Thought for the Day – 2 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Intercession of Our Lady
“There is a passage in the Gospel which illustrates, in outstanding fashion, Mary’s great power of intercession. St John relates (Cf Jn 2:1-2) that, along with Mary and the Apostles, Jesus took part at a wedding celebration in Cana of Galilee. During the banquet, the wine ran short. Mary realised how embarrassing this would be for the young couple and took pity on them. She said to Jesus in a tone of request: “They have no wine.” But Jesus seemed quite indifferent to her appeal. “What would thou have me do, woman?” He said, “My hour has not yet come.”
One would have imagined from the coolness of this reply, that it would have been useless to press the matter and further. Mary, on the other hand, was sure, that Jesus would not refuse the favour which she asked. She turned without any hesistation to the attendants and directed them: “Do whatever he tells you.”
As if disarmed by His Mother’s trustfulness, Jesus then worked His first miracle through her intercession. When we pray we should do so with the same confidence and we shall certainly be answered.
Remember Mary’s words,however, “Do whatever he tells you.” We must do whatever Jesus tells us, if we want Mary to listen to us and to work in us, the miracle of our sanctification. If we desire to be true sons of Mary, her advice to us, is to carry out the commands of Jesus Christ.”
Quote/s of the Day – 2 May – “Mary’s Month” – and the Memorial of St Athanasius (297-373) Father & Doctor of the Church
“If we follow Christ closely we shall be allowed, even on this earth, to stand, as it were, on the threshold of the heavenly Jerusalem and enjoy the contemplation, pf that everlasting feast, like the blessed Apostles, who, in following the Saviour as their leader, showed and still show, the way to obtain the same gift from God. They said – See, we have left all things and followed You. We too follow the Lord and we keep His feast by deeds rather than by words.”
“He cries out, saying: See, I am with you all the days of this age. He is Himself the shepherd, the high priest, the way and the door, and has become all things at once for us.”
“Mary, Mother of Grace, it becomes you to be mindful of us, as you stand near Him who granted you all graces, for you are the Mother of God and our Queen. Help us for the sake of the King, the Lord God and Master, Who was born of you.”
One Minute Reflection – 2 May – The Fifth Sunday of Easter, Readings: Acts 9:26-31, Psalm: Psalms 22: 26-27, 28, 30, 31-32 (26a), Second: First John 3: 18-24, Gospel: John 15: 1-8 and the Memorial of St Athanasius (297-373)
“I am the vine, you the branches; he that abides in me and I in him, the same bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5
REFLECTION – “I must warn each of you about His vine – for who has never cut back everything that is superfluous in himself ,to the point of thinking that there is nothing more to cut?
Believe me, what has been cut, grows back; the vices that have been chased away return and we see tendencies that had gone to sleep, waking up again. It is, therefore, not enough to cut one’s vine once; rather, we have to do it again and often and if possible, even without ceasing. For if you are sincere, you ceaselessly find in yourself ,something to cut…
Virtue cannot grow among the vices; for virtue to develop, we must prevent the vices from increasing. So suppress what is superfluous; then the necessary will be able to spring up.
For us, Brothers, it is always the time for cutting, it is always necessary. For I am sure that we have already left winter behind us, we have left behind the fear without love, which introduces us all to wisdom but which doesn’t let anyone grow in perfection. When love comes, it chases away that fear just as the summer chases away the winter… So may the winter rains stop, that is say, the tears of anguish that arise because of the memory of your sins and the fear of judgement… If “the winter is over” and “the rain has topped” (Song 2:11)… the sweetness of the spring of spiritual grace shows us, that the time has come to cut our vine. What else is there for us to do other than to become entirely committed to this work?” – St Bernard (1091-1153) Mellifluous Doctor of the Church – Sermon 58 on the Song of Songs
PRAYER – Holy God and Father, help us to discern through prayer and meditation what You truly want of us. Then enable us to offer it to You and indeed, to offer ourselves and all we have and all we are, to You. When You bring us sufferings to mould us closer and make us more like You, help us to accept them and offer them back to You. Following Your divine Son, let us pick up those crosses in peace and love. Our Lady Holy Mother of Our Lord and our own, pray for us! St Athanasius, pray for us. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 2 May – Fifth Sunday of Easter
Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary Before Holy Mass
O most blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of tenderness and mercy, I, a miserable and unworthy sinner, fly to you with all the affection of my heart and I beseech your motherly love, that, as you stood by your most dear Son, while He hung on the Cross, so, in your kindness, you may be pleased to stand by me, a poor sinner, and all Priests who today are offering the Sacrifice here and throughout the entire holy Church, so that with your gracious help we may offer a worthy and acceptable oblation in the sight of the most high and undivided Trinity. Amen.
(This prayer is adapted from the Priests’ Prayers Before each Mass)
Saint of the Day – 2 May – Saint St Zoe of Pamphylia (Died 127) Martyr, Laywoman, Wife and Mother. The Roman Martyrology states of her and her family: “The holy mMartyrs , Exuperius and Zoe, his wife, with their sons, Cyriacus and Theodolus, who suffered under the Emperior Adrian.”
Zoe was married to Saint Exuperius. They had 2 sons, Saint Cyriacus and Saint Theodulus.
They were slaves, and were owned by a rich devout worshipper of the ancient Roman gods in Atalia, Pamphylia. One of Zoe’s duties was to tend the house dogs and prevent them from biting visitors. She rarely saw her husband as he worked the fields, a distance from the house.
Since she worked near a roadway, she gave of her own meagre rations to those even poorer than herself. One pagan feast day, the slaves were given meat to sacrifice to an idol. They refused and the entire family was tortured and murdered.
Nuestra Señora de Oviedo / Our Lady of Oviedo, Spain (711) – 2 May:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “Our Lady of Oviedo, Spain, where they possess some of the Blessed Virgin’s hair.”
The Cathedral of Oviedo was founded in 781 AD, and enlarged by Alfonso the Chaste, who made Oviedo the Capital of the Kingdom of Asturias. The Chapel was once called the Sancta Ovetensis, owing to the quantity and quality of relics contained in the Camara Santa (Holy Chamber).
There is in the City of Oviedo a Holy Chest that contains many and varied relics. It rests in the Town where King Alfonso II, the Chaste, built a Shrine to house it and there it can be seen even today as it was well over a millennium ago. Like the Arc of the Covenant, or the Holy Grail, it is a singular thing the like of which is almost utterly unknown in the entire history of mankind.
This Holy Chest is made of oak and was skillfully constructed without the use of any nails. It measures roughly four feet by three feet by two feet and has been venerated, by faithful Catholics, since apostolic times. Indeed, it is believed to have been fashioned by devoted disciples of the twelve Apostles. Many men and woman throughout history have given their entire lives in service to the holy relics contained therein, or to save the chest from pagans who sought its destruction. The chest originated in the Holy City of Jerusalem. When the Persain’s attacked and conquered Jerusalem in 614, many priceless relics from the region were gathered and placed in it for protection, as the Persians sought relics to destroy them. The chest was taken for safekeeping to a small community of Catholiacs in Alexandria, Egypt. A short time later, Alexandria was also sacked by the Muslims and the chest was taken across the Mediterranean Sea to Spain, where St Isidore kept it in Seville. Upon St. Isidore’s death, the chest was transferred to the City of Toledo, which was then becoming an important centre in Spain. When the wave of Muslim aggression reached even Toledo in 711, the Holy Chest was taken to the Asturias and hidden in a well in Pelayo’s mountain. The chest has a lock and key but by the time of the eleventh century it had not been opened for hundreds of years. The last time it was known to have been opened was when it was done by a living saint, St Ildephonsus, for in it he had placed a chasuble that the Mother of God herself had given him during an apparition. By the year 1030, the exact contents of the Holy Chest were no longer known. Bishop Ponce of Oviedo and with him many clerics, determined to examine the chest to unlock its secrets. As soon as the lid was raised only the slightest bit, “there burst forth so stupendous a light that the terrified clerics, some of them stricken blind, dropped the lid and fled, leaving the mystery unsolved.” After Mass, on Friday, 13 March 1075, the key was again placed in the lock. On this occasion, God was pleased to reveal the contents of the Holy Chest. The chest contained the Sudarium, mentioned by St John the Evangelist in his Gospel, as the cloth that covered the face of Christ, after the crucifixion. On it can be seen the bloodstains of Our Lord that evidence his passion and death. It alone is a treasure without reckoning… The chest also contained a piece of the True Cross of Our Lord, a small stone of the sepulcher in which He was buried, some of the cloths in which He was wrapped in the manger, several thorns from the Crucifixion, a piece of the earth of Mount Olivet touched by His feet when He ascended into heaven, one of the thirty coins given to Judas, a lock of the Blessed Mother’s hair, the chasuble given by the Virgin Mary to Saint Ildephonsus, a chest of gold and precious stones containing the forehead of St John the Baptist and his hair and a host of other relics from many saints and prophets, including St Stephen, the first martyr, St Mary Magdalene, St Peter the Apostle, St Vincent and the rod of Moses which parted the Red Sea and the manna supplied from heaven during the Exodus from Egypt, and many other priceless relics.
King Alfonso VI commissioned a silversmith to sheath the Holy Chest in gilded silver, adorning it with figures of Our Lord and His angels and saints. It can still be seen even today.”
There are numerous Marian images, in their different invocations, which can be seen in the Cathedral of Oviedo. The month of May dedicated to the Virgin inspires a tour of different chapels and altarpieces in which the Immaculate, Virgin Asuntas are preserved, also affectionate Mothers with a Child in their arms, without forgetting the suffering Mothers of the Piedades and ,of course ,the Virgin from Covadonga, our Santina. In the Chapel of Santa María del Rey Casto a small Altarpiece houses one of the most precious Marian images of the Cathedral of Oviedo and which, perhaps, due to its modest size, goes unnoticed. The Altarpiece of Our Lady of Light . This Altarpiece was donated in 1552 by Gutierre González de Cienfuegos, magistrate of Medina del Campo and Salamanca and was placed in the retrochoir of the Cathedral, where it served as an Altar.
Bl Bernard of Seville St Bertinus the Younger Bl Boleslas Strzelecki Bl Conrad of Seldenbüren St Cyriacus of Pamphylia St Eugenius of Africa St Exsuperius of Pamphylia St Felix of Seville St Fiorenzo of Algeria St Gennys of Cornwall St Germanus of Normandy (Died c 460) St Gluvias St Guistano of Sardinia
Bl William Tirry St Zoe of Pamphylia (Died 127) Martyr, Laywoman — Martyrs of Alexandria – 4 saints: A group of Christians marytred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know little more than their names – Celestine, Germanus, Neopolus and Saturninus. 304 in Alexandria, Egyp