Thought for the Day – 30 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“There are two ways in which we should make constant daily progress. The first is in the removal of our defects and imperfections. As the Imitation of Christ insists, we should soon become holy if we were to conquer, at least one sin, every year. It is opportune, at this stage, to ask ourselves how many years we have already spent on earth. During these years, how many personal defects can we claim to have remedied? Perhaps there was a time when we were better than we are now? If we have wasted time and have abused our Creator’s gifts and favours, we should humble ourselves and do penance before God.
Finally, we should resolve to do our best to remedy, at least, one Defect everyday. We should select first of all, whatever imperfection we know to be the most dangerous. This will be difficult and even heroic work but, it is very necessary. We must work on our own character as a sculptor works on a block of marble, hammering, cutting and chiselling patiently and perseveringly. With the help of God, we shall be successful. Even as the Saints succeeded, so we shall succeed if we depend on God’s grace and make the necessary sacrifices.”
Quote/s of the Day – 30 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood”– The Memorial of St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) “Golden Words,” Father & Doctor of the Church
“The Magi are filled with awe by what they see – heaven on earth and earth in heaven; man in God and God in man; they see enclosed in a tiny body the One Whom the entire world cannot contain.”
“He is The Bread sown in the virgin, leavened in the Flesh, moulded in His Passion, baked in the furnace of the Sepulchre, placed in the Churches and set upon the Altars, which daily supplies Heavenly Food to the faithful.”
“For he who touches the Body of Christ unworthily, receives his damnation.”
“The poor stretch out the hand but God receives what is offered.”
St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) “Golden Words” Father & Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 30 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood”– Readings: Leviticus 23: 1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34b-37; Psalms 81: 3-4, 5-6, 10-11ab; Matthew 13: 54-58 and the Memorial of St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) Father & Doctor of the Church
“Is not this the carpenter’s son? ”– Matthew 13:55
REFLECTION – “For if I do not understand the nature placed at my service, I discern Your goodness from the mere fact that it is there to serve me. I perceive that I do not even understand myself but I wonder at You all the more… You have given me intellect, life and human feeling, the source of so many joys, yet I do not begin to understand how I began to be… So it is through failing to understand what surrounds me, that I grasp what You are and, it is through perceiving what You are, that I come to adore You. That is why, in what concerns Your mysteries, my incomprehension lessens not a bit my faith in Your omnipotence… Your eternal Son’s birth exceeds even the idea of eternity – it is prior to the times everlasting. Before any other thing that exists, He was Son proceeding from You, O God and Father. He is true God… You have never existed without Him… Before ever time was, You are the eternal Father of Your Sole Begotten One.”… St Hilary (315-368) Bishop of Poitiers, Father and Doctor of the Divinity of Christ of the Church
PRAYER – “So long as I enjoy that breath of life granted to me by You, Holy Father, Almighty God, I will proclaim You as God eternal but also as Father eternal. Never will I set myself up as judge of Your almighty power and mysteries; never will I set my limited understanding before the true appreciation of Your infinity; never will I claim You to have existed beforehand without Your Wisdom, Power and Word, God the Only-Begotten, my Lord Jesus Christ. For even though human language is weak and imperfect when it speaks of You, this will not inhibit my mind to the point of reducing my faith to silence, for lack of words able to express the mystery of Your being…” (St Hilary) Lord God, You hold out the light of Your Word to those who do not know You. Strengthen in our hearts the faith You have given us, so that no trials may quench the fire Your Spirit kindled within us. Grant that the prayers of Your faithful St Peter Chrysologus, may assist us to grow in love. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 30 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood”
A Prayer to Seek the Consolation of the Cross By St Alphonsus Rodriguez SJ (1532-1617)
Jesus, love of my soul, centre of my heart! Why am I not more eager to endure pains and tribulations for love of You, when You, my God, have suffered so many for me? Come, then, every sort of trial in the world, for this is my delight, to suffer for Jesus. This is my joy, to follow my Saviour and to find my consolation with my Consoler on the Cross. This is my happiness, this my pleasure: to live with Jesus, to walk with Jesus, to converse with Jesus, to suffer with and for Him, this is my treasure. Amen
Saint of the Day – 30 July – Blessed Manés de Guzmán OP (c 1168-1235) Dominican Priest and Frair, older Brother of Saint Dominic (1170-1221- born as Manés de Guzmán y Aza in c 1168 at Caleruega, Castile (in modern Burgos, Spain) and died in 1234 in the Monastery of San Pedro de Gumeil, Izan, Castile (in modern Burgos, Spain) of natural causes. Also known as – Mamerto, Mamés, Manez, Mannus. According to an early source he was “a contemplative and holy man, meek and humble, joyful and kind and a zealous preacher.”
Manés was the second son of Félix Núñez de Guzmán and Juana de Aza . His younger brother was Dominic de Guzmán , Founder of the Order of Preachers and whom Manés helped in his reforming goals throughout his life. His older brother was Antonio de Guzmán, who became a Diocesan Priest in a hospice and devoted himself unreservedly, to works of mercy in the service of the poor. He received the first teachings from his Parents and his Uncle, Archpriest Gonzalo de Aza in Gumiel de Izán. Initially, in 1183, he joined the Cistercians in the San Pedro Monastery in Gumiel de Izan.
In 1215, Dominic established himself, with six followers, in a house given by Peter Seila, a rich resident of Toulouse. Dominic saw the need for a new type of Order to address the spiritual needs of the growing Cities of the era, one that would combine dedication and systematic education, with more flexibility than either Monastic Orders or the secular Clergy. He subjected himself and his companions to the Monastic Rules of prayer and penance; -Bishop Foulques gave them written authority to preach throughout the territory of Toulouse. Pope Honorius II approved the the Ordo Praedicatorum (“Order of Preachers”) in the same year.
On 15 August 1217, Manés, having left the Cistercian Monastery, joined his brother as one of the first 15 Dominican. He placed himself under his brother’s guidance from the foundation of the Dominican Order.
In the same year, he helped establish the Priory of St Jacques in Paris and his brother arranged ,that, accompanied by Friar Miguel de Fabra, he make a trip to Spain in order to consolidate and strengthen the new houses of the Order in their Country of origin. In 1219 , he was entrusted, by his brother, with the care of the Dominican nuns of the Madrid Convent. .
After the Canonisation of his brother ( 3 July 1234 ), he marched to Caleruega to propose the construction of a Church in the place where St Dominic and himself were born in honour of the new Saint. Just a couple of weeks later, he died in the Monastery of San Pedro de Gumiel de Izán and was buried there, where some members of his family were lying, including his mother, Juana de Aza. Having a reputation for holiness, he was buried with all kinds of honours. When they began to venerate and pray at his tomb, his relics were transferred from his family’s crypt to the main Altar, there they were exposed for public veneration.
In the personality of Manés we can guess at common traits with Dominic: austerity, sobriety and the manners of the Castilian male. His spirit of service and attachment to the founding principals of his brother’s Order, shows that he had a gregarious spirit and the humility of obedience in service.
Likewise, Manés reveals a community spirit, obedient and based on the mission that was presented to him. His way of being and his way of doing shows a Dominican spark: – “making oneself while making the community” and vice versa, “making the community while making oneself.”
Being Dominic’s brother does not hide Manés’ importance as Dominic’s partner, not only in his childhood in Caleruega but also throughout their time together in the new Order. Over time, Manésy showed himself as a brother by blood but also as a brother in faith and in the hope of saving souls. Domingo felt him by his side and trusted him. The results of the orders carried out by Manés, speak for themselves.
Blessed Mané is one of the most beloved figures in the Dominican family, as the blood brother of St Dominc and his companion in the founding of the Order. His contemporary Friars said of him:
“He was a contemplative and holy man” – Friar Gerardo de Frachet “Gentle, humble, jovial and benign and ardent preacher” – Friar Rodrigo Cerrato ….. Ana OP
Notre-Dame-de-Gray / Our Lady de Gray, France (1602) – 30 July:
The Shrine of Notre-Dame-de-Gray, or Our Lady of Gray, is located near Besancon in Northern France near Franche-Comte. The Statue of Our Lady of Gray is made of an oak tree from Montaigu, has a dark wooden colour and is only 14.5 centimeters tall. It is much honoured in the country and there are many miracles and graces granted to petitioners that are attributed to Our Lady’s intercession at this Shrine.
It is believed that about five centuries ago, on a hill near Montaigu, a pious person placed a small Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary upon an old oak tree. The tree itself is believed to date from the time of the Druids and crested one of the hills in the Diocese of Malines. Soon the faithful began to come in crowds from throughout the region, for there were miraculous cures and various miracles granted to the pilgrims who invoked Mary under the name of Our Lady of the Oak. In the year 1602 a small wooden Chapel was built on the hill of Montaigu. The oak upon which the Statue of Our Lady had once been displayed was now cut up into small pieces and carved by a local craftsman into statuettes of the same image. These Statues were presented as a mark of respect to patrons of the Shrine. Even the wood of the oak was considered almost a precious relic, for it had once touched the miraculous Statue of the Blessed Virgin. Wherever they went these figures were enshrined with honour and it seemed as if Our Lady of Montaigu sent her favour, for her miraculous power went with them.
In the year 1613, a poor, seventy year old widow named Jeanne Bonnet de Salins made a pilgrimage to the Shrine. She obtained a piece of the venerable old oak and took it to a sculptor named Jean Brange to carve into a statue similar to that of the original. On 4 April 1613, the Archbishop of Besancon blessed the Statue and allowed it to be exhibited for public veneration. It is reported, that Jeanne Bonnet was rewarded by signal graces she obtained through Our Lady’s intercession. She intended to give the Statue to a local Church but, in 1616, yielded to the repeated entreaties of Father Gabriel Appremont, who wanted to have the image for the Capuchins of Gray. A special Chapel was richly decorated to receive it. The news soon spread in the region of Gray and the faithful flocked to pay their respects to the new Madonna, Our Lady of Gray.
Our Lady of Gray holds in her right hand a gleaming sceptre of gold that a parishioner donated in the year 1807. It was at this time that the Chapel – now a Basilica (see below), was undergoing reconstruction after the ravages of the French Revolution. There are also three semi-precious stones set in the front of the base of the statue that were given by grateful petitioners to the Blessed Virgin. Finally, the two gold crowns were created in 1909 on the occasion of the celebration of the coronation of the Statue of Our Lady of Gray.
St Abdon Bl Antonio di San Pietro Bl Edward Powell St Ermengyth St Hatebrand St Julitta of Caesarea St Leopold Bogdan Mandic Blessed Manés de Guzmán OP (c 1168-1235) Dominican Priest and Friar, Brother of Saint Dominic
Bl Richard Featherstone St Rufinus of Assisi St Senen St Tatwine of Canterbury St Terenzio of Imola Bl Thomas Abel St Ursus of Auxerre Bl Vicenta Chavez-Orozco — Martyrs of Castelseras: Three Dominicans, two of them priests, one a novice, who were martyred together in the Spanish Civil War for refusing to renounce Christianity. • Joaquín Prats Baltueña • José María Muro-Sanmiguel • Zosimo Izquierdo Gil They were shot on 30 July 1936 at a farm house outside Castelserás, Teruel, Spain and Beatified on 11 March 2001 by Pope John Paul II.
Martyrs of Tebourba – 3 saints: Three girls martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know little else about them but the names – Donatilla, Maxima and Secunda. 304 at Tebourba in North Africa.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: Thousands of people were murdered in the anti-Catholic persecutions of the Spanish Civil War from 1934 to 1939. Today’s list includes the following:
The Martyred Hospitallers of Spain and Bl Alejandro González Blanco Bl Eugenio García Tribaldos Bl Guillermo Álvarez Quemada Bl Juan Lanz Palanca Bl Luis Herrero Arnillas Bl Miguel Solas del Val Bl Pablo Díaz de Zárate y Ortiz de Zárate Bl Racardo Pla Espí Bl Sergio Cid Paz
Thought for the Day – 29 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Love of Our Neighbour
“The Gospel not only commands us to love God above all things but also, to love our neighbour as ourselves (Cf Mt 13:35-40). The Christian love of our neighbour, flows necessarily from the love of God. Our Creator loves all men as His own sons. Therefore, we ought to love one another as brothers, even as Our Lord loves us. We should see, in our neighbour, especially if he is in need, the person of Christ Himself, our elder brother, “the first-born among many brethren” (Rom 8:29).
If men sincerely loved one another, not merely as brothers but as much as they love themselves, what problems would be solved! Who can say how many evils would be abated and how many sorrows would be assuaged? To transform the world, it would be enough to put into practice the first great commandment of the Gospel, which is the commandment of charity. Admittedly, the world would not become an earthly paradise, for any such Utopia is an impossibility. But, it would become a dignified dwelling place of brothers, loving and helping one another. “Love is the fulfilment of the law,” St Paul very truly says (Rom 13:10). “Have charity, which is the bond of perfection” (Col 3:14).
One Minute Reflection – 29 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Memorial of St Martha – Readings: Exodus 40: 16-21, 34-38; Psalms 84: 3, 4, 5-6a and 8a, 11; John 11: 19-27
“Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” – John 11:5
REFLECTION – “Love everyone with a great, charitable love but have no friendship except for those that communicate with you in the things of virtue. … If this communication be in the sciences, the friendship is certainly very commendable but still more so, if it be in virtues, in prudence, discretion, fortitude and justice. Should your mutual and reciprocal communications relate to charity, devotion and Christian perfection, O God, how precious will this friendship be! It will be excellent because it comes from God; excellent, because it tends to God; excellent because its very bond is God; excellent, because it shall last eternally in God. Oh, how good it is to love on earth as they love in heaven;and to learn to cherish one another in this world, as we shall do eternally in the next!
I speak not here of that simple love of charity which we must have for all but, of that spiritual friendship, by which two, three or more souls communicate one to another their devotion and spiritual affections and make themselves have but one spirit. (Cf. Acts 4:32) Such happy souls may justly sing: “Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Ps 132:1). … I consider all other friendships as but so many shadows in comparison with this one … For Christians who live in the world and desire to embrace true virtue, it is necessary to unite themselves together by a holy and sacred friendship. By this means, they encourage, assist and conduct one another to good deeds … Surely no-one can deny, that our Lord loved Saint John, Lazarus, Martha and Magdalen with a more sweet and most special friendship, for Scripture tells us so.” – St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Bishop of Geneva and Doctor of Charity the Church – Introduction to the Devout Life, III, 19 (trans. John Ryan)
PRAYER – Almighty ever-living God, Your Son graciously came as a guest to the home of St Martha and was the friend of her family. Martha in her sorrow was moved to declare her total faith in Him, grant we pray, that in our trials and sorrows, we too may prove our love for You. By her prayers give us grace to serve Christ faithfully in our brethren and bring us to Your home in heaven. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, amen.
Saint of the Day – 29 July – St William Pinchon of Saint Brieuc (1180-1234) Bishop of Saint Brieuc, Confessor Born as Guillaume Pinchon on 11 October 1180 in Saint-Alban, San-Brieuc, Brittany (in France) and died on 29 July 1234 of natural causes. William was a champion for the poor and defended the rights and privileges of the Church against secular intervention. This was a cause of his exile from his Diocese but he returned not long after his exile and set himself on the construction of a new Cathedral which was still in construction at the time of his death. Patronage – Diocese of Saint-Brieuc, France. Also known as – William Pinchon, William of San Brieuc, Guillaume Pinchon.His body is incorrupt.
William was born in 1175 in Saint-Alban to the peasants Oliver Pinchon and Jane Fortin. He was, from a young age,, by the innocence of his manners, his admirable meekness, humility, chastity, mortification, charity and devotion, an accomplished model of all virtues. He received the tonsure and some years later, the Holy Orders of Deacon and Priest, at the hands of Josselin, Bishop of Saint-Brieuc.
He served that Church and Diocese, under his two predecessors, Bishops Peter and Sylvester and succeeded the latter in the episcopal dignity about the year 1220.
The poor were his treasurers and not content to exhaust on them whatever he possessed, he often borrowed great stores of corn and other necessary provisions for their relief. The bare boards were usually his bed – for his domestic servants discovered that he never made use of the soft bed which they prepared for him. In 1225 he sold all his possessions in a famine to aid the poor and homeless.
The Duke Peter I forced him into a brief exile in 1228 and he spent that time living for a while in Poitiers before he returned to his Diocese in 1230 after the Duke reconciled with Pope Gregory IX. It was during his exile in Poitiers that he assisted the ill Bishop there and helped him in his ecclesial duties.
He died in 1234 and his body was deposited in his Cathedral and taken up incorrupt in 1284 . Pope Innocent IV Canonised Pinchon on 24 March 1247 a mere 13 years after his death.
Madonna dei Miracoli / Holy Mary of Miracles, Morbio Inferiore, Ticino, Switzerland (1594) – 29 July:
Where the Sanctuary of Morbio now stands, a castle stood centuries ago, attested in 1198 and destroyed in the first half of the sixteenth century. Only the ruins of a Chapel, dedicated to St Bernardino of Siena, transformed over time into a pile of rubble, buried by weeds, brambles and thorns., remained. Surrounded by ivy and fortunately well preserved, remained the Fresco in the Chapel, depicting the Virgin with the Child. The history of the Sanctuary of Holy Mary of Miracles began on 29 July 1594. It was a Friday when the two mothers with their daughters, Catherine and Angela , respectively ten and seven years old, travelled to Morbio to entreat the assistance of Fr Gaspare Basbetrini. They were sick girls, tormented by the devil and had travelledp to Morbio, to ask for the blessing of Don Gaspare Barberini, the assistant Priest at Morbio, who was well-known as an Exorcist. However, sadly for the pilgrims, Fr Basbetrini was absent. To the tiredness of the journey and the sadness of illness, the bitterness of disappointment was added. Among the ruins of the ancient castle the little group of supplicants waited and discovered on the crumbling and crumbling walls, the faded remains of a fresco depicting the Virgin in a deeply maternal position nursing Baby Jesus. The two mothers knelt before the Virgin with their daughters and prayed in deep sadness and devotion for the intercession of the Holy Mother to come to the aid of the sick children. And then the miracle happened. Those two poor simple and innocent creatures were cured. This is Morbio’s miracle – the Madonna appeared to the two little girls and cureds them of all their illnesses, dispelling any demonic presence within them. Our Lady spoke to the elder girl, Catherine and instructed her to tell the Bishop that the Church should be rebuilt and that the Holy Rosary must be said everyday. Eight days after the event, on 5 August 1594, the episcopal curia of Como, whose ecclesiastical jurisdiction also extended to the southern regions of Ticino, instructed the regular canonical process, which recognized , upon the sworn deposition of the main eyewitnesses, the truth of what happened and their prodigious and supernatural nature. A stained-glass window, located at the top of the apse and placed at the beginning of this century, illustrates and reminds those who enter the Sanctuary of this miracle. Catherine is depicted on a ladder, with her arms outstretched, listening in front of the image of the Madonna dei Miracoli. At the foot of the ladder, Angela, the other sick girl, is lying asleep.
In a short while an Oratory was built on the site to recite the Rosary and celebrate Mass there, as the Madonna had said to Catherine, while on 29 July 1595, the Anniversary of the apparition and the miracle, the first stone was blessed and laid for the construction of the Sanctuary, Consecrated on 16 May 1631 by the Bishop of Como, Msgr Filippo Archinti.
St Antony St Beatrix of Rome Bl Beatrix of Valfleury St Callinicus of Paphlagonia Bl Charles-Antoine-Nicolas Ancel St Faustinus of Rome St Faustinus of Spello St Felix of Rome St John Baptist Luo Tingyin St John the Soldier Bl José Calasanz Marqués St Joseph Zhang St Kilian of Inishcaltra St Lek Sirdani Bl Luis Bertran St Lupus of Troyes Bl Mancius of the Cross St Martha Wang St Olaf II St Olaus of Sweden St Paulus Chen Changpin Bl Petrus of Saint Mary St Pjetër Çuni St Prosper of Orleans St Rufo of Rome St Seraphina St Serapia of Syria St Simplicius of Rome St Sulian
St William Pinchon of Saint Brieuc (1180-1234) Bishop of Saint Brieuc, Confessor — Four Anonymous Martyrs
Martyrs of Calanda – 8 beati: A group of Dominican priests and friars who were martyred over the course of a day in the same town by the same group of anti-Christian forces in the Spanish Civil War. • Antonio Manuel López Couceiro • Felicísimo Díez González • Gumersindo Soto Barros • Lamberto María de Navascués de Juan • Lucio Martínez Mancebo • Matías Manuel Albert Ginés • Saturio Rey Robles • Tirso Manrique Melero They were martyred on 29 July 1936 in Calanda, Teruel, Spain I.
Martyrs of Lleida – 12 beati: Carmelites of the Ancient Observance novices, friars and priests who were all martyred together in the Spanish Civil War. • Àngel Prat Hostench • Eliseo Maneus Besalduch • Gabriel Escoto Ruiz • Ginés Garre Egea • Joan Maria Puigmitjà Rubió • Joan Prat Colldecarrera • Josep Solé Rovira • Lluis Fontdecava Quiroga • Manuel Serrano Buj • Miquel Soler Sala • Pere Dorca Coromina • Pere Ferrer Marín They were martyred on 29 July 1936 in Clot dels Aubens, Cervera, Lleida, Spain and Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: Thousands of people were murdered in the anti-Catholic persecutions of the Spanish Civil War from 1934 to 1939. • Blessed Bartolomé Rodríguez Soria
Martyrs of Rome – 23 saints Eugene Flora the Martyr Lucilla Theodore
Thought for the Day – 28 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Sacred Scripture has some very severe and terrible things to say to the rich. “Woe to you rich! for you are now having your comfort” (Lk 6:24). “Amen, I say to you, with difficulty will a rich man enter the kingdom of heaven. And further, I say to you, it is easier for a camel top pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19:23-24, CF Mk 10:24-25, Lk 18:24-25). St James adds: “Come now, you rich, weep and howl over your miseries which will come upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are rusted and their rust will be a witness against you and will devour your flesh as fire does. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the labourers who reaped your fields, which have been kept back by you unjustly, cry out and their cry has entered into the ears of the Lord of Hosts. You have feasted upon earth and you have nourished your hearts on dissipation in the days of slaughter”(Js 5:1-5).
These passages are not concerned with the rich as such, for men like Abraham, Job and St Louis, the King of France, were wealthy. They are directed against those who have become absorbed in their wealth (Mk 10:24) and have grown deaf to the rightful promptings of justice and charity.
Nevertheless, it is not only the wealthy and unjust who should reflect seriously on these stern words but also, those who have more than they need in life and are never moved by compassion for their less fortunate fellowmen. Can we be counted amongst these?”
Quote/s of the Day – 28 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Readings: Exodus 34: 29-35; Psalms 99: 5, 6, 7, 9; Matthew 13: 44-46
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again and out of joy, goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is he, who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
“Lay not up for yourselves, treasures on earth … but lay up for yourselves, treasures in heaven”
“You are a jailor of your wealth, not its owner, you who bury your gold in the ground (cf Mt 25,25); you are its slave and not its master. Christ said: “Where your treasure is, there also your heart will be” so it is your heart you have buried. Rather, sell your gold and buy salvation; sell what is metal and acquire God’s Kingdom; sell the field and purchase for yourself, eternal life. In saying this I am speaking the truth because I am relying on the words of Him who is Truth: “If you wish to be perfect, sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven” (Mt 19,21). Do not be cast down by these words lest the same thing be said to you, as to the rich young man: “It will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (v.23). Still more, when you read this sentence, consider that death can snatch these possessions away from you, that the aggression of someone powerful can carry them away.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan, Father and Doctor of the Church
“Where is the heart that loves? On the thing it loves. Therefore, where our love is, there our heart is held captive. It cannot leave it; it cannot be lifted higher, it cannot go either to the right or the left; see, it is fixed. Where the miser’s treasure is, there is his heart and where our heart is, there is our treasure.”
One Minute Reflection – 28 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Readings: Exodus 34: 29-35; Psalms 99: 5, 6, 7, 9; Matthew 13: 44-46
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again and out of joy, goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” – Matthew 13:44
REFLECTION – “It was Christ who was present to all those to whom, from the beginning, God communicated His Speech and Word. If anyone, therefore, reads the Scriptures with attention, he will find, in them, an expression of Christ and a foreshadowing of this new calling. For Christ is the treasure which was hidden in the field, that is, in this world (Mt 13:38) – a treasure hidden in the Scriptures, since it was alluded to by means of symbols and parables which, humanly speaking, could not be understood prior to the fulfilment of prophecy, that is to say, before the coming of the Lord. That is why it was said to Daniel the prophet: ” Keep secret the message and seal the book until the end of time ” (12:4) … And Jeremiah also says, “In the last days they shall understand these things.” (23:20) …
When read by Christians, the Law is a treasure, hidden beforehand in a field, but brought to light and interpreted by the Cross of Christ. It shows forth the Wisdom of God and makes known His intentions with regard to our salvation; it prefigures the Kingdom of Christ and preaches, by anticipation, the Good News of our inheritance of the holy Jerusalem. It proclaims beforehand, that those who love God shall advance even to hearing and seeing His Word and, that they will be glorified by this Word …
Thus it was, that the Lord explained the Scriptures to His disciples, after his Resurrection from the dead, proving to them, by their means, that “it was necessary the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory” (Lk 24:26). So if anyone should likewise read the Scriptures, that person will become a perfect disciple, “like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom things both new and old.” (Mt 13:52). – St Irenaeus of Lyons ((130-202) Bishop, Martyr, Theologian – Against the Heresies, IV, 26 ; SC 100
PRAYER – Remember Lord, Your solemn Covenant, renewed and consecrated by the Blood of the Lamb, so that Your people may obtain forgiveness for their sins and continued growth by grace. May the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of Christ, our Treasure, intercede for our salvation. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ Your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God with You Father, now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 28 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood”
O God of Our Life By St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church
O God of our life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and weigh us down, when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies grey and threatening, when our lives have no music in them and our hearts are lonely and our souls have lost their courage. Flood the path with light, run our eyes to where the skies are full of promise, tune our hearts to brave music, give us the sense of comradeship, with heroes and saints of every age and so quicken our spirits, that we may be able to encourage, the souls of all, who journey with us on the road of life, to Your honour and glory. Amen
Saint of the Day – 28 July – Saint Pope Innocent I (Died 417) Papal Ascension 402 until his death on 12 March 417, Confessor. He defended the exiled Saint John Chrysostom and consulted with the Bishops of Africa concerning the Pelagian controversy, confirming the decisions of the African synods. The Catholic priest-scholar Johann Peter Kirsch, 1500 years later, described Innocent as “a very energetic and highly gifted individual …who fulfilled admirably the duties of his office.”
Before his elevation to the Chair of Peter, very little is known concerning the life of this energetic pope, so zealous for the welfare of the whole Church. According to the “Liber Pontificalis” he was a native of Albano – his father was called Innocentiu but his contemporary St Jerome, referred to him as the son of the previous pope, Anastasius I, probably a unique case of a son succeeding his father in the Papacy. He grew up among the Roman clergy and in the service of the Roman Church. After the death of Anastasius (December 401) he was unanimously chosen Bishop of Rome by the clergy and people. Not much has come down to us concerning his ecclesiastical activities in Rome. Nevertheless, one or two instances of his zeal for the purity of the Catholic Faith and for Church discipline are well attested.
Innocent I lost no opportunity in maintaining and extending the authority of the Roman apostolic See, which was seen as the ultimate resort for the settlement of all ecclesiastical disputes. His communications with St Victricius of Rouen, St Exuperius of Toulouse, St Alexander of Antioch and others, as well as his actions on the appeal made to him by St John Chrysostom against Theophilus of Alexandria, show that opportunities of this kind were numerous and varied. He took a decided view on the Pelagian controversy, confirming the decisions of the Synod of the Province of proconsular Africa, held in Carthage in 416, confirming the condemnation which had been pronounced in 411 against Cælestius, who shared the views of Pelagius. He also wrote in the same year, in a similar sense, to the fathers of the Numidian Synod of Mileve who had addressed him. Soon after this, five African Bishops, among them St Augustine, wrote a personal letter to Innocent regarding their own position in the matter of Pelagianism. In addition, he acted as metropolitan over the Bishops of Italia Suburbicaria.
The historian Zosimus in his Historia Nova suggests that during the sack of Rome in 410 by Alaric I, Innocent I was willing to permit private pagan practices as a temporary measure. However, Zosimus also suggests that this attempt by pagans to restore public worship failed due to lack of public interest, suggesting that Rome had been successfully ChristianiSed in the last century.
Among Innocent I’s letters is one to St Jerome and another to John II, Bishop of Jerusalem, regarding annoyances to which the former had been subjected by the Pelagians at Bethlehem.
He died on 12 March 417, although from the thirteenth to the twentieth century, he has beens commemorated on 28 July. His successor was Pope Zosimus.
In 846, Pope Sergius II gave approval for the relics of St. Innocent to be moved by Duke Liudolf of Saxony, along with those of his father and predecessor Anastasius, to the Crypt of the former collegiate Church of Gandersheim, now Gandersheim Abbey, where most of them rest until this day. Some Relics were also brought to The Church of Our Lady St Mary of Glastonbury upon its consecration.
The Siege of Rhodes. Victory over the Turks by the Knights Hospitaller at Rhodes in 1480 through the intercession of Our Lady, final battle 27 July 1480 – commemorated on 28 July:
Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, the last remnant of the Holy Roman Empire, fell to the “Scourge of Europe,” the Sultan Mehmet II, in the year 1453. This dire news was almost impossible to believe in the rest of Christendom but, it was sadly true and Constantinople was made into the new seat of the Ottoman Empire. A few short years later, Pierre D’Aubusson was Grand Master of the Hospitallers, the Knights of Saint John, living on the island of Rhodes. He and his Knights were untiring opponents of Islam, sworn to do everything in their power to fight against them. Having made the island of Rhodes their home, the Knights harassed Ottoman shipping lanes and assisted with attacks against the Ottoman Empire. In the year 1479, D’Aubusson refused to pay tribute to Mehmet in exchange for peace and furthermore, had the audacity to continue harassing the sultan’s shipping lanes. The Grand Master continued to work on the massive fortifications on Rhodes as he awaited the siege of Rhodes that he knew would soon come. His walls were strong but the Grand Master had only a few hundred Knights and about 2,000 natives to defend them. Mehmet was not intimidated by the Christian defenses on Rhodes, for he had huge cannons and basilisks which had blasted holes in the stout walls of Constantinople. He also had over 70,000 men in his army, and he was determined to wipe out “that abode of the sons of Satan,” as he referred to the Catholic Knights of Rhodes. The Siege of Rhodes began with a tremendous bombardment on the Tower of Saint Nicholas. Grand Master Pierre D’Aubusson was not intimidated as he asked: “What is more sacred than to defend the Faith? What is happier than to fight for Christ?” Breaches were eventually made in the walls and the Muslim’s unremittingly attempted to rush through the breaches. Many of the Turks had to be forced to attack the defenses, as their commanders lashed them forward with whips and chains. The Janissaries, however, did not have to be urged, for they were the sultan’s finest troops. They were warriors to the core and advanced over the fallen bodies of their comrades, anxious to cross swords with the Catholic Knights. Finally, the Tower of Italy began to crumble from the terrific assault, and large breaches opened in the wall. The Bashi-Bazouks and Janissaries rushed into the breach, placing the standard of Islam above the Tower. On witnessing this act, the Grandmaster rushed into the breach together with a few of his excellent Knights. Howling and raging like madmen, the Janissaries pressed the assault, for the Knights seemed too few to stand against their wave after wave of thousands of elite warriors. Yet, the Grandmaster stood, insensible of any wounds he received in return for the carnage he wreaked among the fanatical Muslim warriors. Fighting with broken blades and notched axes, the Knights of Saint John continued to hold the breach, cutting down any who approached them, until a huge Janissary rose up and hurled a spear with all his might directly at the Grand Master. Propelled at incredible speed, the sharp steel tip easily pierced D’Aubusson’s breastplate, puncturing a lung. The Grand Master went down beneath a torrent of hacking blades as the Knights struggled to drag his body from the fray.
By his courageous stand D’Aubusson had proven he was at least the equal of any Grand Master in history, but now, he was wounded unto death and could do no more. The siege of Rhodes appeared to be lost as D’Aubusson’s Knights struggled to haul him to safety. Thousands of Jannisaries were rushing into the breach with no-one to stop them and at this point the Knights knew, it would take a miracle to keep Rhodes from being overrun. A miracle is exactly what they got. Suddenly there appeared in the sky “a refulgent cross of gold, by the side of which stood a beautiful woman clothed in garments of dazzling white, a lance in her hand and a shield on her arm, accompanied by a man dressed in goatskins and followed by a band of heavenly warriors armed with flaming swords.” It was the glorious figures of Saint John the Baptist, the Patron Saint of the Order of Saint John, Saint Michael the Archangel brandishing his unsheathed sword and the Queen of Heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary herself, dressed in battle array! The Turks turned at the sight and ran in panic-stricken flight. Thousands fell as they fled, cut down and pursued through the breaches by the Knights of Rhodes and their heavenly allies. Chased all the way back to their camp, it was now the defeated Muslims who suffered the insult of having their sultan’s own standard captured.
The siege of Rhodes had ended, and Grandmaster D’Aubusson later recovered of his wounds. He had lost 231 of his Knights but that was nothing compared to the thousands upon thousands of Muslim warriors who lay dead upon his shores. It was in the year of Our Lord 1480 that the Knights of Rhodes had gained this signal victory over the Turks, by the help of the Blessed Virgin, whom the Knights regarded ever after as Our Lady of Victory. They renewed their dedication to her who had appeared on the walls during the siege of Rhodes holding a lance in her hand to defend them, bringing with her Saint Michael the Archangel and a heavenly army. She, the Patroness of the Sovereign and Military Order of Hospitallers, had turned the formerly obstinate enemy, who retired in disorder, to lose the greater part of their army. Thanks BE to Our Lady of Victory, the all-conquering sword of Mehmet II had shattered upon the walls of Rhodes!
St Arduinus of Trepino St Botwid of Sudermannland St Camelian of Troyes St Celsus of Rome Bl Christodoulos Bl Davíd Carlos-Marañon St Eustathius of Galatia St Pope Innocent I (Died 417) St Irene of Cappadocia Bl John Soreth St José Caselles-Moncho Bl José Melchór García-Sampedro Suárez Bl Josep Castell-Camps St Longinus of Satala St Lucidius of Aquara St Lyutius Bl Manuel Segura-López St Nazarius of Rome
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War – Thousands of people were murdered in the anti-Catholic persecutions of the Spanish Civil War from 1934 to 1939. Martyrs of Fernán Caballero – 14 beati: Fourteen Claretian clerics who were martyred together in the Spanish Civil War. – 28 July 1936 in Fernán Caballero, Ciudad Real, Spain. Bl Antolín Astorga Díez Bl Enrique Serra Chorro Bl Gregorio Charlez Ribera Bl Joan Ayats Plantalech Bl Joan Bover Teixidor Bl Joan Costa Canal Bl José Aurelio Calleja de Hierro Bl José Gutiérrez Arranz Bl Josep Camí y Camí Bl Josep Martí Coll Bl Lluis Casanovas Vila Bl Lorenzo Arribas Palacio Bl Manuel Collellmir Sentíes Bl Miguel Léibar Garay Bl Narcís Felíu Costa Bl Pedro Alonso Fernández Bl Pelagi Ayats Vergés Bl Pere Vilar Espona Bl Primitivo Sandín Miñambres Bl Ramon Gros Ballbé Bl Vicente Toledano Valenciano
Thought for the Day – 27 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Faith teaches us that the soul which is in the state of grace and has expiated all the temporal punishments due to its sins, goes immediately to Heaven when it is separated from the body. There, the soul enjoys eternal happiness. It sees God face-to-face. It sees Him without any intervention of created things but as He is in Himself in the Unity and Trinity of His infinite perfections.
In this Beatific Vision, the intellect remains completely satisfied because, in God, there is every truth, beauty and goodness, The will abandons itself entirely to the Will of God, desiring nothing else and loving nothing else but God alone. There springs from this abandonment, a love which satisfies every desire, an inexpressible joy and a boundless peace. The happy soul will see the Blessed Virgin too and she will smile upon it with maternal tenderness. It will see the Angels and the Saints gathered around the King of Kings and the Queen of Heaven, singing praises. St Paul, who was taken up to the third Heaven, tells us that it is impossible to imagine or to describe the unknown joys which are experienced there. In comparison with the eternal happiness of Heaven, the poor pleasures of this world are empty shadows. We cannot imagine the happiness of those who have gained Heaven by their good lives upon earth. The concept of Heaven is so beautiful and immense, that it caused the Saints to desire death as a means of going there. They welcomed suffering too because, it brought them nearer to their goal.
St Augustine tells us, that Paradise is ours, if we wish: “You are not called to embrace the earth but to prepare yourselves for Heaven; not to the successes of this world, nor to a short-lived transient prosperity but, to eternal life together with the Angels.” (Serm 296, 6:7).”
Quote/s of the Day – 27 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Readings: Exodus 33: 7-11; 34: 5b-9, 28; Psalms 103:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13; Matthew 13: 36-43
“The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom, all causers of sin and all law-breakers and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous shall shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”
“You do not know when your last day may come. You are an ingrate! Why not use the day, today, that God has given you to repent?”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“Ah Jesus, Sun of Justice, make me clothe myself with You, so that I may be able to live according to Your will. Make me, under Your guidance, preserve my robe of baptismal innocence, white, holy and spotless and present it undefiled, before Your tribunal, so that I may wear it, for eternal life.”
St Gertrude the Great of Helfta (1256-1301)
“This then is to watch – to be detached from what is present and to live in what is unseen, to live in the thought of Christ as He came once and as He will come again, to desire His second coming, from our affectionate and grateful remembrance, of His first. ”
I look at You, my Lord Jesus and think of Your most holy Body and I keep it before me, as a pledge of my own resurrection. Though I die, as die I certainly shall, nevertheless, I shall not forever die, for I shall rise again. O You, who are the Truth, I know and believe with my whole heart, that this very flesh of mine will rise again. I know, base and odious as it is at present, that it will one day, if I be worthy, be raised incorruptible and altogether beautiful and glorious. This I know, this by Your grace, I will ever keep before me. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 27 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Readings: Exodus 33: 7-11; 34: 5b-9, 28; Psalms 103:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13; Matthew 13: 36-43
“Then the righteous shall shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” – Matthew 13:43
REFLECTION – “In your imagination see our Lord Jesus Christ seated on a throne of glory; beside Him stand the seraphim, cherubim and each angelic order, serving Him with fear and trembling. Then those who will have finished the combat, without allowing themselves to be drawn by any worldly pleasures or seduced by the attractions of this vain world, will hear the blessed voice of the Master. “Then, he says, “the righteous will shine like the sun” (Mt 13:43) when they have come from east and west, north and south to take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (cf. Mt 8:11) in an indescribable joy (cf. 1 Pt 1:8), when our King and Lord, will distribute gifts according to their merits. Ah! my brothers and children. ah! how great and beautiful is the glory which the thrice blessed will enjoy and the saints who practised asceticism! Yes, most certainly, each will receive the blessings promised, according to the degree to which they have pleased God. … So from now on, run well (cf. Gal 5:7) and may the devil not bewitch you (cf. Gal 3:1) nor hinder you! … May mercy, peace, charity, freedom from envy, from jealousy and ostentation come upon you, docility, friendly speech, solidarity, compassion towards each other, humility. Live like this, act like this, praying, too, with all your heart for my humble self that I may not be thrown into the eternal fire. May we all escape it, having been judged worthy of the kingdom of heaven, in Christ Himself, our God, to whom belongs all glory, honour, adoration, magnificence, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and always, world without end. Amen.” … St Theodore the Studite (759-826) Monk and Theologian – Catechesis 42
PRAYER – All-powerful and ever-living God, splendour of true light and never-ending day, chase away the night of sin and fill our minds with the glory of Your coming. Take away our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh, help us in our battle with sin and the devil. By our prayers, Your holy Sacraments and the strength of the Holy Spirit, may we be ever vigilant of the evil one. By our Baptism in Your Son, we are Your children, grant us Your protection. Kindly listen to the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints and Angels, whose prayers we beg, through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.
Saint of the Day – 27 July – Blessed Maria Magdalena Martinengo OSC Cap (1687-1737) Nun of the Order of the Capuchin Poor Clares, Mystic with a great devotion to the Passion of Christ, Mother Superior. Maria Magdalena devoted her life as a professed religious to the performance of small but humble chores in her time as a Poor Clare nun and was noted for her life of spiritual discernment and devotion to God above all else. She had a great horror of sin and devoted much time to contemplating death, and the Divine Judgement . Born Margherita Martinengo da Barco on 5 October 1687 in Brescia, Milan, Italy and died on 27 July 1737 (aged 49) also in Brescia,, Patronage – against tuberculosis. Also known as – Margarita Martinengo, Maria Maddalena.
Margherita was born on 5 October 1687 in Brescia into a noble household in the Martinengo Ducal Palace to Francesco Leopoldo Martinengo and Margherita Secchi d’Aragona. Her brothers were Nestore and Gianfrancesco. Her mother died five months after her birth in 1688. She was Baptised straight after her birth since there was fear that she might die. The Baptism was formally celebrated on 21 August 1691 at the Baptism of her half-sister Cecilia, born to the second marriage of her father to Elena Palazzi.
As a child she was perceived to be an intelligent girl and received a structured and comprehensive education based on the civic and religious studies. At the age of six she was entrusted to the Ursulines for additional education. Her teacher, Isabella Marazzi, instructed her in proper devotional practices to God and Marazzi played a formative role in Margherita’s religious education. Margherita was an avid reader and made full use of the Latin literature that her father owned.
On one occasion during her childhood, she was in a six horse carriage and she fell out. She would have been crushed had there not been, what she described as, an invisible touch that seemed to save her life.
On 11 October 1689 she entered the Convent boarding school of the Augustinian nuns of Santa Maria degli Angeli – two nuns there were her maternal aunts.
She made her First Communion towards the end of her childhood during which – in the nervous tension and emotion of the moment – she dropped the Host which forced her to pick it up from the floor with her tongue.
In August 1699 she asked her father for permission to go to the Spirito Santo boarding school of the Benedictines. Before she left the family went on a holiday with her father and siblings, in the mountains around Lago d’Iseo where she realised what her true calling was.
Around this time, at the age of thirteen, she took a vow to God in which she promised to remain a virgin. But at the age of sixteen several suitors approached her and her father had even promised her to the son of a prominent Venetian Senator. It even grew to the point where her two brothers Nestore and Gianfrancesco, pressured her to accept one of the offers. Her suitors bought her books and love stories and she did in fact like them – but she brooded over the fact that such stories which were given to her were “books from Hell.”
Margherita returned from the Spirito Santo Convent after the conclusion of her studies in 1704 and on 21 December 1704, announced to her father and brothers, her intention of becoming a Capuchin Poor Clare nun. Her Confessor and house servants, as well as her father and siblings, opposed this decision. Despite this opposition, on Christmas 1704 she went to the Capuchin Poor Clare Convent of Santa Maria della Neve and presented herself to them with the words: “I want to become holy.”. However, she was required to undergo a period of probation, which was conducted in the Ursuline-run Maggi College.
Once she entered the Convent at the age of eighteen, she was described to be “like wax” for her delicate appearance. On 8 September 1705 she was clothed in the habit and assumed the religious name of “Maria Magdalena” and parted from her family. Maria Magdalena was later deemed to be unfit for the Capuchin life but with a change in mistress she received unanimous support. She made her solemn profession on 8 September 1706.
Her Confessor instructed her to compile notes of her life and experiences which she did in the spirit of obedience. She was appointed as the Mistress of Novices at the age of 36 and made Abbess in 1732; – she was re-elected in that post on 12 July 1736.
Maria Magdalena died of tuberculosis in 1737 and when news of her death spread across Brescia people across the entire area mourned her passing. Her remains are located in the Church of the Convent of the Capuchin Poor Clare nuns in Brescia.
The recognition of two miracles attributed to her direct intercession allowed for Pope Leo XIII to preside over her Beatification on 3 June 1900. The miracles in question concerned the healings of Isabella Groppelli Gromi and of the future priest Giuseppe Tosi.
Notre-Dame-de-Foy / Our Lady of Faith,Gravelines, Liege, France (1616) – 27 July:
Not far from the small town of Dinant, in Liege near a home belonging to the Lord of Celles, two magnificent oaks once grew. One of the two venerable old trees was felled in the year 1609 by a man named Gilles, a lumberjack. The worker who inspected the tree found a small terracotta statue of the Mother of God, enthroned, as it were, with three iron bars that served as a trellis. The old oak stood on the edge of a path taken by pilgrims travelling to St Hubert. Apparently, at some time in the distant past, some pious Christian soul had placed the holy image in a hollow of the oak, as if in a niche. Then, over a period of time, the opening the tree had made while it was still young gradually closed and as it grew, the tree hid in its womb, the precious figure. Over the years the bark of the tree closed upon it and, as the road became less frequented, the existence of the Statue was completely forgotten.
To honour the Virgin, the Statue was subsequently displayed on the other oak, once again behind an iron grating, by order of the Baron of Celles. In this new Sanctuary, the Mother of God was honoured with the title of Our Lady of Faith. Those passing by did not fail to venerate the Statue;and there were many unexpected miracles. Graces of all kinds multiplied,and soon pilgrims began to flock to the area because of the dazzling miracles and very quickly a spontaneous cult grew. The Statue was first placed in another oak but it was almost thrown away by servants who thought it had no value. The local Baron placed it near the door to his oratory at the Castle of Veves as pilgrims began to flock there. In this new Sanctuary, the image of Our Lady was honoured under the title of Our Lady of Faith, which was the name of the farm. The first miracle occurred in 1616. As a result of the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary an old man was healed from a painful and debilitating hernia. The canonical investigation prescribed by the Bishop of Liege, was positive in its conclusion. A Priest of the Society of Jesus had recently been sent to Gravelines. He worked diligently to cultivate souls, as if upon a fruitful vine and by his sermons excited the people of the region to a greater love for the Mother of God. Seeing that this devotion had taken root, he met with the local Magistrate to discuss how to maintain and increase the piety of the people. It was decided that they should make replicas of the Statue of Our Lady of Faith, made from the wood of the first oak. When the first was completed, the image was observed to have a great resemblance to the original. Received with great joy, it was placed in a large reliquary above the high Altar in the Parish Church.
St Aetherius of Auxerre St Anthusa of Constantinople St Arethas St Aurelius of Cordoba St Benno of Osnabruck (c 1020-1088) Bishop Bl Berthold of Garsten
St Ecclesius of Ravenna Bl Felipe Hernández Martínez St Felix of Cordoba St Galactorio of Lescar St George of Cordoba St Hermippus St Hermocrates St Hermolaus Bl Jaime Ortiz Alzueta Bl Joaquín Vilanova Camallonga Bl José María Ruiz Cano St Juliana of Mataró St Lillian of Cordoba Bl Lucy Bufalari St Luican
Bl Rudolf Aquaviva S.J. Bl Robert Sutton St Semproniana of Mataró St Sergius of Bisceglia Bl William Davies Bl Zacarías Abadía Buesa
Martyrs of Nicomedia – 3 saints: Three Christians martyred together. The only other information to survive are their names – Felix, Jucunda and Julia. Nicomedia, Asia Minor.
Seven Sleepers of Ephesus: A group of seven young Christian men who hid in a cave in hopes of avoiding the persecution of Decius in the year 250. Found and arrested, they were ordered by the pro-consul in Ephesus to renounce their faith; they refused and were sentenced to die. Legend says that they were walled up in their hiding cave, guarded by the dog Al Rakim; when the cave wall was breached in 479 – they all woke up! It is likely that the youths were tortured to death in various ways and buried in the cave. The resurrection story confusion came from the phrase “went to sleep in the Lord” which was used to describe the death of Christians and 479 is when their relics were discovered. Their names were Constantinus, Dionysius, Joannes, Malchus, Martinianus, Maximianus and Serapion. They were martyred in 250 in Ephesus (in modern Turkey); tradition says that they were walled up in a cave to suffocate but other records indicate that they were tortured to death in various ways. Their relics discovered in 479 and translated to Marseilles, France and enshrined in a large stone coffin.
Thought for the Day – 26 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Eucharistic Life
The Eucharistic life, which is the life of union with Jesus, especially by means of daily Communion, transforms us and makes us holy. It preserves and increases in us, the grace which is the supernatural life of the soul. The Eucharist, of itself, does not bestow grace because it is a Sacrament of the living. It is our food and food is not given to the dead but to the living. For this reason, we should receive Holy Communionb free from the stain of sin. The Eucharist, moreover, remits venial sins, strengthens us in our resolutions and increases our charity. Venial sin is a sickness of the soul. Just as natural food banishes listlessness and vulnerability to disease, our Eucharistic nourishment has the same effect on our spiritual life.
It is because the Blessed Eucharist increases our love for Jesus, that it weakens our evil inclinations. The Eucharist and sin are mutually exclusive of one another because, the Eucharist is Jesus and sin is the devil. Our Eucharistic food, moreover, produces in our souls, a spiritual consolation which is a foretaste of the happiness of Heaven.
Let us listen to Jesus living within us. He will enable us to forget our worldly cares and will raise us to a higher plane where, by God’s infinite goodness, we shall continue to grow in virtue.
May the Most Blessed Sacrament be forever praised and adored!
Quote/s of the Day – 26 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Readings: Exodus 32: 15-24, 30-34; Psalms 106: 19-20, 21-22, 23; Matthew 13: 31-3
The Leaven of Life
“Just as the Father who has life sent me and I have life because of the Father, so the man who feeds on me will have life because of me.”
“An inborn imperfection in our human dough was removed, thanks to the leaven that comes from His perfect body… To complete what was missing, in these human bodies of ours, He gave something of Himself, just as He gives Himself to be eaten …”
St Ephrem (306-373) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Those who have been tricked into taking poison, offset its harmful effect, by another drug. The remedy, moreover, just like the poison, has to enter the system, so that its remedial effect may thereby spread through the whole body. Similarly, having tasted the poison, that is the fruit, that dissolved our nature, we were necessarily, in need of something, to reunite it. Such a remedy had to enter into us, so that it might, by its counteraction, undo the harm the body had already encountered from the poison. And what is this remedy? Nothing else than the body that proved itself superior to death and became the source of our life.”
St Greogory of Nyssa (c 335– c 395) Father of the Church
“The doctrine of Christ is fittingly called leaven because, the bread is Christ.”
St Anbrose (340-397) Father and Doctor of the Church
“ … For He did not only give His Body but, just as our flesh, drawn from the earth, had lost its life and died through sin, so He has introduced, so to speak, another substance like a leaven, this is His Body, the Body sharing the same nature as ours but free from sin and abounding in life. And He has given it to all of us, so that, fed with the banquet of this new food … we might enter immortal life.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father ad Doctor of the Church
“Dust, so to speak, had forcibly entered humanity’s eye; earth had entered it, had injured the eye and it could not see the light. … That physician made a salve for you. And because He came, in such a way, that by His flesh, He might extinguish the faults of the flesh and by His death He might kill death … ”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 26 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Readings: Exodus 32: 15-24, 30-34; Psalms 106: 19-20, 21-22, 23; Matthew 13: 31-35 and the Memorial of Saints Anne and Joachim – Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Grandparents of Jesus
“Until the whole was leavened” – Matthew 13:33
REFLECTION – “If someone kneads bread without mixing leaven into it, they may well apply themselves to the task, knead and work at it, the dough will not rise and cannot be used as food. But when leaven has been mixed in, it draws all the dough to itself and makes it all rise, as in the parable the Lord applied to the Kingdom… It is the same with meat – no matter how much care you take, if you neglect to put in salt to preserve it,… it will smell badly and become inedible In the same sort of way, imagine the whole of humanity as meat or dough and that the divine nature of the Holy Spirit is salt and leaven from another world. If the heavenly leaven of the Spirit and good salt of the divine nature… are not added to our lowly human nature and mixed into it, the soul will never lose its bad odour of sin and will not rise by losing the heaviness and impurities of the “leaven of wickedness” (1Cor 5,7)…
If a soul only relies on its own strength and thinks itself able to achieve complete success of itself, without the help of the Holy Spirit, it is greatly deceived. It is not made for the dwelling places of Heaven nor made for the Kingdom… If sinful man does not draw near to God, does not renounce the world, does not await in hope and patience a good that is foreign to its own nature, namely, the strength of the Holy Spirit; if the Lord does not instil His own divine life from on high into that soul, that person will never taste the true life… On the other hand, if he has received the Spirit’s grace, if he does not turn away from it, if he does not offend Him by his negligence and wrongdoing, if, after persevering a long time like this in the fight, he does not “grieve the Spirit” (Eph 4,30), he will have the happiness of winning eternal life.” – Attri to St Macarius of Egypt (c 300-390) Monk
PRAYER – True light of the world, Lord Jesus Christ, as You enlighten all men for their salvation, give us grace, we pray, to herald Your coming by preparing the ways of justice and of peace. Help us Lord, that we may sprout and bear fruit, fitting to grow and be a home of comfort to our neighbour. By the prayers of Sts Anne and Joachim, may we too be beacons of Your Light and of the glory of Your Kingdom. Through Jesus our Lord, Who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Saint of the Day – 26 July – St Parasceva of Rome (Died c 180) Virgin Martyr, Confessor. Born near Rome in the 2nd Century and died by beheading in c 180. Patronage – invoked against blindness, healer of the blind.
Parasceva was born in a village near Rome, likely during the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian (117-138). Her parents, Agathon and Politia, were Christians of Greek origin and had prayed for many years to have a child. When Politia finally bore a child, she was born on a Friday, the day of Our Lord’s suffering. They, therefore, named the baby girl Parasceva, meaning “Friday” in Greek (literally “preparation (day)” for the sabbath – cf. Mark 15:42). Parasceva grew up to be a devout and well-read woman, who rejected many suitors.
After the death of her parents, she gave away all of her possession and became the head of a Christian community of young virgins and widows. She also began to preach the Christian faith and at the age of 30, left Rome and ministered in many Towns and Villages.
In the Village of Therapia, Constantinople, she was arrested by soldiers of the Emperor Antoninus Pius and brought to trial. The charge was blasphemy and they charged her with inciting resistance to authorities. Antoninus Pius attempted to convince her to denounce her faith and even offered to marry her. Parasceva refused and was beaten and tortured by having a steel helmet lined with nails placed on her head and tightened with a vice. No pain seemed to affect her and her endurance caused many to convert to Christianity. Eventually, at his wit’s end, Antoninus Pius demanded that Parasceva be immersed into a large kettle of oil and tar. However, she emerged from even this unscathed. When she was accused of using magic, she responded by throwing the liquid into the Emperor’s face. He was blinded, and desperately asked for her help. Antoninus Pius regained his sight. This miracle moved him to convert to Christianity and set Parasceva free. Neither die he persecute Christians thereafter.
However, after the death of Antoninus Pius, the laws changed once again under the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. A plague struck the Roman people and many, including Marcus Aurelius, considered Christians responsible for angering the gods. Parasceva was again arrested amongst many other Christians in a City governed by a man named Asclepius, who threw her into a pit with a large snake. She, however, made a Sign of the Cross and the snake fell asleep or dead. Just as with Antoninus Pius, Parasceva ‘s miracle converted Asclepius to Christianity and he released her. She continued to travel from Town to Town, preaching the Faith.
Finally, Parasceva was arrested for the last time by a Roman official named Tarasius and taken to the Temple of Apollo. Upon entering the Temple, Parasceva made a Sign of the Cross and all the idols in the Temple were instantly destroyed. Instead of converting the onlookers to Christianity, however, they became enraged, and beat her. Taracius then had her beheaded.
Her remains were eventually taken to Constantinople. Although it is not certain when or how her relics reached Constantinople, it seems that they were exhibited there in around 1200 to pilgrims.
Madonna del Faggio (Our Lady of the Beech Tree), Castelluccio, Bologna, Emilia Romagna, Italy (1672) – 26 July, Ascension Thursday:
In 1672 the Blessed Virgin appeared to a shepherd boy and told him that she wished to be venerated at a certain place in the beech woods near Castelluccio in central Italy. Tthe child , following the directions to the site, discovered a terracotta Madonna affixed to one of the trees. The tiny Statue, barely 18 centimetres tall (7 inches) was moved to a wayside Shrine and then, in 1722, to its own mountain Sanctuary. Until 1964 a caretaker lived in the hermitage there. Since then a volunteer opens the Chapel only in summer on Sundays. In 1975 the sacred image was stolen and a copy was made to replace it. Since 1756, an annual pilgrimage on Ascension Day brings the image to the Town and back again, and on St Anne’s day, 26 July, a procession goes to the site of the beech tree where the Statue had been originally found, although the tree itself is no longer there as it fell during a storm. The Sanctuary’s holy card, shown above, does not seem to depict the terracotta image. It may represent one of the paintings of Lorenzo Pranzini, who decorated the interior of the Chapel in the 1800s.
St Benigno of Malcestine Bl Camilla Gentili St Charus of Malcestine Bl Edward Thwing Bl Élisabeth-Thérèse de Consolin St Erastus Bl Évangéliste of Verona St Exuperia the Martyr Bl George Swallowell St Gérontios Bl Giuseppina Maria de Micheli St Gothalm St Hyacinth Bl Jacques Netsetov Bl John Ingram St Joris Bl Marcel-Gaucher Labiche de Reignefort Bl Marie-Claire du Bac Bl Marie-Madeleine Justamond Bl Marie-Marguerite Bonnet St Olympius the Tribune St Parasceva of Rome (Died c 180) Virgin Martyr, Confessor St Pastor of Rome Bl Pérégrin of Verona Bl Pierre-Joseph le Groing de la Romagère