Thought for the Day – 7 March– Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
My Life is Christ
“Through the work of the Incarnation and Redemption, Jesus assumed, not only a human body and soul so that He might be loved more and so, that He might redeem us but, He also assumed a mystical body, which is composed of all men in the state of grace. The mystical body is the Church, of which Christ is the head. We should all desire to be members of this mystical body. To do so, we must live the life of Christ, which is His grace. If we are separated from the life of Christ, we are nolonger Christians. We are merely dead and rotten limbs, to use the metaphor of the vine tree and the branches. “I am the vine,” says Jesus, “you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him,” He continues, “he bears much fruit. If anyone does not abide in me,” He adds, “he shall be cast outside, as the branch and wither and they shall gather them up and cast them into fire and they shall burn” (Cf Jn 15:4-5).
“For the branch,” says St Augustine, “there can be no half-measures. Either it remains united with the vine, or it is thrown into the fire.” The same holds true for each one of us. We must choose, either close union with Jesus, or separation and spiritual death. We must decide between a life of fervour in Christ, or a life of tepidity and sin.”
Day Nineteen of our Lenten Journey – 7 March – The Third Sunday of Lent, Readings: Exodus 20:1-17, Psalms 19:8-11, 1 Corinthians 1:22-25, John 2:13-25
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)
“Zeal for your house will consume me.” John 2:17
O LORD, I am in sore need still of greater grace, if I am to arrive at the point, where no man and no created thing can be an obstacle to me. For as long as anything holds me back, I cannot freely fly to You. He that said “Oh that I had wings like a dove, that I might fly away and be at rest!“(Ps 55:7) desired to fly freely to You. Who is more at rest, than he who aims at nothing but God? And who more free, than the man who desires nothing on earth?
It is well, then, to pass over all creation, perfectly to abandon self and to see in ecstasy of mind that You, the Creator of all, have no likeness among all Your creatures and that unless a man be freed from all creatures, he cannot attend freely to the Divine. The reason why so few contemplative persons are found, is that so few know how to separate themselves entirely from what is transitory and created.
For this, indeed, great grace is needed, grace that will raise the soul and lift it up above itself. Unless a man be elevated in spirit, free from all creatures and completely united to God, all his knowledge and possessions are of little moment. He who considers anything great except the one, immense, eternal good will long be little and lie groveling on the earth. Whatever is not God is nothing and must be accounted as nothing.
There is great difference between the wisdom of an enlightened and devout man and the learning of a well-read and brilliant scholar, for the knowledge which flows down from divine sources is much nobler than that laboriously acquired by human industry.
Many there are, who desire contemplation but, who do not care to do the things, which contemplation requires. It is also a great obstacle to be satisfied with externals and sensible things and to have so little of perfect mortification. I know not what it is, or by what spirit we are led, or to what we pretend — we who wish to be called spiritual — that we spend so much labour and even more anxiety on things that are transitory and mean, while we seldom or never advert with full consciousness to our interior concerns.
Alas, after very little meditation we falter, not weighing our deeds by strict examination. We pay no attention to where our affections lie, nor do we deplore the fact that our actions are impure.
Remember that because all flesh had corrupted its course, the great deluge followed. Since, then, our interior affection is corrupt, it must be that the action which follows from it, the index as it were of our lack of inward strength, is also corrupt. Out of a pure heart come the fruits of a good life.
People are wont to ask how much a man has done but they think little of the virtue with which he acts. They ask: Is he strong? rich? handsome? a good writer? a good singer? or a good worker? They say little, however, about how poor he is in spirit, how patient and meek, how devout and spiritual. Nature looks to his outward appearance; grace turns to his inward being. The one often errs, the other trusts in God and is not deceived. (Book 3 Ch 31)
Quote/s of the Day – 7 March – The Third Sunday of Lent, Readings: Exodus 20:1-17, Psalms 19:8-11, 1 Corinthians 1:22-25, John 2:13-25
“Zeal for your house will consume me.”
“Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ.”
“This is the glory of man – to persevere and remain in the service of God. For this reason, the Lord told His disciples: ‘You did not choose Me but I chose you.’ He meant that His disciples did not glorify Him by following Him but, in following the Son of God, they were glorified by Him. As He said: ‘I wish that where I am they also may be, that they may see My glory.’”
St Irenaeus (130-202) Father of the Church and Martyr
“… There is one Road and one only, well secured against all possibility of going astray and, this Road is provided by One Who is Himself both God and man. As God, He is the Goal, as man, He is the Way.”
St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo Father and Doctor of Grace
“… It was their vocation to call sinners to repentance, to heal those who were sick, whether in body or spirit, to seek in all their dealing, never to do their own will but the will of Him who sent them and, as far as possible, to save the world by their teaching.”
St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Bishop, Father & Doctor of the Church
Our life is: “To breathe God in and out. To find God in everything. To reveal God to all. To radiate the presence of God.”
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” – John 2:19
REFLECTION – “We are still God’s workmen who are building the temple of God. This temple’s dedication has already taken place in its Head, in that the Lord has risen from the dead after His victory over death and having destroyed in Himself what was mortal, He has ascended to heaven … But now we are building this temple through faith, so that its dedication may also be made at the final resurrection. That is why … one of the Psalms has the title: “When the Temple was rebuilt after the captivity” (95:1 Vg.). Call to mind our own former captivity when the devil held the whole world in his power, like a flock of the unfaithful. It was due to this captivity that our Redeemer came. He shed His blood for our ransoming and, by the blood He poured out, He cancelled the debt that was holding us captive (Col 2:14) … Sold beforehand to sin, we have now been set free by grace. Following this captivity, the temple is now being built and, to raise it up, the Good News proclaimed. That is why this Psalm begins as follows: “Sing to the Lord a new song” And, lest you think this temple is being constructed in some insignificant corner, as the heretics who separate themselves from the Church build it, pay attention to what follows: “Sing to the Lord, all you lands” … “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all you lands.” Sing and clap your hands! Sing and “bless the name of the Lord” (v. 2). Proclaim the day, born of the day of salvation, the day, born of the day of Christ. For who is the salvation of God if not His Christ? This is the salvation we pray for in the Psalm: “Show us, Lord, your mercy and give us your saving help.” Just men of old longed for this salvation, those of whom the Lord said to His disciples: “Many desired to see what you see but did not see it” (Lk 10:24)… “Sing to the lord a new song; sing to the Lord” See the fervour of the builders! “Sing to the Lord and bless his name.” Proclaim the Good News! What good news is that? Day is born from Day… Light from Light; the Son from the Father, the saving power of God! This is how the temple is built after the captivity.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Father and Doctor of Grace – Sermon 163,5
PRAYER – Lord our God, Your Son so loved the world that He gave Himself up to death for our sake. Strengthen us by You grace and give us a heart willing to livew by that same love. May His Mother and ours, be with us and give us hope and strength. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 7 March – The Third Sunday of Lent
Prayer Before The Crucifix By St Vincent Strambi (1745-1824)
Jesus, by this Saving Sign, bless this listless soul of mine. Jesus, by Your feet nailed fast, mend the missteps of my past. Jesus, with Your riven hands, bend my will to love’s demands. Jesus, in Your Heart laid bare, warm my inner coldness there. Jesus, by Your thorn-crowned head, still my pride till it is dead. Jesus, by Your muted tongue, stay my words that hurt someone. Jesus, by Your tired eyes, open mine to faith’s surprise. Jesus, by Your fading breath, keep me faithful until death. Yes, Lord, by this Saving Sign, save this wayward soul of mine. Amen
Saint of the Day – 7 March – Saint Siméon-François Berneux MEP (1814-1866) Bishop, Martyr, Missionary of the Paris Foreign Missions Society, Professor and Spiritual Director at the Mans seminary. Born on 14 May 1814 in Château-du-Loir, Sarthe, France and died by being tortured, blinded by having quicklime thrown in his eyes and then beheaded on 7 March 1866 on a beach beside the Han River in Sae-nam-teo, Seoul, South Korea. St Siméon-François is also venerated along with the rest of the 103 Korean Martyrs on 20 September.
Siméon-François was born to a poor and pious family. He felt a call to the Priesthood at the age ten and in 1831 at the age of seventeen, he entered the Seminary in Mans, France. Due to health problems, he had to leave the Seminary for two years, during which time he worked as a tutor. Finally he was Ordained a Diocesan Priest on 20 May 1837. Initially, Father Berneux served as a Professor and Spiritual Director at the Mans seminary which specifically trained Priests for the Missions.
In 1839 Siméon joined the Paris Foreign Missions Society and left for the Asian missions on 13 January 1840. He arrived first in Manila, Philippines before being assigned to the Tonkin region of modern Vietnam on 17 January 1841.
He began his work near a small Convent outside the town of Moi-yen, learning the Annam language. But he was barely started, when he was arrested on Holy Saturday 1841 during one of the periodic anti–Christian persecutions, Siméon and a brother Priest were dragged from place to place, ordered to renounce Christianity, ordered to convince lay people to renounce the faith and when their persecutors finally realised that the 2 Priests would not co-operate, they were sentenced to death on 8 October 1842.
However, before the sentence could be officially approved, a French official learned of their imprisonment and on 7 March 1843, had them released. Father Berneux was sent to the Chinese province of Manchuria where he continued his missionary work for the next ten years, sometimes in Singapore or Macao.
On 5 August 1854 he was chosen the fourth Vicar Apostolic of Korea by Pope Pius IX and arrived there with some fellow Missionaries in early 1856. For administrative reasons, he was also appointed Titular Bishop of Capsa and was Consecrated on 27 December 1954.
He learned Korean and then, as Bishop, spent time on the road visiting rural Christians, started a Seminary in Pae-ron, founded several schools and started a printing house that published Catholic works in Korean.
Thousands were Baptised during his time as Bishop but a palace coup in 1864 and threats of Russian invasion, led to a resurgence in anti-Western, anti–Christian nationalism and official persecution of the Church.
Bishop Berneux was arrested on 23 February 1866. He was taken to the capital and from 3 to 7 March he was repeatedly beaten and interrogated under torture until the bones in his legs were shattered. As he was dragged to his death, Bishop Siméon preached to the people who had come out to witness the execution and to remind his fellow sufferers, that they died for the glory of the Kingdom of God, imitating their Redeemer.
The deaths of Berneux and other Catholic Missionaries in Korea, was followed by a French punitive expedition which only served to reinforce the Korean policy of isolationism.
The Korean Martyrs were Canonised on 6 May 1984.
St Siméon-François relics were brought to Berlin in 2001 and are held in the Institute of St Philipp Neri in Berlin, Germany.
Nossa Senhora da Estrela / Our Lady of the Star, Villa Vicosa, Portugal (1050) – 7 March:
In the year 1050 there were two Benedictine Monks who lived in the convent of Monte Cassino. They decided to go on pilgrimage, teaching and catechising all those they met along the way. One night they found themselves wandering on the coast of Normandy, France, near a place called Grand Champ. Tired and sleepy, they decided to spend the night on the beach under the stars. Father Rogerio slept on the cool sand and the other Monk found himself a place to rest in a small boat nearby. As the night went on, the tide came up and the little boat was gently drawn out onto the sea. Without realising it, the Monk was going on an adventure in which he would not awaken until he was just off the coast of England. In Salisbury, England, everyone was amazed to see the Monk in the little boat, convinced that it was a miracle that he had crossed the French Sea in a small boast and lived to see the shores of England. Soon, the Monk was made Bishop and his period in office was marvellous to the people because he was a humble man of prayer, who sacrificed everything for God. The Monk who had stayed on the beach, Father Rogerio, knew nothing of what had happened to his friend. All he knew was that he and the boat had disappeared and, giving his concerns into the hands of God, he determined to continue on his journey alone. One night not long afterward, Father Rogerio went to sleep and had a dream that would change his life forever. In his dream he saw a great star fall from the sky, burning all the bushes and trees and heard a voice that said: “Our Lady wants a Church built in this place.” When he awoke, Father Rogerio looked about himself. He was not injured but this indeed was the place he had seen in his dream, for everything around him was burned. Father understood that Our Lady really did desire that he should build a Church there in her honour. He also felt in his heart, the desire to give Mary the title of “Our Lady of the Star” because of the star he had seen in his dream. Due to the poverty of those who inhabited that region, Father Rogerio was only able to build a small Altar and a tiny Chapel which would be the seed of the great Abbey of Our Lady of the Star of Monteburgo. One day an immense Chapel would be built, sheltering not only the Church but a very large convent as well. King William, who was the Duke of Normandy and he who had conquered England, learning of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Star, sent his private doctor to visit the little Chapel to find out for himself how it had all come about. Upon arriving there, the doctor discovered that he was the brother of the Monk Rogerio! He listened to his brother’s account of how he had been separated from his friend and then told about his dream. The doctor believed everything at once and to Father Rogerio’s surprise, the doctor knew the Monk who had crossed the channel in a small boat and informed his brother, that his lost friend had become the Bishop of Salisbury! The two brothers excitedly thanked Our Lady for providing this reunion. The Bishop of Salisbury, our former friend of the Monk Rogerio, asked King William to help his brother in the faith, for they were both blessed by Our Lady on their pilgrimage. William the Conqueror, with a glad heart, donated to Father Rogerio the entire region of Monteburg, along with the resources to build a great Church and an Abbey there that became a great seminary. The work was finished by the son of King William, King Henry. He, taking the throne, continued the work until its completion. The Abbey of Our Lady of the Star was, for many centuries, a centre of the Church for the whole region. Dark centuries ensued and the Church and Abbey suffered a decline until in 1842, the Vicar General of Coutances took possession of what was by that time little more than an enclosure of ruins. He turned it over to the Brothers of Mercy, a new order meant to promote Catholic education. The Abbey Church was rebuilt but as time went on, the Brothers of Mercy also left and all is now used as part of an agricultural school. As for Our Lady of the Star, it is a story almost completely forgotten, even to Catholics.
Prayer to Our Lady of the Star
“O, Our Lady of the Star, to you our gaze turns and our childlike hearts. You are the Morning Star, that announces the arrival of the day. You are the Evening Star, that shines in our night. You are the Star of the Sea, who sends us her son Jesus, the eternal Light of the world. Through the darkness and storms of life, in the hour of doubt or of temptation, in the revolt, be our clarity and our peace. Be our hope and our purity, be our sweetness and our strength, O Lady of the Star. May our gaze and our hearts forever rest on you. O Lady of the Star, Pray for us. Amen”
St Ardo of Aniane St Deifer of Bodfari St Drausinus of Soissons St Enodoch St Esterwine of Wearmouth St Eubulus of Caesarea St Gaudiosus of Brescia Bl Henry of Austria Blessed Leonid Feodorov (1879-1935) Martyr His Life and Death: https://anastpaul.com/2019/03/07/saint-of-the-day-7-march-blessed-leonid-feodorov-1879-1935-martyr/ St Paul of Prusa St Paul the Simple St Reinhard of Reinhausen Bl William of Assisi — Martyrs of Carthage – 4 saints: A catechist and three students martyred together for teaching and learning the faith. We know little more than their names – Revocatus, Saturninus, Saturus and Secundulus. Mauled by wild beasts and beheaded 7 March 203 at Carthage, North Africa
Martyrs of Korea St Siméon-François Berneux MEP (1814-1866) Bishop, Martyr St Bernard-Louis Beaulieu St Ioannes Baptista Nam Chong-Sam St Pierre-Henri Dorie St Simon-Marie-Just Ranfer de Bretenières
Martyrs of Laos Bl Luc Sy Bl Maisam Pho Inpèng Martyrs of Tyburn Bl German Gardiner Bl John Ireland Bl John Larke