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Thought for the Day – 24 April – Gospel Reading

Thought for the Day – 24 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Gospel Reading

“The Gospel is the books of books, for it contains, not the words of men but the words of God.
In the beginning, the Word of God was made man ad became the life-giving Word during His earthly life.
Thus we have the written Word in the Sacred Scriptures.
When we read the Gospel, we should imagine that Jesus is there before us, so that we can hear the Words from His divine lips and feel the breath of His life and the fire of His love.

“In heaven” says St Augustine, “Jesus continues to speak to us on earth through His Gospel.”
His Words are the bright stars which should gude men – often wandering in the darkness of error or engulfed in the abyss of sin – through the way of virtue and goodness towards Heaven.

The more one penetrates the Gospel, the more one gets to know Jesus Christ.
St Augustine writes that the Gospel is another way, which Jesus has chosen, of remaining among us.
The same holy Doctor does not hesitate to say, that “he who scorns even of these sacred words, would be no less guilty, than if he let the Blessed Eucharist fall on the ground through negligence.”

When we read the sacred pages, we begin to understand the infinite goodness of Jesus.
We see Him whimper and suffer in the manger at Bethlehem; we see Him humbly working as a poor labourer in the workshop in Nazareth; we see Him pardon Magdalene and the penitent adulteress; we see Him restore life to the dead, sight to the blind and health to all kinds of sick people; in the supper room, we see Him give us Himself, under the veil of the Blessed Eucharist, at the very moment when He was forgotten, denied and betrayed; we see Him in the Praetorium before Pilate, where He was scourged for our sins; we see Him on Calvary dying on a cross for us, forgiving His crucifiers and promising Heaven to the penitent thief and, finally, we see Him rising from the dead and ascending gloriously into Heaven, where He went to prepare a place for us, should we persevere as His faithful followers, “I go to prepare a place for you” (Jn 14:2).

The Saints often read and meditated on the Gospel.
It provided spiritual food for their souls.
In the life os St Philip Neri, we read, that during his last years, he read nothing but the Gospels, especially the Gospel of St John, which treats profoundly of the love of God.

Do you read the Gospels?
With what dispositions and with what results do you read it?
In modern times, unfortunately, very few read it at all.
That is why so many stray so far from the spirit of Jesus and why, they often display a material form of piety, insipid and useless, in the practice of the Catholic life!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 14 October – The Second Glorious Mystery – The Ascension of Jesus into Heaven

Thought for the Day – 14 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

“Month of the Holy Rosary”
The Second Glorious Mystery
The Ascension of Jesus into Heaven

“Forty days after His glorious resurrection, Jesus came, with all His friends, among them His Mother, to the Mount of Olives.
This area had already witnessed the opening phase of His passion, which was all the more poignant, perhaps because in Gethsemane, it was not only His body which was lacerated by scourges and nails but, His soul, which experienced the agonising vision of the sins and ingratitude of the human race.
Now, however, He is here with a glorified body as the Conqueror of sin and of death.
He looks for the last time on His small band of followers, to whom He has entrusted His mission of transforming the entire universe by preaching and putting into practice, the Gospel message, throughout the world.
Now, He promises them the Holy Spirit, Who will give them the power to overcome evil.
Then He is lifted up toward Heaven, until a bright cloud hides Him from their sight.

Perhaps, the Blessed Mother, was the last to take her eyes off the disappearing cloud which had removed Jesus from view.
Her human eyes never saw again the beloved figure of her divine Son but, in her soul, she saw Him entering triumphantly into Heaven among choirs of Angels and sitting at the right hand of the Eternal Father.
She saw and thought with infinite yearnng of the not too distant day, when she would have passed from mortal exile, into the everlasting happiness of Heaven, where she would embrace her divine Son again in an ecstasy of love.

We have all been called to ascend to Heaven with Jesus and Mary.
Let us remember, however, that only the innocent and the repentant can be admitted into Paradise.
If we have been unfortunate enough to have lost our baptismal innocence, only the second way is left to us – the way of penance.
We must purify ourselves of our sins by means of good works.
We must ascend higher and highter, towards the summit of Christian perfection.

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Meditations for Each Day with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Meditations for Each Day with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)cardinal bacci.jpg

I plan, in 2020, to use Cardinal Bacci’s Daily Meditations in my usual ‘Thought for the Day’.

From the Introduction to his book:

“The frenetic pace of modern life presents a host of challenges for the Catholic who wishes to grow in sanctity.   Distracted by the pressures of modernity, it often leaves him little room for making a profound and serious study of the state of his interior life.
The Catholic Faith is not only to be believed but applied to our everyday life and as St James has said, “faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself” (Js 2:14).
An excellent means of helping a soul interiorise the principles of the Faith and to dispose the soul to greater acts of love of God, is through daily meditation.   This brings us to the present book, written by Antonio Cardinal Bacci, who was one of the most renowned Latinists of the 20th century.

[These Meditations] will aid the reader in exploring the depths of the Catholic Faith and, if understood and prayerfully read, hopefully will help him persevere in virtue, as Cardinal Bacci states:   “The masters of the spiritual life assure us that without the practice of meditation, it is almost impossible for the just man to persevere in virtue, or for the tepid to become fervent, or for the sinner to be converted.” (Med 2 Jan)

What sources does Cardinal Bacci use to compose his reflections?   As a classicist, he approaches the great sources of the ancient world …. he shows his great familiarity with the wisdom of the Church Fathers, especially through the works of St Augustine.   His constant guide is St Thomas Aquinas, whose penetrating reason illuminated by Divine Revelation, probes the profound beauty and mystery of Catholicism.   The Imitation of Christ is another cherished companion, indicating that Cardinal Bacci has made it’s teachings an integrated part of his life.   Of course, the words of Sacred Scripture, spill out on almost every page, giving life to St Jerome’s words, who said, that “ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

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Unfortunately, there is not a great deal of biographical information about Cardinal Bacci in English.

Antonio Cardinal Bacci was born in Giugnola, Italy and was Ordained a Priest in 1909, becoming a faculty member and rector of the Archiepiscopal Seminary of Florence between 1910 and 1922.   Due to his reputation as a Latinist – already at such a young age – during the latter part of 1922, he was chosen to work for the Secretariate of the Vatican State.   Made an honourary Chamberlain for Pope Pius XI the following year, he soon earned the great trust and respect of the then Secretary for Briefs, Msgr Nicola Sebastiani.   In this role he composed letters and Pontifical documents in Latin “with pose and prudence … weighing and adjusting thoughts and expressions even to the smallest shades of meaning.”   When Msgr Sebastiani died, Cardinal Bacci took over the Secretariate for Briefs.   During this time he published an Italian-Latin dictionary.

In 1960, St Pope John XXIII made him a Cardinal Deacon and consecrated him as titular Archbishop of Colonia de Cappadocia two years later.   He participated in all the sessions of Vatican II and made an impassioned address to the Council on the use of Latin.

In 1971, he died of a stroke in his Vatican apartment, after having spent nearly 50 years, in direct service to 4 Popes.

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“In writing these pages, I have desired, to do a little good, … first of all for myself and secondly for those who may wish to read and reflect upon them.   I hoped to accomplish something for myself, in that I wrote down these short daily meditations, in order to be able to remember them more easily and to be able to turn to them whenever the opportunity should arise.   Then, on the advice of enlightened friends, I decided to publish them in the hope that they might prove useful to others.

It was my intention to produce an edifying, rather than, an erudite work.   This explains the simple style and the repetition of certain ideas.   I have found it convenient to return to these ideas at regular intervals, in order to impress them more deeply on the mind and heart of the reader.

There are many well-written books of meditation but they are either too long and, therefore, inaccessible to many classes of people, who complain that they have not time to read them, or they are written in an antiquated style, which is not acceptable today. The result is, that many persons, including some who are genuinely holy, never make a meditation at all and this, is a very great loss.

I have done my best to be concise and, at the same time, to offer an abundance of ideas, in the hope that the reader … may derive from them, material for useful reflections and for profitable resolutions.

May God and the Blessed Virgin bless my labour so that it may be the source of good, for many souls, amen.”Antonio Cardinal Bacci