Thought for the Day – 30 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Divided Heart
“To whom does your heart belong?
To the devil, perhaps?
It may be that you have allowed him to insinuate himself into your soul, so that you have fallen under his tyranny and are trying to find happiness in the satisfaction of your lower impulses.
Remember the warning of St Paul – “If anyone destroys the temple of God, him will God destroy, for holy is the temple of God and this temple you are” (1 Cor 3:17).
If you have fallen this low, you will suffer the penalty decreed by the Holy Spirit – “There is no peace to the wicked” (Is 48:22).
You expected to find satisfaction and you have found disillusionment.
You hoped for peace and found remorse.
Instead of the happiness you expected, you will know only despair, unless you turn back to God immediately.
There is only one way out of your predicament, the way chosen by the prodigal son – “I will get up and go to my father” (Lk 15:18).
Rise up, then and cast yourself into the merciful arms of your heavenly Father, Who is waiting for you.
There, you will find that peace of soul, which will remain with you until you die.
If you never allow your heart to be separated from God again, this peace will flower into eternal happiness in the next life.”
One Minute Reflection – 30 April – Thursday of the Third Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 8:26-40, Responsorial Psalm 66(65):8-9.16-17.20, John 6:44-51 and the Feast of Our Lady of Africa
“No-one can come to me, unless the Father who sent me, draw him” … John 6:44
REFLECTION – “Mother, I think it is necessary to give a few more explanations on the passage in the Canticle of Canticles: “Draw me, we shall run in the odour of your ointments” (Sg 1:4 LXX). … “No-one can come after me, unless the Father who sent me draws him,” Jesus said. Again … He teaches us that it enough to knock and it will be opened, to seek in order to find, to hold out one’s hand humbly to receive what is asked for (Mt 7:8f, Lk 11:9f). He says that everything we ask the Father in His name, He will grant it (Jn 16:23)….
What is it then to ask to be “Drawn” if not to be united in an intimate way to the object which captivates our heart? If fire and iron had the use of reason and if the latter said to the other, “Draw me,” would it not prove that it desires to be identified with the fire in such a way that the fire penetrate and drink it up with its burning substance and seem to become one with it? Dear Mother, this is my prayer. I ask Jesus to draw me into the flames of His love, to unite me so closely to Him that He live and act in me. I feel that the more the fire of love burns within my heart, the more I shall say: “Draw me,” the more also the souls who will approach me (poor little piece of iron, useless if I withdraw from the divine furnace), the more these souls will run swiftly in the odour of the ointments of their Beloved, for a soul that is burning with love cannot remain inactive. No doubt, she will remain at Jesus’ feet as did Mary Magdalene and she will listen to His sweet and burning words. Appearing to do nothing, she will give much more than Martha (Lk 10:39ff.)” … St Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1873-1897) Doctor of the Church – Autobiographical Ms. C 35
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, in Your Word, You shed the light of Your glory on the peoples who are living in the shadow of death. By Your Word, You teach us all things and ‘draw’ us in the way of hope and love. For Your Word is Truth and Your Word became flesh and filled our world with the Sun of Justice, Your Son, He who is the Sun and the Truth. May our steps be guided by His Mother, Our Lady of Africa, as we follow in the footsteps of Your Word and be a protection in our trials. Through Christ, our Lord Jesus, with You in union with the Holy Spirit, now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 30 April – Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
“Let us Pray together, entrusting ourselves to the intercession of St Joseph, Guardian of the Holy Church, the Holy Family, Guardian of all our families. Even the carpenter of Nazareth knew precariousness and bitterness. Though he worried about the future, he knew how to walk the darkness of certain moments, always letting himself be guided by God’s will without reservation.” ... -Pope Francis, 18 March 2020
Prayer to St Joseph For the Opening of our Churches Adapted from a Prayer by Pope Francis
Protect, O Holy Guardian, this our Holy Church.
Enlighten our Bishops,
so that they might know — like you do —
how to care for those entrusted to their responsibility.
Bless, O St Joseph, the Church,
beginning with her ministers,
make her the sign and instrument
of your light and your goodness.
Accompany, us O St Joseph,
as we await the re-opening of our Churches.
We are bereft and suffering without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The Food for our journey is necessary to grant us strength,
although we call Our Lord to come to our hearts,
we miss His Real Presence.
Preserve the elderly from loneliness,
especially those who are recipients of the Holy Eucharist
in their homes, grant that no-one might be left in desperation
from abandonment and discouragement.
Comfort those who are the most frail,
encourage those who falter in faith,
strengthen all of us,
intercede for the poor.
With the Virgin Mother, beg the Lord to liberate the world
from every form of suffering and want
and to come back to us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Saint of the Day – 30 April – Saint Erconwald of London (Died c 693) “The Light of London” – Bishop, Monk, Abbot, Confessor, known as a miracle-worker, founder of a Monastery and Convent – born in the 7th century in East Anglia, Enland and died in c 693 in London. He was the Bishop of London between 675 and 693, until his death. Patronages – of London, against gout. Also known as Earconvaldo, Erkenwald, Erkenwold, Erkonwald.
Saint Erconwald was born at “Stallyngeton in Lindsey” (possibly Stallingborough, near Grimsby) in the early seventh century. His father is variously described as Anna or Offa, King of East Anglia and a pagan. Erconwald was converted to Christianity at an early age by St Mellitus, the companion of Augustine and first Bishop of London. He then converted his younger sister Ethelburga and Baptised her, much to the fury of their father. Ethelburga eventually fled her parents’ home with one servant to escape being forced into marriage with a pagan.
In the year 666 Erconwald founded the Monastery of Chertsey, on an island in the Thames, apparently at the junction of several kingdoms. It is described as being founded in the reign of King Egbert, King of Kent . The foundation was confirmed and richly endowed, by Frithwald, Viceroy of Surrey, under Wulfhere King of Mercia. The Viceroy put himself and his son under obedience to Erconwald in return for prayers. Wulfhere confirmed this endowment. There is a further charter of Frithwald and Erconwald, to increase the lands of the Monastery.
Shortly after this Erconwald founded a Convent at Barking in Essex, intended to be a refuge for his sister Ethelburga. The foundation charter, countersigned by Hodilred, King of Essex, provides us with a specimen of the saint’s handwriting. In the course of building the house at Barking one beam was found to be too short and was miraculously extended to the correct length by Erconwald and his sister.
Erconwald remained as Abbot of Chertsey until 675 when he was Consecrated third Bishop of London by St Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury. St Erconwald appears to have been the first resident Bishop and probably began the building of St Paul’s, although traditionally this was adapted from a pagan temple of old Londinium. In 677 he visited Rome and obtained a number of privileges for his Diocese and Monastery from Pope Agatho I.
During his time as Bishop, Erconwald became noted for miracles and for evangelisation. He instructed St Neot, afterwards of Crowland Abbey and the two Kings of Essex, Sebbi and Sigheri, the former of whom afterwards became a Hermit in St Paul’s under Erconwald’s successor Waldhere.
In 690 Erconwald was summoned, together with St Wilfrid, to the deathbed of St Theodore. Both ministered to him but Theodore was more concerned to speak to Wilfrid, whom he wished to succeed him. In 692 King Ine of Wessex mentions his “Father Erconwald” who assisted him in codifying the Laws of Wessex.
Thus Erconwald is associated with the Kings of East Anglia, Mercia, Essex, Wessex and Kent, all of whom seem to have had interests centering in the Chertsey area. The King of Sussex, Æthelwealh, was godson to Wulfhere of Mercia, so six of the Seven Kingdoms are involved in his story.
Towards the end of his life Erconwald was confined to a wheelchair, about which many stories are told. On one occasion a raging river parted to allow the Saint to cross in his chair, on another one wheel fell off but the chair miraculously did not upset. After his death many miracles of the curing of illnesses were worked by the same wheelchair.
In 693 Brithwald, Archbishop of Canterbury, consecrated Waldhere as fourth Bishop of London, so it seems likely that Erconwald died in that year, on 30 April. He died while on retreat at Barking Abbey and there was the usual unseemly dispute over who should have the burying of him, between Barking, Chertsey and London. The Canons of St Paul’s prevailed and despite a last-ditch attempt by the nuns of Barking, succeeded in capping their miracle with a greater. (The nuns prayed for rain to swell the river at Ilford to make it impossible for the cortege to cross and to extinguish the candles but the men of London persuaded the candles to relight and the river to part again so that they crossed dry-shod.) Despite all this he was buried in a common earthen grave where he remained until 1087 when a fire destroyed the Cathedral and everything in it, except the coffin containing his remains. These were then translated to a splendid new shrine behind the high altar, where they remained right up to the Great Fire of London of 1666, despite the depredations of the Reformation. He was venerated throughout the Middle Ages and today his Memorial is 30 April with further celebration remembering him on the Translations of his relics, being celebrated on 1 February and 13 May.
Our Lady, Mother of Africa: (Feast) North Africa, the land of Saints Monica, Augustine, among others, as part of Roman Empire began to become Christian in the 3rd century under Emperor Constantine. It remained Christian until the Arab invasions in later centuries. The French re-established themselves early in the 19th century.
The first bishop, Bishop Dupuch found it impossible to build a church because the local population was hostile to the French. He went back to France for assistance. The Sodality of Our Lady in Lyon offered to the bishop a bronze statue of the Immaculate Conception with the understanding that she would be the Protectress of both the Mohammedans and the natives. It was brought from France in 1840 and was entrusted to the Cistercian monks of Staueli. Later, Cardinal Lavigiers, founder of the White Sisters, enshrined it in the new basilica at Algiers, where in 1876 the image was crowned. This bronze statue, very dark in colour, is known as Our Lady of Africa.
Pilgrims began to come to venerate the image where the lame, the blind and the crippled were miraculously healed and sailors came also, to beg for protection of their long and perilous voyages. At this and other North African shrines the veneration given to Mary by Mohammedans is very marked. This feast commemorates the crowning of the Algiers statue.
St Adjutor of Vernon
St Aimo of Savigny
St Amator of Córdoba
St Aphrodisius of Alexandria
St Dedë Plani
St Diodoro of Aphrodisias
St Donatus of Euraea St Erconwald of London (Died c 693) “The Light of London”
St Lawrence of Novara
St Louis of Córdoba
St Mariano of Acerenza
St Maximus of Ephesus
St Mercurialis of Forlì
St Peter of Córdoba
St Pomponius of Naples
St Quirinus of Rome
St Rodopiano of Aphrodisias
St Sophia of Fermo
St Swithbert the Younger
Bl Ventura of Spello
Bl William Southerne
Thought for the Day – 29 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Dignity and Responsibility of Being a Christian
“It is a great dignity to be a Christian.
By Baptism, we become sons of God, heirs to Heaven, temples of the Holy Spirit and members of the Mystical Body of Jesus, which is the Church.
God’s grace raises us to the supernatural order and makes us, as St Paul expresses it, sharers in the divine nature.
By the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Holy Spirit fortifies our faith and gives us the strength to resist the temptations of the devil and to fight like loyal soldiers, for the triumph in ourselves and in others, of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
The Sacrament of Penance, is our plank of salvation in the shipwreck of sin.
Although, we are all wretched sinners, by this give of the divine mercy, we can recover our lost innocence and return to the grace and friendship of God.
Moreover, in order to prevent us from falling back into sin, Jesus give us Himself in the Blessed Eucharist, which is called, by St Thomas Aquinas, the greatest miracle of His infinite love (Opusculum 56, Officium de festo Corporis Christi, lectures 1-4).
But this is not all.
If it is our vocation for form a family, God consecrates our union at the altar and gives us the graces necessary, to sanctify it, so that it may produce a good Christian family.
If God has called us, on the other hand, to become spiritual fathers of the souls redeemed by His Precious Blood, He raises us to this high dignity, by the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
Finally, when we shall have come to the end of our mortal lives, the Priest will be still by our side, to wash away, by the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, the last traces of sin and to comfort us in our passage to eternity.
The whole life of a Christian, is a chain of favours which accompany him, from the cradle to the grave.
We should be grateful to God for the goodness with which He has treated us and continues to treat us.
We should co-operate generously with His gifts by recognising the lofty honour it is, to be a Christian and by living in accordance with this dignity.”