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Thought for the Day – 25 March – Mortification and Penance

Thought for the Day – 25 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Mortification and Penance

“In Christian teaching, death is the beginning of life.
“Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies,” Jesus said, “it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. He who loves his life, loses it and he, who hates his life in this world, keeps it unto life everlasting” (Jn 12:24-25).
This paradox of dying to this life in order to live in Heaven, was enacted in a wonderful way in the lives of Jesus and of the Saints.
It must be put into effect in our lives also, if we are to be genuine Christians.
Jesus shed His precious blood for us and His death was the beginning of His triumph.
The Apostles, Martyrs and Saints, gave their lives for Christ and received, as their reward, the happy and eternal life of Heaven.
By dying to our own ego and to our passions, we shall find the true life of Christ.
We must die to ourselves, so that Christ may live in us, as He lived in St Paul.
We must die to pride, so that Christian humility may live in us;
we must die to anger, so that patience may live in us;
we must die to lust, so that purity and innocence may live in us
and, we must die to selfishness, so that charity may live in us.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

humility - bacci - 25 march 2020

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Thought for the Day – 23 March – The Christian Formation of Character

Thought for the Day – 23 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Christian Formation of Character

god's grace does not change nature - 23 march 2020 bacci

“Our temperament is often a burden to ourselves and can, at times, be the source of annoyance to others.
If we do nothing about it, it can be the cause of failings or of extremes of behaviour on our part, which we bitterly regret afterwards.
It is necessary, therefore, to form character in accordance with Christian principles.
We are in no danger of losing our individuality, by training our character in this way.
God’s grace does not change nature but elevates and improves it.
It is like a shoot, which we plant in the uncultivated soil of our own being.
The first fruits may be sour but after a while, they grow sweeter, while still preserving the essential taste and aroma of the mother-plant.
St Jerome was a headstrong and austere character and he continued to be so, even after the grace of God had transformed him and made him holy.
But his rugged nature was, at the same time, softened and strengthened by divine grace.
St Augustine had a great intellect and a great heart.
When he abandoned philosophical sophistry and worldly vanity, in order to dedicate these gifts to the service of God, he achieved a profundity of thought, never before attained by Christian wisdom.
We should behave in the same manner.
If we are hot-tempered, we should convert this tendency to anger, into hatred for sin.
If we are enthusiastic by nature, we should turn our enthusiasm into love for God and for our neighbour.
If we are high-spirited and energetic, we should devote ourselves to good works, for our own salvation and to the apostolate of souls.
How far have we advanced in the Christian transformation of our character?
Let us examine our progress and resolve to do better.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Lenten Reflection – 20 March – ‘… Love wipes away sin’

Lenten Reflection – 20 March – Friday of the Third week of Lent, Readings: Hosea 14:1-9 (2-10), Psalm 81:6-11, 14, 17, Mark 12:28-34

“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”

“…You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’   The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” …Mark 12:30-32

Daily Meditation:
Fill our hearts with Your love!

REFLECTION“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment.”   And He could have stopped there.   Yet, Jesus adds something that was not asked by the doctor of the law.   He says, in fact:  “And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (v. 39).   And in this case too, Jesus does not invent the second commandment but takes it from the Book of Leviticus.   The novelty is in His placing these two commandments together — love for God and love for neighbour — revealing that they are in fact inseparable and complementary, two sides of the same coin.”…Pope Francis – Angelus, 26 October 2014

fridayofthe3rdweeklent-29-march-2019 and 20 march 2020

Intercessions:
Thanks be to Christ the Lord, who brought us life by His death on the Cross.
With our whole heart let us ask Him:
By Your death raise us to life.

Teacher and Saviour,
You have shown us Your fidelity and made us a new creation by Your passion,
– keep us from falling again into sin.
Help us to deny ourselves today,
– and not deny those in need.
May we receive this day of penance as Your gift,
– and give it back to You through works of mercy.
May we see with Your eyes, everyday!
– and become images of You.
Master our rebellious hearts,
– and teach us generosity.
Closing Prayer:

Prayer Before The Crucifix
By St Vincent Strambi CP (1745-1824)

Jesus, by this saving sign,
bless this listless soul of mine.
Jesus, by Your feet nailed fast,
mend the missteps of my past.
Jesus, with Your riven hands,
bend my will to love’s demands.
Jesus, in Your Heart laid bare,
warm my inner coldness there.
Jesus, by Your thorn-crowned head,
still my pride till it is dead.
Jesus, by Your muted tongue,
stay my words that hurt someone.
Jesus, by Your tired eyes,
open mine to faith’s surprise.
Jesus, by Your fading breath,
keep me faithful until death.
Yes, Lord, by this saving sign,
save this wayward soul of mine.
Amen

prayer before the crucifix by st vincent strambi 13 sept 2019 a friday for catholic time

“If we look forward to receiving God’s mercy,
we can never fail to do good,
so long as we have the strength.
For if we share with the poor,
out of love for God,
whatever He has given to us,
we shall receive according to His promise,
a hundredfold in eternal happiness.
What a fine profit, what a blessed reward!
With outstretched arms He begs us
to turn toward Him, to weep for our sins
and to become the servants of love,
first for ourselves, then for our neighbours.
Just as water extinguishes a fire,
so love wipes away sin.”

St John of God (1495-1550)

with-outstretched-arms-he-begs-us-st-john-of-god-8-march-2019 and 20 march 2020

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One Minute Reflection – 11 March – Imitation of the Lord.

One Minute Reflection – 11 March – Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent, Readings: Jeremiah 18:18-20, Psalm 31:5-6, 14-16, Matthew 20:17-28

“You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” … the Son of Man came not to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” ... Matthew 20:22,28matthew 20 22, 28 the sone of man came not to serve 11 march 2020

REFLECTION – “It is our task and, in our case, an obligation, to make of you the object of all our care, our zeal, our ministrations, by word and deed, by warnings, encouragement, admonitions and incitement, (…) so that, in this way, we might insert you into the rhythm of the divine will and face you towards the goal set before us – to give pleasure to God. …

He who is immortal, voluntarily shed His blood.   He who created the host of angels, was
bound at the hands of soldiers and He who is to judge the living and the dead, was dragged to justice (cf. Acts 10:42; 2 Tm 4:1).   Truth was exposed to false witnesses, was slandered, struck, covered with spittle, hung on the wood of the cross – the Lord of glory (cf. 1 Cor 2:8) endured every outrage and suffering without Himself needing these trials. How could this have happened to Him who, even as man, was without sin and who, to the contrary, snatched us away from the tyranny of the sin through which death came into the world and falsely took possession of our first father?

So there is nothing surprising about it, if we submit to even one of these trials since such is our condition (…).   Therefore, we too have to be offended and tempted, afflicted by the cutting off of our wills.  According to the interpretation of our Fathers, there is in this, a shedding of blood for this is what it means to be a monk.   And we must gain the Kingdom of heaven in that way, by spending our lives in imitation of the Lord. (…)  Apply yourselves zealously to your duties in the thought that by means of them, far from being slaves of men, you are serving God.” … St Theodore the Studite (759- 826) Monk at Constantinople – Catecheses 1 (load shedding about to happen – image to follow and rest of posts).he who is immortal voluntarily - st theodore the studite 11 march 2020

PRAYER – Protect Your family, Lord, trained as it is by the constant exercise of good works.   Renew our spirit with the grace that teaches us how to imitate You, strengthen us with Your consoling presence and lead us, to the joys of heaven.   May the intercession of our Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary keep us on the path of Your kingdom’s glory. Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.mary most holy pray for us - 9 nov 2018

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Thought for the Day – 22 February – Why Should It Happen to Me?

Thought for the Day – 22 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Why Should It Happen to Me?

“When we are overtaken by some unexpected misfortune or sorrow, or are forced to undertake an unusually difficult job, we often forget to surrender ourselves into the hands of God and pray for help and peace of mind.
Instead, we feel annoyed and discouraged and give vent to our feelings in a most unchristian manner.
“Why should it happen to me?”
This is the reaction of many people in such cases.
“It had to happen to me!” they say.
They forget that sanctity involves sacrifice, self-denial and resignation to the Will of God.
“The kingdom of heaven has been enduring violent assault and the violent have been seizing it by force,” the Gospel says (Mt 11:12).
In other words, if a man wants to win Heaven, he must be stern with himself and establish control over any perverse tendencies in his own nature.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

why should it happen to me - bacci 22 feb 2020

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Second Thought for the Day – 8 February – Blessed Esperanza’s Spiritual Testament

Second Thought for the Day – 8 February – The Memorial of Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus (1893-1983)

Extract from Blessed Esperanza’s Spiritual Testament

“In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, I write to my beloved sons and my beloved daughters this Testament.

I leave entrusted to the Most Holy Virgin, all my sons and daughters and my two beloved Congregations and all the poor people received in them.

I wish to leave to my sons and daughters the precious inheritance that I have, freely and without any merit, received from the Good Jesus.

Recommendations that I make to my beloved sons and to my beloved daughters:
Be humble, love one another, eradicate from your heart the rash judgements, never look for responsibilities or high positions, stay in the hands of obedience like little children; never have discussions or quarrels, never occupy yourselves with things for which you are not responsible, be very charitable and attached to prayer, because the means to obtain grace and glory is prayer;  always follow the narrow path of mortification; work to acquire detachment and disdain with respect to yourselves; you will succeed in this with the knowledge of Our God, His love and the knowledge of your nothingness and your miseries; always and in everything, try to accomplish the Will of Our God and always seek His glory and not yours.

Keep yourselves free, my children, from all greed, try hard to have no attachment to earthly things, because the Son and Handmaid of Merciful Love must be occupied with charity, divine and spiritual things and you will arrive there easily if your hearts are strongly attached to the Good Jesus.

Walk with great attention in order to not become implicated in cares foreign to your vocation and to your state, never get involved in secular business contrary to your vocation, not even in the name of charity or prudence.

The Request I address to the Good Jesus, at the time of the death of my body and the life of my soul, by the mercy and the love of my God. I ask that the Good Jesus personally and the glory of God be the cause of the actions of all the sons and daughters and that He always be their Advocate and defend them against the enemies of the respective Congregations, always repeating in their favour: “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing!”

Jesus, at the time of death, see to it that all the sons and daughters can say, full of love and confidence, what I say to You in these moments, with hope in Your charity, love and mercy:  “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Blessed Esperanza de Jesus, Pray for Us!

bl esperanza de jesus pray for us no 2 8 feb 2020

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Quote/s of the Day – 6 February – Speaking of: Discipleship

Quote/s of the Day – 6 February – Thursday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: 1 Kings 2:1-4, 10-12, Responsorial psalm 1 Chronicles 29:10-12, Mark 6:7-13

Speaking of:  Discipleship

“He charged them
to take nothing for their journey,
except a staff…”

Mark 6:8

mark 6 8 he charged them to take nothing for the journey 6 feb 2020

“Go your way,
behold, I send you out
as lambs
in the midst
of wolves.”

Luke 10:3

luke-10-3-go-your-way-bhold-i-send-you-out-as-lambs-in-the-midst-of-wolves-3-oct-2019 and 6 feb 2020

“Heretics are to be converted
by an example of humility
and other virtues
far more readily,
than by any external
display or verbal battles.
So let us arm ourselves with
devout prayers
and set off,
showing signs of genuine humility
and go barefooted
to combat
Goliath.”

St Dominic (1170-1221)

heretics-are-to-be-converted-st-dominic-8-aug-2019 and 6 feb 2020

“He will be with you also, all the way, that faithful God.
Every morning when you awaken to the old and tolerable pain,
at every mile of the hot uphill dusty road of tiring duty,
on to the judgement seat, the same Christ there as ever,
still loving you, still sufficient for you, even then.
And then, on through all eternity.”

Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)

he-will-be-with-you-also-that-same-christ-thomas-a-kempis-14-june-2018-and-3-oct-2019 and 6 feb 2020

“Go forth and set the world on fire.”

St Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)

go-forth-and-set-the-world-on-fire-st-ignatius-loyola-14-jan-2019 and 6 feb 2020

“Christ has no body on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes, through which,
the compassion of Christ, looks out to the world.
Yours are the feet,
with which,
He is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands,
with which,
He is to bless others now.

St Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)
Doctor of the Church

christ has no body but yours - st teresa of avila -6 feb 2020

“Let us remain unafraid in all dangers,
trusting calmly, in the Divine
Providence, that watches over us day and night.”

St Joseph Freinademetz (1852-1908)
“Fu Shenfu” – Lucky Priest

let-us-remain-unafraid-st-joseph-freinademetz-28-jan-2020 and 6 feb 2020

“We are apostles!
We are apostles
and we wander far and wide,
we work generously,
only for the sake of souls,
only for the Church,
only for heaven!”

Blessed Paolo Manna (1872-1952)

we-are-apostles-bl-paolo-manna-15-sept-2019 and 6 feb 2020

“If everyone does something,
then we can do a lot.”

“Each of us feels an inclination,
a charism within ourselves.
A project, which makes each of us
unique, irreplaceable.
This call, this vocation,
is the sign of the Holy Spirit in us.
Only by listening to this voice
can we make sense of our lives.”

Blessed Giuseppe “Pino” Puglisi (1937-1993) Priest, Martyr

if-everyone-does-something-each-of-us-feels-a-charism-bl-pino-puglisi-21-oct-2019 and 6 feb 2020

“Leave your country, your people
and your father’s household
and go to the land I will show you.”

Genesis 12:1

genesis-12-1-leave-your-country-your-people-st-francis-xavier-3-dec-2019.and 6 feb 2020

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Quote/s of the Day – 30 January – Blessed Sebastian Valfrè CO (1629-1710)

Quote/s of the Day – 30 January – The Memorial of Blessed Sebastian Valfrè CO (1629-1710)

Some of his advice, given to the novices, suffice for us all:

“Live at peace with everyone and to live thus, at peace, it is necessary to make war against yourself, for annoyance with your neighbour invariably proceeds from attachment to yourself.”

live at peace with everyone - make war on youself - bl sebastian valfre 30 jan 2020

“Give yourself to prayer and try by it, to procure, first the amendment of your fault then the practice of Christian virtues and finally a great love of God.”

give yourself to prayer - bl sebastian valfre 30 jan 2020

“Keep careful guard over your tongue, for remember, that much talking is a sign of little spirituality…”

“He who is wise, holds his tongue in his heart and he, who is foolish, carries his heart on his tongue.   He who can keep silence is near to God.”

keep careful guard over your tongue - he who is wise holds his tongue in his heart - bl sebastian valfre 30 jan 2020

He was much in demand as a spiritual father and would advise the Fathers of his Congregation:

“A confessor should above all, give a good example to his penitents, especially by practising the virtues he wishes to impress upon them.   If he exhorts them to humility, let him first be humble; if to devotion, let him be devout himself;  if he is to do this he will more readily be believed and obeyed.   Woe to confessors and preachers who teach virtue without practising it.   Woe to him who counsels, instructs and directs others, if he be not virtuous himself!   Let such a man dread the Judgement!”

woe to him who counsels - bl sebastian valfre 30 jan 2020

Blessed Sebastian speaking of the Shroud of Turin to which he had a great devotion:

“The Cross received the living Jesus and gave Him back to us dead,
the Shroud received the dead Jesus and restored Him to us alive.”

the cros received the living jesus the shroud - bl sebastian valfre 30 jan 2020

“When it is all over,
you will not regret having suffered,
rather, you will regret, having suffered so little
and suffered that little so badly.”

Bl Sebastian Valfre (1629-1710)

when-it-is-all-over-bl-sebastian-valfre-13-dec-2017 and 30 jan 2020

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Quote/s of the Day – 24 January – St Francis de Sales

Quote/s of the Day – 24 January – Friday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A and The Memorial of St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) “The Gentle Christ of Geneva” – Doctor of the Church: Doctor Caritatis (Doctor of Charity)

“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.”

let us think only of spending the present day well - st francis de sales - 24 jan 2020

“Don’t get upset
with your imperfections.
It’s a great mistake,
because it leads nowhere –
to get angry
because, you are angry,
upset at being upset,
depressed, at being depressed,
disappointed, because
you are disappointed.
So don’t fool yourself.
Simply surrender
to the Power of God’s Love,
which is always greater
than our weakness.”

dont-get-upset-with-your-imperfections-st-francis-de-sales-24-jan-2018 and 24 jan 2020

“Don’t sow your desires
in someone else’s garden,
just cultivate your own, as best you can;
don’t long to be other than what you are
but desire to be thoroughly what you are.
Direct your thoughts,
to being very good at that
and to bearing the crosses, little or great,
that you will find there.
Believe me, this is the most important
and least understood point to the spiritual life.
We all love according to what is our taste,
few people like what is according to their duty
or to God’s liking.
What is the use of building castles in Spain
when we have to live in France?”

dont-sow-your-desires-st-francis-de-sales-24-jan-2018 - 24 jan 2020

“The work is never finished, we have continually to begin again and that courageously. What we have done so far is good but what we are going to commence, will be better and when we have finished that, we shall begin something else that will be better still and then another – until we leave this world to begin a new life that will have no end because it is the best that can happen to us.

It is not then a case for tears, that we have so much work to do for our souls, for we need great courage to go ever onwards (since we must never stop) and much resolution to restrain our desires.   Observe carefully this precept, that all the Saints have given to those who would emulate them – to speak little, or not at all, of yourself and your own interests.”

the-work-is-never-finished-st-francis-de-sales-27-march-2019 and 24 jan 2020

“Cook the truth in charity,
until it tastes sweet.”

cook-the-truth-in-charity-until-it-tastes-sweet-st-francis-de-sales-23-may-2018 and 24 jan 2020

“Half an hour’s meditation
each day is essential,
except, when you are busy.
Then a full hour is needed.”

half an hour's meditation each day - st francis de sales 24 jan 2020

“Consider all the past as nothing
and say, like David –
Now I begin to love my God.”

St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church

consider all the past as nothing and say like david now i begin to love my god - 24 jan2019 st francis de sales

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Thought for the Day – 23 January – Carrying our Cross

Thought for the Day – 23 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Thursday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A

Carrying our Cross

the cross which we accept from the hands of jesus - bacci - 23 jan 2020

When we have renounced ourselves in order to do the will of God in every detail, we must embrace our cross everyday.
We must carry it with resignation and love, in the footsteps of Jesus.
Each of us has his cross.
It might be, ill health or financial distress.
It might be, some person whom we feel to be intolerable and with whom we hve to live.
It might be, humiliation or calumny.
It might be, some temptation, which we find hard to fight and which is continually causing us to fall.
It might be, all of these things together.
Whatever it is, it is our cross.

To rebel, would be to make things far worse.
Our cross would only become heavier and more unbearable.
Jesus tells us to embrace it, as He did.
He tells us to bow beneath it’s weight and follow Him.
If we accept His invitation, at once our cross will seem lighter.
A man who is in love, does not feel fatigue.
We must carry our cross out of love of God and in the hope of a heavenly reward.
Then we can say with St Francis de Sales – “Suffering passes but the experience of having suffered for the love God remains.”
We shall understand how true were Our Lord’s words – “Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28).

The cross, which we accept, from the hands of Jesus and out of love for Him, is a sweet burden.

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 22 January – Self-Denial

Thought for the Day – 22 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Wednesday of the Second week in Ordinary Time, Year A

Self-Denial

jesus has said no 2 - self denial bacci 22 jan 2020

“Even though it may not have been put into practice very much, contempt for riches had been taught by some of the ancient pagan philosophers.
Nobody, before Christ, however, even thought of demanding self-renunciation, as well.
Self-denial might seem to be a degradation and almost an annihilation of human nature.
It might appear quite impossible.
Nevertheless, Jesus has said:  “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mt 16:24)

Would God have commanded us to do something impossible?   Certainly not.
As St Augustine says, our divine Redeemer did not order us to do anything impossible but, to do whatever is perfect.
Perfection is, admittedly, difficult but it is not impossible.
Should we answer Jesus Christ’s command in the same way as the the disciples did on one occasion:  “This is a hard saying. Who can listen to it?” (Jn 6:61)
No, our reply must be that which St Peter gave when Our Lord asked reproachfully, “Do you also wish to go away?” (Jn6:68)
We must repeat with Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go?   Thou has the words of everlasting life and we have come to believe and to know, that Thou are the Christ, the Son of God” (Jn 6:69).”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci