Thought for the Day – 20 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Patronage of Saint Joseph
“St Joseph is the Universal Patron of the Church. We, who are loved children of the Church should invoke his special intercession, therefore, for the triumph and expansion of the Kingdom of God upon earth.
It is a sad but certain fact, that in every age, the Church is subject to persecution in many parts of the world, even in our own countries! There is always some nation and often, many of them, where the Church is obstructed in her mission for the salvation of souls and for the true welfare of society. Sometimes She is compelled to fight for her existence, with the weapons of the Spirit. “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but, powerful before God …” (2 Cor 10:4).
Sometimes the Church is in bonds and the blood of her Martyrs is poured forth to become the seed, from which new Christians will spring. There is no reason for surprise at all this, for Christ Himself foretold it quite clearly. “If they have persecuted Me, they will persecute you too …” (Jn 15:20) but “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18).
If we are loyal sons of the Church, we should pray that She may triumph. We should ask for the special intercession of St Joseph, Her Heavenly Patron.”
Quote of the Day – 20 March – “The Month of the St Joseph” and his Feast transferred from Sunday 19 March
“Since God could choose for the Guardian of His Son, the man in the world, the most accomplished in all sorts of perfections, according to the dignity and excellence of his Charge, Who was His most Glorious Son, the universal Prince of Heaven and earth, how could it be that being able, He did not will it and did not do it? There is, then, NO DOUBT that St Joseph was endowed with all the graces and all the gifts that were required for the care which the Eternal Father willed to give him, of the temporal and domestic economy of our Lord and of the guidance of his family … ”
Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 20 March – St Joseph, Feast transferred from Sunday 19 March – Monday of the Fourth Week in Lent – Ecclesiasticus 45:1-6, Matthew 1:18-21 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commands.” Psalm 111:1
“And she shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call His Name Jesus …” Matthew 1:21
SAINT JOSEPH, HEAD OF THE HOLY FAMILY St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritas
“OH, WHAT A DIVINE UNION between our Lady and the glorious St Joseph! A union which made that Good of eternal goods which is our Lord, belong to St Joseph, as he belonged to our Lady, (not by the nature that He had taken in the womb of our glorious Mistress, a nature that had been formed by the Holy Spirit of the most pure blood of our Lady) but, according to grace, which made him a partaker of all the goods of his dear Spouse and, which made him go on growing wonderfully in perfection and this was by his continual communication with our Lady, who possessed all virtues, in so high a degree, that no other pure creature can attain to it. Still the glorious St Joseph was the one who approached nearest to it. …
Observe the order that is kept in this holy family. … Who can doubt that our Lady was greater than St Joseph and that she had more discretion and qualities proper for governing, than her spouse? Yet the Angel does not address himself to her, for what is required to be done, whether it be going or coming, or anything else. Does it not seem to you that the Angel commits a great indiscretion, in addressing himself rather, to St Joseph than to our Lady, who is the head of the house, carrying with her the Treasure of the Eternal Father? Had she not reason to be offended at this proceeding and way of acting? Doubtless she might have said to her husband: “Why should I go into Egypt, since my Son has not revealed to me that I ought to do so, nor has the Angel spoken to me of it?” Now our Lady says nothing of this sort. She is not offended because the Angel addresses himself to St Joseph but she obey,s quite simply because she knows that God has so ordered it …”
O God! how beautiful it was to see the respect and reverence with which he treated both the Mother and the Son! If he had wished to leave the Mother when he was not quite aware of the greatness of her dignity, into what admiration and profound abasement was he not afterwards plunged, when he saw himself so honoured that our Lord and our Lady became obedient to his will and did nothing but by his command?!” (Sermons).
One Minute Reflection – 20 March – “The Month of the St Joseph” and his Feast transferred from Sunday 19 March – Monday of the Fourth Week in Lent – Ecclesiasticus 45:1-6, Matthew 1:18-21 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Joseph, son of David ” – Matthew 1:20
REFLECTION – “There is no doubt that Joseph was a very holy and trustworthy man, since the Mother of the Saviour was to be his wife. He was the “faithful and prudent servant” (Mt 24:45), for 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. He allowed him to see and listen, to things that so many kings and prophets had wished to see and hear but which,, in spite of their desire, they had not been able to see or to hear (Mt 13:7), even more,, He made him carry and guide, embrace, nurture and protect Him. Both Mary and Joseph belonged to David’s race; in Mary was fulfilled the promise once made by the Lord to David, while Joseph was the witness of this fulfilment.” – St Bernard (1090-1153) (Surname de Fontaine) Priest, Cistercian Monk, The Last Father and Doctor Mellifluus (Mellifluous Doctor) (Homily on the “Missus est”, 2, 16).
PRAYER – May the merits of Thy most holy Mother’s Spouse help us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that through his intercession we may receive what we cannot obtain by our own efforts. Through the same 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 March – “The Month of the St Joseph” and his Feast transferred from Sunday 19 March
Caelitum, Ioseph, decus Joseph, the Praise and Glory of the Heavens By Fr Juan Escollar (Died 1700)
Joseph, the praise and glory of the heavens, Sure pledge of life and safety of the wide world, as in our joy we sing to thee, in kindness listen to our praises.
Thou by the world’s Creator wert appointed Spouse of the Virgin, thee He willed to honour. Naming thee father of the Word and guardian of our salvation.
Thou, thy Redeemer, lying in a stable, whom long ago foretold the choir of Prophets, sawest rejoicing and thy God adorest Humble in childhood.
God, King of Kings and Governor of the ages, He at Whose word the powers of hell do tremble, He Whom the adoring heavens ever worship, called thee protector.
Praise to the Triune Godhead everlasting, Who with such honour mightily hath blest thee. O may He grant us at thy blest petition Joys everlasting. Amen
This Hymn was formerly used at Matins for the Feast of St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (19 March). It is still used for this Feast but for Lauds. It is also the Hymn for Lauds for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker on 1 May. Translation by Alan G McDougall (1895-1964).
Saint of the Day – 19March – Blessed Ambrose Sansedoni of Siena OP (1220-1287) Priest and Friar of the Order of Preachers, Confessor, Mystic, a powerful and convincing Preacher employed by various Popes as a Diplomatic Peacemaker and that which seems opposed, as a Preacher of the Crusades, Peacemaker, . A fellow student with St Thomas Aquinas under St Albert Magnus. Born on 16 April 1220 at Siena, Italy and died on 20 March 1287 at Siena, Italy of natural causes. Patronages – of engaged couples, of Siena, Italy. Also known as – Ambrogio Sansedoni, Ambrose Sansedone.
The Roman Martyrology reads: “At Siena, in Tuscany, Blessed Ambrose (Sansedoni) of the Order of Friars Preachers. He was remarkable for his sanctity, preaching and miracles. Clement VIII ordered his name to be inscribed in the Roman Martyrology.”
Ambrose was born of noble parents at Siena, in Tuscany, on 16 April 1220. His mother, who had experienced extraordinary interior consolation whilst expecting his birth, was filled with bitter grief on finding the infant deformed and hideous. Unable to bear the painful sight, she sent him away to be brought up by strangers. One day, as his nurse was holding him in her arms at her cottage door, a venerable pilgrim passed by and gazed fixedly upon him, whereupon she veiled his face to conceal his ugliness. But the stranger, obeying a divine inspiration, said to her, “Woman, hide not the face of that child;,he will one day be the light and glory of this City.” So the nurse took courage and everyday, when she went to pray in the Church of the newly founded Friars Preachers, she took the child with her, his face still veiled.
Baby Ambrose always testified extreme reluctance to leave a certain Altar in this Church, on which some precious Relics were preserved. One day, when the cries and tears of the infant had induced his nurse to carry him back to his favourite Altar before returning home, he suddenly stretched out his little arms and legs which until now, had been distorted and motionless, raised his hands to Heaven and pronounced, three times in a loud and distinct tone, the Holy Name of Jesus. The blackened and disfigured countenance was now found to be radiant with beauty, every trace of deformity was gone forever!
The very young childhood of Ambrose was distinguished by a holiness beyond his years. Everyday he recited the Office of our Blessed Lady and would rise by night to meditate, when only seven years old. As he grew older, he was accustomed to visit and relieve the sick in the hospitals and prisoners in their dungeons. His love for the poor was very great and he obtained his father’s permission to bring home and lodge, five needy pilgrims every Saturday. This act of charity was rewarded even in this life, for five Angels appeared to the boy one night, singing sweet harmonies and said to him, “Ambrose, we are the five pilgrims whom thou hast been wont to entertain for the love of God.”
In spite of the allurements of the world, the earnest entreaties of his family and the open assaults of Satan, he very early resolved to embrace the religious life and received the Dominican Habit on his seventeenth Birthday, humbly kissing the feet of all the Brethren, before being admitted into their number.
Sometime after his profession, Ambrose was sent to Paris to study under St Albert the Great and here he had St Thomas Aquinas as a fellow disciple. When St Albert returned to Cologne in the year 1248, he took his two holy pupils back with him to teach under his supervision. Although Blessed Ambrose, from motives of humility, never took his Doctor’s Degree, yet he was a renowned Lector and taught with great edification, during thirty years in various Convents of his Order.
At the same time he did not neglect the duty of preaching, especially in vacation-time and his powerful eloquence converted many sinners and contributed not a little to re-establish peace in Italy, then torn by interior quarrels and the factions of the Guelphs and Ghibellines.
He was held in great esteem by successive Popes, who repeatedly employed him in important missions of peace, in reconciling heretics to the Church and in preaching the Crusade in various parts of Europe. They were anxious to signify their appreciation of his singular services by raising him to the Episcopate but humility was ever his most characteristic virtue and he steadily refused every offer of promotion. His example gave weight to his words. It was his inviolable custom never to go to the Altar to offer the Holy Sacrifice, until he had first asked pardon of any whom he believed to be irritated against him and his perfect sweetness and humility, under trying circumstances, had power to soften the hardest hearts.
One of his special devotions was to pray for those who were about to enter the married state that God would bless their union and grant them all the graces needful for their salvation. Hence, after his death, it became a custom for the maidens of Siena to offer a wax candle at his tomb to obtain a blessing on their marriage.
His interior life was one of almost uninterrupted prayer. Many a time were the Angels seen present when he celebrated Mas, which he seldom did without ecstasies. Often, when he preached, his body was miraculously raised from the ground and his head was seen surrounded by a circle, not of glory but of birds of various and brilliant plumage and in the midst of this new and beautiful nimbus, a face of wondrous majesty would sometimes appear, looking down upon Ambrose with a glance of unutterable love and a hand which seemed to hold the universe in its grasp, would be outstretched in benediction over his head.
We are indebted for these particulars to a holy penitent of his, Nera Tolomei, to whom Our Lord also revealed that He appeared to Blessed Ambrose shortly before his death and said to him, “If thou desirest to remain in this life, thou shalt send many souls to Heaven by thy preaching; if, on the other hand, thou wouldst rather come to Me now, I will, in consideration of thy merits, release five thousand souls from Purgatory and admit them to glory, together with thee.” The holy man resigned himself entirely to the Divine Will, adding, however, the words, “Nevertheless, I would willingly quit this world.” Then the Divine Master bade the Saints, in whose honour Blessed Ambrose had so often preached, to go forth to meet his happy soul and Nera beheld him, clothed in the Pontifical robes which his humility had led him, persistently to refuse on earth and placed in the ranks of the Apostles, whose labours for souls he had striven to emulate.
His happy death took place in the year 1287. Both in life and after death he was illustrious for miracles. In 1597, his name was enrolled in the Roman Martyrology and in the following Century, Pope Gregory XV gave leave for his Feast to be celebrated throughout the Dominican Order.
Prayer: May this glad Festival of Blessed Ambrose, Thy Confessor, give joy to Thy Church, O God and may it ever be defended by all spiritual helps and made worthy to be blessed with everlasting joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, One God world without end, amen.
St Photina & Companions / Martyrs of Rome – 9+ Saints: A group of Christians Martyred together in the persecutions of Nero. We know nothing else about them but the names Photina, Sebastian and Victor, Anatolius, Cyriaca, Joseph, Parasceve, Photis.
Blessed Ambrose Sansedoni of Siena OP (1220-1287) Priest and Friar of the Order of Preachers. A fellow student with St Thomas Aquinas under St Albert Magnus. Anastasius XVI Archippus of Colossi St Benignus of Flay St Cathcan of Rath-derthaighe St Clement of Ireland
Martyrs of Amisus – 8 Saints: A group of Christian women Martyred together in the persecutions of Diocletian. The only details we have are eight of their names – Alexandra, Caldia, Derphuta, Euphemia, Euphrasia, Juliana, Matrona and Theodosia. They were burned to death c 300 in Amisus, Paphlagonia (modern Samsun, Turkey).
Martyrs of San Saba – 20 Saints: Twenty monks who were Martyred together in their monastery by invading Saracens. They were Martyred in 797 when they were burned inside the San Sabas monastery in Palestine.
Martyrs of Syria – 3+ Saints: A group of Christians who were Martyred together in Syria. We know nothing else about them but the names Cyril, Eugene and Paul.
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