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Thursday, 4 October 2018

Our Lady of the Rosary October 7











Our Lady of the Rosary


October 7

Battle of Lepanto
This commemorative feast was established by Saint Pius V on the anniversary of the naval victory won by the Christian fleet at Lepanto (against Muslim invaders).  The victory was attributed to the help of the Holy Mother of God whose aid was invoked through praying the rosary.  

The celebration of this day invites all to meditate upon the mysteries of Christ, following the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary who was so singularly associated with the incarnation, passion and glorious resurrection of the Son of God.


We should meditate on the 
Mysteries of Salvation

From a sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot

St. Bernard, abbot
The child to be born of you will be called holy, the Son of God, the fountain of wisdom, the Word of the Father on high.  Through you, blessed Virgin, this Word will become flesh, so that even though as He says: I am in the Father and the Father is in me, it is still true for Him to say: “I came forth from God and I am here.”

In the beginning was the Word. The spring was gushing forth, yet still within Himself.  Indeed, the Word was with God, truly dwelling in inaccessible light.  And the Lord said from the beginning: I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction.  Yet your thought was locked within you, and whatever you thought, we did not know; for who knew the mind of the Lord, or who was His counselor?

And so the idea of peace came down to do the work of peace: The Word was made flesh and even now dwells among us.  It is by faith that He dwells in our hearts, in our memory, our intellect and penetrates even into our imagination.  What concept could man have of God if He did not first fashion an image of him in His Heart?  By nature incomprehensible and inaccessible, He was invisible and unthinkable, but now He wished to be understood, to be seen and thought of.


But how, you ask was this done?  He lay in a manger and rested on a virgin’s breast, preached on a mountain, and spent the night in prayer.  He hung on a cross, grew pale in death, and roamed free among the dead and ruled over those in hell.  He rose again on the third day, and showed the apostles the wounds of the nails, the sign of victory; and finally in their presence He ascended to the sanctuary of heaven.

How can we not contemplate this story in truth piety and holiness?  Whatever of all this I consider, it is God I am considering; in all this He is my God.  I have said it is wise to meditate on these truths, and I have thought it right to recall the abundant sweetness, given by the fruits of this priestly root; and Mary drawing abundantly from heaven, has caused this sweetness to overflow for us.




taken from Liturgy of the Hours Weeks 18-34

Saint Cajetan August 7


Saint Cajetan, priest
St. Cajetan, priest

August 7

From a letter by Saint Cajetan, priest

Christ dwells in our hearts by Faith

I am a sinner and do not think much of myself; I have recourse to the greatest servants of the Lord, that they may pray for you to the blessed Christ and His Mother.  

But do not forget that all the saints 
can not endear you to Christ 
as much as you can yourself.  

It is entirely up to you.  
If you want Christ to love you 
and help you, 
you must love Him 
and always make an effort to please Him. 


Do not waver in your purpose, because even if all the saints and every single creature should abandon you, He will always be near you, whatever your needs.

You know, of course, that we are pilgrims in this world, on a journey to our true home in heaven.  The man who becomes proud loses his way and rushes to death.  While living here we should strive to gain eternal life.  Yet or ourselves we cannot achieve this since we have lost it through sin; but Jesus Christ ha recovered it for us.  For this reason we must always be grateful to Him and love Him.  We must always obey Him, and as far as possible remain united with Him.


He has offered Himself 
to be our food.  
How wretched is the man 
who knows nothing of such a gift!  

To us has been given the opportunity 
to receive Christ, son of the Virgin Mary, 
and we refuse Him.  
Woe to the man who does 
not care enough to receive Him. 

My daughter, I want what is good for myself; I beg the same for you.  Now there is no other way to bring this about than to ask the Virgin Mary constantly to come to you with her glorious Son.  Be bold!  Ask her to give you her Son, Who in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar is truly food of your soul.  Readily will she give HI to you, still more readily will He come to you, giving you the strength to make your way fearlessly through this dark wood.  In it large numbers of our enemies lie in wait, but they cannot reach us if they see us relying on such powerful help.

Nor, my child, must you receive Jesus Christ simply as a means to further your own plans; 


I want you to surrender to Him, that He may welcome you and, as your divine Saviour, do to you and in you whatever He wills.  

This is what I want, this is what I beg of you, this, as far as I can, is what I compel you to do.

taken from Liturgy of the Hours Weeks 18-34

Guardian Angels October 2


Guardian Angels

Feast Day October 2


From a Sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot

That they may guard you 
in all of your ways

He has given His angels charge over you to guard you in all of your ways.  Let them thank the Lord for His Mercy; His wonderful works are for the children of men.  Let them give thanks and say among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them.  O Lord, what is man that you have made yourself known to him, or why do you incline your heart to him?  And you do inline your heart to him; you show him your care and your concern.  Finally, you send your only Son and the grace of your Spirit, and promise him a vision of Your countenance.  And so, that nothing in heaven should be wanting in your concern for us, you send those blessed spirits to serve us, assigning them as our guardians and our teachers.

He has given His angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways. These words should fill you with respect, inspire devotion and instill confidence; respect for the presence of angels, devotion because of their loving service, and confidence because of their protection.  And so the angels are here, they are at your side, they are with you, present on your behalf.  They are here to protect you and to serve you.  But even if it is God Who has given them this charge, we must nonetheless be grateful to them for the great love with which they obey and come to help us in our great need.

So let us be devoted and grateful to such 
great protectors; 
let us return their love and honor them 
as much as we can 
and should.

  Yet all our love and honor must go to Him, for it is from Him that they receive all that makes them worthy of our love and respect.

We should then, my brothers show our affection for the angels, for one day they will be our coheirs just as here below they are our guardians and trustees appointed and set over us by the Father.  We are God’s children although it does not seem so, because we are still but small children under guardians and trustees, and for the present little better than slaves.

Even though we are children and have a long, a very long and dangerous way to go, with such protectors what have we to fear?  They who keep us in our ways cannot be overpowered or let astray, much less lead us astray.  They are loyal, prudent, powerful.  Why then are we afraid?  

We have only to follow them, 
stay close to them, 
and we shall dwell under 
the protection of God’s heaven.


taken from Liturgy of the Hours Week 18-34 


Saint Francis of Assisi October 4

Saint Francis 
of Assisi





Memorial October 4

Saint Francis was born at Assisi in 1182.  After a carefree youth, he renounced his paternal wealth and committed himself to God.  He led a life of evangelical poverty and preached the love of God to all.  He established a rule which a number of his companions followed and which gained the approval of the Holy See.  Subsequently, he founded an order of nuns and a society of laypersons who practice penance while living in the world.  He died in 1226 at age 44.


We must be simple, 
humble and pure

From a letter written to all the faithful by Saint Francis of Assisi

It was through His archangel, Gabriel, that the Father above made known to the holy and glorious Virgin Mary that the worthy, holy and glorious Word of the Father would come from heaven and take from her womb the real flesh of our human frailty.  Though He was wealthy beyond reckoning, He still willingly chose to be poor with His Blessed Mother.  And shortly before His passion He celebrated he Passover with His disciples.  Then He prayed to the Father, if it is possible, let this cup be taken from Me.

Nevertheless, He reposed His will in the will of the Father.  The Father willed that His blessed and glorious Son, Whom He gave to us and who was born for us,  should through His own blood offer Himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross.  This was to be done not for Himself through Whom all things are made, but for our sins.  It was intended to leave us an example of how to follow in His footsteps.  

And He desires all of us to be saved 
through Him, and to receive Him 
with pure heart and chaste body.

O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord Himself said in the gospel: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul, and your neighbor as yourself.  Therefore, let us love God and adore Him with pure heart and mind.  This is His particular desire when He says: True worshipers adore the Father in spirit and in truth.  For all who adore Him must do so in the spirit of truth.  Let us also direct to Him our praises and prayers saying: Our Father, who art in heaven,  since we must always pray and never grow slack.

Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance.  Let us also love our neighbors as ourselves.  Let us have charity and humility.  Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin.  

Men lose all the material things they leave behind in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give.  For those they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve.  

We must not be wise and prudent 
according to the flesh.  
Rather we must be simple, humble and pure.  

We should never desire to be over others.  Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake.  The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end.  He will permanently dwell in them.  They will be the Father’s children who do his work.  They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of Our Lord Jesus Christ.


Taken from Liturgy of the Hours, Ordinary Time Weeks 18-34.  Francis of Assisi Memorial

Saturday, 29 September 2018

St. Therese of the Child Jesus October 1

St. Therese of the Child Jesus
St. Therese of the 
Child Jesus, Virgin

Memorial October 1

Saint Therese was born at Alencon in France in 1873.  While still a young girl, she entered the Carmelite monastery at Lisieux.  There she lived a life of humility, evangelical simplicity and trust in God.  By word and example she taught those virtues to the novices of the community.  Offering her life for the salvation of souls and the growth of the Church.  She died September 30, 1897.


St. Therese of the Child Jesus

In the Heart of the Church 
I will be Love
From the autobiography of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, virgin

Since my longing for martyrdom was powerful and unsettling, I trusted in the epistles of Saint Paul in the hope of finally finding an answer.  By chance the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of the first epistle to the Corinthians caught my attention, and in the first section I read that not everyone can be an apostle, prophet or teacher, that the Church is composed of a variety of members, and that the eye cannot be the hand.  Even with such an answer revealed to me, I was not satisfied and did not find peace.

St. Therese of Lisieux
I persevered in the reading and did let not my mind wander until I found this encouraging theme: Set your desires on the greater gifts.  And I will now show you the way which surpasses all others.  For the Apostle insists that the greater gifts are nothing as all without love and that this same love is surely the best path leading directly to God.  At length I had found peace of mind.

When I looked upon the Mystical body of the Church, I recognized myself in none of the members which Saint Paul described, and what is more, I desired to distinguish myself more favorably within the whole body.  Love appeared to me to be the hinge for my vocation.  Indeed I knew that the Church had a body composed of various members, but in this body the necessary and noble member was not lacking; I knew that the Church had a heart and that such a heart appeared to be aflame with love.  I knew that the one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more.  I saw and realized that love sets off the bounds of all vocation, that love is everyting, that this same love embraces every time and every place.  In one word, that love is everlasting.

Then, nearly ecstatic with supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed:

 O Jesus, my love! 
at last I have found my calling: 
my call is love!

Certainly I have found my proper place in the Church, and you gave me the very place, my God.  In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction.


Prayer: 

God our Father, you have promised your kingdom to those who are willing to become like little children.  Help us to follow the way of Saint Therese with confidence so that by her prayers we may come to know your eternal glory.   Grant this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Taken from Liturgy of the Hours, Ordinary Time 18-34  October 1 Therese of the Child Jesus

Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael Feast Day September 29

Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

Feasts of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels


September 29

“Amen, Amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”  John 1:51

Yes, angels are real.  And they are mighty glorious, beautiful and magnificent in every way.  Today we honor three of the multitude of angels in Heaven:  Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

These angels are “archangels”.  An archangel is the second order of angels just above the guardian angels.  In all, there are nine orders of celestial beings that we commonly refer to as angels and all nine of these orders are traditionally organized into three spheres.  The entire hierarchy is traditionally organized this way:


Highest Sphere:  Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones.

Middle Sphere:  Dominions, Virtues and Powers.

Lower Sphere:  Principalities, Archangels and Angels (Guardian Angels).

The hierarchy of these celestial beings is ordered in accord with their function and purpose.  The highest of the beings, the Seraphim, were created solely for the purpose of surrounding the Throne of God in perpetual worship and adoration.  The lowest of the beings, the Guardian Angels, were created for the purpose of caring for humans and communicating God’s messages.  The Archangels, whom we honor today, were created for the purpose of bringing messages of great importance to us and to accomplish tasks of the highest importance in our lives.

Michael is well known as the archangel who was empowered by God to cast Lucifer our of Heaven.  Lucifer is traditionally thought to be of the highest sphere of celestial beings and, thus, being cast out by a lowly archangel was quite a humiliation.









Gabriel is well known for being the archangel who brought the message of the Incarnation to the Blessed Virgin Mary.












And Raphael, whose name means “God heals” is referred to in the Old Testament Book of Tobit as is said to have been sent to bring healing to Tobit’s eyes.






Though not much is known of these archangels, its important to believe in them, honor them and to pray to them.  We pray to them because we believe God has entrusted them with a mission to help us bring healing, fight evil and proclaim the Word of God.  Their power comes from God, but God has chosen to use the archangels, and all celestial beings, to accomplish His plan and purpose.

Reflect, today, upon your knowledge of the angels.  Do you believe in them?  Do you honor them?  Do you rely upon their powerful intercession and mediation in your life?  God wants to use them, so you should truly seek their help in your life.

Lord, thank You for the gift of the Archangels whom we honor today.  Thank you for their powerful working in our lives. Help us to rely upon them and to love them for their service.  Archangels, pray for us, heal us, teach us and protect us.  Jesus, I Trust in You.

Above taken from the book “Daily Reflections for Ordinary Time: Weeks 18-34”  Feast of the Archangels, September 29 by John Paul Thomas

Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael Archangels


The Word ‘Angel’ denotes a Function rather than a Nature

From a homily on the Gospels by Saint Gregory the great, pope

You should be aware that the word ‘angel’ denotes a function rather than a nature.  Those holy spirits of Heaven have indeed always been spirits.  They can only be called angels when they deliver some message.  Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called Archangels.

And so it was that not merely an angels but the Archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary.  It was only fitting that the highest angel should come to announce the greatest of all messages.

Some angels are give proper names to denote the service they are empowered to perform.  In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the vision of Almighty God, those who have no names may easily be known.  But personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known without them, but rather to denote their ministry when they come among us.  

Thus, Michael means 
“Who is like God?”; 

Gabriel is 
“strength of God”; 

and Raphael is 
“God’s Remedy”.


Who is like unto God!  St. Michael the Archangel
Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by His superior power. So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, saying: “I will ascend into Heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of Heaven; I will be like the Most High.”   He will be allowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment.  Then, he will fight the Archangel Michael, as we are told by John: A battle was fought with Michael the archangel.


Blessed Virgin Mary and Archangel Gabriel
So too, Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary.  He came to announce  the One Who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers.  Thus God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of the Heavenly powers, mighty in battle.






Raphael means, as I have said, God’s Remedy, for when he touched Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness.  Thus, since he is to heal, he is rightly called God’s Remedy.

Above taken from the Liturgy of the Hours Ordinary Time Weeks 18-34, September 29 Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels

Friday, 21 September 2018

Our Lady of Sorrows

Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows


September 15


His Mother stood by the Cross

From a sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot

Prophesy of Simeon
The martyrdom of the Virgin is set forth both in the prophecy of Simeon and in the actual story of our Lord’s passion.  The holy old man said of the infant Jesus: He has been established as a sign which will be contradicted.   He went on to say: And your own heart will be pierced by a sword.

Truly, O blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart.  For only by passing through your heart could the sword enter the flesh of your Son.  Indeed, after your Jesus—who belongs to everyone, but is especially yours—gave up His life, the cruel spear, which was not withheld from His lifeless body, tore open His side.  Clearly it did not touch His soul and could not harm Him, but it did pierce your heart.  For surely His soul was no longer there, but yours could not be torn away.  Thus the violence of sorrow has cut through your heart, and we rightly call you more than martyr, since the effect of compassion in you has gone beyond the endurance of physical suffering.

Christ gives His Mother to John
Or were those words: Woman, behold your Son, not more than a sword to you, truly piercing your heart, cutting through the division between soul and spirit?  What an exchange!  John is given to you in place of Jesus the servant in place of the Lord, the disciple in place of the Master; the son of Zebedee replaces the Son of God, a mere man replaces God Himself.  How could these words not pierce your most loving heart, when the mere remembrance of them breaks ours, hearts of stone and iron though they are!

Do not be surprised, brothers , that Mary is said to be martyr in spirit.  Let him be surprised who does not remember the words of Paul, that one of the greatest crimes of the Gentiles was that they were without love.  That was far from the heart of Mary; let it be far from her servants.

Perhaps someone will say: “Had she not known before that He would not die?”  Undoubtedly.  “Did she not experience Him to rise again at once?”  Surely.  “And still she grieved over her crucified Son?” Intensely.  Who are you and what source of your wisdom that you are more surprised at the compassion of Mary than the passion of Mary’s Son?  For if He could die in body, could she not died with Him in spirit?  He died in body through a love greater than anyone had known.  She died in spirit through love unlike any other since His.



Father,
As your Son was raised on the cross,
His mother Mary stood by Him, sharing His sufferings.
May Your Church be united with Christ
In His suffering and death
And so come to share in his rising to new life,
Where He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever.


Taken from Liturgy of the Hours,  Our Lady of Sorrows

St. Matthew, Apostle September 21

St. Matthew, 

Apostle 

and Evangelist

Feast Day September 21

Jesus saw him through the eyes of mercy 
and chose him

From a homily by Saint Bede the Venerable, priest

Jesus calls Matthew [Mathew 9:9]
Jesus saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office and he said to him: Follow Me.  Jesus saw Matthew not merely in the usual sense, but more significantly with His merciful understanding of men.

He saw the tax collector and, because He saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him, He said to him: “Follow Me.”  This following meant imitating the pattern of His life—not just walking after Him.  Saint John tells us: Whoever says he abides in Christ ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.

And he rose and followed Him.  There is not reason for surprise that the tax collector abandoned earthly wealth as soon as the Lord commanded him.  Nor should one be amazed that neglecting his wealth, he joined a band of men whose leader had, on Matthew’s assessment, no riches at all.  Our Lord summoned Matthew by speaking to him in words. By an invisible, interior impulse flooding his mind with the light of grace, He instructed him to walk in His footsteps.  In this way Matthew could understand that Christ, who was summoning him away from earthly possessions, had incorruptible treasures of heaven in His gift.

Supper at Matthew's house with tax collectors and sinners
As He sat at table in the house, behold many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and His disciples.  This conversion of one tax collector gave many men, those from his own profession and other sinners, an example of repentance and pardon.  Notice also the happy and true anticipation of his future status as apostle and teacher of the nations.  No sooner was he converted than Matthew drew after him a whole crowd of sinners along the same road to salvation.  He took up his appointed duties while still taking his first steps in the faith and from that hour he fulfilled his obligation ad thus grew in merit.

To see a deeper understand of the great celebration Matthew held at his house, we must realize that he not only gave a banquet for the Lord at his earthly residence, but far more pleasing was he banquet set in his own heart which he provided through faith and love.  Our Saviour attests to this: Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.

Behold I stand at the door and knock  Revelation 3:20
On hearing Christ’s voice, we open the door to receive Him, as it were, when we freely assent to His promptings and when we give ourselves over  to doing what must be done.  Christ, since He dwells I the hearts of His chosen ones through the grace of His love, enters so that He might eat with us and we with Him.  He ever refreshes us by the light of His presence insofar as we progress in our devotion to and longing for the things of heaven.  He Himself is delighted by such a pleasing banquet.




God of Mercy,
You chose a tax collector, Saint Matthew,
To share the dignity of the apostles.
By his example and prayers
Help us to follow Christ
And remain faithful in Your service.
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

Taken from the Liturgy of the Hours Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

See YOUTUBE  Jesus of Nazareth Supper at Matthew's story of Prodigal Son https://youtu.be/14epxvU8XIA

Saturday, 8 September 2018

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLESSED MOTHER! (SEPT 8)


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.