Posted in MARIAN PRAYERS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, Uncategorized

Thought for the Day – 16 August – St Stephen’s letter to St Emeric

Thought for the Day – 16 August – Friday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C and The Memorial of St Step  hen of Hungary (c 975- 1038)

At the turn of the second millenniu  m, St Stephen succeeded his father as leader of the Magyars in Hungary.   Looking to strengthen his authority, he determined to consolidate the state and extend Christianity throughout the land.   In 1001 he arranged to have Pope Sylvester II name him king of Hungary.   The pope obliged.   As an additional sign of support, Sylvester had a special crown fashioned for Stephen that has become world famous.

Stephen extended his control over Hungary by restricting the power of the nobles. By creating dioceses and establishing monasteries, Stephen strengthened the church and positioned it for expansion. Politically, he aggressively used his power to establish Christianity as Hungary’s religion. He ruthlessly abolished pagan customs, outlawing adultery and blasphemy.   Stephen ordered everyone to marry, except religiou, and forbade marriages between Christians and pagans.

But Stephen had a kinder, gentler side.   Like St Louis IX, he made himself accessible to his people.   He also took personal concern for the poor  . He used to walk the streets in disguise so he could give alms to needy people.   Once he barely escaped when some beggars beat and robbed him.   But he refused to stop the practice.   Stephen was a family man.   In 1015 he had married Gisela, the sister of emperor St Henry II. The couple had one son, Emeric, whom Stephen groomed as his successor.   In the following letter to his son, Stephen lays out his vision of what a Christian monarch must be.  His counsel remains a letter to us all.   For this and your intercession, we bless and thank you St Stephen!

“My dearest son, if you desire to honour the royal crown, I advise, I counsel, I urge you above all things to maintain the Catholic and apostolic faith with such diligence and care that you may be an example for all those placed under you by God and that all the clergy may rightly call you a man of true Christian profession.   Failing to do this, you may be sure that you will not be called a Christian or a son of the Church.   Indeed, in the royal palace – after the faith itself – the Church holds second place, first propagated as she was by our head, Christ, then transplanted, firmly constituted and spread through the whole world by His members, the apostles and holy fathers.   And though she always produced fresh offspring, nevertheless in certain places she is regarded as ancient.

However, dearest son, even now in our kingdom, the Church is proclaimed as young and newly planted and for that reason, she needs more prudent and trustworthy guardians, lest a benefit which the divine mercy bestowed on us undeservedly, should be destroyed and annihilated, through your idleness, indolence or neglect.

My beloved son, delight of my heart, hope of your posterity, I pray, I command, that at every time and in everything, strengthened by your devotion to me, you may show favour not only to relations and kin, or to the most eminent, be they leaders or rich men or neighbours or fellow-countrymen but also to foreigners and to all who come to you. By fulfilling your duty in this way you will reach the highest state of happiness.   Be merciful to all who are suffering violence, keeping always in your heart the example of the Lord who said:  “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”   Be patient with everyone, not only with the powerful but also with the weak.be-merciful-to-all-st-stephen-of-hungary-16-aug-2018.jpg

Finally be strong, lest prosperity lift you up too much or adversity cast you down.   Be humble in this life, that God may raise you up in the next.   Be truly moderate and do not punish or condemn anyone immoderately.   Be gentle so that you may never oppose justice.   Be honourable so that you may never voluntarily, bring disgrace upon anyone. Be chaste so that you may avoid all the foulness of lust, like the pangs of death.be-humble-in-this-life-st-stephen-of-hungary-16-aug-2019.jpg

All these virtues I have noted above make up the royal crown and without them no one is fit to rule here on earth or attain to the heavenly kingdom.”

Sadly, Emeric died in a hunting accident, leaving Stephen no successor.

In 1038, on the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Stephen delivered his final words to leaders of the Church and state, telling them to protect and spread the Catholic faith.

To the Virgin Mary, the king directed one of his final prayers:
“To thee, O Queen of heaven
and to thy guardianship,
I commend the holy Church,
all the bishops and the clergy,
the whole kingdom, its rulers and inhabitants
but before all, I commend my soul to thy care.”

St Stephen of Hungary died on Aug. 15, 1038. He was buried alongside his son St Emeric and the two were Canonised together in 1083.

St Stephen the Great, King of Hungary, Pray for us!st-stephen-of-hungary-with prayer to mary pray-for-us-16-aug-2019.jpg

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, DIVINE MERCY, GOD is LOVE, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on FORGIVENESS, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, QUOTES on PRIESTS, the PRIESTHOOD, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SIN

Quote of the Day – 16 August – “We are ever but beginning…”

Quote of the Day – 16 August – Friday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C and The Memorial of St Stephen of Hungary (c 975- 1038)

“We are ever but beginning,
the most perfect Christian,
is to himself but a beginner,
a penitent prodigal
who has squandered God’s gifts
and comes to Him,
to be tried over again,
not as a son
but as a hired servant.”

Bl John Henry Newman (1801-1890)we are ever but beginning - bl john henry newman 16 aug 2019.jpg

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, FRANCISCAN, MARIAN QUOTES, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on COURAGE, QUOTES on GRATITUDE, QUOTES on INDIFFERENCE, QUOTES on PERSEVERANCE, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SIN, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The HOLY CROSS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Quote/s of the Day – 14 August – St Maximillian Kolbe

Quote/s of the Day – 14 August – The Memorial of St Maximillian Kolbe OFM Conv (1894 -1941) “Martyr of Charity”

“A man cannot rise any higher than this.
The Immaculate is the highest degree
of perfection and sanctity of a creature.
No man will ever attain this celestial summit of grace,
for the Mother of God is unique.
However, he who gives himself without limits,
to the Immaculate, will in a short time,
attain a very high degree of perfection
and procure for God, a very great glory.”for-behold-luke-1-48-a-man-cannot-rise-any-higher-than-this-st-max-kolbe-14-august-2018.jpg

“We do not limit ourselves in love.
We want to love the Lord Jesus,
with her heart,
or rather, that she would love the Lord,
with our heart.”we-do-not-limit-ouselves-in-love-st-max-kolbe-14-aug-2018

“Let us not forget,
that Jesus not only suffered
but also rose in glory;
so, too, we go to the glory
of the Resurrection,
by way of suffering
and the Cross.”let-us-not-forget-st-max-kolbe-14-aug-2018

“The most deadly poison of our times is indifference.
And this happens, although the praise of God
should know no limits.
Let us strive, therefore, to praise Him
to the greatest extent of our powers!”the most deadly poison of our times is indifference - st max kolbe 14 aug 2019.jpg

“Be a Catholic!
When you kneel before an altar,
do it in such a way that others
may be able to recognise
that you know before Whom you kneel.”

St Maximillian Kolbe (1894 -1941)be-a-catholic-st-maximillian-kolbe-14-aug-2017

Posted in MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, MARIAN Saturdays, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, SPEAKING of ....., The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Thought for the Day – 3 August – Saturday Devotions in Honour of Our Lady

Thought for the Day – 3 August – Saturday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Marian Saturdays

Speaking of:  Our Lady

Saturday Devotions in Honour of Our Lady
Part One
By Sr M Jean Frisk SSM

Historical Background of the Saturdays in Honour of Mary

To dedicate Saturday in honour of Mary is an ancient custom.   It is based on a legendary account that Jesus appeared to Mary on the Saturday, the day after His death.   He did so to reward her for her steadfast faith in His divinity, which did not waver under the Cross.   Another strain of devotional thought explains that Divine Wisdom, becoming flesh of the Virgin Mary, rested (Saturday=Sabbath=day of rest) in Mary as on a bed.part one sat devotiosns in honour of our lady part one 3 aug 2019.jpg

One of the oldest customs traced to honouring Mary on Saturday in the Church of Rome, took place on the Saturday before “Whitsunday” [White Sunday].   The newly-baptised members of the Church were led from St John’s baptistry of the Lateran to Mary’s great shrine on the Esquilin, St Mary Major [built under Pope Liberius 352-66].   St John of Damascus’ († 754) writings testify to the celebration of Saturdays dedicated to Mary in the Church of the East.   The liturgical books of the ninth and tenth centuries contain Masses in honour of Mary on Saturday.

The Dictionary of Mary states:dict of mary.jpg

Hence, Saturday acquired its great Marian tone and the existing fast on that day became associated with Mary.   Today, the strongest trace of Mary’s relationship with Saturday occurs in the Liturgy.   Saturday is dedicated to Mary by a Mass or Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.   Through these liturgical acts, Christians exalt the person of Mary in the action that renews the sacrifice of Christ and in the action that prolongs His prayer.

This liturgical attribution of Saturday to Mary was largely the work of Alcuin (735-804), the Benedictine monk who was “Minister of Education” at the court of Charlemagne and who contributed in a decisive manner to the Carolingian liturgical reform.   Alcuin composed six formularies for Votive (that is, devotional) Masses – one for each day of the week.   And he assigned two formularies to Saturday in honour of Our Lady.   The practice was quickly and joyously embraced by both clergy and laity.   St Cardinal Peter Damian († 1072) fostered the Marian Saturday celebration as well.

The custom was specially furthered during the time of the crusades.   Peter of Amiens preached the first crusade and started out with a vanguard for Constantinople on a Saturday, March 8, 1096.   Pope Urban II admonished the faithful to pray the hours of the liturgy in honour of the most holy Virgin for the crusaders.   At the Synod of Clermont the year before, he had prescribed priests to do so.

The custom of dedicating Saturday Masses to Mary was fostered specially in the cloister churches of the various orders and quickly spread throughout the whole Church.   In addition to the liturgical celebrations on Saturdays, other customs kept step – especially works of neighbourly love.   For example, King Louis of France († on the last crusade) fed over one hundred of the poor at his palace.   He ate with them and sent them away richly-laden with gifts.

The great theologians of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Sts Bernard, Thomas and Bonaventure explained the dedication of Saturdays to Mary by pointing to the time of Christ’s rest in the grave.   Everyone else had abandoned Christ, only Mary continued to believe.   This was her day!

A Dominican missal of the fifteenth century listed additional reasons in a hymn: -Saturday is the day when creation was completed.   Therefore it is also celebrated as the day of the fulfilment of the plan of salvation, which found its realisation through Mary. Sunday is the Lord’s Day, so it seemed appropriate to name the day preceding as Mary’s day.

In the centuries to follow, the Marian Saturdays were expressed in several devotions. This was the day the faithful selected to go on pilgrimages.   Sodalities held their meetings on Saturdays and called them Fraternity Saturdays or Sodality Saturdays.   The seven dolors or sorrows of Mary were commemorated on seven consecutive Saturdays. The fifteen Saturdays before the liturgy in honour of Mary as Queen of the Rosary [October 7] recalled the fifteen decades of the rosary.   In some areas this was the day that the crops and harvests were blessed and celebrated.   A German manuscript from 1673 states:

‘The people of Hamingen have from ancient times vowed to hold a procession to this church every Saturday from the feast of St Gregory to the feast of St James [to ask] for protection for the fruits of the fields and against the storms and hail.   Their descendants failed to do so to their great misfortune because the hail did great damage.   After they renewed the practice, no one heard further of great damage.’

The growing devotion in honour of the Immaculate Conception by the Franciscans contributed to furthering the Marian Saturdays.   In 1633 the Order’s Chapter determined that a Holy Mass in honour of this mystery was to be celebrated.

Over time, it became customary for Catholics everywhere to consider Saturday as Mary’s day just as Sunday is the Lord’s Day.   Many of the faithful commemorated the day by attending Mass, receiving the Eucharist and praying the rosary as a family or attending an evening devotion at the Church, as well as performing works of neighbourly love in many forms.

Vatican II with its liturgical reforms did not abolish the practice of Masses in honour of Our Lady.   In fact, it increased them and additions were made to expand the number of the liturgies.   In 1986 A new sacramentary and lectionary were published with forty-six options for votive Masses in honour of Our Lady.

To be continued/…..

Mary, Faithful Mother, Pray for Us!mother mary pray for us 3 aug 2019 part one speakingofmary.jpg

Posted in CCC, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 3 August – ‘..the archives of truth written in letters of blood…’

One Minute Reflection – 3 August – Saturday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 14:1-12

And his disciples came and took the body and buried it and they went and told Jesus. ... Matthew 14:12and his disciples came and took the body - 3 august 2019 st john the baptist.jpg

REFLECTION – “Before Pilate, Christ proclaims that he “has come into the world, to bear witness to the truth,” (Jn 18:37).   The Christian is not to “be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord,” (2 Tim 1:8).   In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St Paul before his judges.   We must keep “a clear conscience toward God and toward men,” (Acts 24:16).

The duty of Christians to take part in the life of the Church impels them to act as witnesses of the Gospel and of the obligations that flow from it.   This witness is a transmission of the faith in words and deeds.   Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known: “All Christians by the example of their lives and the witness of their word, wherever they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man which they have put on in Baptism and to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit by whom they were strengthened at Confirmation” (Vatican II).

Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith – it means bearing witness even unto death. the martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity.   He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine.   He endures death through an act of fortitude…  The Church has painstakingly collected the records of those who persevered to the end in witnessing to their faith. These are the acts of the Martyrs.   They form the archives of truth written in letters of blood…:the church has painstakingly collected - ccc 2472-2474 3 aug 2019 st john the baptist matthew 12 1-12

“I bless You for having judged me worthy from this day and this hour to be counted among Your martyrs….  You have kept Your promise, God of faithfulness and truth. For this reason and for everything, I praise You, I bless You, I glorify You through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son” (St. Polycarp) … CCC #2471-2474lord god you have considered me worth - st polycarp - prayer before martyrdom 9 july 2019

PRAYER – Almighty God, teach us to bear witness to Christ, Your only-begotten Son, who died for our sins. May each moment of our lives radiate the truth of the Word, Christ our Lord.   Through the intercession of our holy Mother, the Channel of all Graces, may our strength be such, that we would bear witness even unto death.   We make our prayer, through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.mary channel of grace - pray for us - 30 may 2018.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, CONSECRATION Prayers, MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN REFLECTIONS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, SACRED and IMMACULATE HEARTS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

August – The Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

August – The Month of the Immaculate Heart of MaryAUG DEVOTION THE IMMACULATE HEART 1 AUG 2019

The Catholic Church dedicates the month of August to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.   The Immaculate Heart is often venerated together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus (the devotion we celebrate in June) and, with good reason.   Just as the Sacred Heart represents Christ’s love for mankind, the Immaculate Heart represents the desire of the Blessed Virgin to bring all people to her Son.

There is no better example of the Christian life than that offered by Mary.   We do not worship Mary or place her above Christ, but we come to Christ through Mary, as Christ came to us through her.

Daily Prayer for August
for the Intercession of
the Immaculate Heart of Mary

O Most Blessed Mother,
heart of love, heart of mercy,
ever listening, caring, consoling, hear our prayer.
As your children, we implore your intercession,
with Jesus your Son.
Receive with understanding and compassion,
the petitions we place before you today,
especially those so deep in our heart.
We are comforted in knowing your heart is ever open
to those who ask for your prayer.
We trust to your gentle care and intercession,
those whom we love
and who are sick or lonely or hurting.
Help all of us, Holy Mother,
to bear our burdens in this life,
until we may share eternal life and peace
with God, our Father forever.
Amendaily-prayer-for-august-for-the-intercession-of-the-imm-heart-of-mary-o-most-blessed-mother-heart-of-love-heart-of-mercy-1-august-2018 and 1 august 2019 jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYER WARRIORS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Quote/s of the Day – 1 August – St Alphonsus Liguori on Prayer

Quote/s of the Day – 1 August – Thursday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C and the Memorial of St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church

“Were you to ask,
‘what are the mans of overcoming temptations’,
I would answer:
the first means is prayer,
the second is prayer,
the third is prayer
and should you ask me a thousand times,
I would repeat the same.”were-you-to-ask-st-alphonsus-18-june-2018 and 1 aug 2019.jpg

“Know also that you will probably gain more
by praying fifteen minutes
before the Blessed Sacrament
than by all the other spiritual exercises of the day.
True, Our Lord hears our prayers anywhere,
for He has made the promise, ‘Ask, and you shall receive,’
but He has revealed to His servants,
that those who visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament
will obtain a more abundant measure of grace.”know-also-that-you-will-probably-gain-more-st-alphonsus-1-aug-2019-no-2.jpg

“Without prayer,
we have neither light nor strength,
to advance in the way which leads to God.”

“He who prays most receives most.”without-prayer-st-alphonsus-30-jan-2018 AND 1 aug 2019.jpg

“Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus
in the Blessed Sacrament
is the greatest, after the sacraments,
the one dearest to God
and the one most helpful to us.”

St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Churchof-all-devotions-that-of-adoring-jesus-in-the-blessed-sacrament-st-alphonsus-liguori-20-april-2018 and 1 aug 2019.jpg