Quote/s of the Day – 3 June – Ember Saturday of Pentecos – Joel 2:28-32, Luke 4:38-44 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“And standing over her, He commanded the fever and it left her. And immediately rising, she ministered to them.”
“She believed firmly that God was not the first, nor the second, nor the third cause of her illness, for He is not the cause of sickness in any way whatever. Since He is not the cause of sin, then He is not the cause of sickness either. But just as He permits sin, He sends infirmities to correct and purify us of it.”
“Thus, we must be submissive to His Justice, as well as to His Mercy, keeping a humble silence. This will make us tranquilly embrace the events of His Providence, as David did, who, in his afflictions said: “I suffered and was silent because I knew that it was Thou Who sent them to correct me and purge me of my guilt.” [Ps.38: 10-12].
Our fever patient did the same. “Thou have sent me the fever and I have accepted it. I have submitted myself, both to Thy Justice and to Thy Mercy. Just as Thou sent it to me, without my asking for it, so Thou can take it away, without my asking Thee to do so. Thou knows better than I do what is best for me. I have no need to trouble myself about it. It is sufficient for me that Thou look at me and that Thou knows that I am sick in my bed!”
(Sermon for the Thursday after the Third Sunday of Lent, 3 March 1622, concerning the cure of St Peter’s mother-in-law).
“He who seeks only the glory of God, finds it in poverty, as in abundance. ”
Quote/s of the Day – 2 June – Pentecost Friday – Joel 2:23-24; 26-27, Luke 5:17-26 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Thy sins are forgiven thee … Arise and walk.”
Prayer for Mercy and Forgiveness By St Macarius of Egypt (c 300-390)
Lord, be merciful now that my life is approaching its end and the evening awaits me. There is not enough time for me to cleanse myself of my sins, for they are so many. Heal me while I am still on earth and I shall be truly healthy. In Thy mercy, move me to repent, so that I shall not be ashamed, when I meet Thee in Heaven. Amen
“What evil can your enemy do to you which would be comparable to that, which you do to yourself? … If you let yourself go, in indignation and anger, you will be wounded, not because of the injury your enemy inflicted upon you but, from the resentment you feel because of it. So do not say: “He insulted me, he slandered me, he did a great number of wretched things to me.” The more you say he did evil things to you, the more you show that he did you good, since he gave you an opportunity to purify yourself of your sins. Thus, the more he offends you, the more he places you in a state of obtaining the forgiveness of your faults from God. For if we want, no-one can damage us; even our enemies are thus doing us a great service… So consider how many advantages you draw from an injury that is suffered humbly and gently!”
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Then the righteous shall shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Matthew 13:43
“So from now on, run well (cf. Gal 5:7) and may the devil not bewitch you (cf Gal 3:1) nor hinder you! … May mercy, peace, charity, freedom from envy, from jealousy and ostentation come upon you, docility, friendly speech, solidarity, compassion towards each other, humility.”
St Theodore the Studite (759-826)
“By sin, O Jesus, I gave Thee Thy Death but I do not despair of Thy Forgiveness. Those Scourges call me, those Arms extended invite me that injured Heart offers me a secure shelter.”
St Gabriel Francis Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862)
One Minute Reflection – 2 June – “The Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus” – The Feast of the Martyrs Saints Marcellinus and Peter the Exorcist (Martyred in 304) – Joel 2:23-24; 26-27, Luke 5:17-26 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, “What are you thinking in your hearts?” – Luke 5:22
REFLECTION – “Thanks to the faith of others the cripple’s soul would be cured before his body. “Seeing their faith,” the Gospel says. Note here, my brethren, that God is not interested in what foolish people want and does not expect to find faith among the ignorant … among those who conduct themselves badly. On the other hand, He does not refuse to come to the help of others’ faith. Such faith is a gift of grace, at one with God’s will … In His Divine Goodness, Christ the Physician, strives to draw to salvation, even in spite of themselves, those affected by sickness of soul, those whom the burden of their sins and offences overwhelms, even to delirium. Yet, they do not want to submit.
O my brethren, if only we wanted to, if only we all wanted to perceive our soul’s paralysis in all its depth! Then we would see that it is lying on a stretcher of sins, deprived of strength. Christ’s action within us, would be a source of light and we would understand that each day He sees our lack of faith, harmful as it is, that He draws us towards healing remedies and sharply presses our rebellious wills. “My son” He says, “your sins are forgiven you.”– St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) Bishop of Ravenna, Father and Doctor of the Church (Sermon 50 ; PL 52, 339).
PRAYER – O God, Who made thy blessed Martyrs, Marcellinus and Peter the Exorcist, glorious by their remarkable confession of Thy glory; grant, by their intercession and example, that Thy charity may continually increase in our hearts. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect). SACRED Heart of JESUS, I trust in Thee. 300 Days Indulgence Once a Day – Plenary, Once a month. Raccolta 175 – St Pius X, 19 August 1905 and 27 June 1906.
Quote/s of the Day – 26 April – Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel
This prayer to our Lady of Good Counsel, like many other Marian prayers, asks for Our Blessed Mother’s help in obtaining our salvation. Note the reference to our earthly existence as being a “vale of tears,” an expression we find too in the Salve Regina, the Hail Holy Queen.
Prayer to Our Mother of Good Counsel
Most Glorious Virgin chosen by the Eternal Counsel to be the Mother of the Eternal Word made flesh, thou, who art the Treasurer of Divine Graces and the Advocate of Sinners, I, thy most unworthy servant, have recourse to thee; be thou pleased to be my Guide and Counsellor in this vale of tears. Obtain for me, through the Most Precious Blood of thy Divine Son, the forgiveness of my sins, the salvation of my soul and the means necessary to obtain it. In like manner, obtain for Holy Mother the Church, victory over her enemies and the spread of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ upon the whole earth. Amen
Pope Paul II sent two Bishops to investigate the image of Our Lady of Good Counsel and the numerous miracles that took place, following its appearance at this Church (by one account 171 alone in the period from 27 April to 14 August 1467)!
The fresco is still there to this day, having survived earthquakes over the Centuries and even aerial bombardment during World War II which destroyed much of the Church.
Many Popes have been great champions of Our Lady of Good Counsel and her image. Pope Paul II first approved devotion to her. Popes Urban VIII and Pius IX made visits to the Church in Genazzano to honour her. In 1753 Pope Benedict XIV established the Pious Union of Our Lady of Good Counsel which has included, among its members, the Popes Pius VIII, Pius IX, Leo XIII and Pius XII,the last, who placed his Papacy under her maternal care. He later composed this prayer to Our Lady of Good Counsel which can be used as a novena:
O Mother of Good Counsel By Pope Pius XII (1876-1958)
O Holy Virgin, to whose feet we are led by our anxious uncertainty in our search for and attainment of, what is true and good, invoking thee by the sweet title of Mother of Good Counsel, we beseech thee to come to our assistance, when, along the road of this life, the darkness of error and of evil conspire towards our ruin, by leading our minds and our hearts astray. O Seat of Wisdom and Star of the Sea, enlighten the doubtful and the erring that they, be not seduced, by the false appearances of good; render them steadfast in the face of the hostile and corrupting influences, of passion and of sin. O Mother of Good Counsel, obtain for us from thy Divine Son, a great love of virtue and, in the hour of uncertainty and trial, the strength to embrace the way which leads to our salvation. If thy hand sustains us, we shall walk unmolested, along the path indicated to us, by the Life and Words of Jesus, our Redeemer and, having followed freely and securely, even in the midst of this world’s strife, the Sun of Truth and Justice, under thy maternal Star, we shall come to the enjoyment of full and eternal peace, with thee, in the Haven of Salvation. Amen
It is also worth noting, especially in these uncertain times for the Church as for the world (and in many ways, the two may be said to be linked together!) that Our Blessed Mother is ready, willing and more than able, to help us i“in the midst of this world’s strife.” We need only to approach her for assistance, in drawing closer to Jesus with fervent, humble prayer and devotion.
Keep in mind too, regarding the line in the first of our prayers above about our Church’s “victory over her enemies” that, in 1571, St Pius V credited Our Lady of Good Counsel with having assisted the Holy League of forces from Catholic maritime states, to defeat the Muslim Ottoman Empire in the famous Battle of Lepanto. This was a decisive victory which kept Italy from being overrun by the Muslims. Let us also pray to Mary for help, as Pope Pius V did, in the midst of our own battles! Amen.
Thought for the Day – 15 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Mercy of God
“Remember, that if God’s mercy is infinite, so also is His justice.
When we realise that we have fallen into serious sin, we should not give way to despair as Judas did but, should turn to Jesus trustingly and contritely, saying with the Psalmist, “My refuge and my fortess, my stonghold, my deliverer, my shield, in whom I trust” (Ps 143:2). We shall certainly be forgiven.
It would be the highest form of ingratitude and even blasphemous, to abuse God;s goodness and mercy. Let our repentance be sincere and effective. In return for the infinite goodness of God, let us give Him our love, limited indeed but willing and constant.”
Thought for the Day – 9 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Meaning of Easter
“How many Easters have we spent? Have they represented a constant improvement in our lives, or have we been static or even worse, become lukewarm, tepid and uncaring of our good Lord’s love of us and our own salvation? In the Hebrew tongue, Pasch means a passing or transit, specifically, it refers to the passing of the Lord. It will be a tragedy if Jesus passes us by without stopping! to rest with us in order to claim us as His own and to make us holy!
This Easter could be our last. The thought should be a warning for us. God’s goodness is infinite but, there is a limit to His grace and favours. We often impose this limit ourselves by the degree of our co-operation. Our eternal salvation depends largely upon ourselves! God does not grant His Mercy to unrepentant souls – think of that second thief on the cross next to Our Lord!”
Our Morning Offering – 6 April – Maundy Thursday in Holy Week
Man of Sorrows—Wrapt in Grief From an old French Hymn Author Unknown
Man of Sorrows—wrapt in grief, Bow Thine ear to our relief; Thou for us the path hast trod Of the dreadful wrath of God. Thou the cup of fire hast drain’d Till its light alone remain’d: Lamb of Love!—we look to Thee, Hear our mournful litany!
By the garden—fraught with woe, Whither Thou full oft wouldst go: By Thine Agony of prayer In the desolation there! By the chains of sleep, which bound Watchers in their trance profound; Lord!—behold our bended knee,— Listen to our litany!
By the conflict foul and fell With the loosen’d fiends of hell, By the darkness of the hour Shadow’d with the tempter’s power, By the dire and deep distress Of that mystery fathomless;— Lord! our tears in mercy see Mingling with our litany!
By the vision then, which stole Looming o’er Thy spotless soul, Of the pride and guilt of man, Since his fall from grace began,— Seas of sin, with billowy waves, Yawning into countless graves;— Lord! ourselves from shipwreck free, Hear our solemn litany!
By the Chalice, when it came Pregnant with a hell of flame: By those Lips—which fain would pray That it might but pass away: By the Heart, which drank it dry, Lest a rebel race should die;— Let Thy Pity be our plea, Hear our solemn litany!
Man of Sorrows! —let Thy grief Purchase for us our relief— Lord of Mercy—bow Thine ear, Slow to anger—swift to hear: Let the garden Thou hast trod Draw us to the throne of God; So Gethsemane shall be Sweet in every litany!
This translation by Matthew Bridges (1800-1894) (The Passion of Jesus 1852) Hymnist, Poet, Writer Converted to Catholicism in 1848, by the influence of John Henry Newman (1801-1890) Tune: “Anima Christi (English)” traditional English melody.
Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 5 April – “Spy” Wednesday in Holy Week – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“O miserable Judas! He saw the gravity of his crime and despaired.” St Francis de Sales
“SPY” WEDNESDAY Judas St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritas
“O MISERABLE JUDAS! He saw the gravity of his crime and despaired. Truly, he confessed his sin, for in returning to the chief priests the thirty pieces of silver ,for which he had sold his good Master, he acknowledged aloud that he had sold innocent blood. [Matt. 27:3-5.] But these priests would give him no absolution. Alas, did not this unhappy man know that Our Lord alone could give it to him, that He was the Saviour and held Redemption in His hands? Had he not seen this Truth clearly in those whose sins Jesus had remitted? Certainly, he knew it but he did not wish, nor dare, to ask pardon.
To make him despair, the devil showed him the enormity and hideousness of his crime and, perhaps, made him fear that if he asked his Master’s pardon, He might impose too great a penance. Perhaps for fear of such penance, he was unwilling to ask for forgiveness. Thus, despairing, he hanged himself and his body burst wide open, all his entrails spilling out [Acts 1:18] and he was buried in the deepest of Hells.” – (Sermons of St Francis de Sales for Lent).
“O God, fullness of goodness, You do not forsake any, except those who forsake You. You never take away Your gifts, except when we take away our hearts. We rob the goodness of God, if we claim the glory of our salvation for ourselves. We dishonour His mercy, if we say He has failed us. … We blaspheme His goodness, if we deny that He has helped and assisted us. In short, O God, cry loud and clear into our ears: “your destruction comes from you, O Israel. In me alone is found your help” (Hos 13:9).
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritatis Treatise on the Love of God, Ch 9
Quote/s of the Day –2 April – Palm Sunday – Philippians 2:5-11, Matthew 26:36-75; 27:1-60 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Behold the hour is at hand and the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners.”
“Yesterday, Christ raised Lazarus from the dead; today, He is going to His own death. Yesterday, He tore off the strips of cloth which bound Lazarus; today, He is stretching out His Hand, to those who want to bind Him. Yesterday, He tore that man away from darkness; today, for humankind, He is going down into darkness and the shadow of death. And the Church is celebrating. She is beginning the feast of Feasts, for she is receiving her King as a Spouse, for her King is in her midst.”
St Ephrem (306-373) (Attri) Father ad Doctor of the Church
“Hosanna!”—which means : “Save!” “Hosanna to You Who are in the highest. O Almighty, save those who are humbled. Have mercy on us, in consideration of our palms, may the palms we wave move Your Heart, You Who come to call Adam”…
St Romanus the Melodist (c 490-c 556)
“The Apostles led the ass and colt to Our Lord. We must note, that He deliberately told them to loose them and lead them to Him. If we wish to go to our Saviour, we too must allow ourselves to be loosed from our passions, our habits, affections and the bonds of sin, which keep us from serving Him.”
Thought for the Day – 29 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“We must be detached from the goods of this world because they are corruptible and cause us to forget God. Even if we have been placed in easy circumstances, let us be poor in spirit. We can be poor in spirit by giving alms from motives of Christian charity. We need the mercy of God and Our Lord has told us that He will be merciful only to those who show mercy to others.
We need God’s forgiveness for all our sins and the Holy Spirit assures us that our iniquities are redeemed by almsgiving. “Redeem thou thy sins with alms and thy iniquities, with works of mercy to the poor” )Dan 4:24). Almsgiving is a means of our personal sanctification!”
Quote/s of the Day – 23 March – Thursday of the Fourth Week in Lent – 4 Kings 4:25-38, Luke 7:11-16 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.or
“Young man, I say to thee, arise!”
“Thy sins are forgiven thee … Arise and walk.”
“My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
2 Corinthians 12:7
“O my brethren, if only we wanted to, if only we all wanted to perceive our soul’s paralysis in all its depth! Then we would see that it is lying on a stretcher of sins, deprived of strength. Christ’s action within us, would be a source of light and we would understand that each day He sees our lack of faith, harmful as it is, that He draws us towards healing remedies and sharply presses our rebellious wills. “My son” He says, “your sins are forgiven you.”
St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) “Golden Words” Father & Doctor of the Church
“If thou art bound down by sickness, if sorrows weary thee, if thou art trembling with fear, invoke the name of Jesus!”
St Lawrence Justinian (1381-1456)
“The medicine of God, is Jesus Christ, Crucified and Risen, the measure of all things.”
St John Leonardi (1541-1609) Confessor, Priest, Founder
Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 23 March – Thursday of the Fourth Week in Lent – 4 Kings 4:25-38, Luke 7:11-16 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Come to Me, all ye who are weary …” Matthew 11:28
“Young man, I say to thee, arise!” Luke 7:14
THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritas
“Our Lord, the great and excellent Physician of our infirmities, announced everywhere, before coming into this world, both His arrival and the maladies He would cure; sometimes by His prophets. …”
What wonder then if, in the Gospel, we find Him surrounded by the sick, by sinners and by publicans! O vain and foolish murmuring of the Hebrews, when they said: “This man receiveth sinners.” Whom would you wish Him to receive? Is it not the honour of a Physician to be sought for by the sick and so much the more, as their maladies are considered incurable? …
Thus, how were the poor Prodigal and the unfortunate Absalom received by their fathers? And, otherwise, what would become of us, for all have sinned? Every man is a liar, that is to say, a sinner. If we say that we are without sin, we deceived ourselves. Return to the Lord, and forsake your injustice, for His Mercy is great towards those who are converted to Him. Why is He called Saviour, unless in order to save? …
But, oh, miserable that we are! We are often called and we only turn a deaf ear. “I have called and you have not heard,” says God. We are drawn and we obstinately resist Him. He complains, saying: “All the day long have I stretched out My hands to this incredulous and rebellious people! ”…
Let us then depart, let us depart from Egypt, let us approach Our Lord, let us make provision of good works; let the feet of our affections be bare, let us clothe ourselves with innocence, let us not be satisfied with crying for mercy, let us go forth from Egypt, let us delay no longer. The hour is come to arise from sleep, since we know that He receives sinners; the Angels await our repentance, the Saints pray for it!” – (Consoling Thoughts on God and Providence).
Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 22 March – Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Lent – Isaias 1:16-19, John 9:1-38 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“If sin abounds in malice to destroy, grace superabounds to repair.” Romans 5:20
“One thing I know that whereas I was blind. now I see.” John 9:25
THE MERCY OF GOD ON THE RETURN OF A SINNER St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritas
“THE ENTRANCE OF SIN, takes away life from the heart and from all its good works; the entrance of grace, restores life to the heart and to all its good works. A severe winter kills the plants of the field, so that, were it to continue always, they should remain forever dead.
Sin, the sad and fearful winter of the soul, kills the holy works which it finds there and, were it to continue always, never should life or vigour return. But as, on the approach of lovely spring, not only the new seeds which we cast into the earth, shoot up and bud, under the influence of this mild season of fecundity, every one according to its kind but also the old plants, which the bitterness of the preceding winter had wasted and withered, grow green again and take back their former life.
So sin being destroyed,and the grace of Divine Love coming back to the soul, not only the new affections, which the return of the sacred springtime brings, germinate and produce many merits and benedictions but also, the works faded away under the harshness of the winter of past sin, being delivered from their mortal enemy and reinvigorated and, as it were, resuscitated, flourish anew and fructify in merits for eternal life. …
God has promised an eternal recompense to the works of the just man but, if the just man turn away from His Justice by sin, God will no longer remember his justices, or the good works which he has done. But if, nevertheless, this poor man, after falling into sin, rises again and returns to Divine Love by penance, God will no longer remember his sin and, if He will no longer remember his sin, He will then remember his preceding good works and the recompense they had deserved, since sin, which alone can take them away from the Divine Memory, is effaced, abolished and annihilated.” – (Consoling Thoughts on God and Providence).
Quote/s of the Day – 18 March – The Memorial of St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387) Bishop of Jerusalem, Confessor Father & Doctor of the Church
“ Your accumulated offences do not surpass the multitude of God’s mercies; your wounds do not surpass the great Physician’s skill!”
“The Spirit comes gently and makes Himself known by His Fragrance. He is not felt as a burden, for God is light, very light. Rays of light and knowledge stream before Him as the Spirit approaches. The Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend – to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen and to console.”
Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 16 March – Thursday of the Third Week in Lent – Jeremias 7:1-7, Luke 4:38-44 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Thou opens Thy hand and fills with blessing every living creature.” Psalm 144:16
“And standing over her, He commanded the fever and it left her. And immediately rising, she ministered to them.” Luke 4:39
PROPER CONDUCT IN ILLNESS St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritas
“St Peter’s mother-in-law knew that Our Lord was in Capharnaum and that He was curing many sick people. Nevertheless, she did not anxiously send for Him to tell Him that she was suffering, nor did she beg Him to come to her house. But what is even more amazing, is that even when they encountered one another in her house, she looked at Him and He looked at her but she did not say a word about her illness, so as to move Him to have pity on her; nor did she cry out, “Lord, Son of David, have pity on me” [Matt 15:22] or “Lord, say only the word and my soul will be healed” [Matt 8:8; Lk. 7:7]—that is, I will regain life and health. …
Our fever patient did not act in this way at all. She was in her bed without making any fuss whatever. It was enough for her that others knew she was ill; she was content to take what was given her for her health, not fretting over whether it would benefit her or not. She believed firmly that God was not the first, nor the second, nor the third cause of her illness, for He is not the cause of sickness in any way whatever. Since He is not the cause of sin, then He is not the cause of sickness either. But just as He permits sin, He sends infirmities to correct and purify us of it. Thus, we must be submissive to His Justice, as well as to His Mercy, keeping a humble silence. This will make us tranquilly embrace the events of His Providence, as David did, who, in his afflictions said: “I suffered and was silent because I knew that it was Thou Who sent them to correct me and purge me of my guilt.” [Ps.38: 10-12].
Our fever patient did the same. “Thou have sent me the fever and I have accepted it. I have submitted myself, both to Thy Justice and to Thy Mercy. Just as Thou sent it to me, without my asking for it, so Thou can take it away, without my asking Thee to do so. Thou knows better than I do what is best for me. I have no need to trouble myself about it. It is sufficient for me that Thou look at me and that Thou knows that I am sick in my bed!” – (Sermon for the Thursday after the Third Sunday of Lent, 3 March 1622, concerning the cure of St Peter’s mother-in-law).
Our Morning Offering – 15 March – Wednesday of the Third Week in Lent
O Merciful God By St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus Doctor Communis
O merciful God, grant that I may ever perfectly do Thy Will in all things. Let it be my ambition to work only for Thy honour and glory. Let me rejoice in nothing but that which leads to Thee, nor grieve for anything, which leads away from Thee. May all passing things be as nothing in my eyes and may all which is Thine be dear to me and Thou, my God, dear above them all. May all joy be meaningless without Thee and may I desire nothing apart from Thee. May all labour and toil delight me, when it is for Thee. Make me, O Lord, obedient without complaint, poor without regret, patient without murmur, humble without pretence, joyous without frivolity, and truthful without disguise. Amen
Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 11 March – Saturday of the Second Week in Lent – Genesis 27:6-40, Luke 15:11-32 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Lord, before I existed Thou beheld me and called me by name …” Jeremias 1:5
“I shall arise and shall go to my Father” Luke 15:18
THE LOVING HEART OF GOD St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritas
“REMEMBER the Heart of Our Lord saw your heart and loved you surely, from the Tree of the Cross. By this love, He obtained for you all the good things that you will ever have, including your resolutions. Yes, we can say with Jeremias: “Lord, before I existed Thou beheld me and called me by name” (cf. 1:5).
This is indeed so – His Divine Goodness has prepared, in His love and mercy, all the means, general and particular, for our salvation and consequently, our resolutions. Yes, without doubt. A woman with child prepares the cradle, the linen and swaddling clothes and even arranges a nurse for the child whom she hopes to bring forth, although it is not yet in the world. So Our Lord, in His Goodness, is, as it were, pregnant with you, wishing to bring you forth to salvation and make you His child, prepared upon the Tree of the Cross, everything you would need. He got ready your spiritual cradle, linen and swaddling clothes, your nurse and everything suitable for your happiness.
These are all the means, all the attractions and all the graces by which He guides you and wants to lead you to perfection. My God, how deeply this truth should be fixed in our memory. Is it possible that I have been loved and loved so tenderly, by my Saviour? That He thought of me personally in all these little events by which He has drawn me to Himself? How much then should we love, cherish and make good use of all this for our benefit!This is extremely kind. this loving Heart of my God thought of me, loved me and obtained for me a thousand means of salvation. This He did as though there was no other soul in the world He could think of!
The sun shines on one part of the earth, shining on it no less than if it shone nowhere else and, as if it shone upon it alone. In the same way, Our Lord thought of and cared for all His loving children, in such a way, that He thought of each one of us. as though He had not thought of all the rest. He loved me, says St Paul and gave Himself for me, (Galatians 2:20) as if He said: for myself alone, as though He had done nothing for the others. Imprint this in your spirit, in order to cherish and nourish, with care, your firm resolution, so precious to the Heart of the Saviour.”– (Introduction to the Devout Life)
Our Morning Offering – 11 March – Saturday in the Second Week of Lent and a day for our Mother Mary
Most Holy Virgin, My Consolation By St Germanus of Paris (c 490-576)
Most Holy Virgin! Who are the greatest consolation that I receive from God, you, who art the heavenly dew which assuages all my pains, you, who are the light of my soul when it is enveloped in darkness, you, who are my guide in unknown paths, the support of my weakness, my treasure, in poverty, my remedy, in sickness, my consolation, in trouble, my refuge, in misery, and the hope of my salvation, hear my supplications, have pity on me, as becomes the Mother of so good a God and obtain for me a favourable reception of all my petitions at the throne of mercy. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 10 March – Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, Armenia (Died 320) – Friday of the Second Week in Lent – Hebrews 11:33-39, Luke 6:17-23 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“And He, lifting up His eyes on His disciples, said: Blessed are you …” – Luke 6:20
REFLECTION – “Lord Jesus Christ, to teach us the summit of virtue, You ascended the mountain with Your disciples and taught them the Beatitudes and highest virtues, promising them the rewards applicable to each. Grant that my weakness may hear Your Voice, that I may apply myself, through their practice, to acquire the merit of the virtues, so that by Your Mercy, I may receive the promised reward. As I consider the payment, do not let me refuse the effort of the labour. Make my hope of eternal salvation, sweeten the bitterness of the cure, inflaming my soul with the splendour of Your work. Out of the wretched person I am, create one of the blessed; from the blessedness here below, lead me, by Your Grace, to the blessedness of the homeland.
Come, Lord Jesus Christ, in search of Your servant, seeking Your erring and exhausted sheep. Come, Spouse of the Church, in search of Your lost coin. Come, Father of mercies, welcome the prodigal son returning to You. Come, then, Lord, for You are the only One, able to call back the sheep that has strayed, to find the lost drachma, to reconcile the runaway son. Cone, that there may be salvation on earth and joy in Heaven! Turn me towards You and grant that I may carry out a true and perfect repentance, so that I may become an occasion for joy, among the Angels. Sweetest Jesus, I pray You, by the immensity of Your Love for me, a sinner, grant that I may love You alone, above all things, that I may be consoled by none but You, my sweetest God!” – Ludolph of Saxony (c1300-1378) Monk, Theologian, Writer, Dominican then a Carthusian (Prayers to Jesus Christ).
PRAYER – Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we who know how courageously Thy holy Martyrs have confessed the faith, may experience their goodness as they intercede for us with Thee. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 9 March – Thursday in the Second Week of Lent – Proverbs 31:10-31, Matthew 13:44-52 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness, above thy fellows.” Psalm 44:8
“So shall it be at the end of the world. The Angels shall go out and shall separate the wicked from among the just. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:49-50
HEAVEN or HELL? St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritas
“CONSIDER THAT THE CHOICE you make in this life will last forever in the next! Consider too, that while both are open to receive you, according to your choice, yet God, Who is prepared to give the one by reason of His Justice, the other by reason of His Mercy, all the while desires, unspeakably that you should select Paradise. offering you countless graces on God’s part, countless assistance to attain to it. Consider that Jesus Christ, enthroned in Heaven, looks down upon you in loving invitation – ‘O beloved one, come unto Me and joy forever in the eternal blessedness of My Love!’ Behold His mother yearning over you with maternal tenderness, ‘Courage, my child, do not despise the Goodness of my Son, or my earnest prayers for thy salvation.‘ …
O Hell, I abhor thee now and forever; I abhor thy griefs and torments, thine endless misery, the unceasing blasphemies and maledictions which thou pourest out upon my God and turning to thee, O blessed Paradise, eternal glory, unfading happiness, I choose thee forever as my abode, thy glorious mansions, thy precious and abiding tabernacles.
O my God, I bless Thy Mercy which gives me the power to choose, O Jesus, Saviour, I accept Thine Eternal Love and praise Thee for the promise Thou hast given me, of a place prepared for me, in that blessed New Jerusalem, where I shall love and bless Thee forever. ” (Excerpt – ‘Introduction to the Devout Life’ 9th Meditation).
Our Morning Offering – 7 March – The Memorial of St Thomas Aquinas OP (1225-1274) Confessor, Doctor
Grant Me Grace, O Merciful God Prayer of St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus & Doctor Communis which he was accustomed to recite everyday before the image of Christ.
Grant me grace, O merciful God, to desire ardently all that is pleasing to Thee, to examine it prudently, to acknowledge it truthfully and to accomplish it perfectly, for the praise and glory of Thy Name. Amen
Thought for the Day – 3 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Shortness of Time
“Another vision will confront us also in that final hour. Our frightened minds will see again all those hours which we have misused in sin. The devil will try by every means in his power, to repaint them in our troubled imagination. He will do his best to lead us into despair, even as he tempted Judas and many other sinners before us.
We know well that the mercy of God is infinite and that it remains infinite at the hour of death. But, we know too that His justice, is no less infinite. Since God has granted us so much time in which He called us to repentance and to a life of virtue, it could happen that at the point of death, He will put an end to the mercy and to the favours which He has shown us and which we have disregarded. What will become of us then? Remember that only one of the two thieves was converted. The other died unrepentant on his cross, even though he was hanging by the side of Jesus!
Reflect and make provision while there is still time. While we have time.,let us do good (Gal 6:10). We shall be unable to do anything about it afterwards.”
Quote/s of the Day – 3 March – Ember Friday, First Week of Lent – Ezekiel 18:20-28, John 5:1-15 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Do you wish to be made whole?”
“O Heavenly Father, have compassion for my cry as Thou did for the prodigal son, for I, too, am throwing myself at Thy feet and crying aloud as he cried: “Father, I have sinned!” Do not reject me, Thy unworthy child, O my Saviour but cause Thy Angels to rejoice too, on my behalf, O God of goodness Thou, Who desires that all should be saved.”
St Romanos Melodios (c 490-c 556) Monk, Composer of hymns, Poet
“Each day then, we ought to renew our resolutions and arouse ourselves to fervour, as though it were the first day of our turning back to God. We ought to say: “Help me, O Lord God, in my good resolution and in Your holy service. Grant me now, this very day, to begin perfectly, for thus far I have done nothing.” … Just men depend on the grace of God rather than on their own wisdom in keeping their resolutions. In Him they confide every undertaking …”
Our Morning Offering – 3 March – Ember Friday in the First Week of Lent
Rescue Me, Most Merciful God By Father Martin von Cochem OSFC (c 1630-1712)
Most merciful God, remember at how great a price Thou didst purchase me and how much Thou didst suffer for me. For the sake of that inestimable price, do not permit me to be lost, rescue me, number me amongst the sheep of Thy fold. With them, I will then praise and magnify Thy loving kindness, to all eternity. Amen
Fr Martin von Cochem was a German Capuchin theologian, preacher and prolific ascetic writer. Father Martin’s works embrace a great variety of subjects: a huge volume of apologetics against Protestantism, the life of Christ, lives of the Saints, edifying narratives, the setting forth of certain points in Christian asceticism, forms of prayer, methods to be followed for the worthy reception of the sacraments, etc. The prayer above is from the renowned “The Four Last Things.”
Quote of the Day – 28 February – Tuesday of the First Week in Lent
“If we look forward to receiving God’s mercy, we can never fail to do good, as long as we have the strength. For if we share with the poor, out of love for God, whatever He has given to us, we shall receive according to His promise, a hundredfold in eternal happiness. What a fine profit, what a blessed reward! With outstretched arms He begs us to turn toward Him, to weep for our sins and to become the servants of love, first for ourselves, then for our neighbours. Just as water extinguishes a fire, so love wipes away sin.”
Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 28 February – Tuesday of the First Week in Lent – Isaias 55:6-11, Matthew 21:10-17 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Let my prayer come like incense before You, O Lord” Psalm 140:2
“He said to them, It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’” Matthew 21:13
PERSEVERANCE IN PRAYER… St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritas
“LET US PERSEVERE IN PRAYER at all times. For if Our Lord seems not to hear us, it is not because He wants to refuse us. Rather, His purpose is to compel us to cry out louder and to make us more conscious of the greatness of His mercy. Those who understand the Hunt, know well that in winter, dogs cannot scent their prey. The cold air and frost prevent them from detecting their prey as easily as they do at other times. A similar thing happens in the spring. The variety and fragrance of the flowers takes away the facility of perceiving the animal’s scent. To remedy this the hunter puts some vinegar in his mouth and holding the dog’s head, squirts the vinegar into its nose. Now he does this not to discourage it from going in quest of its prey but rather, to urge and excite it to do its task.
In the same way, when Our Lord deprives us of sweetness and consolation, it is not to refuse us or to make us lose courage but He casts vinegar into our mouth, in order to excite us to draw so much closer to His Divine Goodness and to encourage us in perseverance.
It is also to elicit proofs of our patience. This was the third virtue which accompanied the Canaanite woman’s prayer. Seeing her perseverance, the Saviour desired to prove her patience, too. By this virtue we maintain, as far as possible, equality of mind among the inequalities of this life.” (Sermon for Thursday after the First Sunday of Lent, 17 February 1622),
Quote/s of the Day – 27 February – Monday of the First Week in Lent – The Memorial of St Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows/Gabriel Possenti CP (1838-1862)
“By sin, O Jesus, I gave Thee Thy Death but I do not despair of Thy Forgiveness. Those Scourges call me, those Arms extended invite me that injured Heart offers me a secure shelter.”
“I will attempt, day by day, to break my will into pieces. I want to do God’s Holy Will, not my own.”
“Do not bestow your love on the world!”
“Love Mary!… She is loveable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you. She will even be at hand, to accompany you on the trip to eternity.”
(From a letter to his brother).
St Gabriel Francis Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862)
Our Morning Offering – 23 FebruaryAsh Thursday and The Memorial of St Peter Damian (1007-1072) Doctor of the Church
Have Mercy, Lord By St Peter Damian (1007-1072) Doctor of the Church
Have mercy, Lord, on all my friends and relatives, on all my benefactors, on all who pray to Thee for me and on all who have asked me to pray to Thee, for them. Give them the spirit of fruitful penance, mortify them in all vices and make them flower in all Thy virtues. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 2 February – The Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin – Candlemas – Malachias 3:1-4, Luke 2:22-32 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“The Lord, Whom you are seeking, will suddenly enter His Temple” – Malachias 3:1
REFLECTION – “Today the Virgin Mary brings the Lord of the Temple, into the Temple of the Lord. And Joseph, too, takes along there, to the Lord that Son Who is not his own but is the beloved Son in Whom God has set all His favour (Mt 3:17). Simeon, the just man, recognises the One for Whom he was waiting; Anna, the widow, gives Him praise. For the first time, a procession is celebrated on this day, by these four people, a procession that would subsequently be celebrated with joy, by the whole world… Do not be astonished that this procession is so small, since He is also very small Whom the temple receives. But there are no sinners in that place: all are righteous, all are Saints, all are perfect.
Are these the only ones you are going to save, Lord? Your Body is going to grow greater, Your tenderness will also increase… Now, I see a second procession, in which great crowds precede the Lord and crowds follow Him – it is no longer the Virgin who bears Him but a little donkey. So He despises no-one…, if at least those garments of apostles are not lacking them (Mt 21:7): their doctrine, habits and the charity which covers over a multitude of sins (1Pt 4:8). But I will go even further and say that He has saved a place in that procession for us as well… David, King and Prophet, rejoiced to see that day: “he saw it and was glad” (Jn 8:56). If he had not, would he have sung the words: “We have received, O God, Thy mercy in the midst of Thy Temple”? (Ps 47:8). David received this mercy from the Lord, Simeon received it and we, too, have received it as have all those predestined for life, since “Christ is the same today, yesterday and forever” (Heb 13:8)…
So let us take to ourselves this mercy we have received in the midst of the Temple and, like blessed Anna, let us not distance ourselves from it. For “God’s Temple is holy and you are that temple” says the Apostle Paul (1 Cor 3:17). This mercy is close to you; “the word of God is very close to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart” (Rm 10:8). Indeed, does not Christ dwell in your hearts by faith? (Eph 3:17) That is His Temple, that is His Throne… Yes, it is in our hearts that we receive mercy, in our hearts that Christ dwells, in our hearts He whispers words of peace to His people, His saints, everyone who returns to their heart!” – St Bernard (1090-1153) Cistercian Monk, known as the Last Father and the Mellifluous Doctor of the Church (1st sermon for the Purification).
PRAYER – Almighty, eternal God, we humbly beseech Thy Majesty that, as Thy Only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in the nature of our flesh, so may Thou grant us to be presented to Thee with purified minds. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Quote/s of the Day – 27 January – St John Chrysostom (347-407) Bishop, Confessor, Father and Doctor of the Church “Golden Mouthed.” – 2 Timothy 4:1-8, Matthew 5:13-19 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“If we approach with faith, we too will see Jesus… for the Eucharistic table takes the place of the crib. Here, the Body of the Lord is present, wrapped, not in swaddling clothes but in the rays of the Holy Spirit.”
“When you are before the Altar where Christ reposes, you ought no longer to think that you are amongst men but believe that there are troops of Angels and Archangels, standing with you and trembling with respect before the Sovereign Master of Heaven and earth. Therefore, when you are in Church, be there in silence, fear and veneration!”
“God defers hearing our prayers, not because He rejects them but, because He wishes to contrive to draw us to Himself. Do not cease praying until you are heard!”
“He errs who believes that he can overcome his sensual propensities and preserve chastity, by his own efforts. God’s mercy must extinguish nature’s ardour. Have recourse to the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin and rest assured, you will obtain this mercy.”
“Never separate yourself from the Church. No institution has the power of the Church. The Church is your hope. The Church is your salvation. The Church is your refuge.”
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