Thought for the Day – 23 March – Carrying our Cross 

Thought for the Day – 23 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Carrying our Cross

We also read in the Imitation of Christ: “No man has so heartfelt a sense of the Passion of Christ, as he whose lot it has been, to suffer like things.” (Imitation of Christ, Bk II, Ch 12)
If you carry your cross willingly, it will lead you to your longed for destination, where suffering ends and everlasting joy begins.
If you carry it unwillingly, the weight will become unbearable and you will have to bear it in any case!
If you fling away the cross which you are carrying, immediately, an even heavier one will be laid upon you!

Look upon them as wonderful consolations because, the sufferings of this life cannot be regarded as the measure of that glory which will be ours in Heaven … (Rom 8:18).
We are fortunate and greatly blessed, if we deserve to suffer a little, for the name of Jesus …
Only when we begin to die ourselves, can we begin to live in God.
Nothing is more acceptable to God and more helpful for us in this world, than to suffer willingly for love of Christ.

Antonio Cardinal Bacci



Day Thirty four of our Lenten Journey – 23 March – ‘Without labour there is no rest and without fighting, no victory.’

Day Thirty four of our Lenten Journey – 23 March – Tuesday of Passion Week or the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Numbers 21:4-9, Psalms 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21, John 8:21-30

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)

“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realise that I AM” – John 8:28

CHRIST: WHAT are you saying, My child? Think of My suffering and that of the saints and cease complaining. You have not yet resisted to the shedding of blood. What you suffer is very little compared with the great things they suffered who were so strongly tempted, so severely troubled, so tried and tormented in many ways. Well may you remember, therefore, the very painful woes of others, that you may bear your own little ones the more easily. And if they do not seem so small to you, examine if perhaps your impatience is not the cause of their apparent greatness; and whether they are great or small, try to bear them all patiently. The better you dispose yourself to suffer, the more wisely you act and the greater is the reward promised you. Thus you will suffer more easily if your mind and habits are diligently trained to it.
Do not say: “I cannot bear this from such a man, nor should I suffer things of this kind, for he has done me a great wrong. He has accused me of many things of which I never thought. However, from someone else I will gladly suffer as much as I think I should.”
Such a thought is foolish, for it does not consider the virtue of patience or the One Who will reward it, but rather weighs the person and the offense committed. The man who will suffer only as much as seems good to him, who will accept suffering only from those from whom he is pleased to accept it, is not truly patient. For the truly patient man does not consider from whom the suffering comes, whether from a superior, an equal, or an inferior, whether from a good and holy person or from a perverse and unworthy one; but no matter how great an adversity befalls him, no matter how often it comes or from whom it comes, he accepts it gratefully from the hand of God and counts it a great gain. For with God nothing that is suffered for His sake, no matter how small, can pass without reward. Be prepared for the fight, then, if you wish to gain the victory.
Without struggle you cannot obtain the crown of patience and if you refuse to suffer, you are refusing the crown. But if you desire to be crowned, fight bravely and bear up patiently. Without labour there is no rest and without fighting, no victory.

DISCIPLE: O Lord, let that which seems naturally impossible to me become possible through Your grace. You know that I can suffer very little and that I am quickly discouraged when any small adversity arises. Let the torment of tribulation suffered for Your name be pleasant and desirable to me, since to suffer and be troubled for Your sake, is very beneficial for my soul.
(Book 3 Ch 19)


Quote/s of the Day – 23 March – The Word of the Cross

Quote/s of the Day – 23 March – Tuesday of Passion Week or the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Numbers 21:4-9, Psalms 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21, John 8:21-30

“Are you able to drink the cup
that I am to drink?”

Matthew 20:22

“…And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

John 3:14-15

“The servant is not greater than his Master”

John 13:16

“He conquered death,
broke the gates of hell,
won for Himself a people
to be His co-heirs,
lifted flesh from corruption
up to the glory of eternity.”

“The Son of God is nailed to the Cross
but on the Cross,
God conquers human death.
Christ, the Son of God, dies
but all flesh is made alive in Christ.
The Son of God is in hell
but man is carried back to heaven.”

St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368)
Father & Doctor of the Church

The Word of the Cross
by Saint Paulinus of Nola (c 354-431)

Look on thy God, Christ hidden in our flesh.
A bitter word, the cross and bitter sight:
Hard rind without, to hold the heart of heaven.
Yet sweet it is, for God upon that tree
Did offer up His life upon that rood
My Life hung, that my life might stand in God.
Christ, what am I to give Thee for my life?
Unless take from Thy hands the cup they hold,
To cleanse me with the precious draught of death.
What shall I do? My body to be burned?
Make myself vile? The debt’s not paid out yet.
Whate’er I do, it is but I and Thou,
And still do I come short, still must Thou pay
My debts, O Christ, for debts Thyself hadst none.
What love may balance Thine? My Lord was found
In fashion like a slave, that so His slave
Might find himself in fashion like his Lord.
Think you the bargain’s hard, to have exchanged
The transient for the eternal, to have sold
Earth to buy Heaven? More dearly God bought me.

“How can you become a sharer,
in His glory (1 Pt 5:1)
if you will not consent,
to become a sharer,
in His humiliating death?”

St Simeon the New Theologian (949-1022)

“Let us then learn from the Cross of Jesus our proper way of living.
Should I say ‘living’ or, instead, ‘dying’?
Rather, both living and dying.
Dying to the world, living for God.
Dying to vices and living by the virtues.
Dying to the flesh, but liv­ing in the spirit.
Thus in the Cross of Christ, there is death
and in the Cross of Christ there is life.
The death of death is there and the life of life.
The death of sins is there and the life of the virtues.
The death of the flesh is there and the life of the spirit.”

St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)

“ … If you die with Him,
you shall also likewise
live with Him.
If you are His companion in punishment,
so shall you be in glory.”

Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)

(Book II, Ch 12)


One Minute Reflection – 23 March – “I AM” – John 8:28

One Minute Reflection – 23 March – Tuesday of Passion Week or the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Numbers 21:4-9Psalms 102:2-316-1819-21John 8:21-30

“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realise that I AM – John 8:28

REFLECTION – “Isaiah the prophet describes an exalted vision for us: “I saw the Lord seated on a throne” (Is 6:1). What a wonderful sight, my brethren! Happy the eyes that saw it! Who would not want with all their heart, to behold the splendour of so great a glory? … Yet here, I am listening to that same prophet give us an account of a very different vision of the same Lord: “We saw Him; He had no beauty, no splendour – we took Him for a leper” (Is 53:2f. Vg.) (…)

And so, if you desire to see Jesus in His glory, try, first of all, to contemplate Him in His humiliation. Begin by gazing on the serpent raised up in the desert, (cf. Jn 3:14) if you wish to see the King seated on His throne. Let the first vision fill you with humility, so that the second, may raise you from your humiliation. Let the former, reprove and heal your pride, before the latter fulfils and satisfies, your desire. Do you see the Lord “emptied?” (Phil 2:7). Do not let this vision leave you untouched, or you will not be able to behold Him later on, in the glory of His exaltation, without anxiety.

“You will be like Him,” indeed, when you see Him “as He is” (1 Jn 3:2); so, be like Him now, as you see what He became for your sake.
If you do not refuse to become like Him in His humiliation, He will certainly give you, the likeness of His glory in return.
He will never allow someone who has shared His Passion, to be excluded from communion in His glory.
So little does He refuse, to admit someone who has shared His Passion, into the Kingdom with Him, that the thief found himself in paradise that very day with Him because he confessed Him on the cross (Lk 23:42) …
Yes indeed, “if we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him” (Rm 8:17).
St Bernard (1091-1153) Cistercian Monk and Mellifluous Doctor of the Church – Sermon 1 for the first Sunday of November.

PRAYER – Holy Father, we have sinned against You and beg for Your forgiveness and mercy. Through the merits of the saving Cross of Your Son, help Your people O Lord, to persevere in obedience to Your will, so that through this obedience, we may reach our eternal home. May the eyes of our hearts, never cease contemplating the Holy Cross and following the way of its humiliation. We hope for the intercession of your angels and saints and our most loving Mother Mary. Through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.


Our Morning Offering – 23 March – I Will Love and Follow You

Our Morning Offering – 23 March – Tuesday of Passion Week or the Fifth Week of Lent

I Will Love and Follow You
By Thomas à Kempis CRSA (1380-1471)

Oh my Lord,
Let my heart expand in Your love.
Let me learn to know
how sweet it is, to serve You,
how joyful it is, to praise You
and to be absorbed in Your love.
Oh, I am possessed by love
and rise above myself
because of the great fervour I feel,
through Your infinite goodness.
I will sing the canticle of love to You
and I will follow You, my Beloved,
wherever You go
and may my soul never weary of praising you,
rejoicing in Your love.
I will love You more than myself
and myself, only for Your sake.
I will love all others in You
and for you,
as Your law of love commands.

(Book 3 Ch 5:6)

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 23 March – Saint Walter of Pontoise OSB (c 1030-c 1099) A very reluctant Abbot

Saint of the Day – 23 March – Saint Walter of Pontoise OSB (c 1030-c 1099) A very reluctant Abbot, Reformer, would-be hermit. Born in c 1030 in Andainville, Picardy, France and died on Good Friday, 8 April 1099 of natural causes. Patronages – against job-related stress, prisoners, prisoners of war, vintners, Pontoise, France.

Walter had been a Professor of philosophy and rhetoric before deciding to join the Benedictine Abbey of Rebais-en-Brie to retreat from the world and the temptations success had brought him.

When the Cross Benedictine Abbey in Pontoise was founded, Walter was chosen as its first Abbot. By custom, the Abbot placed his hand under the king’s hand during the installation. Instead, Walter placed his hand over the hand of King Philip I and told him: “It is from God, not from your majesty, that I accept the charge of this church.”

Walter soon decided that embracing the Office of Abbot sid not leave him enough time for solitude and prayer, so he secretly left the Abbey and went to the Benedictine Abbey at Cluny, where St Hugh was the Abbot.

When the Monks at Pontoise learned where he was, they forced him to return, so he often moved into a cell for days at a time. Eventually, he fled again, this time to an island in the Loire River. The Monks brought him back again after a pilgrim told them where he was.

Walter hadn’t given up his dream to live as a simple Monk, so he went to Rome to appeal to Pope Gregory VII and resign his position as Abbot. However, Pope Gregory dashed Walter’s plans, telling him to go back to the Abbey and use his God-given talents for the best of his fellow Monks. This order seemed to change everything and Walter never again tried to escape.

Not that he led a quiet life. as the Abbot. For after his visit to Pope Gregory, he campaigned against the abuses and corruptions of his fellow Benedictines and denounced clerical abuses, especially among secular Priests, whom he criticised for lack of discipline and for simony. They responded by having him beaten and imprisoned. That didn’t stop Walter who, at a 1092 Church Council in Paris, defended a Vatican decree banning the faithful from going to Masses offered by Priests, living with a concubine.

Walter continued living as simple life as possible and being faithful to his administrative and pastoral functions as the Abbot. But, to find his own solace, he often spent the night in prayer before the Tabernacle in Church.

Shortly before his death on Good Friday, he built the Convent of Our Lady at Bertaucourt for Nuns.

Walter was buried in the Abbey at Pontoise. Numerous miracles were reported at his tomb. His remains were stolen during the French Revolution. Most were not recovered.

He was Canonised by Hugh de Boves, the Archbishop of Rouen in 1153 and was one of the last Saints in Western Europe, to have been Canonised by an authority, other than the Pope.

Walter is the Patron of prisoners because while he was a novice, he once took pity on an inmate at the Monastery prison and helped the prisoner to escape.


Madonna della Vittoria di Lepanto / Our Lady of Victory of Lepanto and Hungary, (1716) and Memorials of the Saints – 23 March

Madonna della Vittoria di Lepanto / Our Lady of Victory of Lepanto and Hungary, (1716) – 23 March:

The Battle of Lepanto was a naval engagement that took place between the ships of the Catholic Holy League under Don Juan of Austria and the navy of the Ottoman Empire under Ali Pasha, supported by a large fleet of corsairs. The Ottoman Empire was far too powerful for any one Christian kingdom to stand against it and, although all of Western Europe was threatened, only Spain, the Papal States, the Duchy of Savoy, the Republic of Venice, the Republic of Genoa and the Knights of Saint John, took a stand against them. Altogether they still had only 212 ships against no less than 278 ships.
For hundreds of years the Ottoman Empire had been making advances into Europe, while also making lightning raids along the coastlines to pillage and take slaves. They intended to eventually overwhelm all of Europe and at that time, Catholics stood almost alone against them, as no Protestant force would do anything to oppose the invasion.
The advantage in this contest went strongly to the Turks and so, Pope Pius V implored all of Christendom, to pray the Rosary to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to obtain her intercession before the throne of God, for their victory. Admiral Andrea Doria sailed to meet the Turks with an image of the Blessed Virgin prominently displayed in his flagship’s state room.
The Venetian forces on Cyprus, had been under siege by the Turks, during the time that the Catholic forces were preparing to meet them. On 1 August they surrendered, after being assured, that they could leave the island unopposed. The Ottoman commander broke his solemn oath, however, taking the Venetians captive and flaying their captain while he was yet alive. Once he had completed this unspeakable torture, the captain’s dead body was hung from a spar on Mustafa’s flagship alongside the heads of all the Venetian commanders. This was the type of barbarism the Catholic forces sailed to oppose.
The engagement took place on the 7th of October 1571, only 6 years after the Knights of Saint John defeated a powerful Ottoman army at Malta. Don Juan of Austria encouraged his men by telling them that “There is no paradise for cowards.” If they should lose the engagement, the Mediterranean Sea would be opened up to assist future Ottoman invasions. Victory would mean at least a brief reprieve.
The Ottoman Turks had not lost any significant naval engagements in the memory of any living man, yet they were defeated. It was widely recognised, that the battle was won through the power of Mary, Our Lady of Victory. The Turks had come up like fire from the East, plundering, raping, enslaving, threatening to master the whole of Christendom but had been defeated at Lepanto through the power of the Rosary.
The Turks had lost nearly 9 of every 10 ships and 30,000 men went to a watery grave. The Holy League lost only 17 galleys and 7,500 men. Many historians rank Lepanto as the most decisive naval engagement since the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, proving to the Christians, that the Turks could be beaten. Although the Turks soon rebuilt their fleet, many of their best soldiers and sailors were already dead at Malta and Lepanto and they could not be easily replaced.

This feast also celebrates another Christian victory, as in 1716, Mary, Queen of Victory, was chosen to protect her children again, at Petenwardein. This battle was fought on 5 August 1716, between the Austrian army of Prince Eugene and the Turks at Peterwardein in Hungary and, it was also won through the power of Mary Most Holy.
To help equip the Christian army against the Turks, Pope Clement XI emptied the Papal treasury.
The two armies met on the morning of the feast of Our Lady of the Snows; the Christian army was outnumbered ten to three; the enemy had the advantage of position but the Christian strength lay in the right of their cause and in Mary, who watched over them. The battle was long but, behind the lines in the Churches of Europe, Catholics prayed – their prayers were heard. That evening the sun set on a free Hungary. Mary’s men had won the day; Mary’s banner floated victoriously over a Christian land.
The news filled the Christian world with joy but nowhere more than at Rome. In thanksgiving to the Mother of God for her help, glorious, solemn, pontifical ceremonies of gratitude were held in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. After Lepanto, Pius V instituted the feast of the Holy Rosary in Rome and Clement XI extended it to the whole world.
Today, other more sinister errors eat at the heart of Christian culture. Against the errors of our time, we must appeal to Mary; she is our Advocate, our Queen of Victories and of Peace. For her and for her blessed Son, we struggle and in her powerful intercession with the Prince of Peace, we place our trust.
We struggle today to preserve our birthright as sons of God.

St Turibius of Mogrovejo (1538-1606) (Optional Memorial)

Bl Álvaro del Portillo Díez de Sollano
Bl Annunciata Asteria Cocchetti
St Benedict of Campagna
St Crescentius of Carthage
Bl Edmund Sykes
St Ethelwald of Farne
St Felix the Martyr
St Felix of Monte Cassino
St Fergus of Duleek
St Fidelis the Martyr
St Frumentius of Hadrumetum
St Gwinear
St Joseph Oriol (1650-1702)
His life:
St Julian the Confessor
St Liberatus of Carthage
St Maidoc of Fiddown
Bl Metod Dominik Trcka
St Nicon of Sicily
St Ottone Frangipane
Bl Peter Higgins
Bl Pietro of Gubbio
St Rafqa Pietra Choboq Ar-Rayès OLM (1832 – 1914)
Her Story:

St Theodolus of Antioch
St Victorian of Hadrumetum
St Walter of Pontoise OSB (c 1030-c 1099) A very reluctant Abbot

Daughters of Feradhach: They are mentioned in early calendars and martyrologies, but no information about them has survived.

Martyrs of Caesarea – 5 saints: A group of five Christians who protested public games which were dedicated to pagan gods. Martyred in the persecutions Julian the Apostate. The only details we know about them are their names – Aquila, Domitius, Eparchius, Pelagia and Theodosia. They were martyred in 361 in Caesarea, Palestine.