Quote/s of the Day – 12 December – “Month of the Immaculate Conception” – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Readings: Zechariah 2:14-17, Judith 13:18, 19, Luke 1:26-38.
“And if any man will not receive His birth from a virgin, how shall he receive His resurrection from the dead? For it is nothing wonderful and astonishing and extraordinary, if one who was not born, rose from the dead – nay indeed, we cannot speak of a resurrection of him who came unto being without birth. For one who is unborn and immortal and has not undergone birth, will also not undergo death. For He, who took not the beginning of man, how could He receive His end?”
St Irenaeus (130-202) Martyr, Theologian, Father
“What shall we say, brethren? Is she not our mother? Certainly, brethren, she is in truth our mother. Through her we are born, not to the world but to God.”
“Scripture says, ‘Praise the Lord in his saints’. If the Lord is to be praised in those saints through whom He performs mighty works and miracles, how much more should He be praised in HER, in whom He fashioned Himself, He who is wonderful beyond all wonder.”
St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167) From his sermons – Sermon 20
Quote/s of the Day – 23 October – Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer
“I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.”
“Come along then, every human family, full of sin as you are and receive the forgiveness of your sins. For I Myself, am your forgiveness, I am the Passover of salvation, the Lamb slain for your sakes, your redemption, life and resurrection; I am your Light, your Salvation and your King. It is I, who lead you to the heights of heaven, I, who will raise you up; it is I, who will bring you to see the Father who is from all eternity; it is I, who will raise you up by My all-powerful Hand.”
St Melito of Sardis (Died c 180) Bishop, Apologist
“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 it’s 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 sepulcher and after the sepulcher, who can fittingly recount them? Yet no-one of them, can be compared, to the miracle of my salvation. A few drops of blood renew the whole world and do, for all men, what the rennet does for the milk – joining us and binding us together.”
St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Father and Doctor of the Church
“The light of Christ is an endless day that knows no night.”
“Our Saviour’s passion raises men and women from the depths, lifts them up from the earth and sets them in the heights.”
St Maximus of Turin (? – c 420)
“As they were looking on, so we too gaze on His wounds as He hangs. We see His blood as He dies. We see the price offered by the Redeemer, touch the scars of His Resurrection. He bows His head, as if to kiss you. His heart is made bare open, as it were, in love to you. His arms are extended, that He may embrace you. His whole body is displayed for your redemption. Ponder how great these things are. Let all this be rightly weighed in your mind – as He was once fixed to the cross, in every part of His body for you, so He may now be fixed in every part of your soul.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“Mount Calvary is the mount of lovers. All love that takes not it’s beginning from Our Saviour’s Passion is frivolous and dangerous. Unhappy is death without the love of the Saviour, unhappy is love without the death of the Saviour! Love and death are so mingled in the Passion of Our Saviour that we cannot have the one in our heart without the other. Upon Calvary one cannot have life without love, nor love without the death of Our Redeemer.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of Charity
“Yes, my gentle Redeemer, let me say it, You are crazy with love! Is it not foolish for You to have wanted to die for me? But if You, my God, have become crazy with love for me, how can I not become crazy with love for You?”
St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
Prayer Before The Crucifix – The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass 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
“He perspired blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter and, abandoned by the Apostles, He was bound like a criminal, insulted, scourged, crowned with thorns, condemned to death and burdened with a cross; finally, when He arrived at Calvary, He was nailed to the gibbet, where He shed His Precious Blood and gave His life for our redemption. Such was the extent of Jesus’ infinite love for us. “Calvary” writes St Francis de Sales,“is the school of love.” The Saints were moved to tears by the strange spectacle of God-made-man, dying on the Cross for men. What is our reaction?”
Thought for the Day – 13 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The First Glorious Mystery The Resurrection of Our Lord”
“Jesus could not have remained lifeless in the sepulchre. He is the Man-God, the conqueror of sin and of death. He willed to be subject to all the conditions of human exiastence with the exception of sin, therefore, He suffered and died for love of us.
However, as He had foretold, He rose gloriously from the tomb on the third day. This resurrection is proved historically in a most certin manner, by the behaviour of the Apostles, who, were at first downcast and incredulous and were transformed, into heroes and martyrs, by the glorious appearance of Jesus. It is confirmed by the obstinacy and deceitfulness of the Jews, who went so far as to bribe the soldiers who were guarding the sepulchre, not to reveal the truth. It is proved, moreover, by the fact, that the Apostle Thomas, refused to believe in the Resurrection until he had placed his fingers in the wounds of the Redeemer, Who afterwards appeared to him.
We read in the Gospels and in the Acts of the Apostles, that the risen Jesus appeared many times to the Apostles to confirm their faith, to speak with them of the Kingdom of God and to give them His final instructions and commands. We read also, that He appeared to Mary Magdalen to reward her great love and to console her. Nowhere, do we read that He appeared to His beloved Mother, Mary. However, the heart tells us what the Gospels omit to mention. Surely, it is impossible to suppose that the risen Jesus would not have hastened to embrace and to console her, who had borne Him in her chaste womb and had loved Him so much, that she followed Him to the foot of the Cross?
The apparitions of Jesus narrated in the Gospel, had a public purpose, being intended to confirm the faith of those who were fearful, discouraged or incredulous. The apparitions to Mary, were intimate and affectionate meetings with His dear Mother, who had never doubted, for one moment, that He would rise again. There may be another explanation, however. It is possible, that Mary’s humility would have prevented her from discussing, with others, her happy moments of reunion with her risen Son.”
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,“Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). … John 20:15-16
REFLECTION – “When Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and did not find the Lord’s body, she thought it had been taken away and so informed the disciples. After they came and saw the tomb, they too believed what Mary had told them. The text then says: The disciples went back home, and it adds: but Mary wept and remained standing outside the tomb.
We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the One she had not found and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for Him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ, was the only one to see Him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tells us: Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.
At first she sought but did not find but when she persevered, it happened that she found what she was looking for. When our desires are not satisfied, they grow stronger and becoming stronger they take hold of their object. Holy desires likewise grow with anticipation and if they do not grow they are not really desires. Anyone who succeeds in attaining the truth has burned with such a great love. As David says: My soul has thirsted for the living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God? And so also in the Song of Songs the Church says: I was wounded by love and again: My soul is melted with love.
Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek? She is asked why she is sorrowing so that her desire might be strengthened, for when she mentions whom she is seeking, her love is kindled all the more ardently.
Jesus says to her – Mary. Jesus is not recognised when He calls her “woman,” so He calls her by name, as though He were saying: Recognise Me as I recognise you, for I do not know you as I know others, I know you as yourself. And so Mary, once addressed by name, recognises who is speaking. She immediately calls Him Rabboni, that is to say, teacher, because the One whom she sought outwardly, was the One who inwardly taught her to keep on searching.” … St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) Father and Doctor – (Hom. 25, 1-2, 4-5:PL 76, 1189-1193)
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ made Mary of Magdala the first herald of Easter joy. Grant that, following her example and helped by her prayers, we may, in this life, proclaim The living Christ and come to see Him reigning with You in glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 16 May – Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 16:1-10, Psalm 100:1-3, 5, John 15:18-21
“If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own but because you are not of the world but I chose you out of the world, therefore, the world hates you.”
” The Lord’s Passion depicts for us our present life of trial— shows how we must suffer and be afflicted and finally die. The Lord’s Resurrection and glorification show us the life that will be given to us in the future.”
St Augustine (354-430)
Doctor of Grace
“…We mix with the world without loving it, for our affections are given to another. We can bear to look on the world’s beauty, for we have no heart for it. We are not disturbed at it’s frowns, for we live not in it’s smiles.”
“We are patient in bereavement, adversity, or pain, for they are Christ’s tokens.”
Quote/s of the Day – 2 May – Saturday of the Third Week of Easter and the Memorial of St Athanasius (c 295-373) Father and Doctor of the Church “The Father of Orthodoxy”
“In ancient times, before the divine sojourn of the Saviour took place, even to the saints, death was terrible, all wept for the dead as though they perished. But now, that the Saviour has raised His body, death is no longer terrible, for all who believe in Christ, trample on it, as it were nothing and choose rather to die, than deny their faith in Christ. And that devil, that once maliciously exulted in death, now that its pains were loosed, remained the only one truly dead.”
“In death, the Word made a spotless sacrifice and oblation of the body He had taken. By dying for others, He immediately banished death for all mankind.”
On the Incarnation
“But what is also to the point, let us note that the very tradition, teaching and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning was preached by the Apostles and preserved by the Fathers. On this the Church was founded – and if anyone departs from this, he neither is, nor any longer ought to be called, a Christian.”
“Christians, instead of arming themselves with swords, extend their hands in prayer.”
Quote of the Day – 22 April – Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter
The Course of Truth
By St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
“Him God raised up the third day and showed Him openly, not to all the people but unto witnesses chosen before of God.”
WHEN royal Truth, released from mortal throes, Burst His brief slumber and triumphant rose, Ill had the Holiest sued A patron multitude, Or courted Tetrarch’s eye, or claim’d to rule By the world’s winning grace, or proofs from learned school.
But, robing Him in viewless air, He told His secret to a few of meanest mould; They in their turn imparted The gift of men pure-hearted, While the brute many heard His mysteries high, As some strange fearful tongue, and crouch’d, they knew not why.
Still is the might of Truth, as it has been, Lodged in the few, obey’d and yet unseen. Rear’d on lone heights and rare, His saints their watch-flame bear, And the mad world sees the wide-circling blaze, Vain searching whence it streams and how to quench it’s rays.
One Minute Reflection – 18 April – Easter Saturday, Readings: Acts 4:13-21, Psalm 118:1, 14-21, Mark 16:9-15
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” … Mark 16:15
REFLECTION – “Duc in altum! “let us cast out into deep waters!” (Lk 5:4). Let us go forward in hope! …. The Son of God, who became incarnate two thousand years ago out of love for humanity, is at work even toda -: we need discerning eyes to see this and, above all, a generous heart to become the instruments of His work. (…) “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19). The missionary mandate accompanies us into the Third Millennium and urges us to share the enthusiasm of the very first Christians – we can count on the power of the same Spirit who was poured out at Pentecost and who impels us still today to start out anew, sustained by the hope “which does not disappoint” (Rom 5:5).
At the beginning of this new century, our steps must quicken as we travel the highways of the world. Many are the paths on which each one of us and each of our Churches must travel but there is no distance between those who are united in the same communion, the communion which is daily nourished at the table of the Eucharistic Bread and the Word of Life. Every Sunday, the Risen Christ asks us to meet Him as it were once more in the Upper Room where, on the evening of “the first day of the week” (Jn 20:19) He appeared to His disciples in order to “breathe” on them His life-giving Spirit and launch them on the great adventure of proclaiming the Gospel.” … St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) Apostolic Letter “ Novo millennio ineunte ”, # 58
PRAYER – Lord our God, You increase and multiply Your faithful by Your abundant gift of grace. Look now on Your chosen people and clothe them forever in the garment of eternal life. May we, in confident love of You, go forth and live our lives in witness and speak with joy of the ways of truth. Grant that the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, the saints and angels, may accompany us on our journey. Through our Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 17 April – Easter Friday, Readings: Acts 4:1-12, Psalm 118:1-2, 4, 22-27, John 21:1-14
“It is the Lord!” … John 21:7
REFLECTION – “The Lord says to those tired and disappointed fishermen: “Cast the net on the right side of the boat and you will find some” (v. 6). The disciples trust in Jesus and the result is an incredibly abundant catch. In that exclamation: “It is the Lord!” there is all the enthusiasm of the Paschal faith, full of joy and wonder, which sharply contrasts with the disappearance, the dejection, the sense of powerlessness that had accumulated in the disciples’ hearts.
The presence of the Risen Jesus transforms everything – darkness has become light, futile work has again become fruitful and promising, the sense of weariness and abandonment, give way to a new impetus and to the certainty that He is with us. From that time, these same sentiments enliven the Church, the Community of the Risen One. All of us are the community of the Risen One!” … Pope Francis – Regina Coeli, 10 April 2016
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, You offer the covenant of reconciliation to mankind in the mystery of Easter. Cleanse our hearts by Your truth and guide our lives by Your holiness, may we do what is right and pleasing to You. Open our eyes to see You and our ears to Hear You, that we may follow your commandments and Your Way. Grant that what we celebrate in worship, we may carry out in our lives. May our Holy Mother, ever keep us in her prayers and care. Through Christ, our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour to You, forever, amen
Quote/s of the Day – 16 April – Easter Thursday, Readings: Acts 3:11-26, Psalm 8:2, 5-9, Luke 24:35-48 and the Memorial of St Benedict Joseph Labre (1748-1783)
“… And said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead and repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations…”
“Repentance lifts a man up. Mourning knocks at heaven’s gate. Holy humility opens it.”
St John Climacus (579-649)
“The Ladder of Divine Ascent” (Step 25)
“Meditate on the horrors of Hell, which will last for eternity because of one easily-committed mortal sin. Try hard to be among the few who are chosen. Think of the eternal flames of Hell and how few there are that are saved.”
“The want of proper examination, true contrition and a firm purpose of amendment, is the cause of bad confessions and of the ruin of souls.”
St Benedict Joseph Labre (1748-1783)
“The Beggar of Perpetual Adoration”
“The saints understood how great an outrage sin is against God. Some of them passed their lives in weeping for their sins. St Peter wept all his life; he was still weeping at his death. St Bernard used to say, ‘Lord! Lord! it is I who fastened You to the Cross!’”
One Minute Reflection -– 16 April – Easter Thursday, Readings: Acts 3:11-26, Psalm 8:2, 5-9, Luke 24:35-48
“You are witnesses of these things” ... Luke 24:48
REFLECTION – “After His Resurrection, the Lord appeared to His disciples and greeted them, saying: “Peace be with you!” Peace is what this saving salutation truly is, since the word “salutation” derives from the word for “salvation.” What more could one hope for? Man receives greetings of salvation in person, for our salvation is Christ. Yes, He is our salvation, He who was wounded for our sake and nailed to the tree, then descended from the tree and placed in a tomb. But He is risen from the tomb and His wounds are healed, although still keeping their scars. That His scars remain, is a help to His disciples, so that the wounds in their hearts, might be healed. What wounds are these? The wounds of their unbelief. He appeared before their eyes in a genuine bodily form and “they thought they were seeing a ghost.” This is no light wound to their heart. (…)
But what does the Lord Jesus say? “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?” It is good for man, not that thoughts should arise in his heart but that his heart should arise – arise, that is to say, to where the apostle Paul wanted to set the hearts of the faithful, when he said to them: “If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory” (Col 3:1-4). What glory is this? The glory of the resurrection. (…)
As for us, we believe in the word of these disciples without their having shown us the Saviour’s risen body. (…) But at that time, such an event seemed unbelievable. And so, our Saviour led them to believe, not by sight alone but by touch, so that by means of the senses, faith might enter their hearts and be preached throughout the world, to those who had neither seen nor touched but who, nevertheless, would believe unhesitatingly (cf. Jn 20:29).” … St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church – Sermon 116; PL 38, 657
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.
Our Morning Offering – 15 April – Thursday of Easter week
Grant us Your Light, O Lord By St Bede (673-735) Father and Doctor of the Church
Grant us Your light, O Lord,
so that the darkness of our hearts,
may wholly pass away
and we may come at last,
to the light of Christ.
For Christ is that morning star,
who, when the night of this world has passed,
brings to His saints,
the promised light of life
and opens to them,
Thought for the Day – 15 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, is a fundamental truth of our faith.
Jesus intended it to take place, in such a way, that nobody could reasonably deny it.
There is no historical fact which can be upheld by such clear and ample evidence, as the Resurrection of Our Lord.
It emerges, most of all, from the absolute certainty of Jesus’ death.
After the fearful scourging, crowning with thorns and crucifixion, His blood had poured forth for three hours from His nailed Hands and Feet.
Moreover, even though he saw that Christ was dead, the Roman soldier pierced His heart with a lance.
His body was taken down from the Cross and enclosed in the Tomb until the third day.
Jesus, therefore, was dead and buried.
But, there is still further proof.
The Jews remembered that Jesus had prophesied that He would rise on the third day.
For this reason, they had the sepulchre sealed and they placed a guard of soldiers beside it, so that the body could not be stolen.
In spite of the enormous stone at the mouth of the Tomb, however, Our Lord rose in glory, flinging the sentries into a state of terror and confusion.
The frightened guards ran to the leaders of the Sanhedrin and related what had happened.
If the Jewish authorities had believed that the soldiers were responsible, they would have punished them and, if they had believed that the body of Our Lord had been stolen, they would have searched for it.
Instead, they bribed the soldiers to say that the body of Jesus had been stolen while they were asleep (Mt 28:12).
St Augustine comments on the stupidity of the Jews, in calling on the testimony of sleeping witnesses!
Jesus, moreover, saw to it that St Thomas would not be present when He appeared to the other Apostles and, that he would believe only when he had seen the wounds in His hands and feet and had placed his finger in the gash made by the lance, in Our Lord’s side.
What further evidence could anyone expect?
There is a still stronger proof, however.
After the death of Jesus, the Apostles were an insignificant group of discouraged and disillusioned men, without the daring or the ability, to accomplish anything.
It was only the Resurrection of Jesus which could have given them the supreme courage to stand up to the Jews and to convert the world.
Let us fall in adoration before the risen Christ and say with St Thomas, the Apostle: “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28).”
One Minute Reflection – 15 April – Easter Wednesday, Readings: Acts 3:1-10, Psalm 105:1-4, 6-9, Luke 24:13-35
“Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” … Luke 24:32
REFLECTION – “Brethren, let us turn to the account of Christ’s appearances to His disciples after the Resurrection, which are most important, first, as showing that such an unconscious communion with Him is possible; next, that it is likely to be the sort of communion now granted to us, from the circumstance that in that period of forty days after the Resurrection, He began to be, in that relation towards His Church, in which He is still and probably intended, to intimate to us thereby, what His presence with us is now.
Now observe what was the nature of His presence in the Church after His Resurrection. It was this, that He came and went as He pleased, that material substances, such as the fastened doors, were no impediments to His coming and that, when He was present His disciples did not, as a matter of course, know Him. … The two disciples on the way to Emmaus do not seem to have been conscious of this at the time but on looking back, they recollected that, as having been, which did not strike them while it was. “Did not,” they say, “did not our heart burn within us?” …
Let us observe, too, when it was that their eyes were opened… when He consecrated and broke the Bread. There is evidently a stress laid on this in the gospel… for so it was ordained, that Christ should not be both seen and known at once, first He was seen, then He was known. Only by faith is He known to be present… He removed His visible presence and left but a memorial of Himself. He vanished from sight that He might be present in a Sacrament and in order to connect His visible presence with His presence invisible, He for one instant, manifest Himself to their open eyes; manifested Himself, if I may so speak, while He passed from His hiding-place of sight without knowledge, to that of knowledge without sight.” … St John Henry Newman (1801-1890) – Cardinal, Founder of the Oratory in England, Theologian, Poet, Writer, Hymnest – PPS 6, 10
PRAYER – Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You.
Stay with me Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, so that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me Lord, for You are my life and without You, I am without fervour.
Stay with me Lord, for You are my light and without you, I am in darkness.
Stay with me Lord, to show me Your will.
Stay with me Lord, so that I may hear Your voice and follow You…. St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968) (Stay with Me, Lord – Excerpt)
And grant holy Father, that the prayers of Our Lord’s Mother and ours, the Blessed Virgin, may assist us on our way. Through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 14 April – Tuesday of Easter week, Readings: Acts 2:36-41, Psalm 33:4-5, 18-20, 22, John 20:11-18
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). … John 20:16
REFLECTION – “One question, however, continually arises at this point. Not everyone saw the Risen Jesus. Why not? Why did He not go in triumph to the Pharisees and Pilate to show them that He was alive and to let them touch His scars? But in asking such a question, we are forgetting that Jesus was not a resuscitated corpse like Lazarus and the boy of Naim. They were allowed to return once more, to their erstwhile biological life, which sooner or later, would have to end, after all, with death. What happened in Jesus’ case, was quite different – He did not return to the old life but began a new one, a life that is ultimate, no longer subject to nature’s law of death but standing in God’s freedom and hence final and absolute. A life, therefore, that is no longer part of the realm of physics and biology, although it has integrated matter and nature into itself on a higher plane. And that is why it is no longer within the ambit of our senses of touch and sight. The Risen One cannot be seen like a piece of wood or stone. He can only be seen by the person to whom He reveals Himself. And He only reveals Himself, to the one whom He can entrust with a mission. He does NOT reveal Himself, to curiosity but to LOVE; LOVE is the indispensable organ if we are to see and approach Him.” … Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) – The Word of the Witnesses – Seek that Which is Above (1985)
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, You gave our Saviour the command to become man and undergo the Cross, as an example of humility for all men to follow and showed the Grace of Your love for us. We have the lessons of His suffering, grant us the grace of His love and the fellowship of His Resurrection. May Mary, His Mother and ours, who after the pain and sorrow of the Cross, rejoiced in the glory of His Resurrection, intercede for us, that we may grow in true love of her Son and thus join in her rejoicing. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 13 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Easter: The Herald of Peace
“When Jesus was born in the manger at Bethlehem, the sky became brilliantly aglow and Angels descended singing: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men of goodwill.”
When our Lord had risen from the dead, He greeted the Apostles with the words: “Peace be with you!”
Peace, is a gift from God, only He can give real peace.
The peace of this world has a certain value but, it is nothing like the genuine and soul-satisfying, peace, which God can give us.
This is why Jesus said to His Apostles: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn 14:27).
Worldly peace is external and can be disturbed or destroyed by men but, the peace of God is internal and nothing can destroy it, except sin.
It is possible to be persecuted and slandered and yet, to preserve interior peace, as the Martyrs and the Saints did in adversity.
It is this inner peace which we must aim at acquiring.
We shall be truly content, when we have achieved it, because, as St Thomas Aquinas says, “the fullness of joy is peace” (Summa Theologiae, I-II, q70, a3).
St Thomas Aquinas defined peace as “tranquillitas ordinis,” (Ibid II-II, q29, a1 ad1) i.e. “tranquillity of order;” St Augustine called it “ordinata corcordia” (De Civitate Dei, XIX:13) i.e. “ordered harmony.”
It is not sufficient for this harmony and order to be established externally among men.
It is necessary that this harmony and order should reign first of all, in our minds and hearts and in our actions.”
“…Now since you are celebrating the holy Pasch, you should know, brethren, what the Pasch is. Pasch means, the crossing-over and so, the Festival is called by this name. For it was on this day, that the Children of Israel, crossed over out of Egypt and the Son of God, crossed over from this world to His Father. What gain is it to celebrate, unless you imitate Him, Whom you worship; that is, unless you cross over from Egypt, that is, from the darkness of evildoing, to the light of virtue, from the love of this world, to the love of your heavenly home?”
St Ambrose (340-397)
Father & Doctor of the Church
“The Sunday of the Resurrection”
“Now let the heavens be joyful, Let earth her song begin. Let the round world keep triumph, And all that is therein, Invisible and visible, Their notes let all things blend, For Christ the Lord is risen Our joy that hath no end.”
St John Damascene (675-749)
Father & Doctor of the Church
And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Hail!”
At dawn You were mourned By women bearing spices, Grant that my heart may also shed Tears of fire for Your burning love.
By grace of the angel’s tidings Shouted from the pinnacle of the rock (Mt 28,2), Let me hear the last trumpet sound Proclaiming the Resurrection.
With Your body, born of a Virgin You were raised from a tomb, virgin and new, You became for us the first-fruits And firstborn from the dead
As for me, bound by the Foe With the evil of bodily sin, Set me free once more As You have freed souls in the dwelling of the dead (1Pt 3:19).
You revealed Yourself in the garden To Mary Magdalene, But have not consented to approach One who is yet part of a fallen race.
Show Yourself also to me on the eighth day, At the great and final dawn And graciously grant my unworthy soul To draw near You at that time.
St Nerses Chnorhali (1102-1173)
Armenian Catholic Patriarch
“The astonishing event of the Resurrection of Jesus is essentially an event of love: the Father’s love in handing over His Son for the salvation of the world; the Son’s love in abandoning Himself to the Father’s will for us all; the Spirit’s love in raising Jesus from the dead in His transfigured body.”
One Minute Reflection – 13 April – Easter Monday, Readings: Acts 2:14, 22-33, Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11, Matthew 28:8-15
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed and ran to announce the news to his disciples. … Matthew 28:8
REFLECTION – “Today, the Church continues to say: “Stop. Jesus is Risen.” And this is not a fantasy. The Resurrection of Christ is not a celebration with many flowers. This is beautiful but this is not it. It is something more. It is the mystery of the discarded stone which becomes the foundation of our existence. Christ is Risen. And with faith in the Risen Christ, we too, pebbles on this earth of pain, tragedy, acquire meaning amid so many calamities. The sense to look beyond, the sense to say: “Look, there is no wall; there is a horizon, there is life, there is joy, there is the cross with this ambivalence. Look ahead, do not close within yourself. You pebble, acquire meaning in life because you are a pebble near that rock, that stone which the evil of sin discarded”. Brothers and sisters, this is what I wanted to say to you. Go home today repeating in your hearts: “Christ is Risen”. … Pope Francis – Easter Sunday, 16 April 2017
PRAYER – Lord God, You bring us joy through the Easter mysteries. Continue to be bountiful to Your people, lead us from darkness to the perfect freedom, by which the joy that gladdens our way on earth, will be fulfilled in heaven. May the prayer of your angels and saints, with Mary the Mother of our Saviour and our Mother, grant us peace and strength. We make our prayer through our Lord, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, God forever amen.
Thought for the Day – 12 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Meaning of Easter
“Today the Church adorns herself in festival array.
Gone are the lengthy lamentations of Holy Saturday and the sorrowful recitations of the Passion and in their place, is the glad cry of Alleluia, the hymn of vitory over death and sin.
The true joy of Easter, lies, not merely in external celebration, however but in the spiritual gladness of the soul.
As Jesus has conquered death and sin, so we must purify ourselves of every trace of guilt by a good confession and must be sure, that it will result in a practical renovation of our lives.
We should approach Jesus in the Blessed Eucharist with greater fervour and humility and with greater trust in His goodness and mercy.
When we have received Him into our hearts, we should ask Him to renew and transform us in Himself.
He is everything and we are nothing without Him.
He is strong, we are weak.
We are capable only of feeble desires to do good but He can make them effective by His grace.
We should not be satisfied with forming general resolutions when we go to confession and receive Holy Communion at Easter.
We should examine the depths of our soul and discover the sin which we are most accustomed to commit and the virtue which we are principally lacking.
As a result of our investigation, we should form a particular resolution to combat this sin and to practise this virtue.
It is only in this way, that our celebration of Easter can inaugurate the beginning of a genuine self-renewal which will gain momentum daily, until it becomes a true spiritual resurrection.
It will be a hard battle, which will necessitate a constant vigilance and a readiness to begin again, everytime we realise, that we have fallen.
It will require an unfailing spirit of prayer but, the final victory, will bring us such happiness, that worldly pleasures will seem empty and illusory, by comparison.”
Antonio Cardinal Bacci
Most of us are barred from the Sacraments at present. Some, have been able to make their Easter Confession before all this ‘lockdown’ occurred. For those of us who were not able to do so, now is perhaps the most perfect time to prepare ourselves for the great day, when this time is over and we can, again, joyfully receive the Sacraments! In the meantime, let us be strong in the Risen Christ and rejoice in His Glory – Alleluia!
Quote/s of the Day – 12 April -– Easter Sunday – The Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!!! For with thee is the fountain of life and in thy light, we shall see light.
“O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen and you are overthrown. Christ is risen and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen and life reigns. Christ is risen and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407)
Father and Doctor of the Church
“There is just one Name in the whole world that lives – it is the Name of One who passed His years in obscurity and who died a malefactor’s death. (Two thousand yeas) have gone by since that time but still It has It’s hold upon the human mind. It has possessed the world and It maintains possession. Amid the most various nations, under the most diversified circumstances, in the most cultivated, in the rudest races and intellects, in all classes of society, the Owner of that great Name reigns. High and low, rich and poor, acknowledge Him. Millions of souls are conversing with Him, are venturing at His word, are looking for His presence. Palaces, sumptuous, innumerable, are raised to His honour.
His image, in it’s deepest humiliations,
is triumphantly displayed in the proud city, in the open country,
at the corners of streets, on the tops of mountains.
It sanctifies the ancestral hall, the closet and the bedchamber,
it is the subject for the exercise of the highest genius in the imitative arts.
It is worn next to the heart in life, it is held before the failing eyes in death.
O fulfil Your Resurrection in us and as You have purchased us, claim us, take possession of us, make us Thine.” Amen
St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
“It seems as if the human world has no doors opening toward God. It is locked in upon itself. It is a prison, a house of the dead.
[BUT TODAY] … The Door is open It is called Jesus Christ”
One Minute Reflection – 12 April – Easter Sunday – The Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord, Readings: Acts 10:34, 37-43, Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23, Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, John 20:1-9 or Matthew 28:1-10
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. … John 20:1
REFLECTION – “Here is a wise saying: “The day of prosperity makes one forget adversity” (Sir 11:25). Today the first sentence passed against us has been forgotten – more! not just forgotten but cancelled! This day has wiped away completely all remembrance of our condemnation. In former times childbearing took place in pain, now we are born without suffering. Formerly we were no more than flesh, born of the flesh, today, what is born is spirit, born of the Spirit. Yesterday we were born mere children of men, today we are born children of God. Yesterday we were cast out of heaven to the earth, today, He who reigns in the heavens makes us citizens of heaven. Yesterday, death reigned because of sin, today, thanks to Him who is the Life, righteousness regains its might.
In former times one man opened for us the gates of death, today, the one Man brings us back to life. Yesterday, life was lost to us because of death but today, Life has destroyed death. Yesterday, shame caused us to hide ourselves beneath the fig tree, today, glory draws us towards the tree of life. Yesterday, disobedience expelled us from Paradise, today, our faith causes us to enter it. Once again the fruit of life is held out to us to be enjoyed as much as we wish. Once again the stream of Paradise, whose water irrigates us through the four rivers of the gospels (cf. Gn 2:10), comes to refresh the whole face of the Church. (…)
From now on what are we to do but imitate the mountains and hills of the prophecies in their leaping for joy: “Mountains, skip like rams; hills, like lambs of the flock!” (Ps 114:4). “Come, then, let us sing joyfully to the Lord!” (Ps 95:1). He has broken the power of the enemy and raised up the great trophy of the cross… So let us say: “The Lord is a great God and a great king above all gods!” (Ps 95,3). He blesses the year by crowning it with His bounty (cf. Ps 65:12) and He gathers us together in spiritual chorus in Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory for endless ages. Amen.” … St Gregory of Nyssa (c 335-395) – Father of the Church – Homily for the holy and life-giving Pasch
PRAYER – Breviary Hymn
Jesus Christ is ris’n today, Alleluia
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss, Alleluia!
Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ our heav’nly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save, Alleluia!
But the pains which He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured, Alleluia!
Now He rules eternal King, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing, Alleluia!
Praise to God the Father sing, Alleluia!
Praise to God the Son, our King, Alleluia!
Praise to God the Spirit be, Alleluia!
Now and through eternity, Alleluia!
Our Morning Offering – 12 April – Easter Sunday – The Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord
Easter Prayer By St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) One of the original four Doctors of the Latin Church
It is only right,
with all the powers of our heart and mind,
to praise You Father and Your Only-Begotten Son,
Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Dear Father, by Your wondrous condescension
of Loving-Kindness toward us, Your servants,
You gave up Your Son.
You paid the debt of Adam for us,
to the Eternal Father by Your Blood
poured forth in Loving-Kindness.
You cleared away the darkness of sin
by Your magnificent and radiant Resurrection.
You broke the bonds of death
and rose from the grave as a Conqueror.
You reconciled Heaven and earth.
Our life had no hope of Eternal Happiness
before You redeemed us.
Your Resurrection has washed away our sins,
restored our innocence and brought us joy.
How inestimable is the tenderness of Your Love!
We pray You, Lord, to preserve Your servants
in the peaceful enjoyment of this Easter happiness.
We ask this through Jesus Christ Our Lord,
Who lives and reigns with God The Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever.
Solemnity of Solemnities
Easter Sunday – 12 April – The Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord
A Blessed and Holy Easter to you all!
Jesus Christ is risen! He is truly risen!
Today we forget the troubles of the world, for we have reached our goal, today is Easter, the day we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection. This is the single most important feast day of the Church. With Christ’s Death and Resurrection, Christ has conquered sin and death, the gates of heaven are now open to man.
Yes, Lord, make us Easter people, men and women of light, filled with the fire of Your love. Amen
Fr Francis Fernandez from his ‘In Conversation with God: Daily Meditations, Volume Two.’ explains why this feast is so pivotal:
“The glorious Resurrection of the Lord is the key to interpreting His whole life and the ground of our faith. Without this victory over death, says St Paul, all our preaching would be useless and our faith in vain.
Furthermore, the guarantee of our future resurrection is secured upon the Resurrection of Christ, because although we were dead through sin, God, full of mercy, moved by the infinite compassion with which He loved, gave us Christ…and He raised us with Him. Easter is the celebration of our Redemption and, therefore, the celebration of thanksgiving and joy.
The Resurrection of the Lord is a central reality of the Catholic faith and has been preached as such since the beginning of Christianity. The importance of this miracle is so great that the Apostles are, above all else, witnesses of Jesus’ Resurrection (cf. Acts 1:22; 2:43; 3:15; etc.). They announce that Christ is alive and this becomes the nucleus of all their preaching. After twenty centuries this is what we announce to the world – Christ lives! The fact of the resurrection is the supreme argument for the divinity of Our Lord….”
“And Jesus Christ lives. And this crowns us with happiness. This is the great truth which fills our faith with meaning. Jesus, who died on the cross, has risen. He has triumphed over death, He has overcome sorrow, anguish and the power of darkness… In Him we find everything. Outside of Him our life is empty “
In these most difficult times, when we are excluded from our Churches, from our Sacraments, I have found much consolation in doing all the readings at home, with these reflections from Cardinal-elect (nearly – sadly he died just before the ceremony) Hans Urs. Perhaps, these times are “nothing but occurrences of grace.”
Light of the Word
Genesis 22:1-18, Exodus 14:15–15:1, Matthew 28:1-10 By Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988) Cardinal-elect, Theologian
“He has Ripped Open a Hole in History that Can Never be Filled-in Again.”
1. With Jesus’ death, the word of God ends.
In the weariness of Mary, pierced by every possible sword of suffering, the Church mutely holds vigil at the grave.
All living faith, all living hope, is deposited with God.
No premature Alleluia sounds.
The watching and waiting Church takes the time to recall the long path through all stages of salvation history that God has followed with His people, since the creation of the world – seven events unfold before the Church’s spiritual eyes.
She sees salvation, even in the most difficult of all events – in Abraham’s sacrifice, in the narrow escape across the divided sea, in the homecoming from exile.
And she understands, that they were nothing but occurrences of grace.
The sacrifice of Isaac, ultimately confirmed, both Abraham’s obedience and God’s promises; apparent submersion in the sea, proved to be Israel’s salvation and the burial of it’s enemies; exile itself, was Israel’s lengthy purification and return to God.
2. Thus, in the second reading (Exodus 14:15-15:1) the Church recognises that her own death in Baptism, is a dying with Jesus, a dying into eternal salvation n Him, a dying into resurrection with Him toward God, into a new sinless and deathless life.
No mere ceremony can accomplish this miracle – only a genuine “co-crucifixion” with Christ, of the old, sinful man, a co-crucifixion that permits a co-dying and co-burial to take place, can accomplish this.
This is essentially, a gift given by God to the person baptised, a gift that is also a lifelong challenge to make the gift come true in the Christian’s existence.
The two belong inseparably together, if the gift given in Christ is to prevail in the Christian’s life – he must become what he is, he must unfold what he has! Thus the shift from Good Friday to Easter, must be two things at once – joy at the most sublime gift and determination to keep one’s baptismal promises. It is fitting to renew these promises while celebrating the Easter Vigil.
3. Only now, can the holy women hear the angel’s message.
He invites the women to come closer and view the empty place where Jesus lay. “He is not here.”
No longer visible, tangible, confirmable in time and place – all this must be renounced.
In all of world history, no-one has left so “emply a place” behind, as did this person who was buried here, only yesterday.
He who entered history, with such emphasis, is no longer comprehensible within history. “He is risen, as he said,” He has ripped open a hole in history that can never be filled-in again.
Thorough guarding of the grave could not prevent this opening and the more men try to fill it, to plug it up, the wider it gapes.
Instead of this emptiness, the women are given the joy of their message to the disciples, a joy that is further intensified, when the Lord Himself appears to them and renews the mission: “They should go to Galilee, where they will see me.”
There, where everything had begun, in the ordinariness of a secular calling, new life would begin.
In the unpretentious, begins the incomprehensibly unique!
Be blessed, be joyful for the Lord is HERE! ‘Become what you are, unfold what you have!’
Quote/s of the Day – 11 April – Sabbatum Sanctum – Holy Saturday –
Easter Vigil in the Holy Night
“Darkness is not dark for you and night shines as the day” (Ps 138:12)
“…He slept so that we might be awakened, He died so that we might live.”
St Augustine (354-430)
Father & Doctor of the Church
In Praise of Christ
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.
“The Lord, though He was God, became man. He suffered for the sake of whose who suffer, He was bound for those in bonds, condemned for the guilty, buried for those who lie in the grave but He rose from the dead and cried aloud: “Who will contend with me? Let him confront me.” I have freed the condemned, brought the dead back to life, raised men from their graves. Who has anything to say against me? I, He said, am the Christ, I have destroyed death, triumphed over the enemy, trampled hell underfoot, bound the strong one and taken men up to the heights of heaven. I am the Christ. Come, then, all you nations of men, receive forgiveness for the sins that defile you. I am your forgiveness. I am the Passover that brings salvation. I am the lamb who was immolated for you. I am your Ransom, your Life, your Resurrection, your Light, I am your Salvation and your King. I will bring you to the heights of heaven. With my own right hand I will raise you up and I will show you the eternal Father.”
– from a letter by Saint Melito of Sardis
Saint Melito, Bishop of Sardis (Died c 180)
Early Church Father
One Minute Reflection – 11 April – Sabbatum Sanctum – Holy Saturday – Easter Vigil in the Holy Night, Readings: Romans 6:3-11, Psalm 118:1-2, 15-17, 22-23, Matthew 28:1-10
And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet and did him homage. … Matthew 28:9
REFLECTION – “When the third day dawned of the Lord’s sacred repose in the tomb (…) Christ, the “power and Wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24), with the author of death lying prostrate, conquered even death itself and opened to us access to eternity, when He raised Himself from the dead by His divine power in order to make known to us the paths of life.
Then there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, with raiment like snow and his countenance like lightening. He appeared attractive to the devout and severe to the wicked – for he terrified the soldiers and comforted the timid women, to whom the Lord Himself first appeared after rising, because their intense devotion so merited. Then He was seen by Peter, then by the disciples going to Emmaus, then by all the apostles except Thomas. Later He presented Himself to be touched by Thomas, who proclaimed his faith: “My Lord and my God.” And thus, during forty days, He appeared in many ways to His disciples, both eating and drinking with them.
He enlightened our faith with proofs and lifted up our hope with promises, so as finally to enkindle our love with gifts from heaven.” … St Bonaventure (1217-1274) Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, whose only-begotten Son, descended to the realm of the dead and rose from there in glory, grant that Your faithful people, who were buried with Him in Baptism, may, by His Resurrection, obtain eternal life. With Mary His Mother, who in her sorrow remained with Him at the Cross and by whose prayers we receive succour, grant that we too will be with Him in glory. Through Christ our Lord and Redeemer, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.