Quote/s of the Day –16 April – “The Month of the Resurrection” – Low Sunday, The Octave Day of Easter – 1 John 5:4-10, John 20. 19-31 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“ Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed.”
“Your faith has saved you.”
“The blind man does not ask the Lord for gold but for Light. He sets little store by asking anything but Light … Let us imitate him, dearly beloved … Let us not ask the Lord for deceitful riches, or earthly gifts, or passing honours but for Light. And let us not ask for light shut up in one place, or limited by time, or ending with the coming of night. The beasts behold such light just as we do. Let us ask for the Light which we can see with Angels alone, Light without beginning or end. The way to this Light is faith. Hence Jesus immediately says to the blind man, who is to be enlightened: “Raise your eyes, your faith has saved you!”
“Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”
“Truth is exhorting His elect by saying: “When the disasters of the world become more frequent… let your hearts exult! While the world, which is not your friend, is coming to an end, the redemption you have sought ,is coming near.!” Those who love God are ordered to rejoice and be merry at the world’s end. They will soon find Him Whom they love, while what they have not loved is passing away. It should be far from the hearts of all the faithful who long to see God, to grieve over the disasters of a world, for they know, these very disasters, are soon to end. It is written that: “Whoever wishes to be a friend of this world, makes himself an enemy of God” (Jas 4,4).”
St Gregory the Great (540-604) Pope, Confessor, Father and Doctor “Father of the Fathers”
One Minute Reflection – 10 April – “The Month of the Resurrection” – Easter Monday – Acts 10:37-43, Luke 24:13-35 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“You know the word which hath been published through all Judea; for it began from Galilee …” – Acts 10:37
REFLECTION – “It is aptly said of our Redeemer that: “He is going on ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, as He said to you.” Galilee is interpreted: “the passing has been completed.” In truth our Redeemer had now passed from His Passion to His Resurrection, from His Death to Life, from punishment to glory, from corruption to incorruption. After His Resurrection, He was first seen by His disciples in Galilee because we will happily see the glory of His Resurrection later, if we now pass from vice to the height of virtue. There is a “passing” to be accomplished because, He, Who was proclaimed at the sepulchre, has to be seen in another place…
There were two lives. One we know about, of the other we are ignorant; One is mortal, the other immortal; One is corruptible, the other incorruptible; One ends in Death, the other in Resurrection. But the Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus (1Tim 2,5), came. He took upon Himself, the One and revealed to us, the other; the One He bore by Dying and the other He revealed by Rising. If He had promised resurrection of the body to us, who knew this mortal life but did not visibly manifest it, who would have believed His promises?” – St Gregory the Great (540-604) Pope, Father and Doctor of the Church (Homilies on the Gospels 21, 6-7).
PRAYER – O God, Who dost heal the sick world by the solemn gladness of the Passover, continue, we beseech Thee, to pour forth Thine heavenly gifts upon Thy people, until the same shall bring them into perfect liberty and finally, avail them unto life everlasting .Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
One Minute Reflection – 21 March – Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Lent and the Memorial of St Benedict OSB (c 480-547) Abbot – Ecclesiasticus 45:1-6, Matthew 19:27-29 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“And everyone who has left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My Name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold and shall possess life everlasting.” – Matthew 19:29
REFLECTION – “No-one should say to himself, even when he regards others who have left a great deal behind: “I want to imitate those who despise this world but I have nothing to leave behind.” You leave a great deal behind, my friends, if you renounce your desires. Our external possessions, no matter how small, are enough for the Lord, He weighs the heart and not the substance and does not measure the amount we sacrifice for Him but the effort with which we bring it…. The Kingdom of God has no assessment value put on it but it is worth everything you have… To Peter and Andrew it was worth the nets and boat they gave up; to the widow it was worth two small coins (Lk 21:2); to another person it was worth a cup of cold water (Mt 10:42). The Kingdom of God, as I said, is worth everything you have. Think about it, my friends, what has less value when you purchase it, what is more precious when you possess it?
But perhaps a cup of cold water offered to someone who needs it, is not enough, even then the Word of God gives us assurance…: “Peace on earth to men of goodwill!” (Lk 2:4). In the sight of God, no hand is ever empty of a gift, if the deep places of the heart are filled with goodwill… Although I have no gifts to offer outwardly, yet I find within myself something to place on the Altar of Thou praise…: Thou art better pleased with an offering of our heart! (cf. Ps 55:13).” – St Gregory the Great (540-604) Pope, Father and Doctor of the Church (Sermons on the Gospel no 5).
PRAYER – May the intercession of the blessed Abbot Benedict, commend us to Thee, O Lord, so that through his merits we may obtain that which we cannot accomplish by our own. T hrough Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.. Amen (Collect).
One Minute Reflection – 12 March – The Third Sunday in Lent and the Feast of St Gregory the Great (540-604) – Pope, Confessor, Father & Doctor of the Church, “Father of the Fathers” – Ephesians 5:1-9, Luke 11,14-28 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste.” – Luke 11:17
REFLECTION –“No-one can have God as his father, if he does not have the Church as his mother… The Lord warned us of this when He said: “Whoever is not with me, is against me and whoever does not gather together with me, scatters.” The person who breaks the peace and concord of Christ, acts against Christ; the person who gathers together, outside of the Church, scatters the Church of Christ.
The Lord said: “The Father and I are one.” (Jn 10:30) It is also written of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: “These three are one.” (1 Jn 5:7) From now on, who can believe, that the unity, which has its origin in this divine harmony, which is linked with this heavenly mystery, can be divided up in the Church… through conflicts of will? Whoever does not observe this unity, neither observes the law of God, nor faith, in the Father and the Son – he keeps neither life, nor salvation.
In the gospel, this sacrament of unity, this bond of concord, in indissoluble cohesion, is shown us through the Lord’s tunic. It could neither be divided nor torn but they drew lots, so as to know who would put on Christ (Jn 19:24)… It is the symbol of unity, that comes from on high.” – St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200- c 258) Bishop and Martyr, Father of the Church (On the unity of the Church).
PRAYER – O God, Who granted the rewards of everlasting happiness to the soul of Thy servant Gregory, mercifully grant that we, who are weighed down with the burden of our sins, may be raised up by his prayers to Thee. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Martyrs of Nicomedia – 8 Beati: Christians who were Martyred in succession in a single incident during the persecutions of Diocletian. First there were the eight imprisoned Christians, Domna, Esmaragdus, Eugene, Hilary, Mardonius, Maximus, Mígdonus and Peter, about whom we know little more than their names. Each day for eight days one of them would be strangled to death in view of the others so that they would spend the night in dread, not knowing if they were next. Peter was the chamberlain or butler in the palace of Diocletian. When he was overheard complaining about this cruelty, he was exposed as a Christian, arrested, tortured and executed by having the flesh torn from his bones, salt and vinegar poured on the wounds and then being roasted to death over a slow fire. Gorgonio was an army officer and member of the staff in the house of emperor Diocletian, Doroteo was a staff clerk. They were each exposed as Christians when they were overhead objecting to the torture and murder of Peter. This led to their own arrest, torture and executions. Died in 303 in Nicomedia, Bithynia (in modern Turkey) Additional Memorial – 28 December as part of the 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia. Beatified on 14 January 1891 by Pope Leo XIII (cultus confirmation).
St Lucius of Adrianople St Pedro de Jesús Maldonado-Lucero St Saturninus of Africa St Secundus of Puglia St Severinus of Agaunum St Soter of Rome St Theodora the Empress Bl Tobias Francisco Borrás Román
Guardians of the Sacred Scriptures: Also known as – • Anonymous Martyrs in Africa • Martyrs of Africa • Martyrs of Numidia • Martyrs of the Sacred Books A large number of Christians tortured and murdered in Numidia (part of modern Algeria) during the persecutions of Diocletian but whose names and individual lives have not survived. They were ordered to surrender their sacred books to be burned. They refused. Martyrs. c 303 in Numidia.
Martyrs of Africa – 5 Saints: A group of five Christians who were Martyred together; we know nothing else but the names of four of them – Cyriacus, Oecominius, Peleonicus and Zoticus.
In 1858, there lived in the village of Lourdes, a little peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous, 14 years old, uneducated, simple, poor, good. On 11 February, she was sent with two more girls to collect wood. They walked to the Rock of Massabielle, where the two companions crossed a mountain stream; while Bernadette was removing her shoes to follow them, she became conscious of a ravishing beautiful Lady, standing in the hollow of the rock, looking at her. Bernadette fell involuntarily upon her knees, gazing enraptured at the lovely Lady, who smiled lovingly at Bernadette and then disappeared. The mysterious Lady from heaven appeared in all, eighteen times to the little girl and among other things told her to drink the water from a mysterious fountain which was not yet observed. Bernadette scratched in the sand at a spot indicated and water began to trickle through the earth; after a few days there gushed forth every day 27,000 gallons of pure, clear spring water and this water flows still.
Bernadette was asked by Our Lady of Lourdes, who always showed her a sweet heavenly courtesy, to request the Priest to have a Church built on the spot, that processions should be made to the grotto, that people should drink of the water. The main emphasis of her message was that the faithful should visit the grotto in order to do penance for their sins and for those of the whole world. In answer to Bernadette’s inquiry, “Who are you?” the Lady answered, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
The apparitions appeared for the last time on 16 July 1858. Bernadette never again had the supreme privilege of seeing and visiting with Our Lady. Later, Bernadette became a nun at Nevers and there spent the rest of her life. Through her, “Lourdes was destined to become a focus of faith and mercy; thousands of souls were to flock thither to increase their piety, to borrow new energy and resolution. Suffering and charity were to join hands under the eyes of the Divine Mother. Miracles were to be never-ceasing.” Four years after, the Bishop declared, upon an exhaustive and scrupulous investigation, to the faithful, that they are “justified in believing the reality of the apparitions.” In 1873, a Basilica was built on top of the rock and in 1883 another Church was built below and in front of the rock. From 1867 when records began to be kept until 1908, about 5,000,000 pilgrims had visited the grotto; now about 1,000,000 people visit Lourdes every year. Although Our Lady never at any time promised that pilgrims who visited the grotto would be healed of their physical ills, remarkable cures began at once and have continued ever since. Many of them are of such a character that they can be ascribed only to supernatural power.
There is no doubt that the cures are miraculous because every possible natural cause has been proved false. There is no chemical composition in the water to make it have curative properties. It has been claimed that the cures might be due to suggestion but Bernheim, head of the famous school of Nancy, says that although suggestion has a chance of success in certain functional diseases, it requires the co-operation of time. Suggestion cures slowly and progressively, while complete cures at Lourdes are instantaneous, the supreme Life Giver Himself is responsible for the many cures witnessed at this shrine of the Immaculate Conception and He chose a simple peasant to reveal to the world the love He bears all mankind, as the adopted children of His Blessed Mother. Bernadette died in 1879 at the age of 35 and was later Canonised. The body of the blessed Saint can still be seen in its glass coffin, intact and incorrupt, looking as its photographs show, like a young woman asleep. The chair at which she prayed, the altar where she received her First Holy Communion, the bed in which she slept, the room in which she lived – all can be seen at Lourdes. Lourdes is one of the greatest Marian shrines in the world. Here, praying to Our Lady of Lourdes, one may obtain refreshment, courage, energy and inspiration to continue the age-old struggle of the great Catholic Faith against the forces of darkness and disintegration. This great shrine, all its miracles and the streams of grace that are poured into the world through Our Lady of Lourdes, were made possible, through the faithfulness and the sanctity of a little peasant girl. Amen Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us, St Bernadette, pray for us!
St Lucius of Adrianople St Pope Paschal I St Pedro de Jesús Maldonado-Lucero St Saturninus of Africa St Secundus of Puglia St Severinus of Agaunum St Soter of Rome St Theodora the Empress Bl Tobias Francisco Borrás Román — Guardians of the Holy Scriptures: Also known as – • Anonymous Martyrs in Africa • Martyrs of Africa • Martyrs of Numidia • Martyrs of the Holy Books A large number of Christians tortured and murdered in Numidia (part of modern Algeria) during the persecutions of Diocletian, but whose names and individual stories have not survived. They were ordered to surrender their sacred books to be burned. They refused. Martyrs. c 303 in Numidia.
Martyrs of Africa – 5 saints: A group of five Christians who were martyred together; we know nothing else but the names of four of them – Cyriacus, Oecominius, Peleonicus and Zoticus.
Quote/s of the Day – 11 February – The Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes and St Pope Gregory II (669-731)
“I am the Immaculate Conception.”
Our Lady of Lourdes to St Bernadette
25 March 1858
St Pope Gregory II “Defender of Icons”
Here is an excerpt of one of his letters to the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, Leo III the Isaurian, who became an iconoclast and issued an imperial decree forbidding the use of sacred images:
“The pious Emperors were submissive to the Pontiffs of the Church and never dishonoured them. You, on the contrary, since the day when you apostatised from the Faith, incurring the same curse that [in previous letters] you made against those who persecute sacred ministers and condemning yourself by your own decree, you have separated yourself from the Holy Ghost and you do persecute and tyrannise us, by the hands of your soldiers and earthly weapons. We do not have weapons or armies but we invoke the King of the whole Universe, Christ, Who is seated in Heaven over all the celestial powers and armies, to deliver you to Satan, as the Apostle says, in the flesh and the spirit.
We are travelling to the far East to assist those who are asking for Baptism. I had already sent Bishops and priests from my Church to them. The Princes of those places have not yet been washed in the waters of the Baptism and they have chosen me as Godfather. So, we need to be on our way, fearful lest one day God will ask an account for our negligence.
I pray God to give you prudence and repentance so that you will return to the truth that you left and bring the people to the bosom of the Catholic Church.”
Saint of the Day – 11 February – Saint Pope Gregory II (669-731) “Defender of Icons” – Papacy began 19 May 715 – Papacy ended 11 February 731 the day of his death of natural causes. Pope Gregory was a man of immense intellect and used his talents in negotiating peace in times of war and fought for the truth of the faith against heresies. He was a miracle-worker who placed all his trust in God ‘s Divine Providence.
Gregory was born to noble parents, Marcellus and Honesta, around 669. As a very young man, he was brought to the papal court. During the reign of Pope Sergius I (687-701), he served as Subdeacon and paymaster/almoner. Later, he became a Deacon and was placed in charge of the Vatican library. By the time of Pope Constantine, Gregory was noted for his superior intelligence. He became Papal Secretary and was the main negotiator in Constantinople for the pope regarding the Quinsext Council documents.
Pope Constantine died on 9 April 715. Gregory was quickly elected and consecrated on the 19 May. He immediately began the repair of the city walls, requested by Pope Sisinnius several years before. As the repairs were underway, storms and major flooding of the Tiber damaged much in the city in October 716. Gregory ordered litanies to be said for the protection of Rome. The waters stopped at the foot of the Capitoline Hill.
Right away, Gregory had to, once again, defend orthodoxy against Monothelitism, the teaching that Christ had only one nature. Finally, in 716, Theodo, Duke of Bavaria, met with Gregory to discuss the continuing Christian conversions. Gregory sent delegates to Bavaria with instructions. His continuing interest in this country led him to consecrate St Corbinian Bishop of Freising.
Two years after meeting Theodo, Gregory met with Winfred, the Anglo-Saxon missionary. He changed the priest’s name to Boniface and commissioned him to preach in Germany. Over the years, letters of interest and congratulations were exchanged between the two. By 726, they were discussing new churches being built.
Gregory supported the Benedictine Monks and helped restore Monte Cassino, which had been severely damaged by the Lombards in 584. The Lombards were still difficult to deal with. In 717, the Duchy of Benevento captured a key spot cutting Rome off from Naples. Gregory had to fund Duke John I of Naples to retake the town. When the Lombard Duke Faroald II of Spoleto captured the port of Ravenna, Gregory brokered a deal to get it returned. The Lombards continued to take Italian territory in bits. He tried to mobilise Charles Martel, the Frank ruler but he had no success. When the iconoclast decrees of the Byzantine emperor occurred in 727, fighting began between the Byzantine forces and the Lombards. Gregory brokered a deal between King Liutprand and the Exarch of Ravenna. In 729, Gregory and Liutprand met and reached a truce, referred to as the Sutri agreement. The towns of Sutri and the hill towns in Latium were given to the Papacy. This was the beginning of the Papal States.
The iconoclast controversy began round 726, when the new emperor, Leo III, demanded that all images of saints be destroyed. He insisted that they cease being venerated. His followers argued a prohibition against venerating images found in the Old Testament. It could lead to idolatry, was the argument. Gregory argued for a symbolic veneration, in much the same way that we are reminded of our loved ones through photographs, nowadays. Gregory persevered in his faith, standing against the Byzantine emperor. He made it a point to counsel the people to be submissive to the authority put over them, however, not to the point of denying their faith. The pope wrote to Emperor Leo III, saying, “I pray God to give you prudence and repentance so that you will return to the truth that you left and bring the people to the bosom of the Catholic Church.” This became one of the largest arguments between Rome and Constantinople, leading, a few centuries later, to a split between the two which has never healed.
One of Pope Gregory’s miracles concerns the victory over Muslim forces at the Battle of Toulouse. According to the Liber Pontificalis, in 720 Pope Gregory sent to Odo, Duke of Aquitaine, “three blessed sponges/baskets of bread”. The Duke kept these and just before the battle outside of Toulouse, he distributed small portions of these to be eaten by his troops. After the battle, it was reported that no-one who had eaten a part of the bread had been killed or wounded.
Pope Gregory died on 11 February 731 after an exhausting 16 year reign. He is considered a saint in the Church, though never formally Canonised (pre-congregation).
St Calocerus of Ravenna
St Castrensis of Capua
St Dativus the Senator
Bl Elizabeth Salviati
St Etchen of Clonfad
St Eutropius of Adrianopolis
St Felix the Senator
St Gobnata St Pope Gregory II (669-731)
Bl Gaudencia Benavides Herrero
St Jonas of Muchon
St Lucius of Adrianople
St Pope Paschal I
St Pedro de Jesús Maldonado-Lucero
St Saturninus of Africa
St Secundus of Puglia
St Severinus of Agaunum
St Soter of Rome
St Theodora the Empress
Bl Tobias Francisco Borrás Román
Guardians of the Holy Scriptures: Also known as –
• Anonymous Martyrs in Africa
• Martyrs of Africa
• Martyrs of Numidia
• Martyrs of the Holy Books
A large number of Christians tortured and murdered in Numidia (part of modern Algeria) during the persecutions of Diocletian, but whose names and individual stories have not survived. They were ordered to surrender their sacred books to be burned. They refused. Martyrs. c 303 in Numidia.
Martyrs of Africa – 5 saints: A group of five Christians who were martyred together; we know nothing else but the names of four of them – Cyriacus, Oecominius, Peleonicus and Zoticus.
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