Friday, May 20, 2011


To the Virgin Immaculate

O Virgin Immaculate, Mother of God and my Mother, from thy sublime height turn upon me thine eyes of pity. Filled with confidence in thy goodness and knowing full well thy power, I beseech thee to extend to me thine assistance in the journey of life, which is so full of danger for my soul. And in order that I may never be the slave of the devil through sin, but may ever live with my heart humble and pure, I entrust myself wholly to thee. I consecrate my heart to thee for ever, my only desire being to love thy divine Son Jesus. Mary, none of thy devout servants has ever perished; may I too be saved.



May 20, 2011
Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Reading 1
Acts 13:26-33

When Paul came to Antioch in Pisidia, he said in the synagogue:
“My brothers, children of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent.
The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize him,
and by condemning him they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets
that are read sabbath after sabbath.
For even though they found no grounds for a death sentence,
they asked Pilate to have him put to death,
and when they had accomplished all that was written about him,
they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb.
But God raised him from the dead,
and for many days he appeared to those
who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem.
These are now his witnesses before the people.
We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you
that what God promised our fathers
he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus,
as it is written in the second psalm,
You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.”

Responsorial Psalm
2:6-7, 8-9, 10-11ab

R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
R. Alleluia.

“I myself have set up my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD:
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.”

R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
R. Alleluia.

“Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.
You shall rule them with an iron rod;
you shall shatter them like an earthen dish.”

R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
R. Alleluia.

And now, O kings, give heed;
take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
with trembling rejoice.

R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
R. Alleluia.

Jn 14:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”

Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him,

“I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”


May 20

St. Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444)

Most of the saints suffer great personal opposition, even persecution. Bernardine, by contrast, seems more like a human dynamo who simply took on the needs of the world.

He was the greatest preacher of his time, journeying across Italy, calming strife-torn cities, attacking the paganism he found rampant, attracting crowds of 30,000, following St. Francis of Assisi’s admonition to preach about “vice and virtue, punishment and glory.”

Compared with St. Paul by the pope, Bernardine had a keen intuition of the needs of the time, along with solid holiness and boundless energy and joy. He accomplished all this despite having a very weak and hoarse voice, miraculously improved later because of his devotion to Mary.

When he was 20, the plague was at its height in his hometown, Siena. Sometimes as many as 20 people died in one day at the hospital. Bernardine offered to run the hospital and, with the help of other young men, nursed patients there for four months. He escaped the plague but was so exhausted that a fever confined him for several months. He spent another year caring for a beloved aunt (her parents had died when he was a child) and at her death began to fast and pray to know God’s will for him.

At 22, he entered the Franciscan Order and was ordained two years later. For almost a dozen years he lived in solitude and prayer, but his gifts ultimately caused him to be sent to preach. He always traveled on foot, sometimes speaking for hours in one place, then doing the same in another town.

Especially known for his devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, Bernardine devised a symbol—IHS, the first three letters of the name of Jesus in Greek, in Gothic letters on a blazing sun. This was to displace the superstitious symbols of the day, as well as the insignia of factions (for example, Guelphs and Ghibellines). The devotion spread, and the symbol began to appear in churches, homes and public buildings. Opposition arose from those who thought it a dangerous innovation. Three attempts were made to have the pope take action against him, but Bernardine’s holiness, orthodoxy and intelligence were evidence of his faithfulness.

General of a branch of the Franciscan Order, the Friars of the Strict Observance, he strongly emphasized scholarship and further study of theology and canon law. When he started there were 300 friars in the community; when he died there were 4,000. He returned to preaching the last two years of his life, dying while traveling.


O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 94 (95)

The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

– The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
let us acclaim him with songs.

– The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

For the Lord is a great God,
a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
and his hands formed the dry land.

– The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Come, let us worship and bow down,
bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
the sheep that follow his hand.

– The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
“Do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
although they had seen my works.”

– The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

“For forty years they wearied me,
that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
they will never enter my place of rest.”

– The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

– The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.


O thou, the heavens’ eternal King,
Creator, unto thee we sing,
With God the Father ever One,
Coequal, coeternal Son.
Thy hand, when first the world began,
Made in thine own pure image man,
And yoked to fleshly form of earth
A living form of heavenly birth.
And when the envy of the foe
Had marred thy noblest work below,
Clothed in our flesh, thou didst restore
The image thou hadst made before.
Once wast thou born of Mary’s womb;
And now, newborn from out the tomb,
O Christ, thou bid’st us rise with thee
From death to immortality.
Redeemer, thou for us didst deign
To hang upon the Cross of pain,
And give to us the lavish price
Of thine own Blood in sacrifice.
Grant, Lord, in thee each faithful mind
Unceasing Paschal joy may find;
And from the death of sin set free
Souls newly born to life by thee.
To thee, once dead, who now dost live,
All glory, Lord, thy people give,
Whom, with the Father, we adore,
And Holy Spirit forevermore.

The history of salvation: the Lord's goodness, his people's infidelity
Psalm 77 (78)

Our fathers have told us of the might of the Lord and the marvellous deeds he has done. Alleluia.

Listen, my people, to my teaching;
open your ears to the words of my mouth.
I shall open my mouth in explanation,
I shall tell of the secrets of the past.
All that we have heard and know –
all that our fathers told us –
we shall not hide it from their descendants,
but will tell to a new generation
the praise of the Lord, and his power,
and the wonders that he worked.
He set up a covenant with Jacob,
he gave a law to Israel;
he commanded our ancestors to pass it on to their children,
so that the next generation would know it,
the children yet to be born.
They shall rise up and tell the story to their children,
so that they put their trust in God,
so that they do not forget the works of God,
so that they keep his commandments;
so that they do not become like their fathers,
rebellious and troublesome,
a generation of fickle hearts,
of souls unfaithful to God.
The sons of Ephraim, the bowmen,
fled when it came to battle;
they did not keep their covenant with God,
they refused to follow his law.
They forgot his deeds
and the wonders he had shown them.
In front of their ancestors he had worked his wonders,
in the land of Egypt, in the plains of Tanis.
He divided the sea and led them across,
he held back the waters as if in a bag.
He led them in a cloud by day;
and through the night, in the light of fire.
He split the rock in the desert
and gave them water as if from bottomless depths.
He brought forth streams from the rock
and made the waters flow down in rivers.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Our fathers have told us of the might of the Lord and the marvellous deeds he has done. Alleluia.
Psalm 77 (78)

The sons of Israel ate manna and drank spiritual drink from the rock which followed them. Alleluia.

Still they insisted on sinning against him,
they stirred up the wrath of the Most High in the desert.
They put God to the test in their hearts,
asking for food, their desire.
They spoke out against God, saying
“Can God lay a table in the wilderness?”
He struck the rock, and the waters poured out,
and the streams were full to overflowing;
“But can he give us bread?
Can he give meat to his people?”
The Lord heard all this, and he flared up in anger.
Fire blazed against Jacob,
his wrath rose up against Israel.
All this, because they had no faith in God,
they had no trust in his saving power.
He commanded the clouds nevertheless,
and opened the doors of the heavens.
Manna rained down for them to eat:
he gave them the bread of heaven.
Men ate the food of angels;
he gave them provisions in abundance.
In heaven he stirred up the east wind,
he brought the south wind, by his power:
he rained meat on them as if it were dust,
winged birds, like the sands of the sea,
to fall in the middle of their camp,
all around their tents.
They ate and were full to bursting,
and so he gave them their desire.
In the middle of their enjoyment,
when the food was still in their mouths,
the wrath of God rose up against them,
and slew the healthiest among them,
and laid low the flower of Israel.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The sons of Israel ate manna and drank spiritual drink from the rock which followed them. Alleluia.
Psalm 77 (78)

They remembered that God was their helper and their redeemer. Alleluia.

All this – and still they sinned,
still they had no faith in his wonders.
He made their days vanish in a breath,
their years in a headlong rush.
Whenever he was killing them, they sought him,
repented and came back to him at dawn:
they remembered that God is their helper,
that God, the Most High, is their saviour;
but their speech to him was only flattery:
they lied to him with their tongues,
their hearts were dishonest towards him,
they did not keep his covenant.
But the Lord is merciful:
he forgives sin, he does not destroy.
Always he turned aside his anger,
held back from unleashing all his wrath.
He remembered that they were flesh –
a breath, that goes and does not return.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

They remembered that God was their helper and their redeemer. Alleluia.
Christ, at your resurrection, alleluia,
– let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.

Apocalypse 17:1-18

One of the seven angels that had the seven bowls came to speak to me, and said, ‘Come here and I will show you the punishment given to the famous prostitute who rules enthroned beside abundant waters, the one with whom all the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and who has made all the population of the world drunk with the wine of her adultery.’ He took me in spirit to a desert, and there I saw a woman riding a scarlet beast which had seven heads and ten horns and had blasphemous titles written all over it. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and glittered with gold and jewels and pearls, and she was holding a gold wine-cup filled with the disgusting filth of her fornication; on her forehead was written a name, a cryptic name: ‘Babylon the Great, the mother of all the prostitutes and all the filthy practices on the earth.’ I saw that she was drunk, drunk with the blood of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus; and when I saw her, I was completely mystified. The angel said to me, ‘Don’t you understand? Now I will tell you the meaning of this woman, and of the beast she is riding, with the seven heads and the ten horns.

‘The beast you have seen once was and now is not; he is yet to come up from the Abyss, but only to go to his destruction. And the people of the world, whose names have not been written since the beginning of the world in the book of life, will think it miraculous when they see how the beast once was and now is not and is still to come. Here there is need for cleverness, for a shrewd mind; the seven heads are the seven hills, and the woman is sitting on them.

The seven heads are also seven emperors. Five of them have already gone, one is here now, and one is yet to come; once here, he must stay for a short while. The beast, who once was and now is not, is at the same time the eighth and one of the seven, and he is going to his destruction.

The ten horns are ten kings who have not yet been given their royal power but will have royal authority only for a single hour and in association with the beast. They are all of one mind in putting their strength and their powers at the beast’s disposal, and they will go to war against the Lamb; but the Lamb is the Lord of lords and the King of kings, and he will defeat them and they will be defeated by his followers, the called, the chosen, the faithful.’

The angel continued, ‘The waters you saw, beside which the prostitute was sitting, are all the peoples, the populations, the nations and the languages. But the time will come when the ten horns and the beast will turn against the prostitute, and strip off her clothes and leave her naked; then they will eat her flesh and burn the remains in the fire. In fact, God influenced their minds to do what he intended, to agree together to put their royal powers at the beast’s disposal until the time when God’s words should be fulfilled. The woman you saw is the great city which has authority over all the rulers on earth.’


The kings of the earth will fight against the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them, because he is the Lord of lords and the King of kings, alleluia.

He was given a crown, and he went out as a conqueror to conquer, because he is the Lord of lords and the King of kings, alleluia.

A letter of Pope St Clement I to the Corinthians
There are many paths but one Way

My dear friends, this is the way in which we find our Saviour Jesus Christ, the High Priest of all our offerings, the defender and helper of our infirmity.

By him we look up to the heights of heaven. In his face, exalted and without blemish, we see ourselves reflected. By him the eyes of our hearts are opened. By him our foolish and darkened understanding blossoms up anew towards his marvellous light. By him the Lord has willed that we should taste of immortal knowledge. He is the radiant light of God’s glory. He is now as far above the angels as the title which he has inherited is higher than their own name.

Let us then, men and brethren, with all energy act the part of soldiers, in accordance with his holy commandments.

Think of the soldiers who serve under our generals, and with what order, obedience, and submissiveness they perform the things which are commanded them. Not all are prefects, nor commanders of a thousand, nor of a hundred, nor of fifty, nor the like, but each one in his own rank performs the things commanded by the king and the generals. The great cannot subsist without the small, nor the small without the great. There is a kind of mixture in all things, and thence arises mutual advantage.

Let us take our body for an example. The head is nothing without the feet, and the feet are nothing without the head. The very smallest members of our body are necessary and useful to the whole body. All work harmoniously together and they are under one common rule for the preservation of the whole body.

In Christ Jesus let our whole body be preserved intact. Let every one of us be subject to his neighbour, according to the special gift bestowed upon him.

Let the strong not despise the weak, and let the weak show respect to the strong. Let the rich man provide for the wants of the poor; and let the poor man bless God, because he has given him one by whom his need may be supplied. Let the wise man display his wisdom, not by mere words, but through good deeds. Let the humble not bear testimony to himself, but leave witness to be borne to him by another. Let him that is pure in the flesh not grow proud of it, and boast, knowing that it was another who bestowed on him the gift of continence.

Let us consider, then, brethren, of what matter we were made. Let us consider how we came into this world, as it were out of a sepulchre, and from utter darkness: who and what manner of beings we were. He who made us and fashioned us, having prepared his bountiful gifts for us before we were born, introduced us into his world.

Since, therefore, we receive all these things from him, we ought for everything to give him thanks; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


Christ is the head of his body, the Church; he is the source of the body’s life; he is the firstborn Son who was raised from death: in baptism you were raised with him through your faith in the active power of God, who raised him from death, alleluia.

The fulness of the divine nature lives in Christ, in his humanity, and you, who were buried with him in baptism, have been given full life in union with him: in baptism you were raised with him through your faith in the active power of God, who raised him from death, alleluia.

Let us pray.

Lord God, source of our freedom and salvation,
listen to our humble prayer.
You redeemed us by the shedding of your Son’s blood:
enable us to live by your grace,
and grant us at all times
the joy of your safe keeping.

We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.