Thought for the Day – 11 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Good Odour of Christ
“Everyone has an attractive side to his personality which can draw others towards good or towards evil, for a man’s behaviour, countenance and conversation, reflect his inner spirit.
Charm is very often a mysterious and undefinable quality.
Sometimes you may meet a man of the world who has forgotten that he has an immortal soul and lives purely for pleasure.
Even before he speaks to you, you can read on his lips and in his eyes, the kind of man he is.
If you fail to resist and to do your best to remain on a higher plane, you will be overwhelmed by the charm of his personality.
Your can also encounter charm, however, in a privileged soul, who is in constant contact with God.
You can find it in the monk who has left the world, in order to meditate on God and to pay for his own salvation and for the salvation of his brothers in Christ.
You can meet it in a Saint, one of those rare men, who lives in the world but thinks all the time of God.
When you encounter this supernatural charm, you experience a longing to be good and holy also.
You can see a reflection of Heaven in the eyes of a Saint.
When he speaks to you, words, which if uttered by somebody else, would have no force, stir you and urge you towards all that is good.
What exactly is this quality of attractiveness?
It is “the sweet odour of Christ,” the spiritual fragrance of virtue.
Anyone who met St Aloysius Gonsaga, felt a yearning to be pure.
Anyone who heard the unadorned sermons of the Cure d’Ars, wept for his sins and was set on fire with the love of God and the desire of everlasting happiness.
It was the same with all the Saints.
Do we influence others in this way?”
Quote/s of the Day – 11 July – The Memorial of St Benedict of Nursia OSB (c 480-547)
“It is time now for us to rise from sleep!”
“Listen and attend with the ear of your heart.”
“He should know, that whoever undertakes, the government of souls, must prepare himself to account for them.”
“For at all times we must so serve Him with the good things He has given us, that He may not, as an angry Father, disinherit His children, nor as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil deeds, deliver us to everlasting punishment as wicked servants who refuse to follow Him to glory.”
“He, who labours as he prays, lifts his heart to God, with his hands.”
One Minute Reflection – 11 July – “Month of the Precious Blood” – Saturday of the Fourteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Isaiah 6:1-8, Psalm 93:1-2, 5, Matthew 10:24-33 and the Memorial of St Benedict of Nursia OSB (c 480-547) Patron of Europe and Founder of Western Monasticism and St Olga Queen of Kiev (c 890-969)
“Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted.” … Matthew 10:29-30
REFLECTION – “If God shows such a solicitous care even for things of modest value (grass and flowers, for example), how can He forget you, that you are the most excellent of His creatures? Why then did He create such beautiful things? To manifest His wisdom and the greatness of His power, so that we might know all His glory.
Not only the heavens narrate the glory of God (Ps 18,2) but also the earth, as David points out, when he sang: Praise the Lord, fruit trees and all cedars (Ps 148,9). In fact, some creatures praise the Creator with their fruits, others with their greatness, still others with their beauty.
Another demonstration of the great wisdom and power of God resides in the fact that He adorns even the most vile objects of such beauty (what is, in fact, more vile than what exists today but tomorrow will no longer be?) If, then, God has also given hay to what was not necessary at all (what good is it, in fact, it’s beauty? To feed the fire?) how can He not give you what you need? If the Lord has generously decorated the most vile thing of all and not for some purpose but only for beauty, much more He will honour you, the most precious of His creatures, in those things that are necessary to you. ” … St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church – Commentary on the Gospel of St Matthew, 22.1
PRAYER – Loving Father, grant me to have a true fervour in Your service. Let me never tire of following Your Son’s example and avoiding evil. Teach me to reside in total peace in Your wisdom and power and thus to trust You above all. Grant that by the intercession of St Benedict and St Olga, we may grow in holiness and attain our eternal home with You. We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 11 July – Saturday of the Fourteenth week in Ordinary Time and a Marian Saturday
A Morning Salutation to Mary A Coptic Catholic Prayer
We greet you,
glorious Mother of the Light
O Blessed Mary,
from the rising of the sun
to its setting
praise is due to you,
O Mother of God.
You are the second heaven,
the bright unfading flower,
the ever-virgin mother.
For the Father chose you
and the Holy Spirit overshadowed you
and the Son humbled Himself
and took flesh from you.
Therefore, ask Him to give peace
to the world He has created
and to deliver it from every tribulation.
And we shall sing to Him a new song
and bless Him,
now and forever,
Saint of the Day – 11 July – Saint Olga Queen of Kiev (c 890-969) Queen of the Ukraine – born c 890 at Pskov, Russia and died on 11 July 969 in Kiev, Ukraine of natural causes. Also known as Olga Prekrasa, Olga the Beauty, Helena, Helga, Olha. Patronage – Kiev, converts, widows. Her body was incorrupt, though it was lost in the early 18th century.
While Olga’s birthdate is unknown, it could be as early as 890 and as late as 925 but she was born and lived in Pskov. Little is known about her life before her marriage to Prince Igor I of Kiev and the birth of their son, Svyatoslav. Igor was the son and heir of Rurik, founder of Rurik dynasty. After his father’s death Igor was under guardianship of Oleg, who had consolidated power in the region, conquering neighbouring tribes and establishing a capital in Kiev. This loose tribal federation became known as Kievan Rus’, a territory covering what are now parts of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.
The Drevlians were a neighbouring tribe with which the growing Kievan Rus’ empire had a complex relationship. The Drevlians had joined Kievan Rus’ in military campaigns against the Byzantine Empire and paid tribute to Igor’s predecessors. They stopped paying tribute upon Oleg’s death and instead gave money to a local warlord. In 945, Igor set out to the Drevlian capital, Iskorosten (today known as Korosten in northern Ukraine), to force the tribe to pay tribute to Kievan Rus.’ Confronted by Igor’s larger army, the Drevlians backed down and paid him. As Igor and his army rode home, however, he decided the payment was not enough and returned, with only a small envoy, seeking more tribute. Upon his arrival in their territory, the Drevlians murdered Igor. According to the Byzantine chronicler Leo the Deacon, Igor’s death was caused by a gruesome act of torture in which he was “captured by them, tied to tree trunks and torn in two.”
When Igor was murdered in 945, Princess Olga assumed the regency for her son, Svyatoslav. Olga served as regent until her son was of age in 964. She was known as a ruthless and effective ruler. She resisted marrying Prince Mal of the Drevlians, who had been the killers of Igor, killing their emissaries and burning their city in revenge for her husband’s death. She resisted other offers of marriage and defended Kiev from attacks.
During her son’s prolonged military campaigns, she remained in charge of Kiev, residing in the castle of Vyshgorod with her grandsons.
In the 950s, Olga travelled to Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, to visit Emperor Constantine VII. Once in Constantinople, Olga converted to Christianity with the assistance of the Emperor and the Bishop. While the Primary Chronicle does not divulge Olga’s motivation for her visit or conversion, it does go into great detail on the conversion process, in which she was baptised and instructed in the ways of Christianity
“When Olga was enlightened, she rejoiced in soul and body. The Bishop, who instructed her in the faith, said to her, ‘Blessed art thou among the women of Rus’, for thou hast loved the light and quit the darkness. The sons of Rus’ shall bless thee to the last generation of thy descendants.’ He taught her the doctrine of the Church, and instructed her in prayer and fasting, in almsgiving and in the maintenance of chastity. She bowed her head and like a sponge absorbing water, she eagerly drank in his teachings. The Princess bowed before the Bishop, saying, ‘Through thy prayers, Holy Father, may I be preserved from the crafts and assaults of the devil!’ At her Baptism she was named Helena, after the ancient Empress, mother of Constantine the Great. The Bishop then blessed her and dismissed her.”
By her example, she influenced her grandson, Vladimir I. He was the third son of Svyatoslav and brought Kiev (Rus) into the official Christian fold.
Olga died from illness in 969. When Svyatoslav announced plans to move his throne to the Danube region, the ailing Olga convinced him to stay with her during her final days. Only three days later, she passed away and her family and all of Kievan Rus’ wept.
At the time of her death, it seemed that Olga’s attempt to make Kievan Rus’ a Christian territory had been a failure. Nonetheless, Olga’s Christianising mission would be brought to fruition by her grandson, Vladimir, who officially adopted Christianity in 988. The Primary Chronicle highlights Olga’s holiness in contrast to the pagans around her during her life as well as the significance of her decision to convert to Christianity:
“Olga was the precursor of the Christian land, even as the day-spring precedes the sun and as the dawn precedes the day. For she shone like the moon by night and she was radiant among the infidels like a pearl in the mire, since the people were soiled and not yet purified of their sin by holy baptism. But she herself was cleansed by this sacred purification…. She was the first from Rus’ to enter the kingdom of God and the son of Rus’ thus praise her as their leader, for since her death she has interceded with God in their behalf.”
Her relics were found to be incorrupt and translated to the Church of the Tithes in Kiev, the first time relics were displayed in Rus-Ukraine, however, her relics were lost forever in the early 18th century.
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St Marciana of Caesarea
Maria An Guoshi
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Bl Marie-Elisabeth Pélissier
Bl Marie-Marguerite de Barbégie d’Albrède St Olga Queen of Kiev (c 890-969)
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St Thurketyl Blessed Valeriu Traian Frentiu (1875-1952) Martyr Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2019/07/11/saint-of-the-day-blessed-valeriu-traian-frentiu-1875-1952-bishop-and-martyr/
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