Thought for the Day – 10 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Sacrament of Baptism
“We are drawn towards Heaven by a golden chain of grace. The most precious links in this chain of benefits are the Sacraments, which Jesus Christ instituted as sensible and efficacious signs of divine grace. When we are born, tainted by original sin and, therefore, deprived of supernatural grace, the Church purifies and regenerates us through the Sacrament of Baptism. We then become the adopted sons of God and heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven.
It is helpful for us to repeat the Baptismal vows which were once made by others, in our name. Let us imagine that we are at our own Baptism, solemnly promising, through our Godparents, to renounce the devil, the world and the flesh, in order to follow Jesus.
Can we claim to have kept our promises? Or are we forced to admit that we have not always lived up to our obligations?
Let us renew our promises today and let us ask Jesus, for the grace to be faithful to them, till the end of our lives.”
Quote/s of the Day – 10 January – Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
“ … Sin is washed away by the waters of the font, the Holy Spirit is poured forth in the chrism and we obtain both of these gifts, through the hands and the mouth of the Priest. Thus the whole man is reborn and renewed in Christ.”
St Pacian (c 310–391) Bishop of Barcelona
“He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the Great Light, bathed in the glory of Him who is the Light of Heaven.”
St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctor of the Church
“By Baptism we are made flesh of the Crucified.”
St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor of the Church’s Unity
One Minute Reflection – 10 January – Feast of the Baptism of the Lord , Readings: Isaiah 55:1-11, Isaiah 12:2-3,4,5-6, 1 John 5:1-9, Mark 1:7-11
“I have baptised you with water but he will baptise you, with the Holy Spirit.” – Mark 1:8
REFLECTION – “Today, the Lord Jesus has come to be baptised. He wanted to wash His body in the water of the Jordan. Someone might say: “Why did He who was the Holy One want to be baptised?” So listen. Christ was baptised, not in order to be sanctified by the water but so that He, Himself would sanctify the water and would purify the waves, that He touched by His personal action. Thus, we have to do with the consecration of the water much more than with that of Christ. For the moment the Lord was washed, all the waters became pure in view of our baptism. The spring was purified so that grace might be obtained for the people who would come afterwards. Thus Christ was the first to go to His baptism, so that the Christian people might follow Him without hesitation. And in this I perceive a mystery. Did not the column of fire go ahead into the Red Sea in this way, so as to encourage the children of Israel to walk behind it? It crossed the water first so as to break a path for those who would follow. According to the testimony of the Apostle Paul, this event was a symbol of baptism (1 Cor 10:1f.). Without any doubt, when the people were covered by the cloud and carried by the water, it was a kind of baptism. And all that was fulfilled by the same Christ our Lord, who in the column of His body now precedes the Christian people to baptism, just as He preceded the children of Israel across the sea, in the column of fire. The same column, which in times past enlightened the eyes of those who were walking, now gives light to the hearts of the believers. Then it marked a solid path in the waves, now in this bath, it strengthens the steps of faith.” – St Maximus of Turin (?-c 420) Bishop – Sermon for the feast of the Epiphany
PRAYER– By the Benedictines of Stanbrook When Jesus comes to be baptised, He leaves the hidden years behind, The years of safety and of peace, To bear the sins of all mankind.
The Spirit of the Lord comes down Anoints the Christ to suffering, To preach the word, to free the bound And to the mourner comfort bring.
Our everlasting Father, praise, With Christ, His well-beloved Son, Who with the Soirit reigns serene, Untroubled Trinity in One. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 10 January – Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
O Christ, our Master and God St Basil the Great (329-379) Father and Doctor of the Church
O Christ, our Master and God, King of the ages and Creator of all, I thank You for all the Good things that You have given to me and for the reception of Your most pure and life-giving Mysteries. I pray You, therefore, O good Lover of mankind, keep me under Your protection in the shadow of Your wings. Grant that with a pure conscience, until my last breath, I may worthily partake of Your Holy Things, for the forgiveness of sins and for life everlasting. For You are the bread of Life, the Fountain of holiness and the Bestower of blessings and to You, we give glory together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now nad forever and ever. Amen
Saint of the Day – 10 January – Saint William of Bourges O.Cist (c 1140-1209) Archbishop of Bourges from 1200 until his death, Confessor, Monk, renowned for miracles and virtue. He served as a Canon in Soissons and Paris before he entered the Order of Grandmont. Sometime later he entered the Cistercians. He was known to practice austerities, such as abstaining from meat and wearing a hair shirt. He was also known for his deep devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and for his conversion of sinners. He oversaw the construction of the new archdiocesan Cathedral that his predecessor had authorised and in which he himself would be buried. He performed eighteen miracles in life and many more in death. His Canonisation was celebrated under Pope Honorius III, a mere 9 years after his death, in 1218 and he was named as the Patron Saint for the Parisian college, i.e. the University of Paris as well as of gunsmiths. He was born as Guillaume de Donjeon in the 12th century in Nevers, France and died on 10 January 1209 at Bourges, France of natural causes whilst at prayer. He is also known as Guillaume de Bourges, William Berruyer, William de Don Jeon, William the Confessor. Additional Memorial – 8 November as one of the Saints of the Diocese of Evry.
William, of the illustrious family of the ancient Counts of Nevers, was educated by Peter the Hermit, Archdeacon of Soissons, his maternal uncle. From his early childhood William learned to despise the folly and emptiness of the world, to abhor its pleasures and to tremble at its dangers. At an early age he learned to elude the vanities of the world and to practice exercises of piety and the gaining of knowledge.
William was made a Canon, an Ecclesiastic attached to a Cathedral Church, first at Soissons and afterwards in Paris but, he soon resolved to abandon the world and retired into the solitude of Grandmont, where he lived with great regularity in that austere Order of Monks. Finally, he joined the Cistercians, flourishing with sanctity at the time and later was chosen to be Prior of the Abbey of Pontigny, then made Abbot of Challis.
On the death of Henri de Sully, Archbishop of Bourges, William was chosen to succeed him. The announcement of this new dignity which had fallen on him overwhelmed him with grief and he would not have accepted the office had not the Pope and his own Cistercian General, the Abbot of Citeaux, commanded him to do so.
His first care in his new position was to conform his life to the most perfect rules of sanctity. He redoubled all his austerities, saying it was incumbent on him now, to do penance for others, as well as for himself. He always wore a hair shirt under his religious habit and never added to his clothing in winter or diminished it in summer; he never ate any flesh meat, though he had it at his table for guests. As the Bishop William proved to be instrumental in the ongoing construction of the Gothic Cathedral of Saint Stephen which his predecessor had commenced earlier in 1195. The lower half of the Cathedral was completed and around December 1208 the choir was almost finished, at which time, he was able to celebrate the Christmas Mass.
He began preparations for a mission among the Albigensians when he died just after midnight kneeling at the altar in contemplation and meditation in 1209, in this posture he expired. In his last will and testament he requested that he be buried in his hair shirt and be laid on ashes.
While this holy Bishop was laid out for veneration, an infirm young boy who wanted to venerate him but had to be carried to the Church by his mother, was completely cured of his infirmities and ran about proclaiming the miracle. The stone of his Tomb in the Cathedral Church of Bourges cured mortal wounds and illnesses and delivered possessed persons; the deaf and dumb, the blind, the mentally ill became sound. So many miracles occurred there that the monks could not record them all.
St William had fostered a deep and special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and loved to spend much of his time at the foot of the altar contemplating it. The poor and sick were never forgotten for the Bishop visited them on frequent occasions, while he also ministered to the imprisoned. He defended clerical rights against state intervention. He once incurred wrath from King Philip II when the bishop enacted an interdict from Innocent III against him for having divorced his wife.