Tuesday, May 22, 2018

St Rita of Cascia (1377-1447), Patron of Desperate Causes

Readings of the day: RB 4:63-78
Mass: Jm 4:1-10; Resp Ps 55; Mk 9:30-37

Santa Rita, Patroness of of Abuse Victims

They had been discussing among themselves who was the greatest.

St Benedict offers two Tools for Good Works today which are a response to any of us who, for one reason or another, think we are better than others: first, ‘do not love quarreling’ or put another way, ‘avoid hostile rivalry’; second, ‘shun arrogance’ or ‘do not become full of self’. It may be a good day to use the following tools: respect the elders; love the young; pray for your enemies out of love for Christ; if you have a dispute with someone, make peace with him or her before the sun goes down.

If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.

A Christian’s life should be invested in Jesus,
and spent for others.
(Pope Francis, Twitter, May 22, 2018)

Monday, May 21, 2018

Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
St Christopher Magallanes and Companions (1915-1937)

Readings of the day: RB 4:44-62
Mass: Ja 3:13-18; Resp Ps 19; Mk 9:14-29
For the Memorial, Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church: Gn 3:9-15, 20 or Ac 1:12-14; Resp Ps 87; Jn 19:25-34

O blessed mother of the Church,
you warm our hearts with the Spirit of your Son Jesus Christ.

The greatness of our Lady was in her humility. No wonder Jesus, who lived so close to her, seemed to be so anxious that we learn from him and from her but one lesson: 
to be meek and humble of heart.
(Saint Teresa of Calcutta)

We celebrate for the first time the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. All Cistercian monasteries are dedicated to Mary, Mother of God. We rejoice today and celebrate with all the faithful, Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mother of the Church; dear Mary, so meek and humble of heart; ‘the Mother standing beneath the cross (cf. Jn 19:25), accepted her Son’s testament of love and welcomed all people in the person of the beloved disciple as sons and daughters to be reborn unto life eternal. She thus became the tender Mother of the Church which Christ begot on the cross handing on the Spirit. Christ, in turn, in the beloved disciple, chose all disciples as ministers of his love towards his Mother, entrusting her to them so that they might welcome her with filial affection…This celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the Mystery of the Cross, to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet and to the Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Redeemed, the Virgin who makes her offering to God’ (Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Feb. 11, 2018).

How happy is she
who is both mother and spouse of God
the gate of heaven
the loveliness of paradise
lady of angels
queen of the universe
joy of the saints
advocate of believers
courage of those who fight
recaller of those who wander
medicine of the penitent.

O sure salvation!
Short path of life!
Sole hope of pardon
sweetness unique.

You, my Lady,
are my all.

In your hands
has been stored for me
the fulness of all good.

With you
have been hidden the unfailing treasures
of truth and grace
of peace and pity
of salvation and wisdom
of glory and honor.

You are my anchor amid the billows
my port in shipwreck
my support in tribulation
my comfort in grief.

For those who are yours
you are
aid in oppression
help in time of crisis
temperance in prosperity
joy in time of waiting
refreshment in toil.

Whatsoever I can stammer
in your praise
is less
than your praise
for you are worthy of all praise.

(Adam of Perseigne, c.1145-1221, Letter III, 25)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pentecost Sunday

Readings of the day: RB 4:22-43
Sunday Mass: Ac 2:1-11; Resp Ps 104; 1 Co 12:3b-7, 12-13 or Ga 5:16-25; Sequence (Veni, Sancti Spiritus); Jn 20:19-23
Icon by Isaac Fanous, St Peter and St Pauls Coptic Orthodox Church

If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

Feel the energy in the room: They were all in one place together. Suddenly, there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.

We have received the same Holy Spirit. Each one of us has received different kinds of spiritual gifts, one of one kind and one of another (1 Co 7:7). We are meant to bear fruits of
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Which fruit will you share with your brothers and sisters today?

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Holy Spirit, you sustain the Church, come down upon us again, teach us unity, renew our hearts, and help us to love as Jesus taught us.
(Pope Francis, Twitter, May 20, 2018)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Readings of the day: RB 4:1-21 The Tools for Good Works
Mass: Ac 28:16-20, 30-31; Resp Ps 11; Jn 21:20-25

Andrei Rublev, St Paul the Apostle

Paul received all who came to him, and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the Kingdom of God and taught the Lord Jesus Christ.

St Catherine of Siena has a message for us today: Imitate that dear Paul, who was so in love, and be a vessel of affection that bears and proclaims the name of Jesus. It seems to me that Paul gazed into this eye and lost himself in it. And he was granted such a great soul that he was willing and even desired to be separated from God, an outcast, for the sake of his brothers and sisters. Paul was in love with whatever God was in love with. He saw that charity is never scandalized, is never confounded.

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, grant us the grace to be so in love. May we too be vessels of affection and proclaim your holy name.
First of all, love the Lord God with your whole heart, your whole soul and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.
Give help and support to the poor.
Clothe the naked.
Visit the sick.
Bury the dead.
Console and counsel those who suffer in time of grief.
Bring comfort to those in sorrow.
(RB 4:1-2, 14-19)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Pope Saint John I (d. 526)

Readings of the day: RB 3:7-13
Mass: Ac 25:13b-21; Resp Ps 103; Jn 21:15-19

Pope's Processional Cross 1987, Aspell / Bacigalupi / Kuklish, Maker

Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?

This is what Scripture scholar N.T. Wright has to say about today’s Gospel account:‘The brief conversation between Jesus and Peter in Jn 21[15-19] is one of the most moving human encounters ever recorded. There is a love, a deep, moving warmth that goes out from Jesus. But this love is strong, powerful, life-changing, life-directing. New creation has begun; and its motivating power is love’ (Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters, p. 194).

Are you open and ready to encounter LOVE today?

God infinitely transcends us; he is full of surprises. We are not the ones to determine when and how we will encounter him; the exact times and places of that encounter are not up to us.
(Gaudete et Exsultate, 41)


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Readings of the day: RB 3:1-6 Calling the Community for Counsel
Mass: Ac 22:30; 23:6-11; Resp Ps 16; Jn 17:20-26

In the monastery no one is to follow her own heart’s desire, nor shall anyone presume to contend with her abbess defiantly, or outside the monastery.
(RB 3:8)

It is thought-provoking to read today’s passage from the Acts of the Apostles along with Chapter 3 of the Holy Rule, ‘Calling the Community for Counsel’. St Benedict begins, ‘As often as anything is important to be done in the monastery, the abbess or abbot shall call the whole community together and herself explain what the business is, and after hearing the advice of the sisters, let her ponder it and follow what she judges the wiser course.’ The community has a role too: ‘The sisters, for their part, are to express their opinions with all humility, and not to presume to defend their own views obstinately.’ In the passage from Acts, the commander convenes the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin, a dispute breaks out between the gathered Sadducees and Pharisees, the group becomes divided and arguments ensue. The situation becomes so heated that Paul is removed from the midst of the crowd for fear he will be torn to pieces! I see sanity and civility coming from St Benedict’s ways of conducting business in a group. I see an example not to emulate in the situation between Paul and his adversaries. We recall Pope Francis’s words for the 50th World Communications Day, 2016: What we say and how we say it, our every word and gesture, ought to express God’s compassion, tenderness and forgiveness for all. Love, by its nature, is communication; it leads to openness and sharing. If our hearts and actions are inspired by charity, by divine love, then our communication will be touched by God’s own power I would like to encourage everyone to see society not as a forum where strangers compete and try to come out on top, but above all as a home or a family, where the door is always open and where everyone feels welcome.
Pour into our hearts your Holy Spirit,
that You may keep us in unity of spirit and the bond of peace.
(Aelred of Rievaulx)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Readings of the day: RB 2:33-40
Mass: Ac 20:28-38; Resp Ps 68; Jn 17:11b-19


Not only that, ‘God loves a cheerful giver’ (2 Co 9:7).

Far from being timid, morose, acerbic or melancholy, or putting on a dreary face, the saints are joyful and full of good humour. Though completely realistic, they radiate a positive and hopeful spirit. The Christian life is “joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rm 14:17), for “the necessary result of the love of charity is joy; since every lover rejoices at being united to the beloved… the effect of charity is joy”. Having received the beautiful gift of God’s word, we embrace it “in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit” (1 Th 1:6). If we allow the Lord to draw us out of our shell and change our lives, then we can do as Saint Paul tells us: “Rejoice in the Lord always; I say it again, rejoice!” (Ph4:4)
(Gaudete et Exsultate, 122)

There is no love without works of charity.
Service towards our brothers and sisters springs from the heart that loves.
(Pope Francis, Twitter, May 16, 2018)