Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, HOLY WEEK 2019, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, The PASSION, The SIGN of the CROSS

Thoughts for Holy Week – 15 April – We are soon going to share in the Passover

Thoughts for Holy Week – 15 April – Monday of Holy Week

We are soon going to share in the Passover

Saint Gregory Nazianzen (330-390)
Bishop and Great Eastern Father and Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Oration 45

We are soon going to share in the Passover and although we still do so, only in a symbolic way, the symbolism already has more clarity than it possessed in former times because, under the law, the Passover was, if I may dare to say so, only a symbol of a symbol.   Before long, however, when the Word drinks the new wine with us in the kingdom of His Father, we shall be keeping the Passover in a yet more perfect way and with deeper understanding.   He will then reveal to us and make clear what He has so far only partially disclosed.   For this wine, so familiar to us now, is eternally new.

It is for us to learn what this drinking is and for Him to teach us.   He has to communicate this knowledge to His disciples, because teaching is food, even for the teacher.

So let us take our part in the Passover prescribed by the law, not in a literal way but according to the teaching of the Gospel, not in an imperfect way but perfectly, not only for a time, but eternally.   Let us regard as our home the heavenly Jerusalem, not the earthly one, the city glorified by angels, not the one laid waste by armies.   We are not required to sacrifice young bulls or rams, beasts with horns and hoofs that are more dead than alive and devoid of feeling but instead, let us join the choirs of angels in offering God upon His heavenly altar a sacrifice of praise.   We must now pass through the first veil and approach the second, turning our eyes toward the Holy of Holies.   I will say more – we must sacrifice ourselves to God, each day and in everything we do, accepting all that happens to us for the sake of the Word, imitating His passion by our sufferings and honouring His blood by shedding our own.   We must be ready to be crucified.

If you are a Simon of Cyrene, take up your cross and follow Christ.   If you are crucified beside Him like one of the thieves, now, like the good thief, acknowledge your God.   For your sake and because of your sin, Christ Himself was regarded as a sinner, for His sake, therefore, you must cease to sin.   Worship Him who was hung on the cross because of you, even if you are hanging there yourself.   Derive some benefit from the very shame, purchase salvation with your death.   Enter paradise with Jesus and discover how far you have fallen.   Contemplate the glories there and leave the other scoffing thief to die outside in his blasphemy.

If you are a Joseph of Arimathea, go to the one who ordered his crucifixion and ask for Christ’s body.   Make your own, the expiation for the sins of the whole world.   If you are a Nicodemus, like the man who worshipped God by night, bring spices and prepare Christ’s body for burial.   If you are one of the Marys, or Salome, or Joanna, weep in the early morning.   Be the first to see the stone rolled back and even the angels perhaps and Jesus Himself.i will say more - we mut sacrifice ourselves to god - st gregory of nazianzen - mon of holy week 15 april 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, The HOLY CROSS, The PASSION, The RESURRECTION, The SIGN of the CROSS

The Cross of Christ is the source of all blessings, the cause of all graces – St Pope Leo the Great

Lenten Thoughts – 9 April – Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent, Year C

The Cross of Christ

is the source of all blessings,

the cause of all graces

St Pope Leo the Great (c 400-461)
Bishop of Rome and Great Western Father & Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his On the Lord’s Passion

Sermon 8

Our understanding, which is enlightened by the Spirit of truth, should receive with purity and freedom of heart the glory of the Cross as it shines in heaven and on earth.   It should see with inner vision the meaning of the Lord’s words when He spoke of the imminence of His passion – The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Afterwards, He said – Now my soul is troubled and what am I to say?   Father, save me from this hour.   But it was for this that I came to this hour.   Father, glorify your Son. When the voice of the Father came from heaven, saying, I have glorified him and will glorify him again, Jesus said in reply to those around him:  It was not for me that this voice spoke but for you.   Now is the judgement of the world, now will the prince of this world be cast out.   And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself.

How marvellous the power of the Cross, how great beyond all telling the glory of the passion, here is the judgement-seat of the Lord, the condemnation of the world, the supremacy of Christ crucified.

Lord, you drew all things to Yourself so that the devotion of all peoples everywhere might celebrate, in a sacrament made perfect and visible, what was carried out in the one temple of Judea under obscure foreshadowings.

Now there is a more distinguished order of Levites, a greater dignity for the rank of elders, a more sacred anointing for the priesthood, because Your Cross is the source of all blessings, the cause of all graces.   Through the Cross the faithful receive strength from weakness, glory from dishonour, life from death.

The different sacrifices of animals are no more – the one offering of Your body and blood is the fulfilment of all the different sacrificial offerings, for You are the true Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world.   In Yourself, You bring to perfection all mysteries, so that, as there is one sacrifice in place of all other sacrificial offerings, there is also one kingdom gathered from all peoples.

Dearly beloved, let us then acknowledge what Saint Paul, the teacher of the nations, acknowledged so exultantly.  This is a saying worthy of trust, worthy of complete acceptance – Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners.   God’s compassion for us is all the more wonderful because Christ died, not for the righteous or the holy but for the wicked and the sinful and, though the divine nature could not be touched by the sting of death, He took to Himself, through His birth as one of us, something He could offer on our behalf.

The power of His death once confronted our death.   In the words of Hosea the prophet, Death, I shall be your death;  grave, I shall swallow you up.   By dying He submitted to the laws of the underworld, by rising again, He destroyed them.   He did away with the everlasting character of death, so as to make death a thing of time, not of eternity.   As all die in Adam, so all, will be brought to life in Christ.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever.
Amenhe did away with the everlasting character of deth - st pope leo the great 9 april 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, SPEAKING of ....., The HOLY CROSS, The SIGN of the CROSS

Quote/s of the Day – 9 April – “Speaking of the Cross of Christ”

Quote/s of the Day – 9 April – Tuesday of the Fifth week of Lent

“Speaking of the Cross of Christ”

“Jesus never sinned, yet He was crucified for you.
Will you refuse to be crucified for Him, who for your sake was nailed to the cross?
You are not the one who gives the favour, you have received one first.
For your sake He was crucified on Golgotha.
Now you are returning His favour, you are fulfilling your debt to Him.”

St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387)

Father & Doctor of the Churchjesus-never-sinned-yet-he-was-crucified-for-you-st-cyrilofjerusalem-7feb2019.jpg

“By Baptism we are made flesh of the Crucified.”

“The cross of Christ is the true ground
and chief cause of Christian hope.”

“Let no one be ashamed of the cross
by which Christ has redeemed the world.
None of us must be afraid to suffer
for the sake of justice or doubt the
fulfilment of the promises,
for it is through toil that we come to rest
and through death that we pass to life.”

St Pope Leo the Great (c 400-461) Doctor of the Churchby-baptism-st-leo-the-great-quotes-on-the-cross-10-nov-2018.jpg

“O Blessed Cross,
You are venerated, preached
and honoured by the faith of the Patriarchs,
the predictions of the Prophets,
the senate that judges the Apostles,
the victorious army of Martyrs
and the throngs of all the Saints”
(Sermo XLVII, 14, p. 304)

St Peter Damian (1007-1072) Doctor of the Churcho-blessed-cross-st-peter-damian-21-feb-2019.jpg

“This is that enviable and blessed cross of Christ . . .
the cross in which alone we must make our boast,
as Paul, God’s chosen instrument, has told us.”

St Raymond of Peñafort (1175-1275)
“Father of Canon Law”

this-is-that-enviable-st-raymond-of-penafort-7 jan 2019.jpg

“And if He gave His life for us,
then it should not be difficult
to bear whatever hardships arise for His sake.
If you seek patience,
you will find no better example than the cross.
Christ endured much on the cross and did so patiently,
because “when he suffered he did not threaten,
he was led like a sheep to the slaughter
and he did not open his mouth.”

St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor of the Churchand-if-he-gave-his-life-for-us-st-thomas-aquinas-28-jan-2018 (1).jpg

“The Cross is God’s chair in the world.”

St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)the-cross-is-gods-chair-in-the-world-st-john-paul-22feb2019.jpg

Posted in LENT 2019, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, The SIGN of the CROSS

Lenten Thoughts – 6 April – THE BELOVED CROSSES

Lenten Thoughts – 6 April – Saturday of the Fourth week of Lent, Year C

THE BELOVED CROSSES
“Not for a day, not for a week, not for a year but all our lives.”
St John Vianney (1786-1859)

The saints, my dear brethren, all loved the Cross and found in it their strength and their consolation.

But, you will say to me, is it necessary, then, always to have something to suffer? …. Now sickness or poverty, or again scandal or calumny, or possibly loss of money or an infirmity?

Have you been calumniated, my friends?   Have you been loaded with insults?   Have you been wronged?   So much the better!   That is a good sign, do not worry, you are on the road that leads to Heaven.   Do you know when you ought to be really upset? I do not know if you understand it but it should be precisely for the opposite reason — when you have nothing to endure, when everyone esteems and respects you.   Then you should feel envious of those who have the happiness of passing their lives in suffering, or contempt, or poverty.

Are you forgetting, then, that at your Baptism you accepted the Cross, which you must never abandon until death and that it is the key that you will use to open the door of Heaven?   Are you forgetting the words of our Saviour: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Not for a day, not for a week, not for a year but all our lives.   The saints had a great fear of passing any time without suffering, for they looked upon it as time lost.

According to St Teresa, man is only in this world to suffer and when he ceases to suffer, he should cease to live. St John of the Cross asks God, with tears, to give him the grace to suffer more as a reward for all his labours.

What should we conclude, my dear children, from all that?

Just this – Let us make a resolution to have a great respect for all the crosses, which are blessed and which represent to us in a small way all that our God Suffered for us.   Let us recall that from the Cross flow all the graces that are bestowed upon us and that as a consequence, a cross which is blessed is a source of blessings, that we should often make the Sign of the Cross on ourselves and always with great respect and, finally, that our houses should never remain without this symbol of salvation.

“Everything is a reminder of the Cross.
We ourselves are made in the shape of a cross.”

Fill your children, my dear brethren, with the greatest respect for the Cross and always have a blessed cross on yourselves, it will protect you against the Devil, from the vengeance of Heaven and from all danger.   This is what I desire for you.everything is a reminder of the cross - st jon vianney 2018.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SACRIFICE, QUOTES on SIN, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, The HOLY CROSS, The PASSION, The SIGN of the CROSS

Lenten Thoughts – 15 March – “When war comes, fight courageously for Him.”

Lenten Thoughts – 15 March – Friday of the First week of Lent, Year C Gospel: Matthew 5:20–26

“Will you refuse to be crucified for Him,
who for your sake was nailed to the cross?”

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387)
Father and Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Catecheses, 13

The Catholic Church glories in every deed of Christ.   Her supreme glory, however, is the cross.   Well aware of this, Paul says – God forbid that I glory in anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!

At Siloam, there was a sense of wonder and rightly so.   A man born blind recovered his sight.   But of what importance is this, when there are so many blind people in the world?   Lazarus rose from the dead but even this affected only Lazarus.  What of those countless numbers who have died because of their sins?   Those five miraculous loaves fed five thousand people.   Yet this is a small number compared to those all over the world who were starved by ignorance.   After eighteen years a woman was freed from the bondage of Satan.   But are we not all shackled by the chains of our own sins?

For us all, however, the cross is the crown of victory!   It has brought light to those blinded by ignorance.   It has released those enslaved by sin.   Indeed, it has redeemed the whole of mankind!

Do not, then, be ashamed of the cross of Christ, rather, glory in it.   Although it is a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles, the message of the cross is our salvation.   Of course it is folly to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.   For it was not a mere man who died for us but the Son of God, God made man.

In the Mosaic law a sacrificial lamb banished the destroyer.   But now it is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.   Will He not free us from our sins even more? The blood of an animal, a sheep, brought salvation.   Will not the blood of the only-begotten Son bring us greater salvation?

He was not killed by violence, He was not forced to give up His life.   His was a willing sacrifice.   Listen to His own words – I have the power to lay down my life and take it up again.   Yes, he willingly submitted to His own passion.   He took joy in his achievement, in His crown of victory He was glad and in the salvation of man He rejoiced.   He did not blush at the cross for by it He was to save the world.   No, it was not a lowly man who suffered but God incarnate.   He entered the contest, for the reward He would win by His patient endurance.

Certainly in times of tranquillity the cross should give you joy.   But maintain the same faith in times of persecution.   Otherwise you will be a friend of Jesus in times of peace and His enemy during war.   Now you receive the forgiveness of your sins and the generous gift of grace from your King.   When war comes, fight courageously for Him.

Jesus never sinned, yet He was crucified for you.   Will you refuse to be crucified for Him, who for your sake was nailed to the cross?   You are not the one who gives the favour, you have received one first.   For your sake He was crucified on Golgotha.   Now you are returning His favour, you are fulfilling your debt to Him.jesus never sinned yet he was crucified for you - st cyril of jerusalem 15 march 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, SAINT of the DAY, The SIGN of the CROSS, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 6 March

Quote/s of the Day – 6 March – Ash Wednesday and the Memorial of St Colette (1381-1447)

“Yet even now,” says the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping and with mourning
and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful….

Joel 2:12-13joel 2 12-13 yet even now says the lord come back to me - ash wed 6 march 2019.jpg

He need not fear anything,
nor be ashamed of anything,
who bears the Sign of the Cross
on his brow.

St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Churchhe need not fear anything nor - st augustine ash wed 6 march 2019

We must faithfully keep
what we have promised.
If through human weakness we fail,
we must always without delay arise again
by means of holy penance
and give our attention to leading a good life
and to dying a holy death.
May the Father of all mercy,
the Son by His holy Passion
and the Holy Spirit,
source of peace, sweetness and love,
fill us with Their consolation.
Amen

Saint Colette

(in her spiritual testament to her sisters)we must faithfully keep - st colette ash wed 6 march 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY CROSS, The SIGN of the CROSS

Thought for the Day – 21 February – Peter, Servant of the Servants of the Cross of Christ

Thought for the Day – 21 February – the Memorial of St Peter Damian OSB (1007-1072) Doctor of the Church

Excerpt from Pope Benedict’s Catechesis on St Peter Damian
General Audience
Wednesday, 9 September 2009

One detail should be immediately emphasised – the Hermitage at Fonte Avellana was dedicated to the Holy Cross and the Cross was the Christian mystery that was to fascinate Peter Damian more than all the others.   “Those who do not love the Cross of Christ do not love Christ”, he said (Sermo XVIII, 11, p. 117) and he described himself as “Petrus crucis Christi servorum famulus Peter, servant of the servants of the Cross of Christ” (Ep, 9, 1).
Peter Damian addressed the most beautiful prayers to the Cross in which he reveals a vision of this mystery which has cosmic dimensions for it embraces the entire history of salvation: “O Blessed Cross”, he exclaimed, You are venerated, preached and honoured by the faith of the Patriarchs, the predictions of the Prophets, the senate that judges the Apostles, the victorious army of Martyrs and the throngs of all the Saints” (Sermo XLVII, 14, p. 304).
Dear Brothers and Sisters, may the example of St Peter Damian spur us too always to look to the Cross as to the supreme act God’s love for humankind of God, who has given us salvation.

St Peter Damian, who was essentially a man of prayer, meditation and contemplation, was also a fine theologian – his reflection on various doctrinal themes led him to important conclusions for life.   Thus, for example, he expresses with clarity and liveliness the Trinitarian doctrine, already using, under the guidance of biblical and patristic texts, the three fundamental terms which were subsequently to become crucial also for the philosophy of the West – processio, relatio and persona (cf. Opusc. XXXVIII: PL CXLV, 633-642; and Opusc. II and III: ibid., 41 ff. and 58 ff).
However, because theological analysis of the mystery led him to contemplate the intimate life of God and the dialogue of ineffable love, between the three divine Persons, he drew ascetic conclusions from them for community life and even for relations between Latin and Greek Christians, divided on this topic.   His meditation on the figure of Christ, is significantly reflected, in practical life, since the whole of Scripture is centred on Him.
The “Jews”, St Peter Damian notes, “through the pages of Sacred Scripture, bore Christ on their shoulders as it were” (Sermo XLVI, 15).   Therefore Christ, he adds, must be the centre of the monk’s life:  “May Christ be heard in our language, may Christ be seen in our life, may he be perceived in our hearts” (Sermo VIII, 5).   Intimate union with Christ engages not only monks but all the baptised.   Here we find a strong appeal for us too not to let ourselves be totally absorbed by the activities, problems and preoccupations of every day, forgetting that Jesus must truly be the centre of our life.

Communion with Christ creates among Christians a unity of love.   In Letter 28, which is a brilliant ecclesiological treatise, Peter Damian develops a profound theology of the Church as communion.   “Christ’s Church”, he writes, is united by the bond of charity to the point that just as she has many members so is she, mystically, entirely contained in a single member – in such a way that the whole universal Church is rightly called the one Bride of Christ in the singular, and each chosen soul, through the sacramental mystery, is considered fully Church”.   This is important – not only that the whole universal Church should be united but that the Church should be present in her totality in each one of us.   Thus the service of the individual becomes “an expression of universality” (Ep 28, 9-23).
However, the ideal image of “Holy Church” illustrated by Peter Damian does not correspond as he knew well to the reality of his time.   For this reason he did not fear to denounce the state of corruption that existed in the monasteries and among the clergy, because, above all, of the practice of the conferral by the lay authorities of ecclesiastical offices; -various Bishops and Abbots were behaving as the rulers of their subjects rather than as pastors of souls.   Their moral life frequently left much to be desired.   For this reason, in 1057 Peter Damian left his monastery with great reluctance and sorrow and accepted, if unwillingly, his appointment as Cardinal Bishop of Ostia.   So it was that he entered fully into collaboration with the Popes in the difficult task of Church reform.   He saw that to make his own contribution of helping in the work of the Church’s renewal contemplation did not suffice.   He thus relinquished the beauty of the hermitage and courageously undertook numerous journeys and missions.

Dear brothers and sisters, it is a great grace that the Lord should have raised up in the life of the Church a figure as exuberant, rich and complex as St Peter Damian.   Moreover, it is rare to find theological works and spirituality as keen and vibrant as those of the Hermitage at Fonte Avellana.

St Peter Damian was a monk through and through, with forms of austerity which to us today might even seem excessive.   Yet, in that way he made monastic life an eloquent testimony of God’s primacy and an appeal to all to walk towards holiness, free from any compromise with evil.   He spent himself, with lucid consistency and great severity, for the reform of the Church of his time.  He gave all his spiritual and physical energies to Christ and to the Church but always remained, as he liked to describe himself, Petrus ultimus monachorum servus, Peter, the lowliest servant of the monks.

St Peter Damian,

‘Peter, Servant of the Servants of the Cross of Christ’

Pray for the Church, Pray for Us All!st peter damian pray for us 21 feb 2019.jpg