Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, ON the SAINTS

Thought for the Day – 15 May – The 140th Anniversary of Cardinal John Henry

Thought for the Day – 15 May – the 140th Anniversary of Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890) being raised to the College of Cardinals

Blessed John Henry Newman was a great thinker – a seminal theologian and philosopher (he is one of Bishop Barron’s Pivotal Players in the History of the Church) – but, he possessed something much more than intellectual brilliance.   He possessed wisdom and a profound devotional life.   He brought to any practical topic an awareness of the unity and consistency of the whole of the Christian life.   His words are illuminated with immense insights and light – they get to the very core of soul – the core of what it means to be a Christian – the Light of Christ!

He has been called the “absent Father of Vatican II” because his writings on conscience, religious liberty, Scripture, the vocation of lay people, the relation of Church and State and other topics were extremely influential in the shaping of the Council’s documents.

Although Newman was not always understood or appreciated, he steadfastly preached the Good News by word and example.  A complex thinker, his words are always relevant in every age – he is truly a ‘doctor” of the church – which means a “teacher for all ages”.

Blessed John Henry Newman, Pray for Us!bl-john-henry-pray-for-us - 9 oct 2018.jpg

Advertisements
Posted in CATECHESIS, ON the SAINTS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on TRUST in GOD, SAINT of the DAY

Second Thoughts for the Day – 13 May – And all will be well, all manner of things shall be well!

Second Thoughts for the Day – 13 May – Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter, C and the Memorial of Blessed Julian of Norwich (c 1342-c 1430)all will be well - bl julian of norwich ccc 13 may 2019.jpg

Excerpt from Pope Benedict’s Catechesis on Julian of Norwich

Wednesday, 1st December 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I still remember with great joy the Apostolic Journey I made in the United Kingdom last September.   England is a land that has given birth to a great many distinguished figures who enhanced Church history with their testimony and their teaching.   One of them, venerated both in the Catholic Church and in the Anglican Communion, is the mystic Julian of Norwich, of whom I wish to speak this morning.

The — very scant — information on her life in our possession comes mainly from her Revelations of Divine Love in Sixteen Showings, the book in which this kindly and devout woman set down the content of her visions.

It is known that she lived from 1342 until about 1430, turbulent years both for the Church, torn by the schism that followed the Pope’s return to Rome from Avignon and for the life of the people who were suffering the consequences of a long drawn-out war between the Kingdoms of England and of France.   God, however, even in periods of tribulation, does not cease to inspire figures such as Julian of Norwich, to recall people to peace, love and joy.

As Julian herself recounts, in May 1373, most likely on the 13th of that month, she was suddenly stricken with a very serious illness that in three days seemed to be carrying her to the grave.   After the priest, who hastened to her bedside, had shown her the Crucified One not only did Julian rapidly recover her health but she received the 16 revelations that she subsequently wrote down and commented on in her book, Revelations of Divine Love.

And it was the Lord himself, 15 years after these extraordinary events, who revealed to her the meaning of those visions.

“‘Would you learn to see clearly your Lord’s meaning in this thing?   Learn it well – Love was His meaning.   Who showed it to you?   Love…. Why did He show it to you?   For Love’…. Thus I was taught that Love was our Lord’s meaning” (Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, Chapter 86).

Inspired by divine love, Julian made a radical decision.   Like an ancient anchoress, she decided to live in a cell located near the church called after St Julian, in the city of Norwich — in her time an important urban centre not far from London.   She may have taken the name of Julian, precisely from that Saint, to whom was dedicated the church, in whose vicinity she lived for so many years, until her death.

This decision to live as a “recluse”, the term in her day, might surprise or even perplex us.   But she was not the only one to make such a choice.   In those centuries a considerable number of women opted for this form of life, adopting rules specially drawn up, for them, such as the rule compiled by St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167).

The anchoresses or “recluses”, in their cells, devoted themselves to prayer, meditation and study.   In this way they developed a highly refined human and religious sensitivity which earned them the veneration of the people.   Men and women of every age and condition, in need of advice and comfort, would devoutly seek them.   It was not, therefore, an individualistic choice, precisely with this closeness to the Lord, Julian developed the ability to be a counsellor to a great many people and to help those who were going through difficulties in this life.

We also know that Julian too received frequent visitors, as is attested by the autobiography of another fervent Christian of her time, Margery Kempe, who went to Norwich in 1413 to receive advice on her spiritual life.   This is why, in her lifetime, Julian was called “Dame Julian”, as is engraved on the funeral monument that contains her remains.   She had become a mother to many.

Men and women who withdraw to live in God’s company acquire by making this decision a great sense of compassion for the suffering and weakness of others.   As friends of God, they have at their disposal a wisdom that the world — from which they have distanced themselves — does not possess and they amiably share it with those who knock at their door.

It was precisely in the solitude infused with God that Julian of Norwich wrote her Revelations of Divine Love.   Two versions have come down to us, one that is shorter, probably the older and one that is longer.   This book contains a message of optimism based on the certainty of being loved by God and of being protected by his Providence.

In this book we read the following wonderful words:  “And I saw full surely that ere God made us He loved us, which love was never lacking nor ever shall be.   And in this love He has made all His works and in this love He has made all things profitable to us and in this love our life is everlasting… in which love we have our beginning.   And all this shall we see in God, without end” (Revelations of Divine Love, Chapter 86).

The theme of divine love recurs frequently in the visions of Julian of Norwich who, with a certain daring, did not hesitate to compare them also to motherly love.   This is one of the most characteristic messages of her mystical theology.   The tenderness, concern and gentleness of God’s kindness to us are so great that they remind us, pilgrims on earth, of a mother’s love for her children.   In fact, the biblical prophets also sometimes used this language that calls to mind the tenderness, intensity and totality of God’s love, which is manifested in creation and in the whole history of salvation that is crowned by the Incarnation of the Son.

God, however, always excels all human love, as the Prophet Isaiah says:  “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will never forget you” (Is 49:15).

Julian of Norwich understood the central message for spiritual life – God is love and it is only if one opens oneself to this love, totally and with total trust and lets it become one’s sole guide in life, that all things are transfigured, true peace and true joy found and one is able to radiate it.

I would like to emphasise another point.   The Catechism of the Catholic Church cites the words of Julian of Norwich when it explains the viewpoint of the Catholic faith on an argument that never ceases to be a provocation to all believers (cf. nn. 304-313, 314).

If God is supremely good and wise, why do evil and the suffering of innocents exist?   And the Saints themselves asked this very question.   Illumined by faith, they give an answer that opens our hearts to trust and hope: in the mysterious designs of Providence, God can draw a greater good even from evil, as Julian of Norwich wrote:   “Here I was taught by the grace of God that I should steadfastly hold me in the Faith … and that … I should take my stand on and earnestly believe in … that ‘all manner of thing shall be well”’ (The Revelations of Divine Love, Chapter 32).

Yes, dear brothers and sisters, God’s promises are ever greater than our expectations.   If we are present to God, to His immense love, the purest and deepest desires of our heart, we shall never be disappointed.   “And all will be well”, “all manner of things shall be well” – this is the final message that Julian of Norwich transmits to us and that I am also proposing to you today.   Many thanks…Vatican.va

Blessed Julian, Pray for us!bl julian of norwich pray for us 13 may 2019.jpg

Posted in ON the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL

Saint of the Day – 7 May – St Agostino Roscelli ( 1818–1902)

Saint of the Day – 7 May – St Agostino Roscelli ( 1818–1902) aged 83, Priest, Founder of the Institute of Sisters of the Immaculata, Spiritual director, Apostle of prayer and charity, Social reformer, founder of training schools and programmes for young adults, both girls and boys, Chaplain to Prisoners and Orphanages – also known as Augustine Roscelli, Augustin Roscelli – born on 27 July 1818 at Bargone di Casarza Ligure, Italy and died on 7 May 1902 at Genoa, Italy of natural causes.   St Agostino inspired social change in Genoa, Italy for children and disadvantaged women.ST AGOSTINO ROSCELLI.jpg

On 27 July 1818, Agostino was born in northern Italy.   His parents, Domenico Roscelli and Maria Gianelli, had him baptised the same day out of fear that he may not survive. Despite his early health problems, Agostino would grow into a quiet intellectual, receiving his basic education from the parish priest, Fr Andrea Garibaldi.   These times were brief however, as he would spend a large part of his childhood caring for his poor farming family’s sheep in the mountains.   During these solitary times, he would fill his hours with prayer.

In May 1835, at the age of 17, Agostino attended a parish mission given by a visiting priest, Fr Antonio Maria Gianelli (1789– 1846) (parish priest of Chiavari and later bishop of Bobbio) and now a Saint and the founder of the Missionaries of St Alphonsus.    (About St Anthony here: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/06/07/saint-of-the-day-7-june-st-anthony-mary-gianelli-1789-1846/)

This mission thoroughly convinced him he had a call to the priesthood, a calling that would not be easily achieved, considering the poor financial state his family was in. Despite this, he attacked the situation with prayer, which led to financial aid that allowed him to study in Genoa, Italy.   One of his benefactors was Fr Gianelli who found him a post as a sacristan and guardian of a church attached to a girls school.   He was ordained on 19 September 1846.agostino roscelli1-young main .jpg

Agostino was shortly thereafter, appointed to a working class parish, San Martino d’Albaro, in 1846.   He would later move to the Church of Consolation in Genoa in 1854. As a parish priest he soon made a positive impression with his obvious zeal and austerity of life.   He spent long hours in the confessional, which developed his deep concern for the youth of the area.   The boys of the parish were often tempted into a life of crime, having little to no education or hope of finding work.   The girls were even worse off, having less education than the boys and were liable to seek menial work in the city, often being seduced or enticed into a life of prostitution.

Seeing a great need for change, Agostino set about forming a new type of job training for girls.   He gathered together a group of young women and with them founded a “sewing workshop”, in which girls could receive practical and professional training as well as Christian instruction.  STATUE ST AGOSTINO ROSCELLINot wanting to neglect the boys, he would also found a “young craftsman” institute for them in 1858.   He would later go on to establish a residential school to train young women who were in danger of starvation or falling into prostitution because they had no support.

In 1872, Agostino began a ministry to prisoners, working especially with those condemned to death.   Two years later, in 1874, he was appointed Warden and Chaplain of the new provincial orphanage, Monte dei Fieschine, a post he held for 22 years. During that time he would baptise over 8,000 children, as well as providing care for young single mothers, not condemning them but seeing them as simple souls led astray on account of lack of rewarding work.

He lived in an atmosphere of intense prayer, something that would inspire those around him, especially his helpers.   The women who ran the sewing workshop, known as “Roscelli’s Collaborators”, decided their mission would be greatly helped if they were to consecrate themselves to Christ in a more formal way.   Agostino was reluctant to start a religious congregation but was encouraged to seek the advice and approval of Pope Pius IX.

Pope Pius IX’s reply was simple, “May God bless you and your good works”.  ST AGOSTINO Roscelli 3This was what Agostino needed however and he would go on to found the Institute of Sisters of the Immaculata on 15 October 1876.   Agostino would induct the first of the nuns a week later, going on to act as their spiritual director.   He would oversee the early growth of the order beyond Genoa and eventually beyond Italy.

Until the very end of his life, St Agostino would describe himself simply as a “poor priest”, ever humble as to his accomplishments.   On 7 May 1902, he died of natural causes in Genoa, Italy.   He was 83 years old.

On 17 May 1995, Agostino was officially declared Blessed by St Pope John Paul II.   He said:

“A spiritual feature characteristic of Blessed Agostino Roscelli…was to work at the service of his brothers and sisters without ever neglecting his interior union with the Lord.   The true contemplative is the one who is able to work with greater force and incisiveness for the salvation of souls and the good of the Church.   The new blessed’s apostolic activity was truly fruitful because it flowed from a genuine mystical and contemplative life.   His ardent love for God, enriched by the gift of wisdom, enabled him to give himself as far as possible to serving his neighbour without ever being separated from the Lord.”… St John Paul at the Beatification ceremony.”

99 years after his death, Agostino was officially declared a Saint by St Pope John Paul II on 10 June 2001.444px-Bargone-dipinto_Agostino_Roscelli

“‘Great is his love for us.’   The love of God for men is manifested with particular clarity in the life of St Augustine Roscelli, whom we contemplate today in the splendour of holiness.  Its existence, imbued with deep faith, can be considered a gift offered to the glory of God and for the good of souls.   It was faith which made him always obedient to the Church and its teachings, in docile adherence to the Pope and to their own bishop.   By faith he knew how to draw comfort in sad and harsh difficulty and in painful events.   Faith was the solid rock to which he held on tightly to not give in to discouragement.  This same faith led him to feel it his duty to communicate it to others, especially to those who approached the ministry of confession.   He became a master of the spiritual life, especially for the sisters that he founded, which saw him serene even in the most trying situations.   St Augustine Roscelli exhorts us always to trust in God, immersing us in the mystery of His love.”… St John Paul’s homily at the Canonization of Agostino Roscelli, 10 June 2001.

Below is his birthplace and the plaque outside.

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, ON the SAINTS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Thought for the Day – 3 May – The Preaching of the Apostles

Thought for the Day – 3 May – The Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles

The Preaching of the Apostles

Tertullian (c 155- c 240)
Priest, Father and Ancient Christian Writer

An excerpt from his On the Prescription of Heretics

Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself declared what He was, what He had been, how He was carrying out His Father’s will, what obligations He demanded of men.    This He did during His earthly life, either publicly to the crowds, or privately to His disciples.  Twelve of these He picked out, to be His special companions, appointed to teach the nations.

One of them fell from His place.   The remaining eleven were commanded by Christ, as He was leaving the earth to return to the Father after His resurrection, to go and teach the nations and to baptise them into the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The apostles cast lots and added Matthias to their number, in place of Judas, as the twelfth apostle.   The authority for this action is to be found in a prophetic psalm of David.   After receiving the power of the Holy Spirit which had been promised to them, so that they could work miracles and proclaim the truth, they first bore witness to their faith in Jesus Christ and established churches throughout Judea.   They then went out into the whole world and proclaimed to the nations the same doctrinal faith.

They set up churches in every city.   Other churches received from them a living transplant of faith and the seed of doctrine and through this daily process of transplanting they became churches.   They therefore qualify as apostolic churches by being the offspring of churches that are apostolic.

Every family has to be traced back to its origins.   That is why we can say that all these great churches constitute that one original Church of the apostles, for it is from them that they all come.   They are all primitive, all apostolic, because they are all one.   They bear witness to this unity by the peace in which they all live, the brotherhood which is their name, the fellowship to which they are pledged.   The principle on which these associations are based is common tradition by which they share the same sacramental bond.

The only way in which we can prove what the apostles taught—that is to say, what Christ revealed to them — is through those same churches.   They were founded by the apostles themselves, who first preached to them by what is called the living voice and later by means of letters.

The Lord had said clearly in former times – I have many more things to tell you but you cannot endure them now.   But He went on to say – When the Spirit of truth comes, He will lead you into the whole truth.   Thus Christ shows us that the apostles had full knowledge of the truth, for He had promised that they would receive the whole truth through the Spirit of truth.   His promise was certainly fulfilled, since the Acts of the Apostles prove, that the Holy Spirit came down on them.

Saints James and Philip, Pray for us!sts-philip-and-james-pray-for-us-3-may-2017.jpg

Posted in ON the SAINTS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 25 April – Saint Giovanni Battista Piamarta FN (1841 – 1913)

Saint of the Day – 25 April – Saint Giovanni Battista Piamarta FN (1841 – 1913) – Priest, Teacher, Apostle of the Poor, Founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth.    St Giovanni established his congregation in 1900 in order to promote Christian education across the Italian peninsula.   He also founded the Humble Servants of the Lord.   Both of which he is the Patron and of jobseekers.st giovanni battista piamarta-new-saints_j8chwu.jpg

Giovanni Battista Piamarta was born in Brescia on 26 November 1841 into a poor household, his father was a barber.

He lost his parents at the age of nine in 1840 and the orphanage was situate in the slums of the town, where he experienced the desperation of the street children.   His maternal grandfather helped him to keep afloat and alive and sent him to the Oratory of Saint Thomas.   His adolescence was difficult but thanks to the parish of Vallio Terme he entered the diocesan seminary.

He was ordained to the priesthood on 23 December 1865 and he began his pastoral mission in Carzago Riviera (Bedizzole), spending his first two decades in intense pastoral work and is remembered as a priest “zealous, excellent, flawless in everything”.st giovanni_Piamarta.jpg

During that time he was appointed as the priest (and later director) of the parish of Saint Alexander and then as the parish priest of Pavone del Mella.   Brescia was in the process of industrialisation and Piamarta identified with the difficulties and hopes of disadvantaged adolescents, due to his own experiences as a child.

With the support of Monsignor Pietro Capetti and the Catholic Movement he started the Art and Crafts Institute for the vocational and Christian education of the poorest children and adolescents on 3 December 1886.   The “Workman’s Institute” grew and they were able to help and teach many adolescents to receive an adequate technical education.st giovanni piamarta with children

In 1889, he and Father Giovanni Bonsignori began the Agricultural Colony of Remedello.   As a result, a range of the religious gathered around Piamarta who shared the ideals and labours of the mission.   In March 1900 he established the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth (“Piamartinis”) to continue the work of technical Christian education around the world.

This would, in time, include Italy, Angola, Mozambique, Brazil (from where the Canonisation miracle came) and Chile.   Piamarta’s work with the Brescian printing and publishing house, “Queriniana”, helped make Brescia a European centre of Catholic publications.

St Giovanni died on 25 April 1913 in Remedello after a life spent in the service of God and his fellow man.   In 1926 his remains were moved to the church of the workmen that he himself had built.

He was Beatified on 12 October 1997 by St Pope John Paul II and Canonised on 21 October 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI.canonisation snip st giovanni

St Giovanni piamarta new-saints-tease_ips3jy

The Son of Man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (cf. Mk 10:45

“Giovanni Battista Piamarta, priest of the Diocese of Brescia, was a great apostle of charity and of young people.   He raised awareness of the need for a cultural and social presence of Catholicism in the modern world and so he dedicated himself to the Christian, moral and professional growth of the younger generations with an enlightened input of humanity and goodness.   Animated by unshakable faith in divine providence and by a profound spirit of sacrifice, he faced difficulties and fatigue to breathe life into various apostolic works, including the Artigianelli Institute, Queriniana Publishers, the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth for men and for women, the Congregation of the Humble Sister Servants of the Lord.

The secret of his intense and busy life is found in the long hours he gave to prayer.   When he was overburdened with work, he increased the length of his encounter, heart to heart, with the Lord.   He preferred to pause before the Blessed Sacrament, meditating upon the passion, death and resurrection of Christ, to gain spiritual fortitude and return to gaining people’s hearts, especially the young, to bring them back to the sources of life with fresh pastoral initiatives.”

Pope Benedict XVI on the Canonisation of St Giovanni, Sunday, 21 October 2012

Posted in MARTYRS, ON the SAINTS, Papa FRANCIS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONSCIENCE, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on HUMAN DIGNITY, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SIN, QUOTES on the DEVIL/EVIL, SAINT of the DAY, The TEN COMMANDMENTS, YouTube Videos

Thought for the Day – 24 March – An Incarnational Faith must be expressed publicly

Thought for the Day – 24 March – The Third Sunday of Lent, Year C and The Memorial of Bl Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (1917–1980) Martyr

The night before he was murdered while celebrating Mass, Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador said on the radio:

“I would like to appeal in a special way to the men of the army and in particular to the troops of the National Guard, the police and the garrisons. Brothers, you belong to our own people.   You kill your own brother peasants and in the face of an order to kill that is given by a man, the law of God that says ‘Do not kill!’ should prevail.

No soldier is obliged to obey an order counter to the law of God.   No-one has to comply with an immoral law.   It is the time now that you recover your conscience and obey its dictates rather than the command of sin. . . . Therefore, in the name of God and in the name of this long-suffering people, whose laments rise to heaven every day more tumultuous, I beseech you, I beg you, I command you!   In the name of God: ‘Cease the repression!’”

Simultaneously, Romero had eloquently upheld the gospel and effectively signed his own death warrant.

When a military junta seized control of the national government in 1979, Archbishop Romero publicly criticised the US government for backing the junta.  His weekly radio sermons, broadcast throughout the country, were regarded by many as the most trustworthy source of news available.

Romero’s funeral was celebrated in the plaza outside the cathedral and drew an estimated 250,000 mourners.

His tomb in the cathedral crypt soon drew thousands of visitors each year.   On 3 February 2015, Pope Francis authorised a decree recognising Oscar Romero as a martyr for the faith.   His beatification took place in San Salvador on 23 May 2015.   He was canonized on 14 October 2018.archbishop-romero-invites-us-to-good-sense-pope-francis-24-march-2019.jpg

Oscar Romero and many other Latin American martyrs for the faith were falsely accused of advocating a Marxist-inspired “theology of liberation.”   Following Jesus always requires choices.   Romero’s fiercest critics conveniently dismissed his choices as politically inspired.   An incarnational faith must be expressed publicly.

St Oscar Romero, Pray for Us!ast oscar romero pray for us 24 march 2019.jpg

Posted in DOMINICAN, LENT 2019, LENTEN THOUGHTS, ON the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on COURAGE, QUOTES on ETERNITY

Lenten Thoughts – 23 March – Behave like a true Knight!

Lenten Thoughts – 23 March – Saturday of the Second Week of Lent, Year C

“Remember that you will derive strength
by reflecting that the saints, 
yearn for you
to join their ranks,
desire to see you fight bravely,
and behave like a true knight
in your encounters
with the same adversities
which they had to conquer
and that breathtaking joy
is the eternal reward,
for having endured a few years, 
of temporal pain.
Every drop of earthly bitterness,
will be changed into
an ocean of heavenly sweetness.”

Blessed Henry Suso OP (1290-1365)remember that you will derive strength - lenten thought 23 march 2019 bl henry suso.jpg