Thought for the Day – 21 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Since Mary excelled so much in this virtue and had so great a love for it, she will obtain for us from God, the grace necessary for us to preserve it, as long as we pray humbly to her, especially in times of temptation.
Let us remember, that at Baptism, we became members of the Mystical Body of Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit (Cf 1 Cor 6:15-20). We are obliged to avoid defiling this temple and making the Mystical Body of Christ a dwelling-place for the devil! It is not true to say, that this is an impossible fight. We know, from our own experience, that we can win. We have often battled with, or fled from occasions of sin. We have prayed and made sacrifices, in order to avoid sin and, with the help of God and the protection of the Blessed Virgin, we have won! After our victory, we have felt elated and have experienced that peace, which only God’s grace can bestow. If we have succeeded so many times, why cannot we do the same always? There is no need to be afraid. If we do all that we can, God’s grace will do the rest. “I can do all things in Him, Who strengthens me,” Phil 4:12) says St Paul. “God is faithful,” he writes elsewhere “and will not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength but, with the temptation, will also give you a way out, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13).
If we remain pure, we shall see God. We shall see Him in the work of His creation in this world and we shall see and enjoy Him forever in Heaven. “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8).”
Quote/s of the Day – 21 May – “The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary” and Sanctae Mariae Sabbato, Mary’s Saturday
“Go to Mary and sing her praises and you will be enlightened. For it is through her, that the true Light shines on the sea of this life.”
St Ildephonsus (607-670)
“As breathing is not only a sign but even, a cause of life, so the name of Mary, which is constantly found on the lips of God’s servants, both proves that they are truly alive and, at the same time, causes and preserves their life and gives them, every succour . . . may Your name, O Mother of God, be the last sound that escapes my lips!”
St Germanus of Constantinople (c 640-733)
“We may seek graces but shall never find them without the intercession of Mary.”
St Cajetan (1480-1547)
“Do you not know, that not only is Jesus, resting and dwelling continually in the Heart of Mary but that He is, Himself the Heart of Mary … “
St John Eudes CO (1601-1680) Apostle of the Two Holy Hearts
REFLECTION – “Mary, the Mother of the Lord, stood by her Son’s Cross. No-one has taught me this but the holy Evangelist John. Others have related how the earth was shaken at the Lord’s Passion, the sky was covered with darkness, the sun withdrew itself and how, the thief was, after a faithful confession, received into paradise. John tells us what the others have not told, how the Lord, while fixed on the Cross called to His Mother. He thought it was more important that, victorious over His sufferings, Jesus gave her the offices of piety, than that He gave her a Heavenly Kingdom. For if it is the mark of religion to grant pardon to the thief, it is a mark of much greater piety, that a mother is honoured with such affection, by her Son. “Behold,” He says, “thy son.” “Behold thy mother.” Christ testified from the Cross and divided the offices of piety, between the mother and the disciple.
Nor was Mary below what was becoming the Mother of Christ. When the Apostles fled, she stood at the Cross and with pious eyes beheld her Son’s wounds. For she did not look to the death of her offspring but to the salvation of the world. Or perhaps, because that “royal hall” knew, that the redemption of the world would be through the death of her Son, she thought that by her death, she also might add something to that universal gift. But Jesus did not need a helper, for the redemption of all, Who saved all without a helper. This is why He says, “I am counted among those who go down to the pit. I am like those who have no help.” He received indeed, the affection of His Mother but sought not another’s help. Imitate her, holy mothers, who in her only dearly beloved Son, set forth so great an example of maternal virtue. For neither have you sweeter children, nor did the Virgin seek the consolation of being able to bear another son.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Archbishop of Milan, Great Western Father and Doctor (Letter 63)
PRAYER – Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, unto all Thy servants, that they may remain continually in the enjoyment of soundness, both of mind and body and by the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, always a Virgin, may be delivered from present sadness and enter into the joy of Thine eternal gladness. 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 – 21 May – “The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary” and Sanctae Mariae Sabbato, Mary’s Saturday
The Mater Christi Unknown Author
Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, What shall I ask of thee? I do not sigh for the wealth of earth For the joys that fade and flee, But, Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, This do I long to see — The bliss untold which thy arms enfold, The Treasure upon thy knee.
Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, He was All-in-All to thee, In the winter’s cave, in Nazareth’s home, In the hamlets of Galilee, So, Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, He will not say nay to thee, When He lifts His Face to thy sweet embrace, Speak to Him, Mother, of me.
Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, The world will bid Him flee, Too busy to heed His gentle voice, Too blind His charms to see, Then, Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, Come with thy Babe to me, Tho’ the world be cold, my heart shall hold A shelter for Him and thee.
Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, What shall I do for thee? I will love thy Son with the whole of my strength, My only King shall He be. Yes! Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, This will I do for thee, Of all that are dear or cherished here, None shall be dear as He.
Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, I toss on a stormy sea, O lift thy Child as a Beacon Light, To the Port where I fain would be! And, Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ, This do I ask of thee — When the voyage is o’er, oh! stand on the shore And show Him at last to me.
Saint of the Day – 21 May – Saint Godric of Finchale (c 1070-1170) Hermit, Merchant, Pilgrim, Hymnist, Spiritual Advisor to Saints, both great and small, friend of all animals. Born in c 1070 at Walpole, Norfolk, England and died in 1170 at Finchale, County Durham, England of natural causes, Also known as – Godrick
Godric’s life was recorded by a his contemporary, a Monk named Reginald of Durham. Several other Hagiographies are also extant. According to these accounts, Godric, who began from humble beginnings as the son of Ailward and Edwenna, “both of slender rank and wealth but abundant in righteousness and virtue,” was a pedlar, then a sailor and entrepreneur and may have been the captain and owner of the ship which conveyed King Baldwin I of Jerusalem to Jaffa in 1102.
After years at sea, Godric went to the Island of Lindisfarne and there experienced a vision of St Cuthbert. This encounter changed his life and, thereafter, he devoted himself to Christianity and service to God.
After many pilgrimages around the Mediterranean, Godric returned to England and lived with an elderly hermit named Aelric for two years. Upon Aelric’s death, Godric made one last pilgrimage to Jerusalem and then returned home, where he convinced Ranulf Flambard, the Bishop of Durham, to grant him a place to live as a Hermit at Finchale near the Monastery, by the River Wear. He had previously served as doorkeeper, the lowest of the minor orders, at the hospital Church of nearby St Giles Hospital in Durham. He is recorded to have lived at Finchale for the final sixty three years of his life, occasionally meeting with visitors approved by the Prior of Finchale Monaster, under whose care and obedience he lived and died. A Monk of that house was his Confessor, said Mass for him and administered him the Sacraments in a Chapel adjoining to his cell, which the holy man had built in honour of St John the Baptist.
As the years passed, his reputation grew, and St Thomas à Becket (Martyr) (1118-1170) and Pope Alexander III, both reportedly sought Godric’s advice as a wise and holy man.
Reginald of Durham.describes Godric’s physical attributes:
For he was vigorous and strenuous in mind, whole of limb and strong in body. He was of middle stature, broad-shouldered and deep-chested, with a long face, grey eyes most clear and piercing, bushy brows, a broad forehead, long and open nostrils, a nose of comely curve and a pointed chin. His beard was thick and longer than the ordinary, his mouth well-shaped, with lips of moderate thickness, in youth, his hair was black, in age as white as snow; his neck was short and thick, knotted with veins and sinews; his legs were somewhat slender, his instep high, his knees hardened and horny with frequent kneeling; his whole skin rough beyond the ordinary, until all this roughness was softened by old age.
For several years before his death, Godric was confined to his bed by sickness and old age. Father William of Newburgh OSA, Augustinian Priest and Historian, who visited him during that time, tells us that although his body appeared in a manner dead, his tongue was ever repeating the sacred names of the Three Divine Persons and, in his countenance, there appeared a wonderful dignity, accompanied with an unusual grace and sweetness. Having remained in his desert for sixty-three years, he was seized with his last illness and happily departed to his Lord on the 21st of May, 1170,
His body was buried in the Chapel of St John Baptist. Many miracles confirmed the opinion of his sanctity and a little Chapel was built in his memory by Richard, brother to Hugh Pidsey, Bishop of Durham.
St Godric is often remembered for his affinity with and kindness toward animals and many stories recall his protection of the creatures, who lived near his forest home. According to one of these, he hid a stag from pursuing hunters; according to another, he even allowed snakes to warm themselves by his fire.
Godric lived on a diet of herbs, wild honey, acorns, crab-apples and nuts. He slept on the bare ground.
Reginald of Durham recorded four hymns of St Godric. They are the oldest hymns in English for which the original musical settings survive. Reginald describes the circumstances in which Godric learnt the first hymn. In a vision, the Virgin Mary appeared to Godric “two maidens of surpassing beauty clad in shining white raiments,” at her side. They pledged to come to his aid in times of need and the Virgin herself, taught Godric a hymn of consolation, to overcome grief or temptation Saintë Marië Virginë.
The novel Godric (1981) by Frederick Buechner is a fictional retelling of his life and travels. It was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.
St Adalric of Bèze Bl Adilio Daronch St Ageranus of Bèze St Ansuinus of Bèze St Antiochus of Caesarea Philippi
St Bairfhion of Killbarron St Berard of Bèze St Collen of Denbighshire
St Constantine the Great St Donatus of Caesarea St Eutychius of Mauretania
St Genesius of Bèze St Godric of Finchale (c 1070-1170) Hermit Bl Hemming of Åbo St Hospitius St Isberga of Aire Bl Jean Mopinot Bl Lucio del Rio St Mancio of Évora Bl Manuel Gómez González St Nicostratus of Caesarea Philippi
St Polieuctus of Caesarea St Polius of Mauretania St Restituta of Corsica St Rodron of Bèze St Secundinus of Cordova St Secundus of Alexandria St Serapion the Sindonite St Sifrard of Bèze Bl Silao St Synesius St Theobald of Vienne St Theopompus St Timothy of Mauretania St Valens of Auxerre St Vales St Victorius of Caesarea
Martyrs of Egypt: Large number of Bishops, Priests, Deacons and lay people banished when the Arian heretics seized the diocese of Alexandria, Egypt in 357 and drove out Saint Athanasius and other orthodox Christians. Many were old, many infirm and many, many died of abuse and privations while on the road and in the wilderness. Very few survived to return to their homes in 361 when Julian the Apostate recalled all Christians and then many of those later died in the persecutions of Julian.
Martyrs of Pentecost in Alexandria: An unspecified number of Christian clerics and lay people who, on Pentecost in 338, were rounded up by order of the Arian bishop and Emperor Constantius and were either killed, or exiled, for refusing to accept Arian teachings. 339 in Alexandria, Egypt.
Martyrs of Caesarea Philippi Antiochus Nicostratus
Martyrs of Mauretania Eutychius Polius Timothy Monks of Tibhirine Célestin Ringeard Christian de Chergé Christian Lemarchand Christophe Lebreton Michel Fleury Paul Dochier Paul Favre-Miville