Thought for the Day – 17 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Voice of God
“God speaks to us in many ways by means of created things.
We see His glory in the stars of the firmament, (Cf Ps 13:2), in the seas, mountains and valleys and in the trees and flowers.
St Therese was once examining the petals of a flower, when she exclaimed: “How good thou art, O God!”
God also speaks within us.
Sometimes, He sees how absorbed we are in worldly affairs and He stirs up, in us, a restlessness and a longing for Heaven.
When we fall into sin, He pricks us with remorse and appeals to us to rise again, making us realise that everything else is empty and futile, if we have lost Him.
He speaks to us still more clearly by means of Revelation, which is contained in Sacred Scripture, as officially interpreted by the Church.
The revealed Word of God has always been with us to answer the searchings of the human heart and to allay it’s anxieties.
The Gospel is as new and as illuminating today, as yesterday.
It is a book which we should study reverently and diligently, in order to solve our personal problems and the problems of mankind.
Let us listen to God when He speaks to us in these diverse ways.
Let us respond to His appeals and carry out whatever He requires of us, in our daily lives.”
Quote/s of the Day – 7 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Isaiah 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8, Responsorial psalm Isaiah 38:10-12, 16, Matthew 12:1-8
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine.”
Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! …The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God, that surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4, 5d,6-7
“The Christian should be an ‘alleluia’ from head to foot.
St Augustine (354-430)
Father & Doctor of the Church
“May Christ be heard in our language, may Christ be seen in our life, may He be perceived in our hearts”
St Peter Damian (1007-1072)
Doctor of the Church
(Sermo VIII, 5)
“The one you are looking for, is the One who is looking.”
“Jesus is happy to come with us, as Truth is happy to be spoken, as Life to be lived, as Light to be lit, as Love is to be loved, as Joy to be given, as Peace to be spread.”
St Francis of Assisi (1181/2–1226)
“Love God, serve God, everything is in that.”
“Totally love Him, who gave Himself totally, for your love.”
St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)
“If, then, you seek to know what path to follow, take Christ because He is the way.”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
Doctor of the Church
“He will be with you also, all the way, that faithful God. Every morning when you awaken to the old and tolerable pain, at every mile of the hot uphill dusty road of tiring duty, on to the judgement seat, the same Christ there as ever, still loving you, still sufficient for you, even then. And then, on through all eternity.”
Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
“Every Christian must be a living book wherein one can read the teaching of the gospel. This is what St Paul says to the Corinthians. Our heart is the parchment; through my ministry the Holy Spirit is the writer because ‘my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe’ (Psalm 45:1).”
“I say to you, something greater than the temple is here …” … Matthew 12:6
REFLECTION – ““Christ also reminded them of another prophecy, so that they might learn, that all things that were spoken of previously, were accomplished in Him through the law, that the priests in the temple broke the sabbath without offence, clearly revealing that Jesus Himself was the temple.
In Him, salvation was given to the Gentiles, through the teaching of the apostles, while the people who were bound by the law, wandered about faithlessly, so that He Himself might be greater than the sabbath.
Evangelical faith lived in Christ, transcends the law.” … St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) – Father and Doctor of the Divinity of Christ – On Matthew, 12
PRAYER – Almighty God, to whom this world with all its goodness and beauty belongs, give us grace joyfully to begin this day in Your name and to fill it, with an active love for You and for our neighbour. Grant us the grace to repent of our sins, to turn to the Cross of Your Son and to beg Him in His great love and suffering to forgive us again! Mary, the Madonna of Humility, intercede for us in our weakness and help us become humble and look only at the face of Christ. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 17 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Prayer for the Gift of Prayer By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church
O Incarnate Word,
You have given Your Blood and Your Life
to confer on our prayers that power by which,
according to Your promise,
they obtain for us all that we ask.
And we, O God,
are so careless of our salvation,
that we will not even ask You for the graces
that we must have, if we should be saved!
In prayer You have given us the key
of all Your Divine treasures
and we, rather than pray,
choose to remain in our misery.
Alas! O Lord, enlighten us,
and make us know the value of prayers,
offered in Your name and by Your merits,
in the eyes of Your Eternal Father.
Saint of the Day – 17 July – The Madonna of Humility – Madonna dell’Umiltà, Pistoia, Tuscany, Italy of which City the Madonna is the Patron.
In 1383, Paolo Serafini painted the fresco of the Madonna dell’Umiltà for the chapel of Santa Maria Forisportam (St Mary Outside the Gate) outside town. A century later, Pistoia erupted in bloody civil strife due to internal conflict between local families of the Panciatichi and Cancellieri.
On 17 July 1490, a group of people took refuge in the Chapel. While the Mass was being celebrated by the Priest, Fr Tommaso Benannati at the Altar of the Madonna. In the light of a rayS of the sun, they could see oozing from the front of the Virgin’s image, a few drops of liquid of vermilion colour – which was immediately understood to be blood, descended to the Virgin’s feet, trickling down and tracing wide streaks. Some witnesses rang the bell, while others ran to spread the news. he combat ended and both sides ran to see the miracle. This miracle lasted for several months and it’s traces are still visible.
The Pistoiese wept for this painful sorrow of the heavenly Mother, caused by their obstinacy in hatred and divisions, they swore peace and forgiveness and promised to build a Holy Shrine to the heavenly Mediatrix.
The authenticity of the miracle, after careful examination, was confirmed by the Bishop Niccolò Pandolfini, the Podestà Pietro Vettori, the Capitano del Popolo, the Gonfaloniere and the Priori. The enthusiasm and popular devotion to the Madonna of Humility grew dramatically, so much so, that the need arose immediately to provide for an expansion of the small Church to contain the crowds of believers who came from everywhere and still do. And, to fulfil their promise, a magnificent new sanctuary, renamed for the painting, was dedicated at the site on 31 December 1582. In 1931, Pope Pius XI elevated the church to the status of Minor Basilica.
The image shows the humble Madonna seated on a cushion on the floor, nursing the child at her right breast. The Basilica celebrates the Feast of the Madonna of Humility on 17 July with solemn Mass and vespers.
There is also a beautiful Chapel to the Madonna of Humility in Rome, a favourite of Pope Pius IX. It is said that, as a boy, Pius IX, born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, regularly attended Mass in the Chapel of the Madonna of Humility.
The original Miracle and painting by Paolo Serafini occurred in 1383 but their have been earlier depictions of the Madonna under this title, though not accompanied by a Miracle. The earliest known painting of this type dates to 1346 and is at the Museo Nazionale in Palermo, Sicily. It represents a Madonna seated on a small cushion just above the ground. The Child Jesus that she holds partially looks at the viewer. Domenico di Bartolo’s Madonna of Humility, painted in 1433, was described by art historian Andrew Ladis as one of the most innovative devotional images from the early Renaissance.
Other key examples include the Madonna dell’Umiltà, a tempera painting on wood by Gentile da Fabriano , dating from around 1420 – 1423. Fra Angelico’s representation of about 1430 (which includes two angels) is notable in that Jesus is approached from above, focusing on his divinity. Giovanni di Paolo’s depiction of about 1456 represents a transition in the perception of nature, with the visual landscape forming itself around the seated Madonna.
This Feast of Our Lady of Humility is not celebrated much today, yet I have a fondness for this particular Feast, perhaps because it is so important to recognize the need for all of us to be humble as Jesus told us: “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me for I am Meek and Humble of Heart…” (Mt. 11:29)
Mary is His first and most perfect disciple who indeed took His yoke – His Father’s Will – even to Calvary! Mary continually learned throughout her life as we are called to do. In looking at the painting I noticed something similar to the icon of Our Lady of Tenderness – Mary is not looking at Jesus but looking at us! As Jesus looks at us, so does she. How important it is for us to find God in prayer and then find Him in all those He sends us to serve!
Jesus Meek and Humble of Heart, make my heart like Yours. Our Lady of Humility, Pray for Us.
St Petrus Liu Zeyu
Bl Sebastian of the Holy Spirit
Bl Tarsykia Matskiv
St Theodosius of Auxerre
St Theodota of Constantinople
— Martyrs of Compiegne (16 beati): Sixteen Blessed Teresian Martyrs of Compiègne.
Eleven Discalced Carmelite nuns, three lay sisters and two lay women servants who were martyred together in the French Revolution. They were the earliest martyrs of the French Revolution that have been recognised.
• Angelique Roussel • Anne Pelras • Anne-Marie-Madeleine Thouret • Catherine Soiron • élisabeth-Julitte Vérolot • Marie Dufour • Marie Hanniset • Marie-Anne Piedcourt • Marie-Anne-Françoise Brideau • Marie-Claude-Cyprienne Brard • Marie-Françoise de Croissy • Marie-Gabrielle Trezel • Marie-Geneviève Meunier • Marie-Madeleine-Claudine Lidoine • Rose-Chretien de Neuville • Thérèse Soiron •
They were guillotined on 17 July 1794 at the Place du Trône Renversé (modern Place de la Nation) in Paris, France.
Martyrs of Scillium (12 saints): A group of twelve Christians martyred together, the final deaths in the persecutions of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Upon their conviction for the crime of being Christians, the group was offered 30 days to reconsider their allegiance to the faith; they all declined. Their official Acta still exist. Their names –
• Acyllinus • Cythinus • Donata • Felix • Generosa • Januaria • Laetantius • Narzales • Secunda • Speratus • Vestina • Veturius
They were beheaded on 17 July 180 in Scillium, Numidia (in North Africa).