One Minute Reflection – 6 May – “IMary’s Month” – Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter. Readings: First: Acts 15: 7-21; Psalm: Psalms 96: 1-2a, 2b-3, 10; Gospel: John 15: 9-11 and the Memorial of St John the Evangelist at the Latin Gate
“Abide in my love.” – John 15:9
REFLECTION – “You may well believe that there is no-one in the world, neither friend nor brother, father or mother, husband or betrothed who loves you more than your God loves you. Divine grace is that treasure of great price, that boundless treasure of which the wise man speaks, which, as soon as we use it, makes us participants in friendship with God (cf. Wis 7:14). In God’s sight we were only miserable creatures, poor servants and now, we become friends, beloved friends of our Creator himself!
Precisely so as to make us more at ease with Him, He emptied Himself (cf. Phil 2:7), so to speak, humbling Himself, so far, as to become man, in order to converse familiarly with men (cf. Bar 3:38).8). Even this was not enough, He became a child, became poor, he even let Himself be put to death on a cross, by a miscarriage of justice, before a whole people. Even more, He went so far as to put Himself under the species of bread, so as to make Himself our companion each day and unite Himself, in close union with each one of us – “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood,” He said, “remains in me and I in him” (Jn 6:56). In sum, one could say, that He has no love but for you, He loves you so much.
Therefore, it is Him you should love and no other. Of Him you could and should say “My Beloved is mine and I am his” (Sg 2:16); my God has given Himself without reserve and, without reserve, I give myself to Him; He has chosen me as the object of His tenderness and He, among thousands, He, the radiant and ruddy one (Sg 5:10), so loveable and so loving, He is the chosen of my heart, the only one I wish to love.”- St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) Bishop and Most Zealous Doctor of the Church – The manner of conversing with God, trans. from the Italian
PRAYER – In Your gentle mercy Lord, guide our wayward hearts, for we know that left to ourselves, we cannot do Your will. Almighty God, turn our hearts to Yourself, so that we, seeking the one thing ne cessary, may worship You in spirit and in truth. We give You thanks for our faith, increase our faith O our God! May the prayers of St John and all your saints and the Virgin Mary, Queen of All Saints, obtain the gift of humility and fidelity for us and for every believer, so that our prayer may always be genuine and pleasing to the Lord. Through Christ our Lord and Redeemer, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 5 May – Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 15: 1-6; Psalm: Psalms 122: 1-2, 3-4ab, 4cd-5; Gospel: John 15: 1-8 and the Memorial of the Conversdion of St Augustine
“Remain in me as I remain in you ” … John 15:4
REFLECTION – “Whatever be the stage in which the soul is, its work, however, is never anything but a work of co-operation. The soul is not alone, God works in and with it, for He is ever the first Author of its progress.
Doubtless, at the outset, when the soul is yet encumbered with vices and evil habits, it must needs apply itself with virility and ardour to remove these obstacles, which are opposed to divine union. The co-operation that God requires of it, at this period, is particularly great and active and is revealed very clerly to the conscience. During this period, God grants sensible graces that uplift and encourage. But the soul experiences inward vicissitudes, it falls then rises up again; it labours, then rests; it takes breath again then goes forward on its way.
As far and in the measure as the soul advances and obstacles give way, the inner life becomes more homogeneous, more regular, more uniform; the action of God is felt to be more powerful because it is more free to act and because it meets with less resistance and more suppleness in the soul; then, we rapidly go forward in the path of perfection. … Our Lord has so clearly given us this fundamental doctrine: “I am the Vine, you are the branches; abide in me that you may bear fruit, for without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). …
To imagine, then, that Christ will take upon Himself all the work would be a dangerous illusion but, to believe that we could do anything, whatsoever without Him, would be no less perilous. We must be convinced too, that our works are only of value by reason of our union with Jesus. ” – Blessed Columba Marmion (1858-1923) Abbot – The “instruments of good works” (Christ, the Ideal of the Monk
PRAYER – Holy God and Father, help us to discern through prayer and meditation what You truly want of us. Then enable us to offer it to You and indeed, to offer ourselves and all we have and all we are, to You. When You bring us sufferings to mould us closer and make us more like You, help us to accept them and offer them back to You. Following Your divine Son, let us pick up those crosses in peace and love. Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our mother, pray for us! St Aaugustinet, pray for us. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 2 May – The Fifth Sunday of Easter, Readings: Acts 9:26-31, Psalm: Psalms 22: 26-27, 28, 30, 31-32 (26a), Second: First John 3: 18-24, Gospel: John 15: 1-8 and the Memorial of St Athanasius (297-373)
“I am the vine, you the branches; he that abides in me and I in him, the same bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5
REFLECTION – “I must warn each of you about His vine – for who has never cut back everything that is superfluous in himself ,to the point of thinking that there is nothing more to cut?
Believe me, what has been cut, grows back; the vices that have been chased away return and we see tendencies that had gone to sleep, waking up again. It is, therefore, not enough to cut one’s vine once; rather, we have to do it again and often and if possible, even without ceasing. For if you are sincere, you ceaselessly find in yourself ,something to cut…
Virtue cannot grow among the vices; for virtue to develop, we must prevent the vices from increasing. So suppress what is superfluous; then the necessary will be able to spring up.
For us, Brothers, it is always the time for cutting, it is always necessary. For I am sure that we have already left winter behind us, we have left behind the fear without love, which introduces us all to wisdom but which doesn’t let anyone grow in perfection. When love comes, it chases away that fear just as the summer chases away the winter… So may the winter rains stop, that is say, the tears of anguish that arise because of the memory of your sins and the fear of judgement… If “the winter is over” and “the rain has topped” (Song 2:11)… the sweetness of the spring of spiritual grace shows us, that the time has come to cut our vine. What else is there for us to do other than to become entirely committed to this work?” – St Bernard (1091-1153) Mellifluous Doctor of the Church – Sermon 58 on the Song of Songs
PRAYER – Holy God and Father, help us to discern through prayer and meditation what You truly want of us. Then enable us to offer it to You and indeed, to offer ourselves and all we have and all we are, to You. When You bring us sufferings to mould us closer and make us more like You, help us to accept them and offer them back to You. Following Your divine Son, let us pick up those crosses in peace and love. Our Lady Holy Mother of Our Lord and our own, pray for us! St Athanasius, pray for us. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 1 May – Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 13:44-52, Psalm 98:1-4, John 14:7-14
“He who has seen me has seen the Father…”… John 14:9
REFLECTION – “Beloved, Jesus Christ is our salvation, He is the high priest through whom we present our offerings and the helper who supports us in our weakness. Through Him, our gaze penetrates the heights of heaven and we see, as in a mirror, the most holy face of God. Through Christ, the eyes of our hearts are opened and our weak and clouded understanding, reaches up toward the light. Through Him the Lord God willed that we should taste eternal knowledge, for Christ is the radiance of God’s glory and as much greater than the angels as the name God has given Him is superior to theirs. … Think, my brothers, of how we first came into being, of what we were at the first moment of our existence. Think of the dark tomb out of which our Creator brought us into His world, where He had His gifts prepared for us, even before we were born. All this we owe to Him and for everything, we must give Him thanks. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen.” … St Pope Clement of Rome (c 35-99), Apostolic Father, Bishop of Rome and Martyr – An excerpt from his Letter to the Corinthians
PRAYER – Since it is from You God, our Father, that redemption comes to us, Your adopted children, look with favour on the family You love, give us true freedom and to all who believe in Christ and bring us all alike to our eternal heritage. Grant we pray, that by the prayers of Your holy angels and saints, Blessed Giovanni Benincasa and most especially our beloved Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ, we may run this race always in prayer, trusting in Your divine Son’s intercession, to attain the Glory of Your Kingdom and the Light of Your Face. Through Jesus Christ, in the union of the Holy Spirit, God with You, forever and ever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 29 April – Thursday Fourth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 13:13-25, Psalm 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27, John 13:16-20 and the Memorial of St Hugh the Great of Cluny (1024-1109)
“A servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” … John 13:16
REFLECTION – “Remember the wonders He has done for us (Ps 104:5) in the past and those he does still. … In response to what He has done for us let us do even more and return what we owe Him, most venerable brethren. And what He wants from us is surely that we should fear Him, love Him with all our heart and all our mind (cf. Mt 22:37) and imitate His life in the flesh insofar as we can?
He made Himself a stranger, by leaving heaven for earth, so that we too might become strangers, to thoughts that come from self-will. He obeyed His Father ,so that you too should unhesitatingly obey …. He humbled Himself even to death (cf. Phil 2:8), so that you too should share this sentiment, abasing and humbling yourselves in thought, deed, word and act. Where is divine and true glory to be found, if not in becoming, without glory amongst men for God’s sake? … That which is small and despised, that is what He has chosen, my Saviour and God, who put on our flesh to confound (1 Cor 1:27-28) human fame and wealth.
This is why He was born in a cave, was laid in a manger, was called the son of a carpenter, called a Nazarene. He was clothed in one poor tunic and a single cloak; He went by foot, suffered, was stoned by the Jews (cf. Jn 10:31), insulted, arrested, crucified, pierced with a lance, placed in the tomb, after which He rose again. And so, He wishes to persuade us, brethren, to choose the same things as Himself before the angels, so that we may be crowned in the Kingdom of Heaven, into Christ our Lord Himself, to whom belongs glory and power, together with the Father and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.” … St Theodore the Studite (759-826) Monk and Theologian at Constantinople – Catechesis 78
PRAYER – Lord God, stand by us in Your saving work and stay with us in Your gifts of grace. You have rescued us from the darkness, keep us ever in Your light. May the ways of truth and life which Jesus Christ Your Son taught us, be our anchor and our light. We ask that You hear the intercession of Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mother and Saint Hugh of Cluny, Your servant, whom we beseech for help as we work to reach our heavenly home. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen
Acts 13: 13-25 13 Now when Paul and they that were with him, had sailed from Paphos, they came to Perge in Pamphylia. And John departing from them, returned to Jerusalem. 14 But they, passing through Perge, came to Antioch in Pisidia and entering into the synagogue on the sabbath day, they sat down. 15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying: Ye men, brethren, if you have any word of exhortation to make to the people, speak. 16 Then Paul rising up and with his hand bespeaking silence, said: Ye men of Israel and you that fear God, give ear. 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers,and exalted the people when they were sojourners in the land of Egypt and with an high arm brought them out from thence, 18 And for the space of forty years endured their manners in the desert. 19 And destroying seven nations in the land of Chanaan, divided their land among them, by lot, 20 As it were, after four hundred and fifty years and after these things, he gave unto them judges, until Samuel the prophet. 21 And after that, they desired a king:and God gave them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, he raised them up David to be king to whom giving testimony, he said: I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to my own heart, who shall do all my wills. 23 Of this man’s seed, God according to his promise, has raised up to Israel a Saviour, Jesus. 24 John first preaching, before his coming, the baptism of penance to all the people of Israel. 25 And when John was fulfilling his course, he said: I am not he, whom you think me to be: but behold, there comes one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.
Gospel: John 13: 16-20 16 Amen, amen I say to you: The servant is not greater than his lord; neither is the apostle greater than he that sent him. 17 If you know these things, you shall be blessed if you do them. 18 I speak not of you all, I know whom I have chosen. But that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eats bread with me, shall lift up his heel against me. 19 At present I tell you, before it come to pass, that when it shall come to pass, you may believe that I am he. 20 Amen, amen I say to you, he that receives whomsoever I send, receives me and he that receives me, receives him that sent me.
One Minute Reflection – 28 April – Wednesday of the Fourth week of Easter, Readings: Acts 12:24–13:5, Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8, John 12:44-50 and the Memorial of St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716)
“I am come as light into the world, that whosoever believes in me, may not remain in darkness..” – John 12:46
REFLECTION – “The humility with which Christ “emptied himself, assuming the condition of a servant” (Phil 2:7) is our light. His denial of the world’s glory, He who chose to be born in a stable rather than a palace and to undergo a shameful death on the cross, is light for us. Owing to this humility, we can know just how detestable is the sin of a creature of clay (Gn 2:7), a wretched man of no worth, when he puffs himself up, vaunts himself and refuses to obey, while we see the infinite God, humiliated, despised and delivered up to men.
A light for us, too, is the meekness with which He bore hunger, thirst and cold, insults, blows and wounding, when “like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep before its shearers, he did not open his mouth” (Is 53:7). Indeed, in view of this meekness, we see how pointless anger is, as also threats. Then we consent to suffer and do not serve Christ out of habit. Thanks to this, we learn to pay heed to all that is asked of us, weeping for our sins in submission and silence and patiently bearing the sufferings that come our way. For Christ bore His torments with such great meekness and patience, not for sins He had not committed but for those of others.
From now on, dearest brethren, ponder over all the virtues Christ taught us by the example of His life, that He recommends to us through His preaching and. gives us the strength to imitate, by the aid of His grace.” – Lanspergius the Carthusian (1489-1539) Monk, theologian – Sermon 5
PRAYER – Lord God, life of those who believe in You, glory of the humble and happiness of the Saints, listen kindly to our prayer. We long for what You promises, fill us from Your abundance, give us true faith and obedience. May the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Your Son, be our constant recourse. and may her cliet and Yours, St Louis Marie de Montfort, pray for us all. Through Our Lord, Jesus with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Acts 12: 24 — 13: 5a 24 But the word of the Lord increased and multiplied. 25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, having fulfilled their ministry, taking with them John, who was surnamed Mark. 13:1 Now there were in the church which was at Antioch, prophets and doctors, among whom was Barnabas and Simon who was called Niger and Lucius of Cyrene and Manahen, who was the foster brother of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 And as they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Ghost said to them: Separate me Saul and Barnabas, for the work whereunto I have taken them. 3 Then they, fasting and praying and imposing their hands upon them, sent them away. 4 So they being sent by the Holy Ghost, went to Seleucia and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when they were come to Salamina, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.
Gospel: John 12: 44-50 44 But Jesus cried and said: He that believes in me, does not believe in me but in him that sent me. 45 And he that sees me, sees him that sent me. 46 I am come as light into the worl, that whosoever believes in me, may not remain in darkness. 47 And if any man hears my words and keeps them not, I do not judge him: for I came not to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He that despises me and receives not my words, has one that judges him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken of myself but of the Father who sent me, he gave me commandments what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting. The things, therefore, that I speak, even as the Father said unto me, so do I speak.
One Minute Reflection – 27 April – Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 11:19-26, Psalm 87:1-7, John 10:22-30
“I and the Father are one.” – John 10:30
REFLECTION – “Sent out, issuing from the Father, the Word came down and dwelt wholly within the Virgin’s womb. Wholly in the Father, wholly in that virginal breast, He, Whom nothing can contain, was wholly in all things. While remaining what He was, He assumed the form of a slave (Phil 2:7) and, when He had been sent into the world, He became a man in every way. …
How are we to state, what to all angels, archangels and created things, is impossible to explain? It can be thought truly, yet not by any means expressed and indeed our minds cannot understand it perfectly. God and man and man-God, how can He also be wholly Son of the Father in so inseparable a way? How has He become the Virgin’s Son and come into the world? And how is it, that He has remained impossible for anything to contain? …
Now you will become silent, for even if you wished to speak your spirit would find no words and your chattering tongue, is reduced to silence. …
Glory to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, divinity impossible to grasp, indivisible in nature. We worship You in the Holy Spirit, we who possess Your Spirit because we have received Him from You. Beholding Your glory, we do not cast about unrestrainedly but it is in Him, in Your Spirit, that we see You, O Father unbegotten and Your only-begotten Word Who comes forth from You. And we adore the Trinity, without division or confusion, in His simple divinity, majesty and power.” – Symeon the New Theologian (c 949-1022) Monk – Hymn 21
PRAYER – Lord God, grant Your people constant joy in the renewed vigour of their souls. They rejoice because You have restored them to the glory of Your adopted children, let them look forward gladly to the certain hope of the resurrection. Draw us constantly to Your Son, Jesus, our Lord, teach us to know Him and may the prayers of our Blessed Mother , guide us amidst the storms of this mortal life. We make our prayer through our Resurrected Christ, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen, alleluia!
Acts 11: 19-26 19 Now they who had been dispersed by the persecution that arose on occasion of Stephen, went about as far as Phenice and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to none but to the Jews only. 20 But some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they were entered into Antioch, spoke also to the Greeks, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them and a great number believing, were converted to the Lord. 22 And the tidings came to the ears of the church, that was at Jerusalem, touching these things and they sent Barnabas as far as Antioch. 23 Who, when he was come and had seen the grace of God, rejoiced and he exhorted them all, with purpose of heart to continue in the Lord., 24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith. And a great multitude was added to the Lord. 25 And Barnabas went to Tarsus to seek Saul, whom, when he had found, him, he brought to Antioch. 26 And they conversed there in the church a whole year and they taught a great multitude, so that at Antioch the disciples were first named Christians.
Gospel: John 10: 22-30 22 And it was the feast of the dedication ,at Jerusalem: and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 The Jews , therefore, gathered around about him and said to him: How long dost thou hold our souls in suspense? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25 Jesus answered them: I speak to you and you believe no,: the works that I do in the name of my Father, they give testimony of me. 26 But you do not believe because you are not of my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice: and I know them and they follow me. 28 And I give them life everlasting and they shall not perish forever and no man shall pluck them out of my hand. 29 That which my Father has given me, is greater than all and no-one can snatch them out of the hand of my Father. 30 I and the Father, are one.
One Minute Reflection – 24 April – Saturday of the Third Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 9:31-42, Psalm 116:12-17, John 6:60-69
“You have the words of eternal life” – John 6:68
REFLECTION – “To whom shall we go?” Peter asks. In other words: “Who else will instruct us in the divine mysteries the way you do?” or, “To whom shall we go to find anything better? You have the words of eternal life.” They are not hard words, as those other disciples say but words, that will bring us to the loftiest goal unceasing, endless life removed from all corruption. These words surely make quite obvious to us, the necessity for sitting at the feet of Christ, taking Him as our one and only teacher and giving Him our constant and undivided attention. …
That the desire to follow Christ alone and to be with Him always, is a good thing leading to our salvation, is entirely self-evident, yet we may learn this from the Old Testament as well. When the Israelites had shaken off Egyptian tyranny and were hastening toward the promised land, God did not allow them to make disorderly marches, nor did the Lawgiver let each one go where he would, for without a guide they should undoubtedly have lost the way completely. … Keeping with their guide was the Israelites’ salvation then, just as not leaving Christ is ours now. For He was with those people of old under the form of the tabernacle, the cloud and the fire (Ex 13:21; 26:1f) …
“Whoever serves me must follow me, so as to be with me wherever I am” (Jn 12:26) … But accompanying the Saviour Christ and following Him, is by no means to be thought of as something done by the body. It is accomplished rather, by deeds springing from virtue. Upon such virtue the wisest disciples firmly fixed their minds…. With good reason they cried out, “Where can we go?” It was as though they said: We will stay with You always and hold fast to Your commandments. We will receive Your words without finding fault, or thinking Your teaching hard, as the ignorant do but thinking rather: “How sweet are Your words to my throat! Sweeter to the mouth are they, than honey or the honeycomb!” (Ps 118:103).” … St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) – Father and Doctor of the Church – Commentary on Saint John’s Gospel, 4, 4
PRAYER – Mould our minds and our hearts, we pray You Lord, by the union of Your Son and His Church. As we belong to You, You joined us to Your Son to become one with Him. May we always strive to live up to this union and may we make our lives, a constant sharing, in Christ’s death and Resurrection. May His Mother give us her heart, to love Him as she does. We make our prayer through Him and in Him and with Him, in the union of the Holy Spirit, God for always and forever, amen.
Acts 9: 31-42 31 Now the church had peace throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria and was edified, walking in the fear of the Lord and was filled with the consolation of the Holy Ghost. 32 And it came to pass, that Peter, as he passed through, visiting all, came to the saints who dwelt at Lydda. 33 And he found there a certain man named Eneas, who had kept his bed for eight years, who was ill of the palsy. 34 And Peter said to him: Eneas, the Lord Jesus Christ heals thee: arise and make thy bed. And immediately he arose. 35 And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron, saw him and they were converted to the Lord. 36 And in Joppe there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. 37 And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick and died. Whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. 38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppe, the disciples hearing that Peter was there, sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not be slack to come unto them. 39 And Peter rising up, went with them. And when he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber. And all the widows stood about him weeping and shewing him the coats and garments which Dorcas made them. 40 And they all being put forth, Peter kneeling down prayed and turning to the body, he said: Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes and seeing Peter, she sat up. 41 And giving her his hand, he lifted her up. And when he had called the saints and the widows, he presented her alive. 42 And it was made known throughout all Joppe and many believed in the Lord.
GOSPEL: JOHN 6:60-69 60 Many, therefore, of his disciples, hearing it, said: This saying is hard and who can hear it? 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself, that his disciples murmured at this, said to them: Doth this scandalise you? 62 If then you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that quickens, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life. 64But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning, who they were that did not believe and who he was, that would betray him. 65 And he said: Therefore, did I say to you, that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by my Father. 66 After this, many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? 68 And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou has the words of eternal life. 69 And we have believed and have known, that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.
One Minute Reflection – 23 April – Friday of the Third Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 9:1-20, Psalm 117:1-2, John 6:52-59
“ He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood, abides in me and, I in him. ” … John 6:56
REFLECTION – “This bread you see on the Altar, consecrated by the word of God, is the Body of Christ. This cup consecrated by the word of God, or rather its contents, is the Blood of Christ. In these two elements our Lord desired to hand over, for our veneration and love, His Body and Blood, shed for the remission of our sins. If you have received them with a good disposition, then you are what you have received. As the apostle Paul declares: “We are, all of us, one bread, one body” (1 Cor 10,17)…
This bread reminds you how much you ought to love unity. Was this bread made out of only one wheat grain? To begin with, weren’t there a large number of grains? Before taking on the form of bread, they were separated. It was water that brought them together once they had been ground. If the wheat isn’t first of all, crushed and then soaked, one cannot give it the shape of a loaf.
In the same way, you have been ground down by the humiliation of fasting and the exorcism of the scrutinies. Then the baptismal water came to soak you, so that you could take on the form of bread.
However, we cannot make bread without fire. What represents the fire here? Holy chrism. For the oil that feeds our fire is the Sacrament of the Holy Spirit… On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was revealed in the form of tongues of fire… … Thus the Holy Spirit comes here like fire after water and you become that bread which is the body of Christ. Thus this Sacrament is like a symbol of unity.” – St Augustine (3540430) Bishop, Father, Doctor of Grace – Sermon 227, 4th Sermon for Easter day; to the newly baptised, concerning the Sacrament
PRAYER – Almighty God, You sent Your Son and we have now come to know the grace of His Resurrection. Through Him we live and move and have our being. As we follow Him, He walks with us and leads us to You. Grant we pray, that His Mother and ours, may guide our way to Him and be a solace in our trials. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Acts 9: 1-20 1 And Saul, as yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, 2 And asked of him letters to Damascus, to the synagogues: that if he found any men and women of this way, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 And as he went on his journey, it came to pass that he drew nigh to Damascus and suddenly, a light from heaven shone around about him. 4 And falling on the ground, he heard a voice saying to him: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 He said: Who art thou, Lord? And he: I am Jesus whom thou persecute. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad. 6 And he trembling and astonished, said: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? 7 And the Lord said to him: Arise and go into the city and there, it shall be told thee what thou must do. Now the men who went in company with him, stood amazed, hearing indeed a voice but seeing no man. 8 And Saul arose from the ground and when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. But they leading him by the hand, brought him to Damascus. 9 And he was there three days, without sight and he did neither eat nor drink. 10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias. And the Lord said to him in a vision – Ananias. And he said: Behold I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said to him: Arise and go into the street that is called Stait and seek in the house of Judas, one named Saul of Tarsus. For behold he prays. 12 (And he saw a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hands upon him, that he might receive his sight.) 13 But Ananias answered: Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that invoke thy name. 15 And the Lord said to him: Go thy way; for this man is to me a vessel of election, to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. 17 And Ananias went his way and entered into the house. And laying his hands upon him, he said: Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus hath sent me, he that appeared to thee in the way as thou came; that thou may receive thy sight and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes, as it were, scales and he received his sight and rising up, he was baptised.
Gospel: John 6: 52-59 52 The Jews, therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. 54 He that eateth my flesh and drinks my blood, has everlasting life and I will raise him up in the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed and my blood is drink indeed. 56He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood, abides in me and, I in him. 57As the living Father hath sent me and I live by the Father, so he that eats me, the same also shall live by me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead. He that eats this bread, shall live forever. 59These things he said, teaching in the synagogue, in Capharnaum.
One Minute Reflection – 21 April – Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 8:1-8, Psalm 66:1-7, John 6:35-40 and the Memorial of St Anselm (1033-1109) Doctor of the Church
“I am the bread of life” John 6:35
REFLECTION – “When Christ Himself has said of the bread: “This is my body” who could waver? And when He asserts that “This is my blood” who could be in doubt? Once, in Cana of Galilee, Jesus changed water into wine – which is akin to blood. So who could now refuse to believe it, if He transforms wine into blood? He wrought this amazing miracle when invited to an earthly marriage, so how could anyone refuse to acknowledge that He might grant the happiness of His own Body and Blood, to “the friends of the Bridegroom,” (Mt 9,15)?
For His body, has been given to you under the appearance of bread and His blood, under the appearance of wine, so that, when you have partaken of the body and blood of Christ, you might be one body and one blood with Him. So shall we become Christ-bearers [“Christophers”]. His body and blood are diffused through all our members – see, then, how we become participants in the divine nature! Formerly, when He was talking to the Jews, Christ said: “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you do not have life in you” (Jn 6,53. If the bread and wine only seem to be purely natural substances to you, don’t stop at that… If your senses lead you astray, let your faith reassure you.
So when you draw near to receive him do not do so without respect, holding out the palms of your hands with your fingers spread apart. But since the King is about to rest in your right hand, make a Throne for Him with your left. Receive the Body of Christ in the hollow of your hand and answer: Amen!” – St Cyril of Jerusalem (313-350) Bishop of Jerusalem, Father & Doctor of the Church – Catechetical Lectures to the Newly Baptised, 22
PRAYER – Holy almighty God, in Your wisdom You created us and by Your providence You rule and feed us with the bread of life, Your Divine Son Penetrate our inmost being with Your holy light, so that our way of life may always be one of faithful service, as we follow Your Son, who leads us to eternal life. May the prayers of Mary our Mother and St AAnselm, help us to shine Your light on our neighbour. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Acts 8: 1b-8 1 There was raised a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem and they were all dispersed through the countries of Jude, and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men took order for Stephen’s funeral, and made great mourning over him. 3 But Saul made havock of the church, entering in from house to house and dragging away men and women, committed them to prison. 4 They. therefore. that were dispersed, went about preaching the word of God. 5 And Philip going down to the City of Samaria, preached Christ unto them. 6 And the people with one accord were attentive to those things which were said by Philip, hearing and seeingthe miracles which he did. 7 For many of them who had unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, went out. 8 And many, taken with the palsy and that were lame, were healed.
Gospel: John 6: 35-40 35 And Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life,-he that comes to me, shall not hunger and he that believeth in me, shall never thirst. 36 But I said unto you, that you also have seen me and you believe not. 37 All that the Father gives to me, shall come to me; and him that comes to me, I will not cast out. 38 Because I came down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him that sent me. 39 Now this is the will of the Father who sent me, that of all that he hath given me, I should lose nothing but should raise it up agaiin, the last day. 40 And this is the will of my Father that sent me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him, may have life everlasting and I will raise him up on the last day.
One Minute Reflection – 17 April – “Saturday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 6: 1-7, Psalm: Psalms 33: 1-2, 4-5, 18-19, Gospel: John 6: 16-21 and the meorial of St Pope Anicetus I (Died 168)
“It is I, be not afraid.”…John 6:20
REFLECTION – “Enlighten me, good Jesus, with the brightness of internal light and take away all darkness from the habitation of my heart. Restrain my wandering thoughts and suppress the temptations which attack me so violently. Fight strongly for me, and vanquish these evil beasts — the alluring desires of the flesh — so that peace may come through Your power and the fullness of Your praise resound in the holy courts, which is a pure conscience. Command the winds and the tempests, say to the sea: “Be still” and to the north wind, “Do not blow” and there will be a great calm.
Send forth Your light and Your truth to shine on the earth, for I am as earth, empty and formless until You illumine me. Pour out Your grace from above. Shower my heart with heavenly dew. Open the springs of devotion to water the earth, that it may produce the best of good fruits. Lift up my heart pressed down by the weight of sins and direct all my desires to heavenly things, that having tasted the sweetness of supernal happiness, I may find no pleasure in thinking of earthly things.
Snatch me up and deliver me from all the passing comfort of creatures, for no created thing can fully quiet and satisfy my desires. Join me to Yourself in an inseparable bond of love because You alone can satisfy him who loves You and without You, all things are worthless.” – Thomas à Kempis CRSA (1380-1471) – The Imitation of Christ – Book 3 Ch 23
PRAYER – Let us praise You Lord, with voice and mind and deed and since life itself is Your gift, may all we have and are, be Yours! May our Mother be with us and pray for us and listen, we pray, to the prayers of St Pope Anicetus as we ask his intercession. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, in union with You, one God for all eternity, amen.
Acts 6: 1-7 1 And in those days, the number of the disciples increasing, there arose a murmuring of the Greeks against the Hebrews, for that their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 2 Then the twelve calling together the multitude of the disciples, said: It is not reason that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Wherefore, brethren, look out among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word. 5 And the saying was liked by all the multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost and Philip and Prochorus and Nicanor and Timon, and Parmenas and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles; and they praying, imposed hands upon them. 7 And the word of the Lord increased; and the number of the disciples was multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly, a great multitude also of the priests obeyed the faith.
Gospel: John 6: 16-21 16 And when evening was come, his disciples went down to the sea. 17 And when they had gone up into a ship, they went over the sea to Capharnaum; and it was now dark and Jesus was not come unto them. 18 And the sea arose, by reason of a great wind that blew. 19 When they had rowed, therefore ,about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they saw Jesus, walking upon the sea and drawing nigh to the ship and they were afraid. 20 But he saith to them: It is I; be not afraid. 21 They were willing, therefore, to take him into the ship and presently the ship was at the land to which they were going.
One Minute Reflection – 215April – Thursday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 5:27-33, Psalm 34:2, 9, 17-20, John 3:31-36
“ For he whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God, for God doth not give the Spirit by measure. … but he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life but the wrath of God abideth on him.” … John 3:34,36
REFLECTION – “How can someone with little or no faith be made to realise that an ant grows wings, a caterpillar turns into a butterfly and many other strange and unexpected things happen in nature, so that in this way he shakes off the sickness of unbelief and despair, himself acquires wings and buds in spiritual knowledge like a tree? “I am He,” God says, “who makes the dry tree flourish; I give life to dry bones” (cf. Ezek 17:24; 37:1-14). (…) Sometimes our soul grows despondent at the huge swarm of its sins and temptations, and says: “Our hope is gone and we are lost” (Ezek 37:11 LXX). Yet God, who does not despair of our salvation, says to us: “You shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezek 37:6). To the soul that doubts how it can ever give birth to Christ through great acts of holiness, these words are said: “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you” (Lk 1:35). Where the Holy Spirit is present do not expect anymore the sequence and laws of nature and habit. The Holy Spirit, Whom we worship, is all-powerful and, in an astonishing way, He brings into existence what does not as yet exist within us. The intellect, which was previously defeated, He now makes victorious. For the Paraclete, Who in compassion, comes upon us from above, “is higher than all” (Jn 3:31) and He raises us above all natural impulses.” … St John of Karpathos (7th century) Bishop, Monk
PRAYER – Lord God, whose name is holy and whose mercy is proclaimed in every generation, send forth Your Spirit into our hearts and grant that, faithfully pondering on all that is holy, we may ever live in the splendour of Your presence. Listen we beseech You, to the prayers we request from the Blessed Virgin Mary and all Your Angels and Saints, that we may ever entreat the Holy Spirit to grant us His light. We make our prayer through Christ, Your Son our Lord and Saviour, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever amen.
Acts 5: 27-33 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying: Commanding we commanded you, that you should not teach in this name and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine and you have a mind to bring the blood of this man upon us. 29 But Peter and the apostles answering, said: We ought to obey God, rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers hath raised up Jesus, whom you put to death, hanging him upon a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and remission of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these things and the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to all that obey him. 33 When they had heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they thought to put them to death.
Gospel: John 3: 31-36 31 He that cometh from above, is above all. He that is of the earth, of the earth he is, and of the earth he speaketh. He that cometh from heaven, is above all. 32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth and no man receiveth his testimony. 33 He that hath received his testimony, hath set to his seal that God is true. 34 For he whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God, for God doth not give the Spirit by measure. 35 The Father loveth the Son: and he hath given all things into his hand. 36 He that believeth in the Son, hath life everlasting but he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life but the wrath of God abideth on him.
One Minute Reflection – 14 April – Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 5: 17-26, Psalm: Psalms 34: 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, Gospel: John 3: 16-21 *Readings below
“Light came into the world” – John 3:19
REFLECTION – “The commandment of the Lord shines clearly, enlightening the eyes” (Ps 18 .9). Receive Christ, receive power to see, receive your light, that you may plainly recognise both God and man… Let us open ourselves to the light, then and so to God. Let us open ourselves to the light and become disciples of the Lord… Let us, then, shake off forgetfulness of truth, shake off the mist of ignorance and darkness that dims our eyes and contemplate the true God… For upon us, buried in darkness, imprisoned in the shadow of death, a heavenly light has shone, a light of a clarity, surpassing the sun’s and of a sweetness, exceeding any this earthly life can offer. That light is eternal life and those who receive it live. Night, on the other hand, is afraid of the light, and melting away in terror gives place to the day of the Lord. Unfailing light has penetrated everywhere and sunset has turned into dawn.
This is the meaning of the new creation (Gal 6,15; Rv 21,1) for the Sun of Righteousness (Mal 3,20), pursuing His course through the universe, visits all alike, in imitation of His Father, “who makes his sun rise upon all” (Mt 5,45) and bedews everyone with His truth… He, it is, who has changed sunset into dawn and death into life by His Crucifixion, He, it is, who has snatched the human race from perdition and exalted it to the skies. Transplanting what was corruptible, to make it incorruptible, He has transformed earth into heaven…
He deifies us by His heavenly teaching, by “instilling his laws into our minds, and writing them on our hearts. That all, be they of high estate or low, shall know God. And I will be merciful to them, God says and I will remember their sin no more” (Jr 31,33f.). Let us accept the laws of life, then; let us obey God’s promptings, let us learn to know Him.” – St Clement of Alexandria (150- 215) Theologian, Father of the Church – Exhortation to the Greeks, 11, 113
PRAYER – Shed your clear light on our hearts, Lord, so that walking continually in the way of Your commandments, we may never be deceived or misled. Your ways are not our ways, teach us to willingly agree to them, for You know which way we should go. Help us to say “yes” always to Your plan and to render ourselves as a sacrament of Your divine love to all we meet. Fill us with the grace to be your tools to bring glory to Your kingdom. May the prayers of your Angels and Saints and Your Blessed Mother and ours, bring us strength. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ with You, in the union of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Acts 5: 17-26 17 Then the high priest rising up and all they that were with him, (which is the heresy of the Sadducees,) were filled with envy. 18 And they laid hands on the apostles,and put them in the common prison. 19 But an angel of the Lord by night opening the doors of the prison and leading them out, said: 20 Go and standing, speak in the temple to the people, all the words of this life. 21 Who having heard this, early in the morning, entered into the temple and taught. And the high priest coming and they that were with him, called together the council and all the ancients of the children of Israel and they sent to the prison to have them brought. 22 But when the ministers came and opening the prison, found them not there, they returned and told, 23 Saying: The prison indeed we found shut with all diligence and the keepers standing before the doors but opening it, we found no man within. 24 Now, when the officer of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were in doubt concerning them, what would come to pass. 25 But one came and told them: Behold, the men whom you put in prison are in the temple standing and teaching the people. 26 Then went the officer with the ministers and brought them without violence; for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned.
John 3: 16-21 16 For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish but may have life everlasting. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world but that the world may be saved by him. 18 He that believeth in him is not judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged – because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the judgement: because the light is come into the world and men loved darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil. 20 For everyone that doth evil hateth the light and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. 21 But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest because they are done in God.
One Minute Reflection – 10 April – Easter Saturday, Readings: First: Acts 4: 13-21, Psalm: Psalms 118: 1 and 14-15ab, 16-18, 19-21, Gospel: Mark 16: 9-15 *First Reading and Gospel in full below
“Preach the gospel to every creature” – Mark 16:15
REFLECTION – “You have heard what the Lord said to His disciples after the Resurrection. He sent them out to preach the Gospel and they did so. Listen: “Through all the earth their voice resounds and to the ends of the world, their message” (Ps 18,5). Step by step, the Gospel has reached even to us and the ends of the earth. In a few words the Lord, addressing Himself to His disciples, set out what we are to do and what we have to hope for. Just as you have heard, He said: “Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved.” He asks for our faith and offers us salvation. What He offers us, is so precious, that what He asks of us, is as nothing.
“The children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings, O my God… from your delightful stream You give them to drink, for with you is the fountain of life” (Ps 35,8f.). Jesus Christ is the Fountain of Life. Before the Gountain of Life came to us, we had only a human salvation, like that of the beasts of which the psalm speaks: “Man and beast you save, O Lord” (Ps 35,7). But now, the Fountain of Life has come even to us, the Fountain of Life died for our sakes. Will He refuse us His life Who, for our sakes, gave His death? He is salvation and this salvation is not worthless, like the other one. Why? Because it does not pass away. The Lord has come. He died, but He killed death. In Himself, He brought an end to death. He assumed it and He killed it. Where is death now, then? Look for it in Christ and it is no longer there. It used to be there but there it died. O life, death of death! Take heart, it will also die in us. What was fulfilled in the Head, will also be fulfilled in the members and death will die in us, too.” – St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the Church – Sermon 233
PRAYER – Lord our God, You increase and multiply Your faithful by Your abundant gift of grace. Look now on Your chosen people and clothe them forever in the garment of eternal life. May we, in confident love of You, go forth and live our lives in witness and speaking with joy of the ways of truth. Grant that the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, the Saints and Angels, may accompany us on our journey. Through our Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Acts 4: 13-21 13 Now seeing the constancy of Peter and of John, understanding that they were illiterate and ignorant men, they wondered and they knew them that they had been with Jesus. 14 Seeing the man also who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 15 But they commanded them to go aside out of the council; and they conferred among themselves, 16 Saying: What shall we do to these men? for indeed a known miracle hath been done by them, to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: it is manifest and we cannot deny it. 17 But that it may be no farther spread among the people, let us threaten them that they speak no more in this name to any man. 18 And calling them, they charged them not to speak at all, nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answering, said to them: If it be just in the sight of God, to hear you rather than God, judge ye. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. 21 But they threatening, sent them away, not finding how they might punish them, because of the people; for all men glorified what had been done, in that which had come to pass.
Gospel: Mark 16: 9-15 9 But he rising early the first day of the week, appeared first to Mary Magdalen, out of whom he had cast seven devils. 10 She went and told them that had been with him, who were mourning and weeping. 11 And they hearing that he was alive and had been seen by her, did not believe. 12 And after that he appeared in another shape to two of them walking, as they were going into the country. 13 And they going, told it to the rest: neither did they believe them. 14 At length he appeared to the eleven as they were at table and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart because they did not believe them, who had seen him after he was risen again. 15 And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature.
One Minute Reflection – 8 April – Easter Thursday, Readings: First: Acts 3: 11-26 Psalm: Psalms 8: 2ab and 5, 6-7, 8-9, Gospel: Luke 24: 35-48
“Touch me and see.” – Luke 24:39
REFLECTION –“See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.” I think there are four reasons why our Lord showed His side, hands and feet to the Apostles. First of all, to prove He was truly risen and remove from us, any cause for doubt. Secondly, so that the “dove” – that is to say, the Church or the faithful soul – might make its nest in those wounds as in “the crevice of the rock” (Sg 2:14) and find refuge there, from the eye of the bird of prey. Thirdly, to imprint as an emblem, the marks of the Passion in our hearts. And in the fourth place ,as a warning, asking us to show Him pity and not pierce Him anew, with the nails of our sins.
He shows us His hands and His feet: “Behold,” He says, “the hands that have fashioned you (cf. 119:73); see how the nails have pierced them. Behold My heart – the heart where you My faithful, you my Church, were born as Eve was born from Adam’s side: see how the lance has opened it, so that the door of Paradise, held shut by the fiery Cherubim, might be opened to you. The blood that flowed from My side has driven aside that angel and blunted his sword, the water has extinguished the fire (cf Jn 19:34) … Listen carefully, take these words to yourself and peace will be with you.” – St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Evangelical Doctor of the Church, Franciscan
PRAYER – Lord God, let there be one faith in our hearts, one love for You, one Way in You, for You are the One Truth and the only Way. We linger in Your light and beg Your unending kindness. Grant that by the prayers of Your Saints we may obtain Your strength and may Your Mother and ours, walk by our side and hold fast to our hand. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for always and forever, amen.
Epistle: Acts 3: 11-26 11 And as he held Peter and John, all the people ran to them to the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering. 12 But Peter seeing, made answer to the people: Ye men of Israel, why wonder you at this? or why look you upon us, as if by our strength or power we had made this man to walk? 13 The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus, whom you indeed delivered up and denied before the face of Pilate, when he judged he should be released. 14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you. 15 But the author of life you killed, whom God hath raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. 16 And in the faith of his name, this man, whom you have seen and known, hath his name strengthened; and the faith which is by him, hath given this perfect soundness in the sight of you all. 17 And now, brethren, I know that you did it through ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things which God before had shewed by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 19 Be penitent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. 20 That when the times of refreshment shall come from the presence of the Lord, and he shall send him who hath been preached unto you, Jesus Christ, 21 Whom heaven indeed must receive, until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets, from the beginning of the world. 22 For Moses said: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me: him you shall hear according to all things whatsoever he shall speak to you. 23 And it shall be, that every soul which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. 24 And all the prophets, from Samuel and afterwards, who have spoken, have told of these days. 25 You are the children of the prophets, and of the testament which God made to our fathers, saying to Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. 26 To you first God, raising up his Son, hath sent him to bless you; that every one may convert himself from his wickedness.
Gospel: Luke 24: 35-48 35 And they told what things were done in the way and how they knew him in the breaking of the bread. 36 Now whilst they were speaking these things, Jesus stood in the midst of them and saith to them: Peace be to you; it is I, fear not. 37 But they being troubled and frightened, supposed that they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them: Why are you troubled and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; touch and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have. 40 And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and feet. 41 But while they yet believed not and wondered for joy, he said: Have you any thing to eat? 42 And they offered him a piece of a broiled fish,and a honeycomb. 43 And when he had eaten before them, taking the remains, he gave to them. 44 And he said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. 46 And he said to them: Thus it is written and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise again from the dead, the third day: 47 And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things.
One Minute Reflection – 7 April – Easter Wednesday, Readings: First: Acts 3: 1-10, Psalm: Psalms 105: 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9, Gospel: Luke 24: 13-35
“And they said one to the other: ‘Was not our hearts burning within us, whilst he spoke in this way and opened to us the scriptures?’” – Luke 24:32
REFLECTION – “What is the innermost reason of this fruitfulness of God’s Word? It is that Christ is ever living: He is ever the God who saves and quickens. … All proportion guarded, that which is true of the person of Jesus is true also of His Word and, what was true yesterday, is still true in our days. Christ lives in the soul of the just, under the infallible direction of this inner master, the soul … penetrates into the divine light, Christ gives it His Spirit, the first author of Holy Writ, that it may there “search into the very depths of the infinite” (cf. 1 Cor 2:10). It contemplates God’s marvels with respect to men; it measures, by faith, the divine proportions of the mystery of Jesus and this wonderful spectacle, whereof the splendours enlighten and illuminate it, touches, draws, enraptures, uplifts, transports and transforms the soul. It experiences in its turn, what the disciples of Emmaus felt when Christ Jesus Himself vouchsafed to interpret to them the sacred books: “Was not our heart burning within us whilst he spoke in the way and opened to us the Scriptures.”
What is there astonishing, then, in the fact, that the soul, charmed and won by this living Word, “which penetrates even to the marrow” (Heb 4:12) makes the prayer of these disciples its own – “Stay with us! O Thou the incomparable Master, indefectible Light, infallible Truth, the only true Life of our souls!” Forestalling these holy desires “the Holy Spirit Himself prays for us with unspeakable groanings” which constitute true prayer, these vehement desires to possess God, to live no longer save for the Father’s glory and for that of His Son Jesus. Love becomes great and burning by contact with God, takes possession of all the powers of the soul, renders it strong and generous, to do perfectly, all the Father’s will, to give itself up ,wholly to the divine good pleasure.” – Blessed Columba Marmion (1858-1923) Abbot – Monastic prayer (Christ, the Ideal of the Monk)
PRAYER – God our Father, you give us the joy of celebrating our Lord’s Resurrection. Let the word of the Word, our Resurrected Saviour, lead us to our eternal joy. May the intercession of all your Angels, Saints and the Blessed Mother of the Risen Christ, bring us safely home. Through Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You, now and for all eternity, amen.
Epistle: Acts 3: 1-10 1 Now Peter and John went up into the temple at the ninth hour of prayer. 2 And a certain man who was lame from his mother’s womb, was carried: whom they laid every day at the gate of the temple, which is called Beautiful, that he might ask alms of them that went into the temple. 3 He, when he had seen Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked to receive an alms. 4 But Peter with John fastening his eyes upon him, said: Look upon us. 5 But he looked earnestly upon them, hoping that he should receive something of them. 6 But Peter said: Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, I give thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise, and walk. 7 And taking him by the right hand, he lifted him up, and forthwith his feet and soles received strength. 8 And he leaping up, stood, and walked, and went in with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God. 10 And they knew him, that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened to him.
Gospel: Luke 24: 13-35 13 And behold, two of them went, the same day, to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 And it came to pass, that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus himself also drawing near, went with them. 16 But their eyes were held, that they should not know him. 17 And he said to them: What are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk, and are sad? 18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said to him: Art thou only a stranger to Jerusalem, and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days? 19 To whom he said: What things? And they said: Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in work and word before God and all the people; 20 And how our chief priests and princes delivered him to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we hoped, that it was he that should have redeemed Israel: and now besides all this, today is the third day since these things were done. 22 Yea and certain women also of our company affrighted us, who before it was light, were at the sepulchre, 23 And not finding his body, came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, who say that he is alive. 24 And some of our people went to the sepulchre, and found it so as the women had said, but him they found not. 25 Then he said to them: O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken. 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures, the things that were concerning him. 28 And they drew nigh to the town, whither they were going and he made as though he would go farther. 29 But they constrained him; saying: Stay with us because it is towards evening, and the day is now far spent. And he went in with them. 30 And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in this way, and opened to us the scriptures? 33 And rising up, the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem: and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were staying with them, 34 Saying: The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35 And they told what things were done in the way; and how they knew him in the breaking of the bread.
One Minute Reflection – 6 April – Easter Tuesday Third Day in the Easter Octave, Readings: First: Acts 2: 36-41, Psalm: Psalms 33: 4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22, Gospel: John 20: 11-18
Some have requested at least the Epistle and the Gospel in full each day – I am, therefore, posting them below from the Douay-Rheims, Challoner translation. If anyone knows of a link to the original English translation, with chapter and verse, please share it with me. And please let me know whether I should continue to post the readings here.
“Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father.” – John 20:17
REFLECTION – “Touch me not for I have not yet ascended to my Father.” What are we to say? That Christ is better touched by faith than by flesh. Touching Christ by faith is truly to touch Him. This is what the woman suffering from an issue of blood did: – she drew near to Christ, full of faith and touched His robe … And our Lord, hemmed in by the crowd, was touched by no one but this woman … because she believed (Mk 5:25 f).
My brethren, Jesus is in heaven today. While He was living among His disciples, clothed visibly in flesh and possessing a body that could be touched, He was both seen and touched. But today, now He is seated at the right hand of the Father, which of us can touch Him? And yet, woe to us if we do not touch Him. We all touch Him who believe in Him. He is far away in heaven and the distance separating Him from us cannot be measured. But believe and you touch Him. What am I saying? You touch Him? If you believe, then you have with you, the One in Whom you believe …
Do you know how Mary wished to touch Him? She searched for Him among the dead and did not believe He would rise again: “They have taken my Lord from the tomb!” (Jn 20:2). She wept for a man … “Touch me not for I have not yet ascended to my Father.” You touch me before I have ascended to the Father and see no more than a man in me. What will that sort of faith give you? “Let me ascend to the Father. I have never left Him but, for your sake, I will ascend provided you believe me to be equal to the Father.” Our Lord Jesus Christ ,did not leave His Father when He descended from His side. So neither has He forsaken us, when He went up again from our side. For at the very time of His going up and sitting at the right hand of the Father, He said to His disciples: “I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20).” – St Augustine (354-430) – Bishop of Hippo, Father & Doctor of the Church – 1st sermon for Holy Thursday, Morin Guelferbytanus 13 ; PLS 2, 572
PRAYER – Lord our God and Father, You have brought us solace through the Easter mysteries. Continue to be bountiful to Your people and lead us to perfect freedom, so tht the joy that gladdens our way on earth, will be fulfilled in heaven. May the prayers of the Blessed Virgin grant us strength on our journey. Through Your Son, our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus the Risen Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God with Your, now and forever, amen.
First Reading: Acts 2: 36-41 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know most certainly, that God hath made both Lord and Christ, this same Jesus, whom you have crucified. 37 Now when they had heard these things, they had compunction in their heart, and said to Peter, and to the rest of the apostles: What shall we do, men and brethren?
Gospel: John 20: 11-18 11 But Mary stood at the sepulchre without, weeping. Now as she was weeping, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid. 13 They say to her: Woman, why weepest thou? She saith to them: Because they have taken away my Lord; and I know not where they have laid him. 14 When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing; and she knew not that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus saith to her: Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, thinking it was the gardener, saith to him: Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus saith to her: Mary. She turning, saith to him: Rabboni (which is to say, Master). 17 Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God. 18 Mary Magdalen cometh, and telleth the disciples: I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me.
One Minute Reflection – 5 April – Easter Monday, Readings: Acts 2:14, 22-33, Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11, Matthew 28:8-15
Then Jesus said to them: “Fear not. Go, tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, there they shall see me.” – Matthew 28:10
REFLECTION – “The Gospel pictures the disciples’ joyful race: “They both ran but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first” (Jn 20:4). Which of us would not likewise want to look for Christ, sitting at the right hand of the Father? And which of us, when they joyfully call to mind those Apostles’ eager race, would not try to run in spirit so as to find Him at the end of their search? To encourage us in this desire, we should all eagerly repeat this verse of the Song of Songs: “Draw me after you; we will run in the fragrance of your perfume” (3:4 LXX). To run in the fragrance of perfume, means, to keep going without stopping towards our Creator, using the footsteps of our spirit and strengthened by the holy fragrance of the virtues.
This was exactly what the praiseworthy race of those holy women was like, who, according to the gospels, had followed the Lord from Galilee and stayed faithful to Him at the time of His Passion, whereas the disciples had run away (Mt 27:55). They had run in the fragrance of perfume in their spirit – and even according to the letter – since they had bought spices with which to anoint the Lord’s body, as Mark testifies (16:1).
Brethren, following the example given by the hasty attentions of the disciples – both men and women – beside their Master’s tomb … let us proclaim, after our own fashion, the joys of the Lord’s Resurrection. It would be really sad if our tongues of flesh were to stifle the praises due to our Creator on this day, when His flesh was raised. This wonderful Resurrection prompts us to proclaim the greatness of so great a joy’s Author and, to make known abroad, the victory carried against our ancient enemy … Death is evicted today together with death’s maker; today, through Christ, life is restored to humankind. Today are broken the devil’s chains – on this day, the freedom of the Lord is granted to Christians. ” – St Odilo of Cluny (961-1048) Monk – 2nd Sermon for the Resurrection of the Lord; PL 142, 1005
PRAYER – Lord God, You bring us joy through the Easter mysteries. Continue to be bountiful to Your people, lead us from darkness to the perfect freedom, by which the joy that gladdens our way on earth, will be fulfilled in heaven. May the prayer of your angels and saints, with Mary the Mother of our Saviour and our Mother, grant us peace and strength. We make our prayer through our Lord, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, God forever amen.
One Minute Reflection – 2 April – Good Friday, Readings: First: Isaiah 52: 13 — 53: 12.salm: Psalms 31: 2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25. Second: Hebrews 4: 14-16; 5: 7-9 Gospel: John 18: 1 — 19: 42
“But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water.”– John 18:34
REFLECTION – “How precious the gift of the Cross, how splendid to contemplate! In the Cross there is no mingling of good and evil, as in the tree of paradise, it is wholly beautiful to behold and good to taste. The fruit of this tree is not death but life, not darkness but light. This tree does not cast us out of paradise but opens the way for our return.
This was the tree upon which, Christ, like a king on a chariot, destroyed the devil, the lord of death and freed the human race from his tyranny. This was the tree upon which the Lord like a brave warrior wounded in hands, feet and side, healed the wounds of sin that the evil serpent had inflicted on our nature. A tree once caused our death but now, a tree brings life. Once deceived by a tree, we have now repelled the cunning serpent, by a tree. What an astonishing transformation! That death should become life, that decay should become immortality, that shame should become glory! Well might the holy Apostle exclaim – Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world! The supreme wisdom that flowered on the Cross has shown the folly of worldly wisdom’s pride. The knowledge of all good, which is the fruit of the Cross, has cut away the shoots of wickedness.
The wonders accomplished through this tree were foreshadowed clearly, even by the mere types and figures that existed in the past. Meditate on these, if you are eager to learn. Was it not the wood of a tree that enabled Noah, at God’s command, to escape the destruction of the flood, together with his sons, his wife, his sons’ wives and every kind of animal? And surely the rod of Moses prefigured the Cross, when it changed water into blood, swallowed up the false serpents of Pharaoh’s magicians, divided the sea at one stroke and then restored the waters to their normal course, drowning the enemy and saving God’s own people? Aaron’s rod, which blossomed in one day, in proof of his true priesthood, was another figure of the Cross and did not Abraham foreshadow the Cross, when he bound his son Isaac and placed him on the pile of wood?
By the Cross, death was slain and Adam was restored to life. The Cross is the glory of all the Apostles, the crown of the Martyrs, the sanctification of the Saints. By the Cross, we put on Christ and cast aside our former self. By the Cross we, the sheep of Christ, have been gathered into one flock, destined for the sheepfold of heaven.” – St Theodore the Studite (759-826) Father, Abbot, Theologian, Writer
PRAYER – Be mindful Lord, of this Your family, for whose sake, our Lord Jesus Christ, when betrayed, did not hesitate to yield Himself into His enemies hands and undergo the agony of the Cross – He Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 31 March – Wednesday in Holy Week, Readings: First: Isaiah 50: 4-9a, Psalm: Psalms 69: 8-10, 21-22, 31 and 33-34, Gospel: Matthew 26: 14-25
“My appointed time draws near. I am to celebrate the Passover in your house” – Matthew 26:18
REFLECTION – “And will you be persuaded that He came to His passion willingly? The others, who foreknow it not, die unwillingly but He spoke beforehand of His passion: “Behold, the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified” (Mt 26,2). But do you know why this Friend of man did not shun death? It was lest the whole world should perish in its sins. “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed and shall be crucified” (Mt 20,13); and again: “He steadfastly set His face to Jerusalem” (Lk 9,51).
And will you know certainly, that the Cross is a glory to Jesus? Hear His own words, not mine. Judas had become ungrateful to the Master of the house and was about to betray Him. Having but just now gone forth from the table and drunk His cup of blessing, in return for that draught of salvation, he sought to shed righteous blood. He, who ate of his Bread, was lifting up his heel against Him…Then said Jesus: “The hour is come for the Son of man to be glorified” (Jn 12,23). Do you see how He knew the Cross to be His proper glory?… Not that He was without glory before,for He was glorified with the glory which was before the foundation of the world (Jn 17,5). He was ever glorified as God but now, He was to be glorified in wearing the crown of His patience.
He did not give up His life by compulsion, nor was He put to death by murderous violence but of His own accord. Hear what He says: “I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it up again” (Jn 10,18); I yield it to My enemies of My own choice, for unless I chose, this could not be. He came, therefore, of his own set purpose to His passion, rejoicing in His noble deed, smiling at the crown, cheered by the salvation of humankind, not ashamed of the Cross, since it was to save the world.” – St Cyril of Jerusalem (313-350), Bishop of Jerusalem, Father and Doctor of the Church – Catechetical Lectures to the Newly Baptised 13, #6
PRAYER – Oh dear God and Father, let us stay with Your Son and never betray or desert Him. The One You sent to save us, needs our love and fidelity in return for His ineffable love. Teach us holy Father, do not abandon us to our weakness but help us to love Him in return, with all our hearts, minds and souls. As you O holy Mother loved your Son and your God, help us to be perfect imitators of your Immaculate heart. Through Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, one god forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 30 March – Tuesday of Holy Week, Readings: First: Isaiah 49: 1-6, Psalm: Psalms 71: 1-2, 3-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15 and 17, Gospel: John 13: 21-33, 36-38
“The cock will not crow before you deny me three times.” – John 13:38
REFLECTION – “The first time Peter denied, he did not weep because the Lord had not looked at him. He denied a second time and did not weep because the Lord still did not look at him. He denied a third time; Jesus looked at him and he wept very bitterly (Lk 22:62). Look at us, Lord Jesus, so that we might know how to weep for our sins. This shows us that even the fall of the saints may be useful to us. Peter’s denial has done me no wrong, on the contrary, I have gained from his repentance – I have learned to be beware of faithless companions. …
So Peter wept and wept bitterly; he wept so hard that he washed away his offence with his tears. And you, too, if you would win pardon, wipe out your guilt with tears. At that very moment, in that same hour, Christ will look at you. If some kind of fall happens to you, then He, the ever-present witness of your intimate life, looks at you to call you back and cause you to confess your lapse. Then do as Peter did, who thrice said: “Lord, you know that I love you” (Jn 21:15). He denied three times and three times he also confessed. But he denied by night; he confessed in broad daylight.
All this has been written, to make us understand, that no-one should be puffed up. If Peter fell for having said: “Though all may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be” (Mt 26:33), who is there to count on himself? … From whence then, Peter, shall I call you to mind, to teach me your thoughts as you wept? From heaven where you have already taken your place among the choirs of angels, or from the grave? For that death, from which the Lord was raised, did not reject you in your turn. Teach us what use your tears were to you. But you taught it without delay for having fallen before you wept, your tears caused you to be chosen to guide others, you who, to begin with, did not know how to guide yourself.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan, Father and Doctor of the Church – Commentary on St Luke’s Gospel, 10,89f.
PRAYER – Almighty Father, we are slow to understand. In that love that You have for us and the grace, mercy and forgiveness You grant us. You gave Your only Son to save us from ourselves, help our lowly hearts, that we may understand Your love and in our smallness, offer all of our hearts, minds and souls, back to You in total submission and love. May Your saints and angels, help us on our way by their prayers and may Mary, the Sorrowful Mother of our Saviour, grant us, her heart, to love You in return. We make our prayer through our Saviour, Your Son, Jesus Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 29 March – Monday of Holy Week, Readings: First: Isaiah 42: 1-7, Psalm: Psalms 27: 1, 2, 3, 13-14, Gospel: John 12: 1-11
“The house was filled with the odour of the ointment.” – John 12:3
REFLECTION – “When she had anointed the Lord’s feet this woman did not wipe them with a cloth but with her own hair, to show Him greater honour … Like a thirsty person drinking from a fresh waterfall, this holy woman drank in grace full of delights, from the Springs of Holiness, to quench the thirst of her faith.
However, in the allegorical or mystical sense, this woman prefigured the Church, which offered the full and entire devotion of it’s faith to Christ …There are twelve ounces to a pound and this is the amount of perfume the Church possesses, having received the teaching of the twelve Apostles, as if it were a precious perfume. Indeed, what more precious is there than the Apostles’ teaching, which contains both faith in Christ and the glory of the Kingdom of heaven? Furthermore, it is related that the whole house was filled with the scent of that perfume because, the whole world has been filled with the Apostles’ teaching. As it is written: “Through all the earth their voice resounds and to the ends of the world, their message”(Ps 19:5).
In the Song of Songs we read the following words addressed through Solomon, to the Church: “Your name spoken is a spreading perfume” (1,2). Not without cause, is the Lord’s name called a “spreading perfume.” As you know, so long as perfume is preserved inside it’s flask, it keeps it’s fragrance but, as soon as is poured out or emptied, it spreads out its fragrant scent. Even so, so long as our Lord and Saviour reigned with His Father in heaven, the world was unaware of Him, He was unknown here below. But when, for our salvation, He deigned to humble Himself, by descending from heaven, to take on a human body, then He spread abroad in the world, the sweetness and perfume of His Name.“ – St Chromatius of Aquilaea (c 407) – Bishop of Aquileia, Italy, Theologian, Exegete – Sermon 11
PRAYER – Lord our God, Your Son so loved the world that He gave Himself up to death for our sake. Strengthen us by Your grace and give us a heart willing to live by that same love. With Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mother of Jesus and our Mother, may we stand at His Cross. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 28 March – Palm Sunday, Readings: Procession: Mark 11: 1-10 or John 12: 12-16, First: Isaiah 50: 4-7, Psalm: Psalms 22: 8-9, 17-18, 19-20,23-24, Second: Philippians 2: 6-11, Gospel: Mark 14: 1 – 15: 47
“And they brought the colt to Jesus and they lay their garments on him and he sat upon him.” – Mark 11:7
REFLECTION – “Seated on Your throne in Heaven and on a colt on earth, O Christ, You who are God, You welcomed the praise of the angels and the anthem of the children, who called out to You : “ Blessed are You, the One who comes to recall Adam”… The King comes to us, humble, sitting on the foal of a donkey. He comes with haste to suffer His Passion and take sins away. Seated on a dumb animal, the Word, the Wisdom of God, wants to save all beings endowed with reason. And all humankind can contemplate, mounted on a colt, the One who rides on the cherubim (Ps 17:10) and who once bore up Elijah on a chariot of fire. “Though he was rich,” of his own will, “he became poor” (2Co 8:9) ; in choosing weakness, He gives strength to all who cry to Him: ”Blessed are You, the One who comes to call You demonstrate Your strength by choosing poverty… The clothes of the disciples were a sign of this poverty but Your power was measured by the anthem of the children and the great crowd which cried : “Hosanna!”—which means : “Save!”—”Hosanna to You who are in the highest. O Almighty, save those who are humbled. Have mercy on us, in consideration of our palms, may the palms we wave move Your Heart, You who come to call Adam”… “You who are the work of My hands,” the Creator answered … “I came to you Myself. It was not the Law that was to save you since it had not created you, nor the prophets who, like you, I created. I alone can free you from your debt . I am sold for you and I free you. I am crucified for you and you are rescued from death. I die and I teach you to cry.” Blessed are You, the One who comes to call Adam”. “Did I love the angels as much? No, it is you, the poor, whom I have cherished. I have hidden My glory and, out of My great love for you, have freely made My richness poor. For you I suffered hunger, thirst, fatigue. I roamed the mountains, ravines and valleys looking for you, my lost sheep. I took the name of Lamb, to bring you back, calling you with my shepherd’s voice. And I want to give My life for you, to tear you away from claws of the wolf. I bear everything, so that you may cry out : “Blessed are You, the One who comes to call Adam.” – St Romanus the Melodist (c 490-c 556) – Composer of Hymns – Hymn 32
PRAYER – Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of Hosts, Heaven and earth are full of Your glory! Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!
“Believe the works, that you may know and understand, that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” … John 10:38
REFLECTION – “Believe the works, 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, 9-11
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.
One Minute Reflection – 25 March – The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14; 8: 10, Psalms 40:7-8,8-9, 10, 11, Hebrews 10:4-10, Luke 1:26-38
“Hail, full of grace!” – Luke 1:28
REFLECTION – “This woman will be the Mother of God, the door to light, source of life; she will reduce to oblivion the judgement that weighed on Eve. “The rich among the people seek the face” of this woman, “the kings of the nations shall pay her homage,” they shall “offer gifts”… yet the glory of the Mother of God is an interior glory – the fruit of her womb.
O woman, so worthy of love, thrice happy, “blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Daughter of David the king and Mother of God, King of the universe, masterpiece in whom the Creator rejoices… you are to be nature’s full achievement. For you, life is not yours; you were not born for yourself alone but your life is to be God’s. You came into the world for Him, you will serve for the salvation of all people, fulfilling God’s design established from the beginning – the incarnation of the Word and our own divinisation. Your whole desire is to feed on the words of God, to be strengthened by their sap, like “a green olive tree in the house of God,” “like a tree planted by running water,” you are the “tree of life” who “yielded its fruit in due season”…
He who is infinite, limitless, came to dwell in your womb, God, the Child Jesus, was nourished by your milk. You are the ever virginal doorway of God; your hands hold your God; your lap is a throne raised up above the cherubim… You are the wedding chamber of the Spirit, the “city of the living God, gladdened by the runlets of the stream,” that is to say, the waves of the Spirit’s gifts. You are “all fair, the Beloved” of God.” – St John Damascene (675-749) Monk, Theologian, Father and Doctor of the Church – Homily on the Nativity of the Virgin, § 9 ; SC 80 ( Biblical references : Ps 44,13; 71,11.10; Mt 2,11; Lk 1,42; Is 62,5; Ps 51,10; 1,3; cf Gn 2,9, Rv 22,2; cf Ez 44,2; Ps 79,2; cf Sg 1,4; Ps 45,5; Sg 4,7)
PRAYER – Shape us in the likeness of the Divine nature of our Redeemer, whom we believe to be true God and true man, since it was Your will, Lord God, that He, Your Word, should take to Himself, our human nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for always and forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 24 March – Wednesday of Passion or the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95, Daniel 3:52, 53, 54,55, 56, John 8:31-42
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:31-32
REFLECTION – “The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor 3:17) … But how can we find this freedom who are slaves of this world, slaves of money, slaves of fleshly desires? It is true that I strive to amend and judge myself, I condemn my faults. And on their part, let those who hear me, examine the thoughts of their own hearts. But let me mention that, insofar as I am bound by one of these attachments, I have not been converted to the Lord, nor attained true freedom, since such matters and preoccupations, still have power to hold me. ….
As we know, it is written that: “A person is a slave of whatever overcomes him” (2 Pt 2:19). Now, even if I am not overcome by love of money, even if I am not bound by concern for possessions and riches, yet I am hungry for acclaim and anxious for human glory when I take account of the regard shown me by others and of what they say about me, when I worry about what someone thinks of me, about someone else’s estimation, when I am afraid to displease one and want to please another. So long as I have these preoccupations, I am their slave. Yet I should like to make an effort to set myself free from them and try to break free from the yoke of this shameful slavery and attain the liberty, Saint Paul tells us about: “You were called for freedom, do not become slaves to human beings” (Gal 5:13; 1 Cor 7:23). But who will gain this freedom for me? Who will deliver me from this shameful slavery if not He who said: “If the Son sets you free, then you are free indeed” … So let us faithfully serve and “love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our strength” (Mk 12:30), so that we may merit to receive the gift of freedom from our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Origen Adamantius(c 185-253) Priest, Theologian, Exegist, Writer, Apologist, Father – Homilies on Exodus, no. 12, 4
PRAYER – God of mercy, shed Your light on our hearts that are being purified by penance and in Your goodness, give us a favourable hearing. Teach us to work with You and for You and thus fill the world with Your Spirit. In Christ our Saviour, we become a new creation and Your adopted children, therefore, all things are renewed. May the prayers of the Blessed Virgin assist to humility and fidelity to grace. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realise that I AM” – John 8:28
REFLECTION – “Isaiah the prophet describes an exalted vision for us: “I saw the Lord seated on a throne” (Is 6:1). What a wonderful sight, my brethren! Happy the eyes that saw it! Who would not want with all their heart, to behold the splendour of so great a glory? … Yet here, I am listening to that same prophet give us an account of a very different vision of the same Lord: “We saw Him; He had no beauty, no splendour – we took Him for a leper” (Is 53:2f. Vg.) (…)
And so, if you desire to see Jesus in His glory, try, first of all, to contemplate Him in His humiliation. Begin by gazing on the serpent raised up in the desert, (cf. Jn 3:14) if you wish to see the King seated on His throne. Let the first vision fill you with humility, so that the second, may raise you from your humiliation. Let the former, reprove and heal your pride, before the latter fulfils and satisfies, your desire. Do you see the Lord “emptied?” (Phil 2:7). Do not let this vision leave you untouched, or you will not be able to behold Him later on, in the glory of His exaltation, without anxiety.
“You will be like Him,” indeed, when you see Him “as He is” (1 Jn 3:2); so, be like Him now, as you see what He became for your sake. If you do not refuse to become like Him in His humiliation, He will certainly give you, the likeness of His glory in return. He will never allow someone who has shared His Passion, to be excluded from communion in His glory. So little does He refuse, to admit someone who has shared His Passion, into the Kingdom with Him, that the thief found himself in paradise that very day with Him because he confessed Him on the cross (Lk 23:42) … Yes indeed, “if we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him” (Rm 8:17). – St Bernard (1091-1153) Cistercian Monk and Mellifluous Doctor of the Church – Sermon 1 for the first Sunday of November.
PRAYER – Holy Father, we have sinned against You and beg for Your forgiveness and mercy. Through the merits of the saving Cross of Your Son, help Your people O Lord, to persevere in obedience to Your will, so that through this obedience, we may reach our eternal home. May the eyes of our hearts, never cease contemplating the Holy Cross and following the way of its humiliation. We hope for the intercession of your angels and saints and our most loving Mother Mary. Through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
REFLECTION – “One after another all withdrew.” The two were left alone, the woman in need of mercy and Mercy. But the Lord, having struck them through with that dart of justice, deigned not to heed their fall but, turning His eyes away from them, “again he wrote with his finger on the ground.”
But when that woman remained alone and all had gone, He raised His eyes to her. We have heard the voice of justice; let us listen too to the voice of clemency… This woman expected to be punished by Him, in whom sin could not be found. But He, who had driven back her adversaries with the voice of justice, lifting the eyes of mercy to her, asked her: “Has no-one condemned you?” She answered, “No-one, Lord.” And He said: “Neither do I condemn you. I by Whom, perhaps, you were afraid of being condemned because you have found no sin in Me; neither do I condemn you.”
What is this, O Lord? Do you favour sins, then? Certainly not! But take note of what follows: “Go, henceforth sin no more.” The Lord did condemn, therefore but He condemned the sin, not the sinner… Let them be careful, then, those who love the goodness in the Lord but who fear His truthfulness… The Lord is gracious, the Lord is slow to anger, the Lord is merciful BUT the Lord is also just and the Lord is abounding in truth (Ps 85,15). He gives you time for amendment but you prefer to take advantage of the delay, rather than to reform your ways. Did you act wickedly yesterday? Be good today. Have you spent today in evil? At any rate change your behaviour tomorrow.
This, then, is the meaning of the words He addresses to this woman, “Neither do I condemn you but, having been made secure concerning the past, be on your guard in the future. I, for My part, will not condemn you, I have blotted out what you have done; keep what I have commanded, that you may gain what I have promised.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop, Father, Doctor of Grace –Tractate 33 on the Gospel of John, 5-8
PRAYER – O Infinite Goodness – Act of Contrition By St Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) – Doctor of the Church
O my God, I am exceedingly grieved, for having offended Thee and with my whole heart, I repent of the sins I have committed. I hate and abhor them above every other evil, not only because, by so sinning, I have lost heaven and deserved hell but still more because I have offended Thee, O infinite Goodness, who art worthy to be loved above all things. I most firmly resolve, by the assistance of Thy grace, never more to offend Thee for the time to come and to avoid those occasions which might lead me into sin. Amen
REFLECTION – “Through the glorious achievements of the holy Martyrs with which the Church blossoms everywhere, we are ourselves, proving to our own eyes, how true are the words we have been singing that: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Ps 116:15). For it is precious both in our sight and in the sight of Him, in whose name the death took place.
But the price of those deaths is the death of one man. How many deaths did that one man purchase by His death, for, if He had not died, the grain of wheat would not be multiplied? You heard His words when He drew near His passion, that is when He was drawing near to our redemption: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” On the Cross He carried out a vast transaction, there, the purse of our price was unfastened and, when His side was opened by the lance of the soldier, there streamed the price for the redemption of the whole earth (cf. Jn 19:34).
Now the faithful ones and Martyrs have been purchased but the faithfulness of the Martyrs has been proved – their blood is the proof … “As Christ laid down his life for us, so we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1Jn 3:16). In another place it is stated: “At a grand table you have sat; now carefully consider what has been put before you, since it is your duty to prepare for such things” (cf. Prv 23:1). That table is great where the Lord of the table is Himself the meal. No-one feeds guests with Himself as food but this is exactly what the Lord Christ does, He, Himself is the host who invites; He, Himself is the food and the drink. Therefore, the Martyrs have recognised what they were eating and drinking so as to be able to repay such gifts. But whence can they make such return unless He who first paid the cost, supplies the source from which restitution may be made? That is the reason for the Psalm, where we sing what is written: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” ... St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor – Sermon 329, for the Feast of the Martyrs, 1-2 ; PL 38, 1454
PRAYER – Lord our God, Your Son so loved the world that He gave Himself up to death for our sake. Strengthen us by Your grace and give us a heart willing to live by that same love. With Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mother of Jesus and our Mother, may we stand at His Cross. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever, amen.
“Never before has anyone spoken like this one” – John 7:46
REFLECTION – “God could answer: “My Son is My entire Locution and Response, Vision and Revelation, which I have already spoken, answered, manifested and revealed to you, by giving Him to you as a Brother, Companion, Master, Ransom and Reward… ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear him’ (Mt 17,5).
If you desire me to answer with a word of comfort, behold my Son, subject to me and to others out of love for me and the afflicted … you will see how much He answers you. If you desire me to declare some secret truths or events to you, fix your eyes only on Him and you will discern hidden in Him, the most secret mysteries and wisdom and wonders of God, as my Apostle proclaims: “In the Son of God are hidden all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God” (Col 2,3). These treasures of wisdom and knowledge will be for you far more sublime, delightful and advantageous, than what you want to know. The apostle, therefore, gloried, affirming that he had acted as though he knew no other than “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1Cor 2,2). And if you should seek other divine or corporeal visions and revelations, behold Him, become human and you will find more than you imagine. For the apostle Paul also says: “In Christ all the fullness of the divinity dwells bodily” (Col 2,9).”
One should not, then, inquire of God in this manner, nor is it necessary for God to speak anymore…: there is no more faith to reveal, nor will there ever be.” – St John of the Cross OCD (1542-1591) Carmelite, Doctor of the Church – Ascent of Mount Carmel, II, ch 22
PRAYER – In Your gentle mercy Lord, guide our wayward hearts, for we know that left to ourselves, we cannot do Your will. Almighty God, turn our hearts to Your Son, so that we, seeking the one thing necessary, may worship You and follow Him in spirit and in truth. We give You thanks for our faith, increase our faith O our God! May the prayers of all your saints and the Virgin Mary, Queen of All Saints, obtain for us the gift of humility and fidelity so that our lives may always be pleasing. Through Christ our Lord and Redeemer, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.