Thought for the Day – 19 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Thirst for Justice
“Jesus commands us, in the Beatitudes, to seek justice, that is perfection in the fulfilment of our obligations to God, to ourselves and, to our neighbour. He commands us, to hunger and thirst for this justice, which is identical with holiness.
When Christ tells us to hunger and thirst for justice, He imposes on us, the obligation of doing our very best to acquire the virtue of Christian justice, which is the sythesis of all the virtues. We must be aware, therefore, of laziness, apathy, tepidity, or mediocrity, for our advance in spiritual perfection, must be continuous. There must be no hesitation or backsliding. The high target which God has set for us, demands hard work and boundless generosity on our part. Jesus Christ loved us so much that He gave Himself entirely for us and shed His Precious Blood to the last drop, for our Redemption. How can we possibly be niggardly or half-hearted in our relatioas with Him?
Whenever God’s cause is at stake, whether in our efforts to achieve our own spiritual perfection or in the fulfilment of our obliations towards our neighbour, we should never refuse anything but, should display absolute dedication to God and to our fellow-man. “Let us hunger,” said St Catherine of Siena, “for God’s honour and for the salvation of souls” (Vrev di perfezioe, p81). The hunger and thirst for justice, nourished by the love of God and of our neighbour, should exclude all mediocrity and selfishness from our lives. It should urge us on, as it did the Saints, towards the highest pinnacles of sanctity.”
Quote/s of the Day – 19 January – the Memorial of St Wulfstan (c 1008–1095) Bishop of Worcester
This is true love of Christ and His Church. O Lord, send us such men in our day, where have they gone!? Today, those we have, are hiding behind closed doors and locking the Churches from the faithful, withholding the Sacraments or reporting souls for not complying with satanic rules. They are co-operating in evil schemes to subject all peoples to a totalitarian rule, turning the sheep of the Good Shepherd, into goats, who will be cast into the flames!
“Let the man truly possessed by the love of Christ keep His commandments. Who can express the binding power of divine love? Who can find words for the splendour of its beauty? Beyond all description are the heights to which it lifts us. Love unites us to God; it cancels innumerable sins, has no limits to its endurance, bears everything patiently. Love is neither servile nor arrogant. It does not provoke schisms or form cliques but always acts, in harmony with others. By it, all God’s chosen ones, have been sanctified; without it, it is impossible to please Him. Out of love, the Lord took us to Himself because He loved us and it was God’s will, our Lord Jesus Christ gave His life’s blood for us— He gave His body for our body, His soul for our soul.”
St Clement I of Rome (c 35-99) Martyr for Christ, Bishop of Rome, Apostolic Father
“We unfortunates, are destroying the works of Saints, in order to win praise for ourselves. In that happy age, men were incapable of building for display; their way, was to sacrifice themselves to God, under any sort of roof and to encourage their subjects, to follow their example. But we strive to pile up stones while neglecting souls.”
St Wulfstan (c 1008–1095) Bishop of Worcester
“He who is not ANGRY when there is just cause for anger is IMMORAL. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid INJUSTICE WITHOUT ANGER, you are IMMORAL, as well as, UNJUST.”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus Doctor Communis
“Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church’s enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith.”
St Peter Canisius (1521-1397) Doctor of the Church
“The declared enemies of God and His Church, heretics and schismatics, must be criticised as much as possible …. It is a work of charity to shout: ‘Here is the wolf!’ when it enters the flock or anywhere else.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of Charity
“The sole reason why society is perishing is because, it has refused to hear the word of the Church, which is the word of God. All plans for salvation will be sterile, if the great word of the Catholic Church, is not restored in all it’s fullness!”
“Woe to me if I do not preach and warn [sinners], for I would be held responsible for their condemnation.”
St Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870)
“A day will come when the civilised world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them. Like Mary Magdalene, weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, ‘Where have they taken Him?’”
One Minute Reflection – 19 January – Tuesday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 6:10-20, Psalms 111:1-2, 4-5,9 and 10, Mark 2:23-28 and the Memorial of St Wulfstan (c 1008–1095) Bishop of Worcester
Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.” – Mark 2:27
REFLECTION – “‘When God rested on the seventh day from all His works and sanctified that day’, this is not to be understood in any childish way, as if God had toiled at His work, seeing that ‘he spoke and they were made’ by a Word, which was intelligible and eternal, not vocal and temporal. No, the ‘rest of god’ means the rest of those who find their rest in Him, just as the ‘joy of a house’ means the joy of those who rejoice in that house, even if it is not the house itself but, something else which is responsible for the joy. … And so, it is most appropriate that when God is said, on the authority of the prophetic narrative, to have ‘rested,’ what is meant, is the rest of those who find their rest in Him and to whom He gives rest. The prophecy promises this to men also, for it speaks to men and was in fact written for men’s benefit. It promises them, that they also, after the good works which God performs in them and through them, will have eternal rest in Him, if they have already, in some measure, drawn near to Him already in this life, through faith.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Father and Doctor of Grace – City of God – Book XI, Chapter VIII
PRAYER – Almighty Lord and God, shed Your clear light on our hearts so that we may praise You Lord with voice and mind and deed and, since life itself is Your gift, may all we have and are be Yours. Listen dear Lord, we pray, to the intercession of St Wulfstan, whose example to us, is one of total oblation. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for all time and for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 19 January – Tuesday of the Second week in Ordinary Time
An Act of Oblation By St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of Charity
I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me, my memory and my actions, to God the Father; my understanding and my words, to God the Son; my will and my thoughts, to God the Holy Spirit. I consecrate my heart, my body, my tongue, my senses and all my sorrows, to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, Who consented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross for me. Amen
Saint of the Day – 19 January – Saint Wulfstan (c 1008–1095) Bishop of Worcester from 1062 to 1095, Monk, Prior, a man of extreme holiness and penitence who was admired by all, he was a he was a man of iron will, immense charm and unworldly humility and piety. and suffered no luxury, preferring always the poor to himself. Born in c 1008 at Long Itchington, Warwickshire and died in January 1095 at He was the last surviving pre-Norman Conquest Bishop and the only English-born Bishop after 1075. Patronages – Vegetarians and dieters.
Saint Wulfstan was an impressive character. As Bishop, he fought against the continuing of married Priests in his Diocese – announcing that they should either give up their women or their Priesthood! This was in accordance with the reform of the Church as promoted by the Papacy from the mid 11th century in which clerical marriage was censured. Wulfstan expected his Monks and congregation to adhere to Christianity in the strictest sense; it is recorded that he recited Psalms repeatedly when travelling on horseback anywhere as a sign of his unwavering faith and conviction, inviting all to follow his example.
Wulfstan was born at Itchington in Warwickshire on the eve of the Danish Conquest (c 1008 or a little later), into a well-connected family. His mother may have been the sister of Wulfstan, Archbishop of York, the prominent homilist and law-maker who was an influential adviser first to King Æthelred and then to the Danish conqueror Cnut. (So the elder Wulfstan was also a bishop adept at making himself acceptable to conquerors – clearly it ran in the family.) The younger Wulfstan was probably named for his famous uncle but Coleman’s life says, that Wulfstan’s parents named him from a combination of their own names: his father was called Æthelstan (‘noble stone’) and his mother was called Wulfgifu (‘wolf gift’), so they named their son ‘Wulfstan’, joining elements from the two names
Wulfstan was educated in the Monastery of Peterborough, where he was taught by a Monk named Earnwig, an expert scribe and illustrator. Coleman’s Vita of our Saint, tells how Earnwig gave young Wulfstan some books to look after – a Sacramentary and a Psalter, with letters illuminated in gold. The boy fell in love with these beautiful books, captivated by the rich decorations but his teacher, with an eye to winning royal favour, presented the books to Cnut and his queen, Emma. The child was heartbroken at the loss but the story has a happy ending for Wulfstan had a dream, in which an angel promised the books would be returned to him and much later in lif,e they were! Cnut sent the books to Cologne as a diplomatic gift to the Holy Roman Emperor and, in the reign of St King Edward the Confessor, they happened to be brought back to England and were given to Wulfstan as a gift by someone who did not know of his dream! The Lord indeed, works in strange and wondrous ways to the eyes of men!
Wulfstan became a Priest and then a Monk at Worcester. One night he was praying in the Church, when an old peasant came in and scolded him for being there so late and challenged him to a fight. Wulfstan – knowing, of course, that it was the Devil in disguise, wrestled with the peasant until he vanished in a puff of smoke.
“But so that [the Devil] should not seem to have failed altogether, he trod on the good man’s foot with all the force wickedness could muster and pierced it, as though with a red-hot iron. The damage penetrated to the bone, so Godric, a Monk of that house, bore witness; according to Coleman, he said he had often seen it, he said “I do not know whether to call it wound or ulcer.’ The same Coleman avows, that he knew the rustic whose shape the Devil took on, a man well suited from his superhuman strength, wicked character and grim ugliness, to be the one into whom that wicked bandit transformed himself. (SL, 29)”
Wulfstan was Consecrated Bishop of Worcester in 1062, late in the reign of St King Edward the Confessor. The tone of his time as Bishop was set, according to William of Malmesbury, by the Bible verse chosen at his Consecration (at random, as was customary, as a prognostication): ‘Behold an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile’. The stories about Wulfstan’s career as Bisho, illustrate this idea of his guilelessness, his remarkable simplicity and humility, even when he was mixing with the most powerful people in the land. Wulfstan had been closely associated with Harold Godwineson but he nonetheless, managed, to retain his position after the Norman Conquest when many English Abbots and Bishops were deposed. Later legend said ,that when he was ordered to surrender his Episcopal Staff, he stuck it into the tomb of St King Edward, declaring that as Edward had appointed him, only Edward could take it from him. No-one could pull the staff out of the tomb except Wulfstan himself – his own sword-in-the-stone miracle. So he kept his position.
Typical of the stories about Wulfstan’s simplicity of life, is this witty exchange with a Norman Bishop who teased Wulfstan for dressing in humble lamb-skin, rather than grander clothes: “When he was on one occasion told off for this by Geoffrey Bishop of Coutances, he retorted with some witty remarks. Geoffrey had asked why he had lamb-skins when he could and should wear sable, beaver or wolf. He replied neatly, that Geoffrey and other men well versed in the way of the world, should wear the skins of crafty animals but he, was conscious of no shiftiness in himself and was happy with lambskin. Geoffrey pressed the point and suggested he could at least wear cat. But ‘Believe me,’ answered Wulfstan, ‘the Agnus Dei is more often chanted than the Cattus Dei.’ That made Geoffrey laugh – he was pleased that he could be made fun of and that Wulfstan could not be moved (SL, 107-9).”
Many post-Conquest Bishops embarked on ambitious building projects at their Cathedrals, replacing the Anglo-Saxon Churches with larger, more impressive buildings in the new style. Wulfstan did the same at Worcester but he mourned the loss of the old cathedral:
“When the bigger church, which he had himself started from the foundations, had grown large enough for the Monks to move across to it, the word was given for the old church, the work of St Oswald, to be stripped of its roof and demolished. Wulfstan stood there in the open air to watch and could not keep back his tears. His friends mildly reproved him, saying that he should rather rejoice that in his lifetime, so much honour had accrued to the Church that the increased number of Monks made larger dwellings necessary. He replied: “My view is quite different. We unfortunates are destroying the works of Saints, in order to win praise for ourselves. In that happy age men were incapable of building for display; their way was to sacrifice themselves to God under any sort of roof and to encourage their subjects to follow their example. But we strive to pile up stones while neglecting souls.” He said more along these lines, undermining opposed views with his own assertions (GP, 429-31).”
Wulfstan can be regarded as a modern man through his efforts to decry and abolish the slave trade. The Diocese of Worcester extended as far down as Gloucestershire, which included the city of Bristol. Wulfstan made regular journeys to Bristol and would reside there for 2 to 3 months at a timEe, in order that his residence there, would make an impression upon the community. Bristol was one of the capitals of the slave trade in Britain and traded slaves native to England, Scotland and Wales. People resorted to slavery when they were severely impoverished, often families would sell their children into the trade. When a person was enslaved in Bristol, the process had to be undertaken in a public place with witnesses so that the slave could not deny their slavery at a later date. Thus, this measure reveals, that it would have been nigh impossible to work a way out of the slave trade as, during the public process, you had relinquished all personal rights to your master. Wulfstan succeeded in abolishing the slave trade in Bristol by converting the traders, this accomplishment initiated a reform of the slave trade elsewhere in Britain.
Wulfstan’s unworldliness was fondly remembered: “If he was ever forced to go to the Shire Court, he started by pronouncing a curse on evil judges and a blessing on upright ones. Then he would sit down and if some religious matter was under consideration, he would concentrate hard but if it was secular, as more often happened, he would grow bored and go to sleep. But if anyone thought fit to speak against him, he soon found out that Wulfstan was no dullard when it came to replying (GP, 429).”
St Wulfstan died on 20 January 1095 after a protracted illness, the last surviving pre-Norman Conquest Bishop. After his death, an Altar was dedicated to him in Great Malvern Priory, next to those of St Thomas Cantilupe and St King Edward the Confessor.
At Easter of 1158, Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, visited Worcester Cathedral and placed their Crowns on the Shrine of Wulfstan, vowing not to wear them again. Their son King John is buried at Worcester Cathedral.
Soon after Wulfstan’s death, a hagiography, or saint’s life, was written about him in English by his former Chancellor Coleman. It was translated into Latin by the medieval chronicler and historian William of Malmesbury. One of the many miracles, which were granted through the intercession of St Wulfstan was the curing of King Harold’s daughter.
Wulfstan was Canonised on 14 May 1203 by Pope Innocent III and he was much venerated by later English Kings, including Henry II and John, who chose to be buried in Worcester Cathedral next to St Wulfstan’s tomb. John is still there, in pride of place, although Wulfstan’s tomb is gone, probably desecrated by the minions of Henry VIII.
St Maris of Persia St Messalina of Foligno St Ponziano of Spoleto St Remigius of Rouen St Wulstan (c 1008–1095) Bishop — Martyrs of Numidia – 9 saints: A group of Christians martryred together for their faith. The only details to survive are nine of their names – Catus, Germana, Gerontius, Januarius, Julius, Paul, Pia, Saturninus and Successus. 2nd century Numidia in North Africa.