Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

The Month of January Dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

57th World Day of Social Communications: "Speak with the Heart Veritatem Facientes in caritate Doing the truth in charity"

Saints: Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor, Patron Saint of Writers and Journalists (1567-1622); Saint Timothy Giaccardo, Priest (1896-1948) 

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 6 Restraint of Speech

Mass: Heb 10:1-10; Resp Ps 40; Mk 3:31-35    

I have waited, waited for the Lord.



Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.
(Mk 3:35)

Today we commemorate another great intercessor, Saint Francis de Sales, who way before the Second Vatican Council was all about the universal call to holiness, the call to perfection, especially among the lay faithful. All of us can still turn to his classic 17th century work, Introduction to the Devout Life, available today in recent editions and even in PDF form.* An excerpt from that text is found in today's Office of Readings, some of which I will quote below. For now, it occurs to me that since Saint Francis de Sales is the patron saint of writers and journalists, it is the World Day of Social Communications, and we are in Saint Benedict's Ch 6 Restraint of Speech, Saint Francis de Sales can help all of us. Saint Benedict begins the chapter with words from the psalmist: "I said, I have resolved to keep watch over my ways that I may never sin with my tongue, I have put a guard over my mouth" (Rule of Saint Benedict, 6:1). Since so much of what we say is better left unsaid, even things that we think are good, holy or constructive, we must be on guard so as to curb any evil speech (see RB 6:2-3) and remember that in a flood of words you will not avoid sin, and the tongue holds key to life and death. And strongly, Saint Benedict condemns vulgarity and gossip (RB 6:8) whatsoever. To Saint Francis de Sales then, we pray for help. The Bishop and Doctor was a man of love and moderation, qualities to admire, be inspired by, and imitate. He once said, "whoever wants to preach effectively must preach with love." With that in mind, we just may keep better watch over our ways, and reflect more before we speak, write, text, email or communicate in any way. 

When God the Creator made all things, He commanded the plants to bring forth fruit each according to its own kind; He likewise commanded Christians, who are the living plants of the Church, to bring forth the fruits of devotion, each one in accord with his character, his station, his calling ...
the practice of devotion must be adapted to the strength, to the occupation and to the duties of each [person] in particular ...
in whatever situations we happen to be, we can and we must aspire to the life of perfection.
(From The Introduction to the Devout Life by Saint Francis de Sales, bishop, in Office of Readings, January 24)

In an historical period marked by polarizations and contrasts - to which unfortunately not even the ecclesial community is immune - the commitment to communicating "with open heart and arms" does not pertain exclusively to those in the field of communications; it is everyone's responsibility.
(Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the 57th World Day of Social Communications, January 24, 2023)


*See, for example, Christian Classics Ethereal Library. 

Today's photo: Another little beauty from my cousin's garden that did well in the cold weather. He stooped toward me.

© Gertrude Feick 2023

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