Thought for the Day – 26 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Commandments and the Desires of Jesus Christ
“One who loves is not content, merely, to do the will of the loved one, he tries to satisfy his every wish. If we really love Jesus, therefore, not only should we do His will perfectly but, we should also fulfil every desire of His heart. But what are the desires of Jesus? His first desire is the glory of His Father, which we must promote by every means in collaboration with Divine Grace. His second is our sanctification, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thess 4:3). “You, therefore, are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48).
In the third place, we should take part, as far as we can, in works of the Apostolate, for the triumph of the Church and of the Kingdom of God on earth. Are we doing all this? Perhaps, on the day of our death, we shall have to say: How much good I could have done and I neglected to do it! How much more I should have loved my God, yet I loved Him so little!”
Quote/s of the Day – 26 January – Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time, Readings: 2 Timothy 1:1-8 or Titus 1:1-5, Psalms 96:1-2, 2-3, 7-8, 10, Mark 3:31-35
“Whoever does the will of God, is my brother and sister and mother.”
Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”
“Even to the present time I have not stopped speaking to all men but many are deaf and obstinate in response. … He who possesses my words yet spurns them, earns his own judgement on the last day.”
Thomas á Kempis (1380-1471)
“My desire is not my way but Your way.”
St Cajetan (1480-1547)
“I trust in God and wish nothing else but His will.”
St Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski (1822-1895)
“It is pleasant to hear about Jesus; more pleasant to listen to Jesus Himself speaking … It is pleasant to think about Jesus; more pleasant to possess Him … It is pleasant to hear Jesus’ words; more pleasant to do His will …”
St Mary of Jesus Crucified (1846-1878)
“On the last day, we will not be asked if we accomplished great deeds, or been acclaimed by men, rather we will be asked if we followed His will, in the state and condition, to which we were called.”
“Here are my mother and my brethren! Whoever does the will of God, is my brother and sister and mother.”…Mark 3:34-35
REFLECTION – “He did not treat us as our sins deserved. For we are now sons of God. How do we show this? The only Son of God died for us, so that He might not remain alone. He who died as the only Son, did not want to remain as the only Son. For the only Son of God made many sons of God. He bought brothers for Himself by His blood, He made them welcome by being rejected, He ransomed them by being sold, He honoured them by being dishonoured, He gave them life by being put to death.” – St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace – An excerpt from his Sermon 171
PRAYER – Almighty God, You endowed Saints Timothy and Titus with power to preach Your Word. Grant that, living a life of integrity and holiness in this world, reaching out to teach the Gospel both by our lives and our words, we may, through their prayers, come to our true home in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Jesus, Like a Mother By St Anselm OSB (1033-1109) Doctor magnificus (Magnificent Doctor) Doctor Marianus (Marian Doctor)
Jesus, like a mother You gather Your people to Yourself. You are gentle with us, as a mother with her children. Often you weep over our sins and our pride, tenderly You draw us, from hatred and judgement. You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds, in sickness You nurse us and with pure milk You feed us. Jesus, by Your dying, we are born to new life; by Your anguish and labour, we come forth in joy. Despair turns to hope through Your sweet goodness; through Your gentleness, we find comfort in fear. Your warmth, gives life to the dead, Your touch, makes sinners righteous. Lord Jesus, in Your mercy, heal us; in Your love and tenderness, remake us. In Your compassion, bring grace and forgiveness. For the beauty of heaven, may Your love prepare us. Amen
Saint of the Day – 26 January – Saint Paula of Rome (347-404) Widow, Foundress- early Desert Mother, Foundress of the Order of St Jerome (the Hieronymites), life-long friend and associate of St Jerome. Born on 5 May 347 at Rome, Italy and died in 404 at Bethlehem, of natural causes. Also known as Paula the Widow, Paulina, Pauline. Patronages – widows and Co-Patron with St Jerome of the Order of Saint Jerome.
Paula was a member of one of the richest senatorial families which claimed descent from Agamemnon. Paula was the daughter of Blesilla and Rogatus, from the great clan of the Furii Camilli.At the age of 16, Paula was married to the nobleman Toxotius, with whom she had four daughters, Blaesilla, Paulina, Eustochium, and Rufina and a son who was named after his father.
Paula was very virtuous as a married woman and with her husband, they became icons of Rome by their example. However, Paula had her flaws, particularly that of a certain love of worldly life, which was difficult to avoid due to her high social position. Information about Paula’s early life is recorded by Saint Jerome. In his Letter 108, he states that she had led a luxurious life and held a great status. She dressed in silks and had been carried about the city by her eunuch slaves. At first, Paula did not realise this secret tendency of her heart but the death of her husband, which occurred when she was 33 years old, opened her eyes. Through the influence of Saint Marcella and her group, Paula became an enthusiastic member of this semi-monastic group of women. In 382, she met Saint Jerome, who had come to Rome with Saint Epiphanius and Bishop St Paulinus of Antioch.
Blesila, the eldest daughter of Paula, died suddenly, which caused the pious widow immense suffering. Saint Jerome, who had just returned from Bethlehem, wrote her a letter of consolation, but, nevertheless, he rebuked her therein, for the excessive grief she manifested without thinking that her daughter had gone to receive the heavenly prize. Paulina, her second daughter, was married to Pamaquio and died seven years before her mother. Saint Eustochium , her third daughter, was her inseparable companion. Rufina died while still young. Toxotius, at first not a Christian but baptised in 385, married Laeta, daughter of the pagan priest Albinus. Of this marriage was born Paula the Younger, who in eventually joined Eustochium in the Holy Land and in 420 closed the eyes of St Jerome. These are the names which recur frequently in the letters of St Jerome, where they are inseparable from that of Paula.
A year after the death of her husband, Paula pursued a pilgrimage to tour all of the holy sites, travelling with large entourages of both men and women including her daughter Eustochium and Jerome himself. Paula could undertake this voyage, due to her widow status, which left her a significant fortune allowing her exemption from remarriage. Additionally, having had a male heir and two married daughters provided supplementary financial insurance. Her travels are documented by Jerome in his later writing addressed to Eustochium which discusses how Paula participated in the environments they toured. He discusses that Paula exemplified an intimate and emotional connection with the sights, experiencing visual vividness of biblical events at each locale. Concluding her journey, Paula decided to remain in Bethlehem to develop a Monastery and spiritual retreat with Jerome.
Once settled in Bethlehem, Paula and Jerome built a double Monastery including one for Paula and her Nuns and another for Jerome and his Monks. The addition of a roadside hostel was also constructed to serve as an economic source to fund the Monasteries. This development took three years to complete and was primarily sourced by Paula who, during this time of construction, lived at another double Monastery called Mount Olives.
It is in Jerome’s writing’s, in a letter to Eustochium, that provide the most insight on Paula’s life during her years of service at the Monastery. She is noted as maintaining her ascetic devotion through intensive studies of the Old and New Testaments, often under the guidance of Jerome. With this, she also practiced a strict fasting regimen, abstinence and pursued a penitent lifestyle “to preserve a singular attachment to God” as stated by Jerome. While practising this life of isolation, Paula still continued to interact with local clergy and Bishops and maintained devout attention to teaching the nuns under her care. Jerome’s letter from 404, moreover, indicates Saint Paula’s first-hand connection with relics from Christ’s passion, “she was shown the pillar of the church which supports the colonnade and which was stained with the Lord’s blood. He is said to have been tied to it when he was scourged.”
Jerome made explicit in his letter how Paula, through these practices, became a recognised figure in the Christian community. At one point, while travelling to Nitria, she was earnestly received by renowned Monks from Egypt and once her death arrived on 26 January 404, her funeral was noted as having a significant portion of the Palestine population arrive in her honour. A year after her passing, Paula was recognised by the Church as a Saint, with feast day on 26 January.
St Jerome grieved over her death but knowing how innocently she had lived, he was sure she was already in Paradise. “O dear Saint Paula,” he prayed, “help me now by your prayers and do not forget me, who taught you to live for God and Heaven. Your faith and your piety, have already placed you in the bosom of God and I know, He cannot now refuse to hear you. Oh, then, my child, pray, pray for me.”
Paula helped Jerome in his translation of the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin. The work was done at her suggestion and she provided the reference works necessary for the undertaking. Being versed in Hebrew, she edited Jerome’s manuscripts. She and her daughter Eustochium copied the work for circulation.
An anecdote told of Jerome, of twelfth-century origin, tells that Roman clergy hostile to Jerome planned to have him expelled from the city by planting a woman’s robe next to his bed. When Jerome awoke in the middle of the night to attend the service of matins, he absentmindedly put on the female robes. He was thus accused of having had a woman in his bed. This story acknowledges, while at the same time discrediting as a malicious slander, Jerome’s relationship with women, such as he is presumed to have had with Paula.
Palladius, a contemporary of Jerome, believed that Paula was hindered by Jerome: “For though she was able to surpass all, having great abilities, he hindered her by his jealousy, having induced her to serve his own plan.”
When Jerome died in early 420, he was buried beneath the north aisle of the Church of the Nativity, near the graves of Paula and Eustochium and tradition tells us that St Paula the Younger attended him in his last hours and when he lost his speech, she made the Sign of the Cross on his lips.
Our Lady of Atocha/Our Lady of Long Fields, Madrid, Spain (1261) – 26 January:
For a long time part of Madrid was nothing but a field of matreeds (tules) particularly in the district of Atocha. Here is a shrine to Our Lady of Atocha, a Spanish contraction for “Theotokos”, meaning “Mother of God,” or a simplification of “Antiocha” which, in the 12th Century under this title, was already ancient and beloved. Today the statue stands in a business centre, a dark little Madonna with an enigmatic smile on her face. Nobody knows where she came from but everyone, from gold-braided officer, to the ragged street urchins, pay her the most polite respect and give her most unqualified love. Our Lady of Atocha was in Madrid when there was only a field of reeds and a hermitage. The Moor and the Moslem came – they respected her and left her alone. When Toledo was sacked in 1170, she remained there calm and accessible, watching over her children. In 1525 Charles V brought her his bride and asked her blessing upon their marriage; Don Juan of Austria, departing for the Battle of Lepanto, knelt at her feet and pledged his sword to her; after his victory, he sent in thanksgiving, his sword to her along with the captured Moorish banners. Despite all these trappings of the high and wealthy, she still remains Our Lady of all the people, beloved of kings and farmers, such as St Isidore. Our Lady of Atocha is Madrid’s royal shrine: there is not a Spaniard of public importance for a thousand years who would not kneel to ask her help. Her gowns are made from the bridal gowns of queens; yet no shrine better demonstrates how little it matters where we rank in the world, or what we do for a living. One of her supplicants asks her for victory for his armies, one for rain for his thirsty fields; Our Lady of Atocha answers all, impartially and lovingly.
In the year 1554 the Spanish Missionaries brought Our Lady of Atocha to Mexico with them. She was brought to a sanctuary called The Santuario De Plateros, which is a church about 30 minutes from the small town of Fresnillo. There were many miracles that occurred after the arrival of the famous statue. After the first miracle was reported, the Infant of Atocha was separated from the rest of the statue. He was seated instead by Himself in a splendid crystal niche on the main altar, and He can still be seen there today. In His left hand He holds a jug, which for centuries was used by pilgrims to carry their liquids for drinking. In His right hand is a small basket of food. The face of the Infant is dark and bright. He has long curls and wears a small hat trimmed with gold and feathers on the side. His clothing is velvet, with exquisite embroidering and has the initials JHS. Finally, on his feet he wears solid gold sandals. The Holy Infant is so small and attractive He is like a magnet to everyone. He is actually a figure of admiration to the faithful. He grants them the favours they ask for and gives grace instantly. He usually works during the night visiting the sick and the poor, therefore, He is also known as The Night Walking Infant of Atocha. It is not unusual to see HIs little chair empty while He is out on a mission. In the morning when He returns the sisters dust off His sandals after His all night journeys. Pilgrimages are daily occurrences at the Santuario De Plateros. Thousands of pilgrims go to the Santuario on their knees, singing and praying. The pilgrims come for miles away on foot carrying flowers. The children come also and the little infants are carried in the mother’s shawl. It is impossible to count the testimonials that cover the walls. Pictures, wheel chairs, crutches, braids of hair, have been brought in by those who received miraculous cures. All testimonials are framed with a picture of The Little Infant of Atocha, a picture of the moment of the miracle and they also indicate time, date and place.
St Alphonsus of Astorga St Ansurius of Orense St Athanasius of Sorrento St Conan of Iona Bl Eystein Erlandsön Bl José Gabriel del Rosario Brochero Bl Marie de la Dive veuve du Verdier de la Sorinière Bl Michaël Kozal St Paula of Rome (347-404) Widow, Foundress St Theofrid of Corbie St Theogenes of Hippo St Tortgith of Barking — Martyred Family of Constantinople: Saint Mary and Saint Xenophon were married and the parents of Saint John and Saint Arcadius. Theirs was a wealthy family of Senatorial rank in 5th century imperial Constantinople, but were known as a Christians who lived simple lives. To give their sons a good education, Xenophon and Mary sent them to university in Beirut, Phoenicia. However, their ship wrecked, there was no communication from them, and the couple assumed, naturally, that the young men had died at sea. In reality, John and Arcadius had survived and decided that instead of continuing to Beirut, they were going to follow a calling to religious life and became monks, eventually living in a monastery in Jerusalem. Years later, Mary and Xenophon made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem – where they encountered their sons. Grateful to have their family re-united and taking it as a sign, Xenophon and Mary gave up their positions in society in Constantinople, and lived the rest of their lives as a monk and anchoress in Jerusalem. A few years later, the entire family was martyred together. They were martyred in 5th century Jerusalem. St Xenophon St Mary St John St Arcadius
Thought for the Day – 25 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“There is no such thing as half-way virtue.
Virtue is a struggle and a sacrifice. It presupposes a generous heart which gives itself to Jesus without reserve. Did He not give Himself completely for our sakes? Did He not die upon the Cross for our salvation and reopen Heaven, which had been closed to us by sin? Moreover, did He not remain hidden in our midst under the Eucharistic species in order to become our sustenance and our support?
When we are faced with such goodness and generosity, can we be so niggardly as to offer God, only a part of ourselves and perhaps a part which is worthless and perishable, as Cain did when he offered sacrifices from his fields and flocks? God would certainly turn away from us and refuse our gifts. And then, we should be lost forever! Let us give ourselves completely and then be able to say with St Paul “I have fought the good fight to the end, I have run the race to the finish, I have kept the faith … ” (2 Tm 4:7)
“The time is sure to come, when people will not accept sound teaching but their ears will be itching for anything new and they will collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes and then they will shut their ears to the truth and will turn to myths. But you must keep steady all the time; put up with suffering, do the work of preaching the gospel, fulfil the service asked of you. As for me, my life is already being poured away as a libation and the time has come for me to depart. I have fought the good fight to the end, I have run the race to the finish, I have kept the faith … ”(2 Tm 4:3-7)
Quote/s of the Day – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, Readings: Acts 22:3-16 or Acts 9: 1-22, Psalms 117:1, 2, Mark 16:15-18
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”
“ … He is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer or the sake of my name.”
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
“The most important thing of all to him, however, was that he knew himself to be loved by Christ. … To be separated from that love was, in his eyes, the greatest and most extraordinary of torments, the pain of that loss, would alone, have been hell and endless, unbearable torture.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father ad Doctor of the Church
“The Apostle Paul, formerly Saul, was changed from a robbing wolf into a meek lamb. Formerly, he was an enemy of the Church, then, is manifest as an Apostle. Formerly, he stalked it, then, preached it.”
“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to vthe whole creation.” – Mark 16:15
REFLECTION – “Paul, more than anyone else, has shown us what man really is and in what our nobility consists and of what virtue this particular animal is capable. Each day, he aimed ever higher; each day, he rose up with greater ardour and faced with new eagerness the dangers that threatened him. He summed up his attitude in the words: “I forget what is behind me and push on to what lies ahead”… The most important thing of all to him, however, was that he knew himself to be loved by Christ. Enjoying this love, he considered himself happier than anyone else” – St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor
PRAYER – Great convert Teacher of the Faith Who never ceased from preaching Christ, Saint Paul impart to us your zeal, That we may reach the joys unseen.
All glory to the Trinity, Forever honour, sov’reignty, To God Almighty be all praise, Beginning and the End of all.
Our Morning Offering – 25 January – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul
Great and Glorious God By St Francis of Assisi (c 1181-1226)
Great and glorious God, my Lord Jesus Christ! I implore Thee to enlighten me and to disperse the darkness of my soul. Give me true faith, firm hope and perfect charity. Grant me, O Lord, to know Thee so well that in all things I may act by Thy light and in accordance with Thy holy will. Amen
Saint of the Day – 24 January – Blessed Antonio Migliorati OSA (1355-1450) Priest and Friar of the Order of St Augustine, missionary Preacher, Confessor, Mystc, Sacristan of the Augustinian Church in Tolentino, Italy, the Church that housed the tomb of Saint Nicholas, noted for his zeal for the faith, his devotion to the poor. Also known as Antonio of Amandola. Born on 17 January 1355 in Amandola, Ascoli Piceno, Italy and died on 25 January 1450 in the Saint Augustine Monastery of Amandola, Ascoli Piceno, Italy of natural causes, aged 95. Additional Memorial – 29 January (Augustinians). Patronage – Amandola. His body is incorrupt.
Antonio was born on 17 January, 1355 the son of Simpliciano and Giovanna Migliorati, a farmer, whose family had little wealth but great faith. Antonia was Baptised on the day of birth. The various biographers are in agreement, in describing the first influence of the parents on the child. The names of Jesus and Mary were the first placed on the lips and heart of the child and he cultivated them with tender devotion throughout his life. The learning of the first prayers and the love of prayer, the acceptance of sacrifice and the hardness of life, the devotion to the Passion of Jesus and the sufferings of his Mother, the appreciation of the values of the spirit, were things that the little Antonio began to learn very early.
Antonio soon began to frequent the nearby Church of Sts Vincenzo and Anastasio and to spend time there in prayer. He had discovered contact with God and this was one of the determining factors of his life. He attended school at the Benedictine Monastery in his town, where he became a favoured and much-loved student. In fact, he had been adopted by the entire town, he was everyone’s son, everyone’s assistant, everyone’s favourite child, eveyone’s comfort.
Inspired by the life and work of St Nicola of Tolentino (1254-1305), Antonio, wishing to imitate St Nicholas’ virtues, joined the Augustinians of his native town, where he was Ordained a Priest. He lived about twelve years in the convent of Tolentino, after which he was for some time in Bari.
In 1400 he returned to his hometown of Amandola. His return was meant to be humble and hidden but, as he approached, a festive and spontaneous ringing from the various towers enveloped the city. He had left about fifteen years earlier, the joy and affection with which he was received home was well imaginable. He didn’t get upset. He was already accustomed to supporting the enthusiasm of his admirers with modesty and humility. Antonio once again became everyone’s comfort and defence. He spent many hours in the confessional, which was increasingly in demand, as his fame spread from land to land; real conversions came out, real comfort, real joy. There is no doubt that many also went there, for more practical and more material reasons but many too went with the hope that Antonio would cure their ills. Antonio blessed, prayed and cured but he knew how to take advantage of everything, to lift hearts to a more spiritual level.
Antonio rushed from the confessional to the homes of the needy and from these, with a hurried step, to the Convent, when the bell called the Monks to prayer and other community commitments. Wherever he was, in fact, when he heard the bell, he rushed to the call of that life he had chosen and sincerely loved. This love for the community was a constant feature, even after his death. In fact, it is said that several times the Friars heard his voice in the choir when the body was now buried under the door of the sacristy and that, if the person in charge forgot or delayed to ring the choir bell, it rang by itself, almost touched by the hands of Antonio.
He also worked to rebuild the old Augustinian Monastery and to build a new Church which was originally named for Saint Augustine of Hippo, but after his death was renamed in honour of Blessed Antonio himself, who led it, for many of his remaining 50 years there.
The death of Blessed Antonio has been handed down to us with an abundance of details. There is no mention of disease. He went out like a candle, of mere old age. He was 95 years old and had just begun the year 1450. Three years earlier he had had the great joy of the Canonisation of his dear St Nicholas, which had aroused so much joy in the world. He had received from the Celestial Mother, the revelation that his death was approaching and he communicated this to his confreres to help him with prayer.
A few days passed thus. When he felt that the end was imminent, he called all the Friars to his cell and, with humility and sincerity, asked that, if he had given some bad example or some sorrow, for the love of God and His Most Holy Mother, they would grant him their pardon. Then he confessed and received Communion with supreme devotion as Viaticum for eternity and Extreme Unction.
Finally, with full clarity of mind, always surrounded by his confreres, he turned to Fr Prior, who was Fr Giambattista Stazzi and asked to express his last wish. The Prior agreed, pledging to satisfy him whatever he asked. Then the dying man asked that his body be buried in the bare earth in front of the choir door; the religious, going to pray, would have passed over it and would have always remember him to the mercy of the Lord.
It was 25 January 1450.
The veneration that he had aroused in life, through humility, a spirit of obedience and mortification and a singular apostolic zeal, did not diminish with death. Already during his life, Antonio was considered a saint but the cult exploded immediately after his death and expanded in the lands near Amandola and throughout the Piceno area and then, through his Augustinian brothers, throughout the world. Antonio was invoked in every need. More and more frequent and numerous groups began to flock to his tomb. Among them there were often the miraculous ones who came to give thanks.
And so a very interesting custom began immediately – a book was created that was called the “Book of Miracles,” in which the most notable miracles were gradually recorded by dictation of the miraculous ones and written most often by the public notary. The book goes back to 1756 and records sudden healings of the crippled, paralysed, blind, epileptic, plagued, deliveries from grave misfortunes and even resurrections of the dead. The manuscript book was kept under the urn. It is from this book above all, that the 155 miracles examined for the Beatification of Anthony were deduced.
In 1453 his body, was discovered to be incorrupt when it was removed from the common sepulcher of the friars, was placed in a wooden ark on an Altar which was named after him, while the wonders (even the resurrection of the dead) multiplied. By 1460, his memorial was a civic holiday in Amandola, Italy
In 1641 it was placed in a wooden sarcophagus, worked by Domenico Malpiedi, which in 1897 was replaced by the marble one, which can now be seen in the recently built Chapel. In 1798 the revolutionary soldiers extracted from the sarcophagus and vilified the body of Antonio. A gold crown was placed on his head in 1899. His incorrupt body is still on display in the same church.
Since his death, the people of Amandola have venerated him and celebrated his “dies natalis.” On 11 July 1759 Pope Clement XIII ascribed Antonio in the number of blessed, recognising his cult “ab immemorabili,” and on 20 April 1890 Pope Leo XIII granted a plenary indulgence to visitors to his sanctuary.
PRAYER TO BLESSED ANTONIO (composed by Archbishop Norberto Perini of Fermo)
We come to You, O Lord, full of gratitude and filial confidence because You are rich in graces and ready to forgive. In the name of Blessed Anthony, Your faithful servant and our protector, we ask You to bless our country; to make families prosper by preserving prayer, peace, mutual love; to make young people docile, job-loving, honest; to give bread to the poor who suffer so much; to instill serenity and patience in the sick so that their pain becomes a means of purification for all; to comfort our elders; to assist the dying with Your grace so that, having overcome the last trials, they come to enjoy You in Your paradise. O Blessed Anthony, we all honour you and invoke your intercession with the Lord, so that He may allow us to always live your faith and to imitate your example made up of few words and many good works. Amen
St Agape the Martyr St Agileus of Carthage St Amarinus of Clermont St Ananias of Damascus Blessed Antonio Migliorati OSA (1355-1450) Priest Bl Antoni Swiadek St Apollo of Heliopolis St Artemas of Pozzuoli St Auxentius of Epirus St Bretannion of Tomi St Donatus the Martyr St Dwynwen St Emilia Fernández Rodríguez de Cortés St Eochod of Galloway St Joel of Pulsano St Juventinus of Antioch Bl Manuel Domingo y Sol St Maximinus of Antioch St Palaemon St Poppo of Stavelot (977-1048) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2020/01/25/saint-of-the-day-25-january-saint-poppo-of-stavelot-977-1048/ St Praejectus of Clermont St Publius of Zeugma St Racho of Autun St Sabinus the Martyr
Thought for the Day – 24 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Following Jesus –
The Way, the Truth and the Life
“Jesus is not only Truth – He is also Life. He is not only our Teacher – He is our Saviour as well. He has given us something which human philosophers could never give. For He has given us more than doctrine; He has also given us the means of putting it into practice in our lives. He has given us Grace and the Sacraments. He has given us Himself inthe Blessed Eucharistic. It would be impossible for us to carry out His divine precepts, if He did not give us the necessary spiritual strength to do so. We should be grateful to Jesus for His goodness and mercy. We should cherish the gifts which He has given us for our sanctification.
Follow Jesus, the Giver of Grace and holiness. Make advantageous use of His Sacraments. Above all, receive the nourishment of His Divine Body with fervour and with love. In this Sacrament, we can discover the unique spiritual force which makes men saints!”
Quote/s of the Day – 24 January – The Memorial of St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church
“Faith is like a bright ray of sunlight. It enables us to see God in all things, as well as, all things in God.”
“He who trusts in God can do all things.”
“Man is the perfection of the Universe. The spirit is the perfection of man. Love is the perfection of the spirit and charity, that of love. Therefore, the love of God is the end, the perfection of the Universe.”
“Our business is to love what we have. He wills our vocation as it is. Let us love that and not trifle away our time hankering after other people’s vocations.”
“Every moment comes to us, pregnant with a command from God, only to pass on and plunge into eternity, there to remain forever, what we have made of it!”
“By giving yourself to God, you not only receive Himself in exchange but, eternal life as well!”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritatis “The Gentle Christ of Geneva” “The Gentleman Saint”
One Minute Reflection – 24 January – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Readins: Jonah 3: 1-5, 10, Psalms 25:4-5, 6-7,8-9, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, Mark 1: 14-20 and the Memorial of St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church: Doctor caritatis (Doctor of Charity)
And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him…Mark 1:17-18
REFLECTION – “Follow me!” Jesus says these words … to every Christian. Follow me, naked as I am naked, free from every hindrance as I myself am. Jeremiah said: “You will call me ‘My Father’ and never turn away from me” (Jer 3:19). So follow Me and put down the burdens you are bearing. For, laden as you are, you cannot follow Me who am running ahead. “I ran in thirst” says the psalmist about me (Ps 61:5 LXX), the thirst to save humanity. And where is He running? To the Cross. You too, run after Him. As He bore His Cross for you, take up your own for your good. From whence these words of Saint Luke’s gospel: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself” by renouncing his own will, “take up his cross” by mortifying his passions, “daily,” that is all the time, “and follow me.” (Lk 9:23) …
Jesus speaks to us like a mother who, wanting to teach her child to walk, shows him apiece of bread or an apple and says to him: “Come with me and I’ll give it to you.” And when the child is so close that he can almost catch hold of it, she draws away a little, showing the thing to him and repeating: “Follow me if you want it.” Some kinds of birds lead their little ones out of their nest and, by flying, teach them to fly and to follow them. Jesus does the same. He shows Himself as an example and promises us His reward in the kingdom so that we might follow Him.
So “follow me” for I know the right way and will guide you. We read in the book of Proverbs: “I will show you the way of wisdom; I will lead you by the ways of equity. When you have entered, your steps will not be constrained and when you run you shall not meet a stumbling block” (cf. Prv 4:11-12 LXX). … Therefore, “follow me”.” … St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Franciscan, Doctor of the Church – Sermon for the feast of Saint John the Evangelist
PRAYER – Grant Lord, that in the service of our fellowmen, we may always reflect Your own gentleness and love and so imitate St Francis de Sales, whom You made all things to all men, for the saving of souls. Grant that his prayers on our behalf may assist us in our daily struggles in traversing our pilgrim way. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, amen.
O Jesus, Sweetest Love Prayer Before Holy Comminion Or Act of Spiritual Communion 1940 Fr Francis Xavier Lasance (1860–1946)
O JESUS, sweetest Love, come Thou to me. Come down in all Thy beauty unto me. Thou Who didst die for longing of me And never, never more depart from me. Free me, O beauteous God, from all but Thee; Sever the chain that holds me back from Thee; Call me, O tender Love, I cry to Thee; Thou art my all! O bind me close to Thee. O suffering Love, Who hast so loved me; O patient Love, Who wearies not of me. YOU ALONE O Love! You weary not of me! Ah! Weary not till I am lost in Thee, Nay, weary not, till I am found in Thee. Amen
Saint of the Day – 24 January – Saint Felician of Foligno (c 158-c 250) Bishop and Martyr, Confessor – born in c 158 in Foligno, Italy and died in c 250 just outside the City of Foligno as the result of his tortures and scourgings. Felician was one of the first Christian Bishops of northern Italy. Patronage – Foligno.
Felician was born in present-day Foligno, of a Christian family, around 158. He was the spiritual student of Pope Eleuterus and evangelised in Foligno, Spello, Bevagna, Assisi, Perugia, Norcia, Plestia, Trevi and Spoleto.
In c 204 he was Consecrated as the Bishop of Foligno by Pope Victor I. St Felician was the first Bishop to receive the Pallium as a symbol of his office.
He ordained St Valentine of Rome as a Priest. His Episcopate lasted for more than 50 years. he was one of the first Christian Bishops of northern Italy.
He was arrested at an advanced age (he was in his nineties) for refusing to sacrifice to the Roman gods during the persecutions of Decius.
He was tortured and scourged and died outside Foligno while being conveyed to Rome for his execution.
A Church (now a Cathedral) was built over his grave at Foligno. His relics were transferred to Metz on 4 October 970. In 965 some relics were translated to Minden in Germany; Felician was thus erroneously considered a bishop of that German city (and he had a separate feast day of 20 October), an error that entered the Roman Martyrology. Some of his relics were later returned to Foligno in 1673-4.
Foligno Cathedral preserves a statue of the saint, of silver and bronze.
St Anicet Hryciuk St Artemius of Clermont St Bartlomiej Osypiuk Bertrand of Saint Quentin St Daniel Karmasz St Exuperantius of Cingoli St Felician of Foligno (c 158-c 250) Bishop and Martyr St Filip Geryluk Bl Francesc de Paula Colomer Prísas St Guasacht St Ignacy Franczuk Bl John Grove St Julian Sabas the Elder St Luigj Prendushi St Macedonius Kritophagos Bl Marcolino of Forli Bl Marie Poussepin Blessed Paola Gambara Costa TOSF (1463-1515) His Life: https://anastpaul.com/2020/01/24/saint-of-the-day-24-january-blessed-paola-gambara-costa-tosf-1463-1515/ St Projectus St Sabinian of Troyes St Suranus of Sora St Thyrsus Bl William Ireland — Martyrs of Asia Minor – 4 saints: A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. The only details to survive are four of their names – Eugene, Mardonius, Metellus and Musonius. They were burned at the stake in Asia Minor.
Martyrs of Podlasie – 13 beati: Podlasie is an area in modern eastern Poland that, in the 18th-century, was governed by the Russian Empire. Russian sovereigns sought to bring all Eastern-rite Catholics into the Orthodox Church. Catherine II suppressed the Greek Catholic church in Ukraine in 1784. Nicholas I did the same in Belarus and Lithuania in 1839. Alexander II did the same in the Byzantine-rite Eparchy of Chelm in 1874 and officially suppressed the Eparchy in 1875. The bishop and the priests who refused to join the Orthodox Church were deported to Siberia or imprisoned. The laity, left on their own, had to defend their Church, their liturgy, and their union with Rome. On 24 January 1874 soldiers entered the village of Pratulin to transfer the parish to Orthodox control. Many of the faithful gathered to defend their parish and church. The soldiers tried to disperse the people, but failed. Their commander tried to bribe the parishioners to abandon Rome but failed. He threatened them with assorted punishments but this failed to move them. Deciding that a show of force was needed, the commander ordered his troops to fire on the unarmed, hymn-singing laymen. Thirteen of the faithful died, most married men with families, ordinary men with great faith. We know almost nothing about their lives outside of this incident. Their families were not allowed to honour them or participate in the funerals and the authorities hoped they would be forgotten. Their names are: • Anicet Hryciuk • Bartlomiej Osypiuk • Daniel Karmasz • Filip Geryluk • Ignacy Franczuk • Jan Andrzejuk • Konstanty Bojko • Konstanty Lukaszuk • Lukasz Bojko • Maksym Hawryluk • Michal Wawryszuk • Onufry Wasyluk • Wincenty Lewoniuk Martyrdom: • shot on 14 January 1874 by Russian soldiers in Podlasie, Poland • buried nearby without rites by those soldiers Beatified 6 October 1996 by Pope John Paul II
Martyrs of Antioch: Babylas Epolonius Prilidian Urban
Thought for the Day – 23 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Why Should It Happen to Me?
“When Jesus had been scourged and crowned with thorns, He was forced to set out towrds the execution-ground on Calvary, carrying the heavy wooden Cross. On the way, He met a Cyrenean named Simon, who was probably returning from his work in the fields outsdie the city. The Jews had realised, that Jesus had lost so much blood, that He was unable to bear the weight any longer. They felt no compassion for Him but they were anxious to save their victim for the final punishment. With this in mind, they compelled Simon to carry Jesus’ Cross. The Cyrenean could have said: “Why pick on me? I am tired and must get home …” But his eyes met the tired gaze of Our Saviour. He saw that He was covered with wounds and streaming blood. Simon was deeply moved and willingly lifted the Cross which he carried to the place of execution (Cf Mt 27:32; Mk 15:21; Lk 23:26).
Picture Jesus, suffering and bleeding on the road to Calvary and Simon removing the Cross from the shoulders of Our Saviour and transferring it to his own. How can we ever again rebel and complain, when we meet with inconvenience or sorrow?!”
Quote/s of the Day – 23 January – “Month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus” and The Memorial of Blessed Henry Suso OP (1295-1366)
“Faith in Jesus and in the power of His Holy Name is the greatest spiritual force in the world today. It is a source of joy and inspiration in our youth; of strength in our manhood, when only His Holy Name and His grace, can enable us to overcome temptation; of hope, consolation and confidence at the hour of our death, when more than ever before, we realise, that the meaning of Jesus is ‘Lord, the Saviour.’ We should bow in reverence to His Name and submission to His Holy Will.”
“Suffering is the ancient law of love; there is no quest without pain; there is no lover who is not also a martyr.”
“Remember, that you will derive strength by reflecting, that the saints yearn for you to join their ranks; desire to see you fight bravely and, that you behave like true knights in your encounters with the same adversities which they had to conquer. That breath-taking joy is theirs and your eternal reward for having endured a few years of temporal pain. Every drop of earthly bitterness will be changed into an ocean of heavenly sweetness!”
“I have often repented of having spoken. I have never repented of silence.”
“Let each look to himself and see what God wants of him and attend to this, leaving all else alone.”
“For a tabernacle was constructed, the outer one, in which were the lampstand, the table and the bread of offering, this is called the Holy Place…” Hebrews 9:2
REFLECTION – “Each one of us can build a tabernacle for God, in himself. For if, as some before us have said, this tabernacle represents a figure of the whole world and if, each individual can have an image of the world in oneself, why should not each individual, be able to fulfil the form of the tabernacle in oneself? . . . For that part within you, which is most valuable of all, can act the part of priest—the part which some call the first principle of the heart, others the rational sense or the substance of the mind, or whatever other name, one wishes to give to that part of us, which makes us capable of receiving God.” – Origen of Alexandria (c 185-253) Priest, Theologian, Exegist, Writer, Apologist, Father – Homilies on Exodus, 9
PRAYER – Lord God, true light and creator of light, grant us the grace to see clearly by the light who is Light, Your only Son. Lead us in His path and send us Your Spirit. Grant us the strength to grow in holiness so that our struggle against the powers of darkness may we a victory over temptation. May the intercession of the extraordinary charity of St John the Almoner, help us to obtain such charity in purity of heart. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 23 January – The Memorial of St Ildephonsus (c 607-670) and a Marian Saturday
Let Me Love Your Jesus By St Ildephonsus (c 607-670)
Virgin Mary, hear my prayer, through the Holy Spirit, you became the Mother of Jesus, from the Holy Spirit, may I too have Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit, your flesh conceived Jesus, through the same Spirit, may my soul receive Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit, you were able to know Jesus, to possess Jesus and to bring Him into the world. Through the Holy Spirit, may I too come to know your Jesus. Imbued with the Spirit, Mary, you could say “I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to your word,” in the Holy Spirit, lowly as I am, let me proclaim the great truths about Jesus. In the Spirit, you now adore Jesus as Lord and look on Him as Son, in the same Spirit, Mary, let me love your Jesus. Amen
Saint of the Day – 23 January – St John the Almoner (Died c 620) Bishop of Alexandria, Widower, Confessor, Apostle of the poor, Reformer – both within the Church and within the civic structures – born in c 552 at Amathus, Cyprus and died in c 620 in Cyprus of natural causes. Patronages – Egypt and Cyprus. Also known as John the Almsgiver, John the Merciful, John V of Alexandria, John Eleymon and Johannes Eleemon. St John’s hagiography was written by his contemporary Bishop, Leontios of Neapolis at the instruction of their Archbishop.
John was born at Amathus as the son of Epiphanius, Governor of Cyprus and was of noble descent. In early life he was married and had children but his wife and children soon died, after which he entered religious life. He gave away all he possessed and became known throughout the East as the Almoner.
On the death of the Patriarch Theodore, the Alexandrians besought Emperor Phocas to appoint John his successor, which was accordingly done. One of the first steps he took was to make a list of several thousand needy persons, whom he took under his especial care. He always referred to the poor as his “lords and masters” because of their mighty influence at the Court of the Most High. He assisted people of every class who were in need. In his youth John had had a vision of a beautiful maiden with a garland of olives on her head, who said that she was Compassion, the eldest daughter of the Great King. This had evidently made a deep impression on John’s heart and soul and, now that he had the opportunity of exercising benevolence on a large scale, he soon became widely known all over the East for his liberality towards the poor.
He was a reformer who attacked simony and fought heresy by means of improvements in religious education. He also reorganised the system of weights and measures for the sake of the poor and decried and managed to cease the practice of corruption among the civic officials. He increased the number of Churches in Alexandria from seven to seventy.
The apostolate of St Vitalis of Gaza, a Monk who worked among the prostitutes of the city, was a noteworthy episode of John’s reign. The Bishop was considered to have behaved with wisdom for not punishing this Monk who was notorious for visiting the seedy part of town, his intentions of course, being viciously misread and his judgement was vindicated only after the death of Vitalis when the story of the Monk’s mission of mercy became known. St Vitalis’ life here: https://anastpaul.com/2018/01/11/saint-of-the-day-11-january-st-vitalis-of-gaza-died-c-625/
John he visited the hospitals three times every week and he freed a great many slaves. He is said to have devoted the entire revenues of his see to the alleviation of those in need.
Many of the works of John are legendary as is the following – a rich man presented him with a magnificent bed covering; he accepted it for one night but then sold it and disposed of the money in alms. The rich man “bought back” the article and again presented it to John, with the same result. This was repeated several times but John drily remarked: “We will see who tires first.”
An instance of his piety was that he caused his own grave to be dug but only partly so and appointed a servant to come before him on all state occasions and say “My Lord, your tomb is unfinished, pray give orders for its completion, for you know not the hour when death may seize you.”
When the Sassanachs sacked Jerusalem in 614, John sent large supplies of food, wine and money to the fleeing Christians. But eventually the Persians occupied Alexandria and John himself, in his old age, was forced to flee to his native country, where he died.
From Cyprus his body was moved to Constantinople, then in 1249 to Venice, where there is a Church dedicated to him, the Chiesa di San Giovanni Elemosinario, although his relics are preserved in another Church, San Giovanni in Bragora, in a separate Chapel.
Another relic of his was sent by Sultan Bayezid II in 1489 to King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary. It was placed in the private Royal Chapel in Buda Castle, which was dedicated to him. Now his body lies in the St John the Almoner Chapel in St Martin’s Cathedral in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary – 23 January: Feast in honour of the Blessed Virgin’s espousal to Saint Joseph. It is certain that a real matrimony was contracted by Joseph and Mary. Still Mary is called “espoused” to Joseph (“his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph”, Matthew 1:18) because the matrimony was never consummated. The term spouse is applied to married people until their marriage is consummated. This feast dates from 1517 when it was granted to the nuns of the Annunciation by Pope Leo X with nine other Masses in honour of Our Lady. Adopted by many religious orders and dioceses, it was observed for a time by nearly the whole Church but is no longer in the Calendar.
Bl Joan Font Taulat St John the Almoner (Died c 620) Bishop of Alexandria Bl Juan Infante St Jurmin St Lufthild St Maimbod Bl Margaret of Ravenna Martyrius of Valeria St Messalina of Foligno St Ormond of Mairé St Parmenas the Deacon St Severian the Martyr
Thought for the Day – 22 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Proper Use of Time
“The high value of the divine gift of time imposes an obligation on us to avoid laziness. The obligation to avoid sin, is still greater. Sin is the most serious way in which we can abuse this gift of God. It is also an act of deep ingratitude, in that, we turn this treasure which God has bestowed on us, into a weapon to be used against the Giver of every good. To use time properly, it is necessary to direct all our actions, intentions and desires towards God, Who is the source of our being and the goal of our earthly pilgrimage.
If everything we do, intend, or desire, springs from our love of God and is aimed at the manifestation of His glory and the expansion of His kingdom upon earth, then, even our most humble and apparently indifferent actions, are precious in the sight of the Mos High and receive His blessing. But, if we are working for ourselves, for our own satisfaction and petty glorification, we ruin everything. All that we do is barren. If we seek ourselves instead of God, we shall hear Him say one day: “You shall have no reward with your Father in Heaven” (Mt 6:1).
Quote/s of the Day – 24 January – The Memorial of St Vincent Pallotti (1795-1850)
“Immediately after rising and throughout the day, all make the Sign of the Cross and renew their trust in God: to be strengthened by the power of the Father, to be enlightened by the wisdom of the Son and to be sanctified by the love of the Holy Spirit. And as they bless themselves, they may say: Of myself I can do nothing, with God I can do everything, I want to do everything for love of God.”
From the Rule of the Pallottines
Our life is: “To breathe God in and out. To find God in everything. To reveal God to all. To radiate the presence of God.”
“Remember that the Christian life is one of action, not of speech and daydreams. Let there be few words and many deeds and let them be done well.”
“Since God is perfect in loving man, man must be perfect in loving his neighbour.”
One Minute Reflection – 24 January – Friday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 8: 6-13, Psalms 85:8 and 10, 11-12, 13-14, Mark 3:13-19 and the Memorial of St Vincent Pallotti (1795-1850)
He appointed the twelve – Simon (to whom the gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew and Philip and Bartholomew and Matthew and Thomas and James the son of Alphaeus and Thaddaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. – Mark 3:16-18
REFLECTION – “Accordingly, in affirming that they are sent by Him, just as He was sent by the Father, Christ sums up in a few words the approach, they themselves should take to their apostolate. From what He said, they would gather, that it was their vocation to call sinners to repentance, to heal those who were sick, whether in body or spirit, to seek in all their dealing, never to do their own will but the will of Him who sent them and, as far as possible, to save the world by their teaching.” – St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Bishop, Father & Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Human weakness finds its anchor in You, Lord and our faith is build on You as on a rock. Supported by the teachings, lives and prayers of our fathers, Your Apostles, may we always answer Your call and live in ever-closer union with You. And may all your Angels, Martyrs and Saints, pray for Holy Mother Church and for us all. Through Christ, our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spiirt, God forever and ever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 22 January – The memorial of St Vincent Pallotti (1795-1850)
My God, In Your Infinite Love By St Vincent Pallotti (1795-1850)
“My God, in Your infinite love You created me according to Your image and likeness. You gave me a free will. Help me to use Your gifts and improve myself so as to become totally Your living image, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, an image of Your infinite qualities and perfections. Amen
Saint/s of the Day – 22 January – Saint Valerius of Saragossa (Died 315) Bishop of Saragossa, Spain from 290 until his death. Patronage – Saragossa.
There are few records of Valerius but tradition holds that he had a speech impediment, and that the Deacon, St Vincent of Saragossa, acted as his spokesman.
Both Valerius and Vincent suffered imprisonment under Diocletian. Vincent was Martyred at Valencia. Valerius was exiled for a time to a place called Enet, near Barbastro but is known to have been present at the Council Elvira, (c 306).
A chapel dedicated to him can be found at La Seo Cathedral in Saragossa. It includes a baroque entryway of gilded wood from the seventeenth century with scenes of the saints Valerius, Vincent, and Lawrence.
Vincent of Saragossa was one of the Church’s three most illustrious Deacons, the other two being Stephen and Lawrence. He is also Spain’s most renowned martyr. Ordained Deacon by St Valerius of Saragossa, he was taken in chains to Valencia during the Diocletian persecution and put to death. From legend we have the following details of his martyrdom. After brutal scourging in the presence of many witnesses, he was stretched on the rack but neither torture, nor blandishments, nor threats, could undermine the strength and courage of his faith. Next, he was cast on a heated grating, lacerated with iron hooks and seared with hot metal plates. Then he was returned to prison, where the floor was heavily strewn with pieces of broken glass. A heavenly brightness flooded the entire dungeon, filling all who saw it with greatest awe.
After this he was placed on a soft bed in the hope that lenient treatment would induce apostasy, since torture had proven ineffective. But strengthened by faith in Christ Jesus and the hope of everlasting life, Vincent maintained an invincible spirit and overcame all efforts, whether by fire, sword, rack, or torture, to induce defection. He persevered to the end and gained the heavenly crown of martyrdom.
St Anastasius the Persian St Antonio della Chiesa St Blaesilla of Rome St Brithwald of Ramsbury St Caterina Volpicelli St Dominic of Sora Bl Esteve Santacana Armengol St Francis Gil de Frederich de Sans