Thought for the Day – 30 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Presence of God
“God sees us always, for He is everywhere. “In Him, we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28)
We did not exist and He produced us from nothing, by His omnipotence.
If He did not support us continually, we should return to nothingness, for conservation is a continuous act of creation.
But He has given us immortal souls and has created us for Himself, so that we may serve, enjoy and love Him for all eternity.
We are always in His Presence.
He sees clearly, everything which we think, desire or do, even our most secret hidden actions.
Do we perfectly grasp this tremendous truth?
Are we aware of it, at every moment of our lives and do we make it the guide for our conduct?
If we were to live continually in the Presence of God, our lives would be angelic, rather than human, for we would not allow ourselves to commit even the slightest sin, nor to be guilty of the least thought, word or action, which might offend Him.
The more we fail in our awareness of the Presence of God, the more disordered our actions become.
Let us resolve, therefore, to live continually in the Presence of God and to direct all our thoughts, desires and actions towards Him.”
Lenten Reflection – 30 March – Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62, Psalm 23, John 8:1-11
“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”
“Neither do I condemn you; go and do not sin again.” … John 8:11
Daily Meditation: Help us to pass from our old life of sin to our new life of grace.
“The Lord Jesus, the Saviour of all, “made himself all things to all men” (1 Cor 9:22) in such a way that He revealed Himself as being smaller than the small, He who was greater than the great. To save a soul who was surprised in adultery and accused by the demons, He lowered Himself to the point of writing on the ground with His finger…. He, Himself, is the holy and sublime ladder that the traveller Jacob saw in his sleep (Gen 28:12),… the ladder that was set up from the earth to God and that God held out to the earth. When He wants, He goes up to God. Sometimes He is accompanied by a few people … and sometimes no-one can follow Him. And when He wants, He joins the crowd… He heals lepers, eats with publicans and sinners… touches the sick to heal them.
Blessed is the soul that can follow the Lord Jesus wherever He goes, going up to the rest of contemplation… and on the other hand, coming down by the practice of charity, following Him to the point of lowering itself in service, of loving poverty, of bearing with (…) fatigue, work, tears, prayer and finally compassion and the passion. For He came in order to obey even to death, to serve and not to be served, not to give gold or silver but His teaching and His help to the many, His life for the many (Mk 10:45)…
So, brethren, may this be the model for your life: (…) to follow Christ by going up to the Father… to follow Christ by going down to your neighbour, refusing no practice of charity, making yourselves all things to all persons.” … Isaac of Stella (c 1100-c 1171) Cistercian Monk, theologian, philosopher – Sermon 12
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Praise to Jesus, our Saviour.
By His death He has opened for us the way of salvation.
Let us ask Him:
Lord, guide Your people to walk in Your ways.
God of mercy, You gave us new life through Baptism,
– make us grow day by day in Your likeness.
May our generosity today bring joy to those in need,
– in helping them may we find You.
Help us to do what is good, right and true in Your sight,
– and to seek You always with undivided hearts.
Forgive our sins against the unity of Your family,
– make us one in heart and spirit.
I Unite My Sacrifice Prayer for Submission to Divine Providence By St Joseph Maria Pignatelli SJ (1737 – 1811)
My God, I do not know
what must come to me today.
But I am certain
that nothing can happen to me
that You have not foreseen, decreed
and ordained from all eternity.
That is sufficient for me.
I adore Your impenetrable
and eternal designs,
to which I submit with all my heart.
I desire, I accept them all
and I unite my sacrifice to that of
Jesus Christ, my Divine Saviour.
I ask in His name
and through His infinite merits,
patience in my trials
and perfect and entire submission,
to all that comes to me
by Your good pleasure.
One Minute Reflection – 30 March – Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62, Psalm 23, John 8:1-11 and the Memorial of St Antoine Daveluy MEP (1818-1866) Martyr
“Neither do I condemn you; go and do not sin again.” … John 8:11
REFLECTION – “The scene is full with drama – the life of that person and also His own life depend on Jesus. Indeed, the hypocritical accusers pretend to entrust the judgement to Him whereas it is actually He, Himself, whom they wish to accuse and judge. Jesus, on the other hand, is “full of grace and truth” (Jn 1: 14) – He can read every human heart, He wants to condemn the sin but save the sinner and unmask hypocrisy. St John the Evangelist highlights one detail – while His accusers are insistently interrogating Him, Jesus bends down and starts writing with His finger on the ground. St Augustine notes that this gesture portrays Christ as the divine legislator, in fact, God wrote the law with His finger on tablets of stone (cf. Commentary on John’s Gospel, 33,5). Thus Jesus is the Legislator, He is Justice in person. And what is His sentence? “Let him who is without sin among you, be the first to throw a stone at her.” These words are full of the disarming power of truth that pulls down the wall of hypocrisy and opens consciences to a greater justice, that of love, in which consists the fulfilment of every precept (cf. Rom 13: 8-10). This is the justice that also saved Saul of Tarsus, transforming him into St Paul (cf. Phil 3: 8-14).
When His accusers “went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest,” Jesus, absolving the woman of her sin, ushers her into a new life oriented to good. “Neither do I condemn you; go and do not sin again.” … Pope Benedict XVI – 21 March 2010
PRAYER – Lord God, Your abounding grace has enriched us with every blessing. Transform us from our sinful condition to newness of life and prepare us for the glory of Your kingdom. Open our eyes to see by the light of Your Son, who always walks with us. Let us lift our eyes to Him, for even now He is preparing for us a place, in His Father’s house. Listen, we pray, to the prayers of all the angels and saints, St Antoine Daveluy a Martyr for Christ, who petition on our behalf and may our Mother Mary, keep ever close to our path. Through Christ, our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for always and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 30 March – Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lord, Kindle our Lamps By St Columban (543-615)
Lord, kindle our lamps,
Saviour most dear to us,
that we may always shine
in Your presence
and always receive light
from You, the Light Perpetual,
so that our own personal darkness
may be overcome
and the world’s darkness
driven from us.
(This is an excerpt from a much longer prayer and is taken from the wonderful Sermon XII by St Columban)
Saint of the Day – 30 March – Saint Marie-Nicolas-Antoine Daveluy MEP (1818-1866) Bishop Martyr, Missionary of the Paris Foreign Missionary Society, Apostolic Vicar to Korea – commonly known as St Antoine Daveluy – born on 16 March 1818 in the parish of Saint-Leu, Amiens, Somme, France and died by beheading on Good Friday, 30 March 1866 at the Galmaemot naval base, Boryeong, Chungcheong-do, South Korea, he was 48, along with two French priests, Pierre Aumaître and Martin-Luc Huin and two lay catechists, Lucas Hwang Sŏk-tu (Bishop Daveluy’s personal assistant) and Joseph Chang Chu-gi. Additional Memorial – 20 September as one of the Martyrs of Korea.
Antoine Daveluy was born 16 March 1818 in Amiens, France. His father was a factory owner, town councilman and government official. The members of his family were devout Catholics and two of his brothers became priests. He entered the St Sulpice Seminary in Issy-les-Moulineaux himself, in October 1834 and was Ordained a Priest on 18 December 1841.
His first assignment was as an assistant Priest in Roye. Despite poor health, he joined the Paris Foreign Missions Society on 4 October 1843. He departed for East Asia on 6 February 1844, intending to serve as a Missionary in the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. He arrived in Macau, where he was persuaded by the newly appointed Apostolic Vicar of Korea, Jean-Joseph-Jean-Baptiste Ferréol, to accompany him there instead. The two were joined by St Andrew Kim Taegŏn, a Korean Seminarian who had been studying for the Priesthood in Macau. They first traveled to Shanghai, where Bishop Ferréol ordained Father Kim on 17 August 1845. The three priests then made a stormy crossing by sea to Korea, arriving in Chungcheong Province in October.
Father Daveluy began work as a Missionary in Korea. Two years later, he was in charge of the Seminary. He then took over the administration of a district, while doing it, he scrupulously prepared a Chinese-Korean-French dictionary, translated several Korean works of history and chronology and revised the books of the Faith.
On 13 November 1855, Pope Pius IX appointed him titular Bishop of Akka and coadjutor to Bishop Siméon-François Berneux, who had been appointed Apostolic Vicar in 1854 after the death of Bishop Ferréol in 1853. He was Consecrated by Bishop Berneux on 25 March 1857.
In 1859 he completed various works for the instruction of Christians, as well as, the the annals of the country’s first Martyrs and wrote biographical notes on most Korean confessors. In the same year, he embarked on a three-month trip to search for and interview, the living witnesses to the persecution of 1801. In October 1802, he sent his work on the history of the mission to the Motherhouse of the Missionary Society in Paris. It is thanks to these documents, often literally reproduced, that Mr Dallet wrote the History of the Church of Korea which, must very largely, be attributed to Bishop Daveluy.
After Bishop Berneux was executed during a campaign by the Korean government against Christians, Bishop Daveluy became Apostolic Vicar on 8 March 1866.
He was promptly arrested on 11 March. Imprisoned and tortured, he staunchly defended his Catholic faith. When he appeared before his judges, he was able, thanks to his in-depth knowledge of the Korean language, to make several long apologetic explanations for Christianity. Perhaps for this reason but above all, because of his dignity as grand master of the Faith in their eyes, he had to suffer more frequently and more severely than his companions – whipping the legs, blows with wooden batons and puncturing with the sharpened rods.
Finally, the court imposed a death sentence against the three prisoners. St Antoine asked to be executed on Good Friday, 30 March. But the king was then sick and numerous sorcerers, assembled in the palace, made to cure him by superstitious ceremonies; moreover, he was soon to celebrate his marriage. It was feared that the torture of the Europeans would harm the effect of the spells and that an outpouring of human blood in the capital, would be an unfortunate omen for the royal wedding. This is why, the regent prescribed that the beheading of the condemned be committed on the peninsula of Syou-yeng, twenty-five miles south of Seoul.
The Bishop and his Priests were led on horseback to the designated place. Their hearts overflowed with joy and, to the astonishment of the officials and the curious, they addressed fervent thanksgiving to God, singing psalms and hymns. On Maundy Thursday, 29 March they had arrived fairly close to Syou-yeng. Archbishop Daveluy heard the officials chatting among themselves, deciding to delay the immolation of the confessors and first to parade them through the neighbouring town. Touched by a strong desire to die on the anniversary of the Saviour’s death, he interrupted them: “No, he cried, what you are saying is impossible. You will go tomorrow, right to the place of execution, because it is tomorrow that we must die.” The prisoner was obeyed and the next day, Good Friday, 30 March 1866, was the day of their Martyrdom.
The mandarin who presided over their torture enjoined the martyrs to bow down to him. It is the custom in Korea for convicts to salute those who kill them. Daveluy replied that he would greet in the French manner and he refused to kneel. A brutal push threw him face down. Another horrific incident marked the death of the holy Bishop, who was beheaded first. The executioner had not set the price for his bloody work. After striking the condemned man with the first blow of his saber, which cut his neck deeply, he stopped and refused to continue, unless he was promised a large sum. The avarice of the mandarin resisted these pretensions. Employees of the prefecture had to be brought together to make a decision. The discussion lasted a long time, the victim struggled on the ground in convulsions of agony, finally the deal was concluded and two new saber strokes delivered the soul of the witness of Jesus Christ.
The bodies of the Martyrs, buried in the sand at the very place of execution by pagans in the neighbourhood, were collected by Christians the following June and buried in the district of Hong-san, 3 miles from the coast. Transferred elsewhere as a result of various circumstances, they were exhumed in March 1882 by order of the preacher, Fr Blanc and in the following November they were sent to Nagasaki (Japan), in order to be protected from any profanation. They were brought back to Korea when there was no longer any fear of persecution and since 1900 they have been buried in the Seoul Cathedral.
Bishop Daveluy was a stubborn zealous worker. He was also distinguished by his spirit of renunciation and mortification, as much as by his perseverance and humility. Unfortunately, due to this humility, his important dictionary and most of his writings had not been sent to the Motherhouse and they were destroyed during the persecution.
All five were Canonised on 6 May 1984 by St Pope John Paul II, along with Father Kim, Bishop Berneux and 96 other Korean martyrs.
St Julio Álvarez Mendoza
St Leonard Murialdo
St Ludovico of Casoria
St Mamertinus of Auxerre St Marie-Nicolas-Antoine Daveluy MEP (1818-1866) Bishop Martyr
Bl Maria Restituta Kafka
St Osburga of Coventry
St Pastor of Orléans
St Patto of Werden
St Peter Regulatus
St Quirinus the Jailer
St Regulus of Scotland
St Regulus of Senlis
St Secundus of Asti
St Zozimus of Syracuse
Martyrs of Constantinople: ourth-century Christians who were exiled, branded on the forehead, imprisoned, tortured, impoverished and murdered during the multi-year persecutions of the Arian Emperor Constantius. They were martyred between 351 and 359 in Constantinople.
Martyrs of Korea:
Iosephus Chang Chu-gi
Lucas Hwang Sok-tu