Thought for the Day – 12 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed”
“It is related in the Gospel, that once a certain occasion, a woman in the crowd, was roused by the preaching and miracles of Jesus and cried out: “Blessed is the womb that bore thee and the breasts that nursed thee.” But Jesus replied: “Rather blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it” (Lk 11:27-28). These words take nothing from the glory of the Mother of God. They were not intended for her but, for us. She was great and holy, not only because she was chosen to be the Mother of the Word Incarnate but also because she perfected herself in virtue by carrying out, in everything, the teaching of her divine Son, Jesus.
We cannot follow her as far as her high dignity of Mother of God but we can follow her in her heroic practice of virtue. Admittedly, we shall not be able to climb to an equal height but, with the help of God and under Mary’s own protection, we can and should, walk in her footsteps.
We can imitate her humility, her purity, her lively faith, her burning love for God and for her neighbour and her spirit of constant prayer and union with God. If we do this, we shall always feel that she is by our side as our loving Mother, who is eager to help us to become holy.”
Quote/s of the Day – 12 May – The Memorial of St Germanus of Constantinople (c 640-733) Defender of Sacred Images
“The honour given to an image goes to the original model.”
St Basil the Great (329-379 Father and Doctor of the Church
“When we show reverence to representations of Jesus Christ, we do not worship paint laid on wood – we worship the invisible God, in spirit and in truth.”
St Germanus of Constantinople (c 640-733)
“Previously God, Who has neither a body nor a face, absolutely could not be represented by an image. But now that He has made Himself visible in the flesh and has lived with men, I can make an image of what I have seen of God… and contemplate the glory of the Lord, His face unveiled.”
“The beauty of the images moves me to contemplation, as a meadow delights the eyes and subtly infuses the soul with the glory of God.”
St John Damascene (675-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
“… Through these images which we kiss and before which we kneel and uncover our heads, we are adoring Christ and venerating the saints, whose likeness these images bear.”
One Minute Reflection – 20 May – “Mary’s Month!” – Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 17: 15, 22 – 18: 1, Psalms 148: 1-2, 11-12, 13, 14, John 16: 12-15
“The Spirit of truth will guide you to all truth” … John 16:13
REFLECTION – “Who knows what pertains to a person, except the spirit of the person that is within? Similarly, no-one knows what pertains to God, except the Spirit of God” (1 Cor 2:11). Run, then, to enter into communion with the Holy Spirit. No sooner do we call on Him, than He is there and if we call on Him, it is because He is already present to us. When called, He comes, He comes in the abundance of divine blessings. He it is, Who is that rushing river giving joy to God’s city (Ps 46:5).
If, when He has come, He finds you to be humble and without anxiety, fearing God’s word, then He will come to rest on you and reveal to you those things that God hides from the wise and learned of this world (Mt 11:25). Then, all those truths will begin to shine out before you, that Wisdom spoke to the disciples while on earth but which they could not bear, before the coming of the Spirit of truth, that was to teach them all truth…
Just as those who worship God must necessarily worship Him “in spirit and truth” (Jn 4:24), so those who would know Him, have only to seek an understanding of the faith in the Holy Spirit. … In the midst of this life’s darkness and ignorance, He Himself is the light that shines out for the poor in spirit (Mt 5:3), the charity that attracts and sweetness, that ravishes the soul, the love of those who love and the devotion of those who yield themselves without reserve. He it is, who reveals God’s justice from conviction to conviction; who gives grace in return for grace (Jn 1:16) and the faith of enlightenment, to the faith of those who listen to the Word.” … St William of Saint-Thierry (c 1085-1148) – The Mirror of Faith, 6
PRAYER – Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created and Thou shall renew the face of the earth! O God who did give life to the world by the resurrection of Thou Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant that through the same Spirit, we may be ever truly wise and rejoice in His consolation and truth. Let the one holy Blessed Virgin, she who is the Spouse of the Holy Ghost, pray for us. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Ghost, one with You forever and ever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 12 May – “Mary’s Month” – Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
The Memorare By St Bernard (1090-1153) Mellifluous Doctor
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother, to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen
(The Express Novena you will recall, is 9 times the Memorare)
Saint of the Day – 12 May – Saint Germanus of Constantinople (c 640-733) Bishop Constantinople from 715 to 730, Defender of the Doctrine of the Church both against Monothelitism and Iconoclasm, poet, hymnist, spiritual writer, some of his works being used and quoted for centuries and still today. Born in c 640 in Constantinople and died on 12 May 733 at Platonium of natural causes at an advanced age. Tradition depicts Germanus as much more determined in his position, even winning a debate on the matter with Constantine, Bishop of Nacoleia, a leading Iconoclast. Pope Gregory II (term 715-731), a fellow Iconodule, praised Germanus’ “zeal and steadfastness.“
The Roman Martyrology includes him today and states: “At Constantinople, Saint Germanus, a Bishop distinguished by virtues and learning, who, with great courage, reprehended Leo the Isaurian, for promulgating an edict against holy images.”
The son of Justinianus, a patrician, Germanus dedicated himself to the service of the Church and became a Priest at the Cathedral of the City. Some time after the death of his father, who had filled various high official positions, Germanus was Consecrated Bishop of Cyzicus but the exact year of his elevation is not known.
According to St Theophanes (c 75- 817/818), he was present in this capacity at the Synod of Constantinople held in 712 at the insistence of the new Emperor, Philippicus, who favoured Monothelitism. The object of the Council was to re-establish Monothelitism and to condemn the Acts of the Sixth General Council of 681. Even Germanus is said to have bowed to the imperial will, with the majority of the Greek Bishops. However, immediately after the dethronement of Emperor Philippicus (713) his successor, Anastasius II, restored orthodoxy and Monothelitism was now definitively banished from the Byzantine Empire. If Germanus really had yielded for a short time to the false teachings of the Monothelites (though this is very doubtful), he now once more acknowledged the orthodox definition of the two wills in Christ.
When the Bishop of Constantinople died, Germanus was raised to the patriarchal see (715), which he held until 730. Immediately (715 or 716), he convened, a Synod of Greek Bishops, who acknowledged and proclaimed anew the Doctrine of the two wills and the two operations in Christ and placed under anathema, Sergius, Cyrus and the other leaders of Monothelitism. Germanus entered into communication with the Armenian Monophysites, with a view to restoring them to unity with the Church but without success. Soon after his elevation to the ecclesiastical dignity the Iconoclastic storm burst forth in the Byzantine Church, Bishop Constantine of Nacoleia in Phrygia, who, like some other Bishops of the Empire, condemned the veneration of the images of Christ and the Saints, went to Constantinople and entered into a discussion with Germanus on the subject.
Germanus represented the traditional use of the Church and sought to convince Constantine of the propriety of reverencing images. Apparently he was converted to the teaching of the Germanus but he did not deliver the letter entrusted to him, by Germanus to the Metropolitan of Synnada, for which he was excommunicated.
At the same time the learned Bishop wrote to Bishop Thomas of Claudiopolis, another Iconoclast and developed in detail the sound principles underlying the reverencing of images, as against the recent innovations. Emperor Leo III, however, did not recede from his position and everywhere encouraged the iconoclasts. In a volcanic eruption between the islands of Thera and Therasia, Leo saw a Divine judgement for the idolatry of image- worship and in an edict (726) explained that Christian images had taken the place of idols and the venerators of images were idolaters, since, according to the law of God (Exodus 20:4), no product of the hand of man may be adored.
Immediately afterwards, the first Iconoclastic disturbances erupted in Constantinople. Germanus vigorously opposed the Emperor and sought to convert him to a truer view of things, whereupon Leo attempted to depose him.
In 722) Leo issued a series of edicts against the worship of images (726–729). A letter by Germanus written before 726 to two Iconoclast Bishops, says that “now whole towns and multitudes of people are in considerable agitation over this matter” but we have very little evidence as to the growth of the debate. Germanus turned to Pope Gregory II (729), who in a lengthy epistle praised his zeal and steadfastness. The Emperor in 730 summoned the Council before which Germanus was cited, to subscribe to an imperial decree prohibiting images. He resolutely refused and was thereupon, compelled to resign his Bishopric, being succeeded by the pliant Anastasius.
Germanus withdrew to the home of his family, where he died some years later at an advanced age. in 733. The Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (787) bestowed high praise on Germanus and included hims in the diptychs of the Saints. He is venerated as a Saint in both the Greek and the Latin Church. His feast is celebrated today, 12 May.
Several writings of Germanus have been preserved,“Narratio de sanctis synodis,” a dialogue “De vitae termino,” a letter to the Armenians and three letters on the reverencing of images, as well as nine discourses. The “Historia ecclesiastica et mystica,” also attributed to him – was a popular work in Greek and Latin translations, for many centuries
Pope Pius XII included one of his texts in the Apostolic Constitution proclaiming Mary’s Assumption into Heaven, a Dogma of the Church.
Among his writings was the hymn translated by John Mason Neale as “A Great and Mighty Wonder,”although Neale misattributed this to Anatolius of Constantinople.
Notre-Dame-des-Vertus / Our Lady of Power, Aubervilliers, France(1336) – 12 May:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “This image has wrought so many miracles in this Church, that it is called Our Lady of Power, though the Church is dedicated to Saint Christopher.”
Known now as Notre-Dame-des-Vertus, this is the 14th century Church in Aubervilliers that is the very location that experienced so many miracles during the Middle Ages. As noted by the Abbot Orsini, the Church was originally dedicated to Saint Christopher, yet the name soon changed to honour the Mother of God, in recognition of the graces and miracles obtained there due to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Parish had been built around the Saint Christopher Chapel and after whom the road leading to the Church is named. The first miracle occurred on 14 May 1336 and is known locally as the Miracle of Rain. It was during a time of terrible drought when a small girl entered the Church of Saint Christopher with flowers to adorn the Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. While praying that Our Lady would send rain to save the crops, the girl suddenly noticed, that the Statue had become covered, with what appeared to be drops of sweat and the sky turned dark, as the weather began to turn.
The inhabitants of the Parish flocked to the Church, alerted by the sound of the Church bell, to see the wonder and give thanks to God for this miracle. This was but the beginning of the pilgrimages to the Church that began almost immediately, especially from the Parishes of Paris. These pilgrimages were encouraged by the authorities of the Church, as well as by the example of the many distinguished visitors and the continued occurrences of many other miracles over the following centuries. These miracles included many cures, as well as the miracles of two children who were brought back to life. Kings and Queens were among the many pilgrims who came during the Middle Ages, including King Louis XIII, who came to pray for the capture of Rochelle. The Archbishop of Paris confirmed the celebration of the festival on the second Tuesday of May, which is the month of Mary. After all these miracles, the Chapel was far too small to contain the influx of pilgrims, in particular the processions coming from Paris to the Basilica that stopped at the miraculous little Chapel on their way.
The small Sanctuary was later replaced by a more imposing Church whose construction began in the fifteenth century. Particularly remarkable are the stained glass windows that adorn the Church and remind the visitor of the extraordinary history of this place, for they relate to the many different miracles performed by the Blessed Virgin in the Chapel, of which there were many. Virtually every great Saint is depicted in these windows too – if you wish to see them, although they are not professional photographs, go here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g3347617-d10980848-Reviews-Eglise_Notre_Dame_des_Vertus- There are numerous Statues and Altars of the Blessed Virgin in the Sanctuary, all of them highly venerated by pilgrims.
During the French revolution, in 1789, the Statue of the miraculous Virgin was profaned. It was dragged on the road leading to Saint Denis with a rope around its neck; the Sans-Culottes movement burned it singing the French song “Carmagnole et Ah! Ca ira!” proof of the Satanic roots of the French Revolution. One of her hands was saved from the flames and was preserved. The present Statue of the Virgin, located in the left Chapel, was sculpted in wood by Baffet House in 1873. It is a copy of an ancient Statue found that year in the Chapel Saint-Julien-Le-Pauvre at Hotel-Dieu. It was inserted into a Neo Gothic frame, flanked by two angels holding phylacteries, (a coiled-end speech scroll bearing legends) which recall the miracle in 1582 when the Virgin restored a stillborn child to life.
St Pancras of Rome (c 289 – c 303) Martyr Child of 14, Roman Convert (Optional Memorial) Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2017/05/12/saint-of-the-day-st-pancras/ — St Crispoldus St Cyril of Galatz St Dedë Malaj St Diomma of Kildimo St Dionysius of Asia St Dominic de la Calzada St Ejëll Deda St Ephrem of Jerusalem