Thought for the Day – 18 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Preparation for the Nativity
“The Birth of Our Lord is the most wonderful and most moving mystery of divine omnipotence and goodness. At first thought, the idea of the infinite God becoming man, would seem impossible. Between God and man, there is a vast abyss. Why should God have bridged this gap and assumed our poor mortal nature, becoming like us in everything but sin, while still remaining God? It is a hard question for the human mind to answer. There is only one reply, however. The immensity of God’s power and justice is equalled, by the immensity of His love. It was simply because God loved us infinitely that He took pity on us, lost as we were in sin. He assumed a human body and became man and, He suffered and died for us, so that we might love and obey Him more easily and follow in the way of goodness.
To our poor intellects, God seems not only immense and infinite but also, very remote. For this reason, God determined to come closer to us, so that He became as one of us. He was a tiny infant, crying in a manger; then, He was a lovable young boy Who spoke words of eternal wisdom among the doctors in the Temple; then, He was a prophet Who traversed the countryside of Palestine, teaching and working miracles; finally, He died a martyr’s death on the Cross in the cause of truth and goodness. Reflecting on this mystery of infinite love, let us adore and love Him.”
Quote/s of the Day – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December O Adonai/O Lord Jeremiah 23:5-8, Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19, Matthew 1:18-24
“Only let it be in the name of Jesus Christ, that I may suffer together with Him! I endure everything because He Himself, Who is perfect man, empowers me.”
St Ignatius of Antioch (c 35 – 107) Father of the Church, Martyr
“And you shall call His name Jesus, because in His Name we adore the entire majesty of the Godhead. All who dwell in the heavens, those who abide upon the earth and everyone of those who are held in the depths of hell, bow down prostate to this Name. This is the Name which gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, agility to the lame, speech to the mute and life to the dead, The power of this Name forced the mastery of the devil entirely, from the bodies of the possessed.”
St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) Father and Doctor of the Church
“The Name of Jesus is the purest and holiest, the noblest and most indulgent of names, the Name of all blessings and of all virtues, it is the Name of the God-Man, of sanctity itself.”
St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Mellifluous Doctor of the Church
Jesus, Name Full of Glory By St Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444)
Jesus, Name full of glory, grace, love and strength! You are the refuge of those who repent, our banner of warfare in this life, the medicine of souls, the comfort of those who morn, the delight of those who believe, the light of those who preach the true faith, the wages of those who toil, the healing of the sick. To You our devotion aspires, by You our prayers are received; we delight in contemplating You. O Name of Jesus, You are the glory of all the saints for eternity. Amen
“The Holy Name of Jesus is, first of all, an all-powerful prayer. Our Lord, Himself, solemnly promises, that whatever we ask the Father in His Name, we shall receive. God never fails to keep His word. Each time we say “Jesus,” it is an act of perfect love, for, we offer to God, the infinite love of Jesus”
St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church
“There is just one Name in the whole world that lives – it is the Name of One who passed His years in obscurity and who died a malefactor’s death. (Two thousand yeas) have gone by since that time but still It has It’s hold upon the human mind. It has possessed the world and It maintains possession. Amid the most various nations, under the most diversified circumstances, in the most cultivated, in the rudest races and intellects, in all classes of society, the Owner of that great Name reigns. High and low, rich and poor, acknowledge Him. Millions of souls are conversing with Him, are venturing at His word, are looking for His presence. Palaces, sumptuous, innumerable, are raised to His honour. His image, in it’s deepest humiliations, is triumphantly displayed in the proud city, in the open country, at the corners of streets, on the tops of mountains. It sanctifies the ancestral hall, the closet and the bedchamber, it is the subject for the exercise of the highest genius in the imitative arts. It is worn next to the heart in life, it is held before the failing eyes in death.”
St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
Blessed be the Most Holy Name of Jesus without end!
Advent Reflection – The Weekdays of Advent, 18 December O Adonai/O Lord Jeremiah 23:5-8, Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19, Matthew 1:18-24
The Lord is at hand, come let us adore Him.
O LORD AND RULER of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai, Come and redeem us with outstretched arms.
“She will bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus” – Matthew 1:21
REFLECTION – “The Name of Jesus is a divine Name that the Lord made known to Mary through the voice of the Archangel Gabriel: “You will give him the name Jesus” (Lk 1:31). A name that, for this reason, is called “above all names,”“the only name by which we can be saved” (Phil 2:9; Acts 4:12). This great Name is compared to oil by the Holy Spirit: “Your name is oil poured out” (Sg 1:3). Why? Because, as Saint Bernard explains, just as oil is both light, food and medicine, so the Name of Jesus is light for our minds, food for our hearts, medicine for our souls. Light for our minds – it was the brilliance of this Name that enabled the world to pass from the shadows of idolatry to the light of faith. We were born in a land whose inhabitants were all pagans before the coming of the Lord. We should have been as they were if He had not come to enlighten us. So how should we not give thanks to Jesus Christ for the gift of faith! (…) Food for our hearts – this, too, is what the Name of Jesus is. For it calls to our minds all the painful work Jesus accomplished to save us. This is how He comforts us in tribulation, strengthens us to walk along the way of salvation, revives our hope and inflames us with love for our God. And medicine for our souls – Jesus’ Name makes them strong in the face of temptation and our enemies’ attacks. Do they hear this holy Name? The powers of hell tremble and take to flight. This is what Saint Paul says: “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld” (Phil 2:10). No-one who is tempted will fall if he calls on Jesus and so long as he calls, he will persevere and be saved.” – St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) Bishop and named The Most Zealous Doctor of the Church – Meditations for the Octave of Christmas, no 8
PRAYER – Write Your Blessed Name, Upon My Heart By Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
Write Your blessed name, O Lord, upon my heart, there to remain so indelibly engraved, that no prosperity, no adversity shall ever move me from Your love. Be to me a strong tower of defence, a comforter in tribulation, a deliverer in distress, a very present help in trouble and a guide to heaven through the many temptations and dangers of this life. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 18 December and also the Feast of Our Lady of Expectation
O Virgo Virginum
O Virgin of Virgins, how shall this be? For neither before thee was any like thee, nor shall there be after. Daughters of Jerusalem, why marvel ye at me? That which ye behold, is a divine mystery.
Maiden yet a Mother By Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Tr Msgr Ronald A Knox (1888-1957)
Maiden yet a mother, daughter of thy Son, high beyond all other, lowlier is none; thou the consummation planned by God’s decree, when our lost creation nobler rose in thee!
Thus His place prepared, he who all things made ‘mid his creatures tarried, in thy bosom laid; there His love He nourished, warmth that gave increase to the root whence flourished our eternal peace.
Nor alone thou hearest When thy name we hail; Often thou art nearest When our voices fail; Mirrored in thy fashion All creation’s gird, Mercy, might compassion Grace thy womanhood.
Lady, let our vision Striving heavenward, fail, Still let thy petition With thy Son prevail, Unto whom all merit, prayer and majesty, With the Holy Spirit And the Father be.
Most authors agree that there were seven original ‘O Antiphons’ and that they are a very ancient expression of Christian Prayer. While their author is unknown, they are cited in at least two works as early as the eighth century. Both Cynewulf, an Anglo-Saxon author and Amalarius, a liturgist and the Archbishop of Trier (died 850), who was a student of the teacher St Alcuin, cite the existence of the ‘O Antiphons’ as early as the seventh/eighth century.
The ‘O Antiphons’ get their name from the fact that they all begin with the interjection ‘O’: O Sapientia (Wisdom); O Adonai (Lord); O Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse); O Clavis David (Key of David); O Oriens (Dawn of the East); O Rex Gentium (King of Gentiles); O Emmanuel.
While the original ‘O Antiphons’ numbered seven, over time a number of others were added to the liturgy of particular regions and sometimes for particular religious feast days which fell during Advent, or even in the liturgy of some medieval religious orders. Some medieval religious churches had as many as twelve O Antiphons which were sung in the Advent Liturgy leading up to Christmas Eve.
Among these, there was an important Marian ‘O Antiphon’ which appears in both the Gallican (France) and Sarum (England) liturgies. Although it is difficult to establish just when this antiphon was first introduced, it was certainly known in the Middle Ages.
This Marian Antiphon is still used today in the liturgy of the Norbertine Order. While the Latin Liturgy begins the O Antiphons on 17 December with ‘O Sapientia,’ and ends on 23 December with ‘O Emmanuel,’ the Liturgy of the Norbertine Order begins their O Antiphons on 16 December with ‘O Sapientia,’ and ends on 23 December with the beautiful Marian Antiphon ‘O Virgo Virginum.’
Saint of the Day – 18 December – Saint Winebald OSB (c 701-761) Priest, Abbot, Confessor, Missionary, Founder of many Monasteries, disciple of St Boniface – born in c 701 at Wessex, England and died on 18 December 761 at Heidenheim, Germany of natural causes. St Wieibald was the son of St Richard, Prince of Wessex, brother of St Willibald and St Walburga. Also known as – Winebaldus, Winnibald, Wunebald, Wunibald, Wynbald, Wynnebald, Vunibaldo, Vinebaldo. Patronages – construction workers, engaged couples.
God blessed St Richard with three saintly children, St Winebald, the eldest, St Willibald, who died Bishop of Eichstätt and St Walburga, Abbess. St Richard leaving his native country, took with him his two sons and landed on the coast of Normandy. They visited all the places of devotion on their way and then travelled into Italy, intending to go to Rome but at Lucca, St Richard fell sick and died about the year 722.
Winebald and Willibald accomplished their pilgrimage to Rome. After some stay there to perform their devotions, St Willibald undertook another pilgrimage to the holy places in Palestine but Winebald, who was from his childhood of a weak constitution, remained at Rome, where he pursued his studies for seven years, took the tonsure and devoted himself with his whole heart to the divine service. Then returning to England, he engaged several amongst his kindred and friends to accompany him in his journey back to Rome and there to dedicate themselves to God in a religious state.
Around 737, St Boniface, who was Uncle of St Winebald, visited Rome. By this time Willibald had returned from his travels and had become a Monk at Monte Cassino. Boniface recruited both nephews for the German mission. Willibald was Ordained and based in Eichstätt. Boniface received a promise that Winebald would go to Germany. Winebald arrived in Thuringia on 30 November, 740 and was Ordained Priest by his Uncle who, thereafter, placed him in charge of seven Churches.
Winebald established a Monastery in Schwanfeld but in 742 transferred it to Heidenheim, where the brothers founded a double Monastery for the training of Priests and as a centre of learning. Winibald became the first Abbot.
Winebald took part in the Concilium Germanicum, (the first major Synod of the German Church which was presided over by St Boniface) in 742, and subscribed Pepin’s donation to Fulda in 753. In 762, he joined the League of Attigny, a confraternity of prayer established by Chrodegang, Archbishop of Metz. All this the saint accomplished in spite of continual illness, which prevented him from ending his life at Monte Cassino as he had hoped. Wieibald died at Heidenheim on 18 December 761.
The Vita of St Winebald assures us of several miraculous cures which were performed at his tomb. St Ludger also writes in the life of St Gregory of Utrecht, “Winebald was very dear to my master Gregory and shows, by great miracles since his death what he did whilst living.”
Our Lady of the Expectation – This Feast originated in Spain. When the feast of the Annunciation (25 March) was transferred to 18 December because of the regulation forbidding feasts in Lent, it remained on this date after the Annunciation was again celebrated on its original date. It impressed on the faithful, the sentiments of the Blessed Virgin as the time of her delivery approached.
St Malachi the Prophet St Mawnan of Cornwall Bl Miguel San Román Fernández St Phaolô Nguyen Van My St Phêrô Truong Van Ðuong St Phêrô Vu Van Truat Bl Philip of Ratzeburg St Rufus of Philippi St Samthann of Clonbroney St Theotimus of Laodicea St Winebald OSB (c 701-761) Priest, Abbot St Zosimus of Philippi
Martyrs of Northwest Africa – 42 saints: Mercedarian Redeemers – 6 beati – These are a group of Mercedarian friars who worked together, under the leadership of Saint Peter de Amer, to ransom (e.g., redeem) prisoners and minister to them after.