Monday, April 30, 2018

Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Pope Saint Pius V (1504-1572)

Readings of the day: RB 72 Good Zeal
Mass: Ac 14:5-18; Resp Ps 115; Jn 14:21-26



HE JUMPED UP AND BEGAN TO WALK ABOUT.

Not to us, O Lord, not to us
but to your name give the glory
because of your mercy, because of your truth.
 (Resp Ps 115)

You have received everything as pure gift
give everything as pure gift:
this is what it means to consent
(completely and simply) to the GIFT.
(C. Lebreton, Born from the Gaze of God, p. 90)

Thank you, O Lord,
for showering us with the gifts of your LOVE and MERCY.
Help us to open wide the door of hearts so that we
try to be the first to show respect to the other;
support with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses of body or behavior;
earnestly compete in obedience to one another;
and pursue not what is better for ourselves, but what is better for someone else.
May we prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.
Amen.


Sunday, April 29, 2018

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Readings of the day: RB 71 Mutual Obedience
Mass: Ac 9:26-31; Resp Ps 22; 1 Jn 3:18-24; Jn 15:1-8



I AM THE TRUE VINE, AND MY FATHER IS THE VINE GROWER.
HE TAKES AWAY EVERY BRANCH IN ME THAT DOES NOT BEAR FRUIT,
AND EVERY ONE THAT DOES HE PRUNES SO THAT IT BEARS MORE FRUIT.

Rooted in the VINE, CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD, we are pruned by life in community. One-way pruning happens in a monastic community is through mutual obedience, detailed in today’s reading from the Holy Rule. There, St Benedict writes, ‘Obedience is a blessing to be shown to all, not only to the abbess or abbot but also to one another as sisters or brothers, since we know that it is by this way of obedience that we go to God.’ Furthermore, ‘younger monks should obey their seniors with all love and concern.’ In Christian community, we are called to love and respect one another and strive to live in the peace of the Risen Christ. We do this by listening to one another and learning to be open to those with whom we live—to open our hearts and minds to other ways of doing things; to other ways living and moving in the world; to a variety of personalities. This takes the pruning of our rough edges that can come in the form self-centeredness, ‘my way or the highway’ or ‘it’s all about me’ aspects in all of us. Jesus Christ commanded us to love one another and remain in HIM. The FATHER will prune us through our life with others. This will require us to get out of our comfort zones and grow in self-knowledge. In this way, though, we will bear much fruit. ‘Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.’

As a tree’s many branches come from the one root, so do many virtues come forth from love alone. The branch which is our good works has no sap unless it remains attached to the root of love.
(Pope St Gregory the Great)

The common life, whether in the family, the parish, the religious community or any other, is made up of small everyday things. This was true of the holy community formed by Jesus, Mary and Joseph, which reflected in an exemplary way the beauty of the Trinitarian communion. It was also true of the life that Jesus shared with his disciples and with ordinary people.
(Gaudete et Exsultate, 143)

I AM THE VINE, YOU ARE THE BRANCHES.
WHOEVER REMAINS IN ME AND I IN HIM WILL BEAR MUCH FRUIT,
BECAUSE WITHOUT ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Saint Peter Chantal (d. 1841)

Readings of the day: RB 70 The Presumption of Striking Another Monk at Will
Mass: Ac 13:44-52; Resp Ps 98; Jn 14:7-14



O CHOSEN PEOPLE, PROCLAIM THE MIGHTY WORKS OF HIM WHO CALLED YOU OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS WONDERFUL LIGHT.
(Entrance Antiphon, Mass)

O the mighty works God has done for us, individually and collectively. Why not recall the love and mercy God has bestowed upon you over the years. The Holy Father suggests we do this in prayer:

Prayer, because it is nourished by the gift of God present and at work in our lives, must always be marked by remembrance. The memory of God’s works is central to the experience of the covenant between God and his people. God wished to enter history, and so our prayer is interwoven with memories. We think back not only on his revealed Word, but also on our own lives, the lives of others, and all that the Lord has done in his Church. This is the grateful memory that Saint Ignatius of Loyola refers to in his Contemplation for Attaining Love, when he asks us to be mindful of all the blessings we have received from the Lord. Think of your own history when you pray, and there you will find much mercy. This will also increase your awareness that the Lord is ever mindful of you; he never forgets you. So it makes sense to ask him to shed light on the smallest details of your life, for he sees them all.
(Gaudete et Exsultate, 153)

May we be
FILLED WITH JOY AND THE HOLY SPIRIT!

IF YOU ASK ANYTHING IN MY NAME,
I WILL DO IT.
(Jn 14:14)

Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Readings of the day: RB 69 The Presumption of Defending Another in the Monastery
Mass: Ac 13:26-33; Resp Ps 2; Jn 14:1-6



DO NOT LET YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED.
YOU HAVE FAITH IN GOD; HAVE FAITH IN ME ALSO.

A Christian is one who lives completely out of himself in Christ—he lives in the faith of his Redemption, in the love of his Redeemer, loving us for whom He died. He lives, above all, in the hope of a world to come.
(Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude, p. 38)

NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.

Let my trust be in Your mercy, not in myself. Let my hope be in Your love, not in health, or strength, or ability or human resources.
If I trust You, everything else will become, for me, strength, health, and support. Everything will bring me to heaven. If I do not trust You, everything will be my destruction.
(Merton, p. 39)

When we are open to God’s grace, even the impossible becomes possible.
(Pope Francis, Twitter, April 27, 2018)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Readings of the day: RB 68 Assignment of Impossible Tasks
Mass: Ac 13:13-25; Resp Ps 89; Jn 13:16-20



Jesus embodies humble service by washing the disciples’ feet. Then the Word speaks:Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it. For a few reasons I am drawn to one of my favorite paragraphs in Gaudete et Exsultate, 136:

We need to open the door of our hearts to Jesus, who stands and knocks (cf. Rev 3:20). Sometimes I wonder, though, if perhaps Jesus is already inside us and knocking on the
door for us to let him escape from our stale self-centredness. In the Gospel, we see how Jesus “went through the cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God” (Lk 8:1). After the resurrection, when the disciples went forth in all directions, the Lord accompanied them (cf. Mk 16:20). This is what happens as the result of true encounter.

The self-centred are neither humble nor about a life of service. The self-centred neither let Jesus in their hearts nor let him out. We might ask ourselves: How is my heart today? Am I ready for true encounter?

The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. 
With Christ joy is constantly born anew.
(Evangelii Gaudium, 1)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Feast of Saint Mark

Readings of the day: RB 67 Those Who are Sent on a Journey
Mass: 1 P 5:5-14; Resp Ps 89; Mk 16:15-20


Brevity is the spice of life:

CAST ALL YOUR WORRIES UPON GOD BECAUSE HE CARES FOR YOU.

Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you;
and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you.
Evangelii Gaudium, 164

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen (d. 1622)


Readings of the day: RB 66 The Porter of the Monastery
Mass: Ac 11:19-26; Resp Ps 86; Jn 10:22-30

ALL YOU NATIONS, PRAISE THE LORD.
(Resp Ps 87)

It’s a busy scene in the Acts of the Apostles: those scattered by the persecution wasted no time—they preached the word to the Jews; others proclaimed the word to the Greeks.

The hand of the Lord was with them; a great number who believed turned to the Lord.

Barnabas goes to Antioch and sees the grace of God—he rejoiced and encouraged all of them to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart.

A large number of people was added to the Lord.

Barnabas finds Saul and brings him to Antioch—for the whole year they met with the Church.

They taught a large number of people.

IN ANTIOCH THE DISCIPLES WERE FIRST CALLED CHRISTIANS.

LET US REJOICE AND BE GLAD AND GIVE GLORY TO GOD,
FOR THE LORD OUR GOD THE ALMIGHTY REIGNS, ALLELUIA.
(Entrance Antiphon, Mass)

Living and true God,
May we, like the early Christians, remain faithful in firmness of heart.
Amen.

Life only makes sense when it is given as gift.
It becomes tasteless when it is lived for itself alone.
(Pope Francis, Twitter, April 24, 2018)


Monday, April 23, 2018

Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Saint George (c. 303); Saint Adalbert of Prague (956-997)
 
St George and the Dragon, Novgorod 15th century


Readings of the day: RB 65:11-22
Mass: Ac 11:1-18; Resp Ps 42-43; Jn 10:1-10

Auguri, Papa Francesco (Jorge Mario Bergoglio).
Buon onomastico!

Congratulations, Pope Francis.
Happy name day!
May Saint George intercede for you.

ATHIRST IS MY SOUL FOR THE LIVING GOD.
WHEN SHALL I GO AND BEHOLD THE FACE OF GOD?
(Resp Ps 42-43)

We wait during our earthly pilgrimage to one day behold the face of God. Amidst daily struggles, temptations, and challenges that test our faith, we search for the living God who is in search of us. Where are you on this Monday? Remember, ‘Whoever enters the gate through JESUS THE GOOD SHEPHERD will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.’ Jesus loves you, listen to Him. ALLELUIA. Keep going!

I CAME SO THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE LIFE AND HAVE IT MORE ABUNDANTLY.

SEND FORTH YOUR LIGHT AND YOUR FIDELITY;
THEY SHALL LEAD ME ON
AND BRING ME TO YOUR HOLY MOUNTAIN,
TO YOUR DWELLING-PLACE.

The Word of God is the lamp with which we look to the future:
its light allows us to read the sign of the times.
(Pope Francis, Twitter, April 23, 2018)


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Readings of the day: RB 65 The Prioress of the Monastery
Mass: Ac 4:8-12; Resp Ps 118; 1 Jn 3:1-2; Jn 10:11-18

St John, The Beloved Disciple

SEE WHAT LOVE THE FATHER HAS BESTOWED ON US
THAT WE MAY BE CALLED CHILDREN OF GOD.

Yes, God is magnificent in Love, in Mercy toward his children, he is only waiting for the gift of our heart to invade it, to fill it to overflowing with himself: 
Complete happiness…that we may in turn give it away to others.
              (C. Lebreton, in a note he found, Born from the Gaze of God, p. 36)

BELOVED, WE ARE GOD’S CHILDREN NOW; WHAT WE SHALL BE HAS NOT YET BEEN REVEALED. WE DO KNOW THAT WHEN IT IS REVEALED WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM, FOR WE SHALL SEE HIM AS HE IS.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd,
invade our hearts with LOVE, MERCY and JOY.

God calls each one of us, and each call is a gift that should fill us with joy.
(Pope Francis, Twitter, April 22, 2018)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Saturday of the Third Week of Easter

Saint Anselm, Bishop and Doctor (1033-1109)
 
St Anselm of Canterbury


Readings of the day: RB 64:7-22
Mass: Ac 9:31-42; Resp Ps 116; Jn 6:60-69

THEY TURNED TO THE LORD.
MANY CAME TO BELIEVE IN THE LORD.

O God, let me know you and love you so that I may find my joy in you; and if I cannot do so fully in this life, let me at least make some progress every day, until at last that knowledge, love and joy come to me in all their plentitude. While I am here on earth let me learn to love you better, so that in heaven I may know you fully; let my love for you grow deeper here, so that there I may love you fully. On earth then I shall have great joy in hope, and in heaven complete joy in fulfillment of my hope.
(St Anselm)

MASTER, TO WHOM SHALL WE GO?


Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday of the Third Week of Easter

Readings of the day: RB 64:1-6 The Election of an Abbess
Mass: Ac 9:1-20; Resp Ps 117; Jn 6:52-59



THE ONE WHO FEEDS ON ME WILL HAVE LIFE BECAUSE OF ME.

Pope Francis was in Molfetta, Italy, today, paying tribute to much-loved Fr Antonio (Tonino) Bello (Servant of God, Bishop of Molfetta, d. 1993). Recalling words of Don Tonino, the Pope stated: “works of charity are not enough, if the charity of works is lacking, if the love in which the works are conceived is lacking, if the starting point which is the Eucharist is lacking, every pastoral commitment is only a merry-go-round”. The Holy Father preached, “One could post a warning outside every church: ‘After Mass one no longer lives for oneself, but for others’.” Remembering Don Tonino and reflecting on Pope Francis’s homily, I went to something the Pope taught April 4, 2018, in a weekly catechesis: “Every time I go to Mass, I must leave better than I entered, with more life, with more strength, with a greater desire to give Christian witness. Through the Eucharist, the Lord Jesus enters in us, in our heart and in our flesh, so that we can ‘express in life the Sacrament received in faith’.” He continued, “From the celebration to life, therefore, aware that the Mass finds it fulfillment in the concrete choices of one who is personally involved in Christ’s mystery. We must not forget that we celebrate the Eucharist to learn to become Eucharistic men and women. What does this mean? It means to let Christ act in our works: that His thoughts be our thoughts, He sentiments ours, His choices our choices. And this is holiness: to do as Christ did is Christian holiness.”

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God,
transform our hearts; act in our works; help us to love; help us to live for others.
Servant of God, Don Tonino Bello, pray for us.

WHOEVER EATS THIS BREAD WILL LIVE FOREVER.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

Readings of the day: RB 63:10-19
Mass: Ac 8:26-40; Resp Ps 66; Jn 6:44-51



CHIRST DIED FOR ALL, THAT THOSE WHO LIVE MAY LIVE NOT LONGER FOR THEMSELVES, BUT FOR HIM, WHO DIED FOR THEM AND IS RISEN, ALLELUIA.
(Communion Antiphon, Mass)

This is the second of two days reading St Benedict’s Chapter 63, Community Rank. It is worth noting some of the wisdom contained therein. Rank, or order in a monastic community is based on three criteria: the date of the person’s entry to the monastery; the virtue of her life; and the decision of the abbess. In other words, one’s rank does not depend on level of education, net worth, age, career positions held, or even good looks! For example, if a person with a high school diploma enters the monastery at 1:00 P.M., and a person with a Ph.D. enters at 2 P.M., the former is senior to the latter. One might also leave her business cards behind as there won’t be much use for such things in the monastery. If a 30-year-old enters the monastery at 10:00 A.M., and a 55-year-old at 10:30 A.M., the latter is junior to the former, no matter the professional experience of the latter. St Benedict levels the playing field so to speak. When did you get here? Have you embraced and do you live a virtuous life? Are you loving, caring, compassionate, merciful, and humble…are you seeking God? This is your curriculum vitae so to speak. 

Then Benedict addresses the matters of respect and civility: the younger sisters must respect their seniors, and the seniors must love their juniors; whenever sisters meet, the junior asks her senior for a blessing. When an older sister comes by, the younger rises and offers her a seat, and does not presume to sit down unless the older bids her. In this way, they do what the words of Scripture say: They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rm 12:10). (See RB 63:15-17)

Reflect on the beauty of St Benedict’s way of ordering things. How might Benedict’s way work in your place of employment, your organization or community? How might his way impact our encounters with one another? 

FOR ALL OF YOU WHO WERE BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST HAVE CLOTHED YOURSELVES WITH CHRIST. THERE IS NEITHER JEW NOR GREEK, THERE IS NEITHER SLAVE NOR FREE PERSON, THERE IS NOT MALE AND FEMALE; FOR YOU ARE ALL ONE IN CHRIST JESUS.
(Ga 3:27-28)

Mercy opens the door of the heart because
it makes us feel like we are all children of one Father.
(Pope Francis, Twitter, April 19, 2018)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter

Readings of the day: RB 63:1-9 Community Order
Mass: Ac 8:1b-8; Resp Ps 66; Jn 6:35-40



LET MY MOUTH BE FILLED WITH YOUR PRAISE, THAT I MAY SING ALOUD;
MY LIPS SHALL SHOUT FOR JOY, WHEN I SING TO YOU, ALLELUIA.
(Entrance Antiphon, Mass)

There is intensity in today’s scene from the Acts of the Apostles: severe persecution of the Church in Jerusalem; believers scattered throughout the countryside, except the Apostles; the devout bury the martyr Stephen—meanwhile Saul forcefully tries to destroy the Church.

Undaunted, the scattered go about preaching the word; Philip heads for Samaria and proclaims the Christ; the crowds hear and see signs; they pay attention; unclean spirits cry out in a loud voice; they come out of the possessed; the paralyzed and crippled are cured—there was great joy in the city!

LET ALL THE EARTH CRY OUT TO GOD WITH JOY!
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
sing praise to his glorious name;
proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God, ‘How tremendous are your deeds!’
(Resp Ps 66)

‘REJOICE AND BE GLAD’ (Mt 5:12),
Jesus tells those persecuted or humiliated for his sake.
The Lord asks everything of us,
and in return he offers us true life, the happiness for which we were created.
He wants us to be saints and not settle for a bland and mediocre existence.
(Gaudete et Exsultate, 1)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter

Readings of the day: RB 62 The Priests of the Monastery
Mass: Ac 7:51-8:1a; Resp Ps 31; Jn 6:30-35



SING PRAISE TO OUR GOD, ALL YOU WHO FEAR GOD,
BOTH SMALL AND GREAT, FOR NOW SALVATION AND STRENGTH HAVE COME, AND THE POWER OF HIS CHRIST, ALLELUIA.
(Entrance Antiphon, Mass)

Sing to the Lord a new song, and you wish to know what praises to sing. The answer is: His praise is in the assembly of the saints; it is in the singers themselves. If you desire to praise him, then live what you express. Live good lives, and you yourselves will be his praise.
(St Augustine)

BE GOD’S PRAISE TODAY!
­čśŐ

Monday, April 16, 2018

Monday of the Third Week of Easter

Readings of the day: RB 61:6-14
Mass: Ac 6:8-15; Resp Ps 119; Jn 6:22-29


STEPHEN, FILLED WITH GRACE AND POWER,
WAS WORKING GREAT WONDERS AND SIGNS AMONG THE PEOPLE.
THEY COULD NOT UNDERSTAND THE WISDOM
AND THE SPIRIT WITH WHICH HE SPOKE.

Let us ask St Stephen to intercede for us so that all the words we use to communicate with our families, friends, community members, co-workers, and all those we encounter be words of kindness, gentleness, love, and welcome.

Words from Pope Francis are fitting for all these encounters, what he calls ‘the little details of love’ in Gaudete et Exsultate, 145:

The love of friendship unifies all aspects of marital life and helps family members to grow constantly.  This love must be freely and generously expressed in words and acts.  In the family, "three words need to be used.  I want to repeat this! Three words: ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’, ‘Sorry’.  Three essential words!". "In our families when we are not overbearing and ask: ‘May I?’; in our families when we are not selfish and can say: ‘Thank you!’; and in our families when someone realizes that he or she did something wrong and is able to say ‘Sorry!’, our family experiences peace and joy". Let us not be stingy about using these words, but keep repeating them, day after day.  For "certain silences are oppressive, even at times within families, between husbands and wives, between parents and children, among siblings". The right words, spoken at the right time, daily protect and nurture love (Pope Francis, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, 133).

STEPHEN’S FACE WAS LIKE THAT OF AN ANGEL.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Third Sunday of Easter

Readings of the day: RB 61:1-5 Monastic Pilgrims from Far Away
Mass: Ac 3:13-15, 17-19; Resp Ps 4; 1 Jn 2:1-5a; Lk 24:35-48
 
 John Piper: Risen Christ at Emmaus   
BUT WHOEVER KEEPS HIS WORD,
THE LOVE OF GOD IS TRULY PERFECTED IN HIM.

The prayerful reading of God’s word, which is ‘sweeter than honey’ (Ps 119:103) yet a ‘two-edged sword (Heb 4:12) enables us to pause and listen to the voice of the Master. It becomes a lamp for our steps and a light for our path (cf. Ps 119:105). As the bishops of India have reminded us, ‘devotion to the word of God is not simply one of many devotions, beautiful but somewhat optional. It goes to the very heart and identity of Christian life. The word has power to transform our lives’.
(Gaudete et Exsultate, 156)

LORD JESUS, OPEN THE SCRIPTURES TO US;
MAKE OUR HEARTS BURN WHILE YOU SPEAK TO US.
ALLELUIA.

How is the Word speaking to you today?