Thought for the Day – 9 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Repentance of St Peter
“Peter had denied his Master three times. He was standing in the courtyard of the High Priest, waming hmself before a brazier and not even thinking of the depths to which he had descended. Jesus, caluminated, struck and mocked, as if He were a criminal, forgets altogether about Himself. Moved by compassion for the leader of His Apostles, now become a perjurer, He turns His gaze towards him. Peter is jerked back to his senses by this look, which is at the same time, stern and affectionate. He realises at last, the level to which he has fallen. He is stricken to the heart and feels a sudden tightness in hs throat. “And Peter went out and wept bitterly” (Lk 22:62).
Peter saw clearly, at this stage, the chasm into which he had fallen. He thought of all the gifts and favours which he had received from Jesus and recalled the prophecy which his Master had made. “A cock will not crow ths day, until thou hast denied, three times, that thou knowest me” (Lk 22:34). He remembered, also, how he had sworn that he would never deny Jesus. Now he saw himself in the role of the prodigal son or the lost sheep … and, as he wept bitterly, he saw again, the reproachful, yet loving gaze of Jesus. His grief found an outlet in hIs tears and he was filled with confidence, that Jesus, in His infinite goodness, wuld forgive him.
If we should fall (as we often do, unfortunately), let us rise again immediately, as Peter did. Let us weep for our sins and kneeling before Jesus, represented by the Priest, let us confess our faults and tell God, that we shall never offend Him again. ”
One Minute Reflection – 8 April – Easter Thursday, Readings: First: Acts 3: 11-26 Psalm: Psalms 8: 2ab and 5, 6-7, 8-9, Gospel: Luke 24: 35-48
“Touch me and see.” – Luke 24:39
REFLECTION –“See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.” I think there are four reasons why our Lord showed His side, hands and feet to the Apostles. First of all, to prove He was truly risen and remove from us, any cause for doubt. Secondly, so that the “dove” – that is to say, the Church or the faithful soul – might make its nest in those wounds as in “the crevice of the rock” (Sg 2:14) and find refuge there, from the eye of the bird of prey. Thirdly, to imprint as an emblem, the marks of the Passion in our hearts. And in the fourth place ,as a warning, asking us to show Him pity and not pierce Him anew, with the nails of our sins.
He shows us His hands and His feet: “Behold,” He says, “the hands that have fashioned you (cf. 119:73); see how the nails have pierced them. Behold My heart – the heart where you My faithful, you my Church, were born as Eve was born from Adam’s side: see how the lance has opened it, so that the door of Paradise, held shut by the fiery Cherubim, might be opened to you. The blood that flowed from My side has driven aside that angel and blunted his sword, the water has extinguished the fire (cf Jn 19:34) … Listen carefully, take these words to yourself and peace will be with you.” – St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Evangelical Doctor of the Church, Franciscan
PRAYER – Lord God, let there be one faith in our hearts, one love for You, one Way in You, for You are the One Truth and the only Way. We linger in Your light and beg Your unending kindness. Grant that by the prayers of Your Saints we may obtain Your strength and may Your Mother and ours, walk by our side and hold fast to our hand. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for always and forever, amen.
Epistle: Acts 3: 11-26 11 And as he held Peter and John, all the people ran to them to the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering. 12 But Peter seeing, made answer to the people: Ye men of Israel, why wonder you at this? or why look you upon us, as if by our strength or power we had made this man to walk? 13 The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus, whom you indeed delivered up and denied before the face of Pilate, when he judged he should be released. 14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you. 15 But the author of life you killed, whom God hath raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. 16 And in the faith of his name, this man, whom you have seen and known, hath his name strengthened; and the faith which is by him, hath given this perfect soundness in the sight of you all. 17 And now, brethren, I know that you did it through ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things which God before had shewed by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 19 Be penitent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. 20 That when the times of refreshment shall come from the presence of the Lord, and he shall send him who hath been preached unto you, Jesus Christ, 21 Whom heaven indeed must receive, until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets, from the beginning of the world. 22 For Moses said: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me: him you shall hear according to all things whatsoever he shall speak to you. 23 And it shall be, that every soul which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. 24 And all the prophets, from Samuel and afterwards, who have spoken, have told of these days. 25 You are the children of the prophets, and of the testament which God made to our fathers, saying to Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. 26 To you first God, raising up his Son, hath sent him to bless you; that every one may convert himself from his wickedness.
Gospel: Luke 24: 35-48 35 And they told what things were done in the way and how they knew him in the breaking of the bread. 36 Now whilst they were speaking these things, Jesus stood in the midst of them and saith to them: Peace be to you; it is I, fear not. 37 But they being troubled and frightened, supposed that they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them: Why are you troubled and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; touch and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have. 40 And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and feet. 41 But while they yet believed not and wondered for joy, he said: Have you any thing to eat? 42 And they offered him a piece of a broiled fish,and a honeycomb. 43 And when he had eaten before them, taking the remains, he gave to them. 44 And he said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. 46 And he said to them: Thus it is written and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise again from the dead, the third day: 47 And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things.
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!”
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.”
From a Sermon by St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor unitatis Ecclesiae
True reverence for the Lord’s passion means, fixing the eyes of our heart on Jesus crucified and recognising in Him our own humanity.
The earth – our earthly nature – should tremble at the suffering of its Redeemer. The rocks – the hearts of unbelievers – should come forth, the massive stones now ripped apart. Foreshadowings of the future Resurrection, should appear in the holy city, the Church of God, what is happening to our bodies, should now take place in our hearts.
No-one, however weak, is denied a share in the victory of the Cross. No-one is beyond the help of the prayer of Christ. His prayer brought benefit to the multitude that raged against Him. How much more, does it bring, to those who turn to Him in repentance.
Ignorance has been destroyed, obstinacy has been overcome. The Sacred Blood of Christ, has quenched the flaming sword that barred access to the tree of life. The age-old night of sin has given place, to the true light.
The Christian people are invited to share the riches of paradise. All who have been reborn have the way open before them, to return to their native land, from which they had been exiled. Unless, indeed ,they close off for themselves, the path that could be opened before the faith of a thief.
The business of this life should not preoccupy us with its anxiety and pride, so that we no longer strive, with all the love of our heart, to be like our Redeemer and to follow His example. Everything that He did, or suffered, was for our salvation – He wanted His Body to share the goodness of its Head.
First of all, in taking our human nature, while remaining God, so that the Word became man, He left no member of the human race, the unbeliever excepted, without a share in His mercy. Who does not share a common nature with Christ, if he has welcomed Christ, who took our nature and is reborn in the Spirit, through whom Christ was conceived?
Again, who cannot recognise in Christ, his own infirmities? Who would not recognise that Christ’s eating and sleeping, His sadness and His shedding tears of love, are marks of the nature of a slave?
It was this nature of a slave, that had to be healed of its ancient wounds and cleansed of the defilement of sin. For that reason, the only-begotten Son of God, became also the Son of Man. He was to have both the reality of human nature and the fullness of the Godhead.
The Body, that lay lifeless in the tomb, is ours. The Body that rose again on the third day, is ours. The Body, that ascended above all the heights of heaven, to the right hand of the Father’s glory, is ours. If then we walk in the way of His commandments and are not ashamed to acknowledge, the price He paid for our salvation in a lowly Body, we too are to rise to share His glory. The promise He made will be fulfilled, in the sight of all: –“whoever acknowledges Me before men, I too will acknowledge him before My Father who is in heaven.”
Quote/s of the Day – 2 April – Good Friday of the Passion of the Lord
“O SACRED HEAD” By St Bernard (1090-1153) Mellifluous Doctor
O Sacred Head surrounded By a crown of piercing thorn! O bleeding Head, so wounded, Reviled and put to scorn! Death’s pallid hue comes o’er Thee, The glow of life decays, Yet angel hosts adore Thee And tremble as they gaze.
I see Thy strength and vigour All fading in the strife, And death, with cruel vigour, Bereaving Thee of life; O agony and dying! O love to sinners free! Jesus, all grace supplying, O turn Thy face on me!
In this Thy bitter Passion, Good Shepherd, think of me, With Thy most sweet compassion, Unworthy though I be. Beneath Thy Cross abiding, ‘Forever would I rest, In Thy dear love confiding, And will Thy presence blest.
“Do not pass one day without devoting a half hour, or at least a quarter of an hour, to meditation on the sorrowful Passion of your Saviour. Have a continual remembrance of the agonies of your crucified Love and know, that the greatest saints, who now, in heaven, triumph in holy love, arrived at perfection in this way.”
One Minute Reflection – 2 April – Good Friday, Readings: First: Isaiah 52: 13 — 53: 12.salm: Psalms 31: 2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25. Second: Hebrews 4: 14-16; 5: 7-9 Gospel: John 18: 1 — 19: 42
“But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water.”– John 18:34
REFLECTION – “How precious the gift of the Cross, how splendid to contemplate! In the Cross there is no mingling of good and evil, as in the tree of paradise, it is wholly beautiful to behold and good to taste. The fruit of this tree is not death but life, not darkness but light. This tree does not cast us out of paradise but opens the way for our return.
This was the tree upon which, Christ, like a king on a chariot, destroyed the devil, the lord of death and freed the human race from his tyranny. This was the tree upon which the Lord like a brave warrior wounded in hands, feet and side, healed the wounds of sin that the evil serpent had inflicted on our nature. A tree once caused our death but now, a tree brings life. Once deceived by a tree, we have now repelled the cunning serpent, by a tree. What an astonishing transformation! That death should become life, that decay should become immortality, that shame should become glory! Well might the holy Apostle exclaim – Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world! The supreme wisdom that flowered on the Cross has shown the folly of worldly wisdom’s pride. The knowledge of all good, which is the fruit of the Cross, has cut away the shoots of wickedness.
The wonders accomplished through this tree were foreshadowed clearly, even by the mere types and figures that existed in the past. Meditate on these, if you are eager to learn. Was it not the wood of a tree that enabled Noah, at God’s command, to escape the destruction of the flood, together with his sons, his wife, his sons’ wives and every kind of animal? And surely the rod of Moses prefigured the Cross, when it changed water into blood, swallowed up the false serpents of Pharaoh’s magicians, divided the sea at one stroke and then restored the waters to their normal course, drowning the enemy and saving God’s own people? Aaron’s rod, which blossomed in one day, in proof of his true priesthood, was another figure of the Cross and did not Abraham foreshadow the Cross, when he bound his son Isaac and placed him on the pile of wood?
By the Cross, death was slain and Adam was restored to life. The Cross is the glory of all the Apostles, the crown of the Martyrs, the sanctification of the Saints. By the Cross, we put on Christ and cast aside our former self. By the Cross we, the sheep of Christ, have been gathered into one flock, destined for the sheepfold of heaven.” – St Theodore the Studite (759-826) Father, Abbot, Theologian, Writer
PRAYER – Be mindful Lord, of this Your family, for whose sake, our Lord Jesus Christ, when betrayed, did not hesitate to yield Himself into His enemies hands and undergo the agony of the Cross – He Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 2 April – Good Friday of the Passion of the Lord
The Angel of the Agony St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
Jesu! by that shuddering dread which fell on Thee; Jesu! by that cold dismay which sicken’d Thee; Jesu! by that pang of heart which thrill’d in Thee; Jesu! by that mount of sins which crippled Thee; Jesu! by that sense of guilt which stifled Thee; Jesu! by that innocence that girded Thee; Jesu! by that sanctity that reign’d in Thee; Jesu! by that Godhead which was one with Thee; Jesu! spare those souls which are so dear to Thee; Who in prison, calm and patient, wait for Thee; Hasten, Lord, their hour and bid them come to Thee; To that glorious Home, where they shall ever gaze on Thee. Amen
Thought for the Day – 1 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Betrayal of Judas
“Ingratitude is a very cruel thing. It imprints a deep wound on the human heart and the heart of Jesus, was infinitely more sensitive than ours. He had raised Judas to the high rank of the Apostolate; He had made him one of His closest friends and had entrusted him with the secrets of His infinite love. Now Judas betrays Him for the wretched sum of thirty pieces of silver. Worse is to follow, however. While Jesus is praying and perspiring blood at the thought of the ingratitude of men and of the nearness of His passion and death, the Garden of Gethsemane becomes suddenly aglow with torches and reverberates with the shouting of the hired ruffians, whom Judas has brought with him to arrest Jesus. The treacherous Apostle comes forward. He embraces our divine Redeemer, hails Him as his Master and greets Him with a sacrilegious kiss upon the cheek. Jesus neither repulses nor rebukes him but, with a gesture of infinite mercy, He addresses him as a friend. “Friend,” He says, “for what purpose hast thou come?” (Mt 26:50). “Dost thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Lk 22:28). If only Judas could have heeded this last appeal and begged for forgiveness at Jesus’ feet with tears of repentance! Jesus would certainly have taken him to His heart and returned his kiss with a kiss of pardon and divine friendship. Perhaps, we have also stood at times on the brink of sin and have been aware of a higher appeal to go back! But, have we heeded it? If ever we are in danger again, let us listen to this quiet voice which speaks to our conscience. Let us fall on our knees before Jesus and earnestly implore Him: “Be not silent, Lord, be not far from me!” (Ps 34:22). Let us ask Him to have pity on our weakness and to come to our assistance.”
The Lamb That Was Slain, Has Delivered Us from Death
and has Given Us Life
Today we leave dear Thomas à Kempis and read instead a reflection by Saint Melito, Bishop of Sardis (Died c 180) Father of the Church, whose Feast day it is today.
“There was much proclaimed by the prophets about the mystery of the Passover – that mystery is Christ and to Him be glory forever and ever. Amen.
For the sake of suffering humanity He came down from heaven to earth, clothed Himself in that humanity in the Virgin’s womb and was born a man. Having then a body capable of suffering, He took the pain of fallen man upon Himself; He triumphed over the diseases of soul and body, that were its cause, and by His Spirit, which was incapable of dying, He dealt man’s destroyer, death, a fatal blow.
He was led forth like a lamb; He was slaughtered like a sheep. He ransomed us from our servitude to the world, as He had ransomed Israel from the hand of Egypt; He freed us from our slavery to the devil, as He had freed Israel from the hand of Pharaoh. He sealed our souls with His own Spirit and the members of our body, with His own Blood.
He is the One, Who covered death with shame and cast the devil into mourning, as Moses cast Pharaoh into mourning. He is the One, Who smote sin and robbed iniquity of offspring, as Moses robbed the Egyptians of their offspring. He is the One, Who brought us out of slavery into freedom, out of darkness into light, out of death into life, out of tyranny into an eternal kingdom; who made us a new priesthood, a people chosen to be His own forever. He is the Passover that is our salvation.
It is He who endured every kind of suffering, in all those who foreshadowed Him. In Abel, He was slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob exiled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die. He was sacrificed in the Passover lamb, persecuted in David, dishonoured in the prophets.
It is He who was made man of the Virgin, He who was hung on the tree; it is He who was buried in the earth, raised from the dead and taken up to the heights of heaven. He is the mute Lamb, the slain Lamb born of Mary, the fair ewe. He was seized from the flock, dragged off to be slaughtered, sacrificed in the evening, and buried at night. On the tree no bone of His was broken; in the earth His body knew no decay. He is the One, Who rose from the dead and who raised man from the depths of the tomb.”
Quote/s of the Day – 1 April – Maundy Thursday, Evening Vigil Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Gospel: John 13:1-15 and the Memorial of Saint Melito Bishop of Sardis (Died c 180) Early Church Father
“He loved them unto the end.”
“Born as a Son, led forth as a Lamb, sacrificed as a sheep, buried as a man, He rose from the dead as a God, for He was by nature God and man.
He is all things – He judges and so, He is Law. He teaches and so, He is Wisdom. He saves and so, He is Grace. He begets and so, He is Father. He is begotten,and so, He is Son. He suffers and so, He is Sacrifice. He is buried and so, He is Man. He rises again and so, He is God. This is Jesus Christ, to whom belongs glory for all ages.”
St Melito of Sardis (Died c 180) Bishop, Early Church Father
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.
When Mary Weeps By Father Frederick M Lynk (1881-unknown)
When Mary weeps, her mother’s heart Is full to overflowing. When Mary weeps, pain’s piercing dart Stabs Him beyond all knowing, Who is by sinners Crucified, Blasphemed, forsaken and denied.
When Mary weeps, God’s holy wrath Is kindling cruel fires. When Mary weeps, poor mankind’s path Leads through war’s blood-soaked mires And makes all human mothers moan In love and pity for their own.
When Mary weeps, it’s time to pray To have our sins forgiven. When Mary weeps, each night and day By sorrow must be riven, Until His and her children will Once more seek peace on Calvary’s hill. When Mary weeps, we all must try To dry her tears of sorrow. When Mary weeps, we too must cry To glimpse a brighter morrow, When her Son’s name is recognised And all, in love adore the Christ. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 31 March – Wednesday in Holy Week, Readings: First: Isaiah 50: 4-9a, Psalm: Psalms 69: 8-10, 21-22, 31 and 33-34, Gospel: Matthew 26: 14-25
“My appointed time draws near. I am to celebrate the Passover in your house” – Matthew 26:18
REFLECTION – “And will you be persuaded that He came to His passion willingly? The others, who foreknow it not, die unwillingly but He spoke beforehand of His passion: “Behold, the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified” (Mt 26,2). But do you know why this Friend of man did not shun death? It was lest the whole world should perish in its sins. “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed and shall be crucified” (Mt 20,13); and again: “He steadfastly set His face to Jerusalem” (Lk 9,51).
And will you know certainly, that the Cross is a glory to Jesus? Hear His own words, not mine. Judas had become ungrateful to the Master of the house and was about to betray Him. Having but just now gone forth from the table and drunk His cup of blessing, in return for that draught of salvation, he sought to shed righteous blood. He, who ate of his Bread, was lifting up his heel against Him…Then said Jesus: “The hour is come for the Son of man to be glorified” (Jn 12,23). Do you see how He knew the Cross to be His proper glory?… Not that He was without glory before,for He was glorified with the glory which was before the foundation of the world (Jn 17,5). He was ever glorified as God but now, He was to be glorified in wearing the crown of His patience.
He did not give up His life by compulsion, nor was He put to death by murderous violence but of His own accord. Hear what He says: “I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it up again” (Jn 10,18); I yield it to My enemies of My own choice, for unless I chose, this could not be. He came, therefore, of his own set purpose to His passion, rejoicing in His noble deed, smiling at the crown, cheered by the salvation of humankind, not ashamed of the Cross, since it was to save the world.” – St Cyril of Jerusalem (313-350), Bishop of Jerusalem, Father and Doctor of the Church – Catechetical Lectures to the Newly Baptised 13, #6
PRAYER – Oh dear God and Father, let us stay with Your Son and never betray or desert Him. The One You sent to save us, needs our love and fidelity in return for His ineffable love. Teach us holy Father, do not abandon us to our weakness but help us to love Him in return, with all our hearts, minds and souls. As you O holy Mother loved your Son and your God, help us to be perfect imitators of your Immaculate heart. Through Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, one god forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 31 March – Wednesday in Holy Week
Sonnet to our Lord Crucified Anonymous, of Spanish origen
I am not moved to love Thee, O my God, That I might hope in promised heaven to dwell, Nor am I moved by fear of pain in hell, To turn from sin and follow where Thou trod. Thou move me, Lord, broken beneath the rod, Or stretched out on the Cross, as nails compel Thy hand to twitch. It moves me that we sell, To mockery and death, Thy Precious Blood. It is, O Christ, Thy love which moves me so, That my love rests not on a promised prize, Nor holy fear or threat of endless woe, It is not milk and honey but the flow Of Blood from blessed wounds before my eyes, That waters my buried soul and makes it grow. Amen
Spanish: No me mueve, mi Dios, para quererte, Elcielo que me tienes prometido, Mi me mueve el infierno tan temido, para dejar por eso de ofenderte. Tu me mueves, Senor, mueveme el verte Clavado en una cruz y escarnecido, Mueveme el ver tu cuerpo tan herido, Muevenme tus afrentas y tu muerte. Mueveme, en fin, tu amor de tal manera, que aunque no hubiera cielo, yo te amara, Y aunque no hubiera infierno, te temiera. No me tienes que dar porque Te quiera, Porque, aunque lo que espero no esperara, Lo mismo que te quiero Te quisiera.
Who wrote it? Who knows? The names fell from the pages, Lost and never To return to where The eyes of the reader Might ever see them. ‘I am no-one, Constructing eternity so, I can live forever’
One Minute Reflection – 30 March – Tuesday of Holy Week, Readings: First: Isaiah 49: 1-6, Psalm: Psalms 71: 1-2, 3-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15 and 17, Gospel: John 13: 21-33, 36-38
“The cock will not crow before you deny me three times.” – John 13:38
REFLECTION – “The first time Peter denied, he did not weep because the Lord had not looked at him. He denied a second time and did not weep because the Lord still did not look at him. He denied a third time; Jesus looked at him and he wept very bitterly (Lk 22:62). Look at us, Lord Jesus, so that we might know how to weep for our sins. This shows us that even the fall of the saints may be useful to us. Peter’s denial has done me no wrong, on the contrary, I have gained from his repentance – I have learned to be beware of faithless companions. …
So Peter wept and wept bitterly; he wept so hard that he washed away his offence with his tears. And you, too, if you would win pardon, wipe out your guilt with tears. At that very moment, in that same hour, Christ will look at you. If some kind of fall happens to you, then He, the ever-present witness of your intimate life, looks at you to call you back and cause you to confess your lapse. Then do as Peter did, who thrice said: “Lord, you know that I love you” (Jn 21:15). He denied three times and three times he also confessed. But he denied by night; he confessed in broad daylight.
All this has been written, to make us understand, that no-one should be puffed up. If Peter fell for having said: “Though all may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be” (Mt 26:33), who is there to count on himself? … From whence then, Peter, shall I call you to mind, to teach me your thoughts as you wept? From heaven where you have already taken your place among the choirs of angels, or from the grave? For that death, from which the Lord was raised, did not reject you in your turn. Teach us what use your tears were to you. But you taught it without delay for having fallen before you wept, your tears caused you to be chosen to guide others, you who, to begin with, did not know how to guide yourself.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan, Father and Doctor of the Church – Commentary on St Luke’s Gospel, 10,89f.
PRAYER – Almighty Father, we are slow to understand. In that love that You have for us and the grace, mercy and forgiveness You grant us. You gave Your only Son to save us from ourselves, help our lowly hearts, that we may understand Your love and in our smallness, offer all of our hearts, minds and souls, back to You in total submission and love. May Your saints and angels, help us on our way by their prayers and may Mary, the Sorrowful Mother of our Saviour, grant us, her heart, to love You in return. We make our prayer through our Saviour, Your Son, Jesus Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 28 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Lamb of God
“Jesus had only one consolation in the midst of His terrible sufferings. His mother, Mary was beside the Cross along with His beloved Apostle and the holy women who had always followed Him. Mary loved her Son with a love greater than that of any mother, which is the greatest love possible on earth. She loved Jesus with the heart of a Mother and of a Virgin – He was her only treasure. Moreover, she loved Him, not only as her Son but, also as her God. Precisely because she loved Him as her God, her love was in perfect harmony with the divine will.
She understood the mystery which led Jesus to accept death on the Cross – the mystery of the Redemption. “He was offered because it was his own will” (Isa 53:7). He was offered on our behalf, as a voluntary victim to His heavenly Father.”
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 – 27 March – Saturday of Passion Week or the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: First Reading: Ezekiel 37: 21-28, Responsorial Psalm: Jeremiah 31: 10, 11-12abcd, 13, Verse Before the Gospel: Ezekiel 18: 31, Gospel: John 11: 45-56
“It was to gather into one the dispersed children of God”
“For Your Cross is the Source of all Blessings, the Origin of all Grace. From the weakness of the Cross believers gain strength, glory for shame, life for death. Now, too, the proliferation of sacrifices has ceased – the one Offering of Your Body and Blood fulfills all those different sacrifices offered throughout the world. For You are the true Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29). In Yourself You bring to completion all religions of all peoples, so that all these peoples, might make up but one Kingdom.”
St Pope Leo the Great (c 400-461) Father and Doctor Unitatis Ecclesiae
One Minute Reflection – 27 March – Saturday of Passion Week or the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: First Reading: Ezekiel 37: 21-28, Responsorial Psalm: Jeremiah 31: 10, 11-12abcd, 13, Verse Before the Gospel: Ezekiel 18: 31, Gospel: John 11: 45-56
“It is expedient for you, that one man should die for the people.” – John 11:50
REFLECTION – “ The darkening of one, makes many bright… “It is better,” said Caiaphas, “for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” It is better that one be darkened “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” (Rm 8:3) for the sake of all, than for the whole of mankind to be lost, by the darkness of sin; that the splendour and image of the substance of God, should be shrouded in the form of a slave, in order that a slave might live; that the brightness of eternal ligh,t should become dimmed in the flesh for the purifying of the flesh; that He who surpasses all mankind in beauty (Ps 44:2) should be eclipsed by the darkness of the Passion for the enlightening of mankind; that He should suffer the ignominy of the Cross, grow pale in death, be totally deprived of beauty and comeliness, that He might gain the Church as a beautiful and comely bride, without spot or wrinkle (Ep 5:27). But under His dark covering (Sg 1:5) I recognise the King… I recognise Him and I embrace Him. For though He presents this dark exterior… within is the brightness of divine life, the beauty of His strength, the splendour of grace, the purity of innocence. But covering it all, is the abject hue of infirmity, His Face, as it were, hidden and despised: “one tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning” (Heb 4:15). I recognise here the image of our sin-darkened nature; I recognise the garments that clothed our first parents after their sin (Gn 3:21). My God has clothed Himself in them, by assuming the condition of a slave and becoming as men are, He was seen in their likeness (Ph 2:7). Under the skin that Jacob wore (Gn 27:16), symbol of sin, I recognise both the hand that committed no sin and the neck which never bowed to evil; no word of treachery was found in His mouth. I know, Lord, that you are gentle by nature, meek and humble of heart, pleasing in appearance and loveable in Your ways, “anointed with the oil of gladness above your companions” (Mt 11:29; Ps 44:8). Why then this disfigured likeness to Esau? Whose haggard image this?… Ah! It is mine. He has taken my likeness, taken on my sin… And beneath the rough skin of my sinfulness, I recognise my God and my Saviour! ” – St Bernard (1091-1153) “Doctor of Light”of the Church – 28th Homily on the Song of Songs
PRAYER – Lord God, at all times You are working out the salvation of man but now, more especially, You enrich Your people with grace. Look kindly on this people, Lord, keep the seal of Baptism inviolate in those who have received it and in those, who still await their rebirth in te Spirit. With Mary, our advocate of love and mercy by our side, may we attain the brightness of Your Face. Through Jesus Christ, Your Son and our Saviour, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and forver, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – – 26 March – Friday of Passion Week or the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Jeremiah 20:10-13, Psalms 18:2-3,3-4, 5-6, 7, John 10:31-42
“Again they sought to seize Him”
“And I became their abomination because there was no jealousy in me. Because I continually did good to every man I was hated. And they surrounded me like mad dogs (Ps 22:17) those, who in stupidity, attack their masters. Because their mind is depraved and their sense is perverted.”
Odes of Solomon (Hebrew Christian text from the beginning of the 2nd century) No 28
Quote/s of the Day – 23 March – Tuesday of Passion Week or the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Numbers 21:4-9, Psalms 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21, John 8:21-30
“Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?”
“…And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”
“The servant is not greater than his Master”
“He conquered death, broke the gates of hell, won for Himself a people to be His co-heirs, lifted flesh from corruption up to the glory of eternity.”
“The Son of God is nailed to the Cross but on the Cross, God conquers human death. Christ, the Son of God, dies but all flesh is made alive in Christ. The Son of God is in hell but man is carried back to heaven.”
St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church
The Word of the Cross by Saint Paulinus of Nola (c 354-431)
Look on thy God, Christ hidden in our flesh. A bitter word, the cross and bitter sight: Hard rind without, to hold the heart of heaven. Yet sweet it is, for God upon that tree Did offer up His life upon that rood My Life hung, that my life might stand in God. Christ, what am I to give Thee for my life? Unless take from Thy hands the cup they hold, To cleanse me with the precious draught of death. What shall I do? My body to be burned? Make myself vile? The debt’s not paid out yet. Whate’er I do, it is but I and Thou, And still do I come short, still must Thou pay My debts, O Christ, for debts Thyself hadst none. What love may balance Thine? My Lord was found In fashion like a slave, that so His slave Might find himself in fashion like his Lord. Think you the bargain’s hard, to have exchanged The transient for the eternal, to have sold Earth to buy Heaven? More dearly God bought me.
“How can you become a sharer, in His glory (1 Pt 5:1) if you will not consent, to become a sharer, in His humiliating death?”
St Simeon the New Theologian (949-1022)
“Let us then learn from the Cross of Jesus our proper way of living. Should I say ‘living’ or, instead, ‘dying’? Rather, both living and dying. Dying to the world, living for God. Dying to vices and living by the virtues. Dying to the flesh, but living in the spirit. Thus in the Cross of Christ, there is death and in the Cross of Christ there is life. The death of death is there and the life of life. The death of sins is there and the life of the virtues. The death of the flesh is there and the life of the spirit.”
St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)
“ … If you die with Him, you shall also likewise live with Him. If you are His companion in punishment, so shall you be in glory.”
“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realise that I AM” – John 8:28
REFLECTION – “Isaiah the prophet describes an exalted vision for us: “I saw the Lord seated on a throne” (Is 6:1). What a wonderful sight, my brethren! Happy the eyes that saw it! Who would not want with all their heart, to behold the splendour of so great a glory? … Yet here, I am listening to that same prophet give us an account of a very different vision of the same Lord: “We saw Him; He had no beauty, no splendour – we took Him for a leper” (Is 53:2f. Vg.) (…)
And so, if you desire to see Jesus in His glory, try, first of all, to contemplate Him in His humiliation. Begin by gazing on the serpent raised up in the desert, (cf. Jn 3:14) if you wish to see the King seated on His throne. Let the first vision fill you with humility, so that the second, may raise you from your humiliation. Let the former, reprove and heal your pride, before the latter fulfils and satisfies, your desire. Do you see the Lord “emptied?” (Phil 2:7). Do not let this vision leave you untouched, or you will not be able to behold Him later on, in the glory of His exaltation, without anxiety.
“You will be like Him,” indeed, when you see Him “as He is” (1 Jn 3:2); so, be like Him now, as you see what He became for your sake. If you do not refuse to become like Him in His humiliation, He will certainly give you, the likeness of His glory in return. He will never allow someone who has shared His Passion, to be excluded from communion in His glory. So little does He refuse, to admit someone who has shared His Passion, into the Kingdom with Him, that the thief found himself in paradise that very day with Him because he confessed Him on the cross (Lk 23:42) … Yes indeed, “if we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him” (Rm 8:17). – St Bernard (1091-1153) Cistercian Monk and Mellifluous Doctor of the Church – Sermon 1 for the first Sunday of November.
PRAYER – Holy Father, we have sinned against You and beg for Your forgiveness and mercy. Through the merits of the saving Cross of Your Son, help Your people O Lord, to persevere in obedience to Your will, so that through this obedience, we may reach our eternal home. May the eyes of our hearts, never cease contemplating the Holy Cross and following the way of its humiliation. We hope for the intercession of your angels and saints and our most loving Mother Mary. Through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
REFLECTION – “Through the glorious achievements of the holy Martyrs with which the Church blossoms everywhere, we are ourselves, proving to our own eyes, how true are the words we have been singing that: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Ps 116:15). For it is precious both in our sight and in the sight of Him, in whose name the death took place.
But the price of those deaths is the death of one man. How many deaths did that one man purchase by His death, for, if He had not died, the grain of wheat would not be multiplied? You heard His words when He drew near His passion, that is when He was drawing near to our redemption: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” On the Cross He carried out a vast transaction, there, the purse of our price was unfastened and, when His side was opened by the lance of the soldier, there streamed the price for the redemption of the whole earth (cf. Jn 19:34).
Now the faithful ones and Martyrs have been purchased but the faithfulness of the Martyrs has been proved – their blood is the proof … “As Christ laid down his life for us, so we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1Jn 3:16). In another place it is stated: “At a grand table you have sat; now carefully consider what has been put before you, since it is your duty to prepare for such things” (cf. Prv 23:1). That table is great where the Lord of the table is Himself the meal. No-one feeds guests with Himself as food but this is exactly what the Lord Christ does, He, Himself is the host who invites; He, Himself is the food and the drink. Therefore, the Martyrs have recognised what they were eating and drinking so as to be able to repay such gifts. But whence can they make such return unless He who first paid the cost, supplies the source from which restitution may be made? That is the reason for the Psalm, where we sing what is written: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” ... St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor – Sermon 329, for the Feast of the Martyrs, 1-2 ; PL 38, 1454
PRAYER – Lord our God, Your Son so loved the world that He gave Himself up to death for our sake. Strengthen us by Your grace and give us a heart willing to live by that same love. With Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mother of Jesus and our Mother, may we stand at His Cross. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever, amen.
“The dead will hear the voice of the Son of God” – John 5:25
REFLECTION – “[Christ speaks:] I became useless to those who knew Me not, because I shall hide Myself, from those who possessed Me not. And I will be with those who love Me. All my persecutors have died and they, who trusted in Me, sought Me because I am living! I arose and am with them and will speak by their mouths. For they have rejected those who persecute them and I threw over them, the yoke of My love. Like the arm of the bridegroom over the bride (cf Sg 2,6), so is My yoke over those who know Me. And as the bridal feast is spread out by the bridal pair’s home, So is My love, by those who believe in Me.
I was not rejected, although I was considered to be so and I did not perish, although they thought it of Me. Sheol saw Me and was shattered and Death ejected Me and many with Me. I have been vinegar and bitterness to it and I went down with iMt as far as its depth. Death was released because it was not able to endure My Face.
And I made a congregation of living, among his dead (1P 3,19; 4,6); and I spoke with them, by living lips; in order that My word may not fail. And those who had died ran toward Me and they cried out and said, “Son of God, have pity on us. And deal with us according to Your kindness and bring us out from the chains of darkness. And open for us, the door by which we may go forth to You, for we perceive, that our death does not approach You. May we also be saved with You because You are our Saviour.”
Then I heard their voice and placed their faith in My heart. And I placed My Name upon their forehead (Rv 14,1) because they are free and they are Mine.” – Odes of Solomon (Hebrew Christian text from the beginning of the 2nd century) N° 42
PRAYER – Lord God, You crown the merits of the saints and pardon sinners, when they repent. Forgive us our sins, now that we come before You, humbly confessing our guilt. Take our hand and lead us to our heavenly home. May St Patrick Your Saint, pray for us amidst the strife, he kew so well. Through Christ our Lord and Redeemer, with the Holy Spirit, God now and for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 16 March – Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
God of Mercy and Compassion By Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) Composer
God of mercy and compassion, Look with pity upon me, Father, let me call Thee Father, ‘Tis Thy child returns to Thee.
Refrain: Jesus, Lord, I ask for mercy. Let me not implore in vain, All my sins, I now detest them, Never will I sin again.
By my sins I have deserved Death and endless misery, Hell with all its pains and torments, And for all eternity. (Refrain)
By my sins I have abandoned Right and claim to heav’n above. Where the saints rejoice forever In a boundless sea of love. (Refrain)
See our Saviour, bleeding, dying, On the cross of Calvary; To that cross my sins have nail’d Him, Yet He bleeds and dies for me. (Refrain)
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi 4 January 1710 – 16 or 17 March 1736 was an Italian Baroque composer, violinist and organist. His best-known works include his Stabat Mater and the opera La serva padrona (The Maid Turned Mistress). His compositions include operas and sacred Masses and music. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 26.
“And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life…” – John 3:14-15
REFLECTION – “Let us praise the Son first of all, venerating the blood that expiated our sins. He lost nothing of His divinity when He saved me, when like a good physician He stooped to my festering wounds. He was a mortal man but He was also God. He was of the race of David but Adam’s creator. He who has no body clothed Himself with flesh. He had a mother who, nonetheless, was a virgin. He who is without bounds, bound Himself with the cords of our humanity. He was victim and high priest—yet He was God. He offered up His blood and cleansed the whole world. He was lifted up on the cross but it was sin, that was nailed to it. He became as one, among the dead but He rose from the dead, raising to life also many who had died before Him. On the one hand, there was the poverty of His humanity, on the other, the riches of His divinity. Do not let what is human in the Son permit you, wrongfully, to detract from what is divine. For the sake of the divine, hold in the greatest honour, the humanity, which the immortal Son took on Himself, for love of you!” – St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Archbishop of Constantinople, Father & Doctor – Poem 2
PRAYER – “All-powerful God, Benefactor and Creator of the universe, hearken to my groaning in my peril. Deliver me from fear and anguish, free me, by the strength of Your might, You who can do all… O Lord Christ, cut the threads of my net with the sword of Your triumphant Cross, with the weapon of life. This net encompasses me on every side, holding me captive so as to bring me to my death. Guide to their rest, my tottering and unsteady steps, heal the stifling fever of my heart.” – St Gregory of Narek (c 951-c 1010) Doctor of the Church – Book of prayers, no 40 (Excerpt)
Our Morning Offering – 7 March – The Third Sunday of Lent
Prayer Before The Crucifix By St Vincent Strambi (1745-1824)
Jesus, by this Saving Sign, bless this listless soul of mine. Jesus, by Your feet nailed fast, mend the missteps of my past. Jesus, with Your riven hands, bend my will to love’s demands. Jesus, in Your Heart laid bare, warm my inner coldness there. Jesus, by Your thorn-crowned head, still my pride till it is dead. Jesus, by Your muted tongue, stay my words that hurt someone. Jesus, by Your tired eyes, open mine to faith’s surprise. Jesus, by Your fading breath, keep me faithful until death. Yes, Lord, by this Saving Sign, save this wayward soul of mine. Amen
Quote/s of the Day – 3 March – Wednesday of the Second week of Lent, Readings: Jeremiah 18:18-20,Psalms 31: 5-6, 14, 15-16, Matthew 20: 17-28
“Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?”
“Only let it be in the name of Jesus Christ, that I may suffer together with Him! I endure everything because He Himself, Who is perfect man, empowers me.”
St Ignatius of Antioch (c 35–107) Martyr
“Do not rejoice in the Cross only in times of peace, preserve the same faith in times of persecution. Do not be a friend to Jesus in times of peace alone, only to become His enemy in times of war. You are now receiving forgiveness for your sins and the spiritual gifts lavishly bestowed by your King so, when war breaks out, fight valiantly for your King.”
St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Do not live any longer in yourself but let Jesus Christ live in you in such a way that the virtue of this Divine Saviour may be resplendent in all your actions, in order that all may see in you a true portrait of the Crucified and sense, the sweetest fragrance of the holy virtues of the Lord, in interior and exterior modesty, in patience, in gentleness, suffering, charity, humility and in all others that follow.”
St Paul of the Cross (1604-1775)
“To labour and to suffer for the One we love, is the greatest proof of our love.”
Day Five of our Lenten Journey – 21 February – The First Sunday of Lent, Readings: Genesis 9:8-15, Psalms 25:4-5, 6-7,8-9, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Mark 1:12-15
Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis CRSA (1380-1471)
In Your Light Lord, we see light
“The kingdom of God is within you,” says the Lord (Luke 17:21).
Turn, then, to God with all your heart. Forsake this wretched world and your soul shall find rest. Learn to despise external things, to devote yourself to those that are within and you will see the kingdom of God come unto you, that kingdom which is peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, gifts not given to the impious. Christ will come to you offering His consolation, if you prepare a fit dwelling for Him in your heart, whose beauty and glory, wherein He takes delight, are all from within. His visits with the inward man are frequent, His communion sweet and full of consolation, His peace great and His intimacy wonderful indeed. Therefore, faithful soul, prepare your heart for this Bridegroom that He may come and dwell within you. He Himself says: “If anyone love Me, he will keep My word and My Father will love him and We will come to him and will make Our abode with him”. (John 14:23). Give place, then, to Christ but deny entrance to all others, for when you have Christ you are rich and He is sufficient for you. He will provide for you. He will supply your every want, so that you need not trust in frail, changeable men. Christ remains forever, standing firmly with us to the end. […] Place all your trust in God, let Him be your fear and your love. He will answer for you, He will do what is best for you. You have here no lasting home. You are a stranger and a pilgrim wherever you may be and you shall have no rest, until you are wholly united with Christ. Why do you look about here when this is not the place of your repose? Dwell rather upon heaven and give but a passing glance to all earthly things. They all pass away and you together with them. Take care, then, that you do not cling to them lest you be entrapped and perish. Fix your mind on the Most High, and pray unceasingly to Christ. If you do not know how to meditate on heavenly things, direct your thoughts to Christ’s passion and willingly behold His sacred wounds. If you turn devoutly to the wounds and precious stigmata of Christ, you will find great comfort in suffering, you will mind but little the scorn of men and you will easily bear their slanderous talk. (Book 2, Ch 1)