distresses of life.
Alas! my brethren, how do you know, if you avail yourselves of the luxuries of this world without restraint but that you are only postponing and increasing by postponing, an inevitable chastisement?
How do you know but that, if you will not satisfy the debt of daily sin now, it will hereafter come upon you with interest? See whether this is not a thought, which would spoil that enjoyment, which even religious persons are apt to take in this world’s goods, if they would but admit it.
It is said that we ought to enjoy this life as the gift of God.
Easy circumstances are generally thought a special happiness, it is thought a great point, to get rid of annoyance, or discomfort, of mind and body, it is thought allowable and suitable, to make use of all means available, for making life pleasant. We desire and confess we desire, to make time pass agreeably and to live in the sunshine. All things harsh and austere are carefully put aside. We shrink from the rude lap of earth and the embrace of the elements and we build ourselves houses in which the flesh may enjoy its lust and the eye its pride.
We aim at having all things at our will.
Cold and hunger and hard lodging and ill usage and humble offices and mean appearance, are all considered serious evils.
And thus year follows year, tomorrow as today, till we think that this, our artificial life, is our natural state and must and ever will be.”
One Minute Reflection – 22 October – Tuesday of the Twenty Ninth Week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel Luke 12:35–38 and the Memorial of St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)
Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes ... Luke 12:37
REFLECTION – “What are we to do if we are to overcome our weakness of soul? There are two means – prayer and detachment from self. Our Lord Jesus counsels us to watch. We must be on the watch if we want our heart to be pure but our watching must be peaceful if our heart is to be touched. Because it can be moved by good things or bad, within or without. Thus we need to watch carefully.
As a general rule God’s inspiration is an unobtrusive grace, we mustn’t turn it away… if our heart’s aren’t awake, grace turns back. Divine inspiration is very exact, just as a writer guides his pen, so the grace of God, guides the soul. So let us try hard to attain greater interior recollection.
Our Lord wants us to desire to love Him. The watchful soul notices when it falls and realises that, of itself, it cannot reach it’s destination. That is why it experiences the need for prayer. Our petition is founded on the conviction that we can do nothing of ourselves but God can do all. Prayer is needed to obtain light and strength.” … Saint Maximilian Kolbe OFM (1894-1941) Martyr – Conference of 13/2/1941
PRAYER – Lord God, strengthen in our hearts the faith You have given us, so that no trials may quench the fire Your Spirit has kindled within us. May Your Light shine through our lives and be constantly lit to lead us ready for the day the Lord Jesus calls. St John Paul, by your prayers, may our way be made holy. Through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 19 October – The Memorial of Bl Jerzy Popiełuszko (1947-1984) Priest and Martyr
”To live in Truth
is the basic minimum of human dignity,
even if the price to defend the Truth could be costly.
You need to always remain faithful to the Truth.
Truth can never be betrayed.”
“Truth never changes.
It cannot be destroyed
by any decision or legal act.
Telling the truth with courage,
is a way, leading directly to freedom.
A man who tells the Truth,
is a free man,
despite external slavery, imprisonment or custody.”
“It is not enough for a Christian to condemn evil, cowardice, lies
and use of force, hatred and oppression.
He must at all times be a witness to
and defender of justice, goodness, truth, freedom and love.
He must never tire of claiming these values
as a right both for himself and others.”
“Truth, like Justice,
is connected to Love
and Love has a Price.”
“An idea which needs
rifles to survive,
dies of its own accord.”
Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko (1947-1984) Martyr
One Minute Reflection – 19 October – Saturday of the Twenty-eighth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 12:8-12 and The Memorial of Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko (1947-1984) Priest and Martyr
“And I tell you, every one who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also, will acknowledge before the angels of God…” … Luke 12:8
REFLECTION – “It seems to me that in the history of the Church, in the history of Christianity, there are many examples showing to what extent you have to defend the Truth. You have to defend it to the end. Jesus Christ sacrificed His life in order to announce His Divine Truth. Likewise, the apostles sacrificed their lives. Therefore, the role of the priest is to proclaim the Truth and suffer for the Truth…… If necessary, even to die for the truth. Such examples are plenty in Christianity and from these examples, we should draw conclusions, for ourselves.” … Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko (1947-1984) Priest and Martyr
PRAYER – God of power and mercy, You gave Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko, the grace to overcome the sufferings of his nation through the good of the Gospel and to face his own martyrdom with unfailing courage through Your love for him, grant us, who celebrate his victory, that the power of Your protecting hand may keep us unshaken in the face of our ancient enemy and all his hidden snares. Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko, pray for us! Through our Lord Jesus Christ, in union with our Father and the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen.