Thought for the Day – 30 December – Dissipation

Thought for the Day – 30 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)


“Dissipation leads to tepedity and tepidity leads to sin.
Why are we dissipated?
So much beauty and goodness surrounds us, created by God for our benefit.
It often happens, that when we gaze on worldly beauty, we become inordinately attached to it.
We see worldly goods and desire too ardently to possess them.
We forget, that the beauty of the earth, is only a fleeting reflection of the eternal beauty of God and that, the good things of creation, are gifts from God.
Everything which is good and beautiful in this world, therefore, should raise our minds and hearts towards God and prompt us to love Him Who created it.
Unfortunately, we often stop halfway, forget God and begin to seek, in creatures, the perfect satisfaction, which they are incapable of giving us.

Dissipation is the neglect of spiritual things and the inordinate attachment to creatures.
It causes us to lead worldly lives and to think only of material interests, money, pleasure and sometimes, sin.

If we find that we have fallen into this wretched state, let us act at once.
Let us remember, that we were not created like the animals, for the satisfaction of the senses but, were made for everlasting spiritual happiness.
Only God can satisfy our immortal souls, whereas created things, loved for their own sake, eventually leaves us bitter and disillusioned.
“What does it profit a man,” asks Sacred Scripture, “if he gain the whole world but suffer the loss of his own soul?” (Mt 16:26).”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci


Quote/s of the Day – 30 December – ‘He has come down to earth, to take you to heaven …’

Quote/s of the Day – 30 December – The Sixth Day in the Christmas Octave, Readings: 1 John 2:12-17, Psalm 96:7-10, Luke 2:36-40

“She [Anna] spoke about the child to all
who were awaiting
the redemption of Jerusalem…

Luke 2:38

“He has come down to earth
to take you to heaven,
He became mortal
that you might become God
and put on your original beauty

St Romanos Melodios (c 490-c 556)
Monk, Composer of Hymns, Poet

“The Angel said to the shepherds,
“This is a sign for you” (Lk 2: 12),
you who are humble,
you who are obedient,
you who are not haughty (Rom 12: 16),
you who are keeping vigil
and meditating on God’s law,
day and night (Ps 1:2).
“This is a sign for you,” he said.
What is this sign?
The sign the Angels promised,
the sign the people asked for,
the sign the prophets foretold,
the Lord Jesus has now made
and He shows it to you. …

St Bernard (1091-1153)
Mellifluous Doctor of the Church

“Listen! the reason He is called Saviour
is because, for all those
to whom He is united,
He gains salvation.
Now salvation means,
to be delivered from all ills and,
at the same time,
to find all blessings forever –
Life instead of death,
Light in place of darkness
and, instead of the slavery
of the passions and unworthy deeds,
the complete freedom granted
to all those, who are united to Christ,
Saviour of all beings.
Thus they will possess,
without being able to lose it,
all joy, all happiness, all blessedness (…)
that that none can ever know,
or conceive, or see,
if not sincerely and ardently
attached to Christ

St Symeon the New Theologian (c 949-1022)

Who lives in Love
By St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595)

Who lives in Love, loves least to live
and long delays doth rue,
if Him he love by Whom he lives,
to Whom all praise is due,
Who for our love did choose to live
and was content to die,
Who loved our love more than His life
and love with Life did buy.
Let us in life, yea with our life
requite His Living Love,
for best we live when least we live,
if Love our life remove.
Mourn, therefore, no true lover’s death,
life only him annoy
and when he taketh leave of life
then Love begins his joys.


One Minute Reflection – 30 December – She spoke about the child to all … Luke 2:38

One Minute Reflection – 30 December – “Month of the Immaculate Conception” – The Sixth Day in the Christmas Octave, Readings: 1 John 2:12-17, Psalm 96:7-10, Luke 2:36-40

“She spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem” … Luke 2:38

REFLECTION – “Inasmuch as the Word was from above, He was and is, the Divine Source of all things but, inasmuch as He has now received the name Christ, consecrated of old and worthy of power, He has been called by me “a new song” (Pss 33[34], 144[145], 149[150], etc.). This Word, then, the Christ, the Cause of both our being (for He was in God) and of our well-being, this very Word has now appeared to us – He alone being both God and man—the Author of all blessings to us. Having been taught by Him to live well, we are introduced by Him to life eternal. For, according to that inspired Apostle of the Lord: “The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly and devoutly in this present age as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit 2,11-13).

This is the new song, the manifestation of the Word, that was in the beginning and Who comes to shine in our midst. The Saviour, Who has existed before all time, has, in recent days, appeared… For the Word,Who “was with God” and by Whom all things were created (Jn 1,10), has appeared, as our Teacher. The Word, Who in the beginning bestowed life on us as our Creator, taught us to live well when He appeared as our Teacher, that, as God, He might afterwards lead us to the life that never ends. It was not only now, that He took pity us because of our sins but, He pitied us from the first, from the beginning.” – St Clement of Alexandria (c 150- c 215) Father, Theologian, Philosopher (Protreptic 1,6-8 ; SC 2)/).

PRAYER – Almighty God and Father, the human birth of Your Only-begotten Son, was the beginning of new life. May He set us free from the tyranny of sin. Imitating our Master and following His ways, may His Immaculate Mother, be our hope and our advocate. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.


Our Morning Offering – 30 December – Beloved and Most Holy Word of God

Our Morning Offering – 30 December – The Sixth Day of the Octave of Christmas

Beloved and Most Holy Word of God
By St James of the Marches (1391-1476)

Beloved and most holy Word of God!
You enlighten the hearts of the faithful,
You satisfy the hungry,
console the afflicted.
You make the souls of all,
productive of good
and cause all virtues to blossom.
You snatch souls
from the devil’s jaw.
You make the wretched holy
and men of earth,
citizens of heaven!


Saint of the Day – 30 December – Blessed Margherita Colonna (c 1255-1284)

Saint of the Day – 30 December – Blessed Margherita Colonna (c 1255-1284) Virgin, Nun, Mystic, Apostle of the poor. Born in c 1255 at Palestrina, Rome, Italy and died on 30 December 1284 at Castel San Pietro, Rome, Italy of natural causes. Also known as – Margaret, Margherita, Marguerite.

The Roman Martyrology states: “At Palestrina in Lazio, Blessed Margherita Colonna, Virgin, who preferred poverty for Christ to the riches and pleasures of the world, which she served by professing the Rule of St Clare.

Margherita was a member of the Italian Colonna family, which was notable in Italian history for centuries. She was born in Palestrina in 1255, daughter of Oddone Colonna and Mabilia Orsini who had two other children – Giovanni and Giacomo. In 1212, Giacomo became Cardinal of St Prassede and Legate of the Pontiff during the Fifth Crusade. It was he who brought the Column to Rome from the East, which, according to tradition, was used for the flagellation of Christ and which, even today, is preserved in the Roman Basilica which was his seat.

The years in which Margherita lived, were complicated and tumultuous for the Church: from 1268 to 1271, the Papal seat remained vacant, for the longest period in history. The Pope had not resided in Rome for twenty years. Long conclaves were followed by short Pontificates – the power of the Pontiff was fundamental eroded in the balance of the antagonism between France (Charles of Anjou occupied many regions of Italy) and the German Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

Margherita and the two brothers were soon orphaned. Destined for a prestigious wedding, important for noble alliances in her day, Margherita, in her heart, however, only wanted to be the virginal bride of Jesus. On 6 March 1273, with two pious housewives, she retired to Castel San Pietro, on the mountain overlooking Palestrina, at the Church of St Maria della Costa, to follow her vocation. In the wake of the Franciscan movement, their ideal of life fascinated a multitude of people from all walks of life. Margherita put on the rough habit, under which she put a sackcloth. She began fasting and penance, praying that her wish would come true: – to become a Poor Clare Nun.

She lived there for a few years in retreat. Her life as an anchorite was a scandal for the powerful Colonna family. However, the comfort came from her brother Giacomo, who, although very young, was already a Cardinal (from 1278) at the behest of Pope Nicholas III, while Giovanni was a Senator of Rome. Giacomo sincerely loved Christ as did his sister, so he took Margherita to Rome and together they prayed at the Tomb of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Then a new life began for Margherita. The substantial inheritance no longer belonged to her, it belonged to the poor who are never lacking on the path of the Saints. Her shining example aroused interest, especially from other women eager to spend their lives like her in the service of Jesus.

Margherita asked the General of the Friars Minor Girolamo Masci (future Pope Nicholas IV) for permission to enter the Monastery of Assisi. However, an illness prevented her from doing so. The Lord’s plans were different. She then thought of the Convent of Mentola (between Palestrina and Tivoli) where an image of the Holy Virgin, to which she was very devoted, a place also visited by St Francis. However, it was a fiefdom of the Count of Poli who did not want a Colonna in his territories. Margherita returned home and, with the help of her brother, the Cardinal, founded a Monastery on the nearby mountain, where the Lord was praised night and day.

Margherita took care of the formation of her companions but her charity went further, to the sick and the poor of the neighbouring region. Tradition says ,that once Jesus and the St John the Baptist came to her table, when she fed the poor but then disappeared when Margaret recognised them.

Having exhausted her substantial personal patrimony, she, who was born very rich, reached out to ask for alms and thus be able to continue her works of mercy for the suffering and hungry. She is also remembered for assisting the Friars Minor of the nearby Zagarolo Convent.

Margherita’s union with Christ became more and more intense: she was visibly comforted by Jesus, the Madonna and the Holy Father Francis. She fell into ecstasy several times and for seven years, she patiently endured an ulcerative wound on her side, carried like a stigmata of the Passion of Jesus.

Not even thirty years old, Margherita’s death was precious in the eyes of the Lord. She died, due to violent fevers, on 30 December 1284. Immediately her Tomb became a pilgrimage destination and the devotees, through her intercession, obtained many graces. In 1285, the community of Poor Clares moved to Rome, by the authorisation of Pope Honorius, taking with them, the venerated body of the Blessed (it remained there until 1871).

Margherita’s first biographer was her brother, the Cardinal and the second was the first Abbess of the St Sylvester Monastery in Rome, where her sisters had moved.

On 17 September1847, the Blessed Pope Pius IX confirmed the “ab immemorabili” cult and the liturgical memorial. Today the relics of Blessed Margherita are venerated in the Church of Castel San Pietro, not far from Palestrina. Here the seed she sowed over seven centuries ago, is still alive today through the Poor Clares of the Monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

O God, You have made
the Blessed Virgin Margaret
admirable in the contempt of earthly goods,
ardent with love for You,
grant us, through her intercession,
that we may be continuously united to You,
as we carry our cross.
Pour upon us, O Lord,
the spirit of holiness
that You have given
to Blessed Margherita Colonna,
so that we can know the love of Christ,
which surpasses all knowledge
and enjoy the fullness of eternal life.
With Christ our Lord
and the Holy Ghost.


The Sixth Day in the Christmas Octave, Madonna of San Luca / Nostra Signora della Guardia / Our Lady of Saint Luke of La Guardia, Bologna, Italy (433) and Memorials of the Saints – 30 December

The Sixth Day in the Christmas Octave

Madonna of San Luca / Nostra Signora della Guardia / Our Lady of Saint Luke of La Guardia, Bologna, Italy (433) – 30 December:

The Abbot Orsini wrote: “This picture was in the Church of Santa Sophia, at Constantinople, with this inscription: “This picture, painted by Saint Luke, must be taken to the mountain of La Garde and placed over the Altar of the Church.” A Greek monk set out for Italy about the year 433, with the picture entrusted to him and deposited it on the mountain of La Garde.

The account mentioned by the Abbot above, is also told in the chronicle of Graziolo Accarisi, who wrote of a Greek hermit who went on pilgrimage to Constantinople where he received from the Priests of the Church of Santa Sofia, the icon of Our Lady of La Guardia. This image was attributed to Saint Luke the Evangelist and there was an inscription on the painting itself that it should one day be taken to the “mountain of the guard.”
The hermit took the Icon,and walked throughout Italy in search of the place where the Icon was meant to be,but it was not until he reached the City of Emilia near Bologna that the authorities of the City came out to greet him and processed with the icon back to the mountain. The Icon had finally found its home and it is now more commonly known as the Madonna of San Luca.
Among the many miracles attributed to the image is especially noted the “miracle of the rain,” which occurred on 5 July 1433. An extremely heavy spring rain came late in the season, threatening to destroy the crops. Facing the prospect of famine, the people turned to the Blessed Virgin for assistance. The storm and rain stopped suddenly, with the arrival into the City, of a procession carrying the miraculous Icon. Since that time these processions have been repeated annually. There is even an incredible arched walkway that is only a little short of four kilometers in length, that is meant to protect the Icon from the elements, as well as those on procession.
The Icon shows the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the Infant Jesus in blessing. She wears a blue-green robe, with a red tunic. The nose, eyes and fingers appear somewhat elongated. The Divine Child wears a tunic of the same colour as His Mothers’, with His right hand in a gesture of giving a blessing and his left hand being closed. In 1625 the image was covered with a silver panel which leaves only the faces of the figures uncovered.
The Icon was crowned in 1603 by the Archbishop Alfonso Paleotti. The Sanctuary of Saint Luke, where the Icon is kept, was declared a national monument in the year 1874. In 1907 the Church was raised to the dignity of a Minor Basilica by the holy Pope Saint Pius X.

The Sanctuary is situate some 300 metres above the City plain, just south-west of the historical centre of the City. While a road now leads up to the Sanctuary, it is also possible to reach it along a 3.8 km monumental roofed arcade (Portico di San Luca) consisting of 666 arches, which was built in 1674–1793. It was meant to protect the Icon as it was paraded up the hill. A yearly procession from the Cathedral of San Pietro in the centre of Bologna to the Sanctuary goes along this path. The arches held sacred images or Chapels erected by patron families. There is also a cable car which takes tourists up to the Basilica.

Cable car approaching the Mountain Sanctuary

St Anysia of Thessalonica
St Anysius of Thessalonica

St Egwin of Worcester OSB (Died 717) Bishop of Worcester, England, Benedictine Monk, Reformer and Penitent, miracle-worker. Egwin was devout and lived for God from his youth. His biographers say, that king, clergy and the faithful, all united in demanding Egwin’s elevation to Bishop.
About St Egwin:

St Elias of Conques
St Eugene of Milan
St Pope Felix I
St Geremarus

Blessed Giovanni Maria Boccardo (1848-1913) He is remembered as “Father of the Poor” – Priest, Founder of the Poor Daughters of Saint Cajetan. 
His Life:

St Hermes of Moesia
St Jucundus of Aosta
St Liberius of Ravenna
Blessed Margherita Colonna (c 1255-1284) Virgin, Nun

St Perpetuus of Tours
Bl Raoul of Vaucelles
St Raynerius of Aquila
Bl Richard of Wedinghausen
St Ruggero of Canne
St Sebastian of Esztergom

Martyrs of Alexandria – (5 saints): A group of Christians martyred in the unrest caused by Monophysite heretics. We know the names for five of them – Appian, Donatus, Honorius, Mansuetus and Severus. They were martyred in c 483 at Alexandria, Egypt.

Martyrs of Oia – (6 saints): A group of Christians martyred together, date unknown. The only details to have survived are the names – Cletus, Florentius, Papinianus, Paul, Serenusa and Stephen. They were martyred in Oia, Greece.

Martyrs of Spoleto – (4 saints): A group of Christians martyred in the persecutions of Diocletian – Exuperantius, Marcellus, Sabinus and Venustian. They were martyred in 303 in Spoleto, Italy.