Thought for the Day – 16 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
I Am Not Able
“Whenever we feel called upon to make some sacrifice for Jesus or, to form some good resolution, how often do we cry: “I am not able!” It may be a question of praying more fervently, of performing some mortification or, of helping our neighbour spiritually or materially. Or perhaps, it is a matter of saying a few words of apology or, of encouragement to our neighbour, whom we have previously treated with coldness and selfishness. Or. it may be something entirely more generous which is demanded; it may be that God is inviting us to renounce ourselves completely and to dedicate ourselves to Him. Naturally, this requires sacrifice and great generosity of heart. But we say to Jesus when He calls us: “I cannot, it is too difficult!” And yet, the Lord says: “You shall make and keep yourselves holy because, I am holy” (Lev 11:44). “You, therefore, are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). We must not refuse God, Who became man for us in his love and mercy and shed His blood for our redemption!”
Quote/s of the Day – 16 January – Saturday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 4:12-16, Psalms 19:8, 9, 10,15, Mark 2:13-17
“Cast Upon Us a Look of Mercy”
“Those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous but sinners.”
“For John came, neither eating nor drinking and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”
“He became small because you were small – understand how great He is and you will become great along with Him. This is how houses are built, how the solid walls of a building are raised. The stones brought to construct the building increase, you, too, increase, understanding how great Christ is and how He who appeared to be small is great, very great indeed…”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church
“But He still follows behind us and counsels us, that we have despised Him but He still does not cease to call us. We turn our backs on His face, so to speak, when we reject His words, when we trample His commandments underfoot but He who sees that we reject Him, still calls out to us by His commandments and waits for us by His patience, stands behind us and calls us back when we have turned away.”
St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) Father & Doctor of the Church
“In order that you may have the same experience, reflect within yourself that your sin is great but that it is blasphemy against God and an injury to yourself, to despair of His forgiveness, because your sin seems to you to be too great. He has promised to forgive your sins, however many they are; will you tell Him you cannot believe this and dispute with Him, saying that your sin is too great and He cannot heal your sickness? Stop at that point and cry out with the prophet: “Lord, I have sinned against you” (Ps 51:6). At once He will reply, “As for me, I have overlooked your fault, you shall not die.” Glory to Him from us all, through all ages! Amen, Amen.”
An anonymous Syrian writer of the 6th century
Cast Upon Us a Look of Mercy By Blessed Pope Pius IX (1792-1878)
O Jesus! Cast upon us a look of mercy, turn Your Face towards each of us as You did to Veronica, not that we may see it with our bodily eyes, for this we do not deserve but turn it towards our hearts, so that, remembering You, we may ever draw from this fountain of strength, the vigour necessary to sustain the combats of life. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 16 January – Saturday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 4:12-16, Psalms 19:8, 9, 10,15, Mark 2:13-17 and the Feast Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners and Memorial of St Fursey (Died c 648)
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Mark 16-17
REFLECTION – “He came in humility – He, the Creator, was created amongst us, He made us but He was made for us. God before time began, man in time, He delivered man from time. This great physician has come to heal our cancer… by His example, He has come to heal pride itself.
This is what we must give our attention to, in the Lord – let us consider His humility, drink the cup of His humility, clasp Him, contemplate Him. How easy it is to have elevated thoughts, easy to take pleasure in honours, easy to give one’s ear to flatterers and people who praise us. But to bear with insult, patiently undergo humiliation, pray for those who persecute us (Mt 5,39.44) – that is the Lord’s cup, that is the Lord’s feast.“… St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church – Sermon for the ordination of a bishop, Guelferbytanus no.32
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, You offer the covenant of reconciliation to mankind through Your Son Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. Lord God, grant Your people constant joy, in the renewed vigour of their souls. They rejoice because You have restored them to the glory of Your adopted children, through Him who saves them. Grant that by the assistance of Mary, His mother and theirs, they may look forward gladly to the certain hope of resurrection. Through Christ, the Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 16 January – Saturday of the First week in Ordinary Time and the Feast of Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners (Spain)
Shelter Me Under Your Mantle Refuge of Sinners By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
Most holy Virgin Immaculate, my Mother Mary, to you who are the Mother of my Lord, the Queen of the Universe, the Advocate, the hope, the refuge of sinners, I, who am the most miserable of all sinners, have recourse this day. I venerate you, great Queen and I thank you for the many graces you have bestowed upon me even unto this day, in particular for having delivered me from the hell which I have so often served by my sins. I love you, my dearest Lady and because of that love, I promise to serve you willingly forever and to do what I can, to make you loved by others also. I place in you all my hopes for salvation, accept me as your servant and shelter me under your mantle, you who are the Mother of Mercy. And since you are so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to overcome them until death. From you I implore a true love for Jesus Christ. Through you I hope to die a holy death. My dear Mother, by your love for Almighty God, I pray you to assist me always but most of all, at the last moment of my life. Forsake me not then, until you shall see me safe in heaven, there to bless you and sing of your mercies through all eternity. Such is my hope. Amen
Saint of the Day – 16 January – Saint Fursey (Died c 650) Irish Missionary Monk, Abbot who did much to establish Christianity in the British Isles and in France, Mystic, whose visions played a pivotal role in the Church’s developing understanding of life after death. St Fursey is one of the Four Comely Saints – a collective name for Saints Fursey, Brendan of Birr, Conall and Berchán, at their burial place on Inishmore a Church was built in the fifteenth-century and dedicated to them. Born in c567 at Munster, Ireland and died in c 648 at Mezerolles, France. Also known as Fursey of peronne, Fursey of Lagny, Fursa, Furseo, Furse, Fursae, Fursu, Fulsey, Furseus. Patronage – Peronne, France.
Fursey was born in Ireland in the closing years of the 6th century. as the son of an Irish Prince and was baptised by St Brendan the Traveller, his father’s uncle. He early showed desire and aptitude to study the Sacred Scriptures and his growth in the faith was matched only by a monastic discipline of life. In his early twenties he received visions that focussed his life on the urgency of preaching the Good News of Christ. His visions were also to play a pivotal role in the Church’s developing understanding of life after death and God’s continuing desire to show love and forgiveness. Fursey’s visions are among the first major accounts of a journey of a soul in the other world to be composed in the early medieval period.
For the next decade Fursey went around Ireland and his preaching was powerful. But his growing popularity disturbed him for he wished people to focus on Christ. Already a Monk, he went with some monastic companions on retreat to a small Irish island to seek guidance. The desire to become ‘a pilgrim for the love of God’ grew stronge, and the group left Ireland, never to return.
Fursey and his companions journeyed to England, where Sigebert – the new and Christian King of East Anglia – had returned from exile in 630 with a desire to share his new faith with his new subjects. Sigebert welcomed Fursey and his group and allowed them to base themselves at Cnobheresburgh (which has been traditionally identified as the Roman Fort at Burgh Castle near Great Yarmouth). Becoming ill, Fursey fell into a trance and, according to St Bede, left his body from evening till cock-crow and was found worthy to behold the chorus of angels in Heaven. Fursey’s visions of Heaven and Hell, experienced throughout his life and widely recounted, are thought to have inspired Dante’s Divine Comedy. After almost a decade in East Anglia Fursey felt called to continue his missionary pilgrimage.
Going to France, he was received by King Clovis II and his leading official Earconwald. With their blessing he founded a Monastery at Lagny-sur-Marne (east of Paris). His journeys continued and many Churches in Picardy are dedicated to him.
He died at Mézerolles c 648. His body lay unburied and unsullied by decay and emitting a sweet odour for thirty days pending the Dedication of the Church and was during that time, visited by pilgrims from all parts. Finally, he was buried in a Church (built specially by Earconwald) in Peronne which has claimed him as Patron ever since. Four years later his still incorrupt body was moved to a new shrine east of the altar. At nearby Mont St Quentin, an Abbey was founded in his honour, which became such a great centre for pilgrims that Peronne was known as ‘Peronne Scottorum’ (Peronne of the Irish). In its scriptorium one of the Monks wrote the Vita of Fursey, which tells us so much about him. The Vita has the vitality and insights that come from an eyewitness account, making it of especial value.
It was this almost contemporary Life, that the Venerable St Bede drew on, in his “History of the English Church and People” (iii,19). St Bede obviously admired Fursey deeply. “He was renowned” wrote St Bede “for his words and doing, and was outstanding in virtue.”“Inspired by the example of his goodness and the effectiveness of his teaching,” St Bede went on, “many unbelievers were converted to Christ and those who already believed, were drawn to greater love and faith in him.” St Bede wrote, as he himself said, so that his readers would understand “how great a man Fursey was.” It is a view echoed by writers of our own day who place Fursey as the most influential Irish Missionary in Europe, after his predecessor Columbanus . Fursey’s Visions were to play a pivotal role in the Western Church’s developing understanding of the world to come.
The worst evil that can befall us is unquestionably SIN, which makes us an object of abhorrence in the sight of God. God’s infinite mercy has not only prepared for us a potent remedy against sin, in the merits of Jesus Christ, our Saviour but, He has also given us poor sinners, a secure refuge in the assistance of Mary, Our Lady Refuge of Sinners. In the Old Law there were cities of refuge to which the guilty could flee for safety; in the New Law, Mary’s mantle is, for us, that citadel of refuge for sinful souls. How can the Divine Wrath strike us, if we are covered by the mantle of Mary, the chosen daughter and the honoured Mother of God? Our Lady Refuge of Sinners is thus not merely a pledge of our safety but, by her unrivaled sanctity, she is as earnest of pardon for all sinners who have recourse to her intercession. She not only disarms the just anger of God roused by our sins but also, obtains for her true clients, sincere and heartfelt conversion. All we need do is turn toward her with Faith, to obtain Divine Clemency and the means to rise from the mire of sin.
St Berard and Companions (Peter, Adjute, Accurs, Odo and Vitalis) St Dana of Leuca St Dunchaid O’Braoin St Fulgentius of Ecija St Fursey (Died c 648) Missionary Monk
St Juana Maria Condesa Lluch Bl Konrad II of Mondsee St Leobazio St Liberata of Pavia St Pope Marcellus I St Melas of Rhinocolura St Priscilla of Rome St Sigeberht of East Anglia St Titian of Oderzo St Triverius St Valerius of Sorrento