Monday, November 30, 2020

Feast of Saint Andrew

Other saints: Saint Cuthbert Mayne, Martyr (1544-1577); Bd Frederick of Regensburg (1329); Bd Alexander Crow, Martyr (1586/7)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 49 The Observance of Lent

Mass: Rm 10:9-18; Resp Ps 19; Mt 4:18-22

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.


On this last day of the glorious month of November, a month when we especially remember all the faithful departed, we are blessed to celebrate the Feast of Saint Andrew. Saint Andrew closes out these glorious November days full of so many "heavy hitter" saints. How gifted we are with our faith tradition and so many saints to intercede for us. Butler's Lives of the Saints has some interesting things to say about Saint Andrew, some fact, some fiction. So be it. We believe. Among other notables, Saint Andrew is "one of several patrons of Russia, a country he never visited, although there is a valueless tradition that he preached there, travelling as far as Kiev" , Scotland, although "there is no suggestion that he preached" there, a "patron of Greece and of fishermen, sailors, and (curiously) spinsters"! (November, p. 229). God is praised. 

We look to Saint Andrew to pray for us and help us on our journey to God, the Lord of all. Would it be so unencumbered for us to respond to the call of Jesus as it was for Andrew, his brother, Simon who is called Peter, and the sons of Zebedee, brothers James and John. Jesus saw them, the Master called them, and they followed Him. 


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Sunday, November 29, 2020

First Sunday of Advent

In other years: Bd Bernard Francis de Hoyos (1711-1735); Saint Saturninus of Toulouse, Bishop and Martyr (?Third Century); Saint Saturninus (c.308); Saint Radbod, Bishop (c.850-917); BB George Errington, William Gibson, and William Knight, Martyrs (1596); BB Dionysius and Redemptus, Martyrs (1638); Saint Francis of Lucera (1681-1742)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 48:22-25

Mass: Is 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7; Resp Ps 80; 1 Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37

Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.

Welcome to a new liturgical year and the holy season of Advent. "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor 1:3). To help us enter into the spirit of Advent, it doesn't hurt to remind ourselves what this holy season is all about. We turn to the Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year: "Advent has a twofold character, for it is a time of preparation for the Solemnities of Christmas, in which the First Coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered, and likewise a time when, by remembrance of this, minds and hearts are led to look forward to Christ's Second Coming at the end of time. For these two reasons, Advent is a period of devout and expectant delight" (39). 

How will you spend these days and weeks of devout and expectant delight in order to prepare for the Solemnities of Christmas and look forward to Christ's Second Coming? One way is heed the words of Jesus in today's Gospel: Be watchful! Be alert! (Mk 13:33). This is not the time for our hearts to become drowsy (Lk 21:34), or to settle for mediocrity or the least common denominator. Not doing so, though, takes vigilance over our minds and hearts so that we don't lose focus and err in our ways. With the Prophet Isaiah, we ask the Lord, "Why do you let us wander, O Lord, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?" (Is 63:17). We must remain alert and vigilant, or as the Holy Father said in today's homily: "It is important to remain watchful, because one great mistake in life is to get absorbed in a thousand things and not to notice God ... we get drawn by our own interests, and distracted by so many vain things, we risk losing sight of what is essential." 

Advent is a season of prayer. We remember that Jesus is with us, living at our sides every day to enlighten, strengthen and free us. We pray that Jesus remove any obstacles that keep us from noticing Him, from recognizing His presence in the here and now. One way to not lose sight of what is essential is to reflect, and perhaps record, at the end of each day, at least one way during the day you were aware of Jesus'  presence. This is a way also to look forward to His Second Coming. Help us, Lord, to keep focused and "seek the things that are above" (Col 3:1) during these holy days. Be comforted by the words of Saint Paul: Jesus Christ "will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by Him you were called to fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor 3:9). Amen.


© Gertrude Feick

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Saturday of the Thirty-Fourth, or Last Week, in Ordinary Time

Blessed Virgin Mary

Other saints: Saint Stephen the Younger, Martyr (764); Saint James of the March (1394-1476); Bd James Thompson, Martyr (15820

Readings of the Day

RB: RB 48:10-21 The Daily Manual Labor

Mass: Rev 22:1-7; Resp Ps 95 (refrain 1 Cor 16:22B; see Rv 22:20c); Lk 21:34-36

All generations will call me blessed, for God has looked on His lowly handmaid.


In today's Gospel, Jesus cautions us: Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy (Lk 21:34), and not without reason. Saint Benedict echoes the same at the beginning of his chapter on the daily manual labor: "Idleness is the enemy of the soul" (RB 48:1). Benedict's prevention of such idleness is by prescribing "specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading" (RB 48:1). Jesus tells us to be vigilant at all times and pray (Lk 21:36). It is far too easy to become burdened and unduly focused on the daily drudgery of routine. It is far too easy to find ourselves trapped in anxiety and fear. Or as a friend put it some years ago: "Be careful, you can become bitter overnight." We all need strength to carry on and constantly "seek the things that are above" (Col 3:1). The holy season of Advent begins tomorrow. May we be vigilant and prepare the way of the Lord. Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus! Our hearts are ready, O God, our hearts are ready (Ps 57:8). 


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Friday, November 27, 2020

Friday of the Thirty-Fourth, or Last Week, in Ordinary Time

Other saints: Saint Fergal (c.700-784); Saint James Intercisus, Martyr (c.421); Saint Secundinus, Bishop (447); Saint Maximus of Riez, Bishop (c.460); Saint Congar, Abbot (Sixth Century); Saint Virgil of Salzburg, Bishop (784); Bd Bernardino of Fossa (1420-1503)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 48:1-9 The Daily Manual Labor

Mass: Rev 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9a; Resp Ps 100; Lk 21:20-28

Blessed are they who dwell in your house! continually they praise you.


Since my computer alerted me that today is the Day after Thanksgiving, I see no reason not to stay on the theme of gratitude and thanksgiving in these few days before we begin a new liturgical year and embark upon the holy season of Advent. I've referred before to a little book I stumbled upon, the title speaks for itself: The Way of Gratitude: Readings for a Joyful Life (Orbis, 2017). It is full of gems, short ones and longer ones too. Here's a sweet quotation from the delightful Garrison Keillor (b. 1942) that could be a wonderful way to begin each day: "Thank you, God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough." Or this one from Maya Angelou (1928-2014): "This is a wonderful day. I've never seen this one before." 😊

We continue then, in faith, united in prayer, and make each day one of praise and thanksgiving. 

(Gospel Acclamation, Mass)

© Gertrude Feick 2020

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thursday of the Thirty-Fourth, or Last Week, in Ordinary Time

Thanksgiving Day 

Other saints: Saint Leonard of Porto Maurizio (1676-1751); Saint John Berchmans (1599-1621); Pope Saint Siricus (399); Saint Conrad of Constance, Bishop (975); Saint Nikon "Metanoiete" (998); Bd Pontius of Faucigny, Abbot (1178); Saint Sylvester Gozzolini, Abbot (c. 1177-1267); Saint Elear (c. 1285-1323) and Bd Delphina (c. 1285-1360); BB Hugh Taylor and Marmaduke Bowes, Martyrs (1585); Bd Humilis of Bisignano (c. 1582-1637); Saint Leonard of Port Maurice (1676-1751)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 47 Announcing the Hours for the Work of God

Mass: For Mass of Thanksgiving Day: Sir 50:22-24; Resp Ps 145;1 Cor 1:3-9; Lk 17:11-19

For the feria: Rev 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9a; Resp Ps 100; Lk 21:20-28

I will praise your name forever, Lord.


Happy Thanksgiving! I'll offer a bit of this and that for today.

How did you do on your list of ten, or at least five, things you are grateful for? It's not too late to get started since this whole day is devoted to thanksgiving and gratitude, as Saint Paul writes, "Give thanks in all circumstances," whatever they are, "for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Th 5:18), And as our Catechism teaches: "Every joy and every suffering, every event and need can become the matter for thanksgiving which, sharing in that of Christ, should fill one's whole life" (2648). So why not join the leper healed by Jesus, the one who glorified God in a loud voice, fell at the feet of Jesus, and thanked Him (Lk 17:15-16). 

We were on the theme of thanksgiving and gratitude at Vigils this morning when we heard a text from Thomas Merton, from his Thoughts in Solitude. But first King David's Prayer from the First Book of Chronicles was proclaimed (1 Chron 29:10-13). There David prays: ... Our God, we give you thanks and we praise the majesty of your name.

To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us-and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by heresay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.
(Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude)

So we go forth with praise, thanksgiving, and gratitude in our hearts and on our lips and "bless the God of all, who has done wondrous things on earth; Who fosters peoples growth from their mother's womb, and fashions them according to His will! May He grant you joy of heart and may peace abide in you" (Sir 50:22-23). Amen. 


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Wednesday of the Thirty-Fourth, or Last Week, in Ordinary Time

Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin, Martyr (d. 305)

Other saints: Saint Colman of Cloyne (522-600); Saint Moses of Rome, Martyr (251); Saint Mercurius, Martyr (date unknown); Saint Peter of Alexandria, Bishop and Martyr (311); Bd Elizabeth the Good (1386-1420)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 46 Faults Committed in Other Matters

Mass: Rev 15:1-4; Resp Ps 98; Lk 21:12-19

Let the rivers clap their hands.

It is not too early to prepare for tomorrow's celebration of Thanksgiving. One way to prepare is to make a list of ten things you are grateful for. And if you can't manage ten, how about five. There are plenty of ways to go about this, and it seems the most important way to begin is with prayer. Remember what Meister Eckhart (1260-1328) said: "If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough." But what do I have to be grateful for, you may ask, especially during such difficult times. Ah, but "when we pray," the Holy Father said in today's General Audience, "God opens our eyes, renews and changes our hearts, heals our wounds and grants us the grace we need." So why not join "those who had won victory over the beast" (Rev 15:2) and sing the song of Moses (Rev 15:2). 

Great and wonderful are your works, Lord God almighty. Just and true are your ways, O king of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, or glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All the nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.
(Rev 15:3-4)

Keep going, dear friends. Be strong in the faith and take courage, for by your perseverance you will secure your lives (Lk 21:19), no matter what or who comes your way.


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Tuesday of the Thirty-Fourth, or Last Week, in Ordinary Time

Saints Andrew Dung-Lac and his Companions, Martyrs (17th-19th centuries)

Other saints: Saint Chrysogonous, Martyr (? c. 304); Saint Colman of Cloyne, Bishop (c. 530-606); Saint Enfleda, Abbess (c. 704); Saint Albert of Louvain, Bishop and Martyr (c. 1166-1192); Bd Mary Anna Sala (1829-1891)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 45 Mistakes in the Oratory

Mass: Rev 14:14-19; Resp Ps 96; Lk 21:5-11

Let the sea and what fills it resound.


As we remember the Vietnamese martyrs and pray for their intercession, we look first to the period of intense persecution of Christians in Vietnam. One source states that from roughly 1625 to 1886, over the whole territory of Vietnam, about 130,000 Christians were killed. Today we remember "117 of these heroes (those whose sufferings were cruellest and best documented)" who were canonized by Pope Saint John Paul II on June 19, 1988. The following account is well stated: "Each one of them was a soul individually created and loved by God, with a life and gifts uniquely his or her own; but with such a huge crowd one can only classify. By nationality, there were 96 Vietnamese, 11 Spanish and 10 French. By status, there were 8 bishops, 50 priests, and 59 laymen and women. By mode of death, 75 were beheaded, 22 strangled, 6 burned alive, and 9 died of torture in prison" (Universalis). All I can do is stop and pause. What faith. What courage. What witness. 

It may be that we won't suffer at the hands of such cruelty. However, if we want to be disciples of Jesus Christ, we have to pick our crosses and follow Him, and this entails suffering. And sometimes it will be in the most unexpected places and from the most unlikely people. All the while, though, each one of us is individually created and loved by God, with a life and gifts uniquely our own. Jesus Christ loves us; He gave His life to save us; and now He lives at our sides, every day to enlighten, strengthen and free us (EG 164). May we too, as reminded by today's Gospel versicle, remain faithful until death and receive the crown of life. Mary, Queen of martyrs, pray for us.

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)

Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
(Communion Antiphon, Mass)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Monday, November 23, 2020

Monday of the Thirty-Fourth, or Last, Week in Ordinary Time

Pope Saint Clement I (c. 100); Saint Columbanus, Abbot and Missionary (c.543-615); Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro, Martyr (1891-1927)

Other saints: Saint Amphilochius, Bishop (339-400); Saint Gregory of Girgenti, Bishop (c. 603); Saint Trond (c. 630-692)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 44 Satisfaction by the Excommunicated

Mass: Rev 14:1-3,4b-5; Resp Ps 24; Lk 21:1-4

Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? or who may stand in His holy place?


I have been waiting for today's Gospel about the poor widow who offered her two small coins for the treasury (Lk 21:1-2). Some months ago a friend sent a line from a text she read by Soren Kierekegaard (1813-1855), She couldn't recall precisely, but it was from either Fear and Trembling or Purity of Heart. Kierekegaard's text, which my friend described as a "totally marvellous little piece about the widow who have her ALL". The text was loosely related as follows: Soren Kierkegaard says 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!

It is true, Our Lord asks us for everything, from our wealth and from our poverty. As my friend added: "The Lord God takes us seriously enough to ask us to give absolutely everything." Amen. May we offer all that we say and do to God, and trust in His merciful love and care. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe

Other saints: Saint Cecilia, Martyr (?Third Century); The Eighty-Five Blessed Martyrs of England, Scotland, and Wales; Bd Salvator Lilli and Companions, Martyrs (1895)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 43:13-19

Mass: Ezk 34:11-12, 15-17; Resp Ps 23; 1 Cor 15:20-26, 28; Mt 25:31-46

Beside restful waters He leads me; He refreshes my soul.


Welcome to the Last Sunday in Ordinary Time and the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, a solemnity instituted by Pope Pius XI (1857-1939) in 1925. Jesus is no ordinary king. Jesus is Our True God and King, the Good Shepherd, who is living among us here and now, to enlighten, strengthen and free us (EG 164). This is the compassionate King, Jesus, who moved around to all the towns and villages, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. Our Lord sees us, His heart is moved with pity because we are troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd (Mt 9:35-36). We are in need of this solemnity in these days as in the days of Pope Pius XI, who "asserted that the most effective defense against the destructive forces of the age is the recognition of the kingship of Christ" (Universalis). These are the times to call upon Jesus, Our True King and Good Shepherd to help us. We must do our part and help proclaim the gospel of the kingdom, the kingdom of God that is among us now (Lk 17:21), in our minds and in our hearts. We must do our part to build the kingdom of God, first and foremost, within us. What do I need to do to further open my heart and mind to the healing, compassionate, merciful, and unconditional love of the Good Shepherd so that I can reach out to those in need, whether near or far? We are meant to care for one another as Jesus cares for us. What we do to others, we do to Jesus, as He tells us in today's Gospel: Whatever you did to one of the least of my brothers or sisters, you did to me (Mt 25:40).  Let us do our part to defend ourselves, the Church, our nation, and our world against the destructive forces of our age. Whether we like it or not, Jesus will judge us by our choices, as Pope Francis said in his homily today. If we choose hatred and evil we can never be happy. However, "if we choose God, we grow daily in His love, and if we choose to love others, we find true happiness." 

Rejoice in the Lord always. Let me 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 Christ that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, whatever is true, brothers and sisters, 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.
(Ph 4:4-8)

© Gertrude Feick 2020

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Saturday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

World Fisheries Day

Other saints: Pope Saint Gelasius I (496); Bd Mary Siedlinska, Foundress (1842-1902); 

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 43:1-12 Tardiness at the Work of God or at Table

Mass: For the feria: Rev 11:4-12; Resp Ps 144; Lk 20-27-40; For the memorial: Prov 8:22-31; Resp Ps 44; Lk 2:15-19

I will make your name renowned through all generations.

Today we celebrate the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and also observe World Fisheries Day and the work of Stella Maris that supports fishers and their families. We can do this by praying the Ave Stella Maris (Hail Star of the Sea) included here. May we all grow in our love for Jesus with the aid of His Blessed Mother. We go forth and "seek Mary's intercession and join her in offering ourselves to the Lord" (Magnificat, November 21, 2020, p. 309).

Hail, bright star of ocean, 
God's own Mother blest,
Ever sinless Virgin,
Gate of heavenly rest.

Taking that sweet Ave 
Which from Gabriel came,
Peace confirm within us,
Changing Eva's name.

Break the captives' fetters,
Light on blindness pour,
All our ills expelling,
Every bliss implore.

Show thyself a Mother;
May the Word Divine,
Born for us thy Infant,
Hear our prayers through thine.

Virgin all excelling,
Mildest of the mild,
Freed from guilt, preserve us,
Pure and undefiled.

Keep our life all spotless,
Make our way secure,
Till we find in Jesus,
Joy forevermore.

Through the highest heaven
To the Almighty Three,
Father, Son and Spirit,
One same glory be. Amen.

© Gertrude Feick 2020

Friday, November 20, 2020

Friday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Other saints: Saint Edmund, King and Martyr (d.869); Saint Dasius, Martyr (?303); SS Sapor and Isaac, Bishops and Martyrs (339); Saint Bernward, Bishop (c.960-1022); Bd Mary Fortunata Viti (1827-1922)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 42 Silence after Compline

Mass: Rev 10:8-11; Resp Ps 119; Lk 19:45-48

I gasp with open mouth in my yearning for your commands.


My house shall be a house of prayer (Lk 19:46), says Jesus in today's Gospel. On this Friday, let us enter into the Heart of Jesus and pray that our hearts may be one with His Heart, Sacred Temple of God, so that we too become a house of prayer. What follows is a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), one I have wanted to include and better do it now before Autumn has come and gone. 🙏


The leaves are falling, falling as from way off,
as though far gardens withered in the skies;
they are falling with denying gestures.

And in the nights the heavy earth is falling
from all the stars down into loneliness.

We are all falling. This hand falls.
And look at others; it is in them all.

And yet there is one who holds this falling
endlessly gently in his hands.

If you sometimes find yourselves so troubled and disturbed that you cannot find peace, turn immediately to prayer and persevere in it, in imitation of Jesus Christ our Lord, who prayed three times in the garden, to show us that prayer must always be our recourse and refuge.
(Blessed Clelia Merloni, 1861-1930)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Thursday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Mechtilde of Hackeborn (1241-1298)

Other saints: Saint Roque Gonzalez and his companions (-1628); Saint Raphael Kalinowski (1835-1907); Saint Barlaam, Martyr (?Fourth Century); Saint Nerses, Bishop, and other Martyrs (Fourth Century); Saint Nerses I, Martyr (c. 330-373); Bd James of Mantua, Bishop (1338)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 41 The Times for Meals

Mass: Rev 5:1-10; Resp Ps 149; Lk 19:41-44

For the Lord loves His people.


As Jesus continues His journey to Jerusalem and now sees the city, He weeps over it, saying: If this day you only knew what makes for peace. Those words followed by what Our Lord says next, are relevant here and now, but now it is hidden from your eyes (Lk 19:42). We too, do not know what makes for peace unless we keep in the forefront of our minds, hearts, words and deeds that the peace of Jesus is not as the world gives, as Jesus told the disciples at the Last Supper: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. (Jn 14:27). The peace that Christ gives is, as an acquaintance wrote, a peace that relates to finding contentment in one's vocation. It is "peace that allows us to say with confidence and Divine Solace: Father, Thy will be done." Put another way in a commentary: "Peace lies in surrendering to the Lord in trust and living by His love, not in fretting over the wrongs done by others. Undue concern over evils we cannot mend prevents us from taking true delight in Him" (Magnificat, Prayer for the Evening, November 18, 2020, p. 279). Yes, surrendering to Our Lord and seeking to do His will in all that we say and do. And from experience, we find that surrendering ourselves to the heart and will of Jesus does not come without shaking us up a bit. We fret. Oh, let not your hearts be troubled (Jn 14:27), says Our Lord and Master. With the words of the Prophet Isaiah, we go forth: "By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust your strength lies (Is 30:15). Peace I leave with you.

A little longer-and the wicked shall have gone.
Look at his place, he is not there.
But the humble shall own the land
and enjoy the fullness of peace.
(Ps 37)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Wednesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne (1769-1852); The Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

Other saints: Saint Romanus of Antioch, Martyr (304); Saint Mawes (?Fifth Century); Saint Odo of Cluny, Abbot (c. 880-892); Bd Caroline Kozka, Martyr (1898-1914)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 40 The Proper Amount of Drink

Mass: Rev 4:1-11; Resp Ps 150; Lk 19:11-28

Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!


Praise for our hearts and lips come from the Book of Revelation: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come ... worthy are you, Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things; because of your will they came to be and were created" (Rev 4:8,11).

If in prayer we understand that each day given by God is a call, our hearts will then widen and we will accept everything. We will learn how to say: 'What you want, Lord. Promise me only that You will be present every step of my way ... Lord, what you want, when You want, and how You want'.
(Pope Francis, General Audience, November 18, 2020)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Tuesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231)

Other saints: Saint Hilda of Whitby, Abbess (614-680); Saint Hugh of Lincoln, Bishop (1140-1200); Saint Dionysius of Alexandria, Bishop (190-265); Saint Gregory the Wonderworker, Bishop (213-270); SS Alphaeus and Zacchaeus, Martyrs (303); Saint Acisclus, Martyr (? Fourth Century); Saint Anianus of Orleans, Bishop (453); Saint Gregory of Tours, Bishop (539-594); Bd Salome, Abbess (1211-1268)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 39 The Proper Amount of Food

Mass: Rev 3:1-6, 14-22; Resp Ps 15; Lk 19:1-10

I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.


I read this about the Book of Revelation in my New American Bible this morning: "The Book of Revelation had its origin in a time of crisis, but it remains valid and meaningful for Christians of all time. In the face of apparently insuperable evil, either from within or without, all Christians are called to trust in Jesus' promise, 'Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age' (Mt 28:20)", p. 1427. Something John heard the Lord saying to the angel of the Church in Laodicea (Rev 3:14) is certainly valid and meaningful for us: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me" (Rev 3:20). Dear small in stature Zacchaeus sure heard the voice of the Lord and opened his door. At the Lord's call to come down from the tree so Jesus could stay at his house, Zacchaeus came down quickly and received Jesus with joy (Lk 19:5-6). 

No matter what comes our way this day, whether in the face of apparently insuperable evil or not, let us trust in Our Lord to help us. Yes, He is with us always, until the end of the age. We go forth, then, and follow the lead of Zacchaeus. With our ears open to hear the voice of the Lord, and hearts to His love and mercy, let us receive Jesus with joy. 


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Monday, November 16, 2020

Monday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Gertrude the Great of Helfta (1256-1301/2)

Other saints: Saint Margaret of Scotland (1046-1093); Saint Edmund of Abingdon, Bishop (c. 1175-1240); Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn; Commemoration of All Carmelite Souls; Saint Eucherius of Lyons, Bishop (c. 449); Saint Afan, Bishop (Sixth Century); Saint Agnes of Assisi (1253); Saint Edward Osbaldeston, Martyr (1594)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 38 The Reader for the Week

Mass: Rev 1:1-4; 2:1-5; Resp Ps 1; Lk 18:35-43

Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life.


May Jesus say to each one of us, as He did to the blind man: Have sight; your faith has saved you (Lk 18:42). May we, in all we do and say today, follow Our Lord Jesus Christ and give glory to God (Lk 18:43). I believe, help my unbelief. A prayer comes from Saint Gertrude the Great of Helfta. 

Make me
great in faith,
rejoicing in hope,
patient in tribulation,
delighting in your praise,
fervent in spirit,
faithfully serving you, Lord God, my true king, and persevering vigilantly with you to the very end of my life. Thus, what I now believe in hope, I may gladly see with my eyes in reality. Let me see you as you are; let me see you face to face. There, dear Jesus, satiate me with yourself; there, in the fruition of you mellifluous countenance, let there be rest for me forever.
Amen. Amen. Amen.
(Spiritual Exercises of Gertrud the Great of Helfta, I, 225-232)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fourth World Day of the Poor

In other years: Saint Albert the Great, Bishop, Doctor (1206-1280)

Other saints: SS Gurias, Samonas, and Abibus, Martyrs (Fourth Century); Saint Didier of Cahors, Bishop (655); Saint Malo, Bishop (Sixth-Seventh Century); Saint Fintan of Rheinau (c. 879); Saint Leopold of Austria (1075-1136); Bd Lucy of Narni (1476-1544); Saint Roque Gonzalez and Companions, Martyrs (1628); Saint Joseph Pignatelli (1737-1811); Saint Raphael Kalinowski (1835-1907)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 37 The Elderly and Children

Mass: Prov 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31; Resp Ps 128; 1 Th 5:1-6; Mt 25:14-30

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


Reflection on today's Gospel is leading me to a variety of places. One is to Saint Paul and his words: "Everyone has his own gift from God, one this another that" (1 Cor 7:7). And then the proclamation from yesterday's First Vespers, words from Hans Urs von Balthasar: "We have received talents in trust and are supposed to work with them not only for ourselves ... but for God. For we owe ourselves, together with all we have, to God".  Recognition may be a key here. First, each one of us has gifts, or talents if you prefer, from God. God doesn't leave anyone out. And no one has all the gifts. Or, as Pope Francis told those gathered for a 2014 Angelus Address, "the Lord does not give the same things to everyone in the same way. He knows us personally and entrusts us with what is right for us; but in everyone, in all, there is something equal: the same, immense trust. God trusts us. God has hope in us!" 

Sadly, there may be a tendency to think that everyone else has gifts and "I" have been left out. I wonder if this dismissal, so to speak, of what God has given me is giving honor and glory to God. Am I burying the gifts God has given me, like the servant in Gospel who went off and buried his talent in the ground?(Mt 25:25). Do I recognize and acknowledge with gratitude whatever gifts God has given me while at the same time rejoice in the gifts of others? If someone compliments me, do I say "thank you" and not brush it off? When was the last time I complimented someone else and expressed gratitude for a particular gift I see in her? We are together in our journey to the Lord. We are children of the light and children of the day (1 Th 5:5). We are supposed to work with our God given gifts, not for our personal glorification, but rather to build the Body of Christ "so that in all things God may be glorified (1 Pet 4:11). God trusts us. God has hope in us. May we be found worthy (Pr 31:10) and rewarded for our labors (Pr 31:31) so God, the giver of all good gifts will say: Well done my good and faithful servant ... come, share your master's joy (Mt 25:21, 23). 


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Saturday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Blessed Virgin Mary

Other saints: Saint Laurence O'Toole, Bishop (1128-1180); Saint Dyfrig, Bishop (c. 550); The Beatified Martyrs of the Clifton Diocese; The Reading Martyrs; Saint Joseph Pignatelli (1737-1811); All Carmelite Saints; Bd Serapion, Martyr (1240); Saint Nicholas Tavelik and Companions, Martyrs (1391); Bd John Liccio (1511)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 36 Care of the Sick

Mass: 3 Jn 5-8; Resp Ps 112; Lk 18:1-8

Light shines through the darkness for the upright; he is gracious and merciful and just.


One way to support one another and be co-workers in the truth (3 Jn 8), is to look how the sick and their caregivers share in mutual service as laid out in today's chapter of the Holy Rule, "Care of the Sick". "Care of the sick", writes Saint Benedict, "must rank above and before all else, so that they may truly be served as Christ" (RB 36:1). "The sick", however, "on their part", should "bear in mind that they are served out of honor for God," so "let them not by their excessive demands distress those who serve them" (RB 36:4). Even though, "the sick must be patiently borne with, because serving them leads to a greater reward" (RB 36:5), it seems fitting that the sick should also be patient with their caregivers, because caregivers don't always get it right, or just the way the sick would prefer. In the end, both caregivers and the sick, and the healthy too, support one another with love and in humility. May we be faithful in all we do for one another (3 Jn 5) as we set out daily "for the sake of the Name" (3 Jn 7). And remember to "pray always without becoming weary" (Lk 18:1). O God, come to my assistance, O Lord, make haste to help me.


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Friday, November 13, 2020

Friday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini, the first United States citizen to be canonized, Mother Cabrini was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XII on July 7, 1946 and proclaimed Celestial Patroness of All of Immigrants in 1950 (1850-1917)

All Saints of the Benedictine Family

Other saints: Saint Machar (8th century); Bl Maria Teresa Scrilli (1825-1889); Saint Arcadius and Companions, Martyrs (437); Saint Brice, Bishop (444); Saint Eugenius of Toledo, Bishop (657); Saint Maxellendis, Martyr (c. 670); Pope Saint Nicholas I (c. 820-867); Saint Abbo of Fleury, Abbot (1004); Saint Homobonus (1197); Saint Augustina Pietrantoni, Marytr (1864-1894)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 35:12-18

Mass: For the feria: 2 Jn 4-9; Resp Ps 119; Lk 17:26-37; For All the Saints of the Benedictine Family: Is 61:9-11; Resp Ps 88; Jn 15:1-8

Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord.


As we continue our romp through the beautiful month of November, we have much to celebrate with the saints of our Church, those known and unknown to us. We turn to words from the Prophet Isaiah: "I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul" (Is 61:10). We thank God for our faith and pray for more faith. We are called this day, and every day, to "love one another" (2 Jn 5) and walk according to Our Lord's commandments (2 Jn 6). If you remain in the me, says the Lord, and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. For by this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples (Jn 15:7-8). "As we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God's commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love" (RB Prologue 49). 

© Gertrude Feick 2020

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Thursday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Josaphat (c. 1580-1623)

Other saints: Saint Nilus the Elder (c. 430); Saint Emilian Cucullatus (574); Saint Machar, Bishop (Sixth Century); Saint Cunibert, Abbot (c. 665); Saint Lebuin (c. 773); Saint Benedict and Companions, Martyrs (1003); Bd Rainerius of Arezzo (1304); Bd John della Pace (c. 1332); Bd Gabriel of Ancona (1456); Saint Didacus (c. 1400-63)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 35:1-11 Kitchen Servers of the Week

Mass: Philemon 7-20; Resp Ps 146; Lk 17:20-25

The Lord will reign forever.


It is early and the last line from today's first reading rings loud and clear: "Refresh my heart in Christ" (Philemon 7:20). And I hear the psalmist's song: "My heart is ready, O God; I will sing, sing your praise. Awake my soul; awake lyre and harp, I will awake the dawn" (Ps 107:2-3). Are you ready for the day, or the rest of the day as the case may be? Behold, says Jesus in today's Gospel, the Kingdom of God is among you (Lk 17:21). Yes, the Kingdom of God is among, or within you. May we bear witness to the Kingdom of God and be shining lights of our Christian faith. And maybe, just maybe someone might say "Look, the Kingdom of God is within her!" So, a prayer to be prayed every day, recommends Pope Francis, is this: "Lord, open my heart so that I can understand what You have taught us; so that I can remember Your words; so that I can follow Your words; so that I can come to the fullness of the truth" (Homily, Casa Santa Marta, May 22, 2017). I am the vine, you are the branches, says the Lord; whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit. Alleluia. 


© Gertrude Feick

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Wednesday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary

Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop (c316-397)

Other saints: Saint Mennas, Martyr (c. 300); Saint Theodore the Studite, Abbot (759-826); Saint Bartholomew of Grottaferrata, Abbot (c. 980-c. 1050); Bd Eugene Bossilkov, Bishop and Martyr (1900-52)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch RB 34 Distribution of Goods According to Need

Mass: Titus 3:1-7; Resp Ps 23; Lk 17:11-19

Only goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life.


Today, and everyday in fact, is a day to join the one leper who "had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked Him (Lk 17:15-16). In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Alleluia. 


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 half-perfect? Let me

keep my mind on what matters,

which is my work,


which is mostly standing still and learning to be


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.



© Gertrude Feick 2020

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Tuesday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Pope Saint Leo the Great, Doctor (-461)

Other saints: Saint Aedh, Bishop (589); Saint Justis, Bishop (627); Saint Andrew Avellino (1521-1608)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 33 Monks and Private Ownership

Mass: Titus 2:1-8, 11-14; Resp Ps 37; Lk 17:7-10

Turn from evil and do good, that you may abide forever.


One bottom line is this: "For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of Our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people as His own, eager to do what is good" (Titus 2:11-14). May we, then, be dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, love and endurance, reverent in our behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teach what is good, chaste, and control ourselves so that we are models of good deeds in every respect, with integrity, dignity, and sound speech (Titus 2:2-8). Tall orders indeed. We can turn to Saint Benedict for fewer words: Your way of acting should be different from the world's way; the love of Christ must come before all else (RB 4:20-21).  Whatever the case, after all this, we can say, "We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do" (Lk 17:10).  

Mercy wishes you to be merciful, righteousness to be righteous, that the Creator may be seen in His creatures, and the image of God may be reflected in the mirror of the human heart.
(Pope Saint Leo the Great)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Monday, November 9, 2020

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

Other saints: Saint Benen, Bishop (467); Bd Joan of Signa (c. 1245-1307); Bd Louis Morbioli (1433-1485); Bd Gratia of Cattaro (1508); Bd George Napper, Martyr (1550-1610)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 32 The Tools and Goods of the Monastery

Mass: Ezk 47:1-2, 8-9, 12: Resp Ps 46; 1 Cor 3:9c-11, 16-17; Jn 2:13-22

Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.


We celebrate today the great Feast of Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, one of the four major basilicas in Rome. The Lateran Basilica joins St Peter's Basilica, St Paul Outside the Walls, and St Mary Major. On this beautiful day we have one of my favorite readings from St Paul's first Letter to the Corinthians. The Apostle gives us a kind of wake up call: "You are God's building" (1 Cor 3:9). Yes, each one of us is made in the image and likeness of God and we stand on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ. Saint Paul asks us, "Do you know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Cor 3:16). Do we know? Are we even aware of this gift? Whatever your answers to these questions, today may be a day to pause and consider how you treat your temple, that is, the temple of God where the Spirit of God dwells. Paul continues, "If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy" (1 Cor 3:17). You are holy. I am holy. May we be careful and build our bodies with faith, hope, and love so as to build the Body of Christ. Seek the things that are above (Col 3:1). United in prayer, we keep going. 

Today, on the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St John Lateran, we recall that the Lord desires to dwell in every heart. Even if we should distance ourselves from Him, the Lord needs only three days to reconstruct His temple within us.
(Pope Francis, Twitter, November 9, 2020)
© Gertrude Feick 2020

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Other saints: All Saints of Wales; Bd George Napier (-1610); Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906); Bd John Dons Scotus (c. 1265-1308); The Four Crowned Martyrs (306); Saint Cybi, Abbot (6th century); Saint Deusdedit, Pope (618); Saint Tysilio, Abbot (?7th century); Saint Willehad, Bishop (789); Saint Godfrey of Amiens, Bishop (1115)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 31:13-19

Mass: Ws 6:12-16; Resp Ps 63; 1 Th 4:13-18; Mt 25:1-13

My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.


The thought of having a "day off" came to me during Lauds this morning. And then I thought of those wise virgins in today's Gospel who went to meet the bridegroom with flasks of oil and their lamps (Mt 25:4). They were prepared. Then there were the foolish virgins (Mt 25:3), who perhaps, took a day off and so had no oil for their lamps. They found themselves unprepared. We may have a "day off" from this responsibility or another, and those days are needed for extra rest, prayer, reading, spending time with loved ones, enjoying the wonder of creation, tending to those things that nurture us, and so on. On the other hand, there are many, many people who never have the privilege of a day off. Ever.

However, in whatever situation we find ourselves, we do not get days off from being Christian. It's not a matter of deciding to live the Christian witness of faith, hope, and love only on certain days of the week. Or, put another way, "being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction" (Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 1). And we are to renew this encounter day in and day out, or as Pope Francis put it: "I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting Him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day" (Evangelii Gaudium, 3). This renewed personal encounter with the person of Jesus Christ keeps us prepared. We are then ready with full flasks of oil and our lamps to meet Jesus throughout each day, in every minute and in every circumstance, whether the circumstance be pleasant or not. Jesus doesn't take a day off. He is always prepared to encounter us. Our Lord continuously knocks at the door of our hearts and is ready to be let in. May we be open and wise and "stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour" (Mt 25:13).

The end of all things is at hand. Be serious and sober for prayers. Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
(1 Pt 4:7-11)


© Gertrude Feick 2020

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Saturday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time

Blessed Virgin Mary

Other saints: Saint Willibrord, Bishop (658-739); Saint Herculanus, Bishop and Martyr (547); Saint Florentius, Bishop (7th Century); Saint Engelbert, Bishop and Martyr (c. 1186-1225); Bd Helen of Arcella (c. 1208-42); Bd Antony Baldinucci (1665-1717); Bd Vincent Grossi, Founder (1845-1917)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 31:1-12 Qualifications of the Monastery Cellarer

Mass: Ph 4:10-19; Resp Ps 112; Lk 16:9-15

Blessed the man who fears the Lord.


In today's Gospel, Jesus said to His disciples, and He says to us: "The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones" (Lk 16:10). The monastery cellarer, presented to us today and tomorrow in Chapter 31 of the Holy Rule, is someone who is entrusted with matters both small and great. The cellarer is asked to take care of everything (RB 31:3) and knows for certain that he will be held accountable for all things entrusted to him (RB 31:9). In order to fulfill such a responsibility with integrity and good-will, the cellarer prays for the strength that comes from the Lord who empowers her (Ph 4:13). The cellarer chosen from the community is someone "wise, mature in conduct, temperate, not an excessive eater, not proud, excitable, offensive, dilatory or wasteful, but God-fearing, and like a father or mother to the whole community" (RB 31:1-2). The cellarer must show every care and concern for the sick, children, guests and the poor (RB 31:9). In matters both small and great then, the cellarer will regard all utensils and goods of the monastery as sacred vessels of the altar (RB 31:10). 

In whatever is entrusted to us, both things small and great, at home, work, or in community, may we, with the monastery cellarer, regard all things and people as sacred vessels of the altar and be ever mindful of that saying of the Apostle: He who serves well secures a good standing for himself (1 Tm 3:13)/(RB 31:8).

(Ps 112)

The Pope's November 2020 Prayer Intention:

Artificial intelligence is at the heart of the epochal change we are experiencing. Robotics can make a better world possible if it is joined to the common good. Indeed, if technological progress increases inequalities, it is not true progress. Future advances should be oriented towards respecting the dignity of the person and of Creation.
Let us pray that the progress of robotics and artificial intelligence may always serve humankind...we could say, may it "be human."
© Gertrude Feick 2020