Saturday, 8 September 2018


Feast of the Nativity
 of the 

Blessed Virgin Mary, 
September 8

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.”
                                                                              Matthew 1:23

We all love to celebrate birthdays.  Today is the birthday celebration of our dear Mother.  In December we honor her Immaculate Conception.  In January we celebrate her as the Mother of God.  In August we celebrate her Assumption into Heaven and there are many other days throughout the year where we honor a unique aspect of her life.  But today is simply her birthday celebration!

Celebrating her birthday is a way of celebrating her simply for being herself.  We do not necessarily focus in on any of the unique, beautiful and profound aspects of her life today.  We do not necessarily look at all she accomplished, her perfect yes to God, her coronation in Heaven, her assumption or any other specifics.  All parts of her are glorious, beautiful, awe-inspiring and worth of their own unique feasts and celebration.

Today, however, we simply celebrate our Blessed Mother because she was created and brought into this world by God and that alone is worth celebrating.  We honor her simply because we love her and we celebrate her birthday as we would celebrate the birthday of anyone we love and care for.

Reflect, today, upon the fact that Mother Mary is your mother.  She truly is your mother and its’s worth celebrating her birthday in the same way you would celebrate anyone’s birthday who was a member of your family.  Your honoring of Mary, today, is a way of solidifying your bond with her and assuring her that you desire her to be an important part of your life.

Happy Birthday, Blessed Mother! We love you dearly!

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee.  Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb JESUS.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

Precious Jesus, through the heart of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, our Mother, we trust in YOU!

--Taken from the book “Daily Reflections for Ordinary Time: Weeks 18-34” by John Paul Thomas

I highly recommend this book which give you a reflection of the reading every day.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Suffering, Tribulation From the writings of St. Rose of Lima

St. Rose of Lima, Virgin

From the writings of St. Rose of Lima

Let us know the love of Christ which surpasses all knowledge

Our Lord and Saviour lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: “Let all men know what grace comes after tribulation.  Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace.  Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase.  Let men take care not to stray and be deceived.  This is the only true stairway to paradise, without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven.

When I heard these words, a strong force came upon me and seemed to place me in the middle of a street, so that I might say in a loud voice to people of every age, sex and status: “Hear, O people; hear, O nations.  I am warning you about the commandment of Christ by using words that came from his own lips: 

We cannot obtain grace unless we suffer afflictions.  
We must heap trouble upon trouble to attain 
a deep participation in the divine nature, 
the glory of the sons of God and perfect happiness of soul.”

That same force urged me to proclaim the beauty of divine grace.  It pressed me so that my breath came slow and forced me to sweat and pant.  I felt as if my soul could no longer be kept in the prison of the body, but that it had burst its chains and was free and alone and was going very swiftly through the whole world saying: 

“If only mortals would learn how great 
it is to possess divine grace, 
how beautiful, how noble, how precious.  
How many riches it hides within itself, 
how many joys and delights!  

Without doubt they would devote all their care and concern to winning for themselves pains and afflictions.  All men throughout the world would seek trouble, infirmities and torments, instead of good fortune, in order to attain the unfathomable treasure of grace.  This is the reward and the final gain of patience.  No one would complain about his cross or about troubles that may happen to him, if he would come to know the scales on which they are weighed when they are distributed to men.”

Beheading of John the Baptist, Martyr August 29

St. John the Baptist

Precursor of Christ 
in Birth and Death
From a homily by Saint Bede the Venerable, priest

As forerunner of our Lord's birth, preaching and death, the blessed John showed in his struggle a goodness worthy of the sight of heaven.  In the words of scripture: Though in the sight of men he suffered torments, his hope is full of immortality.  We justly commemorate the day of his birth with a joyful celebration, a day which he himself made festive for us through his suffering and which he adorned with the crimson splendor of his own blood.  We do rightly revere his memory with joyful hearts, for he stamped with the seal of martyrdom the testimony which he delivered on behalf of our Lord.

There is no doubt that blessed John suffered imprisonment and chains as a witness to our Redeemer, whose forerunner he was, and gave his life for Him.  His persecutor had demanded not that he should deny Christ, but only that he should be kept silent about the truth.  Nevertheless, he died for Christ.  Does Christ not say: I am the truth?  Therefore, because John shed his blood for the truth, he surely died for Christ.

Through his birth, preaching and baptizing, he bore witness to the coming birth, preaching and baptism of Christ, and his own suffering he showed that Christ also would suffer.

St. John he Baptist Imprisonment
Such was the quality and strength of the man who accepted the end of this present life by shedding his blood after the long imprisonment.  He preached the freedom of heavenly peace, yet was thrown into irons by ungodly men; he was locked away in the darkness of prison, though he came bearing witness to the Light itself, which is Christ.  John was baptized in his own blood, though he had been privileged to baptize the Redeemer of the world, to hear the voice of the Father above him, and to see the grace of the Holy Spirit descending upon Him.  But to endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John; rather it was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward.

Beheading of St. John the Baptist
Since death was ever near at hand through the inescapable necessity of nature, such men considered it a blessing to embrace it and thus gain the reward of eternal life by acknowledging Christ’s name.  Hence the apostle Paul rightly says: You have been granted the privilege not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for his sake.  He tells us why it is Christ’s gift that his chosen ones should suffer for him: The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.

Stairway to Heaven

Queenship of Mary

Queen of the World and of Peace

From a homily by Saint Amadeus of Lausanne, bishop

Observe how fitting it was that even before her assumption the name of Mary shone forth wondrously throughout the world. Her fame spread everywhere even before she was raised above the heavens in her magnificence. Because of the honor due her Son, it was indeed fitting for the Virgin Mother to have first ruled upon earth and then be raised up to heaven in glory. It was fitting that her fame be spread in this world below, so that she might enter the heights of heaven in overwhelming blessedness. Just as she was borne from virtue to virtue by the Spirit of the Lord, she was transported from earthly renown to heavenly brightness.

So it was that she began to taste the fruits of her future reign while still in the flesh. At one moment she withdrew to God in ecstasy; at the next she would bend down to her neighbors with indescribable love. In heaven angels served her, while here on earth she was venerated by the service of men. Gabriel and the angels waited upon her in heaven. The virgin John, rejoicing that the Virgin Mother was entrusted to him at the cross, cared for her with the other apostles here below. The angels rejoiced to see their queen; the apostles rejoiced to see their lady, and both obeyed her with loving devotion.

Dwelling in the loftiest citadel of virtue, like a sea of divine grace or an unfathomable source of love that has everywhere overflowed its banks, she poured forth her bountiful waters on trusting and thirsting souls. Able to preserve both flesh and spirit from death she bestowed health-giving salve on bodies and souls. Has anyone ever come away from her troubled or saddened or ignorant of the heavenly mysteries? Who has not returned to everyday life gladdened and joyful because his request had been granted by the Mother of God?

She is a bride, so gentle and affectionate, and the mother of the only true bridegroom. In her abundant goodness she has channeled the spring of reason’s garden, the well of living and life-giving waters that pour forth in a rushing stream from divine Lebanon and flow down from Mount Zion until they surround the shores of every far-flung nation. With divine assistance she has redirected these waters and made them into streams of peace and pools of grace. Therefore, when the Virgin of virgins was led forth by God and her Son, the King of kings, amid the company of exulting angels and rejoicing archangels, with the heavens ringing with praise, the prophecy of the psalmist was fulfilled, in which he said to the Lord: At your right hand stands the queen, clothed in gold of Ophir.

A great sign appeared 
in the heavens: 
a woman clothed 
with the sun, 
with the moon under her feet,
and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.

From the Liturgy of the Hours, August 22nd Memorial for the Queenship of Mary

I love you Holy Mother, pray for us.

Saint Amadeus (1110-1159) was born of the royal family of Franconia, in France in 1110. He was the son of Blessed Amadeus of Clermont, France and was educated at the monasteries at Bonnevaux and Cluny. Amadeus entered the monastery at Clairvaux in 1124, becoming a Cistercian under the spiritual direction of St. Bernard. Fifteen years later he was appointed abbot of Ilautecombe abbey in Savoy in 1139. Five years later he was made bishop of Lausanne in 1144. There he worked for renewal and reform in a troubled region racked with violence and disturbances. In one of his letters he tells how his vestments once ran red with the blood of a man murdered while the bishop tried unsuccessfully to protect him. Amid these difficulties and administrative duties, Amadeus wrote and preached eight homilies in praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, reflecting the devotion learned in the Cistercian monastery under St. Bernard. These homilies evidence a distinctive piety expressed with all the eloquence of a trained orator. The above is one of those homilies.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

St. Blaise, Feast Day February 3rd

St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr
Feast Day February 3rd

Saint Blaise was the bishop of Sebastea and a doctor. The first known record of the saint's life comes from the medical writings of Aëtius Amidenus, where he is recorded as helping with patients suffering from objects stuck in their throat. Many of the miraculous aspects of St. Blaise's life are written of 400 years after his martyrdom in the "Acts of St. Blaise."

Saint Blaise is believed to begin as a healer then, eventually, became a "physician of souls." He then retired to a cave, where he remained in prayer. People often turned to Saint Blaise for healing miracles.

In 316, the governor of Cappadocia and of Lesser Armenia, Agricola, arrested then-bishop Blaise for being a Christian. On their way to the jail, a woman set her only son, who was chocking to death on a fish bone, at his feet.

Blaise cured the child, and though Agricola was amazed, he could not get Blaise to renounce his faith. Therefore, Agricola beat Blaise with a stick and tore at his flesh with iron combs before beheading him.

In another tale, Blaise was being led to the prison in Sebastea, and on the way came across a poor old woman whose pig had been stolen by a wolf. Blaise commanded the wolf return the pig, which it did -alive and uninjured - to the amazement of all.

When he reached Sebastea, the woman came to him and brought two fine wax candles in an attempt to dispel the gloom of his darkened cell.

In the Middle Ages, Blaise became quite popular and his legend as a beast tamer spread. He was then referred to as the "saint of the wild beast."

St. Blaise in Medieval Art
Prayer to St. Blasé (Blaise, Blaize)

O glorious Saint Blase, who by thy martyrdom has left to the Church a precious witness to the faith, obtain for us the grace to preserve within ourselves this divine gift, and to defend, without human respect, both by word and example, the truth of that same faith, which is so wickedly attacked and slandered in these our times. Thou who didst miraculously cure a little child when it was at the point of death by reason of an affliction of the throat, grant us thy powerful protection in like misfortunes; and, above all, obtain for us the grace of Christian mortification together with a faithful observance of the precepts of the Church, which may keep us from offending Almighty God. Amen.

Blessing of Throats on Feast of St. Blaise February 3

Blessing of Throats


With the crossed candles touched to the throat of each person, the celebrant says immediately:

Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.

Presentation of the Lord - Feast Day February 2nd

Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple
Let us Receive the Light 
Whose Brilliance is Eternal

From a sermon by Saint Sophronius, bishop

In Honor of the Divine Mystery that we celebrate today, let us all hasten to meet Christ.  Everyone should be eager to join the procession and to carry a light.

Our lighted candles are a sign of the divine splendor of the one who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of His Eternal Light.  Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to meet Christ.

Presentation of Our Lord, Mary & Joseph, Simeon
The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought Him to those who lay in darkness.  We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the True Light as we hasten to meet Him.

The Light has come and has shone upon a world enveloped in shadows; the Dayspring from on high has visited us and given light to those who lived in darkness.  This, then, is our feast, and we join in procession with Lighted candles to reveal the Light that has shoe upon us and the glory that is yet to come to us through Him.  So let us hasten all together to meet our God.

The True Light has come, the Light that enlightened every man who is born in this world.  Let all of us, my brethren, be enlightened and made radiant by this light.  Let all of us share in its splendor, and be so filled with it that no one remains in the darkness.  Let us be shining ourselves as we go together to meet and to receive with the aged Simeon the Light whose brilliance is eternal.  Rejoicing with Simeon, let us sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God, the Father of the Light, who sent the True Light to dispel the darkness and to give us all a share in His splendor.

Simeon Blessed God for Allowing him to see the Messiah
Through Simeon’s eyes we too have seen the salvation of God which He prepared for all the nations and revealed as the glory of the new Israel, which is ourselves.  As Simeon was released from the bonds of this life when he had seen Christ, so we too were at once freed from our old state of sinfulness.

By faith we too embraced Christ, the salvation of God the Father, as He came to us from Bethlehem.  Gentiles before, we have now become the people of God.  Our eyes have seen God Incarnate, and because we have seen Him present among us and have mentally received Him into our arms, we are called to new Israel.  Never shall we forget this presence; every year we keep a feast in its honor.

In Persecution Hold High the Cross!

Christ Crucified
Even in Time of Persecution 
Let the Cross 
be Your Joy

From the Catecheses by Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, bishop

The Catholic Church glories n every deed of Christ.  Her supreme glory, however, is the cross.  Well aware of this, Paul says: God forbid that I glory in anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!

At Siloam, there was a sense of wonder, and rightly so.  A man born blind recovered his sight.  But of what importance is this, when there are so many blind people in the world?  Lazarus rose from the dead, but even this only affected Lazarus.  What of those countless numbers who have died because of their sins?  Those five miraculous loaves fed five thousand people.  Yet this is a small number compared to those all over the world who were starved by ignorance.  After eighteen years a woman was freed from the bondage of Satan.  But are we not all shackled by the chains of our own sins?

For us all, however, the cross is the crown of victory!  It has brought light to those blinded by ignorance.  It has released those enslaved by sin.  Indeed, it has redeemed the whole of mankind!
Do not, then, be ashamed of the cross of Christ; rather, glory in it.  Although it is a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles, the message of the cross is our salvation.  Of course it is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it was not a mere man who died for us, but he Son of God, God made man.

In the Mosaic law a sacrificial lamb banished the destroyer.  But now it is  the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  Will he not free us from our sins even more?  The blood of an animal, a sheep, brought salvation.  Will not the blood of the only-begotten Son bring us greater salvation? 

He was not killed by violence, 
he was not forced to give up his life.  
His was a willing sacrifice.  

Listen to his worn words: I have the power to lay down my life and to take it up again. Yes, he willingly submitted to his own passion.  He took joy in his achievement; in his crown of victory he was glad and in the salvation of man he rejoiced.  

He did not blush at the cross 
for by it he was to save the world.  
No, it was not a lowly man 
who suffered but God incarnate.  

He entered the contest for the reward he would win by  his patient endurance.

Certainly in times of tranquillity the cross should give you joy.  But maintain the same faith in times of persecution.  Otherwise you will be a friend of Jesus in times of peace and his enemy during war.  Now you received the forgiveness of your sins and the generous gift of grace from our king.  When war comes, fight courageously for him.

Jesus never sinned; yet he was crucified for you.  Will you refuse to be crucified for him, who for your sake was nailed to the cross?

You are not the one who gives the favor; you have received one first.  

For your sake 
he was crucified on Golgotha.  
Now you are returning his favor; 
you are fulfilling your debt to him.

Be a Knight for Christ