Thought for the Day – 11 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Power of Mary
“We should turn confidently to Mary, especially when we are tempted. She cannot allow us to offend her Jesus and to fall into the foils of the devil, as long as we pray to her with faith in her intercession. “The devil, as a roaring lion,” says St Peter, “goes about seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). But, our Mother Mary is always by our side seeking to protect us. Let us entrust ourselves to her maternal care. Not only does Mary wish to help us, declares St Bonaventure but, those who do not pray to her, commit almost as great an offence, as those who openly insult her (In Spec Virg)!
Quo/ste of the Day – 11 February – The Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes
“I am the Immaculate Conception.”
Our Lady of Lourdes to St Bernadette 25 March 1858
“Mary is the great mould of God … He who is cast in this divine mould is soon formed and moulded in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ in him. With little effort and in a short time, he will become divine, since he is cast in the same mould which formed a God.”
St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716)
O daughter of King David and Mother of God, the universal King. O Divine and living object whose beauty has charmed God the Creator; your whole soul is completely open to God’s action and attentive to God alone. … Your womb will be the abode of the one whom no place can contain. Your milk will provide nourishment for God, in the little Infant Jesus. Your hands will carry God and your knees will serve as a throne for Him that is more noble than the throne of the Cherubim. … You are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the city of the living God, made joyous by abundant flowers, the sacred flowers of Divine grace. You are all-beautiful and very close to God, above the Cherubim and higher than the Seraphim, right near God Himself! Amen
St John Damascene (675-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 13 February – Readings: Genesis 2:18-25, Psalms 128:1-2, 3,4-5, Mark 7:24-30 and the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes
“Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” … Mark 7:28
REFLECTION – “O woman, your faith is great. Let it be done to you as you wish” (Mt 15:28). Indeed, she had great enough faith, since she knew neither the ancient miracles, commands and promises of the prophets, nor the more recent ones of the Lord Himself. In addition, as often as she was disregarded by the Lord, she persevered in her entreaties and she did not cease knocking by asking Him, though she knew only by popular opinion that He was the Saviour. On account of this, she secured the great object for which she implored. … If one of us has a conscience polluted by the stain of avarice, conceit, vain-glory, indignation, irascibility, or envy and the other vices, he has “a daughter badly troubled by a demon” like the Canaanite woman. He should hasten to the Lord, making supplication for her healing. … Being submissive with due humility, [such a person] must not judge himself to be worthy of the company of the sheep of Israel, (that is, souls that are pure) but instead, he must be of the opinion, that he is unworthy of heavenly favours. Nevertheless, let him not in despair rest from the earnestness of his entreaty but with his mind free of doubt, let him trust in the goodness of the supreme Benefactor, for the One who could make a confessor from a robber (Lk 23:39f.), an Apostle from a persecutor (Acts 9:1-30, an Evangelist from a publican (Mt 9:9-13) and who could make sons for Abraham out of stones, could turn even the most insignificant dog, into an Israelite sheep.” – St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father and Doctor of the Church – Homilies on the Gospels
PRAYER – Grant us, O merciful God, protection in our weakness, that we, who keep the Memorial of the Immaculate Mother of God, may, with the help of her intercession, rise up from our iniquities. Grant, we pray that our lives may be gifts to all those who cry out in pain. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 11 February – The Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes
Queen on Whose Starry Brow Doth Rest St Venantius Fortunatus (c 530-c 609) Translation by Monsignor Ronald A Knox (1888 – 1957)
Queen, on whose starry brow doth rest The crown of perfect maidenhood, The God who made thee, from thy brest Drew, for our sakes, His earthly food.
The grace that sinful Eve denied, With thy Child-bearing, reppears; Heaven’s lingering door, set open wide, Welcomes the children of her tears.
Fate, for such royal progress meet, Beacon, whose rays such light can give, Look, how the ransomed nations greet The virgin-womb that bade them live!
O Jesus, whom the Vrgin bore, Be praise and glory unto Thee. Praise to the Father evermore And His life-givine Spirit be. Amen!
Saint Venantius Fortunatus (c 530 – c 609) Bishop, Poet, Hymnist, Writer – born c 530 at Rreviso, Italy and died c 609 at Poitiers, modern France of natural causes. St Venantius was unique, first a travelling lay poet, he later became a Priest and then a Bishop. But he always remained a professional author of poetry, a “troubadour” of Christ. He is the author of the Ave Maris Stella, amongst many others.
Saint of the Day – 11 February – Saint Lazarus of Milan (Died 449) Archbishop of Milan from 438 to 449.
We have almost no information about the life and episcopate of St Lazarus, though his name means “he who is assisted by God.” He probably studied in Milan and is reported to have been of stern appearance. A late tradition, with little historical basis, associates Lazarus with the Milan’s family of the Beccardi. It is believed that he resisted the Manichaeans, in the footsteps of St Pope Leo the Great.
St Lazarus became Bishop of Milan in 438. The times were volatile and troublesome, for the Goths were ravaging Italy and were masters of Milan but although Lazarus had much to suffer at their hands, he ruled his flock prudently and faithfully.
St Magnus Felix Ennodius (c 473-521), the Bishop of Pavia and Rhetorician and Poet (Feast day – 17 July), includes him in a list of twelve holy Bishops of Milan, of whom St Ambrose was the first and most eminent.
Lazarus is chiefly remembered in connextion with the Rogationtide litanies which, it is believed, he was the first to introduce. To invoke the protection of God at that distressful period, he ordered a three days’ fast with processions, litanies and visits to various Churches from the Monday to the Wednesday within the Octave of the Ascension. Afterwards, it is believed that St Mamertus introduced these litanies into the Diocese of Vienne and changed the date to the three days before Ascension day. The first Council of Orleans (511) ordered that this observance should be general throughout France and it spread quickly to England and elsewhere.
Later still, Archbishop Stephen Nardini and St Charles Borromeo did much to encourage and establish this custom in Milan, which continues to the present day. The word rogation comes from the Latin verb rogare, meaning “to ask,” which reflects the beseeching of God for the appeasement of His anger and for protection from calamities.
Lazarus died on 14 March in the year 449, after having been the Archbishop of Milan for eleven years but his Feast is kept on today, 11 February because Saints’ days are not celebrated during Lent, in the Diocese of Milan which, as is well known, follows its own Ambrosian rite.
In 1858, there lived in the village of Lourdes, a little peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous, 14 years old, uneducated, simple, poor, good. On 11 February, she was sent with two more girls to collect wood. They walked to the Rock of Massabielle, where the two companions crossed a mountain stream; while Bernadette was removing her shoes to follow them, she became conscious of a ravishing beautiful Lady, standing in the hollow of the rock, looking at her. Bernadette fell involuntarily upon her knees, gazing enraptured at the lovely Lady, who smiled lovingly at Bernadette and then disappeared. The mysterious Lady from heaven appeared in all, eighteen times to the little girl and among other things told her to drink the water from a mysterious fountain which was not yet observed. Bernadette scratched in the sand at a spot indicated and water began to trickle through the earth; after a few days there gushed forth every day 27,000 gallons of pure, clear spring water and this water flows still.
Bernadette was asked by Our Lady of Lourdes, who always showed her a sweet heavenly courtesy, to request the Priest to have a Church built on the spot, that processions should be made to the grotto, that people should drink of the water. The main emphasis of her message was that the faithful should visit the grotto in order to do penance for their sins and for those of the whole world. In answer to Bernadette’s inquiry, “Who are you?” the Lady answered, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
The apparitions appeared for the last time on 16 July 1858. Bernadette never again had the supreme privilege of seeing and visiting with Our Lady. Later, Bernadette became a nun at Nevers and there spent the rest of her life. Through her, “Lourdes was destined to become a focus of faith and mercy; thousands of souls were to flock thither to increase their piety, to borrow new energy and resolution. Suffering and charity were to join hands under the eyes of the Divine Mother. Miracles were to be never-ceasing.” Four years after, the Bishop declared, upon an exhaustive and scrupulous investigation, to the faithful, that they are “justified in believing the reality of the apparitions.” In 1873, a Basilica was built on top of the rock and in 1883 another Church was built below and in front of the rock. From 1867 when records began to be kept until 1908, about 5,000,000 pilgrims had visited the grotto; now about 1,000,000 people visit Lourdes every year. Although Our Lady never at any time promised that pilgrims who visited the grotto would be healed of their physical ills, remarkable cures began at once and have continued ever since. Many of them are of such a character that they can be ascribed only to supernatural power.
There is no doubt that the cures are miraculous because every possible natural cause has been proved false. There is no chemical composition in the water to make it have curative properties. It has been claimed that the cures might be due to suggestion but Bernheim, head of the famous school of Nancy, says that although suggestion has a chance of success in certain functional diseases, it requires the co-operation of time. Suggestion cures slowly and progressively, while complete cures at Lourdes are instantaneous, the supreme Life Giver Himself is responsible for the many cures witnessed at this shrine of the Immaculate Conception and He chose a simple peasant to reveal to the world the love He bears all mankind, as the adopted children of His Blessed Mother. Bernadette died in 1879 at the age of 35 and was later Canonised. The body of the blessed Saint can still be seen in its glass coffin, intact and incorrupt, looking as its photographs show, like a young woman asleep. The chair at which she prayed, the altar where she received her First Holy Communion, the bed in which she slept, the room in which she lived – all can be seen at Lourdes. Lourdes is one of the greatest Marian shrines in the world. Here, praying to Our Lady of Lourdes, one may obtain refreshment, courage, energy and inspiration to continue the age-old struggle of the great Catholic Faith against the forces of darkness and disintegration. This great shrine, all its miracles and the streams of grace that are poured into the world through Our Lady of Lourdes, were made possible, through the faithfulness and the sanctity of a little peasant girl. Amen Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us, St Bernadette, pray for us!
St Lucius of Adrianople St Pope Paschal I St Pedro de Jesús Maldonado-Lucero St Saturninus of Africa St Secundus of Puglia St Severinus of Agaunum St Soter of Rome St Theodora the Empress Bl Tobias Francisco Borrás Román — Guardians of the Holy Scriptures: Also known as – • Anonymous Martyrs in Africa • Martyrs of Africa • Martyrs of Numidia • Martyrs of the Holy Books A large number of Christians tortured and murdered in Numidia (part of modern Algeria) during the persecutions of Diocletian, but whose names and individual stories have not survived. They were ordered to surrender their sacred books to be burned. They refused. Martyrs. c 303 in Numidia.
Martyrs of Africa – 5 saints: A group of five Christians who were martyred together; we know nothing else but the names of four of them – Cyriacus, Oecominius, Peleonicus and Zoticus.