Posted in DOMINICAN, FRANCISCAN, MORNING Prayers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Thought for the Day – 8 August – The Memorial of St Dominic de Guzman

Thought for the Day – 8 August – The Memorial of St Dominic de Guzman

Words of Pope Benedict XVI on St Dominic

In the second volume of his work “Jesus of Nazareth”, in speaking of the first and last coming of Christ, he introduces a “middle coming”, through his word, the sacraments, events.   And he continues: ” But there are also modalities of this coming season.   The impact of two great figures -Francisco and Domingo- between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, has been a way in which Christ has re-entered history, re-enforcing His word and his love;  a way with which He has renewed the Church and has driven history to itself. ”   In St Dominic’s words:  “You are my companion and must walk with me. If we hold together, no earthly power can withstand us.” 

francis and dominic holding church

Likewise, Benedict XVI, recognising the Marian devotion of Saint Dominic, manifested in his catechesis on February 3, 2010:  ” First and foremost, Marian devotion, which he cultivated with tenderness and left his spiritual children as an inheritance, Which in the history of the Church have had the great merit of spreading the prayer of the holy rosary, so rooted in the Christian people and so rich in evangelical values, a true school of faith and piety.

Once, at a difficult point in the preaching ministry, St Dominic had a dream in which he saw heaven.   Christ was there, arrayed like a king, with His Mother beside Him cloaked in a magnificent mantle.   Around the Blessed Mother were countless souls from all walks of life: clergy, laypersons, and members of every religious order ever founded. Among the religious there were Benedictines, Augustinians, Carmelites, Franciscans, everyone, except the Order of Preachers.   Struck to the heart, Dominic said,  “Is there not a single one of mine?” The Lord gestured to his Mother, who opened her mantle. There, under it, were hundreds and hundreds of Dominican souls in their black and white habits.   The Lord said, “Behold, I have left your Order in the care of My Mother.”

MARY AND THE DOMINICANS - MY SNIP

And, in the catechesis of August 8, 2012, he referred to another characteristic of St Dominic, the prayer :  “St Dominic was a man of prayer.   In love with God, he had no other aspiration than the salvation of souls, especially those who had fallen into the webs of the heresies of his time;   Imitator of Christ, incarnated radically the three evangelical counsels joining to the proclamation of the Word the testimony of a poor life; under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, progressed in the path of Christian perfection.   At all times prayer was the force that renewed and made more and more fruitful his apostolic works.

fra angelico st dominic adoring the crucifix

St Dominic reminds us that at the origin of the witness of faith, which every Christian should give in family, work, social commitment and also in times of relaxation, is prayer, personal contact with God.   Only this real relationship with God gives us the strength to live intensely every event, especially moments of greater suffering. “

St Dominic pray for us!

st dominic pray for us 2

Posted in MORNING Prayers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRAYERS for our HOLY FATHER and all PRIESTS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

The Feast Day of the Patron of Parish Priests – 4 August – St John Vianney the Curé of Ars

When Pope Benedict XVI announced a special Year for Priests to be observed in the Church (June 19, 2009 — June 19, 2010), he noted that the timing was not arbitrary. The year coincides, he said, with the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney, “a true example of a pastor at the service of Christ’s flock.”

It is, therefore, appropriate that we pray for all our priests today:

Gracious and loving God, we thank your for the gift of our priests.
Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments.

Help our priests to be strong in their vocation.
Set their souls on fire with love for your people.

Grant them the wisdom, understanding, and strength they need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
Inspire them with the vision of your Kingdom.

Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel.
Allow them to experience joy in their ministry.

Help them to become instruments of your divine grace.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest.

Amen

St John Vianney, pray for all our priests!

prayer for priests

st john vianney pray for our priests

Posted in FRANCISCAN, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien, C S Lewis and MORE, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL

Saint of the Day – 4 August – St Jean-Baptiste Marie Vianney T.O.S.F. – The Curé of Ars

Saint of the Day – 4 August – St Jean-Baptiste Marie Vianney T.O.S.F. – The Curé of Ars (Parish Priest of Ars) – Priest and Tertiary – (8 May 1786 at Dardilly, Lyons, France – 4 August 1859 at Ars, France of natural causes)   His body is interred in the basilica of Ars.   He was Canonised on 31 May 1925 by Pope Pius XI.  Patronages – confessors, priests (proclaimed on 23 April 1929 by Pope Pius XI), Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney, Dubuque, Iowa, archdiocese of, Kamloops, British Columbia, diocese of, Kansas City, Kansas, archdiocese of, Lafayette, Louisiana, diocese of, Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, archdiocese of.  St John Vianney’s body is incorrupt.

St-John-Vianney

St John Vianney was born on 8 May 1786, in the French town of Dardilly, France (near Lyon) and was baptised the same day.   His parents, Matthieu Vianney and his wife Marie (Belize), had six children, of whom John was the fourth.   The Vianneys were devout Catholics, who helped the poor and gave hospitality to St Benedict Joseph Labre, the patron saint of tramps, who passed through Dardilly on his pilgrimage to Rome.

By 1790, the anticlerical Terror phase of the French Revolution forced many loyal priests to hide from the regime in order to carry out the sacraments in their parish.   Even though to do so had been declared illegal, the Vianneys traveled to distant farms to attend Masses celebrated by priests on the run.   Realising that such priests risked their lives day by day, Vianney began to look upon them as heroes.   He received his First Communion catechism instructions in a private home by two nuns whose communities had been dissolved during the Revolution.   He made his first communion at the age of 13 (normal in those times).   During the Mass, the windows were covered so that the light of the candles could not be seen from the outside.   His practice of the Faith continued in secret, especially during his preparation for confirmation.

The Catholic Church was re-established in France in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, resulting in religious peace throughout the country, culminating in a Concordat.   By this time, Vianney was concerned about his future vocation and longed for an education.   He was 20 when his father allowed him to leave the farm to be taught at a “presbytery-school” in the neighboring village of Écully, conducted by the Abbé Balley.   The school taught arithmetic, history, geography and Latin.   Vianney struggled with school, especially with Latin, since his past education had been interrupted by the French Revolution.   Only because of Vianney’s deepest desire to be a priest—and Balley’s patience—did he persevere.

St Vianney’s studies were interrupted in 1809 when he was drafted into Napoleon’s armies. He would have been exempt, as an ecclesiastical student but Napoleon had withdrawn the exemption in certain dioceses because of his need for soldiers in his fight against Spain.   Two days after he had to report at Lyons, he became ill and was hospitalised, during which time his draft left without him.   Once released from the hospital, on 5 January, he was sent to Roanne for another draft.   He went into a church to pray and fell behind the group.   He met a young man who volunteered to guide him back to his group but instead led him deep into the mountains of Le Forez, to the village of Les Noes, where deserters had gathered.   St Vianney lived there for fourteen months, hidden in the byre attached to a farmhouse and under the care of Claudine Fayot, a widow with four children.   He assumed the name Jerome Vincent and under that name, he opened a school for village children.   Since the harsh weather isolated the town during the winter, the deserters were safe from gendarmes.   However, after the snow melted, gendarmes came to the town constantly, searching for deserters.   During these searches, Vianney hid inside stacks of fermenting hay in Fayot’s barn.

An imperial decree proclaimed in March 1810 granted amnesty to all deserters, which enabled Vianney to go back legally to Ecully, where he resumed his studies.   He was tonsured in 1811 and in 1812 he went to the minor seminary at Verrières-en-Forez.   In autumn of 1813, he was sent to the major seminary at Lyons.   Considered too slow, he was returned to Abbe Balley.   However, Balley persuaded the Vicar general that Vianney’s piety was great enough to compensate for his ignorance and the seminarian received minor orders and the subdiaconate on 2 July 1814, was ordained a deacon in June 1815 and was ordained priest on 12 August 1815 in the Couvent des Minimes de Grenoble.   He said his first Mass the next day and was appointed the assistant to Balley in Écully.

St-John-Vianney.5

Curé of Ars
In 1818, shortly after the death of Balley, Jean-Marie Vianney was appointed parish priest of the parish of Ars, a town of 230 inhabitants.    As parish priest, he realised that the Revolution’s aftermath had resulted in religious ignorance and indifference, due to the devastation wrought on the Catholic Church in France.   At the time, Sundays in rural areas were spent working in the fields, or dancing and drinking in taverns.  He spent time in the confessional and gave homilies against blasphemy and paganic dancing.   If his parishioners did not give up this dancing, he refused them absolution.   Abbe Balley had been St Vianney’s greatest inspiration, since he was a priest who remained loyal to his faith, despite the Revolution.   He felt compelled to fulfill the duties of a curé, just as did Balley, even when it was illegal.   With Catherine Lassagne and Benedicta Lardet, he established La Providence, a home for girls.   Only a man of vision could have such trust that God would provide for the spiritual and material needs of all those who came to make La Providence their home.

Later years
Fr Vianney came to be known internationally and people from distant places began traveling to consult him as early as 1827.   “By 1855, the number of pilgrims had reached 20,000 a year.   During the last ten years of his life, he spent 16 to 18 hours a day in the confessional.   Even the bishop forbade him to attend the annual retreats of the diocesan clergy because of the souls awaiting him yonder”.  His work as a confessor is John Vianney’s most remarkable accomplishment.   In the winter months he was to spend 11 to 12 hours daily reconciling people with God.   In the summer months this time was increased to 16 hours.   Unless a man was dedicated to his vision of a priestly vocation, he could not have endured this giving of self day after day.

Many people look forward to retirement and taking it easy, doing the things they always wanted to do but never had the time. But John Vianney had no thoughts of retirement.   As his fame spread, more hours were consumed in serving God’s people.   Even the few hours he would allow himself for sleep were disturbed frequently by the devil, who physically attacked and tormented St John and kept him from sleeping.

St Vianney had a great devotion to St. Philomena.   He regarded her as his guardian and erected a chapel and shrine in honor of the saint.   During May 1843, he fell so ill he thought that his life was coming to its end.   St John Vianney attributed his cure to her intercession.

st philomena

He yearned for the contemplative life of a monk and four times ran away from Ars, the last time in 1853.  St John Vianney read much and often the lives of the saints, and became so impressed by their holy lives that he wanted for himself and others to follow their wonderful examples.   The ideal of holiness enchanted him.   This was the theme which underlay his sermons.  “We must practice mortification. For this is the path which all the Saints have followed,” he said from the pulpit.   He placed himself in that great tradition which leads the way to holiness through personal sacrifice. “If we are not now saints, it is a great misfortune for us:  therefore we must be so.   As long as we have no love in our hearts, we shall never be Saints.”   The Saint, to him, was not an exceptional man before whom we should marvel but a possibility which was open to all Catholics.   Unmistakably did he declare in his sermons that “to be a Christian and to live in sin is a monstrous contradiction. A Christian must be holy.”   With his Christian simplicity he had clearly thought much on these things and understood them by divine inspiration, while they are usually denied to the understanding of educated men.   He was a champion of the poor as a Franciscan tertiary and was a recipient of the coveted French Legion of Honour.

On 4 August 1859, Vianney died at the age of 73.   The bishop presided over his funeral with 300 priests and more than 6,000 people in attendance.   Before he was buried, Vianney’s body was fitted with a wax mask.

On 3 October 1874 Pope Pius IX proclaimed him “venerable”;  on 8 January 1905, Pope Pius X declared him Blessed and proposed him as a model to the parochial clergy.   In 1925 John Mary Vianney was canonized by Pope Pius XI, who in 1929 made him patron saint of parish priests.

In 1959, to commemorate the centenary of John Vianney’s death, Pope John XXIII issued the encyclical letter Sacerdotii nostri primordia.   St Pope John Paul II visited Ars in person in 1986 in connection with the anniversary of Vianney’s birth and referred to the great saint as a “rare example of a pastor acutely aware of his responsibilities … and a sign of courage for those who today experience the grace of being called to the priesthood.”

In honour of the 150th anniversary of Vianney’s death, Pope Benedict XVI declared a Year of the Priest, running from the Feast of the Sacred Heart 2009–2010.   The Vatican Postal Service issued a set of stamps to commemorate the 150th Anniversary.   With the following words on 16 June 2009, Benedict XVI officially marked the beginning of the year dedicated to priests, “…On the forthcoming Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Friday 19 June 2009 – a day traditionally devoted to prayer for the sanctification of the clergy –, I have decided to inaugurate a ‘Year of the Priest’ in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the dies natalis of John Mary Vianney, the Patron Saint of parish priests worldwide…” In the Holy Father’s words the Curé d’Ars is “a true example of a pastor at the service of Christ’s flock.”

There are statues and stained glass windows of St John Vianney in many French churches and in Catholic churches throughout the world.   Also, many parishes founded in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries are named after him.   Some relics are kept in the Church of Notre-Dame de la Salette in Paris.

 

 

 

 

Posted in MORNING Prayers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 29 July

One Minute Reflection – 29 July

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her”…..Luke 10:41-42.

REFLECTION – “Without daily prayer lived with fidelity, our acts are empty, they lose their profound soul and are reduced to being mere activism which in the end leaves us dissatisfied. There is a beautiful invocation of the Christian tradition to be recited before any other activity which says : “Inspire our actions, Lord and accompany them with Your help, so that our every word and action may always begin and end in you”. Every step in our life, every action, of the Church too, must be taken before God, in the light of his word.”…….Pope Benedict XVI (General Audience – Saint Peter’s Square,Wednesday, 25 April 2012.)

without daily prayer - pope benedict

PRAYER – Almighty ever-living God, Your Son graciously came as a guest to the home of St Martha. By her prayers give us grace to serve Christ faithfully in our brethren and bring us to Your home in heaven. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, amen.

st martha pray for us

Posted in MORNING Prayers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

One Minute Reflection – 25 July

One Minute Reflection – 25 July

Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.”……Matthew 20:28

matthew 20 28

REFLECTION – “…we can learn much from St James: promptness in accepting the Lord’s call even when He asks us to leave the “boat” of our human securities, enthusiasm in following Him on the paths that He indicates to us over and above any deceptive presumption of our own, readiness to witness to Him with courage, if necessary to the point of making the supreme sacrifice of life. Thus James the Greater stands before us as an eloquent example of generous adherence to Christ. He, who initially had requested, through his mother, to be seated with his brother next to the Master in His Kingdom, was precisely the first to drink the chalice of the passion and to share martyrdom with the Apostles.
And, in the end, summarising everything, we can say that the journey, not only exterior but above all interior, from the mount of the Transfiguration to the mount of the Agony, symbolises the entire pilgrimage of Christian life, among the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God, as the Second Vatican Council says. In following Jesus, like St James, we know that even in difficulties we are on the right path.”…..Pope Benedict XVI – General Audience, June 21, 2006

we can learn much from st james - pope benedict

PRAYER – Almighty ever-living God, who consecrated the first fruits of Your Apostles by the blood of Saint James, grant, we pray, that Your Church may be strengthened by his confession of faith and constantly sustained by his protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. St James the Greater, Apostle of Christ, Pray for us! Amen

st james pray for us 25 july

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FRANCISCAN, MORNING Prayers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 21 July – The Memorial of St Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619) Apostolic Doctor

Thought for the Day – 21 July – The Memorial of St Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619) Apostolic Doctor

“It is surprising that St Lawrence of Brindisi was able to continue without interruption his work as an appreciated and unflagging preacher in many cities of Italy and in different countries, in spite of holding other burdensome offices of great responsibility. Indeed, within the Order of Capuchins he was professor of theology, novice master, for several mandates minister provincial and definitor general, and finally, from 1602 to 1605, minister general. In the midst of this mountain of work,   Lawrence cultivated an exceptionally fervent spiritual life.   He devoted much time to prayer and, especially, to the celebration of Holy Mass — often protracted for hours — caught up in and moved by the memorial of the Passion, death and Resurrection of the Lord.
Moreover, with the unmistakable ardour of his style, Lawrence urged everyone and not only priests, to cultivate a life of prayer, for it is through prayer that we speak to God and that God speaks to us: “Oh, if we were to consider this reality!”, he exclaimed. “In other words that God is truly present to us when we speak to Him in prayer;  that He truly listens to our prayers, even if we pray only with our hearts and minds. And that not only is He present and hears us, indeed He willingly and with the greatest of pleasure wishes to grant our requests”.
St Lawrence of Brindisi teaches us to love Sacred Scripture, to increase in familiarity with it, to cultivate daily relations of friendship with the Lord in prayer, so that our every action, our every activity, may have its beginning and its fulfilment in Him.   This is the source from which to draw so that our Christian witness may be luminous and able to lead the people of our time to God.”…….Pope BENEDICT XVI (General Audience) – St. Peter’s Square, Wednesday, 23 March 2011

St Lawtence of Brindisi, pray for us!

of if we were to consider this reality!-st lawrence of brindisi

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FRANCISCAN, MORNING Prayers, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 15 July by Pope Benedict XVI – 10 March 2010 on St Bonaventure

Thought for the Day – 15 July by Pope Benedict XVI – 10 March 2010 on St Bonaventure

“Of these his writings, which are the soul of his government and show the way to follow either as an individual or a community, I would like to mention only one, his masterwork, the “Itinerarium mentis in Deum,” which is a “manual” of mystical contemplation.

This book was conceived in a place of profound spirituality: the hill of La Verna, where St. Francis had received the stigmata.   In the introduction, the author illustrates the circumstances that gave origin to his writing:

“While I meditated on the possibility of the soul ascending to God, presented to me, among others, was that wondrous event that occurred in that place to Blessed Francis, namely, the vision of the winged seraphim in the form of a crucifix. And meditating on this, immediately I realised that such a vision offered me the contemplative ecstasy of Father Francis himself and at the same time the way that leads to it” (Journey of the Mind in God, Prologue, 2, in Opere di San Bonaventura. Opuscoli Teologici / 1, Rome, 1993, p. 499).

The six wings of the seraphim thus became the symbol of six stages that lead man progressively to the knowledge of God through observation of the world and of creatures and through the exploration of the soul itself with its faculties, up to the satisfying union with the Trinity through Christ, in imitation of St. Francis of Assisi.

The last words of St. Bonaventure’s “Itinerarium,” which respond to the question of how one can reach this mystical communion with God, would make one descend to the depth of the heart:

“If you now yearn to know how that happens (mystical communion with God), ask grace, not doctrine;  desire, not the intellect; the groaning of prayer, not the study of the letter;  the spouse, not the teacher;  God, not man; darkness not clarity;  not light but the fire that inflames everything and transport to God with strong unctions and ardent affections. … We enter therefore into darkness, we silence worries, the passions and illusions;  we pass with Christ Crucified from this world to the Father, so that, after having seen him, we say with Philip: that is enough for me” (Ibid., VII, 6).

Dear friends, let us take up the invitation addressed to us by St. Bonaventure, the Seraphic Doctor, and let us enter the school of the divine Teacher.   We listen to his Word of life and truth, which resounds in the depth of our soul.    Let us purify our thoughts and actions, so that He can dwell in us, and we can hear His divine voice, which draws us toward true happiness”.        Pope Benedict XVI – 10 March 2010 on St Bonaventure

St Bonaventure, pray for us!

st bonaventure pray for us 2