Our Morning Offering – 5 September – The Memorial of St Mother Teresa of Calcutta M.C. (1910-1997) This is a very appropriate prayer as the Church focuses on Family Life.
Nazareth Prayer for the Family By St Mother Teresa(1910-1997)
You have given us the model of life
in the Holy Family of Nazareth.
Help us, O Loving Father,
to make our family another Nazareth
where love, peace and joy reign.
May it be deeply contemplative,
intensely eucharistic, received with joy.
Help us to stay together in joy
and sorrow in family prayer.
Teach us to see Jesus
in the members of our families,
especially in their distressing disguise.
May the Eucharistic heart of Jesus
make our hearts humble like His
and help us to carry out our family duties
in a holy way.
May we love one another
as God loves each one of us,
more and more each day,
and forgive each others faults
as You forgive our sins.
Help us, O Loving Father,
to take whatever You give
and give whatever You take with a big smile.
Immaculate Heart of Mary,
cause of our joy, pray for us.
St Joseph, pray for us.
Holy Guardian Angels,
be always with us,
guide and protect us.
Thought for the Day – 3 August – The Gift of Every Day
THE GIFT OF EVERY DAY
by St John Vianney (1786-1859)
“Before beginning your work, my dear brethren, never fail to make the Sign of the Cross. Do not imitate those people without religion who dare not do this because they are in company. Offer quite simply all your difficulties to God and renew from time to time this offering, for by that means you will have the happiness of drawing down the blessing of Heaven on yourself and on all you do. Just think, my dear brethren, how many acts of virtue you can practice by behaving in this way, without making any change in what you are actually doing.
If you work with the object of pleasing God and obeying His Commandments, which order you to earn your bread by the sweat of your brow, that is an act of obedience. If you want to expiate your sins, you are making an act of penance. If you want to obtain some grace for yourself or for others, it is an act of hope and of charity. Oh, how we could merit Heaven every day, my dear brethren, by doing just our ordinary duties but by doing them for God and the salvation of our souls!
Who stops you, when you hear the chimes striking, from thinking on the shortness of time and of saying in your minds: “Time passes and death comes closer. I am hastening towards eternity. Am I really ready to appear before the tribunal of God? Am I not in a state of sin?”
“My God, I give you my heart and since You are so good as to give me another day, give me the grace that everything I do will be for Your honour and for the salvation of my soul.”
Quote of the Day – 3 August – Friday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time, Year B – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 13:54–58
“There is line from the illuminator of the St John’s Bible that states: “We have to love our way out of this.” There is nothing wimpy or namby-pamby or blind about this conviction. When we love extravagantly, we are not purposely blinding ourselves to moral realities— just the contrary.
Love is not a sentiment, but “a harsh and dreadful thing,” as Dostoevsky said.
This is just what Jesus shows on His terrible cross. And this is just what we, His followers, must imitate. Taking up the cross means, not just being willing to suffer but being willing to suffer as He did, absorbing violence and hatred through our forgiveness and nonviolence.”
Thought for the Day – 1 August – The Memorial of (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church ST ALPHONSUS DE LIGUORI – REACHING THE PEOPLE
With thanks to the C.Ss.R. Baltimore Province
St Alphonsus was a brilliant, articulate, pragmatic preacher. He knew how to reach ordinary people who had limited education and very real needs. They followed this gifted preacher from church to church and town to town to hear him preach the message of hope in Christ for all people.
Three great images, basic to the Christian faith, formed the heart of Alphonsus’ preaching and teaching — Jesus an infant in the crib, Jesus crucified on the Cross, and Jesus vibrantly alive and filled with love for all in the Eucharist. To this he added the image of Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer. When other theologians were opposed to devotion to Mary, Alphonsus invoked her: “Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope.”
Alphonsus appreciated how the poor and working class people expressed their realities through song. A gifted musician and composer, he wrote many popular hymns and taught them to the people in parish missions. His compositions continue to be sung around the world and have never lost their charm and popularity. Redemptorists today still follow the cue of their founder. Their message, announcing the abundance of God’s love, is enriched by the spiritual songs they sing in their community and with the people of God.
Alphonsus wrote for the people. Many turned to his spiritual writing, for he wrote in a way that was understandable to anyone with a basic education. On winter evenings in his time, the people in the villages often gathered around a fire in someone’s home. Someone read stories about the Gospels or the lives of the saints, things that nourished their faith and helped them to pray. Alphonsus’ works were frequent choices and they remain so still, his works are a fountain of holiness. Which of us has not, in our home poarishes all over the world, prayed his Stations of the Cross? They will always be one of the treasures of the Church. http://immaculateheartbalornock.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Stations-of-the-Cross-Booklet.pdf
The Holy Father’s Prayer Intention
for AUGUST 2018
Universal: The Treasure of Families
That any far-reaching decisions
of economists and politicians
may protect the family as one
of the treasures of humanity.
“The family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation. Children have a right to grow up in a family, with a father and a mother, capable of creating a suitable environment, for the child’s development and emotional maturity.”
Pope Francis, Humanum Conference, November 17, 2014
Pope Francis Prayer for the Family
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in you we contemplate the splendour of true love, to you we turn with trust. Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families too may be places of communion and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospel and small domestic Churches. Holy Family of Nazareth, may families never again experience violence, rejection and division. May all who have been hurt or scandalised find ready comfort and healing. Holy Family of Nazareth, make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan. Jesus, true God and true man, graciously hear our prayer. Mary and Joseph, co-operators with God’s plan, pray for us. Amen!
(composed for the Synod on the Family and therefore, slightly adapted)
The history of the devotion to the Heart of Mary is connected on many points with that to the Heart of Jesus; nevertheless, it has its own history which, although very simple, is not devoid of interest. The attention of Christians was early attracted by the love and virtues of the Heart of Mary. The Gospel itself invited this attention with exquisite discretion and delicacy. What was first excited was compassion for the Virgin Mother. It was, so to speak, at the foot of the Cross that the Christian heart first made the acquaintance of the Heart of Mary. Simeon’s prophecy paved the way and furnished the devotion with one of its favourite formulae and most popular representations: the heart pierced with a sword. But Mary was not merely passive at the foot of the Cross; “she cooperated through charity”, as St Augustine says, “in the work of our redemption”.
Another Scriptural passage to help in bringing out the devotion was the twice-repeated saying of St Luke, that Mary kept all the sayings and doings of Jesus in her heart, that there she might ponder over them and live by them. Some of the Fathers also throw light upon the psychology of the Virgin, for instance, S. Ambrose, when in his commentary on St Luke, he holds Mary up as the ideal of virginity and St Ephrem, when he so poetically sings of the coming of the Magi and the welcome accorded them by the humble Mother.
In the New Testament Elizabeth proclaims Mary blessed because she has believed the words of the angel ,the Magnificat is an expression of her humility and in answering the woman of the people, who in order to exalt the Son proclaimed the Mother blessed, did not Jesus himself say: “Blessed rather are they that hear the word of God and keep it”, thus in a manner inviting us to seek in Mary that which had so endeared her to God and caused her to be selected as the Mother of Jesus? The Fathers understood His meaning and found in these words a new reason for praising Mary. St Leo says that through faith and love, she conceived her Son spiritually, even before receiving Him into her womb and St Augustine tells us, that she was more blessed in having borne Christ in her heart, than in having conceived Him in the flesh.
Daily Prayer for August for the Intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
O Most Blessed Mother,
heart of love, heart of mercy,
ever listening, caring, consoling, hear our prayer.
As your children, we implore your intercession,
with Jesus your Son.
Receive with understanding and compassion,
the petitions we place before you today,
especially those so deep in our heart.
We are comforted in knowing your heart is ever open
to those who ask for your prayer.
We trust to your gentle care and intercession,
those whom we love
and who are sick or lonely or hurting.
Help all of us, Holy Mother,
to bear our burdens in this life,
until we may share eternal life and peace
with God, our Father forever.
Thought for the Day – 25 July – The Memorial of St Christopher (died c 251) One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers
The Fourteen “Auxiliary Saints” or “Holy Helpers” are a group of saints invoked because they have been efficacious in assisting in trials and sufferings. Each saint has a separate feast or memorial day and the group was collectively venerated on 8 August until the 1969 reform of the Roman calendar, when the feast was dropped. These saints were often represented together. Popular devotion to these saints often began in some monastery that held their relics. All of the saints except Giles were martyrs. Devotion to some of the saints, such as St George, St Margaret, St Christopher, St Barbara and St Catherine became so widespread that customs and festivals still are popular today.
The Fourteen Holy Helpers are invoked as a group mainly because of the Black Plague which devastated Europe from 1346 to 1349. Among its symptoms were the black tongue, a parched throat, violent headache, fever and boils on the abdomen. The victims were attacked without warning, robbing them of their reason and killed within a few hours; many died without the last Sacraments. No one was immune and the disease wreaked havoc in villages and family circles. The epidemic appeared incurable. The pious turned to Heaven, begging the intervention of the saints, praying to be spared or cured. Each of these fourteen saints had been efficacious in interceding in some aspect for the stricken during the Black Plague. The dates are the traditional feast days; not all the saints are on the Universal Roman Calendar.
The Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers (also Basilika Vierzehnheiligen) is a church located near the town of Bad Staffelstein near Bamberg, in Bavaria, southern Germany. The late Baroque-Rococo basilica, designed by Balthasar Neumann, was constructed between 1743 and 1772.
The Legend of Building the Basilica
On 24 September 1445, Hermann Leicht, the young shepherd of a nearby Franciscan monastery, saw a crying child in a field that belonged to the nearby Cistercian monastery of Langheim . As he bent down to pick up the child, it abruptly disappeared. A short time later, the child reappeared in the same spot. This time, two candles were burning next to it. In June 1446, the Leicht saw the child a third time. This time, the child bore a red cross on its chest and was accompanied by thirteen other children. The child said: “We are the fourteen helpers and wish to erect a chapel here, where we can rest. If you will be our servant, we will be yours!” Shortly after, Leicht saw two burning candles descending to this spot. It is alleged that miraculous healings soon began, through the intervention of the fourteen saints.
The Cistercian brothers to whom the land belonged erected a chapel, which immediately attracted pilgrims. An altar was consecrated as early as 1448. Pilgrimages to the Vierzehnheiligen continue to the present day between May and October.
One of the most famous group depictions of the “Fourteen Saints” is a 1503 altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald for the monastery in Lichtenfels in Upper Franconia, unfortunately, I cannot find a complete image of this, below are Panels one and two.
The “fourteen angels” of the lost children’s prayer in the Composer, Engelbert Humperdinck’s (1854-1921) fairy opera, ‘Hansel and Gretel’, are the Fourteen Holy Helpers. The English words are familiar and very beautiful:
When at night I go to sleep, Fourteen angels watch do keep, Two my head are guarding, Two my feet are guiding; Two upon my right hand, Two upon my left hand. Two who warmly cover Two who o’er me hover, Two to whom ’tis given To guide my steps to heaven.
I will pray daily, to the Fourteen Holy Helpers, to Pray for us all, for the world is indeed suffering from a ‘Plague’ of a new kind!
Prayer to the Fourteen Holy Helpers By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church
Great princes of heaven, Holy Helpers,
who sacrificed to God all your earthly possessions,
wealth, preferment and even life
and who now are crowned in heaven
in the secure enjoyment of eternal bliss and glory;
have compassion on me,
a poor sinner in this vale of tears
and obtain for me from God,
for Whom you gave up all things
and Who loves you as His servants,
the strength to bear patiently all the trials of this life,
to overcome all temptations
and to persevere in God’s service to the end,
that one day I too may be received into your company,
to praise and glorify Him, the supreme Lord,
Whose beatific vision you enjoy
and Whom you praise and glorify forever.
Quote/s of the Day – 18 July – The Holy Father’s Prayer Intention for July “Pray for our Priests and their Pastoral Ministry”
“He made them, the vicars of His love.
St Ambrose (340-397)
Father & Doctor of the Church
“The power of the priest, is the power of the divine person, for the transubstantiation of the bread, requires as much power, as the creation of the world.”
St Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444)
“St Bernard tells us that everything has come to us through Mary and we may also say that everything has come to us through the priest, yes, all happiness, all graces, all heavenly gifts. If we had not the Sacrament of Orders, we should not have Our Lord. Who placed Him there, in that tabernacle? It was the priest. Who was it that received your soul, on its entrance into life? The priest. Who nourishes it, to give it strength to make its pilgrimage? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, by washing that soul, for the last time, in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest – always the priest. And if that soul comes to the point of death, who will raise it up, who will restore it to calmness and peace? Again the priest. You cannot recall one single blessing from God, without finding, side by side with this recollection, the image of the priest.”
“If I were to meet a priest and an angel, I should salute the priest before I saluted the angel. The latter is the friend of God but the priest holds His place.”
St John Vianney (1786-1859) Patron of Priests
“Day after day, it is necessary to learn, that I do not possess my life for myself. Day by day, I must learn to abandon myself, to keep myself available for whatever He, the Lord, needs of me at a given moment, even if other things seem more appealing and more important to me, this means giving life, not taking it.”