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ST PAULINUS OF NOLA, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR

ST PAULINUS OF NOLA, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR

ST PAULINUS OF NOLA, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: JUNE 22

Paulinus was born in the year of salvation 353, of a most illustrious family of Roman citizens at Bordeaux and he later attained senatorial dignity. He was made consul of Nola but, struck by a ray of the divine light, he resigned the consulship and returning to Bordeaux, he was baptised by St Delphinus.

HE DISTRIBUTED HIS MONEY TO THE POOR

Then he sold his abundant property, distributed the money to the poor and retired to Spain, where he was ordained a priest. When he returned to Nola, he built a monastery near the tomb of St Felix and entered upon a most strict monastic life with some companions.

HE BECAME A PRIEST AND FOUNDED A MONASTERY 

As the fame of his sanctity spread, he was elevated to the See of Nola. In the fulfilment of his office, he left wonderful examples of piety, patience, and above all, charity. He wrote many things pertaining to sacred doctrine and was highly praised for his eloquence and poetry. When Campania was laid waste by the Goths, he devoted all his resources to feeding the poor and ransoming captives.

HE SOLD HIMSELF INTO SLAVERY IN PLACE OF SOMEONE ELSE AND WAS TAKEN TO AFRICA

And after that, when the Vandals invaded the same region, since he had nothing more to give, he sold himself into slavery in place of the son of a certain widow, and was taken to Africa. At length, being given his liberty by the help of God, he fell peacefully asleep in the Lord at Nola.

PRAYER:

O God, who promised to those who forsake all things in this world for you a hundred-fold reward in the world to come and life everlasting, mercifully grant that, following closely in the footsteps of the holy Bishop Paulinus, we may look upon earthly things as naught, and long only for those of heaven. Who live…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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WHEN SHE WAS COME INTO YORK, SHE WENT TO AN ANCHORESS…

WHEN SHE WAS COME INTO YORK, SHE WENT TO AN ANCHORESS…

“When she was come into York, she went to an anchoress who had loved her well ere she went to Jerusalem, to have knowledge of her ghostly increase, also desiring, for more ghostly communication, to eat with the anchoress that day nothing else but bread and water, for it was on Our Lady’s Eve.

And the anchoress would not receive her, because she had heard so much evil told of her, so she went forth to other strange folk, and they made her right good cheer for Our Lord’s love.

On a day, as she sat in a church in York, Our Lord Jesus Christ said to her soul: “Daughter, there is much tribulation thee-ward.” She was somewhat gloomy and abashed there-of, and therefore she, sitting still, answered not. Then said Our Blessed Lord again: “What! Daughter, art thou evil paid to suffer more tribulation for My love? If thou wilt suffer no more, I shall take it away from thee.” Then she answered: “Nay, Good Lord, let me be at thy will, and make me mighty and strong to suffer all that ever thou wilt that I suffer, and grant me meekness and patience there-with.”

So, from that time forward, as she knew that it was Our Lord’s will that she should suffer more tribulation, she received it goodly when Our Lord would send it, and thanked Him highly There-of, being right glad and merry the day that she suffered any discomfort. And in process of time, that day on which she suffered no tribulation, she was not merry nor glad as the day on which she suffered tribulation.

Afterwards, as she was in the Minster of York aforesaid, a clerk came to her, saying: “Damsel, how long will ye abide here?” – “Sir, I propose to abide these fourteen days.” And so she did.

In that time many good men and women prayed her to meat, and made her right good cheer, and were right glad to hear her dalliance, having great marvel of her speech, for it was fruitful.

Also she had many enemies who slandered her, scorned her, and despised her, of whom one man came to her while she was in the said Minster, and taking her by the collar of her gown, said to her: “Thou wolf! What is this cloth that thou hast on?” She stood still and would not answer in her own cause. Children of the monastery going beside, said to the man: “Sir, it is wool.” The man was annoyed because she would not answer, and began to swear many great oaths.

Then she began to speak for God’s cause; she was not afraid. She said: “Sir, ye should keep the commandments of God and not swear as negligently as ye do.” The man asked her who kept the commandments. She said: “Sir, they that keep them.” Then said he: “Keepest thou them?” She answered: “Sir, it is my will to keep them, for I am bound there-to, and so are ye, and every man that will be saved at the last.” When he had long jangled with her, he went away privily ere she was aware, so that she knew not where he went.”

– The Book of Margery Kempe (modernised text 1936)

 

 

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TWELVE STEPS OF SILENCE – SILENCE OF JUDGEMENT

TWELVE STEPS OF SILENCE – SILENCE OF JUDGEMENT

Step 1: Speak seldom with creatures and often with God

Previous: Silence of the mind

THE TWELVE DEGREES OF SILENCE

Step 9: Silence of judgment [Thy will be done]

Silence with regard to persons, silence with regard to things.

Do not judge, do not allow your own opinion to be perceived. Do not have them, that is, yield with simplicity, if these opinions are not opposed to prudence or charity.

It is the silence of the blessed and holy infancy, it is the silence of the perfect, it is the silence of the Angels and of the Archangels when they carry out the orders of God.

It is the silence of the Incarnate Word!

– From: The Twelve Degrees of Silence, Supplemento am.n. 2/2008 di “De Vita Contemplativa”

 

 

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FOR YOUR DIARY: LENTEN AND SILENT RETREAT IN SCOTLAND

“Kinnoull Centre for Spirituality
Home of the Redemptorists in Scotland

St Mary’s Kinnoull is set in natural woodland overlooking the historic city of Perth, gateway to the Scottish highlands. It provides an environment for rest and retreat.

• ‘I can do all things in Him who makes me strong’
A few days reflections with Fr Daniel O’Leary
17-21 February 2014

• Spring at Kinnoul
The team at St Mary’s welcome groups or individual private retreats any time of the year. Bring a group for a short stay or retreat day at the monastery.

Preached Retreats are as follows:

• 3-8 March 2014 – Lenten Retreat

• 11-13 April 2014 – Silent Weekend Retreat

• 14-19 April 2014 – Holy Week Retreat
Seven weeks sabbatical rest in Scotland

This prayerful and relaxing course is specifically designed to meet the needs of those who are looking for a course with a clear focus on personal renewal through prayer. One of the course highlights is a pilgrimage to St Columba’s Island of Iona.
The full course is mainly for Priests and Religious, however it is possible to simply come for a week or two of the course that interests you, the teaching weeks are open to anyone who would like to attend.

Full Course Dates:

• 19 May-3 July 2014 and

• 20 October-4 December 2014

• Spirituality of True Self Esteem – Miss Marie Hogg & Fr Jim McManus CSsR
25-29 May 2014 & 26-30 October 2014

• The Healing Ministry – Fr Jim McManus CSsR
1-5 June 2014 & 2-6 November 2014

• Jesus in the Gospels – Fr Robert Hill Ph.D/ Fr Denis McBride CSsR
8-12 June 2014 & 16-21 November 2014.”

For further details please visit http://www.kinnoullmonastery.co.uk (external link).

 
 

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WHAT WERE THOSE FAMOUS TEMPTATIONS THAT AFFLICTED DESERT HERMITS?

ST ANTHONY THE GREAT

“Born in Lower Egypt in 251, Anthony the Great was one of the most influential people in the early Church, creating the concept of monasticism, which would have a profound influence on the development of Christian civilisation.

Although he was not exactly the first monk – there was ascetics before him – Anthony was the first to go into the wilderness, around 270-1, two years after his parents had died and left him to care for his unmarried sister. Instead, he gave away the family estate, left his sister with a group of what might be called proto-nuns and followed the ascetics (who had been around since the second century) and became a hermit in the desert.

There it is believed that the Devil fought him by afflicting him with boredom and laziness (presumably a real enough threat in the desert) and taunted him with phantoms of women and by assuming the form of various animals. Eventually villagers had to break down the door of the fort he had holed up in. Rather than finding him wasted away and insane, he was healthy and sprightly.

Having won fame through the tales of his desert escapades, Anthony became a reluctant hero to the Greco-Roman intelligentsia of Alexandria, one of three centres of Christianity at the time.

Anthony was desperate to get away from them and escaped to the Eastern Desert, where they followed him. He arrived at a spot with a water supply, on what is now the site of St Anthony’s Monastery, but within a few days hundreds of his adoring fans had turned up.

Realising he would never get rid of them, he established a community of hermits ‘over which he kept watch from a cave a safe distance further up the mountain’, in the words of William Dalrymple’s ‘From the Holy Mountain’, and ‘so was born Christian monasticism’. The ideal spread and by the early fifth century there were 700 monasteries.

Monastic life was brought to western Europe by Athanasius of Alexandria whose biography, ‘The Life of Anthony’, was written in Greek around 360 and then translated into Latin. The temptation of St Anthony in the desert later became a popular subject in western art and literature.

The saint is associated with appeals against skin diseases, especially shingles, sometimes referred to as St Anthony’s fire.”

– This article entitled “Saint of the Week” was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue January 10 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 
 

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“PERSEVERANCE IS THE WORK OF THE SOUL” – TEACHINGS OF BLESSED THEODORA TO THE NUNS

• Perseverance is the work of the soul. Wantonness and lasciviousness flee where there is commitment.

• Every sin is committed through pleasure. Every pardon comes through sorrow, hesychia [ascetic life and watchful inner stillness in prayer] and silence.

• The revolt of the flesh stems from little esteem for prayer, abstinence and good hesychia.

• The good fruits of hesychia are silence, abstinence, spiritual reading and pure prayer.

• Spiritual reading, praying, hesychia and silence, abstinence and genuflections purify the mind from every sin.

• Evil, that is, sordid passion, rooted in the heart of men, necessitates a lengthy and laborious sorrow. Habits once rooted in the heart are overcome with great effort.

• Those who work with reason, equilibrium and attention, never feel the weariness of monastic work.

• Hesychia and monastic work, perseverance and generosity purify the conscience.

• Fasting and vigils, hesychia and silence, abstinence and bows, singing and spiritual reading, all calm the arid soul and defeat the flesh, which does not want to surrender.

• The prompt assistance of God will be like a reward for those who persevere in hesychia. If something should be lacking in your cells, be patient! The Lord, our God, will send help to those who await Him on the day of sorrow, because “Wait a little, in fact, just a little, and He who must come will come and will not delay.”
– Published in “De Vita Contemplativa” (Monthly Magazine for Monasteries) year V – Number 7 – July 2011

 
 

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PRAYER TO ST BENEDICT OF NURSIA

ST BENEDICT, ABBOT; MEMORIAL: JULY 11

St Benedict was born in Nursia in Umbria about 480. He studied in Rome, and then turned his back on the world and lived in solitude in Subiaco. Disciples came to him, and he went to Monte Cassino, where he founded a monastery. He wrote his “Rule”, which established the spirituality and way of life of monastic communities ever since. He died in 547.

PRAYER:

God our Father,
you made Saint Benedict an outstanding guide
to teach men how to live in your service.
Grant that by preferring your love to everything else,
we may walk in the way of your commandments.
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.
Amen.

 

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