Saint of the day 20150321

21 March


SAINT BENEDETTA CAMBIAGIO FRASSINELLO 

(1791 – 1858)

        Saint Benedetta Cambiagio Frasinello was born on 2 October 1791 in Langasco (Genoa) Italy; she died on 21 March 1858 in Ronco Scrivia in Liguria. She was wife, religious and foundress. She let the Holy Spirit guide her through married life to the work of education and religious consecration. She founded a school for the formation of young women and also a religious congregation, and did both with the generous collaboration of her husband. This is unique in the annals of Christian sanctity. Benedetta was a pioneer in her determination to give a high quality education to young women, for the formation of families for a “new Christian society” and for promoting the right of women to a complete education.

Call to marriage, then to religious life

        From her parents Benedetta received a Christian formation that rooted in her the life of faith. Her family settled in Pavia when she was a girl. When she was 20 years old, Benedetta had a mystical experience that gave her a profound desire for a life of prayer and penance, and of consecration to God. However, in obedience to the wishes of her parents, in 1816, she married Giovanni Frassinello and lived married life for two years. In 1818, moved by the example of his saintly wife, Giovanni agreed that the two should live chastely, “as brother and sister” and take care of Benedetta’s younger sister, Maria, who was dying from intestinal cancer. They began to live a supernatural parenthood quite unique in the history of the Church.

Congregation founded by wife, who is supported by her husband

        Following Maria’s death in 1825, Giovanni entered the Somaschi Fathers founded by St Jerome Emiliani, and Benedetta devoted herself completely to God in the Ursuline Congregation of Capriolo. A year later she was forced to leave because of ill health, and returned to Pavia where she was miraculously cured by St Jerome Emiliani. Once she regained her health, with the Bishop’s approval, she dedicated herself to the education of young girls. Benedetta needed help in handling such a responsibility, but her own father refused to help her. Bishop Tosi of Pavia asked Giovanni to leave the Somaschi novitiate and help Benedettain her apostolic work. Together they made a vow of perfect chastity in the hands of the bishop, and then began their common work to promote the human and Christian formation of poor and abandoned girls of the city. Their educational work was of great benefit to Pavia. Benedetta became the first woman to be involved in this kind of work. The Austrian government recognized her as a “Promoter of Public Education”.

        She was helped by young women volunteers to whom she gave a rule of life that later received ecclesiastical approval. Along with instruction, she joined formation in catechesis and in useful skills like cooking and sewing, aiming to transform her students into “models of Christian life” and so assure the formation of families.

Benedictine Sisters of Providence

        Benedetta’s work was considered pioneering for those days and was opposed by a few persons in power and by the misunderstanding of clerics. In 1838 she turned over the institution to the Bishop of Pavia. Together with Giovanni and five companions, she moved to Ronco Scrivia in the Genoa region. There they opened a school for girls that was a refinement on what they had done in Pavia.

        Eventually, Benedetta founded the Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of Providence. In her rule she stressed the education of young girls. She instilled the spirit of unlimited confidence and abandonment to Providence and of love of God through poverty and charity. The Congregation grew quickly since it performed a needed service. Benedetta was able to guide the development of the Congregation until her death. On 21 March 1858 she died in Ronco Scrivia.

        Her example is that of supernatural maternity plus courage and fidelity in discerning and living God’s will.

        Today the Benedictine Nuns of Providence are present in Italy, Spain, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Peru and Brazil. They are at the service of young people, the poor, the sick and the elderly. The foundress also opened a house of the order in Voghera. Forty years after the death of Benedetta, the bishop separated this house from the rest of the Order. The name was changed to the Benedictines of Divine Providence who honour the memory of the Foundress.

        She was canonized by John Paul II on May 19, 2002.

– Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana




Other saints: Saint Enda (- 530)

He founded a monastery on the pagan island of Aran Mor in Galway Bay, which remained a centre for sanctity and learning for the next 300 years. See the article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

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Readings 20150321

http://www.legrc.org/regnum_db/archivos_db/podcast-en/med210315.mp3


The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

 

CROSS-WORD PUZZLES

  “No man ever spoke like that before.” —John 7:46  

“The crowd was sharply divided over Him.” —John 7:43

The temple guards “forgot” to arrest Jesus, so impressed were they by His words. However, the Pharisees were unimpressed; they said the guards and the crowds that listened to Jesus had been taken in (Jn 7:46ff). 

This was not the first time Jesus received such contradictory reactions to His words. At His hometown of Nazareth, “they marveled at the appealing discourse which came from His lips” (Lk 4:22). Nevertheless, a few minutes later, “the whole audience in the synagogue was filled with indignation. They rose up and expelled Him from the town” (Lk 4:28-29). 

Jesus “was teaching in the temple area from day to day. The chief priests and scribes meanwhile were looking for a way to destroy Him, as were the leaders of the people, but they had no idea how to achieve it, for indeed the entire populace was listening to Him and hanging on His words” (Lk 19:47-48). Jesus’ words were so powerfully popular and convicting that He was protected for years from those who were antagonized by His words. 

Jesus said: “I gave them Your word, and the world has hated them for it” (Jn 17:14). Jesus is “an obstacle and a stumbling stone. Those who stumble and fall are the disbelievers in God’s word” (1 Pt 2:8). We will either hate Jesus, His Word, and those who proclaim His Word (see Jn 15:18, 20), or we will find His words to be the joy and the happiness of our hearts (Jer 15:16). 

Let the Holy Spirit wield God’s Word (see Eph 6:17) to crucify your flesh with its passions and desires (Gal 5:24). Otherwise, you will continue to crucify Jesus (Heb 6:6). Submit to God’s Word with joy.

  Prayer: Father, I accept Your grace to conform my life to Your Word.Promise: “A Shield before me is God, Who saves the upright of heart.” —Ps 7:11 Praise: Jim left his Bible at work. He was so upset that he made the long drive back to work that night so he could have his Bible.    
  Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014. 
 
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements 


The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

When resistance and opposition to God’s word rears its head how do you respond? With fear and doubt? Or with faith and courage? The prophet Jeremiah was opposed by his own people because the words he spoke in God’s name did not sit right with them. They plotted to silence him and to “cut him off from the land of the living” (Jeremiah 11:19).  Jeremiah responded with meekness and prophetic insight “like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter” (Jeremiah 11:18). 

No one can be indifferent for long when confronted with Jesus and his claim to be the Messiah and Savior of the world. Jesus’ message and the miraculous signs he performed caused division for many in Israel. Some believed he was a prophet, some the Messiah, and some believed he was neither. The reaction of the armed officers was bewildered amazement. They went to arrest him and returned empty-handed because they never heard anyone speak as he did. The reaction of the chief priests and Pharisees was contempt. The reaction of Nicodemus was timid. His heart told him to defend Jesus, but his head told him not to take the risk.

Who is Jesus for you? And are you ready to give him your full allegiance? There will often come a time when we have to take a stand for the Lord Jesus and for the truth of the Gospel – the good news of God’s kingdom and the free gift of salvation which Jesus came to bring us. To stand for Jesus and his kingdom may provoke mockery and opposition. It may even entail suffering and hardship – such as the loss of job, reputation, or life.The Lord Jesus richly rewards those who suffer for his name’s sake. 

There are fundamentally only two choices that determine the course of our lives and the final destiny that awaits us: the choice to live for God’s kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness or the pursuit of the world’s kingdom which stands in opposition to God’s authority and commandments. We can choose to obey God’s word and believe in his promise of blessing or we can choose to follow the voice of those who promise success and happiness apart from God’s truth and laws. The costly grace and freedom – which the Lord Jesus offers to those who embrace the cross for his sake – leads to joy and blessing in this life as well as the promise of eternal happiness with God. Cheap grace – which tries to bypass the cross for the sake of being my own master and the ruler of my own destiny – leads to emptiness and endless futility. Who do you choose to be the master and ruler of your life and destiny?

“Lord Jesus, your Gospel brings joy and freedom. May I be loyal to you always, even though it produce a cross on earth, that I may share in your crown of victory for all eternity”.

Saint of the day 20150320

20 March


Saint Joseph Bilczewski

Bishop 

(1860-1923)

        Blessed Archbishop Joseph Bilczewski was born April 26, 1860 in Wilamowice near Kęty, inthe present day Diocese of Bielsko Żywiec, then part of the Diocese of Krakow. Having finished elementary school at Wilamowic and Kęty, he attended high school at Wadowice receiving his diploma in 1880. On July 6, 1884 he was ordained a priest in Krakow by Cardinal Albino Dunajewski. In 1886 he received a Doctorate in Theology from the University of Vienna. Following advanced studies in Rome and Paris he passed the qualifying exam at the Jaghellonic University of Krakow. The following year he became professor of Dogmatic Theology at the John Casimir University of Leopoli. He also served as Dean of Theology for a period of time prior to becoming Rector of the University. During his tenure at the University, he was appreciated as a professor by his students and also enjoyed the friendship and respect of his colleagues. He arduously dedicated himself to scientific work and, despite his young age, acquired notoriety as a learned man. His extraordinary intellectual and relational abilities were recognized by Francis Joseph, the Emperor of Austria, who presented Monsignor Joseph to the Holy Father as a candidate for the vacant Metropolitan See of Leopoli. The Holy Father, Leo XIII responded positively to the Emperor’s proposal and on December 17, 1900 he named the forty year old Monsignor Joseph Bilczewski, Archbishop of Leopoli of the Latin Rite.

        Given the complex social, economic, ethnic and religious situation, care for the large diocese required of the Bishop a deep commitment and called for great moral effort, strong confidence in God, and a faith enlivened by a continual contact with God.

        Archbishop Joseph Bilczewski became known for his abundant goodness of heart, understanding, humility, piety, commitment to hard work and pastoral zeal which sprung from his immense love for God and neighbor.

        Upon taking possession of the Archdiocese of Leopoli he spelled out very clearly his pastoral plan which can be summed up in the words “totally sacrifice oneself for the Holy Church”. Among other things he pointed out the need for the development of devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament and frequent reception of Holy Communion.

        A particular form of pastoral action of Archbishop Bilczewski were the pastoral letters and appeals addressed to the priests and the faithful of the Archdiocese. In them he spoke of the problems of faith and morals of the time as well as of the most pressing issues of the social sphere. He also explained devotion to the Eucharist and to the Sacred Heart in them and the importance of religious and moral formation of children and youth in the family and in school. He taught for the Church and for the Holy Father. Above all, he took great care to cultivate many holy priestly vocations. He saw the priest as first and foremost a teacher of faith and an instrument of Christ, a father for the rich as well as for the poor. Taking the place of Christ on Earth, the priest was to be the minister of the Sacraments and for this reason his whole heart had to be dedicated to the celebration of the Eucharist, in order to be able to nourish the people of God with the body of Christ.

        He often exhorted the priests to adoration of the most Blessed Sacrament. In his pastoral letter devoted to the Eucharist he invited the priests to participate in the priestly associations: The Association for Perpetual Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament and the Association of Aid to Poor Catholic Churches whose goal was to rejuvenate the zeal of the priests themselves. He also dedicated a great deal of care to the preparation of children and to full participation in the Mass, desiring that every Catechesis would lead children and youth to the Eucharist. Archbishop Joseph Bilczewski promoted the construction of churches and chapels, schools and day-care centers. He developed teaching to help enable the growth in the instruction of the faithful. He materially and spiritually helped the more important works which were springing up in his Archdiocese. His holy life, filled with prayer, work and works of mercy led 18 to his meriting great appreciation and respect on the part of those of various faiths, rites and nationalities present in the Archdiocese. No religious or nationalistic conflicts arose during the tenure of his pastoral work. He was a proponent of unity, harmony and peace. On social issues he always stood on the side of the people and of the poor. He taught that the base of social life had to be justice made perfect by Christian love. During the First World War, when souls were overtaken with hate and a lack of appreciation of the other, he pointed out to the people the infinite love of God, capable of forgiving every type of sin and offense. He reminded them of the need to observe the commandments of God and particularly that of brotherly love. Sensitive to the social questions regarding the family and youth, he courageously proposed solutions to problems based on the love of God and of neighbor. During his 23 years of pastoral service he changed the face of the Archdiocese of Leopoli. Only his death on the 20th of March 1923 could end his vast and far-sighted pastoral action.

        He was prepared for death and accepted it with peace and submission as a sign of God’s will, which he always considered sacred.

        He left this world having enjoyed a universal recognition of holiness. Wanting to rest among those for whom he was always father and protector, in accord with his desires, he was buried in Leopoli in the cemetery of Janów, known as the cemetery of the poor.

        Thanks to the efforts of the Archdiocese of Leopoli the process for his beatification and canonization was initiated. The first step was concluded on December 17, 1997 with the declaration of the life of heroic virtue of Archbishop Joseph Bilczewski by The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. In June 2001, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints recognized as miraculous the fact of the rapid lasting and unexplainable “quo ad modum” healing through the intercession of Archbishop Bilczewski of the third degree burns of Marcin Gawlik, a nine year old boy, thus opening the way for his beatification.

        The beatification took place in the Diocese of Leopoli on the 26th of June 2001 during Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Visit to the Ukraine.

        He was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 23, 2005 at Rome.



– Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana



Readings 20150320

http://www.stlukeproductions.com/benedictus-media/mp3/03_20.mp3


The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

What can hold us back from doing the will of God? Fear, especially the fear of death and the fear of losing the approval of others, can easily rob us of courage and the will to do what we know is right. Jesus met opposition and the threat of death with grace and determination to accomplish his Father’s will. Jesus knew that his mission, his purpose in life, would entail sacrifice and suffering and culminate with death on the cross. But that would not be the end. His “hour” would crush defeat with victory over sin and Satan, condemnation with pardon and freedom, and death with glory and everlasting life. He willingly suffered for our sake and embraced the cross to redeem us from sin and to restore us to new life and friendship with God our Father. 

Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) wrote: 

“Our Lord had the power to lay down his life and to take it up again. But we cannot choose how long we shall live, and death comes to us even against our will. Christ, by dying, has already overcome death. Our freedom from death comes only through his death. To save us Christ had no need of us. Yet without him we can do nothing. He gave himself to us as the vine to the branches; apart from him we cannot live.”

No one can be indifferent with Jesus for very long. What he said and did – his miraculous signs and wonders – he did in the name of God. Jesus not only claimed to be the Messiah, God’s Anointed One – he claimed to be in a unique relationship of sonship with God the Father and to know him as no one else did. To the Jews this was utter blasphemy. The religious authorities did all they could to put a stop to Jesus because they could not accept his claims and the demands he made.

We  cannot be indifferent to the claims which Jesus makes on us. We are either for him or against him. There is no middle ground. We can try to mold the Lord Jesus to our own ideas and way of thinking or we can allow his word of truth to free us from our own sinful blindness, stubborn pride, and ignorance. Do you accept all that Jesus has taught and done for you with faith and reverence or with disbelief and contempt? The consequences are enormous, both in this life and in eternity. 

“Eternal God, who are the light of the minds that know you, the joy of the hearts that love you, and the strength of the wills that serve you; grant us so to know you, that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom, in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Prayer of Saint Augustine)


The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com  

“SET FREE IN THE OPEN” (see Ps 18:20)

  “At this they tried to seize Him, but no one laid a finger on Him because His hour had not yet come.” —John 7:30  

Jesus repeatedly took His place publicly amid ferocious opposition and boldly proclaimed the Word of God. “This led some of the people of Jerusalem to remark: ‘Is this not the One they want to kill? Here He is speaking in public and they don’t say a word to Him!’ ” (Jn 7:25-26

The keys to Jesus’ fearlessness are:

  1. His relationship with His Father. Because Jesus knew that the Father loved Him (see Jn 5:20), He had total confidence that His Father would protect Him fully, until His “hour” came to suffer (see Jn 7:30; 12:27). 
  2. His knowledge of being sent by the Father to proclaim God’s Word. Jesus knew that the full authority of God the Father was backing Him up (see Mt 28:18Jn 5:36; 7:16). Because Jesus sought glory for His Father Who sent Him and not for Himself (Jn 7:18), His heart burned with zeal rather than cowered due to self-preservation. 
  3. His love. “Love has no room for fear; rather, perfect love casts out all fear” (1 Jn 4:18). 

Now Jesus says to us: “As the Father has sent Me, so I send You” (Jn 20:21). Let’s take up our places in God’s kingdom and be confident. God will give us strength even in the full sight of our foes (Ps 23:5). “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rm 8:31) Like the psalmist, we can say: “They attacked me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord came to my support. He set me free in the open, and rescued me, because He loves me” (Ps 18:19-20).

  Prayer: Father, I know fear is useless. Increase my trust in You (Mk 5:36) and take away all my fear.Promise: “Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the Lord delivers him.” —Ps 34:20 Praise:Dave forgave his wife for being unfaithful to him.   (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)  
  Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014. 
 
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Saint of the day 20150318

18 March


ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM

Bishop and Doctor of the Church

(+386)

        Cyril was born at or near the city of Jerusalem, about the year 315. He was ordained priest by St. Maximus, who gave him the important charge of instructing and preparing the candidates for Baptism. This charge he held for several years, and we still have one series of his instructions, given in the year 347 or 318. They are of singular interest as being the earliest record of the systematic teaching of the Church on the creed and sacraments, and as having been given in the church built by Constantine on Mount Calvary. They are solid, simple, profound; saturated with Holy Scripture; exact, precise, and terse; and, as a witness and exposition of the Catholic faith, invaluable.

        On the death of St. Maximus, Cyril was chosen Bishop of Jerusalem. At the beginning of his episcopate a cross was seen in the air reaching from Mount Calvary to Mount Olivet, and so bright that it shone at noonday. St. Cyril gave an account of it to the emperor; and the faithful regarded it as a presage of victory over the Arian heretics.

        While Cyril was bishop, the apostate Julian resolved to falsify the words of Our Lord by rebuilding the Temple at Jerusalem. He employed the power and resources of a Roman emperor; the Jews thronged enthusiastically to him and gave munificently. But Cyril was unmoved. ” The word of God abides,” he said; “one stone shall not be laid on another.” When the attempt was made, a heathen writer tells us that horrible flames came forth from the earth, rendering the place inaccessible to the scorched and scared workmen. The attempt was made again and again, and then abandoned in despair. Soon after, the emperor perished miserably in a war against the Persians, and the Church had rest.

        Like the other great bishops of his time, Cyril was persecuted, and driven once and again from his see; but on the death of the Arian Emperor Valens he returned to Jerusalem. He was present at the second General Council at Constantinople, and died in peace in 386, after a troubled episcopate of thirty-five years.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]




St Cyril of Jerusalem (315 – 386)

He was born in 315 of Christian parents and succeeded Maximus as bishop of Jerusalem in 348. He was active in the Arian controversy and was exiled more than once as a result. His pastoral zeal is especially shown in his Catecheses, in which he expounded orthodox doctrine, holy Scripture and the traditions of the faith. They are still read today, and some of the Second Readings of the Office of Readings are taken from them. He died in 386. He is held in high esteem by both the Catholics and the Orthodox, and he was declared a Doctor of the Church by the Pope in 1883. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia and Wikipedia.

Other saints: St Edward the Martyr (962 – 978)

He was the eldest son of King Edgar of the English, and on Edgar’s death in 975 the kingship was contested, with some supporting Edward’s claim and others supporting his much younger half-brother Æthelred (known to history as ‘Ethelred the Unready’). Edward was chosen as king and was crowned by his main clerical supporters, Archbishops Dunstan and Oswald of Worcester.
  The great nobles of the kingdom quarrelled, and civil war almost broke out. The nobles took advantage of Edward’s weakness to dispossess the Benedictine reformed monasteries of lands and other properties which King Edgar had granted to them. Edward was murdered at Corfe Castle on 18 March 978 in circumstances which are not altogether clear.
  His body was reburied with great ceremony at Shaftesbury Abbey early in 980. In 1001 his remains were moved to a more prominent place in the abbey, probably with the blessing of his half-brother King Æthelred. Edward was already reckoned a saint by this time.

You will see these texts in a more readable format and with a better layout (especially for verse) if you use the free Catholic Calendar app from Universalis.

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Catholic Calendar is free.


You may also be interested in the full Universalis app.

  • The official Grail translation of the Psalms.
  • The readings at Mass are in both the Jerusalem Bible/Grail and the NAB translations.
  • The “Mass Today” page contains the exact liturgy for today all in one place, both the Order of Mass and the prayers, antiphons and readings.
  • A perpetual liturgical calendar covering all years.
  • Local liturgical calendars for over 20 countries and dioceses.
  • A choice of views: either scrolling like a web page or page-turning like an e-book.
  • Access to all texts for all dates, past, present and future. 
  • Complete independence from the Internet. Everything is stored within the application itself.

AppStore link

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Alternatively you can pay nothing to start with and then subscribe for £0.69 / $0.99 / €0.89 per month. To do this, get the free Catholic Calendar app and press the “Try or buy” button in the calendar.


Readings 20150318

http://www.legrc.org/regnum_db/archivos_db/podcast-en/med180315.mp3


The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

Who can claim authority and power over life and death itself? Jesus not only made such a claim, he showed God’s power to heal and restore people to wholeness of life. He also showed the mercy of God by releasing people from their burden of sin and guilt. He even claimed to have the power to raise the dead to life and to execute judgment on all the living and dead. The Jewish authorities were troubled with Jesus’ claims and looked for a way to get rid of him. He either had to be a mad man and an imposter or who he claimed to be – God’s divine son. Unfortunately, they could not accept Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah, the anointed one sent by the Father to redeem his people. They sought to kill him because he claimed an authority and equality with God which they could not accept. They failed to recognize that this was God’s answer to the long-awaited prayers of his people: “In a time of favor I have answered you, in a day of salvation I have helped you” (Isaiah 49:8). 

A “covenant” to the people 
Jesus was sent by the Father as “a covenant to the people” to reconcile them with God and  restore to them the promise of paradise and everlasting life. Jesus’ words and actions reveal God’s mercy and  justice. Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah when he brings healing, restoration, and forgiveness to those who accept his divine message. 

The religious authorities charged Jesus as a Sabbath-breaker and a blasphemer. They wanted to kill Jesus because he claimed equality with God – something they thought no mortal could say without blaspheming. Little did they understand that Jesus was both human and divine – the eternal Son with the Father and the human son, conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary. Jesus answered their charge of breaking the Sabbath law by demonstrating God’s purpose for creation and redemption – to save and restore life. God’s love and mercy never ceases for a moment. Jesus continues to show the Father’s mercy by healing and restoring people, even on the Sabbath day of rest. When the religious leaders charged that Jesus was making himself equal with God, Jesus replied that he was not acting independently of God because his relationship is a close personal Father-Son relationship. He and the Father are united in heart, mind, and will. The mind of Jesus is the mind of God, and the words of Jesus are the words of God.

The unity of love and obedience 
Jesus also states that his identity with the Father is based on complete trust and obedience. Jesus always did what his Father wanted him to do. His obedience was not just based on submission, but on love. He obeyed because he loved his Father. The unity between Jesus and the Father is a unity of love – a total giving of oneself for the sake of another. That is why their mutual love for each other is perfect and complete. The Son loves the Father and gives himself in total obedience to the Father’s will. The Father loves the Son and shares with him all that he is and has. We are called to submit our lives to God with the same love, trust, and obedience which Jesus demonstrated for his Father. 

If we wish to understand how God deals with sin and how he responds to our sinful condition, then we must look to Jesus. Jesus took our sins upon himself and nailed them to the cross. He, who is equal in dignity and stature with the Father, became a servant for our sake to ransom us from slavery to sin. He has the power to forgive us and to restore our relationship with God because he paid the price for our sins.

Jesus states that to accept him is life– a life of abundant peace and joy with God. But if we reject him, then we freely choose for death – an endless separation with an all-loving and merciful God. Do you want the abundant life which Jesus offers? Believe in him, the living Word of God, who became a man for our sake and our salvation, and reject whatever is false and contrary to the gospel – the good news he came to give us. 

“Lord Jesus, increase my love for you and unite my heart and will with yours, that I may only seek and desire what is pleasing to you.”


The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com  

ON THE THRESHOLD OF…

  “In a time of favor I answer you, on the day of salvation I help you.” —Isaiah 49:8  

We have been fasting for four weeks to prepare for Easter. What will the Lord do this Easter?

  1. Some who feel forsaken and forgotten will be assured of the Lord’s tender love (see Is 49:14-15). At first, this will not change the distressing circumstances of their lives, but will dramatically change their attitude toward them. 
  2. Long-term desolation will be replaced by restoration (Is 49:8). 
  3. Many people trapped in the prison and darkness of sin will come out and show themselves (Is 49:9). 
  4. Through a series of miracles, many of you will return from a self-imposed exile in the world into life in God’s kingdom (see Is 49:9-12). 
  5. The heavens, earth, and mountains will sing because of the comfort and mercy the Lord will give us (Is 49:13). 
  6. At least hundreds of thousands of people will pass from death to life by hearing the Lord’s Word and believing in Him (Jn 5:24). 
  7. Possibly thousands of people will die in Christ, Who will raise their spirits from the dead and take them to be with Him forever in heaven (see Jn 5:29). 

The risen Lord will do several million other things this upcoming Easter season. We are on the threshold of an awesome outpouring of the Lord’s love and grace. Prepare to share in Easter 2015. Repent, confess, forgive, give, pray, fast, witness, heal, obey, believe, and love. Come, risen Lord Jesus!

  Prayer: Father, may this be the Lent of a lifetime and the springtime of my life in the Spirit. Promise: “An hour is coming in which all those in their tombs shall hear His voice and come forth.” —Jn 5:28 Praise: St. Cyril described Christians as “pressed into the service of a great King.”    
  Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014. 
 
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Saint of the day 20150317

17 March


SAINT PATRICK

Bishop, Apostle of Ireland

(c. 385-461)

        If the virtue of children reflects an honor on their parents, much more justly is the name of St. Patrick rendered illustrious by the innumerable lights of sanctity with which the Church of Ireland shone during many ages, and by the colonies of Saints with which it peopled many foreign countries; for, under God, its inhabitants derived from their glorious apostle the streams of that eminent sanctity by which they were long conspicuous to the whole world. St. Patrick was born towards the close of the fourth century, in a village called Bonaven Taberniæ, which seems to be the town of Kilpatrick, on the mouth of the river Clyde, in Scotland, between Dumbarton and Glasgow. He calls himself both a Briton and a Roman, or of a mixed extraction, and says his father was of a good family named Calphurnius, and a denizen of a neighboring city of the Romans, who not long after abandoned Britain, in 409. Some writers call his mother Conchessa, and say she was niece to St. Martin of Tours.

        In his sixteenth year he was carried into captivity by certain barbarians, who took him into Ireland, where he was obliged to keep cattle on the mountains and in the forests, in hunger and nakedness, amidst snow, rain, and ice. Whilst he lived in this suffering condition, God had pity on his soul, and quickened him to a sense of his duty by the impulse of a strong interior grace. The young man had recourse to Him with his whole heart in fervent prayer and fasting; and from that time faith and the love of God acquired continually new strength in his tender soul. After six years mspent in slavery under the same master, St. Patrick was admonished by God in a dream to return to his own country, and informed that a ship was then ready to sail thither. He went at once to the sea-coast, though at a great distance, and found the vessel; but could not obtain his passage, probably for want of money. The Saint returned towards his hut, praying as he went; but the sailors, though pagans, called him back and took him on board. After three days’ sail they made land, but wandered twenty-seven days through deserts, and were a long while distressed for want of provisions, finding nothing to eat. Patrick had often spoken to the company on the infinite power of God; they therefore asked him why he did not pray for relief. Animated by a strong faith, he assured them that if they would address themselves with their whole hearts to the true God He would hear and succor them. They did so, and on the same day met with a herd of swine. From that time provisions never failed them, till on the twenty-seventh day they came info a country that was cultivated and inhabited.

        Some years afterwards he was again led captive, but recovered his liberty after two months. When he was at home with his parents, God manifested to him, by divers visions, that He destined him to the great work of the conversion of Ireland. The writers of his life say that after his second captivity he travelled into Gaul and Italy, and saw St. Martin, St. Germanus of Auxerre, and Pope Celestine, and that he received his mission and the apostolical benediction from this Pope, who died in 432. It is certain that he spent many years in preparing himself for his sacred calling. Great opposition was made against his episcopal consecration and mission, both by his own relatives and by the clergy. These made him great offers in order to detain him among them, and endeavored to affright him by exaggerating the dangers to which he exposed himself amidst the enemies of the Romans and Britons, who did not know God. All these temptations threw the Saint into great perplexities; but the Lord, Whose will he consulted by earnest prayer, supported him, and he persevered in his resolution. He forsook his family, sold his birthright and dignity, to serve strangers, and consecrated his soul to God, to carry His name to the ends of the earth. In this disposition he passed into Ireland, to preach the Gospel, where the worship of idols still generally reigned. He devoted himself entirely to the salvation of these barbarians. He travelled over the whole island, penetrating into the remotest corners, and_ such was the fruit of his preachings and sufferings that he baptized an infinite number of people. He ordained everywhere clergymen, induced women to live in holy widowhood and continence, consecrated virgins to Christ, and instituted monks. He took nothing from the many thousands whom he baptized, and often gave back the little presents which some laid on the altar, choosing rather to mortify the fervent than to scandalize the weak or the infidels. He gave freely of his own, however, both to pagans and Christians, distributed large alms to the poor in the provinces where he passed, made presents to the kings, judging that necessary for the progress of the Gospel, and maintained and educated many children, whom he trained up to serve at the altar. The happy success of his labors cost him many persecutions.

        A certain prince named Corotick, a Christian in name only, disturbed the peace of his flock. This tyrant, having made a descent into Ireland, plundered the country where St. Patrick had been just conferring confirmation on a great number of neophytes, who were yet in their white garments after Baptism. Corotick massacred many, and carried away others, whom he sold to the infidel Picts or Scots. The next day the Saint sent the barbarian a letter entreating him to restore the Christian captives, and at least part of the booty he had taken, that the poor people might not perish for want, but was only answered by railleries. The Saint, therefore, wrote with his own hand a letter. In it he styles himself a sinner and an ignorant man; he declares, nevertheless, that he is established Bishop of Ireland, and pronounces Corotick and the other parricides and accomplices separated from him and from Jesus Christ, Whose place he holds, forbidding any to eat with them, or to receive their alms, till they should have satisfied God by the tears of sincere penance, and restored the servants of Jesus Christ to their liberty. This letter expresses his most tender love for his flock, and his grief for those who had been slain, yet mingled with joy because they reign with the prophets, apostles, and martyrs. Jocelin assures us that Corotick was overtaken by the divine vengeance.

        St. Patrick held several councils to settle the discipline of the Church which he had planted. St. Bernard and the tradition of the country testify that St. Patrick fixed his metropolitan see at Armagh. He established some other bishops, as appears by his Council and other monuments. He not only converted the whole country by his preaching and wonderful miracles, but also cultivated this vineyard with so fruitful a benediction and increase from heaven as to render Ireland a most flourishing garden in the Church of God, and a country of Saints.

        Many particulars are related of the labors of St. Patrick, which we pass over. ‘in the first year of his mission he attempted to preach Christ in the general assembly of the kings and states of all Ireland, held yearly at Tara, the residence of the chief king, styled the monarch of the whole island, and the principal seat of the Druids, or priests, and their paganish rites. The son of Neill, the chief monarch, declared himself against the preacher; however, Patrick converted several, and, on his road to that place, the father of St. Benignus, his immediate successor in the see of Armagh. He afterwards converted and baptized the Icings of Dublin and Munster, and the seven sons of the king of Connaught, with the greatest part of their subjects, and before his death almost the whole island. He founded a monastery at Armagh; another called Domnach-Padraig, or Patrick’s Church; also a third, named Sabhal-Padraig; and filled the country with churches and schools of piety and learning, the reputation of which, for the three succeeding centuries, drew many foreigners into Ireland. He died and was buried at Down in Ulster. His body was found there in a church of his name in 1185, and translated to another part of the same church.

        Ireland is the nursery whence St. Patrick sent forth his missionaries and teachers. Glastonbury and Lindisfarne, Ripon and Malmesbury, bear testimony to the labors of Irish priests and bishops for the conversion of England. Iona is to this day the most venerated spot in Scotland. Columban, Fiacre, Gall, and many others evangelized the “rough places” of France and Switzerland. America and Australia, in modern times, owe their Christianity to the faith and zeal of the sons and daughters of St. Patrick.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]




St Patrick (385 – 461)

He was born in Roman Britain around the end of the 4th century, and died in Ireland about the middle of the 5th century. As a missionary bishop, he endured many hardships and faced opposition even from his friends and fellow Christians. Nevertheless, he worked hard to conciliate, to evangelize, and to educate local chieftains and their families. He is remembered for his simplicity and pastoral care, for his humble trust in God, and for his fearless preaching of the gospel to the very people who had enslaved him in his youth. See the articles in Wikipedia and the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

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