Posted in "Follow Me", MARTYRS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES on DIVINE PROVIDENCE, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on MARTYRDOM, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, QUOTES on PERSECUTION, QUOTES on PRAYER, Quotes on SALVATION, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SELF-DENIAL, QUOTES on the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY, St Louis-Marie Grignion de MONTFORT, The FAITHFUL on PILGRIMAGE, The WILL of GOD, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 26 January – No small matter

Quote/s of the Day – 26 January – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Apostolic Father of the Church,

“We are treated as deceivers and yet, are truthful,
as unrecognised and yet, acknowledged,
as dying and behold we live,
as chastised and yet, not put to death,
as sorrowful yet, always rejoicing,
as poor yet, enriching many,
as having nothing and yet, possessing all things.

2 Corinthians 8-10

“Chosen soul, how will you bring this about?
What steps will you take to reach the high level
to which God is calling you?
The means of holiness and salvation,
are known to everybody,
since they are found in the Gospel,
the masters of the spiritual life have explained them,
the Saints have practised them…
These means are –
sincere Humility,
unceasing Prayer,
complete Self-denial,
abandonment to Divine Providence
and obedience to the Will of God.

St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716)

“If the Church stays silent
in the face of what is happening,
what difference would it make,
if no church were ever opened again?

“We are not dealing with a small matter
but the great (apocalyptic)
life and death struggle has already begun.
Yet in the midst of it, there are many,
who still go on living their lives
as though nothing had changed …

Blessed Franz Jägerstätter (1907-1943)
Martyr

St Polycarp:
https://anastpaul.com/2018/02/23/quote-s-of-the-day-23-february-the-memorial-of-st-polycarp-c-69-c-155-martyr-and-father-of-the-church/

Posted in CHRIST the HIGH PRIEST, MARTYRS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ETERNAL LIFE, QUOTES on FEAR, QUOTES on MARTYRDOM, QUOTES on PERSECUTION, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 26 January – “And fear you not them who kill the body and are not able to kill the soul …” – Matthew 10:28

One Minute Reflection – 26 January – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Apostolic Father of the Church, 1 John 3:10-16; Matthew 10:26-32

And fear you not them who kill the body and are not able to kill the soul …” – Matthew 10:28

REFLECTION – “They did not nail Polycarp but only tied him up. And so, he was bound, putting his arms behind his back, like a noble ram taken from a large flock for sacrifice, a burnt offering acceptable to and made ready for God. Then he gazed up to Heaven and said: “O Lord God Almighty, Father of Your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through Whom we have received knowledge of You, God of the angels and the powers and of all creation, God of the whole race of the righteous who live in Your sight: I bless You, for You have thought me worthy of this day and hour, to share the cup of Your Christ, as one of Your Martyrs, to rise again to eternal life in body and soul in the immortality of the Holy Ghost. May I be taken up today into Your Presence among Your Martyrs, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, in the manner You have prepared and have revealed and have now brought to fulfillment, for You are the God of truth… And so also I praise You for all things; I bless and glorify you through our Eternal High Priest in Heaven (Heb 4,14), in Your beloved Child, Jesus Christ, through Whom be glory to You and to Him and to the Holy Ghost, now and for the ages to come. Amen.” – Letter of the Church of Smyrna concerning the Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp (69-155)

PRAYER – Lord of all creation, You gave St Polycarp, a place in the company of the Martyrs. Grant that, through his intercession, we may, like him, drink from that cup which Christ drank and so rise to eternal life. Through Christ our Lord, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 26 January – Saint Polycarp (69-155) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 26 January – Saint Polycarp (69-155) Bishop of Smyrna (Asia Minor), Martyr, Apostolic Church Father. Polycarp was a disciple of Saint John the Apostle Consecrated by St John, as the Bishop of Smyrna. Polycarp is regarded as one of three chief Apostolic Fathers, along with Saint Clement of Rome and Saint Ignatius of Antioch.

The Roman Martyrology reads today: “At Smyrna, the birthday of St Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostle, the beloved St John, who Consecrated him Bishop of that City and Primate of all Asia. Afterwards under Marcus Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus, whilst the Proconsul was sitting in judgement and all the people in the amphitheatre were clamouring against him, he was condemned to the flames. But, as he received no injury from them, he was transpierced with a sword and thus received the Crown of Martyrdom.”

Amidst the sweetness he is enjoying from the contemplation of the Word made Flesh, St John, the Beloved Disciple beholds, coming towards him his dear Polycarp, the Angel of the Church of Smyrna (Apoc. 2: 8), all resplendent with the glory of Martyrdom (he is the only bishop mentioned in the Apocalypse without any reproach). This venerable Saint was a disciple of St John the Evangelist, whom he imitated by zealously opposing the heretics, who were then striving to corrupt the Faith. In obedience to the command of his holy Master (2 John, 1: 10), he refused to have anything to do with Marcion, the heresiarch, whom he called the first-born of Satan. This energetic adversary of the proud sect that denied the mystery of the Incarnation, wrote an admirable Epistle to the Philippians, in which we find these words: “Whosoever confesses not, that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, is an Antichrist.” St Polycarp, then, had a right to the honour of standing near the Crib, in which the Son of God shows Himself to us in all His loveliness and clothed in flesh like unto our own. Let us honour this disciple of St John, this friend of St Ignatius of Antioch, this Bishop of the Apostolic Age, whose praise was pronounced by Jesus Christ Himself in the Revelations of Patmos. Our Saviour said to him by the mouth of St John: “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee the crown of life” (Apoc. 2: 10). St Polycarp was faithful unto death, and has received his crown.

In the sixth year of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, Statius Quadratus being proconsul of Asia, a violent persecution broke out in that country, in which the faithful gave heroic proofs of their courage and love of God, to the astonishment of the infidels. When they were torn to pieces with scourges till their very bowels were laid bare, amidst the moans and tears of the spectators, who were moved with pity at the sight of their torments, not one of them gave so much as a single groan: so little regard had they for their own flesh in the cause of God. No kind of torture, no inventions of cruelty, were forborne to force them to a conformity to the pagan worship of the times. The authors of these Acts observe, that the Martyrs, by their patience and constancy, demonstrated to all men, that, while their bodies were tormented, they were in spirit estranged from the flesh and already in Heaven; or rather, that Our Lord was present with them and assisted them; for the fire of the barbarous executioners seems, as if it had been a cooling refreshment to them.

On one occasion, seeing the courage of one Germanicus and his companions and being fond of their impious bloody diversions, the spectators cried out: “Away with the impious; let Polycarp be sought for.” The holy man, though fearless, had been prevailed upon by his friends to withdraw and conceal himself in a neighbouring village during the persecution, spending most of his time in prayer. Three days before his Martyrdom, he, in a vision, saw his pillow on fire – from which he understood by revelation and foretold to his companions, that he should be burned alive. When the persecutors were in quest of him, he changed his hiding-place but was betrayed by a boy, who was threatened with the rack unless he disclosed him. Herod the Irenarch, or keeper of the peace, whose office it was to prevent misdemeanours and apprehend malefactors, sent horsemen by night to beset his lodgings. The Saint was upstairs in bed but refused to make his escape, saying, “God’s will be done.” He went down, met them at the door, ordered them a good supper and desired only some time for prayer before he went with them. This granted, he began his prayer standing, which he continued in that posture for two hours, recommending to God his own flock and the whole Church with so much earnestness and devotion, that several of those who were come to seize him, repented they had undertaken the commission.

They set him on an ass,and were conducting him towards the City, when he was met on the road by Herod and his father Nicetes, who took him into their chariot and endeavoured to persuade him to a little compliance, saying: “What harm is there in saying ‘Lord Caesar,’ or even in sacrificing, to escape death?” By the word ‘Lord’ was meant nothing less than a kind of deity or godhead. The Bishop at first was silent, in imitation of our Saviour but being pressed, he gave them this resolute answer: “ I shall never do what you desire of me.” At these words, taking off the mask of friendship and compassion, they treated him with scorn and reproaches and thrust him out of the chariot with such violence, that his leg was bruised by the fall.

The holy man went cheerfully to the place where the people were assembled. Upon his entering it, a voice from Heaven was heard by many, saying: “Polycarp, be courageous and act manfully.” He was led directly to the tribunal of the proconsul, who exhorted him to respect his own age (probably more than 100 years), to swear by the genius of Caesar and to say: “Take away the impious” meaning the Christians. The Saint, turning towards the people, said with a stern countenance: “Exterminate the wicked,” meaning by this expression either a wish that they might cease to be wicked by their conversion to the Faith of Christ; or this was a prediction of the calamity which befell their City in 177, when Smyrna was overturned by an earthquake. The proconsul repeated: “Swear by the genius of Caesar and I will discharge you“ blaspheme Christ! Polycarp replied: “I have served Him these 86 years (probably the time since his Baptism) and He never did me any harm but much good and how can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour? If you require of me to swear by the genius of Caesar, as you call it, hear my free confession – I am a Christian but if you desire to learn the Christian religion, appoint a time and hear me.” The proconsul said: “Persuade the people.” The Martyr replied: “I address my discourse to you; for we are taught to give due honour to princes, as far as is consistent with religion. But the populace is an incompetent judge to justify myself before.” Indeed rage rendered them incapable of hearing him.

The proconsul then assuming a tone of severity, said: “I have wild beasts!” “Call for them, replied the Saint, for we are unalterably resolved not to change from good to evil. It is only good to pass from evil to good.” The proconsul said: “If you contempt the beasts, I will cause you to be burnt to ashes.” Polycarp answered: “You threaten me with a fire, which burns for a short time and then goes out but are yourself ignorant of the judgement to come and of the fire of everlasting torments, which is prepared for the wicked. Why do you delay? Bring against me what you please.” While he said this and many other things, he appeared in a transport of joy and confidence and his countenance shone with a certain heavenly grace and pleasant cheerfulness, insomuch, that the Proconsul himself, was struck with admiration.

However, he ordered a crier to make public proclamation, three times in the middle of the Stadium (as was the Roman custom in capital cases) – Polycarp has confessed himself a Christian! At this proclamation, the whole multitude of Jews and Gentiles gave a great shout, the latter crying out: “This is the great teacher of Asia; the father of the Christians; the destroyer of our gods, who preaches to men not to sacrifice to or adore them.” They applied to Philip the Asiarch (president of the public games) to let loose a lion upon Polycarp. He told them that it was not in his power because those games had been closed. Then they unanimously demanded that he should be burned alive. Their request was no sooner granted but everyone ran with all speed to fetch wood from the baths and shops.

The pile being prepared, Polycarp put off his garments, untied his girdle and began to take off his shoes; an office he had not been accustomed to, the Christians having always striven who should do these things for him, regarding it as a happiness to be permitted even to touch him. The wood and other combustibles were heaped all round him. The executioners would have nailed him to the stake but he said to them: “Suffer me to be as I am. He who gives me grace to undergo this fire, will enable me to stand still without that precaution.” They, therefore, contented themselves with tying his hands behind his back and in this posture, looking up towards Heaven, he prayed: “O Almighty Lord God, Father of Thy beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, by Whom we have received the knowledge of Thee, God of Angels, powers and every creature and of all the race of the just that live in Thy presence! I bless Thee for having been pleased in Thy goodness to bring me to this hour, that I may receive my portion in the number of Thy Martyrs and partake of the chalice of Thy Christ, for the resurrection to eternal life, in the incorruptibleness of the Holy Ghost. Amongst whom grant me to be received this day as a pleasing sacrifice, such as one as Thou Thyself hast prepared, that so Thou mayest accomplish what Thou, O true and faithful God, hast foreshown. Wherefore, for all things I praise, bless and glorify Thee, through the eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ Thy beloved Son, with Whom, to Thee and the Holy Ghost be glory now and forever. Amen.

He had scarcely finished when fire was set to the pile, which increased to a mighty flame. But behold a wonder, say the authors of these Acts, seen by us reserved to attest it to others, the flames forming themselves into an arch, like the sails of a ship swelled with the wind, gently encircled the body of the Martyr, which stood in the middle, resembling not roasted flesh but purified gold or silver, appearing bright through the flames and his body sending forth such a fragrance, that we seemed to smell precious spices. The blind infidels were only exasperated to see, that his body could not be consumed and ordered a spearman to pierce him through, which he did, and such a quantity of blood issued out of his left side as to quench the fire!

The malice of the devil ended not here: he endeavoured to obstruct the relics of the Martyr being carried off by the Christians, for many desired to do it, to show their respect to his body. Therefore, by the suggestion of Satan, Nicetes advised the proconsul not to bestow it on the Christians, lest, said he, abandoning the Crucified Man, they should adore Polycarp. The Jews suggested this, Not knowing, say the authors of the Acts, that we can never forsake Christ, nor adore any other, though we love the Martyrs, as His disciples and imitators, for the great love they bore their King and Master. The centurion, seeing a contest raised by the Jews, placed the body in the middle and burned it to ashes. We afterwards took up the bones, say they, more precious than the richest jewels or gold, and deposited them decently in a place at which may God grant us to assemble with joy, to celebrate the natal day of the Martyr. Thus said these disciples and eye-witnesses. It was at two in the afternoon, which the authors of the Acts call the eighth hour, in the year 155, that St Polycarp received his crown. His tomb is still shown with great veneration at Smyrna in a small Chapel.

The Church gives us a passage from St Jerome’s book, On Ecclesiastical Writers, in which there is contained a short notice of our Holy Martyr:

Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostle John, who ordained him Bishop of Smyrna, was looked up to by all the Churches of Asia, inasmuch as he had not only known some of the Apostles, and those who had seen Our Lord, but had been trained by them. He went to Rome, during the reign of the Emperor Antoninus Pius, and under the Pontificate of Anicetus, in order to have an answer to certain questions regarding Easter day. Whilst there, he brought back to the Faith several Christians who had been misled by the teaching of Marcion and Valentine. Having on a certain occasion casually met Marcion, who said to him: Dost thou know us? Polycarp replied: Yes, I know thee as the first-born of Satan. Some time after, under the reign of Marcus Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus, in the fourth persecution after that under Nero, he was cited before the Proconsul of Smyrna, who condemned him to be burnt alive; which sentence was carried into effect in the amphitheater, amidst the clamors of the whole people. He wrote an important Letter to the Philippians, which is still read in the Churches of Asia.

How well didst thou bear out the full meaning of the name, O Polycarp! For thou didst produce many fruits for thy Saviour, during the eighty-six years spent in His service. The numerous souls won over to Christ, the virtues which adorned thy life, and thy life itself, which thou didst present to thy Lord in its full maturity—these were thy fruits. And what happiness was thine to have received instruction from the Disciple that leaned upon Jesus’ Breast! After being separated from him for more than sixty years, thou art united with him on this day of thy Martyrdom and thy venerable master receives thee in a transport of joy. Thou dost adore with him that Divine Babe, Whose simplicity thou hadst imitated during life and Who was the single object of thy love. Ask of Him for us, that we too may be faithful unto death.

By thy prayers, now that thou art enthroned in Heaven, make fruitful the vineyard of the Church, which when on earth thou didst cultivate by thy labours and water with the blood of thy glorious Martyrdom. Re-establish faith and unity in the Churches of Asia, which were founded by thy venerable hand. Hasten, by thy prayers, the destruction of that degrading slavery of Islam, which has kept the East in bondage so long because her once faithful children severed themselves from Rome, by the great schism of Byzantium. Pray for the Church of Lyons, which regards thee as its founder, through the ministry of thy disciple Pothinus and took itself so glorious a share in the apostolate of the Gentiles, by the Work of the Propagation of the Faith.

Watch over the purity of our holy Faith and preserve us from being deceived by false teachers. The error which thou didst combat and which teaches, that all the mysteries of the Incarnation are but empty symbols, has risen up again in these our days. There are Marcions, even now, who would reduce all religion to myths and they find followers. May thy powerful prayers rid the world of this remnant of so impious a doctrine. Thou didst pay homage to the Apostolic Chair, for thou, too, wanted to see Peter and didst journey to Rome, in order to consult its Pontiff on questions regarding the interests of thy Church in Smyrna. Pray for the restoration of this august See, whence are derived the jurisdiction of our Pastors and the authoritative teachings of the Faith. Pray for us, that we may spend the remaining days of this holy Christmas Season in the contemplation and the love of our new-born King. May this love, accompanied with purity of heart, draw down upon us, the merciful blessings of God and at length,, after our course is run, obtain for us the Crown of Life. Amen!” (The Passio of St Polycarp).

Posted in MARIAN TITLES, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Nuestra Señora de Atocha / Our Lady of Atocha, Madrid, Spain (1261) and Memorials of the Saints – 26 January

St Polycarp (69-155) – Martyr, Apostolic Church Father and Bishop of Smyrna, Confessor, Writer, Preacher, Theologian.
St Polycarp’s Feast was moved in 1969 to 23 February.
Dear St Polycarp:

https://anastpaul.com/2018/02/23/saint-of-the-day-23-february-st-polycarp-c-69-c-155-martyr-and-father-of-the-church/

Nuestra Señora de Atocha / Our Lady of Atocha/Our Lady of Long Fields, Madrid, Spain (1261) – 26 January:
HERE:

https://anastpaul.com/2021/01/26/our-lady-of-atocha-our-lady-of-long-fields-madrid-spain-1261-and-memorials-of-the-saints-26-january/

St Alberic of Citreaux O.Cist (Died 1109)
St Robert of Molesme O.Cist (1028-1111)
St Stephen Harding O.Cist (c 1060-1134)
The Story of the 3 Founders of the Cistercian Abbey:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/01/26/saints-of-the-day-26-january-the-3-founders-of-the-cistercian-order/

St Alphonsus of Astorga
St Ansurius of Orense
St Athanasius of Sorrento
St Conan of Iona
Bl Eystein Erlandsön
Bl José Gabriel del Rosario Brochero
Bl Marie de la Dive veuve du Verdier de la Sorinière
Bl Michaël Kozal

St Paula of Rome (347-404) Widow, Foundress of the Order of St Jerome, life-long friend and associate of St Jerome. early Desert Mother.
Biography:

https://anastpaul.com/2021/01/26/saint-of-the-day-26-january-saint-paula-of-rome-347-404/

St Theofrid of Corbie
St Theogenes of Hippo
St Tortgith of Barking

Martyred Family of Constantinople: Saint Mary and Saint Xenophon were married and the parents of Saint John and Saint Arcadius. Theirs was a wealthy family of Senatorial rank in 5th century imperial Constantinople, but were known as a Christians who lived simple lives. To give their sons a good education, Xenophon and Mary sent them to university in Beirut, Phoenicia. However, their ship wrecked, there was no communication from them, and the couple assumed, naturally, that the young men had died at sea. In reality, John and Arcadius had survived and decided that instead of continuing to Beirut, they were going to follow a calling to religious life and became monks, eventually living in a monastery in Jerusalem. Years later, Mary and Xenophon made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem – where they encountered their sons. Grateful to have their family re-united and taking it as a sign, Xenophon and Mary gave up their positions in society in Constantinople, and lived the rest of their lives as a monk and anchoress in Jerusalem. A few years later, the entire family was martyred together.
They were martyred in 5th century Jerusalem.

St Xenophon
St Mary
St John
St Arcadius

Posted in "Follow Me", CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES on COURAGE, QUOTES on ETERNAL LIFE, QUOTES on PERSECUTION, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on TIME, QUOTES on ZEAL, The PASSION, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 9 July – ‘Consider the times.’

One Minute Reflection – 9 July – “Month of the Precious Blood” – Readings: Genesis 46: 1-7, 28-30; Psalms 37: 3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40; Matthew 10: 16-23

“Behold, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be, therefore, wise as serpents and simple as doves.” –Matthew 10:16

REFLECTION – “I urge you, by the grace in which you are clothed, to press on in your race and urge everyone to be saved. Assert your office with all the diligence of flesh and spirit. Give your attention to unity, for there is nothing better. carry your brethren as the Lord also carries you. Patiently, bear with them all in love, as indeed you do bear with them. Devote yourself to unceasing prayer. Ask for greater understanding than you have. Be watchful, possessing a wakeful spirit. Speak to each one individually, concerning God’s way. “Bear the infirmities” (cf Mt 8,17) of each as a perfect athlete. Where there is more toil, there is greater gain. If you only love the good disciples, this wins you no advantage. Rather, subdue by meekness the more annoying. Not every wound is cured by the same salve. Ease sharp pains with a hot compress. In everything “be wise as serpents” and always “harmless as doves”. You who are of flesh and spirit, humour those things visibly present before you but pray, too, that what is invisible may be manifested to you, so that you may lack nothing and may abound in every spiritual gift.

As pilots invoke the winds and tempest-tossed mariners call for haven, this season invites you to return to God. Be temperate, as God’s athlete. The prize is incorruption and life eternal… It is the part of a great athlete to suffer blows and to conquer. It is above all for God’s sake we ought to endure all things, that He too, may endure us. Become more zealous than you are already. Consider the times. Look for Him Who is above all times, Who is timeless, invisible but made visible for our sakes – He Who, beyond the touch of our hands, beyond suffering, yet knew the Passion for our sakes and endured every suffering.” – St Ignatius of Antioch (c 35-c 108) Father of the Church, Martyr, Bishop – Letter to St Polycarp (69-155) Bishop and Martyr), 1-3 ; SC 10

PRAYER – Father of all holiness, guide our hearts to You. Keep in the light of Your truth, all those You have freed from the darkness of unbelief. May our lives be the source of enlightenment to others and our faith and love every remain strengthened by Your grace. Listen to the prayers of our Blessed Mother on our behalf, as we long for our eternal home. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Posted in "Follow Me", CARMELITES, DOCTORS of the Church, MARTYRS, PRAYER WARRIORS, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY, The HEART, The LORD'S PRAYER, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 23 February – ‘ … All that is necessary … ‘ Matthew 6:7-15

One Minute Reflection – 23 February – Tuesday of the First week of Lent, Readings: Isaiah 55:10-11Psalms 34:4-56-7,16-1718-19Matthew 6:7-15 and the Memorial of St Polycarp Apostolic Father, Bishop and Martyr (c 69 – c 155)and St Willigis of Mainz (940-1011)

“This is how you are to pray.” – Matthew 6:9

REFLECTION – “Regarding other ceremonies in vocal prayers and other devotions, one should not become attached to any ceremonies or modes of prayer, other than those Christ taught us. When His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray [Lk 11:1], Christ obviously, as one Who knew so well His Father’s will, would have told them, all that was necessary, in order to obtain an answer from the Eternal Father and, in fact, He only taught them those seven petitions of the Our Father, which include all our spiritual and temporal necessities and He did not teach numerous other kinds of prayers and ceremonies.
At another time, rather, He told them, that in praying, they should not desire much speaking because our heavenly Father clearly knows our needs.

He only charged us with great insistence to persevere in prayer – that is, in the Our Father – teaching, in another place, that one should pray and never cease. [Lk.18:1]
He did not teach us a quantity of petitions but that these seven be repeated often and with fervour and care. For in these, as I say, are embodied everything that is God’s will and all that is fitting for us.
Accordingly, when His Majesty had recourse three times to the Eternal Father, all three times He prayed with the same petition of the Our Father, as the evangelists recount: “Father, if it cannot be but that I drink this chalice, may your will be done.” [Mt. 26:42]

And He taught us only two ceremonies for use in our prayers. Our prayer should be made either in the concealment of our secret chamber [Mt 6:6] where without noise and without telling anyone we can pray with a more perfect and pure heart … Or, if not in one’s chamber, in the solitary wilderness and at the best and most quiet time of night, as He did..” [Lk. 6:12] – St John of the Cross (1542-1591) – Carmelite, Doctor of the ChurchThe Ascent of Mount Carmel Bk.III, ch.44

PRAYER – Our Father Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
Amen

Posted in MARIAN TITLES, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Nuestra Señora de la Peña / Our Lady of the Rock, Pena de Francia, near Salamanca, Spain (1434) and Memorials of the Saints – 23 February

Nuestra Señora de la Peña / Our Lady of the Rock, Pena de Francia, near Salamanca, Spain (1434) – 23 February:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: Our Lady of Roches, near Salamanca, in Spain; an image is there venerated, which was found miraculously, in the year 434, by Simon Vela, who caused a Church to be built there.”

The Simon mentioned above by the Abbot Orsini, was actually born in the year 1401 in Paris, France. The incident that he states had occurred in the year 434 actually occurred in 1434 but that is getting ahead of our story.
Simon was born on4 September 1401, in the City of Paris, France, to pious and wealthy parents. Growing up a good Catholic, Simon despised money and luxury, so that when he grew up and inherited his parents’ money and property, he recognised it for the threat to his eternal welfare that it was and gave all that he owned to the Church and to relieve the poor. Once the money was gone, he went to a Franciscan Monastery and took a position as a chamber boy.
Simon naturally spent a great deal of time in prayer and was especially devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sometimes when he prayed he asked the Mother of God if there was anything he might do, that would be especially pleasing to her. On one of these occasions, he fell asleep while praying. He was suddenly awakened when he heard a voice speak to him from the empty Church:
“Simon, wake up; be on the watch…From now on, your name will be Simon Vela. Go to Pena de Francia, for there you will find the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
Simon travelled for five years over fields and mountains, searching through lonely valleys and gloomy caves, in his quest for this place called Pena de Francia but he could not even find anyone who had ever heard of the place. On the verge of giving up in frustration, he had already begun working his way back home from Spain, when the voice spoke to him from the darkness once again:
“Simon, do not give up the search, do not give up what you have begun. Persevere and your labours will be recompensed.”
Feeling that it was still the will of God, Simon was determined to continue the search.
Simon was passing through the market square in Salamanca on his way to the Church of Santiago, when he observed two men who began shouting in a serious disagreement. Weapons flashed and one of the pair fell wounded at Simon’s feet. The other was restrained from finishing the man, by the crowd, who held him back. Unable to reach his adversary, he shouted:
“Had I killed my enemy, I would have escaped to Pena de Francia where no-one, not even the king, could find me!”
Simon’s heart leapt for joy when he heard this, for it was the first time he had heard the place spoken of, and now he was certain that his search would not be in vain.

THE STORY OF SIMON’S SEARCH SURROUNDS THE IMAGE OF OUR LADY OF THE ROCK

It was a short time later when Simon received a second bit of good news. He was on his way to the Church of Saint Martin when he happened upon a travelling merchant. Simon asked the man where he had come from and he answered, Pena de Francia. Thrilled to hear the name, he felt his search was nearly over but when he asked the man to take him there, he refused. He did not want to go back the way he had come, no matter how much Simon begged him. All he would do was point out the general direction.
Simon went down the road from which he had seen the merchant approach, hoping he was not too far from his destination. The road led him to a villa named San Martin de Castanar, which he reached on 14 May 1434. He found a Church there and after Mass, he asked if anyone knew of a place called Pena de Francis. One man knew of it and when Simon kindly asked him to show him where it was, the man walked with him a good distance from the Church and then pointed out a hill in the far distance. That, he said, was Pena de Francia. Simon was elated, thanking God and the man for revealing to him the place that meant the end of his quest.

The place was far off but Simon went off at once, thinking the years he had spent in seeking, were nearly at an end. He gave no thought to his provisions and as the journey was long and arduous, he was far from any help when he realised how weakened his fast had made him. Suffering intense pangs of hunger, Simon did not despair, for he felt certain that God would not forsake him. He continued on his way and soon came across an abandoned pack that contained a loaf of bread and a piece of meat. Refreshed, he turned his attention to finding shelter as the night approached. Finding a suitable cave, he went inside and prayed for guidance until he dropped off into welcome slumber.
Waking early in the morning, Simon began to search the area for the Shrine and quickly found that there were caves all over the hill where he had slept. He naturally became discouraged when it became apparent that it could take him weeks or even months to find what he sought and so, feeling that it was almost as if his quest had started all over again, he fell to his knees and prayed for the grace of perseverance. His prayer was quickly answered, as the now familiar voice said:
“Simon, be awake: do not sleep.”
Simon got up at once and continued his search, awakening with renewed enthusiasm the following morning. As he prepared to leave his cave a brilliant light struck his eyes, the source of which was a spot some distance away on a rocky hill. Trembling with joy, Simon approached the source of that light and found the Blessed Virgin Mary sitting on a golden throne with the Child Jesus in her arms. His heart overflowing with inexpressible joy, he knelt and said:
“Oh, Lady, dream of my soul and inspiration of men and women! My labours are now ended. Many years have I travelled far and wide to seek you and to drink in the beauty of your eyes! Do not forsake me but be my protection.”

Our Lady answered sympathetically:
“Simon, rejoice! Your constancy will be rewarded. Your dream will be realised. Your labours are now ended. Take heed and keep in your heart what I wish you to do. Dig in this spot and take what you can see and place it on the summit of this rocky hill. Build on this hill a beautiful Shrine. You are to begin it and others will come to finish it. This must come to pass as it has been the wish of my Child.”
When the vision ended, Simon remained alone for some time, filled with wonder and awe.
On the spot where the apparition of the Holy Virgin had appeared, Simon began the work of excavating. He had barely begun digging when he heard the same voice once again saying:
“Simon, do not attempt to undertake this large of a task alone. Undertake it in the presence and with the help of two, three, or more persons.”
Evidently this demand was made to ward off any suspicion about the veracity of the coming miracle, as well as Simon’s credibility. So Simon went back to San Martin de Castanar and asked five men to help him, and all of them agreed.
Even though Simon told them the truth, these men believed that they were digging for hidden treasure. Simon repeated that they were after an objective worthier than merely worldly goods and that it was something their hearts would forever cherish. They dug for some time, until finally, on 19 May 1434, they removing a huge stone that was barring their way. They found beneath it, sheltered among several smaller rocks, the most coveted image of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Divine Child in her arms, now known as Our Lady of Rocks.

THE IMAGE OF PENA DE FRANCIA,FOUND BY SIMON VELA AND HIS COMPANIONS IN 19 MAY 1434

St Polycarp of Smyrna (c 69 – c 155) Martyr (Memorial)
St Polycarp’s life and death:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/saint-of-the-day-23-february-st-polycarp-c-69-c-155-martyr-and-father-of-the-church/

St Alexander Akimetes
St Boswell
St Dositheus of Egypt
St Felix of Brescia
St Florentius of Seville
St Giovanni Theristi (1049–1129) Monk
Bl Giovannina Franchi
Bl John of Hungary
St Josephine Vannini (1859-1911)
Bl Juan Lucas Manzanares
Bl Ludwik Mzyk
St Martha of Astorga
St Medrald
St Milburga
Bl Nicolas Tabouillot
St Ordonius
St Polycarp of Rome
Bl Rafaela Ybarra de Villalongo
St Romana
St Serenus the Gardener (Died 307) Martyr
His story:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/02/23/saint-of-the-day-23-february-st-serenus-the-gardener-died-307-martyr/
Bl Stefan Wincenty Frelichowski
St Willigis of Mainz (c 940-1011) Bishop
St Zebinus of Syria

Martyrs of Syrmium – 73 Christians who were martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know no details about them, and only six of their names – Antigonus, Libius, Rogatianus, Rutilus, Senerotas and Syncrotas.

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SIN, QUOTES on TEMPTATION, SAINT of the DAY

Quote of the Day – 23 February – ‘Forsake the vanity of the crowd..’ St Polycarp

Quote of the Day – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69–c 155) Martyr and Apostolic Father of the Church

“Let us, therefore, forsake the vanity of the crowd
and their false teachings and turn back to the word
delivered to us from the beginning.”

St Polycarp (c 69–c 155) Martyr
and Apostolic Father of the Church

let us therefore, forsake the vanity of the crowd - st polycarp 23 feb 2020

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Seventh Sunday of the Year in Ordinary Time, Year A +2020 and Memorials of the Saints – 23 February

Seventh Sunday of the Year in Ordinary Time, Year A +2020

St Polycarp of Smyrna (c 69 – c 155) Martyr  (Memorial)
St Polycarp’s life and death:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/saint-of-the-day-23-february-st-polycarp-c-69-c-155-martyr-and-father-of-the-church/

St Alexander Akimetes
St Boswell
St Dositheus of Egypt
St Felix of Brescia
St Florentius of Seville
St Giovanni Theristi
Bl Giovannina Franchi
Bl John of Hungary
St Josephine Vannini (1859-1911)
Bl Juan Lucas Manzanares
Bl Ludwik Mzyk
St Martha of Astorga
St Medrald
St Milburga
Bl Nicolas Tabouillot
St Ordonius
St Polycarp of Rome
Bl Rafaela Ybarra de Villalongo
St Romana
St Serenus the Gardener (Died 307) Martyr
His story:
https://anastpaul.com/2019/02/23/saint-of-the-day-23-february-st-serenus-the-gardener-died-307-martyr/
Bl Stefan Wincenty Frelichowski
St Willigis of Mainz
St Zebinus of Syria

Martyrs of Syrmium – 73 Christians who were martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know no details about them, and only six of their names – Antigonus, Libius, Rogatianus, Rutilus, Senerotas and Syncrotas.

Posted in MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St JOHN the BAPTIST, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 3 August – ‘..the archives of truth written in letters of blood…’

One Minute Reflection – 3 August – Saturday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Matthew 14:1-12

And his disciples came and took the body and buried it and they went and told Jesus. ... Matthew 14:12and his disciples came and took the body - 3 august 2019 st john the baptist.jpg

REFLECTION – “Before Pilate, Christ proclaims that he “has come into the world, to bear witness to the truth,” (Jn 18:37).   The Christian is not to “be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord,” (2 Tim 1:8).   In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St Paul before his judges.   We must keep “a clear conscience toward God and toward men,” (Acts 24:16).

The duty of Christians to take part in the life of the Church impels them to act as witnesses of the Gospel and of the obligations that flow from it.   This witness is a transmission of the faith in words and deeds.   Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known: “All Christians by the example of their lives and the witness of their word, wherever they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man which they have put on in Baptism and to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit by whom they were strengthened at Confirmation” (Vatican II).

Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith – it means bearing witness even unto death. the martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity.   He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine.   He endures death through an act of fortitude…  The Church has painstakingly collected the records of those who persevered to the end in witnessing to their faith. These are the acts of the Martyrs.   They form the archives of truth written in letters of blood…:the church has painstakingly collected - ccc 2472-2474 3 aug 2019 st john the baptist matthew 12 1-12

“I bless You for having judged me worthy from this day and this hour to be counted among Your martyrs….  You have kept Your promise, God of faithfulness and truth. For this reason and for everything, I praise You, I bless You, I glorify You through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son” (St. Polycarp) … CCC #2471-2474lord god you have considered me worth - st polycarp - prayer before martyrdom 9 july 2019

PRAYER – Almighty God, teach us to bear witness to Christ, Your only-begotten Son, who died for our sins. May each moment of our lives radiate the truth of the Word, Christ our Lord.   Through the intercession of our holy Mother, the Channel of all Graces, may our strength be such, that we would bear witness even unto death.   We make our prayer, through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.mary channel of grace - pray for us - 30 may 2018.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 9 July – Lord God, You have Considered me Worthy

Our Morning Offering – 9 July – Tuesday of the Fourteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year C and the Memorial of Saints St Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

Lord God, You have Considered me Worthy
St Polycarp (69-155)
Before Martyrdom

Lord God almighty,
Father of Jesus Christ,
Your dear Son through
whom we have come to know You,
God of the angels and powers,
God of all creation,
God of those who live in Your presence,
the race of the just – I bless You.
You have considered me
worthy of this day and hour,
worthy to be numbered with the martyrs
and to drink the cup of Your Anointed One,
and thus to rise and live forever,
body and soul,
in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit.
Amenlord god you have considered me worth - st polycarp - prayer before martyrdom 9 july 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on LOVE, The WORD

Lenten Reflection – 29 March – “At the end of your life, you will be judged by your love.”

Lenten Reflection – 29 March – Friday of the Third week of Lent, Year C, Gospel: Mark 12:28–34

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind.   This is the greatest and first commandment” (vv. 37-38).   And he could have stopped there.   Yet, Jesus adds something that was not asked by the doctor of the law.   He says, in fact:  “And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (v. 39). And in this case too, Jesus does not invent the second commandment but takes it from the Book of Leviticus.   The novelty is in His placing these two commandments together — love for God and love for neighbour — revealing that they are in fact inseparable and complementary, two sides of the same coin.”…Pope Francis – Angelus, 26 October 2014fridayofthe3rdweeklent 29 march 2019.jpg

“Stand fast, therefore,
in this conduct
and follow the example of the Lord,
firm and unchangeable in faith,
lovers of the brotherhood,
loving each other,
united in truth,
helping each other
with the mildness of the Lord,
despising no man.”

St Polycarp, Letter to the Philippiansstand-fast-therefore-in-this-conduct-st-polycarp-23-feb-2019.jpg

Daily Meditation:
Fill our hearts with your love.

Our lesson today reminds us again
of God’s love and Jesus’ desire
that we love one another as we are loved.
On this journey, we are learning why this is a challenge for us.
We are experiencing our human weaknesses
and practising ways to be freer,
to open our hearts more fully to God’s love
and to give ourselves in fidelity, every day.

You ask us to express our thanks by self-denial.
We are to master our sinfulness
and conquer our pride.
We are to show to those in need
Your goodness to ourselves.
Preface for Lent III

Closing Prayer:
God of Mercy,
I feel my heart overflowing with Your tenderness.
I sense Your loving touch deep within my soul.
I ask for Your help in my weakness
that I might be faithful to Your word
and I am so grateful
that Your mercy for my failings
is as strong as Your unbounded love for me.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

“At the end of your life,
you will be judged by your love.”

St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Doctor of the Churchat-the-end-of-your-life-st-j-of-the-cross-14-dec-2017.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 23 February – A rich and pleasing sacrifice –

Thought for the Day – 23 February – A rich and pleasing sacrifice – Memorial of Saint Polycarp of Smyrna, Apostolic Father, Bishop and Martyr

Saint Polycarp of Smyrna (c 69 – c 155)
Bishop, Apostolic Church Father and Martyr

An excerpt from a Letter on the Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp by the Church of Smyrna

When the pyre was ready, Polycarp took off all his clothes and loosened his under-garment.   He made an effort also to remove his shoes, though he had been unaccustomed to this, for the faithful always vied with each other in their haste to touch his body.   Even before his martyrdom he had received every mark of honour in tribute to his holiness of life.

There and then, he was surrounded by the material for the pyre.   When they tried to fasten him also with nails, he said:  “Leave me as I am.   The one who gives me strength to endure the fire will also give me strength to stay quite still on the pyre, even without the precaution of your nails.”   So they did not fix him to the pyre with nails but only fastened him instead.   Bound as he was, with hands behind his back, he stood like a mighty ram, chosen out for sacrifice from a great flock, a worthy victim made ready to be offered to God.

Looking up to heaven, he said:  “Lord, almighty God, Father of Your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have come to the knowledge of Yourself, God of angels, of powers, of all creation, of all the race of saints who live in Your sight, I bless You for judging me worthy of this day, this hour, so that in the company of the martyrs I may share the cup of Christ, Your anointed one and so rise again to eternal life in soul and body, immortal through the power of the Holy Spirit.   May I be received among the martyrs in Your presence today as a rich and pleasing sacrifice.   God of truth, stranger to falsehood, You have prepared this and revealed it to me and now You have fulfilled Your promise.   I praise You for all things, I bless You, I glorify you through the eternal priest of heaven, Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son.   Through Him be glory to You, together with Him and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.”prayer-before-his-martyrdom-st-polycarp-23-feb-2019.jpg

When he had said “Amen” and finished the prayer, the officials at the pyre lit it.   But, when a great flame burst out, those of us privileged to see it witnessed a strange and wonderful thing.   Indeed, we have been spared in order to tell the story to others.   Like a ship’s sail swelling in the wind, the flame became as it were a dome encircling the martyr’s body.   Surrounded by the fire, his body was like bread that is baked, or gold and silver white-hot in a furnace, not like flesh that has been burnt.   So sweet a fragrance came to us that it was like that of burning incense or some other costly and sweet-smelling gum.

The fire was lighted but it did him no hurt, so he was stabbed to the heart and his dead body was burnt.   “Then,” say the writers of his acts, “we took up the bones, more precious than the richest jewels or gold and deposited them in a fitting place, at which may God grant us to assemble with joy to celebrate the birthday of the martyr to his life in heaven!”

St Polycarp was a Christian leader in a pagan world. He spoke clearly and simply, fearless in love and defense of Christ, even though persecutions raged around him. He sought only to hand on the message he had been given by John. Even as Polycarp prepared for martyrdom, his joy and confident trust were evident to all.

The community of believers celebrated the anniversary of Polycarp’s death with great joy, for in him they had seen an outstanding example of love and patience.   He had held strong and had won the treasure of eternal life.   Polycarp is remembered as an Apostolic Father, one who was a disciple of the apostles.

St Polycarp, Pray for the Church, Pray for Us!st-polycarp-pray-for-us-23-feb-2019.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on PERSEVERANCE, QUOTES on the CHURCH, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, QUOTES on TRUST in GOD, QUOTES on TRUTH, QUOTES on UNITY, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 23 February – “Stand Fast!” – St Polycarp

Quote/s of the Day – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69–c 155) Martyr and Apostolic Father of the Church

“Stand fast, therefore,
in this conduct
and follow the example of the Lord,
firm and unchangeable in faith,
lovers of the brotherhood,
loving each other,
united in truth,
helping each other
with the mildness of the Lord,
despising no man.”

St Polycarp, Letter to the Philippiansstand fast therefore in this conduct - st polycarp - 23 feb 2019

“Let us, therefore,
forsake the vanity
of the crowd and their
false teachings
and turn back
to the Word delivered to us
from the beginning.”let us therefore forsake the vanity of the crowd st polycarp 23feb2019

“Hear me declare
with boldness,
I am a Christian!”

St Polycarp (c 69–c 155) Martyr

and Apostolic Father of the Churchhear me declare with boldness i am a christian st polycarp - 23 feb 2019

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, SAINT of the DAY, The TRANSFIGURATION, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 23 February – The witness of the Prophets leads to the witness of the Apostles

One Minute Reflection – 23 February – Saturday of the Sixth week in Ordinary Time, Year C – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69–c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain, apart by themselves and he was transfigured before them and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses and they were talking to Jesus…Mark 9:2-4

The witness of the Prophets leads to the witness of the Apostles

REFLECTION – “It was the will of the Lord Jesus that Moses alone (though he was accompanied, it is true, by Joshua (Ex 24:13)) should climb the mountain to receive the law.   In the gospel too, out of His many disciples He limited the revelation of His risen glory to three – Peter, James and John.   Wishing to put no stumbling block in the way of His weaker followers, whose vacillating minds might prevent them from taking in the full meaning of the paschal mystery, He chose to keep His redemptive plan a secret and repeatedly warned Peter, James and John not to talk freely about what they had seen. Peter, in fact, did not know what to say.   He thought of setting up three shelters for the Lord and His attendants.   Then he found himself unable to bear the brilliance of the glory radiating from His transfigured Lord.   Together with those “sons of thunder” (Mk 3:17), James and John, he fell to the ground (Mt 17:6)…

They entered the cloud in order to receive knowledge of hidden, secret matters and there they heard the voice of God saying:  “This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”   What does “This is my beloved Son” mean?   The implication is as follows: Make no mistake, Simon.   Do not imagine God’s Son can be put into the same category as the servants who attend him.   This man is my Son – neither Moses nor Elijah can be given that title, even though the one opened the sea and the other closed the heavens. Both of them exercised dominion over the elements but it was by the power of the Lord’s word that they did so (Ex 14; 1 Kgs 17:1).   They were only servants, it was the Lord who made the waters into a solid wall, the Lord who caused the drought that closed the heavens and the Lord who, in his own time, opened them to release the rain.

For evidence of the resurrection to be accepted, the combined witness of those servants is required.   But when the glory of their risen Lord is revealed, the servant’ aureole is lost in shadow.   Sunrise obscures the stars, the light of the heavenly bodies grows pale before the brilliance of the sun shining on this material world.   How then could human stars attract notice in the presence of the eternal Sun of Justice?   (Mal 3:20).”…St Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctormark 9 2 and he wwas transfigured - sunrise obscures the stars st ambrose 23 feb 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Lord of all creation, let us praise You with voice and mind and deed. Let us too give glory to Your Holy Son and bask in the Sun of Justice! Grant us a place in the reflection of His Light to shine on those around us.   As You gave St Polycarp, a place in the company of the Martyrs, grant us our eternal joy with him and all Your angels and saints.   May his intercession, give us the strength to drink from that cup which Christ drank and so rise to eternal life.   Through Christ our Lord, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.st-polycarp-pray-for-us-no-2-23-feb-2018.jpg

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorials of the Saints – 23 February

St Polycarp of Smyrna (c 69 – c 155) (Memorial)
St Polycarp’s life and death: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/saint-of-the-day-23-february-st-polycarp-c-69-c-155-martyr-and-father-of-the-church/

St Alexander Akimetes
St Boswell
St Dositheus of Egypt
St Felix of Brescia
St Florentius of Seville
St Giovanni Theristi
Bl Giovannina Franchi
Bl John of Hungary
Bl Josephine Vannini
Bl Juan Lucas Manzanares
Bl Ludwik Mzyk
St Martha of Astorga
St Medrald
St Milburga
Bl Nicolas Tabouillot
St Ordonius
St Polycarp of Rome
Bl Rafaela Ybarra de Villalongo
St Romana
St Serenus the Gardener (Died 307) Martyr
Bl Stefan Wincenty Frelichowski
St Willigis of Mainz
St Zebinus of Syria

Martyrs of Syrmium – 73 Christians who were martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know no details about them, and only six of their names – Antigonus, Libius, Rogatianus, Rutilus, Senerotas and Syncrotas.

Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on CHARITY, SPEAKING of .....

Quote/s of the Day – 26 November – Today’s Gospel: Luke 21:1-4 “The Widow’s Mite”

Quote/s of the Day – 26 November – Today’s Gospel: Luke 21:1-4 “The Widow’s Mite”

Speaking of:  Almsgiving

“When you can do good,
defer it not, because
“alms delivers from death.”

St Polycarp (69-155)when you can do good defer it not - st polycarp - speaking alms - 26 nov 2018

“In the matter of piety, poverty serves us better than wealth
and work better than idleness, especially since wealth
becomes an obstacle even for those
who do not devote themselves to it.
Yet, when we must put aside our wrath, quench our envy,
soften our anger, offer our prayers and show a disposition
which is reasonable, mild, kindly and loving,
how could poverty stand in our way?
For we accomplish these things not by spending money
but by making the correct choice.
Almsgiving, above all else, requires money but even this,
shines, with a brighter lustre, when the alms are given
from our poverty.
The widow who paid in the two mites, was poorer
than any human but she outdid them all.”

St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctoralmsgiving, above all else, - st john chrysostom - speaking of alms - 26 nov 2018

“As far as you can, do some manual work.
so as to be able to give alms, for it is written,
that alms and faith purify from sin.”

St Poemen (340-450)it is written that alms - speaking of alms - st poemen - 26 nov 2018

“Let us give alms because these
cleanse our souls from the stains of sin.
Men lose all the material things
they leave behind them in this world
but they carry with them the reward of their charity
and the alms they give.
For these they will receive from the Lord
the reward and recompense they deserve.”

St Francis of Assisi (c 1181-1226)let us give alms - st francis - speaking of alms - 26 nov 2018

“Satisfaction consists in the cutting off
of the causes of the sin.
Thus, fasting is the proper antidote to lust;
prayer to pride, to envy, anger and sloth;
alms to covetousness.”

St Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)satisfaction consists - st richard of chichester speaking of alms - 26 nov 2018

“If you are attached to the things of this earth,
you should give alms sufficient, to enable you
to punish your avarice, by depriving yourself,
of all, that is not absolutely necessary for life.”

St John Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)if you are attached - st john vianney -speaking of alms - 26 nov 2018

Posted in MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Apostolic Father of the Church

Thought for the Day – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Apostolic Father of the Church

The story of Polycarp’s martyrdom is the earliest recorded account of a Christian martyr.

Polycarp was a disciple of St John the apostle.   While still quite young, he became the bishop of Smyrna and was one of the most respected leaders in the first half of the second century.   St Ignatius of Antioch and St Irenaeus spoke highly of him and people loved him very much.

Polycarp was seized for being a Christian.   Persecution and death would not tear him away from Jesus now.   Polycarp was led into the stadium of Smyrna.   The crowd demanded that he be left to the lions but instead he was sentenced to death by fire.   An eyewitness account claims that the flames didn’t harm him.   He was finally killed by the sword and his body was burned.

The community of believers celebrated the anniversary of Polycarp’s death with great joy, for in him they had seen an outstanding example of love and patience.   He had held strong and had won the treasure of eternal life.   Polycarp is remembered as an Apostolic Father, one who was a disciple of the apostles.

St Polycarp was a Christian leader in a pagan world.   He spoke clearly and simply, fearless in love and defense of Christ, even though persecutions raged around him.   He sought only to hand on the message he had been given by John.   Even as Polycarp prepared for martyrdom, his joy and confident trust were evident to all.

St Polycarp pray for us!st polycarp - pray for us - no 2 - 23 feb 2018

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on PERSECUTION, QUOTES on SUFFERING, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church

Quote/s of the Day – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church

“Stand fast, therefore, in this conduct
and follow the example of the Lord, firm
and unchangeable in faith, lovers of the brotherhood,
loving each other, united in truth,
helping each other with the mildness of the Lord, despising no man.”

“You threaten me with fire
which burns for an hour
and after a little is extinguished
but are ignorant of the fire
of the coming judgement
and of eternal punishment,
reserved for the ungodly.”

“Let us, therefore, forsake the vanity of the crowd
and their false teachings and turn back to the word
delivered to us from the beginning.”

“Hear me declare with boldness, I am a Christian!”

St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Churchquotes of st polycarp-23 feb 2018

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, LENT, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on SUFFERING, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church

One Minute Reflection – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church and Friday of the First Week of Lent 2018

Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear news of you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind struggling together for the faith of the gospel...Philippians 1:27

REFLECTION – “Eighty and six years have I served Christ, nor has He ever done me any harm.   How, then, could I blaspheme my King who saved Me?….I bless Thee for deigning me worthy of this day and this hour that I may be among Thy martyrs and drink the cup of my Lord Jesus Christ.”…St Polycarpeight and six years have I served Christ - st polycarp - 23 feb 2018

PRAYER – Lord of all creation, You gave St Polycarp, a place in the company of the Martyrs.   Grant that, through his intercession, we may, like him, drink from that cup which Christ drank and so rise to eternal life.   Through Christ our Lord, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.st polycarp - pray for us - 23 feb 2018

Posted in MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church

Our Morning Offering – 23 February – The Memorial of St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church

Prayer Before His Martyrdom
St Polycarp

Lord God almighty,
Father of Jesus Christ,
Your dear Son,
through whom we have come to know You,
God of the angels and powers,
God of all creation,
God of those who live in Your presence,
the race of the just, I bless You.
You have considered me worthy
of this day and hour,
worthy to be numbered with the Martyrs
and to drink the cup of Your Anointed One,
and thus to rise and live forever,
body and soul,
in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit.
Amenprayer before his martyrdom - st polycarp - 23 feb 2018

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

Saint of the Day – 23 February – St Polycarp (c 69 – c 155) Martyr and Father of the Church

Saint of the Day – 23 February – St Polycarp of Smyrna – (69-155) – Martyr, Apostolic Church Father and Bishop of Smyrna, Writer, Preacher, Theologian – Patron against dysentery and earache.   Bishop of Smyrna (Asia Minor), Polycarp was martyred between 155 and 167.   His name means “much fruit”.HEADER - st polycarp

It is recorded by St Irenaeus, who heard him speak in his youth and by Tertullian, that he had been a disciple of John the Apostle.    Saint Jerome wrote that Polycarp was a disciple of John and that John had ordained him bishop of Smyrna.

With Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp is regarded as one of three chief Apostolic Fathers.   The sole surviving work attributed to his authorship is his Letter to the Philippians and a letter addressed to him by Ignatius of Antioch, he is known especially for the account of his martyrdom, the first such account to be written after the narrative of Stephen’s martyrdom in the Acts of the Apostles.   This extraordinary narrative was composed shortly after Polycarp’s death.   Many passages should be quoted here, like this one, where the governor invites Polycarp to curse Christ.   Here is the bishop’s response:

“For eighty six years I have been His servant and He has done me no wrong.   How can I blaspheme against my king and saviour?”   

This text is also the first one where we find a mention of the cult of relics and of the celebration of the anniversary of the martyrdom:  “Collecting the remains that were dearer to us than precious stones and finer than gold, we buried them in a fitting spot. Gathering there, so far as we can, in joy and gladness, we will be allowed by the Lord to celebrate the anniversary day of his martyrdom, both as a memorial for those who have already fought the contest and for the training and preparation of those who will do so one day.”

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

Quote/s of the Day – 16 January – The memorial of St Joseph Vaz (1651-1711) Apostle of Sri Lanka – “Speaking of Charity”

Quote/s of the Day – 16 January –  The memorial of St Joseph Vaz (1651-1711) Apostle of Sri Lanka – “Speaking of Charity”

“Help one another
with the generosity
of the Lord
and despise no one.
When you have
the opportunity
to do good,
do not let it go by.”

St Polycarp of Smyrna (69-155) Father of the Churchhelp one another - st polycarp - 16 jan 2018

“No one has ever been accused
for not providing ornaments
…Do not, therefore, adorn the church
and ignore your afflicted brother,
for he is the most precious temple of all.”

St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Churchno one has ever - st john chrysostom - 16 jan 2018

“Beauty grows in you to the extent that love grows
because charity itself is the soul’s beauty.”

“You cannot attain to charity except through humility.”

St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Churchbeauty grows in you - st augustine - 16 jan 2018

“It is by the path of love, which is charity,
that God draws near to man and man to God.
But where charity is not found,
God cannot dwell.
If, then, we possess charity,
we possess God, for “God is Charity”

St Albert the Great (1200-1280) Doctor of the Churchit is by the path of love - st albert the great - 16 jan 2018

If you want God to hear your prayers,
hear the voice of the poor.
If you wish God to anticipate your wants,
provide those of the needy without waiting
for them to ask you.
Especially anticipate the needs of those
who are ashamed to beg.
To make them ask for alms is to make them buy it.”

St Thomas of Villanova (1486-1555)if you want god to hear your prayers - st homas of villanova - 16 jan 2018

“No man discovers anything big
if he does not make himself small.”

“Show me your hands.
Do they have scars from giving?
Show me your feet.
Are they wounded in service?
Show me your heart.
Have you left a place for divine love?”

Venerable Fulton J Sheen (1895-1979)no man discovers - ven fulton sheen - 16 jan 2018

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, Uncategorized

Thought for the Day – 23 February

Thought for the Day – 23 February

We may not be required to give our lives for our faith but we all have to suffer something for our beliefs and our fidelity. It is when things are difficult that faith is really faith. A faith that is good only in good times is scarcely faith at all. We are all called to witness to our faith in some way.   Polycarp was recognised as a Christian leader by all Asia Minor Christians—a strong fortress of faith and loyalty to Jesus Christ.   His own strength emerged from his trust in God, even when events contradicted this trust.   Living among pagans and under a government opposed to the new religion, he led and fed his flock.   Like the Good Shepherd, he laid down his life for his sheep and kept them from more persecution in Smyrna.   He summarised his trust in God just before he died: “Father… I bless Thee, for having made me worthy of the day and the hour…” (Acts of Martyrdom, Chapter 14).

father-i-bless-thee-stpolycarpst-polycarp-pray-for-us

 

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, Uncategorized

Quote/s of the Day – 23 February

Quote/s of the Day – 23 February

“Eighty and six years have I served Christ,
nor has He ever done me any harm.
How, then, could I blaspheme my King who saved Me?….
I bless Thee for deigning me worthy of this day
and this hour that I may be among Thy martyrs
and drink the cup of my Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Let us, therefore, foresake the vanity of the crowd
and their false teachings and turn back to the word
delivered to us from the beginning.”

“You threaten me with fire which burns for an hour
and after a little is extinguished
but are ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment
and of eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly.”

~~~~~ St Polycarp

quotes-of-st-polycarpyou-threaten-me-with-fire-st-polycarp

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

One Minute Reflection – 23 February

One Minute Reflection – 23 February

There is a time and judgment for everything………Eccl 8:6

REFLECTION – “Stand fast, therefore, in this conduct and follow the example of the Lord, firm and unchangeable in faith, lovers of the brotherhood, loving each other, united in truth,’ helping each other with the mildness of the Lord, despising no man.”…………..St Polycarp

PRAYER – God of goodness, let me never allow an opportunity for good to be wasted. Help me take advantage of every moment at my disposal to do good.   St Polycarp pray for us, amen.

stand-fast-therefore-st-polycarp

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 23 February – St Polycarp of Smyrna

Saint of the Day – 23 February – St Polycarp of Smyrna – (69-156) – Martyr, Apostolic Church Father and Bishop of Smyrna, Writer, Preacher, Theologian – Patron against dysentery and earache.

Polycarp is regarded as a saint and Church Father in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches. His name ‘Polycarp’ means ‘much fruit’ in Greek.

It is recorded by Irenaeus, who heard him speak in his youth, and by Tertullian, that he had been a disciple of John the Apostle.    Saint Jerome wrote that Polycarp was a disciple of John and that John had ordained him bishop of Smyrna.

With Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp is regarded as one of three chief Apostolic Fathers.   The sole surviving work attributed to his authorship is his Letter to the Philippians; it is first recorded by Irenaeus of Lyons.

According to St Irenaeus, Polycarp was a companion of Papias, another “hearer of John” as Irenaeus interprets Papias’ testimony and a correspondent of Ignatius of Antioch.   Ignatius addressed a letter to him, and mentions him in his letters to the Ephesians and to the Magnesians.

Irenaeus regarded the memory of Polycarp as a link to the apostolic past. He relates how and when he became a Christian, and in his letter to Florinus stated that he saw and heard Polycarp personally in lower Asia. Irenaeus wrote to Florinus:

“I could tell you the place where the blessed Polycarp sat to preach the Word of God.   It is yet present to my mind with what gravity he everywhere came in and went out;  what was the sanctity of his deportment, the majesty of his countenance;  and what were his holy exhortations to the people.   I seem to hear him now relate how he conversed with John and many others who had seen Jesus Christ, the words he had heard from their mouths.”

In particular, he heard the account of Polycarp’s discussion with John and with others who had seen Jesus.   Irenaeus also reports that Polycarp was converted to Christianity by apostles, was consecrated a bishop and communicated with many who had seen Jesus.   He repeatedly emphasizes the very great age of Polycarp.   Polycarp kissed the chains of Ignatius when he passed by Smyrna on the road to Rome for his martyrdom.

Polycarp occupies an important place in the history of the early Christian Church.   He is among the earliest Christians whose writings survived.   Saint Jerome wrote that Polycarp was a “disciple of the apostle John and by him ordained bishop of Smyrna”.   He was an elder of an important congregation which was a large contributor to the founding of the Christian Church.
Irenaeus, who had heard him preach in his youth, said of him: “a man who was of much greater weight and a more steadfast witness of truth, than Valentinus and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics”. Polycarp had learned from apostle John to flee from those who change the divine truth. One day he met in the streets of Rome the heretic Marcion who, resenting that Polycarp did not greet him, said: “Do you know me?” The saint replied: “Yes, I know you, the first-born of Satan.”    Polycarp lived in an age after the deaths of the apostles, when a variety of interpretations of the sayings of Jesus were being preached.   His role was to authenticate orthodox teachings through his reputed connection with the apostle John: “a high value was attached to the witness Polycarp could give as to the genuine tradition of old apostolic doctrine”, Wace commented, “his testimony condemning as offensive novelties the figments of the heretical teachers”.   Irenaeus states (iii. 3) that on Polycarp’s visit to Rome, his testimony converted many disciples of Marcion and Valentinus.

The story of Polycarp’s martyrdom is the earliest recorded account of a Christian martyr. Polycarp was seized for being a Christian.   Persecution and death would not tear him away from Jesus now.   Polycarp was led into the stadium of Smyrna.   The crowd demanded that he be left to the lions, but instead he was sentenced to death by fire.   An eyewitness account claims that the flames didn’t harm him.   He was finally killed by the sword, and his body was burned.

The community of believers celebrated the anniversary of Polycarp’s death with great joy, for in him they had seen an outstanding example of love and patience.   He had held strong and had won the treasure of eternal life.   Polycarp is remembered as an Apostolic Father, one who was a disciple of the apostles.