Thought for the Day – 5 May – “Mary’s Month” Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Mary, Our Mother
“Mary is, at the same time, our loving and powerful Mother. No matter how much earthly mothers love their sons and desire to help them, very often they cannot do so because, their love is limited. It is not so with Mary. Not only does she love us but, she also possesses great influence with her divine Son, Jesus. We should have confidence in her, therefore and have recourse to her, in every spiritual or temporal need. We may be certain that she will use her powers of intercession on our behalf. Let us remember, however, to ask, first of all, for the spiritual favours which we need. Later, we may ask, in a spirit of resignation to God’s Will, for temporal benefits and for release from worldly suffering. If we acted otherwise, we should not be worthy sons of Mary, who endured all kinds of suffering for the sake of Jesus.
When we recite the Our Father, we say ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,‘ before we say ‘Deliver us from evil.’ If anyone refuses the cross, he shows that he does not love God because, he does not will what God wills for him. We should remember that there is no affliction which does not come from God and, that nothing comes from God, which is not for our own good.
So let us ask Mary for everything which we desire but let us ask her, first of all to make us holy. Devotion to Mary, as St Catherine of Siena assures us, is a mark of predestination..”
Quote/s of the Day – 5 May – Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 15: 1-6; Psalm: Psalms 122: 1-2, 3-4ab, 4cd-5; Gospel: John 15: 1-8 and the Memorial of the Conversdion of St Augustine
“Without Me you can do nothing”
“You do not know when your last day may come. You are an ingrate! Why not use the day, today, that God has given you to repent?”
“What do you possess if you possess not God?”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of Grace
“A saint is not someone, who never sins, but one who sins less and less frequently and gets up more and more quickly.”
St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Mellifluous Doctor
“Each day then, we ought to renew our resolutions and arouse ourselves to fervour, as though it were the first day of our turning back to God. We ought to say: “Help me, O Lord God, in my good resolution and in Your holy service. Grant me now, this very day, to begin perfectly, for thus far I have done nothing.” … Just men depend on the grace of God rather than on their own wisdom in keeping their resolutions. In Him they confide every undertaking …” ”
Thomas à Kempis CRSA (1380-1471)
“A soul makes room for God by wiping away all the smudges and smears of creatures, by uniting its will perfectly to God’s, for to love is to labour, to divest and deprive oneself for God, of all that is not God . When this is done, the soul will be illumined by and transformed in God.”
St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Mystical Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 5 May – Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 15: 1-6; Psalm: Psalms 122: 1-2, 3-4ab, 4cd-5; Gospel: John 15: 1-8 and the Memorial of the Conversdion of St Augustine
“Remain in me as I remain in you ” … John 15:4
REFLECTION – “Whatever be the stage in which the soul is, its work, however, is never anything but a work of co-operation. The soul is not alone, God works in and with it, for He is ever the first Author of its progress.
Doubtless, at the outset, when the soul is yet encumbered with vices and evil habits, it must needs apply itself with virility and ardour to remove these obstacles, which are opposed to divine union. The co-operation that God requires of it, at this period, is particularly great and active and is revealed very clerly to the conscience. During this period, God grants sensible graces that uplift and encourage. But the soul experiences inward vicissitudes, it falls then rises up again; it labours, then rests; it takes breath again then goes forward on its way.
As far and in the measure as the soul advances and obstacles give way, the inner life becomes more homogeneous, more regular, more uniform; the action of God is felt to be more powerful because it is more free to act and because it meets with less resistance and more suppleness in the soul; then, we rapidly go forward in the path of perfection. … Our Lord has so clearly given us this fundamental doctrine: “I am the Vine, you are the branches; abide in me that you may bear fruit, for without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). …
To imagine, then, that Christ will take upon Himself all the work would be a dangerous illusion but, to believe that we could do anything, whatsoever without Him, would be no less perilous. We must be convinced too, that our works are only of value by reason of our union with Jesus. ” – Blessed Columba Marmion (1858-1923) Abbot – The “instruments of good works” (Christ, the Ideal of the Monk
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. Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our mother, pray for us! St Aaugustinet, pray for us. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 5 May – The Memorial of the Conversion of St Augustne of Hippo (354-430)
Blessed Virgin Mary, Receive Our Gratitude By St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of Grace
Blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay you with praise and thanks for having rescued a fallen world by your generous consent! Receive our gratitude and by your prayers, obtain the pardon of our sins. Take our prayers into the Sanctuary of Heaven and enable them to make our peace with God. Holy Mary, help the miserable, strengthen the discouraged, comfort the sorrowful, pray for your people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God. May all who venerate you feel now your help and protection. Be ready to help us when we pray and bring back to us, the answers to our prayers. Make it your continual concern to pray for the people of God, for you were blessed by God and were made worthy to bear the Redeemer of the world, Who lives and reigns forever. Amen
Saint of the Day – 5 May – Feast of the Conversion of St Augustine (354-430) Bishop, Father and Doctor of Grace. Born on 13 November 354 at Tagaste, Numidia, North Africa (Souk-Ahras, Algeria) as Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis and died on 28 August 430 at Hippo, North Africa, which date is his primary Feast day. The Augustinians celebrated today’s memorial on 24 April. St Augustine is the Patron of against sore eyes, against vermin, brewers, printers, theologians, 7 Dioceses, 7 Cities
The Roman Martyrology states of today’s memorial: “In Milan, the Conversion of St Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, whom the blessed Bishop St Ambrose instructed in the Catholic Faith and baptised on this day.”
The story of a soul’s journey to God is what we celebrate today in the feast of the Conversion of Saint Augustine. Or, perhaps, we might also say, the story of God’s tireless pursuit of His beloved and the attentiveness and openness of that soul at last to God’s love. Conversion, or the turning to God, is a movement that is possible for us at every moment of our journey – not simply once and forever but continually and ever more deeply.
During the Easter Vigil, on the night between 4 and 5 April 387, Augustine was baptised by Bishop Ambrose in the Cathedral of Milan ,together with his son, Adeodatus and a small group of friends, including the ‘brother of (his) heart,’ Alypius. Thus was brought to its happy end, the long and tiring journey of Augustine’s conversion to the Catholic faith. Augustine himself records, in Book 8 of the Confessions, the climactic moment in which he surrendered to God’s grace and was relieved of the doubts and fears, which had so long kept him imprisoned.
How many things came together now, in one moment, to bring him freedom: – the story of a visiting countryman, the song of a young child, repeating Tolle Lege, Tolle Lege – Take up, read. Take up, read, moving him to pick up St Paul’s Letter to the Romans, to find there, the response to his heart’s longing.
“I found myself weeping in the bitter sorrow of my heart. And suddenly I heard a voice from a nearby house, a child’s voice, boy or girl I do not know – but it was sort of a sing song that repeated over and over again. ‘Take and read, take and read.’ Wiping away my tears I took this as a divine command and opened the Scriptures and in silence read the passage on which my eyes first fell – ‘Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in debauchery and impurity, not in contention and envy but put on the Lord Jesus…’”
“How sweet did it suddenly become to me to be free of the sweets of folly -things that I once feared to lose, it was now joy to put away. You cast them forth from me, You the true and highest sweetness, You cast them forth and in their stead, You entered in, sweeter than every pleasure…” (Conf. 9, 1).
Certainly the story of Augustine’s conversion, numbers among the most well-known and most significant of all of Christian history – well-known, through Augustine’s own recording of it in his Confessions; significant, not only for the impact which his life of faith – as Monk, Bishop and Theologian – has had on the Catholic Church ever since but also, on the many men and women of every period, whose own personal lives have been altered by reading it and then hastening to go on and read and read and read the words of love of St Augustine!
Let us now thank God for the great light that shines out from St Augustine’s wisdom and humility and pray the Lord to give to us all, day after day, the conversion we need to lead us toward true life. And we ask our beloved Father and Doctor of Grace, St Augustine, to not forget us in his supplications and intercessions. as he gazes on the Face of God. Amen.
Nuestra Señora de Europa / Our Lady of Europe, Gibraltar (1492) – 5 May:
Together with Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Our Lady is the Catholic patron Saint of Gibraltar and as such, protector of the whole of Europe.
In thanksgiving for the reconquest of Spain by Christian forces in 1492, the Catholics of Gibraltar converted a mosque into the Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Europa. Beneath a lighthouse tower, Our Lady presided over the Straits, its mariners and the continent of Europe for over two centuries. But in 1704, the British captured Gibraltar and pillaged the Shrine. They mutilated the wooden statue of the Virgin and Child and threw it over the cliff. A fisherman found the floating pieces and took them to Father Juan Romero de Figueroa at the Church on Main Street (now the Catholic Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned), who carried them to Spain for safekeeping, while the Church of Our Lady of Europe served as a British guardroom.
There across the bay in Algeciras, the Capillita de Europa housing the repaired Statue became a focus of devotion. A replica was placed in Gibraltar’s Cathedral.
In 1864, the Bishop attended the First Vatican Council, where he interested Blessed Pope Pius IX in building a new Shrine to Our Lady of Europe. Two years later,, the new Church was completed. The Vicar Apostolic John Baptist Scandella arranged for the original Statue to be returned to Gibraltar from Algeciras, where a replica replaced it.
But military occupation during two World Wars left the Shrine in such disrepair, that in 1960 it was torn down for construction of the Old People’s Home. In 1961, the Government of Gibraltar returned the original Chapel, the former mosque, to the Catholic Church. In 1962, it was renovated and reopened as the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe, where the Statue was reinstalled on 17 October 1961. In 1979 Pope John Paul II proclaimed the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Principal Patroness of the Diocese of Gibraltar under this title.
The feast of Our Lady of Europe was celebrated on 30 May until 1980, when the Vatican authorised its transfer to 5 May, then celebrated as Europe Day in honour of the Council of Europe’s founding on 5 May 1949.
St Pope Pius V OP (1504-1573) (optional memorial) changed in 1969 this feast which had been celebrated on this day of his birth into Heaven since 1713. Bishop of Rome, Ruler of the Papal States, Pope of the Council of Trent, the Counter-Reformation, the Battle of Lepanto, the Holy Rosary and the Pope who declared St Thomas Aquinas as a Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial) The Roman Martyrology states of St Pius V today: “At Rome, Pope St Pius V, of the Order of Preachers, who laboured zealously and successfully for the re-establishment of Ecclesiastical discipline, the extirpation of heresies, the destruction of the enemies of the Christian name and, governed the Catholic Church by holy laws and the example of a saintly lfe.” His Life: https://anastpaul.com/2019/04/30/saint-of-the-day-saint-pope-pius-v-1504-1572/ Lepanto by G K Chesterton: https://anastpaul.com/2019/04/30/lepanto-30-april/
St Crescentiana St Echa of Crayke St Eulogius of Edessa St Euthymius of Alexandria St Geruntius of Milan St Godehard of Hildesheim Bl Grzegorz Boleslaw Frackowiak St Hilary of Arles St Hydroc St Irenaeus of Thessalonica St Irenes of Thessalonica Bl John Haile St Jovinian of Auxerre St Jutta Kulmsee St Leo of Africo St Maurontius of Douai St Maximus of Jerusalem St Nectarius of Vienne St Nicetas of Vienne
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