Thought for the Day – 25 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
How We Should Pray
“We must pray with deep humility. Once again we find, that the Man-God Jesus, has given us an example. In Gethsemane He fell prostate on the ground and begged that, if it were possible, the bitter chalice might be taken away from Him. Immediately he added. with full submission to the will of His Heavenly Father – “Yet, not my will but thine be done” (Lk 22:42). Let us remember, moreover, the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. The former appeared to be full of virtue but he was proud and was rejected. The latter, recognised in all humility, that he was a poor sinner and he was exalted. “Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled and he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Lk 14:11). “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (Js 4:6). “The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest, until t reaches its goal” (Ecclus 35:17).
When we kneel down to pray, therefore, we should make an act of humility. We are poor beggars, as St Augustine puts it, before the throne of God. Let us pray with confidence in God’s goodness but also with a proper realisation of our own helplessness. Then God will take pity on us.
Day Nine of our Lenten Journey – 25 February – Thursday of the First week of Lent, Readings: Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25, Psalms 138:1-2,2-3, 7-8, Matthew 7:7-12
Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
In You is the source of life and in Your Light Lord, we see light Psalm 35(36)
“Ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7
When Jesus is near, all is well and nothing seems difficult. When He is absent, all is hard. When Jesus does not speak within, all other comfort is empty. But if He says only a word, it brings great consolation.
[…] How dry and hard you are without Jesus! How foolish and vain if you desire anything but Him! Is it not a greater loss than losing the whole world? For what, without Jesus, can the world give you? Life without Him is a relentless hell but living with Him is a sweet paradise. If Jesus be with you, no enemy can harm you.
He who finds Jesus finds a rare treasure, indeed, a good above every good, whereas he who loses Him, loses more than the whole world. The man who lives without Jesus is the poorest of the poor, whereas no-one is so rich, as the man who lives in His grace.
It is a great art to know how to converse with Jesus and great wisdom to know how to keep Him. Be humble and peaceful and Jesus will be with you. Be devout and calm and He will remain with you.
[…] You cannot live well without a friend and if Jesus be not your friend above all else, you will be very sad and desolate. Thus, you are acting foolishly if you trust or rejoice in any other. Choose the opposition of the whole world, rather than offend Jesus. Of all those who are dear to you, let Him be your special love. Let all things be loved for the sake of Jesus but Jesus, for His own sake.
[…] Never wish that anyone’s affection be centred in you, nor let yourself be taken up with the love of anyone but let Jesus be in you and in every good man. Be pure and free within, unentangled with any creature. You must bring to God a clean and open heart if you wish to attend and see how sweet the Lord is.
Truly you will never attain this happiness, unless His grace prepares you and draws you on, so that you may forsake all things to be united with Him alone. When the grace of God comes to a man, he can do all things, but when it leaves him, he becomes poor and weak, abandoned, as it were, to affliction.
Yet, in this condition he should not become dejected or despair. On the contrary, he should calmly await the will of God and bear whatever befalls him, in praise of Jesus Christ. For after winter comes summer, after night, the day and after the storm, a great calm. (Book 2 Ch 8:1-5)
Quote/s of the Day – 25 February – Thursday of the First week of Lent, Readings: Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25, Psalms 138:1-2,2-3, 7-8, Matthew 7:7-12
“Ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.”
“Prayer is the wing, wherewith the soul flies to heaven and meditation, the eye, wherewith we see God.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Ask with tears, seek with obedience, knock with patience.”
St John Climacus (c 525-606) Father of the Church
“All who ask receive, those who seek find and to those who knock it shall be opened. Therefore, let us knock at the beautiful garden of Scripture. It is fragrant, sweet and blooming with various sounds of spiritual and divinely inspired birds. They sing all around our ears, capture our hearts, comfort the mourners, pacify the angry and fill us with everlasting joy.”
St John Damascene (676-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
“He promises to be [our] strength, in proportion to the trust which [we] place in Him.”
St Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682) “Apostle of the Sacred Heart”
“On the journey of this life to eternity, let me carry You in my heart, following Mary’s example, who bore You in her arms, during the flight to Egypt.”
St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) Bishop and Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 25 February – Thursday of the First week of Lent, Readings: Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25, Psalms 138:1-2,2-3, 7-8, Matthew 7:7-12 and the Memorial of Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio OFM (1502-1600) “The Angel of Mexico”
“Ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7
REFLECTION – “Try hard to please the Lord, pay Him unwearying attention within yourself, seek for Him with the aid of your thoughts, keep a check on your will and its decisions, control them so they are constantly directed towards Him. Then you will see how He draws near you and makes His dwelling within you… He stands there, taking note of your reasoning, thoughts, reflexions, examining how you are seeking Him, whether it is with all your soul or whether sluggishly and carelessly. And as soon as He sees you seek Him fervently, he will make himself known to you. He will appear to you, grant you His help, bestow the victory on you and save you from your enemies. In fact, when He sees how you are looking for Him, how you continually place all your hope in Him, then He will instruct you, teach you true prayer, give you that authentic charity that is Himself. Then, He will become everything to you: your paradise, life-giving tree, precious pearl, crown, architect, farmer, one subject to suffering but not afflicted with suffering, man, God, wine, living water, lamb, bridegroom, soldier, armour, Christ who is “all in all” (1Cor 15,28).
Just as a child cannot feed or take care of itself but can only look at its mother and cry until she takes pity and gives it her attention, so believing soul,s always hope in Christ and attribute to Him, all righteousness. As the shoot withers if it is separated from the vine (Jn 15,6) so does someone who wants to become faultless apart from Christ. Just as “someone is a thief and robber who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere” (Jn 10,1), so it is with someone, who wants to become just, without Him who justifies.” – St Macarius of Egypt (c 300-390) Monk – Spiritual Homilies no 30, 3-4
PRAYER –May We Love Only YouBy St Columban (543-615) Loving Saviour, be pleased to show Yourself to us who knock, so that in knowing You, we may love only You, love You alone, desire You alone, contemplate only You, day and night and always think of You. Inspire in us the depth of love that is fitting for You to receive as God. So may Your love pervade our whole being, possess us completely and fill all our senses, that we may know no other love but love for You, Who are everlasting. May our love be so great, that the many waters of sky, land and sea cannot extinguish it in us – many waters could not extinguish love. May this saying be fulfilled in us also, at least in part, by Your gift, Jesus Christ, our Lord, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 25 February – Thursday of the First week of Lent
Suscipe By St Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)
Take, Lord and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, All I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To You, Lord, I return it. Everything is Yours, do with it what You will. Give me only Your love and Your grace, that is enough for me. Amen
Saint of the Day – 25 February – Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio OFM (1502-1600) “The Angel of Mexico,” Franciscan Lay brother, Confessor, Ascetic, apostle of the poor, builder of roads and bridges in Mexico and thus is honoured as the founder of the transport and road system in Mexico. Born as Sebastiano de Aparicio y del Pardo on 20 January 1502 in La Gudiña, Orense, Spain and died on 25 February 1600 of natural causes, aged 98. Sebastian was a Spanish colonist in Mexico shortly after its conquest by Spain, who after a lifetime as a rancher and road builder, entered the Order of Friars Minor as a lay brother. He spent the next 26 years of his long life, as a beggar for the Order and died with a great reputation for holiness. Patronages – drivers, travellers, road builders and the Transport industry in Mexico. His body is incorrupt.
Sebastian was born in Spain into a peasant family in 1502,. He was a good looking young man with a reserved personality that attracted the interest of quite a few women. He was deeply religious and changed employment several times, before the age of 30, to avoid the temptations opened to him. He worked as a household servant and as a hired field hand.
Despite his illiteracy, he had absorbed the discourse on how to lead a pious and holy life that he could emulate models in hagiographic texts. According to his own account, his life was saved in a miraculous way during an outbreak of the bubonic plague in his town in 1514. Forced to isolate him from the community, his parents built a hidden shelter for him in the woods, where they left him. While lying there helpless, due to his illness, a she-wolf found the hiding spot and, poking her head into his hiding spot, sniffed and then bit and licked an infected site on his body, before running off. He began to heal from that moment.
At the age of 31, Sebastian left Spain for Mexico. He settled in the town of Puebla de los Angeles where he took employment as a field hand. However, he soon noticed a business opportunity for Puebla was an important crossroads and he noted, that the goods transported, were carried on the backs of pack animals or on the backs of the native people.
At first, Sebastian made and sold wheeled carts for the transport of goods. He then expanded into the improvement and building of roads and bridges to improve transport for goods and people. He was responsible for the building of a 460 mile road from Mexico City to Zacatecas, which took 10 years to build and was of enormous benefit to the local economy.
By the age of 50, Sebastian was a wealthy man. He lived very simply and gave his earnings to others, he bought food for the poor, made loans that he never reclaimed to poor farmers too proud to accept charity, he paid the dowries for poor brides and gave free training to Indians in skills that would assist them in earning a living. In addition, people brought him their problems and he had a reputation for his wisdom.
Sebastian became known as “The Angel of Mexico.” He retired at the age of 50 to a hacienda to raise cattle. He married at age 60 at the request of his bride’s parents. His bride was a poor girl and he agreed to the match, on condition that the couple lived as brother and sister, which they did. His wife died and he married again on the same condition. When he was 70, Sebastian’s second wife died and he himself contracted a serious illness.
Upon recovering, he decided to give everything he had to the poor and became a lay Franciscan brother. He undertook many responsibilities, including cook, sacristan, gardener and porter. He was then assigned to the large community of friars in the city of Puebla, at that time consisting of about 100 friars, most of whom, were doing their studies or were retired or recovering from illness. He was appointed to be the quaestor of the community, the one assigned to travel throughout the local community, seeking food and alms for the upkeep of the friars and those who came to them for help. The builder of Mexico’s highway system had become a beggar on it. Despite his advanced age, he felt the vigour needed for the task. This formerly rich man, loved his job and was loved by his fellow Franciscans, the townspeople and the poor that the Brothers helped. He also loved–and was loved–by animals, even the most stubborn mules and oxen would obey the Blessed, much like Saint Francis.
Though he had long suffered from a hernia, Aparicio marked his 98th birthday on the road, apparently in good health. On the following 20 February, he developed what was to be his final illness, as the hernia became entangled. He began to feel pain and nausea and, upon arrival at the friary, was immediately sent to the infirmary. It was the first time he had slept in a bed in 25 years. As his condition worsened, he became unable to swallow. His only regret was that, due to this, he was unable to receive Holy Communion. As he lay dying, he was consoled by the friars’ fulfilling his request that they bring the Blessed Sacrament to his cell.
On the evening of 25 February, Aparicio asked to be laid on the ground to meet his death, in imitation of St. Francis. He soon died in the arms of a fellow Galician, Friar Juan de San Buenaventura, with his last word being “Jesus.” When his body lay in state, the crowds that gathered were large and the miracles wrought were so numerous, that he could not be buried for several days. His habit had to be replaced repeatedly, as mourners would snip a piece of it off to keep as the relic of a saint.
The Blessed’s remains were never buried but at the request of the local people, exposed in a prominent place for veneration. His body, although darkened, has remained incorrupt and can be viewed in the Church of Saint Francis in Puebla.
Nearly 1,000 miracles were reported at his intercession, even before his death and such claims continue to this day. Pope Pius VI Beatified him on 17 May 1789.
Notre-Dame-de-Grande-Puissance / Our Lady of Great Power, Quebec, Canada, (1673) – 25 February:
Our Lady of Great Power is little known in America, unless among the pupils of the Ursulines in Quebec. Generations of these, however, have dwelt within the walls of the Old Monastery during two centuries and more, since the arrival of the statue in the last years of the 17th century. In the annals of the Ursulines of the Sacred Heart at Perigueux, France, where the statue was solemnly crowned, we find the origin of the devotion. The devotion to Our Lady of Great Power began in the monastery of Issoudun. There a holy Ursuline nun, Mother Saint Peter, was inspired during her prayer to invoke Our Lady under this title. She spoke of her inspiration to her Sisters and her Superiors. The devotion was adopted with enthusiasm and very soon it was decided, that a statue be sculptured and a Chapel built, dedicated to Our Lady of Great Power; she would henceforth be chosen, as first and principal Superior of the Monastery. The feast of the dedication took place 25 February 1673 and was celebrated with great pomp, as the chronicle testifies:
“After High Mass two ecclesiastics carried the statue to the entry of the monastery where the nuns, in solemn procession, received it. It was placed on a richly decorated litter and, to the chanting of hymns, psalms and canticles, it was brought to the prepared Chapel. When the same statue was raised on its pedestal, the Superior laid the keys of the monastery, the seals and constitutions at Our Lady’s feet, begging her, in the name of the community, to accept the gift of all hearts and of the entire monastery and to allow them, to look on her as their Superior forever. Each rendered homage while hymns and canticles of thanksgiving were sung in Mary’s honour.”
Ever after, when a Superior was elected, the ceremony was renewed and is still renewed in each Ursuline community every year on a principal feast of the Blessed Virgin; though homage is rendered only every three years, after the election or nomination of Superiors. The statue of Our Lady of Great Power was carried off and profaned during the dark days of the French Revolution. It was found and returned to the monastery at Perigueux and the devotion continued fervently until 1892, when the Bishop of Perigueux, in the name of the Soverign Pontiff, placed a richly jewelled crown on the head of the Mother and the Child and ratified the numberless and signal favours obtained through Our Lady of Great Power. Through the Ursulines in Quebec, the devotion soon spread through the New World. Before the Altar in Quebec hangs the famous votive light promised to be kept burning as a token of thanks for favours granted to Mother Saint Agatha (Madeleine de Repentigny). Relatives and descendants of this holy nun have kept the lamp burning. One relative, Miss Anthon, had a new lamp made, an artistic gem, the work of the celebrated ecclesiastical goldsmith Calliat of Lyon, France.
St Adelelmo of Engelberg St Aldetrudis St Ananias of Phoenicia Bl Avertano of Lucca St Caesarius of Nanzianzen St Callistus Caravario Bl Ciriaco Maria Sancha Hervas Bl Didacus Yuki Ryosetsu St Domenico Lentini St Donatus the Martyr Saint Felix III, Pope St Gerland the Bishop St Gothard the Hermit St Herena the Martyr St Justus the Martyr St Laurentius Bai Xiaoman St Luigi Versiglia Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani (1806-1855) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2018/02/25/saint-of-the-day-25-february-blessed-maria-adeodata-pisani-osb-1806-1855/ St Nestor of Side St Riginos Bl Robert of Arbrissel Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio OFM (1502-1600) Franciscan Lay Brother St Tharasius St Toribio Romo González St Victor of Saint Gall St Walburga — Martyrs of Egypt – A group of Christian men who were exiled to Egypt for their faith and were eventually martyred for their faith in the persecutions of Numerian. We know little more than their names: Claudianus Dioscurus Nicephorus Papias Serapion Victor Victorinus