Thought for the Day – 20 October – The Memorial of St Maria Bertilla Boscardin (1888 – 1922)
“The humble nun of Brendola is the confirmation of a tradition that makes a fervent parish the first school of how to live a life of goodness and of holiness. Saint Bertilla is now on the altars above those people called the wise and the prudent of this century. She did not attend an extensive training in the schools but was able to carry out with good grace each task entrusted to her. Her book, kept jealously among her most treasured possessions was the Catechism, given to her by her parish priest. From it, she drew inspiration and comfort as a child, retiring with it alone in solitude, after having finished the housework, to read and re-read it all the time and to teach it with fervour to her contemporaries.
Here we have a simple soul who from the first unfolding of her vocation is pleased to throw herself into it entirely and without reservation, helped on by the respect the consent and encouragement of her parents. She was happy to do even the most humble service, because she does not ask for anything for herself, nor was she diverted by fancies of curiosity or by personal preferences.
Someone – that is, the Lord – was always with her to direct and enlighten her….”…St Pope John XXIII at the Canonisation of St Maria
And ‘they’ called her “the Goose” but she is a Saint, high above all of ‘them’! The simple peasant woman who was once called “the Goose” had taken flight and soared all the way up to Heaven.
Thought for the Day – 11 October – The Memorial of St John XXIII (1881-1963)
“The Daily Decalogue of St Pope John XXIII”
Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively, without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.
Only for today, I will take the greatest care of my appearance – I will dress modestly, I will not raise my voice, I will be courteous in my behaviour, I will not criticise anyone, I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.
Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.
Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.
Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.
Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.
Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing and if my feelings are hurt, I will make sure that no one notices.
Only for today, I will make a plan for myself – I may not follow it to the letter but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.
Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good Providence of God cares for me ,as no one else who exists in this world.
Only for today, I will have no fears. In particular, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness. Indeed, for 12 hours I can certainly do what might cause me consternation were I to believe I had to do it all my life.
One Minute Reflection – 11 October – Today’s Gospel: Luke 11:5–13 – Thursday of the Twenty-seventh week in Ordinary Time and the Memorial of St Pope John XXIII
“For everyone who asks, receives and he who seeks, finds and to him who knocks, it will be opened.”…Luke 11:10
REFLECTION – ” Now by asking, He means prayer but by seeking, zeal and anxiety, as He adds, seek and you shall find. For those things which are sought require great care. And this is particularly the case with God. For there are many things which block up our senses. As then we search for lost gold, so let us anxiously seek after God. He shows also, that though He does not forthwith open the gates, we must yet wait. Hence he adds, knock and it shall be opened to you, for if you continue seeking, you shall surely receive. For this reason and as the door shut makes you knock, therefore He did not at once consent that you might entreat.
Or by the word knock perhaps he means seeking effectually, for one knocks with the hand but the hand is the sign of a good work. Or these three may be distinguished in another way. For it is the beginning of virtue to ask to know the way of truth. But the second step is to seek how we must go by that way. The third step is when a man has reached the virtue to knock at the door, that he may enter upon the wide field of knowledge. All these things a man acquires by prayer . Or to ask indeed, is to pray but to seek, is by good works to do things becoming our prayers. And to knock is to continue in prayer without ceasing.”…St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Help us my Lord, to discern through prayer and meditation, what You truly want of us. Then enable us to offer it to You and indeed to offer myself and all I have to You. Teach us to listen that we might hear Your answers, teach us to wait in patience for that which we ask and to trust in Your answer and teach us to constantly knock at Your door in prayer. May St John XXIII, pray for Holy Mother Church, pray for all the members of the Mystical Body, pray for our sons and daughters and for us all, pray for me! Amen
Our Morning Offering – 11 October – The Memorial of St Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)
Every Day I Need You, Lord By St Pope John XXIII
Every day I need You, Lord
but today especially,
I need some extra strength
to face whatever is to come.
This day, more than any other day,
I need to feel You near me
to strengthen my courage
and to overcome any fear.
By myself, I cannot meet
the challenge of the hour.
We are frail human creatures
and we need a higher power
to sustain us in all that life may bring.
And so, dear Lord,
hold my trembling hand.
Be with me, Lord, this day
and stretch out,
Your powerful arm to help me.
May Your love be upon me
as I place all my hope in You.
Saint of the Day – 11 October – St Pope John XXIII (1881-1963) “Good Pope John” – Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli became the 261st successor of St Peter, choosing the name John, the first to take that name in more than 500 years but this choice was inspired by his own Father and the 2 Patrons of his Papal Seat, St John Lateran – St John the Baptist and St John Apostle and Evangelist. He reigned from 28 October 1958 until his death on 3 June 1963. His Motto was: “Oboedientia et Pax” – Obedience and Peace (Taken In 1925 when Pius XI named him Apostolic Visitator in Bulgaria). His body is incorrupt.
“Let the winds of change blow into the Church!” said His Holiness, Pope John XXIII, symbolically opening a window at the commencement of Vatican II, today in 1962. Ever since, neither have the winds of change stopped blowing, nor have any of St Pope John’s successors, closed the window. Indeed, the Church Universal, continues to take a scrutinising look, both at herself and at the world outside that window, to enable her to continue preaching the Gospel she practises.
St John was a man with a keenness all his own. A man totally encapsulating the definitions of this word ‘keen’ – ardent, passionate, fervent, zealous, committed, conscientious, earnest, industrious, diligent, assiduous, dedicated; he had a a keen foresight that led him to call the Council whose discussions, decisions and directives have had far-reaching implications; a keen sense of duty and loyalty that ensured he maintained a busy schedule whether as a priest, a Bishop, as Archbishop, Diplomat, Nuncio, Cardinal or Pope, that was both exacting and productive; a keen sense of judgement that helped him save the Church in France many problems and heartbreak, during the priest-workers’ strife in that country; a keen sense of humanity that saw him save an estimated 25000 Jews from extermination; a keen sense of humour that saw him steer clear of controversy through many a possible crises; a keen sense of God’s providence that made him the ideal person to promote a new dialogue with Orthodox and Protestants, Jews and Muslims too and, above all, a keen sense of Christian unity that had made him own the priestly prayer of Jesus, “Ut unum sint”, “that they may be one” (Jn 17:22).
Born into a simple peasant family of Sotto il Monte near Bergamo, Northern Italy on 25 November 1881, Angelo was ordained a Priest in 1904. He was drafted into the army as a stretcher-bearer during World War I. In 1921 he was appointed national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and in 1925, consecrated Bishop. He was then Archbishop and appointed Papal diplomat firs to Bulgaria, then to Turkey and, finally, from 1944-1953, to France.
During World War II, he became familiar with several Orthodox Church leaders, establishing a rapport between the two Churches that continues to grow to this day.
In 1953, he was created Cardinal and appointed Patriarch to Venice by Pope Pius XII. Pope Pius dies on 9 October 1958 and on the 28th St John was elected Pope.
His most famous encyclicals were Mother and Teacher (1961) and Peace on Earth (1963). St John enlarged the membership in the College of Cardinals and made it more international. He set a tone for the Council when he said, “The Church has always opposed… errors. Nowadays, however, the Spouse of Christ prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity.”
On his deathbed, Pope John said: “It is not that the gospel has changed; it is that we have begun to understand it better. Those who have lived as long as I have…and have been enabled to compare different cultures and traditions … know that the moment has come to discern the signs of the times, to seize the opportunity and to look far ahead.”
This many-sided, humble, kind and holy man, had deep reserves to draw upon. His intuitive tact and gracious courtesy, his open-mindedness and uncomplicated generous approach, always succeeded in extracting the best from all who worked with him and with those he met, from every walk of life. In keeping with his Episcopal Motto “Obedience and Peace, he was truly a man of obedience all his priestly life – obedience to the will of God in all things and a man of great depths of inner peace that transmitted itself to others. As a journalist once said, “one experiences a sense of release in speaking to him.”
This beloved “Good Pope John” and “Pope of the Council”, who had become one of the most admired popes, by Catholics and non-Catholics alike, was Beatified on 3 September 2000 by St Pope John Paul and Canonised, together with the man who had Beatified him, St Pope John Paul, on 27 April 2014 by Pope Francis. His feast day today marks the Opening Day of the First Session of the Second Vatican Council.
Thought for the Day – 26 September – The Memorial of Blessed Louis Tezza M.I. (18 41-1923
Blessed Louis Tezza’s message can be readily understood in the light of the gospel. Jesus had a special concern for the sick, and furthermore he identified personally with his suffering brothers: “I was sick and you visited me. In so far as you this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me” (Mt.25.40)
Blessed Louis was chosen by God not only to live this charism of mercy for the sick but to spread it through the founding of the Institute of the Daughters of S. Camillus, an institute dedicated to care for human life from the moment of conception to natural death. He showed every Christian how to act in the face of suffering – to care and alleviate and especially to value it for one’s own sanctification and the redemption of others.
Fr Louis encourages us to believe in and operate in accordance with God’s plan for each one of us. The cornerstone of his existence was obedience to God . He was constantly seeking the will of God and striving to carry it out in his life. He could see God’s plan in the signs of the times, the ordinary events of life, in the decisions of his superiors and he was convinced that these had to be followed no matter what the cost in personal sacrifice.
He leaves each one of us today with this personal challenge, in the hope that we will make it our own:
“God’s invitation to become saints is for all, not just a few. Sanctity therefore must be accessible to all. In what does it consist? In a lot of activity? No. In doing extraordinary things? No, this could not be for everybody and at all times. Therefore, sanctity consists in doing good, and in doing this “good” in whatever condition and place God has placed us. Nothing more, nothing outside of this”.
“Blessed Luigi Tezza, glorious example of a life totally dedicated to the exercise of charity and mercy towards those who suffer in body and spirit. For them he founded the Institute of the Daughters of St Camillus, whom he taught to practice an absolute confidence in the Lord. “The will of God! Behold my only guide”, he exclaimed, “the only goal of my desires, for which I wish to sacrifice everything”. In his confident abandonment to the will of God, he took as his model the Blessed Virgin Mary, tenderly loved and contemplated particularly in the moment of the “fiat” and in her silent presence at the foot of the Cross.”… (St Pope John Paul at the Beatification of Blessed Louis) Vatican.va
Thought for the Day – 15 September – The Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary
1. The prophecy of Simeon
2. The Flight to Egypt
3. Loss of Child Jesus for 3 days
4. Meeting Jesus carrying His Cross
5. The Crucifixion of Jesus
6. The Pieta – receiving Jesus’ Body
7. The Burial of Jesus
“The Liturgy teaches us to meditate on the sorrows of Mary. So we turn once more to a memory of sadness, an example of patient endurance, to remind ourselves, for our own good, that our whole life here below is beset with trials and difficulties. It is a life of hardships but at the end, we shall receive the reward of eternal joy.
So we must always take courage – Jesus, Mary and Joseph, give us the certainty of future triumphs. In every moment of their earthly lives, they knew sorrow, privations and suffering and yet, they always reflected the eternal splendour of heaven.
The lesson all the faithful may learn from such sublime examples, is a continual encouragement and strength, by means of which, rising again after every failure and correcting the faults of our temperaments, we may all seek to reach that shore, whee perfect peace and blessing are to be found.”…St Pope John XXIII
John’s account of Jesus’ death is highly symbolic. When Jesus gives the beloved disciple to Mary, we are invited to appreciate Mary’s role in the Church – she symbolises the Church, the beloved disciple represents all believers. As Mary mothered Jesus, she is now mother to all his followers. Furthermore, as Jesus died, he handed over His Spirit. Mary and the Spirit co-operated in begetting new children of God—almost an echo of Luke’s account of Jesus’ conception. Christians can trust that they will continue to experience the caring presence of Mary and Jesus’ Spirit throughout their lives and throughout history.
Prayer to our Lady of Sorrows By St Bonaventure (1217-1274) Doctor of the Church
O most holy Virgin, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the overwhelming grief you experienced when you witnessed the martyrdom, the crucifixion and the death, of your divine Son, look upon me with eyes of compassion and awaken in my heart a tender commiseration for those sufferings, as well as a sincere detestation of my sins, in order that, being disengaged from all undue affection for the passing joys of this earth, I may sigh after the eternal Jerusalem and that henceforward all my thoughts and all my actions may be directed towards this one most desirable object, the honour, glory and love to our divine Lord Jesus, and to the you, the Holy and Immaculate Mother of God. Amen