Thought for the Day – 6 May – The Contest of Faith

Thought for the Day – 6 May – Monday of the Third week of Easter, Gospel: John 6:22–29 and the Memorial of St Francois Laval (1623-1708)

The Contest of Faith

Saint Cyprian of Carthage (200-258)
Bishop, Martyr, Father of the Church and Martyr

An excerpt from his Letter 58

Dear brothers, the commands of the Gospel are nothing else than God’s lessons, the foundations on which to build up hope, the supports for strengthening faith, the food that nourishes the heart.   They are the rudder for keeping us on the right course, the protection that keeps our salvation secure.   As they instruct the receptive minds of believers on earth, they lead safely to the kingdom of heaven.

As we do battle and fight, in the contest of faith, God, His angels and Christ Himself, watch us.   How exalted is the glory, how great the joy of engaging in a contest with God presiding, of receiving a crown, with Christ as we do battle and fight - st cyoprian of carthage - 6 may 2019 the contest of faith

Dear brethren, let us arm ourselves with all our might, let us prepare ourselves for the struggle with uncorrupted minds, with a whole faith and with devoted courage.

The blessed Apostle teaches us how to arm and prepare ourselves – Put round you the belt of truth, put on the breastplate of righteousness, for shoes wear zeal for the Gospel of peace, take up the shield of faith to extinguish all the burning arrows of the evil one, take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.

Let us take this armour and defend ourselves with these spiritual defences from heaven, so that when the evil day comes we may be able to resist the threats of the devil and fight back against him.

Let us put on the breastplate of righteousness so that our breasts may be protected and kept safe from the arrows of the enemy.   Let our feet be shod in the teaching of the Gospel and armoured so that when we begin to trample on the serpent and crush it, it will not be able to bite us or trip us up.

Let us with fortitude bear the shield of faith to protect us by extinguishing all the burning arrows that the enemy may launch against us.

Let us wear on our head the helmet of the Spirit, to defend our ears against the proclamations of death, to defend our eyes against the sight of accursed idols, to defend our foreheads so that God’s sign may be kept intact and to defend our mouths, so that our tongues may proclaim victoriously the name of Christ their Lord.

Let us arm our right hand with the sword of the Spirit so that it may courageously refuse the daily sacrifices and let the hand—mindful of the Eucharist—that took hold of the body of the Lord, embrace the Lord Himself and so gain from the Lord the future prize of a heavenly crown.

Dear brethren, have all this firmly fixed in your hearts.   If the day of persecution finds us thinking on these things and meditating upon them, the soldier of Christ, trained by Christ’s commands and instructions, will not tremble at the thought of battle but will be ready to receive the crown of victory.   Amen!

St Francois Laval, who have received the Crown, please pray for us!st francois laval pray for us no 2  6 may 2019.jpg


Lenten Reflection – 24 March – “…A full and perfect patience”

Lenten Reflection – 24 March – The Third Sunday of Lent, Year C

Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15; Psalms 103:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-11; 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12; Luke 13:1-9 (Different Readings apply for the Scrutinies Mass)

Daily Meditation:
Form a new heart within.

“And he answered him, ‘Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure, And if it bears fruit next year, well and good and if not, you can cut it down.”...Luke 13:8-9The third sunday - year C 24 march 2019.jpg

St Cyprian of Carthage – (c 200- c 258) Bishop and Martyr, Father of the Church

The good of patience, 6, 7-8

“This, beloved brethren, Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, did not teach by words only but he also fulfilled by His deeds… In the very hour of His passion and cross… what violent abuses He listened to with patience and what shameful insults He endured!   He was even covered with the spittle of His revilers when but a short time before, He had cured the eyes of the blind man with His own spittle(Jn 9:6)… He who now crowns the martyrs with eternal garlands was Himself crowned with thorns, He who now gives true palms to the victors was beaten in the face with hostile palms; he who clothes all others with the garment of immortality was stripped of His earthly garments, He who has given us the food of heaven was fed with gall, He who has offered us the cup of salvation was given vinegar to drink.   He the innocent, the just man, nay rather, Innocence itself and Justice itself, is counted among criminals and Truth is concealed by false testimonies.  He who is to judge is judged and the Word of God, silent, is led to the cross.   And although the stars are confounded at the crucifixion of the Lord, the elements are disturbed and the earth trembles… yet He does not speak, nor is He moved, nor does He proclaim His majesty, even during the suffering itself.   He endures all things even to the end with constant perseverance so that in Christ, a full and perfect patience may find its realisation.

And even after such sufferings He still receives His murderers if they are converted and come to Him and, with a patience instrumental in saving man, this kind Master closes His Church to no-one.   He not only receives and pardons those adversaries, those blasphemers, those persistent enemies of His name, provided they do penance for their offence and acknowledge the crime committed but He admits them to the reward of the kingdom of heaven.   What can be called more patient, what more kind? Even he who shed the blood of Christ is given life by the blood of Christ.   Such is the wonderful patience of Christ.   And unless it were so wonderful, the Church would not have had Paul, the great Apostle.”

he not only receives and pardons - st cyprian - 24 march 2019 3rdsunlentyearc.jpg

This Sunday brings us closer to the font of renewing our baptismal commitment.
It is also the first of three Scrutinies for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

We are deeply aware that there is a struggle going on in us.
We turn to God, that we might not become discouraged.
We rely on God’s compassion and love for us.
We acknowledge who we are
– sinners who experience the consequences of our selfishness –
but we know we are loved and we desire to be filled with hope.

We go into this week renewed in our desire to continue our
prayer, fasting and generosity toward others.

Bless the Lord, O my soul
and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy…
Psalm 103:1-4

Closing Prayer:
Loving Father,
So many times I turn away from You
and always You welcome me back.
Your mercy and love gives me confidence
Thank You for the invitation to share, fast and pray
so that You can form a new heart within me.
Your powerful compassion for my weaknesses
leads me to ask for mercy
and await with great hope the Easter joy You share with us.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.


Lenten Thoughts – 12 March – “On the Lord’s Prayer” – St Cyprian

Lenten Thoughts – 12 March – Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

Saint Cyprian of Carthage
Bishop, Father of the Church and Martyr

An excerpt from his “On the Lord’s Prayer”

Dear brothers, the commands of the Gospel are nothing else than God’s lessons, the foundations on which to build up hope, the supports for strengthening faith, the food that nourishes the heart.   They are the rudder for keeping us on the right course, the protection that keeps our salvation secure.   As they instruct the receptive minds of believers on earth, they lead safely to the kingdom of heaven.

God willed that many things should be said by the prophets, His servants and listened to by His people.   How much greater are the things spoken by the Son.   These are now witnessed to by the very word of God who spoke through the prophets.   The Word of God does not now command us to prepare the way for His coming – He comes in person and opens up the way for us and directs us toward it.   Before, we wandered in the darkness of death, aimlessly and blindly.   Now we are enlightened by the light of grace and are to keep to the highway of life, with the Lord to precede and direct us.

The Lord has given us many counsels and commandments to help us toward salvation. He has even given us a pattern of prayer, instructing us on how we are to pray.   He has given us life and with His accustomed generosity, He has also taught us how to pray.   He has made it easy for us to be heard as we pray to the Father in the words taught us by the Son.

He has already foretold that the hour was coming when true worshippers would worship the Father in spirit and in truth.   He fulfilled what He had promised before, so that we who have received the spirit and the truth through the holiness He has given us, may worship in truth and in the spirit through the prayer He has taught.

What prayer could be more a prayer in the spirit than the one given us by Christ, by whom the Holy Spirit was sent upon us?   What prayer could be more a prayer in the truth than the one spoken by the lips of the Son, who is Truth Himself?   It follows that to pray in any other way than the Son has taught us is not only the result of ignorance but of sin.   He himself has commanded it and has said – You reject the command of God, to set up your own tradition.

So, my brothers, let us pray as God our master has taught us.   To ask the Father in words His Son has given us, to let Him hear the prayer of Christ ringing in His ears, is to make our prayer one of friendship, a family prayer.   Let the Father recognise the words of His Son.   Let the Son who lives in our hearts, be also on our lips.   We have Him as an Advocate for sinners, before the Father, when we ask for forgiveness for ours sins, let us use the words given by our Advocate.   He tells us – Whatever you ask the Father in my name, He will give you.   What more effective prayer could we then make, in the name of Christ, than in the words of His own prayer?let us pray as god our master has taught us - st cyprian 12 march 2019 lenten thoughts no 2

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

Quote/s of the Day – 12 March – “Speaking of Prayer”

Quote/s of the Day – 12 March – Tuesday of the First Week of Lent, C – Gospel Matthew 6:7–15 and the Memorial of St Luigi Orione FDP (1872-1940)

“Speaking of Prayer”

“Without Prayer nothing good is done.
God’s works are done with our hands joined
and on our knees.
Even when we run,
we must remain spiritually
kneeling before Him.”

Saint Luigi Orione (1872-1940)without-prayer-bl-luigi-orione-12 march 2019.jpg

“But if He who was without sin prayed,
how much more ought sinners to pray
and if He prayed continually,
watching through the whole night with uninterrupted petitions,
how much more ought we
to lie awake at night in continuing prayer!”

St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200- c 258)

Father of the Church

(The Lord’s Prayer #29)luke 5 16 but he withdrew to the wilderness - but if he who was without sin - st cyprian 11 jan 2019.jpg

“Your prayer is a conversation with God.
When you read, it is God who is speaking,
when you pray, it is with God that you are speaking.”

St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Churchyour-prayer-is-a-conversation-st-augustine-19-sept-2018.jpg

“All that one says to the Saviour is prayer
and when the mind cannot apply itself,
to the effort of true prayer,
a few simple words to Him become one.
It is needful always to think of Him,
even if it is only by the thought
that one is thinking less of Him –
one must be always thinking of Him
and then bit by bit,
He draws one back entirely to Him,
He is so good!”

Eugene de Ferronays (1827 – 1894)all-that-one-says-to-the-saviour-is-prayer-eugene-de-ferronays-9-jan-2019.jpg

“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.jpg

“Prayer is necessary to receive the help of God,
as grain is needed to harvest … a humble and trustful prayer,
for what is necessary for salvation,
is never lost.
It is heard at least by the fact,
that it begs for the grace,
to abide in prayer.”

Blessed Michal Sopoćko (1888-1975)prayer-is-necessary-bl-michal-sopocka-15-feb-2019.jpg


One Minute Reflection – 8 February – “I want you to give me the head of John the Baptist.”

One Minute Reflection – 8 February – Friday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Mark 6:14–29 and the Memorial of St Jerome Emiliani (1486–1537)

“I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”…Mark 6:25

REFLECTION – “If it is glorious for the soldiers of this world to return to their fatherland triumphant, after vanquishing the enemy, how much better and greater is the glory for one who, after overcoming the devil, returns triumphant to heaven and after laying him low who had formerly deceived us, brings back the trophies of victory there, whence Adam, the sinner, had been ejected?   To offer the Lord the most acceptable gift of an uncorrupted faith, an unshaken virtue of the mind, an illustrious praise of devotion?… To become co-heir of Christ, to be made equal to the angels, to rejoice with the patriarchs, with the apostles, with the prophets in the possession of the heavenly kingdom?   What persecution can conquer these thoughts, what torments can overcome them?…

The lands are shut off in persecutions, heaven is open… How great a dignity and, how great a security it is to go forth hence happy, to go forth glorious in the midst of difficulties and affliction!   For a moment to shut the eyes with which men and the world are seen, to open them immediately that God and Christ may be seen!… If persecution should come upon such a soldier of God, virtue made ready for battle will not be able to be overcome him.   Or if the summons should come beforehand, the faith which was prepared for martyr­dom will not be without its reward…  In persecution, God crowns loyal military service, in peace, purity of conscience is crowned.”…St Cyprian (c.200-258) Bishop and Martyr, Father of the Churchmark 6 25 I want you to give me at once the head of john - to become co-heirs with christ - st cyprian 8 feb 2019.jpg

PRAYER– Father of mercy, You chose St Jerome Emiliani to be a father to orphans in their need.   Grant that through his prayer, we may keep faithfully the spirit of sonship, by which we are not only called but really are Your children.   Help us to imitate his love and faith, manifesting by our commitment to Your commandments, our true faith.   May we be filled with strength and grace as we face persecution and animosity in Your service.   We make our prayer through Jesus, our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever, amenst-jerome-emiliani-pay-for-us-8-feb-2018.jpg


Sunday Reflection – 3 February – “May we be Worthy” – St Cyprian of Carthage

Sunday Reflection – 3 February – Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

“May we be Worthy”

“He [Paul] threatens, moreover, the stubborn and forward and denounces them, saying, ‘Whosoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’ [1 Cor. 11:27].

All these warnings being scorned and contemned—[lapsed Christians will often take Communion] before their sin is expiated, before confession has been made of their crime, before their conscience has been purged by sacrifice and by the hand of the priest, before the offence of an angry and threatening Lord has been appeased, [and so] violence is done to His body and blood and they sin now, against their Lord, more with their hand and mouth than when they denied their Lord”

St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200- c 258) Bishop and Martyr, Father of the Church
(The Lapsed 15–16 [written in 251])lapsed christians - st cyprian of carthage - 3 feb 2019 sun reflec.jpg

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, ON the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 20 January – The Memorial of St Pope Fabian (c 200 – c 250) Martyr

Thought for the Day – 20 January – The Memorial of St Pope Fabian (c 200 – c 250) Martyr

St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200- c 258) Bishop and Martyr, Father of the Church, here writes of the martyrdom of St Fabian who had been elected bishop of the Church of Rome in 236.   In 250, at the beginning of the persecution of the Emperor Decius, Pope Fabian was captured, martyred and buried in the catacombs, in cemetery of Saint Callistus.   St Cyprian himself was arrested in Carthage a few years later and also won the crown of martyrdom.

When St Cyprian had learnt of Pope Fabian’s death, he sent this letter to the presbyters and deacons of Rome:

“When the report of the departure of the excellent man, my colleague, was still uncertain among us, my beloved brethren and I was wavering doubtfully in my opinion on the matter, I received a letter sent to me from you by Crementius the sub-deacon, in which I was fully informed of his glorious end and I rejoiced greatly, that the integrity of his administration had been matched, by the nobility of his end.

I greatly congratulate you that you honour his memory with so public and illustrious a testimony, through which you have made known to me not only the memory of your bishop, which confers glory upon you but also an example of faith and strength, that I should follow.

For just as the fall of a bishop tends to bring about the ruinous fall of his followers, so it is a useful and helpful thing when, by the firmness of his faith, a bishop becomes manifest to his brethren as an object of imitation.”

Before receiving the above letter, the Church of Rome wrote to Cyprian, bearing witness to its steadfastness in persecution:

“The church stands in faith, even though some have been driven to fall by sheer terror, whether because they were people of some eminence or that, when they were seized, they were overwhelmed by the fear of man.   We did not abandon these people, although they were separated from us but exhort them and exhort them still, to repent, so that they may somehow receive pardon from Him, who is able to pardon them and so that they should not, by being deserted by us, become worse.

So you see, brethren, that you ought to do the same, so that even those who have fallen may be brought to their senses by your exhortation and confess, if they are seized once more and so make amends for their former sin.   You have other duties too, which we have added here.   For example, if anyone who has fallen into this temptation begins to be taken with sickness and repents of what he has done and desires communion, it must be granted to them in any case.

And if you have widows or bedridden people who cannot maintain themselves, or people who are in prison or otherwise excluded from their own dwellings, they must always have someone to minister to them.   Moreover, catechumens who are taken ill should not be disappointed in their hopes but should also be given help.

The brethren who are in chains greet you, as do the elders and the whole Church, which also, with the deepest anxiety, keeps watch over all who call on the Lord.   And we too ask that you in your turn should remember us.”

The above is an excerpt from a letter from Saint Cyprian to the Roman Church (Ep. 9, 1 et 8, 2-3: CSEL 3, 488-489, 487-488) on the occasion of the martyrdom of Pope Fabian. It is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the memorial of Sts Fabian on January 20, the same day on which St Sebastian is honoured.

St Pope Fabian, Pray for Us!st pope fabian pray for us 20 jan 2019
St Sebastian, Pray for Us!st-sebastian-pray-for-us-no-2-20-jan-2018.jpg