Our Morning Offering – 30 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood”
A Prayer to Seek the Consolation of the Cross By St Alphonsus Rodriguez SJ (1532-1617)
Jesus, love of my soul, centre of my heart! Why am I not more eager to endure pains and tribulations for love of You, when You, my God, have suffered so many for me? Come, then, every sort of trial in the world, for this is my delight, to suffer for Jesus. This is my joy, to follow my Saviour and to find my consolation with my Consoler on the Cross. This is my happiness, this my pleasure: to live with Jesus, to walk with Jesus, to converse with Jesus, to suffer with and for Him, this is my treasure. Amen
Quote/s of the Day – 28 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Readings: Exodus 34: 29-35; Psalms 99: 5, 6, 7, 9; Matthew 13: 44-46
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again and out of joy, goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is he, who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
“Lay not up for yourselves, treasures on earth … but lay up for yourselves, treasures in heaven”
“You are a jailor of your wealth, not its owner, you who bury your gold in the ground (cf Mt 25,25); you are its slave and not its master. Christ said: “Where your treasure is, there also your heart will be” so it is your heart you have buried. Rather, sell your gold and buy salvation; sell what is metal and acquire God’s Kingdom; sell the field and purchase for yourself, eternal life. In saying this I am speaking the truth because I am relying on the words of Him who is Truth: “If you wish to be perfect, sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven” (Mt 19,21). Do not be cast down by these words lest the same thing be said to you, as to the rich young man: “It will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (v.23). Still more, when you read this sentence, consider that death can snatch these possessions away from you, that the aggression of someone powerful can carry them away.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan, Father and Doctor of the Church
“Where is the heart that loves? On the thing it loves. Therefore, where our love is, there our heart is held captive. It cannot leave it; it cannot be lifted higher, it cannot go either to the right or the left; see, it is fixed. Where the miser’s treasure is, there is his heart and where our heart is, there is our treasure.”
Quote/s of the Day – 23 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Readings: Exodus 20: 1-17; Psalms 19: 8, 9, 10, 11; Matthew 13: 18-23
“But he that received the seed upon good ground”
“ If you would rise, shun luxury, for luxury lowers and degrades.“
St John Chyrsostum (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church
“You have made us for Yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the Church
“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. … It was fitting, that we, who had fallen because of a tree, might rise up because of a tree.”
St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167) “St Bernard of the North”
One Minute Reflection – 23 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Readings: Exodus 20: 1-17; Psalms 19: 8, 9, 10, 11; Matthew 13: 18-23
“A hundred or sixty or thirtyfold”- Matthew 13:23
REFLECTION – “ The sowing was carried out by the Apostles and prophets, yet it is the Lord Himself who sows. The Lord Himself is the One present in them, since it is the Lord Himself Who did the reaping. For without Him they are nothing, whereas, without them, He remains unmoved. As He said to them: “Without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15,5). And so what does Christ say as He sows among the gentiles? “A sower went out to sow” (Mt 13,3). In another text reapers were sent out to reap but here, the sower goes out to sow and does not complain of his labour. For what, indeed, does it matter if some seed falls on the path, or rocky ground, or among thorns? If He were to let Himself be discouraged by these arid terrains, He would make no progress towards the good soil!…
Now this has a bearing on ourselves – are we that pathway, those rocks, those weeds? Do we want to be good soil? Let us prepare our hearts to yield thirty, sixty, a hundred, a thousandfold. Thirtyfold or a thousandfold – in each case, it is a question of wheat and nothing but wheat. Do not let us any longer be on that path where our sowing is trampled by passers-by and our enemy lays hold of us like a bird. Further, those rocks or that shallow soil, cause seeds that are unable to endure the heat of the sun, to shoot up too quickly. And most especially – not those weeds, the lusts of this world, a focus for wrongdoing. For what, indeed, could be worse than applying all our efforts to a life that hinders us from attaining life? What more miserable than to cultivate our lives in order to lose life? What could be sadder, than to avoid death only to fall into the power of death? Let us cut off the thorns, prepare the soil, receive the seed, hold fast until the harvest and long to be taken into the barn.” – St Augustine (354-430) – Sermon 101; PL 38, 605
PRAYER – A pure heart create for me O God, put a steadfast spirit within me! (Ps 50) Lord God, bestow a full measure of Your grace to us. Keep us within in the path of Your commandments, help us to work on the earth of our souls, rooting out the weeds and casting forth the stones of malice. Grant that by the prayers of our Blessed and Merciful Mother, we may succeed in attaining sanctity. Through Christ, our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 17 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Entrusting Ourselves to God
“Sometimes the cross seems too heavy. Physical or moral sufferings may give rise to a feeling of rebellion, or temptations may grow so strong that I feel overwhelmed and unable to experiece the supernatural influence of God’s grace.
At such times, I should remember the words of Jesus: “Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light” (Mt 11:28).
If I leave myself entirely in God’s hands, my cross will become lighter. My worries and woes, will be easier to bear and, I shall not be excessively elated by worldly pleasures.
All the Saints had perfect TRUST in God. Therefore, they were always content.”
Quote/s of the Day – 17July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Readings: Exodus 12: 37-42; Psalms 136: 1 and 23-24, 10-12, 13-15; Matthew 12: 14-21
“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen”
“He cries out, saying: See, I am with you all the days of this age. He is Himself the shepherd, the high priest, the way and the door, and has become all things at once for us.”
St Athanasius (297-373) Father & Doctor of the Church
“Loving You, O God, brings its own reward here on earth, as well as the eternal reward of heaven. By becoming mirrors of Your love, by wearing the mask of Your likeness and by allowing You to make us perfect, we can know the joy of heaven, even while we abide here on earth.”
William of St Thierry O.Cist (c 1075 – c 1148)
“The life of the body, is the soul, the life of the soul, is Christ.”
St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Evangelical Doctor of the Church
“Who is like You, Who founded heaven and earth …, You, Who will Your delight to be with the children of humankind? How great You are, King of kings and Lord of Lords, Who rule the stars and set Your Heart on humankind!”
St Gertrude the Great of Helfta (1256-1301)
“If you wish to enter into life, keep My commandments. If you will know the truth, believe in Me. If you will be perfect, sell all. If you will be My disciple, deny yourself. If you will possess the blessed life, despise this present life. If you will be exalted in heaven, humble yourself on earth. If you wish to reign with Me, carry the Cross with Me. For only the servants of the Cross find the life of blessedness and of true light.”
Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471) The Imitation of Christ Chapter 56
Thought for the Day – 1 July – 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).”
One Minute Reflection – 29 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Readings: Acts 12:1-11, Psalm 34:2-9, 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18, Matthew 16:13-19
“Upon this rock I will build my church” – Matthew 16:18
REFLECTION –“Though the earth and all who dwell in it quake, I have set firm its pillars” (Ps 74,40). All the Apostles are pillars of the earth but, at their head, the two whose feast we are celebrating. They are the two pillars who support the Church with their teaching, their prayer and the example of their steadfastness. The Lord Himself strengthened these pillars. For at first they were weak, completely incapable of supporting either themselves or others. And in this, the Lord’s great design appears – if they had always been strong, people could have thought their strength came from themselves. That is why the Lord wanted to show, what they were capable of, before strengthening them, so that all might know their strength came from God… Peter was thrown to the ground by the voice of a mere servant… and the other pillar was very weak too: “I was once a blasphemer and persecutor and an arrogant man” (1Tm 1,13)…
Hence, we ought to praise these Saints with all our heart – our fathers who bore such trials for the Lord’s sake and who persevered with such determination. It is nothing to persevere in joy, happiness and peace. But this is what is great – to be stoned, scourged, struck for Christ (2Cor 11,25) and in all this, to persevere with Christ. With Paul it is a great thing to be cursed and to bless, to be persecuted and to endure, to be slandered and to console, to be like the world’s rubbish and to draw glory from it (1Cor 4,12-13)… And what shall we say of Peter? Even if he had undergone nothing for Christ, it would be sufficient to celebrate him today in that he was crucified for him… He well knew where, He Whom he loved, He whom he longed for was…: his cross has been his road to heaven.” – St Aelred of Rielvaux (1110-1167), Cistercian Monk – Sermon 18, for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul – PL 195, 298
PRAYER – Almighty ever-living God, You give us the great joy of devoting this day to the honour of the great Apostles Peter and Paul. Grant Your Church may follow their teachings fully because these are the men who first taught us to worship You in Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 27 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart”- Readings: Genesis 18: 1-15, Luke 1: 46-47, 48-49, 50 and 53, 54-55, Matthew 8: 5-17
“And all that were sick He healed”
“ Think of the many cures of which the evangelists do not speak. They do not tell us about all of them, one by one – rather, in a single sentence, they let us see an infinite ocean of miracles. … The gospel brings the testimony of the prophet, which is as extraordinary and as surprising as the deeds themselves: “ … thereby fulfilling what had been said through Isaiah the prophet: ‘It was our infirmities he bore, our sufferings he endured.’” (Lk 8:17; Isa 53:4) It does not say “he destroyed” but “he bore” and “he endured” thus showing, in my opinion, that the prophet was speaking more of sin than of bodily illnesses. And that is in conformity with John’s words: “There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1:29)
St John Chrysostom (345-407) Father and Doctor
Commentary on St Matthew’s Gospel, 27
“Christ is the artist, tenderly wiping away all the grime of sin that disfigures the human face and restoring God’s image to its full beauty.”
St Gregory of Nyssa (c 335–C 395) Father of the Church
“Dust, so to speak, had forcibly entered humanity’s eye; earth had entered it, had injured the eye and it could not see the light. … That physician made a salve for you. And because He came, in such a way, that by His flesh, He might extinguish the faults of the flesh and by His death, He might kill death … ”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Love Him, then, keep Him as a friend. He will not leave you as others do, or let you suffer lasting death. Sometime, whether you will or not, you will have to part with everything. Cling, therefore, to Jesus in life and death, trust yourself to the glory of Him, Who alone can help you when all others fail.“
Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471) (Book 2 Ch 7)
“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?”
Thought for the Day – 22 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Revealed in the Gospel
“If we meditate on the pages of the Gospel, we shall find that they are vibrant with the infinite love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Let us, in imagination, enter the cave of Bethlehem and kneel before the crib where the Divine Infant is lying. Darkness is all around, darkness over the earth, darkness in the minds and hearts of the majority of men. But, now, the heavens open and from the brightness the voices of angels ring out, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace among men of goodwill.” Who is this infant? He is the Eternal Word, the substantial image of God, Who, for love of us, has been made man. He is the Infinite One Who has willed to unite Himself with the finite, in order to lift us towards Himself. This little heart is throbbing like that of any baby but, in this throb, is expressed the love of the God-Man. It is a profound mystery, that God should have loved man so much, that He became a tiny infant. Yet, He did this so that we might love Him more easily and in order to show us His own immeasurable love. There is about this Infant, a fascination, at once human and divine, which compels us to love Him, even as Mary, Joseph and the simple shepherds loved Him. He is asking us for love, adoration and complete surrender. Can we refuse Him?
Now let us take ourselves in imagination to Calvary and kneel at the foot of the Cross. The heart which began to beat with the sacred love in the manger at Bethlehem, has given everything for us, has poured forth it’s precious blood for our salvation and, has bestowed on us, as a final gift, the Blessed Mother of God. Now, this heart is consumed with love for us and ceases to beat only when it has give us everything. “It is consummated” (Jn 19:30). At Bethlehem we have experienced a joyful ecstasy of love. Here, at the foot of the Cross, we should experience a deep sorrow, which will cause us to weep for our sins and to transform our lives after the model of Jesus Christ.”
Quote/s of the Day – 22 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – The Memorial of St Paulinus of Nola (c 354-431)
“He is the Light of Truth, the Path of life, the Power and Mind, Hand and Strength of the Father. He is the Sun of Justice, Source of Blessings, Flower of God, God’s Son, Creator of the world, Life of our mortality and Death to our death. He is the Master of the virtues. He is God to us …!”
“By His rights as Lord, He demands wholly our hearts, tongues and heads. He wishes to be the object of our thought and understanding, our belief and reading, our fear and love. . . ”
Above Poem 10, from The Poems of St. Paulinus of Nola,
“With all my heart I pray, for the hope of heaven because hope and faith, are of much more value, than all the riches of this world.”
“The man without Christ is dust and shadow.”
St Paulinus of Nola (c 354-431) Father of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 22 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Genesis 13: 2, 5-18, Psalms 15: 2-3a, 3bc-4ab, 5, Matthew 7: 6, 12-14
“The road that leads to life” … Matthew 7:14
REFLECTION – “This, beloved, is the way in which we found our salvation, Jesus Christ, the High Priest who offers our gifts, the patron and helper in our weakness (Heb 10:20; 7:27; 4:15). It is through Him, that we look straight at the heavens above. Through Him, we see mirrored, God’s faultless and transcendent countenance. Through Him, the eyes of our heart were opened. Through Him, our unintelligent and darkened mind shoots up into the light. Through Him, the Master was pleased to let us taste the knowledge that never fades, He who is “the radiance of His splendour, who towers as much above the angels, as the title He has inherited, is superior to theirs” (He 1:3-4) (…)
Let us take our body. The head is nothing without the feet and the feet are nothing without the head. The smallest organs of our body are necessary and valuable to the whole body, in fact, all parts conspire and yield the same obedience, toward maintaining the whole of the body (cf.1 Co 12:12f.). Therefore, let the whole of our body be maintained in Christ Jesus and let each submit to their neighbour’s rights in the measure determined by the special gift bestowed on them. Let the strong care for the weak and the weak respect the strong; let the rich support the poor and the poor render thanks to God for giving them the means of supplying their needs; let the wise show their wisdom, not in words but in active help; the humble must not testify to themselves but leave it to another to testify in their behalf. Those who are continent must not boast, knowing that it is another who confers on them the ability to remain continent.
Let us, therefore, reflect brethren, of what clay we were made, what and who we were when we entered the world, out of what grave and darkness, our Maker and Creator has brought us into the world, where He has prepared His benefits before our birth. Since, then, we owe all these blessings to Him, we are obliged to thank Him in every way.” … St Pope Clement I (c 35 – c 99) –Pope from c 90 to c 99 – Letter to the Corinthians, § 36-38
PRAYER – Increase in us, Lord, Your gift of faith, so that the praise we offer You, may ever yield its fruit from heaven, May the Spirit pour into our hearts, that we may walk in Your light and become like You. May the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Grace and all Your Saints, help us in our striving for holiness. Through Christ, our Lord in union with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen. SWEET HEART of my JESUS, Make me love Thee ever more and more! – Indulgence 300 Days Everytime –Plenary Once a Month – Raccolta 162 – Bl Pius IX 26 November 1876.
Thought for the Day – 20 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Storms of Life
“At other times however, the tempest will come from outside ourselves and will have a shattering effect on our spiritual life. It may be some insult which has seriously wounded us. There may be somebody near to us who has grown quite insufferable. Or perhaps suffering will come to us in the guise of illness, disgrace or loss of our dear ones. We shall feel lonely and abandoned in the midst of the storm. To whom shall we have recourse in our hour of need? Shall we turn to our fellow-men? Perhaps there will be nobody able to understand us perfectly, or, if there is somebody who sympathises with us,he may be able to do nothing for us, save to utter a few kind words.
Let us turn, therefore, to Jesus on the Cross and to Jesus in the Blessed Eucharist. The Crucifix will teach us how to suffer with resignation and with love. Before this mystery of infinite love, all our anguish and unrest, will give way to a Christian acceptance of suffering.
If this is not enough, let us turn to Jesus in the Blessed Eucharist. Let us invite Him into our hearts to calm the tempest and to give us His divine grace, which will conquer every temptation and heal every wound.”
Quote/s of the day – 20 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Job 38: 1, 8-11, Psalms 107: 23-24, 25-26, 28-29, 30-31 (1b), Second Corinthians 5: 14-17, Fospel: Mark 4: 35-41
“And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
“Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
“Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your life-span?”
“Place all your trust in God, let Him be your fear and your love. He will answer for you, He will do what is best for you. You have here no lasting home. You are a stranger and a pilgrim wherever you may be and you shall have no rest, until you are wholly united with Christ. Why do you look about here when this is not the place of your repose?”
Thomas à Kempis CRSA (1380-1471)
“Let nothing perturb you, nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything.”
St Teresa of Jesus of Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of Prayer
“ … Let the fine point of your spirit always turn towards God, its north. Your are about to take to the high seas of the world, do not, on this account, alter dial or mast, sail or anchor or wind. 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
“Throw yourself into God’s arms. He will carry you when the road is rough.”
Quote/s of the Day – 17 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Gospel: Matthew 6: 7-15
“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
“I want to advise you and remind you, what His will is. Do not fear that it means He will give you riches, or delights, or honours, or all these earthly things. His love for you is not that small! and He esteems highly what you give Him. He wants to repay you well, for He gives you His kingdom while you are still on earth … See … what He gave to the One He loved most. By that we understand what His will is. For these are His gifts in this world.”
“He gives according to the love He bears us …, according to the courage He sees in each and the love each has for His Majesty. He will see, that whoever loves Him much, will be able to suffer much for Him; whoever loves Him little, will be capable of little. I myself hold, that the measure for being able to bear, a large or small cross, is love …”
St Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of Prayer of the Church
Way of Perfection, Ch 32
“If you wish to charm the loving Heart of your God, set yourself to talk to Him, as often as you can and, after a fashion, continually, together with the fullest and most confident liberty. He will not hold aloof from answering you and participating in the conversation on His part.”
St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
Thought for the Day – 15 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Steadfastness in Suffering
“We are all obliged to suffer in soul and body. Suffering begins at birth and ends at death. “The whole life of a Christian is a cross,” (Sermon 31) says St Augustine. For this reason, we have to develop the virtue of patience. “Let patience have it’s perfect work,” says St James, “that you may be perfect and entire” (Js 1:4). If we are to be perfect, we must accept suffering and trials from the hands of God and offer them to Him in a spirit of harmony with His holy will. In this way, all our actions become valuable, for they are acts of reparation and of love, which will be rewarded in Heaven. Both our joys and our sorrows are sanctified, if we offer them to God, Who arranges everything for our own good. The Saints longed to suffer because, they loved God and knew that suffering is the only true way in which we can prove our love. Suffering is the best medicine for the soul, for when it is endured with patience, it purifies us and prepares us for Heaven. “If God does not punish you for our sins,” says St Augustine, “it is a sign that you are no longer counted among His sons” (De Pastoribus liber unus, c 5). “Whom the Lord loves, he chastises,” St Paul writes “and, he scourges every son whom he receives” (Heb 12:6).
Suffering is, in fact, a gift from God. It reminds us that we have not been created for this world but for Heaven, in preparation for which, we must carry our cross with patience in the footsteps of Jesus. No matter what we do, we must suffer. Either we bear trials patiently and gain an increase of merit, or we rebel against them and gain no merit at all. When we suffer, let us think of the two thieves, both of whom were tortured in the same way. But the good thief accepted his torments with patience in reparation for his sins and was saved, while the bad thief, rebelled against his sufferings and was most probably damned forever!”
Thought for the Day – 10 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Sacred Heart of Jesus Surmounted by a Flaming Cross
“This flaming Heart surmounted by a Cross represents, not only the infinite love of Jesus, the obedient victim of love but indicates also, that if we wish to follow our divine Redeemer as far as Heaven, our true country, we must follow Him along the path of love and of the Cross. There is only one way of perfection and that is, the way of the Cross.
Jesus has told us this and has set us an example. “If anyone wishes to come after me,” He said, “let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk 9:23). He gave us an example by allowing Himself, innocent as He was, to be burdened with our sin. He staggered as far as Calvary beneath the weight of the Cross and there, He shed His Precious Blood to the last drop.
We must take the road of the Cross also. If we do not love our own cross, we do not love the Cross of Jesus. The Saints looked for humiliation and suffering in order to prove their love for Jesus. We must, at least, accept with resignation, those sufferings and humiliations which Providence has allowed to us.
We must embrace our cross daily and carry it with faith and love in the footsteps of Jesus. The Cross is the standard of Christ – it is the ladder which leads us to Heaven. If anyone does not want to have anything to do with it, he does not want to have anything to do with Jesus!”
Quote/s of the Day – 2 June – “Month of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus” – Readings: First: Tobit 3: 1-11a, 16-17a, Psalm: Psalms 25: 2-3, 4-5ab, 6 and 7bc, 8-9, Gospel: Mark 12: 18-27
“He is not God of the dead but of the living. ”
“If anyone serves me, he must follow me and where I am, there will my servant be also.”
“O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen and you are overthrown. Christ is risen and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen and life reigns. Christ is risen and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Church
“He died, but He vanquished death. In Himself, He put an end to what we feared; He took it upon Himself and He vanquished it, as a mighty hunter, He captured and slew the lion.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“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.”
St Theodore the Studite (750–826) Father, Abbot, Theologian, Writer
One Minute Reflection – 17 May – “Mary’s Month” – Monday of the Seventh week of Easter, Readings: Acts 19:1-8, Psalm 68:2-7, John 16:29-33 and the Memorial of St Paschal Baylon OFM (1540-1592)
“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have conquered the world.” ... John 16:33
REFLECTION – “Let nothing intervene to hinder the progress of any who travel alongside each other, in this evangelical life but let us walk with agile step though the road be rough and hard, let us show a brave and manly spirit, overcome obstacles, pass along from pathway to pathway, from hill to hill, until we climb onto the mountain of the Lord and make a home for ourselves in the holy place of His impassibility.
Now, companions assist each other on the way; so then, my brothers, as the apostle says: “Bear one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2) and make up for whatever is lacking to others (cf. 2 Cor 8:14 ; Phil 2:30). To the negligence that perhaps holds sway today, noble courage will succeed tomorrow, now one is in gloom and then suddenly one rises to the surface and discovers joy again, at one moment our passions rise up but soon God comes to help us, they are broken and calm returns. For you will only be seen like this yesterday and the day before but, dear friend, you will not always remain the same but the grace of God will draw near you, the Lord will fight for you and perhaps, like the great Antony, you will say: “Where were you just now?” and he will answer: “I wanted to see your combat.”
For now, let us persevere, children, dear children, let us be patient for a little, brothers, dear brothers.… Who will be crowned without having fought? Who will go to rest if he is not tired (cf. 2 Tim 2:5-6)? Who will gather the fruits of life without having planted virtues in his soul? Cultivate them, prepare the earth with the greatest care, take trouble over it, sweat over it, children, God’s workers, imitators of the angels, competitors with incorporeal beings, lights for those who are in the world (cf. Phil 2:15)!” … St Theodore the Studite (759-826) Monk – Catechesis 28
PRAYER – Lord God, let the grace of the Holy Spirit come upon us, so that we may hold fast to Your Will with fidelity and love and show it forth by a holy life. May the Mother of our Lord and our Mother and St Paschal Baylon, Servant of the Blessed Sacrament, pray that we may live in the light of our Saviour. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, and the glory of God the Father forever and ever, amen.
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!”