Thought for the Day – 7 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Meaning of Easter, Part Two
“In the course of this battle for our spiritual resurrection, it is necessary for us to grow continually in Jesus. When we make a good Confession t Easter, He favours us anew, by means of His grace. When we receive Holy Communion, He comes to us and is renally present in our souls. But, in what way is He present? Sometimes, He is silent and hidden. He may seem to be asleep, as He slept n the Apostles’ boat o the ea of Galilee, when the waves were raging violently all around them. Often, we have Jesus within us but do not listen to His Voice. He does not live actively in us; He does not speak to us. Why is this? It is because, we are distracted and indifferent, absorbed in the petty affairs of this world. We must be fervent! It is necessary to LISTEN for His Voice, to be united to Him and, above all, to LOVE Him. Then, our actions will not be our own but, HIS. He will grow in us by His grace and we shall act in Jesus, with Jesus and for Jesus. Then, Jesus will be everything to us and we shall be able to say with St Paul, “It is now, no longer I that live but, Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20).
Does this goal seem too difficult to attain? Does it seem that it is not meant for us? Such a doubt is an insult to Our Lord, Who, has told us to be perfect, as His heavenly Father is perfect. (Cf Mt 5:48). It is enough, however, that we should earnestly desire to reach this goal and should try, with the help of God’s grace, to come gradually nearer to it everyday. THIS is the resurrection which should take place in us this Easter!”
One Minute Reflection – 7 April – Easter Wednesday, Readings: First: Acts 3: 1-10, Psalm: Psalms 105: 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9, Gospel: Luke 24: 13-35
“And they said one to the other: ‘Was not our hearts burning within us, whilst he spoke in this way and opened to us the scriptures?’” – Luke 24:32
REFLECTION – “What is the innermost reason of this fruitfulness of God’s Word? It is that Christ is ever living: He is ever the God who saves and quickens. … All proportion guarded, that which is true of the person of Jesus is true also of His Word and, what was true yesterday, is still true in our days. Christ lives in the soul of the just, under the infallible direction of this inner master, the soul … penetrates into the divine light, Christ gives it His Spirit, the first author of Holy Writ, that it may there “search into the very depths of the infinite” (cf. 1 Cor 2:10). It contemplates God’s marvels with respect to men; it measures, by faith, the divine proportions of the mystery of Jesus and this wonderful spectacle, whereof the splendours enlighten and illuminate it, touches, draws, enraptures, uplifts, transports and transforms the soul. It experiences in its turn, what the disciples of Emmaus felt when Christ Jesus Himself vouchsafed to interpret to them the sacred books: “Was not our heart burning within us whilst he spoke in the way and opened to us the Scriptures.”
What is there astonishing, then, in the fact, that the soul, charmed and won by this living Word, “which penetrates even to the marrow” (Heb 4:12) makes the prayer of these disciples its own – “Stay with us! O Thou the incomparable Master, indefectible Light, infallible Truth, the only true Life of our souls!” Forestalling these holy desires “the Holy Spirit Himself prays for us with unspeakable groanings” which constitute true prayer, these vehement desires to possess God, to live no longer save for the Father’s glory and for that of His Son Jesus. Love becomes great and burning by contact with God, takes possession of all the powers of the soul, renders it strong and generous, to do perfectly, all the Father’s will, to give itself up ,wholly to the divine good pleasure.” – Blessed Columba Marmion (1858-1923) Abbot – Monastic prayer (Christ, the Ideal of the Monk)
PRAYER – God our Father, you give us the joy of celebrating our Lord’s Resurrection. Let the word of the Word, our Resurrected Saviour, lead us to our eternal joy. May the intercession of all your Angels, Saints and the Blessed Mother of the Risen Christ, bring us safely home. Through Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You, now and for all eternity, amen.
Epistle: Acts 3: 1-10 1 Now Peter and John went up into the temple at the ninth hour of prayer. 2 And a certain man who was lame from his mother’s womb, was carried: whom they laid every day at the gate of the temple, which is called Beautiful, that he might ask alms of them that went into the temple. 3 He, when he had seen Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked to receive an alms. 4 But Peter with John fastening his eyes upon him, said: Look upon us. 5 But he looked earnestly upon them, hoping that he should receive something of them. 6 But Peter said: Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, I give thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise, and walk. 7 And taking him by the right hand, he lifted him up, and forthwith his feet and soles received strength. 8 And he leaping up, stood, and walked, and went in with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God. 10 And they knew him, that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened to him.
Gospel: Luke 24: 13-35 13 And behold, two of them went, the same day, to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 And it came to pass, that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus himself also drawing near, went with them. 16 But their eyes were held, that they should not know him. 17 And he said to them: What are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk, and are sad? 18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said to him: Art thou only a stranger to Jerusalem, and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days? 19 To whom he said: What things? And they said: Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in work and word before God and all the people; 20 And how our chief priests and princes delivered him to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we hoped, that it was he that should have redeemed Israel: and now besides all this, today is the third day since these things were done. 22 Yea and certain women also of our company affrighted us, who before it was light, were at the sepulchre, 23 And not finding his body, came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, who say that he is alive. 24 And some of our people went to the sepulchre, and found it so as the women had said, but him they found not. 25 Then he said to them: O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken. 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures, the things that were concerning him. 28 And they drew nigh to the town, whither they were going and he made as though he would go farther. 29 But they constrained him; saying: Stay with us because it is towards evening, and the day is now far spent. And he went in with them. 30 And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in this way, and opened to us the scriptures? 33 And rising up, the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem: and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were staying with them, 34 Saying: The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35 And they told what things were done in the way; and how they knew him in the breaking of the bread.
Our Morning Offering – Easter Wednesday and the Memorial of St John Baptiste de La Salle (1651-1719)
The Saving Word By St John Baptiste de La Salle (1651-1719)
No father on earth loves his children as much as You love the beings You created. Lord. Not content with just giving them existence, You inspire them with the means for happiness in this life and someday, having a place in Your House. First through the prophets and then through Your holy Apostles. You have given us the Word of Life. But it was through Jesus. Your beloved Son. that You gave the definitive Word to the world: the “Good News’ that saves us. Strengthen us. Lord, against our weakness; guide our steps along the road You have pointed out – Christ our brother, Who is the Way, He, the Truth and He, the Life. Amen
Saint of the Day – 7 April – Blessed Edward Oldcorne SJ (1561-1607) Priest Martyr. Born in 1561 at York, North Yorkshire, England and died by being hanged, drawn and quartered on 7 April 1607 at Worcester, Worcestershire, England.
Edward Oldcorne (1561-1606) had a long and fruitful pastoral apostolate in England operating out of the same residence for 16 years. Ralph Ashley (birthday unknown, 1606) entered the Jesuits in Valladolid, Spain, as a brother and was urged to return to his native England to recover his good health, a prescription that worked well until he was arrested with Father Oldcorne whom he assisted for eight years.
Oldcorne was born in York of a non-Catholic father and a Catholic mother, whose courage when she was imprisoned for her faith ,set an example for her son who dropped medical studies to travel to Rheims, France in August 1581 in order to study for the priesthood. In 1583 he moved on to Rome where he finished his studies and was Ordained a Priest. Soon afterwards, he asked to enter the Society of Jesus, was accepted and was allowed to complete his novitiate in a very short time because of the difficult conditions he would face, upon his return to England. He landed on a remote beach near Norfolk in November 1588 and joined a group of sailors travelling to London where he stayed with Father Henry Garnet, the Superior of the Jesuits in England. After a few months there, he was assigned to Hinlip Hall just outside Worcester ,where he would enjoy one of the longest periods of any Jesuit ministering in England during the many years of the persecution of the heretical Elizabeth.
The master of Hinlip Hall, was an ardent Catholic who was in prison and had left the property in the care of his sister, Dorothy, a Protestant, who had been at Elizabeth’s court and merely tolerated the presence of the Priest guests in her brother’s residence. Several Priests had tried, unsuccessfully, to convert her back to her family’s Catholicism but she resisted all efforts. Finally Oldcorne began fasting for her conversion; when she learned of his fast, she yielded to God’s grace and became an encouragement for many others in the shire to return to the Catholic religion. The Hall became the Jesuit’s base of operations where many people came to seek the Sacraments and hear Fr Edward’s preaching. His success was accompanied by poor health ever since he returned to England. He had a throat cancer that left him with a hoarse and painful voice but this did not keep him from preaching. He made a pilgrimage around 1591 to St. Winifred’s Shrine seeking a cure. He returned with the cancer healed.
Catholics looked forward to the end of persecution when Queen Elizabeth died and James I became King on 24 March 1603. He had promised he would be more tolerant but ,in fact, the persecution increased. Some angry Catholic laymen plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament during the King’s visit there on 5 November 1605. Discovery of the plot intensified hatred of Catholics; the government was determined to implicate Jesuits in the so-called “Gunpowder Plot,” despite the fact, that the men behind it had already been captured. The Jesuit Superior, Father Garnet, decided to leave London and seek shelter at Hinlip Hall, which had more hiding places than any other mansion in England. Brother Nicholas Owen, (Saint), who had constructed those places, accompanied him. The two Jesuits joined Oldcorne and Ashley.
On 20 January 1606, the Sheriff of Worcestershire and over 100 men, arrived at the Hall and spent several days fruitlessly searching for the Priests. A man arrested for being involved in the plot against Parliament, tried to curry favour by telling authorities he could lead them to Father Oldcorne. Finally, on the fourth day, hunger forced Brother Ashley and his companion, St Owen, to leave their hiding place. Four more days later, the two Priests emerged weak and ill, from their hiding place. All four were imprisoned in the Tower of London.
When efforts to spy on the conversation between the prisoners failed to yield any damning evidence, Fr Edward was tortured on the rack five hours a day for five consecutive days. He refused to say anything. When he and Ashley were put on trial, the Jesuit Priest denied the charge of being involved in the Gunpowder Plot so well, that the charge against him was changed to simply being a Jesuit Priest. He was found guilty of high treason and ordered to be executed. Just before he was hung, his betrayer asked for pardon, which Fr Edward readily granted. Fr Edward also prayed for the King and royal family, for his accusers, the judge and the jury who had condemned him. He was pushed from the ladder but was cut down before he was dead; he was then beheaded and quartered. Brother Ashley followed him to the gallows as did St Owen.
It is said, that, as Oldcorne waited on the ladder to die, Ashley kissed his feet and said, “What a happy man am I to follow in the steps of my sweet father”. Oldcorne died with the name of St Winifred on his lips. When Ashley came to die, he prayed and asked for forgiveness and noted that like Edward, he was dying for his faith and not as a traitor.
Blessed Edward’s portrait was painted after his death for the Church of the Gesù. A number of his relics survived including one of his eyes which he lost, when the executioner decapitated him:. The force of the blow was so great, that his eye flew out of its socket. A secondary school, Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College, named in his honour, is in Worcester. His right eye and the rope that bound him ,are kept as relics at Stonyhurst College. They believe, that the eye was taken by a Catholic sympathiser while his body was being parboiled after he was quartered.
Edward Oldcorne was Beatified on 15 December 1929 by Pope Pius XI.
Easter Wednesday – The Fourth Day in the Easter Octave +2021
Our Lady of Puig, Valencia, Spain, Patron of Valencia and the Spanish Army – 7 April:
The fortress and the Church of Our Lady of Puig are a short distance out of Valencia, both date from Roman times, when a temple of Venus stood on the hill overlooking the pleasant valley. At the coming of Christians, it was turned into a Monastery. Early in history they acquired the image of Our Lady of Puig, in bas-relief, carved on a slab of marble, which was said to have formed part of the tomb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. How it got to Spain is not known with certainty, though the pious insist, that it was brought there by angels. It was the principal object of devotion at the Shrine, which thrived and grew beautiful until the ancient kingdom of the Visigoths fell to the Muslim invaders in the 8th Century. In the year 712 the Monks sadly buried their treasure to hide it from desecration, along with the Church bell, under the floor of the Monastery, and fled for their lives. After five centuries the Moors were expelled from Valencia and the Plaque of Our Lady of Puig played a part in its liberation.
King James I of Aragon, victorious in other parts of Spain, moved on Valencia with his armies. The Moors, in an effort to trick the Christians into sending their troops to the wrong place, moved to attack the ancient fortress of Puig. This was done with great secrecy but Our Lady warned the Christians and helped them, to win the desperate battle. Saint Peter Nolasco, who helped to found the Society for the Redemption of Captives under Our Lady’s guidance, was in Puig when the battle took place. One of the soldiers came to him and reported that when he had been on night guard, he had seen strange lights over the old ruined Church of Our Lady of Puig; sometimes the stars seemed to come down from the sky and circle around the building. Especially on Saturday nights there were bright lights around the mount of the Church.
Saint Peter suggested to the King, that all the soldiers should receive the Sacraments and pray, to know what God was trying to tell them. After this had been done, he led them to the top of the hill and directed them to dig under the floor of the old Monastery. Here they found the Plaque and the bell, buried for 500 years, but unharmed. The Plaque was first carried to the Chapel of the castle fortress. As soon as possible, a new Church was built on the mountain and given into the charge of the Mercedarians under Saint Peter Nolasco. The ancient bell which was dated as being cast in 660 and was placed in the tower of the Church. This bell was said to be powerful against storms and always rung of its own accord in time of trouble. In 1550 the bell broke and a new one was cast from the fragments of the old one.
The Church built by Saint Peter Nolasco was called “the angelic chamber” because angels were often heard singing there in the night, especially on Saturdays. Our Lady of Puig has been the Patroness of Valencia for hundreds of years and not longer ago than 1935, was honoured by the Spanish Armies who have carried her image in so many successful battles. She was at this time named as a General in the Army and invoked as Patroness in the Christian War against Communism.
St Albert of Tournai Bl Alexander Rawlins St Brenach of Carn-Engyle St Calliopus of Pompeiopolis Bl Cristoforo Amerio St Cyriaca of Nicomedia St Donatus of North Africa Blessed Edward Oldcorne SJ (1561-1607) Priest Martyr St Epiphanius the Martyr St Finian of Kinnitty St George the Younger St Gibardus of Luxeuil St Goran St Guainerth St Hegesippus of Jerusalem St Henry Walpole Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta (1878-1905) About Bl Maria Assunta: https://anastpaul.com/2019/04/07/saint-of-the-day-7-april-blessed-maria-assunta-pallotta-1878-1905/ St Peleusius of Alexandria St Peter Nguyen Van Luu Bl Ralph Ashley St Rufinus the Martyr St Saturninus of Verona Bl Ursuline of Parma — Martyrs of Pentapolis – 4 saints: A bishop, deacon and two lectors at Pentapolis, Lybia who for their faith were tortured, had their tongues cut out, and were left for dead. They survived and each died years later of natural causes; however, because they were willing to die and because there were attempts to kill them, they are considered martyrs. We know little else except their names – Ammonius, Irenaeus, Serapion and Theodore c 310 at Pentapolis, Lybia.
Martyrs of Sinope – 200 saints: 200 Christian soldiers martyred together for their faith. We don’t even have their names. They were martyred in Sinope, Pontus, Asia Minor (in modern Turkey).