Thought for the Day – 17 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Surest Way to Avoid Sin
“Another way of making sure that we shall never offend God is to love our neighbour. “Love does no evil to a neighbour” (Rin 13:10) St Paul assures us. We are told that when St John the Apostle was too old to be able to preach long sermons and had to be carried into speak to his flock, he was accustomed to repeat the same brief message: “Little children, love one another.” One day, the faithful, who had grown tired of hearing the same phrase so often, asked him to say something else to them, “But this is God’s command,” St John replied “and if you obey it that will be sufficient,”
If we love our neighbour as ourselves, for the love of God, we could never sin. We could never be guilty of injustice, calumny or indifference to the misfortunes of others. Rather, should we be kind, compassionate and ready to help our fellowmen in their spiritual and temporal needs.
Let us examine ourselves on the extent of our fraternal charity and let us resolve to see the person of Jesus Christ in our neighbour.”
Quote/s of the Day – 17 August – St Hyacinth OP (1185-1257) ) Confessor
For forty years St Hyacinth was devoted solely to the glory of God and the salvation of souls. He has now enjoyed, for more than seven hundred and fifty years, the heavenly joys in recompence for his labours and, he will enjoy them for all eternity. Oh! how richly God rewards the services of His elect!
“He who loves his life, loses it and he who hates his life in this world, keeps it unto life everlasting. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me and where I Am, there also shall My servant be.”
“Why do we on earth, not strive to find rest with Him in Heaven, even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to Him? While in Heaven. He is also with us and we, while on earth, are with Him. He is here with us by His Divinity, His power and His love. We cannot be in Heaven, as He is on earth, by divinity but in Him, we can be there by love!”
“That your joy may be full.”
“Such is our Christian life. By desiring Heaven, we exercise the powers of our soul. Now this exercise will be effective, only to the extent that we free ourselves from desires leading to infatuation with this world. Let me return to the example I have already used, of filling an empty container. God means to fill each of you with what is good – so cast out what is bad! If he wishes to fill you with honey and you are full of sour wine, where is the honey to go? The vessel must be emptied of its contents and then, be cleansed. Yes, it must be cleansed, even if you have to work hard and scour it. It must be made fit for the new thing, whatever it may be!”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the Church
“The happiness to which I aspire is greater than anything on earth. Therefore, I regard with extreme joy, whatever pains and sufferings may befall me here.”
One Minute Reflection – 17 August – St Hyacinth OP (1185-1257) ) Confessor – Sirach 31:8-11, Luke 12:35-40
“Let your loins be girt about and your lamps burning and you yourselves ,like men waiting for their master’s return from the wedding; so that when he comes and knocks, they may straightaway open to him. Blessed are those servants whom the master, on his return, shall find watching.” – Luke 12:35-37
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, that 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 gladden us with the annual feast of blessed Hyacinth, Thy Confessor, mercifully grant that, while honouring the anniversary of his death, we may also imitate his deeds. 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 – 17 August – “The Month of the Immaculate Heart of 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 – 17 August – St Hyacinth OP (1185-1257) ) Confessor, Priest. “Apostle of Poland” and “Apostle of the North” also known as “the Polish St Dominic.
Saint Hyacinth, Confessor By Fr Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888)
St Hyacinth, a great ornament of the celebrated Order of Preachers, was born in Poland. He was the son of illustrious parents, who educated him according to the dictates of Christianity. During the years devoted to his studies, he was an example of innocence, piety and industry. His uncle, the Bishop of Cracow, appointed him Canon in his Cathedral, so that he might employ him in the administration of his See. When he left for Rome, on account of troubles at home, he took Hyacinth with him. St Dominic, so celebrated for his apostolic zeal and for the miracles he wrought, was also in Rome at the time. Hyacinth, observing the wonderful zeal and piety of this holy man and of his companions, felt a growing desire to join them. He and three of his fellow-travellers, who had the same inclination, went to St Dominic and begged him to receive them into his newly founded Order. The Saint received them willingly and instructed them how to lead a religious life, to preach in a Christian spirit and to labour successfully for the spiritual welfare of men. After a few months, the holy founder had so thoroughly imbued them with his spirit that he did not hesitate, after they had taken their vows, to send them into their native country, to preach the word of God and promote the salvation of souls.
At Cracow, where Hyacinth had formerly preached, by his edifying life, he now began to preach with words and God gave them such power that he reformed the most hardened sinners, induced others to become more zealous in the service of the Almighty and animated all, to be more solicitous for the salvation of their souls. That all this might have a more solid foundation, he gathered a number of spiritual co-operators about himself and, having instructed them, according to the maxims of St Dominic, he established a Dominican Monastery at Cracow. Hyacinth, who had been chosen Superior by the new members, was an example to all. Besides the prescribed fast-days of his Order, he fasted all Fridays and vigils, on bread and water. The greater part of the night he passed in fervent prayer, before the Blessed Sacrament. He allowed himself only a very short rest on the bare floor and scourged himself severely every night. The whole day was occupied with hearing confessions, preaching, visiting the sick and similar pious exercises.
He had particular devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin and never undertook anything before offering his work to God and begging the assistance of His Blessed Mother. She appeared to him once, on the eve of the Feast of her Assumption, saying to him: “Be assured, my son, that thou shalt receive everything thou askest from my Son.” The comfort these words afforded the holy man, may be easily imagined. He, however, asked only for what was necessary for the salvation of souls. His own and his companion’s pious labours were all directed to the same end.
When he thought that he had firmly established religious principles and practices among the inhabitants of Cracow and the whole Diocese, he sent his preachers to different places to labour in the same manner. He himself, also left Cracow and it is astonishing, how many Countries he journeyed through, how many Convents he established everywhere for apostolic labourers, how many souls he converted to the true faith or to a more virtuous life. To aid his pious endeavours, God gave him power to work miracles and so great was their number, that he might well be called the Thaumaturgus, or wonder-worker of his age.
A miraculous event occurred in Russia, when the Tartars stormed Kiow, where the Saint had founded a Church and Convent. He was standing at the Altar when they entered the City, spreading destruction and desolation around them. After finishing the Holy Sacrifice, the Saint, still in his Priestly robes, took the Ciborium containing the Blessed Sacrament and telling his Priests to follow him without fear, he went towards the Church door. When passing a large alabaster statue of the Blessed Virgin, before which he had often said his prayers, he distinctly heard a voice saying: “My son Hyacinth, wilt thou leave me here to be at the mercy of my enemies?” The Saint’s eyes filled with tears. “How can I carry thee? ” said he; “the burden is too heavy.” “Only try,” was the response; “my Son will assist thee to carry me without difficulty.” The holy man with streaming eyes, took the statue and found it so light that he could carry it with one hand. Thus, carrying the Ciborium in one hand and the statue in the other, he and his companions passed through the enemy unassailed, to the gates of the City. Not finding any soldiers there, they passed on and reached Cracow in safety.
Whether Almighty God made His servants invisible to the Tartars on this occasion, or in some other manner prevented them from harming them, is not known but, it is a fact that they left the City unmolested. When they reached the river, over which there was no bridge, nor a boat to convey them across, the Saint, trusting in the power of Him Whom he carried in his right hand and, in the intercession of her whom he held in his left, fearlessly stepped upon the water and crossed it with dry feet.
A similar and perhaps, still greater miracle occurred at another time. He was going to Vicegrad to preach but, on reaching the river, found no vessel which he could use to reach the opposite bank. Spreading his cloak on the water, he sat upon it and was floated safely across and brought his companions over in the same manner. By this and many other miracles, God glorified His servant even on earth.
For forty years this holy man had laboured for the salvation of souls, when, in 1257, it was revealed to him that he should assist, in Heaven, at the triumph of the Blessed Virgin, on the Feast of her glorious Assumption. On the Feast of St Mary ad Nives, he was taken ill. On the eve of the Assumption, he gave his last instruction to the Priests of his Order, after which, he prepared for the festival and,, having recited the Office of the day, he fixed his eyes on Heaven and said the psalm, “In thee, O Lord, have I hoped,” to the words, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit,” when he calmly expired, at the age of 74. The innocence and chastity which he possessed at the time of his Baptism, remained unspotted until the end.
After his death, the miracles which the Almighty continued to work through this Saint, were the means of proclaiming to all the world, the sanctity and merits of His blessed servant.
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