Thought for the Day – 27 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“God speaks readily when our souls are silent. He cannot be heard in the noise of the world. But we do not have to abandon our normal way of life in order to find a little interior recollection. It is enough to pause for a moment and remember God’s presence. Once we have formed the habit of doing this, it becomes quite easy, at anytime and in any place. We may be walking along the street, or in the middle of our work. We may be in a room full of people chatting together. Wherever we are, we shall be able to pause and raise our minds to God. If we acquire this habit, we can lead peaceful lives, on a completely supernatural level.“
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” – Mark 4:9
REFLECTION – “Truly it is “a trustworthy word and deserving of every welcome” (1 Tm 1:15), Your almighty Word, Lord, which in such deep silence made its way down from the Father’s royal throne (Wis 18:14f.) into the mangers of animals and meanwhile, speaks to us better by it’s silence. “Let him who has ears to hear, hear” what this loving and mysterious silence of the eternal Word speaks to us… For what recommends the discipline of silence with such weight and such authority, what checks the evil of restless tongues and the storms of words, as the Word of God, silent in the midst of men. “There is no word on my tongue” (Ps 139:4), the almighty Word seems to confess while he is subject to His mother. What madness then will prompt us to say: “With our tongues we can do great things, our lips are good friends to us, we own no master” (Ps 11:5). If I were allowed, I would gladly be dumb and be brought low and be silent even from good things, that I might be able, the more attentively and diligently to apply my ear to the secret utterances and sacred meaning of this divine silence, learning in silence in the school of the Word, if only for as long as the Word Himself was silent under the instruction of His mother … “The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us” (Jn 1:14). With complete devotion, then, let us think of Christ in the swaddling clothes with which His mother wrapped Him, so that with eternal happiness we may see the glory and beauty with which His Father has clothed Him.” – Blessed Guerric of Igny (c.1080-1157) Cistercian Abbot – 5th sermon for Christmas
PRAYER – Lord God, in Your wisdom You created us, by Your providence You rule us, You have planted us, penetrate our inmost being with Your holy Light, so that our way of life may always be one of faithful service to You. May we never hesitate to run to Your all-forgiving arms of mercy, when we allow the rocks and thorns of this life to prevent our growth and our steps as we return home to You. May the prayers of the Blessed Virgin, our Mother, all the angels and saints, be unfailing assistance to us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Grant Us This Day, O Lord By St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus Doctor Communis
Grant us this day, O Lord a vigilant heart, that no alien thought can lure away from Thee, a pure heart. that no unworthy love can soil, an upright heart, that no crooked intentions can lead astray. And give us Lord, understanding to know Thee, zeal to seek Thee, wisdom to find Thee and a hope, that will one day take hold of Thee. Amen
Saint of the Day – 27 January – Blessed Manfredo Settala (12th Century-1217) Priest and Hermit, known as “The Hermit of Monte San Giorgio,” miracle-worker – born in the latter 12th century in Milan, Italy and died on 27 January 1217 in Riva San Vitale, Lombardy, Italy of natural causes. Patronage – Riva San Vitale. His body is incorrupt.
Manfredo belonged to the ancient Milanese Settala family and was born at the end of the 12th century.
He was Ordained and became the Parish Priest of Cuasso in the Diocese of Milan near the south-western branch of Lake Lugano.
Manfredo felt a deep call to the hermit life and after gaining permission, he left pastoral care and withdrew to the heights of San Giorgio, the solitary mountain wedged between the southern arms of the Ceresio, where he led a life of solitude, prayer and contemplation of the Divine Mysteries.
Attracted by the fame of his holiness, many faithful of the surrounding regions, flocked to him, begging for advice and intercession for their illnesses both spiritual and bodily. The holy hermit exhorted them to make pilgrimages to the tomb of St Gerardo, who had recently died in Monza (6 June 1207). Once the pious pilgrimage was done devoutly, the disease suddenly disappeared and the people of Olgiate, with unanimous decision raised in the village, in honour of St Gerardo a beautiful Church, which later became a destination for devotion and pilgrimages and which, in 1938 was restored and embellished. The people of Olgiate, every year, process to the tomb of the saint, in memory of the miracles.
Manfredo’s historiography, based on ancient traditions and respectable documents, is full of wonders attributed to the intercession of the holy hermit. It is certain, that the blessed died on 27 January 1217. It is reported the miraculous sound of the bells of the neighbouring villages at the hour of his death and the choice of the place of burial, claimed by many of the area’s Churches – left to the whim of the oxen yoked to the hearse.
Settala’s body was buried in the Church of Riva San Vitale, at the foot of Mount San Giorgio. In 1387, by order of the Bishop of Como, Beltramo da Brossano, the body of the Blessed was placed in a marble tomb at the foot of the Altar, so that in the future, all the faithful Christians may be given greater devotion and reverence to the memory of Blessed Manfredo.
In 1633, the body was placed in a precious urn and given the place of honour under high altar, where it is currently venerated and where various Parishes in the region, on separate Sundays, meet on a annual pilgrimages.
On the walls of the Baptistry, there are two beautiful paintings by Giovanni Battista Bagutti (1774-1823) of Rovio, depicting the passage of the blessed into mountain of solitude and his transport from San Giorgio to the Church of Riva. The liturgical feast is celebrated on 27 January, which in Riva, is considered a public holiday; while on the following Sunday, a procession and Holy Mass, is celebrated, with large numbers of pilgrims attending. The streets are decorated for devotion to the blessed, is still very much alive in the region.
One of Bl Manfredo’s most famous miracles was the transformation of stones into bread during a period of famine. On the eve of his feast, it is still customary, to distribute blessed bread to all families.
Our Lady of Life/Notre Dame de Vie, Provence, France – 27 January:
The town of Mougins is really an ancient village located in the south of France. Only a short drive from Cannes, it is completely surrounded by dense forests and there are a variety of tall pines and other trees growing amidst the town’s buildings. Like so many other places in Europe, the village was once also surrounded by a stone wall set with strong towers, though most of those walls have long since fallen down. Many of the charming older residences, however, are still in use, opposite newer dwellings. It was sometime during the 11th century, when a local nobleman gave the hill, which overlooks the village, to the Monks to Saint Honorat, who cared for the local populace until the time of the French Revolution. The Monks built a Chapel on the hill known as Saint Marie, though very little of that original structure still remains. The Chapel of Our Lady of Life, or Notre Dame de Vie in French, was built in 1646 and stands upon the former site of that much earlier Church.
If one were to visit the hermitage of Notre Dame de Vie, Our Lady of Life, they would find it situated on a beautiful site still overlooking the village, set in a long meadow bordered by two rows of giant cypresses. There is a natural peace and quietude, that seems to invade the soul at this place, which was once a site of many miracles. The name of the first Chapel was changed from Saint Mary to Notre Dame de Vie, Our Lady of Life, when it was discovered that one could find a heavenly respite there. Notre Dame de Vie soon became famous throughout the area as a special sanctuary of grace, for if still-born babies were brought there, they would be miraculously brought back to life long enough to be Baptised during the Mass. “At the present day, the chapel has fallen to ruin and a stone cross broken in half, rises alone amid the ruins but underneath these ruins there are subterraneous vaults and a stone altar, still tells where they still come to lay those little children whom death had smitten on the threshold of life and, who have been unable to receive the sacred sign which would have made them like unto the angels.” “No sooner are they laid upon this stone, says the mountaineer who serves as a guide to the traveller in this dark crypt, than their eyes open again, a slight breathing escapes from their little lips closed by death, the water of Baptism flows upon their foreheads and then, they fall asleep again, to ascend to heaven.” “By digging a little into the ground, the remains of these poor little flowers of humanity, which withered at the icy breath of death in the first hour of their morning, are found round about the altar dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, who raises up the little children to life, that they may go to Jesus Christ; that ignorant, but exalted tenderness of feeling which came to beg the miracle of Mary, interred them beneath her wing, that she might not forget them!“ “Let incredulity be indignant at this superstition of the heart; tender and pious souls will find in it, only a motive for gentle commiseration. No doubt, more than one mother has been deceived in thinking that she saw the cold lips of her child become reanimated with her kisses to receive the sacred water but. whoever should dare to advance that Mary cannot perform miracles as great when she pleases, would be, to say the truth, a bold mortal.” (*from Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the History of Devotion to Her, by Mathieu Orsini, translated from the French.) The Chapel is home to an ancient statue in polychrome wood of the Virgin and Child. It is piously believed, that through this image, the Blessed Virgin has often restored to life children who had died without Baptism. In 1730 the practice was prohibited for unknown reasons. There is a tomb in an adjacent enclosure that contains the remains of the tiny bodies of those who were Baptised and have passed to paradise.
St Gilduin Bl Gonzalo Diaz di Amarante St Henry de Osso y Cervello St John Maria Muzeyi Bl John of Warneton St Julian of Le Mans St Julian of Sora St Lupus of Châlons Blessed Manfredo Settala (12 Century-1217) Priest and Hermit “The Hermit of Monte San Giorgio” St Marius of Bodon Bl Michael Pini St Natalis of Ulster St Paul Josef Nardini Bl Rosalie du Verdier de la Sorinière St Theodoric of Orléans St Pope Vitalian — Martyrs of North Africa – 30 saints: A group of 30 Christians martyred together by Arian Vandals. The only details to have survived are four of their names – Datius, Julian, Reatrus and Vincent. c 500 in North Africa.