Thought for the Day – 2 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Imitation of the Saints
“We are taught by words and we are attracted by examples.
Speech is a wonderful gift from God.
By means of it, we photography our thoughts, as it were and communicate them to others.
We express our wishes and our commands; we give life and colour to the innermost feelings of the heart.
We can employ the spoken word to do great good or to do great evil.
We can teach and educate, or we can deceive and corrupt.
Speech is an extraordinary gift and one day, we shall have to render God a strict account of it.
Learn from the Saints.
They understood perfectly, that they have to account, not only for evil or deceitful words but, “that of every idle word men speak, they shall give account on the day of judgement” (Mt 12:36).
For this reason, their conversation was always impregnated with divine wisdom.
By their instruction and advice, they raised men’s minds to an appreciation of heavenly truths and encouraged them to practice virtue.
They did this, not only by word but, also by example.
Their own lives were a complete theoretical and practical model, which led others towards sanctity.”
Quote/s of the Day – 2 April – The Memorial of St Francis of Paola OM (1416-1507)
“Fix your minds on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Inflamed with love for us, He came down from heaven to redeem us. For our sake He endured every torment of body and soul and shrank from no bodily pain. He Himself gave us an example of perfect patience and love. We, then, are to be patient in adversity.”
“See to it that you refrain from harsh words. But if you do speak them, do not be ashamed to apply the remedy from the same lips, that inflicted the wounds.”
Lenten Reflection – 2 April – Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Genesis 17:3-9, Psalm105:4-9, John 8:51-59
“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”
“Truly, truly, I say to you, if any one keeps my word, he will never see death.”...John 8:51
Daily Meditation: Come to us, free us, help us and guide us.
“See, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah … I will plant my law within them and inscribe it in their hearts. I will be their God and they shall be my people … All shall know me, from the least to the greatest, says the Lord.
The Israel of old was already called the Church of God while it was on pilgrimage through the desert. So the new Israel, as it makes its way in this present age, seeking a city that is to come, a city that will remain, is also known as the Church of Christ, for He acquired it by His own blood, filled it with His Spirit and equipped it with appropriate means, to be a visible and social unity. God has called together the assembly of those, who in faith, look on Jesus, the author of salvation and the principle of unity and peace and so has established the Church to be for each and all, the visible Sacrament of this unity which brings with it salvation.” … An excerpt from Lumen Gentium, #9.
Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually!
Christ our Lord came among us as the light of the world,
that we might walk in His light and not in the darkness of death.
Let us praise Him and cry out to Him:
Let Your word be a lamp to guide us.
God of mercy, help us today to grow in Your likeness,
– that we who sinned in Adam, may rise again in Christ.
Let Your word be a lamp to guide us,
– that we may live the truth and grow always in Your love.
Teach us to be faithful in seeking the common good for Your sake,
– that Your light may shine on the whole human family, by means of your Church.
Touch our hearts to seek Your friendship more and more,
– and to make amends for our sins, against Your wisdom and goodness.
Only What You Will or Will Not By Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
Grant me Your grace,
most merciful Jesus,
so that it may be with me
and work with me
and persevere with me to the end.
Grant that I may always want
and desire that which is
most acceptable and pleasing to You.
Let Your will be mine
and let my will always follow Yours
and be in perfect accord with it.
Let me always will or not will,
the same with You
and may I not be able to will
or not will
what You will or will not.
One Minute Reflection – 2 April – Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Genesis 17:3-9, Psalm 105:4-9, John 8:51-59
“Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I AM. ” So they took up stones to throw at him but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. … John 8:58-59
REFLECTION – “Before Abraham was made, I am.” Recognise the Creator-distinguish the creature. He who spoke was made the seed of Abraham and that Abraham might be made, He Himself was before Abraham.
Hence, as if by the most open of all insults thrown at Abraham, they were now excited to greater bitterness. Of a certainty it seemed to them, that Christ the Lord had uttered blasphemy in saying, “Before Abraham was made, I am.” “Therefore took they up stones to cast at Him.” To what could so great hardness have recourse, save to its like? “But Jesus” [acts] as man, as one in the form of a servant, as lowly, as about to suffer, about to die, about to redeem us with His blood, not as He who is-not as the Word in the beginning and the Word with God. For when they took up stones to cast at Him, what great thing were it had they been instantly swallowed up in the gaping earth and found the inhabitants of hell in place of stones? It were not a great thing to God but better was it that patience should be commended than power exerted. Therefore “He hid Himself” from them, that He might not be stoned. As man, He fled from the stones but woe to those from whose stony hearts God has fled?”… St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor
PRAYER – Lord God, break the bonds of our sin which our weakness have forged to enchain us and in Your loving mercy, forgive Your people’s guilt. Never flee from us in our weakness O Lord and grant us Your salvation. Help us Holy Mother to be the imitators of your Son. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God for all time and eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 2 April – Thursday of the Fifth week of Lent
O Saviour of the World By St Ignatius of Antioch (c 35-c 108) Father of the Church
Lord Jesus Christ,
on the human side
You are sprung from David’s line,
Son of God according to God’s will and power,
born of the Virgin Mary,
baptised by John
and actually Crucified for us in the flesh,
under Pontius Pilate and Herod the Tetrarch.
On the third day, You raised a standard
to rally Your saints and faithful forever
in the one body of Your Church.
By the grace and power of these mysteries,
fit us out with unshakeable faith,
nail us body and soul to Your Cross
and root us in love by Your Blood, shed for us,
O Saviour of the world,
living and reigning, now and forever,
Saint of the Day – 2 April – Blessed Vilmos Apor (1892–1945) Bishop Martyr, Chaplain of the Order of Malta – born as Baron Vilmos Apor de Altorja on 29 February 1892 at Segesvár, Transylvania, Hungary and died by shooting on 2 April 1945 at Gyõr, Hungary. (Also known as – Vilhelm, Gulielmus, William). Patronages – Abuse victims, Sexual abuse victims, Activists, Virgins, Military chaplains.
He became famous for protesting against the persecution of the Hungarian Jewish population and for his steadfast commitment to the poor. His outreach also extended to abuse victims with a particular emphasis on the protection of women – it would be this latter point that saw him sustain fatal injuries leading to his death. The Bishop dedicated himself to being an opponent of both communism and Nazism and used his sermons as a chance to condemn them, at a great personal risk to himself. He was a beloved figure in his Diocese where people hailed him as a great saint upon learning of his death which came as a profound shock and loss to the Diocese he had served during the course of most of the war.
Vilmos Apor de Altorja was born in 1892 as the sixth of eight children to the nobles Baron Gábor Apor (1851–98) and Countess Fidelia Pálffy ab Erdöd (1863–1934); one was stillborn and three died in their childhoods. One sister was Gizella and another was Henrietta who was his junior and an elder brother was Gábor. His elder brother served in World War I but later became a Hungarian delegate to the Vatican until his resignation in 1944 in protest of the German occupation of his homeland. His father died in his childhood due to complications from diabetes. His mother was strict but caring and imparted sage religious instruction to her children. He served as an altar server during his childhood and his love for the Priesthood intensified to the stage where he harboured an interest in becoming a Priest himself. Bishop Miklós Széchnyi was his uncle.
Year one of his initial education saw him teach Henrietta how to read and she often got him to instruct her in catechism. He even asked his mother once for a chalice and missal for Christmas. He attended high school at a Jesuit-run school in Kalksburg where his desires to become a Priest intensified further, despite his initial homesickness. Apor liked Latin as well as historical studies and received outstanding marks in these subjects, while a treatise on the historical Church, earned him a prize. He also liked tennis and swimming. He then transferred to another Jesuit school at Kalocsa.
He decided to begin his studies for the Priesthood despite his mother’s wish that he wait a little while longer – she consented at Christmas in 1909 – and the local Bishop was delighted to receive him in 1910. The Bishop sent him to Innsbruck for further studies with the Jesuits in 1910, where he later received a doctorate in theological studies, the rector there was a relative of his. He was made a subdeacon on 22 August 1915 and was elevated to the diaconate on 23 August.
He received his Ordination to the Priesthood on 24 August 1915 and he celebrated his first Mass on 25 August, with his mother and sisters, Henrietta and Gizella, in attendance. Gabor could not be there because he was on the battlefront and was unable to obtain leave. Vilmos was first sent to Gyula on 31 August 1915 and he preached his first sermon on the following 8 September. On 27 March 1916 he opened an office for the protection of women that became a predominant focus for him on his pastoral mission while on 4 January 1917 he was sent as a chaplain to the Italian front before being transferred as such to Austria and then back to Gyula at the start of 1919 at the end of the war.
Pope Pius XII appointed him as a Bishop in 1941 and he received his Episcopal Consecration a month later. His brother, Gabor, paid for his new Episcopal vestments. He took formal possession of his new Episcopal See on 2 March 1941. On 25 February 1941 – in a unanimous decision – the town council of Gyula made him an honorary citizen, due to his commitment to it’s people and his strong and tireless activism. He became noted for his strong dedication to the poor and his tireless commitment to a range of social justice issues.
In summer 1944 he wrote to the Hungarian Primate Jusztinian Serédi to persuade him to take a strong stance against the government. He also appealed to the Gestapo headquarters in Berlin in an attempt to free the Jews of his Diocese from the ghetto and negotiated with the Nazi command to spare the town from a siege. The introduction of racial laws sought to further make matters worse and so the bishop spoke out for those affected from racial slurs and other forms of persecution. He provided supplies to those Jews being deported through his Diocese and also sheltered those made homeless after air raids in the Episcopal palace while he himself withdrew to a small room for himself.
On the afternoon of 28 March 1945 – Good Friday – as Soviet troops reached his Diocese he offered safe haven to numerous women and children in his residence and also protected women who feared being raped. Four or five drunken Soviet soldiers arrived with the intention of bringing 100 women to their barracks but Apor had them well-hidden in the cellar. He refused to give them up and a long altercation saw an officer making threats with his gun and soon gave chase to a girl who came out of her hiding place, the girl screamed “Uncle Vilmos! Help!” and he ran to her defense and shouted at them: “Out! Get out of here!” The officers turned to leave but one officer turned around and opened fire with a machine gun that shot him three times. Apor suffered a first shot that grazed his forehead as well as a second in the right sleeve of his cassock and the third that perforated his abdomen. Meanwhile the soldiers became frightened and fled the scene.
He lent on the arms of two of his aides and walked towards the cellar with blood coming from his forehead. A doctor administered first aid and his sister, Gizella, aided the doctor in placing her brother on a stretcher. But getting to the hospital took longer due to checkpoints and had to stop several times, since the Russians wanted to inspect the ambulance, the blanket had to be taken off him on these occasions so the Russians could see there was no hidden treasure. Professors Jung and Petz – who had known Apor – performed the operation which seemed to be successful and saw a slight improvement on Holy Saturday when he received the Eucharist, with his sister at his side. He thanked God for having accepted his sacrifice and for the fact that the women he protected were still safe. On Easter his condition deteriorated due to an infection – he made his confession and was given the Anointing of the Sick. He remained lucid with his sister and Doctor Jung at his side, in addition to the nurses and the parish priest.
He died from his injuries not long after, in the afternoon of 2 April 1945, Easter Monday. István Sándor witnessed a stretcher on 3 April being carried from the hospital and saw the bishop’s remains as it was being transported. The funeral was put on hold due to conflict in the area but was carried out within a week of his death. His remains were buried in a Carmelite church as his confessor was the Carmelite priest Erno Szeghy. His remains were later relocated to the Diocesan Cathedral. St Pope John Paul II visited his tomb in 1996.
The theologian and cardinal-elect Hans Urs von Balthasar was his nephew. St Pope John Paul II had named him as Cardinal in 1988 . He died, however, in his home in Basel on 26 June 1988, two days before the ceremony which would have granted him that position, therefore, he is often called “Cardinal” and is also a Servant of God.
St John Paul II confirmed on 7 July 1997 that Blessed Vilmos was killed “in odium fidei” (in hatred of the faith) and thus approved his Beatification. The pope presided over his Beatification on 9 November 1997 in Saint Peter’s Square.
Today, there stands a statue in District XII of Budapest in Hungary in his honour and the place itself has been named Apor Vilmos tér according to the Hungarian standard of name order.
The Collect of the Mass of the Order of Malta on the Memorial of Blessed Vilmos
Almighty and Eternal God, through your grace, Bishop Vilmos, by courageously shedding his blood for his flock, earned a martyr’s crown. Grant that we, despite the difficulties of our daily lives, may do Your will and offer our good works for the salvation of our brothers and sisters. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
St Abundius of Como
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St Appian of Caesarea
St Bronach of Glen-Seichis
St Constantine of Scotland
St Ðaminh Tuoc
Bl Diego Luis de San Vitores-Alonso
St Ebbe the Younger
St Eustace of Luxeuil
St Francis Coll Guitart
St Gregory of Nicomedia
St John Payne
Bl Leopold of Gaiche
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St Nicetius of Lyon St Pedro Calungsod (1654–1672) Martyr His Life and death:st gregory of nicomedia
St Rufus of Glendalough
St Theodora of Tiria
St Urban of Langres
St Victor of Capua Blessed Vilmos Apor (1892–1945) Bishop Martyr
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