Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 28 March
“Arrows of Love” St Francis de Sales
TUESDAY IN PASSION WEEK St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritas
“HE WISHED, even after His death, to have His side opened, that we might see the thoughts of His Heart, which were all thoughts of love and that we might go to Him with confidence, in order to hide ourselves in His side and to receive, from Him, an abundance of graces and benedictions.
In this manner, from the first moment of His life until the present hour, has the kind Jesus been continually drawing arrows, if we may so speak, from the quiver of His love, with which to wound the souls of His lovers, showing them clearly, that they can never love Him nearly as much as He deserves.
My God, could He show more love to sinners than to become a perfect holocaust for their sins? Ah! if we could see the Heart of Jesus, such as it is, we should die of love for Him, since we are mortal, as He died of love of us, while He was mortal and as He would die again, if He were not now immortal. Nothing has as much power to wound a loving heart, as to see another heart wounded for love of it.” – (Consoling Thoughts of St Francis de Sales).
Quote of the Day – 27 March – The Feast of St John Damascene (675-749) Confessor, Father and Doctor of the Church
The Night Prayers before Retiring The Examination of Conscience, Act of Contrition and Resolutions By St John Damascene (675-749) Confessor, Father and Doctor of the Church
“ (To be said pointing at the bed:) O Lord, Lover of men, is this bed to be my coffin, or wilt Thou enlighten my wretched soul with another day? Here the coffin lies before me and here death confronts me. I fear, O Lord, Thy Judgement and the endless torments, yet I cease not to do evil. My Lord God, I continually anger Thee and Thy immaculate Mother, and all the Heavenly Powers and my holy Guardian Angel. I know, O Lord, that I am unworthy of Thy love but deserve condemnation and every torment. But, whether I want it or not, save me, O Lord. For to save a good man is no great thing and to have mercy on the pure is nothing wonderful, for they are worthy of Thy mercy. But show the wonder of Thy mercy to me, a sinner. In this, reveal Thy love for men, lest my wickedness prevail over Thy unutterable goodness and mercy. And order my life as Thou wilt. (As sleep is the image of death, at night we pray for the departed) With the Saints give rest, O Christ, to the souls of Thy servants where there is no pain, no sorrow, no sighing, but life everlasting.
Kiss your Crucifix and make the Sign of the Cross from the head to the foot of the bed and from two sides and then say the Prayer:
Hail, Most Precious and Life-Giving Cross of the Lord!
Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered and let those, who hate Him, flee from His Presence. As smoke vanishes, let them vanish and as wax melts by the presence of fire, so let the demons perish by the presence of those who love God and who sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross and say in gladness: Hail, Most Precious and Life-Giving Cross of the Lord, for Thou drives away the demons by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ Crucified on thee, Who went down to hell and trampled on the power of the devil and gave us thee, His venerable Cross, for driving away all enemies. O Most Precious and Life-Giving Cross of the Lord, help me with our holy Lady, the Virgin Mother of God and with all the Saints throughout the ages. Amen.
(When about to lie down in bed, say:) Lighten my eyes, O Christ God, lest I sleep in death and lest my enemy says: I have prevailed over him.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. Be my soul’s Defender, O God, for I step over many snares. Deliver me from them and save me, O Good One, in Thy love for men. Now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen. Let us not silently hymn the most glorious Mother of God, holiest of holy Angels but confess her with heart and mouth to be the Mother of God, for she truly bore God Incarnate for us and prays without ceasing for our souls. Amen.
(Just before closing your eyes, say:) Into Thy hands, O Lord Jesus Christ, my God, I surrender my spirit and body; bless me, save me and grant me eternal life. Amen.
Before retiring, The Examination of Conscience: (or if one prefers, before beginning prayers) go through all the points suggested below in your mind and memory.
Give thanks to Almighty God for granting you during the past day, by His grace, His gifts of life and health.
Examine your conscience by going through each hour of the day, beginning from the time you rose from your bed and recall to memory – where you went, how you acted and reacted towards all persons and other creatures and what you talked about. Recall and consider with all care, your thoughts, words and deeds from morning until the evening.
If you have done any good, do not ascribe it to yourself but to God Who gives us all the good things and thank Him. Pray that He may confirm you in this good and enable you to do other good works.
But if you have done anything evil, admit that this comes from yourself and your own weakness, from bad habits or weak will. Repent and pray to the Lover of men that He may forgive you and promise Him firmly, never to do this evil again.
Implore your Creator with tears, to grant you a quiet, undisturbed, pure and sinless night and to enable you, in the coming day, to devote yourself wholly to the glory of His holy Name.
If you find a soft pillow, leave it and put a stone in its place, for Christ’s sake. If you sleep in winter, bear it, saying – Some did not sleep at all!”
St John Damascene (675-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 25 March – Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Isaias 7:10-15, Luke 1:26-38 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“And the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David, His father and He shall reign in the house of Jacob forever. And of His Kingdom there shall be no end.” – Luke 1:32-33
REFLECTION – “The Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph of the house of David and the virgin’s name was Mary.” What is said of the house of David applies, not only to Joseph but also to Mary. It was a precept of the law that each man should marry a wife from his own tribe and kindred. Saint Paul also bears testimony to this, when he writes to Timothy: “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as preached in my Gospel” (2 Tm 2:8) …
“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.” The Angel refers to ,the kingdom of the Israelite nation, as the throne of David because in his time, by the Lord’s command and assistance, David governed it with a spirit of faithful service … As David had once ruled the people with temporal authority, so Christ would now lead them to the eternal Kingdom by His spiritual grace …
“He will reign over the house of Jacob forever”. The house of Jacob here refers to the Universal Church which, through its faith in and witness to Christ, shares the heritage of the Patriarchs. This may apply either to those who are physical descendants of the patriarchal families, or to those, who come from gentile nations and are reborn in Christ, by the waters of Baptism. In this house, Christ shall reign forever, and “of his Kingdom there will be no end.” During this present life, Christ rules in the Church. By faith and love, He dwells in the hearts of His elect and guides them, by His unceasing care, toward their heavenly reward. In the life to come, when their period of exile on earth is ended, He will exercise His Kingship, by leading the faithful to their heavenly country. There, forever inspired by the vision of His Presence, their one delight will be to praise and glorify Him.” – The Venerable St Bede (673-735) Monk, Father and Doctor of the Church (Sermons for Advent No 3).
PRAYER – O God, Who, by the message of an Angel, willed Thy Word to take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant that we, Thy suppliants, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be assisted by her intercession with Thee. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Thought for the Day – 21 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Why God Created Us
“If we are to reach God, Who is our goal, it is necessary for us to know, love and serve Him. Everything speaks to us of God, from the blade of grass, to the cedar of Lebanon, from the insect which glows in the darkness of the night, to the highest stars of the firmanent. In the hidden depths of our own being, we hear His Voice. The more we grow in the knowledge of God, the more we feel the need to love Him. We see how so much beauty, goodness and power is alone worthy of all our love.
As our Creator, Redeemer and Benefactor, God has the right to the undivided affection of our hearts. This love should not be empty and sterile, however, it should be active and effective. Knowing and loving God, we should feel the obligation of serving Him as our Master, in whatever He commands, even when this demands a heavy sacrifice on our part!”
Quote/s of the Day – 15 March – The Memorial of Blessed William Hart (1558-1583) Priest Martyr (Hung, drawn and quartered today in 1583 by the Persecutions of Elizabeth I. He was aged 25 years old).
THE LAST WORDS Blessed William Hart to the Oppressed Catholics of Elizabethan England
“Lest, perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.” 1 Cor 9:27
“This is the first, the last, the only request I make and have yet made or ever shall. Fulfil these my desires, hear my voice, keep to my counsel.
But why do I, a miserable and unhappy sinner, beg of you that, in this age, most poisoned and most dangerous to the good, you should persevere, firm and constant in your confession, where Angels, Archangels, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Virgins, the whole world beseech it, when the salvation of your souls and the good God Himself, make the same entreaty – that you should remain firm in the Faith you have once received and in your confession of the Truth!
May God of His Infinite Mercy, help you to do so and I, your spiritual father, though weak and loaded with sins innumerable, will never cease to pray for you, both in this life and the next. Wherefore I entreat you, in every way I can, to be mindful of me, as often as you offer Your devout prayers to God, lest I be, like a melting candle, which giveth light to others and is itself consumeth.
Again and again farewell, my much desired ones. The servant of all and everyone of you.”
Father William Hart
“The joy of this life is nothing; the joy of the after life is everlasting.”
Thought for the Day – 14 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
How We Should Pray
“Finally, our prayer should be persevering. Perseverance in prayer is always rewarded by God, especially during times of temptation. The Gospel is full of examples of the way in which perseverance is rewarded. Remember the blind man of Jericho, who was rebuked for his persistent entreaties. Nevertheless, he went on shouting: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Cf Lk 18:34-43). His prayer was eventually answered. Remember the Centurion. Although he was a pagan, he requested the cure of his paralysed servant with such outstanding faith and perseverance that Jesus granted what he asked. “Not even in Israel,” said Jesus, “have I found such great faith” (Lk 7:9). Remember the parable of the three loaves, which were so persistently demanded in the middle of the night until they were at last obtained (Cf Lk 11:5). Remember Mary, the sister of Lazarus and the Samaritan woman. Remember Jairus and the man suffering from dropsy. Above all, remember the Canaanite woman who almost snatched a miracles from the Hands of Jesus by her humility and perseverance.
A confident spirit of perseverance always wins the Heart of God, Who sometimes waits before answering our prayers, in order to enkindle our desire, to make us pray more and, to reward our perseverance by a liberal bestowal of His favours. Let us persevere in total trust, with intense love and in the deepest humility, knowing, without any doubt, that our prayers will be answered.”
Our Morning Offering – 14 March – Tuesday in the Third Week of Lent
My Lord and My God By St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)
My Lord and my God, take from me everything which distances me from Thee. My Lord and my God, give me everything which brings me closer to Thee. My Lord and my God, detach me from myself, to give my all to Thee. Amen
Quote/s of the Day – 12 March – The Third Sunday in Lent and the Feast of St Gregory the Great (540-604) Pope, Confessor, Father & Doctor of the Church, “Father of the Fathers”
“Your faith has saved you.”
“The blind man does not ask the Lord for gold but for Light. He sets little store by asking anything but Light … Let us imitate him, dearly beloved … Let us not ask the Lord for deceitful riches, or earthly gifts, or passing honours but for Light. And let us not ask for light shut up in one place, or limited by time, or ending with the coming of night. The beasts behold such light just as we do. Let us ask for the Light which we can see with angels alone, Light without beginning or end. The way to this Light is faith. Hence Jesus immediately says to the blind man, who is to be enlightened: “Raise your eyes, your faith has saved you!”
“Have I not a right to do what I choose? Or are you envious because I am generous?”
“But no-one should boast of his work or of his time, when, after saying this, Truth cries out: “So the last will be first and the first last.” We know what good things we have done and how many they are; we do not know with what exactitude our Judge on high will investigate them. Indeed, we must all rejoice exceedingly, to be even the last, in the Kingdom of God!”
“Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”
“Truth is exhorting His elect by saying: “When the disasters of the world become more frequent… let your hearts exult! While the world, which is not your friend, is coming to an end, the redemption you have sought ,is coming near.!” Those who love God are ordered to rejoice and be merry at the world’s end. They will soon find Him Whom they love, while what they have not loved is passing away. It should be far from the hearts of all the faithful who long to see God, to grieve over the disasters of a world, for they know, these very disasters, are soon to end. It is written that: “Whoever wishes to be a friend of this world, makes himself an enemy of God” (Jas 4,4).”
“Someone who does not rejoice as the end of the world approaches, testifies that he is its friend and this itself convicts him, of being God’s enemy!”
One Minute Reflection – 6 March – “The Month of the St Joseph” – Sts Perpetua and Felicity (Died c203) Martyrs – Ecclesiasticus Sirach 51:13-17, Matthew 13:44-52 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. When he finds a single pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” – Matthew 13:45-46
REFLECTION – “For the man who loves God it is sufficient to please the One he loves; and, there is no greater recompense to be sought, than the loving itself. For love is from God, by the very fact, that God Himself is love. The good and chaste soul is so happy to be filled with Him that it desires to take delight in nothing else. For what the Lord says is very true: – ‘Where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.’
What is a man’s treasure but the heaping up of profits and the fruit of his toil? For whatever a man sows, this too will he reap and each man’s gain, matches his toil and where delight and enjoyment are found, there the heart’s desire is attached. Now there are many kinds of wealth and a variety of grounds for rejoicing – every man’s treasure is that, which he desires. If it is based on earthly ambitions, its acquisition makes men not blessed but wretched.
But those who enjoy the things that are above and eternal, rather than earthly and perishable, possess an incorruptible, hidden store, of which the prophet speaks: ‘Our treasure and salvation have come, wisdom and instruction and piety, from the Lord: these are the treasures of justice.’ Through these, with the help of God’s grace, even earthly possessions are transformed into heavenly blessings. It is a fact that many people use the wealth, which is either rightfully left to them or otherwise, acquired, as a tool of devotion. By distributing what might be superfluous to support the poor, they are amassing imperishable riches, so that what they have discreetly given, cannot be subject to loss. They have properly placed those riches, where their heart is, – it is a most blessed thing, to work to increase such riches, rather than to fear that they may pass away.” – St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Bishop of Rome and Great Western Father and Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from Sermon 92).
PRAYER – Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord our God, that we may venerate with unceasing devotion Thy holy Martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas and, although we cannot pay them the honour that is their due, may we at least present to them, our humble homage. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 5 March – The Second Sunday in Lent – Thessalonians 4:1-7, Matthew 17:1-9 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Lord, it is good for us to be here …” Matthew 17:4
“I know a man in Christ— whether he was in or outside the body, I do not know, God knows— who was snatched up to the third heaven. . . and heard secret words, words which it is not granted to man to utter.” 2 Corinthians 12:2-4
ETERNAL HAPPINESS St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritas
“REJOICE AND BE HAPPY! Persevere to the end and prefer to die, rather than abandon the post to which God has called you!
But embrace the Cross with patience and hide in God’s breast, with your troubles; fix your eyes on the Lamb immolated for your sake and always be content with what God gives you and destines for you. We must act like this because we are sure that God is calling us and has chosen for us ,what will make us the most pleasing in His sight . Thus, you will go from Light to Light and the pains endured, for the sake of Jesus Crucified, will be delightful to you, whereas the pleasures and consolations of the world, will become bitter.
You will begin to taste, even in this life, a foretaste of eternal life, for the principal beatitude of the soul in Heaven, is to be confirmed forever in the Will of the Father. Thus, it tastes the divine sweetness. But it will never taste it in Heaven, if it is not clothed with it on earth, where we are pilgrims and travellers. When it is clothed with it, it tastes God by grace in its troubles; its memory will be full of the Blood of the Lamb without blemish; its mind will be opened and contemplate the ineffable love that God has made known in the Wisdom of His Son and the love it finds, in the Holy Spirit’s goodness, casts out self-love and love for created things, to love only God.
So do not be afraid … but suffer with joy, so as to conform yourself to the Will of God.” – (Sermon for the Second Sunday of Lent, 20 February 1622).
One Minute Reflection – 5 March – The Second Sunday in Lent – Thessalonians 4:1-7, Matthew 17:1-9 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“His face shone like the sunand His garments became white as snow.” – Matthew 17:2
REFLECTION – “The Lord displays His glory before chosen witnesses and makes illustrious that bodily shape which He shared with others, with such splendour that His countenance shone like the sun and His garments were as white as snow. In this Transfiguration, the chief object was to remove the scandal of the Cross from the hearts of the disciples and, to prevent their faith being disturbed, at the humiliation of His voluntary Passion, by revealing the excellence of His hidden dignity. But with no less foresight, the foundation was laid of the hope of holy Church that the whole Body of Christ, might realise, with what a change it was to be endowed and that the members, might promise themselves, a share in that honour which had shone forth in their Head.
But to confirm the Apostles and to lead them onto all knowledge, still further, instruction was conveyed by this miracle. For Moses and Elias, that is, the law and the prophets, appeared talking with the Lord, so that, in the presence of these five men, might most truly be fulfilled, what was said – In two or three witnesses every word stands. What more stable, what more steadfast, than the word, in the proclamation of which, the trumpet of the old and of the new TestamentS, sounds forth and the records of ancient witnesses, agree with the teaching of the Gospel? For the pages of both Covenants corroborate each other and He, Whom, under the veil of Mysteries, the types that went before, had promised, is displayed clearly and manifestly by the splendour of His present glory.
The Apostle Peter, therefore, being stirred by the revelation of these Mysteries, despising things worldly and scorning things earthly, was carried away by a certain excess of mind, to the desire of things eternal and, being filled with rapture at the whole vision, longed to make his abode with Jesus, in the place where he was gladdened by the sight of His glory. And so also he says: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if Thou wilt, let us set up here, three tents, one for Thee and one for Moses and one for Elias. But to this proposal the Lord made no reply, signifying that what he asked was not indeed wicked, but irregular, since the world could not be saved, except by Christ’s Death and by the Lord’s example in this, the faithful were called upon to believe that, although there ought not to be any doubt about the promises of happiness, yet, we should understand that, amid the trials of this life, we must ask for power to endure, rather than for glory.” – St Leo the Great (400-461) Pope, Father and Doctor (Sermon on the Transfiguration – excerpt).
PRAYER – O God, Thou Who sees how we are deprived of all strength, guard us inwardly and outwardly that in body, we may be protected against all misfortunes and in mind, cleansed of evil thoughts and by the intercession of blessed and gloriosus ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God, be assisted on this earthly pilgrimage. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Thought for the Day – 12 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Causes of Discontent
“There is only one reason for our dissatisfaction. It is given by St Augustine, profound observer that he was of the human heart: “You have made us for Yourself alone, O God and our hearts will always be restless, until they rest in You” (Confessions 1, 1:11). If anyone rushes in all directions looking for happiness, he will never find it. The created things of the world cannot satisfy our hearts which are on a far higher plane than these worldly things are. Worse still, a man may look for happiness in pleasure or in sin but he will find only bitterness and disgust.
Let us look to God alone. If we do everything for Him, a gleam of eternal happiness will brighten up our earthly pilgrimage!
Thought for the Day – 8 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Use of Creatures
“St Ignatius Loyola investigates this subject in his Spiritual Exercises. He writes that we ought to use things, insofar as they bring us nearer to our final end. We ought to avoid things completely, he continues, insofar as they separate or distract us from this end.
The function of creatures in our regard, is to lead us nearer to God, to remind us of God and to make us love God. But if they are a source of scandal to us, we must avoid them. The Gospel is very strict on this matter when it says, “If thy hand or foot is an occasion of sin to thee, cut it off and cast it from thee” (Mt 5:29-30; 18:8).
This means that we must be ready to give up anything or anyone, rather than endanger our souls and risk the loss of Divine grace and eternal life.”
One Minute Reflection – 8 February – St John of Matha (1160-1213) – Confessor, Priest, Founder – Sirach 31:8-11, Luke 12:35-40 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Be you then also ready …” – Luke 12:40
REFLECTION – “At an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Jesus says this to them so that the disciples would stay awake and always be ready. If He tells them, He will come when they are not expecting Him, this is because He wants to make them practice virtue zealously, without relaxing. It is as though He were saying to them: “If people knew when they were going to die, they would be completely ready for the day”… But the end of our life is a secret, hidden from us all…
This is why the Lord expects two qualities of His steward – that he should be faithful, lest he attribute to himself anything that belongs to his Master and that he should be wise, so that he might suitably administer everything put in his charge. So we too ought to have these two qualities if we are to be ready at the Master’s coming… Because this is what happens due to our not knowing the day we shall meet Him – we say to ourselves: “My Master is delayed in coming.” The faithful and wise steward has no such thoughts. Wretch! using the excuse that your Master is late, do you imagine He will not come at all? His coming is certain! Then why do you not stay on your guard? No, the Lord is not slow in coming – this lateness is purely in the imagination of the wicked servant!” – St John Chrysostom (347-407) Bishop of Constantinople, Father and Doctor of the Church (Sermon 77 on St Matthew).
PRAYER – O God, Who graciously and by Divine means founded, through blessed John, the Order of the Most Holy Trinity to ransom captives from the hands of the Saracens, grant, we beseech Thee that through Thy help and the merits of his prayers, we may be freed body and soul from captivity. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Quote/s of the Day – 6 February – St Titus (Died c96) Bishop, Confessor
“Love one another as I have loved you”
“I have chosen you and have appointed you, that you should go and should bring forth fruit and your fruit should remain, says the Lord.”
“He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the Great Light, bathed in the glory of Him who is the Light of Heaven.”
St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctor of the Church
“My children, eternal life is being offered to us, the Kingdom of Heaven is made ready and Christ’s inheritance awaits us … So let us run from now on with increased energy and above all you, lazy, recalcitrant, dull of heart, friends of murmuring who, unless you improve, are like the cursed fig tree. … Let us seek out the fight, bravely pour with our sweat, adorn ourselves with crowns, gain praises and gather up, like a treasure, “what eye has not seen and ear has not heard and what has not entered the human heart” (1 Cor 2:9).
“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have conquered the world.”
“Who will be crowned without having fought? Who will go to rest if he is not tired (cf. 2 Tim 2:5-6)? Who will gather the fruits of life without having planted virtues in his soul? Cultivate them, prepare the earth with the greatest care, take trouble over it, sweat over it, children, God’s workers, imitators of the Angels, competitors with incorporeal beings, lights for those who are in the world (cf. Phil 2:15)!”
Quote/s of the Day – 1 February – – St Ignatius of Antioch (c35 – c107) Martyr, Bishop of Antioch, Apostolic Father of the Church
“ … Have perfect faith and love for Jesus Christ. These are the beginning and the end of life – faith the beginning, love the end. When these two are found together, there is God and everything else concerning right living follows from them. …”
“Nothing is hidden from the Lord but even our secrets are close to Him. Let us then, do everything, in the knowledge that He is dwelling within us that we may be His temples and He ,God within us.”
“… A tree is known by its fruit. So those who profess to belong to Christ will be known, by what they do. For the work we are about, is not a matter of words, here and now but depends on the power of faith and on being found faithful, to the end!”
One Minute Reflection – 24 January – St Timothy (1st Century) Disciple of St Paul, Bishop and Martyr – 1 Timothy 6:11-16, Luke 14:26-33.– Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“So likewise, everyone of you, who does not renounce all that he possesses, cannot be My disciple.” – Luke 14:33
REFLECTION – “Our Lord Jesus Christ said to all, on many occasions and while giving many demonstrations of it: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me,” (cf Lk 9:23) and again: “anyone of you who does not renounce all that he possesses cannot be My disciple.” Thus, He seems to demand of us the most entire renunciation… “Where your treasure is, there also will your heart be,” He says elsewhere (Mt 6:21). So if we keep back for ourselves any earthly goods or any perishable supplies, our minds will remain sunk in them as though in mud. Then, inevitably, our souls will become unable to contemplate God and will be unmoved by desire for the splendours of Heaven and for the good things promised us. We shall only be able to acquire those good things, if we ask for them unceasingly, with a burning desire that will, besides, make easy the effort needed to gain them.
To renounce ourselves, means to undo the bonds which bind us to this earthly passing life and free ourselves from human contingencies, so that we may become more equal to walking along the way which leads to God. It is to free ourselves from all hindrances, so as to possess and use, the goods that are “far more precious than gold and silver,” (Ps 118:72). And, to sum up, to renounce oneself, is to lift the human heart into the life of Heaven, so as to be able to say: “Our citizenship is in Heaven,” (Phil 3:20). Above all, it is to begin to grow like Christ, Who for our sake became poor although he was rich (2 Cor 8:9). We need to become like Him, if we want to live according to the Gospel.” – St Basil the Great (329-379) Monk and Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Father and Doctor of the Church (Greater Monastic Rules Q.8).
PRAYER – Be mindful of our weakness, Almighty God and because the burden of our sins weighs heavily upon us, may the glorious intercession of blessed Timothy, Your Martyr and Bishop, sustain us. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Quote/s of the Day – 22 January – The Third Sunday after the Epiphany – Romans 12:16-21, Matthew 8:1-13 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Amen I say to you, I have not found such great faith in Israel.”
“And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, Take courage, son, your sins are forgiven you.”
“Perhaps, your own faith is feeble. Nevertheless, the Lord, who is love will stoop down to you, provided only that you are penitent and can say sincerely, from the depths of your soul: “Lord, I believe. Help Thou mine unbelief,” (Mark 9:23)……”
St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387) Father and Doctor of the Church
“If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter, your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.”
“What determines that the gifts of God dwells in us, is the measure of each one’s faith. Because it is to the extent that we believe, that the enthusiasm to act is given us. And so those who act, reveal the measure of their faith proportionate to their action, they receive their measure of grace according to what they have believed. …”
St Maximus the Confessor (c 580-662) Monk and Theologian
“But whom do you say that I Am?”
“… How can anyone put on Jesus Christ and imitate His example, if he does not study this Jesus, who must inspire and perfect our faith? He must run the race to which he is challenged, the glorious race in which, he overcomes the enemy of the human family and follows the Way of the Cross. Under the lordly banner of that Cross, he will attain eternal life.”
St Vincent Strambi CP (1745-1824)
Prayer for Unbelievers By St Francis Xavier (1506-1552)
O God, the Everlasting Creator of all things, remember that the souls of unbelievers were made by Thee and formed in Thine own image and likeness. Remember that Jesus, Thy Son, endured a most bitter Death for their salvation. Permit not, I beseech Thee, O Lord that Thy Son should be any longer despised by unbelievers but do Thou graciously accept the prayers of holy men and of the Church, the Spouse of Thy Most Holy Son and be mindful of Thy mercy. Forget their idolatry and unbelief and grant that they too, may someday know Him, Whom Thou hast sent…the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is our Salvation, our Life and Resurrection, by Whom we have been [redeemed] and delivered, to Whom be glory for endless ages. Amen.
One Minute Reflection – 21 January – “The Month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus” – St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyr – Ecclesiasticus 51:1-8, 12, Matthew 25:1-13 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Watch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” – Matthew 25:13
REFLECTION – “To prevent His disciples from questioning Him about the time of His Coming, Christ said, ‘Of that hour no-one knows, neither the Angels nor the Son. It is not for you to know the times or moments.’ (Mt 24:36; Apoc 1:7). He hid the time from us, so that we would be on the watch and so, that each of us might think that the Coming will happen in His own lifetime…
Be on the watch. When the body sleeps, nature gets the better of us. Then, our actions do not come from our will but by force, from the impulse of nature. When the soul is overcome by a heavy sleep of timidity or sadness, the enemy takes control of it and works through it what it does not want to do… The Lord’s command about vigilance, holds good for both parts of man. The body must avoid overpowering sleep and the soul must guard against sluggishness and timidity. In the words of scripture, “Awake you just,” (1Co 15:34) and “I rose up and Am still with you,” (Ps 138:18) and “Do not lose heart” (cf Ep 3:13)…
“Five of them were foolish and five of them were prudent,” the Lord says. Their virginity had nothing to do with Him calling them wise, for they were all virgins but rather, their good works. Even though your chastity is of angelic holiness, note well that the Angels’ holiness is free of all envy or other evil. So even though you are not rebuked for impurity, take care not to be so, for impatience or anger either… “Gird your loins” so that chastity may lighten our steps. “And light your lamps” (Lk 12:35) because the world is black as night, it stands in need of the light of the upright. “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt 5:16).” – St Ephrem (306-373) Deacon in Syria, Father and Doctor of the Church [Commentary on the Diatessaron, 18, 15f. ; SC 121] (trans. cf Breviary).
PRAYER – Almighty, eternal God, Thou Who choose the weak things of the world to confound the strong, mercifully grant that we, who are celebrating the feast of blessed Agnes, Thy Virgin and Martyr, may reap the benefit of her patronal intercession with Thee. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
To Thee, O Master Morning Offering By St Macarius the Wonder-Worker (Died 850)
To Thee, O Master, who loves all mankind I hasten on rising from sleep. By Thy mercy, I go out to do Thy work and I make my prayer to Thee. Help me at all times and in all things. Deliver me from every evil thing of this world and from pursuit by the devil. Save me and bring me, to Thy Eternal Kingdom, For Thou art my Creator, Thou inspire all good thoughts in me. In Thee is all my hope and to Thee I give glory, now and forever. Amen
Eternal God, Our Refuge By St Boniface (672-754) Martyr
Eternal God, the refuge and help of all Thy children, we praise Thee for all Thou hast given us, for all Thou hast done for us, for all that Thou art to us. In our weakness, Thou art strength, in our darkness, Thou art light, in our sorrow, Thou art comfort and peace. We cannot number Thy blessings, we cannot declare Thy love – for all Thy graces, we bless Thee. May we live as in Thy presence, and love the things that Thou loves and serve Thee in our daily lives, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Quote/s of the Day – 13 January – Octave Day of Epiphany – Isaias 60:1-6, John 1:29-34 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Make ready then the vessel of your soul that you may become a son of God and an heir of God and joint-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17); if, indeed, you are preparing yourself that you may receive; if you are drawing near in faith that you may be made faithful; if of set purpose, you are putting off the old man!”
St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Let us become like Christ, since Christ became like us. He assumed the worse, that He might give us the better; He became poor, that we through His poverty, might be rich.”
St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Ah Jesus, Sun of Justice, make me clothe myself with You, so that I may be able to live according to Your will. Make me, under Your guidance, preserve my robe of Baptismal innocence, white, holy and spotless and present it undefiled, before Your tribunal, so that I may wear it, for eternal life.”
St Gertrude the Great of Helfta (1256-1301)
“If we wish to make any progress in the service of God, we must begin everyday of our life, with new eagerness. We must keep ourselves, in the presence of God, as much as possible and have no other view or end, in all our actions but the divine honour.”
St Charles Borromeo (1538-1584)
“Anyone who takes life seriously in the Christian sense, will regard it as a difficult journey towards perfection and towards God. This journey will be, at the same time, painful and joyful. … It is our own loss if we sit down lazily on the side of the road, which should lead us to Heaven. It is even more disastrous, if we acknowledge defeat and lay down the spiritual weapons of prayer and renunciation, in order to surrender ourselves to sin or to indifference. Everyday we should say to ourselves, in the presence of God – A new life is beginning … in You, by Your grac and for You! Amen”
Quote/s of the Day – 10 January – Within the Octave of Epiphany – Isaias 60:1-6, Matthew 2:1-12 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Behold, the star which they had seen in the east, went before them until it came and stood over where the Child was…”
“The night is passed and the day is at hand. Let us, therefore, cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of Light.”
“I implore you to live with me and, by believing, to run with me; let us long for our Heavenly Country, let us sigh for our Heavenly Home, let us truly feel that here, we are strangers. What shall we then see? Let the gospel tell us: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. You will come to the fountain, with whose dew you have already been sprinkled. Instead of the ray of Light which was sent through slanting and winding ways, into the heart of your darkness, you will see the Light Itself, in all its purity and brightness. It is to see and experience this Light that you are now being cleansed. … It has been good for us to share the common Light, good to have enjoyed ourselves, good to have been glad together. When we part from one another, let us not depart from Him!”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
Prayer of Blessed Severinus Boethius (c 475-524) Martyr
“O Father, enable our minds, to rise to Thy ineffable dwelling place. Let us find the light and direct the eyes of our soul to Thee. Dispel the mists and the opaqueness of the earthly mass and shine out with Thy splendour. Thou art the serene and tranquil abode of those who persevere in their goal of seeing Thee. Thou art, at the same time, the Beginning, the Vehicle, the Guide, the Way and the Goal. Amen.”
“Run with eager desire to this Source of Life and Light, all you who are vowed to God’s service. Come, whoever you may be and cry out to Him, with all the strength of your heart. O indescribable Beauty of the most high God and purest Radiance of Eternal Light! Life that gives all life, Light that is the Source of every other light, preserving, in everlasting splendour, the myriad flames that have shone before the throne of Thy Divinity from the dawn of time!”
Quote/s of the Day – 9 January – The Holy Family – Within the Octave of Epiphany – Colossians 3:12-17, Luke 2:42-52 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“You are walking now by faith, still on pilgrimage in a mortal body away from the Lord but He, to Whom your steps are directed, is Himself the sure and certain Way for you – Jesus Christ, Who, for our sake became man. For all who fear Him, He has stored up abundant happiness which He will reveal to those who hope in Him, bringing it to completion, when we have attained the reality which, even now, we possess, in hope. Set your hearts on heavenly things, not the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your Life, appears, then you too will appear with Him in glory.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“And His Mother kept all these words in her heart.”
“Consider the most prudent woman Mary, Mother of true Wisdom, as the pupil of her Son. For she learned from Him, not as from a child or man but as from God. Yes, she dwelt in meditation on His words and actions. Nothing of what was said or done by Him, fell idly on her mind. … That which she now beholds in the present, she waits to have revealed with greater clarity, in the future.”
St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father and Doctor of the Church
“And as for that in the good ground they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart and bring forth fruit with patience.”
“The more you devote yourself, to study of the Sacred utterances, the richer will be your understanding of them, just as the more the soil is tilled,, the richer is the harvest.”
St Isidore of Seville (c 560-636) Father & Doctor of the Church
Be Thou My Vision By St Dallan Forgaill (c 530- 598)
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art. Thou my best thought by day or by night, Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my Light.
Be Thou my Wisdom and Thou my true Word; I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord. Thou my great Father, I Thy true son; Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle-shield, sword for my fight, Be Thou my dignity, Thou my delight. Thou my soul’s shelter, Thou my high tower. Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise, Thou mine inheritance, now and always. Thou and Thou only, first in my heart, High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won, May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Son, Heart of my heart, whatever befall Still be my vision, O ruler of all.
One Minute Reflection – 7January – Within the Octave of Epiphany – Isaias 60:1-6, Matthew 2:1-12 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Where is He Who is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and are come to adore Him.” – Matthew 2:2
REFLECTION – “All these things we know to have taken place ever since the three wise men, aroused in their far-off land, were led by a star to recognise and worship the King of Heaven and earth. The responsiveness of that star exhorts us to imitate it’s obedience and, as much as we can, to make ourselves servants of that grace which invites us all to Christ. For, whoever lives religiously and chastely in the Church and “sets his mind on the things which are above, not on the things that are upon the earth” (Col 3:2) resembles that heavenly light in a certain sense. So long as he maintains in himself the brightness of a holy life, he points out to many, like a star, the way that leads to God. All having this concern, dearly-beloved… you will shine in the Kingdom like children of Light.”… St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father & Doctor of the Church.
PRAYER – O God, Thou Who by the guidance of a star this day revealed Thy Only-begotten Son to the Gentiles, mercifully grant that we, who know Thee now by faith, may come to behold Thee in glory. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Thought for the Day – 5 January– Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“There is another motive too, which obliges us to carefully avoid even commiting a venial sin. The path of sin leads us down a smooth and slippery incline towards destruction. Once we begin to descend, it is difficult to stop the momentum and scramble back up the smooth, slippery, steep incline. Even to begin on this path, is a disaster.
“He who wastes the little he has, will be stripped bare” (Eccles 19:1).
“He who is faithful in a very little thing, is faithful also, in much and he who is unjust in a very little thing, is unjust also, in much” (Lk 16:10).
Whoever is faithful to God in little things, will receive from Him, the grace to remain faithful too, in greater things but a man who despises the lesser falls, rejects the Divine assistance and so, exposes himself to the danger of falling more seriously.
If we reflect on such dangers, we shall have a real fear of venial sin and shall be always on our guard against it.”
Let us pray for the strength and courage to withstand the father of lies, and to watch and wait patiently, with our lamps lit, wearing the Armour of God and standing firm in the Faith. “Many are the afflictions of the just but out of them all, will the Lord deliver them.” (Ps 33:20)
“We implore Thee, O All-Holy, Long-Suffering Life and Restoration, Source of Goodness, look down from Heaven and visit all those who ever trust in Thee; rescue our life, Lord, from all constraint and affliction and, in the faith of truth, guide us all. At the prayers of the Immaculate Mother of God and Virgin, Save Thy world and those in the world and spare us all, Thou Who, for us, became Man without change, only Lover of mankind.”
St Romanos the Melodios (c 490-c 556)
“Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong.”
One Minute Reflection – 21 December – Feast of St Thomas, Apostle of Christ, Martyr – Ephesians 2:19-22, John 20:24-29 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“The other disciples, therefore, said to him: We have seen the Lord. But he said to them: Except I shall see in His Hands, the print of the nails and put my finger into the place of the nails and put my hand into His Side, I will not believe.” – John 20:25
REFLECTION – “What, dearest brethren do you notice in this passage? Do you think that it happened by chance that this chosen disciple was absent at that time and afterwards coming, heard the news and hearing, doubted that doubting, he touched and touching, he believed? This did not happen by chance but by Divine dispensation. For the Divine clemency brought it about, in a wonderful way that the doubting disciple, while touching the wounds in his Master’s flesh, should thereby heal the wounds of our unbelief. The unbelief of Thomas is more to our faith, than the faith of the believing disciples. While he is brought back to faith by touching, our minds are set free from doubt and established in the faith.
So the Lord indeed, after His Resurrection permitted His disciple to doubt but He did not leave him in unbelief; just as before His birth, He wished Mary to have a spouse, who, however, never attained to the married state. The disciple who doubted and touched his Risen Lord, thus became, a witness to the truth of the Resurrection, just as the spouse of His Mother was the guardian of her inviolate Virginity. Thomas touched and cried out: My Lord and my God. Jesus said to him – Because you have seen me, you have believed. But since the Apostle Paul says – Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things which appear not; it is certainly clear that faith is the evidence, of those things which cannot appear. The things which appear are the object, not of faith but of knowledge.
Why then is it said to Thomas, who saw and touched – Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed? But he saw one thing and believed another. Indeed, mortal man cannot see the Divinity. So Thomas saw a Man and confessed Him to be God, saying: My Lord and my God. He, therefore, believed through seeing, for, looking upon One Who was truly Man, he cried out that this was God, Whom he could not see! The words which follow are cause of great joy to us: Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed. These words are meant especially for us, who cherish, in our minds, Him, Whom we do not see in the flesh. They are meant for us but only if we carry out our faith in works. For he truly believes, who puts his faith into practice!” – St Gregory the Great (540-604) Pope. Father and one of the original four Doctors of the Latin Church (Sermon on the Feast of St Thomas).
PRAYER – O Lord, grant us, we beseech Thee, to glory in the Feast-day of blessed Thomas, Thy Apostle, that we maybe helped continually by his patronage and imitate his faith with a devotion like his. .Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Quote/s of the Day – 16 December – “The Month of the Divine Infant and the Immaculate Conception” – Friday of Ember Week in Advent – 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, Matthew 16:24-27 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“For he who would save his life will lose it but he who loses his life, for My sake will find it.”
“Take nothing for your journey, neither staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; neither have two tunics.”
“Since happiness is nothing else than the enjoyment of the Supreme Good and the Supreme Good is above us, no-one can enjoy happiness, unless he rises above himself.”
St Bonaventure (1221-1274) Seraphic Doctor of the Church
“O you souls who wish to go on with so much safety and consolation, if you knew how pleasing to God, is suffering and how much it helps, in acquiring other good things, you would never seek consolation in anything; but. you would rather look upon it, as a great happiness, to bear the Cross of the Lord.”
St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Doctor of the Church
“Perfection consists in one thing alone, which is doing the will of God. For, according to Our Lord’s words, it suffices for perfection to deny self, to take up the cross and to follow Him. Now who denies himself and takes up his cross and follows Christ better, than he who seeks not to do his own will but always that of God? Behold, now, how little is needed to become a Saint? Nothing more than to acquire the habit of willing, on every occasion, what God wills.”
St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
“Entrust yourself entirely to God. He is a Father and a most loving Father at that, Who would rather let Heaven and earth collapse, than abandon anyone who trusted in Him.”
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