Thought for the Day – 20 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Those Who Will to be Damned
“We cannot claim that we are too weak to fight our temptations. “God is faithful and will not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength” (1 Cor 10:13). Neither can we complain that we have not enough time to think about such matters, for when God gave us time, He intended us to devote it principally to the solution of the most important problem in our lives, which is, our salvation! It is futile to insist that the devil is too strong for us, for, to quote St Augustine, he is like a chained mastiff which can bark at us with all his might but, cannot bite us, unless we approach too close to him.
We have been given every weapon – there is no excuse!”
Quote/s of the Day – 20 August – “The Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” and the Memorial of St Bernard (1090-1153) Abbot, Confessor, “Doctor Mellifluus” of the Church and the Last Father of the Church,“The Bard of Mary
“Nothing so curbs the onset of anger, so allays the upsurge of pride. It cures the wound of envy, controls unbridled extravagance and quenches the flame of lust. It cools the thirst of covetousness and banishes the itch of unclean desire… For when I Name Jesus, I set before myself, a Man Who is meek and humble of heart, kind, prudent, chaste, merciful, flawlessly upright and holy in the eyes of all and this same Man is the all-powerful God Whose way of life heals me, Whose support is my strength.”
“The soul must grow and expand so as to be capable of God. And its largeness is its love, as the Apostle says, “widen yourselves in love” (2 Cor 6:13). It grows and extends spiritually, not in substance but in virtue. The greatness of each soul is judged by the measure of love that it has- he who has great love, is great- he who has little love is little, while he who has no love at all – is nothing!”
“God established him to be His Mother’s support, the foster father of His flesh and the assistant for His plan of salvation. We must recall, that he was of the House of David. He was son of David, not only by bonds of the flesh but even more, because of his faith, holiness and piety. God found in him, a second David, to whom He could confidently entrust His plans, even the most hidden. He revealed to him, as to another David, the mysteries of His Wisdom and disclosed to him, what no teacher in the world, could know.”
“O great, O gentle, O most lovable Mary, thy Holy Name cannot be spoken without inflaming the heart. To those who love thee, it is unspeakable consolation and joy even to think of thee; thou art a sweet memory to those who honour thee.”
“In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favour, you shall reach the goal.”
“O Mary, I have not doubt that whenever we run to you, we shall obtain all that we desire. Let those then who have no hope, hope in you!”
St Bernard (1090-1153) Mellifluous Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 20August – “The Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” and the Memorial of St Bernard (1090-1153) Confessor – Ecclesiasticus 39:6-14, Matthew 5:13-19
“Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so, will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments, will be called greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” – Matthew 5:19
REFLECTION – “For what reason then does He call some of these commandments “least,” although they are so magnificent and lofty? Jesus spoke this way because He was about to introduce His own teaching, as a new law . As He humbles Himself and speaks of Himself with great modesty, so He refers to His own teaching in the same manner. In this way, Jesus teaches us to practice humility in everything. And besides, since some suspected His teaching to be a new departure, He temporarily taught it in a more reserved way.
But when you hear “least in the Kingdom of Heaven,” you are to think of nothing but hell and punishment. For it was His practice to speak, not only of the joy the Kingdom brings but also, of the time of the resurrection and the fearful event of the Second Coming.
Think of one who calls a brother a fool. That one, transgresses only one commandment, maybe even the slightest one and falls into hell. Compare that one with another, who breaks all the commandments and instigates others to break them too. Do both have the same relationship to the Kingdom? This is not the argument Jesus is making. Rather, He means, that one who transgresses only one of the commands will, on the final day, be the least—that is, cast out—and last and will fall into hell!” – St John Chrysostom (347-407) Archbishop of Constantinople, Father and Doctor of the Church (The Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily 16).
PRAYER – O God, Who gave to Thy people, blessed Bernard, as a minister of salvation, grant, we beseech Thee, that we, who cherished him on earth as a teacher of life, may be found worthy to have him as an intercessor in Heaven.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 – 20 August – “The Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” and the Memorial of St Bernard (1090-1153) Confessor, “The Bard of Mary”
To Thee We Cry, O Queen of Mercy! By St Bernard (1090-1153) Mellifluous Doctor of the Church
To thee we cry, O Queen of Mercy! Return, that we may behold thee, dispensing favours, bestowing remedies, giving strength. Ah, tender Mother! Tell thy All-powerful Son that we have no more wine. We are thirsty after the wine of His Love, of that marvellous wine, which fills souls with a holy inebriation, inflames them and gives them the strength to despise the things of this world and to seek, with ardour, Heavenly goods. Amen.
Saint of the Day – 20 August – St Bernard (1090-1153) Abbot, Confessor, “Doctor Mellifluus” of the Church and the Last Father of the Church,“The Bard of Mary.”
A Beautiful Portrait of the Saint Excerpt From “Saint Bernard” An Oracle of the 12th Century By Father Hugo Henry Hoever
“The whole world knows that God glorified his servant Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, through miraculous signs. However, he displayed the greatest miracle ,in his own person. His gaze was serene and his appearance humble. In his sermons, he exercised prudent caution and, his actions were filled with fear of God. He was a man of meditation and prayer, who, in all his undertakings, trusted more in prayer than in his own abilities. God had given this holy soul a fitting body to assist him. A more spiritual, than sensual charm, enveloped his whole appearance. Heavenly glory brightened his face and from his eyes shone out, the innocence of an angel and the simplicity of a dove. So great was the interior beauty and fullness of grace of this man, that it was radiated in his bodily exterior. The body of the Saint was built most tenderly and almost completely without flesh. A fine red covered his cheeks. His hair was very fair and the reddish beard grew grey, in the last years of his life. Although he was only of medium height, Bernard appeared tall rather than short. If he could withdraw from exterior businesses, he prayed, read, wrote, taught his Monks or enjoyed silent meditation …
Clothing: With regard to clothing, Bernard liked poverty,but not uncleanliness. This would, he said, rather be a sign of negligence or reveal a proud man, who is intent on snatching some false glory from his fellowmen. In the later years of his life, by order of the visiting Abbots, he wore, besides the “Cuculla” (cowl) and tunic, a short woolen coat and a head-wear of similar material. In spite of his bodily sufferings, he could not be induced to put on a fur.
Gift of Speech: Notwithstanding his weak body, Bernard had a strong and beautiful voice which was given him by God because He had chosen him for the office of preacher. Bernard knew well how to adapt his speech to the audience. With people from the country hespoke like someone ,who himself, was reared in the country. When he was dealing with representatives of other classes, his words sounded as though he were familiar with their occupations in detail. This gift of eloquence which God had bestowed upon him, became evident also, by the fact, that the Germans, with great enthusiasm, listened to his sermons, although they did not understand his language. No interpretation in their own language, could have more edified, or more deeply affected them. They contritely beat their chests during his sermons and wept loudly.
Interior Recollection: When Bernard visited the Charter house (Chartreuse) near Grenoble, Prior Guigo was amazed by the refined saddlery of Bernard’s riding-animal which corresponded little with his poverty. When the holy Abbot learned of this, he was also surprised and asked what kind of saddle it was. Bernard had ridden from Clairvaux to the Charterhouse without taking notice of the saddle and up to this hour, he did not know what it looked like. The riding-animal, belonged to his uncle, a Cluniac Monk, who lived close by and who had lent it to him. Bernard had used the horse just as his uncle had left it. When the Prior heard this explanation, it was again his turn to be surprised. How must this servant of God have guarded his eyes! Bernard, on his long way, had not noticed what he (the Prior) had caught at first glance. In a similar way, Bernard travelled a whole day along the shore of Lake Geneva, without noting it, or at least without being conscious of it. When, in the evening, his companions spoke about the lake, he asked, to the surprise of all, the time during which they had passed the lake!
From the very first, Bernard always endeavoured to keep away from worldly things and to stay at the Monastery. For a certain time, he was able to carry out this plan, since the reference to his bodily weakness afforded a favourable excuse. But finally, the distressed condition of the Church of God and the command of the Pope, as well as of the Abbots of the Order, to whom he readily submitted all his affairs, compelled him to step out of his solitude. He was surprised, when he heard religious-minded people, laughing loudly. Often, we heard Bernard say, that, since he entered the Monastery, it was more difficult for him to laugh, than to suppress the laughter.
The Humble, Amiable Monk: Bernard had lived already for several years in Clairvaux, when one day he decided to pay a friendly visit to Bishop Hugo of Grenoble and the Carthusians living close by. The Bishop, who recognised the sanctity in his guest, received him with such respect, that he fell upon his knees before him. When the Abbot saw the aged Bishop in that position, he was much embarrassed. Immediately, he also went on his knees and then he received the Kiss of peace. From this time on, Bernard and the Bishop were intimate friends and seemed to be of one heart and soul.
With the same love and respect, the holy Abbot was received by Prior Guigo and the other Friars of the chartreuse. They were delighted to find in his person, the picture that they had formed of him, in their minds, from his letters. (Gaufrid, Vita Bernardi, lib. Ill, c. 1-3).
Bodily Sufferings and DeatH: Bernard’s health suffered from several bodily diseases. Especially dangerous, was a narrowing of his gullet which hardly permitted the reception of solid food. Moreover, he had a serious gastric condition. He found it difficult to stand for long periods – for this reason, he usually sat and moved around only a little.
After the holy Abbot had brought peace to Metz and all of Lorraine, he returned to the Monastery and suffered much from the infirmities of his slowly decaying body. However, he faced death gladly and cheerfully, just as one who enters the desired harbour and reefs the sails one by one. When Bishop Godfrey of Langres asked Bernard for his advice in an official affair, he was astonished at his indifference. Bernard replied: ‘Do not be surprised, I do not belong to this world any longer.’
He who desires further information on his sickness, can obtain this knowledge from a letter which Bernard, a few days before his death, sent to a friend: ‘I was glad to receive your letter but my condition does not permit me to enjoy it fully. How could one even speak of pleasure, when suffering prevails. Sleep eludes me, so that pain is not even interrupted for a time, by the blessing of drowsiness of the senses. A sick stomach is the cause of almost all my sufferings. Day and night it must be strengthened with beverages, since it inexorably rejects any solid food . . . The feet and legs are swollen like those of a dropsical person. That nothing remains concealed between friends, I want to add that in spite of all hardship, the spirit remains willing in the weak flesh. Pray to the Divine Redeemer, that He may not detain the imminent death but mercifully allow me to die.‘
Finally, when the mortal frame was completely shattered, the waiting soul returned home. When this day of death commenced which, for Bernard was the beginning of eternal reward, the neighbouring Bishops and many Abbots and Friars, gathered together. Now the loyal servant of our Lord, the first Abbot of Clairvaux, the (direct or indirect) Founder of more than 160 Monasteries! happily completed his course of life. He died at the age of almost 63, on 20 August 1153, in the presence of his spiritual sons.
On 22 August he was buried in front of the Altar of the Blessed Virgin and Mother, whose most devoted Priest he was. Upon his request a capsule with relics of St Thaddeus, which he had received that same year from Jerusalem, was laid on his chest. He desired to celebrate the day of general resurrection in communion with this Apostle.” (Gaufrid, Vita Bernardi lib. V, c. 2). St Bernard’s Tomb now rests in Troyes Cathedral, below.
St Brogan St Burchard of Worms St Christopher of Cordoba St Cristòfol Baqués Almirall St Edbert of Northumbria Bl Georg Hafner Bl Gervais-Protais Brunel St Gobert of Apremont St Haduin of Le Mans St Heliodorus of Persia St Herbert Hoscam St Leovigild of Cordoba Bl Louis-François Lebrun St Lucius of Cyprus St Maximus of Chinon