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One Minute Reflection – 3 February – ‘Draw near, then and listen …’

One Minute Reflection – 3 February – Hebrews 12:4-711-15Psalms 103:1-213-1417-18Mark 6:1-6 and The Memorial of St Blaise – Martyr (Died c 316)

“What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands?” – Mark 6:2

REFLECTION – “The Father sent the Word to appear to the world, who was dishonoured by His people, preached through Apostles and believed in by pagan nations. It is He who was from the beginning (Jn 1:1), who appeared new and proved to be old and is ever born young in the hearts of saints. He is the eternal, today counted a son (Ps 2:7).
Through Him the Church is enriched and grace unfolding is multiplied in the saints, affording understanding, revealing secrets mysteries, making them understand the signs of the times, rejoicing over the faithful, given to those who seek for it, by whom pledges of faith are not broken and the boundaries set by the Fathers are not passed over. Then the fear of the law is praised in song and the grace announced by the prophets is learned and the faith of the gospels is established and what has been handed down from the Apostles is guarded and the Grace of the Church exults for joy.
If you do not offend this Grace, you will learn what the Word talks about, through those through whom He wishes to talk, when He pleases … Draw near, then and listen earnestly to them and you will know what God bestows on those who truly love Him, who become a garden of delight, causing to grow in themselves a thriving tree bearing all kinds of rich fruits. For in this place are planted the tree of knowledge and the tree of life (Gn 2:9) … Let your mind be knowledge and the Word of truth become your life. If this tree grows in you and, if you ardently long for its fruit, you will always gather the vintage of God’s best gifts.” – A Letter to Diognetus (c 130) – 11, 3-7; 12, 1-2 and 7-8;

PRAYER – Lord our God, make us love You above all things and all our fellow-men, with a love that is worthy of You. May we look to Your Divine Son in love and imitation. Grant too, that by the prayers of St Blaise, we too may be granted the grace to follow Your only Son, no matter our sufferings, to one day reachYou, in our heavenly home. We make our prayer, through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever amen.

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Thought for the Day – 22 May – The Christian in the World – You and Me!

Thought for the Day – 22 May – Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter C, Gospel: John 15:1-8

“I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me
that does not bear fruit and everyone that does,
he prunes so that it bears more fruit” … John 15:1-2

The Christian in the World

An excerpt from A Letter to Diognetus

(Nn. 5-6; Funk, 397-401)

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs.   They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life.   Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men.   Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine.   With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives.    They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through.   They play their full role as citizens, but labour under all the disabilities of aliens.   Any country can be their homeland but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country  . Like others, they marry and have children but they do not expose them.   They share their meals but not their wives.   They live in the flesh but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth but they are citizens of heaven.   Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law.

Christians love all men but all men persecute them.   Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death but raised to life again.   They live in poverty but enrich many, they are totally destitute but possess an abundance of everything.   They suffer dishonour but that is their glory.   They are defamed but vindicated.   A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference, their response to insult.   For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life.   They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body.   As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world but cannot be identified with the world.  As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world but their religious life remains unseen.   The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures.   Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred.   It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together.   The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven.   As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution.   Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself…Vatican.va

Prayer

Father of all holiness,
guide our hearts to You.
Keep in the light of Your truth
all those You have freed from the darkness of unbelief.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Prepared by the Spiritual Theology Department
of the Pontifical University of the Holy Crossdiogentus - the christian in the world - 22 may 2019.jpg