Thought for the Day – 6 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
How to Remain Aware of the Presence of God
“It is useful to consider the ways in which we can develop a constant and effective awareness of the presence of God.
The first way in which we can do this, is by cultivating a lively faith, which will help us to see God everywhere. “Do not I fill heaven and earth, saith the Lord?” (Jer 23:24).
This kind of faith should deepen our sense of God’s presence and inspire in us sentiments of love and gratitude, which will guide us in all our actions.
We cannot expect that we shall be able to remain in a state of constant contemplation of God, for this is the privilege enjoyed by the blessed in Heaven, for whom faith has been replaced by the Beatific Vision.
We must be satisfied with exciting in ourselves, as often as possible, the active awareness of God’s presence.
This should be a quiet and peaceful process, not involving undue mental effort or anxiety.
We should be able to attend quite naturally to our work and other obligations and, we should be helped and consoled in this, by directing our thoughts to God from time to time, in order to offer ourselves to Him.
This can easily be done by means of frequent ejaculatory prayer, by renewing, at regular intervals, our intention of doing everything for the love of God and by being prepared to endure, in complete acceptance of the Divine Will, all the hardships and trials of the day.
Whenever it is possible moreover, we should escape from the care and confusion of the world into a quiet church.
Here we can kneel in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Eucharist and express, in intimate prayer, our love for Him and our desire to serve Him.”
Quote/s of the Day – 6 August – Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord and the Memorial of Justus and Pastor – The Holy Martyred Children of Alcala de Henares in Spain (Died 304)
“Do not fear death of the body nor the torments, little brother. Calmly receive the strike of the sword. The God who has seen fit to call us to such a great grace, will give us the necessary strength, to endure the sufferings that await us.”
St Justus to his Brother St Pastor (Died 304)
Holy Children Martyrs
“No-one should fear to suffer for the sake of justice, no-one should lose confidence in the reward that has been promised. The way to rest is through toil, the way to life is through death. Christ has taken on Himself the whole weakness of our lowly human nature. If then we are steadfast in our faith in Him and in our love for Him, we win the victory that He has won, we receive what He has promised.”
St Pope Leo the Great (400-461)
Father and Doctor of the Church
“By His loving foresight, He allowed them to taste for a short time, the contemplation of eternal joy, so that they might bear persecution bravely.”
The Venerable St Bede (673-735)
Father and Doctor of the Church
“Jesus goes before us to show us the way, both up the mountain and into heaven and — I speak boldly — it is for us now, to follow him with all speed . . . Let us run with confidence and joy to enter into the cloud like Moses and Elijah, or like James and John. Let us be caught up like Peter to behold the divine vision and to be transfigured by that glorious transfiguration. Let us retire from the world, stand aloof from the earth, rise above the body, detach ourselves from creatures and turn to the Creator, to whom Peter in ecstasy exclaimed: ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here.’”
St Anastasius (Died 628)
“At His Transfiguration
Christ showed His disciples,
the splendour of His beauty,
to which He will shape and colour
those who are His:
‘He will reform our lowness
configured to the body of his glory.’”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274)
Doctor of the Church
REFLECTION – “He was transfigured before them” (Mt 17:2). Mould yourself on this figure as though with soft wax so to imprint the image of Christ on it, of whom it is said: “His face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as snow.” In this passage you should keep in mind four things – the face, the sun, the clothing and the snow. In the front of the head, which is called a man’s face, there are three senses that are ordered and disposed in a wonderful way. These are sight, smell, taste. In the same sort of way, in the face of our souls, there are the vision of faith, the smell of discretion and the taste of contemplation. (…)
In the sun there is brightness, whiteness and heat. The brightness of the sun accords perfectly with the vision of faith that, together with the clarity of its light, perceives and believes invisible realities. May the countenance of our souls shine like the sun! May what we see by faith shine in our deeds! May the good we perceive through our interior eyes be brought to fruition externally in the purity of our actions, may what we taste of God in contemplation, be transformed to heat, in love of neighbour. So, like that of Jesus, our faces “will shine like the sun.” … St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Doctor of the Church – Sermon for Septuagesima Sunday
PRAYER – Father, at the Transfiguration in glory of Your only-begotten Son, You confirmed the mysteries of faith by the witness to Jesus of the prophets Moses and Elijah. You foreshadowed what we shall be when You bring our sonship to its perfection. Grant that by listening to the voice of Jesus, we may become heirs with Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God forever and may Mary, our tender and caring Mother, help us to be bright rays of the saving light of her Son Jesus. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 6 August – “Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary”- Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
Christ, the Glory of the Sky By Fr Angelus Silesius (1624-1677) Trans Robert Campbell (1814-1868)
Christ, the glory of the sky,
Christ, of earth the hope secure,
Only Son of God most high,
Offspring of a maiden pure.
Purest Light, within us dwell,
Never from our souls depart.
Come, the shades of earth expel,
Fill and purify the heart.
Help us now Thy praise to sing,
Praise for this returning day.
Light and life let morning bring,
Clouds and darkness flee away.
Faith in Him,Whose name we bear,
In our heart of hearts abound!
Hope, thy brightest torch prepare,
All with holy love be crowned.
Praise the Father, praise the Son,
Spirit blest, to Thee be praise!
To the eternal Three in One,
Glory be through endless days.
Fr Angelus Silesius ( c 1624 – 9 July 1677), born Johann Scheffler and also known as Johann Angelus Silesius, was a German Catholic Priest and Physician, known as a Mystic and religious poet.
Robert Campbell (19 December 1814 – 29 December 1868) was a Scottish advocate and hymn writer. Brought up as a Presbyterian, he later joined the Roman Catholic Church. He translated the Latin texts of various hymns and wrote many others. He is remembered for such hymns as “At the Lamb’s high feast we sing”, “Come, pure hearts, in sweetest measures”, “Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem” and “Ye servants of a martyr’d God” which all appeared in the first edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern in 1861.
Saints of the Day – 6 August – Saints Justus and Pastor – The Holy Martyred Children of Alcala de Henares in Spain. (Died 304). Born c 295-297 in Spain and died by being scourged and beheaded in 304 at Alcala, Spain at ages 9 and 7. Patronage – Alcalá de Henares; Diocese of Alcalá and Madrid. Saints Justus and Pastor of Alcala were two brothers, who in their tender age overcame, with an heroic courage, the rage and power of Dacian, armed with all the instruments of cruelty.
“Do not fear death of the body nor the torments, little brother. Calmly receive the strike of the sword. The God who has seen fit to call us to such a great grace will give us the necessary strength to endure the sufferings that await us.”
During the Roman Empire, Christians were subjected to numerous persecutions, the harshest of which was perhaps the persecution of the emperor Diocletian in the fourth century. Instigated by Galerius, Diocletian promulgated the first edict against Christians on February 23 in the year 303 in Nicomedia, which demanded the destruction of Christian Churches and holy books and prohibited, that the faithful gather together, causing Christians, established in dignity to lose their honour. Following this first edict were three others – the second edict ordered the arrest and imprisonment of all clergy; the third granted the freedom of imprisoned clergy who apostatised and abandoned Christianity and harsh tortures for those who refused and the fourth obliged Christians to sacrifice to the gods of the Empire or suffer death.
To comply with the edict, the prefect Publius Dacianus was sent to Hispania (Spain) to cruelly and strictly enforce the imperial order. Christianity had taken strong root in Spain, clearly seen from the large number of Martyrs who shed their blood during the prefect’s rule. Among them are St Cucuphas, St Felix the “African,” St Pontius and St Narcissus, St Engracia and her eighteen companions, St Aquilina, etc.
Dacianus reached Complutum, today known as Alcalá de Henares (Madrid) in August of the year 304. Complutum was founded during the first century in the valley of Henares. The city had an ideal central location and enjoyed great prosperity during the third and fourth centuries. In this city, the “holy children,” Justus and Pastor, won the palm of Martyrdom. Very little has been written about them but we do know that they were from a good and holy Christian family. We also know the circumstances of their Martyrdom. The liturgy mentions that they were 7 and 9 years old respectively.
The most important part of the account of their Martyrdom has been passed on to us by tradition. When the imperial edict was made public in Complutum, the two brothers, Justus and Pastor, were at school. Stirred by an interior inspiration and an ardent desire to give their lives for Jesus Christ, they threw the slate tablets they used for writing on the ground and ran in haste to Dacianus’ residence with ardent hearts, ready to bear witness to their faith even to the point of Martyrdom. Despite their young age, the love of Christ had a profound effect in their hearts. They were unwilling to deny their God for anything in the world.
Upon seeing them so young, the doorkeepers thought they were playing but because the young boys insisted on seeing Dacianus, they were eventually taken to his presence. Before the prefect, they confessed firmly and with confidence that they were Christians and that they were unwilling to sacrifice to idols. In vain, the prefect tried to win them over with gifts and appeasements but seeing that he was unable to persuade them, he ordered them to be flogged with rods. The punishment was so severe that the two boys ended up bathed in blood.
The bodies of the children were battered but their souls were anchored in God and their fortitude left those who contemplated them in awe. Justus and Pastor knew well in whom they had believed (cf. 2 Tim 1:12) and desired nothing other than to find the One who first loved them and said, “Let the little children come to Me and do not prevent them” (Mt 19:14). Full of anger and fearful of the courageous example the holy children could give to Christians, Dacianus ordered the executioners to take them out of the city and behead them.
Centuries later, St Isidore of Seville wrote concerning their Martyrdom: “While they were taken to the place of torment, the two little lambs mutually encouraged one another. Justus, the youngest, fearful that his brother would falter, spoke to him thus, ‘Do not fear death of the body nor the torments, little brother. Calmly receive the strike of the sword. The God who has seen fit to call us to such a great grace will give us the necessary strength to endure the sufferings that await us.’ In reply, Pastor said, ‘You have spoken well, my brother. I will gladly accompany you in Martyrdom to gain the glory of this combat.’”
On a stone. in a field outside the city walls of Complutum, later known as Campo Loable or Laudable (Praiseworthy or Laudable Field), the children’s Martyrdom took place. Justus was the first to be beheaded followed by Pastor. Laudate pueri Dominum!Children, praise the Lord!The sacrifice was accomplished. The inhabitants of Complutum zealously guarded the place of the Martyrdom as well as the Martyrs’ remains and later built a chapel over their burial place to honour their memory.
Fearful of what the Muslims could do, in the year 760 St Urbez transferred the relics of the “holy children” to the hermitage of Santa Maria, a remote place in the Valley de Nocito. Later on, they were transferred to San Pedro el Viejo in Huesca.
In 1567, St Pius V promulgated a papal bull in which he ordered part of the relics of Saints Justus and Pastor to be taken from Huesca to Alcalá de Henares, the city of their birth and Martyrdom. In November of that same year, Philip II and his son prince Charles sent letters addressed to the Bishop of Huesca so that the Pope’s order could be fulfilled. Thus, part of the relics of Saints Justus and Pastor were sent to the city of Alcalá de Henares where the “Holy Children” were considered patrons.
How did the children Justus and Pastor have the strength to face Martyrdom? God Himself vested them with fortitude and made them ready for battle against the forces of evil, “the grace of God led the conflict against Him and delivered the weak and set them as firm pillars, able through patience to endure all the wrath of the evil one. They joined battle with Him, undergoing all kinds of shame and injury. Regarding their great sufferings as little, they hastened to Christ, revealing truly that ‘the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us.'” (Eusebius of Caesarea-Bishop and Historian). The power of God is fully made manifest in weakness.
Below is the Basilica of Sts Justus and Pastor in Alcala, Spain
Bl Gezelin of Schlebusch
St Gislain of Luxemburg
St Glisente of Brescia
Bl Guillermo Sanz
St Hardulf of Breedon St Pope Hormisdas (c 450-523) His Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/08/06/saint-of-the-day-6-august-saint-pope-hormisdas-c-450-523/
St James the Syrian St Justus and St Pastor of Alcala – Holy Martyred Children (Died 304)
Bl Maria Francesca Rubatto
Bl Octavian of Savona
St Stephen of Cardeña
Bl Tadeusz Dulny
Bl William of Altavilla
Martyrs of Cardeña: Two hundred Benedictine monks at the Saint Peter of Cardegna monastery, Burgos, Spain who were martyred in the 8th century by invading Saracens. They were buried by local Christians in a nearby churchyard in Burgos, Spain and Beatified in 1603 by Pope Clement VIII (cultus confirmed).
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: 10 Beati
• Blessed Alejandro Casare Menéndez
• Blessed Andrés Soto Carrera
• Blessed José González Ramos Campos
• Blessed José María Recalde Magúregui
• Blessed Juan Silverio Pérez Ruano
• Blessed Saturnino Ortega Montealegre