Thought for the Day – 18 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Fifth Glorious Mystery The Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth
“Mary is also styled, ‘Queen of the Patriarchs‘ because, it was through her, that they came to possess the object of their desires, the divine Redeemer, Who released them from Limbo and brought them to Heaven. She is ‘Queen of the Prophets‘ because, their prophecies were realised through her. She is ‘Queen of the Apostles‘ whom she assisted and encouraged after the departure of her divine Son. She is the ‘Queen of Martyrs‘ because, her maternal heart was pierced by a sword of sorrow. She is ‘Queen of the Confessors‘ because, nobody else was capable of so deep and lively a profession of the Faith. She is ‘Queen of Virgins‘ because, her virginal purity was crowned by the supreme dignity of Mother of God. She is ‘Queen, moreover, of all the Saints‘, for no other human creature could ever surpass, or even dream of the summit of holiness, to which she attained. Above all, however, she is our Mother and our most powerful Queen. She loves us because, we have been redeemed by the Blood of her Son, Jesus Christ and she desires to obtain God’s favours for us and to take us under her maternal protection.
We, the children of Eve, in exile in the vale of tears, should turn to Mary with confidence and trust in her power to save us.”
Thought for the Day – 17 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Fourth Glorious Mystery The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin into Heaven
“Because we are wretched sinners, death for us is a punishment. Let us accept it with resignation. We should frequently offer to God whatever death He has in store for us, with all its sorrows and sufferings.
We can gain great merit in this way. As a result of our daily offering, God will surely grant us a more peaceful death. There are many people who long for death. Some desire it in moments of discouragement as a release from the sorrows of life. Others long for it, to bring to an end their struggle against their sinful inclinations and to assure them of an everlasting reward, to gain which, they may not even have made many sacrifices. The first kind of desire is unworthy of a true soldier of Christ, while the second, is presumptuous and self-interested. The only legitimate yearning for death, is the desire to be united, at last, with Jesus.
This was the nature of Mary’s death, as well as that of St Paul, who wrote that he desired “to depart and to be with Christ” (Phil 1:23).”
Thought for the Day – 16 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Third Glorious Mystery The Descent of the Holy Spirit
“The Apostles were completely transformed after the feast of Pentecost. They had ben ignorant rustics, timid and vacillating. They had hardly understood at all, the lofty teachings of Christ, for they were hoping still for an earthly kingdom in which they would occupy the highest posts.
When they received the Holy Spirit, however, their minds were flooded with supernatural light and they became heroic in their resolution. Ignorant, though they had been, they became masters of Truth, far superior to the sages of Athens or the philosophers of Rome. They were no longer timid and hesitating but, fearlessly encountered the power of the Sanhedrin, the whips of the soldiery, the dangers of long voyages and, Martyrdom itself.
We too have received the illumination and favours of the Holy Spirit. Many times, when we have invoked Him, He has inspired and consoled us. But we may not have responded with the same fervour and self-denial as the Apostles. Let us remember that, to neglect God’s gifts, is to risk our eternal salvation!”
Thought for the Day – 15 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Second Glorious Mystery The Ascension of Jesus into Heaven
“In the course of our ascent, we must never stop and decide that we have gone far enough! To stop would inevitably mean going backward. Jesus and Mary are inviting and encouraging us to go higher and higher.
Have we been purified of sin, the defiler of the soul and the destroyer of human dignity? Have we an intense horror, even of venial sin, which separates us from God and kills the life of grace? It is still not enough – we must go higher.
Are we generous and unselfish in the fight to achieve holiness, guarding ourselves against the evil suggestions of the world, the flesh and the devil? It is still not enough – we must continue to advance.
Do we carry the daily cross which God has entrusted to us and accept the burden with perfect resignation to His Holy Will? Very good but even this is not enough!”
Thought for the Day – 14 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The First Glorious Mystery The Resurrection of Our Lord
“Do we wish to share also in the joy of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? Let us imitate Mary. First of all, we must participate as she did in the sufferings of Christ. By meditating frequently on the Passion and Death of Christ, we can nourish in our hearts, an intense love for Him Who suffered so much for our salvation. Let us learn to carry our cross, as He carried His, with resignation and with conformity to God’s Will. Spiritual joy is always the fruit of renunciation and love.
We cannot be happy with Jesus triumphant ,if we have not first imitated Jesus suffering. We cannot rise gloriously into Heaven, if we have not first walked patiently with Mary along the Way of Calvary!”
Thought for the Day – 13 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery The Crucifixion
“Jesus had only one consolation in the midst of His terrible sufferings. His mother, Mary was beside the Cross along with His beloved Apostle and the holy women who had always followed Him. Mary loved her Son with a love greater than that of any mother, which is the greatest love possible on earth. She loved Jesus with the heart of a Mother and of a Virgin – He was her only treasure. Moreover, she loved Him, not only as her Son but, also as her God. Precisely because she loved Him as her God, her love was in perfect harmony with the divine will.
She understood the mystery which led Jesus to accept death on the Cross – the mystery of the Redemption. “He was offered because it was his own will” (Isa 53:7). He was offered on our behalf, as a voluntary victim to His heavenly Father.
In the same way, Mary freely offered herself to God, as a victim of expiation along with her Son. She saw on one hand, the Child of her womb – murdered and dying in frightful agony and, on the other, sinful humanity in need of redemption from its iniquity. She did not hesitate; even as she pronounced her Fiat when the Angel told her that she was to be the instrument of the Incarnation, so now, she repeated her acceptance of her part in the Redemption. By her first Fiat, she became the Mother of God; by her second Fiat, she became the loving Mother of poor sinners and our co-redemptrix in Jesus and for Jesus. “Woman, behold thy son,” (Jn 19:27) the Redeemer said, referring to John and to the entire humans race as represented by him.”
Thought for the Day – 12 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery The Road to Calvary
“The Moment soon pases. The executioners urge Jesus forward once more, towards the place of execution. His strength is exhausted and He stumbles several times beneath the weight of the Cross. Each time, however, He rises, covered with blood and dust and again, embraces the Cross.
How often we also fall! Sometimes because of the weight of our cross, we fall in discouragement or in despair. On these occasions, let us look towards the divine Sufferer and embrace our cross again, for it is the ladder by which we must ascend to Heaven.
Sometimes, it is sin which causes us to fall. If we have yielded to the violence of temptation, let us look towards Jesus, just the same. He Who loved us so much on the way to Calvary and on the tree of the Cross, is certainly ready to forgive and comfort us.
Thought for the Day – 11 October – Feast of the Divine Maternity – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Mary, Mother of God
“The near-infinite greatness of Mary, flows from the fact, that she is the Mother of God. The Eternal Word of the Father, consubstantial with Him in nature and equal to Him in majesty, willed to become man in order to set us free from the slavery of sin and to regain Heaven for us. He became man in the chaste womb of the Virgin Mary. He took a human body and soul and was born of her, as the God-Man. For this reason, there is attributed to His Divine Person, the title of Son of Mary and to Mary, the title of Mother of God.
There is a relationship between Mary and each of the three Divine Persons, for she is the daughter of God the Father, the spouse of the Holy Spirit by whose power the Word became incarnate in her and the mother of the Word made Man. She is, moreover, in the words of Dante, the “termine fisso di eterno consiglio” (Paradiso 33:1-3). In other words, she is the centre of the eternal plan which God established for the redemption of the human race. It was God’s eternal design to reunite creation to the Uncreated, by means of Mary. She became the mother of the Eternal Word, in whom the divine and human natures were indissolubly united. He redeemed us by His infinite merits but, in this work of redemption, He employed the co-operation of His holy Mother. All the graces, privileges and virtues of Mary, flow from this great mystery of her divine Motherhood. As befitted the future Mother of God, she was conceived free from the stain of original sin and full of grace. Her mortal life was a continuous ascent towards the highest peak of sanctity. When she died, she was assumed body and soul into Heaven, where she was crowned in glory, as Queen of Angels and Queen of Saints. When we consider the sublime nobility of Our Lady, we should be moved to love and venerate her. This love and veneration does not subtract in the slightest from God’s glory, because, she is the Mother of God. In fact, it is a great advantage to us, to imitate her and to call on her to intercede for us.”
Thought for the Day – 10 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Third Sorrowful Mystery The Crowning with Thorns
“When we see Jesus scourged and crowned with thorns, how can we complain if our path in life is also strewn with thorns? Jesus was the embodiment of innocence; He was God, yet He willed to suffer in order to expiate our sins and to teach us, that the surest road to Heaven is the way of the Cross. It was because the Saints understood this so clearly, that they were so eager to participate in the Passion of Jesus Christ and to offer Him, not only the inevitable sorrows of life but, also voluntary suffering of their own, as a proof of their love. Anyone who does not desire mortification and suffering, does not desire Heaven because, he is not a true follower of Jesus Crucified.
“They who belong to Christ,” says St Paul, “have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:24). Let us meditate carefully on the significance of these stern words, so often forgotten today.
Thought for the Day – 9 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Second Sorrowful Mystery The Scourging
“The Saints voluntarily imposed on themselves flogging and other severe penances, which would make us shudder in modern times, in order to control their bodily impulses and to expiate, along with Jesus, the sins of their fellowmen. Today, the pleasure-loving world cries out against such barbaric folly and extravagance. But you who are a Catholic, educated in the school of Christ Crucified, know that suffering has a mission in your life, that mortification is necessary for the control of the body.
We must make sacrifices in order to combat our evil impulses. We should avoid weakness and self-indulgence. Let us always remember that we are followers of Christ Crucified and should, therefore, be prepared to chastise our bodies, even to the point of undergoing martyrdom, if this is necessary, in order to avoid sin and to preserve our chastity.”
Thought for the Day – 8 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The First Sorrowful Mystery The Agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
“Let us pay particular attention to the scene in Gethsamane. Jesus is lying prostrate on the ground. He has given everything for sinful humanity. He has given His heavenly teaching, His miracles and His mercy. Even more, He has given Himself in the Blessed Eucharist, which He has instituted in the form of food and drink, to sustain men on their earthly journey.
Now, He lies prostrate in prayer. Near Him, are His Apostles who, already forgetful of the immense favours which they have received, are asleep!
Not far away, there is another Apostle, Judas, who has sold his Master for thirty pieces of silver, as a slave would be sold and is about to deliver Him to His executioners. But Jesus can see across the centuries – many other Judases, so many traitors, who will be indifferent and sleep, never thinking of Him and neglecting to make any return for His infinite love. His Passion is beginning now and will be protracted throughout the centuries. Before His Crucifixion, He drinks the bitter chalice of human ingratitude and, in His tremendous Agony, He perspire drops of Blood.”
Thought for the Day – 6 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Fourth Joyful Mystery The Purification of Our Lady and The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple
“Then Joseph and Mary carried the Infant Jesus to the Temple to offer Him to God and to buy Him back as their first-born Son, with the price paid by the poor, namely, with a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons. Let us reflect on this new act of humility on the part of the Holy Family. In spite of the supreme dignity which had been accorded them, they submitted quietly to the law which bound those in poverty and in sin. We, who are so fond of money and of ostentation, have much to learn from this scene. Jesus, the God-Man, is purchased back as a sinner for two for two young pigeons. Mary, the Immaculate Virgin and Mother and Joseph, the holiest and noblest of men, make themselves subject to the law of sin. We can derive from this, lessons in humility and in detachment from the goods of this world.”
Thought for the Day – 5 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Third Joyful Mystery The Birth of Jesus
“Like the simple shepherds, let us protrate ourselves with faith and with love before the Manger. Let us offer, as our gifts, our good resolutions; let us offer our hearts and ask God to change them and make them entirely His forever.
Quite suddenly, the darkness of the night and the wretchedness of the cave was illuminated by a bright light from Heaven. While men were unaware of, or indifferent to, the miraculous event which had taken place, bands of Angels descended from Heaven and sang: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace among men of goodwill” (Lk 2:13-14). Joseph bent over the divine Infant and silently adored Him, while the Blessed Virgin knelt at His Feet in loving contemplation.
Let us too, learn to adore and love Him, as His Mother and Foster-Father did.”
Thought for the Day – 4 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Second Joyful Mystery Mary’s Visit to St Elizabeth
“But are we as grateful to God as we ought to be! Do we correspond with His graces? Are we prepared to make any sacrifice in order to share with others the gifts with which He has enriched us?
Let us remember that gratitude is a virtue which is very pleasing to God and draws down on us other graces and gifts.
In his panegyric on Trajan, the younger Pliny observes that the best means of soliciting new favours, is to show gratitude for those which we have already received. On the other hand, as St Bernard points out, ingratitude is like a scorching wind, which dries up the dew of Divine Mercy (Sermon 5 in Cant). Let us be grateful to God, therefore and do our best to share with others the gifts which we have received. “Because He Who is mighty has done great things for me and Holy is His Name!” (Lk 1:46-55).”
Thought for the Day – 3 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The First Joyful Mystery The Annunciation
“Consider now Mary’s reaction to the reverence and praise with which the Angel greets her. Is she carried away by delight and exaltation at this solemn moment? Nothing of the sort! In her humility and modesty, she is disturbed by the Angel’s salutation and wonders what the reason is for it. “She was troubled at his word and kept pondering what manner of greeting this might be” (Lk 1:29).
How do we behave when we receive praise from our superiors or from our friends and acquaintances? We are pleased and overcome perhaps by feelings of vanity. We smile to ourselves and are convinced that we are of more consequence than we really are. We even feel the need to reveal our thoughts to others and, thereby, seek further aggrandisement! There is a world of difference between the simplicity and humility of the Blessed Virgin and our vain hunger for praise and honour.”
Thought for the Day – 2 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Our Guardian Angels
“The realisation that our Guardian Angel is always close at hand, should be a warning to us. It should prevent us from doing anything displeasing to God. Would we venture to do anything unbecoming in the presence of our Father or Mother, or of anyone for whom we have any regard? Definitely not and still less, should we dare to perform an evil action in the presence of our Angel, to whom we owe such gratitude and in the presence of God, our Creator, Lord and Redeemer, Who could, at any moment, snap the thread which binds us to life and plunge us into eternity.
Furthermore, when pride convinces us that we are of some importance, let us turn to our Angel and pray for the virtue of humility. When we begin to seethe with anger and long to utter words which are harsh and injurious, let us ask our Angel to pray on our behalf, for the gift of Christian gentleness. When the devil fills our minds with impure images and thoughts, let us ask our Angel to beseech God to give us the Christian fortitude to resist temptation and to imitate his angelic purity.
Finally, when tepidity is sapping the vigour of our interior life, let us pray to our Guardian Angel in the hope of obtaining a share in his intimate union with God.
Let us pray the Guardian Angel prayer or at least say: “My Guardian Angel enlighten me. My Guardian Angel help me. My Guardian Angel, protect me.” Amen.”
“One of the main advantages of the Rosary is that it enables us to unite with our vocal prayer, meditation on the principal Mysteries of our faith. During each decade we should meditate briefly on one of these Mysteries. In this way, our faith will be enlivened and we shall be roused to imitate, in our lives, the example of Jesus and Mary.
The Rosary is composed of the Church’s most beautiful prayers – the Our Father, which Jesus Himself taught us to say when addressiug our heavenly Father and the Hail Mary, which consists of the Angel’s greeting to the Blessed Virgin when he came to announce to her, that she was to be the Mother of God, of the inspired words of St Elizabeth on the occasion of the Visitation and of the moving plea for mercy, both now and at the hour of our death, which the Church places upon the lips of her sinful children (composed and proposed by St Peter Canisius 1521-1597) Doctor of the Church). Each decade concludes with the short hymn of praise in honour of the Blessed Trinity: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, amen. This prayer, expresses the two principal Mysteries of our faith, namely, the Unity and Trinity of God and, in an indirect fashion, the Incarnation of the Second Divine Person.
If we think of all this when we are fervently reciting the Holy Rosary, it will prove to be a treasury of grace.”
Thought for the Day – 30 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Death of the Just
Consider now the death of the just man. Through his dying tears, he also will see the world slipping away from him. But, one thing will remain to comfort him, namely, the memory of his good actions, of the virtues he acquired, of his fervent prayers and of his voluntary mortifications. Above all, there will remain his great love of God, for Whom he has lived, worked and drawn breath. In that moment, this love will even increase the flaming desire consuming his poor, frail body, to be united to God. He will be able to say, as some of the Saints have said – “I never thought it would be so sweet to die.” With St Louis, he will be able top say: “I am going joyfully to meet my God.” He will be able to exclaim with St Charles: “I long for my body to be dissolved, so that I may be with Christ!” (Phil 1:23)
In the sight of God, the death of the good man is a very precious thing. “Precious in the eyes of the Lord, is the death of His faithful ones” (Ps 115:6)
Thought for the Day – 29 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Death of the Sinner
“The Sinner must also die. For him death is really terrible. Imagine him lying on his deathbed, instinctively aware, that his life is over. The past will rise up to reproach him, a past full of sin and of ingratitude towards his Creator and Redeemer. The plans which he has centred around profit, ambition and honour, will have vanished like smoke. His friends, will have either deserted him, or will be at hand, to utter useless words, which will have no power to comfort him. Now he must stand alone, alone before God!
What will happen, at that moment? Perhaps, despair will overcome his soul, as it overcame the soul of Judas? Perhaps, the innumerable graces which he has despised, will tip the balance of Divine Justice towards the abyss of damnation? Or, will a final ray of mercy pierce his tired mind, burning with remorse, so that, with it’s last throb, his poor heart will torn towards God and implore His pardon? Who can say? It is certain, however, that of the two thieves dying beside the Cross of our Redeemer, only one heard Him say: “This day, you will be with me in Paradise!” The other, remained obdurate in his sin. It is the height of stupidity, to wait to be converted, at the hour of death!”
Thought for the Day – 28 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Goodness and Christian Courtesy
“St Francis de Sales was a model of gentleness and Chrisitan courtesy. He had every regard and respecct of his neighbour because he saw God in everyone and everyone in God.
He had the ability to listen to everybody with great patience and kindness, without ever showing any sign of tiredness or boredom, even when he was dealing with unpleasant people or when he was busy with far more important matters. He maintained his equilibrium and self-control, even after many hours of work and of difficult consultations. He was always prepared, moreover, to listen to the troubles of the poor.
Even when insulted and reviled, he displayed perfect serenity and calm. It was a result of this, that, with the helo of God, he made innumerable converts.
“Always be as gentle as you can,.” he was accustomed to advise “and remember that you will catch more flies with a spoon of honey than with a barrel of vinegar. If you must err, let it be on the side of gentleness ….” “Be humble,.” he wrote again “and you will be gentle. Humility makes the heart kind towards the perfect and the imperfect; towards the former through veneration, towards the latter through compassion.” (Letter 51).
How much we have to learn from the serenity and courtesy of this Saint – for, it is not without reason that he is known as “the Gentleman Saint” and an even greater title “the Gentle Christ of Geneva!.”
Thought for the Day – 27 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Power of God’s Love in the Christian Life
“Everyday, in the lives of the Saints, was a continual act of love of God. This was how they became holy. They loved God intensely all the time. They loved Him above all things. Everything which they thought, desired or did, was directed to Him. Their entire lives were consecrated to Him. We should all desire to be holy, if we do, we must love God with our whole heart, strength and will. Not until then, will every action of ours become meritorious. Holiness is born of the love of God. Without the love of God, everything is futile and useless; our conversation is so much idle chatter; our desires are empty dreams which excite us for a while and then dissolve like bubbles of soap; our actions are unprofitable and our enterprises are not aimed at a true objective; our achievements can inflate us for a time but they will leave us disillusioned at the hour of death. The love of God is necessary for us. He alone is entirely worthy of our affection. Other loves are passing but, this love is eternal. Other loves confuse and trouble us but, the love of God gives us peace of soul. Other loves weaken and vanish with time but, the love of God is the source of all holiness in this life and of eternal happiness in the next. Why, then, do we not forget our worldly preoccupations? Let us give our hearts to God forever and we shall be in possession of the one true happiness which never fades.”
Thought for the Day – 21 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“When Jesus was asked, what was the first commandment, He replied: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind and with thy whole strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than this” (Mk 12:30-31). As St Augustine says, the love of God and the love of neighbour are two branches of the same tree, the tree of charity. “If anyone says, ‘I love God’ and hates his brother,” St John warns us, “he is a liar” (1 Jn 4:20).
We must prove our love for God by showing charity towards our neighbour. All men are our brothers in Jesus Christ, Who has redeemed us by His Precious Blood. Our Lord has said that He will regard as done for Himself, anything which we do for the least of our brethren (Mt 25:10).
Like the Saints, we should see Jesus Himself living in the poor and the suffering. The Saints gave Him everything they had, not only their possessions but also their toil and their love.
Think how much those missionaries do who leave everything in order to go to foreign lands and win souls for Christ. Think of the charitable work of the sisters and nurses in the hospitals, asylums and orphanages. What are we doing?”
Thought for the Day – 25 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“The Crucifix is the open book in which men can read of God’s infinite love for them. The Saints wept before the Crucifix because they realised that the sufferings and death of the Redeemer were the result of sin and so, they learned to avoid sin at all costs. They meditated on the last words of Jesus dying on the Cross, words which so clearly illustrate His infinite mercy towards us.
We should follow the example of the Saints in this devotion. Let the Crucifix be the most precious object in our homes and let us love to hold it in our hands. Let it recall for us, the tragedy of Mount Calvary, when Jesus was stripped of His garments and nailed to the Cross, was raised up to suffer indescribable agonies, forgave His executioners and forgave us our sins, pardoned the penitent thief and bequeathed to us the last treasured possession which was left to Him, His most holy Mother.
Let us weep for sins and increase in love for our divine Redeemer.”
Thought for the Day – 24 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Sacrifices of Life
“When we say that we must be prepared to make any sacrifice, even to die, rather than offend God and risk eternal damnation, we mean exactly what we say. “If thy right eye is an occasion of sin to thee,” Jesus says in the Gospel, “pluck it out and cast it from thee; for it is better for thee that one of thy members should perish than that thy whole body should be thrown into hell. And if thy right hand is an occasion of sin to thee, cut it off and cast it from thee; for it is better for thee that one of thy members should be lost, than thy whole body shuld go into hell” (Mt 5:29-30).
We are prepared to do all this when there is a question of preserving mortal life; we are prepared to undergo an amputation in order to avoid death. Are we prepared to do as much for eternal salvation?
Sometimes, when we wish to set ourselves free from the danger of sin, we must deprive ourselves of things that are dear to us; we must suppress our natural instincts and affections and we must impose on ourselves severe penances and bodily mortifications. All this is demanded from us by Jesus in these words which seem hard and almost cruel but are none other than a just and necessary commandment. In certain grave cases, heroism is necessary for all – now is the time of heroes! Are we courageous for Christ and for eternal life with Him?”
Thought for the Day – 23 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Necessity of Meditation
“With desolation is all the land made desolate because, there is none that considereth in the heart” (Jer 12:11). Very often the world is plunged in the desolation of evil because there is nobody who will speak with God in the silence of his heart and try to regulate his life according to His holy commandments. It is in a particularly outstanding way today, that the heresies of actionism and externalism dominate the great mass of mankind. To act, to rush, to arrive … above all, to arrive! But to arrive where? In this frantic, frenzied and tumultuous race, in which good people are often found competing, two very sure things are forgotten, namely, that we shall finally arrive at death and, that from death we shall pass on to eternity. The whole course of our lives, therefore, should be directed toward this end. But, if we are to keep this end in view, prudent reflection is essential, especially meditation, made with the assistance of the Divine Light, on the eternal truth.
Absorbed in the deafening din of the world around us, it is difficult to hear the voice of God. At least, for a little while each day, we must create within ourselves, a zone of silence, in order to listen to His voice. Since God speaks readily in the silence of the heart, let us recollect ourselves before Him, in this quiet oasis. At least a quarter of an hour of daily meditation is essential for the life of a Christian. This should be the jumping-off board for all the actions of day, if we wish these to be correct and productive of good.
It is very useful, moreover, to recall to mind frequently during the day, the resolutions which have been formed and to accompany these reflections, with short prayers, aspirations and acts of love for God.”
Thought for the Day – 22 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Word and Example
“We should give good example everywhere and in every way, at home and in the Church, in the company of those who are subordinate to us and of those who have authority over us, in speech and in dress, by moderation in our eating habits and in the furnishings of our house, by the pictures which we hang in our rooms and by the books and magazines which we read. We should be particularly careful to keep, in safe custody, those books and journals which are necessary to us for purposes of study but could be an occasion of sin for others.
Our whole demeanour should radiate goodness. Let us remember the words of St James: “He who causes a sinner to be brought back from his misguided way, will save his soul from death and, will cover a multitude of sins” (Is 5:20). By saving the souls of others, we save our own!”
Thought for the Day – 21 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Following Jesus, the Divine Model
“Jesus is the Divine Model, Whom we ought to follow and imitate. In Him, the virtues possess both the infinite splendour of the Divinity and the gentle appeal of glorified Humanity. Jesus does not dazzle us with His brightness but kindly invites us to love and follow Him. “Learn from me” He says, “for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls” (Mt 11:29). After He has indicated humility, meekness and interior peace, as the foundations of the spiritual life, He invites us to take up the yoke of His law and assures us, that we shall find it light (Mt 11).
If we follow Jesus, even though we are bowed with Him, beneath the weight of the Cross, we shall experience, even in this life, a reflection of the peace and joy which will be our reward in Heaven.”
Thought for the Day – 20 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Word of God
“After Holy Communion, the Word of God is the most nourishing food of the soul. St Augustine urges us to listen to the Word of God with the same devotion with which we approach the Blessed Eucharist. It is the normal method God uses to communicate with our souls in order to instruct and enlighten them and to lead them along the path of virtue. It is true, that God sometimes makes direct contact with us by means of good inspirations or extraordinary graces but, the ordinary way in which He calls us to eternal life, is by His divine Word, whether it is proclaimed by His ministers, read in Sacred Scripture, illustrated in the lives of the Saints, or, outlined by masters of the spiritual life. Most important of all, is the living word of the lawful representatives of God. Jesus did not specifically command His Apostles to write but to preach. “He who believes and is baptised,” He added, “shall be saved but he who does not believe, shall be condemned” (Cf Mk 16:16). Mary Magdalen was converted by the preaching of Jesus and wept for her sins. The sermons of St John the Baptist called upon the Jewish people to do penance. Centuries earlier, the prophet Nathan had converted David by means of the inspired Word of God and the prophet Jonah, had roused the Ninivites to repentance. We should treasure the Word of God. We should read and listen to it, with humility and devout attention. Whenever we hear a sermon, or read Sacred Scripture, or some spiritual book, we should reflect, that, it is God Himself Who is preaching to us! We should not be guided merely by a spirit of curiosity, desire for knowledge, or love of eloquence or literary style but, by the determination to apply such instruction to ourselves and to put it into practice.”
Thought for the Day – 19 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Unless You Turn and Become Like Little Children, You Will Not Enter into the Kingdom of Heaven”
“At the beginning of their ministry, before they had been strengthened and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the Apostles were as ambitious as most other men. One day, the mother of John and James, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and asked Him, if her two sons could have precedence over the other Apostles and sit on the highest thrones in His kingdom, one at His right hand and the other at His left. Jesus disapproved of this desire to predominate. “Whoever wishes to become great among you,” He said, “shall be your servant and, whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; even as the Son of Man has not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:26-28).
On another occasion, the Apostles came to Jesus and asked Him, which of them would be the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. Jesus’ only answer was to call a little child and to place him in the centre of the group. “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whoever, therefore, humbles himself as this little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3-4).
This is the lofty teaching of the Gospel. If we wish to be great and pleasing in the eyes of God, we must be unimportant in our own regard and in our relations with men. The Gospel involves an overthrow of human values. Anyone who makes himself insignificant, will become great. Anyone who tries to make himself out to be a great man, becomes of little account in the eyes of God. “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (Cf Js 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). If we wish to please the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the first thing we must do, is become as little children. In other words, we shall have to suppress our ambition and vanity and destroy our self-love, so that, the Sacred Heart may fill our hearts with the love of God alone!”
Thought for the Day – 18 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Seeing God in All Things
“Sometimes we fail to see God in all the events of life because we lack faith and absolute confidence in the Lord. We must try to increase this faith and live always in the presence of God and, we must regard the honour and glory of this world as worth absolutely nothing without God. “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world but suffer the loss of his own soul?” (Mt 16:26).
We often attach too much importance to the things of this world, which, viewed in the light of eternity are worth very little. When we find ourselves at the point of death and think back over the events of life, how small these things will seem to us! Then, we shall marvel at our folly and regret that we worried so much about them, while we allowed ourselves to forget the only Being really necessary to us, God Himself! St Francis de Sales said, that when we arrive at the end of life, the affairs with which we have been preoccupied, will seem about as important, as the sand-castles we built as children, castles which cost us a lot of trouble to build and a great deal of sorrow afterwards, when they had been destroyed!”