Our Lady of the Word, Montserrat, Spain (1514) and Memorials of the Saints – 14 January

Our Lady of the Word, Montserrat, Spain (1514) – 14 January:
In the year 1514, Our Lady was venerated at a Shrine near Montserrat, Spain. Her aid was invoked on behalf of a dumb man who went on pilgrimage there and the Blessed Virgin miraculously restored his speech. From that time on, she was given the title Our Lady of Speech. Here again the words of the “Memorare” were verified:
“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection,implored thy help or sought thy intercession,was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence,I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions but in thy mercy hear and answer me.”

When God was made man, it was she who gave voice to the Word. In the Magnificat, God the Holy Ghost, her mystical spouse, spoke though her. When Christ was a child, she was His voice. When Our Lord was a man, He spoke for himself, while his mother remained silent. After the Ascension, she again became His voice as she guided the infant Church through those perilous times. Over and over again, the words of God came through her, for she is His Mediatrix of grace, the link between us and Him.

Vested with the almighty power of her Divine Son, Mary, imitating Him, visits the earth, going about doing good, granting petitions, supplying the needs of those who invoke her and giving solace, comfort and aid to her children. She is indeed Our Lady of the Word; Mother of the Word Incarnate; “And the Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us,” through her “Fiat.”

As a consequence, even while on earth, His Mother’s word had great influence upon Christ. “They have no wine,” uttered in behalf of the embarrassed newlyweds at Cana, was all that was necessary to bring forth her Sons’ first miracle.

And so, down the ages, Mary hearkens to the words of her Calvary-born children and speaks in their behalf to Jesus. Her intercession, her word, her speech, is never in vain. Let us never cease to invoke this powerful protectress, who wants nothing more than to intercede for us, her children, before the throne of God.

Blessed Alfonsa Clerici SPS (1860-1930) – Her Life:
Bl Amadeus of Clermont
St Barbasymas
St Caldeoldus of Vienne
St Datius of Milan
Bl Devasahayam Pillai
St Engelmaro
St Eufrasio of Clermont
St Euphrasius the Martyr
St Felix of Nola (Died C 253)
St Felix of Rome
St Fermin of Mende
St Glycerius of Antioch
Bl Godfrey of Cappenberg
St Isaias the Martyr
St Jesaja of Sinai
St Macrina the Elder
St Nino of Georgia
Bl Odoric of Pordenone
St Odo of Novara O.Cart. (c 1105-1200) Priest
Bl Pablo Merillas Fernández
St Paul of Africa
Blessed Petrus Donders C.Ss.R. (1807-1887)
About Blessed Petrus:

St Potitus
Bl Rainer of Arnsberg
St Sabas of Sinai
St Sava of Serbia
St Successus of Africa
St Theodolus of Sinai
Bl William de Sanjulia

Martyrs of Mount Sinai: A group of monks on Mount Sinai who were martyred by desert Bedouins. Their names and exact number have not come down to us. Martyred by Bedouins.

Martyrs of Raithu – 43 saints: A group of 43 monks in the Raithu Desert near Mount Sinai, Palestine, near the Red Sea. They were martyred for their faith by desert Bedouins. Their names have not come down to us. Martyred by Bedouins.

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 14 January – The Memorial of St Felix of Nola (Died c 253)

Thought for the Day – 14 January – Monday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year C – Gospel: Mark 1:14–20 and the Memorial of St Felix of Nola (Died c 253)

Felix received a clear call to action from the angel in his prison cell, just as the Blessed Virgin received the Archangel Gabriel’s message of her extraordinary role in the Incarnation of Jesus.   Felix heard the call and risked his life and unimaginable suffering to answer it.   While the messages we receive from the Lord are not always heralded by angels, we still need to listen for them—and perhaps listen all the more closely.   These are the quiet urgings of our hearts, which bring us closer to our God.   How often are we too busy and too wrapped up in our wants and needless anxieties to hear the call of God? Might slowing down and creating some silence in our lives enable a deeper communion with Christ?

Today, we pray for that silence—the silence in which we hear and understand what the Lord wishes for and of us and the courage to stand up and put the call into action!

St Felix of Nola, Pray for Us!st felix of nola pray for us no 2 14 jan 2019.jpg

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

One Minute Reflection – 14 January – Gospel: Mark 1:14–20

One Minute Reflection – 14 January – Monday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Year C – Gospel: Mark 1:14–20 and the Memorial of St Felix of Nola (Died c 253) & Blessed Petrus Donders C.Ss.R. (1807-1887)

And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him…Mark 1:17-18

REFLECTION – “We, today’s Christians, have the joy of proclaiming and witnessing to our faith because there was that first announcement, because there were those humble and courageous men who responded generously to Jesus’ call.   On the shores of the lake, in an inconceivable land, the first community of disciples of Christ was born.   May the knowledge of these beginnings give rise in us to the desire to bear Jesus’ word, love and tenderness in every context, even the most difficult and resistant.   To carry the Word to all the peripheries!   All the spaces of human living, are soil on which to cast the seeds of the Gospel, so they may bear the fruit of salvation.”…Pope Francis – Angelus, 22 January 2017mark 1 17-18 and jesus said follow - on the shores of the lake - pope francis 14 jan 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Holy Lord God, grant that we may live constantly in Your presence.   Grant that we may possess a spirit of joy and gladness because of the firm knowledge that You are always with us and in You and through You and with You, the extraordinary is commonplace!   And turn around Lord and call us, for we are behind You.   Be with us Lord, always, we pray!   Hear the prayers on our behalf, of St Felix of Nola and Blessed Petrus Donders, whom we ask for intercession.   Through the Lord Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, God forever for all eternity, amenst felix of nola pray for us 14 jan 2019

bl petrus donders pray for us 14 jan 2019

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 14 January – St Felix of Nola (Died c 253)

Saint of the Day – 14 January – St Felix of Nola (Died c 253) Priest, Confessor, Apostle of Charity – born in the 3rd century at Nola, near Naples, Italy and died c 253 of natural causes.   Patronage – Nola, Italy.

Much of the little information we have about Felix comes from the letters and poetry of Saint Paulinus of Nola (354-431), written 100 years after St Felix’s death.

Felix was the elder son of Hermias, a Syrian centurion who had retired to Nola, Italy. After his father’s death Felix sold off most of his property and possessions, gave the proceeds to the poor and pursued a clerical vocation.   After Felix divested himself of all his possessions, St Maximus, the bishop of Nola, a town near Naples, Italy, ordained him a priest and made him his assistant.   In 250, when Emperor Decius decreed a ferocious persecution, Maximus installed himself in a desert hiding place from which he safely governed the church.   Because soldiers could not find Maximus at Nola, they tortured and jailed Felix in his place.   However, just as St Peter had had a miraculous escape from prison, an angel is said to have released Felix.   Then the angel guided Felix to rescue Maximus, who was near death.felix_de_nole_45_03-use

The persecution subsided in 251.   Upon the death of Maximus the people wanted to name Felix as bishop but he declined. Instead he retired to a small farm, where for the rest of his life he raised crops to feed himself and provide alms for the poor.   St Felix died around 260.

Every year Paulinus wrote a poem to celebrate Felix’s feast day.   In one he said that while Felix did not die a martyr he was willing to offer his life as a sacrifice to God. Paulinus thus provided one of the earliest definitions of a “confessor”:

“This festive day celebrates Felix’s birthday, the day on which he died physically on earth and was born for Christ in heaven, winning his heavenly crown as a martyr who did not shed his blood.   For he died as confessor, though he did not avoid execution by choice, since God accepted his inner faith in place of blood.   God looks into the silence of hearts and equates those ready to suffer with those who have already done so, for He considers this inward test as sufficient and dispenses with physical execution in case of true devotion. Martyrdom without bloodshed is enough for Him if mind and faith are ready to suffer and are fervent towards felix head

Paulinus adopted Felix as his patron saint, a custom that had its roots in the early church.   But for Paulinus, a patron was more than a namesake.   Felix not only interceded for him in heaven.   He also accompanied him spiritually as an encourager, guide, and protector, as Paulinus explained in the following passage:

Father and lord, best of patrons to servants however unworthy, at last our prayer is answered to celebrate your birthday within your threshold. . . .You know what toils on land and sea have . . . kept me far from your abode in a distant world, because I have always and everywhere had you near me and have called on you in the grim moments of travel and in the uncertainties of life.. . . I never sailed without you, for I felt your protection in Christ the Lord, when I overcame rough seas.   On land and water my journeying is always made safe through you.   Felix, I beg you, address a prayer on behalf of your own, to that Embodiment of the calm of eternal love and peace, to Him on whose great name you depend. Amen

Five churches have been built at, or near the place, where St Felix was first interred, which was without the precincts of the city of Nola.   His precious remains are kept in the cathedral but certain portions are at Rome, Benevento, and some other places.   In time a new church in Nola was dedicated in the name of St Felix.   People travelled from far away to see the burial place of this revered saint.   St Paulinus, who acted as porter to one of these churches, testifies to numerous pilgrimages made in honour of Felix.

st felix wall mural
An ancient mural of St Felix in one of these Churches

The poems and letters of Paulinus on Felix are the source from which St Gregory of Tours, Venerable Bede, and the priest Marcellus have drawn their biographies.   There is another Felix of Nola, bishop and martyr under a Prefect Martianus. He should not be considered to be the same as the above.

Burial place of Felix of Nola in Cimitile

One of the most well-known legends of St Felix relates to a spider.   It goes as follows:
Shortly following the imprisonment of Bishop Maximus, Felix was taken into custody by Roman soldiers, imprisoned, scourged and tortured and wrapped with heavy chains in his prison cell.   He miraculously escaped from his cell, following visitation from an angel who instructed him to go to the aid of his ailing bishop.   As the angel encouraged Felix, his chains fell off and his prison cell was opened.   Felix rescued Maximus, bearing him on his back (despite weakness and small stature) and effectively hiding both men from Roman authorities until the end of Decius’ reign.
The second attempt to imprison Felix and Maximus was miraculously prevented by a spider!   Upon hearing Roman soldiers approaching, Felix crawled into a small hole in the building he was staying, where it is said a spider immediately spun a web over the opening.   The guards saw the spider web and ceased searching for the men, assuming that the room had been undisturbed for some feliz and the spider

Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 14 January

Thought for the Day – 14 January

St Felix and the Spider

This is the beautiful story of how St Felix of Nola hid from his enemies, during persecution.   They were close on his tracks when he hid in the wall of a ruined house. He entered through a narrow opening and immediately afterward, a spider spun a web over the passage to mislead the persecutors.   They saw the web and figured that no one could have passed through that opening for some days.   So they went on, leaving the saint safe.


A spider web conceals St. Felix from his Roman pursuers

A man protected from terrible persecutors by a spider is extremely charming and poetic.   It is a very beautiful episode.   Soldiers of the Roman legion, all armed, are searching every inch of the ruined house. I  nside one wall is St. Felix, hearing everything.   He hears their conversation as they draw near his hiding place.   When they stop close to the narrow opening, he thinks: “Now, I am lost.”   Then, he hears the commander say:  “Let’s not waste time searching here because there are spider webs.   No one has been through this opening for some time.”

Again, even if the spider did not exist – and I am not at all sure that it didn’t – it portrays a difficult situation through which St. Felix had to pass that reflects what he had to suffer for the Church, that is, a high moral profile.

Whether these facts are true or not, they tell us that St. Felix was a great saint who left a deep mark on his time.   Otherwise the people would not have preserved and passed on the memory of his life.   Legend gives us a marvelous image of his life.   It is a charming perspective that already has something of Heaven.

Let us pray to St. Felix, asking him to give us dedication in the service of the Church, the courage to face persecution and the desire for Heaven and to know and believe that marvels occur now, each moment of each day, through God who works extraordinary deeds if we believe!  (by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira)


The tomb of St. Felix in the Basilica di San Felix in Cimitile, built in the 3rd century



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

One Minute Reflection – 14 January

One Minute Reflection – 14 January

Then will I go to the altar of God, the God of my gladness and youth……….Ps 43:4

REFLECTION – “We must strive to place ourselves completely in God’s hands.   Then He will cause us to feel the effects of His goodness and protection – which are, at times extraordinary.”………St John Baptist de la Salle

PRAYER – Holy Lord God, let me live constantly in Your presence.   Grant that I may possess a spirit of joy and gladness because of the firm knowledge that You are always with me and in You and through You and with You, the extraordinary is commonplace!   St Felix of Nola, you did no immense deed but in 1800 years we have not forgotten your extraordinary love.  Please pray for us, amen.