Monday, February 20, 2012


To Our Lady of Fatima

Queen of the Rosary,
sweet Virgin of Fatima,
who hast deigned to appear in the land of Portugal and hast brought peace,
both interior and exterior,
to that once so troubled country,
we beg of thee to watch over our dear homeland and to assure its moral and spiritual revival.

Bring back peace to all nations of the world,
so that all,
and our own nation in particular,
may be happy to call thee their Queen and the Queen of Peace.

Our Lady of the Rosary,
pray for our country.

Our Lady of Fatima,
obtain for all humanity a durable peace.



Monday, February 20

James 3: 13 - 18

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.
This wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity.
And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Rsponsorial Psalm
Psalms 19: 8 - 10, 15

The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
MMore to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

Mark 9: 14 - 29

When they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd about them, and scribes arguing with them.
And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed, and ran up to him and greeted him.
He asked them,

"What are you discussing with them?"

One of the crowd answered him, "Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit;
and wherever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able."
He answered them,

"O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me."

They brought the boy to him; and when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.
Jesus asked his father,

"How long has he had this?"

And he said, "From childhood.
It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us."
Jesus said to him,

"If you can! All things are possible to him who believes."

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!"
When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it,

"You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again."

And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, "He is dead."
But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?"
He said to them,

"This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer."


February 20

Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto (1910-1920; 1908-1919)

Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, three children, Portuguese shepherds from Aljustrel, received apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria, near Fatima, a city 110 miles north of Lisbon. At that time, Europe was involved in an extremely bloody war. Portugal itself was in political turmoil, having overthrown its monarchy in 1910; the government disbanded religious organizations soon after.

At the first appearance, Mary asked the children to return to that spot on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months. She also asked them to learn to read and write and to pray the rosary “to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.” They were to pray for sinners and for the conversion of Russia, which had recently overthrown Czar Nicholas II and was soon to fall under communism. Up to 90,000 people gathered for Mary’s final apparition on October 13, 1917.

Less than two years later, Francisco died of influenza in his family home. He was buried in the parish cemetery and then re-buried in the Fatima basilica in 1952. Jacinta died of influenza in Lisbon, offering her suffering for the conversion of sinners, peace in the world and the Holy Father. She was re-buried in the Fatima basilica in 1951. Their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, became a Carmelite nun and was still living when Jacinta and Francisco were beatified in 2000. Sister Lucia died five years later. The shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is visited by up to 20 million people a year.


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

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 99 (100)

Let us come before the Lord and proclaim our thanks.

– Let us come before the Lord and proclaim our thanks.

Rejoice in the Lord, all the earth,
and serve him with joy.
Exult as you enter his presence.

– Let us come before the Lord and proclaim our thanks.

Know that the Lord is God.
He made us and we are his
– his people, the sheep of his flock.

– Let us come before the Lord and proclaim our thanks.

Cry out his praises as you enter his gates,
fill his courtyards with songs.
Proclaim him and bless his name;
for the Lord is our delight.
His mercy lasts for ever,
his faithfulness through all the ages.

– Let us come before the Lord and proclaim our thanks.

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.

– Let us come before the Lord and proclaim our thanks.


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 49 (50)
True reverence for the Lord

Our God comes openly, he keeps silence no longer.

The Lord, the God of gods has spoken:
he has summoned the whole earth, from east to west.
God has shone forth from Zion in her great beauty.
Our God will come, and he will not be silent.
Before him, a devouring fire;
around him, a tempest rages.
He will call upon the heavens above, and on the earth, to judge his people.
“Bring together before me my chosen ones, who have sealed my covenant with sacrifice.”
The heavens will proclaim his justice; for God is the true judge.

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 God comes openly, he keeps silence no longer.

Psalm 49 (50)

Pay your sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.

Listen, my people, and I will speak;
Israel, I will testify against you.
I am God, your God.
I will not reproach you with your sacrifices,
for your burnt offerings are always before me.
But I will not accept calves from your houses,
nor goats from your flocks.
For all the beasts of the forests are mine,
and in the hills, a thousand animals.
All the birds of the air – I know them.
Whatever moves in the fields – it is mine.
If I am hungry, I will not tell you;
for the whole world is mine, and all that is in it.
Am I to eat the flesh of bulls,
or drink the blood of goats?
Offer a sacrifice to God – a sacrifice of praise;
to the Most High, fulfil your vows.
Then you may call upon me in the time of trouble:
I will rescue you, and you will honour me.

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.

Pay your sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.

Psalm 49 (50)

I want love, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not holocausts.

To the sinner, God has said this:
Why do you recite my statutes?
Why do you dare to speak my covenant?
For you hate what I teach you,
and reject what I tell you.
The moment you saw a thief, you joined him;
you threw in your lot with adulterers.
You spoke evil with your mouth,
and your tongue made plans to deceive.
Solemnly seated, you denounced your own brother;
you poured forth hatred against your own mother’s son.
All this you did, and I was silent;
so you thought that I was just like you.
But I will reprove you –
I will confront you with all you have done.
Understand this, you who forget God;
lest I tear you apart, with no-one there to save you.
Whoever offers up a sacrifice of praise gives me true honour;
whoever follows a sinless path in life will be shown the salvation of God.

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 want love, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not holocausts.

Listen, my people, and I shall speak.
– I am God, your God.

Ecclesiastes 2:1-3,12-26

I thought to myself, ‘Very well, I will try pleasure and see what enjoyment has to offer.’ And there it was: vanity again! This laughter, I reflected, is a madness, this pleasure no use at all. I resolved to have my body cheered with wine, my heart still devoted to wisdom; I resolved to embrace folly to see what made mankind happy, and what men do under heaven in the few days they have to live.

My reflections then turned to wisdom, stupidity, folly. For instance, what can the successor of a king do? What has been done already. More is to be had from wisdom than from folly, as from light than from darkness; this, of course, I see:

The wise man sees ahead,
the fool walks in the dark.

No doubt! But I know, too, that one fate awaits them both. ‘The fool’s fate’ I thought to myself ‘will be my fate too. Of what use my wisdom, then? This, too,’ I thought ‘is vanity.’ Since there is no lasting memory for wise man or for fool, and in the days to come both will be forgotten; wise man, alas, no less than fool must die. Life I have come to hate, for what is done under the sun disgusts me, since all is vanity and chasing of the wind. All I have toiled for and now bequeath to my successor I have come to hate; who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will be master of all the work into which I have put my efforts and wisdom under the sun. That, too, is vanity. And hence I have come to despair of all the efforts I have expended under the sun. For so it is that a man who has laboured wisely, skilfully and successfully must leave what is his own to someone who has not toiled for it at all. This, too, is vanity and great injustice; for what does he gain for all the toil and strain that he has undergone under the sun? What of all his laborious days, his cares of office, his restless nights? This, too, is vanity.

There is no happiness for man but to eat and drink and to be content with his work. This, too, I see as something from God’s hand, since plenty and penury both come from God; wisdom, knowledge, joy, he gives to the man who pleases him; on the sinner lays the task of gathering and storing up for another who is pleasing to God. This, too, is vanity and chasing of the wind.


Wisdom, knowledge, joy, God gives to the man who pleases him;
on the sinner he lays the task of gathering and storing up for another.
This, too, is vanity and chasing of the wind.

The love of money is the root of all evils,
and there are some who, pursuing it,
have involved themselves in a world of sorrows.
This, too, is vanity and chasing of the wind.

A sermon on Ecclesiastes by St Gregory of Nyssa

Christ is our head, and the wise man keeps his eyes upon him

We shall be blessed with clear vision if we keep our eyes fixed on Christ, for he, as Paul teaches, is our head, and there is in him no shadow of evil. Saint Paul himself and all who have reached the same heights of sanctity had their eyes fixed on Christ, and so have all who live and move and have their being in him.

As no darkness can be seen by anyone surrounded by light, so no trivialities can capture the attention of anyone who has his eyes on Christ. The man who keeps his eyes upon the head and origin of the whole universe has them on virtue in all its perfection; he has them on truth, on justice, on immortality and on everything else that is good, for Christ is goodness itself.

The wise man, then, turns his eyes toward the One who is his head, but the fool gropes in darkness. No one who puts his lamp under a bed instead of on a lamp-stand will receive any light from it. People are often considered blind and useless when they make the supreme Good their aim and give themselves up to the contemplation of God, but Paul made a boast of this and proclaimed himself a fool for Christ’s sake. The reason he said, We are fools for Christ’s sake was that his mind was free from all earthly preoccupations. It was as though he said, “We are blind to the life here below because our eyes are raised toward the One who is our head.”

And so, without board or lodging, he travelled from place to place, destitute, naked, exhausted by hunger and thirst. When men saw him in captivity, flogged, shipwrecked, led about in chains, they could scarcely help thinking him a pitiable sight. Nevertheless, even while he suffered all this at the hands of men, he always looked toward the One who is his head and he asked: What can separate us from the love of Christ, which is in Jesus? Can affliction or distress? Can persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger or death? In other words, “What can force me to take my eyes from him who is my head and to turn them toward things that are contemptible?”
He bids us follow his example: Seek the things that are above, he says, which is only another way of saying: “Keep your eyes on Christ.”


See how the eyes of servants are fixed on the hands of their masters.
Our eyes, too, are fixed on the Lord our God,
waiting for some sign of his mercy.

I am the light of the world:
he who follows me will not be walking in the dark;
he will have the light of life.
Our eyes, too,
are fixed on the Lord our God,
waiting for some sign of his mercy.

Let us pray.

Grant, almighty God,
that with our thoughts always on the things of the Spirit
we may please you in all that we say and do.
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.