Thought for the Day – 13 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Grace of God
“It is astonishing to consider how much St Paul accomplished when he had been transformed by the grace of God. Formerly, a persecutor of Christians, he became the Apostle of the Gentiles. Enlightened by faith and inspired by charity, he travelled the globe, spreading everywhere, the religion of Jesus Christ.
He feared neither the anger of the hostile Jews, nor the tribunals of the Roman judges, neither long and difficult journeys, nor scourging, shipwreck and imprisonment. “The love of Christ impels us,” (2 Cor 5:14) he said. It was the love of God which drove him on and on, until he met his martyrdom. But what about ourselves? We also have received grace from God. Often we hear His voice appealing to us to abandon our sinful ways, to practise virtue, to love Him more ardently and to prove our love, by deeds. If we co-operate, we shall be able to say with St Paul: “by the grace of God, I am what I am and his grace in me has not been fruitless,” (1 Cor 15:10) and “I have laboured … yet, not I but the grace of God with me” (ibid).
It is wise to recall, however, that Judas also received special graces from God. He did not correspond with them and was probably damned for eternity. If we fail to correspond with God’s graces, the result will be tragic for ourselves.”
“Woe to you Pharisees! for you love the best seat in the synagogues and salutations in the market places.”…Luke 11:43
REFLECTION – “Forms of zeal, taking the appearance of good, are to be met with. There is, for example, the zeal of the Pharisee, strict observers of the outward law. This bitter zeal (…) has its source, not in the love of God and of our neighbour but in pride. Those who are tainted with it are filled with inordinate esteem for their own perfections; they do not conceive of any other ideal than their own; they want to bend everyone to their own way of seeing and doing; hence arise dissensions. This zeal tends to hatred.
See with what acrimony the Pharisees, moved by this zeal, pursue the Lord Jesus, putting insidious questions to Him, setting snares to entrap Him, seeking not to know the truth but to find Christ in fault. See how they press Him, how they try to induce Him to condemn the woman taken in adultery: “Now Moses in the Law commanded us to stone such a one. But what sayest Thou?” (Jn 8:5). (…) See, too, how they reproach Him for healing on the Sabbath day (Lk 6:7); how they complain of the disciples for rubbing the ears of corn in their hands on the day of rest (Mt 12:2); how they are scandalized at seeing the Divine Master sit down at dinner with the sinners and publicans (Mt 9:2). These are so many manifestation of this bitter zeal into which hypocrisy so often enters.” – Blessed Columba Marmion OSB (1858-1923) Abbot – Good Zeal (Christ the Ideal of the Monk
PRAYER – Heavenly Father, grant that I may believe what I have learned, never presuming to know better than the teachings of Holy Mother Church and that I may put into practice what I believe. Let my commitment be like unto the Bishop, St Fortunatus of Todi, who lived Your Word with joy and great zeal for faith in Christ, Your Son, God with You and the Holy Spirit, amen.