Saturday, October 8, 2016

Saturday 8 October 2016 Saturday of week 27 in Ordinary Time

A homily of Pope St Gregory the Great

The performance of our ministry
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The harvest is great but the laborers are few
Let us listen to what the Lord says as he sends the preachers forth: The harvest is great but the labourers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest. We can speak only with a heavy heart of so few labourers for such a great harvest, for although there are many to hear the good news there are only a few to preach it. Look about you and see how full the world is of priests, yet in God’s harvest a labourer is rarely to be found; for although we have accepted the priestly office, we do not fulfil its demands.
  Beloved brothers, consider what has been said: Pray the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest. Pray for us so that we may have the strength to work on your behalf, that our tongue may not grow weary of exhortation, and that after we have accepted the office of preaching, our silence may not condemn us before the just judge. For frequently the preacher’s tongue is bound fast on account of his own wickedness; while on the other hand it sometimes happens that because of the people’s sins, the word of preaching is withdrawn from those who preside over the assembly.
  With reference to the wickedness of the preacher, the psalmist says: But God asks the sinner: Why do you recite my commandments? And with reference to the latter, the Lord tells Ezekiel: I will make your tongue cleave to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be dumb and unable to reprove them, for they are a rebellious house. He clearly means this: the word of preaching will be taken away from you because as long as this people irritates me by their deeds, they are unworthy to hear the exhortation of truth. It is not easy to know for whose sinfulness the preacher’s word is withheld, but it is indisputable that the shepherd’s silence while often injurious to himself will always harm his flock.
  There is something else about the life of the shepherds, dearest brothers, which discourages me greatly. But lest what I claim should seem unjust to anyone, I accuse myself of the very same thing, although I fall into it unwillingly – compelled by the urgency of these barbarous times. I speak of our absorption in external affairs; we accept the duties of office, but by our actions we show that we are attentive to other things. We abandon the ministry of preaching and, in my opinion, are called bishops to our detriment, for we retain the honourable office but fail to practise the virtues proper to it. Those who have been entrusted to us abandon God, and we are silent. They fall into sin, and we do not extend a hand of rebuke.
  But how can we who neglect ourselves be able to correct someone else? We are wrapped up in worldly concerns, and the more we devote ourselves to external things, the more insensitive we become in spirit.
  For this reason the Church rightfully says about her own feeble members: They made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept. We are set to guard the vineyards but do not guard our own, for we get involved in irrelevant pursuits and neglect the performance of our ministry.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Friday 7 October 2016 Our Lady of the Rosary

A sermon by St Bernard

We should meditate on the mysteries of salvation
Image result for images:   In the beginning was the Word.
The child to be born of you will be called holy, the Son of God, the fountain of wisdom, the Word of the Father on high. Through you, blessed Virgin, this Word will become flesh, so that even though, as he says: I am in the Father and the Father is in me, it is still true for him to say: “I came forth from God and am here.”
  In the beginning was the Word. The spring was gushing forth, yet still within himself. Indeed, the Word was with God, truly dwelling in inaccessible light. And the Lord said from the beginning: I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction. Yet your thought was locked within you, and whatever you thought, we did not know; for who knew the mind of the Lord, or who was his counsellor?
  And so the idea of peace came down to do the work of peace: The Word was made flesh and even now dwells among us. It is by faith that he dwells in our hearts, in our memory, our intellect and penetrates even into our imagination. What concept could man have of God if he did not first fashion an image of him in his heart? By nature incomprehensible and inaccessible, he was invisible and unthinkable, but now he wished to be understood, to be seen and thought of.
  But how, you ask, was this done? He lay in a manger and rested on a virgin’s breast, preached on a mountain, and spent the night in prayer. He hung on a cross, grew pale in death, and roamed free among the dead and ruled over those in hell. He rose again on the third day, and showed the apostles the wounds of the nails, the signs of victory; and finally in their presence he ascended to the sanctuary of heaven.
  How can we not contemplate this story in truth, piety and holiness? Whatever of all this I consider, it is God I am considering; in all this he is my God. I have said it is wise to meditate on these truths, and I have thought it right to recall the abundant sweetness, given by the fruits of this priestly root; and Mary, drawing abundantly from heaven, has caused this sweetness to overflow for us.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Thursday 6 October 2016 Saint Bruno, Priest

A letter of St Bruno to his sons the Carthusians

My spirit rejoices in the Lord
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Knowing from the frequent and welcome accounts of our blessed brother Landowin the unremitting rigour of your well-considered and truly praiseworthy way of life, and hearing of your holy love and unceasing zeal for what is perfect and good, my spirit rejoices in the Lord. Truly I rejoice and am led to praise and thank the Lord, and yet I sigh bitterly. I rejoice indeed, as is right, for the growth of the fruits of your virtues, but I lament and am ashamed that I lie inert and torpid in the filth of my sins.
  Rejoice then, my dear brothers, for your blessed lot and for God’s abundant gift of grace to you. Rejoice that you have escaped the manifold perils and shipwrecks of this storm-tossed world. Rejoice that you have reached a safe and tranquil anchorage in that inner harbour which many desire to reach and many make efforts to reach yet never attain. Many too, after reaching the goal, have been excluded since it was not given them from above.
  Therefore, my brothers, be certain and convinced that if anyone experiences this desirable good and then loses it, no matter how, he will never cease to regret it if he retains any regard or care for his soul’s salvation.
  As for you, my beloved lay brothers, I say: ‘My soul magnifies the Lord’, for I see the greatness of his mercy to you according to the report of your loving prior and father, who boasts much about you and rejoices. We too rejoice since, though you are unlettered men, yet the mighty God writes on your hearts with his finger not only his love but a knowledge of his holy law. You show by your actions what you love and what you know. For when you practise true obedience with all care and zeal, it is clear that you read wisely the sweet and life-giving fruit of divine scripture.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Wednesday 5 October 2016 Wednesday of week 27 in Ordinary Time

St Ignatius of Antioch's letter to the Trallians

Faith is the body of the Lord and love is his blood
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Take on meekness. Be renewed in faith, which is the flesh of the Lord, and in love, which is the blood of Jesus Christ. Let none of you have a grudge against his neighbour. Give no occasion to the heathen: do not let the congregation of God be blasphemed because of the behaviour of a few foolish persons. For Woe to him who makes anyone blaspheme my name without a cause.
  Be deaf therefore when anyone preaches to you without mentioning Jesus Christ, who was of the family of David, who was truly born of Mary, who truly ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth; who was also truly raised from the dead, when his Father raised him up — just as his Father will raise us up, believers in Christ Jesus without whom we have no true life.
  Flee from these preachers, these wicked offshoots that bear deadly fruit, one taste of which is fatal. These have not been planted by the Father; if they had been, they would grow as branches of the Cross and their fruit would be incorruptible. Through the Cross he calls you, who are parts of his own body, to himself. A head cannot come into being alone, without the rest of the body; for God promises unity, as he himself is unity.
  I greet you from Smyrna together with the Churches of God that are present with me, men who in all things have given me solace in the flesh and in the spirit. I carry my chains for the sake of Jesus Christ, praying that I may attain to God; and these chains appeal to you to continue in your present harmony and in prayer with one another. For it is right that each of you, and especially the presbyters, should give the bishop peace of mind, to the honour of the Father, of Jesus Christ, and of the Apostles. I appeal to you to listen to me in love, so that this letter can never be used in evidence against you. And pray for me also, for I have need of your love in the mercy of God, that I may be granted the lot which I am set to obtain, and not be rejected.
  The love of the Smyrnaeans and Ephesians greets you: remember in your prayers the Church in Syria, of which I am the most undeserving member. Farewell in Jesus Christ. Submit yourselves to the bishop as you would to God’s commandments, submit to the clergy likewise. Let each of you individually love one another with an undivided heart. My spirit is consecrated to you not only now, but also when I reach the presence of God. I am still in peril, but the Father can be trusted in Jesus Christ to fulfil both your prayers and mine. May you be found blameless in Christ.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tuesday 4 October 2016 Saint Francis of Assisi

A letter from St Francis of Assisi to all the faithful

We must be simple, humble and pure
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It was through his archangel, Saint Gabriel, that the Father above made known to the holy and glorious Virgin Mary that the worthy, holy and glorious Word of the Father would come from heaven and take from her womb the real flesh of our human frailty. Though he was wealthy beyond reckoning, he still willingly chose to be poor with his blessed mother. And shortly before his passion he celebrated the Passover with his disciples. Then he prayed to his Father saying: Father, if it be possible, let this cup be taken from me.
  Nevertheless, he reposed his will in the will of his Father. The Father willed that his blessed and glorious Son, whom he gave to us and who was born for us, should through his own blood offer himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross. This was to be done not for himself through whom all things were made, but for our sins. It was intended to leave us an example of how to follow in his footsteps. And he desires all of us to be saved through him, and to receive him with pure heart and chaste body.
  O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord himself said in the gospel: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul; and your neighbour as yourself. Therefore, let us love God and adore him with pure heart and mind. This is his particular desire when he says: True worshippers adore the Father in spirit and truth. For all who adore him must do so in the spirit of truth. Let us also direct to him our praises and prayers saying: Our Father, who art in heaven, since we must always pray and never grow slack.
  Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our neighbours as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father’s children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, October 3, 2016



Each day now we are getting more and more malaria cases and we are ready for them because of your kindness in helping us to get the needed medicines. We do have one problem however, and that is the children. We do not stock any pediatric malaria medications because working with children is a lot more difficult.  Many children are so afraid when they are brought here. First, they are "scared" of me because many have not seen a white man before and with my whiskers I must really look like some sort of golem and then the Lord alone knows what the older children tell them. It is funny to see their reaction and we all laugh but it is difficult to assess a child who is screaming and fighting and secondly, the children are just afraid they will have to have a "pengo"(an injection) and usually if a child has malaria he or she will need an injection. Often times they become dehydrated before the mothers bring them in and they will need IV solutions for that. Because of that they will have to be monitored by health workers for a few days. All this means that we are not equipped to help the little ones so we have made an agreement with the private health center nearby. They will see and treat the little ones and Nazareth will pay them so much for their services per child. Our funds have really been depleted from when we bought all the malaria medicines and the other needed supplies. So now I am asking for your help again. If we can't send the children to the health center, then the parents will turn around and have to go back to their villages with no help and there is no one else that can help them. I know it is difficult but try and see what you would do if one of these babies were one of your own.

Please, I am begging you in the name of Jesus, if you can help, do it now!

If you put it off now you may forget!

To donate please do the following:

1. Please make checks payable to "Monastery of Christ in the Desert"

2. The memo on your check must read: “Nazareth Hermitage-Gambia sick poor”

3. Address envelope to:

                       Monastery of Christ in the Desert,

                                   St. Paul's Hermitage

                                   P.O. Box 270

                                   Abiquiu NM 87510

Not a penny will be used for any overhead expenses, it will go to right where it is needed

Bro. dismas Mary, a penitent hermit of Divine Mercy

Monday 3 October 2016 Monday of week 27 in Ordinary Time

St Ambrose on Cain and Abel

Above all, we should pray for the whole body of the Church
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Offer to God a sacrifice of praise and pay your vows to the Most High. To praise God is both to make your vow and to fulfil it. That is why the Samaritan in the story is placed above his companions: with nine other lepers he was cured of his leprosy by the command of the Lord, but he alone came back to Christ, praised the greatness of God and gave thanks. Jesus said of him: There was none of these who returned and thanked God, except this foreigner. And he said to him: Rise up and go on your way, for your faith has made you whole.
  The Lord Jesus also taught you about the goodness of the Father, who knows how to give good things: and so you should ask for good things from the One who is good. Jesus told us to pray urgently and often, so that our prayers should not be long and tedious but short, earnest and frequent. Long elaborate prayers overflow with pointless phrases, and long gaps between prayers eventually stretch out into complete neglect.
  Next he advises that when you ask forgiveness for yourself then you must take special care to grant it also to others. In that way your action can add its voice to yours as you pray. The apostle also teaches that when you pray you must be free from anger and from disagreement with anyone, so that your prayer is not disturbed or broken into.
  The apostle teaches us to pray anywhere, while the Saviour says Go into your room – but you must understand that this “room” is not the room with four walls that confines your body when you are in it, but the secret space within you in which your thoughts are enclosed and where your sensations arrive. That is your prayer-room, always with you wherever you are, always secret wherever you are, with your only witness being God.
  Above all, you must pray for the whole people: that is, for the whole body, for every part of your mother the Church, whose distinguishing feature is mutual love. If you ask for something for yourself then you will be praying for yourself only – and you must remember that more grace comes to one who prays for others than to any ordinary sinner. If each person prays for all people, then all people are effectively praying for each.
  In conclusion, if you ask for something for yourself alone, you will be the only one asking for it; but if you ask for benefits for all, all in their turn will be asking for them for you. For you are in fact one of the “all.” Thus it is a great reward, as each person’s prayers acquire the weight of the prayers of everyone. There is nothing presumptuous about thinking like this: on the contrary, it is a sign of greater humility and more abundant fruitfulness.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sunday 2 October 2016 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Pastoral Guide, by Pope St Gregory the Great

Let the pastor be discreetly silent, and to the point when he speaks
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A spiritual guide should be silent when discretion requires and speak when words are of service. Otherwise he may say what he should not or be silent when he should speak. Indiscreet speech may lead men into error and an imprudent silence may leave in error those who could have been taught. Pastors who lack foresight hesitate to say openly what is right because they fear losing the favour of men. As the voice of truth tells us, such leaders are not zealous pastors who protect their flocks, rather they are like mercenaries who flee by taking refuge in silence when the wolf appears.
  The Lord reproaches them through the prophet: They are dumb dogs that cannot bark. On another occasion he complains: You did not advance against the foe or set up a wall in front of the house of Israel, so that you might stand fast in battle on the day of the Lord. To advance against the foe involves a bold resistance to the powers of this world in defense of the flock. To stand fast in battle on the day of the Lord means to oppose the wicked enemy out of love for what is right.
  When a pastor has been afraid to assert what is right, has he not turned his back and fled by remaining silent? Whereas if he intervenes on behalf of the flock, he sets up a wall against the enemy in front of the house of Israel. Therefore, the Lord again says to his unfaithful people: Your prophets saw false and foolish visions and did not point out your wickedness, that you might repent of your sins. The name of the prophet is sometimes given in the sacred writings to teachers who both declare the present to be fleeting and reveal what is to come. The word of God accuses them of seeing false visions because they are afraid to reproach men for their faults and they consequently lull the evildoer with an empty promise of safety. Because they fear reproach, they keep silent and fail to point out the sinner’s wrongdoing.
  The word of reproach is a key that unlocks a door, because reproach reveals a fault of which the evildoer is himself often unaware. That is why Paul says of the bishop: He must be able to encourage men in sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. For the same reason God tells us through Malachi: The lips of the priest are to preserve knowledge, and men shall look to him for the law, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. Finally, that is also the reason why the Lord warns us through Isaiah: Cry out and be not still; raise your voice in a trumpet call.
  Anyone ordained a priest undertakes the task of preaching, so that with a loud cry he may go on ahead of the terrible judge who follows. If, then, a priest does not know how to preach, what kind of cry can such a dumb herald utter? It was to bring this home that the Holy Spirit descended in the form of tongues on the first pastors, for he causes those whom he has filled, to speak out spontaneously.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Saturday 1 October 2016 Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin, Docto

St Thérèse’s autobiography

In the heart of the church I will be love
Image result for images: In the heart of the church I will be love
Since my longing for martyrdom was powerful and unsettling, I turned to the epistles of St Paul in the hope of finally finding an answer. By chance the 12th and 13th chapters of the 1st epistle to the Corinthians caught my attention, and in the first section I read that not everyone can be an apostle, prophet or teacher, that the Church is composed of a variety of members, and that the eye cannot be the hand. Even with such an answer revealed before me, I was not satisfied and did not find peace.
  I persevered in the reading and did not let my mind wander until I found this encouraging theme: Set your desires on the greater gifts. And I will show you the way which surpasses all others. For the Apostle insists that the greater gifts are nothing at all without love and that this same love is surely the best path leading directly to God. At length I had found peace of mind.
  When I had looked upon the mystical body of the Church, I recognized myself in none of the members which St Paul described, and what is more, I desired to distinguish myself more favorably within the whole body. Love appeared to me to be the hinge for my vocation. Indeed I knew that the Church had a body composed of various members, but in this body the necessary and more noble member was not lacking; I knew that the Church had a heart and that such a heart appeared to be aflame with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more. I saw and realised that love sets off the bounds of all vocations, that love is everything, that this same love embraces every time and every place. In one word, that love is everlasting.
  Then, nearly ecstatic with the supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction.