Saturday, June 30, 2018

Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
The First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church
Blessed Virgin Mary

Readings of the day: RB 23 Faults Which Deserve Excommunication
Mass: Lm 2:2, 10-14, 18-18; Resp Ps 74; Mt 8:5-17

Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord.

We have times in our lives, sometimes daily, or days, even months, when we have need to lament, to pour out our troubles on the Lord, to express grief or sorrow. In a recent article in Worship journal (May 2018), H.L. Novello writes: ‘lament witnesses to a robust faith and worship, and, moreover, is the mode by which hope is reborn. A deep confidence in the pathos of God, who is vulnerable to the cries of the afflicted, motivates the cry raised to God from the depths of distress. God is not only abovethe fray (transcendence), but also immersed in the fray since God makes the suffering of his people his own (immanence)’, pp. 229-230. Remember, Christ took away our infirmities and bore our diseases. Lord, forget not the souls of your poor ones (Ps 74:19b).

(Ps 124:8)

When we are firmly united to the God who loves and sustains us,
we are able to withstand all life’s difficulties and challenges.
(Pope Francis, Twitter, June 30, 2018)

Friday, June 29, 2018

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

Readings of the day: RB 22 Sleeping Arrangements for the Community
Mass: Ac 12:1-11; Resp Ps 34; 2 Tm 4:6-8, 17-18; Mt 16:13-19

Shroud of Turin center

But who do you say that I am?

I remember Fr Tom Royce, SJ, of blessed memory. Fr Tom was kind enough to speak about Ignatian Spirituality in a class I taught on Christian Spirituality. I used to drive to Portland, OR, between classes to pick him up because, as his obituary relates: ‘In the latter years of his life Fr. Tom was afflicted with macular degeneration, which curtailed his driving. He quickly switched to the bus and train, and gladly accepted rides from friends and co-workers.’ Fr Tom used to say to me, ‘I can’t see, but I can hear!’ Not only could he hear, Fr Tom spoke in a booming, clear voice.
The class Fr Tom visited was full of seminarians and not just those registered for the class. Others would come to listen to the respected Jesuit. Fr Tom related something he learned shortly after he joined the Society as a teenager. It was during his first 30-day retreat that he learned something that changed his life forever. As Fr Tom shared, ‘I learned that Jesus was a person.’ Now and then I think about what Fr Tom said. Jesus Christ is a Person. Jesus is a Person who wants to get in touch with me, a Man who loves me, is searching for me, and wants to be in relationship with me. Jesus is the God of the Living. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Who do you say that Jesus is? Thank you, Fr Tom. Rest in peace.

Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.

You are Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Irenaeus (d. 202)

Readings of the day: RB 21 The Deans of the Monastery
Mass: 2 K 24:8-17; Resp Ps 79; Mt 7:21-29

Only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven will enter the Kingdom of heaven.

It occurs to me that I should get down on my knees and pray a simple prayer attributed to St Bridget of Sweden (d. 1373):Lord, show me your way and make me willing to follow it. Amen. 
St. Irenaeus, pray for us.

Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church (d. 444)

Readings of the day: RB 20 The Ideal of True Reverence in Prayer
Mass: 2 K 22:8-13; 23:1-3; Resp Ps 119; Mt 7:15-20

St Cyril of Alexandria

By their fruits you will know them.

A fitting commentary on today’s Gospel comes from our reading at Morning Prayer taken from The Letter of James 3:12-18. Included here are a few verses from the NRSV: ‘Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. Wisdom from above if first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace’ (Jm 3:13, 17-18). May those we encounter today know us by the good fruit that we bear. Saint Cyril of Alexandria, pray for us.

Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord;
whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.
(Gospel Acclamation, Mass)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Readings of the day: RB 19 Our Approach to Prayer
Mass: 2 K 19:9b-11, 14-21, 31-35a, 36; Resp Ps 48; Mt 7:6, 12-14

How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.

St Benedict echoes the teaching of Jesus in the Prologue of the Holy Rule: ‘Do not be daunted immediately by fear and run away from the road that leads to salvation. It is bound to be narrow at the outset’ (RB Prol 48). I think of when I was ready to join the US Peace Corps some 21 years ago. I had made up my mind and was ready, letting the Peace Corps staff know I was ready to go anywhere in the world immediately. Turns out it was nearly a year later that an invitation for an assignment finally arrived in the mail. This was after filling out applications, having phone interviews, and undergoing medical examinations. I guess ‘they’ did not understand how serious and ready I was. In fact, they knew exactly what they were doing. Good things come to those who wait, and learn patience, and receive the grace to chisel away the ‘I’. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths (Pr 3:5-6). 

Enter through the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction,
and those who enter it are many.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Readings of the day: RB 18:20-25
Mass: 2 K 17:5-8, 13-15a, 18; Resp Ps 60; Mt 7:1-5

As you judge, so will you be judged,
and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.

A phrase comes to mind: If the shoe fits, wear it. It is times like these when I want to run and hide.

Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your neighbor’s eye.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist

Readings of the day: RB 18:12-19
Mass: Is 49:1-6; Resp Ps 139; Ac 13:22-26; Lk 1:57-66, 80

Hagia Sophia, 13th Century Mosaic, Istanbul

He will be called John.

John the Baptist, man of utter simplicity ‘clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; his food was locusts and wild honey’ (Mk 1:6) and marked determination, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths’ (Mt 3:3). John ‘grew and became strong in spirit’ (Lk 1:80) then appeared, preaching in the desert: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’ (Mt 3:2). Is there one way in which you can simplify your life, one thing you can get rid of, or one burden you can unload in order to prepare your heart to encounter the Lord? HE must increase; I must decrease (Jn 3:30). For further consideration: The lighter one is, the less encumbered with ‘stuff’, the higher one can leap when Jesus enters the room. 😊

Christian spirituality proposes a growth marked by moderation and the capacity to be happy with little. It is a return to that simplicity which allows us to stop and appreciate the small things, to be grateful for the opportunities which life affords us, to be spiritually detached from what we possess, and not to succumb to sadness for what we lack. This implies avoiding the dynamic of dominion and the mere accumulation of pleasures.
(Laudato Si, 222)

Like St John the Baptist, Christians have to humble themselves
so that the Lord can grow in their hearts.
(Pope Francis, Twitter, June 24, 2018)

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Saturday of the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time

 Blessed Virgin Mary

Readings of the day: RB 18:7-11
Mass: 2 Ch 24:17-25; Resp Ps 89; Mt 6:24-34

Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

I think of dear Sr Antoinette of happy memory. Some 18 years ago we were sitting quietly gazing out her office window appreciating the view. In her matter of fact way, Sr Antoinette spoke: ‘Look at that chestnut tree there. It is doing just what God wants it to do.’ I have never forgotten that and recall it now as I gaze out my window looking at majestic redwoods and other growing things—all doing just what God wants them to do. Heavenly Father, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
A spirituality which forgets God as all-powerful and Creator is not acceptable. That is how we end up worshipping earthly powers, or ourselves usurping the place of God, even to the point of claiming an unlimited right to trample his creation underfoot. The best way to restore men and women to their rightful place, putting an end to their claim to absolute dominion over the earth, is to speak once more of the figure of a Father who creates and who alone owns the world. Otherwise, human beings will always try to impose their own laws and interests on reality.
(Laudato Si, 75)

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Friday of the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time

Saint Paulinus of Nola (d. 431)
Saints John Fisher and Thomas More (d. 1535)

Mallard ducks at home on the Mattole River

Readings of the day: RB 18:1-6 The Order for Reciting the Psalms
Mass: 2 K 11:1-4, 9-18, 20; Resp Ps 132; Mt 6:19-23


I think of the proverb, ‘Home is where the heart is.’ Where is your heart today?

Think of what is above,
not of what is on earth.
(Col 3:2)

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…store up treasures in heaven.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Thursday of the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga (d. 1591)

Readings of the day: RB 17 The Number of Psalms to be Sung at the Hours
Mass: Si 48:1-14; Resp Ps 97; Mt 6:7-15

In praying, do not babble like the pagans.

St Benedict’s words on prayer echo Jesus’: We must know that God regards our purity of heart and tears of compunction, not our many words. Prayer should therefore be short and pure, unless perhaps it is prolonged under the inspiration of divine grace. In community, however, prayer should always be brief (RB 20:3-5). 

Dear Jesus,
bless all those who have asked me to pray for them.
Bless those who have no one to pray for them.

Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Prayer becomes the silence of Love, and this silence reveals the ‘I’ in its deepest aspects; and, should words suddenly arise in prayer, we must regard them as fruits of love that send us back to silence.
(Augustine Ichiro Okumura)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wednesday of the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time

Readings of the day: RB 16 The Hours of the Work of God During the Day
Mass: 2 K 2:1, 6-14; Resp Ps 31; Mt 6;1-6, 16-18

When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to others to be fasting, except to your Father who hidden.

Every time I hear today’s Gospel, I smile. It is a Scripture passage I remember from childhood—the one read on Ash Wednesday. I remember always wanting to ‘look nice’ on that day. Those were the days when I used to play ‘altar boy’ in my room—something that dates me. 😊 It is interesting what strikes us as children and the memories we carry into adulthood. Do you have a favorite from your youth? What memories does it recall? How has your life of faith been impacted by such memories?

Your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tuesday of the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time

 Fra Angelico,  St Romuald
Saint Romuald (d. 1027)

Readings of the day: RB 15 When the Alleluia Should Be Said
Mass: 1 K 21:17-29; Resp Ps 51; Mt 5:43-48

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Jesus’ words to each and every one of us are difficult. I think of St Benedict’s words as well: ‘You are not to act in anger or nurse a grudge’ (RB 4:22-23). These commands, so contrary to our first inclination, so necessary for followers of Jesus who gives us a new commandment, ‘love one another as I have loved you.’ Jesus loves and forgives without exception, for ‘our heavenly Father makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.’ 

It would do us well, today, to think of our enemy—I think all of us have one—someone who has hurt us or wants to hurt us. The Mafia’s prayer is: ‘You’ll pay me back.’ The Christian prayer is: ‘Lord, give them your blessing, and teach me to love them.’ Let us think of one enemy, and pray for them. May the Lord to give us the grace to love them.
(Pope Francis, Homily, June 19, 2018)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Monday of the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time

Readings of the day: RB 14 The Celebration of Vigils on Feasts of Saints
Mass: 1 K 21:1-16; Resp Ps 5; Mt 5:38-42

Gandhi and his spinning wheel
When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.

More of the story: ‘Indeed, no one gave himself to the doing of evil in the sight of the Lord as did Ahab, urged on by his wife Jezebel’ (1 K 21:25). Jesus, Son of the Living God, grant us the strength to go the extra mile. Although included last month, the following from Br Christophe is worth repeating:

Love, it is you who reveal to me that other cheek—my best profile—the one that belongs to eternity, and it will be the only one without any possible duplicity or ambivalence. 
The other cheek: my profile of hope.
May I contemplate it in every man and woman.
It is yourself on the face of every living person.
It is the other cheek that a kiss reveals,
my face of light
that your gaze illumines.
(C. Lebreton, Born from the Gaze of God, p. 177)

After my enemy has slapped both my cheeks, he will have run out of cheeks to slap, and perhaps he will be ashamed. After I have given him both my tunic and coat, he will perhaps learn to have pity on my nakedness. If I go the second mile with him, perhaps he will give us both the needed time and shared experience to pass from animosity to friendship. Perhaps all his aggressiveness toward me comes from lack of imagination, from a real ignorance concerning what other courses were available to him besides injustice and violence. Perhaps my open hands and silent mouth become the most eloquent of teachers, and I will have won a brother in the Lord.
(Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

 Readings of the day: RB 13:12-14
Mass: Ezk 17:22-24; Resp Ps 92; 1 Co 5:6-10; Mk 4:26-34

We are courageous.

We ‘aspire to please the Lord’, as St Paul tells us. The Lord continually calls us wherever we find ourselves, ‘whether we are at home or away,’ to nurture the seed of faith received at baptism so that faith sprouts and grows, bearing fruit in order to love and serve our neighbor in small ways each and every day. We never know the far-reaching impact of sharing ‘little details of love’ with those we encounter. Therefore, ‘we walk by faith, not by sight.’ Living and true God, grant us the strength we need to persevere in faith.

The goal of the whole process is not individual development,
but how your ripeness will be harvested and become bread for others.
(J. Shea)

Alleluia, alleluia.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Saturday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Blessed Virgin Mary
Saint Lutgardis of Aywières (1182-1246)

Monastic Profession of Sr Karen
Readings of the day: RB 13:1-11 Lauds on Ordinary Days
Mass: 1 K 19:19-21; Resp Ps 16; Mt 5:33-37

Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’

With every ‘Yes’ in life comes a list of ten ‘Nos’. Whether one’s ‘Yes’ comes in the form of profession in a religious community, marriage, raising a family, taking a particular job or responsibility, or agreeing to serve or assist another in some way, we have to say ‘No’ to things that may on any particular day or occasion sound more interesting, appealing, or ‘fun’. The grass is not always greener.

Then Elisha left and followed Elijah as his attendant.

God is the meditation of my heart and my inheritance, that I await, long for and delight in. God is the objective I have set myself, the whole reason for my efforts…God is both the reason and reward of all I do, my beginning and end without end.
(Isaac of Stella, 1100-1169)

Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

 Readings of the day: RB 12 The Celebration of Solemn Lauds
Mass: 1 K 19:9a, 11-16; Resp Ps 27; Mt 5:27-32

Elijah on Mt HorebRembrandt

After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.

It may be that we hear the word of the Lord in a strong and heavy wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks or in an earthquake or in fire. It may be more likely that we will hear the word of the Lord whispering into the ear of our hearts. We must be quiet and still and listen to the Word speaking.

We need to practice the art of listening, which is more than simply hearing. Listening, in communication, is an openness of heart which makes possible that closeness without which genuine spiritual encounter cannot occur. Listening helps us to find the right gesture and word which shows that we are more than simply bystanders. Only through such respectful and compassionate listening can we enter on the paths of true growth and awaken a yearning for the Christian ideal: the desire to respond fully to God’s love and to bring to fruition what he has sown in our lives.
(Evangelii Gaudium, 171)


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Thursday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Readings of the day: RB 11 Vigils of the Night Office on Sunday
Mass: 1 K 18:41-46; Resp Ps 65; Mt 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.

Even though the text is based on Mt 6:33, the song that comes to my lips is, Seek Ye First:

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
And all these things shall be added unto you.
Alleluia, alleluia.

What is the righteousness we are seeking in Jesus’ command: ‘If you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.’ Righteousness in peace and reconciliation with those with whom we are in conflict, at odds, are opposed, or have harmed by way of word or deed. St Benedict tells us: ‘make peace your quest and aim’ (RB Prol. 17), and, ‘if you have a dispute with someone, make peace with her before the sun goes down’ (RB 4:73). In addition, we are well aware that ‘thorns of contention are likely to spring up’ wherever we might find ourselves at work or play, at home or in community. Therefore, Benedict instructs: ‘the celebration of Lauds and Vespers must never pass by without the superior’s reciting the entire Lord’s Prayer at the end for all to hear’ (RB 13:12).

First things first. Nothing should get in the way of seeking peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Ask and it shall be given to you;
seek, and ye shall find;
Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Alleluia, alleluia.

You do not live by bread alone, but by ev’ry word
That proceeds from the mouth of God.
Alleluia, alleluia.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Anthony of Padua, Doctor of the Church (d. 1231)

Readings of the day: RB 10 The Night Office in Summertime
Mass: 1 K 18:20-39; Resp Ps 16; Mt 5:17-19


Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the Lord: ‘My Lord are you.’

They multiply their sorrows
who court other gods.
Blood libations to them I will not pour out,
nor will I take their names upon my lips.

O Lord, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
I set the Lord ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

You will show me the path of life;
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.


Never tire of encountering Jesus in prayer,
in listening to the Word of God, and in receiving the Eucharist.
(Pope Francis, Twitter, June 13, 2018)