Posted in FATHERS of the Church, HOLY WEEK 2019, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The PASSION

Holy Week Thoughts – 16 April – Peter’s Denial

Holy Week Thoughts – 16 April – Tuesday of Holy Week, Gospel: John 13:21-33, 36-38

Peter’s Denial

Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?   Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three times….John 13:38

Saint Romanos the Melodist (c 490-c 556)

Hymnist – Hymn 34 

O Good Shepherd, You who have laid down Your life for Your sheep (Jn 10:11), come quickly, O holy One and save Your flock…

After the meal Christ said:  “Children, my dear disciples, this night you will all deny and abandon me” (cf. Jn 16:32).   And since all were seized by the same astonishment, Peter exclaimed:  “Even though all deny you, I shall not deny you. I shall remain with you and die with you, crying out to you:   Come quickly, O Holy One, and save your flock.”

“Master, what are You talking about?   I deny you?   I abandon You and flee?   And am I no longer to remember Your call and the honour You have shown me?   I still call to mind how You washed my feet and now, do you say:   “You will deny me”?   Once again I see You coming, carrying a basin, You who uphold the earth and support the sky.   With the hands that fashioned me my feet have just been washed and do You now assert that I will fall and I will no longer cry out to You:   “Come quickly, O Holy One and save Your flock ?”…

At these words man’s Creator answered Peter:   “What are you saying, Peter, my friend? You will never deny Me?  never flee from Me?  never reject Me?   I, too, would wish to think so.   But your faith is unstable and you do not stand up to temptation.   Do you not you remember how you might nearly have drowned had I not stretched out my hand to you?   You most certainly walked on the sea as I did myself but immediately you hesitated and quickly gave way (Mt 14:28f.).   Then I ran towards you who were crying aloud:   “Come quickly, O Holy One, and save Your flock.”

“See, from now on I tell you – before the cock crows three times you will deny Me and, letting yourself be attacked on all sides and your spirit submerged as by the waves of the sea, you will deny Me three times.   You who cried out to Me then and are about to weep, you will find Me no longer now extending My hand as before, for I shall be using it to write a bill of remission on behalf of all Adam’s descendants.   My visible flesh I will take as My paper and My blood as ink to write out this gift, which I endlessly distribute to those who cry aloud:  “Come quickly, O Holy One, and save your flock!”peter's denial john 13 38 - you who cried out to me then - st romanus the melodist 16 april 2019 .jpg

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Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on the CHURCH, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Thought for the Day – 22 February – St Pope Leo the Great “The Chair of Peter”

Thought for the Day – 22 February – The Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter

Pope Saint Leo the Great (400-461)
Bishop of Rome and Great Latin Father & Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from Sermo 4

Out of the whole world one man, Peter, is chosen to preside at the calling of all nations and to be set over all the apostles and all the fathers of the Church.   Though, there are, in God’s people many shepherds, Peter is thus appointed, to rule in his own person, those whom Christ also rules as the original ruler.   Beloved, how great and wonderful is this sharing of His power that God in His goodness has given to this man.   Whatever Christ has willed to be shared in common, by Peter and the other leaders of the Church, it is only through Peter, that He has given to others, what He has not refused to bestow on them.

The Lord now asks the apostles as a whole, what men think of him.   As long as they are recounting the uncertainty born of human ignorance, their reply is always the same.

But when He presses the disciples to say what they think themselves, the first to confess his faith in the Lord, is the one who is first in rank, among the apostles.

Peter says:  You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.   Jesus replies:  Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father who is in heaven.   You are blessed, he means, because my Father has taught you.   You have not been deceived by earthly opinion but have been enlightened by inspiration from heaven. It was not flesh and blood that pointed Me out to you but the one whose only-begotten Son I am.

He continues:  And I say to you.   In other words, as my Father has revealed to you my godhead, so I in my turn make known to you, your pre-eminence.   You are Peter:  though I am the inviolable rock, the cornerstone that makes both one, the foundation apart from which no one can lay any other, yet you also are a rock, for you are given solidity by my strength, so that which is my very own because of my power is common between us through your participation.

And upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.   On this strong foundation, He says, I will build an everlasting temple.   The great height of my Church, which is to penetrate the heavens, shall rise on the firm foundation of this faith.

The gates of hell shall not silence this confession of faith;  the chains of death shall not bind it.   Its words are the words of life.   As they lift up to heaven those who profess them, so they send down to hell those who contradict them.

Blessed Peter is therefore told – To you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth is also bound in heaven.   Whatever you lose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven.

The authority vested in this power passed also to the other apostles and the institution, established by this decree, has been continued in all the leaders of the Church.   But, it is not without good reason, that what is bestowed on all, is entrusted to one.   For Peter, received it separately, in trust, because he is the prototype, set before all the rulers of the Church.

Saint Pope Peter
Apostle and Martyr
Pray for us!st pope peter apostle and martyr pray for us 22feb2019.jpg

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, EASTER, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, ON the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The RESURRECTION

Thought for the Day – 27 December – “The Greatest Easter Painting Ever Made”

Thought for the Day – 27 December – the Feast of St John the Apostle and Evangelist “The Disciple whom Jesus Loved” and the 3rd Octave Day – “The Greatest Easter Painting Ever Made”

So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid him.”   Peter then came out, with the other disciple and they went toward the tomb.   They both ran but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there but he did not go in.   Then Simon Peter came, following him and went into the tomb, he saw the linen cloths lying and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself.   Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in and he saw and believed...John 20:2–8

Tucked away in a central Parisian museum that was once a railway station, there hangs an Easter painting quite unlike any Gospel masterpiece created before or after it.   It is not painted by a Rembrandt or a Rubens or the patron saint of artists, Fra Angelico.   The painting is the work of a little-known Swiss painter.   For those who make a trip to see it, viewing the canvas is a special spiritual experience in their lives.

The work does not even show the risen Jesus.   It merely portrays two witnesses, Jesus’ oldest and youngest apostle.   The youngest who was the only man brave enough to stay by Jesus’ cross and the only one who did not die a martyr’s death as a result of it.   The oldest apostle, who first denied Jesus in fear, yet ultimately chose to be crucified upside down by the Roman authorities, rather than deny Christ’s resurrection.

Mary, John & Mary of Magdala at the cross-antoon-van-dyck-follow-jesus
Anton van Dyck

In “The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection” by Eugène Burnand, John clasps his hand in prayer while Peter holds his hand over his heart.   The viewer feels the rush as their hair and cloaks fly back with the wind.   They are sprinting towards discovery of the moment that forever altered heaven and earth.   As you look at it, engage for a moment in what the Catholic blogger Bill Donaghy calls “the visual equivalent of Lectio Divina.”   As Donaghy notes, “This Resurrection scene does not put us before still figures near a stagnant stone, or figures standing with stony faces in a contrived, plastic posture, pointing to an empty tomb.   This scene is dynamic; we are in motion.”

During his time, Burnand was fascinated by the possibilities of the emerging art of photography.   Ironically, he would later be dismissed in the twentieth century as too “bourgeois” and anti-modernist when in fact he was merging his love of tradition with his interest in new technological ways of capturing the human person.   His painting feels cinematic long before cinema existed as a major art form.

Through the movement and immediacy of the scene, the preceding minutes with Mary Magdalene are palpable.   In a sense, she is in the painting too.   “You can almost hear her voice in the background, can you not, a few minutes earlier, as she burst into their house…” writes the Episcopal Bishop Dorsey McConnell in an Easter sermon meditating on the painting.

Apart from Jesus’ mother, no other three participants capture the closeness of Jesus’ encounter with humankind quite like John, Peter and Mary of Magdala.   Their interactions with Christ embody a relationship to God previously unimaginable to mankind.   Jesus turning to Peter as they sit by the fire and asking three times, “Do you love me?”, thereby washing away the sin of the three denials past;  Christ turning to John in the midst of his suffering and saying, “Behold, your mother,” giving her to the Church entire.   And, of course, the beautiful moment about to transpire in which Jesus’ merely says Mary’s name and she recognises Him with a cry of “Rabbouni!”   They are the moments which cause one to wonder, how those who truly hate Christianity (not merely disbelief it) can remain so hostile to its narrative beauty.

st john and the sorrowful mother - van-weyden-at-the-cross
By Rogier van Weyden (1400-1464)
st john and mary - beloved-by-dyce
By William Dyce (1806-1864)

Look into Peter’s wide open eyes and John’s intense gaze.   Their eyes contain a mix of anxiousness and hope, the way a parent or grandparent’s eyes look at the news of an impending birth.   A new life is about to emerge but there is still uncertainty because it is a mystery beyond full human comprehension or control.   Peter and John’s faces capture the same sense of anticipation.

Burnand created a sparse, simple painting capturing two of the most important players in the greatest story ever told.   Meditate upon their faces, as Burnand intended you to do and through them, discover the empty tomb.the-greatest-easter-painting-elise-ehrhard-crises-mag1- used again today 27dec2018

St John, Beloved of the Lord, Pray for us!beloved st john pray for us 27 dec 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, ON the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on DIVINE PROVIDENCE, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SUFFERING, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 27 December

Quote/s of the Day – 27 December – the Feast of St John the Apostle and Evangelist “The Disciple whom Jesus Loved” and the 3rd Octave Day and the Memorial of Blessed Sára Salkaházi (1899–1944) Martyr

Beloved: 

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life (for the life was made visible;  

we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us.…

1 John 1:1-2beloved what was from the beginning, what we have heard - 1-john-1-1-to-2-27dec2017

“Life itself was therefore revealed in the flesh.
In this way what was visible to the heart alone,
could become visible also to the eye
and so heal men’s hearts.
For the Word is visible to the heart alone,
while flesh is visible to bodily eyes as well.
We already possessed the means to see the flesh
but we had no means of seeing the Word.
The Word was made flesh so that we could see it,
to heal the part of us,
by which we could see the Word…”

St Augustine (354-430) – Father & Doctor of the Churchlife-itself-was-therefore-revealed-st-augustine-27-dec-2017

“It is right and just, that someone, who was loved by Christ
more than any other, should be the object
of a very special love, by Christ’s friends,
all the more so, since John has shown such love for us that…
he has shared with us, the riches of eternal life, that he himself received.
Indeed, God gave him, the keys to wisdom and knowledge (cf Lk 11:52)…it is right and just that someone who was loved - st peter damian on st john 27 dec 2018

John’s God-illumined mind, conceived the incomparable height of divine wisdom, 
when he reclined on the Redeemer’s breast, during the holy Last Supper meal (Jn 13:25).
And because “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3)
are within the heart of Jesus, it is from there, that he drew
and from there, that he greatly enriched our wretchedness, 
as people who are poor and generously distributed these goods,
taken from their source, for the salvation of the whole world.
And because this blessed John speaks about God
in a marvellous way, that cannot be compared to that of anyone else,
it is only right that the Greeks as well as the Latins
have given him the name of “Theologian”.
Mary is “Theotokos” because she has truly given birth to God;
John is “Theologos” because he saw in an indescribable way,
that the Word of God, was with the Father
before the beginning of time and was God (Jn 1:1)
and because, too, he spoke about this, with extraordinary depth.”

St Peter Damian (1007-1072) Doctor of the Churchjohn's god illumined mind - st peter damian 27 dec 2018

“To love, even when it is difficult,
even when my heart has complaints,
when, I feel rejected!
Yes, this is what God wants!
I will try;  I want to start – even if I would fail –
until I will be able to love.
The Lord God gives me grace
and I have to work with that grace!”to love even when - bl sara salkahazi 27dec2018

“I want to follow You wherever You take me,
freely, willingly, joyfully.
Break my will!
Let Your will reign in me!
I do not want to make my own plans.
Let Your will be done in me and through me.
No matter how hard it might be,
I want to love Your will!
I want to be one with You,
my Beloved, my Spouse.”

Blessed Sára Salkaházi (1899–1944) Martyr

Blessed Sára in her spiritual diaryi want to follow you wherever you take me - bl sara salkahazi 27dec2018

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

27 December – Feast of St John Apostle and Evangelist and Memorials of the Saints

St John the Apostle and Evangelist (Feast)
St John the Beloved: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/27/saint-of-the-day-27-december-st-john-the-apostle-and-evangelist/

Bl Adelheidis of Tennenbach
Bl Alejo Pan López
Bl Alfredo Parte-Saiz
Bl Christina Ebner
St Fabiola of Rome
Bl Francesco Spoto
Bl Hesso of Beinwil
St José María Corbin-Ferrer
St Maximus of Alexandria
St Nicarete of Constantinople
Bl Odoardo Focherini
Bl Raymond de Barellis
Bl Roger of Verdun
Bl Sára Schalkház S.S.S. (1899–1944) Martyr
St Theodore of Apamea
St Theophanes of Nicaea
Bl Walto of Wessobrünn

Posted in ADVENT, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

St Andrew’s Christmas Novena – Getting Ready for the arrival of our King!

St Andrew’s Christmas Novena – The Christmas Anticipation Prayerbe-ready-and-waiting-st-andrews-christmas-novena-begins-30-nov-2017-pic

The Saint Andrew Christmas Novena is often called simply the “Christmas Novena” or the “Christmas Anticipation Prayer” because it is prayed 15 times every day from the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle today, 30 November, until Christmas.   It is an ideal Advent devotion – the First Sunday of Advent is the Sunday closest to the Feast of Saint Andrew.

While the novena is tied to the Feast of Saint Andrew, it is not actually addressed to Saint Andrew but to God Himself, asking Him to grant our request in honour of the birth of His Son at Christmas.   You can say the prayer all 15 times, all at once, or divide up the recitation as necessary (perhaps five times at each meal).st-andrews-prayer-christmas-novena-no-1 - 30nov2017

Prayed as a family, the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena is a very good way to help focus the attention of your children on the Advent season.   In no time, you will all have memorised it and be able to focus totally on the actual words.   In a family, it is a great idea to allow each member to insert their petitions in rotation.

Let us Pray!

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment,
in which the Son of God was born
of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight, in Bethlehem,
in the piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe,
I beseech Thee, O my God,
to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
………………… [here mention your request]
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ
and of His blessed Mother.
Amenst andrew christmas novena - 30nov2018

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, ON the SAINTS, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRAYERS for our HOLY FATHER and all PRIESTS, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Thought for the Day – 30 November – The Feast of St Andrew, Apostle of Christ

Thought for the Day – 30 November – The Feast of St Andrew, Apostle of Christ

Excerpt from Pope Benedict’s Catechesis on St Andrew
Wednesday, 14 June 2006

“This is what the Apostle is claimed to have said on that occasion, according to an ancient story (which dates back to the beginning of the sixth century), entitled The Passion of Andrew:

“Hail, O Cross, inaugurated by the Body of Christ and adorned with His limbs as though they were precious pearls.   Before the Lord mounted you, you inspired an earthly fear.   Now, instead, endowed with heavenly love, you are accepted as a gift.

Believers know of the great joy that you possess and of the multitude of gifts you have prepared.   I come to you, therefore, confident and joyful, so that you too may receive me exultant as a disciple of the One who was hung upon you…. O blessed Cross, clothed in the majesty and beauty of the Lord’s limbs!…

Take me, carry me far from men, and restore me to my Teacher, so that, through you, the one who redeemed me by you, may receive me.

Hail, O Cross; yes, hail indeed!”.hail o cross - from the passion of st andrew - 30nov2018

Here, as can be seen, is a very profound Christian spirituality.   It does not view the Cross as an instrument of torture but rather as the incomparable means for perfect configuration to the Redeemer, to the grain of wheat that fell into the earth.

We have a very important lesson to learn, our own crosses acquire value if we consider them and accept them as a part of the Cross of Christ, if a reflection of His light illuminates them.   It is by that Cross alone that our sufferings too are ennobled and acquire their true meaning.

The Apostle Andrew, therefore, teaches us to follow Jesus with promptness (cf. Mt 4: 20; Mk 1: 18), to speak enthusiastically about Him to those we meet and especially, to cultivate a relationship of true familiarity with Him, acutely aware that in Him alone, can we find the ultimate meaning of our life and death.”

St Andrew, Pray for your Church, Pray for Us all!st andrew apostle pray for us-30nov2018