One Minute Reflection – 20 February – Saturday after Ash Wednesday, Readings Isaiah 58: 9-14, Psalms 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, Luke 5:27-32 and the Memorial of St Elutherius of Tournai (c 456-532) Bishop and Martyr and Saints Francisco (1908-1919) and Jacinta (1910-1920)
“Those who are well, have no need of a physician but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” – Luke 5:31-32
REFLECTION – “The Apostle Paul said: “Take off the old self with its practices and put on the new self” (Col 3,9-10)… This was the work Christ accomplished when He called Levi; He refashioned him into a new man. Similarly, it is as a new person, that the former publican prepares a banquet for Christ since Christ takes pleasure in him and he himself, merits to have a share in happiness with Christ… He followed him now, happy, light-hearted and overflowing with joy.
“I have the aspect of a publican no more,” he said, “I don’t carry around the old Levi any longer; I put off Levi when I put on Christ. I flee from my earlier life; my Lord Jesus, you alone, who heal my wounds, I desire to follow. Who shall separate me from the love of God … ? tribulation? anguish? hunger? (Cf Rom 8,35). I am bound to You by faith as by nails, I am held fast by the worthy bonds of love. All Your commandments will be like a cautery that I will apply firmly to my wound; the remedy stings but it takes away the ulcerous infection. Lord Jesus, with Your powerful sword, cut away the corruption of my sins: come quickly, lance my hidden and varied passions. Purge away all infection in the new bath.
“Listen to me, you people who are fixed to the earth, you whose thoughts are intoxicated by your sins. I, Levi, was also wounded by similar passions. But I found a doctor who dwells in heaven and pours out His remedies on earth. He alone can cure my wounds since He Himself has none. He alone can remove the heart’s pain and the soul’s lethargy, for He knows everything that lies hidden.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church – Commentary on Saint Luke’s Gospel, 5, 23.27
PRAYER – Come my all-powerful, ever-living God, look with compassion on our frailty and for our protection, stretch out to us Your strong right hand. Grant that by the prayers of Mary, our Mother and all your angels and saints we may change our ways, leave everything behind, proclaim the glory of Your kingdom and come safely home to You. St Eleutherius and Sts Jacinta and Francisco, pray for us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
The Translation of the Relics of Saint Mark, the Evangelist – 31 December
The story of how Saint Mark’s relics eventually came to Venice is a remarkable one and it has been the subject of various works of art throughout the centuries. Tintoretto’s Translation of the Body of Saint Mark, a stark, dramatic painting that has the eerie feel of a photo negative, may be one of the most recognisable. Painted between 1562 and 1566 for the Scuola Grande di San Marco, the work is part of the permanent collection of the Accademia Galleries in Venice. Tintoretto himself is portrayed within the work, as the bearded man beside the camel.
A companion painting, Discovery of the Body of Saint Mark, is located at the Brera Gallery in Milan.
The glittering mosaics that adorn the exterior of Saint Mark’s Basilica also tell the story, in tessellated form, of the translation of Saint Mark’s relics. For example, the mosaic located above the left doorway (the Door of Saint Alypius) of the west facade depicts Saint Mark’s body being carried into the basilica. The mosaic, known as the Deposition mosaic, is the oldest exterior mosaic on the Basilica and dates to 1260-1270.
According to legend, Saint Mark’s body was taken from Alexandria, Egypt, in 828. Two Venetian merchants travelling in Alexandria, obtained the relics of Saint Mark from Priests at the church of Saint Mark, where the saint’s body was interred. The Priests feared Saint Mark’s relics might be damaged or destroyed by the Saracens during the persecution of the Catholic community in Alexandria. Promising to safeguard the Saint’s relics, the merchants convinced the Priests to allow them to return to Venice with the body of Saint Mark. “The body of Saint Mark was taken out of the sarcophagus and unwrapped from its silk shroud, the relic being substituted by another and less eminent Saint. It was then placed in a chest and taken on board the Venetian ship, the merchants first ensuring, that the Saint’s remains were covered by a layer of pork and cabbage. When the Muslim officials asked to inspect the chest, they cried out ‘Kanzir, kanzir’ (Oh horror) at the sight and smell of the pork. . . . Thus the Evangelist was safely conveyed to Venice but not before a number of miracles eased his passage across the Mediterranean.”
Saint Mark’s body was initially kept in a Chapel at the Doge’s palace, a Chapel originally dedicated to Saint Theodore, until a more suitable Church could be built. Begun in 829, the year after the translation of Saint Mark’s relics, the first Church of Saint Mark was completed in 832. This Church was destroyed in 976 during a rebellion against Doge Pietro Candiano IV. And so St Mark’s Basilica was built to house the remains. Unfortunately, two hundred years later, the unthinkable happened, the authorities forgot where they had put them. Various excuses have emerged, all rather contradictory; there had been a fire, there was building work at the Basilica, the people who knew the location died suddenly without passing on the secret. All of Venice despaired but St Mark himself came to the rescue – his arm suddenly appeared from a pillar, no doubt accompanied by a shout of ‘I’m over here!’ The Basilica was completed in 1063 but was only Consecrated in 1094 now that St Mark was found.
In 1835, Giacomo Monico, Patriarch of Venice, exhumed the body of Saint Mark from the Crypt beneath the Basilica and placed it in the high Altar. Before then, the Saint’s body had apparently last been seen in the 12th century, dressed in ecclesiastical robes, when it was placed on display for five months for public veneration.
In 1075, the Doge passed a law requiring all returning ships to bring back something precious to decorate the Basilica, accounting for the more than 500 columns of rare marble, porphyry, alabaster and jasper brought back from the East. The interior is clad with 4,240 square meters of gold mosaics, mostly from the 12th and 13th centuries.
Between 1500 and 1750, some of the old sections were replaced by “modern” mosaics designed by artists including Titian and Tintoretto. The presence of St Mark, the mosaics, golden altar, beautiful chapels and treasury make St Mark’s one of Italy’s best-loved Churches.
Saint Mark’s simple, marble Sarcophagus can only be viewed from behind the high Altar. The exterior of the Sarcophagus is well lit and a short inscription applied to the stone in metallic letters read: “SALUTAT VOS . . . MARCUS FILIUS MEUS.” This inscription was followed by a citation in much smaller letters below the word “MEUS.” The citation read “1 Petri 5.13,” the source of the abbreviated quote on the tomb. The front of the Sarcophagus proclaims “CORPUS DIVI MARCI EVANGELISTAE” (Body of the Divine Mark, Evangelist). Red roses are often placed on top of the Sarcophagus.
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time +2020 Septuagesima Sunday (Traditional Calendar): The word Septuagesima is Latin for “seventieth.” It is both the name of the liturgical season and the name of the Sunday. Septuagesima Sunday marks the beginning of the shortest liturgical season. This season is seventeen (17) days long and includes the three Sundays before Ash Wednesday. The length of the season never changes but the start date is dependent on the movable date of Easter, which can fall between 22 March-25 April. Septuagesima Sunday can be as early as 18 January. The Septuagesima season helps the faithful ease into Lent. It is a gradual preparation for the serious time of penance and sorrow; to remind the sinner of the grievousness of his errors and to exhort him to penance. Liturgically it looks very much like Lent. The Gloria and Alleluia are omitted, the tone becomes penitential with the Priest wearing purple vestments. The main difference is that there are no fasting requirements.
Apparition of Our Lady to Saint Angela de Foligno (1285) – 31 January: Angela of Foligno was born in 1248 of a prominent family in Foligno, three leagues from Assisi. As a young woman and also as a wife and mother, she lived only for the world and its vain pleasures. But the grace of God intended to make of her, a vessel of election, for the comfort and salvation of many. A ray of the divine mercy touched her soul and so strongly affected her, as to bring about a conversion. At the command of her confessor, Angela of Foligno committed to writing the manner of her conversion in eighteen spiritual steps. “Enlightened by grace,” Blessed Angela of Foligno wrote in this account. “I realised my sinfulness; I was seized with a great fear of being damned and I shed a flood of tears. I went to confession to be relieved of my sins but through shame I concealed the most grievous ones but still I went to Communion. Now my conscience tortured me day and night. I called upon St Francis for help and, moved by an inner impulse, I went into a church where a Franciscan Father was then preaching.” (It is reported that in the year 1285 she had a vision of both the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Francis of Assisi, who called her to penance.) “I gathered courage to confess all my sins to him and I did this immediately after the sermon. With zeal and perseverance, I performed the penance he imposed but my heart continued to be full of bitterness and shame. I recognised that the divine mercy has saved me from hell, hence I resolved to do rigorous penance; nothing seemed too difficult for me because I felt I belonged in hell. I called upon the saints and especially upon the Blessed Virgin, to intercede with God for me.
It appeared to me now as if they had compassion on me and I felt the fire of divine love enkindled within me, so that I could pray as I never prayed before. I had also received a special grace to contemplate the Cross in which Christ had suffered so much for my sins. Sorrow, love and the desire to sacrifice everything for Him filled my soul.”
About this time God harkened to the earnest desire of the penitent – her mother died, then her husband and soon afterwards, all her children. These tragic events were very painful to her but she made the sacrifice with resignation to the will of God. Being freed from these ties, she dispossessed herself of all her temporal goods with the consent of her confessor, a Franciscan friar named Arnoldo, so that being poor herself, she might walk in the footsteps of her poor Saviour. It was to Arnoldo that she dictated her account of her conversion, now known as the ‘Memoriale,’ or the ‘Book of Visions and Instructions.’ She also entered the Third Order of St Francis and presently found herself the superior and guide of other,s who followed in her path. Many women joined her, even to the point of taking the three vows. She encouraged them in works of charity, in nursing the sick and in going personally from door to door to beg for the needs of the poor. Meanwhile, Angela became still more immersed in the contemplation of the Passion of Christ and she chose the Sorrowful Mother and the faithful disciple John as her patrons. The sight of the wounds which her Lord suffered for her sins, urged her to the practice of still greater austerities. Once Our Lord showed her that His Heart is a safe refuge in all the storms of life. She was soon to be in need of such a refuge. God permitted her to be afflicted with severe temptations. The most horrible and loathsome representations distressed her soul. The fire of concupiscence raged so furiously that she said: “I would rather have beheld myself surrounded with flames and permitted myself to be continually roasted, than to endure such things.” Still, she called out to God, “Glory be to Thee, O Lord! Thy cross is my resting place.” These painful trials lasted over two years but then, the purified and tried servant of the Lord, was filled with great consolation. She obtained a marvellous insight into divine things and was very frequently found in ecstasy. For a time she had the stigmata and for many years Holy Communion was her only food, until at last, completely purified, she entered into the eternal joy of the Supreme Good on 4 January 1310. Pope Innocent XII approved the continual devotion paid to her at her tomb in Foligno, where many miracles were attributed to her. He Beatified her in 1693. Her Canonisation was an equipollent Canonisation in 2013. Blessed Angela of Foligno said, “To know oneself and to know God, that is the perfection of man; without this knowledge, visions and the greatest gifts are of no account.” St Angela’s Biography here: https://anastpaul.com/2020/01/04/saint-of-the-day-4-january-saint-angela-of-foligno-tosf-1248-1309/
The Translation of the Relics of Saint Mark, the Evangelist
St Abraham of Abela Bl Adamnan of Coldingham St Aedan of Ferns St Aiden St Athanasius of Modon St Bobinus of Troyes St Eusebius of Saint Gall St Francesco Saverio Maria Bianchi/Francis Xavier Bianchi CRSP (1743-1815) “Apostle of Naples” About St Francesco: https://anastpaul.com/2020/01/31/saint-of-the-day-31-january-saint-francis-xavier-bianchi-crsp-1743-1815-apostle-of-naples/ St Geminian of Modena Bl John Angelus St Julius of Novara Bl Louise degli Albertoni Bl Luigi Talamoni St Madoes St Marcella Bl Maria Cristina di Savoia St Martin Manuel St Nicetas of Novgorod St Tryphaena of Cyzicus St Tysul St Ulphia of Amiens St Waldo of Evreux St Wilgils —
Martyrs of Corinth – 14 saints: A group of Christians tortured and martyred together in Corinth, Greece in the persecutions of Decius. We know nothing about them except some names – Anectus, Claudius, Codratus, Crescens, Cyprian, Diodorus, Dionysius, Nicephorus, Papias, Paul, Serapion, Theodora, Victor and Victorinus.
Martyrs of Canope: Athanasia Cyrus the Physician Eudoxia John the Physician Theoctista Theodotia Martyred in Alexandria, Egypt Cyriacus Metranus Saturninus Tarskius Thyrsus Victor Zoticus
Martyred in Alexandria, Egypt: Cyriacus Metranus Saturninus Tarskius Thyrsus Victor Zoticus
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: José Acosta Alemán Juan José Martínez Romero Pedro José Rodríguez Cabrera
Martyrs of Korea: Thousands of people were murdered in the anti-Catholic persecutions in Korea. • Saint Agatha Kwon Chin-i • Saint Agatha Yi Kyong-I • Saint Augustinus Park Chong-Won • Saint Magdalena Son So-Byok • Saint Maria Yi In-Dok • Saint Petrus Hong Pyong-Ju
“Here are my mother and my brethren! Whoever does the will of God, is my brother and sister and mother.”…Mark 3:34-35
REFLECTION – “He did not treat us as our sins deserved. For we are now sons of God. How do we show this? The only Son of God died for us, so that He might not remain alone. He who died as the only Son, did not want to remain as the only Son. For the only Son of God made many sons of God. He bought brothers for Himself by His blood, He made them welcome by being rejected, He ransomed them by being sold, He honoured them by being dishonoured, He gave them life by being put to death.” – St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace – An excerpt from his Sermon 171
PRAYER – Almighty God, You endowed Saints Timothy and Titus with power to preach Your Word. Grant that, living a life of integrity and holiness in this world, reaching out to teach the Gospel both by our lives and our words, we may, through their prayers, come to our true home in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Lady of Atocha/Our Lady of Long Fields, Madrid, Spain (1261) – 26 January:
For a long time part of Madrid was nothing but a field of matreeds (tules) particularly in the district of Atocha. Here is a shrine to Our Lady of Atocha, a Spanish contraction for “Theotokos”, meaning “Mother of God,” or a simplification of “Antiocha” which, in the 12th Century under this title, was already ancient and beloved. Today the statue stands in a business centre, a dark little Madonna with an enigmatic smile on her face. Nobody knows where she came from but everyone, from gold-braided officer, to the ragged street urchins, pay her the most polite respect and give her most unqualified love. Our Lady of Atocha was in Madrid when there was only a field of reeds and a hermitage. The Moor and the Moslem came – they respected her and left her alone. When Toledo was sacked in 1170, she remained there calm and accessible, watching over her children. In 1525 Charles V brought her his bride and asked her blessing upon their marriage; Don Juan of Austria, departing for the Battle of Lepanto, knelt at her feet and pledged his sword to her; after his victory, he sent in thanksgiving, his sword to her along with the captured Moorish banners. Despite all these trappings of the high and wealthy, she still remains Our Lady of all the people, beloved of kings and farmers, such as St Isidore. Our Lady of Atocha is Madrid’s royal shrine: there is not a Spaniard of public importance for a thousand years who would not kneel to ask her help. Her gowns are made from the bridal gowns of queens; yet no shrine better demonstrates how little it matters where we rank in the world, or what we do for a living. One of her supplicants asks her for victory for his armies, one for rain for his thirsty fields; Our Lady of Atocha answers all, impartially and lovingly.
In the year 1554 the Spanish Missionaries brought Our Lady of Atocha to Mexico with them. She was brought to a sanctuary called The Santuario De Plateros, which is a church about 30 minutes from the small town of Fresnillo. There were many miracles that occurred after the arrival of the famous statue. After the first miracle was reported, the Infant of Atocha was separated from the rest of the statue. He was seated instead by Himself in a splendid crystal niche on the main altar, and He can still be seen there today. In His left hand He holds a jug, which for centuries was used by pilgrims to carry their liquids for drinking. In His right hand is a small basket of food. The face of the Infant is dark and bright. He has long curls and wears a small hat trimmed with gold and feathers on the side. His clothing is velvet, with exquisite embroidering and has the initials JHS. Finally, on his feet he wears solid gold sandals. The Holy Infant is so small and attractive He is like a magnet to everyone. He is actually a figure of admiration to the faithful. He grants them the favours they ask for and gives grace instantly. He usually works during the night visiting the sick and the poor, therefore, He is also known as The Night Walking Infant of Atocha. It is not unusual to see HIs little chair empty while He is out on a mission. In the morning when He returns the sisters dust off His sandals after His all night journeys. Pilgrimages are daily occurrences at the Santuario De Plateros. Thousands of pilgrims go to the Santuario on their knees, singing and praying. The pilgrims come for miles away on foot carrying flowers. The children come also and the little infants are carried in the mother’s shawl. It is impossible to count the testimonials that cover the walls. Pictures, wheel chairs, crutches, braids of hair, have been brought in by those who received miraculous cures. All testimonials are framed with a picture of The Little Infant of Atocha, a picture of the moment of the miracle and they also indicate time, date and place.
St Alphonsus of Astorga St Ansurius of Orense St Athanasius of Sorrento St Conan of Iona Bl Eystein Erlandsön Bl José Gabriel del Rosario Brochero Bl Marie de la Dive veuve du Verdier de la Sorinière Bl Michaël Kozal St Paula of Rome (347-404) Widow, Foundress St Theofrid of Corbie St Theogenes of Hippo St Tortgith of Barking — Martyred Family of Constantinople: Saint Mary and Saint Xenophon were married and the parents of Saint John and Saint Arcadius. Theirs was a wealthy family of Senatorial rank in 5th century imperial Constantinople, but were known as a Christians who lived simple lives. To give their sons a good education, Xenophon and Mary sent them to university in Beirut, Phoenicia. However, their ship wrecked, there was no communication from them, and the couple assumed, naturally, that the young men had died at sea. In reality, John and Arcadius had survived and decided that instead of continuing to Beirut, they were going to follow a calling to religious life and became monks, eventually living in a monastery in Jerusalem. Years later, Mary and Xenophon made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem – where they encountered their sons. Grateful to have their family re-united and taking it as a sign, Xenophon and Mary gave up their positions in society in Constantinople, and lived the rest of their lives as a monk and anchoress in Jerusalem. A few years later, the entire family was martyred together. They were martyred in 5th century Jerusalem. St Xenophon St Mary St John St Arcadius
One Minute Reflection – 24 January – Friday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 8: 6-13, Psalms 85:8 and 10, 11-12, 13-14, Mark 3:13-19 and the Memorial of St Vincent Pallotti (1795-1850)
He appointed the twelve – Simon (to whom the gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew and Philip and Bartholomew and Matthew and Thomas and James the son of Alphaeus and Thaddaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. – Mark 3:16-18
REFLECTION – “Accordingly, in affirming that they are sent by Him, just as He was sent by the Father, Christ sums up in a few words the approach, they themselves should take to their apostolate. From what He said, they would gather, that it was their vocation to call sinners to repentance, to heal those who were sick, whether in body or spirit, to seek in all their dealing, never to do their own will but the will of Him who sent them and, as far as possible, to save the world by their teaching.” – St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Bishop, Father & Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Human weakness finds its anchor in You, Lord and our faith is build on You as on a rock. Supported by the teachings, lives and prayers of our fathers, Your Apostles, may we always answer Your call and live in ever-closer union with You. And may all your Angels, Martyrs and Saints, pray for Holy Mother Church and for us all. Through Christ, our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spiirt, God forever and ever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 13 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Grace of God
“It is astonishing to consider how much St Paul accomplished when he had been transformed by the grace of God. Formerly, a persecutor of Christians, he became the Apostle of the Gentiles. Enlightened by faith and inspired by charity, he travelled the globe, spreading everywhere, the religion of Jesus Christ.
He feared neither the anger of the hostile Jews, nor the tribunals of the Roman judges, neither long and difficult journeys, nor scourging, shipwreck and imprisonment. “The love of Christ impels us,” (2 Cor 5:14) he said. It was the love of God which drove him on and on, until he met his martyrdom. But what about ourselves? We also have received grace from God. Often we hear His voice appealing to us to abandon our sinful ways, to practise virtue, to love Him more ardently and to prove our love, by deeds. If we co-operate, we shall be able to say with St Paul: “by the grace of God, I am what I am and his grace in me has not been fruitless,” (1 Cor 15:10) and “I have laboured … yet, not I but the grace of God with me” (ibid).
It is wise to recall, however, that Judas also received special graces from God. He did not correspond with them and was probably damned for eternity. If we fail to correspond with God’s graces, the result will be tragic for ourselves.”
Thought for the Day – 26 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Feast of St John the Apostle and Evangelist, the Beloved
St John the Apostle and Evangelist
“St John was the beloved disciple of Jesus Christ. He was allowed, along with St Peter and St James, to enjoy the glory of the Transfiguration and, he was invited with them into the Garden of Gethsemane to witness the agonu ofour divine Redeemer. In the Cenacle, moreover, after he had received the Blessed Eucharist, he was the only one of the Apostles privileged to rest his head on the breast of Jesus. He stood at the foot of the Cross on Mount Calvary and heard his Master entrust to him, with His dying breath, the most precious treasure which still remained to Him on earth, the Blessed Virgin Mary. “Son, behold thy Mother.”
It is true, that Jesus loved all His Apostles, to all of whom He granted the happiness of enjoying His company, listening to His teaching and witnessing, His miracles. Even so, He had a special affection for St John. This was because John was a virgin when Jesus called him and remained so, all his life. The state of virginity is especially pleasing to God. It makes us like the Angels and, in a sense, superior to them, since these pure spirits are naturally chaste and, we can only succeed in being so, by means of great self-control. “Blessed are the pure of heart,” says Jesaus in the Gospel, “for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8).
The privilege of the vision of God is attributed, in a special way, to the pure of heart. Therefore, St John, the virgin Apostle, begins his Gospel with a descriptio of the intimate life of the eternal God. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word, was God” (Jn 1:1). He soars above the earth like an eagle, as St Jerome observes and penetrates into the presence of God Himself.
We know that we shall never be called to scale such heights. We may not even have a vocation to live as virgins. But, we are all required to be clean of heart. Purity is a virtue which all Christians should possess in whatever manner is appropriate to their position in life. Let us examine ourselves strictly on this matter and make suitable resolutions for the future.”
Saint of the Day – 27 December – St John the Apostle and Evangelist.
The days following Christmas are full of symbolic meaning, as on 26 December we honour the first Martyr, St Stephen, who shed his blood for Jesus. 27 December, honours St John the Evangelist, the Disciple of Jesus who wrote the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation. Interestingly enough, he is the only Gospel writer to omit a narrative of Jesus’ birth. Based on this fact alone, it seems strange to include him during the Octave of Christmas. What is the Church’s reason behind this choice? Servant of God, Dom Prosper Guéranger in his Liturgical Year, points to St John’s pure chastity and his focus on the Divinity of Christ, as the reasons why he is honoured now at the Crib of Christ.
Dom Prosper Guéranger OSB (1805-1875)
The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved, the Eagle
“Nearest to Jesus’ Crib, after Stephen, stands John, the Apostle and Evangelist. It was only right, that the first place should be assigned to him, who so loved his God, that he shed his blood in his service; for, as this God Himself declares, greater love than this hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friends [1 John, 15:13] and Martyrdom has ever been counted, by the Church, as the greatest act of love and as having, consequently, the power of remitting sins, like a second Baptism. But, next to the sacrifice of Blood, the noblest, the bravest and, which most wins the heart of Him, who is the Spouse of souls, is the sacrifice of Virginity. Now, just as St Stephen is looked upon as the type of Martyrs, St John is honoured as the Prince of Virgins. Martyrdom won for Stephen the Crown and palm; Virginity merited for John most singular prerogatives, which, while they show how dear to God, is holy Chastity, put this Disciple among those, who, by their dignity and influence, are above the rest of men.
St. John was of the family of David, as was our Blessed Lady. He was, consequently, a relation of Jesus. This same honour belonged to St James the Greater, his Brother; as also to St James the Less and St Jude, both Sons of Alpheus. When our Saint was in the prime of his youth, he left, not only his boat and nets, not only has lather Zebedee but, even his betrothed, when everything was prepared for the marriage. He followed Jesus and never once looked back. Hence, the special love which our Lord bore him. Others were Disciples or Apostles, John was the Friend, of Jesus. The cause of this our Lord’s partiality, was, as the Church tells us in the Liturgy, that John had offered his Virginity to the Man-God. Let us, on this his Feast, enumerate the graces and privileges that came to St John from his being The Disciple whom Jesus loved.
This very expression of the Gospel, which the Evangelist repeats several times — The Disciple whom Jesus loved [John, 13:23, 19:26, 21:7, 21:20] — says more than any commentary could do. St Peter, it is true, was chosen by our Divine Lord, to be the Head of the Apostolic College and the Rock whereon the Church was to be built – he, then, was honoured most but St John was loved most. Peter was bid to love more than the rest loved and he was able to say, in answer to Jesus’ thrice repeated question, that he did love Him in this highest way and yet, notwithstanding, John was more loved by Jesus than was Peter himself, because his Virginity deserved this special mark of honour.
Chastity of soul and body brings him, who possesses i,t into a sacred nearness and intimacy with God. Hence it was, that at the Last Supper – that Supper, which was to be renewed on our Altars, to the end of the world, in order to cure our spiritual infirmities and give life to our souls – John was placed near to Jesus, nay, was permitted, as the tenderly loved Disciple, to lean his head upon the Breast of the Man-God. Then it was, that he was filled and from their very Fountain, with Light and Love, it was both a recompense and a favour and became the source of two signal graces, which make St John an object of special reverence to the whole Church.
Divine wisdom, wishing to make known to the world, the Mystery of the Word and commit to Scripture, those profound secrets, which, so far, no pen of mortal had been permitted to write — the task was put upon John. Peter had been crucified, Paul had been beheaded and the rest of the Apostles had laid down their lives in testimony of the Truths they had been sent to preach to the world; John was the only one left in the Church. Heresy had already begun its blasphemies against the Apostolic Teachings; it refused to admit the Incarnate Word as the Son of God, Consubstantial to the Father. John was asked by the Churches to speak and he did so in language heavenly above measure. His Divine Master had reserved to this, his Virgin-Disciple, the honour of writing those sublime Mysteries, which the other Apostles had been commissioned only to teach — THE WORD WAS GOD, and this WORD WAS MADE FLESH for the salvation of mankind.
Thus did our Evangelist soar, like the Eagle, up to the Divine Sun and gaze upon Him with undazzled eye, because his heart and senses were pure and, therefore, fitted for such vision of the uncreated Light. If Moses, after having conversed with God in the cloud, came from the divine interview with rays of miraculous light encircling his head – how radiant must have been the face of St John, which had rested on the very Heart of Jesus, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! [Col. 2:3] how sublime his writings! how divine his teaching! Hence, the symbol of the Eagle, shown to the Prophet Ezechiel, [Ezechiel 1:10, 10:14] and to St John himself in his Revelations, [Apoc. 4:7] has been assigned to him by the Church and, to this title of The Eagle has been added, by universal tradition, the other beautiful name of Theologian. This was the first recompense given by Jesus to his Beloved John, a profound penetration into divine Mysteries. The second was the imparting to him a most ardent charity, which was equally a grace consequent upon his angelic purity, for purity unburdens the soul from grovelling egotistic affections and raises it to a chaste and generous love. John had treasured up in his heart the Discourses of his Master, he made them known to the Church and, especially, that divine one of the Last Supper, wherein Jesus had poured forth His whole Soul to His own, whom he had always tenderly loved but most so, at the end [John, 13:1]. He wrote his Epistles and Charity is his subject – God is Charity — he that loveth not, knoweth not God — perfect Charity casteth out fear — and so on throughout, always on Love. During the rest of his life, even when so enfeebled by old age as not to be able to walk, he was forever insisting upon all men loving each other, after the example of God, who had loved them and so loved them! Thus, he that had announced more clearly than the rest of the Apostles the divinity of the Incarnate Word, was by excellence, the Apostle of that divine Charity, which Jesus came to enkindle upon the earth.
But, our Lord had a further gift to bestow and it was sweetly appropriate to the Virgin-Disciple. When dying on His cross, Jesus left Mary upon this earth. Joseph had been dead now some years. Who, then, shall watch over His Mother? who is there worthy of the charge? Will Jesus send His Angels to protect and console her? — for, surely, what man could ever merit to be to her as a second Joseph? Looking down, he sees the Virgin-Disciple standing at the foot of the Cross – we know the rest, John is to be Mary’s Son — Mary is to be John’s Mother. Oh! wonderful Chastity, that wins from Jesus such an inheritance as this! Peter, says St Peter Damian, shall have left to him the Church, the Mother of men; but John, shall receive Mary, the Mother of God, whom he will love as his own dearest Treasure and to whom, he will stand in Jesus’ stead; whilst Mary will tenderly love John, her Jesus’ Friend, as her Son.
Can we be surprised after this, that St John is looked upon by the Church as one of her greatest glories? He is a Relative of Jesus in the flesh; he is an Apostle, a Virgin, the Friend of the Divine Spouse, the Eagle, the Theologian, the Son of Mary; he is an Evangelist, by the history he has given of the Life of his Divine Master and Friend; he is a Sacred Writer, by the three Epistles he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; he is a Prophet, by his mysterious Apocalypse, wherein are treasured the secrets of time and eternity. But, is he a Martyr? Yes, for if he did not complete his sacrifice, he drank the Chalice of Jesus [Matt. 20:22], when, after being cruelly scourged, he was thrown into a caldron of boiling oil, before the Latin Gate, at Rome. He was, therefore, a Martyr in desire and intention, though not in fact. If our Lord, wishing to prolong a life so dear to the Church, as well as to show how he loves and honours Virginity, — miraculously stayed the effects of the frightful punishment, St John had, on his part, unreservedly accepted Martyrdom.
Such is the companion of Stephen at the Crib, wherein lies our Infant Jesus. If the Protomartyr dazzles us with the robes he wears of the bright scarlet of his own blood — is not the virginal whiteness of John’s vestment fairer than the untrod snow? The spotless beauty of the Lilies of Mary’s adopted Son and the bright vermilion of Stephen’s Roses — what is there more lovely than their union? Glory, then, be to our New-Born King, whose court is tapestried with such heaven-made colours as these! Yes, Bethlehem’s Stable is a very heaven on earth and we have seen its transformation. First, we saw Mary and Joseph alone there — they were adoring Jesus in his Crib; then, immediately, there descended a heavenly host of Angels singing the wonderful Hymn; the Shepherds soon followed, the humble simple-hearted Shepherds; after these, entered Stephen the Crowned and John the Beloved Disciple; and, even before there enters the pageant of the devout Magi, we shall have others coming in and there will be, each day, grander glory in the Cave and gladder joy in our hearts. Oh! this Birth of our Jesus! Humble as it seems, yet, how divine! What King or Emperor ever received, in his gilded cradle, honours like these shown to the Babe of Bethlehem? Let us unite our homage with that given him by these the favoured inmates of his court. Yesterday, the sight of the Palm in Stephen’s hand animated us and we offered to our Jesus the promise of a stronger Faith: to-day, the Wreath, that decks the brow of the Beloved Disciple, breathes upon the Church the heavenly fragrance of Virginity — an intenser love of Purity must be our resolution and our tribute to the Lamb.
Today is the Feast day of the Holy Family but also every family’s feast day, since the Holy Family is the Patron and model of all Christian families. Today should be a huge family feast, since it is devoted entirely to the Holy Family as a model for the Christian family life. As Rev. Edward Sutfin states:
Finally, having traversed the long roads and trials of the desert we have arrived in our new coastal home and after much ado, we are back online at last and I am so happy to be with you. Blessed be God as His many Graces have been poured down upon us and may He bless you all for your many prayers which so kindly accompanied us during this time.
From tomorrow, I will be back in the usual way. May we share this beautiful season of anticipation together.
In the meantime, herewith, a little reminder of the beautiful Catholic tradition of the St Andrew Novena, the Christmas Anticipation Prayer which we began yesterday and pray 15 times everyday until Christmas.
While a Novena is normally a nine-day prayer, the term is sometimes used for any prayer that is repeated over a series of days. It is an ideal Advent devotion; the First Sunday of Advent is the Sunday closest to the Feast of Saint Andrew.
The novena is not actually addressed to Saint Andrew but to God Himself, asking Him to grant our request in honour of the birth of His Son at Christmas. You can say the prayer all 15 times, all at once; or divide up the recitation as necessary (perhaps five times at each meal).
Prayed as a family, the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena is a very good way to help focus the attention of your family and children on the Advent season.
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment, in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, ………………… [here mention your request] through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ and of His blessed Mother. Amen
“In those days he departed to the mountain to pray and he spent the night in prayer to God.” – Luke 6:12
REFLECTION – “So the Lord prays, not to entreat for Himself but to intercede for me. Although the Father placed all things in the power of His Son, yet the Son, in order to fulfil the form of a man, thinks that the Father must be entreated for us because He is our Advocate. If He is an Advocate, He must intercede on account of my sins.
It says, “He passed the whole night in prayer.” A model is given to you. A form is prescribed which you must imitate. Unless I am mistaken, it is nowhere found that He prayed with the apostles. Everywhere He entreats alone, for human prayers do not grasp the counsels of God, nor can anyone share with Christ, in the inward mysteries.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Father and Doctor (Exposition of the Gospel of Luke, 5.)
PRAYER – Lord God, You taught us to call upon Your name, through the preaching of the Apostles. Open our eyes each day, grant that we may see Jesus Your Son at our side, open our ears that we may hear His voice, open our mouths, that we may beg forgiveness and proclaim the good news, as we follow the way Your Son carved out for us. At the intercession of Sts Simon and Jude, may Your Church continue to grow and to hope in Your love. We make our prayer through Jesus our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Lord of Miracles/Señor de los Milagros de Nazarenas: A mid-17th-century painting of the Crucifixion that is venerated in Lima, Peru and its celebration involves one of the largest processions in the world.
It was painted by an unnamed African taken to Peru as a slave from what is now Angola. Above the Cross is the Holy Spirit and God the Father. Below and to the right of Jesus, is His mother, the Virgin Mary with her heart pierced by a sword of sorrow. Kneeling and weeping at the foot of the cross is St Mary Magdalene.
The name originated on 13 November 1655 when everything around it was destroyed in an earthquake that left the painting standing and undamaged. Christ is shown enduring the pain of crucifixion. Every year in October, hundreds of thousands of devotees from all races and economic backgrounds participate in a procession honouring the image through the streets of Lima. Boulevards are decorated in purple on 18,19 and the final Feast 28 October to celebrate the Lord of Miracles.
St Abdias of Babylon St Abraham of Ephesus St Alberic of Stavelot St Anastasia the Elder St Anglinus of Stavelot St Cyril of Rome St Cyrilla of Rome St Diomedes the Younger St Dorbhene of Iona St Eadsin of Canterbury St Elius of Lyon St Faro of Meaux St Fidelis of Como (Died c 304) Soldier-Saint Martyr St Genesius of Thiers St Gioan Dat St Godwin of Stavelot St Maria Ascuncion St Remigius of Lyons St Rodrigo Aguilar Aleman St Salvius of Amiens — Martyrs of Avila – 3 saints: Two sisters and a brother who, during a period of persecution, fled Talavera de la Reina, Spain, were caught and executed. Martyrs: Christeta, Sabina and Vincent. 303 in Avila, Spain.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: • Blessed Claudio Julían García San Román • Blessed Maria Asuncion
Quotes of the Day – 18 October – Feast of St Luke the Evangelist
“Most Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
“And I say to you: Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For everyone that asks receives and he that seeks finds and to him that knocks, it shall be opened.”
“Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your life-span?”
“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
“Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”
“Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”
And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore, render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God, the things that are God’s.” – Matthew 22:20-21
REFLECTION – In an ancient work known as the Incomplete Work on Matthew, an anonymous Ancient Christian Writer (ACW) offers the following insight on these verses from today’s Gospel: “The image of God is not depicted on gold but is imaged in humanity. The coin of Caesar is gold; that of God, humanity. Caesar is seen in his currency; God, however, is known through human beings. And so give your wealth to Caesar but reserve for God the sole innocence of your conscience, where God is beheld. For the hand of Caesar has crafted an image by likenesses and lives each year by renewable decree. However, the divine hand of God has shown His image in ten points.
What ten points? From five carnal ones and five spiritual ones through which we see and understand what things are useful under God’s image. So let us always reflect the image of God in these ways:
I do not swell up with the arrogance of pride; nor do I droop with the blush of anger; nor do I succumb to the passion of avarice; nor do I surrender myself to the ravishes of gluttony; nor do I infect myself with the duplicity of hypocrisy; nor do I contaminate myself with the filth of rioting; nor do I grow flippant with the pretension of conceit; nor do I grow enamoured of the burden of heavy drinking; nor do I alienate by the dissension of mutual admiration; nor do I infect others with the biting of detraction; nor do I grow conceited with the vanity of gossip.
I will reflect the image of God in that I feed on love; grow certain on faith and hope; strengthen myself on the virtue of patience; grow tranquil by humility; grow beautiful by chastity; am sober by abstention; am made happy by tranquillity and am ready for death, by practicing hospitality.
It is with such inscriptions that God imprints His coins with an impression made neither by hammer nor by chisel but has formed them, with His primary divine intention. For Caesar required his image on every coin but God has chosen man, whom He has created, to reflect His glory.” (Incomplete Work on Matthew, «Homily 40»)
PRAYER – Lord God, You chose St Luke to reveal the mystery of Your love in his preaching and his writings. Grant, we pray, that we may grow in love for the Holy Face of Christ, His words and His directions, revealed to us in the Gospels, in the example of your saints. Today, on his feast, we especially look to St Luke, to guide, teach and pray for us. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever and ever, amen.
St Acutius of Pozzuoli St Asclepiades of Antioch St Athenodorus St Brothen Bl Burchard I St Cadwaladr of Brittany Bl Domenico of Perpignano St Eutychius of Pozzuoli St Gwen St Gwen of Tagarth St Gwendoline St Isaac Jogues St Julian Sabas the Hermit (4th Century) St Justus of Beauvais (c 278—c 287) Child of nine About St Justus: https://anastpaul.com/2019/10/18/saint-of-the-day-18-october-st-justus-of-beauvais-c-278-c-287-martyr/ Bl Margherita Tornielli St Monon of Nassogne St Proculus of Pozzuoli Bl Theobald of Narbonna St Tryphonia of Rome — Martyrs of Africa – 9 saints: A group of Christians martryed together in Africa. The only details that have survived are the names – Beresus, Dasius, Faustinus, Leucius, Lucius, Martialis, Victoricus, Victrix and Viktor. They were martyred in c.300 in Africa.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: • Blessed Alfredo Almunia López-Teruel • Blessed Francisco Roselló Hernández • Blessed Isidro Juan Martínez
Thought for the Day – 8 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Heart of Judas
“The human heart is a mystery, the depths of which, it is difficult to sound. We do not even understand ourselves. The heart of man can soar to the loftiest heights of goodness or descend to unimaginable depths of evil. Examples of the sublime heights to which men can rise, are provided by the lives of the Saints, who loved God so much, that they were on fire with charity and wished to abide forever in Him, “It is now no longer I that live,” said st Paul “but Christ lives in me” (1 Gal 2:20).
The heart of Judas, is a particularly deep mystery. We read in the Gospel that Jesus called together His disciples in the upper room to celebrate His last Pasch with them. Among them was Judas. Jesus loved men so much, that He wished to remain with them, really and truly for all time, even after His approaching death. “Having loved his own, who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (Jn 13:1). When the meal was over, Jesus took bread and, lifting up His eyes to Heaven, He said: “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then He took the chalice, blessed it and turning towards the Apostles said these words: “All of you drink of this; for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is being shed for many.” Then He added: “Do this in remembrance of me.” In this way, Jesus instituted the Blessed Eucharist, which St Thomas Aquinas describes as Christ’s greatest miracle (Opsculum 57, Officium de festa Corporis Christi). Furthermore, He raised His disciples, including Judas, to the sublime dignity of the Priesthood and bestowed on them, the power to do what He had just done. One might say, that the infinite generosity of Jesus Christ, was exhausted at that moment. He could not give anything more because, at that moment, He had given us Himself!
It was in this solemn moment, in which He received Jesus into his soul and was at the same time raised to the dignity of the Priesthood, that Judas finally decided to carry out his plan to sell his Master for thirty pieces of silver and to hand Him over to those who wished to kill Him. How sin can degrade a human being!”
“After He [Jesus] had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and lower your nets for a catch…” … Luke 5:4
REFLECTION – “He told Simon and his companions to sail off a little from the land and to let down the net for a draught. But they replied that they had been toiling the whole night and had caught nothing. However, in the name of Christ, they let down the net and immediately it was full of fish.
By a visible sign and by a miraculous type and representation, they were fully convinced that their labour would be rewarded and the zeal displayed in spreading out the net of the gospel teaching would be fruitful. Within this net they should most certainly catch the shoals of the heathen. But note that neither Simon nor his companions could draw the net to land. Speechless from fright and astonishment—for their wonder had made them mute—they beckoned to their partners, to those who shared their labours in fishing, to come and help them in securing their prey.
For many have taken part with the holy apostles in their labours and still do so, especially those who inquire into the meaning of what is written in the holy Gospels. Yet besides them there are also others – the shepherds and teachers and rulers of the people, who are skilled in the doctrines of truth. For the net is still being drawn, while Christ fills it, and calls to conversion those who, according to the Scripture phrase, are in the depths of the sea, that is to say, those who live in the surge and waves of worldly things.” … St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father and Doctor of the Incarnation – Commentary on Luke, Homily 12
PRAYER – God our Father, Your rule is a rule of love, Your providence is full of mercy for Your people. Through the intercession of St Gregory, grant the spirit of wisdom and understanding in Your Word through Your Son Jesus Christ. Grant that by the light of His Resurrection we may know our eternal home and strive to attain eternal joy there with You. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 24 August – The Feast of St Bartholomew, Apostle of Christ
“Here is a true child of Israel. There is no guile in him.”
Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
“The saints must be honoured as friends of Christ and children and heirs of God. Let us carefully observe the manner of life of all the Apostles, Martyrs, ascetics and just men who announced the coming of the Lord. And let us emulate their faith, charity, hope, zeal, life, patience under suffering and perseverance unto death, so that we may also share their crowns of glory.”
St John Damascene (675-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
“The Apostles’ glory is so indistinguishable and so bonded together by the cement of so many graces, that in celebrating the feast of one of them, the common greatness of all, is called to our interior attention. For they share together the same authority of supreme judge, the same honourable rank and they hold the same power to bind and loose (Mt 19:28; 18:18). They are those precious pearls that Saint John tells us he beheld in the Book of Revelation out of which are constructed the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem (Rv 21:21.14)…”
St Peter Damian (1007-1072) Bishop, Doctor of the Church
(Sermon 42, 2nd for Saint Bartholomew, PL 144, 726)
“Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” … John 1:48
REFLECTION – “Now Jacob had been called in Scripture a man without guile. Jacob himself, as you know, was surnamed Israel. That is why in the Gospel, when the Lord saw Nathanael, he said, “Behold, an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile.” And that Israelite, not yet knowing who was speaking to him, replied, “How do you know me?” And the Lord said to him, “While you were under the fig tree I saw you,” as though to say, “While you were under the shadow of sin, I predestined you.” And Nathanael, remembering he had been under the fig tree where the Lord had not been, recognised the divinity in Him and answered, “You are the Son of God, you are the king of Israel.” Though he was under the fig tree, he did not become a withered fig tree – he acknowledged Christ. And the Lord said to him, “Because I said, While you were under the fig tree I saw you, is that why you believe? You shall see greater things than that.”
What are these greater things? “Amen, I tell you.” Because that man is an Israelite in whom there is no guile, look back to Jacob, in whom there is no guile and recollect, when Jesus tells you, the stone at his head, the vision in his sleep, the stairs from earth to heaven, the beings coming down and going up and then see, what the Lord says to the Israelite without guile: “You shall see heaven opened”—listen, guileless Nathanael, to what guileless Jacob saw—“and angels going up and coming down”—to whom?—“to the Son of man.”” … St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace – Sermon 89
PRAYER – Collect: Strengthen in us, O Lord, the faith, by which the blessed Apostle Bartholomew clung wholeheartedly to Your Son, and grant that through the help of his prayers Your Church may become for all the nations, the sacrament of salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Bl Miroslav Bulesic St Patrick the Elder St Ptolemy of Nepi St Romanus of Nepi St Sandratus St Taziano of Claudiopolis — Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: • Blessed Fortunato Velasco Tobar • Blessed Isidre Torres Balsells • Blessed Rigoberto Aquilino de Anta Barrio
Martyred in World War II: 6 Beati Czeslaw Jozwiak Edward Kazmierski Edward Klinik Franciszek Kesy Jarogniew Wojciechowski Luis Almécija Lázaro
One Minute Reflection – 25 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – The Memorial of St James the Greater, Apostle of Christ, Readings: 2 Corinthians 4:7-15, Psalm 126, Matthew 20:20-28
INTERNET PROBLEMS – CANNOT UPLOAD IMAGES!
“Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” … Matthew 20:28
REFLECTION – “How shall I repay the Lord?” (Ps 115[116B],12) Not with holocausts or sacrifices or the observances of the legal cult but with my whole life itself. And this is why, says the psalmist, “The cup of salvation I will take” (v.13). The labour he underwent in the struggles of his filial devotion to God and the constancy with which he resisted sin even to death – this is what the psalmist calls his cup.
It was concerning this cup that our Lord Himself expressed Himself in the Gospels : “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me” (Mt 26:39). And again, to His disciples: “Can you drink the cup that I shall drink?” He intended to speak of that death He desired to suffer, for the salvation of the world. Therefore, He says: “The cup of salvation I will take up,” namely, my whole being is reaching out, parched, towards the consummation of martyrdom, even to the point of holding the torments endured, in the struggles of filial love as rest and not as suffering, for soul and body. I too, He says, will offer Myself to the Lord as a sacrifice and oblation. … And I am ready to pay these vows before all the people, for: “My vows to the Lord I will pay in the presence of all his people!” (v.14).” … St Basil the Great (330-379) Monk and Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Father & Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Lord our God, You accepted the sacrifice of St James, the first of Your Apostles to give his life for Your sake. May Your Church find strength in his martyrdom and support in his constant prayer. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. St James the Greater, Apostle of Christ, Pray for us! Amen
St Cugat del Valles
Bl Darío Acosta Zurita
St Fagildo of Santiago
St Felix of Furcona
St Florentius of Furcona
St Glodesind of Metz
St Magnericus of Trier
Bl Michel-Louis Brulard
Bl Mieczyslawa Kowalska
St Nissen of Wexford
St Olympiad of Constantinople
St Paul of Palestine Blessed Pietro Corradini OFM (1435–1490) Priest
St Theodemir of Cordoba
Martyrs of Caesarea – 3 saints: Three Christians martyred together in the pesecutions of emperor Maximilian and governor Firmilian – Paul, Tea and Valentina. 309 in Caesarea, Palestine.
Martyrs of Cuncolim – 20 saints: On 15 July 1583 the group met at the church of Orlim, and hiked to Cuncolim to erect a cross and choose land for a new church. Local anti-Christian pagans, seeing the unarmed Christians, gathered their weapons and marched on them. One of the parishioners, a Portuguese emigre named Gonçalo Rodrigues, carried a firearm, but Father Alphonsus Pacheco stopped him from using it. The pagans then fell upon them, and killed them all without mercy. They were –
• Alphonsus Pacheco
• Alphonsus the altar boy
• Anthony Francis
• Dominic of Cuncolim
• Francis Aranha
• Francis Rodrigues
• Gonçalo Rodrigues
• Paul da Costa
• Peter Berno
• Rudolph Acquaviva
• ten other native Christian converts whose names have not come down to us
They were martyred on Monday 25 July 1583 at the village of Cuncolim, district of Salcete, territory of Goa, India. Beatified on 30 April 1893 by Pope Leo XIII.
Martyrs of Motril – 5 beati: Four priests and a brother, all members of the Augustinian Recollects, who were martyred together in the Spanish Civil War:
• Deogracias Palacios del Río
• José Rada Royo
• José Ricardo Díez Rodríguez
• Julián Benigno Moreno y Moreno
• León Inchausti Minteguía
They were shot on 25 July 1936 in Motril, Granada, Spain and Beatified on 7 March 1999 by Pope John Paul II.
Martyrs of Toledo – 4 beati: Four brothers and a priest, all members of the Hospitallers of Saint John of God, and all martyred together in the Spanish Civil War.
• Carlos Rubio álvarez
• Eloy Francisco Felipe Delgado Pastor
• Jerónimo Ochoa Urdangarín
• Primo Martínez De San Vicente Castillo
25 July 1936 in Talavera de la Reina, Toledo, Spain. They were Beatified on 25 October 1992 by Pope John Paul II.
Martyrs of Urda – 3 beati: Three members of the Passionists who were martyred together in the Spanish Civil War.
• Benito Solana Ruiz
• Felix Ugalde Irurzun
• Pedro Largo Redondo
They were shot on 25 July 1936 in Urdá, Toledo, Spain and Beatified on 1 October 1989 by Pope John Paul II.
Quote/s of the Day – 8 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Wednesday of the Fourteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Hosea 10:1-3, 7-8, 12, Psalm 105:2-7, Matthew 10:1-7
Mission of Love
“Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority … “
“Go out to the whole world and proclaim the gospel to all creation.”
“And when it was day, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostle …”
“Beloved: What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life (for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us.…”
1 John 1:1-2
“Now what it was they preached – in other words, what it was that Christ revealed to them – can properly be proved, in no other way, than by those very Churches that the Apostles founded in person, by directly declaring the Gospel to them, first by word of mouth and subsequently by their epistles. If, then, these things are so, it is manifest that all doctrine that agrees with the Apostolic Churches, which are the matrix and source of the faith, must be reckoned as true and as undoubtedly containing that, which those Churches received, from the Apostles, the Apostles from Christ and Christ from God.”
full name Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus (c 155- c 240)
Father of the Church
“But to bear with insult, patiently undergo humiliation, pray for those who persecute us (Mt 5,39.44) – that is the Lord’s cup, that is the Lord’s feast.“
St Augustine (354-430)
Father & Doctor of the Church
“Accordingly, in affirming that they are sent by Him just as He was sent by the Father, Christ sums up in a few words the approach, they themselves should take to their apostolate. From what He said, they would gather, that it was their vocation to call sinners to repentance, to heal those who were sick, whether in body or spirit, to seek in all their dealing, never to do their own will but the will of Him who sent them and, as far as possible, to save the world by their teaching.”
St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444)
Bishop, Father & Doctor of the Church
“John’s God-illumined mind, conceived the incomparable height of divine wisdom, when he reclined on the Redeemer’s breast, during the holy Last Supper meal (Jn 13:25). And because “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3) are within the heart of Jesus, it is from there, that he drew and from there, that he greatly enriched our wretchedness, as people who are poor and generously distributed these goods, taken from their source, for the salvation of the whole world.”
St Peter Damian (1007-1072)
Doctor of the Church
“The love of Jesus is noble and generous, it spurs us onto do great things and excites us to desire always, that which is most perfect. Love will tend upwards and is not to be detained by things beneath. Love will be at liberty and free from all worldly affections… for love proceeds from God and cannot rest but in God above all things created. The lover flies, runs and rejoices, he is free and not held. He gives all for all and has all in all, because he rests in one sovereign Good above all, from Whom all good flows and proceeds”
Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, Book III, Chapter V, 3-4
” …How could we not preach the gospel if the Gospel is under our skin, in our hands, our hearts, our heads? We are obliged to say why we try to be what we want to be, why we try not to be what we don’t want to be, we are obliged to preach, since preaching is to say something publicly about Jesus Christ, our Lord and God and one can’t love Him and be silent.”
Venerable Madeleine Delbrêl (1904-1964) Missionary to the outcasts
The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother … …Matthew 10:2
REFLECTION – “The order in which the Apostles were divided and the distinction of each one were given by Him Who plumbs the depths of the heart. The first to be recorded is Simon called Peter (to distinguish him from the other Simon, who is called the Cananaean from the village of Cana in Galilee, where the Lord turned the water into wine). He also calls James, the son of Zebedee because he is followed by another James, the son of Alphaeus. And He associates the apostles by pairs. He joins Peter and Andrew as brothers not so much in the flesh as in the spirit; James and John, who left behind their natural father and followed the true Father; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the publican. The other Evangelists, in listing the names, put Matthew first and then Thomas, nor do they mention the name publican, lest in recalling his former way of life they seem to insult the Evangelist. But Matthew, as we said before, places himself after Thomas and calls himself a publican so that “where sin abounded, grace has abounded even more.”
Simon the Cananaean is the one whom another Evangelist calls the Zealot. In fact, Cana interpreted means “zeal.” Church history relates that the apostle Thaddaeus was sent to Edessa, Abgarum in the region of Osroene. The person whom Luke the Evangelist calls Jude the brother of James, elsewhere called Lebbaeus, which interpreted means “little heart,” is believed to have been referred to by three names. Simon Peter and the sons of Zebedee (called sons of thunder) were named for their strength of mind and great faith. Judas Iscariot took his name either from his hometown, or from the tribe of Issachar. By a certain prophecy he was born in condemnation of himself, for Issachar interpreted means “reward,” as to signify the price of the traitor.” … St Jerome (343-420) – Father & Doctor of the Church (Commentary on Matthew, 1.)
PRAYER – Holy God and Almighty Father, we are the disciples of Your Son as we follow Him home to You, grant us we pray, the strength and love to imitate Him in all things and to daily, pick up our cross with joy and commitment. May the Blessed Virgin, be a constant protection and assistance in our times of struggle and may all your angels and saints and martyrs, pray for us, through our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, God for always and forever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 3 July – Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle of Christ
Speaking of: Doubt or Faith?
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
“Men imitate the gods whom they adore and to such miserable being, their crimes become their religion.”
St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258)
Bishop of Carthage and Martyr
Father of the Church
“For by your doubting, I am taught to believe, by your forked-tongue, that revealed the wound on the divine body that was pierced, I harvest the fruit for myself without pain.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407)
Father and Doctor
“Do you desire security? Here you have it. The Lord says to you, “I will never abandon you, I will always be with you.” If a good man made you such a promise, you would trust him. God makes it and do you doubt? Do you seek a support, more sure than the word of God, which is infallible? Surely, He has made the promise, He has written it, He has pledged His word for it, it is most certain!”
“If you believe what you like in the Gospels and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe but yourself.”
Saint Augustine (354-430)
Father and Doctor of Grace
“I believe though I do not comprehend and I hold by faith, what I cannot grasp with the mind.”
St Bernard (1090-1153)
“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
“Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth, by command of the will, moved by God through grace.”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
“You cannot be half a saint, you must be a whole saint or no saint at all.”
St Theresa of the Child Jesus/Lisieux (1873-1897)
Doctor of the Church
“Divine truth [is not] ours to summon at will. If we determine that we will find it out, we shall find nothing …. Let us believe, evidence will come, after faith, as it’s reward, better than before it, as it’s groundwork.”
Thomas answered, and said to him: ‘My Lord, and my God.’ … John 20:28
REFLECTION – “Thomas said to the Twelve: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe!” (Jn 20:25). The name ‘Thomas’ means ‘abyss’, for by his doubt he gained an even deeper understanding and became firmer in his faith. … It was not by chance but by divine decree, that Thomas was absent and unable to believe what he heard. A splendid decree! Saintly doubt of the disciple! “Unless I see in his hands,” he said (Jn 20:25). He wished to see raised up, the fallen tent of David, of which Amos had said: “On that day I will raise up the fallen tent of David; I will repair the breaches of its walls” (cf. Am 9:11). ‘David’ stands for the divinity; the ‘tent’, Christ’s own body in which the divinity was contained as in a tent, fallen, crushed in death and the Passion. The breaches in the walls stand for the wounds of his hands, feet and side. These are the wounds that the Lord would rebuild in his Resurrection. It was of them that Thomas said: “Unless I put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe!”
The Lord, understanding, did not want to leave His honest disciple, who was to become a vessel of election, in doubt. And so, He removed the smoke of doubt from his mind, in an act of kindness, just as He removed the blindness of infidelity from Paul. “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side and do not be unbelieving but believe” Then Thomas said to Him: “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:27-28)” … St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Almighty Father,as we honour Thomas the Apostle, let us always experience the help of his prayers. May we have eternal life by believing in Jesus, whom Thomas acknowledged as Lord, for He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen