Thought for the Day – 22 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Feast of Pentecost
We are still in need of the Holy Spirit today, to enlighten and strengthen us.
We are essentially so imperfect and so weak.
Around us, there is a corrupt society, perhaps, more depraved and more perilous than that which confronted the Apostles.
A veneer of refinement and civilisation endows modern society with a deceptive lustre but, at it’s heart, there is misery and rottenness, much greater than any which our fathers ever knew.
This is because, in our times, progress has become, for many, an instrument of sin.
Today we have to contend with, not merely the existence of evil but, with it’s industrialisation.
Evil is bought and sold; it is propagated for profit!
We need the Spirit of God to disperse the forces of corruption, to transform us, as He transformed the Apostles and, to help us to make others good.
Quote/s of the Day – 23 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Tuesday of the Twelfth week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: 2 Kings 19:9-11, 14-21, 31-36, Psalm 48:2-4, 10-11, Matthew 7:6, 12-14 and The Memorial of St Joseph Cafasso (1811-1860)
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction and those who enter by it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit because without me, you can do nothing.”
“We give glory to You, Lord, who raised up Your Cross to span the jaws of death like a bridge by which souls might pass from the region of the dead to the land of the living. .. You are incontestably alive. Your murderers sowed Your living body in the earth as farmers sow grain but it sprang up and yielded an abundant harvest of men raised from the dead.”
St Ephrem (306-373)
Father and Doctor of the Church
“God is not a deceiver, that He should offer to support us and then, when we lean upon Him, should slip away from us.”
St Augustine (354-430)
Father and Doctor of the Church
“He is the one who teaches the truth of prophecy through His presence and makes obedience to the commandments possible, through grace.”
St Pope Leo the Great (400-461)
Father and Doctor of the Church
“He who trusts in himself is lost. He who trusts in God can do all things.”
St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Most Zealous Doctor
“Celebrate the feast of Christmas everyday, even every moment in the interior temple of your spirit, remaining like a baby in the bosom of the heavenly Father, where you will be reborn, each moment, in the Divine Word, Jesus Christ.”
One Minute Reflection – 23 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Tuesday of the Twelfth week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: 2 Kings 19:9-11, 14-21, 31-36, Psalm 48:2-4, 10-11, Matthew 7:6, 12-14
“The road that leads to life” … Matthew 7:14
REFLECTION – “This, beloved, is the way in which we found our salvation, Jesus Christ, the High Priest who offers our gifts, the patron and helper in our weakness (Heb 10:20; 7:27; 4:15). It is through Him, that we look straight at the heavens above. Through Him, we see mirrored, God’s faultless and transcendent countenance. Through Him, the eyes of our heart were opened. Through Him, our unintelligent and darkened mind shoots up into the light. Through Him, the Master was pleased to let us taste the knowledge that never fades, He who is “the radiance of His splendour, who towers as much above the angels, as the title He has inherited, is superior to theirs” (He 1:3-4) (…)
Let us take our body. The head is nothing without the feet and the feet are nothing without the head. The smallest organs of our body are necessary and valuable to the whole body, in fact, all parts conspire and yield the same obedience, toward maintaining the whole of the body (cf.1 Co 12:12f.).
Therefore, let the whole of our body be maintained in Christ Jesus and let each submit to their neighbour’s rights in the measure determined by the special gift bestowed on them. Let the strong care for the weak and the weak respect the strong; let the rich support the poor and the poor render thanks to God for giving them the means of supplying their needs; let the wise show their wisdom, not in words but in active help; the humble must not testify to themselves but leave it to another to testify in their behalf. Those who are continent must not boast, knowing that it is another who confers on them the ability to remain continent.
Let us, therefore reflect, brethren, of what clay we were made, what and who we were when we entered the world, out of what grave and darkness, our Maker and Creator has brought us into the world, where He has prepared His benefits before our birth. Since, then, we owe all these blessings to Him, we are obliged to thank Him in every way.” … St Pope Clement I (c 35 – c 99)- Pope from c 90 to c 99 – Letter to the Corinthians, § 36-38
PRAYER – The Elder Brother’s Prayer
Teach me, my Lord,
to be sweet and gentle in all the events of life,
in the thoughtlessness of those I trusted,
in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied.
Let me put myself aside,
to think of the happiness of others,
to hide my little pains and heartaches,
so that I may be the only one to suffer from them.
Teach me to profit by the suffering
that comes across my path.
Let me so use it that it may make me
patient, not irritable.
That it may make me broad in my forgiveness,
not narrow, haughty and overbearing.
May no one be less good
for having come within my influence.
No one less pure, less true, less kind,
less noble for having been a fellow traveller
in our journey toward Eternal Life.
As I go my rounds from one distraction to another,
let me whisper from time to time,
a word of love to Thee.
May my life be lived in the supernatural,
full of power for good,
and strong in its purpose of sanctity.
Saint of the Day – 23 June – Saint Lanfranco Beccari (c 1134-1198) Bishop of Pavia, Italy, Defender of the Rights of the Church, Apostle of prayer of the poor and those in situations of distress, miracle-worker – born in c 1124 at Gropello, Pavia, Italy and died on 23 June 1198 at the Vallombrosan Monastery of the Holy Sepulchre near Pavia, Italy of natural causes.Also known as St Lanfrancoof Pavia.
Born of a noble family in Gropello in the province of Pavia around 1134, Lanfranco was assigned the role of Bishop for his city by Alexander III.
Very kind to good people but uncompromising to the unjust, he led an exemplary life, characterised by devoted life of intense prayer and charity towards the needy.
He had heated discussions against the city civil authorities who wanted to take possession of various ecclesiastical goods. For this reason, finding himself almost forced to leave Pavia, he went to Rome to find comfort and support from the Pope.
When he returned to Pavia, now tired of the constant problems that public life was giving him, he decided to retire to the Vallombrosan Monastery of the Holy Sepuchre, where he remained until his death, which took place on 23 June 1198.
The above passage comes from what is written in the letter sent by Pope Innocent III to the Bishop of Faenza, Bernardo, on 8 August 1198, in which the passage to the Diocese of Pavia, Bernardo was proposed as successor to the late Lanfranco. And it was Bernardo himself who, as successor Bishop, wrote the first biography of Lanfranco.
There is little information relating to the first years of the Monastery’s life. The most significant period coincided with the years in which Lanfranco Beccari was Bishop of Pavia. Lanfranco, Consecrated Bishop of Pavia by Pope Alexander III in 1159, was often a guest of the Monastery. Lanfranco decided to spend the last years of his life in the Monastery and was buried here, in a reputation for holiness. After his death on 23 June 1198, the Church and Monastery were dedicated to him.
In the Church there is a sepulchral marble ark which houses the body of San Lanfranco Beccari. It is the work of Giovanni Antonio Amadeo , the great Italian sculptor and architect who worked in Pavia for both the Certosa and the Cathedral together with Bramante. The construction of the ark dates back to 1489 and took place on commission of the abbot and cardinal Pietro Pallavicini de ‘Scipione.
The sarcophagus is divided into squares with depictions of the Saint’s life:
On the left: Lanfranco heals a mute young man. On the front: In the Atrium of San Siro he receives the consuls (you can see the two cathedrals and the statue of the Regisole). On his return from exile, he is welcomed by the new consuls (the character on the right, half hidden by a figure from behind, would have the appearance of Amadeo). Praying to the Virgin in her retreat with the Vallombrosan monks . Right: The young Gelasia condemned on the false charge of poisoning her brother comes out of the stake . In the back: Healing of the Pavese jurisconsult Pietro Negri; Giovanni Brunelli attacked by brigands and tied in the bush, manages to untie himself with the help of the Saint. Alberto da Novara, a repentant criminal, is saved from hanging .
There are also other relief panels with scenes from the life of Christ and the Blessed Virgin – the Annunciation , the Visitation , the Nativity , the Presentation in the temple , Jesus healing the sick , the Crucifixion.
In the central nave, in the middle of the right side, a fresco, unfortunately only partially extant, painted between 1173 and 1198 is particularly interesting. It depicts the assassination of the Archbishop of Canterbury St Thomas á Becket on 29 December 1170 in Canterbury Cathedral, at the hands of some assassins sent by King Henry II of England. The king decided to commission the murder as Becket, much loved by the people and once his special adviser, had begun to reproach him for his dissolute and violent life and divorce choices. In the fresco there are three knights with a sword in the act of killing the Archbishop.
The fresco was created to indicate the parallel between the events of the life of St Thomas á Becket and those of the Pavese Bishop Lanfranco Beccari – as Becket had opposed King Henry of England who limited the freedom of the English clergy, an opposition that pushed him to Rome to ask help to the Pope and who, in the end, paid with his life. In the same way, St Lanfranco, a few decades later, came into sharp conflict with the Pavia authorities and was forced to ask the Pope for help – he was not killed but retired to the Monastery leading a solitary life.
Next to Becket’s fresco, on the left, the figure of the same Bishop Lanfranco is repeated, with red chasuble and pallium, mitre and pastoral, in a blessing gesture with ring finger and little finger joined to the Greek.
St Lanfranco Beccari (c 1134-1198) Bishop
Bl Lupo de Paredes
Bl Mary of Oignies
St Moeliai of Nendrum
Bl Peter of Juilly
Bl Thomas Corsini of Orvieto
St Thomas Garnet
Bl Walhere of Dinant
St Zenas of Philadelphia
St Zeno of Philadelphia
Martyrs of Ancyra: A family of converts who were arrested, tortured and sent in chains to Ancyra, Galatia (modern Ankara, Turkey) where he was tortured more by order of governor Agrippinus during the persecutions of Diocletian. Martyr. They were – Eustochius, Gaius, Lollia, Probus, Urban. They were roasted over a fire and finally beheaded c 300 in Ancyra, Galatia (modern Ankara, Turkey).
Martyrs of Nicomedia: During the persecutions of Diocletian, many Christians fled their homes to live in caves in the area of Nicomedia. In 303 troops descended on the area, systematically hunted them down and murdered all they could find.