Thought for the Day – 18 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Mary, the Source of Peace
“If we wish to possess this true peace, which only God can give, we must control and regulate the movements of our passions when they rebel against the soul. In other words, as St Augustine says, our lower appetites must obey our reason and this, in its turn, must be subject to its author, God! (De Serm. Domini, 1,2). Real peace can only come to us as the result of the hard and constant labour of subordinating our passions to right reason and our reason to God. “And this is the peace,” Augustine writes, “which God gives on earth, to men of goodwill; this is the most perfect wisdom ” (Ibid).
We have found, from sad experience, that sin and the free play of the passions, cannot give us real peace because “there is no peace for the wicked” (Is 48:22). When, by the grace of God and the assistance of Our Lady, we have subdued our rebellious inclinations, it is necessary for us to go further and abandon ourselves completely into the hands of God, asking Him for a spirit of absolute conformity to Hs Will on all occasions. This is the price which we must pay to enjoy the peace which the world cannot give and which God gives only to those who do His Holy Will in all things (Cf Jn 14:27).
It may seem that the way to acquire this peace is very difficult but, there is no other way. Let us pray to Our Lady. She has won peace and victory for the Church on many occasions; for example, against the Turks at Lepanto in 1571 and at Vienna in 1683. In the same way, she will obtain for us, her children, interior peace of soul, the greatest treasure which we can possss on earth!”
Quote/s of the Day – 16 May – “Mary’s Month” Readings: Acts 20:17-27, Psalm 68:10-11, 20-21, John 17:1-11
“I pray for them … because they are thine and everything of mine is thine and everything of thine is mine.”
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”
“On the journey of this life to eternity, let me carry You in my heart, following Mary’s example, who bore You in her arms, during the flight to Egypt.”
St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) Bishop and Doctor of the Church
“When you love, you feel like speaking the whole time with the one you love, or at least, you want to look at Him without ceasing. Prayer is nothing else. It is the familiar meeting with our Beloved. We look at Him, we tell Him we love Him, we rejoice to be at His feet.”
Bl Charles of Jesus de Foucauld (1858-1916)
The Christopher Prayer
Father, grant that we may be, bearers of Christ Jesus, Your Son. Allow us to fill with Your light, the world around us. Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit to carry out our mission of living and following the path of Jesus, our Lord. Help us to understand, that by Your grace our gifts are Your blessings, to be shared with others. Fill us with Your Spirit of love to give glory to You in loving all and preaching by our love. Nourish in us the desire to go forth as the bearers of Your Son fearless and gentle, loving and merciful. Make us true Christ bearers, that in seeing us only He is visible. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 16 May – “Mary’s Month” Readings: Acts 20:17-27, Psalm 68:10-11, 20-21, John 17:1-11
“I am glorified in them.” – John 17:10
REFLECTION –“My Father and I will come to him” – that is to say, to the holy of heart – says the Son of God “and we will make our home with him” (Jn 14:23). It seems to me, that when the psalmist said to God: “You make your dwelling in the holy place, you who art Israel’s praise,” (Ps 22:4) he had no other heaven in mind, than the hearts of the saints. The Apostle expresses it quite clearly: “Christ lives in our hearts through faith,” he tells us (Eph 3:17). Surely it is no wonder that the Lord Jesus gladly makes His home in such a heaven because, unlike the other heavens, He did not bring it into existence by a mere word of command. He descended into the arena to win it; He laid down His life to redeem it. And so, after the battle was won, He solemnly declared: “This is my resting place forever and ever; here I have chosen to dwell” (Ps 132:14). Blessed indeed is the soul to whom the Lord says: “Come, my chosen one, I will set up my throne in you” (Sg 2:10).
“Why, then, are you sorrowful, my soul and why are you troubled within me?” (Ps 42:6). Are you trying to find a place for the Lord within yourself? Who among us can provide a fitting place for the Lord of glory, a place worthy of His majesty! O that I might be counted worthy to worship at His footstool, that I might at least cling to the feet of some saintly soul whom the Lord has chosen to be His dwelling place! However, the Lord has only to anoint my soul with the oil of His mercy, for me in my turn, to be able to say: “I have run the way of your commandments because you have enlarged my heart” (Ps 119:32). Then perhaps, even if I cannot usher Him into a “large and richly furnished room” in my heart where He may refresh Himself with His disciples (cf. Mk 14:15), I shall at least, be able to offer Him, “a place to lay his head” (cf. Mt 8:20).
It is necessary for a soul to grow and be enlarged until it is capable of containing God within itself. But the dimensions of a soul are in proportion to its love, as the Apostle confirms when he urges the Corinthians to “widen their hearts in love” (2 Cor 6 13). Although the soul, being spiritual, cannot be measured physically, grace confers on it what nature does not bestow… Love, then, is the measure of the soul. Souls are large that love much, small that love little; while as for the soul that has no love at all, such a soul is itself nothing. “Without love,” says Saint Paul, “I am nothing” (1 Cor 13:3). – St Bernard (1091-1153) Cistercian Monk and Doctor of the Church – Sermons on the Song of Songs, no. 27, 8-10
PRAYER – Lord God, You opened for us, the way to eternal life, when Christ Your Son was take up to glory and Your Holy Spirit, came to enlighten Your Church. Grant that, as we share in so great a gift, our longing and hope, for our eternal home may grow every stronger and so our service ever more loyal to Your commandments. Listen to the prayers of Holy Mother Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mother of Your Son, whom we beg to pray for Your grace in all things. Through Christ, Our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God for all time and for all eternity, amen.
Deign, O Immaculate Virgin By St Paschasius Radbertus (785–865)
Deign, O Immaculate Virgin, Mother most pure, to accept the loving cry of praise which we send up to you from the depths of our hearts. Though they can but add little to your glory, O Queen of Angels, you do not despise, in your love, the praises of the humble and the poor. Cast down upon us a glance of mercy, O most glorious Queen, graciously receive our petitions. Through your immaculate purity of body and mind, which rendered you so pleasing to God, inspire us with a love of innocence and purity. Teach us to guard carefully the gifts of grace, striving ever after sanctity, so that, being made like the image of your beauty, we may be worthy to become, the sharers of your eternal happiness. Amen
Saint of the Day – 18 May – Blessed Burchard of Beinwil (Died c 1192) Priest, miracle-worker. Born in the early 12th century in Langemat, Muri, Switzerland and died on c 1192 in Beinwil, Switzerland of natural causes. Additional Memorials – Monday after Ascension Day (Beinwil, Switzerland), 27 June on some calendars, 20 August (pilgrimage date).
We have little information about Burchrd’s early life. He was educated at the Benedictine Monastery near his home village. He seems to have had some connection to the Kappel Monastery as he is mentioned in their records.
He was Ordained and then became the Parish Priest in Beinwil, Switzerland. He became known as a miracle worker manifested in his zealous and careful attention to the needs of both the physical and the spiritual well-being of his Parishioners, whom he served for decades.
Burchard raised a wild bird from a chick (an owl, crow or jackdaw; records vary) and taught it not only to speak, but to hold conversations with him. When his household fell into evil and dissolute ways while Burchard was away, the bird told the Priest what it had witnessed. The servants killed the bird and threw the carcass into a mine shaft near the vicarage. The dead bird returned to him and managed to explain what had happened and who had done it.
Burchard once travelled to the nearby village to Unterhorben to minister to a dying woman. He was met on the road by a messenger who told him that the woman had died and he need not continue. Father Burchard went on to the house anyway to pray at her deathbed. Miraculously she came back to life just long enough to receive the final Sacraments and blessings.
When Burchard died, he was buried in his Parish Church’s graveyard. In 1619, his tomb was opened and his relics wee moved during the construction of a Chapel on his grave site. Again in 1754, his relics were temporarily moved during the Chapel’s renovation until it was completed and they were returned in 1784. A miraculous spring is found near his tomb.
Madonna dell’Alno / Our Lady of the White Poplar, Canzano, Teramo, Abruzzo, Italy (1480): 18 May
The Church, today a Parish Church, represents the centre of the Sanzanese devotion and was built and dedicated to the Madonna of the Alno in the year 1592 by the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary as reported in the epigraph on the portal architrave : “Societas Rosarii erigendum curavit AD 1592.”
The Virgin Mary appeared on 18 May 1480 on the top of a tree , to the peasant Giovanni Floro, (also referred to as Floro di Giovanni, who was plowing the land in a field located just outside the town. He noticed that his oxen tended to kneel and, looking around, he saw the Madonna on the tree. The Virgin turned to him and asked him to build a Church dedicated to her in the locality of Piano del Castellano in Canzano. [ The farmer immediately returned to the village and reported what had happened to him but, he was not believed and he was mocked and insulted by his fellow villagers.
The next day, the Madonna appeared again and renewed the same request to Floro who, with sadness, told her that the people of Sesi had not believed her words. The Virgin, silent, disappeared but on 20 May, after 6 pm, she manifested herself again and asked Giovanni to return to the village, to explain what was happening to him and, to prove what she said ,by personally driving a horse, notoriously indomitable, owned by the family of Falamesca de Montibus. The Madonna told him to be guided by the animal which would trace and define by its path, the site on which to erect the Church. [The owner of the horse agreed to entrust it to Giovanni who, to the amazement of all present, managed to ride it leading it up to the Piano del Castellano. Here, the animal “without restraint and without guidance, circled a space three times, and finally knelt down and bent its head to the ground.” The bystanders, who until then had observed in silence, expressed their astonishment with a great roar and gave consent and life to the building of the new Church.
Of the original Renaissance construction , only the stone portal remains, showing mirrors and rosettes. The façade and the stucco decorations of the Sanctuary are attributable to the reconstruction work of 1750 , while the brick bell tower dates from 1810 .
The Church holds within it a ‘ holy water font of the XVII Century placed on a pedestal carved with motifs of acanthus leaves, a bust reliquary wood of the eighteenth century depicting holy meek, sister of St Blaise Patron of Canzano, and paintings, dated between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries . Among these of particular value there is the Altarpiece of the Madonna del Rosario, placed behind the Altar, executed by Pasquale Rico of Montereale , portrayed with the Saints Domenic and Nicolas di Bari attributable to the workshop of Francesco Solimena . There is also the canvas depicting the Adoration of the Shepherds painted by the workshop of Guido Reni .
Veneration continues today with many pilgrims visiting all year but on 18 May each year, pilgrims devoutly process carrying the beautiful Statue and praying for all the special needs of the area, the Church and the world.