Posted in DEVOTIO, DOCTORS of the Church, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Thought for the Day – Tuesday of the Third Week of Eastertide – Today’s Gospel: John 6:30–35 & the Memorial of Bl Andrés Hibernón Real O.F.M. (1534-1602) ‘Apostle of Eucharistic Adoration’

Thought for the Day – – Tuesday of the Third Week of Eastertide – Today’s Gospel:  John 6:30–35 & the Memorial of Bl Andrés Hibernón Real O.F.M. (1534-1602) ) ‘Apostle of Eucharistic Adoration’

Meditation on the Blessed Sacrament by St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)  – Most Zealous Doctor

Meditation, wherever it is made,
pleases God.
But it seems that Jesus,
especially delights in prayer,
made before the Blessed Sacrament.
Did he not leave Himself for us
in this sacrament to be food for our spirit
and to be present for all who seek Him?

We cannot all make pilgrimages
to the places where Jesus lived
but the Lord who died for us
on the cross of Calvary
now dwells in person,
in the tabernacle – waiting.

We need not await a command
as we would of an earthly king,
to enter His presence –
He is waiting for us
to lay before Him our wants
and to seek His help.
So that we may taste
the sweetness of His presence,
it is good to empty ourselves
of earthly desires.

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46: 10

What pleasure is found in spending
a long time before the altar
where the Lord dwells!

What heavenly sweetness the Lord
allows us to taste and enjoy!

What should we do in the presence
of the Lord in the Eucharist?

We should stay there, not to enjoy
sweetness and consolation
but to give pleasure to God
by making acts of love, saying

O my God, I love

and desire nothing but You.

Grant that I may always love You;

then do with me and all I possess,

as You please.

These acts of love,
even when made without sensible delight,
please god greatly.
For good people often have to bear
with distractions and dryness in prayer.

As for distractions,
of these we must not make much account.
It is enough to drive them away
when they come.
Do not on this account leave off prayer.

Saint Francis de Sales said:

“If, in meditation, we do nothing
but drive away distractions,
our meditation would be of great profit.”

And as for dryness:
this is the greatest pain
for those given to prayer,
for we find ourselves without
any sensible desire of loving God.
Added to this, at times, is the fear
of being separated from God
because of our sins.
There is the feeling
of being in utter darkness
without any way of escape.
At such times let us unite our desolation
with that which Jesus suffered on the cross.

If we can say nothing else,
it is enough to say,
at least by an act of the will:

My God, I desire to love You.
Have pity on me;
Leave me not.

PRAYER of one in deep affliction.

My God, I love You tenderly
though I feel You far away.
I will seek You ceaselessly
lest from You I stray.
AMENmeditation on the blessed sacrament - st alphonsus liguori - 17 april 2018

 

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Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY EUCHARIST

The Glory of Eucharistic Adoration

A way of Eucharistic Adoration on the Feast of St Peter Julian Eymard – Apostle of the Eucharist – 2 August

AnaStpaul

The Glory of Eucharistic Adoration

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is one of the best ways to spend time with Jesus. There is so much noise around us these days.   Spending a quiet hour with Jesus in humble adoration will bring many graces and blessings to you.    Things that you have never even considered before will now be made present to you.    Bad things that would have happened to you will now not happen.    Here are some thoughts about what Jesus is asking you during this time.    As He told Peter, “Could you not spend one hour with me?”St. Peter Julian Eymard tells us all how to spend an hour in Adoration!

“MY CHILD, you need not know much in order to please Me; only love Me dearly.   Speak to Me as you would talk to your mother, if she had taken…

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Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS

The Glory of Eucharistic Adoration

The Glory of Eucharistic Adoration

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is one of the best ways to spend time with Jesus. There is so much noise around us these days.   Spending a quiet hour with Jesus in humble adoration will bring many graces and blessings to you.    Things that you have never even considered before will now be made present to you.    Bad things that would have happened to you will now not happen.    Here are some thoughts about what Jesus is asking you during this time.    As He told Peter, “Could you not spend one hour with me?” St. Peter Julian Eymard tells us all how to spend an hour in Adoration!

“MY CHILD, you need not know much in order to please Me; only love Me dearly.   Speak to Me as you would talk to your mother, if she had taken you in her arms.    Have you no one to recommend to Me?   Tell Me the names of your relations, of your friends; after each name add what you wish Me to do for them.   Ask a great deal: I love generous hearts that forget themselves for others.

TELL ME about the poor whom you want to help, the sick whom you have seen suffer, the sinner whom you would convert, the persons who are alienated from you and whose affections you wish to win back.   For all recite a fervent prayer.   Remind Me that I have promised to grant every prayer that comes from the heart;  and surely the prayers are heartfelt which we say for those whom we love and who love us.

HAVE YOU no favours to ask for yourself’?   Write, if you like, a long list of all your wishes of all the needs of your soul–and come and read it to Me.   Tell Me simply how self-indulgent you are, how proud, how touchy, how selfish, how cowardly, how idle; ask Me to help you to improve.   Poor child! Do not blush!   There are in heaven many saints who had the same faults as you;  they prayed to Me, and, little by little, they were cured.

DO NOT hesitate to ask for the goods of body and mind–for health, for memory, for success.   I can give everything and I always give when the gifts would make souls more holy.    What do you want today, My child?   Oh, if you knew how I longed to do you good!

HAVE YOU no plans to interest you?   Tell Me about them.   Do they concern your vocation?   What do you think of?   What would you like?   Are you planning some pleasure for your mother, for your family, for your guardian?   What do you wish to do for them?

AND HAVE you no thoughts of zeal for Me?   Are you not anxious to do a little good for the souls of your friends, for those whom you love and who, perhaps, forget Me?   Tell Me who interests you, what motives urge you, what means you wish to take.

CONFIDE TO Me your failures;  I will show you the cause.   Whom do you wish to see interested in your work?   I am the Master of all hearts, My child and I lead them gently where I please.   I will place about you those who are necessary to you; never fear!

HAVE YOU nothing to annoy you?   My child, tell Me your annoyances, with every detail. Who has pained you?   Who as wounded your self-love?   Who has treated you contemptuously?   Tell Me all and then say that you forgive and forget;  and I will give you My blessing.

DO YOU dread something painful?   Is there in your soul a vague fear which seems unreasonable and yet torments you?   Trust fully in My providence.   I am here, I see everything; I will not leave you.

ARE THERE about you friends who seem less kind than formerly, who neglect you through indifference or forgetfulness, without your having consciously done anything to wound them?   Pray for them, and I will restore them to you, if there companionship is good for you.

HAVE YOU no joys to tell Me?   Why not confide to Me your pleasures?   Tell Me what has happened since yesterday to console you, to make you look happy, to give you joy.   An unexpected visit has done you good;  a fear has been suddenly dispelled; you have met with unlooked for success; you have received some mark of affection in a letter, a present;  some trial has left you stronger than you supposed.    All these things, My child, I obtained for you.   Why are you not grateful?   Why do you not say, “I thank you?” Gratitude draws benefits and the benefactor loves to be reminded of His bounty.

HAVE YOU no promises to make Me?   You know I read the very bottom of your heart. Men are deceived but not God; be frank.

ARE YOU resolved to avoid that occasion of sin, to give up the object which leads you astray–not to read that book which excites your imagination;  to withdraw your friendship from that person who is irreligious and whose presence disturbs the peace of your soul?   Will you go at once and be kind to that companion who annoyed you?

WELL, MY child, go now and resume your daily work.   Be silent, be honest, be patient, be charitable, love very much the Blessed Mother of Jesus;  and tomorrow bring Me a heart even more devoted and loving.   Tomorrow I shall have new favours for you.”

With Ecclesiastical Approval

“I love You Lord Jesus,
my love above all things.
I repent with my whole heart
for having offended You.
Never permit me to separate myself
from You again,
grant that I may love You always
and then do with me what You will!”

I LOVE YOU LORD JESUS

Posted in CONFESSION/PENANCE, DIVINE MERCY, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, MORNING Prayers, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on MERCY, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 29 October – The Memorial of St Gaetano Errico (1791-1860)

Thought for the Day – 29 October – The Memorial of St Gaetano Errico (1791-1860), Founder of the Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary

Day by day, city to city, village to village, among both the poorest and those of high esteem, he saw the hunger each possessed to know that sin was forgiven, that God’s mercy was infinite and that they were loved.   Countless souls found a merciful listener, the embodiment of God’s promise of peace and renewal, in Fr Gaetano, in the Confessional.

“The priest, Gaetano Errico, dedicated himself to this sacrament with diligence, assiduity and patience, never refusing it nor counting the cost. He thus entered among the group of other extraordinary priests who tirelessly made the confessional a place to dispense God’s mercy, helping men to rediscover themselves, to fight against sin and make progress in the spiritual life.

The street and the confessional were the two particular places of Gaetano Errico’s pastoral work.   The street was the place that permitted him to offer his customary invitation:  “God loves you, when shall we meet?” and in the confession he made their encounter with the mercy of the heavenly Father possible.   How many wounded souls did he heal in this way! How many people did he help to be reconciled with God through the sacrament of forgiveness!

In this way St. Gaetano Errico became an expert in the “science” of forgiveness, and concerned himself with teaching it to his missionaries:   “God, who does not wish the death of the sinner, is always more merciful than his ministers;  so be as merciful as you can and you will find mercy with God!”

Pope Benedict XVI, Homily at Canonisation Mass, October 2008

He found his own encouragement on his knees in prayer . . . indeed it was prayer and the hours he spent in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament that strengthened and renewed him and kept the fire of his love for God ever burning.

Let us rediscover the great grace of the Confessional and the immense joy of Eucharistic Adoration for ourselves!

St Gaetano Errico, Pray for Us!god who does not wish the death of a sinner - st gaetano errico pray for us no 2 - 29 oct 2018

Posted in FRANCISCAN, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 19 October – St Peter of Alcantara OFM (1499-1562)

Saint of the Day – 19 October – St Peter of Alcantara OFM (1499-1562) – Franciscan Friar and Priest, Mystic, Ecstatic, Writer, Preacher, Reformer, Hermit, Apostle of Prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, the Passion and Charity, Miracle-worker – born in 1499 at Alcantara, Estremadura, Spain and died on 18 October 1562 at Estremadura, Spain of natural causes.   Patronages – Nocturnal Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Brazil (named by Pope Blessed Pius IX in 1862), Estremadura Spain (named in 1962), night watchmen, watchmen.header - San_Pedro_de_Alcántara_(Museo_de_El_Greco,_Toledo)

His father, Peter Garavita, was the governor of Alcantara and his mother was of the noble family of Sanabia.   After a course of grammar and philosophy in his native town, he was sent, at the age of fourteen, to the University of Salamanca.   Returning home, he became a Franciscan in the convent of the Stricter Observance at Manxaretes in 1515.   At the age of twenty-two he was sent to found a new community of the Stricter Observance at Badajoz.   He was ordained priest in 1524 and the following year made guardian of the convent of St Mary of the Angels at Robredillo.   A few years later he began preaching with much success.   He preferred to preach to the poor and his sermons, taken largely from the Prophets and Sapiential Books, breathe the tenderest human sympathy.st peter of alcantara glass

Having been elected minister of St Gabriel’s province in 1538, Peter set to work at once. At the chapter of Plasencia in 1540 he drew up the Constitutions of the Stricter Observants but his severe ideas met with such opposition that he renounced the office of provincial and retired with St John of Avila into the mountains of Arabida, Portugal, where he joined Father Martin a Santa Maria in his life of eremitical solitude.   Soon, however, other friars came to join him and several little communities were established. Peter being chosen guardian and master of novices at the convent of Pallais.   In 1560 these communities were erected into the Province of Arabida.   Returning to Spain in 1553 he spent two more years in solitude and then journeyed barefoot to Rome and obtained permission of Pope Julius III to found some poor convents in Spain under the jurisdiction of the general of the Conventuals.   Convents were established at Pedrosa, Plasencia, and elsewhere; in 1556 they were made a commissariat, with Peter as superior, and in 1561, a province under the title of St Joseph.    The reform spread rapidly into other provinces of Spain and Portugal.Peter-of-Alcantara-edit

In 1562 the province of St Joseph was put under the jurisdiction of the general of the Observants and two new custodies were formed.   Besides the above-named associates of Peter may be mentioned St Francis Borgia SJ,  St  John of Avila (Doctor of the Church) and Blessed Louis of Granada O.P.     In St Teresa of Avila OCD (Doctor of the Church), Peter perceived a soul chosen of God for a great work and her success in the reform of Carmel was in great measure due to his counsel, encouragement and defence.  It was a letter from St Peter (14 April 1562) that encouraged her to found her first monastery at Avila.  St Teresa’s autobiography is the source of much of our information regarding Peter’s life, work and gifts of miracles and prophecy.   According to St Teresa of Ávila, it was a very common thing for him to take food only once in three days and that sometimes he would go a week without eating.st peter alcantara and st teresa avila

Perhaps the most remarkable of Peter’s graces were his gift of contemplation and the virtue of penance.   Hardly less remarkable was his love of God, which was at times so ardent as to cause him, as it did St Philip Neri, sensible pain and frequently rapt him into ecstasy.   The poverty he practised and enforced was as cheerful as it was real and often let the want of even the necessaries of life be felt.   In confirmation of his virtues and mission of reformation God worked numerous miracles through his intercession and by his very presence.   Besides the Constitutions of the Stricter Observants and many letters on spiritual subjects, especially to St Teresa, he composed a short treatise on prayer, which has been translated into all the languages of Europe.

Download the book here:  http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/A%20Golden%20Treastise%20of%20Mental%20Prayer.htmlcover-Peter_Alcantara_front-800_copy_2

He was a man of remarkable austerity and poverty who travelled throughout Spain preaching the Gospel to the poor.   He wrote a Treatise on Prayer and Meditation, which was considered a masterpiece by St Teresa, St Francis de Sales (Doctor of the Church) and Louis of Granada.st peter alcantara death

While in prayer and contemplation, he was often seen in ecstasies and levitation.   On his deathbed, he was offered a glass of water which he refused, saying that “Even my Lord Jesus Christ thirsted on the Cross…”   He died while on his knees in prayer on 18 October 1562 in a monastery at Arenas.

death of st peter alcantara
Death of St Peter of Alcantara

He was Beatified on 18 April 1622 by Pope Gregory XV and Canonised on 28 April 1669 by Pope Clement IX.

Vatikan,_Petersdom,_die_Statue_des_Saint_Peter_of_Alcantara
Statue of St Peter of Alcantara at St Peter’s Basilica
Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, MORNING Prayers, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, SUNDAY REFLECTIONS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Sunday Reflection – 7 October – Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Sunday Reflection – 7 October – Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

The Beating Heart of the Church –

the Eucharistic Heart of Christ.

This is what Pope Benedict XVI said on 10 June 2007:

“Today’s solemnity of Corpus Christi, which was celebrated last Thursday in the Vatican and in other countries, invites us to contemplate the supreme Mystery of our faith – the Most Holy Eucharist, the Real Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the altar.   Every time that the priest renews the Eucharistic Sacrifice, in the prayer of consecration he repeats:  ‘This is my Body…this is my Blood.’   He lends his voice, his hands and his heart to Christ, who wanted to remain with us in order to be the beating Heart of the Church.

But even after the Celebration of the Divine Mysteries the Lord Jesus remains present in the tabernacle.   For this reason, praise is rendered to Him especially through Eucharistic Adoration, as I sought to remind everyone in the recent Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis (see nos. 66-69) following the Synod on this topic.   In fact, there is an intrinsic connection between celebration and adoration.   The Holy Mass is in itself already the greatest act of adoration on the part of the Church.   ‘No one eats this flesh,’ St Augustine wrote, ‘unless he has first adored it’ (Com. on Psalms 98,9; CCL XXXIX, 1385).  Adoration, apart from the Holy Mas, prolongs and intensifies what has taken place in the liturgical celebration and makes it possible, to receive Christ in a real and profound way.”adoration, apart from the holy mass - pope benedict - 7 oct 2018

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 29 September – Blessed Luigi Monza (1898 – 1954)

Saint of the Day – 29 September – Blessed Luigi Monza (1898 – 1954) Priest, Founder of the Secular Institute of the Little Apostles of Charity, devotee of Eucharistic Adoration, Apostle of Charity – born on 22 June 1898 in Cislago, Varese, Italy and died on 29 September 1954 in Lecco, Italy of a heart attack.   Patronage – the Little Apostles of Charity.bl luigi monza header

Father Luigi was born on 22 June 1898 in Cislago between Varese and Milan.   The child appeared very frail and was baptised immediately.   Fortunately his health slowly improved and over the years he grew stronger.   In May 1913 a serious accident radically changed the life of the Monza family, his father Giuseppe fell from a tree and became paralyzed. He confided to his parish priest, Fr Luigi Vismara, that he had long felt the desire to consecrate himself to the Lord in the priesthood.

In September 1913, thanks to the help of his parish priest, Luigi left for the Salesian Missionary Institute of Penango Monferrato near Asti.   On returning home for the summer holidays after the school year 1915/16 he found the family situation deteriorated.   In fact, his father was completely disabled and forced to bed and Pietro, the eldest son, had been called to fight on the eastern front.   Luigi decided not to leave the weight of the family only on the shoulders of his mother, as sister Giuseppina had entered the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception of Ivrea.

Fr Vismara came to his aid again and managed to get him into the Collegio Villoresi of Monza.   When everything seemed resolved, on 16 January 1917, he lost his father and was later called in the army.   When he was discharged, he resumed his studies.  Cardinal Tosi ordained him a priest on 19 September 1925.   He was assigned to the parish church of  St Maurizio in Vedano Olona, ​​in the province of Varese.   Luigi_Monza

Fr Monza immediately became part of the parish life.   His method was based on personal witness as a direct form of evangelisation, on the exercise of charity, on the formation of a community capable of living in loving relationship with each other.    He founded a school for the teaching of French, to allow migrants, almost all headed to France or Switzerland, to learn the basics of the language with which they could communicate in the new country.   The most successful activity was the sport of the “Viribus unitis” soccer team.   In May of 1926 the fascists formed the Vedanese Sports Union, with the evident intention to oppose the “team of priests”.   They preceded to provoke unrest and triggered a series of violent attacks that, despite the mediation of Fr Luigi, culminated in the arrest of eight young men of the oratory.   Even Fr Luigi was arrested along with Fr De Maddalena and despite the intervention of the Curia had to spend four long months before the two were released.    After his release, the diocese decided to temporarily transfer the young priest to the parish of St Mary of the Rosary in Milan and then assign him to the Shrine of Our Lady of Miracles in Saronno, where he arrived in November 1928.   It was in this family environment that Luigi formed the first oratorian nucleus, initially constituted by no more than thirty boys.   In a short time he constituted a choir and his house became a classroom to study and  a room for singing and recreation.donluigimonza10

On 30 October 1936, Fr Luigi took part in the first official meeting that began the institute that from that day took the name “La Nostra Famiglia”.   So he got busy buying a house and, with great personal sacrifice, he managed to buy a land located in Vedano Olona on which the first stone was laid on 29 August 1937.

In the meantime he was appointed parish priest of the church of San Giovanni alla Castagna di Lecco, a suburb of the city.   Within a few months he managed to win the sympathy of the parishioners by being loved and appreciated for his human and spiritual gifts.    At the centre of the parish life he placed Eucharistic adoration that he practised assiduously and with which he “infected” his parishioners.   And from the many testimonies that have remained of the period of Lecco, it is clear that in the ministry of Don Luigi the preaching, characterised by great simplicity, was also of great importance.   With the arrival of Fr Monza to St John the Catholic association, already present in the parish, had new stimuli and new vigour; in fact he dedicated himself with great care to the development of all Catholic organisations.blessed luigibl luigi monza

After the World War II, true peace was still far away.   In Vedano the displaced returned to their countries and the house of La Nostra Famiglia remained available for new initiatives.   In January 1946 Professor Giuseppe Vercelli, director of the Carlo Besta Neurological Institute of Milan, proposed to Clara Cucchi to take care of the re-education of abnormal psychic children.   This activity, which was well inserted in the spirit of the Institute, was extremely challenging and risky for the small community, composed of girls who were free of pedagogical medical knowledge.   But Don Luigi and Clara let themselves be guided by events, perceiving in the Vercelli proposal a sign of God’s will.

In those years the heart problems of which Fr Monza suffered for some time were accentuated, aggravated by the loss of his mother on 17 April 1953.   On 25 August 1954, when returning from the house of Varaz, Fr Luigi, began to suffer pain that within a few hours increased.   The doctor had him hospitalised for he had suffered a serious heart attack.    His condition deteriorated and on the morning of 29 September 1954, he received the Viaticum and died by saying,  “My Jesus, mercy … “….Vatican.va (translated).

Blessed Luigi was beatified in Milan on 30 April 2006.

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MARIAN QUOTES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Quote/s of the Day – 2 August – The Memorial of Sts Peter Faber (1506-1546) and Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868)

Quote/s of the Day – 2 August – The Memorial of Sts Peter Faber (1506-1546)

and Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868)

“Take care, take care, never to close your heart to anyone!”Take care take care never to close your heart to anyone - st peetr faber

“Seek grace for the smallest things,
and you will find grace to accomplish,
to believe in,
and to hope for,
the greatest things.
Attend to the smallest things,
examine them,
think about putting them into effect,
and the Lord will grant you greater.”seek grace for the smallest things - st peter faber - 2 aug 2018

“To find God in the works,
compared to finding Him in prayer,
is often like the actual execution,
compared to the mere desire.”

St Peter Faber (1506-1546)to find god in the works - st peter faber - 2 aug 2018

“Eucharistic adoration is the greatest of actions.
To adore is to share the life of Mary on earth
when she adored the Word Incarnate in her virginal womb,
when she adored Him in the Crib,
on Calvary,
in the divine Eucharist.”eucharistic-adoration-is-the-greatest-of-actions-st-peter-julian-eymard-2 aug 2017

“When we work hard, we must eat well.
What a joy, that you can receive Holy Communion often!
It’s our life and support in this life – receive Communion often
and Jesus will change you into Himself.”

St Peter Julian Eymard (1506-1546)when-we-work-hard-we-must-eat-well-st-peter-julian-eymard-2 aug 2017

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 5 July – St Anthony Mary Zaccaria C.R.S.P. (1502-1539)

Saint of the Day – 5 July – St Anthony Mary Zaccaria C.R.S.P. (1502-1539) – Priest, Founder, Philosopher, Doctor of Medicine/Physician, Renewal of the Forth Hours’ Adoration Devotion, Preacher, Administrator, one of the  early leader of the Counter Reformation.  Founder of the The Clerics Regular of St Paul (the Barnabites) and the Angelic Sisters of St Paul. 7_5_Saint_-Anthony_-Mary_Zaccaria-659-x-517

Today we celebrate the life of Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria.   A renowned preacher and promoter of Eucharistic Adoration, he founded the order of priests now known as the Barnabites.

In 2001, the future Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, wrote the preface for a book on St Anthony Mary Zaccaria, praising the saint as “one of the great figures of Catholic reform in the 1500s,” who was involved “in the renewal of Christian life in an era of profound crisis.”   “St Anthony”, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, “deserves to be rediscovered” as “an authentic man of God and of the Church, a man burning with zeal, a demanding forger of consciences, a true leader able to convert and lead others to good.”Header - Sebastiano del Piombo, Portrait of Saint Anthony Maria Zaccaria, 1537

Anthony Mary Zaccaria was born into an Italian family of nobility in Cremona during 1502.   His father Lazzaro died shortly after Anthony’s birth and his mother Antonietta – though only 18 years old – chose not to marry again, preferring to devote herself to charitable works and her son’s education.   Antonietta’s son took after her in devotion to God and generosity toward the poor.   He studied Latin and Greek with tutors in his youth and was afterward sent to Pavia to study philosophy.   He went on to study medicine at the University of Padua, earning his degree at age 22 and returning to Cremona.

Despite his noble background and secular profession, the young doctor had no intention of either marrying or accumulating wealth.   While caring for the physical conditions of his patients, he also encouraged them to find spiritual healing through repentance and the sacraments.   He also taught catechism to children, and went on to participate in the religious formation of young adults.   He eventually decided to withdraw from the practice of medicine and with the encouragement of his spiritual director, he began to study for the priesthood.

Ordained a priest at age 26, Anthony is experienced a miraculous occurrence during his first Mass, being surrounded by a supernatural light and a multitude of angels during the consecration of the Eucharist.   Contemporary witnesses marvelled at the event and testified to it after his death.st anthony - ordination altar

Church life in Cremona had suffered decline in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The new priest encountered widespread ignorance and religious indifference among laypersons, while many of the clergy were either weak or corrupt.   In these dire circumstances, Anthony Mary Zaccaria devoted his life to proclaiming the truths of the Gospel both clearly and charitably.   Within two years, his eloquent preaching and tireless pastoral care is said to have changed the moral character of the city dramatically.

In 1530, Anthony moved to Milan, where a similar spirit of corruption and religious neglect prevailed.   There, he decided to form a priestly society, the Clerics Regular of St. Paul.   Inspired by the apostle’s life and writings, the order was founded on a vision of humility, asceticism, poverty, and preaching.   After the founder’s death, they were entrusted with a prominent church named for St Barnabas and became commonly known as the “Barnabites.”Saint_Anthony_Mary_Zaccaria

St Anthony also founded a women’s religious order, the Angelic Sisters of St Paul and an apostolate, the Laity of St Paul, geared toward the sanctification of those outside the priesthood and religious life.   He pioneered the “40 Hours” devotion, involving continuous prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.beautiful holy eucharist - st anthony mary zaccaria

In 1539, Anthony became seriously ill and returned to his mother’s house in Cremona. The founder of the Clerics Regular of St Paul died on 5 July during the liturgical octave of the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, at the age of only 36.

Nearly three decades after his death, St Anthony Mary Zaccaria’s body was found to be incorrupt.   He was beatified by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1849 and declared a saint by Pope Leo XIII in 1897.   His body is now enshrined at the Church of St Barnabas in Milan, Italy.   More about St Anthony and all about the 40 hour devotion, here:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/07/05/saint-of-the-day-5-july-st-anthony-mary-zaccaria-b-or-c-r-s-p/

church of st barnabas
Church of St Barnabas, Rome
saint-zacharia tomb
Tomb of St Anthony Mary Zaccaria
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Altar and Tomb
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St Anthony Mary Zaccaria
Posted in FRANCISCAN, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 4 July – St Elizabeth of Portugal T.O.S.F. (1271-1336)

Saint of the Day – 4 July – St Elizabeth of Portugal T.O.S.F. (1271-1336) Queen Consort, Franciscan Tertiary, Apostle of Charity and Peace, political negotiator and mediator – also known as Elizabeth of Aragon, Elisabet in Catalan, Isabel in Aragonese, Portuguese and Spanish and The Peacemaker, born in 1271 at Aragon, Spain and died on 4 July 1336 at Estremoz, Portugal of a fever.   Patronages – Coimbra, Diocese of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Cathedral of La Laguna.st elizabeth of portugal - v l

Elizabeth means “Promise of God”
Saint Elizabeth was the daughter of King Peter III of this kingdom and niece of King James the Conqueror, great-niece of Emperor Frederick II of Germany.   They gave her the name Elizabeth after her aunt, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.

Her formation was formidable and from the time she was very young she had a notable piety.   She was taught that, in order to be truly good, she ought to include mortification of her likes and whims along with her prayer.    She was careful to order her life toward the love of God and neighbour, disciplining her habits of life.   She did not eat between meals.

She was married at the age of 12 to King Dionysius of Portugal.   This was a great cross for Elizabeth because he was a man of little morals, being violent an unfaithful.   But she endured heroically this trial.   She prayed and offered many sacrifices for him.   She always treated him with goodness.   They had two sons:  Alfonso, the future king of Portugal and Constance, future king of Castille.   Saint Elizabeth even educated the natural sons of her husband with other women.   The king, for his part, admired her and permitted her to live an authentic Christian life, to a certain degree.   She would rise very early in the morning and read six psalms, attend Holy Mass and dedicated herself to manage the duties of the palace.   In her free time she met with other women to make clothing for the poor.   She dedicated the afternoons to visiting the elderly and ill.

She made possible the construction of hostels, a hospital for the poor, a free school, a home for women repenting from a sinful life and a hospice for abandoned children. She also constructed convents and did other good works for the people.   She would lend her beautiful dresses and even one of her crowns for the weddings of poor young women.

Saint Elizabeth would frequently distribute coins from the Royal Treasury to the poor so that they could buy their daily bread.   On one occasion, King Dionysius, suspicious of her actions, began to spy on her.   When the queen began to distribute money among the poor, the king saw and, infuriated, went to reclaim it.   But the Lord intervened, in such a way that, when the king ordered that she showed him what she was giving to the poor, the coins turned to roses.Pittoni,_Giambattista_-_St_Elizabeth_Distributing_Alms_-_1734

The Peacemaker:
The son of Elizabeth, Alfonso, had a violent character like his father.   He was filled with anger at the preference his father showed to his natural children.   On two occasions he promoted a civil war against his father.   Elizabeth strived for reconciliation between father and son.   On one occasion she went on pilgrimage to Santarem, a Eucharistic miracle and, dressed as a penitent, implored the Lord for peace.
Then she went to present herself on the field of battle and, when the armies of her spouse and son were about to engage in battle, the queen kneeled between them and, on her knees, asked her husband and son to be reconciled.

Some of her letters have been preserved, which reflect gospel values and audacity of our Saint.
To her husband:  “Like an infuriated wolf that is going to kill your Little son, I will fight so that the arms to the King are not unleashed against our own son.   But at the same time, I will first make sure that the arms of the army of my son are destroyed, before they are fired against the followers of his father.”

To her son:  “By the Blessed Virgin Mary, I ask that you make peace with your father.   See, the soldiers are burning houses, destroying crops and breaking everything in pieces.   Not with weapons, my son, we cannot fix the problem with weapons, but rather with dialogue, continuing negotiations to fix these conflicts.   I will make the troops of the king go away and that the demands of the son be attended to but please remember, that you have a most serious duty to your father as his son and as a subject to his king.”

She obtained peace on more than one occasion, and her husband died repentant, without a doubt due to prayers of his wife.

Because Saint Elizabeth had such a great love for the Eucharist, she dedicated herself to study the lives of the Saints who were most notable in their love for the Eucharist and especially Saint Clare.   After becoming a widow, Saint Elizabeth divested herself of all her riches. She went on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, where she surrendered her crown to the Archbishop in order to receive the habit as a Claretian tertiary.   The Archbishop was so moved by this act of the Saint that he gave her his pastoral cross to help her on her return to Portugal.   She lived her last years in the convent, dedicated to Eucharistic adoration.

When a war broke out between her son and her son-in-law, the King of Castille, Saint Elizabeth, despite her old age, undertook a long journey by dangerous roads and obtained peace.   Nevertheless, the trip cost her life.   Feeling herself close to death, she asked to be taken to a Claretian convent that she herself had founded.   There she died invoking Our Lady on 4 July 1336.

God blessed her tomb with miracles.   Her body can be venerated in the Claretian convent in Coimbra.   She was Canonised on 25 May 1625 by Pope Urban VIII.tomb of saint isabelsaint isabel tomb 2

Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, pray for peace in our world!

StElizabethofPortugal - on the colonade at st peters, rome
St Elizabeth on the Colonnade at St Peter’s, Rome
Portugal 50 Escudos banknote 1964 Queen Santa Isabel
 St Elizabeth on the 50 Escudos Note, prior to the Euro
Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 4 June – St Filippo Smaldone (1848-1923)

Saint of the Day – 4 June – St Filippo Smaldone (1848-1923) Priest and Founder of the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Hearts, Preacher, Catechist, Apostle of Eucharistic Adoration and Our Lady, Apostle of Charity and especially of orphans, the blind and the deaf, Spiritual Advisor and Director – Born on 27 July 1848 in Naples, Italy and died on 4 June 1923 in Lecce, Italy from a combination of diabetes and a heart condition.  St Filippo is best known for his extensive work with the deaf, the blind and orphans, during his lifetime.    Father Smaldone was a gifted preacher known for his commitment to proper Catechesis and to the care of orphans and the mute, which earned him civic recognition.   Patronages: Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Hearts, Deaf people, Mute people.   He was Beatified in 1996 by St John Paul and Canonised by Pope Benedict XVI on 15 October 2006 in St Peter’s Square.

st filippo smaldone

Filippo Smaldone was born in Naples on 27 July 1848, at a time of political and social turmoil in Italy as well as for the Church.   Notwithstanding the social, political and religious unrest that surrounded him, he decided to dedicate himself to the service of the Church and become a priest.

While he was still a philosophy and theology student, he became involved in helping the many marginalised people and deaf-mutes in Naples, who at the time were without appropriate forms of assistance.   His dedication to the apostolate did not leave him much time to study and it was with difficulty that he passed the examination for Minor Orders.

After a period of time in what is today known as the Archdiocese of Rossano-Cariati, where he could concentrate on his studies, he returned to the Archdiocese of Naples in 1876.   There he continued to study and to work with deaf-mutes and was ordained a priest on 23 September 1871.

Fr Smaldone dedicated himself to the priestly ministry through evening catechism classes and visiting the hospitalised and homebound sick.   During a plague epidemic he too caught the contagion but he was miraculously cured through intercession to Our Lady of Pompeii, for whom he cherished a special, lifelong devotion.

In addition to his parish ministry he continued his pioneer work in the education of deaf-mutes;  however, he met many obstacles during his work and became discouraged, at one point wanting to change ministries and head for the foreign missions.

But it was his wise confessor who convinced him that his true mission was in Naples among the people who needed him most.   Thus, he gave himself without reserve to this apostolate and made it the principle object of his mission.

Armed with the great experience he had acquired through the years, Fr Smaldone went to Lecce, Italy, on 25 March 1885, where he founded an institute for deaf-mutes with Fr Lorenzo Apicella and a group of Sisters, he had specially trained.   This was the basis for the Congregation of the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Hearts, which rapidly took root and flourished.

After founding the Lecce institute, which became the Motherhouse of the Congregation he founded, in 1897 Fr Smaldone opened other institutes in Rome and Bari, Italy.   Due to the great need, Fr Smaldone soon expanded his work to include blind children, orphans and the abandoned in his institutes.

st filippo smaldone-artwork

Signs of the great work he accomplished for love of God and neighbour were both external and internal trials.   In fact, one of his favourite sayings was:  “The Lord sends us trials and tribulations to settle our debt to Him”.

From without he had to defend himself against the anti-Church municipal council;  from within, he had to deal with the departure of the first superior of the new Congregation he founded, which provoked a long apostolic visit on the part of the Holy See.

The crucible of trials thus tried this holy man of God and found him and his works worthy.   He continued to strive, with fatherly affection, to educate his deaf-mute students and to give the Salesian Sisters a complete religious formation.

Fr Smaldone also served as confessor and spiritual director to priests, seminarians and various religious communities.   He founded the Eucharistic League of Priest Adorers and Women Adorers, and was superior of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St Francis de Sales.

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He was appointed a canon of Lecce Cathedral and at one point was awarded a commendation by the civil Authorities.

Fr Filippo Smaldone died of a serious diabetic condition with heart complications on 4 June 1923 at the age of 75;   he was in Lecce and surrounded by the affection of the Sisters and many of the needy whom he had served throughout his life.

St Filippo’s Ccanonisation cause commenced in an informative process that opened in 1964 under Pope Paul VI and concluded its business sometime after this.   The introduction to this process titled him as a Servant of God.   The Congregation for the Causes of Saints validated this process in Rome on 23 May 1989 and received the Positio in 1989 which allowed for theologians to approve it on 3 February 1995 and the C.C.S. to likewise approve the cause on 16 May 1995.   St Pope John Paul II declared Smaldone to be Venerable on 11 July 1995 after the pope confirmed that the priest had indeed lived a model Christian life of heroic virtue.

The miracle needed for beatification was investigated and then validated on 7 May 1993 while a medical board later approved it on 1 June 1995.   Theologians also assented to this miracle on 27 October 1995 as did the C.C.S. on 12 December 1995.   St John Paul II issued formal assent needed and deemed that the healing was a miracle attributed to Smaldone’s intercession on 12 January 1996 while later presiding over Smaldone’s Beatification on 12 May 1996.

The process for a second miracle spanned from 2000 to 2002 at which point it received validation on 4 April 2003 before receiving the assent of the medical board on 3 February 2005;  theologians assented to it on 17 May 2005 as did the C.C.S. on 17 January 2006.   Pope Benedict XVI approved this on 28 April 2006 and Canonised Smaldone in Saint Peter’s Square on 15 October 2006.

sanpietroSan_Filippo_Smaldone

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, MORNING Prayers, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on CHARITY, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Thought for the Day – 4 June – Ninth Week in Ordinary Time, Year B and the Memorial of St Filippo Smaldone (1848-1923)

Thought for the Day – 4 June – Ninth Week in Ordinary Time, Year B and the Memorial of St Filippo Smaldone (1848-1923) – Apostle of Eucharistic Adoration and of Charity

Speaking of: Eucharistic Adoration

“St Filippo Smaldone, son of South Italy, knew how to instil in his life the higher virtues characteristic of his land.

A priest with a great heart nourished continuously on prayer and Eucharistic Adoration, he was above all, a witness and servant of charity, which he manifested in an eminent way through service to the poor, in particular to deaf-mutes, to whom he dedicated himself entirely.

The work that he began developed thanks to the Congregation of the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Hearts, founded by him and which spread to various parts of Italy and the world.

St Filippo Smaldone saw the image of God reflected in deaf-mutes and he used to repeat that, just as we prostrate before the Blessed Sacrament, so we should kneel before a deaf-mute.

From his example we welcome the invitation to consider the ever indivisible love for the Eucharist and love for one’s neighbour.   But the true capacity to love the brethren, can come only, from meeting with the Lord in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.”

Pope Benedict XVI on the Canonisation of St Filippo Smaldone, St Peter’s Square, Sunday, 15 October 2006consider the ever indivisble love of the eucharist and love neighbour - pope benedict - 4 june 2018

St Filippo Smaldone, Pray for us!st filippo smaldone - pray for us no 2 - 4 june 2018

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, DOCTORS of the Church, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY EUCHARIST

The Solemnity of The Body and Blood of Christ “Corpus Christi” – 3 June

The Solemnity of The Body and Blood of Christ “Corpus Christi” – 3 June

Happy Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, our Lord and God!  What a Gift we celebrate today!

The Eucharist is the source and summit of the whole Christian life.   The feast of Corpus Christi is a celebration of Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist.   It parallels the celebration on Holy Thursday in commemoration of the institution of this Aacrament. When the Eucharist is carried through the streets in solemn procession, the Christian people give public witness of their faith and devotion toward the Sacrament of the Eucharist

In 1246, Bishop Robert de Thorete of the Belgian diocese of Liège, at the suggestion of St Juliana of Mont Cornillon (also in Belgium), convened a synod and instituted the celebration of the feast.

From Liège, the celebration began to spread and, on 8 September 1264, Pope Urban IV issued the papal bull “Transiturus,” which established the Feast of Corpus Christi as a universal feast of the Church, to be celebrated on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday.

At the request of Pope Urban IV, St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), Doctor of the Church, composed the office, the official prayers of the Churc, for the feast.   This office is widely considered one of the most beautiful in the traditional Roman Breviary and it is the source of the famous Eucharistic hymns Pange Lingua Gloriosi and Tantum Ergo Sacramentum.

The feast is also celebrated with a Eucharistic procession, in which the Sacred Host is carried throughout the town, accompanied by hymns and litanies.   There the Eucharistic Lord, held in the monstrance by the priest, is escorted by candles, canopies, incense, choirs, altar servers, and worshipers.   The faithful venerate the Body of Christ as the procession passed by, with Benediction celebrated along the way.

The feast of Corpus Christi is one time when our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is exposed not just to faithful Catholics but to all the world.   This is a time when Catholics can show their love for Christ in the Real Presence by honouring Him in a very public way.   It is also a wonderful way in which we can show our love for our neighbors by bringing Our Lord and Savior closer to them.   So many conversions are a result of Eucharistic Adoration experienced from inside the Church.   How many more there would be if we could reach those who only drive by the church in worldly pursuits.

“Corpus Christi reminds us first of all of this:, that being Christian means coming together from all parts of the world to be in the presence of the one Lord and to become one with him and in him.
The second constitutive aspect, is walking with the Lord. ,This is the reality manifested by the procession that we shall experience together after Holy Mass, almost as if it were naturally prolonged by moving behind the One who is the Way, the Journey. With the gift of Himself in the Eucharist, the Lord Jesus sets us free from our “paralyses”, He helps us up and enables us to “proceed “, that is, He makes us take a step ahead and then another step and thus sets us going with the power of the Bread of Life.”

Pope Benedict XVI, Corpus Christ 2008

Throughout our lives, if we were raised Catholic, we were taught reverence for the Eucharist.    But “reverence” is not enough.  Most Catholics reverence the Eucharist, meaning, we genuflect, kneel and treat the Sacred Host with respect.    But it’s important to ponder a question in your heart.    Do you believe the Eucharist is God Almighty, the Saviour of the world, the second Person of the Most Holy Trinity?  Do you believe deeply enough to have your heart moved with love and profound devotion every time you are before our divine Lord present before us under the veil of the Eucharist?   When you kneel do you fall down prostrate in your heart, loving God with your whole being?5 - Adoration of the Eucharist, by Jeronimo Jacinto Espinosa, 1650

Perhaps this sounds like it’s a bit excessive.  Perhaps simple reverence and respect is enough for you.   But it’s not.   Since the Eucharist is God Almighty, we must see Him there with the eyes of faith in our soul.   We must profoundly adore Him as the angels do in Heaven.   We must cry out, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.”  We must be moved to the deepest of worship as we enter into His divine presence.

Ponder the depth of your faith in the Eucharist today and strive to renew it, worshiping God as one who believes with your whole being.

I devoutly adore You, O hidden Deity, truly hidden beneath these appearances.  My whole heart submits to You and in contemplating You, it surrenders itself completely.  Sight, touch, taste are all deceived in their judgement of You but hearing suffices firmly to believe.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, FRANCISCAN, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Quote/s of the Day – 17 May – Thursday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Paschal Baylon O.F.M. (1540-1592)

Quote/s of the Day – 17 May – Thursday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Paschal Baylon O.F.M. (1540-1592)

“God is as really present in the consecrated Host as He is in the glory of Heaven”god-is-really-present-st-paschal-baylon-17 may 2017

“There is no more efficacious means than this
(Eucharistic Adoration)
for nourishing and increasing the piety of the people
toward this admirable pledge of love
which is a bond of peace and of unity.

St Paschal Baylon (1540-1592)there-is-no-more-efficacious-means-st-baylon.17 may 2017

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, FRANCISCAN, SAINT of the DAY, Uncategorized

Saint of the Day – 17 May – St Paschal Baylon O.F.M. (1540-1592) The “Seraph of the Eucharist”

Saint of the Day – 17 May – St Paschal Baylon O.F.M. (1540-1592) professed Franciscan Religious Brother of the  Order of Lay Brothers Minor, Mystic, Contemplate, Apostle of the Eucharist and Mary, Apostle of the Sick and the poor, known as the “Seraph of the Eucharist”, “Saint of the Blessed Sacrament, “Servant of the Blessed Sacrament.”   St Paschal was born on 24 May 1540 (feast of Pentecost) at Torre Hermosa, Aragon, (modern Spain) and he died on 15 May 1592 (feast of Pentecost) at Villa Reale, Spain of natural causes.   Patronages – cooks, shepherds, Eucharistic congresses and organisations (proclaimed by Pope Leo XIII on 28 November 1897), Shepherds, Male Children and Priesthood Vocation, Eucharistic Adoration, diocese of Segorbe-Castellón de la Plana, Spain, Obado, Bulacan, Philippines.     Attributes – The Eucharist, Monstrance, Franciscan habit.   Like his holy father of the Franciscans, St Francis of Assisi, St Paschal is best known for his strong and deep devotion to the Eucharist, which manifested in his childhood.'Saint_Paschal_Baylon',_anonymous_Mexican_retablo,_oil_on_tin,_mid_19th_century,_El_Paso_Museum_of_Art

Paschal Baylon 2

In Paschal’s lifetime the Spanish empire in the New World was at the height of its power, though France and England were soon to reduce its influence.   The 16th century has been called the Golden Age of the Church in Spain, for it gave birth to Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Peter of Alcantara, Francis Solano, Salvator of Horta, St John of Avila and many others.

Paschal’s Spanish parents were poor and pious.   Between the ages of seven and 24 he worked as a shepherd and began a life of mortification.   He was able to pray on the job and was especially attentive to the church bell, which rang at the Elevation during Mass. Paschal had a very honest streak in him.   He once offered to pay owners of crops for any damage his animals caused!

In 1564, Paschal joined the Friars Minor and gave himself wholeheartedly to a life of penance.   Though he was urged to study for the priesthood, he chose to be a brother.   At various times he served as porter, cook, gardener and official beggar.Espinosa_San_Pascual_Baylon_XVIIst paschal baylon

Paschal was careful to observe the vow of poverty.  He would never waste any food or anything given for the use of the friars.   When he was porter and took care of the poor coming to the door, he developed a reputation for great generosity.   The friars sometimes tried to moderate his liberality!

Paschal spent his spare moments praying before the Blessed Sacrament.   In time, many people sought his wise counsel.    It was Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, that gave St Paschal great wisdom.   He was hardly able to read and write but he was able to hold intelligent conversations with learned doctors in theology.   Some of the theologians felt that Paschal was inspired by God.   The priests of the monastery used to ask his advice about preaching.   When the saint spoke about the Birth of Jesus and the Last Supper, it was as though he had been present at these events. st paschal baylon and the eucharist

On Whit-Sunday, in 1592, St Paschal turned fifty-two years old.   He knew that death was near and tried to put his habit on but being very weak he fell to the floor.   Just then, a Brother entered. He placed the habit on Paschal and put him in bed.

During this time the monks told Paschal that Mass had started and his heart was filled with joy.   As the monastery bell was ringing for the Elevation of the Host, the dying saint said, “Jesus, Jesus,” and then breathed his last.   The news of his death spread like fire over the whole country.

On the day of St Paschal’s funeral Mass, a wonderful miracle took place.   Paschal opened his eyes from the coffin and looked at the Host and the Chalice during the elevation of the Mass  – He adored God publicly, even though he was dead.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about St Paschal, are the strange happenings known as the “Knocks of St Paschal.”   At first, the knocks came from Paschal’s tomb.   Later they came from relics and pictures of the saint.   Sometimes the knocks have come as a kind of warning, to let people know that a terrible event was about to take place.   It is also said that in Spain and Italy, those who are devoted to St Paschal, are warned about their death, days before, so that they may have a chance to receive the Last Sacraments.

People flocked to his tomb immediately after his burial; miracles were reported promptly.   Paschal was Canonised in 1690 and was named patron of Eucharistic congresses and societies in 1897.

More on St Paschal here:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/saint-of-the-day-17-may-st-paschal-baylon/

787px-Giovanni_Battista_Tiepolo_-_Saint_Pascal_Baylon_-_no 2. Google_Art_Project

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 26 April – St Rafael Arnáiz Barón O.C.S.O. (1911-1938)

Saint of the Day – 26 April – St Rafael Arnáiz Barón O.C.S.O. (1911-1938) 9 April 1911 in Burgos, Spain – 26 April 1938 in Dueñas, Palencia, Spain – Religious Brother of the Cistercian Monastery of the Strict Observance (Trappists), Apostle of Eucharistic Adoration and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Artist and Writer.   Known as Brother María Rafael.   Patronages – against diabetes, diabetes mellitus, World Youth Day 2011.

Beato_Raffaele_Arnaiz_Baron

St Rafael Arnáiz Barón was born in Burgos, Spain, on 9 April 1911 into a well-to-do Christian family.   He was the eldest of four.   As a boy he attended several schools run by Jesuits and his sensitivity to spiritual topics and to art was apparent from boyhood. These qualities were remarkably well balanced giving him an open, joyful attitude to the world, combined with exuberant good humour, respect and humility.

Bouts of fever and pleurisy interrupted his education.   When he had recovered his father took him to Zaragoza to consecrate him to Our Lady of the Pillar and his family moved to Oviedo where he completed his secondary schooling.

In 1930 Rafael embarked on architectural studies in Madrid.   It was in this year that his deeper commitment to Christ began.   After completing his secondary schooling, that summer he had spent a holiday near Avila at the home of his uncle and aunt, the Duke and Duchess of Maqueda.   It was they who introduced him to the Trappist Monastery of San Isidoro de Dueñas whose beauty and prayerful atmosphere attracted him.

Rafael was a talented artist, His pictorial powers both in concept and in actual completion were considerable and he was far from fussy.   His teacher says of him:

“He was magnificent in the art of decoration and had done
some truly outstanding pieces . . . both in oils and in watercolour,
he worked to large design and without fussiness; he
needed only a few highly descriptive brush strokes to bring
it off;   he knew how to give strength and setting to all he did.
He had a very exact sense of colour and in some of his pictures
he was able to achieve the most difficult tints.   One peculiarity
was that when Rafael did landscapes, he preferred
to completely exclude from them any sign of people;  none of
his works contain a single human figure that could take or
distract from the luminosity of the whole.”

He was called up but declared unfit for active duty.   He decided to abandon his architectural studies in Madrid and seek the mystery of the “Absolute” in this Cistercian Monastery of the Strict Observance, which he entered on 16 January 1934 and joyfully received the white habit.   He was 23.   He said upon entering that this decision had not been prompted by suffering or disappointments but rather by God who, “in his infinite goodness” had given him far more in life than he deserved.   Rafael felt deeply suited to the monastic rhythm of Gregorian chant and the Liturgy of the Hours.   He wrote many letters to his mother, who after his death collected them in a book and to his uncle and aunt with whom he had a close friendship.

REPORTAJE. RAFAEL ARNAIZ BARON. HERMANO RAFAEL. BEATO OVETENSE EN PROCESO DE CANONIZACION

Four months after entering the monastery, after an austere Lent, he was smitten by a serious form of diabetes mellitus which forced him to go home for treatment.   Indeed, he was obliged to go back and forth between his home and the monastery again and again between 1935 and 1937.   It was at the height of the Spanish Civil War.

Thus, on his final return to the monastery, he was made an oblate, taking the last place and living on the fringes of the community.   Canon law at the time did not permit a person in his condition of poor health to take monastic vows.

The Virgin Mary was the love and consolation of Rafael’s life.   “It is a pity,” he wrote, “that David [the psalmist] didn’t know the Most Holy Virgin! What marvelous things he would have said about her! A heart as big as his would certainly have been full of love for Mary! Mary! If only I knew how to write!”

He died in the monastery’s infirmary on 26 April 1938 after a final attack of the disease at only 27 years old.   He was buried in the monastery cemetery and his remains were later translated to the Abbey Church.

Despite his brief life, he embodies the Cistercian grace in a remarkably pure way.   From beginning to end he let himself be led through a series of bewildering contradictions and perplexities illness, war, the inability to pronounce his vows, abnormal community relations until he totally renounced himself.   Humiliation was his constant companion.

His one desire was to live in order to love:  to love Jesus, Mary, the Cross, his Trappist monastery.   His reputation for holiness spread rapidly throughout Spain and his grave at San Isidro became a place of pilgrimage where many favours were received.

On 19 August 1989, at the World Youth Day in Santiago de Compostela, John Paul II proposed Bro. Rafael as a model for young people today and beatified him on 27 September 1992, in Rome.   In his Homily at the beatification Mass, the late Pope said of this Spanish Trappist that he set an example, especially for young people, “of a loving and unconditional response to the divine call”. (Vatican.va)

ST RAPHAEL BARON 2

The sainthood process started in Palencia in an informative process that spanned from 28 June 1961 until 30 April 1967 while theologians agreed on 25 January 1974 that all of his spiritual writings were in full accordance with the norms of the faith.   The formal introduction to the cause came later on 15 January 1983 and the late Trappist became titled as a Servant of God.   The Congregation for the Causes of Saints validated the informative process in Rome on 26 June 1987 and received the Positio dossier in 1987. Theologians approved this dossier on 12 May 1989 as did the C.C.S. on 11 July 1989.   The confirmation of his heroic virtue on 7 September 1989 allowed for St Pope John Paul II to sign a decree that titled him as Venerable.

The process for a miracle took place in the location that it originated in and it received C.C.S. validation on 6 October 1989;  a medical board approved it on 31 October 1991 as did the theologians on 4 March 1992 and the C.C.S. on 7 April 1992. St John Paul II approved this miracle on 13 June 1992 and beatified the Trappist on 27 September 1992 in Saint Peter’s Square.   The process for another miracle opened in Madrid and spanned from 9 April 2005 to 7 May 2006 before its validation on 30 November 2006.   Medical experts assented to this on 13 March 2008 as well as theologians on 7 June 2008 and the C.C.S. members on 4 November 2008.   Pope Benedict XVI approved this miracle on 6 December 2008 and formalised the date for the sainthood celebration in a consistory on 21 February 2009.  Pope Benedict XVI Canonised him on 11 October 2009.

 

Canonisation miracle
The miracle that led to the Canonisation was the January 2001 healing of Begoña Alonso Leon in Madrid.   She was 30 and in the fifth month of being pregnant with her daughter Laura and began to feel severe contractions and headaches as well as signs of eclampsia. On 25 December 2000 – Christmas – she was admitted at seven months into a Madrid hospital due to the symptoms worsening and after an ultrasound was directed to the surgical theatre for a cesarean section.   Her daughter was born in good health but Leon’s condition worsened and she was in the intensive care unit for over two weeks.   Her rapid healing after this was attributed to the late Trappist whom she appealed to during her illness.

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Posted in Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL MESSAGES, Uncategorized

GAUDATE ET EXSULTATE: The Call for Holiness Is a Constant Battle, But We Can Count on Powerful Weapons God Gave Us

Pope’s 3rd Apostolic Exhortation on Holiness, Gives Practical Advice on How Not to Settle for Failure or Mediocritygaudete et exsultate

Jesus wants our happiness and wants us to be saints.   He does not want us to settle for a bland and mediocre existence.

Gaudate et Exsultate:  On the Call for Holiness in our Modern World was published today, marking Pope Francis’ 3rd Apostolic Exhortation after Evangelii Gaudium and Amoris Laetitia.pope francis gaudete et exsultate

The five-chapter, 98-page document can be considered somewhat of a practical handbook on how to help us achieve holiness in the circumstances of our ordinary lives. The chapters include: 1) The Call to Holiness 2) Two Subtle Enemies of Holiness 3) In the Light of the Master 4) Signs of Holiness in Today’s World 5) Spiritual Combat, Vigilance and Discernment.

Reflecting on saints, the Pope speaks specifically of the saints ‘next door:’ “Nor need we think of those already beatified and canonised” but, he stressed, “I like to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God’s people:  n their daily perseverance, I see the holiness of the Church militant.   A holiness found in our next-door neighbors, the middle class of holiness.”

The document which stresses the need for discernment acknowledges that the Christian life is a battle. It notes that the devil tries to “poison with the venom of hatred, desolation and vice.”

Our call to holiness, it also asserts, is a constant battle.   If we do not realize this, it warns, we “will be prey to failure or mediocrity.”   Yet, it suggests, we can count on “the powerful weapons” God has given us, including prayer, meditation, Mass, Confession, Eucharistic adoration, charitable acts and community outreach.

While recalling some of the saints’ great examples, including St Francis of Assisi, St John Paul II, and Edith Stein, the Pope provides advice on how we can be good Christians.

The answer is clear, he says: “We have to do, each in our own way, what Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount.”

The life of a Christian, the text also stresses, is a constant battle, noting we need strength and courage to reject the devil’s temptations–those “dangers and limitations that distract and debilitate”– and to proclaim the Gospel. Pope Francis also warns against that which impedes our call to holiness, such as hedonism and consumerism, noting they “can prove our downfall.”

Pope Francis concludes the work, stating:  “It is my hope that these pages will prove helpful by enabling the whole Church to devote herself anew to promoting the desire for holiness.” (via Zenit)

***

Link to full text of Apostolic Exhortation:  https://zenit.org/articles/gaudate-et-exsultate-on-the-call-to-holiness-in-todays-world-full-text/

Vatican Media has released a new video that focuses on the theme of the Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate: On the Call for Holiness in our Modern World.  The two-and-a-half-minute video shows how the exhortation addressed the needs of people of all ages around the world.

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Devotion for the Month of April – The Holy Eucharist

Devotion for the Month of April – The Holy Eucharist

The Church has historically encouraged the month of April for increased devotion to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.  “The Church in the course of the centuries has introduced various forms of this Eucharistic worship which are ever increasing in beauty and helpfulness;  as, for example, visits of devotion to the tabernacles, even every day;  Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; solemn processions, especially at the time of Eucharistic Congresses, which pass through cities and villages;  and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament publicly exposed . . . These exercises of piety have brought a wonderful increase in faith and supernatural life to the Church militant upon earth and they are re-echoed to a certain extent by the Church triumphant in heaven, which sings continually a hymn of praise to God and to the Lamb ‘Who was slain.'” -Venerable Pope Pius XII (1876-1958) Pope from 1939 to his death in 1958.april devotion - the blessed sacrament - 2 april 2018

Prayer before Holy Communion
By St Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868)

Oh! Yes, Lord Jesus, come and reign!
Let my body be Your temple,
my heart Your throne,
my will Your devoted servant;
let me be Yours forever,
living only in You and for You!
AmenPrayer before Holy Comm - st peter julian eymard - 2 april 2018

Eucharistic Adoration By:  St Pope John Paul II

“I encourage Christians regularly to visit Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament, for we are all called to abide in the presence of God.   In contemplation, Christians will perceive ever more profoundly the mystery at the heart of Christian life.
I urge priests, religious and lay people to continue and redouble their efforts to teach the younger generations the meaning and value of Eucharistic adoration and devotion.   How will young people be able to know the Lord if they are not introduced to the mystery of His presence?   Like the young Samuel, by learning the words of the prayer of the heart, they will be closer to the Lord, who will accompany them in their spiritual and human growth.   The Eucharistic mystery is in fact the “summit of evangelisation” (Lumen Gentium) for it is the most eminent testimony to Christ’s resurrection.”

Private Eucharistic Adoration
Venerable Fr Benedict Groeschel points out in the book, “In the Presence of Our Lord : The History, Theology and Psychology of Eucharistic Devotion” that there are “four kinds of prayer most appropriate in the presence of the Eucharist, namely adoration and praise, thanksgiving, repentance and trusting intercession.”   Accordingly, here are suggestions for what to do during private Eucharistic adoration.

1. Pray the Psalms or the Liturgy of the Hours
Whether you are praising, giving thanks, asking for forgiveness or seeking an answer, you’ll find an appropriate psalm.   The ancient prayer of the Church called the Liturgy of the Hours presents an excellent way to pray through the Book of Psalms throughout the year.

2. Recite the “Jesus Prayer”
Say “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner”, repeatedly as you quiet your heart and mind.

3. Meditate using Scripture
Choose a passage from the Bible. read the words and ask God to let the passage speak to you.   Pay special attention to anything that strikes you and ask God what He wishes for you to draw from that message.

4. Read the life of a saint and pray with him or her
Most holy men and women have had a great devotion to Our Lord in the Eucharist. Therese of Lisieux, Catherine of Siena, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Peter Julian Eymard, Dorothy Day. Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Baroness Catherine de Hueck are just a few.   Read about them and pray their prayers before the Blessed Sacrament.

5. Pour out your heart to Christ and adore Him
Speak to Jesus, aware that you are in His presence and tell Him all that comes to your mind.   Listen for His response.   Pray the prayer that St Francis instructed his brothers to pray whenever they were before the Blessed Sacrament:  “I adore You, O Christ, present here and in all the churches of the world, for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.”

6. Ask for forgiveness and intercede for others
Think of those who have hurt you and request a special blessing for them.   Ask God to forgive you for all the times you have neglected or hurt someone else.   Bring before the Blessed Sacrament all those who have asked you to pray for them.   Ask the Lord to address their concerns.

7. Pray the Rosary
St Pope John Paul II reminds us, “…is not the enraptured gaze of Mary as she contemplated the face of the newborn Chris and cradled him in her arms that unparalleled model of love which should inspire us every time we receive Eucharistic communion?” (The Church and the Eucharist, 55)   Ask Mary to join you as you gaze on Christ in the Eucharist and as you pray the Rosary.

8. Sit quietly and just “be” in the presence of God
Think of a visit to the Blessed Sacrament as coming to see your best friend.   Sit quietly and enjoy being in each other’s company.   Instead of talking to the Lord, try listening to what He wants to tell you.

Prayer before the Eucharistic Presence
By Bl John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

I place myself in the presence of Him,
in whose Incarnate Presence I am,
before I place myself there.
I adore You, O my Saviour,
present here as God and man,
in soul and body,
in true flesh and blood.
I acknowledge and confess,
that I kneel before the Sacred Humanity,
which was conceived in Mary’s womb
and lay in Mary’s bosom;
which grew up to man’s estate
and by the Sea of Galilee, called the Twelve,
wrought miracles and spoke words of wisdom and peace;
Who in due season hung on the cross,
lay in the tomb, rose from the dead
and now reigns in heaven.
I praise and bless
and give myself wholly to Him,
Who is the true Bread of my soul
and my everlasting joy. AmenI place myself in the presence - bl john henry - 2 april 2018

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Our Morning Offering – 25 February 2018 – The Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

Our Morning Offering – 25 February 2018 – The Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

I Place myself in Your Presence (Prayer before Holy Mass or at Eucharistic Adoration)
Bl John Henry Newman  (1801-1890)

I place myself
in the presence of Him
in whose Incarnate Presence
I am before
I place myself there.
I adore You, O my Saviour,
present here as God and Man,
in soul and body,
in true flesh and blood.
I acknowledge and confess,
that I kneel before
that Sacred Humanity,
which was conceived
in Mary’s womb
and lay on Mary’s bosom,
which grew up to man’s estate
and by the Sea of Galilee
called the Twelve,
wrought miracles
and spoke words of wisdom
and peace.
Which, in due season
hung on the Cross,
lay in the tomb,
rose from the dead
and now reigns in heaven.
I praise and bless and give myself
wholly to Him,
who is the true Bread of my soul
and my everlasting joy.
AmenI place myself in your presence - bl john henry - 17 Sept 2017

Posted in LENT, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL MESSAGES

Ash Wednesday – 14 February 2018 Message of the Holy Father Francis for Lent 2018 on the theme: “Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold” (Mt 24: 12).

Message of the Holy Father

“Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold” (Mt 24: 12)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Once again, the Pasch of the Lord draws near!   In our preparation for Easter, God in His providence offers us each year the season of Lent as a “sacramental sign of our conversion”.   Lent summons us and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life.

With this message, I would like again this year to help the entire Church experience this time of grace anew, with joy and in truth.   I will take my cue from the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew:  “Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold” (24:12).

These words appear in Christ’s preaching about the end of time.   They were spoken in Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives, where the Lord’s passion would begin.   In reply to a question of the disciples, Jesus foretells a great tribulation and describes a situation in which the community of believers might well find itself:  amid great trials, false prophets would lead people astray and the love that is the core of the Gospel would grow cold in the hearts of many.

False prophets
Let us listen to the Gospel passage and try to understand the guise such false prophets can assume.

They can appear as “snake charmers”, who manipulate human emotions in order to enslave others and lead them where they would have them go.   How many of God’s children are mesmerised by momentary pleasures, mistaking them for true happiness! How many men and women live entranced by the dream of wealth, which only makes them slaves to profit and petty interests!   How many go through life believing that they are sufficient unto themselves, and end up entrapped by loneliness!

False prophets can also be “charlatans”, who offer easy and immediate solutions to suffering that soon prove utterly useless.   How many young people are taken in by the panacea of drugs, of disposable relationships, of easy but dishonest gains!   How many more are ensnared in a thoroughly “virtual” existence, in which relationships appear quick and straightforward, only to prove meaningless!   These swindlers, in peddling things that have no real value, rob people of all that is most precious:  dignity, freedom and the ability to love.   They appeal to our vanity, our trust in appearances but in the end they only make fools of us.   Nor should we be surprised.   In order to confound the human heart, the devil, who is “a liar and the father of lies” (Jn 8:44), has always presented evil as good, falsehood as truth.   That is why each of us is called to peer into our heart to see if we are falling prey to the lies of these false prophets.   We must learn to look closely, beneath the surface, and to recognise what leaves a good and lasting mark on our hearts, because it comes from God and is truly for our benefit.

A cold heart
In his description of hell, Dante Alighieri pictures the devil seated on a throne of ice, in frozen and loveless isolation.   We might well ask ourselves how it happens that charity can turn cold within us.   What are the signs that indicate that our love is beginning to cool?

More than anything else, what destroys charity is greed for money, “the root of all evil” (1 Tim 6:10).   The rejection of God and his peace soon follows;  we prefer our own desolation rather than the comfort found in his word and the sacraments.   All this leads to violence against anyone we think is a threat to our own “certainties”:  the unborn child, the elderly and infirm, the migrant, the alien among us, or our neighbour who does not live up to our expectations.

Creation itself becomes a silent witness to this cooling of charity.   The earth is poisoned by refuse, discarded out of carelessness or for self-interest.   The seas, themselves polluted, engulf the remains of countless shipwrecked victims of forced migration.   The heavens, which in God’s plan, were created to sing His praises, are rent by engines raining down implements of death.

Love can also grow cold in our own communities.   In the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, I sought to describe the most evident signs of this lack of love: selfishness and spiritual sloth, sterile pessimism, the temptation to self-absorption, constant warring among ourselves and the worldly mentality that makes us concerned only for appearances, and thus lessens our missionary zeal.

What are we to do?
Perhaps we see, deep within ourselves and all about us, the signs I have just described. But the Church, our Mother and Teacher, along with the often bitter medicine of the truth, offers us in the Lenten season the soothing remedy of prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

By devoting more time to prayer, we enable our hearts to root out our secret lies and forms of self-deception and then to find the consolation God offers.   He is our Father and he wants us to live life well.

Almsgiving sets us free from greed and helps us to regard our neighbour as a brother or sister.   What I possess is never mine alone.   How I would like almsgiving to become a genuine style of life for each of us!   How I would like us, as Christians, to follow the example of the Apostles and see in the sharing of our possessions a tangible witness of the communion that is ours in the Church!   For this reason, I echo Saint Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians to take up a collection for the community of Jerusalem as something from which they themselves would benefit (cf. 2 Cor 8:10).   This is all the more fitting during the Lenten season, when many groups take up collections to assist Churches and peoples in need.   Yet I would also hope that, even in our daily encounters with those who beg for our assistance, we would see such requests as coming from God Himself.   When we give alms, we share in God’s providential care for each of His children.   If through me, God helps someone today, will He not tomorrow provide for my own needs?   For no one is more generous than God.

Fasting weakens our tendency to violence;  it disarms us and becomes an important opportunity for growth.   On the one hand, it allows us to experience what the destitute and the starving have to endure.   On the other hand, it expresses our own spiritual hunger and thirst for life in God.   Fasting wakes us up.   It makes us more attentive to God and our neighbour.   It revives our desire to obey God, who alone is capable of satisfying our hunger.

I would also like my invitation to extend beyond the bounds of the Catholic Church and to reach all of you, men and women of good will, who are open to hearing God’s voice. Perhaps, like ourselves, you are disturbed by the spread of iniquity in the world, you are concerned about the chill that paralyses hearts and actions and you see a weakening in our sense of being members of the one human family.   Join us, then, in raising our plea to God, in fasting and in offering whatever you can to our brothers and sisters in need!

The fire of Easter
Above all, I urge the members of the Church to take up the Lenten journey with enthusiasm, sustained by almsgiving, fasting and prayer.   If, at times, the flame of charity seems to die in our own hearts, know that this is never the case in the heart of God!   He constantly gives us a chance to begin loving anew.

One such moment of grace will be, again this year, the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative, which invites the entire Church community to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation in the context of Eucharistic adoration.   In 2018, inspired by the words of Psalm 130:4, “With you is forgiveness”, this will take place from Friday, 9 March to Saturday, 10 March.   In each diocese, at least one church will remain open for twenty-four consecutive hours, offering an opportunity for both Eucharistic adoration and sacramental confession.

During the Easter Vigil, we will celebrate once more the moving rite of the lighting of the Easter candle.   Drawn from the “new fire”, this light will slowly overcome the darkness and illuminate the liturgical assembly.   “May the light of Christ rising in glory dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds” and enable all of us to relive the experience of the disciples on the way to Emmaus.   By listening to God’s word and drawing nourishment from the table of the Eucharist, may our hearts be ever more ardent in faith, hope and love.

With affection and the promise of my prayers for all of you, I send you my blessing. Please do not forget to pray for me.

From the Vatican

FrancisTHE HOLY FATHER'S MESSAGE FOR LENT 2018- 14 FEB ASH WED 2018

Posted in DEVOTIO, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, LENT, MORNING Prayers, NOTES to Followers, SPEAKING of .....

Thought for the Day – 12 February – Preparing for Lent – 2 days to go!

Thought for the Day – 12 February – Preparing for Lent – 2 days to go!

Lent is a season of grace.   The joy of the Risen Lord Jesus depends on how we live out the holy season of Lent.   God’s generosity has no limits but we often fall short in giving God our whole hearts so that He can fill them with His love.

Why not strive to live out this Lent as if it were to be the Last Lent in your lives!

Decide on your Lenten sacrifice.   Lent is a season of solemnity and sacrifice commemorating Jesus’ exodus into the desert;  our sacrifice is a reminder of the sacrifice of self Jesus made to save us from our sins.   Because of this, it is a Lenten tradition to sacrifice something for these 40 days.
Think about all the trivial things in your life that shift your focus away from God.   Do you find that you dedicate more time to sending text messages and posting status updates than to prayer and time with God?   Do you have a habit of eating junk food excessively?   What is something your life could do without?

In addition to sacrificing something, include something special in your Lenten routine.   Giving up chocolate or Facebook for 40 days is great but why not do something positive, too, instead of just removing the negative?   Resolve to be more mindful of others’ needs, spend more time with your family, pray more and forgive old grudges.

Attend Holy Mass as often as possible.   In addition to weekly Sunday service, it’s good to go to Mass and receive the Holy Eucharist frequently, especially during Lent.   Lent begins on Ash Wednesday when we remember that we come from dust and to dust we shall return.

Go to Confession, is a wonderful way to turn away from sin and reunite yourself with Christ.   If you don’t already, try getting into the habit of going to Confession on a regular basis.   The Catholic Church has made it obligatory that all the faithful receive the sacrament of Penance at least once a year and once during the season of Lent, though it’s recommended that you attend Confession at least once a month if possible.

Spend time on prayer and devotions.   Though not required, devotions are a great way to put yourself in the right mindset for Lent.   The Church highly encourages Adoration of God or the veneration of the Blessed Virgin and the saints.   Your local parish probably has regular Eucharistic Adoration, where you can go to sit and engage in deep prayer, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.   To practice veneration, you could say a decade of the Rosary daily, or pray to your patron saint.
Any prayer, so long as it means something to you, is a step in the direction God intended. If you have a prayer you’ve grown up with that speaks to you, resolve to spend more time focusing on what it truly means and how you can embody that prayer in your everyday life.   Perhaps start the Liturgy of the Hours, there are many sites online offering this devotion.

Take time for self-examination and reflection.   Christmas and Easter are times of happiness and joy;  while the preceding and succeeding seasons are cheery and bright, the same cannot be said about Lent.   It is a time of simplicity and solemnity.   It is a time to reflect on your dependence on God’s mercy and your understanding of faith.   Take moments during this time to think about how you embody Christ’s love.

Get ready to Fast and Abstain – think about how you will incorporate these practises into your life.   All Catholics aged fourteen and older are asked to abstain from meat on Lenten Fridays, though fish is allowed to be eaten.   Additionally, Catholics aged 18-59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Lenten Fridays, meaning that only one full meal may be eaten in the day.   Of course, do this however you feel is safe and effective.
Some people should definitely not fast (the pregnant or the elderly, for example).   If fasting isn’t a reasonable option for you, fast from something other than food.   Make sure it’s something that’s a challenge — like your phone or email — so you can feel the sacrifice you’re making.

Promote your Parish almsgiving project – perhaps think about volunteering your help. Ensure that you find a way to fulfil this vital Lenten requirement – it could be as simple as saving your spare change for your Parish charity or to have Masses said for the holy souls!

Make a Lenten calendar.   Such a calendar will help you to focus on the progression of the Lenten season and is a great reminder to see the days ticking away, leaving Sundays out.   It ends the Friday before Easter (the last day being Holy Thursday);   count backwards from there.
Hang the calendar in a common area in your home.   Every day, tick off a box.   As you get closer and closer to Easter, how do you find yourself feeling?   Are your sacrifices becoming more or less difficult to maintain?

A Blessed and Holy Lent to you all!Preparing to clean up - lent - 12 feb 2018lent - preparing our hearts - 30 jan 2018-no 2

 

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Thought for the Day – 5 January – The Memorial of St John Neumann (1811-1860) – An Adorer of the Blessed Sacrament

Thought for the Day – 5 January – The Memorial of St John Neumann (1811-1860) – An Adorer of the Blessed Sacrament

St John Nepomucene Neumann (1811–1860), Bishop of Philadelphia from 1852–1860, was graced with an intense devotion to Our Lord in the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist.   His personal experience as a boy in Bohemia (modern Czech Republic), then as a priest in the United States and finally as a Redemptorist — a spiritual son of the incomparable Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) (Founder of the Redemptorists and Doctor of the Church) — impelled him to promote prolonged prayer before the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the monstrance.   No sooner had he become bishop of Philadelphia than he sought to introduce the Quarant’ Ore, or Forty Hours Devotion, already practised for three hundred years in Europe.

The good priests of Philadelphia were, for the most part, opposed to the introduction of the Forty Hours Devotion, fearing that, given the prevailing climate of violent anti-Catholicism nurtured by the Know Nothing Movement, it might exacerbate hostilities against the Church and even expose the Most Holy Sacrament to profanation.

Bishop Neumann had very nearly renounced his project when, overcome by exhaustion late one night, he fell asleep while writing at his desk.   A burning candle ignited the papers lying before him.   He awoke to smoke rising from the incinerated papers.   One document alone remained unscathed;  it was the letter he had written to propose the Forty Hours Devotion.   Bishop Neumann fell to his knees to give thanks for having been preserved from harm and, as he did so, he experienced a kind of locution.   God spoke to him inwardly saying,  “As the flames are burning here without consuming or injuring this writing, so shall I pour out My grace in the Blessed Sacrament without prejudice to My honour.   Therefore, do not fear profanation and do not hesitate any longer to carry out your designs for My glory.”

Convinced by this sign, Bishop Neumann overrode the objections of his clergy and initiated the celebration of the Forty Hours at the First Diocesan Synod of Philadelphia in April 1853.   The Church chosen for the first Forty Hours was that of Saint Philip Neri.   It was the latter saint who had, in fact, introduced the Quarant’ Ore to the city of Rome. Bishop Neumann astonished — and edified — his clergy and faithful by spending the greater part of the three days on his knees before the Blessed Sacrament in Saint Philip Neri Church.   There was no anti-Catholic backlash.   Great crowds of the faithful came, by day and by night, to adore Our Lord exposed to their gaze in the Sacrament of the Altar.

Bishop Neumann carried out his original inspiration by organising the Forty Hours Devotion in the entire diocese of Philadelphia in such a way that each parish would celebrate it in turn during the course of the year.   He edited a booklet to facilitate the worthy celebration of the Quarant’ Ore and secured indulgences for the faithful who would participate in the devotion.   So successful was the Forty Hours in the diocese of Philadelphia that it spread from there to other dioceses of the United States.   In 1866 at the Plenary Council of Baltimore the Forty Hours Devotion was ratified for the whole country.

One of the conclusions of the 2005 Vatican Synod on the Eucharist was the recommendation that the Forty Hours Devotion be reinvigorated and reintroduced everywhere in the Church.   This, of course, is fully consonant with the repeated exhortations to Eucharistic adoration of St Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

Saints John and Alphonsus
Saint John Neumann left, among his personal writings, a prayer that, by its language and tenderness, is reminiscent of the outpourings of his spiritual father, Saint Alphonse Liguori, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. It reveals something of the soul of Bishop Neumann:

How much do I love You,
O my Jesus!
I wish to love You with my whole heart,
yet I do not love You enough.
I have but one desire,
that of being near You,
in the Blessed Sacrament.
Thou art the sweet Bridegroom of my soul.
My Jesus, my love, my all,
gladly would I endure
hunger, thirst, heat and cold
to remain always with You
in the Blessed Sacrament.
Amenhow much do I love You O my Jesus - st john neumann - prayer to jesus in the holy eucharist - 5 jan 2018- NO 2

ST JOHN NEUMANN, PRAY FOR THE GROWTH OF EUCHARISTIC ADORATION, PRAY FOR HOLY MOTHER CHURCH, PRAY FOR US ALL!st john neumann - pray for us - 5 jan 2018

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, MORNING Prayers, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Thought for the Day – 14 November : Twelve Reasons From The Teachings Of The Church For Wanting To Spend One Hour With Jesus In The Blessed Sacrament – the Source and Summit of our Faith

Thought for the Day – 14 November : Twelve Reasons From The Teachings Of The Church For Wanting To Spend One Hour With Jesus In The Blessed Sacrament.

1. You are greatly needed!
“The Church and the world have a great need of eucharistic adoration.”    – (St Pope John Paul II, Dominicae Cenae)

2. This is a personal invitation to you from Jesus!
“Jesus waits for us in this sacrament of love.”    – (St Pope John Paul II, Dominicae Canae)

3. Jesus is counting on you because the Eucharist is the centre of our Catholic life – the SOURCE and the SUMMIT!
“Every member of the Church must be vigilant in seeing that the sacrament of love shall be at the centre of the life of the people of God so that through all the manifestations of worship due Him shall be given back ‘love for love’ and truly become the life of our souls.” (St Pope John Paul II, Redeemer of Man)

4. Your hour with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament will repair for the evils of the world and bring about peace on earth.
“Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Jesus and ready to make reparation for the great evils of the world.   Let your adoration never cease.”   –  (St Pope John Paul II, Dominicai Cenae)

5. Day and night Jesus dwells in the Blessed Sacrament because you are the most important person in the world to Him – you are a treasure, believe it!
“Christ is reserved in our churches as the spiritual centre of the heart of the community, the universal Church and all humanity, since within the veil of the species, Christ is contained, the invisible heart of the Church, the Redeemer of the world, the centre of all hearts, by him all things are and of whom we exist.”    – (Blessed Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei)

6. Our Lord Jesus wants you to do more than to go to Holy Mass on Sunday.
“Our communal worship at Mass must go together with our personal worship of Jesus in Eucharistic adoration in order that our love may be complete.”    – (St Pope John Paul II, Redeemer of Man)

7. You grow spiritually with each moment you spend with Jesus!
“Our essential commitment in life is to preserve and advance constantly in Eucharistic life and Eucharistic piety and to grow spiritually in the climate of the Holy Eucharist.”   –  (St Pope John Paul II, Redeemer of Man)

8. The best time you spend on earth is with Jesus, your Best Friend, in the Blessed Sacrament!
“How great is the value of conversation with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, for there is nothing more consoling on earth, nothing more efficacious for advancing along the road of holiness!”    – (Blessed Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei)

9. Just as you can’t be exposed to the sun without receiving its rays, neither can you come to Jesus exposed in the Blessed Sacrament without receiving the divine rays of His grace, His love, his peace.
“Christ is truly the Emmanuel, that is, God with us, day and night, He is in our midst.   He dwells with us full of grace and truth.  He restores morality, nourishes virtue, consoles the afflicted, strengthens the weak.”   –  (Blessed Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei)

10. If Jesus were actually visible in church, everyone would run to welcome Him, but He remains hidden in the Sacred Host under the appearance of bread because He is calling us to faith, that we many come to Him in humility.
“The Blessed Sacrament is the ‘Living Heart’ of each of our churches and it is our very sweet duty to honour and adore the Blessed Host, which our eyes see, the Incarnate Word, whom they cannot see.”   –  (Blessed Pope Paul VI, Credo of the People of God)

11. With transforming mercy, Jesus makes our heart one with his.
“He proposes His own example to those who come to Him, that all may learn to be like Himself, gentle and humble of heart and to seek not their own interest but those of God.”  -(Blessed Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei)

12. If the Pope himself would give you a special invitation to visit him in the Vatican, this honour would be nothing in comparison to the honour and dignity that Jesus Himself bestows upon you with the invitation of spending one hour with Him in the Blessed Sacrament.
“The divine Eucharist bestows upon the Christian people the incomparable dignity.”   –  (Blessed Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei)christ is truly emmanuel - bl pope paul VI - 14 nov 2017 - reasons to come to adoration

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY, Uncategorized

Thought for the Day – 13 November – The Memorial of St Stanislaus Kostka SJ (1550-1568)

Thought for the Day – 13 November – The Memorial of St Stanislaus Kostka SJ (1550-1568)

Although the life of St. Stanislaus was short in years, it contains a simple roadmap for us all.

The Three things all saints possess and these things will make us saints too – great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, our Holy Mother and Prayer.   Follow him in these points.   Assist daily, if you can, at Holy Mass, attend Our Lord in the Tabernacle or at Eucharistic Adoration, as often as possible, even for just a few minutes and always prepare yourself carefully for holy Communion;  honour the divine Mother and invoke her with filial trust.   To ask her blessing, morning and night, after the example of St Stanislaus, is easily done and is, moreover, a sign of love and confidence.PRAYER BEFORE OUR LORD IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST - ST STANISLAUS MEMORIAL - 13 NOV 2017

And finally, especially during this month of the holy souls, remember to contemplate your own death each day and do not delay your penance until you are lying on your sick-bed.  While you are in the possession of health, examine your conscience, in order to ascertain if there is nothing which might trouble you on your death-bed.   Should you find anything, remove it without delay.   “For it is difficult, it is very difficult,” says Hugo of St. Victor, “to do true penance at that time and to awaken, in a troubled conscience, earnest repentance.”   Perhaps, at that moment, one does not even think of it, or knows, not what to do in the anxiety of his mind.   “At the time of sickness, you can hardly think of anything but what you feel,” says St Jerome; and St Augustine writes:  “It is in accordance with Divine Justice that he who forgets God during his life, forgets himself in the hour of death.”   “Therefore, whoever wishes to die quietly and peacefully, let him do penance while he enjoys health,” says S. Bernard.   While you are in the possession of health, you would daily employ a few minutes to examine your conscience, in order to ascertain if there is nothing which might trouble you on your death-bed.    Should you find anything, remove it without delay!

A practice of worth for us all, is to beg St Stanislaus to be our patrons of a holy and peaceful death.   Therefore, we pray:

Saint Stanislaus, patron most tender and most powerful, angel of purity and of love, I rejoice with you in your happy death, a death rejoiced in, by your longing to see Jesus and Mary. who was taken up bodily into heaven and consummated by a mighty impulse of love toward her.   I give thanks unto Mary, who was pleased to hear and answer your prayers and I implore you, by the glory of your happy death, to be the advocate and patron of my death.   Intercede with Mary our Mother for me that my death, if not so happy as yours, may at least be peaceful under the protection of Mary, my Advocate and of you my special patron of my inevitable.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

Pray for us, O holy Stanislaus,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

O God, who amongst the other wonderful works of Your wisdom, has bestowed the grace of holiness on them of tender years:   grant, we beseech You, that we, following in the footsteps of blessed St Stanislaus and redeeming the time by unremitting labour, may hasten without fear, to enter into our eternal rest.   Through Christ our Lord, St Stanislaus, pray for us now and at the hour of our death, amen.st stanislaus - pray for us - 13 nov 2017 no 3

Posted in Pope BENEDICT XVI, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL, WYD - World Youth Day

Saint of the Day – 22 October – St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)

Saint of the Day – 22 October – St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) Pope, Philosopher, Theologian, Writer, Preacher, Professor and Teacher, Apostle of the Holy Eucharist, Eucharistic Adoration, Charity and Mercy.   Patronages – Archdiocese of Kraków, World Youth Day (Co-Patron). World Meeting of Families 2015 (Co-Patron), Young Catholics, Families, Świdnica.   St John Paul was the second longest-serving pope in modern history after Pope Pius IX, who served for nearly 32 years from 1846 to 1878.   Born in Poland, John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope since the Dutch Pope Adrian VI, who served from 1522 to 1523.   John Paul II’s cause for canonisation commenced in 2005 one month after his death with the traditional five-year waiting period waived.   On 19 December 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed Venerable by his successor Pope Benedict XVI and was beatified on 1 May 2011 (Divine Mercy Sunday) after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints attributed one miracle to his intercession, the healing of a French nun from Parkinson’s disease.   A second miracle attributed to John Paul II’s intercession was approved on 2 July 2013 and confirmed by Pope Francis two days later (two miracles must be attributed to a person’s intercession to be declared a saint).   John Paul II was canonised on 27 April 2014 (again Divine Mercy Sunday), together with Pope John XXIII.   On 11 September 2014, Pope Francis added John Paul II’s optional memorial feast day to the worldwide General Roman Calendar of saints, in response to worldwide requests.   It is traditional to celebrate saints’ feast days on the anniversary of their deaths but that of John Paul II (22 October) is celebrated on the anniversary of his papal inauguration.

KAROL JÓZEF WOJTYŁA, elected Pope on 16 October 1978, was
born in Wadowice, Poland, on 18 May 1920.

He was the third of three children born to Karol Wojtyła and Emilia
Kaczorowska, who died in 1929. His elder brother Edmund, a
physician, died in 1932, and his father, Karol, a non-commissioned
officer in the army, died in 1941.

He was nine years old when he received his First Communion and
eighteen when he received the Sacrament of Confirmation.   After
completing high school in Wadowice, he enrolled in the Jagellonian
University of Krakow in 1938.

When the occupying Nazi forces closed the University in 1939,
Karol worked (1940-1944) in a quarry and then in the Solvay
chemical factory to earn a living and to avoid deportation to Germany.

Feeling called to the priesthood, he began his studies in 1942 in
the clandestine major seminary of Krakow, directed by the Archbishop
Adam Stefan Sapieha.   During that time, he was one of the organisers
of the “Rhapsodic Theatre”, which was also clandestine.

After the war, Karol continued his studies in the major seminary,
newly reopened and in the school of theology at the Jagellonian
University, until his priestly ordination in Krakow on 1 November
1946.   Father Wojtyła was then sent by Cardinal Sapieha to Rome,
where he attained a doctorate in theology (1948).   He wrote his
dissertation on faith as understood in the works of Saint John of
the Cross.   While a student in Rome, he spent his vacations
exercising pastoral ministry among Polish emigrants in France,
Belgium and Holland.

In 1948, Father Wojtyła returned to Poland and was appointed a
curate in the parish church of Niegowić, near Krakow, and later at
Saint Florian in the city.   He was a university chaplain until 1951,
when he again undertook studies in philosophy and theology.   In
1953, Father Wojtyła presented a dissertation at the Jagellonian
University of Krakow on the possibility of grounding a Christian
ethic on the ethical system developed by Max Scheler.   Later he
became professor of moral theology and ethics in the major
seminary of Krakow and in the theology faculty of Lublin.

On 4 July 1958, Pope Pius XII appointed Father Wojtyła auxiliary
bishop of Krakow, with the titular see of Ombi.   Archbishop
Eugeniusz Baziak ordained him in Wawel Cathedral (Krakow)
on 28 September 1958.

On 13 January 1964, Pope Paul VI appointed Bishop Wojtyła as
Archbishop of Krakow and subsequently, on 26 June 1967, created
him a Cardinal.

Bishop Wojtyła took part in the Second Vatican Council (1962-
1965) and made a significant contribution to the drafting of the
Constitution Gaudium et Spes.   He also took part in the five assemblies
of the Synod of Bishops prior to the start of his Pontificate.

On 16 October 1978, Cardinal Wojtyła was elected Pope and on 22
October he began his ministry as universal Pastor of the Church.

Pope John Paul II made 146 pastoral visits in Italy and, as the Bishop
of Rome, he visited 317 of the current 322 Roman parishes.   His
international apostolic journeys numbered 104 and were expressions
of the constant pastoral solicitude of the Successor of Peter for
all the Churches.

His principal documents include 14 Encyclicals, 15 Apostolic
Exhortations, 11 Apostolic Constitutions and 45 Apostolic Letters.
He also wrote five books:   Crossing the Threshold of Hope (October
1994); Gift and Mystery:   On the Fiftieth Anniversary of My Priestly
Ordination 
(November 1996);   Roman Triptych, meditations in
poetry 
(March 2003);   Rise, Let Us Be on Our Way (May 2004)
and Memory and Identity (February 2005).

Pope John Paul II celebrated 147 beatifications, during which he
proclaimed 1,338 blesseds and 51 canonisations, for a total of 482
saints.   He called 9 consistories, in which he created 231 Cardinals
(plus one in pectore).   He also presided at 6 plenary meetings of the
College of Cardinals.

From 1978, Pope John Paul II convoked 15 assemblies of the Synod
of Bishops: 6 ordinary general sessions (1980, 1983, 1987, 1990,
1994 and 2001), 1 extraordinary general session (1985) and 8
special sessions (1980, 1991,1994,1995,1997,1998 (2) and 1999).

On 3 May 1981, an attempt was made on Pope John Paul II’s life
in Saint Peter’s Square.   Saved by the maternal hand of the Mother
of God, following a lengthy stay in the hospital, he forgave the
attempted assassin and, aware of having received a great gift,
intensified his pastoral commitments with heroic generosity.

Pope John Paul II also demonstrated his pastoral concern by
erecting numerous dioceses and ecclesiastical circumscriptions,
and by promulgating Codes of Canon Law for the Latin and the
Oriental Churches, as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
He proclaimed the Year of Redemption, the Marian Year and the
Year of the Eucharist as well as the Great Jubilee Year of 2000,
in order to provide the People of God with particularly intense spiritual
experiences. He also attracted young people by beginning the
celebration of World Youth Day.WYD 2YOUTH GATHER IN CZESTOCHOWA FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY

No other Pope met as many people as Pope John Paul II. More
than 17.6 million pilgrims attended his Wednesday General Audiences
(which numbered over 1,160). This does not include any of
the other special audiences and religious ceremonies (more than 8
million pilgrims in the Great Jubilee Year of 2000 alone). He met
millions of the faithful in the course of his pastoral visits in Italy
and throughout the world. He also received numerous government
officials in audience, including 38 official visits and 738 audiences
and meetings with Heads of State, as well as 246 audiences and
meetings with Prime Ministers.

Pope John Paul II died in the Apostolic Palace at 9:37 p.m. on
Saturday, 2 April 2005, the vigil of Sunday in albis or Divine Mercy
Sunday, which he had instituted. On 8 April, his solemn funeral
was celebrated in Saint Peter’s Square and he was buried in the
crypt of Saint Peter’s Basilica.

 

John Paul II was beatified in Saint Peter’s Square on 1 May 2011 by
Pope Benedict XVI, his immediate successor and for many years
his valued collaborator as Prefect for the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith and canonised on 27 April 2014, together
with Pope John XXIII, by Pope Francis.0005260_tu-es-petrus-le-chiavi-del-regno-da-giovanni-paolo-ii-a-benedetto-xvi-1-x-60-minpope benedict holds a new portraitCanonisation 1.canonisation 2.canonisation 3.

Booklet for the Celebration of the Canonization of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II, 27 April 2014 from the Vatican

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Saint of the Day – 9 October – St John Leonardi (1541-1609)

Saint of the Day – 9 October – St John Leonardi (1541-1609) – Priest, Founder, Confessor, Reformer, Apostle of the Holy Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration, Marian devotee.  Born Giovanni Leonardi in 1541 at Diecimo, Lucca, Italy – 8 October 1609 at Rome, Italy of natural causes).   He was buried in Santa Maria in Portico and was Beatified in 1861 and Canonised on 17 April 1938 by Pope Pius XI.  St John founded the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca, wherein he assumed the name of “Giovanni of the Mother of God” as his religious name.   Patronages – Pharmacists and the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca.   Attributes – Cassock.

John Leonardi was born in 1541 in Diecimo, in the province of Lucca.   The last of seven siblings, his adolescence was sprinkled with rhythms of faith lived in a healthy and industrious family group, as well as the assiduous frequenting of a shop of herbs and medicines in his native town.   At age 17 his father enrolled him in a regular course in pharmacy in Lucca, with the aim of making him a future pharmacist, that is, an apothecary, as they were called then.   For close to a decade young John Leonardi was vigilant and diligent in following this, but when, according to the norms established by the former Republic of Lucca, he acquired the official recognition that would have allowed him to open his own shop, he began to think if perhaps the moment had not arrived to fulfill a plan that he had always had in his heart.

After mature reflection he decided to direct himself toward the priesthood.   And thus, having left the apothecary’s pharmacy, and acquired an appropriate theological formation, he was ordained a priest and celebrated his first Mass on the feast of Epiphany of 1572.   However, he did not abandon his passion for pharmaceutics because he felt that professional mediation as a pharmacist would allow him to realize fully his vocation of transmitting to men, through a holy life, “the medicine of God,” which is Jesus Christ crucified and risen, “measure of all things.”

109john6

Animated by the conviction that, more than any other thing, all human beings need such medicine, St John Leonardi tried to make the personal encounter with Jesus Christ the fundamental reason of his existence.   It is necessary to “start anew from Christ,” he liked to repeat very often.

The primacy of Christ over everything became for him the concrete criterion of judgment and action and the generating principle of his priestly activity, which he exercised while a vast and widespread movement of spiritual renewal was under way in the Church, thanks to the flowering of new religious institutes and the luminous witness of saints such as Charles Borromeo, Philip Neri, Ignatius of Loyola, Joseph Calasanzius, Camillus of Lellis and Aloysius Gonzaga.

He dedicated himself with enthusiasm to the apostolate among youth through the Company of Christian Doctrine, gathering around himself a group of young men with whom, on Sept. 1, 1574, he founded the Congregation of Reformed Priests of the Blessed Virgin, subsequently called the Order of Clerks Regular of the Mother of God.   He recommended to his disciples to have “before the mind’s eye only the honour, service and glory of Christ Jesus Crucified,” and, like a good pharmacist, accustomed to giving out potions according to careful measurements, he would add:  “Raise your hearts to God a bit more and measure things with him.”

Moved by apostolic zeal, in May 1605 he sent newly elected Pope Paul V a report in which he suggested the criteria for a genuine renewal of the Church.   Observing how it is “necessary that those who aspire to the reform of men’s practices must seek especially, and firstly, the glory of God,” he added that they should stand out “for their integrity of life and excellence of customs thus, rather than constraining, they gently draw one to reform.”   Moreover, he observed that “whoever wishes to carry out a serious moral and religious reform must make first of all, like a good doctor, a careful diagnosis of the evils that beset the Church so as to be able to prescribe for each of them the most appropriate remedy.”   And he noted that “the renewal of the Church must be confirmed as much in leaders as in followers, high and low.   It must begin from those who command and be extended to the subjects.”

It was because of this that, while soliciting the Pope to promote a “universal reform of the Church,” he was concerned with the Christian formation of the people, especially of the young, educating them “from their early years … in the purity of the Christian faith and in holy practices.”

He chose the Blessed Mother to be the patroness of his order because he had a strong devotion to her.   He always kept his gaze on our Lady and she was his teacher, sister and mother who protected him and led him closer to Jesus Christ.

Dear brothers and sisters, the luminous figure of this saint invites priests, in the first place and all Christians, to tend constantly to the “high measure of the Christian life,” which is sanctity — each, of course, according to his own state.   In fact, only from fidelity to Christ can genuine ecclesial renewal spring.

In those years, in the cultural and social passage between the 16th and 17th century, the premises of the future contemporary culture began to be delineated, characterised by an undue separation of faith and reason.   This has produced among its negative effects the marginalization of God, with the illusion of a possible and total autonomy of man who chooses to live “as if God did not exist.”   This is the crisis of modern thought, which many times I have had the opportunity to point out and which often leads to a form of relativism.

John Leonardi intuited what the real medicine was for these spiritual evils and he synthesized it in the expression: “Christ first of all,” Christ in the centre of the heart, in the centre of history and of the cosmos.   And humanity — he affirmed forcefully — needs Christ intensely, because he is our “measure.”   There is no realm that cannot be touched by his strength;  there is no evil that cannot find remedy in him, there is no problem that cannot be solved in him. “Either Christ or nothing!”  Here is his prescription for every type of spiritual and social reform.

There is another aspect of the spirituality of St John Leonardi that I would like to highlight.   In many circumstances he had to confirm that a living encounter with Christ is realised in his Church:  holy but fragile, rooted in history and in a sometimes dark future, where wheat and weeds grow together (cf. Matthew 13:30), but, nevertheless, always the sacrament of salvation.   Having a clear awareness that the Church is the field of God (cf. Matthew 13:24), he was not scandalised by her human weaknesses.   To oppose the weeds he chose to be good wheat:   He decided, that is, to love Christ in the Church and to contribute to render her an ever more transparent sign of Him.

He saw the Church with great realism, her human frailty, but also her being “God’s field,” the instrument of God for the salvation of humanity.   And not only this.   For love of Christ he worked with alacrity to purify the Church, to render her more beautiful and holy.   He understood that every reform is made within the Church and never against the Church.

In this, St John Leonardi was truly extraordinary and his example is always timely.   Every reform certainly involves structures but in the first place it must be engraved in the hearts of believers.   Only the saints, men and women who allow themselves to be guided by the divine Spirit, ready to carry out radical and courageous choices in the light of the Gospel, renew the Church and contribute, in a decisive way, to building a better world.

Together with Monsignor Juan Bautista Vives and Jesuit Martin de Funes, he planned and contributed to the establishment of a specific Congregation of the Holy See for the missions, that of Propoganda Fide, and to the future birth of the Pontifical Urbanian Athenaeum “De Propoganda Fide,” which in the course of centuries has forged thousands of priests, many of them martyrs, to evangelise peoples.   We are speaking, therefore, of a luminous priestly figure, which I am pleased to point out as an example to all presbyters in this Year for Priests.   He died in 1609 from influenza contracted while he was giving himself to the care of all those who had been stricken by the epidemic in the Roman quarter of Campitelli.     He was venerated for his miracles and religious fervour and was canonised in 1938 by Pope Pius XI.  He was chosen as the patron of pharmacistss.

General Audience
On St John Leonardi
“To Oppose the Weeds He Chose to be Good Wheat”
H.H. Benedict XVI
7 October 2009

St John Leonardist john leonardi relics close-up

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Our Morning Offering – 17 September

Our Morning Offering – 17 September

I Place myself in Your Presence (Prayer before Holy Mass or at Eucharistic Adoration)
Bl John Henry Newman

I place myself
in the presence of Him
in whose Incarnate Presence
I am before
I place myself there.
I adore You, O my Saviour,
present here as God and Man,
in soul and body,
in true flesh and blood.
I acknowledge and confess,
that I kneel before
that Sacred Humanity,
which was conceived
in Mary’s womb
and lay on Mary’s bosom,
which grew up to man’s estate
and by the Sea of Galilee
called the Twelve,
wrought miracles
and spoke words of wisdom
and peace.
Which, in due season
hung on the Cross,
lay in the tomb,
rose from the dead
and now reigns in heaven.
I praise and bless and give myself
wholly to Him,
who is the true Bread of my soul
and my everlasting joy.
Amen

I place myself in your presence - bl john henry newman on 17 sept 2017

 

Posted in CONFESSION/PENANCE, EUCHARISTIC Adoration, FRANCISCAN, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Thought for the Day – 14 August – The Memorial of St Maximillian Kolbe

Thought for the Day – 14 August – The Memorial of St Maximillian Kolbe

St Maximilian’s “Secret” to Holiness and Happiness

smiling kolbe

St. Maximilian says:  “It is a false and widely diffused idea that the saints were not like us.   They were also subject to temptation, they fell and got up, they also felt overwhelmed with sadness, weakened and paralyzed by discouragement.   But remember the words of the Saviour:  ‘Without me, you can do nothing’ (Jn 15:51) and those of St. Paul:  ‘I can do all things in him who strengthens me’ (Phil 4:13).   Not confiding in themselves, but, putting all their confidence in God after every humiliating fall, they repented sincerely, they purified their soul in the Sacrament of Penance and then they went back to work with still greater fervour.”
We are very much deceived if we think we cannot become a saint, or that we will be “lucky” if we even make it to Purgatory.   The great men of the world overcome all kinds of obstacles in order to become rich or famous.   Why do we not try harder to persevere, when that is precisely what Our Blessed Lord deserves?   After all, He poured Himself out for us so that we might be holy.   The saints were not supermen; they were sinners who persevered through hardship and adversity because they were humble and repentant and confident in God’s grace.”…(Fr Angelo M. Geiger F.I.)
In the end, holiness is not merely a warm feeling of God’s presence or even the ecstatic experiences of the saints.   St Maximilian tells us that true holiness is found in obedience and obedience is acquired through prayer, penance and perseverance.
And this obedience consists in living – truly living the life of a Catholic, St Maximillian said his own words):

“Go to confession with sincerity, diligence, a deep sorrow for his sins and a firm resolve to amend his life. He will suddenly feel a peace and happiness compared with which all the fleeting, unworthy pleasures of this world are really an odious torment.

Let everyone seek to come and receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist with proper preparation.

Go to Eucharistic Adoration – for this is the the most important activity.

Let him never permit his soul to remain in sin but let him purify it immediately.

Let him do his duty manfully.

Let him address humble and frequent prayers to God’s throne, especially through the hands of the Immaculate Virgin.

Let him welcome his brethren with a charitable heart, bearing for God’s sake the sufferings and difficulties of life.

Let him do good to all, even his enemies, solely for the love of God and not in order to be praised or even thanked by men.”

Then we will come to understand what it means to have a foretaste of paradise;  and perhaps more than once we will find peace and joy even in poverty, suffering, disgrace, or illness.

St Maximillian, pray for us!

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Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Quote/s of the Day – 2 August – The Memorial of St Peter Julian Eymard “Apostle of the Eucharist”

Quote/s of the Day – 2 August – The Memorial of St Peter Julian Eymard “Apostle of the Eucharist”

“During the days of His mortal life, Jesus was present in one place only.   He dwelt in one house only.   Few persons were privileged enough to enjoy His presence and listen to His words.   But today in the Blessed Sacrament, He is, we may say, everywhere at one and the same time.   In a way, His humanity shares the prerogative of His divine immensity which fills all things.   Jesus is present in His entirety in an infinite number of temples and in each one of them.   Since all the Christians scattered throughout the world are members of His Mystical Body, it does seem necessary that He, as the soul of it, should be everywhere present throughout the whole body, giving it life, and sustaining it in each one of His members.”

“Have a great love for Jesus in His divine Sacrament of Love;
that is the divine oasis of the desert.
It is the heavenly manna of the traveller.
It is the Holy Ark.
It is the Life and Paradise of love on earth.”

have a great love for jesus in His divine sacrament of love - st peter julian eymard

“When we work hard, we must eat well.
What a joy, that you can receive Holy Communion often!
It’s our life and support in this life – receive Communion often
and Jesus will change you into Himself.”

when we work hard, we must eat well - st peter julian eymard

“Eucharistic adoration is the greatest of actions.
To adore is to share the life of Mary on earth
when she adored the Word Incarnate in her virginal womb,
when she adored Him in the Crib,
on Calvary,
in the divine Eucharist.”

St Peter Julian Eymard

eucharistic adoration is the greatest of actions - st peter julian eymard

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Saint of the Day – 2 August – St Peter Julian Eymard SSS – “Apostle of the Eucharist”

Saint of the Day – 2 August – St Peter Julian Eymard SSS – “Apostle of the Eucharist” – (4 February 1811 at La Mure, France – 1 August 1868 at La Mure, Isère, France following a stroke).   He was Canonised on 9 December 1962 by Pope John XXIII.   Priest, Religious, Founder of two religious institutes, Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers and Brothers and the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament.   Attributes – Eucharist, Monstrance, Eucharistic Adoration, Eucharistic Congress, Cope Humeral Veil Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament.

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He once described himself as “a little like Jacob, always on a journey,” always seeking. But, in truth, it was there from the beginning―the great love and the driving passion of his life:  Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

One day, young Peter Julian Eymard [pronounced A-mard], just five years of age, wandered off from the family home.   His sister and half-sister searched frantically for the boy and finally located him in the parish church, standing on a stool close to the tabernacle of the high altar.   In response to their anxious questioning, he answered simply, “I am here listening to Jesus.”

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The Early Years – 1811-1839

Like all of us, Peter Julian Eymard was conditioned by his familial and cultural background as well as by the social and political milieu of his time.

Life in France during the first half of the nineteenth century was difficult.   Years earlier, the French Revolution had radically altered the political, social and religious landscape of the country.   As a teenager, Eymard would experience the Industrial Revolution which swept across Europe.   As a young man, he witnessed the dawning of the Age of Romanticism in art, music, and literature.

Peter Julian’s road to the priesthood, as well as his life as a priest, was shadowed by the cross.   An intransigent anti-clericalism marked French society and his father, having seen several sons die, did not want his only surviving son to become a priest.   His first attempt to pursue the priesthood ended in serious illness.   Following his father’s death, he tried once again and on July 20, 1834, at age 23, was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Grenoble.

The church of Eymard’s day was greatly affected by Jansenism, a religious movement which focused on the gravity of human sinfulness and a corresponding belief in the unworthiness of human motivation and activity.   Thus, in his seminary years and first years of ministry, Father Peter Julian Eymard  was influenced by a predominantly reparation spirituality.   He would struggle his whole life to seek that inner perfection that would enable him to offer the gift of his entire self.

Perhaps it was the intensification of this spiritual struggle along with his lifelong devotion to Mary that led him to enter religious life.   On August 20, 1839, Father Eymard professed vows as a member of the Society of Mary (the Marists).

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The Marist Years – 1839-1856

Throughout his life, Peter Julian had an intense devotion to Mary, the Mother of God.   He knew about the apparition of Our Lady of La Salette and enjoyed traveling to various Marian shrines.   It was Father Eymard’s apostolic work for the Society of Mary that would put him in contact with the various currents of eucharistic piety that were flowing through the French church and elsewhere in Europe.

Despite persistent health issues, Peter Julian was an amazingly energetic and hardworking priest and religious.   Naturally drawn to contemplation, the demands of his ministry, especially his preaching schedule and the various administrative duties assigned to him, made it impossible for him to live a purely contemplative life.   He was an outstanding organiser of lay societies, a zealous educator, a well-prepared preacher and something of a prophetic figure in his Marist community and even to his superiors.

Father Eymard was especially effective at preaching eucharistic devotions, very popular at the time.   It was on one such occasion, on Corpus Christi, May 25, 1845, that he had a powerful experience that would change the course of his life. While carrying the Blessed Sacrament in procession at Saint Paul’s Church in Lyons, he felt an intense attraction to Christ in the Eucharist and resolved to “bring all the world to the knowledge and love of our Lord;  to preach nothing but Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ eucharistic.”

This grace would gradually consume his life and his energies over the next several years. When responsibility for writing a rule for the new Third Order of Mary was entrusted to him by Father Jean Claude Colin, the Marist founder, Peter Julian asked permission to write a eucharistic rule.   Father Colin answered that this was not the charism of the Society of Mary.   Nevertheless, the idea for such a rule had already been written in the mind and heart of Father Eymard, and, in 1856, he made the painful decision to leave the Marists in the hope of a founding a religious congregation dedicated to the Eucharist.

The Years of Founding – 1856-1868

Founding the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament was not an easy task.   Faithfully following the Holy Spirit’s inspiration brought Father Eymard relational conflicts, situations of personal embarrassment, financial troubles and physical exhaustion.   The first hurdle was getting approval for the new eucharistic institute.

The work of preparation for First Communion, especially among adults, was the aspect of Eymard’s vision that interested Archbishop Marie Dominique Auguste Sibour of Paris when the two met and the priest shared his project.   Eucharistic communities and organisations were springing up throughout France―many of them emphasising only prayer and reparation―but Archbishop Sibour rightly perceived that Eymard’s intuition into the Eucharist was not limited merely to adoration but to reaching out to those who were estranged from the church and evangelising them.   He gave approval on May 13, 1856.

Father Eymard immediately directed his ministry to the young workers, the “rag pickers” and the other barely employable men who made up a large segment of the labour force of Paris.   No sooner did he attract a few men to join him than he had to close the house and move to another location.   This happened twice within the span of a few years.   At times, the Eymardian communities were so poor that a neighbouring convent of sisters fed the priests and brothers.   Not being able to provide food and shelter did not help Father Eymard attract vocations!

“Gift of Self”

As early as 1845―and perhaps owing to the grace of his experience at Saint Paul’s in Lyons on Corpus Christi―Father Eymard began to move away from a spirituality of reparation to a spirituality which emphasised the love of Christ.   In 1865, just three years prior to his death, he made a long retreat in Rome.   During this retreat, he was struck by the overwhelming realisation of Christ’s love for him, a love which he felt was taking over his entire life.   In response, he wished to make the “gift of self:”  of his will, his personality and his affections, to God and to Christ in the Eucharist.

In 1858, together with Marguerite Guillot, he founded the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, a contemplative congregation for women.   He is quoted as saying, “You take communion to become holy, not because you already are.”

Eymard was a friend and contemporary of Saints Peter Chanel, Marcellin Champagnat, and Blessed Basil Moreau.

He died at the age of fifty-seven in La Mure on 1 August 1868, of complications from a stroke.
He was declared venerable in 1908, beatified by Pope Pius XI on 12 July 1925 and canonised by Pope John XXIII on 9 December 1962.   St Pope John Paul II named Eymard “Apostle of the Eucharist.”