Our Morning Offering – 24 January – Feast of Saint Timothy, Bishop and Martyr
O Fathers of Our Ancient Faith
O Fathers of our ancient faith, With all the heav’n, we sing your fame Whose sound went forth in all the earth To tell of Christ and bless His Name.
You took the Gospel to the poor, The Word of God alight in you, Which in our day is told again, That timeless Word, forever new.
You told of God, Who died for us And out of death triumphant rose, Who gave the Truth which made us free and changeless through the ages goes.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Whose gift is faith that never dies, A light in darkness now, until The Day-Star in our hearts arise.
O Fathers of Our Ancient Faith is written by the Benedictine Nuns of Stanbrook Abbey. In the Divine Office it is sung at Morning Prayer in the Common of Apostles. It is set to the anonymous tune associated with the 7th century Latin hymn, Creator Alme Siderum.
Saint of the Day – 24 January – Saint Timothy (Died c 97) Disciple of St Paul, Bishop of Ephesus and Martyr, Confessor, Missionary. Died by being stoned to death in c 97. Patronages – against intestinal disorders; against stomach diseases; of Termoli, Italy. Also known as – Timotheus. Additional Memorials – 26 January (Novus Ordo), 23 January (Australia), 27 January (Norway).
The Roman Martyrology states of St Timothy today: “The birthday of St Timothy, disciple of the Apostle, St Paul, who consecrated him Bishop of Ephesus. After many combats for Christ, he was stoned for reprehending those who offered sacrifices to Diana and shortly after, went peacefully to rest in the Lord.”
St Timothy, the beloved disciple of St Paul, was of Lycaonia and probably of the City of Lystra. His father was a Gentile but his mother, Eunice, was a Jewess. When Paul and Barnabas first visited Lystra, Paul healed a person crippled from birth, leading many of the inhabitants to accept his teaching. When he returned a few years later with Silas, Timothy was already a respected member of the Christian community as were his mother and grandmother Lois and St Paul commends their faith. Timothy had made the holy scriptures his study from his childhood. In 1 Corinthians 16:10, there is a suggestion that he was by nature reserved and quiet: “When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord.”
Timothy’s father was a Greek Gentile. Thus Timothy had not been circumcised and Paul now ensured that this was done, according to Acts 16:1-3, to enable Timothy’s acceptability to the Jews, who they would be evangelising. St Chrysostom here admires the prudence, steadiness and charity of St Paul and we may add, the voluntary obedience of our disciple, Timothy.
After he was circumcised, St Paul, by the imposition of hands, committed to him the ministry of preaching, his rare virtue making ample amends for his want of age. From that time the Apostle regarded him not only as his disciple and most dear son but as his brother and the companion of his labours. He calls him a man of God and tells the Philippians, that he found no-one so truly united to him in heart and sentiments, as Timothy.
Timothy became St Paul’s disciple and later his constant companion and co-worker in preaching. In the year 52, Paul and Silas took Timothy along with them on their journey to Macedonia. Augustine extols his zeal and disinterestedness in immediately forsaking his country, his house, and his parents, to follow the apostle, to share in his poverty and sufferings.
Timothy may have been subject to ill health or “frequent ailments” and Paul encouraged him to “use a little wine for your stomach’s sake,” hence his patronage of stomach ailments,”
When Paul went on to Athens, Silas and Timothy stayed for some time at Beroea and Thessalonica before joining Paul at Corinth.
Timothy’s bond with Paul was close. Timothy’s name appears as the co-author on 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians and Philemon. Paul wrote to the Philippians about Timothy, “I have no-one like him.”
When Paul was in prison and awaiting martyrdom, he summoned his faithful friend Timothy for a last farewell.
That Timothy was jailed at least once during the period of the writing of the New Testament is implied by St Paul in Hebrews when he mentions Timothy’s release at the end of the epistle.
Although not stated in the Scriptures other sources have records of the Apostle’s death. The apocryphal Acts of Timothy (5th Century) states that in the year 97, the 80-year-old Bishop tried to halt a procession in honor of the goddess Diana by preaching the Gospel. The angry pagans beat him, dragged him through the streets and stoned him to death.
From the 13th century until 1969 the feast of Timothy (alone, that is without St Titus whose feast day is 6 February) is today, 24 January, the day before that of the Conversion of Saint Paul.
In the 4th century, the relics of Timothy were transferred from Ephesus to Constantinople and placed in the Church of the Holy Apostles near the tombs of Saints Andrew and Luke. In the 13th century, the relics seem to have been taken to Italy by a count returning from the crusades and buried, around 1239, in the Termoli Cathedral. The remains were re-discovered in 1945, during restoration works.
One Minute Reflection – 12 January – Seventh day in the Octave of Epiphany, Readings: Romans 12:1-5; Luke 2:42-52 and the Memorial of St Benedict Biscop OSB (c 628-690)
“When Jesus was twelve years old …” – Luke 2:42
REFLECTION – “The public teaching of the Lord, had as we read, its beginnings from His twelfth year, for herein should be foreshadowed the number of those announcing the faith that was to be preached. Nor was it that He was heedlessly unmindful of His parents according to the flesh, who in the flesh was filled with grace and wisdom, that He was found in the temple after three days but ,for a sign that was believed dead, would present Himself to our faith, risen in heavenly glory and divine honour, after the three days of that triumphal passion.
“How is it that you sought me. Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business.” (Lk 2:49) There are two generations in Christ: the one is Paternal, the other Maternal; that which is Paternal is more Divine, the Maternal, that whereby He has stooped to our need and benefit. And, therefore, what was accomplished in the manner above nature, above age, above what was usual, must not be ascribed to His human excellence but must be referred to the power of His Divinity. Elsewhere, His Mother pleads with Him for a miracle, here she requires of Him a reason, since she still looks to the things that are human. But while here, He is described as being but twelve years old, there, He is spoken of as having disciples. See how the Mother has learnt to know her Son, so that she seeks a miracle from Him now, in His full strength, Who was astonished at this wonder in His Boyhood.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Great Latin Father and Doctor of the Church (Writings Octave of the Epiphany).
PRAYER – King of heaven and earth, Lord God, rule over our hearts and bodies this day. Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed, according to the commandments of Your law, so that now and forever, Your grace may free and save us. Sanctify our hearts, minds and actions with Your power, that all we are, may speak of Your Light. May the prayers of the Blessed Virgin our Mother and the ever-zealous St Benedict Biscop, bring us to peace and confidence. We make our prayer through Your Son, our Lord Jesus, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen.
Nuestra Señora del Pilar / Our Lady of the Pillar (Zaragoza, Spain) (40) – 2 January, 12 October (originally 4 October), 15 August – (This Apparition it is considered the first Marian Apparition, and is unique because it happened while Mary was still living on Earth):
According to ancient Spanish history, on 2 January in the year 40, in the early days of Christianity, James the Greater, one of the original Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, was preaching the Gospel in what was then the pagan land of Caesaraugusta (now Zaragoza), in the Roman Province of Hispania.
St James was disheartened with his mission, having made only a few converts. While he was praying by the banks of the Ebro River with some of his disciples, the Blessed Virgin Mary miraculously appeared before him atop a pillar accompanied by Angels. Mary assured James that the people would eventually be converted, becoming a stronghold of the Faith due to his efforts and their faith would be as strong as the pillar she was standing on. She gave him the pillar as a symbol and a wooden image of herself. James was also instructed to build a Chapel on the spot where she left the pillar which he did, making it the first Church in Spain.
It is generally believed, that Mary appeared to James through bilocation, as she was still living, either in Ephesus or Jerusalem, at the time of this event, as she is believed to have died three to fifteen years after Jesus ascended into Heaven. After establishing the church, James returned to Jerusalem with some of his disciples where he became a Martyr, beheaded in 44 under Herod Agrippa. His disciples returned his body to Spain. The pillar left by the Virgin Mary is presently enshrined in the same but larger Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar. It is believed to be the same pillar given and promised by Mary, in spite of numerous disasters that beset the Church. A fire in 1434 razed the Church that preceded the present Basilica Cathedral, see below.
The image of the Blessed Virgin Mary may or may not be the original. Some reports state that the original wooden image was destroyed when the Church burned down in 1434, contradicting other reports, that it is still the original Statue. The Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is made of wood and stands 39 centimetres tall while the 1.8 m pillar is made of jasper.quartz. The Statue depicts Mother Mary with the Child Jesus on her left arm, Who has a dove sitting on His left palm. Since the 16th century, the pillar is usually draped in a skirt-like cover called manto (in English: mantle). As a whole, it is protected by a bronze case and then another case of silver. The image was canonically crowned in 1905 during the reign of Pope Pius X. The crown was designed by the Marquis of Griñi, valued at 450,000 pesetas (£18,750, in1910). During the three Marian festivities of today, 15 August and 12 October, the faithful adorn the base of the Pillar and Statue with flowers – see below (both our Blessed Mother and St James would be thrilled by this display of such immense faith and piety!)
The apparition of Our Lady of the Pillar is a widely accepted sacred tradition. Popes from earliest times issued Papal Bulls attesting to the authenticity of the Shrine and the appearance of the Virgin Mary. Pope Calixtus III issued a Bull in 1456 encouraging pilgrimage to the Lady of the Pillar. It acknowledged the miracle of its foundation and the miracles that had taken place at the Spanish Shrine. It was also through this Bull that the name “Our Lady of the Pillar” was confirmed. So many contradictions had arisen concerning the miraculous origin of the Church that during the reign of Pope Innocent XIII , the Bishops of Spain appealed to the Holy See to settle the controversy. After careful investigation, the twelve Cardinals, in whose hands the affair rested, adopted the following account, which was approved by the Sacred Congregation of Rites on 2 August 1723 and has since been inserted in the lessons of the Office of the Feast of Our Lady of the Pillar, celebrated on 12 October.
“Of all the places that Spain offers for the veneration of the devout, the most illustrious is doubtless the Sanctuary consecrated to God under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin, under the title of Our Lady of the Pillar, at Saragossa. According to ancient and pious tradition, St James the Greater, led by Providence into Spain, spent some time at Saragossa. He there received a signal favour from the Blessed Virgin. As he was praying with his disciples one night, upon the banks of the Ebro, as the same tradition informs us, the Mother of God, who still lived, appeared to him and commanded him to erect an oratory in that place. The Apostle delayed not to obey this injunction,and with the assistance of his disciples, soon constructed a small Chapel. In the course of time, a larger Church was built and dedicated, which, with the dedication of Saint Saviour’s, is kept as a festival in the City and Diocese of Saragossa on the 4th of October.“
In 1730, Pope Clement XII allowed the celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of the Pillar all over the Spanish Empire. As the date coincides with the discovery of the Americas, the Lady was later named as Patroness of the Hispanic World although her Patronages include all of the following: Zaragoza, Spain, Melo, Uruguay, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Diocese of Imus, Cavite, Zamboanga City, Santa Cruz, Manila, Alaminos, Laguna, San Simon, Pampanga, Libmanan, Camarines Sur, Pilar and Morong in Bataan, Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro, Sibonga, Cebu, Baleno, Masbate, Cauayan, Isabela.
Prayer: Hail, Mary, Our Lady of the Pillar, conceived without sin, I come to venerate and honour you. above all the Angels and Saints in Heaven, as my Queen, my Lady and my dearest Mother. I firmly resolve to serve you always and to do whatever I am able, that all may render faithful service to you. Most Holy Mary, through your kind intercession and by your own merits, obtain for me from your Divine Son Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, all the graces I need for the eternal salvation of my soul. Therefore, most devoted Mother of mothers, through the Precious Blood which your Son shed for us, I humbly beseech thee to receive me among your devotees and to accept me as your servant forever. Help me in my every thought, action word and deed, never to be displeasing in your sight and in the sight of your Son, our Lord and Redeemer. Think of me always, my dear Lady of the Pillar and do not forsake me in the hour of my death. Amen.
Saint Macarius the Younger of Alexandria (Died c 401) Priest, Monk, Desert Hermit.
St Maximus of Vienne Bl Odino of Rot St Paracodius of Vienne St Seiriol Blessed Sylvester of Troina St Telesphorus, Pope St Theodota St Theopistus St Vincentian of Tulle
Many Martyrs Who Suffered in Rome: There were many Martyrs who suffered in the persecutions of Diocletian for refusing to surrender the holy books. Though we know these atrocities occurred, we do not know the names of the Saints and we honour them as a group. c 303 in Rome, Italy.
Martyrs of Antioch – 5 saints: A group of Christian soldiers Martyred together for their faith. We know the names of five – Albanus, Macarius, Possessor, Starus and Stratonicus. They were born in Greece and were Martyred in Antioch (modern Antakya, Turkey).
Many Martyrs of Britain: The Christians of Britain appear to have escaped unharmed in the earlier persecutions which afflicted the Church but the cruel edicts of Diocletian were enforced in every corner of the Roman Empire and the faithful inhabitants of this land, whether native Britons or Roman colonists, were called upon to furnish their full number of holy Martyrs and Confessors. The names of few are on record but the British historian, Saint Gildas, after relating the Martyrdom of Saint Alban, tells us, that many others were seized, some put to the most unheard-of tortures and others immediately executed, while not a few hid themselves in forests and the caves of the earth, where they endured a prolonged death until God called them to their reward. The same writer attributes it to the subsequent invasion of the English, then a pagan people, that the recollection of the places, sanctified by these Martyrdoms, has been lost and so little honour paid to their memory. It may be added, that, according to one tradition, a thousand of these Christians were overtaken in their flight near Lichfield and cruelly massacred and that the name of Lichfield, or Field of the Dead, is derived from them.
Martyrs of Ethiopia – 3 saints: A group of Christians Martyred together for their faith. We know the names of three – Auriga, Claudia and Rutile.
Martyrs of Jerusalem – 2 saints: A group of Christians Martyred together for their faith. We know the names of two – Stephen and Vitalis.
Martyrs of Lichfield: Many Christians suffered at Lichfield (aka Lyke-field, meaning field of dead bodies), England in the persecutions of Diocletian. Though we know these atrocities occurred, we do not know the names of theSsaints and we honour them as a group. Their Martyrdom occurred in 304 at Lichfield, England.
Martyrs of Piacenza: A group of Christians who died together for their faith in the persecutions of Diocletian. No details about them have survived. They were Martyred on the site of Church of Madonna di Campagna, Piacenza, Italy.
Martyrs of Puy – 4 saints: Missionaries, sent by Saint Fronto of Périgueux to the area of Puy, France. Tortured and Martyred by local pagans. We know the names – Frontasius, Severinus, Severian and Silanus. They were beheaded in Puy (modern Puy-en-Velay), France and buried together in the Church of Notre Dame, Puy-en-Velay by Saint Fronto, their bodies laid out to form a cross.
Martyrs of Syrmium – 7 saints: Group of Christians Martyred together, date unknown. We know the names of seven – Acutus, Artaxus, Eugenda, Maximianus, Timothy, Tobias and Vitus – but very little else. This occurred in the 3rd or 4th century at Syrmium, Pannonia (modern Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia).
Martyrs of Tomi – 3 saints: Three brothers, all Christian soldiers, in the Imperial Roman army and all three Martyred in the persecutions of Emperor Licinius Licinianus. We know their names – Argeus, Marcellinus and Narcissus – but little else. They were Martyred in 320 at Tomi, Exinius Pontus, Moesia (modern Constanta, Romania).
Our Morning Offering – 31 December – The Seventh Day of the Octave of Christmas
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen
Madonna of San Luca / Nostra Signora della Guardia / Our Lady of Saint Luke of La Guardia, Bologna, Italy (433) – 30 December:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “This picture was in the Church of Santa Sophia, at Constantinople, with this inscription: “This picture, painted by Saint Luke, must be taken to the mountain of La Garde and placed over the Altar of the Church.” A Greek monk set out for Italy about the year 433, with the picture entrusted to him and deposited it on the mountain of La Garde.”
The account mentioned by the Abbot above, is also told in the chronicle of Graziolo Accarisi, who wrote of a Greek hermit who went on pilgrimage to Constantinople where he received from the Priests of the Church of Santa Sofia, the icon of Our Lady of La Guardia. This image was attributed to Saint Luke the Evangelist and there was an inscription on the painting itself that it should one day be taken to the “mountain of the guard.” The hermit took the Icon,and walked throughout Italy in search of the place where the Icon was meant to be,but it was not until he reached the City of Emilia near Bologna that the authorities of the City came out to greet him and processed with the icon back to the mountain. The Icon had finally found its home and it is now more commonly known as the Madonna of San Luca. Among the many miracles attributed to the image is especially noted the “miracle of the rain,” which occurred on 5 July 1433. An extremely heavy spring rain came late in the season, threatening to destroy the crops. Facing the prospect of famine, the people turned to the Blessed Virgin for assistance. The storm and rain stopped suddenly, with the arrival into the City, of a procession carrying the miraculous Icon. Since that time these processions have been repeated annually. There is even an incredible arched walkway that is only a little short of four kilometers in length, that is meant to protect the Icon from the elements, as well as those on procession. The Icon shows the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the Infant Jesus in blessing. She wears a blue-green robe, with a red tunic. The nose, eyes and fingers appear somewhat elongated. The Divine Child wears a tunic of the same colour as His Mothers’, with His right hand in a gesture of giving a blessing and his left hand being closed. In 1625 the image was covered with a silver panel which leaves only the faces of the figures uncovered. The Icon was crowned in 1603 by the Archbishop Alfonso Paleotti. The Sanctuary of Saint Luke, where the Icon is kept, was declared a national monument in the year 1874. In 1907 the Church was raised to the dignity of a Minor Basilica by the holy Pope Saint Pius X.
The Sanctuary is situate some 300 metres above the City plain, just south-west of the historical centre of the City. While a road now leads up to the Sanctuary, it is also possible to reach it along a 3.8 km monumental roofed arcade (Portico di San Luca) consisting of 666 arches, which was built in 1674–1793. It was meant to protect the Icon as it was paraded up the hill. A yearly procession from the Cathedral of San Pietro in the centre of Bologna to the Sanctuary goes along this path. The arches held sacred images or Chapels erected by patron families. There is also a cable car which takes tourists up to the Basilica.
St Anysia of Thessalonica St Anysius of Thessalonica
St Hermes of Moesia St Jucundus of Aosta St Liberius of Ravenna Blessed Margherita Colonna (c 1255-1284) Virgin, Nun
St Perpetuus of Tours Bl Raoul of Vaucelles St Raynerius of Aquila Bl Richard of Wedinghausen St Ruggero of Canne St Sebastian of Esztergom
Martyrs of Alexandria – (5 saints): A group of Christians martyred in the unrest caused by Monophysite heretics. We know the names for five of them – Appian, Donatus, Honorius, Mansuetus and Severus. They were martyred in c 483 at Alexandria, Egypt.
Martyrs of Oia – (6 saints): A group of Christians martyred together, date unknown. The only details to have survived are the names – Cletus, Florentius, Papinianus, Paul, Serenusa and Stephen. They were martyred in Oia, Greece.
Martyrs of Spoleto – (4 saints): A group of Christians martyred in the persecutions of Diocletian – Exuperantius, Marcellus, Sabinus and Venustian. They were martyred in 303 in Spoleto, Italy.
Thought for the Day – 27 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
St John the Apostle and Evangelist
“St John proved himself worthy of His Master’s special favour. He never deserted Christ. He was present at the Agony in Gethsemane. He was in the courtyard of the High Priest, when Peter denied Christ but he remained faithful. He was the only Apostle present at the foot of the Cross on Mount Calvary, where, he was privileged to hear Our Lord’s last words.
After the Resurrection, John was one of the first to hurry to the sepulchre. Like the other Apostles, he proved his undying love for Jesus, by enduring the pains of Martyrdom, although his life was miraculously spared. He spent his long life studying how to love and serve Jesus Christ. Can the same be said for us? We have not been granted the privileges given to St John but, we have received countless favours from God.
Let us learn from the example of this great Apostle, how to co-operate generously with the grace of God, for how many times have we deserted Christ!”
Quote/s of the Day – 27 December – Feast of St John the Apostle and Evangelist and the Third Day of the Christmas Octave
“Look into Peter’s wide open eyes and John’s intense gaze. Their eyes contain a mix of anxiousness and hope, the way a parent or grandparent’s eyes look at the news of an impending birth. A new life is about to emerge but there is still uncertainty because it is a mystery beyond full human comprehension or control. Peter and John’s faces capture the same sense of anticipation.
Burnand created a sparse, simple painting capturing two of the most important players in the greatest story ever told. Meditate upon their faces, as Burnand intended you to do and through them, discover the empty tomb.” (Elisabeth Ehrhard-Crises Magazine).
Oh Teach Me then, Dear Saint! An Invocation of St John, Apostle and Evangelist Unknown Author
Saint of the Sacred Heart, Sweet teacher of the Word, Partner of Mary’s woes And favourite of thy Lord!
Refrain Oh teach me then, dear Saint! The Secrets Christ taught thee; The Beatings of His Heart, And how it beat for me!
We know not all thy gifts But this Christ bids us see, That He Who so loved all, Found more to love in thee. Refrain
When the last evening came, Thy head was on His breast, Pillowed on earth, where now In Heaven the Saints find rest. Refrain
Dear Saint! I stand far off, With vilest sins opprest, Oh may I dare, like thee, To lean upon His Breast? Refrain
His Touch could heal the sick, His Voice could raise the dead, Oh that my soul might be Where He allows thy head. Refrain
The gifts He gave to thee He gave thee to impart And I, too, claim with thee His Mother and His Heart! Refrain
One Minute Reflection – 27 December – Feast of St John tApostle and Evangelist and the Third Day of the Christmas Octave, Readings: 1 John 1:1-4, Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12, John 20:2-8
The disciple who “entered into the mystery of God, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge …” – Col 2:2-3
REFLECTION – “In proportion to the grace that caused Jesus to love him and enabled him to rest on Jesus’ Breast at the Supper (Jn 13:23), John abundantly received [the Spirit’s gifts] of understanding and wisdom (Is 11:2) – understanding with which to comprehend Scripture, wisdom with which to compose his own books with wonderful skill. As a matter of fact, ,he did not receive this gift right from the time when he rested on our Lord’s Breast,, even if he was subsequently able to draw from that Heart “in which are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3). When he says, that when he went into the tomb “he saw and he believed,” he acknowledges that “they did not yet understand the Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead” (Jn 20:9). Like all the other Apostles, John received its fullness, when the Holy Spirit came [at Pentecost] and when grace had been given to each of them “according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (Eph 4:7). …
The Lord Jesus loved this disciple more than all the others … and opened the secrets of Heaven to him … to make of him the author of that profound Mystery which man can say nothing about, of himself: the Mystery of the Word, God’s Utterance, the Word made flesh. This is the fruit of that love. Yet even though He loved him, it was not to him that Jesus said: “You are Peter, and on this rock I shall build my Church” (Mt 16:18) … While He loved all His disciples and especially Peter, with a love in mind and soul, our Lord loved John with the love of His Heart …. In the order of Apostleship, Simon Peter received the first place and the “keys of the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 16:19) but John, won another inheritance, the spirit of understanding, “a wealth of joy and gladness” (Sir 15:6).” – Rupert of Deutz (c 1075- c 1130) Benedictine Monk, Theologian and Writer (The Works of the Holy Spirit, IV, 10 SC 165)
PRAYER – I am grateful to You for the love You have given me. My dear Jesus, I place this love into Your hands: keep it chaste and bless it, so that it may always be rooted in You. And increase in me my love for You. I know that if I love You, I can never get lost. If I want to be Yours with all my heart, You will never let me stray from You. Amen. May St John the Evangelist, beloved of the Lord and Your Blessed Mother intercede for us that we may love You Lord with all our hearts, minds and souls!
Our Morning Offering – 27 December – Feast of St John the Evangelist and the Third Day of the Christmas Octave
An Exile for the Faith Trans. from the Latin Fr Edward Caswall C. Orat. (1814–1878)
An exile for the faith Of thy Incarnate Lord, Beyond the stars, beyond all space, Thy soul imprisoned soared: There saw in glory Him, Who liveth and was dead; There Judah’s Lion and the Lamb That for our ransom bled.
There of the Kingdom learnt The mysteries sublime; How, sown in Martyrs’ blood, the faith Should spread from clime to clime. The Holy City, bathed In her dear Spouse’s Light, Pure seat of bliss, thy spirit saw And gloried in the sight.
Now to the Lamb’s clear fount, To drink of life their fill, Thou callest all; O Lord, in me This blessed thirst instil. To Jesus, Virgin-born, Praise with the Father be, Praise to the Spirit Paraclete, Through all eternity. Amen.
Saint of the Day – 27 December – 27 December – St John the Apostle and Evangelist.
St John, Apostle and Evangelist by Father Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888)
St John, Apostle and Evangelist of Jesus Christ, a brother of St James and son of Zebedee and Salome, was born at Bethsaida, a Town in Galilee. Christ, our Lord, called him and his brother James to follow Him, at the time when they were mending their nets in a boat, on the shore of the Sea of Genesareth. John, without delay, left all he possessed, even his own father and, with his brother, followed the Lord. Although the youngest of the Apostles, he was beloved by the Saviour above all the others – whence he is several times mentioned in the Gospel, as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” The cause of this special love of Jesus for him, was, according to the Holy Fathers, his virginal purity, which he kept undefiled and the tender love he bore to the Lord. “He was more beloved than all the other Apostles,” writes St Thomas Aquinas, “on account of his purity.” “For the same reason,” says St. Anselm, “God revealed more mysteries to him, than to the other Apostles. Justly,” says he, “did Christ the Lord reveal the greatest mysteries to him, because he surpassed all in virginal purity.“
It is evident from the Gospel, that St John was one of the most intimate of the friends of the Lord, and was, in consequence, sometimes admitted into Christ’s presence, when, except Peter and James, no other Apostle was allowed to be near. Thus, he was with Christ when He healed the mother-in-law of Peter; when He raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead and when He was transfigured on Mount Thabor. He also accompanied Christ when He suffered His Agony in the Garden of Olives. The other two above-named Apostles ,shared these favours with John but none was permitted to lean upon the Saviour’s bosom, at the last supper, save John; none was recommended as son to the divine Mother but John. Only he, of all the Apostles, followed Christ to Mount Calvary,and remained there with Him, until His death. To recompense this love, Christ gave him to His Mother as her son, when He said: “Behold thy Mother!” Christ, who had lived in virginal chastity, would trust His Virgin Mother to no-one else but John, who himself lived in virginal purity. As St.Jerome says: “Christ, a virgin, recommended Mary, a virgin, to John, a virgin.” No greater grace could John have asked of Christ; no more evident proof could he have received of His love. The most precious thing which the Lord possessed on earth, His holy Mother, He commended to His beloved disciple. He took him as brother, by giving Him as son to His Mother. Who cannot see from all this, that Christ loved and honoured St John above all others?
How deeply this beloved disciple must have suffered by seeing his Saviour die, so ignominious a death, is easily to be conceived; and St Chrysostom hesitates not to call him, therefore, a manifold Martyr. After Christ had died on the Cross, had been taken from it, and interred with all possible honours, St John returned home with the divine Mother, who was now also his mother, and waited for the glorious Resurrection of the Lord. When this had taken place, he participated in the many apparitions of the Lord, by which the disciples were comforted and, doubtless received again, particular marks of love from the Saviour. He afterwards assisted, with the divine Mother and the Apostles and other disciples of Christ, at the wonderful Ascension of the Lord. With these, also, he received, after a ten days’ preparation, the Holy Ghost, on the great festival of Pentecost.
Soon after this, he and Peter had, before all others, the grace to suffer for Christ’s sake. For when these two Apostles had, in the name of Christ, miraculously healed a poor cripple who was lying at the door of the temple of Jerusalem and used this opportunity, to show to the assembled people, that Jesus of Nazareth was the true Messiah.
They were seized, at the instigation of the chief priests,and were cast into prison. On the following day, the priests came together and John and Peter were called before them and asked in whose name and by what power, they had healed the cripple. Peter and John answered fearlessly, that it had been done in the Name of Jesus Christ. The high priest dared not do anything further to them but, setting them free, prohibited them from preaching, in future, the Name of Christ. The two holy Apostles, however, nothing daunted, said: “If it be just in the sight of God to hear you rather than God, judge ye: for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.“
St. John remained for some time in Jerusalem after this and, with the other Apostles, was zealous in his endeavors to convert the Jews. When the Apostles separated, to preach the Gospel over all the world, Asia Minor was assigned to St John. Going thither, he began with great zeal his apostolic functions and, by the gift of miracles, he converted many thousands to the Faith of Christ. The many Bishoprics which he instituted in the principal cities sufficiently prove this. In the course of time, he went also to other countries, preaching everywhere the Word of Christ, with equal success..
The Emperor Domitian, who, after the death of the Emperor Nero, again began to persecute the Christians, ordered his officers to apprehend John and bring him to Rome. Hardly had the holy Apostle arrived there, when he was commanded by the Emperor to sacrifice to the gods. As the Saint refused this and fearlessly confessed Christ, the Emperor had him most cruelly scourged and afterwards, cast into a large caldron, filled with boiling oil. The Saint signed himself and the cauldron with the Holy Cross and remained unharmed, when he was cast into it. This gave him an opportunity to announce, with great energy, to the assembled people, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The tyrant, who could not suffer this, had him taken out of the cauldron, and sentenced him to banishment on the island of Patmos, to work in the mines and perform other hard labour, in company with other Christians. St John had, at that time, reached his ninetieth year but was willing to undergo the unjust sentence.
After his arrival on the island, he had many and wonderful visions, which, by command of God, he put down in writing. The book which contains them, is a part of Holy Writ, called the Apocalypse, or Revelation of St John, a book which,, according to St Jerome, contains almost as many mysteries as words. After the death of Domitian, St John was liberated and returning to Ephesus, remained there until his death. He outlived all the other Apostles, as he reached the age of 100 years. His great labours, wearisome travels and the many hardships he endured, at last enfeebled him to such an extent, that he could not go to the Church without being carried. F
Frequently he repeated, in his exhortations, the words: “My little children, love one another.” Some, annoyed at this, asked him why he so often repeated these words. He answered: “Because it is the commandment of the Lord and if that is done, it suffices.” By this he meant, that if we love each other rightly, we also love God and when we love God and our neighbour, no more is needed to gain salvation – as love to God and to our neighbour contains the keeping of all other commandments.
The holy Apostle, who had suffered and laboured so much for his beloved Master, was, at length, in the year 104, called by Him into heaven to receive his eternal reward.
Besides the Apocalypse, to which we referred above, St John also wrote three Epistles and his Gospel, on account of which, he is called Evangelist. In his Gospel he gives many more facts than the other Evangelists, to prove the Divinity of Jesus Christ; as, at that period, several heretics, as Cerinthus, Ebion and the Nicolaites, fought against this truth. In his Epistles, he exhorts particularly, to love God and our neighbour,and to avoid heretics. In the first, among other things, he explains that love to God consists in keeping the commandments of God, which are not difficult to keep. “For this is the charity of God,” writes he, “that we keep His commandments;and His commandments are not heavy.” Of the love of our neighbour he says, that it must manifest itself in works, that is, we must assist our brethren in their need and, if necessary, give even our lives for them, after the example of Christ. The holy Apostle exemplified his words by his actions.
Several holy Fathers relate the following of him. The Saint had given a youth in charge of a Bishop, with the commendation to instruct him carefully in virtue and sacred sciences. After some years, when the Saint returned to this Bishop and asked for the young man, he heard with deep sorrow, that he had secretly left and had joined the highwaymen and had even become their chief. The holy Apostle set out at once and went, not without danger to his life, into the woods, where the unhappy young man was said, to be. Finding him, he spoke most kindly to him and succeeded in bringing him back. It is touching to read how the holy, man promised to atone for the youth’s sins, if he would repent and lead a better life. The youth followed the Saint’s admonition and did penance with such fervour and zeal, that the Saint hesitated not to give him charge of the Church at Ephesus. (1876)
St John, Pray for Holy Mother Church, Pray for us all!
Nossa Senhora do Rosário / Our Lady of the Rosary (Atibaia, São Paulo, Brazil) (1817) – 27 December:
In 1763, slaves who couldn’t attend St John the Baptist’s, the main Church in Atibaia, began building their own. Completed in 1817, the Church is often called Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos, Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks. This agricultural City is home to the oldest and most active tradition in the region. The five indigenous groups in Atibaia combine African and Portuguese religious practices, centered around devotion to St Benedict and Our Lady of the Rosary. On 27 December, as they have for over 200 years, the locals gather outside Our Lady’s Church at dawn, dressed in brilliant uniforms of scarlet, green, blue, pink, or white and carrying swords, banners and musical instruments.
The day begins with a serenade and ends with fireworks. In between, to the sound of drums, guitars and pealing bells, the faithful process dancing through the City: young, old, male, female, black and white. The festa of Our Lady of the Rosary is part of a Christmas celebration beginning on 25 December with the erection of two towering poles topped with images of the Saints in Rosary Plaza and concluding 28 December with processions and Holy Mass honouring St Benedict.
Bl Adelheidis of Tennenbach Bl Alejo Pan López Bl Alfredo Parte-Saiz Bl Christina Ebner
Notre-Dame de Saint-Acheul / Our Lady of Saint Acheul, Amiens, France, founded by Saint Firmin, Bishop (4th Century) – 21 December:
The Church containing the Shrine of Our Lady of Acheul, was located near Amiens. In fact, Saint Acheul was once considered the Mother-Church of the Cathedral of Amiens and was sometimes called the “Old Cathedral of Amiens,” although this is no longer the case, as there is now a larger Cathedral Church in Amiens. The Church stands on the very place where once a Roman temple stood, and tradition tells that Saint Firminus (Died 303) was the Apostle of Amiens, arriving there before the close of the third century after Christ. It is said that by the eloquence of his preaching and the number of his miracles, Saint Firminus (or Saint Firmin) converted many idolaters to the True Faith and Baptised three thousand men in forty days. The early Church, built around the year 300, contained the remains of the Martyred Saint. This Church was devastated repeatedly by the invasions of the Normans, and was finally totally destroyed in 1218. The relics of Saint Firmin were transferred to the Cathedral of Amiens during the Middle Ages. The Shrine of the Virgin of Saint Acheul, is noteworthy for a singular miracle – an apparition which occurred during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The celebrant, after the Consecration, saw a hand appear from within a luminous cloud and the hand of Christ took the Sacred Host and dropped it into the Chalice. Some of the faithful present likewise witnessed the same thing – a certain skeptic was brought to his knees in humble acceptance of the fact, that the Holy Sacrifice is truly the same as that of Calvary. The armorial bearings of the Abbey of Saint-Acheul, displays a hand in remembrance of this miracle.
The present Cathedral of Saint Acheul was not finished until the fifteenth century. After the erection of the new Cathedral at Amiens, Saint Acheul was known as the Church of Our Lady of Acheul. Miracles took place frequently and pilgrimages continued. The Church of Saint Acheul was destroyed by a natural phenomenon, probably a strong storm, in about the year 1751. It was rebuilt and completed in 1760. A few short years later, during the Terror of the French Revolution, the Church was used as a stable. Today, the Church is protected as an historical monument, the decree given in 1969. The Abbey buildings are now occupied by a private party but the Church is used as a Parish Church.
St Festus of Tuscany St Glycerius of Nicomedia St James of Valencia St John of Tuscany St John Vincent St Micah the Prophet St Phêrô Truong Van Thi St Severin of Trèves (Died c 300) Bishop, Confessor Bl Sibrand of Marigård St Themistocles of Lycia
Notre-Dame de Bon Retour à Île-Molène / Our Lady of Molene, France (1075) – 20 December
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “The Shrine of Our Lady of Molene is in the Abbey of the Order of Saint Benedict in Langres. It was founded on the 20th of December, 1075, by Saint Robert who was the Abbot.”
The Benedictine Monastery in the Diocese of Langres founded by Saint Robert was actually the famous Molesme Abbey. As the Abbot Orsini mentioned, it was indeed founded by Saint Robert, henceforth known as Saint Robert of Molesme O.Cist (1028-1111), in the year 1075. He had been the Abbot of Saint Michael Abbey but left and founded a new Abbey when they refused to accept his necessary reforms. Saint Robert was born in the year 1029 and had a deep, childlike devotion to the Mother of God – by reason of a vision his mother saw, before Robert was born – and he instilled the same into the hearts of his Monks. Saint Robert’s holiness attracted many sincere men to join him, and as many of them were also noblemen, they provided Saint Robert with the financial means necessary to build a magnificent Abbey. Among those who flocked to Saint Robert was St Bruno of Cologne, who was the future Founder of the Carthusian Order. When Saint Robert died in the year 1111, he was buried in the Ahurch at the Abbey he founded. St Alberic, Robert’s Successor, decided that the Order should be dedicated to Mary. According to legend, Mary bestowed on Alberic a white mantle; for that reason, the Monks changed their black habit and wore white. All their Churches were dedicated to the Virgin and each had its Mary Altar before which the office of Mary was chanted every Saturday. The Church and Monastery were destroyed and any remaining property stolen in 1472 during the war between Burgundy and France. The Huguenots burned what had been rebuilt the following century during the French Wars of Religion. The end came during the French Revolution when the Abbey was suppressed and the buildings and Church destroyed. The small Church pictured is the Church of Sainte-Croix, built in the 13th century as a Chapel for the novices at the Abbey. Even this building was damaged in 1940 during combat between the French and German troops and some of that damage can still be seen. However, this is now a thriving Parish with an annual pilgrimage to honour Our Lady. The Grotto above and below, stands in the open field previously the site of the Monastery. The Abbey site has been an historical monument since 1985. The once thriving community is gone and the site now is only accessible by prior arrangement. The Monastery seal pictured the Virgin Mary crowned.
St Attala of Strasbourg St Bajulus of Rome St Crescentius of Africa St Dominic of Brescia
Quote of the Day – 30 November – The Feast of St Andrew, Apostle of Christ, Martyr on the Cross for Christ
This is what the Apostle is claimed to have been said on the occasion of St Andrew’s Martyrdom, according to an ancient story (which dates to the beginning of the sixth century), entitled –
The Passion of Andrew:
“Hail, O Cross, inaugurated by the Body of Christ and adorned with His limbs as though they were precious pearls. Before the Lord mounted you, you inspired an earthly fear. Now, instead, endowed with heavenly love, you are accepted as a gift.
Believers know of the great joy that you possess and of the multitude of gifts you have prepared. I come to you, therefore, confident and joyful, so that you too may receive me, exultant as a disciple of the One Who was hung upon you….
O blessed Cross, clothed in the majesty and beauty of the Lord’s limbs!…
Take me, carry me far from men and restore me to my Teacher, so that, through you, the One who redeemed me by you, may receive me.
One Minute Reflection – 30 November – The Feast of St Andrew, Apostle of Christ – Readings: Romans 10: 9-18; Psalms 19: 8,-11; Matthew 4: 18-22
“At once they left their nets and followed him.” – Matthew 4:20
REFLECTION – “After Andrew had remained with Jesus (Jn 1:39) and had learned what he did learn, he did not keep his treasure concealed for himself but hastened to run quickly to his brother, Simon Peter, to share with him, the good things that he had received. Consider what he told his brother: “We have found the Messiah (which interpreted is Christ)” (Jn 1:41). Do you perceive, in these words, the fruit of what he had learned in such a short time? It shows, at once, the authority of the Teacher who taught His disciples and their own enthusiasm and will to learn from Him, since the very beginning.
Indeed Andrew’s eagerness, his zeal in wanting to spread immediately such a good news, supposes a soul who was longing to see the accomplishment of the many prophecies concerning Christ. It is a mark of brotherly kindness, of loving kinship, of genuine goodwill, to hasten to stretch out a helping hand to one another in spiritual matters. … ”We have found the Messiah”, he says; not any messiah but “the Messiah,” the one Christ they were awaiting.” – St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church (Homely on the Gospel of Saint John, 19,1).
PRAYER – Lord, in Your kindness hear our petitions. You called Andrew the Apostle, to preach the Gospel and guide Your Church in faith. May he always be our friend in Your Presence, to help us with his prayers. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Virgen de la Concepción, San Juan de los Lagos / Mary Immaculate of Saint John of the Lakes, Mexico) (1524) – 30 November, 2 February, 24 June, 15 August, 8 December:
Fray Miguel de Bolonia, of the Spanish Netherlands, was one of the first Franciscans to enter Mexico in 1524. A saintly missionary who learned the native languages and stood up for natives when Spanish rulers threatened them, he travelled through Mexico, teaching and building, until his death in 1580. In 1542, he founded the village of San Juan Bautista de Mezquititlán (land of mesquite trees), where he built a hospital and Chapel in which he placed a half metre tall Statue of Mary Immaculate. In 1623, some trapeze artists brought the body of their daughter to the San Juan Chapel for burial. The young acrobat had fallen during practice onto some upright blades, buried blade side upward, in the earth to ensure the show was more dangerous and exciting. The chapel caretaker, an old woman named Ana Lucia put the Virgin’s Statue on the girl’s breast and the child revived. The grateful father took the fragile Statue, made of cornstalks and glue, to Guadalajara for restoration. From then on, the Shrine’s fame and miracles multiplied.
Meanwhile, the Town grew, changing its name to San Juan de los Lagos (St. John of the Lakes). A new Church was built and then another–each larger, more splendid, more worthy of the Immaculate Virgin. On 30 November, 1769, the Statue was installed in the third Church which is now a Basilica.
San Juan de los Lagos began holding a market fair in commemoration, annually around 30 November with festivities extending to the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December. The celebration eventually became so rowdy that the hierarchy decided to move the feast of the Virgen de San Juan de los Lagos to 2 February (Candlemas). The Candelaria fiesta has evolved into a month-long, mass pilgrimage to the Shrine from all over Mexico but 8 December is still observed, as well as 15 August (Feast of the Assumption). The beauty of the Sanctuary that hosts the Virgin, has become the main promoter of tourism in the region. After Our Lady of Guadalupe, it is the most visited Shrine in Mexico.
St Abraham of Persia Bl Alexander Crow St Anders of Slagelse Bl Andrew of Antioch Bl Arnold of Gemblours St Castulus of Rome St Constantius of Rome St Crider of Cornwall St Cuthbert Mayne St Domninus of Antioch St Euprepis of Rome Bl Everard of Stahleck Blessed Frederick of Regensburg OSA (Died 1329) Lay Friar of the Order of St Augustine St Galganus St Isaac of Beth Seleucia
Bl Joscius Roseus St Joseph Marchand St Justina of Constantinople Bl Ludwik Gietyngier St Mahanes the Persian St Maura of Constantinople St Merola of Antioch St Mirocles of Milan St Sapor St Simeon of Persia St Thaddeus Liu Ruiting St Trojan St Tudwal of Tréguier Bl William de Paulo Zosimus the Wonder Worker — Martyrs of Saxony – 6 saints: Missionaries who worked with Saint Willehad of Bremen. Martyrs. – Attroban, Benjamin, Emmingen, Folkard, Gerwald and Grisold. They were martyred on 30 November 782 at River Weser, Lawer Saxony, Germany.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War – Martyred Augustinians of Madrid – 51 beati and Martyred Hospitallers of Madrid – 7 beati – Thousands of people were murdered in the anti-Catholic persecutions of the Spanish Civil War from 1934 to 1939.
Quote/s of the Day – 23 November – The Mmemorial of St Pope Clement I (Died c 101) Martyr, Apostolic Father
“Through Him, our gaze penetrates he heights of heaven and we see, as in a mirror, the most holy Face of God. Through Christ, the eyes of our hearts are opened and our weak and clouded understanding, reaches up toward the light.”
“This, beloved, is the way in which we found our salvation, Jesus Christ, the High Priest Who offers our gifts, the Patron and Helper in our weakness (Heb 10:20; 7:27; 4:15). It is through Him, that we look straight at the heavens above. Through Him, we see mirrored, God’s faultless and transcendent countenance. Through Him, the eyes of our heart were opened. Through Him, our unintelligent and darkened mind shoots up into the light. Through Him, the Master was pleased to let us taste the knowledge that never fades …”
“Charity unites us to God. There is nothing unkind in charity, nothing arrogant. Charity knows no schism, does not rebel, does all things in concord. In charity all the elect of God have been made perfect.”
“Look at the holy Apostles. It was by sinful jealousy that Peter was subjected to tribulation, not once or twice but many times; it was in that way, that he bore his witness before leaving us for his well-earned place in glory. And Paul, because of jealousy and contention, has become the very type of endurance rewarded. … In him we have one of the greatest of all examples of endurance. … [And] we too, are in the same arena and have the same conflict before us.”
“Let us fix our thoughts on the Blood of Christ and reflect how Precious that Blood is, in God’s eyes, inasmuch, as its outpouring f or our salvation, has opened the grace of repentance to all mankind.”
One Minute Reflection – 28 October – Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles and Martyrs – Readings: Ephesians 2: 19-22; Psalm 19: 2-5; Luke 6: 12-16
“When day came, he called his disciples to himself and from them, he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles…” – Luke 6:13
REFLECTION – “Our Lord Jesus Christ has appointed certain men to be guides and teachers of the world and stewards of His Divine Mysteries. Now He bids them to shine out like lamps and to cast out their light, not only over the land of the Jews but over every country under the sun and over people, scattered in all directions and settled in distant lands. That man has spoken truly who said – ‘No-one takes honour upon himself, except the one who is called by God,’ for it was our Lord Jesus Christ who called His own disciples before all others, to a most glorious apostolate. These holy men became the pillar and mainstay of the Truth and Jesus said, that He was sending them, just as the Father had sent Him.
… 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 ministry. 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 dealings 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.
Surely, it is in all these respects, that we find His holy disciples striving to excel. To ascertain this is no great labour, a single reading of the Acts of the Apostles or of Saint Paul’s writings is enough.” – St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Bishop, Fther & Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from his Commentary on the Gospel of John)
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.
Our Morning Offering – 28 October – Feast of Saints Simon and Jude Apostles
O Fathers of Our Ancient Faith
O Fathers of our ancient faith, With all the heav’n, we sing your fame Whose sound went forth in all the earth To tell of Christ and bless His name.
You took the gospel to the poor, The Word of God alight in you, Which in our day is told again, That timeless Word, forever new.
You told of God, who died for us And out of death triumphant rose, Who gave the Truth which made us free and changeless through the ages goes.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Whos gift is faith that never dies, A light in darkness now, until The Day-Star in our hearts arise.
O Fathers of Our Ancient Faith is written by the Benedictine Nuns of Stanbrook Abbey. In the Divine Office (1974) it is sung at Morning Prayer in the Common of Apostles. It is set to the anonymous tune associated with the 7th century Latin hymn, Creator Alme Siderum.
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.
Notre-Dame de Vivonne / Our Lady of Vivonne, Savoy, France – 28 October:
The Abbot Mathieu Orsini wrote: “Our Lady of Vivonne, in Savoy, where a miraculous image is venerated, which was found by a ploughman while preparing his field for the spring planting.”
Vivonne is a village in France having a population of somewhat less than 5,000 inhabitants and located about 20 kilometers south of Poitiers. It is situated on a rocky height looking down upon the three rivers that flow through the region. There are apparently two Churches in the village, the better known church being the Church of Saint George, on which construction began in the twelfth century. The other Church is Our Lady of Sais-les-Vivonne. According to tradition, a farmer was ploughing his field when he overturned something peculiar in the sod. To his great surprise, the man found the object was a Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The good farmer took the Statue, now known as Our Lady of Vivonne, or Notre-Dame de Vivonne, to his home. After lovingly cleaning the debris from the Statue, the farmer took it to the local Church and gave it to the Parish Priest. The Priest immediately placed the Statue in the Church later that same day. The next morning when he returned to the Church, he found that the Statue was missing. After much inquiry and searching the farmer found the Statue was once again in his field. The man returned it to the Church but once again it disappeared from its place, only to be found again in the field. This occurred a total of three times before it was decided to build a Shrine where it had been found. The strange phenomenon brought people from near and far to the Shrine. Soon the image proved to be miraculous and pilgrimages began. The Church which was built to honour the image of Our Lady was given to the Carmelite Order. I can find no images of this Church online.
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 (Died 1050) Archbishop of Canterbury St Elius of Lyon St Faro of Meaux
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
One Minute Reflection – 18 October – The Feast of St Luke the Evangelist, Gospel: Luke 10:1-9
“And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few, pray therefore, the Lord of the harvest, to send out labourers into his harvest.” – Luke 10:2
REFLECTION – “When, after abandoning the darkness of error to bind himself to God’s love, Paul was joined to the number of the disciples, Luke went with him everywhere and became his travelling companion (Acts 16:10 f.). … He got on with him so well, was so close to him and shared all his graces so nearly, that Paul, in writing to the faithful, called Luke his “beloved” (Col 4:14). From Jerusalem and the country round about, as far as Dalmatia, (Rom 15:19) he preached the Gospel with him. From Judea to Rome he shared the same chains with him, the same work, the same difficulties, the same shipwrecks. He desired to receive the same prize with him since he had shared the same labours.
Having acquired the gift of preaching along with Paul and won over and led so many peoples to the love of God, Luke truly seemed like the Saviour’s loving and beloved disciple, in addition to being the Evangelist who wrote his sacred history. For formerly he had followed the Lord (cf. Lk 10:1), gathered together the testimonies of his first servants (Lk 1:1) and received inspiration from on high. It was this Evangelist who related the mystery of Gabriel, the messenger sent to the Virgin to announce joy to the whole world. It was he who told in full, the birth of Christ, showing us the newborn child lying in a manger and describing shepherds and Angels shouting for joy. … He reports the parabolic teachings in greater number than the other Evangelists. And just as he makes known to us the descent of the Word of God to earth, so too, he describes his Ascension to heaven and return to the Father’s throne (24:51). …
But in Luke, grace does not stop there. His speech is not limited to serving the Gospel alone. At the end of Christ’s miracles he also relates the Acts of the Apostles. … Luke was not just a spectator of all those things but really participated in them. And that is why he put so much care into teaching us about them.” – Anonymous Byzantine life of Saint Luke – 11th century (Saint Luke, Evangelist and companion of Paul – 6-7; PG 115, 1134-1135).
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.
Notre-Dame de Reims / Our Lady of Rheims – Dedication of the Church of Our Lady of Rheims (405) built by St Nicasius – 18 October:
Dedication of Our Lady of Rheims, built by St Nicasius (died c 407), Archbishop of that City period in the year 405. It was Saint Nicasius who prophesised that France would be invaded by the Vandals, telling the people of Rheims to prepare themselves. When the Vandals finally arrived at the City gates, St Nicasius went out to meet them with his sister, a faithful deaconess. All were killed but their sacrifice gave time for more of the people of Rheims to flee to safety. It is interesting to note, that when St Nicasius was beheaded he was praying Psalm 119. He was slain at the moment when he reached the phrase “Adhaesit pavimento anima mea,” which means, “my soul is attached to dust.” After he was decapitated, his head struck the ground and he miraculously continued the psalm, saying: “Vivifica me, Domine, secundum verbum tuum,” which means, “revive me, Lord, with your words.” This was the Church where King Clovis humbly confessed his belief in the Triune God and was baptised by St Regimius in 496 and where, all of the subsequent French Kings were crowned. In the Gallery of the Kings there is a magnificent painting of the baptism of King Clovis surrounded by images of all of his successors.
This Church, having fallen to ruins, was later rebuilt by Ebo and Hincmar. It was finished in the year 845 and still remains a place of pilgrimage to the Mother of God. At one time enemies of the Cathedral chapter set fire to a monastery of Rheims. Among the relics which the sacristan tried to save was an ivory statue of the Virgin, containing some of her hair. The sacristan prayed fervently to the Virgin that she would preserve this relic. The Abbot, entering the ruins of the Church, found the Statue upright and unharmed as if placed there reverently. From thence forward, the image was believed to be miraculous. The present Cathedral takes the place of the older churches, the previous one having been damaged by fire in 1210. It was not completed until the 14th century, and is the beautiful Gothic Cathedral that can still be seen today, after much restoration work after the bombardments of WWI and II.
St Acutius of Pozzuoli St Amabilis of Auvergne (c 397- c 475) Priest, Confessor 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
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 – 16 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Third Glorious Mystery The Descent of the Holy Spirit
“The Apostles were completely transformed after the feast of Pentecost. They had ben ignorant rustics, timid and vacillating. They had hardly understood at all, the lofty teachings of Christ, for they were hoping still for an earthly kingdom in which they would occupy the highest posts.
When they received the Holy Spirit, however, their minds were flooded with supernatural light and they became heroic in their resolution. Ignorant, though they had been, they became masters of Truth, far superior to the sages of Athens or the philosophers of Rome. They were no longer timid and hesitating but, fearlessly encountered the power of the Sanhedrin, the whips of the soldiery, the dangers of long voyages and, Martyrdom itself.
We too have received the illumination and favours of the Holy Spirit. Many times, when we have invoked Him, He has inspired and consoled us. But we may not have responded with the same fervour and self-denial as the Apostles. Let us remember that, to neglect God’s gifts, is to risk our eternal salvation!”
One Minute Reflection – 1 October – “Month of the Most Holy Rosary” – Readings: Baruch 1: 15-22; Psalms79: 1b-5, 8-9; Luke 10: 13-16 and the Memorial of St Bavo of Ghent (c 589–654
“He who hears you, hears me and he who rejects you, rejects me and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me” – Luke 10:16
REFLECTION – “Consider the great authority He gave the holy Apostles, how He declared them praiseworthy,and how He decorated them with the highest honours. “He who hears you,” He says, “hears me and he that rejects you, rejects me and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me.” O what great honour! What incomparable dignities! O what a gift worthy of God! Although men, the children of earth, He clothes them with a godlike glory. He entrusts His Words to them, that they, who resist anything, or venture to reject them, may be condemned. When they are rejected, He assures them that He Himself suffers this. Then again, He shows that the guilt of this wickedness, as being committed against Himself, rises up to God the Father. See with the eyes of the mind, how vast a height He raises the sin committed by men in rejecting the saints! What a wall He builds around them! How great security he contrives for them! He makes them such as must be feared and in every way plainly provides for their being uninjured!” – St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444)Known as ‘The Pillar o Faith,” Archbishop of Alexandria, Father and Doctor of the Incarnation)(Commentary on Luke, Homily 63)
PRAYER – God, our Father, Your promised Your Kingdom to the little ones and the humble of heart. Give us grace to walk confidently in the way of St Bavo of Ghent, so that helped by their prayers, we may see Your eternal glory. Through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 28 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary” Readings: Zechariah 8: 20-23; Psalm 87: 1b-7; Luke 9: 51-56
“… On the way they entered a Samaritan village … but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey, was Jerusalem.” . – Luke 9:53
REFLECTION – “It says, “When the days drew near for him to be received up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” This means, that after He would endure His saving Passion for us, the time would come when He should ascend to heaven and dwell with God the Father, so He determined to go to Jerusalem. This is, I think, the meaning of his “set his face.”
It would be false to affirm, that our Saviour did not know what was about to happen because He knows all things. He knew, of course, that the Samaritans would not receive His messengers. There can be no doubt of this. Why then did He command them to go before Him? It was His custom to benefit diligently, the holy Apostles in every possible way and because of this, it was His practice, sometimes to test them…. On this occasion, He also tested them. He knew that the Samaritans would not receive those who went forward to announce that He would stay with them. He still permitted them to go, that this again might be a way of benefiting the holy Apostles.
What was the purpose of this occurrence? He was going up to Jerusalem, as the time of His passion was already drawing near. He was about to endure the scorn of the Jews. He was about to be destroyed by the scribes and Pharisees and to suffer those things that they inflicted upon Him when they went to accomplish all of violence and wicked boldness. He did not want them to be offended when they saw Him suffering. He also wanted them to be patient and not to complain greatly, although people would treat them rudely. He, so to speak, made the Samaritans’ hatred a preparatory exercise in the matter. They had not received the messengers.
For their benefit, He rebuked the disciples and gently restrained the sharpness of their wrath, not permitting them to grumble violently against those who sinned. He rather persuaded them to be patient and to cherish a mind that is unmovable by anything like this.” – St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Known as ‘THE PILLAR OF FAITH” Archbishop of Alexandria, Father and Doctor Incarnationis (Doctor of the Incarnation) (Commentary on Luke, Homily 56)
PRAYER – O God of love, You sent Your beloved Son to the world to proclaim the Good News of Salvation, to heal every illness and to cure all infirmity of body and soul. Help us to continue the mission of the merciful Christ in the service towards our neighbour, preaching the Gospel and offering our help in whatever way we can. May the example of Your saints, teach us how to love and serve You. Through their intercession, grant us the grace to go forth in love. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 28 September – –“Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary” – Readings: Haggai 2: 1-9; Psalm 43: 1-4; Luke 9: 18-22
“But whom do you say that I am? Simon Peter answering, said: The Christ of God. … He commanded they should tell this to no man …” – Luke 9:20-21
REFLECTION – “Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no-one that he was the Messiah.” Why this order? So that, once all cause of scandal had been set aside, His Cross and Passion accomplished, every obstacle capable of preventing the crowd from believing in Him removed, an exact knowledge of Who He is, might be deeply and permanently engraved in their hearts. His power had not yet shone out in splendour. Before the Apostles were to preach it, He waited until the evidence of the truth and authority of the facts, could confirm their testimony.
Because, it was one thing to be seeing Him now, multiplying miracles in Palestine and then, as the butt of persecution and torture – and the Cross was going to follow these miracles. It was another thing to see Him worshiped, believed in by all the world, saved from the ill-treatment He had undergone before. That is why He suggests they say nothing to anyone… If the Apostles, who had been witnesses of His miracles and had taken part in so many inexpressible Mysteries, had difficulty in accepting a single word about the Passion and Peter himself, amongst them, the head of them all (Mt 16,22), what would the ordinary run of mortals think? After hearing that Jesus was the Son of God, what would they have thought to see Him dirtied by spitting and nailed to the Cross? And this, too, before the coming of the Holy Spirit, when the reason for these Mysteries was not yet known?” – St John Chrysostom (345-407) Bishop of Constantinople, Father & Doctor of the Church (Homilies on Saint Matthew’s Gospel, no.54, 1-3)
PRAYER – Lord God, You hold out the Light of Your Word to those who do not know You. Strengthen in our hearts, the faith You have given us and the Credo we profess, so that no trials may quench the fire Your Spirit has kindled in us. May the intercession of all the Apostles, grant us the grace of following the way of the Cross, to stand beneath it with our afflicted Mother, the Mother of God, Ave Maria! We make our prayer through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.