DIVINE MERCY NOVENA – DAY FOUR -EASTER MONDAY 2nd DAY OF THE OCTAVE
“Today bring to Me those who do not believe in God and those who do not know Me, I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy.”
Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who do not believe in God and of those who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who do not believe in You and of those who as yet do not know You but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.
*Our Lord’s original words here were “the pagans.” Since the pontificate of Pope John XXIII, the Church has seen fit to replace this term with clearer and more appropriate terminology
Quote of the Day – 17 April Easter Monday – 2nd Day of the Easter Octave
“There flowed from His side water and blood. Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolised baptism and the holy Eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born:- from baptism, the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit and from the holy Eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from His side, it was from His side that Christ fashioned the Church, as He had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam. Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim:- Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh! As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from His side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after His own death.
Do you understand, then, how Christ has united His bride to Himself and what food He gives us all to eat? By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with His own blood those to whom He himself has given life.’
St Stephen Harding had to search long for the kind of life he wished to live for God but he persevered and God rewarded his search. He wanted to live the life of a simple monk but God had other plans. By his fidelity to his chosen vocation, he became the father of a great order, enriching the Church with his own holiness and generations of the Cistercian monks life of prayer. The lesson – don’t give up, keep asking the Lord to show you where you should be, for His glory.
One Minute Reflection – 17 April – Easter Monday 2nd Day of the Octave
Meditation for the Day: Help us put our baptism into action.
The women were frightened and yet very happy,
as they hurried from the tomb and ran to tell his disciples.
— Matthew 28:8
REFLECTION – “We imitate Christ’s death by being buried with him in baptism. If we ask what this kind of burial means and what benefit we may hope to derive from it, it means first of all making a complete break with our former way of life and our Lord Himself said that this cannot be done unless a man is born again. In other words, we have to begin a new life and we cannot do so until our previous life has been brought to an end. When runners reach the turning point on a racecourse, they have to pause briefly before they can go back in the opposite direction. So also when we wish to reverse the direction of our lives there must be a pause, or a death, to mark the end of one life and the beginning of another…….Baptism cleanses the soul from the pollution of worldly thoughts and inclinations: You will wash me, says the psalmist and I shall be whiter than snow. We receive this saving baptism only once because there was only one death and one resurrection for the salvation of the world and baptism is its symbol.”………St Basil the Great
Prayer – Loving Father, How do I live the baptismal promises I made again over the weekend? I want to live my life in service of You.
Help me to carry the gift of faith I received from You. Help me to welcome those who joined the church in baptism.
Guide me and give me the courage to live my faith, to accept Your love. Amen
LORD, I AM YOURS
by St Francis de Sales (Doctor of the Church)
Lord, I am Yours,
and I must belong to no one but You.
My soul is Yours,
and must live only by You.
My will is Yours,
and must love only for You.
I must love You as my first cause,
since I am from You.
I must love You as my end and rest,
since I am for You.
I must love You more than my own being,
since my being subsists by You.
I must love You more than myself,
since I am all Yours and all in You.
Saint of the Day – 17 April – St Stephen Harding O.Cist. (1050-1104) Monk, priest, writer, teacher and co-founder of the Cistercian Order – Patron of the Cistercians Attributes: Dressed in the Cistercian habit, abbot’s crozier, holding the Carta caritatis (“Charter of Charity”), a founding document for the Cistercian Order.
Harding was born in Sherborne, Dorset, in the Kingdom of England, and spoke English, Norman, French and Latin. He was placed in Sherborne Abbey at a young age, but eventually left the monastery and became a travelling scholar, journeying with one devout companion, into Scotland and afterwards to Paris and then to Rome. He eventually moved to Molesme Abbey in Burgundy, under the Abbot Robert of Molesme (c. 1027-1111).
When Robert left Molesme to avoid what he perceived to be the abbey’s increasing wealth and overly strong connections to the aristocracy, Harding and Alberic of Cîteaux went with him. Seeing no hope of a sufficient reformation in Molemse, Robert appointed another abbot for the abbey and then, with Alberic, Harding and twenty-one other monks, received permission from Hugh, the Archbishop of Lyons and legate of the Holy See, to found a new monastery in Citeaux, a marshy wilderness five leagues from Dijon. There, they formed a new, more austere, monastery. Eudes, afterwards Duke of Burgundy, built them a little church, which was placed under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin, as all the churches of the Cistercians from that time have been.
Stephen became the third abbot of Cîteaux. However, very few were joining the community and the monks were suffering from hunger and sickness. In 1112, Bernard of Clairvaux entered the community, bringing with him thirty companions. Between 1112 and 1119, a dozen new Cistercian houses were founded to accommodate those joining the young order. Harding’s organisational skills were exceptional; he instituted the system of general chapters and regular visitations. In 1119, he received official approbation for the Carta Caritatis (Charter of Charity), an important document for the Cistercian Order, establishing its unifying principles.
Stephen Harding served Cîteaux Abbey as abbot for twenty-five years. While no single person is considered the founder of the Cistercian Order, the shape of Cistercian thought, and its rapid growth in the 12th century were arguably due to Harding’s leadership. Insisting on simplicity in all aspects of monastic life, he was largely responsible for the severity of Cistercian architecture and the simple beauty of the Order’s liturgy. He was an accomplished scribe for the monastery’s scriptorium; his highest achievement is considered to be the Harding Bible, famous among medieval manuscripts. In 1133, he resigned as head of the order because of age and infirmity. He died on 28 March 1134, and was buried in the tomb of Alberic, his predecessor, in the cloisters at Cîteaux.
In a joint commemoration with Robert of Molesme and Alberic, the first two abbots of Cîteaux, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates Stephen Harding’s in a joint feast day on 26 January too.
The north aisle of the Church of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in London was formerly a chapel dedicated to him.
Bl Ambrose of Massa
St Anicetus, Pope
St Arnoald of Metz
St Donnan of Eigg
St Elias of Córdoba
St Fortunatus of North Africa
Bl Gervinus of Aldenberg
Bl Henry Heath
St Hermogenes of Melitene
St Innocent of Tortona
St Isidore of Córdoba
Bl James of Cerqueto
St Kateri Tekakwitha
St Landericus of Soignies
St Marcian of North Africa
Bl Mariana of Jesus
St Pantagathus of Vienne
St Paulus of Córdoba
St Peter of Antioch
St Peter of Melitene
St Robert of Chaise Dieu
St Stephen Harding
St Villicus of Metz
St Wando of Fontenelle