One Minute Reflection – 18 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart”- Readings: Second Corinthians 11: 18, 21-30, Psalms 34: 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, Gospel: Matthew 6: 19-23
“Lay not up for yourselves, treasures on earth … but lay up for yourselves, treasures in heaven” – Matthew 6:19,20
REFLECTION – “You are a jailor of your wealth, not its owner, you who bury your gold in the ground (cf Mt 25,25); you are its slave and not its master. Christ said: “Where your treasure is, there also your heart will be” so it is your heart you have buried. Rather, sell your gold and buy salvation; sell what is metal and acquire God’s Kingdom; sell the field and purchase for yourself, eternal life. In saying this I am speaking the truth because I am relying on the words of Him who is Truth: “If you wish to be perfect, sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven” (Mt 19,21). Do not be cast down by these words lest the same thing be said to you, as to the rich young man: “It will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (v.23). Still more, when you read this sentence, consider that death can snatch these possessions away from you, that the aggression of someone powerful can carry them away. At the end of the day, you will have seen no further than insignificant goods, in place of great wealth – these are no more than a treasure of coins rather than treasures of grace. By their very nature they perish, rather than remaining forever.” – St Ambrose (340-397), Bishop of Milan, Father and Doctor of the Church – Naboth the poor, 58.
PRAYER – Lord God, You fill us with Your grace and teach us true faith. Strengthen in our hearts that faith that no trials may quench the fire, that we may seek Your face in every moment and accept AND LIVE all of Your will. May You be our first thought and our last each day. Grant us the grace of true charity of our neighbour that no earthly wealth can equal the treasures of love. Send us Your Spirit to keep the fire blazing. May the humble love and intercession of Mary Mother of our faith, be our succour and may she intercede for us on our pilgrim way. Through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen. DIVINE Heart of JESUS, convert sinners, save the dying, set free the holy souls in Purgatory. Indulgence 300 Days Everytime – St Pius X, 11 September, 1907
Quote/s of the Day – 11 May – “Mary’s Month” – Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter,Readings: Acts 16: 22-34, Psalms 138: 1-2, 2-3, 7-8, John 16: 5-11
“I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord; he will guide you to all truth.”
“If one of us has a conscience polluted by the stain of avarice, conceit, vain-glory, indignation, irascibility, or envy and the other vices, he has “a daughter badly troubled by a demon” like the Canaanite woman.”
St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father and Doctor of the Church
“A good man is not a perfect man; a good man is an honest man, faithful and unhesitatingly responsive to the Voice of God in his life.”
St John Fisher (1469-1535) Bishop, Martyr
“Just as speech has been given to men to be the interpreter of their feelings and desires, so it is through the conscience, that God teaches us, what He judges of everything and what He expects of each one of us. This divine Voice forms various interior words, to express various lessons and the different orders, that it pleases God to give to His creature. It is the bond of communication that the Lord desires to have with us and the most usual organ he makes use of, to touch our hearts and open to us His own.”
St Claude la Colombière SJ (1641-1682)
Christian reflections (Spiritual writings, coll. Christus no 9,)
“The Heart of Jesus is with me.”
“Three things I cannot escape: the eye of God, the voice of conscience, the stroke of death. In company, guard your tongue. In your family, guard your temper. When alone guard your thoughts.”
Venerable Matthew Talbot (1856 – 1925)
“Then steer your ship with steady arm, Trust Me and rest your soul. Your little boat I’ll keep from harm, I’ll guide it toward its goal. … Be therefore, steadfast, calm and true, Your God is at your side. Through storm and night He’ll see you through With conscience as your guide.”
St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross OCD.(1891-1942 Edith Stein “At the Helm”
One Minute Reflection – 19 April – Monday of the Third Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 6: 8-15, Psalm: Psalms 119: 23-24, 26-27, 29-30, Gospel: John 6: 22-29 and the Memorial of Bl Conrad of Ascoli OFM (1234-1289)
“This is the work of God, that you believe in him, whom he hath sent.” – John 6:29
REFLECTION – “The senses are full of curiosity – faith is content to know nothing, it… longs to pass its life motionless before the Tabernacle. The senses love riches and honour – faith holds them in horror… “Blessed are the poor” (Mt 5,3). She adores the poverty and lowliness with which Jesus covered His life, as though with a garment, that He never cast off… The senses take fright at that which they call danger, at all that might mean pain or death – but faith is afraid of nothing, it knows nothing can happen to it but what is the will of God: “I have counted every hair of your head” (Mt 10,30) and whatever God wishes, will always be for its good. “All that happens is for the good of my elect” (Rm 8,28). Thus in everything that may happen, sorrow or joy, health or sickness, life or death, it is content and fears nothing. The senses are anxious about the future and ask how we shall live tomorrow but faith feels no anxiety…
Thus faith illumines everything with a new light, different to the life of the senses, more brilliant, of another kind. Whoever lives by faith, has a soul full of new thoughts, new tastes, new impressions; new horizons open up, marvellous horizons, lit with a new light and with a divine beauty, surrounded with new truths of which the world is not aware. Thus, whoever believes, begins a new life opposed to that of the world, whose acts seem like madness. The world is in the darkness of night, the person of faith is in full light – this light-filled path on which we walk, is not manifest to others. It seems to them, that we want to walk like a madman, in emptiness.” – Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916) Hermit and Missionary in the Sahara – Retreat Notes, Nazareth, Nov. 1897
PRAYER – King of heaven and earth, Lord God, rule over our hearts and bodies this day. Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed, according to the commandments of Your law, so that now and forever, Your grace may free and save us. Let us walk in Your ways and be your lights and thus, by our lives, help others to follow You. Grant that the prayers of our blessed Mother, the Mother of Jesus Your Son and Blessed Conrad of Ascoli, who always lived for You alone, may help us, as we work through each day to reach our heavenly home. Through Jesus the Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Acts 6: 8-15 8 And Stephen, full of grace and fortitude, did great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Now there arosesome of that which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and of the Cyrenians and of the Alexandrians and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia, disputing with Stephen. 0 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit that spoke. 11 Then they suborned men to say, they had heard him speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God. 12 And they stirred up the people, and the ancients and the scribes and running together, they took him and brought him to the council. 13 And they set up false witnesses, who said: This man ceaseth not to speak words against the holy place and the law. 14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place and shall change the traditions which Moses delivered unto us. 15 And all that sat in the council, looking on him, saw his face as if it had been the face of an angel.
Gospel: John 6: 22-29 22 The next day, the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea, saw that there was no other ship there but one and that Jesus had not entered into the ship with his disciples but, that his disciples were gone away alone. 23 But other ships came in from Tiberias, nigh unto the place where they had eaten the bread, the Lord giving thanks. 24 When herefore he multitude saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they took shipping and came to Capharnaum, seeking for Jesus. 25 And when they had found him, on the other side of the sea, they said to him: Rabbi, when camest thou hither? 26 Jesus answered them and said: Amen, amen I say to you, you seek me, not because you have seen miracles but because you did eat of the loaves and were filled. 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth but for that which endures unto life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you. For him hath God, the Father, sealed. 28 They said, therefore, unto him: What shall we do, that we may work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said to them: This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he hath sent.
Thought for the Day – 12 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Detachment from the World
“It is very difficult to detach ourselves from worldly affairs and remain always united to God. Nevertheless, St Ignatius Loyola often exclaimed: “How ugly the earth seems when I look towards Heaven!” The Saints saw the things of this world in the light of God. They recognised how insignificant this world is, beside the infinite splendour of God. They realised that earthly things cannot satisfy the human heart, nor assuage the restlessness of the soul, which was created for God. We, on the other hand, become too attached to worldly goods. It may happen that our hearts become absorbed in them. Let us reflect on the unimportance of this world. There are myriad of stars in the firmament, many of which are far larger than our earth or sun. Some, like Andromeda, are 250,000 light years distant from us; others, like the Triangle, are 280,000 light years away, while still others, are probably much farther. All obey exactly the plan of their Creator. How tiny our earth is by comparison! How insignificant we ourselves are! Why should we become so attached to the things of this earth? God alone is great. He alone should occupy our minds and hearts. We have been made for Him alone.”
Day Eighteen of our Lenten Journey – 6 March – Saturday of the Second week of Lent, Readings: Micah 7:14-15, 18-20, Psalms 103: 1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12, Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32
Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
In You is the source of life and in Your Light Lord, we see light Psalm 35(36)
I will arise and go to my father and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you” – Luke 15:18
In that day every trial borne in patience will be pleasing and the voice of iniquity will be stilled; the devout will be glad; the irreligious will mourn and the mortified body will rejoice far more than if it had been pampered with every pleasure. Then the cheap garment will shine with splendour and the rich one become faded and worn; the poor cottage will be more praised than the gilded palace. In that day persevering patience will count more than all the power in this world; simple obedience will be exalted above all worldly cleverness; a good and clean conscience will gladden the heart of man far more than the philosophy of the learned and contempt for riches will be of more weight than every treasure on earth.
Then you will find more consolation in having prayed devoutly than in having fared daintily; you will be happy that you preferred silence to prolonged gossip.
Then holy works will be of greater value than many fair words; strictness of life and hard penances will be more pleasing than all earthly delights.
Learn, then, to suffer little things now that you may not have to suffer greater ones in eternity. Prove here what you can bear hereafter. If you can suffer only a little now, how will you be able to endure eternal torment? If a little suffering makes you impatient now, what will hell fire do? In truth, you cannot have two joys: you cannot taste the pleasures of this world and afterward reign with Christ.
If your life to this moment had been full of honours and pleasures, what good would it do if at this instant you should die? All is vanity, therefore, except to love God and to serve Him alone.
He who loves God with all his heart does not fear death or punishment or judgement or hell, because perfect love assures access to God.
It is no wonder that he who still delights in sin fears death and judgment.
It is good, however, that even if love does not as yet restrain you from evil, at least the fear of hell does. The man who casts aside the fear of God cannot continue long in goodness but will quickly fall into the snares of the devil. (Book 1 Ch 24:5-7)
Thought for the Day – 4 March – 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.
Quote/s of the Day – 4 March – Thursday of the Second week of Lent, Readings: Jeremiah 17:5-10, Psalms 1: 1-2, 3, and 6, Luke 16: 19-31
“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously everyday. And at his gate was laid, a poor man named Lazarus …”
“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.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Father and Doctor of the Church
“… Let us be afraid, my beloved, lest we also see the poor and pass them by, lest instead of Lazarus, there be many to accuse us hereafter.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Church
“God resists the proud” whether they are covered with silk or with rags but “he gives grace to the humble” (Jas 4:6) whether or not, they have possessions in this world. God looks at what is within, it is there He assesses, there He examines.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of Grace
“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.” 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.”
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).”