Thought for the Day – 24 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Power of God’s Love in the Christian Life
“Everyday, in the lives of the Saints, was a continual act of love of God. This was how they became holy. They loved God intensely all the time. They loved Him above all things. Everything which they thought, desired or did, was directed to Him. Their entire lives were consecrated to Him. We should all desire to be holy, if we do, we must love God with our whole heart, strength and will. Not until then, will every action of ours become meritorious. Holiness is born of the love of God. Without the love of God, everything is futile and useless; our conversation is so much idle chatter; our desires are empty dreams which excite us for a while and then dissolve like bubbles of soap; our actions are unprofitable and our enterprises are not aimed at a true objective; our achievements can inflate us for a time but they will leave us disillusioned at the hour of death. The love of God is necessary for us. He alone is entirely worthy of our affection. Other loves are passing but, this love is eternal. Other loves confuse and trouble us but, the love of God gives us peace of soul. Other loves weaken and vanish with time but, the love of God is the source of all holiness in this life and of eternal happiness in the next. Why, then, do we not forget our worldly preoccupations? Let us give our hearts to God forever and we shall be in possession of the one true happiness which never fades.“
Quote/s of the Day – 24 March – The Memorial of Blessed Didacus Joseph of Cadiz OFM Cap (1743–1801) and Saint Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (1917–1980) Martyr
“By means of our penances we should atone for the sins of our fellowmen and thus preserve ourselves and them from eternal death. It would hardly be too much if we shed the last drop of our blood for their conversion.”
Blessed Didacus Joseph of Cadiz (1743–1801)
“If we are worth anything, it is not because we have more money or more talent, or more human qualities. Insofar, as we are worth anything, it is, because we are grafted onto Christ’s life, His cross and resurrection. That is a person’s measure.”
“There are many things that can only be seen, through eyes that have cried.”
Lenten Reflection – 24 March – Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent, Readings: Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12, Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9, John 5:1-16 and the Memorial of Blessed Didacus Joseph of Cadiz OFM Cap (1743–1801)
“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Bethzatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed. One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. … John 5:2-5 “It was because Jesus did things such as this on the Sabbath that they began to persecute him.” …John 5:16 For me!
We begin to feel the power of the Fourth Gospel.
The “forces” that are opposed in the gospel
have everything to do with the forces at work in my heart.
“Go down, my brothers and put on the Holy Spirit in the waters of baptism;
be united with those spiritual beings who serve our God.
Blessed be He who instituted baptism for the forgiveness of Adam’s sons!
This water is the secret fire that marks His flock with a sign,
with the three spiritual names that confound the Evil one (cf. Rev 3:12). (…)
John bore witness concerning our Saviour:
“He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Mt 3:11).
Here, my brethren, in the true baptism, is that fire and that Spirit.
For baptism is more powerful than Jordan, that little stream,
its waves of water and oil wash away all human sin.
Elisha, by initiating it seven times, purified Naaman of his leprosy (2 Kgs 5:10);
whereas baptism purifies us of sins hidden in our souls.
Moses baptised the people in the sea (1 Cor 10:2)
yet could not cleanse their hearts from within,
Stained, as they were, by sin.
And now here is a Priest, like Moses, who cleanses the soul from its stains
and with oil He marks with a sign, lambs newborn for the Kingdom. (…)
With the water that flowed from the rock, the people’s thirst was quelled (Ex 17:1f.),
See how, through Christ and His spring, is quenched the thirst of nations. (…)
See how, from Christ’s side, there flows a life-giving stream (Jn 19:34),
peoples who thirst have drunk from it and there forgot their affliction.
Pour your dew on my weakness, Lord.
By your blood, forgive my sins.” … St Ephrem (306-373) Father & Doctor of the Church
God the Father has given us His only Son, the Word made human,
to be our food and our life. Let us thank Him and pray:
May the word of Christ dwell among us in all its richness.
Help us this Lenten season to listen more frequently to Your word,
– that we may celebrate the solemnity of Easter
with greater love for Christ, our Paschal Sacrifice.
May Your Holy Spirit be our teacher,
– that we may encourage those in doubt and error to follow what is true and good.
Enable us to enter more deeply into the mystery of Your Anointed One,
– that our lives may reveal Him more effectively.
Purify and renew Your Church in this time of salvation,
– that it may give an ever greater witness to You.
ACT OF CONTRITION
Forgive my sins, O my God, forgive my sins:
the sins of youth,
the sins of age,
the sins of my soul
and the sins of my body,
the sins which, through frailty, I have committed,
my deliberate and grievous sins,
the sins I know and the sins I do not know,
the sins I have laboured so long to hide from others,
that now they are hidden from my own memory,
let me be absolved from all these iniquities
and delivered from the bond of all these evils,
by the Life, Passion and Death
of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
One Minute Reflection – 24 March – Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent, Readings: Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12, Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9, John 5:1-16 and the Memorial of Blessed Didacus Joseph of Cadiz OFM Cap (1743–1801)
So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your pallet.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me said to me, ‘Take up your pallet, and walk.’ ”…John 5:10-11
REFLECTION – “Christian hypocrites, like these, only interested in their formalities. It was a Sabbath? No, you cannot do miracles on the Sabbath, the grace of God cannot work on Sabbath days. They close the door to the grace of God. We have so many in the Church, we have many! It is another sin. The first, those who have the sin of sloth, are not able to go forward with their apostolic zeal, because they have decided to stand firm in themselves, in their sorrows, their resentments, in all of that. Such as these are not capable of bringing salvation because they close the door to salvation.”… Pope Francis – Santa Marta 1 April 2014
PRAYER – God, our Father almighty, You gave us Christ Your Son to be our Bread of life and the message of truth, justice and love. May we live His lessons in every fibre of our being and thus pass from death to life. May the prayers of our Blessed Virgin Mother, your Holy angels, saints and martyrs, of Blessed Didacus Joseph, be an inspiration and a balm in our trials. Through Jesus our Lord with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Saint of the Day – 24 March – Blessed Didacus Joseph of Cadiz OFM Cap (1743–1801) Spanish Capuchin Priest Friar, renowned Preacher, Missionary – Known as the “Apostle of Our Lady, the Mother of the Good Shepherd” and the “Apostle of the Blessed Trinity,” Miracle-worker – born as José Francisco López-Caamaño y García Pérez on 30 March 1747 in Cádiz, Seville, Spain and died on 24 March 1801 in Ronda, Malaga, Spain of natural causes.
José Francisco López-Caamaño y García Pérez was born in Cádiz in 1743. His lineage dated from the Visigoth kings. His mother died when he was 9 years old. Later, his father moved the family to the city of Grazalema, where he entered the local school run by the Dominican Order. Though of noble ancestry, as a youth, Joseph could make no progress at school, receiving the nickname of the “dunce of Cadiz”. A classmate, a Dominican friar named Antonio Querero, testified how difficult study had been for him.
Initially rejected by the Observant Franciscan friars due to this perceived limitation of intellect, López-Caamaño was later accepted by the Capuchin friars and, at the age of 15, entered their novitiate in Seville, at which time he was given the name Didacus Joseph. He was professed as a member of the Order on 31 March 1759. He was Ordained to the Priesthood in Carmona in 1766, for which he prepared himself by an extremely ascetic life.
In 1771, after further training in homiletics, he was assigned to one of the teams of friars who would preach Parish Missions to residents of isolated, rural villages, which was a major focus of the Capuchins of that era. His biographers stated that the congregations marvelled at the tender love he displayed to the Crucifix he would hold while preaching and the singular power of his words, which swayed his audiences and left an impression on their lives. He wandered throughout the entire peninsula on foot, preaching in this way to the various communities he encountered on the road.
Spain was undergoing changes in its intellectual climate, as the influence of the Enlightenment began to spread in the upper classes of the country. Didacus became a major force in promoting the traditional devotions and beliefs of Catholicism as part of the identity of the nation and is seen, as an early integrist in the development of Spanish culture, opposing Liberal Catholicism. He also was a strong critic of the policy of consumerism, being promoted in the universities and some government circles. For this teaching, he was denounced to the Spanish Inquisition for attacking royal prerogatives . In turn, he accused the proponents of new economic policies and the secularisation of Spanish society of heresy. He preached at the Royal Court in 1783 but found that he had no effect on the nobility. Leaving Madrid in disappointment, he later wrote: “I do not want the royal couple to remember me”.
Didacus was appointed an official of the Inquisition, the synodal examiner for almost all Spanish dioceses and an honourary canon. The University of Granada conferred upon him the honourary degrees of Master of Arts and Doctorates in Theology and Canon Law. A collection of his sermons numbers 3,000.
Didacus died in 1801, apparently as a result of yellow fever, at the age of 58, in Ronda, Málaga. His remains are kept for veneration in an urn in the small, simple chapel of Our Lady of Peace in Ronda where he died, on the square now named in the friar’s honor.
He was Beatified by Pope Leo XIII on 22 April 1894.
This unlearned man became a celebrated preacher in Spain and an honourary Doctor of Theology and Canon law! During his sermon one day, a child shouted aloud in the church: “Mother, mother, see the dove resting on the shoulder of Father Didacus! I could preach like that too if a dove told me all that I should say!” Didacus prayed devotedly before his sermons, even scourging himself to the point of blood, in order to draw down God’s mercy upon the people.
Once when his superior chided him because of the austerity of his life, Didacus Joseph replied: “Ah, Father, my sins and the sins of the people compel me to do it. Those who have been charged with the conversion of sinners must remember that the Lord has imposed upon them the sins of all their clients. By means of our penances we should atone for the sins of our fellowmen and thus preserve ourselves and them from eternal death. It would hardly be too much if we shed the last drop of our blood for their conversion.”
Many miraculous events are recorded of his life, these three all took place in the main square of Cadiz. In one, he was able to save the life of a builder who had fallen off a roof, stopping his fall with one hand. On another occasion, a priest passed him while en route to administer the Last Sacraments to a dying person. When the acolyte accompanying the priest pointed out to the friar, that he had not removed his hood (the customary form of reverence to the Blessed Sacrament which the Priest would be carrying), Didacus told him, “Tell the priest that the ciborium is empty.” This turned out to be the case. On yet another occasion, a heavy rainstorm hit the city. The square, where Didacus happened to preaching at the time, was the only spot on which no rain fell.
The 28th Day of Missionary Martyrs + 2020 “In Love and Alive”
A day of prayer and fasting in memory of the missionary Martyrs of the Faith.
The day in which Msgr Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador was assassinated in 1980, was chosen 28 years ago by the then Missionary Youth Movement of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Italy, to celebrate annually the “Day of Prayer and Fasting in memory of the Missionary Martyrs.”
The Archbishop, assassinated while celebrating Mass, was Beatified on 23 May 2015 and Canonised by Pope Francis on 14 October 2018, together with St Paul VI and 5 others.
The Bishops’ Conference of El Salvador, on the occasion of the 40 years since his Martyrdom, had announced a “Jubilee Year of the Martyrs,” to celebrate the National Martyrs – Fr Rutilio Grande, Msgr. Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Fr Cosme Spessotto.
However, this year, the coronavirus emergency has forced the Bishops to suspend all celebrations and gatherings, so this Day in 2020 will not see public initiatives.
The slogan of the 2020 Day is “In Love and Alive” informs Giovanni Rocca, national secretary of Missio Giovani. “A message that holds two meanings within itself. The first, in the qualifying meaning, fully describes those who ardent of love for God the Father and His creatures invested all their time to take care of them. The second is a real imperative, the legacy that the Martyrs received from our Lord by transmitting it to us today. Only those who fall in love are willing to abandon the superfluous, in order to grasp the essence of life. This promise is not only hope for the future but above all a guarantee for the present.” Then an invitation: “Convinced that each of us is a worker in the vineyard of the Lord, on 24 March we join in prayer and fasting in memory of the sisters and brothers who by giving their lives continue to be ‘In love and alive.'”
Various aids are available on the Missio Italia website that were prepared to deepen the theme of the day and proposals for concrete initiatives of prayer and solidarity. Following the directives of the Italian government, Missio Giovani has suspended the scheduled events and offers through its social channels – Facebook and Instagram – contents and moments of confrontation to live this time together. (SL) (The Vatican Missionary Agency – Agenzia Fides, 23/3/2020)
St Pigmenius of Rome
St Romulus of North Africa
St Secundus of North Africa
St Seleucus of Syria
St Severo of Catania
St Timothy of Rome
Martyrs of Africa – 9 saints: A group of Christians murdered for their faith in Africa, date unknown. The only details about their that survive are the names – Aprilis, Autus, Catula, Coliondola, Joseph, Rogatus, Salitor, Saturninus and Victorinus. .
Martyrs of Caesarea – 6 saints: A group of Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know little else but six of their names – Agapius, Alexander, Dionysius, Pausis, Romulus and Timolaus. They were martyred by beheading in 303 at Caesarea, Palestine.