Monthly Archives: January 2013


‘Then said he to the man sick of the palsy: Arise, take up thy bed and go to thy house. And he arose and went into his house…” (Mt 9:6-8). Note the words, ‘Arise’, ‘take’ and ‘go’. The palsied man rises when the sinner deserts the vices in which he has lain…

‘Take your bed’… “To take up one’s bed is to lift the flesh up from earthly desires to the will of the spirit. Then, what was a sign of weakness becomes a proof of health.” Take up your bed, then, separating your flesh from earthly things by continence, in hope of heavenly things. There is something similar in the second book of Kings, where it says that:

‘David defeated the Philistines, and brought them down. And he took the bridle of tribute out of the hands of the Philistines. And he defeated Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to earth. And he measured with two lines, one to put to death, and one to save alive; and Moab was made to serve David under tribute (2 Kg (Sm) 8:1-2).

Literally, understand the text like this: ‘David defeated the Philistines, and he took the bridle of tribute out of their hands’, the power that they had in Israel. ‘And he defeated Moab, and measured them with a line’, the one to whom he willed to give the inheritance, casting them down to earth, humbling them greatly. ‘He measured with two lines’, etc., deciding at his own pleasure whom to kill, and whom to keep alive.

Morally, the Philistines mean ‘those who fall down from drink’. They stand for the bodily senses, drunk with the drink of worldly vanity, falling into the pit of sin. They are called a ‘double ruin’, because they ruin themselves and the soul. Of this ruin the Lord says:

‘Every one that heareth these my words and doth them not shall be like a foolish man that built his house (his way of life) upon the sand (love of temporal things). And the rain (of the devil’s temptation) fell, and the floods (of carnal desire) came, and the wind (of worldly success or failure) blew; and they beat upon that house. And it fell’ (because its foundation was sand, dry sand representing temporal things which lack the moisture of grace); ‘and great was the fall thereof’ (Mt 7:26-27).

David defeats the Philistines, when the penitent strikes down his bodily senses by mortifying the flesh, and humbles them by remembering his baseness. Then he takes away the bridle of tribute, the desire of greed and lust which formerly bridled the bodily senses, so that they could not eat the straw of the Lord’s Incarnation, placed in the manger; but could only drink the water of earthly pleasure. A bridled horse cannot eat, but it can drink. So Jeremiah deplores this tribute in Lamentations, saying,

‘The prince of provinces is made tributary’ (Lam 1:1). The soul was once prince of provinces, the five senses; now it is tributary to carnal desires. But David takes out of their hand (their power) the bridle of tribute, when he takes up his bed, ‘crucifying the flesh with its vices and concupiscences’ (Gal 5:24).

‘And he defeated Moab’, etc. Moab is ‘from the father’, meaning the movement of the flesh which we have contracted from our fathers. As often as this Moab arises, we must strike it down, crush it, and cast it down to earth. We measure it by our judgement, with the line of harsh penance. We humble it and apply punishment in proportion to guilt. We should measure with two lines, two sorts of compunction. One refers to sin: this is to death, to mortifying the movement of the flesh; the other refers to desire for glory, life-giving to our spirit. So the Gospel continues: ‘Go to your house’. To go to our house is to return to paradise, man’s first home; or to inward care, lest we sin again. He rose, and went to his house… “It is a great virtue, when without delay the command is accompanied by salvation. How rightly did those present leave their blasphemies in amazement, and turn to praise of so great a majesty.”

So there follows: ‘And the multitude, seeing it, feared, and glorified God that gave such power to men’ (Mt 9:8). Note that they feared and they glorified. So we say in the Introit of today’s Mass: ‘All that thou hast done to us, Lord, thou hast done in true judgement: for we have sinned against thee, and have not obeyed thy commandments’ (Dan 3:28-30).

This makes it clear that the palsied man was struck with illness because of his sins; and he could not be cured until they were forgiven. We should believe all that the Lord has done, because he does them with just judgement; and we should acknowledge our sins and glorify him with the crowds, saying, ‘But give glory to thy name, and do with us according to thy mercy’ (Dan 3:42-43).

The third part of the Epistle is concordant to this third clause: ‘He that stole, let him now steal no more; but rather let him labour, working wiith his hands the thing that is good’, that is: ‘take up your bed’, because he who intends a good work, takes up the bed of his flesh; ‘that he may have something to give him that suffereth need’ (Eph 4:28). That is: ‘and go to your house.’ He goes to his house, when he bestows works of mercy on his soul, which suffers need.

Beloved brothers, let us then ask our Lord Jesus Christ to make us rise from sin, take up the bed of our flesh, and return to the house of heavenly blessedness. May he grant this, who is blessed, sweet and lovable, for ever and ever. Let every soul rising from the bed of the flesh say: Amen. Alleluia.


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O Mother of Perpetual Succour, with the greatest confidence I come before your sacred picture, in order to invoke your aid. You have seen the wounds which Jesus has been pleased to receive for our sake; you have seen the blood of your Son flowing for our salvation; you know how much your Son desires to apply to us the fruit of his redemption. Behold, I cast myself at your feet, and pray you to obtain for my soul the grace I stand so much in need of. O Mary, most loving of all mothers, obtain for me from the Heart of Jesus, the source of every good, this grace (mention it).

O Mother of Perpetual Succour, you desire our salvation far more than we do ourselves; your Son has given you to us for our Mother; you have yourself chosen to be called Mother of Perpetual Succour. Show me that you love me, show me that you are really my Mother; I do not trust in my merits, but in your powerful intercession; I trust in your goodness, I trust in your motherly love. Mother of Perpetual Succour, for the love you bear to Jesus your Son and my Redeemer, for the love of your great servant St Alphonsus, for the love of my soul obtain for me the grace I ask from you. Amen.


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Holy Lord,
Father Almighty,
Eternal God,
for the sake of Your generosity
and that of Your Son
who endured suffering and death for me,
and for the sake of the wonderful holiness of His Mother
and the merits of all the Saints,
grant to me,
a sinner unworthy of Your blessings,
that I may love You alone
and ever thirst for Your love.

Let me ever have in my heart
the remembrance of the benefits of the Passion.
May I recognise my own sinfulness
and desire to be humbled and deprecated by all.
Let nothing grieve me except sin.


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Those two great missionaries, Paul and Barnabas, travelled widely, ceaselessly preaching the news of the Kingdom despite undergoing beatings, imprisonment and rejection. St Luke tells the story of their awesome undertakings, of how they cooperated with the Spirit to tell of Jesus Christ to the various communities. On fire with the love of Jesus, they overcame every obstacle, preaching ‘in season, out of season’. We get a marvellous glimpse of this in Chapter 14 of the Acts of the Apostles when, at the end of their first missionary journey after many difficulties, they arrive in Antioch. Bursting to tell the news, “they gathered the Church together and declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27).

Having themselves experienced the overwhelming love of Christ, they burned to share it with others. “They put fresh heart into the disciples encouraging them to persevere in the faith” (Acts 14:22). The radical enthusiasm for sharing the faith which Paul radiated is at the heart of this Year of Faith. “Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy.” In his letter ‘Porta Fidei’ (The Door of Faith), Pope Benedict goes on to quote the words of St Augustine, “Believers strengthen themselves by believing.”

We must not let the gift of faith given to us lie wrapped up like a precious jewel hidden in a safe. “Fan into a flame the gift God gave you” (2Tim 1:6), Paul writes to Timothy, advice to encourage us also. True faith is not adhering to a bulk of doctrine, but an encounter with a living Person, Jesus. Now is the time to respond with all our hearts, with all our energies, to his welcome, “Come and see” (Jn 1:39) and allow ourselves to be transformed by his grace. Getting to know and love the Lord, listening and responding to his word, is the first step on this lifelong journey. As our love for him overflows, others are drawn to share this faith.

This Year of Faith, the Pope writes, is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord. We are to radiate the Word of truth in our lives. We are invited to look at and be inspired and nourished by the great riches in the treasury of our faith. “The love of Christ urges us” (2Cor 5:17) to go through that open door and bring others with us. Let us not sit idly by but, as Paul, having reached the end of his life urged his faithful disciple Timothy, “let us stand by the truths we have learned” (2Tim 3:14).
– Published in “Far East”, Magazine of the Columban Missionaries, issue January/February 2013. Find out more about the Columban Missionaries at and (external links).


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Dear Jesus, lay thy wounded Hand
upon my weary head,
and teach me to have courage
in the paths that I must tread.
Bless me, and bless those whom I love,
and give us grace to see:
these crosses bravely borne by us
will keep us close to thee.

And if at times a shadow falls
in unexpected ways,
put thy gentle Hand in mine
and guide me through the days.
So bless my people, one and all,
with thy protecting grace,
and impart to them thy Wisdom
‘ere they meet thee face to face.


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Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.
Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.
Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.
For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth.
He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.
The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.
The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth the sons of men.
From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth.
He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.
There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.
An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;
To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield.
For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.
Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.

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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in Prayers for Ordinary Time


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Born near Dijon in France in 1090, Bernard entered the Cistercian Order at the age of 22; he became the Abbot of Clairvaux. Despite his longing for the solitary contemplative life, he travelled a great deal in France, Germany and Italy, trying to reconcile the divisions in the Church at the time. He wrote many works on the spiritual life and theology.


Heavenly Father,
Saint Bernard was filled with zeal for Your house
and was a radiant light in Your Church.
By his prayers
may we be filled with his spirit of zeal
and walk always as children of light.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


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The Mass might end with “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord”, but this does not imply that everyone must immediately dash off into the marketplace. On the contrary, spending time in gratitude for the gift of Christ in the Eucharist is entirely appropriate liturgically and officially encouraged by the Church: “They may do this during the celebration with a period of silence, with a hymn, psalm or other song of praise, or also after the celebration, if possible by staying behind to pray for a suitable time” (Inaestimable Donum, 17).

St John Chrysostom wrote that, “When we have received the precious Body of Jesus Christ, we should take care not to lose its heavenly flavour by turning too soon to the care and business of the world.” St Teresa of Avila counselled her sisters not to rush out after Mass but to value the opportunity for thanksgiving: “Let us detain ourselves lovingly with Jesus and not waste the hour that follows Communion.

The time of thanksgiving will vary from person to person, but Cardinal Arinze once pointed out in one of his talks: “‘Father is doing his thanksgiving after Mass and will be available to us about ten minutes later’. And why should this not be applicable to the congregation too? Reverence is not automatic. It has to be nurtured, to be built up, to be kept up.”

There are several causes, I suggest, that explain the slipping of this prayerful custom in some places. First, the epidemic of activism – the idea that if I’m not doing something, I’m not being productive. Second, the loss of the sense of the sacred: sacred time and sacred space. You can be a wonderful witness to the reality of the sacred presence and help reverse these trends by persevering in your thanksgiving after Mass, even in the midst of bustle and action. That’s love in action!
– From “Don Bosco’s Madonna”, July 2012 issue. Contact for subscriptions or to support Seminarians: Shrine of Don Bosco’s Madonna, Matunga – Mumbai – 400 019 – India, email:

I. From the depths of my heart I thank You, dear Lord, for Your infinite kindness in coming to me. How good You are to me! With Your most holy Mother and all the Angels, I praise Your mercy and generosity toward me, a poor sinner. I thank You for nourishing my soul with Your Sacred Body and Precious Blood.

I will try to show my gratitude to You in the Sacrament of Your love, by obedience to Your holy commandments, by fidelity to my duties, by kindness to my neighbour, and by an earnest endeavour to become like You in my daily conduct.

II. O God, Your mercies are without number and Your goodness is an infinite treasure. I render thanks to Your most gracious Majesty for the gifts You have bestowed upon us.

At the same time, I also implore Your mercy, that as You grant the prayers of those that ask You, You will never forsake them, but will prepare them for the future reward. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


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Maria Rosa Mystica, Mystical Rose, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, you came down on earth to call upon us children of this earth to love each other, to unite; and live in peace. You request from us to be involved in charity, prayer, and penance. We thank God from the bottom of our hearts that He has given you to us as Our Mother and Mediatrix in all our needs. Mary, full of grace, please help me, I beseech you, and grant me my special intention (mention your request). You promised us your motherly protection, full of graces: “I want always to be very close to you for your motherly love.” Rosa Mystica, Immaculata, Mater Dolorosa, please show me that you are my Mother, Bride of the Holy Ghost, and Queen of Heaven and earth. Amen. (Hail, holy Queen…)


Consider the extreme opposite to the Rosa Mystica: the worst and most gruesome thing going on in the world; the ugliness, the desecration of God by man in modern art, by the mass media, the press, on radio and television; the destruction of all values and order before and in marriage, in education and at school, shameless fashion taken to extreme excesses; all this being carried right into our churches and to the holiest places.
PRAYER: Maria, Rosa Mystica, please protect us from shamelessness and degeneration, preserve in us the sense of good and evil; prepare us to do battle in defence for all that is pure. Maria, Rosa Mystica, graciously hear us and pray for us. (3 Hail Marys)


It is not enough to observe how desolate the general situation is. One must oneself be prepared not only to refuse to go with shameless fashions, but as a penance, to put up with something that is not really required of you, and to go without something enjoyable to you even if it is not sin. You ought to consider that you could also be guilty of a sin committed by others, by setting a bad example to them or by not speaking up against it.
PRAYER: Maria, Rosa Mystica, grant that you will give us the true spirit of atonement, to fight the current evil, to accept more often and voluntarily all the unpleasant things in life to atone for others that fail you. Maria, Rosa Mystica, graciously hear us and pray for us. (3 Hail Marys)

ST PAUL: “I make up in my own body what is still missing in the sufferings of Christ!”


Pious people in particular should note: “The reason prayers often do not bring the expected answer is because too little penance is done with the prayer.” People complain about little daily inconveniences. What would Mary say to this?
PRAYER: Maria, Rosa Mystica, grant that we do not forget true penance and reparation with all our prayers, at home and on journeys! Please grant us the right spirit when we come to you. Maria, Rosa Mystica, graciously hear us and pray for us. (3 Hail Marys)


How to achieve all the things that are needed of you:
Make an effort to take time off to think and pray, move away from too much television, celebrations, leisure; learn to do without things, exercise moderation in food, drink, and sleep. Meditate on the Sacraments on the Holy Rosary, the Holy Scriptures and the life of Saints. In addition, a truly religious and pious father confessor is needed as a spiritual director. This would be a way of one’s own effort, of “active cleansing”. God Himself will help us through His Grace and His Guidance even in sorrow when we are humiliated, disappointed and suffer setbacks. Become totally free for God; break away from all attachment to the world and be free for the incomprehensible Glory of God.
PRAYER: Maria, Rosa Mystica, grant that you may help us and lead us in our efforts. Maria, Rosa Mystica, graciously hear us and pray for us. (3 Hail Marys)


When God takes everything away from man which blocks the path to God; when He helps you to leave everything; when He takes one’s close attachment to people and things, even one’s consolations; when He leads you into the very darkest “night of the spirit” without any consolation; when there is nothing but darkness and sorrow, and when one can still say like little St Therese or Padre Pio: “I believe”, then all natural things and created things are removed, and God is able to let flow the abundance of His Graces, knowledge and charism into one’s body and soul without hindrance…
PRAYER: Let us dare to say this prayer with its full weight and accept its possible consequences as Brother St Klaus, the patron saint of Switzerland, once prayed: “My Lord and My God, take everything from me, everything that may prevent me from coming to you. Give me everything that brings me close to you. Take me and do with me as you please!” (3 Hail Marys)


Together with Brother Klaus and the great Carmelites, St John of the Cross, Teresa the Great, and little Therese, we are now on the right path of our true devotion of Mary, the veneration of the Rosa Mystica, the Mystical Rose, and we may speak the words of St Louis de Montfort: “The quickest and easiest way to mysticism is Mary – the Rose of Mysticism”.
At the same time we must, however, prevent ourselves from falling under the widely-spread misunderstanding to believe that so-many. Rosaries together with so-many pilgrimages and devotions give us a secure way to Heaven, let us not deceive ourselves!
St Louis de Montfort knows very well how to differentiate between faked and genuine Marian devotion; not just any way leads to mysticism! A whole list of wrong ways of Marian devotions are mentioned by him: e.g. the anxious way, the impertinent way, the superficial way, the selfish way (how much selfishness there is in spiritual intentions!), etc.
Devotion to Mary must be genuine, needs inner preparation and cooperation; it needs devotion that is not just reciting many prayers and “devotions”, but taking in the real spirit of Mary; to pray “with Mary, in Mary, for Mary”; to ask oneself consciously and with your innermost heart: What does Mary need from me?
What would She do in my place? How can I please Her? What would She disagree with? – What changes would occur in the world, in the life of a person, in families, in societies, and in nations if one were really prepared to be led by Mary!
PRAYER: Maria, Rosa Mystica, help us to get to know you more and more, lead us and guide us that we may be able to find the path to your mysticism. Amen. (3 Hail Marys)


There is very little written in the Scriptures about mysticism in Mary’s life on earth, and in Her transformation. Some general remarks only: “Blessed, full of grace”. The conception in Her womb – judging by the text in the Bible She can only be surmised with deepest reverence; in any event something extremely great and mysteriously enchanting happened when the infinite, eternal love was unified with the most loving human heart that ever existed, and will ever exist; united in order to create a tiny yet infinitely great being. However, we do not only possess the Bible; the dogmas, the meditations and writings of the Church, the revelations to mystics, whether male or female – all of them open the seed for us which is already contained in the Holy Scriptures, full of meaning. With what deep amazement do we read Mary of Agreda’s book about the “Mystical City of God”, how fascinating the way in which she tells us about the Divine Powers and the ability of knowing, helping and loving, the ecstasies and raptures; glories that often remain hidden from many worldly “experts”. There are still the many different apparitions of Our Lady in the world, and Her revelations. There would be no end if we wanted to recount all the wonderful results and consequences which happened as a result of them: Her knowledge of the human heart, of a single person, of whole groups, nations and ideologies (e.g. Communism); Her insight into world politics; Her blinding beauty and overwhelming goodness; Her geniality and knowledge of languages…just incredible; high and exalted above all artists and Nobel prize winners… The results of mysticism are powerful.
PRAYER: Maria, Rosa Mystica, grant that mankind may find its way to the most beautiful things, to the glories of the supernatural that surpasses nature itself. Please give us the fervour to seek this wonderful Divinity and to lead others to it so that they may learn to recognise how poor the delights and desires of this world are compared with Mary, the Rosa Mystica. (3 Hail Marys)


The effects of the Rosa Mystica in us:
The more we are prepared to walk the path with Mary, the path She walked Herself, with inner devotion, with merciless self-control, in renunciation of all superficial pleasures, the more we work apostolically in Her spirit; the more we imitate what is contained in the mysteries of the Holy Rosary and mentioned in the Church’s prayer for the Feast of the Holy Rosary, the more we shall then “receive what they promise”. This then is our request, our prayer:
PRAYER: O God, whose only begotten Son has prepared for us the treasures of eternal salvation through His Life, His Death and Resurrection, grant, we beseech You that when we meditate on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the most blessed Virgin Mary and imitate what they contain, we shall receive what they promise through Christ, Our Lord. Amen. (3 Hail Marys)


The special intention of the Mother of God: vocations to priesthood and religious life. Even if every Christian is called to holiness and mysticism, it is of even greater meaning and importance for the priests and religious. They should venerate and imitate their ideal, Mary, the Rosa Mystica, in a special way; and this is something that is missing quite often. It ought, therefore, to be a special apostolate to spread the purpose and meaning of this devotion in all our seminaries, monasteries and convents, for nowhere more saints and mystics are needed than there. The task of the laity will be to replace what is missing, through their own apostolate and a more zealous imitation of the Rosa Mystica! (3 Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, 3 Glory be – for the sanctification of priests, bishops, and religious; for special guidance and strength for the Holy Father.)


Lord Jesus Christ, You have sent us Your Mother as a wonderful example of holiness and mysticism and especially as an ideal and patroness for the priests and religious. We ask You, grant us Your help to imitate Your most holy Mother more and more, to become souls of expiation and victim souls for those priests and religious who fail You: You who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.


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Mix and unite Your commandments
with the sound of the bell [Your call to obedience],
so that my callous heart, hard as a diamond,
might again bear the fruits of Your word.
May the sound of the bell strike and pierce
my worn heart and forsaken soul
and like a sharp stake of wonder,
reinforce and shore them up,
upright and steadfast,
while softening the hardness of my soul…
O God who loves mankind,
through this venerable wooden bell
remind me of the gifts of your cross
by which You did things beyond words.

Lift away from me, Giver of life,
the weight of my sins
by the glorious yoke of Your new tabernacle.
By Your will, Almighty,
may the ears of my stubborn heart be opened
to the sound of life.
By this tiding of Your magnificent good works,
may the ears of the deaf hear.
Through this bell may the tongues of the dumb speak.
May the sight of the eyes be restored,
that they may look upon You purely in unwavering adoration.
May the weary wills of men be refreshed,
that they might repent and return to You.

In my turmoil, O Lord,
grant me the rain of tears.
Let this be from You to us
a message of joy,
a jubilant shout,
a tranquil song,
a thing of bliss,
a means of salvation,
an occasion for pardon,
a banishment of grief,
an extrication from entanglements,
an easing of anxiety,
a ceasing of cares,
a dispelling of sighs,
an alleviation of groaning,
an assurance of necessities,
a discipline of passions,
a cure for pains,
an immunisation against backsliding,
a contemplation of things invisible.


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