Thought for the Day – 23 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “As We Also Forgive Our Debtors”
“When we ask God to forgive us, we promise to forgive those who have offended us. Unless we are to be guilty of deception, therefore, we must pardon them. If we refuse to forgive, God will not forgive us. Jesus tells us in the Gospel, to pardon offences not seven times but, seventy times seven (Cf Mt 18:22). In other words, we must always be prepared to forgive. He tells us to return good for evil and to turn the other cheek when someone strikes us.
Not alone did Jesus command us to do this but, He also set us an example. While He was suffering fearful torments on the Cross and was surrounded by jeering enemies, He turned to His heavenly Father and uttered those sublime words: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:24).
How could we gaze at the Crucifix and dare to refuse forgiveness to anyone? No matter how grave may seem the injuries done to us by our neighbour, let us remember, that they are insignificant in comparison with the insults which we have dared to offer to the infinite majesty of our Creator. They are as the hundred denarii compared with the ten thousand talents of Christ’s parable (Mt 18:24-28).
If we wish to receive God’s pardon, therefore, let us be prepared to forgive. Let our forgiveness be sincere, however and, not a mere formal token. The forgiveness freely granted by a heart scourged by the injuries of others, is a pleasing sacrifice offered to God.”
Quote/s of the Day – 23 October – Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer
“I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.”
“Come along then, every human family, full of sin as you are and receive the forgiveness of your sins. For I Myself, am your forgiveness, I am the Passover of salvation, the Lamb slain for your sakes, your redemption, life and resurrection; I am your Light, your Salvation and your King. It is I, who lead you to the heights of heaven, I, who will raise you up; it is I, who will bring you to see the Father who is from all eternity; it is I, who will raise you up by My all-powerful Hand.”
St Melito of Sardis (Died c 180) Bishop, Apologist
“Many indeed are the wondrous happenings of that time: God hanging from a cross, the sun made dark and again flaming out; for it was fitting that creation should mourn with it’s Creator. The temple veil rent, blood and water flowing from His side – the one as from a man, the other as from what was above man; the earth shaken, the rocks shattered because of the Rock; the dead risen to bear witness to the final and universal resurrection of the dead. The happenings at the sepulcher and after the sepulcher, who can fittingly recount them? Yet no-one of them, can be compared, to the miracle of my salvation. A few drops of blood renew the whole world and do, for all men, what the rennet does for the milk – joining us and binding us together.”
St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Father and Doctor of the Church
“The light of Christ is an endless day that knows no night.”
“Our Saviour’s passion raises men and women from the depths, lifts them up from the earth and sets them in the heights.”
St Maximus of Turin (? – c 420)
“As they were looking on, so we too gaze on His wounds as He hangs. We see His blood as He dies. We see the price offered by the Redeemer, touch the scars of His Resurrection. He bows His head, as if to kiss you. His heart is made bare open, as it were, in love to you. His arms are extended, that He may embrace you. His whole body is displayed for your redemption. Ponder how great these things are. Let all this be rightly weighed in your mind – as He was once fixed to the cross, in every part of His body for you, so He may now be fixed in every part of your soul.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“Mount Calvary is the mount of lovers. All love that takes not it’s beginning from Our Saviour’s Passion is frivolous and dangerous. Unhappy is death without the love of the Saviour, unhappy is love without the death of the Saviour! Love and death are so mingled in the Passion of Our Saviour that we cannot have the one in our heart without the other. Upon Calvary one cannot have life without love, nor love without the death of Our Redeemer.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of Charity
“Yes, my gentle Redeemer, let me say it, You are crazy with love! Is it not foolish for You to have wanted to die for me? But if You, my God, have become crazy with love for me, how can I not become crazy with love for You?”
St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
Prayer Before The Crucifix – The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass By St Vincent Strambi (1745-1824)
Jesus, by this Saving Sign, bless this listless soul of mine. Jesus, by Your feet nailed fast, mend the missteps of my past. Jesus, with Your riven hands, bend my will to love’s demands. Jesus, in Your Heart laid bare, warm my inner coldness there. Jesus, by Your thorn-crowned head, still my pride till it is dead. Jesus, by Your muted tongue, stay my words that hurt someone. Jesus, by Your tired eyes, open mine to faith’s surprise. Jesus, by Your fading breath, keep me faithful until death. Yes, Lord, by this Saving Sign, save this wayward soul of mine. Amen
“He perspired blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter and, abandoned by the Apostles, He was bound like a criminal, insulted, scourged, crowned with thorns, condemned to death and burdened with a cross; finally, when He arrived at Calvary, He was nailed to the gibbet, where He shed His Precious Blood and gave His life for our redemption. Such was the extent of Jesus’ infinite love for us. “Calvary” writes St Francis de Sales,“is the school of love.” The Saints were moved to tears by the strange spectacle of God-made-man, dying on the Cross for men. What is our reaction?”
Thought for the Day – 22 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “Forgive Us Our Debts”
“When we have asked God for nourishment for soul and body, we go on to implore forgiveness for our debts, whether they have been contracted in the course of nature, or of grace, or of sin. We owe everything to God. There was a time when we did not exist and, in His divine omnipotence He created us from nothing. Our bodily powers and spiritual faculties are His gifts to us. If we enjoy health, it is He Who has given it to us. If we have any ability, it comes from Him. Anything which we have been able to achieve as the result of mental or manual labour, has been made possible by His help.
Who is it but God Who rescues us from the many perils which surround us? Who but He enables us to overcome so many difficulties? How many times we should have died, if He had not sustained us!
Let us think back over our past lives. How much reason we have to be grateful to God, Who has watched over us continually like a loving Father. The conservation of life, is a continuous act of creation. When we recite the Pater Noster, therefore, we should express our filial gratitude to God and ask for His continued protection. Every moment of life is a new gift of God and an act of His infinite love in our regard. Let us be grateful and love Him generously in return.”
Thought for the Day – 19 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” Our Daily Bread
“In the Pater Noster, Jesus instructs us to ask for our daily bread – that is, for sufficient bread for today, not for tomorrow. In this way, He warns us not to be too preoccupied with the future but, to trust in Providence and accept, from God’s hands, from day to day, whatever is necessary for us. God is our Father and loves us as His children. Knowing this, why should we worry about the future?
We are in the hands of God, Who looks after all His children. Let us entrust ourselves completely to His care. This does not mean that we should indulge in any kind of fatalism, expecting everything from God and doing nothing ourselves. We cannot and should not expect unnecessary miracles. We are under an obligation to work because work, is the result of and the punishment for, sin. It enable us to co-operate with God in His work of creation and has ben ennobled and sanctified by Jesus Christ, Who chose to be “the carpenter’s son,” (Mt 13:55) and a carpenter Himself (Cf Mk 6:3). We should work, therefore but, should not worry.
When we have done everything of which we ae capable, we should leave the rest to Divine Providence.”
Quote/s of the Day – 21 October – Wednesday of the Twenty Ninth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Ephesians 3:2-12, Responsorial Psalm: Isaiah 12:2-3, 4,5-6, Luke 12:39-48
“Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
“Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”
“Life is short, Death is certain and the world to come is everlasting.”
“If we would God discern The world we must despise, His love and hate must learn, See all things with His eyes. And we must self forgo If God we would attain, His grace must in us grow And ease us from all pain. So shall we sing His praise And be at one with Him, In peace our voices raise In the celestial hymn, That with quadruple harmony And all mellifluous melody, In Heaven resounds eternally.”
(The Seven Steps of the Ladder of Spiritual Love)
Bl John van Ruysbroeck (c 1293-1382)
“This then is to watch – to be detached from what is present and to live in what is unseen, to live in the thought of Christ as He came once and as He will come again, to desire His second coming, from our affectionate and grateful remembrance, of His first. ”
“He watches with Christ, whoever commemorates and renews, in his own person, Christ’s Cross and Agony and gladly takes up that mantle of affliction which Christ wore here and left behind Him, when He ascended.”
St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
Watch over your thoughts because they become words.
Watch over your words because they become actions.
Watch over your actions because they become habits.
Watch over your habits because they become your character.
Watch over your character because it becomes your destiny.
Thought for the Day – 20 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “Give Us this Day Our Daily Bread”
“In the second part of the Lord’s Prayer, we ask the universal Father, on behalf of ourselves and of our brethren, for all things necessary for soul and body. Since we have already paid homage to God, our Creator and our Redeemer and, have prayed for the triumph of His kingdom and for the accomplishment of His will in Heaven and on earth, Our Lord does not forbid us to think now of ourselves and to pray for our own needs. “Give us this day our daily bread,” we ask, intending to pray, both for our spiritual and material requirements.
We should not delude ourselves into imagining that it is we who produce the fruits of the earth. A grain of wheat dies beneath the soil but God has infused into it, a mysterious force as a result of which, in dying, it generates new life.
The moisture of the soil, the warmth of the air and the light of the sun combine to develop this mysterious life-force, which produces the green stalk and then the flaxen ear of corn which provides us with bread. It is God Who has given this vital power to this tiny seed, as well as to all the other seeds of the soil. It is He Who has endowed the soil with the nutritive elements from which the seeds draw life and it is He, Who sends the dew, the rain and the sunshine, which cause the flowers to blossom and the plants to bear fruit.
We should ask God humbly, therefore, to “give us this day our daily bread.” Our own labours would be futile without the intervention of the all-powerful Creator. We are capable, neither of producing, nor of destroying a single atom nor a single seedling. Without God, we are incapable of achieving anything, either inthe natural or in the supernatural order. Therefore, we must ask Him to provide us with what we need. He is supremely good and loves us very much. His Providence will not leave us in want, even if we are often obliged to work hard in co-operation with Him to procure the necessaries of life. The birds have no granary, yet they manage to find enough seed to keep them alive because God is watching over them. How could we suppose, that He will not look after us, if we turn to Him with trust and perseverance?”
Thought for the Day – 19 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The First Part of the “Our Father”
“The Pater Noster, being God’s own composition, is the most perfect of prayers. It covers, moreover, all our obligations and all our needs. It may be divided into two parts, the first of which refers to God, the second to ourselves. We should ask, first of all for whatever is important to God and then, for whatever concerns ourselves. This is the command of Jesus. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His justice and all these things shall be given you besides” (Mt 6:33).
When we have invoked our Father in Heaven, we go onto pray: “Hallowed be Thy name.”
Let us think about this. What do we look for first of all when we pray? Is it the glory of God, or, is it our own self-interest? Which occupies the principal place in our thoughts, God, or our own ego? Let us remember that we have been created for the glory of God. We shall not find happiness, unless, we seek God’s glory alone, for God is our true welfare.
We must not allow ourselves to become absorbed in insignificant worldly objects, which can never completely satisfy us. Rather, must we keep our minds on God. “God alone is sufficient,” said St Teresa. Without Him, there is nothing good within us or around us.
When we say “Hallowed be Thy name,” moreover, we should not only give God’s glory precedence over all our desires but, we should also make an act of reparation for the countless blasphemies by which His name has been injured. How can we remain passive and inert, while our Creator and our Redeemer is being continually blasphemed and offended? At the very least, we can set against the diabolical insults of many of our fellow-men, our own humble and loving prayer: “May Thy name, my God, be blessed and glorified.”
Thought for the Day – 18 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The “Our Father”
“Our Lord exhorted His disciples on many occasions to pray often and with confidence, if they wished to be heard. Everything which they asked His heavenly Father, in His name, He said, they would obtain. Ask, He said and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you. Finally, He insisted that we ought to pray and never to give up. In other words, life can be a continuous prayer if we offer to God all our thoughts, words and actions.
The ideal Christian prayer is to do the will of God at all times from the motive of pure love. The Apostles, however, who had not made that much progress in the spiritual life, asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Lk 11:1). It was then that Our Lord composed the most beautiful of prayer, the “Our Father” (Mt 6:9-13). When we recite it, we speak to God, in the words of Jesus Christ Himself and unite our weak voices, with the powerful voice of the Son of God. We address the Eternal God, moreover, by the name of Father. Even in the Old Testament, God is often referred to in this way. Then, however, He figured as the Father of the chosen people, whereas now, He is the Father of all. He is our Father, the Father of all mankind and of all races, whom He has willed to redeem from the slavery of sin. The term “Our Father” has taken on a new and fuller meaning. Our weak prayer becomes united to that of Jesus, our first-born Brother and to the prayers of the Apostles, Martyrs, Virgins and Confessors, who form and have formed, throughout the centuries, the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church. We need no longer feel that we are on our own, for through the Communion of Saints, our entreaties are joined to those of the entire Church, militant, suffering and triumphant. We can be confident, therefore, that our prayer will be heard!”
And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore, render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God, the things that are God’s.” – Matthew 22:20-21
REFLECTION – In an ancient work known as the Incomplete Work on Matthew, an anonymous Ancient Christian Writer (ACW) offers the following insight on these verses from today’s Gospel: “The image of God is not depicted on gold but is imaged in humanity. The coin of Caesar is gold; that of God, humanity. Caesar is seen in his currency; God, however, is known through human beings. And so give your wealth to Caesar but reserve for God the sole innocence of your conscience, where God is beheld. For the hand of Caesar has crafted an image by likenesses and lives each year by renewable decree. However, the divine hand of God has shown His image in ten points.
What ten points? From five carnal ones and five spiritual ones through which we see and understand what things are useful under God’s image. So let us always reflect the image of God in these ways:
I do not swell up with the arrogance of pride; nor do I droop with the blush of anger; nor do I succumb to the passion of avarice; nor do I surrender myself to the ravishes of gluttony; nor do I infect myself with the duplicity of hypocrisy; nor do I contaminate myself with the filth of rioting; nor do I grow flippant with the pretension of conceit; nor do I grow enamoured of the burden of heavy drinking; nor do I alienate by the dissension of mutual admiration; nor do I infect others with the biting of detraction; nor do I grow conceited with the vanity of gossip.
I will reflect the image of God in that I feed on love; grow certain on faith and hope; strengthen myself on the virtue of patience; grow tranquil by humility; grow beautiful by chastity; am sober by abstention; am made happy by tranquillity and am ready for death, by practicing hospitality.
It is with such inscriptions that God imprints His coins with an impression made neither by hammer nor by chisel but has formed them, with His primary divine intention. For Caesar required his image on every coin but God has chosen man, whom He has created, to reflect His glory.” (Incomplete Work on Matthew, «Homily 40»)
PRAYER – Lord God, You chose St Luke to reveal the mystery of Your love in his preaching and his writings. Grant, we pray, that we may grow in love for the Holy Face of Christ, His words and His directions, revealed to us in the Gospels, in the example of your saints. Today, on his feast, we especially look to St Luke, to guide, teach and pray for us. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever and ever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 17 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Fifth Glorious Mystery The Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth
“When the Virgin Mary was borne into Heaven, soul and body, by the Angels, she was received with great rejoicing by the entire company of the blessed. A halo of light surrounded her, as her Divine Son, Jesus Christ, placed her on His right hand and proclaimed her Queen of Heaven and Earth. It was fitting that this supreme dignity should have been accorded her, for she was the beloved daughter of the Eternal Father, the Immaculate spouse of the Holy Spirit and the Mother of God, the Word made man and the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
Mary is Queen of the Angels because, even though she is inferior to them, by reason of her human nature, she is superior to them, by reason of her dignity as Mother of God. What Angel could say to the Incarnate Word: “You are my son?” What Angel could command Him, as she could, in her role of Mother?
Mary has yet another claim to her title which no Angel could ever have. She participated in the Passion of her Son Jesus,offering herself along with Him, as a victim of expiation. She made a contribution, in the supernatural order of the Redemption, which neither Angel nor Saint, could have made. With Jesus, through Jesus and in Jesus, she is the co-redemptrix of the human race. Let us bow low before such greatness and join with the choirs of the blessed, in paying homage to her.”
Thought for the Day – 16 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Fourth Glorious Mystery The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin into Heaven
“The fourth Book of Kings tells us, that the prophet Elias was brought up into Heaven in a fiery chariot without having first endured the pains and humiliations of death (Cf 4 Kings 2:11). Why did God not do likewise in the case of the Blessed Virgin, commanding His Angels to bear her to Heaven before death struck her innocent body? As St Paul says, it was sin which caused death to enter the world. From the moment of her conception, Mary was free from the slightest taint of sin, for she was immaculate and full of grace. Nevertheless, according to the most widely held tradition, Mary chose to die, even as her divine Son had willed to die. Jesus “was offered because it was his own will” (Isa 53:7). The same is true in Mary’s case, with only this difference. Jesus died a cruel death after the most hideous tortures in the midst of a blaspheming and hate-ridden mob. Nothing like this happened to Mary, although she is called the Queen of Martyrs because of the sword which pierced her soul at the sight of her divine Son, dying in such agony.
Jesus willed, however, that the immaculate body of His Mother would remain intact. It was only her great love and intense desire of being reunited with her Son, which gradually consumed her mortal life. Her ever-incresing love for God, broke the bonds of her mortal frame until she went to sleep at last, in the Lord.
Thought for the Day – 15 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Third Glorious Mystery The Descent of the Holy Spirit
“Before He left this earth for the glory of Heaven, Jesus promised His Apostles that He would not leave them orphans but would send them the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, “whom the world cannot receive because, it neither sees him, nor knows him” (1 Jn 14:16-18). This promise was repeated by our divine Redeemer on the day of His Ascension, when He told them not to depart from Jerusalem until the promise would have been fulfilled. In fact, the Apostles were obedient to His instructions. They gathered together in the Cenacle, where, they spent the time in constant prayer, along with Mary and a number of the faithful. On the feast of Pentecost, the house was shaken by a sound from Heaven as of a violent wind blowing and tongues of fire appeared, which settled on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (Cf Act 1:2).
According to a pious tradition, the Holy Spirit descended first on the Blessed Virgin in the form of a ball of flame, from which emerged the tongues of fire, which alighted on the heads of all present. There is a good deal of significance in this tradition. As Mary took first place in sharing in the passion of Jesus, so, she ought to be first to share in the glory of the Redemption. St Bernard compared the Blessed Virgin to an aquaduct, bearing the treasures of grace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, to all the faithful (Sermo de Aquaeducru). It is an apt comparison, for the Mother of the Redeemer occupies a position of supremacy in the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. Like the Apostles, we should persevere in prayer with Mary (Cf Acts 1:14). We should ask for the light and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, for we need them very much, if we are to walk always, in the way of truth and goodness.”
Thought for the Day – 14 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Second Glorious Mystery The Ascension of Jesus into Heaven
“Forty days after His glorious resurrection, Jesus came, with all His friends, among them His Mother, to the Mount of Olives. This area had already witnessed the opening phase of His passion, which was all the more poignant, perhaps because in Gethsemane, it was not only His body which was lacerated by scourges and nails but, His soul, which experienced the agonising vision of the sins and ingratitude of the human race. Now, however, He is here with a glorified body as the Conqueror of sin and of death. He looks for the last time on His small band of followers, to whom He has entrusted His mission of transforming the entire universe by preaching and putting into practice, the Gospel message, throughout the world. Now, He promises them the Holy Spirit, Who will give them the power to overcome evil. Then He is lifted up toward Heaven, until a bright cloud hides Him from their sight.
Perhaps, the Blessed Mother, was the last to take her eyes off the disappearing cloud which had removed Jesus from view. Her human eyes never saw again the beloved figure of her divine Son but, in her soul, she saw Him entering triumphantly into Heaven among choirs of Angels and sitting at the right hand of the Eternal Father. She saw and thought with infinite yearnng of the not too distant day, when she would have passed from mortal exile, into the everlasting happiness of Heaven, where she would embrace her divine Son again in an ecstasy of love.
We have all been called to ascend to Heaven with Jesus and Mary. Let us remember, however, that only the innocent and the repentant can be admitted into Paradise. If we have been unfortunate enough to have lost our baptismal innocence, only the second way is left to us – the way of penance. We must purify ourselves of our sins by means of good works. We must ascend higher and highter, towards the summit of Christian perfection.”
Thought for the Day – 12 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery The Crucifixion
“At last, Jesus reaches Calvary, breathless and reduced to utter exhaustion. The instrument of torture is taken from Him and laid upon the ground. Our divine Redeemer suffers acute pain as Her is again stripped of His garments, which have stuck to His wounds. Now, He is stretched, an innocent victim, on the altar of sacrifice, the Cross. One of the executioners grasps His hand, pierces it with a large nail and attaches it to the wood. Then, he does the same with the other hand and with the two feet. His Mother is close at hand. She feels in her heart the blows of the hammer which lacerate the living flesh of Jesus. Jesus remains silent “as a meek lamb that is carried to be a victim” (Jer 11:19).
Now, the executioners raise up the Cross and fix it in the hold already prepared for it. The shock of this impact sends a shudder of terrible pain through the Victim’s members and entire frame. Behold Him now, suspended between Heaven and earth, the mediator between God and humanity, the victim of expiation for the innumerable sins of men.
Come near to the Cross and kiss the bloodstained feet. While the Jews are insulting Him and most of the Apostles have abandoned Him, let us tell Him how we love Him. Let us tell Him of our sorrow for our sins and of our determination to make amends for our faults and for our ingratitude by living in accordance with His teachings and example.”
Thought for the Day – 10 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Third Sorrowful Mystery The Crowning with Thorns
“This new torture was a diabolical invention decreed by no law or authority. Purely for their own savage entertainment, the soldiers procured a bundle of thorned reeds, which they wound into the shape of a crown and pressed into Jesus’ head.
Mary knew what was going on. She was there with the holy women when Pilate brough her bloodstained Son before the people and, their blasphemous yells pierced her tender heart. Her mother’s heart felt the sharp thorns too but, she accepted this affliction with resignation, silently protesting against the insults of the crowd by acts of adoration and of love. We should behave in this way also. We should participate in the passion of Jesus, by offering our own sufferings and we should make acts of love and of self-surrender, in reparation for these acts of blasphemy!”
Thought for the Day – 9 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Second Sorrowful Mystery The Scourging
“Think about the manner in which Jesus was scourged. His chaste body, is stripped by the jeering soldiers, His hands are tied and He is bound to a pillar. The soldiers come forward with their whips and begin to beat Him mercilessly. As His blood flows freely to the ground, Jesus quivers with pain and emits a half-suppressed groan. But fresh blows continue to rain down on His bruised flesh. So the prophecy is fulfilled in which Isaias described the punishment of the chosen people, whose sins and whose chastisement, the divine Redeemer has chosen to take on Himself. “For the sole of the foot unto the top of the head, there is no soundness therein – wounds and bruises and swelling sores …” (Is 1:6).
By means of this fearful torment, Jesus willed to offer satisfaction in a special manner, for the sins of the flesh. In ancient times, sins of impurity provoked the anger of God so much, that they were blotted out by the universal deluge. Now these sins are still numberless, both in the pagan and, unfortunately, in the Christian world but, they are washed away by the saving blood of Jesus Christ, Who came on earth to make reparation for all the iniquities of men.
Kiss the wounds of Jesus, bleeding and suffering. Ask for pardon if you have on occasions, failed to preseve the purity of your body, the dwelling of your immortal soul and the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit. Resolve to die rather than stain again, with impurity, the soul, which was redeemed and sanctified, by the precious blood of the Redeemer.”
Thought for the Day – 8 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The First Sorrowful Mystery The Agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
The life of Mary, like that of her divine Son, was a life of suffering and of sacrifice.
When Simeon held the divine Child in his arms, he had prophesied: “This child is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel and, for a sign that shall be contradicted. And thy own soul, a sword shall pierce” (Cf Lk 2:35). There was suffering from the very beginning – in the arduous journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem to fulfil the obligation of the census; in the refusal of the people of Bethlehem to give shelter to the Holy Family; in the birth of Jesus in a cold cave; in the flight into Egypt to escape from the cruelty of Herod; in the loss of Jesus when He was twelve years old; in the hard life of a humble artisan in Nazareth; in the difficulties of the public life of Jeuse and, in the final tragedy which brought Jesus from Gethsemane to Calvary and, from Calvary to the sepulchre.
When faced with this spectacle of the Man-God and of His Mother Mary suffering for love of us, how can we complain that our own cross is too heavy? How can we rebel against the merciful God Who afflicts us for our own good, purifies us with suffering and demands, that we should be detached from worldly things, so that we may give more thought to Heaven, for which our souls are destined? To meditate on all that Jesus and Mary suffered for us, should be enough to make us embrace our cross generously and resign ourselves to the physical or moral afflictions which God sens us.”
“Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves…If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit, to those who ask him!” – Luke 11:5,13
REFLECTION – “In one place it is said that the Father “will give good things to those that ask him” (Mt 7:11), elsewhere, that he will “give the Holy Spirit to those that ask him” (Lk 11:13).
From this we learn that those who pray to God with steadfast faith in these promises receive, not only remission of sins but also heavenly gifts of grace. The Lord promised these “good things” not to the righteous but to sinners, saying: “If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those that ask him?” (Lk 11:13). Ask then, unremittingly and without doubting, however poor your efforts to gain holiness, however weak your strength, you will receive great gifts, far beyond anything that you deserve. (…)
Struggle to preserve unimpaired the light that shines within your intellect. If passion begins to dominate you when you look at things, this means that the Lord has left you in darkness; He has dropped the reins with which He was guiding you (cf. Jb 30:11) and the light of your eyes is gone from you (cf. Ps 37:10 LXX). Yet even if this happens, do not despair or give up but pray to God with the words of David: “O send out thy light and thy truth” to me in my gloom, “for thou art the salvation of my countenance and my God” (cf. Ps 42:3, 5 LXX).
For “thou shalt send forth thy Spirit and they shall be created and thou shalt renew the face of the earth” (Cf. Ps 103:30 LXX).” – John of Karpathos(Seventh century) Bishop and Monk – One Hundred Texts for the encouragement of the monks in India, nos. 45, 82
PRAYER – Lord God and Father, who entrusted the earth to men and each to the other, grant us the grace this day, to see Your Face in our neighbour and to seek all who need our help. Grant us the grace to work faithfully for Your glory, for the salvation of our souls through the light of faith You have given us. We beg the grace of Your love and mercy and the light of love You send with Your Holy Spirit. May the prayers of Mary our Holy Mother, keep us ever in her guiding care. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 7 October – The Memorial of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and the Month of the Most Holy Rosary
“The Rosary is the scourge of the devil.”
Pope Adrian VI (1459-1523)
“Among all the devotions approved by the Church, none has been favoured by so many miracles, as the devotion of the Most Holy Rosary.”
Blessed Pope Pius IX (1792-1878)
“If there were one million families praying the Rosary everyday, the entire world would be saved.”
Saint Pope Pius X (1835-1914)
“The Rosary is the most excellent form of prayer and the most efficacious means of attaining eternal life. It is the remedy for all our evils, the root of all our blessings. There is no more excellent way of praying.”
Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903)
“The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin… If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labours.”
Pope Pius XI (1857-1939)
“We put great confidence in the Holy Rosary, for the healing of evils which afflict our times.”
One Minute Reflection – 7 October – Wednesday of the Twenty Seventh week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Galatians 2:1-2, 7-14, Psalms 117:1, 2, Luke 11: 1-4 and The Memorial of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and the Month of the Most Holy Rosary
“He was praying in a certain place and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.” – Luke 11:1-2
REFLECTION – “If you wish to pray, you have need of God: “who gives prayer to the one who prays” (1 Sam 2:9). Invoke Him, then, saying: “Hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come” (Mt 6:9-10) — that is, the Holy Spirit and Your only-begotten Son. For so He taught us, saying: “Worship the Father in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:24). (…)
Whoever prays in spirit and truth is no longer dependent on created things when honouring the Creator but, praises Him for and in Himself. (…) The Holy Spirit, out of compassion for our weakness, comes to us (…). And if only He finds our intellect truly praying to Him, He enters it and puts to flight the whole array of thoughts and ideas circling within it and He arouses it to a longing for spiritual prayer. (…)
Know that the holy angels encourage us to pray and stand beside us, rejoicing and praying for us (cf. Tob 12:12). Therefore, if we are negligent and admit thoughts from the enemy, we greatly provoke the angels. For while they struggle hard on our behalf we do not even take the trouble to pray to God for ourselves but we despise their services to us, abandoning their Lord and God. (…)
Pray gently and calmly, sing with understanding and rhythm, then you will soar like a young eagle high in the heavens.” – Evagrius Ponticus (345-399) Desert Monk in Jerusalem and Egypt – Chapters on prayer, nos. 59, 60, 63, 81, 82; wrongly attributed to Neilos the ascetic
PRAYER – Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Teach us Almighty Father to pray, fill us with the love of Your Spirit and guide us always by the Word and Trust of our lives. With the Blessed Mother of God and of the Holy Rosary, we kneel in love and adoration. May her prayers lead us to heaven. Amen
Thought for the Day – 5 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Third Joyful Mystery The Birth of Jesus
“When God became man in order to instruct and redeem the lost and erring human race, the gesture would have been deprived of it’s real significance if He had chosen to be born in a palace, surrounded by the splendour of worldly glory and wealth.
It would have been meaningless, not only for God but also, for us, if He had abandoned the imperishable glory of Heaven and the inficnite wealth of everlasting happiness, in order to assume the kind of earthly grandeur which, in His eyes is but a vanishing cloud. What we needed, was to learn the way of humility and of detachment from worldly things, which can so easily lead us to forget the supernatural. We needed someone to come and sanctify suffering, which purifies and elevates the soul. We needed someone to appease divine justice on our behalf and to teach us, that the way of the cross, is the only one which can lead to Heaven. This was why the Eternal Word of God became a poor and lowly infant, choosing a stable, rather than a palace and the little village of Bethlehem in Judea, in preference to the imperial city of Rome. He wished His extreme poverty and deprivation, to be His first lesson to mankind.”
Thought for the Day – 4 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Second Joyful Mystery Mary’s Visit to St Elizabeth
“When the Angel told Mary that she had been chosen to be the Mother of God, he proceeded to reveal also the imminent birth of the Precursor of Jesus Christ. Her cousin, Elizabeth, he told her, who had been sterile for such a long time, would soon have the joy of bearing a son. When the Blessed Virgin heard this good news, she set out for a long and difficult journey to congratulate her cousin.
The devout soul is always motivated by charity and pays no attention to difficulties or obstacles because, the grace of God possesses it completely. We also have received and, continue to receive, many graces from our Creator. We were nothing and God gave us being. We were in darkness and He gave us the light of faith. We were slaves of sin and Jesus Christ broke the bonds in which the devil held us and gave us the freedom of the children of God. We were exiles on this earth and God became our companion and our guide. We hungered for the supernatural and, He nourished us with the divine Bread in which He gave Himself to us completely!”
Thought for the Day – 2 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Our Guardian Angels
“Among the many expressions of God’s goodness towards us, is His designation of a heavenly spirit to accompany and to assist each of us on our journey through life. The human eye cannot see him although, he is always on guard by our side. Even while he is near us, he enjoys the beatific vision of God.
This is a wonderful thought. During the day, when we are preoccupied with so many affairs which can cause us to forget God, our angel is beside us, to inspire us to love God more. When we are asleep, he is watching over us and praying for our welfare. When we pray, he gathers our feeble supplications and offers them to God. When temptation presses hard, it is he who sustains us and encourages us to resist with Christian fortitude. Finally, when by some misfortune we fall into grave sin because we have been deaf to the appeals of our Creator, he takes pity on us and inspires in us remorse for our misdeeds and the desire to be restored as soon as possible to God’s favour.
We should be deeply grateful to our kind Guardian Angel and should pray to him often, especially in times of spiritual or bodily danger. We need his help when we are tempted or afflicted. We should place much greater trust in him, remember that he is always close at hand to fulfil the mission entrusted to him by God of enlightening and directing us.”
Thought for the Day – 1 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Month of the Holy Rosary
“We should say the Rosary devoutly everyday. This beautiful prayer is very pleasing to Our Lady and, the Church, is particularly anxious that we should recite it during the month of October. Families which say the Holy Rosary together can hope for a special blessing from God and for the maternal protection of Mary.
If possible, every family should gather together in the evening and recite the Rosary before an image of our Blessed Mother. If the parents set an example, their child will join them. It is consoling to come together after the toil and trouble of the day, in order to confide our cares and hopes to Mary.
Do you say the Rosary everyday? If you have neglected ths pious practice, begin today. Do not plead lack of time. There is time for so many other things, so surely, there is time to pray and to entrust ourselves, in a special way, to the protection of our heavenly Mother! The practice of reciting the Holy Rosary will win for you, the blessing of God and the patronage of the Blessed Virgin.”
One Minute Reflection – 1 October – Thursday of the Twenty Sixth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Job 19:21-27, Psalms 27:7-8, 8-9, 13-14, Luke 10:1-12 and the Memorial of St Romanos the Melodios (c 490-c 556) and St Thérèse of the Child Jesus/Lisieux OCD (1873 – 1897) Doctor of the Church
“After this the Lord appointed seventy[-two] others whom He sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place He intended to visit…” … Luke 10:1
REFLECTION – “The names of the apostles of the Saviour are clear to everyone from the Gospels but no list of the seventy[two] disciples is in circulation anywhere. Some have said, to be sure, that Barnabas was one of them and the Acts of the Apostles and Paul writing to the Galatians, have made special mention of him. They say Sosthenes was of these as well. Together with Paul, he wrote to the Corinthians. Tradition also holds that Matthias, who was listed among the apostles in place of Judas and Joseph Justus, who was honoured with him, at the same casting of lots, were considered worthy of the same calling among the seventy. They say that Thaddaeus was also one of them, about whom I shall presently relate a story which has come down to us.
On observation, you would find that the disciples of the Saviour appear to have been more than the seventy [two]. Paul says that after the resurrection from the dead Cephas saw him first, then the Twelve. After these saw him, he was seen by more than five hundred brothers all at once, some of whom he says had fallen asleep, although the majority were still alive at the time that this account was being composed by him.” … Eusebius of Caesarea (c 260-c 340) Bishop, Historian, Theologian – (Ecclesiastical History, 1.)
PRAYER – God, our Father, Your promised Your Kingdom to the little ones and the humble of heart. Give us grace to walk confidently in the way of St Romanos and St Thérèse, so that helped by their prayers, we may see Your eternal glory. Through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 30 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“We are told, that one day in the presence of St Francis de Sales, the beauty of a certain noble lady, his cousin, was being described. (Spirito p Vii, c 10) The Saint described with simplicity: “I’ve heard this said by others also.” Somebody remarked, that he himself often saw this young relative of his and, therefore, there was no need for others to tell him about her. The Saint replied with the same holy simplicity: “It is true that I see her often but, I never stare at her.” This simple but wise reply, underlines the difference between seeing and looking.
We are often obliged, in the ordinary course of living, or by reason of our position, to see many things which could be dangerous to our spiritual welfare. There are many ugly things around us, although sometimes externally beautiful, which we cannot help seeing. At home, on the street, in society, almost everywhere, we meet persons and things which constitute a threat to our virtue. What are we to do? We must see because, very often, we cannot help it but, we must never stare.
In other words, we should never fix our eyes on anything which would seriously disturb us. If we experience the beginnings of any such disturbance, we should look elsewhere at once, raising our minds to God in silent prayer. Delay could cost us our purity. To guard it, we need the holy virtue of modesty, which St Thomas Aquinas calls, the moderating virtue (Summa Theologiae, II-II, q 160, a 1). Not only, the Angelic Doctor observes, does it moderate but, it also directs our internal actions as well as our external ones, in such a way, that he, who possesses this beautiful virtue, has perfect control over his outward behaviour and over his inward dispositions (Ibid, q 160, a 2).”
Thought for the Day – 29 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Frequent Confession and Communion – Part One
“Among the efficacious means of self-sanctification, are frequent Confession and Holy Communion. Confession purifies the soul of sin, into which, unfortunately, we continue to fall and confers sacramental grace, through which we are fortified against the assaults of the devil. It also gives us an opportunity of being guided on the right road by our Confessor, who knows our secret failings and will give us, in God’s name, words of encouragement, comfort and spiritual direction. We should frequently receive this Sacrament of God’s mercy – in fact, those who are striving after holiness, should go to Confession every week, or, at least every fortnight. Even if we have not committed grave sin, when we examine ourselves before God, we shall find many faults and failings. The Holy Spirit reminds us that, even the just man sins seven times a day, which means many times. “The just man falls seven times” (Prov 24:16). “If we say that we have no sin” writes St John, “we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn 1:8). Since then, we are all poor sinners and Jesus, in His infinite goodness has given us this means of purifying our souls, we should not neglect to use it to remain in the state of grace. Frequent Confession, is not difficult. On the contrary, if we have the proper disposition, it can be a great comfort and consolation to us. There is not greater solace than to possess the grace of God and to be pure and free from all sin. Furthermore, by remaining in venial sin, we are in danger of drifting gradually into more grievous sin and, into a state of tepidity, which is so dangerous, as well as so displeasing to God.”
One Minute Reflection – 29 September – The Feast of Sts Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Readings: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 or Apocalypse (Revelation) 12:7-12, Psalms 138:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, Gospel: John 1:47-51
“Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and it’s angels fought back …” … Apocalypse 12:7
REFLECTION – “We must not think that the devil and his angels dared to fight in heaven, since he could not even tempt Job without God’s permission. Rather by “heaven” he quite manifestly indicates the Church, where each one of the faithful constantly contends against spiritual evils. Therefore, the apostle says, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers and against the world rulers of this present darkness.”
And so he says here, that Michael with his angels fights against the devil because by praying according to the will of God, for the Church in this world and, by granting her his aid, he is properly understood to be fighting for her. And so the apostle says, “Are not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?” Indeed, the name of Michael himself is interpreted to mean “the helper of God” and so, this work is properly assigned to him. Also Daniel said, that in the last distress, [Michael] would come for the succour of the church: “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who stands for the children of your people. And there shall be a time, such as has never been since the nations first began to be. And in that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who shall be found written in the book.” The angels are said to be his by a certain manner of speaking, such as we read, “For their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.”
And so it speaks of those who, by believing, began to be citizens in Christ and thus are His angels, because they are regarded as protected by one guardian king and as made glad by one life-giving spirit. The devil and his angels are not only those who are similar to him in nature and will. They are also as men, who after being caught in his traps, became pursuers of such things. Indeed, because of the qualities of his wil,l it is said about the devil, “An evil man has done this” and about Judas, “[One of you] is a devil.” The devil is said to express himself by way of a twofold body. When he is conquered, he is said to be thrown out by those who have renounced him and have received faith in Christ and so no longer copy his errors. Rather, in them “love [remains] from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.” Or, since the Church is already separated from any admixture of evil and is glorified by the future blessedness, no place is given to the devil and to his angels to seduce the evil, or to tempt the good. The psalm refers to him and says, “I passed by and lo! he was not and I sought him, but his place was not found.” … Primasius of Hadrumetum Bishop (Died c 560) – Commentary on the Apocalypse, 12
NOTE:Primasius (died c 560) was Bishop of Hadrumetum and primate of Byzacena, in Africa. One of the participants in the Three Chapters Controversy, his commentary on the Book of the Apocalypse (Revelation), is of interest to modern scholars for it’s use of the lost commentary of Ticonius on the same book of the New Testament.
PRAYER – Dear and Holy God, let us offer You all our daily struggles against sin and evil. Grant us the strength to resist all forms of idolatry, to seek only You and never to allow the material goods of this world to seduce us. Sustain us ever more with Your word and help us to find in it, the source of life. Grant that the angels who always minister to You in heaven may defend us during our life on earth and protect us from evil. Grant this, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen
Thought for the Day – 28 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Goodness and Christian Courtesy
“Christian perfection, when it is genuine and practical, should be reflected externally in our appearance, in our conversation and, in our behaviour. Discourtesy, sharpness of manner, offensive speech and all that is rude or displeasing, are signs, that we are lacking or weak in virtue.
On the other hand, if we have succeeded in conquering all our evil inclinations and in regulating our interior faculties, so that they are subject to right reason and to the divine law, then our virtue will be reflected in our speech and in our actions. It was this spiritual charm that made the Saints fascinating to those who knew them or came in contact with them, making them wish to reform their own lives and to strive towards perfection. St Francis de Sales said, that courtesy is the frame of sanctity – as a picture without a frame is incomplete, so also is virtue, if it is not expressed externally by affability and gentleness. In the Gospel, Jesus is not satisfied with interior virtue alone but insists, that it should appear outwardly in our actions. “Even let your light shine before men,” He says, “in order that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Mt 5:16).”
Quote/s of the Day – 28 September – The Memorial of St Wenceslaus (907-935) King of Bohemia, Martyr
St Wenceslas was considered a Martyr and a Saint immediately after his death, when a cult of Wenceslas grew up in Bohemia and in England. Within a few decades of Wenceslas’ death, four biographies of him were in circulation. These hagiographies had a powerful influence on the High Middle Ages conceptualisation of the rex justus, or “righteous king”, that is, a monarch whose power stems mainly from his great piety, as well as from his princely vigour. The chronicler Cosmas of Prague, writing in about the year 1119, states:
“But his deeds I think you know better than I could tell you; for, as is read in his Passion, no-one doubts that, rising every night from his noble bed, with bare feet and only one chamberlain, he went around to God’s churches and gave alms generously to widows, orphans, those in prison and afflicted by every difficulty, so much so, that he was considered, not a prince but the father of all the wretched.”
Several centuries later the legend was claimed as fact by Pope Pius II.
The hymn “Svatý Václave” (Saint Wenceslas) or “Saint Wenceslas Chorale” is one of the oldest known Czech hymns in history. It’s roots can be found in the 12th century and it still belongs to the most popular religious songs to this day. In 1918, in the beginning of the Czechoslovak state, the song was discussed as one of the possible choices for the national anthem. His feast day is celebrated today, while the translation of his relics, which took place in 938, is commemorated on 4 March.
Good King Wenceslaus
Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen, When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even; Brightly shone the moon that night, tho’ the frost was cruel, When a poor man came in sight, gath’ring winter fuel.
“Hither, page, and stand by me, if thou know’st it, telling, Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?” “Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain; Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes’ fountain.”
“Bring me flesh and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither: Thou and I will see him dine, when we bear them thither.” Page and monarch, forth they went, forth they went together; Through the rude wind’s wild lament and the bitter weather.
“Sire, the night is darker now and the wind blow stronger; Fails my heart, I know not how; I can go no longer.” “Mark my footsteps, my good page. Tread thou in them boldly Thou shalt find the winter’s rage freeze thy blood less coldly.”
In his master’s steps he trod, where the snow lay dinted; Heat was in the very sod which the saint had printed. Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing, Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.