Thought for the Day – 4 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
How We Should Pray
“We must pray with deep humility. Once again we find, that the Man-God Jesus, has given us an example. In Gethsemane He fell prostate on the ground and begged that, if it were possible, the bitter chalice might be taken away from Him. Immediately He added. with full submission to the will of His Heavenly Father – “Yet, not my will but thine be done” (Lk 22:42). Let us remember, moreover, the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. The former appeared to be full of virtue but he was proud and was rejected. The latter, recognised in all humility, that he was a poor sinner and he was exalted. “Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled and he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Lk 14:11). “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (Js 4:6). “The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest, until t reaches its goal” (Ecclus 35:17).
When we kneel down to pray, therefore, we should make an Act of Humility. We are poor beggars, as St Augustine puts it, before the throne of God. Let us pray with confidence in God’s goodness but also with a proper realisation of our own helplessness. Then God will take pity on us.
First Friday of Lent – 4 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Isaiah 58:1-9, Matthew 5:43-38,6:1-4
“One thing I ask the Lord; this I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.”
“Take heed not to do your good before men, in order to be seen by them; otherwise you shall have no reward with your Father in Heaven.”
AND WHAT KIND OF CHRISTIAN is itwho will not fast, at least until None (the mid-afternoon Breviary hour), during this season? Recall how the Ninevites required even of children at the breast that they too should fast and their flocks and herds likewise, that all might be delivered from the danger that threatened them. What kind of Christian is he who, although well and able refuses to fast with … the Lord? They will say: We cannot both work and fast. They cannot because they WILL NOT. Then let them work less that they may fast more. I warn you and I exhort you in the Lord, that none among you, unless a sick person or a child, eat or drink before the hour of Nones, except on Sundays.
I COUNSEL YOU ALSO, that he who is near the Church and can come, should hear Mass each day. And that he who can, should come each evening to the recitation of Vespers. Let those who live far from the Church try to come to Vespers each Sunday at least …
LET HIM who has HATE in his heart, or anger, against another, put it wholly from himself, if he wishes to be saved. … And you must understand, that whatever it is that you deny yourself through fasting must be given entirely to the poor, not kept back for yourselves!
MAY ALMIGHTY GOD grant, that you keep before you what I have told you and that you fulfil it … so that at the end of this life and at the close of your labours, you may enter into eternal rest. May He grant you this, Who created you and sought at the price of His own Blood to redeem you, Who lives and reigns world without end. Amen. – St John Chrysostom (347-407) Archbishop of Constantinople, Father and Doctor of the Church
Quote/s of the Day – 4 March – First Friday of Lent – Isaiah 58:1-9, Matthew 5:43-38,6:1-4
“This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them and not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn and your wound shall quickly be healed; your vindication shall go before you and the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard. Then you shall call and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help and He will say: ‘Here I am!’ For I, the Lord your God, am merciful.”
“Take heed not to do your good before men, in order to be seen by them; otherwise you shall have no reward with your Father in Heaven. Therefore, when you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and streets, in order that they may be honoured by men. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be given in secret and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you.”
One Minute Reflection – 4 March – First Friday of Lent – Isaiah 58:1-9, Matthew 5:43-38,6:1-4 and the Memorial of St Casimir- (1458-1484)
“But I say to you, love your enemies” – Matthew 5:44
REFLECTION – “One of you will say: “I’m not able to love my enemies at all.” All through Holy Scripture God has said to you that you can and do you answer Him that, to the contrary, you cannot!? Now think about it – who are we to believe? God or you? Since He who is Truth itself cannot lie, let human weakness leave off its futile excuses forthwith! He who is just, cannot demand something impossible and He who is merciful, will not condemn someone for something that person could not avoid. So why these evasions then? There is no-one who knows better, what we are capable of, than He who has given us the ability. Such numbers of men, women, children, tender young girls, have borne flames, fire, sword and the wild beasts for Christ’s sake, without flinching and we, do we say that we cannot bear the insults of unintelligent persons?…
Indeed, if only the good are to be loved, what are we to say of the action of our God, of whom it is written: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son?” (Jn 3,16). For what good deeds are they, that the world had done, for God to love it so? Christ our Lord, found us all to be, not only evil but even dead, on account of original sin and yet… “he loved us and handed himself over for us” (Eph 5,2). In so acting, He loved even those who did not love Him, as the Apostle Paul also says: “Christ died for the guilty” (Rm 5,6). And in his inexpressible mercy, He gave this example to all humankind, saying: “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart” (Mt 11,29).” – St Caesarius of Arles (470-543) Bishop and Monk – Sermons to the people, no 37
PRAYER – Almighty God, to whom this world, with all it’s goodness and beauty belongs, give us grace joyfully, to begin this day for Christ Your Son, in Him and with Him and to fill it, with an active love for all Your children, even those who may not like or who do us harm. Help us to love as You do, so that we may become like You. St Casimir, you who spread your charity abundantly in your short life and continue to do so now from Heaven, pray for us. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 4 March – First Friday of Lent
Prayer Before a Crucifix
Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus, while before Thy face I humbly kneel and, with burning soul, pray and beseech Thee to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity; true contrition for my sins and a firm purpose of amendment. While I contemplate, with great love and tender pity, Thy Five Most Precious Wounds, pondering over them within me and calling to mind the words which David, Thy prophet, said of Thee, my Jesus: “They have pierced My hands and My feet, they have numbered all My bones.” Amen
This Prayer is often said after Holy Mass before the Crucifix in the Church. The faithful receive a Partial Indulgence but on the Fridays of Lent, the Indulgence is a Plenary Indulgence, under the usual conditions.
Saint of the Day – 4 March – Saint Peter of Pappacarbone (c 1038-1123) Bishop, Abbot, Reformer. Born in Salerno, Italy and died in 1123 of natural causes. Patronage – Policastro, Italy. Also known as – Pieror de Cava, Peter of La Cava, Peter I of Cava.
The Roman Martyrology reads: “In the Monastery of Cava de Tirreni in Campania, St Peter, Abbot, admirably renewed the discipline.”
Peter was a native of Salerno in Italy, a nephew of St Alferius, founder of the Monastery of Cava. Peter entered the religious life at a very early age under St Leo, the 2nd Abbot of Cava. He distinguished himself at once by his piety, mortifications and love of solitude.
At this time, the fame of the Abbey of Cluny had spread far and wide, and the young monk was so attracted by what he had heard, that in about 1062 he obtained Permission to leave Cava and go to France to investigate the way of life at Cluny When the older Monks at Cluny would have sent him to the school to be trained, their Abbot, St Hugh disagreed, saying that Peter might be young in years but that he was a full-grown man in devotion. The Abbot’s opinion was abundantly justified, for Peter proved himself well amongst that household of holy men and he remained there for some six years.
He was then recalled to Italy, having been released by St Hugh apparently at the request of the Archdeacon of Rome, Hildebrand (who was afterwards Pope St Gregory VII). Peter was appointed the first Bishop of Policastro but he found himself unfitted for the turmoil of the world and for the secular cares which devolved upon him. He obtained permission to resign and retired to Cava, where Abbot Leo, realising that he himself was becoming too old to govern, nominated him as his successor and withdrew. The Monks, by their votes, had confirmed the election of their new superior but soon found the strict rule he had brought from Cluny extremely irksome: they began to murmur and rebel and some of them carried their complaints to the aged Leo in his retirement.
Peter, far from resisting and equally far from relaxing the rule, quietly left and betook himself to another Monastery. It was not long before the Monks of Cava, urged by Abbot Leo, came to entreat Peter to return, which he consented to do. Thereafter it was remarked, that those who had the most vehemently opposed him ,were now foremost in welcoming the rule they had previously spurned.
Under the government of Abbot Peter the Monastery flourished amazingly. Not only did numbers of aspirants to the religious life, flock to him from all sides but men and women in the world, showered money and lands upon the community, which was then enabled to minister far and wide, to the sick and the poor. The Abbey itself had to be enlarged to admit the new members and a new Church was built, to the dedication of which, came Pope Urban II, who had been with Peter at Cluny and had remained his close friend. The description of this occasion was preserved in the chronicles of Cava, where it is stated that Blessed Urban talked freely with the Abbot and Monks, as though “forgetting that he was the Pope.”
Peter lived to a great age and died in 1123. He was succeeded by St Constabilis, who had served as Peter’s Assistant and Auxiallary.
The Abbey of Cava still exists and in 1912 the Monks gave proof of their devotion to the Founders of their observance by reprinting, from the unique ancient manuscript in their possession, the Lives of the Saints Alferius, Peter and two other early Sainted Abbots, purporting to be written by Hugh of Venosa, a younger contemporary of St Peter. It is to this biography, which may be found in the Acta Sanctorum (March, vol. i), that we owe all our knowledge of St Peter of Cava.
The first four Abbots of Cava were officially recognised and Canonised as Saints on 21 December 1893, by Pope Leo XIII. They are Alferius, the Founder and first Abbot (1050), Leo I (1050–79), Peter of Pappacarbone (1079–1123) and Constabilis (1122-1124). Their relics rest in the Abbey Church in the Chapel of the Saintly Fathers.’
St Adrian of May St Adrian of Nicomedia Bl Alexander Blake St Appian of Comacchio St Arcadius of Cyprus St Basinus of Trier Bl Christopher Bales St Felix of Rhuys St Gaius of Nicomedia Bl Humbert III of Savoy St Leonard of Avranches St Nestor the Martyr St Owen Bl Paolo of Brescia St Peter of Pappacarbone (c 1038-1123) Bishop
Martyrs on the Appian Way – 900 Saints – Group of 900 Martyrs buried in the Catacombs of Saint Callistus on the Appian Way, Rome, Italy.c 260
Martyrs of Nicomedia – 20 Saints – A group of 20 Christians murdered together for their faith. The only details about them to survive are three of their names – Archelaus, Cyrillos and Photius. Nicomedia, Bithynia (in modern Turkey)
Martyrs of the Crimea – 7 Saints – A group of 4th century missionary Bishops who evangelised in the Crimea and southern Russia, and were Martyred for their work. We know little else beyond the names – Aetherius, Agathodorus, Basil, Elpidius, Ephrem, Eugene and Gapito.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War: Bl Pedro Ruiz Ortega, Bl Pere Roca Toscas