Thought for the Day – 28 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
How to Guard Holy Purity
“Because it is so difficult to preserve the angelic purity of the soul. it is absolutely essential to make good use of the measures favoured for this purpose, by the masters of the spiritual life. The first of these is prayer – the spirit of prayer will keep us close to God. If our minds and hearts are united to God in the performance of every action, we will never allow ourselves to be separated from Him by impurity. This spirit of prayer must be based on humility and the consciousness of our continual need of God and, must be kept alive, by love for Him.
The second measure is, to avoid the occasions of sin. “Sensuality is best conquered by flight.” St Thomas Aquinas advises us (Summa Theologiae I-II, q 35). “He who loves danger will perish in it” (Ecclus 3:25). Battles like this, said St Francis de Sales, are won by the soldiers who retreat. As soon as an impure thought or image intrudes itself, drive it away as if a serpent were attacking you. It is fatal to allow the thought or image to gain ground, for at this stage, victory becomes extremely difficult!
Thirdly, it often helps to occupy the mind and imagination immediately with things in which we are interested. The greatest danger of all in these moments of temptation is idleness.
So let us examine our conscience now and we shall perceive, that everytime we have fallen in any way, it was always because we did not put into practice, the remedies suggested.”
Quotes of the Day – 28 January – Memorial of St Peter Nolasco (c 1182–c 1256) Confessor – 1 Cor. 4:9-14, Luke 12:32-34
“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
“ For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.”
“We have had Your treasure hidden within us, ever since we received baptismal grace, it grows ever richer at Your sacramental table.”
St Ephrem (306-373) Father and Doctor of the Church
“You have made us for Yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the Church
“ He who finds Jesus, finds a rare treasure, indeed, a good above every good, whereas he who loses Him, loses more than the whole world. The man who lives without Jesus, is the poorest of the poor, whereas no-one is so rich, as the man who lives in His grace. … Let all things be loved, for the sake of Jesus but Jesus, for His own sake.”
“Love Him, then, keep Him as a friend. He will not leave you as others do, or let you suffer lasting death. Sometime, whether you will or not, you will have to part with everything. Cling, therefore, to Jesus in life and death, trust yourself to the glory of Him, Who alone can help you when all others fail.“
Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
Who lives in Love By St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595) Martyr
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.
“You leave the land just as it is when you depart, you do not carry anything away. Our first aim is to go to God, we are not on earth for anything but this!”
St John Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)
“If Jesus is not there, death comes into our souls.”
One Minute Reflection – 28 January – Memorial of St Peter Nolasco (c 1182–c 1256) Confessor – 1 Cor. 4:9-14, Luke 12:32-34
“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” – Luke 12:34
REFLECTION – “All this is what that treasure brings about. Either through almsgiving, it raises the heart of a man into Heaven, or through greed it buries it in the earth. That is why He said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” O man, send your treasure on, send it ahead into Heaven, or else your God-given soul will be buried in the earth! Gold comes from the depth of the earth — the soul, from the highest Heaven. Clearly it is better ,to carry the gold to where the soul resides, than to bury the soul, in the mine of the gold. That is why God orders those who will serve in His Army here below, to fight as men stripped of concern for riches and unencumbered by anything. To these He has granted the privilege of reigning in Heaven.” – St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) Bishop of Ravenna, “Doctor of Homilies” Father and Doctor of the Church (Sermon 22)
PRAYER – O God, You Who, as an example of Your love, divinely taught St Peter to enrich Your Church with new offspring, a family of Religious devoted to the ransom of the faithful, grant by his intercession, that we may be released from the slavery of sin and rejoice in lasting freedom in heaven. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
Our Morning Offering – 28 January – Memorial of St Peter Nolasco (c 1182–c 1256) Confessor
Before Jesus Crucified (Sweet Jesus, Please Abide with Me!) By Blessed Titus Brandsma (1881-1942) Martyr
Dear Lord, when looking up at Thee, I see Thy loving eyes on me, Love overflows my humble heart, Knowing what a faithful friend Thou are. A cup of sorrow I foresee, Which I accept for love of Thee, Thy painful way I wish to go, The only way to God I know. My soul is full of peace and light, Although in pain, this light shines bright. For here, Thou keepest to Thy breast. My longing heart to find there rest. Leave me here freely all alone, In cell where never sunlight shone. Should no-one ever speak to me, This golden silence makes me free! For though alone, I have no fear, Never were Thou, O Lord, so near. Sweet Jesus, please, abide with me! My deepest peace I find in Thee. Amen
Saint of the Day – 28 January – Saint Peter Nolasco OdeM (c 1182–c 1256) Confessor, Founder of the Congregation of the Royal and Military Order of Our Lady of Mercy of the Redemption of the Captives (The Mercedarians), Tutor to the young king, James I of Aragon. Born in c 1182 at Mas-des-Saintes-Puelles, near Castelnaudary, Languedoc, France as Pierre Nolasque and died on 25 December 1258 of natural causes. It is uncertain if the year was 1256, 57,58 or it might have been 1259). Also known as – Peter Nolascus, Pedro, Pietro Nolasque. Additional Memorials – 25 December (the date of his death), 6 May (Mercedarians), formerly 31 January (prior to 1969) but moved to 28 January due to the Feast of St John Bosco on 31 January.
Peter Nolasco was born about the year 1182 at Mas-Saintes-Puelles near Carcassonne in France. When he was a teenager he went to Barcelona to escape the heresy then rampant in southern France. He joined an army fighting the Moors in the Iberian Peninsula, which still held much of Spain in the early thirteenth century and in sudden raids from the sea, they carried off thousands of Christians, holding them as slaves in Granada and in their citadels along the African coast. He was later appointed Tutor to the young King, James I of Aragon.
After making a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Montserrat at the Santa Maria de Montserrat Monastery on the Montserrat Mountain in Catalonia, Spain, he began to practice various works of charity. Nolasco became concerned with the plight of Christians captured in Moorish raids, he consecrated the fortune he had inherited to the redemption of the captives. He was greatly saddened by the thought of their suffering and desired to sell his own person to deliver his brethren and take their chains upon himself. God made it known to him how agreeable that desire was to Him.
Because of these large sums of money he expended, Peter became penniless. He was without resources and powerless, when the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and said to him: “Find for me other men like yourself, an army of brave, generous, unselfish men and send them into the lands where the children of the Faith are suffering.” Peter went at once to Saint Raymond of Pennafort, his Confessor, who had had a similar revelation and used his influence with King James I of Aragon and with Berengarius, Archbishop of Barcelona, to obtain approbation and support for the new community.
On 10 August 1218, Peter and two companions were received as the first members of the Congregation of men who became the Royal and Military Order of Our Lady of Mercy of the Redemption of the Captives (the Mercedarians). They were approved by Pope Gregory IX in 1230, and were also known as the Order of Our Lady of Ransom, dedicated to the recovery of Christian captives. To the three traditional vows of religion, its members joined a fourth, that of delivering their own persons to the overlords, if necessary, to ransom Christians.
The Order spread rapidly. Peter and his comrades travelled throughout Christian Spain, recruiting new members and collecting funds to purchase the captives. Then they began negotiations with the slave-owners. They penetrated Andalusia, crossed the sea to Tunisia and Morocco and brought home cargo after cargo of Christians.
Peter governed his Order for thirty years, within which time he opened the prison doors for thousands of captives, whom his own incessant labours, joined with those of his disciples, rescued from a miserable fate and, in all probability, from eternal death. Although Peter, as General of the Order, was occupied with its organisation and administration, he made two trips to Africa, where, besides liberating captives, he converted many Moors.
Peter Nolasco built the Church of St Mary del Puche. For four Saturdays, seven strange lights were seen at night over a certain spot and looked like seven stars. They were observed to drop from Heaven seven times and disappear in the earth in the same place. Peter Nolasco felt certain that this strange phenomenon announced some auspicious occasion, so he commanded men to dig about the spot. They had not gone far into the earth, when they came upon a clock of prodigious size, bearing a beautiful image of the Virgin Mary. Nolasco took it up in his arms as a valuable gift from Heaven and built an Shrine on the spot where it was buried. This Shrine became very celebrated for the number of miracles performed there.
Before his death, Peter called his children to his bedside and exhorted them to perseverance in their love for captives. His words to them were those of the Psalmist: “I will praise Thee, O Lord, who hast sent redemption to Thy people!”
He had long and ardently cherished the desire of visiting the tomb of his patron, the Prince of the Apostles, whose name he bore and was saddened at not finding an opportunity to execute this deep devotion. But now, this holy Apostle appeared to him and addressed him: “Not all of our pious desires can be fulfilled. God is, however, satisfied with the intention. I know your longing to visit me at Rome but such is not the good pleasure of the Lord. Yet because you cannot visit me, I have now come to see you and to assure you of my assistance, until your last breath.”
Peter Nolasco obtained a similar favour from his Guardian Angel and other Saints, who visibly appeared to him, no doubt to reward his special devotion to them. But Mary, the Queen of all Saints, gave him special proofs of her love and esteem. He was granted the joy of seeing her several times and was filled with such sweet happiness and consolation at her promise always to protect him, that he cried out ecstatically at his last hour: “O how sweet it is to die under the protection of Mary.” He died after a long illness on Christmas night of c 1256.
Peter became Saint Peter when he was Canonised by Pope Urban VIII in 1628. His Order continues its religious services, now devoted to preaching and hospital service.
The Second Feast of St Agnes: 28 January is traditionally the day of the “Second Feast of St Agnes,” although this very ancient observance was reduced to a commemoration in 1931 and abolished in the post-Conciliar reform (1969). It is still kept in some Churches dedicated to St Agnes, most prominent among them, the Basilica built over the site of her burial, less than a mile and a half from the gates of Rome. In liturgical books, the formal name of the feast is “Sanctae Agnetis secundo,” which literally means “the feast of St Agnes for the second time.” This title is found on the calendar of the Tridentine Missal and Breviary, as also seven centuries earlier in the Gregorian Sacramentary. The single Matins lesson in the Breviary of St Pius V tells us, that after her death, Agnes appeared first to her parents to console them and then to the Emperor Constantine’s daughter Constantia, who suffered from an incurable sore, while she was praying at her grave, exhorting Constantia to trust in Christ and receive Baptism. Having done this and been healed, Constantia later built a Basilica in the Saint’s honour.
St Peter Nolasco OdeM (c 1182–c 1256) Founder of the Congregation of the Royal and Military Order of Our Lady of Mercy of the Redemption of the Captives (Mercadarians).
St Aemilian of Trebi St Agatha Lin Bl Amadeus of Lausanne St Antimus of Brantôme St Archebran Bl Bartolomé Aiutamicristo St Brigid of Picardy St Callinicus St Cannera of Inis Cathaig Bl Charlemagne (a decree of Canonisation was issued by the anti-pope Paschal III but this was never ratified by valid authority.) St Constantly St Flavian of Civita Vecchia St Glastian of Kinglassie Bl James the Almsgiver St James the Hermit St Jerome Lu St John of Reomay
St Julian of Cuenca St Lawrence Wang St Leucius of Apollonia Bl María Luisa Montesinos Orduña St Maura of Picardy Bl Mosè Tovini Bl Odo of Beauvais Bl Olympia Bida St Palladius of Antioch St Paulinus of Aquileia Bl Peter Won Si-jang St Richard of Vaucelles St Thyrsus of Apollonia
Martyrs of Alexandria: A group of 4th-century parishioners in Alexandria, Egypt. During the celebration of Mass one day an Arian officer named Syrianus led a troop of soldiers into their church and proceded to murder all the orthodox Christians in the place. 356 in Alexandria, Egypt.