Thought for the Day – 26 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
My Life is Christ
“Am I determined to live the Life of Christ, by striving to be indissolubly united with Him, through divine grace? Am I prepared to say, with St Paul “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? For I am sure, that neither death, or life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, or any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord” (Rom 8:35-39).
But, in order to bring this about, it is necessary for me to fly from every sin and to look for God in all things and in all actions. I must love God with my whole heart and nurture the divine life within me, by prayer, recollection and frequent Communion. If I fail to put these resolutions into practice, I shall become a barren branch, fit only for eternal fire!”
Quote/s of the Day – 26 April – Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 11: 1-18, Psalm: Psalms 42: 2-3; 43: 3-4, Gospel: John 10: 1-10 and the Memorial of St Raphael Arnaiz Baron (1911-1938)
“I am the door. Whoever enters through me will be saved…. “
“In You is the source of life and in Your Light Lord, we see light“
“Now is the time for us to choose! … Listen to me, you holy seed, for I have no doubt, that it is here, in abundance… Listen to me or, rather, listen to Him, in me, Who was first called a good seed. Do not love your life in this world! If you truly love yourselves, do not thus love your life and then, you will save your life!”…
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“He is the origin of all wisdom. The Word of God in the heights, is the source of wisdom. Christ is the source of all true knowledge, for He is “the way, the truth and the life.” (Jn 14:6). … As way, Christ is the teacher and origin of knowledge … Without this Light, which is Christ, no-one can penetrate the secrets of faith.”
St Bonaventure (1221-1274) Seraphic Doctor
“Love Him, then, keep Him as a friend. He will not leave you as others do, or let you suffer lasting death. Sometime, whether you will or not, you will have to part with everything. Cling, therefore, to Jesus in life and death, trust yourself to the glory of Him, Who alone can help you when all others fail.“
Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471) (Book 2 Ch 7)
“Where, then, is true freedom? It is in the heart of one who loves nothing more than God. It is in the heart of one who is attached neither to spirit nor to matter but only to God. It is in that soul which is not subject to the “I” of egoism, which soars above its own thoughts, feelings, suffering and enjoyment. Freedom resides in the soul whose one reason for existence is God, whose life is God and nothing else but God.”
St Raphael Arnaiz Baron (1911-1938) Spanish Trappist Monk
One Minute Reflection – 26 April – Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 11: 1-18, Psalm: Psalms 42: 2-3; 43: 3-4, Gospel: John 10: 1-10 and the Memorial of Our Lady of Good Counsel / Our Lady of Genazzano (1467)
“I am the door. Whoever enters through me will be saved….” – John 10:9
REFLECTION – “My solemn word is this: “I am the sheepgate.” Jesus just opened the gate that He had shown us to be closed. He Himself is that gate. Let us recognise Him, let us enter and rejoice to have entered.
“All who came before me were thieves and marauders.” We must understand: “Those who came outside of me.” The prophets came before He arrived; were they thieves and marauders? Not at all, for they did not come outside of Christ; they were with Him. He had sent them as messengers before Him and He held in His hands the heart of these people whom He had sent… He said: “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (Jn 14:6) If He is the truth, those who were in the truth, were with Him. Those who, on the contrary, came outside of Him, are thieves and marauders, for they came only to plunder and kill. Jesus said: “The sheep did not heed them.”…
But the righteous believed that He would come, just as we believe, that He has already come. Times have changed, faith is the same… One single faith unites those who believed that He would come and those, who believe that He has come. We all see Him at different times coming in by the same gate of faith, that is to say, through Christ… Yes, all who believed in the past, at the time of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, or of Moses or the other patriarchs and prophets, who all announced Christ, were already His sheep. They heard Christ Himself through them – they did not hear a strange voice but His own.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Father & Doctor of Grace of the Church – 45th Treatise on the Gospel of Saint John
PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, You have rescued Your faithful from enslavement to sin, by Your Son’s self-abasement. You have raised up the world through His suffering. Fill us now with holy joy at His rising and triumph. Let us hear His voice and follow Him to everlasting life. Our Lady of Good Counsel, pray for us! Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Acts 11: 1-18 1 And the apostles and brethren, who were in Judea, heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, 3 Saying: Why didst thou go in to men uncircumcised and didst eat with them? 4 But Peter began and declared to them the matter in order, saying:
5 I was in the City of Joppe praying and I saw, in an ecstasy of mind, a vision, a certain vessel descending, as it were, a great sheet let down from heaven by four corners and it came even unto me. 6 Into which looking, I considered and saw fourfooted creatures of the earth and beasts and creeping things and fowls of the air:
7 And I heard also a voice saying to me: Arise, Peter – kill and eat.
8 And I said: Not so, Lord = for nothing common or unclean hath ever entered into my mouth. 9 And the voice answered again from heaven: What God hath made clean, do not thou call common. 10 And this was done three times and all were taken up again into heaven. 11 And behold, immediately there were three men come to the house wherein I was, sent to me from Caesarea. 12 And the Spirit said to me, that I should go with them, nothing doubting. And these six brethren went with me also: and we entered into the man’s house. 13 And he told us how he had seen an angel in his house, standing and saying to him: Send to Joppe and call hither Simon, who is surnamed Peter, 14 Who shall speak to thee words, whereby thou shalt be saved and all thy house. 15 And when I had begun to speak, the Holy Ghost fell upon them, as upon us also in the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how that he said: John indeed baptised with water but you shall be baptised with the Holy Ghost. 17 If then God gave them the same grace, as to us also, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; who was I, that could withstand God? 18 Having heard these things, they held their peace and glorified God, saying – God then hath also, to the Gentiles, given repentance unto life.
Gospel: John 10: 1-10 1 Amen, amen I say to you: He that enters not by the door into the sheepfold but climbs up another way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he that enters in, by the door, is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the porter opens and the sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he has let out his own sheep, he goes before them and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But a stranger they follow not but fly from him because they know not the voice of strangers. This proverb Jesus spoke to them. But they understood not what he spoke to them. 7 Jesus therefore said to them again: Amen, amen I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All others, as many as have come, are thieves and robbers and the sheep heard them not. 9 I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved and he shall go in and go out and shall find pastures. 10 The thief comes not but for to steal and to kill and to destroy. I am come, that they may have life and may have it, more abundantly.
Our Morning Offering – 26 April– Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Alone With None but Thee, My God Attri. St Columban (543-615)
Alone with none but Thee, my God I journey on my way, what need I fear when Thou art near, O King of night and day? More safe am I within Thy hand than if a host should round me stand.
My destined time is known to Thee, and death will keep his hour; did warriors strong around me throng, they could not stay his power. No walls of stone can man defend when Thou Thy messenger dost send.
My life I yield to Thy decree and bow to Thy control in peaceful calm, for from Thine arm no power can wrest my soul, could earthly omens e’er appal a man that heeds the heavenly call?
The child of God can fear no ill, His chosen, dread no foe; we leave our fate with Thee and wait Thy bidding when to go, ’tis not from chance our comfort springs, Thou art our Trust, O King of kings.
Saint of the Day – 26 April – Saint Peter of Braga (Died c 60) Martyr, the first Bishop of Braga, Portugal between the years 45 and 60. Born as Pedro de Rates on an unknown date and he died in c 60 in norther Portugal. Patronage – Braga. Also known as Peter of Rates and Pedro di Braga.
The Roman Martyrology states: “At Braga, Portugal, St Peter, Martyr, the first Bishop of that City.”
Tradition says he was ordered to preach the Christian faith by Saint James the Greater and that Peter of Rates was martyred while attempting to convert the locals to the Christian faith in northern Portugal. The ancient Breviary of Braga (Breviarium Bracarense) and the Breviary of Evora hold that Peter was a disciple of Saint James and preached at Braga.
The document holds that Saint James, one of the Apostles of Christ, visited the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula in the year 44. One of the places he visited was Serra de Rates, in the current municipality of Póvoa de Varzim, Portugal.
During his visit, the Apostle Ordained and Consecrated the local Peter of Braga as the first Bishop of Braga.
It is believed that Saint Peter was beheaded while converting the local pagans to the Christian faith.
Centuries later, around the 9th century, the discovery of Peter’s body was attributed to Saint Felix the Hermit, a fisherman of Villa Mendo, an ancient Roman villa that existed until the early years of the Kingdom of Portugal and rediscovered in the 20th century under the sand dunes of Rio Alto in Estela, also in Póvoa de Varzim.
Felix had left home and settled in the biggest hill of the area, which is today known as São Félix Hill. Regularly, Saint Félix observed a light in the darkness of the night from the hill. One day, curious about the light’s origins, Felix came upon the body of Saint Peter. On that spot, the Romanesque Monastery of Rates was built and the relics kept there until 1552; in that year the body was transferred to Braga Cathedral, where it is still kept.
In the civil parishes of Balasar and Rates in Póvoa de Varzim, there are two fountains that the population believes are miraculous because they were used by this saint.
In the 18th century, there are descriptions that Saint Peter of Braga was beheaded while drinking the waters of the fountain in Balasar. The faithful believes that two indentations on the fountain are impressions from the saint’s knees. At the fountain of Rates, a stone is believed to cure in cases of sterility. Due to that belief, on 26 April every year, the feast day of Saint Peter, the pregnant women and female animals do not go to work.
Our Lady of Genazzano (1467) / Our Lady of Good Counsel (Memorial) – 26 April:
George Kastrioti Skanderbeg (1405–1467), also known as Iskander, or by his more colourful title, the Dragon of Albania. He was a great warrior and leader of the people of Albania who fought against the expansion of the Ottoman Empire into his Kingdom. An invincible opponent of Islam, the reason for his successes, was no secret – he “loved the sanctuary of Mary with a devoted, enthusiastic love and Mary in return, not only made him a model of Christian perfection but also gave him, an invincible power, which preserved not only Albania but also Christendom during his reign.” There was at this time, a miraculous painting located in the town of Scutari, which was the Capital City of Albania. Our Lady of Scutari, now known as Our Lady of Good Counsel and Our Lady of Genazzano, is an image of Our Lady holding her Divine Son which had been painted on a thin sheet of plaster by an unknown hand. This portrait, reputed to date from the time of the Apostles of Christ, was greatly venerated and beloved by the faithful Albanian people. It was Our Lady of Scutari who had consoled and preserved Iskander through all his trials. After his victories, Iskander went to kneel before the image of Our Lady of Scutari, thanking and publicly praising her for his success. “He was a hero formed in the same school as all those who derive their strength from their devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Like a new Saint Fernando III, King of Castile, Scanderbeg was, under the guidance of Mary, as gentle in peace as he was terrible in war. The good Christian Prince was often seen at her feet to beg the protection of his Lady in his greatest afflictions.” Pope Nicholas V called Iskander “the champion and shield of Christendom,” which was true, although it was the Blessed Virgin Mary who protected her champion and granted him his victories. The Prince and unvanquished warrior, whose strength of soul gave his compatriots fortitude to throw off their lethargy, courage to rise up against the oppressive infidels, daring to despise death and thus expel them from their country, moved his subjects not only by example but also by his unbreakable faith, his ardent charity and his unshakable hope. Scanderbeg was God’s sword against the enemies of the holy Catholic Faith, the impregnable defensive wall protecting His realm. At the end of his life, physically exhausted from his labours, Iskander sensed that his death was near. He went one last time to visit Our Lady of Scutari at her Shrine and then retired to the City of Lesh to die. There he won a final battle against the Turks before he laid down and gave up his soul to God. He had ended his life heroically as a powerful defender of the Catholic faith and of Christendom. Shortly after Iskander’s death, the Ottoman army invaded Albania again. Without their invincible champion, it was only a matter of time before the Capital was taken. The Blessed Virgin revealed to two pious men that her image would not be desecrated and told them to prepare themselves for a long journey to follow the fresco when it left Albania. The picture then moved away from the wall, seemingly of its own accord and floated into the air. As the pair followed the image of Jesus and Mary, it was hidden in a cloud and went out over the waters of the Adriatic sea. Full of confidence in Our Lady, the men stepped upon the water, which miraculously supported them and so they continued to follow the image until they made land along the coast of Italy. At that point they lost sight of the cloud. It was not long before they learned where the image had gone. The cloud was seen again by the people of Genazzano, when they looked up into the sky to find the source of the heavenly music, that suddenly reached their ears. They watched dumbfounded as the little cloud descended and came to rest where it can still be seen today, floating before a wall of the Church of the Mother of Good Counsel in Genazzano. The image indeed floats before the wall, for it is not attached or supported in any way.
A hundred years later Pope Paul III had the picture studied and authenticated; Innocent IX had it crowned; many other Popes have granted favoUrs to the Shrine. As late as 1936 a commission formed to study the picture, reported, if struck a slight blow, it reacts as if it were hollow; if set in motion, it oscillates visibly. Pope Leo XIII raised the Sanctuary to the dignity of a Basilica and had the invocation, “Mother of Good Counsel” added to the Litany of Loretto. Blessed Pope Pius IX had a great devotion to Our Lady under this title – he offered his first Mass before its image; in 1864 he made a pilgrimage to Genazzano to have counsel of her who is “Seat of Wisdom.” He kept her image in his study and fostered a cult to Mary under this title; thus he exemplified the filial confidence of all true sons of Mary.*
The Augustinian Order contributed to the spread of this devotion internationally. In 1753, Pope Benedict XIV established the Pious Union of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Leo XIII, who was himself a member of the pious union, was deeply attached to this devotion.
Among her noted clients have been St Aloysius Gonzaga, St Alphonsus Liguori, St John Bosco and Blessed Stephen Bellesini.
There have been numerous miracles at the shrine where Mary took refuge after the death of her champion in Albania. Through this image of Our Lady of Genazzano and throughout many long ages, she has been caring for her children on earth. As the Mother of God, she has the ability to truly help us. Indeed, it is her ardent desire to support us and counsel us in our need. Pope Leo XIII instructed us to “follow her counsels!” and, like so many saints and Catholic heroes, we would profit greatly if we did so!
Bl Alda of Siena St Antoninus of Rome St Basileus of Amasea St Clarence of Venice St Claudius of Rome