Our Morning Offering – 6 September – “Month of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary”
The Day is Filled with Splendour Benedictine Nuns of Stanbrook Abbey
The day is filled with splendour When God brings light from light, And all renewed creation Rejoices in His sight. — The Father gives His children The wonder of the world In which His power and glory Like banners are unfurled. — With every living creature, Awaking with the day, We turn to God our Father, Lift up our hearts and pray: — O Father, Son and Spirit, Your grace and mercy send, That we may live to praise You Today and to the end. Amen
The Day is Filled with Splendour, is a hymn written by the Benedictine Nuns of Stanbrook Abbey. It is sung during Morning Prayer in the Divine Office. It is set to the hymn tune: Paderborn, first published in the Katholische Kirchengesänge of 1616. Psalter Week 3.
One Minute Reflection – 8 August – “Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” – Readings: First Kings 19: 4-8; Psalm 34: 2-9 (9a); Ephesians 4: 30 – 5: 2; John 6: 41-51
“The bread that I will give, is my flesh for the life of the world.” – John 6:51
REFLECTION – “They are wholly mistaken who reject God’s plan for His creation, deny the salvation of the flesh and scoff at the idea of its regeneration, asserting that it cannot put on an imperishable nature. If the flesh is not saved, then the Lord did not redeem us with His Blood, the Chalice of the Eucharist is not a share in His Blood and the Bread which we break is not a share in His Body (1Cor 10,16). For… the human substance, which the Word of God truly became, redeems us with His Blood…
Since we are His members (1Cor 6,15) and are nourished by His creation… He declared, that the Chalice of His creation is His own Blood, from which He augments our own blood and He affirmed, that the Bread of His creation is His own Body from which He gives growth to our being.
So, when the mixed chalice and the baked loaf receive the word of God and when the Eucharistic elements become the Body and Blood of Christ, which brings growth and sustenance to our bodily frame, how can it be maintained that our flesh is incapable of receiving God’s gift of eternal life?
For our flesh feeds on the Lord’s Body and Blood and is His member. So Saint Paul writes: “We are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones” (Eph 5,30; Gn 2,23). He is not speaking about some spiritual and invisible man…: he is speaking of the anatomy of a real man, consisting of flesh, nerves and bones. It is this that is nourished by His Chalice, the Chalice of His Blood and gains growth from the Bread which is His Body… In the same way, our bodies are nourished by the after being buried in the earth and… rise again in due season, when the word of God confers resurrection upon them “for the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2,11).” – St Irenaeus of Lyons (130-202) Bishop, Theologian and Martyr Against the heresies, V, 2, 2
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, in Your Word, You shed the light of Your glory on the peoples who are living in the shadow of death. By Your Word, You teach us all things and ‘draw’ us in the way of hope and love. For Your Word is Truth and Your Word became flesh and filled our world with the Sun of Justice, Your Son, He who is the Sun and the Truth. May our steps be guided by His Mother, Our Blessed Lady, as we follow in the footsteps of Your Word and be a protection in our trials by the Bread of Life. Through Christ, our Lord Jesus, with You in union with the Holy Spirit, now and forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 5 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Mary, a Light in the Darkness
“Let us imagine for a moment, that we have grown blind and are forever plunged in darkness. It is an unhappy thought. Never again to see those who are dear to us, never to see the light of the sun nor any of the splendour of the universe. We should feel as if were alone, for we should have to depend only on sounds and on the voices of others for communication with the external world. As St Augustine points out, however, in his commentary on the miracle of the man who had been blind from birth, we are all more or less blind in the supernatural order. The world is the image of God but, do we see His Presence in everything which surrounds us? Is it not more often the case that created things distract us and lead us to forget their Creator because, we regard them as a means of satisfying our own comfort and our own ego? We should look on creatures as go-betweens which help us to ascend to God, the beginning and end of all creation.
Unfortunately, instead of climbing this mystical ladder which leads us to God, we often descend it. We forget God and become excessively wrapped up in worldly affairs. Sometimes matters may be even worse, not only do we forget God through our love of creatures but, we use them, to offend Him. God has given us eyes to admire His works and, as a result, to lead us to praise, thank and love Him. Instead, we often use this wonderful gift in order to commit sin. He has given us the gift of speech, the gift of hearing and other senses. But how do we employ them? The tongue is a marvellous invention but, as St James writes, “if anyone does not offend in the word, he is a perfect man, able also to lead round by the bridle, the whole body … With it we bless God the Father and, with it, we curse men, who have been made after the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth, proceed blessing and cursing. These things, my brethren ought not to be so” (Js 3:2-10). What can be said of vision and of speech can be said of all the senses and faculties of body and soul. They are all God’s gifts and should, therefore, be used as means of bringing ourselves closer to Him. If creatures lead us away from God and cause us to forget Him, or if, worse still, they cause us to offend Him, then we are spiritually blind and far more unfortunate than those who have lost their natural vision.
Most Holy Mary, during your earthly pilgrimage, you never once lost sight of God. Grant that I may not be lost in the darkness of this world. Grant that I may not be ensnared by the passing charm and false beauty of these created things which surround me. Grant that I may see, in all things, the Presence and Beauty of God, so that I may always continue to advance, nearer and nearer to Him. Amen.”
Thought for the Day – 14 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Knowledge and Goodness
“Joseph DeMaistre’s views on the relationship between knowledge and goodness may seem a little extreme but, they are nothing but the truth. “If the guardianship of education is not restored to the Church and if knowledge is not everywhere subordinated to goodness, the evils which await us will be incalculable. Science will brutalise us. Because of it, men will become more savage than the barbarians!”
We do not wish to speak slightingly of knowledge. It is a gift from God, Who has given us our intellects to know the truth. But truth, like every created thing, comes from God and should lead us back to God. It is the same with knowledge. If we investigate the secrets of nature and do not make of them a ladder, which helps us to climb towards our Creator, we turn the natural order upside down and inevitably fall backwards. We can gain, by our labours, a mastery over the hidden forces of nature. If we do not use them to benefit humanity but to destroy those of our brothers whom we call our enemies, we are worse than Cain. Science which does not serve goodness, is worse than barbarism. The latter has very few instruments of destruction at its disposal. When science rebels against idealism, however and makes itself absolute, it can destroy all that we have inherited of beauty and goodness throughout the centuries.
Science is too easily glorified today. But knowledge, for the sake of knowledge, does not lead us to God and is very often stupidity or worse. It can be an instrument of evil and of physical and spiritual destruction!”
Thought for the Day – 12 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Detachment from the World
“It is very difficult to detach ourselves from worldly affairs and remain always united to God. Nevertheless, St Ignatius Loyola often exclaimed: “How ugly the earth seems when I look towards Heaven!” The Saints saw the things of this world in the light of God. They recognised how insignificant this world is, beside the infinite splendour of God. They realised that earthly things cannot satisfy the human heart, nor assuage the restlessness of the soul, which was created for God. We, on the other hand, become too attached to worldly goods. It may happen that our hearts become absorbed in them. Let us reflect on the unimportance of this world. There are myriad of stars in the firmament, many of which are far larger than our earth or sun. Some, like Andromeda, are 250,000 light years distant from us; others, like the Triangle, are 280,000 light years away, while still others, are probably much farther. All obey exactly the plan of their Creator. How tiny our earth is by comparison! How insignificant we ourselves are! Why should we become so attached to the things of this earth? God alone is great. He alone should occupy our minds and hearts. We have been made for Him alone.”
And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign?” – Mark 8:12
REFLECTION – “Admire God’s wonderful work, come out of your sleep. Are you only going to admire extraordinary miracles? But are they any greater than those that daily take place before your eyes? Are people astonished because our Lord Jesus Christ satisfied several thousand persons with five loaves (Mt 14,19f) and are not surprised that a few seeds are enough to cover the ground with abundant harvests? They are filled with wonder when they see our Saviour change water into wine (Jn 2,19); isn’t it the same thing when rain goes through the roots of the vine? The author of both these miracles is the same…
Our Lord worked miracles and yet many despised him… They said to themselves : ‘The works are divine but, as for Him, he is only a man.’ Therefore, you see two things: divine works on the one hand and a Man on the other. If those divine works can only be carried out by God, could it not be because God is hidden in this Man? Yes. Be very attentive to what you see and believe what you do not see. He who calls on you to believe, has not abandoned you to yourself, even if He asks you to believe what you cannot see, He has not left you without anything to see, to help you believe what is unseen. Isn’t creation itself a faint sign, a faint manifestation of the Creator? In addition, look at Him who comes into the world and works miracles. You were unable to see God but you were able to see a Man – therefore God became Man, so that what you see and what you believe, should be but One!” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo (North Africa), Father and Doctor of the Church – Sermon 126, 4-5
PRAYER – Almighty Lord and God, protect us by Your power throughout the course of this day, even as You have enabled us to begin it. Your grace is all that we need, to see the loving kindness of Your Son, our Lord Jesus in all we see and do and think. Do not let us turn aside from His path but by the faith You have granted us, let us find meaning in all, which is the sign of Your glory. Do not let us turn aside to sin and may the intercession of St Claude de la Colombiere (1641-1682), grant us courage and peace. Through Jesus Christ, our Saviour, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 6 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Glory of God
“The whole of creation manifests the glory of God. The grass of the field, the trees of the forest, the insects and birds of the air, the creatures on the earth and in the sea, the stars in the sky – they all speak to us of the power and beauty of the Creator.
You also were created by and for God, Who is the beginning and end of all things. In all thoughts, actions and affections, therefore, you should seek the glory of God. God, indeed, has no need of your small contribution to enhance His glory. His glory is complete and perfect in Himself, in Heaven and in Hell. God does not need you but, you need God. It is your strict obligation, not only to proclaim the glory of God but, also, to work for its triumph in yourself and in all things.
The man who loves God above all things seeks only His glory. The man who loves himself more than he loves God, however, seeks his own petty, worldly glorification and strays away from the main road of life which should lead him towards God.
Holiness consists in love – not earthly love, of course, but supernatural love.”
Quote/s of the Day – 4 December – The Memorial of St John Damascene (676-749) – Father and Doctor of the Church
“The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God.”
“The Son is the Counsel and Wisdom and Power of the Father.”
“All who ask receive, those who seek find and to those who knock it shall be opened. Therefore, let us knock at the beautiful garden of Scripture. It is fragrant, sweet and blooming with various sounds of spiritual and divinely inspired birds. They sing all around our ears, capture our hearts, comfort the mourners, pacify the angry and fill us with everlasting joy.”
“Images are books for the illiterate and silent heralds of the honour of the saints, teaching those who see, with a soundless voice and sanctifying the sight.”
“The saints must be honoured as friends of Christ and children and heirs of God, … Let us carefully observe the manner of life of all the apostles, martyrs, ascetics and just men who announced the coming of the Lord. And let us emulate their faith, charity, hope, zeal, life, patience under suffering and perseverance unto death, so that we may also share their crowns of glory.”
“Having confidence in you, O Mother of God, I shall be saved. Being under you protection, I shall fear nothing. With your help, I shall give battle to my enemies and put them to flight, for devotion to you, is an arm of Salvation.”
St John Damascene (676-749) Father and Doctor of the Church
Thought for the Day – 10 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“God is infinitely perfect in Himself and has, therefore, no need of creatures of His eternal happiness. He knows Himself fully and this act of knowing, is not transient but substantial and eternal. It is the perfct image of His own Essence, the Word which expressed His Divine Infinity.
Knowing Himself in the infinite depths of His truth, beauty and goodness, God naturally loves Himself. This love, also substantial and external, is the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds, not only from the Father but also from the Word, since God loves Himself because He knows Himself perfectly. The happiness of God, as St Gregory Nazianzen writes, is not a solitary state of beatitude. He has within Himself, the Word, His consubstantial Son, in Whom is reflected the perfection of His nature and to Whom, He repeats from eternity: “You are my son; this day I have begotten you” (Ps 2:7). Moreover, in an act equally substantial and infinite, He pours forth His love, the Holy Spirit. Because, He is infinitely happy and perfect in Himself, God wished to manifest His perfection and to communicate His happiness to others. According to St Thomas Aquinas, the only reason why God has created, is to manifest His glory and to share His happiness. Creation is, therefore, an act of love. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore, have I drawn thee, taking pity on thee” (Jer 31:3). “God,” says St Irenaeus, “did not create man because He had need of him but because, He wished to have creatures on whom He could shower His gifts.” That is why Sacred Scripture tells us that “the Lord has made everything for His own ends” (Prov 16:4).
Turning over these reflections in our minds, we should make an act of profound humility before God and acknowledge that we are nothing without Him. We should express our deep gratitude to God for our very existence and for all the other gifts with which He has enriched us.
Finally, we should pay Him the tribute of our love, which should be expressed in a practical manner, as well as verbally, by complete and constant fidelity to His commandments.”
One Minute Reflection – 2 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Tuesday of the Ninth week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: 2 Peter 3:12-15, 17-18, Psalm 90:2-4, 10, 14, 16, Mark 12:13-17
“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God, the things that are God’s.” … John 12:17
REFLECTION – “Oh man! why do you despise yourself so, seeing that you are so precious to God? And why do you demean yourself in this way when God honours you by Christ’s birth in our flesh? Why search out how you were made and not enquire what you were made for? Was not this whole dwelling, this world that you see, made for you? For your sake, light spreads abroad and causes darkness to fade; for your sake, night is ruled and day measured; for you, heaven shines with the varied splendours of sun and moon and stars; for you, the earth is spangled with flowers, trees and fruits; for you, was created this amazing mass of animal life, in the air, the fields, the loveliness of water, so that no dismal solitude should spoil the new world’s joy….
Besides this, the Creator seeks out what else He can add to your dignity – He sets His image within you (Gen 1:27) so that your visible image, might make present upon earth, the invisible Creator and, to you, He entrusts the care of earthly goods, so that so vast a domain as this is, should not be lacking a representative from the Lord. … And what God accomplished in you by His power, He graciously assumed into Himself – He wanted to be truly manifested in the man in whom, hitherto, He had only appeared in image. He enabled us to become in reality what had only been a mere likeness before. … And so Christ is born, to restore all its integrity to fallen nature.” … St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) Father and Doctor of the Church – Sermon 148, On the mystery of the Incarnation
PRAYER – Lord God, true light and creator of light, grant us the grace to see clearly by the light who is Light, Your only Son. Lead us in His path and send us Your Spirit. Grant us the strength to grow in holiness so that our struggle against the powers of darkness may we a victory over temptation. May the prayers of the Mother of Your Son, the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother too, be a balm of enduring succour, as we fulfil Your commandments in this world and strive to reach our eternal home. We make our prayer through Christ Your divine Son, Whom You sent to make us like unto Himself, in the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen.
Thought for the Day – 12 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Detachment from the World
“It is very difficult to detach ourselves from worldly affairs and remain always united to God.
Nevertheless, St Ignatius Loyola often exclaimed: “How ugly the earth seems when I look towards Heaven!”
The Saints saw the things of this world in the light of God.
They recognised how insignificant this world is, beside the infinite splendour of God.
They realised that earthly things cannot satisfy the human heart, nor assuage the restlessness of the soul, which was created for God.
We, on the other hand, become too attached to worldly goods.
It may happen that our hearts become absorbed in them.
Let us reflect on the unimportance of this world.
There are myriad of stars in the firmament, many of which are far larger than our earth or sun.
Some, like Andromeda, are 250,000 light years distant from us; others, like the Triangle, are 280,000 light years away, while still others, are probably much farther.
All obey exactly the plan of their Creator.
How tiny our earth is by comparison!
How insignificant we ourselves are!
Why should we become so attached to the things of this earth?
God alone is great.
He alone should occupy our minds and hearts.
We have been made for Him alone.”
Thought for the Day – 19 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“God speaks to us in many ways.
He speaks in the language of nature.
Sky and earth tell us of their Creator.
Walk in silence beneath the night sky and contemplate the myriads of stars above.
It is impossible not to sense the power and beauty of the infinite God.
Look at the flowers in the meadows and the silent forests.
Look out across the vast expanse of the ocean, where the waves are breaking and surging but, never cross the limits imposed on them, by their Creator.
It is easy to repeat the words of St Augustine – “How great and good You are, O God!”
The voice of God, can also be heard in sermon and instructions, in the example which the Saints give us, in the advice of confessors and Superiors and others, whose task in life it is, to enlighten and guide the faithful.
Let us listen to these voices, for they represent the voice of God.”