Posted in MARTYRS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 23 February – A rich and pleasing sacrifice –

Thought for the Day – 23 February – A rich and pleasing sacrifice – Memorial of Saint Polycarp of Smyrna, Apostolic Father, Bishop and Martyr

Saint Polycarp of Smyrna (c 69 – c 155)
Bishop, Apostolic Church Father and Martyr

An excerpt from a Letter on the Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp by the Church of Smyrna

When the pyre was ready, Polycarp took off all his clothes and loosened his under-garment.   He made an effort also to remove his shoes, though he had been unaccustomed to this, for the faithful always vied with each other in their haste to touch his body.   Even before his martyrdom he had received every mark of honour in tribute to his holiness of life.

There and then, he was surrounded by the material for the pyre.   When they tried to fasten him also with nails, he said:  “Leave me as I am.   The one who gives me strength to endure the fire will also give me strength to stay quite still on the pyre, even without the precaution of your nails.”   So they did not fix him to the pyre with nails but only fastened him instead.   Bound as he was, with hands behind his back, he stood like a mighty ram, chosen out for sacrifice from a great flock, a worthy victim made ready to be offered to God.

Looking up to heaven, he said:  “Lord, almighty God, Father of Your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have come to the knowledge of Yourself, God of angels, of powers, of all creation, of all the race of saints who live in Your sight, I bless You for judging me worthy of this day, this hour, so that in the company of the martyrs I may share the cup of Christ, Your anointed one and so rise again to eternal life in soul and body, immortal through the power of the Holy Spirit.   May I be received among the martyrs in Your presence today as a rich and pleasing sacrifice.   God of truth, stranger to falsehood, You have prepared this and revealed it to me and now You have fulfilled Your promise.   I praise You for all things, I bless You, I glorify you through the eternal priest of heaven, Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son.   Through Him be glory to You, together with Him and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.”prayer-before-his-martyrdom-st-polycarp-23-feb-2019.jpg

When he had said “Amen” and finished the prayer, the officials at the pyre lit it.   But, when a great flame burst out, those of us privileged to see it witnessed a strange and wonderful thing.   Indeed, we have been spared in order to tell the story to others.   Like a ship’s sail swelling in the wind, the flame became as it were a dome encircling the martyr’s body.   Surrounded by the fire, his body was like bread that is baked, or gold and silver white-hot in a furnace, not like flesh that has been burnt.   So sweet a fragrance came to us that it was like that of burning incense or some other costly and sweet-smelling gum.

The fire was lighted but it did him no hurt, so he was stabbed to the heart and his dead body was burnt.   “Then,” say the writers of his acts, “we took up the bones, more precious than the richest jewels or gold and deposited them in a fitting place, at which may God grant us to assemble with joy to celebrate the birthday of the martyr to his life in heaven!”

St Polycarp was a Christian leader in a pagan world. He spoke clearly and simply, fearless in love and defense of Christ, even though persecutions raged around him. He sought only to hand on the message he had been given by John. Even as Polycarp prepared for martyrdom, his joy and confident trust were evident to all.

The community of believers celebrated the anniversary of Polycarp’s death with great joy, for in him they had seen an outstanding example of love and patience.   He had held strong and had won the treasure of eternal life.   Polycarp is remembered as an Apostolic Father, one who was a disciple of the apostles.

St Polycarp, Pray for the Church, Pray for Us!st-polycarp-pray-for-us-23-feb-2019.jpg

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Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Our Morning Offering – 17 February – Suscipe Sancte Pater

Our Morning Offering – 17 February – Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Suscipe Sancte Pater
1903 Mass Ordinary by Solesmes Abbey

All that we have, O Lord,
comes from You
and belongs to You.
It is just, therefore,
that we return it to You.
But how wonderful are You
in the inventions
of Your immense love!
This bread, which we are offering
to You, is to give place,
in a few moments,
to the Sacred Body of Jesus.
We beseech You, receive, together
with this oblation,
our hearts, which long to live
by You
and to cease to live
their own life of self!
Amensuscipe sancte pater - 17 feb 2019 sun 6C.jpg

Posted in DIVINE MERCY, Our MORNING Offering, Papa FRANCIS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on MERCY, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 15 February – Help Me, O Lord that I may be Merciful

Our Morning Offering – 15 February – The Memorial of Blessed Michał Sopoćko (1888-1975) Apostle of Divine Mercy

Help Me, O Lord that I may be Merciful
St Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938)

“Help me, O Lord, …
that my eyes may be merciful,
so that I will never be suspicious
or judge by appearances
but always look for what is beautiful
in my neighbours’ souls
and be of help to them…
That my ears may be merciful,
so that I will be attentive to my neighbours’ needs
and not indifferent to their pains and complaints.…
That my tongue may be merciful,
so that I will never speak badly of others
but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.…
That my hands may be merciful and full of good deeds.…
That my feet may be merciful,
so that I will hasten to help my neighbour,
despite my own fatigue and weariness.…
That my heart may be merciful,
so that I myself will share
in all the sufferings of my neighbour.”

(Extract from Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska, 163)
This prayer was used by Pope Francis for the Year of Mercy 2015 to be universally prayed by the Church.help me o lord that I may be merciful st faustina - 15 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, DOMINICAN, MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN PRAYERS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, YouTube Videos

Thought for the Day – 13 February – Friendship with Christ

Thought for the Day – 13 February – the Memorial of Blessed Jordan of Saxony OP (1190-1237)

We know little of Jordan’s life before he came into contact with the famous Dominican Reginald of Orleans, a contemporary of St Dominic himself.   Jordan was a successful young student at the University of Paris, already known for the unembarrassed witness of his holy life, when he first heard Reginald preach and met the Dominicans in Paris. God used this contact with the friars to enable Jordan to discern his own call to the Order and once he entered, he gave all he had.   Jordan’s spiritual and practical gifts were recognised immediately and when he had worn the habit only two months he was chosen as a delegate to the Dominican general chapter in Bologna, Italy.   The following year Jordan was elected a provincial superior and when St Dominic died, Jordan succeeded him as the master general of the entire Order.   The Order was only six years old!   It developed rapidly under his leadership, however, growing both in membership and influence throughout Europe.   Jordan was able to carry out the dream which St Dominic had only begun before his death.

Even this brief sketch could make us suspicious, that perhaps Jordan was simply a brilliant young man with leadership skills, that enabled him to rise quickly in his chosen career, at the same time winning success for the Order.   Closer consideration, however, gives us deeper insight into Jordan’s success.   Youthful himself, he had a tremendous respect for the young and their desire to give themselves to something great.   In his own restlessness to give himself, he had obviously come face to face with the restless love of Christ Himself and he had surrendered to it.   Jesus was real to Jordan, a Friend whom he’d come to know and love deeply in his life of prayer.   Jordan understood the restless hunger of the world around him and he couldn’t rest, until that world would come to know this same Friend.   It was this selfless love for Jesus Christ (the kind which St Thomas calls the love of friendship) which gave Jordan the drive to preach, to spend his time with the young, to pour himself out in the building tasks required in a growing religious order.   We are told that he added four new provinces, gained teaching positions for the friars at the University of Paris and established the first general house of studies of the Order.   Jordan also served as spiritual director to many, among them a young Italian noblewoman named Blessed Diana d’Andalo (1201–1236) (who became a Dominican nun).   In the midst of all of this, he found time to write a number of books, including a life of St Dominic (whom he knew personally and loved deeply).

Men of his day responded by the hundreds, to Jordan’s zeal for Christ, some of them mere youths and others established professionals who felt the call of God through Jordan’s words and example.   They were drawn to a life of holiness by this Dominican with a gift of preaching, who lived what he preached with such obvious joy.   It was Jordan who initiated the custom of singing the Salve Regina in procession each night after Compline, to ask Our Lady’s protection of the brothers against temptations from the devil.   This is a custom still practised by Dominicans throughout the world and by our community each night.

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
Hail our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry,
Poor banished children of Eve;
To thee do we send up our sighs,
Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
Thine eyes of mercy toward us;
And after this our exile,
Show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving,
O sweet Virgin Mary.

℣ Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
℟ that we may be made worthy
of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:
Almighty, everlasting God,
who by the co-operation of the Holy Spirit
didst prepare the body and soul
of the glorious Virgin-Mother Mary
to become a dwelling-place fit for Thy Son,
grant that as we rejoice in her commemoration,
so by her fervent intercession,
we may be delivered from present evils
and from everlasting death.
Through the same Christ our Lord.
Amensalve regina - hail holy queen 13 feb 2019.jpg

Jordan of Saxony met an untimely death at the age of 47, drowning in an accident which occurred on his return from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1237.   In his vigorous life, Jordan extended what Father Dominic had begun so carefully and he opened avenues on which the Order would continue to struggle and to flourish.

The secret that makes his message so relevant today?   It is the secret of deep and personal friendship with Christ, a friendship which cannot be contained but sets the world on fire.

Blessed Jordan of Saxony, Pray for Us!bl jordan of saxony pray for us 13 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, CONSECRATION Prayers, MARIAN PRAYERS, Our MORNING Offering, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Our Morning Offering – 10 February – Consecration to Our Lady of the Eucharist After Holy Communion

Our Morning Offering – 10 February – Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Consecration to Our Lady of the Eucharist
After Holy Communion

Mary is called Our Lady of the Eucharist, because
without her, there would be no physical Body of Jesus
to be present in the Eucharist. (See John 6:51)

Prayer by the Claretian Fathers Teaching Ministry

Most kind Mother,
we consecrate to you our bodies,
which have just been
honoured and sanctified
by the presence of your Divine Son,
our souls which have
conversed with Him
and our hearts which have loved Him.
O dearest Mother,
may the words which we have spoken, be made
acceptable to Him. through your intercession.
Tell Him the things which we should have said
but were unable to express.
Love Him and beseech Him for us,
your poor children.
Receive and keep us in your heart.
Warn us, protect us
and guide us during this day,
that we may faithfully serve your Divine Son
and please him
in all our thoughts, desires and actions.
Amenconsecration to our lady of the eucharist after holy comm - 10 feb 2019 sun 5C.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, THE HOLY FAMILY - FAMILIAE SANCTAE

Our Morning Offering – 9 February – A Daily Holy Family Prayer

Our Morning Offering – 9 February – Saturday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C – The Month of the Holy Family

Daily Holy Family Prayer

Holy Family of Nazareth,
keep our family safe from all dangers and evil.
May Jesus always be the centre of our life
and of our home.
Grant us peace in this life and in the next.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
to you we entrust
the well-being
and salvation of our family.
Amendaily prayer to the holy family - 9 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, FRANCISCAN, IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on EVANGELISATION, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY SPIRIT, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 4 February – Bl Rabanus Maurus, St Joseph of Leonissa & St John de Britto

Quote/s of the Day – 4 February – The Memorial of Blessed Rabanus Maurus OSB (776-856), St Joseph of Leonissa OFM CAP (1556-1612) and St John de Britto SJ (1647-1693) Martyr

Veni Creator Spiritus

Come, Creator, Spirit,
come from Your bright heavenly throne,
come take possession of our souls
and make them all Your own.
You who are called the Paraclete,
best gift of God above,
the living spring,
the vital fire,
sweet christ’ning and true love. . . .
O guide our minds with Your best light,
with love our hearts inflame
and with Your strength,
which ne’er decays,
confirm our mortal frame.
Far from us drive our deadly foe,
true peace unto us bring
and through all perils lead us safe
beneath Your sacred wing.
Through You may we the Father know,
through You th’eternal Son
and You the Spirit of them both,
thrice-blessed Three in One. . . .

By Blessed Rabanus Maurus (776-856)veni-creator-spiritus-bl-rabanus-maurus-4-feb-2018.jpg

“Every Christian must be a living book
wherein one can read the teaching of the gospel.
This is what St Paul says to the Corinthians.
Our heart is the parchment; through my ministry
the Holy Spirit is the writer because
‘my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe’
(Psalm 45:1).”

St Joseph of Leonissa OFM CAP (1556-1612)every-christian-must-be-a-living-book-st-joseph-of-leonissa-4-feb-2018.jpg

“God, Who called me
from the world into religious life,
now calls me from Portugal to India….
Not to answer the vocation as I ought,
would be to provoke the justice of God.”

St John de Britto SJ (1647-1693) Martyrgod who called me - st john de britto - 4 feb 2019.jpg