Thought for the Day – 17 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Help of God
“There are several passages in Sacred Scripture which emphasise clearly and effectively, our utter weakness and dependence on God. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves,” says St Paul, “to think anything, as from ourselves but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Cor 3:5).
Jesus warns us, that without Him, we can do nothing: “Without me, you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). He uses the allegory of the vine and the branches as an illustration of this. I am the vine, He says and you are the branches. So it is necessary for you to remain united to me and I to you. In the same way as a branch that does not live on, in the vine, can yield no fruit of itself, so you can do nothing, if you do not live on in Me. If anyone does not remain united to Me, he will be like a withered branch which is thrown into the fire to be burned (Jn 15),
We must remain united to Jesus, therefore, if we wish to do anything good and to merit everlasting life. Otherwise, the supernatural life of grace will not be transmitted to us. If Jesus is not there, death comes into our souls. Let us remain close to our Divine Redeemer. If we continue to live in Him, He will give us everything we ask, as He has promised: “If you abide in me and, if my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done to you” (Jn 15:7).
Quote/s of the Day – 17 January – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Readings: 1 Samuel 3:3-10, 19, Psalms 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10, 1 Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20, John 1:35-42
“Come and you will see.”
“Speak Lord for your servant hears.”
1 Samuel 3:10
He said to them, “Come and you will see.”
“Go your way, behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.”
“A person who wishes to become the Lord’s disciple must repudiate a human obligation, however honourable it may appear, if it slows us, ever so slightly, in giving the wholehearted obedience we owe to God.”
St Basil the Great (329-379) Father and Doctor of the Church
“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
“Be strengthened in Almighty God and in the power of His might, for with His help, nothing is difficult. Throw off the heavy load of your own will, cast aside the burden of sin and gird yourselves as valiant warriors. Forget what you are leaving behind; strain forward to the great things before you. I tell you, that every place where you set foot, shall be yours. For the Spirit who goes before your face is Christ the Lord. He will carry you to the topmost peak in the arms of His love.”
St Francis of Assisi (c 1181-1226)
“Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes, through which, the compassion of Christ, looks out to the world. Yours are the feet, with which, He is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands, with which, He is to bless others now.”
St Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church
“It is our vocation to set people’s hearts ablaze, to do what the Son of God did, who came to light a fire on earth in order to set it ablaze with His love.”
Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813–1853) “Servant to the Poor”
“The well-being of souls is only in Christ. Therefore, let the love of Jesus be our perfection and our profession, let us light our hearts from the eternal flames of love that radiate from the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”
Bl Paolo Manna PIME (1872-1952) “A Burning Soul”
Priest, Missionary in Burma (Myanmar), Superior General of PIME, Founder of the Pontifical Missionary Union
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” … John 1:29
REFLECTION – “When he saw Jesus coming toward him John said: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29). No longer does he say: “Prepare the way of the Lord” (Mt 3:3). That would be out of place, now that at last He who was prepared for is seen, is before our very eyes. The nature of the case, now calls for a different type of homily. An explanation is needed of Who is present and why He has come down to us from heaven. That is why John says: “Behold the Lamb of God.”
The prophet Isaiah told us of this in the words: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter and like a lamb before his shearer he opened not his mouth” (Is 53:7). In past ages He was typified by the law of Moses, but (…) its salvation was only partial; its mercy did not reach out to embrace the whole world. But now, the true Lamb, the Victim without blemish obscurely prefigured in former times, is led to the slaughter.
It was to banish sin from the world, to overthrow the world’s Destroyer, to abolish death by dying for the entire human race and to release us from the curse: “Dust you are and to dust you shall return” (Gn 3:19). He will become the second Adam, Who is not of earth but of heaven (1 Cor 15:47) and will be for us, the source of every blessing (…) and our way to the kingdom of heaven. For one Lamb died for all, to restore the whole flock on earth to God the Father; “one died for all” to make all subject to God; “one died for all” to gain all, so that “all might live no longer for themselves but for him who died and was raised to life for them” (2 Cor 5:14-15).” – St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Known as ‘The Pillar of Faith,” Archbishop of Alexandria, Father and Doctor Incarnationis – Commentary on Saint John’s Gospel, 2, Prologue
PRAYER – Almighty God, Your Son’s manhood, born of the Virgin, was a new creation, untainted by our sinful condition. Renew us then, in Christ and cleanse us from our sins. May the Holy Name of Jesus, be our light, our safeguard and our shield. Through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all time and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 17 January – Sunday in Ordinary Time
O Lord, My God, I Am Not Worthy Prayer Before Holy Communion By St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church
O Lord, my God, I am not worthy that You should come into my soul but I rejoice that You have come to me because, in Your loving kindness You desire to dwell in me. You ask me to open the door of my soul, which You alone have created, so that You may enter into it with Your loving kindness and dispel the darkness of my mind. I believe that You will do this, for You did not turn away Mary Magdalene when she approached You in tears. Neither did You withhold forgiveness from the tax collector who repented of his sins or from the good thief who asked to be received into Your kingdom. Indeed, You numbered as Your friends, all who came to You with repentant hearts. O God, You alone are blessed always, now and forever. Amen
Saint of the Day – 17 January – Saint Sulpicius of Bourges (Died c 647) Bishop, miracle-worker, apostle of the poor – born in the 7th century as Sulpicius le Debonnaire in France and died in c 647 of natural causes. Also known as – St Sulpicius the Pious, Pius of Bourges, Sulpice of Bourges.
According to his Vita, Sulpitius was born at a place in Vatan in the Diocese of Bourges, of noble parents, before the end of the sixth century. From his youth he devoted himself to good works and to the study of Scripture and donated his large patrimony to the Church and the poor.
Austregisilus, Bishop of Bourges, ordained him cleric of his Church, then Deacon, Priest and finally made him director of his Episcopal school. Clotaire II (King of the Franks from 613 to 629), who had heard of his merits, summoned him and made him almoner and Chaplain of his armies. Upon the death of Bishop Austregisilus (. 624) Sulpicious was recalled to Bourges to succeed him. Thenceforth he laboured with much zeal and success to re-establish ecclesiastical discipline, for the relief of the poor.
In 626 Sulpitius attended the Council of Clichy and held several others with the Bishops of his See. St Desiderius of Cahors, treasurer to King Clothar II and later Bishop of Cahors, was his personal friend – three letters survive which St Sulpicius addressed to him. In the settings of Vita Sulpicii Episcopi Biturgi, Sulpicius’miracles show him receiving “Theudogisilus,, a noble from the palatium of the king with entertainments and a “great heaped fire” (in a fireplace in the centre of the great hall, the smoke issuing through a vent in the roof). Sulpitius allegedly extinguished this fire, when it threatened to get out of control, with an outstretched hand. The Vita asserts with approval that “he, the holy man gave leave for no-one, neither heretic, gentile or Jew, to live in the city of Bourges without the grace of Baptism” – with many consequent conversions from the Jews of Bourges.
The Vita tells that Dagobert I sent his representative the merciless general Lollo (Lollonius) to reside at Bourges and to bring the city more closely under the King’s command. Sulpitius intervened with King Dagobert on behalf of his flock, of whom a too heavy tax was exacted. When the people came complaining of their treatment to Sulpicius, he decreed a three-day fast for clergy and laity but also sent one of his clergy, Ebargisilus by name, to the King.
Towards the end of his life, Sulpitius took a co-adjutor, Vulfolnde and retired to a Monastery which he had founded near Bourges. There he died on 17 January 647, which day several manuscripts of the Hieronymian Martyrology indicate as his feast. The reports of miracles at his tomb in the Basilica he had ordered built, began soon after his death and the place became a place of pilgrimage.
That place, where Sulpicius had the Basilica built and where the memorable man of God is buried, is called Navis, because the port of ships is seen to be there. It is a most lovely place between two rivers with pastures and woods and vineyards in great number, with fields and rivers flowing between huge plains so that there, the inhabitants may be seen to possess the image of paradise.
In his honour the Church of Saint-Sulpice was built in Paris, from which the Society of Saint-Sulpice ( is a society of apostolic life of Pontifical Right for Priests) derives its name.
Our Lady of Hope, Our Lady of Pontmain – 17 January: During the Franco-Prussian War, German troops approached the town of Pontmain, France and the villagers there prayed for protection. On the evening of 17 January 1871, Mary appeared in the sky for several minutes over the town. She wore a dark blue dress covered in stars, carried a crucifix and below her were the words – “Pray, my children, God will answer your prayers very soon. He will not allow you to be touched.” That night the German army was ordered to withdraw and an armistice ending the war was signed eleven days later on 28 January. In May 1872, Bishop Wicart authorized the construction of a Sanctuary, which was consecrated in October 1900. In 1905 Pope Pius X elevated the Sanctuary to the status of a Basilica – The Basilica of Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain. Pope Pius XI gave a final decision regarding the mass and office in honour of Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain. A final papal honour was given to Our Lady of Hope on 16 July 1932 by Cardinal Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII, by passing a decree from the Chapter of St Peter’s Basilica, that the Statue of the Blessed Lady, Mother of Hope, be solemnly honoured with the crown of gold. The Lady then was crowned in the presence of Archbishop, Bishops, Priests and the laity by Cardinal Verdier, Archbishop of Paris. The coronation took place on 24 July 1934. At Pontmain, it was a matter of a message of prayer, very simple in the dramatic circumstances of war and invasion. At Pontmain, Mary is a sign of hope in the midst of war. A place of pilgrimage, it attracts annually around 200,000 drawn from among the people of the region, with some international pilgrimages, especially from Germany.
It was in the winter of 1871 in the village of Pontmain, France, Eugene Barbedette was busy in his father’s barn helping prepare the animal feed. He stood briefly in the open doorway, admiring the beautiful evening. Suddenly the gaze of the 12 year old was held there, for opposite the barn and in a framework of stars, stood a beautiful lady – motionless – smiling at him. “Do you see anything?” he shouted to the others, “Look, over there!” “Yes,” cried his brother Joseph, “a beautiful lady dressed in a blue robe with golden stars, yes and blue shoes with golden buckles…and, she has a golden crown which is getting bigger and a black veil.” Since the father did not see her, he told the boys to get on with their work; then curiously, he asked, “Eugene, do you still see anything?” “Yes, she’s still there,” the boy answered and ran to fetch his mother; she saw nothing but with a woman’s intuition, she thought it might be the Blessed Virgin and assembling the family gently, all prayed five Paters and Aves in honour of the Mother of God. She called for a nun at the convent next door, who brought her two little charges with her, the latter, Francoise and Jean Marie, reaching the door of the barn, called out, “Oh, look at that lovely lady with the golden stars!” and clapped their hands with delight. The news spread quickly, people gathered, with them the Cure, M Guerin. The Magnificat was intoned and Eugene shouted, “Look what she is doing!” Slowly a great white streamer unfolded and in large letters they read: “Pray, my children, God will answer your prayers very soon. He will not allow you to be touched.”
The Cure then intoned the hymn: “My Sweet Jesus…” At that a red cross with the wounded body of Christ appeared before the Virgin, who held it. At the top in large red letters was written, “Jesus Christ.” The crowd burst into tears, while the Cure ordered night prayers to be said; a white veil hid the vision, while our Lady smiled at the children, a smile which haunted them all through life with its beauty. Something of the sorrow of farewell was depicted on the faces of Eugene and Joseph, for the cure said quickly, “Can you still see anything?” “No, it is quite finished,” they answered.
At the moment the message was being written in the sky, a messenger passing in front of the crowd had shouted, “You may well pray, the Russians are at Laval.” But they never entered it. On the 17th of January, at six o’clock at night, the very hour the Virgin appeared to the children of Pontmain, the division of soldiers, without apparent reason, received the order to retire. On the 28th of January, the armistice was signed at Versailles. After long and searching inquiry, Mgr. Wicart, the Bishop of Laval, proclaimed the authenticity of the vision and at the very spot where Our Lady had appeared, a cHURCH was erected in honour of Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain. There the Queen of Heaven receives her countless children and gives them fresh hope in their trials, as she gave France peace in her hour of need. The Basilica is a magnificent structure in the 13th century style and one may still see the barn where Eugene and Joseph worked when Mary appeared.
St Achillas of Sketis St Amoes of Sketis St Antony of Rome Bl Euphemia Domitilla Bl Gamelbert of Michaelsbuch St Genitus St Genulfus St Jenaro Sánchez Delgadillo St John of Rome Bl Joseph of Freising St Julian Sabas the Elder St Marcellus of Die St Merulus of Rome St Mildgytha St Nennius St Neosnadia St Pior St Richimir