Thought for the Day – 25 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “Deliver Us From Evil”
“Deliver us from evil, amen.” This is our last request in the Lord’s Prayer. God is our Father, Creator and Redeemer. Who cannot desire our ruin but only our welfare. Nevertheless, He wishes us to ask Him everyday, to deliver us from evil.
We ask God to deliver us from evil of any kind. There is nothing to prevent us from beseeching Him to save us from physical ills, such as sickness or hardship or any of the other many afflicions of life. God loves us and, therefore, does not wish us to have to suffer. He loves us, however, as He knows best and so desires our true welfare. He knows that suffering and sorrow are our necessary heritage in life. They are the salt which preserves us from corruption.
It would be fatal for us to be always happy in this world, for then, we should forget God and our true everlasting happiness. By all means, let us ask humbly for deliverance from bodily ills but, let us not complain, if God does not grant our request. He alone knows what is best for us, now and in the future.
Finally, when we ask God to rescue us from material evils, we should do so in a spirit of submission and resignation to His holy will. “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” We should keep in mind the words of Jesus Christ. “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk 9:23). Where are we to follow Him? To Calvary, of course. We must suffer and die as He did. Only afterwards can we achieve everlasting happiness.
Deliver us from evil, therefore, O God. Deliver us if possible, from bodily and from earthly ills but, let Your will be done. We realise, that there is a purpose in suffering, the mission of which, is to purify us and lead us more easily to You. We shall thank You, if You hear our plea but, we shall be no less grateful, if it pleases You to reject it.”
Quote/s of the Day – 23 October – Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer
“I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.”
“Come along then, every human family, full of sin as you are and receive the forgiveness of your sins. For I Myself, am your forgiveness, I am the Passover of salvation, the Lamb slain for your sakes, your redemption, life and resurrection; I am your Light, your Salvation and your King. It is I, who lead you to the heights of heaven, I, who will raise you up; it is I, who will bring you to see the Father who is from all eternity; it is I, who will raise you up by My all-powerful Hand.”
St Melito of Sardis (Died c 180) Bishop, Apologist
“Many indeed are the wondrous happenings of that time: God hanging from a cross, the sun made dark and again flaming out; for it was fitting that creation should mourn with it’s Creator. The temple veil rent, blood and water flowing from His side – the one as from a man, the other as from what was above man; the earth shaken, the rocks shattered because of the Rock; the dead risen to bear witness to the final and universal resurrection of the dead. The happenings at the sepulcher and after the sepulcher, who can fittingly recount them? Yet no-one of them, can be compared, to the miracle of my salvation. A few drops of blood renew the whole world and do, for all men, what the rennet does for the milk – joining us and binding us together.”
St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Father and Doctor of the Church
“The light of Christ is an endless day that knows no night.”
“Our Saviour’s passion raises men and women from the depths, lifts them up from the earth and sets them in the heights.”
St Maximus of Turin (? – c 420)
“As they were looking on, so we too gaze on His wounds as He hangs. We see His blood as He dies. We see the price offered by the Redeemer, touch the scars of His Resurrection. He bows His head, as if to kiss you. His heart is made bare open, as it were, in love to you. His arms are extended, that He may embrace you. His whole body is displayed for your redemption. Ponder how great these things are. Let all this be rightly weighed in your mind – as He was once fixed to the cross, in every part of His body for you, so He may now be fixed in every part of your soul.”
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“Mount Calvary is the mount of lovers. All love that takes not it’s beginning from Our Saviour’s Passion is frivolous and dangerous. Unhappy is death without the love of the Saviour, unhappy is love without the death of the Saviour! Love and death are so mingled in the Passion of Our Saviour that we cannot have the one in our heart without the other. Upon Calvary one cannot have life without love, nor love without the death of Our Redeemer.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of Charity
“Yes, my gentle Redeemer, let me say it, You are crazy with love! Is it not foolish for You to have wanted to die for me? But if You, my God, have become crazy with love for me, how can I not become crazy with love for You?”
St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Most Zealous Doctor
Prayer Before The Crucifix – The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass By St Vincent Strambi (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
“He perspired blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter and, abandoned by the Apostles, He was bound like a criminal, insulted, scourged, crowned with thorns, condemned to death and burdened with a cross; finally, when He arrived at Calvary, He was nailed to the gibbet, where He shed His Precious Blood and gave His life for our redemption. Such was the extent of Jesus’ infinite love for us. “Calvary” writes St Francis de Sales,“is the school of love.” The Saints were moved to tears by the strange spectacle of God-made-man, dying on the Cross for men. What is our reaction?”
Quote/s of the Day – 21 October – Wednesday of the Twenty Ninth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Ephesians 3:2-12, Responsorial Psalm: Isaiah 12:2-3, 4,5-6, Luke 12:39-48
“Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
“Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”
“Life is short, Death is certain and the world to come is everlasting.”
“If we would God discern The world we must despise, His love and hate must learn, See all things with His eyes. And we must self forgo If God we would attain, His grace must in us grow And ease us from all pain. So shall we sing His praise And be at one with Him, In peace our voices raise In the celestial hymn, That with quadruple harmony And all mellifluous melody, In Heaven resounds eternally.”
(The Seven Steps of the Ladder of Spiritual Love)
Bl John van Ruysbroeck (c 1293-1382)
“This then is to watch – to be detached from what is present and to live in what is unseen, to live in the thought of Christ as He came once and as He will come again, to desire His second coming, from our affectionate and grateful remembrance, of His first. ”
“He watches with Christ, whoever commemorates and renews, in his own person, Christ’s Cross and Agony and gladly takes up that mantle of affliction which Christ wore here and left behind Him, when He ascended.”
St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
Watch over your thoughts because they become words.
Watch over your words because they become actions.
Watch over your actions because they become habits.
Watch over your habits because they become your character.
Watch over your character because it becomes your destiny.
Quote/s of the Day – 19 October – The Memorial of St Paul of the Cross CP (1604-1775)
“We ought to glory in nothing other than, the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. You are blessed and don’t know it. You have Jesus Crucified, with you!”
“Your crosses dear God, are the joy of my heart. How beautiful to suffer with Jesus.”
“Oh cherished cross! Through thee my most bitter trials are replete with graces!”
“The passion of Jesus is a sea of sorrows but it is also an ocean of love. Ask the Lord to teach you to fish in this ocean. Dive into its depths. No matter how deep you go, you will never reach the bottom.”
“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.”
“Look upon the face of the Crucified, who invites you to follow Him. He will be a Father, Mother–everything to you.”
Quote/s of the Day – 9 October – The Memorial ofSt Louis Bertrand OP (1526-1581) “Apostle of South America”, St John Leonardi OMD (1541-1609), Founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God and St John Henry Newman C.Orat (1801-1890)
“If, because of your preaching, men lay aside enmities, forgive injuries, avoid occasions of sin and scandals and reform their conduct, you may say that the seed has fallen on good ground. But to God alone give all the glory and acknowledge yourselves ever unprofitable servants.”
St Louis Bertrand (1526-1581)
“Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy.”
“The medicine of God, is Jesus Christ, Crucified and Risen, the measure of all things.”
“Christ first of all, Christ in the centre of the heart, in the centre of history and of the cosmos. Humanity needs Christ intensely because, He is our “measure.” There is no realm, that cannot be touched by His strength; there is no evil, that cannot find remedy in Him, there is no problem, that cannot be solved in Him. Either Christ or nothing!”
Quote/s of the Day – 26 September – Saturday of the Twenty Fifth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Ecclesiastes 11:9–12:8, Psalms 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14,17, Luke 9:43-45
“Let these words sink into your ears: the Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.”
“The language of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us, who are being saved, it is the power of God”
1 Corinthians 1:18
“We give glory to You, Lord, who raised up Your Cross to span the jaws of death like a bridge by which souls might pass from the region of the dead to the land of the living. .. You are incontestably alive. Your murderers sowed Your living body in the earth as farmers sow grain but it sprang up and yielded an abundant harvest of men raised from the dead.”
St Ephrem (306-373) Father and Doctor of the Church
“On the cross, Christ effected a great exchange. There the purse containing the price to be paid for us, was opened.”
“Great thing is the knowledge of the crucified Christ. How many things are enclosed inside this treasure! Christ crucified! Such is the hidden treasure of wisdom and science. Do not be deceived, then, under the pretext of wisdom. Gather before the covering and pray, that it may be uncovered. Foolish philosopher of this world, what you are looking for is worthless… What is the advantage of being thirsty, if you despise the source? … And what is His precept but that we believe in Him and love each other? In whom? In Christ crucified. This is His commandment – that we believe in Christ crucified … But where humility is, there is also majesty, where weakness is, there shall one find power, where death is, there shall be life as well. If you wish to arrive at the second part, do not despise the first!“
St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of Grace
“Christ, who is your life, is hanging before you, so that you may look at the Cross, as in a mirror. There you will be able to know, how mortal were your wounds, that no medicine other, than the Blood of the Son of God, could heal. If you look closely, you will be able to realise, how great your human dignity and your value are…. Nowhere other than looking at himself, in the mirror of the Cross, can man better understand how much he is worth”
(Sermones Dominicales et Festivi III, pp. 213-214)
St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) Evangelical Doctor of the Church
“Fix your minds on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Inflamed with love for us, He came down from heaven to redeem us. For our sake He endured every torment of body and soul and shrank from no bodily pain. He Himself gave us an example of perfect patience and love. We, then, are to be patient in adversity.”
St Francis of Paola OM (1416-1507)
“Jesus will be in agony even to the end of the world; we must not sleep during that time”
Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) (Pensées, 553)
“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
One Minute Reflection – 26 September – Saturday of the Twenty Fifth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Ecclesiastes 11:9–12:8, Psalms 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14,17, Luke 9:43-45 and the Memorial of St Nilus the Younger (910-1005)
“Let these words sink into your ears, for the Son of man is to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand this saying and it was concealed from them … Luke 9:44-45
REFLECTION – “Of all Christ’s miracles and mighty acts, it is this one that far exceeds the limits of human wonder. It goes far beyond the weak power of the human mind to perceive or comprehend, how it is supposed to believe, that the divine majesty, that very Word of the Father (Jn 1:1) and Wisdom of God in which “all things were created, visible and invisible” (cf. Col 1:15), was held within the confines of the man who appeared in Judaea and, even more, that the Wisdom of God entered into the womb of a woman and was born a baby, who cried and wailed just like all little babies. And it is further reported that He suffered the anguish of death, as He Himself admitted by saying: “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death” (Mt 26:38 par) and in the end, He was led to that death which is reputed to be the most shameful among men, even though He did rise again on the third day…
To present this to human ears and explain it in words far surpasses our poor merits… Indeed the explanation of this mystery is probably beyond the grasp even of the whole creation of heavenly powers.” … Origen (c 185-253) Priest, Theologian, Father – Treatise on First Principles
PRAYER – Holy God, help me to amend my life constantly and be sincerely converted to You. Let me seek Your interests rather than my own and be ever more closely united with You. Send Your Spirit of understanding to enkindle our minds but most of all, fill us with Your grace of faith, that whether we understand or not, our love and obedience, is our only guide. St Nilus, you constantly sought to bring all to Christ, your beloved, please pray for us. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and on the third day be raised.” … Luke 9:22
REFLECTION – “Jesus made His way of His own free will towards the sufferings Scripture had foretold. He had frequently predicted them to His disciples and had even severely rebuked Peter, who had received their discovery with indignation (Mt 16:23). Finally, He showed how they were the cause of the world’s salvation. This was why, to the men coming to arrest Him, He referred to Himself as: “I am he whom you are seeking” (cf. Jn 18:5.8) (…) He was struck, covered with spittle, mocked, tortured, scourged and, in the end crucified. He allowed two outlaws, one at His right and one at His left, to share His suffering. Classed alongside murderers and criminals He took vinegar and gall, fruits of a bitter vine. He was struck in mockery by a reed, pierced by a lance in His side and, in the end, laid in a tomb.
All this He suffered while working our salvation (…) By His thorns He brought an end to the punishment laid on Adam, since the latter, having sinned, received this sentence: “Cursed be the ground because of you! Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you” (Gn 3:17-18). With the gall He took to Himself all that is bitter and painful in mortal life and sorrowful to men. With the vinegar He accepted human nature’s decline and bestowed on it, it’s restoration to a higher state. By the purple he symbolised His royalty; with the reed He indicated how weak and feeble the devil’s power is. Being slapped, He made known our enfranchisement [just as we do in the case of a slave]. He bore with the abuse, punishment and beating due to us.
He was struck in the side, making Him more like Adam. But, far from bringing forth the woman who, by her straying, gave birth to death, He made a spring of life to gush out (Gn 2:21; Jn 19:34). And this gives life to the world by means of a twofold stream – the first renews and re-clothes us in the garment of immortality in the baptistery and following this birth, the second, feeds us at God’s table, just as one suckles a newborn child.” … Theodoret of Cyrus (c 393-c 460) Bishop – Treatise on the Incarnation, 26-27
PRAYER – O God of love, You sent Your beloved Son to the world to proclaim the Good News of Salvation, to heal every illness and to cure all infirmity of body and soul. Help us to continue the mission of the merciful Christ in the service towards our neighbour, preaching the Gospel and offering our help in whatever way we can. May the example of Your saints, teach us how to love and serve You. Through their intercession, grant us the grace to go forth in love. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Quote/s of the Day – 24 September – Thursday of the Twenty Fifth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Ecclesiastes 1:2-11, Psalms 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 and 17, Luke 9:7-9
“… Who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him.”
“Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened and I will give you rest. ”
“Through Him, our gaze penetrates the heights of heaven and we see, as in a mirror, the most holy face of God. Through Christ, the eyes of our hearts are opened and our weak and clouded understanding, reaches up toward the light.”
St Pope Clement I (c 35-99) Apostolic Father, Bishop of Rome and Martyr
“He who calls us, came here below, to give us the means of getting there. He chose the wood that would enable us to cross the sea – indeed, no-one can cross the ocean of this world, who is not borne by the Cross of Christ. Even the blind can cling to this Cross. If you can’t see where you are going very well, don’t let go of it, it will guide you by itself. ”
“Do you desire security? Here you have it. The Lord says to you, “I will never abandon you, I will always be with you.” If a good man made you such a promise, you would trust him. God makes it and do you doubt? Do you seek a support, more sure than the word of God, which is infallible? Surely, He has made the promise, He has written it, He has pledged His word for it, it is most certain!”
St Augustine (354-430) 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
“If you learn everything, except Christ, you learn nothing. If you learn nothing, except Christ, you learn everything.”
St Bonaventure (1221-1274) Seraphic Doctor of the Church
“Only one thing is necessary: Jesus Christ! Think unceasingly of Him. ”
St John Gabriel Perboyre CM (1802-1840) Martyr for Christ
Thought for the Day – 15 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Mary’s Patience 2
“We also have our share of suffering and humiliation. It is useless to try and escape from it, useless to rebel against it. If we embrace the cross patiently and lovingly, a Jesus and Mary did, it will seem lighter, even welcome. If we attempt to cast it from us, it will weigh more heavily on our shoulders. There are two kinds of men, those who bear their cross, patiently and embrace it because they wish to be like Jesus and, those who do not want to suffer and rebel. The former may stagger beneath their daily burden but, they have peace of soul because they are putting into practice, the great Gospel precept: “By your patience, you will win your souls” (Lk 21:19). They know that they are on the path to Heaven and this thought is consolation, which cannot be taken from them. The second group of men, rebel against the cross and, therefore, suffer doubly, in body and in soul. “The senseless man,” the Holy Spirit says, “loves not to be reproved” (Prov 15:12).
To which of these two categories do we belong? Do we love our cross, or do we carry it patiently, at least? Anyone who does not want the cross, does not want Jesus. Let the example of Mary and of the Saints inspire us. They always bore their burden patiently, they even looked for suffering and humiliation. If we cannot reach such heroic heights, let us at last, accept, from the hands of Our Lord, the cross which He offers us. Let us accept the sufferings which we meet on the way of life. If we are not heroic enough to seek to be unknown and mortified, let us resolve to accept, patiently, the inevitable sorrows of life.”
“Near the cross of Jesus, there stood his mother…” … John 19:25
REFLECTION – “Mary, the mother of the Lord, stood by her Son’s cross. No-one has taught me this but the holy Evangelist John. Others have related how the earth was shaken at the Lord’s passion, the sky was covered with darkness, the sun withdrew itself and how the thief was, after a faithful confession, received into paradise. John tells us what the others have not told, how the Lord, while fixed on the cross called to His mother. He thought it was more important that, victorious over His sufferings, Jesus gave her the offices of piety, than that He gave her a heavenly kingdom. For, if it is the mark of religion to grant pardon to the thief, it is a mark of much greater piety, that a mother is honoured with such affection by her Son. “Behold,” He says, “your son.” “Behold your mother.” Christ testified from the cross and divided the offices of piety, between the mother and the disciple.
Nor was Mary below what was becoming of the mother of Christ. When the Apostles fled, she stood at the cross and with pious eyes beheld her Son’s wounds. For she did not look to the death of her offspring but to the salvation of the world. Or perhaps, because that “royal hall” knew that the redemption of the world would be through the death of her Son, she thought that by her death, she also might add something to that universal gift. But Jesus did not need a helper for the redemption of all, who saved all without a helper. This is why He says, “I am counted among those who go down to the pit. I am like those who have no help.” He received indeed the affection of His mother but sought not another’s help. Imitate her, holy mothers, who in her only dearly beloved Son, set forth so great an example of maternal virtue. For neither have you sweeter children, nor did the Virgin seek the consolation of being able, to bear another son.” … St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church – Letter 63
PRAYER – Our Father, when Jesus Your Son, was raised up on the Cross, it was Your will that Mary, His Mother, should stand there and suffer with Him in her heart. Grant that in union with her, the Church may share in the passion of Christ and so be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Be our intercessor and our consolation, Our Lady of Sorrows, amen.
Day Eight Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
V/. O God + come to my assistance R/. O Lord, make haste to help me.
Gloria Patri …
Sweet Mother of Sorrows, Providence wished that Saint Helena, like you the mother of a king, find the Cross of your Son and lavish honours on this relic of relics. Grant, me Sorrowful Queen and Mother that, like Saint Helena, I always honour the symbol of our salvation, the Cross. And like the Church, may I hold it high, display and wear it with gratitude and pride. Above all, may I unite my sufferings to that of Jesus on the Cross and carry my crosses not in shame but in faith, love and patience as He did. I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, for the pangs that wrenched thy most loving heart at the death of your Son, Jesus. Dear Mother, by thy heart sunk in the bitterness of desolation, obtain for me the virtue of patience in suffering and the gift of zeal for the salvation of souls and this my special intention ……………………. (mention your intention) Amen
Reflection (St Alphonsus de Liguori)
Meditation: Consider how, after the death of our Lord, two of His disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, took Him down from the Cross and placed Him in the arms of His afflicted Mother, who received Him with unutterable tenderness and pressed Him to her bosom.
Ave Maria …
Prayer of St Alphonsus: O Mother of Sorrows, for the love of this Son, accept me for thy servant and pray to Him for me. And Thou, my Redeemer, since Thou hast died for me, permit me to love Thee, for I wish but Thee and nothing more. I love Thee, my Jesus and I repent of ever having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always and then do with me what Thou will. Amen
Note:As St Alphonsus has only done the Seven Sorrows, Day 8 has been adapted and included from his Stations of the Cross. However, Day 9 is from his reflections and prayers on our Mother of Sorrows.
Quote/s of the Day – 14 September – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
“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
“The way to rest is through toil, the way to life is through death. Christ has taken on Himself the whole weakness of our lowly human nature. If then we are steadfast in our faith in Him and in our love for Him, we win the victory that He has won, we receive what He has promised.”
St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor of the Church
“This is that enviable and blessed Cross of Christ . . . the Cross in which alone, we must make our boast, as Paul, God’s chosen instrument, has told us.”
St Raymond of Peñafort (1175-1275)
“Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you, remember Christ crucified and be silent!”
St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Doctor of the Church
“Act of Contrition
My Lord Jesus Christ, You have made this journey to die for me, with love unutterable and I have so many times unworthily abandoned You but now I love You with my whole heart and because I love You, I repent sincerely for having ever offended You. Pardon me, my God and permit me to accompany You on this journey. You go to die for love of me, I wish also, my beloved Redeemer, to die for love of Thee. My Jesus, I will live and die always united to You.” Amen
By St Alphonsus Mary Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church
“Like Jesus, we must bow our heads before our Cross and embrace it, with resignation and love. We must unite our sufferings with those of our Redeemer, for the expiation of our sins.”
“…And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”… John 3:14-15
REFLECTION – “We are celebrating the Feast of the Cross which drove away darkness and brought in the light… Had there been no Cross, Christ could not have been Crucified. Had there been no Cross, Life Itself could not have been nailed to the tree. And if Life had not been nailed to it, they would be no streams of immortality pouring from Christ’s side, blood and water for the world’s cleansing. The legal bond of our sin would not be cancelled, we should not have obtained our freedom, we should not have enjoyed the fruit of the tree of life and the gates of paradise would not stand open. Had there been no Cross, death would not have been trodden underfoot, nor hell despoiled… The Cross is called Christ’s glory, it is saluted as His triumph.”….St Andrew of Crete (650-740)
PRAYER – O God, who willed that Your Only Begotten Son should undergo the Cross to save the human race, grant, we pray, that we, who have known His mystery on earth, may merit the grace of His redemption in heaven. For You placed the salvation of the human race on the wood of the Cross, so that, where death arose, life might again spring forth and the evil one, who conquered on a tree, might likewise on a tree be conquered through Christ. O cross, You are the glorious sign of victory. Through your power may we share in the triumph of Christ Jesus. We adore you Christ and we praise you, for by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world. Amen
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – 14 September
“Let me not boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”
It is a great thing that we are promised by the Lord but far greater is what has already been done for us and which we now commemorate.
Where were the sinners, what were they, when Christ died for them?
When Christ has already given us the gift of His death, who is to doubt that He will give the saints the gift of His own life?
Why does our human frailty hesitate to believe that mankind will one day live with God?
Who is Christ if not the Word of God: in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God?
This Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us. He had no power of Himself to die for us – He had to take from us our mortal flesh.
This was the way in which, though immortal, He was able to die; the way in which He chose to give life to mortal men – He would first share with us and then enable us to share with Him.
Of ourselves, we had no power to live, nor did He of Himself have the power to die. In other words, He performed the most wonderful exchange with us. Through us, He died; through Him, we shall live.
The death of the Lord our God should not be a cause of shame for us; rather, it should be our greatest hope, our greatest glory. In taking upon Himself the death that He found in us, He has most faithfully promised to give us life in Himself, such as we cannot have of ourselves.
He loved us so much, that, sinless Himself, He suffered for us sinners, the punishment we deserved for our sins.
How then can He fail to give us the reward we deserve for our righteousness, for He is the source of righteousness? How can He, whose promises are true, fail to reward the saints, when He bore the punishment of sinners, though without sin Himself?
Brethren, let us then fearlessly acknowledge and even openly proclaim, that Christ was Crucified for us; let us confess it, not in fear but in joy, not in shame but in glory.
The apostle Paul saw Christ and extolled His claim to glory. He had many great and inspired things to say about Christ but he did not say that he boasted in Christ’s wonderful works – in creating the world, since He was God with the Father, or in ruling the world, though He was also a man like us.
Rather, he said: Let me not boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
St Augustine – Sermon Guelf 3 from the Office of Readings, Monday of Holy Week
Thought for the Day – 13 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“The Incarnation of God, was sufficient to have saved us. It would have been enough for God made man, to have offered Himself to God, for our redemption in a single act of love. Every act of Jesus, the God-Man, had infinite value and was, therefore, sufficient to be offered to the Father as an infinite satisfaction for all our sins.
But, if Jesus had desired to show more clearly His great love for us, He could have offered Hi sufferings as a child in the cold cave at Bethlehem, when He lay whimpering on a wretched straw bed. He could have offered the sorrow of His exile in Egypt, He could have offered a single drop of His Precious Blood , during the ceremony of the circumcision. He could have offered the difficulties and privations of His simple working life at Nazareth, or the fatiguing exertions of His apostolic journeys. All these, would have been more than enough to have made amends to the divine Father for all the sins of humanity, to have ransomed us from the devil and to have restored to us, God’s grace and love. But in God, everything is infinite. His love has no limit. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart,” He as commanded men “and with thy whole soul and with thy whole strength and with they whole mind and thy neighbour as thyself.” He, Himself, did infinitely more than this, however, Jesus was not satisfied merely to love us, His brothers by adoption, as He loved Himself but, He wished to love us “more than He loved Himself. Greater love than this no-one has,” He said, “that one lay down his life for his friends” (1 Jn 15:13). This was what he Himself did. Sinful though we are, He called us friends. “You are my friends” (Jn 15:14). Out of love for us, He gave Himself entirely. He perspired blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter and, abandoned by the Apostles, He was bound like a criminal, insulted, scourged, crowned with thorns, condemned to death and burdened with a cross; finally, when He arrived at Calvary, He was nailed to the gibbet, where He shed His Precious Blood and gave His life for our redemption. Such was the extent of Jesus’ infinite love for us.
“Calvary” writes St Francis de Sales,“is the school of love.” The Saints were moved to tears by the strange spectacle of God-made-man, dying on the Cross for men. What is our reaction?”
Quote/s of the Day 11 September – Friday of the Twenty Third week in Ordinary Time, Readings: 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22b-27, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 12, Luke 6:39-42 and the Memorial of Blessed Charles Spinola SJ (1564-1622) Priest, Martyr, Missionary to Japan
“A disciple is not above his teacher…”
“Let us then learn from the Cross of Jesus our proper way of living. Should I say ‘living’ or, instead, ‘dying’? Rather, both living and dying. Dying to the world, living for God. Dying to vices and living by the virtues. Dying to the flesh, but living in the spirit. Thus in the Cross of Christ, there is death and in the Cross of Christ there is life. The death of death is there and the life of life. The death of sins is there and the life of the virtues. The death of the flesh is there and the life of the spirit.”
St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167)
Blessed Charles Spinola went underground, going by the foreshadowing alias “Joseph of the Cross”, a haunt of the shadows who was obliged to conceal himself from daylight because his foreign features were instantly recognisable. With the help of Nagasaki’s ample Christian community he eluded capture for an amazingly long time.
“For nearly two years and a half I have devoted myself to encourage and support the Christians of this country, not without great difficulty. Having no home, I pass secretly from house to house, to hear confessions and celebrate our holy mysteries by night. Most of my time I spend in utter solitude, deprived of all human converse and consolation, having only that which God gives to those who suffer for His love … However I am tolerably well and, though destitute of almost everything and taking but one scanty meal a day, I do not fall away. Does not this prove that “man liveth not by bread alone?”
-Letter of Spinola dated March 20, 1617
“Father, how sweet and delightful is it to suffer for Jesus Christ! I have learned this better by experience than I am able to express, especially since we are in these dungeons where we fast continually. The strength of my body fails me but my joy increases as I see death draw nearer. O what a happiness for me, if next Easter I shall sing the heavenly Alleluia in the company of the blessed!”
“Oh, if you had tasted the delights with which God fills the souls of those who serve Him and suffer for Him, how would you condemn all that the world can promise!”
“… God is to be served chiefly for Himself alone, for He is the fountain of all goodness and merits all our devotion, without any hope of reward.”
Thought for the Day – 6 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“To be Silent, to Adore and to be Happy” Part One
“When Rosmini was seriously ill and in danger of death, he was visited by his admirer and friend, Manzoni, who found him in so serious a condition, that he could only breathe with difficulty. In his shaking hands he clutched a Crucifix. “Are you suffering much?” Manzoni asked, as he bent over him. The sick man gazed at his friend and a wan smile passed over his face. Then the great writer asked him to give him some advice by which he would remember him. Rosmini looked at his Crucifix and whispered: “Be silent, adore and be happy.”
To be silent: It is very difficult for a man to remain silent when he is suffering great physical pain or when he is slandered, envied or misunderstood. On such occasions, one’s blood begins to boil and bitter remarks come easily to the tongue. But what good does it do? It may be some relief to our feelings but, usually, it will only make matters worse by aggravating our trouble. Let us be silent and offer our sufferings to Jesus, Who suffered for us, more than we could ever suffer. Let us atone for our sins by silently offering our sorrows and disappointments to God. Any other gift which we give to God is nothing more than restitution for all He has given us; but, when we offer our sufferings, we give Him something which is truly our own because, it is we ourselves, who suffer. Suffering endured without complain is a most acceptable gift to God, Who grants us, in return, peace and resignation.”
Quote/s of the Day – 31 August – Monday of the Twenty Second week in Ordinary Time, Readings: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, Psalms 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, Luke 4:16-30
“… The Light of the Only-begotten has Shone on Us …”
“He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.”
“This, beloved, is the way in which we found our salvation, Jesus Christ, the High Priest who offers our gifts, the patron and helper in our weakness (Heb 10:20; 7:27; 4:15). It is through Him, that we look straight at the heavens above. Through Him, we see mirrored, God’s faultless and transcendent countenance. Through Him, the eyes of our heart were opened. Through Him, our unintelligent and darkened mind shoots up into the light. Through Him, the Master was pleased to let us taste the knowledge that never fades, He who is “the radiance of His splendour, who towers as much above the angels, as the title He has inherited, is superior to theirs.”
St Pope Clement I (c 35 – c 99)
“For what reason did God send Him to preach to the poor? “To preach release to captives.” We were the captives. For many years Satan had bound us and held us captive and subject to himself. Jesus has come “to proclaim release to captives and sight to the blind.” By His word and the proclamation of His teaching, the blind see.”
Origen (c 185-253)
“On each occasion I say: ‘Lord, Thy will be done! It’s not what this, or that one, wants but, what You want me to do.’ This is my fortress, this is my firm rock, this is my sure support.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor
“He did not treat us as our sins deserved. For we are now sons of God. How do we show this? The only Son of God died for us, so that He might not remain alone. He who died as the only Son, did not want to remain as the only Son. For the only Son of God made many sons of God. He bought brothers for Himself by His blood, He made them welcome by being rejected, He ransomed them by being sold, He honoured them by being dishonoured, He gave them life by being put to death.”
St Augustine (354-430) Bishop, Great Western Father and Doctor of Grace
An excerpt from his Sermon 171
“You have the words of eternal life”
“These words surely make quite obvious to us the necessity for sitting at the feet of Christ, taking Him as our one and only teacher and giving Him our constant and undivided attention. … Keeping with their guide was the Israelites’ salvation then, just as not leaving Christ is ours now. … We will stay with You always and hold fast to Your commandments. We will receive Your words without finding fault, or thinking Your teaching hard, as the ignorant do but thinking rather: “How sweet are Your words to my throat! Sweeter to the mouth are they, than honey or the honeycomb!”
“Our lives are all controlled by the Spirit now and are not confined to this physical world that is subject to corruption. The light of the Only-begotten has shone on us and we have been transformed into the Word, the source of all life.”
St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father and Doctor of the Church
“He is the one who teaches the truth of prophecy through His presence and makes obedience to the commandments possible, through grace.”
St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor of the Church
Heal us Lord God Prayer of St Albert of Trapani O.Carm. (c 1240-1307)
O my God, You have created the human race by Your wonderful power. It is an act of Your clemency that has called us to share Your glory and eternal life. When the first sin condemned us to suffer death, out of Your goodness, You wished to redeem us through the blood of Your Son, To unite us to You through our faith and Your great mercy. You have brought us back from the shame of our sin, You have veiled our dishonour in the brightness of Your glory. Look now and see that what You have created, giving it subtle limbs and joints and made beautiful through its immortal soul, is now subject to the attack of Satan. Be pleased Lord to reconstitute Your work and heal it. May Your power be glorified and may the malice of the enemy be stunned. Amen
St Albert of Trapani (c 1240-1307)
“Even to the present time I have not stopped speaking to all men but many are deaf and obstinate in response. … He who possesses my words yet spurns them, earns his own judgement on the last day.”
Quotes of the Day – 28 August – The Memorial of St Augustine of Hippo (354-430) – Father and Doctor of Grace
“To fall in love with God, is the greatest romance; to seek Him, the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement.”
“You ask what you might offer to God? Offer yourself! What does God expect from you, except yourself?”
“He bought brothers for Himself by His blood, He made them welcome by being rejected, He ransomed them by being sold, He honoured them by being dishonoured, He gave them life by being put to death. So, brethren, rejoice in the Lord, not in the world. That is, rejoice in the truth, not in wickedness, rejoice in the hope of eternity, not in the fading flower of vanity. That is the way to rejoice. Wherever you are on earth, however long you remain on earth, the Lord is near, do not be anxious about anything!”
“God provides the wind but man must raise the sails.”
“A man may lose the good things of this life against his will but, if he loses the eternal blessings, he does so with his own consent.”
“Do you wish to RISE? Begin by DESCENDING. You plan a tower that will pierce the CLOUDS? Lay first the foundation of HUMILITY.”
“If we live good lives, the times are also good. As we are, such are the times.”
“He who calls us, came here below, to give us the means of getting there. He chose the wood that would enable us to cross the sea – indeed, no-one can cross the ocean of this world, who is not borne by the Cross of Christ. Even the blind can cling to this Cross. If you can’t see where you are going very well, don’t let go of it, it will guide you by itself. ”
“We pray then to Him, through Him, in Him and we speak along with Him and He along with us. ”
Quote/s of the Day – 27 August – The Memorial of St Amadeus of Lausanne OCist (1110—1159) Bishop (I am unsure of whether he is a Saint or a Blessed as there seems to be disagreement about the final confirmation of his cultus. Whichever, he is a Saint of God!)
“O how marvellous are His wounds by which the wounds of the world were healed! How victorious His wounds, by which He slew death and stung hell!”
“Your Son appeared to us as an abundance of food when grievous famine threatened, as a spring of living water, to a life in distress and fainting from thirst in the heat.”
“He came from Him, from whom He did not depart, going forth from Him, with whom He stayed, so that without intermission, He was wholly in eternity, wholly in time, wholly was He found in the Father when wholly in the Virgin, wholly in His own majesty and in His Father’s, at the time when He was wholly in our humanity. ”
“He himself is your son, O Mary, He Himself rose from the dead on the third day and with your flesh ascended above all the heavens that He might fill all things. Therefore, O blessed lady, you have your joy, the object of your desire and the crown of your head have been granted you. He has brought to you the sovereignty of heaven through His glory, the kingdom of the world though His mercy, the subjugation of hell through His power. All things with their diverse feelings respond to your great and unspeakable glory – angels by honour, mortals by love, demons by terror. For you are venerated in heaven, loved in the world, feared in hell.”
“Has anyone ever come away from Mary, troubled or saddened or ignorant of the heavenly Mysteries? Who has not returned to everyday life gladdened and joyful because a request has been granted by the Mother of God?”
One Minute Reflection – 23 August – Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Readings: Isaiah 22: 19-23, Psalms 138: 1-2, 2-3,6, 8 (8bc), Romans 11:33-36, Matthew 16:13-20 and the Memorial of St Tydfil (Died c 480) Martyr of Wales
“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. ” … Matthew 16:17-18
REFLECTION – “We feel Ourself perfectly safe on the rock of Holy Church. … Supernatural force has never … been found wanting in the Church, nor have Christ’s promises failed; … nay, they are endowed with even greater force for Us after having stood the test of centuries and so many changes of circumstances and events.
Kingdoms and empires have passed away; peoples once renowned for their history and civilisation have disappeared; time and again the nations, as though overwhelmed by the weight of years, have fallen asunder; while the Church, indefectible in her essence, united by ties indissoluble with her heavenly Spouse, is here today radiant with eternal youth, strong with the same primitive vigour with which she came from the Heart of Christ dead upon the Cross. Men powerful in the world have risen up against her. They have disappeared and she remains! Philosophical systems without number, of every form and every kind, rose up against her, arrogantly vaunting themselves her masters, as though they had at last destroyed the doctrine of the Church, refuted the dogmas of her faith, proved the absurdity of her teachings. But those systems, one after another, have passed into books of history, forgotten, bankrupt; while from the Rock of Peter the light of truth shines forth as brilliantly as on the day when Jesus first kindled it on His appearance in the world and fed it with His Divine words: “Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass” (Mt 24:35). (…)
Wherefore, … turn your steps towards this unshaken rock upon which Our Saviour founded the Universal Church, so that the path of him, who is sincere of heart, may not be lost in devious windings.” … St Pope Pius X (1835-1914) (Papal reign: 1903 to 1914 – Encyclical “Iuncunda sane”
PRAYER – God our Father, for love of You, St Tydfil the Martyr, left the world and gave herself to a life of penitence, austerity and charity, loving You and Your Church with the greatest of all loves. Help us by her prayers, so to follow the path of life on earth, in complete love of You and thus of Your children, that we may obtain the fullness of joy in Your presence in heaven and be clothed fit for the wedding feast. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Thought for the Day – 20 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Confidence in the Providence of God
“Sometimes we grow discouraged and lose confidence in God. This may be the result of sickness, or of misfortune, or of misundstanding on the part of others. At any rate, on such occasions, we may feel as if we have been forgotten by God.
Jesus Christ willed to endure a trial of this nature when He was hanging upon the Cross, derided and jeered at by those whom He had come to redeem. “My God. my God,” He cried, “why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46). In the Garden of Gethsemane, however, He had already seen, in a terrifying vision, the sins and acts of ingratitude of the human race. He had begged His Father, to take away from Him, the chalice of suffering which had ben offered to Him but, He had added immediately: “Yet not my will but thine be done” (Lk 22:62).
We must behave in the same manner. Whether it is a physical or moral anguish which torments us, we must gaze upon the Crucifix and remember that Jesus suffered much more in obedience to the will of His Heavenly Father. We must never lack confidence in Divine Providence and resignation to the will of God. In the mysterious designs of God for us, this evil which we experience, is intended for our own good. It may have been sent to ennoble us or to purify us or to give us an opportunity of making reparation for our sins.
God has endowed suffering with a very purposeful mission n the world. It should have the effect of making us detached from earthly things and more preoccupied with spiritual matters. Let us trust in God, then and remember the words of the Holy Spirit: “Has anyone hoped in the Lord and been disappointed?” (Ecclus 2:10).
Quote/s of the Day – 19 August – The Memorial of St John Eudes Orat. (1601-1680) “Apostle of Two Hearts”
“I ask you to consider, that our Lord Jesus Christ is your true head and that you are a member of His body. He belongs to you as the head belongs to the body. All that is His is yours – breath, heart, body, soul and all His faculties. All of these you must use, as if they belonged to you, so that in serving Him, you may give Him praise, love and glory.”
“The crosses with which our path through life is strewn, associate us with Jesus in the mystery of His Crucifixion.”
“A man is no true Christian if he has no devotion to the Mother of Jesus Christ.
“Every Saint belongs to the Court of the Queen of All Saints.”
Quote/s of the Day – 6 August – Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Readings: Isaiah 56,1.6-7. Psalms 67(66),2-188.8.131.52, Romans 11,13-15.29-32, Matthew 15,21-28
“Great is your faith, be it done for you as you desire.”
“See her humility as well as her faith! … Behold the woman’s wisdom! … Behold her constancy!”
St John Chrysostom (347-407)
Father and Doctor of the Church
“I will suggest a means whereby you can praise God all day long… Whatever you do, do it well and you have praised God.”
“Patience is the companion of wisdom.”
St Augustine (354-430)
Father and Doctor of Grace
“Aspire to God with short but frequent outpourings of the heart, admire His bounty, invoke His aid, cast yourself in spirit at the foot of His Cross, adore His goodness, treat with Him of your salvation, give Him your whole soul – a thousand times in the day.”
“He who trusts in God can do all things.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Doctor of Charity
“Turn to God. Believe in God. Trust Him for a miracle.”
“God will not allow you to be lost if you persist in your determination not to lose Him.”
REFLECTION – “Through the glorious achievements of the holy Martyrs with which the Church blossoms everywhere, we are ourselves, proving to our own eyes, how true are the words we have been singing that: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Ps 116:15). For it is precious both in our sight and in the sight of Him, in whose name the death took place.
But the price of those deaths is the death of one man. How many deaths did that one man purchase by His death, for, if He had not died, the grain of wheat would not be multiplied? You heard His words when He drew near His passion, that is when He was drawing near to our redemption: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” On the Cross He carried out a vast transaction; there the purse of our price was unfastened and, when His side was opened by the lance of the soldier, there streamed the price for the redemption of the whole earth (cf. Jn 19:34).
Now the faithful ones and Martyrs have been purchased but the faithfulness of the Martyrs has been proved – their blood is the proof … “As Christ laid down his life for us, so we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1Jn 3:16). In another place it is stated: “At a grand table you have sat; now carefully consider what has been put before you, since it is your duty to prepare for such things” (cf. Prv 23:1). That table is great where the Lord of the table is Himself the meal. No-one feeds guests with Himself as food but this is exactly what the Lord Christ does, He, Himself is the host who invites; He, Himself is the food and the drink. Therefore, the Martyrs have recognised what they were eating and drinking so as to be able to repay such gifts. But whence can they make such return unless He who first paid the cost, supplies the source from which restitution may be made? That is the reason for the Psalm, where we sing what is written: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” ... St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo (North Africa), St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor – Sermon 329, for the Feast of the Martyrs, 1-2 ; PL 38, 1454
PRAYER – Lord God, You inspired St Lawrence with so ardent a love that his life was renowned for the service of Your people and his death for the splendour of his Martyrdom. Help us to love what he loved and to live as he showed us. St Lawrence, Martyr for Christ and His Church, pray for us. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever amen.
One Minute Reflection – 7 August – “Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” – Friday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Nahum 1:15; 2, 2; 3, 1-3, 6-7 (2, 1, 3; 3,1-3, 6-7), Responsorial psalm Deuteronomy 32:35-36, 39-41, Matthew 16:24-28 and the Memorial of St Donatus of Arezzo (Died 362) Bishop
“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” … Matthew 16:24
REFLECTION – “At the responsory: “See, the Lord our protector comes, the Holy One of Israel,” Gertrude understood, that if someone applies himself, with all his heart, to desire that his whole life be governed, in prosperity and adversity, according to the most laudable will of God, then by such thoughts, by God’s grace, he would be giving as much honour to God, as one would give to an emperor in placing the imperial crown on his head. …
She saw the Lord walking along a path, pleasant to behold, with fairest flowers and verdure but narrow and lined with dense hedges bristling with sharp thorns. She saw that He seemed to be preceded by a cross which parted the thorns and made the way wider and easier. With a serene expression on His face, turning toward those who belonged to Him, He invited them to follow Him, saying: “Whoever wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me…” (Mt 16:24).
From this she knew that the cross of each, is his own personal trial. For example, for some souls obedience is a cross when they are obliged to do what is contrary to their wishes. For others, to be burdened with infirmity, which acts as a restraint and so on. We should all carry our crosses and apply ourselves with a good will to suffer adversity gladly and, in addition, to do all that is in our power, neglecting nothing, which we know to be for the greater glory of God.” … St Gertrude of Helfta/the Great (1256-1302) Benedictine nun – The Herald of Divine Love, Book III, SC 143
PRAYER – “O my God, fill my soul with holy joy, courage and strength to serve You. Enkindle Your love in me and then walk with me along the next stretch of road before me. I do not see very far ahead but when I have arrived where the horizon now closes down, a new prospect will open before me and I shall be met with peace. How wondrous are the marvels of Your love, we are amazed, we stammer and grow dumb, for word and spirit fail us. Amen” … St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (1891-1942) Martyr St Donatus of Arezzo, Pray for us!
Thought for the Day – 4 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“I determined not to know anything among you,” wrote St Paul to the Corinthians, “except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2).
It was St Paul’s boast, that while the Jews were looking for signs and the Greeks were searching for wisdom, he continued to preach about Christ on the Cross. “The Jews ask for signs and the Greeks look for ‘wisdom’ but we, for our part, preach a crucified Christ – to the Jews indeed, a stumbling-block and to the Gentiles, foolishness” (1 Cor 1:22-23).
Christian doctrine and Christian living, are centred around Jesus Crucified.
Unfortunately, in modern times, as in the times of St Paul, the Crucifix is either ignored and forgotten, or attacked as a symbol of folly.
There is no need to be amazed at this.
When the holy old man, Simeon, took Jesus in his arms, he made the prophecy that this Child, would be “a sign that shall be contradicted” (Lk 2:34).
The world is proud of it’s scientific and technical progress, whereas the Crucifix, is the symbol of the lowliness to which God Himself descended for love of us.
The world is looking for pleasure and voluptuousness, whereas, the Crucifix preaches to us the spirit of sacrifice and the purifying value of suffering.
The world is fond of ease, riches and honour; the Crucifix demonstrates the depths of the love of God, Who became man for our sakes, suffered and died to redeem us from sin, taught us fraternal love and commanded us to carry our cross daily, if we wished to follow Him.
We must choose whether to follow Jesus Crucified, or to follow the world!
The world can only give us a vain and passing satisfaction, while the Crucifix can give us the peace of a good conscience, even in the midst of sorrow and trouble and the hope of lasting happiness in the next life.”
Thought for the Day – 25 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“We must recognise that we are all poor sinners in the sight of God.
Sacred Scripture warns us that “the just mans falls seven times” (Prov 24:16). “If we say that we have no sin,” says St John, “we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn 1:8).
Sin is the greatest evil because it offends God, our highest good and happiness.
It only needs our own malice for us to commit sin but, in order to make reparation for it and to redeem us from slavery, it was necessary for God to become man and to offer Himself as a victim of expiation for our sins.
Only a God-Man could have fully satisfied our debt, by offering Himself as a victim of reparation for His adopted brothers.
Jesus desires us to be associated with Him in His Passion, however (Cf Col 1:24).
Our justification cannot be something extrinsic to ourselves but should transform us and make us holy.
Our co-operation with divine grace is necessary for this purpose (1 Cor 15:10).
If we are in sin, we should not only repent but should purify ourselves by acts of penance.
Jesus Himself commands this. “Unless you repent, you will all perish,” (Lk 13:5) “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Mt 3:2, 4:17).
We must make satisfaction for our sins, therefore, by voluntary co-operation with the grace of God.
Although God is infinitely good and merciful, He will not purify us without this co-operation on our part.
We can be purified by accepting the unavoidable tribulations of life with perfect resignation and by offering to God, our own voluntary mortifications and sacrifices.
Are we prepared to follow the example of the Saints in this matter?”