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Quote/s of the Day – 18 September – St Joseph of Cupertino and Free Will – “Our Unique Possession”

Quote/s of the Day – 18 September – The Memorial of St Joseph of Cupertino OFM Conv. (1603-1663)

Free Will – “Our Unique Possession”

“Clearly, what God wants, above all,
is our will,
which we received as a free gift from God in creation
and possess as though our own.
When a man trains himself to acts of virtue,
it is with the help of grace from God,
from whom all good things come …
The will is what man has,
as his unique possession.”

St Joseph of Cupertino (1603-1663)

“A man may lose the good things
of this life against his will
but, if he loses the eternal blessings,
he does so with his own consent.”

St Augustine (354-430)
Father and Doctor of Grace

“God desires, not death but faith.
God thirsts, not for blood but for self-surrender.
God is appeased, not by slaughter
but by the offering of your free will.”

St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450)
Bishop, Father & Doctor of Homilies

“Remove grace
and you have nothing,
whereby to be saved.
Remove free will
and you have nothing,
that could be saved.”

St Anselm (1033-1109)
Doctor of the Church

“Lord what will Thou have me do?
Behold the true sign of a totally perfect soul –
when one has reached the point
of giving up his will so completely
that he no longer seeks,
expects or desires
to do ought
but that which God wills.”

St Bernard (1090-1153)
Mellifluous Doctor

“Happiness is secured through virtue,
it is a good attained by man’s own will.”

St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
Angelic Doctor

“But do not forget,
that all the saints cannot endear you to Christ
as much as you can yourself.
It is entirely up to you!”

St Cajetan (1480-1547)

“More determination is required
to subdue the interior man
than to mortify the body
and to break one’s will,
than to break one’s bones.”

St Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)

“A man makes the most progress
and merits the most grace,
precisely in those matters,
wherein he gains
the greatest victories over self
and most mortifies his will.”

St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Doctor of Charity

“I will attempt, day-by-day,
to break my will into pieces.
I want to do God’s Holy Will,
not my own!”

By St Gabriel Francis Possenti
of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862)

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Thought for the Day – 14 August – Little Things

Thought for the Day – 14 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Little Things

little things - bacci 14 aug 2020

“Very few people are destined to great things by Almighty God.
More of us must offer ourselves in the relatively unimportant walks of life in which we have been placed by Providence.
Only some of the Saints were endowed with exceptional virtues and miraculous powers which attracted the attention and the admiration of the world.
In the normal course of events, Christian perfection must be acquired little by little, through the practice of ordinary virtues and unspectacular good actions.
There is always scope for these.
An upsurge of anger can be suppressed from the motive of the love of God and of our neighbour.
We can behave courteously towards people who are unsympathetic towards us or who offend us by their unmannerly conduct.
We can combat pride by acts of humility and egoism by acts of charity.
We can mortify ourselves in speech, in behaviour and at table and, we can give alms to the poor, good advice to the ignorant and comfort to the afflicted.

All these virtuous actions are insignificant in the eyes of men but, they are great in the sight of God.
The blades of grass and the flowers in the meadow are tiny things but, joined together, they constitute the pasture which provides nourishment for the herds and the flocks.
Let us perform these small actions everyday and so cultivate the ordinary virtues.
We shall attract the attention and favour of God, Who, will help us to advance, step-by-step, towards the peak of Christian perfection.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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One Minute Reflection – 28 July – ‘So from now on, run well …’

One Minute Reflection – 28 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Tuesday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time, year A, Readings: Jeremiah 14:17-22Psalm 79:8-91113Matthew 13:36-43

“The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom, all causers of sin and all law-breakers and throw them into the fiery furnace.   In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.   Then the righteous shall shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.   He who has ears, let him hear.” … Matthew 13:41-43matthew 13 40-43 the sone of man will send his angels 28 july 2020

REFLECTION – “In your imagination see our Lord Jesus Christ seated on a throne of glory;   beside Him stand the seraphim, cherubim and each angelic order, serving Him with fear and trembling.   Then those who will have finished the combat, without allowing themselves to be drawn by any worldly pleasures or seduced by the attractions of this vain world, will hear the blessed voice of the Master.   “Then, he says, the righteous will shine like the sun” (Mt 13:43) when they have come from east and west, north and south to take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (cf. Mt 8:11) in an indescribable joy (cf. 1 Pt 1:8), when our King and Lord, will distribute gifts according to their merits.   Ah! my brothers and children. ah! how great and beautiful is the glory which the thrice blessed will enjoy and the saints who practised asceticism!   Yes, most certainly, each will receive the blessings promised, according to the degree to which they have pleased God. …

So from now on, run well (cf. Gal 5:7) and may the devil not bewitch you (cf. Gal 3:1) nor hinder you! …   May mercy, peace, charity, freedom from envy, from jealousy and ostentation come upon you, docility, friendly speech, solidarity, compassion towards each other, humility.   Live like this, act like this, praying, too, with all your heart for my humble self that I may not be thrown into the eternal fire.   May we all escape it, having been judged worthy of the kingdom of heaven, in Christ Himself, our God, to whom belongs all glory, honour, adoration, magnificence, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and always, world without end.   Amen.” … St Theodore the Studite (759-826) Monk and Theologian – Catechesis 42

so from now on run well and may the devil - st theodore the studite 28 july 2020

PRAYER – All-powerful and ever-living God, splendour of true light and never-ending day, chase away the night of sin and fill our minds with the glory of Your coming.   Take away our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh, help us in our battle with sin and the devil.   By our prayers, Your holy Sacraments and the strength of the Holy Spirit, may we be ever vigilant of the evil one.   By our Baptism in Your Son, we are Your children, grant us Your protection.   Kindly listen to the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints and angels, whose prayers we beg, through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.

bl virgin mother pray for us 28 july 2020

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Thought for the Day – 25 July – Purification

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

Purification

purification - bacci -25 july 2020

“We must recognise that we are all poor sinners in the sight of God.

Sacred Scripture warns us that “the just mans falls seven times” (Prov 24:16).
“If we say that we have no sin,” says St John, “we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn 1:8).
Sin is the greatest evil because it offends God, our highest good and happiness.
It only needs our own malice for us to commit sin but, in order to make reparation for it and to redeem us from slavery, it was necessary for God to become man and to offer Himself as a victim of expiation for our sins.
Only a God-Man could have fully satisfied our debt, by offering Himself as a victim of reparation for His adopted brothers.

Jesus desires us to be associated with Him in His Passion, however (Cf Col 1:24).
Our justification cannot be something extrinsic to ourselves but should transform us and make us holy.
Our co-operation with divine grace is necessary for this purpose (1 Cor 15:10).
If we are in sin, we should not only repent but should purify ourselves by acts of penance.
Jesus Himself commands this.
“Unless you repent, you will all perish,” (Lk 13:5) “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Mt 3:2, 4:17).

We must make satisfaction for our sins, therefore, by voluntary co-operation with the grace of God.
Although God is infinitely good and merciful, He will not purify us without this co-operation on our part.
We can be purified by accepting the unavoidable tribulations of life with perfect resignation and by offering to God, our own voluntary mortifications and sacrifices.

Are we prepared to follow the example of the Saints in this matter?”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 21 July – The Royal Road of the Cross

Thought for the Day – 21 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Royal Road of the Cross

the royal road of the cross - bacci 22 july 2020

“The way of the Cross is the only road that leads to Heaven.
Consequently, a man who refuses to take this road cannot reach Heaven.
If there were another way, Jesus would have told us about it.
Instead, He insisted that if anyone wished to go after Him, he would have to deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Him (Lk 9:23).

Our Lord did more than preach this way to us, for He gave us an example of the manner in which to follow it.
Jesus could have redeemed us by a single act of His human-divine will, simply by offering Himself to the Eternal Father in expiation of our sins.
But He chose to carry the weight of the Cross, to climb the Hill of Calvary and, to die in agony.

We must ascend our own Calvary, if we wish to imitate and follow Jesus.
Our divine Redeemer fulfilled perfectly, in His Passion, all the works of perfection which He had preached in the Gospel.
Let the Passion of Christ be our rule of life.
Let us be glad, when we seem to be more like Him and sorrowful, whenever we seem to be departing from the example which He set us.

Suffering should be a source of consolation for us, for it makes us more like Jesus, as long as we endure it with resignation and with love.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 18 July – Our Passions

Thought for the Day – 18 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Our Passions

our passions - bacci - 18 july 2020

“Our Passions are not essentially sinful.
They can open the way to evil but, they can also lead us towards perfection.
Everything depends on how we control and direct them.
They are impulses which are, at the same time valuable and, dangerous.

Human nature was wounded as a result of original sin.
The soul was disobedient to God and the lower faculties rebelled against right reason.
Hence, the disturbance of our passions.
What should our attitude be in regard to this problem?
Should we suppress or obliterate our passions, as some of the Stoics would have done?
It is, in fact, impossible to do this, for our passions are innate natural forces which cannot be destroyed.
What we should do, is guide and control them.
If the dykes are burst, a strongly flowing river can cause havoc but, if it’s course is wisely directed, it irrigates the soil and makes it fertile.
It is the same with our natural inclinations, which “can be used to form a saint but, can also make a brigand” (Mariano Cordovani OP, Breviario Spirituale, p88).

A man with a fiery and aggressive temperament, can use his natural impulses under God’s guidance, to combat vice in himself and in others.
One who is haughty and ambitious by nature, can convert his ambition into a quest for the true and lasting glory of Heaven.
Finally, a passionate man who feels the need to love and to be loved, can find a partial remedy in Christian friendship.
Most of all, however, he can find repose in the love of God.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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One Minute Reflection – 1 July – ‘Alas, my dear brethren, we are poor stuff …’

One Minute Reflection – 1 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Wednesday of the Thirteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Amos 5: 14-15, 21-24,  Psalm 50: 7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 16bc-17, Matthew 8: 28-34 and the Memorial of St Junipero Serra (1713-1784) and Blessed Ignatius “Nazju” Falzon OFS (1813-1865)

And he said to them:  Go.   But they going out went into the swine and behold, the whole herd ran violently down a steep place, into the sea and they perished in the waters.   And behold the whole city went out to meet Jesus and when they saw him, they besought him, that he would depart from their coasts.. … Matthew 8:32,34… Matthew 8:32-34

matthew 8 32 and he said to them go but they going out went into the swine 1 july 2020

REFLECTION – “Dear Lord, what we are capable of when we are left to ourselves!   There are some who, in their own words, are envious of the saints who did great penances.   They believe that they could do as well.   When we read the lives of some of the martyrs, we would, we think, be ready to suffer all that they suffered for God, the moment is short lived, we say, for an eternity of reward.   But what does God do to teach us to know ourselves or, rather, to know that we are nothing? This is all He does – He allows the Devil to come a little closer to us. Look at this Christian who a moment ago was quite envious of the hermit who lived solely on roots and herbs and who made the stern resolution to treat his body as harshly.   Alas!   A slight headache, a prick of a pin, makes him, as big and strong is he is, sorry for himself. He is very upset.   He cries with pain.   A moment ago he would have been willing to do all the penances of the anchorites — and the merest trifle makes him despair!

Look at this other one, who seems to want to give his whole life for God, whose ardour all the torments there are cannot damp.   A tiny bit of scandalmongering …. a word of calumny …. even a slightly cold reception or a small injustice done to him …. a kindness returned by ingratitude …. immediately gives birth in him to feelings of hatred, of revenge, of dislike, to the point, often, of his never wishing to see his neighbour again, or at least. of treating him coldly with an air which shows very plainly what is going on in his heart.   And how many times is this his waking thought, just as it was the thought that almost prevented him from sleeping?   Alas, my dear brethren, we are poor stuff and we should count very little upon our good resolutions!” … St John Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)

a slight headache a prick of apin - st john vianney mattew 8 28-34 two demonics and the pigs swine 1 july 2020

PRAYER – All-powerful God, to serve You is to reign.   Your love gave St Juniperro Serra and Blessed Nazju Falzon, the courage to proclaim the truth of Christ and to preach and live in the light of the Kingdom.  Grant that by their prayers, our lives may bear witness to the faith we profess and our love bring others, to the peace and joy of Your gospel. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amenstjuniperoserra-pray-for-us - 1 July 2017 and 2020

bl nazju falzon pray for us 1 july 2020

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Thought for the Day – 22 June – Interior Mortification

Thought for the Day – 22 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Interior Mortification

anyone who is full of himself and of worldly matters - bacci interior mortification 22 june 2020

“In the spiritual life, as in the physical order, death is the beginning of life.
“Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone.   But, if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.   He who loves his life, loses it and he who hates his life in this world, keeps it unto life everlasting” (Jn 12:24-25).

This passage of the Gospel, epitomises the doctrine of Christian mortification – it is necessary to die to ourselves, in order to live in God.
Anyone who is full of himself and of worldly matters, has no room in his heart for God.
It is not possible, as St Augustine points out, to fill a vase with earth and then to fill it with water.
There is no room left for the water and, if a little of it enters the vase, it is no longer pure water but muddy!

We must empty ourselves of ourselves and of worldly things, in order to fill ourselves with God.
Jesus told us this quite clearly. “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself” (Mt 16:24).

If anyone denies himself in order to do God’s will in all things, he has achieved real interior mortification.
Moreover, he has perfect peace, which consists in being established in the love of God.

This does not mean that all self-love is wrong.
In fact, there are two kinds of self-love.
We can love our true good, which is God and, therefore, desire to live in harmony with this supreme good in this life in order to enjoy it as our eternal reward.
This kind of self-love is founded on the love of God, Who is the main reason why we love ourselves.
But if we prefer our own pleasure and satisfaction to God, then our self-love is disproportionate and wrong and leads us into sin.

The first thing we must do, therefore, is to mortify our inordinate self-love.
In other words, we must deny ourselves in matters where self-love is keeping us apart from God, Whom we should love more than anything else in life.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 25 March – Mortification and Penance

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

Mortification and Penance

“In Christian teaching, death is the beginning of life.
“Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies,” Jesus said, “it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. He who loves his life, loses it and he, who hates his life in this world, keeps it unto life everlasting” (Jn 12:24-25).
This paradox of dying to this life in order to live in Heaven, was enacted in a wonderful way in the lives of Jesus and of the Saints.
It must be put into effect in our lives also, if we are to be genuine Christians.
Jesus shed His precious blood for us and His death was the beginning of His triumph.
The Apostles, Martyrs and Saints, gave their lives for Christ and received, as their reward, the happy and eternal life of Heaven.
By dying to our own ego and to our passions, we shall find the true life of Christ.
We must die to ourselves, so that Christ may live in us, as He lived in St Paul.
We must die to pride, so that Christian humility may live in us;
we must die to anger, so that patience may live in us;
we must die to lust, so that purity and innocence may live in us
and, we must die to selfishness, so that charity may live in us.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

humility - bacci - 25 march 2020

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Second Thought for the Day – 8 February – Blessed Esperanza’s Spiritual Testament

Second Thought for the Day – 8 February – The Memorial of Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus (1893-1983)

Extract from Blessed Esperanza’s Spiritual Testament

“In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, I write to my beloved sons and my beloved daughters this Testament.

I leave entrusted to the Most Holy Virgin, all my sons and daughters and my two beloved Congregations and all the poor people received in them.

I wish to leave to my sons and daughters the precious inheritance that I have, freely and without any merit, received from the Good Jesus.

Recommendations that I make to my beloved sons and to my beloved daughters:
Be humble, love one another, eradicate from your heart the rash judgements, never look for responsibilities or high positions, stay in the hands of obedience like little children; never have discussions or quarrels, never occupy yourselves with things for which you are not responsible, be very charitable and attached to prayer, because the means to obtain grace and glory is prayer;  always follow the narrow path of mortification; work to acquire detachment and disdain with respect to yourselves; you will succeed in this with the knowledge of Our God, His love and the knowledge of your nothingness and your miseries; always and in everything, try to accomplish the Will of Our God and always seek His glory and not yours.

Keep yourselves free, my children, from all greed, try hard to have no attachment to earthly things, because the Son and Handmaid of Merciful Love must be occupied with charity, divine and spiritual things and you will arrive there easily if your hearts are strongly attached to the Good Jesus.

Walk with great attention in order to not become implicated in cares foreign to your vocation and to your state, never get involved in secular business contrary to your vocation, not even in the name of charity or prudence.

The Request I address to the Good Jesus, at the time of the death of my body and the life of my soul, by the mercy and the love of my God. I ask that the Good Jesus personally and the glory of God be the cause of the actions of all the sons and daughters and that He always be their Advocate and defend them against the enemies of the respective Congregations, always repeating in their favour: “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing!”

Jesus, at the time of death, see to it that all the sons and daughters can say, full of love and confidence, what I say to You in these moments, with hope in Your charity, love and mercy:  “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Blessed Esperanza de Jesus, Pray for Us!

bl esperanza de jesus pray for us no 2 8 feb 2020

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Thought for the Day – 6 January – Giving Ourselves, Our Prayer, Our Mortification

Thought for the Day – 6 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – First Day after Epiphany

Giving Ourselves, Our Prayer, Our Mortificationthere can be no sanctity without prayer - bacci 6 jan 2020

The Magi gave Jesus material gifts also, as symbols of their complete dedication to Him.
They gave Him gold, because He was a king,
incense, because He was God
and myrrh, because He was man.
We often say that we love God and wish to serve and obey Him in all things.
But when we see that this entails sacrifice, we forget our promises!

We must ask ourselves if we are prepared to offer Jesus gold, that is, to offer Him everything we possess for the promotion of His glory, for the spread of His Kingdom and for the relief of His poor, in whom we ought, always, to see and love Christ Himself.
We must examine ourselves thoroughly on this.
It is easy to find excuses for not giving to God and to His poor in accordance with our means.

We should offer also, the incense of our adoration and unceasing prayer.
There can be no sanctity without prayer.
There can be no real Christians without sanctity.

Finally, we must offer the myrrh of our mortification.
Mortification, as St Vincent de Paul has said, is the ABC of Christian perfection.
St Paul exhorts us, to carry always in ourselves the mortification of Jesus.
If we are not mortified, we can never be holy and can never share the joy which the Magi experienced as they lay prostrate before the cradle of our Divine Redeemer.

Definition of Mortification:
Mortification is the feeling of being completely humiliated.
The word mortification has its roots in the Latin word for “death,” mors.

The original meaning of mortification is religious, in Christianity the meaning is “putting your sin to death”.
In Christian practice, this has varied from denying oneself pleasurable things, like certain foods, to inflicting physical pain on oneself.
The religious reason for this kind of mortification is to cause the “death” of sins — or desires — of the body.