Thought for the Day – 10 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Causes of Discontent
“It is hard to find anyone, in this world, who is really content. Some grumble about poor health, others about not having enough to live on, others about an unsuccessful career. Some complain about the lack of sympathy and the ingratitude of men, others, about constant temptation, spiritual dryness and the discouragement of frequently falling into sin. Still others, are confined to a bed of pain for weeks, months or even years at a time. There are some, too, who must endure mental suffering, which is greater than any physical pain. Perhaps, they have lost a loved one, who was the centre of their own life upon earth, or perhaps they are suffering from a loss of reputation, the result of some calumny or of some moment of weakness, on their own part. In short, this world can be compared to quote St Therese of the Child Jesus – to an unsatisfactory hotel, in which we must spend the night, while we are waiting for the breaking of an eternal day in which we shall be able to see God. He is fortunate, who knows how to live contentedly, or, at least resignedly, in this poor boarding-house, until the dawn of that better life, which is the only object of our earthly journey!”
Quote/s of the Day – 10 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary” – Readings: First Timothy 1: 1-2, 12-14; Psalm 16: 1b-2a and 5, 7-8, 11; Luke 6: 39-42
“A disciple is not above his teacher…”
“Do whatever he tells you.”
“A person who wishes to become the Lord’s disciple must repudiate a human obligation, however honourable it may appear, if it slows us, ever so slightly, in giving the wholehearted obedience we owe to God.”
St Basil the Great (329-379) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Let us then learn from the Cross of Jesus our proper way of living. Should I say ‘living’ or, instead, ‘dying’? Rather, both living and dying. Dying to the world, living for God. Dying to vices and living by the virtues. Dying to the flesh, but living in the spirit. Thus in the Cross of Christ, there is death and in the Cross of Christ there is life. The death of death is there and the life of life. The death of sins is there and the life of the virtues. The death of the flesh is there and the life of the spirit.”
St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)
“… God is to be served chiefly for Himself alone, for He is the fountain of all goodness and merits all our devotion, without any hope of reward.”
One Minute Reflection – 10 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary” – Readings: First Timothy 1: 1-2, 12-14; Psalm 16: 1b-2a and 5, 7-8, 11; Luke 6: 39-42
“And he told them a parable, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?…” – Luke 6:39
REFLECTION – “This parable He added, as a most necessary attachment to what had been said. The blessed disciples were about to be the initiators and teachers of the world. It was necessary for them, therefore, to prove themselves possessed of everything piety requires. They must know the pathway of the evangelic mode of life and be workmen, ready for every good work. They must be able to bestow upon well-instructed hearers, such correct and saving teaching, as exactly represents the truth. This they must do, as having already first received their sight and a mind illuminated with the divine light, lest they should be blind leaders of the blind. It is not possible, for those enveloped in the darkness of ignorance, to guide those, who are afflicted in the same way into the knowledge of the truth. Should they attempt it, they will both roll into the ditch of carelessness!
He overthrew the bragging passion of boastfulness, to which most give way, that they may not enviously strive to surpass their teachers in honour. He added, “The disciple is not above his teacher.” Even if some make such progress, as to attain to a virtue that rivals that of their teachers, they will range themselves no higher than their level and be their imitators. Paul shall again support us. He says, “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.” St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Bishop, known as “The Pillar of Faith,” Father and Doctor of the Church (Commentary on Luke, Homuly 29)
PRAYER – Lord God, in Your wisdom, You created us, in love. By Your providence, You rule us, in love. Penetrate our inmost being with the holy light of Your Son. Penetrate our hearts with the overwhelming love for Your love, so that we may weep in consolation. May the Light that is Jesus Christ our Lord, enlighten our hearts that we may see clearly the way we should tread. May the prayers of Your holy Angels, Martyrs, Saints and our Sorrowful Martyr Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, be our guiding inspiration. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever amen.
Our Morning Offering – 10 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary”
On Fridays in Catholic Time, we honour the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour – Jesus was Scourged, Mocked and Crucified on a Friday. Because of this, the Church has always set aside Fridays as days of penance and sacrifice. While in South Africa, the Bishops have sadly removed abstinence from meat on Fridays, although many still continued the practice, penance is still required in one form or another. This day should always be a day of repentance and a day in which we recall Christ’s complete self-sacrifice to save us from our sins.
I Rise – An Old Morning Prayer – Excerpt From The Blossoms of the Cross — 1894 The Sisters of St Joseph
I rise In God’s strength, In God’s power, In the Agony of Christ, In the Cross of Christ, In Christ’s Precious Blood, These will sustain me against my enemies, visible and invisible. I rise in the blessing of Christ which my dearest Jesus left to the whole world. Protect me, All-Holy Trinity, God the Father, Who created me, God, the Son, Who redeemed me in His Precious Blood, God, the Holy Ghost, Who sanctified me in Holy Baptism. God, the Father, I give myself to Thee! God, the Son, I commend myself to Thee! God, the Holy Ghost, teach me! Mary, Mother of God, assist me! All you Saints of God, pray for me! All you Holy Angels, protect me! The Cross of Christ preserve me! Amen
Saint of the Day – 11 September – Saint Elijah Speleota OSBM (863-960) Basilian Monk and Hermit, Spiritual adviser. Born as Elia Bozzetta in 863 in Reggio Calabria, Italy and died on 11 September 960 at the Aulon Monastery in Calabria, Italy of natural causes. Also known as – Elijah Bozzetta, Elijah Espeleota, Elia…
The Roman Martyrology states of him today “In the Monastery of Aulinas in Calabria, Saint Elia, known as the Speleota, a distinguished scholar of the hermit and cenobitic life.”
Elijah was born to the wealthy nobility, the son of Peitro Bozzetta and Leonzia de Leontini. At age 18, to avoid an arranged marriage and answer a call to religious life, Elijah left home to become a pilgrim to Rome.
He became a Basilian Monk at Grottaferrata outside Rome. He returned briefly to Reggio Calabria, whereater he and a fellow Monk named Arsenio, travelled to Patras, Greece for further study.
When Elijah returned to Italy, he withdrew from populated areas to live as a Hermit in a cave near Melicuccà, Italy with two fellow Monks, Cosma and Vitale – the word Speleota is Greek for “inhabitant of caves.”
Word of their wisdom and holiness soon spread and pilgrims regularly visited the caves for spiritual direction and advice.
On 11 September 960, when he was already 97 years old, Elijah died. He was buried in the tomb that he had dug in the cave with his own hands. There, his body remained buried until 2 August 1747 when his bones were discovered., as attested by the public deed drawn up by the notary Fantoni Carmelo. On 12 August of that year, Antonio Germanò, a seriously ill young man from Melicuccà, was instantly cured at the mere sight of the bones of Saint Elijah.
Saint of the Day – 10 September – Saint Pulcheria (399-453) Virgin Empress, Widow, (remaining chaste during her marriage), Defender of the Faith against heresy, Apostle of the poor. Born on 19 January 399 and died in July 453 of natural causes. Patronages – against in-law problems, against the death of parents, empresses, orphans, people in exile, victims of betrayal. Also known as – Pulqueria.
The Roman Martyrology states: “At Constantinople, Pucheria, Virgin and Empress, distiniguished by her piety and zeal for the True Faith.“
The daughter of Arcadius and Aelia Eudoxia, the Emperor and Empress of the Eastern Roman Empire, Pulcheria was an exceptional woman. Her mother lived the life one would expect of royalty — not immoral in our sense,but luxurious and gaudy. She (Eudoxia) ran afoul of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, who declared that a silver statue of the Empress (and the unveiling celebration for it) dishonoured the Church. John had already been exiled and recalled once for criticising Eudoxia — his comparison of her to Herodias and himself to John the Baptist earned him exile to the Caucasus. When he was writing letters, critical of the Imperials, they further relocated him to Georgia, but he died on the way.
Eudoxia, died not long after, soon followed by her husband. Pulcheria, who was still a minor and her younger brother, who became Emperor were governed by regents who were appointed to administer the kingdom. These were veteran Palace administrators, loyal and wise but Pulcheria, even at fifteen, was a woman who knew her on mind.
One of the regents offered to arrange a marriage for her, perhaps to his grandson. But Pulcheria was determined to consecrate her virginity to God. Having come of age, she thanked the regent for his good service and appointed herself regent for her younger brother and set about training him in all ways to be emperor, instituting a monastic way of life in the Palace. Pulcheria insisted on chanting and praying and fasting for herself, her sisters and all the servants of the Palace. They gave up the jewelry and finery, preferred instead to provide food and clothing for the poor. This and the restoration of honours for St John Chrysostom, after his death, led to her being much admired by the Church.
Pulcheria arranged a marriage for her brother when he was twenty but the young wife was always jealous of her sister-in-law’s influence over Theodosius and the two quarreled. When Theodosius died on 26 July 450, Pulcheria married Marcian, allowing her to continue to rule in place of her brother, while simultaneously not violating her vow of virginity. She died three years later, in July 453.
Pulcheria influenced the Church and its theological development by being involved in the Council of Ephesus and guiding the Council of Chalcedon, in which the Church ruled on Christological issues.
Pulcheria also engaged in a fierce battle with the Nestor, the Archbishop of Constantinople, who accused her of adultery. Eventually, in the arguments over the human nature of Christ, Nestor was vanquished and exiled. There is no doubt that Pulcheria was in the thick of fight against his heresy.
Beata Vergine Maria della Vita / Our Lady of Life (1289) 10 September: Patronage – hospitals in the Diocese of Bologna, Italy.
The cult of the Madonna della Vita is connected with the hospital of the same name founded in 1289 by the Compagnia dei Battuti, present in Bologna since 1261. In the Sanctuary dedicated to her, between 1370 and 1380, Simone dei Crocefissi frescoed the image of the Blessed Virgin, which remained covered during the renovations in the years 1454-1502 and accidentally found among the exultation of the Bolognese people on 10 September 1614. It depicts Mary Mother and Queen as she rests her face to the cheek of Jesus, according to the iconography of the Mother of Tenderness. The close link between the original hospital activity and the devotion of the brothers, was also expressed by the motto inscribed under the double Cross: “Vitam dat nobis crux tua, Christe Jesu” “Your Cross gives us life, Christ Jesus.”
St Peter Martinez St Pulcheria (399-453) Empress, Widow St Salvius of Albi St Sosthenes of Chalcedon St Theodard of Maastricht St Victor of Chalcedon — Martyrs of Bithynia – 3 sister saints: Three young Christian sisters martyred in the persecutions of emperor Maximian and governor Fronto: Menodora, Metrodora, Nymphodora. They were martyred in 306 in Bithynia, Asia Minor (in modern Turkey).
Martyrs of Japan – 205 beati: A unified feast to memorialise 205 missionaries and native Japanese known to have been murdered for their faith between 1617 and 1637.
Martyrs of Sigum – 8 saints: A group of Nicomedian martyrs, condemned for their faith to be worked to death in the marble quarries of Sigum. There were priests, bishops and laity in the group but only a few names have come down to us: Dativus, Felix, Jader, Litteus, Lucius, Nemesian, Polyanus, Victor. They were worked to death c 257 in Sigum.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: • Blessed Félix España Ortiz • Blessed Leoncio Arce Urrutia • Blessed Tomàs Cubells Miguel