One Minute Reflection – 25 September – Today’s Gospel: Luke 8:19-21 – Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth week in Ordinary Time, Year B and the Memorial of St Vincent Strambi C.P. (1745-1824)
But he said to them, “My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it.”...Luke 8:21
REFLECTION – “Look upon the face of the Crucified, who invites you to follow Him. He will be a Father, Mother–everything to you.”….St Paul of the Cross C.P. (1694-1775)
PRAYER – Jesus, our Lord and our God, only You are the best Shepherd of Your Church and we, the sheep of Your flock, who follow You and hear and do Your Word. Support with grace those who are responsible for the fate of Your fold, so that following the example of St Vincent Maria Strambi, they devote all their powers and talents to service to the Church. In God, our Father we pray through You who live in union with Him and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ages and ages. Amen
Saint of the Day – 25 September – St Vincent Strambi C.P. (1745-1824) Passionist Religious Priest and Bishop of Macerata and Tolentino, Apostle of Charity, Preacher, Teacher, a man of great learning and prodigious memory.
Born in 1745 at Civitavecchia near Rome, the son of a wealthy businessman, Saint Vincent Strambi never showed any inclination for any occupation other than the service of God. He found his vocation when after his ordination as a deacon in 1767, he made a retreat amid the Passionists of Monte Fogliano, where Saint Paul of the Cross (1694-1775), their founder, was residing at the time. The Passionist houses are called retreats and by their Rule must be situated outside cities. Saint Paul of the Cross told his brethren on his deathbed, as he had taught them during his active years, to conserve always the spirit of prayer, solitude and poverty, in that way the apostolic success of their works would also be conserved. The life of contemplation, essential formation for any fruitful works, was what Saint Vincent Strambi already desired.
It was formally declared by St Vincent’s last secretary, Monsignor Catervo Serrani, that it would not be temerity to believe that he knew by heart all the works of Saint Thomas Aquinas. The same might have been said of his knowledge of Sacred Scripture. His studies of religion, ever an inexhaustible wealth, continued throughout his lifetime, yet his preaching was so simple that all could easily grasp his thought. He never used notes but taught according to the needs of his listeners, which he always discerned with exactitude after praying intently at the foot of the crucifix. As he studied, he seemed to see around his desk the faces of his spiritual children, waiting for the bread of life he was destined to break for them. This method of study has been preserved among his followers in the Order; the Passionists think of and pray for, their future spiritual children before they study.
Saint Vincent became a bishop after many years of preaching missions all over Italy. But never could he forget his Order, though he had to put aside its habit. Saint Paul of the Cross on his deathbed had said to him several times: ‘Padre Vincenzino, I recommend to you the poor Congregation’. When Saint Vincent asked what he wished him to do, Saint Paul replied: ‘You will do great things! You will do great good ! I recommend to you this poor Congregation!’
In 1773 Father Paul put the former seminary prefect and rector in charge of the training of the young students for future missionary preaching at the newly acquired monastery of Sts John and Paul in Rome. Eventually Father Vincent would write a manual on Sacred Eloquence. In this way Father Vincent was able to be with St Paul during the final years of his life. Paul saw in this young man the apostolic spirit of holiness he was bequeathing to his congregation. We are told that as he was dying St Paul one day turned to Father Vincent Mary and told him he was entrusting the congregation to his care.
Vincent, like the others, missed the founder very much as he continued to prepare young Passionists for the missionary apostolate. He also went forth to preach missions as often as possible.
As bishop of Macerata and Tolentino, he continued whenever possible to rise at midnight for the divine office and regretted being unable to dedicate more than five hours to prayer each day. He called in the poor and gave them alms, he visited the hospitals and the prisoners, blessed, embraced and helped them. He visited every religious house of his diocese, then the Canons and the parish priests. He preached for his clergy a beautiful mission, then organised specialised services for the various professions of the laity, saying, the lawyers need different instruction and different sowings than the merchants or the physicians, for example, to each his own portion of the truth! His table was very frugal, never did he permit more than two dishes. He reduced expenditures to a minimum, to be able to give more to the poor.
He wished to resign as bishop at the age of seventy-eight and Pope Leo XII ceded to his wish but asked him to come to Rome as his counsellor. That his life was soon to end was revealed to him and when the Holy Father was about to die that same year, he offered his life to save that of the Vicar of Christ. He did not say so directly but told everyone not to be anxious, because the Pope would live. Someone he knew had offered his life for him, he added. The prayer was answered on the very day he said this, 24 December, the Pope rose, suddenly cured. Three days later Saint Vincent was struck by apoplexy and died on 1 January 1824. He was Canonised by Pope Pius XII in 1950.
In 1780 he became rector of the Community of Sts John and Paul. In 1781 he was elected provincial. He also served as provincial and general consultor. During this time that he published a biography of the founder. Father Vincent used the testimonies of eye-witnesses as given in the Canonisation processes. It is said that he wrote the life of St Paul on his knees, out of reverence for the founder. His “Life” of Saint Paul has become a classic.
Quote/s of the Day – 14 September – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
“In the Cross is salvation; in the Cross is life; in the Cross is protection against our enemies; in the Cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness; in the Cross is strength of mind; in the Cross is joy of spirit; in the Cross is excellence of virtue; in the Cross is perfection of holiness. There is no salvation of soul, nor hope of eternal life, save in the Cross.”
Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471) The Inner Life
“The road is narrow. He who wishes to travel it more easily must cast off all things and use the cross as his cane. In other words, he must be truly resolved to suffer willingly for the love of God in all things.”
St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Doctor of the Church
The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart. The cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it is not one inch too large nor one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His holy name, anointed it with His grace, perfumed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God.
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church
Camillus wanted to have on his habit the Sign of the Cross in order ‘to demonstrate that this is a religion of the Cross… so that those who want to follow our way of life will get ready… to follow Jesus Christ unto death’. He wanted it to be dark red ‘because more like the true wood of the most holy Cross on which the Redeemer of the World died and was appended’.
St Camillus de Lellis (1550-1614)
“Oh cherished cross! Through thee my most bitter trials are replete with graces!”
St Paul of the Cross (1694-1775)
“Everything is a reminder of the Cross. We ourselves are made in the shape of a cross.”
St John Vianney (1786-1859)
“Let us not forget, that Jesus not only suffered but also rose in glory; so, too, we go to the glory of the Resurrection, by way of suffering and the Cross.”
St Maximillian Kolbe (1894 -1941)
“There is line from the illuminator of the St John’s Bible that states: “We have to love our way out of this.” There is nothing wimpy or namby-pamby or blind about this conviction. When we love extravagantly, we are not purposely blinding ourselves to moral realities— just the contrary.
Love is not a sentiment, but “a harsh and dreadful thing,” as Dostoevsky said.
This is just what Jesus shows on His terrible cross. And this is just what we, His followers, must imitate. Taking up the cross means, not just being willing to suffer but being willing to suffer as He did, absorbing violence and hatred through our forgiveness and nonviolence.”
One Minute Reflection – 30 March 2018 – Good Friday of the Passion of the Lord
When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples across the Kidron valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with his disciples..…..John 18:1-2
REFLECTION – “Jesus was in a garden, not of delight as the first Adam, in which he destroyed himself and the whole human race but in one of agony, in which He saved Himself and the whole human race.”…Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
“Do not pass one day without devoting a half hour, or at least a quarter of an hour, to meditation on the sorrowful Passion of your Saviour. Have a continual remembrance of the agonies of your crucified Love and know that the greatest saints, who now, in heaven, triumph in holy love, arrived at perfection in this way.” – St Paul of the Cross (1694-1775)
PRAYER – Be mindful Lord, of this Your family, for whose sake our Lord Jesus Christ, when betrayed, did not hesitate to yield Himself into His enemies hands and undergo the agony of the Cross. Help us holy Father, to ever keep the Cross in our hearts and minds and to accept our own with love of You. Through Jesus our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 26 March 2018 – Monday of Holy week and the Memorial of St Braulio (590-651)
Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was filled with the scent of the ointment…John 12:3
REFLECTION – “O souls! Seek a refuge, like pure doves, in the shadow of the crucifix. There, mourn the Passion of your divine Spouse and drawing from your hearts flames of love and rivers of tears, make of them a precious balm with which to anoint the wounds of your Saviour.”…St Paul of the Cross (1694-1775)
PRAYER – Almighty God, grant that we who are constantly betrayed by our own weakness, may draw the breath of new life from the passion and death of Your only-begotten Son. St Braulio, you who worked so zealously to assist those in weakness, both in body and soul, please pray for us too. Through our Lord and Saviour, who suffered and died for us, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 19 October
The Memorials of St Paul of the Cross and Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko
“Look upon the face of the Crucified, who invites you to follow Him. He will be a Father, Mother–everything to you.”
“Do not live any longer in yourself but let Jesus Christ live in you in such a way that the virtue of this Divine Saviour may be resplendent in all your actions, in order that all may see in you a true portrait of the Crucified and sense, the sweetest fragrance of the holy virtues of the Lord, in interior and exterior modesty, in patience, in gentleness, suffering, charity, humility and in all others that follow.”
St Paul of the Cross (1604-1775)
“It is not enough for a Christian to condemn evil, cowardice, lies and use of force, hatred and oppression. He must at all times be a witness to and defender of justice, goodness, truth, freedom and love. He must never tire of claiming these values as a right both for himself and others.”