Thought for the Day – 20 January – The Pope

Thought for the Day – 20 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time, Year A

The Pope

there is, however, in the world one man - bacci 20 jan 2020

The words with which a great Bishop and orator, Bossuet, began the funeral oration of a great king, are well remembered in history:  “God alone is great.”
This is true in the absolute sense of the word.
We are all insignificant, because any greatness which we can possess, is not ours but comes from God.

There is, in the world, however, one man in whom the greatness of God is reflected, in the most outstanding way of all.
He participates in the authority and, in a certain sense, in the personality of Christ.
This man is the Vicar of Jesus Christ, the Pope.

It is necessary, to think deeply about certain words of our Redeemer, which the protestants and schismatics of every age seem to be anxious to forget.
These words were addressed to Peter and through him, to all his successors in the Church, which was destined to last till the end of time (Mt 29:20).   “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.   And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven and, whatever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven and whatever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.” (Mt 16:19-19).   And again: “Feed my lambs … Feed my lambs … Feed my sheep” (Jn 21:15-17).

These words need to be thought about rather than explained.
The Church is compared to a building which must rest upon one foundation stone – the Pope.
The Church is compared to a flock, which has only one shepherd – the Pope.
To him, is entrusted the divine power of binding and loosing upon earth.
This power, is granted to him personally.
It is given to the other Apostles, only as a group, united to him.

Antonio Cardinal Baccithe church is compared to a building - bacci - 20 jan 2020


Quote of the Day – 21 January – ‘Let us each examine his conscience…’

Quote of the Day – 21 January – Monday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A – Readings: 1 Samuel 15:16-23, Psalm 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23, Mark 2:18-22

“And so, dearly beloved brethren, let us each examine his conscience and when he sees that he has been wounded by some sin, let him first strive to cleanse his conscience by prayer, fasting, almsgiving and so dare to approach the Eucharist.
If he recognises his guilt and is reluctant to approach the holy altar, he will be quickly pardoned by the Divine Mercy, “for whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Mt 23:12).
If then, as I have said, a man conscious of his sins, humbly decides to stay away from the altar until he reforms his life, he will not be afraid of being completely excluded from the eternal banquet of heaven.”

St Caesarius of Arles (470-542)
Bishop of Arles
Father of the Churcha man conscious of his sins-st-caesarius-bishop-and-father-20-jan-2020


One Minute Reflection – 21 January – As the Redeemer of the world, Christ is the Bridegroom of the Church.

One Minute Reflection – 21 January – Monday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A – Readings: 1 Samuel 15:16-23, Psalm 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23, Mark 2:18-22 and the Memorial of St Eustochia Smeraldo Calafato OSC (1434-1485)

“The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.” … Mark 2:20mark 2 20 the days will come when the bridgroom is taken away 20 jan 2020

REFLECTION – “Of fundamental importance are the words of the Letter to the Ephesians: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the Church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish…  ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’.   This mystery is a profound one and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the Church” (5:25-32; Gn 2:24)…

We find ourselves at the very heart of the Paschal Mystery, which completely reveals the spousal love of God. Christ is the Bridegroom because “he has given himself” – His body has been “given”, His blood has been “poured out” (cf. Lk 22:19-20).   In this way “he loved them to the end” (Jn 13:1).   The “sincere gift” contained in the Sacrifice of the Cross gives definitive prominence to the spousal meaning of God’s love.   As the Redeemer of the world, Christ is the Bridegroom of the Church.   The Eucharist is the Sacrament of our Redemption.   It is the Sacrament of the Bridegroom and of the Bride.   The Eucharist makes present and realises anew, in a sacramental manner, the redemptive act of Christ, who “creates” the Church, His body.   Christ is united with this “body” as the bridegroom with the bride.   All this is contained in the Letter to the Ephesians.   The perennial “unity of the two” that exists between man and woman from the very “beginning” is introduced into this “great mystery” of Christ and of the Church.” … St John Paul II – Pope from 1978 to 2005 – Apostolic Letter “ Mulieris dignitatum ” #23, 26the eucharist is the sacrament of our redemption st john paul 20 jan 2020

PRAYER – Almighty God, ruler and creator of all things in heaven and on earth, listen favourably to the prayer of Your people.   Through Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave us His life to lead us to You and made us His own body in His Church, grant us the grace of always listening for His word and following His deeds in all that we are and all that we do.   May we too follow His teachings in our Holy Mother Church, for she is His and we are hers.   May the prayers of St Eustochia Calafato, intercede for us. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, eustochia calafato pray for us 20 jan 2020


Our Morning Offering – 14 January – Before Jesus Crucified (Sweet Jesus, please, abide with me!)

Our Morning Offering – 14 January – Monday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A

Before Jesus Crucified (Sweet Jesus, please, abide with me!)
By Blessed Titus Brandsma OCD (1881-1942) Martyr

Dear Lord, when looking up at Thee,
I see Thy loving eyes on me,
Love overflows my humble heart,
Knowing what a faithful friend Thou are.
A cup of sorrow I foresee,
Which I accept for love of Thee,
Thy painful way I wish to go,
The only way to God I know.
My soul is full of peace and light,
Although in pain, this light shines bright.
For here, Thou keepest to Thy breast.
My longing heart to find there rest.
Leave me here freely all alone,
In cell where never sunlight shone.
Should no-one ever speak to me,
This golden silence makes me free!
For though alone, I have no fear,
Never were Thou, O Lord, so near.
Sweet Jesus, please, abide with me!
My deepest peace I find in Thee.
Amenbefore jesus crucified bl titus brandsma 20 jan 2020


Saint of the Day – 20 January – St Eustochia Smeraldo Calafato OSC (1434-1485)

Saint of the Day – 20 January – St Eustochia Smeraldo Calafato OSC (1434-1485) Nun of the Second Franciscan Order of the Poor Clares, Reformer, Founder of a reformed Monastery, Abbess, Ascetic born of her devotion to the Passion of Christ and the Holy Eucharist  – born on 25 March (Good Friday) 1434 at Annunziata, Messina, Italy as Smerelda Colonna and died on 20 January 1491 at Messina, Sicily, Italy.   Patronage – Messina, Italy.  Additional commemoration – 22 August in Messina.

In Messina, in the ancient monumental Church of the Monastery of Montevergine, lies the body of Santa Eustochia Smeralda.   Her body has remained incorrupt by a miracle of the Lord, for five centuries, burnished by time, with her right hand with her fingers contracted in perpetual blessing, she watches over the city and the flourishing monastery you founded.corpo-mummificato-santa-eustochia-smeralda-calafato-messinac-clarissa-incorrotto

Saint Eustochia was born with the name “Smeralda” (or ‘Esmeralda’ which means ‘emerald’) on 25 March 1434 in Messina, Italy.   She was the fourth of six children. Smeralda’s mother was a fervent Christian and enthusiastic admirer of the Franciscan religious order, particularly of the reformers who insisted on following closely the life of St Francis, especially by embracing poverty.

The reform’s first monastery was established in Messina by Blessed Matthew of Agrigento.   He inspired a renewal of faith in the people of Messina by his ardent preaching and way of life.   Smeralda’s mother had attended one of Blessed Matthew’s sermon’s as an eighteen-year-old bride and devoted her life to prayer, penance and helping those in need.   Thus, Smeralda was raised from childhood to exercise Christian piety and virtue, eventually exceeding her mother’s greatest hopes and expectations for her _eustochia_smeraldo_calafato

Smeralda was beautiful both inside and out, she is thought to be the model for the painting The Virgin of the Annunciation by Antonello da Messina (seen here on the below).   When she was fourteen years old, Smeralda wanted to become a Poor Clare nun but her father arranged marriage for her to an older, wealthy widower.   Smeralda kept her hope in religious life and the widower died before the wedding.   Her father again arranged a marriage for his daughter but that man also died, followed by Smeralda’s father himself.   When she entered the convent of Santa Maria di Basico, her brothers threatened to burn it down if she did not return home, which she did.   But seeing her great desire, they experienced a change of heart.   She finally entered and took her vows, with the name Eustochia, at fifteen-and-a-half years old.Antonello_da_Messina_-_Virgin_Annunciate_-_Galleria_Regionale_della_Sicilia,_Palermo

Unfortunately, Eustochia came to discover that the convent had drifted away from the poverty lived by their foundress, St Clare of Assisi.   For more than a decade, Eustochia struggled to be an authentic Franciscan in the materialistic atmosphere.   She received papal permission to establish a new convent but found resistance to her reforms.    Some friars refused to say Mass at the convent, believing that the sisters’ lifestyle was too strict. Eustochia appealed directly to Church authorities in Rome, who approved of Mother Eustochia’s renewal of Franciscan asceticism and poverty.   The friars who had refused to assist at the convent were threatened with excommunication should they continue to resist.

Eustochia’s holiness drew many women to her community – so many that they soon outgrew the building and moved to Montevergine, near Messina, where their convent still stands.   The local people considered Eustochia their patron and protector and the cloister to be a place of refuge—especially during the earthquakes that rocked the area.

Eustochia was a spiritual mother to her daughters, instructing, educating and training them in the Franciscan life, encouraging them to meditate on the Passion of Christ.   She often led them in two-hour Scripture study sessions.   Eustochia conveyed to her nuns the fruits of asceticism and lovingly infused into their hearts the virtues which she herself practised with admirable constancy and heroism. She taught them to permeate their whole lives with a simple and generous Franciscan spirituality, focusing on their Beloved Suffering Christ, to devote themselves to the Eucharist and to draw all necessary strength and nourishment for daily meditation from an intense, liturgical eustochia undoctored

Eustochia’s love of Jesus in poverty and penance was outstanding.   She wrote a treatise on the Passion, which, unfortunately, is now lost.   Though she never visited the Holy Land, Eustochia had a devotion to the holy places that is reminiscent of Saint Bridget of Sweden  . In fact, she had one of the first sets of the Stations of the Cross (as we know them today) constructed within her convent.

As she lay on her deathbed, Eustochia spoke to her daughters, who had gathered around her, about the Passion of Christ.   She spoke for an hour before passing to her final rest on 20 January 1485.

A few days after her burial, Eustochia’s tomb and body manifested extraordinary phenomena and many people received powerful graces through her intercession.   The sisters wrote a biography of their revered mother and founder.   She was Beatified on 22 June 1987 and Canonised on 11 June 1988 by St Pope John Paul II.canonisation st eustochia

Her incorrupt body rests in the Sanctuary of Montevergine in Messina, the monastery which she established and can be visited twice a week.

In his homily, John Paul II said of St Eustochia:

“Learning assiduously in the school of Christ Crucified, she grew in knowledge of Him and, meditating on the splendid mysteries of grace, she conceived a faithful love for Him.   For our saint, the cloistered life was not a mere flight from the world in order to take refuge in God.   Through the severe penance which she imposed upon herself, she certainly wanted to be united to Christ, gradually eliminating whatever in her, as in every human person, was fallen, at the same time, she felt united to all.   From her cell in the monastery of Montevergine she extended her prayer and the value of her penances to the whole world.   In such a way she wanted to be near to each brother and sister, alleviate every suffering, ask pardon for the sins of all.”

The Body of the Holy Founder is venerated by crowds of devotees, who rely on her intercession to obtain the graces they dream of, while the valid protection of the Saint for the city, especially during public calamities, is officially recognised.   The highest city authorities, still today, in fact, meet in the Church of Montevergine on the occasion of the festivities of 22 August of each year, in fulfilment of an ancient vote of the Senate of Messina, to attend the Divine Sacrifice, pay homage to the illustrious Eustachia.papa-giovanni-paolo-ii-santo-beato-santa-eustochia-calafato-smeralda-messina-1988-canonizzazione-chiesa-barocca-terremoto

One of the miracles in the history of the Saint is linked to this particular protection.   It was the year 1615 and the city was struck, night and day, by appalling earthquakes, so much so that the authorities and the people implored the intercession of the Saint in Montevergine, inviting the nuns to pray for this purpose.   The Poor Clares removed the Body from the oratory, where they keep it and placed it in the choir, in its old stall.

As the evening prayers were about to begin, the body which has been incorrupt for almost two centuries suddenly parted its lips, intoning the first line of a psalm from the Office, which the nuns, terrified and moved, continued crying, especially when the body intoned the “Gloria Patri.”   From that moment the earthquakes ended.

To the constant protection of the city, is added her uninterrupted presence among her spiritual Daughters, who receive clear and unequivocal signs, with which the Saint manifests her will, warns them about what is about to happen.   So it can be said that, even after her death, she continues to be the abbess of the monastery.

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

Memorials of the Saints – 20 January

St Pope Fabian (c 200 – c 250) Martyr (Optional Memorial)

St Sebastian (Died c 288) Martyr (Optional Memorial)

St Ascla of Antinoe
Bl Basil Anthony Marie Moreau
St Basilides the Senator
St Bassus the Senator
Bl Benedict Ricasoli
Bl Bernardo of Poncelli
Bl Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi
St Daniel of Cambron
Bl Didier of Thérouanne
St Eusebius the Senator
St Eustochia Calafato
St Euthymius the Great
St Eustochia Smeraldo Calafato OSC (1434-1485)
St Eutyches the Senator
Fechin of Fobhar
Bl Francesco Paoli
St Henry of Uppsalla
Bl Jeroni Fábregas Camí
St Maria Cristina dell’Immacolata Concezione
St Molagga of Fermoy
St Neophytus of Nicaea
St Stephen Min Kuk-ka
St Wulfsin