Thought for the Day – 7 January – The Problem of Suffering

Thought for the Day – 7 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Second Day after Epiphany

The Problem of Suffering

“Christianity, alone, offers an adequate explanation of the mystery of suffering.   Why is there such a thing as suffering?
The problem is a profound one and the explanations suggested by various schools of philosophy, fail to satisfy the human heart and leave the mind in doubt.
Christian doctrine tells us, that God is infinitely good but also infinitely just.
Being infinitely good, He created man without suffering.
He also gave man the wonderful gift of liberty, which man abused by committing sin.
Once the sin had been committed, God, in His infinite justice, demanded expiation.
Hence, suffering and death … “and through sin, death and thus death has passed unto all men because all have sinned” (Rom 5:12).
Together with death, came the never-ending series of misfortunes, of physical and moral sufferings, which beset humanity.

Suffering then, does not come directly from God. It is a consequence of and, a punishment for, sin.
But, there is also the aspect of expiation and redemption.
God, in His infinite justice, demands from man a penalty for his sin … but, He does not cease to be infinitely good.   Hence, to the mystery of suffering, there is added, the mystery of Redemption.   The Son of God Himself, is made man and takes upon Himself, all our sins.   For the full expiation of our sins, He, the “Man of Sorrows,” offers to the Eternal Father, His own sufferings of infinite value.

It would not be right, however, if we were to remain inactive in this work of redemption. Like Jesus, we must bow our heads before our Cross and embrace it, with resignation and love.   We must unite our sufferings with those of our Redeemer, for the expiation of our sins.”

Antonio Cardinal Baccilike jesus, we must bow our heads before our cross - bacci - 7 jan 2020.jpg


Quote/s of the Day – 7 January – St Raymond of Peñafort

Quote/s of the Day – 7 January – The Memorial of St Raymond of Peñafort (1175-1275) “Father of Canon Law”

“May you never be numbered
among those whose house
is peaceful, quiet and free
from care,
those on whom
the Lord’s chastisement
does not descend,
those who live out their days
in prosperity and in the
twinkling of an eye,
will go down
to hell!”

may you never be numbered amongst those whose house is peaceful - st ryamond of penafort 7 jan 2020

“This is that enviable
and blessed Cross of Christ . . .
the Cross in which alone,
we must make our boast,
as Paul,
God’s chosen instrument,
has told us.”

this is that enviable and blessed cross of christ - st raymond of penafort 7 jan 2019


“May the God of love and peace,
set your hearts at rest
and speed you on your journey,
may He meanwhile,
shelter you from disturbance by others,
in the hidden recesses of His love,
until He brings you, at last,
into that place of complete plenitude,
where you will repose forever,
in the vision of peace,
in the security of trust
and in the restful enjoyment of His riches.”

St Raymond of Peñafort

may-the-god-of-love-and-peace-st-raymond-of-penafort-7-jan-2019 and 2020


One Minute Reflection – 7 January – ‘What is heaven’s most precious possession?’ 

One Minute Reflection – 7 January – Second day after Epiphany, Readings:  1 John 4:7-10, Psalm 72:1-4, 7-8, Mark 6:34-44 and the Memorial of St Raymond of Peñafort OP (1175-1275)

And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people ... Mark 6:41

REFLECTION – “Christ gave us His flesh to eat in order to deepen our love for Him.  When we approach Him, then, there should be burning within us, a fire of love and longing…  The wise men paid homage to Christ’s body even when it was lying in a manger…  They only saw Christ in a manger, they saw nothing of what you now see and yet they approached Him with profound awe and reverence.

You see Him, not in a manger but on an altar, not carried by a woman but offered by a priest and you see the Spirit bountifully poured out upon the offerings of bread and wine.   Unlike the wise men, you do not merely see Christ’s body, you know His power as well and the whole divine plan for our salvation…  Let us then awaken in ourselves a feeling of awe and let us show a far greater reverence than did those foreigners so that we do not approach this sacrament casually, without thinking of what we do…

This food strengthens us, it emboldens us to speak freely to our God, it is our hope, our salvation, our light and our life. mark 6 41 he looked up to heaven, blessed and broke - this food strengthens us - st john chrysostom 7 jan 2019.jpg

If we go to the next world fortified by this sacrifice, we shall enter its sacred portals with perfect confidence, as though protected all over, by armour of gold.   But why do I speak of the next world?   Because of this sacrament earth becomes heaven for you.   Throw open the gates of heaven, look through and you will see the proof of what I say.   What is heaven’s most precious possession?   I will show you it here on earth.   I do not show you angels or archangels, heaven or the heaven of heavens but I show you the very Lord of all these.   Do you not see how you gaze, here on earth, upon what is most precious of all?   You not only gaze on it but touch it as well.   You not only touch it but eat it.  So cleanse your soul from sin and prepare your mind to receive these mysteries.” … St John Chrysostom (345-407) Bishop of Constantinople, Father and Doctor of the Church

because of this sacrament earth becomes heaven fo ryou -st john chrysostom 7 jan 2020.jpg

PRAYER – Almighty God, our Father, when Your only-begotten Son revealed Himself in flesh and blood, we came to know Him as our fellow-man  . Now He feeds us by His mysteries and cleanses us by His Blood to transform us inwardly, until we bear His likeness.   As You inspired St Raymond of Peñafort with an immense compassion for sinners and captives, grant us, through his prayer, freedom from sin and the grace to do Your will.   Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever with You, raymond of penafort pray for us 7 jan 2020

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS

Our Morning Offering – 7 January – O God of Our Life

Our Morning Offering – 7 January – Second day after Epiphany

O God of Our Life
By St Augustine (354-430)
Father & Doctor of the Church

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.
Ameno god of our life - st augustine - 7 jan 2020.jpg

Posted in DOMINICAN OP, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 7 January – St Raymond of Peñafort OP (1175-1275) the “Father of Canon Law”

Saint of the Day – 7 January – St Raymond of Peñafort OP (1175-1275) known as the “Father of Canon Law” – Master of the Order of Preachers, Archbishop, Dominican Priest, Confessor, Evangelist, Missionary, Theologian,Teacher, Philosopher, Lawyer of both Canon and Civil Law, Writer, Spiritual Director and Adviser, Preacher, miracle worker.   Born as Raimundo de Peñafort in 1175 at Peñafort, Catalonia, Spain and died on 6 January 1275, aged 100 years old, at Barcelona, Spain of natural causes  . Patronages – attorneys, barristers, lawyers, canon lawyers, medical record librarians, Barcelona, Spain, Navarre, raymond glass with canon law.jpg

As a lawyer, priest and preacher, St Raymond of Penyafort made a significant mark on the history of Spain and the church.   His preaching helped re-Christianise Spain after the Moors were overthrown.   And his compilation of papal and conciliar decrees, it was the main source of canon law for seven centuries.

Raymond of Peñafort was born in Vilafranca del Penedès, a small town near Barcelona, Catalonia, around 1175  . Descended from a noble family with ties to the royal house of Aragon, he was educated in Barcelona and at the University of Bologna, where he received doctorates in both civil and canon law.4rct00pwpv_saint_raymond

An accomplished lawyer and scholar, Raymond joined the Dominicans at Barcelona in 1222.   The 47-year-old novice was assigned to develop a book of case studies for confessors that helped to shape the medieval church’s penitential system.   Also a gifted preacher, Raymond had remarkable success evangelising Moors and Jews.   And he travelled throughout Spain rejuvenating the spiritual life of Christians that the Moors had enslaved.   Among his main themes were spiritual combat and standing firm in trials.   Listen to his voice in this letter:st raymond lg

“The preacher of God’s truth has told us that all who want to live righteously in Christ will suffer persecution. . . . the only exception to this general statement is, I think, the person who either neglects, or does not know how, to live temperately, justly and righteously in this world.

May you never be numbered among those whose house is peaceful, quiet and free from care, those on whom the Lord’s chastisement does not descend, those who live out their days in prosperity and in the twinkling of an eye will go down to hell.

Your purity of life, your devotion, deserve and call for a reward, because you are acceptable and pleasing to God, your purity of life must be made purer still, by frequent buffetings, until you attain perfect sincerity of heart.   If from time to time you feel the sword falling on you with double or treble force, this also should be seen as sheer joy and the mark of love.   The two-edged sword consists in conflict without, fears within.   It falls with double or treble force within, when the cunning spirit troubles the depths of your heart with guile and enticements. . . .  The sword falls with double and treble force externally when, without cause, persecution breaks out from within the church, where wounds are more serious, especially when inflicted by friends.

This is that enviable and blessed cross of Christ . . . the cross in which alone we must make our boast, as Paul, God’s chosen instrument, has told us.”

st raymond on the left 1650-99, Il Correggio Civic Museum, Correggio
St Raymond on the left with the key which represents his unlocking of the decretals

In 1230, Pope Gregory IX brought Raymond to Rome as his confessor.   The reputation of the saint for juridical science decided the pope to employ Raymond of Peñafort’s talents in re-arranging and codifying the canons of the Church.   He had to rewrite and condense decrees that had been multiplying for centuries and which were contained in some twelve or fourteen collections already existing.   We learn from a Bull of Gregory IX to the Universities of Paris and Bologna, that many of the decrees in the collections were but repetitions of ones issued before, many contradicted what had been determined in previous decrees and many, on account of their great length, led to endless confusion, while others had never been embodied in any collection and were of uncertain authority.

The pope announced the new publication in a Bull directed to the doctors and students of Paris and Bologna in 1231 and commanded that the work of St Raymond alone, should be considered authoritative and should alone, be used in the schools.   Because they were so well arranged, canonists relied on Raymond’s Decretals until the new codification of 1917.

When Raymond completed his work, the pope appointed him Archbishop of Tarragona but the saint declined the honour.   After declining the appointment of Archbishop, he could not avoid his election as the third general of the Dominicans in 1238.   But when he reformed the Dominican rule, he slipped in a clause allowing early retirement of office holders. And he used it to retire in 1240.

But he continued to work 35 more years, focusing on bringing Jews and Moors to Christ. To equip Catholics for this work, he introduced the study of Hebrew and Arabic among Dominicans and persuaded Thomas Aquinas to write his Summa Contra Gentes as an evangelistic tool.   Raymond told his general that ten thousand Moors had been baptised through the efforts of the Dominicans.   He died at 100 years of age in 1275.

St Raymond was Canonised by Pope Clement VIII in 1601.   He was buried in the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia in Barcelona.

st Raymond’s Tomb in Barcelona Cathedral

Most Famous Miracle
Raymond of Penyafort served as the confessor for King James I of Aragon, who was a loyal son of the Church but allowed his lustful desires to shackle him.   While on the island of Majorca to initiate a campaign to help convert the Moors living there, the king brought his mistress with him.   Raymond reproved the king and asked him repeatedly to dismiss his concubine. This the king refused to do.   Finally, the saint told the king that he could remain with him no longer and made plans to leave for Barcelona.   But the king forbade Raymond to leave the island and threatened punishment to any ship captain who dared to take him.french-school-(17)-le-miracle-de-saint-raymond-de-penyafort-(1175-1275).jpg

Saint Raymond then said to his Dominican companion, “Soon you will see how the King of heaven will confound the wicked deeds of this earthly king and provide me with a ship!”   They then went down to the seashore where Raymond took off his cappa (the long black cloak the Dominicans wear over the white tunic and scapular) and spread one end of it on the water while rigging the other end to his walking staff.   Having thus formed a miniature mast, Raymond bid the other Dominican to hop on but his companion, lacking the saint’s faith, refused to do so.   Then Raymond bid him farewell and with the Sign of the Cross he pushed away from the shore and miraculously sailed away on his cloak.   Skirting around the very boats that had forbidden him passage, the saint was seen by scores of sailors who shouted in astonishment and urged him on.

Raymond sailed the ~160 miles to Barcelona in the space of 6 hours, where his landing was witnessed by a crowd of amazed spectators.

Touched by this miracle, King James I renounced his evil ways and thereafter, led a good raymond glass miraclest raymond glass miracle 2

Posted in DOMINICAN OP, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 7 January

St Raymond of Peñafort OP (1175-1275) (“Father of Canon Law”) (Optional Memorial)

St Aldric of Le Mans
Bl Ambrose Fernandez
St Anastasius of Sens
St Brannock of Braunton
St Candida of Greece
St Canute Lavard
St Cedd
St Clerus of Antioch
St Crispin I of Pavia
St Cronan Beg
St Emilian of Saujon
St Felix of Heraclea
Bl Franciscus Bae Gwan-gyeom
St Januarius of Heraclea
St Julian of Cagliari
St Kentigerna
St Lucian of Antioch
Bl Marie-Thérèse Haze
St Pallada of Greece
St Polyeuctus of Melitene
St Reinhold of Cologne
St Spolicostus of Greece
St Theodore of Egypt
St Tillo of Solignac
St Valentine of Passau
St Virginia of Ste-Verge
Bl Wittikund of Westphalia