Thought for the Day – 28 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Sacred Scripture has some very severe and terrible things to say to the rich. “Woe to you rich! for you are now having your comfort” (Lk 6:24). “Amen, I say to you, with difficulty will a rich man enter the kingdom of heaven. And further, I say to you, it is easier for a camel top pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19:23-24, CF Mk 10:24-25, Lk 18:24-25). St James adds: “Come now, you rich, weep and howl over your miseries which will come upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are rusted and their rust will be a witness against you and will devour your flesh as fire does. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the labourers who reaped your fields, which have been kept back by you unjustly, cry out and their cry has entered into the ears of the Lord of Hosts. You have feasted upon earth and you have nourished your hearts on dissipation in the days of slaughter”(Js 5:1-5).
These passages are not concerned with the rich as such, for men like Abraham, Job and St Louis, the King of France, were wealthy. They are directed against those who have become absorbed in their wealth (Mk 10:24) and have grown deaf to the rightful promptings of justice and charity.
Nevertheless, it is not only the wealthy and unjust who should reflect seriously on these stern words but also, those who have more than they need in life and are never moved by compassion for their less fortunate fellowmen. Can we be counted amongst these?”
Quote/s of the Day – 28 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Readings: Exodus 34: 29-35; Psalms 99: 5, 6, 7, 9; Matthew 13: 44-46
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again and out of joy, goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is he, who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
“Lay not up for yourselves, treasures on earth … but lay up for yourselves, treasures in heaven”
“You are a jailor of your wealth, not its owner, you who bury your gold in the ground (cf Mt 25,25); you are its slave and not its master. Christ said: “Where your treasure is, there also your heart will be” so it is your heart you have buried. Rather, sell your gold and buy salvation; sell what is metal and acquire God’s Kingdom; sell the field and purchase for yourself, eternal life. In saying this I am speaking the truth because I am relying on the words of Him who is Truth: “If you wish to be perfect, sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven” (Mt 19,21). Do not be cast down by these words lest the same thing be said to you, as to the rich young man: “It will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (v.23). Still more, when you read this sentence, consider that death can snatch these possessions away from you, that the aggression of someone powerful can carry them away.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan, Father and Doctor of the Church
“Where is the heart that loves? On the thing it loves. Therefore, where our love is, there our heart is held captive. It cannot leave it; it cannot be lifted higher, it cannot go either to the right or the left; see, it is fixed. Where the miser’s treasure is, there is his heart and where our heart is, there is our treasure.”
One Minute Reflection – 28 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Readings: Exodus 34: 29-35; Psalms 99: 5, 6, 7, 9; Matthew 13: 44-46
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again and out of joy, goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” – Matthew 13:44
REFLECTION – “It was Christ who was present to all those to whom, from the beginning, God communicated His Speech and Word. If anyone, therefore, reads the Scriptures with attention, he will find, in them, an expression of Christ and a foreshadowing of this new calling. For Christ is the treasure which was hidden in the field, that is, in this world (Mt 13:38) – a treasure hidden in the Scriptures, since it was alluded to by means of symbols and parables which, humanly speaking, could not be understood prior to the fulfilment of prophecy, that is to say, before the coming of the Lord. That is why it was said to Daniel the prophet: ” Keep secret the message and seal the book until the end of time ” (12:4) … And Jeremiah also says, “In the last days they shall understand these things.” (23:20) …
When read by Christians, the Law is a treasure, hidden beforehand in a field, but brought to light and interpreted by the Cross of Christ. It shows forth the Wisdom of God and makes known His intentions with regard to our salvation; it prefigures the Kingdom of Christ and preaches, by anticipation, the Good News of our inheritance of the holy Jerusalem. It proclaims beforehand, that those who love God shall advance even to hearing and seeing His Word and, that they will be glorified by this Word …
Thus it was, that the Lord explained the Scriptures to His disciples, after his Resurrection from the dead, proving to them, by their means, that “it was necessary the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory” (Lk 24:26). So if anyone should likewise read the Scriptures, that person will become a perfect disciple, “like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom things both new and old.” (Mt 13:52). – St Irenaeus of Lyons ((130-202) Bishop, Martyr, Theologian – Against the Heresies, IV, 26 ; SC 100
PRAYER – Remember Lord, Your solemn Covenant, renewed and consecrated by the Blood of the Lamb, so that Your people may obtain forgiveness for their sins and continued growth by grace. May the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of Christ, our Treasure, intercede for our salvation. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ Your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God with You Father, now and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 28 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood”
O God of Our Life By St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church
O God of our life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and weigh us down, when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies grey and threatening, when our lives have no music in them and our hearts are lonely and our souls have lost their courage. Flood the path with light, run our eyes to where the skies are full of promise, tune our hearts to brave music, give us the sense of comradeship, with heroes and saints of every age and so quicken our spirits, that we may be able to encourage, the souls of all, who journey with us on the road of life, to Your honour and glory. Amen
Saint of the Day – 28 July – Saint Pope Innocent I (Died 417) Papal Ascension 402 until his death on 12 March 417, Confessor. He defended the exiled Saint John Chrysostom and consulted with the Bishops of Africa concerning the Pelagian controversy, confirming the decisions of the African synods. The Catholic priest-scholar Johann Peter Kirsch, 1500 years later, described Innocent as “a very energetic and highly gifted individual …who fulfilled admirably the duties of his office.”
Before his elevation to the Chair of Peter, very little is known concerning the life of this energetic pope, so zealous for the welfare of the whole Church. According to the “Liber Pontificalis” he was a native of Albano – his father was called Innocentiu but his contemporary St Jerome, referred to him as the son of the previous pope, Anastasius I, probably a unique case of a son succeeding his father in the Papacy. He grew up among the Roman clergy and in the service of the Roman Church. After the death of Anastasius (December 401) he was unanimously chosen Bishop of Rome by the clergy and people. Not much has come down to us concerning his ecclesiastical activities in Rome. Nevertheless, one or two instances of his zeal for the purity of the Catholic Faith and for Church discipline are well attested.
Innocent I lost no opportunity in maintaining and extending the authority of the Roman apostolic See, which was seen as the ultimate resort for the settlement of all ecclesiastical disputes. His communications with St Victricius of Rouen, St Exuperius of Toulouse, St Alexander of Antioch and others, as well as his actions on the appeal made to him by St John Chrysostom against Theophilus of Alexandria, show that opportunities of this kind were numerous and varied. He took a decided view on the Pelagian controversy, confirming the decisions of the Synod of the Province of proconsular Africa, held in Carthage in 416, confirming the condemnation which had been pronounced in 411 against Cælestius, who shared the views of Pelagius. He also wrote in the same year, in a similar sense, to the fathers of the Numidian Synod of Mileve who had addressed him. Soon after this, five African Bishops, among them St Augustine, wrote a personal letter to Innocent regarding their own position in the matter of Pelagianism. In addition, he acted as metropolitan over the Bishops of Italia Suburbicaria.
The historian Zosimus in his Historia Nova suggests that during the sack of Rome in 410 by Alaric I, Innocent I was willing to permit private pagan practices as a temporary measure. However, Zosimus also suggests that this attempt by pagans to restore public worship failed due to lack of public interest, suggesting that Rome had been successfully ChristianiSed in the last century.
Among Innocent I’s letters is one to St Jerome and another to John II, Bishop of Jerusalem, regarding annoyances to which the former had been subjected by the Pelagians at Bethlehem.
He died on 12 March 417, although from the thirteenth to the twentieth century, he has beens commemorated on 28 July. His successor was Pope Zosimus.
In 846, Pope Sergius II gave approval for the relics of St. Innocent to be moved by Duke Liudolf of Saxony, along with those of his father and predecessor Anastasius, to the Crypt of the former collegiate Church of Gandersheim, now Gandersheim Abbey, where most of them rest until this day. Some Relics were also brought to The Church of Our Lady St Mary of Glastonbury upon its consecration.
The Siege of Rhodes. Victory over the Turks by the Knights Hospitaller at Rhodes in 1480 through the intercession of Our Lady, final battle 27 July 1480 – commemorated on 28 July:
Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, the last remnant of the Holy Roman Empire, fell to the “Scourge of Europe,” the Sultan Mehmet II, in the year 1453. This dire news was almost impossible to believe in the rest of Christendom but, it was sadly true and Constantinople was made into the new seat of the Ottoman Empire. A few short years later, Pierre D’Aubusson was Grand Master of the Hospitallers, the Knights of Saint John, living on the island of Rhodes. He and his Knights were untiring opponents of Islam, sworn to do everything in their power to fight against them. Having made the island of Rhodes their home, the Knights harassed Ottoman shipping lanes and assisted with attacks against the Ottoman Empire. In the year 1479, D’Aubusson refused to pay tribute to Mehmet in exchange for peace and furthermore, had the audacity to continue harassing the sultan’s shipping lanes. The Grand Master continued to work on the massive fortifications on Rhodes as he awaited the siege of Rhodes that he knew would soon come. His walls were strong but the Grand Master had only a few hundred Knights and about 2,000 natives to defend them. Mehmet was not intimidated by the Christian defenses on Rhodes, for he had huge cannons and basilisks which had blasted holes in the stout walls of Constantinople. He also had over 70,000 men in his army, and he was determined to wipe out “that abode of the sons of Satan,” as he referred to the Catholic Knights of Rhodes. The Siege of Rhodes began with a tremendous bombardment on the Tower of Saint Nicholas. Grand Master Pierre D’Aubusson was not intimidated as he asked: “What is more sacred than to defend the Faith? What is happier than to fight for Christ?” Breaches were eventually made in the walls and the Muslim’s unremittingly attempted to rush through the breaches. Many of the Turks had to be forced to attack the defenses, as their commanders lashed them forward with whips and chains. The Janissaries, however, did not have to be urged, for they were the sultan’s finest troops. They were warriors to the core and advanced over the fallen bodies of their comrades, anxious to cross swords with the Catholic Knights. Finally, the Tower of Italy began to crumble from the terrific assault, and large breaches opened in the wall. The Bashi-Bazouks and Janissaries rushed into the breach, placing the standard of Islam above the Tower. On witnessing this act, the Grandmaster rushed into the breach together with a few of his excellent Knights. Howling and raging like madmen, the Janissaries pressed the assault, for the Knights seemed too few to stand against their wave after wave of thousands of elite warriors. Yet, the Grandmaster stood, insensible of any wounds he received in return for the carnage he wreaked among the fanatical Muslim warriors. Fighting with broken blades and notched axes, the Knights of Saint John continued to hold the breach, cutting down any who approached them, until a huge Janissary rose up and hurled a spear with all his might directly at the Grand Master. Propelled at incredible speed, the sharp steel tip easily pierced D’Aubusson’s breastplate, puncturing a lung. The Grand Master went down beneath a torrent of hacking blades as the Knights struggled to drag his body from the fray.
By his courageous stand D’Aubusson had proven he was at least the equal of any Grand Master in history, but now, he was wounded unto death and could do no more. The siege of Rhodes appeared to be lost as D’Aubusson’s Knights struggled to haul him to safety. Thousands of Jannisaries were rushing into the breach with no-one to stop them and at this point the Knights knew, it would take a miracle to keep Rhodes from being overrun. A miracle is exactly what they got. Suddenly there appeared in the sky “a refulgent cross of gold, by the side of which stood a beautiful woman clothed in garments of dazzling white, a lance in her hand and a shield on her arm, accompanied by a man dressed in goatskins and followed by a band of heavenly warriors armed with flaming swords.” It was the glorious figures of Saint John the Baptist, the Patron Saint of the Order of Saint John, Saint Michael the Archangel brandishing his unsheathed sword and the Queen of Heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary herself, dressed in battle array! The Turks turned at the sight and ran in panic-stricken flight. Thousands fell as they fled, cut down and pursued through the breaches by the Knights of Rhodes and their heavenly allies. Chased all the way back to their camp, it was now the defeated Muslims who suffered the insult of having their sultan’s own standard captured.
The siege of Rhodes had ended, and Grandmaster D’Aubusson later recovered of his wounds. He had lost 231 of his Knights but that was nothing compared to the thousands upon thousands of Muslim warriors who lay dead upon his shores. It was in the year of Our Lord 1480 that the Knights of Rhodes had gained this signal victory over the Turks, by the help of the Blessed Virgin, whom the Knights regarded ever after as Our Lady of Victory. They renewed their dedication to her who had appeared on the walls during the siege of Rhodes holding a lance in her hand to defend them, bringing with her Saint Michael the Archangel and a heavenly army. She, the Patroness of the Sovereign and Military Order of Hospitallers, had turned the formerly obstinate enemy, who retired in disorder, to lose the greater part of their army. Thanks BE to Our Lady of Victory, the all-conquering sword of Mehmet II had shattered upon the walls of Rhodes!
St Arduinus of Trepino St Botwid of Sudermannland St Camelian of Troyes St Celsus of Rome Bl Christodoulos Bl Davíd Carlos-Marañon St Eustathius of Galatia St Pope Innocent I (Died 417) St Irene of Cappadocia Bl John Soreth St José Caselles-Moncho Bl José Melchór García-Sampedro Suárez Bl Josep Castell-Camps St Longinus of Satala St Lucidius of Aquara St Lyutius Bl Manuel Segura-López St Nazarius of Rome
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War – Thousands of people were murdered in the anti-Catholic persecutions of the Spanish Civil War from 1934 to 1939. Martyrs of Fernán Caballero – 14 beati: Fourteen Claretian clerics who were martyred together in the Spanish Civil War. – 28 July 1936 in Fernán Caballero, Ciudad Real, Spain. Bl Antolín Astorga Díez Bl Enrique Serra Chorro Bl Gregorio Charlez Ribera Bl Joan Ayats Plantalech Bl Joan Bover Teixidor Bl Joan Costa Canal Bl José Aurelio Calleja de Hierro Bl José Gutiérrez Arranz Bl Josep Camí y Camí Bl Josep Martí Coll Bl Lluis Casanovas Vila Bl Lorenzo Arribas Palacio Bl Manuel Collellmir Sentíes Bl Miguel Léibar Garay Bl Narcís Felíu Costa Bl Pedro Alonso Fernández Bl Pelagi Ayats Vergés Bl Pere Vilar Espona Bl Primitivo Sandín Miñambres Bl Ramon Gros Ballbé Bl Vicente Toledano Valenciano