Thought for the Day – 6 May – “Mary’s Month” Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Virginal Purity of Mary
“Purity is the most beautiful of virtues. It is a virtue which is admired by God and by men, even by the most corrupt. It is often said, that it makes us like the angels but in fact, looking at it in a particular way, it makes us superior to the angels. Since they have no bodies, the angels cannot sin against purity, while we have to fight many battles and overcome many temptations, in order to preserve our chastity. Jesus had a very special love for this virtue. He chose to be born of a virgin and, He showed a particular affection for St John, who was a dedicated celibate. On one occasion, He placed His Hands on the head of a little child and said: “Unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter into the kingdom of Heaven “(Mt:18.3)
Unfortunately, the virtue of purity is as fragile as it is beautiful. It can be lost in a single moment of weakness. We must love ths virtue as Mary loved it. We must be prepared to make any sacrifice, even the most heroic, rather than lose it. Worldly charm and beauty attract us and the devil works hard to control our imagination and our affections. On account of the disturbance of original sin, the flesh is like a terrible weight retarding our spiritual advancement. Sometimes it seems as if it is irresistibly drawing us towards the abyss of impurity. But we need not be dragged down, if we are prepared to fly from the occasions of sin and to pray to God and to our heavenly Mother for her intercession. We must always act at once, for there is no time to dally. It is fatal to remain inactive and to allow temptation to make its way into our soul. This kind of battle, said St Francis de Sales, is won only by soldiers who flee. We must fly from the occasions of sin, no matter what sacrifice this entails. Jesus has warned us, that it is better to enter Heaven without a hand or a foot, than to be cast into hell.
We know the remedies – instant flight, heroic sacrifice and constant prayer. We can leave the rest to the grace of God and to the maternal protection of Mary.”
Quote/s of the Day – 6 May – “Mary’s Month” – Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter. Readings: First: Acts 15: 7-21; Psalm: Psalms 96: 1-2a, 2b-3, 10; Gospel: John 15: 9-1
“As the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you. Abide in my love.”
“You shall love the Lord your God with ALL your heart”
“Remember God more often than you breathe!”
St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Choose the opposition of the whole world, rather than offend Jesus. Of all those who are dear to you, let Him be your special love. Let all things be loved, for the sake of Jesus but Jesus, for His own sake.”
Thomas à Kempis CRSA (1380-1471)
(Book 2 Ch 8)
“My dear souls, let us recognise, I pray you, Christ’s infinite charity towards us in the institution of this Sacrament of the Eucharist. In order that our love be a spiritual love, He wills a new heart, a new love, a new spirit for us. It is not with a carnal heart but with a spiritual one, that Christ has loved us with a gratuitous love, a supreme and most ardent love, by way of pure grace and charity. Ah! One needs to love Him back with one’s whole, whole, whole, living, living, living and true, true, true heart!!”
St Lawrence of Brindisi(1559-1619) Apostolic Doctor of the Church
“By giving yourself to God, you not only receive Himself in exchange but, eternal life as well!”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritatis
“If a man wants to know if he is living a good Christian life, therefore, all he has to do is ask himself if he loves God above everything and his neighbour as himself. … Love gives wings to his feet and pours enthusiasm and fervour into his heart.”
One Minute Reflection – 6 May – “IMary’s Month” – Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter. Readings: First: Acts 15: 7-21; Psalm: Psalms 96: 1-2a, 2b-3, 10; Gospel: John 15: 9-11 and the Memorial of St John the Evangelist at the Latin Gate
“Abide in my love.” – John 15:9
REFLECTION – “You may well believe that there is no-one in the world, neither friend nor brother, father or mother, husband or betrothed who loves you more than your God loves you. Divine grace is that treasure of great price, that boundless treasure of which the wise man speaks, which, as soon as we use it, makes us participants in friendship with God (cf. Wis 7:14). In God’s sight we were only miserable creatures, poor servants and now, we become friends, beloved friends of our Creator himself!
Precisely so as to make us more at ease with Him, He emptied Himself (cf. Phil 2:7), so to speak, humbling Himself, so far, as to become man, in order to converse familiarly with men (cf. Bar 3:38).8). Even this was not enough, He became a child, became poor, he even let Himself be put to death on a cross, by a miscarriage of justice, before a whole people. Even more, He went so far as to put Himself under the species of bread, so as to make Himself our companion each day and unite Himself, in close union with each one of us – “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood,” He said, “remains in me and I in him” (Jn 6:56). In sum, one could say, that He has no love but for you, He loves you so much.
Therefore, it is Him you should love and no other. Of Him you could and should say “My Beloved is mine and I am his” (Sg 2:16); my God has given Himself without reserve and, without reserve, I give myself to Him; He has chosen me as the object of His tenderness and He, among thousands, He, the radiant and ruddy one (Sg 5:10), so loveable and so loving, He is the chosen of my heart, the only one I wish to love.”- St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) Bishop and Most Zealous Doctor of the Church – The manner of conversing with God, trans. from the Italian
PRAYER – In Your gentle mercy Lord, guide our wayward hearts, for we know that left to ourselves, we cannot do Your will. Almighty God, turn our hearts to Yourself, so that we, seeking the one thing ne cessary, may worship You in spirit and in truth. We give You thanks for our faith, increase our faith O our God! May the prayers of St John and all your saints and the Virgin Mary, Queen of All Saints, obtain the gift of humility and fidelity for us and for every believer, so that our prayer may always be genuine and pleasing to the Lord. Through Christ our Lord and Redeemer, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 6 May – “Mary’s Month” – Thursday of the Fifth week of Easter
Mother of Mercy By St Bonaventure (1217-1274) Seraphic Doctor
Virgin full of goodness, Mother of Mercy, I entrust to you my body and soul, my thoughts, my actions, my life and my death. O my Queen, help me, and deliver me from all the snares of the devil. Obtain for me the grace of loving my Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, with a true and perfect love, and after Him, O Mary, to love you with all my heart and above all things. Amen
Saint of the Day – 6 May – St John the Evangelist before the Latin Gate. St John the Apostle and Evangelist – “The Disciple whom Jesus Loved” – (died c 101).
The Roman Martyrology States of this feast today: “At Rome, the feast of St John before the Latin Gate. Being bound and brought to Rome from Ephesus by the order of Domitian, he was condemned by the Senate to be cast, near the said gate, into a vessel of boiling oil, from which he came out more healthy nd vigorous than before!
“The seething oil was changed for him into an invigorating bath and the Saint came out more refreshed than when he had entered the cauldron.”
Abbot Dom Prosper Gueranger (1805-1875) relates the story for us.
“The Beloved Disciple John, whom we saw standing near the crib of the Babe of Bethlehem, comes before us again today and this time, he is paying his delighted homage to the glorious Conqueror of death and hell. Like Philip and James, he too is clad in the scarlet robe of martyrdom. The month of May, so rich in saints, was to be graced with the Palm of St John.
Salome one day presented her two sons to Jesus,and, with a mother’s ambition, had asked Him to grant them the highest places in His kingdom. The Saviour, in His reply, spoke of the Chalice which He Himself had to drink,and foretold ,that these two Disciples would also drink of it. The elder, James the Greater, was the first to give His Master this proof of his love; we shall celebrate his victory when the sun is in Leo; it was today that John, the younger Brother, offered his life in testimony of Jesus’ Divinity.
But the Martyrdom of such an Apostle, called for a scene worthy of the event. Asia Minor, which his zeal had evangelised, was not a sufficiently glorious land for such a combat. Rome, whither Peter had transferred his Chair and where he died on his cross and where Paul had bowed down his venerable head beneath the sword, Rome alone deserved the honour of seeing the Beloved Disciple march onto Martyrdom, with that dignity and sweetness which are the characteristics of this veteran of the Apostolic College.
Domitian was then Emperor, the tyrant over Rome and the world. Whether it were that John undertook this journey of his own free choice and from a wish to visit the Mother-Church, or .that he was led thither bound with chains, in obedience to an imperial edict, John, the august founder of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor, appeared before the Tribunal of pagan Rome. He was convicted of having propagated, in a vast province of the Empire, the worship of a Jew that had been Crucified under Pontius Pilate. He was a superstitious and rebellious man and it was time to rid Asia of his presence. He was, therefore, sentenced to an ignominious and cruel death. He had somehow escaped Nero’s power but he should not elude the vengeance of Caesar Domitian!
A huge cauldron of boiling oil was prepared in front of the Latin Gate. The sentence ordered that the preacher of Christ be plunged into this bath. The hour was come for the second son of Salome ,to partake of his Master’s Chalice. John’s heart leaped with joy, at the thought that he, the most dear to Jesus and yet, the only Apostle that had not suffered death for Him, was, at last, permitted to give Him this earnest of his love.
After cruelly scourging him, the executioners seize dthe old man and threw him into the cauldron but, lo! the boiling liquid had lost all its heat, the Apostle felt no scalding, on the contrary,, when they took him out again, he felt all the vigour of his youthful years restored to him. The Praetor’s cruelty was foiled,and John, the Martyr in desire, was to be left to the Church for some few years longer.
An imperial decree banished him to the rugged Isle of Patmos, where God revealed to him, the future of the Church, even to the end of time.
The Church of Rome, which counts the abode and Martyrdom of St John as one of her most glorious memories, has marked, with a Basilica, the spot where the Apostle bore his noble testimony to the Christian Faith. This Basilica stands near the Latin Gate and gives a title to one of the Cardinals.”
O singular happiness of St John to have stood under the Cross of Christ, so near His divine person, when the other disciples had all forsaken Him! O extraordinary privilege, to have suffered Martyrdom in the person of Jesus and been eye-witness of all He did or endured and of all that happened to Him, in that great sacrifice and mystery. Here he drank of his cup; this was truly a Martyrdom and our Saviour exempted all those who had assisted at the Martyrdom of His Cross, from suffering death by the hands of persecutors. St John, nevertheless, received also the crown of this second Martyrdom, to which the sacrifice of his will, was not wanting but only the execution.
Santa Maria Della Pace / Our Lady of Peace in the Church of Our Lady of Peace, Rome (also called Our Lady of Miracles) (1483) – 6 May:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “It is related ,that in the year 1483, a man who had lost his money by gaming, after blaspheming at this picture, gave it four stabs with a dagger and that it bled so copiously, that the miracle was at once divulged all over the City. This picture is still preserved in the Church of Our Lady of Peace, where it is to be seen at the high Altar, framed in marble.”
The present cCurch of Our Lady of Peace, or Santa Maria Della Pace, in Rome, Italy, is still standing. It was built by Pope Sixtus IV after the City of Rome had been under siege by the Duke of Calabria. The Pope had made a vow ,that he would build a new Church in Rome in honour of Our Lady , if peace would somehow be re-established between his Papal States and the Cities of Florence, Milan and Naples. Construction actually started in 1482 as an act of thanksgiving to the Blessed Virgin but the work was not completed until the time of Pope Innocent VIII (1432-1492) who was Pope from 1484 until his death. According to various traditions, the particular site for the Church was chosen because of an incident, in which a drunken soldier had stabbed a statue of the Madonna in the breast, at which the figure had started bleeding as if it were alive. There is also another legend that perhaps a stone was thrown at the image of Our Lady of Miracles, that currently hangs over the high Altar in the Church of Our Lady of Peace, which subsequently started bleeding. In any event, the Church was in fact built, on the foundations of an earlier Church, known as Saint Andrea de Aquarizariis. The venerated painting of Our Lady of Miracles depicts the Blessed Virgin holding the Divine Child. It currently hangs over the high Altar at the Church, which was specifically designed by Carlo Maderno to display and enshrine the famous painting.
The now famous image was once believed to have been venerated in the portico of St Andrew’s of the Watercarriers. There is also another famous fresco inside the Church known as the Four Sibyls, which was painted by Raphael in the year 1514.
Bl Anthony Middleton Bl Bartolomeo Pucci-Franceschi St Benedicta of Rome St Colman Mac Ui Cluasigh of Cork St Colman of Loch Eichin St Dominic Savio St Edbert of Lindisfarne Bl Edward Jones St Evodius of Antioch
St Marianus of Lambesa Bl Peter de Tornamira St Petronax of Monte Cassino St Protogenes of Syria Bl Prudence Castori St Theodotus of Kyrenia St Venerius of Milan St Venustus of Africa St Venustus of Milan Bl William Tandi