One Minute Reflection – 30 January – St Martha (1st Century) Virgin Martyr – Sirach 51:1-8; 5:12, Matthew 25:1-13. – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Behold, the Bridegroom is coming, go forth to meet Him!” – Matthew 25:6
REFLECTION – “When it seemed to God that the right time had come and He took pity on His beloved in her suffering, He sent His Only-begotten Son to earth into a magnificent palace and a glorious temple, that is, into the body of the glorious Virgin Mary. There the Son wedded this bride, our nature and united her with His Own Person through the purest blood of the noble Virgin. The priest who witnessed the bride’s marriage was the Holy Spirit. The Angel Gabriel brought the message. The glorious Virgin gave her consent. Thus did Christ, our faithful Bridegroom, unite our nature with Himself. He came to us in a strange land and taught us through a heavenly way of life and with perfect fidelity.
He worked and struggled as our champion against our enemies, broke open the bars of our prison, won the struggle, vanquished our death through His Own, redeemed us through His Blood, freed us through His water in Baptism and made us rich, through His Sacraments and His gifts, so that, as He says in the Gospel (Mt 25,6), we might “go out” with all virtues to, “meet him” in the palace of His glory and enjoy Him forever in eternity.” – Bl Jan van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381) Canon Regular (The Spiritual Espousals, Prologue).
PRAYER – O God, Who among the other miracles of Thine power have bestowed the victory of Martyrdom even upon the weaker sex, graciously grant that we, who commemorate the anniversary of the death of blessed Martha, Thy Virgin and Martyr, may come to Thee by the path of her example. ThroughJesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
One Minute Reflection – 12 January – “The Month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus” – Within the Octave of Epiphany – Isaias 60:1-6, Matthew 2:1-12 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“And seeing the Star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” – Matthew 2:10
REFLECTION – “Jesus is born poor in a stable; the Angels of Heaven indeed acknowledge Him but men abandon and forsake Him on earth. Only a few shepherds come and pay Him homage. But our Redeemer was desirous of communicating to us the grace of His redemption and begins, therefore, to manifest Himself to the Gentiles, Who knew Him least. Therefore, He sends a Star to enlighten the holy Magi, in order that they may come and acknowledge and adore their Saviour. This was the first and sovereign grace bestowed upon us–our vocation to the Faith which was succeeded by our vocation to grace, of which men were deprived.
Behold the wise men, who immediately, without delay, set off upon their journey. The Star accompanies them as far as the cavern where the Holy Infant lies. On their arrival, they enter and what do they find? They found the Child with Mary. They find a poor maiden and a poor Infant wrapped in poor swaddling-clothes, without anyone to attend on Him or assist Him. But, lo! on entering into the little shed, these holy pilgrims feel a joy which they had never felt before; they feel their hearts chained to the dear little Infant Whom they behold. The straw, the poverty, the cries of their little Saviour–oh, what darts of love! Oh, what blessed flames are they to their enlightened hearts! The Infant looks upon them with a joyful countenance and this is the mark of affection, with which He accepts them amongst the first-fruits of His Redemption.
The holy kings then look at Mary, who does not speak –she remains silent but with her blessed countenance which breathes the sweetness of paradise, she welcomes them and thanks them for having been the first to come and acknowledge Her Son (as indeed He is) for their Sovereign Lord. See also how, out of reverence, they adore Him in silence and acknowledge Him for their God, kissing His Feet and offering Him their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Let us too, with the holy Magi, adore our little King Jesus and let us offer Him all our hearts.” – St Alphonsus de Liguori (1696-1787) Bishop, Founder of the Redemptorists, Most Zealous Doctor (The Adoration of the Magi),
PRAYER – O God, Thou Who by the guidance of a star this day revealed Thy Only-begotten Son to the Gentiles, mercifully grant that we, who know Thee now by faith, may come to behold Thee in glory. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Quote/s of the Day – 9 December – Within the Octave of the Immaculate Conception
“Mary, having merited to give flesh to the Divine Word and thus, supply the price of our redemption that we might be delivered from eternal death, therefore, she is more powerful than all others, to help us gain eternal life.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“Through a woman, [Eve] a curse fell upon the earth; through a woman, [Mary] there returned to the earth, a blessing!”
St Peter Damian (1007-1072) Doctor of the Church
“O daughter of King David and Mother of God, the universal King. O Divine and living object whose beauty has charmed God the Creator; your whole soul is completely open to God’s action and attentive to God alone. … Your womb will be the abode of the one whom no place can contain. Your milk will provide nourishment for God, in the little Infant Jesus. Your hands will carry God and your knees will serve as a throne for Him that is more noble than the throne of the Cherubim. … You are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the city of the living God, made joyous by abundant flowers, the sacred flowers of Divine grace. You are all-beautiful and very close to God, above the Cherubim and higher than the Seraphim, right near God Himself! Amen”
St John Damascene (675-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
“The One Who is the Wisdom of the Father, put His arms around her neck, the One Who is the strength, which gives movement to everything, sat in her arms. He, Who is the rest of souls, (Mt 11:29) rested on her motherly breast. … Filled with the Holy Spirit, she held Him close to her heart … She never had enough of seeing Him or of hearing Him … Thus Mary, grew evermore in love and her mind was unceasingly attached, to Divine contemplation.”
Quote/s of the Day – 3 December – The Memorial of St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552) Confessor
“Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”
“It is not the actual physical exertion which counts towards a man’s progress, nor the nature of the task but by the spirit of faith with which it is undertaken.”
“I am in a country where all the niceties of life are lacking. But I am filled with many inner consolations. Indeed, I run the risk of crying my eyes out because of my tears of joy”
“His Lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant because thou has been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many thing. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
“Ah! If only those who look for knowledge in study, took as much trouble in looking for the consolations of the apostolate, as they give day and night to the pursuit of knowledge! If only those joys, which the scholar seeks in what he is learning, he were to seek in making his neighbour feel, what he is in need of – to know and serve God, how much more consoled he would find himself to be and better prepared, to give an account of himself, when Christ returns and asks him: “Give me an account of your stewardship” …
“If you are in danger, if your hearts are confused, turn to Mary!”
Prayer for Unbelievers By St Francis Xavier (1506-1552)
O God, the Everlasting Creator of all things, remember that the souls of unbelievers were made by Thee and formed in Thine own image and likeness. Remember that Jesus, Thy Son, endured a most bitter Death for their salvation. Permit not, I beseech Thee, O Lord that Thy Son should be any longer despised by unbelievers but do Thou graciously accept the prayers of holy men and of the Church, the Spouse of Thy Most Holy Son and be mindful of Thy mercy. Forget their idolatry and unbelief and grant that they too, may someday know Him, Whom Thou hast sent…the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is our Salvation, our Life and Resurrection, by Whom we have been [redeemed] and delivered, to Whom be glory for endless ages. Amen.
One Minute Reflection – 3 December – St Memorial of St Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552) Confessor – Romans 10:10-18, Mark 16:15-18 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” – Mark 16:15
REFLECTION – “You have heard what the Lord said to His disciples after the Resurrection. He sent them out to preach the Gospel and they did so. Listen: “Through all the earth their voice resounds and to the ends of the world, their message” (Ps 18,5). Step by step, the Gospel has reached even to us and the ends of the earth. In a few words the Lord, addressing Himself to His disciples, set out what we are to do and what we have to hope for. Just as you have heard, He said: “Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved.” He asks for our faith and offers us salvation. What He offers us, is so precious that what He asks of us, is as nothing.
“The children of men take refuge in the shadow of Thy wings, O my God… from Thy delightful stream, Thou gives them to drink, for with Thee, is the Fountain of Life” (Ps 35,8f.). Jesus Christ is the Fountain of Life. Before the Fountain of Life came to us, we had only a human salvation like that of the beasts, of which the psalm speaks: “Man and beast you save, O Lord” (Ps 35,7). But now the Fountain of Life has come even to us, the Fountain of Life died for our sakes. Will He refuse us His Life,Who, for our sakes, gave His Death? He is salvation and this salvation is not worthless, like the other one. Why? Because it does not pass away. The Lord has come. He died but He killed death. In Himself, He brought an end to death. He assumed it and He killed it. Where is death now, then? Look for it in Christ and it is no longer there. It used to be there but there it died. O Life, Death of death! Take heart: it will also die in us. What was fulfilled in the Head will also be fulfilled in the members and death will die in us, too!” – St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace (Sermon 233).
PRAYER – O God, Thou Who were pleased to gather into Thy Church the peoples of the Indies by the preaching and miracles of blessed Francis, mercifully grant that we, who honour his glorious merits, may also imitate the example of his virtues. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Quote/s of the Day – 1 December – “The Month of the Divine Infancy and the Immaculate Conception” – Romans 13:11-14, Luke 21:25-33 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“When these things begin to come to pass, look up and lift up your heads because your redemption is at hand.”
“And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather, be afraid of him, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
“Elizabeth says: ‘Blessed are you because you have believed.’ You also are blessed, because you have heard and believed. A soul that believes, both conceives and brings forth the Word of God and acknowledges His works.”
St Ambrose of Milan (340-397) Great Latin Father and Doctor of the Church
“Wherever you are on earth, however long you remain on earth, the Lord is near, do not be anxious about anything!”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“He is present to the eyes of the mind, making Himself seen by those who have a pure heart and conversing with them. So pursue your path …. Do not hinder the Lord’s narrow way with your dragging feet. Hitch up your garment and be ready for action, look up and do not burden yourself with those oppressive loads which are your evil desires. For anyone who is accomplishing the journey from earth to Heaven, it is enough to diligently pursue one’s path without assuming extra weight. … ”
St Theodore the Studite (759-826) Monk and Theologian at Constantinople
One Minute Reflection – 1 December – “The Month of the Divine Infancy and the Immaculate Conception” – Romans 13:11-14, Luke 21:25-33 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“But when these things begin to come to pass, look up and lift up your heads because your redemption is at hand.” – Luke 21:28
REFLECTION – “We are waiting to celebrate Christ’s Birthday and, according to the Lord’s Promise, we will soon see Him. The Scripture demands from us that we rejoice, to the point of raising our spirit above itself and … leaping for joy at the coming of the Lord…For, even before His advent, the Lord comes to you. Before appearing to the whole world, He comes to visit you personally, He who said: “I will not leave you orphaned; I will come back to you” (Jn 14:18).
In fact, according to the merit and fervour of each one,there is a frequent and familiar advent of the Lord that, in this intermediary period, between his first and last coming, models us on one and prepares us to the other. The Lord comes to us now, so that His First Coming to us, may not be vain and that the last one, may not be that of wrath. Through His present coming, in fact, He works at reforming our pride, in the image of the humility of His first advent, to then remodel our humble body, in the image of the glorified body He will show us when He will return. This is why we should desire and fervently ask this personal coming – which gives us the grace of this first advent and promises us the glory of the last. …
The first was humble and hidden, the last will be resounding and magnificent; the one we are talking about is hidden but it is also magnificent. I say it is hidden, not because it is ignored by whom it concerns but because, it happens secretly in him. … He comes without being seen and He leaves without being noticed. His simple Presence is Light for the soul and for the spirit, by it you may see the invisible and get to know the unknown. This coming of the Lord puts the soul of whom, contemplates it, in a gentle and happy state of admiration. Then, from the inmost depths of man, the cry may burst out: “O Lord, who is like you!” (Ps 34:10). Those who have experienced it know, please God, that those who have not yet had this experience, may feel at least, the desire to !” – Blessed Guerric of Igny (c 1080-1157) Cistercian Abbot (2nd sermon for Advent, 2-4: PL 185, 15-17).
PRAYER – O God, Who, by the message of an Angel, willed to take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant that we, Thy suppliants, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her intercession with Thee. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Quote/s of the Day – 23 November – St Clement I (c 88–c 101) Pope Martyr and St Columban (543-615) Monk, Missionary
“Follow the Saints because those who follow them, will become Saints.”
“This world and the world to come, are two enemies. We cannot. therefore. be friends to both but, we must decide which we will forsake and which, we will enjoy.”
“Who can describe the bond of God’s love? Who is able to explain the majesty of its beauty? The height to which love leads is indescribable. … In love the Master received us, Jesus Christ our Lord, in accordance with God’s will gave His Blood for us and His Flesh for our flesh and His Life for our lives.”
“We are all fellow members of one body, whether Franks or Britons or Irish or whatever our race. Thus, let all our races rejoice, in knowledge of the faith and in recognising the Son of God … In Him, let us love one another, praise one another, correct one another, encourage one another, pray for one another.”
(Letter 2, to the French bishops)
Lord, Kindle our Lamps By St Columban (543-615)
Lord, kindle our lamps, Saviour most dear to us, that we may always shine in Your presence and always receive Light from You, the Light Perpetual, so that our own personal darkness, may be overcome and the world’s darkness driven from us. Amen
(This is an excerpt from a much longer prayer and is taken from the wonderful Sermon XII by St Columban/us)
Thought for the Day – 23 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “Forgive Us Our Debts”
“Finally, we owe God a great deal on account of our sins. Unfortunately, our only return for God’s continual favours, has been negligence, ingratitude and sin! How many failings we have been guilty of throughout our lives? Since it is an offence against God, Who is infinitely good and amiable, even venial sin cannot properly be atoned for by the merits of all the Angels and of all the Saints of Heaven. Therefore, it was necessary for the Son of God, made Man, to offer Himself as a Victim of Expiation, on our behalf.
Remembering His infinite merits, we should humbly ask God – ‘forgive us our debts.‘ that is, our many sins and failings and, whatever punishment is owing to us, for every sin demands some expiation, either in this life or in the next!
Meanwhile, we should accept, with resignation, all the sufferings which God sends us in reparation for our sins and, we should promise never to offend Him again.”
Quote/s of the Day – 17 October – St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) Virgin
“Announce it and let it be announced to the whole world, that I set neither limit, nor measure, to My gifts of grace, for those who seek them in My Heart.”
The words of the Our Lord Jesus Christ to St Margaret Mary Alacoque
“The Sacred Heart is the symbol of that boundless love which moved the Word to take flesh, to institute the Holy Eucharist, to take our sins upon Himself and, dying on the Cross, to offer Himself as a victim and sacrifice to the eternal Father.”
“We must never be discouraged or give way to anxiety. . . but ever have recourse to the adorable Heart of Jesus.”
“I need nothing but God and to lose myself in the Heart of God.”
“My greatest happiness is to be before the Blessed Sacrament, where my heart is, as it were, in Its centre.”
One Minute Reflection – 13 October – “The Month of the Most Holy Rosary and of the Angels” and the Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima: The Sixth & Final Apparition – Sirach 31:8-11, Luke 12:35-40 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Blessed are those servants whom the Master, on His return, shall find watching.” – Luke 12:37
REFLECTION – “Wishing to emphasise the special office of the servants, whom He has placed in charge of His people, the Lord says, ‘Who, do you think, is the faithful and wise steward, whom the Lord sets over His household, to give to them their measure of wheat at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his Master will find so doing when he comes.” Who is that Master, brethren? Without a doubt, it is Christ, Who says to His disciples: “You call me Teacher and Lord and you are right, for so I am” (Jn 13,13). What, too, is the Master’s Household? Doubtless it is the one which the Lord Himself ransomed… This Sacred Household is the Holy, Catholic Church, which is spread through the whole earth with abundant fertility and glories in the fact, that she has been redeemed by the Precious Blood of her Master. As He Himself says: “The Son of Man came, not to be served but to serve and to give His Life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10,45).
He is, too, the Good Shepherd ”Who laid down His Life for His sheep” (Jn 10,11)…As to who the steward is, who ought to be faithful, as well as wise, the Apostle Paul shows us, when, speaking of himself and his companions, he says: “This is how one should regard us, as the servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they should be found trustworthy” (1Cor 4,1-2).
Now, lest anyone of us should think that it is only the Apostles who have been made stewards…, the blessed Apostle Paul shows us that the Bishops also are stewards, when he says: “For a bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless” (Tt 1,7)…We, therefore, who are the servants of the Master of the Household, we are the stewards of the Lord, we have received the measure of wheat to disburse to you.” – St Fulgentius of Ruspe (467-532) Bishop in North Africa (Homily 1, on the Lord’s servants) (trans. Breviary Common of Pastors).
PRAYER – From all perils of soul and body defend us, O Lord, we beseech Thee and by the intercession of blessed and gloriosus ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God,and all the Saints, graciously grant us, safety and peace that all adversities and errors being overcome, thy Church may serve Thee in security and freedom. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Quote/s of the Day – 11 October – Feast of the Divine Maternity
“Mary, having merited to give flesh to the Divine Word and thus, supply the price of our redemption that we might be delivered from eternal death, therefore, she is more powerful than all others, to help us gain eternal life.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“The One Who is the Wisdom of the Father, put His arms around her neck, the One Who is the strength, which gives movement to everything, sat in her arms. He, Who is the rest of souls, (Mt 11:29) rested on her motherly breast. … Filled with the Holy Spirit, she held Him close to her heart … She never had enough of seeing Him or of hearing Him … Thus Mary, grew evermore in love and her mind was unceasingly attached , to Divine contemplation.”
St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) Bishop (Homily on the Motherhood of Mary, 4).
“Wherefore, in the same holy bosom of His most chaste Mother, Christ took to Himself flesh and united to Himself, the spiritual Body formed by those who were to believe in Him. Hence Mary, carrying the Saviour within her, may be said, to have also carried, all those. whose life was contained in the life of the Saviour. Therefore, all we who are united to Christ and, as the Apostle says, are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones (Eph 5:30), have issued from the womb of Mary, like a body united to it’s head.”
St Pius X (1835-1914) Pope from 1903 to 1914 Encyclical “Ad diem illum laetissimum” #10-11
Alma Redemptoris Mater Loving Mother of the Redeemer By Bl Herman of Reichenau (1013–1054)
Loving Mother of the Redeemer! Hear thou thy people’s cry, Star of the deep and portal of the sky! Mother of Him Who thee from nothing made, Sinking we strive and call to thee for aid; Oh, by that joy which Gabriel brought to thee, Thou Virgin first and last, let us thy mercy see.
Our Morning Offering – 21 July – “The Month of the Most Precious Blood”
Heal Us Lord God By St Albert of Trapani O.Carm. (c 1240-1307)
O my God, You have created the human race by Your wonderful power. It is an act of Your clemency that has called us to share Your glory and eternal life. When the first sin condemned us to suffer death, out of Your goodness, You wished to redeem us through the Blood of Your Son, To unite us to Yourself through our faith and Your great mercy. You have brought us back from the shame of our sin, You have veiled our dishonour in the brightness of Your glory. Look now and see that what You have created, giving it subtle limbs and joints and made beautiful through its immortal soul, is now subject to the attack of Satan. Be pleased Lord to reconstitute Your work and heal it. May Your power be glorified and may the malice of the enemy be stunned. Amen
One Minute Reflection –15 July – “The Month of the Precious Blood” and the Memorial of Saint Henry II (972-1024) Confessor, Holy Roman Emperor and Emperor of Germany – Ecclesiasticus 31:8-11, Luke 12:35-40
“Blessed are those servants whom the Master, on His return, shall find watching.” – Luke 12:37
REFLECTION – “Wishing to emphasize the special office of the servants, whom He has placed in charge of His people, the Lord says, ‘Who, do you think, is the faithful and wise steward, whom the Lord sets over His household, to give to them their measure of wheat at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his Master will find so doing when he comes.” Who is that Master, brethren? Without a doubt, it is Christ, Who says to His disciples: “You call me Teacher and Lord and you are right, for so I am” (Jn 13,13). What, too, is the Master’s Household? Doubtless it is the one which the Lord Himself ransomed… This Sacred Household is the Holy, Catholic Church, which is spread through the whole earth with abundant fertility and glories in the fact, that she has been redeemed by the Precious Blood of her Master. As He Himself says: “The Son of Man came, not to be served but to serve and to give His Life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10,45).
He is, too, the Good Shepherd ”Who laid down His Life for His sheep” (Jn 10,11)…As to who the steward is, who ought to be faithful as well as wise, the Apostle Paul shows us, when, speaking of himself and his companions, he says: “This is how one should regard us, as the servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they should be found trustworthy” (1Cor 4,1-2).
Now, lest anyone of us should think that it is only the Apostles who have been made stewards…, the blessed Apostle Paul shows us that the Bishops also are stewards, when he says: “For a bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless” (Tt 1,7)…We, therefore, who are the servants of the Master of the Household, we are the stewards of the Lord, we have received the measure of wheat to disburse to you.” – St Fulgentius of Ruspe (467-532) Bishop in North Africa (Homily 1, on the Lord’s servants) (trans. Breviary Common of Pastors)
PRAYER – O God, Who on this day took Henry, Your Confessor, to the everlasting Kingdom from the throne of an earthly empire; we humbly beseech Thee, that as Thou enabled him, protected by the abundance of Thy grace, to overcome the temptations of the world, so grant that we, in emulation of him, may shun the allurements of this world and come to Thee with pure hearts.Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Quote/s of the Day – 10 July – “The Month of the Precious Blood” – The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost and the Solemnity of the Most Precious Blood
“Many indeed are the wondrous happenings of that time: God hanging from a Cross, the sun made dark and again flaming out; for it was fitting, that creation should mourn with its Creator. The temple veil rent, Blood and Water flowing from His side – the one as from a Man, the other as from what was above man; the earth shaken, the rocks shattered because of the Rock; the dead risen to bear witness to the final and universal resurrection of the dead. The happenings at the sepulchre and after the sepulchre, who can fittingly recount them? Yet not one of them, can be compared, to the Miracle of my Salvation. A few drops of Blood renews the whole world and do, for all men, what the rennet does for the milk – joining us and binding us together!”
St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctor of the Church
“The Word of the Cross 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!
St Paulinus of Nola (c 354-431) Father of the Church
“He who is immortal, voluntarily shed His Blood. He who created the Host of Angels, was bound at the hands of soldiers and He who is to judge the living and the dead, was dragged to justice (cf. Acts 10:42; 2 Tm 4:1). Truth was exposed to false witnesses, was slandered, struck, covered with spittle, hung on the Wood of the Cross – the Lord of Glory (cf. 1 Cor 2:8) endured every outrage and suffering without Himself needing these trials. …
So there is nothing surprising about it, if we submit to even one of these trials, since such is our condition … Therefore, we too have to be offended and tempted, afflicted by the cutting off of our wills.”
St Theodore the Studite (759- 826) Monk at Constantinople, Father (Catecheses 1)
One Minute Reflection – 20 June – “The Month of the Sacred Heart” – Monday within the Octave of Corpus Christi and the Memorial of St Pope Silverius (Died 538) Martyr – 1 Corinthians 23-29, John 6:56-59.
“He who eats this Bread shall live forever.” – John 6:59
REFLECTION – “Since it was the Will of God’s Only-Begotten Son, that men should share in His Divinity, He assumed our nature in order that, by becoming Man. He might make men gods . Moreover, when He took our flesh. He dedicated the whole of its substance to our salvation. He offered His Body to God the Father, on the Altar of the Cross, as a sacrifice for our reconciliation. He shed His Blood for our ransom and purification, so that we might be redeemed, from our wretched state of bondage and cleansed from all sin. But to ensure that the memory of so great a gift would abide with us forever, He left His Body as food and His Blood as drink, for the faithful to consume in the form of bread and wine.
O precious and wonderful banquet that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness! Could anything be of more intrinsic value? Under the old law it was the flesh of calves and goats, which was offered but here, Christ Himself, the True God, is set before us as our food. What could be more wonderful than this? No other sacrament has greater healing power; through it sins are purged away, virtues are increased and the soul is enriched with an abundance of every spiritual gift. It is offered in the Church for the living and the dead, so that what was instituted for the salvation of all, may be for the benefit of all. Yet, in the end, no-one can fully express the sweetness of this Sacrament, in which spiritual delight is tasted at its very source, and in which, we renew the memory, of that surpassing love for us, which Christ revealed in His Passion.
It was to impress the vastness of this love, more firmly upon the hearts of the faithful, that our Lord instituted this Sacrament at the Last Supper. As He was on the point of leaving the world to go to the Father, after celebrating the Passover with His disciples, He left it as a perpetual memorial of His Passion. It was the fulfilment of ancient figures and the greatest of all His Miracles, while, for those who were to experience the sorrow of His departure, it was destined to be a unique and abiding consolation.” – St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Dominican Priest and Theologian, Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from On the Feast of the Body of Christ).
PRAYER – Look forgivingly on Thy flock, Eternal Shepherd and keep it in Thy constant protection, by the intercession of blessed Sylvester thy Martyr and Sovereign Pontiff, whom Thou didst constitute Shepherd of the whole Church. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect). O HEART of love, I place all my trust in Thee; for though I fear all things from my weakness, I hope all things from Thy mercies. – Ejaculation of Saint Margaret Mary – Indulgence 300 Days, Everytime – Raccolta 180St Pius X, 3 June 1908.
Thought for the Day – 18 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Holy Mass
“The Sacrifice of the Mass is the noblest act of our religion. In it is renewed, in a real but unbloody manner, the Sacrifice of Calvary.
Jesus desired to remain with us throughout the centuries in the Blessed Eucharist as our friend, comforter and spiritual food. Similarly, not being satisfied with having shed His Precious Blood on the Cross for our Redemption, it was His wish that this sacrificial action should be renewed daily in every corner of the world, in such a way, that everyone could participate in it and benefit from it. When we are present at Holy Mass, therefore, we should imagine that we are on Calvary at the foot of the Cross on which our Divine Redeemer is voluntarily giving His Life, as an innocent Victim, for our sins. Let us see Him hanging between earth and sky, a holocaust of propitiation between God and men. Let us see Him imploring with His dying glance, forgiveness for His executioners and for us sinners.
Let us imagine, moreover, His most Holy Mother as she gazes sorrowfully upon her suffering Son. With love far greater than that of any other human creature, she offers herself in union with Jesus, for our salvation.
We should make a similar offering when we assist at the Sacrifice of the Altar. We should sacrifice ourselves along with Jesus. If we are tormented by sufferings, let us offer them up along with those of Jesus. If we are troubled by passionate inclinations to sin, let us sacrifice these bravely, along with Jesus and for love of Him. If we are full of hatred and coldness towards others, let us sacrifice these feelings for love of Jesus, Who forgave everyone who asked and repented and prayed even for His executioners.
Let us remember, that the Sacrifice of the Mass should be our sacrifice too, It is not only the Priest who offers it but we offer it along with the Priest and with Jesus. “Receive, O Holy Trinity, this oblation which we make to Thee.” Let us unite the offering of our entire selves to the Sacrifice of Jesus and we sgall obtain great spiritual benefits.”
One Minute Reflection – 10 June – “The Month of the Sacred Heart” – Ember Friday – Joel 2:23-24; 26-27, Luke 5:17-26 and the Memorial of St Margaret of Scotland (1045-1093
“But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins – He said to the paralytic – I say to you, arise! – Luke 5:24
REFLECTION – “The Word of God has come to dwell in man; He became “Son of Man” in order to accustom man to receive God and God to dwell in man, as it has pleased the Father. See now why the sign of our salvation, Emmanuel born of a Virgin, has been given by the Saviour Himself (Is 7:14). Indeed, it is the Saviour Himself Who saves men, since of themselves they cannot save themselves. … The prophet Isaiah has said: “Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak! Take courage, frightened hearts, be strong, fear not! Here is your God who comes with vindication; He Himself comes, He comes to save us,” (Is 35:3-4). For it is only by God’s help and not of ourselves, that we can stand up to our salvation.
And here is another text where Isaiah predicted that the One who saves us is neither simply a man, nor an incorporeal being: “It was not a messenger or an angel but the Lord Himself Who saved His people. Because of His love and pity, He forgave them; He redeemed them Himself,” (Is 63:9). Yet this Saviour is also truly Man, truly visible: “City of Zion, behold, your eyes shall see our Saviour” … And another prophet has said: “He will again have compassion on us and cast into the depths of the sea all our sins,” (Mi 7:19) … From the land of Judah, from Bethlehem (Mi 5:1) will come the Son of God, He Who is also God, to pour out His praise on all the earth … Thus God has become Man indeed and the Lord Himself has saved us, by giving us the sign of the Virgin.” – St Irenaeus (c 130-c 202) Bishop, Church Father, Theologian and Martyr (Against the heresies III),
PRAYER – O God, Who made blessed Queen Margaret glorious by her remarkable charity toward the poor; grant, by her intercession and example, that Thy charity may continually increase in our hearts. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect). SACRED Heart of JESUS, I trust in Thee. 300 Days Indulgence Once a Day – Plenary, Once a month. Raccolta 175 – St Pius X, 19 August 1905; 27 June 1906.
Quote/s of the Day – 9 May – The Memorial of St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Bishop, Confessor, Father and Doctor of the Church
“He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the Great Light, bathed in the glory of Him who is the Light of Heaven.”
“Many indeed are the wondrous happenings of that time: God hanging from a Cross, the sun made dark and again flaming out; for it was fitting, that creation should mourn with its Creator. The temple veil rent, blood and water flowing from His side – the one as from a Man, the other as from what was above man; the earth shaken, the rocks shattered because of the Rock; the dead risen to bear witness to the final and universal resurrection of the dead. The happenings at the sepulchre and after the sepulchre, who can fittingly recount them? Yet not one of them, can be compared, to the Miracle of my Salvation. A few drops of Blood renews the whole world and do, for all men, what the rennet does for the milk – joining us and binding us together!”
“God accepts our desires as though they were of great value. He longs ardently for us to desire to and love Him. He accepts our petitions for benefits, as though we were doing Him a favour. His joy in giving, is greater than ours in receiving. So let us not be apathetic in our asking, nor set too narrow bounds to our requests; nor ask for frivolous things unworthy of God’s greatness.”
“If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary is the Mother of God, such a one is a stranger to the Godhead.”
St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctor of the Church
The Liturgical Year by Abbot Prosper Guéranger OSB (1805-1875)
“It was most just that our Divine King should show Himself to us with the sceptre of His power, to the end, that nothing might be wanting to the majesty of His empire. This sceptre is the Cross; and Paschal Time was to be the Season, for its being offered to Him in glad homage. A few weeks back and the Cross was shown to us, as the instrument of our Emmanuel’s humiliation and as the bed of suffering, whereon He died but, has He not, since then, conquered Death? and what is His Cross now but a trophy of His victory? Let it then be brought forth to our gaze and let every knee bend before this Sacred Wood, whereby our Jesus won the honour and praise we now give Him!
On the day of His Birth at Bethlehem, we sang these words of the Prophet Isaias: A Child is born unto us and a Son is given unto us and His government is upon His Shoulder (Is. ix. 6. The Introit of the Third Mass for Christmas Day). We have seen Him carrying this Cross upon His Shoulder, as Isaac carried the wood for his own immolation but now, it is no longer a heavy burthen. It is shining with a brightness that ravishes the eyes of the Angels and, after having received the veneration of man, as long as the world lasts, it will suddenly appear in the clouds of heaven, near the Judge of the living and the dead, a consolation to them that have loved it but a reproach to such as have treated it with contempt or forgetfulness.
Our Saviour did not think the time between His Resurrection and Ascensio,n a fitting one for glorifying the Instrument of His Victory. The Cross was not to be brought into notice, until it had subjected the world to Him, Whose glory it so eloquently proclaimed. Jesus was three days in the tomb; His Cross is to lie buried unknown to men, for three centuries but it is to have its Resurrection and the Church celebrates this Resurrection today. Jesus would, in His own good time, add to the joy of Easter by miraculously revealing to us, this Sacred Monument of His love for mankind. He entrusts it to our keeping, it is to be our consolation, as long as this world lasts – is it not just, that we should love and venerate it?
Never had Satan’s pride met with a humiliation like that of his seeing the instrument of our perdition, made the instrument of our salvation. As the Church expresses it in her Preface for Passiontide: “he that overcame mankind by a Tree, was overcome by a Tree.” Thus foiled, he vented his fury upon this saving Wood, which so bitterly reminded him, both of the irresistible power of his Conqueror and of the dignity of man, who had been redeemed at so great a price. He would fain have annihilated the Cross but knowing that this was beyond his power, he endeavoured to profane it and hide it from view. He, therefore, instigated the Jews to bury it. At the foot of Calvary, not far from the Sepulchre, was a deep hole. Into this was the Cross thrown, together with those of the two Thieves, the Nails, the Crown of Thorns and the Inscription, or Title, written by Pilate . The hole was then filled up with rubbish and earth and the Sanhedrim exulted in the thought of its having effaced the memory of the Nazarene, Who could not save Himself from the ignominious death of the Cross.
Forty years after this, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, the instruments of God’s vengeance. The Holy Places were desecrated by the idolaters. A small temple to Venus was erected on Calvary and another to Jupiter over the Holy Sepulchre. By this, the pagans intended derision; whereas, they were perpetuating the knowledge of two spots of most sacred interest. When peace was restored under Constantine, the Christians had but to remove these pagan monuments and their eyes beheld the holy ground that had been bedewed with the Blood of Jesus and the glorious Sepulchre.
As to the Cross, it was not so easily found. The sceptre of our Divine King was to be raised up from its tomb by a royal hand. The saintly Empress Helena, Constantine’s Mother, was chosen by heaven to pay to Jesu, and that, too, on the very spot where He had received His greatest humiliations, the honours which are due to Him as the King of the world. Before laying the foundations of the Basilica of the Resurrection, this worthy follower of Magdalene and the other holy women of the Sepulchre, was anxious to discover the Instrument of our Salvation. The Jews had kept up the tradition of the site where it had been buried, the Empress had the excavations made accordingly. With what holy impatience must she not have watched the works! and with what ecstasy of joy did she not behold the Redeeming Wood, which, though not, at first, distinguishable, was certainly one of the three Crosses that were found! She addressed a fervent prayer to the Saviour, Who alone could reveal to her which was the trophy of His Victory – the Bishop, St Macarius, united his prayers with hers and their faith was rewarded by a miracle, that left them no doubt as to which was the true Cross.
The glorious work was accomplished and the Church was put in possession of the instrument of the world’s Redemption. Both East and West were filled with joy at the news of this precious discovery, which Heaven had set on foot and which gave the last finish to the triumph of Christianity. Christ completed His Victory over the Pagan world, by raising thus His Standard, not a figurative one but His own real Standard, His Cross, which, up to that time, had been a stumbling-block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles;but before which every Christian is, henceforth, to bend his knee.
Helena placed the Holy Cross in the Basilica that had been built by her orders and which the same St Macarius, Bishop of Jerusalem oversaw and which covered both the glorious Sepulchre and the hill of the Crucifixion. Another Church was erected on the site, where the Cross had lain concealed for three hundred years and the faithful are enabled, by long flights of steps, to go down into the deep grotto, which had been its tomb. Pilgrims came, from every part of the world, to visit the hallowed places, where our Redemption had been wrought and to venerate the Sacred Wood of the Cross. But God’s merciful providence willed, not that the precious pledge of Jesus’ love for mankind should be confined to one only Sanctuary, however venerable it might be. Immediately after its discovery, Helena had a very large piece cut from the Cross and this fragment she destined for Rome, the new Jerusalem. The precious gift was enshrined in the Basilica built by her son Constantine in the Sessorian garden,and which was afterwards called the Basilica of Holy Cross in Jerusalem.
By degrees, other places were honoured by the presence of the Wood of the Holy Cross. As far back as the 4th Century, we have St Cyril of Jerusalem attesting that many of the Pilgrims used to obtain small pieces of it, and thus carried the precious Treasure into their respective countries and St. Paulinus of Nola, who lived in the same century, assures us that these many gifts lessened not the size of the original Relic. In the 6th century, the holy Queen, St Radegonde, obtained from the Emperor Justin 2nd a large piece from the fragment that was in the imperial treasury of Constantinople . It was for the reception of this piece of the True Cross into France, that St Venantius Fortunatus composed the , that beautiful Hymn which the Church uses in her Liturgy, as often as she celebrates the praises of the Holy Cross.
After several times losing and regaining it, Jerusalem was, at length, forever deprived of the precious Relic. Constantinople was a gainer by Jerusalem’s loss. From Constantinople, especially during the Crusades, many Churches of the West procured large pieces. These again supplied other places; until, at length the Wood of the Cross was to be found in almost every town of any importance.
There is scarcely to be found a Catholic, who, some time or other in his life, has not had the happiness of seeing and venerating a portion of this sacred object. How many acts of love and gratitude have not been occasioned by this? And who could fail to recognise, in this successive profusion of our Jesus’s Cross, a plan of divine providence for exciting us to an appreciation of our Redemption, on which rest all our hopes of eternal happiness?
How dear, then, to us should not this day be, which blends together the recollection of the Holy Cross and the joys of the Resurrection of that Jesus, Who, by the Cross, has won the throne to which we shall soon see Him ascend|! Let us thank our Heavenly Father for His having restored to mankind a treasure so immensely precious as is the Cross. Until the day comes for its appearing, with Himself, in the clouds of heaven, Jesus has intrusted it to His Spouse, as a pledge of His Second Coming. On that day, He, by His divine power, will collect together all the fragments and the Tree of Life will, then, gladden the Elect with its dazzling beauty and invite them to eternal rest beneath its refreshing shade”. – Abbot Prosper Guéranger OSB (1805-1875)
“On whose dear arms, so widely flung, The weight of this world’s ransom hung, The price of humankind to pay And spoil the spoiler of his prey All hail, O Cross, our only hope!” [From the Hymn Vexilla Regis by St Venantius Fortunatus (c 530 – c 609)]
Holy Saturday (Vigil Mass of Easter) – 16 April – Matthew 28:1-7
“When Christ should appear, Who is your Life, then you also shall appear with Him, in glory.” – Colossians 3:4
“And at the end of the Sabbath, when it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalen and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre.”
Ancient Christian Writer Anonymous (An excerpt from Homily on Holy Saturday)
The Lord Descends into Hell
SOMETHING STRANGE IS HAPPENING — there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and He has raised up all who have slept even since the world began. God has Died in the Flesh and hell trembles with fear!
HE HAS GONE TO SEARCH for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, He has gone to free from sorrow, the captives Adam and Eve, He Who is both God and the Son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the Cross, the Weapon that had won Him the Victory. At the sight of Him, Adam, the first man He had created, struck His breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper and rise from the dead and Christ will give you light.”
I AM YOUR GOD, Who, for your sake, have become your Son! Out of love for you and for your descendants, I now by My Own Authority, command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness, to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the Life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in My image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in Me and I Am in you; together, we form only one person and we cannot be separated.
FOR YOUR SAKE I, your God, became your Son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, Whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden and I was Crucified in a garden.
SEE ON MY FACE the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in My Image. On My Back see the marks of the scourging I endured, to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See My Hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
I SLEPT ON THE CROSS and a sword pierced My Side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My Side has healed the pain in yours. My Sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced Me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
RISE, LET US LEAVE THIS PLACE. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise but I will enthrone you in Heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life but see, I Who am Life itself, am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The Kingdom of Heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity!
One Minute Reflection – 15 April – Good Friday – The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to St John 18:1-40.19,1-42.
“There they crucified Him and with Him two others, one on either side and Jesus between them. ” – John 19:18
REFLECTION – “Truly, you are a hidden God!” (Is 45:15). Why hidden? Because He had neither form nor beauty, yet power was in His Hands. It was there His fortitude was hidden.
Was He not hidden when He submitted His Hands to brutes and His Palms received the nails? The print of the nails gleamed on His Hands and His innocent Side received the wound. They shackled His Feet in fetters, the iron pierced His soles and His Feet were fastened to the tree. These wounds did God suffer on our behalf, at the hands of His own people, in His own home. O how marvellous are His Wounds by which the wounds of the world were healed! How victorious His Wounds, by which He slew death and stung hell! … Therefore, O Church, O dove, You have coverts in the rock and a hollow in the wall in which to rest (cf. Sg 2:14). …
And what will you do … when He comes in the clouds with great power and majesty? (cf. Mt 24:30) He will come down with Heaven and earth ablaze and by the terror of His coming, He will dissolve the elements. When He has come, the Sign of the Cross will be seen in the sky and the beloved One will show the scars of His Wounds and the prints of the nails, by which He was transfixed in His own home.” … St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) – Cistercian Monk, Bishop
PRAYER – We adore Thee, O Christ and we bless Thee because by Thy Holy Cross, Thou hast Redeemed the world. Amen
Quote/s of the Day – 14 April – Maundy Thursday – 1 Corinthians 11:20-32, John 13:1-15
“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 – 14 April – Maundy Thursday – 1 Corinthians 11:20-32, 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 – O God, from whom Judas received the punishment of his guilt and the thief the reward of his confession: grant unto us the full fruit of Thy clemency, that even as in His Passion, our Lord Jesus Christ gave to each a retribution according to his merits, so having taken away our old sins, He may bestow upon us the grace of His Resurrection. Who with Thee lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 13 April – Wednesday of Holy Week
In Your Hour of Holy Sadness By St Bernard (1090-1153) Father & Doctor of the Church
In Your hour of holy sadness could I share with You, what gladness should Your Cross to me be showing. Gladness past all thought of knowing, bowed beneath Your Cross to die! Blessed Jesus, thanks I render that in bitter death, so tender, You now hear Your supplicant calling, Save me Lord and keep from falling from You, when my hour is nigh. Amen.
Friday of Passion Week – 8 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Jeremiah 17:13-18, John 11:47-54
“O Lord, deal with us not according to our sins, nor requite us according to our crimes.” – Psalm 102:10
“ … It is expedient for us, that one man die for the people, instead of the whole nation perishing.”
“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 Light 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, although 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 (Gen 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 (Phil 2:7). Under the skin that Jacob wore (Gen 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 lovable in Your ways, “anointed with the oil of gladness above Yourcompanions” (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) Cistercian Monk, Great Father and Doctor of the Church (28th Homily on the Song of Songs).
One Minute Reflection – 8 April – Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows – Friday of Passion Week, the Fifth Week in Lent – Jeremiah 17:13-18, John 11:47-54
“ … It is expedient for us, that one man die for the people, instead of the whole nation perishing.” – John 11:50
REFLECTION – “God, the Word of the all-good Father, did not disregard the human race, His own creation, when it was sinking back into corruption but rather, by the offering of His own Body, He destroyed the death men had incurred and by His teaching, He corrected their negligence. So, He restored by His power, all that belongs to man’s estate.
Anyone can find confirmation of this from the Saviour’s own disciples who spoke of Him, for in their writings one reads: The charity of Christ constrains us as we judge that if one died on behalf of all, then all died and He died for all, in order that we may live, no longer for ourselves but for Him Who died for us and rose from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ. And again: We see Jesus, Who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honour because He suffered death, that by God’s grace He might taste death for everyone. Then the writer goes onto show why it had to be God, the Word and no other Who became Man: Indeed it was fitting that in bringing many sons to glory, God, for Whom and through Whom all things exist, should make perfect the One Who leads them to salvation. By this He means, that the task of bringing men back from the corruption into which they had fallen, belonged to no other save God the Word, Who had made them in the beginning. Further, Scripture shows, that the Word assumed a Body for the purpose of offering It in sacrifice on behalf of other bodies like His own, for the writer continues: Since the children have blood and flesh in common, He likewise, shared in them Himself ,so that, by His own Death, He might destroy the one who had power over death, that is, the devil and might deliver those, who all their life long, were enslaved by fear of death.
For by the sacrifice of His own Body, He both put an end to the law that stood against us and made a new beginning of life for us, by giving us the hope of resurrection. Hence Paul, the Christbearer, declares: As through a man came death, so through a Man has come the Resurrection of the dead. For as all died in Adam, so also in Christ all shall be made to live.
No longer, then, do we die as men condemned but as men being raised even now, we await the general resurrection of all, which God, Whose work and gift it is, will reveal at the appointed time. – St Athanasius (297-373) Archbishop of Alexandria, Great Father and Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from his “On the Incarnation of the Word” 10).
PRAYER – O God, in Whose Passion the sword, according to the prophecy of blessed Simeon, pierced through the soul of Mary, the glorious Virgin and Mother, mercifully grant that we, who reverently commemorate her piercing through and her suffering, may, by the interceding glorious merits of all the saints faithfully standing by the Cross, obtain the abundant fruit of Your Passion. Who lives and reigns with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
One Minute Reflection – 25 March – The Annunciation – Isaias 7:10-15, Luke 1:26-38
“Hail, full of grace!” – Luke 1:28
REFLECTION – “The degeneration caused by sin had obscured the beauty of our original nobility. But when the mother of supreme Beauty is born, our nature finds its purity once more and sees itself moulded according to the perfect model, worthy of God (Gn 1,26)… We had all preferred the world below to that above. There no longer remained any hope of salvation. The state of our nature cried aloud to Heaven to come to the rescue… Then at last, in His good pleasure, the world’s Divine Artificer determined to make a new world appear, a different world full of harmony and youth.
Now was it not fitting, that a most pure virgin without stain, should place herself at the service of this mysterious plan first of all?… And where was this virgin to be found, if not in this woman, alone of her kind, chosen by the world’s Creator before all generations? Yes, she indeed is Mother of God, divinely named Mary, whose womb gave birth to God Incarnate and whom, He Himself had supernaturally prepared, as His Temple…
In this way, then, the design of the Redeemer of our race was to bring about a birth and, as it were, a new creation to replace the one that went before. Therefore, just as in Paradise, He had taken a litle clay out of the pure and spotless earth, to fashion the first Adam (Gn 2,7), so, at the moment of bringing about His Own Incarnation, He made use of another earth, so to speak, namely, this Pure and Immaculate Virgin, chosen from among all other beings He had created. It is in her that He, Adam’s Creator, has remade us in our very substance and become a new Adam (1Cor 15,45), that the old might be saved by the new and eternal.” – St Andrew of Crete (660-740) Bishop (Sermon 1 for the Nativity of the Mother of God ; PG 97, 812).
PRAYER – The Angelus 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
One Minute Reflection – 16 March – Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent – Esther 13:8-11; 15-17, Matthew 20:17-28
“You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” … the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” … Matthew 20:22,28
REFLECTION – “It is our task and, in our case, an obligation, to make of you the object of all our care, our zeal, our ministrations, by word and deed, by warnings, encouragement, admonitions and incitement, (…) so that, in this way, we might insert you into the rhythm of the divine will and face you towards the goal set before us – to give pleasure to God. …
He Who is immortal, voluntarily shed His Blood He Who created the host of Angels, was bound at the hands of soldiers and He Who is to judge the living and the dead, was dragged to justice (cf. Acts 10:42; 2 Tm 4:1). Truth was exposed to false witnesses, was slandered, struck, covered with spittle, hung on the wood of the cross – the Lord of glory (cf. 1 Cor 2:8) endured every outrage and suffering without Himself needing these trials. How could this have happened to Him Who, even as Man, was without sin and Who, to the contrary, snatched us away from the tyranny of the sin through which death came into the world and falsely took possession of our first father?
So, there is nothing surprising about it, if we submit to even one of these trials since such is our condition … Therefore, we too have to be offended and tempted, afflicted by the cutting off of our wills. According to the interpretation of our Fathers, there is in this, a shedding of blood for this is what it means to be a monk. And we must gain the Kingdom of Heaven in that way, by spending our lives in imitation of the Lord. … Apply yourselves zealously to your duties, in the thought that by means of them, far from being slaves of men, you are serving God.” … St Theodore the Studite (759- 826) Monk at Constantinople (Catecheses 1).
PRAYER – Look mercifully upon Your people, we beseech You, O Lord and grant that they whom You command to abstain from food, may also refrain from harmful vices. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).