Thought for the Day – 19 May – Mary, a Light in the Darkness

Thought for the Day – 19 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Mary, a Light in the Darkness

“Let us imagine for a moment, that we have grown blind and are forever plunged in darkness.
It is an unhappy thought.
Never again to see those who are dear to us, never to see the light of the sun nor any of the splendour of the universe.
We should feel as if were alone, for we should have to depend only on sounds and on the voices of others for communication with the external world.
As St Augustine points out, however, in his commentary on the miracle of the man who had been blind from birth, we are all more or less blind in the supernatural order.
The world is the image of God but, do we see His Presence in everything which surrounds us?
Is it not more often the case that created things distract us and lead us to forget their Creator, because, we regard them as a means of satisfying our own comfort and our own ego?
We should look on creatures as go-betweens which help us to ascend to God, the beginning and end of all creation.

Unfortunately, instead of climbing this mystical ladder which leads us to God, we often descend it.
We forget God and become excessively wrapped up in worldly affairs.
Sometimes matters may be even worse, not only do we forget God through our love of creatures but, we use them, to offend Him.
God has given us eyes to admire His works and, as a result, to lead us to praise, thank and love Him.
Instead, we often use this wonderful gift in order to commit sin.
He has given us the gift of speech, the gift of hearing and other senses.
But how do we employ them?
The tongue is a marvellous invention but, as St James writes, “if anyone does not offend in the word, he is a perfect man, able also to lead round by the bridle, the whole body … With it we bless God the Father and, with it, we curse men, who have been made after the likeness of God.   Out of the same mouth, proceed blessing and cursing.   These things, my brethren ought not to be so” (Js 3:2-10).
What can be said of vision and of speech can be said of all the senses and faculties of body and soul.
They are all God’s gifts and should, therefore, be used as means of bringing ourselves closer to Him.
If creatures lead us away from God and cause us to forget Him, or if, worse still, they cause us to offend Him, then we are spiritually blind and far more unfortunate than those who have lost their natural vision.

Most Holy Mary, during your earthly pilgrimage, you never once lost sight of God.
Grant that I may not be lost in the darkness of this world.
Grant that I may not be ensnared by the passing charm and false beauty of these created things which surround me.
Grant that I may see, in all things, the Presence and Beauty of God, so that I may always continue to advance, nearer and nearer to Him.   Amen.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci


Quote/s of the Day – 19 May – “I also have sent them into the world.” John 17:18

Quote/s of the Day – 19 May – “Mary’s Month” – Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 20:28-38, Psalm 68:29-30, 33-36, John17:11-1

“As thou hast sent me into the world,
I also have sent them into the world.”

John 17:18

“This is the work of God,
that you believe in him
whom he hath sent.”

John 6:29

“… It was their vocation to call sinners to repentance,
to heal those who were sick,
whether in body or spirit,
to seek in all their dealing,
never to do their own will
but the will of Him who sent them and,
as far as possible, to save the world
by their teaching.”

St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444)
Bishop, Father & Doctor of the Church

“My children, eternal life is being offered to us,
the kingdom of heaven is made ready
and Christ’s inheritance awaits us …
So let us run from now on with increased energy
and above all you, lazy, recalcitrant,
dull of heart, friends of murmuring who,
unless you improve, are like the cursed fig tree.
… Let us seek out the fight,
bravely pour with our sweat,
adorn ourselves with crowns,
gain praises and gather up,
like a treasure,
“what eye has not seen
and ear has not heard
and what has not entered the human heart”
(1 Cor 2:9).

St Theodore the Studite (759-826)

“There are two ways of keeping God’s word,
namely, one, whereby we store in our memory
what we hear and the other,
whereby we put into practice,
what we have heard
(and none will deny that the latter
is more commendable, inasmuch,
as it is better to sow grain,
than to store it in the barn).”

Blessed Jordan of Saxony OP (1190-1237)

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on THE WORLD, The KINGDOM of GOD, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 19 May – And what is His kingdom?

One Minute Reflection – 19 May – “Mary’s Month” – Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 20:28-38, Psalm 68:29-30, 33-36, John17:11-19

“ They are not of the world, as I also, am not of the world.” – John 17:16

REFLECTION – “Listen everybody, Jews and Gentiles … Listen, all the kingdoms of the earth! I am not preventing you from ruling over this world, “my kingdom is not of this world.” (Jn 18:36) So don’t be afraid with that senseless fear which seized Herod when My birth was announced to him … “No,” the Saviour says, “my kingdom is not of this world.” All of you, come to a kingdom, which is not of this world, come by faith. May you not be made cruel by fear. It is true, that the Son of God, speaking of the Father, says in a prophecy: “Through him, I was established as king on Zion, his holy mountain.” (Ps 2:6) But that Zion and that mountain, are not of this world.

And what is His kingdom? It is they who believe in Him, those to whom He says: “You are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” But He, nevertheless, wants them to be in the world – He prays to His Father: “I am not asking you to take them out of the world but, to protect them from the evil one.” For He did not say: “My kingdom is not in this world,” but rather: “It is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over.” (Jn 18:36) – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop, Father and Doctor of Grace of the Church – Homilies on St John, no 115

PRAYER – Give us the grace Holy God to ever serve You and be faithful to You alone. Nothing of this world is worthy of our love and alone in You do we have life and light. May Your divine Son be our Guide and our Hope and may He always be with us as we make our way to our home country, together with His Mother and ours, the Blessed Virgin. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.


Our Morning Offering – 19 May – Blessed are You, O Mary! By St Jacob of Sarug

Our Morning Offering – 19 May – “Mary’s Month”

Blessed are You, O Mary!
By St Jacob of Sarug (c 451-521)

Syrian Bishop and Monk

Blessed are you, O Mary
and blessed is your holy soul,
for your beatitude surpasses
that of all the Blessed.
Blessed are you who have borne,
embraced and caressed as a Baby,
the One who upholds the ages with His secret word.
Blessed are you,
from whom the Saviour appeared on this exile earth,
subjugating the seducer and bringing peace to the world.
Blessed are you,
whose pure mouth touched the lips
of the One, whom the Seraphim
look upon in His splendour.
Blessed are you,
who have nourished, with your pure milk
the source, from whom the living obtain life and light.
Blessed are you,
because the whole universe resounds with your memory
and the Angels and human beings, celebrate your feast.
Daughter of the poor,
you became the Mother of the King of kings.
You gave to the poor worldthe riches that can make it live.
You are the bark, laden with the goodness
and the treasures of the Father,
Who sent His riches once again,
into our empty home.
Blessed are you, O Mary!

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 19 May – Blessed Augustine Novello OSA (1240– 1309)

Saint of the Day – 19 May – Blessed Augustine Novello OSA (1240– 1309) Priest and Friar of the Order of St Augustine, miracle-worker, Prior General of the Order, Reformer of the Constitutions, Professor of Canon and Civil Law. Born in 1240 at Taormina, Sicily as Matteo da Termini and died on 19 May 1309 at San Leonardo, Italy of natural causes. Also known as – Augustine of Taormina, Agostino Novello, Augustine Novellus, Matthew of Taormina, Matteo de’ Termini.

Matteo’s parents, of a noble family originally from Catalonia in Spain, educated him most carefully and had him instructed in all the then known sciences. At the University of Bologna, he earned a Doctorate in Civil and Canon Law and became a Professor of law. He worked in the Chancery of the Kingdom of Sicily at the Court of King Manfred of Sicily.

In this capacity, Matteo accompanied the King in the war against Charles I of Anjou, who disputed Manfred’s right to the Crown of Sicily. In the battle at Benevento, in which Manfred was killed and his army routed, Matteo was wounded and thought to be dead and so, was left on the battlefield among the corpse. Regaining consciousness, Matteo was able to somehow reach his home, however, disillusioned with the world and with the evanescence of all earthly glory, he determined, thenceforth, to forsake all worldly honours and dignities.

Following this decision, Matteo asked for admission as a lay brother into the Order of St Augustine and was received in a Convent in Sicily. There he took the name Augustine/Agostino and there, he would live unknown to the world, far from his home and his people, devoted to exercises of piety. He lived there tranquilly until an unforeseen incident brought him once more before the world.

The title to some property belonging to the Convent was claimed by a local Bishop. The Augustinians were represented by a learned lawyer of Siena, Giacomo Pallares, who recognised Augutine as a former colleague. Pallares, lost no time in informing the Ecclesiastical authorities of Augustine’s identity, advising them, to no longer keep such a wealth of learning, in obscurity.

Child falling from a balcony. saved by Bl Augustine

When Blessed Clement of Osimo, General of the Order, heard of this, he compelled Augustine, under obedience, to receive Holy Orders and brought him to Rome, where he reformed the Constitutions of the Order, Pope Nicholas IV appointed him, as his Confessor and Grand Penitentiary, a position which he accepted, again only under obedience.

Child falling from its cradle, caught by Bl Augutine

Augustine was elected Prior General in 1298. Despite his attempts to refuse this position he was ordered by the Pope to accept. In 1300 he resigned from office and spent the remaining ten years of his life at the Hermitage of San Leonardo al Lago.

Knight falling into a ravine, saved by Bl Augustine

In his retreat and retrement near Siena, Augustine not only dedicated himself to the practice of the virtues proper to the religious state. He also ministered to the people of the surrounding villages ,as well as in nearby Siena. He was known and respected for his deep humility and love of contemplation. He played an important role in the founding of Siena’s Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala and composed a set of guidelines for the Hospital community.

Child attacked by a wolf aved by Bl Augustine

He died on 19 May 1309/10 at San Leonardo. Because his reputation for prayer, charity and miracles was know far and wide, the Bishop of Siena insisted that his body be placed in a casket and kept in the Augustinian Church in Siena, the Church of St Augustine. His casket and related works of art, see below, remained in the Church of Saint Augustine in Siena for many centuries. It was later taken to Sicily, where he had worked for the King before becoming a member of the Order of Saint Augustine. His tomb is now located at Termini Imerese in Sicily. Along with that of Clement of Osimo, the Prior General who had called him out from his anonymity at Rosia.

The Blessed Osimo and Augustine

His Statue is found on the façade of the Cathedral.

Many of the miracles wrought through the intercession of Blessed Augsutine were verified and authenticated. by Pope Clement XIII , who solemnly Beatified him in 1761, and Pope Clement XIV authorised his cult on 23 July 1770.

In the Church of Saint Augustine in Siena there was a wooden Sarcophagus in which the Augustine of Tarano was buried and an Altar consecrated to him. A painted Altarpiece was commissioned by the best painter available, Simóne Martini (1280/1285 – 1344). Appropriate to its environment, the Altarpiece is a colourful and simple form of devotional painting. It is presumed that the Altarpiece was in place for the celebrations in honour of the Augustine of Movello held there in 1324. The Altarpiece depicts some of the miracles of Blessed Augustine, see the images above.


Notre-Dame de Flines / Our Lady of Flines, Douay (1279) and Memorial of the Saints – 19 May

Notre-Dame de Flines / Our Lady of Flines, Douay (1279) – 20 May:

The Abbot Orsini writes: “Dedication of Our Lady of Flines, near Douay, by Peter, Archbishop of Rheims, in the year 1279. This Abbey of Nuns, of the Order of Citeaux, was given to Saint Bernard by Margaret de Dampierre, in the year 1234.”

Margaret de Dampiere, also known as Margaret of Constantinople, was a relative of the Count Guy de Dampier. It appears that Saint Bernard had recently established an Order of Nuns according to the Rule of his Order and in the year 1234, Margaret presented Saint Bernard with the Abbey located near Douay.
Five years previous to this, Archbishop Peter of Rheims had dedicated the Shrine to Our Lady of Flines. This Shrine became a place of pilgrimage as a result of the miraculous cure of a child protégé of Margaret’s. The little one, unseen by Margaret’s coachman, had been seriously injured while playing about the stable-yard. The doctors pronounced her hopelessly lame for life.
Margaret, however, was confident in Our Lady’s intercession and took the child to the neighbouring Shrine every Saturday and begged the Mother of God to be merciful to the child, as well as to the grieving parents. After the fifteenth visit, the little girl, with a happy cry, jumped from the arms of her mother. “I can walk straight, see?” and proved that Our Lady had indeed cured her in that instant.
When Margaret de Dampiere died in 1280, she was buried in the centre of the choir.
The renown of the Shrine continued to spread over time and resulted in many pilgrimages to Our Lady of Flines. The Blessed Virgin Mary proved the words of her loyal son Saint Bernard, “Never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided” to be true.
The Abbey was destroyed by the partisans of the French Revolution and there is now no trace of the once thriving and beautiful Convent and Shrine.

St Alcuin of York
Blessed Augustine Novello OSA (1240– 1309) Priest and Friar of the Order of St Augustine.
St Calocerus of Rome

St Pope Celestine V (1210-1296) Papal Ascension , 5 July 1294 – Papal Abdication, 13 December 1294.

St Crispin of Viterbo
St Cyriaca of Nicomedia and Companions
St Cyril of Trèves
St Dunstan of Canterbury
St Evonio of Auvergne

Saint Francisco Coll y Guitart OP (1812-1875) Spanish Priest of the Order of Preachers, (the Dominicans), Founder of the Dominican Sisters of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, Confessor, Holy See Apostolic Missionary and was known as “The Apostle of Modern Times.”
About this Saint for modern times:

St Hadulph of Saint-Vaast
Bl Humiliana de’ Cerchi

St Ivo Hélory of Kermartin TOSF (1253-1303) “Advocate of the Poor,” Priest, Franciscan Tertiary
An interesting man and Saint:

Bl Jean-Baptiste-Xavier Loir
Bl Józef Czempiel
Bl Juan of Cetina
Bl Louis Rafiringa
Bl Lucinio Fontanil Medina

St Maria Bernarda Bütler (1848-1924) Religious Sister, Founder, Missionary
Her Life:

St Parthenius of Rome
Bl Peter de Duenas
Bl Peter Wright
St Philoterus of Nicomedia
St Pudens of Rome
St Pudentiana of Rome
St Theophilus of Corte