Thought for the Day – 5 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Doing Everything for the Love of God
“As St John says, God is love; he who dwells in love dwells in God and God dwells in him (1 Jn 4:16). Since He is love, God longs to be loved by us. Our actions should come from and, be accompanied by, our love for Him. “Love, therefore, is the fulfilment of the law,” writes St Paul (Rom 13:10). We must perform all our actions, therefore for the love of God. The alchemists of old, made a great many experiments in the hope of being able to transform base metals into gold. What was impossible in the physical order, however, is quite possible in the moral and spiritual order. We can transform all our actions into pure gold, by means of the love of God.
There is a story told about a sculptor who was chiselling out a small statue which was to be placed on the highest pinnacle of the temple. He was striving after perfection in the tiniest details, as if it would be possible for the statue to be inspected at close quarters. Somebody asked him why he was so particular and careful in his work and he replied: “I am not working for those who are looking up from below but, for Him, Who is looking down from above. I am working for God alone!”
Quote/s of the Day – 5 February – The Memorial of St Agatha (c 231- c 251) Virgin Martyr
“My fellow Christians, our annual celebration of a Martyr’s feast, has brought us together. Agatha achieved renown in the early Church for her noble victory. … For her, Christ’s death was recent, His blood was still moist. Her robe is the mark of her faithful witness to Christ. Agatha, the name of our saint, means “good.” She was truly good, for she lived as a child of God. Agatha, her goodness coincides with her name and her way of life. She won a good name by her noble deeds and by her name, she points to the nobility of those deeds. Agatha, her mere name wins all men over to her company. She teaches them by her example, to hasten with her to the true Good, God alone.”
“The woman who invites us to this banquet is both a wife and virgin. To use the analogy of Paul, she is the bride who has been betrothed to one husband, Christ. A true virgin, she wore the glow of pure conscience and the crimson of the Lamb’s blood for her cosmetics.”
St Methodius of Sicily (c 788-c 847) From a homily on Saint Agatha
“He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother.” … Mark 6:28
REFLECTION – “In what way, then, was this just man harmed by this demise, this violent death, these chains, this imprisonment? Who are those he did not set back on their feet — provided they had a penitent disposition — because of what he spoke, because of what he suffered, because of what he still proclaims in our own day — the same message he preached while he was living. Therefore, do not say: “Why was John allowed to die?” For what occurred was not a death but a crown, not an end but the beginning of a greater life.
Learn to think and live like a Christian. You will not only remain unharmed by these events but will reap the greatest benefits.” … St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor – On the Providence of God, 22.
PRAYER – Increase in us, O Lord, the gift of faith, so that we may arise and offer our praise to You and by Your grace, yield fruit from heaven, for the glory of Your Kingdom. Lord God, let St Agatha, who became precious in Your sight through her pure life and valiant martyrdom, plead for our forgiveness. For, with joy and rejoicing, as though to a feast, St Agatha, went to prison and offered her sufferings to You, with many prayers. Through Jesus Christ, Your divine Son, in unity with the Spirit, one God forever. St Agatha, pray for us, amen.
Let Your Will be Mine By Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
O most merciful Jesus, grant me Your grace, that it may remain with me always and persevere with me to the end. Grant me always to will and desire, what is more pleasing and acceptable to You. Let Your will be mine and let my will always follow Yours in perfect conformity with it. Let my will and desires, always be one with Yours and let me be unable to will or not to will, except as You will or do not will. Grant that I may die to all worldly things and that I may be despised and unknown for love of You. Grant, above all things to be desired, that I may find rest in You and that in Your Heart alone, may be my peace. You, O Lord, give true peace to the heart and perfect rest to body and soul. Apart from You, all is difficult and never still. In that peace, in You Who are the one, supreme and eternal Good, I will sleep and take my rest. Amen
Saint of the Day – 5 February – Saint Avitus of Vienne (c 450-c 518) Bishop of Vienne, Poet, Confessor and Defender of the Mysteries of the Faith against heretics, writer. Avitus was a distinguished Bishop of Vienne, in Gaul, from 490 to about 518, though his death is placed by some as late as 525 or 526. Also known as – Alcimus Ecdicius
Avitus was born of a prominent Gallo-Roman family closely related to the Emperor Avitus and other illustrious persons and in which episcopal honours were hereditary.
In difficult times for the Catholic faith and Roman culture in Southern Gaul, Avitus exercised a favourable influence. He pursued with earnestness and success, the extinction of the Arian heresy in the barbarian Kingdom of Burgundy (443-532), won the confidence of King Gundobad and converted his son, King Sigismund (516-523).
A letter of Pope Hormisdas to Avitus records that he was made Vicar Apostolic in Gaul by that Pontiff and in 517, he presided in this capacity at the Council of Epaon for restoring ecclesiastical discipline in Gallia Narbonensis. Avitus appears also to have exerted himself to terminate the dispute between the churches of Rome and Constantinople, which arose out of the excommunication of Acacius; we gather from his later letters, that this was accomplished before his death.
Like his contemporary, Ennodius of Pavia, he was strenuous in his assertion of the authority of the Apostolic See as the chief bulwark of religious unity and the incipient Christian civilisation. “If the Pope,” he says, “is rejected, it follows that not one Bishop but the whole episcopate threatens to fall” — Ep. xxxiv; ed. Peiper).
The literary fame of Avitus rests on a Poem of 2,552 hexameters, in five books, dealing with the Scriptural narrative of Original Sin, Expulsion from Paradise, the Deluge, the Crossing of the Red Sea. The first three books offer a certain dramatic unity; in them are told the preliminaries of the great disaster, the catastrophe itself and the consequences. The fourth and fifth books deal with the Deluge and the Crossing of the Red Sea as symbols of Baptism. Avitus deals freely and familiarly with the Scriptural events and exhibits well their beauty, sequence and significance.
He is one of the last masters of the art of rhetoric as taught in the schools of Gaul in the fourth and fifth centuries. Ebert says that none of the ancient Christian poets, treated more successfully, the poetic elements of the Bible. His poetic diction, though abounding in archaisms and rhythmic redundancy, is pure and select and the laws of metre are well observed. It is said that Milton made use of his paraphrase [sic] of Scripture in the preparation of “Paradise Lost.” He wrote also 666 hexameters “De virginitate” or “De consolatoriâ castitatis laude” for the comfort of his sister Fuscina, a nun.
His prose works include “Contra Eutychianam Hæresim libri II,” written in 512 or 513 and also, about eighty seven letters, that are of considerable importance for the ecclesiastical and political history of the years 499-518. Among them is the famous letter to Clovis on the occasion of his Baptism.
There was once extant a collection of his homilies but they have perished with the exception of two and some fragments and excerpts. The works of Avitus are still found in printed format.
Upon his death, Avitus was buried in the Monastery of St Peter and St Paul at Vienne, see below.
Dedication of the first Church of Our Lady, by St Peter, Tortosa – 5 February:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “Dedication of the first Church of Our Lady, by Saint Peter, Tortosa, Italy” The first church dedicated to Our Lady by Saint Peter the Apostle was not actually in Italy, as the good Abbot stated but in the city of Tartus, Syria. The city of Tartus was known as Tortosa to the Crusaders, who lived in the region during the time of the Crusades. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Tortosa, built in the year 1123 by these Crusaders, still stands on the site of the original sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin that was dedicated by Saint Peter. It is remembered, that the Emperor Constantine looked favourably upon the City because of his love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and the devotion to her by the faithful at Tortosa. By all appearances, the Church of Our Lady was as much of a fortress as it was a Church, and indeed, there were once towers surrounding the structure, two of which have survived the centuries. The façade of the Church, which appears almost Romanesque in style, has five arched window openings that are well above ground level and, there is a centrally located doorway. Once inside, however, the structure looks more like a Church, as there are graceful arches, columns and a vaulted ceiling. It is thought by many historians, to be the best-preserved structure of a religious nature dating from the time of the Crusades. Since the Church doubled as a fortification, the Crusaders were able to hold it, even after Tortosa was taken by Saladin in the year 1188. Saladin, who was able to unify the warring Muslim factions, made them into a robust army and won an important battle at Hattin over the Crusaders, capturing nearly all of their holdings, save for those near the coasts. The Knights Templar continued to use the Church as a kind of headquarters until the year 1291, when it was also taken. Once captured by the Mameluke’s, the Church was turned into a mosque. Later, under the Ottoman Empire, the Church was used as a place of storage. The Church was recently renovated, although now it is used only as a Museum.
St Agatha Hildegard of Carinthia St Agricola of Tongres St Albinus of Brixen St Anthony of Athens St Avitus of Vienne (c 450-c 518) Bishop St Bertulph St Buo of Ireland St Calamanda of Calaf St Dominica of Shapwick St Fingen of Metz Bl Françoise Mézière St Gabriel de Duisco St Genuinus of Sabion St Indract St Isidore of Alexandria St Jesús Méndez-Montoya Bl John Morosini St Kichi Franciscus St Luca di Demenna St Modestus of Carinthia St Philip of Jesus (1572-1597) Martyr His Life and Death: https://anastpaul.com/2020/02/05/saint-of-the-day-5-february-st-philip-of-jesus-1572-1597/ Bl Primo Andrés Lanas St Saba the Younger St Vodoaldus of Soissons — Martyrs of Pontus: An unknown number of Christians who were tortured and martyred in assorted painful ways in the region of Pontus (in modern Turkey) during the persecutions of Maximian.