Archive for July, 2008

Some food for thought.

July 30, 2008

I was sent this as an email and decided to share it as it raises some good points.

Msgr. Ian+

> >> The obituary of
> >> Mr. Common Sense – interesting and sadly rather true.
> >>
> >> Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has
> >> been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since
> >> his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be
> >> remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as; knowing when to
> >> come in out of the rain; why the early bird gets the worm; Life isn’t
> >> always fair; and maybe it was my fault.
> >>
> >> Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more
> >> than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in
> >> charge).
> >>
> >> His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but
> >> overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy
> >> charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens
> >> suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher
> >> fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
> >>
> >> Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job
> >> that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly
> >> children.
> >>
> >> It declined even further when schools were required to get parental
> >> consent to administer sun lotion or an Aspirin to a student but could not
> >> inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an
> >> abortion.
> >>
> >> Common Sense lost the w ill to live as the Churches became businesses.
> >> Also when criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common
> >> Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in
> >> your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
> >>
> >> Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to
> >> realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in
> >> her lap and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
> >>
> >> Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his
> >> wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He
> >> is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now,
> >> Someone Else Is To Blame, and I’m A Victim.
> >>
> >> Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone. If you
> >> still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do
> >> nothing.’

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Daily Reflection: July 24 2008 the Feast of St. Charbel Makhlouf

July 24, 2008

Collect of the  Day:

Lord God, you kept Saint Charbel Makhlouf faithful to Christ’s pattern of poverty and humility. May his prayers help us to live in fidelity to our calling and bring us to the perfection you have shown us in your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.

About the Saint:

Joseph Zaroun Makhlouf was the son of a Catholic Lebanese mule driver, who died when Joseph was in early childhood. He was raised by his uncle, who was displeased by the boy’s early devotion to prayer and solitude. At the age of 23, Joseph went secretly to the monastery of Our Lady of Mayfug, a house of the Maronite Baladite order. When he was admitted to the order in 1851 he took the religious name Charbel–a 2nd century Antiochean martyr. In due course, Charbel made his solemn vows in 1853 and, in 1859, he was ordained to the priesthood, thus becoming what is known as a ‘hieromonk.’ This practice is more common in Roman rather than Eastern traditions.
Father Charbel traversed the divide between East and West in other ways as well. For example, one of his favorite books was the Imitation of Christ.

He lived the life of a model monk in the monastery of St. Maro at Annaya (Gibail) for 15 years–singing office in choir and working in the monastic vineyards and olive orchards with strict obedience and personal self-denial. He wished, however, to more closely imitate the Desert Fathers. To do this, in 1875, he took a hermitage near St. Peter and St. Paul.

For the next 23 years he lived an ascetic life. His home consisted of four tiny rooms and a chapel, which were shared with three others. For all these years Charbel spoke to another monk only when it was absolutely necessary. He ate but one meal of vegetables daily. He tasted no meat. He drank no wine, save a drop at the Eucharist. He ate no fruit. He also undertook four annually periods of fasting. He refused to touch money.

Instead of a bed Charbel Makhlouf had used a duvet filled with dead leaves, on top of which he used a goatskin for cover. His pillow was a piece of wood. When anyone came to inhabit the three other rooms, Charbel placed himself under obedience to them. He recited his office at midnight. During these 23 years, more and more people came to ask his counsel, prayers, and blessing.

Thus in the 19th century Father Charbel Makhlouf-along with a few other saintly men-had tried to live again the austere life of the desert fathers of the early church. He belonged to the Christian body known as Maronites, a group which traces its name back to Saint Maro, a friend of Saint John Chrysostom. This group of Christians, most of whom still live in Lebanon, have been united to the Western Church since the 12th century, thus bringing into Western Christendom traditions of great value that might readily have been forgotten. These traditions are ones of enormous self- discipline, and few have exemplified them better than Charbel Makhlouf.

After 23 years of this ascetic life, Charbel had a paralyzing stroke just before the consecration while celebrating the Eucharist in his chapel, and died eight days later on Christmas Eve. After his death many favors and miracles were claimed through his intercession in heaven. Today his tomb is visited by large numbers of people, not only Lebanese Maronites and not only Christians

It was also necessary for the Roman authorities to investigate the phenomenon of a kind of “bloody sweat” that flowed from his body during the period up to 1927 and again in 1950. Some months after his burial, the body was fresh and incorrupt and was placed in a new coffin, where a reddish perspiration flowed and caused the monks to change his clothes twice weekly. In 1927, the patriarch initiated an enquiry and the body was reburied. In 1950, after liquid was observed on the wall of the tomb, the body was found fresh and incorrupt again. Instantaneous cures and miraculous healings were claimed, some of whose beneficiaries are non- Christian.

Reflection:

 In todays Gospel Jesus tells us:

‘Happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear! I tell you solemnly, many prophets and holy men longed to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.’

This is a passage that contains a really important truth that is often overlooked in our modern Christian lives, and this that we are so lucky to have Christ with us at all times. In fact I feel that modern Christians can take this for granted sometimes. We have Christ present on the Altars of His church everyday, we have Him waiting for us in the Tabernacle, He is present in all the other sacraments as well, and we have Him daily speaking to us through the Gospel which faithfully records His Ministry and Teachings. Who could ask for any more?

Msgr. Ian+

Daily Reflection: 23 July 2008 the Feast of Saint Bridget of Sweden, religious

July 23, 2008

Revelations of St Bridget

Collect of  the Day

Lord our God, you revealed the secrets of heaven to Saint Bridget as She meditated on the suffering and death of your Son. May your people rejoice in the revelation of your glory.

We make our prayer Our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever one God world without end Amen.

About the Saint

Saint Bridget was born in Sweden in 1303, married in 1316, a member of high Swedish society. She had eight children. She and her husband lived devout lives. After her husbands death in 1344 she lived with even greater asceticism; she received revelations and appealed to the kings of Europe and the Pope for peace and restoration of the Papacy to Rome. She journeyed to Rome for the Holy Year in 1350, and lived there for the rest of her life in poverty. She asked the Pope to approve the foiundation of a religious community, but this was not approved until after her death, in 1373. (the Bridgetines)

The Fifteen Prayers Revealed by Our Lord to Saint Bridget of Sweden

In the Church of St. Paul at Rome

Are published under sanction of the Decree of November 18, 1966, published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, Vol. 58, No. 16 of December 29, 1966.

Prayers Approved by Pope Pius IX

Pope Benedict XV expressed himself as follows on the Revelations of St. Bridget:

“The approbation of such revelations implies nothing more than, after mature examination, it is permissible to publish them for the unit of the faithful.  Though they don’t merit the same credence as the truths of religion, one can, however, believe them out of human faith, conforming to the rules of prudence by which they are probable, and supported by sufficient motives that one might believe in them piously.
(Les Petits Bollandistes, tome XII)

The 14th of June 1303, at the moment Bridget was born, Benedict, the curate of Rasbo, prayed for the happy deliverance of Ingeborde.  Suddenly he found himself enveloped by a luminous cloud out of which Our Lady appeared:

“A child has been born at Birger; her voice will be heard by the entire world.”

Sagii, die XXIV Aprilis 1903
Imprimature.
FJ. Girard, V.G.

 

These prayers and these Promises have been copied from a book printed in Toulouse in 1740 and published by the P. Adrien parvilliers of the Company of Jesus, Apostolic Missionary of the Holy Land, with approbation, permission and recommendation to distribute them.

Parents and teachers who will read them to young infants for at least one year will assure their being preserved for life from any grave accident which would involve the loss of one of their five senses.

Pope Pius IX took cognizance of these Prayers with the prologue; he approved them May 31, 1862, recognizing them as true and for the good  of Souls.

This sentence of Pope Pius IX has been confirmed by the realization of the promises by all persons who have recited the prayers and by numerous supernatural facts by which God wanted to make known their exact truth.  A collection of small books, these prayers among them, was approved by the Great Congress of Malines on August 22, 1863.

Question – Must one recite the prayers everyday without interruption to obtain the privileges?
Answer –  One should miss saying them as few times as possible; but if for a serious reason one is obliged to miss them, one doesn’t lose the privileges attached to them, as long as one recites 5480 Prayers during the year.  One must say them with devotion and concentrate on the words one pronounces. These prayers can serve as the Way of the Cross.

Visitors to the Church of St. Paul at Rome can see the crucifix, above the Tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, sculptured by Pierre Cavallini, before which St. Bridge knelt when she received these 15 prayers from Our Lord.  The following inscription is placed in the church to commemorate the event: “Pendentis, Pendente Dei verba accepit aure accipit et verbum corde Brigitta Deum.  Anno Jubilei MCCCL.”

As St. Bridget for a long time wanted to know the number of blows Our Lord received during His Passion, He one day appeared to her and said: “I received 5480 blows on My Body.  If you wish to honor them in some way, say 15 Our Fathers and 15 Hail Mary’s with the following Prayers (which He taught her) for a whole year.  When the year is up, you will have honored each one of My Wounds.”

 

First Prayer

Say one Our Father and one Hail Mary

O Jesus Christ! Eternal Sweetness to those who love Thee, joy surpassing all joy and all desire, Salvation and Hope of all sinners, Who hast proved that Thou hast no greater desire than to be among men, even assuming human nature at the fullness of time for the love of men, recall all the sufferings Thou hast endured from the instant of Thy conception, and especially during Thy Passion, as it was decreed and ordained from eternity in the Divine plan.

Remember, O Lord, that during the Last Supper with Thy disciples having washed their feet, Thou gavest them Thy Most Precious Body and Blood, and while at the same time Thou didst sweetly console them, Thou didst fortell them Thy coming Passion.

Remember the sadness and bitterness which Thou didst experience in Thy Soul as Thou Thyself bore witness saying: “My Soul is sorrowful even unto death.”

Remember all the fear, anguish and pain that Thou didst suffer in Thy delicate Body before the torment of the Crucifixion, when, after having prayed three times, bathed in a sweat of blood, Thou wast betrayed by Judas, Thy disciple, arrested by the people of a nation Thou hadst chosen and elevated, accused by false witnesses, unjustly judged by three judges during the flower of Thy youth and during the solemn Paschal season.

Remember that Thou wast despoiled of Thy garments and clothed in those of derision; that Thy Face and Eyes were veiled, that Thou wast buffeted, crowned with thorns, a reed placed in Thy Hands, that Thou wast crushed with blows and overwhelmed with affronts and outrages.

In memory of all these pains and sufferings which Thou didst endure before Thy Passion on the Cross, grant me before my death true contrition, a sincere and entire confession, worthy satisfaction and the remission all my sins. Amen.

 
Second Prayer

Say one Our Father and one Hail Mary

O Jesus! True liberty of angels, paradise of delights, remember the horror and sadness which Thou didst endure when Thy enemies, like furious lions, surrounded Thee, and by thousands of insults, spits, blows, lacerations and other unheard-of cruelties, tormented Thee at will. In consideration of these torments and insulting words, I beseech Thee, O my Savior, to deliver me from all my enemies, visible and invisible, and to bring me, under Thy protection, to the perfection of eternal salvation. Amen.

 
Third Prayer

Say one Our Father and one Hail Mary

O Jesus! Creator of Heaven and earth Whom nothing can encompass or limit, Thou Who dost enfold and hold all under Thy loving power, remember the very bitter pain Thou didst suffer when the Jews nailed Thy Sacred Hands and Feet to the Cross by blow after blow with big blunt nails, and not finding Thee in a pitiable enough state to satisfy their rage, they enlarged thy Wounds, and added pain to pain, and with indescribable cruelty stretched Thy Body on the Cross, pulling Thee from all sides, thus dislocating Thy limbs.

I beg of Thee, O Jesus, by the memory of this most Loving suffering of the Cross, to grant me the grace to fear Thee and to Love Thee. Amen.

 
Fourth Prayer

Say one Our Father and one Hail Mary

O Jesus! Heavenly Physician, raised aloft on the Cross to heal our wounds with Thine, remember the bruises which Thou didst suffer and the weakness of all Thy Members which were distended to such a degree that never was there pain like unto Thine. From the crown of Thy Head to the Soles of Thy Feet there was not one spot on Thy Body that was not in torment, and yet, forgetting all Thy sufferings, Thou didst not cease to pray to Thy Heavenly Father for Thy enemies, saying: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Through this great Mercy, and in memory of this suffering, grant that the remembrance of Thy Most Bitter Passion may effect in us a perfect contrition and the remission of all our sins. Amen.

 
Fifth Prayer

Say one Our Father and one Hail Mary

O Jesus! Mirror of eternal splendor, remember the sadness which Thou experienced, when contemplating in the light of Thy Divinity the predestination of those who would be saved by the merits of Thy Sacred Passion, Thou didst see at the same time, the great multitude of reprobates who would be damned for their sins, and Thou didst complain bitterly of those hopeless, lost, and unfortunate sinners.

Through this abyss of compassion and pity, and especially through the goodness which Thou displayed to the good thief when Thou saidst to him: “This day, thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.” I beg of Thee, O Sweet Jesus, that at the hour of my death, Thou wilt show me mercy. Amen.

 
Sixth Prayer

Say one Our Father and one Hail Mary

O Jesus! Beloved and most desirable King, remember the grief Thou didst suffer, when naked and like a common criminal, Thou wast fastened and raised on the Cross, when all Thy relatives and friends abandoned Thee, except Thy Beloved Mother, who remained close to Thee during Thy agony and whom Thou didst entrust to Thy faithful disciple when Thou saidst to Mary: “Woman, behold thy son!”, and to St. John: “Son, behold thy Mother!”.

I beg of Thee O my Savior, by the sword of sorrow which pierced the soul of Thy holy Mother, to have compassion on me in all my afflictions and tribulations, both corporal and spiritual, and to assist me in all my trials, and especially at the hour of my death. Amen.

 
Seventh Prayer

Say one Our Father and one Hail Mary

O Jesus! Inexhaustible Fountain of compassion, Who by a profound gesture of Love, said from the Cross: “I thirst,” suffered from the thirst for the salvation of the human race. I beg of Thee, O my Savior, to inflame in our hearts the desire to tend toward perfection in all our acts, and to extinguish in us the concupiscence of the flesh and the ardor of worldly desires. Amen.

 
Eighth Prayer

Say one Our Father and one Hail Mary

O Jesus! Sweetness of hearts, delight of the spirit, by the bitterness of the gall and vinegar which Thou didst taste on the Cross for Love of us, grant us the grace to receive worthily Thy Precious Body and Blood during our life and at the hour of our death, that they may serve as a remedy and consolation for our souls. Amen.

 
Ninth Prayer

Say one Our Father and one Hail Mary

O Jesus! Royal virtue, joy of the mind, recall the pain Thou didst endure when plunged in an ocean of bitterness at the approach of death, insulted, outraged by the Jews, Thou didst cry out in a loud voice that Thou wast abandoned by Thy Father, saying: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

Through this anguish, I beg of Thee, O my Savior, not to abandon me in the terrors and pains of my death. Amen.

 
Tenth Prayer

Say one Our Father and one Hail Mary

O Jesus! Who art the beginning and the end of all things, life and virtue, remember that for our sakes Thou wast plunged in an abyss of suffering from the soles of Thy Feet to the crown of Thy Head. In consideration of the enormity of Thy Wounds, teach me to keep, through pure love, Thy Commandments, whose way is wide and easy for those who love Thee. Amen.

 
Eleventh Prayer

Say one Our Father and one Hail Mary

O Jesus! Deep abyss of mercy, I beg of Thee, in memory of Thy Wounds which penetrated to the very marrow of Thy Bones and to the depth of Thy being, to draw me, a miserable sinner, overwhelmed by my offenses, away from sin and to hide me from Thy Face justly irritated against me; hide me in Thy Wounds, until Thy anger and just indignation shall have passed away. Amen.

 
Twelfth Prayer

Say one Our Father and one Hail Mary

O Jesus! Mirror of truth, symbol of unity, link of charity, remember the multitude of wounds with which Thou wast covered from head to foot, torn and reddened by the spilling of Thy adorable Blood. O great and universal pain which Thou didst suffer in Thy virginal flesh for love of us! Sweetest Jesus! What is there that Thou couldst have done for us which Thou hast not done?

May the fruit of Thy sufferings be renewed in my soul by the faithful remembrance of Thy Passion, and may Thy love increase in my heart each day until I see Thee in eternity, Thou Who art the treasury of every real good and every joy, which I beg Thee to grant me, O sweetest Jesus, in Heaven. Amen.

 
Thirteenth Prayer

Say one Our Father and one Hail Mary

O Jesus! Strong lion, immortal and invincible King, remember the pain Thou didst endure when all Thy strength, both moral and physical, was entirely exhausted; Thou didst bow Thy Head, saying: “It is consummated.”

Through this anguish and grief, I beg of Thee Lord Jesus, to have mercy on me at the hour of my death when my mind will be greatly troubled and my soul will be in anguish. Amen.

 
Fourteenth Prayer

Say one Our Father and one Hail Mary

O Jesus! Only Son of the Father, splendor and figure of His Substance, remember the simple and humble recommendation Thou didst make of Thy Soul to Thy Eternal Father, saying: “Father, into Thy Hands I commend My Spirit!” And with Thy Body all torn, and Thy Heart broken, and the bowels of Thy Mercy open to redeem us, Thou didst expire.

By this Precious Death, I beg of Thee O King of Saints, to comfort me and help me to resist the devil, the flesh and the world, so that being dead to the world, I may live for Thee alone. I beg of Thee at the hour of my death to receive me, a pilgrim and an exile returning to Thee. Amen.

 
Fifteenth Prayer

Say one Our Father and one Hail Mary

O Jesus! True and fruitful Vine! Remember the abundant outpouring of blood which Thou didst so generously shed from Thy Sacred Body as juice from grapes in a wine press.

From Thy Side, pierced with a lance by a soldier, blood and water issued forth until there was not left in Thy Body a single drop, and finally, like a bundle of myrrh lifted to the top of the Cross, Thy delicate Flesh was destroyed, the very substance of Thy Body withered, and the marrow of Thy Bones dried up.

Through this bitter Passion, and through the outpouring of Thy Precious Blood, I beg of Thee, O Sweet Jesus, to receive my soul when I am in my death agony. Amen.

 
Concluding Prayer

O Sweet Jesus! Pierce my heart so that my tears of penitence and love will be my bread day and night; may I be converted entirely to Thee, may my heart be Thy perpetual habitation, may my conversation be pleasing to Thee, and may the end of my life be so praiseworthy that I may merit Heaven and there with Thy saints, praise Thee forever. Amen.

Daily Reflection: 22 July 2008 The Feast of Saint Mary Magdalen

July 22, 2008

Collect of the Day:

Father, your Son first entrusted to Mary Magdalene the joyful news of the resurrection. By her prayers and example may we proclaim Christ as our living Lord and one day see Him in glory.

For He lives with You and the Holy Spirit ,ever one God world without end. Amen.

About the Saint

Saint Mary was given the name ‘Magdalen’ because, though a Jewish girl, she lived in a Gentile town called Magdale, in northern Galilee, and her culture and manners were those of a Gentile. St. Luke records that she was a notorious sinner, and had seven devils removed from her. She was present at Our Lords’ Crucifixion, and with Joanna and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, at Jesus’ empty tomb. Fourteen years after Our Lord’s death, Saint Mary was put in a boat by the Jews without sails or oars – along with Sts. Lazarus and Martha, St. Maximin (who baptized her), St. Sidonius (“the man born blind”), her maid Sera, and the body of St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin. They were sent drifting out to sea and landed on the shores of Southern France, where Saint Mary spent the rest of her life as a contemplative in a cave known as Sainte-Baume. She was given the Holy Eucharist daily by angels as her only food, and died when she was 72. Saint Mary was transported miraculously, just before she died, to the chapel of St. Maximin, where she received the last sacraments.

More about this saint: Saint Mary Magdalen was well known as a sinner when she first saw Our Lord. She was very beautiful and very proud, but after she met Jesus, she felt great sorrow for her evil life. When Jesus went to supper at the home of a rich man named Simon, Saint Mary came to weep at His feet. Then with her long beautiful hair, she wiped His feet dry and anointed them with expensive perfume. Some people were surprised that Jesus let such a sinner touch Him, but Our Lord could see into Saint Mary’s heart, and He said: “Many sins are forgiven her, because she has loved very much.” Then to Saint Mary He said kindly, “Your faith has made you safe; go in peace.” From then on, with the other holy women, Saint Mary humbly served Jesus and His Apostles. When Our Lord was crucified, she was there at the foot of His cross, unafraid for herself, and thinking only of His sufferings. No wonder Jesus said of her: “She has loved much.” After Jesus’ body had been placed in the tomb, Saint Mary went to anoint it with spices early Easter Sunday morning. Not finding the Sacred Body, she began to weep, and seeing someone whom she thought was the gardener, she asked him if he knew where the Body of her beloved Master had been taken. But then the person spoke in a voice she knew so well: “Mary!” It was Jesus, risen from the dead! He had chosen to show Himself first to Saint Mary Magdalen, the repentent sinner.

From a homily on the Gospels by Gregory the Great, pope
She longed for Christ, though she thought he had been taken away
When Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and did not find the Lord’s body, she thought it had been taken away and so informed the disciples. After they came and saw the tomb, they too believed what Mary had told them. The text then says: The disciples went back home, and it adds: but Mary wept and remained standing outside the tomb.
We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tells us: Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.
At first she sought but did not find, but when she persevered it happened that she found what she was looking for. When our desires are not satisfied, they grow stronger, and becoming stronger they take hold of their object. Holy desires likewise grow with anticipation, and if they do not grow they are not really desires. Anyone who succeeds in attaining the truth has burned with such a great love. As David says: My soul has thirsted for the living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God? And so also in the Song of Songs the Church says: I was wounded by love; and again: My soul is melted with love.
Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek? She is asked why she is sorrowing so that her desire might be strengthened; for when she mentions whom she is seeking, her love is kindled all the more ardently.
Jesus says to her: Mary. Jesus is not recognised when he calls her “woman”; so he calls her by name, as though he were saying: Recognise me as I recognise you; for I do not know you as I know others; I know you as yourself. And so Mary, once addressed by name, recognises who is speaking. She immediately calls him rabboni, that is to say, teacher, because the one whom she sought outwardly was the one who inwardly taught her to keep on searching.

The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary

July 21, 2008

Albrecht Durer, The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin, 1496

The devotion to the Sorrows of Our lady first appears towards the beginning of the fourteenth century, originating in the Dominican Order and advocated by Henry Suso and other Rhenish mystics. It spread throughout the Church and reached its present form in 1482. Our Lady’s Seven Sorrows are:

1. The prophecy of Simeon (Lk 2:34-35)

2. The flight into Egypt (Mt 2:13-21)

3. The loss of the Boy Jesus (Lk 2:41-50)

4. The way of the Cross (Jn 19:17)

5. The crucifixion and death of Jesus (Jn 19:18-30 )

6. Jesus taken down from the cross (Jn 19:38 )

7. Jesus laid in the tomb (Jn 19:42)

According to Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Christ revealed to Saint Elizabeth of Hungary four special graces that would be given to those who are devoted to the Seven Sorrows:

1. That those who before death invoke the Blessed Mother in the name of her Seven Sorrows, would obtain true repentance of all their sins.

2. That He would protect in their trials all who remember this devotion, and that He would protect them especially at the hour of death.

3. That He would impress upon their minds the rememberance of His Passion, and that they would have their reward in Heaven.

4. That He would commit such devout souls into the hands of the Blessed Virgin, so that she might obtain for them all the graces she wishes to lavish on them.

Most important of all, a meditation on the Seven Sorrows is a way of sharing in them along side Our Lady. As we pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for each of the sorrows we ponder the pain she endured along with Jesus her Son and we become united to them in offering them to the Father for the benefit of all Humanity. We also become aware of the effects of our own sins, which can lead us to repentance and the freedom of forgiveness and a new life in Christ.

Daily Reflection: 21 July 2008 The Feast of St. Laurence Brindisi, Preist and Doctor of the Church

July 21, 2008

About the Saint:

 Saint Laurence was born July 22, 1559, and from an early age  showed an inclination for a monastic life. To encourage this his pious parents placed him in the Franciscan convent at Brindisi. Being left an orphan when quite young, he went to Venice, where his uncle, a man of great learning and much interested in our Saint, was Superior of the College of St. Mark. When not quite sixteen Laurence was attracted to the Capuchins, then in their first fervor, and on February1i8, 1575, he joined that Order. Applying himself diligently to study, he became a finished Hebrew scholar. At the close of his scholastic career he was ordained a priest. So great was the harvest of souls gained by his preaching that Pope Clement VIII. called him to Rome to labor for the conversion of the Jews. His knowledge of the Hebrew text of the sacred books was of great help to him in his work; conversions took place in unexpected numbers, and so continued to increase that soon the name of Blessed Laurence became a household word throughout Italy. He visited nearly all the important cities of Italy, everywhere winning souls to God, and continued this missionary journey until he was recalled to fill the Chair of Theology. Subsequently he was placed in charge of the Convent of the Holy Redeemer at Venice, and afterwards made Superior of the house at Bassano. In both these positions he showed such great administrative ability, that in 1590, when barely thirty years of age, he was chosen Provincial of Tuscany. Three years later he was elected Provincial of Venice, and returned to that city. While in a remote part of the province, making his provincial visit, he learned that his uncle, who had befriended him when an orphan child, was dying at Venice, and, despite the many difficulties attending the journey, he hurried  back to the good old man’s bedside, and he remained there until his death, when the Saint resumed his provincial visits.

    In 1596 Laurence was named Definitor General, and was about to make a visitation of the Capuchin houses throughout Sicily, when Pope Clement VIII., at the request of the Emperor Rudolph II., ordered him to Germany, there to found houses of his Order, in hope of stemming the tide of heresy then deluging that kingdom. In this, as in his other good works, Laurence was eminently successful, and within a year had founded houses in Vienna,  Prague, and in Gratz.

    About this time the Turks, under Mahomet III., smarting to  avenge their defeat at Lepanto, threatened to overrun and capture Hungary, and it seemed as if no power could stay them. Germany, sadly disturbed by the Reformation, rent by feuds and civil wars, was powerless to resist single-handed. At this juncture our Saint appealed to the Catholic and Protestant courts, and soon an army of thirty thousand men was in the field, ready to meet the infidel invaders. In October, 16o1, the Turks, num­bering from eighty to ninety thousand men, crossed the Danube and confronted the Christian army, which it was decided dare not risk an engagement. But Laurence so fired the hearts of the soldiers that they were eager for the battle. Cross in hand, the holy monk advanced before the little army, and although so largely out numbered, before nightfall victory perched upon  their banners. Three days after another battle took place with a similar result, and the defeated Turks re-crossed the Danube with a loss of thirty thousand men. At one time during the second battle our Saint was carried into the thickest of the fight, and was at once surrounded by the infidels. He was rescued, however, by two officers, who remonstrated with him for his rashness and begged him to go to the rear, urging that the front was no place for him. “My place is here,” was his reply, “and here I will stay.” And stay he did until the fortunes of the day were decided in favor of the Christians.

 

    His military service ended, Laurence returned to Italy, travelling, generally, on foot, and without making himself known. He visited Loreto, humbly serving at a Mass said in the Holy House. When Easter came he went to Rome, and assisted at the General Chapter held there; and when the election for General took place he found to his great dismay that, although not fifty-three years of age, he had, been elected General of the Capuchins, the highest office in his Order.

 

    He at once started out on his official visits, journeying through Switzerland, Flanders, France, Spain, and Germany. He returned to Italy in 16o5, and had reached Naples, when he received word of the death of Pope Clement VIII. As his term of office expired that year, Laurence hoped to rest himself awhile; but there was to be no rest for him this side of the grave, and he was hurried back to Germany, then in a turmoil of agitation.

 

    The Protestant Union, which had grown out of the vexed question of the dukedom of Cleves, was strengthened by an alli­ance with Henry IV. of France, and the Catholics found it necessary to band together for self-protection. With the consent of Pope Paul V. our Saint appealed in person to Philip III. of Spain and his Queen, Margaret, who received him with great favor and sent reinforcements to Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria, then at the head of the “Holy League,” or Catholic party. As a result peace ensued, and Duke Maximilian is credited with saying that “all Germany and all Christendom owe a debt of never-dying gratitude to Father da Brindisi, for without him no League could have held together.”

 

    At the General Chapter of 1613 Laurence was appointed Definitor General, and was shortly after sent as Visitor to the Province of Genoa. On his arrival at Pavia, he summoned the Provincial Chapter, and its first act was to elect him Provincial. He endeavored to draw out of it, but Rome decided that he must accept. One round of uninterrupted labor followed. He was everywhere sought for both by princes and people. Some idea of the love felt for our Saint may be formed from what took place on his last visit to Milan. He was obliged at frequent intervals to mount the pulpit and give his blessing to the vast crowds that came from far and near to hear and see him, and as he left the city the people gathered round him, weeping and clamoring for one more blessing, until at last he was obliged to turn back; mounting the highest step in front of the church, he drew from his neck the cross he always wore, and with it blessed them. “Bless the shepherd as well as his flock,” cried the Archbishop, Cardinal Borromeo, brother of St. Charles; and kneeling humbly with the people, he, too, received our Saint’s blessing.

    The General Chapter, held June 1, 1618, gave Laurence permission to visit Brindisi, his native place, which he had not seen since his childhood.  On his way he stopped at Naples, and at the urgent request of the Cardinal and the highest men of the place, he undertook a mission to King Philip, who was then at Lisbon. He had hardly reached that place when he was taken ill ;  and on July 22, 1619, his busy life was brought to a close, and he was enabled to enjoy the rest he had so long yearned for. His penances, his virtues, and his miracles are now part of the history of the Church for which he so long and successfully labored.

Collect of the Day:

Lord for the glory of your name and the salvation of souls you gave Laurence of Brindisi courage and right judgement. By his prayers, help us to know what we should do and give us the courage to do it.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ your Son Our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit throughout all ages world without end. Amen. 

Daily Reflection 20 July 2008: Sunday Week 16 of the Year

July 20, 2008

Collect of the Day:

O Lord, be merciful to your servants and give them yet more of the gifts of your grace.
 On fire with faith, hope and love,
 may they keep your commandments with unceasing watchfulness.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
 who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 God for ever and ever.
Amen.

First reading Wisdom 12:13 – 19
There is no god, other than you, who cares for every thing,
to whom you might have to prove that you never judged unjustly;
Your justice has its source in strength,
your sovereignty over all makes you lenient to all.
You show your strength when your sovereign power is questioned
and you expose the insolence of those who know it;
but, disposing of such strength, you are mild in judgement,
you govern us with great lenience,
for you have only to will, and your power is there.
By acting thus you have taught a lesson to your people
how the virtuous man must be kindly to his fellow men,
and you have given your sons the good hope
that after sin you will grant repentance.

The Second reading Romans 8:26-27

   

 

 

 

 

The Spirit comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God.

The Gospel  Matthew 13:24-43

   
Jesus put another parable before them, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well. The owner’s servants went to him and said, “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?” “Some enemy has done this” he answered. And the servants said, “Do you want us to go and weed it out?” But he said, “No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.”’
He put another parable before them, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.’
He told them another parable, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’
In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy:
I will speak to you in parables
and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.Then, leaving the crowds, he went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain the parable about the darnel in the field to us.’ He said in reply, ‘The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offences and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Listen, anyone who has ears!’

Reflection:

Today in the first reading we have a wonderful message from the Book of Wisdom on the love and mercy of God. The author tells us that ‘God’s justice has its source in His strength’. This is such an awesome revelation, although God is supremely strong and has no equal, He does not use this strength for selfish purposes or to force people to do His will. Rather His strength is shown in how just and true all His actions are. This passage can generate enormous hope for humanity because it shows that in the end, justice will ultimately prevail.

Many people ask why bad things happen to good people, or why the selfish seem to prosper while the righteous or innocent suffer. These question are as old as the human race, the one thing that seems to remain constant throughout human history is human nature. One only has to look at the book of psalms to see how close the situations in which they detail could come straight from our own headlines. But we as believers like the Psalmist can take courage because our God is a God of justice, nobody can escape Him forever. That is why we are told in Holy Scripture that “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” I once heard it said that on earth we only have the law, if we want justice, look to the world to come.

Now this reflection is not intended to bring fear or guilt to the reader, rather hope in that God is just and unlike human judges, God judges all with the same equality, but most of all He is a God of love and mercy. As Christians we must trust in His mercy while having a healthy respect for His justice, again we are told in Scripture that: “The fear (respect, awe) of God is the beginning of wisdom,” a saying that is good policy to meditate on regularly.

Msgr. Ian+

Daily Reflection; 19 July 2008 Saturday Week 15 of the Year

July 19, 2008

On the 16th of July was the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I did not post on that day but wish to do so today in memory of the Feast. As today is a Saturday it is most fitting to do so as in many places in the world Saturday devotions are practiced in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The custom of honouring Our Lady on Saturday arose first in Carolingian monasteries at the end of the 8th century, and soon spread throughout Europe. The custom was incorporated into many liturgical books and became part of the heritage of many Religious Orders that were founded in the 13th century.

In the reform that followed the Council of Trent in the 16th century, the practice of offering a special votive Mass to Mary on Saturday was included into the new roman Missal. The Second Vatican Council ratifed this practice. The faithful can honour Our Lady in a number of ways on Saturdays: by attending Mass, offering the Rosary or performing some work of charity. The church does not mandate anything specific, but rather leaves it up to the individual believers or congregation to decide how will best suit their needs.

About the Feast:

The title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was given to Our Lady in honour of her appearence to St. Simon Stock, an English Carmelite in 1251. She showed him a large brown scapular (a type of apron worn by monastics to protect their habits while working) and gave it to him as a special grace for the Order. She said, ” This shall be to you and all Carmelites a privilege, that anyone who dies clothed in this shall not suffer eternal fire; and if wearing it  they die, they shall be saved” -and released from Purgatory on the Saturday after their death. This has become known as the Sabbatine Privilege. The Brown Scapular can now be worn by anyone and is available also in the form of a medal.

Msgr. Ian+ 

A Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel:

O Mary, Virgin most powerful, I honour you under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It recalls the hermits who remained in God’s presence night and day on Mount Carmel in Palestine. Teach me also to stand always in God’s presence every moment of my life. And to do so, let me always stay in your presence, calling upon your help. Remember me in my needs and show yourself my Mother.

Shed upon me more and more the living light of the flame that made you blessed. Enkindle in me heavenly love with which you loved your dear Son Jesus. Obtain for me from Christ the gifts of humility, chastity and meekness, which were the fairest adornments of your immaculate soul. And after my earthly pilgrimage, grant that my soul may obtain the glory of heaven, through the merits of Christ and your loving intercession. Amen.

Daily Reflection 18 July 2008: Friday Week 15 of the Year

July 18, 2008

Collect of the Day:

Almighty Father, let your light soak deeply into our minds.
 Stepping forward in the light of your commandments,
 may we follow you always, our leader and our guide.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
 who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 God for ever and ever. Amen.

From the treatise On the Mysteries by Saint Ambrose, bishop
To the newly baptised on the eucharist
Fresh from the waters and resplendent in these garments, God’s holy people hasten to the altar of Christ, saying: I will go in to the altar of God, to God who gives joy to my youth. They have sloughed off the old skin of error, their youth renewed like an eagle’s, and they make haste to approach that heavenly banquet. They come and, seeing the sacred altar prepared, cry out: You have prepared a table in my sight. David puts these words into their mouths: The Lord is my shepherd and nothing will be lacking to me. He has set me down there in a place of pasture. He has brought me beside refreshing water. Further on, we read: For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I shall not be afraid of evils, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff have given me comfort. You have prepared in my sight a table against those who afflict me. You have made my head rich in oil, and your cup, which exhilarates, how excellent it is.
It is wonderful that God rained manna on our fathers and they were fed with daily food from heaven. And so it is written: Man ate the bread of angels. Yet those who ate that bread all died in the desert. But the food that you receive, that living bread which came down from heaven, supplies the very substance of eternal life, and whoever will eat it will never die, for it is the body of Christ.
Consider now which is the more excellent: the bread of angels or the flesh of Christ, which is indeed the body that gives life. The first was manna from heaven, the second is above the heavens. One was of heaven, the other is of the Lord of the heavens; one subject to corruption if it was kept till the morrow, the other free from all corruption, for if anyone tastes of it with reverence he will be incapable of corruption. For our fathers, water flowed from the rock; for you, blood flows from Christ. Water satisfied their thirst for a time; blood cleanses you for ever. The Jew drinks and still thirsts, but when you drink you will be incapable of thirst. What happened in symbol is now fulfilled in reality.
If what you marvel at is a shadow, how great is the reality whose very shadow you marvel at. Listen to this, which shows that what happened in the time of our fathers was but a shadow. They drank, it is written, from the rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. All this took place as a symbol for us. You know now what is more excellent: light is preferable to its shadow, reality to its symbol, the body of the Giver to the manna he gave from heaven.
Concluding Prayer
O God, your light guides those who have strayed and helps them back to the right path.
 Grant to all who are called Christians
 that they may reject whatever contradicts that name
 but hold fast to whatever is right for it.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
 who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 God for ever and ever.

Daily Reflection Tuesday 15 July 2008: Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor

July 15, 2008

About the Saint:

Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio (1221 – July 15, 1274), born John of Fidanza, was the eighth Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, commonly called the Franciscans. He was a Medieval Scholastic Theologian and Philosopher, a contemporary of  Saint Thomas Aquinas, and a Cardinal Bishop of Albano. He was canonized on April 14, 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV and declared a Doctor of the Church in the year 1588 by Pope Sixtus V. He was known as the “Seraphic Doctor” .

Collect of the Day:

All powerful Father, may we who celebrate the feast of Saint Bonaventure always benefit from his wisdom and follow the example of his love.

We make our prayer Jesus Christ your Son Our Lord who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, World without end. Amen.

Daily Relection:


 

Reading From the Journey of the Mind to God by St. Bonaventure
                       Mystical wisdom is revealed by the Holy Spirit
Christ is both the way and the door. Christ is the staircase and the vehicle, like the throne of mercy over the Ark of the Covenant, and the mystery hidden from the ages. A man should turn his full attention to this throne of mercy, and should gaze at him hanging on the cross, full of faith, hope and charity, devoted, full of wonder and joy, marked by gratitude, and open to praise and jubilation. Then such a man will make with Christ a pasch, that is, a passing-over. Through the branches of the cross he will pass over the Red Sea, leaving Egypt and entering the desert. There he will taste the hidden manna, and rest with Christ in the sepulchre, as if he were dead to things outside. He will experience, as much as is possible for one who is still living, what was promised to the thief who hung beside Christ: Today you will be with me in paradise.
For this passover to be perfect, we must suspend all the operations of the mind and we must transform the peak of our affections, directing them to God alone. This is a sacred mystical experience. It cannot be comprehended by anyone unless he surrenders himself to it; nor can he surrender himself to it unless he longs for it; nor can he long for it unless the Holy Spirit, whom Christ sent into the world, should come and inflame his innermost soul. Hence the Apostle says that this mystical wisdom is revealed by the Holy Spirit.
If you ask how such things can occur, seek the answer in God’s grace, not in doctrine; in the longing of the will, not in the understanding; in the sighs of prayer, not in research; seek the bridegroom not the teacher; God and not man; darkness not daylight; and look not to the light but rather to the raging fire that carries the soul to God with intense fervour and glowing love. The fire is God, and the furnace is in Jerusalem, fired by Christ in the ardour of his loving passion. Only he understood this who said: My soul chose hanging and my bones death. Anyone who cherishes this kind of death can see God, for it is certainly true that: No man can look upon me and live.
Let us die, then, and enter into the darkness, silencing our anxieties, our passions and all the fantasies of our imagination. Let us pass over with the crucified Christ from this world to the Father, so that, when the Father has shown himself to us, we can say with Philip: It is enough. We may hear with Paul: My grace is sufficient for you; and we can rejoice with David, saying: My flesh and my heart fail me, but God is the strength of my heart and my heritage for ever. Blessed be the Lord for ever, and let all the people say: Amen. Amen!

Closing Prayer:

Concluding Prayer
O God, your light guides those who have strayed and helps them back to the right path.
 Grant to all who are called Christians
 that they may reject whatever contradicts that name
 but hold fast to whatever is right for it.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
 who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 God for ever and ever.
Amen.