Thought for the Day – 17 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Contemplation and Our Lady
“We must try and unite the active, with the contemplative life, as far as circumstances will allow. St Thomas Aquinas says, that the perfection of the spiritual life consists precisely in this union of activity and contemplation. One, with the other, falls short of perfection. “It is greater to enlighten than simply to shine,” writes St Thomas Aquinas “and greater to pass on the fruits of contemplation to others, than merely to contemplate.” (Summa Theologiae, II-II, q 6, a 3).
Contemplation on its own, can degenerate into useless day dreaming. It is necessary that it should produce a genuine interior transformation, as a result of which, the subject, under the guidance of the Holy Sprit, becomes, in his speech and his conduct, a man of God. Now, the man of God is not satisfied with enjoying spiritual consolations but, is moved by his zeal for the glory of God, to try and extend His Kingdom, by every possible means. It is in this way, that contemplation becomes apostolic action.
We must remember, on the other hand, that neither is action on its own, sufficient. It can become barren when it is not nourished by the interior life of grace, which is the source of prayer and contemplation. It cannot be held, that this last, is the exclusive gift of a few privilege souls. Anyone can have it, as long as he allows himself to be penetrated by the love of God and as long as he succeeds, in securing moments of recollection and silence, at intervals during life. In these moments, he will grow closer to God and will enjoy a foretaste of the happiness of heaven. We must strive, like the Blessed Virgin Mary, for complete union with God, each day of our lives!”
Quote/s of the Day – 17 May – The Memorial of St Paschal Baylon OFM (1540-1592) “Seraph of the Eucharist,” “Saint of the Blessed Sacrament,” “Servant of the Blessed Sacrament.”
“God is as really present in the consecrated Host, as He is, in the glory of Heaven.”
“There is no more efficacious means than this, (Eucharistic Adoration) for nourishing and increasing the piety of the people, toward this admirable pledge of love, which is a bond of peace and of unity.”
One Minute Reflection – 17 May – “Mary’s Month” – Monday of the Seventh week of Easter, Readings: Acts 19:1-8, Psalm 68:2-7, John 16:29-33 and the Memorial of St Paschal Baylon OFM (1540-1592)
“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have conquered the world.” ... John 16:33
REFLECTION – “Let nothing intervene to hinder the progress of any who travel alongside each other, in this evangelical life but let us walk with agile step though the road be rough and hard, let us show a brave and manly spirit, overcome obstacles, pass along from pathway to pathway, from hill to hill, until we climb onto the mountain of the Lord and make a home for ourselves in the holy place of His impassibility.
Now, companions assist each other on the way; so then, my brothers, as the Apostle says: “Bear one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2) and make up for whatever is lacking to others (cf. 2 Cor 8:14 ; Phil 2:30). To the negligence that perhaps holds sway today, noble courage will succeed tomorrow, now one is in gloom and then suddenly one rises to the surface and discovers joy again, at one moment our passions rise up but soon God comes to help us, they are broken and calm returns. For you will only be seen like this yesterday and the day before but, dear friend, you will not always remain the same but the grace of God will draw near you, the Lord will fight for you and perhaps, like the great Antony, you will say: “Where were you just now?” and he will answer: “I wanted to see your combat.”
For now, let us persevere, children, dear children, let us be patient for a little, brothers, dear brothers.… Who will be crowned without having fought? Who will go to rest if he is not tired (cf. 2 Tim 2:5-6)? Who will gather the fruits of life without having planted virtues in his soul? Cultivate them, prepare the earth with the greatest care, take trouble over it, sweat over it, children, God’s workers, imitators of the angels, competitors with incorporeal beings, lights for those who are in the world (cf. Phil 2:15)!” … St Theodore the Studite (759-826) Monk – Catechesis 28
PRAYER – Lord God, let the grace of the Holy Spirit come upon us, so that we may hold fast to Your Will with fidelity and love and show it forth by a holy life. May the Mother of our Lord and our Mother and St Paschal Baylon, Servant of the Blessed Sacrament, pray that we may live in the light of our Saviour. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, and the glory of God the Father forever and ever, amen.
Hail, O Mary, Mother of God By St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father & Doctor of the Church
Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Virgin and Mother! Morning Star, perfect vessel. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Holy Temple in which God Himself was conceived. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Chaste and pure dove. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, who enclosed the One Who cannot be encompassed in your sacred womb. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, From you flowed the true light, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Through you the Conqueror and triumphant Vanquisher of hell, came to us. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Through you, the glory of the Resurrection blossoms. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, You have saved every faithful Christian. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen
Saint of the Day – 17 May – Saint Emiliano I of Vercelli (Died 506) Bishop of Vercelli, Italy in the sixth century, Monk and Hermit, Confessor, Defender of the Faith, apostle of the needy, Social Reformer, spiritual director. Born in the 5th century, possibly in the Piedmont region of Italy and died on 11 September in Cercelli, Italy., the date of his entry into life is also celebrated as his feast in some places. Patronages – Cigliano and Villanova Monferrato.
Indeed, he might have preferred to hide in a hermitage and live in solitude and contemplation to better taste the flavour of the Lord but God’s call wanted him to actively serve his neighbour and he knew how to carry it out with commitment and fervour. Among other measures of practical life, he also had an aqueduct built. He asked of himself the maximum efforts in all things and did not spare himself in any way. Of others, he demanded what they could give, in the name of the Lord.
The Roman Martyrology states of him today: “In Vercelli, translation of St Emilian, Bishop.”
Emiliano, the Eleventh Bishop of the great Diocese of Vercelli, was born around the middle of the fifth century. Some sources mistakenly say he was of Spanish origin but he was probably Piedmontese.
He worked in difficult times, as a worthy successor of St Eusebius (who died in 371). After the fall of the Western Roman Empire (476), the barbarian populations occupied the Italian territory. Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths, defeated Odoacer (493) and the Burgundians, with the capture of Ravenna, they conquered Italy. The occupied populations were continually tested by the ravages of wars. Vercelli, an important Roman municipality, was almost abandoned and depopulated. The most important authority, even from a civil standpoint, was the Bishop. Theodoric tried to establish a peaceful co-existence with the reduction of taxes and the liberation of many slaves. Although he was Arian, he did his utmost to improve relations between the Church of Rome and that of Constantinople. A few decades earlier, in the Council of Chalcedon (451), Christ’s dual nature, human and divine, had been recognised, not without great difficulty. Such were also the teachings of St Eusebio and S.tMassimo of Turin, fully shared by St Emiliano.
Our saint was from the important Eusebian Monastery which, as St Ambrose wrote, gathered around the Bishop, both contemplative religious and aspirants to the Priesthood. According to tradition, Emiliano was a Hermit for forty years near Sostegno, where then a Monastery of regular clerics was built. Even today there is an ancient Sanctuary dedicated to him.
He was elected Bishop between 493 and 497, maintaining a certain aptitude for contemplation. An authentic Shepherd, he was concerned, both with souls (let us think of him, often gathered with his community around the tomb of St Eusebius) and with the living conditions of his faithful.
For this purpose he asked Theodoric, to build a bridge and reduce taxes. Emiliano strongly defended the centrality of Papal power. He went to Rome for a Council called by St Symmachus (early 6th century), whose appointment and the first years of his Pontificate were marked by violent struggles to cancel his election. Pope Symmachus also escaped an attack. Peace returned in 505, thanks also to the intervention of Theodoric, with the adoption of the first rules to avoid external interference in the Papal elections.
Emiliano was an excellent spiritual director. He gave the veil and was confessor of the four sisters Licinia, Leonzia, Ampelia and Flavia who lived in the proto-monastery founded by Eusebia, sister of St Eusebius.
He died on 11 September, around 506 and was buried in the Cathedral. His cult remained alive and Altars were raised in his honour. On 17 May 1181, Bishop Alberto transferred St Emiliano’s relics to the main Altar. Rediscovered in 1565, seven years later it was placed in the Chapel of the Vergine dello Schiaffo, which was then dedicated to him.
Two Parishes, Cigliano and Villanova Monferrato are dedicated to him.. He is not to be confused with Emilian II, a successor to the See of Vercelli, wo centuries later, who was his great devotee.
Notre-Dame des Marches, Broc, Gruyère, Fribourg, Switzerland / Our Lady of the Steps (1884)- 17 May:
Nestled at the foot of Gruyères Hill, the Chapel overlooks the terraced deposits of the Saane River known as Les Marches, the Steps. The 28″ statue of Our Lady of the Steps, usually vested, is a standing Virgin and Child in the late Gothic style of the 1400s. Documentary evidence of a Chapel here dates to 1572.
The present building goes back to 1705, the work of three brothers, all Priests, from a family of cheese merchants. Dom Nicolas Ruffieux, prothonotary of Broc, decided to build “the most beautiful Chapel in the country.” His brother Jean-Jacques, Priest of neighboring Gruyères, took on the project with a third brother’s help. In 1721, the Commune of Broc added the enclosure and the linden trees that still shade the courtyard. On 17 May 1884, a miracle occurred at Notre-Dame des Marches, the first of several in the 1880s, which turned the rural Chapel into a place of pilgrimage. Stricken with a spinal malady, Léonide Andrey, 22, had been unable to walk for six years. She was carried to Mass at the Chapel and walked home easily. By the 1930s, the Sanctuary was known as the “Little Lourdes of Fribourg.” Two main pilgrimages were established: one in September, initially termed the “anti-alcoholic pilgrimage” and one on a Wednesday in spring, the Pilgrimage of the Sick.
St Paul of Noviodunum St Peter Lieou St Rasso of Grafrath St Restituta of Carthage St Silaus of Lucca St Solochanus of Chalcedon St Thethmar St Victor Roma — Martyrs of Alexandria – 3 saints: Three Christians martyred together; no details about them have survived except their names: Adrio, Basilla and Victor. 4th century Alexandria, Egypt.
Martyrs of Nyon: A group of Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know little more than three of their names: Aquilinus, Heradius and Paul. 303 at Noyon, Switzerland.