Thought for the Day – 25 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Recollection of Mary
“It is believed that when the Angel Gabriel visited the Blessed Virgin in order to tell her that she was to be the Mother of God, she was in a quiet corner of her home, absorbed in prayer. She had no love for the noise and confusion of the world but preferred to be recollected in the company of God. This was to be the pattern of her whole life. In the midst of her domestic duties, on her journey to St Elizabeth and on her travels in Galilee and Judea, in the wake of her divine Son, her mind and heart were always concentrated on God.
Interior recollection is a wonderful thing. It helps us to hear God’s voice more clearly. It keeps us removed from the temptations of the world and assists us in sanctifying every moment of our lives.
“The cell continually dwelt in growth sweet,” (Bk 1, C 20:5) says The Imitation of Christ and goes onto ask: “What can thou see elsewhere that thou does not see here? Behold the heavens and the earth and all the elements, for out of these are all things made” (Ibid C 20:8). “As often as I have been amongst men,” it exclaims, “I have returned less a man” (Ibid C 20:2). When we move around chattering with different people, we have lost something of ourselves by the time we return home. Perhaps we have wasted a good deal of time in useless conversation or, worse still, have seen or heard unpleasant or disturbing things. When we go about in the world, we do not often see much that is edifying or instructive and rarely meet people whose conversation does us good. For this reason, even when we cannot remain apart, we should carry in ourselves, as Mary did, a spirit of interior recollection and communication with God.”
Lenten Journey Day thirty five – 25 March – The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14; 8: 10, Psalms 40:7-8,8-9, 10, 11, Hebrews 10:4-10, Luke 1:26-38
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)
“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” – Luke 1:27
ABOVE all things and in all things, O my soul, rest always in the Lord my God, for He is the everlasting rest and joy of the angels and the saints.
O Jesus, Splendour of eternal glory, Consolation of the pilgrim soul, who labour in this sinful world, with You my lips utter no sound and to You my silence speaks. How long will my Lord delay His coming? Let Him come to His poor servant and make him happy. Let Him put forth His hand and take this miserable creature from his anguish. Come, O come, for without You there will be no happy day or hour because You are my happiness and without You my table is empty. I am wretched, as it were imprisoned and weighted down with fetters, until You fill me with the light of Your presence, restore me to liberty and show me a friendly countenance. Let others seek, instead of You, whatever they will but nothing pleases me, or will please me but You, my God, my Hope, my everlasting Salvation. I will not be silent, I will not cease praying, until Your grace returns to me and You speak inwardly to me, saying: “Behold, I am here. Lo, I have come to you because you have called Me. Your tears and the desire of your soul, your humility and contrition of heart, have inclined Me and brought Me to you.”
Lord, I have called You and have desired You and have been ready to spurn all things for Your sake. For You first spurred me on, to seek You. May You be blessed, therefore, O Lord, for having shown this goodness to Your servant according to the multitude of Your mercies.
What more is there for Your servant to say to You unless, with his iniquity and vileness always in mind, he humbles himself before You? Nothing among all the wonders of heaven and earth, is like unto You. Your works are exceedingly good, Your judgements true and Your providence rules the whole universe. May You be praised and glorified, therefore, O Wisdom of the Father. Let my lips and my soul and all created things, unite to praise and bless You. (Book 3 Ch 21:1,4-6)
Quote/s of the Day – 25 March – The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14; 8: 10, Psalms 40:7-8,8-9, 10, 11, Hebrews 10:4-10, Luke 1:26-38
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
“And so, when God’s birth is proclaimed to you, keep silent. Let Gabriel’s word be held in your mind for nothing is impossible to this glorious Majesty, who humbled Himself for us and was born of our humanity.”
“In her, God spun a garment with which to save us.”
St Ephrem (306-373) Father & Doctor
“He came from Him, from whom He did not depart, going forth from Him, with whom He stayed, so that without intermission, He was wholly in eternity, wholly in time, wholly was He found in the Father when wholly in the Virgin, wholly in His own majesty and in His Father’s, at the time when He was wholly in our humanity. ”
“Has anyone ever come away from Mary, troubled or saddened or ignorant of the heavenly Mysteries? Who has not returned to everyday life gladdened and joyful because a request has been granted by the Mother of God?”
St Amadeus of Lausanne (1110-1159)
“The Father bending down to this beautiful creature, who was so unaware of her own beauty, willed that she be the Mother, in time, of Him, Whose Father He is, in eternity. Then the Spirit of love, Who presides over all of God’s works, came upon her; the Virgin said her fiat: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word” and the greatest of mysteries, was accomplished!”
One Minute Reflection – 25 March – The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14; 8: 10, Psalms 40:7-8,8-9, 10, 11, Hebrews 10:4-10, Luke 1:26-38
“Hail, full of grace!” – Luke 1:28
REFLECTION – “This woman will be the Mother of God, the door to light, source of life; she will reduce to oblivion the judgement that weighed on Eve. “The rich among the people seek the face” of this woman, “the kings of the nations shall pay her homage,” they shall “offer gifts”… yet the glory of the Mother of God is an interior glory – the fruit of her womb.
O woman, so worthy of love, thrice happy, “blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Daughter of David the king and Mother of God, King of the universe, masterpiece in whom the Creator rejoices… you are to be nature’s full achievement. For you, life is not yours; you were not born for yourself alone but your life is to be God’s. You came into the world for Him, you will serve for the salvation of all people, fulfilling God’s design established from the beginning – the incarnation of the Word and our own divinisation. Your whole desire is to feed on the words of God, to be strengthened by their sap, like “a green olive tree in the house of God,” “like a tree planted by running water,” you are the “tree of life” who “yielded its fruit in due season”…
He who is infinite, limitless, came to dwell in your womb, God, the Child Jesus, was nourished by your milk. You are the ever virginal doorway of God; your hands hold your God; your lap is a throne raised up above the cherubim… You are the wedding chamber of the Spirit, the “city of the living God, gladdened by the runlets of the stream,” that is to say, the waves of the Spirit’s gifts. You are “all fair, the Beloved” of God.” – St John Damascene (675-749) Monk, Theologian, Father and Doctor of the Church – Homily on the Nativity of the Virgin, § 9 ; SC 80 ( Biblical references : Ps 44,13; 71,11.10; Mt 2,11; Lk 1,42; Is 62,5; Ps 51,10; 1,3; cf Gn 2,9, Rv 22,2; cf Ez 44,2; Ps 79,2; cf Sg 1,4; Ps 45,5; Sg 4,7)
PRAYER – Shape us in the likeness of the Divine nature of our Redeemer, whom we believe to be true God and true man, since it was Your will, Lord God, that He, Your Word, should take to Himself, our human nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for always and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 25 March – The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary. R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. Hail Mary, full of grace, The Lord is with Thee; Blessed art thou among women, And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners, Now and at the hour of our death. Amen V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord. R. Be it done unto me according to thy word. Hail Mary, etc. V. And the Word was made Flesh. R. And dwelt among us. Hail Mary, etc. V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. LET US PRAY Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen
Saint of the Day – 25 March – Saint Dismas “The Good Thief” the first Saint – crucified alongside Jesus Christ in 33. Patronages – condemned prisoners, all prisoners, dying people, funeral directors, penitents, penitent criminals, prison chaplains, prisoners, prisons, reformed thieves, undertakers, Przemysl, Poland, Archdiocese of, Merizo, Guam. Also known as The Penitent Thief, The Good Thief on the Cross, Demas, Desmas, Dimas, Dysmas, Rach, Titus, Zoatham.
The Roman Martyrology, on the 25th of March, makes mention of the Good Thief, who, according to tradition, is called Dismas, in the following words:
“At Jerusalem, on this day, is the Feast of the Good Thief, who acknowledged Christ on the Cross and from Him, deserved to hear the words: ‘This day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.“
The sudden change and conversion, for Dismas from a sinner, became a penitent and Saint, has been rightly attributed to the prayers of our Blessed Lady. Mary, say the holy Fathers, who had obtained the soul of the malefactor, as a recompense of her sorrows and the price of her compassion.
Saint Peter Damien assures us, that Mary prayed for the thief who was on the right side of the Cross, on which side she also stood and exhorted him, to hope in Jesus and to do penance.
Saint Anselm, in a treatise on the youth of Jesus, relates the following incident about the early years of Saint Dismas, which he says is a pious legend:
“Dismas was living in a forest on the confines of Egypt, when Mary went thither with the Child Jesus, to escape the rage of Herod. He was a highwayman and the son of the chief of a band of robbers. One day, as he lay in ambush, he saw a man, a young woman and a little Child approaching, from whom he rightly expected no opposition. Therefore, he went towards them, with his comrades, with the intention to ill-treat them. But he was at once so charmed with the supernatural beauty and grace which shone on the countenance of Jesus, that instead of doing them harm, he gave them hospitality in the cave which he inhabited and made ready for them, everything of which they stood in need. Mary was grateful for the tenderness and care, which the robber bestowed on her Beloved Son and warmly thanking him, she assured him that he would be rewarded before his death. This promise was fulfilled later, when Dismas was crucified with the Saviour of the World and obtained the grace of repentance in his last hour, openly confessing Jesus Christ’s Divinity. When the Apostles had fled, he had the happiness of receiving the first fruits of the Redeemer’s Sacrifice and soon after, entered the Heavenly Kingdom with his Saviour.”
Dismas is considered the Patron of penitents and is especially invoked for the conversion of hardened and obstinate criminals and sinners.
The Church has indeed sanctioned the veneration given to this Saint, with a most beautiful Office, in his honour.
A tradition, which has come down from the apostolic ages, tells us that the great mystery of the Incarnation, was achieved on the twenty-fifth day of March. It was at the hour of midnight, when the most holy Virgin was alone and absorbed in prayer, that the Archangel Gabriel appeared before her and asked her, in the name of the Blessed Trinity, to consent to become the Mother of God. Let us assist, in spirit, at this wonderful interview between the angel and the Virgin: and, at the same time, let us think of that other interview which took place between Eve and the serpent. A holy Bishop and Martyr of the second century, Saint Irenaeus, who had received the tradition from the very disciples of the Apostles, shows us that Nazareth, is the counterpart of Eden.
In the garden of delights there is a virgin and an angel and a conversation takes place-between them. At Nazareth a virgin is also addressed by an angel and she answers him but the angel of the earthly paradise, is a spirit of darkness and he of Nazareth, is a spirit of light. In both instances, it is the angel that has the first word. ‘Why,’ said the serpent to Eve, ‘hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise?’ His question implies impatience and a solicitation to evil, he has contempt for the frail creature to whom he addresses it but he hates the image of God, which is upon her.
See, on the other hand, the angel of light; see with what composure and peacefulness he approaches the Virgin of Nazareth, the new Eve and how respectfully he bows himself down before her: ‘Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women!’ Such language is evidently of heaven, none but an angel could speak thus to Mary.
Scarcely has the wicked spirit finished speaking than Eve casts a longing look at the forbidden fruit, she is impatient to enjoy the independence it is to bring her. She rashly stretches forth her hand, she plucks the fruit, she eats it and death takes possession of her: death of the soul, for sin extinguishes the light of life; and death of the body, which being separated from the source of immortality, becomes an object of shame and horror and finally, crumbles into dust.
But let us turn away our eyes from this sad spectacle and fix them on Nazareth. Mary has heard the angel’s explanation of the mystery, the will of heaven is made known to her and how grand an honour it is to bring upon her! She, the humble maid of Nazareth, is to have the ineffable happiness of becoming the Mother of God and yet, the treasure of her virginity is to be left to her! Mary bows down before this sovereign will and says to the heavenly messenger: ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me, according to thy word.’
Thus, as the great St Irenaeus and so many of the holy fathers remark, the obedience of the second Eve, repaired the disobedience of the first, for no sooner does the Virgin of Nazareth speak her fiat, ‘be it done,’ than the eternal Son of God (who, according to the divine decree, awaited this word) is present, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, in the chaste womb of Mary and there, He begins His human life. A Virgin is a Mother and Mother of God and it is this Virgin’s consenting to the divine will, that has made her conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost. This sublime mystery puts between the eternal Word and a mere woman, the relations of Son and Mother, it gives to the almighty God, a means whereby He may, in a manner worthy of His majesty, triumph over satan, who hitherto seemed to have prevailed against the divine plan.
Never was there a more entire or humiliating defeat than that which this day befell satan. The frail creature, over whom he had so easily triumphed at the beginning of the world, now rises and crushes his proud head. Eve conquers in Mary. God would not choose man for the instrument of His vengeance, the humiliation of satan would not have been great enough and, therefore, she who was the first prey of hell, the first victim of the tempter, is selected to give battle to the enemy. The result of so glorious a triumph is, that Mary is to be superior not only to the rebel angels but to the whole human race, yea, to all the angels of heaven. Seated on her exalted throne, she, the Mother of God, is to be the Queen of all creation. Satan, in the depths of the abyss, will eternally bewail his having dared to direct his first attack against the woman, for God has now so gloriously avenged her and, in heaven, the very Cherubim and Seraphim reverently look up to Mary and deem themselves honoured, when she smiles upon them, or employs them in the execution of any of her wishes, for she is the Mother of their God.
Therefore is it that we, the children of Adam, who have been snatched by Mary’s obedience from the power of hell, solemnise this day of the Annunciation. Well may we say of Mary, those words of Debbora, when she sang her song of victory over the enemies of God’s people: ‘The valiant men ceased and rested in Israel, until Debbora arose, a mother arose in Israel. The Lord chose new wars and He Himself, overthrew the gates of the enemies.’ Let us also refer to the holy Mother of Jesus, these words of Judith, who by her victory over the enemy was another type of Mary: ‘Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in Him. And by me, His handmaid, He hath fulfilled His mercy, which He promised to the house of Israel and He hath killed the enemy of His people, by my hand this night. . . . The almighty Lord hath struck him and hath delivered him into the hands of a woman and hath slain him.’
Our Lady of Betania: The name Betania means Bethany in Spanish. It was originally given this name by Maria Esperanza and was the site of their farm, in Venezuela. Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary were reported and eventually a small Chapel was built there and the faithful began to gather, especially on Feast Days but throughout the year.
St Alfwold of Sherborne St Barontius of Pistoia St Desiderius of Pistoia St Dismas (Crucified with Jesus) “The Good Thief”
Bl Everard of Nellenburg Bl Herman of Zahringen St Hermenland St Humbert of Pelagius Bl James Bird Bl Josaphata Mykhailyna Hordashevska St Kennocha of Fife St Lucia Filippini St Marie-Alphonsine/Mariam Sultaneh Danil Ghattas (1843-1927) About St Marie-Alphonusine: https://anastpaul.com/2020/03/25/saint-of-the-day-25-march-st-marie-alphonsine-danil-ghattas-1843-1927/ St Matrona of Barcelona St Matrona of Thessaloniki St Mona of Milan St Ndre Zadeja Bl Pawel Januszewski St Pelagius of Laodicea Bl Placido Riccardi St Procopius St Quirinus of Rome Bl Tommaso of Costacciaro — 262 Martyrs of Rome: A group 262 Christians martyred together in Rome. We know nothing else about them, not even their names.