Thought for the Day – 6 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
A Ladder Ascending to God
“Let us lower our eyes and observe the world around us. Here again, everything speacks to us of God, for everything is a reflection of His power and goodness. From the tiny flowers which opens its perfumed petals to the dawn and closes them again to the sunset, as if in an an act of self-effacement before its Creator, to the pines and cedars of the forest, all nature seems to send up a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to God. We are surrounded by marvels but the greatest of them all is man, the lord of the universe. The beauty and order which we admire in creatures are concentrated in him; the eye, the ear and the tongue are among the extraordinary gifts which his body has received from God.
But, when we pass from the body to the soul, that spiritual flame which God has kindled in us, we we have reached an object of wonder, far surpassing the splendour of material things. A mind which is capable of thought and reasoning and a heart which is capable of love, belong, not merely to this world but are a living image of our Creator. It is for Him, therefore, that the intellect should function; it is He, that the heart should love!”
Quote/s of the Day – 16 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” and The Memorial of St John Francis Régis SJ (1597-1640)
“The Catholic religion was the religion of your forefathers and the only one Jesus Christ founded; – the one which He promised would endure till the end of time. It is in the Catholic religion alone that you can save your soul.”
“How long are you going to be deaf to His call? Or are you going to lose your soul, which Jesus Christ bought at the price of His Precious Blood?”
“My child, it is indeed the Voice of God you have heard. He has given you a great grace in thus calling you into His one true Church. While you live, never cease to thank Him and bless Him for it.”
(All the above from – Rev Fr D. Chisholm, The Catechism in Examples (London: R & T Washbourne, Ltd
“Brother, I see our Lord and our Lady opening the gates of Paradise for me. Into Your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.” St John Francis Regis on his deathbed
Thought for the Day – 5 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Even as Jesus rose from the dead, so we shall rise again. This is a Dogma of ou faith. “I believe … in the resurrection of the body.” When Job was seated on his dunghill, his body rotting with leprosy, deserted by everybody, scorned by his wife and reproved by his friends, he found comfort in this great truth. “I know that my Vindicator lives and that he will at last, stand forth on the dust where I myself shall see and, not another – and from my flesh, I shall see God – my inmost being is consumed with longing” (Job 19:25-27). St Paul describes this resurrection. In the twinkling of an eye, he says, at the sound of the trumpet of the Eternal Judge, our bodies will reformed and will have life again. We shall all rise but not all in the same manner. The body, which was the companion of the soul during our mortal life, will once again be its companion and share with it, either the eternal glory of Heaven, or the everlasting pains of Hell (Cf 1 Cor 15). We shall live forever like Jesus. “I believe in life everlasting,” in everlasting happiness, in Heaven or in eternal damnation in Hell. This great truth is a warning to us. If we remember it all our lives, we shall not steer our course towards evil and towards Hell but, towards goodness and towards Heaven, where one day, we shall come to rest in a land of lasting happiness.
Our life should be a continual resurrection, a continual ascent towards perfection, which will raise us from sin, to the state of grace, from the state of grace, to fervour and from fervour to sanctity.”
One Minute Reflection – 1 April – Maundy Thursday, Evening Vigil Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Readings: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14, Psalms 116:12-13, 15-18, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-15
“Jesus, knowing that his hour was come, … he loved them unto the end.” – John 13:1
REFLECTION – “Be obedient to the death, following the example of the spotless Lamb who obeyed His Father even to a shameful death on the Cross. Reflect that He is the way and the rule you are to follow. Always hold Him present before the eyes of your spirit. See how obedient He is, this Word, this Utterance of God! He does not refuse to take up the burden of suffering laid on Him by His Father; to the contrary, He throws Himself into it, spurred on by His great desire. Isn’t this what He reveals during the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, when He says: “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Lk 22:15)? By “eat this Passover” He means, the accomplishment of the Father’s will and His desire. Seeing that scarcely any time lies before Him (He was already looking ahead to the end, when He would sacrifice His body for our sake), He rejoices, He is glad and joyfully says: “I have greatly desired.” Here is the Passover He is speaking about – that which consists in giving His own self as food, in laying down His own body in obedience to the Father.
Jesus had celebrated many another Passover with His disciples but never this one, O unspeakable, sweet and burning charity! You think neither of Your suffering nor of Your humiliating death – if You had thought of them, You would not have been so joyful, You would not have called it a Passover. The Word sees ,that it is He Himself Who has been chosen, He Himself Who has received all our humanity as His spouse. He has been asked to give us His own Blood so that God’s will might be accomplished in us, so that it might be His Blood that sanctifies us. This is, indeed, the sweet Passover, this Lamb without blemish accepts (cf. Ex 12:5) and it is with great love and great desire that He fulfils the Father’s will and wholly carries out His design. What unspeakably sweet love! …
That is why, my beloved, I beg you never to entertain the least dread and to place all your trust in the Blood of Christ Crucified … May all servile fear be banished from your spirits. You will say with Saint Paul …: “I can do all things through Christ crucified, since he is within me by desire and love and he strengthens me” (cf. Phil 4:13; Gal 2:20). Love, love, love! By His Blood, the gentle Lamb has made an unassailable rock of your soul.” – St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) Dominican tertiary, Doctor of the Church, Co-patron of Europe – Letter 129
PRAYER – Love of You, with our whole heart, Lord God, is holiness. Increase then Your gifts of divine grace in us, so that, as in Your Son’s Death, You made us hope for what we believe, You may likewise, in His Resurrection, make us come to You, our final end. Listen we beg, to the prayers of Your holy ones and may the Blessed Mother walk along with us and keep our hand, ever in hers. Through Jesus Himself, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God with You, forever and ever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 27 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Human Soul
“Consider that you have only one soul, which belongs entirely to God and has Heaven for its true home. God has given you two hands, two feet, two ears and two eyes but, He has given you only one soul. What a disaster, if you should lose it, for you would then be damned forever! When God made you to be free, He placed your fate in your own hands. “When God, in the beginning, created man, He made him subject to his own free choice” (Ecclus 15:14). Remember that the salvation of your soul is the most necessary work which you have to do! It is more precious to you than gold or silver. “More precious than gold is health and well-being, contentment of spirit, than coral” (Ecclus 30:15). All our attention should be devoted to keeping our soul free from sin and endowing it with every virtue.”
Thought for the Day – 18 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“The interior mortification of self-love and of our sensual inclinations is not enough. Bodily mortifiation is also necessary. St Paul provides the reason. “the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh” (Gal 5:17)
Original sin disturbed the perfect harmony which existed between man’s body and soul. “I see another law in my members,” said the Apostle Paul, “warring against the law of my mind” (2 Cor 12:7).
There is no such struggle between the flesh and the spirit in brute animals, which are concerned only with the satisfaction of their sensible appetites. It is because he is endowed with reason and an immortal soul, that man experiences this conflict. The result is, that either the soul is conquered and becomes the slave of man’s lower instincts, or, the soul is victorious and uses the body as a instrument of virtue.
We can see from this, how necessary it is to mortify our bodies, so that they will not rebel against the mastery of the soul. Our body will be either the faithful servant, or the relentless tyrant of the soul!
What penances do I perform? When do I fast? Little or never, perhaps? If so, it is not surprising that my body rebels and causes me to fall into sin. We must follow the example of Jesus and the Saints in this matter, if we wish to remain in the state of grace.”
Thought for the Day – 17 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Help of God
“There are several passages in Sacred Scripture which emphasise clearly and effectively, our utter weakness and dependence on God. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves,” says St Paul, “to think anything, as from ourselves but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Cor 3:5).
Jesus warns us, that without Him, we can do nothing: “Without me, you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). He uses the allegory of the vine and the branches as an illustration of this. I am the vine, He says and you are the branches. So it is necessary for you to remain united to me and I to you. In the same way as a branch that does not live on, in the vine, can yield no fruit of itself, so you can do nothing, if you do not live on in Me. If anyone does not remain united to Me, he will be like a withered branch which is thrown into the fire to be burned (Jn 15),
We must remain united to Jesus, therefore, if we wish to do anything good and to merit everlasting life. Otherwise, the supernatural life of grace will not be transmitted to us. If Jesus is not there, death comes into our souls. Let us remain close to our Divine Redeemer. If we continue to live in Him, He will give us everything we ask, as He has promised: “If you abide in me and, if my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done to you” (Jn 15:7).
Quotes of the Day – 15 October – The Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus of Avila OCD (1515-1582) Doctor of the Church – “Doctor of Prayer”
“There is more value in a little study of humility and, in a single act of it, than in all the knowledge in the world.”
“You ought to make every effort to free yourselves, even from venial sin and to do what is most perfect.”
“There are more tears shed over answered prayers, than over unanswered prayers.”
“The surest way to determine. whether one possesses the love of God, is to see, whether he or she loves his or her neighbour. These two loves are never separated. Rest assured, the more you progress in love of neighbour, the more your love of God will increase.”
“Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life. . . . If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing.”
“There is no such thing as bad weather. All weather is good because, it is God’s.”
The Novena to our Guardian Angels begins on 23 September in preparation for the Guardian Angels Feast day on 2 October
Guardian Angels are real! “The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 328) There are countless examples of angels throughout Scripture. They ministered to everyone from shepherds, to Jesus Himself.
“Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.” – St Basil. Guardian angels are not something that we have to share. They are so valuable to our spiritual wellbeing, that God has blessed us all with our own. “Great is the dignity of the human soul, since each one of them has from the very outset of his life, an Angel deputed to safeguard him.” – St Jerome
“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14) Our Guardian Angels protect us from evil, assist us in prayer, lead us to choose good and represent us before God. They are able to act upon our senses and our imaginations but not our will. They cannot chose for us but, encourage us in every way possible, to choose what is true, good and beautiful.
“Christ is the centre of the angelic world. They are His angels: “When the Son of man comes in His glory and all the angels with Him.” (Mt 25:31 – CCC 331)
Angels are superior to man because although they are sent here to serve us, they are constantly in the presence of God. They are endowed with many spiritual powers and capabilities that humans are not given. Don’t think of your angel as a pretty cherub. They are prayerful and powerful and they stand beside you, to protect, defend and guard you.
Thought for the Day – 29 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Interior Life
“Human life is threefold. First, there is the physical life, that is, the life of the body animated by the soul. Then, there is the intellectual life, through which the soul searches for truth and controls the powers of the body. Finally, there is the supernatural life, which leads us towards Christian perfection and unites us to God, the source of goodness and happiness.
These three levels of life are all good in themselves but, form a hierarchy in which the primacy is held by the spiritual life. Physical life is a gift from God but, must remain subordinate to the spiritual life. If it were given precedence over reason and over the natural and divine law, our proper scale of values, would be upset and we should fall prey to a host of sinful inclinations. The same applies to the intellectual life. God endowed us with intelligence to enable us to know the truth, explore the secrets of the universe and use them for our own welfare. If the intellect fails to ascend to the knowledge of God from it’s knowledge of worldly objects and ceases to be inspired by a high regard for virtue, it’s achievements can lead eventually to death and destruction.
The supernatural life, which is nourished by divine grace, perfects man. All our physical powers and spiritual faculties, should be dominated by this life, which Jesus Christ came into the world to bring to us. We can have this life, if we obey His commands, control our passions, pray fervently, resign ourselves to His will and perform all our actions for love of Him.”
Quote/s of the Day – 19 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – The Sixteenth Sunday of the Year in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Wisdom 12:13, 16-19, Psalm 86:5-6,9-10, 15-16, Romans 8:26-27, Matthew 13:24-43
“Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom, all causers of sin and all law-breakers and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
“Every man will receive the eternal punishment, or reward which his actions deserve. Indeed, if all men recognised this, no-one would choose evil even for a short time, knowing that he would incur the eternal sentence of fire. On the contrary, he would take every means to control himself and to adorn himself in virtue, so that he might obtain the good gifts of God and escape the punishments.”
St Justin Marytr (100-165)
Father of the Church and Martyr
“Then shall those, already in the midst of the torments, cry out with pleading voices and there will be no-one to speak for them to the Lord and they shall not be heard.”
St Ephrem (306-373)
Father and Doctor of the Church
“I am filled with fear and trembling and all my bones are shaken, at the thought of that unhappy country of the damned.”
St Bernard (1090-1153)
Mellifluous Doctor of the Church
“So then, I am speaking to you who live in the habit of mortal sin, in hatred, in the mire of the vice of impurity and who are getting closer to hell each day. Stop! and turn around; it is Jesus who calls you and who, with His wounds, as with so many eloquent voices, cries to you, “My son, if you are damned, you have only yourself to blame: ‘Thy damnation comes from thee.’ Lift up your eyes and see all the graces with which I have enriched you to insure your eternal salvation.'”
St Leonard of Port Maurice (1676-1751)
“Poor Judas! Above  years have elapsed since he has been in Hell and his Hell is still only beginning.”
St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)
Most Zealous Doctor of the Church
“Meditate on the horrors of Hell, which will last for eternity because of one easily-committed mortal sin. Try hard to be among the few who are chosen. Think of the eternal flames of Hell and how few there are that are saved.”
“I was watching souls going down into the abyss, as thick and fast as snowflakes, falling in the winter mist.”
St Benedict Joseph Labre (1748-1783)
“I tremble when I see so many souls lost these days. See, they fall into Hell, as leaves fall from the trees at the approach of winter.”
St John Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)
“The natural fire that we see during this life has great power to burn and torment. Yet this is not even a shadow of the fire of Hell.”
Quote/s of the Day – 2 July – Thursday of the Thirteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Amos 7: 10-17, Psalms 19: 8, 9, 10, 11, Matthew 9: 1-8
“Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee.”
“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
” Indeed, the instant you say: “I have sinned against the Lord”, the response is given you: “Your sins are forgiven” (Mt 9:2). … Only do not keep away, or distance yourself, from He who has chosen you to sing and pray but all your life long, remain close to Him, either through pure confidence, or by a holy audacity and courageous confession.”
John of Karpathos (7th Century) Bishop
“When you commit some infidelity, do not be anxious but with humility and confidence, immediately turn to the Lord. Do not flee from the Offended but embrace Him as a lover and ask for forgiveness.”
Bl Mary of the Angels Fontanella (1661-1717)
“My beloved Redeemer, how much did it cost You to raise me from the ruin, which I brought on myself through my sins? What can I do without Your grace? I can do nothing but pray that You will help me but even this prayer comes from the merits of Your suffering and death! O my Jesus, help me!”
St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Most zealous Doctor
“To whom does your heart belong? To the devil, perhaps? You expected to find satisfaction and you have found disillusionment. You hoped for peace and found remorse. Instead of the happiness you expected, you will know only despair, unless you turn back to God immediately. There is only one way out of your predicament, the way chosen by the prodigal son – “I will get up and go to my father” (Lk 15:18). Rise up, then and cast yourself into the merciful arms of your heavenly Father, Who is waiting for you.”
“Even if we are unfaithful servants and are covered with the leprosy of sin, let us go to Him and He will heal us. Even if we have deserved Hell a thousand times, let us shed tears of repentance at His feet as Magdalen did and, He will give us His forgiveness and His peace.”
Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Jesus carries us to the inn. Imagine you are in the arms of Jesus, being carried, half-dead in sin— some of your own making, some done to you—to a place of help. You can rest in His arms. In another surprise, the inn is the Church, the hospital for sinners. The innkeeper might be a priest, family member, or friend who helps you through a dark time in your life.”
Pope Benedict XVI
“So many people see the Confessional as a place of defeat but Confession is a place of victory every single time.”
One Minute Reflection – 23 May – “Mary’s Month” – Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 18: 23-28, Psalms 47: 2-3, 8-9, 10, John 16: 23-28
“Until now you have not asked anything in my name, ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. … For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me.” … John 16:24,27
REFLECTION – “You see, my children, the Christian’s treasure is not on earth, it is in heaven (Mt 6:20). So our thinking must go to where our treasure is. The human person has a beautiful task, to pray and to love. You pray, you love – that is the human being’s happiness on earth.
Prayer is nothing other than union with God. When our heart is pure and united with God, we feel within ourselves a balm, an intoxicating sweetness, a dazzling light. In this intimate union, God and the human person are like two pieces of wax that have melted together, you can no longer separate them. This union of God with his little creature is something beautiful. It is a happiness that we cannot understand. We had deserved not to pray but God in His goodness allows us to speak to Him. Our prayer is incense, which He receives with tremendous pleasure.
My children, your heart is small but prayer expands it and makes it able to love God. Prayer is a foretaste of heaven, an outflowing of paradise. It never leaves us without sweetness. It is honey, which descends into the soul and sweetens everything. Sorrows melt in a prayer, that is well prayed, like snow in the sun.” … St John-Mary Vianney (1786-1859) – Catechism on Prayer
PRAYER – – Since it is from You, God our Father, that redemption comes to us, Your adopted children, look with favour on the family You love, hear our prayer as we unite our voices in the name of Your Son, our Lord and Redeemer. May our faith, love and joy in Christ bring us all alike to our eternal heritage and may the prayer of His blessed Mother and ours lead us safely home. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God with You, loving Father, forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 27 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Human Soul
The human body is one of the most wonderful things which God has created.
Unlike the bodies of most animals, it does not bend, towards the earth but stands up, towards the sky, in the direction of our true heavenly fatherland.
It communicates with creation outside it, by means of the five senses.
It has contact with other bodies, as well, as a way of making use of them, when the opportunity arises, by means of the sense of touch.
It has the sense of taste, to distinguish between different flavours and to act as a guide to it’s sustenance.
The sense of smell, enables it to experience perfumes and to avoid unhealthy odours.
By means of hearing and speech, it can communicate with other people, understand their ideas and express it’s own, as well as, listen to the wonderful music of creation.
Lastly, there is sight, the most astounding of the senses, which helps us o see in earthly things, an enchanting reflection of the eternal beauty of God.
The scientist is lost in admiration at the perfection of the human body and if his science is also wisdom, he should exclaim: ‘This is the hand of God!’
Nevertheless, in comparison with the greatness of human soul, the perfections of the body are quite insignificant.
The soul is like a breath of the Divine Spirit and a ray of the Divine Wisdom.
It is a simple, spiritual and immortal being, which bears in itself, the image of God.
Unlike the body, it is not tied to this earth but can soar high above it, by means of it’s faculty of thought.
It can investigate the secrets of God’s own nature and is also capable of immense love.
We should indeed be grateful to God, for His infinite goodness.