Posted in CATECHESIS, CCC, MORNING Prayers, Papal Apostolic EXHORTATIONS, PAPAL DECREE, PAPAL MESSAGES, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 14 June – The Memorial of St Methodius I of Constantinople (8th Cent – 847) “Defender of Icons”

Thought for the Day – 14 June – The Memorial of St Methodius I of Constantinople (8th Cent – 847) “Defender of Icons”

Iconoclasm is still with us today, within and without the Catholic Church. Let us consider this statement from the Second Council of Nicaea that St Methodius fought all his life to defend:

“Following the divinely inspired teaching our of holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church (for we know that this tradition comes from the Holy Spirit who dwells in her), we rightly define with full certainty and correctness that, like the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, venerable and holy images of our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, our inviolate Lady, the holy Mother of God and the venerated angels, all the saints and the just, whether painted or made of mosaic or another suitable material, are to be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, in houses and on streets.”

And, from our present-day Catechism of the Catholic Church, we have these words:

“The contemplation of sacred icons, united with meditation on the Word of God and the singing of liturgical hymns, enters into the harmony of the signs of celebration, so that the mystery celebrated, is imprinted in the heart’s memory and is then expressed in the new life of the faithful”…CCC 1162.

St Methodius, “Defender of Icons”, Pray for usst methodius - pray for us - 14 june 2018

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Posted in CCC, DOGMA, MORNING Prayers, NOVENAS, The HOLY TRINITY

Announcing a Novena to the Most Holy Trinity Begins – Friday,18 May

Announcing a Novena to the Most Holy Trinity
Begins – Friday,18 May

Perhaps the deepest, the most profound of all mysteries is the mystery of the Trinity.   The Church teaches us, that although there is only one God, yet, somehow, there are three Persons in God. ,,The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, yet we do not speak of three Gods but only one God. ,,They have the same nature, substance, and being.

We came to know this immense mystery because Christ revealed it to us. ,,Just before ascending He told them:, “Go teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). ,,We know that these Three are not just different ways of looking at one person. ,,For at the Last Supper, Jesus told us:  “I came forth from the Father.”   So He is different from the Father.   But He also promised: “If I go, I will send Him [the Paraclete] to you. . . . He will guide you to all truth” (John 16:28, 7, 13).   So the Holy Spirit is also different.

Even though the Three Persons are One God, yet they are distinct:  for the Father has no origin, He came from no one.   But the Son is begotten, He comes from the Father alone. The Holy Spirit comes or proceeds from both the Father and the Son.   These different relations of origin tell us there are three distinct Persons, who have one and the same divine nature.

Even though everything the Three Persons do outside the Divine nature is done by all Three, yet it is suitable that we attribute some works specially to one or the other Person. So we speak of the Father especially as the power of creation, of the Son as the wisdom of the Father, of the Holy Spirit as goodness and sanctification.

The two doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation are the foundation of Christian life and worship.   By becoming man, God the Son offered us a share in the inner life of the Trinity.   By grace, we are brought into the perfect communion of life and love which is God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.   This sharing in the life of the Trinity is meant to culminate in heaven, where we will see the three Persons face to face, united to them in unspeakable love….Fr William G Most (from the Catechism of the Catholic Church 232-267).announcing a novena to the holy spirit - begins 18 may

Posted in CCC, EASTER, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 25 April – Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter and the Feast of St Mark the Evangelist

One Minute Reflection – 25 April – Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter and the Feast of St Mark the Evangelist

Jesus said to the Eleven, “go out to the whole world and the proclaim the gospel to all creation.”…Mark 16:15

REFLECTION – So that this call should resound throughout the world, Christ sent forth the apostles he had chosen, commissioning them to proclaim the gospel:  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”    Strengthened by this mission, the apostles “went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it.”
Those, who with God’s help, have welcomed Christ’s call and freely responded to it, are urged on, by love of Christ, to proclaim the Good News, everywhere in the world.   This treasure, received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors.   All Christ’s faithful are called to hand it on, from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing and by celebrating it, in liturgy and prayer…CCC 2-3those who with god's help...ccc 2-3 - 25 april 2018

PRAYER – Almighty God, You chose the Evangelist St Mark and ennobled him with grace, to preach the Gospel.   Let his teaching so improve our lives and his prayers so support us, that we may walk faithfully in his footsteps, which are the footsteps of Christ our Lord.   Through Jesus Christ our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.st mark - pray for us - 25 april 2018

Posted in CCC, DEVOTIO, HOLY WEEK, MORNING Prayers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES on DEATH, The HOLY CROSS, The PASSION, The SEVEN LAST WORDS of CHRIST

Devotion of The Seven Last Words of Christ – The Seventh Word – 31 March – Holy Saturday 2018

Devotion of The Seven Last Words of Christ – The Seventh Word – 31 March – Holy Saturday 2018

The Seven Last Words of Christ refer, not to individual words but to the final seven phrases that Our Lord uttered as He hung on the Cross.   These phrases were not recorded in a single Gospel but are taken from the combined accounts of the four Gospels.   Greatly revered, these last words of Jesus have been the subject of many books, sermons and musical settings.

The Seven Last Words of Christ

” Jesus reaches the heights of the depth of his prayer to the Father during His Passion and Death, when He pronounces His supreme “yes” to the plan of God and reveals how the human will finds its fulfilment precisely in adhering fully to the divine will, rather than the opposite.   In Jesus’ prayer, in His cry to the Father on the Cross, “all the troubles, for all time, of humanity enslaved by sin and death, all the petitions and intercessions of salvation history are summed up … Here the Father accepts them and, beyond all hope, answers them beyond all hope, answers them by raising His Son.   Thus is fulfilled and brought to completion the drama of prayer in the economy of creation and salvation”  (CCC 2606)

Pope Benedict 7 March 2012

all the troubles for all time ccc 2606 - used on easter sat 31 march 2018 - quoted by pope benedict in the seventh word

The Seventh Word

“Into Your hands I commend My spirit” (Luke 23:46)

Gospel:  It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” and when he had said this, he breathed his last…Luke 23:44-46

The Word Incarnate utters His last sentence and in doing so, every last word takes on a special significance. In the act of dying, the God-Man teaches His brothers and sisters in the human family how to die.   What is the final lesson?

Jesus died resigned to the Will of the One Who sent Him.  However, we should not see this as passivity;  it is an active resignation, which sums up His entire life:  “As a man lives so shall He die.”

As we listen to the dying Saviour, two words draw our attention:  “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” “Father” and “thy” are the keys to the mystery of death.   Jesus, in His humanity, does not rely on His own resources but casts His cares upon His heavenly Father, the Abba (“Papa”) in Whom He encouraged His disciples to have complete trust.

His heart is thus other-directed or, better, Other-directed toward the One “who was able to save Him from death” (Heb 5:7).   With eyes fixed on Jesus (cf. Heb 3:1), then, Christians ponder what they need in death.   They are three: the grace of perseverance, the grace of final repentance and the grace of a happy death.

Such a gift then leads to that most blessed thing of all – the grace of a happy death. Several years ago I received an early morning call to the hospital to bring Viaticum for a cancer patient I had attended the entire summer.   Always thoughtful to a fault, she had restrained her family from contacting a priest during the night, lest he lose sleep.   Upon my arrival, the woman stirred herself to prepare for her final encounter with the Eucharist.   As I placed the Sacred Host on her tongue, she smiled, swallowed and died. Her son looked at me and said, “Father, that’s all she was waiting for all night.”

What a holy death! What a calming effect it had on her entire family!   What a powerful and unforgettable witness she had offered!   A holy death ensures a happy death because our eyes are “fixed on Jesus.”

Thinking about death – our own death – should not be an exercise in morbidity but a truly positive opportunity. St Alphonsus Liguori, author of the classic “Way of the Cross,” provides ample food for thought in his reflection for the Fifth Station  . It has within it all the serenity of Jesus’ serenity in His final moments and thus recommends itself to our thoughts and as a guide for our actions – perennially.

And so we are encouraged to say and to mean: “My beloved Jesus, I will not refuse the cross, as the Cyrenian did;  I accept it, I embrace it.   I accept in particular the death You have destined for me; with all the pains that may accompany it;  I unite it to your death, I offer it to You.   You have died for love of me; I  will die for love of You, and to please You.   Help me by your grace. I love You, Jesus, my love;  I repent of ever having offended You.   Never permit me to offend You again.   Grant that I may love You always and then do with me what you will.”  (St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church) ...Excerpt from Fr Peter Stravinskas

Prayer of Abandonment to God’s Providence

Lord, Your Cross is high and uplifted;
I cannot mount it in my own strength.
You have promised:
“I, when I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw all to Myself.”
Draw me, then, from my sins to repentance,
from darkness to faith,
from the flesh to the spirit,
from coldness to ardent devotion,
from weak beginnings to a perfect end,
from smooth and easy paths,
if it be Your will, to a higher and holier way,
from fear to love,
from earth to heaven,
from myself to You.
And as You have said:
“No man can come to Me,
except the Father, who sent Me, draw him,”
give unto me the Spirit Whom the Father hath sent in Your Name,
that in Him and through Him,
I being wholly changed,
may hasten to You
and go out no more for ever.
Amen
(From a Prayer a Day for Lent – 1923)THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST - THE SEVENTH WORD - HOLY SAT - 31 MARCH 2018

 

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, CCC, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS

Our Morning Offering – 21 March – The Memorial of St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)

Our Morning Offering – 21 March – The Memorial of St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)

My Lord and my God
St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487)

My Lord and my God,
take from me everything
that distances me from You.
My Lord and my God,
give me everything
that brings me closer to You.
My Lord and my God,
detach me from myself
to give my all to You.
Amen

The above prayer of St Nicholas, is cited in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraph #226.
CCC 226 – It means making good use of created things: faith in God, the only One, leads us to use everything that is not God only insofar as it brings us closer to Him and to detach ourselves from it insofar as it turns us away from Him.

prayer of st nicholas of flue no 226 - my lord and my god, take from me everything - 21 march 2018

 

Posted in CCC, DOCTORS of the Church, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on PERSECUTION, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 16 March – The Memorial of St Jean de Brébeuf (1593-1649) Martyr and Friday in the 4th Week of Lent 20

Quote/s of the Day – 16 March – The Memorial of St Jean de Brébeuf (1593-1649) Martyr and Friday in the 4th Week of Lent 2018

CCC 2473:  Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the faith:
it means witness even unto death.
The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose,
to whom he is united by charity.
He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine.
He endures death through an act of fortitude.
“Let me become the food of the beasts,
through whom it will be given me to reach God”
[This quote at the end is from the Letter to the Romans by S. Ignatius of Antioch].

“Nothing can happen to me that God doesn’t want.
And all that He wants, no matter how bad it may
appear to us, is really for the best.”

St Thomas More (1478-1535) Martyrnothing can happen to me - st thomas more - 16 march 2018

“The smallest of life’s events are directed by the Lord.
Creatures are instruments but it is the hand of Jesus that directs all.

St Theresa of the Child Jesus (1873-1897) Doctor of the Churchthe-smallest-of-lifes-events-st-tofl.16 march 2018

“Martyrdom is a grace which I do not think I deserve.
But if God accepts the sacrifice of my life,
may my blood be a seed of freedom and
a sign of that hope will soon be a reality.”

Blessed Oscar Romero (1917-1980) Martyrmartyrdom is a grace - bl oscar romero - 16 march 2018

Posted in CCC, CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, DOGMA, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Quote/s of the Day – 1 January 2018 – The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the Octave Day of the Nativity of Our Lord

Quote/s of the Day – 1 January 2018 – The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the Octave Day of the Nativity of Our Lord

“It becomes you to be mindful of us,
as you stand near Him
Who granted you all graces,
for you are the Mother of God and our Queen.
Help us for the sake of the King,
the Lord God Master Who was born of you.
For this reason you are called ‘full of Grace’…”

St Athanasius (297-373) Father & Doctor of the Churchit becomes you to be mindful - st athanasius - 1 jan 2018

“If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary
is the Mother of God,
he is severed from the Godhead.
If anyone should assert that He passed through the Virgin
as through a channel
and was not at once divinely and humanly formed in her
(divinely, because without the intervention of a man;
humanly, because in accordance with the laws of gestation),
he is in like manner godless.”

St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctor of the Churchif anyone does not believe - 1 jan 2018

“What the Catholic faith believes about Mary
is based on what it believes about Christ
and what it teaches about Mary,
illumines in turn, its faith in Christ”

CCC No 487ccc no 487 - 1 jan 2018

Posted in ARCHangels and Angels, CCC, Pope BENEDICT XVI, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – The Holy Guardian Angels – 2 October

Blessed Memorial of Your Holy Guardian Angel – 2 October.

El Atocha- The Christ Child with Angel
El Atocha: The Christ Child with Angel

Perhaps no aspect of Catholic piety is as comforting to parents as the belief that an angel protects their little ones from dangers real and imagined.  Yet guardian angels are not only for children.   Their role is to represent individuals before God, to watch over them always, especially with respect to helping that person avoid spiritual dangers, to aid their prayer and achieve salvation.
The angel may also help the person avoid physical dangers, particularly if this will help the person achieve salvation. Guardian-AngelVitrailFlorac010609_09AngeGardien

The concept of an angel assigned to guide and nurture each human being is a development of Catholic doctrine and piety based on Scripture but not directly drawn from it.   Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:10 best support the belief:  “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”

Devotion to the angels began to develop with the birth of the monastic tradition. Saint Benedict gave it impetus and Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the great 12th-century reformer, was such an eloquent spokesman for the guardian angels that angelic devotion assumed its current form in his day.

A feast in honour of the guardian angels was first observed in the 16th century. In 1615, Pope Paul V added it to the Roman calendar.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession.   Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.   Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God [CCC 336].guardian angel.2.

According to the general teaching of the theologians, however, not only every baptised person, but every human being, including unbelievers, has his own special guardian angel from his birth [Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 120].

This understanding is reflected in an Angelus address by Benedict XVI, who stated:

Dear friends, the Lord is ever close and active in humanity’s history and accompanies us with the unique presence of his Angels, whom today the Church venerates as “Guardian Angels”, that is, ministers of the divine care for every human being.   From the beginning until the hour of death, human life is surrounded by their constant protection. [Angelus, Oct. 2, 2011].angelorum-angel4b

The Congregation stated:  Popular devotion to the Holy Angels, which is legitimate and good, can, however, also give rise to possible deviations:

when, as sometimes can happen, the faithful are taken by the idea that the world is subject to demiurgical struggles, or an incessant battle between good and evil spirits, or Angels and daemons, in which man is left at the mercy of superior forces and over which he is helpless;   such cosmologies bear little relation to the true Gospel vision of the struggle to overcome the Devil, which requires moral commitment, a fundamental option for the Gospel, humility and prayer;
when the daily events of life, which have nothing or little to do with our progressive maturing on the journey towards Christ are read schematically or simplistically, indeed childishly, so as to ascribe all setbacks to the Devil and all success to the Guardian Angels [op. cit., 217].

Should we assign names to our guardian angels?  The Congregation stated:

The practice of assigning names to the Holy Angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael and Michael whose names are contained in Holy Scripture.angels-58

Detail From The Vision of St. Bernard
Detail From The Vision of St. Bernard FILIPPINO LIPPI c. 1475
Posted in CCC, DOCTORS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Thought for the Day – 5 August

Thought for the Day – 5 August

Theological debate over Christ’s nature as God and man reached fever pitch in Constantinople in the early fifth century. The chaplain of Bishop Nestorius began preaching against the title Theotokos, “Mother of God,” insisting that the Virgin was mother only of the human Jesus. Nestorius agreed, decreeing that Mary would henceforth be named “Mother of Christ” in his see. The people of Constantinople virtually revolted against their bishop’s refutation of a cherished belief. When the Council of Ephesus refuted Nestorius, believers took to the streets, enthusiastically chanting, “Theotokos! Theotokos!”….. ( Fr Don Miller, OFM)

“Mary is the Divine Page on which the Father wrote the Word of God, His Son.” … St Albert the Great (1206-1280)
German; scientist, philosopher, theologian and Doctor of the Church

” What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ and what it teaches about Mary, illumines in turn, its faith in Christ” (CCC#487).

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

mary is the divine page - st albert the great - doctor

Prayer to Our Lady of the Snows

Mary, Mother of God,
it is our Christian belief that all who fashion their lives in imitation of your Son, Jesus Christ
and have placed their hope in Him,
are gathered together in a communion of saints.
Those who have gone before us live in intimate communion with Christ.
You are the most eminent of them, for you were drawn into His life and being as no other.
You who gave Him human life followed Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Mary, look at us.
Look at all who are centred on your Son.
At the present time some of His disciples are pilgrims on earth.
Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory,
contemplating ‘in full light, God Himself Triune and One, exactly as He is.
All of God’s people hunger to be intimately one with Him.
Mary, we are the wayfarers
and we hunger for this exchange of spiritual goods with you
who were so intimately close to Jesus Christ.
Your image, as protectress of the Roman people,
reminds us that you invite us to live in Christ.
Your arms embrace Jesus fully, effortlessly.
Jesus, whose burden is light and yoke is easy,
wishes to be as close to every individual as He is to you.
You are both wayfarer and guide to us wayfarers on our pilgrimage of faith.
Teach us, Mary, to embrace Christ fully, to make Him our Way, our Truth, our Life.
Teach us, Mary, to carry Christ to the world,
and, each in our own way, to give Him birth in the hearts of many.
Protect your people, Mary – protect your Church.
We ask this, as we ask all things, through Jesus Christ Our Lord,
in union with God our Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever. Amen

Church_of_Our_Lady_of_the_Snow_in_Lviv_(relief)
Church of Our Lady of the Snows – Lviv

 

Posted in CCC, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers

Thought for the Day – 28 May – The Ascension of the Lord

Thought for the Day – 28 May – The Ascension of the Lord

“As a mother who teaches her children to speak and so to understand and communicate, the Church our Mother teaches us the language of faith in order to introduce us to the understanding and the life of faith” (CCC No. 71, excerpt).    The life of true faith.  It is a stimulating and vigorous Catholic life of love and brightness; one which cannot be shaken nor injured nor destroyed by the appearance of any earthly catastrophe so long as we ourselves remain in the Light, remembering what we have heard from the beginning, never turning from our Beloved who ascended into heaven in order to appear in the presence of God on our behalf!

Lord Jesus Christ, seated at the Right Hand of the Father, intercede for us!

the ascension of the lord