Thought for the Day – 13 May – “Mary’s Month” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Ascension of Jesus
“When we meditate on the Ascension, we should humbly ask God, to give us the grace, to strip ourselves of our sins and defects. Then we shall be able to fly towards Him with love and hope in this life and, when our soul has been set free from the body which imprisons it on earth, we shall be able to set out on our last joyful flight into His presence. These are the reflections which should be in our minds around the feast of the Ascension. These are the desires which we should foster and the resolutions which we should form. Let us ask Our Lord, to bless them.
O Mary, my most holy Mother, implore your divine Son Jesus, now ascended into Heaven, that I may be more detached from the useless and passing goods of this earth. Ask Him to purify my soul from every stain of sin and to strengthen my will, in it’s good resolutions. Ask Him that my heart may rise nearer to God and to you, through it’s desire for perfection. Amen.”
One Minute Reflection – 13 May – “Mary’s Month” – Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 18: 1-8, Psalms 98: 1, 2-3, 3-4, John 16: 16-20 and the Memorial of Blessed Imelda Lambertini (1322-1333) Child Mystic, “Adorer of the Blessed Sacrament”
“Your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” … John 16:20… John 16:16
REFLECTION – Today, our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, let our hearts ascend with Him. Listen to the words of the Apostle – If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as He remained with us even after His ascension, so we too, are already in heaven with Him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.
Christ is now exalted above the heavens but He still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of His body have to bear. He showed this when He cried out from above – Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? and when He said: I was hungry and you gave me food.
Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with Him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to Him? While in heaven. He is also with us and we, while on earth, are with Him. He is here with us by His divinity, His power and His love. We cannot be in heaven, as He is on earth, by divinity but in Him, we can be there by love.
He did not leave heaven when He came down to us, nor did He withdraw from us when He went up again into heaven. The fact that He was in heaven even while He was on earth, is borne out by His own statement – No-one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. … Thus, no-one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body but because the body, as a unity cannot be separated from the head” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop and Great Western Father and Doctor of the Church – An excerpt from his Sermon on the Lord’s Ascension
PRAYER – Almighty God, fill us with a holy joy, teach us how to thank You with reverence and love for the joy of the ascension of Christ Your on. You have raised us up with Him, where He the head has preceded us in glory, there we, the body, are called in hope. Grant, too we beg, that by Mary’s prayer and the prayer of Your loving child Blessed Imelda Lambertini, we may give You faithful service and spread abroad the glory of Your nameThrough Christ our Lord, i the unity of the Holy Spirit and the glory of the Father, God forever, amen.
Saint of the Day – 13 May – Blessed Imelda Lambertini (1322-1333) Child Mystic, Virgin. Born in 1322 AS Imelda Dpmenica Lambertini at Bologna, Italy and died on the Feast of the Ascension, 12 May 1333 Bologna, Italy. Patronage – First Communicants (named by Pope Saint Pius X).
Imelda Lambertini was born of a noble family in Bologna, Italy in 1322. Her parents raised her to love her Catholic faith and through their influence she developed a love for prayer, especially for the Mass. Often she would attend Mass and Compline (Night Prayer of the Divine Office) at a nearby Dominican Church. Her mother also taught Imelda to cook and sew for the poor and cultivated in her child an eagerness to perform the corporal works of mercy. Even so, her mother and father, both of whom were getting on in years, were surprised when Imelda asked permission at the tender age of nine to go to live with the Dominican nuns at a neighbouring Monastery. As difficult a decision as this was, her parents evidently sensed the depth of their child’s desire and entrusted her spiritual formation to the Dominicans at Val di Pietra.
At this distance of centuries and culture it is not easy to determine precisely what little Imelda’s status was at the Convent. It seems she was well loved by the Sisters, who allowed her to wear the Dominican habit, to pray with them and to follow their way of life, to the extent that a little girl would be able to do, while still remaining a child. Imelda, we are told, longed (and intensely, it seems) to be allowed to receive Holy Communion with the nuns but in that day, such a thing would have been unheard of for a child her age. Her pleading was again and again gently refused, with the explanation that she would need to wait until she was older and more prepared.
For a time Imelda had to be content with this answer, meanwhile learning to chant Office from hearing the nuns in choir and developing her own interior prayer life in simple childlike ways. The saints, whose stories she had learned from her parents and from the nuns, became her “secret companions” and probably had a hand, in nurturing the longing she felt, to receive Jesus intimately in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. In her private conversations with Jesus, with whom she was developing a deep friendship, we can imagine that she often made known her desire to be allowed to receive Communion. There is no evidence that He put up any opposition to the proposal—but neither did the Sisters relent. And so, Imelda continued, with the intensity of a child, to get to know Jesus more deeply and to desire Him all the more.
As spring approached, the sisters, who perhaps thought that they had succeeded in diverting Imelda’s “childish fancy” to go to Communion with the grown-ups, were a bit startled when she asked again, shortly before the Feast of the Ascension, to receive her First Holy Communion. (“Asked,” in fact, is not the word. She begged them insistently, it seems.) When the Chaplain was consulted, he agreed with the Sisters and responded with no hesitation that Imelda was much too young. On the Vigil of the Ascension Imelda was in her place in the Chapel, quietly praying as the Sisters received Communion. Then Jesus did a little “insisting” of His own. After Mass, as one of the nuns was clearing the Altar, she heard a noise and looked up to the choir to see Imelda, a glowing light shining above her head, with the Sacred Host suspended in the light.
The Chaplain was called at once and he understood that Jesus Himself was making his desire known. “Let the little children come to Me and do not stop them.” The Priest gave Imelda her First Holy Communion.
We can well imagine that the nuns were amazed and thrilled both at the great blessing to their little one and to their Convent. The Prioress allowed Imelda to remain for some time in thanksgiving and then sent for her to come and have her breakfast. Imelda was still kneeling as they had left her, a smile on her face. Yet when called for, Imelda’s body was still. She had died of pure joy. Her thanksgiving had been well completed and she had nothing left to desire.
Imelda’s story is so well entrenched in the collective memory of her Dominican Brothers and sisters, that it has remained firmly in the Order’s history. She continues to offer the witness of a child with mature desires,and a faith unspoiled in its intensity.
Imelda understood instinctively what many of us have forgotten – that it is the single-hearted who are blessed and that unless we become like children we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Lord Jesus Christ, You received into heaven Blessed Imelda, who loved You in the Eucharistic banquet. By her prayers, may we learn to approach Your holy table with that same fervent love and so fulfill our longing to be with You, Who live and reign with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
General Calendar of the Order of Preachers
Her remains are kept in Bologna at the Church of San Sigismondo, beneath the wax effigy of her likeness. Blessed Imelda was Beatified on 20 December 1826 by Pope Leo XIII.
Madonna del Soccorso / Our Lady of Succour of Sicily (14th Century):
Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under this title began in Palermo, Sicily in the 14th century and has since spread throughout the Augustinians. It began when Father Nicola Bruno, who suffered from severe and long-term pains in his side, prayed to Our Lady for a cure while meditating on a painting of Mary in which she used a stick or club to chase away the dragon and protect the Infant Jesus, the artist was making reference to passages in Genesis and Revelations that referred to the eternal enmity between The Woman and the serpent. That night, Father Nicola received a vision of Mary and was cured. The painting received the title “Our Lady of Succour” and the devotion began. Since 1804 the celebration has had its own liturgy.
Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament: St Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868) and Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament:
The title of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament was first given to Mary by St Peter Julian Eymard in May 1868, while speaking to his novices. A few years later he described what her statue should look like: “The Blessed Virgin holds the Infant in her arms and He holds a chalice in one hand and a Host in the other.”
He exhorted them to invoke Mary: “Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, pray for us who have recourse to thee!”
St Anno of Verona St Argentea of Cordoba St Euthymius the Illuminator Bl Fortis Gabrielli Bl Gerard of Villamagna Bl Gemma of Goriano St Glyceria of Trajanopolis Blessed Imelda Lambertini (1322-1333) Child Mystic St John the Silent
St Lucius of Constantinople St Mael of Bardsey Bl Magdalen Albrizzi St Merewenna of Rumsey St Mucius of Byzantium St Natalis of Milan St Onesimus of Soissons St Servatus of Tongres St Valerian of Auxerre — Martyrs of Alexandria: A group of Catholic Christians martyred in the church of Theonas, Alexandria, Egypt by order of the Arian Emperor Valens. Their names have not come down to us. 372 in Alexandria, Egypt.
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