Thought for the Day – 23 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
A Christmas Novena VIII What Jesus Wants From Us
“Let us contemplate Jesus lying on a rough pallet of straw in the manger. When we see Him looking at us, let us ask ourselves what it is that He requires of us. In fact, He wants many things from us. First of all, He wants us to weep for our sins and to promise, never to fall again, as long as we have the assistance of His grace, for which we should pray continually. For this, He has become man and has entered into the world. For this He will work miracles, preach His doctrine and shed His Precious Blood on the Cross. All this He will do to redeem us from sin and to win Heaven for us.
If we return to the path of sin, we destroy the divine work of redemption, inasfar as it applies to ourselves. We make Christ’s passion, death and resurrection useless in our case. We brush aside the chain of favours with which His love has girdled us – the Gospel, the Sacraments and the Church, our good mother who is always at our side to instruct and direct us, to rescue us from peril and, to distribute to us, the gifts of her divine Founder. When we sin, we commit an act of base ingratitude to Jesus and accomplish our own eternal ruin.
The Infant Jesus longs for us to give our hearts to Him. Since He has given us His own, why should we be unwilling to give ours to Him? Who or what can we love, if we do not love Jesus? Nothing else is capable of giving us peace of soul and resignation in suffering. Jesus alone can bestow these gifts on us, as long as we love and follow Him and abandon ourselves completely to His Holy Will.”
“And so, when God’s birth is proclaimed to you, keep silent. Let Gabriel’s word be held in your mind for nothing is impossible to this glorious Majesty, who humbled Himself for us and was born of our humanity.”
St Ephrem (306-373) Father & Doctor
“In adoring our Saviour’s birth, it is our origin that we celebrate. Christ’s temporal generation is the source of the Christian people, the birth of His Mystical Body. All of us encounter in this Mystery, a new birth in Christ.”
St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father & Doctor of the Church
“He came from Him, from Whom He did not depart, going forth from Him, with Whom He stayed, so that without intermission, He was wholly in eternity, wholly in time, wholly was He found in the Father when wholly in the Virgin, wholly in His own Majesty and in His Father’s, at the time when He was wholly in our humanity. ”
One Minute Reflection – 23 December – O Emmanuel – Readings: Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24, Psalms 25:4-5,8-9, 10 and 14, Luke 1:57-66
The Lord is at hand, come, let us adore Him.
O Emmanuel, King and Lawgiver Desire of the nations, Saviour of all people, Come and set us free, Lord, our God!
“Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed and he spoke blessing God.” – Luke 1:64
REFLECTION – “When John, his son was born, among his neighbours there was concern about what name he should be given. Writing tablets were offered to his father, so that he himself could put down the name that he had decided upon, so that he might express, in writing, what he could not, in speech. Then, in a wonderful manner, when he had taken the tablets in order to begin writing, his tongue was loosened, the written word gave way to speech and he did not write “John” but spoke it. Consider, then, the merit of the holy Baptist: he gave his father back his voice, he restored the faculty of speech to the priest. Consider, I say, his merit – John unloosed the mouth that the angel had bound. What Gabriel had closed, the little child unlocked. When John is born, the father suddenly becomes a prophet or priest, speech attains its use, love receives an offspring, the office recognises the priest.” – St Maximus of Turin (Died c 420) Bishop of Turin (Sermon 6)
PRAYER – Almighty God, now that the birth of Your Son is drawing near, we pray that Your eternal Word, Who took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary and came to dwell amongst men, will show Your unworthy people, the greatness of His love. And by the intercession of His Holy Mother, may we be granted Your grace. Through Emmanuel, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.
O Come, O come, Emmanuel And ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear. Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel!
O come, Thou Wisdom, from on high And order all things far and nigh, To us the path of knowledge show And teach us in her ways to go. Refrain
O come, o come, Thou Lord of might, Who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height In ancient times did give the law, In cloud, and majesty and awe. Refrain
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s stem, From ev’ry foe deliver them That trust Thy mighty power to save And give them vict’ry o’er the grave. Refrain
O come, Thou Key of David, come And open wide our heav’nly home, Make safe the way that leads on high, That we no more have cause to sigh. Refrain
O come, Thou Dayspring from on high And cheer us by thy drawing nigh. Disperse the gloomy clouds of night And death’s dark shadow put to flight. Refrain
O come, Desire of nations, bind In one the hearts of all mankind. Bid every strife and quarrel cease And fill the world with heaven’s peace. Refrain
The favourite O Come, O Come Emmanuel carol was originally written in Latin text in the 12th Century. The author of the words and composer to the music of O Come, O Come Emmanuel is unknown. It is, however, believed that the melody was of French origin and added to the text a hundred years later. The Latin was translated into English by John Mason Neale in 1851.
Saint of the Day – 23 December – Saint Ivo of Chartres (c 1040-1115) Bishop of Chartres, France from 1090 until his death, Confessor, Reformer, Defender of the Faith, Lawyer, Canon Lawyer, Teacher and Theologian, Writer. Born in c 1040 at Beauvais, France as Yves and died on 23 December 1115 of natural causes. Patronage – Canonists, Canon Lawyers. Also known as – Yves, Yvo, Ives.
The Roman Martyrology states: “In Chartres in France, Saint Ivo, Bishop, who re-established the Order of the Canons and did much work and wrote to promote harmony between the clergy and the civil powers and for the good of the Church.”
Ivo was born around 1040 near Beauvais (Rouen) to Ugo d’Auteuil and Ilmenberga, wealthy parents who gave him a good basic education, increased by the studies he continued at the University of Paris , already a great cultural centre at that time.
He continued his studies in theology in the Abbey of Le Bec in Normandy, where he met Saint Anselm of Canterbury, the great scholastic theologian. as a fellow student and as his teacher, the future Bishop, then a Monk, Lanfranc of Pavia, who became the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1070. Here he was Ordained as a Priest.
Ivo was then appointed Canon of Nesles in Picardy but after a few years he was recalled to Beauvais by Bishop Guido, who entrusted him with the direction of the newly founded Monastery of the Canons Regular of Saint-Quentin. Ivo became its guide from 1078 to 1090. Here Ivo established himself as one of the best teachers in France. St Quentin’s came to be known as a great school of theology. Ivo was skeptical of religious excess and always stressed moderation in practice.
He was about 50 years old when the clergy and faithful people of Chartres, where construction of the grandiose Gothic Cathedral would begin a few years later designated Ivo as their Bishop, replacing the deposed Godfrey accused of simony.
Goffred appealed to Rome but Pope Urban II ruled against him and confirmed the investiture of Ivo. His election to the See of Chartres was also confirmed by the King of France Philip I. At that point it was the Archbishop of Sens, Richer who opposed it, not having been consulted in the Roman trial against Godfrey. Ivo then, decided to go directly to the Pope, who, in the meantime, had had to leave Rome to take refuge in Capua, fleeing the army of the German Emperor Henry IV (1050 – 1106) engaged in the fight for investitures, already against the Pope Gregory VII his predecessor and it was in Capua, towards the end of 1090, that Pope Urban II Consecrated him Bishop of Chartres.
His strong faith, piety,and principles led to some troubles for him during his twenty-five year episcopacy at Chartres .The first years were marked by the clash with the French King Philip I, who had contracted an adulterous marriage with Bertranda of Montfort. Ivo opposed this and thus aroused the anger of the King who had him put in prison for many months. After his release, Ivo resumed his protests, both against the King and against the Bishops who were in favour of the adulterous relationship of the King and failed to defend Church doctrine. Finally, in 1095, Ivo resorted to Rome, so that the partisans of the King were rebuked and the King himself, was excommunicated. In this same year, Pope Urban II came to France to attend the Council of Clermont , where the foundations of the first Crusade were laid. Ivo was also present at this Council, as well as at that of Poitiers in 1100.
Bishop Ivo, continued the fight against Royal abuse, until in 1104. King Philip I separated from Bertranda and was re-admitted into the Catholic community by the new Pope Paschal II. In 1107 Ivo received Pope Paschal II in Chartres who was on a visit to France.
Ivo was always a staunch defender of Papal authority and a strenuous protagonist in the struggle between the Papacy and the Empire, particularly in regard to the investitures of Bishops, Ivo also had to enter into conflict with his Chapter, for his reforming ideas, a Chapter that was largely supported by King Louis VI the Successor of Philip. In 1114, a Papal Bull decreed in Ivo’s favour, confirming his stance and supporting the Church against the state.
Ivo died on 23 December 1115 in Chartres and was immediately raised to the Altars, particularly in the Dioceses of Beauvais and Chartres, which honoured and venerated him with great devotion. On 18 December 1570, Pope Pius V Canonised him and granted his Office to the Canons Regular and Pope Benedict XIV added his name to the Martyrology.
Ivo was a prolific writer but is most known for his canonical works: the Decretum,, composed in 1094 the Panormia (in Latin and Greek) of the following year the Tripartite composed between 1094 and 1096 All three compilations contain texts of the Holy Scriptures , letters of Popes, texts of Roman law, texts of the Fathers of the Church and finally, Canons of the Councils .
Twenty-four sermons are known , almost all pronounced in Synods and Councils, on dogmatic, disciplinary or liturgical topics and from these writings, his profound knowledge of the Sacred Scripture and of the liturgical texts is evident.. He always professed a great attachment to the teaching of the Church and everyone of his writings abounds with doctrinal citations. His fame was notable and the care with which his writings have been preserved testifies to the honour with which he is held.
There are also 288 letters from the saintly Bishop, full of canonical and theological consultations, administrative practices, interventions in the big business of his time, which allow us to know the progress of the Gregorian Reform, implemented by means of the episcopal competence and zeal that distinguished him and an insight into the history of the Church and of France in his time.
His works are replete with treatments of charity and dispensation in a pastoral manner regarding the Holy See. He believed that caritas was the solution for sin and not harsh punishment without contrition. This theme is most evident in his Prologus, which is most often compared to the teachings of the Church Fathers than those of the scholars of his day. Paul’s message of loving one’s fellow man as one would oneself, is particularly prevalent in Ivo’s works:
“He was called to teach. His lesson was love. It was all that mattered.“
It is also believed, that St Ivo’s teachings influenced the final agreement of the Concordat of Worms in 1122.
Notre-Dame de Ardilliers de Saumur / Our Lady of Ardilliers, Saumur, Anjou, France (1454) – 23 December:
Our Lady of Ardilliers, located at Saumur, in Anjou, France. Its name is illustrious throughout France, as well on account of the concourse of people who were attracted there, as from a fountain which cured several maladies. This image represents Our Lady of Pity, who holds in her arms her dead Son, whose head is supported by an Angel. Notre Dame Ardilliers has a Statue, a fountain and a Church dedicated to Our Ladye. In 1454 a farmer, while ploughing his field, discovered in the “ardille” ( meaning “clay” – a word which will give its name, according to the legend, to Notre-Dame-des-Ardilliers) a stone Statuette of about thirty centimeters high representing a Pietà . The peasant took it home. On two occasions he discovered the Pietà had returned to its place of discovery, near a fountain already known for its beneficial virtues. From then on, devotions began. It was placed in a niche under a stone arch at its place of discovery. Jean Olivier , Bishop of Angers , laid the foundations of the Notre-Dame-des-Ardilliers Chapel in Saumur on1 August 1534 in the presence of Jean de Castagnier, Mayor of Saumur and Guillaume Bourdeau, Alderman. Msgr Gabriel Bouvery , Bishop of Angers, Consecrated the new Church on 30 July1553 Crowds of people were attracted to the Shrine and its name was illustrious throughout that country, for there Our Lady cured many maladies. The Sanctuary attained magnificent proportions as successive additions were made, notably by Cardinal Richelieu. Devotion to Our Lady became widespread as many miracles occurred. Mary’s clients at Ardilliers number such illustrious persons as Louis XII, Anne of Austria, Marie de Medici, Henrietta of England, Cardinal Richelieu and others. The Founders of the Sulpician Company went there for inspiration; Saint Louis de Montfort begged blessings and Mary’s help on the Institute of the Fathers of the Holy Ghost and the Daughters of Wisdom he was about to found. Cities placed themselves under the protection of Notre-Dame des Ardilliers and promised annual pilgrimages. During the Revolution the Church and Shrine were despoiled of their treasures but not destroyed and the image was left unharmed. In 1849 the ravages of time necessitated the renovation of the Chapel and pilgrimages became more frequent than ever.
And today? We hardly speak of the Pilgrimages to Ardilliers but guided tours of the remarkable architectural continue. In July and August, except on Sundays, the Association Patrimoine Religieux en Saumurois, in partnership with the City of Saumur, provides guided tours of the Notre-Dame des Ardilliers Chapel. We are very saddened aren’t we, that this former great Marian Shrine has become today, above all a tourist destination. So why shouldn’t one of our readers launch a Pilgrimage to Notre-Dame des Ardilliers. This would justify its second name, Notre-Dame de Bon Retour, Our Lady of Good Return.
St Besa of Egypt Bl Bincema St Dagobert II of Austrasia Bl Epifanio Gómez Alvaro St Frithbert of Hexham Bl Hartmann of Brixen Bl Herman of Scheda Bl James Aymerich St Ivo of Chartres (c 1040-1115) Bishop, Confessor St John Cirita St John Stone St Joseph Cho Yun-ho St Mardonius of Rome St Mazota of Abernethy St Migdonius of Rome
St Servulus (Died c 590) Layman, Beggar, paralysed by Palsy from birth. Saint Servulus was a perfect model of submission to the divine Will; it would be difficult to offer a more consoling example to persons afflicted by poverty, illnesses and the other miseries of life. It is Saint Gregory the Great who narrates for us his edifying story. St Servulus’ Life of devotion: https://anastpaul.com/2020/12/23/saint-of-the-day-23-december-saint-servulus-died-c-590/
Martyred Dominicans of Santander – (9 beati) – Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: • Blessed Bernardino Irurzun Otermín • Blessed Eleuterio Marne Mansilla • Blessed Eliseo Miguel Lagro • Blessed Enrique Cañal Gómez • Blessed Enrique Izquierdo Palacios • Blessed Epifanio Gómez Alvaro • Blessed José María García Tabar • Blessed Manuel Gutiérrez Ceballos • Blessed Miguel Rodríguez González • Blessed Pedro Luís y Luís
Martyrs of Crete – (10 saints): A group of ten Christians who died in the persecutions of Decius. They were – • Agathopus • Basilides • Cleomenes • Eunician • Euporus • Evaristus • Gelasius • Saturninus • Theodulus • Zeticus They were martyred in 250 on the island of Crete.