Thought for the Day – 8 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Easter: The Herald of Peace
“For this interior peace to be complete, it is necessary that it should exist in our relations with God, with ourselves and with our neighbour. Peace with God, is especially necessary. This involves the subjection of the intellect and will, to Him, perfect obedience to His law, the avoidance of sin and the entire surrender of ourselves to Him. When we have prepared ourselves in this way, God will visit us with His grace and we shall experience the joy of inward peace.
Jesus came into the world to bring us this peace, which He provides for us with His Precious Blood, thereby, erasing sin and opening the gates of Heaven. So much the worse for us, if we destroy the work of God by turning back to sin. We shall no longer be at peace with God, Who hates sin so much, that in order to redeem us from it, He gave us His only-begotten Son, nor with ourselves because “there is not peace to the wicked” (Is 48:22). Remorse and disgust are the necessary results of sin.
Let us remember, that those who are really content, even in this world, are those who lead good lives. Whoever extinguishes divine grace in himself, destroys the harmony and order which reigned in his soul as a result of the subjection of his reason to his Creator and Redeemer. Then, because we are not at peace with God, nor with ourselves, we cannot really be at peace with men. It is our faith which teaches us, that they are our brothers, redeemed, as we have been, by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ and that, therefore, we should always love and assist them.”
Quote/s of the Day – 8 April – Easter Thursday, Readings: First: Acts 3: 11-26 Psalm: Psalms 8: 2ab and 5, 6-7, 8-9, Gospel: Luke 24: 35-48
“It is I, fear not.”
“After His Resurrection, the Lord appeared to His disciples and greeted them, saying: “Peace be with you!” Peace is what this saving salutation truly is, since the word “salutation” derives from the word for “salvation.” What more could one hope for? Man receives greetings of salvation in person, for our salvation is Christ!”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of Grace
“Let us go forward in peace, our eyes upon heaven, the only one goal of our labours.”
St Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1873-1897) Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 8 April – Easter Thursday, Readings: First: Acts 3: 11-26 Psalm: Psalms 8: 2ab and 5, 6-7, 8-9, Gospel: Luke 24: 35-48
“Touch me and see.” – Luke 24:39
REFLECTION –“See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.” I think there are four reasons why our Lord showed His side, hands and feet to the Apostles. First of all, to prove He was truly risen and remove from us, any cause for doubt. Secondly, so that the “dove” – that is to say, the Church or the faithful soul – might make its nest in those wounds as in “the crevice of the rock” (Sg 2:14) and find refuge there, from the eye of the bird of prey. Thirdly, to imprint as an emblem, the marks of the Passion in our hearts. And in the fourth place ,as a warning, asking us to show Him pity and not pierce Him anew, with the nails of our sins.
He shows us His hands and His feet: “Behold,” He says, “the hands that have fashioned you (cf. 119:73); see how the nails have pierced them. Behold My heart – the heart where you My faithful, you my Church, were born as Eve was born from Adam’s side: see how the lance has opened it, so that the door of Paradise, held shut by the fiery Cherubim, might be opened to you. The blood that flowed from My side has driven aside that angel and blunted his sword, the water has extinguished the fire (cf Jn 19:34) … Listen carefully, take these words to yourself and peace will be with you.” – St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Evangelical Doctor of the Church, Franciscan
PRAYER – Lord God, let there be one faith in our hearts, one love for You, one Way in You, for You are the One Truth and the only Way. We linger in Your light and beg Your unending kindness. Grant that by the prayers of Your Saints we may obtain Your strength and may Your Mother and ours, walk by our side and hold fast to our hand. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for always and forever, amen.
Epistle: Acts 3: 11-26 11 And as he held Peter and John, all the people ran to them to the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering. 12 But Peter seeing, made answer to the people: Ye men of Israel, why wonder you at this? or why look you upon us, as if by our strength or power we had made this man to walk? 13 The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus, whom you indeed delivered up and denied before the face of Pilate, when he judged he should be released. 14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you. 15 But the author of life you killed, whom God hath raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. 16 And in the faith of his name, this man, whom you have seen and known, hath his name strengthened; and the faith which is by him, hath given this perfect soundness in the sight of you all. 17 And now, brethren, I know that you did it through ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things which God before had shewed by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 19 Be penitent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. 20 That when the times of refreshment shall come from the presence of the Lord, and he shall send him who hath been preached unto you, Jesus Christ, 21 Whom heaven indeed must receive, until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets, from the beginning of the world. 22 For Moses said: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me: him you shall hear according to all things whatsoever he shall speak to you. 23 And it shall be, that every soul which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. 24 And all the prophets, from Samuel and afterwards, who have spoken, have told of these days. 25 You are the children of the prophets, and of the testament which God made to our fathers, saying to Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. 26 To you first God, raising up his Son, hath sent him to bless you; that every one may convert himself from his wickedness.
Gospel: Luke 24: 35-48 35 And they told what things were done in the way and how they knew him in the breaking of the bread. 36 Now whilst they were speaking these things, Jesus stood in the midst of them and saith to them: Peace be to you; it is I, fear not. 37 But they being troubled and frightened, supposed that they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them: Why are you troubled and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; touch and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have. 40 And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and feet. 41 But while they yet believed not and wondered for joy, he said: Have you any thing to eat? 42 And they offered him a piece of a broiled fish,and a honeycomb. 43 And when he had eaten before them, taking the remains, he gave to them. 44 And he said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. 46 And he said to them: Thus it is written and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise again from the dead, the third day: 47 And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things.
O Lamb of God By St Irenaeus (c 130 – c 202) Bishop & Martyr, Father of the Church
O Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, look upon us and have mercy upon us, You who art Yourself, both victim and Priest, Yourself, both Reward and Redeemer, keep safe from all evil those whom You have redeemed, O Saviour of the world. Amen
Saint of the Day – 8 April – Saint Dionysius of Alexandria “The Great” (c 190-265) Archbishop of Alexandria from 248 until his death in 265, Confessor, outstanding Administrator, Writer, Theologian. Born on c 190 in Alexandria, Egypt and died in 265 of natural causes. Called “the Great” by St Eusebius, St.Basil and others, was undoubtedly, after St Cyprian, the most eminent Bishop of the third century. Like St Cyprian, he was less a great theologian, than a great administrator. Like St Cyprian, his writings usually took the form of letters. Both saints were converts from paganism, both were engaged in the controversies as to the restoration of those who had lapsed in the Decian persecution, about Novatian and with regard to the iteration of heretical baptism, both corresponded with the Popes of their day. Yet, it is curious, that neither mentions the name of the other. A single letter of Dionysius has been preserved in Greek Canon law. For the rest, we are dependent on the many citations by Eusebius and, to the works of his great successor St Athanasius.
He is said to have been of distinguished parentage. He became a Christian when still young and discussed his conversion experience with Philemon, a Priest of Pope Sixtus II. Dionysius converted to Christianity when he received a vision sent from God; in it he was commanded to vigorously study the heresies facing the Christian Church, so that he could refute them through doctrinal study. After his conversion, he joined the Catechetical School of Alexandria and was a student of Origen and St Heraclas. He eventually became leader of the School and a Priest. He became Archbishop of Alexandria in 248, succeeding st Heraclas.
Dionysius favoured readmitting penitent apostates to the Church in opposition to those, who wanted to exclude them permanently. Engaged in the bitter controversy over baptism performed by heretics, Dionysius did not insist on rebaptising converts who had received heretical baptism but he recognised the right ,of communities, to rebaptise if they preferred.
Dionysius was especially noted for his attacks on the Sabellians, who accused him of separating the persons of the Trinity (tritheism) and other heresies.
He also wrote a treatise on nature against the atomism of the Greek philosopher, Epicurus. Though highly esteemed and often cited by the leading Byzantine theologians, his works are known only from quotations, many of them extensive, preserved mainly by Bishop St Eusebius of Caesarea.
In 252 an outbreak of plague ravaged Alexandria and Dionysius, along with other Priests and Deacons, took it upon themselves, to assist the sick and dying.
Dionysius was imprisoned and then exiled. during the persecutions but when Gallienus, took over the empire he released all the believers who were in prison and brought back those in exile. Gallienus wrote to Dionysius and the Bishops, a letter to assure their safety in opening the Churches.
Dionysius died in 265 and his relics were buried in the Church of the Cave, Alexandria.
Easter Thursday – The Fifth Day in the Easter Octave +2021
Our Lady of Valverde / Our Lady of the Green Valley, Sicily (1040) – 8 April:
The Sicilian Shrine to Our Lady of the Green Valley (Our Lady of Valverde) is said to have originated about the year 1040.
According to tradition, a soldier named Dionysius remained behind on the island of Sicily to engage in banditry, having been enticed by the wealth on the island and his greed for the money he felt he could easily steal from others. Assault, theft and murder meant nothing to him. Dionysius found a cave in which to hide and then lurked in the shadows of the thick woods, along the path that led from Catania to Aci. Dionysius was so active that this region near Mount Etna, soon became infamous as the scene of robberies, violence and even murder. At that time, there was a certain man named Giles who lived in the City of Catania. In the course of business, it became necessary for him to make the dangerous trip to Aci. Now, while Giles was aware of the danger, he was a pious man who was greatly devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary and he was absolutely convinced that she would watch over him on his journey. As Giles passed through the wood beneath the dormant but still volcanic Mount Etna, a bandit barred his way and threatened his life with a dagger. Suddenly the earth shook violently and a globe of blinding light appeared nearby. From within the light a woman’s voice could be heard:
“Dionysisus, Dionysius, do not touch my devotee.”
The assassin’s arm was frozen by the command. He turned and looked around at the light.
“Lay down that weapon – and cease this life of banditry.”
At these words ,Dionysius saw the monstrosity of what had been his life passing before his eyes. Throwing away his knife, he humbly acknowledged the errors of his life and prostrated himself at the feet of his intended victim, begging his forgiveness. Dionysus retreated alone to his cave to weep over his sins. Knowing his sincerity, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him to comfort him. She urged him to trust in the goodness and mercy of God and go at once to Confession. She also requested that a Church be built on the hill of Valverde with the wealth Dionysius had obtained through his life of crime. Within a few days word got out about what had happened and the faithful from Aci processed to the hill of Valverde. Once on the hill, they observed a noisy flock of cranes hovering in the sky before landing on a particular clearing nearby. Taking it as a sign, the bandit turned hermit, began the work of constructing the Chapel on that very spot. Although he began working immediately and with impressive fervour, progress soon came to a halt due to the lack of a water supply. Dionysius turned in prayer to the Virgin Mary, who once again appeared to order, that a pickaxe be used, to strike at the base of the rock forming the entrance to the bandit’s cave. The result of the blow was a trickle of water that formed a pool sufficient, not only for the continuation of the work but also proved to be miraculous, as it soon became a source of cures for many of the sick who came and drank there. So many people came to assist the building work, that the work that had begun in the year 1038 was finished only two years later.
Dionysius kept the faith and continued to live on Valverde as a hermit. One night, he was rapt in prayer, when he was struck by an intense beam of light and saw a cloud in which the Madonna appeared surrounded by heavenly angels. The light dispersed as the cloud rose toward heaven, revealing a magnificent image of the Blessed Virgin and her Divine Son imprinted on the rough wall of a pillar of the Church.
The image, now known as Our Lady of the Green Valley, depicts the Virgin Mary seated and wearing a robe with gold accents. Her head is covered with a veil, although Mary’s hair can be seen framing her face. With her right hand she holds the Divine Child, who is seated upon a red and gold cushion. He has curly hair and is dressed in a white tunic. His right hand is raised in blessing, while the other rests upon a small crane that seems to hide behind the Virgin’s left hand.
In the year 1565 a group of Christian soldiers stopped here to invoke the aid of Our Lady of the Green Valley while on their way to the island of Malta. Suleiman the Magnificent was about to lay siege to the island fortress with countless thousands of his finest warriors, while only 600 Knights of St. John ,would stand against them, to defend the stronghold. These Christian soldiers were the same who would later operate the cannon, which fired the round that mortally wounded the infamous pirate commander Dragut Rais. A votive offering of two iron cannon balls now hang to the left of the Altar, as testimony and thanksgiving for the assistance of the Mother of God during that siege.
The feast of Our Lady of the Green Valley is kept, with great devotion, throughout three Dioceses of Sicily.
Bl Julian of Saint Augustine Bl Libania of Busano St Phlegon of Hyrcania St Redemptus of Ferentini — Martyrs of Africa – 3 saints: A group of African martyrs whose name appears on ancient lists, but about whom nothing is known but their names – Januarius, Macaria and Maxima.
Martyrs of Antioch – 4 saints: A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. We know little more than their names – Diogene, Macario, Massimo and Timothy. They died in Antioch, Syria.
Martyrs of Seoul – 5 saints: A group laymen who were martyred together in the apostolic vicariate of Korea. • Augustinus Jeong Yak-jong • Franciscus Xaverius Hong Gyo-man • Ioannes Choe Chang-hyeon • Lucas Hong Nak-min • Thomas Choe Pil-gong They died on 8 April 1801 at the Small West Gate, Seoul, South Korea Beatified on 15 August 2014 by Pope Francis