Quote/s of the Day – 4 October – The Memorial of St Francis of Assisi (c 1181–1226)
“Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.”
“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you, nothing that you have received— only what you have given – a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”
“Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve.”
“Your God is of your flesh, He lives in your nearest neighbour, in every man.”
“O you sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? … Behold – daily He humbles Himself as when from heaven’s royal throne He came down into the womb of the Virgin. Daily, He Himself, comes to us with like humility; daily He descends from the bosom of the Father, upon the altar, in the hands of the priest.”
“On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching and there was a man whose right hand was withered.” … Luke 6:6
REFLECTION – “Are you angry at me because I have healed the whole man on the sabbath day?” In this place he revivified, with the salutary strength of good works, the hand which Adam stretched out to pluck the fruit of the forbidden tree. The hand which had withered through a crime, was healed by good deeds. Christ thereby rebuked the Jews who violated the precepts of the law with evil interpretations. They thought that they should rest even from good works on the sabbath, since the law prefigured in the present, the form of the future, in which indeed the days of rest from evils, not from blessings, would come.
Then you heard the words of the Lord, saying, “Stretch forth your hand.” That is the common and universal remedy. You, who think that you have a healthy hand, beware lest it is withered by greed or by sacrilege Hold it out often. Hold it out to the poor person who begs you. Hold it out to help your neighbour, to give protection to a widow, to snatch from harm one whom you see subjected to unjust insult. Hold it out to God for your sins. The hand is stretched forth, then it is healed. Jeroboam’s hand withered when he sacrificed to idols, then it stretched out when he entreated God” … St Ambrose (340-397)- One of the 4 original Doctors of the Latin Church – Exposition on the Gospel of Luke, 5
PRAYER – God of mercy and love, You offer all peoples the dignity of sharing in your life. Rule over our hearts and bodies this day. Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed, my our hands be held out to our neighbour in imitation of Your love and mercy. By the intercession of Mary the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ and our Mother, strengthen us to love each other as brothers and sisters. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever amen.
One Minute Reflection -19 August – Wednesday of the Twentieth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Ezekiel 34: 1-11, Psalms 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6, Matthew 20:1-16 and The Memorial of St John Eudes Orat. (1601-1680) “Apostle of Two Hearts” and St Louis of Toulouse OFM (1274-1297)
“Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first and the first last.” … Matthew 20:15-16
REFLECTION – “One of the robbers crucified with Jesus cried out: “Lord, remember me; it is to you I now turn (…). Remember not my works, for of these I am afraid. Every man has a feeling for his fellow-traveller; I am travelling with you towards death; remember me, your fellow-wayfarer. I do not say, Remember me now, but, “when you come in your kingdom” (Lk 23:42).
What power, O robber, led you to the Light? Who taught you to worship that despised Man, your companion on the cross? O Light Eternal, which gives light to them that are in darkness! (Lk 1:79) “Take courage! Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” because “today you have heard my voice, and have not hardened your heart” (Ps 95:8). Very speedily I passed sentence upon Adam (…) but you, who today have obeyed the faith, today is your salvation. By the tree Adam fell away; by the tree you are brought into paradise (…)
O mighty and ineffable grace! The faithful Abraham had not yet entered but the robber enters! Paul also wondered at this before you, saying, “Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more” (Rom 5:20). They who had borne the heat of the day had not yet entered and he of the eleventh hour entered. Let none murmur against the Master of the House, for He says, “My friend, I am not cheating you. Am I not free to do as I wish with what is my own?” The robber has a will to work righteousness … I accept his faith … I, the Shepherd, have “found the sheep that was lost”; I lay it on my shoulders (Lk 15:5); since he himself has said, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; Lord, remember me when You come in Your kingdom.” … St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387) Bishop of Jerusalem, Father, Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Father of mercies and God of all consolation, You gave us the loving Heart of Your own beloved Son, because of the boundless love by which You have loved us, which no tongue can describe. May we render You a love that is perfect with hearts made one with His. Grant, we pray, that our hearts may be brought to perfect unity, each heart with the other and all hearts with the Heart of Jesus….and may the rightful yearnings of our hearts find fulfilment through Him, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. – Collect from Saint John Eudes’ Mass, Gaudeamus, 1668 St John Eudes and St Louis of Toulouse, Pray for us! amen.
Thought for the Day – 11 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Riches and Poverty
“There is a striking contrast between the luxurious living of wealthy people who waste their money on pleasure and amusement and the abject poverty of those who are without food, clothing and shelter.
This is in complete contradiction of the Gospel message which has proclaimed that we are all brothers.
Extravagance is always self-centred, whereas Christianity, is the creed of love.
Sumptuous living cannot be justified by an appeal to the right to own property, for, it is a shameless betrayal of the Gospel spirit of fraternl charity.
When St Thomas Aquinas is defending the right to private property, he adds at once: “In regard to the use of it, however, a man should not regard material goods as belonging entirely to himself but … should be ready to share them with others in their necessity” (Summa Theologiae, II-II, 1 66, a 2).
If such maxims, which derive their inspiration from the Gospel, were put into practice, there would be neither excessive wealth, nor excessive poverty, in the world today.
It is true, that there would still be poverty but, destitution would disappear.
Poverty is good, in that it makes us detached from worldly things and helps us to think more about the next life.
But, destitution is really a social crime, for it is the result of human egoism and can breed hatred and spiritual degradation.
“Poverty,” writes Péguy, “is decent. It does not dress in rags … It’s dwelling is tidy, healthy and affords a welcome. It can have a change of linen once a week. It is not emaciated nor hungry… It is not good for anyone to live in easy circumstances; on the contrary, it is much better always to feel the goad of necessity …” (La guerre et la paix, p 338).
It was, in this sense, that Jesus blessed the poor and condemned the rich.
He is referring to the poor man who has enough to supply his needs, is detached from worldly possessions, uses his poverty to assist him in his journey towards Heaven and, is happy or, at any rate, content.
But He condemns the rich man who squanders his wealth on selfish amusement and is deaf to the entreaties of those in need.
After twenty centuries of Christianity, the violent contrast still exists in modern society.
If we have any reason to reproach ourselves, let us try now, to make up for our deficiencies.
Lenten Reflection – 18 March – Tuesday of the Third week of Lent, Readings: Daniel 3:25, 34-43, Psalm 25:4-9, Matthew 18:21-35
“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”
“Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?” …Matthew 18:33
Daily Meditation: Make us one in love and prayer.
“What is human mercy like? It makes you concerned for the hardship of the poor. What is divine mercy like? It forgives sinners…
In this world God is cold and hungry in all the poor, as He Himself said (Mt 25:40)… What sort of people are we? When God gives, we want to receive, when He asks, we refuse to give? When a poor man is hungry, Christ is in need, as He said Himself: “I was hungry and you gave me no food” (v. 42). Take care not to despise the hardship of the poor, if you would hope, without fear, to have your sins forgiven… What He receives on earth He returns in heaven.
I put you this question, dearly beloved – what is it you want, what is it you are looking for, when you come to church? What indeed if not mercy? Show mercy on earth and you will receive mercy in heaven. A poor man is begging from you and you are begging from God, he asks for a scrap, you ask for eternal life… And so when you come to church give whatever alms you can to the poor in accordance with your means.” … St Caesarius of Arles (470-543) – Sermon 25
Blessed be God, the giver of salvation,
who decreed that mankind should become a new creation in Himself,
when all would be made new.
With great confidence let us ask him:
Lord, renew us in Your Spirit.
Lord, You promised a new heaven and a new earth; renew us daily through Your Spirit,
– that we may enjoy Your presence for ever in the heavenly Jerusalem.
Help us to work with You to make this world alive with Your Spirit,
– and to build on earth a city of justice, love and peace.
Free us from all negligence and sloth,
– and give us joy in Your gifts of grace.
Deliver us from evil,
– and from slavery to the senses, which blinds us to goodness.
Closing Prayer: 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.
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!
Thought for the Day – 24 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Avarice and Ambition
“The unscrupulous businessman and the careerist, have an ugly attitude to life.
The former, is concerned only, with securing the highest possible profits, by any means whatever, licit or illicit.
The accumulation of money and wealth, is like a fever, which torments and brutalises the mind and heart.
It extinguishes all noble human sentiment, moreover, it destroys religion.
Careerism, is a similar kind of viciousness.
The careerist is driven by a mad desire to carve out a career for himself at all costs, even, if he has to make use of lies, adulation and bribery, in the pursuit of his ambition.
His ambition, is to win glory and esteem and to hold the highest and most honourable positions, which, naturally, command the best salaries, as well.
The Gospel is severe in it’s warning to these two classes of people.
“What does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world but suffer the loss of his own soul?” (Mt 16:25).
“Seek the kingdom of God and his justice and all these things shall be given you besides” (Mt 6:33, Lk 12:31).”