Thought for the Day – 5 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Everyday of our lives should be a further step towards perfection. Holiness should be our goal in life. If we set before ourselves any illusory targets at which to aim, we are making a serious mistake and shall have cause, in the end, to appreciate the truth of the prophet’s warning: “You have sowed much and brought in little” (Agg 1:6). Jesus Christ, moreover, has given us this commandment: “You are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).
The ideal is high, certainly and, it is impossible for human resources but Jesus assures us, that nothing is impossible with God (Cf Lk 18:27). We can do nothing without God’s help but, with His grace, we can do everything. “I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).
Naturally, we cannot hope to accomplish everything in one day. We should desire to reach the highest possible level of perfection and not to be discouraged by the many difficulties which we are sure to encounter on the way. But, it would be presumptuous to expect to achieve perfection in a single moment.
The road to sanctity is long and arduous. It is essential to stride this path resolutely and with complete confidence in God. We should go forward with enthusiasm, not depending on our own poor resources but, on divine grace.
This is a matter of life and death and here we speak of eternal life. If we cease to advance and fall into indolence and inacitivity, God will leave us to ourselves and we shall be lost. A man who is not advancing in the spiritual life must lose ground sooner or later because, he is not obeying the command of Jesus Christ.”
Quote/s of the Day – 5 December – Saturday of the First week of Advent
“He is the Word of God who dwelt with man and became the Son of Man, to open the way for man, to receive God, for God to dwell with man, according to the will of the Father.”
St Irenaeus (130-202) Father of the Church
“The very Son of God, older than the ages, the invisible, the incomprehensible, the incorporeal, the beginning of beginning, the light of light, the fountain of life and immortality, the image of the archetype, the immovable seal, the perfect likeness, the definition and word of the Father: He it is who comes to His own image and takes our nature for the good of our nature and unites Himself to an intelligent soul for the good of my soul, to purify like by like.”
St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Father and Doctor of the Church
“He became small because you were small – understand how great He is and you will become great along with Him. This is how houses are built, how the solid walls of a building are raised. The stones brought to construct the building increase, you, too, increase, understanding how great Christ is and how He who appeared to be small is great, very great indeed…”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church
“If we would please this Divine Infant, we too must become children, simple and humble. We must carry to Him, flowers of virtue, of meekness, of mortification, of charity. We must clasp Him in the arms of our love.”
St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. … Matthew 9:36
REFLECTION – “A person is counselled to his face, so to speak, when he is created for righteousness and receives the precepts of rectitude. When he despises these precepts, it is as if he is turning his back to his Creator’s face. But He still follows behind us and counsels us, that we have despised Him but He still does not cease to call us. We turn our backs on His face, so to speak, when we reject His words, when we trample His commandments underfoot but He who sees that we reject Him, still calls out to us by His commandments and waits for us by His patience, stands behind us and calls us back when we have turned away.” … St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) Father & Doctor of the Church – Forty Gospel Homilies, 34
PRAYER – Lord, to free man from his sinful state, You sent Your only Son into this world. Grant to us, who in faith and love, wait for His coming, Your gift of grace and the reward of true freedom. Be born in us O Lord! We ask our most pure Virgin Mary to guide us in her ways. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 5 December – Saturday of the First week of Advent
Alma Redemptoris Mater Loving Mother of the Redeemer By Blessed Herman of Reichenau/the Cripple OSB (1013–1054)
Loving Mother of the Redeemer! Hear thou thy people’s cry, Star of the deep and portal of the sky! Mother of Him Who thee from nothing made, Sinking we strive and call to thee for aid; Oh, by that joy which Gabriel brought to thee, Thou Virgin first and last, let us thy mercy see.
Alma Redemptóris Mater, quæ pérvia cæli Porta manes, et stella maris, succúrre cadénti, Súrgere qui curat pópulo: tu quæ genuísti, Natúra miránte, tuum sanctum Genitórem Virgo prius ac postérius, Gabriélis ab ore Sumens illud Ave, peccatórum miserére.
Marian Antiphon Traditionally said from Advent to the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Blessed Herman is the Author of the Salve Regina, the Veni Sancte Spiritus and the Alma Redemptoris Mater amongst others.
Saint of the Day – 5 December – St Sabbas (439–532) Priest, a Cappadocian-Syrian Monk, founder of several Monasteries, most notably the one known as Mar Saba. Born in 439 at Motalala, Cappadocia and died in 532 of natural causes. Also known as Sabbas of Mar Saba, Sabbas the Sanctified, Sabbas the Great, Sabas, Sava.
Sabbas is one of the most highly regarded patriarchs among the Monks of Palestine and is considered one of the founders of Eastern Monasticism.
After an unhappy childhood in which he was abused and ran away several times, Sabbas finally sought refuge in a Monastery. While family members tried to persuade him to return home, the young boy felt drawn to monastic life. Although the youngest Monk in the house, he excelled in virtue.
At age 18 he travelled to Jerusalem, seeking to learn more about living in solitude. Soon he asked to be accepted as a disciple of a well-known local solitary, although he was regarded as too young to live completely as a hermit. Initially, Sabbas lived in a Monastery, where he worked during the day and spent much of the night in prayer. At the age of 30 he was given permission to spend five days each week in a nearby remote cave, engaging in prayer and manual labour in the form of weaving baskets. Following the death of his mentor, Saint Euthymius, Sabbas moved farther into the desert near Jericho. There he lived for several years in a cave near the brook Cedron. A rope was his means of access. Wild herbs among the rocks were his food. Occasionally men brought him other food and items, while he had to go a distance for his water.
Some of these men came to him desiring to join him in his solitude. At first he refused. But not long after, relenting, his followers swelled to more than 150, all of them living in individual huts grouped around a church.
The Bishop persuaded a reluctant Sabbas, then in his early 50s, to prepare for the priesthood so that he could better serve his monastic community in leadership. While functioning as Abbot among a large community of Monks, he felt ever called to live the life of a hermit. Throughout each year—consistently in Lent—he left his Monks for long periods of time, often to their distress. A group of 60 men left the Monastery, settling at a nearby ruined facility. When Sabbas learned of the difficulties they were facing, he generously gave them supplies and assisted in the repair of their Church.
Over the years Sabbas travelled throughout Palestine, preaching the true faith and successfully bringing back many to the Church. At the age of 91, in response to a plea from the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Sabas undertook a journey to Constantinople in conjunction with the Samaritan revolt and its violent repression. He fell ill and soon after his return, died at the Monastery of Mar Saba.
Sabbas’s relics were taken by Crusaders in the 12th century and remained in Italy in the Church of Saint Anthony in Venice, until Pope Paul VI returned them to the Monastery in 1965, as a gesture of good will towards the Orthodox.
The Monastery of Mar Saba long continued to be the most influential in those parts and produced several distinguished Monks, among them St John Damascene, the Father and Doctor of the Church, whose Feast we celebrated yesterday.
Today the Monastery is still inhabited by monks of the Eastern Orthodox Church. In Rome the Church of Saint Saba is dedicated to him. Saint Sabbas is regarded as one of the most noteworthy figures of early monasticism.
St Abercius St Anastasius St Aper of Sens St Bartholomew Fanti of Mantua St Basilissa of Øhren St Bassus of Lucera St Bassus of Nice St Cawrdaf of Fferreg St Christina of Markyate St Consolata of Genoa St Crispina St Cyrinus of Salerno St Dalmatius of Pavia St Firminus of Verdun St Gerald of Braga St Gerbold St Gratus Blessed Jean-Baptiste Fouque (1851-1926) The Life of the St Vincent de Paul of Marseilles: https://anastpaul.com/2019/12/05/saint-of-the-day-5-december-blessed-jean-baptiste-fouque-1851-1926-saint-vincent-de-paul-of-marseilles/ St Joaquín Jovaní Marín St John Almond Bl Giovanni/John Gradenigo St Justinian St Martiniano of Pecco Bl Narcyz Putz St Nicetius of Trier Bl Niels Stenson St Pelinus of Confinium Blessed Philip Rinaldi SDB (1856-1931) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2017/12/05/saint-of-the-day-5-december-blessed-philip-rinaldi-s-d-b-1856-1931/ St Sabbas of Mar Saba (439–532) Priest St Vicente Jovaní Ávila — Martyrs of Thagura – (12 saints): A group of twelve African Christians who were martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. The only details about them that have survived are five of their names – Crispin, Felix, Gratus, Juliua and Potamia. 302 in Thagura, Numidia
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: • Blessed Joaquín Jovaní Marín • Blessed Vicente Jovaní Ávila