Thought for the Day – 7 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
Merit and the Love of God
“The more we know, writes St Catherine of Siena, the more we love and the more we love, the more we receive. Our merit, she concludes, increases in accordance with the measure of our love (Dialogues, c 131). We tend to judge men on the strength of their achievements and to judge ourselves, according to the degree of success which we have attained. Our standards could hardly be more false. “How much soever each one is in Thy eyes,” the author of The Imitation of Christ cries out to God in the words of St Francis, “so much is he and no more” (Bk III, c 50).
It is not success which counts with God and still less, human esteem. What matters with God, is our intention of pleasing Him and of working for His glory, from the motive of pure love. If we are successful in our work, let us praise God. If we are unsuccessful, let us thank Him, just the same. Our merit is commensurate with our love for God. If we love Him very much, we shall work hard and make sacrifices for His sake. We must work to satisfy God alone, however and not, for ourselves. If we work for any other purpose, all our labour is wasted. We sow abundantly and reap little or nothing. God alone matters. If we work only for Him, we shall be blessed by Him and shall reap the fruits of everlasting life. Amen!”
Quote of the Day – 7 January – The Second Day within the Octave of Epiphany
Poem “The Epiphany”
To blaze the rising of this glorious sun A glittering star appeareth in the east Whose sight to pilgrim toil three sages won To seek the light they long had in request, And by this star to nobler star they pace Whose arms did their desired sun embrace.
Still was the sky wherein these planets shined And want the cloud that did eclipse their rays, Yet through this cloud their passage they did find, And pierced these sages’ hearts by secret ways, Which made them know, the Ruler of the skies By Infant tongue and looks of babish eyes.
Heaven at her light, earth blusheth at her pride And of their pomp these peers ashamed be, Their crowns, their robes, their train they set aside When God’s poor cottage, clouts and crew they see, All glorious things their glory now despise Since God contempt doth more than glory prize.
Three gifts they bring, three gifts they bear away, For Incense, Myrrh and Gold, Faith, Hope and Love And with their gifts the givers’ hearts do stay, Their mind from Christ, no parting can remove, His humble state, His stall, His poor retinue They fancy more than all their rich revenue.
One Minute Reflection – 7 January – The Second Day within the Octave of Epiphany, Readings: 1 John 3:22 – 4:6, Psalms 2:7-8, 10-12, Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25 and the Memorial of St Raymond of Peñafort (1175-1275) “Father of Canon Law”
“ …the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light and for those, who sat in the region and shadow of death, light has dawned.”…Matthew 4:16
REFLECTION – “All these things we know to have taken place ever since the three wise men, aroused in their far-off land, were led by a star to recognise and worship the King of heaven and earth. The responsiveness of that star exhorts us to imitate it’s obedience and, as much as we can, to make ourselves servants of that grace which invites us all to Christ. For, whoever lives religiously and chastely in the Church and “sets his mind on the things which are above, not on the things that are upon the earth” (Col 3:2) resembles that heavenly light in a certain sense. So long as he maintains in himself the brightness of a holy life, he points out to many, like a star, the way that leads to God. All having this concern, dearly-beloved… you will shine in the Kingdom like children of light.”… St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father & Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – Lord, may the radiance of Your glory, light up our hearts and bring us through the shadows of this world, until we reach our homeland of everlasting light. Grant we pray, that by the intercession of St Raymond of Peñafort , our way may be smoothed and our troubles eased. We ask this through Jesus, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 7 January – The Second Day within the Octave of Epiphany
O Child, So Worthy of Our Love, I Offer You My Heart By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
O Child so worthy of our love, I see You lying on the straw in this cave, so poor and despised. Yet faith teaches me, that You are my God come down from heaven for my salvation. I acknowledge You as my Sovereign Lord and Saviour, as such I proclaim You, yet, I have nothing at all to offer You. I am without love’s gold, since I have given my love to the things of this world – I have only loved my own whim, rather than loving You, so infinitely worthy of love. I am without prayer’s incense, since I have lived wretchedly without thinking of You. I have no myrrh of mortification since, so as not to forsake some paltry pleasures, I have so often saddened Your infinite goodness. So what am I to offer You? O my Jesus, I offer You my heart, soiled and naked as it is. Take it and change it, for You have come down to us to wash our guilty hearts with Your blood and so transform us from sinners into saints. O grant me that gold, incense and myrrh that I lack. Grant me the gold of Your holy love; grant me the incense that is the spirit of prayer; grant me myrrh, the willingness and strength to deny myself in all that displeases You… O holy Virgin, you welcomed those devout magi kings with keen affection and satisfied them. Deign to welcome and comfort me also, I who come, following their example, to visit and offer myself to your Son Amen
Saint of the Day – 7 January – Blessed Lindalva Justo de Oliveira DC (1953-1993) Virgin and Martyr – “in defensum castitati,” Religious Sister of the Vincentian Sisters, apostle of the elderly and the sick – born on 20 October 1953 Sitio Malhada da Areia, Açu, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil and died on 9 April 1993 (aged 39) in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. She was stabbed 44 times.
Lindalva Justo de Oliveira was born on 20 October 1953 at Sitio Malhada da Areia, in a very poor area of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. Lindalva’s father, João Justo da Fé, a farmer, was a widower. His second marriage was to Maria Lúcia de Oliveira. Little Lindalva was the sixth of 13 children born to the couple. Lindalva was baptised on 7 January 1954.
Her family was not well-off but rich in the Christian faith. João moved his family to Açu so his children could attend school and after many sacrifices, he was able to buy a house where the family still resides today.
Besides following her mother’s good example, Lindalva demonstrated a natural inclination toward the poorer children and spent much time with them.
At age 12, Lindalva received First Holy Communion and during her school years she was always happy to help the less fortunate. Later, while living with her brother, Djalma and his family in Natal, she received an administrative assistant’s diploma in 1979.
From 1978 to 1988 she held various jobs in retail sales and as a cashier at a petrol station, sending some of her salary home to help her mother. Lindalva found time to visit the local home for the elderly every day after work.
In 1982, as she lovingly assisted her father in the last months of his terminal illness, she reflected seriously on her life and decided to serve the poor. She then enrolled in a nursing course but also enjoyed those things typical of young people – building friendships, guitar lessons and cultural studies.
In 1986 she participated in the vocational initiatives of the Daughters of Charity. After she received the Sacrament of Confirmation in 1987, Lindalva applied for admission to the Daughters. On the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, 11 February 1988, she entered the postulancy and edified her companions with her joy and genuine concern for the poor.
Her character was marked by a sweet disposition but also by truth. In a letter to her alcoholic brother, Antonio, she wrote: “Think about it and reward yourself. I pray for you very much and I will continue to pray and if necessary I will do penance so that you are able to fulfil yourself as a person. Follow Jesus, who fought until death for the life of sinners and gave His own life, not as God but as man, for the forgiveness of sins. We must seek refuge in Him, only in Him is life worth living.”A year later her brother quit drinking.
On 29 January 1991 Sr Lindalva was assigned 40 elderly male patients in the municipal nursing home in Salvador da Bahia. She undertook the more humble tasks and sought out those who suffered the most and cared for their spiritual and material well-being by encouraging their reception of the Sacraments. Sr Lindalva would sing and pray with them and she even took her driving test so she could take them out for rides.
During January of 1993, a certain Augusto da Silva Peixoto, a 46-year-old man with an irascible character, managed to be admitted to the facility through the recommendation of another, even though he had no right to be there. Sr Lindalva treated him with the same courtesy and respect as the other patients, yet he became enamoured of her.
She prudently distanced herself from him and was cautious in his regard. Nonetheless, he explicitly declared his lustful intentions towards her. A simple solution would have been for Sr Lindalva to leave but her love for the elderly caused her to declare, “I prefer to shed my blood than to leave this place.”
By 30 March Augusto’s advances became so insistent and frightening that she sought the help of a health-care official to restrain this unruly patient. Although he promised to improve his attitude and behaviour, he harboured hatred and vengeance that developed into a murderous plan.
On 9 April 1993, Good Friday, Sr Lindalva took part in the parish Way of the Cross at 4: 30 in the morning. By 7 a.m. she was back at work to prepare and serve breakfast as she did every day. As she served coffee from behind a table, Augusto approached and thrust a fishmonger’s knife above her collar-bone.
Sinking to the ground, she cried “God protect me” several times. Patients ran for cover. Enveloped in an insane rapture while holding up her body, Augusto stabbed her 44 times shouting, “I should have done this sooner!”
He then suddenly became calm, sat down on a bench, wiped the knife on his trousers, threw it on the table and exclaimed: “She did not want me!” and turning to the doctor, said, “You can call the police, I will not run away; I did what had to be done”.
The next day, Holy Saturday, 10 April 1993, Cardinal Lucas Moreira Neves, OP, Primate of Brazil, celebrated the 39-year-old Sister’s funeral and commented: “A few years were enough for Sr Lindalva to crown her Religious life with martyrdom”…. Vatican.va As of 6 April 2014 her remains are in the Capela das Relíquias da Beata Lindalva.
Oliveira’s Beatification received the approval of Pope Benedict XVI who determined that she was killed “in defensum castitatis” – the defence of her vow of chastity. She was Beatified on 2 December 2007 in which Cardinal José Saraiva Martins presided over on the behalf of the Pope.
Augustus, her murderer, was still alive as of 2007. He was in a mental hospital until 2005.
Our Lady of Egypt — 7 January: “So he arose and took the child and his mother by night and withdrew into Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod; that there might be fulfilled what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.'” Matthew, 2:14, 15 Only one child escaped the cruel sword of Herod – Mary’s Son, safe in the arms of his Mother fleeing with Him into Egypt. How much Our Lady have suffered during that long journey across the desert: anxiety, fatigue, hunger, thirst, want of shelter! While in Egypt, Mary’s interest in the Gentiles must have greatly increased. It was not in vain that Mary and her Son were sent into Egypt; God had his reasons. Egypt is a true picture of the Blessed Sacrament, hidden away in so many Tabernacles, surrounded by so many people who do not suspect His Presence; it is nothing to so many that pass by- yes even to Catholics! But what is it to those who know? What was Jesus to Mary and Joseph in the land of Egypt? He was their All – with Him, exile did not exist; with Him, God’s will was easy, God’s arrangements, the best; with Him, it was impossible to complain, impossible to have any regrets about the past or impatient wonderings about the future. Mary was absorbed in the present because she had Jesus with Her – He had to be cared for, fed, taught, thought about, worked for, lived for – Egypt!
St Aldric of Le Mans Bl Ambrose Fernandez St Anastasius of Sens St Brannock of Braunton St Candida of Greece St Canute Lavard St Cedd St Clerus of Antioch St Crispin I of Pavia St Cronan Beg St Emilian of Saujon St Felix of Heraclea Bl Franciscus Bae Gwan-gyeom St Januarius of Heraclea St Julian of Cagliari St Kentigerna Blessed Lindalva Justo de Oliveira DC (1953-1993) Virgin Martyr, Religious Sister St Lucian of Antioch Bl Marie-Thérèse Haze St Pallada of Greece St Polyeuctus of Melitene St Reinhold of Cologne St Spolicostus of Greece St Theodore of Egypt St Tillo of Solignac St Valentine of Passau St Virginia of Ste-Verge Bl Wittikund of Westphalia