Thought for the Day – 25 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “Hail Mary”
“After the Lord’s Prayer, there is no more beautiful prayer than the Hail Mary, which we should recite with particular devotion in the decades of the Holy Rosary. At the beginning of the Rosary, we can imgine that we are witnesses of the Annunciation to Mary, in her home at Nazareth. An Angel descends from Heaven and bows before the Blessed Virgin as she kneels, absorbed in prayer. “Hail, full of grace,” he says, “the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women” (Lk 1:26-28). We should join with the Angel of God in repeating these words fervently and devoutly.
The constant repetition of this prayer is very pleasing to Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother. When we greet her with the words of the Angel, we remid her of the great mystery of the Incarnation, which was the beginning of her lofty mission as co-redemptrix and the dawn of Christian civilisation.
Even when we say these words over and over again, they can never become monotonous. When a son is speaking to his mother, every word possesses an unlimited warmth and meaning because, it is the expression of a boundless love. When we recite the decades of the Rosary, we should think of the heavenly Mother who is watching over us and listening to us, eager to console and assist us. She loves us with a maternal love but, she requires us to love her also and to prove that we are her children by imitating her virtues.”
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.”
Thought for the Day – 24 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “Lead Us Not Into Temptation”
“Let no man say, when he is tempted,” St James warns us, “that he is tempted by God; for God is no tempter to evil and he himself tempts no-one. But everyone is tempted by being drawn away and enticed by his own passion. Then, when passion has conceived, it brings forth sin but when sin has matured, it begets death” (Js 1:13-15).
When we ask God during the Pater Noster not to lead us into temptation, we should really beseech Him to rescue us from temptation. We should not request this in any absolute sense, however, for it would be a poor soldier who would refuse to be tried in battle. Our prayer should be prompted by a holy fear of offending God. We should ask Him, therefore, either to set us free from temptations or to grant us the grace to overcome them. We should then co-operate earnestly with divine grace in resisting these temptations and should adopt the means necessary to overcome them.
In the first place, we should never go voluntarily into an occasion of sin. What use is it asking God to rescue us from temptations, if we immediately proceed to go in search of them? When possible, therefore, avoid the occasions of sin. “He who loves danger,” says the Holy Spirit, “will persist in it” (Ecclus 3:25). If duty or charity compels us to expose ourselves to danger, God will certainly help us. But, if we fail to recognise our own frailty and expose ourselves voluntarily to the risk of committing sin, God is not obliged to work a miracle to save us. Our presumption and imprudence will be severely punished.”
Thought for the Day – 23 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “As We Also Forgive Our Debtors”
“When we ask God to forgive us, we promise to forgive those who have offended us. Unless we are to be guilty of deception, therefore, we must pardon them. If we refuse to forgive, God will not forgive us. Jesus tells us in the Gospel, to pardon offences not seven times but, seventy times seven (Cf Mt 18:22). In other words, we must always be prepared to forgive. He tells us to return good for evil and to turn the other cheek when someone strikes us.
Not alone did Jesus command us to do this but, He also set us an example. While He was suffering fearful torments on the Cross and was surrounded by jeering enemies, He turned to His heavenly Father and uttered those sublime words: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:24).
How could we gaze at the Crucifix and dare to refuse forgiveness to anyone? No matter how grave may seem the injuries done to us by our neighbour, let us remember, that they are insignificant in comparison with the insults which we have dared to offer to the infinite majesty of our Creator. They are as the hundred denarii compared with the ten thousand talents of Christ’s parable (Mt 18:24-28).
If we wish to receive God’s pardon, therefore, let us be prepared to forgive. Let our forgiveness be sincere, however and, not a mere formal token. The forgiveness freely granted by a heart scourged by the injuries of others, is a pleasing sacrifice offered to God.”
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?”
Thought for the Day – 22 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “Forgive Us Our Debts”
“When we have asked God for nourishment for soul and body, we go on to implore forgiveness for our debts, whether they have been contracted in the course of nature, or of grace, or of sin. We owe everything to God. There was a time when we did not exist and, in His divine omnipotence He created us from nothing. Our bodily powers and spiritual faculties are His gifts to us. If we enjoy health, it is He Who has given it to us. If we have any ability, it comes from Him. Anything which we have been able to achieve as the result of mental or manual labour, has been made possible by His help.
Who is it but God Who rescues us from the many perils which surround us? Who but He enables us to overcome so many difficulties? How many times we should have died, if He had not sustained us!
Let us think back over our past lives. How much reason we have to be grateful to God, Who has watched over us continually like a loving Father. The conservation of life, is a continuous act of creation. When we recite the Pater Noster, therefore, we should express our filial gratitude to God and ask for His continued protection. Every moment of life is a new gift of God and an act of His infinite love in our regard. Let us be grateful and love Him generously in return.”
Thought for the Day – 19 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” Our Daily Bread
“In the Pater Noster, Jesus instructs us to ask for our daily bread – that is, for sufficient bread for today, not for tomorrow. In this way, He warns us not to be too preoccupied with the future but, to trust in Providence and accept, from God’s hands, from day to day, whatever is necessary for us. God is our Father and loves us as His children. Knowing this, why should we worry about the future?
We are in the hands of God, Who looks after all His children. Let us entrust ourselves completely to His care. This does not mean that we should indulge in any kind of fatalism, expecting everything from God and doing nothing ourselves. We cannot and should not expect unnecessary miracles. We are under an obligation to work because work, is the result of and the punishment for, sin. It enable us to co-operate with God in His work of creation and has ben ennobled and sanctified by Jesus Christ, Who chose to be “the carpenter’s son,” (Mt 13:55) and a carpenter Himself (Cf Mk 6:3). We should work, therefore but, should not worry.
When we have done everything of which we ae capable, we should leave the rest to Divine Providence.”
Thought for the Day – 20 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” “Give Us this Day Our Daily Bread”
“In the second part of the Lord’s Prayer, we ask the universal Father, on behalf of ourselves and of our brethren, for all things necessary for soul and body. Since we have already paid homage to God, our Creator and our Redeemer and, have prayed for the triumph of His kingdom and for the accomplishment of His will in Heaven and on earth, Our Lord does not forbid us to think now of ourselves and to pray for our own needs. “Give us this day our daily bread,” we ask, intending to pray, both for our spiritual and material requirements.
We should not delude ourselves into imagining that it is we who produce the fruits of the earth. A grain of wheat dies beneath the soil but God has infused into it, a mysterious force as a result of which, in dying, it generates new life.
The moisture of the soil, the warmth of the air and the light of the sun combine to develop this mysterious life-force, which produces the green stalk and then the flaxen ear of corn which provides us with bread. It is God Who has given this vital power to this tiny seed, as well as to all the other seeds of the soil. It is He Who has endowed the soil with the nutritive elements from which the seeds draw life and it is He, Who sends the dew, the rain and the sunshine, which cause the flowers to blossom and the plants to bear fruit.
We should ask God humbly, therefore, to “give us this day our daily bread.” Our own labours would be futile without the intervention of the all-powerful Creator. We are capable, neither of producing, nor of destroying a single atom nor a single seedling. Without God, we are incapable of achieving anything, either inthe natural or in the supernatural order. Therefore, we must ask Him to provide us with what we need. He is supremely good and loves us very much. His Providence will not leave us in want, even if we are often obliged to work hard in co-operation with Him to procure the necessaries of life. The birds have no granary, yet they manage to find enough seed to keep them alive because God is watching over them. How could we suppose, that He will not look after us, if we turn to Him with trust and perseverance?”
Thought for the Day – 19 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The First Part of the “Our Father”
“The Pater Noster, being God’s own composition, is the most perfect of prayers. It covers, moreover, all our obligations and all our needs. It may be divided into two parts, the first of which refers to God, the second to ourselves. We should ask, first of all for whatever is important to God and then, for whatever concerns ourselves. This is the command of Jesus. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His justice and all these things shall be given you besides” (Mt 6:33).
When we have invoked our Father in Heaven, we go onto pray: “Hallowed be Thy name.”
Let us think about this. What do we look for first of all when we pray? Is it the glory of God, or, is it our own self-interest? Which occupies the principal place in our thoughts, God, or our own ego? Let us remember that we have been created for the glory of God. We shall not find happiness, unless, we seek God’s glory alone, for God is our true welfare.
We must not allow ourselves to become absorbed in insignificant worldly objects, which can never completely satisfy us. Rather, must we keep our minds on God. “God alone is sufficient,” said St Teresa. Without Him, there is nothing good within us or around us.
When we say “Hallowed be Thy name,” moreover, we should not only give God’s glory precedence over all our desires but, we should also make an act of reparation for the countless blasphemies by which His name has been injured. How can we remain passive and inert, while our Creator and our Redeemer is being continually blasphemed and offended? At the very least, we can set against the diabolical insults of many of our fellow-men, our own humble and loving prayer: “May Thy name, my God, be blessed and glorified.”
Thought for the Day – 17 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
“When the Virgin Mary was borne into Heaven, soul and body, by the Angels, she was received with great rejoicing by the entire company of the blessed. A halo of light surrounded her, as her Divine Son, Jesus Christ, placed her on His right hand and proclaimed her Queen of Heaven and Earth. It was fitting that this supreme dignity should have been accorded her, for she was the beloved daughter of the Eternal Father, the Immaculate spouse of the Holy Spirit and the Mother of God, the Word made man and the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
Mary is Queen of the Angels because, even though she is inferior to them, by reason of her human nature, she is superior to them, by reason of her dignity as Mother of God. What Angel could say to the Incarnate Word: “You are my son?” What Angel could command Him, as she could, in her role of Mother?
Mary has yet another claim to her title which no Angel could ever have. She participated in the Passion of her Son Jesus,offering herself along with Him, as a victim of expiation. She made a contribution, in the supernatural order of the Redemption, which neither Angel nor Saint, could have made. With Jesus, through Jesus and in Jesus, she is the co-redemptrix of the human race. Let us bow low before such greatness and join with the choirs of the blessed, in paying homage to her.”
Thought for the Day – 16 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
“The fourth Book of Kings tells us, that the prophet Elias was brought up into Heaven in a fiery chariot without having first endured the pains and humiliations of death (Cf 4 Kings 2:11). Why did God not do likewise in the case of the Blessed Virgin, commanding His Angels to bear her to Heaven before death struck her innocent body? As St Paul says, it was sin which caused death to enter the world. From the moment of her conception, Mary was free from the slightest taint of sin, for she was immaculate and full of grace. Nevertheless, according to the most widely held tradition, Mary chose to die, even as her divine Son had willed to die. Jesus “was offered because it was his own will” (Isa 53:7). The same is true in Mary’s case, with only this difference. Jesus died a cruel death after the most hideous tortures in the midst of a blaspheming and hate-ridden mob. Nothing like this happened to Mary, although she is called the Queen of Martyrs because of the sword which pierced her soul at the sight of her divine Son, dying in such agony.
Jesus willed, however, that the immaculate body of His Mother would remain intact. It was only her great love and intense desire of being reunited with her Son, which gradually consumed her mortal life. Her ever-incresing love for God, broke the bonds of her mortal frame until she went to sleep at last, in the Lord.
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.”
Thought for the Day – 13 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The First Glorious Mystery The Resurrection of Our Lord”
“Jesus could not have remained lifeless in the sepulchre. He is the Man-God, the conqueror of sin and of death. He willed to be subject to all the conditions of human exiastence with the exception of sin, therefore, He suffered and died for love of us.
However, as He had foretold, He rose gloriously from the tomb on the third day. This resurrection is proved historically in a most certin manner, by the behaviour of the Apostles, who, were at first downcast and incredulous and were transformed, into heroes and martyrs, by the glorious appearance of Jesus. It is confirmed by the obstinacy and deceitfulness of the Jews, who went so far as to bribe the soldiers who were guarding the sepulchre, not to reveal the truth. It is proved, moreover, by the fact, that the Apostle Thomas, refused to believe in the Resurrection until he had placed his fingers in the wounds of the Redeemer, Who afterwards appeared to him.
We read in the Gospels and in the Acts of the Apostles, that the risen Jesus appeared many times to the Apostles to confirm their faith, to speak with them of the Kingdom of God and to give them His final instructions and commands. We read also, that He appeared to Mary Magdalen to reward her great love and to console her. Nowhere, do we read that He appeared to His beloved Mother, Mary. However, the heart tells us what the Gospels omit to mention. Surely, it is impossible to suppose that the risen Jesus would not have hastened to embrace and to console her, who had borne Him in her chaste womb and had loved Him so much, that she followed Him to the foot of the Cross?
The apparitions of Jesus narrated in the Gospel, had a public purpose, being intended to confirm the faith of those who were fearful, discouraged or incredulous. The apparitions to Mary, were intimate and affectionate meetings with His dear Mother, who had never doubted, for one moment, that He would rise again. There may be another explanation, however. It is possible, that Mary’s humility would have prevented her from discussing, with others, her happy moments of reunion with her risen Son.”
Thought for the Day – 12 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery The Crucifixion
“At last, Jesus reaches Calvary, breathless and reduced to utter exhaustion. The instrument of torture is taken from Him and laid upon the ground. Our divine Redeemer suffers acute pain as Her is again stripped of His garments, which have stuck to His wounds. Now, He is stretched, an innocent victim, on the altar of sacrifice, the Cross. One of the executioners grasps His hand, pierces it with a large nail and attaches it to the wood. Then, he does the same with the other hand and with the two feet. His Mother is close at hand. She feels in her heart the blows of the hammer which lacerate the living flesh of Jesus. Jesus remains silent “as a meek lamb that is carried to be a victim” (Jer 11:19).
Now, the executioners raise up the Cross and fix it in the hold already prepared for it. The shock of this impact sends a shudder of terrible pain through the Victim’s members and entire frame. Behold Him now, suspended between Heaven and earth, the mediator between God and humanity, the victim of expiation for the innumerable sins of men.
Come near to the Cross and kiss the bloodstained feet. While the Jews are insulting Him and most of the Apostles have abandoned Him, let us tell Him how we love Him. Let us tell Him of our sorrow for our sins and of our determination to make amends for our faults and for our ingratitude by living in accordance with His teachings and example.”
Thought for the Day – 11 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery The Road to Calvary
“Scourged, crowned with thorns and derided, Jesus is finally condemned to death. Burdened with the Cross, He sets out for the place of execution in the midst of a crowd of enemies, blasphemers and idle speculators. Among them , there is only a tiny group which sympathises with Jesus, namely, Mary His Mother, the devout women and the beloved Apostle, St John.
The divine Redeemer goes forward laboriously beneath the heavy weight of the Cross. He has already lost a large quantity of blood in Gethsemane and during the scourging and crowning with thorns. His strength seems to be failing but love sustains Him. Looking feebly around Him, He sees the mocking Jews, the indifferent and disrespectful Roman soldiers and a throng of curious spectators looking for something to amuse them. Is there nobody else? Where are those whom He cured miraculously and those whom He comforted and forgave? Has nobody any pity for Him? Suddenly the crowd falls silent. A woman, pale and tearful, is approaching Him, supported by her friends. She defies the commands of soldiers and the scowls of the executions and comes close to Him.
Here and there, a murmur is heard – It must be His Mother, poor woman! Jesus and Mary gaze at one another. It would be impossible for us to guess at the immense depths of love contained in that loving exchange of glances. Neither utters a word, for no words could express their anguish, nor manifest their love. They look and understand one another, offering themselves as a holocaust for the redemption of wayward humanity.
Nevertheless, in this silent meeting, there was great consolation for the Heart of Jesus, for He had found someone who loved and understood Him, amongst those malicious throngs. Why do we not sympathise with Him too and love Him with all our hearts?”
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
“This new torture was a diabolical invention decreed by no law or authority. Purely for their own savage entertainment, the soldiers procured a bundle of thorned reeds, which they wound into the shape of a crown and pressed into Jesus’ head.
Mary knew what was going on. She was there with the holy women when Pilate brough her bloodstained Son before the people and, their blasphemous yells pierced her tender heart. Her mother’s heart felt the sharp thorns too but, she accepted this affliction with resignation, silently protesting against the insults of the crowd by acts of adoration and of love. We should behave in this way also. We should participate in the passion of Jesus, by offering our own sufferings and we should make acts of love and of self-surrender, in reparation for these acts of blasphemy!”
Thought for the Day – 9 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Second Sorrowful Mystery The Scourging
“Think about the manner in which Jesus was scourged. His chaste body, is stripped by the jeering soldiers, His hands are tied and He is bound to a pillar. The soldiers come forward with their whips and begin to beat Him mercilessly. As His blood flows freely to the ground, Jesus quivers with pain and emits a half-suppressed groan. But fresh blows continue to rain down on His bruised flesh. So the prophecy is fulfilled in which Isaias described the punishment of the chosen people, whose sins and whose chastisement, the divine Redeemer has chosen to take on Himself. “For the sole of the foot unto the top of the head, there is no soundness therein – wounds and bruises and swelling sores …” (Is 1:6).
By means of this fearful torment, Jesus willed to offer satisfaction in a special manner, for the sins of the flesh. In ancient times, sins of impurity provoked the anger of God so much, that they were blotted out by the universal deluge. Now these sins are still numberless, both in the pagan and, unfortunately, in the Christian world but, they are washed away by the saving blood of Jesus Christ, Who came on earth to make reparation for all the iniquities of men.
Kiss the wounds of Jesus, bleeding and suffering. Ask for pardon if you have on occasions, failed to preseve the purity of your body, the dwelling of your immortal soul and the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit. Resolve to die rather than stain again, with impurity, the soul, which was redeemed and sanctified, by the precious blood of the Redeemer.”
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
The life of Mary, like that of her divine Son, was a life of suffering and of sacrifice.
When Simeon held the divine Child in his arms, he had prophesied: “This child is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel and, for a sign that shall be contradicted. And thy own soul, a sword shall pierce” (Cf Lk 2:35). There was suffering from the very beginning – in the arduous journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem to fulfil the obligation of the census; in the refusal of the people of Bethlehem to give shelter to the Holy Family; in the birth of Jesus in a cold cave; in the flight into Egypt to escape from the cruelty of Herod; in the loss of Jesus when He was twelve years old; in the hard life of a humble artisan in Nazareth; in the difficulties of the public life of Jeuse and, in the final tragedy which brought Jesus from Gethsemane to Calvary and, from Calvary to the sepulchre.
When faced with this spectacle of the Man-God and of His Mother Mary suffering for love of us, how can we complain that our own cross is too heavy? How can we rebel against the merciful God Who afflicts us for our own good, purifies us with suffering and demands, that we should be detached from worldly things, so that we may give more thought to Heaven, for which our souls are destined? To meditate on all that Jesus and Mary suffered for us, should be enough to make us embrace our cross generously and resign ourselves to the physical or moral afflictions which God sens us.”
Thought for the Day – 7 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The Fifth Joyful Mystery The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
“Mary and Joseph came, according to custom, to celebrate the feast of the Pasch in Jerusalem. They took with them, Jesus, Who was now twelve years of age. When the feast was over, the pilgrims came together to return to Nazareth. As usual, they gathered in the temple to say a final prayer and then divided into two companies, one consisting of men, the other of women. The children were assigned to either caravan.
At any rate, when the two groups came together for the night after a day’s journey, Mary and Joseph looked in vain for Jesus. He could not be found in either caravan! We can imagine how they suffered. However, they returned without delay to Jerusalem to look for their Child. They searched for three days. At last, when they went into the Temple to pour out their troubles to God, they found Jesus, sitting among the doctors, who were amazed at the wisdom of His answers and of His questions. There was joy and sorrow in Mary’s countenance as she regarded Him. “Son,” she said gently. “why hast thou done so to us? Behold, in sorrow, thy father and I have been seeking thee.” Jesus’ reply was also mild and at the same time, mysterious. “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?”
Then He returned with them to Nazareth, where He remained “subject to them.” But His mother, we are told, “kept all these things carefully in her heart” (Cf Lk 2:41-51).
This Mystery of the Rosary is, at the same time, joyful and sorrowful. We can learn a good deal by meditating on it. We can admire the divine wisdom of Jesus, Who, even from childhood, desired to reveal a little of the truth and also His obedience to Mary and Joseph, until He reached thirty years of age. We can admire, too, His hidden life in the workshop in Nazareth, interrupted only by this brief demonstration of His divinity and the anxiety of Mary and Joseph to find Jesus when they had lost Him, as well as their delight when He was restored to them.
If we should ever have the great misfortune of losing Jesus, let us have recourse at once to Mary and Joseph, who lost Him without any fault on their part, searched anxiously for Him and did not rest until they had found Him. Amen”
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
“Since the fall of our first parents, human mothers have carried in their wombs, souls dead to grace and have given birth to children stained with sin. Therefore, it is necessary for the waters of Baptism to confer on these infants, a second life, the supernatural life. A ceremony of purification is also required for these mothers, a rite which was of obligation under the Old Law but, under the New Law, remains only as a pious custom.
The Blessed Virgin was not subject to the rule of sin. By a special privilege, she was preserved free from the stain of original sin and was created and conceived in the fullness of grace. Moreover, she became a mother, not by any human agency but, by the power of the Holy Spirit, which preserved intact, her angelic virginity. For this reason, Mary was not bound by the Mosaic Law which laid down the ceremony of purification as necessary for all mothers. Nevertheless, in order to give us an example of humility and of absolute obedience to the law of God, she chose to fulfil this sacred rite.
How well do we comply with the law of God, with the precepts of the Church and with the commands of our superiors who represent divine authority? Perhaps we can excuse ourselves too easily from our obligations. Perhaps we are not sufficiently ready to give good example to others. We may evade the sacrifices which our duty demands of us, or we may fail to see God in the person who gives us our instructions.
Let us learn from the Blessed Virgin. Even when she was not obliged to do so, she obeyed the law and gave us a wonderful example of humility and submission to Almighty God.”
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
“When God became man in order to instruct and redeem the lost and erring human race, the gesture would have been deprived of it’s real significance if He had chosen to be born in a palace, surrounded by the splendour of worldly glory and wealth.
It would have been meaningless, not only for God but also, for us, if He had abandoned the imperishable glory of Heaven and the inficnite wealth of everlasting happiness, in order to assume the kind of earthly grandeur which, in His eyes is but a vanishing cloud. What we needed, was to learn the way of humility and of detachment from worldly things, which can so easily lead us to forget the supernatural. We needed someone to come and sanctify suffering, which purifies and elevates the soul. We needed someone to appease divine justice on our behalf and to teach us, that the way of the cross, is the only one which can lead to Heaven. This was why the Eternal Word of God became a poor and lowly infant, choosing a stable, rather than a palace and the little village of Bethlehem in Judea, in preference to the imperial city of Rome. He wished His extreme poverty and deprivation, to be His first lesson to mankind.”
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
“When the Angel told Mary that she had been chosen to be the Mother of God, he proceeded to reveal also the imminent birth of the Precursor of Jesus Christ. Her cousin, Elizabeth, he told her, who had been sterile for such a long time, would soon have the joy of bearing a son. When the Blessed Virgin heard this good news, she set out for a long and difficult journey to congratulate her cousin.
The devout soul is always motivated by charity and pays no attention to difficulties or obstacles because, the grace of God possesses it completely. We also have received and, continue to receive, many graces from our Creator. We were nothing and God gave us being. We were in darkness and He gave us the light of faith. We were slaves of sin and Jesus Christ broke the bonds in which the devil held us and gave us the freedom of the children of God. We were exiles on this earth and God became our companion and our guide. We hungered for the supernatural and, He nourished us with the divine Bread in which He gave Himself to us completely!”
Thought for the Day – 2 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Month of the Holy Rosary” The First Joyful Mystery The Annunciation
The Rosary is both a vocal and a mental prayer. When reciting the first five decades, we should meditate on the principal joyful mysteriest of our faith, beginning with the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin. In other words, during the first decade, we should visualise the scene described in the Gospel.
“The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David and the Virgin’s name was Mary. And, when the Angel had come to her, he said “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women” (Lk 1:26-28).
Note the manner in which the Angel greets Mary. He proclaims that she is full of grace, pleasing and acceptable to God. He bows before her and says that she is blessed among women. On previous occasions Angels had appeared to Patriarchs, Kings and Prophets but always, as superior beings bearing a command from Almighty God. Why, then, does an Angel bow before this maiden and salute her with such reverence? The reason is twofold. Mary is the purest of creatures, immaculate from the moment of her concetion; she is also destined to become the Mother of God, a destiny of quasi-infinite dignity. Let us poor sinners, bow before her also and beg her to obtain for us from God, the graces of forgiveness and of sanctification. It is in this spirit of loving humility, that we should recite the first decade of the Holy Rosary.
Thought for the Day – 2 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Our Guardian Angels
“Among the many expressions of God’s goodness towards us, is His designation of a heavenly spirit to accompany and to assist each of us on our journey through life. The human eye cannot see him although, he is always on guard by our side. Even while he is near us, he enjoys the beatific vision of God.
This is a wonderful thought. During the day, when we are preoccupied with so many affairs which can cause us to forget God, our angel is beside us, to inspire us to love God more. When we are asleep, he is watching over us and praying for our welfare. When we pray, he gathers our feeble supplications and offers them to God. When temptation presses hard, it is he who sustains us and encourages us to resist with Christian fortitude. Finally, when by some misfortune we fall into grave sin because we have been deaf to the appeals of our Creator, he takes pity on us and inspires in us remorse for our misdeeds and the desire to be restored as soon as possible to God’s favour.
We should be deeply grateful to our kind Guardian Angel and should pray to him often, especially in times of spiritual or bodily danger. We need his help when we are tempted or afflicted. We should place much greater trust in him, remember that he is always close at hand to fulfil the mission entrusted to him by God of enlightening and directing us.”
Thought for the Day – 1 October – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Month of the Holy Rosary
“We should say the Rosary devoutly everyday. This beautiful prayer is very pleasing to Our Lady and, the Church, is particularly anxious that we should recite it during the month of October. Families which say the Holy Rosary together can hope for a special blessing from God and for the maternal protection of Mary.
If possible, every family should gather together in the evening and recite the Rosary before an image of our Blessed Mother. If the parents set an example, their child will join them. It is consoling to come together after the toil and trouble of the day, in order to confide our cares and hopes to Mary.
Do you say the Rosary everyday? If you have neglected ths pious practice, begin today. Do not plead lack of time. There is time for so many other things, so surely, there is time to pray and to entrust ourselves, in a special way, to the protection of our heavenly Mother! The practice of reciting the Holy Rosary will win for you, the blessing of God and the patronage of the Blessed Virgin.”
Thought for the Day – 30 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“We are told, that one day in the presence of St Francis de Sales, the beauty of a certain noble lady, his cousin, was being described. (Spirito p Vii, c 10) The Saint described with simplicity: “I’ve heard this said by others also.” Somebody remarked, that he himself often saw this young relative of his and, therefore, there was no need for others to tell him about her. The Saint replied with the same holy simplicity: “It is true that I see her often but, I never stare at her.” This simple but wise reply, underlines the difference between seeing and looking.
We are often obliged, in the ordinary course of living, or by reason of our position, to see many things which could be dangerous to our spiritual welfare. There are many ugly things around us, although sometimes externally beautiful, which we cannot help seeing. At home, on the street, in society, almost everywhere, we meet persons and things which constitute a threat to our virtue. What are we to do? We must see because, very often, we cannot help it but, we must never stare.
In other words, we should never fix our eyes on anything which would seriously disturb us. If we experience the beginnings of any such disturbance, we should look elsewhere at once, raising our minds to God in silent prayer. Delay could cost us our purity. To guard it, we need the holy virtue of modesty, which St Thomas Aquinas calls, the moderating virtue (Summa Theologiae, II-II, q 160, a 1). Not only, the Angelic Doctor observes, does it moderate but, it also directs our internal actions as well as our external ones, in such a way, that he, who possesses this beautiful virtue, has perfect control over his outward behaviour and over his inward dispositions (Ibid, q 160, a 2).”
Thought for the Day – 29 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Frequent Confession and Communion – Part One
“Among the efficacious means of self-sanctification, are frequent Confession and Holy Communion. Confession purifies the soul of sin, into which, unfortunately, we continue to fall and confers sacramental grace, through which we are fortified against the assaults of the devil. It also gives us an opportunity of being guided on the right road by our Confessor, who knows our secret failings and will give us, in God’s name, words of encouragement, comfort and spiritual direction. We should frequently receive this Sacrament of God’s mercy – in fact, those who are striving after holiness, should go to Confession every week, or, at least every fortnight. Even if we have not committed grave sin, when we examine ourselves before God, we shall find many faults and failings. The Holy Spirit reminds us that, even the just man sins seven times a day, which means many times. “The just man falls seven times” (Prov 24:16). “If we say that we have no sin” writes St John, “we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn 1:8). Since then, we are all poor sinners and Jesus, in His infinite goodness has given us this means of purifying our souls, we should not neglect to use it to remain in the state of grace. Frequent Confession, is not difficult. On the contrary, if we have the proper disposition, it can be a great comfort and consolation to us. There is not greater solace than to possess the grace of God and to be pure and free from all sin. Furthermore, by remaining in venial sin, we are in danger of drifting gradually into more grievous sin and, into a state of tepidity, which is so dangerous, as well as so displeasing to God.”
Thought for the Day – 28 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Goodness and Christian Courtesy
“Christian perfection, when it is genuine and practical, should be reflected externally in our appearance, in our conversation and, in our behaviour. Discourtesy, sharpness of manner, offensive speech and all that is rude or displeasing, are signs, that we are lacking or weak in virtue.
On the other hand, if we have succeeded in conquering all our evil inclinations and in regulating our interior faculties, so that they are subject to right reason and to the divine law, then our virtue will be reflected in our speech and in our actions. It was this spiritual charm that made the Saints fascinating to those who knew them or came in contact with them, making them wish to reform their own lives and to strive towards perfection. St Francis de Sales said, that courtesy is the frame of sanctity – as a picture without a frame is incomplete, so also is virtue, if it is not expressed externally by affability and gentleness. In the Gospel, Jesus is not satisfied with interior virtue alone but insists, that it should appear outwardly in our actions. “Even let your light shine before men,” He says, “in order that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Mt 5:16).”
Thought for the Day – 27 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Seeing God in All Things
“Very often, when things are not going our way, we become restless and irritable. We want health and instead, we are sick. We long for success and high position and instead, God humbles our pride and allows us to fall into sin, again and again. We wish that affairs in our immediate surroundings, would proceed according to our liking but, in fact, everything happens in an entirely different way. What is the remedy for the tension and annoyance which we experience on these occasions? There is only one – we must see God in all the events and circumstances of life and do His will lovingly and generously. Faith, says St Francis de Sales, is a ray of light from Heaven, which makes us see God in all things and all things in God.
It was his great disciples, St Jane Frances de Chantal, who wrote: “To be nothing, to be much; to be small, to command; to obey one person or another; to be humiliated or forgotten; to be poor or rich; to be underworked or overworked; to be alone or to be in company; to receive spiritual consolations or to experience aridity and temptation; to be healthy or to be sick and obliged to languish for years …. to live a long time or to die soon, perhaps immediately; all must be accepted from God. Our life must be like a great Amen which harmonises with that of the heavenly choirs…”
If we see the love of God in all things, in all happenings and in all the troubles of life, nothing will upset us or cause us excessive anguish. We know that we are in good hands and that everything is arranged for our good! Amen”
Thought for the Day – 25 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Life is passing. The days chase one another; time is flying. Childhood has become a distant memory. Perhaps youth and manhood have also passed and gone and we find ourselves on the threshold of old age. All those days, months and years that have passed were gifts of God. He gave them to us for our benefit and sanctification. But what use have we made of them? Have we laid up treasure for eternal life? And, if we have not done so up to now, for what are we waiting? Let us remember the old saying, that we should never put off till tomorrow, what we ca do today. Today there is still time to turn from sin, regain sanctifying grace and lead a life of Christian perfection. But tomorrow? What do we know about tomorrow? Tomorrow is in the hands of the Lord and we do not know if the Lord will grant us further time to make amends!
Do not say, therefore, that you will change tomorrow, that tomorrow you will turn away from the path of sin and begin to lead a holy life. For not alone does time pass but, it often betrays us! Our Lord tells us that the judgement will come at a time when we least expect it. The time that is gone will never return; the future is uncertain; there remains, only the present. But the present is equally uncertain; it is something that passes and, every moment could be the last of our lives. How many whom we have known, were taken away suddenly in the flower of their youth … Is that not a warning to us?
Let us do good while we have time; let us gain merit now, for eternal life. Amen”