Thought for the Day – 13 November – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Almsgiving and Simplicity
“Some people are so afraid of poverty, that they rarely give alms. Let them meditate on these words of St Cyprian of Carthage: “You are afraid that if you begin to engage in too many charitable enterprises, your substance will be dissipated and you will be reduced to poverty. Have confidence and do not be afraid” (De Opere at elemosynis, 9-10),
That fortune, will never be exhausted, he assures us, from which the possessor draws frequently, in order to relieve Christ’s poor or to perform an act of religion. He does not assure us of this on his own authority, he says but bases his promises on the evidence of Sacred Scripture.
Speaking through the medium of Solomon, the Holy Spirit says: “He who gives to the poor, suffers no want but he who ignores them, gets many a curse” (Prov 28:27). In other words, the avaricious and self-centred man, is more likely to be reduced to poverty, than the kind and bountiful man.
St Paul says much the same under the influence of diving inspiration. “He who provides the sower with seed, will both give you bread to eat and will multiply your seed and will increase the growth of the fruits of your justice, that being enriched in all things, you may contribute with simplicity of purpose” (2 Cor 9-10). “The administration of this service,” he adds, “not only supplies the wants of the saints but, overflows also, in much gratitude to the Lord” (Ibid 9-12). The poor thank God for the alms which we give them and our prosperity increases as a result.
In the Gospel, Our Lord reproaches men for their niggardliness and lack of confidence. “Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What are we to put on?’ (for after all these things, the Gentiles seek), for your Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the Kingdom of God and his justice and all these things shall be given you besides” (Mt 6:31). The man who aims at doing justice, therefore, will not go in want. When the Day of Judgement comes, moreover, he has Our Lord’s promise, that he will be given a share in the Kingdom, for the sake of which, he performed his charitable actions.
“You are afraid,” says St Cyprian, “that your substance will be exhausted, if you take from it, in order to give in charity. You do not realise, wretched man, that while you are afraid of losing your substance, you are losing life itself! While you are carefully guarding against the diminution of your possessions, you do not see, that you, yourself, are diminishing. You love money more than life! While you are afraid of expending your wealth for the sake of spiritual gain, you are ruining yourself, for the sake of your possessions!”
Quote/s of the Day – 13 November – The Memorial of All Saints of the Augustinian Order and the Anniversary of the Birth of St Augustine (354-430)
“Man’s Maker was made man, that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast, that the Bread might hunger, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired on its journey, that the Truth might be accused of false witness, the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Foundation be suspended on wood, that Strength might grow weak, that the Healer might be wounded, that Life might die.”
“Faith gives rise to prayer and this prayer obtains an increase of faith.”
“Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”
“Our pilgrimage on earth cannot be exempt from trial. We progress by means of trial. No-one knows himself except through trial, or receives a crown, except after victory, or strives, except against an enemy or temptations.”
“Do you desire security? Here you have it. The Lord says to you, “I will never abandon you, I will always be with you.” If a good man made you such a promise, you would trust him. God makes it and do you doubt? Do you seek a support, more sure than the Word of God, which is infallible? Surely, He has made the promise, He has written it, He has pledged His Word for it, it is most certain!”
“If you believe what you like in the Gospels and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe but yourself.”
“Wherever you are on earth, however long you remain on earth, the Lord is near, do not be anxious about anything!”
Gracious Lady, Mother and Virgin By St Augustine (354-430) Doctor of Grace
Gracious Lady, you are a Mother and Virgin. You are the Mother of the body and soul of our Head and Redeemer. You are also truly Mother of all the members of Christ’s Mystical Body. For through your love, you have co-operated in the begetting of the faithful in the Church. Unique among women, you are Mother and Virgin, Mother of Christ and Virgin of Christ. You are the beauty and charm of earth, O Virgin. You are forever, the image of the holy Church. Through a woman came death, through a woman came life, yes, through you, O Mother of God. Be with us through this life. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 13 November – Readings: Wisdom 18: 14-16; 19: 6-9; Psalm 105: 2-3, 36-37, 42-43; Luke 18: 1-8 – The Memorial of St Didacus (de Alcalá de Henares) OFM (c 1400-1463
“Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones, who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it, that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” – Luke 8:7-8
REFLECTION – “What an extraordinary thing it is, the efficiency of prayer! Like a Queen, it has access at all times to the Royal presence and can receive, whatever it asks for. And it is a mistake to imagine that your prayer will not be answered, unless you have something out of a book, some splendid formula of words, specially devised to meet this emergency. If that were true, I am afraid I should be in a terribly bad position. You see, I recite the Divine Office, with a great sense of unworthiness but ,apart from that, I cannot face the strain of hunting about in books for these splendid prayers – it makes my head spin. There are such a lot of them, each more splendid than the last – how am I to recite them all, or to choose between them? I just do what children have to do before they have learned to read – I tell God what I want quite simply, without any splendid turns of phrase and somehow, He always manages to understand me.
For me, prayer means launching out of the heart towards God; it means lifting up one’s eyes, quite simply, to heaven, a cry of grateful love, from the crest of joy, or the trough of despair; it is a vast, supernatural force, which opens out my heart and binds me close to Jesus.” – St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face (1873-1897), Carmelite, Doctor of the Church (Ms C, 25 r° – trans Ronald Knox)
PRAYER – Holy Father, grant us a strong Faith! Poor Your graces into our hearts that we may believe with all our hearts, minds and souls and that in believing, we may constantly raise our entire being to You in prayer and supplication, in prayer and adoration, in prayer and love. May the intercession of St Didacus, a man of deep prayer from his youth, strengthen our perseverance. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 13 November – Mary’s Saturday and the Anniversary of the Birth of St Augustine in 354
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 – 13 November – Saint Didacus (de Alcalá de Henares) OFM (c 1400-1463) Lay Brother of the Order of Friars Minor, Hermit, Mystic, Confessor, Born in c 1400 at Seville, Spain and died on 12 November 1463 at Alcala, Castile, Spain of natural causes. Also known as – St Didacus of St Nicholas, Diego, Diaz, Didacus de Alcalá de Henares, Didacus of Alcala. Patronages – Franciscan laity, Franciscan lay brothers, Diocese of San Diego, California.
The Roman Martyrology states of him today: “At Alcala in Spain, St Didacus, Confessor of the Order of Minorites, who was renowned for his humility. Incribed on the catalogue of the Saints by Pope Sixtus V, with a Feast Day of 13 November.“
Didacus was born about 1400 at San Nicolas in Andalusia, of poor and God-fearing parents. He entered the Third Order of St Francis when he had scarcely reached young manhood and under the direction of a devout Tertiary Priest, he served God for a long time as a Hermit. Consumed with the desire for still greater perfection, he later entered the Franciscan Convent at Arizafa in Castile and was there admitted to solemn vows as a lay brother.
His rapid progress in virtue made him a model to all his companions. His soul was continually occupied with God in prayer and meditation. From this source, he gathered such supernatural insight concerning God and the Mysteries of Faith, that learned theologians listened with astonishment to the inspiring conversations of this uneducated lay brother. Since Brother Didacus manifested great zeal for souls and willingness for sacrifice, his superiors sent him with other brethren to the Canary Islands, which at that time, were still inhabited by wild infidels. Didacus was eager for martyrdom and in this spirit, bore with dauntless patience, the many hardships that came his way. Both by word and example, he helped in converting many infidels.
In 1445, he was appointed Guardian of the chief Friary on the islands at Fortaventura. Recalled to Spain, he went to Rome in 1450 at the command of the Observant Vicar General, St John Capistrano, to attend the great Jubilee and the Canonisation ceremonies of St Bernardine of Siena. On this occasion, an epidemic broke out among the many Friars assembled in the large Convent of Aracoeli. Didacus attended the sick with great charity and trust in God. And God did not fail him. Despite the lack of supplies in the City at the time, Didacus always had ample provisions for his patients. He miraculously restored many of them to health by merely making the Sign of the Cross over them.
Leaving Rome, he returned to Spain, where, as in the former days, he was a source of great edification to the Friars of every Convent in which he lived.
When he felt that the end of his life was drawing near, he asked for an old and worn-out habit, so that he might die in it as a true son of the poor St Francis. He died on 12 November 1463, at the Franciscan Monastery in Alcalá, pressing a Crucifix to his heart and repeating the words of the Good Friday chant: “Dulce lignum, dulce ferrum, dulce pondus sustinet” – Precious the wood, precious the nails, precious the weight they bear.
Months passed before it was possible to bury Brother Didacus, so great was the number of people who came to venerate his remains. Not only did his body remain incorrupt but it diffused a pleasant odour. After it was laid to rest in the Franciscan Church at Alcalá de Henares, astounding miracles continued to occur at his tomb. Pope Sixtus V, himself a Franciscan, Canonised Brother Didacus in 1588.
The Church pays to Didacus today, the very same honours as we have seen her pay to Bernardine and John Capistrano. What is this but asserting, that before God, heroic acts of hidden virtue, are not inferior to the noble deeds that dazzle the world, if, proceeding from the same ardent love, they produce in the soul, the same increase of divine charity.
Notre-Dame de Nanteuil / Our Lady of Nanteuil, (Montrichard, Nanteuil-en-Vallee , France) 1st Century – 13 November :
This Shrine dates from late in the 1st Century, making it one of the oldest Shrines in France. According to tradition, some of the first Christians in the area discovered the Statue residing on the branch of an oak tree. They happily took it and placed it on a nearby wall near a fountain and went to summon the neighbours to show them what they had found. On returning, they found that the Statue was not where they had left it. Since this was an isolated spot, they wondered who might have taken it. Later, the Statue was found once again where they had first seen it, on the branch of the oak tree. Since Our Lady did not seem to want to be moved, the first Chapel was, accordingly, built around the tree, with the branches containing the Statue, being on the upper floor. A Parish Church, later built next door, shows late 12th century architecture but the Shrine was already very old at this time. The Church and the priory of Nanteuil belonged to the Abbey from the first years of the twelfth century. Construction took place, attributed to Philippe-Auguste, who wanted to show his gratitude to the Blessed Virgin for a double benefit – the first was for when his prayer had been answered and his thirsting army had been drenched by rain to quench that thirst; the second was for their victory over the King of England and their taking of Montrichard. In fact, the second column that supports the arch on the right side, depicts the face of the monarch, along with the faces of other leaders of his army. The devotion of Kings and Lords for the Virgin of Nanteuil was shared by the people, and from everywhere they came on pilgrimage, especially the Monday of Pentecost, which gave birth to a famous fair which was established before the fourteenth century and continues to this day. The religious upheavals of the 16th Century left Our Lady of Nanteuil undisturbed but before the French Revolution, a change came over the Statue. The smiling face became sad and many pilgrims testified to seeing tears on the cheeks. The Revolution indeed brought sorrow to the Shrine. One of the pilgrims threw a rope around the neck of the Statue and pulled it to the ground, breaking all but the head. A woman who carelessly tossed the head aside and looked for better loot was punished by almost instant death. Another woman took up the mutilated head and hid it until the destruction was over and a new body could be made to go with it. One of the many miracles recorded of Our Lady of Nanteuil, is the cure of a little boy who was completely crippled. His mother carried him on her back for three pilgrimages and the third time, to the Shrine of Our Lady of Nanteuil, he returned home entirely cured. The Shrine was especially famous for the cures of sick children, and was a favourite of King Louis XI. This Shrine had a privileged Altar that was highly indulgenced. It was a favourite of the Venerable Olier and of that saintly pilgrim, Saint Benedict Joseph Labre. Unfortunately, we have no clear images of the restored Statue.
All Saints of the Augustinian Order: On 13 November – St Augustine’s Birthday, we celebrate the Feast of All Saints of the Augustinian Order. On this day we call to mind the many unsung brothers and sisters of the Augustinian family who have “fought the good fight” and celebrate now, in Heaven. Let us pray for one another that we too may one day join in the “unceasing chorus of praise” with all our Augustinian brethren in Heaven.
All Saints of the Benedictine & Cistercian Orders: Those interested in the Benedictine family may be interested to know that today, within the Benedictine liturgical tradition, is traditionally celebrated the Feast of All Saints of the Benedictine Order – In Festo Omnium Sanctorum Ordinis S.P.N. Benedicti. The Cistercians — who also follow the Rule of St Benedict — likewise observe this day for All Saints of their Order. (On a related note, the Benedictines also traditionally observe 14 November as All Souls of their Order.
All Saints of the Premonstratensian Order or the “Norbertines.” The Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré, also known as the Premonstratensians, the Norbertines and, in Britain and Ireland, as the White Canons , are a Roman Catholic religious order of canons regular founded in Prémontré near Laon in 1120 by Saint Norbert, who later became Archbishop of Magdeburg. Premonstratensians are designated by O.Praem. following their name. St Norbert was a friend of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and so was largely influenced by the Cistercian ideals as to both the manner of life and the government of his order. Aside from St Norbert there are at present fifteen saints of the Order who have been Canonised or have had their immemorial cults confirmed by the Holy See. St Norbert (c 1080-1134) “Defender of the Eucharist” and “Apostle of the Eucharist” – Bishop, Confessor, Founder. St Norbert here: https://anastpaul.com/2017/06/06/saint-of-the-day-6-june-st-norbert/
St Amandus of Rennes St Amanzio St Beatrix of Bohemia St Brice of Tours St Caillin St Chillien of Aubigny Bl Christopher Eustace St Columba of Cornwall St Dalmatius of Rodez Bl David Sutton St Devinicus St Didacus de Alcalá de Henares) OFM (c 1400-1463) Lay Brother of the Order of Friars Minor, Confessor.
St Eugenius of Toledo St Florido of Città di Castello St Gredifael St Himerius St Homobonus of Cremona Bl John Sutton Bl Juan Gonga Martínez St Juan Ortega Uribe
St Leoniano of Vienne Bl María Cinta Asunción Giner Gomis Bl Maurice Eustace St Maxellendis St Mitrius St Pope Nicholas I St Paterniano St Quintian of Rodez Bl Robert Fitzgerald Bl Robert Montserrat Beliart Bl Robert Scurlock
Bl Thomas Eustace Bl Warmondus of Ivrea Bl William Wogan
Martyrs of Caesarea – 5 saints: A group of Christians murdered for their faith in the persecutions of Diocletian, Galerius Maximian and Firmilian. – Antoninus, Ennatha, Germanus, Nicephorus and Zebinas. 297 at Caesarea, Palestine.
Martyrs of Ravenna – 3 saints: A group of Christians murdered together in the persecutions of Diocletian. The only information about them that has survived are three names – Solutor, Valentine and Victor. c 305 in Ravenna, Italy.
Martyrs of Salamanca – 5 saints: The first group of Christians exiled, tortured and executed for their adherence to the Nicene Creed during the persecutions of the Arian heretic Genseric. – Arcadius, Eutychianus, Paschasius, Paulillus and Probus. Born in Spain and Martyred in 437. Their relics are at Medina del Campo, Spain.