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 – 10 July – “Month of the Precious Blood” – Readings: enesis 49: 29-32; 50: 15-26a; Psalm 105: 1-2, 3-4, 6-7; Matthew 10: 24-33
“The very hairs of your head are numbered.”
“I see clearly with the interior eye, that the sweet God loves, with a pure love, the creature that He has created and has a HATRED for nothing but SIN, which is more opposed to Him, than can be thought or imagined.”
St Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510)
“Every moment comes to us, pregnant with a command from God, only to pass on and plunge into eternity, there to remain forever, what we have made of it!”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor Caritatis
“Oh! My God, how much Your Hand was upon me and yet how little I was aware of it! How good You are! How good You are! How You protected me! How you covered me with Your wings, when I did not even believe in Your existence!”
Bl Charles of Jesus de Foucauld (1858-1916)
“Let us go forward in peace, our eyes upon heaven, the only one goal of our labours.”
St Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1873-1897) Doctor of the Church
Quote/s of the Day – 2 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Readings: Genesis 23: 1-4, 19; 24: 1-8, 62-67, Psalms 106: 1b-2, 3-4a, 4b-5, Matthew 9: 9-13
“It is not the healthy who are in need of the physician but those who are sick”
“… Veiled in a human body, He was able to communicate with humans. He who wanted to assist the guilty hides the fact that He is a Judge. He who did not deny dignity to faithful servants, conceals his Lordship. He who desired the weak to be embraced by a parent’s love, covers His Majesty.”
St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) “Doctor of Homilies” Father and Doctor of the Church
” 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
“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
“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)
“Lord Jesus Christ,Son of God, Have Mercy on me, a sinner.”
Thought for the Day – 26 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Only Remedy for All Our Ills
“The first stage consists in doing God’s Will generously on all occasions. Will God give us a little happiness and satisfaction in the present life? Let us accept whatever He allows us without becoming excessively attracted by it. Let us never lose our hearts in earthly pleasures but let us preserve them intact for Jesus. Then the joys and the honours of this world will not disturb our souls, nor keep them apart from God.
Will God send us suffering and privation? Let us accept these with resignation to His holy Will. Our final end, which is eternal life, can be achieved equally well by means of joy or sorrow, as long as we accept everything from God’s Hands and offer it back to Him in accordance with His Will.
Let us remember, that we have to do the Will of God in any case, whether willingly or unwillingly. The only difference is that if we do it willingly, we shall gain peace and merit in the sight of God. If we do it unwillingly, we can expect no reward and shall increase the weight of sin upon our shoulders.”
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 – 18 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Mary, the Source of Peace
“If we wish to possess this true peace, which only God can give, we must control and regulate the movements of our passions when they rebel against the soul. In other words, as St Augustine says, our lower appetites must obey our reason and this, in its turn, must be subject to its author, God! (De Serm. Domini, 1,2). Real peace can only come to us as the result of the hard and constant labour of subordinating our passions to right reason and our reason to God. “And this is the peace,” Augustine writes, “which God gives on earth, to men of goodwill; this is the most perfect wisdom ” (Ibid).
We have found, from sad experience, that sin and the free play of the passions, cannot give us real peace because “there is no peace for the wicked” (Is 48:22). When, by the grace of God and the assistance of Our Lady, we have subdued our rebellious inclinations, it is necessary for us to go further and abandon ourselves completely into the hands of God, asking Him for a spirit of absolute conformity to Hs Will on all occasions. This is the price which we must pay to enjoy the peace which the world cannot give and which God gives only to those who do His Holy Will in all things (Cf Jn 14:27).
It may seem that the way to acquire this peace is very difficult but, there is no other way. Let us pray to Our Lady. She has won peace and victory for the Church on many occasions; for example, against the Turks at Lepanto in 1571 and at Vienna in 1683. In the same way, she will obtain for us, her children, interior peace of soul, the greatest treasure which we can possss on earth!”
Quote/s of the Day – 4 May – “Mary’s Month” Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 14:19-28, Psalm 145:10-13, 21, John 14:27-31
“Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
“Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your life-span?”
“Lord, help me to live this day, quietly, easily. To lean upon Thy great strength, trustfully, restfully. To wait for the unfolding of Thy will, patiently, serenely. To meet others, peacefully, joyously. To face tomorrow, confidently, courageously.”
St Frances of Assisi (c 1181-1226)
“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.”
“Let nothing perturb you, nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything.”
St Teresa of Jesus of Avila (1515-1582) Doctor of Prayer
“Let us think only of spending the present day well. Then, when tomorrow shall have come, it will be called TODAY and then, we will think about it.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church
“Prayer is our strength, our sword, our consolation and the key to paradise.”
One Minute Reflection – 4 May – “Mary’s Month” Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 14:19-28, Psalm 145:10-13, 21, John 14:27-31
“My peace I give to you” – John 14:27
REFLECTION – ‘He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit” Lord Jesus Christ, once again grant that of us, too, there may be but “one heart and mind” (Acts 4:32) for then there will be “a great calm” (Mk 4:39). My dear listeners, I exhort you to good will and kindness to one another and peace with all. For were we to have charity among ourselves, we would have both peace and the Holy Spirit. Let us undertake to become devout and pray to God… since the apostles persevered in prayer… If we set ourselves to fervent prayer then the Holy Spirit will enter us and say: “Peace be with you! It is ,; be not afraid” (cf. Mk 6:50)… And what ought we to ask God for, my brethren? For all that is for His honour and the salvation of your souls and, in a word, for the help of the Holy Spirit – “Send forth your Spirit and they will be created” (Ps 104:30) – peace and tranquillity…” – St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Bishop of Geneva and Doctor of Charity of the Church – First Sermon for Pentecost
PRAYER – Loving Father, grant us the grace to strive after perfect love. Help us to bring forth frequents acts of love so that we may grow in this greatest of virtues and thus find perfect peace. In the great love of Your divine Son, who gave Himself for us, He filled us with peace and hope. May these gifts grow always in our hearts. We ask for the intercession of Mary, the Blessed Virgin, His Mother. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 28 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Only Remedy for All Our Ills
“Life is a continual battle. “Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?” (Job 7:1). If we consider, only the material aspect of this battle, we are all among the vanquished. Admittedly, there is some joy and some victory. But, our pleasures are as short-lived as the flowers of the field, they are soon “withered and dried up like grass” (Cf Ps 101:5). Our conquests are also very insignificant; they can inflate us for a while but they do not last long and cannot satisfy us. After death, only our triumphs in virtue will persist. Moreover, whereas the joys of this life are few and fleeting, the physical and moral sufferings, are innumerable. Sometimes, they are so heavy and overwhelming, that they cause us to despair. But, surely there is a remedy for all the evils which afflict us? God is infinitely good and He has permitted suffering. Will He not give us the means of enduring it and the medicine to cure it? In fact, Our Lord, has given us a remedy for all our ills, even for the most distressing. It is a bitter medicine but, it will heal anyone who has the courage to swallow it and, it will give him perfect peace of soul. The treatment consists of three stages: (1) Doing the will of God in all things with complete resignation. (2) Doing everything for the love of God. (3) Doing everything and enduring everything for the love of God alone. When a man reaches this highest peak of the spiritual life, he acquires that perfect peace of soul, which the Saints possessed.”
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 – 19 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Mercy of God
“God is the Being, Who is infinitely true, beautiful and good. His goodness is manifested in His infinite love for all the creatures which He has made but, it is in His relations with sinners, in particular, that we call Him merciful. He loves all things which He has created and directs them towards Himself, their beginning and their end. When He is dealing, however, with beings endowed with free will, who can separate themselves from Him and even offend Him, He tries, while respecting the liberty which He has given them, to recall them to Himself, by the influence of His love and of His grace. It is this supernatural outpouring of love towards sinners, which we call mercy.
The mercy of God shines forth in all the pages of Sacred Scripture. In the Old Testament, there is promised and foreshadowed, in many ways, the coming of the Saviour of the sinful human race. In the New Testament, Jesus appears, made man for our salvation, meek and humble of heart and merciful towards the unfortunate, especially towards sinners. For them, He offers His life and His Precious Blood, dying on the Cross with His arms outstretched, as if in an embrace of forgiveness. He tells us that He has not come to call the just but sinners, (Lk 5:32) and, that He has not come to those who are in health but to those who are sick (Mk 2:17); He assures us that, if we ask the Father for anything in His name, it will be given to us (Jn 16:23). So much goodness should move and soften our hearts. 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.”
Thought for the Day – 8 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Easter: The Herald of Peace
“For this interior peace to be complete, it is necessary that it should exist in our relations with God, with ourselves and with our neighbour. Peace with God, is especially necessary. This involves the subjection of the intellect and will, to Him, perfect obedience to His law, the avoidance of sin and the entire surrender of ourselves to Him. When we have prepared ourselves in this way, God will visit us with His grace and we shall experience the joy of inward peace.
Jesus came into the world to bring us this peace, which He provides for us with His Precious Blood, thereby, erasing sin and opening the gates of Heaven. So much the worse for us, if we destroy the work of God by turning back to sin. We shall no longer be at peace with God, Who hates sin so much, that in order to redeem us from it, He gave us His only-begotten Son, nor with ourselves because “there is not peace to the wicked” (Is 48:22). Remorse and disgust are the necessary results of sin.
Let us remember, that those who are really content, even in this world, are those who lead good lives. Whoever extinguishes divine grace in himself, destroys the harmony and order which reigned in his soul as a result of the subjection of his reason to his Creator and Redeemer. Then, because we are not at peace with God, nor with ourselves, we cannot really be at peace with men. It is our faith which teaches us, that they are our brothers, redeemed, as we have been, by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ and that, therefore, we should always love and assist them.”
Thought for the Day – 26 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“When He came into the world, Jesus proclaimed peace. The Angels hovering over His humble manger, sang songs of glory to God on high and of peace to men of goodwill on earth. During His earthly pilgrimage, He often spoke of peace. When He forgave sinners their faults, He said to each of them, “Go in peace” and “sin no more” (Lk 7:50; 8:48; Jn 8:11). When He was leaving this earth, He bequeathed His peace to His Apostles, as if it were a sacred heirloom: “Peace I leave with you, My peace, I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn 14:27). We can see, from these words, that the peace of Jesus, is not the same as worldly peace.
The Church, in its liturgy, implores from God, that peace which the world cannot give. When the world speaks of peace, it means, normally, the external public peace which flows from respect for the law and for the established regime. This is peace, there is no doubt about that. It is necessary and is a gift from God. But, it is not enough. We need the inner peace of soul of which we have already spoken, for it is the only true and solid foundation for external peace. Without this peace of soul, external peace is uncertain and fleeting.
We have said, that true peace is based on three things: Right order, harmony and liberty. But, in order to obtain full and perfect peace, still one more thing is necessary – complete and loving abandonment to the will of God. The beginning of real peace and holiness, lies in doing the will of God in every detail. The perfection of peace and holiness, is to do the will of God in everything, purely from love for Him.
Dante expresses this profound idea when he decries the peace of the blessed in Heaven, now unshakeable in their joyful compliance with the divine will.”
“E la sua volontate e nostra pace: Ella E quel mare, al qual tutto si move cio ch’ella crea E che natura face.”
“His Will is our repose: He is the ocean, into which everything flows, which He has created in the universe.”
Thought for the Day – 25 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Recollection of Mary
“It is believed that when the Angel Gabriel visited the Blessed Virgin in order to tell her that she was to be the Mother of God, she was in a quiet corner of her home, absorbed in prayer. She had no love for the noise and confusion of the world but preferred to be recollected in the company of God. This was to be the pattern of her whole life. In the midst of her domestic duties, on her journey to St Elizabeth and on her travels in Galilee and Judea, in the wake of her divine Son, her mind and heart were always concentrated on God.
Interior recollection is a wonderful thing. It helps us to hear God’s voice more clearly. It keeps us removed from the temptations of the world and assists us in sanctifying every moment of our lives.
“The cell continually dwelt in growth sweet,” (Bk 1, C 20:5) says The Imitation of Christ and goes onto ask: “What can thou see elsewhere that thou does not see here? Behold the heavens and the earth and all the elements, for out of these are all things made” (Ibid C 20:8). “As often as I have been amongst men,” it exclaims, “I have returned less a man” (Ibid C 20:2). When we move around chattering with different people, we have lost something of ourselves by the time we return home. Perhaps we have wasted a good deal of time in useless conversation or, worse still, have seen or heard unpleasant or disturbing things. When we go about in the world, we do not often see much that is edifying or instructive and rarely meet people whose conversation does us good. For this reason, even when we cannot remain apart, we should carry in ourselves, as Mary did, a spirit of interior recollection and communication with God.”
Thought for the Day – 4 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“In that we prefer our own wayward whims to the law of God, sin is an abuse of liberty. It is a revolt against right reason, the dictates of which, we refuse to obey. It is an offence against our Creator and Redeemer, whose commandments we despise and whose redeeming grace, we reject by our actions. It is moreover, an act of supreme folly, for it extinguishes, not only the supernatural splendour of grace but, also, the natural light of reason. Through sin, man is brutalised and experiences in himself, as his first punishment, the confusion of his whole being.
In practice, the sinner denies God, Who has created and redeemed him. He upsets the natural order of things and is violently separated from the source of all truth, beauty and goodness. As a result, he experiences, in himself, the hell which he has constructed with his own hands – a hell of emptiness, disgust and remorse. Unless the helping hand of God reaches out to rescue him from the abyss, all this is simply a bitter foretaste of eternal despair. God, as St Augustine has written, has ordained from all eternity, that every dissolute soul will be it’s own punishment. For the sinner, hell begins on this earth! There can be no peace for the wicked.
When we realise, the gravity, stupidity and dire consequences of sin, it seems impossible, that a rational being, enlightened and enriched by divine grace, should continue to sin. Nevertheless, sad experience teaches us that the lives of individuals, families and human society in general, are often distorted by this evil, which is the root of all other evils.”
Day Twenty three of our Lenten Journey – 11 March – Thursday of the Third Week of Lent, Readings: Jeremiah 7:23-28, Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7,8-9, Luke 11:14-23
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)
“The kingdom of God has come upon you” – Luke 11:20
Oh, when will these evils end? When shall I be freed from the miserable slavery of vice? When, Lord, shall I think of You alone? When shall I fully rejoice in You? When shall I be without hindrance, in true liberty, free from every grievance of mind and body? When will there be solid peace, undisturbed and secure, inward peace and outward peace, peace secured on every side? O good Jesus, when shall I stand to gaze upon You? When shall I contemplate the glory of Your kingdom? When will You be all in all to me? Oh, when shall I be with You in that kingdom of Yours, which You have prepared for Your beloved from all eternity?
Blessed is the man who for Your sake, O Lord, dismisses all creatures, does violence to nature, crucifies the desires of the flesh in fervour of spirit, so that with serene conscience he can offer You a pure prayer and, having excluded all earthly things, inwardly and outwardly, becomes worthy to enter into the heavenly choirs. (Book 3 Ch 48:3)
Thought for the Day – 16 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Steadfastness in Suffering
“When we feel depressed or when we are tempted to strike out angrily against human injustice and misunderstanding, there are two considerations which should help us to be patient.
The first, is the reflection, that everything comes to us from God, or is at least permitted by Him. Why should we rebel against the will of God? Jesus was innocence itself yet He willed to suffer for love of us. Are we unwilling to suffer for love of Him?
The second, is the realisation, that we are sinners who have offended God many times and deserve to be punished. It is necessary to accept patiently, all the sufferings which God sends us in expiation ofour sins. “We are receiving what our deeds deserved” (Lk 23:41).
Above all, we ought to resolve, never to give way to anger in word or deed when we are offended. On these occasions, we should wait until we have calmed down and have asked God for peace of mind. Before we do anything, we need time for reflection and prayer. If we act in this way, we shall not have to be sorry afterwards.
Patience can help us to achieve anything and will eventually help us to gain Heaven.”
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.”
Thought for the Day – 23 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Christian Formation of Character
“St Francis de Sales writes thus, with his usual simplicity: “A way has been found of making bitter almonds sweet, by pucturing them at the base and squeezing out the juice. Why cannot we eject our evil inclinations in order to make ourselves better. There is nobody so good by nature, that a bad habit could not altogether corrupt him. Similarly, there is nobody so bad by nature, that he could not be trained in goodness by the grace of God and his own perseverance.” St Francis de Sales did not teach this in theory alone but, he put his advice into practice to an heroic degree in his own life. He was endowed by nature, with a vigorous, irascible and resentful disposition and he bacame an angel of gentleness and affability. From his youth, he was aware of the defects in his character. He himself, admitted, that he struggled against them for twenty two years with God’s help. He reached the point where he was able to remain silent when he was insulted and to refrain from defending himself, when he was slandered, for he had acquired an inward peace and a remarkable calmness of manner. This gentleness of character enabled him to convert over seventy thousand heretics, to win back hardened sinners to Jesus Christ and, to set countless souls on fire with the love of God. This is the man called “the Gentle Christ of Geneva” and “the Gentleman Saint!” We have a great deal to learn from him!
Thought for the Day – 26 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“As We Also Forgive Our Debtors”
“If thou art offering thy gift at the altar,” Jesus tells us “and thou remember that thy brother has anything against thee, leave thy gift before the altar and go first to be reconciled to thy borhter and then come and offer thy gift” (Mt 5:23-24). Prayer is futile, therefore, unless we have first forgiven our enemies!
“Learn from me,” Jesus said when He proposed Himself as a model to be imitated, “for I am meek and humble of heart.” Then He added, “you will find rest for your souls” (Cf Mt 11:29). The foundation of our hatred, anger and resentment, is always our wounded pride. We need Christlike gentleness and humility, if we are to forgive sincerely and generously. Only when we have this gentleness and humility, moreover, shall we find joy in forgiving and only then, shall we have peace. As long as there is room in our hearts for pride and hatred, we can never enjoy peace of soul!”
Thought for the Day – 20 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Doing Everything for the Love of God
“The beginning of perfection consists in doing the will of God, even in our smallest actions. But, to do everything for the love of God, is the summit of Christian perfection. If we aimed always at doing God’s will and acting from the motive of love for Him, we should be contented and at peace, because we should be holy. The saints are the only people who remain calm and undisturbed in the midst of worldly adversity. They are always content, because they live in God. Their lives are in full conformity with His Will, guided by His Love and dedicated to His Service. As a result, they live in a kind of spiritual stratosphere far above the storms of this world. There they are above the clouds of pride, ambition, avarice and all the other major vices. There they see and contemplate everything in the Light of God. Let us become saints. Then we shall have solved all the problems of life!.” Amen
Day Two of our Lenten Journey – 18 February – Thursday after Ash Wednesday, Readings: Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6, Luke 9:22-25
Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis CRSA (1380-1471)
In Your Light Lord, we see light
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” – Luke 9:23
To many the word seems harsh; “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus”… (Mt 16:24) Why do you fear then to take up the cross, the way that leads to the kingdom? In the cross you are saved, revived, protected. In the cross you are showered with sweetness from on high, your mind is strengthened, your spirit rejoiced. In the cross is virtue’s sum and perfect holiness. In the cross alone, is the hope of life eternal, the soul’s salvation. So take up your cross and follow Jesus and you will enter eternal life… For 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.
Everything is founded on the cross… There is no other way to life, nor to true inner peace… Walk where you will, seek what you will, you will find neither a loftier way above, nor a safer way below but only the way of the Holy Cross.
Plan as you will, arrange as you see fit; all you will ever find is suffering, you cannot help but bear and so you will always find the cross. You will either have bodily pain or mental and spiritual affliction. Now God will leave you, again your fellow will provoke you and what is more, you will often weigh heavy on yourself. There is neither remedy to free you, nor comfort to ease you… For God will have you learn to endure affliction with total submission to Himself and become more humble… You must endure with patience everywhere, if you would be at peace within and earn the lasting crown. (Book II, Ch 12:1,2,3-4)
Thought for the Day – 27 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“God speaks readily when our souls are silent. He cannot be heard in the noise of the world. But we do not have to abandon our normal way of life in order to find a little interior recollection. It is enough to pause for a moment and remember God’s presence. Once we have formed the habit of doing this, it becomes quite easy, at anytime and in any place. We may be walking along the street, or in the middle of our work. We may be in a room full of people chatting together. Wherever we are, we shall be able to pause and raise our minds to God. If we acquire this habit, we can lead peaceful lives, on a completely supernatural level.“
Thought for the Day – 20 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Carrying our Cross – The Royal Road
“There is only one way to become holy and to win Heaven. This is the way of the Cross. The Imitation of Christ contains some moving thoughts on the subject of the royal road of the Cross. We shall summarise them here.
The words of Jesus seem hard to many: “Renounce yourself, take up your cross and follow Me.” But, it would be much harder to hear on the last day those terrible words: “Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire.” Those who listen now and accept the message of the Cross, need not be afraid of hearing this irrevocable sentence on that day. Why avoid the way of the Cross if it is the only road which leads to Heaven? In the Cross there is salvation; in the Cross there is protection from our enemies. If we carry our cross with submission and love, we shall find peace of soul. If we intertwine our cross with the Cross of Jesus, we shall obtain energy of mind, joy of spirit and perfect holiness. If we die on the Cross with Jesus, we shall live with Him in eternal happiness. If we are His companions in suffering, we shall also be with Him one day in glory (Rom 6:8).
Everything depends on our dying on the Cross with Jesus. There is no other way to life and to true interior peace but the way of the Holy Cross and of daily mortification (Imitation of Christ, Bk II ch 12).”
Quote/s of the Day – 8 January – The Third Day within the Octave of Epiphany
He [Christ], protects their faith and gives strength to believers, in proportion to the TRUST, that each man, who receives that strength, is willing to place in Him.”
St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200- c 258) Bishop and Martyr, Father of the Church
“The Lord is near, do not be anxious about anything!”
St Augustine (354-430) Great Western Father and Doctor of Grace
“Rest is in Him alone. Man knows no peace in the world but he has no disturbance when he is with God.”
St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) Mellifluous Doctor
“He who trusts in God can do all things.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of Charity
“Free your mind from all that troubles you; God will take care of things. You will be unable to make haste in this (choice) without, so to speak, grieving the heart of God because He sees that you do not honour Him sufficiently with holy trust. Trust in Him, I beg you and you will have the fulfilment of what your heart desires.”
St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
“Oh! My God, how much Your Hand was upon me and yet how little I was aware of it! How good You are! How good You are! How You protected me! How you covered me with Your wings, when I did not even believe in Your existence!”
Quote/s of the Day – 31 December – The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
Are we Ready? Will this be another year from hell?
“Brothers, . . . I can only say, that forgetting all that lies behind me and straining forward to what lies in front of me, I am racing towards the finishing-point, to win the prize of God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”
“My brothers, Christ made love the stairway that would enable all Christians to climb to heaven. Hold fast to it, therefore, in all sincerity, give one another practical proof of it and by your progress in it, make your ascent together.”
St Fulgentius of Ruspe (c 462 – 533)
“Love God, serve God, everything is in that.”
St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)
“In God’s Name, let us go on bravely”
St Joan of Arc (1412-1431)
“Our business is, to gain heaven; everything else, is a sheer waste of time.”
St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)
St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716)
“Let us go forward in peace, our eyes upon heaven, the only one goal of our labours.”
St Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1873-1897) Doctor of the Church
One Minute Reflection – 29 December – The Fifth Day of the Octave of Christmas, Readings: 1 John 2:3-11, Psalms 96:1-2, 2b-3, 5-6, Luke 2:22-35 and the Memorial of St Thomas à Becket (1118-1170) Martyr, Archbishop of Canterbury
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace ”- Luke 2:29
REFLECTION – “The kingdom of God is at hand” (Lk 21:31). The kingdom of God, beloved brethren, has begun to be at hand; the reward of life and the joy of eternal salvation and perpetual happiness and the possession of paradise once lost, are now coming with the passing of the world; now the things of heaven are succeeding those of earth; great things, small and eternal things, transitory. What place is there here for anxiety and worry? …
It is written that “the just man lives by faith” (Rm 1:17). If you are just and live by faith, if you truly believe in Jesus Christ, why do you, who are destined to be with Christ and secure in the promise of the Lord, not rejoice that you are called to Christ …? Take the example of Simeon, the just man who was truly just, who with full faith kept the commandments of God – when the answer had been given him from heaven that he would not die before he had seen Christ and when Christ as an infant had come into the temple with His mother, he knew in spirit that Christ was now born, concerning whom it had been foretold to him before and on seeing Him he knew, that he himself would quickly die.
Happy, therefore, at the death that was now at hand and untroubled at the approaching summons, he took the child into his hands and, blessing God, he cried out and said: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation.” Thus he proved surely and bore witness, that the servants of God have peace, they have a free and tranquil repose when, on being released from the storms of this world, they have sought the harbour of our final abode and eternal security … For that is our peace, that is our sure tranquillity, that, our steadfast and firm and everlasting security.” – St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200-258) Martyr, Bishop, Church Father – On mortality, 2-3
PRAYER – God our Father, our human nature is the wonderful work of Your hands. Your Son took to Himself our manhood, grant us a share in His Sonship, that as co-heirs with Him, we may strive evermore obediently to gain our final home with the Blessed Virgin and all Your saints. Through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God with You now and for evermore, amen.
Thought for the Day – 23 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
What Jesus Wants From Us
“Let us contemplate Jesus lying on a rough pallet of straw in the manger. When we see Him looking at us, let us ask ourselves what it is that He requires of us. In fact, He wants many things from us. First of all, He wants us to weep for our sins and to promise, never to fall again, as long as we have the assistance of His grace, for which we should pray continually. For this, He has become man and has entered into the world. For this He will work miracles, preach His doctrine and shed His Precious Blood on the Cross. All this He will do to redeem us from sin and to win Heaven for us.
If we return to the path of sin, we destroy the divine work of redemption, inasfar as it applies to ourselves. We make Christ’s passion, death and resurrection useless in our case. We brush aside the chain of favours with which His love has girdled us – the Gospel, the Sacraments and the Church, our good mother who is always at our side to instruct and direct us, to rescue us from peril and, to distribute to us, the gifts of her divine Founder. When we sin, we commit an act of base ingratitude to Jesus and accomplish our own eternal ruin.
The Infant Jesus longs for us to give our hearts to Him. Since He has given us His own, why should we be unwilling to give ours to Him? Who or what can we love, if we do not love Jesus? Nothing else is capable of giving us peace of soul and resignation in suffering. Jesus alone can bestow these gifts on us, as long as we love and follow Him and abandon ourselves completely to His Holy Will.”
Quote/s of the Day – 7 December – The Memorial of St Ambrose (c 340-397) – Father and Doctor of the Church
“And this Body, which we make present, is the Body born of the Virgin. Why do you expect to find in this case, that nature takes its ordinary course in regard to the Body of Christ, when the Lord Himself was born of the Virgin in a manner above and beyond the order of nature? This is indeed the true flesh of Christ, which was crucified and buried. This is then, in truth, the Sacrament of His Flesh.”
“Rise, you who were lying fast asleep… Rise and hurry to the Church: here is the Father, here is the Son, here is the Holy Spirit.”
“Let your door stand open to receive Him, unlock your soul to Him, offer Him a welcome in your mind and then you will see the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace, the joy of grace. Throw wide the gate of your heart, stand before the sun of the everlasting light.”
“Prayer is the wing, wherewith the soul flies to heaven and meditation, the eye, wherewith we see God.”
“When we speak about WISDOM, we are speaking about CHRIST. When we speak about VIRTUE, we are speaking about CHRIST. When we speak about JUSTICE, we are speaking about CHRIST. When we speak about PEACE, we are speaking about CHRIST. When we speak about TRUTH and LIFE and REDEMPTION, we are speaking about CHRIST.”
St Ambrose (340-397) Father and Doctor of the Church
Thought for the Day – 2 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Exactly What is the Peace of Jesus Christ?
“The spirit of peace pervades the Gospel. When Jesus is born, choirs of angels sing above the stable in Bethlehem: “Glory to God in the highest ad on earth, peace among men of good will” (Lk 2:14). When our Saviour has risen gloriously from the dead, He appears to His disciples and greets them with the words: “Peace be to you.” Finally, when He is departing from this earth, He leaves his peace to His followers as their inheritance. “Peace I leave with you,” He says to them, “my peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled or be afraid” (Jn 14:27).
Exactly what is the peace of Jesus Christ? It is much different from worldly peace, presuming that the world can give some kind of peace. St Paul says of the Saviour that “he himself is our peace” (Eph 2:14). How are we to understand what is meant by this? The Apostle himself explains when he writes: “Having been justified by faith, let us have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1). Jesus Christ, therefore, is our peacemaker. He has shouldered our iniquities and has offered Himself to the Father as a victim of expiation and of reconciliation. It is at the price of Christ’s precious blood, that we have regained peace with God and freedom from our sins. This is the peace which our Lord has given us. Let us remember, however, that if we return to the slavery of sin, we shall lose at once, the jewel of peace which Jesus Christ has bestowed on us. “There is no peace to the wicked” (Isa 48:22). We have experienced on many occasions how true this is. Sin destroys peace of soul because it deprives us of Jesus, without Whom, peace cannot survive. Let us resolve, therefore, to remain always close to our Lord and far from sin. Then only shall we be able to preserve our peace of mind in the midst of temptations and of earthly sorrows.