Thought for the Day – 23 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Why Should It Happen to Me?
“When Jesus had been scourged and crowned with thorns, He was forced to set out towrds the execution-ground on Calvary, carrying the heavy wooden Cross. On the way, He met a Cyrenean named Simon, who was probably returning from his work in the fields outsdie the city. The Jews had realised, that Jesus had lost so much blood, that He was unable to bear the weight any longer. They felt no compassion for Him but they were anxious to save their victim for the final punishment. With this in mind, they compelled Simon to carry Jesus’ Cross. The Cyrenean could have said: “Why pick on me? I am tired and must get home …” But his eyes met the tired gaze of Our Saviour. He saw that He was covered with wounds and streaming blood. Simon was deeply moved and willingly lifted the Cross which he carried to the place of execution (Cf Mt 27:32; Mk 15:21; Lk 23:26).
Picture Jesus, suffering and bleeding on the road to Calvary and Simon removing the Cross from the shoulders of Our Saviour and transferring it to his own. How can we ever again rebel and complain, when we meet with inconvenience or sorrow?!”
Quote/s of the Day – 23 January – “Month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus” and The Memorial of Blessed Henry Suso OP (1295-1366)
“Faith in Jesus and in the power of His Holy Name is the greatest spiritual force in the world today. It is a source of joy and inspiration in our youth; of strength in our manhood, when only His Holy Name and His grace, can enable us to overcome temptation; of hope, consolation and confidence at the hour of our death, when more than ever before, we realise, that the meaning of Jesus is ‘Lord, the Saviour.’ We should bow in reverence to His Name and submission to His Holy Will.”
“Suffering is the ancient law of love; there is no quest without pain; there is no lover who is not also a martyr.”
“Remember, that you will derive strength by reflecting, that the saints yearn for you to join their ranks; desire to see you fight bravely and, that you behave like true knights in your encounters with the same adversities which they had to conquer. That breath-taking joy is theirs and your eternal reward for having endured a few years of temporal pain. Every drop of earthly bitterness will be changed into an ocean of heavenly sweetness!”
“I have often repented of having spoken. I have never repented of silence.”
“Let each look to himself and see what God wants of him and attend to this, leaving all else alone.”
“For a tabernacle was constructed, the outer one, in which were the lampstand, the table and the bread of offering, this is called the Holy Place…” Hebrews 9:2
REFLECTION – “Each one of us can build a tabernacle for God, in himself. For if, as some before us have said, this tabernacle represents a figure of the whole world and if, each individual can have an image of the world in oneself, why should not each individual, be able to fulfil the form of the tabernacle in oneself? . . . For that part within you, which is most valuable of all, can act the part of priest—the part which some call the first principle of the heart, others the rational sense or the substance of the mind, or whatever other name, one wishes to give to that part of us, which makes us capable of receiving God.” – Origen of Alexandria (c 185-253) Priest, Theologian, Exegist, Writer, Apologist, Father – Homilies on Exodus, 9
PRAYER – Lord God, true light and creator of light, grant us the grace to see clearly by the light who is Light, Your only Son. Lead us in His path and send us Your Spirit. Grant us the strength to grow in holiness so that our struggle against the powers of darkness may we a victory over temptation. May the intercession of the extraordinary charity of St John the Almoner, help us to obtain such charity in purity of heart. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 23 January – The Memorial of St Ildephonsus (c 607-670) and a Marian Saturday
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 – 23 January – St John the Almoner (Died c 620) Bishop of Alexandria, Widower, Confessor, Apostle of the poor, Reformer – both within the Church and within the civic structures – born in c 552 at Amathus, Cyprus and died in c 620 in Cyprus of natural causes. Patronages – Egypt and Cyprus. Also known as John the Almsgiver, John the Merciful, John V of Alexandria, John Eleymon and Johannes Eleemon. St John’s hagiography was written by his contemporary Bishop, Leontios of Neapolis at the instruction of their Archbishop.
John was born at Amathus as the son of Epiphanius, Governor of Cyprus and was of noble descent. In early life he was married and had children but his wife and children soon died, after which he entered religious life. He gave away all he possessed and became known throughout the East as the Almoner.
On the death of the Patriarch Theodore, the Alexandrians besought Emperor Phocas to appoint John his successor, which was accordingly done. One of the first steps he took was to make a list of several thousand needy persons, whom he took under his especial care. He always referred to the poor as his “lords and masters” because of their mighty influence at the Court of the Most High. He assisted people of every class who were in need. In his youth John had had a vision of a beautiful maiden with a garland of olives on her head, who said that she was Compassion, the eldest daughter of the Great King. This had evidently made a deep impression on John’s heart and soul and, now that he had the opportunity of exercising benevolence on a large scale, he soon became widely known all over the East for his liberality towards the poor.
He was a reformer who attacked simony and fought heresy by means of improvements in religious education. He also reorganised the system of weights and measures for the sake of the poor and decried and managed to cease the practice of corruption among the civic officials. He increased the number of Churches in Alexandria from seven to seventy.
The apostolate of St Vitalis of Gaza, a Monk who worked among the prostitutes of the city, was a noteworthy episode of John’s reign. The Bishop was considered to have behaved with wisdom for not punishing this Monk who was notorious for visiting the seedy part of town, his intentions of course, being viciously misread and his judgement was vindicated only after the death of Vitalis when the story of the Monk’s mission of mercy became known. St Vitalis’ life here: https://anastpaul.com/2018/01/11/saint-of-the-day-11-january-st-vitalis-of-gaza-died-c-625/
John he visited the hospitals three times every week and he freed a great many slaves. He is said to have devoted the entire revenues of his see to the alleviation of those in need.
Many of the works of John are legendary as is the following – a rich man presented him with a magnificent bed covering; he accepted it for one night but then sold it and disposed of the money in alms. The rich man “bought back” the article and again presented it to John, with the same result. This was repeated several times but John drily remarked: “We will see who tires first.”
An instance of his piety was that he caused his own grave to be dug but only partly so and appointed a servant to come before him on all state occasions and say “My Lord, your tomb is unfinished, pray give orders for its completion, for you know not the hour when death may seize you.”
When the Sassanachs sacked Jerusalem in 614, John sent large supplies of food, wine and money to the fleeing Christians. But eventually the Persians occupied Alexandria and John himself, in his old age, was forced to flee to his native country, where he died.
From Cyprus his body was moved to Constantinople, then in 1249 to Venice, where there is a Church dedicated to him, the Chiesa di San Giovanni Elemosinario, although his relics are preserved in another Church, San Giovanni in Bragora, in a separate Chapel.
Another relic of his was sent by Sultan Bayezid II in 1489 to King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary. It was placed in the private Royal Chapel in Buda Castle, which was dedicated to him. Now his body lies in the St John the Almoner Chapel in St Martin’s Cathedral in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary – 23 January: Feast in honour of the Blessed Virgin’s espousal to Saint Joseph. It is certain that a real matrimony was contracted by Joseph and Mary. Still Mary is called “espoused” to Joseph (“his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph”, Matthew 1:18) because the matrimony was never consummated. The term spouse is applied to married people until their marriage is consummated. This feast dates from 1517 when it was granted to the nuns of the Annunciation by Pope Leo X with nine other Masses in honour of Our Lady. Adopted by many religious orders and dioceses, it was observed for a time by nearly the whole Church but is no longer in the Calendar.
Bl Joan Font Taulat St John the Almoner (Died c 620) Bishop of Alexandria Bl Juan Infante St Jurmin St Lufthild St Maimbod Bl Margaret of Ravenna Martyrius of Valeria St Messalina of Foligno St Ormond of Mairé St Parmenas the Deacon St Severian the Martyr