Thought for the Day – 3 November – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Pain of Purgatory
“In the course of her vivid description of Purgatory, St Catherine of Genoa writes: “The suffering souls experience such torments as the human tongue could not describe, nor the human intellect comprehend, unless God Himself, revealed them by means of a special grace!”
The ordinary teaching of the Church includes fire as the principal torment. However, the Church has never defined the nature of this fire, nor determined whether it is physical or spiritual. It is certain that this fire is as real as the flames of Hell and is created by God, not to be an instrument of service to men but, to be a means of expiation and purification. This is why it is a far more tormenting fire than that which we know and use on earth. St Thomas Aquinas holds that it is actually a physical fire. He meets the objection that material fire could never touch a spiritual soul by saying that, even as the soul is affected on earth, by the suffering of the body, to which it is joined, so it can be subject in the next life, to the action of the fires of Purgatory (Supplementum Tertiae Partis q7, a3).”
Quote/s of the Day – 3 November – Within the Octave of All Saints – Apocalypse 7:2-12, Matthew 5:1-12– Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
“Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Wisely indeed He puts first… what every man seeks… For who does not want to be happy? Why do men universally quarrel and fight, bargain, resort to flattery and inflict injuries on one another? Is it not simply in order to obtain, by fair means or foul… something that promises to make them happy?… So, the Teacher of all men… begins by redirecting those who have lost the way…; He Who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life”… (Jn 14,16; 6,32;4,6) begins with the words: “Happy are the poor in spirit.”
Bl Isaac of Stella O.Cist. (c 1100–c 1170) Cistercian Monk, Abbot, Theologian, Philosopher
“Seek for nothing, desiring to enter for love of Jesus, with detachment, emptiness and poverty in everything in this world. You will never have to do with necessities greater than those to which you made your heart yield itself – for the poor in spirit are most happy and joyful in a state of privation and he who has set his heart on nothing, finds satisfaction everywhere!”
St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Doctor of the Church
“If humble souls are contradicted, they remain calm; if they are calumniated, they suffer with patience; if they are little esteemed, neglected, or forgotten, they consider this their due; if they are weighed down with occupations, they perform them cheerfully. ”
St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
O Merciful God By St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis
O merciful God, grant that I may ever perfectly do Your Will in all things. Let it be my ambition to work only for Your honour and glory. Let me rejoice in nothing but that leads to You, nor grieve for anything, that leads away from You. May all passing things be as nothing in my eyes and may all that is Yours, be dear to me and You, my God, dear above them all. May all joy be meaningless without You and may I desire nothing, apart from You. May all labour and toil delight me when it is for You. Make me, O Lord, obedient without complaint, poor without regret, patient without murmur, humble without pretence, joyous without frivolity, and truthful without disguise. Amen
One Minute Reflection – 3 November – “The Month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory – Within the Octave of All Saints – Apocalypse 7:2-12, Matthew 5:1-12– Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain… And opening His mouth, He taught them …” – Matthew 5:1-2
REFLECTION – “Lord Jesus Christ, to teach us the summit of virtue, You ascended the mountain with Your disciples and taught them the Beatitudes and highest virtues, promising them the rewards applicable to each. Grant that my weakness may hear Your Voice, that I may apply myself, through their practice, to acquire the merit of the virtues, so that by Your Mercy, I may receive the promised reward. As I consider the payment, do not let me refuse the effort of the labour. Make my hope of eternal salvation, sweeten the bitterness of the cure, inflaming my soul with the splendour of Your work. Out of the wretched person I am, create one of the blessed; from the blessedness here below, lead me through Your Grace, to the blessedness of the homeland.
Come, Lord Jesus Christ, in search of Your servant, seeking Your erring and exhausted sheep. Come, Spouse of the Church, in search of Your lost coin. Come, Father of mercies, welcome the prodigal son returning to You. Come, then, Lord, for You are the only One, able to call back the sheep that has strayed, to find the lost drachma, to reconcile the runaway son. Cone, that there may be salvation on earth and joy in Heaven! Turn me towards You and grant that I may carry out a true and perfect repentance, so that I may become an occasion for joy, among the angels. Sweetest Jesus, I pray You, by the immensity of Your Love for me, a sinner, grant that I may love You alone, above all things, that I maybe consoled by none but You, my sweetest God!” – Ludolph of Saxony (c1300-1378) Monk, Theologian, Writer, Dominican then a Carthusian (Prayers to Jesus Christ).
PRAYER – Almighty, eternal God, Who granted us to honour the merits of all Thy Saints in a single solemn festival, bestow on us, we beseech Thee, through their manifold intercession, that abundance of Thy mercy for which we yearn. 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 – 3 November – “The Month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory”
I Will Love and Follow You By Thomas à Kempis CRSA (1380-1471)
Oh my Lord, Let my heart expand in Your love. Let me learn to know how sweet it is, to serve You, how joyful it is, to praise You and to be absorbed in Your love. Oh, I am possessed by love and rise above myself because of the great fervour I feel, through Your infinite goodness. I will sing the canticle of love to You and I will follow You, my Beloved, wherever You go and may my soul never weary of praising You, rejoicing in Your love. I will love You more than myself and myself, only for Your sake. I will love all others in You and for You, as Your law of love commands. Amen
Saint of the Day – 3 November – Blessed Simon Ballachi OP (c 1210-1319) Lay Brother of the Order of Preachers, Mystic. Born in c 1240 at Santarcangelo di Romagna, Italy and died on 3 November 1319 in Rimini, Italy of natural causes. Also known as Simone Ballachi . Ballachi served as a former soldier in Rimini before renouncing that path in favour of the religious life where he became a gardener noted for his strict adherence to the rule of Saint Dominic. He was Beatified by Pope Pius VII on 14 March 1817.
St Archangel, a village in the northern part of Italy, about three miles distant from Rimini, was the birthplace of Blessed Simon Ballachi, lay-brother of the Order of St Dominic. The Bellachi family was distinguished in both Church and State. Two of Simon’s uncles were successively Bishop of Rimini. One of these, at least, Lawrence Ballachi, who died in 1302, was a Friar Preacher. One of Blessed Simon’s brothers, moreover, was a Priest.
Simon came of a family of lords, to whose care had been entrusted the protection and welfare of the little village in which they lived. Simon, it seems, was to carry on the family name and honour. Since his was to be a life in the world, and therefore more active than contemplative, in accordance with the custom of the times, Blessed Simon received little, if any, knowledge of letters. His early youth was spent in the camp acquiring the tactics of military discipline and the training that made for the successful soldier and knight.
At the age of twenty seven he decided to leave the world and seek admission into some religious order, saying with the Psalmist, “I have chosen to be an abject in my Father’s house, rather than to dwell in the tabernacle of sinners.” Accordingly, he presented himself to the Prior of the Dominican Convent of Rimini and humbly asked to be admitted as a lay-brother. His request met with favour. Once clothed in the Habit of St Dominic, Simon never looked back but gave himself unreservedly to the service of the King of kings.
In the cloister his aim was perfection. He hoped to gain this state by a faithful observance of his Rule and Constitutions. The guides that had directed so many before him, even in the first Century of the Order, could not lead him astray. In the following brief account of his life and labours we read the story of a man of God, animated by the love of Jesus Christ and striving to conform his life in all things to that of his Divine Model.
Realising that anything resembling sloth is incompatible with the religious life, Simon waged incessant warfare against this root of all vices. He strove to be constatly employed. His superiors appointed him overseer of the Convent gardens but Simon was far from content with a position of mere direction. He laboured with his own hands and strove to bring each flower and plant to perfection according to its kind.
The good Brother knew no rest. When his own work was finished, or the weather prevented him from working in the garden, it was his custom to take upon himself the duties of the other brothers. This he did from a spirit of humility because he considered himself the least of all and the servant of all. Each week he swept the entire Convent. With Blessed Simon, to work was to pray. He sanctified even the most lowly occupations by doing everything for the honor and glory of God, remembering the words of St Paul to the Corinthians, “Therefore, whether you eat, or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Cor. 10:31)
Just as he laboured in the garden to bring perfection among the plants and flowers, so too, in the garden of his heart, he sowed the seeds of perfection and labored to bring each to maturity. His penances for this purpose were severe and continual. For all of Lent, he fasted on bread and water. Frequently he passed two whole days without taking even this slight nourishment. His fastings were so excessive that soon he began to weaken and it was necessary for his superiors to mitigate the severity of his penances. For twenty years he wore an iron chain that must have caused him great suffering during his labours in the garden. … In his humble position of lay-brother he strove byhis prayers and penances to assist the Fathers in their work of saving souls.
While at prayer, Satan never failed to annoy him, that he might divide his attention or force’ from him some expression of mpatience. All the attacks of hell, however, proved unavailing to disturb the tranquillity of the servant of God. Like another Tobias, God tried the faithfulness of his servant, by many and severe afflictions. At the age of fifty-seven he became blind.
Little by little the severity of his life undermined his strength until finally, his infirmities became so great that he was forced to remain on a couch in a reclining position. To many this would have been a hard lot but not so with Blessed Simon. He made use even of his infirmities to merit grace and honour God. Our Blessed was frequently favoured with a heavenly visitation. An Angel came to console him and assure him that God was mindful of his sufferings and would make him victorious over all the attacks of hell. At times his couch was seen surrounded by a bright light and a voice was heard, saying, “Fear not, Simon, for thou hast found favour before God.“
Blessed Simon had a special devotion to St Catherine of Alexandria. On one occasion, when he was suffering from a severe headache, the Saint appeared to him and cured him. Nor were these the only favours granted to this humble lay-brother. He was the recipient of many and signal blessings. Among the various visions with which he was favoured was one of Our Lord. Our Blessed Mother, St Dominic and St Peter Martyr appeared to him at different times, to console and assist him in the struggle against the enemy of his soul.
Blessed Simon’s reputation for sanctity was widespread. On 3 November 1319, this faithful servant of the Lord was called to his reward. The people came in such crowds to honour the holy man and to carry away some relic or article that had touched his body, that two days hardly sufficed to accommodate those who would honour him. His Habit was literally cut to pieces, so that.it was necessary to clothe him anew before burial.
Devotion to our Blessed has not waned for many centuries . His body was frequently moved from place to place (mainly due to wars and unrest) but finally on the demand of the people of St Archangel, it was laid to rest in the Collegiate Church of that place, where it lies today.
In the year 1817 Pope Pius VII confirmed by Bull, the cult in honour of Blessed Simon and placed this humble lay-brother of the Order of Friars Preachers, on the Altar of Holy Mother the Church. (By Paul Curran OP – Excerpt).
St Acepsimas St Acheric of Vosges Bl Alphais of Cudot Bl Berardo dei Marsi Bl Berchtold of Engelberg St Caesarius St Cecilio Manrique Arnáiz St Clydog St Cristiolus St Domnus of Vienne St Elerius St Englatius St Florus of Lodeve St Francisco Colom González St Gaudiosus of Tarazona St Germanus St Guenhael St Hermengaudius of Urgell St Hilary of Viterbo
St Papulus St Pirmin St Quartus St Rumwold of Buckingham Blessed Simon Ballachi OP (c 1210-1319) Lay Brother of the Order of Preachers, Mystic. St Sylvia of Rome St Theophilus St Valentine of Viterbo St Valentinian St Vitalis St William of Vosges St Winifred of Wales St Wulganus
Innumerable Martyrs of Saragossa: A large group of Christians martyred in Zaragoza, Spain by Dacian during the persecutions of Diocletian. Dacian ordered all Christians of the city into exile under pain of death; when they were assembled to leave, Dacian ordered imperial soldiers to massacre the lot of them. They were Martyred in 304.
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