Thought for the Day – 18 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Mary, the Source of Peace
“Mary, my most sweet Mother, in your Immaculate soul there reigned that true peace which is nourished by God’s grace and by complete obedience to His Will. Obtain for me from your Son, Jesus, victory over my evil inclinations and resignation to the sufferings of life and to death itself. Then, following your holy example, may I also be able to acquire the interior peace which will one day be perfect and everlasting in Heaven. Amen.”
Thought for the Day – 17 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Contemplation and Our Lady
“O Mary, my most Holy Mother, free me from useless desires and from an excessive longing for worldly things. Help me to think always of Heaven. Grant that I may find my happiness in God, as you did, by acting in perfect accordance with His Holy Will. By loving Him above everything in the world, may I, one day, enjoy with you, the everlasting happiness of Heaven. Amen. ”
Quote/s of the Day – 16 May – Sirach 44:16-27; 45:3-20, Matthew 25:14-23
“Well done, good and faithful servant … Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
“I have chosen you and have appointed you, that you should go and should bring forth fruit and your fruit should remain, says the Lord.”
“If we follow Christ closely we shall be allowed, even on this earth, to stand, as it were, on the threshold of the heavenly Jerusalem and enjoy the contemplation, of that everlasting feast, like the blessed Apostles, who, in following the Saviour as their leader, showed and still show, the way to obtain the same gift from God. They said – See, we have left all things and followed You. We too follow the Lord and we keep His feast by deeds rather than by words.”
St Athanasius (297-373) Father & Doctor of the Church
“Rejoice and be happy! Persevere to the end and prefer to die rather than abandon the post, to which God has called you!”
St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church
All Highest, Glorious God
All highest, glorious God, cast Your light into the darkness of our hearts, give us true faith, firm hope, perfect charity and profound humility, so that with wisdom, courage and perception, O Lord, we may do what is truly Your holy will. Amen.
One Minute Reflection – 16 May – The Memorial of St John Nepomucene (c 1345–1393) Priest, Martyr, “The First Martyr of the Seal of the Confession.” – Sirach 44:16-27; 45:3-20, Matthew 25:14-23
“A man going abroad, called his servants and handed over his goods to them.” – Matthew 25:14
REFLECTION – “There is no question but that this Householder is Christ. After His Resurrection, when He was about to return triumphantly to the Father, He called His Apostles and entrusted them with the Gospel teaching, giving more to one, less to the other, never too much or too little but according to the abilities of those who received it. In the same way, the Apostle Paul said that he had fed with milk those unable to take solid food (1Co 3,2)…
Five, two, one talent: let us take these to be the different graces granted to each, whether the five senses for the first; understanding of faith and works for the second; the reasons for distinguishing us from other creatures, for the third. “The one who received five talents went away and traded with them and made another five.” That is to say, besides the physical and material senses he had received, he added knowledge of heavenly things. His knowledge was raised from the creatures to the Creator, from the corporal to the incorporeal, from the visible to the invisible, from the transient to the eternal. “The one who received two made another two.” This one likewise, according to his ability, doubled in the school of the Gospel what he had learned in the school of the Law. Or perhaps we could say, that he understood that knowledge of faith and the works of this present life, lead to future happiness. “But the man who received one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.” In the grip of works here below and of worldly pleasures, the wicked servant neglected God’s commands. However, let us note that, according to another evangelist, he wrapped it in a linen cloth – by this we could understand that he took away the force of his Master’s teaching, by a life of softness and pleasure…
The Master welcomed the first two servants… with the same words of praise. “Come,” He said, “share in your master’s joy and receive what eye has not seen and ear has not heard and what has not entered the human heart” (1Cor 2,9). What greater reward could be bestowed on a faithful servant?” – St Jerome (343-420) Translator of Sacred Scripture (the Vulgate), Father and One of the Original Four Doctors of the Latin Church .
PRAYER – Mercifully give us Your help, we beseech You, O Lord and by the intercession of blessed John, Your Confessor and Martyr, stretch over us the right hand of Your mercy against all wickedness of the devil. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
One Minute Reflection – 3 May – “The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary” and the Feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross – 1 Peter 2:21-25, John 10:11-16
“I am the good shepherd and I know mine and mine know me.”- John 10:14
REFLECTION – “Let us consider Christ, our shepherd …. He rejoices in those sheep of His that are around Him and goes in search of those, that stray. Mountains and forests cause Him no fear; He crosses ravines to reach the sheep that is lost. Even if He finds it in a piteous state, He is not angry but touched with pity; He takes it on His shoulders and, from His own weariness, heals the exhausted sheep (Lk 15:4 f.) …
With good reason Christ declares: “I am the Good Shepherd, I seek out the lost sheep, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal (Ez 34:16). I have seen the flock of mankind struck down by sickness; I have witnessed my lambs wander about where demons dwell; I have seen my flock ravaged by wolves. All this I have seen and have not witnessed it from on high. That is why I took hold of the withered hand, gripped by pain as if by a wolf; I have unbound those whom fever had bound; I taught him to see whose eyes had been shut from his mother’s womb; I brought Lazarus out from the tomb where he had lain for four days (Mk 3:5; 1:31; Jn 9; 11). For I am the Good Shepherd and the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” …
The prophet knew this shepherd when, long before His Passion, He declared what would take place: “Like a sheep led to the slaughter or a sheep, dumb before the shearers, he opened not his mouth” (Is 53:7). Like a sheep, the shepherd has offered His neck for His flock …. By His death, He heals from death; by His tomb, He empties the tomb …. The tombs are full and the prison shut until the shepherd, comes down from the cross, He has come to bring His captive sheep the joyful news of their liberation. We see Him in hell where He gives the order for their release (1 Pt 3:19); we see Him call His sheep once more, giving them the call to life from the dwellings of the dead. “The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” This is how He intends to win the affection of His sheep and those who know how to listen to His voice, love Christ.” – Basil of Seleucia (Died 448) Bishop of Seleucia, Writer – Oratio 26
PRAYER –O Good Shepherd, You Whom My Soul Loves. By St Gregory of Nyssa (c 335–C 395) Father of the Church
Where are You pasturing Your flock, O good Shepherd, Who carry the whole flock on Your shoulders? (For the whole of human nature is one sheep and You have lifted it onto Your shoulders). Show me the place of peace, lead me to the good grass that will nourish me, call me by name so that I, Your sheep, hear Your voice and by Your speech, give me eternal life. Answer me, You Whom my soul loves. … Show me then (my soul says), where You pasture Your flock, so that I can find that saving pasture too and fill myself with the food of Heaven, without which, no-one can come to eternal life and run to the spring and fill myself with the drink of God. You give it, as from a spring, to those who thirst – water pouring from Your side, cut open by the lance, water that, to whoever drinks it, is a spring of water, welling up to eternal life. Amen
This is a tiny excerpt from St Gregory of Nyssa’s commentary on the Song of Songs (Cap. 2: PG 44, 802), using the imagery of Psalm 23, appeals to the Lord Jesus Christ for the promised green pastures, restful waters and noonday rest that is the final, eternal destination of those who love God and walk in His ways.
Quote/s of the Day – 9 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Jeremias 18:18-23, John 12:10-36
“He who loves his life, loses it and he who hates his life in this world, keeps it unto life everlasting. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me and where I am, there also shall My servant be.”
“This is the time for Confession. Confess the sins you have committed in word or deed, by day or by night. Confess during this “favourable time” and on “the day of salvation,” receive Heaven’s treasure… ”
St Cyril of Jerusalem (313-350), Father & Doctor of the Church
“To do penance is to bewail the evil we have done and to do no evil to bewail.”
St Gregory the Great (540-604) Pope, Confessor, Father and Doctor
“Rejoice and be happy! Persevere to the end and prefer to die rather than abandon the post, to which God has called you!”
St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 9 April – Saturday in Passion Week, the Fifth Week in Lent – Jeremias 18:18-23, John 12:10-36
“He who loves his life, loses it and he who hates his life in this world, keeps it unto life everlasting. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me and where I Am ,there also shall My servant be.” – John 12:25-26
REFLECTION – “… We are being towed along by a world that passes away, forgetting the world to come. We are greedy for present things but do not take into account the coming judgement. We will not run to meet the Lord as He comes…
Let us turn back, brethren, let us turn back… By the very fact of His delay, of His still waiting, our Lord proves His desire to see us come back to Him, His desire that we should not perish. In His great goodness, He continues addressing these words to us: “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked but would rather he would change his ways and live ”(Ez 33,11). So let us turn back to Him, brethren, not fearing that time is running short. The time that belongs to time’s Author cannot be shortened. The proof of it lies in the criminal in the Gospel, who, at the moment of dying on the cross, got away with his pardon, grabbed hold of life and, breaking into paradise like a burglar, managed to make his way into the Kingdom (cf. Lk 23,43)!” – St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) Bishop of Ravenna, Father and “Doctor of Sermons” of the Church (Excerpt from Sermon 167).
PRAYER – O Lord, may the people dedicated to You, desire to serve You more and more, that, taught by these sacred rites, they may be enriched by more precious gifts, as they grow in favour with Your majesty. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Tuesday in Passion Week – 5 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Daniel 14:27-42, John 7:1-13
“Fight my fight, O Lord; from the deceitful and impious man rescue me Send forth Your light and Your fidelity; they shall lead me on and bring me to Your holy mountain.” – Psalm 42:1,3
“The world … hates Me because I bear witness concerning it, that its works are evil.”
“ … THE WORLD HATES Christians, so why give your love to it, instead of following Christ, Who loves you and has redeemed you? John is most urgent in his epistle when he tells us, not to love the world by yielding to sensual desires. Never give your love to the world, he warns, or to anything in it. A man cannot love the Father and love the world at the same time. All that the world offers is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and earthly ambition. The world and its allurements will pass away but the man who has done the will of God shall live forever. Our part, my dear brothers, is to be single-minded, firm in faith and steadfast in courage, ready for God’s will, whatever it may be. Banish the fear of death and think of the eternal life which follows it. That will show people that we really live our faith.
WE OUGHT NEVER TO FORGET, beloved, that we have renounced the world. We are living here now, as aliens and only for a time. When the day of our homecoming puts an end to our exile, frees us from the bonds of the world and restores us to paradise and to the Kingdom, we should welcome it. What man, stationed in a foreign land, would not want to return to his own country, as soon as possible? Well, we look upon paradise as our country and a great crowd of our loved ones awaits us there, a countless throng of parents, brothers and children, longs for us to join them. Assured though they are of their own salvation, they are still concerned about ours. What joy both for them and for us, to see one another and embrace! O the delight of that Heavenly Kingdom where there is no fear of death! O the supreme and endless bliss of everlasting life!
MY DEAR BROTHERS, let all our longing be to join them as soon as we may. May God see our desire, may Christ see this resolve, that springs from faith, for He will give the rewards of His love, more abundantly, to those who have longed for Him more fervently.” – St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258) Bishop of Carthage, Father of the Church and Martyr (An excerpt from On Man’s Mortality).
Our Morning Offering – 4 April – Monday in Passion Week
Lord Jesus, Think on Me By St Synesius of Cyrene (375-430) Bishop of Ptolemais
Lord Jesus, think on me and purge away my sin, from earth-born passions set me free, and make me pure within. Lord Jesus, think on me, With care and woe oppressed, let me Thy loving servant be and taste Thy promised rest. Lord Jesus, think on me, nor let me go astray, through darkness and perplexity point Thou the heav’nly way. Lord Jesus, think on me, that, when the flood is past, I may eternal brightness see, and share Thy joy at last. Amen
Passion Sunday – 3 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Hebrews 9:11-15, John 8:46-59.
“Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord; teach me to do Your will.” – Psalm 142:9-10
“Amen, amen, I say to you, if anyone keep My word, he will never see death.”
WE SEE THAT DEATH is gain, life is loss. Paul says: For me life is Christ and death a gain. What does “Christ” mean but to die in the body and receive the Breath of Life? Let us then die with Christ, to live with Christ. We should have a daily familiarity with death, a daily desire for death. By this kind of detachment our soul must learn to free itself from the desires of the body. It must soar above earthly lusts to a place where they cannot come near, to hold it fast. It must take on the likeness of death, to avoid the punishment of death. The law of our fallen nature is at war with the law of our reason and subjects the law of reason, to the law of error. What is the remedy? Who will set me free from this body of death? The grace of God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
WE HAVE A DOCTOR to heal us; let us use the remedy He prescribes. The remedy is the grace of Christ, the dead body, our own. Let us then be exiles from our body, so as not to be exiles from Christ. Although we are still in the body, let us not give ourselves to the things of the body. We must not reject the natural rights of the body but, we must desire, before all else, the gifts of grace.
WHAT MORE need be said? It was by the death of One Man that the world was Redeemed. Christ did not need to die, if He did not wish to but He did not look on death as something to be despised, something to be avoided and He could have found no better means to save us, than by dying. Thus His Death is Life for all. We are sealed with the Sign of His Death – when we pray, we preach His Death, when we offer Sacrifice we proclaim His Death. His Death is Victory; His Death is a Sacred Sign; each year His Death is celebrated with solemnity by the whole world.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan, Great Father and Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from his work, On the death of Satyrus [Saint Ambrose’s brother])
“I am the Resurrection and the Life, he who believes in Me, although he be dead, shall live.”
“I am the Living Bread Who came down from Heaven. If any man eat of this Bread, he shall live forever and the Bread that I will give, is My Flesh, for the Life of the world.”
The Month of April is dedicated both to devotion to the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ and to the Holy Eucharist – the proof of the promise of the love of God and of ETERNAL LIFE. In the Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of Love, Jesus gives us the sustenance needed in this life to help us on our pilgrimage to that Eternal Life with Him in Heaven. This tradition has developed because Easter Sunday often falls in April and when it does fall in March, the Easter Season continues on through all of April.
In essence, April is a Month of Life and, during the Easter celebrations, we celebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice Christ gave us and the destruction of death by that Sacrifice and by Jesus’ Resurrection. “Christ chose to foreshadow us, who are His Body, by means of His Body, in which He has died, risen and ascended into Heaven, so that the Members of His Body, may hope to follow where their Head has gone before.” – St Augustine (354-430) Father, Doctor of Grace
St Gregory the Great (540-604) Father & Doctor
It is only right, with all the powers of our heart and mind, to praise You Father and Your Only-Begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Dear Father, by Your wondrous condescension of loving-kindness toward us, Your servants, You gave up Your Son. Dear Jesus, You paid the debt of Adam for us to the Eternal Father by Your Blood poured forth in loving-kindness. You cleared away the darkness of sin by Your magnificent and radiant Resurrection. You broke the bonds of death and rose from the grave as a Conqueror. You reconciled Heaven and earth. Our life had no hope of eternal happiness before You redeemed us. Your Resurrection has washed away our sins, restored our innocence and brought us joy. How inestimable is the tenderness of Your Love! Amen
“For His Body, has been given to you under the appearance of bread and His Blood, under the appearance of wine, so that, when you have partaken of the Body and Blood of Christ, you might be One Body and One Blood with Him. So shall we become Christ-bearers [“Christophers”]. His Body and Blood are diffused through all our members – see, then, how we become participants in the Divine Nature!”
St Cyril of Jerusalem (c 313-386) Father and Doctor of theChurch
Our Morning Offering – 1 April – Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent
My God, I Love Thee By St Francis Xavier (1506-1552) (Attri) Transr: Fr Edward Caswall CO (1814-1878)
My God, I love Thee, not because I hope for heav’n thereby, nor yet for fear, that loving not, I might forever die but for that Thou didst all mankind upon the Cross embrace; for us didst bear the nails and spear and manifold disgrace.
And griefs and torments numberless and sweat of agony; e’en death itself and all for man, who was Thine enemy. Then why, most loving Jesus Christ, should I not love Thee well? Not for the sake of winning heav’n, nor any fear of hell.
Not with the hope of gaining aught, nor seeking a reward but as Thyself hast loved me, O ever loving Lord! E’en so I love Thee and will love and in Thy praise will sing, solely because Thou art my God and my eternal King! Amen
Our Morning Offering – 25 March – The Annunciation
O Mary, My Hope! By St John Damascene (675-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
I salute you, O Mary! you are the hope of Christians. Receive the prayer of a sinner, who loves you tenderly, honours you in a special manner and places in you the whole hope of his salvation. From you I have my life. You reinstate me in the grace of your Son: you are the sure pledge of my salvation. I beseech of you, therefore, to deliver me from the burden of my sins, dispel the darkness of my mind, banish from my heart the love of the world, repress the temptations of my enemies and so rule my whole life, that by your means and under your guidance, I may obtain everlasting happiness in heaven. Amen
Quote/s of the Day – 21 March – Monday of the Third Week of Lent – The Memorial of St Benedict OSB (c 480-547)
“Girded with faith and the performance of good works, let us follow in His paths by the guidance of the Gospel.”
“There exists an evil fervour, a bitter spirit, which divides us from God and leads us to hell. Similarly, there is a good fervour, which sets us apart from evil inclinations and leads us toward God and eternal life.”
“For at all times, we must so serve Him, with the good things He has given us, that he may not, as an angry Father, disinherit his children, nor as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil deeds, deliver us to everlasting punishment, as wicked servants, who refuse to follow Him to glory.”
“The first degree of humility, is prompt obedience.”
One Minute Reflection – 13 March – The Second Sunday of Lent – Daniel 3:47-51, Matthew 17:1-9 and “The Month of St Joseph”
“Lord, it is good for us to be here” – Matthew 17:4
REFLECTION – “Rejoice and be happy! Persevere to the end and prefer to die rather than abandon the post to which God has called you!
But embrace the Cross with patience and hide in God’s breast with your troubles: fix your eyes on the Lamb immolated for your sake and always be content with what God gives you and destines for you. We must act like this because we are sure that God is calling us and has chosen for us ,what will make us the most pleasing in His sight. Thus you will go from light to light and the pains endured for the sake of Jesus Crucified will be delightful to you, whereas the pleasures and consolations of the world ,will become bitter.
You will begin to taste, even in this life, a foretaste of eternal life, for the principal beatitude of the soul in Heaven is to be confirmed forever in the Will of the Father. Thus it tastes the divine sweetness. But it will never taste it in Heaven, if it is not clothed with it on earth, where we are pilgrims and travellers. When it is clothed with it, it tastes God by grace in its troubles; its memory will be full of the Blood of the Lamb without blemish; its mind will be opened and contemplate the ineffable love that God has made known in the Wisdom of His Son and the love it finds in the Holy Spirit’s goodness, casts out self-love and love for created things, to love only God.
So do not be afraid … but suffer with joy, so as to conform yourself to the Will of God.” – St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Bishop of Geneva and Doctor of the Church (Sermon for the Second Sunday of Lent [20 Feb 1622])
PRAYER – O God, Who tempered the flames of fire for the three young men, mercifully grant that the flames of sin may not burn us, Your servants. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Quote/s of the Day – 8 March – Tuesday of the First Week of Lent and the Memeorial of St John of God (1495-1550)
“Labour without stopping, do all the good works you can, while you still have the time!”
“If we look forward to receiving God’s mercy, we can never fail to do good, as 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.”
Quote/s of the Day – 23 February – The Memorial of St Peter Damian (1007-1072) Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church
“Those, who do not love the Cross of Christ, do not love Christ!”
“The best penance is, to have patience with the sorrows God permits. A very good penance is, to dedicate oneself to fulfill the duties of everyday with exactitude and to study and work, with all our strength.”
“When you are scorned by others and lashed by God, do not despair. God lashes us in this life to shield us from the eternal lash in the next.”
“He pours light into our minds, arouses our desire and gives us strength… As the soul is the life of the body, so the Holy Spirit is the life of our souls.”
“Through a woman, [Eve] a curse fell upon the earth; through a woman, [Mary] there returned to the earth, a blessing!”
One Minute Reflection – 23 February – The Memorial of St Peter Damian (1007-1072) Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church – 2 Timothy 4:1-8, Matthew 5:13-19
“I have come, not to abolish but to fulfil.” … Matthew 5:17
REFLECTION – “In Him, the promise made through the shadows of prophecy, stands revealed, along with the full meaning of the precepts of the law. He is the One Who teaches the Truth of prophecy, through His presence and makes obedience to the commandments possible, through grace. In the preaching of the holy Gospel all should receive a strengthening of their faith. No-one should be ashamed of the Cross of Christ, through which the world has been redeemed. No-one should fear to suffer for the sake of justice, no-one should lose confidence in the reward that has been promised. The way to rest is through toil, the way to life is through death. Christ has taken on Himself the whole weakness of our lowly human nature. If then, we are steadfast in our faith in Him and in our love for Him, we win the victory that He has won, we receive what He has promised. When it comes to obeying the commandments or enduring adversity, the words uttered by the Father should always echo in our ears – “This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased, listen to Him.” … St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from Sermo 51).
PRAYER – Grant us, we beseech You, almighty God, to follow the counsel and examples of St Peter, Your Confessor and Bishop, so that by setting earthly goods at naught, we may attain everlasting happiness. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Our Morning Offering – 21 February – Sexagesima Weekday
Grant us Your Light, O Lord By The Venerable St Bede (673-735) Father and Doctor of the Church
Grant us Your light, O Lord, so that the darkness of our hearts, may wholly pass away and we may come at last, to the Light of Christ. For Christ is that Morning Star, who, when the night of this world has passed, brings to His saints, the promised light of life and opens to them, everlasting day. Amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 18 February – “Month of the Most Blessed Trinity” – Septuagesima Weekday
“And everyone who has left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold and shall possess life everlasting.”
“He seemed to me, a very foolish man and very wretched, who will not increase his understanding while he is in the world and ever with and long to reach that endless life, where all shall be made clear.”
St Alfred the Great (849-899) King
“Eternal life flows from this Sacrament because God, with all sweetness, pours Himself out upon the blessed.”
St Albert the Great OP (1200-1280) Bishop of Regensburg Universal Doctor of the Church
“We must make our way towards eternity, never regarding what men think of us, or of our actions, studying only to please God.”
St Francis Borgia SJ (1510-1572)
“By giving yourself to God, you not only receive Himself in exchange but, eternal life as well!”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritatis
“On the journey of this life to eternity, let me carry You in my heart, following Mary’s example, who bore You in her arms, during the flight to Egypt.”
St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
One Minute Reflection – 14 February – “Month of the Most Blessed Trinity” – Septuagesima Weekday and the Memorial of St Simeon (Died c 106) Martyr, Bishop of Jerusalem, 1 Cor. 9:24-27; 10:1-5, Matthew 20:1-16
“Even so the last shall be first, and the first last; for many are called, but few are chosen.” – Matthew 20:16
REFLECTION – “In that hiring then,we shall all be equal and the first as the last and the last as the first because that Denarius is life eternal and in the life eternal all will be equal. For although through diversity of attainments, the saints will shine, some more, some less; yet as to this respect, the gift of eternal life, it will be equal to all. For that will not be longer to one and shorter to another, which is alike everlasting – that which hath no end will have no end either for thee or me. … In respect. to the living forever, this man will not live more than that, nor that one than this one. For alike without end will they live, though each shall live in his own brightness and the Denarius in the parable is that life eternal.
Let not him then who has received after a long time murmur against him who has received after a short time. To the first, it is a payment, to the other a free gift – yet the same thing is given alike to both.” – St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace (Sermon on Matthew 20).
PRAYER – ALMIGHTY GOD, mercifully look upon our infirmities, that whereas we are afflicted by the burden of our sins, the glorious intercession of Thy Martyr and Bishop, blessed Simeon may be our succour and defence. Through Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Our Morning Offering -18 February – Septuagesima Weekday
Lord Jesus, Think on Me By St Synesius of Cyrene (375-430) Bishop of Ptolemais, Father
Lord Jesus, think on me and purge away my sin, from earth-born passions set me free, and make me pure within. Lord Jesus, think on me, With care and woe oppressed, let me Thy loving servant be and taste Thy promised rest. Lord Jesus, think on me, nor let me go astray, through darkness and perplexity point Thou the heav’nly way. Lord Jesus, think on me, that, when the flood is past, I may eternal brightness see and share Thy joy at last. Amen
St Synesius, a native of Cyrene, born circa 375. His descent was illustrious. His pedigree extended through seventeen centuries and in the words of Gibbon, “could not be equaled in the history of mankind.” He became distinguished for his eloquence and philosophy and as a statesman and patriot he took a noble stand. When the Goths were threatening his Country he went to the court of Arcadius and for three years, tried to rouse it to the dangers that were coming on the empire. But Gibbon says, ”The court of Arcadius indulged the zeal, applauded the eloquence and neglected the advice of Synesius.” In 410 he was made Bishop of Ptolemaïs (modern Libya) but much against his will. He died in 430. We have extant one hundred and fifty-five epistles and ten hymns written at different periods of his life.
The One Thing Necessary By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
O my God, help me to remember, that time is short, eternity long. What good is all the greatness of this world at the hour of death? To love You, my God and save my soul is the one thing necessary. Without You, there is no peace of mind or soul. My God, I need fear only sin and nothing else in this life, for to lose You, my God, is to lose all. O my God, help me to remember, that I came into this world with nothing and shall take nothing from it, when I die. To gain You, I must leave all. But in loving You, I already have all good things, the infinite riches of Christ and His Church in life, Mary’s motherly protection and perpetual help and the eternal dwelling place Jesus has prepared for me. Eternal Father, Jesus has promised that whatever we ask in His Name will be granted us. In His Name, I pray, give me a burning faith, a joyful hope, a holy love for You. Grant me perseverance in doing Your will and never let me be separated from You. My God and my All, make me a Saint! Amen
Lord, kindle our lamps, Saviour most dear to us, that we may always shine in Your presence and always receive Light from You, the Light Perpetual, so that our own personal darkness, may be overcome and the world’s darkness driven from us. Amen
(This is an excerpt from a much longer prayer and is taken from the wonderful Sermon XII by St Columban/us)
One Minute Reflection – 26 January – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Apostolic Father of the Church, 1 John 3:10-16; Matthew 10:26-32
“And fear you not them who kill the body and are not able to kill the soul …” – Matthew 10:28
REFLECTION – “They did not nail Polycarp but only tied him up. And so, he was bound, putting his arms behind his back, like a noble ram taken from a large flock for sacrifice, a burnt offering acceptable to and made ready for God. Then he gazed up to Heaven and said: “O Lord God Almighty, Father of Your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through Whom we have received knowledge of You, God of the angels and the powers and of all creation, God of the whole race of the righteous who live in Your sight: I bless You, for You have thought me worthy of this day and hour, to share the cup of Your Christ, as one of Your Martyrs, to rise again to eternal life in body and soul in the immortality of the Holy Ghost. May I be taken up today into Your Presence among Your Martyrs, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, in the manner You have prepared and have revealed and have now brought to fulfillment, for You are the God of truth… And so also I praise You for all things; I bless and glorify you through our Eternal High Priest in Heaven (Heb 4,14), in Your beloved Child, Jesus Christ, through Whom be glory to You and to Him and to the Holy Ghost, now and for the ages to come. Amen.” – Letter of the Church of Smyrna concerning the Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp (69-155)
PRAYER – Lord of all creation, You gave St Polycarp, a place in the company of the Martyrs. Grant that, through his intercession, we may, like him, drink from that cup which Christ drank and so rise to eternal life. Through Christ our Lord, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul , Apostle, Acts 9:1-22, Matthew 19,27-29.
“And everyone who has left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold and shall possess life everlasting.”
“Yet I live, no longer I but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who has loved me and given himself up for me.”
“The Light of Christ is an endless day that knows no night.”
St Maximus of Truin (Died 420) Bishop, Father
“There is nothing sweeter than to be enlightened and made beautiful, by this participation and communion in the Light, to have one’s heart softened, one’s soul sanctified and to be filled with a holy joy all the days of this present life… Truly, this Sun of Justice is, for those who gaze at It, the transmitter of joy according to the prophecy of David: “The just rejoice and exult before God, they are glad and rejoice!”
St Gregory of Agrigente (c 559-c 630) Bishop
“As those who see light, are in the light, sharing its brilliance, so those who see God, are in God, sharing His Glory and that Glory gives them life. To see God is to share in Life.”
St Irenaeus (130-202) Bishop, Father of the Church, Martyr
Quote/s of the Day – 24 January – Saint Timothy, Bishop and Martyr, 1 Timothy 6:11-16, Luke 14:26-33.
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”
“Pursue justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, mildness. Fight the good fight of the faith, lay hold on the life eternal, to which you have been called …”
1 Timothy 6:11-12
“Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?”
“Leaving all things, they followed him.”
“I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
“A person who wishes to become the Lord’s disciple must repudiate a human obligation, however honourable it may appear, if it slows us, ever so slightly, in giving the wholehearted obedience we owe to God.”
St Basil the Great (329-379) Father and Doctor of the Church
“… Anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions, cannot be my disciple.”
“The tradition and the authority of Holy Scripture, show us three renunciations … The first is that, by which, as far as the body is concerned, we make light of all the wealth and goods of this world. By the second, we reject the fashions and vices and former affections of soul and flesh. By the third, we detach our soul from all present and visible things and contemplate only things to come and set our heart on what is invisible. We have to do all these three at once, as the Lord charged Abraham to do, when he said to him “Go out from your country and your kinsfolk and your father’s house.”(Gn 12:1).”
St John Cassian (c 360-435) Monk, Founder of Monasteries, Father of the Church (Conference 3, 6-7)
The Love of Your Name
“My God, Sweetness beyond words, make bitter all the carnal comfort that draws me from love of the eternal and lures me to its evil self, by the sight of some delightful good in the present. Let it not overcome me, my God. Let not flesh and blood conquer me. Let not the world and its brief glory deceive me, nor the devil trip me by his craftiness. Give me courage to resist, patience to endure and constancy to persevere. Give me the soothing unction of Your spirit, rather than all the consolations of the world and in place of carnal love, infuse into me the love of Your Name.”
Thomas à Kempis CRSA (1380-1471) The Imitation of Christ (Book 3 Ch 26:1-4)
Our Morning Offering – 23 January – The Third Sunday after the Epiphany
Stay With Me, O Lord By Padre Pio (1887-1968)
Stay with me, Lord, for You are my Life and without You, I am without fervour. Stay with me, Lord, for You are my Light and without You, I am in darkness. Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your Voice and follow You. Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You very much and always be in Your company. Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You. Stay with me, Lord, as poor as my soul is, I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of Love. Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close and life passes, death, judgement and eternity approach. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You. It is getting late and death approaches, I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile! Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers, I need You. Let me recognise You as Your disciples did, at the breaking of the bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart. Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You, if not by Communion, at least by grace and love. Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit, because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more. With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth and continue to love You perfectly, during all eternity. Amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 21 January – The Memorial of St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyr – Ecclus 51:1-8, 12; Matthew 25:1-13
“Our lamps are going out.”
“I have not become as wise as those five wise Virgins. … But I have become the most wretched of the foolish ones by failing to keep some oil for my lamp, namely, mercy together with virginity or, still more, the anointing from Baptism’s Sacred fount…
Therefore, the doors of the wedding hall are closed to me too, in my negligence. But, O my Bridegroom, while I am still in my body here below, listen to my soul, Your Bride… From now on, I will cry aloud piteously, “Oh, open to me Your Heavenly Door, bring me into Your Wedding Chamber on high, make me worthy of Your Holy Kiss, Your pure and spotless Embrace. Oh let me not hear the Voice saying it does not know me! I am blind; set alight with Your own Light my spirit’s extinguished flame!”
St Nerses Chnorhali (1102-1173) Armenian Bishop
(Jesus, the Father’s beloved Son 688-693, SC 203)
“Give me grace, to amend my life and to have an eye to mine end, without grudge of death, which, to them, who die in You, good Lord, is the gate of a wealthy life.”
St Thomas More (1478-1535) Martyr
My Lord Jesus Christ, You have made this journey to die for me, with love unutterable and I have so many times unworthily abandoned You but now I love You with my whole heart and because I love You, I repent sincerely for having ever offended You. Pardon me, my God and permit me to accompany You on this journey. You go to die for love of me, I wish also, my beloved Redeemer, to die for love of Thee. My Jesus, I will live and die always united to You.” Amen
St Alphonsus Mary Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor of the Church
Thought for the Day – 20 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Blessed are the Poor
“Detachment from riches implies, the obligation of using them, as a means of reaching eternal life and in accordance with the principles of justice and charity. This is a positive command of God, which nobody can ignore without falling into sin to a greater or lesser extent. But over and beyond this general rule, there is an evangelical counsel to which only the privileged few are called in their search for perfection. This evangelical counsel says to us: “If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast and give to the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven and come, follow me” (N 19:21; Mk 10:21; Lk 12:33, 18:22).
If we have received this great call to evangelical perfection, we must listen to it and follow Jesus promptly and generously. But even if our vocation does not lie in that direction, let us take care not to become too attached to the passing things of this world. Our hearts were not made for them but, for God alone!
Remember the striking words of St Paul: “Brethren, the time is short; it remains that those who have wives, be as if they had none and, those who weep, as though not weeping and those who rejoice, as though not rejoicing and those who buy, as though not possessing and those who use the world, as though not using it, for this world, as we see it, is passing away” (1 Cor 7:29-31).”