Posted in MARTYRS, Papa FRANCIS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on VIOLENCE, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Thought for the Day – 21 October – The Mafia is Blasphemy

Thought for the Day – 21 October – The Memorial of Blessed Giuseppe “Pino” Puglisi (1937-1993) Priest, Martyr of the Mafiabl pino pope francis

Giuseppe “Pino” Puglisi was killed in Palermo on 15 September 1993, his 56th birthday.   A courageous defender of the poor in the Sicilian capital’s inner city neighbourhood of Brancaccio, Blessed Father Puglisi worked tirelessly to convince young people that there was a better life than organised crime.   He was extremely outspoken about the Mafia and preached against collusion, intimidation and omerta–the code of silence.   As the BBC reported, “He was famous for a rhetorical question, which he used as a catch phrase in order to encourage Sicilians to stand up and fight organised crime – ‘And what if somebody did something?’”   Despite numerous threats against him, he continued to teach the word of Christ and support men, women, and children in need with the hopes that they would peacefully join his anti-Mafia mission.

Once on trial, his killers revealed that they were haunted by Father Pino’s smile.   They recalled that when they gunned him down in front of his home and the church where he preached, he said, while looking them in the eyes, “I’ve been expecting you.”   Six men are currently serving life sentences for his murder.

Blessed Father Puglisi was declared a Martyr by Pope Benedict XVI and was Beatified on 25 May 2013, when more than 50,000 people attended the ceremony.

When Pope Francis visited Palermo on the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Blessed Pino Puglisi, he honoured this priest shot at point-blank range by the Mafia.  Pope Francis insisted that true happiness and a real change in Sicilian society will come only when people love and care for one another rather than trying to grab as much money and power as they can.bl pino 25th anniversary of the martyrdomcq5dam.thumbnail.cropped.750.422

“Having always leads to wanting.   I have something and immediately want another and another without end.   The more you have the more you want  . It’s a horrible addiction,” Pope Francis said, celebrating Mass in Palermo.

“On the other hand, one who loves finds himself and discovers how beautiful it is to help others has joy on the inside and a smile on the outside, just like Father Pino”   The pope’s visit to Sicily ended with an outdoor meeting with tens of thousands of teenagers and young adults in a Palermo square.

He urged them to dream and to love one another and to fight every form of corruption that flows from or builds up the Mafia.

“No to the Mafia mentality, to illegality, to the logic of crime, which are corrosive poisons for human dignity,” the pope said. “No to every form of violence.   Those who use violence are not human.   And the youngest of you, remember and promise me none of you will be bullies.”

“Promise me – No violence.   No bullying,” he said. “No to resignation.   Everything can change if people open their hearts and stand firm in hope.”

Blessed Pino Puglisi, Pray for Sicily, pray for us all!bl giuseppe pino puglisis pope francis at his tombbl pino puglisi pray for us 21 oct 2019 no 2

Posted in MARTYRS, ON the SAINTS, PAPAL HOMILIES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on MARTYRDOM, QUOTES on PERSECUTION, QUOTES on SACRIFICE, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on the CHURCH, QUOTES on VIOLENCE, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The BEATITUDES

Thought for the Day – 19 October – “One doesn’t suffer when one suffers for Christ”

Thought for the Day – 19 October – The Memorial of Bl Jerzy Popiełuszko (1947-1984) Priest and Martyr

This beloved and unassuming young priest of Poland was a true hero of that tortured land during the Soviet Communist occupation.   Now a Blessed, Father Jerzy was beloved by everyone in his homeland, believers and non-believers alike, because of his bravery in the face of extreme hatred on the part of the Communist officials.   His story should be much more widely known than it is.

Never in good health, the strongest part of Father Jerzy were his hands.   His most beloved possessions were the crucifix and Rosary sent to him by St Pope John Paul II, a fellow countryman.   He was sickly his whole life, yet he never complained of illness or injury.   One day, when he was making toys with his brothers and sisters, a nail pierced his palm. Later, one of the children noticed blood dripping from his hand.   One of his siblings told the parents because young Jerzy did not want to bother anyone.

Young Jerzy’s great hero was Saint Maximillian Kolbe, another Polish priest who gave his life to save another prisoner – a man with a family – at Auschwitz.   He determined early on to become a priest but kept it a secret so that the authorities could not alter his examination results or pressure the family to keep him out of the seminary.

In 1966, his entire seminary class was drafted into the special indoctrination unit in violation of a church-state agreement.   This cruel treatment was reserved for the most outspoken church leaders, including the future St Pope John Paul II.

The horrible treatment he received in this “special unit” broke his health but not his spirit.   He wrote to his father “It turned out to be very tough but I can’t be broken by threats or torture.”   His seminary professors demanded that he take a period of rest but he refused.   “One doesn’t suffer when one suffers for Christ,” was his reply.

St Pope John Paul said, on his apostolic journey to Poland in 1999:

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:10).

“Our century too has written a great martyrology.   I myself, in the course of the twenty years of my papacy, have raised to the glory of the altars many groups of martyrs: Japonese, French, Vietnamese, Spanish, Mexican.   And how many martyrs there were during the time of the Second World War and under Communist totalitarianism!   They suffered and gave their lives in the death camps of Hitler or those of the Soviets.   In a few days, in Warsaw, I will beatify 108 martyrs who gave their lives for the faith in the concentration camps.   Now is the time to remember all these victims and to grant them the honour which is their due.   These are “the martyrs, many of them nameless, ‘unknown soldiers’ as it were of God’s great cause”, as I wrote in the Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente (No. 37).   And it is good that we speak of them in Poland, since this country had a special role in this contemporary martyrology.   It is good that we speak of them in Bydgoszcz!   All gave testimony of fidelity to Christ in spite of sufferings which horrify us by their cruelty.   Their blood was poured out on our land and made it fertile for growth and for the harvest.   That same blood continues to bring forth fruit a hundredfold for our nation, which perseveres faithfully alongside Christ and the Gospel.   Let us persevere unceasingly in union with them.   Let us thank God that they emerged victorious from their labours:   “God … tried them like gold in the furnace, and like a sacrificial offering he accepted them” (Wis 3:6).   They represent for us a model to be followed.   From their blood we ought to draw strength for the sacrifice of our own life, which we must offer to God each day.   They are an example for us, so that, like them, we may give a courageous witness of fidelity to the Cross of Christ.

4. “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you … on my account” (Mt 5:11).

Christ does not promise an easy life to those who follow Him.   Instead, He proclaims that, by living according to the Gospel, they are to become a sign of contradiction.   If He Himself suffered persecution, so too will His disciples:   “Beware of men”, he says, “for they will deliver you up to councils and flog you in their synagogues” (Mt 10:17).

Dear Brothers and Sisters!   Every Christian, united to Christ through the grace of Holy Baptism, has become a member of the Church and “no longer is his own” (cf. 1 Cor 6:19) but belongs to the one who died and rose for our sake.   From that moment on, the baptised enter into a particular bond of community with Christ and His Church.   They, therefore, have the duty of professing before others the faith they have received from God through the Church.   At times this demands great sacrifice on our part, to be offered each day and sometimes for an entire lifetime.   This firm perseverance alongside Christ and His Gospel, this readiness to face “sufferings for righteousness’ sake”, often involve acts of heroism and can take the form of an authentic martyrdom, carried out every day and at every moment of life, drop by drop, until the final “it is finished”.” – Homily in Bydgoszcz – Monday, 7 June 1999 (Excerpt)

The enemies of Christ rule Poland no more!

Blessed Jerzy, Pray, for us!one doesn't suffer when one suffers for christ bl jerzy pray for us 19 oct 2019.jpg

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, MARTYRS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONSCIENCE, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on MARTYRDOM, QUOTES on SACRIFICE, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, QUOTES on the DEVIL/EVIL, QUOTES on TRUTH, QUOTES on VIOLENCE, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 19 October – Truth!

Quote/s of the Day – 19 October – The Memorial of Bl Jerzy Popiełuszko (1947-1984) Priest and Martyr

”To live in Truth
is the basic minimum of human dignity,
even if the price to defend the Truth could be costly.
You need to always remain faithful to the Truth.
Truth can never be betrayed.”to-live-in-truth-bl-jerzy-popieluszko-19-oct-2018 and 2019.jpg

“Truth never changes.
It cannot be destroyed
by any decision or legal act.
Telling the truth with courage,
is a way, leading directly to freedom.
A man who tells the Truth,
is a free man,
despite external slavery, imprisonment or custody.”truth never changes - bl jerzy 19 oct 2019.jpg

“It is not enough for a Christian to condemn evil, cowardice, lies
and use of force, hatred and oppression.
He must at all times be a witness to
and defender of justice, goodness, truth, freedom and love.
He must never tire of claiming these values
as a right both for himself and others.”it is not enough for a christian to dondemn - bl jerzy - 19 oct 2019.jpg

“Truth, like Justice,
is connected to Love
and Love has a Price.”truth-like-justice-bl-jerzy-popieluszko-19-oct-2018 and 2019.jpg

“An idea which needs
rifles to survive,
dies of its own accord.”

Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko (1947-1984) Martyran idea which needs rifles to survive - bl jerzy 19 oct 2019.jpg

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, QUOTES on VIOLENCE, The PASSION, The WILL of GOD

Lenten Reflection – 22 March –

Lenten Reflection – 22 March – Friday of the Second week of Lent, Year C

“Therefore, I tell you, the kingdom of God
will be taken away from you
and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.”...Matthew 21:43lent - friday of the second week matthew 21 43 22 march 2019.jpg

Daily Meditation:
Help us open our hearts to you.

We hear of the vineyard owner whose tenants killed his servants and then his son.
Let us open our hearts and lives
to the challenge of Your Gospel.

“Let us serve God but let us do so according to His will.
He will then take the place of everything in our lives.
He will be our strength and the reward of our labours.”

St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)let us serve god but let us do so according to his will st vincent de paul 22 march 2019.jpg

“The vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the house of Israel” says the prophet (Is 5:7).   We ourselves are this house… and, since we are His Israel, we are the vineyard.   So let us take good care that grapes of wrath (Rv 14:19) rather than sweetness do not grow from our branches, so that no one may say to us:  “I expected grapes but it yielded wild grapes” (Is 5:4).   What fruitless soil!   The soil that should have presented its master with fruits of sweetness, pierced Him with its sharp thorns.   In the same way His enemies, who ought to have welcomed our Saviour with all the devotion of their faith, crowned Him with the thorns of His Passion.   In their eyes this crown expressed insult and abuse but in the Lord’s eyes it was the crown of virtue…

My brethren, take good care that no one says with regard to you:   “He expected it to yield grapes but it yielded wild grapes” (Is 5:2)…   Let us be careful that our evil deeds do not rub against our Lord’s head like thorns.   There are thorns in the heart that have even wounded the word of God, as our Lord says in the gospel when he relates how the sower’s seed fell among thorns that grew and choked what had been sown (Mt 13:7)…  So take care that your vineyard does not bring forth thorns instead of grapes and your vintage produce vinegar instead of wine.   Anyone who gathers in the grapes, without sharing them with the poor, is collecting vinegar instead of wine and anyone who stores his harvests, without sharing them with the needy, is not setting aside the fruit of almsgiving but the briars of greed.”

Saint Maximus of Turin (c 380-c 420)

Sermon for the feast of Saint Cyprian – CC Sermon 11the soil that should have - st maximus of turin 22 march 2019 2nd fri lent.jpg

Closing Prayer:

Loving God, caring parent,
I am a child who so often turns my back
on Your love.
Please accept my small acts of sorrow today
and help to release me from the self-absorption
that closes my heart to You.
As I journey through Lent,
let me remember the feast You have prepared for me
in the resurrection
and let me be filled with gratitude to You.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

Posted in CARMELITES, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, MARTYRS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on VIOLENCE, The WORD

Lenten Reflection – 16 March

Lenten Reflection – 16 March – Saturday of the First week of Lent, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 5:43–48

Blessed Titus Brandsma (1881-1942) Martyr

“But I say to you… pray for those who persecute you”

You have often heard it said that we are living through a marvellous time, a time of great men… It is easy to understand why people long for a strong and capable leader to arise… This kind of neo-paganism [Nazism] believes all nature to be an emanation of the divine…; it admires a race that is nobler and purer than any other… From this comes the cult of race and blood, the cult of its own people’s heroes.

By starting out from so mistaken an idea, this view of things can lead to capital errors.   It is tragic to see how much enthusiasm, how many efforts are placed at the service of such an erroneous and baseless ideal!   However, we can learn from our enemy.   We can learn from his deceitful philosophy how to purify and improve our own ideal, we can learn how to develop great love for this ideal, how to arouse immense enthusiasm and even a readiness to live and die for it, how to strengthen our hearts to incarnate it in ourselves and in others…

When we talk about the coming of the Kingdom and pray for its coming, we are not thinking of a discrimination according to race or blood but of the brotherhood of all, for all men are our brothers – not excluding even those who hate and attack us – in a close bond with the One, who causes the sun to rise on the good and the bad alike (Mt 5:45).all men are our brothers - bl titus brandsma 1st sat lent 16 march 2019.jpg

Daily Meditation:
Turn our hearts to You.

The Saturdays of Lent have a grateful and uplifting tone to them.
Our lesson today reminds us of the covenant God made long ago:
you be My people
and I will be your God.

In the new covenant, without condition,
God is faithful to us, even if we are not.
Jesus calls us to a new way of being –
loving others as we have been loved –
which includes loving those who do not love us.
We are to be as pure in our love,
as God is pure in loving us.

You, therefore, must be perfect,
as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:48saturday of the first week of lent - 16 march 2019.jpg

Closing Prayer:

Loving God,
Sometimes my heart
turns in every direction
except towards You.
Please help me
to turn my heart toward You,
to gaze upon You in trust
and to seek Your kingdom with all of my heart.
Soften my hardened heart
so that I might love others
as a way to glorify and worship You.
Grant me this
with the ever-present guidance of Your spirit.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

Christ’s martyrs feared neither death nor pain.   He triumphed in them who lived in them;  and they, who lived not for themselves but for Him, found in death itself the way to life.”

St Augustine – (354-430) – Father & Doctor of the Churchchrists-martyrs-st-augustine-14-march-20181.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONSCIENCE, QUOTES on COURAGE, QUOTES on PERSECUTION, QUOTES on PERSEVERANCE, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on the CHURCH, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, QUOTES on the DEVIL/EVIL, QUOTES on VIOLENCE, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 29 December – St Thomas a Becket (1118-1170) Martyr

Quote/s of the Day – 29 December – St Thomas a Becket (1118-1170) Martyr, Archbishop of Canterbury

I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the course,
I have kept the faith.
From now on a merited crown awaits me

2 Timothy 4:72-timothy-4-7-29-dec-2017-thomas-a-becket

“Remember then how our fathers worked out their salvation;
remember the sufferings through which the Church has grown
and the storms the ship of Peter has weathered
because it has Christ on board.
Remember how the crown was attained,
by those whose sufferings gave new radiance to their faith.
The whole company of saints bears witness to the unfailing truth,
that without real effort no-one wins the crown.”remember-then-how-our-fathers-st-thomas-a-becket-29-dec-2017

“I am ready to die for my Lord,
that in my blood,
the Church may obtain liberty and peace.”i am ready to die for my lord - st thomas a becket 29 dec 2018

“Better are the blows of a friend,
than the false kisses of an enemy.”better are the blows of a friend - st thomas a becket 29 dec 2018

“Who shall resist Anti-Christ when he comes
if we show such patience
towards the vices and crimes of his precursors?
By such leniency, we encourage kings
to become tyrants
and tempt them to withdraw every privilege
and all jurisdiction from the Churches.”who shall resist anti-christ - st thomas a becket 29 dec 2018

It is dangerous for men in power,
if no-one dares to tell them, when they go wrong.” 
 (St Thomas to a friend on his ordination)

St Thomas a Becket (1118-1170) Martyrit-is-dangerous-st-thomas-a-becket-29-dec-2017

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FORGIVENESS, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on MERCY, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on PERSEVERANCE, QUOTES on VIOLENCE, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 13 September – Today’s Gospel – Luke 6:27–38

One Minute Reflection – 13 September – Today’s Gospel – Luke 6:27–38 – Thursday of the Twenty-third week in Ordinary Time, Year B and the Memorial of St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Church

“Judge not and you will not be judged;  condemn not and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;  give, and it will be given to you;  good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.   For the measure you give, will be the measure you get back.”...Luke 6:37-38judge not and you will not be judged - luke 6 37-38 - 13 sept 2018

REFLECTION – “O envious one, you injure yourself more than he whom you would injure and the sword with which you wound will recoil and wound yourself.   What harm did Cain do to   Abel? Contrary to his intention he did him the greatest good, for he caused him to pass to a better and a blessed life and he himself was plunged into an abyss of woe.   In what did Esau injure Jacob?   Did not his envy prevent him from being enriched in the place in which he lived and, losing the inheritance and the blessing of his father, did he not die a miserable death?   What harm did the brothers of Joseph do to Joseph, whose envy went so far as to wish to shed his blood?   Were they not driven to the last extremity and well-nigh perishing with hunger, whilst their brother reigned all through Egypt?   It is ever thus;  the more you envy your brother, the greater good you confer upon him.   God, who sees all, takes the cause of the innocent in hand and, irritated by the injury you inflict, deigns to raise up him whom you wish to lower and will punish you to the full extent of your crime.   If God usually punishes those who rejoice at the misfortunes of their enemies, how much more will He punish those who, excited by envy, seek to do an injury to those who have never injured them?”…Saint John Chrysostomit is ever thus the more you envy your brother - st john chrysostom - 13 sept 2018

“It will do us good today to think of an enemy – I think we all have someone who has hurt us or who wants to hurt us or who tries to hurt us.   Ah, this!   The mafia prayer is:   “You will pay for it”, the Christian prayer is:   “Lord, bless him and teach me to love him”…Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 19 June 2018it will do us good today - pope francis 13 sept 2018

PRAYER – Lord God, strength of those who hope in You, by Your will, St John Chrysostom became renowned in the Church, for his astounding eloquence and his forbearance in persecution.   Grant that we may be enriched by his teaching and thus grow in sanctity, to follow the commandments You set forth in Your Word, Your Son who is our Saviour and Redeemer.   By the prayers of St John Chrysostom, may we attain the place You have prepared for us.   We make our prayer through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever amen.st john chrysostom pray for us - 13 sept 2018