Monday, October 17, 2011


Prayer of Pope Pius XII

Enraptured by the splendor of your heavenly beauty, and impelled by the anxieties of the world, we cast ourselves into your arms, O Immaculate Mother of Jesus and our Mother, Mary, confident of finding in your most loving heart appeasement of our ardent desires, and a safe harbor from the tempests which beset us on every side.

Though degraded by our faults and overwhelmed by infinite misery, we admire and praise the peerless richness of sublime gifts with which God has filled you, above every other mere creature, from the first moment of your conception until the day on which, after your assumption into heaven, He crowned you Queen of the Universe.

O crystal fountain of faith, bathe our minds with the eternal truths! O fragrant Lily of all holiness, captivate our hearts with your heavenly perfume! O Conqueress of evil and death, inspire in us a deep horror of sin, which makes the soul detestable to God and a slave of hell!

O well-beloved of God, hear the ardent cry which rises up from every heart. Bend tenderly over our aching wounds. Convert the wicked, dry the tears of the afflicted and oppressed, comfort the poor and humble, quench hatreds, sweeten harshness, safeguard the flower of purity in youth, protect the holy Church, make all men feel the attraction of Christian goodness. In your name, resounding harmoniously in heaven, may they recognize that they are brothers, and that the nations are members of one family, upon which may there shine forth the sun of a universal and sincere peace.

Receive, O most sweet Mother, our humble supplications, and above all obtain for us that, one day, happy with you, we may repeat before your throne that hymn which today is sung on earth around your altars: You are all-beautiful, O Mary! You are the glory, you are the joy, you are the honor of our people!



Monday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Ez 1:1-6

In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia,
in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah,
the LORD inspired King Cyrus of Persia
to issue this proclamation throughout his kingdom,
both by word of mouth and in writing:
"Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia:
'All the kingdoms of the earth
the LORD, the God of heaven, has given to me,
and he has also charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem,
which is in Judah.
Therefore, whoever among you belongs to any part of his people,
let him go up, and may his God be with him!
Let everyone who has survived, in whatever place he may have dwelt,
be assisted by the people of that place
with silver, gold, goods, and cattle,
together with free-will offerings
for the house of God in Jerusalem.'"

Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin
and the priests and Levites-
everyone, that is, whom God had inspired to do so-
prepared to go up to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem.
All their neighbors gave them help in every way,
with silver, gold, goods, and cattle,
and with many precious gifts
besides all their free-will offerings.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 126:1b-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6

R. The Lord has done marvels for us.

When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.

R. The Lord has done marvels for us.

Then they said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.

R. The Lord has done marvels for us.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.

R. The Lord has done marvels for us.

Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.

R. The Lord has done marvels for us.

Lk 8:16-18

Jesus said to the crowd:

"No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel
or sets it under a bed;
rather, he places it on a lampstand
so that those who enter may see the light.
For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible,
and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.
Take care, then, how you hear.
To anyone who has, more will be given,
and from the one who has not,
even what he seems to have will be taken away."


October 17

Blessed Contardo Ferrini (1859-1902)

Contardo Ferrini was the son of a teacher who went on to become a learned man himself, one acquainted with some dozen languages. Today he is known as the patron of universities.

Born in Milan, he received a doctorate in law in Italy and then earned a scholarship that enabled him to study Roman-Byzantine law in Berlin. As a renowned legal expert, he taught in various schools of higher education until he joined the faculty of the University of Pavia, where he was considered an outstanding authority on Roman law.

Contardo was learned about the faith he lived and loved. "Our life," he said, "must reach out toward the Infinite, and from that source we must draw whatever we can expect of merit and dignity." As a scholar he studied the ancient biblical languages and read the Scriptures in them. His speeches and papers show his understanding of the relationship of faith and science. He attended daily Mass and became a lay Franciscan, faithfully observing the Third Order rule of life. He also served through membership in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

His death in 1902 at the age of 43 occasioned letters from his fellow professors that praised him as a saint; the people of Suna where he lived insisted that he be declared a saint. Pope Pius XII beatified Contardo in 1947.


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

Invitatory Psalm

Psalm 23 (24)
Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.
The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
the world and all who live in it.
He himself founded it upon the seas
and set it firm over the waters.
Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.
Who will climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who will stand in his holy place?
The one who is innocent of wrongdoing and pure of heart,
who has not given himself to vanities or sworn falsely.
He will receive the blessing of the Lord
and be justified by God his saviour.
This is the way of those who seek him,
seek the face of the God of Jacob.
Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.
Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of might and power.
The Lord, strong in battle.
Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.
Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of hosts
– he is the king of glory.
Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.
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.
Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.


Our limbs refreshed with slumber now,
And sloth cast off, in prayer we bow;
And while we sing thy praises dear,
O Father, be thou present here.
To thee our earliest morning song,
To thee our hearts’ full powers belong;
And thou, O Holy One prevent
Each following action and intent.
As shades at morning flee away,
And night before the star of day;
So each transgression of the night
Be purged by thee, celestial light!
Cut off, we pray Thee, each offence,
And every lust of thought and sense;
That by their lips who thee adore
Thou mayst be praised forevermore.
Grant this, O Father ever One
With Christ, thy sole-begotten Son,
And Holy Ghost, whom all adore,
Reigning and blest forevermore.

Psalm 6
A prayer for relief from affliction

Lord, save me in your merciful love.

Lord, do not condemn me in your fury:
do not destroy me in your anger.
Take pity on me, Lord, for I am sick;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are in disarray.
My spirit is deeply disturbed,
and you, Lord – how long?
Turn to me, Lord, rescue my spirit:
in your pity, save me.
If I die, how can I praise you?
Can anyone in the underworld proclaim your name?
I struggle and groan,
soak my bed with weeping night after night;
my eyes are troubled with sadness:
I grow older as my enemies watch.
Leave me, all who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my voice as I wept.
The Lord listened to my prayer,
granted me what I asked.
Let my enemies be ashamed and confounded:
let shame and confusion overtake them soon.
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.
Lord, save me in your merciful love.

Psalm 9A (9)
Thanksgiving for victory

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed in times of distress.

I will thank you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of your wonders.
I will rejoice in you and triumph,
make music to your name, O Most High.
Because my enemies are in full retreat;
they stumble and perish at your presence.
For you have given judgement in my favour,
upheld my case,
taken your seat on the throne of judgement.
You have rebuked the nations,
condemned the wicked,
wiped out their name for ever and for ever.
My enemies are no more;
their land is a desert for ever.
You have demolished their cities,
their very memory is wiped away.
But the Lord will reign for ever:
he has made his throne his judgement-seat.
He himself will judge the whole world in justice,
judge the peoples impartially.
The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed,
a refuge in good times and in bad.
Let them put their hope in you, those who know your name;
for you, Lord, have never abandoned those who seek you.
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 is a stronghold for the oppressed in times of distress.

Psalm 9A (9)

I will recount all your praise at the gates of the city of Sion.

Sing to the Lord who dwells in Zion,
proclaim to the nations his loving care.
For he has remembered the poor and avenged them with blood:
he has not forgotten the cry of the weak.
Take pity on me, Lord:
see how my enemies torment me.
You raise me up from the gates of death,
and I will proclaim your praise at the gates of the daughter of Zion;
I will rejoice in your salvation.
The nations have fallen into the pit that they made,
into the very trap that they set: their feet are caught fast.
The Lord’s justice shines forth:
the sinner is trapped by his very own action.
Sinners will go down to the underworld,
and all nations that forget God.
For the weak will not always be forgotten:
the hope of the weak will never perish.
Rise up, Lord, let men not be complacent:
let the nations come before you to be judged.
Put fear into them, Lord:
let them know that they are only men.
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.
I will recount all your praise at the gates of the city of Sion.

Give me understanding, and I will follow your law.
I will keep it wholeheartedly.


Esther 3:1-15
Shortly afterwards, King Ahasuerus singled out Haman son of Hammedatha, from the land of Agag, for promotion. He raised him in rank and precedence above all his colleagues, the other officers of state, and gave orders that all the officials employed at the Chancellery were to bow down and prostrate themselves before Haman. Mordecai refused either to bow or prostrate himself. ‘Why do you flout the royal command?’ the officials of the Chancellery asked Mordecai. They asked him this day after day, but he took no notice of them. In the end they reported the matter to Haman, wishing to see whether Mordecai would persist in his attitude, since he had told them he was a Jew. When Haman had seen for himself that Mordecai did not bow or prostrate himself before him, he was seized with fury. Having been told what race Mordecai belonged to, he could not be content with murdering Mordecai but made up his mind to wipe out all the members of Mordecai’s race, the Jews, throughout the empire of Ahasuerus.

In the first month, that is the month of Nisan, of the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast the pur (that is, the lot) before Haman for the day and the month. The lot falling on the twelfth month, which is Adar, Haman said to King Ahasuerus, ‘There is a certain unassimilated nation scattered among the other nations throughout the provinces of your realm; their laws are different from those of all the other nations and they ignore the royal edicts; hence it is not in the king’s interests to tolerate them. If it please the king to decree their destruction, I am prepared to pay ten thousand talents of silver to the king’s receivers, to be credited to the royal treasury.’

The king then took his signet ring off his hand and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the persecutor of the Jews. ‘Keep the money,’ he said ‘and you can have the people too; do what you like with them.’

Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal scribes were summoned, and copies were made of the orders addressed by Haman to the king’s satraps, to the governors ruling each province and to the principal officials of each people, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language. The edict was signed in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with his ring, and letters were sent by runners to every province of the realm ordering the destruction, slaughter and annihilation of all Jews, young and old, women and children, on the one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is Adar, and the seizing of their possessions.

The text of this decree, to be promulgated as law in each province, was published to the various peoples, so that each might be ready for the day aforementioned. At the king’s command, the runners set out with all speed; the decree was first promulgated in the citadel of Susa.

While the king and Haman gave themselves up to feasting and drinking, consternation reigned in the city of Susa.

Lord, Lord, King and Master of all things, everything is subject to your power and there is no-one who can withstand your will. Deliver us for the sake of your name.
Hear my supplication and turn our grief into rejoicing. Deliver us for the sake of your name.


A letter to the Romans by St Ignatius of Antioch
I am God's wheat and shall be ground by the teeth of wild animals

I am writing to all the churches to let it be known that I will gladly die for God if only you do not stand in my way. I plead with you: show me no untimely kindness. Let me be food for the wild beasts, for they are my way to God. I am God’s wheat and shall be ground by their teeth so that I may become Christ’s pure bread. Pray to Christ for me that the animals will be the means of making me a sacrificial victim for God.

No earthly pleasures, no kingdoms of this world can benefit me in any way. I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire.

The time for my birth is close at hand. Forgive me, my brothers. Do not stand in the way of my birth to real life; do not wish me stillborn. My desire is to belong to God. Do not, then, hand me back to the world. Do not try to tempt me with material things. Let me attain pure light. Only on my arrival there can I be fully a human being. Give me the privilege of imitating the passion of my God. If you have him in your heart, you will understand what I wish. You will sympathise with me because you will know what urges me on.

The prince of this world is determined to lay hold of me and to undermine my will which is intent on God. Let none of you here help him; instead show yourselves on my side, which is also God’s side. Do not talk about Jesus Christ as long as you love this world. Do not harbour envious thoughts. And supposing I should see you, if then I should beg you to intervene on my behalf, do not believe what I say. Believe instead what I am now writing to you. For though I am alive as I write to you, still my real desire is to die. My love of this life has been crucified, and there is no yearning in me for any earthly thing. Rather within me is the living water which says deep inside me: “Come to the Father.” I no longer take pleasure in perishable food or in the delights of this world. I want only God’s bread, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, formed of the seed of David, and for drink I crave his blood, which is love that cannot perish.

I am no longer willing to live a merely human life, and you can bring about my wish if you will. Please, then, do me this favour, so that you in turn may meet with equal kindness. Put briefly, this is my request: believe what I am saying to you. Jesus Christ himself will make it clear to you that I am saying the truth. Only truth can come from that mouth by which the Father has truly spoken. Pray for me that I may obtain my desire. I have not written to you as a mere man would, but as one who knows the mind of God. If I am condemned to suffer, I will take it that you wish me well. If my case is postponed, I can only think that you wish me harm.


Nothing will be hidden from you, if you are perfect in your faith and love towards Jesus Christ, for these are the beginning and end of life: faith is the beginning and love is the end.
Arm yourselves with gentleness and renew your faith, which is the flesh of the Lord, and your love, which is the blood of Jesus Christ. Faith is the beginning and love is the end.

Let us pray.

Almighty, ever-living God, the sufferings of the martyrs adorn the Church, which is the Body of Christ.
As we celebrate the martyrdom of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, grant that it may be for us a constant source of strength, as it was for him the entry into glory.
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.


Let us bless the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.