Posted in MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, The HOLY CROSS

Thought for the Day – 4 August – The Crucifix

Thought for the Day – 4 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Crucifix

the crucifx - bacci 4 august 2020

“I determined not to know anything among you,” wrote St Paul to the Corinthians, “except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2).

It was St Paul’s boast, that while the Jews were looking for signs and the Greeks were searching for wisdom, he continued to preach about Christ on the Cross.
“The Jews ask for signs and the Greeks look for ‘wisdom’ but we, for our part, preach a crucified Christ – to the Jews indeed, a stumbling-block and to the Gentiles, foolishness” (1 Cor 1:22-23).

Christian doctrine and Christian living, are centred around Jesus Crucified.
Unfortunately, in modern times, as in the times of St Paul, the Crucifix is either ignored and forgotten, or attacked as a symbol of folly.

There is no need to be amazed at this.
When the holy old man, Simeon, took Jesus in his arms, he made the prophecy that this Child, would be “a sign that shall be contradicted” (Lk 2:34).
The world is proud of it’s scientific and technical progress, whereas the Crucifix, is the symbol of the lowliness to which God Himself descended for love of us.
The world is looking for pleasure and voluptuousness, whereas, the Crucifix preaches to us the spirit of sacrifice and the purifying value of suffering.
The world is fond of ease, riches and honour;  the Crucifix demonstrates the depths of the love of God, Who became man for our sakes, suffered and died to redeem us from sin, taught us fraternal love and commanded us to carry our cross daily, if we wished to follow Him.

We must choose whether to follow Jesus Crucified, or to follow the world!
The world can only give us a vain and passing satisfaction, while the Crucifix can give us the peace of a good conscience, even in the midst of sorrow and trouble and the hope of lasting happiness in the next life.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 28 July – Temptations

Thought for the Day – 28 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Temptations

temptations bacci 28 july 2020

“When a man fears and loves God, temptation is the greatest trial which he can endure.
“No-one, is so perfect and holy,” says The Imitation of Christ, “as not sometimes to have temptations and we never can be wholly free from them.
Nevertheless, temptations are often very profitable to a man, troublesome and grievous though they may be;  for, in them, a man is humbled, purified and instructed.
All the Saints passed through many tribulations and temptations and profited by them.
And they that could not support temptations became reprobate and fell away …

A man is never wholly secure from temptation as long as he lives, for there is within us, the source of temptation, since we were born in concupiscence …

Inconstancy of mind and little confidence in God, is the beginning of all evil temptations.
For as a ship, without a helm, is driven to and fro by the waves, so the man who is negligent and gives up his resolutions,is tempted in various ways.
Fire tries iron and temptation, a just man” (Bk 1, c 13).”

These words from The Imitation of Christ, should encourage us.
God sends us temptations in order to test our virtue and to make us understand that we are in continual need of Him.
The important thing is to overcome them with the help of His grace, for a thousand temptations do not constitute a single sin.
When we are prepared to make sacrifices and to rely upon God’s assistance, temptations can be a source of merit for us.

“Blessed is the man who endures temptations,” writes St James, “for when he has been tried, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him” (Js 1:12).

We should not fear temptations, nor be discouraged by them.
Instead, we should watch and pray and love God!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 25 July – Purification

Thought for the Day – 25 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Purification

purification - bacci -25 july 2020

“We must recognise that we are all poor sinners in the sight of God.

Sacred Scripture warns us that “the just mans falls seven times” (Prov 24:16).
“If we say that we have no sin,” says St John, “we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn 1:8).
Sin is the greatest evil because it offends God, our highest good and happiness.
It only needs our own malice for us to commit sin but, in order to make reparation for it and to redeem us from slavery, it was necessary for God to become man and to offer Himself as a victim of expiation for our sins.
Only a God-Man could have fully satisfied our debt, by offering Himself as a victim of reparation for His adopted brothers.

Jesus desires us to be associated with Him in His Passion, however (Cf Col 1:24).
Our justification cannot be something extrinsic to ourselves but should transform us and make us holy.
Our co-operation with divine grace is necessary for this purpose (1 Cor 15:10).
If we are in sin, we should not only repent but should purify ourselves by acts of penance.
Jesus Himself commands this.
“Unless you repent, you will all perish,” (Lk 13:5) “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Mt 3:2, 4:17).

We must make satisfaction for our sins, therefore, by voluntary co-operation with the grace of God.
Although God is infinitely good and merciful, He will not purify us without this co-operation on our part.
We can be purified by accepting the unavoidable tribulations of life with perfect resignation and by offering to God, our own voluntary mortifications and sacrifices.

Are we prepared to follow the example of the Saints in this matter?”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 24 July – Progress in the Love of God

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

Progress in the Love of God

progress in the love of god - bacci 24 july 2020

“The entire Christian system is based on the love of God.
This, is “the greatest and first commandment” (Mt 22:38) of Jesus, from which the second commandment, to love our neighbour, naturally flows.
A man who does not observe this first commandment is not a Christian, whereas a man who endeavours to increase, everyday, his love for God, is a saint.
There are may grades of ascent in this love but, the basic step is indicated in the words of our Divine Master:  “He who has my commandments and keeps them, he is is who loves me” (Jn 14:15,21).

The love of God should not consist of an empty and ineffective sentimentality but, should comprise a sincere determinations to please God by carrying out His will, without reserve and by becoming more closely united to Him, by the help of His holy grace.
Progress in the love of God is divided by the masters of the spiritual lfe into three stages:
(1) the period of purification;
(2) the period of illuminations and;
(3) the period of union with God.
We may have advanced no farther than the first stage because there is still so much to be purified in our souls.
Nevertheless, let us ask God’s grace, to help us to begin this work immediately!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 23 July – Knowledge and Sanctity

Thought for the Day – 23 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Knowledge and Sanctity

knowledge and sanctity bacci 23 july 2020

“If there had been equal progress throughout the ages in sanctity and in science, men would now be very wise and very holy.

It is a well-known fact, that science has made great strides but, it must be admitted,unfortunately, that it has often forgotten it’s beginning and final end, which is God alone.
The object of knowledge, is truth and, all truth comes from God but, it dwells in created things like a reflection of divine light.
We must trace this reflected light back to it’s original source.
If students had always done this, they could have become wise as well as learned.
They would have gained from their studies and research, a deeper knowledge of God, the author of all the marvels in the universe and, they would have discovered, how to worship and obey Him.

When science goes astray or becomes an end in itself, it ceases to be of real service and can become an instrument of evil.
When the history of philosophy was described as the history of human aberrations, this was not altogether an exaggeration.
Moreover, the technical and practical science which are flourishing in this era, have often become the means of human destruction.
This is what happens when science turns away from God, who is it’s origin.

There is a great deal of learning in the modern world but, very little holiness.
As a result of their absorption in intellectual labour and scientific research, men have forgotten the most important thing in life, which is goodness.

It would seem that the intellect has stifled the impulses of the heart and the dictates of conscience.
Do not let this happen in your own case.
By all means, have and promote learning but, more than anything else, cultivate in your soul that sanctity which will be your greatest treasure in life.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 21 July – The Royal Road of the Cross

Thought for the Day – 21 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Royal Road of the Cross

the royal road of the cross - bacci 22 july 2020

“The way of the Cross is the only road that leads to Heaven.
Consequently, a man who refuses to take this road cannot reach Heaven.
If there were another way, Jesus would have told us about it.
Instead, He insisted that if anyone wished to go after Him, he would have to deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Him (Lk 9:23).

Our Lord did more than preach this way to us, for He gave us an example of the manner in which to follow it.
Jesus could have redeemed us by a single act of His human-divine will, simply by offering Himself to the Eternal Father in expiation of our sins.
But He chose to carry the weight of the Cross, to climb the Hill of Calvary and, to die in agony.

We must ascend our own Calvary, if we wish to imitate and follow Jesus.
Our divine Redeemer fulfilled perfectly, in His Passion, all the works of perfection which He had preached in the Gospel.
Let the Passion of Christ be our rule of life.
Let us be glad, when we seem to be more like Him and sorrowful, whenever we seem to be departing from the example which He set us.

Suffering should be a source of consolation for us, for it makes us more like Jesus, as long as we endure it with resignation and with love.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, ORIGINAL SIN, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on ETERNITY, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on PRAYER

Thought for the Day – 21 July – Nature and Grace

Thought for the Day – 21 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Nature and Grace

nature and grace - bacci 21 july 2020

“Observe diligently, the motions of nature and grace,” says The Imitation of Christ, “for they move with great contrariety and subtlety and, can hardly be distinguished but by a spiritual man and, one that is inwardly enlightened” (Bk III c54).

The struggle between fallen nature and grace is due to original sin, which extinguished in us the supernatural life and gave rise to the disharmony which exists between our lower faculties and reason and between reason and God.
Even the Saints experienced this fearful internal battle between good and evil.
“I see another law in my members,” says St Paul, “warring against the law of my mind” (Rom 7:23).
Elsewhere he complains that “the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh” (Gal 5:17) and that the temptations of the flesh assailed him so strongly, that he pleaded with God to save him.
But God’s reply to his entreaties was: “My grace is sufficient for thee, for strength is made perfect in weakness” (Cf 2 Cor 12:7-9).

This does not mean that human nature is substantially corrupt and incapable of doing good as a result of sin.
The inclination towards goodness and towards God, remains and is very strong in our better moments.
Nevertheless, we need the helping hand of God, so that this inclination may express itself in good actions worthy of an everlasting reward.
For this reason, we should pray humbly and constantly, for the precious gift of divine grace.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 20 July – Our Dominant Passion

Thought for the Day – 20 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Our Dominant Passion

our dominant passion bacci 20 july 2020

“Among the passions which disturb us, there is one predominant tendency, which is our particular weakness.
Perhaps we are not aware what it is but, those who have to live with us, know it well!
It is essential for us to know it also, in order to make it a special objective in our spiritual combat.

This information may be obtained by praying earnestly to the Holy Spirit to enlighten us to know ourselves, by making a daily examination of conscience and, by seeking the advice of our confessor, of our spiritual director and of any sincere friend.

It is our predominant passion which most often leads us into sin.
It recurs in all our confessions and we have great difficulty in overcoming it.
The predominant passion of Cain was envy, which he failed to combat in time, so that eventually, it caused him to commit fratricide.
Lust was the predominant passion of Mary of Magdala and of St Augustine and until they managed to control it, it led them into many grave errors.
It was because the Apostle Judas, neglected to struggle against his own avarice, that he became a traitor.
There are others who are inordinately proud and ambitious and, still others, who are governed by a craving for pleasure.

What is your predominant passion?
You must know what it is, in order to combat it determinedly, for otherwise, it will lead you into one sin after another, until you are eternally ruined!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 19 July – Holiness

Thought for the Day – 19 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Holiness

holiness - bacci 19 july 2020

“In a radio message which he broadcast on the occasion of the Beatification of Pope Innocent XI, the Supreme Pontiff, Pius XII, defined holiness as “the intimate awareness of loyal subjection to God, Who is adored and loved, as the beginning, end and norm of every thought, affection, word and action.”

Let us meditate on this definition, which helps to shed some light on the true nature of sanctity.
A holy man must always have a keen awareness of his own dependence upon God, his Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier and his hoped for reward and happiness in the next life.
This awareness must be vivid, for it should not be possible for it to be obscured by worldly distractions or obliterated by sensual allurements.
It should be active, so that it may not be a merely theoretical acknowledgement of our dependence which leads to nothing more than lip-worship;  on the contrary, it must be capable of transforming our lives into an act of obedience and of love.
Finally, it should be a faithful awareness, a complete and voluntary subjection to God, which is the driving force behind all our words and actions and, which inspires us alike, in joy and in sorrow, in victory and in defeat.
If we wish to be perfect Christians, we must cultivate this kind of consciousness of our dependence upon God.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 18 July – Our Passions

Thought for the Day – 18 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Our Passions

our passions - bacci - 18 july 2020

“Our Passions are not essentially sinful.
They can open the way to evil but, they can also lead us towards perfection.
Everything depends on how we control and direct them.
They are impulses which are, at the same time valuable and, dangerous.

Human nature was wounded as a result of original sin.
The soul was disobedient to God and the lower faculties rebelled against right reason.
Hence, the disturbance of our passions.
What should our attitude be in regard to this problem?
Should we suppress or obliterate our passions, as some of the Stoics would have done?
It is, in fact, impossible to do this, for our passions are innate natural forces which cannot be destroyed.
What we should do, is guide and control them.
If the dykes are burst, a strongly flowing river can cause havoc but, if it’s course is wisely directed, it irrigates the soil and makes it fertile.
It is the same with our natural inclinations, which “can be used to form a saint but, can also make a brigand” (Mariano Cordovani OP, Breviario Spirituale, p88).

A man with a fiery and aggressive temperament, can use his natural impulses under God’s guidance, to combat vice in himself and in others.
One who is haughty and ambitious by nature, can convert his ambition into a quest for the true and lasting glory of Heaven.
Finally, a passionate man who feels the need to love and to be loved, can find a partial remedy in Christian friendship.
Most of all, however, he can find repose in the love of God.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 17 July – The Voice of God

Thought for the Day – 17 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Voice of God

the voice of god - bacci 17 july 2020

“God speaks to us in many ways by means of created things.
We see His glory in the stars of the firmament, (Cf Ps 13:2), in the seas, mountains and valleys and in the trees and flowers.
St Therese was once examining the petals of a flower, when she exclaimed:  “How good thou art, O God!”

God also speaks within us.
Sometimes, He sees how absorbed we are in worldly affairs and He stirs up, in us, a restlessness and a longing for Heaven.
When we fall into sin, He pricks us with remorse and appeals to us to rise again, making us realise that everything else is empty and futile, if we have lost Him.
He speaks to us still more clearly by means of Revelation, which is contained in Sacred Scripture, as officially interpreted by the Church.

The revealed Word of God has always been with us to answer the searchings of the human heart and to allay it’s anxieties.
The Gospel is as new and as illuminating today, as yesterday.
It is a book which we should study reverently and diligently, in order to solve our personal problems and the problems of mankind.

Let us listen to God when He speaks to us in these diverse ways.
Let us respond to His appeals and carry out whatever He requires of us, in our daily lives.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 16 July – Entrusting Ourselves to God

Thought for the Day – 16 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Entrusting Ourselves to God

entrusting ourselves to god bacci 16 july 2020

“If a boat is running with the stream, it has little need of the pull of the oars, nor of the guidance of the helm.
It’s passage is smooth and peaceful.

The same applies to those who place absolute confidence in God in their journey through life.
God knows that I love Him, they reason;  He knows the dangers to which I am exposed and knows how weak I am.
He will not allow me to be tempted beyond my strength.
“God is faithful and will not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength but, with the temptation, will also give you a way out, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13).

Why should I worry, when I know that whatever God has in store for me, is for my own good?
Do I suffer from poor health?
Let the will of God be done, for this is for my spiritual welfare.
Am I strong and able to work for His glory?
Let me thank God for making me the instrument of His goodness.

Am I calumniated or misunderstood?
This humiliation is good for me.
Am I esteemed and honoured?
Let me accept this also from God’s hands and make the best possible use of the gifts which He has give me, for my responsibility is all the greater because of them.
It would be a sad loss if these gifts were to make me vain and proud, for they do not belong to me but to God.
There is no need to be disturbed.
Everything must be accomplished for God, with God and in God and, with complete abandonment to His will.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in GOD ALONE!, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on SANCTITY

Thought for the Day – 15 July – A Life of Fervour

Thought for the Day – 15 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

A Life of Fervour

a life of fervour bacci 15 july 2020

To pray is to love,” wrote St Augustine.
The man who loves God, prays continually and with fervour, whereas the man who has little love for his Creator, prays rarely and apathetically.
Prayer does not consist primarily in verbal expression but in the elevation of the mind to God in adoration, thanksgiving, propitiation and supplication.
Love should be the inspiration of our communication with God, for where there is no love, there can be no prayer.

Jesus tells us that we “must always pray and not lose heart” (Lk 18:1).
We may be working, talking, eating or sleeping but, whatever we are doing, the love of God, can transform it into a prayer.
This is so, if we are engaged in our work but have offered it to God in advance.
If we are in trouble, our sufferings will be pleasing to God.
If we are walking about, everything will speak to us of God and cause us to make acts of gratitude and of love.
We shall have dealings with men of the world but they will perceive and appreciate, that we are spiritually united to God.
We shall sleep because sleep is necessary but, what appears to be hours of fruitless inactivity, will be dedicated to our Creator.
Fervour in prayer and in action, should be the constant ideal of the good Christian, because, it makes his entire life pleasing to God.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on ETERNITY, The LAST THINGS

Thought for the Day – 14 July – Everlasting Salvation

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

Everlasting Salvation

everlasting salvation - bacci 14 july 2020

“Let us consider again, the man on the endless and apparently aimless journey into land after land.
He walked for a long time, through valleys and over mountains, in the heat of the summer and in the sharp cold of the winter months.
It made no difference to him, whether the sun gave him encouragement, or the rain and snow impeded him, he forged ahead, just the same.
He crossed rivers, floods, mountains and hillocks and came down into valleys again.
But, at last, when he had travelled for years, he felt himself tiring.

He turned around and saw another man looking at him with compassion in his eyes.
He approached the stranger, who said to him:  “My friend, you look tired.   Have you been walking for a long time?”
“For a very long time,” he replied, “and, I am very tired.”
“But where are you going?”  the other man asked.   “What is your destination?”
The traveller sighed as if he had just awakened from a deep sleep and murmured:  “Where am I going?   I don’t know!   I have been walking for a long time but, I have no idea where I am going.”
At this, his new friend stared even more pityingly at the traveller, eyeing him as if he were an unfortunate simpleton.

When we reflect a little, do we not feel that we are rather like this poor traveller?
Our journey has lasted a good many hard and weary years.
Have we seriously thought about where we are going?
Have we solved the fundamental problem of our earthly journey – the goal and purpose of our lives?
“What does it profit a man,” Jesus has said to us, “if he gain the whole world but suffer the loss of his own soul?” (Mt 16:26).
Our eternal welfare is the great question which we should ponder continually.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 13 July – Accepting the Will of God

Thought for the Day – 13 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Accepting the Will of God

accepting god's will - bacci - 13 july 2020

“Why are we so often dissatisfied and so easily unsettled by ordinary events?
Why does a small measure of success, pleasure, or human praise go to our heads and disturb our peace of soul?
Why does suffering failure, or humiliation, makes us sad and dispirited?
It is because we forge, that everything comes to us from God.

The inscrutable designs of Divine Providence have ordained that our mortal lives should be interwoven with joyful and sorrowful events.
There is joy, so that we may realise, that God is infinitely good and may experience on earth, the reflection of His beauty.
There is sorrow, so that we may remember, that “here we have no permanent city but we seek for the city that is to come” (Heb 13:14).
We should not be too elated by worldly pleasure and success but, should be grateful to God, for giving them to us.
On the other hand, we should not lose heart, nor rebel, when we experience suffering or humiliation.
These also come from God and He has a reason for sending them to us.
Even if we do not know the reason, we should retain our confidence, that the Providence of God, arranges everything for our true welfare.

Antonio Cardinal Bacci 

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Thought for the Day – 12 July – The Grace of God

Thought for the Day – 12 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Grace of God

the grace of god bacci 12 july 2020

“God has endowed us with wonderful corporal and spiritual gifts, creating us after His own image with powers of intellect and of will.
More than this, He has raised us to the supernatural order by communicating to us, His grace, which enables us to live His own life and to share in His divine nature, as His adopted sons.

Grace is the greatest gift which God has given us.
It enlightens our minds and moves our will to obey His commands and to perform actions which merit an everlasting reward.
It is an entirely supernatural and gratuitous gift.
For this reason, we cannot merit it but, we should continually pray for it because, it is absolutely necessary if we are to do good and to merit Heaven.
Our first ancestor, Adam, was endowed with this gift by our Creator.
Unfortunately, by original sin, he lost it for himself and for his descendants.

We cannot complain to God about this loss, since grace is an entirely supernatural gift which is in no way, due to our human nature.
For the same reason, we cannot merit it on our own.
But God, being infinitely good, as well as, infinitely just, sent His only-begotten Son to redeem us from sin and to grant us His friendship once more.

We should be very grateful to God for this extraordinary favour and should unite our efforts to the divine action of grace, in the performance of good works, which will enable us to merit everlasting life.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 11 July – The Good Odour of Christ

Thought for the Day – 11 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Good Odour of Christ

you can see a reflection of heaven in the eyes of a saint - bacci the good odour of christ - 11 july 2020

“Everyone has an attractive side to his personality which can draw others towards good or towards evil, for a man’s behaviour, countenance and conversation, reflect his inner spirit.
Charm is very often a mysterious and undefinable quality.
Sometimes you may meet a man of the world who has forgotten that he has an immortal soul and lives purely for pleasure.
Even before he speaks to you, you can read on his lips and in his eyes, the kind of man he is.
If you fail to resist and to do your best to remain on a higher plane, you will be overwhelmed by the charm of his personality.

Your can also encounter charm, however, in a privileged soul, who is in constant contact with God.
You can find it in the monk who has left the world, in order to meditate on God and to pay for his own salvation and for the salvation of his brothers in Christ.
You can meet it in a Saint, one of those rare men, who lives in the world but thinks all the time of God.
When you encounter this supernatural charm, you experience a longing to be good and holy also.

You can see a reflection of Heaven in the eyes of a Saint.
When he speaks to you, words, which if uttered by somebody else, would have no force, stir you and urge you towards all that is good.
What exactly is this quality of attractiveness?
It is “the sweet odour of Christ,” the spiritual fragrance of virtue.
Anyone who met St Aloysius Gonsaga, felt a yearning to be pure.
Anyone who heard the unadorned sermons of the Cure d’Ars, wept for his sins and was set on fire with the love of God and the desire of everlasting happiness.
It was the same with all the Saints.
Do we influence others in this way?”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on VANITY, The LAST THINGS

Thought for the Day – 10 July – Vanity

Thought for the Day – 10 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Vanity

vanity- bacci 10 july 2020

“God was perfectly happy in Himself from all eternity and did not need any creature to add to His glory.
Nevertheless, in order to diffuse His Power and Goodness, He created our world in which is reflected the harmony of His Divine Essence.
Even as all things have their origin in Him, they have Him, as their final end.
He is the eternal harbour towards which all created things flow, even as the rivers roll continually onwards until they reach the peace of the sea.
In this vast world of solar systems rotating in the firmament,of mineral and vegetable wealth and of animal creation, you are only a very tiny being, who has received everything from God.
Nevertheless, you are often convinced, that you are important.
You glory in your talents, as if they belonged to you and were not a gift which God has given to you.

Vanity is a form of theft.
God has given us everything, including life itself and, we act as if His gifts were our rightful possession.
We boast about them, show them off in the company of others and, are delighted when we receive praise or respect.
Let us imagine that we are dying and shall soon be alone in the presence of God.
At that supreme moment, what will earthly glory matter to us?
Of what account will be human flattery and transitory success?
When we are alone before God, nothing will matter except humlity and the merits which we have gained.
These will make us worthy of God’s friendship and of a heavenly reward.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 8 July – Falling into Sin

Thought for the Day – 8 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Falling into Sin

falling into sin - bacci 9 july 2020

“The just man falls seven times,” says the Book of Proverbs (24:16).
Unfortunately, we have all experienced how true this is.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves” (Cf 1 Jn 1:8).

We fall often, in many ways – in thought, in speech, in action and by omission.
Sometimes, we fall in a moment of weakness or of impatience, at other times, we sin by an act of premeditated malice.
“Watch and pray,” Our Lord warns us, “that you may not enter into temptation” (Mt 26:41).

Our Lord also said that we “must always pray not lose heart” (Lk 18:1).
In other words, we should have a spirit of prayer which is based on the love of God and keeps us close to Him.
It is only when we are united to God, that temptations cannot hurt us and we are protected by His grace, from falling into deliberate sin.

It is idle to protest that this would require the virtue of anchorite and that we are entangled in all kinds of other business.
Virtue is necessary for everybody, not only for anchorites.
“The kingdom of heaven has been enduring violent assulat and the violent have been seizing it by force” (Mt 11:12).
In order to attain to the kingdom of God, therefore, we have to do violence to our corrupted nature.
A life of solitude is not essential for prayer, however.
One can be busy from morning till night and pray continuously, so that his work is offered to God and done for the love of God.
In this way, work becomes prayer and will save us from falling into sin.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Thought for the Day – 8 July – The Gift of Speech

Thought for the Day – 8 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Gift of Speech

the gift of speech - bacci 8 july 2020

“One of God’s greatest gifts, the spoken word, is the reflection of our thought and the expression of our will.
In God, the Word is something infinitely greater, for it is the substantial image of God, the Eternal Word of the Father, through Whom He knows and, therefore, loves Himself.
It is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
Because we have been created in the likeness of God, our Creator has endowed us also, with a limited power to express our thoughts and sentiments.

It is hard to imagine how unhappy we should be, if we could not express ourselves and were unable to communicate our ideas and feelings to others.
We should feel isolated, as rocks separated from one another by vast expanses of sea, for we could neither give anything of ourselves to other men, nor receive anything in return.
We could not even praise God and tell Him how we love Him.
God could have created us without the gift of speech.
Since He has given it to us, we should show our gratitude by using it for His glory, for our welfare and, for the salvation of our neighbour.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on BAD CONVERSATION, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on TRUTH

Thought for the Day – 7 July – Uncharitableness

Thought for the Day – 7 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Uncharitableness

uncharitableness - bacci 7 july 2020

“It is easy, unfortunately, to abuse the gift of speech which God has given us.
“If anyone does not offend in word,” says St James, “he is a perfect man” (Js 3:2).
“As often as I have been amongst men,” says The Imitation of Christ, “I have returned less a man” (Bk I, c 20:2).
Why is this so?
It is because it is easy when we are in the company of men to enter into useless and even harmful discussions.
As a result, we lose the purity of intention which we ought to observe in all our thoughts, words and actions.
We lose the spirit of recollection which keeps us in contact with God and when we return home, we are less perfect Christians because we are dissipated in mind and in heart.

It is true that if we were really holy and were accustomed to speak with people holier than ourselves, our conversations would be spiritually beneficial to us.
We should go away more perfect men and closer to God than we were before.
But what kind of conversations do we normally have with others?
What kind of relations have we with our friends, with our superiors and inferiors and with everyone whom we meet?
Are our conversations inspired by a love for truth and charity and by a desire for the spiritual welfare of ourselves and of our neighbour?

Let us examine ourselves in this important matter and resolve that our conversation will be a means of sanctification for ourselves and others.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in GOD the FATHER, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on NATURE - GOD'S CREATION

Thought for the Day – 6 July – A Ladder Ascending to God

Thought for the Day – 6 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

A Ladder Ascending to God

a ladder ascending to god - bacci - 6 july 2020 (1)

“Nature shows forth the power and beauty of God.
When we gaze at the sky on a clear night, countless millions of stars seem to look back at us like so many shining eyes, wishing to remind us of God’s greatness.
These brilliant pin-points of light are really immense bodies, often much larger than our own globe.
God created them and flung them into space, where He fixed for them, the orbits which they must travel every year, throughout the ages.
They carry out their Creator’s plan at every moment, never deflecting, in the slightest, from their course.
If they were to do so, the result would be an universal catastrophe.

Everything in the firmament obeys God’s law.
“The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork” (Ps 18:2).
The further science advances, the more wonderful appear God’s power and greatness.
Our ancestors wove legends about the bright belt of stars which ploughed it’s milky way through the firmament but, today we know, that this apparent conglomeration of gleaming dust, consists of other worlds and faraway systems of planets.
We should feel humble in the presence of so much beauty and harmony.
Let us adore and love the omnipotent Creator of such wonders!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Thought for the Day – 5 July – The Eucharistic Life

Thought for the Day – 5 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Eucharistic Life

the eucharistic life - the eucharist in our spiritual life - bacci 5 july 2020

“The Eucharist in our spiritual life could be compared to the sun in the physical life of the world.
The sun gives light, heat and life.
We can imagine what a terrible thing it would be if the sun set one evening and never rose again!
Darkness would envelop the earth once more as at the beginning of creation.
The cold would become relentless and life would be gradually extinguished everywhere.
Men could, for sometime, depend on their reserves of artificial light to illuminate their creeping agony but, life would slowly decline, until it ended in death for everything and for everybody.
Such would be the spiritual life without Jesus, especially without Jesus in the Blessed Eucharist, Who lives amongst us as our only true Friend, Who hears, helps and nourishes us.

He is the sun of our souls, the source of our enlightenment, fervour and consolation.
Are we weary and discouraged beneath the weight of our daily cross and of our sins?
Let us go to Jesus and He will help us to carry our cross.
He will wash away our sins and give us the supernatural strength, never to sin again.

Let us unite ourselves to Jesus, by frequent communion, by a daily visit to Him in the Tabernacle and, by making a spiritual communion whenever we cannot receive Him in the Blessed Eucharist.
Let us make fervent aspirations, whenever we find our cross too heavy for us or when we are strongly tempted.

Many people go on long pilgrimages to famous Sanctuaries, such as Lourdes, Fatima and the Holy Places of Palestine.
These are certainly worthwhile but, we should not forget that the greatest sanctuary of all is close at hand.
It is in every Church which contains Jesus in the Tabernacle.
Here, we have Jesus Himself, really present and anxious to listen to us and to help us.
The Saints could find no greater joy on earth than to to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.
We are all called to be saints!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

the eucharistic life - many people go on long pilgrimages - bacci 5 july 2020

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Thought for the Day – 4 July – The New Life

Thought for the Day – 4 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The New Life

the new life - a man who loves god above all things - bacci 4 july 2020

“Only a Christian,” wrote Tertullian, “can be wise, sincere and lofty” (De praescriptione haereticorum, 3).

He had in mind, of course, the true follower of Jesus Christ, who is practising the precepts of Our Lord.
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with they whole heart ... Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mt 22:37, MK 12:30, Lk 10:27).
“You are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).

A man who loves God above all things, can fairly be called wise.
God is the supreme good and as such, should be the final end towards which we direct all our thoughts and actions.
If anyone adopts his own ego or some created good as his goal in life, he is not wise because he has upset the proper scale of values.
It is not true to say that we should love ourselves before anything else because we are creatures who belong to God and should refer everything to Him.
Only if we love God above all things, even above ourselves, can we really be said to love ourselves.
How can we love ourselves, if, in the first place, we do not love our highest good, which is God?
Since this love must be active, it makes us faithful to God’s commandments and raises us above the rest of creation to a state of immediate dependence on God.
A love of all mankind flows as a natural consequence from this union of love with God.
If we regard all men as our brothers in Jesus Christ, we shall be perfect Christians in the manner intended by our divine Redeemer when He desires us to be like His heavenly Father.
This is the new life which Jesus came to bring into the world and which we should nurture in ourselves (Cf Heb 4:23-24).”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SIN, QUOTES on TEMPTATION, The GOOD SHEPHERD

Thought for the Day – 3 July – The Good Shepherd

Thought for the Day – 3 July – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Good Shepherd

the good shepherd - we may often have been - bacci 3 july 2020

“The Good Shepherd is the theme of two of the most moving passages in the Gospel.
“I am the good shepherd,” Jesus says. “The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. But, the hireling, who is not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees. and the wolf snatches and scatters the sheep … I am the good shepherd and I know mine and mine know me, even as the father knows me and I know the Father and I lay down my life for my sheep” (Jn 10:11-15).

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep,” He says elsewhere “and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after that which is lost, until he finds it?   And when he has found it, he lays it upon his shoulders rejoicing.   And on coming home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, “Rejoice with me because, I have found my sheep that was lost.”
“I say to you that, even so, there will be joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety nine just, who have no need of repentance” (Cf Lk 15:4-7).

These texts vividly describe God’s mercy towards poor sinners.

We may often have been amongst the lost sheep which are separated from the flock of Jesus Christ.
We found, perhaps, the poisoned pastures of error and vice and strayed from the path of truth and goodness.
But what happened?
We experienced disillusionment and remorse and knew that we had lost our only real good, which is God.
How sad our fate would have been, if the Good Shepherd, Jesus, had not come to look for us and to enlighten us with His grace.
We should have been lost forever, in the desert of sin!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, GOD ALONE!, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on SACRIFICE, QUOTES on TIME, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Thought for the Day – 2 July – The Tabernacle Lamp

Thought for the Day – 2 July – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

The Tabernacle Lamp

jesus christ is present - the tabernacle lamp - bacci 2 july 2020

“We should find time, everyday, to pay a visit to the Blessed Sacrament.

Jesus Christ is present in all the Churches of the world as a voluntary prisoner of love.
He is waiting for us.
“I will not leave you orphans,” (Jn 14:18) He promised, for He loves us, with an infinite love which knows no limits of time or place.
He has been there, throughout the centuries in every corner of the globe, from the splendid Cathedrals in the noisy cities, to the humble little Chapels of the lonely Missions.
No matter where we go, we can find the King of Kings enthroned within the Tabernacle, waiting lovingly for us!

Since we need Him so much, why do we not go to Him?
We have many things to do but this is the first and most necessary.
It will often require some little sacrifice to spend a quarter of an hour before the Tabernacle but, nothing good can ever be achieved without sacrifice.

Moreover, Jesus deserves this sacrifice, for did He not give Himself entirely for us?
Does He not continue to sacrifice Himself in the Sacrament and in the Sacrifice of the Altar?
Let us go to Jesus everyday and we shall find comfort for our souls.

When we kneel in front of the Tabernacle and speak with Jesus, we shall feel confident that He is listening to us.
We shall be certain that He sympathises with our weaknesses, understands our needs and is anxious to enrich us with His graces.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

the tabernacle lamp - bacci - since we need him so much 2 july 2020

Posted in CONFESSION, CONFESSION/PENANCE, DIVINE MERCY, DOCTORS of the Church, Pope BENEDICT XVI, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, PRECIOUS BLOOD PRAYERS, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on FEAR, QUOTES on FORGIVENESS, QUOTES on PEACE, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SIN, QUOTES on the CHURCH, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, QUOTES on The HUMAN SOUL, The FAITHFUL on PILGRIMAGE, The PASSION, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 2 July – “Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee.” Matthew 9:2

Quote/s of the Day – 2 July – Thursday of the Thirteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Amos 7: 10-17, Psalms 19: 8, 9, 10, 11, Matthew 9: 1-8

“Be of good heart, son,
thy sins are forgiven thee.”

Matthew 9:2

matthew 9 2 be of good heart son thy sins are forgiven thee 2 july 2020

“If you forgive the sins of any,
they are forgiven them;
if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

John 20:23

john-20-23-peace-be-with-you-div-mercy-sun-28-april-2019-and-19-april-2020 and 2 july 2020

” Indeed, the instant you say:
“I have sinned against the Lord”,
the response is given you:
“Your sins are forgiven” (Mt 9:2).
… Only do not keep away, or distance yourself,
from He who has chosen you to sing
and pray but all your life long,
remain close to Him,
either through pure confidence,
or by a holy audacity and courageous confession.”

John of Karpathos (7th Century) Bishop

my-son-your-sins-are-forgiven-mark-2-5-indeed-the-instant-you-say-i-have-sinned-17-jan-2020-john-of-karpathos and 2 july 2020

“When you commit some infidelity,
do not be anxious
but with humility and confidence,
immediately turn to the Lord.
Do not flee from the Offended
but embrace Him as a lover
and ask for forgiveness.”

Bl Mary of the Angels Fontanella (1661-1717)

when-you-commit-some-infidelity-do-not-be-anxious-but-turn-to-the-offended-16-dec-2019-bl-mary-of-the-angels-fontanella and 2 july 2020

“My beloved Redeemer,
how much did it cost You to raise me from the ruin,
which I brought on myself through my sins?
What can I do without Your grace?
I can do nothing but pray
that You will help me
but even this prayer comes
from the merits of Your suffering and death!
O my Jesus, help me!”

St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Most zealous Doctor

my beloved redeemer how much did it cost you -st alphonsus liguori 2 july 2020

“To whom does your heart belong?
To the devil, perhaps?
You expected to find satisfaction
and you have found disillusionment.
You hoped for peace and found remorse.
Instead of the happiness you expected,
you will know only despair,
unless you turn back to God immediately.
There is only one way out of your predicament,
the way chosen by the prodigal son –
“I will get up and go to my father” (Lk 15:18).
Rise up, then and cast yourself
into the merciful arms of your heavenly Father,
Who is waiting for you.”

to-whom-does-your-heart-belong-bacci-30-april-2020 and 2 july 2020

“Even if we are unfaithful servants
and are covered with the leprosy of sin,
let us go to Him and He will heal us.
Even if we have deserved Hell a thousand times,
let us shed tears of repentance at His feet
as Magdalen did and,
He will give us His forgiveness and His peace.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

even-if-we-are-unfaithful-servants-div-mercy-sunday-19-april-2020-bacci and 2 july 2020

“Jesus carries us to the inn.
Imagine you are in the arms of Jesus,
being carried, half-dead in sin—
some of your own making,
some done to you—to a place of help.
You can rest in His arms.
In another surprise,
the inn is the Church,
the hospital for sinners.
The innkeeper might be a priest,
family member,
or friend who helps you
through a dark time in your life.”

Pope Benedict XVI

jesus-carries-us-to-the-inn-you-can-rest-in-his-arms-pope-benedict-15-may-2020 and 2 july 2020

“So many people
see the Confessional
as a place of defeat
but Confession is a place of victory
every single time.”

Father Mike Schmitz

so many people see the confessional - fr mike schmitz 2 july 2020

Posted in MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on PRIDE, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SILENCE

Thought for the Day – 1 July – Moments of Silence

Thought for the Day – 1 July – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Moments of Silence

moments of silence - bacci 1 july 2020

“Such is the speed of modern life that many people forget God and do not even pause to think about themselves.
Action is everything.
There is no time for reflection, no time for prayer.
Life has become mechanical and superficial, for nobody has the time, nor the inclination, to think about spiritual matters.

What is the result?
Since men are not machines but living beings, composed of soul and body and are capable of feeling and passion, their lower inclinations break loose and insist on being satisfied.
In the absence of prayer and of all effort to lead a good life, grace is lacking to inspire the mind, to strengthen the will and to keep the heart pure.
Rapid materialistic progress has accustomed men to accept, as inevitable, the most shameful falls.
The absence of any kind of contact with God, makes the soul the slave of sin.

Examine yourself.
Perhaps, you have not yet sunk to this low level of spirituality and are still capable of feeling remorse and the urge to do good.
But, you must listen for God’s voice and a certain amount of silence, is necessary, if His voice is not to be drowned in the tumult of the world.
We are in real need of solitude, recollection and prayer!”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in JUNE-THE SACRED HEART, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on LOVE of GOD, SACRED HEART REFLECTIONS

Thought for the Day – 30 June – “Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is as old as Christianity”

Thought for the Day – 30 June – “The Last Day of Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Devotion to the Sacred Heart

devotio to the sacred heart - bacci is as old as christianity 30 june 2020

“When we consider it under it’s fundamental aspect as the cult of the love of God, rather than of the Incarnate Word, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is as old as Christianity, even though it is only in recent centuries, that it has assumed it’s present symbolism.
“He who does not love, does not know God,” says St John, “for God is love” (1 Jn 4:8).
“And we have come to know,” he continues “and have believed, the love that God has in our behalf.   God is love and he who abides in love, abides in God and God in him” (1 Jn 4:16).
This cult of the love of God, particularly of the love of God made man, vibrates throughout the pages of the Gospel and of the writings of the Apostles, especially of St John and of St Paul.

In the works of the Fathers, there are references to the Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, from which flowed all the infinite graces of the Church for our redemption.
We are reminded of this in the Encylical, Haurietis Aquas, published by Pope Pius XII in the year 1956.
But the specific cult of the love of God, as symbolised by the Heart of Jesus, was explicitly approved by the Church after Jesus Himself appeared in the year 1674 to St Margaret Mary Alacoque and showed her His Heart on fire with love for men.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!, St PETER!, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Thought for the Day – 29 June – St Peter, Prince of the Apostles, St Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles

Thought for the Day – 29 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

St Peter, Prince of the Apostles
St Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles

st peter and paul - 29 june 2020 - the successor of st peter - bacciit now noloner i that live - bacci - 29 june 2020

“Jesus was walking one day along the shoe of the Sea of Galilee, when He saw two fishermen casting their nets into the water.
He approached them and said: “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mk 1:17).
These two fishermen were brothers named, Simon and Andrew.
The divine Master won their hearts immediately, so that they left their boat and their nets and followed Jesus.
Simon was later called Peter and became the leader of the Apostles.

Peter’s generosity and great love for Jesus are evident in the pages of the Gospel.
When Our Lord foretold the institution of the Blessed Eucharist, many of His disciples were scandalised and left Him.
“Do you also wish to go away?”   Jesus asked His Apostles.
St Peter answered Him without delay.   “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou has the words of everlasting life and we have come to believe and to know, that Thou are the Christ, the Son of God” (Jn 6:69).
On another occasion, Jesus asked His disciples – “Who do men say the Son of Man is?”   The Apostles hesitated and began to suggest the names of various Prophets.
But St Peter was inspired to make the reply: “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Then Our Lord appointed him Head of the Church.
“Blessed are thou, Simon Bar-Jona … thou are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell, shall not prevail against it. And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven” (Mt 16:15-19).
By these words there was instituted the loftiest and most ancient of the dynasties, the Papacy.
The successor of St Peter will rule the Church to the end of time and no power, neither persecution nor heresy, neither human tyranny nor false civilisation, will ever succeed in destroying this citadel of truth and goodness!”

St Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles

“St Paul was by nature, fiery and zealous.
Once he discovered the truth, he was ready to die for it.
Originally he was convinced that Judaism contained the whole truth and, for this reason he hated the Christians, whom he regarded as a sect which had corrupted the sacred Hebrew tradition.
The deacon Stephen was the first victim of his persecuting zeal.
As he was being stoned and beaten to death this saintly young man prayed for his persecutors.
It may be that in this moment his eyes, shining with faith and love, encountered those of the man who hated him.
Soon afterwards, Saul (this was Paul’s real name), left Jerusalem for Damascus, carrying letters investing him with new powers for the persecution of the infant Church.
On the way, this headstrong but sincere enemy of Christianity was suddenly dazzled by a light from Heaven.
He fell to the ground and heard a mysterious voice saying:  “Saul, Saul, why do thou persecute me?”
Terrified he answered:  “Who are thou, Lord?”
“I am Jesus,” the voice said, “whom thou are persecuting” (Acts 9:1-15).
From that day, Saul was changed completely.
Under the influence of divine grace, he became the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Before he set out on his missionary journeys, Paul wet apart into the desert of Arabia (Cf Gal 1:17), where, he remained sometime in prayer and recollection.
Then he went to Jerusalem to pay homage to the Prince of the Apostles, St Peter (Gal 1:18).
After this, he began his apostolic travels, in the course of which, he encountered all kinds of hardships and dangers.
The Jews frequently hunted him, in order to put him to death.
He was often cruelly scourged and flung into prison and, several times, he was shipwrecked and had miraculous escapes from death (CF 2 Cor 11:23-27).
He bore everything joyfully however, in order to prove his liove for Jesus Christ.
Charity was always his main incentive.   “The love of Christ impels us” (2 Cor 5:14).
Charity, he said himself, “Believes all things, hopes all things,edues all things” (Cf 1 Cor 13:4-13).
His charity was so great, that he could truthfully say:  “Who is weak and I am not weak?   Who is made to stumble and I am not inflamed?” (2 Cor 11:29).

St Paul could make this claim because his heart had become identified with the Heart of Jesus.
Therefore, he could say:  “It is now no longer I that live but Christ lives in me,” (Gal 2:20) and:  “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain,” (Phil 1:21) and:  “I am hard pressed from both sides, desiring to depart and to be with Christ, a lot by far the better;  yet, to stay on in the flesh is necessary, for your sake” (Phil 1:23-24).

Let us meditate on this ardent love of God.
Let us cast aside our coldness and indifference and ask St Paul, to set us on fire with divine charity.”  Amen

Antonio Cardinal Bacci