Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL

Thought for the Day – 24 September – The Memorial of Bl Anton Martin Slomsek (1800-1862)

Thought for the Day – 24 September – The Memorial of Bl Anton Martin Slomsek (1800-1862)

“Teacher and educator, writer and poet, biographer and critic,
lover of his mother tongue and fighter for national equality,
patriot, speaker and preacher, ecumenical worker
and theological teacher of the Slovene people,
priest and bishop.
Slomsek’s personality is like a mosaic,
each stone has its own colour, its own function and size
but all together provide the image of a saint,
that is a person who is open to the breath of the Holy Spirit,
who prophetically understands the signs of the time and responds to them,
who understands how to use all natural and supernatural means
to realise the kingdom of God on earth.”

Dr Franc Kramberger, Bishop of Maribor, Slovenia, 1999

“Only with a sound formation can men and women be prepared to build a world that is open to the perennial values of truth and love.”

St John Paul at the Beatification of Bl Anton (Sunday, 19 September 1999)

Blessed Anton Martin Slomsek, Pray for us!bl-anton-martin-pray-for-us-2-24 sept 2017

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Posted in MARIAN PRAYERS, MORNING Prayers, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DIVINE PROVIDENCE, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 30 August – The Memorial of St Jeanne Jugan L.S.P. (Mary of the Cross) (1792 – 1879)

Thought for the Day – 30 August – The Memorial of St Jeanne Jugan L.S.P. (Mary of the Cross) (1792 – 1879)

By her admirable work at the service of the most deprived elderly, St Mary of the Cross is also like a beacon to guide our societies which must always rediscover the place and the unique contribution of this period of life.
Born in 1792 at Cancale in Brittany, Jeanne Jugan was concerned with the dignity of her brothers and sisters in humanity whom age had made more vulnerable, recognising in them the Person of Christ himself.   “Look upon the poor with compassion”, she would say, “and Jesus will look kindly upon you on your last day”.
Jeanne Jugan focused upon the elderly a compassionate gaze drawn from her profound communion with God in her joyful, disinterested service, which she carried out with gentleness and humility of heart, desiring herself to be poor among the poor.   Jeanne lived the mystery of love, peacefully accepting obscurity and self-emptying until her death.   Her charism is ever timely while so many elderly people are suffering from numerous forms of poverty and solitude and are sometimes also abandoned by their families.
In the Beatitudes Jeanne Jugan found the source of the spirit of hospitality and fraternal love, founded on unlimited trust in Providence, which illuminated her whole life.  This evangelical dynamism is continued today across the world in the Congregation of Little Sisters of the Poor, which she founded and which testifies, after her example, to the mercy of God and the compassionate love of the Heart of Jesus for the lowliest.
May St Jeanne Jugan be for elderly people a living source of hope and for those who generously commit themselves to serving them, a powerful incentive to pursue and develop her work!

I would like to address to all the invitation to let yourselves be attracted by the luminous examples of these Saints, to let yourselves be guided by their teaching so that our entire life may become a song of praise to God’s love.   May their heavenly intercession obtain for us this grace and, especially, the motherly protection of Mary, Queen and Mother of humanity. Amen

Pope Benedict XVI – Homily at the Canonisation of St Mary of the Cross/Jeanne Jugan – Vatican Basilica Sunday, 11 October 2009

Once after meeting Jeanne Jugan, Charles Dickens said, “there is in this woman something so calm and so holy, that in seeing her I know myself to be in the presence of a superior being.

Her words went straight to my heart, so that my eyes, I know not how, filled with tears.”

St Mary of the Cross, Pray for us!st mary of the cross - jeanne jugan - pray for us - 30 aug 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist

Quote/s of the Day – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist

“And what else did John have in mind but what is virtuous,
so that he could not endure a wicked union even in the king’s case, saying:
“It is not lawful for thee to have her to wife.”
He could have been silent, had he not thought it unseemly for himself
not to speak the truth for fear of death,
or to make the prophetic office yield to the king,
or to indulge in flattery.
He knew well that he would die as he was against the king
but he preferred virtue to safety.
Yet what is more expedient than the suffering
which brought glory to the saint.”

St Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctor of the Churchhe knew well that he would die - st ambrose - beheading st john the baptist - 29 aug 2018

“As an authentic prophet,
John bore witness to the truth without compromise.
He denounced transgressions of God’s commandments,
even when it was the powerful who were responsible for them.
Thus, when he accused Herod and Herodias of adultery,
he paid with his life,
sealing with martyrdom,
his service to Christ who is Truth in person.”

Pope Benedict XVI (24 June 2007)as an authentic prophet - pope benedict - mem of beheading of st john the baptist - 29 aug 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on CONVERSION, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 28 August – The Memorial of St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace

Thought for the Day – 28 August – The Memorial of St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace (sorry it’s long but absolutely worth the effort)

ON CONVERSION AND ST AUGUSTINE
Papal Homily – Pastoral Visit to Vigevano and Pavia, Italy
H.H. Benedict XVI
Third Sunday of Easter
22 April 2007

The path we must take – the path that Jesus points out to us – is called “conversion”.   But what is it?   What must we do?   In every life conversion has its own form, because every human being is something new and no one is merely a copy of another.

But in the course of history, the Lord has sent us models of conversion to whom we can look to find guidance.   We could thus look at Peter himself to whom the Lord said at the Last Supper:  “[W]hen you have turned again, strengthen your brethren” (Lk 22: 32).

We could look at Paul as a great convert.   The City of Pavia speaks of one of the greatest converts in the history of the Church – St Aurelius Augustine.   He died on 28 August in 430 in the port town of Hippo, in Africa, at that time surrounded and besieged by the Vandals.   After the considerable turmoil of a turbulent history, the King of the Longobards acquired Augustine’s remains for the City of Pavia so that today they belong to this City in a special way and, in it and from it, have something special to say to all of us, to humanity but to all of us here in particular.

In his book, Confessions, Augustine touchingly described the development of his conversion which achieved its goal with Baptism, administered to him by Bishop Ambrose in the Cathedral of Milan.   Readers of his Confessions can share in the journey that Augustine had to make in a long inner struggle to receive at last, at the baptismal font on the night before Easter 387, the Sacrament which marked the great turning point in his life.   A careful examination of the course of St Augustine’s life enables one to perceive that his conversion was not an event of a single moment but, precisely, a journey.   And one can see that this journey did not end at the baptismal font.

Just as prior to his baptism Augustine’s life was a journey of conversion, after it too, although differently, his life continued to be a journey of conversion – until his last illness, when he had the penitential Psalms hung on the walls so that he might have them always before his eyes and when he excluded himself from receiving the Eucharist in order to go back once again over the path of his repentance and receive salvation from Christ’s hands as a gift of God’s mercy.

Thus, we can rightly speak of Augustine’s “conversions”, which actually consisted of one important conversion in his quest for the Face of Christ and then in the journeying on with him.   I would like to mention briefly three important landmarks in this process of conversion, three “conversions”.

The first fundamental conversion was the inner march towards Christianity, towards the “yes” of the faith and of Baptism.   What was the essential aspect of this journey?

On the one hand, Augustine was a son of his time, deeply conditioned by the customs and passions prevalent then as well as by all the questions and problems that beset any young man.   He lived like all the others, yet with a difference, he continued to be a person constantly seeking.   He was never satisfied with life as it presented itself and as so many people lived it.   The question of the truth tormented him ceaselessly.   He longed to discover truth. He wanted to succeed in knowing what man is, where we ourselves come from, where we are going and how we can find true life.

He desired to find the life that was right and not merely to live blindly, without meaning or purpose.   Passion for truth is the true key phrase of his life.   Passion for the truth truly guided him.

There is a further peculiarity: anything that did not bear Christ’s Name did not suffice for him.   Love for this Name, he tells us, he had tasted from his mother’s milk (cf. Confessions, 3, 4, 8).   And he always believed – sometimes rather vaguely, at other times, more clearly – that God exists and takes care of us (cf. Confessions, 6, 5, 8).   But to truly know this God and to become really familiar with this Jesus Christ and reach the point of saying “yes” to Him with all its consequences – this was the great interior struggle of his youthful years.

St Augustine tells us that through Platonic philosophy he learned and recognised that “in the beginning was the Word” – the Logos, creative reason.   But philosophy, which showed him that the beginning of all things was creative reason, did not show him any path on which to reach it; this Logos remained remote and intangible.   Only through faith in the Church did he later find the second essential truth – the Word, the Logos, was made flesh.

Thus, he touches us and we touch him.   The humility of God’s Incarnation – this is the important step – must be equalled by the humility of our faith, which lays down its self-important pride and bows upon entering the community of Christ’s Body; which lives with the Church and through her alone can enter into concrete and bodily communion with the living God.

I do not have to say how deeply all this concerns us:  to remain seekers; to refuse to be satisfied with what everyone else says and does;  to keep our gaze fixed on the eternal God and on Jesus Christ;  to learn the humility of faith in the corporeal Church of Jesus Christ, of the Logos Incarnate.

Augustine described his second conversion at the end of the 10th book of his Confessions with the words:  “Terrified by my sins and the pile of my misery, I had racked my heart and had meditated, taking flight to live in solitude.   But You forbade me and comforted me, saying:  “That is why Christ died for all, so that those who live should not live for themselves, but for him who died for them’ (II Cor 5: 15)”; Confessions, 10, 43, 70).

What had happened?   After his baptism, Augustine had decided to return to Africa and with some of his friends had founded a small monastery there.   His life was then to be totally dedicated to conversation with God and reflection on and contemplation of the beauty and truth of his Word.    Thus, he spent three happy years in which he believed he had achieved the goal of his life, in that period, a series of valuable philosophical and theological works came into being.

In 391, four years after his baptism, he went to the port town of Hippo to meet a friend whom he desired to win over for his monastery.   But he was recognised at the Sunday liturgy in the cathedral in which he took part.   It was not by chance that the Bishop of the city, a man of Greek origin who was not fluent in Latin and found preaching rather a struggle, said in his homily that he was hoping to find a priest to whom he could entrust the task of preaching.   People instantly grabbed hold of Augustine and forced him forward to be ordained a priest to serve the city.

Immediately after his forced ordination, Augustine wrote to Bishop Valerius:  “I was constrained… to accept second place at the helm, when as yet I knew not how to handle an oar…. And from this derived the tears which some of my brethren perceived me shedding in the city at the time of my ordination” (cf. Letter 21, 1ff.).

Augustine’s beautiful dream of a contemplative life had vanished.   As a result, his life had fundamentally changed.   He could now no longer dedicate himself solely to meditation in solitude.   He had to live with Christ for everyone.   He had to express his sublime knowledge and thoughts in the thoughts and language of the simple people in his city.   The great philosophical work of an entire lifetime, of which he had dreamed, was to remain unwritten.   Instead, however, we have been given something far more precious – the Gospel translated into the language of everyday life and of his sufferings.

These were now part of his daily life, which he described as the following: “reprimanding the undisciplined, comforting the faint-hearted, supporting the weak, refuting opponents… encouraging the negligent, soothing the quarrelsome, helping the needy, liberating the oppressed, expressing approval to the good, tolerating the wicked and loving all” (Sermon 340, 3).   “Continuously preaching, arguing, rebuking, building God’s house, having to manage for everyone – who would not shrink from such a heavy burden?” (Sermon 339, 4).

This was the second conversion which this man, struggling and suffering, was constantly obliged to make – to be available to everyone, time and again and not for his own perfection, time and again, to lay down his life with Christ so that others might find him, true Life.

Further, there was a third, decisive phase in the journey of conversion of St Augustine.   After his Ordination to the priesthood he had requested a vacation period to study the Sacred Scriptures in greater detail.

His first series of homilies, after this pause for reflection, were on the Sermon on the Mount;  he explained the way to an upright life, “the perfect life”, pointed out by Christ in a new way.   He presented it as a pilgrimage to the holy mountain of the Word of God.   In these homilies it is possible to further perceive all the enthusiasm of faith newly discovered and lived;  his firm conviction that the baptised, in living totally in accordance with Christ’s message, can precisely be “perfect” in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount.

Approximately 20 years later, Augustine wrote a book called the Retractations, in which he critically reviewed all the works he had thus far written, adding corrections wherever he had in the meantime learned something new.

With regard to the ideal of perfection in his homilies on the Sermon on the Mount, he noted:  “In the meantime, I have understood that one alone is truly perfect and that the words of the Sermon on the Mount are totally fulfilled in one alone: Jesus Christ Himself.  “The whole Church, on the other hand – all of us, including the Apostles – must pray every day:  forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” (cf. Retract. I 19, 1-3).

Augustine had learned a further degree of humility – not only the humility of integrating his great thought into the humble faith of the Church, not only the humility of translating his great knowledge into the simplicity of announcement but also the humility of recognising that he himself and the entire pilgrim Church needed and continually need the merciful goodness of a God who forgives every day.

And we, he added, liken ourselves to Christ, the only Perfect One, to the greatest possible extent when we become, like Him, people of mercy.

Let us now thank God for the great light that shines out from St Augustine’s wisdom and humility and pray the Lord to give to us all, day after day, the conversion we need and thus lead us toward true life. Amen.

St Augustine, Pray for Us!st-augustine-pray-for-us

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One Minute Reflection – 21 August – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 19:23–30 and the Memorial of St Pope Pius X (1835-1914)

One Minute Reflection – 21 August – Tuesday of the Twentieth week in Ordinary Time, Year B – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 19:23–30 and the Memorial of St Pope Pius X (1835-1914)

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life...Matthew 19:29and everyone who has left - matthew 19 29 - 21 aug 2018

REFLECTION – “Despite all our feelings of woe or of well-being, God wants us to understand and to believe, that we are more truly in heaven than on earth.   Our faith comes from the natural love of our soul and from the clear light of our reason and from the steadfast memory, which we have from God in our first creation.   And when our soul is breathed into our body, at which time we are made sensual, at once mercy and grace begin to work, having care of us and protecting us with pity and love, in which operation the Holy Spirit forms in our faith the hope, that we shall return up above to our substance, into the power of Christ, increased and fulfilled through the Holy Spirit… For in the same instant and place in which our soul is made sensual, in that same instant and place exists the city of God, ordained for Him from without beginning (Heb 11:16; Rv 21:2-3).   He comes into this city and will never depart from it, for God is never out of the soul, in which   He will dwell blessedly without end.”…Julian of Norwich (1342-1430) Mystic & Recluse (Revelations of divine love, ch. 55)

“Catholics are part of the Church Militant.   They struggle and they suffer for the triumph of Christ.   They must never lose sight of their Divine Model, so that their trials will be turned into joy.”…St Pius Xdespite all our feelings of woe - julian of norwich - 21 aug 2018they-struggle-and-they-suffer-st-pope-pius-x-21 aug 2017

PRAYER – Lord God, You filled the saints with strength and courage and gave them the knowledge of unity with You.   Grant, we pray, that in imitation of St Pope Pius X, we may defend the Catholic faith and renew all things in Christ, Your Son.   Help us Holy Father, to follow the example of St Pius and finally inherit eternal life ,with You and all the saints.   We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.st-pope-pius-pray-for-us-21 aug 2017

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Quote/s of the Day – 17 August – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 19:3–12

Quote/s of the Day – 17 August – Friday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year B – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 19:3–12

“Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?   So they are no longer two but one flesh.   What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” Matthew 19:4-6

“Speaking of Marriage”

“By their very nature, the institution of matrimony itself
and conjugal love are ordained for the procreation
and education of children and find in them their ultimate crown.”

Second Vatican Council
Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World), 48by their very nature vat II gaudium et spes - 17 aug 2018 speaking of marriage

“The obvious effect
of frivolous divorce
will be frivolous marriage.
If people can be separated
for no reason,
they will feel it easier,
to be united for no reason.”

G K Chesterton (1874-1936)the obvious effect - g k chesterton - 17 aug 2018 speaking of marriage

“To defend his purity,
Saint Francis of Assisi rolled in the snow,
Saint Benedict threw himself into a thorn bush
and Saint Bernard plunged into an icy pond…
You – what have you done?”

St Josemaría Escrivá (1902-1975)to defend his purity - st josemaria - 17 aug 2018 speaking of marriage

“Do not forget,
that true love sets no conditions,
it does not calculate
or complain
but simply loves.”

St John Paul the Great (1920-2005)do not forget that true love sets no conditions - st pope john paul - 17 aug 2018 speaking of marriage

“No one justifies lying, cheating,
betraying, promise breaking,
devastating and harming strangers.
But we expect and we tolerate doing this,
to the one person in the world,
we promised most seriously,
to be faithful to forever –
we justify divorce.”

Peter Kreeftno one justifies lying - kreeft - 17 aug 2018 speaking of marriage

“Marriage is the real vocation crisis in the United States…
We have a vocation crisis to life-long,
life-giving, loving, faithful marriage.
If we take care of that one,
we’ll have all the priests and nuns
we’ll need for the Church.”

Cardinal Timothy Dolanmarriage is the real vocation crises - card t dolan - 17 aug 2017 - speaking of marriage

Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on SANCTITY, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 5 August – Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

One Minute Reflection – 5 August – Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – Today’s Gospel: John 6:24-35

They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.”…John 6″34-35i am the bread of life - john 6 35 - 5 aug 2018

REFLECTION – “The soul’s bread is Christ, “the living bread that came down from heaven” (Jn 6:51) who gives food to His own, by faith here and by vision in the world to come. For Christ dwells in you by faith and faith in Christ is Christ in your heart (Eph 3:17). The measure of your faith in Christ is the measure of your possession of Him.
… In this gift I have received, I possess Christ wholly and Christ wholly possesses me, just as the member belonging to the whole body likewise possesses the body in its entirety. And so this portion of faith you have received as your share, is like the morsel of bread in your mouth. But unless you often devoutly meditate over what you believe, unless you chew over it, so to speak, moving it about and turning it over with your teeth, that is to say with your spiritual senses, it will never enter your throat, in other words it won’t get as far as your understanding.
For indeed, how could you understand anything that you reflect over only rarely and carelessly, especially when it concerns something subtle and unseen?… So, by means of meditation, let “the Law of the Lord be ever on your lips” (Ex 13:9) so that a sound understanding may be brought to birth within you. Through a good understanding spiritual food passes into your heart, so that you will not neglect what you have understood but will lovingly reflect over it.”…Guigo II the Carthusian “the Angelic” (?-1188) Prior of the Grande Chartreuse (Meditation 10 (SC 163, p. 181 rev.)in this gift I have received - guigo II, the Carthusian - 5 aug 2018

PRAYER – Forgive the sins of Your people Lord and since of ourselves, we are unable to do what pleases You, lead us on the way of salvation in Your divine Son who lives in us and gives us life. May the prayers of Mary, His Mother help us to constantly meditate on His eternal sustenance. He is our food, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.blessed virgin mary mother of god - pray for us - 5 aug 2018

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Quote of the Day – 3 August – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 13:54–58

Quote of the Day – 3 August – Friday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time, Year B – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 13:54–58

“There is line from the illuminator of the St John’s Bible that states:
“We have to love our way out of this.”
There is nothing wimpy or namby-pamby
or blind about this conviction.
When we love extravagantly,
we are not purposely blinding ourselves to moral realities—
just the contrary.

Love is not a sentiment, but “a harsh and dreadful thing,”
as Dostoevsky said.

This is just what Jesus shows on His terrible cross.
And this is just what we, His followers, must imitate.
Taking up the cross means, not just being willing to suffer
but being willing to suffer as He did,
absorbing violence and hatred through our forgiveness and nonviolence.”

Bishop Robert Barronlove is not a sentiment -robert barron - 3 aug 2018

Posted in MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on COURAGE, QUOTES on PERSEVERANCE, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 28 July 2018 – The First Memorial of Blessed Stanley Francis Rother (1935-1981) Martyr “The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run”

Quote/s of the Day – 28 July 2018 –

The First Memorial of Blessed Stanley Francis Rother (1935-1981) Martyr
“The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run”

“A shepherd cannot run from his flock.”

Blessed Stanley Francis Rother (1935-1981) Martyra shepherd cannot run from his flock - bl stanley rother - 28 july 2018

“He laid down his life for his people,
long before they came to kill him.”

Bishop Anthony Taylor, Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansashe laid down his life - bl stanley rother - 28 july 2018

Posted in MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on MERCY, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 20 July – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 12:1-8

Quote/s of the Day – 20 July – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 12:1-8

” And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless…”.…Matthew 12:7

“I desire mercy”:
namely, the loyalty of a heart,
that recognises its own sins,
that mends its ways and returns,
to be faithful to the covenant with God.
“And not sacrifice”:
without a penitent heart,
every religious action is ineffective!”i desire mercy - namely, the loyalty - pope francis - 20 july 2018

” If our heart is closed,
if our heart is made of stone,
then the stones will end up
in our hands and, then,
we will be ready
to throw them at someone.”

Pope Francis – General audience, 13 April 2016if our heart is closed - pope francis - 20 july 2018