Thought for the Day – 27 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Depending Always on Jesus
“When we abandon ourselves to Jesus, we must do so cheerfully, as well as trustingly. St Basil calls the devil, the angel of sadness. The evil spirit is, in fact, sad, for this is the lot of one who has lost God forever. He wishes, moreover, to communicate that sadness to us also when he has drawn us into sin.
We should be happy in the Lord, as St Paul exhorts. Joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. He who possesses Jesus and His grace, is touched by that holy joy which radiates from Him. The Saints were joyful in persecution and in martyrdom, as the Apostles were before the Sanhedrin because, “they had been counted worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus” (Acts 5:41). It is related of St Romuald that in spite of great austerities, he was always smiling, so that he communicated happiness to those who saw him.
Let us, therefore, rely always on Jesus; let us remain close to Him and the path to Heaven will seem smooth, in spite of the many obstacles which we are sure to encounter.”
Quote/s of the Day – 9 August – “Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” – Readings: Numbers 12: 1-13; Psalm 51: 3-7, 12-13; 14: 22-36
“Lord, save me.”
“Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
May We Confess Your Name to the End By St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258) Bishop and Martyr Father of the Church
Good God, may we confess Your Name to the end. May we emerge unmarked and glorious from the traps and darkness of this world. As You have bound us together by charity and peace and as together we have persevered under persecution, so may we also rejoice together in Your heavenly kingdom. Amen
St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258)
“We implore You, O All-Holy, Long-Suffering Life and Restoration, Source of goodness, look down from heaven and visit all those who ever trust in You; rescue our life, Lord, from all constraint and affliction, and, in the faith of truth, guide us all. At the prayers of the Immaculate Mother of God and Virgin, Save your world and those in the world and spare us all, You who, for us, became man without change, only Lover of mankind.”
St Romanos the Melodios (c 490-c 556)
“Place all your trust in God, let Him be your fear and your love. He will answer for you, He will do what is best for you. You have here no lasting home. You are a stranger and a pilgrim wherever you may be and you shall have no rest, until you are wholly united with Christ. Why do you look about here when this is not the place of your repose?”
Thomas à Kempis CRSA (1380-1471)
“Act as if everything depended on you; trust as if everything depended on God.”
St Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)
“Throw yourself into God’s arms. He will carry you when the road is rough.”
One Minute Reflection – 9 August – “Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” – Readings: Numbers 12: 1-13; Psalm 51: 3-7, 12-13; 14: 22-36
“But seeing the wind strong, he was afraid and when he began to sink, he cried out, saying: Lord, save me.” – Matthew 14:30
REFLECTION – “When Peter courageously moves across the sea, his feet are unsteady but his love grows strong …; his feet sink down but he clings to Christ’s hand. Faith upholds him, so long as he feels the waves making way. Troubled by the storm, he takes heart in his love for the Saviour. Peter walks across the sea borne up, more by love, than by his feet. … He pays no attention to what his feet are treading on; all he sees are the footprints of Him whom he loves. He saw his Lord from his position of safety in the boat and, led by love, climbed down into the sea. He no longer sees the sea but Jesus alone. But no sooner is he troubled by the strength of the wind and overcome by the storm, than fear begins to overshadow his faith … the water vanishes from beneath his feet. Faith weakens and the water with it. Then he cries out: “Lord, save me!” And ,at once, Jesus, stretching out His hand, saves him and says: “O man of little faith, why did you doubt? Is your faith so small that you were unable to press on towards me? Why didn’t you have sufficient faith to reach your end by relying on it? From now on keep this in mind- that it was only this faith that was holding you up above the waves.”
And so, my brethren, Peter doubts for an instant; he is about to drown but he is saved by calling on the Lord. …) Now, this world is a sea, whose waves are stirred up by the devil and where temptations increase the number of shipwrecks. We can only be saved by calling on the Lord, Who reaches out His hand to catch us. So let us continually cry out to Him!” –St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace – Appendix no. 192 , attributed sermon; PL 39, 2100
PRAYER – Lord our God, the Light and Creator of Light, grant that faithfully pondering on all that is holy, we may ever live in the splendour of Your presence. May we live in Your Presence, withstand the winds of the world and grow daily in faith. By the help and intercession of athe loving and Immaculate Heart of Mary You may never permit us to separate ourselves from You and thus we may come, to completion in You, Through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering –3 August – “Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary”
Blessed Virgin Mary, Receive Our Gratitude By St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of Grace
Blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay you with praise and thanks for having rescued a fallen world by your generous consent! Receive our gratitude and by your prayers, obtain the pardon of our sins. Take our prayers into the Sanctuary of Heaven and enable them to make our peace with God. Holy Mary, help the miserable, strengthen the discouraged, comfort the sorrowful, pray for your people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God. May all who venerate you feel now your help and protection. Be ready to help us when we pray and bring back to us, the answers to our prayers. Make it your continual concern to pray for the people of God, for you were blessed by God and were made worthy to bear the Redeemer of the world, Who lives and reigns forever. Amen
Saint of the Day – 3 August – St Aspren (1st Century) the first Bishop of Naples, Consecrated by St Peter as Bishop. Patronages – Archdiocese of Naples, Italy, against migraine. Also known as – Asprenato, Aspronas, Aspremo.
The Roman Martyrology states of him today: “At Naples, in Campania, St Aspren, Bishop, who was cured of a sickness by the Apostle St Peter and after being Baptised, was Consecrated as Bishop of that City.”
Naples boasts the Basilica of Saint Peter in Aram, which, according to tradition, was founded on the place where St.Peter baptised St Aspren,, the first Bishop of Naples. It also houses the Ara Petri, the Altar on which the Prince of the Apostles prayed and celebrated the Eucharist before going to Rome. The famous Basilica, which, over the centuries, has undergone various renovations, is so antique that Pope Clement VII (1523-1534) granted it the privilege of celebrating and hosting the Jubilee one year after that of Rome: this custom was maintained throughout the 16th century (1526, 1551, 1576). Inside, there is also a Chapel dedicated to Aspren, considered the founder of the primitive place of worship from which the present Basilica originated.
But under what circumstances did the Saint celebrated today become a Christian? Hagiography links his name to that of Candida la Vecchia, a Jewish woman who, during Saint Peter’s stay in Naples, begged him to cure her of a serious illness, promising to convert to Christianity. The Apostle healed her. And Candida, venerated as a Saint, decided to bring him a sick friend, our Aspren, who was in turn cured and converted. It is handed down that Peter himself Consecrated him Bishop and that among the acts of his episcopate there was the foundation of another paleo-Christian place of worship, dedicated to Santa Maria del Principio, later incorporated in today’s Basilica of Saint Restituta.
Among the documents of the first millennium that attest to his episcopal ministry is the Marmoreal Calendar of Naples, engraved in the 9th century. Aspren is invoked against migraine and venerated as the second Patron Saint of the capital of Campania, after Saint Januarius (and remembering that Santa Maria Assunta, Our Lady of the Assumption, to whom the Cathedral is dedicated, is officially the first Patroness of the City). Two historic Neapolitan Churches are named after him, namely Sant’Aspreno ai Crociferi (begun in 1633) and the older Sant’Aspreno al Porto, built where, according to tradition, the Saint’s dwelling was located: in a cave.
After Aspren’s death, numerous miracles were attributed to him and his sepulcher rested in the oratory of Santa Maria del Principio. John IV, Bishop of Naples translated Aspren’s relics to the Basilica of Santa Restituta, in the Chapel dedicated to Aspren . A silver bust of Aspren is found in Naples Cathedral.
Maria Santissima Scala del Paradiso / Holy Mary, Ladder to Paradise, Noto, Siracusa, Sicily, Italy (1498) – 3 August:
Local tradition holds that Angels frescoed the image of the Madonna, Ladder to Paradise, on a rock wall in the countryside before St. Corrado di Fuori’s arrival in 1340 and, that it was discovered there on 3 August 1498. However, the Diocese of Noto, of which the Madonna della Scala is the Patron, suggests that an unknown artist created the fresco in the late 1500s or early 1600s, a period more in keeping with its style.
In any case, by the time of the earthquake that destroyed the City of Noto on 11 January 1693, popular devotion had grown around the image, surrounding it with votive lamps, ex votos left in thanksgiving for answered prayers, and eventually, an Oratory. The earthquake demolished the Chapel but the image remained intact.
In 1708, a group of Carmelite Hermits took over the site and undertook the building of another Church, which was blessed the following year. In 1712, Ven. Girolamo Terzo, recently appointed the group’s Superior, hired an expert to detach the fresco from its rock and arranged its spectacular transfer to the church, pulled by a team of untamed oxen. Ven. Girolamo promoted devotion to the Madonna of the Ladder by distributing copies of the image on evangelical visits throughout the region.
With a reputation for cures and other miracles, the Hermitage became a place of pilgrimage, particularly on the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, 8 September. The Sanctuary suffered damage during World War I. Afterwards it was restored and in 1919 the Catholic Church gave the Madonna, Ladder to Paradise, her own liturgical feast day, 3 August. An annual festa on this date draws the people of Noto to the Shrine seven miles distant, where after Mass in the Carmelite Chapel a statuary version of the image goes in procession through all the neighbouring districts.
The image of the “Ladder to Paradise” echoes the story of Jacob (Genesis 28:12) and St John Climacus’s Ladder of Ascent, a guide to the spiritual life written in Greek in the 600s, which became popular among Western religious after its translation into Latin in the 1500s (Scala Paradisi). Here, the Virgin is identified with the way to heaven because of her role in bringing Christ to humanity and her ongoing help to all who follow Him.
St Abibas St Aspren (1st Century) Bishop of Naples
St Dalmatius St Euphronius of Autun St Gamaliel St Gaudentia Bl Godfrey of Le Mans Bl Gregory of Nonantula St Hermellus St Nicodemus St Senach of Clonard (Died 6th Century) One of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland St Trea of Ardtree