Thought for the Day – 29 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Just as humility is the most difficult of the virtues to acquire, pride is the most common of the vices. We are all conceited and take pride in things, which do not belong to us but to God! One would imagine, that it would be easy to understand that we are nothing without God but, in practice, it is the other way round. It is not only prominent personalities, noted scientists and men of letters but also the most ordinary men, who believe, that they are unique and superior to their fellows.
Other vices follow pride. There is a presumption which leads us to believe that we are more important than we really are and attempt things which are beyond the power which God has given us.
There is ambition ,which drives us to make an immoderate quest for honours and responsibilities, our main goal in life, as if our hearts could be satisfied by these things, rather than by God and by our own sanctification.
There is empty vanity, the futile but burning desire to be praised and esteemed, as if our merits (if we have any) were anything else but a gift from God, which we have been able to develop only by His assistance and grace.
Let us examine ourselves in this regard and we shall find many distortions in our own personality. We shall discover many vain notions, which we ought to dispel and many selfish detractions from God’s glory of which we are and have been, guity. “Take away pride,” said St Augustine “and what are men but men?” Remove the mask of arrogance and affectation and who will find, that even those men, who regard themselves as outstanding personalities, are very insignificant creatures after all. Let us keep constantly in our mind the words of Jesus: “Amen, amen I say to you, the servant is not greater than his lord; neither is the apostle greater than he that sent him” (John 13:16).” We can learn a great deal from a meditation on this subject.
Quote/s of the Day – 29 April – The Memorial of St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church
“Speak the truth in a million voices. It is silence that kills!”
“Be strong and kill yourself with the sword of hate and love, then you will not hear the insults and abuse. which the enemies of the Church throw at you. Your eyes will not see anything, which seems impossible, or the sufferings, which may follow but only the light of faith and in that light , everything is possible and remember , God never lays greater burdens on us than we can bear.”
“You are rewarded, not according to your work, or your time but according to the measure of your love.”
St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 29 April – Thursday Fourth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 13:13-25, Psalm 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27, John 13:16-20 and the Memorial of St Hugh the Great of Cluny (1024-1109)
“A servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” … John 13:16
REFLECTION – “Remember the wonders He has done for us (Ps 104:5) in the past and those he does still. … In response to what He has done for us let us do even more and return what we owe Him, most venerable brethren. And what He wants from us is surely that we should fear Him, love Him with all our heart and all our mind (cf. Mt 22:37) and imitate His life in the flesh insofar as we can?
He made Himself a stranger, by leaving heaven for earth, so that we too might become strangers, to thoughts that come from self-will. He obeyed His Father ,so that you too should unhesitatingly obey …. He humbled Himself even to death (cf. Phil 2:8), so that you too should share this sentiment, abasing and humbling yourselves in thought, deed, word and act. Where is divine and true glory to be found, if not in becoming, without glory amongst men for God’s sake? … That which is small and despised, that is what He has chosen, my Saviour and God, who put on our flesh to confound (1 Cor 1:27-28) human fame and wealth.
This is why He was born in a cave, was laid in a manger, was called the son of a carpenter, called a Nazarene. He was clothed in one poor tunic and a single cloak; He went by foot, suffered, was stoned by the Jews (cf. Jn 10:31), insulted, arrested, crucified, pierced with a lance, placed in the tomb, after which He rose again. And so, He wishes to persuade us, brethren, to choose the same things as Himself before the angels, so that we may be crowned in the Kingdom of Heaven, into Christ our Lord Himself, to whom belongs glory and power, together with the Father and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.” … St Theodore the Studite (759-826) Monk and Theologian at Constantinople – Catechesis 78
PRAYER – Lord God, stand by us in Your saving work and stay with us in Your gifts of grace. You have rescued us from the darkness, keep us ever in Your light. May the ways of truth and life which Jesus Christ Your Son taught us, be our anchor and our light. We ask that You hear the intercession of Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mother and Saint Hugh of Cluny, Your servant, whom we beseech for help as we work to reach our heavenly home. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen
Acts 13: 13-25 13 Now when Paul and they that were with him, had sailed from Paphos, they came to Perge in Pamphylia. And John departing from them, returned to Jerusalem. 14 But they, passing through Perge, came to Antioch in Pisidia and entering into the synagogue on the sabbath day, they sat down. 15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying: Ye men, brethren, if you have any word of exhortation to make to the people, speak. 16 Then Paul rising up and with his hand bespeaking silence, said: Ye men of Israel and you that fear God, give ear. 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers,and exalted the people when they were sojourners in the land of Egypt and with an high arm brought them out from thence, 18 And for the space of forty years endured their manners in the desert. 19 And destroying seven nations in the land of Chanaan, divided their land among them, by lot, 20 As it were, after four hundred and fifty years and after these things, he gave unto them judges, until Samuel the prophet. 21 And after that, they desired a king:and God gave them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, he raised them up David to be king to whom giving testimony, he said: I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to my own heart, who shall do all my wills. 23 Of this man’s seed, God according to his promise, has raised up to Israel a Saviour, Jesus. 24 John first preaching, before his coming, the baptism of penance to all the people of Israel. 25 And when John was fulfilling his course, he said: I am not he, whom you think me to be: but behold, there comes one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.
Gospel: John 13: 16-20 16 Amen, amen I say to you: The servant is not greater than his lord; neither is the apostle greater than he that sent him. 17 If you know these things, you shall be blessed if you do them. 18 I speak not of you all, I know whom I have chosen. But that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eats bread with me, shall lift up his heel against me. 19 At present I tell you, before it come to pass, that when it shall come to pass, you may believe that I am he. 20 Amen, amen I say to you, he that receives whomsoever I send, receives me and he that receives me, receives him that sent me.
Our Morning Offering – 29 April – Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter and the Memorial of St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Doctor of the Church
O God of Truth and Love By St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)
O omnipotent Father, God of truth, God of love permit me to enter into the cell of self-knowledge. I admit, that of myself, I am nothing but that all being and goodness in me comes solely from You. Show me my faults, that I may detest them, and thus I shall flee from self-love and find myself clothed again in the nuptial robe of divine charity, which I must have, in order to be admitted to the nuptials of life eternal. Amen
Saint of the Day – 29 April – St Hugh of Cluny (1024-1109) St Hugh the Great, Priest, Abbot of Cluny from 1049 until his death., founder-builder of numerous Monasteries, Convents , Hospitals and the biggest Church in Europe prior to the building of St Peter’s, apostle of the poor, the sick, the marginalised by the feudal system, ecclesiastical Reformer, holy father to his Monks and servant to all who needed him,. He was one of the most influential leaders of the monastic orders from the Middle Ages. Born on 13 May 1024 at Semur-en-Brionnais, Brionnais (now Saône-et-Loire), in the Diocese of Autun, France as Hugues de Semur and died on 28 April 1109 at Cluny Monastery, Brionnais (now Saône-et-Loire), France. Patronage – aganst fever. Also known as Hugh of Semur.
Saint Hugh was a Prince related to the sovereign house of the Dukes of Burgundy and received his education under the tutelage of his pious mother and by the solicitude of Hugh, Bishop of Auxerre, his great-uncle. From his infancy he was given to prayer and meditation and his life was remarkably innocent and holy.
One day, hearing an account of the wonderful sanctity of the Monks of Cluny under Saint Odilo, he was so moved, that he set out at that moment and going there, he humbly begged the monastic habit. After a rigid novitiate, he made his profession in 1039, at the age of sixteen years. His extraordinary virtue, especially his admirable humility, obedience, charity, sweetness, prudence and zeal, gained him the respect of the entire community.
At the death of Saint Odilo in 1049, though Saint Hugh was only twenty-five years old, he succeeded to the government of that great Abbey, which he continued for sixty-two years. During those years, the role of Cluny was immense. From it came four very illustrious Popes, including Pope Urban II and Pope Pascal II, both disciples of Saint Hugh.
The King of Castille, Alphonsus VI, owed his deliverance from an imprisonment to the prayers and intervention of Saint Hugh. A Count of Macon entered the Monastery with thirty knights and a great many servants, while the Countess, his wife, retired to a convent founded by Saint Hugh. Donations of large terrains were made to this Abbey, permitting innumerable foundations. Abbot Hugh built the third Abbey Church at Cluny, the largest structure in Europe for many centuries.
Pope Urban II gave Saint Hugh the right to wear pontifical ornaments for the solemn feast days.
For the Monks under his care, Hugh was a model of fatherly forethought, of devotion to discipline and prayer and of unhesitating obedience to the Holy See. In furtherance of the great objects of his order, the service of God and personal sanctification, he strove to impart the utmost possible splendour and solemnity to the liturgical services at Cluny. Some of his liturgical ordinances, such as the singing of the Veni Creator at Tierce on Pentecost Sunday (subsequently also within the octave), have since been extended to the entire Roman Church. He began the magnificent church at Cluny — now unfortunately entirely disappeared — which was, until the erection of St. Peter’s at Rome, the largest Church in Christendom, and was esteemed the finest example of the Romancsque style in France.
Hugh gave the first impulse to the introduction of the strict cloister into the Convents of nuns, prescribing it first for that of Marcigny, of which his sister became first prioress in 106 and where his mother also took the veil. Renowned for his charity towards the suffering poor, he built a hospital for lepers, where he himself performed the most menial duties. It is impossible to trace here the effect which his granting of personal and civic freedom to the bondsmen and colonists feudatory to Cluny and the fostering of tradesmen’s guilds — the nuclei from which most of the modern Cities of Europe sprang — have had on civilisation.
In the case of comparatively few of our Saints has the decision of their own and subsequent ages, been so unanimous, as in that of St.Hugh. Living in an age of misrepresentation and abuse, when the Church had to contend with far greater domestic and external inimical forces ,than those marshalled by the so-called Reformation, not a single voice was raised against his character — for we disregard the criticism of the French Bishop, who in the heat of a quarrel, pronounced hasty words, afterwards to be recalled and who, was subsequently one of Hugh’s panegyrists.
In one of his letters Pope Gregory declares that he confidently expects the success of ecclesiastical reform in France through God’s mercy and the instrumentality of Hugh, “whom no imprecation, no applause or favours, no personal motives can divert from the path of rectitude” (Gregorii VII Registr., IV, 22). In the “Life of Bishop Arnulf of Soissons,” Arnulf says of Hugh: “Most pure in thought and deed, he is the promoter and perfect guardian of monastic discipline and the regular life, the unfailing support of the true religious and of men of probity, the vigorous champion and defender of the Holy Church” (Mabillon, op. cit. infra, saec. VI, pars II, P. 532). And of his closing years Bishop Bruno of Segni writes: “Now aged and burdened with years, reverenced by all and loved by all, he still governs that venerable Monastery with the same consummate wisdom — a man in all things most laudable, difficult of comparison,and of wonderful sanctity” (Muratori, “Rerum Ital. script.”, III, pt. ii, 347).
Emperors and Kings vied with the sovereign Pontiffs in bestowing on Hugh marks of their veneration and esteem. Henry the Black, in a letter which has come down to us, addresses Hugh as his “very dear father, worthy of every respect,”,declares that he owes his own return to health and the happy birth of his child to the Abbot’s prayers and urges him to come to the Court at Cologne the following Easter to stand sponsor for this son (the future Henry IV).
Hugh was chosen by the Kings and Princes of the various Christian kingdoms of Spain as arbiter to decide the question of succession. When Robert II of Burgundy refused to attend the Council of Autun (1065), at which his presence was necessary, Hugh was sent to summon the Duke, and remonstrated with him, so eloquently, in the interests of peace that Robert accompanied the Abbot unresistingly to the Council, became reconciled with those who had put his son to death and promised to respect ,thenceforth, the property of the Church.
William the Conqueror of England, shortly after the Battle of Hastings (1066), made rich presents to Cluny and begged to be admitted a confrater of the Abbey like the Spanish kings. St Anselm of Canterbury, was one of the many Bishops, who consulted Hugh in their difficulties and trials and, on three occasions — once during his exile from England — visited the Abbot at Cluny.
In the spring of 1109, Hugh, worn out with years and labours and feeling his end approaching, asked for the Last Sacraments, summoned around him his spiritual children and, having given each the kiss of peace, dismissed them with the greeting: Benedicite. Then, asking to be conveyed to the Chapel of our Blessed Lady, he laid himself in sackcloth and ashes before her Altar and thus breathed forth his soul to his Creator on the evening of Easter Monday (28 April).
His tomb in the Abbey Church was soon the scene of miracles,and to it Pope Gelasius I made a pilgrimage in 1119, dying at Cluny on 20 January. Elected at the Monastery on 2 February, Callistus II began immediately the process of Canonisation, and, on 6 January, 1120, declared Hugh a saint, appointing 29 April his feast-day.
In honour of St.Hugh ,the Abbot of Cluny was ,henceforth, accorded the title and dignity of a cardinal. At the instance of Honorius III the translation of the Saint’s remains took place on 23 May 1220 but, during the uprising of the Huguenots (1575), the remains and the costly Shrine disappeared with the exception of a few relics.
Abbots of Cluny: A feast that recognises the great and saintly early abbots of Cluny Abbey: • Saint Aymardus of Cluny • Saint Berno of Cluny • Saint Hugh of Cluny • Saint Mayeul • Saint Odilo of Cluny • Saint Odo of Cluny • Saint Peter the Venerable
— St Antonius Kim Song-u St Ava of Denain St Daniel of Gerona St Dichu St Endellion of Tregony St Fiachan of Lismore St Hugh of Cluny (1024-1109) St Hugh the Great, Priest, Abbot
Bl Robert Gruthuysen St Senan of Wales St Severus of Naples St Theoger St Torpes of Pisa St Tychicus St Wilfrid the Younger — Martyrs of Cirta: A group of clergy and laity martyred together in Cirta, Numidia (in modern Tunisia) in the persecutions of Valerian. They were – Agapius, Antonia, Emilian, Secundinus and Tertula, along with a woman and her twin children whose names have not come down to us.
Martyrs of Corfu: A gang of thieves who converted while in prison, brought to the faith by Saint Jason and Saint Sosipater who were had been imprisoned for evangelizing. When the gang announced their new faith, they were martyred together. They were – Euphrasius, Faustianus, Insischolus, Januarius, Mammius, Marsalius and Saturninus. They were boiled in oil and pitch in the 2nd century on the Island of Corcyra (modern Corfu, Greece. Also known as: • Martyrs of Corcyra • Seven Holy Thieves • Seven Holy Robbers • Seven Robber Saints