Thought for the Day – 21 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Let us examine carefully what is meant by this self-denial. It makes two main demands on us. Firstly, we must renounce all those lower impulses and desires, which besiege the soul (1 Peter 2:11). This means, that we have to control and discipline our passions. Since original sin has corrupted our nature, these passions must be restrained and conquered and then, directed towards good objects. Our passions must be changed into virtues. This is a hard task to accomplish for which we must employ, both natural and supernatural means.
But, we cannot stop at this task. The second requirement will cost us even more! We must renounce our own ego, our own will. How can we do this? We must no longer desire whatever is pleasing to us but whatever is pleasing to God. Our will must cease, as it were, to belong to us, in order to become the will of God. Is it the will of God, that we should be sick, or poor, or humiliated? Thank God for it. Does He desire to give us consolations or honours or success? Thank Him for this too. Desire nothing else but what He desires. We are no longer ourselves. Our will is completely absorbed in the will of God. This is not a degradation of human nature – it is a sublimation. Self-renunciation makes it possible for God to live and act in us. Anyone who reaches this goal can say with St Paul: “It is now no longer I who live but Christ lives in me!” (Gal 2:20).”
Quote/s of the Day – 21 January – The Memorial of St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyr – Ecclus 51:1-8, 12; Matthew 25:1-13
“Our lamps are going out.”
“I have not become as wise as those five wise Virgins. … But I have become the most wretched of the foolish ones by failing to keep some oil for my lamp, namely, mercy together with virginity or, still more, the anointing from Baptism’s Sacred fount…
Therefore, the doors of the wedding hall are closed to me too, in my negligence. But, O my Bridegroom, while I am still in my body here below, listen to my soul, Your Bride… From now on, I will cry aloud piteously, “Oh, open to me Your Heavenly Door, bring me into Your Wedding Chamber on high, make me worthy of Your Holy Kiss, Your pure and spotless Embrace. Oh let me not hear the Voice saying it does not know me! I am blind; set alight with Your own Light my spirit’s extinguished flame!”
St Nerses Chnorhali (1102-1173) Armenian Bishop
(Jesus, the Father’s beloved Son 688-693, SC 203)
“Give me grace, to amend my life and to have an eye to mine end, without grudge of death, which, to them, who die in You, good Lord, is the gate of a wealthy life.”
St Thomas More (1478-1535) Martyr
My Lord Jesus Christ, You have made this journey to die for me, with love unutterable and I have so many times unworthily abandoned You but now I love You with my whole heart and because I love You, I repent sincerely for having ever offended You. Pardon me, my God and permit me to accompany You on this journey. You go to die for love of me, I wish also, my beloved Redeemer, to die for love of Thee. My Jesus, I will live and die always united to You.” Amen
St Alphonsus Mary Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 21 January – The Memorial of St Agnes (c 291- c 304) Virgin and Martyr – Ecclus 51:1-8, 12; Matthew 25:1-13
“But the wise took oil in their vessels” – Matthew 25:4
REFLECTION – “It is some great thing, some exceedingly great thing, that this oil signifies. Do you think it might be charity? If we try out this hypothesis, we hazard no precipitate judgement. I will tell you why charity seems to be signified by the oil. The Apostle says, “I will show you a still more excellent way.” “If I speak with the tongue of mortals and of angels but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” This is charity. It is “that way above the rest,” which is, with good reason, signified by the oil. For oil swims above all liquids. Pour in water and pour in oil upon it, the oil will swim above. If you keep the usual order, it will be uppermost, if you change the order, it will be uppermost. “Charity never fails!” … St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor (Sermon 93).
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, You choose what is weak in the world to shame what is strong. Grant that, as we celebrate the Martyrdom of St Agnes, we may follow her example of steadfast love for You and trust in faith. We pray that through her intercession, we may grow in holiness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 21 January – “Month of the Most Holy Name of Jesus”
Complete Us, O Lord Jesus Christ By St Anselm (1033-1109) Magnificent and Marian Doctor of the Church
O Lord Jesus Christ, our Redemption and our Salvation, we praise You and give You thanks. Although we are unworthy of Your benefits and cannot offer to You, the devotion You deserve, let Your loving-kindness complete whatever our weakness tries to do. Before You, O Lord, we lay all our desires and whatever our heart rightly wishes, it is because of Your gifts. Help us to love You as You command. Do not let Your gifts be unfruitful in us. Complete what You have begun, give what You have made us desire, convert our lukewarmness into fervent love of You, for the glory of Your Holy Name. Amen.
Saint of the Day – 21 January – Saint Epiphanius of Pavia (439–496) Bishop of Pavia, Italy from from 466 until his death. Papal and Secular Mediator and Peacemaker, Known as – “Epiphanius the Peacemaker,” “The Glory of Italy,” “The Light of Bishops.” Born in c 439 at Pavia, Italy and died in 496 at Burgundy, France of a fever.
The Roman Martyrology for 21 January reads : “In Pavia, Saint Epifanio, Bishop , who, at the time of the barbarian invasions, worked zealously for the reconciliation of the peoples, for the liberation of prisoners and for the reconstruction of the destroyed City.”
Our primary source for Epiphanius’ life is the Vita Epifanius written by St Magnus Felix Ennodius (c 473-521) , who knew him personally, travelling with the Bishop on his mission to King Gundobad of the Burgundians in 494–6. According to St Ennodius, Epiphanius’ father was Maurus and his mother Focaria, who was related to Mirocle, Bishop of Milan (304-326). Epiphanius was the brother of Saint Honorata and Saint Liberata.
He joined the household of Bishop Crispinus at the age of eight for his education and became a lector, learning to read and write, as well as stenography. At the age of 18 he was Ordained Subdeacon and Deacon at 20. Bishop Crispinus, as he lay dying, appointed Epiphanius as his successor in the presence of the ex-consul Flavius Rusticus. Although he resisted the appointment, Epiphanius was made Bishop in Milan in his 28th year.
Shortly after becoming Bishop, Epiphanius was asked to intervene between Anthemius and the barbarian leader Ricimer, appealing to both parties for peace. More peacemaking and diplomatic missions followed and most of these to high-ranking figures proved to be successful endeavours. Religious dignitaries such as Epiphanius had wide-ranging influence on the rulers and aristocrats during this period. In the eighth year of his episcopate (spring 475), the Emperor Julius Nepos, sent him on a diplomatic mission to Euric about Visigothic incursions.
Another success was Epiphanius’ negotiations over the ransom of his sister, St Honorata, who had been abducted from the Monastery of St Vincent in Pavia, during the war between Theodoric the Great and Odoacer.
Epiphanius actively worked on the reconstruction of Pavia which, in 476, had been sacked and destroyed by rival armies. Epiphanius visited the victors several times, to implore clemency for the vanquished. In particular, he successfully implored the clemency of Odoacer, of Theodoric and of the King of Burgundians, Gundobaldo, from whom he obtained the release of six thousand prisoners.
In 496 , returning from Ravenna , where he had gone for yet another legation to King Theodoric in favour of Pavia and the entire Province, he fell ill in Parma with pneumonia, was transported to his home in Pavia, where he died at the age of fifty-eight years, after thirty years as Bishop.
Shortly after his death , Epiphanius was revered as a saint and numerous miracles were attributed to him . In 962 most of his relics were moved to Hildesheim to give this region more prestige and heavenly help. The relics of Epiphanius are still contained in a golden casket placed under the central Altar of the Cathedral of Hildesheim.
St Agnes of Aislinger St Alban Bartholomew Roe St Anastasius of Constantinople St Aquila of Trebizond St Brigid of Kilbride St Candidus of Trebizond Bl Edward Stransham St Epiphanius of Pavia (c 439–496) Bishop St Eugenius of Trebizond Bl Franciscus Bang St Gunthildis of Biblisheim
St Nicholas Woodfen St Patroclus of Troyes St Publius of Malta Bl Thomas Reynolds St Valerian of Trebizond St Vimin of Holywood St Zacharias the Angelic
Blessed Martyrs of Laval – 19 Beati: Fifteen men and four women who were martyred in Laval, France by anti-Catholic French Revolutionaries. • Blessed André Duliou • Blessed Augustin-Emmanuel Philippot • Blessed François Duchesne • Blessed François Migoret-Lamberdière • Blessed Françoise Mézière • Blessed Françoise Tréhet • Blessed Jacques André • Blessed Jacques Burin • Blessed Jean-Baptiste Triquerie • Blessed Jean-Marie Gallot • Blessed Jeanne Veron • Blessed John Baptist Turpin du Cormier • Blessed Joseph Pellé • Blessed Julien Moulé • Blessed Julien-François Morin • Blessed Louis Gastineau • Blessed Marie Lhuilier • Blessed Pierre Thomas • Blessed René-Louis Ambroise The were born in France and they were martyred on several dates in 1794 in Laval, Mayenne, France. They were Beatified on 19 June 1955 by Pope Pius XII at Rome, Italy.
Martyrs of Rome – 30 Saints: Thirty Christian soldiers executed together in the persecutions of Diocletian. They were martyred in 304 in Rome, Italy.
Martyrs of Tarragona: Augurius, Eulogius, Fructuosus.
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