Announcing a Novena for the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Begins 30 August In preparation for the Feast on 8 September
Many days passed before God finally completed the masterpiece of His creation. For nine months, the soul of Mary had given form to her virginal body and the hour of her happy birth approached. As the suffocating Palestinian summer neared its end, the mellowing sun poured abundant torrents of golden light on the opulent plain of Samaria, ripening the rich orchards of autumn fruit . On a magnificent September day, with nature adorned in radiant beauty, the most Holy Virgin came into the world in the white-walled city of Nazareth.
She was probably born in the same house where the great mystery of the Incarnation later took place and where Jesus spent most of His childhood and youth in work and prayer. The angels did not acclaim the coming of the glorious Queen with hymns of joy as they later did the birth of the Saviour . Invisible to the eyes of mortal men, the angels considered it an honour to mount guard around the humble crib over which Saints Joachim and Anne lovingly watched. The prophecy of Isaias had come to pass. The root of Jesse, ten centuries removed, had sprouted a new branch. On this same branch in but a few years more, would blossom the eternal Flower, the Incarnate Word.
Thought for the Day – 29 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Interior Life
“Human life is threefold. First, there is the physical life, that is, the life of the body animated by the soul. Then, there is the intellectual life, through which the soul searches for truth and controls the powers of the body. Finally, there is the supernatural life, which leads us towards Christian perfection and unites us to God, the source of goodness and happiness.
These three levels of life are all good in themselves but, form a hierarchy in which the primacy is held by the spiritual life. Physical life is a gift from God but, must remain subordinate to the spiritual life. If it were given precedence over reason and over the natural and divine law, our proper scale of values, would be upset and we should fall prey to a host of sinful inclinations. The same applies to the intellectual life. God endowed us with intelligence to enable us to know the truth, explore the secrets of the universe and use them for our own welfare. If the intellect fails to ascend to the knowledge of God from it’s knowledge of worldly objects and ceases to be inspired by a high regard for virtue, it’s achievements can lead eventually to death and destruction.
The supernatural life, which is nourished by Divine grace, perfects man. All our physical powers and spiritual faculties, should be dominated by this life, which Jesus Christ came into the world to bring to us. We can have this life, if we obey His commands, control our passions, pray fervently, resign ourselves to His will and perform all our actions for love of Him.”
Quote/s of the Day – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist
“John saw a man that was a tyrant overthrowing the divine commands of marriage. With boldness, he proclaimed in the midst of the forum, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother Philip’s wife.” So we learn from him to admonish our fellow servant as an equal. Do not shrink from the duty of chastising a brother, even though one may be required to die for it. Now do not make this cold reply: “What does it matter to me? I have nothing in common with him.” With the devil alone we have nothing in common but with all humanity, we have many things in common. All partake of the same nature with us. They inhabit the same earth. They are nourished with the same food. They have the same Lord. They have received the same laws. They are invited to the same blessings with ourselves. Let us not say then that we have nothing in common with them.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church
(Concerning the Statues, 1)
“He preached the freedom of heavenly peace, yet was thrown into irons by ungodly men. He was locked away in the darkness of prison, though he came bearing witness to the Light of life and deserved to be called a bright and shining lamp by that Light itself, which is Christ.”
“John was baptised in his own blood, though he had been privileged to baptise the Redeemer of the world, to hear the voice of the Father above him and to see the grace of the Holy Spirit descending upon Him. But to endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John; rather it was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward.”
St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father & Doctor of the Church
“He chose to despise the commands of a tyrant, rather than those of God. His example teaches us, that nothing should be dearer to us, than the will of God. Pleasing other people is of little value, indeed, it often causes great harm… Therefore, let us die to our sins and anxieties with all God’s friends, tread underfoot our misguided self-will and be careful to allow fervent love for Christ, to grow within us.”
Lanspergius the Carthusian (1489-1539) Monk, Theologian
Sermon for the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist. Opera omnia, t 2
[Like St John the Baptist did -] “Prepare a path for God so that He can enter your heart.”
St John Baptiste de la Salle FSC (1651-1719)
“The true secret of love consists in this: we must forget self like St John the Baptist and exalt and glorify the Lord Jesus.”
One Minute Reflection – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist, Readings: 1 Corinthians 1: 26-31, Psalms 33: 12-13, 18-19, 20-21, Mark 6: 17-29
She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”… Mark 6:24
REFLECTION – “The great forerunner of grace and messenger of truth, John the Baptist, Christ’s shining torch, Now becomes the preacher of eternal Light. The prophetic witness that he never ceased to show In his message, life and all his mighty works, Is signed today by the blood of his martyrdom.
He always went before his Lord: In birth declared his coming to the world. By his baptism of sinners in the Jordan He foretold the one by whom baptism would be instituted And, by shedding his blood for Him with love, John the Baptist also experienced beforehand The death of Christ our Saviour, who gave life to the world.
A cruel tyrant may well conceal him in a prison, bound with irons, Yet in Christ such chains could never bind a man, Whose heart in freedom opens to the Kingdom. How could the darkness and torments of a dungeon dim Gain mastery over one who sees Christ’s glory And receives from Him the Holy Spirit’s gifts? Willingly he gives his head to the executioner’s sword; How could he lose his head Whose Head is Christ?
Happy is he who wins today his forerunner’s title By his departure from this world of ours. Today his death proclaims his testimony while living: Christ who comes and who now is here. Could hell hold fast the messenger who escapes it? The just, the prophets and the martyrs are full of joy As they go with him to meet the Saviour. All surround John with their praises and their love And, with him, beg Christ to come at last to those who are His own.
O great forerunner of the Redeemer, he delays no longer Who sets you free from death for evermore. Led by your Lord, Enter into glory with the saints!” … St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father & Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – God our Father, You appointed St John the Baptist to be the herald of the birth and death of Christ Your Son. Grant that as he died a martyr for justice and truth, so we may also courageously bear witness to Your Word. We make our prayer, through Jesus Christ our Lord with the Holy Spirit, one God forever. St John the Baptist, pray for us, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 29 August – “Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” – Memorial of the Passion of St John the Baptist
To You We Cry, O Queen of Mercy! By St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Doctor Mellifluus (Mellifluous Doctor)
To you we cry, O Queen of Mercy! Return, that we may behold you dispensing favours, bestowing remedies, giving strength. Ah, tender Mother! Tell your all-powerful Son that we have no more wine. We are thirsty after the wine of His love, of that marvelous wine that fills souls with a holy inebriation, inflames them, and gives them the strength to despise the things of this world and to seek with ardour heavenly goods. Amen
Saint of the Day – 29 August – Saint Sabina of Rome (Died c 126) Martyr, Widow. Patronage – the Diocese of Avezzano, Italy.
Saint Sabina was the widow of Senator Valentinus and daughter of Herod Metallarius. After her female slave Saint Serapia (who had converted her) was denounced and beheaded, Sabina rescued her slave’s remains and had them interred in the family mausoleum where she also expected to be buried.
Denounced as well, Sabina was accused of being a Christian by Elpidio the Prefect and was thereupon martyred in the city of Vindena in the state of Umbria, Italy.
In 430 her relics were brought to the Aventine Hill, to a specially built basilica— Santa Sabina — on the site of her house, originally situated near a temple of Juno . This house may also have formed an early Christian titular church. The church was initially dedicated to both Sabina and Serapia, though the dedication was later limited to Sabina. This is the oldest extant Basilica in Rome.
St Sabina’s is believed to have drawn inspiration for its design from Old St. Peter’s Basilica, which was built roughly 100 years earlier. This increases the historical value of St Sabina’s, as to visit this storied old church is the closest we can come to experiencing the first iteration of St Peter’s, which was replaced by the St Peter’s we know today in the 16th century.
The Basilica was erected not far from the site of a temple of Juno, much of which was recycled for its construction. In fact, the nave of the basilica features 24 marble columns with perfectly matched Corinthian capitals and bases from the temple of Juno.
Another important aspect of this ancienBasilica is the artwork carved into the large cypress wood doors. While 10 of the original 28 carvings have been lost, among the remaining carvings is the oldest known depiction of the crucifixion. While the cross is not present, a figure appearing to be Christ stands with his arms outstretched, showing the wounds of the Passion. At either side of Jesus are two other figures standing similarly, believed to be the thieves whom Christ was crucified alongside.
The grounds of the Basilica of St Sabina is also home to a Convent where many famous Catholics have lived, including – St Dominic, Pope Pius V, Blessed Ceslaus, St Hyacinth and St Thomas Aquinas. In the 13th century, while St Dominic was in residence, Pope Honorius III launched the Order of Preachers, who are today known as Dominicans . Later in the same century, St Thomas Aquinas restructured the school and began a specialised education program known as the studium provinciale. In these lessons, Aquinas taught moral and natural philosophies.
St Sabina’s is still surprising us with its treasures. As recently as 2010, an early fresco was unveiled that appears to be a depiction of the Virgin Mary, along with some of the apostles.
St Adelphus St Adausia of Rome St Alberic of Bagno de Romagna St Basilia of Sirmium St Candida of Rome Bl Dominik Jedrzejewski St Edwold the Hermit St Euthymius of Perugia Bl Filippa Guidoni Bl John of Perugia St Louis-Wulphy Huppy St Maximian of Vercelli St Medericus St Nicaeus of Antioch St Paul of Antioch Bl Peter of Sassoferrato St Repositus of Velleianum Bl Richard Herst St Sabina of Rome (Died c 126) Martyr St Sabina of Troyes Blessed Sancja Szymkowiak CMBB (1910-1942) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2019/08/29/saint-of-the-day-29-august-blessed-sancja-szymkowiak-cmbb-1910-1942-the-angel-of-goodness/ St Sator of Velleianum St Sebbe of Essex Bl Teresa Bracco St Velleicus St Victor of La Chambon St Vitalis of Velleianum — Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: • Blessed Constantino Fernández Álvarez • Blessed José Almunia López-Teruel • Blessed Josep Maria Tarín Curto • Blessed Pedro Asúa Mendía