Posted in FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HOMILIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The TRANSFIGURATION

Quote of the Day – 6 August – Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord – Today’s Gospel: Mark 9:2–10

Quote of the Day – 6 August – Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord – Today’s Gospel: Mark 9:2–10

It is indeed good to be here, as you have said, Peter.   It is good to be with Jesus and to remain here for ever. What greater hap  piness or higher honour could we have than to be with God, to be made like Him and to live in His light?

Therefore, since each of us possesses God in his heart and is being transformed into His divine image, we also should cry out with joy:
It is good for us to be here – here where all things shine with divine radiance, where there is joy and gladness and exultation; where there is nothing in our hearts but peace, serenity and stillness;  where God is seen.
For here, in our hearts, Christ takes up His abode together with the Father, saying as He enters:  Today salvation has come to this house.

With Christ, our hearts receive all the wealth of His eternal blessings and there where they are stored up for us in Him, we see reflected as in a mirror both the first fruits and the whole of the world to come.

St Anastasius of Sinai (630-701)

for here, christ takes up his abode - transfiguration homily - st anastasius of sinai - 6 aug 2018

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Posted in GOD the FATHER, HOMILIES, MORNING Prayers, POETRY, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on REPENTANCE

Thought for the Day – 17 July – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 11:20-24

Thought for the Day – 17 July – Tuesday of the Fifteenth week in Ordinary Time, B – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 11:20-24

To be converted and return to the Lord
Verse Homily of
Saint Jacob of Sarug (c 449-521)
Syrian monk and Bishop

I will go back to my Father’s house like the prodigal son (Lk 15:18) and He will welcome me.
For I was dead through sin as though by sickness;
raise me up from my distress that I may praise Your name!
O Lord of heaven and earth, come to my help and show me Your way,
that I may come to You.
Draw me to You, Son of the Most Good
and bring Your compassion to completion.
I will set out towards You and there be filled with joy.
Knead for me now the grain of life at this time when I am crushed.

I set out in search of You and the Evil One spied on me like a thief (cf. Lk 10:30).
He bound and chained me in the pleasures of this wicked world:
he imprisoned me in its pleasures and slammed the door in my face.
There was no one to free me, so that I might set out in search of You, O Lord, my good!…
O Lord, I long to be Yours and walk Your way.
See how I meditate Your commandments by day and by night (Ps 1:2).
Grant my request and accept my prayer, O merciful one!
Do not cast off the hope of Your servant, for he is waiting for you.

Saint Jacob of Sarug (c 449-521)

the prodigal son - large

Posted in HOMILIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on REPENTANCE

Thought for the Day – 20 June – Wednesday Eleventh Week of Ord Time Year B – Today’s Gospel Matthew 6:1-6.16-18

Thought for the Day – 20 June – Wednesday Eleventh Week of Ord Time Year B – Today’s Gospel Matthew 6:1-6.16-18

“We are Nothing in Ourselves”
St John Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)

“When we do nothing to be ashamed of, when everything is going along according to our wishes, we dare to believe that nothing could make us fall.   We forget our own nothingness and our utter weakness.   We make the most delightful protestations that we are ready to die rather than to allow ourselves to be conquered.   We see a splendid example of this in St Peter, who told our Lord that although all others might be scandalised in Him, yet he would never deny Him.

Alas!   To show him how man, left to himself, is nothing at all, God made use, not of kings or princes or weapons but simply of the voice of a maidservant, who even appeared to speak to him in a very indifferent sort of way.   A moment ago, he was ready to die for Him and now Peter protests, that he does not even know Him, that he does not know about whom they are speaking.   To assure them even more vehemently that he does not know Him, he swears an oath about it.

Dear Lord, what we are capable of when we are left to ourselves!   There are some who, in their own words, are envious of the saints who did great penances.   They believe that they could do as well.   When we read the lives of some of the martyrs, we would, we think, be ready to suffer all that they suffered for God;  the moment is short lived, we say, for an eternity of reward.   But what does God do to teach us to know ourselves or, rather, to know that we are nothing?   This is all He does:   He allows the Devil to come a little closer to us.   Look at this Christian who a moment ago was quite envious of the hermit who lived solely on roots and herbs and who made the stern resolution to treat his body as harshly.   Alas!   A slight headache, a prick of a pin, makes him, as big and strong is he is, sorry for himself.   He is very upset.   He cries with pain.   A moment ago he would have been willing to do all the penances of the anchorites — and the merest trifle makes him despair!

Look at this other one, who seems to want to give his whole life for God, whose ardour all the torments there are cannot damp.   A tiny bit of scandalmongering …. a word of calumny …. even a slightly cold reception or a small injustice done to him …. a kindness returned by ingratitude …. immediately gives birth in him to feelings of hatred, of revenge, of dislike, to the point, often, of his never wishing to see his neighbour again or at least of treating him coldly with an air which shows very plainly what is going on in his heart.   And how many times is this his waking thought, just as it was the thought that almost prevented him from sleeping?   Alas, my dear brethren, we are poor stuff and we should count very little upon our good resolutions!”

St John Vianney, Pray for us!

st john vianney pray for us - 20 june 2018

Posted in EASTER, HOMILIES, MORNING Prayers, The GOOD SHEPHERD, The WORD

Thought for the Day – The Fourth Sunday of Easter Year B – “Good Shepherd/Vocations Sunday

Thought for the Day – The Fourth Sunday of Easter Year B – “Good Shepherd/Vocations Sunday” – Todays Readings: Acts 4:8-12, Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28-29, 1 John 3:1-2, John 10:11-18

“The Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep”

Despite Jesus’ realistic word-picture, the parable of the Good Shepherd only fully comes alive in Jesus Himself, God’s appointed “Shepherd” of men.   He names two characteristics of such a shepherd:  first the shepherd’s commitment to the flock even to the point of death;  and second, the reciprocal recognition between sheep and shepherd, which is anchored in the innermost mystery of God.

The theme of self-giving to the point of death, is found at both the beginning and the end of the Gospel.   This devotion, contrasts sharply with the flight of the “hired hand”, who, when facing danger, has the excuse that the life of a man is more valuable than the life of a dumb animal.   This argument loses its force, however, when the shepherd cares so much for his sheep, that he prefers them to his own life.   That is scarcely conceivable in purely natural terms but it becomes a central truth in the realm of grace.   It only makes sense with the aid of the second theme of the parable – the shepherd knows his sheep and the animals likewise instinctively recognise him.   For Jesus, this is merely the point of comparison for a completely different recognition:  “as the Father knows me and I know the Father.”   This has nothing to do with instinct but with the most profound mutual recognition, as it is found in absolute trinitarian love.   When Jesus applies this utterly sublime trinitarian love recognition to the inward mutuality between Himself and His own, He elevates this knowledge far above that which is hinted at by the parable.

And thus, it becomes clear, that the first motif of the parable (giving one’s life for the sheep) and the second motif (mutual recognition) coincide rather than merely parallel each other.   The Father’s and the Son’s knowledge of each other is identical with their mutual and perfect selfgiving and therefore, the knowledge exchanged between Jesus and His own, is one with the perfect selfgiving of Jesus for and to His own and it implicitly includes the unity of the Christian’s knowledge and loving dedication to his Lord.

At the end, both themes are expressly joined together:  the Father (also) loves the Son for His perfect selfgiving for the sake of men, a selfgiving which is both freely chosen by the Son and commissioned by the Father.   This unmitigated surrender to mankind because it is Divine Love, is at the same time the power that achieves victory over death (“the power to take up life again”).

“No other name under heaven”  in the First Reading, Peter gives the Lord all glory for the miracle he has effected.   The point is not that, Jesus excepted, all who care for sheep are “hired hands” for the Lord Himself installed Peter to pasture His flock – precisely Jesus’ Flock, not Peter’s.   Thus everything effective and appropriate ultimately is accomplished by the “chief Shepherd alone” (1 Pet 5:4), even if through the activity of His assistants.

Hans Urs von Balthasar “Light of the Word”

john 10 11 - good shepherd no 2

 

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, EASTER, HOMILIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 20 April – Friday of the Third Week of Eastertide

One Minute Reflection – 20 April – Friday of the Third Week of Eastertide

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;  he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day.   For my flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed.”...John 6:53-55

REFLECTION – “About these words I observe, first, that they evidently declare on the face of them some very great mystery.   How can they be otherwise taken?   If they do not, they must be a figurative way of declaring something which is not mysterious but plain and intelligible.   But is it conceivable, that He who is the Truth and Love itself, should have used difficult words, when plain words would do?   Why should He have used words, the sole effect of which, in that case, would be to perplex, to startle us needlessly?   Does His mercy delight in creating difficulties?   Does He put stumbling-blocks in our way without cause?   Does He excite hopes and then disappoint them?   It is possible;  He may have some deep purpose in so doing but which is more likely, that His meaning is beyond us, or His words beyond His meaning?
All who read such awful words as those in question will be led by the first impression of them, either with the disciples to go back, as at a hard saying, or with St Peter to welcome what is promised:  they will be excited in one way or the other, with incredulous surprise or with believing hope?   And are the feelings of these opposite witnesses, discordant indeed, yet all of them deep, after all unfounded?   Are they to go for nothing?   Are they no token of our Saviour’s real meaning?   This desire and again this aversion, so naturally raised, are they without a real object and the mere consequence of a general mistake on all hands, of what Christ meant as imagery, for literal truth?   Surely this is very improbable!”…Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)but is it conceivable that he, who is the truth and love itself - bl john henry newman - 20 april 2018 - john chapter 6

PRAYER – Lord God, source of our freedom and our salvation, listen to our humble prayer.   We stand with St Peter and welcome what our divine Saviour, Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ has promised.   Help us to grow in love and faith at each Holy Sacrifice we attend.   Help us to accept with total commitment this great Mystery and as He gives Himself to and for us, help us to give ourselves to and for the glory of Your Kingdom. Through our Lord Jesus, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever, amen.  Peter, the spokesman for the apostles, proclaims, “Lord, to whom shall we go?   You have the words of eternal life and we have believed and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (Jn 6:67-69).john 6 67-69

Posted in Blessed Pope PAUL VI, CATECHESIS, EASTER, HOMILIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SUNDAY REFLECTIONS, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Sunday Reflection – 15 April – The Third Sunday of Easter Year B

Sunday Reflection – 15 April – The Third Sunday of Easter Year B

“Christ wished to choose this sacred symbol of human life, which bread is, to make an even more sacred symbol of Himself.   He has transubstantitated it but has not taken away its expressive power – rather, He has elevated this expressive power to a new meaning, a higher meaning, a mystical, religious, divine meaning.   He has made of it a ladder for an ascent that transcends the natural level.
As a sound becomes a voice and as the voice becomes word, thought, truth – so that sign of the bread has passed from its humble and pious being to signify a mystery, it has become a Sacrament, it has acquired the power to demonstrate the Body of Christ present.”

Blessed Pope Paul VI (1897-1978) – when Archbishop of Milan from a homily on the Solemnity of Corpus Christias a sound becomes a voice - paul VI - 15 april 2018 - sunday reflection

Posted in EASTER, HOMILIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS

Thought for the Day – 14 April – Saturday of the Second Week of Eastertide

Thought for the Day – 14 April – Saturday of the Second Week of Eastertide

We Are Keeping a Feast
The Greatest of ALL Feasts!

St John Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)

In the early days of the church, the faithful of one province, or district, used to come together publicly on the feast day of a saint in order to have the happiness of participating in all the graces which God bestows on such days.

The office of the vigil was started.   The evening and night were spent in prayer at the tomb of the saint.   The faithful heard the word of God.   They sang hymns and canticles in honour of the saint.   After passing the night so devoutly, they heard Mass, at which all those assisting had the happiness of going to Holy Communion.   Then they all withdrew, praising God for the triumphs He had accorded the saint and the graces He had bestowed in response to the latter’s intercession.   After that, my dear brethren, who could doubt but that God pours out His graces with abundance upon such a reunion of the faithful and that the saints themselves are happy to be the patrons of such people.   That was the way in which the feast days of patrons (and all feasts) were celebrated in olden times.

What do you think of that?   Is it thus that we celebrate such feasts today?   Alas!   If the first Christians were to come back upon this earth, would they not tell us that our feasts are no different from those that the pagans kept?   Is it not the general rule that God is most seriously offended on these holy days?

Does it not seem, rather, that we combine our money and our energies together to multiply sin almost to infinity?

What are we concerned with on the vigil of such feasts and even for several days beforehand?   Is it not with spending foolish and unnecessary money?   And all this time poor people are dying of hunger and our sins are calling down upon us the anger of God to the point where eternity would not be sufficient to satisfy for them.   You should pass the night in repentance and remorse, in considering how very little you have followed the example of your patron saint.   And yet you consecrate that time to preparing everything that will flatter your gluttony!   Might it not be said that this day is one for pure self-indulgence and debauchery?   Do parents and friends come, as in former times, to enjoy the happiness of participating in the graces which God bestows at the intercession of a patron saint?  They come but only to pass this feast day almost wholly at the table.   In former times, the religious services were much longer than they are today, and still they seemed always too short.   Nowadays you will see even fathers of families who, during the performance of the offices, are at table filling themselves with food and wine.   The first Christians invited each other in order to multiply their good works and their prayers.   Today it seems rather as if people invite each other so that they can multiply the sins and the orgies and the excesses in which they indulge in eating and drinking.   Does anyone think God will not demand an account of even a penny wrongly spent?   Does it not seem that we celebrate the feast only to insult our holy Patron and to increase our ingratitude?

Let us look a little closer, my dear brethren, and we shall realise that we are far from imitating Him whom God has given us for a model.   He passed His life in penance and in sorrow.   He died in torments.   What is more, I am sure that there are parishes where more sins are committed on those days than during all the rest of the year.   The Lord told the Jews that their feasts were an abomination and that He would take the filth of their feasts and throw it in their faces.   He wished to make us understand by this how greatly He is offended on those days which should be passed in weeping for our sins and in prayer.

We read in the Gospel that Jesus Christ came on earth to enlighten souls with the fire of divine love.   But we can believe that the Devil also roams around on earth to light an impure fire in the hearts of Christians and that what he promotes with the greatest frenzy are balls and dances.   I have debated for a long time whether I should speak to you about a matter so difficult to get you to understand and so little thought upon by the Christians of our days, who are blinded by their passions.   If your faith were not so weak that it might be extinguished in your hearts in the blink of an eye, you would understand the enormity of the abyss towards which you precipitate yourselves in giving yourselves over with such abandon to these wretched amusements.   But you will tell me.   For you to talk to us about dances and about the evil that takes place at them is just a waste of time.   We will indulge neither more nor less in them.   I firmly believe that, since Tertullian assures us that very many refused to become Christians rather than deprive themselves of such pleasures.

does anyone think - st john vianney - 14 april 2018