Thought for the Day – 6 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“There is such a thing also, as a scrupulous conscience. Some people live in continual anxiety and torment. They see sin everywhere and believe it is impossible to avoid it. In spite of the clear directions of their confessor, they postpone receiving Holy Communion because they feel unworthy. They say their prayers over and over again because they feel that they are saying them badly. They become a burden to themselves and to others. They never stop worrying and waste their own valuable time, as well as that of their confessor. The spirit of Jesus, however, is a spirit of peace, forgiveness and truth. He is infinitely good and merciful and wants us to have complete confidence in Him and in the ministers of His Church, which He founded as a sure guide for our salvation and spiritual happiness.
People who are troubled by a scrupulous conscience should go to a good confessor or Spiritual Director and strictly obey his instructions. The only cure for scrupulosity is absolute obedience.”
First Sunday of Lent – 6 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers
“You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” – Psalm 90:1
“At that time, Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit, to be tempted by the devil.”
“HEAR O GOD,my petition, listen to my prayer. Who is speaking? An individual, it seems. See if it is an individual: – I cried to you from the ends of the earth while my heart was in anguish. Now it is no longer one person, rather, it is one in the sense that Christ is One and we are all His Members. What single individual can cry from the ends of the earth?The one who cries from the ends of the earth is none other than the Son’s Inheritance.It was said to Him: Ask of me and I shall give you the nations as your inheritance and the ends of the earth as your possession. This Possession of Christ, this Inheritance of Christ, this Body of Christ, this One Church of Christ, this Unity that we are, cries from the ends of the earth! What does it cry? What I said before: Hear, O God, my petition, listen to my prayer; I cried out to you from the ends of the earth. That is, I made this cry to You from the ends of the earth; that is, on all sides.
Why did I make this cry? While my heart was in anguish. The speaker shows that he is present among all the nations of the earth in a condition, not of exalted glory but of severe trial.
OUR PILGRIMAGE ON EARTH cannot be exempt from trial. We progress by means of trial. No-one knows himself except through trial, or receives a crown except after victory, or strives except against an enemy or temptations.
THE ONE WHO CRIES from the ends of the earth is in anguish but is not left on his own. Christ chose to foreshadow us, who are His Body, by means of His body, in which He has died, risen and ascended into Heaven, so that the Members of His Body may hope to follow where their Head has gone before.
HE MADER US ONE WITH HIMSELF,when He chose to be tempted by Satan. We have heard in the Gospel how the Lord Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Certainly Christ was tempted by the devil. In Christ you were tempted, for Christ received His flesh from your nature but by His own Power gained life for you; He suffered insults in your nature but by His own Power gained glory for you; therefore, He suffered temptation in your nature, but by His own Power gained victory for you!
IF IN CHRIST, we have been tempted, in Him we overcame the devil. Do you think only of Christ’s Temptations and fail to think of His Victory? See yourself as tempted in Him and see yourself as victorious in Him. He could have kept the devil from Himself but if he were not tempted, he could not teach you how to triumph over temptation.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Father, Doctor of Grace (“In Christ we suffer temptation and in Him we overcame the devil.” – An excerpt from his Commentary on the Psalms, Psalm 60).
Quote/s of the Day – 6 March – The First Sunday of Lent – 2 Cor.inthians 6:1-10, Matthew 4:1-1
“Temptations to sin are sure to come but woe to the person through whom they occur! It would be better for him, if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea, than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin…”
“He says that these temptations must come. Is this then because God, who governs all, forces people to their commission of sin? Away with the thought! Nothing that is evil comes from Him. He is the fountain of all virtue. Why then must this happen? They clearly happen because of our infirmity, for all of us stumble in many things, as it is written. Nevertheless, He says, that there will be woe to the person who lays the stumbling blocks in the way. He does not leave indifference in these things without rebuke but restrains it by fear of punishment. He still commands us to bear with patience ” those who cause sins to happen.”
St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father & Doctor
“A man must fight long and bravely against himself before he learns to master himself fully and to direct all his affections toward God. ” … The devil does not sleep, nor is the flesh yet dead, therefore, you must never cease your preparation for battle because, on the right and on the left are enemies who never rest.”
Thomas à Kempis CRSA (1380-1471)
“When you gossip about a person it means that you have removed the person from your heart. But be aware, when you remove a man from your heart, Jesus also goes away from your heart with that man.”
One Minute Reflection – 6 March – The First Sunday of Lent – 2 Cor.inthians 6:1-10, Matthew 4:1-11 and “The Month of St Joseph”
“Then the devil left Him …” – Matthew 4:11
REFLECTION – “When the Lord had been tempted with this triple temptation—because in all the allurements of the world these three are to be found, either pleasure, or curiosity, or pride — what did the Evangelist say? After the devil had concluded every temptation — every kind but of the alluring sort — there remained the other sort of temptation, by harsh and hard treatment, savage treatment, atrocious and ferocious treatment. Yes, there remained the other sort of temptation. Another Evangelist knew this, knew what had been carried out, what remained, and so he said, “After the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him, until the time.” He departed from him in the form, that is, of the insidious serpent. He is going to come back in the form of the roaring lion. The One Who will trample on the lion and the cobra, will conquer him. Satan will return. He will enter Judas and will make him betray his Master. He will bring along the Jews, not flattering now but raging. Taking possession of his own instruments, he will cry out with the tongues of all of them, “Crucify him, crucify him!” That Christ was the Conqueror there, why should we be surprised? He is Almighty God.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Father and Doctor of Grace (Sermon 284)
PRAYER – O God, You Who purify Your Church by the yearly Lenten observance, grant to Your household that what they strive to obtain from You by abstinence, they may achieve by good works. 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).
Saint of the Day – 6 March – Saint Chrodegang of Metz (c 714-776) First Bishop of Metz, Protector and Father of the poor and orphans, Reformer of the Clergy, a relative of King Pepin and of Prince Charles Martel, both of whom he was Court Chancellor, Royal Diplomat, Saint Opportuna of Montreuil was his brother. Born in c 714 at Hesbaye, Brabant, near Liege, Belgium and died on 6 March 776 at Metz, France. Also known as – Chrodegand, Chrodegangus, Chrodegrang, Chrodegrangus, Chrodogand, Chrodogandus, Chrotgang, Chrotgangus, Droctegangus, Godegrand, Godegrandus, Grodegandus, Grodegangus, Grodogangus, Gundigran, Krodegandus, Ratgang, Rodigang, Rudigangus, Ruggandus, Ruodgangus, Ruotgangus, Rutgangus, Sirigang and Sirigangus. Additional Memorial – 3 October (Augustinians).
The Roman Martyrology states: “In Metz in Austrasia, in today’s France, St Crodegango, Bishop, who arranged for the Clergy to live as if within the walls of a cloister under an exemplary rule of life and greatly promoted liturgical chant.”
Chrodegang was born in c 714 at Hesbaye, Brabant, near Liege, Belgium into a noble family. His parents, of Frankish origin, sent him to be educated at the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Trond.
Chrodegang was good-looking young man, very educated and an excellent linguist. Charles Martell, Duke and Prince, noticed his great skills and appointed him head of the diplomatic and juridical corps at his service. When Charles Martel died in 742, his successor, Charlemagne, also appointed him Bishop of Metz. Codregando, however, was still a layman and, therefore ,had to receive Diaconal and Priestly Ordinations and Episcopal Consecration. He retained his political office and took advantage of the prestige achieved by the exercise of the two offices and exploited his influence for a good purpose.
As King Pepin’s Ambassador to Pope Stephen II, Chrodegang carried out a profound reform of the Clergy, which at that time was in a deadly moral crisis. Determined to intervene in the difficult situation, he began with the Priests of his City. He ,therefore, gathered all the Clergy in houses and established for them a rule of life inspired by that of St Benedict. The code that he applied to Metz was made up of thirty-four chapters and everyday, in the presence of the whole community, one was read – hence these meetings took the name of “Chapter.” Soon, this name was extended to the people who attended the readings, while all those who were linked to the canons were called “Canons” and those who followed a rule began to define themselves as “Regular,”
Other norms of community life were inserted later, concerning enclosure, domicile, study, liturgy, dress and meals and were aimed at providing the ecclesiastics with mutual support in remaining faithful to the vow of chastity and other commitments proper to the Clergy. The main difference from the friars was in the possibility of retaining their possessions, a habit that was later questioned. The Rule of Chrodegang was then adopted by other Diocese and finally, extended by Charlemagne to all Priests, who were thus required to be either Monks or Canons. This Rule also found success abroad and over the centuries it repeatedly returned to vogue, albeit not in its original form.
On the initiative of Chrodegang, the Roman Rite and Chant were also introduced in Metz, the repertoire of which returned to Rome enriched by French compositions and from there, spread throughout Europe. The “schola cantorum” – “School of Singers'” of Metz, fame lasted for centuries. In 805 Charlemagne even ordered that all singing teachers should be trained in Metz.
Chrodegang laboured earnestly for the welfare of Church and State and was ever solicitous of strengthen the bonds of union between the temporal and spiritual Rulers. He founded (748) the Abbey of Gorze (near Metz), and remained its friend and protector. He also established St Peter’s Abbey, on the Moselle and did much for the Abbeys of Gengenbach and Lorsch. For the latter, he is said to have obtained the relics of St Nazarius, and for Gorze those of St Gorgonius The holy Bishop also distinguished himself in the construction and restoration of Churches, Monasteries and charitable institutions. After the death of St Boniface, Pope Stephen conferred the Pallium on Chrodegang (754-755), thus making him an Archbishop but not elevating the See of Metz.
Chrodegang was a man of imposing appearance, of a mild, though firm, character, of great liberality to the poor, and of more than ordinary abilities in many fields and was extremely well versed in Latin and German.
In 762, during a dangerous illness, he introduced among his Priests a Confraternity of Prayer, known as the League of Attigny. The ‘Rule of Chrodegang‘ spread far and wide and it seems probable that the Rule was brought by Irish monks to their native land from the Monasteries of north-eastern Gaul and that Irish anchorites originally unfettered by the rules of the cloister bound themselves by it. In the course of the 9th century mention is made of nine places in Ireland (including Armagh, Clonmacnoise, Clones, Devenish and Sligo) where communities of Culdees were established as a kind of annex to the regular Monastic institutions. They seem especially to have had the care of the poor and the sick and were interested in the musical part of worship.
On his death, on 6 March 766, he received burial at the Abbey of Gorze, which he himself had founded and loved more than any other. Tradition has it that some of his relics are also kept at the Saint-Symphorien Church in Metz.
St Cyriacus of Trier St Cyril of Constantinople St Evagrius of Constantinople St Fridolin Vandreren of Säckingen Bl Guillermo Giraldi St Heliodorus the Martyr Bl Jordan of Pisa St Julian of Toledo St Kyneburga of Castor St Kyneswide of Castor St Marcian of Tortona Bl Ollegarius of Tarragona St Patrick of Malaga St Sananus
Martyrs of Amorium – 42 Saints – Also known as Martyrs of Syria and Martyrs of Samarra; A group of 42 Christian senior officials in the Byzantine Empire who were captured by forces of the Abbasid Caliphate when the Muslim forces overran the City of Amorium, Phrygia in 838 and massacred or enslaved its population. The men were imprisoned in Samarra, the seat of the Caliphate, for seven years. Initially thought to be held for ransom due to their high position in the empire, all attempts to buy their freedom were declined. The Caliph repeatedly ordered them to convert to Islam and sent Islamic scholars to the prison to convince them; they refused until the Muslims finally gave up and killed them. Martyrs. We know the names and a little about seven of them: • Aetios • Bassoes • Constantine • Constantine Baboutzikos • Kallistos • Theodore Krateros • Theophilos but details about the rest have disappeared over time. However, a lack of information did not stop several legendary and increasingly over-blown “Acts” to be written for years afterward. One of the first biographers, a monk name Euodios, presented the entire affair as a judgement by God on the empire for its official policy of Iconoclasm. Deaths: • beheaded on 6 March 845 in Samarra (in modern Iraq) on the banks of the Euphrates river by Ethiopian slaves • the bodies were thrown into the river, but later recovered by local Christians and given proper burial.