Thought for the Day – 21 November – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Glory of God
“Let us study the behaviour of the Saints, who forgot themselves and thought only of God. In order to please Him, to win His approval and to co-operate in the manifestation of His glory, they deprived themselves of food and rest and sacrificed themselves entirely for His sake.
Now, consider yourself. Perhaps you are still excessively self-centred. Perhaps you love yourself too much and love God too little. Perhaps you try too hard to achieve worldly success and forget that at the end of life, your insignificant personal conquests and laurels, will seem to you, to be so many useless toys on which you have wasted the precious time which God gave you. Consider this carefully and form suitable resolutions for the future.”
Quote/s of the Day – 21 November – The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“In her, God spun a garment with which to save us.”
Saint Ephrem (306-373) Father & Doctor of the Church
“Hail, holy throne of God, divine sanctuary, house of glory, jewel most fair, chosen treasure house and mercy seat for the whole world, heaven showing forth the glory of God.
Purest Virgin, worthy of all praise, sanctuary dedicated to God and raised above all human condition, virgin soil, unploughed field, flourishing vine, fountain pouring out waters, virgin bearing a child, mother without knowing man, hidden treasure of innocence, ornament of sanctity, by your most acceptable prayers, strong with the authority of motherhood, to our Lord and God, Creator of all, your Son, Who was born of you without a father, steer the ship of the Church and bring it to a quiet harbour.”
St Germanus (378-448)
“This fair olive-tree, led to the temple and, thenceforward planted in the House of God and cultivated by the Spirit, she, as a fruitful olive-tree, became the abode of all virtues.”
St John Damascene (675-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
“God Himself, with the whole heavenly court, made great rejoicings on that day, beholding His spouse, coming to the temple.”
St Bernardine of Siena OFM (1380-1444)
“Give thanks to Almighty God Who resists the proud and gives grace to the humble and offer Him all the glory that this Maiden accorded to His majesty by her practice of the richest humility during her childhood and throughout the rest of her life.”
One Minute Reflection – 21 November – The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Sir ach24:14-1, Luke 11:27-28 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Blessed is the womb that bore you” – Luke 11:27
REFLECTION – “This woman will be the Mother of God, the door to Light, source of Life; she will reduce to oblivion the judgement that weighed on Eve. “The rich among the people seek the face” of this woman, “the kings of the nations shall pay her homage” they shall “ offer gifts”…, yet the glory of the Mother of God is an interior glory: the fruit of her womb.
O woman, so worthy of love, thrice happy, “blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Daughter of David the king and Mother of God, King of the universe, masterpiece in whom the Creator rejoices…: you are to be nature’s full achievement. For you, life is not yours; you were not born for yourself alone but your life is to be God’s. You came into the world for Him, you will serve for the salvation of all people, fulfilling God’s design established from the beginning: the Incarnation of the Word and our own divinisation. Your whole desire is to feed on the words of God, to be strengthened by their sap, like “a green olive tree in the house of God,” “like a tree planted by running water,” you are the “tree of life” who “yielded its fruit in due season”…
He Who is Infinite, Limitless, came to dwell in your womb; God, the Child Jesus, was nourished by your milk. You are the ever virginal Doorway of God; your hands hold your God; your lap is a throne raised up above the Cherubim… You are the wedding chamber of the Spirit, the “city of the living God, gladdened by the runlets of the stream”, that is to say, the waves of the Spirit’s gifts. You are “all fair, the Beloved” of God.” – St John Damascene (675-749) Monk, Theologian, Father and Doctor of the Church (Homily on the Nativity of the Virgin, # 9 ; SC 80) [ ( Biblical references : Ps 44,13; 71,11.10; Mt 2,11; Lk 1,42; Is 62,5; Ps 51,10; 1,3; cf Gn 2,9, Rv 22,2; cf Ez 44,2; Ps 79,2; cf Sg 1,4; Ps 45,5; Sg 4,7]. Link to searchable Sacred Scripture here: https://www.drbo.org/
PRAYER – O God, by Whose will the blessed Mary, ever Virgin, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, was on this day presented in the temple, grant, we beseech Thee, that by her intercession, we may be found worthy to be brought into the temple of Thy glory. 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).
The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary By Fr Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888) (Excrrpt)
Today’s Festival is called the Presentation of Mary, because on this day, Joachim and Anna, the holy parents of the Blessed Virgin, Consecrated their little daughter to the Divine service in the temple at Jerusalem and Mary Consecrated herself to the Almighty.
At that time, there were two ways of Consecrating children – one was ordained by the law, which required every male child to be offered to God, forty days and every female child, eighty days after its birth. This ceremony was called the Consecration of the child and the purification of the mother.
The second kind of Consecration was a voluntary self-oblation by which some persons devoted themselves to the Almighty. There were also many parents who, either before, or immediately after their child’s birth, Consecrated it to the service of the Lord, sometimes for a few years, sometimes for life. To this end, several separate dwellings had been erected near the Temple, for men, women, youths and maidens, where they remained for the time which had been fixed by themselves or their parents.
Their occupations consisted in decorating the temple and in making the garments which the priests and levites wore during their sacred functions. Thus we read in the first book of Kings, that Anne the spouse of Elkana, made a vow that if she gave birth to a male child, she would Consecrate him to the Lord. The Lord blessed her and she brought forth a son, whom she named Samuel and afterwards, Consecrated to the Most High, through the hands of the High Priest, Heli. In the second book of the Maccabees, we find mention of virgins, who lived and were educated in the Temple, that is, in a building annexed to it.
t is the belief of several holy Fathers, that Joachim and Anna, being already advanced in years and having no issue, made a vow to God that if He would bless them with a child and thus, take from them, the dishonour of being barren, they would Consecrate their offspring to His service in the Temple.
God heard their prayer and blessed them so greatly that they became the parents of the most holy of all human beings, Mary, the ever Blessed Virgin. For three years they kept this sacred treasure at home, after which time, although Mary was their only comfort, they resigned her with pious fortitude, in fulfilment of their vow. Hence they went, with their daughter, to Jerusalem, presented her to the priest in the Temple and Consecrated her, through his hands, to the service of the Almighty.
Practical Considerations of this Feast:
In the third year of her life, Mary, the Blessed Virgin, consecrated herself to the service of the Almighty and this, not for days or years only but forever, for, as long as she lived, she ceased not to serve the Lord.
How is it with you? Did you also begin in your tender years to serve the Lord. Or to whom did you dedicate the years of your life? Ah! confess it with weeping eyes and repentant heart, not to the Lord but to the world, to the flesh, to Satan, you gave the years of your youth and, perhaps you have not even made the resolution to serve your God. Or it maybe, you think it will be time enough, when you are old, although it is unknown to you, whether you will ever count many years. But even had you been assured of this, tell me, do you not deserve to be disowned by the Almighty as a second Cain, since like him, you sacrificed only what was of less value and not, like the pious Abel, what was the best? God cursed him who took from his flock the meanest for his offering. This Curse you also deserve, for not having given to the Lord, your first and best years but reserving your old age for Him. Oh! truly you have reason to weep over this wickedness as long as you live. Humbly beg God to pardon you and resolve, at the same time, to serve Him from this hour most fervently and without ceasing, until your end, as the Blessed Virgin did. You have perhaps but a short time more, hence employ every moment in the service of God. The benefit will be yours and will last through all eternity.
In Consecrating herself to the Almighty, the Blessed Virgin gave herself entirely to Him without any reservation. Soul and body, every power of her soul, every member of her body, her whole heart and life, all was given forevermore to the service of the Most High. Doubtless you resolve today to serve your Lord most fervently for the future. Consecrate yourself, then, today to His service but without any reservation, your whole heart, your entire life, your soul with all its powers, your entire body with all its members, sacrifice all willingly and for vermore to the Lord. God Who desires the whole heart and not a part of it, wishes also your whole soul, your whole body, your entire life.
Do you wish to divide your heart and to give one part of it to the Almighty the other to the world and Satan? To serve God with one member of your body, and to offend Him with another? Do you wish to employ your memory to honour God with good thoughts but to soil your will with wicked desires? Oh! then do not imagine that your sacrifice will be acceptable to God. It will rather be a horror in the eyes of Him Who commands us to serve Him alone, and to sacrifice everythying to His service. Make today, a perfect sacrifice, so that you may, at least in something, follow the Blessed Virgin. And take care that you do not, after the lapse of some time, retract your sacrifice.
You Consecrate, today, your eyes, your tongue,and your hands, with the intention to use them only in God’s service. Guard yourself, lest, after some hours or days, you misuse them in offending the Lord, for, this would be as much robbing the Altar of what you have given to the Most High. Mary did not act thus. It is written: “I am the Lord that hate robbery in a holocaust,” (Isa lxi.)
Saint of the Day – 21 November – Saint Maurus of Cesena (Died 946) Bishop, Monk, Abbot. nephew of Pope John IX. Born in Rome, Italy and died on 21 November 946 in Cesena, Flaminia, Italy of natural causes. Patronage – against blindness. Also known as – Maur, Mauro.
Maurus was Ordained then became a Benedictine Monk at Classis in Ravenna, Italy. Having served as Abbot of the Monastery of Classis, in Ravenna, Italy, Maurus became Bishop of Cesena around 934, where he served until his death.
A zealous and devoted shepherd, he found the strength to care for his flock during the day, by withdrawing to pray in the evenings, to a hilltop retreat outside the City. Here, amid a densely wooded forest, he erected for himself a hermitage and Chapel. This retreat symbolically represented for him, Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, where Christ withdrew to pray. During Lent, Maurus spent each day at his hermitage in solitude, praying and fasting.
Maurus was buried in a marble tomb on Monte Spaziano, Italy next to his small cell where he would retreat for prayer and solitude. His grave was lost for many years but accidentally re-discovered in the 11th century, whereafter his Relics were enshrined in the nearby Benedictine Church. In 1470 they were again moved to the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Cesena with some Relics being enshrined in Ravenna.
Following his death, a number of miracles were attributed to his intercession. Upon arriving at the Church enclosing Maurus’ tomb, a blind woman from France passionately declared her determination never to leave there, unless Maurus obtained the restoration of her sight. Having given the Saint this “ultimatum,” she acted on her words, by erecting for her habitation, a small hut adjacent to the Church and began her prayers. After persevering for eight days in her supplications, the woman received her sight and, thereupon, gave thanks to God and Saint Maurus.
St Amelberga of Susteren St Celsus the Martyr St Clement the Martyr St Colman Iomramha of Inishmore St Columba the Younger St Demetrius of Ostia St Digain Bl Eoin O’Mulkern St Pope Gelasius I St Heliodorus of Pamphylia St Hilary of Vulturno St Honorius of Ostia St Maurus of Cesena (Died 946) Bishop, Priest, Monk, Abbot St Maurus of Porec St Maurus of Verona Bl Nicholas Giustiniani St Rufus of Rome
Martyrs of Asta – 3 Saints: Three Christians Martyred together for their faith during the persecutions of Diocletian. The only details about them to survive are their names – Eutychius, Honorius and Stephen. They were martyred in c 300 at Asta, Andalusia, Spain.