Thought for the Day – 24 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“When the Prophet Elias was afraid and discouraged because the chosen people had abandoned God and slain all the other Prophets, he fled into the desert. One day he was tired and dejected and lay down to sleep in the shade of a Juniper tree. He was awakened suddenly by an Angel of the Lord, who showed him, on two successive occasions, a hearth cake which he pressed him to eat. The Prophet ate and drank “and walked in the strength of that food, forty days and forty nights, unto the mount of God” (Cf 3 Kings 19:4-8).
Some commentaters see, in this bread which Elias ate, an image of the Blessed Eucharist and, in his journey to the mount of God, our own voyage through life to eternity.
Sometimes, we too feel tired along the way and it seems to us that God has abandoned us. Often we are troubled and sorrowful, humbled by our many lapses into sin, despairing of ever becoming holy. On such occasions, like Elias, we need nourishment, the nourishment of the Blessed Sacrament. This spiritual food which contains the Real Living Jesus, the Author of Grace, is all that can give us the courage and strength, to continue our journey and to overcome the obstacles which we encounter on the way.
Let us have frequent recourse to this wonderful means of sustenance, through which, Jesus supplies us with the supernatural strength which we need. Then we shall be able to repeat the words of St Paul: “I can do all things in Him Who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13).”
Quote/s of the Day – 24 August – St Bartholomew the Apostle and Martyr
“Here is a true child of Israel. There is no guile in him.”
Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
“You are the light of the world, you are the salt of the earth.”
“Like peaceful conquerors, without any human weapons but backed by by the power of God, they divided the world amongst themselves, so that they might win it for Christ! The Roman Empire was small to them. They travelled, moreover, to the distant shores of Ethiopia and India, where the Eagle of Rome had never found its way! Surely, this is the most extraordinary Miracle of history?!
The Holy Spirit accomplished that, which human armies had never been able to do, save in part, or for a limited period of time. In this achievement, He used the weakest possible human means, namely, twelve poor fishermen! The earthly Empire of Rome, passed away but the Spiritual domain of Christ still remains, with its centre at Rome, as the only true Light, the only unfailing hope and the only pledge of salvation for individuals and nations.”
Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
O Fathers of Our Ancient Faith
O Fathers of our ancient faith, With all the heav’n, we sing your fame Whose sound went forth in all the earth To tell of Christ and bless His Name.
You took the Gospel to the poor, The Word of God alight in you, Which in our day is told again, That timeless Word, forever new.
You told of God, Who died for us And out of death triumphant rose, Who gave the Truth which made us free and changeless through the ages goes.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Whose gift is faith that never dies, A light in darkness now, until The Day-Star in our hearts arise.
O Fathers of Our Ancient Faith is written by the Benedictine Nuns of Stanbrook Abbey. In the Divine Office it is sung at Morning Prayer in the Common of Apostles. It is set to the anonymous tune associated with the 7th century Latin hymn, Creator Alme Siderum.
One Minute Reflection – 24 August – St Bartholomew the Apostle and Martyr – 1 Corinthians 12:27-31, Luke 6:12-19
“And when day broke, He summoned His disciples and from these He chose twelve – whom He also named Apostles.” – Luke 6:13
REFLECTION – “The Apostles are those precious pearls that Saint John tells us, he beheld in his Revelation and of whom, the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem are composed ( Apoc. 21:21). … For indeed, when the Apostles reflect the Light of Divinity through their signs or miracles, they open the way, to the heavenly glory of Jerusalem to people who have been converted to faith in Christ. And whoever has been saved because of them, enters life, as one on a journey crosses a threshold. … It is of them, too, that the prophet says: “Who are these that fly like clouds?” (Is 60:8). These clouds pour down water, when they bedew the earth of our heart, with the rain of their instruction, making them fertile and apt to bear the seeds of good works.
Bartholomew, whose Feast Day is today, means in Aramaic nothing less than: ‘son of a water-bearer.‘ He is Son of the God, Who raises the minds of His preachers, to the contemplation of Truths from on high, in such a way, that they can spread the rain of God’s Word in our hearts, efficaciously and abundantly . This is how they drink water at its source, so that they can cause us to drink in our turn.” – St Peter Damian (1007-1072) Bishop, Father and Doctor of the Church (Sermon 42 the second for Saint Bartholomew).
PRAYER – Almighty, eternal God, Who bestowed on us the devout and holy joy of this day to celebrate the Feast of Thy blessed Apostle Bartholomew, grant unto Thy Church, we beseech Thee, both to love what he believed and to preach what he taught. 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 – 24 August – St Bartholomew the Apostle and Martyr
Exsultet Orbis! Let the World Rejoice! Unknown Author
Now let the earth with joy resound, And Heaven the chant re-echo round; Nor Heaven nor earth too high can raise The great Apostles’ glorious praise.
O ye who, throned in glory dread, Shall judge the living and the dead, Lights of the world forever more! To you the suppliant prayer we pour.
Ye close the Sacred Gates on high. At your command apart they fly. O loose for us the guilty chain We strive to break and strive in vain.
Sickness and health your voice obey, At your command they go or stay. From sin’s disease our souls restore; In good confirm us more and more.
So when the world is at its end. And Christ to Judgment shall descend, May we be called, those joys to see Prepared from all eternity.
Praise to the Father, with the Son, And Holy Spirit, Three in One; As ever was in ages past And so shall be while ages last. Amen
(Roman Breviary for the Common of Apostles) An Office Hymn that was traditionally prescribed for Vespers and Lauds on the Feasts of Apostles and Evangelists outside Easter time. The Hymn is found as early as the tenth century in a hymnal of Moissac Abbey.
Saint of the Day – 24 August – St Bartholomew the Apostle and Martyr. Saint Bartholomew, whose name appears only in the lists of the Apostles, is believed to be Nathanael, whom Philip brought to Christ. He preached in Persia and Egypt and was flayed alive in Armenia. His relics are believed to be in the Church of Saint Bartholomew in Rome.
Saint Bartholomew Apostle and Martyr Excerpt from The Liturgical Year By Prosper Guéranger OSB (1805-1875)
A witness of the Son of God, one of the princes who announced His glory to the nations, lights up this day with his apostolic flame.
Personally, who was this Apostle who borrowed such solemnity from the scene of his apostolic labours? Under the name or surname of Bartholomew (“Son of Tholmai“), the only mark of recognition given him, by the first three Gospels, do we see, as many have thought that Nathaniel, whose presentation to Jesus by Philip forms so sweet a scene in St John’s Gospel (1: 45-51)? A man of uprightness, innocence and simplicity, … for whom, the Man-God had choice graces and caresses from the very beginning.
Be this as it may, the lot which fell to our Saint among the Twelve, points to the special confidence of the Divine Heart. The heroism of the terrible Martyrdom which sealed his apostolate, reveals his fidelity. The dignity preserved by the nation he grafted onto Christ, in all the countries where it has been transplanted, witnesses to the excellence of the sap first infused into its branches. When, two centuries and a half later, St Gregory the Illuminator, so successfully cultivated the soil of Armenia, he did but quicken the seed sown by the Apostle, which the trials never wanting to that generous land, had retarded for a time but could not stifle. …
We learn from Eusebius and from St Jerome that before going to Armenia, his final destination, St Bartholomew evangelised the Indies, where Pantaenus a century later found a copy of St Matthew’s Gospel in Hebrew characters, left there by him. …
The City of Rome used to celebrate the Feast of St Bartholomew on the following day, as do also the Greeks who commemorate on 25 August – a translation of the Apostle’s relics. It is owing, in fact, to the various translations of his holy body and to the difficulty of ascertaining the date of his Martyrdom that different days have been adopted for his Feast ,by different Churches, both in the east and in the west. The 24th of this month, consecrated by the use of most of the Latin Churches, is the day assigned in the most ancient Martyrologies, including that of St Jerome. In the 13th Century, Pope Innocent III, having been consulted as to the divergence, answered that local custom was to be observed.
The Church gives just the following Lessons for the life of the Apostle of Armenia:
The Holy Apostle Bartholomew was a native of Galilee. It fell to his lot to preach the Gospel in western India;and he announced to those nations the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the Gospel of St Matthew. But after converting many souls to Jesus Christ in that Province and, undergoing much labour and suffering, he went into eastern Armenia.
Here he converted to the Christian Faith, the King Polymius and his Queen, as well as twelve Cities. This caused the pagan priests of that nation to be exceedingly jealous of him and they stirred up Astyages, the brother of King Polymius against the Apostle, so that he commanded him to be flayed alive and finally beheaded. In this cruel Martyrdom he gave up his soul to God.
His body was buried at Albanapolis, the town of eastern Armenia where he was Martyred but it was afterwards taken to the island of Lispari and thence to Beneventum. Finally it was translated to Rome by the Emperor Otto III and placed on the island of the Tiber, in a Church dedicated to God under his invocation.
On this day of thy Feast, O holy Apostle, the Church (in the Collect of the Mass) prays for grace to love what thou didst believe and to preach what thou didst teach. Not that the Bride of the Son of God, could ever fail, either in faith or in love but She knows, only too well that, although Her Head is ever in the light and Her heart ever united to the Spouse, in the Holy Ghost Who sanctifies Her, nevertheless ,Her members and particular Churches may detach themselves from their centre of life and wander away in darkness. O thou who didst choose the west as the place of thy rest, thou in whose precious relics Rome glories in possessing, bring back to St Peter, the nations thou didst evangelise, that we may together, enjoy the treasures of our concordant traditions and go to God, even at the cost of being despoiled of all things, by the course so grand and yet so simple, taught us by thy example and by thy sublime theology. Amen.
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