Thought for the Day – 18 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Mary, the Source of Peace
“Mary, my most sweet Mother, in your Immaculate soul there reigned that true peace which is nourished by God’s grace and by complete obedience to His Will. Obtain for me from your Son, Jesus, victory over my evil inclinations and resignation to the sufferings of life and to death itself. Then, following your holy example, may I also be able to acquire the interior peace which will one day be perfect and everlasting in Heaven. Amen.”
Quote/s of the Day – 18 May – The Memorial of St Venantius (Died c 250) Martyr – Wisdom 5:1-5, John 15:1-7
“Remember, then, that you received a spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear. Keep safe what you received. God the Father sealed you, Christ the Lord strengthened you and sent the Spirit into your hearts as the pledge of what is to come.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctor of the Church
“Every Christian must be a living book wherein one can read the teaching of the Gospel. This is what St Paul says to the Corinthians. Our heart is the parchment; through my ministry the Holy Spirit is the writer because ‘my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe’ (Psalm 45:1).”
St Joseph of Leonissa OFM CAP (1556-1612)
“God’s Spirit is a spirit of peace, even after our most serious failings He makes us feel a sorrow that is peaceful, humble and confident, precisely because of His mercy.
The spirit of evil, on the other hand, agitates, irritates and makes us feel a sort of anger at ourselves when we have failed. So, when you are bothered by certain thoughts, the agitation never comes from God but from the devil, since God, being a spirit of peace, brings you serenity.”
St Pio of Pietralcina “Padre Pio” (1887-1968)
( Letter 549)
Breathe in Me, O Holy Spirit By St Augustine (354-420) Father and Doctor of the Church
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 18 May – The Memorial of St Venantius (Died c 250) Martyr – Wisdom 5:1-5, John 15:1-7
“He who abides in Me and I in Him, the same bears much fruit” – John 5:5
REFLECTION – “Because Christ wished to show His disciples, how necessary it is, to be rooted in love of Him and how beneficial it is, to cling to Him, He told them … that He was the vine and that the branches of the vine, were those, who were united to Him and, so to speak, inserted in Him so as to “participate in His nature” (2 Pt 1:4), through a share in the Holy Spirit. For we are made one with Christ the Saviour, by His Holy Spirit …
For we have been reborn from Him and in Him, that is, in the Spirit, in order to bear the fruit of life; not the old life we used to live but the life that consists of newness of faith and of love for Him. We are preserved in being, if we grow onto Him and cling fast to the holy commandment ,which has been handed down to us and, if we are eager to keep the blessing of nobility, that is to say, if we never consent, in any way, to “grieve the Holy Spirit” (Eph 4:30), Who has come to dwell in us and, through Whom, we believe, God has made His home in us. …
For just as the vine-stock supplies and distributes, the virtue of its own inherent natural quality to the shoots, so, too, the Only-Begotten Word of God, implants, in His people, a sort of affinity with His own nature and that of the Father. By the gift of the Spirit, they are united with Him by every kind of holiness. He nourishes them, so that they become devout and He moves them to knowledge of all virtue and good works.” – St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Archbishop of Alexandria, Father and Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – O God, Who made this day holy by the triumph of blessed Venantius, Your Martyr, listen to the prayers of Your people, and grant that we, who honour his noble deeds, may imitate the constancy of his faith. 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).
Our Morning Offering – 18 May – “The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary”
Deign, O Immaculate Virgin By St Paschasius Radbertus (785–865)
Deign, O Immaculate Virgin, Mother most pure, to accept the loving cry of praise which we send up to you from the depths of our hearts. Though they can but add little to your glory, O Queen of Angels, you do not despise, in your love, the praises of the humble and the poor. Cast down upon us a glance of mercy, O most glorious Queen, graciously receive our petitions. Through your immaculate purity of body and mind, which rendered you so pleasing to God, inspire us with a love of innocence and purity. Teach us to guard carefully the gifts of grace, striving ever after sanctity, so that, being made like the image of your beauty, we may be worthy to become the sharers of your eternal happiness. Amen
Saint of the Day – 18 May – Saint Eric of Sweden (c 1120-1161) King of Sweden, Martyr, Confessor, Defender of the oppressed. Born in c 1120 and died on 18 May 1161 at Uppsala, Sweden by being beheaded as he left Holy Mass. Patronages – Sweden, the Capital of Sweden, Stockholm and of farmers. Also known as – Henry of Sweden, Eric The Lawgiver, Eric IX.
The only full account of Eric’s life is a Hagiographic dating from the late 13th century. It writes that Eric was of royal blood and was unanimously chosen King of Sweden. It also states that Eric reigned for ten years, which would put the beginning of his reign in c 1150. If this is correct ,he would have been a rival King to Sverker I, who had ascended the throne in c. 1132 and was murdered in 1156. At any rate, it is assumed that Eric was recognised in most Provinces after 1156. While his paternity is obscure, there is good evidence, that he strengthened his claims to the throne, by marriage to the Danish princess Christina Björnsdotter, a granddaughter of King Inge the Elder. They were blessed with four children.
Eric did much to consolidate Christianity in his realm. The only reliable source mentioning his reign is a Cistercian chronicle from c 1200. Quite contrary to the impression of pro-clerical policy of the Eric Hagiography, it says that King Eric and Queen Christina harassed the Monks of Varnhem Abbey in Västergötland. Some Monks left for Denmark where Vitskøl Abbey was founded in 1158. After this, however, Eric and Christina changed their stance and allowed Varnhem to be reorganised under Abbot Gerhard of Alvastra Abbey. An early 13th-century source adds that he made donations to Nydala Abbey in Småland.
Eric is attributed with the initial spread of the Church and the Christian faih into Finland, “which at this time was pagan and did Sweden great harm.” In an effort to conquer and convert the Finns, he led the First Swedish Crusade east of the Baltic Sea. “Then Eric the Saint asked the people of Finland to accept Christianity and make peace with him. But when they refused to accept it, he fought against them and conquered them by the sword, avenging the blood of the Christian men which they had spilled often and for a long time. And when he had scored such an honourable victory he prayed to God, falling on his knees with tears in his eyes. Then one of his good men asked why he cried, since he should rejoice over the honourable victory ,which he had won over the enemies of Jesus Christ and the holy faith. He then replied: I am happy and praise God since He gave us victory. But I greatly regret that so many souls were lost today, who could have gained eternal life if they had accepted Christianity.” Eric persuaded an English Bishop sT Henry of Uppsala to remain in Finland to evangelise the Finns, later becoming a martyr too.
Eric is portrayed as the ideal of a just ruler, who supported those who were oppressed by the mighty and expelled the rude and unfair from his Kingdom. He was responsible for codifying the laws of his Kingdom, which became known as King Eric’s Law (or the Code of Uppland). Additionally, it is believed that he established a monastic chapter in Old Uppsala, begun by Benedictines who had come from the Danish Abbey of Odense or from Vreta Abbey.
According to Eric’s Hagiography, the Devil inspired Magnus Henriksson, who wished to exercise his claims to the throne, in his machinations. He used gifts and grand promises to attract Swedish nobles, including “a mighty man in the kingdom”. If this is based on sound tradition it may mean that Magnus allied with Karl of the rival House of Sverker. This assumption is supported by a statement in a late medieval chronicle.
Unbeknownst to the King, the allies gathered a considerable army and accosted Eric near Uppsala when he attended Mass on the Feast of the Ascension in May 1160. The King, being informed of the approach of the enemy, heard Mass to the end, then armed himself and the few men at hand and went out to meet Magnus’ troops. He was pulled off his horse onto the ground by the swarming rebels, who taunted and stabbed him, then beheaded him.
A papal bull to his son, Canute I confirms that he was killed by unspecified enemies. The short chronicle in the Västgötalagen from c 1240 says: “The twelfth [King] was Eric. He was rashly killed in an unhappy moment. He always gave a good example while he lived and God rewarded him well. Now his soul is at rest with God and his Angels and his bones rest in Uppsala. And he has, with God’s help, made and manifested many precious miracles.”
Eric’s son Canute I, was eventually able to reclaim the throne and established the House of Eric as the ruling dynasty and used the memory of his father, to anchor the Christian faith and his regime.
The assassinated King Eric was buried in the Old Uppsala Church, which he had rebuilt. In about 1167, as his son began to take power, Eric’s body was enshrined. Eric’s son Canute encouraged veneration of his father as a Martyr. The miracle of a fountain springing from the earth where the King’s head fell became a site of pilgrimage. In 1273, a century after Canute consolidated Sweden, Eric’s relics and regalia were transferred to the present Cathedral of Uppsala, built on the Martyrdom site. The translation both displayed and extended, the depth of his religious cult. The Catholic Cathedral in Stockhol, is dedicated to Saint. King Eric.
St Eric is the Patron Saint of Sweden and of its capital, Stockholm and his crowned head is depicted in the City’s Coat of Arms.
Martyrs of Ancyra – 8 Saints: Seven nuns Martyred in the persecutions of Diocletian and the innkeeper who was executed for giving them a Christian burial: Alexandria, Claudia, Euphrasia, Julitta, Matrona, Phaina, Thecusa and Theodatus. c.304 in Ancyra, Galatia (in modern Turkey).
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