Thought for the Day – 25 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Consider Mary’s reaction to the reverence and praise with which the Angel greets her. Is she carried away by delight and exaltation at this solemn moment? Nothing of the sort! In her humility and modesty, she is disturbed by the Angel’s salutation and wonders what the reason is for it. “She was troubled at his word and kept pondering what manner of greeting this might be” (Lk 1:29).
How do we behave when we receive praise from our superiors or from our friends and acquaintances? We are pleased and overcome perhaps by feelings of vanity. We smile to ourselves and are convinced that we are of more consequence than we really are. We even feel the need to reveal our thoughts to others and, thereby, seek further aggrandisement! There is a world of difference between the simplicity and humility of the Blessed Virgin and our vain hunger for praise and honour.”
Quote/s of the Day – 25 March – The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Isaias 7:10-15, Luke 1:26-38 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“ By a woman, came the flood of our ills and by a woman too, our blessings, have their spring.”
St Gregory Thaumaturgus (c213-c270) “the Wonder-Worker,” Bishop, Confessor
Blessed Virgin Mary, Receive Our Gratitude! By St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of Grace
Blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay you with praise and thanks for having rescued a fallen world by your generous consent! Receive our gratitude and by your prayers, obtain the pardon of our sins. Take our prayers into the Sanctuary of Heaven and enable them to make our peace with God. Holy Mary, help the miserable, strengthen the discouraged, comfort the sorrowful, pray for your people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God. May all who venerate you feel now your help and protection. Be ready to help us when we pray and bring back to us, the answers to our prayers. Make it your continual concern to pray for the people of God, for you were blessed by God and were made worthy to bear the Redeemer of the world, Who lives and reigns forever. Amen
“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be to me according to your word.’”
“The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once, if you consent. In the eternal Word of God, we all came to be and behold, we die. In your brief response, we are to be remade. in order to be recalled to life.
… Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the Angel, or rather, through the Angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the Divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the Eternal Word!”
St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) The Last Father and the Mellifluous Doctor
Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 25 March – The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Isaias 7:10-15, Luke 1:26-38 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women!” Luke 1:28
“And Mary said to the Angel: How shall this be done as I know not man?” Luke 1:34
CHASTITY and HUMILITY St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritas
“VIRGINITY AND ABSOLUTE CHASTITY, is an angelic virtue but, although it belongs, more especially to Angels than to men, yet the purity of Our Lady infinitely surpassed that of the Angels, having three great perfections above theirs, even that of the Cherubim and Seraphim…that of the Angels is sterile and can produce no fruit. On the contrary, that of our glorious Mistress was not only fruitful because she produced, for us, this sweet Fruit of Life, Our Lord and Master but, in the second place, she has begotten many virgins. It is it in imitation of her, as we have said, that virgins have vowed their virginity …
But she was not only virgin par excellence above all others, Angels as well as men – she was also more humble than all others. This was manifest excellently on the day of the Annunciation. She then made the greatest act of humility that was ever made, or ever will be made, by a pure creature; for seeing herself exalted by the Angel, who saluted her, saying she was full of grace and that she would conceive a Son Who would be both God and Man…Our Lady, being reassured by the Angel and having learned what God willed to do with her and in her, made this supreme act of humility, saying: “I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say.” She saw herself raised to the highest dignity that ever was or will be, for although it should please God to create anew many worlds, He could never make a pure creature be greater than the Mother of God.
Our Lady humbled herself and acknowledged herself unworthy of being raised to the high dignity of Mother of God, therefore, she was made to be His Mother, for she had no sooner uttered the protestation of her littleness, than, having abandoned herself to Him, by an act of incomparable charity, she became the Mother of the Most High, Who is the Saviour of our souls!” (Sermon on 25 March 1621at a religious Profession).
One Minute Reflection – 25 March – Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Isaias 7:10-15, Luke 1:26-38 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“And the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David, His father and He shall reign in the house of Jacob forever. And of His Kingdom there shall be no end.” – Luke 1:32-33
REFLECTION – “The Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph of the house of David and the virgin’s name was Mary.” What is said of the house of David applies, not only to Joseph but also to Mary. It was a precept of the law that each man should marry a wife from his own tribe and kindred. Saint Paul also bears testimony to this, when he writes to Timothy: “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as preached in my Gospel” (2 Tm 2:8) …
“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.” The Angel refers to ,the kingdom of the Israelite nation, as the throne of David because in his time, by the Lord’s command and assistance, David governed it with a spirit of faithful service … As David had once ruled the people with temporal authority, so Christ would now lead them to the eternal Kingdom by His spiritual grace …
“He will reign over the house of Jacob forever”. The house of Jacob here refers to the Universal Church which, through its faith in and witness to Christ, shares the heritage of the Patriarchs. This may apply either to those who are physical descendants of the patriarchal families, or to those, who come from gentile nations and are reborn in Christ, by the waters of Baptism. In this house, Christ shall reign forever, and “of his Kingdom there will be no end.” During this present life, Christ rules in the Church. By faith and love, He dwells in the hearts of His elect and guides them, by His unceasing care, toward their heavenly reward. In the life to come, when their period of exile on earth is ended, He will exercise His Kingship, by leading the faithful to their heavenly country. There, forever inspired by the vision of His Presence, their one delight will be to praise and glorify Him.” – The Venerable St Bede (673-735) Monk, Father and Doctor of the Church (Sermons for Advent No 3).
PRAYER – O God, Who, by the message of an Angel, willed Thy Word to take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant that we, Thy suppliants, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be assisted by her intercession with Thee. 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).
Saint of the Day – 25 March – Saint Margaret Clitherow (1556-1586) “The Pearl of York”Martyr, Married Laywoman and Mother of 3. Her 2 sons became Priests and her daughter a Nun. She was Beatified on 15 December 1929 by Pope Pius XI and Canonised with the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales. Born in 1556 at York, England as Margaret Middleton and died by being crushed to death, on Good Friday, 25 March 1586 at their home, No 10-11 The Shambles,York. Also known as – Margaret Clitheroe, Margaret Middleton, Margarita, Margherita, Marguerite. “The Pearl of York.” Patronages – the Catholic Women’s League, business-women, converts, Martyrs, Co-Patron of the English Latin Mass Society which organises an annual pilgrimage to her Shrine in York . Additional Memorial – 4 May with the 40 Martyrs.
Margaret was born in 1556, one of five children of Thomas and Jane Middleton. Her father was a respected businessman, a wax-chandler and Sheriff of York, who died when Margaret was fourteen years old.
In 1571, she married John Clitherow, a wealthy butcher and a chamberlain of the City and bore him three children. The family lived at today’s renowned tourist destination, “The Shambles” – their business was Nos 35–36, which is now St Margaret’s Shrine..
Margaret converted to Catholicism in 1574. Although her husband, John belonged to the Established Church, he was supportive of his wife and of his brother William, who was a Catholic Priest. He paid the fines Margaret received for not attending the heretical church services. She was first imprisoned in 1577 for failing to attend and two further incarcerations at York Castle followed. Her third child, William, was born in prison!
Margaret risked her life by harbouring and maintaining Priests which was made a capital offence. She provided two chambers, one adjoining her house and, with her house under surveillance, she rented a house some distance away, where she kept Priests hidden and Mass was celebrated throughout the time of the most violent and virulent persecution. Her home became one of the most important hiding places for fugitive Priests in the north of England. Local tradition holds that she also housed her clerical guests in The Black Swan at Peasholme Green, where the Queen’s agents were also lodged!
She sent her older son, Henry, to the English College, relocated to Rheims, to train for the Priesthood. Her husband was summoned by the authorities to explain why his oldest son had gone abroad and in March 1586, the Clitherow house was searched. A frightened boy revealed the location of the Priest hole.
Margaret was arrested and called before the York Assizes for the crime of harbouring Catholic Priests. She refused to plead, thereby preventing a trial that would entail her three children being made to testify and being subjected to torture. She was sentenced to death. Although pregnant with her fourth child, she was executed on Lady Day, 1586, (which also happened to be Good Friday that year) in the Toll Booth at Ouse Bridge, by being crushed to death by her own door, the standard inducement to force a plea. Upon hearing the sentence, Margaret exclaimed – “God be thanked, I am not worthy of so good a death as this.”
Before her execution, Margaret was asked to confess her crimes. Instead she confessed, Our Lord Jesus Christ by saying: “I die for the love of my Lord Jesu.” The two Sergeants who should have carried out the execution hired four desperate beggars to do it instead. She was stripped and had a handkerchief tied across her face, then laid across a sharp rock the size of a man’s fist, the door from her own house was put on top of her and loaded with an immense weight of rocks and stones, so that the sharp rock would break her back. Her death occurred within fifteen minutes but her body was left for six hours before the weight was removed.
A relic, of her hand, is housed in the Bar Convent in York.
St Margaret’s Shrine is at 35–36 The Shambles. John Clitherow had his butcher’s shop at No 35. My family and I have been able to visit this Shrine a few times, taking some of our visitors to venerate St Margaret.
St Dula the Slave Bl Everard of Nellenburg Bl Herman of Zahringen St Hermenland St Humbert of Pelagius Bl James Bird St Kennocha of Fife
St Lucia Filippini (1672-1732) Religious Sister, Founder of the Religious Teachers Filippini for whom she founded countless schools all over Italy, she concentrated too on raising her students to continue the work within their families in order to strengthen familt life and the role and dignity of woman. On 22 June 1930, Lucia Filippini was declared a Saint of the Church by Pope Pius XI and her Statue was given the last available niche in the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome. Her statue can be seen in the first upper niche from the main entrance on the left (south) side of the nave of St Peter’s. Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2022/03/25/saint-of-the-day-25-march-st-lucia-filippini-1672-1732/
St Margaret Clitherow (1556-1586) Martyr, Married Laywoman and Mother of 3. Her 2 sons became Priests and her daughter a Nun. She is one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. She was Beatified on 15 December 1929 by Pope Pius XI. St Matrona of Barcelona St Matrona of Thessaloniki St Mona of Milan St Ndre Zadeja St Nicodemus of Mammola (c900-990) Monk, Abbot, Hermit St Pelagius of Laodicea Bl Placido Riccardi OSB (1844-1915) Priest, Benedictine Monk. Beatified on 5 December 1954 by Pope Pius XII. St Procopius St Quirinus of Rome Bl Tommaso of Costacciaro
262 Martyrs of Rome: A group 262 Christians Martyred together in Rome. We know nothing else about them, not even their names.
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