Thursday, December 31, 2009

January 1, 2010- Feast of Mary, Mother of God

Let us celebrate the motherhood of the Virgin Mary, and let us worship Christ the Lord, her Son.

Second reading from the office of readings; A letter of St Athanasius
The Word took our nature from Mary
The Word took to himself the sons of Abraham, says the Apostle, and so had to be like his brothers in all things. He had then to take a body like ours. This explains the fact of Mary’s presence: she is to provide him with a body of his own, to be offered for our sake. Scripture records her giving birth, and says: She wrapped him in swaddling clothes. Her breasts, which fed him, were called blessed. Sacrifice was offered because the child was her firstborn. Gabriel used careful and prudent language when he announced his birth. He did not speak of “what will be born in you” to avoid the impression that a body would be introduced into her womb from outside; he spoke of “what will be born from you,” so that we might know by faith that her child originated within her and from her.
By taking our nature and offering it in sacrifice, the Word was to destroy it completely and then invest it with his own nature, and so prompt the Apostle to say: This corruptible body must put on incorruption; this mortal body must put on immortality.
This was not done in outward show only, as some have imagined. This is not so. Our Saviour truly became man, and from this has followed the salvation of man as a whole. Our salvation is in no way fictitious, nor does it apply only to the body. The salvation of the whole man, that is, of soul and body, has really been achieved in the Word himself.
What was born of Mary was therefore human by nature, in accordance with the inspired Scriptures, and the body of the Lord was a true body: It was a true body because it was the same as ours. Mary, you see, is our sister, for we are all born from Adam.
The words of St John, the Word was made flesh, bear the same meaning, as we may see from a similar turn of phrase in St Paul: Christ was made a curse for our sake. Man’s body has acquired something great through its communion and union with the Word. From being mortal it has been made immortal; though it was a living body it has become a spiritual one; though it was made from the earth it has passed through the gates of heaven.
Even when the Word takes a body from Mary, the Trinity remains a Trinity, with neither increase nor decrease. It is for ever perfect. In the Trinity we acknowledge one Godhead, and thus one God, the Father of the Word, is proclaimed in the Church

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

7th day within the Octave of Christmas

Happy New Year and God's peace to you all!!

A sermon of Pope St Leo the Great
The birthday of the Lord is the birthday of peace
God’s Son did not disdain to become a baby. Although with the passing of the years he moved from infancy to maturity, and although with the triumph of his passion and resurrection all the actions of humility which he undertook for us were finished, still today’s festival renews for us the holy childhood of Jesus born of the Virgin Mary. In adoring the birth of our Saviour, we find we are celebrating the commencement of our own life, for the birth of Christ is the source of life for Christian folk, and the birthday of the Head is the birthday of the body.
Every individual that is called has his own place, and all the sons of the Church are separated from one another by intervals of time. Nevertheless, just as the entire body of the faithful is born in the font of baptism, crucified with Christ in his passion, raised again in his resurrection, and placed at the Father’s right hand in his ascension, so with Him are they born in this nativity.
For this is true of any believer in whatever part of the world, that once he is reborn in Christ he abandons the old paths of his original nature and passes into a new man by being reborn. He is no longer counted as part of his earthly father’s stock but among the seed of the Saviour, who became the Son of man in order that we might have the power to be the sons of God.
For unless He came down to us in this humiliation, no one could reach his presence by any merits of his own.
The very greatness of the gift conferred demands of us reverence worthy of its splendour. For, as the blessed Apostle teaches, We have received not the spirit of this world but the Spirit which is of God, that we may know the things which are given us by God. That Spirit can in no other way be rightly worshipped, except by offering him that which we received from him.
But in the treasures of the Lord’s bounty what can we find so suitable to the honour of the present feast as the peace which at the Lord’s nativity was first proclaimed by the angel-choir?
For it is that peace which brings forth the sons of God. That peace is the nurse of love and the mother of unity, the rest of the blessed and our eternal home. That peace has the special task of joining to God those whom it removes from the world.
So those who are born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man but of God must offer to the Father the unanimity of peace-loving sons, and all of them, adopted parts of the mystical Body of Christ, must meet in the First-begotten of the new creation. He came to do not his own will but the will of the one who sent him; and so too the Father in his gracious favour has adopted as his heirs not those that are discordant nor those that are unlike him, but those that are one with him in feeling and in affection. Those who are re-modelled after one pattern must have a spirit like the model.
The birthday of the Lord is the birthday of peace: for thus says the Apostle, He is our peace, who made both one; because whether we are Jew or Gentile, through Him we have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Consecration and solemn profession December 13, Holy Family Church,Bakau, The Gambia

December 13, 2009......Holy Family church, Bakau, The Gambia
Afterthe Bishop delivered the homilyamd returned to his seat,,he called me to come foward. "What do you ask of God and the Church" I answered that "with all my being I ask to be consecrated as a canonical hermit and to solemly profess profess the evangelical counsels plus a fourth vow to pray for Clergy,religious Hermits and Consecrated Virgins throughout the world, but mostespecially in this diocese.

Then he asked further questions and instructed me face the community and pronounce my solemn profession to the church. With my right hand on the scripture I made my profession.

I then signed my solems vows at the altar.

This was followed by the blessing of my scalular, profession cross and choir mantle

Then The scapular was placed over my tunic and cincture
Then I received my profession cross
Then camem the time for the choir mantle to be placed onto Brother Dismas Mary of the Cross

Kiss of Peace from the Bishop

Kiss Peace From Fr. Tony Sonko, My Spiritual Director
Kiss of Peace from Father Peter Jammeh, Assistant Pastor

The ceremony has ended and the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins. I received the bread and wine and went to my pew to pray for all my family, friends, benefactors...especially my Brother Jackie and my sister Peggy and my Mom and grandmother who have passed away. I prayed for my Children, Meg, Maureen and Katie and all my grandchildren.
God bless everyone for your support and prayer for this momentous day. Pray for me as I will for you
Brother Dismas Mary of the Cross
A Penitent Hermit of Divine Mercy for the Diocese of Banjul, The Gambia

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Temporary fix

If you would like to see the consecration pictures, go the the below web site and you can view them. Thanks for your patience.....

Friday, December 18, 2009

sorry my friends

I am having all sorts of technical problems with getting the consecration pictures on this blog and cant figure out why. All my other pictures come out just fine. I have a cousing hekping but now I am going to call the photographer and ask him to send as attachments and see if he can make them smaller. Say a prayer!!
God bless you all

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Forgive me!!

Dear friends,
I am preparing to be consecrated as a Canonical hermit and profess my solemn perpetual vows on the 13th of December. I will be on retreat from 10 December until the Consecration.

From today up to the consecration I am pretty busy with all sorts of practical preparations and with things other things to to do and will be unable to post anything on the blog until after the 13th of December. Please excuse my being away from the blog during this time and I ask you all to pray for me.

In the meantime, if anyone feels led by the Spirit to donate, please feel free to do so. Once again, I am completely out of Malaria Medicines and am so desperate to obtain some. They can only be purchased here so financial contributions will be cery helpful.

I have begun to turn patients away as of today because of the lack of proper meds.. Please, your help would be so gratefully appreciated.

I have lots more pictures of patients and the hermitage all set to post but they will also have to wait until after the 13th.

God bless your kindness.

In His Divine Mercy


Thursday, November 26, 2009

A homily by St John Chrysostom
If we are sheep, we overcome; if wolves, we are overcome
As long as we are sheep, we overcome and, though surrounded by countless wolves, we emerge victorious; but if we turn into wolves, we are overcome, for we love the shepherd’s help. He, after all, feeds the sheep not wolves, and will abandon you if you do not let him show his power in you.
What he says is this: “Do not be upset that, as I send you out among the wolves, I bid you be as sheep and doves. I could have managed things quite differently and sent you, not to suffer evil nor to yield like sheep to the wolves, but to be fiercer than lions. But the way I have chosen is right. It will bring you greater praise and at the same time manifest my power.” That is what he told Paul: My grace is enough for you, for in weakness my power is made perfect. “I intend,” he says, “to deal in the same way with you.” For, when he says, I am sending you out like sheep, he implies: “But do not therefore lose heart, for I know and am certain that no one will be able to overcome you.”
The Lord, however, does want them to contribute something, lest everything seem to be the work of grace, and they seem to win their reward without deserving it. Therefore he adds: You must be clever as snakes and innocent as doves. But, they may object, what good is our cleverness amid so many dangers? How can we be clever when tossed about by so many waves? However great the cleverness of the sheep as he stands among the wolves – so many wolves! – what can it accomplish?However great the innocence of the dove, what good does it do him,with so many hawks swooping upon him? To all this I say: Cleverness and innocence admittedly do these irrational creatures no good, but they can help you greatly.
What cleverness is the Lord requiring here? The cleverness of a snake. A snake will surrender everything and will put up no great resistance even if its body is being cut in pieces, provided it can save its head. So you, the Lord is saying, must surrender everything but your faith: money, body, even life itself. For faith is the head and the root; keep that, and though you lose all else, you will get it back in abundance. The Lord therefore counselled the disciples to be not simply clever or innocent; rather he joined the two qualities so that they become a genuine virtue. He insisted on the cleverness of the snake so that deadly wounds might be avoided, and he insisted on the innocence of the dove so that revenge might not be taken on those who injure or lay traps for you. Cleverness is useless without innocence.
Do not believe that this precept is beyond your power. More than anyone else, the Lord knows the true natures of created things; he knows that moderation, not a fierce defence, beats back a fierce attack.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Saints Andrew Dung-Lac and his Companions

The evangelization of Vietnam began in the 16th century and was formally established with the setting up of two Vicariates Apostolic in 1659. There are now about 6 million Catholics in Vietnam, some 10% of the population.
This growth comes partly from the fact that since the earliest times the seed of the Faith has been watered by the blood of the martyrs of Vietnam – the missionary clergy, the local clergy and the ordinary Christian people. They have all shared the labour of apostolic work and have together faced death to bear witness to the truth of the Gospel. In the course of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries no less than 53 decrees, signed by the lords and emperors of the country from 1625 to 1886, launched one persecution of Christians after another, each one more savage than the last. Over the whole territory of Vietnam about 130,000 Christians were killed in these persecutions. Over the centuries the names of most of them have been lost, but their memory is still alive in the Catholic community.
Since the beginning of the 20th century 117 of these heroes (those whose sufferings were cruellest and best documented) were beatified, in four groups. They were all canonized together by Pope John Paul II on 19 June 1988.
Each one of them was a soul individually created and loved by God, with a life and gifts uniquely his or her own; but with such a huge crowd one can only classify. By nationality, there were 96 Vietnamese, 11 Spanish and 10 French. By status, there were 8 bishops, 50 priests, and 59 laymen and women. By mode of death, 75 were beheaded, 22 strangled, 6 burned alive, 5 torn to pieces while still alive, and 9 died of torture in prison.

A treatise of St Augustine on St John's gospel
You will come to the spring and see light itself
We Christians are the light, at least by comparison with unbelievers. Thus the Apostle says: Once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk then as sons of the light. And elsewhere he says: The night is far spent, the day is drawing near. Let us therefore lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us walk uprightly as in the day.
Nevertheless, since the days in which we are now living are still dark compared to the light which we shall see, hear what the apostle Peter says. He speaks of a voice that came from the Supreme Glory and said to the Lord Jesus Christ: You are my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. This voice, he says, we heard coming from heaven, when we were with him on the holy mountain. Because we ourselves were not present there and did not hear that voice from heaven, Peter says to us:And we possess a more certain prophetic word to which you do well to attend, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
When, therefore, our Lord Jesus Christ comes and, as the apostle Paul says, brings to light things hidden in darkness and makes plain the secrets of the heart, so that everyone may receive his commendation from God, then lamps will no longer be needed. When that day is at hand, the prophet will not be read to us, the book of the Apostle will not be opened, we shall not require the testimony of John, we shall have no need of the Gospel itself. Therefore all Scriptures will be taken away from us, those Scriptures which in the night of this world burned like lamps so that we might not remain in darkness.
When all these things are removed as no longer necessary for our illumination, and when the men of God by whom they were ministered to us shall themselves together with us behold the true and dear light without such aids, what shall we see? With what shall our minds be nourished? What will give joy to our gaze? Where will that gladness come from, which eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, which has not even been conceived by the heart of man? What shall we see?
I implore you to love with me and, by believing, to run with me; let us long for our heavenly country, let us sigh for our heavenly home, let us truly feel that here we are strangers. What shall we then see? Let the gospel tell us: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. You will come to the fountain, with whose dew you have already been sprinkled. Instead of the ray of light which was sent through slanting and winding ways into the heart of your darkness, you will see the light itself in all its purity and brightness. It is to see and experience this light that you are now being cleansed. Dearly beloved, John himself says, we are the sons of God, and it has not yet been disclosed what we shall be; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
I feel that your spirits are being raised up with mine to the heavens above; but the body which is corruptible weighs down the soul, and this earthly tent burdens the thoughtful mind. I am about to lay aside this book, and you are soon going away, each to his own business. It has been good for us to share the common light, good to have enjoyed ourselves, good to have been glad together. When we part from one another, let us not depart from him.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A sermon by St Augustine

The heart of the just man will rejoice in the Lord
The just man will rejoice in the Lord and put his hope in him; the hearts of all good men will be filled with joy. We must surely have sung these words with our hearts as well as with our voices. Indeed, the tongue of the Christian expresses his deepest feelings when it addresses such words to God. The just man will rejoice, not in the world, but in the Lord. Light has dawned for the just, Scripture says in another place, and joy for the upright of heart. Were you wondering what reason he has for joy? Here you are told: The just man will rejoice in the Lord. Another text runs: Delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.
What are we instructed to do then, and what are we enabled to do? To rejoice in the Lord. But who can rejoice in something he does not see? Am I suggesting that we see the Lord then? No, but we have been promised that we shall see him. Now, as long as we are in the body, we walk by faith, for we are absent from the Lord. We walk by faith, and not by sight. When will it be by sight? Beloved, says John, we are now the sons of God; what we shall be has not yet been revealed, but we know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. When this prophecy is fulfilled, then it will be by sight.
That will be the great joy, the supreme joy, joy in all its fullness. Then we shall no longer drink the milk of hope, but we shall feed on the reality itself. Nevertheless, even now, before that vision comes to us, or before we come to that vision, let us rejoice in the Lord; for it is no small reason for rejoicing to have a hope that will some day be fulfilled.
Therefore, since the hope we now have inspires love, the just man rejoices, Scripture says, in the Lord; but because he does not yet see, it immediately goes on to say, and hopes in him.
Yet already we have the first fruits of the Spirit, and have we not also other reasons for rejoicing? For we are drawing near to the one we love, and not only are we drawing near – we even have some slight feeling and taste of the banquet we shall one day eagerly eat and drink.
But how can we rejoice in the Lord if he is far from us? Pray God he may not be far. If he is, that is your doing. Love, and he will draw near; love, and he will dwell within you. The Lord is at hand; have no anxiety. Are you puzzled to know how it is that he will be with you if you love? God is love.
“What do you mean by love?” you will ask me. It is that which enables us to be loving. What do we love? A good that words cannot describe, a good that is for ever giving, a good that is the Creator of all good. Delight in him from whom you have received everything that delights you. But in that I do not include sin, for sin is the one thing that you do not receive from him. With that one exception, everything you have comes from him

Monday, November 16, 2009

St. Gertrude and St. Margaret of Scotland

St. Margaret of Scotland (1046 - 1093)
She was born in Hungary of Anglo-Saxon and Hungarian parents. When William of Normandy conquered England she found refuge with King Malcolm III of Scotland, and they were married in 1070 and had eight children. She reformed the royal court, founded monasteries, and supported major reforms of Church life. She died in Edinburgh on 16 November 1093. She is remembered for the happiness of her marriage, for her devotion to prayer and learning, and especially for her generosity to the poor.

St Gertrude (1256 - 1301/2)
She was born at Eisleben in Thuringia. As a girl she was educated by the Benedictine nuns at Helfta and was particularly talented at literature and philosophy. She turned to God and became a nun herself. She was devoted to the mystery of the Incarnation, in particular to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Eucharist. She the recipient of many mystical experiences, and her spiritual writings had great influence in later centuries and indirectly contributed to the establishment of the feast of the Sacred Hear

The treatise of St Fulgentius of Ruspe on the forgiveness
Whoever conquers will not be harmed by the second death
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye as the final trumpet sounds, for the trumpet shall indeed sound, the dead shall rise incorruptible and we shall be changed. In saying “we,” Paul is indicating that the gift of that future change will also be given to those who during their time on earth are united to him and his companions by upright lives within the communion of the Church. He hints at the nature of the change when he says: This corruptible body must put on incorruptibility, this mortal body immortality. In order, then, that men may obtain the transformation which is the reward of the just, they must first undergo here on earth a change which is God’s free gift. Those who in this life have been changed from evil to good are promised that future change as a reward.
Through justification and the spiritual resurrection, grace now effects in them an initial change that is God’s gift. Later on, through the bodily resurrection, the transformation of the just will be brought to completion, and they will experience a perfect, abiding, unchangeable glorification. The purpose of this change wrought in them by the gifts of both justification and glorification is that they may abide in an eternal, changeless state of joy.
Here on earth they are changed by the first resurrection, in which they are enlightened and converted, thus passing from death to life, sinfulness to holiness, unbelief to faith, and evil actions to holy life. For this reason the second death has no power over them. It is of such men that the Book of Revelation says: Happy the man who shares in the first resurrection; over such as he the second death has no power. Elsewhere the same book says: He who overcomes shall not be harmed by the second death. As the first resurrection consists of the conversion of the heart, the second death consists of unending torment.
Let everyone, therefore, who does not wish to be condemned to the endless punishment of the second death now hasten to share in the first resurrection. For if any during this life are changed out of fear of God and pass from an evil life to a good one, they pass from death to life and later they shall be transformed from a shameful state to a glorious one.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Readings from the Book of Wisdom

First reading from Friday's mass
Wisdom 13:1-9 ©
Naturally stupid are all men who have not known God
and who, from the good things that are seen, have not been able to discover Him-who-is,
or, by studying the works, have failed to recognise the Artificer.
Fire however, or wind, or the swift air,
the sphere of the stars, impetuous water, heaven’s lamps,
are what they have held to be the gods who govern the world.
If, charmed by their beauty, they have taken things for gods,
let them know how much the Lord of these excels them,
since the very Author of beauty has created them.
And if they have been impressed by their power and energy,
let them deduce from these how much mightier is he that has formed them,
since through the grandeur and beauty of the creatures
we may, by analogy, contemplate their Author.
Small blame, however, attaches to these men,
for perhaps they only go astray
in their search for God and their eagerness to find him;
living among his works, they strive to comprehend them
and fall victim to appearances, seeing so much beauty.
Even so, they are not to be excused:
if they are capable of acquiring enough knowledge
to be able to investigate the world,
how have they been so slow to find its Master

First Reading from Saturday's mass

First readingWisdom 18:14-16,19:6-9 ©
When peaceful silence lay over all,
and night had run the half of her swift course,
down from the heavens, from the royal throne, leapt your all-powerful Word;
into the heart of a doomed land the stern warrior leapt.
Carrying your unambiguous command like a sharp sword,
he stood, and filled the universe with death;
he touched the sky, yet trod the earth.
For, to keep your children from all harm,
The whole creation, obedient to your commands,
was once more, and newly, fashioned in its nature.
Overshadowing the camp there was the cloud,
where water had been, dry land was seen to rise,
the Red Sea became an unimpeded way,
the tempestuous flood a green plain;
sheltered by your hand, the whole nation passed across,
gazing at these amazing miracles.
They were like horses at pasture,
they skipped like lambs,
singing your praises, Lord, their deliverer

Thursday, November 12, 2009

St. Joshaphat

Pope Pius XI's encyclical "Ecclesiam Dei"
He gave his life for the unity of the Church
In designing his Church God worked with such skill that in the fullness of time it would resemble a single great family embracing all men. It can be identified, as we know, by certain distinctive characteristics, notably its universality and unity.
Christ the Lord passed on to his apostles the task he had received from the Father: I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations. He wanted the apostles as a body to be intimately bound together, first by the inner tie of the same faith and love which flows into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, and, second, by the external tie of authority exercised by one apostle over the others. For this he assigned the primacy to Peter, the source and visible basis of their unity for all time. So that the unity and agreement among them would endure, God wisely stamped them, one might say, with the mark of holiness and martyrdom.
Both these distinctions fell to Josaphat, archbishop of Polock of the Slavonic rite of the Eastern Church. He is rightly looked upon as the great glory and strength of the Eastern Rite Slavs. Few have brought them greater honour or contributed more to their spiritual welfare than Josaphat, their pastor and apostle, especially when he gave his life as a martyr for the unity of the Church. He felt, in fact, that God had inspired him to restore world-wide unity to the Church and he realised that his greatest chance of success lay in preserving the Slavonic rite and Saint Basil’s rule of monastic life within the one universal Church.
Concerned mainly with seeing his own people reunited to the See of Peter, he sought out every available argument which would foster and maintain Church unity. His best arguments were drawn from liturgical books, sanctioned by the Fathers of the Church, which were in common use among Eastern Christians, including the dissidents. Thus thoroughly prepared, he set out to restore the unity of the Church. A forceful man of fine sensibilities, he met with such success that his opponents dubbed him “the thief of souls.”

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Biography of St. Martin de Porres and the second reading from the Office of readings


Dominican Coadjutor Brother

Saint Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru in 1579, during the days when Spanish noblemen and many adventurers were still in the land, fascinated by the lure of the gold and silver which abounded there. He was the natural son of one of these and a young Indian woman. It was not long before his dark complexion caused his father to be ashamed of him and his mother, and to abandon them. Later the father would regret his too rapid decision, and take Martin under his protection.

The young boy often heard himself referred to as a half-breed, and all his life long, his profound humility saw in himself only the magnanimity of God amid the inadequacy of his origins. When his mother could not support him and his sister, Martin was confided to a primary school for two years, then placed with a surgeon to learn the medical arts. This caused him great joy, though he was only ten years old, for he could exercise charity to his neighbor while earning his living. Already he was spending hours of the night in prayer, a practice which increased rather than diminished as he grew older. Until his death he would flagellate himself three times every night, for his own failings and for the conversion of pagans and sinners.

He asked for admission to the Dominican Convent of the Rosary in Lima and was received first as a tertiary. When he was 24, he was given the habit of a Coadjutor Brother and assigned to the infirmary of that convent, where he would remain in service until his death at the age of sixty. His superiors saw in him the virtues necessary to exercise unfailing patience in this difficult role, and he never disappointed them. On the contrary, it was not long before miracles began to happen, and Saint Martin was working also with the sick outside his convent, often bringing them healing with only a simple glass of water. He begged for alms to procure for them necessities the Convent could not provide, and Providence always supplied what he sought.

One day an aged beggar, covered with ulcers and almost naked, stretched out his hand, and Saint Martin, seeing the Divine Mendicant in him, took him to his own bed, paying no heed to the fact that he was not perfectly neat and clean. One of his brethren, considering he had gone too far in his charity, reproved him. Saint Martin replied: “Compassion, my dear Brother, is preferable to cleanliness. Reflect that with a little soap I can easily clean my bed covers, but even with a torrent of tears I would never wash from my soul the stain that my harshness toward the unfortunate would create.”

When an epidemic struck Lima, there were in this single convent of the Rosary sixty religious who were sick, many of them novices in a distant and locked section of the convent, separated from the professed. Saint Martin is known to have passed through the locked doors to care for them, a phenomenon which was observed in the residence more than once. The professed, too, saw him suddenly beside them without the doors having been opened; and these facts were duly verified by the surprised Superiors. Martin continued to transport the sick to the convent until the provincial Superior, alarmed by the contagion threatening the religious, forbid him to continue to do so. His sister, who lived in the country, offered her house to lodge those whom the residence of the religious could not hold. One day he found on the street a poor Indian, bleeding to death from a dagger wound, and took him to his own room until he could transport him to his sister’s hospice. The Superior, when he heard of this, reprimanded his subject for disobedience. He was extremely edified by his reply: “Forgive my error, and please instruct me, for I did not know that the precept of obedience took precedence over that of charity.” In effect, there are situations where charity must prevail; and instruction is very necessary. The Superior gave him liberty thereafter to follow his inspirations in the exercise of mercy.

In normal times Saint Martin succeeded with his alms to feed 160 poor persons every day, and distributed a remarkable sum of money every week to the indigent — the latter phenomenon hard to explain by ordinary calculations. To Saint Martin the city of Lima owed a famous residence founded for orphans and abandoned children, where they were formed in piety for a creative Christian life. This lay Brother had always wanted to be a missionary, but never left his native city; yet even during his lifetime he was seen elsewhere, in regions as far distant as Africa, China, Algeria, Japan. An African slave who had been in irons said he had known Martin when he came to relieve and console many like himself, telling them of heaven. When later the same slave saw him in Peru, he was very happy to meet him again and asked him if he had had a good voyage; only later did he learn that Saint Martin had never left Lima. A merchant from Lima was in Mexico and fell ill; he said aloud: “Oh, Brother Martin, if only you were here to care for me..!” and immediately saw him enter his room. And again, this man did not know until later that he had never been in Mexico.

When he died in 1639, Saint Martin was known to the entire city of Lima; word of his miracles had made him known as a Saint to every resident of the region. After his death, the miracles and graces received when he was invoked multiplied in such profusion that his body was exhumed after 25 years and found intact, and exhaling a fine fragrance. Letters to Rome pleaded for his beatification; the decree affirming the heroism of his virtues was issued in 1763 by Clement XIII; Gregory XVI beatified him in 1836, and in 1962 Pope John XXIII canonized him. The poor and the sick will never fail to find in him a friend having great power over the Heart of God.

From the Second Vatican Council's pastoral constitution "Gaudium et spes" on the Church in the modern world
The duty of Christians to build peace
Christians should co-operate, willingly and wholeheartedly, in building an international order based on genuine respect for legitimate freedom and on a brotherhood of universal friendship. This is all the more urgent because the greater part of the world still experiences such poverty that in the voices of the poor Christ himself can be heard, crying out for charity from his followers. There are nations, many of them with a Christian majority, which enjoy an abundance of goods, while others are deprived of the necessities of life, and suffer from hunger, disease and all kinds of afflictions. This scandal must be removed from among men, for the glory of Christ’s Church and its testimony to the world are the spirit of poverty and the spirit of love.
Christians, especially young Christians, deserve praise and support when they offer themselves voluntarily in the service of other people and other nations. Indeed, it is the duty of all God’s people, with bishops giving a lead by word and example, to do all in their power to relieve the sufferings of our times, following the age-old custom of the Church in giving not only what they can spare but also what they need for themselves.
Without being uniform or inflexible, a method of collecting and distributing contributions should be established in each diocese and nation and on a world-wide level. Wherever it seems appropriate, there should be joint action between Catholics and other Christians. The spirit of charity, far from forbidding prudence and orderliness in social and charitable action, in fact demands them. Those intending to serve the developing countries must therefore undergo appropriate and systematic training.
In order to foster and encourage cooperation among men, the Church must be present and active in the community of nations. It must work through its own public organisations with the full and sincere cooperation of all Christians in their one desire to serve all mankind.
This end will be more effectively achieved if the faithful are themselves conscious of their human and Christian responsibilities and seek to awaken among those in their own walk of life a readiness to co-operate with the international community. Special care should be taken to give this kind of formation to young people in their religious and secular education.
Finally, it is to be hoped that, in carrying out their responsibilities in the international community, Catholics will seek to co-operate actively and constructively with other Christians, who profess the same Gospel of love, and with all men who hunger and thirst for true peace.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A discourse "Against the Arians" by St Athanasius

Wisdom's likeness and image is created in God's works
An impress of Wisdom has been created in us and in all his works. Therefore, the true Wisdom which shaped the world claims for himself all that bears his image, and rightly says: The Lord created me in his works. These words are really spoken by the wisdom that is in us, but the Lord himself here adopts them as his own.
Wisdom himself is not created, because he is the Creator, but by reason of the created image of himself found in his works, he speaks thus as though he were speaking of himself. Our Lord said: He who receives you receives me, and he could say this because the impress of himself is in us. In the same way, although Wisdom is not to be numbered among created things, yet because his form and likeness are in his works, he speaks as if he were a creature, and he says: The Lord created me in his works, when his purpose first unfolded.
The likeness of Wisdom has been stamped upon creatures in order that the world may recognise in it the Word who was its maker and through the Word come to know the Father. This is Paul’s teaching: What can be known about God is clear to them, for God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature has been there for the mind to perceive in things that have been made. Accordingly the Word is not a creature, for the passage that begins: The Lord created me is to be understood as referring to that wisdom which is truly in us and is said to be so.
But if this fails to persuade our opponents, let them tell us whether there is any wisdom in created things. If there is none, why does the apostle Paul allege as the cause of men’s sins: By God’s wisdom, the world failed to come to a knowledge of God through wisdom? And if there is no created wisdom, how is it that the expression a multitude of wise men is found in Scripture? And again, Scripture testifies that the wise man is wary and turns away from evil, and by wisdom is a house built.
Further, Ecclesiastes says: A wise man’s wisdom will light up his face. He also rebukes presumptuous persons with the warning: Do not say, “How is it that former days were better than these?” For it is not in wisdom that you ask this.
So there is a wisdom in created things, as the son of Sirach too bears witness: The Lord has poured it out upon all his works, to be with men as his gift, and with wisdom he has abundantly equipped those who love him. This quality of being “poured out” belongs not to the essence of that self-existent Wisdom who is the Only-Begotten, but to that wisdom which reflects the only-begotten one in the world. Why then is it beyond belief if the creative and archetypal Wisdom, whose likeness is the wisdom and understanding poured out in the world, should say, as though speaking directly of himself: The Lord created me in his works? For the wisdom in the world is not creative, but is itself created in God’s works, and in the light of this wisdom the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims the work of his hands.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A hermits plea!!!

Two days ago I attended the funeral of Adama. Adama was a beautiful 5 year old boy and the remaining twin of another lad who died last year. Both children had malaria. I do not actively treat children less than 4 years of age but I do send the sick infants overto the local health center and pay for their being seen and medicines. Each child can be seen and cared for $1.00 (in local currency)Normally I put down enough money to care for 20 children and then when I send a referral to the health center the nurses deduct that visit from my balance. Of course this is the high end of the malaria season(actually it lasts all year but this is the worst time). If I don’thave enough money in the Clinic’s account they will generally let me run a tab for a few more patients but then they stop until that is paid up. These two children, both last year and this year, were not brought to me for help so I was unaware of the problem. Sometimes parents wait until they see the child is not going to get better and by then, it is too late.The folks in this area, where the Hermitage is located, are very poor and barely have enough food to feed their families let alone any money to pay for medical treatment. I have been using a portion of my SS money to cover the clinic costs plus part of your donations as well but it leaves me short when I need to buy anti malarial tablets (the curative dose) for the grown ups. Just this week alone I have givenout 10 doses of the Anti Malarial meds and have only two remaining doses left. Obviously the reason for telling you this is to ask your help again intaking care of the folks in this village.When God called me to come here as a hermit I did so willingly and when He showed me what work I would engage in (caring for the sickpoor) I did so willingly. When I realized I would have to become a beggar to keep medicine and supplies up I said OK, but I want to let you know begging is extremely hard for me and I am totally embarrassed to have to keep asking for help. I’m sure the Lord knows this and is using it to teach me a bit of humility but my pride always tries to get the better of me. I have tried writing this begging letter for a couple weeks but pride kept me from finishing it) You probably think that I don’t mind asking for help but I really do. I would have preferred to take care of it all on my own. But I also see that each of you have an active part in this caring for the sick poor. I am justthe 'hands on person'……you are the real supporters of these folks.Without your help I would be unable to keep this work going. This is the 'service' that Christ called everone to...all our brothers andsisters. "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me......" Right now I have reached a low point for all my medicines (Ibuprofen,Naproxen, Acetaminophen [Tylenol], Allergy eye drops, Alka Seltzer, Ranitidine, Povidine antiseptic and things of that sort)and right now I have only a few roller gauze bandages, 2 rolls of paper tape, steristrips and similar medical supplies like them left in my supplies.Paper tape is not sold here but it holds better than adhesive or anyother type of tape. I need more antibiotics, arthritic and joint pain cream, Neosporin cream (not ointment). If any of you feel like sending a care package of Ibuprofen, Naproxen,Tylenol or any over the counter meds they would be received with gratefulness. If you prefer to send a cash donation in any amount you can write a check to me; Brother Dismas

And send it to"

Brother Dismas

C/O Mr. Robert Shrigley

8 Poco Lane

Santa Fe, New Mexico 87507

Bob will deposit your donation into my account and notify me viae-mail…..and I can then cash a check into local currency here and purchase medicines that are needed. Recently I discovered I can purchase Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen at a lower price than the US, as well as antibiotics and antimalarials here at a very reliable wholesale pharmacy. The other items are not available here or are too costly. I have put a list of medical items in my wish list on Amazon but I know they can be found at a lower price elsewhere in the states. Just to get an idea of what I need, you can view the list at:

I guess I have said enough and I beg your forgiveness if anyone feels put out by my plea. I had never done this until I came to Gambia as a hermit and perhaps I am going about it incorrectly but this is all I can figure out to do. I would like to write to each of you individually but that task would take more time than I have.Please, don’t just delete this but take a few minutes to think itover. Ask the Lord what He would have you do and then DO IT!!!! Manyof you have been sending things for a long time and I thank you in the name of the Lord and in the name of my brothers and sisters in Tanje.They are all aware of your kindness and each one tells me they pray for you.This is a real opportunity to be of service to folks you don’t know but folks, nevertheless, who are your brothers and sisters too. I pray God will bless you continually and fill you with HIS peace..

For all mail or parcels, please send to:

Brother dismas (Nazareth Hermitage)

Catholic Mission

PO Box 165

Banjul, The Gambia

West Africa

St Clement's letter to the Corinthians

Let us not be fugitives from the will of God
My dear friends, take care to do good and virtuous deeds in unity before him, and be citizens worthy of him; or his many good works towards us may become a judgement on us all. For, as he says somewhere, The spirit of the Lord is a lamp searching the inward parts.
Let us observe how near he is, and that nothing escapes him: not the thoughts we think, not the arguments we construct. It is right, therefore, that we should not be deserters from his will. Let us offend foolish and thoughtless men, men who puff themselves up and boast in the pride of their words, rather than offending God.
Let us reverence the Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood was given for us. Let us respect those who rule us; let us honour the aged; let us instruct the young in the fear of God.
Let us lead our wives to what is good: let them exhibit the lovely habit of purity, let them show forth the innocent will of meekness, let them make the gentleness of their tongue manifest by their silence, let them give their affection without favouritism but in holiness equally to all who fear God.
Let our children share in the instruction which is in Christ, let them learn the strength of humility before God, the power of pure love before God, how beautiful and great is his fear and how it gives salvation to all who live holily in it with a pure mind. For he is a searcher of thoughts and desires; his breath is in us, and he chooses when to take it away from us.
Now the faith which is in Christ confirms all these things, for he himself through his Holy Spirit calls us: Come, Children, hearken to me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man that desires life, that loves to see good days? Make your tongue cease from evil, make your lips speak no guile. Depart from evil, and do good. Seek peace, and pursue it.
The all-merciful and beneficent Father has compassion on those that fear him, and kindly and lovingly bestows his favours on those that draw near to him with a sincere intention. So let us not be in two minds, and let us have no doubts about his excellent and glorious gifts

Friday, October 23, 2009


Today's first Psalm from the Morning Office(Matins) is Psalm 5l (or 50 in more recent translations). It is the only psalm that remains constant in the Divine Office and is always said on Friday. This Psalm was one that St. Francis of Assisi most loved. Perhaps that is one reason I love it so much but I think it goes much deeper than that for it reflects the deepest part of my own being.

Psalm 50 (51)
God, have mercy on me

Take pity on me, Lord, in your mercy;
in your abundance of mercy wipe out my guilt.
Wash me ever more from my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know how guilty I am:
my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone have I sinned,
and I have done evil in your sight.
Know this, so that you may give just sentence
and an unbiased judgement.
See, I was conceived in guilt,
in sin my mother conceived me;
but you love truth in the heart,
and deep within me you have shown me your wisdom.
You will sprinkle me with hyssop, and I will be made clean;
you will wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
You will make me hear the sound of joy and gladness;
the bones you have crushed will rejoice.
Turn your face away from my sins
and wipe out all my transgressions;
create a pure heart in me, God,
put a steadfast spirit into me.
Do not send me away from your presence,
or withdraw your holy spirit from me;
give me again the joy of your salvation,
and be ready to strengthen me with your spirit.
I will teach the unjust your ways,
and the impious will return to you.
Free me from the guilt of bloodshed, God, God my saviour,
and my voice will glory in your justice.
Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will proclaim your praise;
for you do not delight in sacrifices:
if I offered you a burnt offering, it would not please you.
The true sacrifice is a broken spirit:
a contrite and humble heart, O God, you will not refuse.
Be pleased, Lord, to look kindly on Zion,
so that the walls of Jerusalem can be rebuilt,
Then indeed you will accept the proper sacrifices, gifts and burnt offerings;
then indeed will bullocks be laid upon your altar.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Todays Gospel and a continuation of St. Agustines letter to Proba on the "Our Father"

Luke 12:39-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what hour the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’
Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’ The Lord replied, ‘What sort of steward, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you truly, he will place him over everything he owns. But as for the servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time coming,” and sets about beating the menservants and the maids, and eating and drinking and getting drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.
The servant who knows what his master wants, but has not even started to carry out those wishes, will receive very many strokes of the lash. The one who did not know, but deserves to be beaten for what he has done, will receive fewer strokes. When a man has had a great deal given him, a great deal will be demanded of him; when a man has had a great deal given him on trust, even more will be expected of him.’


You will find no prayer that is not already contained in the Lord's Prayer
Here are some examples.
When one prays: Be glorified among all nations as thou art glorified among us, and Let your prophets be proved true, what else is one asking than Hallowed be thy name?
When the psalmist says: Bring us back, O God of hosts, let your face shine on us and we shall be saved what else is he saying than Thy kingdom come?
When he says: Direct my steps according to your word, so that iniquity has no dominion over me what else is he saying than Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven?
When the book of Proverbs it is said: give me neither poverty nor riches, grant me only my share of food what else is this than Give us this day our daily bread?
When the psalmist says Lord, remember David and how he served you or O Lord, if I have done this, if there is iniquity in my hands, if I have rewarded with evil those that did evil to me what else is this than Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us?
When he says: Deliver me from my enemies, O my God, and defend me from those that rise up against me what else is this than Deliver us from evil?
And if you go over all the words of holy prayers, I think you will find nothing which cannot be comprised and summed up in the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. So when we pray we are free to use different words to any extent, but we must ask the same things: in this we have no choice.
It is our duty to ask these things without hesitation for ourselves and for our friends, for strangers and even for our enemies; although of course our emotions may differ according to the persons being prayed for and their closeness or their distance from us.
Now you have the answers to two questions: what sort of person you should be when you pray, and what sort of things you should pray for. These answers have not come from my teaching but from the teaching of him who has condescended to teach us all.
We must seek a blessed life and we must ask God to grant it to us. What a blessed life might mean is something that many people have had many arguments about; but why should we go to many people or listen to many arguments? God’s own Scriptures have summed it up exactly: Blessed is the people whose God is the Lord. How are we to be part of that people, to look on God and live with him for ever? As St Paul says, The only purpose of this instruction is that there should be love coming out of a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a sincere faith.
For “a clear conscience” we may read “hope.” Faith, hope, and charity, therefore, lead to God the man who prays, the man, that is, believes, hopes, and desires, and is guided as to what he should ask from the Lord by studying the Lord’s Prayer.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Second Reading from the Office of Readings

A letter to Proba by St Augustine
On the Lord's Prayer
We need to use words so that we may remind ourselves to consider carefully what we are asking, not so that we may think we can instruct the Lord or prevail on him.
Thus, when we say: Hallowed be your name, we are reminding ourselves to desire that his name, which in fact is always holy, should also be considered holy among men. I mean that it should not be held in contempt. But this is a help for men, not for God.
And as for our saying: Your kingdom come, it will surely come whether we will it or not. But we are stirring up our desires for the kingdom so that it can come to us and we can deserve to reign there.
When we say: Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are asking him to make us obedient so that his will may be done in us as it is done in heaven by his angels.
When we say: Give us this day our daily bread, in saying this day we mean “in this world.” Here we ask for a sufficiency by specifying the most important part of it; that is, we use the word “bread” to stand for everything. Or else we are asking for the sacrament of the faithful, which is necessary in this world, not to gain temporal happiness but to gain the happiness that is everlasting.
When we say: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, we are reminding ourselves of what we must ask and what we must do in order to be worthy in turn to receive.
When we say: Lead us not into temptation, we are reminding ourselves to ask that his help may not depart from us; otherwise we could be seduced and consent to some temptation, or despair and yield to it.
When we say: Deliver us from evil, we are reminding ourselves to reflect on the fact that we do not yet enjoy the state of blessedness in which we shall suffer no evil. This is the final petition contained in the Lord’s Prayer, and it has a wide application. In this petition the Christian can utter his cries of sorrow, in it he can shed his tears, and through it he can begin, continue and conclude his prayer, whatever the distress in which he finds himself. Yes, it was very appropriate that all these truths should be entrusted to us to remember in these very words.
Whatever be the other words we may prefer to say (words which the one praying chooses so that his disposition may become clearer to himself or which he simply adopts so that his disposition may be intensified), we say nothing that is not contained in the Lord’s Prayer, provided of course we are praying in a correct and proper way. But if anyone says something which is incompatible with this prayer of the Gospel, he is praying in the flesh, even if he is not praying sinfully. And yet I do not know how this could be termed anything but sinful, since those who are born again through the Spirit ought to pray only in the Spirit.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Feasts of St. Peter of Alcantara and St. Isaac Jogues and the North American MArtyrs

Please note that the second reading from the Office of readings after these bio's of the saints of the day.

St. Isaac Jogues and the North American Martyrs

Isaac Jogues was a French missionary, born at Orléans, France, 10 January, 1607; martyred at Ossernenon, in the present State of New York, 18 October, 1646. He was the first Catholic priest who ever came to Manhattan Island (New York). He entered the Society of Jesus in 1624 and, after having been professor of literature at Rouen, was sent as a missionary to Canada in 1636. He came out with Montmagny, the immediate successor of Champlain. From Quebec he went to the regions around the great lakes where the illustrious Father de Brébeuf and others were labouring. There he spent six years in constant danger. Though a daring missionary, his character was of the most practical nature, his purpose always being to fix his people in permanent habitations. He was with Garnier among the Petuns, and he and Raymbault penetrated as far as Sault Ste Marie, and "were the first missionaries", says Bancroft (VII, 790, London, 1853), "to preach the gospel a thousand miles in the interior, five years before John Eliot addressed the Indians six miles from Boston Harbour". There is little doubt that they were not only the first apostles but also the first white men to reach this outlet of Lake Superior. No documentary proof is adduced by the best-known historians that Nicholet, the discoverer of Lake Michigan, ever visited the Sault. Jogues proposed not only to convert the Indians of Lake Superior, but the Sioux who lived at the head waters of the Mississippi.
His plan was thwarted by his capture near
Three Rivers returning from Quebec. He was taken prisoner on 3 August, 1642, and after being cruelly tortured was carried to the Indian village of Ossernenon, now Auriesville, on the Mohawk, about forty miles above the present city of Albany. There he remained for thirteen months in slavery, suffering apparently beyond the power of natural endurance. The Dutch Calvinists at Fort Orange (Albany) made constant efforts to free him, and at last, when he was about to be burnt to death, induced him to take refuge in a sailing vessel which carried him to New Amsterdam (New York). His description of the colony as it was at that time has since been incorporated in the Documentary History of the State. From New York he was sent; in mid-winter, across the ocean on a lugger of only fifty tons burden and after a voyage of two months, landed Christmas morning, 1643, on the coast of Brittany, in a state of absolute destitution. Thence he found his way to the nearest college of the Society. He was received with great honour at the court of the Queen Regent, the mother of Louis XIV, and was allowed by Pope Urban VII the very exceptional privilege of celebrating Mass, which the mutilated condition of his hands had made canonically impossible; several of his fingers having been eaten or burned off. He was called a martyr of Christ by the pontiff. No similar concession, up to that, is known to have been granted.
In early spring of 1644 he returned to
Canada, and in 1646 was sent to negotiate peace with the Iroquois. He followed the same route over which he had been carried as a captive. It was on this occasion that he gave the name of Lake of the Blessed Sacrament to the body of water called by the Indians Horicon, now known as Lake George. He reached Ossernenon on 5 June, after a three weeks' journey from the St. Lawrence. He was well received by his former captors and the treaty of peace was made. He started for Quebec on 16 June and arrived there 3 July. He immediately asked to be sent back to the Iroquois as a missionary, but only after much hesitation his superiors acceded to his request. On 27 September he began his third and last journey to the Mohawk. In the interim sickness had broken out in the tribe and a blight had fallen on the crops. This double calamity was ascribed to Jogues whom the Indians always regarded as a sorcerer. They were determined to wreak vengence on him for the spell he had cast on the place, and warriors were sent out to capture him. The news of this change of sentiment spread rapidly, and though fully aware of the danger Jogues continued on his way to Ossernenon, though all the Hurons and others who were with him fled except Lalande. The Iroquois met him near Lake George, stripped him naked, slashed him with their knives, beat him and then led him to the village. On 18 October, 1646, when entering a cabin he was struck with a tomahawk and afterwards decapitated. The head was fixed on the Palisades and the body thrown into the Mohawk.
St. Peter of Alcantara
Born at Alcántara, Spain, 1499; died 18 Oct., 1562. His father, Peter Garavita, was the governor of the place, and his mother was of the noble family of Sanabia. After a course of grammar and philosophy in his native town, he was sent, at the age of fourteen, to the University of Salamanca. Returning home, he became a Franciscan in the convent of the Stricter Observance at Manxaretes in 1515. At the age of twenty-two he was sent to found a new community of the Stricter Observance at Badajoz. He was ordained priest in 1524, and the following year made guardian of the convent of St. Mary of the Angels at Robredillo. A few years later he began preaching with much success. He preferred to preach to the poor; and his sermons, taken largely from the Prophets and Sapiential Books, breathe the tenderest human sympathy. The reform of the "Discalced Friars" had, at the time when Peter entered the order, besides the convents in Spain, the Custody of Sta. Maria Pietatis in Portugal, subject to the General of the Observants.
Having been elected minister of St. Gabriel's province in 1538, Peter set to work at once. At the chapter of
Plasencia in 1540 he drew up the Constitutions of the Stricter Observants, but his severe ideas met with such opposition that he renounced the office of provincial and retired with John of Avila into the mountains of Arabida, Portugal, where he joined Father Martin a Santa Maria in his life of eremitical solitude. Soon, however, other friars came to join him, and several little communities were established. Peter being chosen guardian and master of novices at the convent of Pallais. In 1560 these communities were erected into the Province of Arabida. Returning to Spain in 1553 he spent two more years in solitude, and then journeyed barefoot to Rome, and obtained permission of Julius III to found some poor convents in Spain under the jurisdiction of the general of the Conventuals. Convents were established at Pedrosa, Plasencia, and elsewhere; in 1556 they were made a commissariat, with Peter as superior, and in 1561, a province under the title of St. Joseph. Not discouraged by the opposition and ill-success his efforts at reform had met with in St. Gabriel's province, Peter drew up the constitutions of the new province with even greater severity. The reform spread rapidly into other provinces of Spain and Portugal.
In 1562 the province of St. Joseph was put under the
jurisdiction of the general of the Observants, and two new custodies were formed: St. John Baptist's in Valencia, and St. Simon's in Galicia (see Friars Minor). Besides the above-named associates of Peter may be mentioned St. Francis Borgia, John of Avila, and Ven. Louis of Granada. In St. Teresa, Peter perceived a soul chosen of God for a great work, and her success in the reform of Carmel was in great measure due to his counsel, encouragement, and defence. (See Carmelites.) It was a letter from St. Peter (14 April, 1562) that encouraged her to found her first monastery at Avila, 24 Aug. of that year. St. Teresa's autobiography is the source of much of our information regarding Peter's life, work, and gifts of miracles and prophecy.
Perhaps the most remarkable of Peter's
graces were his gift of contemplation and the virtue of penance. Hardly less remarkable was his love of God, which was at times so ardent as to cause him, as it did St. Philip Neri, sensible pain, and frequently rapt him into ecstasy. The poverty he practised and enforced was as cheerful as it was real, and often let the want of even the necessaries of life be felt. In confirmation of his virtues and mission of reformation God worked numerous miracles through his intercession and by his very presence. He was beatified by Gregory XV in 1622, and canonized by Clement IX in 1669. Besides the Constitutions of the Stricter Observants and many letters on spiritual subjects, especially to St. Teresa, he composed a short treatise on prayer, which has been translated into all the languages of Europe. His feast is 19 Oct.

A letter to Proba by St Augustine
Let us turn our mind to the task of prayer at appointed hours
Let us always desire the happy life from the Lord God and always pray for it. But for this very reason we turn our mind to the task of prayer at appointed hours, since that desire grows lukewarm, so to speak, from our involvement in other concerns and occupations. We remind ourselves through the words of prayer to focus our attention on the object of our desire; otherwise, the desire that began to grow lukewarm may grow chill altogether and may be totally extinguished unless it is repeatedly stirred into flame.
Therefore, when the Apostle says: Let your petitions become known before God, this should not be taken in the sense that they are in fact becoming known to God who certainly knew them even before they were made, but that they are becoming known to us before God through submission and not before men through boasting.
Since this is the case, it is not wrong or useless to pray even for a long time when there is the opportunity. I mean when it does not keep us from performing the other good and necessary actions we are obliged to do. But even in these actions, as I have said, we must always pray with that desire. To pray for a longer time is not the same as to pray by multiplying words, as some people suppose. Lengthy talk is one thing, a prayerful disposition which lasts a long time is another. For it is even written in reference to the Lord himself that he spent the night in prayer and that he prayed at great length. Was he not giving us an example by this? In time, he prays when it is appropriate, and in eternity, he hears our prayers with the Father.
The monks in Egypt are said to offer frequent prayers, but these are very short and hurled like swift javelins. Otherwise their watchful attention, a very necessary quality for anyone at prayer, could be dulled and could disappear through protracted delays. They also clearly demonstrate through this practice that a person must not quickly divert such attention if it lasts, just as one must not allow it to be blunted if it cannot last.
Excessive talking should be kept out of prayer but that does not mean that one should not spend much time in prayer so long as a fervent attitude continues to accompany his prayer. To talk at length in prayer is to perform a necessary action with an excess of words. To spend much time in prayer is to knock with a persistent and holy fervour at the door of the one whom we beseech. This task is generally accomplished more through sighs than words, more through weeping than speech. He places our tears in his sight, and our sighs are not hidden from him, for he has established all things through his Word and does not seek human words.