Thought for the Day – 13 May – “Mary’s Month” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Ascension of Jesus
“When we meditate on the Ascension, we should humbly ask God, to give us the grace, to strip ourselves of our sins and defects. Then we shall be able to fly towards Him with love and hope in this life and, when our soul has been set free from the body which imprisons it on earth, we shall be able to set out on our last joyful flight into His presence. These are the reflections which should be in our minds around the feast of the Ascension. These are the desires which we should foster and the resolutions which we should form. Let us ask Our Lord, to bless them.
O Mary, my most holy Mother, implore your divine Son Jesus, now ascended into Heaven, that I may be more detached from the useless and passing goods of this earth. Ask Him to purify my soul from every stain of sin and to strengthen my will, in it’s good resolutions. Ask Him that my heart may rise nearer to God and to you, through it’s desire for perfection. Amen.”
One Minute Reflection – 13 May – “Mary’s Month” – Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 18: 1-8, Psalms 98: 1, 2-3, 3-4, John 16: 16-20 and the Memorial of Blessed Imelda Lambertini (1322-1333) Child Mystic, “Adorer of the Blessed Sacrament”
“Your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” … John 16:20… John 16:16
REFLECTION – Today, our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, let our hearts ascend with Him. Listen to the words of the Apostle – If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as He remained with us even after His ascension, so we too, are already in heaven with Him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.
Christ is now exalted above the heavens but He still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of His body have to bear. He showed this when He cried out from above – Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? and when He said: I was hungry and you gave me food.
Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with Him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to Him? While in heaven. He is also with us and we, while on earth, are with Him. He is here with us by His divinity, His power and His love. We cannot be in heaven, as He is on earth, by divinity but in Him, we can be there by love.
He did not leave heaven when He came down to us, nor did He withdraw from us when He went up again into heaven. The fact that He was in heaven even while He was on earth, is borne out by His own statement – No-one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. … Thus, no-one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body but because the body, as a unity cannot be separated from the head” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop and Great Western Father and Doctor of the Church – An excerpt from his Sermon on the Lord’s Ascension
PRAYER – Almighty God, fill us with a holy joy, teach us how to thank You with reverence and love for the joy of the ascension of Christ Your on. You have raised us up with Him, where He the head has preceded us in glory, there we, the body, are called in hope. Grant, too we beg, that by Mary’s prayer and the prayer of Your loving child Blessed Imelda Lambertini, we may give You faithful service and spread abroad the glory of Your nameThrough Christ our Lord, i the unity of the Holy Spirit and the glory of the Father, God forever, amen.
Madonna del Soccorso / Our Lady of Succour of Sicily (14th Century):
Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under this title began in Palermo, Sicily in the 14th century and has since spread throughout the Augustinians. It began when Father Nicola Bruno, who suffered from severe and long-term pains in his side, prayed to Our Lady for a cure while meditating on a painting of Mary in which she used a stick or club to chase away the dragon and protect the Infant Jesus, the artist was making reference to passages in Genesis and Revelations that referred to the eternal enmity between The Woman and the serpent. That night, Father Nicola received a vision of Mary and was cured. The painting received the title “Our Lady of Succour” and the devotion began. Since 1804 the celebration has had its own liturgy.
Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament: St Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868) and Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament:
The title of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament was first given to Mary by St Peter Julian Eymard in May 1868, while speaking to his novices. A few years later he described what her statue should look like: “The Blessed Virgin holds the Infant in her arms and He holds a chalice in one hand and a Host in the other.”
He exhorted them to invoke Mary: “Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, pray for us who have recourse to thee!”
St Anno of Verona St Argentea of Cordoba St Euthymius the Illuminator Bl Fortis Gabrielli Bl Gerard of Villamagna Bl Gemma of Goriano St Glyceria of Trajanopolis Blessed Imelda Lambertini (1322-1333) Child Mystic St John the Silent
St Lucius of Constantinople St Mael of Bardsey Bl Magdalen Albrizzi St Merewenna of Rumsey St Mucius of Byzantium St Natalis of Milan St Onesimus of Soissons St Servatus of Tongres St Valerian of Auxerre — Martyrs of Alexandria: A group of Catholic Christians martyred in the church of Theonas, Alexandria, Egypt by order of the Arian Emperor Valens. Their names have not come down to us. 372 in Alexandria, Egypt.
One Minute Reflection – 20 May – “Mary’s Month!” – Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 17: 15, 22 – 18: 1, Psalms 148: 1-2, 11-12, 13, 14, John 16: 12-15
“The Spirit of truth will guide you to all truth” … John 16:13
REFLECTION – “Who knows what pertains to a person, except the spirit of the person that is within? Similarly, no-one knows what pertains to God, except the Spirit of God” (1 Cor 2:11). Run, then, to enter into communion with the Holy Spirit. No sooner do we call on Him, than He is there and if we call on Him, it is because He is already present to us. When called, He comes, He comes in the abundance of divine blessings. He it is, Who is that rushing river giving joy to God’s city (Ps 46:5).
If, when He has come, He finds you to be humble and without anxiety, fearing God’s word, then He will come to rest on you and reveal to you those things that God hides from the wise and learned of this world (Mt 11:25). Then, all those truths will begin to shine out before you, that Wisdom spoke to the disciples while on earth but which they could not bear, before the coming of the Spirit of truth, that was to teach them all truth…
Just as those who worship God must necessarily worship Him “in spirit and truth” (Jn 4:24), so those who would know Him, have only to seek an understanding of the faith in the Holy Spirit. … In the midst of this life’s darkness and ignorance, He Himself is the light that shines out for the poor in spirit (Mt 5:3), the charity that attracts and sweetness, that ravishes the soul, the love of those who love and the devotion of those who yield themselves without reserve. He it is, who reveals God’s justice from conviction to conviction; who gives grace in return for grace (Jn 1:16) and the faith of enlightenment, to the faith of those who listen to the Word.” … St William of Saint-Thierry (c 1085-1148) – The Mirror of Faith, 6
PRAYER – Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created and Thou shall renew the face of the earth! O God who did give life to the world by the resurrection of Thou Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant that through the same Spirit, we may be ever truly wise and rejoice in His consolation and truth. Let the one holy Blessed Virgin, she who is the Spouse of the Holy Ghost, pray for us. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Ghost, one with You forever and ever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 11 May – “Mary’s Month” – Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter,Readings: Acts 16: 22-34, Psalms 138: 1-2, 2-3, 7-8, John 16: 5-11
“But I tell you the truth, it is expedient to you that I go; for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you but if I go, I will send him to you.” – John16:7
REFLECTION – “The Holy Spirit is the wheat that comforts us along the road to the fatherland, the wine that gives us joy in tribulation, the oil that sweetens life’s sorrows. This threefold support, was needed by the apostles who had to go out to preach through the whole world. This is why Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to them. They are filled with Him – filled, so that no impure spirits might gain entrance into them; when a container is completely full, nothing else can enter into it.
The Holy Spirit “will teach you.” (Jn 16,13) so that you can know; he will prompt you. so that you can will. He gives both knowledge and will, add to this our “ability,” according to the measure of our strength and we shall be temples of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 6,19).” – St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Franciscan, Doctor of the Church – Sermons
PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, Your ways are not our ways, teach us to willingly agree to them, for You know which way we should go. Help us to say “yes” always to Your plan and to render ourselves, as a sacrament of Your divine love to all we meet. Fill us with the Your grace and Your Spirit, to make us Your tools, to bring glory to Your kingdom. Our Father, who art in heaven, may Your Will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Mary Mother of God, pray for us! Through our Our Lord Jesus Christ together with the Holy Ghost ✠ in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Thought for the Day – 1 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Month of Mary
“This work of eradicating of our faults and replacing them by their opposite virtues, is a difficult task which we cannot carry out on our own. Prayer is necessary if we are to obtan the grace which we need. During Mary’s month, we should beseech our heavenly Mother, with greater earnestness, to obtain for us, from her divine Son, the grace which we need to correct the evil in our nature and to perfect it in goodness.
Mary wants us to pray to her because she wishes to obtain for us, the graces which we require. She loves us very much and is ready to help us to become, like her, living imitations of Jesus, insofar as the weakness of our nature will permit.
Among our other prayers, let us remember to give pride of place to the Holy Rosary, whether we recite it in Church or with the family. Let us include, at least a quarter of an hour meditation; a daily visit, however short, to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady’s Altar; an examination of conscience in the evening and many ejaculatory prayers during the day, which will express our love for Mary and for her divine Son.”
Quote/s of the Day – 28 April – The Memorial of Quote/s of the Day – 28 April – The Memorial of St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716)
“Take advantage of little sufferings even more than of great ones. God considers not so much what we suffer, as how we suffer. . . Turn everything to profit as the grocer does in his shop.”
“The salvation of the whole world began with the “Hail Mary.” Hence, the salvation of each person is also attached to this prayer.”
“Mary is the great mould of God … He who is cast in this divine mould is soon formed and moulded in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ in him. With little effort and in a short time, he will become divine, since he is cast in the same mould which formed a God.”
“The Rosary is the most powerful weapon to touch the Heart of Jesus, Our Redeemer, who loves His Mother.”
One Minute Reflection – 20 April – Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 7:51–8:1, Psalm 31:3-4, 6-8, 17, 21, John 6:30-35
“I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” … John 6:35
REFLECTION – “God, – Whose nature is goodness, Whose substance is love and Whose whole life is benevolence – sent His own Son into the world, the bread of angels, “because of the great love he had for us” (Eph 2,4), because He wanted to show us the meekness of His nature and the affection He has for His children. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (Jn 3,16).
This is the real bread that the Lord sent from heaven so that we may eat it…; this is what God, in His goodness, has prepared for the poor (Ps 67,9s). For Christ, who came down form heaven for all men and to the level of each one, attracts everything to Himself through His inexpressible goodness; He does not reject anybody and He receives all men who wish to repent. He gives all those who receive Him, the most delicious taste. He is the only one who can fulfill all our desires… and, He adapts Himself in different ways, to one and the other, according to the tendencies, the desires and the appetites of each one…
Everyone finds in Him a different taste… For He does not have the same flavour for the one who repents and for the beginner, for the one who progresses and for the one who is at the end. He does not have the same taste, in an apostolic life and in a contemplative life, nor for the one who makes use of the world and for the one who does not, for the bachelor and for the married man, for the one who fasts and for the one who makes a distinction between the different days and for the one who considers all days alike (Rom 14,5)…
This bread has a sweet taste because it delivers one from all worries, it heals sicknesses, it eases trials, it assists one’s efforts and strengthens one’s hopes…Those who have tasted it hunger for it, those who hunger, will be satisfied.” – Baldwin of Canterbury O.Cist (c 1125-1190) Cistercian Abbot, then Bishop – The Sacrament of the Altar III, 2
PRAYER – Almighty Father, to whom this world, with all it’s goodness and beauty belongs, give us grace joyfully to begin this day in Your name and to fill it with the active love for You and our neighbour. By the food You give us, to sustain us on this journey, we are brought to holiness in Your Son, our Lord Jesus the Christ, whom You gave to us as our food. May the Mother of Your Son and our mother, lead us to You and be a succour on our way. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Acts 7: 51 -60 51 You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Ghost, as your fathers did, so do you also. 52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them who foretold of the coming of the Just One; of whom you have been now the betrayers and murderers: 53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels,and have not kept it. 54 Now hearing these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed with their teeth at him. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looking up steadfastly to heaven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. 56 And he said: Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57 And they crying out with a loud voice, stopped their ears and with one accord ran violently upon him. 58 And casting him forth without the city, they stoned him and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man, whose name was Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen, invoking and saying: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And falling on his knees, he cried with a loud voice, saying: Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep in the Lord. And Saul was consenting to his death.
Gospel: John 6: 30-35 30 They said, therefore, to him: What sign, therefore, dost thou shew, that we may see, and may believe thee? What dost thou work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you,Moses gave you not bread from heaven but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. 34 They saidthereforeunto him: Lord, give us always this bread. 35 And Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life, he that comes to me, shall not hunger and he that believes in me, shall never thirst.
Thought for the Day – 15 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
What the Holy Spirit Requires of Us
“The Holy Spirit, coming into our souls, asks us to do four things, in particular.
(1) To keep far from us everything which could be displeasing to God. This means that we must avoid sin, which is hateful to God and brings about the death of the soul. When the sin is grave, it destroys charity in us; when it is venial sin, it diminishes our fervour and capacity for good action. We have become the temples of the Holy Spirit. Let us do our best, therefore, to keep ourselves pure and free from every stain of sin. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph 4:30).
(2) To avoid contamination by the spirit of the world, which is repugnant to the Spirit of God. The world is selfish and we should be on fire with love for God and for our neighbour. The world is vain and proud and we should love obscurity, recollection and humility. The world looks for happiness in honour, wealth and pleasure in the passing goods of this life. We, on the other hand, should seek our happiness in eternal and heavenly values because God alone can satisfy our hearts and make us happy.
(3) Too avoid affections which are too human and sensual. Only the clean of heart can see and enjoy God. All the objects and all the people of this world, should form for us, a ladder which leads to God.
(4) To seek the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in recollection and in prayer.
We should listen for His voice within us, inspiring and advising us. We should do, obediently, whatever He desires, no matter what sacrifices this may entail.”
Quote/s of the Day – 15 April – Thursday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 5:27-33, Psalm 34:2, 9, 17-20, John 3:31-36
“And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you and will be in you.”
“Remember, then, that you received a spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear. Keep safe what you received. God the Father sealed you, Christ the Lord strengthened you and sent the Spirit into your hearts as the pledge of what is to come.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctor of the Church
“I believe in the surprises of the Holy Spirit. The story of the Church is a long story, filled with the wonders of the Holy Spirit. Why should we think that God’s imagination and love might be exhausted?”
One Minute Reflection – 215April – Thursday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 5:27-33, Psalm 34:2, 9, 17-20, John 3:31-36
“ For he whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God, for God doth not give the Spirit by measure. … but he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life but the wrath of God abideth on him.” … John 3:34,36
REFLECTION – “How can someone with little or no faith be made to realise that an ant grows wings, a caterpillar turns into a butterfly and many other strange and unexpected things happen in nature, so that in this way he shakes off the sickness of unbelief and despair, himself acquires wings and buds in spiritual knowledge like a tree? “I am He,” God says, “who makes the dry tree flourish; I give life to dry bones” (cf. Ezek 17:24; 37:1-14). (…) Sometimes our soul grows despondent at the huge swarm of its sins and temptations, and says: “Our hope is gone and we are lost” (Ezek 37:11 LXX). Yet God, who does not despair of our salvation, says to us: “You shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezek 37:6). To the soul that doubts how it can ever give birth to Christ through great acts of holiness, these words are said: “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you” (Lk 1:35). Where the Holy Spirit is present do not expect anymore the sequence and laws of nature and habit. The Holy Spirit, Whom we worship, is all-powerful and, in an astonishing way, He brings into existence what does not as yet exist within us. The intellect, which was previously defeated, He now makes victorious. For the Paraclete, Who in compassion, comes upon us from above, “is higher than all” (Jn 3:31) and He raises us above all natural impulses.” … St John of Karpathos (7th century) Bishop, Monk
PRAYER – Lord God, whose name is holy and whose mercy is proclaimed in every generation, send forth Your Spirit into our hearts and grant that, faithfully pondering on all that is holy, we may ever live in the splendour of Your presence. Listen we beseech You, to the prayers we request from the Blessed Virgin Mary and all Your Angels and Saints, that we may ever entreat the Holy Spirit to grant us His light. We make our prayer through Christ, Your Son our Lord and Saviour, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever amen.
Acts 5: 27-33 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying: Commanding we commanded you, that you should not teach in this name and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine and you have a mind to bring the blood of this man upon us. 29 But Peter and the apostles answering, said: We ought to obey God, rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers hath raised up Jesus, whom you put to death, hanging him upon a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and remission of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these things and the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to all that obey him. 33 When they had heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they thought to put them to death.
Gospel: John 3: 31-36 31 He that cometh from above, is above all. He that is of the earth, of the earth he is, and of the earth he speaketh. He that cometh from heaven, is above all. 32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth and no man receiveth his testimony. 33 He that hath received his testimony, hath set to his seal that God is true. 34 For he whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God, for God doth not give the Spirit by measure. 35 The Father loveth the Son: and he hath given all things into his hand. 36 He that believeth in the Son, hath life everlasting but he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Thought for the Day – 3 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Death of our Saviour
“Quite apart from the most fearful physical torments, such as the Scourging, the Crowning with Thorns and the Crucifixion, Jesus willed to endure extreme moral sufferings, such as the betrayal by Judas, the desertion by His Apostles in His hour of trial and the denial by the Head of the Apostles himself. He willed to endure an even greater spiritual affliction than these, which was so mysterious as to be almost beyond our understanding. This, was His abandonment by His heavenly Father. “My God, my God,” He cries out in His last agony, “why hast thou forsaken me.” His human heart elected to experience, at that moment, the removal of the inmost consolations and joys, which flowed from His continual union with His heavenly Father. He was both Man and God. His human nature was hypostatically united to the Word and in this way, even His human nature participated in His infinite happiness. As Man, however, He chose to be deprived of this happiness. Being burdened with all our sins, He wished to endure the most frightful sufferings and even abandonment by His heavenly Father.
We shall be able to understand this, if we ever experience moral affliction, which can be much worse than physical pain. On thee occasions, we should we should console ourselves with the reflection, that Jesus has walked this way of sorrows before us. Then we shall remain united in these tials to Him, Who is the only source of comfort and resignation. Let us prostrate ourselves before His lifeless Body, covered with sores and furrowed with blood!”
One Minute Reflection – 3 April – Holy Saturday, The Easter Vigil of the Holy Night, Readings: First Reading: Genesis 1: 1 – 2: 2 or 1: 1, 26-31a, Psalm: Psalms 104: 1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 13-14, 24, 35 Second Reading: Genesis 22: 1-18 or 22: 1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18, Gospel: Mark 16: 1-7
“But go, tell his disciples and Peter, that he goeth before you into Galilee; there you shall see him, as he told you” – Mark 1:7
REFLECTION – “Solomon says, there is a time for joy and a time for grief. Grief has departed, the time for joy has come, that true joy which proceeds from Christ’s Resurrection. … For you, the Victor rose from hell; He wore down the gates of brass and broke the bars of iron. He occupied hell’s fortresses and crushed the dragon’s head. He inflicted great slaughter upon His enemies and bound the prince of hell. He slew death and cast into chains, the author of death. … Then He brought back His own, from the darkness and broke their chains. He united with Himself, the souls of all the just, walking in the light of His Countenance and rejoicing in His Name. Raised high by His justice, were they, who were brought low, through injustice. For him: “I am alone until I pass over.” (cf. Ps 140:10) Alone when He entered but by no means alone, as He went forth, for He brought back with Him, countless thousands of the saints. He fell to the earth and died, that He might bear much fruit. (Jn 12:24) He laid Himself down at seed time, that He might, at the harvest, gather the human race. … For at the baptismal font, dead to the sins within ourselves, we are born again to Christ through the cleansing of regeneration, that we may live to Him, Who died for all. So the Apostle Paul says: “As many of you as were baptised in ChristM have put on the person of Christ.” (Gal 3:27) Therefore, from one grain come many harvests. … Of Him also the Apostle says: “Therefore, God has exalted him and given him a name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, things on earth and of things under the earth.” (Phil 2:9-10) In truth, the knee of those in hell, bend before him in dread, the knee of those on earth, through self-interest, of those in heaven, through their blessedness.” – Saint Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) Cistercian Monk, then Bishop – Homily VI on the Blessed Virgin Mary, SC 72 (Magnificat: Homilies in praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, Whose only-begotten Son descended to the realm of the derad and rose from there to glory, grant that Your faithful people who were buried with Him in Baptism, may by His Resurrection, obtain eternal life. Lumen Christi …. Deo Gratias! Amen
Thought for the Day – 2 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“After a painful and exhausting journey, Jesus reaches Calvary, where He is to be Crucified. Once again, He is stripped of His garments, which, by this time, have become stuck to His swollen sores. Then, He is stretched upon the wooden Cross, to which, one of the brutal executioners fastens His Hands and Feet, with blows from a hammer. The sharp nails are driven through His flesh into the hard wood. Jesus looks upwards and offers Himself in silence, as a Victim of Expiation, on behalf of His tormentors and of all of us. His Mother Mary, is standing a few paces away in the company of the holy women and of the beloved Disciple. The blows of the hammer pierce the maternal heart of the Blessed Virgin but,she remains silent also and prays.
When we have been afflicted by misfortune or sorrow and our hearts are racked with grief, how do we behave? Have we the resignation, the trust in God and the spirit of prayer, which Jesus and Mary had on Calvary? Let us remind ourselves, that we are members of the Mystical Body of Christ. If Jesus our Head, has suffered, how much more, do miserable sinners like the rest of us ,deserve to suffer!? Jesus wishes us to participate in the work of redemption by uniting our sufferings to His. “I rejoice now,” says St Paul, “in the suffering I bear … and what is lacking of the suffering of Christ, I fill up in my flesh…” (Col 1:24).
Let us face adversity with courage, therefore and keep our eyes hopefully towards Heaven. Let us remember, as St Paul also says, that even as we share in the sufferings of Christ, so we shall share in His triumph (Cf 2 Cor 1:7). Jesus had to ascen Mount Calvary, before He could ascend to Heaven. If we are to walk in His footsteps, we shall have to do the same.”
One Minute Reflection – 1 April – Maundy Thursday, Evening Vigil Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Readings: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14, Psalms 116:12-13, 15-18, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-15
“Jesus, knowing that his hour was come, … he loved them unto the end.” – John 13:1
REFLECTION – “Be obedient to the death, following the example of the spotless Lamb who obeyed His Father even to a shameful death on the Cross. Reflect that He is the way and the rule you are to follow. Always hold Him present before the eyes of your spirit. See how obedient He is, this Word, this Utterance of God! He does not refuse to take up the burden of suffering laid on Him by His Father; to the contrary, He throws Himself into it, spurred on by His great desire. Isn’t this what He reveals during the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, when He says: “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Lk 22:15)? By “eat this Passover” He means, the accomplishment of the Father’s will and His desire. Seeing that scarcely any time lies before Him (He was already looking ahead to the end, when He would sacrifice His body for our sake), He rejoices, He is glad and joyfully says: “I have greatly desired.” Here is the Passover He is speaking about – that which consists in giving His own self as food, in laying down His own body in obedience to the Father.
Jesus had celebrated many another Passover with His disciples but never this one, O unspeakable, sweet and burning charity! You think neither of Your suffering nor of Your humiliating death – if You had thought of them, You would not have been so joyful, You would not have called it a Passover. The Word sees ,that it is He Himself Who has been chosen, He Himself Who has received all our humanity as His spouse. He has been asked to give us His own Blood so that God’s will might be accomplished in us, so that it might be His Blood that sanctifies us. This is, indeed, the sweet Passover, this Lamb without blemish accepts (cf. Ex 12:5) and it is with great love and great desire that He fulfils the Father’s will and wholly carries out His design. What unspeakably sweet love! …
That is why, my beloved, I beg you never to entertain the least dread and to place all your trust in the Blood of Christ Crucified … May all servile fear be banished from your spirits. You will say with Saint Paul …: “I can do all things through Christ crucified, since he is within me by desire and love and he strengthens me” (cf. Phil 4:13; Gal 2:20). Love, love, love! By His Blood, the gentle Lamb has made an unassailable rock of your soul.” – St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Dominican tertiary, Doctor of the Church, Co-patron of Europe – Letter 129
PRAYER – Love of You, with our whole heart, Lord God, is holiness. Increase then Your gifts of divine grace in us, so that, as in Your Son’s Death, You made us hope for what we believe, You may likewise, in His Resurrection, make us come to You, our final end. Listen we beg, to the prayers of Your holy ones and may the Blessed Mother walk along with us and keep our hand, ever in hers. Through Jesus Himself, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God with You, forever and ever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 27 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Passion of Our Lord
“The Crucifix is a simple meditation manual, open and intelligible to all, even to the most illiterate. Anyone who turns to it, can study the sorrowful gaze of Jesus, His heart pierced with love for men. His head crowned with thorns, His hands and feet transfixed with nails which support His divine body, streaming blood and writhing in anguish. The Crucifix should be dear and sacred to every Catholic. It should stand at the head of his bed, hang around his neck and hold a prominent position in his place of work or study.
Above all, however, the Crucifix should have its place in the heart of every fervent Catholic. At every moment of his life, in time of sadness and of joy, he should remember, that God became man and suffered and died for him. He should remember also, that this implies an obligation on his part, to work, suffer and die, for the love of God alone.
Many people meditate on the Crucifix. They kiss it and claim to love it. But while they love the Crucifix, they have no love for their particular cross, which they try, by every means in their power, to fling far away from them. Now, it is very certain, that anyone who does not love his own cross, does not really love the Crucifix, for Jesus has told us that, “if anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mt 16:24).”
Quote/s of the Day – 25 March – The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14; 8: 10, Psalms 40:7-8,8-9, 10, 11, Hebrews 10:4-10, Luke 1:26-38
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
“And so, when God’s birth is proclaimed to you, keep silent. Let Gabriel’s word be held in your mind for nothing is impossible to this glorious Majesty, who humbled Himself for us and was born of our humanity.”
“In her, God spun a garment with which to save us.”
St Ephrem (306-373) Father & Doctor
“He came from Him, from whom He did not depart, going forth from Him, with whom He stayed, so that without intermission, He was wholly in eternity, wholly in time, wholly was He found in the Father when wholly in the Virgin, wholly in His own majesty and in His Father’s, at the time when He was wholly in our humanity. ”
“Has anyone ever come away from Mary, troubled or saddened or ignorant of the heavenly Mysteries? Who has not returned to everyday life gladdened and joyful because a request has been granted by the Mother of God?”
St Amadeus of Lausanne (1110-1159)
“The Father bending down to this beautiful creature, who was so unaware of her own beauty, willed that she be the Mother, in time, of Him, Whose Father He is, in eternity. Then the Spirit of love, Who presides over all of God’s works, came upon her; the Virgin said her fiat: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word” and the greatest of mysteries, was accomplished!”
Our Morning Offering – 25 March – The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary. R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. Hail Mary, full of grace, The Lord is with Thee; Blessed art thou among women, And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners, Now and at the hour of our death. Amen V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord. R. Be it done unto me according to thy word. Hail Mary, etc. V. And the Word was made Flesh. R. And dwelt among us. Hail Mary, etc. V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. LET US PRAY Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen
A tradition, which has come down from the apostolic ages, tells us that the great mystery of the Incarnation, was achieved on the twenty-fifth day of March. It was at the hour of midnight, when the most holy Virgin was alone and absorbed in prayer, that the Archangel Gabriel appeared before her and asked her, in the name of the Blessed Trinity, to consent to become the Mother of God. Let us assist, in spirit, at this wonderful interview between the angel and the Virgin: and, at the same time, let us think of that other interview which took place between Eve and the serpent. A holy Bishop and Martyr of the second century, Saint Irenaeus, who had received the tradition from the very disciples of the Apostles, shows us that Nazareth, is the counterpart of Eden.
In the garden of delights there is a virgin and an angel and a conversation takes place-between them. At Nazareth a virgin is also addressed by an angel and she answers him but the angel of the earthly paradise, is a spirit of darkness and he of Nazareth, is a spirit of light. In both instances, it is the angel that has the first word. ‘Why,’ said the serpent to Eve, ‘hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise?’ His question implies impatience and a solicitation to evil, he has contempt for the frail creature to whom he addresses it but he hates the image of God, which is upon her.
See, on the other hand, the angel of light; see with what composure and peacefulness he approaches the Virgin of Nazareth, the new Eve and how respectfully he bows himself down before her: ‘Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women!’ Such language is evidently of heaven, none but an angel could speak thus to Mary.
Scarcely has the wicked spirit finished speaking than Eve casts a longing look at the forbidden fruit, she is impatient to enjoy the independence it is to bring her. She rashly stretches forth her hand, she plucks the fruit, she eats it and death takes possession of her: death of the soul, for sin extinguishes the light of life; and death of the body, which being separated from the source of immortality, becomes an object of shame and horror and finally, crumbles into dust.
But let us turn away our eyes from this sad spectacle and fix them on Nazareth. Mary has heard the angel’s explanation of the mystery, the will of heaven is made known to her and how grand an honour it is to bring upon her! She, the humble maid of Nazareth, is to have the ineffable happiness of becoming the Mother of God and yet, the treasure of her virginity is to be left to her! Mary bows down before this sovereign will and says to the heavenly messenger: ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me, according to thy word.’
Thus, as the great St Irenaeus and so many of the holy fathers remark, the obedience of the second Eve, repaired the disobedience of the first, for no sooner does the Virgin of Nazareth speak her fiat, ‘be it done,’ than the eternal Son of God (who, according to the divine decree, awaited this word) is present, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, in the chaste womb of Mary and there, He begins His human life. A Virgin is a Mother and Mother of God and it is this Virgin’s consenting to the divine will, that has made her conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost. This sublime mystery puts between the eternal Word and a mere woman, the relations of Son and Mother, it gives to the almighty God, a means whereby He may, in a manner worthy of His majesty, triumph over satan, who hitherto seemed to have prevailed against the divine plan.
Never was there a more entire or humiliating defeat than that which this day befell satan. The frail creature, over whom he had so easily triumphed at the beginning of the world, now rises and crushes his proud head. Eve conquers in Mary. God would not choose man for the instrument of His vengeance, the humiliation of satan would not have been great enough and, therefore, she who was the first prey of hell, the first victim of the tempter, is selected to give battle to the enemy. The result of so glorious a triumph is, that Mary is to be superior not only to the rebel angels but to the whole human race, yea, to all the angels of heaven. Seated on her exalted throne, she, the Mother of God, is to be the Queen of all creation. Satan, in the depths of the abyss, will eternally bewail his having dared to direct his first attack against the woman, for God has now so gloriously avenged her and, in heaven, the very Cherubim and Seraphim reverently look up to Mary and deem themselves honoured, when she smiles upon them, or employs them in the execution of any of her wishes, for she is the Mother of their God.
Therefore is it that we, the children of Adam, who have been snatched by Mary’s obedience from the power of hell, solemnise this day of the Annunciation. Well may we say of Mary, those words of Debbora, when she sang her song of victory over the enemies of God’s people: ‘The valiant men ceased and rested in Israel, until Debbora arose, a mother arose in Israel. The Lord chose new wars and He Himself, overthrew the gates of the enemies.’ Let us also refer to the holy Mother of Jesus, these words of Judith, who by her victory over the enemy was another type of Mary: ‘Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in Him. And by me, His handmaid, He hath fulfilled His mercy, which He promised to the house of Israel and He hath killed the enemy of His people, by my hand this night. . . . The almighty Lord hath struck him and hath delivered him into the hands of a woman and hath slain him.’
Our Lady of Betania: The name Betania means Bethany in Spanish. It was originally given this name by Maria Esperanza and was the site of their farm, in Venezuela. Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary were reported and eventually a small Chapel was built there and the faithful began to gather, especially on Feast Days but throughout the year.
St Alfwold of Sherborne St Barontius of Pistoia St Desiderius of Pistoia St Dismas (Crucified with Jesus) “The Good Thief”
Bl Everard of Nellenburg Bl Herman of Zahringen St Hermenland St Humbert of Pelagius Bl James Bird Bl Josaphata Mykhailyna Hordashevska St Kennocha of Fife St Lucia Filippini St Marie-Alphonsine/Mariam Sultaneh Danil Ghattas (1843-1927) About St Marie-Alphonusine: https://anastpaul.com/2020/03/25/saint-of-the-day-25-march-st-marie-alphonsine-danil-ghattas-1843-1927/ St Matrona of Barcelona St Matrona of Thessaloniki St Mona of Milan St Ndre Zadeja Bl Pawel Januszewski St Pelagius of Laodicea Bl Placido Riccardi St Procopius St Quirinus of Rome Bl Tommaso of Costacciaro — 262 Martyrs of Rome: A group 262 Christians martyred together in Rome. We know nothing else about them, not even their names.
Day Twenty three of our Lenten Journey – 11 March – Thursday of the Third Week of Lent, Readings: Jeremiah 7:23-28, Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7,8-9, Luke 11:14-23
Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
In You is the source of life and in Your Light Lord, we see light Psalm 35(36)
“The kingdom of God has come upon you” – Luke 11:20
Oh, when will these evils end? When shall I be freed from the miserable slavery of vice? When, Lord, shall I think of You alone? When shall I fully rejoice in You? When shall I be without hindrance, in true liberty, free from every grievance of mind and body? When will there be solid peace, undisturbed and secure, inward peace and outward peace, peace secured on every side? O good Jesus, when shall I stand to gaze upon You? When shall I contemplate the glory of Your kingdom? When will You be all in all to me? Oh, when shall I be with You in that kingdom of Yours, which You have prepared for Your beloved from all eternity?
Blessed is the man who for Your sake, O Lord, dismisses all creatures, does violence to nature, crucifies the desires of the flesh in fervour of spirit, so that with serene conscience he can offer You a pure prayer and, having excluded all earthly things, inwardly and outwardly, becomes worthy to enter into the heavenly choirs. (Book 3 Ch 48:3)
“They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard and killed him”… Matthew 21:39
REFLECTION – “The vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the house of Israel” says the prophet (Is 5:7). We ourselves are this house… and, since we are His Israel, we are the vineyard. So let us take good care that grapes of wrath (Rv 14:19) rather than sweetness do not grow from our branches, so that no-one may say to us: “I expected grapes but it yielded wild grapes” (Is 5:4). What fruitless soil! The soil that should have presented its master with fruits of sweetness, pierced Him with its sharp thorns. In the same way His enemies, who ought to have welcomed our Saviour with all the devotion of their faith, crowned Him with the thorns of His Passion. In their eyes this crown expressed insult and abuse but in the Lord’s eyes it was the crown of virtue…
My brethren, take good care that no one says with regard to you: “He expected it to yield grapes but it yielded wild grapes” (Is 5:2)… Let us be careful that our evil deeds do not rub against our Lord’s head like thorns. ” … St Maximus of Turin (c 380-c 420) – Sermon for the feast of Saint Cyprian – CC Sermon 11
PRAYER – Almighty God, help us dear Father to produce fruits acceptable to You. Help us to reach out of our enclosed spaces in love to all. Even when the road is rocky, grant that we may not falter but always turn back to Your merciful gaze.ay the prayers of our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, who fearlessly withstood the fury of evil, be a help in our times of need and fear. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen.
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” … Matthew 23:12
REFLECTION – “Humility is a secret power the saints receive when they bring all their life’s ascetical practices to a successful conclusion. For indeed, this power is only bestowed on those who attain to the perfection of virtue through the strength of grace … It is the same power the blessed Apostles received in the form of fire. Our Saviour commanded them, in fact, not to leave Jerusalem until they had received the power from on high (Acts 2:3; 1:4). Here Jerusalem stands for virtue; the power is humility and the power from on high, is the Paraclete, in other words the Consoler Spirit.
Now this is exactly what Sacred Scripture had said – these mysteries are revealed to the humble (Lk 10:21). To the humble it is given to receive within themselves that Spirit of revelation that uncovers mysteries. That is why certain saints have said that humility is what brings the soul to fulfilment in divine contemplation. So let no-one start thinking they have attained complete humility because at some moment a thought of compunction came to them or because they shed a few tears …. But if someone has overcome every contrary spirit …, if he has overturned and subjected all the strongholds of the enemy and if he then feels that he has received that grace in which “the Spirit bears witness to our spirit” (Rom 8:16), in the Apostle Paul’s words, then there is the perfection of humility. Blessed are they who possess it. For they continually embrace the breast of Jesus (cf. Jn 13,25).” … St Isaac the Syrian of Nineveh (c 613-c 700) Bishop of Nineveh, Monk at Mosul – Ascetical discourses, 1st series, no 20
PRAYER – Almighty Father, look with favour on Your family and as You have given us Your Son as Master and Redeemer, grant that we may be strengthened by Your grace, to follow His teachings. May the prayers of St Chad be heard for ou needs. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 17 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Commandments and the Desires of Jesus Christ
“Whoever has Jesus in his heart,” writes St Francis de Sales, “has Him also in his actions.” If God really lives in us, He cannot be inactive but will work with us for our sanctification. Our actions must be the actions of Jesus Christ. Remember that the Gospel says, that a good tree will produce good fruit, while a bad tree will produce bad fruit (Cf Mt 7:17). From the fruits which we produce, we can see clearly, if Jesus is working in us. Holiness consists in accepting the will of God, whatever it is, whether it be sacrifice, sorrow or humiliation. We must allow Jesus to act in us as He desires. Not only must we conform to His holy will but, we must do so, with enthusiasm. We must be obedient instruments of His grace, doing precisely what He wants us to do. If He wishes us to suffer, we must be prepared to do so for Him, knowing that we are participating and, co-operating, in the work of His Redemption. If He desires us to be happy, we should humbly accept happiness from His Hands. Everything must be as Jesus wills. We must transform ourselves into Him, like the white host which first is bread and through the act of consecration, becomes Jesus Christ!”
Day Twelve of our Lenten Journey – 28 February – The Second Sunday of Lent, Readings: Genesis 22:1-2, 9, 10-13, 15-18, Psalms 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19, Romans 8:31-34, Mark 9:2-10
Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
In You is the source of life and in Your Light Lord, we see light Psalm 35(36)
“He was transfigured before them and his clothes became dazzling white” – Mark 9:2-3
DISCIPLE: Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears. I am Your servant and beg You for the understanding to know Your commandments. Incline my heart to follow Your holy teachings, that they may seep into my soul as dew seeps into the grass. … Speak to me Yourself Lord, for Your servant is listening. You alone have the words of eternal life, speak them to me that they may comfort my soul and help me to amend my whole life – all to Your everlasting honour and glory.
CHRIST: “My child, hear My words and follow them, for they are most sweet and far exceed the learning and wisdom of the philosophers and all the wise of the world. My words are spirit and life and not within the scope of human understanding. They are not to be adapted or applied to the vain complacency of the hearer but are to be heard in silence, with humility and reverence, with deep affection and in great tranquillity of body and soul.”
DISCIPLE:“Happy is the man whom Thou admonishest, O Lord and teachest out of Thy law, to give him peace from the days of evil,” (Ps 94:12-13) and that he be not desolate on earth.
CHRIST: “I taught the prophets from the beginning and even to this day I continue to speak to all men. But many are hardened. Many are deaf to My Voice. Most men listen more willingly to the world than to God. They are more ready to follow the appetite of their flesh, than the good pleasure of God. The world, which promises small and passing things, is served with great eagerness. I promise great and eternal things but the hearts of men grow dull. Who is there that serves and obeys Me in all things, with as great care, as that with which the world and its masters are served?
… And if you ask why, listen to the cause, for a small gain they travel far, for eternal life many will scarcely lift a foot from the ground. They seek a petty reward and sometimes fight shamefully in law courts for a single piece of money. They are not afraid to work day and night for a trifle or an empty promise. But, for an unchanging good, for a reward beyond estimate, for the greatest honour and for glory everlasting, it must be said to their shame, that men begrudge even the least fatigue. Be ashamed, then, lazy and complaining servant, that they should be found more eager for perdition than you are for life, that they rejoice more in vanity than you in truth.
Sometimes indeed, their expectations fail them but My promise never deceives, nor does it send away empty-handed, him who trusts in Me. What I have promised, I will give. What I have said, I will fulfil, if only a man remain faithful in My love to the end. I am the rewarder of all the good, the strong approver of all who are devoted to Me.
Write My words carefully on your heart and meditate on them earnestly, for in time of temptation they will be very necessary. What you do not understand when you read, you will learn in the day of visitation. I am wont to visit My elect in two ways – by temptation and by consolation. To them I read two lessons daily – one reproving their vices, the other exhorting them to progress in virtue. He who has My words and despises them, has that, which shall condemn him on the last day!“ (Books 3 Ch2:1a,3b and Ch3:1-6)
Quote/s of the Day – 28 February – The Second Sunday of Lent, Readings: Genesis 22:1-2, 9, 10-13, 15-18, Psalms 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19, Romans 8:31-34, Mark 9:2-10
“And a cloud overshadowed them and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
“… He was also providing a firm foundation for the hope of holy Church. The whole body of Christ was to understand, the kind of transformation, that it would receive as His gift. The members of that body were to look forward to a share in that glory which first blazed out in Christ their head.”
St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor of the Church
“In most holy contemplation we shall be ever filled with the sight of God shining gloriously around us, as once it shone for the disciples at the divine Transfiguration. And there we shall be, our minds away from passion and from earth and we shall have a conceptual gift, of light from Him and, somehow, in a way we cannot know, we shall be united with Him and, our understanding carried away, blessedly happy, we shall be struck by His blazing light. Marvellously, our minds, will be like those in the heavens above.”
Pseudo Dionysius the Areopogite (5th-6th Century) (The Divine Names, 1)
“By His loving foresight, He allowed them to taste for a short time, the contemplation of eternal joy, so that they might bear persecution bravely.”
The Venerable St Bede (673-735) Father and Doctor of the Church
“At His Transfiguration Christ showed His disciples, the splendour of His beauty, to which He will shape and colour those who are His: ‘He will reform our lowness configured to the body of his glory.’”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274) Doctor of the Church
“He was transfigured before them and his clothes became dazzling white” – Mark 9:2-3
REFLECTION – “Three persons were chosen to climb the mountain, two to appear with the Lord … Peter, who received the keys of the Kingdom of heaven, was one of those who climbed up and John, to whom was entrusted the Mother of Jesus and James, who would be the first to be elevated to the Episcopal dignity. Then Moses and Elijah, the Law and the prophets, appeared together with the Word … Let us, too, climb the mountain, let us beg the Word of God to appear to us in His “splendour and beauty,” to “be strong, go forth in majesty and reign” (Ps 45:4). …
For if you do not ascend to the peak of a higher knowledge, Wisdom will not appear to you, understanding of the mysteries will not make itself known. The splendour and beauty to be found in the Word of God will not appear to you but God’s Word will seem like a body “without grace or beauty” (Is 53:2). He will seem to you like a man of suffering, “accustomed to infirmity” (v. 3) and like a word born of man, covered with the veil of the letter and not shining with the power of the Spirit (cf. 2 Cor 3:6-17). …
His clothing takes one appearance at the foot of the mountain, another at the top. It might be said that the garments of the Word are Scripture’s words that, so to speak, clothe the divine thoughts. And just as He appeared to Peter, James and John under another aspect, His garment dazzling white, so the meaning of the divine Scriptures is already explained in your mind’s eye. Thus the divine words become like snow “such as no one on earth could bleach them” …
Then followed a cloud, that hid them under its shadow. This shadow is the divine Spirit, which does not cover over men’s hearts but brings to light, what lies hidden … You see, perfect faith is knowledge of the Son of God, not just for beginners but for the perfect and even for the inhabitants of heaven.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan, Father and Doctor of the Church – Commentary on Saint Luke’s Gospel, VII9 f.
PRAYER – God our Father, You bid us listen to Your Son, the well-beloved. Nourish our heats on Your Word, purify the eyes of our mind and fill us with joy, at the vision of Your glory. May our Blessed Virgin Mother Mary accompan us and intercede for us as we strive to purify our lives. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 28 February – The Second Sunday of Lent
My Lord, I am Unworthy! Prayer before Holy Communion By St Bonaventure (1217-1274) Doctor of the Church
My Lord, Who are You and who am I, that I should dare to take You into my body and soul? A thousand years of penance and tears would not be sufficient to make me worthy to receive so royal a Sacrament even once! How much more am I unworthy of it, who fall into sin daily, I, the incorrigible, who approach You so often without due preparation! Nevertheless, Your mercy infinitely surpasses my unworthiness. Therefore, I make bold to receive this Sacrament, trusting in Your love. Amen
Thought for the Day – 27 February– Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Death of our Saviour – Pray for your Enemies!
“In the midst of His sufferings, Jesus forgets Himself and pray for His executioners. “Father,” He pleaded, “forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:34). Who were these people who crucified Him? We know well that they were not only the Jews but all of us. The prophet Isaiah, had foretold this. “He was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins … He was offered because it was his own will…” (Is 53:5-7). We are all the crucifiers of Jesus. Therefore, He willed to suffer and to die for all of us and when He was hanging on the Cross, He begged for forgiveness for us all. This should incite us to trust in God and to do repentance for our sins. We should be sorry for our sins because, they were the real cause of the voluntary death of Jesus. We should have confidence in Him, because, He prayed for us and forgave us when He was dying on the Cross and is ready to pardon us again, as long as we are sincerely repentant.
Let us consider how Jesus, even though He was derided and nailed to the Cross, prayed for and forgave His executioners. How do we normally behave? Perhaps we fly into anger at the first word of offence or act of misunderstanding, or perhaps we nourish secret feelings of hatred in our hearts for our brothers in Jesus Christ? Let us kneel before the Cross and tell Our Lord, that we wish to be meek and humble of heart, like Him. We wish to be quick to forgive and to live in peace and, even, if it is necessary, to do good to those who offend us, or at any rate, to pray fervently for them.”
Quote/s of the Day – 24 February – Wednesday of the First week of Lent, Readings: Jonah 3:1-10,Psalms 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19, Luke 11:29-32
“The sign of Jonah”
“Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your hearts, not your garments and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness and relenting in punishment.”
“… In the conceitedness of our souls, without taking the least trouble to obey the Lord’s commandments, we think ourselves worthy to receive the same reward as those who have resisted sin to the death!”
St Basil the Great (329-379) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Today, for those who will not repent at the approach of the kingdom of heaven, the reproof of the Lord Jesus is the same… As for when the end of the world will be, that is God’s concern… Even so, the time is very near for each of us, for we are mortal.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of Grace
“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).
St Theodore the Studite (759-826)
“And when I hear it said, that God is good and He will pardon us and then see, that men cease not from evil-doing, oh, how it grieves me! The infinite goodness with which God communicates with us, sinners as we are, should constantly make us love and serve Him better but we, on the contrary, instead of seeing in His goodness an obligation to please Him, convert it into an excuse for sin, which will, of a certainty, lead in the end, to our deeper condemnation.”