Thought for the Day – 14 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“The Crucifix is a simple meditation manual, open and intelligible to all, even to the most illiterate. Anyone who turns to it, can study the sorrowful gaze of Jesus, His heart pierced with love for men. His head crowned with thorns, His hands and feet transfixed with nails which support His divine body, streaming blood and writhing in anguish. The Crucifix should be dear and sacred to every Catholic. It should stand at the head of his bed, hang around his neck and hold a prominent position in his place of work or study.
Above all, however, the Crucifix should have its place in the heart of every fervent Catholic. At every moment of his life, in time of sadness and of joy, he should remember, that God became man and suffered and died for him. He should remember also, that this implies an obligation on his part, to work, suffer and die, for the love of God alone!
Many people meditate on the Crucifix. They kiss it and claim to love it. But while they love the Crucifix, they have no love for their particular cross, which they try, by every means in their power, to fling far away from them. Now, it is very certain, that anyone who does not love his own cross, does not really love the Crucifix, for Jesus has told us that, “if anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mt 16:24).”
Quote/s of the Day – 14 September – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
“How precious the gift of the Cross, how splendid to contemplate! In the Cross there is no mingling of good and evil, as in the tree of paradise; it is wholly beautiful to behold and good to taste. The fruit of this tree is not death but life, not darkness but light. This tree does not cast us out of paradise but opens the way for our return.”
St Theodore the Studite (750–826)
“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)
“There is no better wood for feeding the fire of God’s love than the wood of the Cross.”
St Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)
“We ought to glory in nothing other than, the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! …”
St Paul of the Cross CP (1604-1775)
A Prayer to Seek the Consolation of the Cross By St Alphonsus Rodriguez SJ (1532-1617)
Jesus, love of my soul, centre of my heart! Why am I not more eager to endure pains and tribulations for love of You, when You, my God, have suffered so many for me? Come, then, every sort of trial in the world, for this is my delight, to suffer for Jesus. This is my joy, to follow my Saviour and to find my consolation with my Consoler on the Cross. This is my happiness, this my pleasure: to live with Jesus, to walk with Jesus, to converse with Jesus, to suffer with and for Him, this is my treasure. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 14 September – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – Readings: Numbers 21:4-9, Psalms 78:1-2, 34-35, 36-37, 38, Philippians 2:6-11, John 3:13-17
“…And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” – John 3:14-15
REFLECTION – “That brazen serpent was hung up as a remedy for the biting serpents, not as a type of Him that suffered for us but, as a contrast. It saved those that looked upon it, not because they believed it to live but because it was killed and killed with it, were the powers that were subject to it, being destroyed as it deserved. And what is the fitting epitaph for it from us? “O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?” You are overthrown by the Cross. you are slain by Him, Who is the Giver of Life. You are without breath, dead, without motion, even though you keep the form of a serpent lifted up high on a pole.” – St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Archbishop of Constantinople, Father and Doctor of the Church (Oration 45).
PRAYER – O God, who willed that Your Only Begotten Son should undergo the Cross to save the human race, grant, we pray, that we, who have known His mystery on earth, may merit the grace of His redemption in heaven. For You placed the salvation of the human race on the wood of the Cross, so that, where death arose, life might again spring forth and the evil one, who conquered on a tree, might likewise on a tree be conquered through Christ. O Cross, You are the glorious sign of victory. Through your power may we share in the triumph of Christ Jesus. We adore You O Christ and we praise You, for by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world. Amen.
Saint of the Day – 14 September – Saint Maternus of Cologne (Died c 325) the first Bishop of Cologne and Founder of the Diocese of Tongeren, Germany. Born in Trier, Germany and died in c 325 in Cologne, Germany. Also known as – Maternus of Trier, Maternal, Materno.
The Roman Martyrology states of him today: I “In Cologne, Germany, St. Maternus, Bishop, who led the inhabitants of Tongeren, Cologne and Trier to faith in Christ.“
We know him as the first Bishop in the Christian history of Cologne. But from the ninth century a singular legend was born in Germany (and the place of origin is Trier), according to which Maternus would have arrived from Palestine. Not only that, he is also indicated as a disciple of Saint Peter the Apostle and sent by him to proclaim the Gospel in the Germanic world. This imaginative tale was intended to present Trier as the first episcopal see of Germany and, therefore, endowed with jurisdiction “by seniority” over the others.
The truth of history, on the other hand, states that our Saint, the Bishop of Cologne, was an important figure in the Church, now free by the work of Emperor Constantine but exposed – after the external persecutions – to the internal travail of Christians who hurt themselves by heresy.
Maternus is one of the peacemakers, called to settle a hard conflict that was born in North Africa. It was the Donatist schism, from the name of the Bishop Donatus. The schism of the rigorists, averse to any indulgence towards Christians who gave in out of fear during the persecution of Diocletian.
In May 313 Maternus left for Rome to attend a Synod with Pope Miltiades to attempt to resolve the problems faced and inflicted on the Church by the Donatists. (Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History). In 314, he also attended the Synod of Arles and he was the first Apostle of Alsace and successfully promoted the spread of Christianity in that Province and in Western Germany.
We do not know anything else about Maternus, after his mission to Rome, which ends with a judgement in favour of the Bishop elect Cecilian, over whom the heresy erupted in Carthage (but without putting an end to the schism, which will still torment Saint Augustine).
In Cologne and in his hometown of Trier, the faithful began to venerate him as a saint. A popular cult of which the splendid 13th century stained glass windows in the Cathedral Chapel dedicated to his name, also testify. He is venerated in many Churches both in Germany and in parts of modern day France. His cult seems to have been widespread by the many artworks of him in the abovementioned Churches. The image below shows the body of St Maternus arriving in a boat (1722) – sadly, we have no explanation for the obvious miracle around this painting.
He was buried in the Cathedral of Cologne but the Cathedral of St Peter in Trier boasts a large Reliquary, which became and remains, a pilgrimage site.
Nossa Senhora de Nazaré / Our Lady of Nazareth, Portugal (1182) -14 September:
The chronicles of old Portugal report this episode that took place in the year 1182, on the day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Dom Fuas Roupinho, a Knight and vassal of King Afonso Henriques, was out hunting on a foggy day. He was pursuing a deer when it came to an unexpected precipice and fell to its death into the sea below.
The horse, which was in close pursuit, reared on the very edge of the cliff and it seemed certain that Dom Fuas would follow the deer to his death. Knowing that a little distance to his left was a cave with the Statue of the Virgin of Nazareth, Dom Fuas immediately invoked her protection. He was saved and in thanksgiving he built a small “Chapel of memory” (Ermida da Memória) over the cave in her honour.
According to a document found with it, the little Statue of the Virgin had been venerated in Nazareth in the times of early Christianity. When the iconoclast heresy started in Constantinople and the heretics were destroying all the Statues, a Monk called Ciriaco took it to a Monastery in Spain in the proximity of Merida.
In 714, when the Saracens invaded the Iberian Peninsula, King Rodrigo fled with Friar Germano to the Atlantic coast, bearing the Statue with them. They hid the Statue in a small cave off the coast of the site that was later to become Nazaré, where it remained until it was found by a shepherd in 1179.
After Our Lady miraculously saved the life of Dom Fuas, the devotion to Our Lady of Nazareth spread throughout the country and was the source of countless graces for the people. In 1377 King Fernando ordered a large Church to be built near the little Chapel, and the Statue is venerated there now.
St Caerealis Bl Claude Laplace St Cormac of Cashel St Crescentian of Carthage St Crescentius of Rome St Generalis of Carthage St Giulia Crostarosa St Jean Gabriel Taurin du Fresse St Maternus of Cologne (Died c 325) Bishop