Saturday, October 31, 2020

Saturday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Blessed Virgin Mary

Anniversary of the Foundation of Redwoods Monastery

Beatification of Father Michael McGivney, Founder of the Knights of Columbus (1852-1890)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 24 Degrees of Excommunication

Mass: Ph 1:18b-26; Resp Ps 42; Lk 14:1, 7-11

Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary.


Welcome to Saturday, a day dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. And today is especially important on this All Hallows Eve, when we remember our mortality and prepare for the holy month of November, with the Solemnity of All Saints tomorrow, and Monday, when we commemorate all the faithful departed on All Souls' Day. Then follows a line-up of great saints, for example, Saint Martin de Porres, Saint Charles Borromeo, Saint Martin of Tours, Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini, Saint Gertrude the Great of Helfta, Saint Mechtilde of Hackeborn, Saint Albert the Great, Saint Cecilia, and more, and not to forget the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica on November 9.

But first things first. We turn to Mary, Mother of Hope, Star of the Sea, to guide us and pray for us so that we may join her in praise for, in all things, we give glory to God: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior (Lk 1:46).

To all generations the faithful Mary brought life and she became for them the mother of grace.
(John of Forde)

Today's photo: This statue of Our Lady of the Redwoods, which now hangs in the Novitiate, was a gift from the monks of Our Lady of Refuge Abbey, Zundert, Netherlands. It was given to the founding group of sisters who journeyed in 1962 from Our Lady of Nazareth Abbey, Belgium, to found Our Lady of the Redwoods Abbey. 

© Gertrude Feick 2020

Friday, October 30, 2020

Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Marcellus, Martyr (d. 300) 

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 23 Excommunication for Faults

Mass: Ph 1:1-11; Resp Ps 111; Lk 14:1-6

How great are the works of the Lord!

It is so important always, and especially during these difficult times, to pray for one another. We can be close to those who are near to us, and those far away, by remembering one another in prayer. I find it helpful and comforting too to pray for people by name. I feel then, a particular closeness to the one I remember. Another reason to pray for one another is given by Helen Alvare in today's Magnificat meditation: "It is clear to me that the more I pray fervently for others, the more I learn to co-suffer with others, the more I am making the only kind of progress that counts in this life: learning to love. It teaches me also to affirm others' radical equality with me and to understand my own suffering in context ..." And Saint Paul offers this in today's first reading from Mass: "I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you" (Ph 1:3-4). Saint Paul offers too, a most beautiful prayer:

That your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
(Ph 1:9-11)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Thursday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

The Blessed Martyrs of Douai College 

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 22 The Sleeping Arrangements of the Monks

Mass: Eph 6:10-20; Resp Ps 144; Lk 13:31-35

Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!


Saint Paul's words to us are powerful and oh so important: "Draw your strength from the Lord and from His mighty power" (Eph 6:10). Throughout this day, then, "with all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit" (Eph 6:20). Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice; turn to the Lord and His strength; constantly seek His face


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 21 The Deans of the Monastery

Mass: Eph 2:19-22; Resp Ps 19; Lk 6:12-16

Their message goes out through all the earth.


"Fear not", says the Lord, "for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine" (Is 43:1). Our Lord has called each one of us by name. And today we have the names of the Apostles, chosen by Jesus: Simon, whom He named Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. To say these names is melodious and can be a song. That's one reason I like the biblical passages or parts of the liturgy with a litany of names. Like the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-17: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Perez and Zerah ... Or in Eucharistic Prayer I (Roman Canon): ... Simon and Jude; Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus ... Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastastia. Ah, a name, that is, the song you sing when you see someone. The song Our Lord sings when calling each one of us by name. I have called you by name, says the Lord, you are mine. With the Apostles and all Saints to guide and support us, we go forth. May we spread the good news through all the earth. Seek the things that are above (Col 3:1). Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! (Ph 4:4).


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 20 Reverence in Prayer

Mass: Eph 5:21-33; Resp Ps 128; Lk 13:18-21

Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways!


This morning at Lauds, Psalm 31 was proclaimed. It may be a good one to spend some time with today. It is one way to nurture and tend to the mustard seed planted in our hearts. Yes, the Kingdom of God. It is like a mustard seed that man took and planted in the garden (Lk 13:18-19) May it grow and grow and grow to become a large bush so the birds of the sky may dwell in its branches. I believe, help my unbelief.

So let every good person pray to you
in the time of need.
The floods of water may reach high
but him they shall not reach.
You are my hiding place, O Lord;
you save me from distress.
I will instruct you and teach you
the way you should go;
I will give you counsel
with my eye upon you ...
Many sorrows has the wicked
but he who trusts in the Lord,
loving mercy surrounds him.
Rejoice, rejoice in the Lord,
exult, you just!
O come, ring out your joy,
all you upright of heart.
(Ps 31:6-8, 10-11)

© Gertrude Feick 2020

Monday, October 26, 2020

Monday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Chad (-672); Saint Cedd (-644)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 19 The Discipline of the Psalmody

Mass: Eph 4:32-5:8; Resp Ps 1; Lk 13:10-17

He is like a tree that is planted beside flowing waters.


Today's passage from Saint Paul's Letter to the Ephesians concludes with the Apostle telling us to live as children of light (Eph 5:8). Some ways to go about living as children of light precede that verse: Be kind to one another; forgive one another as God has forgiven you; live in love; do not bother to mention immorality or any impurity or greed; obscene or silly or suggestive talk is out of place. What is not out of place is thanksgiving. Or as Saint Paul writes in his Letter to the Colossians: "let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful" (Col 3:15). We are light in the Lord. Our God is God of the living. May we be a thankful and grateful people. 

I include today's saints, remembered primarily in England, because I know of a Chad and a Cedd, both Benedictine monk priests in England. It's not every day that one knows both a Chad and a Cedd. Aren't they great names? They were brothers, both educated at Lindisfarne under Aidan. They are all great saints. And as far as I am concerned, we can use all the saintly intercession we can get. 😊 So let's ask St Aidan to pray for us too.


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 18:20-25

Mass: Ex 22:20-26; Resp Ps 18; Th 1:5c-10; Mt 22:34-40

I love you, Lord, my strength.


This is the greatest and the first commandment, Jesus tell us: You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And the second is like it, says the Lord: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. When I hear this passage, I think of something Cardinal Basil Hume once said: "Always think of God as your lover. Therefore He wants to be with you, just as a lover wants to be with the beloved. He wants your attention, as every lover wants the attention of the beloved. He wants to listen to you, as every lover wants to hear the voice of the beloved. If you turn to me and ask, 'Are you in love with God?' I would pause, hesitate and say, 'I am not certain. But of one thing I am certain-that He is in love with me'" (The Mystery of Love, p. 22). 

Then I pause to ponder that same question: "Am I in love with God?" And it occurs to me that certainly God must be in love with me when I consider the unconditional love, mercy, compassion, and patience Jesus bestows upon me. How could I not, then, be in love with God. How could I not love the Lord, my God with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my mind. The truth is that this pilgrim in via wavers. What a pity. On the other hand, perhaps this is a reason Saint Benedict has the greatest and first commandment with the second greatest as the first tools for good works. "First of all," our Holy Father writes, "love the Lord God with your whole heart, your whole soul and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself" (RB 4:1-2). First of all, yes, first of all. After this, I am better equipped to put into practice, in word and deed, the other tools for good works. Indeed, "your way of acting", writes St Benedict, "should be different from the world's way; the love of Christ must come before all else" (RB 4:20-21).

Just as God loves Himself in us and we have learned to love in ourselves only God, so we begin to love our neighbor as ourselves. For in our neighbor we love God.
(William of St Thierry)

We do not exist for ourselves alone, 
and it is only when we are fully convinced of this fact
 that we begin to love ourselves properly
 and thus also love others.
What do I mean by loving ourselves properly?
I mean, first of all, desiring to live, accepting life as a very great gift and great good,
not because of what it gives us,
but because it enables us to give to others.
(Thomas Merton)

© Gertrude Feick 2020

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Saturday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop (1807-1870) 

Blessed Virgin Mary 

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 18:12-19

Mass: Eph 4:7-16; Resp Ps 122; Lk 13:1-9

Let us go rejoicing to the house of Lord.


In Saint Paul's Letter to the Ephesians, he writes: "Grace was given to each of us to the measure of Christ's gift" (Eph 4:7). In the Apostle's First Letter to the Corinthians, he writes: "Each has a particular gift from God, one of one kind and one of another" (1 Cor 7:7). Whatever the gifts given to each one of us, we are to bear witness to Christ Jesus and build up the Body of Christ. So let us stand firm on the Rock of Christ, the sure foundation and sing with the Entrance Antiphon from Mass: O chosen people, proclaim the mighty works of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. We turn to the martyr Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko (1947-1984) for inspiration:

It is not enough for a Christian to condemn evil, cowardice, lies, and use of force, hatred, and oppression. He must at all times be a witness to and defender of justice, goodness, truth, freedom, and love. He must never tire of claiming these values as a right for himself and others.
(Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Friday, October 23, 2020

Friday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint John of Capistrano, Priest (1386-1456)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 18:7-11

Mass: Eph 4:1-6; Resp Ps 24; Lk 12:54-59

For God founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.


Saint Paul urges the brothers and sisters in Ephesus and all of us to live in a manner worthy of the call we have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love (Eph 4:1-2). Saint Benedict echoes this in his chapter on the good zeal that we must foster with fervent love: They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other, supporting with the greatest patience one another's weaknesses of body or behavior (RB 72:3-5). 

We are one Body and one Spirit, as we were also called to the one hope of our call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Eph 4:4-6). Amen.

O God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Thursday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Pope Saint John Paul II (1920-2005)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 18:1-6 The Order of the Psalmody

Mass: Eph 3:14-21; Resp Ps 33; Lk 12:49-53

For upright is the word of the Lord, and all His works are trustworthy.


In today's chapter of the Holy Rule, Saint Benedict instructs us on how to begin each hour of the Divine Office during the day. It is by singing with the psalmist: God, come to my assistance; Lord make haste to help me (Ps 69[70]:2), followed by "Glory be to the Father" (RB 18:1), when we give "honor and reverence to the Holy Trinity" (RB 9:7). This is a good way too to begin every day, or every time we begin a good work, when we "pray to God most earnestly to bring it to perfection" (RB Prol 4), or when we find ourselves in a difficult situation: God, come to my assistance; Lord, make haste to help me. 

Another prayer comes to us in the form of our first reading at Mass, from Saint Paul's Letter to the Ephesians (Eph 3:14-21), where Paul prays for the brothers and sisters of Ephesus. I've made it personal. 

Dear Father in heaven, please grant me in accord with the riches of your glory to be strengthened with power through Your Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith; that I, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that I may be filled with all the fullness of God. 
Now to Him who is able to accomplish for more than all I ask or imagine, by the power at work within me, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.


©  Gertrude Feick 2020

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Wednesday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores (entered the Society of Jesus at age 13!), Priest, and Saint Pedro Calungsod (-1672)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 17 The Number of Psalms to Be Sung at These Hours

Mass: Eph 3:2-12; Resp Ps (Is 12); Lk 12:39-48

You will draw joyfully from the springs of salvation.

(Lk 12:48)

We have been given the gift of our faith and entrusted with much as disciples of Jesus Christ. We carry our crosses day in and day out, individually and collectively. We each have our own burdens to carry but at the same time we share our burdens. We are not alone. We are the Body of Christ and as Saint Paul writes, "As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ ... if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy" (1 Cor 12:12, 26). Reflecting on the pandemic in his recent Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti Fraternal and Social Friendship, Pope Francis writes: "we are a global community, all in the same boat, where one person's problems are the problems of all. Once more we realized that no one is saved alone; we can only be saved together" (42). May we be united in faith, hope, and love.

Our hope is essentially also hope for others; only thus is it truly hope for me too. As Christians we should never limit ourselves to asking: how can I save myself? We should also ask: what can I do in order that others may be saved and that for them too the star of hope may rise? Then I will have done my utmost for my own personal salvation as well.
(Pope Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi On Christian Hope, 48)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Tuesday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Paul of the Cross, Priest (1694-1775)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 16 The Celebration of the Divine Office During the Day

Mass: Eph 2:12-22; Resp Ps 85; Lk 12:35-38

Justice shall walk before Him, and salvation, along the way of His steps.

(Lk 12:37)

On the celebration of the Divine Office during the day, Saint Benedict begins by quoting the psalmist: "The Prophet says: Seven times a day have I praised you" (RB 16:1). Ours days, punctuated with regular times to take pause and pray, helps us to keep vigilant and "seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God" (Col 3:1), for "He is our peace" (Eph 2:14). Be vigilant at all times and pray that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man. Alleluia.


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Monday, October 19, 2020

Monday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Saints John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues, and Companions (17th Century)
Readings of the Day
RB: Ch 15 The Times for Saying Alleluia
Mass: Eph 2:1-10; Resp Ps 100; Lk 12:13-21

Sing joyfully to the Lord all you lands; serve the Lord with gladness. 


Saint Paul writes this in his Letter to the Ephesians: "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them" (Eph 2:10). Pope, now Saint John Paul II, wrote this in his 1999 Letter to Artists: "Not all are to be called artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life; in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece." May we live in good works and make our lives works of art. We go by the grace of God and "seek the things that are above" (Col 3:1).

May we never boast, except in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ. For the word of the Cross is the power of God to us who have been saved.
(Entrance Antiphon, Mass) 


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

94th World Mission Day

In other years: Saint Luke, Evangelist

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 14 The Celebration of Vigils on the Anniversaries of Saints

Mass: Is 45:1, 4-6; Resp Ps 96; 1 Th 1:1-5b; Mt 22:15-21

Give the Lord glory and honor.

Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.
(Mt 22:21)

With today's Angelus Address, the Holy Father took me to the life of Cardinal Basil Hume, the beauty of our faith tradition, and the gift of continuity in teaching. One person leads to another leads to another and so on, as you will see from the four quotations below.  

In his Address, Pope Francis speaks of the "mission of the Church and of Christians", namely, "to speak of God and to bear witness to Him." In today's Gospel, Jesus "acknowledges that the tribute to Caesar must be paid because the image on the coin is his", the Pontiff says, "but above all Jesus recalls that each person carries within him or her another image-we carry it in our heart, in our soul-that of God, and therefore it is to Him, and to Him alone, that each person owes his or her existence, his or her life." By virtue of our Baptism, then, we are called "to be a living presence in society, inspiring it with the Gospel and with the lifeblood of the Holy Spirit." The Holy Father then echoes a predecessor, Pope Saint Paul VI, and urges each one of us to "make one's own contribution to building the civilisation of love, where justice and fraternity reign." 

The Church today is faced with an immense task: to humanise and to Christianise this modern civilisation of ours. The continued development of this civilisation, indeed its survival, demand and insist that the Church do her part in the world.
(Pope Saint John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, 256)

We are called to be physicians of that civilisation about which we dream, the civilisation of love.
(Pope Saint Paul VI, General Audience, December 31, 1975)

Peace can write the finest pages of history, inscribing them not only with the magnificence of power and glory but also with the greater magnificence of human virtue, people's goodness, collective prosperity and true civilisation, the civilisation of love.
(Pope Saint Paul VI, Peace Day Message "If You Want Peace, Defend Life", January 1, 1977)

We are made in the image and likeness of God and there is in each of us a yearning -consciously recognized or not-for the Father and the source of our being.
(Cardinal Basil Hume, Towards a Civilisation of Love: Being Church in Today's World, 96)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Saturday of the Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Ignatius of Antioch (-107),p, Bishop, Martyr

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 13:12-14

Mass: Eph 1:15-23; Resp Ps 8; Lk 12:8-12

Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings you have fashioned praise because of your foes.

We have not only to be called Christians, but to be Christians.
(St Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Magnesians, 4,1)

Today we celebrate the memorial of St Ignatius of Antioch, who was transported to Rome to be martyred. "In the course of his journey", explains Universalis, Ignatius "wrote seven letters to various churches, in which he dealt wisely and deeply with Christ, the organisation of the Church, and the Christian life." I remember these letters from early theological studies and was encouraged to read them over and over by a dear teacher, mentor, and friend of happy memory. 

Ignatius of Antioch was a man of deep faith, courage, and conviction. He was ready to suffer and die for Jesus Christ. In his letter to the Romans, he wrote: "I am writing to all the churches to let it be known that I will gladly die for God if only you do not stand in my way. I will plead with you: show me no untimely kindness." Bold, Ignatius was clear: "If I am condemned to suffer, I will take it that you wish me well. If my case is postponed, I can only think that you wish me harm."

Ignatius was Christian. He encouraged the Magnesians to be Christians too and he encourages us. We might ask ourselves if we are so bold and courageous in our Christian witness. We are encouraged too by St Paul in today's reading from the Epistle to the Ephesians: "May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to His call, what are the riches of glory in His inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of His great might, which He worked in Christ, raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things beneath His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the Church, which is His Body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way" (Eph 1:18-23). 

It is unlikely that any of us will be thrown into the arena with wild beasts as Ignatius was, but we suffer daily with deaths to self in order to give greater glory to Jesus Christ. Whatever comes our way, may we be strong Christians. May we join St Ignatius of Antioch and say: "I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire. The time for my birth is close at hand" (Letter to the Romans). 

Taking then, the same attitude of God, you should all respect one another. Let no one think of his neighbor in a carnal way; but always love one another in the spirit of Jesus Christ.
(Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Magnesians, 6,2)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Friday, October 16, 2020

Friday of the Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Hedwig (c.1174-1243); Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690)

World Food Day

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 13:1-11 The Celebration of Lauds on Ordinary Days

Mass: Eph 1:11-14; Resp Ps 33; Lk 12:1-7

Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be His own.

Yesterday while listening to a friend expound upon a passage from St Paul's Epistle to the Philippians, I was inspired to include the passage in today's blog. And it turns out that it could not be a more fitting day. For in today's Gospel we find so many people crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot (Lk 12:1). No doubt they were anxious and perhaps afraid, they carried burdens, illness, troubles, and worries. Or maybe some were curious and, if they weren't "plotting to catch Jesus at something He might say" (Lk 11:54), they wanted to get a closer look. They wanted to be near Jesus, to be close to the Divine Physician and Healer, full of compassion, mercy and love. Among other things, Jesus tells the crowd this: Do not be afraid (Lk 12:7). We hear an echo in St Paul's Letter to the Philippians: "Have no anxiety at all" (Ph 4:6). It may be that there are many in need of this comfort and encouragement. We turn to the Word for solace and peace.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.
(Ph 4:4-9)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Thursday of the Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Teresa of Avila (Saint Teresa of Jesus), Doctor of the Church (1515-1582)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 12 The Celebration of the Solemnity of Lauds

Mass: Eph 1:1-10; Resp Ps 98; Lk 11:47-54

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.


Today we celebrate the memorial of a great Doctor of the Church, Saint Teresa of Avila, also known as Saint Teresa of Jesus. I was privileged to have a semester long course on the great Saint when studying in Rome. I pass along a few passages that are underlined in my texts from the course. 

Let the Christian be valiant.
(The Interior Castle, 1, 13)

For mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.
(The Book of Her Life, 8, 5)

Do not lose such an excellent time for talking with [the Lord] as the hour after Communion ... you should say the Paternoster, realize that you are verily and indeed in the company of Him Who taught it you and kiss His feet in gratitude to Him for having desired to teach you and beg Him to show you how to pray and never to leave you.
(The Way of Perfection, Chapter XXXVIII)

To be a servant of love is a dignity so great that it delights me in a wonderful way to think about it.
(The Book of Her Life, 11, 1)

For the person who is truly humble is always doubtful about his own virtues ...
Humility, however deep it be, neither disquiets nor troubles nor disturbs the soul; it is accompanied by peace, joy and tranquility. 
(The Way of Perfection, Chapter XXXVIII)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Wednesday of the Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Pope Saint Callistus I, Martyr (-222)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 14 The Celebration of Vigils on the Anniversary of Saints

Mass: Gal 5:18-25; Resp Ps 1; Lk 11:42-46

Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

Now and then things appear in the form of poems, stories, sayings, etc. and I wait for a fitting occasion to pass them along. Just yesterday a piece of paper with "A Cherokee Story" appeared on the counter. Considering our reading from the Epistle to the Galatians, where St Paul lists works of the flesh that are in sharp contrast to the fruit of the Spirit, today is the day to pass along the story. Some of the works of the flesh are immorality, impurity, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, factions, occasions of envy, and the like (Gal 5:19-21). Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). Recalling yesterday's Gospel (Lk 11:37-41), one might say the inside of our cups is full of works of the flesh. As we continue to cleanse the inside of our cups, we turn to some Cherokee wisdom.

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, my son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is evil-it is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is good-it is love, joy, peace, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied: "The one you feed."


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Tuesday of the Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Edward the Confessor (1003-1066)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 10 The Arrangement of the Night Office in Summer

Mass: Gal 5:1-6; Resp Ps 119; Lk 11:37-41

Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.

(Gal 5:6)

At Vigils this morning, Psalm 62 was proclaimed. I heard these comforting and encouraging verses: My soul, be at rest in God alone, from whom comes my hope. God alone is my rock and my salvation, my secure height; I shall not fall. My safety and glory are with God, my strong rock and refuge. Trust God at all times, my people! Pour out your hearts to God our refuge! (Ps 62:8-9). If I believe this, it seems, by the grace of God, that I will keep on with the challenging call to cleanse the inside of my cup so that everything will be clean (Lk 11:41). I believe, help my unbelief. May we seek the things that are above (Col 3:1).

Deliver me, O Lord, from myself, that is, give me grace to amend and reform myself in order that I may no longer be that earthly, worldly, and proud creature which I have been hitherto, dominated by passion, but that I may be renewed, and may conform to the spirit of my humble Lord and Master Jesus Christ.
(Fr Cajetan Mary da Bergamo, in Magnificat, "Meditation of the Day", October 13, 2020)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Monday, October 12, 2020

Monday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Our Lady of Aparecida (Brazil)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 9 The Number of Psalms at the Night Office

Mass: Gal 4:22-24, 26-27, 31-5:1; Resp Ps 113; Lk 11:29-32

High above the nations is the Lord; above the heavens is His glory.

We began yesterday with Ch 8 of the Holy Rule. It is the first of Saint Benedict's chapters on the liturgical code, or instructions on how to pray the Divine Office, also called the Liturgy of the Hours, that is, the universal prayer of the Church. Saint Benedict's layout is the ideal so to speak while we keep in mind something Benedict includes in Ch 18: "Above all else we urge that if anyone finds this distribution of the psalms unsatisfactory he should arrange whatever he judges better" (RB 18:22). And whatever arrangement of psalms that is customary for a particular community or when prayed alone or with others, we remember what Saint Benedict writes in Ch 19: "We believe that the divine presence is everywhere ... but beyond the least doubt we should believe this to be especially true when we celebrate the divine office ... let us consider, then, how we ought to behave in the presence of God and his angels, and let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices" (RB 19:1, 2, 6-7).

Lastly, let us turn to what we have before us in Ch 9. There we find one of my favorite instructions which happens to be a fitting introduction to Magnificat's "Meditation of the Day": "As soon as the cantor begins to sing 'Glory be to the Father,' let all the monks arise from their seats in honor and reverence for the Holy Trinity" (RB 9:7). 

Praising the Greatest One of All

O Christ Jesus, radiant light
of the immortal glory of the Father of heaven!
As the sun sinks to its setting
we are face to face with the twilight of evening:
we honor God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy ever to be hymned
by voices that are pure,
Son of God who gives us life.
The universe proclaims your glory.
(An Evening Liturgical Hymn from the Early Church, in Magnificat, October 12, 2020)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sunday of the Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

In other years: Pope Saint John XXIII (1881-1963)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 8 The Divine Office at Night

Mass: Is 25:6-10a; Resp Ps 23; Ph 4:12-14, 19-20; Mt 22:1-14

 I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.


Since I can't get the above refrain from "Table of Plenty" out of my head, here it is. Jesus is extending this invitation to each and every one of us, without fail, day in and day out. Are you going to accept the invitation and partake of the Lord's mercy and love? Will you be prepared, clothed in the wedding garment of an open heart, generosity, kindness, compassion, mercy, and love to whomever you find at the table, good and bad alike? Those with whom you have difficulties, or ones who think or act differently? O come and sit at my table, where saints and sinners are friends, I wait to welcome the lost and lonely to share the cup of my love. 

May the Blessed Virgin Mary help us to emerge from our frameworks and from our narrow views, proclaiming to everyone that the Lord invites us to His banquet, in order to offer us His saving grace.
(Pope Francis, Angelus Address, October 11, 2020)



© Gertrude Feick 2020

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Saturday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Blessed Virgin Mary

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 7:62-70

Mass: Gal 3:22-29; Resp Ps 105; Lk 11:27-29

Look to the Lord in His strength; seek to serve Him constantly.

In today's Gospel, Jesus says to the woman in the crowd: Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it. For all of us, then, as we prepare to enter another week of the liturgical year, may we listen to God's voice, and harden not our hearts.

And as we end this Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time, we also conclude Saint Benedict's Chapter 7 on Humility. In order to help us listen to God's voice with open and soft hearts, and observe His voice, it may help to "control our tongues and remain silent, not speaking unless asked a question, for Scripture warns, In a flood of words you will not avoid sinning, and, A talkative man goes about aimlessly on earth (RB 7:56-58). And to "speak gently and without laughter, seriously and with becoming modesty, briefly and reasonably, without raising our voice, as it is written: 'A wise man is known by his few words'" (RB 7:60-61). Lord, help us. 


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Friday, October 9, 2020

Friday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Saint John Henry Newman (1801-1890); Saints Denis, Bishop, and his Companions, Marytrs (-258); Saint John Leonardi, Priest (1541-1609)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 7:60-61

Mass: Gal 3:7-14; Resp Ps 111; Lk 11:15-26

Great are the works of the Lord.

(Gal 3:7)

In light of the Holy Father's Prayer Intention below, I remember reading Wtiness to Hope, George Weigel's biography of Pope, now Saint John Paul II. Dr. Weigel wrote about the Pope's 1979 visit to Poland, the year after he was elected Pope. One of his first stops was at the parish where he was baptized. John Paul II said that the most significant day in his life was when he was baptized. It wasn't when he was ordained a priest, or consecrated a bishop, or even when he became Pope. 

All the faithful are united in our baptism where we receive the gift of faith. We can go forth this day with the Entrance Antiphon in our hearts and on our lips: O chosen people, proclaim the mighty works of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. And also with something Pope, now Saint Paul VI, said in a 1974 Address to the Members of the Consilium de Laicis, now the Pontifical Council of the Laity: "Modern man listens more readily to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses." May we witness to our shared faith. I believe, help my unbelief. 

No one has been baptized a priest or a bishop. We have all been baptized as lay people.
Lay people are protagonists in the Church.
Today, it is especially necessary to create broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church.
And we must emphasize the feminine lay presence because women tend to be left aside.
We must promote the integration of women, especially where important decisions are made.
We pray that by virtue of baptism, the laity, especially women, may participate more in the areas of responsibility in the Church, without falling into forms of clericalism that diminish the lay charism.
(Pope Francis, Prayer Intention for October 2020)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Thursday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 7:59

Mass: Gal 3:1-5; Resp Ps (Lk 1); Lk 11:5-13

The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to the soul that seeks him.


With today's Gospel, I recall Saint Benedict's Tools for Good Works, and this tool most specifically: "Never turn away when someone needs your love" (RB 4:26). Perhaps we have had to expand our ways of responding in love to the needs of those who knock at our door during these months, or how we reach out with love to others. What we continue to do is pray for one another. In fact, as Saint Benedict provides another tool for good works, "Devote yourself often to prayer" (RB 4:56). We can ask, as our Catechism tells us, "on behalf of another" (CCC 2635). This intercessory prayer is "characteristic of a heart attuned to God's mercy" (CCC 2635). We ask the Lord to open our hearts and help us receive the mercy and love He extends to us so that we extend mercy and love to others. Indeed, as Father Jacques Philippe says, "Your heart is limited, but thankfully God's is overabundant. He is rich in mercy, and if we ask for this grace, he will help us little by little to truly love." Father in heaven, help all those who are suffering. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
(Lk 11:9-10)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Wednesday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Our Lady of the Rosary

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 7:56-58

Mass: Gal 2:1-2, 7-14; Resp Ps 117; Lk 11:1-4

Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.
In today's Gospel, Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray. In today's General Audience, the Holy Father commented on Elijah's experience of God in prayer, when the Lord appeared to Elijah in "a tiny whispering sound" (1 Kgs 19:14). The Pontiff said Elijah's story is one for all of us: "In some evenings we can feel useless and lonely. It is then that prayer will come and knock on the door of our hearts. Even if we have done something wrong, or if we feel threatened or frightened, when we return before God in prayer, serenity and peace will return as if by miracle."

We can pray today with what Saint Thomas Aquinas called the "most perfect prayer", that is, the Lord's Prayer, the prayer Jesus taught to His disciples. And as we dedicate the day to Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, we can pray the rosary, what Pope Francis called in his General Audience, a "contemplative prayer". "In meditating on the mysteries of salvation," said the Pope, "the loving face of God Himself, whom we are called to contemplate in eternity, is increasingly revealed to us." For, "even today, in this time of the pandemic, it is necessary to hold the rosary in our hands and pray for us, our loved ones and all people." 

The rosary I have in pocket is a treasure. It was given to me by Sister Alberta Dieker, OSB (1920-2020), who died just shy of her 100th birthday. The same rosary was given to her by Sister Benedicta Betz, OSB (1867-1954). May those two faithful and courageous Benedictines intercede for us. And may serenity and peace be ours.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name ...
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee ...


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Tuesday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Bruno (1033-1101); Blessed Marie Rose Durocher (1811-1849)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 7:55

Mass: Gal 1:13-24; Resp Ps 139; Lk 10:38-42

My journeys and my rest you scrutinize, with all my ways you are familiar.

I remember 2006 and my first visit to Italy, more specifically Rome and Saint Peter's Basilica. It is in the Basilica where I saw a statue of Saint Bruno. It is enormous. I recall being impressed by a simplicity in the saint that emanated from the statue. And there was Saint Bruno's bald head. I liked it. Saint Bruno, intercede for us.

There are many things we could be busy about. Some people are burdened with many things, others not so many. I suppose it can vary from day to day and even throughout the course of a day. So burdens should be expected really. Still, we can be anxious and worried about our many burdens as portrayed by Martha in today's Gospel, or we can choose a better part as did Mary in today's Gospel. Truth is, sometimes we are more like Martha, other times more like Mary. No matter, and as Dom Augustin Guillerand wrote, "there is only one thing we must all do, and that is employ well the time and powers at our disposal. Only thus shall we realize our destiny, and that is the whole purpose of life." As far as I know, there are 24 hours in each and every day. May we use the time given to us well and ask the Lord to guide us along the everlasting way (Ps 139).

Live just for today, for the present moment, while it is yours to live.
(Augustin Guillerand)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Monday, October 5, 2020

Monday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938); Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos (1819-1867)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 7:51-54

Mass: Gal 1:6-12; Resp Ps 111; Lk 10:25-37

Holy and awesome is His name. His praise endures forever.


The scholar of the law in today's Gospel answers his own question to Jesus. He asks the Divine Teacher, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" And the correct answer is, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." This is no small task. However, Jesus tells us, Do this and you will live. We pray to Our Lord, the God of mercy and compassion, to "give us strength to go on when we grow weary of the journey" (Magnificat, Intercessions, Oct. 5, 2020). 

It just so happens that the Holy Father comments more than once on the Parable of the Good Samaritan, also included in today's Gospel, in his recent Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti. You will find this in paragraph 66: "By his actions, the Good Samaritan showed that 'the existence of each and every individual is deeply tied to that of others: life is not simply time that passes; life is a time for interactions'."


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Sunday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary

 In other years: Saint Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 7:49-50

Mass: Is 5:1-7; Resp Ps 80; Ph 4:6-9; Mt 21:33-43

O Lord, God of hosts, restore us; if your face shine upon us, then we shall be saved.

There is much to be said about today's readings. I was looking for something as a lead in to a couple of quotations I have wanted to include for some time. And I found it in the Holy Father's Angelus Address. 

Pope Francis told those gathered in Saint Peter's Square earlier today: "God awaits the fruit of His vineyard from those He has sent to work in it." We have a responsibility to bear fruit, to grow in our love for God, love for our neighbor, and love for ourselves through a life of prayer and work or service. We are meant to give our all even with our daily sufferings, aches, pains, irritations, weaknesses and shortcomings. We can look to the widow in Saint Mark's Gospel (12:41-44), and Saint Luke's (21:1-4). She gave her all. A nun and friend of Stanbrook Abbey shared something Soren Kierkegaard had to say about this widow's contribution: "Kind men observing the widow would probably have said, 'There, there, little mother. You keep those coins ...' But the Lord God says Yes! Give me the lot! The Lord God takes us seriously enough to ask us to give absolutely everything." And so with a favorite line from a favorite film, something Andy said to Red: "Get busy living or get busy dying." Or with words from Saint Paul from our second reading: "Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus ... Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you" (Ph 4:6-7, 9). 

And we celebrate the Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti of the Holy Father Francis on the Fraternity and Social Friendship, given in Assisi, at the tomb of Saint Francis, on 3 October, Vigil of the Feast of the Saint, in the year 2020. Here, A Prayer to the Creator.

Lord, Father of our human family,
you created all human beings equal in dignity:
pour forth into our hearts a fraternal spirit
and inspire in us a dream of renewed encounter,
dialogue, justice and peace.
Move us to create healthier societies
and a more dignified world,
a world without hunger, poverty, violence and war.

May our hearts be open
to all the peoples and nations of the earth.
May we recognize the goodness and beauty
that you have sown in each of us,
and thus forge bonds of unity, common projects,
and shared dreams. Amen.


© Gertrude Feick 2020