Thought for the Day – 15 November – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Conversation with God and with Men
“Let us recall again the sentence in which The Imitation of Christ paraphrases an idea of Seneca (Epistulae morales ad Lucilinum, 7) “As often as I habe been amopngst men, I have returned less a man” (Bk 1 cj XX, v 2). The writer goes onto explain what he means by this, “It is easier to keep silence altogether, than not to fall into excess in speaking. No man can safely speak but he who loves silence!” IIbid).
We have all experienced how true it is that when we are frequently in the company of others, we become easily absorbed in matters which are spiritually advantageous, neither to ourselves, nor to our neighbour. If the people with whom we associate were holy, this would not happen. It is always edifying to hold conversation with a Saint. After such a conversation, we go away better Christians than we were beforehand. “Nobody,” writes Tertullian, “is wiser, more faithful and nobler, than the Christian” (De Praescriptione Haereticorum, 3).
Unfortunately, Saints are rare, whereas evil men are common and idle and foolish men more common still. “Walk with wise men and you will become wise but the companion of fools, will fare badly” (Prov 13:20).
This does not mean that we should all become hermits, for that is a lofty vocation to which only a few are called. But, it remains true, that constant chatter with other men is both a waste of time and harmful. So-called society life is dissipating and disedifying.
Converse with men, when it is necessary, when it is useful and when it is polite to do so. At such times, let your speech be simple and good and your behaviour edifying.”
Quote/s of the Day – 15 November – The Memorial of St Albert the Great (1200-1280) Universal Doctor
“Eternal life flows from this Sacrament because God, with all sweetness, pours Himself out upon the blessed.”
“The greater and more persistent your confidence in God, the more abundantly you will receive, all that you ask.”
“Above all, one should accept everything, in general and individually, in oneself or in others, agreeable or disagreeable, with a prompt and confident spirit, as coming from the Hand of His infallible Providence or the order He has arranged.”
One Minute Reflection – 15 November – Readings: First Maccabees 1: 10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63; Psalm 119: 53, 61, 134, 150, 155, 158; Luke 18: 35-43 and the Memorial of St Albert the Great OP (1200-1280) Doctor of the Church
“Your faith has saved you.” – Luke 18:42
REFLECTION – “We must now look at what He said to the blind man as He came near: “What do you want me to do for you?” Was One who could restore light, ignorant of what the blind man wanted? But He wants to be asked, for what He already knows; we shall request and He shall grant. He counsels us to be untiring in our prayers and yet, he says: “For Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Mt 6:8). And so He questions that we may ask Him, He questions to rouse our hearts to prayer. …
The blind man does not ask the Lord for gold but for light. He sets little store by asking anything but light … Let us imitate him, dearly beloved … Let us not ask the Lord for deceitful riches, or earthly gifts, or passing honours but for light. And let us not ask for light shut up in one place, or limited by time, or ending with the coming of night. The beasts behold such light just as we do. Let us ask for the light which we can see with angels alone, light without beginning or end. The way to this light is faith. Hence Jesus immediately says to the blind man, who is to be enlightened: “Raise your eyes, your faith has saved you.” – St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) Father and Doctor of the Church [Homilies on the Gospel, no 2 (Migne) ; PL 76, 1081(trans. Cistercian Fathers]
PRAYER – Lord God, You made St Albert great by his gift for reconciling human wisdom with divine faith. Help us so to follow his teaching that every advance in science may lead us to a deeper knowledge and love of You. May his prayers on our behalf be a succour to us all. Through our Lord Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 15 November – A Catholic Monday of the Holy Spirit
Inflame our Hearts with Your Love Prayer To the Holy Spirit By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor of the Church
You made Mary full of grace and enflamed the hearts of the Apostles with a holy zeal. Inflame our hearts with Your love. You are the Spirit of Goodness, Give us the courage to confront evil. You are Fire, set us ablaze with Your love. You are Light, enlighten our minds, that we may see what is truly important. You are the Dove, give us gentleness. You are a soothing Breeze, bring calm to the storms that rage within us. You are the Tongue, may our lips ever sing God’s praises You are the Cloud, shelter us under the shadow of Your protection O Holy Ghost, melt the frozen, warm the chilled and enkindle in us an earnest desire to please You. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
Saint of the Day – 15 November – Blessed Lucia of Narni OP (1476-1544) Virgin, Tertiary of the Order of Preachers, Mystic, Stigmatist, Ecstatic, Married but remained chaste and fulfilled her vow of Virginity before she left her marital home and entered a Convent. Born on 13 December 1476 in Narni, Umbria, Italy as Lucia Brocadelli and died on 15 November 1544 at the Saint Catherine of Siena Convent in Ferrara, Italy of natural causes. Patronage – of Narni, Italy. Also known as – Lucy Brocadelli, Lucy de Alessio, Lucia Broccadelli. Her body is incorrupt.
Already very early it became evident to her pious Italian family that this child was set for something unusual in life. Lucia was born in 13 December 1476 on the feast day of Saint Lucia of Syracuse, the eldest of eleven children of Bartolomeo Brocadelli and Gentilina Cassio, in the Town of Narni (then called Narnia) and in the region of Umbria.
When Lucia was five years old, she had a vision of the Child Jesus with Our Lady. Two years later, Our Lady appeared with Child Jesus, Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Dominic. Jesus gave her a ring and Saint Dominic gave her the scapular. At age 12, she made a private vow of total consecration, determined, even at this early age, to become a Dominican. However, family affairs were to make this difficult. During the following year Lucia’s father died, leaving her in the care of an uncle. And this uncle felt that the best way to dispose of a pretty niece was to marry her off, as soon as possible.
The efforts of her uncle to get Lucia successfully married form a colorful chapter in the life of the Blessed Lucia. Eventually the uncle approached the matter with more tact, arranging a marriage with Count Pietro of Milan, who was not a stranger to the family. Lucia was, in fact, very fond of him but she had resolved to live as a religious. The strain of the situation made her seriously ill. During her illness, Our Lady appeared to her again, accompanied by Saint Dominic and Saint Catherine and told her to go ahead with the marriage as a legal contract but to explain to Pietro that she was bound to her vow of virginity and must keep it. When Lucia recovered, the matter was explained to Pietro and in 1491 the marriage was solemnised.
Lucia’s life now became that of the mistress of a large and busy household. She took great care to instruct the servants in their religion and soon became known for her benefactions to the poor. Pietro, to do him justice, never seems to have objected when his young wife gave away clothes and food, nor when she performed great penances. He knew that she wore a hair-shirt under her rich clothing and that she spent most of the night in prayer and working for the poor.
But when, after having disappeared for the entire night, Countess Lucia returned home early in the morning in the company of two men and claimed that they were Saints Dominic and John the Baptist, Pietro’s patience finally gave out. He had his young wife locked up. Here she remained for the season of Lent; sympathetic servants brought her food until Easter. Being allowed to go to the Church, Lucia never returned. She went to her mother’s house and on the Feast of the Ascension, 1494, 8 May she put on the habit of a Dominican tertiary.
Count Pietro was furious, burned down the Dominican Priory and even tried to kill her spiritual director who had given her the habit. Rich and influential, he continued to try to bring her back. The following year, Lucia went to Rome and entered the Monastery of the Dominican tertiaries near Pantheon. Her sanctity impressed everyone so much that by the end of the year, with five other Sisters, she was sent by the Master General of the Dominicans, to start a new Monastery in Viterbo.
On Friday, 25 February 1496, Lucia received the Stigmata, the Sacred Wounds. She tried very hard to hide her spiritual favours because they complicated her life wherever she went. She had the stigmata visibly and she was usually in ecstasy, which meant a steady stream of curious people who wanted to question her, investigate her, or just stare at her. Even the Sisters were nervous about her methods of prayer. Once they called in the Bishop, and he watched Lucia with the sisters for 12 hours, while she went through the drama of the Passion.
The Bishop hesitated to pass judgement and called for special commissions; the second one was presided by a famous Inquisitor of Bologna. All declared that her Stigmata were authentic. Here the hard-pressed Pietro had his final appearance in Lucia’s life. He made a last effort to persuade hery to come back to him. After seeing her, he returned to Narni, sold everything he had and became a Franciscan. In later years, he was a famous preacher.
The Duke of Ferrara was planning to build a Monastery and, hearing of the fame of the mystic of Viterbo, asked Sister Lucia to be its Prioress. Lucia had been praying for some time that a means would be found to build a new Convent of strict observance and she agreed to go to Ferrara. This led to a two-year battle between the Towns. Viterbo had the Mystic and did not want to lose her; the Duke of Ferrara sent first his messengers and then his troops to bring her. Much money and time was lost before she finally escaped from Viterbo and was solemnly received in Ferrara on 7 May 1499.
Various problems arose in the Convent due to the Duke bringing all sorts of unsuitable people to view ‘his’ Convent and Stigmatist. the Sisters petitioned the Bishop and, by the order of the Pope, he sent ten nuns from the Second Order to reform the community. Lucia’s foundation was of the Third Order; of women who remained part of the laity even after their vows. The Second Order “real” nuns, according to the chronicle, “brought in the very folds of their veils the seed of war.” Nnuns of the Second Order wore black veils, a privilege not allowed to tertiaries.
The uneasy episode ended when one of these ten nuns was made Prioress and when the Duke died on 24 January 1505. Lucia was placed on penance. The nature of her fault is not mentioned, nor was there any explanation of the fact that, until her death, 39 years later, she was never allowed to speak to anyone but her Confessor, who was chosen by the Prioress. Only now, 500 years later, the situation is slowly beginning to clear.
The Dominican Provincial, probably nervous for the prestige of the Order, would not let any member of the Order go to see her. Her Stigmata disappeared, too late to do her any good and vindictive companions said: “See, she was a fraud all the time.” When she died in 1544, people thought she had been dead for many years. It is hard to understand how anyone, not a saint, could have so long endured such a life. Lucia’s only friends during her 39 years of exile were heavenly ones – the Dominican Catherine of Racconigi, sometimes visited her – evidently by bi-location – and her other heavenly friends often also came to brighten her lonely cell.
Immediately after her death everything suddenly changed. When her body was laid out for burial so many people wanted to pay their last respects that her funeral had to be delayed by three days. Her Tomb in the Monastery Church was opened four years later and her perfectly preserved body was transferred to a glass case. When Napoleon suppressed her Monastery in 1797, her body was transferred to the Cathedral of Ferrara and on 26 May 1935 to the Cathedral of Narni.
So many miracles occurred at her Shrine that Lucia was finally Beatified on 1 March 1710 by Pope Clement XI.
It is thought that Lucia was the inspiration for th little girl Lucy, who could see many things that no-one else could, in C S Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia.
Notre-Dame de Piedmont / Our Lady of Pignerol, Savoy, France (1098) – 15 November:
Our Lady of Pignerol, is also known as Our Lady of Pinerolo, Notre-Dame de Piedmont and Madonna delle Grazie di Pinerolo. The Shrine was built in honour of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin in the year 1098, by Adelaide, Countess of Savoy. It is a National Shrine of Savoy. Pinerolo is a Town in northern Italy near Turin in a region historically known as Savoy, which was annexed to France. The Town itself began just over 1,000 years ago, due to its central location along a trade route that ran between France and Italy. The pious and far-seeing Countess anticipated, by almost one thousand years, the Dogma of the Assumption of Our Lady. Mary was publicly honoured under this beloved title and frequently repaid the generosity of her devout Adelaide, by answering the pleas of her children, crying to her for help in every need. Answering their prayers, curing their ills and obtaining miracles for the faithful, where human aid was despaired of,but where faith always conquered. When the Assumption of Our Lady was proclaimed a Dogma, the rejoicing at the Pignerolo Shrine was indescribable. Venerable Pope Pius XII, on 1 November 1950, solemnly proclaimed:
“By the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed Dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”
Although this declaration of Pope Pius XII was made “ex cathedra,” belief in the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a commonly held belief among early Catholics and the Fathers of the Church. In the Apocalypse of Saint John, Chapter 12, the woman mentioned is said to be an allusion to both the Church and our Blessed Mother:
“And a great sign appeared in heaven – A woman clothed with the sun,and the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and being with child, she cried travailing in birth and was in pain to be delivered.”
This passage is generally interpreted as the Church being clothed with the Son, or Son of God, while Our Lady has the moon beneath her feet, representing the things of the material world. She is crowned with 12 stars, the Apostles and is in labour to bring forth the children of God, amidst a world full of affliction and misery.
The Shrine celebrates Our Lady annually on 15 November.
St Anianus of Wilparting St Arnulf of Toul Bl Caius of Korea St Desiderius of Cahors St Eugene of Toledo St Felix of Nola St Findan St Fintan the Missionary St Gurias of Edessa Bl Hugh Faringdon Bl John Eynon Bl John Rugg Bl John Thorne St Joseph Mukasa
Bl Miguel Díaz Sánchez St Paduinus of Le Mans Bl Richard Whiting Bl Roger James St Shamuna of Edessa St Sidonius of Saint-Saens — Martyrs of Hippo – 20 saints: 20 Christians martyred together and celebrated by Saint Augustine. The only details about them to survive are three of the names – Fidenziano, Valerian and Victoria. Hippo, Numidia (in north Africa).
Martyrs of North Africa – 3 saints: A group of Christians murdered for their faith in imperial Roman north Africa. The only details that have survived are the names of three of them – Fidentian, Secundus and Varicus.