Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SIN, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 29 March – ‘So let the Lord’s call resound in your ears!’

One Minute Reflection – 29 March – The Fifth Sunday of Lent, Readings: Ezekiel 37:12-14, Psalm 130:1-8, Romans 8:8-11, John 11:1-45

“Lazarus, come out!” … John 11:43

REFLECTION – “Lazarus, come out!”   Laid to rest in the tomb, you heard the resounding call.   Is there any voice greater than that of the Word?   Then you came out, you who were dead not merely for four days but for a very long time indeed.   You were raised with Christ …, your burial bands fell to the ground.   Do not fall back again now into death, do not rejoin those who dwell in the tombs, do not allow yourself to be stifled by the burial bands of your sins.   For would you be able to come back to life once again? Would you be able to bring out from the death of here below, the resurrection of all men at the end of time? …
So let the Lord’s call resound in your ears!   Do not close them today to the teaching and admonitions of the Lord.   If you used to be blind, without light in your tomb, open your eyes lest you sink into the sleep of death.   In the light of the Lord, behold light, in the Spirit of God, fix your eyes on the Son.   If you take to yourself the Word, in it’s entirety, then you focus onto your soul all the power of Christ, who heals and restores to life …. Don’t be afraid to put some work into preserving your baptismal purity and set the ways that lead to the Lord within your heart.   Take care to preserve the act of acquittal, which you received through pure grace ….
Let us be light, as the disciples learned from He who is the great Light – “You are the light of the world” (Mt 5,14).   Let us be lamps in this world by holding up on high the Word of life, by being a life force for others.   Let us set out in search of God, in search of the One who is the first and purest of lights.” … Saint Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Bishop, Father and Doctor of the Church – Sermon on Holy Baptism.john 11 43 -so let the lords call resound in your ears! st gregory of nazianzen 29 march 2020

PRAYER – Give us good God, a heart of flesh, that we might resemble the heart of Your love.   For truly following the steps of Your divine Son, we would make peace in the world and give glory to Your kingdom.   Help us Lord, to see with Your eyes and hear with Your ears, that the Word may dwell in us all and bring us to rise with You.   May the immaculate heart of Mary, our Mother dwell in us and help us to reach our eternal home.   We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord, with You and the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.mary-mother-of-god-pray-for-us-27-july-2018 and 29 march 2020

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The BAPTISM of the LORD

Quote/s of the Day – 12 January – Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Quote/s of the Day – 12 January – Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

“He wants you to become
a living force for all mankind,
lights shining in the world.

You are to be radiant lights
as you stand beside Christ,
the great light,
bathed in the glory of Him
who is the light of heaven.”

St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390)
Father & Doctor of the Churchhe-wants-you-to-become-a-living-force-st-gregory-of-nazianzen-13-jan-2019 and 12 jan 2020.jpg

(An excerpt from Oration 39 – On Holy Light)

“O Lord, wishing to fulfil all things
that You ordained before the ages,
You received the servants of Your mystery,
from among the Angels, Gabriel,
from among Men, the Virgin,
from among the Heavens, the Star
and from among the Waters, the Jordan,
in which You washed away the sin of the world,
O our Saviour, glory to You.”

St John Damascene (675-749)
Father & Doctor of the Churcho lord wishing to fulfil all things - st john damascene - 7 jan 2018.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, The BAPTISM of the LORD

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord – 12 January – St Gregory Nazianzen

This feast marks the ending of the Christmas season.   Traditionally, the event of Christ’s Baptism was linked with the visit of the Magi and the wedding feast of Cana as two additional “manifestations” of God with us.

Matthew’s simple account of the Baptism ends with the heavenly voice introducing “my beloved Son.”   Here, at the end of our focus on the mystery of Christmas, we are invited to welcome the Beloved One into our midst once more and to prepare ourselves through the Sundays which follow to hear His proclamation of Good News.

Many have expressed the wish that the spirit of Christmas last all through the year. Christians take that responsibility seriously – We want to make the meaning of Christmas—the fact that God has come to dwell with us in Jesus Christ — the central fact of life. And, we want all we say and do to help express, to make manifest, that basic truth.   Merry Christmas, one more time!goodbye-christmastide-13-jan-2019 AND 12 JAN 2020-for-this-he-bore-our-body-st-basil-the-great.jpg

The Baptism of Christ
A sermon by St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390)
Father and Doctor of the Church

Christ is bathed in light, let us also be bathed in light.
Christ is baptised, let us also go down with Him and rise with Him.LORD BAPTISM.JPG

John is baptising when Jesus draws near.   Perhaps He comes to sanctify His baptiser, certainly He comes to bury sinful humanity in the waters.   He comes to sanctify the Jordan for our sake and in readiness for us, He who is spirit and flesh comes to begin a new creation through the Spirit and water.

The Baptist protests – Jesus insists.   Then John says:  I ought to be baptised by You.   He is the lamp in the presence of the sun, the voice in the presence of the Word, the friend in the presence of the Bridegroom, the greatest of all born of woman in the presence of the firstborn of all creation, the one who leapt in his mother’s womb in the presence of Him who was adored in the womb, the forerunner and future forerunner in the presence of Him who has already come and is to come again.   I ought to be baptised by you – we should also add, “and for you,” for John is to be baptised in blood, washed clean like Peter, not only by the washing of his feet.11580-baptism-of-christ-el-greco.jpg

Jesus rises from the waters – the world rises with Him.   The heavens, like Paradise with its flaming sword, closed by Adam for himself and his descendants, are rent open.   The Spirit comes to Him as to an equal, bearing witness to His Godhead.   A voice bears witness to Him from heaven, His place of origin.   The Spirit descends in bodily form like the dove that so long ago announced the ending of the flood and so gives honour to the body that is One with God.baptism of the lord - daniel bonnell not a mormon.jpg

Today, let us do honour to Christ’s Baptism and celebrate this feast in holiness.   Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed.   Nothing, gives such pleasure to God, as the conversion and salvation of men, for whom His every word and every revelation exist.   He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of Him who is the light of heaven.   You are to enjoy, more and more, the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity, as now you have received – though not in its fullness – a ray of its splendour, proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power for ever and ever.   Amen.721px-Guido_Reni_-_The_Baptism_of_Christ_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, MOTHER of GOD, Papa FRANCIS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ABORTION, QUOTES on FRIENDSHIP, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The CHRIST CHILD, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 2 January – Basil and Gregory and Pope Francis

Quote/s of the Day – 2 January – Christmas Weekday and The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390), Readings: 1 John 2:22-28, Psalm 98:1-4, John 1:19-28

“It is a voice which cries out where it seems that no one can hear it — for who can listen in the desert? — and which cries out in the disorientation caused by a crisis of faith.
We cannot deny that the world today is in a crisis of faith.
One says: “I believe in God, I am a Christian” —
“I belong to this religion…”
But your life is far from being Christian – it is far removed from God! Religion, faith is but an expression: “Do I believe?” — “Yes!”
This means returning to God, converting the heart to God and going on this path to find Him.
He is waiting for us.
This is John the Baptist’s preaching – prepare. john-1-23-i-am-the-voice-crying-in-the-wilderness-it-is-a-voice-pope-francis-2-jan-2019 and 2020

Prepare for the encounter with this Child
who will give our smile back to us.”

Pope Francis

General Audience, 7 December 2016prepare-for-the-encounter-with-this-child-pope-francis-2-jan-2019 and used quotes 2020.jpg

“The hairsplitting difference between
formed and unformed makes no difference to us.
Whoever deliberately commits abortion
is subject to the penalty for homicide.”

St Basil the Great (329-379)

Father & Doctor of the Churchthe-hairsplitting-difference-st-basil-the-great-2-jan-2019 and 2020.jpg

“Different men have different names,
which they owe to their parents or to themselves,
that is, to their own pursuits and achievements.
But our great pursuit,
the great name we wanted,
was to be Christians,
to be called Christians.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390)

(from his writings on his friendship with St Basil)different-men-st-gregory-of-nazianzen-2-jan-2018 and 2020.jpg

“If anyone does not believe
that Holy Mary
is the Mother of God,
such a one is a stranger
to the Godhead.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390)
Father & Doctor of the Churchif-anyone-does-not-believe-st-gregory-of-nazianzen-2-jan-2019 and 2020.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 2 January – “Now I begin.”

One Minute Reflection – 2 January – Christmas Weekday and The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390), Readings: 1 John 2:22-28, Psalm 98:1-4, John 1:19-28

He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” … 1 John 2:231 john 2 23 i am the voice of one crying in the wilderness 2 jan 2020.jpg

REFLECTION“Prepare a way for the Lord.”   Brethren, however far you journey along it… from the very nature of goodness, there is no limit to the way along which you travel. And so… the wise and indefatigable traveller… can say to himself each day:  “Now I begin”… And how many “go astray in the wilderness”… None of them can yet say:  “Now I begin.”

For “the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.”   If the beginning of wisdom, then surely it is also the beginning of the way of goodness…  It is this that encourages praise…; it also moves the proud to penance, so that they hear the voice of him crying in the wilderness,ordering the preparation of the way and thus showing how to begin it:  “Do penance for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand”…

If you are on the way then fear only one thing, lest you leave it, lest you offend the Lord who leads you along it so that He would abandon you to “wander in the way of your own heart”…   If you feel that the way is too narrow look forward to the end to which it leads you.   If you were to see how everything is to be attained, then you would say without hesitation:  “Broad indeed is your command!”   If you cannot see so far, believe Isaiah who could…   “Behold,” he says, “the redeemed shall walk by this way and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Sion with singing, everlasting joy shall be upon their heads  . They shall obtain also joy and gladness and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”   Those who dwell sufficiently on this end I think will not only make the way easier for himself but also grow wings, so that he no longer walks but flies…   May He, who is the track of the runners and the reward of the winners, lead and guide you along it – He, Christ Jesus.” … Blessed Guerric of Igny (c 1080-1157) Cistercian Abbot – 5th sermon of Advent, SC 166may he who is the track of the runners and the reward of the winnders guide you along it bl guerric of igny 2 jan 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Look with favour on our morning prayer, Lord and in Your saving love, let Your light penetrate the wilderness in our hearts.   May no sordid desires darken our minds, renewed and enlightened as we are, by Your heavenly grace.   God our Father, You enriched Your Church and gave examples for us to follow in the life and teachings of Sts Basil and Gregory. Grant that, learning Your truth with humility, we may practise it in faith and love.   Sts Basil and Gregory, pray for our beloved Church, pray for all Catholic Christians, through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.sts-basil-and-gregory-pray-for-us-2-jan-2018 AND 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints -2 January

St Basil the Great (329-379) Father & Doctor of the Church (Memorial)
St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctor of the Church (Memorial)
About these 2 great fathers:

https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/saint-s-of-the-day-st-basil-the-great-329-379-and-st-gregory-of-nazianzen-330-390-fathers-and-doctors-of-the-church/
AND:
https://anastpaul.com/2019/01/02/saint-s-of-the-day-2-january-st-basil-the-great-329-379-and-st-gregory-of-nazianzen-330-390-two-bodies-one-spirit/

St Adelard of Corbie
Bl Airaldus of Maurienne
St Asclepius of Limoges
St Aspasius of Auch
St Blidulf of Bobbio
Bl Guillaume Répin
St Hortulana of Assisi
St Isidore of Antioch
St Isidore of Nitria
St Laurent Bâtard
St Macarius the Younger
Blessed Marie Anne Blondin SSA (1809-1890)
St Maximus of Vienne
Bl Odino of Rot
St Paracodius of Vienne
St Seraphim of Sarov
St Seiriol
Bl Stephana de Quinzanis
St Telesphorus, Pope
St Theodota
St Theopistus
St Vincentian of Tulle

Many Martyrs Who Suffered in Rome:   There were many martyrs who suffered in the persecutions of Diocletian for refusing to surrender the holy books.   Though we know these atrocities occured, we do not know the names of the saints and we honour them as a group. c 303 in Rome, Italy.

Martyrs of Antioch – 5 saints:   A group of Christian soldiers martyred together for their faith. We know the names of five – Albanus, Macarius, Possessor, Starus and Stratonicus. They were born in Greece and were martyred in Antioch (modern Antakya, Turkey).

Many Martyrs of Britain:   The Christians of Britain appear to have escaped unharmed in the earlier persecutions which afflicted the Church but the cruel edicts of Diocletian were enforced in every corner of the empire and the faithful inhabitants of this land, whether native Britons or Roman colonists, were called upon to furnish their full number of holy Martyrs and Confessors.   The names of few are on record but the British historian, Saint Gildas, after relating the martyrdom of Saint Alban, tells us that many others were seized, some put to the most unheard-of tortures and others immediately executed, while not a few hid themselves in forests and deserts and the caves of the earth, where they endured a prolonged death until God called them to their reward.   The same writer attributes it to the subsequent invasion of the English, then a pagan people, that the recollection of the places, sanctified by these martyrdoms, has been lost and so little honour paid to their memory.   It may be added that, according to one tradition, a thousand of these Christians were overtaken in their flight near Lichfield and cruelly massacred and that the name of Lichfield, or Field of the Dead, is derived from them.

Martyrs of Ethiopia – 3 saints:   A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. We know the names of three – Auriga, Claudia and Rutile.

Martyrs of Jerusalem – 2 saints:   A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. We know the names of two – Stephen and Vitalis.

Martyrs of Lichfield: Many Christians suffered at Lichfield (aka Lyke-field, meaning field of dead bodies), England in the persecutions of Diocletian.   Though we know these atrocities occured, we do not know the names of the saints, and we honour them as a group. Their martyrdom occurred in 304 at Lichfield, England.

Martyrs of Piacenza: A group of Christians who died together for their faith in the persecutions of Diocletian.   No details about them have survived. They were martyred on the site of church of Madonna di Campagna, Piacenza, Italy.

Martyrs of Puy – 4 saints: Missionaries, sent by Saint Fronto of Périgueux to the area of Puy, France. Tortured and martyred by local pagans.   We know the names – Frontasius, Severinus, Severian and Silanus.   They were beheaded in Puy (modern Puy-en-Velay), France and buried together in the church of Notre Dame, Puy-en-Velay by Saint Fronto, their bodies laid out to form a cross.

Martyrs of Syrmium – 7 saints: Group of Christians martyred together, date unknown. We know the names of seven – Acutus, Artaxus, Eugenda, Maximianus, Timothy, Tobias and Vitus – but very little else. This occurred in the 3rd or 4th century at Syrmium, Pannonia (modern Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia).

Martyrs of Tomi – 3 saints: Three brothers, all Christians, all soldiers in the imperial Roman army, and all three martyred in the persecutions of emperor Licinius Licinianus. We know their names – Argeus, Marcellinus and Narcissus – but little else.
They were martyred in 320 at Tomi, Exinius Pontus, Moesia (modern Constanta, Romania).

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, Papa FRANCIS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The CHRIST CHILD, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Quote/s of the Day – 25 December – Blessed is the Babe

Quote/s of the Day – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ

Blessed is the Child, who gladdened Bethlehem today.
Blessed is the Babe, who today renewed the youth of humankind.
Blessed is the Fruit, who bowed Himself down to our hunger.
Blessed is the gracious One,
who suddenly enriched our poverty and supplied our need.
Blessed is He, whose tender mercy led Him to heal our infirmities.
Blessed is He, whom freedom crucified, because He permitted it.
Blessed is He, whom also the wood bore, because He gave it leave.
Blessed is He, whom the grave bound, when He set limits to Himself.
Blessed is He, whose free choice brought Him to the womb and to birth.
Blessed is He, who sealed our soul
and adorned and betrothed her to Himself.
Blessed is the beautiful One, who remade us in His image.
Blessed is He, who made our flesh a tabernacle for His hiddenness.
Blessed is He, who with our tongue spoke out His secrets.
Blessed is the Word of the most high, who became flesh today for us.blessed is the child - 25 dec 2019 st ephrem.jpg

“The Firstborn entered the womb …
Glorious and unseen in entering,
humble and visible in birth.
He was God in entering
and He was man in birth.
A marvel and mystery to hear –
fire entered the womb,
put on a body
and came forth!”

St Ephrem (306-373)
Father and Doctor of the Churchthe firstborn entered the womb - st ephrem 25 dec 2019.jpg

 

“Christ is born, glorify Him!
Christ from heaven,
go out to meet Him!
Christ on earth, be exalted!
Sing to the Lord all the whole earth
and that I may join both in one word,
let the heavens rejoice
and let the earth be glad,
for Him who is of heaven
and then of earth.
Christ in the flesh,
rejoice with trembling and with joy,
with trembling because of your sins,
with joy because of your hope.”

St Gregory Nazianzen (329-390)
Father and Doctor of the Churchchrist is born glorify him - st regory of nazianzen 25 dec 2019.jpg

“This day,
He who Is,
is Born
and He, who Is,
becomes what He
was not.”

St John Chrysostom (347-407)
Father and Doctor of the Churchthis day he who IS is born and becomes what he IS not - st john crysostom 25 dec 2019

“Let the just rejoice,
for their Justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
for their Saviour is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
for their Redeemer is born.
Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.
Let free men rejoice,
for their Liberator is born.
Let All Christians rejoice,
for Jesus Christ is born!”

St Augustine (354-430)
Father & Doctor of the Churchlet the just rejoice their justifier is born st augustine 25 dec 2019.jpg

“Never was a whimpering bit of humanity
so powerful that, while lying on His bed of straw,
He could command the very stars
to direct whom He wished to visit Him.
Never a child so wise or so rich as this little Infant
who was full of grace and incarnate truth.
Never anyone so marvellous
as to be at once so small and so great,
true God and true Man,
the Uncreated Word and weak human flesh,
mighty King and a lowly slave.
Never had any child so emptied Himself
of all that He really was,
in order to become a tiny, speechless, naked, unknown babe.”never-was-a-whimpering-bit-of-humanity-st-peter-canisius-25-dec-2018 and 2019jpg

“Christmas Day is nothing if not a day of universal joy.
Children should rejoice because on this day,
God Himself
became as one of them;
virgins, because a Virgin brought forth
and remained unstained,
even after giving birth;
wives, because one of their number,
became the Mother of God;
sinners, because their Mediator and Saviour and Healer,
has come to redeem them;
the just, because their Reward, exceeding great,
has been born into the world.
In truth, all faithful Christians,
should rejoice, that their Creator and Lord,
has taken on human flesh and begun His reign
over the hearts of men,
not only as God
but also as the Son of Man
among the children of men.”

St Peter Canisius (1521-1397)
Doctor of the Churchchristmas-day-is-nothing-if-not-st-peter-canisius-25-dec-2018 and 2019.jpg

“Arise, all you nobles and peasants,
Mary invites all, rich and poor,
just and sinners,
to enter the cave of Bethlehem,
to adore and to kiss the feet
of her new-born Son.
Go in, then, all you devout souls,
go and see the Creator
of heaven and earth on a little hay,
under the form of a little Infant
but so beautiful that He sheds
all around rays of light.
Now that He is born
and is lying on the straw,
the cave is no longer horrible
but is become a paradise.
Let us enter,
let us not be afraid!”

St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Doctor of the Churcharise all you nobles and peasants, mary invites all - 25 dec 2019

“Today, the Son of God is born and everything changes.
The Saviour of the world comes to partake of our human nature;
no longer are we alone and forsaken.
The Virgin offers us her Son
as the beginning of a new life.
The true light has come to illumine our lives
so often beset by the darkness of sin.
Today we once more discover who we are!
Tonight we have been shown the way to reach the journey’s end.
Now must we put away all fear and dread,
for the light shows us the path to Bethlehem.
We must not be laggards; we are not permitted to stand idle.
We must set out to see our Saviour lying in a manger.
This is the reason for our joy and gladness:
this Child has been “born to us”;
he was “given to us”, as Isaiah proclaims (cf. 9:5).
The people who for for two thousand years
has traversed all the pathways of the world,
in order to allow every man and woman to share in this joy,
is now given the mission of making known “the Prince of peace”
and becoming His effective servant in the midst of the nations.”

Pope Francis
Homily on the Solemnity
of the Nativity of the Lord, 2015today the son of god is born - pope francis - I think 25 dec 2018.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SUNDAY REFLECTIONS, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Sunday Reflection – 15 December – To purify like for like

Sunday Reflection – 15 December – Gaudete Sunday

“The very Son of God,
older than the ages,
the invisible,
the incomprehensible,
the incorporeal,
the beginning of beginning,
the light of light,
the fountain of life and immortality,
the image of the archetype,
the immovable seal,
the perfect likeness,
the definition and word of the Father:
He it is who comes to His own image
and takes our nature for the good of our nature
and unites Himself to an intelligent soul
for the good of my soul,
to purify like by like.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390)

Father and Doctor of the Church

the-very-son-of-god-st-gregory-of-naziazen.17dec2017.gaudete-sunday-2017.and 15 dec 2019 gaudete sun reflecjpg.jpg

Posted in ADVENT QUOTES, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Quote of the Day – 2 December – ‘He it is who comes …’

Quote of the Day – 2 December – Monday of the First week of Advent, Year A

“The very Son of God,
older than the ages,
the invisible,
the incomprehensible,
the incorporeal,
the beginning of beginning,
the light of light,
the fountain of life and immortality,
the image of the archetype,
the immovable seal,
the perfect likeness,
the definition and word of the Father:
He it is who comes to His own image
and takes our nature for the good of our nature
and unites Himself to an intelligent soul
for the good of my soul,
to purify like by like.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390)

Father and Doctor of the Churchthe-very-son-of-god-st-gregory-of-naziazen.17dec2017.gaudete-sunday-2017 and 2 dec 2019 quote of the day.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, Our MORNING Offering, PURGATORY, The HOLY SOULS

Our Morning Offering – 9 November – You are the Lord of Life and Death

Our Morning Offering – 9 November – Month of the Holy Souls

You are the Lord of Life and Death
By Saint Gregory Nazianzen (330-390)
Father & Doctor of the Church

Lord and Creator of all
and especially of Your creature man,
You are the God and Father
and Ruler of Your children,
You are the Lord of life and death,
You are the guardian and benefactor of our souls.
You fashion and transform all things in their due season
through Your creative Word,
as You know to be best
in Your deep wisdom and providence.
Receive now those who have gone ahead of us
in our journey from this life.
And receive us too at the proper time,
when You have guided us in our bodily life
as long as may be for our profit.
Receive us prepared indeed
by fear of You but not troubled,
not shrinking back on that day of death or uprooted by force
like those who are lovers of the world and the flesh.
Instead, may we set out eagerly
for that everlasting and blessed life
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
To Him be glory forever and ever.
Amenyou are the lord of life and death - prayer for the holy souls - st gregory of naziazen 9 nov 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, HOLY WEEK 2019, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, The PASSION, The SIGN of the CROSS

Thoughts for Holy Week – 15 April – We are soon going to share in the Passover

Thoughts for Holy Week – 15 April – Monday of Holy Week

We are soon going to share in the Passover

Saint Gregory Nazianzen (330-390)
Bishop and Great Eastern Father and Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Oration 45

We are soon going to share in the Passover and although we still do so, only in a symbolic way, the symbolism already has more clarity than it possessed in former times because, under the law, the Passover was, if I may dare to say so, only a symbol of a symbol.   Before long, however, when the Word drinks the new wine with us in the kingdom of His Father, we shall be keeping the Passover in a yet more perfect way and with deeper understanding.   He will then reveal to us and make clear what He has so far only partially disclosed.   For this wine, so familiar to us now, is eternally new.

It is for us to learn what this drinking is and for Him to teach us.   He has to communicate this knowledge to His disciples, because teaching is food, even for the teacher.

So let us take our part in the Passover prescribed by the law, not in a literal way but according to the teaching of the Gospel, not in an imperfect way but perfectly, not only for a time, but eternally.   Let us regard as our home the heavenly Jerusalem, not the earthly one, the city glorified by angels, not the one laid waste by armies.   We are not required to sacrifice young bulls or rams, beasts with horns and hoofs that are more dead than alive and devoid of feeling but instead, let us join the choirs of angels in offering God upon His heavenly altar a sacrifice of praise.   We must now pass through the first veil and approach the second, turning our eyes toward the Holy of Holies.   I will say more – we must sacrifice ourselves to God, each day and in everything we do, accepting all that happens to us for the sake of the Word, imitating His passion by our sufferings and honouring His blood by shedding our own.   We must be ready to be crucified.

If you are a Simon of Cyrene, take up your cross and follow Christ.   If you are crucified beside Him like one of the thieves, now, like the good thief, acknowledge your God.   For your sake and because of your sin, Christ Himself was regarded as a sinner, for His sake, therefore, you must cease to sin.   Worship Him who was hung on the cross because of you, even if you are hanging there yourself.   Derive some benefit from the very shame, purchase salvation with your death.   Enter paradise with Jesus and discover how far you have fallen.   Contemplate the glories there and leave the other scoffing thief to die outside in his blasphemy.

If you are a Joseph of Arimathea, go to the one who ordered his crucifixion and ask for Christ’s body.   Make your own, the expiation for the sins of the whole world.   If you are a Nicodemus, like the man who worshipped God by night, bring spices and prepare Christ’s body for burial.   If you are one of the Marys, or Salome, or Joanna, weep in the early morning.   Be the first to see the stone rolled back and even the angels perhaps and Jesus Himself.i will say more - we mut sacrifice ourselves to god - st gregory of nazianzen - mon of holy week 15 april 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, Papa FRANCIS, PRAYERS for SEASONS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on MERCY, SPEAKING of .....

Quote/s of the Day – 26 March – “Speaking of Charity”

Quote/s of the Day – 26 March – Tuesday of the Third week of Lent, Year C – Gospel: Matthew 18:21–35

“Speaking of Charity”

“The bread which you use
is the bread of the hungry;
the garment hanging in your wardrobe
is the garment of him who is naked;
the shoes you do NOT wear,
are the shoes of the one who is barefoot;
the acts of charity that you do NOT perform,
are so many INJUSTICES that you commit.”

St Basil the Great (329-379) Father & Doctor of the Churchthe-bread-you-store-up-st-basil-the-great-1-jan-2019.jpg

“Give something, however small,
to the one in need.
For it is not small to one who has nothing.
Neither is it small to God,
if we have given what we could.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctor of the Churchgive-something-however-small-st-gregory-of-nazianzen-2016.jpg

“Charity may be
a very short word
but with its tremendous
meaning of pure love,
it sums up man’s
entire relation to God
and to his neighbour.”

St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)charity-may-be-a-very-short-word-st-aelred-12-jan-2019.jpg

“If we look forward to receiving God’s mercy,
we can never fail to do good,
so long as we have the strength.
For if we share with the poor,
out of love for God,
whatever He has given to us,
we shall receive according to His promise,
a hundredfold in eternal happiness.
What a fine profit, what a blessed reward!
With outstretched arms He begs us
to turn toward Him, to weep for our sins
and to become the servants of love,
first for ourselves, then for our neighbours.
Just as water extinguishes a fire,
so love wipes away sin.”

St John of God (1495-1550)with-outstretched-arms-he-begs-us-st-john-of-god-8-march-2019.jpg

“Nothing makes us
so prosperous
in this world,
as to give alms.”

St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Churchnothing-makes-us-so-prosperous-st-francis-de-sales-24jan2019.jpg

“Help me, O Lord, …
that my eyes may be merciful,
so that I will never be suspicious
or judge by appearances
but always look for what is beautiful
in my neighbours’ souls
and be of help to them…
That my ears may be merciful,
so that I will be attentive to my neighbours’ needs
and not indifferent to their pains and complaints.…
That my tongue may be merciful,
so that I will never speak badly of others
but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.…
That my hands may be merciful and full of good deeds.…
That my feet may be merciful,
so that I will hasten to help my neighbour,
despite my own fatigue and weariness.…
That my heart may be merciful,
so that I myself will share
in all the sufferings of my neighbour.”

St Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938)

(Extract from Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska, 163)
This prayer was used by Pope Francis for the Year of Mercy 2015 to be universally prayed by the Church.help-me-o-lord-that-i-may-be-merciful-st-faustina-15-feb-2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on CHARITY, The WORD

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 Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, NOVENAS, Papa FRANCIS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SACRIFICE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, QUOTES on the DEVIL/EVIL, The WORD

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Two – 26 February 2019 “Come Back to Me With all your Heart”

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Two – 26 February 2019
“Come Back to Me With all your Heart”

Lent 2019 will begin on
Wednesday, 6 March
The Holy Triduum is
Thursday, 18 April, Good Friday, 19 April, Holy Saturday, 20 April
Easter Sunday – 21 April 2019

And he sat down and called the twelve and he said to them,
“If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
Mark 9:35

Reflection:

“Answer those whom the marks of the Passion in Christ’s body plunge into uncertainty and who put the question:   “Who is this king of glory?” (Ps 24[23]:8).   Answer them that He is the Christ,“the mighty, the valiant” (ibid.) in everything He has done and continues to do…

Is He insignificant because He made Himself humble for your sake?   Is He to be despised because, as a Good Shepherd laying down His life for His flock, He came in search of the lost sheep and, having found it, brought it back on the shoulders that bore the cross for its sake and, when He had carried it back to the life on high, set it down amongst the faithful flock who remained in the fold? (cf. Jn 10:11; Lk 15:4).

Do you despise Him because he lighted a lamp, His own flesh and swept His house in search of the lost coin, cleansing the world from sin, while losing the beauty of His royal likeness through His Passion? (Lk 15,8f.; Mk 12,16)…

Do you consider Him less great, because He girds Himself with a linen towel to wash His disciples’ feet, showing them, that the certain way to be exalted, is to humble oneself? (Jn 13:4f.).   Do you hold a grievance against God because Christ humbles Himself, turning His mind to earth so as to raise up with Himself those who are bowed beneath the weight of sin? (Mt 11:28).

Do you accuse Him of having eaten with publicans and sinners… for their salvation? (Mt 9:10).   How can you take to task a doctor who bends over the sufferings and wounds of the sick to bring them healing?”

St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390)

Father & Doctor of the Churchhow can you take to task a doctor - st gregory of nazianzen - 26 feb day two lenten novena 2019.jpg

A Meditation for this ‘Prelude to Lent’

Do I despise the great gift of God’s Love?

“Is it not, I say, quite a common case for men and for women to neglect religion in their best days?   They have been baptised, they have been taught their duty, they have been taught to pray, they know their Creed, their conscience has been enlightened, they have opportunity to come to Church.   This is their birthright, the privileges of their birth of water and of the Spirit but they sell it, as Esau did.   They are tempted by Satan, with some bribe of this world and they give up their birthright, in exchange for what is sure to perish and to make them perish with it.   Esau was tempted by the mess of pottage which he saw in Jacob’s hands.   Satan arrested the eyes of his lust and he gazed on the pottage, as Eve gazed on the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.   Adam and Eve sold their birthright for the fruit of a tree—that was their bargain.   Esau sold his for a mess of lentils—that was his.

And men now-a-days often sell theirs, not indeed for any thing so simple as fruit or herb but for some evil gain or other, which at the time they think worth purchasing at any price, perhaps for the enjoyment of some particular sin, or more commonly for the indulgence of general carelessness and spiritual sloth, because they do not like a strict life and have no heart for God’s service.   And thus, they are profane persons, for they despise the great gift of God.”

Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890)is-it-not-i-say-quite-a-common-case-bl-john-henry-newman- no 2 used 26 feb 2019

“The world tells us to seek success, power and money.
God tells us to seek humility, service and love.”

Pope Francisthe world tells us to seek success - pope francis - which is your choice lent 2019 26feb2019.jpg

Lenten Preparation Novena
DAY TWO

Lord, during this Lenten Season,
nourish me with Your Word of life
and make me one
with You in love and prayer.

Fill my heart with Your love
and keep me faithful to the Gospel of Christ.
Give me the grace to rise above my human weakness.
Give me new life by Your Sacraments, especially the Mass.

Father, our source of life,
I reach out with joy to grasp Your hand;
let me walk more readily in Your ways.
Guide me in Your gentle mercy,
for left to myself, I cannot do Your Will.

Father of love, source of all blessings,
help me to pass from my old life of sin
to the new life of grace.

Help me to repent of my sins now and make reparation throughout
this Lenten season and each day thereafter.
United with Your Son,
who makes His way to Calvary,
I offer You my intentions
…………………………………………..
(Mention your special intention)

Prepare me for the glory of Your Kingdom.
I ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.
Amenlenten prep novena day two - come back to me - 26 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The HOLY SPIRIT, The HOLY TRINITY, The WORD

One minute Reflection – 13 January – The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

One minute Reflection – 13 January – The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Gospel:  Luke 3:15-22 and Memorial of St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church

“…when Jesus also had been baptised and was praying, the heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove and a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son with thee I am well pleased.”…Luke 3:21-22when jesus also had been baptised luke 3 21-22 13 jan 2019.jpg

REFLECTION – “Jesus rises from the waters;  the world rises with Him.   The heavens like Paradise with its flaming sword, closed by Adam for himself and his descendants, are rent open.   The Spirit comes to Him as to an equal, bearing witness to His Godhead.  A voice bears witness to Him from heaven, His place of origin.   The Spirit descends in bodily form like the dove that so long ago announced the ending of the flood and so gives honour to the body that is one with God.
Today, let us do honour to Christ’s baptism and celebrate this feast in holiness.   Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed.   Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of men, for whom His every word and every revelation exist. He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world.   You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of Him who is the light of heaven.   You are to enjoy, more and more, the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity, as now you have received—though not in its fullness—a ray of its splendour, proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen. “…St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390 – Father & Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from Oration 39: On Holy Light)he wants you to become a living force - st gregory of nazianzen - 13 jan 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Father, keep us from vain strife of words.
Grant to us constant profession of the Truth!
Preserve us in a true and undefiled faith
so that we may hold fast to that
which we professed when we were baptised
in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
that we may have You for our Father,
that we may abide in Your Son
and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
Amen…St Hilary of Poitierso-holy-trinity-prayer-for-perseverance-in-truth-st-hilary-of-poitiers-13-jan-2018.jpg

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

One Minute Reflection – 4 January – Christmas Weekday – Today’s Gospel: John 1:35–42

One Minute Reflection – 4 January – Christmas Weekday – Today’s Gospel: John 1:35–42

“….he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”   The two disciples heard him say this and they followed Jesus.”...John 1: 36-37behold the lamb of god - john 1 36-37 4 jan 2019

REFLECTION – “He is the Way, because He leads us through Himself;   Door, as letting us in;   Shepherd, as making us dwell in green pastures and bringing us up to the waters of rest, leading us there and protecting us from wild beasts, restoring the erring and bringing back the lost sheep.  He binds the wounded, guards the strong and thanks to His words of pastoral knowledge He gathers them together into the Fold on high.”…St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctorhe is the way because he leads us - st gregory of nazianzen 4 jan 2019

PRAYER – Heavenly Father, thank You for making me a child of eternity.   Help me to live each day in such a way that I may deserve to be a child of Yours forever.   Grant that by the prayers of St Elizabeth Ann Seton and St Manuel Gonzalez Garcia, we may strive always to keep our eyes fixed on Your Son, our entry to You, our Shepherd and our Saviour who will lead us to our eternal home.   May we never waiver from Your commandments. Amen.st-e-a-seton-pray-for-us-4-jan-2018

st manuel gonzalez garcia pray for us 4 jan 2019

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, ON the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 2 January – Sts Basil & Gregory

Thought for the Day – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great and St Gregory of Nazianzen

“It often happens, that men of very dissimilar talents, tastes, are attracted together by their very dissimilitude …. Gregory the affectionate, the tender-hearted, the man of quick feelings, the accomplished, the eloquent preacher – and Basil, the man of firm resolve and hard deeds, the high-minded ruler of Christ’s flock, the diligent labourer in the field of ecclesiastical politics.
Thus they differed, yet not as if they had not much in common still – both had the blessing and the discomfort of a sensitive mind; both were devoted to an ascetic life; both were men of classical tastes’ both were special champions of the Catholic creed; both were skilled in argument and successful in their use of it; both were in highest place in the Church, the one Exarch of Caesarea, the other Patriarch of Constantinople.”…Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890) Historial Sketches

“Different men have different names, which they owe to their parents or to themselves, that is, to their own pursuits and achievements. But our great pursuit, the great name we wanted, was to be Christians, to be called Christians.”St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) (from his writings on his friendship with St Basil).

It may be small comfort, but post-Vatican II turmoil in the Church is a mild storm compared to the devastation caused by the Arian heresy, a trauma the Church has never forgotten.   Christ did not promise the kind of peace we would love to have—no problems, no opposition, no pain.

In one way or another, holiness is always the way of the cross.

Sts Basil and Gregory, Pray for Us!different-men-st-gregory-of-nazianzen-2-jan-2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ABORTION, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SIN, QUOTES on the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 2 January – St Basil & St Gregory

Quote/s of the Day – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great and St Gregory of Nazianzen

Two are better than one:
they get a good wage for their toil.
If the one falls, the other will help the fallen one.
But woe to the solitary person!
If that one should fall, there is no other to help…

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10ecc-4-9-10 - two are better than one - 2 jan 2017

“Let us raise ourselves from our fall
and not give up hope, as long as we are free from sin.
Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners.
‘Come, let us adore and prostrate ourselves and weep before him’ (Psalm 95:6).
The Word calls us to repentance, crying out:
‘Come to me, all you who labour and are heavily burdened and I will refresh you’ (Matthew 11:28).
There is, then, a way to salvation
if we are willing to follow it”
(from a letter by Saint Basil the Great)let us raise ourselves - st basil the great 2 jan 2019.jpg

“A tree is known by its fruit;
a man by his deeds.
A good deed is never lost,
he who sows courtesy, reaps friendship
and he who plants kindness, gathers love.”a tree is known by its fruits - st basil the great 2 jan 2019.jpg

“The bread which you use
is the bread of the hungry;
the garment hanging in your wardrobe
is the garment of him who is naked;
the shoes you do NOT wear,
are the shoes of the one who is barefoot;
the acts of charity that you do NOT perform,
are so many INJUSTICES that you commit.”the bread you store up - st basil the great - 1 jan 2019

“The hairsplitting difference between
formed and unformed makes no difference to us.
Whoever deliberately commits abortion
is subject to the penalty for homicide.”

St Basil the Great (329-379) Father & Doctor of the Churchthe hairsplitting difference - st basil the great - 2 jan 2019

“Give something, however small,
to the one in need.
For it is not small to one who has nothing.
Neither is it small to God,
if we have given what we could.”give-something-however-small-st-gregory-of-nazianzen-2016.jpg

“If anyone does not believe
that Holy Mary
is the Mother of God,
such a one is a stranger
to the Godhead.”if anyone does not believe - st gregory of nazianzen - 2 jan 2019.jpg

“Let us not esteem worldly prosperity,
or adversity, as things real or of any moment
but let us live elsewhere
and raise all our attention to Heaven,
esteeming sin as the only true evil
and nothing truly good
but virtue, which unites us to God.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctor of the Churchlet us not esteem worldly prosperity - st gregory of nazianzen 2 jan 2019

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, HOMILIES, Papa FRANCIS, SAINT of the DAY, The CHRIST CHILD, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 2 January – Christmas Weekday Today’s Gospel: John 1:19–28

One Minute Reflection – 2 January – Christmas Weekday Today’s Gospel: John 1:19–28

He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”…John 1:23

REFLECTION – “It is a voice which cries out where it seems that no one can hear it — for who can listen in the desert? — and which cries out in the disorientation caused by a crisis of faith.   We cannot deny that the world today is in a crisis of faith.   One says: “I believe in God, I am a Christian” — “I belong to this religion…”.   But your life is far from being Christian – it is far removed from God!   Religion, faith is but an expression: “Do I believe?” — “Yes!”.   This means returning to God, converting the heart to God and going on this path to find Him.   He is waiting for us.   This is John the Baptist’s preaching: prepare.   Prepare for the encounter with this Child who will give our smile back to us.”…Pope Francis – General Audience, 7 December 2016john 1 23 - i am the voice crying in the wilderness - it is a voice - pope francis 2 jan 2019prepare for the encounter with this child - pope francis 2 jan 2019

PRAYER – Look with favour on our morning prayer, Lord and in Your saving love, let Your light penetrate the wilderness in our hearts.   May no sordid desires darken our minds, renewed and enlightened as we are, by Your heavenly grace. God our Father, You enriched Your Church and gave examples for us to follow in the life and teachings of Sts Basil and Gregory.   Grant that, learning Your truth with humility, we may practise it in faith and love.   Sts Basil and Gregory, pray for our beloved Church, pray for all Catholic Christians, through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.sts-basil-and-gregory-pray-for-us-2-jan-2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, SAINT of the DAY

Saint/s of the Day – 2 January – St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) “Two Bodies one Spirit”

Saint/s of the Day – 2 January – St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers and Doctors of the Church “Two Bodies one Spirit”basil-and-gregory

On 2 January, the Roman Catholic Church honours the memory of two friends from an area of what is now Turkey that was called Cappadocia.   These men began their friendship while away at school and later became bishops who were the backbone of Catholic Orthodoxy during a period of doctrinal struggle and confusion.   Gregory presided over the 2nd ecumenical council, held at Constantinople, whose great achievement was the completion of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed that the Catholic Church recites each Sunday and the definition of the divinity of the Holy Spirit.   These Cappadocian Fathers, both Doctors of the Church, proved to be some of the most influential Christian teachers of all time, honoured by both East and West, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic.

 

Basil was on his way to becoming a famous teacher when he decided to begin a religious life of gospel poverty.   After studying various modes of religious life, he founded what was probably the first monastery in Asia Minor.   He is to monks of the East what Saint Benedict is to the West and Basil’s principles influence Eastern monasticism today.

He was ordained a priest, assisted the archbishop of Caesarea—now southeastern Turkey—and ultimately became archbishop himself, in spite of opposition from some of the bishops under him, probably because they foresaw coming reforms.

Arianism, one of the most damaging heresies in the history of the Church which denied the divinity of Christ, was at its height.   Emperor Valens persecuted orthodox believers and put great pressure on Basil to remain silent and admit the heretics to communion. Basil remained firm, and Valens backed down.   But trouble remained.   When the great Saint Athanasius died, the mantle of defender of the faith against Arianism fell upon Basil.   He strove mightily to unite and rally his fellow Catholics who were crushed by tyranny and torn by internal dissension.   He was misunderstood, misrepresented, accused of heresy and ambition.   Even appeals to the pope brought no response.   “For my sins I seem to be unsuccessful in everything.”St-Basil-the-Great-1.jpg

Basil was tireless in pastoral care.   He preached twice a day to huge crowds, built a hospital that was called a wonder of the world—as a youth he had organised famine relief and worked in a soup kitchen himself—and fought the prostitution business.

Basil was best known as an orator.   Though not recognised greatly in his lifetime, his writings rightly place him among the great teachers of the Church.   Seventy two years after his death, the Council of Chalcedon described him as “the great Basil, minister of grace who has expounded the truth to the whole earth.”st-basil-the-great1

After his baptism at 30, Gregory gladly accepted his friend Basil’s invitation to join him in a newly founded monastery.   The solitude was broken when Gregory’s father, a bishop, needed help in his diocese and estate.   It seems that Gregory was ordained a priest practically by force and only reluctantly accepted the responsibility.   He skilfully avoided a schism that threatened when his own father made compromises with Arianism.   At 41, Gregory was chosen suffragan bishop of Caesarea and at once came into conflict with Valens, the emperor, who supported the Arians.

An unfortunate by-product of the battle was the cooling of the friendship of two saints. Basil, his archbishop, sent him to a miserable and unhealthy town on the border of unjustly created divisions in his diocese.   Basil reproached Gregory for not going to his see.

When protection for Arianism ended with the death of Valens, Gregory was called to rebuild the faith in the great see of Constantinople, which had been under Arian teachers for three decades.   Retiring and sensitive, he dreaded being drawn into the whirlpool of corruption and violence.   He first stayed at a friend’s home, which became the only orthodox church in the city.   In such surroundings, he began giving the great sermons on the Trinity for which he is famous.   In time, Gregory did rebuild the faith in the city but at the cost of great suffering, slander, insults and even personal violence.   An interloper even tried to take over his bishopric.

His last days were spent in solitude and austerity.   He wrote religious poetry, some of it autobiographical, of great depth and beauty.   He was acclaimed simply as “the Theologian.”st-gregory-of-nazianzus-e1480804203636

 

Posted in ADVENT, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, HYMNS, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on PERSEVERANCE, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, The CHRIST CHILD, The INCARNATION, The WORD, YouTube VIDEOS

Thought for the Day – 16 December 2018

Thought for the Day – 16 December 2018 – The Third ‘Gaudete’ Sunday of Advent

Saint Augustine (354-430)
Bishop and Great Western Father and Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Sermon 293

John is the voice but the Lord is the Word who was in the beginning.   John is the voice that lasts for a time, from the beginning, Christ is the Word who lives forever.

Take away the word, the meaning and what is the voice?   Where there is no understanding, there is only a meaningless sound.   The voice without the word strikes the ear but does not build up the heart.

However, let us observe what happens when we first seek to build up our hearts.   When I think about what I am going to say, the word or message is already in my heart.   When I want to speak to you, I look for a way to share with your heart what is already in mine.

In my search for a way to let this message reach you, so that the word already in my heart may find a place also in yours, I use my voice to speak to you.   The sound of my voice brings the meaning of the word to you and then passes away.   The word which the sound has brought to you is now in your heart and yet it is still also in mine.

When the word has been conveyed to you, does not the sound seem to say – the word ought to grow and I should diminish?   The sound of the voice has made itself heard in the service of the word and has gone away, as though it were saying – my joy is complete.   Let us hold on to the word;  we must not lose the word conceived inwardly in our hearts.

Do you need proof that the voice passes away but the divine Word remains?   Where is John’s baptism today?   It served its purpose and it went away.   Now it is Christ’s baptism that we celebrate.   It is in Christ that we all believe, we hope for salvation in Him.   This is the message the voice cried out.

Because it is hard to distinguish word from voice, even John himself was thought to be the Christ.   The voice was thought to be the word.   But the voice acknowledged what it was, anxious not to give offence to the word.   I am not the Christ, he said, nor Elijah, nor the prophet.   And the question came:  Who are you, then?   He replied:  I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness – Prepare the way for the Lord!

The voice of one crying in the wilderness is the voice of one breaking the silence.   Prepare the way for the Lord, he says, as though he were saying:  “I speak out in order to lead Him into your hearts but He does not choose to come where I lead Him, unless you prepare the way for Him.”

To prepare the way means to pray well – it means thinking humbly of oneself.  We should take our lesson from John the Baptist.   He is thought to be the Christ, he declares he is not what they think.   He does not take advantage of their mistake to further his own glory.

If he had said, “I am the Christ,” you can imagine how readily he would have been believed, since they believed he was the Christ even before he spoke.   But he did not say it, he acknowledged what he was.   He pointed out clearly who he was;  he humbled himself.

He saw where his salvation lay.   He understood that he was a lamp and his fear was that it might be blown out, by the wind of pride.”

I speak out in order to lead Him - st augustine - 16 dec 2018

“The very Son of God, 
older than the ages, 
the invisible,
the incomprehensible, 
the incorporeal, 
the beginning of beginning, 
the light of light, 
the fountain of life and immortality,
the image of the archetype, 
the immovable seal,
the perfect likeness,
the definition and word of the Father:
He it is who comes to His own image 
and takes our nature for the good of our nature
and unites Himself to an intelligent soul 
for the good of my soul, 
to purify like by like.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Father and Doctor of the Churchthe-very-son-of-god-st-gregory-of-naziazen.17dec2017.gaudete sunday 2017

Come, O Come, Emmanuel!

 

come o come emmanuel - 16 dec 2018

 

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Quote/s of the Day – 5 May “Mary’s Month!” – Saturday of the Fifth Week of Eastertide

Quote/s of the Day – 5 May “Mary’s Month!” – Saturday of the Fifth Week of Eastertide

“If anyone does not believe,
that Holy Mary is the Mother of God,
such a one is a stranger to the Godhead.”

St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Father and Doctor of the Churchif anyone does not believe - st gregory of nazianzen - 5 may 2018

“No one will ever be the servant of the Son
without serving the Mother.”

St Ildephonsus (607-670)no one will ever be a servant of the son - st ildephonsus - 5 may 2018

“If the hurricanes of temptation rise against you,
or you are running upon the rocks of trouble,
look to the star – call on Mary!”

St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Mellifluous Doctorif the hurricanes of temptation - st bernard - 5 may 2018

“Mary is the most sweet bait, chosen, prepared
and ordained by God, to catch the hearts of men.”

St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Churchmary is the most swet bait - st catherine of siena - 5 may 2018

“Always stay close to this Heavenly Mother,
because she is the sea to be crossed
to reach the shores of Eternal Splendour.”

St Padre Pio (1887-1968)always stay close to this heavenly mother - st padre pio - 5 may 2018

 

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 8 January – The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Quote/s of the Day – 8 January – The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

“Dearly Beloved, each word and deed of Our Saviour Jesus Christ
is for us a lesson in virtue and piety.
For this end also did He assumed our nature,
so that every man and every woman,
contemplating as in a picture the practice of all virtue and piety,
might strive with all their hearts to imitate His example.
For this He bore our body, so that as far as we could,
we might repeat within us, the manner of His life.
And so, therefore, when you hear mention of some word or deed of His,
take care not to receive it simply as something that incidentally happened
but raise your mind upwards towards the sublimity of what He is teaching
and strive to see what has been mystically handed down to us”

St Basil the Great (329-379) Father & Doctor of the Churchdearly beloved - st basil the great - 8 jan 2018

“Today let us do honour to Christ’s baptism
and celebrate this feast in holiness.
Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed.
Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of men,
for whom His every word and every revelation exist.
He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world.
You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light,
bathed in the glory of Him who is the light of heaven.
You are to enjoy more and more, the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity,
as now you have received – though not in its fullness – a ray of its splendour,
proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord,
to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390)
Father & Doctor of the Church – from a sermon on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lordtoday let us do honour - st gregory of nazianzen - 8 jan 2018

“O Lord, wishing to fulfill all things
that You ordained before the ages,
You received the servants of Your mystery,
from among the Angels, Gabriel,
from among Men, the Virgin,
from among the Heavens, the Star
and from among the Waters, the Jordan,
in which You washed away the sin of the world,
O our Saviour, glory to You.”

St John Damascene (675-749) Doctor of the Churcho lord wishing to fulfil all things - st john damascene - 7 jan 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FRIENDSHIP, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL

Thought for the Day – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers & Doctors of the Church – On Friendship “We seemed to be two bodies with a single spirit.”

Thought for the Day – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers & Doctors of the Church – On Friendship “We seemed to be two bodies with a single spirit.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen
On 2 January the Roman Catholic Church honours the memory of two friends from an area of what is now Turkey that was called Cappadocia.   These men began their friendship while away at school and later became bishops who were the backbone of Catholic Orthodoxy during a period of doctrinal struggle and confusion.   Gregory presided over the 2nd ecumenical council, held at Constantinople, whose great achievement was the completion of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed that the Catholic Church recites each Sunday and the definition of the divinity of the Holy Spirit. These Cappadocian Fathers, both Fathers and Doctors of the Church, proved to be some of the most influential Christian teachers of all time, honoured by both East and West, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic.   Gregory here shares some memories of their friendship.

“Basil and I were both in Athens.   We had come, like streams of a river, from the same source in our native land, had separated from each other in pursuit of learning and were now united again as if by plan, for God so arranged it.

I was not alone at that time in my regard for my friend, the great Basil.   I knew his irreproachable conduct and the maturity and wisdom of his conversation.   I sought to persuade others, to whom he was less well known, to have the same regard for him. Many fell immediately under his spell, for they had already heard of him by reputation and hearsay.

What was the outcome?   Almost alone of those who had come to Athens to study he was exempted from the customary ceremonies of initiation for he was held in higher honour than his status as a first-year student seemed to warrant.

Such was the prelude to our friendship, the kindling of that flame that was to bind us together.   In this way we began to feel affection for each other.   When, in the course of time, we acknowledged our friendship and recognised that our ambition was a life of true wisdom, we became everything to each other:   we shared the same lodging, the same table, the same desires the same goal.   Our love for each other grew daily warmer and deeper.

The same hope inspired us – the pursuit of learning.   This is an ambition especially subject to envy.   Yet between us there was no envy.   On the contrary, we made capital out of our rivalry.   Our rivalry consisted, not in seeking the first place for oneself but in yielding it to the other, for we each looked on the other’s success as his own.

We seemed to be two bodies with a single spirit.   Though we cannot believe those who claim that everything is contained in everything, yet you must believe that in our case each of us was in the other and with the other.

Our single object and ambition was virtue and a life of hope in the blessings that are to come;  we wanted to withdraw from this world before we departed from it.   With this end in view we ordered our lives and all our actions.   We followed the guidance of God’s law and spurred each other on to virtue.   If it is not too boastful to say, we found in each other a standard and rule for discerning right from wrong.

Different men have different names, which they owe to their parents or to themselves, that is, to their own pursuits and achievements.   But our great pursuit, the great name we wanted, was to be Christians, to be called Christians.”

Learning of these two great Doctors of the Church, St Basil the Great and St Gregory of Nazianzen and their lifelong friendship, their collaboration, most especially against the battle against Arianism, cannot help but call to our minds a similar and immensely brilliant collaboration and personal friendship, which yielded endless fruit for the life of the Church.

Do you know of whom I speak?   Of course – St Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI – one already in the Halls of Heaven and raised to the Community of our Saints.  Both these great modern fathers are “Doctors” of the Church – whether yet recognised officially or not and the one blessedly still with us is a saint amongst the faithful.st john paul and benedict - 2016

Sts Basil and Gregory Pray for us!   St John Paul, Pray for us!   Beloved Papa Benedict continue to keep us all in your prayers.   Pray that our friendships may be as Godly as yours was!st basil and st gregory - pray for us - 2 jan 2018st john paul pray for us

 

 

Posted in DEVOTIO, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARIAN QUOTES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ABORTION, QUOTES on CHARITY, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers & Doctors of the Church

Quote/s of the Day – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers & Doctors of the Church

“The hairsplitting difference between
formed and unformed makes no difference to us.
Whoever deliberately commits abortion
is subject to the penalty for homicide.”the hairsplitting difference - st basil the great - 2 jan 2018

“The bread which you use
is the bread of the hungry;
the garment hanging in your wardrobe
is the garment of him who is naked;
the shoes you do NOT wear,
are the shoes of the one who is barefoot;
the acts of charity that you do NOT perform,
are so many INJUSTICES that you commit.”the bread whioch you use - st basil the great - 2 jan 2018

“A tree is known by its fruit;
a man by his deeds.
A good deed is never lost;
he who sows courtesy reaps friendship
and he who plants kindness gathers love.”

St Basil the Great (329-379) Father & Doctor of the Churcha-tree-is-known. - st basil the great - 2016

“Give something, however small,
to the one in need.
For it is not small to one who has nothing.
Neither is it small to God,
if we have given what we could.”give-something however small - st gregory of nazianzen - 2016

“If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary
is the Mother of God,
such a one is a stranger
to the Godhead.”if anyone does not believe - st gregory of nazianzen - 2 jan 2018

“God accepts our desires as though
they were of great value.
He longs ardently for us to desire and love Him.
He accepts our petitions for benefits,
as though we were doing Him a favour.
His joy in giving, is greater than ours in receiving.
So let us not be apathetic in our asking,
nor set too narrow bounds to our requests;
nor ask for frivolous things
unworthy of God’s greatness.”

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctor of the Churchgod accepts our desires - st gregory of nazianzen - 2 jan 2018

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

One Minute Reflection – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers & Doctors of the Church

One Minute Reflection – 2 January – The Memorial of St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers & Doctors of the Church

Two are better than one: they get a good wage for their toil.
If the one falls, the other will help the fallen one.
But woe to the solitary person!
If that one should fall, there is no other to help…Ecclesiastes 4:9-10ecc 4 - 9-10

REFLECTION – “Different men have different names, which they owe to their parents or to themselves, that is, to their own pursuits and achievements. But our great pursuit, the great name we wanted, was to be Christians, to be called Christians.”…St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) (from his writings on his friendship with St Basil).different men - st gregory of nazianzen - 2 jan 2018

PRAYER – God our Father, You enriched Your Church and gave examples for us to follow in the life and teachings of Sts Basil and Gregory. Grant that, learning Your truth with humility, we may practise it in faith and love. Sts Basil and Gregory, pray for our beloved Church, pray for all Catholic Christians, amen.sts basil and gregory - pray for us - 2 jan 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint/s of the Day – St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers and Doctors of the Church

Saint/s of the Day – St Basil the Great (329-379) and St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Fathers and Doctors of the Church – two bodies one spirit!

Great-Eastern-Fathers-e1480804176965
L to R: St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, St. John Chrysostom, Painting (Icon) by Viktor Vasnetsov

st gregory and st basil my snip

St Basil was born in 329 at Caesarea, Asia Minor (modern Turkey) and he died on 1 January 379 at Caesarea, Asia Minor (modern Turkey) of natural causes.   He is known as the Father of Eastern Monasticism, was a Monk, Bishop, Confessor, Theologian, Reformer, Apostle of Charity, Lawyer, Teacher, Writer and Doctor of the Church.   Patronages – Russia, Cappadocia, Hospital administrators, Reformers, Monks, Education, Exorcism, Liturgists.

basil_the_great__basilica_window_

St Gregory was born in 330 at Arianzus, Cappadocia, Asia Minor and he died on 25 January 390 of natural causes.  He is known as “The Theologian” was a Monk, Bishop, Confessor, Theologian (because of his outstanding teaching and eloquence), Orator, Rhetorician, Philosopher, Writer, Poet, Reformer and Doctor of the Church.   Patronages – • for harvests• poets.gregory_nazianzen__basilica_window_

St Basil the Great, was born of a noble Christian family at Caesarea in Cappadocia in 330.  His was a pious family – his mother, father and four of his nine siblings were canonised, including Saint Gregory of Nyssa.    He was the Grandson of Saint Macrina the Elder.   As a youth Basil was noted for organising famine relief and for working in the kitchens himself, quite unusual for a young noble.   He studied in Constantinople and Athens with his friend Saint Gregory Nazianus.   He then ran a school of oratory and law in Caesarea. Basil was so successful, so sought after as a speaker, that he was tempted by pride.   His life changed radically after he encountered Eustathius of Sebaste, a charismatic bishop and ascetic.   Abandoning his legal and teaching career, Basil devoted his life to God.   A letter described his spiritual awakening:
“I had wasted much time on follies and spent nearly all of my youth in vain labors, and devotion to the teachings of a wisdom that God had made foolish.   Suddenly, I awoke as out of a deep sleep.   I beheld the wonderful light of the Gospel truth and I recognised the nothingness of the wisdom of the princes of this world.”St. Basil the Great

He sold all that he had, gave away the money and became a priest and monk together with his best friend St Gregory of Nazianzen.


He founded monasteries and drew up rules for monks living in the desert;  he is considered as key to the founding of eastern monasticism as Saint Benedict of Nursia was to the west.   He became the Bishop and Archbishop of Caesarea.   Conducted Mass and preached to the crowds twice each day.   He fought Arianism and assisted St Gregory at the council of Constantinople, which completed the Nicene Creed.   He is considered a Father of the Church and is one of the original four Doctors of the Eastern Church.

St Gregory of Nazianzen was the best friend of St Basil the Great.   After studying together in Athens, they returned to their native Cappadocia (now Eastern Turkey) to serve the Lord.   It was during the time of the Arian heresy which contested the full divinity of Christ and orthodox bishops were sorely needed who could teach the true doctrine of the Church with clarity and depth.   Gregory, who admirably met these requirements, was made the bishop of the small town of Nazianzen but later was elevated to the highest ecclesiastical see after Rome, becoming the Patriarch of Constantinople.   As such, he presided over the First Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381 which completed the creed that we commonly call the Nicene Creed, recited in Sunday worship by Catholics and Orthodox Christians.

St Gregory’s teaching was so profound and accurate that he is one of the few teachers in the history of the Church known as “the theologian.”St.-Gregory-of-Nazianzus-e1480804203636

Basil and Gregory were defining figures as the early Church which sought to figure out just how to describe Jesus as fully human and fully divine.   They helped the Church articulate this mystery and refute persistent strains of thought that would emphasise one aspect of Jesus’ nature over another.   Both were largely responsible for safeguarding the faith that has guided the Church for thousands of years.   Their doctrinal contributions are codified in the Nicene Creed we recite at Mass.

Both Basil and Gregory were declared doctors of the Church, a title given to 36 saints who are known for elucidating the faith by their words or example.   Their relics rest in the reliquary chapel in the Basilica, and their images are captured in stained glass windows there.

Sts. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, friends and scholars who defended the faith, pray for us!

 

 

Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 2 January

Learning of these two great Doctors of the Church, St Basil the Great and St Gregory of Nazianzen and their lifelong friendship, their collaboration, most especially against the battle against Arianism, cannot help but call to our minds a similar and immensely brilliant collaboration and personal friendship, which yielded endless fruit for the life of the Church.

Do you know of whom I speak?   Of course – St Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict XVI – one already in the Halls of Heaven.  Both these great modern fathers are “Doctors” of the Church – whether yet recognised officially or not and the one blessedly still with us is a saint amongst the faithful.

Sts Basil and Gregory Pray for us!

friendssts-basil-and-grefory-jan-2

Posted in Uncategorized

Saint/s of the Day -2 January

Saint/s of the Day -2 January – Sts Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen

ST BASIL the GREAT – (329-379) Bishop, Confessor and Doctor of the Church – Patron of  Hospital administrators, Reformers, Monks, education, exorcism, Liturgists, Russia, Cappadocia.

St Basil the Great, the illustrious doctor and intrepid champion of the church, was born towards the close of the year 329 at Caesarea, the metropolis of Cappadocia. His parents were Cappadocians by birth, both equally illustrious for their nobility and descended from a long line of renowned heroes.  Our saint’s father, St. Basil the Elder, and his wife, St. Emmelia, adorned the conjugal state by their saintly conversation. Their marriage was blessed with ten children, of which they left nine living, all eminent for virtue; those that were married and lived in the world seeming no way inferior in piety to those who served God in holy virginity, as St. Gregory Nazianzen tells us. Four were sons and the other five daughters. St. Macrina the Younger, was the eldest of all these children, and assisted her mother in training up the rest in perfect virtue. The eldest among the boys was St. Basil; the other three were Naucratius, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Peter of Sebaste. Our saint was the fruit of his mother’s prayers, and in his infancy by the same means recovered his health in dangerous sickness, when he had been given over by the physicians, as St. Gregory of Nyssa relates. He received the first tincture of virtue from his grandmother, St. Macrina the Elder, under whose care he passed his infancy in a country house near Neocaesarea, in Pontus; and he testifies himself that during his whole life he never forgot the strong impressions of piety which her exhortations and holy example made upon his tender mind.

Basil was educated in Caesarea, Constantinople, and Athens in the fourth century. He enjoyed stimulating university life. There he met Gregory Nazianzen, a quiet, scholarly man. The two became close friends.

Basil traveled through the East and studied monastic life. As a result, he formed his own monastic group. Gregory joined him. From their discussions, Basil composed a rule of life for monks. He allowed monks and nuns to operate hospitals and guesthouses and work outside the community. His principles still influence Eastern monasticism.

The two friends lived the monastic life for only about five years. Then Gregory had to return home to care for his father, who was a bishop. When Gregory got home, he was ordained a priest, although he did not think himself worthy. He watched over his father’s diocese.

In 374, Basil was made bishop of Caesarea. The Church called on him to refute the Arian heresy, which claimed that Jesus was not God. Emperor Valens promoted the heresy. Basil believed the Church must remain independent of the emperor and boldly defended the Church. He preached morning and evening to large crowds. When a famine struck, he gave his money to people who were poor. He organized a soup kitchen and served the people himself. Basil even built a town, which included a church, a hospital and a guesthouse.

Basil continued to write for the Church and to clarify the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation. When one town was falling away from the faith, Basil ordained Gregory bishop and sent him there. Gregory went unhappily because he disliked conflict. The two friends were later reconciled.

St Basil died on the 1 or 2 of January 379.  We commemorate and celebrate his memory on 2 January.   The emperor had tried to tax St Basil’s diocese (area) so much, that he would not be able to pay. However, the many faithful followers, gave him money and jewels to help pay the taxes. The tax-collector was so amazed that he refused the money. t Basil had no way of knowing who to return the money and jewels to.  So, he had many cakes baked and in them placed the coins and jewels; he then distributed these cakes to the poor. Traditionally Basil’s cakes or sweet bread) is made in Orthodox households and they are also brought to the church. There they (called  Vasilopita) are blessed and cut by the priest; pieces are cut to honour Jesus Christ, the Mother of God, St Basil, the priest, the poor and others.

 

 

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Bishop, Theologian, Doctor of the Church Patron of Harvests and Poets

St Gregory who, from his profound skill in sacred learning, is surnamed the Theologian, was a native of Arianzum, an obscure village in the territory of Nazianzum, a small town in Cappadocia not far from Caesarea His parents are both honoured in the calendars of the church: his father on the 1st of January and his mother Nonna on the 5th of August.

After his baptism at 30, Gregory gladly accepted his friend Basil’s invitation to join him in a newly founded monastery. The solitude was broken when Gregory’s father, a bishop, needed help in his diocese and estate. It seems that Gregory was ordained a priest practically by force and only reluctantly accepted the responsibility. He skillfully avoided a schism that threatened when his own father made compromises with Arianism. At 41, Gregory was chosen suffragan bishop of Caesarea and at once came into conflict with Valens, the emperor, who supported the Arians.

For 30 years, Constantinople had been under the leadership of supporters of the Arian movement. The bishops of the surrounding areas begged Gregory to come and restore the faith, and again he went, dreading the task. When protection for Arianism ended with the death of Valens, Gregory was called to rebuild the faith in the great see of Constantinople, which had been under Arian teachers for three decades. Retiring and sensitive, he dreaded being drawn into the whirlpool of corruption and violence. He first stayed at a friend’s home, which became the only orthodox church in the city. In such surroundings, he began giving the great sermons on the Trinity for which he is famous. In time, Gregory did rebuild the faith in the city but at the cost of great suffering, slander, insults and even personal violence. An interloper even tried to take over his bishopric.

His last days were spent in solitude and austerity. He wrote religious poetry, some of it autobiographical, of great depth and beauty. He was acclaimed simply as “the Theologian.”

 

Both Basil and Gregory were misunderstood, but in spite of this, they rebuilt the faith. Basil died at age 49. Gregory resigned from Constantinople because of opposition and spent his last years reading, writing his autobiography, and enjoying his gardens.