Quote/s of the Day – 28 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary” – Readings: Haggai 2: 1-9; Psalm 43: 1-4; Luke 9: 18-22
“But whom do you say that I am?”
“If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter, your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.”
“What determines that the gifts of God dwells in us, is the measure of each one’s faith. Because it is to the extent that we believe, that the enthusiasm to act is given us. And so those who act, reveal the measure of their faith proportionate to their action, they receive their measure of grace according to what they have believed. …”
St Maximus the Confessor (c 580-662) Monk and Theologian
“Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth, by command of the will, moved by God through grace.”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus Doctor Comm
One Minute Reflection – 28 September – –“Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary” – Readings: Haggai 2: 1-9; Psalm 43: 1-4; Luke 9: 18-22
“But whom do you say that I am? Simon Peter answering, said: The Christ of God. … He commanded they should tell this to no man …” – Luke 9:20-21
REFLECTION – “Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no-one that he was the Messiah.” Why this order? So that, once all cause of scandal had been set aside, His Cross and Passion accomplished, every obstacle capable of preventing the crowd from believing in Him removed, an exact knowledge of Who He is, might be deeply and permanently engraved in their hearts. His power had not yet shone out in splendour. Before the Apostles were to preach it, He waited until the evidence of the truth and authority of the facts, could confirm their testimony.
Because, it was one thing to be seeing Him now, multiplying miracles in Palestine and then, as the butt of persecution and torture – and the Cross was going to follow these miracles. It was another thing to see Him worshiped, believed in by all the world, saved from the ill-treatment He had undergone before. That is why He suggests they say nothing to anyone… If the Apostles, who had been witnesses of His miracles and had taken part in so many inexpressible Mysteries, had difficulty in accepting a single word about the Passion and Peter himself, amongst them, the head of them all (Mt 16,22), what would the ordinary run of mortals think? After hearing that Jesus was the Son of God, what would they have thought to see Him dirtied by spitting and nailed to the Cross? And this, too, before the coming of the Holy Spirit, when the reason for these Mysteries was not yet known?” – St John Chrysostom (345-407) Bishop of Constantinople, Father & Doctor of the Church (Homilies on Saint Matthew’s Gospel, no.54, 1-3)
PRAYER – Lord God, You hold out the Light of Your Word to those who do not know You. Strengthen in our hearts, the faith You have given us and the Credo we profess, so that no trials may quench the fire Your Spirit has kindled in us. May the intercession of all the Apostles, grant us the grace of following the way of the Cross, to stand beneath it with our afflicted Mother, the Mother of God, Ave Maria! We make our prayer through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 23 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary” – Readings: Haggai 1: 1-8; Psalm 149: 1b-6a and 9b; Luke 9: 7-9
“… Who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him.”
“Prayer is the wing, wherewith the soul flies to heaven and meditation, the eye, wherewith we see God.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith, is to see what you believe.”
“A person can do other things against his will but belief is possible, only in one who is willing.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor of the Church
“He who wishes for anything but Christ, does not know what he wishes; he who asks for anything but Christ, does not know what he is asking; he who works and not for Christ, does not know what he is doing.”
St Philip Neri (1515-1595)
“Only one thing is necessary: Jesus Christ! Think unceasingly of Him. ”
St John Gabriel Perboyre CM (1802-1840) Martyr for Christ
“Only God fills the soul and fills it wholly. Let scientists go on asking – Where is God? He is where those clever ones, arrogant in their knowledge, cannot reach.”
One Minute Reflection – 23 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary” – Readings: Haggai 1: 1-8; Psalm 149: 1b-6a and 9b; Luke 9: 7-9 and the Memorial of Saint Adamnan of Iona (c 628-704)
“… Who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him.” – Luke 9:9
REFLECTION – “[John] says: “We announce to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was manifested to us. What we have seen and heard we announce to you (1 Jn 1:2-3). Let Your Charity pay heed: “What we have seen and heard we announce to you.” They saw the Lord Himself present in the flesh and they heard words from the Lord’s mouth and they announced them to us. We also have heard, then but we have not seen. Are we, therefore, less fortunate than those who saw and heard? And why does [John] add: “So that you also may have fellowship with us?” They saw; we did not see and yet, we are in fellowship because we maintain a common faith.
To the disciple who wished to touch and thus to believe, the Lord – consoling us, who are unable to touch Him with our hand, as He is now seated in Heaven, although we can touch Him by faith – said, “Blessed are those who do not see and who believe” (Jn 20:29). It is we who were described, we who were designated. May there be in us, then, the blessedness that the Lord foretold would come to be! Let us hold firmly onto what we do not see because, those who have seen it, are announcing it, so that we also may have fellowship with them and so, that “our joy may becomplete” (v. 4).”– St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo Father and Doctor of the Church (Sermons on the first letter of Saint John, I, 3)
PRAYER – Shepherd of Your Church and we, the sheep of Your flock, who follow You and hear and do Your Word. Support us with grace those who are constantly striving to do Your will, so that following the example of the humble fiat of Your blessed Mother and ours, we may devote all our powers and talents to love of You and our neighbour and finally arrive safely in our heavenly home. May the prayers of St Adamnan of Iona, your faithful servant, be assistance in strengthening us in this vale of tears. In God, our Father we pray through You who live in union with Him and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ages and ages. Amen
Quote/s of the Day – 22 September – Readings: Ezra 9: 5-9; Tobit 13: 2-4, 7-8; Luke 9: 1-6
“He sent them out …”
“Let your light shine before men.”
“Preach the gospel to every creature”
“Zeal for your house will consume me.”
“A servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.”
“My children, eternal life is being offered to us, the kingdom of heaven is made ready and Christ’s inheritance awaits us … So let us run from now on with increased energy and above all you, lazy, recalcitrant, dull of heart, friends of murmuring who, unless you improve, are like the cursed fig tree. … Let us seek out the fight, bravely pour with our sweat, adorn ourselves with crowns, gain praises and gather up, like a treasure, “what eye has not seen and ear has not heard and what has not entered the human heart” (1 Cor 2:9).
St Theodore the Studite (759-826)
Our life is: “To breathe God in and out. To find God in everything. To reveal God to all. To radiate the presence of God.”
Quote/s of the Day – 21 September – The Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist – Readings: Ephesians 4: 1-7, 11-13; Psalm 19: 2-5; Matthew 9: 9-13
“He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.”
“Our Lord chose Matthew, the tax collector, to encourage his fellows to join him. He looked on sinners, called them and brought them to sit beside Him. What a wonderful sight! Angels stand trembling, while publicans, seated, rejoice!”
St Ephrem (306-373) Father & Doctor of the Church
“Why did Jesus not call Matthew at the same time as He called Peter and John and the rest? He came to each one at a particular time when He knew that they would respond to Him. He came at a different time to call Matthew when He was assured that Matthew would surrender to His call. For He Who is acquainted with our inmost hearts and knows the secrets of our minds, knows when each one of us is ready to respond fully.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 21 September – The Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist- Readings: Ephesians 4: 1-7, 11-13; Psalm 19: 2-5; Matthew 9: 9-13
“As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.”And he got up and followed him.” – Matthew 9:9
REFLECTION – “It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. There are four zones of the world in which we live and four principal winds and the Church is scattered throughout all the world and her “pillar and ground” (1 Tm 3:15) is the Gospel and the Spirit of life; therefore, it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side and vivifying us afresh. The Word, the Shaper of all things, Who sits upon the cherubim and upholds all things (Ps 79:2; Heb 1:3), Who was manifested to men, has given us the Gospel under four aspects but bound together by One Spirit. David says, when entreating this manifestation, “You that sit between the cherubim, shine forth.”(Ps 79:2) For the cherubim, too, were four-faced (Ez 1:6) and their faces were images of the dispensation of the Son of God.
For, as Scripture says, “The first living creature was like a lion,” (Rev 4:7) symbolising His effectual working, His leadership and royal power; “the second was like a calf,” signifying His sacrificial and priestly order but, “the third had, as it were, the face as of a man,” – an evident description of His coming as a human being; “the fourth was like a flying eagle,” pointing out the gift of the Spirit hovering with its wings over the Church. And, therefore, the Gospels of John, Luke, Matthew and Mark are in accord with these living things, among which Christ Jesus is seated. …
Such was the form of the living creatures, so was also the character of the Word of God Himself – the Word of God Himself conversed with the patriarchs before Moses, in accordance with His divinity and glory but, for those under the law, He instituted a priestly and liturgical service. Afterwards, being made Man for us, He sent the gift of the Spirit over all the earth, protecting us with His Wings (Ps 16:8). … These things being so, all who reject the form the Gospel has taken – that is, those who say the Gospels should be more or fewer in number – are futile, ignorant, and presumptuous.” – St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 130-c 202) Bishop, Theologian and Martyr – (Against Heresies c. Book III, 11, 8-9).
PRAYER – We thank You, heavenly Father, for the witness of Your Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, to the Gospel of Your Son, our Saviour and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts, obey the calling of our Lord, to follow Him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Thought for the Day – 20 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Word of God
“After Holy Communion, the Word of God is the most nourishing food of the soul. St Augustine urges us to listen to the Word of God with the same devotion with which we approach the Blessed Eucharist. It is the normal method God uses to communicate with our souls in order to instruct and enlighten them and to lead them along the path of virtue. It is true, that God sometimes makes direct contact with us by means of good inspirations or extraordinary graces but, the ordinary way in which He calls us to eternal life, is by His divine Word, whether it is proclaimed by His ministers, read in Sacred Scripture, illustrated in the lives of the Saints, or, outlined by masters of the spiritual life. Most important of all, is the living word of the lawful representatives of God. Jesus did not specifically command His Apostles to write but to preach. “He who believes and is baptised,” He added, “shall be saved but he who does not believe, shall be condemned” (Cf Mk 16:16). Mary Magdalen was converted by the preaching of Jesus and wept for her sins. The sermons of St John the Baptist called upon the Jewish people to do penance. Centuries earlier, the prophet Nathan had converted David by means of the inspired Word of God and the prophet Jonah, had roused the Ninivites to repentance. We should treasure the Word of God. We should read and listen to it, with humility and devout attention. Whenever we hear a sermon, or read Sacred Scripture, or some spiritual book, we should reflect, that, it is God Himself Who is preaching to us! We should not be guided merely by a spirit of curiosity, desire for knowledge, or love of eloquence or literary style but, by the determination to apply such instruction to ourselves and to put it into practice.”
Quote/s of the Day – 20 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary” – Readings: Ezra 1: 1-6; Psalm 126: 1b-6; Luke 8: 16-18
Christ the Light
“In You is the source of life and in Your Light Lord, we see light”
“You are the salt of the earth … You are the light of the world.”
“Light came into the world.”
“I am the light of the world he who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
“This, beloved, is the way in which we found our salvation, Jesus Christ, the High Priest Who offers our gifts, the Patron and Helper in our weakness (Heb 10:20; 7:27; 4:15). It is through Him, that we look straight at the heavens above. Through Him, we see mirrored, God’s faultless and transcendent countenance. Through Him, the eyes of our heart were opened. Through Him, our unintelligent and darkened mind shoots up into the light. Through Him, the Master was pleased to let us taste the knowledge that never fades,”
St Pope Clement I (c 35 – c 99)
“He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the Great Light, bathed in the glory of Him who is the Light of Heaven.”
St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctor of the Church
“It is no advantage to be near the light, if the eyes are closed.”
“Proclaim the Good News! What good news is that? Day is born from Day… Light from Light – the Son from the Father, the saving power of God!”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“He is the Light of Truth, the Path of life, the Power and Mind, Hand and Strength of the Father. He is the Sun of Justice, Source of Blessings, Flower of God, God’s Son, Creator of the world, Life of our mortality and Death to our death. He is the Master of the virtues. He is God to us …!”
St Paulinus of Nola (c 354-431) Father of the Church
“Run with eager desire to this Source of Life and Light, all you who are vowed to God’s service.”
St Bonaventure OFM (1221-1274) Seraphic Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 20 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary” – Readings: Ezra 1: 1-6; Psalm 126: 1b-6; Luke 8: 16-18
“No-one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed, rather, he places it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light.” – Luke 8:16
REFLECTION – “The Lamp set upon the Lampstand is Jesus Christ, the true Light from the Father, the Light that enlightens every man who comes into the world. In taking our own flesh, He has become and is rightly called, a Lamp, for He is the connatural Wisdom and Word of the Father. … He is lifted up and resplendent among the nations, through the lives of those who live virtuously, in observance of the commandments. So He gives light to all in the house (that is, in this world), just as He Himself, God the Word, says – no-one lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel but on a stand and it gives light to all in the house. Clearly He is calling Himself the Lamp, He who is by nature God and became flesh according to God’s saving purpose. …
Lamp-like indeed, He alone dispelled the gloom of ignorance and the darkness of evil and became the Way of salvation for all men. Through virtue and knowledge, He leads to the Father those who are resolved to walk by Him, Who is the way of righteousness, in obedience to the divine commandments. He has designated holy Church the Lampstand, over which the Word of God sheds Light through preaching and illumines with the rays of truth, whoever is in this house which is the world and fills the minds of all men with divine knowledge.
This Word is most unwilling to be kept under a bushel; it wills to be set in a high place, upon the sublime beauty of the Church. …” – St Maximus of Turin (? – c 420) Bishop and Father of the Church – (An excerpt from An Inquiry Addressed to Thalassius)
PRAYER – Lord, be the beginning and the end of all that we do, all that we say, in every moment be our Light. Prompt our actions with Your grace and complete them with Your all-powerful love. May we always seek Your Face in every circumstance, in every moment, so that Your Light may become our life. Holy and Mother, you lived your life in the Presence of the Holy Face of Christ our Lord, please intercede for us and for all the world. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 19 September – Readings: Wisdom 2: 12, 17-20; Psalm 54: 3-8; James 3: 16 – 4: 3; Mark 9: 30-37 – The Feast of Our Lady of La Salette
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me.” – Mark 9:37
REFLECTION – “We Christians are Christ’s body and members, the Apostle Paul says (1Cor 12,27). At Christ’s Resurrection all His members were raised with Him and, as He passed from hell to earth, He made us pass from death to life. The word “Pasch” in Hebrew means “passover” or “passage”. Isn’t this mystery, a mystery concerning the passage from evil to good? And what a passing over it is! From sin to righteousness, from vice to virtue, from age to infancy. I’m speaking here about the infancy that pertains to simplicity, not to age. For virtues, too, belong to their age. Yesterday the decrepitude of sin was sending us downhill. But the Resurrection of Christ brings us to rebirth into the innocence of children. Christian simplicity makes childhood its own.
Children are without malice; they do not know deceit; they dare not strike. Thus this Christian child does not fall into a rage if he is insulted, nor defend himself if he is stripped, nor hit back if he is struck. Our Lord even requires him to pray for his enemies, relinquish both tunic and cloak to the thief and turn the other cheek to those who strike him (Mt 5,29f.).
Christ’s infancy surpasses human infancy… The latter owes its innocence to weakness, the former to virtue. Moreover, it is worthy of far greater praise: His hatred of evil comes from His Will, not His powerlessness.” – St Maximus of Turin (?-c 420) – Bishop (Sermon 58 ; PL 57, 363)
PRAYER – Grant us Lord, a true knowledge of salvation, so that, freed from fear and from the power of our foes, we may serve You faithfully in love and sorrow for our sins. May we, through the love You grant us, extend our love to all we meet and may the tears of the Holy Virgin of la Salette and of Sorrows, not reject our prayers but intercede for us, obtain for us the grace to love and follow our Lord Jesus above all else. May we console you by a holy life and so come to share the eternal life Christ gained by His Cross. Our Lady of La Salette, pray for us, through our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, God forever,amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 18 September – Readings: Timothy 6: 13-16; Psalm 100: 1b-2-5; Luke 8: 4-15
“And as for that in the good ground they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart and bring forth fruit with patience.”
“For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit… he who does not obey the Son, shall not see life.”
“And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal life.”
“Scripture brought me to the Gate of Paradise and the mind stood in wonder as it entered.”
“When you begin to read or listen to the Holy Scriptures, pray to God thus: “Lord Jesus Christ, open the ears and eyes of my heart so that I may hear Thy words and understand them and may fulfill Thy will.” Always pray to God like this, that He might illumine your mind and open to you, the power of His words. Many, having trusted in their own reason, have turned away into deception.”
St Ephrem (306-373) Father & Doctor of the Church
“When it comes to obeying the commandments or enduring adversity, the words uttered by the Father should always echo in our ears – “This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased, listen to Him.”
St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor of the Church
“He is the origin of all wisdom. The Word of God in the heights, is the source of wisdom. Christ is the source of all true knowledge, for He is “the way, the truth and the life.” (Jn 14:6). … As way, Christ is the teacher and origin of knowledge … Without this Light, which is Christ, no-one can penetrate the secrets of faith.”
St Bonaventure (1221-1274) Seraphic Doctor
“Not content with sending His servants, He came Himself, He marked out the way we should take, He came to make known His holy Word. … Brethren, it is absolutely impossible to love and please God, unless we are fed by this divine Word.”
One Minute Reflection – 18 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary” – Readings: Timothy 6: 13-16; Psalm 100: 1b-2-5; Luke 8: 4-15
“And some seed fell on good ground” – Luke 8:8
REFLECTION – “In my view it was to Mary that the blessed Prophet Joel was speaking when he exclaimed: “Fear not, O land! Exult and rejoice! For the Lord has done great things in you” (2,21). For Mary is a land – that ground on which Moses, the man of God, heard the command to remove his sandals (Ex 3,5), an image of the Law now replaced by grace. She is also that land on which, through the Holy Spirit, He was built up of whom we sing that He “fixed the earth on its foundations” (Ps 104,5). She is a land which, without being sown, brings forth the fruit that feeds all flesh (Ps 136,25). A land on which the thorns of sin have never sprung up, to the contrary, she has given birth to Him who pulled it up by the roots. And she is a land that is not cursed as the first one was, to bring forth a harvest of thorns and thistles (Gn 3,18) but on whom rests the Lord’s blessing and who bears in her breast, a “blessed fruit” as sacred scripture says (Lk 1,42)…
Rejoice, O Mary, House of the Lord, earth trodden by the Footsteps of God… Rejoice, O Paradise more happy than the Garden of Eden, where every virtue has been seeded and where the Tree of Life has grown.” – St Theodore the Studite (750-826) Father, Abbot, Theologian, Writer (Homily 2 for the Nativity of Mary, 4, 7; PG 96, 683f)
PRAYER – All-powerful, eternal God, splendour of true light and never-ending day, turn our ears and hearts to Your Word, that we may hear and live by the seed You have sown. May all that grows in us be of Your good seed and yield fruit a hundredfold. Grant us the grace of imitating the virtues of Mary, the Mother of Your only-begotten Son and our Mother and may her prayers intercede on our behalf. May we may be filled with courage and love and spread Your Word by our lives. We make our prayer through Jesus, our Lord and Word, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 17 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary ” – Readings: Timothy 6: 2c-12; Psalm 49: 6-10, 17-20; Luke 8: 1-3
“And the twelve were with him … and also some women” – Luke 8:1,3
REFLECTION – “If anyone does not believe that wherever they preached the Gospel, the Apostles brought women of holy life with them, so that these women might minister the necessities of life to them from their abundance, let him hear the Gospel and realise that the Apostles did this, by the example of our Lord Himself.” – St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace – (The Works of Monks, 5)
PRAYER – Heavenly Father, help me to be holy in the way that You have laid out for me. Let me carry out my duties of my state of life to the full and grant me the grace to carry my crosses in honour of You. Only in You may I attain holiness, learning to give myself, my will, my heart and my soul only to You. Mary Holy Sorrowful Virgin and Glorious Mother of Christ Jesus, we ask for your intercession. We make our prayer in unity with Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, one with You, now and forever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 16 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary ” – Readings:Timothy 4: 12-16; Psalm 111: 7-10; Luke 7: 36-50
“Many sins are forgiven her because she has loved much.”
“Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ.”
“Without love, there is only faith, which the devil has.”
“Once for all, then, a short precept is given you – Love and do what you will, whether you hold your peace, through love, hold your peace; whether you cry out, through love cry out; whether you correct, through love correct; whether you spare, through love do you spare. Let the root of love be within, of this root, can nothing spring but what is good.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father nd Doctor of Grace
“You are rewarded, not according to your work, or your time but according to the measure of your love.”
St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church
I Will Love and Follow You By Thomas à Kempis CRSA (1380-1471)
Oh my Lord, Let my heart expand in Your love. Let me learn to know how sweet it is, to serve You, how joyful it is, to praise You and to be absorbed in Your love. Oh, I am possessed by love and rise above myself because of the great fervour I feel, through Your infinite goodness. I will sing the canticle of love to You and I will follow You, my Beloved, wherever You go and may my soul never weary of praising you, rejoicing in Your love. I will love You more than myself and myself, only for Your sake. I will love all others in You and for you, as Your law of love commands. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 16 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary ” – Readings:Timothy 4: 12-16; Psalm 111: 7-10; Luke 7: 36-50 and the Memorial of Sts Cornelius & Cyprian
“… She stood behind him … weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.” – Luke 7:38
REFLECTION – “With her hands of good works, she holds the feet of those who preach His kingdom. She washes them with tears of charity, kisses them with praising lips and pours out the whole ointment of mercy, until He will return to her. This means that He will come back to her and say to Simon, to the Pharisees, to those who deny, to the nation of the Jews, “I came into your house. You gave me no water for my feet.”
When will He speak these words? He will speak them when He will come in the majesty of His Father and separate the righteous from the unrighteous, like a shepherd who separates the sheep from the goats. He will say, “I was hungry and you did not give me to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me no drink. I was a stranger and you did not take me in.” This is equivalent to saying, “But this woman, while she was bathing my feet, anointing them and kissing them, did to the servants what you did not do for the Master.” She did for the feet, what you refused to the Head. She expended upon the lowliest members, what you refused to your Creator. Then He will say to the Church, “Your sins, many as they are, are forgiven you because you have loved much.” – St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) Bishop of Ravenna, Father and “Doctor of Homilies”of the Church (Sermon 95)
PRAYER – Look upon us Lord, Creator and Ruler of the whole world, give us the grace to serve You with all our hearts, to take up our cross and follow You, that we may come to know the power of Your love and the forgiveness which You give and You teach. Grant that by the intercession of Sts Cornelius and Cyprian, we may attain the glory of Your kingdom and see You face to face. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 15 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary” and Memorial of the Seven Sorrows of our Mother – Readings: First Timothy 3: 14-16; Psalm 111: 1-6; John 19: 25-27 or Luke 2: 33-35
“Behold, your mother” – John 19:27
REFLECTION – “Woman, this is your son. This is your mother.” By what right is the disciple whom Jesus loved, the son of the Lord’s mother? By what right is she his mother? By the fact that, without pain, she brought into the world the salvation of us all, when she gave birth in the flesh to the God-man. But now she is in labour with great pain as she stands at the foot of the Cross.
At the hour of His Passion, the Lord Himself rightly compared the Apostles to a woman in childbirth, when He said: “When a woman is in labour she is in anguish because a child is born into the world” (cf. Jn 16:21). How much more, then, might such a Son compare such a Mother, the Mother standing at the foot of His Cross, to a woman in labour? What am I saying? “Compare?” She is indeed truly a woman and truly a mother and, at this hour, she is truly experiencing the pains of childbirth. When her Son was born she did not experience the anguish of giving birth in pain as other women do; it is now that she is suffering, that she is crucified, that she experiences sorrow like a woman in labour because her hour has come ( Jn 16:21; cf.13:1; 17:1). …
When this hour has passed, when the sword of sorrow has completely pierced her soul in labour (Lk 2:35), then, no more shall she “remember the pain because a child has been born into the world” – the new Man who renews the entire human race and reigns forever over the whole world, truly born, beyond all suffering, immortal, the firstborn from the dead. If the Virgin has thus brought the salvation of us all into the world, in her Son’s Passion, then she is indeed the Mother of us all!” – Rupert of Deutz (c 1075-1130) Benedictine Monk, Theologian, Exegete and Writer – Commentary on Saint Johns Gospel, 13 ; PL 169, 789.
PRAYER – Our Father, when Jesus Your Son, was raised up on the Cross, it was Your will that Mary, His Mother, should stand there and suffer with Him in her heart. Grant that in union with her, the Church may share in the passion of Christ and so be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Be our intercessor and our consolation, Our Lady of Sorrows, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 14 September – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – Readings: Numbers 21:4-9, Psalms 78:1-2, 34-35, 36-37, 38, Philippians 2:6-11, John 3:13-17
“…And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” – John 3:14-15
REFLECTION – “That brazen serpent was hung up as a remedy for the biting serpents, not as a type of Him that suffered for us but, as a contrast. It saved those that looked upon it, not because they believed it to live but because it was killed and killed with it, were the powers that were subject to it, being destroyed as it deserved. And what is the fitting epitaph for it from us? “O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?” You are overthrown by the Cross. you are slain by Him, Who is the Giver of Life. You are without breath, dead, without motion, even though you keep the form of a serpent lifted up high on a pole.” – St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Archbishop of Constantinople, Father and Doctor of the Church (Oration 45).
PRAYER – O God, who willed that Your Only Begotten Son should undergo the Cross to save the human race, grant, we pray, that we, who have known His mystery on earth, may merit the grace of His redemption in heaven. For You placed the salvation of the human race on the wood of the Cross, so that, where death arose, life might again spring forth and the evil one, who conquered on a tree, might likewise on a tree be conquered through Christ. O Cross, You are the glorious sign of victory. Through your power may we share in the triumph of Christ Jesus. We adore You O Christ and we praise You, for by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world. Amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 13 September – Readings: Timothy 2: 1-8; Psalm 28: 2, 7-9; Luke 7: 1-10
“Lord, … I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof… but only say the word …”
‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’
“’You can make me clean.’”
“Christ is the artist, tenderly wiping away all the grime of sin that disfigures the human face and restoring God’s image to its full beauty.”
St Gregory of Nyssa (c 335–C 395) Father of the Church
“What are you afraid of, you men of little faith? That He will not pardon your sins? But with His own hands He has nailed them to the cross. That you are used to soft living and your tastes are fastidious? But He knows the clay of which we are made (Gn 2:7). That a prolonged habit of sinning binds you like a chain? But the Lord loosens the shackles of prisoners. Or perhaps that angered by the enormity and frequency of your sins, He is slow to extend a helping hand? But where sin abounded, grace became superabundant (Rom 5,20). Are you worried about clothing and food and other bodily necessities so that you hesitate to give up your possessions? But He knows that you need all these things (Mt 6,32). What more can you wish? What else is there to hold you back from the way of salvation? ”
St Bernard (1091-1153) Mellifluous Doctor of the Church
“Aspire to God with short but frequent outpourings of the heart, admire His bounty, invoke His aid, cast yourself in spirit at the foot of His Cross, adore His goodness, treat with Him of your salvation, give Him your whole soul – a thousand times in the day.”
One Minute Reflection – 13 September – Readings: Timothy 2: 1-8; Psalm 28: 2, 7-9; Luke 7: 1-10 – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary”
“And Jesus went with them but when he was only a short distance from the house, the Centurion sent friends to tell him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof…” – Luke 7:6
REFLECTION – “I am not worthy that you should enter my house. I am not capable of receiving the Sun of Righteousness in its entirety; a little radiance from it, is sufficient for me to remove sickness, as it does for the darkness.” When our Lord heard this, He marvelled at him. God marvelled at a human being! He said to those who were near Him, “Truly, I say to you, not even in anyone among the house of Israel have I found this kind of faith.” The Centurion had brought them and he came, so that they would be advocates on his behalf. He rebuked them because they did not possess his faith. To show that the Centurion’s faith was the first of the faith of the Gentiles, He said, “Do not imagine that this faith can be limited to the cCnturion.” For he saw and believed. “Many will believe who have not seen.” “Many will come from the east and from the west and will sit at table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” – St Ephrem (306-373) Deacon, Father and Doctor of the Church – (Commentary on Tatian’s Diatessaron, 6.)
PRAYER – Lord God and holy Father, guard our faith we pray and grace us with Your mercy. Keep us ever faithful to Your precepts and bring us to Your home, to look upon Your Face. May the prayers of Your saints assist us on our journey. In your untiring life of trust in God, And may our Holy and Sorrowful Mother Mary, be our merciful protector. We ask all this through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 12 September – Feast of the Holy Name of Mary
“And the Virgin’s name was Mary.”
“As breathing is not only a sign but even, a cause of life, so the name of Mary, which is constantly found on the lips of God’s servants, both proves that they are truly alive and, at the same time, causes and preserves their life and gives them, every succour . . . may Your name, O Mother of God, be the last sound that escapes my lips!”
St Germanus of Constantinople (c 640-733)
“The name of Mary is a tower of strength, which saves sinners from punishment and defends the just from the assaults of hell.”
St Lawrence Justinian (1381-1455)
“Wherever you may go, or wherever you may be, implore Jesus and call upon Mary . . . Sing these two names, sing them in your heart, sing them with your lips, sing them with your hands.”
One Minute Reflection – 12 September – Readings: Isaiah 50: 5-9a; Psalm 116: 1-9; James 2: 14-18; Mark 8: 27-35 and the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary
“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”- Mark 8:34
REFLECTION – “How can I describe what my soul felt when, from the mouth of the holy prelate, I heard the very thing that is my obsession, that which makes me completely happy in my exile, the love of the Cross! … Oh who will give me the command of words which David had,, to describe the wonders of the love of the Cross? …
Oh! the Cross of Christ, what more can one say? I do not know how to pray, I do noy know what it is to be good. I have not a religious spirit, as I am full of the world. One thing I know, one thing which fills my heart with joy: in spite of seeing myself so poor in virtue, so rich in the reverse, I have a treasure which I would not change for anything or anyone – my cross – the Cross of Jesus, that Cross which is my only ease. How can I explain it? Whoever has not felt this, cannot have the remotest idea of what it is.
Would to God that everyone would love the Cross of Christ! Oh, if the world could know what it is to embrace fully, truly, without reservation and with frenzy of love, the Cross of Christ! … How much time is lost in conversations, devotions, exercises that are good and holy but are not the Cross of Jesus and so are not the best forms of worship …
Poor, worthless, useless creature … dragging out your life, following as best you can the austerities of the Rule, be content with keeping your aspirations in silence, love to distraction that which the world counts nothing because it has no knowledge of it. Adore in silence, without telling anyone of it, the Cross which is your treasure. In silence, at its foot, meditate on the greatness of God, the wonders of Mary, the wretchedness of man … Follow your life in silence always, loving, adoring and united with the Cross. What more can you wish? Savour the sweetness of the Cross, as the Lord Bishop said this morning, find delight in the Cross!” – St Raphael Arnaiz Baron (1911-1938) – Spanish Trappist Monk – To know how to wait
PRAYER – Heavenly Father, assist us at all times we pray, to obtain a spirit of worthy penance, for our sins and that of all the world. To the invocation of Your Divine Son, Jesus, we call on the intercession of His holy Mother, to aid us on our pilgrimage. With great affection and confidence, we honour the Holy Hearts and invoke the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, to be our constant source of pure assistance and succour that we might bear fruits worthy of their Names. Blessed be the Name of Mary! Amen
Quote/s of the Day – 11 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary” – Readings: Timothy 1: 15-17; Psalm 113: 1b-2-5a and 6-7; Luke 6: 43-49
“And why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I say?”
“If anyone serves me, he must follow me and where I am, there will my servant be also.”
“Let it be understood, that those who are not found living as He taught, are NOT Christian- even though they profess with the lips, the teaching of Christ.”
St Justin Martyr (c 100-165) Father of the Church
“It is not that we keep His commandments first and that then He loves but, that He loves us and then we keep His commandments. This is that grace which is revealed to the humble but hidden from the proud.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“The mark of Christ’s sheep is their willingness to hear and obey, just as disobedience is the mark of those who are not His. We take the word ‘hear’ to imply obedience to what has been said.”
St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father and Doctor of the Church
“If you wish to enter into life, keep My commandments. If you will know the truth, believe in Me. If you will be perfect, sell all. If you will be My disciple, deny yourself. If you will possess the blessed life, despise this present life. If you will be exalted in heaven, humble yourself on earth. If you wish to reign with Me, carry the Cross with Me. For only the servants of the Cross find the life of blessedness and of true light.”
Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471) The Imitation of Christ Chapter 56
“ True spiritual life consists in this: that man keep his eyes on God all the time, long for nothing but for God, keep nothing in mind but God, begin every single action,in God’s name and direct it to Him.”
Quote/s of the Day – 10 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary” – Readings: First Timothy 1: 1-2, 12-14; Psalm 16: 1b-2a and 5, 7-8, 11; Luke 6: 39-42
“A disciple is not above his teacher…”
“Do whatever he tells you.”
“A person who wishes to become the Lord’s disciple must repudiate a human obligation, however honourable it may appear, if it slows us, ever so slightly, in giving the wholehearted obedience we owe to God.”
St Basil the Great (329-379) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Let us then learn from the Cross of Jesus our proper way of living. Should I say ‘living’ or, instead, ‘dying’? Rather, both living and dying. Dying to the world, living for God. Dying to vices and living by the virtues. Dying to the flesh, but living in the spirit. Thus in the Cross of Christ, there is death and in the Cross of Christ there is life. The death of death is there and the life of life. The death of sins is there and the life of the virtues. The death of the flesh is there and the life of the spirit.”
St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)
“… God is to be served chiefly for Himself alone, for He is the fountain of all goodness and merits all our devotion, without any hope of reward.”
One Minute Reflection – 10 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary” – Readings: First Timothy 1: 1-2, 12-14; Psalm 16: 1b-2a and 5, 7-8, 11; Luke 6: 39-42
“And he told them a parable, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?…” – Luke 6:39
REFLECTION – “This parable He added, as a most necessary attachment to what had been said. The blessed disciples were about to be the initiators and teachers of the world. It was necessary for them, therefore, to prove themselves possessed of everything piety requires. They must know the pathway of the evangelic mode of life and be workmen, ready for every good work. They must be able to bestow upon well-instructed hearers, such correct and saving teaching, as exactly represents the truth. This they must do, as having already first received their sight and a mind illuminated with the divine light, lest they should be blind leaders of the blind. It is not possible, for those enveloped in the darkness of ignorance, to guide those, who are afflicted in the same way into the knowledge of the truth. Should they attempt it, they will both roll into the ditch of carelessness!
He overthrew the bragging passion of boastfulness, to which most give way, that they may not enviously strive to surpass their teachers in honour. He added, “The disciple is not above his teacher.” Even if some make such progress, as to attain to a virtue that rivals that of their teachers, they will range themselves no higher than their level and be their imitators. Paul shall again support us. He says, “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.” St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Bishop, known as “The Pillar of Faith,” Father and Doctor of the Church (Commentary on Luke, Homuly 29)
PRAYER – Lord God, in Your wisdom, You created us, in love. By Your providence, You rule us, in love. Penetrate our inmost being with the holy light of Your Son. Penetrate our hearts with the overwhelming love for Your love, so that we may weep in consolation. May the Light that is Jesus Christ our Lord, enlighten our hearts that we may see clearly the way we should tread. May the prayers of Your holy Angels, Martyrs, Saints and our Sorrowful Martyr Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, be our guiding inspiration. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 9 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary ” – Readings: Colossians 3: 12-17; Psalm 150: 1b-2-6 Luke 6:27-38
“ Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.”
“Once for all, then, a short precept is given you – Love and do what you will, whether you hold your peace, through love, hold your peace; whether you cry out, through love, cry out; whether you correct, through love, correct; whether you spare, through love, do you spare. Let the root of love be within. Of this root, can nothing spring but what is good!”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the Church
“My brothers, Christ made love the stairway that would enable all Christians to climb to heaven. Hold fast to it, therefore, in all sincerity, give one another practical proof of it and by your progress in it, make your ascent together.”
St Fulgentius of Ruspe (c 462 – 533)
“At the end of your life, you will be judged by your love.”
St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 9 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary ” – Readings: Colossians 3: 12-17; Psalm 150: 1b-2-6 Luke 6:27-38
“If you love those who love you, what reward will you have? For even sinners love those who love them.” – Luke 6:33
REFLECTION – “You have heard that it was said: You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: Love your enemies, … pray for those who persecute you” (Mt 5:43-44). No doubt, we don’t have any enemies in Carmel but there are feelings. One feels attracted to this Sister, whereas with regard to another, one would make a long detour in order to avoid meeting her. And so, without even knowing it, she becomes the subject of persecution. Well, Jesus is telling me that it is this Sister who must be loved, she must be prayed for, even though her conduct would lead me to believe that she doesn’t love me: “If you love those who love you, what reward will you have? For even sinners love those who love them.”
And it isn’t enough to love, we must prove it. We are naturally happy to offer a gift to a friend; we love especially to give surprises, however;,this is not charity, for sinners do this too. Here is what Jesus teaches me also: “Give to everyone who asks of you and from him who takes away your goods, ask no return.” Giving to all those who ask is less sweet than offering oneself by the movement of one’s own heart. … Although it is difficult to give to one who asks, it is even more so, to allow one to take what belongs to you, without asking it back! O Mother, I say it is difficult, I should have said that this seems difficult, for the yoke of the Lord is sweet and light (Mt 11:30). When one accepts it, one feels its sweetness immediately and cries out with the Psalmist: “I have run the way of your commandments when you enlarged my heart.” (Ps 119,32) It is only charity that can expand my heart. O Jesus, since this sweet flame consumes it, I run with joy in the way of Your new commandment (Jn 13:34).” – St Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1873-1897) Carmelite, Doctor of the Church – Autobiographical Manuscript C, 15v° – 16r°
PRAYER – Almighty Lord and God, protect us by Your power and love throughout this day, even as You have enabled us, in Your love to begin it. Do not let us turn aside to any sin but let our every thought, word and deed be done in love for You and Your creatures, our neighbour. Teach us to love as You have loved us and may our Sorrowful and Holy Mother, show us the way. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who loved us to the end, with the Holy Spiriti, God now and for all eternity, amen.
One Minute Reflection –8 September – Feast of theNativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Readings: Micah 5:1-4a or Romans 8:28-30, Psalms 13:6, 6, Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son – Matthew 1:23
REFLECTION – “Come, you nations; come, all peoples of every race and language, every age and rank. Joyfully let us celebrate the nativity of the whole world’s joy! If even the pagans honour the birthday of their king … what ought not we to do to honour that of the Mother of God, through whom all humanity has been transformed and the pain of Eve, our first mother, has been turned to joy? For Eve heard God’s sentence: “You will bring forth children in pain” (Gn 3:16) but Mary: “Rejoice, most highly favoured … the Lord is with you” (Lk 1:28). …
Let all creation celebrate and sing the holy childbirth of a holy woman, for she has brought a lasting treasure into the world. … Through her, the creative Word of God has been united to the whole creation and we celebrate the ending of human barrenness, the ending of the sickness that kept us from possessing all our good. … Nature has given way to grace … As the Virgin Mother of God had to be born of barren Anna, so nature remained without fruit until grace had produced its own. It was to open the womb of its mother, she who would give birth to “The Firstborn of all creation” in whom “all things hold together” (Col 1:15,17).
O blessed couple, Joachim and Anna! All creation owes you thanks; through you it has offered the Creator the best of all His gifts: a Mother worthy of veneration, the only Mother worthy of the One who created her. ”- St John Damascene (675-749) Monk, Theologian, Father and Doctor of the Church – Homily on the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, 1-2 (cf SC 80, p. 48)
PRAYER – Lord God, the day of our salvation dawned when the Blessed Virgin gave birth to Your Son. As we celebrate her nativity, grant us Your grace and Your peace. Through Christ, our Lord, Your Son in union with the Holy Spirit. Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 7 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary” – Readings: Colossians 2: 6-15; Psalm 145: 1b-2, 8-9-11; Luke 6: 12-19
“Jesus departed to the mountain to pray and he spent the night in prayer to God”
“Prayer is the wing, wherewith the soul flies to heaven and meditation, the eye, wherewith we see God.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Ask with tears, seek with obedience, knock with patience.”
St John Climacus (c 525-606) Father of the Church
“[Prayer] is the one means for our purification, the one way to union with God, the one channel by which God may unite Himself with us, that He may do anything with us, for His glory. To obtain the virtues of an apostle, we must pray; to make them of use to our neighbour, we must pray; to prevent our losing them, while we use them in His service, we must pray. The counsel, or rather the commandment: Pray always, seems to me extremely sweet and by no means impossible. It secures the practice of the presence of God …”
St Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682) “Apostle of the Sacred Heart”
“In silence, He listens to us, i n silence He speaks to our souls, in silence we are granted the privilege of hearing His voice –
Silence of the eyes, Silence of the ears, Silence of our mouths, Silence of our minds. In the silence of the heart God will speak.”
One Minute Reflection – 7 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary” – Readings: Colossians 2: 6-15; Psalm 145: 1b-2, 8-9-11; Luke 6: 12-19
“Jesus departed to the mountain to pray and he spent the night in prayer to God”– Luke 6:12
REFLECTION – “So the Lord prays, not to entreat for Himself but to intercede for me. Although the Father placed all things in the power of His Son, yet the Son, in order to fulfill the form of a man, thinks that the Father must be entreated for us because He is our Advocate. If He is an Advocate, He must intercede on account of my sins.
It says, “He passed the whole night in prayer.” A model is given to you. A form is prescribed which you must imitate. Unless I am mistaken, it is nowhere found that He prayed with the Apostles. Everywhere He entreats alone, for human prayers do not grasp the counsels of God, nor can anyone share with Christ in the inward mysteries.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan, Father, Doctor of the Church – (Exposition on the Gospel of Luke, 5.)
PRAYER – Our Father who art in heaven, almighty and eternal God, teach us to pause often during our active lives and recollect ourselves. Let us put away the problems of life and commune with You in prayer and meditation. Mary, Holy and Sorrowful Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, teach us the how to pray and how to imitate your courage and strength in silence. Pray for us that we may be inspired to turn to our God for strength, in this vale of tears. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Advocate, with the Holy Spirit, one God now and for all eternity, amen.