Thought for the Day – 21 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Even as our bodies need their daily sustenance of good to restore the energy which they have lost, so it is with out souls. The nourishment of the soul, is the grace of God. There is no better way of acquiring and increasing this grace, than by Holy Communion because, Communion gives us Jesus Himself, Who is the origin of grace. Spiritual perfection consists in union with God. We can achieve perfect union with God in Holy Communion, by means of which, we live the life of Jesus. “He who eats me, he also shall live because of me.” (Jn 6:58)
Anyone who loves Jesus fervently, receives Holy Communion everyday. If a man does not do this, it is a sign that he does not love Jesus perfectly.
The early Christians were “continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread in their houses;” (Cf Acts 2:46) in other words, they received Communion everyday. It was Jesus, in the Blessed Eucharist Who nourished their faith and gave them the strength to endure martyrdom. This custom prevailed in many places up to the time of St Jerome and St Augustine, who wrote “This is your daily bread; receive it daily in order to benefit daily from it” (De Verbo Domini, Serm 28). To those who believe that they were unworthy to receive everyday, St Ambrose said: “A man who is unworthy to receive everyday, will still be unworthy in a year’s time” (Bk 5, De Sacramentis, c 4).
We should not stay away from daily Communion because of our unworthiness, nor because of our lapses into sin. “Because I am always sinning,” said St Ambrose, “I am always in need of medicine” (Ibid). Humility is the basic virtue necessary in a Christian but it should not be a reason for abstaining from Holy Communion. St Thomas Aquinas commented that, although it may be pleasing to God to stay away from Holy Communion out of humility, He is far better pleased with the love and confidence of a soul, which receives Him. (Cf Summa Theologiae, III, q 8, a 10 ad 3).
The Church, like Jesus, desires us to receive Communion daily, although it only binds us under pain of sin to receive once a year during Paschaltide, in accordance with the decree of Innocent III, which was confirmed by the Council of Trent. We are also required to receive the Blessed Eucharis, if we are in danger of death.”
Quote/s of the Day – 21 August – The Memorial of St Pope Pius X (1835-1914) (Pontiff 1903-1914)
“Is it permitted for Catholics to be present at, or to take part in, conventions, gatherings, meetings, or societies of non-Catholics which aim to associate together under a single agreement everyone who, in any way, lays claim to the name of Christian? IN THE NEGATIVE! … It is clear, therefore, why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects, to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics.”
“The Church alone, being the Bride of Christ and having all things in common with her Divine Spouse, is the depository of the truth.”
“There is one way in which the unity of Christians may be fostered and that is, by furthering the return to the one true Church of Christ for those who are separated from Her.”
“The daily Adoration or visit to the Blessed Sacrament, is the practice which is the fountainhead of all devotional works.”
“The ROSARY is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayer. It is the prayer that touches most, the Heart of the Mother of God… and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the FAMILY ROSARY.”
“If there were one million families praying the Rosary every day, the entire world would be saved.”
“I was born poor, I have lived poor, I wish to die poor.”
“On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” … Matthew 22:40
REFLECTION – “When our Master was asked which was the greatest of the commandments, He replied: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your strength. There is no other commandment greater than this” (Mk 12:30-31). I think so, too, since it concerns primary and essential Being, God our Father, through whom all things were made, all things remain in being and to whom all who are saved will return. He it is who loved us the first, who gave birth to us. It would be sacrilege to think there exists any being more ancient or more wise. Our thanksgiving may be insignificant compared to his great gifts, yet we cannot offer him any other recognition, he who is perfection itself and has no need of anything. Let us love our Father with all our strength and ardor of soul and we shall win immortality. The more we love God, the more is our nature incorporated and mingled with his own.
The second commandment, Jesus says, yields in nothing to the first: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (…) When the scholar of the Law asks Jesus: “And who is my neighbour?” (Lk 10:29), he does not reply by giving the Jewish definition of neighbour – family, fellow Jews, proselytes, those who live according to the same Law – but tells the story of a traveller who was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. Wounded by robbers (…), the man was cared for by a Samaritan who “showed himself a neighbour” (v. 36).
And who is even more of a neighbour to me than our Saviour? Who showed more compassion to us when the powers of darkness had left us battered by blows? (…) Jesus alone knew how to heal our wounds and root out the evils planted in our hearts (…). That is why we should love Him just as much as we love God our Father. And loving Christ Jesus, is to carry out His will and keep His commandments.” … St Clement of Alexandria (150-215) Theologian and Father of the Church – Homily “Can the rich be saved?”
PRAYER – Lord God, You filled the saints with strength and courage and gave them the knowledge of unity with You. Grant, we pray, that in imitation of St Pope Pius X, we may defend the Catholic faith and renew all things in Christ, Your Son. Help us Holy Father, to follow the example of St Pius and finally inherit eternal life, with You and all the saints. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 21 August – “Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” – Friday of the Twentieth week in Ordinary Time and the Memorial of St Pope Pius X (1835-1914) (Pontiff 1903-1914)
O Most Holy Virgin By St Pope Pius X (1835-1914)
Most holy Virgin, who pleased our Lord and became His Mother, Virgin Immaculate in your body and soul, in your faith and love, at this solemn jubilee of the promulgation of the dogma which proclaimed you to the entire world as conceived without sin, look kindly on us, unfortunate ones, who implore your powerful protection. The infernal serpent, upon whom the primeval curse was laid, continues, alas, to attack and tempt the hapless children of Eve. Ah! Do you, our blessed Mother, our Queen and Advocate, who at the first moment of your conception did crush the enemy’s head, do you gather together our prayers and we beseech you (our hearts one with yours), present them before God’s throne, that we may never allow ourselves to be caught in the snares laid for us but that we may reach the portal of salvation and that the Church and Christian society may once more chant the hymn of deliverance, of victory and of peace. Amen
Composed for the fiftieth anniversary of the definition of the Immaculate Conception, 8 September 1903.
Saint of the Day – 21 August – Saint Sidonius Apollinaris (c 430 – 489) Bishop, Copnfessor, Poet, Diplomat, Writer, Scholar, Apostle of the poor and of exiles – Sidonius is “the single most important surviving author from fifth-century Gaul.” Also known as Caius Sollius Apollinaris Sidonius – Born in c 420 in Lugdunum, Gaul (modern Lyon, France) and died in 489 at Clermont, France. He is one of four Gallo-Roman aristocrats of the fifth- to sixth-century whose letters survive in quantity. The others are St Ruricius, Bishop of Limoges (died 507),St Alcimus Ecdicius Avitus, Bishop of Vienne (died 518) and St Magnus Felix Ennodius of Arles, Bishop of Ticinum (died 534). All of them were linked in the tightly bound aristocratic Gallo-Roman network that provided the Bishops of Catholic Gaul.
Sidonius Apollinaris was born at Lyons about the year 431, and was of one of the most noble families in Gaul, where his father and grandfather, both named Apollinaris, had commanded successively in quality of prefects of the prætorium.
He was educated in arts and learning under the best master, and was one of the most celebrated orators and poets of the age in which he lived. From his epistles, it is manifest that he was always religious, pious, humble, affable, extremely affectionate, beneficent and compassionate and no lover of the world, even whilst he lived in it.
For some time he had a command in the imperial army and he married Papianilla, by whom he had a son called Apollinaris and two daughters. Papianilla was daughter of Avitus, who after having been thrice prefect of the prætorium in Gaul, was raised to the imperial throne at Rome in 455 but being obliged to quit the purple after a reign of ten months, died on the road to Auvergne. Majorian, his successor, prosecuted his relations, and coming to Lyons, caused Sidonius to be apprehended but, admiring the constancy with which he bore his disgrace and becoming acquainted with his extraordinary qualifications and virtue, restored his estates to him and created him Count. Majorian was a good soldier and began to curb the barbarians who laid waste the fairest provinces of the empire, but was slain in 461, by Ricimer the Goth, his own general, who placed the diadem upon the head of Severus. Upon this revolution Sidonius left the court, and led a retired life in Auvergne, where he protected his Province from the Goths and divided his time between studies and the exercises of piety. Severus was poisoned by Ricimer after a reign of four years, and Anthemius chosen Emperor in 467, who immediately called Sidonius again to Rome and created him prince of the Senate, Patrician and Prefect of the City. His piety and devotion suffered no prejudice in his elevation and amidst the distraction of his secular employments, in which he made use of his authority only to promote the divine honour and to render himself the servant of others in studying to advance every one’s happiness and comfort.
God soon called him from these secular dignities to the government of His Church. The Bishopric of Arvernum, since called Clermont, in Auvergne, falling vacant in 471, the people of that extensive Dioces, and the Bishops of the whole country, who had long regretted his absence whilst he was detained in the capital of the world, unanimously demanded that he should be restored to them in order to fill the episcopal chair.
Sidonius was then a layman, and his wife was yet living he, therefore, urged the authority of Canons against such an election and opposed it with all his might, till, fearing at length to resist the will of heaven, he acquiesced; it having been customary on extraordinary occasions to dispense with the canons which forbid laymen to be chosen Bishops. He, therefore and his wife, agreed to a perpetual separation and from that moment, he renounced poetry, which till then had been his delight, to apply himself only to those studies which were most agreeable to his ministry. He was no stranger to them whilst a layman and he soon became an oracle whom other Bishops consulted in their difficulties; though he was always reserved and unwilling to decide for them and usually referred them to others, alleging that he was not capable of acting the part of a doctor among his brethren, whose direction and science he stood himself infinitely in need of.
St Lupus, Bishop of Troyes, who had loved and honoured him whilst he was yet wandering in the dry deserts of the world, found his affection for him redoubled when he beheld him become a guide of souls in the paths of religion and virtue. Upon his promotion to the Episcopal dignity, he wrote him an excellent letter of congratulation and advice, in which, among other things, he told him: “It is no longer by pomp and an equipage that you are to keep up your rank but by the most profound humility of heart. You are placed above others but must consider yourself as below the meanest and last in your flock. Be ready to kiss the feet of those whom formerly you would not have thought worthy to sit under your feet. You must render yourself the servant of all.” This Sidonius made the rule of his conduct. He kept always a very frugal table, fasted every second day, prayed much and though of a tender constitution, often seemed to carry his penitential austerities to excess. He was frequently in want of necessaries, because he had given all away to the poor. His love and compassion for them, even whilst he lived in the world, was such, that he sometimes had sold all his plate for their relief.
After he was Bishop, he looked upon it as his principal duty to provide for the instruction, comfort and assistance of the poor. In the time of a great famine he maintained, at his own charge, with the charitable succours which Ecdicius, his wife’s brother, put into his hands, more than four thousand Burgundians and other strangers, who had been driven from their own country by misery and necessity and, when the scarcity was over, he furnished them with carriages and sent them to their respective homes. St Sidonius made frequent visitations of his Diocese, and performed every office of his ministry with all the care and prudence possible.
The city of Clermont being besieged, in 475, by Alaric, king of the Visigoths, who then reigned in the southern provinces of France, the zealous Bishop encouraged the people to stand upon their defence, by which he exposed himself to the rage of the conquerers after they were masters of the place. He entreated the Arian king to grant several articles in favour of the Catholics, which the barbarian was so far from allowing, that he sent the holy prelate prisoner to Liviane, a castle near Carcassone, where he suffered much. However, Alaric some time after, restored him to his Se, and he continued to be the comfort and support of the distressed Catholics in that country.
He was again expelled by two factious wicked priests, but some time after recovered the government of his Church and died in peace in the year 482, on the 21 August. His festival was kept soon after his death with solemnity at Clermont, where his memory is in great veneration. His body lay first in the old church of St Saturninus, but was afterwards translated into that of St Genesius.
St Gregory of Tours speaks of Sidonius as a man who could celebrate Mass from memory (without a sacramentary) and give unprepared speeches without any hesitation.
Our Lady of Knock: Our Lady, Saint Joseph and Saint John the Evangelist appeared in a blaze of light at the south gable of Saint John the Baptist Church, Knock, County Mayo, Ireland, on 21 August 1879. They appeared to float about two feet above the ground and each would occasionally move toward the visionaries and then away from them. The Blessed Virgin Mary was clothed in white robes with a brilliant crown on her head. Where the crown fitted to her brow, she wore a beautiful full-bloom golden rose. She was praying with her eyes and hands raised towards Heaven. Saint Joseph wore white robes, stood on Our Lady’s right and was turned towards her in an attitude of respect. Saint John was dressed in white vestment, stood was on Mary’s left and resembled a Bishop, with a small mitre. He appeared to be preaching and he held an open book in his left hand. Behind them and a little to the left of Saint John was a plain altar on which was a cross and a lamb with adoring angels. The apparition was witnessed by fifteen people. Miraculous cures were reported soon after in the area and it is now a major pilgrimage destination. Patronage – Ireland.
St Abraham of Smolensk (Died c 1222) His Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/08/21/saint-of-the-day-21-august-saint-abraham-of-smolensk-died-c-1222/ St Agapius of Edessa St Agathonicus of Constantinople St Anastasius Cornicularius St Aria of Rome St Avitus I of Clermont St Bassa of Edessa Bl Beatrice de Roelas St Bernhard of Lérida St Bernard de Alziva St Bonosus Bl Bruno Zembol St Camerinus of Sardinia St Cameron St Cisellus of Sardinia St Cyriaca St Euprepius of Verona St Fidelis of Edessa Bl Gilbert of Valenciennes St Gracia of Lérida St Hardulph St Joseph Nien Vien Bl Ladislaus Findysz St Leontius the Elder St Luxorius of Sardinia St Maria of Lérida St Maximianus the Soldier St Maximilian of Antioch St Natale of Casale Monferrato St Paternus of Fondi St Privatus of Mende St Quadratus of Utica St Sidonius Apollinaris (c 430 – 489) Bishop St Theogonius of Edessa Bl Victoire Rasoamanarivo St Zoticus the Philosopher
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: • Blessed Joan Cuscó Oliver • Blessed Joan Vernet Masip • Blessed Pedro Mesonero Rodríguez • Blessed Pere Sadurní Raventós • Blessed Ramon Peiró Victori • Blessed Salvador Estrugo Salves