Thought for the Day – 20 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Blessed are the Poor
“Detachment from riches implies, the obligation of using them, as a means of reaching eternal life and in accordance with the principles of justice and charity. This is a positive command of God, which nobody can ignore without falling into sin to a greater or lesser extent. But over and beyond this general rule, there is an evangelical counsel to which only the privileged few are called in their search for perfection. This evangelical counsel says to us: “If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast and give to the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven and come, follow me” (N 19:21; Mk 10:21; Lk 12:33, 18:22).
If we have received this great call to evangelical perfection, we must listen to it and follow Jesus promptly and generously. But even if our vocation does not lie in that direction, let us take care not to become too attached to the passing things of this world. Our hearts were not made for them but, for God alone!
Remember the striking words of St Paul: “Brethren, the time is short; it remains that those who have wives, be as if they had none and, those who weep, as though not weeping and those who rejoice, as though not rejoicing and those who buy, as though not possessing and those who use the world, as though not using it, for this world, as we see it, is passing away” (1 Cor 7:29-31).”
Quote/s of the Day – 20 January – Hebrews 11:33-39; Luke 6:17-23
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”
“… Anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions, cannot be my disciple.”
“The Kingdom of Heaven, says the gospel, is like a mustard seed … Christ is the Kingdom of Heaven! Sown like a mustard seed in the garden of the Virgin’s womb, He grew up into the Tree of the Cross, whose branches, stretch across the world … Christ is the Kingdom because all the glory of His Kingdom, is within Him. Christ is a Man because all humanity is restored in Him. Christ is a Mustard Seed because the infinitude of divine greatness, is accommodated to the littleness of flesh and blood!”
St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) “Golden Words” Father & Doctor of the Church
“Keep a clear eye toward life’s end. Do not forget your purpose and destiny as God’s creature. What you are in His sight, is what you are and nothing more. Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take nothing that you have received… but only what you have given – a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”
St Francis of Assisi (c 1181-1226)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“This death … has already levelled his bow to strike me. Is it not prudent to prevent its stroke, by dying now to the world, that at my death, I may live to God?”
St Francis Borgia (1510-1572)
“Do not live any longer in yourself but let Jesus Christ live in you in such a way that the virtue of this Divine Saviour may be resplendent in all your actions, in order that all may see in you a true portrait of the Crucified and sense, the sweetest fragrance of the holy virtues of the Lord, in interior and exterior modesty, in patience, in gentleness, suffering, charity, humility and in all others that follow.”
St Paul of the Cross (1604-1775)
“It was God Who created the fruits of the earth and gave them to men. … Evil consists in the abuse of these goods, which, in themselves, are intended to be aids to perfection. It is necessary, therefore, to preserve the proper hierarchical order of all that is good. We must guard against riveting our ambitions on earthly objects, as if tbey were capable of constituting the goal of our lives. God has given us these things as possessions, not as ends in themselves. He has ordered us to be masters of the world, not it’s slaves. Detachment is essential but not a complete surrender of our possessions. The latter was never commanded but simply indicated, as an evangelical counsel of perfection. The observance of this counsel, however, is valueless, if it is not accompanied by detachment. Worldly possessions, such as money, are good servants but bad masters!”
One Minute Reflection – 20 January – Hebrews 11:33-39; Luke 6:17-23 and – The Memorial of St Pope Fabian (c 200 – c 250) Martyr and St Sebastian (Died c 288) Martyr
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” – Luke 6:20
REFLECTION – “Blessed,” He says, “are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3). It would perhaps be doubtful what poor He was speaking of, if in saying “blessed are the poor ” He had added nothing which would explain the sort of poor and then, that poverty by itself, would appear sufficient to win the Kingdom of Heaven, which many suffer from, hard and heavy necessity. But when he says “blessed are the poor in spirit,” He shows that the Kingdom of Heaven must be assigned to those who are recommended by the humility of their spirit, rather than, by the smallness of their means.
Yet it cannot be doubted, that this possession of humility is more easily acquired by the poor than the rich: for submissiveness is the companion of those, who want, while loftiness of mind dwells with riches. Notwithstanding, even in many of the rich, is found that spirit which uses its abundance, not for the increasing of its pride but on works of kindness and counts that for the greatest gain, which it expends in the relief of others’ hardships. It is given to every kind and rank of men, to share in this virtue, because men may be equal in will, though unequal in fortune and it does not matter, how different they are in earthly means, who are found equal in spiritual possessions. Blessed, therefore, is poverty which is not possessed with a love of temporal things and does not seek to be increased with the riches of the world but is eager to amass heavenly possessions.” – St Leo the Great (400-461) Pope, Father and Doctor of the Church (Sermon 95, PL 54, 461).
PRAYER – Shed Your clear light on our hearts, Lord, keep us in Your Way, that we too may stretch out our hands and love to those who come our way. May Your law be our light and Your love our only way. Hear the prayers of the Your Angels and Saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Our Lord and our mother and lead us to eternal life. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Lord Jesus, May I …. Indulgenced Prayer of Petitions By St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
LORD JESUS, may I know myself and know Thee and desire nothing save only Thee. May I hate myself and love Thee. May I do everything for the sake of Thee. May I humble myself and exalt Thee. May I think of nothing except Thee. May I die to myself and live in Thee. May I receive whatever happens, as from Thee. May I banish self and follow Thee and ever desire to follow Thee. May I fly from myself and fly to Thee. That I may deserve to be defended by Thee. May I fear for myself and fear Thee and be among those who are chosen by Thee. May i distrust myself and trust in Thee, May I be willing to obey on account of Thee. May I cling to nothing but to Thee. May I be poor for the sake of Thee. Look upon me, that I may love Thee. Call me, that I may see Thee and ever and ever, enjoy Thee. Amen.
50 Days Indulgence once a day Pope Leo XIII 25 September 1881
Saint of the Day – 20 January – Saint Henry of Uppsala (Died c 1156) Martyr, Bishop of Uppsala, (then in eastern Sweden), Missionary. Born in England and died struck with an axe in c 1156 at Nousis, Finland. Patronages – against storms, of Finland. Also known as – Henry of Finland. Henry of Sweden, Heikki, Henrik. Additional Memorial – 18 June (translation of his relics).
According to his Vita (the legend of his life), which was written nearly one hundred years after his death, Henry was born in the early twelfth century and reigned in the See of Uppsala during the time when King Saint Eric of Sweden (also a Martyr) ruled the country. Apparently, Bishop, Henry and the Monarch were good friends and brothers in the Faith and Henry’s biographer blissfully describes this period in Sweden, as Christendom at its finest.
Turning his attention eastward, King Eric, decided to do battle with the pagan Finns, who were separated from Uppsala by the Gulf of Bothnia. Some legends attribute Eric’s campaign against the Finns as retaliatory measures for their plundering activities in Sweden. Other sources say that Eric and Henry worked in tandem and their motivations were largely evangelical. By conquering the Finns, the Bishop and the King hoped to win them over the Christianity.
Whatever their true motivations, King Eric and Bishop Henry conquered Finland and subsequently baptiSed the locals and built Churches. The Catholic Cathedral in Helsinki, Finland’s Capital City, is named in Henry’s honour, to recognise the credit that Finnish Christians give to this saintly Bishop for giving them their faith.
King Eric returned to his home in Swede, but Henry stayed in Finland, as he loved serving as a Missionary in Finland, evangelising and converting numerous numbers.
Henry was murdered by a soldier named Lalli. Lalli was a Baptised Christian who had murdered another soldier. After examining the case, Henry excommunicated Lalli, who flew into a rage and struck Henry with an axe. The murder of Henry is believed to have occurred in the year 1156. Immediately after Henry’s death, his legend records, many miracles began to occur around his tomb and in the surrounding towns – children were raised from the dead, a blind woman’s eyesight was restored, fishermen survived terrible storms at sea.
St Henry is an important figure in the medieval history of Finland and there are a plethora of colourful poems and legends written about his life.
Devotion to St Henry, which spread throughout Finland over subsequent centuries, is a beautiful testament to the pride that countries throughout the globe have taken in their origin stories of the brave men and women who have brought the Good News of Christ to their homeland.
Henry was buried at buried at Nousis in Finland and on 18 June 1300 his relics were translated to Totku but they were stolen by the Russian troops in 1720.
He was Canonised and declared Patron of Finland in 1158 by Pope Adrian IV, who had also been a Missionary in the area.
St Ascla of Antinoe Bl Basil Anthony Marie Moreau St Basilides the Senator St Bassus the Senator Bl Benedict Ricasoli Bl Bernardo of Poncelli Bl Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi St Daniel of Cambron Bl Didier of Thérouanne St Eusebius the Senator St Eustochia Calafato
St Eutyches the Senator St Fechin of Fobhar Bl Francesco Paoli Saint Henry of Uppsala (Died c 1156) Bishop, Martyr Bl Jeroni Fábregas Camí St Maria Cristina dell’Immacolata Concezione St Molagga of Fermoy St Neophytus of Nicaea St Stephen Min Kuk-ka St Wulfsin