Thought for the Day – 2 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Exactly What is the Peace of Jesus Christ?
“The spirit of peace pervades the Gospel. When Jesus is born, choirs of angels sing above the stable in Bethlehem: “Glory to God in the highest ad on earth, peace among men of good will” (Lk 2:14). When our Saviour has risen gloriously from the dead, He appears to His disciples and greets them with the words: “Peace be to you.” Finally, when He is departing from this earth, He leaves his peace to His followers as their inheritance. “Peace I leave with you,” He says to them, “my peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled or be afraid” (Jn 14:27).
Exactly what is the peace of Jesus Christ? It is much different from worldly peace, presuming that the world can give some kind of peace. St Paul says of the Saviour that “he himself is our peace” (Eph 2:14). How are we to understand what is meant by this? The Apostle himself explains when he writes: “Having been justified by faith, let us have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1). Jesus Christ, therefore, is our peacemaker. He has shouldered our iniquities and has offered Himself to the Father as a victim of expiation and of reconciliation. It is at the price of Christ’s precious blood, that we have regained peace with God and freedom from our sins. This is the peace which our Lord has given us. Let us remember, however, that if we return to the slavery of sin, we shall lose at once, the jewel of peace which Jesus Christ has bestowed on us. “There is no peace to the wicked” (Isa 48:22). We have experienced on many occasions how true this is. Sin destroys peace of soul because it deprives us of Jesus, without Whom, peace cannot survive. Let us resolve, therefore, to remain always close to our Lord and far from sin. Then only shall we be able to preserve our peace of mind in the midst of temptations and of earthly sorrows.
Quote of the Day – 2 December – Wednesday of the First Week of Advent and The Memorial of Bl Jan/John van Ruusbroec(k) (c 1293-1382)
“If we would God discern The world we must despise, His love and hate must learn, See all things with His eyes. And we must self forgo If God we would attain, His grace must in us grow And ease us from all pain. So shall we sing His praise And be at one with Him, In peace our voices raise In the celestial hymn, That with quadruple harmony And all mellifluous melody, In Heaven resounds eternally.”
Come to us and save us, Lord God Almighty Let Your face smile on us and we shall be safe.
Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way.” … Matthew 15:32
REFLECTION – “The second coming of Christ our Bridegroom takes place daily in good persons; indeed, it takes place frequently and repeatedly, with new gifts and graces, in all those who prepare themselves for it to the best of their ability. We do not intend to speak here of a person’s initial conversion or of the graces, which were first bestowed when he turned from sin to virtue. Rather, we wish to speak of a day-to-day increase in new gifts and new virtues and of a present, daily coming of Christ our Bridegroom into our soul. (…)
This is [a] coming of Christ our Bridegroom which takes place daily with an increase in graces and new gifts, for when a person receives any of the sacraments with a humble heart and without placing any obstacle in the way of the sacrament’s effects, then he receives new gifts and an increase of grace because of his humility and because of the mysterious working of Christ in the sacraments. (…) It is, then, another coming of Christ our Bridegroom which is present to us everyday. We should reflect on it with a heart full of desire so that it might take place in ourselves, for this coming is necessary, if we are to remain steadfast or go forward into eternal life.” … Bl Jan van Ruysbroec (1293-1381) Canon Regular – The Spiritual Espousals, Pt. 2
PRAYER – Prepare our hearts, Lord, by the power of Your grace. When Christ comes, may He find us worthy to receive from His hand, the Bread of Heaven at the feast of eternal life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, with the Holy Spirit, God now and for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 2 December – Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
Come, Sun and Saviour 8th Century Catholic Advent Prayer/Hymn
Come, Sun and Saviour, to embrace our gloomy world, i’s weary race, As groom to bride, as bride to groom: The wedding chamber, Mary’s womb. At Your great Name, O Jesus, now All knees must bend, all hearts must bow, All things on earth with one accord, Like those in heaven, shall call You Lord. Come in Your holy might, we pray, Redeem us for eternal day. Defend us while we dwell below, From all assaults of our dread foe. Amen
Saint of the Day – 2 December – Saint Chromatius of Aquileia (Died c 407) Bishop of Aquileia, Theologian, Exegete, Writer and friend of St Ambrose and Jerome, defender of St John Chrysostom. Chromatius opposed Arianism with much zeal and rooted it out in his Diocese.
Chromatius was brought up in the city of Aquileia, at the head of the Adriatic Sea. In all likelihood, he was born here as well. His father died when he was young and he lived with his mother, older brother and unmarried sisters. His mother had the good opinion of St Jerome, which the Saint expressed in a letter to her, quoted below, in 374. His brother, Eusebius, also became a Bishop and he is also a Saint. Chromatius, had learned at home to know and love Christ. Jerome himself spoke of this in terms full of admiration and compared Chromatius’ mother to the Prophetess Anna, his two sisters to the Wise Virgins of the Gospel Parable and Chromatius himself and his brother Eusebius, to the young Samuel (cf. Ep. VII: PL XXII, 341). Jerome wrote further of Chromatius and Eusebius: “Blessed Chromatius and St Eusebius were brothers by blood, no less than by the identity of their ideals” (Ep. VIII: PL XXII, 342).
After his ordination, Chromatius took part in the synod against Arianism in 381. On the death of St Valerian in 388, he was elected Bishop of Aquileia and became one of the most distinguished prelates of his time. After receiving episcopal ordination from Bishop Ambrose, he dedicated himself courageously and energetically to an immense task because of the vast territory entrusted to his pastoral care – the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Aquileia, in fact, stretched from the present-day territories of Switzerland, Bavaria, Austria and Slovenia, as far as Hungary.
How well known and highly esteemed Chromatius was in the Church of his time, we can deduce from an episode in the life of St John Chrysostom. When the Bishop of Constantinople was exiled from his See, he wrote three letters to those he considered the most important Bishops of the Wes,t seeking to obtain their support with the Emperors – he wrote one letter to the Bishop of Rome, the second to the Bishop of Milan and the third to the Bishop of Aquileia. Those were difficult times also for Chromatius because of the precarious political situation.
Situated at one of the busiest crossroads of the Roman Empire, Aquileia was a major center of trade and commerce. Under Chromatius’ care, guidance and influence, it also became renowned as a centre of learning and orthodoxy. He baptised the monk, theologian and historian, Rufinus in his early manhood.
He kept up an extensive correspondence with both Sts Ambrose and Jerome and also with Rufinus. A scholarly theologian himself, Chromatius encouraged the Bishop of Milan to write exegetical works and also supported St Jerome in his own writings. He helped St Heliodorus of Altino to finance St Jerome’s translation of the Bible. It was also owing to Chromatius’ encouragement that Rufinus undertook the translation of Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History and other works.
In the bitter quarrel between St Jerome and Rufinus concerning Origenism, Chromatius, while rejecting the false doctrines of Origen of Alexandria, attempted to make peace between the disputants.
“Chromatius was a wise teacher and a zealous shepherd. His first and main commitment was to listen to the Word, to be able to subsequently proclaim it – he always based his teaching on the Word of God and constantly returned to it. Certain subjects are particularly dear to him – first of all, the Trinitarian mystery, which he contemplated in its revelation throughout the history of salvation. Then, the theme of the Holy Spirit – Chromatius constantly reminds the faithful of the presence and action, in the life of the Church, of the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity. But the holy Bishop returned with special insistence to the mystery of Christ. The Incarnate Word is true God and true man – He took on humanity in its totality to endow it with His own divinity. These truths, which he also reaffirmed explicitly in order to counter Arianism, were to end, up about 50 years later in the definition of the Council of Chalcedon. The heavy emphasis on Christ’s human nature led Chromatius to speak of the Virgin Mary. His Mariological doctrine is clear and precise. To him we owe evocative descriptions of the Virgin Most Holy – Mary is the “evangelical Virgin capable of accepting God”; she is the “immaculate and inviolate ewe lamb” who conceived the “Lamb clad in purple” (cf. Sermo XXIII, 3: Scrittori dell’area santambrosiana 3/1, p. 134). The Bishop of Aquileia often compares the Virgin with the Church – both, in fact, are “virgins” and “mothers.” Chromatius developed his ecclesiology above all in his commentary on Matthew. These are some of the recurring concept -: the Church is one, she is born from the Blood of Christ; she is a precious garment woven by the Holy Spirit; the Church is where the fact that Christ was born of a Virgin is proclaimed, where brotherhood and harmony flourish. One image of which Chromatius is especially fond is that of the ship in a storm – and his were stormy times, as we have heard: “There is no doubt,” the Holy Bishop says, “that this ship represents the Church” (cf. Tractatus XLII, 5: Scrittori dell’area santambrosiana 3/2, p. 260).
… Let us include an exhortation of Chromatius which is still perfectly applicable today: “Let us pray to the Lord with all our heart and with all our faith,” the Bishop of Aquileia recommends in one of his Sermons, “let us pray to Him to deliver us from all enemy incursions, from all fear of adversaries. Do not look at our merits but at His mercy, at Him ,who also in the past deigned to set the Children of Israel free, not for their own merits but through His mercy.May He protect us with His customary merciful love and bring about for us, what holy Moses said to the Children of Israel – The Lord will fight to defend you and you will be silent. It is He who fights, it is He who wins the victory…. And so that He may condescend to do so, we must pray as much as possible. He himself said, in fact, through the mouth of the prophet – Call on me on the day of tribulation; I will set you free and you will give me glory” (Sermo XVI, 4: Scrittori dell’area santambrosiana 3/2, pp. 100-102).
Thus, at the very beginning of the Advent Season, St Chromatius reminds us that Advent is a time of prayer in which it is essential to enter into contact with God. God knows us, He knows me, He knows each one of us, He loves me, He will not abandon me. Let us go forward with this trust in the liturgical season that has just begun.” (QUOTE – Pope Benedict XVI General Audience, 5 December 2007).
Chromatius was also an active exegete. Seventeen of his treatises on St Matthew’s Gospel survive, as well as a fine homily on the Eight Beatitudes. In all likelihood, Chromatius died in exile, in Grado, while he was attempting to escape the incursions of the Barbarians in 407, the same year in which St Chrysostom also died.
Our Lady of Liesse/Our Lady, Cause of our Joy: 2 December – An ancient statue of the Madonna and Child. It was brought from Egypt to France during the Crusades by three Knights of Malta who had been briefly captured by Saracens. It was enshrined at Liesse, diocese of Soissons. The original statue was destroyed during the French Revolution. A duplicate was installed and crowned in 1857. Patronage – Diocese of Soissons, France.
Bl Robert of Matallana St Silvanus St Pope Silverio — Greek Martyrs of Rome – (9 saints): Several Greek Christians martyred in the persecutions of Valerian – Adria, Aurelia, Eusebius, Hippolytus, Marcellus, Mary Martana, Maximus, Neon and Paulina. They were martyred by various means between 254 and 259 in Rome, Italy and are buried in the Callistus catacombs, Rome.
Martyrs of Africa – (4 saints): Four Christians martyred in Africa in the persecutions of Arian Vandals – Januarius, Securus, Severus and Victorinus.