Thought for the Day – 20 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Death is approaching. How many years have we left? How many months? How many hours? We do not know. Perhaps this could be the last day or the last hour of our lives and, if that were true, in what state would we appear before the majesty of God? How terrible if we were in mortal sin – we would be damned for all eternity!
But, even if we find ourselves in the state of grace, what merits have we to present to the eternal Judge? What sacrifices have we made to prove our love for Him? What mortifications and penances have we voluntarily undertake to purify ourselves of our sins? What good works have we done, what alms have we given, what prayers have we said? We may have to admit that we have wasted most of the time which God has given us in useless or even sinful occupations. Let us treasure, at least, the years, days, or hours which God still wills to grant us, for our full conversion and for our spiritual perfection.”
One Minute Reflection – 14 January – Thursday of the First week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Hebrews 3:7-14, Psalms 95:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, Mark 1:40-45
“If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will, be clean.” – Mark 1: 40-41
REFLECTION – “As for me, what can I appropriate that I lack, from the Heart of the Lord who abounds in mercy? … He was thinking thoughts of peace and I did not know it, for who knows the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counsellor? But the piercing nail has become a key to unlock the door, that I may see the goodwill of the Lord. And what can I see as I look through the hole? Both the nail and the wound cry out, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. The sword pierced His soul and came close to His Heart, so that He might be able to feel compassion for me in my weaknesses.
Through these sacred wounds we can see the secret of His Heart, the great mystery of love, the sincerity of His mercy, with which He visited us from on high. Where have Your love, Your mercy, Your compassion shone out more luminously, than in Your wounds, sweet, gentle Lord of mercy? More mercy than this no-one has, than that He lay down His life for those who are doomed to death.
My merit comes from His mercy; for I do not lack merit so long as He does not lack pity. And if the Lord’s mercies are many, then I am rich in merits. For even if I am aware of many sins, what does it matter? Where sin abounded grace has overflowed. And if the Lord’s mercies are from all ages forever, I too will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever. Will I not sing of my own righteousness? No, Lord, I shall be mindful only of Your justice. Yet that too is my own, for God has made You my righteousness.” – St Bernard of Clarirvaux (1090-1153) Doctor of Light – Excerpt from his Sermon 61 On the Song of Songs
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, we make our prayer to You at morning, noon and evening. Dispel from our hearts, the darkness of sin and bring us to the true light, Christ Your Son. Grant that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, all your Angels and Saints, we may deny ourselves in love and obedience to You the reward of our love. Through Jesus, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 7 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
Merit and the Love of God
“The more we know, writes St Catherine of Siena, the more we love and the more we love, the more we receive. Our merit, she concludes, increases in accordance with the measure of our love (Dialogues, c 131). We tend to judge men on the strength of their achievements and to judge ourselves, according to the degree of success which we have attained. Our standards could hardly be more false. “How much soever each one is in Thy eyes,” the author of The Imitation of Christ cries out to God in the words of St Francis, “so much is he and no more” (Bk III, c 50).
It is not success which counts with God and still less, human esteem. What matters with God, is our intention of pleasing Him and of working for His glory, from the motive of pure love. If we are successful in our work, let us praise God. If we are unsuccessful, let us thank Him, just the same. Our merit is commensurate with our love for God. If we love Him very much, we shall work hard and make sacrifices for His sake. We must work to satisfy God alone, however and not, for ourselves. If we work for any other purpose, all our labour is wasted. We sow abundantly and reap little or nothing. God alone matters. If we work only for Him, we shall be blessed by Him and shall reap the fruits of everlasting life. Amen!”