Thought for the Day – 15 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
What the Holy Spirit Requires of Us
“The Holy Spirit, coming into our souls, asks us to do four things, in particular.
(1) To keep far from us everything which could be displeasing to God. This means that we must avoid sin, which is hateful to God and brings about the death of the soul. When the sin is grave, it destroys charity in us; when it is venial sin, it diminishes our fervour and capacity for good action. We have become the temples of the Holy Spirit. Let us do our best, therefore, to keep ourselves pure and free from every stain of sin. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph 4:30).
(2) To avoid contamination by the spirit of the world, which is repugnant to the Spirit of God. The world is selfish and we should be on fire with love for God and for our neighbour. The world is vain and proud and we should love obscurity, recollection and humility. The world looks for happiness in honour, wealth and pleasure in the passing goods of this life. We, on the other hand, should seek our happiness in eternal and heavenly values because God alone can satisfy our hearts and make us happy.
(3) Too avoid affections which are too human and sensual. Only the clean of heart can see and enjoy God. All the objects and all the people of this world, should form for us, a ladder which leads to God.
(4) To seek the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in recollection and in prayer.
We should listen for His voice within us, inspiring and advising us. We should do, obediently, whatever He desires, no matter what sacrifices this may entail.”
Quote/s of the Day – 15 April – Thursday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 5:27-33, Psalm 34:2, 9, 17-20, John 3:31-36
“And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you and will be in you.”
“Remember, then, that you received a spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear. Keep safe what you received. God the Father sealed you, Christ the Lord strengthened you and sent the Spirit into your hearts as the pledge of what is to come.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctor of the Church
“I believe in the surprises of the Holy Spirit. The story of the Church is a long story, filled with the wonders of the Holy Spirit. Why should we think that God’s imagination and love might be exhausted?”
One Minute Reflection – 215April – Thursday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 5:27-33, Psalm 34:2, 9, 17-20, John 3:31-36
“ For he whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God, for God doth not give the Spirit by measure. … but he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life but the wrath of God abideth on him.” … John 3:34,36
REFLECTION – “How can someone with little or no faith be made to realise that an ant grows wings, a caterpillar turns into a butterfly and many other strange and unexpected things happen in nature, so that in this way he shakes off the sickness of unbelief and despair, himself acquires wings and buds in spiritual knowledge like a tree? “I am He,” God says, “who makes the dry tree flourish; I give life to dry bones” (cf. Ezek 17:24; 37:1-14). (…) Sometimes our soul grows despondent at the huge swarm of its sins and temptations, and says: “Our hope is gone and we are lost” (Ezek 37:11 LXX). Yet God, who does not despair of our salvation, says to us: “You shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezek 37:6). To the soul that doubts how it can ever give birth to Christ through great acts of holiness, these words are said: “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you” (Lk 1:35). Where the Holy Spirit is present do not expect anymore the sequence and laws of nature and habit. The Holy Spirit, Whom we worship, is all-powerful and, in an astonishing way, He brings into existence what does not as yet exist within us. The intellect, which was previously defeated, He now makes victorious. For the Paraclete, Who in compassion, comes upon us from above, “is higher than all” (Jn 3:31) and He raises us above all natural impulses.” … St John of Karpathos (7th century) Bishop, Monk
PRAYER – Lord God, whose name is holy and whose mercy is proclaimed in every generation, send forth Your Spirit into our hearts and grant that, faithfully pondering on all that is holy, we may ever live in the splendour of Your presence. Listen we beseech You, to the prayers we request from the Blessed Virgin Mary and all Your Angels and Saints, that we may ever entreat the Holy Spirit to grant us His light. We make our prayer through Christ, Your Son our Lord and Saviour, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever amen.
Acts 5: 27-33 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying: Commanding we commanded you, that you should not teach in this name and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine and you have a mind to bring the blood of this man upon us. 29 But Peter and the apostles answering, said: We ought to obey God, rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers hath raised up Jesus, whom you put to death, hanging him upon a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and remission of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these things and the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to all that obey him. 33 When they had heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they thought to put them to death.
Gospel: John 3: 31-36 31 He that cometh from above, is above all. He that is of the earth, of the earth he is, and of the earth he speaketh. He that cometh from heaven, is above all. 32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth and no man receiveth his testimony. 33 He that hath received his testimony, hath set to his seal that God is true. 34 For he whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God, for God doth not give the Spirit by measure. 35 The Father loveth the Son: and he hath given all things into his hand. 36 He that believeth in the Son, hath life everlasting but he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Saint of the Day – 15 April – Saint Abbondio of Como (Died c 564) the Fourth Bishop of Como, Italy, Confessor, Theologian, Papal Legate. Patronage – The City ad the Diocese of Como. He is also known as – Abundius, Acoitius, Agontius, Habundius. Additional memorial – the Diocese of Como celebrates it on 31 August. Abbondio is one of those to whom the authorship of the Te Deum is attributed.
The Roman Martyrology states: “In Como, Saint Abbondio, Bishop, who was sent to Constantinople by Pope Saint Leo the Great and zealously defended the right faith.”
Abbondio, Bishop of Como, a City that still preserves his remains in the Basilica dedicated to him and honours him as their Patron.
A tradition says that Abbondio was Greek, from Thessalonica (now Thessaloniki) but his name is so frankly Latin, which makes it doubtful. Instead, it appears that Abbondio knew the Greek language well, a rare case in the Western Church at the time. The time and place of his birth are, therefore, uncertain and the first certain date of his biography is 17 November 440 – on that day, Abbondio, former assistant of Bishop St Amanzio in Como, received Episcopal Consecration, as his successor.
But he could not immediately dedicate himself to the Diocese, for St Pope Leo I the Great (the one of the meeting with Attila) needed him for a task that was anything but peaceful. St Leo wanted him to go to Constantinople, as Papal Legate, to the Emperor Theodosius II.
There Abbondio’s mission was to re-establish unity in the faith in a lasting way, after the long doctrinal conflict aroused by the Bishop Nestorius and the Superior General Eutiche. These were two eminent figures of Eastern Christianity, both however, in opposition to the Doctrines of the Church of Rome and of the Councils, on the theme of the two natures – human and divine – in the person of Christ.
Emperor Theodosius II also died in 440 and Abbondio found his successor, Marcian in Constantinople. To him, as to the Bishops, clergy, Monks and faithful, Abbondio, forcefully reaffirms the Catholic Doctrine on the two natures in Christ, as it was explained by Pope Leo in a letter which Abbondio carried and which was addressed to the Emperor.
He completed the mission by having the Papal document accepted by all the Bishops of the East. Abbondio was happifully welcomed home in Rome by Pope Leo in 451, after the peaceful and complete success of his mission.
After a similar mission at the Council of Milan in 452, he was finally able to occupy his See and be the full-time Bishop of Como. For Appondio, this meant becoming a missionary, proclaiming the Gospel in the mountain regions, in the Lugano area and in other country areas not yet fully Christianised. The Diplomat and theologian became an itinerant preacher in his great pastoral zeal to reach all the people of his Diocese.
Appondio died on an Easter Sunday, says a text of the time, immediately after having offered Holy Mass and preached. But the year of death is not known with certainty, indicated by some in 469, by others in 488 or 499.
The Romanesque Basilica of Sant’Abbondio at Como, consecrated in 1095 by Pope Urban II, is dedicated to him and his relics are conserved beneath its principal Altar, see below.
The Sant’Abbondio Basilica is found outside Como’s ancient City walls near via Regina, the ancient road along the hillside that traces Lake Como’s western shore. Built between 1050 and 1085, on the site where a paleo-Christian dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul had stood. The Basilica was consecrated in 1095 by Pope Urban II, travelling through Como on his way to the Council of Clermond Ferrand, where he announced the beginning of the First Crusade.
The Sant’Abbondio Basilica unwinds across five naves, which are spaced out by grand pilasters and granite columns. In the central aisle there are gravestones of the Bishops of Como. Next to the main Altar we find a Statue of Sant’Abbondio, attributed to Tommaso Rodari at the end of the 15th century – see the first image above. The pictorial cycle in the basilica’s choir loft is noteworthy and the frescoes of the Birth and the Passion of Jesus were realised in the 14th century by an unknown Lombardy painter. To the sides of the entrance portal, we can admire two splendid 17th century canvases one which is Giovan Battista Recchi’s St. Abbondio with a Child, see below.
Kieff on the banks of the Dneiper River was the first resting place of this famous image of Mary. Here, according to legend, the Apostle Saint Andrew had once stopped on his way from Constantinople to Rome. Waking in the morning to the sights of the heights of Kieff, he was moved to prophecy:
“See those hills? On those hills shall shine hereafter, the grace of God.”
However, it was nearly 1,000 years, 1010, to be exact, before the Russian Prince Vladimir was baptised at Kieff with all his people and the teachings of the Gospel began to go out from the heights, which had so impressed the Apostle. The Prince sent to Kherson for a picture of Our Lady which was, according to legend, painted by Constantine and according to another, commissioned by him, which seems more likely. The Prince endowed the Monastery in Petchersk to house the famous painting and here it remained until the fifteenth century. In 1467 Ivan III, Grand Duke of Moscow, built the Church of the Assumption in the Kremlin as a memorial of his marriage. As a crowning jewel of his new Church, he asked for the famous image of Kieff. This aged City was both grieved and frightened at the demand. The people rose in protest; they did not want to lose their dearest treasure. Then the Blessed Virgin appeared in sleep to the Prince and told him to give up the painting because, she would personally ensure, that it was replaced. He gave it to the agents of the Duke of Moscow on the following morning and returned to his Church to find that another painting, exactly like it, had mysteriously appeared in the place of the one he had returned. Kieff and Moscow were still disputing vigorously up to fifty years ago, the 400-year old customary disagreement over which City had the original picture of Our Lady of Kieff and which City had the one placed there by the Blessed Mother. There are thousands of copies now spread all over the world.
Mercedarian Martyrs of Africa: A group of Mercedarian monks sailing to Africa as on a mission to redeem capture Christians. Captured by Moors, they were tortured and executed for their faith. Martyrs. 1393