Thought for the Day – 29 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Value of An Hour
“There are twenty four hours in a day, eight thousand seven hundred and sixty, in a year. How have you spent all the hours which God has given you in the past? How do you intend to use the hours which He will give you in the future?
When you examine the past, you will find much to regret. Perhaps you have spent many hours in sin, in idle gossp, in useless or dangerous pastimes, or in innumerable business transactions, all of which will contribute NOTHING towards your eternal salvation, which should be our main concern in this life.
How much time have you spent thinking of God, your Creator and Redeemer? How many hours have you devoted to prayer, thanksgiving and penance. How many have you spent in apostolic work on behalf of your neighbour? It may be that the service of God and your spiritual welfare have, so far, been the least of your worries, on which you have expended no more than the few odd moments left over from your other preoccupations. You are well aware, nevertheless, that the purpose of life is to know, love and serve God. You know that you ought to offer Him all your thoughts, affections and actions, for He alone can make your happy – or do you NOT know and believe this?”
Quote/s of the Day – 29 December – The Fifth Day of the Octave of Christmas and the Memorial of St Thomas à Becket (1118-1170) Martyr, Archbishop of Canterbury
“To Him, I look as my judge, to Him, as the avenger of my wrongs, firm in my own good conscience and secure in the sincerity of my devotion, rooted in faith and confident that those who, in the love of justice suffer injury, can never be confounded, nor those, who break the horns of the persecutors of the Church, be deprived of their everlasting reward.”
“Let it be your consolation, then, that God’s enemies, however honourable and exalted they may have been, shall, nevertheless, fade away like the smoke.”
One Minute Reflection – 29 December – The Fifth Day of the Octave of Christmas, Readings: 1 John 2:3-11, Psalms 96:1-2, 2b-3, 5-6, Luke 2:22-35 and the Memorial of St Thomas à Becket (1118-1170) Martyr, Archbishop of Canterbury
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace ”- Luke 2:29
REFLECTION – “The kingdom of God is at hand” (Lk 21:31). The kingdom of God, beloved brethren, has begun to be at hand; the reward of life and the joy of eternal salvation and perpetual happiness and the possession of paradise once lost, are now coming with the passing of the world; now the things of heaven are succeeding those of earth; great things, small and eternal things, transitory. What place is there here for anxiety and worry? …
It is written that “the just man lives by faith” (Rm 1:17). If you are just and live by faith, if you truly believe in Jesus Christ, why do you, who are destined to be with Christ and secure in the promise of the Lord, not rejoice that you are called to Christ …? Take the example of Simeon, the just man who was truly just, who with full faith kept the commandments of God – when the answer had been given him from heaven that he would not die before he had seen Christ and when Christ as an infant had come into the temple with His mother, he knew in spirit that Christ was now born, concerning whom it had been foretold to him before and on seeing Him he knew, that he himself would quickly die.
Happy, therefore, at the death that was now at hand and untroubled at the approaching summons, he took the child into his hands and, blessing God, he cried out and said: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation.” Thus he proved surely and bore witness, that the servants of God have peace, they have a free and tranquil repose when, on being released from the storms of this world, they have sought the harbour of our final abode and eternal security … For that is our peace, that is our sure tranquillity, that, our steadfast and firm and everlasting security.” – St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200-258) Martyr, Bishop, Church Father – On mortality, 2-3
PRAYER – God our Father, our human nature is the wonderful work of Your hands. Your Son took to Himself our manhood, grant us a share in His Sonship, that as co-heirs with Him, we may strive evermore obediently to gain our final home with the Blessed Virgin and all Your saints. Through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You now and for evermore, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 29 December – The Fifth Day of the Octave of Christmas
Jesu, Dulcis Memoria Prayer, Poem, Hymn By St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Doctor Mellifluous Tr. Fr Edward Caswell C.Orat. (1814-1878)
Jesus, the very thought of Thee With sweetness fills the breast! Yet sweeter far Thy face to see And in Thy presence rest. No voice can sing, no heart can frame, Nor can the memory find, A sweeter sound than Jesus’ Name, The Saviour of mankind. O hope of every contrite heart! 0 joy of all the meek! To those who fall, how kind Thou art! How good to those who seek! But what to those who find? Ah! this Nor tongue nor pen can show The love of Jesus, what it is, None but His loved ones know. Jesus! our only hope be Thou, As Thou our prize shall be; In Thee be all our glory now, And through eternity. Amen
Jesu, Dulcis Memoria is a celebrated 12th century prayer/hymn by St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), Doctor Mellifluous. The entire hymn has some 42 to 53 stanzas depending upon the translation. Parts of this hymn are used for the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus on 3 January.
Saint of the Day – 29 December – Blessed William Howard (1614–1680) Martyr, Married Layman and Father, 1st Viscount Stafford – born on 30 November 1614 in Strand, London, England and died by being beheaded on 29 December 1680 on Tower Hill, London, England.
William was the grandson of the Venerable Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, fifth son of Earl Thomas (the first great art collector of England) and Uncle of Thomas Philip – Cardinal Howard. Brought up as a Catholic, he was made a Knight of the Bath, at the Coronation of Charles I, on 1 February 1626 and married Mary, sister of the last Baron Stafford, in October 1637; the title was revived for him on 12 September 1640 and he was immediately afterwards created a Viscount.
He is said to have joined the Royal army during the Civil War but perhaps erroneously, for in 1642 he was in Holland, attending the exiled Royal family and his mother and father. He was also employed by the Emperor Ferdinand in a missions to Flanders and Switzerland. After his father’s death on 4 October 1646, many painful quarrels with his nearest relatives ensued. The Howard properties in England having been sequestrated by Parliament, the family was much impoverished and William’s eldest surviving brother, Earl Henry Frederick, was induced to commence a series of unjust and vexatious lawsuits against his mother and practically robbed her of her dowry. William, as her representative, was involved in these painful and prolonged quarrels and even after both mother and brother had passed away, his cousins and their agents continued against him a quasi-persecution for several years.
The details of these transactions are obscure but it would seem that the Viscount was, under foreign law, twice actually arrested, at Heidelberg, in 1653 and at Utrecht in January 1656. In the latter case, he was acquitted with honour, though the charges, of which the particulars are not now known, were insulting and vexatious. In these troubles, his most dangerous opponents were perhaps Junius and other literary adherents of his father, who were claiming manuscripts and rarities from the Arundel Collections in payment of their debts, while Lord William successfully proved that those collections were not liable to such charges. After the Restoration in 1660, his rights were firmly established and his life within his large family circle must have been extremely happy. The brightest hours were perhaps those spent in conducting his nephew Philip to receive the Cardinal’s hat in Rome (1675).
Three years later, the infamous anti-Catholic Titus Oates and his abetters, included Lord Stafford in their list of Catholic Lords to be proscribed and eventually, he was put first upon the list. It has been supposed that this was done because his age, simplicity and the previous differences with other members of his family, suggested that he would prove comparatively easy prey. On 25 October, 1678, he was committed to the Tower and it was more than a year before it was decided to try him. Then the resolution was taken so suddenly that he had little time to prepare. The trial, before the House of Lords, lasted from 30 November to 7 December and was conducted with great solemnity. But no attempt was made to appraise the perjuries of Oates, Dugdale and Tuberville and the Viscount was, of course, condemned by 55 votes to 31.
It is sad to read that all his kinsmen but one (that one, however, the Lord Mowbray, with whom he had had many of the legal conflicts above here noticed) voted against him. His last letters and speeches are marked by a quiet dignity and a simple heroism, which give us a high idea of his character. Blessed William was condemned to execution by beheading.
His fellow prisoner and confessor, Father Corker OSB, says: “He was ever held to be of a generous disposition, very charitable, devout, addicted to sobriety, inoffensive in words, a lover of justice.” A portrait of him, see below, by Sir Antony Van Dyck belongs to the Marquess of Bute.
Blessed William was Beatified on 15 December 1929 by Pope Pius XI.
St Aileran of Clonard St Albert of Gambron St Aproniano de Felipe González St David the King St Ebrulf of Ouche St Enrique Juan Requena St Florent of Bourges Bl Francis Ruiz St Girald of Fontenelle St Jacinto Gutiérrez Terciado Bl José Aparicio Sanz Bl José Perpiñá Nácher St Juan Bautista Ferreres Boluda St Libosus of Vaga St Marcellus the Righteous St Martinian of Milan Bl Paul Mary Bl Peter the Venerable St Quartillosa of Carthage St Thaddeus of Scythia St Trophimus of Arles St Trophimus of Ephesus Blessed William Howard (1614–1680) Martyr, Layman — Martyrs of North Africa – (8 saints): A group of Christians executed together for their faith. The only details to survive are eight names – Crescentius, Dominic, Honoratus, Lybosus, Primian, Saturninus, Secundus and Victor.
Martyrs of Rome – (3 saints): A group of Christians executed together for their faith. The only details to survive are three names – Boniface, Callistus and Felix.
Martyrs of Seoul – (7 saints): Additional Memorial – 20 September as part of the Martyrs of Korea. A group of seven lay woman in the apostolic vicariate of Korea who were martyred together. • Barbara Cho Chung-I • Barbara Ko Sun-I • Benedicta Hyong Kyong-Nyon • Elisabeth Chong Chong-Hye • Magdalena Han Yong-I • Magdalena Yi Yong-Dok • Petrus Ch’oe Ch’ang-Hub They were born in South Korea and were martyred by beheading on 29 December 1839 at the Small West Gate, Seoul, South Korea. They were Canonised on 6 May 1984 by St Pope John Paul II.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: Thousands of people were murdered in the anti-Catholic persecutions of the Spanish Civil War from 1934 to 1939. • Blessed Aproniano de Felipe González • Blessed Enrique Juan Requena • Blessed Jacinto Gutiérrez Terciado • Blessed Juan Bautista Ferreres Boluda