Lenten Thoughts – 11 March – Let us show each other God’s generosity – Saint Gregory Nazianzen (330-390)

Lenten Thoughts – 11 March – Monday of the First Week of Lent, Gospel: Matthew 25:31–46

Let us show each other God’s generosity

Saint Gregory Nazianzen (330-390)
Bishop. Father, Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Oration 14: On Love of the Poor

Recognise to whom you owe the fact that you exist, that you breathe, that you understand, that you are wise and, above all, that you know God and hope for the kingdom of heaven and the vision of glory, now darkly as in a mirror but then with greater fullness and purity.   You have been made a son of God, co-heir with Christ. Where did you get all this and from whom?

Let me turn to what is of less importance – the visible world around us.   What benefactor has enabled you to look out upon the beauty of the sky, the sun in its course, the circle of the moon, the countless number of stars, with the harmony and order that are theirs, like the music of a harp?   Who has blessed you with rain, with the art of husbandry, with different kinds of food, with the arts, with houses, with laws, with states, with a life of humanity and culture, with friendship and the easy familiarity of kinship?

Who has given you dominion over animals, those that are tame and those that provide you with food?   Who has made you lord and master of everything on earth?   In short, who has endowed you with all that makes man superior to all other living creatures?

Is it not God who asks you now in your turn to show yourself generous above all other creatures and for the sake of all other creatures?   Because we have received from Him so many wonderful gifts, will we not be ashamed to refuse Him this one thing only, our generosity?   Though He is God and Lord, He is not afraid to be known as our Father. Shall we for our part repudiate those who are our kith and kin?

Brethren and friends, let us never allow ourselves to misuse what has been given us by God’s gift.   If we do, we shall hear Saint Peter say – Be ashamed of yourselves for holding onto what belongs to someone else.   Resolve to imitate God’s justice and no-one will be poor.   Let us not labour to heap up and hoard riches while others remain in need.   If we do, the prophet Amos will speak out against us with sharp and threatening words -Come now, you that say:  When will the new moon be over, so that we may start selling?   When will the sabbath be over, so that we may start opening our treasures?

Let us put into practice the supreme and primary law of God.   He sends down rain on just and sinful alike and causes the sun to rise on all without distinction.   To all earth’s creatures He has given the broad earth, the springs, the rivers and the forests.   He has given the air to the birds and the waters to those who live in the water.   He has given abundantly to all the basic needs of life, not as a private possession, not restricted by law, not divided by boundaries but as common to all, amply and in rich measure.   His gifts are not deficient in any way, because He wanted to give equality of blessing to equality of worth and to show the abundance of His generosity.resolve to imitate god's justice and noone will be poor - st gregory of nazianzen 11 march 2019 1st mond of lent.jpg

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 1 October – Blessed Luigi Maria Monti (1825-1900)

Saint of the Day – 1 October – Blessed Luigi Maria Monti (1825-1900) Religious and Founder of the  Sons of the Immaculate Conception.

bl luigi

Bl Luigi Maria Monti

In order to thwart the agnosticism spreading like wildfire in the 19th century, the Holy Spirit brought forth exceptional men and women endowed with the charism of “assistance” and “receptivity” so the love of neighbour could convince skeptical and positivist man to believe in God-Love.

Numbered in these ranks of the faithful replete with the Holy Spirit was Luigi Monti, blessed of charity.   He bore witness to love of neighbour under the hallmark of the Woman who did not know sin, the sign of liberation from all evil: the Immaculate Conception.

A lay religious called “father” out of veneration by his followers because of his readily evident spiritual fatherhood, Luigi Monti was born on 24 July 1825 at Bovisio in the diocese of Milan and was the eighth of 11 children.   His father passed away when he was 12 and he became a craftsman of products in wood to help support his mother and younger siblings.   Ever an ardent youth, in his shop he gathered together many artisans and farmers of his age in order to give life to an evening oratory.   This group took the name of “The Company of the Sacred Heart of Jesus” but the people of Bovisio referred to it as “The Company of Friars”.

This group of young men stood out for its austerity of life, dedication to the sick and the poor and its zeal in evangelising those who had lapsed from the Church.   Luigi, the leader of the group, consecrated himself to God in 1846, at the age of 21, by professing the vows of chastity and obedience into the hands of his spiritual director.   He was a faithful layman consecrated in the Church of God with neither convent nor habit.   Not everyone, however, was able to grasp what the Spirit had bestowed upon Luigi Monti.  In fact, some people in the small town, together with the parish priest, mounted a campaign of servile yet evident opposition which led to slanderous charges of political conspiracy against the Austrian occupation authorities.  In 1851 Luigi Monti and his companions were jailed in Desio (Milan) and released only 72 days later at the end of the formal investigation into the charges filed.

Docile to his spiritual director, Fr Luigi Dossi, Luigi Monti joined him in entering the Sons of Mary Immaculate, the congregation founded by Blessed Ludovico Pavoni only five years earlier.   He remained in the congregation as a novice for six years.   This was a period of transition for Luigi Monti but during it he fell in love with the constitutions written by Blessed Pavoni, gained experience as an educator and learned both the theory and practice of nursing care which he placed at the service of the community and those stricken by cholera during the epidemic of 1855 in Brescia, when he willingly accepted to be isolated in the local asylum with the sick.   At the age of 32 Luigi Monti was still searching for the concrete realidation of his own consecration.   In a letter dated 1896, four years prior to his death, he evoked the nightime of the spirit which he had lived at that time:  “I would spend hours before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrameny but they were all hours without a drop of heavenly dew;  my heart remained arid, cold, and unmoved.   I was on the verge of abandoning everything, when, alone in my room, I heard a clear and distinct inner voice saying to me:  “Luigi, go to the choir in church and present your tribulations once again to the Blessed Sacrament’.   I heeded this inspiration and hastened to follow it.   I knelt down and after a short time—what wonder!—I saw two personages in human form.   I recognised them.   It was Jesus with His Most Holy Mother, who approached me and in a loud voice said to me:  “Luigi, much indeed will you still have to suffer;  other varied and greater battles will you face.   Be strong;  you will emerge victorious from everything; never lacking to you will be our powerful help.   Continue the way you began.   Thus did they speak and then disappeared”.  bl luigi monti.2

Inspired by the witness of charity of Saint Crocifissa Di Rosa, Fr Luigi Dossi broached the idea that Luigi Monti give life to a “Congregation for the service of the sick in Rome.” Luigi embraced the idea and suggested calling it “The Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception”.  The idea was shared by several of his friends dating back to the time of the ‘Company’ and by a young, ardent and experienced nurse by the name of Cipriano Pezzini.

A foundation in the Rome of Pius IX was no simple matte, and especially so in one of the most famous hospitals of Europe, the Santo Spirito Hospital.  In the meantime, the Capuchin chaplains in the selfsame hospital were in the process of creating a sort of Third Order of St Francis for bodily assistance to patients.

When Luigi Monti arrived in Rome in 1858, the situation he found was quite different compared with the plans he had made with his friend Pezzini, who had gone before him to handle the necessary negotiations with the ‘Commendatore’, the hospital’s highest ranking authority.

He understood that for the time being God wanted him simply as ‘Fra Luigi from Milan’, a nurse at the Santo Spirito Hospital and he humbly asked to be admitted to the group organised by the Capuchin Fathers.   He was initially assigned to those tasks nowadays reserved to practical nurse assistants and then to the responsibilities of a phlebotomist, as certified in the diploma he received from the La Sapienza University in Rome.

In 1877, following the unanimous wish of his confreres, Pius IX placed him at the head of ‘his’ Congregation and so he remained until his death twenty-three years later.

Pius IX harboured a special predilection for the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception from its very origin, because of his intense yearning to see the patients in Roman hospitals well assisted and because it bore the name of the Immaculate Conception.monti_painting-by-mario-bogani-the-ideal-of-luigi-monti-was-to-serve-christ-among-the-poorest-brothers

When he became Superior General, Luigi Monti prepared for the Congregation a rule of life reflecting the experiences he had lived under the impulse of the Holy Spirit.   And, through his animation, the community of Santo Spirito Hospital lived the “apostolica vivendi forma” of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception.   Nourished by the Eucharist and meditation upon the privilege of the “Lady All Pure”, the Brothers dedicated themselves with heroism to the care of the sick.   At times of mass admissions due to epidemics of malaria or typhoid, or in the aftermath of armed conflicts, the Brothers did not hesitate to surrender their own beds for the comfort of the sick and infirm.   They declared their readiness to assist all those afflicted by forms of malaria, no matter where they might be sent.  Luigi Monti opened other small communities in the upper part of the Latium region, where he himself had worked earlier in sundry hospital roles, as well as a traveling nurse attending to needs in isolated farm houses scattered all over the countryside around Orte (Viterbo).

In 1882 a Carthusian monk came to see him at the Santo Spirito Hospital and said he had been inspired by Mary Immaculate to do so.   This monk came from Desio and presented Luigi Monti with the pitiful case of his four nephews who had lost both their parents. This was a sign from the Spirit of God, and Luigi Monti expanded his mission of assistance to encompass completely orphaned children and opened a home for them in Saronno.   His fundamental pedagogical principle was based on the fatherhood of an educator:  the community of the religious receives the orphan just like a family in order to provide him with a human and Christian formation serving as the basis for all vocations in life:  civic life, family life, life in the state of special consecration. Bl luigi - monti_painting-by-mario-bogani

Luigi Monti, a consecrated layman, conceived the community of ordained and lay ‘Brothers’ in equality of rights and responsibilities, where elected as superior of the community was to be the Brother deemed best suited.   He died in 1900 at the age of 75, completely worn out and practically blind.   His project had yet to receive ecclesial approbation and only did so in 1904 from St. Pius X, who approved the new model of community foreseen by the Founder, granting the ministerial priesthood as an essential complement for carrying out an apostolic mission addressed to the whole of man in both assistance to the sick and save haven for youth in need.

In 1941 Blessed Ildefonso Schuster, Archbishop of Milan, initiated the diocesan phase of the cause of beatification which lasted until 1951.

In 2001 the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints promulgated the decree acknowledging the heroic nature of the virtues, and 2003 witnessed the decree which endorsed as miraculous the healing of Giovanni Luigi Iecle, a farmer from Bosa (Sardegna), in 1961.

Hard at work all over the world, the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception continues to imbue works of charity with the charism of paternal openness and assistance practiced with such professionalism and utmost dedication by the Founder, Luigi Monti.  (From the Vatican)bl luigi monti



Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 27 September – The Memorial of St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)

Quote/s of the Day – 27 September – The Memorial of St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)

Humility and charity are the two master-chords:
one, the lowest;
the other, the highest;
all the others are dependent on them.
Therefore it is necessary, above all,
to maintain ourselves in these two virtues;
for observe well that the preservation of the whole edifice
depends on the foundation and the roof.humility and charity - st vincent de paul - 27 sept 2017

With renewed devotion, then, we must serve the poor,
especially outcasts and beggars.
They have been given to us as our masters and patrons.we renewed devotion - st vincent de paul - 27 sept 2017

As it is most certain that the teaching of Christ cannot deceive,
if we would walk securely, we ought to attach ourselves to it
with greatest confidence and to profess openly that we live
according to it and not to the maxims of the world,
which are all deceitful.
This is the fundamental maxim of all Christian it is most certain - st vincent de paul - 27 sept 2017

Perfection consists in one thing alone,
which is doing the will of God.
For, according to Our Lord’s words,
it suffices for perfection to deny self,
to take up the cross and to follow Him.
Now who denies himself and takes up his cross
and follows Christ better than he who seeks
not to do his own will but always that of God?
Behold, now, how little is needed to become as Saint?
Nothing more than to acquire the habit of willing,
on every occasion, what God wills.

St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)perfection consists in one thing alone - st vincent de paul - 27 sept 2017

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 30 August

One Minute Reflection – 30 August

“Do to no-one what you would not want done to you.
Give your bread to those who are hungry
and your clothes to those who are naked.”… Tobit 4:16-17tobit 4 16 - 17

REFLECTION – “The bread that is in your box belongs to the hungry;
the coat in your closet belongs to the naked;
the shoes you do not wear belong to the barefoot;
the money in your vault belongs to the destitute.”…..St Basil the Great (329-379) – Doctor of the Churchthe bread that is in your box - st basil the great

PRAYER – God our Saviour, through the grace of Baptism you made us children of light. Hear our prayer, that we may always walk in that light and work for truth, love and charity, as Your witnesses before men. St Pammachius, you lived a life of total charity to those most in need, please pray for us, pammachius pray for us


Quote/s of the Day – 31 July – The Memorial of St Ignatius de Loyola

Quote/s of the Day – 31 July

“Be generous to the poor orphans and those in need.
The man to whom our Lord has been liberal
ought not to be stingy.
We shall one day find in Heaven as much rest and joy
as we ourselves have dispensed in this life.”

be generous - st iggy

“If our church is not marked by caring for the poor,
the oppressed, the hungry, we are guilty of heresy.”

if our church - st iggy

“If God gives you an abundant harvest of trials,
it is a sign of great holiness which He desires you to attain.
Do you want to become a great saint?
Ask God to send you many sufferings.
The flame of Divine Love never rises higher than when fed
with the wood of the Cross, which the infinite charity
of the Saviour used to finish His sacrifice.
All the pleasures of the world are nothing compared
with the sweetness found in the gall and vinegar offered to
Jesus Christ. That is, hard and painful things endured
for Jesus Christ and with Jesus Christ…..If God causes you
to suffer much, it is a sign that He certainly
intends to make you a saint.”

St Ignatius of Loyola

if gd gives you - st iggy

Posted in CATHOLIC Quotes, MORNING Prayers

Quote of the Day – 18 January

Quote of the Day – 18 January

”People say:
‘What is the sense of our small effort?’
They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time,
take one step at a time.
A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread
in all directions.
Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that.
No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless.
There’s too much work to do.”

~~~ Dorothy Day