Thought for the Day – 27 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Faith teaches us that the soul which is in the state of grace and has expiated all the temporal punishments due to its sins, goes immediately to Heaven when it is separated from the body. There, the soul enjoys eternal happiness. It sees God face-to-face. It sees Him without any intervention of created things but as He is in Himself in the Unity and Trinity of His infinite perfections.
In this Beatific Vision, the intellect remains completely satisfied because, in God, there is every truth, beauty and goodness, The will abandons itself entirely to the Will of God, desiring nothing else and loving nothing else but God alone. There springs from this abandonment, a love which satisfies every desire, an inexpressible joy and a boundless peace. The happy soul will see the Blessed Virgin too and she will smile upon it with maternal tenderness. It will see the Angels and the Saints gathered around the King of Kings and the Queen of Heaven, singing praises. St Paul, who was taken up to the third Heaven, tells us that it is impossible to imagine or to describe the unknown joys which are experienced there. In comparison with the eternal happiness of Heaven, the poor pleasures of this world are empty shadows. We cannot imagine the happiness of those who have gained Heaven by their good lives upon earth. The concept of Heaven is so beautiful and immense, that it caused the Saints to desire death as a means of going there. They welcomed suffering too because, it brought them nearer to their goal.
St Augustine tells us, that Paradise is ours, if we wish: “You are not called to embrace the earth but to prepare yourselves for Heaven; not to the successes of this world, nor to a short-lived transient prosperity but, to eternal life together with the Angels.” (Serm 296, 6:7).”
Quote/s of the Day – 27 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Readings: Exodus 33: 7-11; 34: 5b-9, 28; Psalms 103:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13; Matthew 13: 36-43
“The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom, all causers of sin and all law-breakers and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous shall shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”
“You do not know when your last day may come. You are an ingrate! Why not use the day, today, that God has given you to repent?”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“Ah Jesus, Sun of Justice, make me clothe myself with You, so that I may be able to live according to Your will. Make me, under Your guidance, preserve my robe of baptismal innocence, white, holy and spotless and present it undefiled, before Your tribunal, so that I may wear it, for eternal life.”
St Gertrude the Great of Helfta (1256-1301)
“This then is to watch – to be detached from what is present and to live in what is unseen, to live in the thought of Christ as He came once and as He will come again, to desire His second coming, from our affectionate and grateful remembrance, of His first. ”
I look at You, my Lord Jesus and think of Your most holy Body and I keep it before me, as a pledge of my own resurrection. Though I die, as die I certainly shall, nevertheless, I shall not forever die, for I shall rise again. O You, who are the Truth, I know and believe with my whole heart, that this very flesh of mine will rise again. I know, base and odious as it is at present, that it will one day, if I be worthy, be raised incorruptible and altogether beautiful and glorious. This I know, this by Your grace, I will ever keep before me. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 27 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Readings: Exodus 33: 7-11; 34: 5b-9, 28; Psalms 103:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13; Matthew 13: 36-43
“Then the righteous shall shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” – Matthew 13:43
REFLECTION – “In your imagination see our Lord Jesus Christ seated on a throne of glory; beside Him stand the seraphim, cherubim and each angelic order, serving Him with fear and trembling. Then those who will have finished the combat, without allowing themselves to be drawn by any worldly pleasures or seduced by the attractions of this vain world, will hear the blessed voice of the Master. “Then, he says, “the righteous will shine like the sun” (Mt 13:43) when they have come from east and west, north and south to take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (cf. Mt 8:11) in an indescribable joy (cf. 1 Pt 1:8), when our King and Lord, will distribute gifts according to their merits. Ah! my brothers and children. ah! how great and beautiful is the glory which the thrice blessed will enjoy and the saints who practised asceticism! Yes, most certainly, each will receive the blessings promised, according to the degree to which they have pleased God. … So from now on, run well (cf. Gal 5:7) and may the devil not bewitch you (cf. Gal 3:1) nor hinder you! … May mercy, peace, charity, freedom from envy, from jealousy and ostentation come upon you, docility, friendly speech, solidarity, compassion towards each other, humility. Live like this, act like this, praying, too, with all your heart for my humble self that I may not be thrown into the eternal fire. May we all escape it, having been judged worthy of the kingdom of heaven, in Christ Himself, our God, to whom belongs all glory, honour, adoration, magnificence, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and always, world without end. Amen.” … St Theodore the Studite (759-826) Monk and Theologian – Catechesis 42
PRAYER – All-powerful and ever-living God, splendour of true light and never-ending day, chase away the night of sin and fill our minds with the glory of Your coming. Take away our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh, help us in our battle with sin and the devil. By our prayers, Your holy Sacraments and the strength of the Holy Spirit, may we be ever vigilant of the evil one. By our Baptism in Your Son, we are Your children, grant us Your protection. Kindly listen to the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints and Angels, whose prayers we beg, through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.
Saint of the Day – 27 July – Blessed Maria Magdalena Martinengo OSC Cap (1687-1737) Nun of the Order of the Capuchin Poor Clares, Mystic with a great devotion to the Passion of Christ, Mother Superior. Maria Magdalena devoted her life as a professed religious to the performance of small but humble chores in her time as a Poor Clare nun and was noted for her life of spiritual discernment and devotion to God above all else. She had a great horror of sin and devoted much time to contemplating death, and the Divine Judgement . Born Margherita Martinengo da Barco on 5 October 1687 in Brescia, Milan, Italy and died on 27 July 1737 (aged 49) also in Brescia,, Patronage – against tuberculosis. Also known as – Margarita Martinengo, Maria Maddalena.
Margherita was born on 5 October 1687 in Brescia into a noble household in the Martinengo Ducal Palace to Francesco Leopoldo Martinengo and Margherita Secchi d’Aragona. Her brothers were Nestore and Gianfrancesco. Her mother died five months after her birth in 1688. She was Baptised straight after her birth since there was fear that she might die. The Baptism was formally celebrated on 21 August 1691 at the Baptism of her half-sister Cecilia, born to the second marriage of her father to Elena Palazzi.
As a child she was perceived to be an intelligent girl and received a structured and comprehensive education based on the civic and religious studies. At the age of six she was entrusted to the Ursulines for additional education. Her teacher, Isabella Marazzi, instructed her in proper devotional practices to God and Marazzi played a formative role in Margherita’s religious education. Margherita was an avid reader and made full use of the Latin literature that her father owned.
On one occasion during her childhood, she was in a six horse carriage and she fell out. She would have been crushed had there not been, what she described as, an invisible touch that seemed to save her life.
On 11 October 1689 she entered the Convent boarding school of the Augustinian nuns of Santa Maria degli Angeli – two nuns there were her maternal aunts.
She made her First Communion towards the end of her childhood during which – in the nervous tension and emotion of the moment – she dropped the Host which forced her to pick it up from the floor with her tongue.
In August 1699 she asked her father for permission to go to the Spirito Santo boarding school of the Benedictines. Before she left the family went on a holiday with her father and siblings, in the mountains around Lago d’Iseo where she realised what her true calling was.
Around this time, at the age of thirteen, she took a vow to God in which she promised to remain a virgin. But at the age of sixteen several suitors approached her and her father had even promised her to the son of a prominent Venetian Senator. It even grew to the point where her two brothers Nestore and Gianfrancesco, pressured her to accept one of the offers. Her suitors bought her books and love stories and she did in fact like them – but she brooded over the fact that such stories which were given to her were “books from Hell.”
Margherita returned from the Spirito Santo Convent after the conclusion of her studies in 1704 and on 21 December 1704, announced to her father and brothers, her intention of becoming a Capuchin Poor Clare nun. Her Confessor and house servants, as well as her father and siblings, opposed this decision. Despite this opposition, on Christmas 1704 she went to the Capuchin Poor Clare Convent of Santa Maria della Neve and presented herself to them with the words: “I want to become holy.”. However, she was required to undergo a period of probation, which was conducted in the Ursuline-run Maggi College.
Once she entered the Convent at the age of eighteen, she was described to be “like wax” for her delicate appearance. On 8 September 1705 she was clothed in the habit and assumed the religious name of “Maria Magdalena” and parted from her family. Maria Magdalena was later deemed to be unfit for the Capuchin life but with a change in mistress she received unanimous support. She made her solemn profession on 8 September 1706.
Her Confessor instructed her to compile notes of her life and experiences which she did in the spirit of obedience. She was appointed as the Mistress of Novices at the age of 36 and made Abbess in 1732; – she was re-elected in that post on 12 July 1736.
Maria Magdalena died of tuberculosis in 1737 and when news of her death spread across Brescia people across the entire area mourned her passing. Her remains are located in the Church of the Convent of the Capuchin Poor Clare nuns in Brescia.
The recognition of two miracles attributed to her direct intercession allowed for Pope Leo XIII to preside over her Beatification on 3 June 1900. The miracles in question concerned the healings of Isabella Groppelli Gromi and of the future priest Giuseppe Tosi.
Notre-Dame-de-Foy / Our Lady of Faith,Gravelines, Liege, France (1616) – 27 July:
Not far from the small town of Dinant, in Liege near a home belonging to the Lord of Celles, two magnificent oaks once grew. One of the two venerable old trees was felled in the year 1609 by a man named Gilles, a lumberjack. The worker who inspected the tree found a small terracotta statue of the Mother of God, enthroned, as it were, with three iron bars that served as a trellis. The old oak stood on the edge of a path taken by pilgrims travelling to St Hubert. Apparently, at some time in the distant past, some pious Christian soul had placed the holy image in a hollow of the oak, as if in a niche. Then, over a period of time, the opening the tree had made while it was still young gradually closed and as it grew, the tree hid in its womb, the precious figure. Over the years the bark of the tree closed upon it and, as the road became less frequented, the existence of the Statue was completely forgotten.
To honour the Virgin, the Statue was subsequently displayed on the other oak, once again behind an iron grating, by order of the Baron of Celles. In this new Sanctuary, the Mother of God was honoured with the title of Our Lady of Faith. Those passing by did not fail to venerate the Statue;and there were many unexpected miracles. Graces of all kinds multiplied,and soon pilgrims began to flock to the area because of the dazzling miracles and very quickly a spontaneous cult grew. The Statue was first placed in another oak but it was almost thrown away by servants who thought it had no value. The local Baron placed it near the door to his oratory at the Castle of Veves as pilgrims began to flock there. In this new Sanctuary, the image of Our Lady was honoured under the title of Our Lady of Faith, which was the name of the farm. The first miracle occurred in 1616. As a result of the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary an old man was healed from a painful and debilitating hernia. The canonical investigation prescribed by the Bishop of Liege, was positive in its conclusion. A Priest of the Society of Jesus had recently been sent to Gravelines. He worked diligently to cultivate souls, as if upon a fruitful vine and by his sermons excited the people of the region to a greater love for the Mother of God. Seeing that this devotion had taken root, he met with the local Magistrate to discuss how to maintain and increase the piety of the people. It was decided that they should make replicas of the Statue of Our Lady of Faith, made from the wood of the first oak. When the first was completed, the image was observed to have a great resemblance to the original. Received with great joy, it was placed in a large reliquary above the high Altar in the Parish Church.
St Aetherius of Auxerre St Anthusa of Constantinople St Arethas St Aurelius of Cordoba St Benno of Osnabruck (c 1020-1088) Bishop Bl Berthold of Garsten
St Ecclesius of Ravenna Bl Felipe Hernández Martínez St Felix of Cordoba St Galactorio of Lescar St George of Cordoba St Hermippus St Hermocrates St Hermolaus Bl Jaime Ortiz Alzueta Bl Joaquín Vilanova Camallonga Bl José María Ruiz Cano St Juliana of Mataró St Lillian of Cordoba Bl Lucy Bufalari St Luican
Bl Rudolf Aquaviva S.J. Bl Robert Sutton St Semproniana of Mataró St Sergius of Bisceglia Bl William Davies Bl Zacarías Abadía Buesa
Martyrs of Nicomedia – 3 saints: Three Christians martyred together. The only other information to survive are their names – Felix, Jucunda and Julia. Nicomedia, Asia Minor.
Seven Sleepers of Ephesus: A group of seven young Christian men who hid in a cave in hopes of avoiding the persecution of Decius in the year 250. Found and arrested, they were ordered by the pro-consul in Ephesus to renounce their faith; they refused and were sentenced to die. Legend says that they were walled up in their hiding cave, guarded by the dog Al Rakim; when the cave wall was breached in 479 – they all woke up! It is likely that the youths were tortured to death in various ways and buried in the cave. The resurrection story confusion came from the phrase “went to sleep in the Lord” which was used to describe the death of Christians and 479 is when their relics were discovered. Their names were Constantinus, Dionysius, Joannes, Malchus, Martinianus, Maximianus and Serapion. They were martyred in 250 in Ephesus (in modern Turkey); tradition says that they were walled up in a cave to suffocate but other records indicate that they were tortured to death in various ways. Their relics discovered in 479 and translated to Marseilles, France and enshrined in a large stone coffin.