Thought for the Day – 12 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
“All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed”
‘A Jewish girl, poor in this world’s goods but rich in virtue, arrived after a long and difficult journey at a village in the hills of Judea, called Hebron. There, she paid a visit to her cousin, Elizabeth. When Elizabeth saw the girl, she was immediately enlightened by the Holy Spirit with the knowledge, that her visitor, was the Mother of God. “How have I deserved,” she cried out, “that the mother of my Lord, should come to me?” (Lk 1:43). At these words, Mary looked up towards Heaven and gave spontaneous expression to a hymn of humble acknowledgement to God, Who had “regarded the lowliness of His Handmaid” (Lk 1:48). Then she made a solemn prophecy, which would surely have assured the cynical intellectuals and nobles of the land but, which history has wonderfully fulfilled. “Behold” she said, “all generations shall call me blessed” (ibid). We can testify today, that this miracle came to pass. All the nations have paid reverence to the Jewish girl, who became the Mother of God and our Mother, the Queen of Heaven and earth, the comforter of the afflicted, the conqueror of Satan and the invincible Guardian of the Church. From the engravings in the Catacombs, to the celestial Madonnas of the Angelico, from the rudimentary sculpture of Roman art, to the prayerful statues on the pinnacles of more modern Cathedrals, the image of Mary has shone as a beacon of hope for all generations. Men bow before her and ask for light, for comfort and for pardon. “If anyone follows Mary,” says St Bernard, “he will not lose his way; if anyone pray to her, he will not despair; if anyone thinks of her, he will not sin; if anyone reaches out to her, he will not fall; if anyone places himself under her protection, he need have no fear; if anyone places himself under her leadership, he will never give up; if anyone pays homage to her, he is certain to reach his destination safely”(Homil Missus est 2:17).”
Quote/s of the Day – 12 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Our Lady assured Blessed Lúcia:
“My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.” Thus, if we devote ourselves to her Immaculate Heart, Mary will lead us to her Son, Jesus Christ and we will be on the way to Heaven.“
Our Lady of Fatima
“Do you not know, that not only is Jesus, resting and dwelling continually in the Heart of Mary but that He is, Himself the Heart of Mary … “
St John Eudes (1601-1680) Apostle of the Two Holy Hearts
“If you put all the love, of all the mothers into one heart, it still would not equal the love of the Heart of Mary for her children.”
One Minute Reflection – 12 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Readings: Second Corinthians 5: 14-21, Psalms 103: 1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12, Gospel: Luke 2: 41-51
“And his mother kept all these words in her heart.” – Luke 2:51
REFLECTION – “Often, it seems to us, Mary forgot to eat and to drink, keeping vigil in order to think about Christ, to see Christ in His flesh. She burned with love of Him and passionately loved to serve Him. She often did what the Song of Songs sings about: “I was sleeping, but my heart kept vigil.” (Song 5:2) Even when she was resting, she continued to dream of Him who filled her thoughts throughout the day. Whether she was keeping vigil or resting in peace, she always lived in Him, was always occupied with Him.
Where her treasure was, there also was her heart (Mt 6:21); where her glory was, there also was her mind. She loved her Lord and her Son with all her heart, with all her mind, with all her strength (Mt 22:37). She saw with her eyes, touched with her hands, the Word of Life (1 Jn 1:1). How blessed was Mary, to whom it was given to embrace Him who embraces and nourishes everything! How happy was she who carried Him, who carries the universe (Heb 1:3), she who nursed a Son, who gives her life, a Son who nourishes her and all beings on earth (Ps 145:15).
The One Who is the wisdom of the Father, put His arms around her neck, the One Who is the strength, that gives movement to everything sat in her arms. He Who is the rest of souls, (Mt 11:29) rested on her motherly breast. How gently He held her in His hands, peacefully looked at her, He Whom the angels wish to contemplate (1 Pet 1:12) and He gently called her, He Whom every being calls upon when in need. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she held Him close to her heart … She never had enough of seeing Him or of hearing Him, Whom “many prophets and kings wished to see … but did not see.” (Lk 10:24) Thus Mary grew evermore in love and her mind was unceasingly attached to divine contemplation.” – St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) Bishop – Homily on Mary, 4
PRAYER – Lord open our hearts to Your grace. As You brought joy to the world through the incarnation of Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, grant that through the prayer of the Immaculate Heart of His Ever-Virgin Mother, our hearts too may grow in virtue and love by learning to reflect constantly on His commandments and counsels. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 12 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
O Mother Blest By St Alphonsus Maria Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor of the Church Trns. Fr Edmund Vaughn C.SS,R, (1827 – 1908 )
O Mother blest, whom God bestows On sinners and on just, What joy, what hope thou givest those Who in thy mercy trust. Thou are clement, thou are chaste, Mary thou art fair, Of all mothers, sweetest best, none with thee compare.
O heavenly Mother, mistress sweet! it never yet was told that suppliant sinner left thy feet, unpitied, unconsoled. Thou are clement, thou are chaste, …
O Mother, pitiful and mild, Cease not to pray for me; For I do love thee as a child, And sigh for love of thee. Thou art clement, thou art chaste, …
Most powerful Mother, all men know Thy Son denies thee nought; Thou askest, wishest it, and lo! His power thy will hath wrought. Thou art clement, thou art chaste, …
O Mother blest, for me obtain, Ungrateful though I be, To love that God who first could deign To show such love for me. Thou art clement, thou art chaste, Mary, thou art fair. Of all mothers, sweetest, best, None with thee compare.
Saint of the Day – 12 June – St Pope Leo III (c 750-816) Bishop of Rome and Ruler of the Papal States from 26 December 795 to his death, Diplomat, financial administrator and Defender of the City ad peoples of Rome and of the Church. Peacemaker and restorer of Churches and Monasteries, Patron of the Arts and apostle of the poor. Known as “Charlemagne’s Pope” Born at Rome, Italy in c 750 and died on 12 June 816.
The Roman Martyrology statesof him today: “At Rome, in the Vatican Basilica, St Leo III, to whom God miraculously restored his eyes and his tongue, after they had been torn out by impious men.”
Leo was of a modest family in southern Italy, the son of Atyuppius and Elizabeth. He was made Cardinal-Priest of Santa Susanna by Pope Adrian I, and also Vestiarius, or Chief of the Pontifical Treasury, or wardrobe.
He was elected on 26 December 795, the day Adrian I was buried and Consecrated on the following day. With the letter informing Charlemagne that he had been unanimously elected Pope, Leo sent him the keys of the cCnfession of St Peter and the Standard of the City. This he did, to show that he regarded the Frankish King as the Protector of the Holy See. In return he received from Charlemagne, letters of congratulation and a great part of the treasure which the King had captured from the Avars. The acquisition of this wealth, was one of the causes which enabled Leo to be such a great benefactor to the Churches and charitable institutions of Rome.
Prompted by jealousy or ambition, or by feelings of hatred and revenge, a number of the relatives of Pope Adrian I formed a plot to render Leo unfit to hold his sacred office. On the occasion of the procession of the Greater Litanies (25 April, 799), when the Pope was making his way towards the Flaminian Gate, he was suddenly attacked by a body of armed men. He was dashed to the ground and an effort was made to root out his tongue and tear out his eyes. After he had been left for a time bleeding in the street, he was hurried off at night to the Monastery of St Erasmus (remeber St Elmo?)on the Cœlian. There, in what seemed quite a miraculous manner, he recovered the full use of his eyes and tongue. Escaping from the Monastery, he betook himself to Charlemagne, accompanied by many of the Romans. He was received by the Frankish King with the greatest honour at Paderborn, although his enemies had filled the King’s ears with malicious accusations against him. After a few months’ stay in Germany, the Frankish Monarch caused him to be escorted back to Rome, where he was received with every demonstration of joy by the whole populace, natives and foreigners.
The Pope’s enemies were then tried by Charlemagne’s envoys and, being unable to establish either Leo’s guilt or their own innocence, were sent as prisoners to France (Frankland). In the following year (800) Charlemagne himself came to Rome and the Pope and his accusers were brought face to face. The assembled Bishops declared that they had no right to judge the Pope;but Leo of his own free will, in order, as he said, to dissipate any suspicions in men’s minds, declared on oath, that he was wholly guiltless of the charges which had been brought against him. At his special request, the death sentence which had been passed upon his principal enemies, was commuted into a sentence of exile.
A few days later, Leo and Charlemagne again met. It was on Christmas Day in St. Peter’s. After the Gospel had been sung, the Pope approached Charlemagne,, who was kneeling before the Confession of St Peter,and placed a Crown upon his head. The assembled multitude at once made the Basilica ring with the shout: “To Charles, the most pious Augustus, crowned by God, to our great and pacific Emperor life and victory!” By this act was revived the Empire in the West and, in theory, at least, the world was declared by the Church, subject to one temporal head, as Christ had made it subject to one spiritual head.
It was understood that the first duty of the new Emperor was to be the Protector of the Roman Church and of Christendom against the heathen. With a view to combining the East and West under the effective rule of Charlemagne, Leo strove to further the project of a marriage between him and the Eastern Empress Irene. Her deposition, however (801), prevented the realisation of this excellent plan. Some three years after the departure of Charlemagne from Rome (801), Leo again crossed the Alps to see him (804). According to some he went to discuss with the Emperor ,the division of his territories between his sons. At any rate, two years later, he was invited to give his assent to the Emperor’s provisions for the said partition. Equally while acting in harmony with the Pope, Charlemagne combatted the heresy of Adoptionism which had arisen in Spain but he went somewhat further than his spiritual guide when he wished to bring about the general insertion of the Filioque in the Nicene Creed. The two were, however, acting together when Salzburg was made the metropolitical City for Bavaria and when Fortunatus of Grado was compensated for the loss of his See of Grado by the gift of that of Pola. The joint action of the Pope and the Emperor was felt even in England. Through it, Eardulf of Northumbria recovered his Kingdom, and the dispute between Eanbald, Archbishop of York and Wulfred, Archbishop of Canterbury, was regulated.
Leo had, however, many relations with England solely on his own account. By his command, the Synod of Beccanceld (or Clovesho, 803), condemned the appointing of laymen as superiors of Monasteries. In accordance with the wishes of Ethelheard, Archbishop of Canterbury, Leo excommunicated Eadbert Praen for seizing the throne of Kent and withdrew the pallium which had been granted to Litchfield, authorising the restoration of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the See of Canterbury “just as St. Gregory the Apostle and Master of the nation of the English had arranged it”.
During the Pontificate of Leo, the Church of Constantinople was in a state of unrest. In their distress, the Monks turned for help to Leo, as they had done earlier. The Pope replied, not merely with words of praise and encouragement but also, by the dispatch of rich presents and, after Michael I came to the Byzantine throne, he ratified the treaty between him and Charlemagne which was to secure peace for East and West.
Not only in the last mentioned transaction but in all matters of importance, did the Pope and the Charlemagne act in concert. It was on Charlemagne’s advice that, to ward off the savage raids of the Saracens, Leo maintained a fleet,and caused his coast line to be regularly patrolled by his ships of war. But because he did not feel competent to keep the Moslem pirates out of Corsica, he entrusted the guarding of it to the Emperor.
But when the great Emperor died (28 January 814), evil times once more broke on Leo. A fresh conspiracy was formed against him but on this occasion the Pope was apprised of it before it came to a head. He caused the chief conspirators to be seized and executed. No sooner had this plot been crushed than a number of nobles of the Campagna rose in arms and plundered the country. They were preparing to march on Rome itself, when they were overpowered by the Duke of Spoleto, acting under the orders of the King of Italy (Langobardia).
The large sums of money which Charlemagne had given to the Papal Treasury enabled Leo to become an efficient helper of the poor and a patron of art, and to renovate the Churches, not only of Rome, but even of Ravenna. He employed the imperishable art of mosaic not only to portray the political relationship between Charlemagne and himself but chiefly, to decorate the Churches, especially his titular Church of St Susanna. Up to the end of the sixteenth century a figure of Leo in mosaic was to be seen in that ancient church.
Leo III was buried in St Peter’s (12 June, 816), where his relics are to be found along with those of Sts Leo I, Leo II and Leo IV. He was Canonised in 1673 by Pope Clement X. The silver denarii of Leo III still extant, bears the name of the Frankish Emperor upon them, as well as that of Leo, showing thereby the Emperor as the Protector of the Church and overlord of the City of Rome.
Madonna del Giorno di Montalto / Our Lady of Montalto, Messina, Italy, 1294 – 12 June:
One night a humble Friar named Nicholas dreamt of the Virgin Mary who told him to go the next day, by the Senate of Messina and inform them, that Our Lady wanted a temple on that hill, dedicated as the Lady of the High Mountain. In the morning, the Friar thought it was all his imagination and not believing that the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ would go to a poor Friar and thought no more of it. The next night, the Virgin appeared again in a dream to Nicholas, scolding him for disobedience. The monk then asked him how he could get himself heard by the Senate. Our Lady told him not to despair and the next day, at noon, a white dove on the hill site was outlined at the area where the Church was to be built. So it was, 12 June 1294, the hill was full of people and notables of Messina and a white dove appeared and marked out the spot for the Church (this miracle is represented by Statues in motion in the bell tower of the Cathedral). Fra Nicholas then went to the nearby Matagrifone castle to find the Queen Constance. He explained the facts, in the presence of a Court handmaiden who advised the Queen to drive the Monk away. The evil courtesan was suddenly seized with paralysis of her arm and excruciating pain throughout her body. The Monk advised her to apologise to the Madonna, she did so, and the pain was relieved. Queen Constance, remained shaken from the occurrence and she promised her help, indeed it was she who laid the first stone. By 1295 the Church was already built.
The Santuario della Madonna di Montalto was severely damaged during the 1908 earthquake and rebuilt in 1930. This view of the bell tower gives you a hint of the beauty of this Gothic and Romanesque structure.
St Amphion of Nicomedia Bl Antonia Maria Verna Bl Antonio de Pietra St Arsenius of Konev St Christian O’Morgair of Clogher St Chrodobald of Marchiennes St Cominus Bl Conrad of Maleville St Cunera St Cuniald St Cyrinus of Antwerp St Eskil St Galen of Armenia
Bl Mercedes Maria of Jesus St Odulf of Utrecht St Olympius of AEnos St Onuphrius of Egypt Bl Pelagia Leonti of Milazzo St Peter of Mount Athos St Placid of Val d’Ocre Bl Stanislaw Kubista Bl Stefan Grelewski Bl Stefan Kielman St Ternan of Culross St Valerius of Armenia
Martyrs of Bologna: Three Christians who were martyred at different times and places, but whose relics have been collected and enshrined together – Celsus, Dionysius, and Marcellinus. Their relics were enshrined in churches in Bologna and Rome in Italy.
Martyrs of Rome: Four members of the Imperial Roman nobility. They were all soldiers, one or more may have been officers, and all were martyred in the persecutions of Diocletian – Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor and Nazarius. They were martyred in 304 outside Rome, Italy and buried along the Aurelian Way.
Three Holy Exiles: Three Christian men who became Benedictine monks at the Saint James Abbey in Regensburg, Germany, then hermits at Griestatten and whose lives and piety are celebrated together. – Marinus, Vimius and Zimius.