Thought for the Day – 31 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Seeing God in All Things
“Sometimes we fail to see God in all the events of life because we lack faith and absolute confidence in the Lord. We must try to increase this faith and live always in the presence of God and, we must regard the honour and glory of this world as worth absolutely nothing without God. “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world but suffer the loss of his own soul?” (Mt 16:26).
We often attach too much importance to the things of this world, which, viewed in the light of eternity are worth very little. When we find ourselves at the point of death and think back over the events of life, how small these things will seem to us! Then, we shall marvel at our folly and regret that we worried so much about them, while we allowed ourselves to forget the only being really necessary to us, God Himself! St Francis de Sales said, that when we arrive at the end of life, the affairs with which we have been preoccupied, will seem about as important, as the sand-castles we built as children, castles which cost us a lot of trouble to build and a great deal of sorrow afterwards, when they had been destroyed!”
Quote/s of the Day – 31 January – The Memorial of St John Bosco (1815-1888)
“Whatever you do, think of the Glory of God as your main goal.”
“Health is God’s great gift and we must spend it, entirely for Him. Our eyes should see only for God, our feet walk only for Him, our hands labour for Him alone; in short, our entire body should serve God while we still have the time. Then, when He shall take our health and we shall near our last day, our conscience will not reproach us for having misused it.”
“Be good! This will make your angel happy. When sorrows and misfortunes, physical or spiritual, afflict you, turn to your Guardian Angel, with strong trust and he will help you.”
“The power of evil men, lives, on the cowardice of the good!”
One Minute Reflection – 31 January – The Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Readings: Deuteronomy 18:15-20, Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9, 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, Mark 1:21-28 and the Feast of the Translation of the Relics of the St Mark the Evangelist to Venice
“What is this? A new teaching with authority!” – Mark 1:27
REFLECTION – “Only one is your teacher, the Messiah.” (Mt 23:10). … For Christ is “the reflection of the Father’s glory, the exact representation of the Father’s being and he sustains all things by his powerful word.” (Heb 1:3) He is the origin of all wisdom. The Word of God in the heights, is the source of wisdom. Christ is the source of all true knowledge, for He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” (Jn 14:6). … As way, Christ is the teacher and origin of knowledge according to faith. … That is why Peter teaches in his second letter: “We possess the prophetic message as something altogether reliable. Keep your attention closely fixed on it, as you would on a lamp shining in a dark place.” (1:19). … For through His coming in the spirit, Christ is the origin of all revelation and through His coming in the flesh, He is the strengthening of all authority.
He comes first in the spirit as the revealing light of every prophetic vision. According to Daniel: “He reveals deep and hidden things and knows what is in the darkness, for the light dwells with him.” (2:22) This is the light of divine wisdom, which is in Christ. According to John, Christ said: “I am the light of the world. No follower of mine shall ever walk in darkness” (8:12) and “While you have the light, keep faith in the light, thus you will become children of light.” (12:36). … Without this light which is Christ, no-one can penetrate the secrets of faith. And that is why we read in the Book of Wisdom: “O God, send forth that Wisdom from your holy heavens and from your glorious throne, dispatch her that she may be with me and work with me, that I may know what is your pleasure … For what man knows God’s counsel, or who can conceive what the Lord intends?” (9:10-13) No-one can come to the certainty of revealed faith, except through Christ’s coming in the spirit and the flesh.” – St Bonaventure (1221-1274) Doctor of the Church – Sermon ‘Christus unus omnium magister’
PRAYER – King of heaven and earth, Lord God, rule over our hearts and bodies this day. Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed, according to the commandments of Your law, so that now and forever, Your grace may free and save us. Sanctify our hearts, minds and actions with Your power, that all we are may speak of Your Light. May the prayers of our Mother, Queen of Heaven and Earth and glorious St Mark the Evangelist, who so diligently followed You in the darkness around him, bring us to peace and confidence. We make our prayer through Your Son, our Lord Jesus, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 31 January – Septuagesima Sunday or The Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Bless’d Be the Lord Our God! By Fr James Quinn SJ (1919-2010)
Bless’d be the Lord our God! With joy let heaven ring; Before His presence let all earth Its songs of homage bring! His mighty deeds be told; His majesty be praised; To God, enthrouned in heav’nly light, Let every voice be raised!
All that has life and breath, Give thanks with heartfelt songs! To Him let all creation sing To Whom all praise belongs! Acclaim the Father’s love, Who gave us God, His Son; Praise too the Spirit, giv’n by both, With both for ever one!
In the Divine Office (1974) it is sung with Sunday Evening Prayer I (Week 2)
The Translation of the Relics of Saint Mark, the Evangelist – 31 December
The story of how Saint Mark’s relics eventually came to Venice is a remarkable one and it has been the subject of various works of art throughout the centuries. Tintoretto’s Translation of the Body of Saint Mark, a stark, dramatic painting that has the eerie feel of a photo negative, may be one of the most recognisable. Painted between 1562 and 1566 for the Scuola Grande di San Marco, the work is part of the permanent collection of the Accademia Galleries in Venice. Tintoretto himself is portrayed within the work, as the bearded man beside the camel.
A companion painting, Discovery of the Body of Saint Mark, is located at the Brera Gallery in Milan.
The glittering mosaics that adorn the exterior of Saint Mark’s Basilica also tell the story, in tessellated form, of the translation of Saint Mark’s relics. For example, the mosaic located above the left doorway (the Door of Saint Alypius) of the west facade depicts Saint Mark’s body being carried into the basilica. The mosaic, known as the Deposition mosaic, is the oldest exterior mosaic on the Basilica and dates to 1260-1270.
According to legend, Saint Mark’s body was taken from Alexandria, Egypt, in 828. Two Venetian merchants travelling in Alexandria, obtained the relics of Saint Mark from Priests at the church of Saint Mark, where the saint’s body was interred. The Priests feared Saint Mark’s relics might be damaged or destroyed by the Saracens during the persecution of the Catholic community in Alexandria. Promising to safeguard the Saint’s relics, the merchants convinced the Priests to allow them to return to Venice with the body of Saint Mark. “The body of Saint Mark was taken out of the sarcophagus and unwrapped from its silk shroud, the relic being substituted by another and less eminent Saint. It was then placed in a chest and taken on board the Venetian ship, the merchants first ensuring, that the Saint’s remains were covered by a layer of pork and cabbage. When the Muslim officials asked to inspect the chest, they cried out ‘Kanzir, kanzir’ (Oh horror) at the sight and smell of the pork. . . . Thus the Evangelist was safely conveyed to Venice but not before a number of miracles eased his passage across the Mediterranean.”
Saint Mark’s body was initially kept in a Chapel at the Doge’s palace, a Chapel originally dedicated to Saint Theodore, until a more suitable Church could be built. Begun in 829, the year after the translation of Saint Mark’s relics, the first Church of Saint Mark was completed in 832. This Church was destroyed in 976 during a rebellion against Doge Pietro Candiano IV. And so St Mark’s Basilica was built to house the remains. Unfortunately, two hundred years later, the unthinkable happened, the authorities forgot where they had put them. Various excuses have emerged, all rather contradictory; there had been a fire, there was building work at the Basilica, the people who knew the location died suddenly without passing on the secret. All of Venice despaired but St Mark himself came to the rescue – his arm suddenly appeared from a pillar, no doubt accompanied by a shout of ‘I’m over here!’ The Basilica was completed in 1063 but was only Consecrated in 1094 now that St Mark was found.
In 1835, Giacomo Monico, Patriarch of Venice, exhumed the body of Saint Mark from the Crypt beneath the Basilica and placed it in the high Altar. Before then, the Saint’s body had apparently last been seen in the 12th century, dressed in ecclesiastical robes, when it was placed on display for five months for public veneration.
In 1075, the Doge passed a law requiring all returning ships to bring back something precious to decorate the Basilica, accounting for the more than 500 columns of rare marble, porphyry, alabaster and jasper brought back from the East. The interior is clad with 4,240 square meters of gold mosaics, mostly from the 12th and 13th centuries.
Between 1500 and 1750, some of the old sections were replaced by “modern” mosaics designed by artists including Titian and Tintoretto. The presence of St Mark, the mosaics, golden altar, beautiful chapels and treasury make St Mark’s one of Italy’s best-loved Churches.
Saint Mark’s simple, marble Sarcophagus can only be viewed from behind the high Altar. The exterior of the Sarcophagus is well lit and a short inscription applied to the stone in metallic letters read: “SALUTAT VOS . . . MARCUS FILIUS MEUS.” This inscription was followed by a citation in much smaller letters below the word “MEUS.” The citation read “1 Petri 5.13,” the source of the abbreviated quote on the tomb. The front of the Sarcophagus proclaims “CORPUS DIVI MARCI EVANGELISTAE” (Body of the Divine Mark, Evangelist). Red roses are often placed on top of the Sarcophagus.
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time +2020 Septuagesima Sunday (Traditional Calendar): The word Septuagesima is Latin for “seventieth.” It is both the name of the liturgical season and the name of the Sunday. Septuagesima Sunday marks the beginning of the shortest liturgical season. This season is seventeen (17) days long and includes the three Sundays before Ash Wednesday. The length of the season never changes but the start date is dependent on the movable date of Easter, which can fall between 22 March-25 April. Septuagesima Sunday can be as early as 18 January. The Septuagesima season helps the faithful ease into Lent. It is a gradual preparation for the serious time of penance and sorrow; to remind the sinner of the grievousness of his errors and to exhort him to penance. Liturgically it looks very much like Lent. The Gloria and Alleluia are omitted, the tone becomes penitential with the Priest wearing purple vestments. The main difference is that there are no fasting requirements.
Apparition of Our Lady to Saint Angela de Foligno (1285) – 31 January: Angela of Foligno was born in 1248 of a prominent family in Foligno, three leagues from Assisi. As a young woman and also as a wife and mother, she lived only for the world and its vain pleasures. But the grace of God intended to make of her, a vessel of election, for the comfort and salvation of many. A ray of the divine mercy touched her soul and so strongly affected her, as to bring about a conversion. At the command of her confessor, Angela of Foligno committed to writing the manner of her conversion in eighteen spiritual steps. “Enlightened by grace,” Blessed Angela of Foligno wrote in this account. “I realised my sinfulness; I was seized with a great fear of being damned and I shed a flood of tears. I went to confession to be relieved of my sins but through shame I concealed the most grievous ones but still I went to Communion. Now my conscience tortured me day and night. I called upon St Francis for help and, moved by an inner impulse, I went into a church where a Franciscan Father was then preaching.” (It is reported that in the year 1285 she had a vision of both the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Francis of Assisi, who called her to penance.) “I gathered courage to confess all my sins to him and I did this immediately after the sermon. With zeal and perseverance, I performed the penance he imposed but my heart continued to be full of bitterness and shame. I recognised that the divine mercy has saved me from hell, hence I resolved to do rigorous penance; nothing seemed too difficult for me because I felt I belonged in hell. I called upon the saints and especially upon the Blessed Virgin, to intercede with God for me.
It appeared to me now as if they had compassion on me and I felt the fire of divine love enkindled within me, so that I could pray as I never prayed before. I had also received a special grace to contemplate the Cross in which Christ had suffered so much for my sins. Sorrow, love and the desire to sacrifice everything for Him filled my soul.”
About this time God harkened to the earnest desire of the penitent – her mother died, then her husband and soon afterwards, all her children. These tragic events were very painful to her but she made the sacrifice with resignation to the will of God. Being freed from these ties, she dispossessed herself of all her temporal goods with the consent of her confessor, a Franciscan friar named Arnoldo, so that being poor herself, she might walk in the footsteps of her poor Saviour. It was to Arnoldo that she dictated her account of her conversion, now known as the ‘Memoriale,’ or the ‘Book of Visions and Instructions.’ She also entered the Third Order of St Francis and presently found herself the superior and guide of other,s who followed in her path. Many women joined her, even to the point of taking the three vows. She encouraged them in works of charity, in nursing the sick and in going personally from door to door to beg for the needs of the poor. Meanwhile, Angela became still more immersed in the contemplation of the Passion of Christ and she chose the Sorrowful Mother and the faithful disciple John as her patrons. The sight of the wounds which her Lord suffered for her sins, urged her to the practice of still greater austerities. Once Our Lord showed her that His Heart is a safe refuge in all the storms of life. She was soon to be in need of such a refuge. God permitted her to be afflicted with severe temptations. The most horrible and loathsome representations distressed her soul. The fire of concupiscence raged so furiously that she said: “I would rather have beheld myself surrounded with flames and permitted myself to be continually roasted, than to endure such things.” Still, she called out to God, “Glory be to Thee, O Lord! Thy cross is my resting place.” These painful trials lasted over two years but then, the purified and tried servant of the Lord, was filled with great consolation. She obtained a marvellous insight into divine things and was very frequently found in ecstasy. For a time she had the stigmata and for many years Holy Communion was her only food, until at last, completely purified, she entered into the eternal joy of the Supreme Good on 4 January 1310. Pope Innocent XII approved the continual devotion paid to her at her tomb in Foligno, where many miracles were attributed to her. He Beatified her in 1693. Her Canonisation was an equipollent Canonisation in 2013. Blessed Angela of Foligno said, “To know oneself and to know God, that is the perfection of man; without this knowledge, visions and the greatest gifts are of no account.” St Angela’s Biography here: https://anastpaul.com/2020/01/04/saint-of-the-day-4-january-saint-angela-of-foligno-tosf-1248-1309/
The Translation of the Relics of Saint Mark, the Evangelist
St Abraham of Abela Bl Adamnan of Coldingham St Aedan of Ferns St Aiden St Athanasius of Modon St Bobinus of Troyes St Eusebius of Saint Gall St Francesco Saverio Maria Bianchi/Francis Xavier Bianchi CRSP (1743-1815) “Apostle of Naples” About St Francesco: https://anastpaul.com/2020/01/31/saint-of-the-day-31-january-saint-francis-xavier-bianchi-crsp-1743-1815-apostle-of-naples/ St Geminian of Modena Bl John Angelus St Julius of Novara Bl Louise degli Albertoni Bl Luigi Talamoni St Madoes St Marcella Bl Maria Cristina di Savoia St Martin Manuel St Nicetas of Novgorod St Tryphaena of Cyzicus St Tysul St Ulphia of Amiens St Waldo of Evreux St Wilgils —
Martyrs of Corinth – 14 saints: A group of Christians tortured and martyred together in Corinth, Greece in the persecutions of Decius. We know nothing about them except some names – Anectus, Claudius, Codratus, Crescens, Cyprian, Diodorus, Dionysius, Nicephorus, Papias, Paul, Serapion, Theodora, Victor and Victorinus.
Martyrs of Canope: Athanasia Cyrus the Physician Eudoxia John the Physician Theoctista Theodotia Martyred in Alexandria, Egypt Cyriacus Metranus Saturninus Tarskius Thyrsus Victor Zoticus
Martyred in Alexandria, Egypt: Cyriacus Metranus Saturninus Tarskius Thyrsus Victor Zoticus
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: José Acosta Alemán Juan José Martínez Romero Pedro José Rodríguez Cabrera
Martyrs of Korea: Thousands of people were murdered in the anti-Catholic persecutions in Korea. • Saint Agatha Kwon Chin-i • Saint Agatha Yi Kyong-I • Saint Augustinus Park Chong-Won • Saint Magdalena Son So-Byok • Saint Maria Yi In-Dok • Saint Petrus Hong Pyong-Ju