Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, Fathers of the Church, LENT, Quotes of the Saints, Saint of the Day

LENTEN REFLECTION – The Second Week- Saturday 18 March

LENTEN REFLECTION – The Second Week- Saturday 18 March
St Cyril of Jerusalem,  (315-386)
Father and Doctor of the Church

The symbolic meaning of the sacrament of baptism as sharing in Christ’s passion according to Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop of Jerusalem in the middle of the fourth century and one of the most important sources we have for how the church celebrated the sacraments during that era.  In his Jerusalem Catechesis from which this excerpt comes, St. Cyril instructs new Christians in the days immediately before and after their initiation into the life of the Church at the Easter Vigil.

You were led down to the font of holy baptism just as Christ was taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb which is before your eyes.   Each of you was asked, “Do you believe in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit?”   You made the profession of faith that brings salvation, you were plunged into the water and three times you rose again.   This symbolized the three days Christ spent in the tomb.

As our Saviour spent three days and three nights in the depths of the earth, so your first rising from the water represented the first day and your first immersion represented the first night.   At night a man cannot see but in the day he walks in the light.   So when you were immersed in the water it was like night for you and you could not see but when you rose again it was like coming into broad daylight.   In the same instant you died and were born again; the saving water was both your tomb and your mother.



Solomon’s phrase in another context is very apposite here.   He spoke of a time to give birth and a time to die.   For you, however, it was the reverse: a time to die and a time to be born, although in fact both events took place at the same time and your birth was simultaneous with your death.

This is something amazing and unheard of!    It was not we who actually died, were buried and rose again.   We only did these things symbolically but we have been saved in actual fact.   It is Christ who was crucified, who was buried and who rose again and all this has been attributed to us.   We share in His sufferings symbolically and gain salvation in reality.   What boundless love for men!   Christ’s undefiled hands were pierced by the nails; he suffered the pain.   I experience no pain, no anguish, yet by the share that I have in his sufferings he freely grants me salvation.

Let no one imagine that baptism consists only in the forgiveness of sins and in the grace of adoption.   Our baptism is not like the baptism of John, which conferred only the forgiveness of sins.   We know perfectly well that baptism, besides washing away our sins and bringing us the gift of the Holy Spirit, is a symbol of the sufferings of Christ.   This is why Paul exclaims: Do you not know that when we were baptised into Christ Jesus we were, by that very action, sharing in his death?    By baptism we went with him into the tomb.

These words of St. Cyril of Jerusalem on the symbolic meaning of the sacrament of baptism, a symbol of Christ’s passion, are read in the Roman Catholic liturgy’s Office of Readings on the Thursday in the Octave of Easter (Cat. 21 Mystagogica 3, 1-3 PG 33. 1087-1091) with the accompanying biblical reading of I Peter 3:1-17.




Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, Quotes of the Saints, Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day – 12 March – St Seraphina

Saint of the Day – 12 March – St Seraphina/Fina – (1238-1253) – Virgin – Patron of physically challenged people, handicapped people and spinners

She was a little girl, very pretty, born into a very poor family, whose father died when she was very young.   As a little girl she learned to sew and spin, spending most of her time at home.


After her father’s death, she was struck with a strange and paralyzing illness. She became misshapen and ugly, in constant pain, unable to get out of bed or even to move.   Her mother took care of her but had to leave her for hours at a time to attend to her work. Seraphina’s only consolation was the crucifix and she realized that she was called to imitate the suffering Christ.

So she never complained.   She managed to remain serene and something beautiful shone out of her face.   Then she was struck another blow.   Her mother died and she was left completely destitute, her neighbours repelled by her appearance and her sickness, her only friend a girl named Beldia who visited her and brought her food.

In her reading, St. Seraphina had heard of the great sufferings of Pope St. Gregory the Great and he became her special saint.   She prayed to him, drew strength from the sufferings that he had to endure and prayed that he would obtain for her the patience she needed to bear her own sufferings.   She was now so weak and helpless that it was clear to everyone she could not live very long.

Eight days before her death, alone and almost completely forsaken, St. Gregory appeared to her and told her: “Dear child, on my feast day, God will give you rest” (in those days his feast day was celebrated on March 12).   On that day, she died.   The whole city attended her funeral and from that moment everyone began to pray to her.   On the place where she had lain, her neighbours found white violets growing and even today in the village of San Geminiano where she lived, the white violets that bloom in March are called Santa Fina flowers.   She died on March 12,1253, at the age of fifteen.

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, IGNATIAN - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, LENT, Morning Prayers, Quotes of the Saints, Saint of the Day, The Word

One Minute Reflection – 10 March

One Minute Reflection – 10 March

We are ….. heirs of God, heirs of Christ, if only we suffer with him so as to be glorified with him……..Romans 8:17

REFLECTION – If we suffer with Christ, we will be glorified with Him.   The fulfilment of the promised happiness is certain for those who share in the Lord’s Passion……St Pope Leo the Great

PRAYER – Grant me Your grace to overcome my natural fear of suffering Lord.   Strengthen me to bear my sufferings in union with Your sacred Passion, for the salvation of the world.  St John Ogilvie you are an example to me, please pray that this Lenten time will assist us all in overcoming our fear of sharing in the Passion of our God. Amen


Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, Morning Prayers, Quotes of the Saints, The Word

One Minute Reflection – 7 March

One Minute Reflection – 7 March

Your Father knows what you need before you ask him…………Matthew 6:8

REFLECTION – “…….Remember that He permits every thing for your good and do not lose confidence:” ………. St Alphonso Maria de Liguori

PRAYER – Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Stay with us Lord God and give us courage as you did Sts Perpetua and Felicity, whose prayers and intercession we request, amen.


Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, LENT, Morning Prayers, Quotes of the Saints

LENTEN REFLECTION – The First Week of Lent – 2 MARCH



Purification of Spirit through fasting and almsgiving

by St Pope Leo the Great (died 461 AD) Doctor of the Church

Dear friends, at every moment the earth is full of the mercy of God and nature itself is a lesson for all the faithful in the worship of God.    The heavens, the sea and all that is in them bear witness to the omnipotence of their Creator and the marvelous beauty of the elements as they obey him demands from the intelligent creation a fitting expression of its gratitude.

But with the return of that season marked out in a special way by the mystery of our redemption and of the days that lead up to the paschal feast, we are summoned more urgently to prepare ourselves by a purification of spirit.

The special note of the paschal feast is this:  the whole Church rejoices in the forgiveness of sins.    It rejoices in the forgiveness not only of those who are then reborn in holy baptism but also of those who are already numbered among God’s adopted children.

Initially, men are made new by the rebirth of baptism.    Yet there is still required a daily renewal to repair the shortcomings of our mortal nature and whatever degree of progress has been made there is no one who should not be more advanced.    All must therefore strive to ensure that on the day of redemption no one may be found in the sins of his former life.

Dear friends, what the Christian should be doing at all times should be done now with greater care and devotion, so that the Lenten fast enjoined by the apostles may be fulfilled, not simply by abstinence from food but above all by the renunciation of sin.

There is no more profitable practice as a companion to holy and spiritual fasting than that of almsgiving.    This embraces under the single name of mercy many excellent works of devotion, so that the good intentions of the faithful may be of equal value, even where their means are not.    The love that we owe both God and man is always free from any obstacle that would prevent us from having a good intention.   The angels sang: Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth.   The person who shows love and compassion to those in any kind of affliction is blessed, not only with the virtue of good will but also with the gift of peace.

The works of mercy are innumerable.   Their very variety brings this advantage to those who are true Christians, that in the matter of almsgiving not only the rich and affluent but also those of average means and the poor are able to play their part.    Those who are unequal in their capacity to give can be equal in the love within their hearts.


Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, LENT, Morning Prayers, Uncategorized

Thought for the Day – 1 March 2017- Ash Wednesday

“And so we begin a new spiritual journey today – a journey of preparation to rise with the Risen Lord on the day of Easter.   As part of our preparation, the Gospel sets before us reflections on three cardinal works necessary for our spiritual life: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.   These three works deal with three important areas of our life.   Prayer is our relationship with God;  fasting aims at our personal growth and almsgiving reveals our relationship with our neighbour and our responsibilities toward them.

During the Eucharistic celebration today we will be marked with ashes.   By imposing ashes on our foreheads, we are reminded to repent of our sins, to believe in the Gospel and to aim at what is permanent – life with the Risen Lord.” Fr Devasia Joseph SSP

“What the Christian should be doing at all times
should be done now (during Lent) with greater care and devotion,
so that the Lenten fast enjoined by the apostles
may be fulfilled, not simply by abstinence from food
but above all by the renunciation of sin.” – St Pope Leo the Great


Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, LENT, Morning Prayers, Papa Francis, Saint of the Day

Thought for the Day – 27 February

We welcome you St Gregory of Narek as our newest Doctor of the Universal Church, with gratitude and joy! Gregory’s Book of Lamentations was the source of consolation and guidance for generations in times of immense suffering. His monastery survived for a thousand years but was destroyed by the Turks during the genocide. Armenians lost Narek but they still have the book they call by that name in his honour and many Armenians have traditionally slept with a copy of the work under their pillows. The words of Gregory, too, are consonant with Pope Francis’ call on all Catholics to reach out to God in our brokenness with humble and contrite hearts. Perhaps we should allow St Gregory to lead us through Lent this year? As Gregory wrote in the Lamentations, “Hear the prayers of my embattled heart for mercy, when I cry out to you, ‘Lord,’ in my time of need.”

St Gregory of Narek- Doctor of the Universal Church, pray for us!

All you Holy Martyrs and Saints of Armenia, pray for us!