Thought for the Day – 31 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Just as there are ordinary acts of virtue, so there are very ordinary sins. But it would be rash to regard acts of deception, vanity and impatience, as insignificant. Every deliberate sin is an offence against God our highest good and our Redeemer.
How can God be indifferent to these ungrateful violations of His law? After all, even as He has assured us, that a cup of cold water given in His Name to a thirsty man, will have its reward (Cf Mt 10:42), so He has assured us, that not even the slightest trace of sin can enter into eternal glory! We shall not be condemned to Hell for venial sins alone but, we shall suffer a decline in grace and shall be obliged to expiate our sins, either in this life, or in Purgatory.
One Minute Reflection 31 July – “Month of the Precious Blood” and the Memorial of Saint Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) – Readings: Leviticus 25: 1, 8-17; Psalm 67: 2-3, 5, 7-8; Matthew 14: 1-12
“This man is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.” – Matthew 14:2
REFLECTION – “This was John’s greatness, in virtue of which, he reached such heights of greatness among the great, that he crowned his great and countless virtues… with the greatest of all the virtues – humility. Reckoned as he was the highest of all, he freely and with the greatest devotion, preferred to himself the Most Lowly One—and, he put Him before himself to such an extent, as to declare himself unworthy to take off his shoes (Mt 3,11).
Let others wonder that he was foretold by prophets, that he was promised by an angel and … that he came of so holy and noble parents, even though aged and sterile… that he preceded the coming of the Redeemer… and prepared His way in the desert, that he converted the hearts of fathers to their sons and of sons to their fathers, (Lk 1,17) that he merited to baptise the Son, to hear the Father and to see the Holy Spirit (Lk 3,22) and finally,, that he strove for the truth even to death and, so that he might go before Christ also to the lower regions, was Christ’s Martyr before Christ’s Passion. Let others, I say, wonder at these things…
What is set before us, brethren, not only to be wondered at but also to be imitated, is the virtue of his humility, by which he refused to be regarded as greater than he was, although he could have been… For as a faithful “friend of the Bridegroom”, (Jn 3,29) a lover more of the Lord than of himself, he wished that he himself might “diminish” in order that Christ might “grow” (v.30) and made it his business to increase Christ’s glory by means of his own diminution. Before St Paul, he made his own in act and in truth, those words of the Apostle: “We do not preach ourselves but the Lord Jesus Christ” (2Cor 4,5).” – Blessed Guerric of Igny (c 1080-1157) Cistercian Abbot of Igny – 3rd Sermon for the Nativity of John the Baptist
PRAYER – Almighty God, grant that the example of Your saints may spur us on to perfection, so that we, who are celebrating the feast of St Ignatius, may follow him step-by-step in his way of life to reach You in heaven. Grant us the grace, by his intercession, to find our treasure in Your divine Son, through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for always and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 31 July – “Month of the Precious Blood” and Mary’s Day
Hail, O Mother! By St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church
Hail, O Mother! Virgin, heaven, throne, glory of our Church, it’s foundation and ornament. Earnestly pray for us to Jesus, your Son and Our Lord, that through your intercession, we may have mercy on the day of judgement. Pray that we may receive, all those good things which are reserved for those who love God. Through the grace and favour of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, to Whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be power, honour and glory, now and forever. Amen
Saint of the Day – 31 July – Blessed Giovanni Colombini (1300-1367) Layman, Founder of the Apostolic Clerics of Saint Jerome (the Jesuati), Confessor, Apostle of the poor and the sick, Penitent, Missionary, miracle-worker. Born in c 1300 at Siena, Italy and died on 31 July 1367 of natural causes while on the road to Acquapendente, Italy. Also known as – John Columbini. (I find it fascinating that Blessed Giovanni, the Founder of the Jesuati, died on the same day, 31 July, as St Ignatius Loyola, the Founder of the Jesuits – nearly 200 years later!)
The Roman Martyrology states of him today: “At Siena in Tuscany, the birthday of Blessed Giovanni Colombini, Founder of the Order of the Jesuati, renowned for sanctity and miracles.”
There was nothing in Giovanni’s early life to indicate the presence in his character of any unusual seeds of holiness. Belonging to an old patrician family, he devoted himself, like thousands of his class in Italy, to commerce, swelled his already substantial fortune and rose to a position of great prominence and influence among his fellow-citizens, who on several occasions, elected him Gonfalonier (a highly prestigious office as representative of the people). Fortunate in his marriage, of which two children — Peter and Angela — were the fruit, his private life was marred by his avarice, his ambition and his propensity to anger.
One day, while still suffering under a sense of mortification after one of his passionate outbursts occasioned by a petty domestic disappointment, he chanced to take up a biography of St Mary of Egypt, whose later life had been as conspicuous for penance as her earlier had been for sin. The perusal of this narrative brought a new light into his fife – henceforth, ambition and anger gave way to an almost incredible humility and meekness. The great transformation of his life extended to his business affairs and excited in the purely mercenary-minded a ridicule easy to understand.
Heedless, however, of raillery, he did not rest content with selling cheaper than any other merchant but persisted in paying more for his purchases than the sum demanded. With the consent of his wife, he soon abandoned his former patrician associates, visited hospitals, tended the sick and made large donations to the poor. Then casting aside the clothes usual to his station, he assumed the garments of the most indigent and, having fallen ill and believing himself treated with too much delicacy at home, deserted his luxurious house for the ordinary ward of a poor hospital. His relatives urged him to return and finally elicited his consent, on the condition that, thenceforth he would be given only the coarser forms of nourishment. Nursed back to health, he insisted on making his house the refuge of the needy and the suffering, washing their feet with his own hands, dispensing to them bodily and spiritual comfort, leaving nothing undone that the spirit of charity could suggest. Among the wonders recorded to have taken in this abode of Christian mercy, was the miraculous disappearance of a leper, leaving the room permeated with an indescribable fragrance.
It required eight years to render his wife reconciled to the extraordinary philanthropy of her husband. His son having meanwhile died and his daughter taken the veil,Giovanni, Colombini with the approval of his wife, on whom he first settled a life-annuity, divided his fortune into three parts – the first went to endow a hospital, the second and third to two cloisters. Then together with his friend, Francisco Mini, who had been associated with him in all charitable labours, Giovanni lived, henceforward, a life of apostolic poverty, begged for his daily bread and esteemed it a favour to be allowed to wait on the sick poor, while in public and in their dwellings, he stimulated the people to penance.
He was soon joined by three of the Piccolomini and by members of other patrician families, who likewise distributed all their goods among the poor. Alarmed at these occurrences, many of the Sienese now raised an outcry, complaining that Colombini was inciting all the most promising young men of the City to “folly” and succeeded in procuring his banishment.
Accompanied by twenty-five companions, Giovannii left his native City without a protest and visited ,in succession, Arezzo, Città di Castello, Pisa and many other Tuscan Cities, making numerous conversions, reconciling sundered friends and effecting the return of much property to its rightful owners. An epidemic, which broke out at Siena shortly after his departure, was generally regarded as a heavenly chastisement for his banishment and there was a universal clamour for his recall. Regardless alike of derision and insults, he resumed, on his return, his former charitable occupations, in his humility rejoicing to perform the most menial services at houses where he had once been an honoured guest.
On the return of Pope Urban V from Avignon to Rome (1367), Giovanni and his followers, hastened to meet him and begged him to sanction the foundation of their Institution. A commission appointed by Urban and presided over by Cardinal William Sudre, Bishop of Marseilles, having attested their freedom from every taint of the error of the Fraticelli, whose views some evil-intentioned people had accused them of holding, the Pope gave his consent to the foundation of their congregation. The name Jesuati (Jesuites) had already been given them by the populace of Viterbo because of their constant use of the ejaculation “Praise be to Jesus Christ.” From the very beginning, they had a special veneration for St Jerome and, to this fact and to the apostolic life they led, they are indebted for their longer title, Clerici apostolici s. Hieronymi (Apostolic Clerics of St Jerome).
Pope Urban appointed as their habit, a white soutan, a white four-cornered hood hanging round the neck and falling in folds over the shoulders and a mantle of a dun colour; the soutan was encircled by a leather girdle and sandals were worn on the feet. Their occupations was to be the care of the sick, particularly the poor and the plague-stricken, the burial of the dead, prayer and strict mortification (including daily scourging). Their statutes were at first based on the Rule of St Benedict, modified to suit the aims of the Congregation but the Rule of St Augustine was later adopted.
Giovanni died a week after the foundation of his institute, having appointed Mini his successor. After many miracles had occurred at his tomb, Pope Gregory XIII inserted Giovanni Colombini’s name in the Roman Martyrology, fixing 31 July for the celebration of his feast, which was of obligation at Siena. Under Mini and his successor, Blessed Jerome Dasciano, the Jesuati spread rapidly over Italy and in 1606 the Holy See allowed. the reception of Priests into the Congregation. Abuses, however, crept in subsequently and the Congregation was suppressed by Pope Clement IX in 1668 as of little advantage to the interests of the Church.
The Jesuatesses or Sisters of the Visitation of Mary, founded about 1367 at the suggestion to Giovanni by his cousin, Blessed Catharine Colombini of Siena (died 20 October, 1387). They also spread very rapidly and survived in Italy until 1872.
St Helen of Skofde Bl Jean-François Jarrige de La Morelie de Breuil St Marcel Denis St Neot — Matyrs of Syria – 350 saints: 350 monks massacred by heretics for their adherence to orthodox Christianity and the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon. 517 in Syria.
Martyrs of Synnada: 3 Saints Democritus Dionysius the Martyr Secundus
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. • Blessed Ciriaco Olarte Pérez de Mendiguren • Blessed Dionisio Vicente Ramos • Blessed Francisco Remón Játiva • Blessed Miguel Goñi Ariz • Blessed Miguel Francisco González-Díez González-Núñez • Blessed Agapito Alcalde Garrido • Blessed Ciriaco Olarte Pérez de Mendiguren • Blessed Dionisio Vicente Ramos • Blessed Francisco Remón Játiva • Blessed Jaume Buch Canals • Blessed Maria Roqueta Serra • Blessed Miguel Goñi Ariz • Blessed Miguel Francisco González-Díez González-Núñez • Blessed Prudencio Gueréquiz y Guezuraga • Blessed Segundo de Santa Teresa • Blessed Teresa Subirà Sanjaume • Blessed Vicenta Achurra Gogenola • Blessed Francisca Pons Sardá