One Minute Reflection – 9 May – Sixth Sunday of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 10: 25-26, 34-35, 44-48; Psalm: Psalms 98: 1, 2-3, 3-4 (2b); Second: First John 4: 7-10; Gospel: John 15: 9-17
“Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13
REFLECTION – “Cloth of scarlet or purple is a very precious and royal fabric, not because of the wool but because of the colour. The actions of good Christians are of such great value, that heaven is given to us for them. However, … it is not because they come from us and are the wool of our hearts. Rather, it is because they are dyed with the blood of the Son of God. I mean, that the Saviour sanctifies our actions by the merits of His blood. A branch of the vine, united and joined to the stock, produces fruit, not by it’s own power but empowered by the stock. Now we are untied by charity to our Redeemer, as members to the head (Eph 4:15-16). That is why our fruits and good works, drawing their value from Him, merit life everlasting.
… We, ourselves, are branches that are dry, unprofitable and unfruitful. We are not competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, our competence is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers (2 Cor 3:5-6) and able to do His will. Therefore, as soon as sacred love engraves on our hearts the name of our Saviour, our great Shepherd (1 Pet 2:25), we begin to bear delicious fruits for life everlasting.” …. St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of Charity
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, bring us to the joy of Your heavenly city, so that we, Your little flock, may follow where Christ, our Good Shepherd, has gone before us, by the power of His Resurrection. May our hearts overflow with the joy of His eternal presence, that in Him and through Him and with Him, we may attain the happiness of life eternal. May the prayers of the Blessed Virgin, guide us that we may always follow our Shepherd in faithful love. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and for all eternity, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 8 May – “Mary’s Month” – Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 16:1-10, Psalm 100:1-3, 5, John 15:18-21
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me first.”
“If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own but because you are not of the world but I chose you out of the world, therefore, the world hates you.”
“God watches us – we, His children – take part in the combat and Himself gives us a heavenly crown ( 1Cor 9:25). The angels watch us too and Christ comes to our aid. So let us arm ourselves with all our might, let us fight the good fight, with brave hearts and solid faith.”
St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200- c 258) Bishop and Martyr, Father of the Church
“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.”
St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387) Father and Doctor of the Church
“When insults have no effect on us, when persecutions and penalties, have no terror for us, when prosperity or adversity, has no influence on us, when friend and foe, are viewed in the same light… do we not come close, to sharing, the serenity of God?”
St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)
“O man, when the world hates you and is faithless toward you, think of your God, how He was struck and spat upon. You should not accuse your neighbour of guilt but pray to God, that He be merciful to you both.”
St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)
“Catholics are part of the Church Militant. They struggle and they suffer for the triumph of Christ. They must never lose sight of their Divine Model, so that their trials will be turned into joy.”
One Minute Reflection – 6 May – “IMary’s Month” – Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter. Readings: First: Acts 15: 7-21; Psalm: Psalms 96: 1-2a, 2b-3, 10; Gospel: John 15: 9-11 and the Memorial of St John the Evangelist at the Latin Gate
“Abide in my love.” – John 15:9
REFLECTION – “You may well believe that there is no-one in the world, neither friend nor brother, father or mother, husband or betrothed who loves you more than your God loves you. Divine grace is that treasure of great price, that boundless treasure of which the wise man speaks, which, as soon as we use it, makes us participants in friendship with God (cf. Wis 7:14). In God’s sight we were only miserable creatures, poor servants and now, we become friends, beloved friends of our Creator himself!
Precisely so as to make us more at ease with Him, He emptied Himself (cf. Phil 2:7), so to speak, humbling Himself, so far, as to become man, in order to converse familiarly with men (cf. Bar 3:38).8). Even this was not enough, He became a child, became poor, he even let Himself be put to death on a cross, by a miscarriage of justice, before a whole people. Even more, He went so far as to put Himself under the species of bread, so as to make Himself our companion each day and unite Himself, in close union with each one of us – “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood,” He said, “remains in me and I in him” (Jn 6:56). In sum, one could say, that He has no love but for you, He loves you so much.
Therefore, 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) Bishop and Most Zealous Doctor of the Church – The manner of conversing with God, trans. from the Italian
PRAYER – In Your gentle mercy Lord, guide our wayward hearts, for we know that left to ourselves, we cannot do Your will. Almighty God, turn our hearts to Yourself, so that we, seeking the one thing ne cessary, may worship You in spirit and in truth. We give You thanks for our faith, increase our faith O our God! May the prayers of St John and all your saints and the Virgin Mary, Queen of All Saints, obtain the gift of humility and fidelity for us and for every believer, so that our prayer may always be genuine and pleasing to the Lord. Through Christ our Lord and Redeemer, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Virgen de la Carrasca, Bordón, Teruel, Aragón, Spain (1212) – 3 May:
Commemorated on First Monday of May
In 1212, a herder found an image of the Virgin in a holm oak (carrasca) in the rocky countryside of Aragón in Spaon. There are several stories about what happened then, all of them ending with a Shrine in Bordón. Templars carried the Statue to Castellote, 12 miles north but the next day the image was back in the oak, the Virgin made those carrying her to Castellote keep turning toward Bordón and springs arose at each turn.
In the place where it was found, a hermitage was built to house it, which would later be replaced by the building that today is the Parish Church of Bordón, built in 1306 by the Templar Order (The Order was dissolved by Pope Clement V in 1312 ).
Although its exterior hardly stands out, its interior is magical and fascinating, a place full of mystery. In one of the Chapels inside, the Templar novices who previously made a pilgrimage on foot from Castellote, capital of the Templar Commandery, performed initiation rites to become Knights of the Order.
In the 18th century, the interior of the Church was covered with marvellous frescoes, which have been recently restored. Unfortunately, the venerated carving of the Black Virgin of the Carrasca was lost during the Civil War, along with another very famous Romanesque carving with a reputation for miraculously calming storms, the Virgin of the Spider, only a series of photographs being preserved, which allowed the making a replica.
On the first Monday in May, the faithful from the three towns to the south—Tronchón, Olocau del Rey and Mirambel—conduct a processional pilgrimage to the Virgin de la Carrasca. They have done this “from time immemorial,” according to a document of 1390 in the Parish archives of Tronchón.
St Adalsindis of Bèze Bl Adam of Cantalupo in Sabina St Ahmed the Calligrapher St Aldwine of Peartney St Pope Alexander I St Alexander of Constantinople Bl Alexander of Foigny St Alexander of Rome Bl Alexander Vincioli St Ansfrid of Utrecht (c 940-1010) Bishop St Antonina of Constantinople St Diodorus the Deacon
St Ethelwin of Lindsey St Eventius of Rome St Fumac St Gabriel Gowdel St Juvenal of Narni Bl Maria Leonia Paradis St Maura of Antinoe St Peter of Argos St Philip of Zell Bl Ramon Oromí Sullà St Rhodopianus the Deacon St Scannal of Cell-Coleraine Bl Sostenaeus
One Minute Reflection – 29 April – Thursday Fourth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 13:13-25, Psalm 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27, John 13:16-20 and the Memorial of St Hugh the Great of Cluny (1024-1109)
“A servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” … John 13:16
REFLECTION – “Remember the wonders He has done for us (Ps 104:5) in the past and those he does still. … In response to what He has done for us let us do even more and return what we owe Him, most venerable brethren. And what He wants from us is surely that we should fear Him, love Him with all our heart and all our mind (cf. Mt 22:37) and imitate His life in the flesh insofar as we can?
He made Himself a stranger, by leaving heaven for earth, so that we too might become strangers, to thoughts that come from self-will. He obeyed His Father ,so that you too should unhesitatingly obey …. He humbled Himself even to death (cf. Phil 2:8), so that you too should share this sentiment, abasing and humbling yourselves in thought, deed, word and act. Where is divine and true glory to be found, if not in becoming, without glory amongst men for God’s sake? … That which is small and despised, that is what He has chosen, my Saviour and God, who put on our flesh to confound (1 Cor 1:27-28) human fame and wealth.
This is why He was born in a cave, was laid in a manger, was called the son of a carpenter, called a Nazarene. He was clothed in one poor tunic and a single cloak; He went by foot, suffered, was stoned by the Jews (cf. Jn 10:31), insulted, arrested, crucified, pierced with a lance, placed in the tomb, after which He rose again. And so, He wishes to persuade us, brethren, to choose the same things as Himself before the angels, so that we may be crowned in the Kingdom of Heaven, into Christ our Lord Himself, to whom belongs glory and power, together with the Father and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.” … St Theodore the Studite (759-826) Monk and Theologian at Constantinople – Catechesis 78
PRAYER – Lord God, stand by us in Your saving work and stay with us in Your gifts of grace. You have rescued us from the darkness, keep us ever in Your light. May the ways of truth and life which Jesus Christ Your Son taught us, be our anchor and our light. We ask that You hear the intercession of Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mother and Saint Hugh of Cluny, Your servant, whom we beseech for help as we work to reach our heavenly home. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen
Acts 13: 13-25 13 Now when Paul and they that were with him, had sailed from Paphos, they came to Perge in Pamphylia. And John departing from them, returned to Jerusalem. 14 But they, passing through Perge, came to Antioch in Pisidia and entering into the synagogue on the sabbath day, they sat down. 15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying: Ye men, brethren, if you have any word of exhortation to make to the people, speak. 16 Then Paul rising up and with his hand bespeaking silence, said: Ye men of Israel and you that fear God, give ear. 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers,and exalted the people when they were sojourners in the land of Egypt and with an high arm brought them out from thence, 18 And for the space of forty years endured their manners in the desert. 19 And destroying seven nations in the land of Chanaan, divided their land among them, by lot, 20 As it were, after four hundred and fifty years and after these things, he gave unto them judges, until Samuel the prophet. 21 And after that, they desired a king:and God gave them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, he raised them up David to be king to whom giving testimony, he said: I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to my own heart, who shall do all my wills. 23 Of this man’s seed, God according to his promise, has raised up to Israel a Saviour, Jesus. 24 John first preaching, before his coming, the baptism of penance to all the people of Israel. 25 And when John was fulfilling his course, he said: I am not he, whom you think me to be: but behold, there comes one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.
Gospel: John 13: 16-20 16 Amen, amen I say to you: The servant is not greater than his lord; neither is the apostle greater than he that sent him. 17 If you know these things, you shall be blessed if you do them. 18 I speak not of you all, I know whom I have chosen. But that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eats bread with me, shall lift up his heel against me. 19 At present I tell you, before it come to pass, that when it shall come to pass, you may believe that I am he. 20 Amen, amen I say to you, he that receives whomsoever I send, receives me and he that receives me, receives him that sent me.
One Minute Reflection – 28 April – Wednesday of the Fourth week of Easter, Readings: Acts 12:24–13:5, Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8, John 12:44-50 and the Memorial of St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716)
“I am come as light into the world, that whosoever believes in me, may not remain in darkness..” – John 12:46
REFLECTION – “The humility with which Christ “emptied himself, assuming the condition of a servant” (Phil 2:7) is our light. His denial of the world’s glory, He who chose to be born in a stable rather than a palace and to undergo a shameful death on the cross, is light for us. Owing to this humility, we can know just how detestable is the sin of a creature of clay (Gn 2:7), a wretched man of no worth, when he puffs himself up, vaunts himself and refuses to obey, while we see the infinite God, humiliated, despised and delivered up to men.
A light for us, too, is the meekness with which He bore hunger, thirst and cold, insults, blows and wounding, when “like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep before its shearers, he did not open his mouth” (Is 53:7). Indeed, in view of this meekness, we see how pointless anger is, as also threats. Then we consent to suffer and do not serve Christ out of habit. Thanks to this, we learn to pay heed to all that is asked of us, weeping for our sins in submission and silence and patiently bearing the sufferings that come our way. For Christ bore His torments with such great meekness and patience, not for sins He had not committed but for those of others.
From now on, dearest brethren, ponder over all the virtues Christ taught us by the example of His life, that He recommends to us through His preaching and. gives us the strength to imitate, by the aid of His grace.” – Lanspergius the Carthusian (1489-1539) Monk, theologian – Sermon 5
PRAYER – Lord God, life of those who believe in You, glory of the humble and happiness of the Saints, listen kindly to our prayer. We long for what You promises, fill us from Your abundance, give us true faith and obedience. May the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Your Son, be our constant recourse. and may her cliet and Yours, St Louis Marie de Montfort, pray for us all. Through Our Lord, Jesus with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Acts 12: 24 — 13: 5a 24 But the word of the Lord increased and multiplied. 25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, having fulfilled their ministry, taking with them John, who was surnamed Mark. 13:1 Now there were in the church which was at Antioch, prophets and doctors, among whom was Barnabas and Simon who was called Niger and Lucius of Cyrene and Manahen, who was the foster brother of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 And as they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Ghost said to them: Separate me Saul and Barnabas, for the work whereunto I have taken them. 3 Then they, fasting and praying and imposing their hands upon them, sent them away. 4 So they being sent by the Holy Ghost, went to Seleucia and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when they were come to Salamina, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.
Gospel: John 12: 44-50 44 But Jesus cried and said: He that believes in me, does not believe in me but in him that sent me. 45 And he that sees me, sees him that sent me. 46 I am come as light into the worl, that whosoever believes in me, may not remain in darkness. 47 And if any man hears my words and keeps them not, I do not judge him: for I came not to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He that despises me and receives not my words, has one that judges him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken of myself but of the Father who sent me, he gave me commandments what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting. The things, therefore, that I speak, even as the Father said unto me, so do I speak.
Quote/s of the Day – 17 April – “Saturday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 6: 1-7, Psalm: Psalms 33: 1-2, 4-5, 18-19, Gospel: John 6: 16-21
“They saw Jesus, walking upon the sea and drawing nigh to the ship and they were afraid.”
And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
“What are you afraid of, you men of little faith? That He will not pardon your sins? But with His own hands He has nailed them to the cross. That you are used to soft living and your tastes are fastidious? But He knows the clay of which we are made (Gn 2:7). That a prolonged habit of sinning binds you like a chain? But the Lord loosens the shackles of prisoners. Or perhaps that angered by the enormity and frequency of your sins, He is slow to extend a helping hand? But where sin abounded, grace became superabundant (Rom 5,20). Are you worried about clothing and food and other bodily necessities s o that you hesitate to give up your possessions? But He knows that you need all these things (Mt 6,32). What more can you wish? What else is there to hold you back from the way of salvation? ”
St Bernard (1091-1153) Mellifluous Doctor of the Church Commentary on the Song of Songs, Sermon 38
“Keep Jesus Christ as your dial, at all times, His Cross for mast, on which to hoist your resolutions, as a sail. Let your anchor be, profound trust in Him and set out early!”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church
“Then steer your ship with steady arm, Trust me and rest your soul. Your little boat I’ll keep from harm, I’ll guide it toward its goal. … Be ,therefore, steadfast, calm and true, Your God is at your side. Through storm and night He’ll see you through With conscience as your guide.”
St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross Edith Stein “At the Helm”
Quote/s of the Day – 5 April – Easter Monday -the Second day of the Octave
“For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit… he who does not obey the Son, shall not see life.”
“The Lord has turned all our sunsets into sunrises.”
St Clement of Alexandria (150-215) Father of the Church
“He will be with you also, all the way, that faithful God. Every morning when you awaken to the old and tolerable pain, at every mile of the hot uphill dusty road of tiring duty, on, to the judgement seat, the same Christ there as ever, still loving you, still sufficient for you, even then. And then, on through all eternity.”
Thought for the Day – 3 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Death of our Saviour
“Quite apart from the most fearful physical torments, such as the Scourging, the Crowning with Thorns and the Crucifixion, Jesus willed to endure extreme moral sufferings, such as the betrayal by Judas, the desertion by His Apostles in His hour of trial and the denial by the Head of the Apostles himself. He willed to endure an even greater spiritual affliction than these, which was so mysterious as to be almost beyond our understanding. This, was His abandonment by His heavenly Father. “My God, my God,” He cries out in His last agony, “why hast thou forsaken me.” His human heart elected to experience, at that moment, the removal of the inmost consolations and joys, which flowed from His continual union with His heavenly Father. He was both Man and God. His human nature was hypostatically united to the Word and in this way, even His human nature participated in His infinite happiness. As Man, however, He chose to be deprived of this happiness. Being burdened with all our sins, He wished to endure the most frightful sufferings and even abandonment by His heavenly Father.
We shall be able to understand this, if we ever experience moral affliction, which can be much worse than physical pain. On thee occasions, we should we should console ourselves with the reflection, that Jesus has walked this way of sorrows before us. Then we shall remain united in these tials to Him, Who is the only source of comfort and resignation. Let us prostrate ourselves before His lifeless Body, covered with sores and furrowed with blood!”
“By nothing else except the CROSS of our Lord Jesus Christ has death been brought low. The sin of our first parent destroyed, hell plundered, resurrection bestowed, the power given us to despise the things of this world, even death itself, the road back to the former blessedness made smooth, the gates of paradise opened, our nature seated at the right hand of God and we made children and heirs of God. By the CROSS, all these things have been set aright… It is a seal that the destroyer may not strike us, a raising up of those who lie fallen, a support for those who stand, a staff for the infirm, a crook for the shepherded, a guide for the wandering, a perfecting of the advanced, salvation for soul and body, a deflector, of all evils, a cause of all goods, a destruction of sin, a plant of resurrection and a tree of eternal life!”
Thought for the Day – 2 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“After a painful and exhausting journey, Jesus reaches Calvary, where He is to be Crucified. Once again, He is stripped of His garments, which, by this time, have become stuck to His swollen sores. Then, He is stretched upon the wooden Cross, to which, one of the brutal executioners fastens His Hands and Feet, with blows from a hammer. The sharp nails are driven through His flesh into the hard wood. Jesus looks upwards and offers Himself in silence, as a Victim of Expiation, on behalf of His tormentors and of all of us. His Mother Mary, is standing a few paces away in the company of the holy women and of the beloved Disciple. The blows of the hammer pierce the maternal heart of the Blessed Virgin but,she remains silent also and prays.
When we have been afflicted by misfortune or sorrow and our hearts are racked with grief, how do we behave? Have we the resignation, the trust in God and the spirit of prayer, which Jesus and Mary had on Calvary? Let us remind ourselves, that we are members of the Mystical Body of Christ. If Jesus our Head, has suffered, how much more, do miserable sinners like the rest of us ,deserve to suffer!? Jesus wishes us to participate in the work of redemption by uniting our sufferings to His. “I rejoice now,” says St Paul, “in the suffering I bear … and what is lacking of the suffering of Christ, I fill up in my flesh…” (Col 1:24).
Let us face adversity with courage, therefore and keep our eyes hopefully towards Heaven. Let us remember, as St Paul also says, that even as we share in the sufferings of Christ, so we shall share in His triumph (Cf 2 Cor 1:7). Jesus had to ascen Mount Calvary, before He could ascend to Heaven. If we are to walk in His footsteps, we shall have to do the same.”
From a Sermon by St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor unitatis Ecclesiae
True reverence for the Lord’s passion means, fixing the eyes of our heart on Jesus crucified and recognising in Him our own humanity.
The earth – our earthly nature – should tremble at the suffering of its Redeemer. The rocks – the hearts of unbelievers – should come forth, the massive stones now ripped apart. Foreshadowings of the future Resurrection, should appear in the holy city, the Church of God, what is happening to our bodies, should now take place in our hearts.
No-one, however weak, is denied a share in the victory of the Cross. No-one is beyond the help of the prayer of Christ. His prayer brought benefit to the multitude that raged against Him. How much more, does it bring, to those who turn to Him in repentance.
Ignorance has been destroyed, obstinacy has been overcome. The Sacred Blood of Christ, has quenched the flaming sword that barred access to the tree of life. The age-old night of sin has given place, to the true light.
The Christian people are invited to share the riches of paradise. All who have been reborn have the way open before them, to return to their native land, from which they had been exiled. Unless, indeed ,they close off for themselves, the path that could be opened before the faith of a thief.
The business of this life should not preoccupy us with its anxiety and pride, so that we no longer strive, with all the love of our heart, to be like our Redeemer and to follow His example. Everything that He did, or suffered, was for our salvation – He wanted His Body to share the goodness of its Head.
First of all, in taking our human nature, while remaining God, so that the Word became man, He left no member of the human race, the unbeliever excepted, without a share in His mercy. Who does not share a common nature with Christ, if he has welcomed Christ, who took our nature and is reborn in the Spirit, through whom Christ was conceived?
Again, who cannot recognise in Christ, his own infirmities? Who would not recognise that Christ’s eating and sleeping, His sadness and His shedding tears of love, are marks of the nature of a slave?
It was this nature of a slave, that had to be healed of its ancient wounds and cleansed of the defilement of sin. For that reason, the only-begotten Son of God, became also the Son of Man. He was to have both the reality of human nature and the fullness of the Godhead.
The Body, that lay lifeless in the tomb, is ours. The Body that rose again on the third day, is ours. The Body, that ascended above all the heights of heaven, to the right hand of the Father’s glory, is ours. If then we walk in the way of His commandments and are not ashamed to acknowledge, the price He paid for our salvation in a lowly Body, we too are to rise to share His glory. The promise He made will be fulfilled, in the sight of all: –“whoever acknowledges Me before men, I too will acknowledge him before My Father who is in heaven.”
Quote/s of the Day – 2 April – Good Friday of the Passion of the Lord
“O SACRED HEAD” By St Bernard (1090-1153) Mellifluous Doctor
O Sacred Head surrounded By a crown of piercing thorn! O bleeding Head, so wounded, Reviled and put to scorn! Death’s pallid hue comes o’er Thee, The glow of life decays, Yet angel hosts adore Thee And tremble as they gaze.
I see Thy strength and vigour All fading in the strife, And death, with cruel vigour, Bereaving Thee of life; O agony and dying! O love to sinners free! Jesus, all grace supplying, O turn Thy face on me!
In this Thy bitter Passion, Good Shepherd, think of me, With Thy most sweet compassion, Unworthy though I be. Beneath Thy Cross abiding, ‘Forever would I rest, In Thy dear love confiding, And will Thy presence blest.
“Do not pass one day without devoting a half hour, or at least a quarter of an hour, to meditation on the sorrowful Passion of your Saviour. Have a continual remembrance of the agonies of your crucified Love and know, that the greatest saints, who now, in heaven, triumph in holy love, arrived at perfection in this way.”
One Minute Reflection – 2 April – Good Friday, Readings: First: Isaiah 52: 13 — 53: 12.salm: Psalms 31: 2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25. Second: Hebrews 4: 14-16; 5: 7-9 Gospel: John 18: 1 — 19: 42
“But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water.”– John 18:34
REFLECTION – “How precious the gift of the Cross, how splendid to contemplate! In the Cross there is no mingling of good and evil, as in the tree of paradise, it is wholly beautiful to behold and good to taste. The fruit of this tree is not death but life, not darkness but light. This tree does not cast us out of paradise but opens the way for our return.
This was the tree upon which, Christ, like a king on a chariot, destroyed the devil, the lord of death and freed the human race from his tyranny. This was the tree upon which the Lord like a brave warrior wounded in hands, feet and side, healed the wounds of sin that the evil serpent had inflicted on our nature. A tree once caused our death but now, a tree brings life. Once deceived by a tree, we have now repelled the cunning serpent, by a tree. What an astonishing transformation! That death should become life, that decay should become immortality, that shame should become glory! Well might the holy Apostle exclaim – Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world! The supreme wisdom that flowered on the Cross has shown the folly of worldly wisdom’s pride. The knowledge of all good, which is the fruit of the Cross, has cut away the shoots of wickedness.
The wonders accomplished through this tree were foreshadowed clearly, even by the mere types and figures that existed in the past. Meditate on these, if you are eager to learn. Was it not the wood of a tree that enabled Noah, at God’s command, to escape the destruction of the flood, together with his sons, his wife, his sons’ wives and every kind of animal? And surely the rod of Moses prefigured the Cross, when it changed water into blood, swallowed up the false serpents of Pharaoh’s magicians, divided the sea at one stroke and then restored the waters to their normal course, drowning the enemy and saving God’s own people? Aaron’s rod, which blossomed in one day, in proof of his true priesthood, was another figure of the Cross and did not Abraham foreshadow the Cross, when he bound his son Isaac and placed him on the pile of wood?
By the Cross, death was slain and Adam was restored to life. The Cross is the glory of all the Apostles, the crown of the Martyrs, the sanctification of the Saints. By the Cross, we put on Christ and cast aside our former self. By the Cross we, the sheep of Christ, have been gathered into one flock, destined for the sheepfold of heaven.” – St Theodore the Studite (759-826) Father, Abbot, Theologian, Writer
PRAYER – Be mindful Lord, of this Your family, for whose sake, our Lord Jesus Christ, when betrayed, did not hesitate to yield Himself into His enemies hands and undergo the agony of the Cross – He Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 1 April – Maundy Thursday, Evening Vigil Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Gospel: John 13:1-15 and the Memorial of Saint Melito Bishop of Sardis (Died c 180) Early Church Father
“He loved them unto the end.”
“Born as a Son, led forth as a Lamb, sacrificed as a sheep, buried as a man, He rose from the dead as a God, for He was by nature God and man.
He is all things – He judges and so, He is Law. He teaches and so, He is Wisdom. He saves and so, He is Grace. He begets and so, He is Father. He is begotten,and so, He is Son. He suffers and so, He is Sacrifice. He is buried and so, He is Man. He rises again and so, He is God. This is Jesus Christ, to whom belongs glory for all ages.”
St Melito of Sardis (Died c 180) Bishop, Early Church Father
Lenten Journey Day Forty-one – 31 March – Wednesday in Holy Week, Readings: First: Isaiah 50: 4-9a, Psalm: Psalms 69: 8-10, 21-22, 31 and 33-34, Gospel: Matthew 26: 14-25
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)
“My appointed time draws near. I am to celebrate the Passover in your house” – Matthew 26:18
JESUS has always many who love His heavenly kingdom but few, who bear His cross.
He has many who desire consolation but few, who care for trial. He finds many to share His table but few, to take part in His fasting.
All desire to be happy with Him; few wish to suffer anything for Him.
Many follow Him to the breaking of bread but few, to the drinking of the chalice of His passion.
Many revere His miracles; few approach the shame of the Cross.
Many love Him as long as they encounter no hardship; many praise and bless Him, as long as they receive some comfort from Him. But if Jesus hides Himself and leaves them for a while, they fall either into complaints or into deep dejection.
Those, on the contrary, who love Him for His own sake and not for any comfort of their own, bless Him in all trial and anguish of heart as well as in the bliss of consolation. Even if He should never give them consolation, yet they would continue to praise Him and wish always to give Him thanks.
What power there is in pure love for Jesus – love that is free from all self-interest and self-love!
If a man give all his wealth, it is nothing; if he do great penance, it is little; if he gain all knowledge, he is still far afield; if he have great virtue and much ardent devotion, he still lacks a great deal and especially, the one thing that is most necessary to him.
What is this one thing? That leaving all, he forsake himself, completely renounce himself, and give up all private affections. Then, when he has done all that he knows ought to be done, let him consider it as nothing, let him make little of what may be considered great; let him in all honesty call himself an unprofitable servant. For truth itself has said: “When you shall have done all these things that are commanded you, say: ‘we are unprofitable servants.'” (Luke 17:10)
Then he will be truly poor and stripped in spirit, and with the prophet may say: “I am alone and poor.”(Ps 25:16) No-one, however, is more wealthy than such a man; no0one is more powerful, no-one freer, than he who knows how to leave all things and think of himself as the least of all. (Book 2 Ch 11)
Thought for the Day – 30 March – A Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Hour of Trial
“Whether they are physical, moral or spiritual, these severe trials affect us greatly. We feel crushed and abandoned, lacking in the power to resist and tend to yield to temptation or to despair. At these times, we should take the Crucifix in our hands and remember the suffering of Jesus. Let us recall His terrible physical suffering, as He was dying upon the Cross. Let us remember the suffering of His Heart, when He was betrayed by Judas, deserted by the Apostles, denied by St Peter and rejected by his own people. Finally, let us recall His spiritual sufferings, for He, Who was innocence itself, willed to carry the weight of our sins and to experience, in a mysterious manner, the sense of abandonment by His heavenly Father.
No matter what our trial may be, let us ask Jesus for the grace of resignation, of perseverance aganst temptation and for Christian hope.”
Thought for the Day – 27 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Passion of Our Lord
“The Crucifix is a simple meditation manual, open and intelligible to all, even to the most illiterate. Anyone who turns to it, can study the sorrowful gaze of Jesus, His heart pierced with love for men. His head crowned with thorns, His hands and feet transfixed with nails which support His divine body, streaming blood and writhing in anguish. The Crucifix should be dear and sacred to every Catholic. It should stand at the head of his bed, hang around his neck and hold a prominent position in his place of work or study.
Above all, however, the Crucifix should have its place in the heart of every fervent Catholic. At every moment of his life, in time of sadness and of joy, he should remember, that God became man and suffered and died for him. He should remember also, that this implies an obligation on his part, to work, suffer and die, for the love of God alone.
Many people meditate on the Crucifix. They kiss it and claim to love it. But while they love the Crucifix, they have no love for their particular cross, which they try, by every means in their power, to fling far away from them. Now, it is very certain, that anyone who does not love his own cross, does not really love the Crucifix, for Jesus has told us that, “if anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mt 16:24).”
Lenten Journey Day Thirty Seven – 27 March – Saturday of Passion Week or the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Ezekiel 37: 21-28, Jeremiah 31: 10, 11-12abcd, 13, Ezekiel 18: 31, John 11: 45-56
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)
” From that day therefore they devised to put him to death.” – John 11:53
In the Cross is salvation, in the Cross is life, in the Cross is protection from enemies, in the Cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness, in the Cross is strength of mind, in the Cross is joy of spirit, in the Cross is highest virtue, in the Cross is perfect holiness. There is no salvation of soul, nor hope of everlasting life but in the Cross.
Take up your cross, therefore, and follow Jesus and you shall enter eternal life. He Himself, opened the way before you in carrying His Cross and upon it, He died for you, that you, too, might take up your cross and long to die upon it. If you die with Him, you shall also live with Him and if you share His suffering, you shall also share His glory.
Behold, in the Cross is everything and upon your dying on the cross everything depends. There is no other way to life and to true inward peace, than the way of the Holy Cross and daily mortification. Go where you will, seek what you will, you will not find a higher way, nor a less exalted but safer way, than the way of the Holy Cross. Arrange and order everything to suit your will and judgement and still you will find, that some suffering must always be borne, willingly or unwillingly and thus, you will always find the cross.
… For He wishes you to learn to bear trial without consolation, to submit yourself wholly to Him that you may become more humble through suffering. No-one understands the passion of Christ so thoroughly, or heartily, as the man whose lot it is, to suffer the like, himself.
The cross, therefore, is always ready; it awaits you everywhere. No matter where you may go, you cannot escape it, for wherever you go, you take yourself with you and shall always find yourself. Turn where you will — above, below, without, or within — you will find a cross in everything and everywhere you must have patience, if you would have peace within and merit an eternal crown. Amen (Book 2 Ch 12:2-6)
Quote/s of the Day – 27 March – Saturday of Passion Week or the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: First Reading: Ezekiel 37: 21-28, Responsorial Psalm: Jeremiah 31: 10, 11-12abcd, 13, Verse Before the Gospel: Ezekiel 18: 31, Gospel: John 11: 45-56
“It was to gather into one the dispersed children of God”
“For Your Cross is the Source of all Blessings, the Origin of all Grace. From the weakness of the Cross believers gain strength, glory for shame, life for death. Now, too, the proliferation of sacrifices has ceased – the one Offering of Your Body and Blood fulfills all those different sacrifices offered throughout the world. For You are the true Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29). In Yourself You bring to completion all religions of all peoples, so that all these peoples, might make up but one Kingdom.”
St Pope Leo the Great (c 400-461) Father and Doctor Unitatis Ecclesiae
Thought for the Day – 23 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Carrying our Cross
“We also read in the Imitation of Christ: “No man has so heartfelt a sense of the Passion of Christ, as he whose lot it has been, to suffer like things.” (Imitation of Christ, Bk II, Ch 12) If you carry your cross willingly, it will lead you to your longed for destination, where suffering ends and everlasting joy begins. If you carry it unwillingly, the weight will become unbearable and you will have to bear it in any case! If you fling away the cross which you are carrying, immediately, an even heavier one will be laid upon you! Look upon them as wonderful consolations because, the sufferings of this life cannot be regarded as the measure of that glory which will be ours in Heaven … (Rom 8:18). We are fortunate and greatly blessed, if we deserve to suffer a little, for the name of Jesus … Only when we begin to die ourselves, can we begin to live in God. Nothing is more acceptable to God and more helpful for us in this world, than to suffer willingly for love of Christ.”
Quote/s of the Day – 23 March – Tuesday of Passion Week or the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Numbers 21:4-9, Psalms 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21, John 8:21-30
“Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?”
“…And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”
“The servant is not greater than his Master”
“He conquered death, broke the gates of hell, won for Himself a people to be His co-heirs, lifted flesh from corruption up to the glory of eternity.”
“The Son of God is nailed to the Cross but on the Cross, God conquers human death. Christ, the Son of God, dies but all flesh is made alive in Christ. The Son of God is in hell but man is carried back to heaven.”
St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church
The Word of the Cross by Saint Paulinus of Nola (c 354-431)
Look on thy God, Christ hidden in our flesh. A bitter word, the cross and bitter sight: Hard rind without, to hold the heart of heaven. Yet sweet it is, for God upon that tree Did offer up His life upon that rood My Life hung, that my life might stand in God. Christ, what am I to give Thee for my life? Unless take from Thy hands the cup they hold, To cleanse me with the precious draught of death. What shall I do? My body to be burned? Make myself vile? The debt’s not paid out yet. Whate’er I do, it is but I and Thou, And still do I come short, still must Thou pay My debts, O Christ, for debts Thyself hadst none. What love may balance Thine? My Lord was found In fashion like a slave, that so His slave Might find himself in fashion like his Lord. Think you the bargain’s hard, to have exchanged The transient for the eternal, to have sold Earth to buy Heaven? More dearly God bought me.
“How can you become a sharer, in His glory (1 Pt 5:1) if you will not consent, to become a sharer, in His humiliating death?”
St Simeon the New Theologian (949-1022)
“Let us then learn from the Cross of Jesus our proper way of living. Should I say ‘living’ or, instead, ‘dying’? Rather, both living and dying. Dying to the world, living for God. Dying to vices and living by the virtues. Dying to the flesh, but living in the spirit. Thus in the Cross of Christ, there is death and in the Cross of Christ there is life. The death of death is there and the life of life. The death of sins is there and the life of the virtues. The death of the flesh is there and the life of the spirit.”
St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)
“ … If you die with Him, you shall also likewise live with Him. If you are His companion in punishment, so shall you be in glory.”
“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realise that I AM” – John 8:28
REFLECTION – “Isaiah the prophet describes an exalted vision for us: “I saw the Lord seated on a throne” (Is 6:1). What a wonderful sight, my brethren! Happy the eyes that saw it! Who would not want with all their heart, to behold the splendour of so great a glory? … Yet here, I am listening to that same prophet give us an account of a very different vision of the same Lord: “We saw Him; He had no beauty, no splendour – we took Him for a leper” (Is 53:2f. Vg.) (…)
And so, if you desire to see Jesus in His glory, try, first of all, to contemplate Him in His humiliation. Begin by gazing on the serpent raised up in the desert, (cf. Jn 3:14) if you wish to see the King seated on His throne. Let the first vision fill you with humility, so that the second, may raise you from your humiliation. Let the former, reprove and heal your pride, before the latter fulfils and satisfies, your desire. Do you see the Lord “emptied?” (Phil 2:7). Do not let this vision leave you untouched, or you will not be able to behold Him later on, in the glory of His exaltation, without anxiety.
“You will be like Him,” indeed, when you see Him “as He is” (1 Jn 3:2); so, be like Him now, as you see what He became for your sake. If you do not refuse to become like Him in His humiliation, He will certainly give you, the likeness of His glory in return. He will never allow someone who has shared His Passion, to be excluded from communion in His glory. So little does He refuse, to admit someone who has shared His Passion, into the Kingdom with Him, that the thief found himself in paradise that very day with Him because he confessed Him on the cross (Lk 23:42) … Yes indeed, “if we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him” (Rm 8:17). – St Bernard (1091-1153) Cistercian Monk and Mellifluous Doctor of the Church – Sermon 1 for the first Sunday of November.
PRAYER – Holy Father, we have sinned against You and beg for Your forgiveness and mercy. Through the merits of the saving Cross of Your Son, help Your people O Lord, to persevere in obedience to Your will, so that through this obedience, we may reach our eternal home. May the eyes of our hearts, never cease contemplating the Holy Cross and following the way of its humiliation. We hope for the intercession of your angels and saints and our most loving Mother Mary. Through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Day Thirty three of our Lenten Journey – 21 March – Passion Sunday, Readings: Jeremiah 31:31-34, Psalms 51:3-4, 12-13, 14-15, Hebrews 5:7-9, John 12:20-33
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)
“If anyone serves me, he must follow me and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honour him.” – John 12:26
CHRIST: MY CHILD, I came down from heaven for your salvation and took upon Myself your miseries, not out of necessity but out of love, that you might learn to be patient and bear the sufferings of this life ,without complaint. From the moment of My birth to My death on the Cross, suffering did not leave Me. I suffered great want of temporal goods. Often I heard many complaints against Me. Disgrace and reviling I bore with patience. For My blessings, I received ingratitude, for My miracles, blasphemies and for My teaching, scorn.
DISCIPLE: O Lord because You were patient in life, especially in fulfilling the design of the Father, it is fitting that I, a most miserable sinner, should live patiently according to Your will and, as long as You shall wish, bear the burden of this corruptible body, for the welfare of my soul. For though this present life seems burdensome, yet by Your grace, it becomes meritorious and it is made brighter and more endurable, for the weak, by Your example and the pathways of the saints. But it has also more consolation. than formerly. under the old law. when the gates of heaven were closed, when the way thereto. seemed darker than now and when. so few cared to seek the eternal kingdom. The just, the elect, could not enter heaven before Your sufferings and sacred death had paid the debt.
Oh, what great thanks I owe You, Who have shown me and all the faithful. the good and right way to Your everlasting kingdom! Your life is our way and in Your holy patience, we come nearer to You, Who are our crown. Had You not gone before and taught us, who would have cared to follow? Alas, how many would have remained far behind, had they not before their eyes, Your holy example! Behold, even we who have heard of Your many miracles and teachings, are still lukewarm; what would happen if we did not have such light, by which to follow You? (Book 3 Ch 18)
“And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life…” – John 3:14-15
REFLECTION – “Let us praise the Son first of all, venerating the blood that expiated our sins. He lost nothing of His divinity when He saved me, when like a good physician He stooped to my festering wounds. He was a mortal man but He was also God. He was of the race of David but Adam’s creator. He who has no body clothed Himself with flesh. He had a mother who, nonetheless, was a virgin. He who is without bounds, bound Himself with the cords of our humanity. He was victim and high priest—yet He was God. He offered up His blood and cleansed the whole world. He was lifted up on the cross but it was sin, that was nailed to it. He became as one, among the dead but He rose from the dead, raising to life also many who had died before Him. On the one hand, there was the poverty of His humanity, on the other, the riches of His divinity. Do not let what is human in the Son permit you, wrongfully, to detract from what is divine. For the sake of the divine, hold in the greatest honour, the humanity, which the immortal Son took on Himself, for love of you!” – St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Archbishop of Constantinople, Father & Doctor – Poem 2
PRAYER – “All-powerful God, Benefactor and Creator of the universe, hearken to my groaning in my peril. Deliver me from fear and anguish, free me, by the strength of Your might, You who can do all… O Lord Christ, cut the threads of my net with the sword of Your triumphant Cross, with the weapon of life. This net encompasses me on every side, holding me captive so as to bring me to my death. Guide to their rest, my tottering and unsteady steps, heal the stifling fever of my heart.” – St Gregory of Narek (c 951-c 1010) Doctor of the Church – Book of prayers, no 40 (Excerpt)
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” – John 2:19
REFLECTION – “We are still God’s workmen who are building the temple of God. This temple’s dedication has already taken place in its Head, in that the Lord has risen from the dead after His victory over death and having destroyed in Himself what was mortal, He has ascended to heaven … But now we are building this temple through faith, so that its dedication may also be made at the final resurrection. That is why … one of the Psalms has the title: “When the Temple was rebuilt after the captivity” (95:1 Vg.). Call to mind our own former captivity when the devil held the whole world in his power, like a flock of the unfaithful. It was due to this captivity that our Redeemer came. He shed His blood for our ransoming and, by the blood He poured out, He cancelled the debt that was holding us captive (Col 2:14) … Sold beforehand to sin, we have now been set free by grace. Following this captivity, the temple is now being built and, to raise it up, the Good News proclaimed. That is why this Psalm begins as follows: “Sing to the Lord a new song” And, lest you think this temple is being constructed in some insignificant corner, as the heretics who separate themselves from the Church build it, pay attention to what follows: “Sing to the Lord, all you lands” … “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all you lands.” Sing and clap your hands! Sing and “bless the name of the Lord” (v. 2). Proclaim the day, born of the day of salvation, the day, born of the day of Christ. For who is the salvation of God if not His Christ? This is the salvation we pray for in the Psalm: “Show us, Lord, your mercy and give us your saving help.” Just men of old longed for this salvation, those of whom the Lord said to His disciples: “Many desired to see what you see but did not see it” (Lk 10:24)… “Sing to the lord a new song; sing to the Lord” See the fervour of the builders! “Sing to the Lord and bless his name.” Proclaim the Good News! What good news is that? Day is born from Day… Light from Light; the Son from the Father, the saving power of God! This is how the temple is built after the captivity.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Father and Doctor of Grace – Sermon 163,5
PRAYER – Lord our God, Your Son so loved the world that He gave Himself up to death for our sake. Strengthen us by You grace and give us a heart willing to livew by that same love. May His Mother and ours, be with us and give us hope and strength. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 7 March – The Third Sunday of Lent
Prayer Before The Crucifix By St Vincent Strambi (1745-1824)
Jesus, by this Saving Sign, bless this listless soul of mine. Jesus, by Your feet nailed fast, mend the missteps of my past. Jesus, with Your riven hands, bend my will to love’s demands. Jesus, in Your Heart laid bare, warm my inner coldness there. Jesus, by Your thorn-crowned head, still my pride till it is dead. Jesus, by Your muted tongue, stay my words that hurt someone. Jesus, by Your tired eyes, open mine to faith’s surprise. Jesus, by Your fading breath, keep me faithful until death. Yes, Lord, by this Saving Sign, save this wayward soul of mine. Amen