One Minute Reflection – 28 January – Memorial of St Peter Nolasco (c 1182–c 1256) Confessor – 1 Cor. 4:9-14, Luke 12:32-34
“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” – Luke 12:34
REFLECTION – “All this is what that treasure brings about. Either through almsgiving, it raises the heart of a man into Heaven, or through greed it buries it in the earth. That is why He said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” O man, send your treasure on, send it ahead into Heaven, or else your God-given soul will be buried in the earth! Gold comes from the depth of the earth — the soul, from the highest Heaven. Clearly it is better ,to carry the gold to where the soul resides, than to bury the soul, in the mine of the gold. That is why God orders those who will serve in His Army here below, to fight as men stripped of concern for riches and unencumbered by anything. To these He has granted the privilege of reigning in Heaven.” – St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) Bishop of Ravenna, “Doctor of Homilies” Father and Doctor of the Church (Sermon 22)
PRAYER – O God, You Who, as an example of Your love, divinely taught St Peter to enrich Your Church with new offspring, a family of Religious devoted to the ransom of the faithful, grant by his intercession, that we may be released from the slavery of sin and rejoice in lasting freedom in heaven. 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.
Our Morning Offering – 28 January – Memorial of St Peter Nolasco (c 1182–c 1256) Confessor
Before Jesus Crucified (Sweet Jesus, Please Abide with Me!) By Blessed Titus Brandsma (1881-1942) Martyr
Dear Lord, when looking up at Thee, I see Thy loving eyes on me, Love overflows my humble heart, Knowing what a faithful friend Thou are. A cup of sorrow I foresee, Which I accept for love of Thee, Thy painful way I wish to go, The only way to God I know. My soul is full of peace and light, Although in pain, this light shines bright. For here, Thou keepest to Thy breast. My longing heart to find there rest. Leave me here freely all alone, In cell where never sunlight shone. Should no-one ever speak to me, This golden silence makes me free! For though alone, I have no fear, Never were Thou, O Lord, so near. Sweet Jesus, please, abide with me! My deepest peace I find in Thee. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 27 January – The Memorial of St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church, Bishop, Confessor – 2 Timothy 4:1-8, Matthew 5:13-19
“You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house.” – Matthew 5:14-15.
REFLECTION – “The Lord called His disciples, the salt of the earth because they seasoned with heavenly wisdom, the hearts of men, rendered insipid by the devil. Now He calls them the light of the world too because they have been enlightened by Him, the true and everlasting Light and have themselves become, a light in the darkness.
Since He is the Sun of Justice, He fittingly calls His disciples, the light of the world. The reason for this, is that through them, as through shining rays, He has poured out the Light of the knowledge of Himself, upon the entire world. For by manifesting the Light of Truth, they have dispelled the darkness of error from the hearts of men.
Moreover, we too have been enlightened by them. We have been made light out of darkness as the Apostle says: “For once you were darkness but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.” He says another time: “For you are not sons of the night and of darkness but you are all sons of light and of the day.”
Saint John also rightly asserts in his letter: “God is Light and whoever abides in God is in the light just as God Himself is in the light.” Therefore because we rejoice in having been freed from the darkness of error, we should always walk in the light as children of light. This is why the Apostle says: “Among them you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life.”
If we fail to live in the light, we shall, to our condemnation and that of others, be veiling over and obscuring by our infidelity, the light men so desperately need. As we know from Scripture, the man who received the talent should have made it produce a heavenly profit but instead, he preferred to hide it away rather than put it to work and was punished as he deserved.
Consequently, that brilliant Lamp which was lit for the sake of our salvation should always shine in us. For we have the lamp of the heavenly commandment and spiritual grace, to which David referred: “Your law is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Solomon also says this about it: “For the command of the law is a lamp.”
Therefore, we must not hide this lamp of law and faith. Rather, we must set it up in the Church, as on a lampstand, for the salvation of many, so that we may enjoy the Light of Truth itself and all believers may be enlightened.” – St Chromatius of Aquileia (Died c 407) Bishop of Aquileia, Theologian, Exegete, Writer and friend of Saints Ambrose and Jerome, Defender of St John Chrysostom. (An excerpt from Treatise on the Gospel of Saint Matthew). St Chromatius’ life here:https://anastpaul.com/2020/12/02/saint-of-the-day-2-december-saint-chromatius-of-aquileia-died-c-407/
PRAYER – Lord God, strength of those who hope in You, by Your will, Saint John Chrysostom became renowned in the Church for his astonishing eloquence and his forbearance in persecution. Grant that we may be enriched by his teachings and encouraged by the example of his unconquerable fortitude. We make our prayer through our Lord and Saviour, Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 27 January – The Memorial of St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church, Bishop, Confessor.
Hail, O Mother! By St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church
Hail, O Mother! Virgin, heaven, throne, glory of our Church, it’s foundation and ornament. Earnestly pray for us to Jesus, your Son and Our Lord, that through your intercession, we may have mercy on the day of judgement. Pray that we may receive, all those good things which are reserved for those who love God. Through the grace and favour of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, to Whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be power, honour and glory, now and forever. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 26 January – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church
Great and Glorious God By St Francis of Assisi (c 1181-1226)
Great and glorious God, my Lord Jesus Christ! I implore Thee to enlighten me and to disperse the darkness of my soul. Give me true faith, firm hope and perfect charity. Grant me, O Lord, to know Thee so well that in all things I may act by Thy Light and in accordance with Thy holy Will. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul
Great Convert Teacher of the Faith Doctor Egregie Paule Attri. to Elpis (Died c 493) Trans. The Benedictines of Saint Cecilia’s Abbey, Ryde, UK
Great Convert Teacher of the Faith Who never ceased from preaching Christ, Saint Paul impart to us your zeal, That we may reach the joys unseen.
All glory to the Trinity, For ever honour, sov’reignty; To God Almighty be all praise, Beginning and the End of all. Amen.
Elpis, first wife of the celebrated Philosopher Boethius, was the daughter of Festus, Consul at Rome, 472 and aunt of St Placidus, a disciple of St.Benedict. The above hymn, as well as, “Aurea luce et decore roseo” are attributed to her. Others also bear her name. She died at an early age, at Padua.
One Minute Reflection – 24 January – Saint Timothy, Bishop and Martyr, 1 Timothy 6:11-16, Luke 14:26-33.
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26
REFLECTION – “On another occasion, the Lord says, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters and even his own soul, cannot be my disciple.” As a rule, this is more upsetting to the mind of new Christians, who are eager to begin at once to live in accordance with the precepts of Christ. To those who do not fully grasp its meaning, it would seem contradictory…. He has condescended to call His disciples to the eternal Kingdom. He also called them brothers. In the Kingdom these relationships are transcended because, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither male nor female, neither slave nor freeman but Christ, is all things and in all.” The Lord says, “For in the resurrection, they will neither be married nor marry but will be as the angels of God in heaven.” Whoever wishes to prepare himself now, for the life of that Kingdom, must not hate people but those earthly relationships, through which the present life is sustained, the temporary life that begins at birth and ends with death. Whoever does not hate this necessity, does not yet love that other life, in which there will be no condition of birth and death, the condition that makes marriages natural on earth.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop, Father, Doctor of Grace (Sermon on the Mount,15).
PRAYER – Almighty God, You endowed Saint Timothy with power to preach Your Word. Grant that, living a life of integrity and holiness in this world, reaching out to teach the Gospel both by our lives and our words, we may, through their prayers, come to our true home in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 24 January – Feast of Saint Timothy, Bishop and Martyr
O Fathers of Our Ancient Faith
O Fathers of our ancient faith, With all the heav’n, we sing your fame Whose sound went forth in all the earth To tell of Christ and bless His Name.
You took the Gospel to the poor, The Word of God alight in you, Which in our day is told again, That timeless Word, forever new.
You told of God, Who died for us And out of death triumphant rose, Who gave the Truth which made us free and changeless through the ages goes.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Whose gift is faith that never dies, A light in darkness now, until The Day-Star in our hearts arise.
O Fathers of Our Ancient Faith is written by the Benedictine Nuns of Stanbrook Abbey. In the Divine Office it is sung at Morning Prayer in the Common of Apostles. It is set to the anonymous tune associated with the 7th century Latin hymn, Creator Alme Siderum.
One Minute Reflection – 23 January – The Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Romans 12:16-21, Matthew 8:1-13
“Many will come from the east and the west and will recline… at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven” – Matthew 8:11
REFLECTION – “I have seen our Lord in the Gospel accomplish many miracles and, reassured by them, have strengthened my fearful words. I have seen the centurion throw himself at the Lord’s feet, nations send their firstfruits to Christ. The Cross has not yet been erected and already, pagans hasten towards their Master. The words “Go, teach all nations” have not yet been heard (Mt 28,19) but the nations are already hastening. Their race precedes their call, they are burning with desire for the Lord. The sound of preaching has not yet been heard but they are hurrying towards the One Who preaches. Peter… has now been instructed and they gather around the One Who is teaching him; the light of Paul has not yet blazed beneath Christ’s standard and nations are coming with incense to adore the King (Mt 2,11).
And now, see how a centurion begs Him and says to him: “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralysed, suffering dreadfully.” Here is a new miracle indeed! The servant, whose limbs are paralysed leads his master to the Lord; the slaves’ sickness gives health to his owner. Seeking his servant’s healing, he finds our Lord and while he is seeking for his slave’s cure, he becomes Christ’s conquest!” – Basil of Seleucia (Died c 468) Archbishop (Homily 19 on the centurion, PG 85, 235f).
PRAYER – Grant Almighty Father, that when Christ comes again, we may go out to meet Him, bearing the harvest of good works, achieved by Your grace. We pray that He will receive us into the company of the Saints and call us into the Kingdom of Heaven. And may His Mother and ours, the most pure Virgin Mary be our intercessor and advocate. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 23 January – The Third Sunday after the Epiphany
Stay With Me, O Lord By Padre Pio (1887-1968)
Stay with me, Lord, for You are my Life and without You, I am without fervour. Stay with me, Lord, for You are my Light and without You, I am in darkness. Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your Voice and follow You. Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You very much and always be in Your company. Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You. Stay with me, Lord, as poor as my soul is, I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of Love. Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close and life passes, death, judgement and eternity approach. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You. It is getting late and death approaches, I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile! Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers, I need You. Let me recognise You as Your disciples did, at the breaking of the bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart. Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You, if not by Communion, at least by grace and love. Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit, because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more. With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth and continue to love You perfectly, during all eternity. Amen.
One Minute Reflection – 22 January – The Memorial of Saints Vincent of Saragossa (Died 304) Martyr – Wisdom 3:1-8, Luke 21:9-19
“Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons and they will have you led, before kings and governors because of my name …” – Luke 21:12
REFLECTION – “Jesus gives them clear and evident signs of the time when the consummation of the world draws near. He says that there will be wars, turmoil, famines and epidemics everywhere. There will be terrors from heaven and great signs. As another Evangelist says, “All the stars shall fall and the heaven be rolled up like a scroll and its powers will be shaken.”
In the middle of this, the Saviour places what refers to the capture of Jerusalem. He mixes the accounts together in both parts of the narrative. Before all these things, He says, “They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to synagogues and to prisons and bringing you before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. This will be a witness to you.” Before the times of consummation, the land of the Jews was taken captive and the Roman armies overran it. They burned the temple, overthrew their national government and stopped the means for legal worship. They no longer had sacrifices, now that the temple was destroyed. The country of the Jews together with Jerusalem itself was totally laid waste. Before these things happened, they persecuted the blessed disciples. They imprisoned them and had a part in unendurable trials. They brought the disciples before judges and sent them to kings. Paul was sent to Rome to Caesar.
Christ promises, however, that He will deliver them certainly and completely. He says that a hair of your head will not perish!” – St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Bishop of Alexandria, Father and Doctor of the Incarnation the Church (Commentary on Luke, Homily 139)
PRAYER – True Light of the world, Lord Jesus Christ, as You enlighten all men for their salvation, give us the grace, we pray, to herald Your coming by preparing the ways of justice and of peace. We walk in faith and by Your Light as St Vincent, fearless of men to the end and trusting only in Your grace, inspires us to follow. Grant that his prayers may assist us on our path. Who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 22 January – Mary’s Saturday
Most Holy Virgin Mary, Help of Christian By St John Bosco (1815-1888)
Most Holy Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, how sweet it is to come to thy feet imploring thy perpetual help. If earthly mothers cease not to remember their children, how can thou, the most loving of all mothers, forget me? Grant then to me, I implore thee thy perpetual help in all my necessities, in every sorrow and especially in all my temptations. I ask for thy unceasing help for all who are now suffering. Help the weak, cure the sick, convert sinners. Grant through thy intercession, many vocations to the religious life. Obtain for us, O Mary, Help of Christians, that having invoked thee on earth we may love and eternally thank thee in Heaven. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 21 January – “Month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus”
Complete Us, O Lord Jesus Christ By St Anselm (1033-1109) Magnificent and Marian Doctor of the Church
O Lord Jesus Christ, our Redemption and our Salvation, we praise You and give You thanks. Although we are unworthy of Your benefits and cannot offer to You, the devotion You deserve, let Your loving-kindness complete whatever our weakness tries to do. Before You, O Lord, we lay all our desires and whatever our heart rightly wishes, it is because of Your gifts. Help us to love You as You command. Do not let Your gifts be unfruitful in us. Complete what You have begun, give what You have made us desire, convert our lukewarmness into fervent love of You, for the glory of Your Holy Name. Amen.
Lord Jesus, May I …. Indulgenced Prayer of Petitions By St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
LORD JESUS, may I know myself and know Thee and desire nothing save only Thee. May I hate myself and love Thee. May I do everything for the sake of Thee. May I humble myself and exalt Thee. May I think of nothing except Thee. May I die to myself and live in Thee. May I receive whatever happens, as from Thee. May I banish self and follow Thee and ever desire to follow Thee. May I fly from myself and fly to Thee. That I may deserve to be defended by Thee. May I fear for myself and fear Thee and be among those who are chosen by Thee. May i distrust myself and trust in Thee, May I be willing to obey on account of Thee. May I cling to nothing but to Thee. May I be poor for the sake of Thee. Look upon me, that I may love Thee. Call me, that I may see Thee and ever and ever, enjoy Thee. Amen.
50 Days Indulgence once a day Pope Leo XIII 25 September 1881
One Minute Reflection – 18 January – Feast of the Chair of St Peter, Readings: 1 Peter 5:1-4, Matthew 16:13-19
“Upon this rock I will build my church” … Matthew 16:18
REFLECTION – “Nothing escaped the Wisdom and Power of Christ, the elements of nature lay at His service, spirits obeyed Him, Angels served Him. … And yet, out of all the world, Peter alone was chosen to stand at the head, for the calling of all the peoples and the oversight of all the Apostles and Fathers of the Church. Thus, even though there are many Priests and shepherds among the People of God, Peter governed them all in person, while Christ also governs them in the capacity of Head. …
The Lord asks all the Apostles what people think of Him and they all say the same thing, so long as they are making known the doubts deriving from human ignorance. But when the Lord demands to know, what the disciples themselves think, the first to confess the Lord is he, who is the first in dignity of the Apostles. As he had said: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” Jesus answers him: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.” That is to say, blessed are you because my Father taught this to you. Earthly opinion has not led you astray but it is heavenly inspiration that has instructed you. It is not flesh and blood that enabled you to discover Me but He, Whose only Son I am.
“And so I say to you,” that is to say- just as my Father has manifested My Divinity to you, so I Am making known your superiority to you. “You are Peter” namely, I am the unshakeable Rock, the Cornerstone who makes two peoples one (Eph 2:14), the foundation other than which, no-one can lay any other (1 Cor 3:11). But you also, you are rock, since you are impregnable by My Strength and, what I have by virtue of My Power, you have in common with Me, by the fact,, that you participate in it. “On this rock I will build my Church” … On the firmness of this foundation, He says, will I build an everlasting temple and my Church, whose summit is to reach to Heaven, will be raised on the strength of that faith.” … Saint Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor of the Church ( 4th sermon for the Anniversary of his Consecration).
PRAYER – Holy Father, send Your Divine Enlightener into the hearts of all Your faithful, filling us with the strength to fulfil our mission as the followers of the Chair of St Peter. And most of all, we pray Lord Holy God, to inspire and light the way of our Holy Father, Francis. Sustain and guide him, keep him in health and strength, to lead Your people by the Light of the Way and the Truth. Holy Father, have mercy on us, Holy Spirit guide and lead us, Lord Jesus Christ be our intercessor and teacher, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 17 January – Readings: Ecclus 45:1-6, Luke 12:35-40 and the Memorial of St Anthony Abbot (251-356)
“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks.” – Luke 12:35-36
REFLECTION – “God, the Word, stirs up the lazy and arouses the sleeper. For indeed, someone who comes knocking at the door is always wanting to come in. But it depends on us, if He does not always enter or always remain.,, May your door be open to Him who comes; open your soul, enlarge your spiritual capacities, that you may discover the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace and sweetness of grace. Expand your heart; run to meet the Sun of that Eternal Light that “enlightens everyone” (Jn 1,9). It is certain, that this true Light shines for all but, if anyone shuts their windows, then they themselves, shut themselves off from this Eternal Light.
So even Christ remains outside, if you shut the door of your soul. It is true, that He could enter but He does not want to use force, He doesn’t put those who refuse under pressure. Descended from the Virgin, born from her womb, He shines throughout the universe to give light to all. Those who long to receive the light, that shines with an everlasting brightness, open up to Him. No night comes to intervene. Indeed, the sun we see each day, gives way to night’s darkness but the Sun of Justice (Mal 3,20) knows no setting, for Wisdom is not overcome by evil.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan and Father and Doctor of the Church – 12th Sermon on Psalm 118
PRAYER – All-powerful, eternal God and Father, grant us the grace of Your Spirit and fill us with the light of understanding and love. May we learn to truly pray and by our prayers to entreat You to bless us in Your goodness and lead us to true faith in Your Eternal Light and Word sent to redeem us. May we always be waiting and prepared to open the door of our hearts to Jesus Christ our Lord, Who comes in light, love and peace. Grant that by the prayers of St Anthony Abbot, we may be strengthened. Holy Mother, be our protection and our guide. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Excerpt from St Patrick’s Breastplate (also known as The Deer Cry)
I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead, His eye to watch, His might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need; the wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide, His shield to ward; the Word of God to give me speech, His Heavenly Host to be my guard. Against the demon snares of sin, the vice that gives temptation force, the natural lusts that war within, the hostile men that mar my course; of few or many, far or nigh, in every place and in all hours against their fierce hostility, ……. Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger. I bind unto myself the name, the strong name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One and One in Three, of whom all nature hath creation, Eternal Father, Spirit, Word. Praise to the Lord of my salvation: Salvation is of Christ the Lord. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 16 Januaryr – Second Sunday after Epiphany, Readings: Romans 12:6-16, John 2:1-11.
“This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him…” – John 2:11
REFLECTION – “The miracle by which our Lord Jesus Christ changed water into wine is not at all astonishing, to those who know, that God is its Author. Indeed, it is exactly the same thing which produced wine in those six jars on that wedding day … and which renews this transformation in the vines each year. That which the servants poured into the jars, was changed into wine by the action of the Lord – in the same way the rain that falls from the clouds is changed into wine, through the same action of the Lord. And yet, we do not wonder at it because it is repeated every year; custom has caused astonishment to disappear. Yet, it is far more worthy of our attention, than what took place in the jars filled with water. Indeed, who is there who dreams of considering the work of God, Who directs and governs the whole world? Isn’t that person then seized with astonishment and, as it were crushed beneath the weight of these miracles? If they consider the power enclosed within a single seed of the first species to come, they will discover a great reality there, that astounds the observer. But people, otherwise occupied, have become insensible to the works of God, which would daily provide motives for praising the Creator. This is why God reserves to Himself, the work of certain unusual wonders, so as to awaken them from their sleepiness and lead them to praise Him.”…St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Father and Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Almighty God, ruler and creator of all things in heaven and on earth, listen favourably to the prayer of Your people. Open our eyes that we may see, open our ears that we may hear, open our hearts that we may love Your glory, manifest around us in all the great deeds of Your Word. Grant us love and peace in our day and may the prayers of The Holy Mother of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour and all Your Saints and Martyrs, lead us home to You. We make our prayer through Your Son Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 16 January– Second Sunday after Epiphany
Give me Yourself, O My God By St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
Give me Yourself, O my God, give Yourself to me. Behold I love You and if my love is too weak a thing, grant me to love You more strongly. I cannot measure my love to know how much it falls short of being sufficient but let my soul hasten to Your embrace and never be turned away, until it is hidden in the secret shelter of Your presence. This only do I know, that it is not good for me when You are not with me, when You are only outside me. I want You in my very self. All the plenty in the world which is not my God is utter want. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 15 January – Readings: Philippians 3:7-12, Matthew 11:25-30 and the Feast of Our Lady of Banneux (1933)
“Although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, you have revealed them to the childlike”– Matthew 11:25
REFLECTION – “The fact ,that the all-powerful God has been able to humble Himself even to the humility of the human condition, constitutes a greater proof than the impact and supernatural character of miracles. Indeed, when divine power effects something of great sublimity, this is, after a fashion, in conformity with and appropriate to, God’s nature… On the other hand, that God descended even to our lowliness is, in a certain way, the expression of an overwhelming power, that is not in the least restrained, by what is contrary to its nature…
Neither the expanse of the heavens, the brightness of the stars, the governing of the universe, nor the harmony of created things, reveal the splendid power of God as much as His indulgence, which leads Him to lower Himself to the weakness of our nature… God’s goodness, wisdom, justice and power are revealed in His plans on our behalf: goodness in His will to “save that which was lost” (Lk 19,10); wisdom and justice in His manner of saving us; power in the fact that Christ became “in the likeness of men” (Phil 2,7-8) and made Himself conformable to the humility of our nature.” – St Gregory of Nyssa (c.335-395) Bishop, Father of the Church (Catechetical Discourse 23-26 ; SC 453).
PRAYER – Holy God, our Father, we turn to You in confidence as children and pray, give us meekness of heart, make us “poor in spirit” that we may recognise that we are not self-sufficient, that we are unable to build our lives on our own but need You, we need to encounter You, to listen to You, to speak to You. Help us to understand that we need Your gift, Your wisdom, which is Jesus Himself, in order to do the Your will in our lives and thus to find rest in the hardships of our journey. May the prayers of His Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Banneux, help us to learn the true humility of Your divine Son. Grant this, we pray, through our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 15 January – Mary’s Saturday
Mary, Mother of Grace By St Athanasius (297-373) Father & Doctor of the Church
It becomes you to be mindful of us, as you stand near Him Who granted you all graces, for you are the Mother of God and our Queen. Help us for the sake of the King, the Lord God and Master who was born of you. For this reason, you are called, full of grace. Remember us, most Holy Virgin, and bestow on us gifts from the riches of your graces, O Virgin full of graces. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 14 January – “Month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus” – 2 Timothy 4:1-8; Matthew 5:13-19 and the Memorial of St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church
“I have come, not to abolish but to fulfil.” … Matthew 5:17
REFLECTION – “In Him, the promise made through the shadows of prophecy, stands revealed, along with the full meaning of the precepts of the law. He is the One Who teaches the truth of prophecy, through His presence and makes obedience to the commandments possible, through grace. In the preaching of the holy Gospel all should receive a strengthening of their faith. No-one should be ashamed of the Cross of Christ, through which the world has been redeemed. No-one should fear to suffer for the sake of justice, no-one should lose confidence in the reward that has been promised. The way to rest is through toil, the way to life is through death. Christ has taken on Himself the whole weakness of our lowly human nature. If then, we are steadfast in our faith in Him and in our love for Him, we win the victory that He has won, we receive what He has promised. When it comes to obeying the commandments or enduring adversity, the words uttered by the Father should always echo in our ears – “This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased, listen to Him.” … St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from Sermo 51).
PRAYER – God our Saviour, through the grace of Baptism, You made us children of light. You lead us by the hand and guide and protect us by Your commandments. Fill us with joy at Your nearness and the light of Your Son, by whose beam we see You and follow. St Hilary was a shining examples to us all, grant, we pray, that his prayers may aid us. Through Jesus our Lord and Christ, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 14 January – The Memorial of St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church
I Owe You a Most Particular Duty By St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368)
I am well aware, Almighty God and Father, that in my life, I owe You a most particular duty. It is to make my every thought and word, speak of You. In fact, You have conferred on me, this gift of speech and it can yield no greater return than to be at Your service. It is for making You known as Father, the Father of the only-begotten God and preaching this, to the world, that knows You not and to the heretics, who refuse to believe in You. … Grant that I may express what I believe. Amen
Excerpt from a Sermon On the Trinity (Lib 1, 37-38: PL 10, 48-49) by Saint Hilary of Poitiers. It is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the Feast of St Hilary, today.
One Minute Reflection – 13 January – “Month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus” – The Octave Day of the Epiphany, Gospel: Isaias 60:1-6; John 1:29-34
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” – John 1:29
REFLECTION – “A second time,” says the evangelist, “John stood and said: ‘Behold, the Lamb of God’.” Christ utters no word; John the Forerunner says it all. So, it is with a bridegroom: he does not say anything to the bride to begin with but steps forward and stands there in silence. Others present him to the bride and give her into his hands. Thus, when she appears, the bridegroom does not take her himself but receives her from the hands of another, who gives her to him. And when he has thus received her from another, he binds her so strongly to himself, that she no longer remembers those she has left for his sake. So it was with Christ. He came to wed human nature; he did not speak a word but merely came. It was the friend of the bridegroom (Jn 3,29), John, who put the Bride’s right hand into His – in other words, the hearts of those He had convinced with His preaching. Then, Jesus Christ welcomed them and satisfied them with so many good things that they no longer turned back to the one who had led them to Him…
John alone proclaimed Him to be present to the people. He was given the name “friend of the Bridegroom” because he alone was present at this marriage with the Church. He it was, who did everything, who brought everything about. Seeing Christ coming, he said: “Behold the Lamb of God.” Thus he showed that it was not by voice alone but, with his eyes also, that he bore witness. He wondered at the Son of God and, when he beheld Him, his heart leaped for joy. At first, he did not preach Christ to his followers but only showed wonder and astonishment at Him. In that way he made known to all, by means of the word “lamb,” the gift Jesus came to give. And John did not say,“ Who is to take” or “Who has taken” but, “This is he who takes away the sins of the world” and, not just at the time of His Passion but always. He offered only one, single sacrifice for the sins of the world yet, by this oblation, He purifies forever, the consciences of human sinners.” – St John Chrysostom (c.345-407), Priest at Antioch then Bishop of Constantinople, Father and Doctor of the Church (Homilies on Saint John’s Gospel, no18).
PRAYER – Almighty God, Your Son’s manhood, born of the Virgin, was a new creation, untainted by our sinful condition. Renew us then, in Christ and cleanse us from our sins. May the Most Holy Name of Jesus, be our light, our safeguard and our shield. Through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all time and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 12 January – Seventh day in the Octave of Epiphany, “Month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus” and the Memorial of St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167) “St Bernard of the North”
Behold Me, O Sweet Lord, Behold Me! By St Aelred of Rievaulx O.Cist. (1110-1167)
Behold me, O Sweet Lord, behold me! For I hope. that in Your Loving Kindness, O Most Merciful One, You will behold me, either as a loving Physician to heal, a kind Teacher to correct, or an indulgent Father to pardon… confident in Your Sweet Powerful Mercy and most Merciful Power, I ask, in virtue of Your Sweet Name and of the Mystery of Your Sacred Humanity that, mindful of Your Kindness and unmindful of my ingratitude, You forgive me my sins and heal the languors of my soul. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 11 January – Sixth Day within the Octave of Epiphany
“He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them and his mother kept all these things in her heart.” – Luke 2:51
REFLECTION – “Consider the most prudent woman Mary, Mother of true Wisdom, as the pupil of her Son. For she learned from Him, not as from a child or man but as from God. Yes, she dwelt in meditation on His words and actions. Nothing of what was said or done by Him, fell idly on her mind. As before, when she conceived the Word itself in her womb, so now does she hold within her, His ways and words, cherishing them as it were in her heart. That which she now beholds in the present, she waits to have revealed with greater clarity, in the future. This practice she followed as a rule and law through all her life.” – St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father and Doctor of the Church (Exposition of the Gospel of Luke)
PRAYER – All-powerful, eternal God, splendour of true light and never-ending day, let our striving for Your kingdom not fall short through selfishness or fear, may the universe be alive with the Spirit and our homes be the pledge of the world redeemed. May our hearts be eternally longing for that time alone with You, our one true Love. May our worldly duties be such, that they never impede our progress in devotion and may the intercession of our Holy Mother and all the Saints, be a strength and a comfort. Through Jesus, our compassionate and loving Redeemer, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 11 January – Sixth Day within the Octave of Epiphany
O Adorable Infant By St Alphonsus de Liguori
O Adorable Infant I should not dare to present myself before Thee, did I not know that Thou, Thyself invitest me to approach Thee. It is I, by my sins, who made Thee shed so many tears in the stable of Bethlehem but since Thou art come upon earth. to pardon penitent sinners, vouchsafe to pardon me. I sincerely repent of having despised Thee, my Lord and my God, Who art so good and hast loved me so much. Thy grace that I ask, is that I may love Thee henceforth, with all my heart. Inflame my soul entirely with Thy Holy Love. I love Thee, O my God, Who hast become an Infant for me. Grant that I may never cease to love Thee O Mary, my Mother! thou art all-powerful by yhy prayers; I ask but one favour of Thee, namely, that Thou wilt pray to Jesus for me. Amen.
One Minute Reflection – 10 January – The Fifth Day within the Octave of Epiphany, Readings: Romans 12:1-5; Luke 2:42-52
“After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions…” Luke 2:46
REFLECTION – ”Because He was a small child, He is found “in the midst of teachers,” sanctifying and instructing them. Because He was a small child, He is found “in their midst,” not teaching them but “asking questions.” He did this because it is appropriate to His age, to teach us what befits boys, even if they are wise and learned. They should rather hear their teachers than want to teach them and not show off with a display of knowledge. He interrogated the teachers, not to learn anything but to teach them by His questions. From one fountain of doctrine, there flow, both wise questions and answers. It is part of the same wisdom, to know what you should ask and what you should answer. It was right for the Saviour first to become a master of learned interrogation. Later He would answer questions according to God’s reason and Word.” – Origen (c 185-253) Priest, Theologian, Father(Homilies on the Gospel of Luke, 19).
PRAYER – Holy Father, trusting in the motherly intercession of Mary Most Holy, Queen of Families and under the powerful protection of St Joseph, her spouse, grant we pray, that we may dedicate ourselves tirelessly to this beautiful mission which You have placed in our hands, as mothers and fathers of Your children. Strengthen us to protect and guide them in Your ways. Through the prayers of our Holy Mother and the Guardian of Your divine Son and of His Church, in union with Jesus Christ our Lord and the Holy Spirit, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 10 January – The Fifth Day within the Octave of Epiphany
O Child, So Worthy of Our Love, I Offer You My Heart By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
O Child so worthy of our love, I see You lying on the straw in this cave, so poor and despised. Yet faith teaches me, that You are my God come down from heaven for my salvation. I acknowledge You as my Sovereign Lord and Saviour, as such I proclaim You, yet, I have nothing at all to offer You. I am without Love’s Gold, since I have given my love to the things of this world – I have only loved my own whim, rather than loving You, so infinitely worthy of love. I am without Prayer’s Incense, since I have lived wretchedly without thinking of You. I have no Myrrh of Mortification since, so as not to forsake some paltry pleasures, I have so often saddened Your infinite goodness. So what am I to offer You? O my Jesus, I offer You my heart, soiled and naked as it is. Take it and change it, for You have come down to us to wash our guilty hearts with Your Blood and so transform us from sinners into saints. O grant me that Gold, Incense and Myrrh which I lack. Grant me the Gold of Your Holy Love; grant me the Incense which is the spirit of prayer; grant me Myrrh, the willingness and strength to deny myself in all that displeases You… O holy Virgin, you welcomed those devout Magi Kings with keen affection and satisfied them. Deign to welcome and comfort me also, I, who come, following their example, to visit and offer myself to your Son Amen.