Lenten Reflection – 14 March – Saturday of the Second Week of Lent, Readings: Micah 7:14-15, 18- 20, Psalm 103:1-4, 9-12, Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”
“Who is a God like you, who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but instead delights in mercy …” …Micah 7:18
“For what was it Jesus’ detractors said? “No man can forgive sins but God alone.” Inasmuch then, as they themselves laid down this definition, they themselves introduced the rule, they themselves declared the law. He then proceeded to entangle them by means of their own words. “You have confessed,” he says in effect, “that forgiveness of sins is an attribute of God alone; my equality therefore is unquestionable.” And it is not these men only who declare this but also the prophet Micah, who said, “Who is a God like you?” and then indicating his special attribute he adds, “pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression.” ... St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor
Let us always and everywhere give thanks to Christ our Saviour and ask him with confidence:
Lord, help us with Your grace.
May we keep our bodies pure,
– as temples of the Holy Spirit.
May we offer ourselves this day to the service of others,
– and do Your will in all things throughout the day.
Teach us to seek the bread of everlasting life,
– the bread that is Your gift.
May Your Mother, the refuge of sinners, pray for us,
– and gain for us Your loving forgiveness.
God of infinite love,
You shower me with limitless gifts in my life.
In my every thought and action today
guide me to the bright and loving light of Your kingdom.
Help me to be aware of
the many ways You allow me
to share in Your life so intimately today.
Thank You for the gifts You have placed in my life.
Let me be grateful every moment of this day.
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
“For us, a portion of God’s inheritance, is our existence, our freedom, our intellect, our accountability – all of these, are the most sublime goods imaginable, goods that only God could give us. That we, waste it all and end up in distress and that the distress brings us to our senses, is not really as significant, as the father’s vigil, compassion, extravagant greeting, refurbishing of the prodigal and the feast announced in his honour. Not even for the refractory and envious brother, does the father have a harsh word – he is not scolding him when he speaks to him, he merely speaks the full truth- whoever sticks by God, possesses everything in common with God!”
Servant of God Cardinal Hans Urs von Bathasar (1905-1988)
“You are always with me and all that is mine, is yours”
The Elder Brother’s Prayer
Teach me, my Lord,
to be sweet and gentle in all the events of life,
in the thoughtlessness of those I trusted,
in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied.
Let me put myself aside,
to think of the happiness of others,
to hide my little pains and heartaches,
so that I may be the only one to suffer from them.
Teach me to profit by the suffering
that comes across my path.
Let me so use it that it may make me
patient, not irritable.
That it may make me broad in my forgiveness,
not narrow, haughty and overbearing.
May no one be less good
for having come within my influence.
No one less pure, less true, less kind,
less noble for having been a fellow traveller
in our journey toward Eternal Life.
As I go my rounds from one distraction to another,
let me whisper from time to time,
a word of love to Thee.
May my life be lived in the supernatural,
full of power for good,
and strong in its purpose of sanctity.
One Minute Reflection – 14 March – Saturday of the Second Week of Lent, Readings: Micah 7:14-15, 18-20, Psalm 103:1-4, 9-12, Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
“Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him” … Luke 15:22
REFLECTION – “How many there are who, through repentance, have been worthy to receive the love You hold for humankind. You justified the anguished publican and the weeping woman who was a sinner (Lk 18:14; 7:50) for, through a predetermined design, You foresee and grant pardon. Convert me also together with them, You who desire that all should be saved.
My soul was soiled as it put on the garment of its sins (Gn 3:21). O let me make fountains flow from my eyes that I may purify it by repentance. Clothe me with the shining robe worthy of your wedding (Mt 22:12), You who desire that all should be saved (…).
O heavenly Father, have compassion for my cry as You did for the prodigal son for I, too, am throwing myself at Your feet and crying aloud as he cried: “Father, I have sinned!” Do not reject me, Your unworthy child, O my Saviour but cause Your angels to rejoice also on my behalf, O God of goodness who desire that all should be saved.
For You have made me Your child and Your own heir through grace (Rm 8,17). Yet as for me, because I have offended You, am here a prisoner, an unhappy slave sold over to sin! Take pity on Your own image (Gn 1,26) and call it back from exile, O Saviour, You who desire that all should be saved…
Now is the time for repentance… The words of Paul urge me to persevere in prayer (Col 4,2) and await You. Therefore, with trust I pray, for I well know Your mercy, I know You come the first towards me and I am calling out for help. Should You delay, it is to give me the reward for perseverance, You who desire that all should be saved.
Grant me always to extol You and give You glory by leading a life that is pure. Grant that my deeds may be in accord with my words that I may sing to You, Almighty… with pure prayer, Christ alone who desires that all should be saved.” … St Romanos Melodios (c 490-c 556) 1 October Monk, Composer of Hymns, Poet – Hymn 55
PRAYER – Almighty God, whose healing grace even here on earth, brings us the gifts of heaven, guide us in this present life to constantly seek You and to know You and to love You. Lead us to that Light in which You have Your dwelling. By following Your Son, faithfully bearing our crosses, may we be His light here on earth . And may Mary, the Blessed Mother of Sorrows, constantly be our succour and lead us to You. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for all ages, amen.
Quote of the Day – 13 March – Friday of the Second Week of Lent
“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 Onesimus the Slave
St Quinidius of Vaison St Sigfrid of Sweden (Died 11th Century) Apostle of Sweden
St Severus of Abruzzi
Martyrs of Antioch: 5 saints
A group of Christians murdered together. We know the names of five of them – Agapev, Baralo, Isicio, Joseph and Zosimus.
Martyrs of Passae:
Martyrs of Prague – 14 beati – Franciscan Friars Minor martyred together by a mob led by Lutherans –
Franciscan Friars Minor martyred together by a mob led by Lutherans.
• Blessed Antonín of Prague
• Blessed Bartolomeo Dalmasoni
• Blessed Bedrich Bachstein
• Blessed Christoffel Zelt
• Blessed Didak Jan
• Blessed Emmanuel of Prague
• Blessed Gaspare Daverio
• Blessed Giovanni Bodeo
• Blessed Girolamo degli Arese
• Blessed Jakob of Prague
• Blessed Jan of Prague
• Blessed Juan Martínez
• Blessed Klemens of Prague
• BlessedSimon of Prague
They were martyred on
• Shrove Tuesday 15 February 1611 at the Church of Our Lady of the Snows in Prague, Czech Republic
• body dumped nearby but given Christian burial on 19 February 1611 in the monastery
• re-interred in the side chapel of the church in 1616.
13 October 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI
Martyrs of Sweden:
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Bl Pere Vallmitjana Abarca
Second Thought for the Day – 8 February – The Memorial of Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus (1893-1983)
Extract from Blessed Esperanza’s Spiritual Testament
“In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, I write to my beloved sons and my beloved daughters this Testament.
I leave entrusted to the Most Holy Virgin, all my sons and daughters and my two beloved Congregations and all the poor people received in them.
I wish to leave to my sons and daughters the precious inheritance that I have, freely and without any merit, received from the Good Jesus.
Recommendations that I make to my beloved sons and to my beloved daughters:
Be humble, love one another, eradicate from your heart the rash judgements, never look for responsibilities or high positions, stay in the hands of obedience like little children; never have discussions or quarrels, never occupy yourselves with things for which you are not responsible, be very charitable and attached to prayer, because the means to obtain grace and glory is prayer; always follow the narrow path of mortification; work to acquire detachment and disdain with respect to yourselves; you will succeed in this with the knowledge of Our God, His love and the knowledge of your nothingness and your miseries; always and in everything, try to accomplish the Will of Our God and always seek His glory and not yours.
Keep yourselves free, my children, from all greed, try hard to have no attachment to earthly things, because the Son and Handmaid of Merciful Love must be occupied with charity, divine and spiritual things and you will arrive there easily if your hearts are strongly attached to the Good Jesus.
Walk with great attention in order to not become implicated in cares foreign to your vocation and to your state, never get involved in secular business contrary to your vocation, not even in the name of charity or prudence.
The Request I address to the Good Jesus, at the time of the death of my body and the life of my soul, by the mercy and the love of my God. I ask that the Good Jesus personally and the glory of God be the cause of the actions of all the sons and daughters and that He always be their Advocate and defend them against the enemies of the respective Congregations, always repeating in their favour: “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing!”
Jesus, at the time of death, see to it that all the sons and daughters can say, full of love and confidence, what I say to You in these moments, with hope in Your charity, love and mercy: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
Thought for the Day – 28 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Blessed are the Merciful
If we want God to show mercy to us, we must be merciful to those who are in material or spiritual distress.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7)
Let us recall the Gospel parable about the king who was making out the accounts of all his servants.
One man was brought before him who owed him the enormous sum of ten thousand talents.
He had no means of paying the debt.
In order to obtain at least some compensation, the king ordered that this servant should be sold, together with his wife and children.
But the servant wept and implored, so that the king was moved with pity and pardoned him completely.
When the servant had left the king’s presence, he met a fellow servant who owed him a small sum, namely, one hundred pieces of silver.
He threw himself angrily upon him immediately.
The unfortunate fellow began begging for mercy with tears in his eyes but, it was no use.
He was flung into prison and condemned to forced labour until such time as the debt would be paid.
Soon afterwards, the king came to hear of this incident.
He was furious with the cruel servant and ordered him to be put in prison and severely punished (Mt 18:23-25).
This parable refers to all of us.
What debts we have contracted before God!
Nevertheless, He is prepared to forgive us everything, provided that we are also merciful towards our fellowmen.
This should be a comforting assurance.
One Minute Reflection – 17 January – Friday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year A – Readings: 1 Samuel 8:4-7, 10-22, Psalm 89:16-19, Mark 2:1-12 and the Memorial of Blessed Teresio Olivelli (1916–1945) Martyr “Rebel for Love”
“My son, your sins are forgiven.” … Mark 2:5
REFLECTION – “Why are you downcast? See. Someone’s hands are fishy; a little oil makes them clean. How much more can God’s compassion purify you. For just as you have no difficulty in washing your garment, in the same way – and even more – it is not difficult for the Lord to wash you clean from all reproach, even if each day you naturally have to experience temptation. Indeed, the instant you say: “I have sinned against the Lord”, the response is given you: “Your sins are forgiven” (Mt 9:2). “It is I who wipe out and remember no more” (Is 43:25 LXX). As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed your sins. As a father has compassion on his children, I have had compassion on you” (Ps 102, 12-13 LXX).
Only do not keep away, or distance yourself, from He who has chosen you to sing and pray but all your life long, remain close to Him, either through pure confidence, or by a holy audacity and courageous confession. Then He will hear and purify you. Is He not God who has justified us in His love for human souls? Who will condemn us? (cf. Rm 8:33). If we invoke the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, our conscience is easily purified and nothing separates us from the prophets and other saints.
For God has not destined us for wrath but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us. So, whether we are awake in virtue, or asleep in some kind of woe, or are bearing certain circumstances according to nature, we will live with Christ (1 Thes 5:9-10), turning our eyes towards Him, sighing deeply, weeping constantly and only breathing Him. Let us then put on the breastplate of faith and wear the helmet of salvation (cf. 1 Thes 5:8) that the arrows of discouragement and despair may not penetrate us.” … John of Karpathos (7th Century) Monk and Bishop – Texts for the monks in India (The Philokalia)
PRAYER – Lord God, You hold out the light of Your Word to those who do not know You. Strengthen in our hearts, the faith You have given us, so that no trials may quench the fire Your Spirit has kindled within us. Grant us the grace of approaching You in sorrow and repentance, so that we may hear Your Word, “your sins are forgiven you, go and sin no more.” May the prayers of Blessed Teresio Olivelli, grants us eyes to see and ears to hear and strength to approach You. Through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 24 December – The Nativity of the Lord, Mass at Midnight
The Holy Eucharist and Hope
The greatest source of hope this side of eternity is the Sacrament of hope, the Sacrament of encounter with Christ that is the Holy Eucharist. The document of the Second Vatican Council that begins with the words “joy” and “hope,” Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution On The Church in the Modern World), says:
“Christ left to His followers a pledge of . . . hope and food for the journey in the sacrament of faith, in which natural elements, the fruits of human cultivation, are changed into His glorified body and blood, as a supper of brotherly and sisterly communion and a foretaste of the heavenly banquet (38).”
Those who frequent this Sacrament — receiving it often, if not daily — know that one of the fruits of the Sacrament, is the virtue of hope. Gaudium et Spes refers to this sacrament as a “pledge of hope and food for the journey” that Christ left to His followers.
This document of Vatican II opened with these words:
“The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Nothing that is genuinely human, fails to find an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community of people united in Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit in their pilgrimage towards the father’s kingdom, bearers of a message of salvation for all of humanity (1).”
In the general intercessions at Holy Mass, we bring the “joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted.” We name those needs and address them to God our Father, through the Son and in the power of the Holy Spirit. We know that those pleas to God register with Him, as they come directly to God through the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the compassionate and merciful heart of Christ.
When we bring our prayers and petitions to Holy Mass, we should trust that they are heard by God and that God will bring a most fitting response — in His good time, His unique way and His providential plan — to all the prayers of our hearts. We might take them to Christ, with the added prayer: “Jesus, I trust in you.”
“Let us, at this season, approach Him with awe and love, in whom resides all perfection and from whom we are allowed to gain it. Let us come to the Sanctifier to be sanctified…. May each Christmas, as it comes, find us more and more like Him, who as at this time became a little child for our sake, more simple-minded, more humble, more holy, more affectionate, more resigned, more happy, more full of God.”
Advent Reflection – 13 December – Friday of the Second week of Advent, Year A, Readings: Isaiah 48:17-19, Psalm 1:1-4, 6, Matthew 11:16-19
Let us adore the Lord, the king who is to come.
“For John came, neither eating nor drinking and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.” … Matthew 11:18-19
REFLECTION – “Saint John the Baptist was separated from the world. He was a Nazarite (Lk 1:15; Nb 6:2). He went out from the world and placed himself over against it… and called it to repentance. Then went out all Jerusalem to him into the desert (Mk 3:5) and he confronted it face to face. But in his teaching he spoke of One who should come to them and speak to them in a far different way. He should not separate Himself from them, He should not display Himself as some higher being but as their brother, as of their flesh and of their bones, as one among many brethren, as one of the multitude and amidst them; nay, He was among them already: “There hath stood in the midst of you, whom you know not” (Jn 1:26)…
At length Jesus begins to disclose Himself and to manifest His glory in miracles but where? At a marriage feast… And how? in adding to the wine… Now compare this with what He says in St Matthew’s Gospel of Himself: “John came neither eating nor drinking—The Son of man came eating and drinking and they say: Behold a man that is a glutton and wine-drinker.” John might be hated but he was respected; Jesus was despised…
This was, O dear Lord, because Thou so loved this human nature which Thou has created. Thou did not love us merely as Thy creatures, the work of Thy hands but as men. Thou love all, for Thou has created all but Thou love man more than all. How is it, Lord, that this should be? What is there in man, above others? “What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?” (Ps 8,5)… Thou did not take on Thee an angelic nature when Thou did manifest Thyself for our salvation, so too Thou would not come in any shape or capacity or office which was above the course of ordinary human life—not as a Nazarene, not as a Levitical priest, not as a monk, not as a hermit but in the fullness and exactness of that human nature, which, so much Thou love… in that very flesh which had fallen in Adam and with all our infirmities, all our feelings and sympathies, sin excepted.” … St John Henry Newman (1801-1890) – Meditations and Devotions, Part III, VII God with us 1
MEDITATION – Oh, if sinners knew My mercy, they would not perish in such great numbers. Tell sinful souls not to be afraid to approach Me, speak to them of My great mercy. . . . The loss of each soul plunges Me into mortal sadness. You always console Me when you pray for sinners. The prayer most pleasing to Me, is prayer for the conversion of sinners. Know, My daughter, that this prayer is always heard and answered. …St Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul, 1396-1397
ADVENT ACTION – With St Augustine we pray, “All my hope lies only in Your great mercy.”So, we turn in repentance and tell of His great love and mercy for us all, sinners though we are!
PRAYER – Lord, watch over Your people, who come to You in confidence. Strengthen the hearts of those who hope in You. Give courage to those who falter because of their failures. In this holy season of Advent, lead them closer to You in hope, by the power of Your Holy Spirit. May they one day proclaim Your saving acts of kindness in Your eternal kingdom. Through Christ, our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.
Advent Reflection – 12 December – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Readings: Zec 2:14-17, Book of Judith 13:18bcde.19, Luke 1:26-38
Let us adore the Lord, the king who is to come.
“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.” … Luke 1:31
REFLECTION – ““The Lord is near”, the Apostle Paul tells us
and nothing should perturb us. He is close by.
He is not alone but is with His Mother.
She said to St Juan Diego:
“Why are you afraid? Am I not here who am your Mother?”.
He is near. He and His Mother.
The greatest mercy lies in His being in our midst,
in our being in His presence and company.
He walks with us, He shows us the path of love,
He lifts us up when we fall and with such tenderness,
He supports us in our labours,
He accompanies us in every circumstance of life.
He opens our eyes to see our wretchedness
and that of the world but at the same time
He fills us with hope!” … Pope Francis, 12 December 2015
MEDITATION – “Even if the sins of souls will be as dark as night, when the sinner turns to My mercy, he gives Me the greatest praise and is the glory of my passion. When a soul praises My goodness, Satan trembles before it and flees to the very bottom of hell.” — St Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, 378
ADVENT ACTION – How can I lead someone to the mercy of Christ and His Mother?
PRAYER – Lord Jesus Christ my Lord, help me to become a devoted client of Your holy Mother Mary. Through Your grace, may I receive the spiritual strength she has promised to all her clients. May I, in simplicity, like St Juan Diego, become her vessel to share Your Light of Love and Mercy, throughout my world. Our Lady of Guadalupe Pray for us! Amen
Advent Reflection – 7 December – Saturday of the First week of Advent, Year A – Readings: Isaiah 30:19-21, 23-26, Psalm 147:1-6, Matthew 9:35–10:1, 5-8
Let us adore the Lord, the king who is to come.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. … Matthew 9:36
REFLECTION – “A person is counselled to his face, so to speak, when he is created for righteousness and receives the precepts of rectitude. When he despises these precepts, it is as if he is turning his back to his Creator’s face. But He still follows behind us and counsels us, that we have despised Him but He still does not cease to call us. We turn our backs on His face, so to speak, when we reject His words, when we trample His commandments underfoot but He who sees that we reject Him, still calls out to us by His commandments and waits for us by His patience, stands behind us and calls us back when we have turned away.” … St Gregory the Great (540-604) Father & Doctor of the Church – Forty Gospel Homilies, 34
MEDITATION – “The great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins or our indifference and, therefore, it is quite relentless in it’s determination, that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him.” … Prof C S Lewis (1898-1963)
ADVENT ACTION – Freely you have received, freely give – forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Let us offer our hand to those who hurt us.
PRAYER – Lord, to free man from his sinful state, You sent Your only Son into this world. Grant to us, who in faith and love, wait for His coming, Your gift of grace and the reward of true freedom. Be born in us O Lord! We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 7 November – Thursday of the Thirty First week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 15:1–10 and the Memorial of Saint Vincenzo Grossi (1845-1917)
“‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’”… Luke 15:6
“I have wandered in the desert,
Gone astray in the wilderness,
One among a hundred
As in the parable of the sheep.
The wicked enemy tore it to pieces,
He covered it with incurable wounds,
Hence there is no other cure for the wound
But You, to heal it.
In floods of tears I implore You,
I lift up my cries to my Lord:
O Good Shepherd, come down from heaven,
Go in search of the little flock.
Lord, seek out the fallen coin,
Your image that was lost (Gn 1:26),
That I trampled in the vice of sin
And the stinking mud.
Wash me, Lord, from my filth,
Make my soul pure, as the whiteness of snow (Is 1:18).
Make up the number of the ten coins
As You did for the forty saints [of Sebaste].
Carry me on Your shoulders,
O You who bore the Cross,
Be pleased to raise up my fallen soul.
Give joy to the heavenly host of angels
At the return of a single sinner.” … Saint Nerses Chnorhali (1102-1173), Armenian Bishop
PRAYER – Lord God, in Your wisdom, You created us, by Your providence You rule us, penetrate our inmost being with Your holy light, so that our way of life, may always be one of faithful service to You. With great love we thank You for the great gifts You shower upon us and for being our Father, who seeks and finds us when we are lost. Grant that by the intercession of St Vincenzo Grossi, we may ever seek to stay true to our baptism. Through Jesus, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 29 October – Tuesday of the Thirtieth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 13:18-21
Again he said, …”To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.” Luke 13:20
Excerpt – Part One
Year of Faith – How to speak about God?
Pope Benedict XVI Paul VI Audience Hall Wednesday, 28 November 2012
The important question we ask ourselves today is – how can we talk about God in our time? How can we communicate the Gospel so as to open roads to His saving truth in our contemporaries’ hearts — that are all too often closed — and minds — that are at times distracted by the many dazzling lights of society? Jesus, the Evangelists tell us, asked Himself about this as He proclaimed the kingdom of God – “With what can we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?” (Mk 4:30).
How can we talk about God today? The first answer is that we can talk about God because He has talked to us, so the first condition for speaking of God is listening to all that God Himself has said. God has spoken to us! God is therefore not a distant hypothesis concerning the world’s origin, He is not a mathematical intelligence far from us. God takes an interest in us, He loves us, He has entered personally into the reality of our history, He has communicated Himself, even to the point of taking flesh. Thus God is a reality of our life, He is so great that He has time for us too, He takes an interest in us. In Jesus of Nazareth we encounter the face of God, who came down from His heaven to immerse Himself in the human world, in our world, and to teach “the art of living”, the road to happiness, to set us free from sin and make us children of God (cf. Eph 1:5; Rom 8:14). Jesus came to save us and to show us the good life of the Gospel.
Talking about God means first of all expressing clearly what God we must bring to the men and women of our time, not an abstract God, a hypothesis but a real God, a God who exists, who has entered history and is present in history, the God of Jesus Christ as an answer to the fundamental question of the meaning of life and of how we should live. Consequently speaking of God demands familiarity with Jesus and His Gospel, it implies that we have a real, personal knowledge of God and a strong passion for His plan of salvation without succumbing to the temptation of success but following God’s own method. God’s method is that of humility — God makes Himself one of us — His method is brought about through the Incarnation in the simple house of Nazareth; through the Grotto of Bethlehem, through the Parable of the Mustard Seed.
We must not fear the humility of taking little steps but trust in the leaven that penetrates the dough and slowly causes it to rise (cf. Mt 13:33). In talking about God, in the work of evangelisation, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we must recover simplicity, we must return to the essence of the proclamation – the Good News of a God who is real and effective, a God who is concerned about us, a God-Love who makes Himself close to us in Jesus Christ, until the Cross and who, in the Resurrection, gives us hope and opens us to a life that has no end, eternal life, true life. – To be continued/…
Firmly I believe and truly St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
Firmly I believe and truly God is three and God is On And I next acknowledge duly Manhood taken by the Son. And I trust and hope most fully In that Manhood crucified And each thought and deed unruly Do to death, as He has died. Simply to His grace and wholly Light and life and strength belong And I love, supremely, solely, Him the holy, Him the strong.
And I hold in veneration, For the love of Him alone, Holy Church, as His creation, And her teachings, as His own. And I take with joy whatever Now besets me, pain or fear And with a strong will I sever All the ties which bind me here. Adoration aye be given, With and through the angelic host, To the God of earth and heaven, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Quote/s of the Day – 27 October – Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 18:9–14
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’
“If you wish to reach high, then begin at the lowest level. If you are trying to construct some mighty edifice in height, you will begin with the lowest foundation. This is humility. However great the mass of the building you may wish to design or erect, the taller the building is to be, the deeper you will dig the foundation. The building in the course of its erection, rises up high but he who digs its foundation, must first go down very low. So then, you see even a building is low before it is high and the tower is raised, only after humiliation.”
St Augustine (354-430)
Father & Doctor (Sermon 69)
“The three most important virtues are: humility, humility and humility.”
St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
Doctor of the Church
“For it is well known, that, on the spiritual road, not to go on, overcoming self, is to go backwards and not to increase our gain, is to lose.”
St John of the Cross (1542-1591)
Doctor of the Church
“We are ever but beginning, the most perfect Christian, is to himself but a beginner, a penitent prodigal who has squandered God’s gifts and comes to Him, to be tried over again, not as a son but as a hired servant.”
One Minute Reflection – 27 October – Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 18:9–14
‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ … Luke 18:13
REFLECTION – “The Gospel of the two men praying in the temple, the Pharisee and the tax collector, reveals to what kind of prayer penetrates to God.
We notice a difference even in their respective postures. The one stands “with unbowed head” as if the temple belongs to him, while the other “keeps his distance,” as if he has crossed the threshold of a house in which he really does not belong.
The first one prays “to himself,” really, not even praying to God but reviewing for himself the list of his virtues assuming that, when God Himself notices them, He will respect them and marvel at them. Moreover, this man catalogues his virtues as a means of setting himself off from “other men,” none of whom have attained his level of perfection. He is travelling the road of “self-discovery,” which is precisely the path of “loss of God.” The other man can only discover sin in himself, can only find himself devoid of God, which, as he pleads, “be merciful to me,” turns into an empty place for God to occupy. No-one, whose ultimate goal is his own perfection, will ever find God.
Anyone who has the humility to permit God’s perfection to take effect in his emptiness – not by being passive but by working with the talent He gives him – will be considered a “justified” person in the sight of God.” … Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988)
PRAYER – Lord God, deepen our faith, strengthen our hope, enkindle our love and so that we may obtain what You promise, make us love what You command. Mary, holy Mother, teach us complete humility and trust, help us to be a total fiat as you are. We make our prayer, through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 26 October – Saturday of the Twenty Ninth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 13:1-9 and the Memorial of Blessed Bonaventura of Potenza OFM Conv (1651-1711)
And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and I find none. Cut it down, why should it use up the ground?’…Luke 13:7
REFLECTION – “The Lord also has something very fitting to say about a fruitless tree, “Look, it is now three years that I have been coming to it. Finding no fruit on it, I will cut it down, to stop it blocking up my field.” The gardener intercedes. This tree is the human race. The Lord visited this tree in the time of the patriarchs, as if for the first year. He visited it in the time of the law and the prophets, as if for the second year. Here we are now, with the gospel the third year has dawned. Now it is as though it should have been cut down but the Merciful One intercedes with the Merciful One. He wanted to show how merciful He was and so He stood up to Himself with a plea for mercy. “Let us leave it,” he says, “this year too. Let us dig a ditch around it.” Manure is a sign of humility. “Let us apply a load of manure, perhaps it may bear fruit.” Since it does bear fruit in one part and in another part does not bear fruit, its Lord will come and divide it. What does that mean, “divide it”? There are good people and bad people now in one company, as though constituting one body.” … St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor (Sermon 254)
PRAYER – Come to help us in our weakness, God of mercy, forgive the sins of Your people and as nothing we can do is worthy in Your sight, save us through the intercession of the Mother of our Lord, Jesus Christ. May the prayers of all your saints and we entreat Your servant, Blessed Bonaventura of Potenza to add his prayers on our behalf. We make our prayer through Jesus with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 24 October – Thursday of the Twenty Ninth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 12:49-53 and the Memorial of St Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870)
“I came to cast fire upon the earth” …Luke 12:49
REFLECTION – “The fire that Jesus speaks of, is the fire of the Holy Spirit, the presence living and working in us from the day of our Baptism. It — the fire — is a creative force that purifies and renews, that burns all human misery, all selfishness, all sin, which transforms us from within, regenerates us and makes us able to love. If we open ourselves completely to the action of this fire, … He will give us the boldness and the fervour to proclaim, to everyone, Jesus and His consoling message of mercy and salvation, navigating on the open sea, without fear.” … Pope Francis – Angelus, 14 August 2016
O Spirit of God, Spirit of love and of mercy,
Who pours into my heart the balm of trust,
Your grace confirms my soul in what is good,
Giving it an invincible strength – constancy!
O Spirit of God, Spirit of peace and of joy,
Who comforts my thirsting heart,
Pour into it the living spring of divine love
And make it dauntless in battle.
O Spirit of God, my soul’s most lovable guest,
I, for my part, desire to be faithful to You
In days of joy, as much as in days of suffering.
Spirit of God, I desire to live always in Your presence.
O Spirit of God who penetrates my being
And lets me know Your divine and Trinitarian life,
You initiate me to Your divine Being;
Thus united with You, I have eternal life. … St Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938)
Thought for the Day – 24 October – The Feast of the Holy Redeemer
St John Paul II from ‘Redemptor Hominis’ his first Enycyclical, ‘The Redeemer of Humankind.’ In it he dealt with the core of our faith, the Person of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the World.
10 . The human dimension of the mystery of the Redemption
We cannot live without love. We remain beings that are incomprehensible for ourselves, our lives are senseless, if love is not revealed to us, if we do not encounter love, if we do not experience it and make it our own, if we do not participate intimately in it. This, as has already been said, is why Christ the Redeemer “fully reveals man to himself”, ‘fully reveals us to ourselves’.
If we may use the expression, this is the human dimension of the mystery of the Redemption. In this dimension we find again the greatness, dignity and value that belong to our humanity.
In the mystery of the Redemption we become newly “expressed” and, in a way, are newly created. We are newly created! “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”64.
If we wish to understand ourselves thoroughly-and not just in accordance with immediate, partial, often superficial and even illusory standards and measures of his being-we must with our unrest, uncertainty and even our weakness and sinfulness, with our life and death, draw near to Christ. We must, so to speak, enter into Him with all His own self, we must “appropriate” and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find ourselves. If this profound process takes place within us, we then bear fruit not only of adoration of God but also of deep wonder at ourselves.
How precious must we be in the eyes of the Creator, if we “gained so great a Redeemer” and if God “gave his only Son “in order that we “should not perish but have eternal life”.
God does not leave us groping in the dark. He has shown Himself to us as a man. In His greatness, He has let Himself become small. ... Pope Benedict XVI
Pardon us, O Lord, Pardon us By William of Saint-Thierry OSB, O.Cist. (c 1075-1148) Abbot, Monk, Theologian, Mystic, Writer Friend of St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
Pardon us, O Lord, pardon us.
We beg to shift the blame for our sins,
we make excuses.
But no-one can hide
from the Light of Your Truth,
which both enlightens those,
who turn to it and exposes those,
who turn away.
Even our blood and our bones
are visible to You,
who created us out of dust.
How foolish we are,
to think that we can rule our own lives,
satisfying our own desires,
without thought of You.
How stupid we are,
to imagine that we can keep our sins hidden.
But although we may deceive other people,
we cannot deceive You.
And since You see into our hearts,
we cannot deceive ourselves,
for Your Light reveals to us,
our own spiritual corruption.
Let us, therefore, fall down before You,
weeping with tears of shame.
May Your judgement,
give new shape to our souls.
May Your power, mould our hearts
to reflect Your love.
May Your grace, infuse our minds,
so that our thoughts reflect Your Will.
One Minute Reflection – 24 October – Wednesday of the Twenty Ninth week in Ordinary Time Year C, Gospel: Luke 12:39-48 and The Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer
“Everyone to whom much is given, of him will much be required”…Luke 12:48
REFLECTION – “In various ways the Gospel modifies the challenge to Christians to live in a constant state of departing.
The more richly God has endowed Christians with gifts and thereby with assignments, the more God varies the requirement to live “underway.”
God’s assignments are carried out best if His servant, never loses sight of the fact, that he might be called to account at any moment – in other words – if every temporal moment is lived and shaped directly in and toward the light of eternity. If he forgets this immediacy, he has forgotten the content of his earthly mission and the justice and righteousness it incorporates (“he begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants”). It now becomes clear, that this justice-righteousness, can only be retained if the believer looks beyond the world to the requirements of eternal justice-righteousness, which is not merely an “idea” but is the living Lord, for whose appearance, all of the world history waits!” … Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988)
PRAYER – Heavenly Father, help me to keep my death constantly before my eyes, for this is my final account. pray You for a holy life that my death may be holy and that I may come to You and live for all eternity with You. hen my hour is come, bid me come to You, Lord. ear the prayers of the Blessed Virgin, our Mother and your saints, who lived each moment of their lives for the glory of Your Kingdom. e ask this through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner!
One Minute Reflection – 9 October – Wednesday of the Twenty Seventh Week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 11:1–4 and the Memorial of Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
“Father, hallowed be thy name.”…Luke 11:2
REFLECTION – “Thou art all-holy, yet I come before Thee. I place myself, under Thy pure and piercing eyes which look me through and through and discern every trace and every motion of evil within me. Why do I do so?
First of all, for this reason. To whom should I go? What can I do better? Who is there in the whole world that can help me? Who that will care for me, or pity me, or have any kind thought of me, if I cannot obtain it of Thee? I know Thou art of purer eyes than to behold iniquity but I know again, that Thou art all-merciful and that Thou so sincerely desires my salvation, that Thou has died for me. Therefore, though I am in a great strait, I will rather fall into Thy hands, than into those of any creature ….
I have an instinct within me, which leads me to rise and go to my Father, to name the Name of His well-beloved Son and having named it, to place myself, unreservedly in His hands, saying “if Thou, Lord, will mark iniquity, Lord, who shall stand it? For with Thee, there is merciful forgiveness.” … Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)To My Father
PRAYER – Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. And grant us Lord, our Father, that the prayers of Blessed John Henry Newman, the Blessed Virgin Mary and all our holy saints, may help us in our needs. We make our prayer, through Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 5 October – The Memorial of St Maria Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938)
And you, Faustina, a gift of God to our time, a gift from the land of Poland to the whole Church, obtain for us an awareness of the depth of divine mercy, help us to have a living experience of it and to bear witness to it among our brothers and sisters.
May your message of light and hope spread throughout the world, spurring sinners to conversion, calming rivalries and hatred and opening individuals and nations to
the practice of brotherhood.
Today, fixing our gaze with you on the Face of the risen Christ, let us make our own your prayer of trusting abandonment and say with firm hope:
Christ Jesus, I trust in you! Jezu, ufam tobie!
(From St John Paul’s Canonisation Homily, St Peter’s Square, 30 April 2000)
The red and pale white rays, emanating from the Heart of Jesus, in the Image of Divine Mercy represent the blood and water, which gushed forth from His pierced Heart on Good Friday. Jesus asked that all who venerate His mercy, honour His Passion, by remembering Him with this prayer, at 3 O’Clock in the afternoon.
Divine Mercy 3 O’Clock Prayer St Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938)
You expired, O Jesus,
but the source of life
gushed forth for souls
and an ocean of mercy
opened up for the whole world.
O Fount of Life,
unfathomable Divine Mercy,
envelop the whole world
and empty Yourself out upon us.
O Blood and Water,
which gushed forth
from the Heart of Jesus
as a fount of mercy for us,
I trust in You.
Quote/s of the Day – 5 October – The Memorial of St Maria Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938)
“Oh, how great, is the goodness of God, greater than we can understand. There are moments and there are mysteries, of the Divine Mercy over which, the heavens are astounded. Let our judgement of souls cease, for God’s mercy upon them, is extraordinary.”
“I know well that the greater and more beautiful the work is, the more terrible will be the storms, that rage against it.”
Saint of the Day – 5 October – Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938) Maria Faustyna Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament “Apostle of Divine Mercy”, “Secretary of Divine Mercy”, Virgin, Religious, Mystic – born “Helena” on 25 August 1905 at Glogowiec, Poland as Elena (Helena) Kowalska and died on 5 October 1938 at Krakow, Poland of tuberculosis.
Sister Mary Faustina, an apostle of the Divine Mercy, belongs today to the group of the most popular and well-known saints of the Church. Through her, the Lord Jesus communicates to the world, the great message of God’s mercy and reveals the pattern of Christian perfection, based on trust in God and on the attitude of mercy toward one’s neighbours.
She was born on 25 August 1905 in Gogowiec in Poland of a poor and religious family of peasants, the third of ten children. She was baptised with the name Helena in the parish Church of Ðwinice Warckie. From a very tender age she stood out because of her love of prayer, work, obedience and also her sensitivity to the poor. At the age of nine she made her first Holy Communion, living this moment very profoundly in her awareness of the presence of the Divine Guest within her soul. She attended school for three years . At the age of sixteen she left home and went to work as a housekeeper in order to find the means of supporting herself and of helping her parents.
At the age of seven she had already felt the first stirrings of a religious vocation. After finishing school, she wanted to enter the convent but her parents would not give her permission. Called during a vision of the Suffering Christ, on 1 August 1925 she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and took the name Sister Maria Faustina. She lived in the Congregation for thirteen years and lived in several religious houses. She spent time at Kraków, Pock and Vilnius, where she worked as a cook, gardener and porter.
Externally, nothing revealed her rich mystical interior life. She zealously performed her tasks and faithfully observed the rule of religious life. She was recollected and at the same time very natural, serene and full of kindness and disinterested love for her neighbour. Although her life was apparently insignificant, monotonous and dull, she hid within herself an extraordinary union with God.
It is the mystery of the Mercy of God which she contemplated in the word of God, as well as in the everyday activities of her life, that forms the basis of her spirituality. The process of contemplating and getting to know the mystery of God’s mercy, helped develop within Sr Faustina the attitude of child-like trust in God as well as mercy toward the neighbours. “O my Jesus, each of Your saints reflects one of Your virtues; I desire to reflect Your compassionate heart, full of mercy, I want to glorify it. Let Your mercy, O Jesus, be impressed upon my heart and soul like a seal and this will be my badge in this and the future life” (Diary 1242).
Sister Faustina was a faithful daughter of the Church which she loved like a Mother and a Mystic Body of Jesus Christ. Conscious of her role in the Church, she co-operated with God’s mercy in the task of saving lost souls. At the specific request of and following the example of the Lord Jesus, she made a sacrifice of her own life for this very goal. In her spiritual life she also distinguished herself with a love of the Eucharist and a deep devotion to the Mother of Mercy.
The years she had spent at the convent were filled with extraordinary gifts, such as: revelations, visions, hidden stigmata, participation in the Passion of the Lord, the gift of bilocation, the reading of human souls, the gift of prophecy, or the rare gift of mystical engagement and marriage. The living relationship with God, the Blessed Mother, the Angels, the Saints, the souls in Purgatory — with the entire supernatural world — was as equally real for her, as was the world she perceived with her senses . In spite of being so richly endowed with extraordinary graces, Sr Faustina knew that they do not in fact constitute sanctity. In her Diary she wrote: “Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God.” (Diary 1107).
The Lord Jesus chose Sr Maria Faustina as the Apostle and “Secretary” of His Mercy, so that she could tell the world about His great message. “In the Old Covenant — He said to her — I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart.” (Diary 1588).
The mission of Sister Mary Faustina consists in 3 tasks:
– reminding the world of the truth of our faith revealed in the Holy Scripture about the merciful love of God toward every human being.
– Entreating God’s mercy for the whole world and particularly for sinners, among others through the practice of new forms of devotion to the Divine Mercy presented by the Lord Jesus, such as – the veneration of the image of the Divine Mercy with the inscription: Jesus, I Trust in You, the feast of the Divine Mercy celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter, chaplet to the Divine Mercy and prayer at the Hour of Mercy (3 p.m.). The Lord Jesus attached great promises to the above forms of devotion, provided one entrusted one’s life to God and practised active love of one’s neighbour.
– The third task in Sr Faustina’s mission consists in initiating the apostolic movement of the Divine Mercy which undertakes the task of proclaiming and entreating God’s mercy for the world and strives for Christian perfection, following the precepts laid down by the Blessed Sr Faustina. The precepts in question require the faithful to display an attitude of child-like trust in God, which expresses itself in fulfilling His will, as well as in the attitude of mercy toward one’s neighbours. Today, this movement within the Church involves millions of people throughout the world, it comprises religious congregations, lay institutes, religious, brotherhoods, associations, various communities of apostles of the Divine Mercy, as well as individual people who take up the tasks which the Lord Jesus communicated to them through Sr Faustina.
The mission of the Blessed Sr Faustina was recorded in her Diary which she kept at the specific request of the Lord Jesus and her confessors. In it, she recorded faithfully all of the Lord Jesus’ wishes and also described the encounters between her soul and Him. “Secretary of My most profound mystery— the Lord Jesus said to Sr Faustina — know that your task is to write down everything that I make known to you about My mercy, for the benefit of those who by reading these things will be comforted in their souls and will have the courage to approach Me.” (Diary 1693).
In an extraordinary way, Sr Faustina’s work sheds light on the mystery of the Divine Mercy. It delights, not only the simple and uneducated people but also scholars, who look upon it as an additional source of theological research. The Diary has been translated into many languages, among others, English, German, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, Hungarian, Czech and Slovak.
Sister Maria Faustina, consumed by tuberculosis and by innumerable sufferings which she accepted as a voluntary sacrifice for sinners, died in Krakow at the age of just thirty three on 5 October 1938 with a reputation for spiritual maturity and a mystical union with God. The reputation of the holiness of her life grew as did the cult to the Divine Mercy and the graces she obtained from God through her intercession. In the years 1965-67, the investigative Process into her life and heroic virtues was undertaken in Krakow and in the year 1968, the Beatification Process was initiated in Rome. The latter came to an end in December 1992. On 18 April 1993 our Holy Father St John Paul II raised Sister Faustina to the glory of the altars. Sr Faustina’s remains rest at the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy in Kraków-Łagiewniki, where she spent the end of her life and met confessor Józef Andrasz who also supported the message of mercy. . … Vatican.va
St Faustina was Canonised by St Pope John Paul on 30 April 2000.
Our Morning Offering – 30 September – Monday of the Twenty Sixth week in Ordinary Time, Year C and The Memorial of St Jerome (347-419) Father and Doctor of the Church
O Lord, show Your mercy to me By St Jerome (347-419)
O Lord, show Your mercy to me
and gladden my heart.
I am like the man on the way to Jericho
who was overtaken by robbers,
wounded and left for dead.
O Good Samaritan,
come to my aid.
I am like the sheep that went astray.
O Good Shepherd,
seek me out and bring me home
in accord with Your will.
Let me dwell in Your house
all the days of my life
and praise You for ever and ever
with those who are there.
Quote/s of the Day – 23 September – The Memorial of St Padre Pio (1887-1968)
“Keep close to the Catholic Church at all times, for the Church alone can give you true peace, since she alone possesses Jesus, the true Prince of Peace, in the Blessed Sacrament.”
“Every Holy Mass, heard with devotion, produces in our souls marvellous effects, abundant spiritual and material graces which we, ourselves, do not know… It is easier for the earth to exist without the sun than without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!”
“Remember – the sinner, who is sorry for his sins, is closer to God, than the just man, who boasts of his good works.”
“If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
“The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self: there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection, except at the price of pain.”
“My past, O Lord, to Your mercy, my present, to Your love, my future, to Your Providence.”
Thought for the Day – 17 September – Tuesday of the Twenty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C and the Memorial of Saint Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski (1822-1895)
From a young age, the life of Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński was marked by his striving after sanctity. Christ was for him “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” He wanted to achieve such a degree of unity with God so as to say after Saint Paul: I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me.
He was marked by unfaltering faith and utter trust in Providence. He always placed love of God and Church, devotion to his country and respect for all people in the first place. His great integrity, fortitude and justice were characteristic features of his spirituality. Apart from that, he was full of devotion and mercy marked by Franciscan cheerfulness, humility and straightforwardness – work and poverty. He was described as “the pride of the Polish episcopate”, “martyr”, “faithful son of the Church”.
Also nowadays, we can take the refreshing spirit and light from the treasury of his life. The Canonisation of the Shepherd-Exile encourages reflection on one’s own way of life, family and its revival, the building of the common house, the homeland, under God’s providential care and that of His Holy Mothe and ours.
During his Canonisation homily, on 11 October 2009, Pope Benedict said:
Archbishop of Warsaw, the Founder of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary, was a great witness of faith and pastoral charity in very troubled times for the nation and for the Church in Poland. He zealously concerned himself with the spiritual development of the faithful, he helped the poor and orphans. At the Ecclesiastical Academy in St Petersburg he saw to the sound formation of priests and as Archbishop of Warsaw he instilled in everyone the desire for inner renewal. Before the January 1863 Uprising against Russian annexation he put the people on guard against useless bloodshed. However, when the rebellion broke out and there were repressions he courageously defended the oppressed. On the Tsar of Russia’s orders he spent 20 years in exile at Jaroslaw on the Volga, without ever being able to return to his diocese. In every situation he retained his steadfast trust in Divine Providence and prayed: “O God, protect us not from the tribulations and worries of this world… only multiply love in our hearts and obtain that in deepest humility, we may keep our infinite trust in Your help and Your mercy”.
Today his gift of himself to God and to humankind, full of trust and love, becomes a luminous example for the whole Church.
One Minute Reflection – 15 September – Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 15:1–32 and the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ ... Luke 15:6
REFLECTION – “Since man’s weakness is incapable of maintaining a firm step in this changing world, the good doctor shows you a remedy against going astray and the merciful judge does not withhold hope of forgiveness. It is not without reason that Saint Luke put forward three parables in succession – the sheep who strayed and was found again; the coin that was lost and found; the son who died and came back to life. This is so that this threefold remedy will urge us to take care of our wounds… The weary sheep is brought back by the shepherd, the lost coin is found, the son turns back and returns to his father, repenting of his waywardness…
Let us rejoice, then, in that this sheep, which went astray in Adam, has been raised up again in Christ. Christ’s shoulders are the arms of the cross, there it is that I have laid down my sins, on that gallows I have found my rest. This “sheep” is one according to its nature but not in personality, since all form a single body composed of many in members. That is why it is written: “You are Christ’s body and individually parts of it,” (1Cor 12:27). “The Son of Man has come to save what was lost” (Lk 19:10), that is to say everyone, since “just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life” (1Cor 15:22)…
Nor, is it irrelevant, that the woman rejoices to have found her coin – it is no small thing, this coin on which is portrayed the image of a prince. In the same way, the good of the Church is the image of the King. We are sheep, let us then pray the Lord to lead us to restful waters (Ps 22:2). We are sheep, let us ask for pasture. We are the coin, let us keep our value. We are sons, let us run to the Father.” … St Ambrose (340-397) – Bishop of Milan, Father & Doctor of the Church – On St Luke’s Gospel, 7, 207 (SC 52)
PRAYER – Look upon us Lord, creator and ruler of the whole world, grant us the grace to serve You with all our heart, that we may come to know, the power of Your forgiveness and love. Our Father, when Jesus Your Son, was raised up on the Cross, it was Your will that Mary, His Mother, should stand there and suffer with Him in her heart. Grant that in union with her, the Church may share in the passion of Christ and so be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Be our intercessor and our consolation, Our Lady of Sorrows! We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 31 August – Saturday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 25:14–30
“And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness,
there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’” ... Matthew 25:30
Christ will Impose a Reckoning on me
Saint Gertrude of Helfta “the Great” (1256-1301)
Benedictine nun Exercises VII, SC 127
Behold, I become passionately alarmed by what I have committed, I blush very much at what I have omitted, I become exceedingly frightened at the wastefulness of my life. I fear, that future investigation, at which Christ, a noble man, will impose a reckoning on me.
If He wanted to exact a deposit from me for my time and interest from the talent of understanding He conferred on me, I would, in short, not find any worthy answer for Your charity. What will I do? Where will I turn? I lack the strength to dig, I should blush to beg. (Lk 16:3) O Loving-kindness. Loving-kindnes,. speak up now, may Your dulcet counsel, I entreat You, warm my spirit back to life. Ah, answer me – what does it seem to You I should do in this [situation), for according to Your name You have a truly loving and kind heart and You know best what may be expedient for me in all this. Ah, pardon me and bring me help and in this tribulation, do not be detached from me. Let the poverty of my spirit move You and, touched by the compassion of Your heart, say to me with loving-kindness: “May there be one purse for me and You.” (Prv 1:14)
O Loving-kindness, Loving-kindness, You have stored up with Yourself riches so immeasurable, that heaven and earth do not suffice to contain them. You have driven my Jesus to give His soul for my soul, His life for mine, so that You might make everything that was His, mine and thus, out of your abundance, this pauper’s substance might increase. Ah, call my starved soul to Your food supply, so that in this life, I may live from Your riches and, reared by You and nourished by You, may not grow faint under the discipline of the Lord until at length, under Your guidance, I turn back to my God and give my spirit back to Him who gave it. (Eccl 12:7)
Quote of the Day – 16 August – Friday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C and The Memorial of St Stephen of Hungary (c 975- 1038)
“We are ever but beginning, the most perfect Christian, is to himself but a beginner, a penitent prodigal who has squandered God’s gifts and comes to Him, to be tried over again, not as a son but as a hired servant.”
Sunday Reflection – 7 July – Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
“I Will Give You Rest”
“I will give you rest.
This is what Jesus did during His mortal life and this is what He still does in His continuing life in His Church.
How strongly and gently He received, corrected and raised up Mary of Magdala, Matthew, Peter and Paul!
With what humility and love He continues to receive countless millions of souls in the Eucharistic Communion which marks the highest point of union between the human and the divine!”