One Minute Reflection – 8 February – “Come away … ” Mark 6:31

One Minute Reflection – 8 February – Saturday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time Readings: Hebrews 13:15-1720-21Psalms 23:1-33-456Mark 6:30-34 and the Memorial of Saint Amand of Maastricht (c 584-c 679) Bishop

“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile” … Mark 6:31

REFLECTION – “If you wish to come and find Me, seek me aside. As Mark says: “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile. People were coming and going in great numbers and they had no opportunity even to eat.” (Mk 6:31).
Alas, such are the passions of the flesh and the turmoil of thoughts coming and going in our hearts that we have no time to eat the food of everlasting sweetness, nor perceive the taste of interior contemplation. That is why our Lord says: “Come away” from the noisy crowd “to a deserted place,” to solitude of mind and heart, “and rest awhile.” For truly, as the book of Revelation says: “There will be silence in heaven for about half an hour” (Rv 8:1); and in the Psalm: “Who will give me wings like a dove that I might fly away and find rest” (Ps 54[55]:7 LXX).
But let us listen to what the prophet Hosea says: “I will seduce her and lead her into the wilderness and I will speak to her heart” (cf. Hos 2:16 Vg). These three expressions: seduce, lead into the wilderness, speak to her heart, represent the three stages of the spiritual life – the beginning, development and perfection. The Lord seduces the beginner when He enlightens him with His grace so that he may grow and progress from virtue to virtue. Then he leads him aside from the din of the vices and disordered thoughts, into peace of spirit. Finally, once guided to perfection, God speaks to his heart. Then the soul experiences the sweetness of divine inspiration and can surrender totally to joy of spirit.
What depth of devotion, of wonderment and happiness in his heart! By devotion, he is raised above himself, through wonder, he is led above himself, through happiness, he is transported out of himself.
” … St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Doctor of the Church – Sermon for the feast of Saint John the Evangelist

PRAYER – All-powerful, eternal God, splendour of true light and never-ending day, let our striving for Your kingdom not fall short through selfishness or fear, may the universe be alive with the Spirit and our homes be the pledge of the world redeemed. May our hearts be eternally longing for that time alone with You, our one true Love. May our worldly duties be such that they never impede our progress in devotion and may the intercession of our Holy Mother, St Amand and all the saints, be a strength and a comfort. Through Jesus, our compassionate and loving Redeemer, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You forever, amen.

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 6 February – Saint Amand of Maastricht (c 584-c 679) Bishop, the Apostle of Belgium

Saint of the Day – 6 February – Saint Amand of Maastricht (c 584-c 679) Bishop of Tongeren-Maastricht and one of the great Missionaries of Flanders (Belgium), Monk, Abbot, Papal Missionary Bishop and Advisor, miracle-worker, Founder of numerous Monasteries which became known for their hospitality to pilgrims. Born c 584 at Poitou, France and died in c 679 in the Monastery at Elnone-en-Pevele (modern Saint-Amand-les-Eaux), France. Patronages – against diseases of cattle, against fever, against paralysis, against rheumatism, against seizures against skin diseases, against vision problems, Boy Scouts, bar staff, barkeepers, bartenders, brewers, grocers, hotel keepers, innkeepers, merchants, pharmacists, druggists, vinegar makers, vine growers, vintners, wine merchants, 4 cities. Also known as the Apostle of Belgium, Apostle of Flanders, Amand of Elnone, Amand of France, Amandus, Amantius, Amatius.

The chief source of details of his life is the Vita Sancti Amandi, an eighth-century text attributed to Beaudemond. The vita was expanded by Philippe, Abbot of Aumône. According to this biography, Amand was born in Lower Poitou. He was of noble birth but at the age of twenty, he became a monk, against the wishes of his family. His father threatened to disinherit him if he did not return home but our Saint chose rather to ensure his riches in the heavenly kingdom. From there Amandus went to Bourges and became a pupil of Bishop Austregisilus. There he lived in solitude in a cell for fifteen years, living on no more than bread and water.

Amand’s fervent disciple, St Humbert of Maroilles (died c 682), was of a noble family and trained as a Monk in Laon. However, upon the death of his parents, he returned to his estates to settle some inheritance issues and found fine food, servants and various conveniences, sufficiently distracting, that he gave up any thought of the monastic life, until one day Amand took him on a pilgrimage to Rome. Humbert became his disciple and companion.

After the pilgrimage to Rome, Amand was made a Missionary Bishop in France in 628, without a fixed Diocese. At the request of Clotaire II, he evangelised the pagan inhabitants of Ghent, later extending his field of operations to all of Flanders. Initially, he had little success, suffering persecution and undergoing great hardships. However, after performing a miracle (bringing back to life a hanged criminal), the attitude of the people changed and he made many converts. He founded a Monastery at Elnon where he served as Abbot for four years. He returned to France in 630.

Amand was a close friend of St Adalbard of Ostrevent (died c 652), whom he advised on the founding Marchiennes Abbey. Amand angered Dagobert I by attempting to have the King amend his life. In spite of the intervention of Saint Acarius, Amand was expelled from the kingdom and went to Gascony.

Later Dagobert asked him to return and tutor the heir to the throne. Amand however declined. In 633, Amand founded two Monasteries in Ghent; one at Blandinberg and the other named for St Bavo, who gave his estate for its foundation. His next missionary task was among the Slavic people of the Danube valley in present-day Slovakia but this was unsuccessful. Amand went to Rome and reported to the Pope. While returning to France, Amand calmed a storm at sea. In 639, he built an Abbey near Tournay.

From 647 till 650, Amand briefly served as Bishop of Maastricht. The Pope gave him some advice on how to deal with disobedient clerics and warned him about the Monothelite heresy, at that time prevalent in the East. Amand was commissioned by the Pope to organise Church Councils, in Neustria and Austrasia, in order to pass on the various decrees from Rome. The Bishops asked Amand to report and transmit the proceedings of the Church Councils to the Pope. He resigned the See of Maastricht to St Remaclus, to resume his missionary work.

Around this time, Amand established contact with the family of Pepin of Landen and helped St Gertrude of Nivelles OSB (died 659) and her mother, St Itta (died 652), establish the famous Monastery of Nivelles. Amand was now 70 years old but at this time, the inhabitants of the Basque country asked him to return to their country to evangelise, although 30 years earlier he had preached there in vain. Returning home, he founded several more Monasteries in present-day Belgium, with the help of King Dagobert.

Amand died in Elnone Abbey (later Saint-Amand Abbey, in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, near Tournai) at the age of ninety. The Vita of St Aldegonde recounts, that on the day of his death, St Aldegonde was shown a vision of the great Missionary Saint, ascending to heaven. This account did much to further the cult of Amand.

Elnone Abbey (later Saint-Amand Abbey)

St Amand was known for his hospitality and is, therefore, the Patron Saint of all who produce beer, brewers, innkeepers and bartenders. He is also the Patron of vine growers, vintners and merchants. St Amand is greatly venerated in Belgium, in particular.


Our Lady of Louvain, Belgium (1444) “Sedes Sapientia” and Memorials of the Saints – 6 February

Our Lady of Louvain, Belgium (1444) – 6 February:

The Abbot Orsini wrote: “This Virgin, in high veneration in that country, began to work miracles in the year 1444.”
Saint Peter’s Church, or Sint-Pieterskerk, is the oldest Church in Leuven, Belgium, having been founded in about 986. The first Church burned to the ground but the present Gothic style Church was begun in 1425. The Church suffered severe damage during both world wars, as in 1914 the roof and nave were burned and in 1944 the north aisle suffered bomb damage.
The Church of Saint Peter, is the home of Our Lady of Louvain, or the Virgin of Louvain, a statue of the Blessed Virgin and her Divine Son also called the Sedes Sapientiae, or Seat of Wisdom. The Virgin of Louvain is a wooden statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary carved by Nicolaas De Bruyne in 1442. It was a larger facsimile of an earlier statue dating from the 13th century. That statue was completely destroyed during the Second World War and not by the Fascists or Nazis but instead, by allied bombs. It is a replica of Bruyne’s famous statue that is currently on display in the church.

Nicolaas de Bruyne, 1442, Leuven, Pieterskerk

Sedes Sapientiae is a specific title for the statue of Our Lady of Louvain but it is also a type of Christian iconography of the Blessed Mother, which depicts the Blessed Virgin seated upon a throne with the Christ Child in her lap. This type of representation of the Blessed Mother became, especially popular, early in the 13th century and, the throne she sits upon, usually has some depiction of lions and the Blessed Virgin’s feet are usually shown resting upon a stool and for good reason.
The “Seat of Wisdom” is a title of Mary that many Catholics will recognise from the Litany of Loreto. It was no less a luminary than Saint Peter Damian, who in the 11th century said of the Blessed Virgin Mary that she “is herself that wondrous throne referred to in the Book of Kings.” In this, he was alluding to Solomon’s throne, the throne of the King renowned throughout history, for his wisdom. His throne was of ivory overlaid with the finest gold. “It had six steps and the top of the throne was round behind and there were two hands on either side, holding the seat and two lions stood, one at each hand. And twelve little lions stood upon the six steps on the one side and on the other: there was no such work made in any kingdom.” (Third Book of Kings, Chapter 10: 18-20).
She is descended from the noble lineage of David. As the Mother of God, the “Seat of Wisdom,” the vessel of the Incarnation, who carried and gave birth to the second person of the Blessed Trinity, she, herself is, in a certain sense, the throne upon which the Son of God reigns.
This symbol, the Sedes Sapientiae, has become the seal for the Catholic University of Leuven. It bears the motto: “Universitas Catholica Lovaniensis. Sedes Sapientiae,” which is Latin for Catholic University of Leuven. Seat of Wisdom.”

St Paul Miki SJ (1564/65-1597) & Companions/Martyrs of Nagasaki – 26 saints (Memorial)
Their story:

St Alfonso Maria Fusco (1839-1910)

St Amand of Maastricht (c 584-c 679) Bishop, The Apostle of Belgium
St Amand of Moissac
St Amand of Nantes
St Andrew of Elnone
Bl Angelus of Furci
St Antholian of Auvergne
St Brinolfo Algotsson
Cassius of Auvergne
Bl Diego de Azevedo
St Dorothy of Caesarea (c 279/290-311) Martyr
The Life of St Dorothea:

St Ethelburga of Wessex
Bl Francesca of Gubbio
St Francesco Spinelli (1853-1913)
His Life:

St Gerald of Ostia
St Gonsalo Garcia OFM
St Guarinus
St Guethenoc
St Hildegund
St Ina of Wessex
St Jacut
St Liminius of Auvergne
Bl Mary Teresa Bonzel
St Mateo Correa-Magallanes
St Maximus of Aurvergne
St Mel of Ardagh
St Melchu of Armagh
St Mun of Lough Ree
St Relindis of Eyck
St Revocata
St Saturninus
St Tanco of Werden
St Theophilus
St Theophilus the Lawyer
St Vaast of Arras
St Victorinus of Auvergne

Martyrs of Emesa:
St Luke the Deacon
St Mucius the Lector
St Silvanus of Emesa