Please join me in wishing our beloved Pope Emeritus on his Birthday.
On Holy Saturday, 93 years ago today, Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger was born and Baptised. This baby was destined to be our Holy Father from 19 April 2005 to 26 February 2013.
This year’s birthday will be different given the restrictions and lockdowns in place, across Italy, Europe and the world, which will not permit his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, to join him this year.
Yet, “we are doing well,” Benedict’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein says.
Let us all pray a Rosary for beloved Pope Benedict today!
Thought for the Day – 16 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Road to Calvary
After having been condemned to death, Jesus is delivered into the hands of the Jews to be crucified as a malefactor.
Two rough beams of wood are fixed together, in the form of a cross and placed upon His shoulders.
He is already worn out with suffering and has lost large quantities of blood as a result of the scourging and of the crowing with thorns.
Jesus does not reject the Cross, but embraces it.
He has come into this world to show forth His infinite love and to redeem us from our sins by His suffering and death.
In the garden of Gethsemane, He has said with sublime resignation to the Heavenly Father: “Not my will but thine be done” (Lk 22:42).
The Cross is too heavy for His human strength but what does that matter?
He embraces it, takes it upon His weary shoulders and sets out for Calvary.
Perhaps we have often kissed the Crucifix with reverence and affection.
Let us keep it hanging upon the walls of our home where we can gaze on it, with love and hope.
Let us pray before it in our moments of need.
But what about our own cross?
Do we love our cross as Jesus loved His?
Do we embrace it as Jesus did?
Do we bow willingly beneath the load as He did and, do we carry it, with resignation and without useless complaints?
It is not enough to love the Crucifix.
We must love our own cross as well, in silence and in prayer, knowing, that only in this way, can we imitate Jesus, Who has said to us: “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk 9:23).
Quote/s of the Day – 16 April – Easter Thursday, Readings: Acts 3:11-26, Psalm 8:2, 5-9, Luke 24:35-48 and the Memorial of St Benedict Joseph Labre (1748-1783)
“… And said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead and repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations…”
“Repentance lifts a man up. Mourning knocks at heaven’s gate. Holy humility opens it.”
St John Climacus (579-649)
“The Ladder of Divine Ascent” (Step 25)
“Meditate on the horrors of Hell, which will last for eternity because of one easily-committed mortal sin. Try hard to be among the few who are chosen. Think of the eternal flames of Hell and how few there are that are saved.”
“The want of proper examination, true contrition and a firm purpose of amendment, is the cause of bad confessions and of the ruin of souls.”
St Benedict Joseph Labre (1748-1783)
“The Beggar of Perpetual Adoration”
“The saints understood how great an outrage sin is against God. Some of them passed their lives in weeping for their sins. St Peter wept all his life; he was still weeping at his death. St Bernard used to say, ‘Lord! Lord! it is I who fastened You to the Cross!’”
One Minute Reflection -– 16 April – Easter Thursday, Readings: Acts 3:11-26, Psalm 8:2, 5-9, Luke 24:35-48
“You are witnesses of these things” ... Luke 24:48
REFLECTION – “After His Resurrection, the Lord appeared to His disciples and greeted them, saying: “Peace be with you!” Peace is what this saving salutation truly is, since the word “salutation” derives from the word for “salvation.” What more could one hope for? Man receives greetings of salvation in person, for our salvation is Christ. Yes, He is our salvation, He who was wounded for our sake and nailed to the tree, then descended from the tree and placed in a tomb. But He is risen from the tomb and His wounds are healed, although still keeping their scars. That His scars remain, is a help to His disciples, so that the wounds in their hearts, might be healed. What wounds are these? The wounds of their unbelief. He appeared before their eyes in a genuine bodily form and “they thought they were seeing a ghost.” This is no light wound to their heart. (…)
But what does the Lord Jesus say? “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?” It is good for man, not that thoughts should arise in his heart but that his heart should arise – arise, that is to say, to where the apostle Paul wanted to set the hearts of the faithful, when he said to them: “If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory” (Col 3:1-4). What glory is this? The glory of the resurrection. (…)
As for us, we believe in the word of these disciples without their having shown us the Saviour’s risen body. (…) But at that time, such an event seemed unbelievable. And so, our Saviour led them to believe, not by sight alone but by touch, so that by means of the senses, faith might enter their hearts and be preached throughout the world, to those who had neither seen nor touched but who, nevertheless, would believe unhesitatingly (cf. Jn 20:29).” … St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church – Sermon 116; PL 38, 657
PRAYER – Lord God, let there be one faith in our hearts, one love for You, one Way in You, for You are the One Truth and the only Way. We linger in Your light and beg Your unending kindness. Grant that by the prayers of Your saints we may obtain Your strength and may Your Mother and ours, walk by our side and hold fast to our hand. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for always and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 15 April – Thursday of Easter week
Grant us Your Light, O Lord By St Bede (673-735) Father and Doctor of the Church
Grant us Your light, O Lord,
so that the darkness of our hearts,
may wholly pass away
and we may come at last,
to the light of Christ.
For Christ is that morning star,
who, when the night of this world has passed,
brings to His saints,
the promised light of life
and opens to them,
Saint of the Day – 16 April – Saint Fructuosus of Braga (Died 665) Archbishop of Braga, Spain, Hermit, Confessor, Monk, Abbot, a great Founder of Monasteries – born in the early 7th century in Spain and died on 16 April 665 of natural causes. Patronage – Braga.
He was the son of a Duke in the region of Bierzo and at a young age accompanied his father on official trips over his estates. After the death of his parents, Fructuosus first sought instruction from the Bishop of Palencia, studying theology in the Seminary. Fructuosus then sold his estates and distributed most of the proceeds among the poor but saved a portion to establish Monasteries. He initially retired as a hermit to a desert in Galicia. Many pupils gathered around him and thus originated the Monastery of Complutum in the El Bierzo region, over which he himself at first presided, later, he appointed an Abbot and again retired into the desert. In the course of time, he founded nine other Monasteries, including one for women under the Abbess Benedicta.
We have two extant rules composed by Fructuosus – one called Complutum, the other the common rule. Whole families embraced his rule in community refuges, which he established based on the Rule of Saint Benedict.
His relationship with the kings of his time was not always happy one. In 652, he wrote,what was apparently a second letter, to King Recceswinth asking for the release of political prisoners held from the reign of King Chintila, some of whom had languished in prison until the reign of King Erwig. (I can’t resist posting this image I found of King Chintila, at least it is helpful to establish the times in your minds.)
He was later present at the Eighth Council of Toledo in 653, in place of Bishop Riccimer of Dumio. It was at this Council that Fructuosus raised the issue of political prisoners once again. After the death of Bishop Riccimer, Fructuosus succeeded him in the See of Dumio in 654. In 656, he undertook to plan for a voyage to the Levant. However, according to the new laws enacted by King Chindasvinth, it was illegal to leave the kingdom without royal permission. One of the few disciples privy to his plans had given him up to authorities and Fructuosus was subsequently arrested and imprisoned but soon released.
Bishop Fructuosus attended the Tenth Council of Toledo in December 656. The last will and testament of the recently deceased bishop Riccimer, was disputed by those who saw his freeing of slaves and distribution of church rents to the poor was responsible for the subsequent impoverishment of that see. The Council agreed that, by not providing compensation, Bishop Riccimer had obviated his duty and the acts of his will were rendered invalid. They gave the job of correcting the problem to Fructuosus and commanded him to take moderation in the case of the slaves. At the same Council, Archbishop Potamius of Braga was remanded to a monastery for licentiousness and his archdiocese was given to St Fructuosus on 1 December 656, thus he became an Archbishop.
Fructuosus dressed so poorly as to be mistaken for a slave and he even received a beating from a peasant, from which he was only saved by a miracle (according to the monastic chroniclers). His Vita is one of the chief sources for writing the history of his age.
His innocence and virtue were no security from the shafts of envy but he overcame injuries by meekness and patience and died, laid on ashes before the altar, as he desired, on the 16th of April, 665. His relics, which for a time were in the Cathedral of Braga, were later transferred to the Shrine of Santiago de Compostela in the year 1102. They were returned to their original location in 1966. Fructuosus is depicted with a stag, which was devoted to him, because he had been saved it from hunters. Below is the story from “The Little Bollandists” by Monsignor Paul Guérin, 1882:
One day he was going through a forest, when a roe, pursued by hunters, took refuge under his cloak. The Saint took the animal under his protection and brought it to the monastery, the grateful beast never left it’s liberator, it followed him about all day, slept at his feet at night and never ceased to cry when he was absent. More than once, he had it taken back to the forest but it always found the track of its deliverer’s footprints. At last it was one day killed by a young man who disliked monks. Fructuosus was absent for a few days and, on his return, he was surprised not to see his roe run to meet him and when he heard that it was dead, he was overcome with grief, his knees trembled and he prostrated himself on the floor of the church. It is not related whether this was to ask God to punish the cruel man but the latter soon fell ill and sent for the Father to come to his assistance. Fructuosus took the revenge of a noble Visigoth and Christian. He cured the murderer of his roe and restored him to health both of soul and body. It is related of him that, wishing to escape the homage of the people, he retired into the depth of the forest and that the jays which he had brought up in the Monastery, sought him out and betrayed the place of his retreat by the joyous chattering with which they greeted him. Fructuosus is painted with a roe and jays as his emblems.
St Herveus of Tours
Bl Joachim Piccolomini
St Lambert of Saragossa
St Lambert of Saragossa
St Magnus of Orkney
St Turibius of Astorga
St William Gnoffi
Martyrs of Avrillé – 26 beati: – A group of lay people who were executed together for their faith during the anti-Christian persecutions of the French Revolution. They were martyred on 16 April 1794 at Avrillé, Maine-et-Loire, France.
• Blessed Anne Maugrain
• Blessed François Micheneau veuve Gillot
• Blessed François Suhard veuve Ménard
• Blessed Jean Ménard
• Blessed Jeanne Gourdon veuve Moreau
• Blessed Jeanne Leduc épouse Paquier
• Blessed Jeanne Onillon veuve Onillon
• Blessed Jeanne Thomas veuve Delaunay
• Blessed Madeleine Cady épouse Desvignes
• Blessed Madeleine Sallé épouse Havard
• Blessed Marguerite Robin
• Blessed Marie Forestier
• Blessed Marie Gingueneau veuve Coiffard
• Blessed Marie Lardeux
• Blessed Marie Piou épouse Supiot
• Blessed Marie Rechard
• Blessed Marie Roger veuve Chartier
• Blessed Marie-Genevieve Poulain de la Forestrie
• Blessed Marthe Poulain de la Forestrie
• Blessed Perrine Bourigault
• Blessed Perrine Laurent
• Blessed Perrine Pottier épouse Turpault
• Blessed Pierre Delépine
• Blessed Renée Bourgeais veuve Juret
• Blessed Renée Rigault épouse Papin
• Blessed Renée Sechet veuve Davy
16 April 1794 at Avrillé, Maine-et-Loire, France – Beatified: 19 February 1984 by Pope John Paul II at Rome, Italy
Martyrs of Corinth – 9 saints: A group of nine Christians who were tortured and martyred together in the persecutions of Decius. We know little more than three of their names – Callistus, Charisius and Leonide. They were thrown into the sea at Corinth, Greece c250
Martyrs of Saragossa: Group of eighteen martyrs murdered in 304 in Saragossa, Spain in the persecutions of Diocletian and the prefect Dacean. We know little more than the names – Apodemus, Caecilian, Caius, Crementius, Engratia, Eventius, Felix, Fronto, Gaius, Julia, Lambert, Lupercus, Martial, Optatus, Primitivus, Publius, Quintilian, Saturnius (4 men of this name), Succesus and Urban. Their graves re-discovered in 1389 in the crypt under the church of San Encrazia in Saragossa.