Thought for the Day – 26 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Two Paths to Heaven – Part One
“The first road to Heaven is the way of innocence. There are some generous souls who preserve, until the end of life, their original baptismal purity. St Aloysious Gonzaga never ceased to repent of two small faults for which he could hardly be held responsible since he committed them in the ignorance of ealy childhood. Having lived like an angel in human form, he died with a smile on his lips, murmuring that he was happy to be going to Heaven at last.
In more recent times, there was the lovable boy Saint Dominic Savio. On the day of his first Holy Communion, he made the resolution “Death rather than sin,” a resolution to which he remained faithful throughout his innocent young life.
Throughout it’s history, the Church could boast of many other members like these, who reflected the absolute purity and perfection of it’s divine Head and Founder. It should be our desire to possess this innocence, so that we may be pure and holy in the sight of God and may remain always close to Him. Sin is ugly. It deprives us of God, our only true good and makes us unhappy because, the sinner can never be at peace. It makes us restless and remorseful during life and when we come to die, unless God’s mercy intervenes, it causes us to despair of salvation. Let us jealously guard our state of innocence, keeping it intact by fervent prayer and meditaton.”
Quote/s of the Day – 26 August – The Memorial of Saint Jeanne Elisabeth des Bichier des Anges FC (1773-1838) and St Mary of Jesus Crucified OCD (1846-1878)
“Virginity, is nothing in the eyes of God, without the humility of spirit, which is virginity, itself.”
“What! She would say, as if exasperated, can we offer in the Holy Sacrifice the death and humiliations of God-made-Man and be unwilling to be humble! To want to be esteemed while He is being humiliated! To want to be something in the eyes of the world, where as He remains hidden under the Eucharistic veils! To love one’s independence, whereas His love for us keeps Him a Prisoner in the Tabernacle! Oh! How such differences should cover us with shame, fill us with self-loathing, with a hatred of our pride and our folly!”
St Elisabeth Bichier (1773-1838)
“Where there is charity, there is God. If you are attentive about doing good to your brother, God will be attentive about you. If you dig a hole for your brother, you will be digging it for yourself; it is you, yourself who will fall into it. But if you make heaven for your brother, you will be making it for yourself. Remember it …”
“It is pleasant to hear about Jesus; more pleasant to listen to Jesus Himself speaking … It is pleasant to think about Jesus; more pleasant to possess Him … It is pleasant to hear Jesus’ words; more pleasant to do His will …”
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed sepulchres, which outwardly appear beautiful but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” … Matthew 23:27
REFLECTION – “You are before God. Question your heart, see what you have done and what you have been yearning for there—your salvation or the windy praise of men. Look within, for a person cannot judge one whom he cannot see. If we are assuring our heart, let us assure it in His presence. “Because if our heart thinks badly”—that is, if it accuses us within, because we aren’t acting with the spirit with which we should be acting —“God is greater than our heart, and he knows all things” (v.20). You hide your heart from man – hide it from God if you can . How will you hide it from Him to whom it was said by a certain sinner in fear and confession: “Where shall 1 go from your spirit, and where shed! I flee from your face?”… For where does God not exist? “If,” he said, “I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to hell, you are present” (Ps 139:7-8). Where will you go? Where will you flee? Do you want to hear some advice? If you want to flee from Him, flee to Him. Flee to Him by Confessing, not from Him by hiding, for you cannot hide but you can Confess. Tell Him. “You are my refuge” (Ps 32:7) and let there be nursed in you the love that alone leads to life.”…St Augustine (354-430) – Doctor of Grace
PRAYER – Lord, be the beginning and the end of all that we do and say. Prompt our actions with Your grace and complete them with Your all-powerful help. Fill us with the grace of Your true love, that our hearts may be made of flesh and not of stone. May our hearts, minds and souls belong to You alone. May the guiding hand of the Mother of Your Son lead us, with unfailing tenderness, to You. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit, ‘totus tuus’ Maria – please pray for us, amen.
Saint of the Day – 26 August – Saint Jeanne Elisabeth des Bichier des Anges FC (1773-1838) (commonly referred to as St Elisabeth Bichier) and known as “the Good Sister” – Religious and co-Founder with Saint André Hubert Fournet (whom we celebrate on 13 May – https://anastpaul.com/2020/05/13/saint-of-the-day-13-may-saint-andre-hubert-fournet-1752-1834-the-good-father/) of the Sisters of the Cross, Sisters of St Andrew, a religious congregation which was established for the care of the poor and the instruction of rural children in the Diocese of Poitiers in 1807. She also helped to inspire the founding of a community of Priests dedicated to Missionary service, the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Betharram.
Saint Jeanne Elisabeth des Bichier des Anges was born in 1773, in the Chateau des Anges near LeBlanc, France, home of her aristocratic family. She was one of the four children of the couple and later was commonly called Elisabeth by her family. Her mother was a very devout Catholic and ensured that her children were taught how to pray and the teachings of the Catholic faith. Elisabeth proved a ready student, already feeling drawn to prayer from her childhood. Her father, the lord of Anges, sent her to the convent at Poiters to be educated, at approximately age 10. She did not return home until the death of her father (to prevent the family’s property from being confiscated by the state), when she was nineteen years old. On his deathbed, she met Saint André Fournet, who would play an important role in her future.
Following her father’s death, Elisabeth found herself embroiled in a court battle to save her family’s property and possessions. Having studied law, she argued the case in court and won. Expected to marry and make the property her home, Elisabeth had no intention of marriage, instead looking only to the Lord. On the back of a picture of Our Lady, she had written: “I dedicate and consecrate myself to Jesus and Mary forever.”
With her mother, she moved to La Guimetiere, a town still suffering greatly from the after-effects of the French Revolution. With no priest living there, the town had little in the way of religious guidance or celebration. While living there, Elisabeth began to feel the loss of the Eucharist in her life, as the local church was being served by a juring priest, for which it was rejected by the local people. From her childhood, she had been attracted to contemplation and she had consecrated herself to the Virgin Mary. Her wish was to consecrate her life to God in an enclosed religious order but she did not tell her mother. During this period she used to gather people and pray with them. Over time, the number of participants grew prolifically.
After her mother’s death, Elisabeth lived for some time in a Carmelite community to experience the rigours and benefits of committing to the Lord. Certain of her call, together with Saint Andrew Fournet (who had begun a similar group of laity in a nearby city), she founded the Daughters of the Cross of Saint Andrew—an order to care for the sick and the poor. Among their other goals was the education of the poor rural citizens of France.
Known for her honesty and charity, she was well respected in the community. Following the death of a poor, sick man she had taken in to help, the police appeared at the convent to question her. They informed her that the man was an escaped criminal and she had harboured a fugitive. But Elisabeth was unafraid, replying calmly to the officer: “I only did what you yourself would have done, sir,” she said. “I found this poor sick man and took care of him until he died. I am ready to tell the judge just what happened.”
Appointed the first Superior of the Order, Elisabeth worked tirelessly to spread the Gospel and establish new houses. In 1816 the community received Ecclesiastical approval. By 1820 they had expanded again and a former Monastery of the Order of Fontevrault was obtained in La Puye, where their Motherhouse was established. It still serves as the congregation’s headquarters By 1830, shortly before her death—she had personally established over 60 houses throughout France. They currently serve or have served around the globe in France, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Belgium, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, the Belgian Congo, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, China and Thailand.
St Elisabeth died in 1838, at which time there were about 600 Daughters of the Cross serving in some 100 communities. She was Beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1934 and Canonised by Pope Pius XII in 1947. Her remains are enshrined at the Motherhouse in La Puye.
The life of Saint Elisabeth — demonstrates to us that there is much we can each accomplish in the world—serving the Lord through service to one another. Saint Elisabeth saw poor uneducated rural communities in need of spiritual guidance. Through the grace of God and the courage of this woman, she created the change that was needed. How often to do see what needs to be done and chose not to do it? How often do we ignore the call of the Lord to help those in need, those in our own communities? How might we better the lives of our fellow man in service to Christ?
The Roman Martyrology states of her: “Glorify God and make Him Glorified by the little ones and the poor’ was what animated Sister Elisabeth and her sisters.”
St Abundius the Martyr St Alexander of Bergamo St Anastasius the Fuller St Bregwin of Canterbury St Elias of Syracuse St Eleutherius of Auxerre St Felix of Pistoia Bl Herluin Bl Ioachim Watanabe Jirozaemon St Irenaeus of Rome Bl Jacques Retouret St Jeanne Elisabeth des Bichier des Anges FC (1773-1838) Bl Jean Bassano Bl Jean of Caramola Bl Juan Urgel Bl Levkadia Herasymiv Bl Margaret of Faenza St Mary of Jesus Crucified/Mariam Baouardy OCD (1846-1878) Her Story: https://anastpaul.com/2019/08/26/saint-of-the-day-26-august-st-mary-of-jesus-crucified-ocd-1846-1878/
St Maximilian of Rome St Melchizedek the Patriarch St Orontius of Lecce St Pandwyna St Rufinus of Capua St Secundus the Theban Bl Stanislaus Han Jeong-Heum St Teresa de Gesu, Jornet y Ibars St Victor of Caesarea St Victor the Martyr St Vyevain of York St Pope Zephyrinus (died 217) Martyr Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2018/08/26/saint-of-the-day-25-august-st-pope-zephyrinus-died-217/ — Martyrs of Celano – 3 saints: Three Christians, Constantius, Simplicius and Victorinus, martyred in the same area at roughly the same time. That’s really all we know, though it didn’t stop writers in later centuries from inventing colourful histories, making them a father and sons, adding saintly family members, earthquakes, close escapes, etc. They were martyred in c 159 in the Marsica region of Italy. At some point their relics were interred under the main altar of the San Giovanni Vecchio church in the Collegiata di Celano and were authenticated in 1057 by Pope Stephen IX. The city was depopulated in 1222; when it was re-built, the relics were re-enshrined in the church of San Vittorino on 10 June 1406. Patronage – Celano, Italy.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: • Blessed Emilio Serrano Lizarralde • Blessed Francesc Casademunt Ribas • Blessed Josep Maria Tolaguera Oliva • Blessed Luis Valls Matamales • Blessed María de Los Ángeles Ginard Martí • Blessed Pere Sisterna Torrent