Thought for the Day – 21 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“It is not enough to read and to meditate on the Gospel. We should do so with the correct dispossition, which are three in number. In the first place, we should read the Gospel with the recollection of one who prays, “Prayer must often interrupt reading,” says St Bonaventure. Now and again, while we are reading, we should lift our minds to God and ask Him to enlighten us and to inspire us, towards greater fervour.
Heavenly truths cannot be penetrated or understood without the light of grace which comes from on high. “I am the way and the truth and the life,” Jesus said, “no-one comes to the Father but through me,” (Jn 14:6). The Gospel, therefore, cannot be read like any other book. It is the word of supernatural life, which cannot be infused into our souls, except by grace, for which we should pray humbly and with fervour.
In the second place, we should read slowly and reflectively. “Read with the heart and not with the eyes,” writes Bossuet. “Profit by that which you understand, adore that which you don’t.”
In the Gospel, there is always something which is applicable to ourselves and to the particular circumstances in which we find ourselves. The Saints found there, their own particular road to sanctity, to which they had been called; from our reflective and devout study of the sacred pages, we also shall find what Jesus wants, in a particular way, from us!”
Thought for the Day – 19 JuLy – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Falling into Sin
“When we realise that we have fallen, what should we do about it? We must avoid two extremes and opposing kinds of reaction – hardness of heart and an excessive anxiety, which may lead to discouragement and loss of confidence in God’s infinite mercy.
Above all, we must avoid hardness of heart and that accompanying state of indifference which causes us to become immersed in sin. Let us hope that we shall never foolishly boost: “I have sinned and what has befallen me? for the Lord bides His time. Of forgiveness, be not over-confident, adding sin upon sin ” (Ecclus 5:4-5). When we see that we have fallen into sin, let us cry out at once, like the prodigal son: “ I will get up and go to my Father” (Lk 15:19). How unfortunate I am, if I have lost the friendship of God! But God is an infinitely merciful Father and I must throw myself into His arms and implore His forgiveness. When we have sinned, a good Confession will give us God’s forgiveness and peace of soul. Let us go to Him humbly and penitently, trusting that He will give us the kiss of peace.”
Quote/s of the Day – 15 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” and the Memorial of St Bonaventure OFM (1221-1274) Seraphic Doctor of the Church
“As “pride is the beginning of all sin,” (Eccl. 10:15) so humility is the foundation of all virtue. Learn to be really humble and not, as the hypocrite, humble merely in appearance.”
“Run with eager desire to this Source of Life and Light, all you who are vowed to God’s service.”
St Bonaventure’s Sermon of 4 October 1255
“When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard , more than that proceeding from the mouth.”
“Have Mercy on Me, O Lady
Have mercy on me, O Lady, for thou art called the Mother of Mercy. And according to thy mercy, cleanse me from all my iniquities. Pour forth thy grace upon me and withdraw not from me thine accustomed clemency. For I will confess my sins to thee and I will accuse myself of all my crimes before thee. Reconcile me to the Fruit of thy womb: and make peace for me with Him, Who has created me. Amen.”
The Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary by St Bonaventure
“Mary seeks for those who approach her devoutly and with reverence, for such she loves, nourishes, and adopts as her children. ”
One Minute Reflection – 15 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” and the Memorial of St Bonaventure (1221-1274) Seraphic Doctor of the Church – Readings: Exodus 3: 13-20; Psalms 105: 1 and 5, 8-9, 24-25, 26-27; Matthew 11: 28-30
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls…” – Matthew 11:29
REFLECTION – “You are to “take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” You are not learning from Me, how to re-fashion the fabric of the world, nor to create all things visible and invisible, nor to work miracles and raise the dead. Rather, you are simply learning of Me: “that I am meek and lowly in heart.”If you wish to reach high, then begin at the lowest level. If you are trying to construct some mighty edifice in height, you will begin with the lowest foundation. This is humility. However great the mass of the building you may wish to design or erect, the taller the building is to be, the deeper you will dig the foundation. The building in the course of its erection rises up high but he who digs its foundation must first go down very low. So then, you see, even a building is low before it is high and the tower is raised only after humiliation.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop, Father and Doctor of Grace – Sermon 69.
PRAYER – Holy God, our Father, we turn to You in confidence as children and pray, give us meekness of heart, make us “poor in spirit” that we may recognise that we are not self-sufficient, that we are unable to build our lives on our own but need You, we need to encounter You, to listen to You, to speak to You. Help us to understand that we need Your gifts, Your wisdom, which is Jesus Himself, in order to do the Your will in our lives and thus to find rest in the hardships of our journey. Grant we pray that the prayers of our Blessed Mother, St Bonaventure and all Your Angels and Saints, may carry us home to You. Through Christ our Lord, one God with You and the Holy Spirit, now and forever, amen.
One Minute Reflection – 12 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Readings: Exodus 1: 8-14, 22; Psalms 124: 1b-3, 4-6, 7-8; Matthew 10: 34 – 11: 1
“He that receives you, receives me and he that receives me, receivets him that sent me.” – Matthew 10:40
REFLECTION – “The Lord said: “Whoever welcomes this little child on my account welcomes me.” (Lk 9:48) The smaller our brother is, the more Christ is present. For when we welcome a great personality, we often do so out of vainglory but the person who welcomes someone unimportant, does so with a pure intention and for Christ. He said: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” And again: “As often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me.” (Mt 25:35.40) Since He is talking about a believer and a brother, no matter how unimportant he is, Christ comes in with him. Open your house and welcome him!
“He who welcomes a prophet because he bears the name of prophet receives a prophet’s reward.” Thus, the person who welcomes Christ will receive the reward of Christ’s hospitality. Do not doubt His words, trust them. He Himself told us: “In them, I am presenting myself.”And, so that you do not doubt them, He decreed the punishment for those who do not welcome Him and the honours for those who do welcome Him (Mt 25:31ff.). He would not do this if He were not personally touched by honour or scorn. He says: “You welcomed Me into your house; I will welcome you in the Kingdom of My Father. You freed Me from hunger; I will free you from your sins. You saw Me in chains; I will let you see your liberation. You saw Me a stranger; I will make of you a citizen of Heaven. You gave Me bread; I will give you the Kingdom as your inheritance, that is entirely yours. You helped Me in secret; I will proclaim it publicly and I will say that you are My benefactor and that I am in your debt.” – St John Chrysostom (345-407) Bishop of Constantinople, Father and Doctor of the Church – Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, no 45
PRAYER – Grant us Your Grace O Holy God Almighty, rule over our hearts and bodies this day. Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed according to the commandments of Your divine Son, so that now and forever Your Grace may free us from the world and save us for Yourself. May our eyes see Your Son and our hands feed Him and our hearts love Him in all those who hunger and thirst. And may His Glorious and Blessed Mother and ours protect us always . Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Ghost, God forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 10 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“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 – 16 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Unless You Turn and Become Like Little Children, You Will Not Enter into the Kingdom of Heaven”
“At the beginning of their ministry, before they had been strengthened and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the Apostles were as ambitious as most other men. One day, the mother of John and James, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and asked Him, if her two sons could have precedence over the other Apostles and sit on the highest thrones in His kingdom, one at His right hand and the other at His left. Jesus disapproved of this desire to predominate. “Whoever wishes to become great among you,” He said, “shall be your servant and, whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; even as the Son of Man has not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:26-28).
On another occasion, the Apostles came to Jesus and asked Him, which of them would be the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. Jesus’ only answer was to call a little child and to place him in the centre of the group. “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whoever, therefore, humbles himself as this little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3-4).
This is the lofty teaching of the Gospel. If we wish to be great and pleasing in the eyes of God, we must be unimportant in our own regard and in our relations with men. The Gospel involves an overthrow of human values. Anyone who makes himself insignificant, will become great. Anyone who tries to make himself out to be a great man, becomes of little account in the eyes of God. “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (Cf Js 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). If we wish to please the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the first thing we must do, is become as little children. In other words, we shall have to suppress our ambition and vanity and destroy our self-love, so that, the Sacred Heart may fill our hearts with the love of God alone!”
Quote/s of the Day – 15 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Readings: Second Corinthians 8: 1-9, Psalms 146: 2, 5-6ab, 6c-7, 8-9a, Gospel: Matthew 5: 43-48
“But I say to you, love your enemies”
“You don’t love in your enemies what they are but what you would have them become, by your prayers!”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor
“BE NOT troubled about those who are with you or against you but take care that God be with you in everything you do. Keep your conscience clear and God will protect you, for the malice of man cannot harm one whom God wishes to help. If you know how to suffer in silence, you will undoubtedly experience God’s help. He knows when and how to deliver you, therefore, place yourself in His hands, for it is a divine prerogative to help men and free them from all distress. … It is the humble man, whom God protects and liberates; it is the humble, whom He loves and consoles. To the humble, He turns and upon them bestows great grace, that after their humiliation, He may raise them up to glory.”
Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
“We must show love for those who do evil to us and pray for them. Nothing is dearer or more pleasing to God than this.”
St Bridget of Sweden (c 1303-1373)
“ … All men are our brothers – not excluding even those who hate and attack us. … ”
Thought for the Day – 14 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Purity of Intention
“St Alphonsus indicates the signs by which we can judge whether our actions are performed from the pure intention of pleasing God.
(1) The first sign is that you are not disturbed when your projects are unsuccessful but retain the same composure as if you had succeeded. This will be the case when you are working for GOD ALONE, so that once you realise, that God has not desired your efforts to succeed, you no longer desire it either. You know that He is not concerned with the outcome of your work but only with whether you have undertaken it with the purpose of pleasing Him.
(2) The second proof is that you are as pleased with the good which s worked by means of others, as if it had been achieved through you.
(3) The third sign is that you do not long for one position rather than another but, are content with whatever Providence has arranged for you, so that you seek only to please God in everything which you do.
(4) The final proof is that you do not look for approval or gratitude because of your good actions. If you are not appreciated or are ill-treated in any way, you retain your peace of mind because you have already achieved your purpose, which was to please God by working for love of Him. (Cf Al Divino Servizo, 11, 7).”
Thought for the Day – 11 June – Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Learn From Me, For I Am Meek and Humble of Heart”
“It is very easy to be gentle and humble when everything is going well for us. It is difficult, however, when we meet humiliation, misunderstanding or opposition. We need to be well advanced in perfection, if we are to have mildness and humility of heart, like that of Jesus.
We can only reach this state of perfection by prayer, sacrifice and character formation. Pride, self-love and the desire to excel, are the evil effects of our corrupted nature. St Francis de Sales jestingly remarked that self-love dies three days after us. It is difficult to remove it completely from our character and to put, in it’s place, the love of God and of our neighbour but, this operation is necessary, if we are to obtain Christ-like humility and gentleness of heart. God, not our own ego, should be the centre of our lives, He should be the focal point of all our thinking. Let us beseech God for this grace and try and behave in this fashion on all occasions.
When we encounter lack of sympathy, coldness or injustice on the part of our fellowmen, we should try and avoid becoming annoyed or discourage. The testimony of a sound conscience before God, is all that should concern us. We should offer everything else to God, whether it is joy or sorrow, praise or criticism. We shall be rewarded with peace of soul.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine!”
Thought for the Day – 4 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Blessed Eucharist
“By means of this wonderful gift, we can live the life of Jesus Himself.
It is Our Lord Himself, Who says to us: “As the living Father has sent me and as I live because of the Father, so he who eats me, he also shall live because of me” (Jn 6:58). In other words, as He draws His divine and human life from the Father and lives by means of Him, to Whom as God, He is substantially united and equal, so anyone who partakes of the Eucharist, is united closely to Jesus, lives His life and is transformed by His supernatural grace. When Holy Communion is received, therefore, as it ought to be and as the Saints received it, it leads to the mysterious union of which St Paul speaks: “To me to live is Christ” (Phil 1:21). “It is now no longer I that live but Christ, lives in me” (Gal 2:20).
The effect of Holy Communion on us, should be similar to that of a graft upon a tree, whose life is thereby transformed and which begins to produce the fruit of the new shoot instead of the old trunk. We should no longer live the life of the old man but, that of the new, which is Jesus. We ought, therefore, to produce His divine fruits. Our actions will have a supernatural value because they are performed in Jesus and through Jesus. We should be very grateful to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for this gift of His infinite love and goodness. We should approach Holy Communion with humility, love and complete self-surrender. Our hearts should be fused in the Heart of Jesus and our love should be fused in His infinite love.”
Thought for the Day – 12 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed”
“It is related in the Gospel, that once a certain occasion, a woman in the crowd, was roused by the preaching and miracles of Jesus and cried out: “Blessed is the womb that bore thee and the breasts that nursed thee.” But Jesus replied: “Rather blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it” (Lk 11:27-28). These words take nothing from the glory of the Mother of God. They were not intended for her but, for us. She was great and holy, not only because she was chosen to be the Mother of the Word Incarnate but also because she perfected herself in virtue by carrying out, in everything, the teaching of her divine Son, Jesus.
We cannot follow her as far as her high dignity of Mother of God but we can follow her in her heroic practice of virtue. Admittedly, we shall not be able to climb to an equal height but, with the help of God and under Mary’s own protection, we can and should, walk in her footsteps.
We can imitate her humility, her purity, her lively faith, her burning love for God and for her neighbour and her spirit of constant prayer and union with God. If we do this, we shall always feel that she is by our side as our loving Mother, who is eager to help us to become holy.”
Quote/s of the Day – 9 May – Sixth Sunday of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 10: 25-26, 34-35, 44-48; Psalm: Psalms 98: 1, 2-3, 3-4 (2b); Second: First John 4: 7-10; Gospel: John 15: 9-17
“You are my friends if you do what I command you. “
“It is not that we keep His commandments first and that then He loves but, that He loves us and then we keep His commandments. This is that grace which is revealed to the humble but hidden from the proud.”
“If we live good lives, the times are also good. As we are, such are the times.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of Grace
“We must note, therefore, that he that does things pleasing to God, serves Christ but he that follows his own wishes, is a follower, rather of himself and not of God.”
St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father and Doctor of the Incarnation
PRAYER – O Infinite Goodness – Act of Contrition By St Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) – Doctor of the Church
O my God, I am exceedingly grieved, for having offended Thee and with my whole heart, I repent of the sins I have committed. I hate and abhor them above every other evil, not only because, by so sinning, I have lost heaven and deserved hell but still more because I have offended Thee, O infinite Goodness, who art worthy to be loved above all things. I most firmly resolve, by the assistance of Thy grace, never more to offend Thee for the time to come and to avoid those occasions which might lead me into sin. Amen
Thought for the Day – 7 May – “Mary’s Month” Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Humility of Mary
“Unfortunately, we often look for our share of glory on earth. We wish to appear to others, not only at our true value but much more than we are really worth. We imagine that the gifts and qualities which God has given us, belong to ourselves, whereas they are entirely His.
We like to put up a good appearance to win praise and renown – in other words, we want to have our reward upon this earth. We should remember, however, that if we look for our reward now, we shall not have it in Heaven.
God sees when our motives in doing good are distorted and, when we appear before His judgement throne, He will say to us: “You have received your reward” (Cf Mt 6:2).
Let us be humble like Mary. Let us make God’s glory, rather than our own satisfaction, the object of our actions. It will sometimes happen that men will misunderstand us, perhaps even insult us. We are not forbidden to defend ourselves and explain our position. We may not have the heroic virtue of St Francis de Sales, who remained silent when he was caluminated. But we should not be too disturbed by lack of understanding or slander, nor should we be too elated by flattery. Only one thing should count with us and that is, the testimony of a good conscience before God. Everything else is passing and futile.
Our humility will be tested by the inevitable opposition, sometimes jealous and malicious, which we shall experience on the part of other men. On these occasions, we shall see if we are really meek and humble of heart, like Jesus and our Blessed Mother.”
One Minute Reflection – 28 April – Wednesday of the Fourth week of Easter, Readings: Acts 12:24–13:5, Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8, John 12:44-50 and the Memorial of St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716)
“I am come as light into the world, that whosoever believes in me, may not remain in darkness..” – John 12:46
REFLECTION – “The humility with which Christ “emptied himself, assuming the condition of a servant” (Phil 2:7) is our light. His denial of the world’s glory, He who chose to be born in a stable rather than a palace and to undergo a shameful death on the cross, is light for us. Owing to this humility, we can know just how detestable is the sin of a creature of clay (Gn 2:7), a wretched man of no worth, when he puffs himself up, vaunts himself and refuses to obey, while we see the infinite God, humiliated, despised and delivered up to men.
A light for us, too, is the meekness with which He bore hunger, thirst and cold, insults, blows and wounding, when “like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep before its shearers, he did not open his mouth” (Is 53:7). Indeed, in view of this meekness, we see how pointless anger is, as also threats. Then we consent to suffer and do not serve Christ out of habit. Thanks to this, we learn to pay heed to all that is asked of us, weeping for our sins in submission and silence and patiently bearing the sufferings that come our way. For Christ bore His torments with such great meekness and patience, not for sins He had not committed but for those of others.
From now on, dearest brethren, ponder over all the virtues Christ taught us by the example of His life, that He recommends to us through His preaching and. gives us the strength to imitate, by the aid of His grace.” – Lanspergius the Carthusian (1489-1539) Monk, theologian – Sermon 5
PRAYER – Lord God, life of those who believe in You, glory of the humble and happiness of the Saints, listen kindly to our prayer. We long for what You promises, fill us from Your abundance, give us true faith and obedience. May the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Your Son, be our constant recourse. and may her cliet and Yours, St Louis Marie de Montfort, pray for us all. Through Our Lord, Jesus with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Acts 12: 24 — 13: 5a 24 But the word of the Lord increased and multiplied. 25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, having fulfilled their ministry, taking with them John, who was surnamed Mark. 13:1 Now there were in the church which was at Antioch, prophets and doctors, among whom was Barnabas and Simon who was called Niger and Lucius of Cyrene and Manahen, who was the foster brother of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 And as they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Ghost said to them: Separate me Saul and Barnabas, for the work whereunto I have taken them. 3 Then they, fasting and praying and imposing their hands upon them, sent them away. 4 So they being sent by the Holy Ghost, went to Seleucia and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when they were come to Salamina, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.
Gospel: John 12: 44-50 44 But Jesus cried and said: He that believes in me, does not believe in me but in him that sent me. 45 And he that sees me, sees him that sent me. 46 I am come as light into the worl, that whosoever believes in me, may not remain in darkness. 47 And if any man hears my words and keeps them not, I do not judge him: for I came not to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He that despises me and receives not my words, has one that judges him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken of myself but of the Father who sent me, he gave me commandments what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting. The things, therefore, that I speak, even as the Father said unto me, so do I speak.
One Minute Reflection – 19 April – Monday of the Third Week of Easter, Readings: First: Acts 6: 8-15, Psalm: Psalms 119: 23-24, 26-27, 29-30, Gospel: John 6: 22-29 and the Memorial of Bl Conrad of Ascoli OFM (1234-1289)
“This is the work of God, that you believe in him, whom he hath sent.” – John 6:29
REFLECTION – “The senses are full of curiosity – faith is content to know nothing, it… longs to pass its life motionless before the Tabernacle. The senses love riches and honour – faith holds them in horror… “Blessed are the poor” (Mt 5,3). She adores the poverty and lowliness with which Jesus covered His life, as though with a garment, that He never cast off… The senses take fright at that which they call danger, at all that might mean pain or death – but faith is afraid of nothing, it knows nothing can happen to it but what is the will of God: “I have counted every hair of your head” (Mt 10,30) and whatever God wishes, will always be for its good. “All that happens is for the good of my elect” (Rm 8,28). Thus in everything that may happen, sorrow or joy, health or sickness, life or death, it is content and fears nothing. The senses are anxious about the future and ask how we shall live tomorrow but faith feels no anxiety…
Thus faith illumines everything with a new light, different to the life of the senses, more brilliant, of another kind. Whoever lives by faith, has a soul full of new thoughts, new tastes, new impressions; new horizons open up, marvellous horizons, lit with a new light and with a divine beauty, surrounded with new truths of which the world is not aware. Thus, whoever believes, begins a new life opposed to that of the world, whose acts seem like madness. The world is in the darkness of night, the person of faith is in full light – this light-filled path on which we walk, is not manifest to others. It seems to them, that we want to walk like a madman, in emptiness.” – Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916) Hermit and Missionary in the Sahara – Retreat Notes, Nazareth, Nov. 1897
PRAYER – King of heaven and earth, Lord God, rule over our hearts and bodies this day. Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed, according to the commandments of Your law, so that now and forever, Your grace may free and save us. Let us walk in Your ways and be your lights and thus, by our lives, help others to follow You. Grant that the prayers of our blessed Mother, the Mother of Jesus Your Son and Blessed Conrad of Ascoli, who always lived for You alone, may help us, as we work through each day to reach our heavenly home. Through Jesus the Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Acts 6: 8-15 8 And Stephen, full of grace and fortitude, did great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Now there arosesome of that which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and of the Cyrenians and of the Alexandrians and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia, disputing with Stephen. 0 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit that spoke. 11 Then they suborned men to say, they had heard him speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God. 12 And they stirred up the people, and the ancients and the scribes and running together, they took him and brought him to the council. 13 And they set up false witnesses, who said: This man ceaseth not to speak words against the holy place and the law. 14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place and shall change the traditions which Moses delivered unto us. 15 And all that sat in the council, looking on him, saw his face as if it had been the face of an angel.
Gospel: John 6: 22-29 22 The next day, the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea, saw that there was no other ship there but one and that Jesus had not entered into the ship with his disciples but, that his disciples were gone away alone. 23 But other ships came in from Tiberias, nigh unto the place where they had eaten the bread, the Lord giving thanks. 24 When herefore he multitude saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they took shipping and came to Capharnaum, seeking for Jesus. 25 And when they had found him, on the other side of the sea, they said to him: Rabbi, when camest thou hither? 26 Jesus answered them and said: Amen, amen I say to you, you seek me, not because you have seen miracles but because you did eat of the loaves and were filled. 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth but for that which endures unto life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you. For him hath God, the Father, sealed. 28 They said, therefore, unto him: What shall we do, that we may work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said to them: This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he hath sent.
Thought for the Day – 17 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Storms of Life
“The Evangelist describes how Jesus got nto a boat one day, alog with His Apostles and and set out across the lake of Genesareth. Suddenly a great storm arose, so furious, that the waves covered the tiny vessel and threatened to submerge it. The Apostles were terrified and turned to Jesus but, He was asleep. They woke Him, crying out: “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He sat up and said to them: “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then, He rebuked the wind and the sea and immediately all was calm again. His followers were astonished. “What manner of man is this,” they asked one another, “that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mt 8:23-26; Mk 4:36-49; Lk 8:22-25).
We also are often subjected to the tempests of life. Sometimes, these storms, are purely interior, as when our lower impulses threaten to overcome our good resolutions and to submerge our purity of soul. In these serious crises, we should turn humbly and fervently to Jesus for help. Sometimes perhaps, Jesus will seem to be asleep and deaf to our anguished entreaties. But it is never so! He simply wishes to test us, as He tested His Apostles on the lake of Genesareth.
We must persevere. We must tell Him that we do not wish to lose His grace, that we do not wish to fall into sin but desire to go on loving Him. If our prayers are humble and insistent, we may rest assured, that after our moment of trial, Jesus Christ will speak to us. At the sound of His Voice, the tempest will be stilled and there will come, a great calm. Then, we shall experience the peace, which only God can give.
Thought for the Day – 10 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Word and Example
“Good example is the most effective sermon and we are all obliged to preach in this fashion. God entrusted the care of his neighbour to each one of us (Ecclus 17:12). Each of us is responsible for the salvation of those who have been entrusted to him in this way, especially for the salvation of those who live near him and are influenced by his behaviour. Jesus’ exhortations in this regard, have the force of a command. “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). St Paul urges us to “provide good things, not only in the sight of God but also, in the sight of all men” (Cf Rom 12:17). This must not be interpreted as meaning, that we should be anxious for others to see our good deeds, in order that they may respect and praise us. It is our own undoing if our good example is tainted with ostentation, for we should lose all merit for it and should deserve to hear the words of the Eternal Judge: “You have received your reward” (Cf Mt 6:5). Our good example should be inspired only by the love of God and of our neighbour but never, by self-love. By saving the souls of others, we save our own!”
Quote/s of the Day – 23 March – Tuesday of Passion Week or the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Numbers 21:4-9, Psalms 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21, John 8:21-30
“Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?”
“…And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”
“The servant is not greater than his Master”
“He conquered death, broke the gates of hell, won for Himself a people to be His co-heirs, lifted flesh from corruption up to the glory of eternity.”
“The Son of God is nailed to the Cross but on the Cross, God conquers human death. Christ, the Son of God, dies but all flesh is made alive in Christ. The Son of God is in hell but man is carried back to heaven.”
St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church
The Word of the Cross by Saint Paulinus of Nola (c 354-431)
Look on thy God, Christ hidden in our flesh. A bitter word, the cross and bitter sight: Hard rind without, to hold the heart of heaven. Yet sweet it is, for God upon that tree Did offer up His life upon that rood My Life hung, that my life might stand in God. Christ, what am I to give Thee for my life? Unless take from Thy hands the cup they hold, To cleanse me with the precious draught of death. What shall I do? My body to be burned? Make myself vile? The debt’s not paid out yet. Whate’er I do, it is but I and Thou, And still do I come short, still must Thou pay My debts, O Christ, for debts Thyself hadst none. What love may balance Thine? My Lord was found In fashion like a slave, that so His slave Might find himself in fashion like his Lord. Think you the bargain’s hard, to have exchanged The transient for the eternal, to have sold Earth to buy Heaven? More dearly God bought me.
“How can you become a sharer, in His glory (1 Pt 5:1) if you will not consent, to become a sharer, in His humiliating death?”
St Simeon the New Theologian (949-1022)
“Let us then learn from the Cross of Jesus our proper way of living. Should I say ‘living’ or, instead, ‘dying’? Rather, both living and dying. Dying to the world, living for God. Dying to vices and living by the virtues. Dying to the flesh, but living in the spirit. Thus in the Cross of Christ, there is death and in the Cross of Christ there is life. The death of death is there and the life of life. The death of sins is there and the life of the virtues. The death of the flesh is there and the life of the spirit.”
St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)
“ … If you die with Him, you shall also likewise live with Him. If you are His companion in punishment, so shall you be in glory.”
“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realise that I AM” – John 8:28
REFLECTION – “Isaiah the prophet describes an exalted vision for us: “I saw the Lord seated on a throne” (Is 6:1). What a wonderful sight, my brethren! Happy the eyes that saw it! Who would not want with all their heart, to behold the splendour of so great a glory? … Yet here, I am listening to that same prophet give us an account of a very different vision of the same Lord: “We saw Him; He had no beauty, no splendour – we took Him for a leper” (Is 53:2f. Vg.) (…)
And so, if you desire to see Jesus in His glory, try, first of all, to contemplate Him in His humiliation. Begin by gazing on the serpent raised up in the desert, (cf. Jn 3:14) if you wish to see the King seated on His throne. Let the first vision fill you with humility, so that the second, may raise you from your humiliation. Let the former, reprove and heal your pride, before the latter fulfils and satisfies, your desire. Do you see the Lord “emptied?” (Phil 2:7). Do not let this vision leave you untouched, or you will not be able to behold Him later on, in the glory of His exaltation, without anxiety.
“You will be like Him,” indeed, when you see Him “as He is” (1 Jn 3:2); so, be like Him now, as you see what He became for your sake. If you do not refuse to become like Him in His humiliation, He will certainly give you, the likeness of His glory in return. He will never allow someone who has shared His Passion, to be excluded from communion in His glory. So little does He refuse, to admit someone who has shared His Passion, into the Kingdom with Him, that the thief found himself in paradise that very day with Him because he confessed Him on the cross (Lk 23:42) … Yes indeed, “if we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him” (Rm 8:17). – St Bernard (1091-1153) Cistercian Monk and Mellifluous Doctor of the Church – Sermon 1 for the first Sunday of November.
PRAYER – Holy Father, we have sinned against You and beg for Your forgiveness and mercy. Through the merits of the saving Cross of Your Son, help Your people O Lord, to persevere in obedience to Your will, so that through this obedience, we may reach our eternal home. May the eyes of our hearts, never cease contemplating the Holy Cross and following the way of its humiliation. We hope for the intercession of your angels and saints and our most loving Mother Mary. Through Christ, our Lord with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
“When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him” – Matthew 1:24
REFLECTION – “How faithful in humility was the great Saint we are celebrating! That can’t be said in all its perfection for, in spite of what he was, in what poverty and lowliness he lived all the days of his life, a poverty and lowliness beneath which he kept hidden and concealed his great virtues and dignity!… Truly, I have no doubt at all, that the angels came, beside themselves with admiration, rank upon rank, to behold and wonder at his humility, while he sheltered that dearest Child, in the poor workshop where he worked at his employment, so as to feed the little Boy and the mother entrusted to him.
There is no doubt at all, that Saint Joseph was braver than David and wiser that Solomon, [who were his ancestors]. Nevertheless, seeing him reduced to the exercise of carpentry, who could have discerned this, unless they were enlightened by a heavenly light, so hidden did he keep the remarkable gifts, with which God had favoured him?
And what wisdom did he not have? For God gave him, His most glorious Son to care for… the universal Prince of heaven and earth… Nevertheless, you can see how low and humbled he was brought, more than can be said or imagined… he went to his own country and town of Bethlehem and none but he, was turned away from all those inns…
Notice how the angel turns him about with both hands. He tells him he has to go to Egypt and he goes, he orders him to return and he returns. God wants him to be always poor… and he submits to it with love and not only for a while, for he was poor his whole life long.”- St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Bishop of Geneva and Doctor of the Church – Conferences, no. 19
PRAYER – Almighty God, at the beginnings of our salvation, when Mary conceived your Son and brought Him forth into the world, you placed them under Joseph’s watchful care. May his prayer still help Your Church to be an equally faithful guardian of Your mysteriest and a sign of Christ to mankind. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, God, forever, amen.
Day Twenty-eighth of our Lenten Journey – Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent, Readings: Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12, Psalms 46:2-3, 5-6,8-9, John 5:1-16
Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
In You is the source of life and in Your Light Lord, we see light Psalm 35(36)
“Do you wish to be healed?” – John 5:6
I WILL bring witness against myself to my injustice and to You, O Lord, I will confess my weakness.
Often it is a small thing that makes me downcast and sad. I propose to act bravely but when even a small temptation comes, I find myself in great straits. Sometimes, it is the merest trifle which gives rise to grievous temptations. When I think myself somewhat safe and when I am not expecting it, I frequently find myself almost overcome by a slight wind. Look, therefore, Lord, at my lowliness and frailty, which You know so well. Have mercy on me and snatch me out of the mire, that I may not be caught in it and may not remain forever utterly despondent.
That I am so prone to fall and so weak in resisting my passions, oppresses me frequently and confounds me, in Your sight. While I do not fully consent to them, still their assault is very troublesome and grievous to me and it wearies me exceedingly, thus to live in daily strife. Yet from the fact that abominable fancies rush in upon me, much more easily than they leave, my weakness becomes clear to me.
Oh that You, most mighty God of Israel, zealous Lover of faithful souls, would consider the labour and sorrow of Your servant and assist him in all his undertakings! Strengthen me with heavenly courage, lest the outer man, the miserable flesh, against which I shall be obliged to fight, so long as I draw a breathw, in this wretched life and which is not yet subjected to the spirit, prevail and dominate me.
Alas! What sort of life is this, from which troubles and miseries are never absent, where all things are full of snares and enemies? For when one trouble or temptation leaves, another comes. Indeed, even while the first conflict is still raging, many others begin unexpectedly. How is it possible to love a life that has such great bitterness, that is subject to so many calamities and miseries? Indeed, how can it even be called life, when it begets so many deaths and plagues? And yet, it is loved and many seek their delight in it.
Many persons often blame the world for being false and vain, yet do not readily give it up because the desires of the flesh have such great power. Some things draw them to love the world, others make them despise it. The lust of the flesh, the desire of the eyes and the pride of life lead to love, while the pains and miseries, which are the just consequences of those things, beget hatred and weariness of the world.
Vicious pleasure overcomes the soul that is given to the world. She thinks that there are delights beneath these thorns because she has never seen or tasted the sweetness of God or the internal delight of virtue. They, on the other hand, who entirely despise the world and seek to live for God, under the rule of holy discipline, are not ignorant of the divine sweetness, promised to those who truly renounce the world. They see clearly how gravely the world errs and in how many ways it deceives. (Book 3 Ch 20)
Day Twenty Five of our Lenten Journey – 13 March – Saturday of the Third Week of Lent, Readings: Hosea 6: 1-6, Psalms 51:3-4, 18-19, 20-21, Luke 18: 9-14
Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
In You is the source of life and in Your Light Lord, we see light Psalm 35(36)
‘O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’ – Luke 18:13
YOU thunder forth Your judgements over me, Lord. You shake all my bones with fear and trembling and my soul is very much afraid. I stand in awe as I consider that the heavens are not pure in Your sight. If You found wickedness in the angels and did not spare them, what will become of me? Stars have fallen from heaven, and I — I who am but dust — how can I be presumptuous? They whose deeds seemed worthy of praise have fallen into the depths and I have seen those who ate the bread of angels delighting themselves with the husks of swine.
There is no holiness, then, if You withdraw Your hand, Lord. There is no wisdom if You cease to guide, no courage if You cease to defend. No chastity is secure if You do not guard it. Our vigilance avails nothing if Your holy watchfulness does not protect us. Left to ourselves, we sink and perish but visited by You, we are lifted up and live. We are truly unstable but You make us strong. We grow lukewarm but You inflame us. Oh, how humbly and lowly should I consider myself! How very little should I esteem anything, that seems good in me! How profoundly should I submit to Your unfathomable judgments, Lord, where I find myself to be but nothing!
O immeasurable weight! O impassable sea, where I find myself to be nothing but bare nothingness! Where, then, is glory’s hiding place? Where can there be any trust in my own virtue? All vainglory is swallowed up in the depths of Your judgments upon me.
What is all flesh in Your sight? Shall the clay glory against Him that formed it? How can he, whose heart is truly subject to God, be lifted up by vainglory? The whole world will not make him proud, whom Truth has subjected to itself. Nor shall he who has placed all his hope in God, be moved by the tongues of flatterers. For behold, even they who speak are nothing, they will pass away with the sound of their words but the truth of the Lord, remains forever. (Book 3 Ch 12)
“…For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled but he who humbles himself, will be exalted” – Luke 18:14
REFLECTION – “You know what our divine Saviour, who is very truth and goodness, said to His disciples: “Unless your justice abound more than that (…) of the Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:20). These words are truly those of Christ. He who would not condemn the woman taken in adultery; who vouchsafed to speak to the Samaritan woman and reveal heavenly mysteries to her in spite of her guilty life; He who consented to eat with the publicans, socially disqualified as sinners; who allowed Magdalen to wash His feet and wipe them with the hairs if her head; He who was so “meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29), publicly hurled anathemas at the Pharisees: “Woe to you (…) hypocrites, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 23:13). (…)
Call to mind the Pharisee whom Christ depicts going up to the Temple to pray. What is his prayer? “My God, I am a man altogether irreproachable; I fast, I give tithes (Lk 18:11-12); You cannot find me in fault on any point; You ought to be proud of me.” And in the literal sense, what he said was true – he did observe all these things.
However, what judgement does Jesus pass upon him? This man went out of the Temple without being justified, his heart empty of God’s grace. Why this condemnation? Because the unhappy man glorified himself, for his good actions and placed all his perfection, in merely outward observance, without troubling himself about the inward dispositions of his heart. Therefore, our Lord tells us: “Unless your justice is greater than that of the Pharisees, you will have no part in the Kingdom of heaven.” (…) It is in the heart that perfection lies; for love is the supreme law.” – Bl Columba Marmion (1858-1923) Abbot – The “instruments of good works” (Christ, the Ideal of the Monk)
PRAYER – We turn to You our God and Father and seek Your comfort and assurance. Jesus, our Lord, Your Son, taught us how to pray in humility and all we need to be and do, to reach You. Be patient good Father, as we grow by Your grace. May the prayers of the Mother of Christ, help us to attain our home Through Jesus our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, God now and forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 8 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“St Ambrose describes virtue, as a slow martyrdom. In this sense, we must all be martyrs. There is only one difference. The Martyrs of the Church shed their blood and gave up their lives for Jesus, within one hour or one day and gained their reward immediately. Our martyrdom, on the other hand, will be prolonged. It will last all our lives and will end only when we accept death with resignation from the hands of God. Ours is the martyrdom of virtue. Let us clearly understand, that solid Christian virtue is a slow and continual martyrdom, which will end with death. It is not a flower, which springs up spontaneously in the garden of the soul. It is like a seed which is thrown on the damp earth and must die there slowly, so that it can generate young shoots, which will produce the ears of corn. “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But, if it dies, it brings forth much fruit” (Jn 12:24-25). It is necessary, then, to descend into the mire of humility and to remain there until we die. Only after we have died to ourselves, shall we rise again in God (Cf ibid). After the death of our lower instincts and vices, we shall find a new life.”
Quote/s of the Day – 3 March – Wednesday of the Second week of Lent, Readings: Jeremiah 18:18-20,Psalms 31: 5-6, 14, 15-16, Matthew 20: 17-28
“Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?”
“Only let it be in the name of Jesus Christ, that I may suffer together with Him! I endure everything because He Himself, Who is perfect man, empowers me.”
St Ignatius of Antioch (c 35–107) Martyr
“Do not rejoice in the Cross only in times of peace, preserve the same faith in times of persecution. Do not be a friend to Jesus in times of peace alone, only to become His enemy in times of war. You are now receiving forgiveness for your sins and the spiritual gifts lavishly bestowed by your King so, when war breaks out, fight valiantly for your King.”
St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387) Father and Doctor of the Church
“Do not live any longer in yourself but let Jesus Christ live in you in such a way that the virtue of this Divine Saviour may be resplendent in all your actions, in order that all may see in you a true portrait of the Crucified and sense, the sweetest fragrance of the holy virtues of the Lord, in interior and exterior modesty, in patience, in gentleness, suffering, charity, humility and in all others that follow.”
St Paul of the Cross (1604-1775)
“To labour and to suffer for the One we love, is the greatest proof of our love.”
Day Fourteen of our Lenten Journey – 1 March – Monday of the Second week of Lent, Readings: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20,Psalms 50: 8-9,16-17, 21 and 23, Matthew 23:1-12
Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
In You is the source of life and in Your Light Lord, we see light Psalm 35(36)
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” … Matthew 23:12
WE MUST not rely too much upon ourselves, for grace and understanding are often lacking in us. We have but little inborn light and this we quickly lose through negligence. Often we are not aware that we are so blind in heart.
Meanwhile, we do wrong and then do worse in excusing it. At times, we are moved by passion and we think it zeal. We take others to task for small mistakes and overlook greater ones in ourselves.
We are quick enough to feel and brood over the things we suffer from others but we think nothing of how much others suffer from us.
If a man would weigh his own deeds fully and rightly, he would find little cause to pass severe judgement on others. The interior man, puts the care of himself before all other concerns and he who attends to himself carefully, does not find it hard to hold his tongue about others. You will never be devout of heart unless you are thus silent about the affairs of others and pay particular attention to yourself.
If you attend wholly to God and yourself, you will be little disturbed by what you see about you. … You will sweetly repose if your heart does not rebuke you. Rejoice at nothing but only your good deeds. Bad men have never a true joy, nor feel inner peace, for “there is no peace for the wicked” (Is 57:21). … He is easily calmed and contented whose conscience is clean. Praise makes you not more holy, nor insult more worthless.
What you are you are, what God knows of you, is all that can be said for you. If you will only look at what you truly are, you will not care what men say of you. “Man looks at the appearance but God looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). (Book 2 Ch 5)
Quote/s of the Day – 1 March – Monday of the Second week of Lent, Readings: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20,Psalms 50: 8-9,16-17, 21 and 23, Matthew 23:1-12
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
“My brothers, keep away from the beast of boasting and concern for one’s reputation, for these destroy and weaken, every good work.”
Bl Raymond of Capua (c 1330-1399)
“The one sole thing, in myself, in which I glory, is that I see in myself, nothing, in which I can glory.”
St Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510)
“Humility is not just about self-mistrust but about the entrusting of ourselves to God. Distrusting ourselves and our own strength produces trust in God and from that trust, generosity of soul is born.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of Charity
“The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all, how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.”
St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
“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.”
St Teresa of Jesus of Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of Prayer
“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 Father, look with favour on Your family and as You have given us Your Son as Master and Redeemer, grant that we may be strengthened by Your grace, to follow His teachings. May the prayers of St Chad be heard for ou needs. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Day Eleven of our Lenten Journey – 27 February – Saturday of the First week of Lent, Readings: Deuteronomy 26:16-19, Psalms 119:1-2, 4-5,7-8, Matthew 5:43-48
Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)
In You is the source of life and in Your Light Lord, we see light Psalm 35(36)
“But I say to you, love your enemies” – Matthew 5:44
BE NOT troubled about those who are with you or against you but take care, that God be with you in everything you do. Keep your conscience clear and God will protect you, for the malice of man cannot harm one whom God wishes to help. If you know how to suffer in silence, you will undoubtedly experience God’s help. He knows when and how to deliver you, therefore, place yourself in His hands, for it is a divine prerogative to help men and free them from all distress.
It is often good for us to have others know our faults and rebuke them, for it gives us greater humility. When a man humbles himself because of his faults, he easily placates those about him and readily appeases those who are angry with him.
It is the humble man whom God protects and liberates; it is the humble whom He loves and consoles. To the humble, He turns and upon them bestows great grace, that after their humiliation, He may raise them up to glory. He reveals His secrets to the humble and with kind invitation, bids them come to Him. Thus, the humble man enjoys peace in the midst of many vexations because his trust is in God, not in the world. Hence, you must not think that you have made any progress until you look upon yourself as inferior to all others. (Book 2 Ch 2)