Posted in DIVINE MERCY, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES on CONSCIENCE, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on FEAR, QUOTES on FORGIVENESS, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on TRUST in GOD, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 14 February – “The faith of the Canaanite woman”

One Minute Reflection – 14 February – Thursday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time, Year C – Gospel: Mark 7:24–30 and the Memorial of Sts Cyril and Methodius “Apostles to the Slavs”- Patrons of Europe and St Valentine (176-273) Martyr

But immediately a woman, whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit, heard of him and came and fell down at his feet....Mark 7:25

REFLECTION – “O woman, your faith is great.   Let it be done to you as you wish” (Mt 15:28).   Indeed, she had great enough faith, since she knew neither the ancient miracles, commands and promises of the prophets, nor the more recent ones of the Lord himself. In addition, as often as she was disregarded by the Lord, she persevered in her entreaties and she did not cease knocking by asking him, though she knew only by popular opinion that he was the Saviour.   On account of this, she secured the great object for which she implored…
If one of us has a conscience polluted by the stain of avarice, conceit, vain-glory, indignation, irascibility, or envy and the other vices, he has “a daughter badly troubled by a demon” like the Canaanite woman.   He should hasten to the Lord, making supplication for her healing…   Being submissive with due humility, [such a person] must not judge himself to be worthy of the company of the sheep of Israel (that is, souls that are pure) but instead, he must be of the opinion that he is unworthy of heavenly favours. Nevertheless, let him not, in despair, rest from the earnestness of his entreaty but with his mind free of doubt, let him trust in the goodness of the supreme Benefactor, for the one who could make a confessor from a robber (Lk 23:39f.), an apostle from a persecutor (Acts 9:1-30, an evangelist from a publican (Mt 9:9-13) and who could make sons for Abraham out of stones, could turn even the most insignificant dog into an Israelite sheep.”...St Bede the Venerable (673-735) – Father & Doctor of the Churchmark 7 25 the caananite woman - if one of us - st bede 14 feb 2019.jpg

PRAYER – Help us Lord, to cleave to You alone and grow in sanctity and charity. Create in us a clean heart O Lord!   As we walk in the ways of Your divine Son, our Saviour, may we grow in faith and by our lives and words, be a light in the world.   Grant that by the prayers of Sts Valentine and Sts Cyril and Methodius, we may be strengthen and grow in worthiness to receive Your grace.   Through our Lord Jesus Christ in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.st valentine pray for us 14 feb 2019sts-cyril-and-methodius-pray-for-us-14-feb-2018-no-2

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Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 12 February – The Prayer of St Ethelwald (Died c 740)

Thought for the Day – 12 February – the Memorial of St Ethelwald (Died c 740)

How Ethelwald, successor to Cuthbert, leading a hermit’s life, calmed a tempest by his prayers when the brethren were in danger at sea. [687-699]
The venerable Ethewald succeeded the man of God, Cuthbert, in the exercise of a solitary life, which he spent in the isle of Fame before he became a bishop.   After he had received the priesthood, he consecrated his office by deeds worthy of that degree for many years in the monastery which is called Inhrypum.

To the end that his merit and manner of life may be the more certainly made known, I will relate one miracle of his, which was told me by one of the brothers for and on whom the same was wrought; to wit, Guthfrid, the venerable servant and priest of Christ, who also, afterwards, as abbot, presided over the brethren of the same church of Lindisfarne, in which he was educated.

“I came,” says he, “to the island of Fame, with two others of the brethren, desiring to speak with the most reverend father, Ethelwald.   Having been refreshed with his discourse and asked for his blessing, as we were returning home, behold on a sudden, when we were in the midst of the sea, the fair weather in which we were sailing, was broken and there arose so great and terrible a tempest, that neither sails nor oars were of any use to us, nor had we anything to expect but death.   After long struggling with the wind and waves to no effect, at last we looked back to see whether it was possible by any means at least to return to the island whence we came but we found that we were on all sides alike cut off by the storm, and that there was no hope of escape by our own efforts. But looking further, we perceived, on the island of Fame, our father Ethelwald, beloved of God, come out of his retreat to watch our course, for, hearing the noise of the tempest and raging sea, he had come forth to see what would become of us.   When he beheld us in distress and despair, he bowed his knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in prayer for our life and safety and, as he finished his prayer, he calmed the swelling water, in such sort that the fierceness of the storm ceased on all sides and fair winds attended us over a smooth sea to the very shore.   When we had landed and had pulled up our small vessel from the waves, the storm, which had ceased a short time for our sake, presently returned and raged furiously during the whole day, so that it plainly appeared, that the brief interval of calm had been granted by Heaven, in answer to the prayers of the man of God, to the end that we might escape.”

The man of God remained in the isle of Fame twelve years,and died there but was buried in the church of the blessed Apostle Peter, in the isle of Lindisfarne, beside the bodies of the aforesaid bishops.’

These things happened in the days of King Aldfrid, who, after his brother Egfrid, ruled the nation of the Northumbrians for nineteen years.

From Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of England
By The Venerable Bede (673-735)
Father & Doctor of the Church

We beseech Thee, Lord,
open Thy heavens, open our eyes,
may Thy gifts descend to us,
may our hearts look back to Thee.
May Thy throne be laid open to us,
while we receive the benefits which we implore,
may our mind be laid open to Thee,
while we render the service which is enjoined to us.
Look down from Heaven, O Lord,
behold and visit this vine
which Thy right hand hath planted.
Strengthen the weak,
relieve the contrite,
confirm the strong.
Build them up in love,
cleanse them with purity,
enlighten them with wisdom,
keep them with mercy.
Lord Jesus, Good Shepherd,
who laid down Thy life for the sheep,
defend the purchase of Thy blood.
Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty,
seek for the lost, convert the wandering,
bind up that which is broken.
Put forth Thine own hand from Heaven
and touch the head of each one here.
May they feel the touch of Thy hand
and receive the joy of the Holy Spirit,
that they may remain blessed for evermore.
Amen

Saint Ethelwald (Died c 740)the prayer of st ethelwald 12 feb 2019

When we pray,
let it be our whole being
that turns towards God –
our thoughts,
our heart…
The Lord will be moved
to incline towards us
and come to our help…

St Pio of Pietralcina “Padre Pio” (1887-1968)when we pray - st padre pio 12 feb 2019

Posted in ADVENT, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The CHRIST CHILD, The INCARNATION, The LAST THINGS

Our Morning Offering – 11 December – Grant us Your Light, O Lord

Our Morning Offering – 11 December – Tuesday of the Second week of Advent

Grant us Your Light, O Lord
By St Bede (673-735) Father and Doctor of the Church
(From ‘On the Apocalypse’)

Grant us Your light, O Lord,
so that the darkness of our hearts,
may wholly pass away
and we may come at last,
to the light of Christ.
For Christ is that morning star,
who, when the night of this world has passed,
brings to His saints,
the promised light of life
and opens to them,
everlasting day.
Amen

grant us your light o lord - st bede - 15 dec 2017

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 31 August -St Aidan of Lindisfarne (died 651) Apostle of Northumbria

Saint of the Day – 31 August -St Aidan of Lindisfarne (died 651) Apostle of Northumbria – Bishop, Monk, Missionary, Abbot, Ascetic, Apostle of Charity  – born as (Irish: Naomh Aodhán) in Ireland and died on  31 August 651 at Bamburg, England of natural causes.   Patronages – Northumbria and firefighters.   St Aidan was an Irish monk and missionary credited with restoring Christianity to Northumbria.   He founded a monastic cathedral on the island of Lindisfarne, known as Lindisfarne Priory, served as its first bishop and travelled ceaselessly throughout the countryside, spreading the gospel to both the Anglo-Saxon nobility and to the socially disenfranchised (including children and slaves).DSC04111 Aidan

St Bede’s (673-735 Father & Doctor of the Church) meticulous and detailed account of Aidan’s life provides the basis for most biographical sketches (both classical and modern).   One notable lacuna, which (somewhat paradoxically) reinforces the notion of Bede’s reliability, is that virtually nothing is known of the monk’s early life, save that he was a monk at the ancient monastery on the island of Iona from a relatively young age and that he was of Irish descent.

In the years prior to Aidan’s mission, Christianity, which had been propagated throughout Britain but not Ireland by the Roman Empire, was being largely displaced by Anglo-Saxon paganism.   In the monastery of Iona (founded by Columba of the Irish Church), the religion soon found one of its principal exponents in Oswald of Northumbria, a noble youth who had been raised there as a king in exile since 616. Baptised as a Christian, the young king vowed to bring Christianity back to his people—an opportunity that presented itself in 634, when he gained the crown of Northumbria.

Owing to his historical connection to Iona’s monastic community, King Oswald requested that missionaries be sent from that monastery instead of the Roman-sponsored monasteries of Southern England.   At first, they sent him a bishop named Cormán, but he alienated many people by his harshness and returned in failure to Iona reporting that the Northumbrians were too stubborn to be converted.   Aidan criticised Cormán’s methods and was soon sent as his replacement.   He became bishop in 635.st aidan icon

Allying himself with the pious king, Aidan chose the island of Lindisfarne, which was close to the royal castle at Bamburgh, as the seat of his diocese.   An inspired missionary, Aidan would walk from one village to another, politely conversing with the people he saw and slowly interesting them in Christianity –  in this, he followed the early apostolic model of conversion, by offering “them first the milk of gentle doctrine, to bring them by degrees, while nourishing them with the Divine Word, to the true understanding and practice of the more advanced precepts.”   By patiently talking to the people on their own level (and by taking an active interest in their lives and communities), Aidan and his monks slowly restored Christianity to the Northumbrian countryside.   King Oswald, who after his years of exile had a perfect command of Irish, often had to translate for Aidan and his monks, who did not speak English at first.Enniscorthy_St._Aidan's_Cathedral_East_Aisle_Fifth_Window_Saint_Aidan_Detail_2009_09_28

In his years of evangelism, Aidan was responsible for the construction of churches, monasteries and schools throughout Northumbria.   At the same time, he earned a tremendous reputation for his pious charity and dedication to the less fortunate—such as his tendency to provide room, board and education to orphans and his use of contributions to pay for the freedom of slaves.

“He was one to traverse both town and country on foot, never on horseback, unless compelled by some urgent necessity and wherever in his way, he saw any, either rich or poor, he invited them, if infidels, to embrace the mystery of the faith or if they were believers, to strengthen them in the faith, and to stir them up by words and actions to alms and good works. … This [the reading of scriptures and psalms and meditation upon holy truths] was the daily employment of himself and all that were with him, wheresoever they went and if it happened, which was but seldom, that he was invited to eat with the king, he went with one or two clerks, and having taken a small repast, made haste to be gone with them, either to read or write.

At that time, many religious men and women, stirred up by his example, adopted the custom of fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays, till the ninth hour, throughout the year, except during the fifty days after Easter.

He never gave money to the powerful men of the world but only meat, if he happened to entertain them and, on the contrary, whatsoever gifts of money he received from the rich, he either distributed them, as has been said, to the use of the poor, or bestowed them in ransoming such as had been wrong fully sold for slaves.   Moreover, he afterwards made many of those he had ransomed his disciples, and after having taught and instructed them, advanced them to the order of priesthood.” (St Bede)

The monastery he founded grew and helped found churches and other religious institutions throughout the area.   It also served as centre of learning and a storehouse of scholarly knowledge, training many of Aidan’s young charges for a career in the priesthood.   Though Aidan was a member of the Irish branch of Christianity (instead of the Roman branch), his character and energy in missionary work won him the respect of Pope Honorius I and Felix of Dunwich.Saint_Aidan-glass lg

When Oswald died in 642, Aidan received continued support from King Oswine of Deira and the two became close friends.  As such, the monk’s ministry continued relatively unchanged until the rise of pagan hostilities in 651.   At that time, a pagan army attacked Bamburgh and attempted to set its walls ablaze.   According to legend, Aidan saw the black smoke from his cell at Lindisfarne Abbey, immediately recognised its cause and knelt in prayer for the fate of the city.   Miraculously, the winds abruptly reversed their course, blowing the conflagration towards the enemy, which convinced them that the capital city was defended by potent spiritual forces.   Around this time, Oswine was betrayed and murdered.   Two weeks later Aidan died, on 31 August 651.   He had become ill while on one of his incessant missionary tours and died leaning against the wall of the local church.   As Baring-Gould poetically summarises: “It was a death which became a soldier of the faith upon his own fit field of battle.”

After his death, Aidan’s body was buried at Lindisfarne, beneath the abbey that he had helped found.   Though his popularity waned in the coming years, “in the 11th century Glastonbury monks obtained some supposed relics of Aidan through their influence Aidan’s feast appears in the early Wessex calendars, which provide the main evidence for his cult after the age of Bede.”st aidan of lindisfarne - header

His feast is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, 31 August.   Reflecting his Irish origins, his Scottish monasticism and his ministry to the English, Aidan has been proposed as a possible patron saint of the United Kingdom.

Today, Aidan’s significance is still recognised in the following saying by Joseph Lightfoot, Bishop of Durham:

“Augustine was the Apostle of Kent but Aidan was the Apostle of the English.”
… Bishop Lightfoot
St Aidan’s College of the University of Durham was named after Aidan of Lindisfarne.   Below is the Statue of St Aidan on Holy Island of Lindisfarne carrying the Flame of the Gospel of Christ.st aidan statuest aidan carrying the flame

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

One Minute Reflection – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist – Today’s Gospel: Mark 6:17–29

One Minute Reflection – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist – Today’s Gospel: Mark 6:17–29

She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”…Mark 6:24mark-6-24.she went out and asked her mother - 29 aug 2017

REFLECTION – “John was baptised in his own blood, though he had been privileged to baptise the Redeemer of the world, to hear the voice of the Father above him and to see the grace of the Holy Spirit descending upon him.   But to endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John;  rather it was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward.”…St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father & Doctor of the Churchto endure temporal agonies - ven bede - 29 august 2018 st john the baptist

PRAYER – God our Father, You appointed St John the Baptist to be the herald of the birth and death of Christ Your Son. Grant that as he died a martyr for justice and truth, so we may also courageously bear witness to Your Word.   We make our prayer, through Jesus Christ our Lord with the Holy Spirit, one God forever. St John the Baptist, pray for us, amen.st-john-the-baptist-pray-for-us1-29 aug 2017

Posted in BREVIARY Prayers, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The GOOD SHEPHERD, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 22 July – Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – Today’s Gospel: Mark 6:30-34

One Minute Reflection – 22 July – Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – Today’s Gospel: Mark 6:30-34

And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.”...Mark 6:31

REFLECTION – “So they got into the boat and went away by themselves to a deserted spot”… The people followed them.   They showed how concerned they were for their salvation by the effort they made in going along the deserted road, not on donkeys or in carts of various kinds but on foot.   In return Jesus welcomed those weary, ignorant, sick and hungry people, instructing, healing and feeding them as a kindly saviour and physician and so letting them know how pleased He is by believers’ devotion to Him.”…Saint Bede the Venerable (c 673-735) Father & Doctor of the Church (Commentary on Saint Mark’s gospel, 2 ; CCL 120, 510)
“Today we could pray during this mass for our shepherds, that the Lord may give them the grace to walk with the people and to be present for them with much tenderness and closeness.   When people find their shepherd, they feel that special sensation only felt in the presence of God.   The amazement comes from the feeling of the closeness and tenderness of God in the shepherd.”…Pope Francis – Santa Marta, 30 January 2018come away with me - mark 6 31 and so they got into the boat - st bede - 22 july 2018

PRAYER – Be gracious, Lord, to us who serve You and in Your kindness increase Your gifts of grace within us, so that fervent in faith, hope and love, we may be ever on the watch and persevere in doing what You command.   Guard, protect and inspire our own shepherds, our priests who serve Your people, keep them faithful, loyal and prayerful. May our Mother, the most Holy and Pure Blessed Virgin Mary, keep our priests and all of us at her side.   Through our Lord Jesus Christ, one God with Holy Spirit, forever and ever, amen.bl virgin mother mary protect and pray for our priests - 22 july 2018

Posted in BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, DEVOTIO, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MORNING Prayers, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The WORD

Thought for the Day – 31 May – The Last Day of Mary’s Month and the Feast of the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary from St Bede the Venerable

Thought for the Day – 31 May – The Last Day of Mary’s Month and the Feast of the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary from St Bede the Venerable

Writing in the early 8th century, St Bede explains why the Magnificat, Mary’s prayer on the occasion of her Visitation of Elizabeth, is used daily in the liturgy of the hours (a.k.a the divine office) for Vespers or evening prayer.   With Mary’s soul, our souls magnify the Lord and rejoice in God our Saviour.

My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour.
With these words Mary first acknowledges the special gifts she has been given.   Then she recalls God’s universal favours, bestowed unceasingly on the human race.

REJOICE IN GOD’S GREATNESS
When a man devotes all his thoughts to the praise and service of the Lord, he proclaims God’s greatness.   His observance of God’s commands, moreover, shows that he has God’s power and greatness always at heart.   His spirit rejoices in God his saviour and delights in the mere recollection of his creator who gives him hope for eternal salvation.

These words are offered for all God’s creations but especially for the Mother of God.   She alone was chosen and she burned with spiritual love for the son she so joyously conceived.   Above all other saints, she alone could truly rejoice in Jesus, her saviour, for she knew that He, who was the source of eternal salvation, would be born in time in her body, in one person both her own son and her Lord.

HOLY IS HIS NAME
For the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
Mary attributes nothing to her own merits.   She refers all her greatness to the gift of the one whose essence is power and whose nature is greatness, for He fills with greatness and strength the small and the weak who believe in Him.

She did well to add:  and holy is his name, to warn those who heard and indeed all who would receive His words, that they must believe and call upon His name.   For they too could share in everlasting holiness and true salvation, according to the words of the prophet – and it will come to pass, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.   This is the name she spoke of earlier – and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour.

VESPERS & THE MAGNIFICAT:  AN EVENING CANTICLE
Therefore it is an excellent and fruitful custom of holy Church that we should sing Mary’s hymn at the time of evening prayer.   By meditating upon the incarnation, our devotion is kindled and by remembering the example of God’s Mother, we are encouraged to lead a life of virtue.   Such virtues are best achieved in the evening.  We are weary after the day’s work and worn out by our distractions.   The time for rest is near and our minds are ready for contemplation.

The great canticle by the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Magnificat, proclaimed by Mary during her Visitation to St Elizabeth,  is celebrated and explained in this excerpt from a homily by Saint Bede the Venerable (Lib 1,4:CCL 122, 25-26, 30) which is used in the Roman Catholic Liturgy’s Divine Office of Readings for the Feast of the Visitation, 31 May, with the accompanying biblical reading being from Song of Songs 2:8-14 and 8:6-7.   With Mary’s soul, we proclaim the greatness of the Lord and rejoice in God, her Saviour and ours, each evening in Vespers prayer.

St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father & Doctor of the Church

Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us!

St Elizabeth, Pray for us!mary mother of god, st elizabeth, pray for us - 31 may 2018 - the visitation