Thought for the Day – 6 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Let us consider the faith of the Magi, a faith which was willing, lively and active. They saw in the sky the star which heralded the Infant Jesus and experienced the divine inspiration in their hearts. Immediately they went in search of Him. They were not even deterred by the long and hazardous journey which lay before them.
When they arrived at Jerusalem, they found Herod, who did not know what they were talking about. The star disappeared and the priests replied coldly to the questions they asked. But all the time their trust in the divine call continued to grow. Eventually, they reached a poor barn, where they found, not an earthly King but, a little Child Who was crying on the straw bed of a manger. As a reward for their trouble and perseverance, a voice in their hearts told them that this was Jesus, the King of Kings and Saviour of the world.
Unfortunately, when we hear the divine call, no matter how clear and simple it is, we find a thousand excuses for delaying and perhaps, for not responding to it at all! Let us humbly promise to be more generous in listening for it and more energetic in complying with it, regardless of the cost.”
Quote/s of the Day – 6 January – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
“All elements in nature testified that their Creator had come. Let me indicate them in our everyday fashion. The heavens knew that He was God, for they sent a star to herald Him. The sea knew Him, for it bore up His feet upon it. The earth knew Him and trembled when He died. The sun knew Him and hid its light. The stones and walls knew Him and were rent at His death. Hell knew Him and gave up its dead. All the insensible elements of nature knew Him but even up to this minute, the hearts of the unbelieving Jews will not recognise Him as God and–more hard than rock– will not be rent in penitence.”
St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) Father and Doctor of the Church
“But, lo! on entering into the little shed these holy pilgrims feel a joy which they had never felt before; they feel their hearts chained to the dear little Infant Whom they behold. The straw, the poverty, the cries of their little Saviour– Oh, what darts of love! Oh, what blessed flames are they to their enlightened hearts! The Infant looks upon them with a joyful countenance and this is the mark of affection, with which He accepts them amongst the first-fruits of His Redemption!”
St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor of the Church
Chalk the Door – Epiphany House Blessing 20 C+M+B 22 “Christus mansionem benedicat” The equation is written to be the first two digits of the year, followed by the initials C, M, and B, followed by the last two digits of the year. Each portion is split by plus signs (being the Sign of the Cross). For this year, the equation would be written as “20 + C + M + B + 22”
The chalking holds two meanings. The C, M and B, refer to the traditional names of the Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. The letters also stand for the Latin phrase “Christus mansionem benedicat” which means “May Christ bless this house.” The plus signs represents the Cross and the 20 and 22 simply refer to the year.
One Minute Reflection – 6 January – The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, Readings: Isaiah 60:1-6, Psalms 72:1-2, 7-8,10-11, 12-13, Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6, Matthew 2:1-12
“They fell down and worshipped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:11
REFLECTION – “Guided by the Star, the wise men from the East, having arrived in Bethlehem, entered the house in which the Blessed Virgin Mother was staying with her Child. They opened their treasures and offered the Lord three gifts – Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh – thereby acknowledging Him as Lord, true Man,and true King.
Holy Church also offers these same gifts to her Saviour everyday without ceasing. She offers Him Frankincense by acknowledging and believing in Him, the true Lord and Creator of all. She offers Him Myrrh, when she affirms, that He assumed the substance of our flesh, in which He willed to suffer and die for our salvation. And she offers Him, Gold by believing, without a doubt, that He reigns eternally with the Father and the Holy Ghost. …
Alternatively, the offering of these gifts may be taken in a mystical sense. Heavenly wisdom is symboliSed by Gold, according to the verse of Solomon, which says: “A priceless treasure lies in the mouth of the sage” (cf. Prv 21:20). … By Frankincense, pure prayer is to be understood, as the psalmist says: “Let my prayer rise like incense in your sight, O Lord” (Ps 141:2). For when our prayer is pure, it yields a purer fragrance to the Lord than the smoke of burning incense and just as such smoke rises upward, so does our prayer ascend to the Lord. Myrrh can be taken as the mortification of our flesh. Thus we offer the Lord, Gold when we shine in His Sight with the light of heavenly wisdom …. We offer Him Frankincense when we send up pure prayer before Him and Myrrh, when, “mortifying our flesh with its vices and passions” (Gal 5:24) by self-control, we carry the cross behind Jesus.” – St Bruno of Segni O.Cart. (c 1030 -1101) Bishop (1st Sermon on the Epiphany ; PL 165, 863).
PRAYER – “Give me, therefore, I pray Thee, this Gold, this Incense and this Myrrh. Give me the Gold of Thy holy Love, give me the spirit of holy prayer, give me the desire and strength to mortify myself in everything that displeases Thee. I am resolved to obey Thee and to love Thee but Thou knowest my weakness, oh, give me the grace to be faithful to Thee!- St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church.
Saint of the Day – 6 January – St Felix of Nantes (c 515-584) Bishop of Nantes, Confessor, Evangeliser, Negotiator and peace-maker, Social reformer. Born in c 515 in the Aquitaine region of modern France and died on 6 January 584 of natural causes. Patronages – against famine, against the plague. Additional Memorial – 7 July (translation of relics).
The Roman Martyrology states: “In Nantes in Brittany, the memorial of Saint Felix, Bishop, who, in the service of his fellow citizens, gave testimony of his zeal, building the Cathedral Church and evangelising the rural populations relentlessly.”
Born in c 513 to a well-known family of Aquilani and was Ordained a Priest in 540. Felix was married but when, at the age of 37, he was made Bishop of Nantes, on the death of Evemer. his wife became a Nun. He then sold his patrimony donating the proceeds to assist he poor.
He immediately began to evangelise the region and trained young Priests as Missionaries to assist in his programme.
He built and Consecrated a Cathedral within the walls of the City, as planned by his predecessor, Evemer. His social and secular improvements at Nantes were praised in the poems of the Bishop of Poitiers, St Venantius Fortunatus.
He often mediated between the people of Brittany and the Frankish kings. Guerech II, Count of Vannes, plundered the Diocese of Rennes and Vannes and repulsed the troops which King Chilperic sent against him but, at the entreaties of Bishop Felix, withdrew his forces and made peace . By intervening in the political affairs of his time, he saved Maclavius from death, who was being persecuted by his brother Conone, Count of Vannes, who wanted to suppress him.
Felix was in attendance at the Council of Paris in 557 and the Council of Tours in 567.
Towards the end of his life Felix wanted to choose his nephew Burgundius as his successor but St Gregory of Tours, his Archbishop, who was against him (Felix had supported his rival Riculfo) refused to consecrate him, on the grounds that he was too young.
Felix died at the age of seventy, on 6 January 584 after 33 years of zealous service as Bishop of Nantes and was buried in the Cathedral which he had built and Consecrated.
The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord – 6 January: Epiphany celebrates the visit of the three kings or wise men to the Christ Child, signifying the extension of salvation to the Gentiles. The date of Epiphany, one of the oldest Christian Feasts, is 6 January, the 12th day after Christmas. However, in some countries, the celebration of Epiphany is transferred to the Sunday that falls between 2 January and 8 January (inclusive). Greece, Ireland, Italy and Poland continue to observe Epiphany on 6 January as do some Dioceses ithroughout the world. Because Epiphany is one of the most important Christian Feasts, it is a Holy Day of Obligation in most countries.
Nostra Signora di Cana / Our Lady of Cana – 6 January:
The title recalls the First Miracle of Our Lord through the intercession of His Mother at the Marriage at Cana in Judea, commemorated annually on 6 January. Christ turns water in wine at the request ofHhis Mother (Gospel of John 2:1-10).
Two days of festivities preceded the wedding, which was followed by an evening banquet. It was here that Mary noticed the wine was scarce. She reminded Jesus that He had promised to supply the wine. The Divine Saviour replied “What is that to you or to me, Woman? My hour has not yet come.” Entirely relieved of anxiety for the guests and trusting the Father would reveal the Lord’s power at the right moment, she went to the worried servants and said to them with quiet modesty and confidence: “Do whatever He tells you.” The servants brought in six large, stone jars, which when full were so heavy, two men had to carry one. That they were now empty was evident. Then Jesus said to the waiters: “Fill the jars with water.” After this was done, Jesus went to the jars and blessed them; then He said to the waiters: “Draw out now and take them to the chief steward.” When the chief steward, who did not know where the wine came from, tasted the water after it had become wine, he went to the bridegroom, exclaiming in surprise: “Every man first sets forth the good wine, and when they have drunk freely, then that which is poorer in quality. But you have kept the good wine until now!” When the bridegroom and the bride’s father tasted the miraculous wine, they too were amazed, for the servants insisted they had just filled the jars with nothing but water from the well. Then all the guests drank the new wine and were silent with awe and reverence as they realized they had just witnessed a striking miracle wrought by the Master, Jesus of Nazareth, at the request of His beloved Mother.
Mary Mother of Mercy willingly assists all the poor and afflicted who fear God. From this incident, St. Bonaventure judges of the many graces which we can hope for through Mary, now that she reigns in Heaven; “For,” he says, “if Mary while yet on earth was so compassionate, how much more so is she now, reigning in Heaven!” He gives the reason by adding: “Mary, now that she sees the face of God, knows our necessities far better than when she was on earth and in proportion to the increase of her compassion, her power to aid us has been augmented.” Ah! Why do we not take refuge in all our necessities to this merciful Mother, who, assists the needly?
St Demetrius of Philadelphia St Diman Dubh of Connor St Edeyrn St Eigrad St Erminold of Prüfening St Felix of Nantes (c 515-584) Bishop Bl Frederick of Saint-Vanne Bl Gertrud of Traunkirchen Bl Gertrude van Oosten St Guarinus of Sion St Guy of Auxerre St Honorius St Hywyn of Aberdaron
St Julian of Antinoë St Julius Bl Luc of Roucy Bl Macarius the Scot St Macra of Rheims St Merinus St Nilammon of Geris St Petran of Landévennec St Peter of Canterbury St Pia of Quedlinburg St Pompejanus St Rafaela Porras y Ayllón Bl Raymond de Blanes Bl Rita Amada de Jesus St Schotin St Wiltrudis of Bergen
Martyrs in Africa: Unknown number of Christian men and women who were martyred in the persecutions of Septimus Severus. They were burned to death c 210.
Martyrs of Sirmium – 8 saints: A group of Christians martyred together for their faith. The only surviving details are the names of eight of them – Anastasius VIII, Florianus, Florus, Jucundus, Peter, Ratites, Tatia and Tilis. They were martyred in the 4th century at Syrmium, Pannonia (modern Sremska Mitrovica, Vojvodina, Serbia).