Thought for the Day – 23 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Royal Road of the Cross
“We all have our own cross. When we reject it, we fashion one for ourselves by our defects and sins, which leave us discontented and restless and draws God’s punishment upon us.
It is useless to flee from the Cross, for it follows us everywhere. If we refuse to accept the cross which God has given us, we take upon ourselves, one which is heavier than the first. Worldlingscan bask for a moment in their pleasures but, it soon passes and is replaced by bitterness and sorrow. Their suffering is deeper than that of a good Christian, who places his trust in God. There is only one way of making our cross easier to bear and that is to embrace it as Jesus did. We should love the Cross because it is suffering which shows us how to become like Jesus, to make reparation for our sins and to co-operate by our own passion with the Passion of Christ (Cf Col 1:24).”
Quote/s of the Day – 23 July – The Memorial of St Apollinaris (1st Century) Bishop Martyr, Disciple of St Peter – 1 Peter 5:1-11, Luke 22:24-30
“Let him who is greatest among you, become as the youngest and he who is the leader, as the servant.”
“Those who refuse to be humble cannot be saved. They cannot say with the prophet: See, God comes to my aid; the Lord is the helper of my soul. But anyone who makes himself humble, like a little child, is greater in the kingdom of heaven.”
St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father and Doctor if the Church
“When insults have no effect on us, when persecutions and penalties, have no terror for us, when prosperity or adversity, has no influence on us, when friend and foe, are viewed in the same light… do we not come close, to sharing, the serenity of God?”
St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167) “St Bernard of the North”
“O blessed Jesus, give me stillness of soul in You. Let Your mighty calmness reign in me. Rule me, O King of Gentleness, King of Peace.”
St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Doctor of the Church
“Humility and charity are the two master chords – one, the lowest; the other, the highest; all the others are dependent on them. Therefore, it is necessary, above all. to maintain ourselves in these two virtues, for observe well, that the preservation of the whole edifice depends on the foundation and the roof!”
One Minute Reflection –23 July – the Memorial of St Apollonaris (1st Century) Bishop Martyr, Disciple of St Peter – 1 Peter 5:1-11, Luke 22:24-30
“At that time, there arose a dispute among the disciples, which of them was reputed to be the greatest.” – Luke 22:24
REFLECTION – “Why are there strife and passion, schisms and even war among you? Do we not possess the same Spirit of grace which was given to us and the same calling in Christ? Why do we tear apart and divide the Body of Christ? Why do we revolt against our own Body? Why do we reach such a degree of insanity that we forget that we are members of one another? Do not forget the words of Jesus our Lord: Woe to that man; it would be better for him if he had not been born rather than scandalise one of my chosen ones. Indeed it would be better for him to have a great millstone round his neck and to be drowned in the sea, than that he lead astray one of my chosen ones. Your division has led many astray, has made many doubt, has made many despair and has brought grief upon us all. And still your rebellion continues!
Pick up the letter of blessed Paul the Apostle. What did he write to you at the beginning of his ministry? Even then you had developed factions. So Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote to you concerning himself and Cephas and Apollos. But that division involved you in less sin because you were supporting Apostles of high reputation and a person approved by them.
We should put an end to this division immediately. Let us fall down before our Master and implore His mercy with our tears. Then He will be reconciled to us and restore us to the practice of brotherly love that befits us. For this is the Gate of Justice that leads to life, as it is written: Open to me the Gates of Justice. When I have entered there, I shall praise the Lord. This is the Gate of the Lord, the just shall enter through it. There are many gates which stand open but the Gate of Justice, is the Gateway of Christ. All who enter through this Gate, are blessed, pursuing their way in holiness and justice, performing all their tasks without discord. A person may be faithful, he may have the power to utter hidden mysteries, he may be discriminating in the evaluation of what is said and pure in his actions. But the greater he seems to be, the more humbly he ought to act and the more zealous he should be, for the common good, rather than his own interest.” – St Pope Clement I (c 35-c 101) Pope from about 88 to 101 Apostolic Father, Bishop of Rome and Martyr (An excerpt from his Letter to the Corinthians).
PRAYER – O God, the rewarder of faithful souls, grant that we may obtain pardon through the prayers of blessed Apollinaris, Thy Martyr and Bishop, whose feast we are celebrating .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).
Salve Regina Hail Holy Queen By Blessed Herman of Reichenau (1013–1054)
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, Hail our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, Poor banished children of Eve; To thee do we send up our sighs, Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, Thine eyes of mercy toward us; And after this our exile, Show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
This line, below, by St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Doctor of the Church
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
℣ Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, ℟ that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Saint of the Day – 23 July – St Phocas the Gardener (Died c 303) Layman Martyr, Apostle of the poor and needy. Died by beheading c 303 in Sinope, Pontus (in modern Turkey). Also known as – Phocas of Hovenier, Phocas of Sinop, Focas, Fokas. Patronages – against insect bites, against poisoning, against snake bites, agricultural workers, farm workers, farmers, field hands, boatmen, mariners, sailors, watermen, gardeners, husbandmen, market-gardeners.
Christian gardener who lived at Sinope, in Paphiagonia, on the Black Sea and was put to death during the persecutions launched by Emperor Diocletian. Phocas is sometimes confused with Phocas of Antioch, although there is no doubt about the historical act of his martyrdom. According to tradition, he gave welcome to the Roman soldiers sent to find and execute him and, as they did not know who he was, he agreed to take them to the Phocas whom they sought. After giving them a meal and allowing them to sleep in his house, he went out and dug his own grave, using the rest of the night to prepare his soul. In the morning, he led them to his prepared grave and informed them of his identity. When they were aghast and hesitated to slay him, he encouraged them to complete their task and behead him. He is especially venerated in the East and was long considered a Patron Saint for gardeners and farmers.
Phocas dwelt near the gate of Sinope, a city of Pontus and lived by cultivating a garden, which yielded him a handsome subsistence and wherewith, plentifully to relieve the indigent and hungry. In his humble profession, he imitated the virtue of the most holy anchorites and seemed, in part restored, to the happy condition of our first parents in Eden. To prune the garden without labour and toil was their sweet employment and pleasure. Since their sin, the earth yields not its fruit but by the sweat of our brow.
But still, no labour is more useful or necessary, or more natural to man and better adapted to maintain in him, vigour of mind and health of body, than that of tillage. Nor does any other part of the universe, rival the innocent charms which a garden presents to all our senses, by the fragrancy of its flowers, by the riches of its produce and the sweetness and variety of its fruits; by the melodious concert of its musicians, by the worlds of wonders which every stem, leaf and fibre exhibit to the contemplation of the inquisitive philosopher and by that beauty and variegated lustre of colours which clothe the numberless tribes of its smallest inhabitants and adorn its shining landscapes, vying with the brightest splendour of the heavens. And in a single lily, surpassing the dazzling lustre, with which Solomon was surrounded on his throne in the midst of all his glory.
And what a field for contemplation does a garden offer to our view in every part, raising our souls to God in raptures of love and praise, stimulating us to fervour, by the fruitfulness with which it repays our labour and multiplies the seed it receives and exciting us to tears of compunction for our insensibility to God, by the barrenness with which it is changed into a frightful desert, unless subdued by assiduous toil!
Our Saint joining prayer with his labour, found in his garden itself, an instructive book and an inexhausted fund of holy meditation. His house was open to all strangers and travellers who had no lodging in the place and after having, for many years most liberally bestowed the fruit of his labour on the poor, he was found worthy also, to give his life for Christ.
Although his profession was obscure and thought lowly by the world, he was well known over the whole country, by the reputation of his charity and virtue.
Bl Juan de Luca Bl Juan de Montesinos Bl Leonard da Recanati Bl Mariano Brandi St Phocas the Gardener (Died c 303) Layman Martyr St Primitiva of Rome St Rasyphus of Macé St Rasyphus of Rome St Ravennus of Macé St Redempta of Rome St Romula of Rome St Severus of Bizye St Theophilus of Rome St Trophimus of Rome St Valerian of Cimiez
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