Thought for the Day – 21 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Dignity and Responsibility of Being a Christian
“It is a great dignity to be a Christian. By Baptism, we become sons of God, heirs to Heaven, temples of the Holy Spirit and members of the Mystical Body of Jesus, which is the Church. God’s grace raises us to the supernatural order and makes us, as St Paul expresses it, sharers in the divine nature. By the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Holy Spirit fortifies our faith and gives us the strength to resist the temptations of the devil and to fight like loyal soldiers, for the triumph in ourselves and in others, of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. The Sacrament of Penance, is our plank of salvation in the shipwreck of sin.
Although, we are all wretched sinners, by this give of the divine mercy, we can recover our lost innocence and return to the grace and friendship of God. Moreover, in order to prevent us from falling back into sin, Jesus give us Himself in the Blessed Eucharist, which is called, by St Thomas Aquinas, the greatest miracle of His infinite love (Opusculum 56, Officium de festo Corporis Christi, lectures 1-4).
But this is not all. If it is our vocation for form a family, God consecrates our union at the altar and gives us the graces necessary, to sanctify it, so that it may produce a good Christian family. If God has called us, on the other hand, to become spiritual fathers of the souls redeemed by His Precious Blood, He raises us to this high dignity, by the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Finally, when we shall have come to the end of our mortal lives, the Priest will be still by our side, to wash away, by the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, the last traces of sin and to comfort us in our passage to eternity. The whole life of a Christian, is a chain of favours which accompany him, from the cradle to the grave. We should be grateful to God for the goodness with which He has treated us and continues to treat us. We should co-operate generously with His gifts by recognising the lofty honour it is, to be a Christian and by living in accordance with this dignity.”
One Minute Reflection – 13 April – Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 4: 32-37, Psalm: Psalms 93: 1ab, 1cd-2, 5, Gospel: John 3: 7b-15 *Readings below
“Whosoever believeth in him, may not perish but may have life everlasting.” – John 3:15
REFLECTION – “Typology points out what is to be expected, indicating through imitation, what is to happen before it happens. Adam was a type of Him who was to come (Rom 5:14); “the Rock was Christ” (1 Cor 10:4) typologically and, the water from the rock, was a type of the living power of the Word, for He says, “If anyone thirst, let him come to Me and drink.” (Jn 7:37) The manna was a type of the living bread which came down from heaven (Jn 6:41) and the serpent suspended on the pole, was a type of the saving Passion accomplished on the Cross (Nb 21:8f.), since the life of everyone who looked at the serpent was preserved.
Similarly, the history of Israel’s exodus, was recorded to typify those who would be saved through Baptism. The firstborn of the Israelites were saved …) through grace given, to those who were marked with blood. The blood of the lamb is a type of the blood of Christ …
At the time of the exodus, the sea and the cloud led the people from amazement to faith but ,they also typified the grace which was yet to come. “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things” – how the baptism in the sea, which brought about Pharaoh’s demise, typifies the washing, which makes the devil’s tyranny depart. The sea killed the enemy in its waves and Baptism kills the enmity between us and God. The people emerged from the sea unharmed and we come up from the water, as alive from the dead, saved by the grace of Him Who has called us. The cloud is a shadow of the Spirit’s gifts, for He cools the flames of our passions through the mortification of our bodies.” – St Basil the Great (329-379) Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Father, Doctor of the Church – Treatise on the Holy Spirit, 14
PRAYER – True Light of the World, Lord Jesus Christ, as You enlighten all men for their salvation, fill us the grace of the Holy Spirit, that our eyes may be opened and our path visible. May our hearts be filled with the certainty of Your love and grant us the grace to share Your light with all. May Your love in us overcome all things, let there be no limit to our faith, our hope and our endurance. Lead us in Your ways of peace to eternal life by Your Mother’s protecting help. Who live and reign with the Father and Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.
Acts 4: 32-37 32 And the multitude of believers had but one heart and one soul, neither did anyone say that aught of the things which he possessed, was his own but all things were common unto them. 33 And with great power did the apostles give testimony of the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and great grace was in them all. 34 For neither was there anyone needy among them. For as many as were owners of lands or houses, sold them and brought the price of the things they sold 35 and laid it down before the feet of the apostles. And distribution was made to everyone, according as he had need. 36 And Joseph, who, by the apostles, was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, by interpretation, The son of consolation), a Levite, a Cyprian born, 37 having land, sold it and brought the price and laid it at the feet of the apostles.
John 3: 7b-15 7 Wonder not, that I said to thee, you must be born again. 8 The Spirit breatheth where he will and thou hearest his voice but thou knowest not whence he cometh and whither he goeth, so is everyone that is born of the Spirit. 9 Nicodemus answered and said to him: How can these things be done? 10 Jesus answered and said to him: Art thou a master in Israel and knowest not these things? 11 Amen, amen I say to thee, that we speak what we know and we testify what we have seen and you receive not our testimony. 12 If I have spoken to you earthly things,and you believe not; how will you ,believe, if I shall speak to you heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish but may have life everlasting.
“He was transfigured before them and his clothes became dazzling white” – Mark 9:2-3
REFLECTION – “Three persons were chosen to climb the mountain, two to appear with the Lord … Peter, who received the keys of the Kingdom of heaven, was one of those who climbed up and John, to whom was entrusted the Mother of Jesus and James, who would be the first to be elevated to the Episcopal dignity. Then Moses and Elijah, the Law and the prophets, appeared together with the Word … Let us, too, climb the mountain, let us beg the Word of God to appear to us in His “splendour and beauty,” to “be strong, go forth in majesty and reign” (Ps 45:4). …
For if you do not ascend to the peak of a higher knowledge, Wisdom will not appear to you, understanding of the mysteries will not make itself known. The splendour and beauty to be found in the Word of God will not appear to you but God’s Word will seem like a body “without grace or beauty” (Is 53:2). He will seem to you like a man of suffering, “accustomed to infirmity” (v. 3) and like a word born of man, covered with the veil of the letter and not shining with the power of the Spirit (cf. 2 Cor 3:6-17). …
His clothing takes one appearance at the foot of the mountain, another at the top. It might be said that the garments of the Word are Scripture’s words that, so to speak, clothe the divine thoughts. And just as He appeared to Peter, James and John under another aspect, His garment dazzling white, so the meaning of the divine Scriptures is already explained in your mind’s eye. Thus the divine words become like snow “such as no one on earth could bleach them” …
Then followed a cloud, that hid them under its shadow. This shadow is the divine Spirit, which does not cover over men’s hearts but brings to light, what lies hidden … You see, perfect faith is knowledge of the Son of God, not just for beginners but for the perfect and even for the inhabitants of heaven.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan, Father and Doctor of the Church – Commentary on Saint Luke’s Gospel, VII9 f.
PRAYER – God our Father, You bid us listen to Your Son, the well-beloved. Nourish our heats on Your Word, purify the eyes of our mind and fill us with joy, at the vision of Your glory. May our Blessed Virgin Mother Mary accompan us and intercede for us as we strive to purify our lives. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Come O Holy Spirit! By St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
You made Mary full of grace and inflamed the hearts of the Apostles with a holy zeal, enflame our hearts with Your love. You are the Spirit of goodness, give us the courage to confront evil. You are Fire, set us ablaze with Your love. You are Light, enlighten our minds, that we may see what is truly important. You are the Dove, give us gentleness. You are a soothing Breeze, bring calm to the storms that rage within us. You are the Tongue, may our lips ever sing God’s praises You are the Cloud, shelter us under the shadow of Your protection. O Holy Spirit, melt the frozen, warm the chilled and enkindle in us, an earnest desire to please You. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
Sunday Reflection – 31 May – The Solemnity of Pentecost
Wishing Holy Mother Church
and you all a Blessed and Holy Birthday!
“…We have only to say “yes” to let Him take us there.“
St John Vianney (1786-1859)
“If the damned were asked – Why are you in Hell? they would answer:
‘For having resisted the Holy Spirit.’
And if the saints were asked – Why are you in Heaven? they would answer: ‘For having listened to the Holy Spirit.’
When good thoughts come into our minds,
it is the Holy Spirit who is visiting us.
The Holy Spirit is a power.
The Holy Spirit …. sustained the martyrs. Without the Holy Spirit, the martyrs would have fallen like the leaves from the trees. When the fires were lighted under them, the Holy Spirit extinguished the heat of the fire by the heat of divine love.
The good God, in sending us the Holy Spirit, has treated us like a great king who should send his minister to guide one of his subjects, saying, “You will accompany this man everywhere and you will bring him back to me safe and sound.”
How beautiful it is, my children, to be accompanied by the Holy Spirit!
He is indeed a good Guide and to think that there are some who will not follow Him!
The Holy Spirit is like a man with a carriage and horse, who should want to take us to Pans. We should only have to say “yes,” and to get into it. It is indeed an easy matter to say “yes”!…
Well, the Holy Spirit wants to take us to Heaven,
we have only to say “yes” and to let Him take us there.“
“O Divine Spirit, draw us to the highest heaven where Jesus lives forever, interceding for us. Come, fill our hearts with Your fire, show us the way to the Lord, that we may find Him shining with beauty and love. Amen”
Our Morning Offering – 31 May – Pentecost Sunday, Alleluia!
Veni Sancte Spiritus – The Golden Sequence
Come, Holy Spirit and bring from above
The splendour of Thy light.
Come, father of the poor, come, giver of graces,
Come, light of our hearts.
Best of Consolers, sweet guest of the soul,
And comfort of the weary.
Thou rest in labour, relief in burning toil,
Consoling us in sorrow.
O blessed light, fill the innermost hearts
Of those who trust in Thee.
Without Thy indwelling there is nothing in man,
And nothing free of sin.
Cleanse what is sordid, give water in dryness,
And heal the bleeding wounds.
Bend what is proud, make warm what is cold,
Bring back the wayward soul.
Give to the faithful who trustingly beg Thee
Thy seven holy gifts.
Grant virtue’s reward, salvation in death,
And everlasting joy.
“Veni Sancte Spiritus,” the “Golden Sequence”, is a sequence prescribed in the Roman Liturgy for the Masses of Pentecost and its octave, exclusive of the following Trinity Sunday. It is usually attributed to either the thirteenth-century Pope Innocent III (c 1160 – 1216) or to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Stephen Langton (c 1150 – 1228).