Thought for the Day – 10 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Sacrament of Baptism
“We are drawn towards Heaven by a golden chain of grace. The most precious links in this chain of benefits are the Sacraments, which Jesus Christ instituted as sensible and efficacious signs of divine grace. When we are born, tainted by original sin and, therefore, deprived of supernatural grace, the Church purifies and regenerates us through the Sacrament of Baptism. We then become the adopted sons of God and heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven.
It is helpful for us to repeat the Baptismal vows which were once made by others, in our name. Let us imagine that we are at our own Baptism, solemnly promising, through our Godparents, to renounce the devil, the world and the flesh, in order to follow Jesus.
Can we claim to have kept our promises? Or are we forced to admit that we have not always lived up to our obligations?
Let us renew our promises today and let us ask Jesus, for the grace to be faithful to them, till the end of our lives.”
Thought for the Day – 8 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
“Let us read the first chapter of St Luke’s Gospel in order to try and understand, as far as possible, the Immaculate Conception and the sublime holiness of Mary. “The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David and the virgin’s name was Mary. And when the angel had come to her, he said, ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women’” (Lk 1:26-28). The Blessed Virgin was troubled when she heard these words but the Angel reassured her. He told her that she had found favour with God and added, that she would become the Mother of God, for the Word would become flesh in her womb through the power of the Holy Spirit, in such a manner that in her nature, the privileges of virginity and of the divine motherhood, would be miraculously united. Mary then gave her assent to the will of God and, her ‘fiat’ placed her on a pedestal, high above all the generations of humanity and all the choirs of the angelic kingdom.
It is on this passage of the Gospel, that the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, chiefly depends. She was full of grace and the supremely beloved of God. How then could she have been subject to the rule of sin which we inherited from Adam? If her soul had been stained with sin at the first moment of her conception, she would not have enjoyed the special favour of God and the plenitude of grace. She was, moreover, predestined to become the Mother of God. Was it possible that the divine Word, Who was to become her Son, could have permitted her soul to have been sullied, even for a single instant, by sin, which deprives us of grace and makes us enemies of God? It was on good grounds, therefore, that the Church defined, that from the first moment of her conception, Mary was free from all taint of sin, by a singular privilege conferred on her by God and through the merits of her divine Son, Jesus Christ.”
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.”
One Minute Reflection – 9 October – Friday of the Twenty Seventh Week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Galatians 3:7-14, Psalms 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, Luke 11: 15-26 and the Memorial of Saint Denis of Paris (Died c 258) and Companions, the First Bishop of Paris, Martyr
“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, ‘I shall return to my home from which I came…” – Luke 11:24
REFLECTION – “The unclean spirit dwelt in us before we believed, before we came to Christ when our soul was still committing fornication against God and was with it’s lovers, the demons. Afterward it said, “I will return to my first husband” and came to Christ, who “created” it from the beginning “in his image.” Necessarily, the adulterous spirit gave up his place when it saw the legitimate husband. Christ received us and our house has been “cleansed” from it’s former sins. It has been “furnished” with the furnishing of the sacraments of the faithful that they who have been initiated know. This house does not deserve to have Christ as it’s resident immediately, unless it’s life and conduct are so holy, pure and incapable of being defiled, that it deserves to be the “temple of God.” It should not still be a house but a temple in which God dwells. If it neglects the grace that was received and entangles itself in secular affairs, immediately, that unclean spirit returns and claims the vacant house for itself. “It brings with it seven other spirits more wicked,” so that it may not be able again to be expelled “and the last state of that kind of person is worse than the first.” It would be more tolerable, that the soul would not have returned to it’s first husband once it became a prostitute, than having gone back after confession, to her husband, to have become an adulteress again. There is no “fellowship,” as the apostle says, “between the temple of God and idols,” no “agreement between Christ and Belial.” – Origen of Alexandria (c 185-253) (Homilies on Exodus, 8)
PRAYER – Lord God, You sent St Denis and his companions to proclaim Your glory to the nations and gave them the fortitude to die for Your sake. Help us, by their exmple, to meet with a like indifference, the triumphs and afflictions this world has to offer. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, one God with You and the Holy Spirit, now and for all eternity, amen.
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” … Matthew 23:12
REFLECTION – “Humility is a secret power the saints receive when they bring all their life’s ascetical practices to a successful conclusion. For indeed, this power is only bestowed on those who attain to the perfection of virtue through the strength of grace … It is the same power the blessed Apostles received in the form of fire. Our Saviour commanded them, in fact, not to leave Jerusalem until they had received the power from on high (Acts 2:3; 1:4). Here Jerusalem stands for virtue; the power is humility and the power from on high, is the Paraclete, in other words the Consoler Spirit.
Now this is exactly what Sacred Scripture had said – these mysteries are revealed to the humble (Lk 10:21). To the humble it is given to receive within themselves that Spirit of revelation that uncovers mysteries. That is why certain saints have said that humility is what brings the soul to fulfilment in divine contemplation. So let no-one start thinking they have attained complete humility because at some moment a thought of compunction came to them or because they shed a few tears …. But if someone has overcome every contrary spirit …, if he has overturned and subjected all the strongholds of the enemy and if he then feels that he has received that grace in which “the Spirit bears witness to our spirit” (Rom 8:16), in the apostle Paul’s words, then there is the perfection of humility. Blessed are they who possess it. For they continually embrace the breast of Jesus (cf. Jn 13,25).” … St Isaac the Syrian of Nineveh (c 613-c 700) Bishop of Nineveh, Monk at Mosul – Ascetical discourses, 1st series, no 20
PRAYER – Almighty God, our Father, You have given us Mary, the Mother of Your Son, to be our Mother and our Queen. Grant that, supported by her example and her prayers, we may learn true humility and come to the kingdom of heaven and to the glory destined for Your children. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 21 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Nature and Grace
“Observe diligently, the motions of nature and grace,” says The Imitation of Christ, “for they move with great contrariety and subtlety and, can hardly be distinguished but by a spiritual man and, one that is inwardly enlightened” (Bk III c54).
The struggle between fallen nature and grace is due to original sin, which extinguished in us the supernatural life and gave rise to the disharmony which exists between our lower faculties and reason and between reason and God.
Even the Saints experienced this fearful internal battle between good and evil. “I see another law in my members,” says St Paul, “warring against the law of my mind” (Rom 7:23).
Elsewhere he complains that “the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh” (Gal 5:17) and that the temptations of the flesh assailed him so strongly, that he pleaded with God to save him.
But God’s reply to his entreaties was: “My grace is sufficient for thee, for strength is made perfect in weakness” (Cf 2 Cor 12:7-9).
This does not mean that human nature is substantially corrupt and incapable of doing good as a result of sin.
The inclination towards goodness and towards God, remains and is very strong in our better moments.
Nevertheless, we need the helping hand of God, so that this inclination may express itself in good actions worthy of an everlasting reward.
For this reason, we should pray humbly and constantly, for the precious gift of divine grace.”