Thought for the Day – 15 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Merit and the Love of God
“The more we know, writes St Catherine of Siena, the more we love and the more we love, the more we receive. Our merit, she concludes, increases in accordance with the measure of our love (Dialogues, c 131). We tend to judge men on the strength of their achievements and to judge ourselves, according to the degree of success which we have attained. Our standards could hardly be more false. “How much soever each one is in Thy eyes,” the author of The Imitation of Christ cries out to God in the words of St Francis, “so much is he and no more” (Bk III, c 50).
It is not success which counts with God and still less, human esteem. What matters with God, is our intention of pleasing Him and of working for His glory, from the motive of pure love. If we are successful in our work, let us praise God. If we are unsuccessful, let us thank Him, just the same. Our merit is commensurate with our love for God. If we love Him very much, we shall work hard and make sacrifices for His sake. We must work to satisfy God alone, however and not, for ourselves. If we work for any other purpose, all our labour is wasted. We sow abundantly and reap little or nothing. God alone matters. If we work only for Him, we shall be blessed by Him and shall reap the fruits of everlasting life. Amen!”
Quote/s of the Day – 15 December – “Month of the Immaculate Conception” – The Octave Day of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“I am the Immaculate Conception.”
Our Lady of Lourdes to St Bernadette 25 March 1858
“He came down into the Virgin’s womb, a womb unstained, unspotted, hallowed by the touch of divine unction.”
St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159)
“Enraptured by the splendour of your heavenly beauty and impelled by the anxieties of the world, we cast ourselves into your arms, O Immaculate Mother of Jesus and our Mother Mary, confident of finding in your most loving heart, appeasement of our ardent desires and a safe harbour from the tempests which beset us on every side.”
Ven Pope Pius XII (1876-1958)
Deign, O Immaculate Virgin By St Paschasius Radbertus (785–865)
Deign, O Immaculate Virgin, Mother most pure, to accept the loving cry of praise which we send up to you from the depths of our hearts. Though they can but add little to your glory, O Queen of Angels, you do not despise, in your love, the praises of the humble and the poor. Cast down upon us a glance of mercy, O most glorious Queen, graciously receive our petitions. Through your immaculate purity of body and mind, which rendered you so pleasing to God, inspire us with a love of innocence and purity. Teach us to guard carefully the gifts of grace, striving ever after sanctity, so that, being made like the image of your beauty, we may be worthy to become the sharers of your eternal happiness. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 15 December – Wednesday of the Third week of Advent, Readings: Zephaniah 3: 1-2, 9-13; Psalms 34: 2-3, 6-7, 17-18, 19 and 23; Luke 7:19-23
“Go and tell John what you have seen and heard – the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” – Luke 7:23
REFLECTION – “The sun’s light as seen by our bodily eyes proclaims the spiritual Sun, the “Sun of Justice” (Mal 3,20). This was truly the gentlest of Suns to have arisen on those who, at that time, had the happiness of being His disciples and of seeing Him with their own eyes, while He was sharing man’s life, as though He were an ordinary man. And yet, by nature, He was also truly God, which was why He was capable of restoring sight to the blind, of making the lame to walk and the deaf to hear; He cleansed lepers and, with a word, brought back the dead to life.
And now, too, there is truly nothing sweeter than to fix our spiritual eyes on Him, so as to contemplate and picture to ourselves, His inexpressible, divine beauty. There is nothing sweeter than to be enlightened and made beautiful, by this participation and communion in the Light, to have one’s heart softened, one’s soul sanctified and to be filled with a holy joy all the days of this present life… Truly, this Sun of Justice is, for those who gaze at it, the transmitter of joy according to the prophecy of David: “The just rejoice and exult before God, they are glad and rejoice!” And again: “Exult you just in the Lord, praise from the upright is fitting!” (Ps 68,4; 33,1).” – St Gregory of Agrigente (c 559-c 630) Bishop (Commentary on Ecclesiastes, 10, 2).
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. By the care and love of the Mother of Your Son and our Mothers, may we be ever strong as we carry our own crosses after Jesus, our Master and our Saviour. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 15 December – “Month of the Immaculate Conception” – The Octave Day of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Rosa Mystica By Fr Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ (1844-1889)
The rose in a mystery, where is it found? Is it anything true? Does it grow upon ground? — It was made of earth’s mould but it went from men’s eyes And its place is a secret and shut in the skies. In the Gardens of God, in the daylight Divine Find me a place by thee, Mother of mine.
But where was it formerly? which is the spot That was blest in it once, though now it is not? — It is Galilee’s growth: it grew at God’s Will And broke into bloom upon Nazareth hill. In the Gardens of God, in the daylight Divine I shall look on thy loveliness, Mother of mine.
What was its season then? how long ago? When was the summer that saw the bud blow? — Two thousands of years are near upon past Since its birth and its bloom and its breathing its last. In the Gardens of God, in the daylight Divine I shall keep time with thee, Mother of mine.
Tell me the name now, tell me its name. The heart guesses easily: is it the same? — Mary the Virgin, well the heart knows, She is the Mystery, she is that Rose. In the Gardens of God, in the daylight Divine I shall come home to thee, Mother of mine.
Is Mary the Rose then? Mary the tree? But the blossom, the blossom there, who can it be? — Who can her Rose be? It could be but One: Christ Jesus our Lord, her God and her Son. In the Gardens of God, in the daylight Divine Shew me thy Son, Mother, Mother of mine.
What was the colour of that blossom bright? — White to begin with, Immaculate white. But what a wild flush on the flakes of it stood When the Rose ran in crimsonings down the Cross-wood! In the Gardens of God, in the daylight Divine I shall worship His Wounds with thee, Mother of mine.
How many leaves had it? — Five they were then, Five like the senses and members of men; Five is their number by nature but now They multiply, multiply who can tell how?┬░ In the Gardens of God, in the daylight Divine Make me a leaf in thee, Mother of mine.
Does it smell sweet too, in that holy place? — Sweet unto God and the sweetness is grace: O Breath of it bathes great Heaven above In grace that is charity, grace that is love. To thy breast, to thy rest, to thy glory Divine Draw me by charity, Mother of mine. Amen
Saint of the Day – 15 December – Blessed Marino of Cava OSB (Died 1170) Monk, the Seventh Abbot of the famous Abbey of The Holy Trinity of Cava (La Trinità della Cava) in the Province of Salerno, southern Italy. The Abbey was founded in 1011 by Alferius of La Cava (930–1050). Marino was a powerful administrator, so much so, that many other Monasteries elected to be governed by him. He was also appointed as a Royal and secular Governor, through the efforts of his diplomatic peace negotiations.
The Roman Martyrology states: “In the Monastery of Cava de ‘Tirreni in Campania, blessed Marino, Abbot, admirable in his fidelity to the Roman Pontiff.”
We have no information of our Saints early life but we know that Marino was at first a simple Monk, who distinguished himself by the task of the care of the precious vessels and the ancient books and documents of the Monastery.
When Marino was elected Abbot on 9 July 1146, he went to Rome, at the beginning of his mandate, according to the custom at La Cava, to obtain the Papal blessing. The then Cistercian Pope Eugene III (1145-1153),the disciple of St Bernard, welcomed him with honour and on that occasion also entrusted him with the reform of the Monastery of S.t Laurence in Panisperna, according to the manner in which La Cava was administered.
The same Pope by a Bull of 6 May 1149, took the La Cava Abbey under his own protection, making it subject to the Apostolic See, thus appointing it independent of the Diocesan authorities.
The government of Abbot Marino was fruitful in works and prosperity thanks to the generous donations of Bishops, Princes and feudal Lords. So much so, that other Monasteries and other Churches came to place themselves under Abbot Marino’s wise and careful protection and care.
The wealth that flowed ,was used to help the poor and suffering, for the sustenance of the numerous Monks, for the construction of buildings and for the splendour of worship. Below is the Interior of the Abbey Basilica, one of grand proportions and beauty.
The Abbey Basilica was covered with precious inlaid marble, decorated with frescoes, paved with polychrome mosaics; moreover, for his work as negotiator for peace between the King of Sicily, William the Bad (1120-66) and Pope Adrian IV (1154-1159), having gone to the Court of Palermo, he obtained a document from the King, confirming the possessions fof his Abbey, taking it under Royal protection and exempting it from taxes. Marino was then a secular administrator too, enabling him to appoint vassals, enlist soldiers, appoint judges and notaries.
Marino died a holy death on 15 December 1170. His body was buried in the Abbey’s Basilica. In 1648 his relics were translated to a Shrine Altar in the Basilica after the confirmation of the Marino’s Beatification on 16 May 1928, by Pope Pius XI.
Nuestra Señora de Monguí / Our Lady of Mongui, Monguí, Boyacá, Colombia (16th Century) – 15 December:
Highly venerated, the Virgin of Monguí, is the Patroness of Boyacá. When King Charles I of Spain retired from his throne, he went to the Monastery of Yuste in the Spanish Province of Cáceres to prepare for death. He went into the Monastery looking for painted works of the Virgin Mary to send to the New World, in order to express gratitude to indigenous leaders for their loyalty to the Spanish Crown. In 1558, King Philip II, his son and successor, sent two paintings: one of St Martín which was to be presented to the leader of Monguí and another of the Holy Family, for Sogamoso. Although the works were marked, there was confusion and the destinations were reversed. Given the error, the inhabitants of Sogamoso protested and asked for the exchange. But the pictures inexplicably returned to the same places and the exchange, through divine intervention, could, therefore, not be accomplished. All agreed that this was a miraculous occurence and the great devotion to the Blessed Virgin began to grow. This painting still includes its original frame, a rare but fortunate occurrence and the fine gold-leaf embellishments. It is because of miraculous events like these, among others, that the Virgin Mary is present in the history of Boyacá and its inhabitants feel entrusted to her protection. Between 1694 and 1760, the present Church was built to house the image and still draws thousands of pilgrims to its Shrine each year. The Church has been elevated to the status of a Basilica.
St Maximinus of Micy St Offa of Essex Bl Pau Gracia Sánchez St Paul of Latros Bl Ramón Eirin Mayo St Silvia of Constantinople St Urbicus St Valerian of Abbenza Blessed Victoria Strata (1562-1617) Widow,
Martyrs of Drina – (5 beati): Also known as • Daughters of Divine Charity of Drina • Drina Martyrs Five members of the Daughters of Divine Charity who were martyred while fighting off Chetnik rapists. They were – Jozefa Bojanc Jozefa Fabjan Karoline Anna Leidenix Kata Ivanisevic Terezija Banja Their martyrdom occured in December 1941 in Gorazde, Bosansko-Podrinjski, Bosnia-Herzegovina They were Beatified on 24 September 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Martyrs of North Africa – (7 saints): A group of Christians martyred together for their faith in North Africa. The only details about them that survive are their names – Caelian, Candidus, Faustinus, Fortunatus, Januarius, Lucius and Mark.
Martyrs of Rome – (22 saints): A group of 22 Christians martyred together in the persecutions of Valerian. The only details we have are five of their names – Antonius, Irenaeus, Saturnin, Theodorus and Victor. c 258 in Rome, Italy.
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