Our Morning Offering – 20 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood”
Our Lord, King of all! By St Albert the Great (1200-1280) Doctor of the Church
We pray to You, O Lord, who are the supreme Truth, and all truth is from You. We beseech You, O Lord, who are the highest Wisdom, and all the wise depend on You for their wisdom. You are the supreme Joy, and all who are happy owe it to You. You are the Light of minds and all receive their understanding from You. We love, we love You above all. We seek You, we follow You, and we are ready to serve You. We desire to dwell under Your power for You are the King of all. Amen.
Thought for the Day – 16 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“In a radio message which he broadcast on the occasion of the Beatification of Pope Innocent XI, the Supreme Pontiff, Pius XII, defined holiness as “the intimate awareness of loyal subjection to God, Who is adored and loved, as the beginning, end and norm of every thought, affection, word and action.”
Let us meditate on this definition, which helps to shed some light on the true nature of sanctity. A holy man must always have a keen awareness of his own dependence upon God, his Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier and his hoped for reward and happiness in the next life. This awareness must be vivid, for it should not be possible for it to be obscured by worldly distractions or obliterated by sensual allurements. It should be active, so that it may not be a merely theoretical acknowledgement of our dependence which leads to nothing more than lip-worship; on the contrary, it must be capable of transforming our lives into an act of obedience and of love. Finally, it should be a faithful awareness, a complete and voluntary subjection to God, which is the driving force behind all our words and actions and, which inspires us alike, in joy and in sorrow, in victory and in defeat. If we wish to be perfect Christians, we must cultivate this kind of consciousness of our dependence upon God.”
Thought for the Day – 26 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Only Remedy for All Our Ills
“The first stage consists in doing God’s Will generously on all occasions. Will God give us a little happiness and satisfaction in the present life? Let us accept whatever He allows us without becoming excessively attracted by it. Let us never lose our hearts in earthly pleasures but let us preserve them intact for Jesus. Then the joys and the honours of this world will not disturb our souls, nor keep them apart from God.
Will God send us suffering and privation? Let us accept these with resignation to His holy Will. Our final end, which is eternal life, can be achieved equally well by means of joy or sorrow, as long as we accept everything from God’s Hands and offer it back to Him in accordance with His Will.
Let us remember, that we have to do the Will of God in any case, whether willingly or unwillingly. The only difference is that if we do it willingly, we shall gain peace and merit in the sight of God. If we do it unwillingly, we can expect no reward and shall increase the weight of sin upon our shoulders.”
Thought for the Day – 11 June – Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Learn From Me, For I Am Meek and Humble of Heart”
“It is very easy to be gentle and humble when everything is going well for us. It is difficult, however, when we meet humiliation, misunderstanding or opposition. We need to be well advanced in perfection, if we are to have mildness and humility of heart, like that of Jesus.
We can only reach this state of perfection by prayer, sacrifice and character formation. Pride, self-love and the desire to excel, are the evil effects of our corrupted nature. St Francis de Sales jestingly remarked that self-love dies three days after us. It is difficult to remove it completely from our character and to put, in it’s place, the love of God and of our neighbour but, this operation is necessary, if we are to obtain Christ-like humility and gentleness of heart. God, not our own ego, should be the centre of our lives, He should be the focal point of all our thinking. Let us beseech God for this grace and try and behave in this fashion on all occasions.
When we encounter lack of sympathy, coldness or injustice on the part of our fellowmen, we should try and avoid becoming annoyed or discourage. The testimony of a sound conscience before God, is all that should concern us. We should offer everything else to God, whether it is joy or sorrow, praise or criticism. We shall be rewarded with peace of soul.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine!”
One Minute Reflection – 13 May – “Mary’s Month” – Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 18: 1-8, Psalms 98: 1, 2-3, 3-4, John 16: 16-20 and the Memorial of Blessed Imelda Lambertini (1322-1333) Child Mystic, “Adorer of the Blessed Sacrament”
“Your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” … John 16:20… John 16:16
REFLECTION – Today, our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, let our hearts ascend with Him. Listen to the words of the Apostle – If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as He remained with us even after His ascension, so we too, are already in heaven with Him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.
Christ is now exalted above the heavens but He still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of His body have to bear. He showed this when He cried out from above – Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? and when He said: I was hungry and you gave me food.
Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with Him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to Him? While in heaven. He is also with us and we, while on earth, are with Him. He is here with us by His divinity, His power and His love. We cannot be in heaven, as He is on earth, by divinity but in Him, we can be there by love.
He did not leave heaven when He came down to us, nor did He withdraw from us when He went up again into heaven. The fact that He was in heaven even while He was on earth, is borne out by His own statement – No-one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. … Thus, no-one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body but because the body, as a unity cannot be separated from the head” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop and Great Western Father and Doctor of the Church – An excerpt from his Sermon on the Lord’s Ascension
PRAYER – Almighty God, fill us with a holy joy, teach us how to thank You with reverence and love for the joy of the ascension of Christ Your on. You have raised us up with Him, where He the head has preceded us in glory, there we, the body, are called in hope. Grant, too we beg, that by Mary’s prayer and the prayer of Your loving child Blessed Imelda Lambertini, we may give You faithful service and spread abroad the glory of Your nameThrough Christ our Lord, i the unity of the Holy Spirit and the glory of the Father, God forever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 4 May – “Mary’s Month” Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 14:19-28, Psalm 145:10-13, 21, John 14:27-31
“Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
“Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your life-span?”
“Lord, help me to live this day, quietly, easily. To lean upon Thy great strength, trustfully, restfully. To wait for the unfolding of Thy will, patiently, serenely. To meet others, peacefully, joyously. To face tomorrow, confidently, courageously.”
St Frances of Assisi (c 1181-1226)
“Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life. . . . If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing.”
“Let nothing perturb you, nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything.”
St Teresa of Jesus of Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of Prayer
“Let us think only of spending the present day well. Then, when tomorrow shall have come, it will be called TODAY and then, we will think about it.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church
“Prayer is our strength, our sword, our consolation and the key to paradise.”
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.
Day Twenty of our Lenten Journey – 8 March – The Third Sunday of Lent, Readings: 2 Kings 5:1-15, Psalm 42:2-3; 43:3-4, Luke 4:24-30
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)
And they rose up and tdrove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.– Luke 4:29
When Christ was in the world, He was despised by men. In the hour of need He was forsaken by acquaintances and left by friends to the depths of scorn. He was willing to suffer and to be despised. Do you dare to complain of anything?
He had enemies and defamers. Do you want everyone to be your friend, your benefactor? How can your patience be rewarded if no adversity test it? How can you be a friend of Christ if you are not willing to suffer any hardship? Suffer with Christ and for Christ if you wish to reign with Him.
Had you but once entered into perfect communion with Jesus or tasted a little of His ardent love, you would care nothing at all for your own comfort or discomfort but would rejoice in the reproach you suffer. For love of Him makes a man despise himself.
A man who is a lover of Jesus and of truth, a truly interior man who is free from uncontrolled affections, can turn to God at will and rise above himself to enjoy spiritual peace. He who tastes life as it really is, not as men say or think it is, is indeed wise with the wisdom of God rather than of men.
He who learns to live the interior life and to take little account of outward things, does not seek special places or times to perform devout exercises. A spiritual man quickly recollects himself because he has never wasted his attention upon externals. No outside work, no business that cannot wait stands in his way. He adjusts himself to things as they happen.
He whose disposition is well ordered cares nothing about the strange, perverse behaviour of others, for a man is upset and distracted only in proportion as he engrosses himself in externals. If all were well with you, therefore and, if you were purified from all sin, everything would tend to your good and be to your profit. But because you are as yet neither entirely dead to self nor free from all earthly affection, there is much that often displeases and disturbs you. Nothing so mars and defiles the heart of man as impure attachment to created things.
But if you refuse external consolation, you will be able to contemplate heavenly things and often to experience interior joy. (Book 2 Ch 1)
One Minute Reflection – 8 March – Monday of the Third week of Lent, Readings: 2 Kings 5:1-15,Psalms 42:2, 3; 43:3, 4, Luke 4:24-30 and the Memorial fo St John of God (1495-1550) and Blessed Vincent Kadlubek O.Cist (c 1160-1223)
“There were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months and a great famine came over all the land. Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.” – Luke 4:25-26
REFLECTION – “The poor widow had gone out to look for two blocks of wood to bake some brea,: it is at this time that Elijah meets her. This woman is the symbol of the Church because a cross is made of two pieces of wood, the woman, who was destined to die, searches for something by which to live eternally. There is a hidden mystery in this … Elijah tells her: “Go, feed me first with your poverty and you will not run out of your goods.” What a blessed poverty! If the widow received here on earth such retribution, what a reward may she hope to receive in the life to come!
I insist on this point – let us not expect to harvest the fruit of our sowing now, at the time we sow. Here on earth, we sow with difficulty what will be the harvest of our good works but only later on, will we gather the fruits of this with joy, according to what is said: “Those who go forth weeping, carrying sacks of seed, will return with cries of joy, carrying their bundled sheaves” (Ps 125:6). Actually Elijah’s act towards this woman was not her reward, but only a symbol of it. For if this widow would have been rewarded here on earth for having fed the man of God, what a miserable sowing, what a poor crop! She received just a temporal good – a jar of flour that did not empty and a jug of oil that did not run dry, until the day the Lord watered the earth with His rain. This sign that was given to her by God, for a few days was, therefore, the symbol of the future life where our reward could not be lessened. Our flour will be God himself! As the flour of this woman did not run out in these days, we will not be deprived of God for all the rest of eternity … Sow with faith and your harvest will surely come; it will come later on but when it will come, you will reap it endlessly.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Father, Doctor of the Church – Sermon 11, 2-3
PRAYER – Lord our God, make us love You above all things and all our fellow-men, with a love that is worthy of You. May we look to Your Divine Son in love and imitation. Grant we pray, that by the prayers of the St John of God and Bl Vincent Kadlubek we too may be granted the grace to follow Your only Son, no matter our sufferings. We make our prayer, through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 25 February – Thursday of the First week of Lent, Readings: Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25, Psalms 138:1-2,2-3, 7-8, Matthew 7:7-12
“Ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.”
“Prayer is the wing, wherewith the soul flies to heaven and meditation, the eye, wherewith we see God.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Ask with tears, seek with obedience, knock with patience.”
St John Climacus (c 525-606) Father of the Church
“All who ask receive, those who seek find and to those who knock it shall be opened. Therefore, let us knock at the beautiful garden of Scripture. It is fragrant, sweet and blooming with various sounds of spiritual and divinely inspired birds. They sing all around our ears, capture our hearts, comfort the mourners, pacify the angry and fill us with everlasting joy.”
St John Damascene (676-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
“He promises to be [our] strength, in proportion to the trust which [we] place in Him.”
St Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682) “Apostle of the Sacred Heart”
“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) Bishop and Doctor of the Church
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” – Luke 9:23
REFLECTION – “What joy to live in the Cross of Christ! Who could complain of suffering? Only the insensate man who does not adore the Passion of Christ, the Cross of Christ, the Heart of Christ, can in his own griefs, give way to despair… How good it is to live united with the Cross of Christ. Christ Jesus… teach me that truth, which consists in rejoicing in scorn, injury, degradation; teach me to suffer with that humble, silent joy of the saints; teach me to be gentle towards those who don’t love me or who despise me; teach me that truth, which from the mound of Calvary You reveal to the whole world. But I know: a very gentle voice within me explains it all; I feel something in me which comes from You and which I don’t know how to put into words; so much mystery is revealed that man cannot apprehend it. I, Lord, in my way, do understand it. It is love. In that is everything. I know it, Lord, nothing more is needed, nothing more, it is love! Who shall describe the love of Christ? Let men, creatures and all things, keep silent, so that we may hear in the stillness, the whisperings of love, meek, patient, immense, infinite, which from the Cross, Jesus offers us with His arms open. The world, mad, doesn’t listen.” – St Raphael Arnaiz Baron (1911-1938) a Spanish Trappist Monk – Spiritual writings 07/04/1938
PRAYER – God of mercy, teach us to live as You have ordained. Help us to follow Your commandments with courage and steadfast devotion. Let our Saviour be our Master, help us to learn from Him, the ways of prayer in silence, the ways of love. Fill us with the fire of the Holy Spirit, that we may learn. Grant blessed Trinity, that by the prayers of St Theotonius, we may grow in holiness. Through Jesus our Lord, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 28 January – The Memorial of St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor of the Church
O Merciful God By St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus Doctor Communis
O merciful God, grant that I may ever perfectly do Your Will in all things. Let it be my ambition to work only for Your honour and glory. Let me rejoice in nothing but that leads to You, nor grieve for anything, that leads away from You. May all passing things be as nothing in my eyes and may all that is Yours be dear to me and You, my God, dear above them all. May all joy be meaningless without You and may I desire nothing apart from You. May all labour and toil delight me when it is for You. Make me, O Lord, obedient without complaint, poor without regret, patient without murmur, humble without pretense, joyous without frivolity, and truthful without disguise. Amen
Thought for the Day – 20 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Carrying our Cross – The Royal Road
“There is only one way to become holy and to win Heaven. This is the way of the Cross. The Imitation of Christ contains some moving thoughts on the subject of the royal road of the Cross. We shall summarise them here.
The words of Jesus seem hard to many: “Renounce yourself, take up your cross and follow Me.” But, it would be much harder to hear on the last day those terrible words: “Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire.” Those who listen now and accept the message of the Cross, need not be afraid of hearing this irrevocable sentence on that day. Why avoid the way of the Cross if it is the only road which leads to Heaven? In the Cross there is salvation; in the Cross there is protection from our enemies. If we carry our cross with submission and love, we shall find peace of soul. If we intertwine our cross with the Cross of Jesus, we shall obtain energy of mind, joy of spirit and perfect holiness. If we die on the Cross with Jesus, we shall live with Him in eternal happiness. If we are His companions in suffering, we shall also be with Him one day in glory (Rom 6:8).
Everything depends on our dying on the Cross with Jesus. There is no other way to life and to true interior peace but the way of the Holy Cross and of daily mortification (Imitation of Christ, Bk II ch 12).”
Thought for the Day – 6 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
It was love which inspired the Magi. Love sustained them on their journey and made them fall prostrate in adoration before the Infant Jesus. Even before they offered Him material gifts, they offered Him, their hearts! As a reward for their faith and charity, God showered his graces upon them and an immense supernatural joy pervaded their souls. In that moment of adoration, they received the highest possible reward for their hardships and perseverance. With deep interior joy, they gave Jesus their hearts and never withdrew them. A pious tradition maintains, that they apostles and Saints and, in fact, the Church venerates them as such, today.
We should follow the example of the Magi and promise, before the cradle of the Infant Saviour, that we shall face any sacrifices, even death, rather than offend Him and shall work, in every way possible, for His glory and our sanctification.”
Thought for the Day – 3 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Following Jesus, the Divine Model
“Jesus is the Divine Model, Whom we ought to follow and imitate. In Him, the virtues possess both the infinite splendour of the Divinity and the gentle appeal of glorified Humanity. Jesus does not dazzle us with His brightness but kindly invites us to love and follow Him. “Learn from me” He says, “for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls” (Mt 11:29). After He has indicated humility, meekness and interior peace, as the foundations of the spiritual life, He invites us to take up the yoke of His law and assures us, that we shall find it light (Mt 11).
If we follow Jesus, even though we are bowed with Him, beneath the weight of the Cross, we shall experience, even in this life, a reflection of the peace and joy which will be our reward in Heaven.”
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for yourselves…” … Matthew 11:29
REFLECTION – “Dearest sister in Jesus. I, Catherine, servant of the servants of Jesus, write to you in His Precious Blood, wishing only that you feed yourself with God’s love and nourish yourself with it, as at a mother’s breast. Nobody, in fact, can live without this milk! Who possesses God’s love, finds so much joy that every bitterness transforms itself into sweetness and that every great weight becomes light. One must not be astonished because living in charity you live in God – “God is love and he who abides in love, abides in God and God abides in him”(1 John 4:16) Thus, living in God, you can have no bitterness because God is delight, gentleness and never-ending joy! This is why God’s friends are always happy! Even if we are sick, poor, grieved, troubled, persecuted, we are always joyful. … We do not seek joy elsewhere than in Jesus and we avoid any glory which is not that of the Cross. Embrace, then, Jesus crucified, raising to Him the eyes of your desire! Consider His burning love for you, which made Jesus pour out His blood from every part of His body! Embrace Jesus crucified, loving and beloved and in Him you will find true life because He is God made man. Let your heart and your soul burn with the fire of love drawn from Jesus on the Cross! You must, then, become love, looking at God’s love who loved you so much not because He had any obligation towards you but out of pure gift, urged only by His ineffable love. You will have no other desire than to follow Jesus! As if you were drunken with Love, it will no longer matter whether you are alone or in company – do not think about many things but only about finding Jesus and following Him! Run, Bartolomea, do not stay asleep, because time flies and does not wait one moment! Dwell in God’s sweet love. Sweet Jesus, Jesus love.” … St Catherine of Sienna (1347-1380) – Doctor of the Church – From the “Letters” (letter no. 165 to Bartolomea, wife of Salviato of Lucca).
Prayer – Almighty and merciful God, let neither our daily work nor the cares of this life, prevent us from hastening to meet Your Son. Lord, make straight the winding ways within us. Draw us to repent! Enlighten us with Your wisdom and lead us into His company, that we may love Him and do homage to Him. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 1 November – The Solemnity of All Saints, Readings: Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 1 John 3:1-3, Matthew 5:1-12
“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” – Matthew 5:12
REFLECTION – “Rejoice in the Lord without ceasing (cf. Phil 4:4), my dear children. I beg you rejoice, citizens of heaven but exiles on earth, inhabitants of the Jerusalem on high (cf. Gal 4:26) but banished from affairs here below, inheritors of the kingdom of heaven but disinherited from taking any part at all, in earthly pleasures! Rejoice, ardent travellers, at undergoing exile and maltreatment in a foreign land in the name of the commandment of God! Rejoice, you who are last in this world but lords of blessings that exceed our understanding (cf. Phil 4:7). Rejoice, noble company, brought together by God, assembly united in heart and soul, who give life to filial and fraternal love, a replica on earth of the host of angels! (…) Rejoice, God’s workers, apostolic men. (…) Rejoice, you who set your joy in each other, each making his own the reputation of his brother, you in whom is found neither jealousy, rivalry nor envy but, in their place, peace and charity and life in common. In truth, I do not say that we are not attacked – indeed, who is crowned if not the one who struggles and fights, who exchanges thrusts and wounds with his assailants? – but I say that we should not let ourselves be brought down by the machinations of Satan. Yes, my children, assembly of God, nourish yourselves with the food of the Spirit and drink the water given by the Lord: whoever comes to possess this water will never thirst again but it will become, in Him, a spring of living water welling up to eternal life (cf. Jn 4:14). (…) Yet a little while and we shall have vanquished. And blessed shall we be; blessed also, it shall be said, are the places, family and countries that have borne you (cf. Lk 11:27-28).” – St Theodore the Studite (759-826) – Catechesis 47 (The Great Catecheses)
PRAYER – Father, All-Powerful and ever-living God, today we rejoice in the holy men and women of every time and place. May their prayers bring us your forgiveness and love. Blessed Virgin, Mother of God, our trusted guide and loving mother and all you holy Saints of the Church Triumphant, pray for us! We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 20 October – Tuesday of the Twenty Ninth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Ephesians 2:12-22,Psalms 85:9-10,11-12, 13-14, Luke 12:35-38
“Open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks.”
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him and he with me.”
“Find Jesus at the door of your heart and you will discover paradise.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Let your door stand open to receive Him, unlock your soul to Him, offer Him a welcome in your mind and then you will see the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace, the joy of grace. Throw wide the gate of your heart, stand before the sun of the everlasting light.”
St Ambrose (c 340-397) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Christ is both the way and the door. Christ is the staircase and the vehicle …”
Quote/s of the Day – 4 September – The Feast of Our Lady of Consolation
“O sinner, be not discouraged but have recourse to Mary, in all your necessities. Call her to your assistance, for such is the divine Will that she should help in every kind of necessity.”
St Basil the Great (329-379) Father and Doctor of the Church
“O Mary, I have not doubt that whenever we run to you, we shall obtain all that we desire. Let those then who have no hope, hope in you!”
“In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favour, you shall reach the goal.”
St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Mellifluous Doctor of the Church
“Has anyone ever come away from Mary, troubled or saddened or ignorant of the heavenly Mysteries? Who has not returned to everyday life gladdened and joyful because a request has been granted by the Mother of God?”
St Amadeus of Lausanne (1110-1159)
“Mary means Star of the sea, for as mariners are guided to port by the ocean star, so Christians attain to glory, through Mary’s maternal intercession.”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus Doctor Communis
“Let us run to Mary and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritatis
”It seems unbelievable, that a man should perish, in whose favour Christ said to His Mother: ‘Behold thy son’, provided, that he has not turned a deaf ear to the words, which Christ addressed to him: ‘Behold thy Mother.’”
St Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) Doctor of the Church
“For God, having given her power over His only-begotten and natural Son, also gave her power over His adopted children – not only in what concerns their body – which would be of little account – but also in what concerns their soul.”
St Louis Marie de Montfort (1673-1716)
”To desire grace without recourse to the Virgin Mother is to desire to fly without wings.”
One Minute Reflection – 4 September – Friday of the Twenty Second week in Ordinary Time, Readings: 1 Corinthians 4:1-5, Psalms 37:3-4, 5-6, 27-28, 39-40, Luke 5:33-39 and the Feast of Our Lady of Consolation
“Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them and then, they will fast in those days.” … Luke 5:34-35
REFLECTION –“Let our “loins be girded and our lamps lit;”let us be like “servants waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast” (Lk 12:35). Don’t let us be like those unbelievers who say: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Cor 15:32). The more unsure the day of our death is, the more painful are the trials of life and the more, too, we should fast and pray, since, to all intents and purposes, tomorrow we die. Our Lord said to His disciples: “Yet a little while and you will no longer see me and again a little while and you will see me” (Jn 16,16). Now is the time of which He said : “You will grieve but the world will rejoice” (v. 20); now is the time in this life of suffering, when we journey apart from Him. “But,” He adds, “I shall see you again and your hearts will be full of joy and no-one will take your joy away from you” (v. 22).
Even now, the hope we thus put in the one who is faithful to His promise, will not leave us without some joy, until we are filled with overwhelming joy on the day when “we shall be like him because we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn 3:2), when “no-one shall take your joy away from us” (…) “A woman in labour,” says our Lord, “is in anguish because her hour has arrived. But when she has given birth to a child she feels immense joy because a child has been born into the world” (Jn 16:21). This is the joy no-one can take away from us and with which, we will be filled, when we pass from our present understanding of faith, into eternal light. So let us fast and pray now because, we are in the days of childbirth!” … St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace – Sermon 210, 5 (7)
PRAYER – Almighty God, grant that Your faithful, who rejoice in the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, may be delivered from every evil here on earth. By her example, may we ever keep Your heavenly Kingdom in our hearts for “What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him,” and run in haste to the enduring joys of heaven. Mary, our Consolation and Comforter, pray for us! Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Quotes of the Day – 28 August – The Memorial of St Augustine of Hippo (354-430) – Father and Doctor of Grace
“To fall in love with God, is the greatest romance; to seek Him, the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement.”
“You ask what you might offer to God? Offer yourself! What does God expect from you, except yourself?”
“He bought brothers for Himself by His blood, He made them welcome by being rejected, He ransomed them by being sold, He honoured them by being dishonoured, He gave them life by being put to death. So, brethren, rejoice in the Lord, not in the world. That is, rejoice in the truth, not in wickedness, rejoice in the hope of eternity, not in the fading flower of vanity. That is the way to rejoice. Wherever you are on earth, however long you remain on earth, the Lord is near, do not be anxious about anything!”
“God provides the wind but man must raise the sails.”
“A man may lose the good things of this life against his will but, if he loses the eternal blessings, he does so with his own consent.”
“Do you wish to RISE? Begin by DESCENDING. You plan a tower that will pierce the CLOUDS? Lay first the foundation of HUMILITY.”
“If we live good lives, the times are also good. As we are, such are the times.”
“He who calls us, came here below, to give us the means of getting there. He chose the wood that would enable us to cross the sea – indeed, no-one can cross the ocean of this world, who is not borne by the Cross of Christ. Even the blind can cling to this Cross. If you can’t see where you are going very well, don’t let go of it, it will guide you by itself. ”
“We pray then to Him, through Him, in Him and we speak along with Him and He along with us. ”
Thought for the Day – 24 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Christianity is neither sad nor pessimistic. On the contrary, it is the harbinger of “great joy,” (Lk 2:10) to quote the expression used by the Angels when they announced to the shepherds, the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.
Obviously, this joy is something quite distinct from sensible pleasure. It is the spiritual happiness which accompanies an innocent life, sorrow for sin, or suffering bravely borne for the love of God.
Any other form of earthly happiess can never be more than a partial and transitory pleasure, capable of satisfying the human heart completely. When Christianity urges us to be detached from worldly objects, however, it does not condemn the joys of the present life. The historian Tacitus, was very far from the truth when, in the description in his Annals of the burning of Rome at the time of Nero, he accused the Christians of hating the human race, although not of having set fire to the city. Although the teaching of Christianity is preoccupied with the joys of Heaven, it does not frown upon legitimate worldly pleasures.
Jesus “went about doing good and healing all who were in the power of the devil” (Acts 10:38). He loved to give joy to others and sanctified the marriage feast of Cana by His presence and by working His first miracle there. He restored happiness to the widow of Naim, by raising her son to life and to Martha and Mary, by giving them back their brother, Lazarus, who had been dead for four days. He spent His entire life giving happiness to others.
There is only one kind of merriment which Christianity cannot countenance and that is, the inordinate pleasure which leads to sin, or, is the result of sin. This kind of pleasure has no kinship with spiritual joy. It is a momentary exaltation, which soon disappears and leaves behind disillusionment and remorse. It leads inevitably to sorrow; this is a chastisement from God which can only become meritorious if it is offered up in expiation. “The end of joy may be sorrow,” says the Book of Proverbs (14:13) For this reason, let us seek spiritual joys, not those which lead to sin, nor those, which are the result of sin.”
Quote/s of the Day – 18 August – Tuesday of the Twentieth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Ezekiel 28: 1-10, Responsorial Psalm Deuteronomy 32:26-27ab, 27cd-28, 30, 35cd-36ab, Matthew 19:23-30
“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”
“Through Him, our gaze penetrates the heights of heaven and we see, as in a mirror, the most holy face of God. Through Christ, the eyes of our hearts are opened and our weak and clouded understanding, reaches up toward the light.”
Saint Pope Clement I (c 35-99)
Apostolic Father, Bishop of Rome and Martyr
“Let us listen to the Lord: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (Jn 14:6). If you are looking for the Truth, follow the Way which is also the Truth. This is where you are going and it is how you go. It is not by another thing that you go to something; it is not by anything else that you come to Christ; it is through Christ that you come to Christ. How to Christ through Christ? To Christ God through Christ man; through the Word made flesh, to the Word who was with God, from the beginning; through what we have eaten to what the angels eat daily. In fact it is what is written: “He gave them bread from heaven; man ate the bread of angels” (Ps 77:24-25). What is the bread of angels? “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was in God and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1-3). How has man eaten the bread of angels? “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”
Saint Augustine (354-430)
Father and Doctor of Grace
“The love of Jesus is noble and generous, it spurs us onto do great things and excites us to desire always, that which is most perfect. Love will tend upwards and is not to be detained by things beneath. Love will be at liberty and free from all worldly affections… for love proceeds from God and cannot rest but in God above all things created. The lover flies, runs and rejoices, he is free and not held. He gives all for all and has all in all, because he rests in one sovereign Good above all, from Whom all good flows and proceeds”
Thomas à Kempis,
The Imitation of Christ,
Book III, Chapter V, 3-4
“Do everything out of love for God, for God, with God, to get to God.”
Blessed Maria Rosa Flesch (1826-1906)
“Life has only one face – LOVE.”
Blessed Benedetta Bianchi Porro (1936-1964)
“Catholics are part of the Church Militant. They struggle and they suffer for the triumph of Christ. They must never lose sight of their Divine Model, so that their trials will be turned into joy.”
Saint Pius X (1835-1914)
“Love infinitely, the most sweet Lord Jesus Christ, do everything for Him alone and spend your life, in works of mercy and of love.”
Blessed Marija of Jesus Crucified Petković (1892-1966)
“Since the death of Christ, almost every century has seen the persecution of Christians, there have always been heroes and martyrs who gave their lives – often in horrible ways – for Christ and their faith. If we hope to reach our goal some day, then we, too, must become heroes of the faith.”
Blessed Franz Jägerstätter (1907-1943)
Martyr of Conscientious Objection
“If a boat is running with the stream, it has little need of the pull of the oars, nor of the guidance of the helm. It’s passage is smooth and peaceful. The same applies to those who place absolute confidence in God in their journey through life. … Why should I worry, when I know that whatever God has in store for me, is for my own good? … There is no need to be disturbed. Everything must be accomplished for God, with God and in God and, with complete abandonment to His will.”
Sunday Reflection –9 August – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“The Joy of the Eucharist, all through Life!”
St John Vianney (1786-1859)
“When Jesus entered the house of St Elizabeth, although He was imprisoned in Mary’s womb, He sanctified both mother and child and Elizabeth exclaimed, “Whence comes so great a happiness to me, that the Mother of my God deigns to come to me?”
I leave you to consider how much greater is the happiness of him who receives Jesus Christ in Holy Communion, not like Elizabeth, into his house but into the depths of his heart, to be its protecting Master, not six months, as in Elizabeth’s case but all through life!”
Quote/s of the Day – 6 August – Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord and the Memorial of Justus and Pastor – The Holy Martyred Children of Alcala de Henares in Spain (Died 304)
“Do not fear death of the body nor the torments, little brother. Calmly receive the strike of the sword. The God who has seen fit to call us to such a great grace, will give us the necessary strength, to endure the sufferings that await us.”
St Justus to his Brother St Pastor (Died 304)
Holy Children Martyrs
“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.”
St Pope Leo the Great (400-461)
Father and Doctor of the Church
“By His loving foresight, He allowed them to taste for a short time, the contemplation of eternal joy, so that they might bear persecution bravely.”
The Venerable St Bede (673-735)
Father and Doctor of the Church
“Jesus goes before us to show us the way, both up the mountain and into heaven and — I speak boldly — it is for us now, to follow him with all speed . . . Let us run with confidence and joy to enter into the cloud like Moses and Elijah, or like James and John. Let us be caught up like Peter to behold the divine vision and to be transfigured by that glorious transfiguration. Let us retire from the world, stand aloof from the earth, rise above the body, detach ourselves from creatures and turn to the Creator, to whom Peter in ecstasy exclaimed: ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here.’”
St Anastasius (Died 628)
“At His Transfiguration
Christ showed His disciples,
the splendour of His beauty,
to which He will shape and colour
those who are His:
‘He will reform our lowness
configured to the body of his glory.’”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274)
Doctor of the Church
Thought for the Day – 19 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“In a radio message which he broadcast on the occasion of the Beatification of Pope Innocent XI, the Supreme Pontiff, Pius XII, defined holiness as “the intimate awareness of loyal subjection to God, Who is adored and loved, as the beginning, end and norm of every thought, affection, word and action.”
Let us meditate on this definition, which helps to shed some light on the true nature of sanctity.
A holy man must always have a keen awareness of his own dependence upon God, his Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier and his hoped for reward and happiness in the next life.
This awareness must be vivid, for it should not be possible for it to be obscured by worldly distractions or obliterated by sensual allurements.
It should be active, so that it may not be a merely theoretical acknowledgement of our dependence which leads to nothing more than lip-worship; on the contrary, it must be capable of transforming our lives into an act of obedience and of love.
Finally, it should be a faithful awareness, a complete and voluntary subjection to God, which is the driving force behind all our words and actions and, which inspires us alike, in joy and in sorrow, in victory and in defeat.
If we wish to be perfect Christians, we must cultivate this kind of consciousness of our dependence upon God.”
“Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” … Matthew 13:43
REFLECTION –“When this, which is corruptible in us, clothes itself with incorruptibility and this, which is mortal, clothes itself in immortality” (1 Cor 15:54), then there will be perfect sweetness, perfect rejoicing, endless praise and love without fear. … And here below? Do we not enjoy any kind of joy? … Certainly we find joy here below; here we taste in hope of the life to come, a joy that will satisfy us completely in heaven.
However, the wheat has much to bear in the midst of the darnel. The seed is mixed up with the straw and the lily grows among the thorns. … And indeed, what is it that was spoken to the Church? “As a lily among thorns, so is my beloved among my maidens” (Sg 2:2). It said, “Among my maidens” and not among foreigners. O Lord, what are the consolations you give us? What the comfort? Or rather, what the alarm? Are you calling your own maidens “thorns”? By their behaviour they are thorns, He answers, but maidens through my sacraments. …
But where is the Christian to take refuge, then, if he is not to groan in the midst of false brethren? Where is he to go? What is he to do? Is he to fly away to the desert? Occasions for falling will follow him. Will he who is doing so well, separate himself to the extent, of not putting up with a single one of his brothers? What about him, then? Supposing nobody was able to put up with him before his conversion? … So if, under the pretext of making progress, he cannot bear with anyone else, by this very fact it is clear, he hasn’t progressed as yet. Pay careful attention to these words: “Bear with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph 4:2-3). Isn’t there anything in you that another has to bear?” … St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace – Discourses on the Psalm, Ps 99, 8-9
PRAYER – Father and almighty God, You have given Your Son to redeem us with complete and absolute love and mercy. He has taken our flesh and given Himself to us and extended endless mercy for all time. He has taught us the path of love and mercy. Grant, we pray, that our hearts may grieve and repent with true sorrow. And may the prayers of His Mother and ours, the Most Holy and Pure Virgin, assist us to extend love and mercy to all. We make our prayer through the merits of His saving love and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 16 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Thursday of the Fifteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Isaiah 26:7-9, 12, 16-19, Psalm 102:13-21, Matthew 11:28-30 and the Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and of Blessed Ceslaus Odrowaz OP (c 1184– 1242) (Brother of St Hyacinth)
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for yourselves…” … Matthew 11:29
REFLECTION – “Dearest sister in Jesus. I, Catherine, servant of the servants of Jesus, write to you in His Precious Blood, wishing only that you feed yourself with God’s love and nourish yourself with it, as at a mother’s breast. Nobody, in fact, can live without this milk!
Who possesses God’s love, finds so much joy that every bitterness transforms itself into sweetness and that every great weight becomes light. One must not be astonished because living in charity you live in God – “God is love and he who abides in love, abides in God and God abides in him”(1 John 4:16)
Thus, living in God, you can have no bitterness because God is delight, gentleness and never-ending joy!
This is why God’s friends are always happy! Even if we are sick, poor, grieved, troubled, persecuted, we are always joyful.
… We do not seek joy elsewhere than in Jesus and we avoid any glory which is not that of the Cross.
Embrace, then, Jesus crucified, raising to Him the eyes of your desire! Consider His burning love for you, which made Jesus pour out His blood from every part of His body!
Embrace Jesus crucified, loving and beloved and in Him you will find true life because He is God made man. Let your heart and your soul burn with the fire of love drawn from Jesus on the Cross!
You must, then, become love, looking at God’s love who loved you so much not because He had any obligation towards you but out of pure gift, urged only by His ineffable love.
You will have no other desire than to follow Jesus! As if you were drunken with Love, it will no longer matter whether you are alone or in company – do not think about many things but only about finding Jesus and following Him!
Run, Bartolomea, do not stay asleep, because time flies and does not wait one moment!
Dwell in God’s sweet love.
Sweet Jesus, Jesus love.” … St Catherine of Sienna (1347-1380) – Doctor of the Church – From the “Letters” (letter no. 165 to Bartolomea, wife of Salviato of Lucca).
PRAYER – “Holy God, our Father, we turn to You in confidence as children and pray, give us meekness of heart, make us “poor in spirit” that we may recognise that we are not self-sufficient, that we are unable to build our lives on our own but need You, we need to encounter You, to listen to You, to speak to You. Help us to understand that we need Your gift, Your wisdom, which is Jesus Himself, in order to do the Your will in our lives and thus to find rest in the hardships of our journey.” Hear the prayers we request of the Mother of our Jesus Crucified and our Mother, Our Lady of Carmel, dear Lord and holy God, which we pray through Christ, our Light, in the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen. … Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 7 December 2011