One Minute Reflection – 23 March – Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent – Exodus 20:12-24, Matthew 15:1-20
“Hypocrites, well did Isaias prophesy of you, saying, ‘This people honours me with their lips but their heart is far from Me and in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrine, the precepts of men.’ ” – Matthew 15:7
REFLECTION – “The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed you from the law of sin and death” (Rm 8:2) … Saint Paul says that the Law of Moses has been given to prove our weakness and not just to prove it but, to increase it and thus force us to find the Doctor. … “Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more” (Rm 5:20; cf. 3:20) … But why did the first Law, written with the Finger of God (Ex 31:18), not give us the essential assistance of grace? Because it was written on tablets of stone, not the tablets of flesh, that are our hearts (2 Cor 3:3) ….
It is the Holy Spirit Who writes “the Law of the Spirit of life” not on stone but in the heart; this Law of the Spirit of life that is in Jesus Christ in Whom the Passover has been celebrated in truth (1 Cor 5:7-8), has delivered you from the law of sin and death. Do you want to have proof of the manifest and certain difference separating the Old Testament from the New? … Hear what the Lord spoke by the mouth of one of the prophets. … ”I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts” (Jr 31:33). So if God’s Law is written in your heart, it does not bring forth fear [as at Sinai] but pours a secret sweetness into your soul.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Father and Doctor of the Church (Sermon 155, 6 ).
PRAYER – Breathe in Me, O Holy Spirit By St Augustine (354-420)
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen
Thought for the Day – 21 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Power of God’s Love in the Christian Life
“As has been said, love must be active and effective, as well as coming from the heart. This is still not sufficient, however. Love tends towards an intimate union with the person loved and does not rest, until this union is achieved. This is the unity of love. The Saints reached this high level of charity. They lived in God and were permanently united to God, as if theyt formed part of His Being. “It is now, no longer I that live,” exclaimed St Paul, “but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20).
If only we could succeed in achieving such a complete and lasting union with God, any sacrifice would seem easy and we should certainly grow in sanctity.”
Thought for the Day – 20 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“When Jesus was asked, what was the first commandment, He replied: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind and with thy whole strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than this” (Mk 12:30-31). As St Augustine says, the love of God and the love of neighbour are two branches of the same tree, the tree of charity. “If anyone says, ‘I love God’ and hates his brother,” St John warns us, “he is a liar” (1 Jn 4:20).
We must prove our love for God by showing charity towards our neighbour. All men are our brothers in Jesus Christ, Who has redeemed us by His Precious Blood. Our Lord has said that He will regard as done for Himself, anything which we do for the least of our brethren (Mt 25:10).
Like the Saints, we should see Jesus Himself living in the poor and the suffering. The Saints gave Him everything they had, not only their possessions but also their toil and their love.
Think how much those missionaries do who leave everything in order to go to foreign lands and win souls for Christ. Think of the charitable work of the sisters and nurses in the hospitals, asylums and orphanages. What are we doing?”
The Third Sunday of Lent – 20 March – Ou4 Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Ephesians 5:1-9, Luke 11:14-28
“My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He will free my feet from the snare. Look toward me and have pity on me, for I am alone and afflicted.” – Psalm 24:15-16
“He who is not with Me, is against Me and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”
“NO-ONE COMES TO ME unless the Father draws him. Do not think that you are drawn against your will – the will is drawn also by love. We must not be afraid of men who weigh words but are far from understanding what belongs above all to Divine Truth. They may find fault with this passage of Scripture and say to us: “How can I believe of my own free will if I am drawn to believe?” I answer: “It is not enough that you are moved by the will, for you are drawn also by desire.”
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN, to be drawn by desire? Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. The heart has its own desires; it takes delight, for example, in the bread from heaven. The poet could say: “Everyone is drawn by his own desire,” not by necessity but by desire, not by compulsion but by pleasure. We can say then with greater force, that one who finds pleasure in Truth, in Happiness, in Justice, in Everlasting Life, is drawn to Christ, for Christ is all these things.
ARE OUR BOIDLY SENSES to have their desires but not the will? If the will does not have its desires, how can Scripture say: The children of men will find their hope under the shadow of your wings, they will drink their fill from the plenty of your house and you will give them drink from the running stream of your delights, for with you is the fountain of life, and in your light we shall see light.
SHOW ME ONE WHO LOVES; he knows what I mean. Show me one who is full of longing, one who is hungry, one who is a pilgrim and suffering from thirst in the desert of this world, eager for the fountain in the homeland of eternity; show me someone like that and he knows what I mean. But if I speak to someone without feeling, he does not understand what I am saying.
YOU HAVE ONLY to show a leafy branch to a sheep and it is drawn to it. If you show nuts to a boy, he is drawn to them. He runs to them because he is drawn, drawn by love, drawn without any physical compulsion, drawn by a chain attached to his heart. “Everyone is drawn by his own desire. ” This is a true saying and earthly delights and pleasures, set before those who love them, succeed in drawing them. If this is so, are we to say that Christ, revealed and set before us by the Father, does not draw us? What does the soul desire more than truth? Why then does the soul have hungry jaws, a spiritual palate as it were, sensitive enough to judge the truth, if not in order to eat and drink Wisdom, Justice, Truth, Eternal Life?
BLESSED ARE THOSE who hunger and thirst for justice, that is, here on earth. They shall be satisfied, that is, in Heaven. Christ says: I give each what he loves, I give each the object of his hope; he will see what he believed in, though without seeing it. What he now hungers for, he will eat; what he now thirsts for, he will drink to the full. When? At the resurrection of the dead, for I will raise him up on the last day.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Great Western Father and Doctor of Grace of the Church (An excerpt from his Treatise 26).
Quote/s of the Day – 18 March – The Memorial of St Cyril of Jerusalem (c 313-386) Bishop of Jerusalem, Confessor and Father & Doctor of the Church
“For His body, has been given to you under the appearance of bread and His blood, under the appearance of wine, so that, when you have partaken of the body and blood of Christ, you might be one body and one blood with Him. So shall we become Christ-bearers [“Christophers”]. His body and blood are diffused through all our members – see, then, how we become participants in the divine nature!”
“Do not rejoice in the Cross only in times of peace, preserve the same faith in times of persecution. Do not be a friend to Jesus in times of peace alone, only to become His enemy in times of war. You are now receiving forgiveness for your sins and the spiritual gifts lavishly bestowed by your King so, when war breaks out, fight valiantly for your King.”
“Our actions have a tongue of their own, they have an eloquence of their own, even when the tongue is silent. For deeds prove the lover more than words.”
“His action is preceded by the beaming rays of His light and knowledge. He comes with the truth of the real Protector; for He comes to save, to lead, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen, to console, to illumine in the first place the mind of the person who receives Him and through that person‘s works, the minds of others.”
Thought for the Day – 17 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Consolation of Prayer
“We can gain strength and comfort from prayer, especially when we are tempted and in danger of yielding to sin. God may not answer us immediately because He may wish to try our faith and love. But, if we persist and tell Jesus that we would die rather than offend Him, He will take pity on us. He will stretch out His Hand as He did in the storm tossed boat with the Apostles and over us also, there will come “a great calm” (Mt 8:26, Mk 4:39, Lk 8:24). Any sacrifice on our part is amply repaid by the peace which follows victory over temptation.
Let us not be afraid! Let us pray and God will console us.”
Thought for the Day – 16 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Spirit of Prayer
“The spirit of prayer is the spirit of the love of God and this should inspire all our vocal prayers. Flowery petitions are no use if our minds and hearts are turned away from God. God wants our hearts. This is why He complained that “this people honours Me with their lips but their heart is far from Me” (Nt 15:8, Mk 7:6).
Remember the apt expression of St Augustine: “To pray is to love. Whoever loves God well, prays a great deal. A man who is lacking in love, prays very little. A man who does not love God at all, never prays, or if he does, he recites coldly, the usual formulae and disregards Christ’s warning: “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God! (Mt 4:7).”
Let us pray often but let our prayers be sincere acts of the love of God, coming from the heart.”
Quote/s of the Day – 16 March – Wednesday of the Second week of Lent – Esther 13:8-11; 15-17, Matthew 20:17-28
“Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?”
“… Now is the time in this life of suffering, when we journey apart from Him. … So let us fast and pray now because, we are in the days of childbirth!”
St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo Father and Doctor of Grace
“Only let it be in the name of Jesus Christ, that I may suffer together with Him! I endure everything because He Himself, Who is perfect man, empowers me.”
St Ignatius of Antioch (c 35–107) Martyr
“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 will have no other desire than to follow Jesus! Run, … do not stay asleep because time flies and does not wait one moment! Dwell in God’s sweet love!”
St Catherine of Sienna (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church
“To labour and to suffer for the One we love, is the greatest proof of our love.”
One Minute Reflection – 13 March – The Second Sunday of Lent – Daniel 3:47-51, Matthew 17:1-9 and “The Month of St Joseph”
“Lord, it is good for us to be here” – Matthew 17:4
REFLECTION – “Rejoice and be happy! Persevere to the end and prefer to die rather than abandon the post to which God has called you!
But embrace the Cross with patience and hide in God’s breast with your troubles: fix your eyes on the Lamb immolated for your sake and always be content with what God gives you and destines for you. We must act like this because we are sure that God is calling us and has chosen for us ,what will make us the most pleasing in His sight. Thus you will go from light to light and the pains endured for the sake of Jesus Crucified will be delightful to you, whereas the pleasures and consolations of the world ,will become bitter.
You will begin to taste, even in this life, a foretaste of eternal life, for the principal beatitude of the soul in Heaven is to be confirmed forever in the Will of the Father. Thus it tastes the divine sweetness. But it will never taste it in Heaven, if it is not clothed with it on earth, where we are pilgrims and travellers. When it is clothed with it, it tastes God by grace in its troubles; its memory will be full of the Blood of the Lamb without blemish; its mind will be opened and contemplate the ineffable love that God has made known in the Wisdom of His Son and the love it finds in the Holy Spirit’s goodness, casts out self-love and love for created things, to love only God.
So do not be afraid … but suffer with joy, so as to conform yourself to the Will of God.” – St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Bishop of Geneva and Doctor of the Church (Sermon for the Second Sunday of Lent [20 Feb 1622])
PRAYER – O God, Who tempered the flames of fire for the three young men, mercifully grant that the flames of sin may not burn us, Your servants. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Ember Saturday in Lent – 12 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – 1 Thess. 5:14-23, Matthew 17:1-9
“Behold, O God, our Protector and look upon Your servants.” – Psalm 83:10,9
“This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear Him.”
“THE LORD REVEALS HIS GLORY in the presence of chosen witnesses. His body is like that of the rest of mankind but He makes it shine with such splendour that His face becomes like the sun in glory and His garments, as white as snow.
THE GREAT REASON for this Transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the cCoss from the hearts of His disciples, and to prevent the humiliation of His voluntary suffering, from disturbing the faith, of those who had witnessed the surpassing glory that lay concealed.
WiITH NO LESS FORETHOUGHTHe was also providing a firm foundation for the hope of holy Church. The whole body of Christ was to understand the kind of transformation that it would receive as His gift. The members of that body were to look forward to a share in that glory which first blazed out in Christ their head.
THE LORD had Himself spoken of this, when He foretold the splendour of His coming: Then the just will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Saint Paul the Apostle bore witness to this same truth when he said: I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not to be compared with the future glory that is to be revealed in us. In another place he says: You are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
THIS MARVEL of the TRANSFIGURATION contains another lesson for the apostles, to strengthen them and lead them into the fullness of knowledge. Moses and Elijah, the law and the prophets, appeared with the Lord in conversation with Him. This was in order to fulfill exactly, through the presence of these five men, the text which says: Before two or three witnesses every word is ratified. What word could be more firmly established, more securely based, than the word which is proclaimed by the trumpets of both old and new testaments, sounding in harmony, and by the utterances of ancient prophecy and the teaching of the Gospel, in full agreement with each other?
THE WRITINGS of the two testaments support each other. The radiance of the Transfiguration reveals clearly and unmistakably the One Who had been promised by signs foretelling Him under the veils of mystery. As Saint John says: The law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. In Him the promise made through the shadows of prophecy stands revealed, along with the full meaning of the precepts of the law. He is the One who teaches the truth of prophecy through His presence and makes obedience to the commandments possible through grace.
IN THE PREACHING of the holy Gospel all should receive a strengthening of their faith. No-one should be ashamed of the Cross of Christ, through which the world has been redeemed.
NO-ONE SHOULD FEAR to suffer for the sake of justice; no-one should lose confidence in the reward that has been promised. The way to rest is through toil, the way to life is through death. Christ has taken on himself the whole weakness of our lowly human nature. If then we are steadfast in our faith in Him and in our love for Him, we win the victory that He has won, we receive what He has promised.
WHEN IT COMES to obeying the commandments or enduring adversity, the words uttered by the Father should always echo in our ears: This is my Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear Him.” – St Leo the Great (400-461) Pope, Father, Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from Sermon 51)
Quote/s of the Day – 8 March – Tuesday of the First Week of Lent and the Memeorial of St John of God (1495-1550)
“Labour without stopping, do all the good works you can, while you still have the time!”
“If we look forward to receiving God’s mercy, we can never fail to do good, as long as we have the strength. For if we share with the poor, out of love for God, whatever He has given to us, we shall receive according to His promise, a hundredfold in eternal happiness. What a fine profit, what a blessed reward! With outstretched arms He begs us to turn toward Him, to weep for our sins and to become the servants of love, first for ourselves, then for our neighbours. Just as water extinguishes a fire, so love wipes away sin.”
One Minute Reflection – 4 March – First Friday of Lent – Isaiah 58:1-9, Matthew 5:43-38,6:1-4 and the Memorial of St Casimir- (1458-1484)
“But I say to you, love your enemies” – Matthew 5:44
REFLECTION – “One of you will say: “I’m not able to love my enemies at all.” All through Holy Scripture God has said to you that you can and do you answer Him that, to the contrary, you cannot!? Now think about it – who are we to believe? God or you? Since He who is Truth itself cannot lie, let human weakness leave off its futile excuses forthwith! He who is just, cannot demand something impossible and He who is merciful, will not condemn someone for something that person could not avoid. So why these evasions then? There is no-one who knows better, what we are capable of, than He who has given us the ability. Such numbers of men, women, children, tender young girls, have borne flames, fire, sword and the wild beasts for Christ’s sake, without flinching and we, do we say that we cannot bear the insults of unintelligent persons?…
Indeed, if only the good are to be loved, what are we to say of the action of our God, of whom it is written: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son?” (Jn 3,16). For what good deeds are they, that the world had done, for God to love it so? Christ our Lord, found us all to be, not only evil but even dead, on account of original sin and yet… “he loved us and handed himself over for us” (Eph 5,2). In so acting, He loved even those who did not love Him, as the Apostle Paul also says: “Christ died for the guilty” (Rm 5,6). And in his inexpressible mercy, He gave this example to all humankind, saying: “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart” (Mt 11,29).” – St Caesarius of Arles (470-543) Bishop and Monk – Sermons to the people, no 37
PRAYER – Almighty God, to whom this world, with all it’s goodness and beauty belongs, give us grace joyfully, to begin this day for Christ Your Son, in Him and with Him and to fill it, with an active love for all Your children, even those who may not like or who do us harm. Help us to love as You do, so that we may become like You. St Casimir, you who spread your charity abundantly in your short life and continue to do so now from Heaven, pray for us. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever, amen.
A few last-minute sowing plans for the garden of our souls. Planting virtue and good habits and ascending that steep hill, day-by-day, with love, faithfulness and perseverance. Accompanying our Saviour on His Journey of our Redemption:
Five Rows of Squash:
Squash the idols of greed and lust
Six Rows of Peas:
Seven Heads of Lettuce:
Let us be unselfish
Let us be charitable
Let us be obedient
Let us be truthful
Let us be gentle and kind
Let us be repentant
Let us be renewed
No garden is complete without Turnips:
Turn up for Daily Mass
Turn up fo Eucharistic Adoration
Turn up for Daily Morning and Night Prayer
Turn up for Spiritual reading on Breathing Catholic 🤗🙏💘
Conclude with Thyme:
Thyme with God, thyme for fasting, thyme for generosity and care of the poor, the sick, the suffering.
Water daily with patience Feed with love The Beloved Saviour will provide the growth.
Thought for the Day – 26 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Visits to the Blessed Sacrament
“After the many plans and worries of the day, it is wonderful to visit a Church in the evening and kneel before the Blessed Sacrament. There we can adore Jesus and converse lovingly with Him. We have spent so many hours surrounded by the noise of the world. It is restful now to spend a quarter of an hour in silent prayer before Jesus, the Prisoner of Love, in the Tabernacle. It is He, Who invites us. “Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). There are so many matters worrying us. We need some words of advice, which will clear our doubts and strengthen us in suffering. We need words of encouragement to banish our sadness and enliven our faith. We need words of love, which will light, in our hearts, the flame of love for God. We can find all this on our knees before the Tabernacle. Do not end the day, without seeking a renewal of Christian strength, at the feet of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, if at all possible.”
One Minute Reflection – 24 February – Feast of St Matthias, Apostle and Martyr – Acts 1:15-26, Matthew 11:25-30
“I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You hid these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to little ones.” – Matthew 11:25
REFLECTION – “The fact that the all-powerful God has been able to humble Himself even to the humility of the human condition, constitutes a greater proof than the impact and supernatural character of miracles. Indeed, when Divine power effects something of great sublimity, this is, after a fashion, in conformity with and appropriate to God’s nature… On the other hand, that God descended even to our lowliness is, in a certain way, the expression of an overwhelming power which, is not in the least restrained, by what is contrary to its nature…
Neither the expanse of the heavens, the brightness of the stars, the governing of the universe, nor the harmony of created things, reveal the splendid power of God so much, as His indulgence, which leads Him to lower Himself to the weakness of our nature… God’s goodness, wisdom, justice and power, are revealed in His plans on our behalf: goodness in His will to “save that which was lost” (Lk 19,10); wisdom and justice, in His manner of saving us; power in the fact, that Christ became “in the likeness of men” (Phil 2,7-8) and made Himself conformable to the humility of our nature.” – St Gregory of Nyssa (c.335-395) Bishop, Father of the Church (Catechetical Discourse 23-26 ; SC 453).
PRAYER – God, Who added blessed Matthias to the company of Your Apostles, grant, we beseech You, that by his intercession, we may ever be aware of the depth of Your love for us. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Thought for the Day – 23 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Sacrament of Penance
“We should confess our sins humbly and sincerely. We are obliged to confess at least all the mortal sins which we have committed after Baptism and have never included in a previous good confession. We should prepare for the Sacrament by making a careful examination of conscience in the presence of God. When we kneel before our Confessor, we should remember that, even though he is only a man like ourselves, he is the representative of God. We should confess at least our mortal sins in a clear and exact manner. Whenever possible, we should confess deliberate venial sins in order to be sure of obtaining forgiveness for them.
It is very necessary to be sincerely sorry for our sins and to be firmly resolved never to commit them again, with the help of divine grace.
Perfect contrition, which stems from a pure and disinterested act of love for God, is not necessary. Attrition is sufficient, that is, imperfect sorrow which springs from a lower supernatural motive, such as the fear of hell, the hideousness of sin, insofar, as it is an offence against God, or the loss of eternal happiness.
Let us examine ourselves to ensure that we fulfil all the ncessary conditions in our Convession.”
One Minute Reflection – 23 February – The Memorial of St Peter Damian (1007-1072) Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church – 2 Timothy 4:1-8, Matthew 5:13-19
“I have come, not to abolish but to fulfil.” … Matthew 5:17
REFLECTION – “In Him, the promise made through the shadows of prophecy, stands revealed, along with the full meaning of the precepts of the law. He is the One Who teaches the Truth of prophecy, through His presence and makes obedience to the commandments possible, through grace. In the preaching of the holy Gospel all should receive a strengthening of their faith. No-one should be ashamed of the Cross of Christ, through which the world has been redeemed. No-one should fear to suffer for the sake of justice, no-one should lose confidence in the reward that has been promised. The way to rest is through toil, the way to life is through death. Christ has taken on Himself the whole weakness of our lowly human nature. If then, we are steadfast in our faith in Him and in our love for Him, we win the victory that He has won, we receive what He has promised. When it comes to obeying the commandments or enduring adversity, the words uttered by the Father should always echo in our ears – “This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased, listen to Him.” … St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from Sermo 51).
PRAYER – Grant us, we beseech You, almighty God, to follow the counsel and examples of St Peter, Your Confessor and Bishop, so that by setting earthly goods at naught, we may attain everlasting happiness. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Thought for the Day – 22 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Why Should It Happen to Me?
“When Jesus had been scourged and crowned with thorns, He was forced to set out towrds the execution-ground on Calvary, carrying the heavy wooden Cross. On the way, He met a Cyrenean named Simon, who was probably returning from his work in the fields outsdie the city. The Jews had realised, that Jesus had lost so much blood, that He was unable to bear the weight any longer. They felt no compassion for Him but they were anxious to save their victim for the final punishment. With this in mind, they compelled Simon to carry Jesus’ Cross. The Cyrenean could have said: “Why pick on me? I am tired and must get home …” But his eyes met the tired gaze of Our Saviour. He saw that He was covered with wounds and streaming blood. Simon was deeply moved and willingly lifted the Cross which he carried to the place of execution (Cf Mt 27:32; Mk 15:21; Lk 23:26).
Picture Jesus, suffering and bleeding on the road to Calvary and Simon removing the Cross from the shoulders of Our Saviour and transferring it to his own. How can we ever again rebel and complain, when we meet with inconvenience or sorrow?!”
Thought for the Day – 21 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Lord, That I May See!
“Spiritually, we are all blind to a greater or lesser extent. Do we understand the infinite truth, beauty and goodness of God, in Whom our true happiness consists? Do we understand the emptiness of the world, despite the glory of its transient beauty, which can never satisfy our hearts? Do we understand our own nothingness and our dependence on God for light and grace? If we understood all this, then the scales of our spiritual blindness would fall from our eyes. Our faith would be even purer and more heartfelt than that of the poor blind man of Jericho. If we do not possess this lively faith and our eyes are dazzled by the glittering vanities of the world, let us turn to Jesus and beseech Him: “Lord, that I may see!” Only the light which comes from You is the true light which illumines every man who comes into this world (Jn 1:9).”
Quote/s of the Day – 21 February – St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595)
“We … are under an obligation to be the light of the world by the modesty of our behaviour, the fervour of our charity, the innocence of our lives and the example of our virtues. Thus shall we be able to raise the lowered prestige of the Catholic Church and, to build up again, the ruins that others by their vices have caused. Others, by their wickedness, have branded the Catholic Faith with a mark of shame, we must strive, with all our strength, to cleanse it from its ignominy and to restore it to its pristine glory!”
“Christianity is warfare and Christians are spiritual soldiers.”
“Not where I breathe but where I love, I live.”
“When Fortune smiles, I smile to think, how quickly she will frown.”
“Where sin was hatched, let tears now wash the nest.”
“The path to Heaven is narrow, rough and full of wearisome and trying ascents, nor can it be trodden without great toil and, therefore, wrong is their way, gross their error nd assured their ruin, who, after the testimony of so many thousands of Saints, will not learn where to settle their footing!”
“The Epiphany” By St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595) Martyr
To blaze the rising of this glorious sun A glittering star appeareth in the east Whose sight to pilgrim toil three sages won To seek the light they long had in request, And by this star to nobler star they pace Whose arms did their desired sun embrace.
Still was the sky wherein these planets shined And want the cloud that did eclipse their rays, Yet through this cloud their passage they did find, And pierced these sages’ hearts by secret ways, Which made them know, the Ruler of the skies By Infant tongue and looks of babish eyes.
Heaven at her light, earth blusheth at her pride And of their pomp these peers ashamed be, Their crowns, their robes, their train they set aside When God’s poor cottage, clouts and crew they see, All glorious things their glory now despise Since God contempt doth more than glory prize.
Three gifts they bring, three gifts they bear away, For Incense, Myrrh and Gold, Faith, Hope and Love And with their gifts the givers’ hearts do stay, Their mind from Christ, no parting can remove, His humble state, His stall, His poor retinue They fancy more than all their rich revenue.
St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595) Priest and Martyr
Quote/s of the Day – 20 February – Sexagesima Sunday – 2 Cor. 11:19-33; 12:1-9, Luke 8:4-15
“And as for that in the good ground they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart and bring forth fruit with patience.”
“Those who are my sheep hear my voice and follow me”
“… Scripture, as a whole, is God’s one perfect and complete instrument, giving forth, to those who wish to learn … It is one Saving Music…”
Origen (c 185-253) Theologian, Father of the Church
“He is the origin of all wisdom. The Word of God in the heights, is the source of wisdom. Christ is the source of all true knowledge, for He is “the way, the truth and the life.” (Jn 14:6). … As way, Christ is the teacher and origin of knowledge … Without this Light, which is Christ, no-one can penetrate the secrets of faith.”
St Bonaventure (1221-1274) Seraphic Doctor
“Not content with sending His servants, He came Himself, He marked out the way we should take, He came to make known His holy Word. … Brethren, it is absolutely impossible to love and please God, unless we are fed by this divine Word.”
St John Vianney (1786-1859)
“Cultivate your vineyard together with Jesus. To you the task of removing stones and pulling up brambles. To Jesus, that of sowing, planting, cultivating and watering. But even in your work, it is still He who acts. Because, without Christ, you could do nothing at all.”
One Minute Reflection – 20 February – Sexagesima – 2 Cor. 11:19-33; 12:1-9, Luke 8:4-15
“But that upon good ground, these are they who, with a right and good heart, having heard the word, hold it fast and bear fruit in patience.” – Luke 8:15
REFLECTION – “Note that Jesus does not say: The careless received some seed and lost it, the rich received other seed and choked it and the superficial received some seed and betrayed it. It is not His intention to rebuke them severely, lest He should cast them into despair. Christ leaves the reproof to the conscience of His hearers. Remember also in the parable of the net ,that much was gathered in, that was unprofitable. But He speaks this parable as if to anoint His disciples and to teach them, that they are not to be despondent even though those lost, may be more than those who receive the word. It was with this same ease that the Lord Himself continued to sow, even He who fully foreknew the outcomes.
But why would it be reasonable to sow among thorns or on rocks or on the pathway? With regard to the seeds and the earth, it cannot sound very reasonable. But in the case of human souls and their instructions, it is praiseworthy and greatly to be honoured. For the farmer might be laughed at for doing this, since it is impossible for a rock to bear fruit. It is not likely that the path will become anything but a path or the thorns anything but thorns. But with respect to the rational soul, this is not so predictable. For here, there is such a thing as the rock changing and becoming rich land. Here it is possible, that the wayside might no longer be trampled upon or lie open to all who pass by but that it may become a fertile field. In the case of the soul, the thorns may be destroyed and the seed enjoy full security. For had it been impossible, this Sower would not have sown. And if the reversal did not take place in all, this is no fault of the Sower but of the souls who are unwilling to be changed. He has done His part. If they betrayed what they received of Him, He is blameless, the Exhibitor of such love to humanity.
But mark this carefully: there is more than one road to destruction! There are differing ones and wide apart from one another. For they who are like the wayside are the coarse-minded and indifferent and careless but those on the rock, such as fail, from willed weakness only.” – St John Chrysostom (347-407) Archbishop of Constantinople, Father and Doctor of the Church (The Gospel of Matthew: Homily 44).
PRAYER – St Paul’s Prayer – Ephesians 3:14-21
For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from Whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of His glory, He may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through His Spirit and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the Saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know, the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him Who, by the power at work within us, is able to accomplish abundantly, far more than all we can ask or imagine. To Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus, to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Thought for the Day – 19 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“These good inspirations are a wonderful gift from God but, it can be disastrous to refuse to hear them Are we being called to reform our lives? Let us begin immediately the hard task of changing ourselves. Are we being called to Christian perfection? Let us be generous! Remember the words of Bossuet who said that perfection is like a high mountain which must be must be conquered, step by step. So begin the ascent right away in obedience to God’s wishes. Remember that to ignore a holy inspiration, is an insult to God and a deviation from the straight and narrow path of perfection. It is a proof that we do not love Jesus and are not prepared to be faithful to Him. In fact, we are risking our own eternal salvation! Remember, the case of the young man in the Gospel who was asked to leave everything and to follow Jesus along the way of perfection. He did not do so and we cannot say with certainty whether or not, his soul was saved.”
Quote/s of the Day – 16 February – Septuagessima Weekday – 1 Cor. 9:24-27; 10:1-5, Matthew 20:1-6
“Even so, the last shall be first and the first last; for many are called but few are chosen.”
“This is the time for Confession. Confess the sins you have committed in word or deed, by day or by night. Confess during this “favourable time” and on “the day of salvation,” receive Heaven’s treasure… ”
St Cyril of Jerusalem (313-350), Father & Doctor of the Church
“… We must all rejoice exceedingly, to be even the last, in the Kingdom of God!”
St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) Father and Doctor
“From now on, then, if God has no need of your goods, neither does He have to give you this great thing, if you refuse to love Him, all He requires is love, without which nothing constrains His giving. Love, then and you will receive the Kingdom, love and you will possess it… Love God more than yourself and already, you begin to have what it is your desire to possess fully, in heaven.”
St Anselm (1033-1109) Doctor magnificus Doctor Marianus
“Rejoice and be happy! Persevere to the end and prefer to die rather than abandon the post, to which God has called you!”
St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church
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 pretence, joyous without frivolity, and truthful without disguise. Amen
Thought for the Day – 14 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Early Hours of the Day
“Unfortunately, there are many who never give the slightest thought to God when they rise in the morning. Or perhaps they think that a quick mechanical Sign of the Cross satisfies all their religious obligations.
A good Catholic could not behave in this fashion. He kneels to say his morning prayers and raises his mind and heart to God in acts of thanksgiving, reparation and love. Only in this way, can he begin the day with peace and confidence, knowing that during it, he will have continual need of God’s assistance.
If hitherto you have not behaved like this, make up your mind to begin everyday in future, by offering yourself to God, along with all your work, plans and worries. This offering will be a wonderful spiritual advantage throughout the day.”
Quote/s of the Day – 14 February – The Memorial of St Valentine (176-273) Bishop and Martyr
“Many sins are forgiven her because she has loved much.”
“Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ.”
“Without love, there is only faith, which the devil has.”
“Once for all, then, a short precept is given you – Love and do what you will, whether you hold your peace, through love, hold your peace; whether you cry out, through love cry out; whether you correct, through love correct; whether you spare, through love do you spare. Let the root of love be within, of this root, can nothing spring but what is good.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father nd Doctor of Grace
“Love[ing] one another with the charity of Christ, let the love you have in your hearts, be shown outwardly in your deeds …”
St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)
“Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger or higher or wider; nothing is more pleasant, nothing fuller and nothing better in heaven or on earth, for love is born of God and cannot rest except in God, Who is above all created things.”
Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
“… It is Him you should love and no other. Of Him you could and should say “My Beloved is mine and I am his” (Sg 2:16); my God has given Himself without reserve and, without reserve, I give myself to Him; He has chosen me as the object of His tenderness and He, among thousands, He, the radiant and ruddy one (Sg 5:10), so loveable and so loving, He is the chosen of my heart, the only one I wish to love.”
St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)
I Love You, O My God By St Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)
I love You, O my God and my only desire is to love You until the last breath of my life. I love You, O my infinitely lovable God and I would rather die loving You, than live without loving You. I love You, Lord and the only grace I ask, is to love You eternally My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 14 February – “Month of the Most Blessed Trinity” – The Memorial of St Valentine (176-273) Bishop and Martyr, 1 Cor. 9:24-27; 10:1-5, Matthew 20:1-16
“The kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard.” – Matthew 20:1
REFLECTION – “To hire labourers for his vineyard.” What is the vineyard of God here? Not men, as elsewhere; for men are called the cultivators of the vineyard. The vineyard is justice and in it different kinds of virtues are placed like vines. For example, gentleness, chastity, patience, high-mindedness and countless other good qualities, which are all in general called virtues. So let us note how earnestly we should cultivate the heavenly vineyard. Adam was put in paradise to cultivate it and work it, but because he neglected it, he was ejected from it. We have been put here to cultivate justice; if we neglect it, we will be cast out, just as the Jews also were cast out, of whom it was written: “Add iniquity to their iniquity, that they may not enter thy justice.” The fall of those going before, should be a warning for those following. But if we the followers have also fallen into ruin, those who were the first to fall, deserve pardon more than we, who follow. A hired hand placed in the vineyard will not only lose his pay if he neglects it but, he will also be charged with the loss of the abandoned vineyard! So we too, if we neglect the justice committed to us, will not only have no reward but, we will also be charged for the justice that has been abolished. For God’s vineyard is not outside us but has been planted inside our very selves. So anyone who commits sin destroys the justice of God within himself but anyone who does good works, cultivates it in himself. The well-cultivated justice of God within you, brings forth grapes, that is, Christ. For those who do just deeds form Christ in themselves, as is written: “My little children, with whom I am again in travail, until Christ be formed in you.”
Anyone who consigns a vineyard to another to work consigns it, not so much for the other’s benefit, as for his own but God, giving His justice to our understanding, gave it, not for His own benefit but for ours. God does not need our labour but we, who do just work, may live because of it. The owner who consigned the vineyard to someone else for his own benefit, expects to receive it back in the same condition as He handed it over. How then will justice not be demanded back from us, in as immaculate a condition as He created it in us, particularly as He gave it, not for His own benefit but for our salvation?
Be aware that we have been hired as labourers. If we have been hired as labourers, we ought to know what our tasks are, for a hired labourer cannot be without a task. Our tasks are the works of justice, not to till our fields and vineyards; not to amass riches and pile up honours but to benefit our neighbours. And although we can do this tilling and amassing without sin, yet they are not our tasks but our daily occupations.
No-one hires a labourer to work, only so that the labourer may eat. So we too have been called by Christ, to do, not merely what pertains to our own benefit but, to do what pertains, to the glory of God. The hired hand, who only works so that he may fill his belly, wanders purposelessly about the house. So we too, if we do only what pertains to our benefit, live without reason on the earth. And just as the hired hand first looks to his work and then to his wages, so we too are Christ’s hired hands and first ought to look at what pertains to God’s glory and to the benefit of our neighbours …. Charity and true love toward God “does not insist on its own way” but desires to perform everything to the wish of the Beloved—than to what pertains to our own benefit.” – An anonymous Ancient Christian Writer (ACW) known as the Incomplete Work on Matthew (Sermon 34).
PRAYER – O glorious advocate and protector, St Valentine, look with pity upon our wants, hear our requests, attend to our prayers, relieve by your intercession, the miseries under which we labour and obtain for us the divine blessing, that we may be found worthy to join you in praising the Almighty for all eternity: through the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Thought for the Day – 13 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Causes of Discontent
“There are a few people in the world, who are always content. They walk lightly upon the earth, for their minds are already with God in Heaven and their hearts are united to Him.
Have they any anxieties or disappointments? They have and they feel them deeply. But, sorrow can make them bow their heads only for a moment and then, they raise them cheerfully again. They understand that they are suffering for God, even as they live and work only for Him. Therefore, their reaction to every sorrow or humiliation, is always the same: “Deo Gratias!” If God wants it this way, I must be satisfied too. May His Holy Will be done in all things.
These people are the Saints who are never lacking in the Church. The Apostles rejoiced in the insults and ill-treatment they received from the Sanhedrin, “They departed from the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been counted worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus” (Acts 5:41).
Do we desire to possess also, the only kind of contentment it is possible to have on earth? Let us do our best to become holy. That is the only way open to us.”