Thought for the Day – 21 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“When Jesus was asked, what was the first commandment, He replied: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind and with thy whole strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than this” (Mk 12:30-31). As St Augustine says, the love of God and the love of neighbour are two branches of the same tree, the tree of charity. “If anyone says, ‘I love God’ and hates his brother,” St John warns us, “he is a liar” (1 Jn 4:20).
We must prove our love for God by showing charity towards our neighbour. All men are our brothers in Jesus Christ, Who has redeemed us by His Precious Blood. Our Lord has said that He will regard as done for Himself, anything which we do for the least of our brethren (Mt 25:10).
Like the Saints, we should see Jesus Himself living in the poor and the suffering. The Saints gave Him everything they had, not only their possessions but also their toil and their love.
Think how much those missionaries do who leave everything in order to go to foreign lands and win souls for Christ. Think of the charitable work of the sisters and nurses in the hospitals, asylums and orphanages. What are we doing?”
One Minute Reflection – 26 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary” – Readings: Numbers 11: 25-29; Psalm 19: 8, 10- 14; James 5: 1-6; Mark 9: 38-43, 45, 47-48
“Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ … will surely not lose his reward” – Mark 9:41
REFLECTION – “Give of your earthly goods and receive eternal ones; give earth and receive heaven. But give to whom? … Hear Scripture telling you how you are to lend to the Lord Himself: “He who has compassion on the poor lends to the Lord” (Prv 19:17). God most certainly is in no need of you but another is in need; what you give to the one is received by another. For the poor has nothing with which to pay you back; he would like to but cannot find anything. The only thing he has is a kindly wish to pray for you. But when a poor man prays for you, it is as though he were to say to God: “Lord, I’ve received a loan; be my security.” From then on, if the poor man you do business with is insolvent, he has a sound guarantee, for God says to you: “Give with assurance; I stand surety. … It is I who will pay back, I who receive, I to whom you give.”
Do you really believe that God would say to you: “It is I who receive and to me that you give?” Yes, indeed, if Christ is God – and of that there is no question. For He said: “I was hungry and you gave me food.” And when asked: “When did we see you hungry?” wanting to prove that He is indeed surety for the poor, He answers on behalf of all His members, … declaring, “Whatever you did for the least of my disciples, you have done to me” (Mt 25:34 f.). – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop, Theologian, Father, Doctor of Grace. Sermon on Psalm 36
PRAYER – Lord God, You hold out the Light of Your Word to those who do not know You. Strengthen in our hearts, the faith You have given us and the Credo we profess, so that no trials may quench the fire Your Spirit has kindled in us. May the intercession of the Mother of the Word made flesh and our Mother, grant us the grace of following the way of the Cross, to stand beneath it with our her, Ave Maria! We make our prayer through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 26 September – Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Trinity. This is entirely fitting as Sunday is the first day of the week and the day when we offer God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit our praise, adoration and thanksgiving.
An Act of Consecration to the Holy Trinity By St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of Charity
I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me: my memory and my actions to God the Father; my understanding and my words to God the Son; my will and my thoughts to God the Holy Ghost; my heart, my body, my tongue, my senses and all my sorrows to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, “who was content to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross..” Amen
Saint of the Day – 26 September – Saint John of Meda Ord.Hum. (1100-1159) Priest, Monk, Abbot of the Humiliati Order (now no longer in existence), Reformer. Born as Giovanni Oldrati (or Oldradi) at Meda, Province of Milan, Italy and died on 26 September 1159 at Brera, Italy of natural cause. Also known as – Giovanni/John Oldrati, John Oldradi, Joannes Oldradus, John of Como.
He was born in the Town of Meda, Lombardy. He was a member of the Oldrati family of Milan. After Ordination he withdrew to the solitude of Rondenario, near Como. Receiving a vision of the Virgin Mary, in 1134 he felt called to join the Humiliati at their Abbey of Viboldone, then a lay congregation. Chosen their Superior, he subjected them to the Rule of St Benedict, changing the appellation of brethren of the Monks to Canons.
He spent his later life serving as an Abbot and is known for introducing the Little Office of Our Lady. He composed a special breviary for their use, which was called Canons’ Office. The Humiliati thus became a regular Order, with clerical and lay members. Later John went on to found further Monasteries of the Order, in the regions of Milan and Lombardy.
John of Meda gained a large number of converts by his preaching and was a humble and pious Abbot displaying a dedicated care of the needy.
He died on 26 September 1159 and was Canonised in c 1170, just a few years after his death by Pope Alexander III.
Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matka Boża Leśniańska / Blessed Mother of Leśna, Leśna Podlaska, Biała Podlaska, Lublin, Poland (1683) – 26 September:
The Leśnia Sanctuary begins on 26 September 1683. On that day, two shepherds – Miron Makaruk and Aleksander Stelmaszuk – looking for the lost cattle in the bushes, noticed a stone image of the Mother of God hanging on a wild pear tree, which gave an extraordinary glow. Wanting to take the painting off, one of the bravest young men climbed the tree but each time fell to the ground. The local inhabitants, seeing what was happening, began to pray fervently. Soon, Zabłocki’s elders from nearby Bordziłówka arrived and only he, as an unusually prayerful man, took the painting off the tree. Droplets of “sweat” appeared on the image and this phenomenon continued for a long time. Then the painting was taken to the manor in Bukowice. This extraordinary find deeply touched the religious and secular authorities of the time. Soon a wooden Church was erected on the site of the appearance of the Image. On 26 September 1695, a Parish was established in Lesna. From the very beginning, the Image attracted crowds of believers who experienced many favours thanks to the Blessed Mother, especially cures of illnesses. The Bishop of Lutsk, Franciszek Prażmowski, issued a decree in 1700, in which he stated that the appearance of the Image should be considered miraculous.
In the Lesnian Image, Mary is presented, embracing the Child Jesus with her right arm. The Child Jesus is holding the book with his right hand and his left hand is raised up in a gesture of teaching. Mary, standing in half-figure, is facing the viewer. In her left hand she holds an open book, on which, with outstretched wings, a dove – a symbol of the Holy Spirit – is supported. The figure of the Mother of God is covered with a coat. The image of the Mother of God is a relief carved in field stone. The dimensions of the Image are: width 29.3 cm, height 31.4 cm, thickness 4.6 cm, weighs 9.5 kg.
On the site of the appearance of the Image of the Mother of God in 1718. a small Church was built. It exists to this day and is called the “Chapel of the Appearance of the Miraculous Image.” In 1727, the Parish of Leśna and the care of the Miraculous Image were taken over by the Pauline Fathers from Jasna Góra. They began the construction of a magnificent Church, which was erected in the years 1731 – 1758. It was consecrated under the invocation of the “Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul” on 8 September 1758. Huge crowds of the faithful of the Latin and Uniate rite were drawn to the Leśnia Sanctuary.
The situation changed with the partitions of Poland, when Leśna found itself under the Russian partition. After the fall of the January Uprising, the Lesnian Sanctuary found itself in a desperate situation. As part of the repression for helping the insurgents, on the night of 27-28 October 1864 , the Pauline Fathers were deported from Leśna. It was then, that the Bishop of Janów, Beniamin Szymanski, ordered to secretly take out the Miraculous Image and put a copy in its place. It was done in 1865. Soon the tsarist government abolished the Podlasie Diocese. The exiled Bishop took the Miraculous Picture with him to Łomża. He put it in the Church of the Benedictine Sisters. In 1875, the Church in Leśnia was taken over for the purposes of the Orthodox Church. Then the pilgrimages stopped. In 1889, an Orthodox nunnery was established in Lesna. It was to become the centre of Russification of Poles. In 1905 Tsar Nicholas II came to Lesna, whose relative was the superior of the nuns of Leśna. After the outbreak of World War I, the sisters left Leśna and took with them a copy of the painting of the Mother of God, still being firmly convinced that it was the original painting.
On 16 August 1915, the temple in Leśnia returned to Catholic worship. On 25 May 1919 . The Pauline Fathers returned to Lesna and immediately began renovation works in the Sanctuary. First of all, the search for the Miraculous Picture began, which was not found until 5 May 1926 in Łomża. It happened thanks to Fr. Aleksander Łaziński. After the canonical trial conducted by Bishop H. Przeździecki, the Miraculous Image returned in a triumphant parade from Siedlce to Leśna on 25 September 1927. It was a great celebration for the entire Podlasie Diocese and over 25,000 people attended this event. In the interwar period, the Pauline Fathers decorated the Sanctuary. They looked after the pilgrims who were again in large numbers at the feet of their Lesnian Mother.
In 1939, the difficult time of the Nazi occupation began. In the fall of 1940, the Germans occupied the Monastery and expelled the Pauline Fathers. After the war, in 1951, under the direction of the Prior – Father Jerzy Tomziński, the Church received a Pulpit and an Organ.
On 18 August 1963 , the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, together with the Bishop of Podlasie, Ignacy Świrski, crowned the Miraculous Image with papal crowns. From 11 to 12 June 1970, Cardinal Karol Wojtyła stayed in Leśna. On 25 September 1977, the 50th anniversary of the return of the Miraculous Image was solemnly celebrated. In 1983, the solemn celebrations of 300 years of the appearance of the Miraculous Image took place and in 1984 the Church in Leśnia was elevated to the rank of a Minor Basilica. In 1992, a break-in was made to the temple in Leśnia and attempts were made to steal the golden crowns from the Miraculous Image. In 1995, the 300th anniversary of the establishment of the Parish in Leśna Podlaska was celebrated. This time the ceremony was presided over by the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Józef Glemp. In 1996, works on frescoes and paintings in the Basilica began and they were completed in 2002. On 26 September 2019, the Leśnia Sanctuary celebrated the 100th anniversary of the return of the Pauline Order to Leśna Podlaska. – https://lesnapodlaska.paulini.pl/historia-sanktuarium/
St Cosmas (Optional Memorial) St Damian (Optional Memorial) (Died c 286 ) Martyrs. Twin brothers and Physicians, Apostles of Charity, Evangelists – born in the 3rd century, of Arabic descent and died by being tortured, without suffering any injury and finally they were beheaded c 286 in Aegea, Cilicia (modern Ayas, Turkey). The Martyr twins are remembered in the Roman Canon of the Mass in the prayer known as the Communicantes (from the first Latin word of the prayer). They are also recalled in the Litany of the Saints and in the older form of the Roman rite, in the Collect for Thursday in the Third Week of Lent, as the Station Church for this day is Santi Cosma e Damiano. Saints Cosmas and Damian: https://anastpaul.com/2019/09/26/saints-of-the-day-26-september-saints-cosmas-and-damian-died-c-286-martyrs/
St Amantius of Tiphernum St Callistratus of Constantinople St Colman of Elo St Cyprian of Antioch St Eusebius of Bologna St John of Meda Ord.Hum. (1100-1159) Priest, Monk, Abbot St Justina of Antioch
St Senator of Albano St Vigilius of Brescia — Martyrs of Korea – 12 saints: Twelve lay people in the apostolic vicariate of Korea who were imprisoned, tortured and martyred together in the persecutions in Korea. • Saint Agatha Chon Kyong-Hyob • Saint Carolus Cho Shin-Ch’ol • Saint Catharina Yi • Saint Columba Kim Hyo-Im • Saint Ignatius Kim Che-Jun • Saint Iulitta Kim • Saint Lucia Kim • Saint Magdalena Cho • Saint Magdalena Ho Kye-Im • Saint Magdalena Pak Pong-Son • Saint Perpetua Hong Kum-Ju • Saint Sebastianus Nam I-Gwan They were beheaded September 1839 in Seoul Prison, South Korea and Canonised on 6 May 1984 by St Pope John Paul II.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: • Blessed Amalia Abad Casasempere de Maestre • Blessed Andreu Felíu Bartomeu • Blessed Antonio Cid Rodríguez • Blessed Josefa Romero Clariana • Blessed Manuel Legua Martí • Blessed María Jord´ Botella • Blessed Pau Castell´ Barber´ • Blessed Teresa Rosat Balasch