Posted in CONFESSION/PENANCE, MORNING Prayers, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 17 January – “If you will, you can make me clean.”…Mark 1:40

One Minute Reflection – 17 January – Thursday of the First week in Ordinary Time – Gospel Mark 1:40–45 and the Memorial of St Anthony Abbot (251-356)

And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.”…Mark 1:40

REFLECTION – “It is possible to see leprosy as a symbol of sin, which is the true impurity of heart that can distance us from God.   It is not in fact the physical disease of leprosy that separates us from God, as the ancient norms supposed but sin, spiritual and moral evil.   The sins that we commit distance us from God and, if we do not humbly confess them, trusting in divine mercy, they will finally bring about the death of the soul.   This miracle thus has a strong symbolic value.   Jesus, as Isaiah had prophesied, is the Servant of the Lord who “has borne our griefs / and carried our sorrows” (Is 53: 4).   In His Passion He will become as a leper, made impure by our sins, separated from God, He will do all this out of love, to obtain for us reconciliation, forgiveness and salvation.   In the Sacrament of Penance, the Crucified and Risen Christ purifies us through His ministers with His infinite mercy, restores us to communion with the heavenly Father and with our brothers and makes us a gift of His love, His joy and His peace.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us invoke the Virgin Mary whom God preserved from every stain of sin so that she may help us to avoid sin and to have frequent recourse to the Sacrament of Confession, the sacrament of forgiveness, whose value and importance for our Christian life must be rediscovered today.”…Pope Benedict XVI – Angelus 15 February 2009 mark 1 40 - if you will you can make me clean - in the sacrament of confession - pope benedict 17 jan 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, we make our prayer to You at morning, noon and evening.   Dispel from our hearts, the darkness of sin and bring us to the true light, Christ Your Son.  Grant that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Anthony Abbot, we may deny ourselves and love You above all things.   Through Jesus, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.blessed virgin mary pray for us 17 jan 2019.jpgagostinocarracci_thetemptationofstanthonyabbot-detail-pray-for-us-17-jan-2017-picjpg.jpg

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Posted in ON the SAINTS, PAPAL HOMILIES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, SAINT Pope PAUL VI, St Pope JOHN PAUL

Thought for the Day – 16 January – The Memorial of Blessed Giuseppe Tovini OFS (1841-1897)

Thought for the Day – 16 January – The Memorial of Blessed Giuseppe Tovini OFS (1841-1897)

St Pope Paul VI and Blessed Giuseppe Tovini

Sons & Saints of Brescia

Excerpt from St Pope John Paul’s Homily

EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION
ON THE OCCASION OF THE CENTENARY OF THE BIRTH
OF THE SERVANT OF GOD PAUL VI
AND THE BEATIFICATION OF GIUSEPPE TOVINI

HOMILY OF POPE JOHN PAUL II
Brescia
Sunday, 20 September, 1998

With deep affection I greet you, city of Brescia, so rich in works of Christian inspiration;  I greet your priests, religious and the many lay people who in their various ecclesial and civil offices have distinguished themselves by their religious, social and cultural commitment.

2. “Peter, do you love me?”.   We can say that Paul VI’s life was a response to Christ’s question – a great proof of love for God, the Church and mankind.   He loved God as a gracious and caring Father and during the important moments of his life, especially those burdened with difficulties and suffering, he displayed a very strong sense of the divine fatherhood.

When, as Archbishop of Milan, he decided to hold a popular mission to instil new energy in the city’s Christian tradition, he chose as his basic theme – God is Father.   Then on 6 August, 20 years ago, as he neared the end of his earthly life at Castel Gandolfo, he wanted to recite the Our Father as his last prayer.

And what can be said of his passionate love for Christ?   His was an essentially Christocentric spirituality.   In the homily to mark the beginning of his Pontificate, he explained that he had chosen the name of Paul because the Apostle “loved Christ supremely, because he greatly wanted and strove to bring the Gospel of Christ to all nations, because he offered his life in Christ’s name” (30 June 1963, in Insegnamenti I, [1963], pp. 24-25).   On another occasion he added that it is impossible to leave Christ out of consideration, “if we want to know something certain, full, revealed about God, or rather, if we want to have a living, direct and authentic relationship with God” (General Audience, 18 December 1968; L’Osservatore Romano English edition, 26 December 1968, p. 3).

3. To his love for God the Father and for Christ the Teacher, Paul VI joined an intense love for the Church, for which he spent all his physical, intellectual and spiritual energies, as the touching confession he made in Pensiero alla morte testifies:  “The Church … I could say that I have always loved her … and that I think I have lived for her and for nothing else” (cf. Pubblicazione dell’Istituto Paolo VI, Brescia 1988, pp. 28-29).

Flowing spontaneously from this love for Christ and for the Church was his pastoral passion for man, with an acute insight into the sufferings and expectations of the contemporary age.   Few have known, as he, to interpret the anxieties, desires, toils and aspirations of the men of our century.   He wished to walk at their side, to do this he made himself a pilgrim on their roads, meeting them where they lived and struggled to build a world of greater attention and respect for the dignity of every human being.

He wanted to be the servant of Church which evangelised the poor, called with every person of goodwill to build that “civilisation of love” in which not only the crumbs of economic and civil progress go to the poor, but where justice and solidarity should reign.

4. The roots of Pope Montini’s particular sensitivity to the great social questions of our century are sunk deep in his Brescian origins.   In his own family and then during the years of his youth in Brescia, he breathed that atmosphere, that fervour of activity which made Brescian Catholicism one of the significant landmarks of the Catholic presence in the social and political life of the country.   Addressing his fellow citizens at the beginning of his Pontificate, Paul VI expressed this debt of gratitude: “Brescia! The city which not only gave me birth but is such a part of the civil, spiritual and human tradition, teaching me as well the meaning of life in this world and always offering me a framework which, I think, will withstand future experiences ordained over the years by divine Providence” (cf. Address to a Pilgrimage from Milan and Brescia, 29 June 1963, in Insegnamenti I [1963], p. 647).

5. Bl Giuseppe Tovini was certainly a great witness of the Gospel incarnated in Italy’s social and economic history in the last century.   He is resplendent for his strong personality, his profound lay and family spirituality and for his generous efforts to improve society.   Between Tovini and Giovanni Battista Montini there is — as a matter of fact — a close, profound spiritual and mental bond.

In fact, the Pontiff himself wrote of Tovini:  “The impression he left on those I first knew and esteemed was so vivid and so real that I frequently heard comments and praise of his extraordinary personality and his many varied activities – astonished, I heard admiring expressions of his virtue and sorrowful regrets at his early death” (cf. Preface by Giovanni Battista Montini to the biography of Giuseppe Tovini by Fr Antonio Cistellini in 1953, p. I).st pope paul VI and bl giuseppe tovini saints of brescia - 16 jan 2019.jpg

6. Fervent, honest, active in social and political life, Giuseppe Tovini proclaimed the Christian message, always in fidelity to the guidance of the Church’s Magisterium.   His constant concern was to defend the faith, convinced that — as he said at a congress — “without faith our children will never be rich, with faith they will never be poor”. He lived at a sensitive time in the history of Italy and the Church and it was clear to him, that one could not respond fully to God’s call, without being generously and selflessly involved in social problems.

His was a prophetic vision and he responded with apostolic daring to the needs of the times, which in the light of new forms of discrimination required of believers a more incisive leadership in temporal affairs.

Aided by the legal skills and rigorous professionalism that distinguished him, he promoted and directed many social organisations and also held political office in Cividate Camuno and Brescia in the desire to make Christian doctrine and morality present among the people.   He considered commitment to education a priority and prominent among his many initiatives, was his defence of schools and the freedom of teaching.

With humble means and great courage he laboured tirelessly to preserve for Brescian and Italian society what was most particularly its own, that is, its religious and moral heritage.

Tovini’s honesty and integrity were rooted in his deep, vital relationship with God, which he constantly nourished with the Eucharist, meditation and devotion to the Blessed Virgin.   From listening to God in daily prayer, he drew light and strength for the great social and political battles he had to wage to safeguard Christian values.   The Church of St Luke, with its beautiful image of the Immaculata and where his mortal remains now rest, is a witness to his piety.

On the threshold of the third millennium, Giuseppe Tovini, whom today we contemplate in heavenly glory, spurs us on.   I invite you in particular, dear lay faithful of Brescia and Italy, to look to this great social apostle, who was able to give hope to those without voice in the society of his time, so that his example will be an incentive and encouragement to everyone to work generously today and always to defend and to spread the truth and the demands of the Gospel.   May he protect you from heaven and sustain you by his intercession.

Dear Brescians, you have received a great religious and civil heritage – treasure it as an incomparable patrimony and bear active witness to it, with that ingenuity and integrity, that fidelity and perseverance which distinguished Paul VI and Giuseppe Tovini.

7. “I have fought the good fight…. The Lord stood by me” (2 Tm 4:7,17)   These words from the second reading of the Mass summarise the spiritual experience of the two figures we recall today with devout admiration.   We thank God for their witness – it is a precious gift, not only for Brescia but for Italy and for all humanity.   Their memory must not fade with the passing of time.   In different fields and with different responsibilities, they sowed so much good, they fought the good fight – the fight for Truth and the civilisation of Love.

May Mary, Mother of the Church, help us take up their legacy and follow in their footsteps so that we too will be allowed to answer Christ like the Apostle Peter: “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you” (Jn 21:17). Amen!

Holy Mother Mary, Pray for Us!holy mother mary pray for us 16 jan 2019

St Pope Paul VI, Pray for Us!st pope paul vi pray for us 16 jan 2019

Blessed Giuseppe Tovini, Pray for Us!blessed giuseppe tovini pray for us 16 jan 2019 no 2

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Thought for the Day – 9 January – 3rd Day after Epiphany

Thought for the Day – 9 January – 3rd Day after Epiphany

Excerpt from Pope Francis’ Homily for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, celebrated 6 January 2019, in St Peter’s Basilica

“In order to find Jesus, we also need to take a different route, to follow a different path, His path, the path of humble love.   And we have to persevere.   Today’s Gospel ends by saying that the Magi, after encountering Jesus, “left for their own country by another road” (Mt 2:12).   Another road, different from that of Herod.   An alternative route than that of the world, like the road taken by those who surround Jesus at Christmas – Mary and Joseph, the shepherds.   Like the Magi, they left home and became pilgrims on the paths of God.   For only those, who leave behind their worldly attachments and undertake a journey, find the mystery of God.for only those who leave behind their worldly attachments - pope francis epiphany 2019 9jan2019.jpg

This holds true for us too.   It is not enough to know where Jesus was born, as the scribes did if we do not go there.   It is not enough to know that Jesus was born, like Herod, if we do not encounter Him.   When His place becomes our place, when  His time becomes our time, when His person becomes our life, then the prophecies come to fulfilment in us.   Then Jesus is born within us.   He becomes the living God for me.   Today we are asked to imitate the Magi.   They do not debate – they set out.  They do not stop to look but enter the house of Jesus.   They do not put themselves at the centre but bow down before the One who is the centre.   They do not remain glued to their plans but are prepared to take other routes.   Their actions reveal a close contact with the Lord, a radical openness to Him, a total engagement with Him.   With Him, they use the language of love, the same language that Jesus, though an infant, already speaks.   Indeed, the Magi go to the Lord not to receive but to give.   Let us ask ourselves this question – at Christmas did we bring gifts to Jesus for His party, or did we only exchange gifts among ourselves?when his place becomes our place - pope franics epip homily 2019 9 jan 2019.jpg

let us ask ourselves - pope francis 9 jan 2019 epiphany homily 2019.jpg

If we went to the Lord empty-handed, today we can remedy that.   The Gospel, in some sense, gives us a little “gift list”: gold, frankincense and myrrh.   Gold, the most precious of metals, reminds us God has to be granted first place – He has to be worshipped. But to do that, we need to remove ourselves from the first place and to recognise our neediness, the fact that we are not self-sufficient.    Then there is frankincense, which symbolises a relationship with the Lord, prayer, which like incense rises up to God (cf. Ps 141:2).   Just as incense must burn in order to yield its fragrance, so too, in prayer, we need to “burn” a little of our time, to spend it with the Lord.   Not just in words but also by our actions.   We see this in the myrrh, the ointment that would be lovingly used to wrap the body of Jesus taken down from the cross (cf. Jn 19:39).   The Lord is pleased when we care for bodies racked by suffering, the flesh of the vulnerable, of those left behind, of those who can only receive without being able to give anything material in return.   Precious in the eyes of God is mercy shown to those who have nothing to give back.   Gratuitousness!

In this Christmas season now drawing to its close, let us not miss the opportunity to offer a precious gift to our King, who came to us not in worldly pomp but in the luminous poverty of Bethlehem.   If we can do this, His light will shine upon us.”in this christmas season - pope francis - 9 jan 2019.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, The NATIVITY of JESUS

If we want to live Christmas, we must open our heart and be open to surprises, namely, to an unexpected change of life’

Thought for the Day – 8 January – 2nd Day after Epiphany – It is still Christmastide!

‘If we want to live Christmas, we must open our heart
and be open to surprises, namely, to an unexpected change of life’

Pope Francis’ Homily – 19 December 2018 – General Audience

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

In six days, it will be Christmas.   The trees, the decorations and the lights everywhere recall that this year also there will be a celebration.   Advertising invites to keep exchanging newer and newer gifts to have surprises.   However, is this the celebration that pleases God?   What Christmas would He want, what presents and surprises?

We look at the first Christmas of history to discover God’s tastes.   That Christmas was full of surprises.   It begins with Mary, who was Joseph’s promised bride – the Angel arrives and changes her life.   From being a virgin, she will be a mother.   It continues with Joseph, called to be the father of a son without generating Him.   A son that — in a dramatic turn of events — arrives in the least indicated moment, namely, when Mary and Joseph were betrothed and, according to the Law, could not live together.   In face of the scandal, the good sense of the time invited Joseph to repudiate Mary and save his good name but he, although he had the right, surprises us – not to hurt Mary he thinks of taking leave of her in secret, at the cost of losing his own reputation.   Then, another surprise – in a dream, God changes his plans and asks him to take Mary to himself.   Jesus having been born, when Joseph had his plans for the family, again in a dream he is told to rise and go to Egypt.   To summarise, Christmas brought unexpected life changes.  And if we want to live Christmas, we must open our heart and be open to surprises, namely, to an unexpected change of life.

However, it’s on Christmas Eve that the greatest surprise arrives – the Most High is a little baby.   The divine Word is an infant, which means literally, “incapable of speaking.”   And the divine Word becomes “incapable of speaking.”  The Authorities of the time or of the place or the ambassadors were not there to receive the Saviour – no, it was simple shepherds, who, surprised by the Angels while they were working at night, run without delay.   Who would have expected it?   Christmas is to celebrate the unheard-of God, or better, it is to celebrate an unprecedented God, who overturns our logics and our expectations.

To celebrate Christmas, then, is to receive on earth Heaven’s surprises.   One can’t live “down to earth,” when Heaven has brought its novelties into the world.   Christmas inaugurates a new era, where life isn’t planned but is given;  where one no longer lives for oneself, on the basis of one’s tastes, but for God;  and with God because since the first Christmas, God is God-with-us, who lives with us, who walks with us.   To live Christmas is to let oneself be shaken by its surprising novelty.   Jesus’ Birth doesn’t offer the reassuring warmth of a fireplace but the divine thrill, that shakes history.  Christmas is the revenge of humility over arrogance, of simplicity over abundance, of silence over noise, of prayer over “my time,” of God over my “I.”christmas is - pope francis no 2 - 8 jan 2019

To celebrate Christmas is to do as Jesus did, who came for us needy people and to come down to those in need of us.   It is to do as Mary did, to entrust ourselves, docile to God, even without understanding what He will do.   To celebrate Christmas is to do as Joseph did, to rise to do what God wants, even if it’s not according to our plans.   Saint Joseph is surprising – he never speaks in the Gospel, there isn’t one word of Joseph in the Gospel and the Lord speaks to him in silence, He speaks to him in fact in his sleep. Christmas is to prefer God’s silent voice to the noises of consumerism.   If we are able to be silent before the Crib, Christmas will be a surprise for us also, not something already seen.   To be in silence before the Crib – this is the invitation for Christmas.  Take a bit of time, go before the Crib and stay in silence.   And you will feel, you will see the surprise.

Unfortunately, however, the celebration can be mistaken and we can prefer the usual things on earth, to the novelties of Heaven.   If Christmas remains only a beautiful traditional feast, where we and not Him, are at the centre, it will be a lost occasion.   Please, let us not make Christmas worldly!   Let us not put the One celebrated aside as ‘happened’ then, when “He came among His own and His own received Him not” (John 1:11).   Since the first Gospel of Advent, the Lord has put us on guard, asking us not to be weighed down with “dissipation” and “the cares of life” (Luke 21:34).   In these days one runs, perhaps more than ever during the year.   So, the opposite is done of what Jesus wants.   We blame the many things that fill our day, the world that goes fast.   Yet Jesus didn’t blame the world.   He asked us not to let ourselves be dragged, to watch at all times praying (Cf. v. 36).

Behold, it will be Christmas if, like Joseph, we make room for silence;  if, like Mary, we say to God “Here I am”;  if, like Jesus, we are close to one who is alone;  if, like the shepherds, we go out of our enclosures to be with Jesus.   It will be Christmas, if we find the light in the poor cave of Bethlehem.   It won’t be Christmas if we seek the shimmering glow of the world, if we fill ourselves with gifts, lunches and dinners but we don’t help at least one poor person, who is like God, because at Christmas God came poor.

Dear brothers and sisters, I wish you a happy Christmas, a Christmas rich in Jesus’ surprises!   They might seem uncomfortable surprises but they are God’s tastes.   If we embrace them, we will have a splendid surprise for ourselves.   Each one of us has hidden in the heart, the capacity to be surprised.   Let us let Jesus surprise us this Christmas.

It’s Christmas every day!  behold it will be christmas - pope francis given 19 dec 2018 gen aud - 8 jan 2019

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, SAINT of the DAY, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 6 January – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

One Minute Reflection – 6 January – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord – Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12

When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was...Matthew 2:9

REFLECTION – “The Gospel account of the Magi describes their journey from the East as a journey of the spirit, as a journey toward the encounter with Christ.   They are attentive to signs that indicate His presence;  they are tireless in facing the trials of the search;  they are courageous in deducing the implications for life that derive from encounter with the Lord.   This is life – Christian life, is a journey but being attentive, tireless and courageous.   A Christian, journeys like this.   Journey attentively, tirelessly, courageously.”…Pope Francis – Angelus, 6 January 2015matthew 2 9 when they heard the king - the gospel account of the magi pope francis 6 jan 2019

PRAYER – On this day, Lord God, by a guiding star, You revealed Your Only-begotten Son to all the peoples of the world.   Lead us from the faith by which we know You now, to the vision of Your glory, face to face.   May the prayers of St Andre Bessette and all Your saints, who stand beside You, assist us on our journey.   Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God, forever amen.the solemnity of epiphany light of all light reveal yourself this day 6 jan 2019

st andre bessette pray for us -6 jan 2018

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES on the FAMILY, THE HOLY FAMILY - FAMILIAE SANCTAE

Quote/s of the Day – 30 December – Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Quote/s of the Day – 30 December – Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

“How important it is, therefore, that every child coming into the world
be welcomed by the warmth of a family!
External comforts do not matter,
Jesus was born in a stable and had a manger as His first cradle
but the love of Mary and of Joseph made Him feel the tenderness and beauty of being loved.
Children need this, the love of their father and mother.
It is this that gives them security and, as they grow,
enables them to discover the meaning of life.
The Holy Family of Nazareth went through many trials ….
Yet, trusting in divine Providence, they found their stability
and guaranteed Jesus a serene childhood and a sound upbringing.”

Pope Benedict XVI (Feast of the Holy Family 2010)how-important-it-is-therefore-pope-benedict-31-dec-2017

“Waste time with your children,
so that they can realise,
that love is always free.”

Pope Franciswaste time with your childen - pope francis - 30 dec 2018

Posted in ADVENT, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The INCARNATION

Quote of the Day – 22 December – Today’s Gospel Luke 1:46-56

Quote of the Day – 22 December – Today’s Gospel Luke 1:46-56

“The exultation of the humble maiden of Galilee,
expressed in the Canticle of the Magnificat,
becomes the song of all humanity,
which sees with satisfaction,
the Lord stoop over all men and all women,
humble creatures and assume them with Him into heaven.”

Pope Francis – Angelus, 15 August 2016the exultation of the humble maiden of galilee -popefrancis - 22dec2018