Thursday, August 11, 2022

Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint: Saint Clare, Virgin (1193/4-1253)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 58:1-16 The Procedure for Receiving Brothers

Mass: Ezk 12:1-12; Resp Ps 78; Mt 18:21-19:1

Do not forget the works of the Lord.

MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE,
HEART OF MARY, IMMACULATE FROM THY CREATION.

The concern must be whether the novice truly seeks God.
(Rule of Saint Benedict, 58:7)

We are blessed today that we turn to Saint Clare of Assisi for inspiration and intercession. May she help us forgive not seven times by seventy-seven times (Mt 18:22). We pray too in the words of Poor Clare Mother Angelica (1923-2016), "Give me hope, Lord Father, to trust in your forgiveness, and let me always give my neighbor the benefit of the doubt so I may forgive him from my heart."

For God is the splendor of eternal glory, 
the brightness of eternal light, and the mirror without cloud ...
In this mirror blessed poverty, holy humility and ineffable love are reflected. With the grace of God the whole mirror will be your source of contemplation.
(From a letter to Blessed Agnes of Prague by Saint Clare, virgin, in Office of Readings, August 11)

Though my flesh and my heart may fail,
-God is my strength and my portion forever.
(Responsory, Office of Readings)

SAINT CLARE OF ASSISI,
SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI,
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: I like this. 😊

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Feast of Saint Lawrence

Saint: Saint Lawrence, Deacon, Martyr (-258)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 57 The Artisans of the Monastery 

Mass: 2 Cor 9:6-10; Resp Ps 112; Jn 12:24-26

The upright generation shall be blessed.

MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE,
HEART OF MARY, TABERNACLE OF GOD INCARNATION,
PRAY FOR US.

Whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
(2 Cor 9:6)

So that in all things God may be glorified.
(Rule of Saint Benedict, 57:9/1 Pet 4:11)

Give praise to God as we commemorate Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr, "one of the most celebrated saints in the history of the Church" ... "one of the most venerated martyrs of the Roman church since the fourth century" (Butler's Lives of the Saints). Yes, he of gridiron fame; he "who ransacked Rome for the poor supported by the Church", then "assembled the decrepit, blind, lame, cripples, lepers, orphans, widows, and maidens and invited the prefect [of Rome] to inspect the Church's real treasure." For this Lawrence would perish, slowly. It is to Saint Lawrence that we look for inspiration and intercession. We must keep going, united in faith and prayer. About Saint Lawrence and about us too, Saint Augustine preached this: 

In his life he loved Christ; in his death he followed in His footsteps ... we too must imitate Christ if we truly love Him. We shall not be able to render better return on that love than by modeling our lives on His ... Let us understand, then, how a Christian must follow Christ even though he does not shed his blood for Him, and his faith is not called upon to undergo the great test of the martyr's sufferings ... Christ humbled Himself. Christian, that is what you must make your own. Christ became obedient. How is it that you are proud? When this humbling experience was completed and death itself lay conquered, Christ ascended into heaven. Let us follow Him there, for we hear Paul saying: If you have been raised with Christ, you must lift your thoughts on high, where Christ now sits at the right hand of God.
 (From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop, in Office of Readings, August 10). 

SAINT LAWRENCE,
PRAY FOR US.

NB. With fond memories I recall 5th and 6th grades at Saint Lawrence Catholic School in Muncie, Indiana, my hometown. It was the same school my father attended as a boy, after he and his parents immigrated from Germany in 1933. God is praised. Saint Lawrence, as of the 2021-22 school year, is now unified with Saint Mary Catholic School (where I attended 4th grade) in a single Catholic School, Saint Michael Catholic School. May Saint Lawrence, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Saint Michael intercede for all students, teachers, and staff, and all the faithful in Muncie, Indiana. 

Today's photo: On the prowl for a flower or greenery, I found this. His generosity shall endure forever.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Tuesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saints: Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Martyr, Co-Patron Saint of Europe (1891-1942); Saint Nathy; Saint Felim (6th century)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 56 The Abbot's Table

Mass: Ezk 2:8-3:4; Resp Ps 119; Mt 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

Yes, your decrees are my delight.

MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE,
HEART OF MARY, SANCTUARY OF THE DIVINE TRINITY,
PRAY FOR US.

Free me from the net they have set for me, for you are my refuge.
(Psalm 31:5)

It was at Lauds this morning that I knew it was good day to turn to the psalms, as are all days. The psalmist sings to us with words of solace, compassion, assistance, and challenge too. Today is an especially good day to turn to the psalms as we commemorate Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein). Born as she was into a Jewish family, Edith would have been familiar with the psalms. At 14, Edith became an atheist, then a scholar of philosophy, studying under Edmund Husserl in Freiburg, Germany. A seeker of the truth, Edith read the autobiography of Saint Teresa Avila and exclaimed, "This is the truth." Subsequently, Edith was baptized into the faith in 1922, and eventually entered the Carmel in Cologne, taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She was moved to a Carmel in the Netherlands during the growing Nazi threat. After all Jewish converts to the faith were arrested, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was taken to Auschwitz and killed on August 9, 1942. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

When you seek truth you seek God, whether you know it or not.
(Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

SAINT TERESA BENEDICTA OF THE CROSS,
SAINT NATHY,
SAINT FELIM,
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: More greenery to delight in. I gasp with open mouth.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Monday, August 8, 2022

Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saints: Saint Dominic (1170-1221); Saint Mary of the Cross (1842-1909)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 55:15-22 The Clothing and Footwear of the Brothers 

Mass: Ezk 1:2-5, 24-28c; Resp Ps 148; Mt 17:22-27

Praise Him, all you His hosts.

MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE,
HEART OF MARY, INSTRUMENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT,
PRAY FOR US.

True teaching was in his mouth; no evil found on his lips.
-His words burned like a torch.
(Responsory, Office of Readings, August 8)

Welcome to Monday. And we know how these days go, full as they are with getting on with a new week. We keep going and pray especially for all the Dominicans, the Order of Preachers. May Saint Dominic intercede for them, and for all the faithful. We look to the life of Saint Dominic for inspiration:

Dominic possessed such great integrity and was so strongly motivated by divine love, that without a doubt he proved to be a bearer of honor and grace. He was a man of great equanimity, except when moved to compassion and mercy. And since a joyful heart animates the face,
he displayed the peaceful composure of a spiritual man in the kindness he manifested outwardly and by the cheerfulness of his countenance.
(From various writings on the history of the Order of Preachers, in Office of Readings, August 8)

SAINT DOMINIC,
SAINT MARY OF THE CROSS,
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: Back to a favorite, these particular ones you have not seen. Praise Him, all you His angels.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In other years: Pope Saint Sixtus II and his companions (-258); Saint Cajetan (1480-1547); Blessed Nicholas Postgate (1598-1679); Saint Albert Trapani (c.1240-1307)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 55:1-14 The Clothing and Footwear of the Brothers

Mass: Wisdom 18:6-9; Resp Ps 33; Heb 11:1-2, 8-19; Lk 12:32-48

Our soul waits for the Lord.

MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE,
HEART OF MARY, UNITED TO THE HEART OF JESUS,
PRAY FOR US.

Arise, O God, and defend your cause, and forget not the cries of those who seek You.
(Entrance Antiphon, Mass, in part)

In today's Gospel, the Lord answers Peter's question with a question of His own: Who then is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? (Lk 12:42). It may be that a faithful and prudent steward is, among other things, someone who pays attention. Someone who, as we sing praise at the end of a psalm, pays attention and gives Praise to the God who is, praise to the God who was, praise to the God who is to come, for ages unending. Amen. So many things pass by without us noticing. Or rather, pass by without me noticing. For example, the beauty of God's creation that surrounds us at every moment. It just so happens that I was paying attention late yesterday afternoon when I went looking for a flower to use with today's reflection. And you can see what I found instead. Stay awake and be ready! For you do not know on what day the Lord will come (Gospel acclamation, Mass). Mary Oliver puts it this way:

Messenger,
by Mary Oliver (1935-2019)

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird-
    equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
    keep my mind on what matters.,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished. 
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
    and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
    to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
    that we live forever.

It is entirely up to you. If you want Christ to love you and help you, you must love Him and always make an effort to please Him. Do not waver in your purpose, because even if all the saints and every single creature should abandon you, He will always be near you, whatever your needs.
(From a letter by Saint Cajetan, priest, in Office of Readings, August 7)    

POPE SAINT SIXTUS II AND HIS COMPANIONS,
SAINT CAJETAN,
BLESSED NICHOLAS POSTGATE,
SAINT ALBERT TRAPANI,
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: See text above. 😊 May your kindness, O Lord, be upon us.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

First Saturday of the Month

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 54 Letters or Gifts for Monks

Mass: Dn 7:9-10, 13-14; Resp Ps 97; 2 Pt 1:16-19; Lk 9:28b-36

All peoples see His glory.

MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE,
HEART OF MARY, LIKE UNTO THE HEART OF GOD,
PRAY FOR US.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, 
His kingship shall not be destroyed.
(Dn 7:14)

Welcome to the First Saturday of the Month and the celebration of the Feast of Transfiguration of the Lord. Listen to the voice from the cloud that said: This is my beloved Son; listen to Him (Lk 9:35). United as we are, baptized into the family of faith, we too are the beloved children of God. As brothers and sisters, may we listen to the Lord with open hearts and minds. We enter into this day before the Sabbath, usually a day full of things to do like yard work, cleaning this or that like the parish or monastery church, laundry, cooking, shopping, and so on, with something to ponder: "The true miracle of the Transfiguration is not the shining face or the white garments, but the fact that for the rest of the time Jesus hid His glory so well" (Universalis). It is wonderful in our eyes. Amen.

Jesus goes up before us to show us the way, both up the mountain and into heaven, and-I speak boldly- it is for us now to follow Him with all speed, yearning for the heavenly vision that will give us a share in His radiance, renew our spiritual nature and transform us into His own likeness, making us forever sharers in His Godhead and raising us to heights as yet undreamed of ...
It is indeed good to be here, as you have said, Peter. It is good to be with Jesus and to remain here for ever. What greater happiness or higher honor could we have than to be with God, to be made like Him and to live in His light?
(From a sermon on the transfiguration of the Lord by Anastasius of Sinai, bishop, in Office of Readings, August 6)

NB. I was reminded that the month of August is especially dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. From today forward then, after addressing her as Queen of Peace, we will invoke the Blessed Mother with a title from the Litany of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 

Today's photo: This image of the icon of the Transfiguration of the Lord is used with permission of the Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel, OR. The icon hangs in their chapel at Queen of Angels Monastery. The icon is through the hands of the Iconographic Arts Institute. And He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Friday, August 5, 2022

Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

The Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major

First Friday of the Month

Saint: Blessed Frederic Janssoone (1838-1916)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 53:16-24 The Reception of Guests

Mass: Nahum 2:1, 3; 3:1-3, 6-7; Resp Ps (Dt 32); Mt 16:24-28

Learn then that I, I alone, am God.

MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE,
MARY, MOTHER OF GOD, 
PRAY FOR US.

Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
(Mt 16:24)

Welcome to the First Friday of the Month, a day too when we commemorate the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, one of the four major basilicas (along with Saint Peter's Basilica, the Basilica of Saint Paul outside the Walls, and the Basilica of Saint John in Lateran) in Rome, and the oldest church in the West that is dedicated to Our Lady. The basilica celebrates the motherhood of Mary, as it was built shortly after the Council of Ephesus (431) formally proclaimed the mother of Jesus as the Mother of God. The basilica is home to the icon Mary, Salus Populi Romani, Protectress of the Roman People. It is customary for the Holy Father to pray in front of the icon before Apostolic Journeys, thereby entrusting his visits to Our Lady. Upon his return from a journey, the Pontiff prays in front of the icon again, thanking God for blessing his journey. 

Entrust your cares to Mary, Mother of God. She knows a thing or two about crosses. Our Lady will help you carry yours. Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

Mary, Mother of God, we salute you. Precious vessel, worthy of the whole world's reverence, you are an ever-shining light, the crown of virginity, the symbol of orthodoxy, an indestructible temple, the place that held Him whom no place can contain, mother and virgin. Because of you the holy gospels could say: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord ...
Behold then the joy of the whole universe. Let the union of God and man in the Son of the Virgin Mary fill us with awe and adoration. Let us fear and worship the undivided Trinity as we sing the praise of the ever-virgin, Mary, the holy temple of God, and of God Himself, her Son and spotless Bridegroom. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(From a homily delivered at the Council of Ephesus by Saint Cyril of Alexandria, in Office of Readings, August 5).

BLESSED FREDERIC JANSSONE,
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: A lily from Queen of Angels Monastery, home of the Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel. We are united in faith and prayer. Mary, Queen of Angels, pray for us.

© Gertrude Feick 2022