One Minute Reflection – 19 April – ‘ … Whoever believes, begins a new life … ‘

One Minute Reflection – 19 April – Monday of the Third Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 6: 8-15, Psalm: Psalms 119: 23-24, 26-27, 29-30, Gospel: John 6: 22-29 and the Memorial of Bl Conrad of Ascoli OFM (1234-1289)

“This is the work of God, that you believe in him, whom he hath sent.” – John 6:29

REFLECTION – “The senses are full of curiosity – faith is content to know nothing, it… longs to pass its life motionless before the Tabernacle. The senses love riches and honour – faith holds them in horror… “Blessed are the poor” (Mt 5,3). She adores the poverty and lowliness with which Jesus covered His life, as though with a garment, that He never cast off… The senses take fright at that which they call danger, at all that might mean pain or death – but faith is afraid of nothing, it knows nothing can happen to it but what is the will of God: “I have counted every hair of your head” (Mt 10,30) and whatever God wishes, will always be for its good. “All that happens is for the good of my elect” (Rm 8,28). Thus in everything that may happen, sorrow or joy, health or sickness, life or death, it is content and fears nothing. The senses are anxious about the future and ask how we shall live tomorrow but faith feels no anxiety…

Thus faith illumines everything with a new light, different to the life of the senses, more brilliant, of another kind. Whoever lives by faith, has a soul full of new thoughts, new tastes, new impressions; new horizons open up, marvellous horizons, lit with a new light and with a divine beauty, surrounded with new truths of which the world is not aware. Thus, whoever believes, begins a new life opposed to that of the world, whose acts seem like madness. The world is in the darkness of night, the person of faith is in full light – this light-filled path on which we walk, is not manifest to others. It seems to them, that we want to walk like a madman, in emptiness.” – Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916) Hermit and Missionary in the Sahara – Retreat Notes, Nazareth, Nov. 1897

PRAYER – King of heaven and earth, Lord God, rule over our hearts and bodies this day. Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed, according to the commandments of Your law, so that now and forever, Your grace may free and save us. Let us walk in Your ways and be your lights and thus, by our lives, help others to follow You. Grant that the prayers of our blessed Mother, the Mother of Jesus Your Son and Blessed Conrad of Ascoli, who always lived for You alone, may help us, as we work through each day to reach our heavenly home. Through Jesus the Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.

Acts 6: 8-15
8 And Stephen, full of grace and fortitude, did great wonders and signs among the people.
9 Now there arosesome of that which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and of the Cyrenians and of the Alexandrians and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia, disputing with Stephen.
0 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit that spoke.
11 Then they suborned men to say, they had heard him speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God.
12 And they stirred up the people, and the ancients and the scribes and running together, they took him and brought him to the council.
13 And they set up false witnesses, who said: This man ceaseth not to speak words against the holy place and the law.
14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place and shall change the traditions which Moses delivered unto us.
15 And all that sat in the council, looking on him, saw his face as if it had been the face of an angel.

Gospel: John 6: 22-29
22 The next day, the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea, saw that there was no other ship there but one and that Jesus had not entered into the ship with his disciples but, that his disciples were gone away alone.
23 But other ships came in from Tiberias, nigh unto the place where they had eaten the bread, the Lord giving thanks.
24 When herefore he multitude saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they took shipping and came to Capharnaum, seeking for Jesus.
25 And when they had found him, on the other side of the sea, they said to him: Rabbi, when camest thou hither?
26 Jesus answered them and said: Amen, amen I say to you, you seek me, not because you have seen miracles but because you did eat of the loaves and were filled.
27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth but for that which endures unto life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you. For him hath God, the Father, sealed.
28 They said, therefore, unto him: What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said to them: This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he hath sent.


Saint of the Day – 19 April – Blessed Conrad of Ascoli OFM (1234-1289)

Saint of the Day – 19 April – Blessed Conrad of Ascoli OFM (1234-1289) Franciscan Friar Missionary, Evangeliser, Penitent, zealous Preacher, Cardinal-elect. Blessed Conrad had a great devotion to the Most Holy Trinity and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Born in 1234 in Ascoli, Italy and died on 19 April 1289 as in Ascoli of natural causes aged 55.

At Ascoli in the district of Ancona, Conrad was born of the noble Migliano family in the year 1234. It was marvellous how the small child practised mortifications and self-denial in all things as saints would do. It is recorded, that even as an infant he took his mother’s milk only once on fast days. It was discovered that even as a small boy he possessed the gift of prophecy. Sometimes, for instance, he would go on his knees before a companion named Jerome and he always tendered him great respect. When he was asked for the reason, he said: “I have seen the keys of heaven in his hands.” Jerome later became a Pope, known to us as Nicholas IV.

The two companions formed an intimate friendship. They vied with each other in their application to study but still more, in the practice of virtue. Together with Girolamo (Jerome) Masci, he became a Franciscan Friar in the Convent of Ascoli. United by a close friendship, Corrado and Girolamo devoted themselves with ardour to the piety and austerity of the Franciscan life, following the narrow path of Christian perfection.

From Ascoli they were both sent to Assisi and then to Perugia to complete their studies. They earned the title of “readers” of sacred knowledge and then from Perugia to Rome, where they taught theology and fruitfully preached the Word of God to the people.

Wisdom and humility, austerity of life and zeal for the salvation of souls are the personality traits of the young Corrado. A very humble man, he shunned any reason for personal prestige by living as a true friar minor.

From his friend Girolamo, who became General of the Franciscan Order, he obtained permission to leave for Africa to announce the Word of salvation.
At the cost of great efforts and pilgrimages he evangelised Libya and Cyrenaica. In preaching, he always adapted, with due discernment, his speeches to the intelligence of his listeners. God blessed the simplicity of the religious scholar. His word went straight to the hearts of the listeners.

The privileged object of his proclamation was the adorable mystery of the Most Holy Trinity: it drew everyone to worship God. He accompanied the proclamation of the Word with a harsh and penitent lifestyle. He was strict with himself and indulgent with others. He tenderly loved the Mother of the Lord and the memory and meditation of the Lord Jesus, Crucified love, never fell from his mind.

Pope Nicholas III sent Fra Girolamo Masci as legate to the King of France to induce him to more peaceful sentiments, he wanted Brother Corrado as his companion who, reluctantly, had to leave Africa. When Fra Girolamo saw this close friend arrive in Paris covered in a very poor dress and barefoot, moved by compassion and veneration, he exclaimed “This man is more than Jonah!”.

Once the peace between France and Spain was restored, the two friars returned to Rome, where, in 1278, Fra Girolamo was awarded the dignity of Cardinal. Conrad, after two years of preaching and residing in Rome, was sent to Paris to teach theology, proving himself to be an eminent teacher.

In 1288 Girolamo Masci ascended the Papal throne with the name of Nicholas IV; he called Brother Conrad to him to avail himself of his enlightened advice. To the rumours of his imminent Cardinalate that spread in the Parisian environment, he replied, in his farewell address, exhorting everyone to love above all the Christian virtue of humility and concealment.

Exhausted by the long and uncomfortable journey, he died in Ascoli on 19 April 1289. Nicholas IV deeply mourned and, confirming the intention he had had, to make him a Cardinal, ordered a solemn mausoleum to be erected on his tomb. His remains, buried in the primitive convent, were then transferred in May 1371 to the Church of San Francesco.

Among the Christian virtues practised by Blessed Corrado, a characteristic was that of penance. He wore a very crude habit, walked barefoot, rested for only a few hours on a hard table, fasted on bread and water four days a week.

He had placed the Holy Trinity at the soul of his apostolate, thanks to which, he obtained miracles of all kinds.

Credited legends had flourished, while he was still alive, around his holiness. The popular cult, attributed to him from time immemorial in the Marche and in the various Families of the Minoritic Order, was approved by Pope Pius VI on 30 August 1783.