Posted in SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!

Saint of the Day – 3 September – St Phoebe (1st Century)

Saint of the Day – 3 September – St Phoebe (1st Century) – Deaconess at Cenchrese, Matron and possibly a widow. She is mentioned by the Apostle St Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, verses 16:1-2. A notable woman in the church of Cenchreae, she was trusted by St Paul to deliver his letter to the Romans. St Paul refers to her both as a Deacon (Gk. diakonon) and as a benefactress or patron of many (Greek. prostatis). This is the only place in the New Testament where a woman is specifically referred to with these two distinctions. Paul introduces Phoebe as his emissary to the Church in Rome and, because they are not acquainted with her, Paul provides them with her credentials. The name Phoebe means “pure”, “radiant” or “bright.”

The mission of the Church owes an enormous debt to the early Apostles and all those who assisted them as they went beyond the Jewish circles of Jesus’ heritage toward all of the world. We are indebted to St Paul and all who assisted him in a particular way. Besides being the Memorial of St Gregory today, 3 September it is also the Memorial of St Phoebe.

“I commend you to our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchraea, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints and help her, in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself, as well.” So begins the sixteenth chapter of St Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome.

The office of Deaconess was mentioned by St Paul in the letters to the Romans and to Timothy but we also have evidence of the office in a letter from Pliny, a Roman governor who was writing to the Emperor Trajan for advice on dealing with Christians. He mentions two women ministers among the Christians in Bithynia. The office of Deaconess is also mentioned in the Apostolic Constitutions of Hippolytus and the office developed greatly during the third and fourth centuries, although it is quite different from the office Phoebe held. The Council of Chalcedon, held in the year 451, legislated that women could become Deaconesses at the age of 40.

A Deaconess was to devote herself to the care of sick and poor women; she was present at the interviews of women with Bishops, Priests, or male Deacons (so that the clergy wouldn’t be alone with strange women) and kept order in the women’s part of the church. Her most important function was the assistance at the Baptism of women. For the first five centuries of the Church, people were Baptised naked, and so, for the sake of propriety, male deacons couldn’t Baptise women. When adult Baptism became rare and was eventually replaced by infant Baptism, the office of Deaconess declined in importance. The office was actually abolished by the Council of Epaon in the year 517 but in the Nestorian Christian communities in Syria and later in India and China, Deaconesses administered Holy Communion to women and read the Sacred Scriptures in public.

In one of the later New Testament letters is a passage about diakonoi that outlines their moral qualifications. The diakonoi of 1 Timothy 3:8 were most probably official Deacons with a recognised position in the church. St John Chrysostom weighed in on the debate about whether the women in 1 Timothy 3:11 were Deacons. In his Homily 11 on 1 Timothy he wrote: “Some have thought that this is said of women generally but it is not so, for why should [Paul] introduce anything about women to interfere with his subject? He is speaking of those who hold the rank of Deaconesses.” In response to 1 Timothy 3:12, including the idiomatic phrase “a one-woman man” which some believe excludes women, he added “This must be understood therefore to [also] relate to Deaconesses. For that order is necessary and useful and honourable in the Church . . .” St John Chrysostom may have had the Deaconess Olympias, his close friend and patron, in mind when he wrote this.

I think that the fact that Phoebe was a Deacon in the Church in Cenchreae is important because it shows that women were vital to the mission of spreading the faith. Women owned house-churches, women administered and supervised the work with the poor and widows, women handled financial affairs for the churches and women helped spread the gospel. Jesus came to turn everything upside down – the last would be first and the first would be last and the Church was shaking up the society of Late Antiquity.

This feast of St Phoebe is in many ways a celebration of the on-going apostolate of women throughout the centuries, including you and me!

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!

Saint of the Day – 4 August – Saint Aristarchus (1st Century) Disciple of Saint Paul the Apostle, first Bishop of Thessalonica, Martyr.

Saint of the Day – 4 August – Saint Aristarchus of Thessalonica (1st Century) Convert and Disciple of Saint Paul the Apostle, first Bishop of Thessalonica, Martyr.   Born in Thessalonica and died by being beheaded in the 1st century in Rome, Italy.   Also known as • Aristarco • Aristarque • Arystarch.Aristarchus_of_Thessalonica_2

He was one of those faithful companions of the Apostle Paul who shared with him his labours and sufferings.   He is first mentioned along with Gaius as having been seized by the excited Ephesians during the riot stirred up by the silversmiths (Acts 19:29).   They are designated “men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel.”

We learn later that he was a native of Thessalonica (Acts 20:4; 27:2). They were probably seized to extract from them information about their leader Paul but when they could tell nothing and since they were Greeks, nothing further was done to them.

When Aristarchus attached himself to Paul we do not know but he seems to have remained in Paul’s company ever after the Ephesian uproar.

He was one of those who accompanied Paul from Greece via Macedonia (Acts 20:4).   Having preceded Paul to Troas, where they waited for him, they travelled with him to Palestine.   He is next mentioned as accompanying Paul to Rome (Acts 27:2).   There he attended Paul and shared his imprisonment.

He is mentioned in two of the letters of the Roman captivity, in the Epistle to the Church at Colossae (4:10) and in the Epistle to Philemon (1:24), in both of which he sends greetings.   In the former Paul calls him “my fellow-prisoner.”

According to tradition he was Martyred during the persecution of Nero.   He is mentioned in the Roman Martyrology on 4 August. Aristarchus son of Aristarchus, a politarch of Thessalonica (39/38 BC).

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!, St PETER!, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Thought for the Day – 29 June – St Peter, Prince of the Apostles, St Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles

Thought for the Day – 29 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

St Peter, Prince of the Apostles
St Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles

st peter and paul - 29 june 2020 - the successor of st peter - bacciit now noloner i that live - bacci - 29 june 2020

“Jesus was walking one day along the shoe of the Sea of Galilee, when He saw two fishermen casting their nets into the water.
He approached them and said: “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mk 1:17).
These two fishermen were brothers named, Simon and Andrew.
The divine Master won their hearts immediately, so that they left their boat and their nets and followed Jesus.
Simon was later called Peter and became the leader of the Apostles.

Peter’s generosity and great love for Jesus are evident in the pages of the Gospel.
When Our Lord foretold the institution of the Blessed Eucharist, many of His disciples were scandalised and left Him.
“Do you also wish to go away?”   Jesus asked His Apostles.
St Peter answered Him without delay.   “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou has the words of everlasting life and we have come to believe and to know, that Thou are the Christ, the Son of God” (Jn 6:69).
On another occasion, Jesus asked His disciples – “Who do men say the Son of Man is?”   The Apostles hesitated and began to suggest the names of various Prophets.
But St Peter was inspired to make the reply: “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Then Our Lord appointed him Head of the Church.
“Blessed are thou, Simon Bar-Jona … thou are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell, shall not prevail against it. And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven” (Mt 16:15-19).
By these words there was instituted the loftiest and most ancient of the dynasties, the Papacy.
The successor of St Peter will rule the Church to the end of time and no power, neither persecution nor heresy, neither human tyranny nor false civilisation, will ever succeed in destroying this citadel of truth and goodness!”

St Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles

“St Paul was by nature, fiery and zealous.
Once he discovered the truth, he was ready to die for it.
Originally he was convinced that Judaism contained the whole truth and, for this reason he hated the Christians, whom he regarded as a sect which had corrupted the sacred Hebrew tradition.
The deacon Stephen was the first victim of his persecuting zeal.
As he was being stoned and beaten to death this saintly young man prayed for his persecutors.
It may be that in this moment his eyes, shining with faith and love, encountered those of the man who hated him.
Soon afterwards, Saul (this was Paul’s real name), left Jerusalem for Damascus, carrying letters investing him with new powers for the persecution of the infant Church.
On the way, this headstrong but sincere enemy of Christianity was suddenly dazzled by a light from Heaven.
He fell to the ground and heard a mysterious voice saying:  “Saul, Saul, why do thou persecute me?”
Terrified he answered:  “Who are thou, Lord?”
“I am Jesus,” the voice said, “whom thou are persecuting” (Acts 9:1-15).
From that day, Saul was changed completely.
Under the influence of divine grace, he became the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Before he set out on his missionary journeys, Paul wet apart into the desert of Arabia (Cf Gal 1:17), where, he remained sometime in prayer and recollection.
Then he went to Jerusalem to pay homage to the Prince of the Apostles, St Peter (Gal 1:18).
After this, he began his apostolic travels, in the course of which, he encountered all kinds of hardships and dangers.
The Jews frequently hunted him, in order to put him to death.
He was often cruelly scourged and flung into prison and, several times, he was shipwrecked and had miraculous escapes from death (CF 2 Cor 11:23-27).
He bore everything joyfully however, in order to prove his liove for Jesus Christ.
Charity was always his main incentive.   “The love of Christ impels us” (2 Cor 5:14).
Charity, he said himself, “Believes all things, hopes all things,edues all things” (Cf 1 Cor 13:4-13).
His charity was so great, that he could truthfully say:  “Who is weak and I am not weak?   Who is made to stumble and I am not inflamed?” (2 Cor 11:29).

St Paul could make this claim because his heart had become identified with the Heart of Jesus.
Therefore, he could say:  “It is now no longer I that live but Christ lives in me,” (Gal 2:20) and:  “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain,” (Phil 1:21) and:  “I am hard pressed from both sides, desiring to depart and to be with Christ, a lot by far the better;  yet, to stay on in the flesh is necessary, for your sake” (Phil 1:23-24).

Let us meditate on this ardent love of God.
Let us cast aside our coldness and indifference and ask St Paul, to set us on fire with divine charity.”  Amen

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN!, St PAUL!, St PETER!, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 29 June – Peter and Paul

Quote/s of the Day – 29 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

“Their sound has gone out
into all the earth
and their words
to the ends of the world”

Psalm 19:5

psalm-19-5-their-sound-has-gone-out-29-june-2019-sts-petr-and-paul and 2020

“On this rock I will build my church”

Matthew 16:18

on-this-rock-matthew-16-18 29 june 2018 and 2020

“I assure you, brothers,
the gospel I proclaimed to you
is no mere human invention.
I did not receive it from any man,
nor was I schooled in it.
It came by revelation from Jesus Christ.”

Galatians 1:11-12

galatians 1 11-12 I assure you brothers the gospel I proclaimed - 29 june 2020

“….but we rejoice in our sufferings
because we know,
that suffering produces perseverance,
perseverance, character
and character, hope.”

Romans 5:4

we rejoice in our sufferings - romans 5 4 - 25 jan 2019

“Paul, more than anyone else,
has shown us what man really is
and in what our nobility consists
and of what virtue this particular animal is capable.
Each day he aimed ever higher,
each day he rose up with greater ardour
and faced with new eagerness,
the dangers that threatened him.
He summed up his attitude in the words:
I forget what is behind me
and push on to what lies ahead.
… The most important thing of all to him, however,
was that he knew himself to be loved by Christ.
Enjoying this love, he considered himself
happier than anyone else …”

chrysostum-on-paul-oneminreflc-25-jan-2018 and 29 june 2020

“The most important thing of all to him, however,
was that he knew himself to be loved by Christ.
… To be separated from that love was, in his eyes,
the greatest and most extraordinary of torments,
the pain of that loss would alone,
have been hell and endless, unbearable torture.”

St John Chrysostom (347-407)
Father and Doctor of the Church

the-most-important-thing-of-all-to-him-st-john-chrysostom-on-st-paul-25-jan-2019 and 29 june 2020

“There must be general rejoicing, dearly beloved,
over this holy company whom God has appointed
for our example in patience and for our confirmation in faith.
But we must glory even more in the excellence of their fathers,
Peter and Paul, whom the grace of God has raised
to such a height among all the members of the Church
that He has set them like twin lights
of eyes in that Body whose head is Christ.”

he has set them like twin lights oe eyes in that body whose head is christ st pope leo the great 29 june 2020

“Out of the whole world one man,
Peter, is chosen to preside
at the head of all nations
and to be set over all the apostles
and all the fathers of the church.
Though there are, in God’s people,
many bishops and many shepherds,
Peter is thus appointed to rule
in his own person,
those whom Christ also rules
as the original ruler.”

out of the whole world one man, peter, is chosen -st pope leo the reat 29 june 2020

Saint Pope Leo the Great (400-461)
Father Doctor unitatis Ecclesiae

“…They said that, [the] Mediator had come and gone
but, had left behind Him,
what was to be
His representative till the end
of all things,
His Mystical Body,
the Church,
in joining which,
lay the salvation of the world.”

St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

they said that the mediator had come and gone but had left behind him

O God,
who on the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul
give us a noble and holy joy of this day.
Grant, we pray, that Your Church
may in all things follow the teaching
of those through whom she received
the beginnings of right religion.
Grant that we may be sustained
by the intercession
of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul
and that Your Church,
may ever stand firm upon the one foundation,
which is Jesus Christ our Lord;
who lives and reigns with You,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen

prayer-on-the-solemnity-of-the-apostles-peter-and-paul 29 june 2017 and 2020

Posted in DIVINE MERCY, DOCTORS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on SIN, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!, St PETER!, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 29 June – ‘Peter and Paul are our teachers…’

One Minute Reflection – 29 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Readings: Acts 12:1-11Psalm 34:2-92 Timothy 4:6-817-18Matthew 16:13-19

Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” … Jesus said to him in reply … And so I say to you, you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of the hell shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” … Matthew 16:16,17,18-19matthew 16 18 upon this rock i will build my church 22 feb 2020 chair of st peter

REFLECTION – “Christ the Mediator “ committed no sin and no deceit was found in his mouth” (1Pt 2:22).   How could I venture to draw near Him, I who am a sinner, a grievous sinner whose sins are more numerous than the sands of the sea?   He is all that is most pure, I am all that is most impure … This is the reason why God has given me these apostles, men and sinners – very grievous sinners – who learnt for themselves, through their own experience, how merciful they should be to others.   Guilty themselves of great offences, they will grant a ready pardon to great offences and repay us according to the measure meted out to them (Lk 6:38).

The apostle Peter committed a very great sin, possibly the greatest of all.   He received a forgiveness for it that was as swift as it was ready, even to not losing anything of the privilege of his primacy.   And Paul, who unleashed unrestrained aggression against the newborn Church, was brought to faith at the call of God’s Son Himself.   In return for so many evils, he was filled with such great blessings that he became “a chosen instrument to carry the Lord’s name before Gentiles, kings and Israelites” (Acts 9:15) (…)

Peter and Paul are our teachers – they learned the way of life fully from the one Teacher of all and continue to teach us today.” … St Bernard (1091-1153) Cistercian Monk, Theologian, Mellifluous Doctorpeter and paul are our teachers - st bernard - 29 june 2020

PRAYER – O God, who on the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul give us the noble and holy joy of this day, grant, we pray, that your Church may in all things follow the teaching of those through whom she received the beginnings of right religion. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amensts-peter-and-paul-pray-for-us-18-nov-2017

Posted in BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HYMNS, MARTYRS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, St PAUL!, St PETER!

Our Morning Offering – 29 June – Apostolorum Passio By St Ambrose

Our Morning Offering – 29 June – The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

Apostolorum Passio
By St Ambrose (c 340-397)
Father and Doctor

This happy day is sanctified
As Martyr’s glory we recall,
The cross bedewed with Peter’s blood,
The sword that won a crown for Paul.

The triumph of their martyrdom
United these great souls in death,
Whose faith in Christ had crowned their lives
In service to their latest breath.

Saint Peter held the primacy,
Saint Paul would equal him in grace,
When once, as chosen instrument
The cause of Christ he would embrace

Once, Simon, leaving Rome, turned back
To give, by death, full praise to God,
That by the cross he too should tread
The self-same path his Master trod.

Now Rome exults, as well she may
And strives to give devotion’s due
To one who sealed with his own blood
His work as priest and shepherd true.

And who can count the crowds that come
As loving children to her gate,
Where nations’ teacher, holy Paul
Once dwelt and gladly met his fate.

Grant us, O Lord, the final grace
Of sharing in their joy above,
That with such princes we may praise
Your bounty and undying love.
Amen

Translation:  The Benedictines of Saint Cecilia’s Abbey, Ryde, UK

solem of sts peter and paul - apostolorum passio by st ambrose breviary hymn 29 june 2020

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, I BELIEVE!, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St PAUL!, The HOLY SPIRIT, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 31 May – Come, O Holy Spirit, come!

Quote/s of the Day – 31 May – The Solemnity of Pentecost

“But it is God,
who establishes us, with you in Christ
and has anointed us,
by putting his seal on us
and giving us his Spirit in our heart,
as a first instalment.”

St Paul
2 Corinthians 1:21

2-cor-1-21-but-it-is-god-who-establishes-us-6-june-2019 and 31 may 2020 pentecost

“Accordingly, in the Church,
one God is preached,
one God who is above all things
and through all things and in all things.
God is above all things as Father,
for He is principle and source,
He is through all things through the Word
and He is in all things in the Holy Spirit.”

St Athanasius (c 295-373)
Father and Doctor of the Church

accordingly in the church one god is preached - st athanasius 31 may 2020 pentecost

“Remember, then, that you received a spiritual seal,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of knowledge and reverence,
the spirit of holy fear.
Keep safe what you received.
God the Father sealed you,
Christ the Lord strengthened you
and sent the Spirit into your hearts
as the pledge of what is to come.”

St Ambrose (340-397)
Father & Doctor of the Church

remember-then-that-you-received-a-spiritual-seal-st-ambrose-5-june-2019 and 31 may 2020

“O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart.
Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling
and scatter there Your cheerful beams.”

St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of Grace

o-holy-spirit-descend-plentifully-st-augustine-3-june-2019 and 31 may 2020

“As the soul
is the life of the body,
so the Holy Spirit
is the life of our souls.”

St Peter Damian (1007-1072)
Doctor of the Church

as the soul is the life of the body so the holy spirit is the life of our souls st peter damian 31 may 2020 pentecost

“Enrich your soul in the great goodness of God –
The Father is your table,
the Son is your food
and the Holy Spirit waits on you
and then makes His dwelling in you.”

St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)
Doctor of the Church

enrich your soul - st catherine of siena 31 may 2020 pentecost

“The Holy Spirit leads us like a mother.
He leads His child by the hand…
as a sighted person leads a blind person.”

St John Vianney (1786-1859)

the holy spirit leads us like a mother - st john vianney 31 may 2020

“We ought to pray and invoke the Holy Spirit,
for each one of us greatly needs His protection and His help.
The more we are lacking in wisdom,
weak in strength,
burdened with trouble,
prone to sin,
the more we should turn to Him,
Who is the never-ceasing fount
of light, strength, consolation and holiness.”

Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903)

we-ought-to-pray-and-invoke-the-holy-spirit-pope-leo-xiii-31-may-2019 and 2020 pentecost

Posted in St PAUL!, The HOLY SPIRIT, The WORD

Quote of the Day – 20 May – Romans 8:26-27 – The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness

Quote of the Day – 20 May – “Mary’s Month!” – Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

“The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;
when we do not know what prayer to offer,
to pray as we ought,
the Spirit Himself intercedes for us,
with groans beyond all utterance
and God, who can read our hearts,
knows well what the Spirit’s intent is;
for indeed, it is according to the mind of God
that He makes intercession for the saints.”

  1. Romans 8:26-27

  2. romans 8 26 - 27 - the spirit comes to the aid of our weakness - 16 may 2018

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on SANCTITY, St PAUL!, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 25 January – ‘When Paul is blinded, he gets his vision.’

Quote/s of the Day – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul

“I have appeared to you for this purpose,
to appoint you as a servant and witness, 
of what you have seen and what you will be shown.
I shall deliver you from this people
and from the Gentile,s to whom I send you,
to open their eyes, that they may turn
from darkness to light
and from the power of Satan to God,
so that they may obtain forgiveness of sins
and an inheritance among those, who have been consecrated by faith in me.”

Acts 26:16-18

acts-26-16 I have appeared to you for this purpose - conversion of st paul - 25 jan 2020

“Paul, more than anyone else, has shown us,
what man really is and in what our nobility consists
and of what virtue this particular animal is capable.
Each day he aimed ever higher,
each day he rose up with greater ardour
and faced with new eagerness,
the dangers that threatened him.
He summed up his attitude in the words:
“I forget what is behind me and push on to what lies ahead”…
The most important thing of all to him, however,
was that he knew himself to be loved by Christ.
Enjoying this love, he considered himself happier than anyone else.”

St John Chrysostom (347-407)
Father & Doctor of the Church

chrysostum-on-paul-2018 25 jan 2020

“When Paul is blinded,
he gets his vision.
God has mysterious ways
of entering our life.
With Paul,
God seemingly gate-crashed.
With us, God might need
a little more time!”

Msgr Alex Rebello

Diocese of Wrexham, Waleswjen paul is blinded he gets his vision - gatecrashed msgr alex rebello bible diary 25 jan 2020

“I live, no longer I
but Christ lives in me,”

Galasians 2:20

galasians 2 20 i live no longer i but christ lives in me 25 jan 2020

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, ONE Minute REFLECTION, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES on CONVERSION, St PAUL!, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 25 January – ‘He had lived for himself…’

One Minute Reflection – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, Reading: Acts 22:3-16, Psalm 117:1-2, Mark 16:15-18

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” … Mark 16:15mark 16 15 go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation - 25 jan 2020

REFLECTION – “Paul’s encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus literally revolutionised his life (…)   Thus, it is important to realise what a deep effect Jesus Christ can have on a person’s life, hence, also on our own lives (…)  how does a human being’s encounter with Christ occur?   And of what does the relationship that stems from it consist? (…)   Paul helps us to understand the absolutely basic and irreplaceable value of faith.   This is what he wrote in his Letter to the Romans:  “We hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law” (3:28).   This is what he also wrote in his Letter to the Galatians: “[M]an is not justified by works of the law but only through faith in Jesus Christ” (2:16) (…)   “Being justified” means being made righteous, that is, being accepted by God’s merciful justice to enter into communion with Him and, consequently, to be able to establish a far more genuine relationship with all our brethren and this takes place on the basis of the complete forgiveness of our sins.   Well, Paul states with absolute clarity that this condition of life does not depend on our possible good works but on the pure grace of God – “[We] are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:24).

With these words St Paul expressed the fundamental content of his conversion, the new direction his life took as a result of his encounter with the Risen Christ.  Before his conversion, Paul had not been a man distant from God and from his Law.   On the contrary, he had been observant, with an observance, faithful to the point of fanaticism. In the light of the encounter with Christ, however, he understood that with this, he had sought to build up himself and his own justice and that with all this justice, he had lived for himself.   He realised that a new approach in his life was absolutely essential.   And we find this new approach expressed in his words:  “The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20).

Paul, therefore, no longer lives for himself, for his own justice.   He lives for Christ and with Christ.” … Pope Benedict XVI – General audience of 08/11/06before his conversion paul - pope benedict 25 jan 2020

PRAYER – Today Lord, we celebrate the conversion of St Paul, Your chosen vessel for carrying Your name to the whole world.   Help us to make our way towards You by following in his footsteps and by being Your disciples before the men and women of our day.   Grant that by the prayers of St Paul, we too may say, “Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)   Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, amen.st-paul-pray-for-us-25-jan2018-catechesis-of-pope-benedict-no-1

Posted in BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HYMNS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, St PAUL!

Our Morning Offering – 25 January – Great convert Teacher of the Faith

Our Morning Offering – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul

Breviary Hymn
Feast of the Conversion of St Paul

Great convert Teacher of the Faith
Who never ceased from preaching Christ,
Saint Paul impart to us your zeal,
That we may reach the joys unseen.

All glory to the Trinity,
Forever honour, sov’reignty,
To God Almighty be all praise,
Beginning and the End of all.
Amengreat convert teacher of the faith - feast of the conversion of st paul 25 jan 2020

Posted in HOLY WEEK, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ETERNITY, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on HELL, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on SACRIFICE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!, The HOLY CROSS

Quote/s of the Day – 7 January – St Raymond of Peñafort

Quote/s of the Day – 7 January – The Memorial of St Raymond of Peñafort (1175-1275) “Father of Canon Law”

“May you never be numbered
among those whose house
is peaceful, quiet and free
from care,
those on whom
the Lord’s chastisement
does not descend,
those who live out their days
in prosperity and in the
twinkling of an eye,
will go down
to hell!”

may you never be numbered amongst those whose house is peaceful - st ryamond of penafort 7 jan 2020

“This is that enviable
and blessed Cross of Christ . . .
the Cross in which alone,
we must make our boast,
as Paul,
God’s chosen instrument,
has told us.”

this is that enviable and blessed cross of christ - st raymond of penafort 7 jan 2019

 

“May the God of love and peace,
set your hearts at rest
and speed you on your journey,
may He meanwhile,
shelter you from disturbance by others,
in the hidden recesses of His love,
until He brings you, at last,
into that place of complete plenitude,
where you will repose forever,
in the vision of peace,
in the security of trust
and in the restful enjoyment of His riches.”

St Raymond of Peñafort
(1175-1275)

may-the-god-of-love-and-peace-st-raymond-of-penafort-7-jan-2019 and 2020

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARTYRS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on LOVE, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!

Thought for the Day – 26 December – The Armament of Love

Thought for the Day – 26 December – Feast of St Stephen the ProtoMartyr and The Second Day in the Christmas Octave

The Armament of Love

Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe (460-533)
Bishop

An excerpt from his Sermon 3

Yesterday, we celebrated the birth in time of our eternal King.   Today, we celebrate the triumphant suffering of His soldier.   Yesterday, our king, clothed in His robe of flesh, left His place in the virgin’s womb and graciously visited the world.   Today, His soldier, leaves the tabernacle of His body and goes triumphantly to heaven.yesterday we celebrated the birth in time today we - st fulgentius of ruspe - st stephen 26 dec 2019.jpg

Our king, despite His exalted majesty, came in humility for our sake, yet, He did not come empty-handed.   He brought His soldiers a great gift, that not only enriched them but also made them unconquerable in battle, for it was the gift of love, which was to bring men to share in His divinity.   He gave of His bounty, yet without any loss to Himself.   In a marvellous way He changed into wealth, the poverty of His faithful follower,s while remaining in full possession of His own inexhaustible riches.

And so, the love that brought Christ from heaven to earth, raised Stephen from earth to heaven – shown first in the king, it later shone forth in His soldier.   Love was Stephen’s weapon by which he gained every battle and so won the crown signified by his name. His love of God kept him from yielding to the ferocious mob, his love for his neighbour made him pray for those who were stoning him.   Love inspired him to reprove those who erred, to make them amend, love led him to pray for those who stoned him, to save them from punishment.   Strengthened by the power of his love, he overcame the raging cruelty of Saul and won his persecutor on earth as his companion in heaven.   In his holy and tireless love, he longed to gain by prayer, those whom he could not convert by admonition.

Now at last, Paul rejoices with Stephen, with Stephen he delights in the glory of Christ, with Stephen he exalts, with Stephen he reigns.   Stephen went first, slain by the stones thrown by Paul but Paul followed after, helped by the prayer of Stephen.   This, surely, is the true life, my brothers, a life in which Paul feels no shame because of Stephen’s death and Stephen delights in Paul’s companionship, for love fills them both with joy.   It was Stephen’s love that prevailed over the cruelty of the mob and it was Paul’s love, that covered the multitude of his sins, it was love that won for both of them the kingdom of heaven.

Love, indeed, is the source of all good things, it is an impregnable defence and the way that leads to heaven.   He who walks in love can neither go astray, nor be afraid, love guides him, protects him and brings him to his journey’s end.

My brothers, Christ made love the stairway that would enable all Christians to climb to heaven.   Hold fast to it, therefore, in all sincerity, give one another practical proof of it and by your progress in it, make your ascent together.

St Stephen, Pray for Us!st stephen pray for us 26 dec 2019.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, ONE Minute REFLECTION, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN!, St PAUL!, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 26 December –  The prayers of righteous men avail much. 

One Minute Reflection – 26 December – Feast of St Stephen the ProtoMartyr and The Second Day in the Christmas Octave, Readings:  Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59, Psalm31:3-4, 6, 8, 16-17, Matthew 10:17-22

“… You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.” … Matthew 10:22

REFLECTION – “When the blood of Stephen was shed, Saul, then a young man, was standing by “consenting unto his death” and “kept the raiment of them that slew him” (Acts 22:20).   Two speeches are recorded of the Martyr in his last moments one, in which he prayed that God would pardon his murderers – the other, his witness, that he saw the heavens opened and Jesus on God’s right hand.   His prayer was wonderfully answered. Stephen saw his Saviour, the next vision of that Saviour to mortal man was vouchsafed to that very young man, even Saul, who share in his murder and his intercession.

Strange indeed it was and what would have been St Stephen’s thoughts could he have known it!   The prayers of righteous men avail much.   The first Martyr had power with God to raise up the greatest Apostle.   Such was the honour put upon the first-fruits of those sufferings, upon which the Church was entering.   Thus, from the beginning, the blood of the Martyrs was the seed of the Church.” … St John Henry Newman (1801-1890) Cardinal, Theologian, Apologist – Parochial and Plain Sermons II #9matthew 10 22 you will be hated by all - st stephen - the prayers of righteous men - st john henry newman 26 dec 2019.jpg

PRAYER –
C. By the merits and prayers of blessed Stephen
R. Be merciful, O God, to Your people

Almighty and everlasting God, who consecrated the first-fruits of Your martyrs in the blood of blessed Stephen the deacon, grant, we beg You, that he may pray for us, even as he prayed for his persecutors, to our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, who lives and reigns, world without end.  AmenPrayer-for-the-feast-of-st-stephen-26-dec-2018 and one min refl 2019.jpg

Posted in INCORRUPTIBLES, St PAUL!

Saint of the Day – 5 July – St Anthony Mary Zaccaria CRSP (1502-1539)

Saint of the Day – 5 July – St Anthony Mary Zaccaria CRSP (1502-1539) Founder of the Barnabites, The Clerics Regular of Saint Paul – The First Order Named after St Paul Apostle. He was an early leader of the Counter Reformation and a promoter of the devotion to the Passion of Christ, the Holy Eucharist, Eucharistic Adoration and the renewal of the religious life among the lay people.   His body is incorrupt.st anthony mary zaccaria lg.jpg

He also founded a congregation of nuns which now no longer exists.   He was a great admirer of St Paul and was himself imbued with the teaching of the great Apostle, whom he gave to his followers as a model and a patron.   He was a zealous and untiring preacher and completely wore himself out at this work – he died at the age of thirty six on 5 July 1539.snip book st anthony mary zaccaria.JPG

Anthony Mary Zaccaria was born of a noble family at Cremona in Lombardy and even in childhood gave signs of his future sanctity.   Very early he was distinguished for his virtues, piety towards God, devotion to the Blessed Virgin and especially mercy towards the poor, who he more than once gave his own rich clothing for their relief.   He studied the humanities at home and then went to Pavia for philosophy and Padua for medicine and easily surpassed his contemporaries both in purity of life and in mental ability. San_Antonio_Maria_Zaccaria After gaining his degree in medicine, he returned home, where he understood that God had called him to the healing rather of souls than of bodies.   He immediately gave himself to sacred studies.   Meanwhile, he never ceased to visit the sick, instruct children in Christian doctrine and exhort the young to piety and the elders to reformation of their lives.

While saying his first Mass after his ordination, he is said to have been seen by the amazed congregation in a blaze of heavenly light and surrounded by angels.   He then made it his chief care to labour for the salvation of souls and the reformation of manners.   He received strangers, the poor and afflicted, with paternal charity and consoled them with holy words and material assistance, so that his house was known as the refuge of the afflicted and he himself was called by his fellow-citizens an angel and the father of his country.st anthony mary zaccaria saying mass card.jpg

Thinking that he would be able to do more for the Christian religion if he had fellow labourers in the Lord’s vineyard, he communicated his thoughts to two noble and saintly men, Bartholomew Ferrari and James Morigia and together with them founded at Milan a society of Clerks Regular, which from his great love for the apostle of the Gentiles, he called after St Paul.   It was approved by Clement VII, confirmed by Paul III and soon spread through many lands.   He was also the founder and father of the Angelic Sisters. But he thought so humbly of himself that he would never be Superior of his own Order. So great was his patience that he endured with steadfastness the most terrible opposition to his religious.

Such was his charity that he never ceased to exhort religious men to love God and priests to live after the manner of the apostles and he organised many confraternities of married men.   He often carried the cross through the streets and public squares, together with his religious and by his fervent prayers and exhortations brought wicked men back to the way of salvation.snip - zaccaria 2.JPG

It is noteworthy that out of love for Jesus crucified he would have the mystery of the cross brought to the mind of all by the ringing of a bell on Friday afternoons about vesper time.   The holy name of Christ was ever on his lips and in his writings and as a true disciple of St Paul, he ever bore the mortification of Christ in his body.   He had a singular devotion to the Holy Eucharist, restored the custom of frequent communions and introduced that of the public adoration of Forty Hours. my snip from video - zaccaria and the eucharist.JPG

Such was his love of purity that it seemed to restore life even to his lifeless body.   He was also enriched with the heavenly gifts of ecstasy, tears, knowledge of future things and the secrets of hearts and power over the enemy of mankind.

At length, after many labours, he fell grievously sick at Guastalla, whither he had been summoned as arbitrator in the cause of peace.   He was taken to Cremona and died there amid the tears of his religious and in the embrace of his pious mother, whose approaching death he foretold.   At the hour of his death he was consoled by a vision of the apostles and prophesied the future growth of his Society.   The people began immediately to show their devotion to this saint on account of his great holiness and of his numerous miracles.   The cult was approved by Leo XIII, who solemnly Canonised him on Ascension Day, 1897.st anthony mary medallion founder.jpg

Excerpted from The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger OSB

Posted in Catholic NEWS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, St PAUL!, St PETER!, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

29 June 1951-2019 – The 68th Anniversary of the Priestly Ordination of Papa Benedict XVI

29 JUNE 1951-2019
The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

Congratulations, Prayers and Love
to our dearly beloved
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
on the occasion of the
68th Anniversary
of his Priestly Ordination68th anniversary of pope benedict's ordination 29 june 2019

“Domineering over your faith is not my purpose.   I prefer to work with you for your happiness”.   It is what the Apostle Paul (II Cor 1,24) wrote and his quote was used 65 years ago on the celebration day of Peter and Paul Patron Saints – 29th June 1951 – during the priestly ordination of Joseph Ratzinger.   It was held in the Cathedral of Freising and celebrated by Michael von Faulhaber, archbishop of Munich.   Paul’s quote was written on the holy card in order to celebrate the event.   This important anniversary will be marked by a solemn celebration in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace on 28th June. Pope Francis and the emeritus Pope Benedict XVI will attend the celebration. Joseph Ratzinger will receive a book on priesthood as a present.

“We were more than forty candidates and we all answered Adsum – that is “Here I am” – Ratzinger wrote in his Autobiography .   It was a beautiful and unforgettable summer day, the most important moment in my life.”    I shouldn’t be superstitious but while the old archbishop was laying his hands on me, a little bird – maybe a lark – raised from the high altar of the Cathedral and sang a short joyful song – I thought it was a voice from above saying: you are in the right way.” Ratzinger said.   

His elder brother Georg was ordained with him.   “The day of the first Mass the church of Saint Oswald was in its splendour and people showed us their joy and involvement.   We had been asked t  o bring the blessing of the first Mass to the town and we were welcomed everywhere. Everybody showed friendliness, even the people we didn’t know at all.   I became aware of the expectations men and women have with a priest – they trust in his blessing and the power of the sacrament.   It was not because of me or my brother =  what did we mean to the people we met?   They saw us as the men to whom Christ had given a task, that was to show His presence.”

“Priesthood is not “a job, but a sacrament.   God asks a poor man to be like Him, to be with all men and women and to act on their behalf” said Benedict XVI on 11th June 2010, during the homily at the end of the Year for Priests, that he established on the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, Saint Patron of Priests.

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!, St PETER!, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Thought for the Day – 29 June – Glorious Princes of the earth and Servants of Heaven!

Thought for the Day – 29 June – The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

Blessed Isaac of Stella O.Cist. (c 1100 – c 1170)
Cistercian Monk

Sermon 49, 1st for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

“These were men of mercy whose good deeds shall not be forgotten; the wealth they have left their inheritance will last for ever” (Latin liturgy; cf. Sir 44:10-11).”

Today, beloved, we are celebrating the birthday of the apostles Peter and Paul and it is altogether fitting that… such a death should be called ‘birth’ since it gave birth to life… See to what the saints have come – through the death that bestows life, they leave this life that leads to death, so as to come to that life-giving life, which is in the hands of Him who, as Christ said: “has life in Himself” – the Father (Jn 5:26)…

There are three kinds of people who are merciful.   The first give of their goods… so as to contribute out of their superfluity to the penury of their neighbour… The second give all their goods away and, for them… everything is held in common with others from then on… But as for the third, they not only expend all they have but are “themselves utterly spent” (2 Cor 12:15) and give themselves up in person to the dangers of prison, exile and death so that they may rescue others from the dangers in which their souls are lying. They pour themselves out because they are so full of ardent desire for others.   They will receive the reward of that love of which “there is no greater – to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13)… Such are those glorious princes of the earth and servants of heaven of whom today – after long privations “from hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness”, exhaustion and danger, “from their own race, from Gentiles, from false brethren” (2 Cor 11:26-27) – we celebrate the death that was so magnificently victorious. To such as these, the saying well applie – “Their good deeds shall never be forgotten” because they have not forgotten mercy… Yes, to the merciful, “their lot has fallen in a pleasant land, their inheritance is without compare” (Ps 16[15]:6).

Glorious Saints Peter and Paul, Pray for Us!

sts-peter-and-paul-pray-for-us-29-june-2019-sts-peter-and-paul 29 june 2020

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY, SAINT Pope PAUL VI, St PAUL!, St PETER!, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 29 June – Their sound has gone out into all the earth!

Quote/s of the Day – 29 June – The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

“Their sound has gone out
into all the earth
and their words
to the ends of the world”

Psalm 19:5psalm 19 5 their sound has gone out - 29 june 2019 sts petr and paul.jpg

“There must be general rejoicing, dearly beloved,
over this holy company whom God has appointed
for our example in patience and for our confirmation in faith.
But we must glory even more in the excellence of their fathers,
Peter and Paul, whom the grace of God has raised
to such a height among all the members of the Church
that He has set them like twin lights
of eyes in that Body whose head is Christ.”he-has-set-them-like-twin-lights-inthe-eyes-st-pope-leo-the-great-29-june-2018

“Saint Peter does not cease to preside over his See
and preserves an endless sharing, with the Sovereign Priest.
The firmness that he received from the Rock which is Christ,
he himself, having become the Rock,
transmits it equally to his successors.”

St Pope Leo the Great (400-461)

Doctor of the Church’s Unityst peter does not ceasee to preside - st pope leo the great 29 june 2019 sts peter and paul.jpg

“And so it is with Rome, where the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, gave with their blood their final witness.   The vocation of Rome is of apostolic origin and the ministry which it is our lot to exercise here, is a service for the benefit of the entire Church and of mankind.   But it is an irreplaceable service, because it has pleased the Wisdom of God to place the Rome of Peter and Paul, so to speak, on the road that leads to the eternal City, by the fact that Wisdom chose to confide to Peter—who unifies in himself the College of Bishops—the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”

St Pope Paul VI (1897-1978)

Exhortation on Christian Joy, 1975and-so-it-is-with-rome-bl-paul-vi-29-june-20181

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!, St PETER!, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 29 June – ‘In Jesus’ hands the smallest stone becomes precious…’

One Minute Reflection – 29 June – The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 16:13–19

“And I tell you, you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” …Matthew 16:18-19on-this-rock-matthew-16-18.29 JUNE 2018 STS PETER AND PAULjpg.jpg

REFLECTION – “With us too, today, Jesus wants to continue building His Church, this house with solid foundations but where cracks are not lacking and which is in constant need of repair.   Always.   The Church always needs to be reformed, repaired.   We certainly do not feel like rocks but only like small stones.   However, no small stone is useless, indeed, in Jesus’ hands the smallest stone becomes precious, because He picks it up, gazes at it with great tenderness, fashions it with His Spirit and positions it in the right place that He had always had in mind and where it can be more useful to the whole structure.”…Pope Francis (Angelus, 27 August 2017)with us too today jesus wants to continue - pope francis 29 june 2019 sts peterandpaul.jpg

PRAYER – O God, who on the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul give us the noble and holy joy of this day, grant, we pray, that your Church may in all things follow the teaching of those through whom she received the beginnings of right religion.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amensts peter and paul pray for us - 18 nov 2018.jpg

 

Posted in BREVIARY Prayers, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HYMNS, Our MORNING Offering, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!, St PETER!, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Our Morning Offering – 29 June – What Fairer Light?

Our Morning Offering – 29 June – The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

What Fairer Light?

Hymn for the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul
Elphis, c 493, wife of Boethius c 477– 524
Translation: R A Knox, 1888-1957

What fairer light is this than time itself doth own,
The golden day with beams more radiant brightening?
The princes of God’s Church this feast day doth enthrone,
To sinners heavenward bound their burden lightening.

One taught mankind its creed, one guards the heavenly gate,
Founders of Rome, they bind the world in loyalty;
One by the sword achieved, one by the cross his fate;
With laurelled brows they hold eternal royalty.

Rejoice, O Rome, this day, thy walls they once did sign
With princely blood, who now their glory share with thee.
What city’s vesture glows with crimson deep as thine?
What beauty else has earth that may compare with thee?

To God the three in one eternal homage be,
All honour, all renown, all songs victorious,
Who rules both heaven and earth by one divine decree
To everlasting years in empire glorious.what-fairer-light-blessed-solemnity-of-sts-peter-and-paul-29-june-2018.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, ON the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!, St PETER!, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, YouTube VIDEOS

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul – 29 June

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles and Martyrs  – 29 JuneHEADER - sts-peter-paul-facebook-2018.jpg

Today the Church celebrates the feast day of Sts Peter & Paul.   As early as the year 258, there is evidence of an already lengthy tradition of celebrating the solemnities of both Saint Peter and Saint Paul on the same day.   Together, the two saints are the founders of the See of Rome, through their preaching, ministry and martyrdom there.   St Peter is also celebrated on 22 February (feast of the Chair of Peter, emblematic of the world unity of the Church) on 1 August (Saint Peter in Chains), St Paul’s Conversion is celebrated on 25 January and both are once again celebrated on 18 November (feast of the dedication of the Basilicas of Peter and Paul – the two major Basilicas in Rome).

In a sermon in the year 395, St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church, said of Sts Peter and Paul:

“Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one.

Peter went first and Paul followed.

And so we celebrate this day made holy for us, by the apostles’ blood.   Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labours, their sufferings, their preaching and their confession of faith.”

both apostles share the same feast day - st augustine sts peter and paul 29 june 2019.jpg

Peter (d. 64?) Saint Mark ends the first half of his Gospel with a triumphant climax.   He has recorded doubt, misunderstanding and the opposition of many to Jesus.   Now Peter makes his great confession of faith – “You are the Messiah” (Mark 8:29b).   It was one of the many glorious moments in Peter’s life, beginning with the day he was called from his nets along the Sea of Galilee to become a fisher of men for Jesus.

The New Testament clearly shows Peter as the leader of the apostles, chosen by Jesus to have a special relationship with Him.   With James and John he was privileged to witness the Transfiguration, the raising of a dead child to life and the agony in Gethsemane.   His mother-in-law was cured by Jesus.   He was sent with John to prepare for the last Passover before Jesus’ death.   His name is first on every list of apostles.saint-peter-1634.jpg

And to Peter only did Jesus say, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.   For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.   And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.   I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:17b-19).

But the Gospels prove their own trustworthiness by the unflattering details they include about Peter.   He clearly had no public relations person.   It is a great comfort for ordinary mortals to know that Peter also has his human weakness, even in the presence of Jesus.

He generously gave up all things, yet he can ask in childish self-regard, “What are we going to get for all this?” (see Matthew 19:27).   He receives the full force of Christ’s anger when he objects to the idea of a suffering Messiah –“Get behind me, Satan!   You are an obstacle to me.   You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do” (Matthew 16:23b).

Peter is willing to accept Jesus’ doctrine of forgiveness but suggests a limit of seven times. He walks on the water in faith but sinks in doubt.   He refuses to let Jesus wash his feet, then wants his whole body cleansed.   He swears at the Last Supper that he will never deny Jesus and then swears to a servant maid that he has never known the man  . He loyally resists the first attempt to arrest Jesus by cutting off Malchus’ ear but in the end, he runs away with the others.   In the depth of his sorrow, Jesus looks on him and forgives him and he goes out and sheds bitter tears.   The Risen Jesus told Peter to feed his lambs and his sheep (John 21:15-17).

Paul (d. 64?) If the most well-known preacher today suddenly began preaching that your country should adopt Marxism and not rely on the democracy, the angry reaction would help us understand Paul’s life when he started preaching that Christ alone can save us.  He had been the most pharisaic of Pharisees, the most legalistic of Mosaic lawyers.   Now he suddenly appears to other Jews as a heretical welcomer of Gentiles, a traitor and apostate.

st paul - wow Hl. Paulus - ANTONY VAN DYCK 2.jpg
St Paul – Antony van Dyck

Paul’s central conviction was simple and absolute – Only God can save humanity.   No human effort—even the most scrupulous observance of law—can create a human good which we can bring to God, as reparation for sin and payment for grace.   To be saved from itself, from sin, from the devil and from death, humanity must open itself completely to the saving power of Jesus.

Paul never lost his love for his Jewish family, though he carried on a lifelong debate with them about the uselessness of the Law without Christ.   He reminded the Gentiles that they were grafted on the parent stock of the Jews, who were still God’s chosen people, the children of the promise.saints-peter-and-paul-2.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St PAUL!

Thought for the Day – 25 January – For love of Christ, Paul bore every burden

Thought for the Day – 25 January – For love of Christ, Paul bore every burden
Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, Apostle of Christ

Saint John Chrysostom (347-407)
Father and Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Homily 2: In Praise of Saint Paul

Paul, more than anyone else, has shown us what man really is and in what our nobility consists and of what virtue this particular animal is capable.   Each day he aimed ever higher, each day he rose up with greater ardour and faced with new eagerness the dangers that threatened him.   He summed up his attitude in the words:  I forget what is behind me and push on to what lies ahead.   When he saw death imminent, he bade others share his joy:  Rejoice and be glad with me!   And when danger, injustice and abuse threatened, he said:  I am content with weakness, mistreatment and persecution. These he called the weapons of righteousness, thus telling us that he derived immense profit from them.chrysostum-on-paul-oneminreflc-25 jan 2018

Thus, amid the traps set for him by his enemies, with exultant heart he turned their every attack into a victory for himself – constantly beaten, abused and cursed, he boasted of it as though he were celebrating a triumphal procession and taking trophies home, and offered thanks to God for it all:  Thanks be to God who is always victorious in us! This is why he was far more eager for the shameful abuse that his zeal in preaching brought upon him than we are for the most pleasing honours, more eager for death than we are for life, for poverty than we are for wealth, he yearned for toil far more than others yearn for rest after toil.   The one thing he feared, indeed dreaded, was to offend God, nothing else could sway him.   Therefore, the only thing he really wanted was always to please God.

The most important thing of all to him, however, was that he knew himself to be loved by Christ.   Enjoying this love, he considered himself happier than anyone else, were he without it, it would be no satisfaction to be the friend of principalities and powers.   He preferred to be thus loved and be the least of all, or even to be among the damned, than to be without that love and be among the great and honoured.

To be separated from that love was, in his eyes, the greatest and most extraordinary of torments, the pain of that loss would alone, have been hell and endless, unbearable torture.the most important thing of all to him - st john chrysostom on st paul 25 jan 2019.jpg

So too, in being loved by Christ he thought of himself as possessing life, the world, the angels, present and future, the kingdom, the promise and countless blessings.   Apart from that love nothing saddened or delighted him, for nothing earthly did he regard as bitter or sweet.

Paul set no store by the things that fill our visible world, any more than a man sets value on the withered grass of the field.   As for tyrannical rulers or the people enraged against him, he paid them no more heed than gnats.   Death itself and pain and whatever torments might come were but child’s play to him, provided that thereby he might bear some burden for the sake of Christ.

St Paul, Pray for Us!

that we might bear our tiny burdens courageously.st-paul-pray-for-us-no-3-25-jan-2018 (1)

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, ON the SAINTS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES on CONVERSION, St PAUL!, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 25 January – St Paul’s conversion is our conversion

Quote/s of the Day – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul the Apostle

“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread,
or drinks the cup, of the Lord,
in an unworthy manner,
will be guilty of profaning
the body and blood of the Lord.
Let a man examine himself
and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
For any one who eats and drinks,
without discerning the body eats
and drinks judgement upon himself.”

1 Corinthians 11:27-291 corinthians 11 27-29 - whoever eats 25jan2019

“Let love be genuine,
hate what is evil,
hold fast to what is good,
love one another with brotherly affection,
outdo one another in showing honour.
Never flag in zeal,
be aglow with the Spirit,
serve the Lord.
Rejoice in your hope,
be patient in tribulation,
be constant in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the saints,
practice hospitality.”

Romans 12:9-13let love be genuine - romans 12 9-13 25 jan 2019

“….but we rejoice in our sufferings
because we know,
that suffering produces perseverance,
perseverance, character
and character, hope.”

Romans 5:4we rejoice in our sufferings - romans 5 4 - 25 jan 2019

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Philippians 1:21philippians 1 21 for to me to live is christ st paul - 25jan2019.jpg

Pope Benedict XVI reflects on the significance of Paul’s conversion for the whole Christian people:

“Paul’s conversion matured in his encounter with the Risen Christ, it was this encounter that radically changed his life. What happened to him on the road to Damascus is what Jesus asks in today’s Gospel, Saul is converted because, thanks to the divine light, “he has believed in the Gospel.”   In this consists his and our conversion – in believing in Jesus dead and risen and in opening to the illumination of His divine grace.   In that moment Saul understood, that his salvation, did not depend on good works fulfilled according to the law but, on the fact, that Jesus died also for him the persecutor and has risen.   This truth by which every Christian life is enlightened thanks to Baptism completely overturns our way of life.
To be converted means, also for each one of us, to believe that Jesus “has given himself for me”, dying on the Cross (cf. Galatians 2: 20) and, risen, lives with me and in me.
Entrusting myself to the power of His forgiveness, letting myself be taken by His hand, I can come out of the quicksands of pride and sin, of deceit and sadness, of selfishness and of every false security, to know and live the richness of His love.”

(25 January 25, 2009)entrusting myself to the power of his - pope benedict 25jan2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, St PAUL!, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul – Acts 9:1-22

One Minute Reflection – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul – Acts 9:1-22

And all who heard him were amazed, and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called on this name?”…Acts 9:21acts-26-16 2019 - is not this the man - feast conv of st paul.jpg

REFLECTION – “We preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor 4:5).   Who then is this?   The former persecutor.   O mighty wonder!   The former persecutor himself preaches Christ.   But why?   Was he bribed?   No, there was no one who could have persuaded him in that way.   Was it the sight of Christ on earth that blinded him?   But Jesus had already been taken up into heaven.   Saul set out from Jerusalem to persecute Christ’s church and after three days the persecutor had become a preacher in Damascus.   By what power?   Other people call on friends as witnesses for their friends but I have presented to you as a witness the former enemy.

Do you still doubt?   The testimony of Peter and John is weighty… but they were istcyrilofjerusalemndeed His friends.   But of the testimony of one who was formerly His enemy and afterwards died for His sake, who can any longer doubt the truth?   I am amazed at the wise dispensation of the Holy Spirit;… to Paul, the former persecutor, He gave the privilege of writing fourteen letters… In order that his teaching might be beyond question, He granted the former enemy and persecutor the privilege of writing more letters than Peter and John so that we might all be thus made believers.   For “all were amazed at Paul and said: ‘Isn’t this the man who was formerly a persecutor?   Didn’t he come here to take us away bound to Jerusalem?’” (Acts 9:21) “Do not be not amazed,” said Paul, I know how “it is hard for me to kick against the pricks” (Acts 26:14);  I know that “I am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God” (1 Cor 15:9); yet “mercy was shown to me because I did it in ignorance”… “the grace of God was exceedingly abundant in me” (1 Tm 1:13-14).”…St Cyril of Jerusalem (313-350) Father & Doctor of the Churchbut the testimony - st cyril - conv of st paul 25 jan 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Today Lord, we celebrate the conversion of St Paul, Your chosen vessel for carrying Your name to the whole world.   Help us to make our way towards You by following in his footsteps and by being Your disciples before the men and women of our day.   Grant that by the prayers of St Paul, we too may say, “Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me;  insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)   Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, amen.st-paul-pray-for-us-25-jan2018-catechesis-of-pope-benedict-no-1.jpg

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HYMNS, Our MORNING Offering, POETRY, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, St PAUL!

Our Morning Offering – 25 January – The Feast of the Conversion of St Paul

Our Morning Offering – 25 January – The Feast of the Conversion of St Paul

Lead, Kindly Light
By Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on;
The night is dark and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on.
Keep Thou my feet, I do not ask to see
The distant scene, one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Should lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path but now
Lead Thou me on.
I loved the garish day and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my wil, remember not past years.

So long Thy power has blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone
And with the morn those Angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since and lost awhile.

Lead, Kindly Light is a hymn with words written in 1833 by Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890) as a poem titled “the Pillar and the Cloud” – it consists of 3 verses, anything after that is not by John Henry.

As a young priest, Newman became sick while in Italy and was unable to travel for almost three weeks. In his own words:
“Before starting from my inn, I sat down on my bed and began to sob bitterly.   My servant, who had acted as my nurse, asked what ailed me.   I could only answer, “I have a work to do in England.”   I was aching to get home, yet for want of a vessel I was kept at Palermo for three weeks.   I began to visit the churches and they calmed my impatience, though I did not attend any services.   At last I got off in an orange boat, bound for Marseilles.   We were becalmed for whole week in the Straits of Bonifacio and it was there that I wrote the lines, Lead, Kindly Light, which have since become so well known.”

Why this for St Paul? – this time in Bl John Henry’s life was a time of internal “conversion’ – after, his well-known “Sicily providential illness”, he started to turn towards “Rome” – although first the Oxford Movement had to happen and then some more difficult years before his final conversion but once he had put his hand to the plough, there was no turning back in his journey towards Truth.

I am sure you will agree with me that the words of this most beautiful prayer/poem/hymn, fit the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul perfectly.Lead Kindly Light Bl john henry newman 25 jan2019 for the conv of st paul.jpg

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!

Feast of the Conversion of St Paul – 25 January

Feast of the Conversion of St Paul – 25 Januaryconversion-of-st-paul-25 jan 2018.jpg

Saint Paul’s entire life can be explained in terms of one experience—his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus.   In an instant, he saw that all the zeal of his dynamic personality was being wasted, like the strength of a boxer swinging wildly.   Perhaps he had never seen Jesus, who was only a few years older.   But he had acquired a zealot’s hatred of all Jesus stood for, as he began to harass the Church: “…entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment” (Acts 8:3b).   Now he himself was “entered,” possessed, all his energy harnessed to one goal—being a slave of Christ in the ministry of reconciliation, an instrument to help others experience the one Saviour.st paul converson

One sentence determined his theology: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5b).   Jesus was mysteriously identified with people—the loving group of people Saul had been running down like criminals.   Jesus, he saw, was the mysterious fulfilment of all he had been blindly pursuing.

From then on, his only work was to “present everyone perfect in Christ.  For this I labour and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me” (Colossians 1:28b-29).   “For our gospel did not come to you in word alone but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and [with] much conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5a).st-paul-conversion.jpg

Paul’s life became a tireless proclaiming and living out of the message of the cross: Christians die baptismally to sin and are buried with Christ;  they are dead to all that is sinful and unredeemed in the world.   They are made into a new creation, already sharing Christ’s victory and someday to rise from the dead like Him.   Through this risen Christ the Father pours out the Spirit on them, making them completely new.

So Paul’s great message to the world was – You are saved entirely by God, not by anything you can do.   Saving faith is the gift of total, free, personal and loving commitment to Christ, a commitment that then bears fruit in more “works” than the Law could ever contemplate.Ananias_restoring_the_sight_of_st_paul_(34663925).jpg

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!, YouTube VIDEOS

Feast of the Conversion of St Paul & Memorials of the Saints – 25 January

Conversion of Paul the Apostle (Feast)
Details:   https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/01/25/feast-of-the-conversion-of-st-paul-25-january/

St Agape the Martyr
St Agileus of Carthage
St Amarinus of Clermont
St Ananias of Damascus
Bl Antoni Swiadek
Bl Antonio Migliorati
St Apollo of Heliopolis
Bl Archangela Girlani
St Artemas of Pozzuoli
St Auxentius of Epirus
St Bretannion of Tomi
St Donatus the Martyr
St Dwynwen
St Emilia Fernández Rodríguez de Cortés
St Eochod of Galloway
Bl Francesco Zirano
Bl Henry Suso
St Joel of Pulsano
St Juventinus of Antioch
Bl Manuel Domingo y Sol
St Maximinus of Antioch
St Palaemon
St Poppo
St Praejectus of Clermont
St Publius of Zeugma
St Racho of Autun
St Sabinus the Martyr
Bl Teresa Grillo Michel

Posted in NOVENAS, St PAUL!

Novena to St Paul – Day Nine – 24 January

Novena to St Paul in preparation for the Feast of The Conversion of St Paul on 25 January

Day Nine – 24 January

The key to conversion?   Keeping our focus on the Cross of Jesus Christ, for “the human heart is converted by looking upon (the Crucified) whom our sins have pierced” (CCC 1432 cf. Jn 19:37; Zech 12:10)

LET US PRAY:

Glorious St Paul,
your conversion is a powerful witness to the world
that God loves us and does not give up on us,
no matter how far we stray.
Help me to cling to Christ Crucified
help me to fully participate at every SACRIFICE of the Holy Mass
help me to understand, that this IS He
who showed us the way
gave us the light to follow it in Holy Mother Church
who is His bride and shows us the only truth.
May every circumstance of my life be an occasion
to change my way of thinking,
to renounce self-will and
to surrender myself to the wisdom and tenderness of Jesus Christ
who is acting to make me His saint.
Pray that I may love God’s will and providence for me.
In this confidence, I entrust to you, St Paul,
these, my intentions
…………………………………….
(mention your request)

I ask this through Christ, Our Lord, amen

St Paul Pray for us!day-nine-st-paul-24 jan 2018.jpg

Posted in NOVENAS, St PAUL!

Novena to St Paul – Day Eight – 23 January

Novena to St Paul in preparation for the Feast of The Conversion of St Paul on 25 January

Day Eight – 23 January

“In the ancient Church, Baptism was also called “illumination” because this Sacrament gives light;  it truly makes one see.   In Paul what is pointed out theologically was also brought about physically – healed of his inner blindness, he sees clearly.   Thus St Paul was not transformed by a thought but by an event, by the irresistible presence of the Risen One whom subsequently he would never be able to doubt, so powerful had been the evidence of the event, of this encounter…………….This encounter is a real renewal that changed all his parameters.   Now he could say that what had been essential and fundamental for him earlier had become “refuse” for him;  it was no longer “gain” but loss, because henceforth the only thing that counted for him was life in Christ.” … Pope Benedict XVI 2008

LET US PRAY:

Glorious St Paul,
your conversion is a powerful witness to the world
that God loves us and does not give up on us,
no matter how far we stray.
May every circumstante of my life be an occasion
to change my way of thinking,
to renounce self-will and
to surrender myself to the wisdom and tenderness of Jesus Christ
who is acting to make me His saint.
Pray St Paul, that I too may be able to acclaim
“It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”
Pray that I may love God’s will and providence for me.
In this confidence, I entrust to you, St Paul,
these, my intentions
…………………………………….
(mention your request)

I ask this through Christ, Our Lord, amen

St Paul Pray for us!day-8-st-paul 23 jan 2018.jpg

Posted in NOVENAS, St PAUL!

Novena to St Paul- Day Seven – 22 January

Novena to St Paul in preparation for the Feast of The Conversion of St Paul on 25 January

Day Seven – 22 January

“Make no mistake, my brothers, if anyone joins a schismatic he will not inherit God’s Kingdom.   If anyone walks in the way of heresy, he is out of sympathy with the Passion.   Be careful, then, to observe a single Eucharist.   For there is one flesh of our Lord, Jesus Christ and one cup of His blood that makes us one and one altar, just as there is one bishop along with the presbytery and the deacons, my fellow slaves.   In that way whatever you do is in line with God’s will.”………………St Ignatius of Antioch

LET US PRAY:

Glorious St Paul,
your conversion is a powerful witness to the world
that God loves us and does not give up on us,
no matter how far we stray.
Help me to cling to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament
help me to fully participate at every Holy Mass
help me to understand, that this IS He
who showed us the way
gave us the light to follow it in Holy Mother Church
who is His bride and shows us the only truth.
May every circumstante of my life be an occasion
to change my way of thinking,
to renounce self-will and
to surrender myself to the wisdom and tenderness of Jesus Christ
who is acting to make me His saint.
Pray that I may love God’s will and providence for me.
In this confidence, I entrust to you, St Paul,
these, my intentions
……………………………..
(mention your request)

I ask this through Christ, Our Lord, amen.

St Paul Pray for us!day-7-novena-st-paul-22 JAN 2018.jpg