Thought for the Day – 11 December – The Use and Abuse of the Sacraments

Thought for the Day – 11 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Use and Abuse of the Sacraments

“Let us go back in our imagination to the day when we were Baptised.
That was the day of our spiritual rebirth, when we were cleansed from original sin and enriched by the gift of grace, which is the life of the soul.
On this solemn occasion, we promised, through the agency of our Godparents, to remain faithful to the trust which we had received and to renounce Satan and whatever else might have power to extinguish our supernatural life and to plunge us into sin.

Have we kept these promises, which were made4 on our behalf and which we repeated from time to time before the Altar as we grew older?
Every gift of God demands our gratitude and our co-operation.
It is our own grave loss, if we remain cold and indifferent, in spite of the precious favours which we received from God.
God is infinitely good and merciful but, precisely because of this, He demands generous co-operation on our part.
If we abuse His graces, He will leave us to our own devices.
We shall no longer be aware of His inspirations and His appeals to us to advance in virtue.
What is to happen to us then?
We shall be like an arid plain on which only weeds and thorns can grow.
Our lives will be meaningless and purposeless, for God and everlasting happiness are the only goals worthy of our pursuit.

Antonio Cardinal Bacci


Quote/s of the Day – 11 December – Sweeping and cleaning our hearts

Quote/s of the Day – 11 December – Saturday of the Second week of Advent

“Let us become like Christ,
since Christ became like us.
He assumed the worse,
that He might give us the better;
He became poor,
that we through His poverty,
might be rich.

St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390)
Father and Doctor of the Church

“Those who refuse to be humble cannot be saved.
They cannot say with the prophet:
See, God comes to my aid;
the Lord is the helper of my soul.
But anyone who makes himself humble,
like a little child,
is greater in the kingdom of heaven.

St Bede the Venerable (673-735)

“Let all your desires then be,
directed toward Him,
the Infinite One,
the Giver of all Good.

Bl Jacopone da Todi (1230-1306)

“Who could ever soften this heart of mine
but YOU alone O Lord!”

St Francis Borgia (1510-1572)

“Unreasoning and stupid
that you look for God where He is not!
Listen and be filled with awe –
God is in our hearts, I know it.
God lives in the human heart
when this heart lives withdrawn
from all that is not Him,
when this heart heeds God’s knock
at it’s door (Rv 3,20) and,
sweeping and cleaning all its rooms,
makes itself ready to welcome Him
who alone truly satisfies

St Raphael Arnaiz Baron (1911-1938)

Spanish Trappist monk (Spiritual writings)


One Minute Reflection – 11 December – “I tell you that Elijah has already come … ” – Matthew 17:12

One Minute Reflection – 11 December – Saturday of the Second week of Advent, Readings: Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11; Psalm 80:2ac and 3b, 15-16, 18-19; Matthew 17: 9-13

I tell you that Elijah has already come and they did not recognise him but did to him, whatever they pleased.” – Matthew 17:12

REFLECTION – “Our Lord bore witness that John is the greatest of the prophets, yet he received the Spirit according to a certain degree, since John received a spirit like that of Elijah.

Just as Elijah went to dwell in solitude, so God’s Spirit led John to dwell in the wilderness, mountains and caves. A raven flew to Elijah’s help by feeding him; John ate locusts. Elijah wore a leather belt and John wore a leather loincloth round his hips. Elijah was persecuted by Jezebel; Herodias persecuted John. Elijah rebuked Ahab; John rebuked Herod. Elijah divided the waters of the Jordan; John opened up baptism. Elijah’s double measure of spirit came to rest on Elisha; John placed his hands on Our Lord, Who then received the Spirit without measure (Jn 3:34). Elijah opened Heaven and went up; John saw the Heavens opened and the Spirit of God descending and resting on our Saviour.” – St Aphrahat “Jacob” (c 280-c345) Monk and Bishop near Mosul (The Demonstrations, no 6, 13).

PRAYER – Almighty God, let the splendour of Your glory dawn in our hearts. May the coming of Your only Son, dispel all darkness and reveal that we are children of light and Truth. and may His Holy Mother always intercede for us in this vale of tears. We make our prayer through Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God with You, now and forever, amen.

The long list of Syriac writers whose works have come down to us, is headed by Aphraates (fourth century), surnamed the “Persian Sage”. The few biographical data which we possess of this illustrious author are gleaned from his own writings. From these we learn that he was born of pagan parents during the last half of the third century, very probably on the frontier region of the Persian empire.
After his conversion to Christianity he embraced the religious life and was later elevated to the episcopate, on which occasion he assumed the Christian name of Jacob. The adoption of this name subsequently led to a confusion of identity, and for centuries the works of Aphraates were ascribed to the famous Jacob, Bishop of Nisibis (died 338). It was not until the tenth century that the “Persian Sage” was finally identified with Aphraates, the name under which he is known to modern scholars. The writings of Aphraates consist of twenty-three “Demonstrations,” or homilies on moral and controversial topics.


Our Morning Offering – 11 December – Our Lady of Guadalupe,Mystical Rose By St Pius X

Our Morning Offering – 11 December – As Sunday is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and today is Mary’s Saturday, let us pray this powerful indulgenced prayer now.

Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Mystical Rose
Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe
By St Pius X (1835-1914)

Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Mystical Rose,
make intercession
for the holy Church,
protect the Sovereign Pontiff,
help all those who invoke thee in their necessities,
and since thou art the ever Virgin Mary
and Mother of the true God,
obtain for us from thy most holy Son
the grace of keeping our faith,
sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life,
burning charityand the precious gift
of final perseverance.

This prayer was approved and enriched with an indulgence of five hundred days by St Pope Pius X at an audience held on August, 1908 and was included in the official edition of approved indulgenced prayers (1950).
Raccolta number 389, 500 days Indulgence, St Pope Pius X audience, 15 August 1908.


Saint of the Day – 11 December – Blessed Jerome Ranuzzi OSM (c 1410-c 1468) “The Angel of Good Counsel,”

Saint of the Day – 11 December – Blessed Jerome Ranuzzi OSM (c 1410-c 1468) “The Angel of Good Counsel,” “The Blessed Bachelor,” Priest and Friar of the Order of the Servants of Mary, the Servites, Theologian, Adviser both spiritual and secular, renowned for his learning and scholarship, Penitent and Hermit with a great love of solitude and silence. Born as Girolamo Ranuzzi in c 1410 at Sant’Angelo, Vado, Pesaro-Urbino, Italy and died in c 1468 of natural causes. Also known as – Jerome Ranucci, Girolamo and “The Angel of Good Counsel,” “The Blessed Bachelor.” Additional Memorials, 10 and 12 December on local calendars. Patronage – Sant’Angelo, Vado. His body is incorrupt and is still available for veneration in St Mary of the Servites.

The Roman Martyrology states: “In Sant’Angelo in Vado always in the Marches, Blessed Girolamo, Priest of the Order of the Servants of Mary, who in solitude and silence reached the wisdom of holiness.

“Becoming holy is the vocation of every man and woman who comes into this world. The Servants of Mary lived this noble toil within the Church of Christ. The results of this journey are as colourful as ever, precisely because the Holy Spirit renews everything without ever repeating Himself. The saints are alike but none are the same.” (The journey of the Servants of Mary, Servitium editrice, 2001).

Jerome, who was born around 1410 in Sant’Angelo in Vado, of the wealthy Ranuzzi family (or Ranucci, according to the spelling of contemporary documents). The family
became regarded as part of nobles. In 1404, his father Antonio, became the municipal guardian for the Parish of St Eusebius, two kilometers away from his home.

Jerome, while still a teenager, entered the Convent of the Servants of Mary of St Angelo in Vado, from where he went to Bologna to study. There he applied himself to philosophy and theology, obtaining the degree of bachelor and after being Ordained a Priest, returned to his hometown Convent.

The first documented report of Jerome’s presence in St Angelo among the Servants of Mary, dates to 1449. Jerome was at this time, the Vicar of the Provincial Superior Michael Ambrosi, who called a General Chapter at his Convent in St Angelo. Another document certifying his presence in the said Convent is his signing of a contract dated 20 November 1454.

Jerome was undoubtedly a man of doctrine, in fact, several of his famous contemporaries mention him in their historical works as the “bachelor,” from the title obtained for his studies in the ecclesiastical universities of the time.

The famous Duke Federick of Montefeltro of Urbino, used his advice for the most important affairs and then always venerated his memory, when, as shown by subsequent documents of 1471 and 1478, the Duke Federick visited Jerome’s Convent to pay homage at the Tomb of the Blessed.

His contemporaries and fellow Friars, narrated his fame as an ascetic, a rigorous penitent, a persuasive adviser, who was very much alive in St Angelo in Vado. A local tradition indicates a cave where our Blessed Jerome lived his periods of solitude located along the road that leads to Montata, right where the Shrine of the Virgin called “Madonnina di Pagnignò” stands.

In 1462 the “Blessed Bachelor” began the foundation of the female Monastery of St Mary of Gracenear, nearby the male Monastery.

The date of his death is around 1468 and from then on, a crowd of people went to his Tomb to recommend themselves to his intercession. Shortly after his death, when the fame of miracles grew, Friar Jerome was acclaimed a saint by the voice of the people. His incorrupt body is preserved under the main Altar of the Church of St Mary of the Servites, where it is still venerated by the faithful today.

After a long process, his cult was confirmed on 1 April 1775 by Pope Pius VI with the title of Blesse.. The Roman Martyrology celebrates his feast today, the 11th December.

The Seven Holy Founders of the Servites

Memorials of the Saints – 11 December

St Pope Damasus I (c 305-384) (Optional Memorial) Priest and Bishop of Rome. During his Pontificate, Christianity was declared the official religion of the Roman state, and Latin became the principal liturgical language as part of the Pope’s reforms. 

St Aithalas of Arbela
St Apseus of Arbela
Bl Arthur Bell
Barsabas of Persia
St Cian

St Daniel the Stylite of Constantinople (c 409–493) Priest, Hermit, Monk, Abbot, miracle-worker.
His Life:

Bl David of Himmerod
Bl Dominic Yanez
St Eutychius the Martyr
St Fidweten

Blessed Francesco Lippi O.Carm (1211-1291) Carmelite Friar, Hermit, Mystic, Penitent, graced with the gift of prophesy.

Bl Hugolinus Magalotti
Bl Jean Laurens
Blessed Jerome Ranuzzi OSM (c 1410-c 1468) “The Angel of Good Counsel,” “The Blessed Bachelor,” Priest and Friar of the Order of the Servants of Mary, the Servites
Bl Kazimierz Tomasz Sykulski

St María Maravillas de Jesús OCD (1891-1974) Discalced Carmelite Prioress, founder of several houses for her order.
St Maria’s Story:

Bl Martín Lumbreras Peralta
Bl Martino de Melgar
Bl Melchor Sánchez PérezPens
Bl Pilar Villalonga Villalba
Bl Severin Ott
Martyrs of Saint Aux-Bois – (3 saints): Two Christian missionaries and one of their local defenders who faith in the persecutions of governor Rictiovarus – Fuscian, Gentian and Victoricus. They were beheaded in 287 in Saint Aux-Bois, Gaul (in modern France).

Martyrs of Rome – (3 saints): Three Christians murdered in the persecutions of Diocletian for giving aid to Christian prisoners – Pontian, Practextatus and Trason. They were imperial Roman citizens. They were martyred in c 303 in Rome, Italy.