Sunday Reflection – 5 August – Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – Today’s Gospel: John 6:24-35
“Bread is not made from one grain but from many. It’s as though you, who were many were ground. When you were baptised it’s as though you were mixed into dough. When you received the fire of the Holy Spirit, it’s as though you were baked. Be what you can see and receive what you are.
After all, just as many grains are mixed into one loaf in order to produce the visible appearance of bread, as though what holy scripture says about the faithful were happening: They had one soul and one heart in God (Acts 4:32); so too with the wine. Brothers and sisters, just remind yourselves what wine is made from; many grapes hang in the bunch but the juice of the grapes is poured together in one vessel.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church
Thought for the Day – 5 August – Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major/Our Lady of the Snow
St Mary Major is one of the four Roman basilicas known as patriarchal cathedrals in memory of the first centres of the Church. St John Lateran represents Rome, the See of Peter; St Paul Outside the Walls, the See of Alexandria, the see presided over by Mark; St Peter’s, the See of Constantinople and St Mary’s, the See of Antioch, where Mary is believed to have spent most of her later life.
Theological debate over Christ’s nature as God and man reached fever pitch in Constantinople in the early fifth century. The chaplain of Bishop Nestorius began preaching against the title Theotokos, “Mother of God,” insisting that the Virgin was mother only of the human Jesus. Nestorius agreed, decreeing that Mary would henceforth be named “Mother of Christ” in his see. The people of Constantinople virtually revolted against their bishop’s refutation of a cherished belief. When the Council of Ephesus refuted Nestorius, believers took to the streets, enthusiastically chanting, “Theotokos! Theotokos!”
So often I wish we would take to the streets shouting the same, “Mother of God! Mother of God!”
“Jesus honoured her before all ages and will honour her for all ages. No one comes to Him, nor even near Him, no one is saved or sanctified, if he too will not honour her. This is the lot of angels and of men.”
One Minute Reflection – 5 August – Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – Today’s Gospel: John 6:24-35
They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.”…John 6″34-35
REFLECTION – “The soul’s bread is Christ, “the living bread that came down from heaven” (Jn 6:51) who gives food to His own, by faith here and by vision in the world to come. For Christ dwells in you by faith and faith in Christ is Christ in your heart (Eph 3:17). The measure of your faith in Christ is the measure of your possession of Him.
… In this gift I have received, I possess Christ wholly and Christ wholly possesses me, just as the member belonging to the whole body likewise possesses the body in its entirety. And so this portion of faith you have received as your share, is like the morsel of bread in your mouth. But unless you often devoutly meditate over what you believe, unless you chew over it, so to speak, moving it about and turning it over with your teeth, that is to say with your spiritual senses, it will never enter your throat, in other words it won’t get as far as your understanding.
For indeed, how could you understand anything that you reflect over only rarely and carelessly, especially when it concerns something subtle and unseen?… So, by means of meditation, let “the Law of the Lord be ever on your lips” (Ex 13:9) so that a sound understanding may be brought to birth within you. Through a good understanding spiritual food passes into your heart, so that you will not neglect what you have understood but will lovingly reflect over it.”…Guigo II the Carthusian “the Angelic” (?-1188) Prior of the Grande Chartreuse (Meditation 10 (SC 163, p. 181 rev.)
PRAYER – Forgive the sins of Your people Lord and since of ourselves, we are unable to do what pleases You, lead us on the way of salvation in Your divine Son who lives in us and gives us life. May the prayers of Mary, His Mother help us to constantly meditate on His eternal sustenance. He is our food, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 5 August – Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Act of Love before Holy Mass
O my God,
I love You with all my heart,
with all my soul, with all my strength
and with no other desire
than to be inseparably united to You.
It is through Your Divine Son
that this union is about to be realised within me.
In the eternal food I will receive,
I long to identify myself with Him,
that it will no longer be myself but He,
who lives in me
and when I have received Jesus within myself,
then I shall love and be loved by You,
in that same measure,
in which I am united to Him.
Hasten then, to give me Your Divine Son,
at the hands of Your priest,
that through Jesus,
I may unite myself forever to You,
O God the Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
“Let us ask the Blessed Virgin to nominate an heir.”
THE PATRICIAN JOHN IN ROME BEFORE THE MIRACLE OF THE SNOW IN 352:
A WEALTHY aristocrat and devout Christian known by tradition as John, lived in Rome in the fourth century. He and his wife had no children and were fearful that their lack of an heir would put an end to the family’s long prominence in the government of the city. They had often prayed for a child but without success. One day John’s wife said, “Let us ask the Blessed Virgin to nominate an heir.” They did so and their prayer was answered dramatically.
SNOW IN AUGUST – the height of summer!
In August 352 a rectangle of snow was discovered on Mount Esquiline, one of the famous Seven Hills. Snowfall of any sort was unheard of in Rome at that time of year but that it had fallen only in one place and in such a specific pattern was regarded as a phenomenon. People crowded to see the patch of snow, which persisted despite the heat. John was convinced that its shape and size indicated that a church should be built on the spot. In fact both John and the Pontiff had dreamt that Our Lady desired a church to be built on Mount Esquiline. The Holy Father was so moved by his dream that he visited the mysterious snowfall. When he arrived with his retinue, John and his wife were already there kneeling in prayer to the Virgin.
As soon as the plot for the building had been staked out the snow melted. John met the cost of the building, which was completed in 354 and was dedicated the Basilica Liberiana. Seventy years later the church was rebuilt on a grander scale by Pope Sixtus III, who added decorations and ornaments of silver. From then the church was known as Basilica Sixti and the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore [St Mary Major].
THE PRODIGY OF THE SNOW IS TRUE
The new basilica housed a celebrated painting provided by the Pope. It had belonged to St Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine—–the same Helen who, according to tradition, had made a pilgrimage to Palestine and discovered the original Cross of Christ. The picture, painted on a slab of cedar wood, is of a Madonna and Child. The infant Jesus is holding a book and both figures are haloed and crowned—–the crowns presented by Pope Gregory XVI in 1832 as a thank-offering for deliverance from cholera.
The so-called ‘new’ Lady Chapel was built by Pope Paul V in 1613 to house the miraculous painting. He declared, “This image should have a magnificent place of its own, befitting its eminence. For it has always been regarded by all faithful people and through it many miracles and wonders have been wrought.”
Salus Populi Romana [Salvation of the Roman People] is the title of this famous painting and it is rightly named because for centuries the people of Rome have prayed before it in times of famine, war and national crisis.
Many popes have held the basilica on Mount Esquiline in particular regard. When Gregory I was Pope [590-604] Rome was ravaged by a plague. Gregory carried the image of the Holy Mother in procession from the chapel as far as Hadrian’s Mausoleum . When the procession arrived they heard an invisible heavenly choir singing Regina Caeli. When the Pope asked the Virgin to pray for the city he saw an apparition of S. Michael replacing the sword of vengeance in its scabbard. The plague abated.
Pope Benedict XIV had a special affection for the legend. In 1427 he declared, “It must be acknowledged that nothing is wanting to enable us to affirm with moral certainty that the prodigy of the Snow is true” and Pope Benedict XVI attended the holy picture every Saturday and prayed the Litany. The night before he died, Paul V asked to be taken to the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin in order to pray before her image. St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, said his first Mass here at Christmas 1538.
ANGELS SING THE RESPONSES
The Chapel of the Virgin Salus Populi Romani [Protectress of the Roman People] is very close to the historic heart of the Catholic Church, so it is not surprising that many stories have enriched its tradition over the centuries. It is said that once when Pope Gregory the Great was celebrating Mass in the chapel and intoning the words “Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum,” he heard a choir of Angels sing the response “Et cum spiritu tuo.” From that day the custom in the chapel was to omit that section of the Mass in the belief that it was being offered and sung by the Angels.
THE BASILICA TODAY
The present-day church is one of the largest basilicas in the world and its Patronal Festival is held today in remembrance of the miracle of the snow. During this celebration hundreds of white blossoms are showered from the dome of the chapel. Not to be missed are the thirteenth-century mosaics on biblical themes and the frescoes by Reni and Della Porta. There is an imposing Romanesque bell tower erected in 1377.
Santa Maria Maggiore has a further claim to fame. In the seventh century a relic was brought from Bethlehem and traditionally venerated as the manger in which the Christ Child was laid at the first Christmas. And so another name for the great basilica is St Mary of the Crib.
One of the most spectacular sights which meets today’s pilgrim is the triumphal arch which extends to almost 66 feet. It is decorated in four horizontal sections. In the middle at the top God’s throne is set in a circle, with St Peter and St Paul on either side. Above this mosaic are the symbols of the four Gospel writers.
On 12 November 1964, Blessed Pope Paul VI made a pilgrimage to the basilica and solemnly proclaimed Our Lady “Mother of the Church.”
On 5 August the anniversary of the miraculous snow fall, the Feast of Our Lady of Snows is celebrated at the basilica of her name. White petals are scattered throughout the Basilica.
More here: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/august-5-dedication-of-the-basilica-of-saint-mary-major-our-lady-of-the-snows/
Our Lady of Copacabana: A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary standing four feet tall, made of plaster and maguey fiber, and created by Francisco Tito Yupanqui. Except for the face and hands, it is covered in gold leaf, dressed like an Inca princess, and has jewels on neck, hands and ears. There is no record of what the image looks like under the robes, the carved hair has been covered by a wig, and the image never leaves the basilica. On 21 February 1583 it was enthroned in an adobe church on the peninsula of Copacabana, which juts into Lake Titicaca nearly 3 miles above sea level. In 1669 the viceroy of Peru added a straw basket and baton to the statue, which she still holds today. The present shrine dates from 1805. The image was crowned during the reign of Pope Pius XI, and its sanctuary was promoted to a basilica in 1949. It has been the recipient of many expensive gifts over the years, most of which were looted by civil authorities in need of quick cash.
Patronage – Bolivia, Bolivian navy.
St Abel of Rheims
St Aggai of Edessa
Bl Arnaldo Pons
St Cassian of Autun
St Casto of Teano
Bl Corrado of Laodicea
St Emidius of Ascoli Piceno
St Gormeal of Ardoilen
Bl James Gerius
St Margaret the Barefooted
St Memmius of Châlons-sur-Marne
St Oswald of Northumbria
St Paris of Teano
Bl Pierre-Michel Noël
St Theodoric of Cambrai-Arras
St Venantius of Viviers
Martyrs of Fuente la Higuera: A group of Augustinian priests and clerics who were martyred together in the Spanish Civil War. 5 August 1936 in Fuente la Higuera, Valencia, Spain. They were Beatified on 28 October 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI.
• Anastasio Díez García
• Ángel Pérez Santos
• Cipriano Polo García
• Emilio Camino Noval
• Felipe Barba Chamorro
• Gabino Olaso Zabala
• Luciano Ramos Villafruela
• Luis Blanco Álvarez
• Ubaldo Revilla Rodríguez
• Victor Gaitero González
Martyrs of the Salarian Way: Twenty-three Christians who were martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian.
303 on the Salarian Way in Rome, Italy.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
Bl Eduardo González Santo Domingo
Bl Jaume Codina Casellas
Bl Joan Gibert Galofré
Bl José Trallero Lou
Bl Lluís Domingo Mariné
Bl Manuel Moreno Martínez
Maximino Fernández Marinas
Bl Pau Virgili Monfá
Bl Pere Massó Llagostera
Bl Salvi Huix Miralpeix
Bl Victor García Ceballos
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