NOVENA to St John Paul the Great: DAY FIVE – 17 OCTOBER
Little Known Fact #5: Father Karol Wojtyla was only 38 when he was made a Bishop. It did not change his lifestyle at all. True, instead of walking everywhere he had a bicycle and even a rather ancient car and chauffeur to get around the diocese and in order not to waste time, he had a table and a light fixed into the car, to allow him to read and work on necessary journeys.
REFLECTION:” ………reflecting on the assassination attempt, he said: “In sacrificing himself for us all, Christ gave a new meaning to suffering, opening up a new dimension, a new order: the order of love … It is this suffering which burns and consumes evil with the flame of love and draws forth even from sin a great flowering of good” (pp. 189-190). Impelled by this vision, the Pope suffered and loved in communion with Christ and that is why the message of his suffering and his silence proved so eloquent and so fruitful.” – Pope Benedict at St John Paul’s Funeral
Let us Pray:
O Holy Trinity, we thank You for having given to the Church Pope John Paul II and for having made him shine with Your fatherly tenderness, the glory of the Cross of Christand the splendour of the Spirit of love.
He, trusting completely in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, has shown himself in the likeness of Jesus the Good Shepherd and has pointed out to us the way of holiness as the path to reach eternal communion with You Grant us, through his intercession, according to Your will, the grace that we implore,
………………….. [state your intention here].
Continue, beloved St John Paul, we implore you, to sustain from heaven the faith of God’s people. We praise and thank You Father that St John Paul has been numbered among Your saints and make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, one God forever.
Totus Tuus, Amen.
Quote Day Five: “I find great peace in thinking of the time when the Lord will call me: from life to life! And so I often find myself saying, with no trace of melancholy, a prayer recited by priests after the celebration of the Eucharist: In hora mortis meae voca me, et iube me venire ad te – at the hour of my death, call me and bid me come to you. This is the prayer of Christian hope, which in no way detracts from the joy of the present, while entrusting the future to God’s gracious and loving care.”
Thought for the Day 17 October – St Ignatius of Antioch (c 35 – 107) Father of the Church, Martyr – “Doctor of Unity”
Note: St John Chrysostom (347-407) , who grew up in Antioch, taught that St Ignatius had been ordained at the hands of St Peter. According to ancient tradition, St Ignatius was the child whom Christ had held, as described in Matthew 18:4, as depicted in the fresco below from the Gračanica.
Excerpt from Pope Benedict’s Catechesis on St Ignatius
Wednesday, 14 March 2007
For Ignatius unity was first and foremost a prerogative of God, who, since he exists as Three Persons, is One in absolute unity. Ignatius often used to repeat that God is unity and that in God alone is unity found in its pure and original state. Unity to be brought about on this earth by Christians is no more than an imitation as close as possible to the divine archetype.
Overall, it is possible to grasp in the Letters of Ignatius a sort of constant and fruitful dialectic between two characteristic aspects of Christian life: on the one hand, the hierarchical structure of the Ecclesial Community and on the other, the fundamental unity that binds all the faithful in Christ.
Consequently, their roles cannot be opposed to one another. On the contrary, the insistence on communion among believers and of believers with their Pastors was constantly reformulated in eloquent images and analogies – the harp, strings, intonation, the concert, the symphony. The special responsibility of Bishops, priests and deacons in building the community is clear.
This applies first of all to their invitation to love and unity. “Be one”, Ignatius wrote to the Magnesians, echoing the prayer of Jesus at the Last Supper: “one supplication, one mind, one hope in love…. Therefore, all run together as into one temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ who came forth from one Father and is with and has gone to one” (7: 1-2).
Imploring from the Lord this “grace of unity” and in the conviction that the whole Church presides in charity (cf. Romans, Prologue), I address to you yourselves the same hope with which Ignatius ended his Letter to the Trallians: “Love one another with an undivided heart. Let my spirit be sanctified by yours, not only now but also when I shall attain to God…. In [Jesus Christ] may you be found unblemished”(13).
And let us pray that the Lord will help us to attain this unity and to be found at last unstained, because it is love that purifies souls.
Quote/s of the Day – 17 October – The Memorial of St Ignatius of Antioch (c 35 – 107) Father of the Church, Martyr
“Wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Ch 8)
“Do not have Jesus Christ on your lips and the world in your heart.”
“Therefore run together as into one temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from one Father and is with and has gone to One.”
“I am the wheat of God, and am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of God. I long after the Lord, the Son of the true God and Father, Jesus Christ. Him I seek, who died for us and rose again. I am eager to die for the sake of Christ. My love has been crucified, and there is no fire in me that loves anything. But there is living water springing up in me, and it says to me inwardly: “Come to the Father.”
St Ignatius of Antioch (c 35 – 107) Father of the Church, Martyr
One Minute Reflection- 17 October – Today’s Gospel: Luke 11:42-46 – Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth week in Ordinary Time, Year B and the Memorial of St Ignatius of Antioch (c 35 – 107) Father of the Church, Martyr
“Woe to you Pharisees! for you love the best seat in the synagogues and salutations in the market places.”…Luke 11:43
REFLECTION – “Christianity is not a matter of persuading people of particular ideas but of inviting them to share in the greatness of Christ. So pray that I may never fall into the trap of impressing people with clever speech but instead I may learn to speak with humility, desiring only to impress people with Christ Himself.”…St Ignatius of Antioch
PRAYER – Heavenly Father, grant that I may believe what I have learned, never presuming to know better than the teachings of Holy Mother Church and that I may put into practice what I believe. Let my commitment be like unto the Martyr, St Ignatius of Antioch, who went with joy to his horrific death, for the faith in Christ, Your Son, God with You and the Holy Spirit. St Ignatius, pray for us, amen.
O Lord, show Your mercy to me By St Jerome (347-419) Father and Doctor
O Lord, show Your mercy to me
and gladden my heart.
I am like the man on the way to Jericho
who was overtaken by robbers,
wounded and left for dead.
O Good Samaritan,
come to my aid.
I am like the sheep that went astray.
O Good Shepherd,
seek me out and bring me home
in accord with Your will.
Let me dwell in Your house
all the days of my life
and praise You for ever and ever
with those who are there.
Saint of the Day – 17 October – St Ignatius of Antioch (c 35 – 107) Father of the Church, Martyr
Excerpt from Pope Benedict’s Catechesis on St Ignatius
Wednesday, 14 March 2007
Today, we will be speaking of St Ignatius, who was the third Bishop of Antioch from 70 to 107, the date of his martyrdom. At that time, Rome, Alexandria and Antioch were the three great metropolises of the Roman Empire. The Council of Nicea mentioned three “primacies”: Rome but also Alexandria and Antioch participated in a certain sense in a “primacy”.
St Ignatius was Bishop of Antioch, which today is located in Turkey. Here in Antioch, as we know from the Acts of the Apostles, a flourishing Christian community developed. Its first Bishop was the Apostle Peter – or so tradition claims – and it was there that the disciples were “for the first time called Christians” (Acts 11: 26). Eusebius of Caesarea, a fourth-century historian, dedicated an entire chapter of his Church History to the life and literary works of Ignatius (cf. 3: 36).
Eusebius writes: “The Report says that he [Ignatius] was sent from Syria to Rome and became food for wild beasts on account of his testimony to Christ. And as he made the journey through Asia under the strictest military surveillance” (he called the guards “ten leopards” in his Letter to the Romans, 5: 1), “he fortified the parishes in the various cities where he stopped by homilies and exhortations and warned them above all to be especially on their guard against the heresies that were then beginning to prevail, and exhorted them to hold fast to the tradition of the Apostles”.
The first place Ignatius stopped on the way to his martyrdom was the city of Smyrna, where St Polycarp, a disciple of St John, was Bishop. Here, Ignatius wrote four letters, respectively to the Churches of Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralli and Rome. “Having left Smyrna”, Eusebius continues, Ignatius reached Troas and “wrote again”: two letters to the Churches of Philadelphia and Smyrna and one to Bishop Polycarp. Thus, Eusebius completes the list of his letters, which have come down to us from the Church of the first century as a precious treasure. In reading these texts one feels the freshness of the faith of the generation which had still known the Apostles. In these letters, the ardent love of a saint can also be felt.
Lastly, the martyr travelled from Troas to Rome, where he was thrown to fierce wild animals in the Flavian Amphitheatre.
No Church Father has expressed the longing for union with Christ and for life in Him with the intensity of Ignatius. We therefore read the Gospel passage on the vine, which according to John’s Gospel is Jesus. In fact, two spiritual “currents” converge in Ignatius, that of Paul, straining with all his might for union with Christ and that of John, concentrated on life in Him. In turn, these two currents translate into the imitation of Christ, whom Ignatius several times proclaimed as “my” or “our God”.
Thus, Ignatius implores the Christians of Rome not to prevent his martyrdom since he is impatient “to attain to Jesus Christ”. And he explains, “It is better for me to die on behalf of Jesus Christ than to reign over all the ends of the earth…. Him I seek, who died for us: Him I desire, who rose again for our sake…. Permit me to be an imitator of the Passion of my God!” (Romans, 5-6).
One can perceive in these words on fire with love, the pronounced Christological “realism” typical of the Church of Antioch, more focused than ever on the Incarnation of the Son of God and on His true and concrete humanity: “Jesus Christ”, St Ignatius wrote to the Smyrnaeans, “was truly of the seed of David”, “he was truly born of a virgin” “and was truly nailed [to the Cross] for us” (1: 1). Ignatius’ irresistible longing for union with Christ was the foundation of a real “mysticism of unity”. He describes himself: “I therefore did what befitted me as a man devoted to unity”(Philadelphians, 8: 1).
For Ignatius unity was first and foremost a prerogative of God, who, since He exists as Three Persons, is One in absolute unity. Ignatius often used to repeat that God is unity and that in God alone is unity found in its pure and original state. Unity to be brought about on this earth by Christians is no more than an imitation as close as possible to the divine archetype.
Ignatius was the first person in Christian literature to attribute to the Church the adjective “catholic” or “universal” – “Wherever Jesus Christ is”, he said, “there is the Catholic Church” (Smyrnaeans, 8: 2). And precisely in the service of unity to the Catholic Church, the Christian community of Rome exercised a sort of primacy of love: “The Church which presides in the place of the region of the Romans and which is worthy of God, worthy of honour, worthy of the highest happiness… and which presides over love, is named from Christ and from the Father…” (Romans, Prologue).
As can be seen, Ignatius is truly the “Doctor of Unity” – unity of God and unity of Christ (despite the various heresies gaining ground which separated the human and the divine in Christ), unity of the Church, unity of the faithful in “faith and love, to which nothing is to be preferred”(Smyrnaeans, 6: 1).
Ultimately, Ignatius’ realism invites the faithful of yesterday and today, invites us all, to make a gradual synthesis between configuration to Christ (union with Him, life in Him) and dedication to His Church (unity with the Bishop, generous service to the community and to the world).
St Anstrudis of Laon
Bl Balthassar of Chiavari
Bl Battista de Bonafede
St Berarius I of Le Mans
St Colman of Kilroot
Bl Contardo Ferrini
St Ethelbert of Eastry
St Ethelred of Eastry
St Florentius of Orange
St Francois Isidore Gagelin
Bl Gilbert the Theologian
St Heron of Antioch
Bl Jacques Burin
St John the Short/Dwarf
St Mamelta of Persia
St Nothelm of Canterbury
St Richard Gwyn
St Rudolph of Gubbio
St Rufus of Rome
St Serafino of Montegranaro
St Solina of Chartres
St Zosimus of Rome
Martyrs of Nicomedia – 3 saints: A group of Christians martyred in the persecutions of Diocletian. The only details about them that have survived are their names – Alexander, Marianus and Victor. 303 in Nicomedia (in modern Turkey).
Martyrs of Valenciennes -5 beati: A group of Ursuline nuns martyred in the persecutions of the French Revolution.
• Hyacinthe-Augustine-Gabrielle Bourla
• Jeanne-Reine Prin
• Louise-Joseph Vanot
• Marie-Geneviève-Joseph Ducrez
• Marie-Madeleine-Joseph Déjardins
Martyrs of Volitani: A group of martyrs who were praised by Saint Augustine of Hippo. In Volitani, proconsular Africa (in modern Tunisia).
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• BlessedFidel Fuidio Rodriguez
• BlessedJosé Sánchez Medina
• BlessedPerfecto Carrascosa Santos
• BlessedTársila Córdoba Belda de Girona