Thought for the Day – 3 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“God created man master of the world. He commanded him to populate it and to rule it (Cf Gen 1:28). He placed him in an earthly paradise, “to till it and to keep it” (Gen 2:15).
As long as man remained in the state of innocence, however, work was a pleasure. It gave him the joy of collaborating with God in the work of creation. Today, work is still a pleasure. By working, we co-operate with God because, it was His intention, tbat the resources of the earth should be explored by human industry and intelligence and should benefit both the individual and society. Work is a noble occupation because it involves co-operation with God’s work of creation and conservation. If anyone tries to deprive it of its lofty human character and to reduce it to the level of mere toil, regarding it as nothing more than an instrument of production or a handy system of exchange, he is debasing the worker and robbing him of all spiritual incentive.”
Quote of the Day – 3 February – The Memorial of St Blaise Bishop Martyr (Died c 316)
The Blessing of the Throats is a Sacramental of the Church, ordinarily celebrated today, the Feast day of Saint Blaise.
THE BLESSING of ST BLAISE Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, may God deliver you from ailments of the throat and from every other evil. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 3 February – St Blaise Martyr (Died c 316) – Romans 13:8-10, Matthew 8:23-27
“And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was covered by the waves but He was asleep.”- Matthew 8:24
REFLECTION – “The sea offered its heaving back for Christ to walk upon. Now, it leveled its crests to a plain, checked its swelling and bound up its billows. It provided rocklike firmness, so He could walk across the waterway.
Why did the seas heave so and toss and pitch, even as if threatening its Creator? And why did Christ Himself, Who knows all the future, seem so unaware of the present, that He gave no thought to the onrushing storm, the moment of its height and the time of its peril? While all the rest were awake, He alone was fast asleep, even with utter doom threatening both Himself and His dear ones. Why? It is not a calm sky, beloved but the storm, which tests a pilot’s skill. When the breeze is mild, even the poorest sailor can manage the ship. But in the crosswinds of a tempest, we want the best Pilot with all His skil!.” – St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) Bishop of Ravenna, Father and Doctor of the Church “Doctor of Homilies” (Sermon 20).
PRAYER – O God, You Who know that our human frailty cannot stand fast against the great dangers that beset us, grant us health of mind and body, that with Your help we may overcome what we suffer on account of our sins. 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 (Collect).
Grant Us This Day, O Lord By St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus Doctor Communis
Grant us this day, O Lord a vigilant heart, that no alien thought can lure away from Thee, a pure heart. that no unworthy love can soil, an upright heart, that no crooked intentions can lead astray. And give us Lord, understanding to know Thee, zeal to seek Thee, wisdom to find Thee and a hope, that will one day take hold of Thee. Amen
Saint of the Day – 3 February – Blessed Stephen Bellesini OSA (1774-1840) Priest and Friar of the Augustinian Hermits, Teacher and mentor of the youth, Apostle of the poor, Parish Priest. Born as Luigi Giuseppe in 1774 in Trento, Italy and died on 2 February 1840 in Genazzano, Italy of natural causes. Also known as – Stefano and Luigi Belleni.
Stephen was born of the aristocracy in Trento on 25 November 1774. In 1790, aged just 16, despite his father’s opposition, he entered the Order of Saint Augustine at the Convent of Saint Mark of Trento. He completed his novitiate in Bologna, where he took his religious vows and the name of Stefano. He was then sent to Rome for his studies of philosophy and theology whereafter he returned to Bologna.
Fidelity in challenging circumstances was something Stephen had learned early on as an Augustinian. Just three years after his religious profession, and still only twenty-two years of age, he experienced the effects of a rising revolutionary campaign that forced him to leave the Monastery in Bologna where he was studying for the priesthood and return to his native City to continue his education under the guidance of tutors
In 1797 he was Ordained Priest in Trento. His years as a young priest were spent in the trying circumstances of a Church under siege by a government desirous of limiting the Church’s influence and eventually, putting an end to the religious way of life which Stephen had professed. Finally, after several years of tension and uncertainty, Stephen and his community were expelled from their Monastery for good, forbidden to wear any longer, the habit of their religious profession. They would never return. The Monastery would never re-open.
Stephen went to live with his brother and opened a school where he devotes himself to the education of poor children, providing free education and food and clothing where needed. Seven years later, the Priest Stephen, by now a successful and respected teacher who had championed the rights of poor and underprivileged children, won the admiration and love of the people. Even the materialistic local authorities came to respect his work. Eventually he was named Inspector of Schools in Trent.
However,, he missed religious life and in 1814,when he had the chance to return to community life, Stephen resigned his important post in Trent and went to join the Augustinian community in Bologna. Political leaders in Trent begged Stephen to return to his work in the schools there, offering to increase his pay. But Stephen refused, writing to them, “You would surely not ask me (to return to Trent) if you realised the unbreakable bond between a Friar and his God, who is the King of Kings. Before his altar, I have solemnly promised to be faithful to those vows.“
Stephen spent several years as Director of Novices, mentoring and teaching young Augustinians the principles of community life in the Order.
In his later years, Stephen served as Parish priest in Genazzano. There his ministry included a special emphasis on the needs of the poor and of children. In January, 1840, while answering a call to care for a sick parishioner, he tripped and fell. A cut on his leg became infected and he developed a high fever.
He tried to remain active for the next two days but the fever never went away., it is believed he might have contracted the Typhus after attending at many of the sick in his Parish. He died ON 2 February1840 in Genazzano. His remains are at the Shrine of Our Mother of Good Counsel in Genazzano.
Stephen’s sanctity was well-known and highly respect. Champion of youth, advocate for justice, comforter of the sick, guardian of the poor, his message is timely, his life is exemplary and his love for and commitment to religious life, are signposts to all religious and to the faithful. Pope Pius X Beatified Stephen on 27 December 1904. His cause continues, seeking a second miracle at his intercession – “how will they call on him, if they have not heard of him?” Blessed Stephen pray for us!
At the entrance to the Chapel of the General Curia in Rome there is a familiar painting of the Augustinian Blessed, Stephen Bellesini. It is a copy of an original work done by G Toeschi in 1905, depicting a crowning moment and possibly one of the last, of Stephen’s life. He stands close to the bedside of an infirm man, administering perhaps Extreme Unction or simply offering him some comfort, while the man’s wife presses her head to the bed, seemingly overcome with grief or exhaustion. Two young children look on anxiously. The artist touchingly captured here an important aspect of the ministry which occupied the latter part of Stephen’s life, as he visited the homes of the townspeople, bringing them the comfort of the Sacraments and oftentimes ,material assistance as well, during the typhus epidemic which struck Genazzano in the Spring of 1839. As we know, less than a year later, Stephen, himself, would fall victim to the pestilence and would succumb – a martyr of charity – faithful to the end.
St Anna the Prophetess St Berlinda of Meerbeke St Blasius of Armentarius St Blasius of Oreto St Caellainn St Celerinus of Carthage St Claudine Thevenet St Clerina of Carthage St Deodatus of Lagny St Eutichio St Evantius of Vienne St Felix of Africa St Felix of Lyons St Hadelin of Chelles Bl Helena Stollenwerk Bl Helinand of Pronleroy St Hippolytus of Africa St Ia of Cornwall St Ignatius of Africa Bl Iustus Takayama Ukon
Bl John Zakoly St Laurentinus of Carthage St Laurentius of Carthage St Lawrence the Illuminator St Liafdag St Lupicinus of Lyon St Margaret of England Bl Marie Rivier St Oliver of Ancona St Philip of Vienne St Remedius of Gap St Sempronius of Africa Blessed Stephen Bellesini OSA (1774-1840) Priest of the Hermits of St Augustine St Tigrides St Werburga of Bardney St Werburga of Chester
Benedictine Martyrs: A collective memorial of all members of the Benedictine Order who have died as Martyrs for the Faith.