Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The HOLY CROSS, The SIGN of the CROSS

Thought for the Day – 21 February – Peter, Servant of the Servants of the Cross of Christ

Thought for the Day – 21 February – the Memorial of St Peter Damian OSB (1007-1072) Doctor of the Church

Excerpt from Pope Benedict’s Catechesis on St Peter Damian
General Audience
Wednesday, 9 September 2009

One detail should be immediately emphasised – the Hermitage at Fonte Avellana was dedicated to the Holy Cross and the Cross was the Christian mystery that was to fascinate Peter Damian more than all the others.   “Those who do not love the Cross of Christ do not love Christ”, he said (Sermo XVIII, 11, p. 117) and he described himself as “Petrus crucis Christi servorum famulus Peter, servant of the servants of the Cross of Christ” (Ep, 9, 1).
Peter Damian addressed the most beautiful prayers to the Cross in which he reveals a vision of this mystery which has cosmic dimensions for it embraces the entire history of salvation: “O Blessed Cross”, he exclaimed, You are venerated, preached and honoured by the faith of the Patriarchs, the predictions of the Prophets, the senate that judges the Apostles, the victorious army of Martyrs and the throngs of all the Saints” (Sermo XLVII, 14, p. 304).
Dear Brothers and Sisters, may the example of St Peter Damian spur us too always to look to the Cross as to the supreme act God’s love for humankind of God, who has given us salvation.

St Peter Damian, who was essentially a man of prayer, meditation and contemplation, was also a fine theologian – his reflection on various doctrinal themes led him to important conclusions for life.   Thus, for example, he expresses with clarity and liveliness the Trinitarian doctrine, already using, under the guidance of biblical and patristic texts, the three fundamental terms which were subsequently to become crucial also for the philosophy of the West – processio, relatio and persona (cf. Opusc. XXXVIII: PL CXLV, 633-642; and Opusc. II and III: ibid., 41 ff. and 58 ff).
However, because theological analysis of the mystery led him to contemplate the intimate life of God and the dialogue of ineffable love, between the three divine Persons, he drew ascetic conclusions from them for community life and even for relations between Latin and Greek Christians, divided on this topic.   His meditation on the figure of Christ, is significantly reflected, in practical life, since the whole of Scripture is centred on Him.
The “Jews”, St Peter Damian notes, “through the pages of Sacred Scripture, bore Christ on their shoulders as it were” (Sermo XLVI, 15).   Therefore Christ, he adds, must be the centre of the monk’s life:  “May Christ be heard in our language, may Christ be seen in our life, may he be perceived in our hearts” (Sermo VIII, 5).   Intimate union with Christ engages not only monks but all the baptised.   Here we find a strong appeal for us too not to let ourselves be totally absorbed by the activities, problems and preoccupations of every day, forgetting that Jesus must truly be the centre of our life.

Communion with Christ creates among Christians a unity of love.   In Letter 28, which is a brilliant ecclesiological treatise, Peter Damian develops a profound theology of the Church as communion.   “Christ’s Church”, he writes, is united by the bond of charity to the point that just as she has many members so is she, mystically, entirely contained in a single member – in such a way that the whole universal Church is rightly called the one Bride of Christ in the singular, and each chosen soul, through the sacramental mystery, is considered fully Church”.   This is important – not only that the whole universal Church should be united but that the Church should be present in her totality in each one of us.   Thus the service of the individual becomes “an expression of universality” (Ep 28, 9-23).
However, the ideal image of “Holy Church” illustrated by Peter Damian does not correspond as he knew well to the reality of his time.   For this reason he did not fear to denounce the state of corruption that existed in the monasteries and among the clergy, because, above all, of the practice of the conferral by the lay authorities of ecclesiastical offices; -various Bishops and Abbots were behaving as the rulers of their subjects rather than as pastors of souls.   Their moral life frequently left much to be desired.   For this reason, in 1057 Peter Damian left his monastery with great reluctance and sorrow and accepted, if unwillingly, his appointment as Cardinal Bishop of Ostia.   So it was that he entered fully into collaboration with the Popes in the difficult task of Church reform.   He saw that to make his own contribution of helping in the work of the Church’s renewal contemplation did not suffice.   He thus relinquished the beauty of the hermitage and courageously undertook numerous journeys and missions.

Dear brothers and sisters, it is a great grace that the Lord should have raised up in the life of the Church a figure as exuberant, rich and complex as St Peter Damian.   Moreover, it is rare to find theological works and spirituality as keen and vibrant as those of the Hermitage at Fonte Avellana.

St Peter Damian was a monk through and through, with forms of austerity which to us today might even seem excessive.   Yet, in that way he made monastic life an eloquent testimony of God’s primacy and an appeal to all to walk towards holiness, free from any compromise with evil.   He spent himself, with lucid consistency and great severity, for the reform of the Church of his time.  He gave all his spiritual and physical energies to Christ and to the Church but always remained, as he liked to describe himself, Petrus ultimus monachorum servus, Peter, the lowliest servant of the monks.

St Peter Damian,

‘Peter, Servant of the Servants of the Cross of Christ’

Pray for the Church, Pray for Us All!st peter damian pray for us 21 feb 2019.jpg

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

One Minute Reflection – 26 January – The Memorial of Sts Timothy and Titus

One Minute Reflection – 26 January – The Memorial of Sts Timothy and Titus, Disciples and Companions of the Apostle Paul and Bishops of the Catholic Church

“And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few, pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.   Go your way, behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.”...Luke 10:2-3

REFLECTION – 1562 “Christ, whom the Father hallowed and sent into the world, has, through His apostles, made their successors, the bishops namely, sharers in His consecration and mission and these, in their turn, duly entrusted in varying degrees various members of the Church with the office of their ministry.”   43 “The function of the bishops’ ministry was handed over in a subordinate degree to priests so that they might be appointed in the order of the priesthood and be co-workers of the episcopal order for the proper fulfilment of the apostolic mission that had been entrusted to it by Christ.”...CCC 1562 The ordination of priests – co-workers of the bishops
Another observation concerns the willingness of these collaborators.   The sources concerning Timothy and Titus highlight their readiness to take on various offices that also often consisted in representing Paul in circumstances far from easy.   In a word, they teach us to serve the Gospel with generosity, realising that this also entails a service to the Church herself.”…Pope Benedict XVI 13 December 2006luke 10 3 - go our way behold i send you out - ccc 1562 Christ whom the father hallowed 26 jan 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty God, You endowed Saints Timothy and Titus with power to preach Your Word.   Grant that, living a life of integrity and holiness in this world, reaching out to teach the Gospel both by our lives and our words, we may, through their prayers, come to our true home in heaven.   Through our Lord Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.sts-timothy-and-titus-pray-for-us-no-2-26-jan-2018.jpg

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, ON the SAINTS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES on CONVERSION, St PAUL!, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 25 January – St Paul’s conversion is our conversion

Quote/s of the Day – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul the Apostle

“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread,
or drinks the cup, of the Lord,
in an unworthy manner,
will be guilty of profaning
the body and blood of the Lord.
Let a man examine himself
and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
For any one who eats and drinks,
without discerning the body eats
and drinks judgement upon himself.”

1 Corinthians 11:27-291 corinthians 11 27-29 - whoever eats 25jan2019

“Let love be genuine,
hate what is evil,
hold fast to what is good,
love one another with brotherly affection,
outdo one another in showing honour.
Never flag in zeal,
be aglow with the Spirit,
serve the Lord.
Rejoice in your hope,
be patient in tribulation,
be constant in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the saints,
practice hospitality.”

Romans 12:9-13let love be genuine - romans 12 9-13 25 jan 2019

“….but we rejoice in our sufferings
because we know,
that suffering produces perseverance,
perseverance, character
and character, hope.”

Romans 5:4we rejoice in our sufferings - romans 5 4 - 25 jan 2019

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Philippians 1:21philippians 1 21 for to me to live is christ st paul - 25jan2019.jpg

Pope Benedict XVI reflects on the significance of Paul’s conversion for the whole Christian people:

“Paul’s conversion matured in his encounter with the Risen Christ, it was this encounter that radically changed his life. What happened to him on the road to Damascus is what Jesus asks in today’s Gospel, Saul is converted because, thanks to the divine light, “he has believed in the Gospel.”   In this consists his and our conversion – in believing in Jesus dead and risen and in opening to the illumination of His divine grace.   In that moment Saul understood, that his salvation, did not depend on good works fulfilled according to the law but, on the fact, that Jesus died also for him the persecutor and has risen.   This truth by which every Christian life is enlightened thanks to Baptism completely overturns our way of life.
To be converted means, also for each one of us, to believe that Jesus “has given himself for me”, dying on the Cross (cf. Galatians 2: 20) and, risen, lives with me and in me.
Entrusting myself to the power of His forgiveness, letting myself be taken by His hand, I can come out of the quicksands of pride and sin, of deceit and sadness, of selfishness and of every false security, to know and live the richness of His love.”

(25 January 25, 2009)entrusting myself to the power of his - pope benedict 25jan2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, ON the SAINTS, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 24 January – “To Philotea – You and Me”

Thought for the Day – 24 January – “To Philotea – You and Me”
The Memorial of St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church:
Doctor Caritatis (Doctor of Charity) ‘The Gentle Christ of Geneva’

Excerpt from Pope Benedict’s Catechesis on St Francis de Sales
Wednesday, 2 March 2011

To Philotea, the ideal person to whom he dedicated his Introduction to a Devout Life (1607), Francis de Sales addressed an invitation that might well have seemed revolutionary at the time.   It is the invitation to belong completely to God, while living to the full, her presence in the world and the tasks proper to her state.   “My intention is to teach those who are living in towns, in the conjugal state, at court” (Preface to The Introduction to a Devout Life).

The Document with which Pope Leo xiii, more than two centuries later, was to proclaim him a Doctor of the Church, would insist on this expansion of the call to perfection, to holiness.

It says:  “[true piety] shone its light everywhere and gained entrance to the thrones of kings, the tents of generals, the courts of judges, custom houses, workshops and even the huts of herdsmen” (cf. Brief, Dives in Misericordia, 16 November 1877).

Thus came into being the appeal to lay people and the care for the consecration of temporal things and for the sanctification of daily life on which the Second Vatican Council and the spirituality of our time were to insist.

The ideal of a reconciled humanity was expressed in the harmony between prayer and action in the world, between the search for perfection and the secular condition, with the help of God’s grace that permeates the human being and, without destroying him, purifies him, raising him to divine heights.   

St Francis de Sales, please Pray for Us!st-francis-de-sales-pray-for-us-no-1-24-jan-2018.jpg

Posted in CONFESSION/PENANCE, MORNING Prayers, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 17 January – “If you will, you can make me clean.”…Mark 1:40

One Minute Reflection – 17 January – Thursday of the First week in Ordinary Time – Gospel Mark 1:40–45 and the Memorial of St Anthony Abbot (251-356)

And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.”…Mark 1:40

REFLECTION – “It is possible to see leprosy as a symbol of sin, which is the true impurity of heart that can distance us from God.   It is not in fact the physical disease of leprosy that separates us from God, as the ancient norms supposed but sin, spiritual and moral evil.   The sins that we commit distance us from God and, if we do not humbly confess them, trusting in divine mercy, they will finally bring about the death of the soul.   This miracle thus has a strong symbolic value.   Jesus, as Isaiah had prophesied, is the Servant of the Lord who “has borne our griefs / and carried our sorrows” (Is 53: 4).   In His Passion He will become as a leper, made impure by our sins, separated from God, He will do all this out of love, to obtain for us reconciliation, forgiveness and salvation.   In the Sacrament of Penance, the Crucified and Risen Christ purifies us through His ministers with His infinite mercy, restores us to communion with the heavenly Father and with our brothers and makes us a gift of His love, His joy and His peace.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us invoke the Virgin Mary whom God preserved from every stain of sin so that she may help us to avoid sin and to have frequent recourse to the Sacrament of Confession, the sacrament of forgiveness, whose value and importance for our Christian life must be rediscovered today.”…Pope Benedict XVI – Angelus 15 February 2009 mark 1 40 - if you will you can make me clean - in the sacrament of confession - pope benedict 17 jan 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, we make our prayer to You at morning, noon and evening.   Dispel from our hearts, the darkness of sin and bring us to the true light, Christ Your Son.  Grant that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Anthony Abbot, we may deny ourselves and love You above all things.   Through Jesus, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.blessed virgin mary pray for us 17 jan 2019.jpgagostinocarracci_thetemptationofstanthonyabbot-detail-pray-for-us-17-jan-2017-picjpg.jpg

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, QUOTES on the FAMILY, THE HOLY FAMILY - FAMILIAE SANCTAE

Quote/s of the Day – 30 December – Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Quote/s of the Day – 30 December – Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

“How important it is, therefore, that every child coming into the world
be welcomed by the warmth of a family!
External comforts do not matter,
Jesus was born in a stable and had a manger as His first cradle
but the love of Mary and of Joseph made Him feel the tenderness and beauty of being loved.
Children need this, the love of their father and mother.
It is this that gives them security and, as they grow,
enables them to discover the meaning of life.
The Holy Family of Nazareth went through many trials ….
Yet, trusting in divine Providence, they found their stability
and guaranteed Jesus a serene childhood and a sound upbringing.”

Pope Benedict XVI (Feast of the Holy Family 2010)how-important-it-is-therefore-pope-benedict-31-dec-2017

“Waste time with your children,
so that they can realise,
that love is always free.”

Pope Franciswaste time with your childen - pope francis - 30 dec 2018

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARTYRS, Our MORNING Offering, PAPAL PRAYERS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 28 December – Feast of the Holy Innocents – Prayer for the Unborn by Pope Benedict XVI

Our Morning Offering – 28 December – Feast of the Holy Innocents – 4th Day of the Christmas Octaveholy-innocents-day-4-christmas- 28 dec 2017

Prayer for the Unborn
Pope Benedict XVI

Lord Jesus,
You who faithfully visit and fulfil with Your Presence
the Church and the history of men;
You who in the miraculous Sacrament of your Body and Blood
render us participants in divine Life
and allow us a foretaste of the joy of eternal Life;
We adore and bless You.
Prostrated before You, source and lover of Life,
truly present and alive among us, we beg You.
Reawaken in us respect for every unborn life,
make us capable of seeing in the fruit of the maternal womb
the miraculous work of the Creator,
open our hearts to generously welcoming every child
that comes into life.
Bless all families,
sanctify the union of spouses,
render fruitful their love.
Accompany the choices of legislative assemblies
with the light of Your Spirit,
so that peoples and nations may recognise and respect
the sacred nature of life, of every human life.
Guide the work of scientists and doctors,
so that all progress contributes
to the integral well-being of the person,
and no one endures suppression or injustice.
Give creative charity to administrators and economists,
so they may realise and promote sufficient conditions,
so that young families can serenely embrace
the birth of new children.
Console the married couples who suffer,
because they are unable to have children
and in Your goodness provide for them.
Teach us all to care for orphaned or abandoned children,
so they may experience the warmth of Your Charity,
the consolation of Your divine Heart.
Together with Mary, Your Mother, the great believer,
in whose womb You took on our human nature,
we wait to receive from You, our Only True Good and Saviour,
the strength to love and serve life,
in anticipation of living forever in You,
in communion with the Blessed Trinity.
Amen

Composed by Pope Benedict at the Prayer Vigil for the Unborn on 27 November 2010prayer for the unborn pope benedict - 28 dec 2018 holy innocents