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One Minute Reflection – 29 September – “God looks at what is within, it is there He assesses, there He examines.”

One Minute Reflection – 29 September – Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 16:19–31 and The Feast of Sts Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.   The rich man also died and was buried and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. … Luke 16:22-23luke 16 22-23 the poor man died - 29 sept 2019.jpg

REFLECTION – “Was that poor man welcomed by the angels solely on account of his poverty?   And the rich man, was he delivered up to torment by fault of his wealth alone? No.   Let us clearly understand that it was humility that was honoured in the poor man and pride condemned in the rich.

This is the proof, briefly, that it was not his wealth but his pride for which the rich man deserved his punishment.   So then, the poor man was carried into the bosom of Abraham, yet Scripture says of Abraham that he had much gold and silver and was rich on earth (Gn 13:2).   If every rich man is sent into torment, how is it that Abraham could precede the poor man so as to welcome him into his bosom?   It was because, in the midst of his wealth, Abraham was poor, humble, respectful and obedient to all God’s commands.   He held his riches in so little esteem that, when God asked it of him, he consented to offer in sacrifice the son for whom these riches were destined (Gn 22:4).

Learn to be poor and needy, then, whether you possess something in this world or whether you don’t possess anything.   Because we find beggars full of pride and rich people who confess their sins.   “God resists the proud” whether they are covered with silk or with rags but “he gives grace to the humble” (Jas 4:6) whether or not, they have possessions in this world.   God looks at what is within, it is there He assesses, there He examines.” … Saint Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church – Discourses on the psalms, Ps 85 [86]; CCL 39, 1178god resists the proud - god looks at what is within - st augustine - 29 sept 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Dear and Holy God, let us offer You all our daily struggles against sin and evil. Grant us the strength to resist all forms of idolatry, to seek only You and never to allow the material goods of this world to seduce us  . Sustain us ever more with Your word and help us to find in it, the source of life.   Grant that the angels who always minister to You in heaven may defend us during our life on earth and protect us from evil.   Grant this, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amenholy-archangels-pray-for-us-29-sept-2018.jpg

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One Minute Reflection – 14 April – Father, forgive them”

One Minute Reflection – 14 April – Palm Sunday, Year C, Gospel: Luke 22:14-23:56

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do……And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”… Luke 23:34,43THE FIRST WORD - LUKE 23 34 - THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST - THE DEVOTION - 26 MARCH 2018

REFLECTION“Words of Salvation – Whereas Matthew and Mark, report only Jesus’ cry of abandonment, Luke’s account of Jesus’ words from the Cross, carry a different tone. It is as if we hear, translated into spoken words, what the Word of God essentially accomplishes and intends by His suffering.
First He requests of His Father, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do” – the Jews are blinded, they fail to recognise their Messiah. The Gentiles do professionally what they had done a thousand times over, crucify a supposed criminal in accord with military orders.
In fact, no-one knows who Jesus is. His request aims at excusing those who are culpable and it finds a reason to excuse!
His words to the thief, are part of the ‘Grace of Forgiveness’ earned on the Cross.
His dying words, “into your hands Father, I commend my spirit,” replace the cry of abandonment found in the other gospels. Even if the Son no longer senses the Father, even if the Father’s hands have become imperceptible, He has no other place to place Himself. In Jesus’ words, Luke allows something of the Grace so painfully won for us, to radiate from the Cross.”…Cardinal Hans Urs von Bathasar (1905-1988)his dying words - hans urs von balthasar 14 april 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty, everliving 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 also the fellowship of His Resurrection. With Mary, His Mother and ours, who stood in pain and sorrow at the foot of the Cross, we ask her for prayers for our pardon and mercy. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.mary mother of sorrows - pray for us - 17 may 2018.jpg

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One Minute Marian Reflection – 17 May “Mary’s Month” – Thursday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide

One Minute Marian Reflection – 17 May “Mary’s Month” – Thursday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide

And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”…Mark 15:34

REFLECTION – “MARY:  THE SORROWING MOTHER – “Our Lady is there listening to the words of her Son, united to Him in His suffering, when He cried out ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’   What could she do?   She united herself fully, with the redemptive love of her Son and offered to the Father, her immense sorrow, which pierced her pure heart, like a sharp-edged sword.”…St Josemaría Escrivá (1902-1975) “Mother of God and Our Mother,” Friends of God, 288
Let us offer to our Mother today:
The mortification of keeping quiet about any pain or discomfort, any inconvenience or disappointment, uniting it with her pain as she stood by her crucified Son.what could she do - she united herself - st josemaria - 17 may 2018

PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, forgive the sins of Your people and as nothing we can do is worthy in Your sight, save us through the intercession of the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.   As Christ suffered for our sins, so Mary, the Blessed Virgin His Mother, suffered with Him and for us too.   Grant we pray, that by her prayers we may learn to give You these sufferings alone, in silence for our sins in union with our suffering Lord and His Mother, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever amen.mary mother of sorrows - pray for us - 17 may 2018

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Devotion of The Seven Last Words of Christ – The Seventh Word – 31 March – Holy Saturday 2018

Devotion of The Seven Last Words of Christ – The Seventh Word – 31 March – Holy Saturday 2018

The Seven Last Words of Christ refer, not to individual words but to the final seven phrases that Our Lord uttered as He hung on the Cross.   These phrases were not recorded in a single Gospel but are taken from the combined accounts of the four Gospels.   Greatly revered, these last words of Jesus have been the subject of many books, sermons and musical settings.

The Seven Last Words of Christ

” Jesus reaches the heights of the depth of his prayer to the Father during His Passion and Death, when He pronounces His supreme “yes” to the plan of God and reveals how the human will finds its fulfilment precisely in adhering fully to the divine will, rather than the opposite.   In Jesus’ prayer, in His cry to the Father on the Cross, “all the troubles, for all time, of humanity enslaved by sin and death, all the petitions and intercessions of salvation history are summed up … Here the Father accepts them and, beyond all hope, answers them beyond all hope, answers them by raising His Son.   Thus is fulfilled and brought to completion the drama of prayer in the economy of creation and salvation”  (CCC 2606)

Pope Benedict 7 March 2012

all the troubles for all time ccc 2606 - used on easter sat 31 march 2018 - quoted by pope benedict in the seventh word

The Seventh Word

“Into Your hands I commend My spirit” (Luke 23:46)

Gospel:  It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” and when he had said this, he breathed his last…Luke 23:44-46

The Word Incarnate utters His last sentence and in doing so, every last word takes on a special significance. In the act of dying, the God-Man teaches His brothers and sisters in the human family how to die.   What is the final lesson?

Jesus died resigned to the Will of the One Who sent Him.  However, we should not see this as passivity;  it is an active resignation, which sums up His entire life:  “As a man lives so shall He die.”

As we listen to the dying Saviour, two words draw our attention:  “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” “Father” and “thy” are the keys to the mystery of death.   Jesus, in His humanity, does not rely on His own resources but casts His cares upon His heavenly Father, the Abba (“Papa”) in Whom He encouraged His disciples to have complete trust.

His heart is thus other-directed or, better, Other-directed toward the One “who was able to save Him from death” (Heb 5:7).   With eyes fixed on Jesus (cf. Heb 3:1), then, Christians ponder what they need in death.   They are three: the grace of perseverance, the grace of final repentance and the grace of a happy death.

Such a gift then leads to that most blessed thing of all – the grace of a happy death. Several years ago I received an early morning call to the hospital to bring Viaticum for a cancer patient I had attended the entire summer.   Always thoughtful to a fault, she had restrained her family from contacting a priest during the night, lest he lose sleep.   Upon my arrival, the woman stirred herself to prepare for her final encounter with the Eucharist.   As I placed the Sacred Host on her tongue, she smiled, swallowed and died. Her son looked at me and said, “Father, that’s all she was waiting for all night.”

What a holy death! What a calming effect it had on her entire family!   What a powerful and unforgettable witness she had offered!   A holy death ensures a happy death because our eyes are “fixed on Jesus.”

Thinking about death – our own death – should not be an exercise in morbidity but a truly positive opportunity. St Alphonsus Liguori, author of the classic “Way of the Cross,” provides ample food for thought in his reflection for the Fifth Station  . It has within it all the serenity of Jesus’ serenity in His final moments and thus recommends itself to our thoughts and as a guide for our actions – perennially.

And so we are encouraged to say and to mean: “My beloved Jesus, I will not refuse the cross, as the Cyrenian did;  I accept it, I embrace it.   I accept in particular the death You have destined for me; with all the pains that may accompany it;  I unite it to your death, I offer it to You.   You have died for love of me; I  will die for love of You, and to please You.   Help me by your grace. I love You, Jesus, my love;  I repent of ever having offended You.   Never permit me to offend You again.   Grant that I may love You always and then do with me what you will.”  (St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church) ...Excerpt from Fr Peter Stravinskas

Prayer of Abandonment to God’s Providence

Lord, Your Cross is high and uplifted;
I cannot mount it in my own strength.
You have promised:
“I, when I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw all to Myself.”
Draw me, then, from my sins to repentance,
from darkness to faith,
from the flesh to the spirit,
from coldness to ardent devotion,
from weak beginnings to a perfect end,
from smooth and easy paths,
if it be Your will, to a higher and holier way,
from fear to love,
from earth to heaven,
from myself to You.
And as You have said:
“No man can come to Me,
except the Father, who sent Me, draw him,”
give unto me the Spirit Whom the Father hath sent in Your Name,
that in Him and through Him,
I being wholly changed,
may hasten to You
and go out no more for ever.
Amen
(From a Prayer a Day for Lent – 1923)THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST - THE SEVENTH WORD - HOLY SAT - 31 MARCH 2018

 

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Devotion of The Seven Last Words of Christ – The Sixth Word – 30 March – Good Friday 2018

Devotion of The Seven Last Words of Christ – The Sixth Word – 30 March – Good Friday 2018

The Seven Last Words of Christ

The Seven Last Words of Christ refer, not to individual words but to the final seven phrases that Our Lord uttered as He hung on the Cross.   These phrases were not recorded in a single Gospel but are taken from the combined accounts of the four Gospels.   Greatly revered, these last words of Jesus have been the subject of many books, sermons and musical settings.

“Like a bridegroom, Christ went forth from His chamber ….
He came to the marriage-bed of the Cross
and there, in mounting it, He consummated His marriage.
And when He perceived the sighs of the creature,
He lovingly gave Himself up
to the torment, in place of His bride
and joined Himself to her forever.”

St Augustine (354-430) – Sermo Suppositus 120like a bridgegroom - it is consumated - st augustine - good friday - the sixth word - 30 march 2018

” In John’s account, Jesus’ last words are: “It is finished!” (John 19:30).
In the Greek text, this word (tetélestai) points back to the very beginning of the Passion narrative, to the episode of the washing of the feet, which the evangelist introduces by observing that Jesus loved His own “to the end (télos)” (John 13:1). This “end,” this ne plus ultra of loving, is now attained in the moment of death.
He has truly gone right to the end, to the very limit and even beyond that limit.
He has accomplished the utter fullness of love – He has given Himself.”

Pope Benedict XVI

The Sixth Word

“It is consummated.” (John 19:30)

Translation is risky because it always involves some interpretation.   So how is this sixth word of Christ on the Cross (Jn 19:30) properly rendered into English:   “It is finished” (as in “done,” “over with”); “it is completed” (with a less fatalistic ring to it); or, “it is consummated” (in the sense of “brought to fulfillment”)?   The correct choice requires a knowledge of the total Gospel of John, to which we must now turn.

The Johannine Jesus is wholly focused on His hour – the moment of glory. It cannot be hastened, as He had to remind His Mother: “My hour has not yet come” (Jn 2:4).   Nor can or should it be forestalled:  “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. . . . My soul is troubled now yet what should I say – Father, save me from this hour?   But it was for this that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name” (Jn 12:23, 27-28).

Now, if most people were asked when Jesus’ hour of glory began, they would probably say Easter morning.   But John would disagree.   The Lord, according to this Evangelist, began His hour of glory in His Passion, when He freely consented to the Father’s plan for Him.

The Jesus we meet in John is the pre-existent Word (Jn 1:1-14) – always in control of His own destiny, never the helpless victim of either envious Jewish authorities or sadistic Roman soldiers.   Death comes when He is ready and not a minute sooner:  “The Father loves me for this: that I lay down my life to take it up again.   No one takes it from me; I lay it down freely.   I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again” (Jn 10:17-18).

And so it is that Jesus announces (even proclaims) that the hour of His death has come, proving correct the ironic inscription over His head (Jn 19:19).   He is, in fact, never more a King than from the throne of His Cross.   In His death, the work of salvation is finished or, as the original Greek implies, the end or purpose is accomplished.

No morbid preoccupation with death here, for death (and especially this death) is the gateway to life.   No room for the Angst of the existentialists of another era.   Death is not the end, as common parlance understands it:  Death is The End, as Aristotle and Aquinas would have us ponder the word – the goal toward which reality struggles for fulfilment. It is in the light of this truth that Jesus’ assertion makes the most sense:  “And I – once I am lifted up from earth – will draw all things to myself” (Jn 12:32).

Dying, however, is not an end in itself.   In the very act of dying, Jesus did one thing more – He “delivered over His spirit” (Jn 19:30).   It is significant that John does not say that He “gave up” His spirit but “delivered over” (as in “gave forth”).

Thus, we inquire, What is meant by “spirit”?   Surely a play on words is intended, for spirit means “life principle” or “breath” but also spirit as in “Holy Spirit.”   Interestingly, it is only in “giving up” His own life principle that He can “give over” the Holy Spirit.

To whom is that spirit delivered?   First of all, His earthly life is given over to the Father, Who seals it all with the Resurrection. Second, in fulfilment of John 7:39, He gives His Spirit to the faithful remnant, Mary and John, at the foot of the Cross.   Which is to say that He gives His spirit to us, His Church, represented in glory’s hour by the Church’s Mother and the Church’s first son.

That deliverance of the Spirit is achieved proleptically here, by way of a sure promise, only fully actualised after the Resurrection.   However, time does not matter;  in fact, eternity has taken over in the hour of glory, so that everything coalesces into a marvellous unity:  Death, Resurrection, communication of the Spirit, birth of the Church.

Ignominy and triumph meet at the crossroads of Calvary in the hour of glory.   The Saviour knows this and that is why He can declare so majestically: “It is consummated.”… Fr Stravinskas

Prayer of Abandonment to God’s Providence

Lord, Your Cross is high and uplifted;
I cannot mount it in my own strength.
You have promised:
“I, when I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw all to Myself.”
Draw me, then, from my sins to repentance,
from darkness to faith,
from the flesh to the spirit,
from coldness to ardent devotion,
from weak beginnings to a perfect end,
from smooth and easy paths,
if it be Your will, to a higher and holier way,
from fear to love,
from earth to heaven,
from myself to You.
And as You have said:
“No man can come to Me,
except the Father, who sent Me, draw him,”
give unto me the Spirit Whom the Father hath sent in Your Name,
that in Him and through Him,
I being wholly changed,
may hasten to You
and go out no more for ever.
Amen
(From a Prayer a Day for Lent – 1923)THE SIXTH WORD -JOHN 19 230- THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST - THE DEVOTION - 30 MARCH 2018

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Devotion of The Seven Last Words of Christ – The Fifth Word – 30 March – Good Friday morning 2018

Devotion of The Seven Last Words of Christ – The Fifth Word – 30 March – Good Friday morning 2018

The Seven Last Words of Christ

The Seven Last Words of Christ refer, not to individual words but to the final seven phrases that Our Lord uttered as He hung on the Cross.   These phrases were not recorded in a single Gospel but are taken from the combined accounts of the four Gospels.   Greatly revered, these last words of Jesus have been the subject of many books, sermons and musical settings.

“Love is not loved”:  this reality, according to some accounts, is what upset Saint Francis of Assisi.   For love of the suffering Lord, he was not ashamed to cry out and grieve loudly (cf. Fonti Francescane, no. 1413).   This same reality must be in our hearts as we contemplate Christ Crucified, He who thirsts for love.   Mother Teresa of Calcutta desired that in the chapel of every community of her sisters the words “I thirst” would be written next to the crucifix.   Her response was to quench Jesus’ thirst for love on the Cross through service to the poorest of the poor.   The Lord’s thirst is indeed quenched by our compassionate love;  He is consoled when, in His name, we bend down to another’s suffering.   On the day of judgement they will be called “blessed” who gave drink to those who were thirsty, who offered true gestures of love to those in need:  “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me”  (Mt 25:40).”

Pope Francisthe lord's thirst is indeed quenched - pope francis - good friday no 2 - 30 march 2018

The Fifth Word

“I thirst” (John 19:28)

Gospel:  After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed and, so that the scripture should be completely fulfilled, he said:  I thirst.   A jar full of sour wine stood there; so, putting a sponge soaked in the wine on a hyssop stick, they held it up to his mouth….John 19:28-29

During Our Lord’s Passion, He was twice offered a drink.   This first was a mixture of wine and myrrh.   This Our Lord refused because it was commonly given to condemned criminals to deaden pain.   His Passion and Death would have been rendered worthless if He had allowed anything to mitigate the pain He was about to suffer.   The second drink He was offered was sour wine or vinegar.   This He drank.   In doing so, He drank deeply of the cup which He had begged His Father to remove from Him in the Garden.   He drank the last dregs of the cup of our punishment.

Lord God, Your Only Begotten Son drank deeply of the cup of iniquity for my sake.   If I were to try to drink the same draft by myself, I would not be able to survive.   It is only with Your help that I can hope to drink of my own bitter draught and survive.   Help me to turn away from the sweetness of the world and accept the bitter drink that is punishment for my sins.   I beg You to send me the grace and strength required to accept this bitter cup.   Let not my will be done, but Thine.  Amen.

Prayer of Abandonment to God’s Providence

My Lord and my God:
into your hands I abandon the past and the present and the future,
what is small and what is great,
what amounts to a little and what amounts to a lot,
things temporal and things eternal.
Amen. Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.THE FIFTH WORD -JOHN 19 28 - THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST - THE DEVOTION - 30 MARCH 2018

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Devotion of The Seven Last Words of Christ – The Fourth Word – 29 March – Holy Thursday 2018

Devotion of The Seven Last Words of Christ – The Fourth Word – 29 March – Holy Thursday 2018

The Seven Last Words of Christ

The Seven Last Words of Christ refer, not to individual words but to the final seven phrases that Our Lord uttered as He hung on the Cross.   These phrases were not recorded in a single Gospel but are taken from the combined accounts of the four Gospels.   Greatly revered, these last words of Jesus have been the subject of many books, sermons and musical settings.   For centuries The Seven Last Words have been built into various forms of devotion for the consideration and consolation of the Christian people.

“Take your crucifix in your hand
and ask yourselves whether this is the religion
of the soft, easy, worldly, luxurious days in which we live;
whether the crucifix does not teach you
a lesson of mortification, of self-denial, of crucifixion of the flesh.”

Cardinal Henry Edward Manning (1808-1892)take your crucifix in your hand - card henry edward manning - holy thursday - 29 march 2018

“As is well known, the initial cry of the Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, is recorded by the Gospels of Matthew and Mark as the cry uttered by Jesus dying on the Cross (cf. Mt 27:46, Mk 15:34).   It expresses all the desolation of the Messiah, Son of God, who is facing the drama of death, a reality totally opposed to the Lord of life. Forsaken by almost all His followers, betrayed and denied by the disciples, surrounded by people who insult Him, Jesus is under the crushing weight of a mission that was to pass through humiliation and annihilation.   This is why He cried out to the Father and His suffering took up the sorrowful words of the Psalm.   But His is not a desperate cry, nor was that of the Psalmist who, in his supplication, takes a tormented path which nevertheless opens out at last into a perspective of praise, into trust in the divine victory.”…Pope Benedict XVI – General Audience 14 September 2011

as is well known - on my god my god why hast thou forsaken me - 29 march 2018 - holy thursday-pope benedict

The Fourth Word

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Gospel – From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.   And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”…Matthew 27:45-46 (Psalm 22(21))

Reflection:  To ensure that He suffered every torment that normal man is prone to, Christ allowed Himself to experience despair. Up to this point, Jesus had suffered mainly physically.   These torments had left His body racked with pain and agony. But now it was time for the ultimate pain, the pain a soul feels when it is separated from God.

The soul is spiritual being in the image of God.   The human soul is like a plant is nourished by the bright sunlight of God.   The human soul needs this light to grow and flourish.   However, unlike a plant, the human soul does not die when it is separated from God because it cannot die. Instead the soul endures great and debilitating agony. It was this kind of agony that Our Lord willingly accepted on the Cross.

O sinful man, how can you claim that Our Lord does not understand the pain you are going through?   He has suffered every imaginable punishment.   He has felt the rejection of His own people.   He has endured the dreadful physical pains of a brutal scourging and ignominious death on a Cross.   He had endured the despair of a soul separated from God.   He understands pain, agony, loss and despair.   And He wishes to console you  . He stands with arms out stretched on the Cross, looking to comfort you in all your distress.

Lord Jesus Christ, You know better than anyone what suffering I am enduring. I beg you to give me the grace and strength to endure these hardships, that I may offer them as penance for my sins.   Help me to never refuse my cross, so that by taking it up daily I may be worthy of You one day. Amen.

Prayer of Abandonment to God’s Providence

My Lord and my God:
into your hands I abandon the past and the present and the future,
what is small and what is great,
what amounts to a little and what amounts to a lot,
things temporal and things eternal.
Amen. Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.THE FOURTH WORD -MATTHEW 27 46 - THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST - THE DEVOTION - 29 MARCH 2018