Posted in MARTYRS, ON the SAINTS, PAPAL HOMILIES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on MARTYRDOM, QUOTES on PERSECUTION, QUOTES on SACRIFICE, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on the CHURCH, QUOTES on VIOLENCE, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The BEATITUDES

Thought for the Day – 19 October – “One doesn’t suffer when one suffers for Christ”

Thought for the Day – 19 October – The Memorial of Bl Jerzy Popiełuszko (1947-1984) Priest and Martyr

This beloved and unassuming young priest of Poland was a true hero of that tortured land during the Soviet Communist occupation.   Now a Blessed, Father Jerzy was beloved by everyone in his homeland, believers and non-believers alike, because of his bravery in the face of extreme hatred on the part of the Communist officials.   His story should be much more widely known than it is.

Never in good health, the strongest part of Father Jerzy were his hands.   His most beloved possessions were the crucifix and Rosary sent to him by St Pope John Paul II, a fellow countryman.   He was sickly his whole life, yet he never complained of illness or injury.   One day, when he was making toys with his brothers and sisters, a nail pierced his palm. Later, one of the children noticed blood dripping from his hand.   One of his siblings told the parents because young Jerzy did not want to bother anyone.

Young Jerzy’s great hero was Saint Maximillian Kolbe, another Polish priest who gave his life to save another prisoner – a man with a family – at Auschwitz.   He determined early on to become a priest but kept it a secret so that the authorities could not alter his examination results or pressure the family to keep him out of the seminary.

In 1966, his entire seminary class was drafted into the special indoctrination unit in violation of a church-state agreement.   This cruel treatment was reserved for the most outspoken church leaders, including the future St Pope John Paul II.

The horrible treatment he received in this “special unit” broke his health but not his spirit.   He wrote to his father “It turned out to be very tough but I can’t be broken by threats or torture.”   His seminary professors demanded that he take a period of rest but he refused.   “One doesn’t suffer when one suffers for Christ,” was his reply.

St Pope John Paul said, on his apostolic journey to Poland in 1999:

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:10).

“Our century too has written a great martyrology.   I myself, in the course of the twenty years of my papacy, have raised to the glory of the altars many groups of martyrs: Japonese, French, Vietnamese, Spanish, Mexican.   And how many martyrs there were during the time of the Second World War and under Communist totalitarianism!   They suffered and gave their lives in the death camps of Hitler or those of the Soviets.   In a few days, in Warsaw, I will beatify 108 martyrs who gave their lives for the faith in the concentration camps.   Now is the time to remember all these victims and to grant them the honour which is their due.   These are “the martyrs, many of them nameless, ‘unknown soldiers’ as it were of God’s great cause”, as I wrote in the Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente (No. 37).   And it is good that we speak of them in Poland, since this country had a special role in this contemporary martyrology.   It is good that we speak of them in Bydgoszcz!   All gave testimony of fidelity to Christ in spite of sufferings which horrify us by their cruelty.   Their blood was poured out on our land and made it fertile for growth and for the harvest.   That same blood continues to bring forth fruit a hundredfold for our nation, which perseveres faithfully alongside Christ and the Gospel.   Let us persevere unceasingly in union with them.   Let us thank God that they emerged victorious from their labours:   “God … tried them like gold in the furnace, and like a sacrificial offering he accepted them” (Wis 3:6).   They represent for us a model to be followed.   From their blood we ought to draw strength for the sacrifice of our own life, which we must offer to God each day.   They are an example for us, so that, like them, we may give a courageous witness of fidelity to the Cross of Christ.

4. “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you … on my account” (Mt 5:11).

Christ does not promise an easy life to those who follow Him.   Instead, He proclaims that, by living according to the Gospel, they are to become a sign of contradiction.   If He Himself suffered persecution, so too will His disciples:   “Beware of men”, he says, “for they will deliver you up to councils and flog you in their synagogues” (Mt 10:17).

Dear Brothers and Sisters!   Every Christian, united to Christ through the grace of Holy Baptism, has become a member of the Church and “no longer is his own” (cf. 1 Cor 6:19) but belongs to the one who died and rose for our sake.   From that moment on, the baptised enter into a particular bond of community with Christ and His Church.   They, therefore, have the duty of professing before others the faith they have received from God through the Church.   At times this demands great sacrifice on our part, to be offered each day and sometimes for an entire lifetime.   This firm perseverance alongside Christ and His Gospel, this readiness to face “sufferings for righteousness’ sake”, often involve acts of heroism and can take the form of an authentic martyrdom, carried out every day and at every moment of life, drop by drop, until the final “it is finished”.” – Homily in Bydgoszcz – Monday, 7 June 1999 (Excerpt)

The enemies of Christ rule Poland no more!

Blessed Jerzy, Pray, for us!one doesn't suffer when one suffers for christ bl jerzy pray for us 19 oct 2019.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, NOTES to Followers, SAINT of the DAY, The BEATITUDES

Thought for the Day – 11 September – “Blessed are you when men hate you”

Thought for the Day – 11 September – – Wednesday of the Twenty-third week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 6:20–26 and The Memorial of St John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840) Martyr of the Congregation of the Mission

“Blessed are you when men hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man!   Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven, for so their fathers did to the prophets. ... Luke 6:22-23

A sermon he heard at age 15 inspired St John Gabriel to become a missionary in China. There he met a brutal death on a cross for refusing to renounce his faith.

Born in France in 1802, Jean-Gabriel became a Vincentian priest.   He displayed so many gifts and had such fine personal and spiritual qualities that, for a time, his religious order kept him busy closer to home.

He finally received permission to begin his missionary endeavours in 1835.   After a 1,000-mile trip by boat and foot across three provinces, he arrived in central China.   In one early letter, written to his community in Paris, he described himself as a curious sight –  “my head shaved, a long pig-tail, stammering my new languages, eating with chopsticks.”

He soon joined the Vincentians in helping to rescue abandoned Chinese children and in educating them in the Catholic faith.   He was arrested in 1839 under an edict that banned Christianity.   He was tortured and interrogated for months.   Almost one year later he was executed by strangling while hanging on a cross.

Saint Jean-Gabriel was Canonised by St Pope John Paul II in 1996.   Chinese government officials denied permission for any public Mass commemorating the new saint.

So many saints seem to have lived centuries ago.   Jean-Gabriel is far more recent and we can identify better with his life and circumstances.   His life and death speak to us of living the faith in our own times and places, for these are times of great persecution and endurance for the Son of man!

St John Gabriel Perboyre, pray for us!st john gabriel perboyre - pray for us.2.jpg

Posted in ONE Minute REFLECTION, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The BEATITUDES, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 11 September – “Blessed are you that weep now…”

One Minute Reflection – 11 September – Wednesday of the Twenty-third week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 6:20–26

“Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh.” … Luke 6:21

REFLECTION – “Let us hope, let all those of us who weep and shed innocent tears keep on hoping, let us hope whether we are weeping for the pains of body or of soul, these will serve as our purgatory.    God will make use of them to… make us raise our eyes to Him, purify us and sanctify us.
Let us hope even more if we are weeping for the pains of others, for this act of charity is inspired by God and pleasing to Him.   Let us hope even more, if we are weeping, for our own sins, since this compunction has been placed into our souls by God Himself.   Let us hope even more if, with a pure heart, we are weeping for the sins of others, for this love for the glory of God and sanctification of souls has been inspired by God and is a great grace.
Let us hope if we are weeping with desire to see God and pain at being separated from Him, for this loving desire is God’s work in us.   Let us hope even more if we are weeping simply because we love, without either desire or fear, desiring completely what God wishes and nothing more, happy in His glory, suffering from His former sufferings, weeping sometimes for compassion at the remembrance of His Passion, sometimes for joy at the thought of His Ascension and glory, sometimes simply from emotion because we are dying for love of Him!
O sweetest Jesus, make me weep for all these reasons make me weep all those tears that cause love in You, through You and for You to spread abroad.   Amen.” … Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916) – Hermit and Missionary in the Sahara (Meditations on the passages of the holy Gospels referring to the fifteen virtues, Nazareth 1897-98 no15)blessed are you that wep now luke 6 21 - let us hope if we are weeping now 11 sept 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Lord God, in Your wisdom, You created us, in love. By Your providence, You rule us, in love.   Penetrate our inmost being with the holy light of Your Son.   Penetrate our hearts with the overwhelming love for Your love, so that we may weep in consolation.   May the prayers of Your holy saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary, be our guiding inspiration.   Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever amen.blessed virgin mary immaculate mother - pray for us - 2 sept 2018.jpg

Posted in Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, The BEATITUDES

Thought for the Day – 6 September – Pope Benedict on the Beatitudes – “becoming images of Christ on earth”

Thought for the Day – 6 September – Pope Benedict on the Beatitudes

Pope Benedict XVI
Excerpt from his Homily on the Beatitudes
St Peter’s Square
Sunday, 30 January 2011

” … The Gospel presents the first great discourse that the Lord addresses to the people on the gentle hills encircling the Sea of Galilee. “Seeing the crowds,” St Matthew writes, “he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them” (Mt 5:1-2).

Jesus, the new Moses, “takes his seat on the cathedra of the mountain” (Jesus of Nazareth, Doubleday, New York 2007, p. 65) and proclaims “blessed” the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the merciful, those who hunger for righteousness, the pure in heart, the persecuted (cf. Mt 5:3-10).   It is not a new ideology but a teaching that comes from on high and touches the human condition, the condition that the Lord, in becoming flesh, wished to assume in order to save it.

Therefore “the Sermon on the Mount is addressed to the entire world, the entire present and future and yet it demands discipleship and can be understood and lived out only by following Jesus and accompanying him on his journey” (Jesus of Nazareth, p. 69).

The Beatitudes are a new programme of life, to free oneself from the false values of the world and to open oneself to the true goods, present and future.   Indeed, when God comforts, He satisfies the hunger for righteousness, He wipes away the tears of those who mourn, which means that, as well as compensating each one in a practical way, He opens the Kingdom of Heaven. “The Beatitudes are the transposition of the Cross and Resurrection into discipleship” (ibid., p. 74).   They mirror the life of the Son of God, who let himself even be persecuted and despised until He was condemned to death, so that salvation might be given to men and women.

An ancient hermit says: “The Beatitudes are gifts of God and we must say a great ‘thank you’ to Him for them and for the rewards that derive from them, namely the Kingdom of God in the century to come and consolation here, the fullness of every good and mercy on God’s part … once we have become images of Christ on earth” (St Peter of Damascus, In Filocalia, Vol. 3, Turin 1985, p. 79).

The Gospel of the Beatitudes is commented on with the actual history of the Church, the history of Christian holiness, because, as St Paul writes, “God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are” (1 Cor 1:27-28).

For this reason the Church has no fear of poverty, contempt or persecution in a society which is often attracted by material well-being and worldly power.   St Augustine reminds us that “it serves nothing to suffer these evils but rather to bear them, in the Name of Jesus, not only with a serene soul but also with joy” (cf. De sermone Domini in monte, i, 5,13: ccl 35, 13).

Dear brothers and sisters, let us invoke the Virgin Mary, the Blessed par excellence, asking her for the strength to seek the Lord (cf. Zeph 2:3) and to follow him always, with joy, on the path of the Beatitudes.”

Blessed Virgin of the Beatitudes, Pray for Us!blessed virgin of the beatitudes 6 sept 2019.jpg