Thought for the Day – 16 April– “Month of the Blessed Sacrament” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“St Therese of the Child Jesus truly claimed, that one Holy Communion, made with perfect dispositions, was enough to produce a saint! When we receive Holy Communion properly, we are transformed into Jesus and, therefore, we become holy. We live, no longer as ourselves but, we live in Jesus. Not alone are we purified of all our imperfections but, we are emptied of ourselves in order to receive Jesus into ourselves. Jesus becomes the dominant thought in our minds and the central desire of our hearts.
Holy Commuion, therefore, should be a supernatural miracle which causes us to live the life of Jesus.
This is the reason why the early Christians gathered daily at the Eucharistic table. They felt the need of achieving, everyday, the transformation of their souls into Jesus. They hungered for Jesus, they burned with love for Him, they were one in heart and in soul.
Let us examine ourselves and see if our communions have anything like this effect on us. “Let a man prove himself,” says St Paul “and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the cup, for he who eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgement to himself ” (1 Cor 2:28-29).
We should examine ourselves before Holy Communion and make an act of sorrow for our sins and imperfections. Then we shall be able to approach Jesus with love and confidence. We need not be afraid, for it is He Who invites us. It is He Who desires to be united with us in order to make us like Himself.
Let us go to Him, with repentance, with humility and with love. Then He will make us holy.”
Quote/s of the Day – 16 April – Friday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 5: 34-42, Psalm: Psalms 27: 1, 4, 13-14, Gospel: John 6: 1-15 and the Month of the Blessed Sacrament
“And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them”
“O precious and wonderful banquet that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness!”
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
“Let your door stand open to receive Him, unlock your soul to Him, offer Him a welcome in your mind and then you will see the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace, the joy of grace. Throw wide the gate of your heart, stand before the sun of the everlasting light.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Father and Doctor of the Church
“If Christ did not want to dismiss the Jews without food in the desert, for fear that they would collapse on the way, it was to teach us, that it is dangerous to try to get to Heaven, without the Bread of Heaven.”
St Jerome (343-420) Father and Doctor of the Church
“O you sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? … Behold – daily He humbles Himself as when from heaven’s royal throne He came down into the womb of the Virgin. Daily, He Himself, comes to us with like humility; daily He descends from the bosom of the Father, upon the altar, in the hands of the priest.”
One Minute Reflection – 16 April – Friday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 5: 34-42, Psalm: Psalms 27: 1, 4, 13-14, Gospel: John 6: 1-15
“They gathered up and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves” – John 6:13
REFLECTION – “In the twinkling of an eye the Lord multiplied a little bread. What human beings do in ten months of work, His ten fingers do in an instant … Nevertheless, He didn’t measure this miracle by its power but, according to the hunger of those who were there. If the miracle had been measured by its power, it would be impossible to evaluate it; measured according to the hunger of those thousands of people, the miracle went beyond the twelve baskets. Among artisans, their power is inferior to the customers’ desire; they cannot do everything that is asked of them. Contrary to them, what God accomplishes goes beyond all desire …
When they had been satiated, like the Israelites in past times through the prayer of Moses, they cried out: “This is undoubtedly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” They were referring to the words of Moses: “A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you.” Not just any prophet, but “a prophet like me” (Dt 18:15), Who will satiate you with bread in the desert. Like me, He walked on the sea, He appeared in the luminous cloud (Mt 17:5), He freed His people. He handed Mary over to John just like Moses handed over his flock to Joshua … But the bread of Moses was not perfect, it was only given to the Israelites. Because He wanted to show, that His gift is superior to that of Moses and the call to the nations still more perfect, our Lord said: “If anyone eats this bread he shall live forever,” for the bread from God “has come down from heaven” and is given to the whole world (Jn 6:51).” – St Ephrem (306-373) Deacon in Syria, Father & Doctor of the Church – Diatessaron, 12, 4-5, 11
PRAYER – Stay with us Lord Jesus, be our companion on our way. In Your mercy enflame our hearts and raise our hope, so that, in union with our brethren, we may share with each other Your food of life. Listen to the prayers of your Angels and Saints and as we entrust ourselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary, may she open our hearts to compassion. Through Your grace with God our Father and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever amen.
Acts 5: 34-42 34 But one in the council rising up, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, respected by all the people, commanded the men to be put forth a little while. 35 And he said to them: Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do, as touching these men. 36 For before these days rose up Theodas, affirming himself to be somebody, to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves; who was slain and all that believed him were scattered and brought to nothing. 37 After this man, rose up Judas of Galilee, in the days of the enrolling and drew away the people after him – he also perished and all, even as many as consented to him, were dispersed. 38 And now, therefore, I say to you, refrain from these men and let them alone; for if this council or this work be of men, it will come to nought; 39 but if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it, lest perhaps you be found even to fight against God. And they consented to him. 40 And calling in the apostles, after they had scourged them, they charged them that they should not speak at all in the name of Jesus and they dismissed them. 41 And they indeed went from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus. 42 And every day they ceased not in the temple and from house to house, to teach and preach Christ Jesus.
Gospel: John 6: 1-15 1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias. 2 And a great multitude followed him because they saw the miracles which he did on them, that were diseased. 3 Jesus, therefore, went up into a mountain and there he sat with his disciples. 4 Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. 5 When Jesus, therefore, had lifted up his eyes and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? 6 And this he said to try him. for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him: Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little. 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to him: 9 there is a boy here that hath five barley loaves and two fishes; but what are these among so many? 10 Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would. 12 And when they were filled, he said to his disciples: Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost. 13 They gathered up, therefore, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten. 14 Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: This is of a truth the prophet, that is to come into the world. 15 Jesus, therefore, when he knew that they would come to take him by force and make him king, fled again into the mountain himself alone.
Our Morning Offering – 16 April – Friday of the Second Week of Easter
I Will Put Myself In Your Hands By St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
O my God, I will put myself without reserve ,into Your hands. Wealth or woe, joy or sorrow, friends or bereavement, honour or humiliation, good report or ill report, comfort or discomfort. Your presence or the hiding of Your Countenance, all is good, if it comes from You. You are Wisdom and You are Love – what can I desire more. Amen
Saint of the Day – 16 April – Blessed Joachim Piccolomini of Siena OSM (1258–1305) Lay brother Friar of the Tertiaries of the Order of the Servants of Mary (the Servites), Apostle of charity of the sick, devotee of the Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin. Born in 1258 at Siena, Italy and died on Good Friday, 16 April 1306 at Siena, Italy of natural causes. Patronage – against epilepsy. Additional Memorial – 4 February (Servites). Also known as – Gioacchino Piccolomini, Joachim of Siena.
Joachim Piccolomini was born into a ancient and noble family of Siena, Italy. A pious youth, he was especially noted for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. His greatest childhood pleasure was to pray the Ave Maria before an image of the Blessed Lady of Sorrows. He was also known from an early age to exhibit extreme sensitivity to the plight of the poor. He gave them his own clothes and spent his pocket money on almsgiving. One day when Joachim urged his father to increase his aid to the distressed, his father argued that prudence ought to moderate his liberality. Otherwise, he would reduce his whole family to poverty. Joachim is said to have replied, “You have taught me that an alms is given to Jesus Christ, in the persons of the poor. Can we refuse Him anything? And what is the advantage of riches but that they be employed in purchasing treasures in heaven?” Hearing these sentiments, his father wept for joy.
Joachim joined the Servites as a lay-brother at the age of fourteen, becoming a spiritual student of Saint Philip Benizi, one of the seven Holy Founders. By all reports, he was a perfect model of virtue; it was not unusual to find him at midnight, praying, while the rest of the house slept and on Saturdays, Joachim abstained from all food in honour of the Seven Dolours of the Virgin. His fervour grew, yet instilled in him an extraordinary humility. Joachim was urged by his brothers to study and be ordained a Priest but he felt he was unworthy, and wanted nothing grander than to be an Altar Server. It would appear that his whole life was an attempt to hide himself from the eyes of others and live in obscurity. In fact, he had become so well-respected and widely known for his sanctity that he requested that he be transferred to Arezzo. The move aroused such a stir of complaints in Siena that he was ordered to return.
According to the legend Joachim reportedly died when he was unable to console an epileptic with words, so he begged God that he might take the illness upon himself. He died of epilepsy in 1305.
One account of Joachim’s hagiography has the Blessed Virgin appearing to him at important times in his life, such as in his adolescence, when she urged him to join the Servites. The second time, she appeared with two crowns in her hands; one of rubies to reward him for his compassion in her sorrows and the other of pearls, in recompense for his virginity, which he had vowed in her honour.
Shortly before his death, the account continues, she once more appeared. Joachim begged her that he would die on the same day on which Jesus Christ had died. The Virgin immediately gratified him, saying, “It is well, prepare thyself; for tomorrow, Good Friday, thou shalt die suddenly as thou desirest—tomorrow thou shalt be with me in heaven.” So, during the singing of the Passion according to Saint John, at the words “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His Mother” (John 19:25), Joachim fell into his last struggles of death and at the words “He bowed down his head and expired” (John 19:30), Joachim died. The whole Church was filled with an extraordinary light and a sweet-smelling perfume.
Blessed Joachim Piccolomini was Beatified by Pope Paul V on 21 March 1609. He is commonly depicted as a Servite holding a book and a flower and is venerated especially in Arezzo and Siena.
A little note of interest concerning the family of our saint – the Church has elected 2 Piccolomini Popes Pius II and Pius III and another relative of Siena, is also a Blessed – Ascanio Piccolomini (1628-1671).
Nostra Signora delle Vittorie / Our Lady of Victories in the Church of St Mark, Vienna (1683) – 16 April:
In the year 1683 a formidable army of well over 100,000 Turks invaded Austria and laid siege to Vienna for the second time. The City was strategically located in Europe and the Ottoman Turks had been pressing further and further into Christendom over the preceding centuries. If they could take Vienna, it would open up all of Europe to them. Unfortunately, all of Europe was not united against the invader. The differing Protestant sects hated their Catholic neighbours more than they feared the Turk, and stood by, doing nothing as the Catholics fought alone to save Europe. In fact, the Ottoman Empire had been supporting the Protestants, and encouraged them to revolt and rebel against their lawful government, which weakened Christendom and obviously played into the hands of the Turks. It went so far that they actually promised their Protestant dupes that they would be given the “Kingdom of Vienna” if they should help defeat them. Suffering under an intense siege, Vienna was on the point of surrendering to the enemy. The people were filled with fear and anxiety, for had this happened, the Turks would easily have invaded the rest of Europe,and filled it with blood and strife. From all parts of the Catholic world prayers were offered to the Queen of Heaven, that she intercede and avert this disaster. Our Lady, Consoler of the Afflicted, did not fail her people. The pious and valiant Catholic King of Poland, John Sobieski, with an army seemingly inadequate to the need, bravely marched against the enemy anyway. Even though his army was tiny in comparison to the multitudes that awaited him, there was no-one else who could come to the aid of Vienna. When John Sobieski came in sight of the Turkish camp, before beginning battle, he ordered Holy Mass to be celebrated, at which he himself served, then he begged the celebrant to bless the whole army.
Full of confidence in the help of Mary Most Holy, Our Lady of Victories, King John Sobieski manfully threw his forces into the conflict. Initiating what would be the largest cavalry charge in history, King John led his now legendary Winged Hussars into the face of the enemy like a host of avenging angels, disrupting the enemy formations and breaking their lines. The enemy, though far more numerous, turned and fled, while the King’s army were masters of the field. The rejoicing of Christians was great at this news and from all Christendom ,fervent prayers were offered to the Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Victories, in thanksgiving for her protection.
Pope Innocent XI, reigning at the time, placed all his trust in the Blessed Virgin Mary. He had vowed to institute a feast in her honour, if she would liberate the Church from this terrible danger. In fulfilment of this vow, he extended to the whole Catholic world, the Solemnity of the Holy Name of Mary, which had up to that time, only been observed in particular countries. The famous image of Our Lady of Victories is the one which Emperor John Zimiarnes and John Commenus, carried in a triumphal procession after having besieged the enemy. The image is now borne in procession at Vienna to beg Our Lady’s intercession for various needs.
St Herveus of Tours Blessed Joachim Piccolomini of Siena OSM (1258–1305)Tertiary Servite Lay Friar St Lambert of Saragossa St Lambert of Saragossa St Magnus of Orkney St Turibius of Astorga St Vaise St William Gnoffi — Martyrs of Avrillé – 26 beati: – A group of lay people who were executed together for their faith during the anti-Christian persecutions of the French Revolution. They were martyred on 16 April 1794 at Avrillé, Maine-et-Loire, France. • Blessed Anne Maugrain • Blessed François Micheneau veuve Gillot • Blessed François Suhard veuve Ménard • Blessed Jean Ménard • Blessed Jeanne Gourdon veuve Moreau • Blessed Jeanne Leduc épouse Paquier • Blessed Jeanne Onillon veuve Onillon • Blessed Jeanne Thomas veuve Delaunay • Blessed Madeleine Cady épouse Desvignes • Blessed Madeleine Sallé épouse Havard • Blessed Marguerite Robin • Blessed Marie Forestier • Blessed Marie Gingueneau veuve Coiffard • Blessed Marie Lardeux • Blessed Marie Piou épouse Supiot • Blessed Marie Rechard • Blessed Marie Roger veuve Chartier • Blessed Marie-Genevieve Poulain de la Forestrie • Blessed Marthe Poulain de la Forestrie • Blessed Perrine Bourigault • Blessed Perrine Laurent • Blessed Perrine Pottier épouse Turpault • Blessed Pierre Delépine • Blessed Renée Bourgeais veuve Juret • Blessed Renée Rigault épouse Papin • Blessed Renée Sechet veuve Davy 16 April 1794 at Avrillé, Maine-et-Loire, France – Beatified: 19 February 1984 by Pope John Paul II at Rome, Italy
Martyrs of Corinth – 9 saints: A group of nine Christians who were tortured and martyred together in the persecutions of Decius. We know little more than three of their names – Callistus, Charisius and Leonide. They were thrown into the sea at Corinth, Greece c250.
Martyrs of Saragossa: Group of eighteen martyrs murdered in 304 in Saragossa, Spain in the persecutions of Diocletian and the prefect Dacean. We know little more than the names – Apodemus, Caecilian, Caius, Crementius, Engratia, Eventius, Felix, Fronto, Gaius, Julia, Lambert, Lupercus, Martial, Optatus, Primitivus, Publius, Quintilian, Saturnius (4 men of this name), Succesus and Urban. Their graves re-discovered in 1389 in the crypt under the church of San Encrazia in Saragossa.