Thought for the Day – 17 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Contemplation and Our Lady
“O Mary, my most Holy Mother, free me from useless desires and from an excessive longing for worldly things. Help me to think always of Heaven. Grant that I may find my happiness in God, as you did, by acting in perfect accordance with His Holy Will. By loving Him above everything in the world, may I, one day, enjoy with you, the everlasting happiness of Heaven. Amen. ”
Quote/s of the Day – 17 May – The Memorial of St Paschal Baylon OFM (1540-1592) Confessor, “Seraph of the Eucharist,” “Saint of the Blessed Sacrament,” “Servant of the Blessed Sacrament.” Franciscan Lay Brother.
“Go to Jesus in The Most Blessed Sacrament with folded hands and say “take my hands, use them as Your hands Lord.”
“Go to Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament with a closed mouth and listen to Him, whispering to our soul and responding with “Yes Lord.”
“Go to Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament with a fiat and say, “Not my will but Your will be done Lord!”
“O Father Eternal God, Grant me faith and courage. Son, wisdom of the Father, grant me light and make me wise. Holy Spirit, beloved of Father and Son, inflame my heart and purify my soul, that I may approach this majestic Sacrament, with faith and love.”
One Minute Reflection – 17 May – The Memorial of St Paschal Baylon OFM (1540-1592) Confessor – Sirach 31:8-11, Luke 12:35-40
“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks.” – Luke 12:35-36
REFLECTION – “God, the Word, stirs up the lazy and arouses the sleeper. For indeed, someone who comes knocking at the door is always wanting to come in. But it depends on us, if He does not always enter, or always remain. May your door be open to Him Who comes; open your soul, enlarge your spiritual capacities, that you may discover the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace and sweetness of grace. Expand your heart; run to meet the Sun of that Eternal Light that “enlightens everyone” (Jn 1,9). It is certain that this true Light shines for all but, if anyone shuts their windows, then they themselves shut themselves off from this Eternal Light.
So, even Christ remains outside, if you shut the door of your soul. It is true that He could enter but He does not want to use force, He does not put those who refuse under pressure. Descended from the Virgin, born from her womb, He shines throughout the universe to give Light to all. Those who long to receive the Light, which shines with an everlasting brightness, open up to Him. No night comes to intervene. Indeed, the sun we see each day gives way to night’s darkness but the Sun of Justice (Mal 3,20) knows no setting for Wisdom is not overcome by evil.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan and Father and Doctor of the Church – 12th Sermon on Psalm 118
PRAYER – O God, Who endowed blessed Paschal, Your Confessor, with a wondrous love for the Sacred Mysteries of Your Body and Blood, mercifully grant that we may be found worthy to share in the same spiritual abundance, which he received in this Divine Banquet. Who lives and reigns with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).
Our Morning Offering – 17 May – “The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary”
Hail, O Mother! By St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church
Hail, O Mother! Virgin, Heaven, throne, glory of our Church, it’s foundation and ornament. Earnestly pray for us to Jesus, your Son and Our Lord, that through your intercession, we may have mercy on the day of judgement. Pray that we may receive, all those good things which are reserved for those who love God. Through the grace and favour of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, to Whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be power, honour and glory, now and forever. Amen
Saint of the Day – 17 May – St Paschal Baylon OFM (16 May 1540 – 17 May 1592) Spanish Lay Brother “Seraph of the Eucharist,” “Saint of the Blessed Sacrament,” “Servant of the Blessed Sacrament,” Franciscan Lay Brother, Mystic…….. Also known as – Pasquale, PascaL. Paschal was Beatified on 29 October 1618 by Pope Paul V and Canonised on 16 October 1690 by Pope Alexander VIII. Pope Leo XIII proclaimed the saint as the “Seraph of the Eucharist” as well as the Patron of Eucharistic congresses and affiliated associations.
The Roman Martyrology states: “At Villa Real near Valencia in Spain, Saint Pasquale Baylon, a religious of the Order of Friars Minor, who, always showing himself caring and kind to everyone, constantly venerated the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist with fervent love.”
Childhood and early years: Let’s start by saying that the Spanish name Pasquale, is of Christian origin and is also widely used in the feminine – Pasqualina. It was given to children born on Easter Sunday but its distant origins are Jewish (Pesach = passage) meaning the passage of the Jewish people through the Red Sea and the passage of the Angel of the Lord, who saved, the Jewish firstborns, by marking their houses with the blood of the lamb, to distinguish them from the Egyptians, who were destined for death, in the last plague of Egypt. However, this is not the case with Pasquale Baylon, who was born on 16 May 1540, the day of Pentecost (which is also called in Spanish, “Pascua de Pentecostés.” From his childhood, he showed a marked devotion to the Holy Eucharist, which would later become the centre of his entire religious life. He was a shepherd first of the family’s flock, then in the service of other masters. The solitude of the fields favoured meditation, his desire for continuous prayer. He also began to mortify his young body with long fasts and painful flagellations.
Franciscan vocation: At the age of 18 he asked to join the Convent of Santa Maria di Loreto, of the Reformed Franciscans called Alcantarini by St Peter of Alcantara, reformer of the Order. But he was not accepted, perhaps due to his young age. In order to remain in the vicinity of the Convent, he entered the service, again as a shepherd, of the very wealthy landowner, Martín García. Admired by this young employee, he proposed to adopt Paschal, sin order to make him his heir. However, Paschal refused this offer as he was more determined than ever to enter among the Friars of St. Francis. In 1560, he was admitted to the Convent of St Maria di Loreto, where he made his religious profession on 2 February 1564. He never wanted to ascend to the Priesthood, despite the favourable opinion of his superiors because he did not feel worthy.
Friar, Porter, Cook, gifted with holy wisdom: For years Paschal fulfilled the various services necessary to the convent, especially as a Porter, a task that he always carried out with great goodness. Although so young, he acquired a reputation for holiness, for his Christian virtues but also for the miraculous deeds attributed to him. He was truly “Pentecostal,” that is, favoured by the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit, including that of wisdom: he could read and write but he was not very cultured. Still, he was constantly asked for advice by many illustrious persons
On mission among the Calvinists: In 1576, even the Provincial Father of the Alcantarins of Spain, having to communicate urgently with the Father General residing in Paris, thought of sending Brother Paschal with the letter, knowing full well the serious difficulties of the journey, for the crossing of some French Provinces, which at that time were dominated by Calvinists. In fact, the Friar was made the object of continuous derision, insults, beatings. In Orléans, he too was in danger of death by stoning! There, Paschal had disputed with the Calvinist in regard to the Holy Eucharist debunking their false arguments.
Seraph of the Eucharist: On returning from his delicate and dangerous mission, Paschal composed a small book of definitions and sentences on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and, on the divine power transmitted to the Roman Pontiff. As evidence of this great devotion, for which he was nicknamed “Seraph of the Eucharist,” we have received his personal thoughts and prayers, which he added to the collections of writings on Eucharistic themes.
Death: In order to acquire greater perfection, Paschal underwent continuous and heavy mortifications and increasingly numerous penances, to the point that his health was now compromised. On 17 May 1592, the day after his fifty-second birthday, Paschale died at the Convent of the Rosary in Villarreal, near Valencia. As had happened on the day of his birth, it was Pentecost! The funeral saw the participation of a crowd of faithful, who wanted to pay homage of heartfelt veneration to the body of the humble lay Franciscan Brother, whose holiness, fand miracles were well-known throughout the Catholic world.
Veneration and iconography: He was particularly revered in Naples, subject to Spanish domination. The cult was concentrated in two large and famous Franciscan Convents, once belonging to the Alcantarini but still existing – St Paschal a Chiaia and St Paschal Granatello. His name was given to generations of children, especially in Southern Italy. He was Beatified 26 years after his death, on 29 October 1618, by Pope Paul V and proclaimed a Saint on 16 October 1690 by Pope Alexander VIII. His remains, which were venerated with great devotion in Villarreal, were desecrated and dispersed during the Spanish Civil War; some were later recovered and returned to the City in 1952. Over the centuries, his passionate devotion to the Eucharist have inspired the many artists who have depicted him. Paschal usually appears in the act of adoring the Blessed Sacrament in a Monstrance.
Official and traditional Patronages: Pope Leo XIII, on 28 November 1897, proclaimed him Patron of Eucharistic Congresses and Associations. Popularly he is also considered Patron of cooks and pastry chefs, on the basis of his humble services carried out in the Convent – according to tradition, Paschal is the creator of the famous desert called Zabaglione, whose name evidently derives from him. Probably due to a resemblance in the sound of Paschal’s Surname (“St Paschal Baylonne”). Paschal is finally invoked by single women looking for a husband and by women in general.