Thought for the Day – 7 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Heart of Judas
“How did Judas fall to such a level? Certainly it did not happen in an instant. His dominant passion was probably small in the beginning but when it was not repressed in time, grew daily and finally came to exercise absolute control over his heart. It was avarice, that vilest and most material of passions, which caused him to fall.
Judas had been appointed bursar and administrator of the small offering which the faithful made to the Apostles. He became attached to this money and may have begun to steal small sums which grew bigger with time until greed prompted him to sell Jesus for thirty miserable pieces of silver. He carried out his plan at the very moment when Jesus bestowed on him the highest dignity.
We should meditate on this terrible tragedy, while there is still time for us to save ourselves from sinking to the same level of degradation. This could easily happen if we neglect to resist temptation at once and to pray fervently for divine help, the moment we are tempted.”
Thursday in Passion Week, the Fifth Week of Lent – 7 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Daniel 3:25, 34-45, Luke 7:36-50
“Happy are they whose way is blameless, who walk in the lawof the Lord.” – Psalm 118:1
“… She began to bathe His feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed His feet and anointed them with ointment.”
“WITH HER HANDS OF GOOD WORKS, she holds the feet of those who preach His Kingdom. She washes them with tears of charity, kisses them with praising lips and pours out the whole ointment of mercy, until He will turn to her. This means that He will come back to her and say to Simon, to the Pharisees, to those who deny, to the nation of the Jews, “I came into your house. You gave me no water for my feet.”
WHEN WILL HE SPEAK these words? He will speak them when He will come in the Majesty of His Father and separate the righteous from the unrighteous, like a Shepherd, Who separates the sheep from the goats. He will say, “I was hungry and you did not give me to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink. I was a stranger and you did not take me in.” This is equivalent to saying, “But this woman, while she was bathing My Feet, anointing them and kissing them, did to the servants what you did not do for the Master.” She did for the feet what you refused to the Head. She expended upon the lowliest members, what you refused to your Creator. Then He will say to the Church, “Your sins, many as they are, are forgiven you because you have loved much.” – St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) Bishop of Ravenna, Father and “Doctor of Homilies” of the Church (Sermon 95)
Quote/s of the Day – 7 April – Thursday in Passion Week, the Fifth Week of Lent
“Many sins are forgiven her because she has loved much.”
“The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgement with this generation and condemn it, for they repented …”
“… In the conceitedness of our souls, without taking the least trouble to obey the Lord’s commandments, we think ourselves worthy to receive the same reward as those who have resisted sin to the death!”
St Basil the Great (329-379) Father and Doctor of the Church
“And when I hear it said, that God is good and He will pardon us and then see, that men cease not from evil-doing, oh, how it grieves me! The infinite goodness with which God communicates with us, sinners as we are, should constantly make us love and serve Him better but we, on the contrary, instead of seeing in His goodness an obligation to please Him, convert it into an excuse for sin, which will, of a certainty, lead in the end, to our deeper condemnation.”
St Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510)
“We … are under an obligation to be the light of the world by the modesty of our behaviour, the fervour of our charity, the innocence of our lives and the example of our virtues. Thus shall we be able to raise the lowered prestige of the Catholic Church and, to build up again, the ruins that others by their vices have caused. Others, by their wickedness, have branded the Catholic Faith with a mark of shame, we must strive, with all our strength, to cleanse it from its ignominy and to restore it to its pristine glory!”
“The path to Heaven is narrow, rough and full of wearisome and trying ascents, nor can it be trodden without great toil and, therefore, wrong is their way, gross their error and assured their ruin, who, after the testimony of so many thousands of Saints, will not learn where to settle their footing!”
St Robert Southwell SJ (1561-1595) Priest and Martyr
One Minute Reflection – 7 April – Thursday in Passion Week, the Fifth Week of Lent Daniel 3:25, 34-45, Luke 7:36-50
“He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” – Luke 7:50
REFLECTION – “A sinful woman has proclaimed to us that God’s love has gone forth in search of sinners. For when He called her, Christ was inviting our whole race to His love and, in her person, He was drawing all sinners to His forgiveness. He spoke to her alone but He was drawing all creation to His grace. (…)
Who would not be struck by the mercy of Christ, who accepted an invitation to a Pharisee’s house, in order to save a sinner! For the sake of the woman who hungered for forgiveness, He, Himself felt hunger for the table of Simon the Pharisee and all the while, under the guise of a meal of bread, He had prepared for the sinner, a meal of repentance! …
In order that you may have the same experience, reflect within yourself that your sin is great but that it is blasphemy against God and an injury to yourself, to despair of His forgiveness because your sin seems to you to be too great. He has promised to forgive your sins, however many they are; will you tell Him you cannot believe this and dispute with Him, saying that your sin is too great and He cannot heal your sickness? Stop at that point and cry out with the prophet: “Lord, I have sinned against you” (Ps 51:6). At once He will reply, “As for me, I have overlooked your fault, you shall not die.” Glory to Him from us all, through all ages! Amen, Amen.” ~ An Anonymous Christian Syrian Writer of the 6th century [ACW} (From a collection of homilies on the sinful woman, 1, 18.104.22.168.28 (Eastern Syrian)
PRAYER – Grant, we beseech You, Almighty God, that the dignity of human nature, weakened by excessive self-indulgence, may be restored by the earnest practice of healing self-denial. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who livetsand reigns withTthee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Our Morning Offering – 7 April – Thursday in Passion Week, the Fifth Week of Lent
O Holy Lord By St Bonaventure (1217-1274) Seraphic Doctor of the Church
O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, everlasting God, for the sake of Your bounty and that of Your Son, Who for me, endured suffering and death; for the sake of the most excellent holiness of His Mother and the merits of all His Saints, grant unto me, a sinner, unworthy of Your blessings, that I may love You only, may ever thirst for Your love, may have continually in my heart the benefits of Your Passion, may acknowledge my own wretchedness and, may desire to be trampled upon and to be despised by all men. Let nothing grieve me, save my guilt. Amen
Saint of the Day – 7 April – Saint Henry Walpole SJ (1558–1595) Priest of the Society of Jesus, Martyr, Confessor, Poet, Lawyer. Born at Docking, Norfolk, in 1558 and died on 7 April 1595, aged 37, at York for refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy, by being hung, drawn and quatered.
Twenty-three-year-old Henry Walpole had attended the debates which St Edmund Campion held with the Anglican hierarchy and was among the bystanders at the execution of Fr Edmund Campion, when drops of the latter’s blood sprinkled his clothes. This moved Henry so deeply, his heart and soul were rent in suffering with St Edmund and he felt convinced that God was calling him to follow in St Edmund’s footsteps.
Henry was born at Docking, near Sandringham, Norfolk, the eldest son of Christopher Walpole, by Margery, heiress of Richard Beckham of Narford. He studied at the Norwich grammar school and later at Peterhouse, Cambridge, before moving to study law at Gray’s Inn, London.
But he was so inspired by Fr Campion’s Martyrdom, that he decided to give up law to become a Priest. At this time, Henry wrote a little book of poetry, honouring St Edmund Campion which was secretly printed and circulated in London. The authorities sought to discover the parties involved. The Printer, Henry’s friend, named Valenger, was fined and suffered the loss of his ears but did not betray Walpole, who was, nonetheless, under suspicion. Walpole fled London for his father’s home in Norfolk and from there, escaped to France.
He entered the English College at Rheims, in France in July, 1582 before going to the English College in Rome and entered the Society of Jesus on 4 February 1584. He completed his studies at Scots College at Pont-a-Mousson, France and was Ordained in Paris on 17 December 1588. He took up his first assignment as Chaplain to the English Catholic refugees serving in the Spanish army in the Low Countries.
Henry was imprisoned for a year in 1589 after he was captured by the Calvinists and then worked at the English Seminary in Valladolid, Spain. In 1593, he travelled to see King Philip II of Spain to obtain permission to found St Omers, now Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, England and thus leave his duties in Spain.
As England’s southern ports were closed because of plague, Fr Walpole, together with his youngest brother, Thomas and an English soldier secured passage on a French vessel going to Scotland and then travelled to Yorkshire where the group separated. While resting at an inn that night, Fr Walpole was unexpectedly arrested on suspicion of being a Priest, being betrayed by a Scottish prisoner who who was paid for denouncing Henry. Fr Walpole’s capture was sorely felt by the Jesuits in England for they had hoped he could continue St Robert Southwell’s work after the latter had been imprisoned.
During his first interrogation Henry only admitted that he was a Jesuit Priest and that he had come to convert the English. He was transferred to York Castle and for three months, he was permitted to leave prison to discuss theology with Protestant visitors before he was transferred to the Salt Tower in the infamous Tower of London into the hands of the notorious Priest-Torturer Richard Topcliffe , who was hoping to extract information from him. regarding hiding Priests and Recusant Catholics.
Fr Walpole remained faithful and did not reveal anything despite being tortured brutally on the rack and was suspended by his wrists for hours over a period of one year to prevent premature death.
In the spring of 1595 he was sent back to York for trial, where he was joined by Blessed Alexander Rawlins, who was also awaiting trial. Both were tried on 3 April on the charge of being Catholic Priests. Henry, as a former lawyer, argued that the law only applied to Priests who had not given themselves up to officials within three days of arrival. He, himself, had been arrested less than a day after landing in England, therefore, he argued that he had not violated the law. The judges demanded that he take the Oath of Supremacy, acknowledging the Queen Elizabeth’s complete authority in religion. He refused to do so and was convicted of high treason. Both he and bL Rawlins were found guilty and condemned and on 7 April 1595 they were hanged, drawn and quartered. bL Rawlins died first; Walpole was allowed to hang until he was dead.
Henry was Beatified on 15 December 1929 by Pope Pius XI and Canonised in 1970, as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, who are celebrated collectively on 4 May.
Today, the gruesome Tower of London, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a tourist destination. However, its name for most, especially for Catholics, denotes imprisonment, horrific torture and the most crueldeaths. That was not its initial purpose. It was built to show the wealth and power of William the Conquerer. In actuality, few met their deaths within its walls but it did serve as a prison and a very dark torture chamber for many. Among those imprisoned and tortured in the Tower was our Saint today, St Henry Walpole.
On the second floor of the Salt Tower’s walls, are many carvings done by these Martyred men. In fact, St Henry carved his name in the wall as seen above. But another carving by one of our Martyrs, is extremely moving. This carving is an outline of a foot with a wound — a Foot of Jesus Christ pierced by iron nails to suspend Him on the Cross for our salvation. This image was common among these Priests. It was a source of courage and consolation as they awaited their own deaths in imitation of their Lord, their Saviour and their God. This image is regarded as a type of relic and those who visit sense its sorrowful holiness and pray before it in veneration.
St Peleusius of Alexandria St Peter Nguyen Van Luu Bl Ralph Ashley St Rufinus the Martyr St Saturninus of Verona Bl Ursuline of Parma
Martyrs of Pentapolis – 4 Saints: A Bishop, Deacon and two Lectors at Pentapolis, Lybia who for their faith were tortured, had their tongues cut out, and were left for dead. They survived and each died years later of natural causes; however, because they were willing to die and because there were attempts to kill them, they are considered martyrs. We know little else except their names – Ammonius, Irenaeus, Serapion and Theodore c 310 at Pentapolis, Lybia.
Martyrs of Sinope – 200 Saints: 200 Christian soldiers Martyred together for their faith. We don’t even have their names. They were martyred in Sinope, Pontus, Asia Minor (in modern Turkey).