Thought for the Day – 30 May – “Mary’s Month” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Ascension of Jesus
“When we meditate on the Ascension, we should humbly ask God, to give us the grace, to strip ourselves of our sins and defects.
Then we shall be able to fly towards Him with love and hope in this life and, when our soul has been set free from the body which imprisons it on earth, we shall be able to set out on our last joyful flight into His presence.
These are the reflections which should be in our minds around the feast of the Ascension.
These are the desires which we should foster and the resolutions which we should form.
Let us ask Our Lord, to bless them.
O Mary, my most holy Mother, implore your divine Son Jesus, now ascended into Heaven, that I may be more detached from the useless and passing goods of this earth.
Ask Him to purify my soul from every stain of sin and to strengthen my will, in it’s good resolutions.
Ask Him that my heart may rise nearer to God and to you, through it’s desire for perfection.
Quote/s of the Day – 24 May – 24 May – “Mary’s Month” – The Seventh Sunday of Easter, Readings: Acts 1:12-14, 1 Peter 4:13-16, Psalm 27(26):1.4.7-8a, John 17:1-11
“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours. All mine are yours and all yours are mine and I am glorified in them. … Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.”
“… Rather, we pray in public as a community and not for one individual but for all. For the people of God are all one. … The urgency and the unity of their prayer declares that God, who fashions a bond of unity among those who live in His home, will admit into His divine home, for all eternity, only those who pray in unity. …Profess your belief that you are sons of God by giving thanks. Call upon God who is your Father in heaven.”
“The Lord’s words were spoken about His own Church and addressed to members of the Church. If they are agreed, if, as He commanded but two or three are gathered together and pray with one mind, then, although they are but two or three, they can obtain from the divine majesty what they ask. … That means, of course, with the single-hearted and peaceable, with those who fear God and keep His commandments.”
St Cyprian of Carthage (c 200-258)
Bishop, Father of the Church and Martyr
“Out of compassion for us He descended from heaven and although He ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in Him by grace. Thus, no-one but Christ descended and no-one but Christ ascended, not because there is no distinction between the head and the body but because the body, as a unity, cannot be separated from the head.”
St Augustine (354-430)
Father and Doctor of Grace
“A Christian has a union with Jesus Christ – more noble, more intimate and more perfect than the members of a human body have with their head!”
St John Eudes (1601-1680)
“Let us consider that mosaic of Jesus in Monreale Cathedral. Each of us is like a little glass tile in that great mosaic. Therefore, each of us must understand our role and help others understand theirs, so that together, we can make up the unique face of Christ.”
One Minute Reflection – 21 May – “Mary’s Month” – Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, Readings: Acts 18: 1-8, Psalms 98: 1, 2-3, 3-4, John 16: 16-20 and the Memorial of Blessed Franz Jägerstätter OFS (1907-1943) Layman Martyr “The Man Who Would Not Bow His Head to Hitler.”
“A little while and you will see me no longer” … John 16:16
REFLECTION – “The Ascension of Christ into heaven is in accord with reason – firstly, because heaven was due to Christ by His very nature. It is natural for someone to return to the place from whence they take their origin. The beginning of Christ is from God, who is above all things. Jesus says to the Apostles (Jn 16:28): “I came from the Father and have come into the world and now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father” … The just ascend into heaven but not in the manner that Christ ascended, namely by His own power, for they are taken up by Christ – “Draw me, we will run after thee.” (Sg 1:3) Or indeed, we can say that no-one but Christ has ascended into heaven, because the just do not ascend, except, insofar as they are members of Christ who is the head of the Church. … Secondly, heaven is due to Christ because of His victory. For He was sent into the world to combat the devil and he did overcome Him. Therefore, Christ deserved to be exalted above all things – “I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne” (Rv 3:21)
Finally, the Ascension was owing to Christ because of His humility. There never was humility so great as that of Christ who, although He was God yet wished to become man and although He was the Lord, yet He wished to take the form of a servant and, as Saint Paul says: “He was obedient even unto death” (Phil 2:7) and descended even into hell. Therefore, He deserved to be exalted even to heaven, to God’s throne, for humility leads to exaltation. “For whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Lk 14:11) and, “the one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens” (Eph 4:10).” … St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Doctor Angelicus/Doctor Communis – Commentary on the Apostle’s Creed
PRAYER – Lord God, You bestowed the Holy Spirit on Your Apostles while they were at prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Fill us too with the gift of Your grace in the Holy Spirit, that we may live our lives both in prayer and action and grant, that by Mary’s prayer, and the prayer of Your loving Martyr, Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, we may give You faithful service and spread abroad the glory of Your name, by word and example and thus ascend to You, to live forever in Your Light. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, Your divine Son, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever, amen.
Thought for the Day- 4 May – Saturday of the Second Week of Easter
God’s Plan of Salvation
Second Vatican Council
An excerpt from Sacrosanctum Concilium, #7-8
In His desire that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, God spoke in former times to our forefathers through the prophets, on many occasions and in different ways. Then, in the fullness of time He sent His Son, the Word made man, anointed by the Holy Spirit, to bring good news to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted as the physician of body and spirit and the mediator between God and men. In the unity of the person of the Word, His human nature was the instrument of our salvation. Thus in Christ, there has come to be, the perfect atonement that reconciles us with God and we have been given the power to offer the fullness of divine worship.
This work of man’s redemption and God’s perfect glory was foreshadowed by God’s mighty deeds among the people of the Old Covenant. It was brought to fulfilment by Christ the Lord, especially through the paschal mystery of His blessed passion, resurrection from the dead and ascension in glory – by dying He destroyed our death, and by rising again He restored our life. From His side, as He lay asleep on the cross, was born that wonderful sacrament, which is the Church in its entirety.
As Christ was sent by the Father, so in His turn He sent the apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit. They were sent to preach the Gospel to every creature, proclaiming that we had been set free from the power of Satan and from death by the death and resurrection of God’s Son and brought into the kingdom of the Father. They were sent also to bring into effect, this saving work that they proclaimed, by means of the sacrifice and sacraments that are the pivot of the whole life of the liturgy.
So, by baptism men are brought within the paschal mystery. Dead with Christ, buried with Christ, risen with Christ, they receive the Spirit that makes them God’s adopted children, crying out – Abba, Father and so they become the true adorers that the Father seeks.
In the same way, whenever they eat the supper of the Lord they proclaim His death until He comes. So, on the very day of Pentecost, on which the Church was manifested to the world, those who received the word of Peter were baptised. They remained steadfast in the teaching of the apostles and in the communion of the breaking of bread, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people.
From that time onward the Church has never failed to come together to celebrate the paschal mystery, by reading what was written about Him in every part of Scripture, by celebrating the Eucharist in which the victory and triumph of His death are shown forth, and also by giving thanks to God for the inexpressible gift He has given in Christ Jesus, to the praise of God’s glory.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen
Quote of the Day – 14 May – Monday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide
This Faith, increased by the Lord’s Ascension and established by the gift of the Holy Ghost, was not terrified by bonds, imprisonments, banishments, hunger, fire, attacks by wild beasts, refined torments of cruel persecutors. For this Faith throughout the world, not only men but even women, not only beardless boys but even tender maids, fought to the shedding of their blood.
This Faith cast out spirits, drove off sicknesses, raised the dead and through it, the blessed Apostles themselves also, who after being confirmed by so many miracles and instructed by so many discourses, had yet been panic-stricken by the horrors of the Lord’s Passion and had not accepted the truth of His resurrection without hesitation, made such progress after the Lord’s Ascension, that everything which had previously filled them with fear was turned into joy.
For they had lifted the whole contemplation of their mind to the Godhead of Him, that sat at the Father’s right hand and were no longer hindered by the barrier of corporeal sight from directing their minds’ gaze to He (That Which) had never left the Father’s side in descending to earth and had not forsaken the disciples in ascending to heaven.
….Let us then, dearly-beloved, resist this pestilential evil and follow after charity, without which no virtue can flourish, that by this path of love whereby Christ came down to us, we too may mount up to Him, to Whom with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, is honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Doctor of the Church
13 May – The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
We, the members of Christ’s body, ascended to heaven with the Lord, through love…. a Sermon by St Augustine(354-430)- Father and Doctor of Grace , delivered on the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord
Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with Him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as he remained with us even after His ascension, so we too are already in heaven with Him, even though what is promised us, has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.
Christ is now exalted above the heavens but He still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of His body, have to bear. He showed this when He cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and when He said: I was hungry and you gave me food.
Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with Him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to Him? While in heaven, He is also with us and we while on earth, are with Him. He is here with us by His divinity, His power and His love. We cannot be in heaven, as He is on earth, by divinity but in Him, we can be there, by love.
He did not leave heaven when He came down to us, nor did He withdraw from us when He went up again into heaven. The fact that He was in heaven even while He was on earth is borne out, by His own statement: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.
These words are explained by our oneness with Christ, for He is our head and we are His body. No one ascended into heaven except Christ, because we also are Christ: He is the Son of Man by His union with us and we by our union with Him are the sons of God. So the Apostle says: Just as the human body, which has many members, is a unity, because all the different members make one body, so is it also with Christ. He too has many members, but one body.
Out of compassion for us He descended from heaven and although He ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in Him by grace. Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended, not because there is no distinction between the head and the body but because the body, as a unity, cannot be separated from the head.
This reading, used in the Roman Liturgy’s office of readings for the Solemn Feast (Solemnity) of the Ascension, is taken from a homily by St Augustine (Sermo de Ascensione Domini, Mai 98, 1-2, PLS 2, 494-495). The Ascension is the second glorious mystery of the Rosary.