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Tag Archives: work

PRAYER TO OBTAIN THE GRACE OF LABOURING HOLILY

PRAYER TO OBTAIN THE GRACE OF LABOURING HOLILY

O blessed St Joseph, whose life was passed in toil and prayer, obtain for me the grace, I beseech thee, to sanctify my work by purity of intention, by remembrance of God’s presence and by frequent prayer.

Teach me to be contented with my lot, and if temptation comes to me to envy those who are above me or richer than myself, obtain for me the grace to despise it, and, only remembering thy life of humble toil, to desire only to imitate thee in the company of Jesus and Mary. Amen.

– From: St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916

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PRAYER TO ST MARTIN DE PORRES FOR EMPLOYMENT

 

Compassionate St Martin de Porres, you were always a generous and dedicated worker. Not one day of your life found you idle. Help me now in these difficult times to find suitable employment. I have no wish to be without work. By your prayers I hope to be given a situation where I can use to the full all the gifts that God has given to me. Intercede for me that I will obtain guidance in seeking out possible opportunities. When I am employed obtain for me the graces to be faithful and diligent for the glory of God, for my own good and that of all people we serve. Ask God to give me health of mind and body and generosity in meeting the needs of others. I ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 
 

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“JESUS CHRIST SHARED NOBLY THE HUMBLE LOT OF HIS FAMILY”

“JESUS THE WORKMAN

Jesus as a workman! There is a secret of the little house of Nazareth. A single word, almost lost in the Gospel, reveals to us, and thus brings us down to the most obscure details of the humble subjection to which the Saviour condemned Himself during the greater part of His life.

The Son of working people, He would not live as a pious dreamer under the paternal roof, but chose to share nobly the humble lot of His family.

We see Him, on His return from the Temple, undergo a laborious apprenticeship under the instruction of Saint Joseph. He consented to make by slow stages that which He could have created by a single word.

The Inspirer of all the arts, He seemed to devote Himself to a common trade. His dear Hands were bruised, like those of poor people’s children, from handling rough tools; and when He was fully grown, He bent for whole hours over a piece of wood, doing His day’s work, and gaining His bread by the sweat of His brow.”
– R. P. Monsabre

 

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21st FEBRUARY, BIBLE READING (JAMES 2:14-24. 26)

A BODY DIES WHEN IT IS SEPARATED FROM THE SPIRIT, AND IN THE SAME WAY FAITH IS DEAD IF IT IS SEPARATED FROM GOOD DEEDS.

Take the case, my brothers, of someone who has never done a single good act but claims that he has faith. Will that faith save him? If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on, and one of you says to them, “I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty,” without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that? Faith is like that: if good works do not go with it, it is quite dead.

This is the way to talk to people of that kind: “You say you have faith and I have good deeds; I will prove to you that I have faith by showing you my good deeds – now you prove to me that you have faith without any good deeds to show. You believe in the one God – that is creditable enough, but the demons have the same belief, and they tremble with fear. Do realise, you senseless man, that faith without good deeds is useless. You surely know that Abraham our father was justified by his deed, because he offered his son Isaac on the altar? There you see it: faith and deeds were working together; his faith became perfect by what he did. This is what scripture really means when it says: Abraham put his faith in God, and this was counted as making him justified; and that is why he was called “the friend of God.”

You see now that it is by doing something good, and not only by believing that a man is justified. A body dies when it is separated from the spirit, and in the same way faith is dead if it is separated from good deeds.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

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ST CHRISTOPHER’S STORY: ALL OF US HAVE THE DUTY TO FERRY OUR FELLOW MEN FROM ONE SHORE TO THE OTHER, CROSSING DANGEROUS “RIVERS”

ST CHRISTOPHER (JULY 25) – SERVING AN ALL POWERFUL MASTER, JESUS CHRIST

HISTORY – OR MOSTLY LEGEND?

“Before the 1969 reform of the Roman calender, Christopher was listed as a martyr who died under Decius. Nothing else is known about him. There are several legends about him including the one in which he was crossing a river when a child asked to be carried across. When Christopher put the child on his shoulders he found the child was unbelievably heavy. The child, according to the legend, was Christ carrying the weight of the whole world. This was what made Christopher patron saint of travellers and he is invoked against storms, plagues, etc. His former feast day was July 25.

THE CHURCH REQUIRED 100 PER CENT EVIDENCE

In 1969, the Church took a long look at all the saints on its calendar to see if there was historical evidence that that saint existed and lived a life of holiness. In taking that long look, the Church discovered that there was little proof that many ‘saints’, including some very popular ones, ever lived. Christopher was one of the names that was determined to have a basis mostly in legend. Therefore Christopher and others were dropped from the universal calendar.

CONFINED TO LOCAL CALENDARS

Christopher’s cult was not suppressed but it is confined to local calendars (those for a diocese, country or so forth). His name Christopher means Christ-bearer. He died a martyr during the reign of Decius in the third century.

THE QUEST FOR THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD

Before Christopher became a Christ-bearer, he had a strong desire to passionately serve the person who was the most powerful man in the world. This might be a likely story but has not been historically verified. There is little historical data on St Christopher but enough to admit that we are in the presence of a martyr and therefore a saint. It doesn’t hurt to remember him.

A HAGIOGRAPHICAL STORY

The cult and the veneration rendered to this saint are manifold and are present throughout history not just in the Middle Ages. Pilgrims, who forded the Alpine passes or crossed rivers, invoked the protection of St Christopher. St Christopher became the patron of ferrymen, of postmen and athletes, of labourers and porters, of those who did heavy work. Then, after the XVI Century devotion to him waned. We do not know why.

Why this whole devotion and plea for ‘protection’? All this is because of a hagiographical story about him in the works of Jacob de Voragine in his ‘Legenda Aurea’… Here it is:

‘TO PREVENT HARM COMING TO ME’

Christopher was a Canaanite, a giant of a man endowed with great and impressive physical strength. He was a warrior and his face aroused terror in those who beheld him. He had a great desire to serve the strongest of men and so he went in search of such a person. At first he found a very powerful king and was employed in his service.

But one day he heard a juggler sing a song in which he used the word ‘devil’ and each time he used that word he saw the king make the Sign of the Cross. Christopher became uneasy and doubtful and asked the king the reason for his behaviour. When the king hesitated, he threatened to leave. Finally he confided in him: ‘When I hear the name of the devil, I make the Sign of the Cross to prevent any harm from coming to me.’

THE CROSS WAS HIS ‘ONE WEAKNESS AFTER A CERTAIN JESUS CHRIST DIED ON IT’

Christopher concluded that the devil was stronger than the king. He left the king and continued his search… for the devil, that he might be employed by him. He looked everywhere but did not see him. Given the ubiquity of the subject, he did not have to search very hard. Along a deserted road he saw, coming toward him, a terrible-looking character who asked him: ‘Where are you going and who are you looking for?’ Christopher replied: ‘I am looking for the devil because I have heard that he is the strongest person.’ And the devil, the Father of lies, replied: ‘I am the one you are looking for.’ It was there that Christopher was employed in his service and docilely obeyed him like a true disciple.

One day they came to a Cross and the devil instinctively diverted his steps. The action did not escape Christopher: ‘What is the meaning of this? Why did you avoid the Cross?’ The devil pretended not to hear and did not answer him, but Christopher insisted: ‘You mean to tell me you are afraid of it?’ Again – silence. When he threatened to leave him forever, the devil was forced ‘to confess’ that the Cross was his one weakness after a certain Jesus Christ died on it… Christopher logically concluded: ‘Then, if you are afraid, then you are not the most powerful person. Goodbye, I will go and find Jesus Christ.’ He parted company with the devil.

‘I WILL GO AND FIND JESUS CHRIST’

Once more he began his quest for the most powerful person. ‘Where is Jesus Christ?’ he kept asking people. They told him: ‘Go down there to that hermit and he will show you Jesus Christ.’ He went there and found a poor hermit wrapped in prayer and penance. ‘What have I to do to meet Jesus Christ?’ he immediately asked. What a question! The poor hermit was a saint but not an expert in the discernment of spirits. He did not have time to instruct him. And besides, he did not know the proverb that said before you know a person you should have walked in his shoes. ‘You must fast!’ He looked perplexed. ‘Should I fast? I cannot… Ask me to do anything else…’ He replied: ‘To see Jesus Christ you will have to pray a lot.’ Christopher replied: ‘That is another thing I can’t because I don’t know what prayer means.’ The hermit then pointed to the river nearby and said: ‘No one can cross without danger of death. Well, if you stay on the bank your enormous strength and your prodigious stature will serve to transport travellers. Your service would then please Christ. You will then be able to see him.’ He was finally satisfied and he replied: ‘This is something I can do and I will do it to serve Christ.’

‘I WILL DO IT TO SERVE CHRIST’

That was what he did day and night without hesitation and with a sense of dedication and without discrimination. It also made him very happy. But when would he see Jesus Christ?

One night heard the voice of a child calling him: ‘Christopher, come and help me to cross the river.’ Christopher came out of his hut but found no one. He did the same thing a second time – no one. The third time he finally saw a child who had begged for his help: ‘Come and take me to the other shore.’ Christopher took the child on his shoulders and began crossing. Instead of a simple crossing it became more and more complicated. The weight he was carrying increased; the force of the water became stronger; and he, the giant, for the first time, thought he would not be able to get across. But he finally succeeded this time. When he reached the other shore he said to the child: ‘My dear child, you caused me some real danger. You weighed so much I thought I had the whole world on my shoulders.’ The child replied: ‘Don’t be surprised, Christopher, you not only carried the whole world on your shoulders but also the one who created it. I am Jesus Christ, the master you seek to serve. As a proof that I am telling you the truth, place your staff outside your hut and tomorrow I will adorn it with fruits and flowers.’ After this, the child disappeared. On the next day, the staff was full of date palms.

As one notices, this story, (with its stamp of various mythological-cultural influences) is very touching and has many lessons, philosophical, spiritual, catechetical and existential…

MANY RIVERS TO CROSS

I think every person should see his life as a duty to ferry his fellow men from one shore to the other, crossing some dangerous ‘rivers’. Parents who bring a new life into the world ferry their child from the realm of the womb into the world. After this they still have to ferry him/her from the shores of infancy to childhood and then continue ferrying him/her in a thousand other ways. They have to lead their child to the other shore of adolescence. The journey across the ‘river’ of adolescence is never easy, it is definitely risky, turbulent, difficult and sometimes circuitous. In short, they have to accompany them to decisively ‘make that passage’ to God. We who are teachers, what we do daily is: ferrying our students to the other shore of knowledge, helping them cross the dangerous river of ignorance? We are constantly ferrying people to the other ‘shore’, seeking only their good. In short, we are all called to be ferrymen from one shore to the other. If this duty is performed in the same spirit of Christopher, with devotion and out of love for Jesus Christ, then each of us has found our own particular path to holiness. It is original, different and precious, just as every single flower in our garden.”
– This article by Mario Scudu (T/A I.D) was published in “Don Bosco’s Madonna” issue July 2010. For subscriptions and donations for seminarians please visit http://www.donboscosmadonna.org (external link) or http://www.dbmshrine.org (external link).

 
 

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RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT FAITH BENEFITS HEALTH – BUT IN BRITAIN TODAY, DOCTORS ARE NO LONGER PERMITTED TO BRING UP THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN IN DOCTOR-PATIENT CONSULTATIONS

“…As a GP in Margate, I have long been aware of the World Health Organisation’s view that spiritual health is an essential part of well-being.

Presenting the Gospel, or simply offering prayer to patients when relevant, has been an integral part of my work in these past 15 years, with many patients benefiting and some coming to faith.

Over the course of thousands of consultations with a spiritual element, I have had about eight written complaints. One was made directly to my professional body, the General Medical Council (GMC), and resulted in a prolonged public battle in which I sought to defend the right of Britain’s Christians to express their faith at work.

Predictably, last summer I lost my case and duly received an official warning from the GMC. One more similar complaint within a five-year period and a yellow card would quite likely turn red, losing me my job…

JUST ONE COMPLAINT AWAY FROM LOSING HIS JOB FOR SHARING HIS FAITH

…In 1993 guidelines allowed for gentle, sensitive discussions of faith. But subsequent [GMC] guidelines stated that doctors should not normally initiate faith discussions unless it is directly relevant to patient care. Again, I could sign up to that as it still gives us a wide freedom to introduce Jesus into situations where the Bible tells us (and experience shows) he can help – for example, anger, depression, anxiety, hate, inability to love, addiction and abuse.

But this March the GMC went further, stating that doctors should now not initiate faith discussions unless the patient has previously indicated a desire to do so.

This means that not only does the highly secular GMC not trust doctors to do their best for patients, but it also pays lip-service to the World Health Organisation’s view, while also ignoring the wealth of scientific papers that prove without doubt that faith benefits health.

NO ISOLATED CASE

Mine is no isolated case. When it hit the press, I looked to Christian Concern for help.

These lawyers based in London defend those who have run into trouble for holding on to Christian principles in the face of aggressive secularism and political correctness.

Working with this organisation has opened my eyes to the growing extent of this problem, as I met those who had been blacklisted by their professional organisations, or suspended or sacked for expressing their faith at work or in the public space.

They were just the tip of the iceberg. Over their five-year existence, Christian Concern has fielded hundreds of calls from those in trouble seeking help. Shocked by what I had seen, God prompted me to write a book, ‘Christians in the Firing Lane’ [Wilberforce Publications – all profits go to Christian Concern]…to inform the general public…and also, I hope, encourage others to make a stand…”

[One of the better known cases Christian Concern is defending is that of Celestine Mba, who is made to work on Sundays, another involves the right to put counter-advertisements offering help in response to London bus advertisements in favour of gay lifestyle, and also a case regarding the right for scouts and brownies to promise to do their duty to God.]
– The above is an excerpt of the article “Britain has become a hard place for Christian doctors” published in “The Catholic Herald” issue December 6 2013. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link). The book by Dr Richard Scott is available via wilberforcepublications.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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