S. John Damascene| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Pamphlets to Inspire| Our Lady of Sorrows (Latin Calendar-Movable Feast Day)| Divine Mercy Reflection
St. John Damascene
John spent most of his life in the monastery of St. Sabas, near Jerusalem, and all of his life under Muslim rule, indeed, protected by it. He was born in Damascus, received a classical and theological education, and followed his father in a government position under the Arabs. After a few years he resigned and went to the monastery of St. Sabas.
He is famous in three areas. First, he is known for his writings against the iconoclasts, who opposed the veneration of images. Paradoxically, it was the Eastern Christian emperor Leo who forbade the practice, and it was because John lived in Muslim territory that his enemies could not silence him. Second, he is famous for his treatise, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, a summary of the Greek Fathers (of which he became the last). It is said that this book is for Eastern schools what the Summa of Aquinas became for the West. Thirdly, he is known as a poet, one of the two greatest of the Eastern Church, the other being Romanus the Melodist. His devotion to the Blessed Mother and his sermons on her feasts are well known.
John defended the Church’s understanding of the veneration of images and explained the faith of the Church in several other controversies. For over 30 years he combined a life of prayer with these defenses and his other writings. His holiness expressed itself in putting his literary and preaching talents at the service of the Lord.
“The saints must be honored as friends of Christ and children and heirs of God, as John the theologian and evangelist says: ‘But as many as received him, he gave them the power to be made the sons of God....’ Let us carefully observe the manner of life of all the apostles, martyrs, ascetics and just men who announced the coming of the Lord. And let us emulate their faith, charity, hope, zeal, life, patience under suffering, and perseverance unto death, so that we may also share their crowns of glory” (Exposition of the Orthodox Faith).
Relating With Others:
Our relationship with God not only extends to our need to be in solidarity with Him, but, also to work for justice and peace among the human family which should ultimately lead us to see our radical interconnectedness with all of creation.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
Let us consider Jesus' love for us and His concern for our well-being, and then let us be at peace.
On the Friday after the First Passion Sunday (Latin Calendar)- that is the Sunday before Palm Sunday or after the Fifth Sunday of Lent (Ordinary Calendar)-in the Latin Calendar there is celebrated the Feast Day of Our Lady of Sorrows. This is a movable Feast Day from year to year, depending when Easter is celebrated.
Our Lady of Sorrows
For a while there were two feasts in honor of the Sorrowful Mother: one going back to the 15th century, the other to the 17th century. For a while both were celebrated by the universal Church: one on the Friday before Palm Sunday, the other in September.
The principal biblical references to Mary's sorrows are in Luke 2:35 and John 19:26-27. The Lucan passage is Simeon's prediction about a sword piercing Mary's soul; the Johannine passage relates Jesus' words to Mary and to the beloved disciple.
Many early Church writers interpret the sword as Mary's sorrows, especially as she saw Jesus die on the cross. Thus, the two passages are brought together as prediction and fulfillment.
St. Ambrose (December7) in particular sees Mary as a sorrowful yet powerful figure at the cross. Mary stood fearlessly at the cross while others fled. Mary looked on her Son's wounds with pity, but saw in them the salvation of the world. As Jesus hung on the cross, Mary did not fear to be killed but offered herself to her persecutors.
John's account of Jesus' death is highly symbolic. When Jesus gives the beloved disciple to Mary, we are invited to appreciate Mary's role in the Church: She symbolizes the Church; the beloved disciple represents all believers. As Mary mothered Jesus, she is now mother to all his followers. Furthermore, as Jesus died, he handed over his Spirit. Mary and the Spirit cooperate in begetting new children of God—almost an echo of Luke's account of Jesus' conception. Christians can trust that they will continue to experience the caring presence of Mary and Jesus' Spirit throughout their lives and throughout history.
"At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.
Through her heart, his sorrow sharing,
All his bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword has passed."
All Good Comes From God
Whatever is good, true, or beautiful comes from a single source: God. The generosity and faithful love that God showed in creation can become a constant reminder of our need to live out a generous and faithful love. Our ability to do that grows as we grow. Create a moment today to thank God for Jesus’s Incarnation and be ready for that to change your life.
Quote by St. Padre Pio:
If the Christian is full of God’s law ... he will never fail no matter what adversities may befall him.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook One: 11-111
This first notebook of Saint Faustina begins her private revelations given from the Heart of Jesus to her. She writes in a beautiful and simple way. Though, as mentioned in the introduction to this book, her actual words are not quoted in these reflections that follow, the messages that she received and articulated are presented.
In truth, her messages are those contained in Sacred Scripture and in the Tradition of our Church. And if you were to read through the lives and teachings of the saints, you would find the same revelations. God has always spoken to us throughout the ages. He speaks the one Message of Truth, and He reveals that Message in love. The revelations to Saint Faustina are one new way that God continues to speak and reveal Himself to us, His sons and daughters.
The reflections in this first chapter, based on the first notebook, are intentionally short and focused. They are a way for you, the reader, to slowly and carefully listen to the Heart of God spoken to this great saint. Read these reflections slowly and prayerfully. Ponder them throughout the day and allow the Lord to speak to You the message He wants to give.
Reflection 86: Melting the Hardest of Hearts
Imagine a large block of ice. Now imagine that there is a precious coin in the middle of that block. In order to obtain that coin, the block must melt away. So it can be with our hearts. Some hearts have become so hardened over time that there seems little chance of melting them away so as to bring forth the true value and dignity of that person. But Jesus is a radiant Sun whose rays shine forth with great intensity. Within His continual presence, even the hardest hearts will melt away (See Diary #370).
Do you know someone whom you have “written off” because of their continual hardness of heart? Do you know someone who appears to be unwilling to change, year after year? Do not lose hope. Know that if you continually act as a prism through which the grace and Mercy of God shines, even the hardest heart can be touched.
Lord, I pray, today, for those who are most hardened in their sins. You know the hearts of all and You know the minds of all. Please lead me to those in most need of Your Divine Mercy and use me as a channel of Your glorious and warming grace. Jesus, I trust in You.