Let us exercise our desire in prayer

From a letter to Proba by Saint Augustine, bishop (Ep. 130, 8, 15, 17-9, 18: CSEL 44, 56-57, 59-60) Let us exercise our desire in prayer


Why in our fear of not praying as we should, do we turn to so many things, to find what we should pray for? Why do we not say instead, in the words of the psalm: I have asked one thing from the Lord, this is what I will seek: to dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of my life, to see the graciousness of the Lord, and to visit his temple there. The days do not come and go in succession, and the beginning of one day does not mean the end of another; all days are one, simultaneously and without end, and the life lived out in these days has itself no end.

So that we might obtain this life of happiness, he who is true life itself taught us to pray, not in many words as though speaking longer could gain us a hearing. After all, we pray to one who, as the Lord himself tells us, knows what we need before we ask for it.

Why he should ask us to pray, when he knows what we need before we ask him, may perplex us if we do not realize that our Lord and God does not want to know what we want (for he cannot fail to know it) but wants us rather to exercise our desire through our prayers, so that we may be able to receive what he is preparing to give us. His gift is very great indeed, but our capacity is too small and limited to receive it. That is why we are told: Enlarge your desires, do not bear the yoke with unbelievers.

The deeper our faith, the stronger our hope, the greater our desire, the larger will be our capacity to receive that gift, which is very great indeed. No eye has seen it; it has no colour. No ear has heard it; it has no sound. It has not entered man’s heart; man’s heart must enter into it.

In this faith, hope and love we pray always with unwearied desire. However, at set times and seasons we also pray to God in words, so that by these signs we may instruct ourselves and mark the progress we have made in our desire, and spur ourselves on to deepen it. The more fervent the desire, the more worthy will be its fruit. When the Apostle tells us: Pray without ceasing, he mans this: Desire unceasingly that life of happiness which is nothing if not eternal and ask it of him who alone is able to give it.

(Feenetbooks       -       Catering for your spiritual needs)

The golden rule

                                                                                THE GOLDEN RULE


We thank God – For our help is in the name of the Lord who made Heaven and Earth.


(Feenetbooks       -        Catering for your spiritual needs)



We are made holy by sharing in Christ body and blood


From a treatise against Fabianus by Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe, bishop (Cap. 28, 16-19: CCL 91 A, 813-814)

                                       WE ARE MADE HOLY BY SHARING IN CHRIST BODY AND  BLOOD 

Corpus Chrisri picture

 In our offering of the holy sacrifice we fulfil the command of our Saviour, as recorded by the apostle Paul:

“The Lord Jesus, on the night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and after he had given thanks, broke it and said: This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. The same way, after the supper, he took the cup saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you shall proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.”

This sacrifice is offered, then, to proclaim the Lord’s death; it is offered in remembrance of him who laid down his life for our sake. As he says: Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends. Because Christ died for us out of love, we ask, when we make remembrance of his death at the time of sacrifice, that we too may be granted love through the coming of the Holy Spirit. We pray that by the love which Christ had for us when he braved the cross, we may receive the grace of the Spirit and be crucified to the world, and the world to us. The death Christ died, he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. Let us imitate our Lord’s death and live a new life. Strengthened with the gift of his love, let us die to sin and live for God.


For God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Indeed our sharing in the Lord’s body and blood when we eat his bread and drink his cup teaches us that we should die to the world, and that we should keep our life hidden with Christ in God, crucifying our flesh with its vices and evil desires.

That is why all the faithful who love God and their neighbour truly drink the cup of the Lord’s love even though they may not drink the cup of his bodily suffering. And becoming inebriated from it, they put to death whatever in their nature is rooted in earth. They clothe themselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not indulge fleshly desires. They do not fix their gaze on visible things but contemplate things which the eye cannot see. Thus, they drink the Lord’s cup by preserving the holy bond of love; without it, even if a man should deliver his body to be burned, he gains nothing. But the gift of love enables us to become in reality what we celebrate as mystery in the sacrifice.

(Feenetbooks      -      Catering for your spiritual needs)






Saints Felicity and Perpetua

                                                   SAINTS FELICITY AND PERPETUA



“Mary and Child with Saints Felicity and Perpetua (Sacra Conversazione) | Anonymous” 

“When my father in his affection for me was trying to turn me from my purpose by arguments and thus weaken my faith, I said to him, ‘Do you see this vessel—waterpot or whatever it may be? Can it be called by any other name than what it is?’ ‘No,’ he replied. ‘So also I cannot call myself by any other name than what I am—a Christian.’”

So writes Perpetua: young, beautiful, well-educated, a noblewoman of Carthage in North Africa, mother of an infant son and chronicler of the persecution of the Christians by Emperor Septimius Severus.

Perpetua’s mother was a Christian and her father a pagan. He continually pleaded with her to deny her faith. She refused and was imprisoned at 22.


In her diary, Perpetua describes her period of captivity: “What a day of horror! Terrible heat, owing to the crowds! Rough treatment by the soldiers! To crown all, I was tormented with anxiety for my baby…. Such anxieties I suffered for many days, but I obtained leave for my baby to remain in the prison with me, and being relieved of my trouble and anxiety for him, I at once recovered my health, and my prison became a palace to me and I would rather have been there than anywhere else.”

Despite threats of persecution and death, Perpetua, Felicity–a slavewoman and expectant mother–and three companions, Revocatus, Secundulus and Saturninus, refused to renounce their Christian faith. For their unwillingness, all were sent to the public games in the amphitheater. There Perpetua and Felicity were beheaded, and the others killed by beasts.

Felicity gave birth to a girl a few days before the games commenced.

Perpetua’s record of her trial and imprisonment ends the day before the games. “Of what was done in the games themselves, let him write who will.” The diary was finished by an eyewitness.


Persecution for religious beliefs is not confined to Christians in ancient times. Consider Anne Frank, the Jewish girl who with her family, was forced into hiding and later died in Bergen-Belsen, one of Hitler’s death camps during World War II. Anne, like Perpetua and Felicity, endured hardship and suffering and finally death because she committed herself to God. In her diary, Anne writes, “It’s twice as hard for us young ones to hold our ground, and maintain our opinions, in a time when all ideals are being shattered and destroyed, when people are showing their worst side, and do not know whether to believe in truth and right and God.”

Saint Felicity is the Patron Saint of:

Mothers of Deceased Sons

 (Feenetbooks      -      Catering for your spiritual needs)


Thought for the day

                                                             THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

“I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me,

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s  word to speak for me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s shield me to protect me,

God’s host to save me from snares of devils,

From temptation of vices,

From everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and near.” (Attrib. St. Patrick)

(Feenetbooks      -      Catering for your spiritual needs)

Thought of the week

                                                                                                  THOUGHT OF THE WEEK


We may be sure that none of our acts of love will be lost, nor any of our acts of sincere concern for others. No single act of love for God will be lost, no generous effort is meaningless, no painful endurance is wasted. All of these encircle our world like a vital force. It may be that the Lord uses our sacrifices to shower blessings in another part of the world which we will never visit. The Holy Spirit works as he wills, when he wills and where he wills. Let us learn to rest in the tenderness of the arms of the Father, let us give him everything, allowing him to make our efforts bear fruit in his good time” Pope Francis 

(Feenetbooks      -      Catering for your spiritual needs)




Christ will not forgive no sin without the church

From a sermon by Blessed Isaac of Stella, abbot (Sermo11: PL 194, 1728-1729) 

                                       CHRIST WILL NOT FORGIVE ANY SIN WITHOUT THE CHURCH




The prerogative of receiving the confession of sin and the power to forgive sin are two things that belong properly to God alone. We must confess our sins to him and look to him for forgiveness. Since only he has the power to forgive sins, it is to him that we must make our confession. “ After saying this he breathed on them and said: Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained”. (John 20: 22 – 23). But when the Almighty, the Most High, wedded a bride who was weak and of low estate, he made that maid-servant a queen. He took her from her place behind him, at his feet, and enthroned her at his side. She had been born from his side, and therefore he betrothed her to himself. And as all that belongs to the Father belongs also to the Son because by Nature they are one, so also the bridegroom gave all he had to the bride and he shared in all that was hers. He made her one both with himself and with the Father. Praying for his bride, the Son said to the Father: I want them to be one with us, even as you and I are one.

And so the bridegroom is one with the Father and one with the bride. Whatever he found in his bride alien to her own nature he took from her and nailed to his cross when he bore her sins and destroyed them on the tree. He received from her and clothed himself in what was hers by nature and gave her what belonged to him as God. He destroyed what was diabolical, took to himself what was human, and conferred on her what was divine. So all that belonged to the bride was shared in by the bridegroom, and he who had done no wrong and on whose lips was found no deceit could say: Have pity on me, Lord, for I am weak. Thus, sharing as he did in the bride’s weakness, the bridegroom made his own her cries of distress, and gave his bride all that was his. Therefore, she too has the prerogative of receiving the confession of sin and the power to forgive sin, which is the reason for the command: Go, show yourself to the priest.

The Church is incapable of forgiving any sin without Christ, and Christ is unwilling to forgive any sin without the Church. The Church cannot forgive the sin of one who has not repented, who has not been touched by Christ; Christ will not forgive the sin of one who despises the Church. What God has joined together, man must not separate. This is a great mystery, but I understand it as referring to Christ and the Church.

Do not destroy the whole Christ by separating head from body, for Christ is not complete without the Church, nor is the Church complete without Christ. The whole and complete Christ is head and body. This is why he said: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the Son of Man whose home is in heaven. He is the only man who can forgive sin.

(Feenetbooks     -     Catering for your spiritual needs)










our Lady of good health

                                                                      OUR LADY OF GOOD HEALTH



                                                            Where Is Our Lady of Good Health?

Our Lady of Good Health appeared to a shepherd boy named Tamil Krishnannesti Sankaranaranayam in Vailankanni, India around 1550 AD.

Our Lady asked the boy, who was delivering buttermilk, for some of his milk so that she could feed her child (Jesus). The boy gave her milk and went on his way.

When he delivered the rest of the milk, he apologized, explaining that there would be less milk than was ordered, but when he opened up the containers, the milk was completely full!

Some years later, Our Lady appeared again to a lame boy selling buttermilk. He was making no sales, but a beautiful woman appeared to him, holding a child, and asked for a cup of milk.

He gave her a cup; she fed her child (Jesus), and then Mary asked the boy to go to Nagapattinam and tell the man he would meet there to build a chapel in Vailankanni.

The boy realized that he was healed of his lameness, so he ran to the town, and the Catholic faithful built a small chapel in Vailankanni, in honor of Our Lady of Good Health.


The boy realized that he was healed of his lameness, so he ran to the town, and the Catholic faithful built a small chapel in Vailankanni, in honour of Our Lady of Good Health.

In the 1600s, a terrible storm hit a Portuguese merchant ship sailing to Ceylon.

The sailors invoked Our Lady, Star of the Sea for help, and God calmed the seas for them.

When the ship landed around Vailankanni, the sailors saw the small chapel to Our Lady of Good Health and built an even bigger, stone chapel there.

Pope St. John XXIII made the chapel at minor basilica in 1962, calling it the Lourdes of the East and honouring the strong tradition of Catholics making pilgrimages there.


 Most Pure virgin, you are the health of the sick, the refuge of sinners, the consolation of the afflicted and the dispenser of all graces. In my weakness and discouragement, I appeal today to the treasures of your divine mercy and goodness, and I dare to call you by the sweet name of Mother. Yes, O Mother, attend to (______) or his/her infirmity, give me, him/her bodily health, so that he/she may do his/her duties with vitality and joy, and with the same disposition may he/she serve your Son Jesus and give thanks to you, health of the sick.

Our Lady of Good Health, pray for us.

(Feenetbooks     -     Catering for your spiritual needs)

Saint Gregory the Great

                                                           SAINT GREGORY THE GREAT

                                                     SAINT GREGORY THE GREAT’S STORY

 Gregory was the prefect of Rome before he was 30. After five years in office he resigned, founded six monasteries on his Sicilian estate, and became a Benedictine monk in his own home at Rome.

Ordained a priest, Gregory became one of the pope’s seven deacons, and also served six years in the East as papal representative in Constantinople. He was recalled to become abbot, but at the age of 50 was elected pope by the clergy and people of Rome.

Gregory was direct and firm. He removed unworthy priests from office, forbade taking money for many services, emptied the papal treasury to ransom prisoners of the Lombards and to care for persecuted Jews and the victims of plague and famine. He was very concerned about the conversion of England, sending 40 monks from his own monastery. He is known for his reform of the liturgy, and for strengthening respect for doctrine. Whether he was largely responsible for the revision of “Gregorian” chant is disputed.

Gregory lived in a time of perpetual strife with invading Lombards and difficult relations with the East. When Rome itself was under attack, he interviewed the Lombard king.

His book, Pastoral Care, on the duties and qualities of a bishop, was read for centuries after his death. He described bishops mainly as physicians whose main duties were preaching and the enforcement of discipline. In his own down-to-earth preaching, Gregory was skilled at applying the daily Gospel to the needs of his listeners. Called “the Great,” Gregory has been given a place with Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome, as one of the four key doctors of the Western Church.

An Anglican historian has written: “It is impossible to conceive what would have been the confusion, the lawlessness, the chaotic state of the Middle Ages without the medieval papacy; and of the medieval papacy, the real father is Gregory the Great.”


Gregory was content to be a monk, but he willingly served the Church in other ways when asked. He sacrificed his own preferences in many ways, especially when he was called to be Bishop of Rome. Once he was called to public service, Gregory gave his considerable energies completely to this work. Gregory’s description of bishops as physicians fits in well with Pope Francis’ description of the Church as a “field hospital.”




 (Feenetbooks     -     Catering for your spiritual needs)






Give the world the best you have got Anyway



(From a sign on the wall of Shishu Bahavan, the children’s home in Calcutta)

                                                                                    A N Y W A Y

People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered,

                                                                            LOVE THEM ANYWAY

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motievs,

                                                                               DO GOOD ANYWAY

If you are successful, you will false friends and true enemies,

                                                                              SUCCEED ANYWAY

The good you do wii be for forgotten tomorrow,

                                                                              DO GOOD ANYWAY   

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable,

                                                                    BE HONEST AND FRANK ANYWAY

What you spent years building may be destroyed overnight,

                                                                               BUILD ANYWAY

People really need help but may attack you if you help them,

                                                                        HELP PEOPLE ANYWAY

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth,


(Feeenetbooks     -     Catering for your spiritual needs)