Thought for the Day – 20 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Word of God
“After Holy Communion, the Word of God is the most nourishing food of the soul. St Augustine urges us to listen to the Word of God with the same devotion with which we approach the Blessed Eucharist. It is the normal method God uses to communicate with our souls in order to instruct and enlighten them and to lead them along the path of virtue. It is true, that God sometimes makes direct contact with us by means of good inspirations or extraordinary graces but, the ordinary way in which He calls us to eternal life, is by His divine Word, whether it is proclaimed by His ministers, read in Sacred Scripture, illustrated in the lives of the Saints, or, outlined by masters of the spiritual life. Most important of all, is the living word of the lawful representatives of God. Jesus did not specifically command His Apostles to write but to preach. “He who believes and is baptised,” He added, “shall be saved but he who does not believe, shall be condemned” (Cf Mk 16:16). Mary Magdalen was converted by the preaching of Jesus and wept for her sins. The sermons of St John the Baptist called upon the Jewish people to do penance. Centuries earlier, the prophet Nathan had converted David by means of the inspired Word of God and the prophet Jonah, had roused the Ninivites to repentance. We should treasure the Word of God. We should read and listen to it, with humility and devout attention. Whenever we hear a sermon, or read Sacred Scripture, or some spiritual book, we should reflect, that, it is God Himself Who is preaching to us! We should not be guided merely by a spirit of curiosity, desire for knowledge, or love of eloquence or literary style but, by the determination to apply such instruction to ourselves and to put it into practice.”
Quote/s of the Day – 20 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary” – Readings: Ezra 1: 1-6; Psalm 126: 1b-6; Luke 8: 16-18
Christ the Light
“In You is the source of life and in Your Light Lord, we see light”
“You are the salt of the earth … You are the light of the world.”
“Light came into the world.”
“I am the light of the world he who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
“This, beloved, is the way in which we found our salvation, Jesus Christ, the High Priest Who offers our gifts, the Patron and Helper in our weakness (Heb 10:20; 7:27; 4:15). It is through Him, that we look straight at the heavens above. Through Him, we see mirrored, God’s faultless and transcendent countenance. Through Him, the eyes of our heart were opened. Through Him, our unintelligent and darkened mind shoots up into the light. Through Him, the Master was pleased to let us taste the knowledge that never fades,”
St Pope Clement I (c 35 – c 99)
“He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the Great Light, bathed in the glory of Him who is the Light of Heaven.”
St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Father & Doctor of the Church
“It is no advantage to be near the light, if the eyes are closed.”
“Proclaim the Good News! What good news is that? Day is born from Day… Light from Light – the Son from the Father, the saving power of God!”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“He is the Light of Truth, the Path of life, the Power and Mind, Hand and Strength of the Father. He is the Sun of Justice, Source of Blessings, Flower of God, God’s Son, Creator of the world, Life of our mortality and Death to our death. He is the Master of the virtues. He is God to us …!”
St Paulinus of Nola (c 354-431) Father of the Church
“Run with eager desire to this Source of Life and Light, all you who are vowed to God’s service.”
St Bonaventure OFM (1221-1274) Seraphic Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 20 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary” – Readings: Ezra 1: 1-6; Psalm 126: 1b-6; Luke 8: 16-18
“No-one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed, rather, he places it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light.” – Luke 8:16
REFLECTION – “The Lamp set upon the Lampstand is Jesus Christ, the true Light from the Father, the Light that enlightens every man who comes into the world. In taking our own flesh, He has become and is rightly called, a Lamp, for He is the connatural Wisdom and Word of the Father. … He is lifted up and resplendent among the nations, through the lives of those who live virtuously, in observance of the commandments. So He gives light to all in the house (that is, in this world), just as He Himself, God the Word, says – no-one lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel but on a stand and it gives light to all in the house. Clearly He is calling Himself the Lamp, He who is by nature God and became flesh according to God’s saving purpose. …
Lamp-like indeed, He alone dispelled the gloom of ignorance and the darkness of evil and became the Way of salvation for all men. Through virtue and knowledge, He leads to the Father those who are resolved to walk by Him, Who is the way of righteousness, in obedience to the divine commandments. He has designated holy Church the Lampstand, over which the Word of God sheds Light through preaching and illumines with the rays of truth, whoever is in this house which is the world and fills the minds of all men with divine knowledge.
This Word is most unwilling to be kept under a bushel; it wills to be set in a high place, upon the sublime beauty of the Church. …” – St Maximus of Turin (? – c 420) Bishop and Father of the Church – (An excerpt from An Inquiry Addressed to Thalassius)
PRAYER – Lord, be the beginning and the end of all that we do, all that we say, in every moment be our Light. Prompt our actions with Your grace and complete them with Your all-powerful love. May we always seek Your Face in every circumstance, in every moment, so that Your Light may become our life. Holy and Mother, you lived your life in the Presence of the Holy Face of Christ our Lord, please intercede for us and for all the world. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 20 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary” and A Monday sanctified by the Holy Spirit
Breathe in Me, O Holy Spirit By St Augustine (354-420) Father and Doctor of the Church
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen
Saint of the Day – 20 September – Saint Susanna of Eleutheropolis (Died 362) Virgin Martyr, Deaconess and Abbess. Susanna spent many years as a ‘Monk and then ‘Abbot’ when she disguised herself as a man called John. After detection, she was rescued by the local Bishop, Ordained as a Deaconess and settled as Abbess in a Convent for women. Died in 362 at Eleutheropolis, Palestine while in prayer in her prison cell. Also known as St Susanna of Palestine.
The entry in the Roman Martyrology states: “The holy Martyr, Susanna, daughter of Arthemius, a pagan priest and Martha.“
Susanna grew up in Palestine as the daughter of Arthemius, a rich pagan priest and Martha, a Hebrew woman. After their deaths, she was baptised as a Christian, freed her slaves, gave her property to the poor and decided to live as an ascetic. She cropped her hair, put on men’s clothing, took the name of John and presented herself to a men’s Monastery in Jerusalem. The Monks assumed she was a eunuch and accepted her.
Still disguised, Susanna eventually became ‘Abbot’ of the Monastic community. After twenty years in the Monastery, a visiting Nun fell in love with her and tried to win her affections. When this failed, the Nun accused Susanna of seducing her. The local Bishop, Cleopas of Eleutheropolis, was called in with two Deaconesses. Susanna revealed her gender to the Deaconesses and her name was cleared.
The Bishop was so impressed with Susanna’s dedication and piety, and brought her back to his Cathedral. He ordained her a Deaconess and appointed her Abbess of a Convent. She served as Abbess for many years, serving the poor, extended hospitality and praying for the salvation of souls.
During the persecution of Julian the Apostate, Susanna was arrested and tortured for refusing to offer sacrifices to the pagan gods. When her torturers realised that they could not break her faith, they threw her into prison, where she died from her wounds and lack of food in the year 362.
Notre-Dame-au-Pied-d’Argent / Our Lady with the Silver Foot), Toul, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Lorraine, France (1284) – 20 September:
At Toul, in Lorraine, there was a Statue, which, according to an ancient tradition, informed a woman on 20 September in the year 1284, of an act of treachery which was being planned against the City.
The Statue was called Our Lady with the Silver Foot, or Notre-Dame au pied d’argenth. The faithful keep the memory of this stone Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was located just inside the entrance of the Church and placed over a sculpted clam. In those days there would be a lamp burning before it on feast days and almost every day, the faithful offered small candles which they lit and rested on a circular iron candlestick that was placed before the Statue. It was well known that several people who prayed before this Statue were cured of various diseases but the devotion and respect of the people toward this image, grew more than ever at the time of the Bishop Conrad because of the miracle that occurred in the following manner:
A woman named Helwide was in the Cathedral Saint-Etienne de Toul praying to the Blessed Virgin for consolation and the repose of the souls of her husband and daughter who had recently died. It was about midnight, when the Canons were praying Matins, that the Blessed Virgin Mary suddenly appeared to her. The Virgin Mary ordered Helwide to go immediately to find a man named Rimbert, who was the guardian of “The Door to the Chair.” The Door to the Chair gave access to the Castrum, a little entrance to the City near Tanner Street. Helwide was urged to go quickly, for an enemy proposed to enter the City by the door to set their homes on fire and fill the streets with blood. Regaining her senses after the vision, Helwide got up feeling very puzzled. She was hesitant about what she should do, though as Rimbert’s home was not far distant and was on her way home anyway, she decided she would indeed go there. No sooner had Helwide stepped out of the Church, than she met the night-watch on patrol. She told them the tale of her vision and they responded by mocking her and making derogatory jokes. Despite this, two of them still decided to follow and actually see what would happen if Helwide could find the porter she sought. The pair arrived with Helwide at the house and simply thrust the door open. Rimbert sat on his bunk, seeming startled, yet as if expecting the visit. Helwide briefly stated the purpose of her visit and Rimbert exclaimed, “I had precisely the same vision and the same warning! I do not know if it occurred in my sleep or in the state of wakefulness but I have been told that the Statue will move her foot in testimony of the truth!” At these words, all those present were seized with a great desire to see such a prodigy. With a rush they ran to the Cathedral and removed the candles and all that stood before the image. To their disappointment they found that the Virgin’s feet remained mostly hidden beneath the folds of the clothing of the Statue as before. In the interim, several scholars and some laymen who were called to see the wonder, arrived on the scene. Seeing that nothing was apparently going to happen, they began cursing all the rest as senseless interpreters of dreams. As they stood not far from the Statue, many of them fell silent as they saw the Statue suddenly move as an entire foot of the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared from beneath the folds of her garment. Terrified, but convinced, this time they all agreed to announce the peril which they now knew actually threatened them. Quickly rendering their thanks to Mary, they agreed to defend the City and call for reinforcements. They arrived just in time to take up their positions to defend the entrance to the City with the assistance of the Episcopal palace guards. A tremendous struggle occurred when the invaders broke down the door and entered the courtyard, but the defenders were committed to the fight and held their own. When reinforcements arrived, the invaders fell to the last man.
To perpetuate the memory and recognize the protection granted to them by the Blessed Virgin Mary, the people of Toul had a shoe of pure silver made to cover the foot on the Blessed Virgin’s Statue. From that time on the Statue was known as Our Lady with the Silver Foot. They also hung on the wall of the cathedral a picture which represented the heavenly vision and Mary was declared Patroness of the City.
The image of Our Lady with the Silver Foot was venerated in the City and the surrounding areas and in case of the threat of any public calamity, the Blessed Virgin was invoked and ,henceforth, the Statue would be carried in procession throughout the streets of the City. The Governors themselves considered it an honour to take the Statue upon their own shoulders. Pilgrimages were made to Our Lady of the Silver Foot; prayers answered, graces bestowed and miracles wrought.
The original Statue of Our Lady with the Silver Foot was destroyed during the ravages of the French Revolution and was replaced later by a modern statue that was stolen in the 1980’s. The Gothic Cathedral was repaired after being damaged during the French Revolution but still awaits repair after the damage caused when it was struck during an aerial bombardment in the Second World War. There was once also a Monastery at Toul,but no trace of it remains.
Vigil of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist St Agapitus of Rome St Candida of Carthage St Dionysius of Phrygia St Dorimedonte of Synnada St Eusebia of Marseilles
Martyrs of Constantinople – 3 saints: A priest and two bishops who were imprisoned, tortured and martyred for the defense of icons in the iconoclast persecutions of emperor Leo the Isaurian. – Andrea, Asiano and Hypatius. They were martyred in 735 in Constantinople (modern Istanbul, Turkey) and their bodies were thrown to the dogs.
Martyrs of Pergen – 6 saints: A group of lay people martyred in the persecutions of Emperor Elagabalus. The names that have come down to us are Dionysius, Dioscorus, Philippa, Privatus, Socrates and Theodore. They were crucified c 220 at Pergen, Pamphylia, Asia Minor (in modern Turkey).
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: • Blessed Cristobal Iturriaga-Echevarría Irazola • Blessed Santiago Vega Ponce • Blessed Juan Antonio López Pérez