Thought for the Day – 6 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Religion and Devotion
“Religion, should not be a cold, mehcanical practice of obedience to the commandments of God and the precepts of the Church. Deep spiritual devotion and supernatural charity are necessary, as well as religion. In other words, religion should not be merely external but, should spring from the mind and heart, this is devotion, which is the spirit of religion. “Devotion,” wites Aquinas, “seems to be the determination to give one’s self readily to the service of God” (Summa Theologiae, II-II, q 82, a 2, ad 1). But this determination should be loving and effective because, as St Thomas also observes, “charity generates devotion” (Summa Theologiae, II-II, q 82, a 2, ad 2).
St Francis de Sales analysed and expanded these ideas. “True and living devotion,” he writes, “presupposes the love of God – indeed, it really is a true love of God… but a love… which has reached that height of perfection at which it not only causes us to act but, to act zealously, frequently and promptly…” (Introduction to the Devout Life, Bk I, C 1). He continues: “Since devotion consists in an unique degree of charity, it not only makes us prompt, active and zealous in the observance of all the divine commands but, incites us, furthermore, to perform readily and lovingly, as many good works as we can… even if they are only recommended or suggested” (Ibid). From this solid and sincere devotion flows, that taste for divine things, that inner gentleness and peace of spirit which the Saints enjoyed, even in the midst of sorrow and disillusionment. It is the spontaneous homage of the mind and heart, that God wants most of all.”
Quote/s of the Day – 6 February – The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany – Readings: Colossians 3:12-17, Matthew 13:24-30
“A sower went out to sow”
“Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?”
“It is better to be cured within the Church’s community than to be cut off from its Body as incurable members. As long as a member still forms part of the Body, there is no reason to despair of its cure; once it has been cut off, it can be neither cured nor healed.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“Brethren, the just man shall scarcely be saved. What, then, will become of the sinner?”
St Arsenius s the Great (c 354-c 449)
“… [The Kingdom of God] … is within you. That is, it depends on your own wills and is in your own power, whether or not you receive it. Everyone, that has attained to justification, by means of faith in Christ and decorated by every virtue, is counted worthy, of the Kingdom of Heaven.”
St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father and Doctor of the Church
“And like the little grain of mustard seed … we should set it in the garden of our soul, all weeds being pulled out for the better feeding of our faith. Then shall it grow and … through the true belief of God’s word … we shall be well able to command a great mountain of tribulation to void from the place where it stood in our hearts, whereas with a very feeble faith and faint, we shall scarcely be able to remove a little hillock.”
St Thomas More (1478-1535)
“My child, it is indeed the Voice of God you have heard. He has given you a great grace in thus calling you into His one true Church. While you live, never cease to thank Him and bless Him for it.”
One Minute Reflection – 6 February – The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany – Readings: Colossians 3:12-17, Matthew 13:24-30
“Suffer both to grow until the harvest” – Matthew 13:30
REFLECTION – “Nor must one imagine that the Body of the Church, just because it bears the name of Christ, is made up during the days of its earthly pilgrimage, only of members conspicuous for their holiness, or, that it consists only of those whom God has predestined to eternal happiness. It is owing to the Saviour’s infinite mercy, that place is allowed in His Mystical Body here below, for those whom, of old, He did not exclude from the banquet (cf. Mt 9:11). For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy. Men may lose charity and divine grace through sin, thus becoming incapable of supernatural merit and yet, not be deprived of all life, if they hold fast to faith and Christian hope and if, illumined from above, they are spurred on, by the interior promptings of the Holy Spirit to salutary fear and are moved to prayer and penance for their sins.
Let everyone then abhor sin, which defiles the mystical members of our Redeemer but,, if anyone unhappily falls and his obstinacy has not made him unworthy of communion with the faithful, let him be received with great love and let eager charity see in him a weak member of Jesus Christ. For, as the Bishop of Hippo remarks – “it is better to be cured within the Church’s community than to be cut off from its Body as incurable members. As long as a member still forms part of the Body, there is no reason to despair of its cure; once it has been cut off, it can be neither cured nor healed.’”- Venerable Pius XII (1876-1958) – Pope from 1939 to 1958 – Encyclical – Mystici Corporis Christi, 1943.
PRAYER – All-powerful and ever-living God, splendour of true light and never-ending day, chase away the night of sin and fill our minds with the glory of Your coming. Take away our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh, help us in our battle with sin and the devil. By our prayers, Your holy sacraments and the strength of the Holy Spirit, may we be ever vigilant of the evil one. Hear the prayers of our Queen and Mother, the Blessed Virgin of Mercy on our behalf dear Lord. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 6 February – The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit By St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church
Father, keep us from vain strife of words. Grant to us constant profession of the Truth! Preserve us in a true and undefiled faith so that we may hold fast to that which we professed when we were Baptised in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that we may have You for our Father, that we may abide in Your Son and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen
Saint of the Day – 6 February – Saint Vaast of Arras (c 453-539 or 540) The First Bishop of Arras, France , Hermit, Ascetic, miracle-worker., Advisor to King Clovis. Born in c 453 at Limoges, France and died on 6 February in 539–540 at Arras, France of natural causes. Patronages – against eye diseases, of the Diocese of Arras, Boulogne and Saint-Omer, France, of children, of children who late learning to walk. Also known as – Foster, Gaston, Gastone, Vaat, Vedast, Vedasto, Vedastus. Additional Memorials – 2 January (discovery of relics), 7 February (enshrinement of relics), 15 July (translation of relics in Cambrai), 1 October (translation of relics).
The Roman Martyrology reads: “In Arras in Belgian Gaul, today in France, Saint Vedastus, Bishop, who, sent by Saint Remigius Bishop of Rheims to the devastated City, catechised King Clovis, re-established the Church and held it for about forty years and brought to an end, the need of work for evangelisation among the previously still pagan peoples of the region.”
Vaast was a native of the Limoges region, born in the second half of the 5th century. He left his parents as a young man and embarked on a secluded ascetic life as a Hermit, hidden from the world in the Diocese of Toul, France. It was there, near Toul, that he accidentally met King Clovis I who, after defeating the Germans, was returning to his country.
The traditional account of the conversion of King Clovis by St Vaast, says while on the road to Rheims, they encountered a blind beggar at the bridge over the river Aisne. The man besought Vaast’s assistance. Vaast, in this account had already been Ordained a Priest, was inspired to pray and blessed the beggar, at which point the man immediately recovered his sight. The miracle convinced the King to adopt his wife’s religion. Vaast became and remained an advisor to King Clovis. until the King’s death.
They continued their journey to Rheims, where Bishop St Remigius administered Baptism to the King. On his departure, Clovis recommended his instructor to the Bishop, who, knowing of the Hermit’s moral, devotional and theological qualities, first Ordained him as a Priest and then Consecrated him as the Bishop of Arras. (in the year 500).
This City of Arras was initially sacked by the Huns and the population, already Christian since the Fourth Century, had dispersed during the invasion. Arras was slowly repopulated but its inhabitants had practically returned to paganism. The new Bishop courageously embarked on his missionary work, reorganising his Diocese, converting numerous inhabitants in his many apostolic journeys in the vast territory entrusted to him.
He remained a friend of King Clovis and Queen Clotilde throughout his life and at the same time, he always remained a disciple, as it were, of St Remigius, who became his adviser, guide and trusted example.
After having ruled the Diocese for 40 years, he died on 6 February 539 or 540. The news concerning the efficacious nature of prayer to Vaast and the many and diverse miracles and prodigies worked by God through his intercession, continued over the centuries. This resulted in three ‘Vitae,’ being written. One of the Vita’s by St Alcuin, recounts that on one occasion, having spent the day in instructing a nobleman, his host would see him on his way with a glass of wine to sustain him but found the cask empty. Vaast bid the servant to bring whatever he should find in the vessel. The servant then found the barrel overflowing with excellent wine, just like at Cana! The image below relates to another miracle for which I cannot find the legend.
His body had many translations, due to the Norman invasion of the City of Arras in the Ninth Century. In December 880, the City was set on fire and its inhabitants massacred but the relics were rescued and hidden at Beauvais which was fortified.
In 667, St Aubert, the Seventh Bishop of Arras, began to build an Abbey for Benedictine Monks on the site of a little Chapel which Saint Vaast had erected in honour of Saint Peter. Vaast’s relics were transferred to the new Abbey, which was completed by Auburt’s uccessor and generously endowed by King Theuderic III, who together with his wife, was afterwards buried there. The relics, in the following centuries, remained in possession of the Abbey of St Vaast until the French Revolution, when the Abbey was sacked, however, the relics miraculously remained intact! They were later transferred to the Cathedral of Arras, where they still are today.
St Vaast’s cult, since ancient times, is widespread throughout France . It is reported in the litanies of the Saints and he is considered the Founder of the Episcopal See of Arras, for which he is the main Patron. In France he is more widely known as St Gastone.
St Gerald of Ostia St Gonsalo Garcia OFM St Guarinus St Guethenoc St Hildegund St Ina of Wessex St Jacut St Liminius of Auvergne Bl Mary Teresa Bonzel St Mateo Correa-Magallanes St Maximus of Aurvergne St Mel of Ardagh St Melchu of Armagh St Mun of Lough Ree St Relindis of Eyck St Revocata St Saturninus St Tanco of Werden St Theophilus St Theophilus the Lawyer St Vaast of Arras (c 453-539 or 540) Bishop St Victorinus of Auvergne
Martyrs of Emesa: St Luke the Deacon St Mucius the Lector