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Quote/s of the Day -15 May – ‘Ask the Father anything in my name …’ Let us pray

Quote/s of the Day – 15 May – “Mary’s Month” – Readings: Acts 18: 23-28, Psalms 47: 2-3, 8-9, 10, John 16: 23-28

“Amen, amen I say to you,
if you ask the Father anything in my name,
he will give it you.”

John 16:27

“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

Lift up and stretch out your hands,
not to heaven but to the poor…
if you lift up your hands in prayer
without sharing with the poor,
it is worth nothing.”

St John Chrysostom (347-407)
Father and Doctor of the Church

“A servant of the Lord
stands bodily before men
but mentally,
he is knocking at the gates of heaven.
with prayer.”

“Ask with tears,
seek with obedience,
knock with patience.”

St John Climacus (c 525-606)
Father of the Church

Prayer for the Gift of Prayer
By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Most Zealous Doctor

O Incarnate Word,
You have given Your Blood and Your Life
to confer on our prayers that power by which,
according to Your promise,
they obtain for us all that we ask.
And we, O God,
are so careless of our salvation,
that we will not even ask You for the graces
that we must have, if we should be saved!
In prayer You have given us the key
of all Your Divine treasures;
and we, rather than pray,
choose to remain in our misery.
Alas! O Lord, enlighten us,
and make us know the value of prayers,
offered in Your name and by Your merits,
in the eyes of Your Eternal Father.
Amen

“My children, your heart is small
but prayer expands it
and makes it able to love God.
Prayer is a foretaste of heaven,
an outflowing of paradise.
It never leaves us without sweetness.
It is honey, which descends into the soul
and sweetens everything.
Sorrows melt in a prayer,
that is well prayed,
like snow in the sun.”

St John-Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)

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Thought for the Day – 24 April – Gospel Reading

Thought for the Day – 24 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Gospel Reading

“The Gospel is the books of books, for it contains, not the words of men but the words of God.
In the beginning, the Word of God was made man ad became the life-giving Word during His earthly life.
Thus we have the written Word in the Sacred Scriptures.
When we read the Gospel, we should imagine that Jesus is there before us, so that we can hear the Words from His divine lips and feel the breath of His life and the fire of His love.

“In heaven” says St Augustine, “Jesus continues to speak to us on earth through His Gospel.”
His Words are the bright stars which should gude men – often wandering in the darkness of error or engulfed in the abyss of sin – through the way of virtue and goodness towards Heaven.

The more one penetrates the Gospel, the more one gets to know Jesus Christ.
St Augustine writes that the Gospel is another way, which Jesus has chosen, of remaining among us.
The same holy Doctor does not hesitate to say, that “he who scorns even of these sacred words, would be no less guilty, than if he let the Blessed Eucharist fall on the ground through negligence.”

When we read the sacred pages, we begin to understand the infinite goodness of Jesus.
We see Him whimper and suffer in the manger at Bethlehem; we see Him humbly working as a poor labourer in the workshop in Nazareth; we see Him pardon Magdalene and the penitent adulteress; we see Him restore life to the dead, sight to the blind and health to all kinds of sick people; in the supper room, we see Him give us Himself, under the veil of the Blessed Eucharist, at the very moment when He was forgotten, denied and betrayed; we see Him in the Praetorium before Pilate, where He was scourged for our sins; we see Him on Calvary dying on a cross for us, forgiving His crucifiers and promising Heaven to the penitent thief and, finally, we see Him rising from the dead and ascending gloriously into Heaven, where He went to prepare a place for us, should we persevere as His faithful followers, “I go to prepare a place for you” (Jn 14:2).

The Saints often read and meditated on the Gospel.
It provided spiritual food for their souls.
In the life os St Philip Neri, we read, that during his last years, he read nothing but the Gospels, especially the Gospel of St John, which treats profoundly of the love of God.

Do you read the Gospels?
With what dispositions and with what results do you read it?
In modern times, unfortunately, very few read it at all.
That is why so many stray so far from the spirit of Jesus and why, they often display a material form of piety, insipid and useless, in the practice of the Catholic life!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 25 March – The Recollection of Mary

Thought for the Day – 25 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Recollection of Mary

“It is believed that when the Angel Gabriel visited the Blessed Virgin in order to tell her that she was to be the Mother of God, she was in a quiet corner of her home, absorbed in prayer.
She had no love for the noise and confusion of the world but preferred to be recollected in the company of God.
This was to be the pattern of her whole life.
In the midst of her domestic duties, on her journey to St Elizabeth and on her travels in Galilee and Judea, in the wake of her divine Son, her mind and heart were always concentrated on God.

Interior recollection is a wonderful thing.
It helps us to hear God’s voice more clearly.
It keeps us removed from the temptations of the world and assists us in sanctifying every moment of our lives.

“The cell continually dwelt in growth sweet,” (Bk 1, C 20:5) says The Imitation of Christ and goes onto ask:  “What can thou see elsewhere that thou does not see here?   Behold the heavens and the earth and all the elements, for out of these are all things made” (Ibid C 20:8).
“As often as I have been amongst men,” it exclaims, “I have returned less a man” (Ibid C 20:2).
When we move around chattering with different people, we have lost something of ourselves by the time we return home.
Perhaps we have wasted a good deal of time in useless conversation or, worse still, have seen or heard unpleasant or disturbing things.
When we go about in the world, we do not often see much that is edifying or instructive and rarely meet people whose conversation does us good.
For this reason, even when we cannot remain apart, we should carry in ourselves, as Mary did, a spirit of interior recollection and communication with God.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Day Nineteen of our Lenten Journey – 7 March – ‘ Who is more at rest, than he who aims at nothing but God?’

Day Nineteen of our Lenten Journey – 7 March – The Third Sunday of Lent, Readings: Exodus 20:1-17, Psalms 19:8-11, 1 Corinthians 1:22-25, John 2:13-25

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)

“Zeal for your house will consume me.” John 2:17

O LORD, I am in sore need still of greater grace, if I am to arrive at the point, where no man and no created thing can be an obstacle to me. For as long as anything holds me back, I cannot freely fly to You. He that said “Oh that I had wings like a dove, that I might fly away and be at rest!“(Ps 55:7) desired to fly freely to You. Who is more at rest, than he who aims at nothing but God? And who more free, than the man who desires nothing on earth?

It is well, then, to pass over all creation, perfectly to abandon self and to see in ecstasy of mind that You, the Creator of all, have no likeness among all Your creatures and that unless a man be freed from all creatures, he cannot attend freely to the Divine. The reason why so few contemplative persons are found, is that so few know how to separate themselves entirely from what is transitory and created.

For this, indeed, great grace is needed, grace that will raise the soul and lift it up above itself. Unless a man be elevated in spirit, free from all creatures and completely united to God, all his knowledge and possessions are of little moment. He who considers anything great except the one, immense, eternal good will long be little and lie groveling on the earth. Whatever is not God is nothing and must be accounted as nothing.

There is great difference between the wisdom of an enlightened and devout man and the learning of a well-read and brilliant scholar, for the knowledge which flows down from divine sources is much nobler than that laboriously acquired by human industry.

Many there are, who desire contemplation but, who do not care to do the things, which contemplation requires. It is also a great obstacle to be satisfied with externals and sensible things and to have so little of perfect mortification. I know not what it is, or by what spirit we are led, or to what we pretend — we who wish to be called spiritual — that we spend so much labour and even more anxiety on things that are transitory and mean, while we seldom or never advert with full consciousness to our interior concerns.

Alas, after very little meditation we falter, not weighing our deeds by strict examination. We pay no attention to where our affections lie, nor do we deplore the fact that our actions are impure.

Remember that because all flesh had corrupted its course, the great deluge followed. Since, then, our interior affection is corrupt, it must be that the action which follows from it, the index as it were of our lack of inward strength, is also corrupt. Out of a pure heart come the fruits of a good life.

People are wont to ask how much a man has done but they think little of the virtue with which he acts. They ask: Is he strong? rich? handsome? a good writer? a good singer? or a good worker? They say little, however, about how poor he is in spirit, how patient and meek, how devout and spiritual. Nature looks to his outward appearance; grace turns to his inward being. The one often errs, the other trusts in God and is not deceived.
(Book 3 Ch 31)

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Quote/s of the Day – 6 February – Solitude

Quote/s of the Day – 6 February – Readings: Hebrews 13:15-17, 20-21, Psalms 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6, Mark 6:30-34

“Come away by yourselves
to a deserted place
and rest awhile”

Mark 6:31

“The supreme goal to which the monk tends,
the summit of the perfection of his heart,
is indeed the union of his heart with his Lord.”

St John Cassian (c 360-435)
Monk, Father of the Church

“O Hermitage, only those who know you,
who rest sweetly in your arms,
can tell of your grandeur
and chant your praises.
As for me, I only know this
and affirm it in all sincerity –
Whoever forces himself with perseverance
to enter more and more
into the desire to love You,
will finally enter Your mystery and,
at the same time,
the mystery of God.”

St Peter Damian (1007-1072)
Benedictine Monk
Doctor of the Church

“What benefits
What divine exultation
The solitude and silence of the desert
Hold in store for those who love it!”

St Bruno (c 1030-1101)

“Until I was alone I never really lived.
Until I was alone, I was not with myself.
Until I was alone, I never drew near to my creator.”

Bl Paolo Giustiniani (1476-1528)

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One Minute Reflection – 8 February – “Come away … ” Mark 6:31

One Minute Reflection – 8 February – Saturday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time Readings: Hebrews 13:15-1720-21Psalms 23:1-33-456Mark 6:30-34 and the Memorial of Saint Amand of Maastricht (c 584-c 679) Bishop

“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile” … Mark 6:31

REFLECTION – “If you wish to come and find Me, seek me aside. As Mark says: “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile. People were coming and going in great numbers and they had no opportunity even to eat.” (Mk 6:31).
Alas, such are the passions of the flesh and the turmoil of thoughts coming and going in our hearts that we have no time to eat the food of everlasting sweetness, nor perceive the taste of interior contemplation. That is why our Lord says: “Come away” from the noisy crowd “to a deserted place,” to solitude of mind and heart, “and rest awhile.” For truly, as the book of Revelation says: “There will be silence in heaven for about half an hour” (Rv 8:1); and in the Psalm: “Who will give me wings like a dove that I might fly away and find rest” (Ps 54[55]:7 LXX).
But let us listen to what the prophet Hosea says: “I will seduce her and lead her into the wilderness and I will speak to her heart” (cf. Hos 2:16 Vg). These three expressions: seduce, lead into the wilderness, speak to her heart, represent the three stages of the spiritual life – the beginning, development and perfection. The Lord seduces the beginner when He enlightens him with His grace so that he may grow and progress from virtue to virtue. Then he leads him aside from the din of the vices and disordered thoughts, into peace of spirit. Finally, once guided to perfection, God speaks to his heart. Then the soul experiences the sweetness of divine inspiration and can surrender totally to joy of spirit.
What depth of devotion, of wonderment and happiness in his heart! By devotion, he is raised above himself, through wonder, he is led above himself, through happiness, he is transported out of himself.
” … St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Doctor of the Church – Sermon for the feast of Saint John the Evangelist

PRAYER – All-powerful, eternal God, splendour of true light and never-ending day, let our striving for Your kingdom not fall short through selfishness or fear, may the universe be alive with the Spirit and our homes be the pledge of the world redeemed. May our hearts be eternally longing for that time alone with You, our one true Love. May our worldly duties be such that they never impede our progress in devotion and may the intercession of our Holy Mother, St Amand and all the saints, be a strength and a comfort. Through Jesus, our compassionate and loving Redeemer, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You forever, amen.

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Thought for the Day – 2 January – The Necessity of Meditation in Silence

Thought for the Day – 2 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Necessity of Meditation in Silence

“With desolation all the land made desolate because, there is none that considereth in the heart” (Jer 12:11).

Very often the world is plunged in the desolation of evil because, there is nobody who will speak with God, in the silence of his heart and try to regulate his life according to His holy commandments.
It is in a particularly outstanding way today, that the heresies of actionism and externalism, dominate the great mass of mankind.
To act, to rush, to arrive … above all, to arrive!
But to arrive where?
In this frantic, frenzied and tumultuous race, which good people are often found competing, two very sure things are forgotten, namely, that we shall finally arrive at death and, that from death, we shall pass onto eternity.
The whole course of our lives, therefore, should be directed towards this end.
But, if we are to keep this end in view, prudent reflection is essential, especially meditation, made with the assistance of the Divine light, on the eternal truths.

Absorbed in the deafening din of the world around us, it is difficult to hear the voice of God.
At least, for a little while each day, we must create within ourselves, a zone of silence, in order to listen to His voice.
Since God speaks readily in the silence of the heart, let us recollect ourselves before Him, in this quiet oasis.
At least a quarter of an hour of daily meditation is essential for the life of a Christian.
This should be the jumping-off board for all the actions of day, if we wish these to be correct and productive of good.

It is very useful, moreover, to recall to mind frequently during the day, the resolutions which have been formed and to accompany these reflections, with short prayers, aspirations and acts of love for God.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 10 December – The Divine Counsellor

Thought for the Day – 10 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Divine Counsellor

“It is often difficult and unpleasant to take advice from someone whom we dislike but, when we really like somebody, his advice is always acceptable and we are inclined to take it to heart.
Counsel is the light of the soul, which points out to us which path to follow.
Often we are surrounded by darkness, we do not know which way to turn, for uncertainty and discouragement have paralysed our will.
Now Jesus, as St John tells us, is the light which enlightens every man who comes into this world – He is full of grace and truth (Jn 1:9-14).
If we love Jesus, we shall always receive from Him the light and counsel which we need – His enlightenment is clear and His counsel satisfies fully the needs of our hearts.

How can we have this light and this counsel?
Jesus speaks to our souls in many ways.
He speaks to us when we read the pages of the Gospel; when we recollect ourselves in His presence during meditation; when we visit Him in the Tabernacle and speak to Him really and truly present under the Eucharistic species and, when we ask Him, in all our difficulties, for holy inspiration which will guide us and direct us towards what is good.
God will never deny His light and counsel to a humble supplicant.

Nobody can speak to our souls with greater efficacy than Jesus Christ.
“Listen to the interior Master,” wrote St Margaret Mary Alacoque.
“Never do anything without seeking His advice.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Quote/s of the Day – 7 December – St Ambrose

Quote/s of the Day – 7 December – The Memorial of St Ambrose (c 340-397) – Father and Doctor of the Church

“And this Body, which we make present,
is the Body born of the Virgin.
Why do you expect to find in this case,
that nature takes its ordinary course
in regard to the Body of Christ,
when the Lord Himself was born of the Virgin
in a manner above and beyond the order of nature?
This is indeed the true flesh of Christ,
which was crucified and buried.
This is then, in truth,
the Sacrament of His Flesh.”

“Rise, you who were lying fast asleep…
Rise and hurry to the Church:
here is the Father,
here is the Son,
here is the Holy Spirit.”

“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.”

“Prayer is the wing,
wherewith the soul flies to heaven
and meditation,
the eye,
wherewith we see God.”

“When we speak about WISDOM,
we are speaking about CHRIST.
When we speak about VIRTUE,
we are speaking about CHRIST.
When we speak about JUSTICE,
we are speaking about CHRIST.
When we speak about PEACE,
we are speaking about CHRIST.
When we speak about TRUTH
and LIFE and REDEMPTION,
we are speaking about CHRIST.”

St Ambrose (340-397)
Father and Doctor of the Church

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Quote/s of the Day – 4 August – St John Vianney

Quote/s of the Day – 4 August – The Memorial of St John Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)

“The Holy Spirit leads us along,
as a mother leads her two year old child by the hand,
as a sighted person leads a blind one.
We should say each morning:
“Oh my God, send me Your Holy Spirit
who will make me understand
what I am and what you are …”
A soul who possesses the Holy Spirit
enjoys an exquisite taste in prayer,
it never loses the holy presence of God.”

the holy spirit leads us along - st john vianney 4 aug 2020

“There is one thing everyone can do,
whether they find it hard to meditate or not
and that is to make up their mind in the morning,
to cultivate some particular virtue during the day,
to practice the interior Presence of God
and to live their life in union with Him.”

there is one thing - st john vianney - 26 feb 2018 - mon 2nd week lent

“The sign of the cross
is the most terrible weapon
against the devil. 
Thus the Church wishes not only,
that we have it continually
in front of our minds,
to recall to us 
just what our souls are worth 
and what they cost Jesus Christ 
but also that we should make it
at every juncture ourselves: 
when we go to bed, 
when we awaken during the night, 
when we get up, 
when we begin any action, 
and, above all, 
when we are tempted.”

the sign of the cross - st john vianney.- new version - 17 jan 2018 jpg

“To serve the Queen of Heaven is already to reign there
and to live under her commands, is more than to govern.”

to serve the queen of heaven is more than to - st john vianney 22 aug 2018

“What does Jesus Christ do in the Eucharist?

It is God, who, as our Saviour, offers Himself each day for us to His Father’s justice.

If you are in difficulties and sorrows, He will comfort and relieve you.
If you are sick, He will either cure you or give you strength to suffer, so as to merit Heaven.
If the devil, the world and the flesh are making war upon you, He will give you the weapons with which to fight, to resist and to win the victory.
If you are poor, he will enrich you with all sorts of riches for time and for eternity.
Let us open the door of His Sacred and Adorable Heart and be wrapped about for an instant, by the flames of His love and we shall see, what a God who loves us, can do.
O my God, who shall be able to comprehend?”

what does jesus christ do in the eucharist - st john vianney - sun reflection 10 march 2019

“We should consider
those moments spent before
the Blessed Sacrament
as the happiest of our lives.”

we should consider those moments - st john vianney - 4 aug 2018

“We do not have to talk very much to pray well,”
we know that God is there in His Holy Tabernacle.
Let us open our hearts to Him,
let us rejoice in His Sacred Presence.
This is the best prayer.”

we do not have to talk very much to pray well - st john vianney 4 aug 2020

“When we cannot go to the church,
let us turn towards the tabernacle;
no wall can shut us out from the good God.”

when we cannot go to the church let us turn -no wall - st john vianney 26 april 2020 3 easter

“His look rests on you alone.”

St Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)

his look rests on you alone - st john vianney 4 aug 2020

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Quote/s of the Day – 28 June – Holy Solitude and Blessed Paolo Giustiniani

Quote/s of the Day – 28 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – The Memorial of Blessed Paolo Giustiniani ECMC (1476-1528) – Monk, Hermit and Founder of the Congregation of the Camaldolese Hermits of Monte Corona

“The supreme goal to which the monk tends,
the summit of the perfection of his heart,
is indeed the union of his heart with his Lord.”

St John Cassian (c 360-435)

Monk, Father of the Church
and Founder of Monasteries
Disciple of St John Chrysostom

te supreme goal to which the monk tends - st john cassian 28 june 2020

“O Hermitage, only those who know you,
who rest sweetly in your arms,
can tell of your grandeur
and chant your praises.
As for me, I only know this
and affirm it in all sincerity –
Whoever forces himself with perseverance
to enter more and more
into the desire to love You,
will finally enter Your mystery and,
at the same time,
the mystery of God.”

St Peter Damian (1007-1072)
Benedictine Monk
Doctor of the Church

o hermitage, only those who know you, who rest sweetly in your arms - st peter damian 28 june 2020

“Go to Church for the work of God,
not by habit or duty,
but rather driven,
by the interior desire
to praise our Creator.”

go to church for the work of god - bl paolo giustiniani 28 june 2020

“Celebrate holy Mass in the joy of the Spirit.”

celebrate holy mass in the joy of the spirit - bl paolo giustiniani 28 june 2020 (1)

“I desire to serve my Lord Jesus Christ.
However, I blindly entrust the manner of service
to His decision – in action or in contemplation,
in peace and quiet
or in suffering and tribulation,
in the quiet of the cell
or else in wearisome wanderings.
So long as I am serving Him,
I have no preference or taste of my own.”

i desire to serve my lord Jesus Christ - bl paolo giustiniani 28 june 2020

“To me it appears incontrovertible,
that, above the light and discourse of reason,
there is another light.
It is clearer and more evident,
given by God to those human minds
that do not refuse to receive it
and by means of it, God can be properly understood. ….
This is the light of faith.

this is the light of faith bl paolo giustiniani 28 june 2020

Prayer of Blessed Paolo Giustiniani
“Lord, I dare not say to You:
“Show me the light that I may believe in Your Light”
but it is enough for me,
that You make me see my darkness …
Bring me back to myself.
In my misery I have distanced myself
not only from You but from myself,
becoming a stranger to myself.
Make me know my darkness,
that then I may look at the light.
Yes, I tell You and repeat to You incessantly,
Show me to myself,
so that I may know my sins.”

prayer of bl paolo biustiniani lord i dare not say to you - 28 jue 2020

“Until I was alone I never really lived.
Until I was alone, I was not with myself.
Until I was alone, I never drew near to my creator.”

Blessed Paolo Giustiniani (1476-1528)

until i was alone i never really lived - bl paolo giustiniani 28 june 2020

Posted in CONTEMPLATIVE Prayer, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARY'S MONTH, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on MEDITATION, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SILENCE, The ANNUNCIATION, THOMAS a KEMPIS

Thought for the Day – 24 May – The Recollection of Mary

Thought for the Day – 24 May – “Mary’s Month” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Recollection of Mary

“It is believed that when the Angel Gabriel visited the Blessed Virgin in order to tell her that she was to be the Mother of God, she was in a quiet corner of her home, absorbed in prayer.
She had no love for the noise and confusion of the world but preferred to be recollected in the company of God.
This was to be the pattern of her whole life.
In the midst of her domestic duties, on her journey to St Elizabeth and on her travels in Galilee and Judea, in the wake of her divine Son, her mind and heart were always concentrated on God.

Interior recollection is a wonderful thing.
It helps us to hear God’s voice more clearly.
It keeps us removed from the temptations of the world and assists us in sanctifying every moment of our lives.

“The cell continually dwelt in growth sweet,” (Bk 1, C 20:5) says The Imitation of Christ and goes onto ask:  “What can thou see elsewhere that thou does not see here?   Behold the heavens and the earth and all the elements, for out of these are all things made” (Ibid C 20:8).
“As often as I have been amongst men,” it exclaims, “I have returned less a man” (Ibid C 20:2).
When we move around chattering with different people, we have lost something of ourselves by the time we return home.
Perhaps we have wasted a good deal of time in useless conversation or, worse still, have seen or heard unpleasant or disturbing things.
When we go about in the world, we do not often see much that is edifying or instructive and rarely meet people whose conversation does us good.
For this reason, even when we cannot remain apart, we should carry in ourselves, as Mary did, a spirit of interior recollection and communication with God.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

the recollection of mary - bacci 24 may 2020

Posted in CONTEMPLATIVE Prayer, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on MEDITATION, QUOTES on SELF-DENIAL, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 4 April – St Isidore of Seville (c 560-636) Father & Doctor of the Church

Saint of the Day – 4 April – St Isidore of Seville (c 560-636) Father & Doctor of the Church, Creator of the first encyclopedia – often called “The Last Scholar of the Ancient World” and “The Schoolmaster of the Middle Ages.”   His most well known patronage is of computers and the internet (though not officially so_ – his full story with Patronages is here: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/saint-of-the-day-4-april-st-isidore-of-seville-father-and-doctor-of-the-church/ but today we will follow his life with Pope Benedict XVI during his Catechetical audiences on the Doctors of the Church.   This was given at St Peter’s on Wednesday, 18 June 2008.saint-isidore-of-sevilla-miguel-zitow wow header

He was a younger brother of St Leander (c 534-c 600) memorial 13 March, Archbishop of Seville and a great friend of St Pope Gregory the Great.   Pointing this out is important, because it enables us, to bear in mind, a cultural and spiritual approach, that is indispensable for understanding Isidore’s personality.   Indeed, he owed much to Leander, an exacting, studious and austere person who created around his younger brother a family context, marked by the ascetic requirements proper to a monk and from the work pace demanded, by a serious dedication to study.   Furthermore, Leander was concerned to have the wherewithal to confront the political and social situation of that time – in those decades in fact, the Visigoths, barbarians and Arians, had invaded the Iberian Peninsula and taken possession of territories that belonged to the Roman Empire.   It was essential to regain them for the Roman world and for Catholicism. Leander and Isidore’s home was furnished with a library richly endowed with classical, pagan and Christian works.   Isidore, who felt simultaneously attracted to both, was, therefore, taught under the responsibility of his elder brother, to develop a very strong discipline, in devoting himself to study with discretion and discernment.st Isidor_von_Sevilla murillo

Thus, a calm and open atmosphere prevailed in the episcopal residence in Seville.   We can deduce this from Isidore’s cultural and spiritual interests, as they emerge from his works themselves, which include an encyclopaedic knowledge of pagan classical culture and a thorough knowledge of Christian culture.   This explains the eclecticism characteristic of Isidore’s literary opus, who glided with the greatest of ease from Martial to Augustine, or from Cicero to Gregory the Great.   The inner strife that the young Isidore had to contend with, having succeeded his brother Leander on the episcopal throne of Seville in 599, was by no means unimportant.   The impression of excessive voluntarism that strikes one, on reading the works of this great author, considered to be the last of the Christian Fathers of antiquity, may, perhaps, actually be due to this constant struggle with himself.   A few years after his death in 636, the Council of Toledo in 653 described him as “an illustrious teacher of our time and the glory of the Catholic Church.”Saint-Isidore---stained-glass.md

Isidore was, without a doubt, a man of accentuated dialectic antitheses.   Moreover, he experienced a permanent inner conflict in his personal life, similar to that which Gregory the Great and St Augustine had experienced earlier, between a desire for solitud, to dedicate himself solely to meditation on the word of God and, the demands of charity to his brethren, for whose salvation, as Bishop, he felt responsible.   He wrote, for example, with regard to Church leaders:  “The man responsible for a Church (vir ecclesiasticus) must on the one hand allow himself to be crucified to the world, with the mortification of his flesh and, on the other, accept the decision of the ecclesiastical order – when it comes from God’s will – to devote himself humbly to government, even if he does not wish to”   (Sententiarum liber III, 33, 1: PL 83, col 705 B).   Just a paragraph later he adds:  “Men of God, (sancti viri), do not in fact desire to dedicate themselves to things of the world and groan when by some mysterious design of God they are charged with certain responsibilities….   They do their utmost to avoid them bu,t accept what they would like to shun and do what they would have preferred to avoid.    Indeed, they enter into the secrecy of the heart and seek there to understand what God’s mysterious will is asking of them.   And when they realise that they must submit to God’s plans, they bend their hearts to the yoke of the divine decision”   (Sententiarum liber III, 33, 3: PL 83, coll. 705-706).st isidore old image

To understand Isidore better, it is first of all, necessary, to recall the complexity of the political situations in his time to which I have already referred – during the years of his boyhood he was obliged to experience the bitterness of exile.   He was, nevertheless, pervaded with apostolic enthusiasm.   He experienced the rapture of contributing to the formation of a people, that was at last, rediscovering its unity, both political and religious, with the providential conversion of Hermenegild, the heir to the Visigoth throne, from Arianism to the Catholic faith.   Yet we must not underestimate the enormous difficulty of coming to grips with such very serious problems as were the relations with heretics and with the Jews.   There was a whole series of problems which appear very concrete to us today too, especially if we consider what is happening in certain region, in which we seem almost to be witnessing the recurrence of situations, very similar to those, that existed on the Iberian Peninsular, in that sixth century.   The wealth of cultural knowledge that Isidore had assimilated, enabled him to constantly compare the Christian newness with the Greco-Roman cultural heritage, however, rather than the precious gift of synthesis, it would seem that he possessed the gift of collatio, that is, of collecting, which he expressed in an extraordinary personal erudition, although it was not always ordered as might have been desired.Saint-Isidore-by-Ambrosius-Benson1530.md

In any case, his nagging worry not to overlook anything, that human experience had produced, in the history of his homeland and of the whole world, is admirable.   Isidore did not want to lose anything that man had acquired, in the epochs of antiquity, regardless of whether they had been pagan, Jewish or Christian.   Hence, it should not come as a surprise if, in pursuing this goal, he did not always manage to filter the knowledge he possessed sufficiently, in the purifying waters of the Christian faith as he would have wished.   The point is, however, that in Isidore’s intentions, the proposals he made, were always in tune with the Catholic faith, which he staunchly upheld.   In the discussion of the various theological problems, he showed, that he perceived their complexity and often astutely suggested solutions, that summarise and express, the complete Christian truth.   This has enabled believers through the ages and to our times, to profit, with gratitude, from his definitions.   A significant example of this is offered by Isidore’s teaching on the relations between active and contemplative life.   He wrote: “Those who seek to attain repose in contemplation must first train in the stadium of active life and then, free from the dross of sin, they will be able to display that pure heart which alone makes the vision of God possible” (Differentiarum Lib. II, 34, 133: PL 83, col 91A).   Nonetheless, the realism of a true pastor, convinced him of the risk the faithful run, of reducing themselves to one dimension.   He therefore added: “The middle way, consisting of both of these forms of life, normally turns out to be more useful in resolving those tensions, which are often aggravated, by the choice of a single way of life and are instead better tempered, by an alternation of the two forms” (op. cit. 134; ibid., col 91B).st isidore glass

Isidore sought in Christ’s example the definitive confirmation of a just orientation of life and said:   “The Saviour Jesus offers us the example of active life, when during the day He devoted Himself to working signs and miracles in the town but, He showed the contemplative life, when He withdrew to the mountain and spent the night in prayer” (op. cit. 134: ibid.).   In the light of this example of the divine Teacher, Isidore can conclude with this precise moral teaching:  “Therefore let the servant of God, imitating Christ, dedicate himself to contemplation without denying himself active life. Behaving otherwise, would not be right.   Indeed, just as we must love God in contemplation, so we must love our neighbour with action.   It is therefore impossible to live without the presence of both the one and the other form of life, nor can we live without experiencing both the one and the other” (op. cit., 135; ibid. col 91C).   I consider that this is the synthesis of a life that seeks contemplation of God, dialogue with God in prayer and in the reading of Sacred Scripture, as well as action at the service of the human community and of our neighbour.   This synthesis, is the lesson that the great Bishop of Seville has bequeathed to us, Christians of today, called to witness to Christ at the beginning of a new millennium.   Amen … Vatican.va

Pedro Duque Cornejo and Manuel Guerrero de Alca'ntara, St. Isido
St Isidore at Seville Cathedral

576px-San_Isidoro,_Portada_del_Bautismo_de_la_Catedral_de_Sevilla
St Isidore on the Facade of Seville Cathedral

Prayer for the Intercession of St Isidore
before accessing the Internet

Almighty and eternal God,
who created us in Thy image
and bade us to seek after all that is good,
true and beautiful,
especially in the divine person
of Thy only-begotten Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
grant we beseech Thee that,
through the intercession of Saint Isidore,
Bishop and Doctor,
during our journeys through the internet,
we will direct our hands and eyes
only to that which is pleasing to Thee
and treat with charity and patience,
all those souls whom we encounter.
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen

Orátio ante colligatiónem in interrete:
*Omnípotens aetérne Deus,
qui secúndum imáginem Tuam nos plasmásti
et omnia bona, vera, et pulchra,
praesértim in divína persóna Unigéniti Fílii Tui
Dómini nostri Iesu Chrísti, quaérere iussísti,
praesta, quaésumus,
ut, per intercessiónem Sancti Isidóri, Epíscopi et Doctóris,
in peregrinatiónibus per interrete,
et manus oculísque ad quae Tibi sunt plácita intendámus
et omnes quos convenímus cum caritáte ac patiéntia accipiámus.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.
Amen

prayer for the intercession of st isidore before internet - 4 april 2020

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on HOPE, QUOTES on MEDITATION, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SILENCE, SAINT of the DAY, SPEAKING of .....

Quote/s of the Day – 8 February – Prayer

Quote/s of the Day – 8 February – The Memorial of Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus (1893-1983)

Speaking of:  Prayer

“The means to obtain grace and glory is prayer.”

Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus (1893-1983)

the means to obtain grace and glory is prayer bl esperanza de jesus 8 feb 2020

“Half an hour’s meditation
each day is essential,
except, when you are busy.
Then a full hour is needed.”

St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Doctor of the Church

half-an-hours-meditation-each-day-st-francis-de-sales-24-jan-2020

“Do not neglect prayer,
however busy you may be.”

Blessed William Joseph Chaminade (1761-1850)

do-not-neglect-prayer-however-busy-you-may-be-bl-william-joseph-chaminade-22-jan-2020 and 8 feb 2020

“How many things Jesus tells us in our heart,
when we stand at His feet,
if we are careful to listen to His Voice!”

Blessed Giovanni Maria Boccardo (1848-1913)

how-many-things-jesus-tells-us-in-our-heart-bl-giovanni-boccardo-30-dec-2019 and 8 feb 2020

“Prayer is our strength, our sword,
our consolation and the key to paradise.”

St Joseph Freinademetz (1852-1908)
“Fu Shenfu” – Lucky Priest

prayer is our strength our sword our consolation and the key to paradise st josep freinademetz 28 jan 2020

“And delicately, gently,
by means of this sweet and peaceful dawn,
God taught me, too, to obey …
God who offers me a little corner
on this earth for prayer,
who gives me a little corner
in which to wait for what I hope.”

St Raphael Arnaiz Baron (1911-1938)

and-delicately-gently-by-means-of-this-dawn-god-teaches-me-to-obey-he-gives-me-a-little-cornr-st-raphael-arnaiz-baron-19-dec-2019 8 feb 2020

Posted in PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HOLY SCRIPTURE, QUOTES on MEDITATION, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on SANCTITY, SAINT of the DAY

Second Thought for the Day – 28 January – St Joseph Freinademetz – Man of Prayer

Second Thought for the Day – 28 January – The Memorial of St Joseph Freinademetz SVD (1852-1908) “Fu Shenfu” – Lucky Priest

Man of Prayer

Freinademetz was what one would call a ‘great man of prayer’ and a ‘spiritual’ person. In his preparatory work for the first diocesan synod of South Shandong, his fundamental attitude became clear in the synod paper on “The Clergy.”   “Do you imagine you can become holy without meditation, something no saint was able to do?   Meditation is a waste of time?   The very opposite is true.   Without meditation life is lost.   Furthermore, set aside one day a month for prayer and meditation.   Such days, are among life’s most beautiful and enriching.   On such days the Holy Spirit has promised to speak to our hearts.”

Just to see him at prayer was edifying for many – “Mostly he knelt in the sanctuary of the church and for us, it was an extraordinary experience, to see him at prayer.   The image of that kneeling priest is indelibly impressed in my memory.   You got the impression that nothing could disturb him  . He was a great man of prayer.   His piety was open and aroused fervour” (Cardinal Tien).

Henninghaus states straight out, that “Prayer” was his “life element and life’s joy,” it was the “source from which he lived.”   Even when he had to work until late at night, he still took time for prayer and spiritual reading.   In summer, Freinademetz often began his working day at 3 a.m., with prayer and meditation.   He preferred to pray the breviary kneeling, mainly very erect without any support.   He may often have recalled his childhood when the whole family knelt every day on the hard boards of the living room, praying the rosary before the house altar.

He celebrated holy Mass “in a dignified and devout manner, without haste but without irritating slowness” (Henninghaus).   The man from Tyrol obviously did not wish to be importunate in these things either.st joseph's chalice and breviary 28 jan 2020 st joseph freinademetz

The official name of the Steyl missionaries, ‘Society of the Divine Word’, fitted as if tailored made for him:   “Daily spiritual reading.   Do not let even a single day pass without meditating on sacred scripture which has been called the Priest’s Book.   Woe to you if the well-springs of devotion in you run dry!”   he exhorted in one of the synod papers.

He himself knew the Bible inside out.   He frequently quoted scripture, mostly in Latin, and above all he was always able to find suitable comparisons for current situations – i.e. he had truly internalised the Bible.   It was not a dead letter for him, not ‘dry’ but full of life, a well from which he knew how to draw water.

With the same intensity he challenged his confreres to continue to update themselves – “Cultivate serious study!   Sacred scripture says, ‘Because you have despised wisdom, I will despise you’.”   That, too, is an example of the way in which he could quote the Bible.

The cross of Christ, the Eucharist and contemplation of God’s Word were the central pillars of the missionary life of Joseph Freinademetz, may they be our central pillars too!

Prayer to St Joseph for Missionaries

Heavenly Father,
You have given us your graces
and blessings through the saints.
We thank You for choosing St Joseph Freinademetz,
a zealous missionary to China, to be our model.
He was a man of prayer who prayed without growing weary.
Prayer was the air he breathed and the joy of his life.
Prayer nourished his missionary vocation,
his love of neighbour,
his enthusiasm and readiness for sacrifice
and his profound faith.
Through the intercession of St Joseph
we implore You to shower Your graces on all missionaries
so that they become persons of prayer
and adopt the culture of the people they are sent to.
Enlighten them to discover the road
You want them to travel
and the plan You have mapped out for them.
May they have courage like St Joseph to keep going,
in spite of many trials and hardships in their mission work
and to live out their vocation faithfully.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

St Joseph Freinademetz, Pray for Us!

ST JOSEPH FREINADEMETZ PRAY FOR US NO 2 28 JAN 2020

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, QUOTES "CARPE DIEM" - Seize the Day, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on COURAGE, QUOTES on DESPAIR, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on MEDITATION, QUOTES on PATIENCE, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on PERSEVERANCE, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SELF-DENIAL, QUOTES on WORRY/ANXIETY, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 24 January – St Francis de Sales

Quote/s of the Day – 24 January – Friday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A and The Memorial of St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) “The Gentle Christ of Geneva” – Doctor of the Church: Doctor Caritatis (Doctor of Charity)

“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.”

let us think only of spending the present day well - st francis de sales - 24 jan 2020

“Don’t get upset
with your imperfections.
It’s a great mistake,
because it leads nowhere –
to get angry
because, you are angry,
upset at being upset,
depressed, at being depressed,
disappointed, because
you are disappointed.
So don’t fool yourself.
Simply surrender
to the Power of God’s Love,
which is always greater
than our weakness.”

dont-get-upset-with-your-imperfections-st-francis-de-sales-24-jan-2018 and 24 jan 2020

“Don’t sow your desires
in someone else’s garden,
just cultivate your own, as best you can;
don’t long to be other than what you are
but desire to be thoroughly what you are.
Direct your thoughts,
to being very good at that
and to bearing the crosses, little or great,
that you will find there.
Believe me, this is the most important
and least understood point to the spiritual life.
We all love according to what is our taste,
few people like what is according to their duty
or to God’s liking.
What is the use of building castles in Spain
when we have to live in France?”

dont-sow-your-desires-st-francis-de-sales-24-jan-2018 - 24 jan 2020

“The work is never finished, we have continually to begin again and that courageously. What we have done so far is good but what we are going to commence, will be better and when we have finished that, we shall begin something else that will be better still and then another – until we leave this world to begin a new life that will have no end because it is the best that can happen to us.

It is not then a case for tears, that we have so much work to do for our souls, for we need great courage to go ever onwards (since we must never stop) and much resolution to restrain our desires.   Observe carefully this precept, that all the Saints have given to those who would emulate them – to speak little, or not at all, of yourself and your own interests.”

the-work-is-never-finished-st-francis-de-sales-27-march-2019 and 24 jan 2020

“Cook the truth in charity,
until it tastes sweet.”

cook-the-truth-in-charity-until-it-tastes-sweet-st-francis-de-sales-23-may-2018 and 24 jan 2020

“Half an hour’s meditation
each day is essential,
except, when you are busy.
Then a full hour is needed.”

half an hour's meditation each day - st francis de sales 24 jan 2020

“Consider all the past as nothing
and say, like David –
Now I begin to love my God.”

St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church

consider all the past as nothing and say like david now i begin to love my god - 24 jan2019 st francis de sales

Posted in MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on MEDITATION

Thought for the Day – 3 January – Making a Good Meditation

Thought for the Day – 3 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Making a Good Meditation

“It is not enough, simply to make a meditation.
It ought to be made well.
It is well made only when it results in an increase of solid virtue and sanctity.
Meditation, moreover, should not be study but mental prayer – a raising of mind to God, asking Him to illumine the darkness of our hearts, too often entangled with the things of the world and, to reinforce our wills, rescuing them from the violent attractions of evil and drawing them, in the direction of virtue and sacrifice.
To meditate, is not to study but to pray.
Whoever loses himself in subtle investigations of Christian Doctrine in order to learn something or to be able to mystify others, is studying, not meditating.
It would be even worse, to let one’s imaginations wander off into a kind of pseudo-mystic daydream.
Let us be quite clear about this – Meditation is not a waste of time but a very serious occupation.
It consists in placing ourselves in the presence of God, in admitting to Him our misery and weakness, in thinking about the eternal truths, so that our minds may be enlightened and in aiming at a Christian self-renewal, through the making and carrying out of good resolutions.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

meditation consists - antonio bacci 3 jan 2019

Posted in MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES on MEDITATION, QUOTES on SILENCE

Thought for the Day – 2 January – Silence

Thought for the Day – 2 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

“Silence”

at least for a little time each day - bacci antonio cardinal 2 jan 2020

“Absorbed in the deafening din of the world around us, it is difficult to hear the voice of God.
At least, for a little while each day, we must create within ourselves, a zone of silence, in order to listen to His voice.
Since God speaks readily in the silence of the heart, let us recollect ourselves before Him, in this quiet oasis.
At least a quarter of an hour of daily meditation is essential for the life of a Christian.
This should be the jumping-off board for all the actions of day, if we wish these to be correct and productive of good.

It is very useful, moreover, to recall to mind frequently during the day, the resolutions which have been formed and to accompany these reflections, with short prayers, aspirations and acts of love for God.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci