Thought for the Day – 12 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Word of God
“The supernatural power of the Word of God derives from God Himself, not from the particular person who utters it.
Remember what Jesus Christ said to His Apostles when He told them to convert the world to faith and holiness. “Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptised, shall be saved but he who does not believe, shall be condemned” (Mk 16:15-16).
The Salvation of the world must come from the preaching of the Apostles and their successors but, only because their preaching contains the Word of God. There have been many philosophers throughout the centuries who taught their own particular doctrines with great eloquence and persuasiveness. Their teaching did little to make men better, however. Perhaps men did not listen to them, or perhaps they heeded them for a while and soon forgot them. That is always the fate of human achievement. After the initial noise and flourish, comes silence and oblivion! But the Word of God remains forever.
“The word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter 1:25).
The Light of the Gospel never fades because it is a Light which comes from God. The goodness which emanates from its inspired pages, will move and transform human hearts until the end of time.”
Quote/s of the Day – 13 December – The Memorial of St Lucy (c 283-304) Virgin Martyr “Bringer of Light” and St Odilia of Alsace (c 660-720) Virgin Both Patrons of those with eye ailments
“I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
Saint Lucy’s name (Lucia in Italian) shares the root luc with the Latin word for light, lux. Because of this connection, Saint Lucy is often depicted in art and religious custom as a bringer of light – which also ties in to her Patronage of eyes and sight. Her feast day today, is during Advent when we await the Light of Christ and is in winter, for the Northern Hemisphere, so there is significant iconography of Lucy as a bringer of light in the darkness.
“In your light God, we see light.”
Let us pray to St Lucy, for the intercession for all those with eye illnesses and for the protection of the ‘eyes of our faith’ of all of us.
“Let your light shine before men”
O St Lucy, you preferred to let your eyes be torn out instead of denying the faith and defiling your soul and God, through an extraordinary miracle, replaced them with another pair of sound and perfect eyes to reward your virtue and faith, appointing you as the protector against eye diseases. I come to you for you to protect my eyesight and to heal the illness in my eyes.
O St Lucy, preserve the light of my eyes so that I may see the beauties of creation, the glow of the sun, the colour of the flowers and the smile of children.
Preserve also the eyes of my soul, the faith, through which I can know my God, understand His teachings, recognise His love for me and never miss the road that leads me to where you, St Lucy, can be found in the company of the angels and saints. St Lucy, protect my eyes and preserve my faith.
St Lucy, “Bringer of Light” Pray for those with eye ailments, Pray for us all!
“Light came into the world.”
St Odilia, born blind – at the age of 12, her bodily eyes were opened and she was equally enlightened by the “eyes of faith” when she was Baptised, Pray for those with eye ailments, Pray for us all that our faith may grow and strengthen as those around us grow more and more blind!
“Then again He laid His hands upon his eyes and he looked intently and was restored and saw everything clearly.”
Prayer for the Intercession of St Odilia
Merciful God, I come to You to ask Your aid that my life may always give You praise. I ask through the intercession of St Odilia and all your holy people to be a beacon of Your Light to all I meet. Give me holiness of soul and body and bring me into Your divine Light. May I obtain these favours, as well as my special prayer, St Odelia, pray for my eyes and the eyes of my faith. Through the merits of Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, Who lives with you and the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen.
One Minute Reflection – 13 December – “Month of the Immaculate Conception” – Monday of the Third week of Advent, Readings: Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17a; Psalm 25:4-9; Matthew 21:23-27
“Then why did you not believe him?” – Matthew 21:25
REFLECTION – “The prophets had been sent, along with Moses, to heal Israel but they ministered in tears, failing to overcome evil, as one of them said: “Woe is me! For the faithful have vanished from the earth” (Mi 7:1-2). … Humanity’s wound was great indeed – from the sole of the foot to the head, no sound place, no spot to put bandage or oil or dressing (cf. Is 1:6). Drained with weeping, the prophets said: “Who will send from Zion the healing saviour?” (cf. Ps 147) … And another prophet pleads thus: “Incline your heavens, Lord and come down” (Ps 144:5). The wounds of humanity surpass our healing . They have killed the prophets and destroyed your altars (cf. 1 Kgs 19:10). We cannot cure our own wretchedness; it is You we need to raise us up.
The Lord heard the prayer of the prophets. The Father has not despised our broken race but has sent His own Son from Heaven as our physician. “The Lord whom you seek is coming and he will come speedily” said one of the prophets. Where? “Into his Temple” (cf. Mal 3:1) where you stoned His prophet (2 Chr 24:21) … And again, God Himself said: “See, I am coming to dwell among you and many nations shall take refuge in the Lord” (cf. Zech 2:14-15) … Now I am coming to gather together all people of all languages because “he came to his own and his own people did not receive him” (Jn 1:11).
You come and what do You give to the nations? “I come to gather nations and I will set my sign among them” (Is 66:18-19). For, following My combat on the Cross, I am giving each one of My soldiers, the Royal Seal to wear on his forehead (Ap 7:3). Another prophet said: “He inclined the heavens and came down, a dark cloud under his feet” (Ps 18:10). However, His descent from Heaven remained unknown to people.” – St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387) Bishop of Jerusalem, Father and Doctor of the Church (Baptismal catechesis 12, 6-8).
PRAYER – “My beloved Redeemer, how much did it cost You to raise me from the ruin, which I brought on myself through my sins? What can I do without Your grace? I can do nothing but pray that You will help me but even this prayer comes from the merits of Your suffering and death! O my Jesus, help me!” … St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most zealous Doctor.
Our Morning Offering – 13 December – Monday of the Third week of Advent
My Most Sweet Lord Morning Offering Of St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
My most sweet Lord, I offer and consecrate to Thee. this morning all that I am and have – my senses, my thoughts, my affections, my desires, my pleasures, my inclinations, my liberty. In a word, I place my whole body and soul in Thy Hands. Amen.
Saint of the Day – 13 December – Saint Odilia of Alsace (c 660-720) Virgin Abbess, born blind, but was miraculously granted her sight, miracle-worker. Born of a noble family in c 660 at Oberheim in the Vosges Mountains, Germany and died on 13 December 720 at Niedermunster, Mount Sainte Odile, Germany of natural causes. Also known as – Odilia of Hohenbourg, Odilia of Hohenburg, Adilia, Odile, Odilia, Othilia, Ottilia.Patronages – against eye diseases and partial sightedness, ear diseases and ailments, of Alsace, France (proclaimed in 1807 by Pope Pius VII). Additional Memorial 7 July – translation of her relics.
The Roman Martyrology states: “In the territory of Strasbourg in ancient Burgundia in France, Saint Ottilia, Virgin and first Abbess of the Monastery of Hohenbourg founded by her father, Duke Adalríco.”
Odilia, daughter of Duke Adalric of Alsace, (also known as Etichon, Alderic, Aldarico, Athich) a region of eastern France but which region, in the past centuries, belonged to France or Germany alternatively, several times – she was, therefore, born in Alsace in the seventh century, blind from birth and according to legend, her father entrusted her to a peasant family.
When Odilia was 12 years old, they took the child to the Monastery of Balma (Baume-les-Dames) to be educated. At the time when the Bishop, St Erhard of Regensburg who was led by an angel to the Monastery, Baptised Odilia. When he touched her with the Oil of Chrism, she received her sight. Her younger brother Hugo had her brought home again, for [purposes of arranging a marriage for Odilia. Aldaric was so enraged at Hugo’s presumption, that he accidentally killed his son. Odilia miraculously revived him and immediately fled the family home again.
She fled across the Rhine to a cave or cavern in one of two places (depending on the source – the Musbach valley near Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, or Arlesheim near Basel, Switzerland.) The cliff face opened up in order to rescue her from her plight. In the cave, she hid from her father. When he tried to follow her, he was injured by falling rocks and relinquished his search. This mountain has since then been called “Odilienberg.”
But when Aldaric fell ill, Odile returned to nurse him. He finally capitulated, ceased resisting his headstrong daughter and founded the monastic community of Mont Ste. Odile (also known as Hohenburg Abbey) for her.
Some years later Odile was shown, in a vision, the site of Niedermünster at the foot of the mountain by St John the Baptist. There she founded a second Monastery, including a hospital. Here, the head and an arm of St Lazarus of Marseille were displayed but later transferred to Andlau. The buildings of the Niedermünster burned down in 1542 but the local well is still said to cure eye diseases.
Odilia died on 13 December 720 and the holy Abbess was buried in Hohenbourg in the Church of St John. This Church and Odilia’s Tomb were first mentioned by Pope Leo IX on 17 December 1050.
The relics have a history all of their own, the Emperor Charles IV received her right arm on 4 May 1353, which is now kept in Prague. Other relics which were in Odilienberg were saved from the French Revolution, although the marble covering the Sarcophagus was then lost. In 1842 the relics were placed in a chest under the Altar in Hohenbourg in the Church of St John and some are found in Alsace.
Odilia’s cult was widespread throughout the Middle Ages, in all Germanic Abbeys and in some French regions. She is still greatly venerated today in the Diocese of Alsace, Munich, Meissen, Strasbourg and in the Austrian fBenedictine Abbeys and by those all over the world suffering from eye ailments.
St Odilia has been the patron saint of Alsace since 1807, where she receives a great popular cult. Mont-Sainte-Odile is a very popular pilgrimage site, where her Feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of the transfer of her relics, which took place on 7 July 1842.
Chapels in her honour are built on hills and mountains, she is invoked especially for the healing of eyes, ears or headaches, in fact she is represented in the guise of Abbess, with an open book on which two eyes rest.
Sometimes she is depicted while freeing the soul of her father Aldaric from Purgatory and sometimes she carries a Chalice in her hand, which refers to a miraculous episode in which Odilia, being seriously ill, died without having received the Viaticum. Thanks to the prayers of her sorrowful Sisters, she rose again and had the Chalice with the Consecrated Hosts brought to her bedside. After communicating she died again.
La Reina del Rosario de Banos de Agua Santa / Queen of the Holy Rosary, also known as the Virgin of the Holy Waters, Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador (1570) 13 December:
A few years before the founding of Quito, Dominican Missionaries travelled throughout the Ecuadorian Province of Tungurahua, bringing the Faith to the people. A bamboo Chapel was erected at Baños de Agua Santa ( Bath) wherein was venerated the Blessed Virgin of Montserrat. One night the Sacristan of the Church saw a small Statue of the Virgin accompanied by two beautiful Angels hovering in the air then coming down to the foot of a waterfall that flowed from the mountain. This event was repeated several times, causing the people gathered in the Chapel, to beseech the Blessed Virgin to clearly manifest her intentions. The following night the Virgin appeared asking for the erection of a Church at the spring, promising to cure the sick who bathe with faith, in those waters.
A new Church was built as Our Lady asked but the Statue of the Virgin of Montserrat had disappeared before it could be transferred to the new Church. A mule came to the Town Square carrying a box containing a beautiful Statue of Our Lady of the Rosary. When this was unclaimed by anyone, it was seen as a gift from Our Lady and the image of “La Reina del Rosario de Agua Santa” was lovingly placed in the Church. The present Basilica was completed in 1929. A brief of Pope Pius XII in 1957 declared the Virgin of Banos de Agua Santa “Principal Patroness of the missions of eastern Ecuador.” On 13 December 1959, the Cardinal Archbishop of Quito, Carlos M de la Torre, solemnly crowned the Statue of the Virgin in the presence of President of the Republic, Dr Camilo Ponce, who offered to the Mother of God, the Presidential baton invoking her as the Patron of Ecuador.
Many miracles and cures were granted by Our Lady of the Rosary of Agua Santa and numerous times, the Church has provided a sanctuary when the volcano Tungurahua hsd erupted. On one occasion, a horrendous eruption began while many were gathered to honour Our Lady. Lava was flowing toward the Church. The people raised the Statue of Our Lady of Agua Santa on high and processed to the Town Square. There, Our Lady lifted her hand silencing the roaring volcano and and diverting the flow of lava. In 1916, a nearby farmhouse was burned completely to the ground, except for a picture of Our Lady of the Rosary of Agua Santa.
St Lucy (of Syracuse) – St Lucy/Lucia of Syracuse (c 283-304) Virgin and Martyr Patron of the blind, eye disorders, martyrs, Perugia, Italy, Malta; epidemics; salesmen, Syracuse, Italy, throat infections, writers, against fire, against poverty, against spiritual blindness, peasants, penitent prostitutes, poor people, sick children, authors, cutlers, farmers, glass blowers, glass makers, glaziers, labourers, lawyer, maid servants, notaries, ophthalmologists, opticians, porters, printers, saddler, sailors, salesmen, seamstresses, stained glass workers, tailors, upholsterers, weavers and 10 further towns and cities. St Lucy’s Life and Death: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/saint-of-the-day-13-december-st-lucy-c-283-304/
St Martino de Pomar St Odilia of Alsace (c 660-720) Virgin Abbess St Roswinda St Tassio of Bavaria St Wifred
Blessed Mercedarian Knights – (7 beati): A group of Mercedarian knights who fought the enemies of the Catholic faith in the first century of the Order. • Blessed Bernardo de Podio • Blessed Giacomo de Copons • Blessed Giovanni de Bruquera • Blessed Guglielmo de Sa • Blessed Pietro Boguer • Blessed Pietro Ricart • Blessed Raimondo de Frexa
Martyrs of Jeongju – (6 saints): Six Christian laymen who were imprisoned, tortured and martyred together in the persecutions in Korea. They were beheaded on 13 December 1866 in Supjeong-i, Jeongju, Chungcheong-do, South Korea and Canonised on 6 May 1984 by St Pope John Paul II. • Bartholomaeus Chong Mun-Ho • Iosephus Han Won-So • Peter Cho Hwa-so • Petrus Son Son-Ji • Petrus Yi Myong-So • Petrus Chong Won-Ji
Martyrs of Sebaste – (5 saints): A group of Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. We know little more than their names – Auxentius, Eustratius, Eugene, Mardarius and Orestes. They were martyred in c 302 at Sebaste, Armenia (in modern Turkey) and their relics are enshrined at the church of Saint Apollinaris in Rome, Italy.