Thought for the Day – 6 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Meaning of Easter
“Today the Church adorns herself in festival array. Gone are the lengthy lamentations of Holy Saturday and the sorrowful recitations of the Passion and in their place, is the glad cry of Alleluia, the hymn of vitory over death and sin. The true joy of Easter, lies, not merely in external celebration, however but in the spiritual gladness of the soul. As Jesus has conquered death and sin, so we must purify ourselves of every trace of guilt by a good confession and must be sure, that it will result in a practical renovation of our lives. We should approach Jesus in the Blessed Eucharist with greater fervour and humility and with greater trust in His goodness and mercy. When we have received Him into our hearts, we should ask Him to renew and transform us in Himself. He is everything and we are nothing without Him. He is strong, we are weak. We are capable only of feeble desires to do good but He can make them effective by His grace. We should not be satisfied with forming general resolutions when we go to confession and receive Holy Communion at Easter. We should examine the depths of our soul and discover the sin which we are most accustomed to commit and the virtue which we are principally lacking. As a result of our investigation, we should form a particular resolution to combat this sin and to practise this virtue. It is only in this way, that our celebration of Easter can inaugurate the beginning of a genuine self-renewal which will gain momentum daily, until it becomes a true spiritual resurrection. It will be a hard battle, which will necessitate a constant vigilance and a readiness to begin again, everytime we realise, that we have fallen. It will require an unfailing spirit of prayer but, the final victory, will bring us such happiness, that worldly pleasures will seem empty and illusory, by comparison.”
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!!! For with thee is the fountain of life and in thy light, we shall see light.
“Now let the heavens be joyful, Let earth her song begin. Let the world keep triumph, And all that is therein, Invisible and visible, Their notes let all things blend, For Christ the Lord is risen Our joy that hath no end!”
St John Damascene (675-749) Father & Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 6 April – Easter Tuesday Third Day in the Easter Octave, Readings: First: Acts 2: 36-41, Psalm: Psalms 33: 4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22, Gospel: John 20: 11-18
Some have requested at least the Epistle and the Gospel in full each day – I am, therefore, posting them below from the Douay-Rheims, Challoner translation. If anyone knows of a link to the original English translation, with chapter and verse, please share it with me. And please let me know whether I should continue to post the readings here.
“Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father.” – John 20:17
REFLECTION – “Touch me not for I have not yet ascended to my Father.” What are we to say? That Christ is better touched by faith than by flesh. Touching Christ by faith is truly to touch Him. This is what the woman suffering from an issue of blood did: – she drew near to Christ, full of faith and touched His robe … And our Lord, hemmed in by the crowd, was touched by no one but this woman … because she believed (Mk 5:25 f).
My brethren, Jesus is in heaven today. While He was living among His disciples, clothed visibly in flesh and possessing a body that could be touched, He was both seen and touched. But today, now He is seated at the right hand of the Father, which of us can touch Him? And yet, woe to us if we do not touch Him. We all touch Him who believe in Him. He is far away in heaven and the distance separating Him from us cannot be measured. But believe and you touch Him. What am I saying? You touch Him? If you believe, then you have with you, the One in Whom you believe …
Do you know how Mary wished to touch Him? She searched for Him among the dead and did not believe He would rise again: “They have taken my Lord from the tomb!” (Jn 20:2). She wept for a man … “Touch me not for I have not yet ascended to my Father.” You touch me before I have ascended to the Father and see no more than a man in me. What will that sort of faith give you? “Let me ascend to the Father. I have never left Him but, for your sake, I will ascend provided you believe me to be equal to the Father.” Our Lord Jesus Christ ,did not leave His Father when He descended from His side. So neither has He forsaken us, when He went up again from our side. For at the very time of His going up and sitting at the right hand of the Father, He said to His disciples: “I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20).” – St Augustine (354-430) – Bishop of Hippo, Father & Doctor of the Church – 1st sermon for Holy Thursday, Morin Guelferbytanus 13 ; PLS 2, 572
PRAYER – Lord our God and Father, You have brought us solace through the Easter mysteries. Continue to be bountiful to Your people and lead us to perfect freedom, so tht the joy that gladdens our way on earth, will be fulfilled in heaven. May the prayers of the Blessed Virgin grant us strength on our journey. Through Your Son, our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus the Risen Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God with Your, now and forever, amen.
First Reading: Acts 2: 36-41 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know most certainly, that God hath made both Lord and Christ, this same Jesus, whom you have crucified. 37 Now when they had heard these things, they had compunction in their heart, and said to Peter, and to the rest of the apostles: What shall we do, men and brethren?
Gospel: John 20: 11-18 11 But Mary stood at the sepulchre without, weeping. Now as she was weeping, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid. 13 They say to her: Woman, why weepest thou? She saith to them: Because they have taken away my Lord; and I know not where they have laid him. 14 When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing; and she knew not that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus saith to her: Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, thinking it was the gardener, saith to him: Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus saith to her: Mary. She turning, saith to him: Rabboni (which is to say, Master). 17 Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God. 18 Mary Magdalen cometh, and telleth the disciples: I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me.
A Song of Praise St John Baptiste de la Salle (1651-1719) (Instructions and Prayers Ch 17. 81-82)
My tongue is untied in praise of my God. because His mercy for mankind has no limits and He is loving with all his creatures across the centuries. I unite my voice with that of the angels and saints to sing the glory of God in heaven and His peace on earth. Through Christ in whom You, Father, are pleased, with Christ and in Christ may every praise, power, honour and glory be given to You throughout the ages. Alleluia! SO BE IT
Saint of the Day – 6 April – Saint Juliana of Cornillon (c 1192-1258) Nun, Mystic “Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament.” Born in c 1192 or 1103 at Retinnes, Flanders, Belgium and died on 5 April 1258 of natural causes. Patronage– Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. St Juliana is little known but the Church is deeply indebted to her, not only because of the holiness of her life but also because, with her great fervour, she contributed to the institution of one of the most important solemn Liturgies of the year, namely the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. She is also known as Juliana of Mount Cornillon, Julliana, Juliana of Liège.
We know several facts about her life, mainly from a Biography that was probably written by a contemporary cleric; it is a collection of various testimonies of people who were directly acquainted with the Saint.
Juliana was born near Liège, Belgium between 1191 and 1192. It is important to emphasise this place because at that time, the Diocese of Liège was, so to speak, a true “Eucharistic Upper Room.” Before Juliana, eminent theologians had illustrated the supreme value of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and, again in Liège, there were groups of women generously dedicated to Eucharistic worship and to fervent communion. Guided by exemplary Priests, they lived together, devoting themselves to prayer and to charitable works.
Orphaned at the age of five, Juliana, together with her sister Agnes, was entrusted to the care of the Augustinian nuns at the Convent and leprosarium of Mont-Cornillon. She was taught mainly by a Sister called “Sapienza” [wisdom], who was in charge of her spiritual development to the time Juliana received the religious habit and thus became an Augustinian Nun.
She became so learned that she could read the words of the Church Fathers, of St Augustine and St Bernard in particular, in Latin. In addition to a keen intelligence, Juliana showed a special propensity for contemplation from the outset. She had a profound sense of Christ’s presence, which she experienced by living the Sacrament of the Eucharist especially intensely and by pausing frequently to meditate upon Jesus’ words: “And lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20).
When Juliana was 16 she had her first vision, which recurred subsequently several times during her Eucharistic adoration. Her vision presented the moon in its full splendour, crossed diametrically by a dark stripe. The Lord made her understand the meaning of what had appeared to her. The moon symbolized the life of the Church on earth, the opaque line, on the other hand, represented the absence of a liturgical feast for whose institution Juliana was asked to plead effectively, namely, a feast in which believers would be able to adore the Eucharist so as to increase in faith, to advance in the practice of the virtues and to make reparation for offences, to the Most Holy Sacrament.
Juliana, who in the meantime had become Prioress of the convent, kept this revelation that had filled her heart with joy a secret for about 20 years. She then confided it to two other fervent adorers of the Eucharist, Blessed Eva, who lived as a hermit, and Isabella, who had joined her at the Monastery of Mont-Cornillon. The three women established a sort of “spiritual alliance” for the purpose of glorifying the Most Holy Sacrament. They also chose to involve a highly regarded Priest, John of Lausanne, who was a Canon of the Church of St Martin in Liège. They asked him to consult theologians and clerics on what was important to them. Their affirmative response was encouraging.
What happened to Juliana of Cornillon occurs frequently in the lives of Saints. To have confirmation that an inspiration comes from God, it is always necessary to be immersed in prayer to wait patiently, to seek friendship and exchanges with other good souls and to submit all things to the judgement of the Shepherds of the Church. It was in fact Bishop Robert Torote, Liège who, after initial hesitation, accepted the proposal of Juliana and her companions and first introduced the Solemnity of Corpus Christi in his Diocese. Later other Bishops following his example and instituted this Feast in the territories entrusted to their pastoral care.
However, to increase their faith the Lord often asks Saints to sustain trials. This also happened to Juliana who had to bear the harsh opposition of certain members of the clergy and even of the Superior on whom her Monastery depended. Of her own free will, therefore, Juliana left the Convent of Mont-Cornillon with several companions. For 10 years — from 1248 to 1258 — she stayed as a guest at various Monasteries of Cistercian sisters. She edified all with her humility, she had no words of criticism or reproach for her adversaries and continued zealously to spread Eucharistic worship.
She died at Fosses-La-Ville, Belgium, in 1258. In the cell where she lay, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and, according to her biographer’s account, Juliana died contemplating with a last effusion of love Jesus in the Eucharist, Whom she had always loved, honoured and adored.
Jacques Pantaléon of Troyes was also won over to the good cause of the Feast of Corpus Christi during his ministry as Archdeacon in Lièges. It was he, who, having become Pope with the name of Urban IV in 1264, instituted the Solemnity of Corpus Christi on the Thursday after Pentecost as a Feast of precept for the universal Church.
In the Bull of its institution, entitled Transiturus de hoc mundo, (11 Aug. 1264), Pope Urban even referred discreetly to Juliana’s mystical experiences, corroborating their authenticity. He wrote: “Although the Eucharist is celebrated solemnly everyday, we deem it fitting, that at least once a year. it be celebrated with greater honour and a solemn commemoration.
Indeed we grasp the other things we commemorate with our spirit and our mind but this does not mean, that we obtain their real presence. On the contrary, in this sacramental commemoration of Christ, even though in a different form, Jesus Christ is present with us in His own substance. While He was about to ascend into Heaven, He said ‘And lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age’ (Matthew 28:20)”.
The Pontiff made a point of setting an example by celebrating the solemnity of Corpus Christi in Orvieto, the town where he was then residing. Indeed, he ordered that the famous Corporal with the traces of the Eucharistic miracle which had occurred in Bolsena the previous year, 1263, be kept in Orvieto Cathedral — where it still is today.
While a Priest was consecrating the bread and the wine, he was overcome by strong doubts about the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. A few drops of blood began miraculously to ooze from the consecrated Host, thereby confirming what our faith professes.
Urban iv asked one of the greatest theologians of history, St Thomas Aquinas — who at that time was accompanying the Pope and was in Orvieto — to compose the texts of the Liturgical Office for this great Feast. They are masterpieces, still in use in the Church today, in which theology and poetry are fused into glorious prayers. These texts pluck at the heartstrings in an expression of praise and gratitude to the Most Holy Sacrament, while the mind, penetrating the mystery with wonder, recogniSes in the Eucharist, the Living and Real Presence of Jesus, of His Sacrifice of Love, that reconciles us with the Father and gives us salvation.
Although, after the death of Urban iv the celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi was limited to certain regions of France, Germany, Hungary and Northern Italy, it was another Pontiff, John XXII who in 1317, re-established it for the universal Church. Since then, the Feast experienced a wonderful development and is still deeply appreciated by the Catholic faithful.
In remembering St Juliana of Cornillon, let us also renew our faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. As we are taught “Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist in a unique and incomparable way. He is present in a true, real and substantial way, with His Body and His Blood, with His Soul and His Divinity. In the Eucharist, therefore, there is present in a sacramental way, that is, under the Eucharistic Species of bread and wine, Christ whole and entire, God and Man” (n. 282). (Excerpt – Pope Benedict XVI)
St Juliana was Canonised in 1869 by Blessed Pope Pius IX.
The Saints never failed to find strength, consolation and joy in the Eucharistic encounter. Let us repeat before the Lord present in the Most Blessed Sacrament ,the words of the Eucharistic hymn “Adoro te devote”: [Devoutly I adore Thee]: Make me believe ever more in you, “Draw me deeply into faith, / Into Your hope, into Your love.”
Easter Tuesday – The Third Day in the Easter Octave
Our Lady of the Conception, Flanders (1553) – 6 April:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “Our Lady of the Conception, at the Capuchin Convent of Donay, in Flanders, where is seen a picture of the Immaculate Conception, which was miraculously preserved from fire, in the year 1553.”
Donay, now known as Douai in France, was once considered a thriving and populous region of Flanders during the Middle Ages, markedly famous, for its textile market. It is now a commune in northern France located on the Scarpe River 25 kilometers from Arras. The town of Douai is also known as Douay or Doway in the English language. The County of Flanders became part of the domain of the Duke of Burgundy in the year 1384 and then in 1477, became a possession of the Habsburg’s. The Town was taken by the French army and became a permanent part of France in the year 1668. During successive sieges in 1710 and 1712, the City was almost completely razed to the ground by the British Army. The University of Douai was founded in 1562. There was a Benedictine Priory founded at Douai in 1605. In the year 1609, a translation of the Old Te,stament was published there and combined with the recently published New Testament from Rheims, to create the famous Douay-Rheims Bible that is still considered to be the standard for the complete Catholic Bible. It is certain that the French Revolution played a great deal of havoc in the region and the Town was heavily damaged during both World Wars. In Butler’s lives of the Saints, there is a reference to a John Woodcock OFM, born in 1603. According to this history, he joined the English Franciscans at Douai and was clothed there in 1631. For some time he lived as a Chaplain and confessor and became a zealous worker on the English mission for many years but suffered from continual sickness and eventually retired to the Convent at Douai. This is the only reference I could find to the existence of a Capuchin Convent at Donay at the time. There is also mention of a Capuchin Monastery in the list of historical monuments of Douai but other than the above, I can find no other information about this feast.
__ St Agrarius the Martyr St Amand of Grisalba St Berthanc of Kirkwall St Brychan of Brycheiniog Bl Catherine of Pallanza St Diogenes of Philippi St Elstan of Abingdon St Galla of Rome St Gennard St Irenaeus of Sirmium Bl Jan Franciszek Czartoryski St Juliana of Cornillon (c 1192-1258) Nun, Mystic “Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament”
St Phaolô Lê Bao Tinh St Philaret of Calabria Bl Pierina Morosini St Platonides of Ashkelon St Prudentius of Troyes St Pope Sixtus I St Timothy of Philippi St Ulched St Urban of Peñalba St William of Eskilsoe St Winebald Blessed Zefirino Agostini (1813-1896) His Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/04/06/saint-of-the-day-6-april-blessed-zefirino-agostini-1813-1896/ — Martyrs of Sirmium : 7 saints – A group of fourth century martyrs at Sirmium, Pannonia (modern Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia). We know little more than seven of their names – Florentius, Geminianus, Moderata, Romana, Rufina, Saturus and Secundus.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: Bl Enric Gispert Domenech Bl Josep Gomis Martorell