Thought for the Day – 28 December – The Value of An Hour

Thought for the Day – 28 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Value of An Hour

“This does not mean, of course, that we are obliged to spend all our hours engaged either in prayer or in penance, or in apostolic work.
God does not demand this much.
The bow which is extended too far will snap.
We do need rest, sleep and recreation.
But the most pleasant hours should be those which we dedicate to the love and service of God.

The hours, moreover, which we devote to our work, rest or enjoyments, should be spent in the presence of God.
From time to time, we should think of Him and speak to Him.

We should love also, to interweave our conversations, in a natural manner, with spiritual reflections, for the edification of our neighbour.

Antonio Cardinal Bacci



Quote/s of the Day – 28 December – The Holy Innocents, Martyrs

Quote/s of the Day – 28 December – “The Month of the Divine Infant and the Immaculate Conception” – The Holy Innocents, Martyrs – Apocalypse 14:1-5, Matthew 2:13-18 – Scripture search here:

Then was fulfilled that
which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet,
saying: a voice was heard in Rama,
lamentation and great mourning;
Rachel bewailing her children
and would not be comforted
because they were no more.

Matthew 2:17-18

A voice was heard in Rama.”
Rama was Saul’s city.
Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin.
Benjamin was the son of Rachel,
whose memorial was near Bethlehem,
where these wicked deeds were done.
Therefore, since the babies
were killed in Bethlehem,
where there is a monument to Rachel,
this is why Rachel is described as weeping.

From the work known as
the “Incomplete Work on Matthew,” by
an Anonymous Ancient Christian Writer (ACW)

These then, whom Herod’s cruelty
tore as sucklings from their mothers’ bosom,
are justly hailed as “Infant Martyr Flowers”-
they were the Church’s first blossoms,
matured by the frost of persecution,
during the cold winter of unbelief.

St Augustine (354-430)
Father & Doctor of the Church

They could not yet speak
but already, they are confessing Christ.
Their little bodies are, as yet,
unable to engage in combat
but already, they are carrying off
the Palm of Victory.”

St Quodvultdeus (Died c 453)
Bishop at Carthage


One Minute Reflection – 28 December – ‘ … He wanted them to possess Heaven, rather than earth. …’

One Minute Reflection – 28 December – “The Month of the Divine Infant and the Immaculate Conception” – The Holy Innocents, Martyrs – Apocalypse 14:1-5, Matthew 2:13-18 – Scripture search here:

Then Herod, perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry and sending, killed all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all the borders …” – Matthew 2:16

REFLECTION – “Where does this jealousy lead?… The crime committed today shows us. Fear of a rival to his earthly kingdom fills Herod with anxiety, he plots to suppress “the newborn King” (Mt 2:2), the Eternal King; he fights against his Creator and puts innocent children to death… As for those children, what fault had they committed? Their tongues were dumb, their eyes had seen nothing, their ears heard nothing, their hands done nothing. They accepted death who had not known life. … Christ reads the future and knows the secrets of the heart, He weighs our thoughts and probes our intentions (cf. Ps 138[139]): why did He forsake them? … Why did the newborn heavenly King abandon these companions in innocence, forget the sentinels watching around His crib, to such an extent that the foe, who wanted to get at the King, ravaged His whole army?

My brethren, Christ did not forsake His soldiers but covered them with honour, by allowing them to conquer, before they had lived and to carry away the prize, without a fight. … He wanted them to possess Heaven, rather than earth. … He sent them before Him as His heralds. He did not abandon them but saved those who went on ahead. He did not forget them. …

Blessed are they who have exchanged their travail for repose, their pains for ease, their suffering for joy. They are alive! Yes, they are alive, they live indeed who have undergone death for Christ’s sake. … Happy the tears their mothers shed for these infants, they have won them the grace of Baptism. … May He who deigned to rest in a stable, be pleased to lead us too, to the heavenly pastures.” – St Peter Chrysologus (400-450) Bishop of Ravenna, Father and Doctor of the Church (Sermon 152 PL 52, 604).

PRAYER – O God, Whose praise the Innocents, Thy Martyrs, this day proclaimed, not by speaking but by dying, put to death in us all the wickedness of sin, so that the faith which our tongue professes, may be proclaimed also by our life. 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 – 28 December – Sleep, Holy Babe

Our Morning Offering – 28 December – The Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs – “The Month of the Divine Infant and the Immaculate Conception”

Sleep, Holy Babe
By Fr Edward Caswell C.Orat. (1814-1878)

Sleep, holy Babe, Upon Your Mother’s breast!
Great Lord of earth and sea and sky,
How sweet it is to see You lie
In such a place of rest!

Sleep, holy Babe, Your angels watch around,
All bending low with folded wings
Before th’incarnate King of kings
In rev’rent awe profound!

Sleep, holy Babe, While I with Mary gaze
In joy upon that face awhile,
Upon the loving Infant smile
Which there divinely plays

Sleep, holy Babe,
And take Your brief repose;
Too quickly will Your slumbers break
And You to lengthened pains awake,
That death alone shall close.


Saint of the Day – 28 December – The Holy Innocents.

Saint of the Day – 28 December – The Holy Innocents. Patronages – • against ambition•against jealousy• altar servers•babies•children• children’s choir• choir boys• orphans• students.

The Feast of the Holy Innocents
By Father Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888)

By the Holy Innocents, who are honoured as Martyrs today by the Catholic Church, we understand those happy infants, who, by the command of King Herod, were put to death, for no other cause, than that the new-born King of the Jews might be deprived of life.

When Christ was born, Herod, well known for his cruelty, reigned at Jerusalem. He was not of the Jewish nation but a foreigner and was, therefore, hated by the Jews. Herod knew this well; hence, he feared that they would dethrone him and he had several illustrious persons executed, whom he suspected of aspiring to the throne.

Meanwhile, it happened, that the three Magi or Kings from the East came to Jerusalem, to find and adore the new-born King, Who had been announced to them by a star. They doubted not that they would learn more of Him in the capital of Judea and they, therefore, asked without hesitation: Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to adore Him.

This question seemed very strange to the Jews and the news of it spread through the whole City, until it reached the King. His fear can hardly be described, for he already believed his crown and sceptre lost. To escape the danger in which he supposed himself, he called the chief priests and scribes together,and inquired of them, where the Messiah should be born. They answered: “In Bethlehem, according to the Prophets.” Satisfied with this answer, Herod had the three wise men brought to court and speaking very confidentially with them, he asked diligently when and where the star had appeared to them. After this, he advised them to go to Bethlehem and inquire after the new-born Child and when they had found and adored Him, to return and inform Herod, as he wished to go and adore the Child too. These words of the king, who was not less cunning than cruel, were only a deceit, as he had already resolved to kill the new-born Babe.

Meanwhile, the Magi followed the advice of the king and, guided by the star, which again appeared to them when they had left Jerusalem, went to Bethlehem, found and adored the Divine Child and offered gold, frankincense and myrrh, as we read in Holy Writ. Having finished their devotion, they intended, in accordance with king Herod’s wish, to bring him word that they had happily found the Child. An Angel, however, appeared to them in their sleep and admonished them not to return to Jerusalem but to go into their own country by another way which they accordingly did.

The Massacre of the Innocents / Angelo Visconti

When Herod perceived that they had deluded him, it was too late and his rage was boundless. Hearing of what had taken place in the temple, at the Purification of Mary that the venerable Simeon had pronounced a Child which he had taken into his arms, the true Messiah, the Herod’s heart was filled with inexpressible fear and anxiety. The danger in which he was, as he imagined, of losing his crown, left him no peace day or night. He secretly gave orders to search for this Child but all was of no avail, He could not be found.

After long pondering how he might escape the danger, his unbounded ambition led him to an act of cruelty unprecedented in history. He determined to murder all the male children, in and around Bethlehem, who were not over two years of age, as he thought that thus, he could not fail to take the life of the Child so dangerous to him. This fearful design was executed amidst the despairing shrieks of the parents, especially the mothers.

How many children were thus inhumanly slaughtered is not known but the number must have been very large. Yet, the tyrant gained not his end for, the Divine Child was already in security. The Gospel tells us that an Angel appeared during the night to St Joseph, saying to him: “Arise, take the Child and His Mother and fly into Egypt and remain there until I tell thee. For, it will come to pass that Herod will seek the Child to destroy Him.” St Joseph delayed not to obey, and fled, the same night, with the Child and His Mother, into the land indicated to the Angel.

Guido Reni: Massacre of the Innocents

As this had happened before Herod executed his cruel determination, God thus frustrated the plot. Herod soon after, received his just punishment. Several terrible maladies suddenly seized him, as Josephus, the Jewish historian, relates. An internal fever consumed him and all his limbs were covered with abominable ulcers, breeding vermin. His feet were swollen, his neck, shoulders and arms drawn together, and his breast so burdened, that the unfortunate man could hardly breathe, while his whole body exhaled, so offensive an odour, that neither he nor others, could endure it. Hence, in despair, he frequently cried for a knife or a sword that he might end his own life. In this miserable condition, he ceased not his cruelties and only five days before his death, he had his son, Antipater, put to death.

As he had good reason to believe that the entire people would rejoice at his death, he wished at least, to take to the grave, the thought that many should grieve, if not for him, at least for their friends and relatives. Hence, he had the chief men of the nobility imprisoned and gave orders to his sister Salome that, as soon as he had closed his eyes, they were all to be murdered. This order, however, was not executed by Salome, who justly loathed its cruelty. In this lamentable condition, the cruel tyrant ended his life but began one in eternity, whose pains and torments were still more unendurable and from which he cannot hope ever to be released!

While the innocent children massacred by him, rejoice for all eternity in the glories of Heaven, giving humble thanks to God for having thus admitted them into His presence. The Catholic Church has always honoured them as Martyrs; because, although not confessing Christ with their lips, as many thousands of others have done, yet, they confessed Him with their death, by losing their lives for His sake. Amen.


The Fourth Day of the Octave of Christmas, The Holy Innocents, Notre-Dame de Pontoise / Our Lady of Pontoise, France (13th Century) and Memorials of the Saints – 28 December

The Fourth Day of the Octave of Christmas

The Holy Innocents

Notre-Dame de Pontoise / Our Lady of Pontoise, France (13th Century) – 28 December:

St Anthony of Lérins (c 428-c 520) Monk, Hermit, Miracle-worker. The Roman Martyrology states: “Commemoration of Saint Anthony, a Monk, who, a man distinguished by grace and preparation, after having led a solitary life, retired, by now an old man in the Monastery of Lérins in Provence, where he piously fell asleep in the Lord.”

BL Claudia Weinhardt
St Conindrus
St Domitian the Deacon
St Domnio of Rome
St Eutychius
Bl Gregory of Cahors
St Iolande of Rome
Bl Johannes Riedgasse

Blessed Matthia de Nazzarei OSC (1253-1319) Virgin, Nun of the Poor Clares, Abbess, gifted with the charism of miracles and prophecy. Beatified on 27 July 1765 by Pope Clement XIII.
Her Life

Bl Nicolas Mello
Bl Otto of Heidelberg
St Romulus
St Simon the Myroblite
St Theonas of Alexandria
St Theodore of Tabenna
St Troadius of Pontus

Martyrs of Africa – 3 Saints: Three Christians murdered together in Africa for their faith. The only details to survive are their names – Castor, Rogatian and Victor.