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Thought for the Day – 21 June – Holy Communion

Thought for the Day – 21 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) (Incorporating the Sunday Reflection)

Holy Communion

when we take ordinary natural food, we assimilate it - bacci - holy communion 21 june 2020

“Let us meditate on what an extraordinary thing Holy Communion is.
Jesus, God made man, really descends into us, poor creature though we are.
We become the living temples of the Holy Trinity.

Not only does Jesus come to us, body, soul and divinity but, He also becomes our food.
There is a great difference, however, between the nourishment of material food and the spiritual nourishment which we receive from the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ.
When we take ordinary natural food, we assimilate it.
In other words, we cause it to become blood of our blood and flesh of our flesh.
When we receive Holy Communion, on the other hand, it is we who must be assimilated and changed into Jesus.
Each of us should become, therefore, another Christ, in the manner indicated by St Paul:  “It is now, no longer I that live but Christ, lives in me” (Gal 2:20).

Material food becomes human and is assimilated into our being.
Our Eucharistic food assimilates us into Itself and, in a certain sense, deifies us.
This is why St John Chrysostom calls it a mystery which transports us into Heaven.

Before this can happen, however, it is necessary for us to approach Holy Communion with the necessary dispositions.
These are:
(1) A lively and active faith, which will enable us to recognise in the white Host, the person of Jesus Himself, full of goodness, mercy and love, eager to shower upon us, all the treasures of His Heart.
(2) Purity and freedom, not only from mortal sin but, also from any deliberate attachment to venial sin.
(3) Deep humility because, Jesus loves the humble and holds the proud at a distance from Him.   He wishes us to be like Him, in other words, meek and humble of heart.   There must be no worldly ambition, therefore, no love of honours, riches or human greatness, no inordinate affection for things or persons.   There must be only a great desire to please God alone and to offer Him our whole life, including every thought and action.
(4) Finally, an ardent love for Jesus, which will consume all our imperfections and unite us to Him so intimately, that, we shall be transformed by Him.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

how w should approach holy communion bacci 21 june 2020

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Thought for the Day – 16 June – Purity of Intention

Thought for the Day – 16 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Purity of Intention

purity of intention - bacci 17 june 2020

“Purity of intention consists in doing the will of God in all things from the motive of pure love.
We should not be egocentric but theocentric;   in other words, we should perform all our actions, not for our own satisfaction but to please God.
Since God is our final end, everything should be done for Him.
Why are we so often agitated and discontented?
It is because, we are looking for success and for the approval of men.
If we do not get these, we imagine that we have failed and have accomplished nothing.

Men judge the value of an enterprise by it’s external success and by the amount of work which went into it.
It is not so with God.
He judges the value of our actions from the sincerity of our desire to please Him ad to prove our love for Him.
This is enough for Him;  success is not necessary.
If we do everything for the love of God, we shall always be content as the Saints were, whether our projects succeed or fail.
We shall have achieved our purpose, if we have pleased God.

Purity of Intention in our actions, is fundamental in the Christian life.
“If thy eye be sound,” Jesus Himself tells us, “thy whole body will be full of life.   But, if thy eye be evil, thy whole body will be full of darkness” (Mt 6:22)
“Men see those things that appear but the Lord beholds the heart” (1 Kings 16:7).

A man who works solely for the love of God, will have great peace of soul in this life and an everlasting reward in the next.
But, if in our actions, we seek our own satisfaction or the praise of men, we shall have already received our reward on earth and cannot expect to receive it in Heaven.   “They have received their reward” (Mt 6:2).

Purity of intention, inspired by the love of God, transforms even our most trivial actions and makes them pleasing to God.
Without it, we lose all merit in the sight of God.

Do you remember the Gospel incident of the poor widow who offered her last two coins in the Temple?
Others were there, offering up large sums of money but she could not have given more.
“Amen, I say to you,” said Jesus, “this poor widow has put in more than all those who have been putting into the treasury” (Mk 12:41-44).”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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One Minute Reflection – 17 June – ‘Purity of intention…’

One Minute Reflection – 17 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: 2 Kings 2:1, 6-14, Psalm 31:20, 21, 24, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

“Beware of practising your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” … Matthew 6:1

REFLECTION – “Our Lord, so the early Fathers say, used to tell His disciples to be well-proved bankers, proving all things, holding fast what is of value.   No coin finds acceptance commercially if the gold is below standard, underweight, of it the piece is illegally struck;  nor can our actions have any value spiritually, unless they are suitable, graced with charity and have a pious motive.

Take fasting, for instance – if I fast simply for the purpose of slimming, my fasting is for debased spiritual coinage;  if temperance underlies it but I am not in a state of grace, it is still deficient, for charity alone gives weight to what we do;  if I do it merely out of courtesy for the company in which I find myself, it lacks the stamp of right intention. Let my fasting be based on temperance, my soul in a state of grace, my intention solely to please God, then my efforts will ring true, fit to enlarge my store of charity.

Given utmost purity of intention and a firm resolve to please God, little actions are well done.   In these circumstances they lead to great holiness.   Some people, in spite of eating all they can, remain only skin and bone, weak, listless, their powers of digestion are poor.   Others may eat next to nothing yet be fit as fiddles, full of energy — nothing is wrong with their digestion!   Some folk there are, in the same way, who do many good things, yet have little extra charity to show for it – coldness and carelessness, or instinct and inclination rather than grace or zeal, is where the blame lies.   On the other hand, there are those who accomplish little but to perfect is their will, their intention, however, that their growth in charity is great.   They have only a little talent but they make such careful use of what they have that the Lord rewards them for it generously.” … St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Bishop of Geneva, Doctor Caritatismatthew 6_1 - beware of practising - let my fasting be based on temperance my soul in a state of grace - st francis de sales 17 june 2020

PRAYER – Litany of Humility
By Servant of God Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930) – who was accustomed to recite this prayer daily after the celebration of Holy Mass.

O Jesus meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honoured, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver, me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase
and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
Amenlitany of humility by card merry del val 17 june 2020

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One Minute Reflection – 8 June – There is nothing so beautiful as a soul that is pure. 

One Minute Reflection – 8 June – Month of the Sacred Heart” – Monday of the Tenth week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: 1 Kings 17:1-6, Psalm 121:1-8, Matthew 5:1-12 and the Memorial of Saint Medard (c 456-545) Bishop

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” … Matthew 5:8

REFLECTION – “There is nothing so beautiful as a soul that is pure.   If we understood this, we would be incapable of losing our purity.   A pure soul is like a beautiful pearl.   So long as it is concealed in a shell at the bottom of the sea, no-one thinks of admiring it.   But if you display it in the sun then this pearl shines and draws people’s eyes. Purity comes from heaven, we have to ask God for it.   If we ask for it we shall get it.   We must take great care not to lose it.   It closes our hearts to pride, sensuality and every other passion.

Children, we cannot understand the power that a pure soul has over the Good God – it gets all it wants.   Before God, a pure soul is like a child before it’s mother, it caresses her and hugs her and it’s mother returns it’s caresses and embraces.

To preserve our purity there are three things – the Presence of God, prayer and the sacraments.” … St John-Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859) Curé d’Ars – Selected thoughts of the Curé d’Arsmatthew 5 8 - blessed are the pure in heart - purity comes from heaven - st john vianney 8 june 2020

PRAYER – Lord God and Father, grant us we pray, a heart like Your divine Son’s – His Sacred Heart is our standard and our goal – grant us a heart made of flesh, pure and beautiful in Your sight.   May we ever seek Your Face and follow the love with which the Sacred Heart of Jesus guides our way.   May the prayers of St Medan today, help us to be Your children, pure in heart.    Through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, amen.st medard pray for us 8 june 2020 (1)

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Thought for the Day – 21 May – Holy Purity

Thought for the Day – 21 May – “Mary’s Month” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Holy Purity

“Have you ever experienced the sheer delight of climbing the mountains on a summer’s day and coming across one of those little alpine lakes, a tiny mirror, reflecting the still blueness of the sky?
Or have you ever watched an infant smiling in it’s angelic slumber and been held spellbound by this vision of innocence?
Finally, on some calm, clear night, surely you have studied the star-spangled sky and have been so overwhelmed by the beauty of the scene, that you could have cried out with the Psalmist:  “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament proclaims His handiwork” (Ps 18:1).
These, are only faint images of the beauty and virginal purity of Mary.
Her soul was the purest and most beautiful of the entire human and angelic creation, because, nobody else was ever raised to the dignity of the Motherhood of God.
She was conceived free from all taint of original sin and enriched with every grace.
In her chaste womb, she conceived the Infant Jesus.
Later, she held Him close to her heart;  she lived for Him and eventually died for love of Him.

Purity is a virtue which is attractive to everybody, even to those who are evil themselves, or to those, who have lost their own chastity.
We love and desire this virtue but, are we prepared to make any sacrifice in order to preserve it, in the manner demanded by our particular state in life?
“The kingdom of heaven has been enduring violent assault,” Jesus said “and the violent have been seizing it by force” (Mt 11:12).
This is especially true in regard to the acquisition of the virtue of purity.
It is not enough to desire it, we must be willing to make sacrifices in order to acquire it.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

hr soul was the purest and most beautiful - the purity of mary bacci 21 may 2020 bacci the purity of mary

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Thought for the Day – 20 May – Mary, the Source of Holiness

Thought for the Day – 20 May – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Mary, the Source of Holiness

“God is the primary origin of all holiness.
But, the Blessed Virgin gave us Jesus, Who is our Redeemer and the author of grace.
For this reason, she may be called the source of grace, the divine aqueduct, as St Bernard puts it, through which, the supernatural life of grace is brought to us (In adv Domini, Serm 2, no 5).
She was, moreover, full of grace and outstanding in holiness – as the Mother of God, she can obtain anything for us from her divine Son, because “it is the will of God that we receive everything through the hands of Mary” (St Bernard, In Nativ BMV, Serm, no 7).
Thirdly, even by her example, she can be the source of sanctity for us.
If we study her amazing humility, we shall learn to be humble, for our sinfulness gives us such good reason to humble ourselves.
If we meditate on her spotless purity, we shall experience a great desire and love for this beautiful virtue and shall have recourse to her in every danger to save us from impurity.
Then, let us reflect on her ardent love for God and for men.
Her charity prompted her maternal heart to offer up, as a divine Victim, her Son nailed to the Cross.
If we reflect on the nature of her charity, we also shall feel urged to love God above all things and to pray, work and make sacrifices for the salvation of our fellowmen.
Let us have, always before our minds, the image of our heavenly Mother and we shall be inspired to seek perfection in all our actions.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

god is the primary origin of all holiness. bacci 20 may 2020 mary the source of holiness

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Thoughts of Mary – 6 May – The Purple Flower of Sacrifice

Thoughts of Mary – 6 May – “Mary’s Month”

The Immaculate Virgin – the Purple Flower of Sacrifice
Moments with Saint Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)

She who was preserved from original sin through the merits of her Son the Redeemer, was granted this privilege because she was predestined for the sublime mission of being the Mother of God.
She, who was to clothe in mortal flesh, the eternal Word of the Father, could not be contaminated, even for an instant, by the shadow of sin.
So, she is immaculate through the power of Christ, because all that was granted to the Mother, was granted through her Son.
The blooming of this snow white flower on our soil, is a sure pledge of the reconciliation of mankind with God.

How apt are the words of the liturgy that we sin on the Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin – “Thy nativity, O Virgin Mother of God, was the herald of joy to the whole world.”

But this joy is also a purple flower of sacrifice – the sacrifice of the Blessed Mother of Jesus who, when she gave her consent:  “Be it unto me …” accepted her share in the destines of her Son, from the poverty of Bethlehem, to the self-denials of the secluded life in Nazareth and the martyrdom of Calvary.

So we may not consider ourselves, the beloved children of Our Lord and of His Mother, if our life is without sacrifice and self-denial.

May this reference to the requirement of sacrifice, be then a loving and thoughtful reminder of the strong and solid Christian virtues of self-denial, patience and penitence.  Amen

the purple flower of sacrifice - st john XXIII 6 may 2020

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Thought for the Day – 30 January – How to Guard Holy Purity

Thought for the Day – 30 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

How to Guard Holy Purity

st augustine warns us also in his confessions - on purity - bacci - 30 jan 2020

“Purity of heart is a quality which attracts everybody, even those who are evil themselves.   It makes a man seem like an angel in human form, for it shines from his countenance.
Unfortunately, the virtue of purity, is as difficult as it is beautiful.
It is fatal for anyone to cast himself into the mire.
The first sin of impurity is a disaster, because it is often the first link in a tragic chain, which makes him the salve of his lower impulses and of the tyrannical enemy of souls, the devil.

We must resist the earliest suggestions of the flesh, by every means in our power, both natural and supernatural.

St Thomas Aquinas tells us that none of the passions dethrones reason so much as sensuality (Summa Theologiae, II-II, q.53, a.6).
St Augustine warns us also in his Confessions, that lust has it’s cause in a perverse will and if anybody surrenders to it, he acquires the evil habit.
If this habit is not resisted, the sin becomes a frightening necessity.
Resist from the beginning, if you wish to avoid ruin and the slavery of the devil, who cunningly uses this passion, to capture souls.
If a man is overcome by violent temptation and falls into sin, however, he should not lose courage.
God is infinitely good and merciful.
He knows our weakness.
When anyone falls, let him rise immediately.
Let him return to God by repenting and making a good confession.
Let him resolve to make any sacrifice, rather than fall again!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 29 January – Blessed are the Clean of Heart

Thought for the Day – 29 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Blessed are the Clean of Heart

it is a sublime dignity to belong body and soul to god - bacci 29 jan 2020

“Understood in it’s entirety, as embracing it’s higher grade, that is, perpetual virginity consecrated to God, purity of heart is a gift which only Christianity can give (Encyclical, Sacra Virginitas, Pope Pius XII, 1954).
If we have been called to receive this wonderful gift, let us humbly thank God.
It is a sublime dignity to belong, body and soul, to God.

Sacred Scripture says of men:  “What is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man, that you should care for him?   You have made him a little less than the angels and crowned him with glory and honour.   You have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting all things under his feet” (Ps 8:5, Heb 2:7).
But, under a certain aspect, those who are living in virginity, can be said to be superior to the angels.
Since an angel has no body, he offers God only the homage of his spirit.
A virgin, on the other hand, must bear the burden of an earthly body.
He must offer continually, on the altar of his heart (and often, after a heroic battle), not only his soul with it’s appetites and will but also, all the impulses and lower faculties “which wage war against the soul” (1 Pter 2:11).

This is a double sacrifice, which St Ambrose calls, a continual martyrdom of body and soul.
But the reward lies in the joy and peace which flow from this perpetual offering of soul and body to the Immaculate Lamb.
This happiness is a compensation, for any conflict, which must be endured and is, a foretaste of the joys of Heaven.

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 27 November – What is the surest kind of witness?

Thought for the Day – 27 November – Wednesday of the Thirty Fourth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 21:12–19

“But not a hair of your head shall perish.” … Luke 21:9

What is the surest kind of witness?

St Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctor of the Church

“You can be a witness to Christ every day.   You were tempted by the spirit of impurity but… you considered that chastity of spirit and body should not be soiled – you are a martyr or, in other words, a witness to Christ…  You were tempted by the spirit of pride but, seeing the poor and needy, you were seized by tender compassion and preferred humility to arrogance – you are a witness to Christ.   Better still – you have not given your witness in word alone but in deed as well.
What is the surest kind of witness?   “Anyone who acknowledges that Jesus Christ came among us in the flesh” (cf. 1Jn 4,2) and who keeps the commands of the Gospel…  How many there are each day of these hidden martyrs of Christ who confess the Lord Jesus! The apostle Paul knew that kind of martyrdom and witness of faith rendered to Christ, he who said:  “Our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience” (2Cor 1,12).   For how many people have made a confession of faith exteriorly but denied it interiorly!…   So be faithful and courageous in interior persecutions so that you may also win the victory in exterior persecutions.   There are “kings and rulers,” judges of formidable power, in the persecutions within, likewise.   You have an example of these in the temptations undergone by our Lord (Mt 4,1ff.)”… (Sermon 20 on Psalm 118)what-is-the-surest-kind-of-witness-st-ambrose-13-july-2019 and 27 nov 2019

“When I feel overwhelmed by misfortune,
the greatest joy that the Lord can give me,
is to go to the altar, to put my forehead against it
(as on the day of my ordination to the priesthood)
and to feel the presence of the only reality.
Not only does calm return
but my body seems to be annihilated,
the only true life begins,
the life of that which is intangible.”

Blessed Leonid Feodorov (1879-1935) Martyrwhen-i-feel-overwhelmed-by-misfortune-bl-leonid-feodorov-7-march-2019 and 27 nov 2019

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Thought for the Day – 4 October – St Francis to All the Faithful

Thought for the Day – 4 October – The Memorial of St Francis of Assisi OFM (1181/2–1226)

We must be Simple, Humble and Pure

Saint Francis of Assisi
Religious

An excerpt from his Letter Written to All the Faithful

It was through His archangel, Saint Gabriel, that the Father above, made known to the holy and glorious Virgin Mary, that the worthy, holy and glorious Word of the Father would come from heaven and take from her womb, the real flesh of our human frailty. Though He was wealthy beyond reckoning, He still willingly chose to be poor, with His blessed mother.   And shortly before His passion, He celebrated the Passover with His disciples.   Then He prayed to His Father saying – Father, if it be possible, let this cup be taken from me.

Nevertheless, He reposed His will in the will of His Father.   The Father willed that His blessed and glorious Son, whom He gave to us and who was born for us, should, through His own blood, offer Himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross.   This was to be done not for Himself, through whom all things were made but for our sins.   It was intended to leave us an example of how to follow in His footsteps.   And He desires all of us to be saved through Him and to receive Him with pure heart and chaste body.

O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord Himself said, in the gospel – You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul and your neighbour as yourself.   Therefore, let us love God and adore Him with pure heart and mind.   This is His particular desire when He says – True worshippers adore the Father in spirit and truth.   For all who adore Him must do so in the spirit of truth.   Let us also direct to Him our praises and prayers saying – Our Father, who art in heaven, since we must always pray and never grow slack.

Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance.   Let us also love our neighbours as ourselves.   Let us have charity and humility.   Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin.   Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world but they carry with them, the reward of their charity and the alms they give.   For these, they will receive from the Lord, the reward and recompense they deserve.   We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh.   Rast-francis-pray for us - 4-oct-2018.jpgther we must be simple, humble and pure.   We should never desire to be over others.   Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake.   The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end.   He will permanently dwell in them.   They will be the Father’s children who do His work.   They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.

St Francis of Assisi, Pray for Us!