Posted in FATHERS of the Church, PRAYERS for SEASONS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube Videos

Saint of the Day – 30 September – Saint Gregory the Illuminator (c 257 – c 331)

Saint of the Day – 30 September – Saint Gregory the Illuminator (c 257 – c 331) – “Apostle to Armenia” and “Father of Armenia”- Bishop, First Patriarch of the Armenian Church, Missionary, Wonder-worker – born Grigor Lusavorich in c 257 and died in c 331 of natural causes.   Also known as Gregory the Enlightener.   Patronage – Armenia.Gregory the Illuminator.jpg

The life of Saint Gregory was first recounted in a biography dating to c 460 and the more or less contemporary History of the Armenians by Agathangelos.   The saint’s was born in and around Parthia between 239 to 257.   He was the son of Anak Partev the Parthian, who, being in the pay of the rival Sasanian Empire in Persia (224-651), infamously murdered the Armenian king Khosrov of Kadj.   The Lusavorich family was both wealthy and influential but they were all wiped out by the revenging relatives of Khosrov.   Fortunately for Gregory, he, the sole survivor of the purge, was whisked away by his nanny to the safety of Cappadoccia.

Gregory was raised as a Christian and attended a Greek Christian school.   On returning to Armenia, Gregory gained a position as a palace functionary at the court of the Armenian king.   There he protested the pagan religion of the period and refused to participate in its rites.   The reigning monarch was Tiridates IV (Trdat III or IV), or Tiridates the Great as he would become known and he had the troublesome Gregory imprisoned, tortured and thrown into the terrible Khor Virap prison at Artashat.   Known as the “pit of oblivion,” nobody ever returned from Khor Virap.

When out hunting, Tiridates often behaved like a beast, hence the legend that he was transformed into a boar.   A King, who was loved by his people and especially his sister, Khosrovidought, tried in vain to return him to his senses.   Khosrovidought had a dream, seeing Gregory coming out of the dungeon and healing her brother!   This was especially ironic, as the illness had only manifested itself following the king’s orders to murder a group of Christian nuns who had fled persecution in Rome.  Khosrovidought told the people at the Court of her dream and revealed that Gregory was living and was the only man in the world who could cure the King.   As Tiridat’s condition worsened his courtiers went to the pit and to their great surprise heard a feeble “yes” to the question:  “Gregory, are you still alive?” For St Gregory had been in the pit for 13 years!    They lowered the rope and out came a man with a long beard and soiled clothes.   But his darkened face was wrapped in an aura of light.   After dressing him properly,they took him to the presence of Tiridat.   Moved by a powerful force which he could not control, Tiridat knelt down before his prisoner.   Gregory, putting his hands on the King’s head, prayed for him. There,upon Tiridat was cured and became a new man.   He said to Gregory: “Your God is my Go, your religion is my religion.”   Gregory lifted him up and embraced him.   From that moment, until their death, they remained faithful friends and worked together, each in his own way for the establishment of the Kingdom of God in Armenia, beginning in the year 301.gregory illuminator framed.jpg

Gregory first converted the people in the capital city and in its neighbourhood.   There were no bishops or clergymen left in the country, because of the severe persecutions by Tiridat.   Thus, Gregory could not find people in holy orders to baptise the neophytes. Gregory himself was still a layman.   Therefore, the Royal Council decided to send Gregory back to Cæsarea to be ordained as a Priest and then Bishop of Armenia.

Armenia did became a Christian state and it was a momentous moment in the country’s history as the historian RG Hovannisian here explains:

“The conversion of Armenia to Christianity was probably the most crucial step in its history.   It turned Armenia sharply away from its Iranian past and stamped it for centuries with an intrinsic character, as clear to the native population, as to those outside its borders, who identified Armenia almost at once as the first state to adopt Christianity.”

Armenia thus became the first nation to adopt Christianity as its official religion.

As soon as Gregory returned to Armenis as the first Bishop (Katholikos) he set about formally establishing the Christian Church.   Tiridates gave Saint Gregory up to 15 provinces of territory to establish the Armenian Church.   The old pagan temples were torn down and the sites were converted to Christian ones and the whole nation was obliged to embrace the new faith.   Churches and monasteries sprang up everywhere, including at the Khor Virap, Gregory’s home for so long, which was eventually converted into a monastery.   The Armenian aristocracy quickly followed the royal family’s example and many noble families converted to Christianity.gregory-the-illuminator-goodpic2

Later in life, Gregory retired to the seclusion of the cave of Mane in northwestern Armenia where he lived as an ascetic.   Gregory died there of old age around 331. The former bishop’s remains were buried at Tordan on the Euphrates River in the western province of Daranaghik, although later his bones would become prized relics in various churches across the country.

St Gregory governed the  Armenian Church for about 25 years.   He diligently worked for the internal organisation of the Church.   His descendants carried on his work, notably his younger son Aristakes, who, known for his asceticism, was the next bishop and who attended the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325 as St Gregory was too old.

Many Churches were built in his honour but perhaps the most celebrated was the cathedral at Ani built by the great architect Trdat for King Gagik (1001-1010).

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Saint Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral, Yerevan, (finished in 2001) contains the remains of St Gregory

He is commemorated as a Canonised Saint by all the ancient churches of the East and of the West, including the Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches. The Armenian Church has set aside three holy days in honour of St Gregory, commemorating three of the main events of his life – firstly,  his sufferings and entrance into the dungeon, secondly, His release from the dungeon and the conversion of Armenia to Christianity, thirdly, the discovery of his relics.

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The Right Hand of Gregory the Illuminator in the museum of the Holy See of Cilicia at Antelias, Lebanon

On St Pope John Paul II’s historic trip in 2001 to Armenia to mark the 1700th of the conversion of the Armenian nation to Christianity, he became inspired by a visit to Khor-Virab where Saint Gregory was confined.   As a result, a statue of Saint Gregory the Illuminator now stands (unveiled on 19 January 2005) in the Vatican’s last remaining niche along the walls of Saints leading to St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.   Almost 2,5 metres tall, it is situate at the site where visitors wait to climb the cupola.   Thousands of visitors now wait under the gentle gaze of St Gregory the Illuminator of Armenia.   See the Statue below.

Gregory_the_Illuminator_Statue_in_Vatican_City_(2010).jpg

On 26 June 2016, Pope Francis visited Armenia and made a special pilgrimage to the Church and Monastery, where St Gregory’s pit was located.   It is here, in one of the Armenian Church’s most sacred places, that Francis concluded his trip.   After being welcomed by the Monastery’s superior, the he and the Pope made their way down the small stairs to the room where St Gregory had been held in captivity for 13 years.   There, they lit a candle in veneration.   They then entered the adjacent chapel in procession and prayed in Armenian and in Italian.   Finally, the Pope and Abbot Karekin went out onto the terrace overlooking Ararat and released two doves, in the direction of the Biblical mountain, which is now beyond the border in Turkey.

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Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL PRAYERS, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

5th World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation – 1 September

5th World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation – 1 September

Daily Prayer for the Care of Creation
By Pope Francis

“O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned
and forgotten of this earth,
who are so precious in your eyes…

God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of Your love
for all the creatures of this earth
God of mercy, may we receive Your forgiveness
and convey Your mercy throughout our common home.

Praise be to you!
Amen.”

(Pope Francis 2016)

This World Day of Prayer also falls at the beginning of Creation Time, which runs until 4 October, the feast of St Francis of Assisi.   This is an ecumenical season dedicated to prayer for the protection of creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles.

Shortly after Creation Time this year, a Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will take place, focusing on the Amazon region and integral ecology.   This will be an opportunity for the Church to listen to the people of the Amazon and respond with them to the devastation facing them and their environment.1-sept-join-pope-francis-daily-prayer-for-the-care-of-creation-1-sept-2019 (1).jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, DOMINICAN, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS for SEASONS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on LOVE, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 23 August – Love the Lord, Love your neighbour

One Minute Reflection – 23 August – Friday of the Twentieth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Today’s Gospel: Matthew 23:34-40 and the Memorial of St Rose of Lima (1586-1617)

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart … You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” … Matthew 22:37,40matthew 22 37 and 40 you shall the lord your god you shall yourneighbour - 23 aug 2019.jpg

REFLECTION – “Thus, then, the obedient man,with the light of faith, in the truth burning in the furnace of charity … receives his end from Me, his Creator.”…St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Churchthus-then-the-obedient-man-no 2 - st-catherine-of-siena-23-aug-2018.jpg

PRAYER – “God our Father, for love of You, St Rose of Lima left the world and gave herself to a life of penitence, austerity and charity.   Help us by her prayers, so to follow the path of life on earth, in complete love of You and thus of Your children, that we may obtain the fullness of joy in Your presence in heaven and be clothed fit for the wedding feast.  We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.st-rose-of-lima-pray-for-us-23-aug-2017

 

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, HOLY WEEK, HOLY WEEK 2019, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The RESURRECTION

Our Morning Offering – 20 April – Beautiful and Glorious

Our Morning Offering – 20 April – Holy Saturday – Easter Vigil in the Holy Night

Beautiful and Glorious
By Bl John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

I look at You, my Lord Jesus
and think of Your most holy Body
and I keep it before me
as the pledge of my own resurrection.
Though I die, as die I certainly shall,
nevertheless, I shall not forever die,
for I shall rise again.
O You, who are the Truth,
I know and believe,
with my whole heart,
that this very flesh of mine will rise again.
I know, base and odious as it is at present,
that it will one day,
if I be worthy,
be raised incorruptible
and altogether beautiful and glorious.
This I know,
this by Your grace,
I will ever keep before me.
Amenbeautiful and glorious - bl john henry newman - holy sat 20 april 2019.jpg

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, HOLY WEEK 2019, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, STATIONS of the CROSS, The HOLY CROSS, The PASSION, The STATIONS of the CROSS

The Stations of the Cross – 16 April – The Sixth Station Jesus and Veronica

The Stations of the Cross – 16 April – Tuesday of Holy Week

Meditations on the Stations of the Cross
By Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

Begin with an Act of Contrition

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 are 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

Note:  It is little known that St Robert is the Author of this, one of our most widely used prayersact-of-contrition-written-by-st-robert-bellarmine-o-m-god-i-am-exceedingly-grieved-17-sept-2018.jpg

The Sixth Station
Jesus and Veronica

V. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
R. Quia per sanctam Crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
V. We adore You, O Christ and we bless You.
R. Because by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world.

AS Jesus toils along up the hill, covered with the sweat of death, a woman makes her way through the crowd and wipes His face with a napkin.   In reward of her piety, the cloth retains the impression of the Sacred Countenance upon it.

The relief which a Mother’s tenderness secured is not yet all she did.   Her prayers sent Veronica as well as Simon—Simon to do a man’s work, Veronica to do the part of a woman.   The devout servant of Jesus did what she could.   As Magdalen had poured the ointment at the Feast, so Veronica now offered Him this napkin in His passion.   “Ah,” she said, “would I could do more!   Why have I not the strength of Simon, to take part in the burden of the Cross?   But men only can serve the Great High Priest, now that He is celebrating the solemn act of sacrifice.”

O Jesus! let us one and all minister to You according to our places and powers.   And as You did accept from Your followers refreshment in Your hour of trial, so give to us the support of Your grace when we are hard pressed by our Foe.   I feel I cannot bear up against temptations, weariness, despondency and sin.   I say to myself, what is the good of being religious? {138}   I shall fall, O my dear Saviour, I shall certainly fall, unless You renew for me my vigour like the eagle’s and breathe life into me by the soothing application and the touch of the Holy Sacraments which You have appointed.the sixth station - jesus and veronica - 16 april - bl john henry newman - o jesus i shall certainly fall - 16 april 2019.jpg

V. Have mercy on us, O Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.

I love You, Lord Jesus,
my love above all things,
I repent with my whole heart
for having offended You.
Never permit me to separate myself
from You again grant that I
may love always
and then do with me what You will.
(St Alphonsus Liguori)

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Posted in LENT 2019, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN Saturdays, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Our Morning Offering – 13 April – Mother of Sorrows, of Love, of Mercy

Our Morning Offering – 13 April – Saturday of the Fifth week of Lent, Year C “Marian Saturdays”

Mother of Sorrows, of Love, of Mercy
By Fr Lawrence Lovasik SVD (1913-1986)

Mary, most holy Virgin and Queen of Martyrs,
accept the sincere homage of my childlike love.
Into your heart, pierced by so many sorrows,
welcome my poor soul.
Receive it as the companion of your sorrows
at the foot of the Cross, on which Jesus
died for the redemption of the world.
Sorrowful Virgin, with you,
I will gladly suffer all the trials,
misunderstandings and pains
which it shall please our Lord to send me.
I offer them all to you
in memory of your sorrows,
so that every thought of my mind
and every beat of my heart,
may be an act of compassion
and of love for you.
Loving Mother, have pity on me,
reconcile me to your Divine Son Jesus,
keep me in His grace and assist me
in my last agony,
so that I may be able to meet you in heaven
and sing your glories.
Mary, most sorrowful Mother of Christians,
pray for us.
Mother of love,
of sorrow
and of mercy, pray for us!
Amen. Amen.mother of sorrows of love of mercy by fr lawrence lovasik 13 april 2019 marian sats.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, LENT 2019, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN Saturdays, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Our Morning Offering – 6 April – Prayer to the Sorrowful Mother

Our Morning Offering – 6 April – Saturday of the Fourth week of Lent, Year C
‘Marian Saturdays’

Prayer to the Sorrowful Mother
By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Doctor of the Church

My sorrowful Mother,
by the merit of that grief
which you felt at seeing your beloved Jesus
led to death,
obtain for me the grace to bear with patience,
those crosses which God sends me.
I will be fortunate if I also shall know
hot to accompany you with my cross until death.
You and Jesus,
both innocent,
have borne a heavy cross
and shall I,
a sinner who has merited hell,
refuse mine?
Immaculate Virgin,
I hope you will help me
to bear my crosses with patience.
Amenprayer to the sorrowful mother by st alphonsus liguori 6 april 2019.jpg