Thought for the Day – 4 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
True Love of Self
“There is a passage in the Gospel which might lead us to believe that we are forbidden to love ourselves. “Amen, amen, I say to you,” Jesus declares, “unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone but, if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. He who loves his life, loses it and he who hates his life in this world, keeps it unto life everlasting” (Jn 12:24-25).
These words command us to hate ourselves in this world if we wish to attain salvation in the next life. In what sense, however, does Christ mean that we are to hate ourselves? He certainly means, that we should mortify our lower inclinations, deny our selfish ambitions, die to the world and be prepared to lose life itself, rather than offend God in any way. This is the kind of hate to which He urges us, a hatred of any perversion of our nature or of our faculties. If we prefer our own will, to that of our Creator, or love Him less than we love ourselves, or, worse still, if we forget and ignore Him in favour of passing pleasures, then, we invert the order of spiritual and moral values established by God and create a disorder which could lead us into sin.
Instead, we should love God above all things and subjugate our thoughts, desires and affections to Him. We should be prepared to forget ourselves for His sake and even to sacrifice life itself or His honour and glory. Then, our self-hatred will become a sublime love, which will bring us victory in our battle against our sensual inclinations. It will give us peace and resignation in suffering and, at the hour of death, will give us that consolation and joy, which the martyrs experienced when they shed their blood for the sake of Jesus Christ.”
Quote/s of the Day – 4 December – The Memorial of St John Damascene (676-749) – Father and Doctor of the Church
“The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God.”
“The Son is the Counsel and Wisdom and Power of the Father.”
“All who ask receive, those who seek find and to those who knock it shall be opened. Therefore, let us knock at the beautiful garden of Scripture. It is fragrant, sweet and blooming with various sounds of spiritual and divinely inspired birds. They sing all around our ears, capture our hearts, comfort the mourners, pacify the angry and fill us with everlasting joy.”
“Images are books for the illiterate and silent heralds of the honour of the saints, teaching those who see, with a soundless voice and sanctifying the sight.”
“The saints must be honoured as friends of Christ and children and heirs of God, … Let us carefully observe the manner of life of all the apostles, martyrs, ascetics and just men who announced the coming of the Lord. And let us emulate their faith, charity, hope, zeal, life, patience under suffering and perseverance unto death, so that we may also share their crowns of glory.”
“Having confidence in you, O Mother of God, I shall be saved. Being under you protection, I shall fear nothing. With your help, I shall give battle to my enemies and put them to flight, for devotion to you, is an arm of Salvation.”
St John Damascene (676-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
When he entered the house, the blind men came to him and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened. … Matthew 9:28-30
REFLECTION – “O Lord, You led me from my father’s loins and formed me in my mother’s womb. You brought me, a naked babe, into the light of day, for nature’s laws always obey Your commands. By the blessing of the Holy Spirit, You prepared my creation and my existence, not because man willed it or flesh desired it but by Your ineffable grace. The birth You prepared for me was such, that it surpassed the laws of our nature. You sent me forth into the light by adopting me as Your son and You enrolled me among the children of Your holy and spotless Church. You nursed me with the spiritual milk of Your divine utterances. You kept me alive with the solid food of the body of Jesus Christ, Your only-begotten Son for our redemption. And He undertook the task willingly and did not shrink from it. Indeed, He applied Himself to it as though destined for sacrifice, like an innocent lamb. Although He was God, He became man and in his human will, became obedient to You, God His Father, unto death, even death on a cross. In this way You have humbled Yourself, Christ my God, so that You might carry me, Your stray sheep, on Your shoulders. You let me graze in green pastures, refreshing me with the waters of orthodox teaching at the hands of Your shepherds. You pastured these shepherds and now, they in turn tend Your chosen and special flock. Now You have called me, Lord, by the hand of Your bishop to minister to Your people. I do not know why You have done so, for You alone know that. Lord, lighten the heavy burden of the sins through which I have seriously transgressed. Purify my mind and heart. Like a shining lamp, lead me along the straight path. When I open my mouth, tell me what I should say. By the fiery tongue of Your Spirit make my own tongue ready. Stay with me always and keep me in Your sight. Lead me to pastures, Lord and graze there with me. Do not let my heart lean either to the right or to the left but let Your good Spirit guide me along the straight path. Whatever I do, let it be in accordance with Your will, now until the end. And you, O Church, are a most excellent assembly, the noble summit of perfect purity, whose assistance comes from God. You in whom God lives, receive from us an exposition of the faith that is free from error, to strengthen the Church, just as our Fathers handed it down to us.” – From The Statement of Faith by St John Damascene, Priest – “You have called me, Lord, to minister to Your people”
PRAYER – Lord, watch over Your people who come to You in confidence. Strengthen the hearts of those who hope in You. Give courage to those who falter because of their failures. In this holy season of Advent, lead them closer to You in faith and hope, by the power of your Holy Spirit. May they proclaim Your saving acts of kindness here on earth and one day, in Your eternal kingdom and may the prayers of St John Damascene bring us light and strength. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 4 December – Friday of the First Week of Advent and the Memorial of St John Damascene (675-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
God, my God, May I Always Abide in You By St John Damascene (675-749)
God, my God, unextinguishable and invisible fire, You make Your angels flaming fire. Out of Your inexpressible love, You have given me Your divine Flesh as food and through this communion of Your immaculate Body and precious Blood, You receive me as a partaker of Your divinity. Permeate all my body and soul, all my bones and sinews. Consume my sins in fire. Enlighten my soul and illumine my mind. Sanctify my body and make Your abode in me together with Your blessed Father and all-holy Spirit, that I may always abide in You, through the intercession of Your immaculate Mother and all Your saints. Amen
Saint of the Day – 4 December – Saint Osmund (Died 1099) Bishop of Salisbury, Confessor, Count of Sées, was a Norman noble, Lord Chancellor (c 1070-1078). Osmund is Also known as Edimund, Edmund, Osimund. Additional Memorial – 16 July (translation of his relics). St Osmund was born at Seez, Normandy, France and died during the night of 3 or early hours of 4 December in 1099 at Salisbury, England of natural causes. Patronages – against insanity or mental illness, against paralysis, against ruptures, against toothache, of paralysed people.
Osmund, a native of Normandy, was the son of Count Henry of Seez and Isabella, half-sister of King William the Conqueror of England. He took part in the Norman Conquest and served William as his Chancellor and accompanied him to England and was made Chancellor of the realm about 1070. He was employed in many civil transactions and was engaged as one of the Chief Commissioners for drawing up the Do0mesday Book. He was created Earl of Dorset at the same time but he did not refer to himself with that title.
Osmund became Bishop of Salisbury by authority of Pope Gregory VII and was consecrated by Blessed Archbishop Lanfranc (see link to Blessed Lanfranc’s life below) around 3 June 1078. His Diocese comprised the counties of Dorset, Wiltshire and Berkshire, having absorbed the former bishoprics of Sherborne and Ramsbury under its incumbent at the 1075 Council of London. In his Acts of the English Bishops, William of Malmesbury describes medieval Salisbury as a fortress rather than a city, placed on a high hill, surrounded by a massive wall. Peter of Blois later referred to the castle and Church as “the ark of God shut up in the temple of Baal.”
He set about organising the new Diocese and providing it with its first Cathedral at Sarum. In establishing its constitution, he made it a model for many other such foundations. He is also regarded as the origin of the Sarum tradition of worship, even if it may have developed and been formalised later. Osmund also collected manuscripts for the Cathedral library, was a copier and binder of books, authored a life of St Aldhelm and was responsible for drawing up the books governing the liturgical matters for the Diocese such as the Mass and Divine Office, the so-called Sarum Use. Osmund also founded a Cathedral chapter of canons regular and a seminary for clerics.
Henry I’s biographer C Warren Hollister suggests the possibility that Osmund was in part responsible for Henry’s education; Henry was consistently in the Bishop’s company during his formative years, around 1080 to 1086.
Osmund assisted the king in assembling the massive census which became the Domesday Book and in 1086, he was present at the Great Gemot (political meeting) held at Old Sarum when the Domesday Book was accepted and the great landowners swore fealty to the sovereign.
In the dispute over investiture between King William II and St Anselm of Canterbury, Osmund initially sided with the king but later he admitted he had made a mistake and he begged Anselm’s forgiveness.
Osmund died in the night of 3 December 1099 and was succeeded, after the see had been vacant for eight years, by Roger of Salisbury, a statesman and counsellor of Henry I. His remains were buried at Old Sarum, translated to New Salisbury on 23 July 1457, and deposited in the Lady Chapel, where his sumptuous shrine was destroyed under Henry VIII. A flat slab with the simple inscription “MXCIX” has lain in various parts of the Cathedral. In 1644 it was in the middle of the Lady Chapel. It is now under the easternmost arch on the south side.
William of Malmesbury, in summing up Osmund’s character, says he was “so eminent for chastity that common fame would itself blush to speak otherwise than truthfully concerning his virtue. Stern he might appear to penitents but not more severe to them than to himself. Free from ambition, he neither imprudently wasted his own substance, nor sought the wealth of others.”
The cause for Osmund’s Canonisation began and was pursued from 1228. Pope Callistus III Canonised him in 1457. He was the last English person to be declared a Saint until the Canonisation of Sts Thomas More and John Fisher in 1935.
Prayer: Almighty God, the light of the faithful and shepherd of souls, who set Your servant Osmund to be a Bishop in the Church, to feed Your sheep by the word of Christ and to guide them by good example, give us grace to keep the faith of the Church and so to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, the Chief Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, that we may, with Osmund, come to that everlasting joy which is His promise to us. Amen.
St Bernardo degli Uberti St Bertoara of Bourges St Christianus St Clement of Alexandria St Cyran of Brenne St Eraclius St Eulogio Álvarez López St Ezequiel Álvaro de La Fuente St Felix of Bologna Bl Francis Galvez St Francisco de la Vega González St Giovanni Calabria St Heraclas of Alexandria St Jacinto García Chicote Bl Jerome de Angelis St John the Wonder Worker St Maruthas St Melitus of Pontus St Osmund (Died 1099) Bishop Bl Pietro Tecelano St Prudens St Robustiano Mata Ubierna St Sigiranus Bl Simon Yempo St Sola St Theophanes
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: • Blessed Eulogio Álvarez López • Blessed Ezequiel Álvaro de La Fuente • Blessed Francisco de la Vega González • Blessed Jacinto García Chicote • Blessed Robustiano Mata Ubierna