Thought for the Day – 11 August – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 12:32–48 and the Memorial of St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)
St Pope John Paul II said of Saint Clare – “her whole life was a Eucharist because … from her cloister she raised up a continual ‘thanksgiving’ to God in her prayer, praise, supplication, intercession, weeping, offering and sacrifice.
She accepted everything from the Father in union with the infinite ‘thanks’ of the only begotten Son.”
St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)
“ Blessed be You, O God, for having created me. ”
St Clare’s Last Words
I Come, O Lord By St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)
I come, O Lord,
unto Thy sanctuary
to see the life and food of my soul.
As I hope in Thee, O Lord,
inspire me with that confidence
which brings me to Thy holy mountain.
Permit me, Divine Jesus,
to come closer to Thee,
that my whole soul may do homage
to the greatness of Thy majesty,
that my heart,
with its tenderest affections,
may acknowledge Thy infinite love,
that my memory may dwell
on the admirable mysteries
here renewed every day
and that the sacrifice,
of my whole being,
may accompany Thine.
Saint of the Day – 28 July – Saint Pedro Poveda Castroverde (1874-1936) (aged 61) Priest and Martyr, Founder of the Teresian Association, Teacher, apostle of charity and prayer, promoter of the woman’s role in society especially via Christian female education – born on 3 December 1874 at Linares, Jaen, Spain and died by firing squad on 28 July 1936 at Madrid, Spain.
Pedro Poveda was born on 3 December 1874 in Linares, Spain, to a solidly Christian family. From early childhood he felt called to become a priest and in 1889 he entered the diocesan seminary in Jaén. Because of financial difficulties, he transferred to the Diocese of Guadix, Grenada, where the Bishop had offered him a scholarship . He was ordained a priest on 17 April 1897.
After ordination Fr Poveda taught in the seminary and served the diocese in many other ways. In 1900 he completed a licentiate in theology at Seville and later began an apostolate among the “cave-dwellers”, those who lived in dugouts in the hills outside of Guadix. Here he built a school for children and workshops for adults that provided professional training and Christian formation. He was misunderstood, however, and had to leave this special ministry.
So Fr Poveda headed for the solitude of Covadonga, in the mountains of northern Spain, where, in 1906, he was appointed canon of the Basilica of Covadonga in Asturias, where the Blessed Virgin is venerated under this title.
In Covadonga, he devoted much time to prayer and reflected particularly on the problem of education in Spain. He understood that the Lord was inviting him to open new paths in the Church and in the society of his time . He began to published articles and pamphlets on the question of the professional formation of teachers and was also in contact with other persons who felt the need for the presence and action of Christians in society.
The opposition between faith and science was becoming more and more evident in the culture of his day, which carried with it a de-Christianisation of the public education system. Fr Poveda, after his apostolic experience in Guadix and his years of reflection and prayer in Covadonga, understood better the need to provide Christian formation for teachers who work in the State school system. He believed that a solid faith and professional qualifications were both needed to keep the Gospel message alive.
In 1911 he opened the St Teresa of Avila Academy as a residence for students and the starting point of the Teresian Association, dedicated to the spiritual and pastoral formation of teachers. The following year he joined the Apostolic Union of Secular Priests and started new pedagogical centres and some periodicals.
To further his work Fr Poveda moved to Jaén, where he taught in the seminary, served as spiritual director of Los Operarios Catechetical Centre and worked at the Teacher Training College. In 1914 he opened Spain’s first university residence for women in Madrid.
Meanwhile, the Teresian Association continued to develop, spreading to various groups and areas and leading to its ecclesiastical and civil approval in Jaén. Fr Poveda offered the Teresian Association as a new path of Christian life and evangelisation created with- and for- lay persons, forming them to be witnesses of the Gospel, according to his expression: “To believe firmly and to keep silent is not possible”. He wanted the adherents to be ready to give their lives for the faith and in fact, expressed the same desire himself.
In 1921 Fr Poveda moved to Madrid and was appointed a chaplain of the Royal Palace. A year later he was named a member of the Central Board against illiteracy but most of his time was devoted to the Teresian Association, which received papal approval in 1924. Although he did not direct the Association, as its founder, he worked to consolidate and promote the various dimensions of its mission as it spread to Chile and later to Italy (1934).
It was during the religious persecution in Spain that Fr Poveda would be called to the martyrdom he so desired. At dawn on 28 July 1936, when told by his persecutors to identify himself, he said, “I am a priest of Christ”. He died a martyr for the faith and was Beatified on 10 October 1993 and Canonised on 4 May 2003 by St Pope John Paul II…Vatican.va
Father Poveda was deeply aware of both the need for education in his country, and for qualified teachers to provide it. He also saw this as an important role for women. In 1911 Pedro founded 1911 the St Teresa of Avila Academy in Oviedo for those ladies studying to become teachers. He named it after St Teresa of Avila, a woman of learning, a doctor of the Church and a teacher of prayer. He named his organisation the Teresian Association. Its aim is to invite men and women to work for a social and human transformation, in accordance with Gospel values, from the platform of their own professions, especially those related to the fields of education and culture. The early members of the Association were women involved in all levels of education, from elementary to the provision of higher education for women. Additional academies were established in many other cities of Spain. This association has schools around the world, including Brazil, Ireland, Philippines, India and in most South American capitals.
In 1914 he opened Spain’s first university residence for women in Madrid. Residences for women were opened in those places that have a university.
In 1924, Pope Pius XI approved the Teresian Association as a “pious union of the faithful” and later spread to Chile and Italy. In 1951 the Teresian Association was granted the status of Secular Institute. On 10th July 1990, St Pope John Paul II approved that it reverts back to its original identity as being an Association of the Faithful. The Teresian Association is registered in the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life of the Holy See. It is active in thirty countries. Its objective is the human promotion of individuals and the transformation of unjust structures by means of an education and culture imparted from a Christian perspective.
A film was made of his life in 2016.
“St Pedro Poveda, grasping the importance of the role of education in society, undertook an important humanitarian and educational task among the marginalised and the needy. He was … a teacher of the Christian life and of the relationship between faith and knowledge, convinced that Christians must bring essential values and commitment to building a world that is more just and mutually supportive. His life ended with the crown of martyrdom.”… Homily of St Pope John Paul II on the occasion of his Apostolic Journey to Spain, 4 May 2003
Thought for the Day – 23 July – The Memorial of Blessed Vasil’ Hopko (1904-1976) Bishop and Martyr
Excerpt from St Pope John Paul’s Beatification Homily
Bratislava, Esplanade of Petržalka
Sunday, 14 September 2003
“O Crux, ave spes unica! Hail, O Cross, our only hope!”
On the Cross, human misery and divine mercy meet. The adoration of this unlimited mercy, is for man, the only way to open himself to the mystery which the Cross reveals.
The Cross is planted in the earth and would seem to extend its roots in human malice but it reaches up, pointing as it were to the heavens, pointing to the goodness of God. By means of the Cross of Christ, the Evil One has been defeated, death is overcome, life is given to us, hope is restored, light is imparted. O Crux, ave spes unica!
O Crux, ave spes unica! Saint Paul speaks of the same theme in the letter to the Ephesians which we have just heard. Not only did Christ Jesus become man, in everything similar to human beings but He took on the condition of a servant and humbled Himself even more, by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (cf. Phil 2:6-8).
Yes, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (Jn 3:16). We admire – overwhelmed and gratified – the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ which surpasses all knowledge (cf. Eph 3:18-19)! O Crux, ave spes unica!
4. Certainly, it was meditation on this great and wonderful mystery that sustained Blessed Bishop Vasil’ Hopko and Blessed Sister Zdenka Schelingová in their choice of the consecrated life and, especially, in the sufferings endured, during their terrible imprisonment.
Both shine before us as radiant examples of faithfulness, in times of harsh and ruthless religious persecution. Bishop Vasil’ never repudiated his attachment to the Catholic Church and to the Pope. Sister Zdenka did not hesitate to risk her life so as to assist God’s ministers.
Both faced up to an unjust trial and an ignoble condemnation, to torture, humiliation, solitude, death. And so the Cross became for them, the way that led them to life, a source of fortitude and hope, a proof of love for God and man. O Crux, ave spes unica!
Thought for the Day – 10 July – Wednesday of the Fourteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 10:1–7
“Jesus sent these Men on Mission as the Twelve”
Saint John-Paul II (1920-2005)
Pope from 1978 to 2005
Prayer for Vocations, 35th World Day of Vocations, 3 May 1998
Spirit of eternal Love,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
we thank You for all the vocations
to be apostles and saints
that have made the Church fruitful.
Continue Your work, we beg You.
Remember the moment when, on Pentecost,
You came down on the Apostles united in prayer
together with Mary, the mother of Jesus
and look at Your Church, which today
has a special need for holy priests,
for faithful and authorised witnesses of Your grace,
which needs consecrated men and women
who radiate the joy of those who live only for the Father,
of those who make their own.
the mission and offering of Christ,
of those who build the new world in love.
Holy Spirit, eternal Source of joy and peace,
You open our hearts and minds to the divine call,
You make effective every surge
towards the good, towards truth, towards love.
Your inexpressible groanings
rise up to the Father from the heart of the Church
that is suffering and struggling for the Gospel.
Open the hearts and minds of young men and women,
so that a new flowering of holy vocations
might show forth the fidelity of Your love,
and that all might know Christ,
the true light who came into the world
to give every human being
the assured hope of eternal life.
Quote/s of the Day – 8 July – The Memorial of Blessed Peter Vigne (1670-1740)
“Jesus, so ardently loved, would that You were known everywhere, so that the world would glorify You, who wish to remain hidden under the appearance of bread and wine until the end of time.”
“Lord, give me a love which is ever eager to live as You would have me live. May I always wish to glorify You and never forget Your Presence.”
Blessed Peter Vigne (1670-1740)
Apostle of Eucharistic Adoration
“Contemplating Christ present in the Eucharist and the saving Passion, Fr Peter Vigne was led to be a true disciple and a faithful missionary of the Church. May his example give the faithful, the desire to draw daring for the mission from the love of the Eucharist and from the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament!”
St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)
Homily on the Beatification of Blessed Peter Vigne, Sunday, 3 October 2004
Thought for the Day – 4 July – Thursday of the Thirteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C and The Memorial of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati OP (1901-1925) “Man of the Eight Beatitudes”
Pier Giorgio Frassati smiled and laughed so freely that he was called “an explosion of joy.” He whistled and sang loudly and hopelessly out of tune. He loved playful teasing and practical jokes. In his early 20’s, he was the picture of strength and health, leading groups of friends into the Alps to scale mountain peaks.
His ready laughter and adventurous spirit were fountains that sprang from a well of holiness. Pier Giorgio was so filled with virtue, that Saint John Paul II, who beatified him in 1990, called him the “Man of the Beatitudes.” Joy of life and love of God coursed readily through his veins. Could anyone who knew him in the sunshine of his youth, in the early twentieth century in Turin, Italy, have believed that he would die before the age of 25?
“At an age in which the passions bubble in the hearts of young people and threaten to break all bounds, Pier Giorgio concentrated his vital forces and kept them in balance. Day by day, in front of God and men, he learned to conquer himself and to master himself. It would have to be said that, without realising it, he was preparing for leadership, for it is true that, in order to know how to lead the others, first of all one must know how to lead oneself. The designs of God are incomprehensible, because He sees things from so much higher and so much further than we – both in general and in particular. But it is permissible to think that, by calling to Himself Pier Giorgio, in the moment in which so many had placed their hopes in him, God intends that his unexpected death, which has caught us unawares, may put in relief, the beauty of his life and that it may attract the attention of you, the young people who will be able to take of inspiration from it.”
Father Martin Stanislaus Gillet, OP, Master-General of the Order of the Friars Preachers, and the man who enrolled Pier Giorgio into the Dominicans
“By his example, he proclaims that a life lived in Christ’s Spirit, the Spirit of the Beatitudes, is “blessed” and that, only the person who becomes a “man or woman of the Beatitudes” can succeed in communicating love and peace to others. He repeats that it is really worth giving up everything to serve the Lord. He testifies that holiness is possible for everyone and that, only the revolution of charity, can enkindle the hope of a better future in the hearts of people.”
St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005), during the beatification of Blessed Pier
Prayer to Walk the Path of the Beatitudes By Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini (1924-2011) Archbishop of Turin
You gave to the young Pier Giorgio Frassati
the joy of meeting Christ
and of living his faith
in the service of the poor and the sick,
through his intercession,
may we, too, walk the Path of the Beatitudes
and follow the example of his generosity,
spreading the spirit of the Gospel in society.
Through Christ our Lord,
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati,
“Man of the Eight Beatitudes”
Pray for Us!
LET US PRAY:
PRAYER FOR THE CANONISATION OF BLESSED PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI
O merciful God,
Who through the perils of the world
deigned to preserve by Your grace
Your servant the blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
pure of heart and ardent of charity,
listen, we ask You, to our prayers, and
if it is in Your designs that he be glorified by the Church,
show us Your will,
granting us the graces we ask of You,
through his intercession,
by the merits of Jesus Christ, Our Lord,
in union with the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever.
Quote/s of the Day- 24 June – The Solemnity of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist Year C, Gospel: Luke 1:57–66 and the Memorial of St Maria Guadalupe García Zavala (1878-1963) “Mother Lupuita”
“The true secret of love consists in this: we must forget self like St John the Baptist and exalt and glorify the Lord Jesus.”
St Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868)
“Look today to John the Baptist, an enduring model of fidelity to God and His Law. John prepared the way for Christ, by the testimony of his word and his life. Imitate him with docile and trusting generosity.”
St Pope John Paul (1920-2005)
(24 June 2001)
“With deep faith, unlimited hope and great love for Christ, Mother “Lupita” sought her own sanctification, beginning with love for the Heart of Christ and fidelity to the Church. In this way she lived the motto which she left to her daughters: “Charity to the point of sacrifice and perseverance until death”.
St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)
On the Beatification of St Maria Guadalupe García Zavala (1878-1963) “Mother Lupuita”