Thought for the Day – 1 August – The Memorial of (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church ST ALPHONSUS DE LIGUORI – REACHING THE PEOPLE

Thought for the Day – 1 August – The Memorial of (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church

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.

St Alphonsus, Pray for us!st alphonsus liguori pray for us 1 august 2018


Thought for the Day – 20 February 2018 – Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

Thought for the Day – 20 February 2018 – Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

Excerpt from “Behold the Man”, a Lenten Reflection

By Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890)

“I see the figure of a man, whether young or old I cannot tell.   He may be fifty, or he may be thirty.   Sometimes He looks one, sometimes the other.   There is something inexpressible about His face that I cannot solve.   Perhaps, as He bears all burdens, He bears that of old age too.   But so it is;  His face is at once most venerable, yet most childlike, most calm, most sweet, most modest, beaming with sanctity and with loving kindness.   His eyes rivet me and move my heart.   His breath is all fragrant and transports me out of myself.   Oh, I will look upon that face forever and will not cease.

And I see suddenly someone come to Him and raise His hand and sharply strike Him on that heavenly face.   It is a hard hand, the hand of a rude man and perhaps has iron upon it.   It could not be so sudden as to take by surprise, Him who knows all things past and future and He shows no sign of resentment, remaining calm and grave as before;  but the expression of His face is marred;  a great welt arises and in a short time that all-gracious face is hidden from me by the effects of this indignity, as if a cloud came over it.

A hand was lifted up against the face of Christ.

Whose hand was that?   My conscience tells me:  ‘You are the man.’

I trust it is not so with me now.   But, O my soul, contemplate the awful fact.   Fancy Christ before you and fancy yourself lifting up your hand and striking Him!   You will say, ‘It is impossible: I could not do so.’   Yes, you have done so.   When you sinned wilfully, then you have done so.   He is beyond pain now:  still you have struck Him and had it been in the days of His flesh, He would have felt pain.   Turn back in memory and recollect the time, the day, the hour, when by wilful mortal sin, by scoffing at sacred things, or by profaneness, or by hard hatred of your brother, or by acts of impurity, or by deliberate rejection of God’s voice, or in any other devilish way known to you, you have struck the All-Holy One.” (to be continued…………….)

NOTE of Interest:  A second miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed John Henry (2016) is still in progress of investigation by the Congregation for the Causes of Sainthood and if Vatican theologians and doctors conclude the healing is a divine sign of Newman’s sanctity the Pope will be invited to canonise him as the first English saint since 1970 and the first British saint since 1976.a hand was lifted up against the face of christ - john henry newman - 20 feb 2018

Prayer for the Canonisation of Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

God our Father,
You granted to Your servant,
Blessed John Henry Newman,
wonderful gifts of nature and of grace,
that he should be a spiritual light
in the darkness of this world,
an eloquent herald of the Gospel
and a devoted servant
of the one Church of Christ.
With confidence in
his heavenly intercession,
we make the following petition:
[here make your petition]
For his insight into
the mysteries of the kingdom,
his zealous defense
of the teachings of the Church
and his priestly love
for each of Your children,
we pray that he may soon
be numbered among the Saints.
We ask this through Christ our Lord,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God forever.
Amenprayer for the canonisation of bl john henry newman - 20 feb 2018

Posted in MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, STATIONS of the CROSS

One Minute Reflection – – 6 February – The Memorial of St Alfonso Maria Fusco (1839-1910)

One Minute Reflection – – 6 February – The Memorial of St Alfonso Maria Fusco (1839-1910)

The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to [this] mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea’ and it would obey you…Luke 17:6

REFLECTION – “It was a genuine and tenacious faith that guided the work and life of Bl Alfonso Maria Fusco, founder of the Sisters of St John the Baptist.   From when he was a young man, the Lord put into his heart the passionate desire to dedicate his life to the service of the neediest, especially of children and young people…  For this he undertook the path of the priesthood and, in a certain way, become the “Don Bosco of Southern Italy.”   From the beginning, he wanted to involve in his work some young women who shared his ideal and he offered them the words of St John the Baptist, “Prepare the way of the Lord” (Lk 3,4).   Trusting in divine Providence, Alfonso and the Sisters of John the Baptist set up a work that was superior to their own expectations.   From a simple house for the welcome of the young, there arose a whole Congregation which today is present in 16 countries and on 4 continents working alongside those who are “little” ones and “last”. “…St Pope John Paul – Beatification Homily 7 October 2001it was a genuine - st john paul on st alfonso - 6 feb 2018

PRAYER – Lord God, source of strength to all the saints, You called St Alfonso and the sisters, to live in total faith, accepting the sufferings and hardships to fulfil Your commandment of love.   Let their prayers, help us to keep our faith and total commitment, to the end of our days, so that we may see Your Face and live with all Your saints and angels.   Through our Saviour, Your Son, Jesus Christ, one God in unity with the Holy Spirit, alfonso maria fusco - pray for us - 6 feb 2018

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, STATIONS of the CROSS

Saint of the Day – 12 July – St Veronica

Saint of the Day – 12 July – St Veronica – Patronages:  against bleeding or haemoraghes, domestic workers, dying people, laundry workers, linen weavers, maids, parsonage or rectory housekeepers,  photographers, seamstresses, washerwomen.

Saint Veronica is known as the woman who offered a cloth to Jesus so He could wipe His face on the way to His crucifixion.   The cloth is believed to exist today in the Vatican and is considered one of the most treasured relics of the Church.

Sainte Véronique (Costa Lorenzo)
Costa Lorenzo

Saint Veronica is not mentioned in the Bible but is known to us by Catholic tradition and in the Sixth Station of the Cross, “Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus.”

Christ was carrying the cross to Calvary, His face dripping with sweat and blood, Saint Veronica, a bystander, was moved with compassion.   She approached Jesus and offered Him a cloth, likely her veil, which He accepted and used to wipe His face.

The image of his face was miraculously imprinted on the cloth.

martin-schongauer-christ-and-saint-veronica-on-the-way-to-calvaryst veronica 5 - El Greco3st veronica 6 - El Greco3st veronica 7 - Flemalle Detail Veil

There are no legends from the period which speak of Veronica either before or after her act of compassion.   We do not know when she was born or when she died.   She is literally lost to history.   However, the cloth may still exist today, kept safe at St. Peter’s in Rome.   This particular cloth bearing the likeness of Christ’s face, although ancient and difficult to distinguish, is considered one of the most treasured relics in the Vatican. According to legend, it is the original relic, although throughout the ages many copies were created and some were passed along as genuine.

Most of what we know about the veil was recorded in the medieval period, although it was first mentioned as being in the hands of Pope John VII in the early eighth century. The veil and the legend surrounding it became very popular in the thirteenth though fifteenth centuries when the veil was on public display.   Indulgences were granted for people who performed devotions before it.

The fate of the veil was obscured by violence in 1527 by the Sack of Rome in which it may have been destroyed.   Many reproductions were created at this time and it is unfortunately unclear if the veil still kept by the Vatican is the original or a reproduction. In 1616, Pope Paul V banned the production of all copies of the veil, which has become popular.   In 1629, Pope Urban VIII went a step further and ordered the destruction of all copies, or that existing copies should be delivered to the Vatican.   Anyone who disobeyed this order was to be excommunicated.

st veronica 2st veronicaSt. Veronica by Jacques BlanchardSaint Veronica. Hans Memling

The Veil of Veronica has since been kept at St Peter’s Basilica and is shown to the public, on the fifth Sunday of Lent each year.