Wednesday, May 9, 2012


To the Blessed Virgin Mary for May

O most august and blessed Virgin Mary! 
Holy Mother of God! 
Glorious Queen of heaven and earth! 
Powerful protectress of those who love thee, and unfailing advocate of all who invoke thee! 
Look down, 
I beseech thee, 
from thy throne of glory on thy devoted child; 
accept the solemn offering I present thee of this month, specially dedicated to thee, 
and receive my ardent, 
humble desire, 
that by my love and fervor I could worthily honor thee, 
who, next to God, art deserving of all honor. 

Receive me, 
O Mother of Mercy, 
among thy best beloved children; 
extend to me thy maternal tenderness and solicitude; 
obtain for me a place in the Heart of Jesus, 
and a special share in the gifts of His grace. 
O deign, 
I beseech thee, 
to recognize my claims on thy protection, 
to watch over my spiritual and temporal interests, 
as well as those of all who are dear to me; 
to infuse into my soul the spirit of Christ, 
and to teach me thyself to become meek, 
humble, charitable, patient, 
and submissive to the will of God.

May my heart burn with the love of thy Divine Son, 
and of thee, 
His blessed Mother, 
not for a month alone, 
but for time and eternity; 
may I thirst for the promotion of His honor and thine, 
and contribute, 
as far as I can, 
to its extension. 
Receive me, 
O Mary, 
the refuge of sinners! 
Grant me a Mother's blessing and a Mother's care, 
now, and at the hour of my death.



Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Acts 15:1-6

Some who had come down from Judea were 
instructing the brothers,
"Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice,
you cannot be saved."
Because there arose no little dissension and debate
by Paul and Barnabas with them,
it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others
should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and presbyters
about this question.
They were sent on their journey by the Church,
and passed through Phoenicia and Samaria
telling of the conversion of the Gentiles,
and brought great joy to all the brethren.
When they arrived in Jerusalem,
they were welcomed by the Church,
as well as by the Apostles and the presbyters,
and they reported what God had done with them.
But some from the party of the Pharisees 
who had become believers
stood up and said, "It is necessary to circumcise them
and direct them to observe the Mosaic law."

The Apostles and the presbyters met 
together to see about this matter.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 122:1-2, 3-4ab, 4cd-5

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

I rejoiced because they said to me,
"We will go up to the house of the LORD."
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Jn 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples:

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that 
I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples."


May 9

St. Catharine of Bologna (1413-1463)

Some Franciscan saints led fairly public lives; Catharine represents the saints who served the Lord in obscurity.

Catharine, born in Bologna, was related to the nobility in Ferrara and was educated at court there. She received a liberal education at the court and developed some interest and talent in painting. In later years as a Poor Clare, Catharine sometimes did manuscript illumination and also painted miniatures.

At the age of 17, she joined a group of religious women in Ferrara. Four years later the whole group joined the Poor Clares in that city. Jobs as convent baker and portress preceded her selection as novice mistress.

In 1456, she and 15 other sisters were sent to establish a Poor Clare monastery in Florence. As abbess Catharine worked to preserve the peace of the new community. Her reputation for holiness drew many young women to the Poor Clare life. She was canonized in 1712.


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

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 23 (24)

The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

– The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

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.

– The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

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.

– The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

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.

– The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

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.

– 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.

Psalm 17 (18)
Thanksgiving for salvation and victory

I love you, Lord, my strength. Alleluia.

I will love you, Lord, my strength:
Lord, you are my foundation and my refuge,
you set me free.
My God is my help: I will put my hope in him,
my protector, my sign of salvation,
the one who raises me up.
I will call on the Lord – praise be to his name –
and I will be saved from my enemies.
The waves of death flooded round me,
the torrents of Belial tossed me about,
the cords of the underworld wound round me,
death’s traps opened before me.
In my distress I called on the Lord,
I cried out to my God:
from his temple he heard my voice,
my cry to him came to his ears.

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 love you, Lord, my strength. Alleluia.

Psalm 17 (18)

The Lord saved me because he loved me. Alleluia.

The earth moved and shook,
at the coming of his anger the roots of the mountains rocked
and were shaken.
Smoke rose from his nostrils,
consuming fire came from his mouth,
from it came forth flaming coals.
He bowed down the heavens and descended,
storm clouds were at his feet.
He rode on the cherubim and flew,
he travelled on the wings of the wind.
He made dark clouds his covering;
his dwelling-place, dark waters and clouds of the air.
The cloud-masses were split by his lightnings,
hail fell, hail and coals of fire.
The Lord thundered from the heavens,
the Most High let his voice be heard,
with hail and coals of fire.
He shot his arrows and scattered them,
hurled thunderbolts and threw them into confusion.
The depths of the oceans were laid bare,
the foundations of the globe were revealed,
at the sound of your anger, O Lord,
at the onset of the gale of your wrath.
He reached from on high and took me up,
he lifted me from the many waters.
He snatched me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hate me, for they were too strong for me.
They attacked me in my time of trouble,
but the Lord was my support.
He led me to the open spaces,
he was my deliverance, for he held me in favor.

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 saved me because he loved me. Alleluia.

Psalm 17 (18)

You, O Lord, are my lamp, 
my God who lightens my darkness. Alleluia.

The Lord rewards me according to my uprightness,
he repays me according to the purity of my hands,
for I have kept to the paths of the Lord
and have not departed wickedly from my God.
For I keep all his decrees in my sight,
and I will not reject his judgements;
I am stainless before him,
I have kept myself away from evil.
And so the Lord has rewarded me according to my uprightness,
according to the purity of my hands in his sight.
You will be holy with the holy,
kind with the kind,
with the chosen you will be chosen,
but with the crooked you will show your cunning.
For you will bring salvation to a lowly people
but make the proud ashamed.
For you light my lamp, O Lord;
my God brings light to my darkness.
For with you I will attack the enemy’s squadrons;
with my God I will leap over their wall.

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.

You, O Lord, are my lamp, 
my God who lightens my darkness. Alleluia.

God raised Christ from the dead, alleluia,
– so that our faith and hope would be in God, alleluia.

Apocalypse 21:1-8

I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth; the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared now, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the holy city, and the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, as beautiful as a bride all dressed for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice call from the throne, ‘You see this city? Here God lives among men. He will make his home among them; they shall be his people, and he will be their God; his name is God-with-them. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness. The world of the past has gone.’

Then the One sitting on the throne spoke: ‘Now I am making the whole of creation new’ he said. ‘Write this: that what I am saying is sure and will come true.’ And then he said, ‘It is already done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give water from the well of life free to anybody who is thirsty; it is the rightful inheritance of the one who proves victorious; and I will be his God and he a son to me. But the legacy for cowards, for those who break their word, or worship obscenities, for murderers and fornicators, and for fortune-tellers, idolaters or any other sort of liars, is the second death in the burning lake of sulphur.’


Now God’s home is with men! He will live with them, and he will wipe away all tears from their eyes, alleluia.

There will be no more death, no more grief, weeping or pain. The world of the past has gone, and he will wipe away all tears from their eyes, alleluia.

From a letter to Diognetus

The Christian in the world

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labour under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives. They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law.

Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonour, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.


I am the light of the world. He who follows me can never walk in darkness; he will possess the light which is life, alleluia.

In me is all grace of way and of truth, in me all hope of life and of strength. He who follows me can never walk in darkness; he will possess the light which is life, alleluia.

Let us pray.

Lord God,
you love innocence of heart,
and when it is lost you alone can restore it.
Turn then our hearts to you,
and kindle in them the fire of your Spirit,
so that we may be steadfast in faith
and unwearied in good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

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