Posted in CONTEMPLATIVE Prayer, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on MEDITATION, QUOTES on SELF-DENIAL, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 4 April – St Isidore of Seville (c 560-636) Father & Doctor of the Church

Saint of the Day – 4 April – St Isidore of Seville (c 560-636) Father & Doctor of the Church, Creator of the first encyclopedia – often called “The Last Scholar of the Ancient World” and “The Schoolmaster of the Middle Ages.”   His most well known patronage is of computers and the internet (though not officially so_ – his full story with Patronages is here: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/saint-of-the-day-4-april-st-isidore-of-seville-father-and-doctor-of-the-church/ but today we will follow his life with Pope Benedict XVI during his Catechetical audiences on the Doctors of the Church.   This was given at St Peter’s on Wednesday, 18 June 2008.saint-isidore-of-sevilla-miguel-zitow wow header

He was a younger brother of St Leander (c 534-c 600) memorial 13 March, Archbishop of Seville and a great friend of St Pope Gregory the Great.   Pointing this out is important, because it enables us, to bear in mind, a cultural and spiritual approach, that is indispensable for understanding Isidore’s personality.   Indeed, he owed much to Leander, an exacting, studious and austere person who created around his younger brother a family context, marked by the ascetic requirements proper to a monk and from the work pace demanded, by a serious dedication to study.   Furthermore, Leander was concerned to have the wherewithal to confront the political and social situation of that time – in those decades in fact, the Visigoths, barbarians and Arians, had invaded the Iberian Peninsula and taken possession of territories that belonged to the Roman Empire.   It was essential to regain them for the Roman world and for Catholicism. Leander and Isidore’s home was furnished with a library richly endowed with classical, pagan and Christian works.   Isidore, who felt simultaneously attracted to both, was, therefore, taught under the responsibility of his elder brother, to develop a very strong discipline, in devoting himself to study with discretion and discernment.st Isidor_von_Sevilla murillo

Thus, a calm and open atmosphere prevailed in the episcopal residence in Seville.   We can deduce this from Isidore’s cultural and spiritual interests, as they emerge from his works themselves, which include an encyclopaedic knowledge of pagan classical culture and a thorough knowledge of Christian culture.   This explains the eclecticism characteristic of Isidore’s literary opus, who glided with the greatest of ease from Martial to Augustine, or from Cicero to Gregory the Great.   The inner strife that the young Isidore had to contend with, having succeeded his brother Leander on the episcopal throne of Seville in 599, was by no means unimportant.   The impression of excessive voluntarism that strikes one, on reading the works of this great author, considered to be the last of the Christian Fathers of antiquity, may, perhaps, actually be due to this constant struggle with himself.   A few years after his death in 636, the Council of Toledo in 653 described him as “an illustrious teacher of our time and the glory of the Catholic Church.”Saint-Isidore---stained-glass.md

Isidore was, without a doubt, a man of accentuated dialectic antitheses.   Moreover, he experienced a permanent inner conflict in his personal life, similar to that which Gregory the Great and St Augustine had experienced earlier, between a desire for solitud, to dedicate himself solely to meditation on the word of God and, the demands of charity to his brethren, for whose salvation, as Bishop, he felt responsible.   He wrote, for example, with regard to Church leaders:  “The man responsible for a Church (vir ecclesiasticus) must on the one hand allow himself to be crucified to the world, with the mortification of his flesh and, on the other, accept the decision of the ecclesiastical order – when it comes from God’s will – to devote himself humbly to government, even if he does not wish to”   (Sententiarum liber III, 33, 1: PL 83, col 705 B).   Just a paragraph later he adds:  “Men of God, (sancti viri), do not in fact desire to dedicate themselves to things of the world and groan when by some mysterious design of God they are charged with certain responsibilities….   They do their utmost to avoid them bu,t accept what they would like to shun and do what they would have preferred to avoid.    Indeed, they enter into the secrecy of the heart and seek there to understand what God’s mysterious will is asking of them.   And when they realise that they must submit to God’s plans, they bend their hearts to the yoke of the divine decision”   (Sententiarum liber III, 33, 3: PL 83, coll. 705-706).st isidore old image

To understand Isidore better, it is first of all, necessary, to recall the complexity of the political situations in his time to which I have already referred – during the years of his boyhood he was obliged to experience the bitterness of exile.   He was, nevertheless, pervaded with apostolic enthusiasm.   He experienced the rapture of contributing to the formation of a people, that was at last, rediscovering its unity, both political and religious, with the providential conversion of Hermenegild, the heir to the Visigoth throne, from Arianism to the Catholic faith.   Yet we must not underestimate the enormous difficulty of coming to grips with such very serious problems as were the relations with heretics and with the Jews.   There was a whole series of problems which appear very concrete to us today too, especially if we consider what is happening in certain region, in which we seem almost to be witnessing the recurrence of situations, very similar to those, that existed on the Iberian Peninsular, in that sixth century.   The wealth of cultural knowledge that Isidore had assimilated, enabled him to constantly compare the Christian newness with the Greco-Roman cultural heritage, however, rather than the precious gift of synthesis, it would seem that he possessed the gift of collatio, that is, of collecting, which he expressed in an extraordinary personal erudition, although it was not always ordered as might have been desired.Saint-Isidore-by-Ambrosius-Benson1530.md

In any case, his nagging worry not to overlook anything, that human experience had produced, in the history of his homeland and of the whole world, is admirable.   Isidore did not want to lose anything that man had acquired, in the epochs of antiquity, regardless of whether they had been pagan, Jewish or Christian.   Hence, it should not come as a surprise if, in pursuing this goal, he did not always manage to filter the knowledge he possessed sufficiently, in the purifying waters of the Christian faith as he would have wished.   The point is, however, that in Isidore’s intentions, the proposals he made, were always in tune with the Catholic faith, which he staunchly upheld.   In the discussion of the various theological problems, he showed, that he perceived their complexity and often astutely suggested solutions, that summarise and express, the complete Christian truth.   This has enabled believers through the ages and to our times, to profit, with gratitude, from his definitions.   A significant example of this is offered by Isidore’s teaching on the relations between active and contemplative life.   He wrote: “Those who seek to attain repose in contemplation must first train in the stadium of active life and then, free from the dross of sin, they will be able to display that pure heart which alone makes the vision of God possible” (Differentiarum Lib. II, 34, 133: PL 83, col 91A).   Nonetheless, the realism of a true pastor, convinced him of the risk the faithful run, of reducing themselves to one dimension.   He therefore added: “The middle way, consisting of both of these forms of life, normally turns out to be more useful in resolving those tensions, which are often aggravated, by the choice of a single way of life and are instead better tempered, by an alternation of the two forms” (op. cit. 134; ibid., col 91B).st isidore glass

Isidore sought in Christ’s example the definitive confirmation of a just orientation of life and said:   “The Saviour Jesus offers us the example of active life, when during the day He devoted Himself to working signs and miracles in the town but, He showed the contemplative life, when He withdrew to the mountain and spent the night in prayer” (op. cit. 134: ibid.).   In the light of this example of the divine Teacher, Isidore can conclude with this precise moral teaching:  “Therefore let the servant of God, imitating Christ, dedicate himself to contemplation without denying himself active life. Behaving otherwise, would not be right.   Indeed, just as we must love God in contemplation, so we must love our neighbour with action.   It is therefore impossible to live without the presence of both the one and the other form of life, nor can we live without experiencing both the one and the other” (op. cit., 135; ibid. col 91C).   I consider that this is the synthesis of a life that seeks contemplation of God, dialogue with God in prayer and in the reading of Sacred Scripture, as well as action at the service of the human community and of our neighbour.   This synthesis, is the lesson that the great Bishop of Seville has bequeathed to us, Christians of today, called to witness to Christ at the beginning of a new millennium.   Amen … Vatican.va

Pedro Duque Cornejo and Manuel Guerrero de Alca'ntara, St. Isido
St Isidore at Seville Cathedral
576px-San_Isidoro,_Portada_del_Bautismo_de_la_Catedral_de_Sevilla
St Isidore on the Facade of Seville Cathedral

Prayer for the Intercession of St Isidore
before accessing the Internet

Almighty and eternal God,
who created us in Thy image
and bade us to seek after all that is good,
true and beautiful,
especially in the divine person
of Thy only-begotten Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
grant we beseech Thee that,
through the intercession of Saint Isidore,
Bishop and Doctor,
during our journeys through the internet,
we will direct our hands and eyes
only to that which is pleasing to Thee
and treat with charity and patience,
all those souls whom we encounter.
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen

Orátio ante colligatiónem in interrete:
*Omnípotens aetérne Deus,
qui secúndum imáginem Tuam nos plasmásti
et omnia bona, vera, et pulchra,
praesértim in divína persóna Unigéniti Fílii Tui
Dómini nostri Iesu Chrísti, quaérere iussísti,
praesta, quaésumus,
ut, per intercessiónem Sancti Isidóri, Epíscopi et Doctóris,
in peregrinatiónibus per interrete,
et manus oculísque ad quae Tibi sunt plácita intendámus
et omnes quos convenímus cum caritáte ac patiéntia accipiámus.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.
Amen

prayer for the intercession of st isidore before internet - 4 april 2020

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FRANCISCAN OFM, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 4 April

St Isidore of Seville (c 560-636) Father & Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)
St Isidore’s life:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/saint-of-the-day-4-april-st-isidore-of-seville-father-and-doctor-of-the-church/

Bl Abraham of Strelna
St Agathopus of Thessalonica
St Aleth of Dijon
St Benedict of Sicily OFM (1526-1589)
About St Benedict:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/04/04/saint-of-the-day-4-april-st-benedict-of-sicily-o-f-m-1526-1589/

Bl Giuseppe Benedetto Dusmet OSB (1818-1894)
Biography:
https://anastpaul.com/2019/04/04/saint-of-the-day-4-april-blessed-giuseppe-cardinal-benedetto-dusmet-osb-1818-1894/
St Gwerir of Liskeard
St Henry of Gheest
St Hildebert of Ghent
St Peter of Poitiers
St Plato
St Theodulus of Thessalonica
St Theonas of Egypt
St Tigernach of Clogher
St Zosimus of Palestine

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2020, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HOLY SCRIPTURE, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 3 April – “Then they tried to seize him.”

One Minute Reflection – 3 April – Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Jeremiah 20:10-13, Psalm 18:2-7, John 10:31-42

“Then they tried to seize him.” … John 10:39

REFLECTION “If the Law calls them gods to whom the word of God came and scripture cannot be set aside,how can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?”   Yes indeed, if God has spoken to us so that we might be called ‘gods,’ how could the Word of God, the Word that is in God, not be God?   If we have been made sharers in His nature and have become gods because God speaks to us, how could this Word, through which this gift comes to us, not be God? …   As for you, you approach the Light and receive it and are counted among the children of God but if you draw back, you become dark and are counted among the children of darkness (cf. 1 Thes 5:5). …

“Believe the works, so that you may realise and understand, that the Father is in me and I in the Father.”   The Son of God does not say “the Father is in me and I in the Father” in the same sense as we are able to do.   In effect, if our thoughts are good, we are in God;  if our lives are holy, God is in us.   When we are sharers in His grace and enlightened by His light then we are in Him and He in us.   But … recognise what is proper to the Lord and what is a gift made to His servant.   What is proper to the Lord is His equality with the Father but the gift granted to His servant, is to participate in the Saviour.

“Then they tried to seize him.”   If only they had seized Him!   But by faith and intellect, not so as to mock and put him to death!   At this very moment, as I speak to you …, all of us, both you and I, are wanting to seize Christ.   To ‘seize’, what does that mean?   You have ‘seized’ when you have understood.   But Christ’s enemies were looking for something different.   You have seized in order to possess but they wanted to seize Him in order to get rid of Him.   And because this was how they wanted to seize Him, what does Jesus do?   “He escaped from their power.”   They were unable to seize Him because they did not have the hands of faith. …   We truly seize Christ if our minds grasp the Word.” … St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church – Sermons on the Gospel of John, no 48, 9-11john 10 39 then they tried to seize him - to seize what does that mean st augustine 3 april 2020

PRAYER – Holy Father, our Father, help us to lay down the stones of hate and embrace Your Son who stands before us in need.   Give us the hands of faith and minds to grasp the Word, teach us to see His Face in those who cry out to us.   Teach us compassion and love.   Mary, your Immaculate Heart is our school.   We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen.immaculate heart pray for us 3 april 2020

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2020, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 2 April – “Before Abraham was made, I am.” 

One Minute Reflection – 2 April – Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Genesis 17:3-9, Psalm 105:4-9, John 8:51-59

“Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I AM. ”   So they took up stones to throw at him but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. … John 8:58-59

REFLECTION – “Before Abraham was made, I am.”   Recognise the Creator-distinguish the creature.   He who spoke was made the seed of Abraham and that Abraham might be made, He Himself was before Abraham.
Hence, as if by the most open of all insults thrown at Abraham, they were now excited to greater bitterness.   Of a certainty it seemed to them, that Christ the Lord had uttered blasphemy in saying, “Before Abraham was made, I am.”   “Therefore took they up stones to cast at Him.”   To what could so great hardness have recourse, save to its like?   “But Jesus” [acts] as man, as one in the form of a servant, as lowly, as about to suffer, about to die, about to redeem us with His blood, not as He who is-not as the Word in the beginning and the Word with God.   For when they took up stones to cast at Him, what great thing were it had they been instantly swallowed up in the gaping earth and found the inhabitants of hell in place of stones?   It were not a great thing to God but better was it that patience should be commended than power exerted.   Therefore “He hid Himself” from them, that He might not be stoned.   As man, He fled from the stones but woe to those from whose stony hearts God has fled?”… St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctorjohn-8-58-59-and-they-picked-up-stones-as-a-man-jesus-fled-st-augustine-11-april-2019 and 2 april 2020

PRAYER – Lord God, break the bonds of our sin which our weakness have forged to enchain us and in Your loving mercy, forgive Your people’s guilt.   Never flee from us in our weakness O Lord and grant us Your salvation.   Help us Holy Mother to be the imitators of your Son.   Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God for all time and eternity, amen.blessed-virgin-mary-mother-of-god-pray-for-us-26-nov-2018 and 26 nov 2019

Posted in Act of SPIRITUAL COMMUNION, CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Devotion for the Month of April – The Blessed Sacrament

Devotion for the Month of April – The Blessed Sacrament

DEVOTION for april the BLessed SACRAMENT

Holy Thursday, the day on which Catholics celebrate the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion at the Last Supper, falls most often in April and so it is no surprise that the Catholic Church dedicates this month to devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
In these very sad times when we cannot attend the Passion week ceremonies, we need to focus our hearts and minds, much, much more on the Passion of Our Lord, on the Holy Eucharist and on our Communion with our Lord and Saviour.
Neither are we able to attend Eucharistic Adoration, live, though there are many ‘live’ opportunities online for both Holy Mass and Adoration.

This beautiful prayer by St John Damascene, with a slight adaptation, may be used as our Spiritual Communion.

God, my God, inextinguishable and invisible fire,
You make Your angels flaming fire.
Out of Your inexpressible love,
You have given me Your divine Flesh as food
and through this communion
of Your immaculate Body and precious Blood,
You receive me as a partaker of Your divinity.
Permeate all my body and soul, all my bones and sinews.
Consume my sins in fire.
Enlighten my soul and illumine my mind.
Sanctify my body and make Your abode in me,
together with Your blessed Father and all-holy Spirit,
that I may always abide in You,
through the intercession of Your immaculate Mother and all Your saints.
Amen
Prayer of St John Damascene (675-749)
Father and Doctor of the Churchconsume-my-sins-in-fire-...-and-make-your-abode-in-me-st-john-damascene-9-feb-2020 and 1 april 2020

Now, at least, in this great depredation we suffer, we might truly understand and agree with the words of St Claude:

If we only knew the treasure we hold in our hands!
St Claude de la Colombiere SJ (1641-1682)

“God is more honoured by a single Mass
than He could be by all the actions of angels and men together,
however fervent and heroic they might be.
Yet, how FEW, hear Mass
with the intention of giving God
this sublime honour!
How FEW think,
with joy on the glory, a Mass gives to God.
How FEW rejoice,
to possess the means of honouring Him
as He deserves! . . .
If we only knew the treasure we hold in our hands!”

Let us pray, all day, for the restoration of the Holy Mass!

god is more honoured by a single mass - st claude de la colombiere 1 april 2020

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2020, LENTEN PRAYERS & NOVENAS, LENTEN THOUGHTS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on FREEDOM, QUOTES on PRAYER, The WORD

Lenten Reflection – 1 April – Let us then recognise both our voice in His and His voice in ours. 

Lenten Reflection – 1 April – Wednesday of the Fifth week of Lent, Readings: Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95, Responsorial psalm Daniel 3:52-56, John 8:31-42

“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”

“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples
and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”…John 8:31-32

john-8-39-40-if-you-were-abrahams-children-wedfifthweeklent-10-april-2019 and 1 april 2020

Daily Meditation:
Enlighten our minds and sanctify our hearts.

“God could give no greater gift to men than to make His Word, through whom He created all things, their head and to join them to Him as His members, so that the Word might be both Son of God and son of man, one God with the Father and one man with all men.   The result is that when we speak with God in prayer, we do not separate the Son from Him and when the body of the Son prays, it does not separate its head from itself, it is the one Saviour of His body, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who prays for us and in us and is Himself the object of our prayers.
He prays for us, as our priest, He prays in us, as our head, He is the object of our prayers, as our God.
Let us then recognise both our voice in His and His voice in ours.   When something is said, especially in prophecy, about the Lord Jesus Chris,t that seems to belong to a condition of lowliness, unworthy of God, we must not hesitate to ascribe this condition to one who did not hesitate to unite Himself with us.   Every creature is His servant, for it was through Him that every creature came to be.” … Saint Augustine (354-430) Bishop and Great Western Father of the Church

he prays for us - st augustine - 1 april 2020

Intercessions:
Blessed be God, the giver of salvation,
who decreed that mankind should become a new creation in Himself,
when all would be made new.
With great confidence let us ask Him:
Lord, renew us in Your Spirit.

Lord, You promised a new heaven and a new earth,
renew us daily through Your Spirit,
– that we may enjoy Your presence forever in the heavenly Jerusalem.
Help us to work with You to make this world alive with Your Spirit,
– and to build on earth a city of justice, love and peace.
Free us from all negligence and sloth,
– and give us joy in Your gifts of grace.
Deliver us from evil,
– and from slavery to the senses,
which blinds us to Your love, freedom and truth.

Closing Prayer:

Grant that I may love You
and be loved by You
By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)

O God of love,
You are
and shall be forever,
the only delight of my heart
and the sole object of my affections.
Since Jesus said,
‘Ask and you shall receive,’
I do not hesitate to say,
‘Give me Your love
and Your grace.’
Grant that I may love You
and be loved by You.
I want nothing else.
Amen

grant-that-i-may-love-you-and-beloved-by-you-st-alphonsus-liguori-1-april-2019 and 1 april 2020

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, REDEMPTORISTS CSSR

Our Morning Offering – 1 April – The One Thing Necessary

Our Morning Offering – 1 April – Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

The One Thing Necessary
By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Most Zealous Doctor

O my God,
help me to remember,
that time is short, eternity long.
What good is all the greatness of this world
at the hour of death?
To love You, my God
and save my soul is the one thing necessary.
Without You, there is no peace of mind or soul.
My God, I need fear only sin
and nothing else in this life,
for to lose You, my God, is to lose all.
O my God, help me to remember,
that I came into this world with nothing,
and shall take nothing from it when I die.
To gain You, I must leave all.
But in loving You,
I already have all good things,
the infinite riches of Christ and His Church in life,
Mary’s motherly protection and perpetual help
and the eternal dwelling place Jesus has prepared for me.
Eternal Father, Jesus has promised
that whatever we ask
in His Name will be granted us.
In His Name, I pray,
give me a burning faith,
a joyful hope,
a holy love for You.
Grant me perseverance in doing Your will
and never let me be separated from You.
My God and my All,
make me a Saint.
Amenthe one thing necessary st alphonsus liguori 1 april 2020