Thought for the Day – 27 November – What is the surest kind of witness?

Thought for the Day – 27 November – Wednesday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 21:12–19

“But not a hair of your head shall perish.” … Luke 21:9

What is the surest kind of witness?

St Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctor of the Church

“You can be a witness to Christ every day.   You were tempted by the spirit of impurity but… you considered that chastity of spirit and body should not be soiled – you are a martyr or, in other words, a witness to Christ…  You were tempted by the spirit of pride but, seeing the poor and needy, you were seized by tender compassion and preferred humility to arrogance – you are a witness to Christ.   Better still – you have not given your witness in word alone but in deed as well.
What is the surest kind of witness?   “Anyone who acknowledges that Jesus Christ came among us in the flesh” (cf. 1Jn 4,2) and who keeps the commands of the Gospel…  How many there are each day of these hidden martyrs of Christ who confess the Lord Jesus! The apostle Paul knew that kind of martyrdom and witness of faith rendered to Christ, he who said:  “Our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience” (2Cor 1,12).   For how many people have made a confession of faith exteriorly but denied it interiorly!…   So be faithful and courageous in interior persecutions so that you may also win the victory in exterior persecutions.   There are “kings and rulers,” judges of formidable power, in the persecutions within, likewise.   You have an example of these in the temptations undergone by our Lord (Mt 4,1ff.)”… (Sermon 20 on Psalm 118)what-is-the-surest-kind-of-witness-st-ambrose-13-july-2019 and 27 nov 2019

“When I feel overwhelmed by misfortune,
the greatest joy that the Lord can give me,
is to go to the altar, to put my forehead against it
(as on the day of my ordination to the priesthood)
and to feel the presence of the only reality.
Not only does calm return
but my body seems to be annihilated,
the only true life begins,
the life of that which is intangible.”

Blessed Leonid Feodorov (1879-1935) Martyrwhen-i-feel-overwhelmed-by-misfortune-bl-leonid-feodorov-7-march-2019 and 27 nov 2019

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 5 November – ‘He sends them into the highways, because wisdom sings aloud in passages.’ – St Ambrose

One Minute Reflection – 5 November – Tuesday of the Thirty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 14:15–24 and the Memorial of St Guido Maria Conforti (1865-1931)

“‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame…”… Luke 14:21luke 14 21 - go out quickly into the streets and alleys - parable of the great banquet 5 nov 2019.jpg

REFLECTION – “He turned to the Gentiles from the careless scorn of the rich.   He invites both good and evil to enter in order to strengthen the good and change the disposition of the wicked for the better.   The saying that was read today is fulfilled, “Then wolves and lambs will feed together.”   He summons the poor, the maimed and the blind.   By this, he shows us, either that handicaps do not exclude us from the kingdom of heaven and whoever lacks the enticements of sinning rarely offends, or that the Lord’s mercy forgives the weakness of sinners.   Whoever glories in the Lord glories as one redeemed from reproach not by works but by faith.

He sends them into the highways, because wisdom sings aloud in passages.   He sends them to the streets, because he sent them to sinners, so that they should come from the broad paths to the narrow way that leads to life.   He sends them to the highways and hedges.   They, who are not busied with any desires for present things, hurry to the future on the path of goodwill.   Like a hedge that separates the wild from the cultivated and wards off the attacks of wild beasts, they can distinguish between good and evil and extend a rampart of faith against the temptations of spiritual wickedness.” … St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan, Father & Doctor of the Church (Exposition on the Gospel of Luke, 7)he sends them to the highways -luke 14 21 parable of the great banquet st ambrose 5 nov 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty God, to whom this world with all its goodness and beauty belongs, You give us life to joyfully follow Your commandments and to learn Your ways.   Guard our hearts, that we may always hear and accept Your invitation and race to attend Your banquet in honour of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.   Fill us with an active love to run our race in holiness and may the prayers of Your servant, St Guido Maria Conforti, be a help in our efforts.   We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, guido maria conforti pray for us 5 nov 2019

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DEATH, The HOLY SOULS

Thought for the Day – 2 November – Let us Die with Christ, to Live with Christ

Thought for the Day – 2 November – Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)

Let us Die with Christ, to Live with Christ

Saint Ambrose (340-397)
Bishop and Great Latin Father & Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his work, On the death of Satyrus (Saint Ambrose’s brother)

We see that death is gain, life is loss.   Paul says – For me life is Christ and death a gain. What does “Christ” mean but to die in the body and receive the breath of life?   Let us then die with Christ, to live with Christ.   We should have a daily familiarity with death, a daily desire for death.   By this kind of detachment our soul must learn to free itself from the desires of the body.   It must soar above earthly lusts to a place where they cannot come near, to hold it fast.   It must take on the likeness of death, to avoid the punishment of death.   The law of our fallen nature is at war with the law of our reason and subjects the law of reason to the law of error.   What is the remedy?   Who will set me free from this body of death?   The grace of God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

We have a doctor to heal us, let us use the remedy He prescribes.   The remedy is the grace of Christ, the dead body our   own. Let us then be exiles from our body, so as not to be exiles from Christ.   Though we are still in the body, let us not give ourselves to the things of the body.   We must not reject the natural rights of the body but we must desire before all else the gifts of grace.

What more need be said?   It was by the death of one man that the world was redeemed. Christ did not need to die if He did not want to but He did not look on death as something to be despised, something to be avoided and He could have found no better means to save us, than by dying.   Thus His death is life for all.   We are sealed with the sign of His death, when we pray we preach His death, when we offer sacrifice we proclaim His death.   His death is victory, His death is a sacred sign, each year His death is celebrated with solemnity by the whole world.

What more should we say about His death since we use this divine example, to prove, that it was death alone, that won freedom from death and death itsel,f was its own redeemer?   Death is then no cause for mourning, for it is the cause of mankind’s salvation.   Death is not something to be avoided, for the Son of God did not think it beneath His dignity, nor did He seek to escape it.

Death was not part of nature, it became part of nature.   God did not decree death from the beginning, He prescribed it as a remedy.   Human life was condemned because of sin to unremitting labour and unbearable sorrow and so began to experience the burden of wretchedness.   There had to be a limit to its evil,; death had to restore what life had forfeited.   Without the assistance of grace, immortality is more of a burden than a blessing.

The soul has to turn away from the aimless paths of this life, from the defilement of an earthly body, it must reach out to those assemblies in heaven, (though it is given only to the saints to be admitted to them), to sing the praises of God.   We learn from Scripture how God’s praise is sung to the music of the harp – Great and wonderful are your deeds, Lord God Almighty, just and true are your ways, King of the nations.   Who will not revere and glorify your nature?   You alone are holy, all nations will come and worship before you.   The soul must also desire to witness Your nuptials, Jesus and to see yYur bride escorted from earthly to heavenly realities, as all rejoice and sing – All flesh will come before you.   No longer will the bride be held in subjection to this passing world but will be made one with the spirit.

Above all else, holy David prayed that he might see and gaze on this – One thing I have asked of the Lord, this I shall pray for, to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life and to see how gracious is the Lord.

Pray for the Holy Souls, that they may gaze on His Face!pray-for-the-holy-souls-2 nov 2017.jpg


One Minute Reflection – 22 September – “You cannot serve God and mammon.”

One Minute Reflection – 22 September – Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 16:1–13 and the Memorial of St Ignatius of Santhia OFM Cap (1686-1770)

“You cannot serve God and mammon.” … Luke 16:13

REFLECTION – “A servant cannot serve two masters.”   Not that there are two, there is only one Master.   For even if there are some people who serve money, it has no inherent right to be a master, they themselves are the ones, who assume the yoke of this slavery.  In fact, money has no rightful authority but constitutes an unjust bondage.   That is why Jesus says: “Make friends for yourselves with deceitful money” so that by generosity to the poor we will win the favour of angels and saints.

The steward is not blamed.   By this we learn that we are not masters but rather stewards of other people’s wealth.   He was praised even though he was in the wrong because, in paying out to others in his master’s name he won support for himself.   And how rightly Jesus spoke of “deceitful wealth” because love of money so tempts our desires with its various seductions that we consent to become its slaves.   That is why He said: “If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours?”   Riches are alien to us because they exist outside of our nature, they are not born with us, they do not follow us in death.   But Christ, to the contrary, belongs to us because He is life… So don’t let us become slaves of exterior goods because Christ is the only one we should acknowledge as our Lord.” … Saint Ambrose (340-397) – Bishop of Milan, Father and Doctor of the Church – Commentary on Saint Luke’s Gospel, 7, 244s SC 52you cannot serve god and mammom - love of money st ambrose - 22 sept 2019

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 Lord, we pray, that by the prayers of St Ignatius of Santhia, 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, ignatius of santhia - pray for us - 22 sept 2019


One Minute Reflection – 15 September – He was lost and has been found.

One Minute Reflection – 15 September – Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 15:1–32 and the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows

 ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ ... Luke 15:6

luke 15 6 rejoice with me for I have found my sheep - 28 june 2019 sacred heart.jpg

REFLECTION – “Since man’s weakness is incapable of maintaining a firm step in this changing world, the good doctor shows you a remedy against going astray and the merciful judge does not withhold hope of forgiveness.   It is not without reason that Saint Luke put forward three parables in succession – the sheep who strayed and was found again;  the coin that was lost and found;  the son who died and came back to life.   This is so that this threefold remedy will urge us to take care of our wounds…  The weary sheep is brought back by the shepherd, the lost coin is found, the son turns back and returns to his father, repenting of his waywardness…

Let us rejoice, then, in that this sheep, which went astray in Adam, has been raised up again in Christ.   Christ’s shoulders are the arms of the cross, there it is that I have laid down my sins, on that gallows I have found my rest.   This “sheep” is one according to its nature but not in personality, since all form a single body composed of many in members.   That is why it is written:  “You are Christ’s body and individually parts of it,” (1Cor 12:27).   “The Son of Man has come to save what was lost” (Lk 19:10), that is to say everyone, since “just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life” (1Cor 15:22)…

Nor, is it irrelevant, that the woman rejoices to have found her coin – it is no small thing, this coin on which is portrayed the image of a prince.   In the same way, the good of the Church is the image of the King.   We are sheep, let us then pray the Lord to lead us to restful waters (Ps 22[23]:2).   We are sheep, let us ask for pasture.   We are the coin, let us keep our value.   We are sons, let us run to the Father.” … St Ambrose (340-397) – Bishop of Milan, Father & Doctor of the Church – On St Luke’s Gospel, 7, 207 (SC 52)christ's shoulders are the arms of the cross - st ambrose - good shepherd - luke 15 1-32 15 sept 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Look upon us Lord, creator and ruler of the whole world, grant us the grace to serve You with all our heart, that we may come to know, the power of Your forgiveness and love.   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! We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever,


One Minute Reflection – 9 September – “Stretch forth your hand” – St Ambrose

One Minute Reflection – 9 September – Monday of the Twenty-third week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 6:6-11 and the Memorial of St Peter Claver SJ (1581-1654) “slave of the slaves” and Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813–1853) “Servant to the Poor”

“On another sabbath, he went into the synagogue and taught and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.” … Luke 6:6luke 6 6 there was a man thre whose right hand was withred - 9 sept 2019.jpg

REFLECTION – “Are you angry at me because I have healed the whole man on the sabbath day?”   In this place he revivified, with the salutary strength of good works, the hand which Adam stretched out to pluck the fruit of the forbidden tree.   The hand which had withered through a crime, was healed by good deeds.   Christ thereby rebuked the Jews who violated the precepts of the law with evil interpretations.   They thought that they should rest even from good works on the sabbath, since the law prefigured in the present, the form of the future, in which indeed the days of rest from evils, not from blessings, would come.

Then you heard the words of the Lord, saying, “Stretch forth your hand.”   That is the common and universal remedy.   You, who think that you have a healthy hand, beware lest it is withered by greed or by sacrilege.   Hold it out often.   Hold it out to the poor person who begs you.   Hold it out to help your neighbour, to give protection to a widow, to snatch from harm one whom you see subjected to unjust insult.   Hold it out to God for your sins.   The hand is stretched forth, then it is healed.   Jeroboam’s hand withered when he sacrificed to idols, then it stretched out when he entreated God” …  St Ambrose (340-397)-  One of the 4 original Doctors of the Latin Church – Exposition on the Gospel of Luke, 5luke 6 6 there was a man with a withered hand - you think you have a healthy hand st ambrose 9 sept 2019.jpg

PRAYER – God of mercy and love, You offer all peoples the dignity of sharing in your life. Rule over our hearts and bodies this day.   Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed, my our hands be held out to our neighbour in imitation of Your love and mercy.   By the example and prayers of St Peter Claver and Bl Frederic Ozanam, strengthen us to overcome all racial hatreds and to love each other as brothers and sisters.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever amen.

st-peter-claver-pray-for-us 9 sept 2017

bl frederic ozanam pray for us 9 sept 2019

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

One Minute Reflection – 12 August – “Does not your teacher pay the tax?”

One Minute Reflection – 12 August – Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 17:22–27 and the Memorial of Blessed Karl Marie Leisner (1915–1945) Priest, Martyr

“Does not your teacher pay the tax?” … Matthew 17:22

REFLECTION – “Since Christ reconciled the world to God, He Himself certainly did not need reconciliation.   For what sin of His own was He to make propitiation, when He knew no sin?   When the Jews were asking for the didrachma, which according to law was given for sin, He said to Peter:  “Simon, from whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their sons or from others?”   Peter answered: “From others.”   Jesus said to him: “Then the sons are free.   However, not to give offence to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel, take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

He is pointing out that He is not obliged to propitiation for sins on His own behalf, because He is not a slave of sin but, as Son of God, free from all fault.   For the Son sets free, it is the slave who is guilty.   So He was free from all sin and gives no price of redemption for His own soul – the price of His blood was more than sufficient to redeem all the sins of the world.   Justly then He sets others free, owing nothing for Himself.

Furthermore, not only does Christ owe no price of redemption for Himself or propitiation for sin but, if you take the case of anyone, it can be understood that no individuals owes propitiation for themselves, since Christ is the propitiation of all and Himself the redemption of all.” …Saint Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctor –  Commentary on Ps 48, 14-15 ; CSEL 64, 368-370 (trans. Breviary, Week 20, Saturday)matthew 17 22 does not your teacher pay the tax - since christ - st ambrose 12 aug 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, by Your grace, we are made one in mind and heart. Give us a love for what You command and a longing for what You promise, so that, amid this world’s changes, our hearts may be set on the world of lasting joy. Grant, we pray that by the prayers of Blessed Karl Marie Leisner, we will be made always faithful. Through Him, with Him and in Him, in the union of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, karl leisner pray for us 12 aug 2019