Thought for the Day – 9 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Lord, that I May See!”
“Spiritually, we are all blind to a greater or lesser extent. Do we understand the infinite truth, beauty and goodness of God, in Whom our true happiness consists? Do we understand the emptiness of the world, despite the glory of its transient beauty, which can never satisfy our hearts? Do we understand our own nothingness and our dependence on God for light and grace? If we understood all this, then the scales of our spiritual blindness would fall from our eyes. Our faith would be even purer and more heartfelt than that of the poor blind man of Jericho. If we do not possess this lively faith and our eyes are dazzled by the glittering vanities of the world, let us turn to Jesus and beseech Him: “Lord, that I may see!” Only the light which comes from You is the true light which illumines every man who comes into this world (Jn 1:9).”
Quote/s of the Day – 9 January – Saturday after Epiphany
“He must increase but I must decrease.”
“Do not have Jesus Christ on your lips and the world in your heart.”
St Ignatius of Antioch (37-105) Bishop & Martyr
“You hide your heart from man – hide it from God if you can. … Where will you go? Where will you flee? Do you want to hear some advice? If you want to flee from Him – flee to Him. Flee to Him by Confessing, not from Him, by hiding, for you cannot hide but you can Confess. Tell Him. “You are my refuge” (Ps 32:7) and let there be nursed in yo, the love that alone leads to life.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“If we would God discern The world we must despise, His love and hate must learn, See all things with His eyes. And we must self forgo If God we would attain, His grace must in us grow And ease us from all pain. So shall we sing His praise And be at one with Him, In peace our voices raise In the celestial hymn, That with quadruple harmony And all mellifluous melody, In Heaven resounds eternally.”
Bl Jan van Ruusbroec (1293-1381)
“Embrace, then, Jesus crucified, raising to Him the eyes of your desire! Consider His burning love for you, which made Jesus pour out His blood from every part of His body! Embrace Jesus crucified, loving and beloved and in Him, you will find true life because He is God made man. Let your heart and your soul burn with the fire of love drawn from Jesus on the Cross! … You will have no other desire than to follow Jesus! Run, … do not stay asleep because time flies and does not wait one moment! Dwell in God’s sweet love!”
St Catherine of Sienna (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church
“Without the Way, there is no going, Without the Truth, there is no knowing, Without the Life, there is no living.”
One Minute Reflection – 9 January – Saturday after Epiphany, Readings: 1 John 5:14-21, Psalms 149:1-2, 3-4,5 and 6 and 9, John 3:22-30
“He must increase but I must decrease.” – John 3:30
REFLECTION – “He must increase but I must decrease.” In John, human righteousness had reached the highest level that man could attain. Truth itself (Jn 14:6) said: “Among men, there has been none greater than John the Baptist” (cf. Mt 11:11); so no man could have surpassed him. But he was only a man, whereas Jesus Christ, was man and God. And since, according to Christian grace, we are asked (…) not to boast about ourselves but “whoever boasts let him boast in the Lord” (2 Cor 10:17), …, that is the reason John cried out: “He must increase but I must decrease.” To be sure, God is neither decreased nor increased in Himself. But for ourselves, to the extent that a true spiritual life develops, divine grace increases and human importance decreases until the temple of God, which is made up of all the members of the body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor 3:16), reaches it’s perfection, all domination, authority and importance have died and God has become “all in all” (cf. Col 1:16; 1 Cor 15:28). … “The Word was the true light which enlightens everyone coming into this world, … from his fullness we have all received” (Jn 1:9.16). In itself, the light is always total light, however, it increases in one who is enlightened and diminishes when, what is without God in that person, is destroyed. For without God, we can only sin and this human power decreases, when divine grace overcomes and destroys the sin.The weakness of the creature gives way to the power of the Creator and the vanity of our egoism melts before the love that fills the universe. From the depths of our distress, John the Baptist acclaims the mercy of Christ: “He must increase and I must decrease.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop, Father, Doctor of Grace – Sermon for the birth of John the Baptist;
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, through Christ, Your Son, You made of us a new creation. Shape us then, in His likeness, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, since in Him, our human nature now lives with You. Lord God, let the Blessed Virgin the Mother of Your Divine Son and our mother, ever commend us to Your love and care. May her charity and wisdom inspire us to treasure Your teaching and express it in our lives. Through our Lord Jesus, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 9 January – Saturday after Epiphany
Let Me Love Your Jesus By St Ildephonsus (c 607-670)
Virgin Mary, hear my prayer, through the Holy Spirit, you became the Mother of Jesus, from the Holy Spirit, may I too have Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit, your flesh conceived Jesus, through the same Spirit, may my soul receive Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit, you were able to know Jesus, to possess Jesus and to bring Him into the world. Through the Holy Spirit, may I too come to know your Jesus. Imbued with the Spirit, Mary, you could say “I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to your word,” in the Holy Spirit, lowly as I am, let me proclaim the great truths about Jesus. In the Spirit, you now adore Jesus as Lord and look on Him as Son, in the same Spirit, Mary, let me love your Jesus. Amen
Saint of the Day – 9 January – St Peter of Sebaste (c 340-c 391) Bishop of Sebaste in Lesser Armenia. Born in c 340 in Caesarea, Cappadocia and died in 391 in Sebaste, Lesser Armenia, of natural causes. He was the younger brother of Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, the famous Christian Hermit Naucratius and Macrina the Younger, all Saints. He is also known as Peter of Sebasteia, as well as a close friend and colleague of St Gregory of Nazianzen, another Doctor of the Church.
Any sibling who has ever idolised their older siblings, followed in their footsteps, or felt himself living in their shadow, can certainly relate to Peter of Sebaste, who was the youngest child of a true theological powerhouse of a family.
Peter lived in the second half of the fourth century and was born around the year 340. He was the youngest of ten children and lost his father in his cradle, some think before he was born. His older siblings were two of the Cappadocian Fathers—Basil of Caesarea, that is St Basil the Great and St Gregory of Nyssa—and the great female monk and desert mother, St Macrina the Younger. Macrina took the young Peter under her spiritual wing and trained him in the religious life of asceticism.
Peter was a brilliant young student and, after a childhood spent studying the liberal arts, he turned all of his intellectual strength towards theological studies, focusing particularly on studying the Sacred Scriptures.
Basil was appointed the Bishop of Caesarea in 370 and, shortly after, ordained his younger brother, Peter, as a Priest. Soon after ordaining Peter, Basil took him into his Episcopal court as an advisor and confidante. Peter withdrew soon after from court and became, like Macrina, a solitary ascetic.
Peter helped Macrina and their mother start a monastic community of women and started a monastery community of men as well but, unfortunately, he was forced back into the public square when he was appointed the Bishop of Sebaste in Armenia.
As Bishop, Peter’s activities were not well-recorded but in his life and Episcopal administration, he displayed the same characteristics as Basil. Linked together in the closest manner with his brothers, he followed their writings with the greatest interest. At his advice Gregory of Nyssa wrote his great work, Against Eunomius, in defence of Basil’s similarly named book answering the polemical work of Eunomius. It was also at his desire, that Gregory wrote the Treatise on the Work of the Six Days, to defend Basil’s similar treatise against false interpretations and to complete it. Another work of Gregory’s, On the Endowment of Man, was also written at Peter’s suggestion and sent to the latter with an appropriate preface as an Easter gift in 397.
“A letter, which St Peter wrote and which is prefixed to St Gregory of Nyssa’s books against Eunomius, has entitled him to a rank among the ecclesiastical writers and is a standing proof, that though he had confined himself to sacred studies, yet by good conversation and reading and by the dint of genius and an excellent understanding, he was inferior to none but his incomparable brother Basil and his colleague and friend, St Gregory of Nazianzen, in solid eloquence. In 381, he attended the general council held at Constantinople and joined the other Bishops in condemning the Macedonian heretics. Not only his brother, St Gregory of Nyssa but also Theodoret and all antiquity, bear testimony to his extraordinary sanctity, prudence and zeal. ” (From the life of his sister St Macrina, composed by their brother St Gregory of Nyssa).
His death happened in summer, about the year 391 and his brother of Nyssa mentions, that his memory was honoured at Sebaste (probably the very year after his death) by an anniversary solemnity, with several martyrs of that city. His name occurs in the Roman Martyrology, on the 9th of January.
Feast of the Black Nazarene, 9 January: The Black Nazarene is a blackened, life-sized wooden icon of Jesus Christ carrying a cross. It was constructed in Mexico in the early 17th century by an Aztec carpenter. Spanish Augustinian Recollect friar missionaries to Manila, Philippines originally brought the icon to Manila in 1606. The transport ship caught fire, burning the icon but the locals kept the charred statue. Miracles, especially healings, have been reported in its presence. The church in which it stood burned down around it in 1791 and 1929, was destroyed by earthquakes in 1645 and 1863 and was damaged during bombing in 1945. It used to be carried through the streets every January and Christians would rub cloths on it to make healing relics but centuries of this treatment have left the statue in bad shape and since 1998 a replica is paraded at the feast day celebrations. In 1650, Pope Innocent X issued a papal bull which canonically established the Cofradia de Jesús Nazareno to encourage devotion. In the 19th century Pope Pius VII granted indulgences to those who piously pray before the image. Patronage: Quiapo, Philippines.
Our Lady of Mercy of Absam/Our Lady of Clemency (Austria) – 9 January: The shrine is probably the only one in the world where Our Lady’s shrine is enclosed in glass. It dates from the late 18th century. On a dark snowy day in 1797, Rosina Bucher, a young girl of the village of Absam near Innsbruck, was sitting by the window sewing in her farmhouse. It was between three and four in the afternoon and the light was just beginning to fade. Rosina looked up and saw a face in the window pane. She looked closely, not sure that she saw clearly and finally called her mother. Others, including the Parish Priest, were called in to observe the strange happening. All agreed that it was a face, the face of the Mother of Sorrows. It was turned slightly and there was a strange expression on it. The window was made up of several small panes of glass quite dark in colour. They removed the pane of glass with the picture on it, which was on the inside of the double window. After they had examined the glass, it was sent to experts in painting and glasswork. Here it was discovered that the face disappeared when water was put on the glass but came back as soon as the glass was dry. They analysed it chemically and could not discover by what process the picture had been placed there.
Rosina’s mother thought it was an omen of trouble. The Parish Priest, on the contrary, felt that Our Lady’s blessing must rest on the house. He asked her to let him have the picture for the Church. It can now be seen at St Mary’s Basilica Absam, which quickly became a popular shrine and the most important site of Marian pilgrimage in the Austrian federal state of Tyrol. Many miracles have been recorded from the pilgrims who prayed there. The church was raised to the status of a Minor Basilica in June of 2000 by Pope John Paul II due to its popularity as a site of pilgrimage. Our Lady of Clemency of Absam is still a popular place of pilgrimage but the most popular date is the anniversary of the discovery of the picture, 17 January. On the 17th of each month, there is a celebration of the discovery of the image. The picture is quite small, the size of a small pane of glass. It is not at all pretty and popularly known as Our Lady of Mercy and Clemency of Absam – clemency, because Mary’s heart is filled with love and kindness to those who pray at this shrine and implore her help.
Sts Julian and Basilissa (died c 304) Martyrs Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2019/01/09/saints-of-the-day-sts-julian-and-basilissa-died-c-304-martyrs/ Bl Kazimierz Grelewski St Marcellinus of Ancona St Marciana Bl Martinus In Eon-min St Maurontius St Nearchus St Paschasia of Dijon St Peter of Sebaste (c 340-c 391) Bishop St Philip Berruyer St Polyeucte St Teresa Kim St Waningus of Fécamp — Martyrs of Africa – 21 saints: A group of 21 Christians murdered together for their faith in the persecutions of Decius. The only details to survive are 14 of their names – Artaxes, Epictetus, Felicitas, Felix, Fortunatus, Jucundus, Pictus, Quietus, Quinctus, Rusticus, Secundus, Sillus, Vincent and Vitalis. They were martyred in c 250. Martyrs of Antioch – 6 saints: A group of Christians martyred together during the persecutions of Diocletian – Anastasius, Anthony, Basilissa, Celsus, Julian and Marcionilla.