Sunday, July 21, 2024

Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July is the month dedicated to the Precious Blood of Our Lord

Readings for the Rule of Saint Benedict for the Week: Ch 42 Silence after Compline - Ch 47 Announcing the Hours for the Work of God

Only goodness and kindness follow me.

BLOOD OF CHRIST, INCARNATE WORD OF GOD,
SAVE US.

MARY, MOTHER OF HOPE,
SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL,
PRAY FOR US.

The Lord, our justice.
(Jer 23:6)

For He is our peace ...
He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
(Ephesians 2:14, 17-18)

Welcome to the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. May the peace of Our Lord be with us. Thank you for tuning in. Today, and throughout this week, whether you are near or far, rest in the peace of the Lord; He is our peace. Go ahead, listen to Jesus: "Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while" (Mark 6:31). May we have "the grace to set aside time to be with the Eucharistic Lord in silence and prayer, and to find rest in the heart of Christ." And since Saint Benedict reminds us this week to diligently cultivate silence at all times, especially at night (Rule of Saint Benedict, 42:1), may the last word we speak before settling in for the night be Mary, "O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary." Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

On the newsy news front, my brother in Indianapolis has sent a few reports of the Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis. The closing Mass was this morning at the Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, and last night to some 50,000 people on their knees before the Blessed Sacrament during the nightly Holy Hours. How cool is that. There was also an "unbelievable" procession through downtown Indianapolis on Saturday. Give God the praise for the witness of these members of the faithful.

And now a word or two from our voices for the week. 

I am slowly going through a delightful little book by Elizabeth A. Johnson, Come, Have Breakfast: Meditations on God and the Earth (Orbis, 2024). Not a book I would normally select, it was recommended by a trusted mentor, and then gifted by a longtime friend. So, I am giving it a go and finding it just what the doctor ordered. I include, then, a couple of passages I've marked.

Rather than suppressing the gifts of the other, love brings about their flourishing. Rather than stifling the power to act freely, love promotes its growth.
(Elizabeth A. Johnson, Come, Have Breakfast: Meditations on God and the Earth, p. 20)

As God's good creation, the world becomes a free partner in its own becoming while the Creator enables its existence at every moment. To put this succinctly, God creates the world by empowering the world to make itself. Far from compelling the world to develop according to a pre-destined plan, the Spirit continually calls forth to a fresh and unexpected future.
Be imaginative for a moment. It is as if the Creator gave the world a push saying, "Go, have an adventure, see what you can become. And I will be with you every step of the way."
(Elizabeth A. Johnson, Come, Have Breakfast: Meditations on God and the Earth, p. 21)

As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
so would I learn to attain
freefall, and float
into Creator's Spirit's deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding grace.
(Denise Levertov in Elizabeth A. Johnson, Come, Have Breakfast: Meditations on God and the Earth , p. 143) 

Always seek this beautiful virtue of humility, which the Blessed Virgin will teach you. She will make you live in the truth, so that you might love and serve only the Lord.
(Saint Maria Maravillas of Jesus, 1891-1974)

Do not be afraid. Open your hearts to Christ. The deepest joy in life is the joy that comes from God and is found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is the hope of the world. Jesus Christ is your hope and mine!
(Pope Saint John Paul II, Teleconference with the Young People, Los Angeles, CA, September 15, 1987)

An echo from an earlier post, worth a repeat performance ...

Joy, with peace, is the sister of charity. Serve the Lord with laughter.
(Saint Padre Pio, 1887-1968)

And some parting words from "The Good Pope."

It's your Church, Lord, I'm going to bed. ☺
(Pope Saint John XXIII, when turning in for the night)

SAINT LAWRENCE OF BRINDISI,
SAINT MARY MAGDALENE,
SAINT BRIDGET OF SWEDEN,
SAINTS PHILIP EVANS AND JOHN LLOYD,
OUR LADY, MOTHER OF DIVINE GRACE,
SAINT CHARBEL MAKHLOUF,
SAINT DECLAN,
SAINT JOHN BOSTE,
BLESSED ROBERT LUDLAM AND NICHOLAS GARLICK,
BLESSED JOHN SORETH,
BLESSED MARIA MERCEDES PRAT,
SAINT JAMES,
SAINT ANNA AND JOACHIM, PARENTS OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY,
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: All the days of my life.

© Gertrude Feick 2024

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July is the month dedicated to the Precious Blood of Our Lord

Readings for the Rule of Saint Benedict for the Week: Ch 33:11 Monks and Private Ownership- Ch 41 The Times for the Brothers' Meals

Truth shall spring out of the earth.

BLOOD OF CHRIST, RELIEF OF THE BURDENED,
SAVE US.

MARY, MOTHER OF COMPASSION AND MERCY,
SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL,
PRAY FOR US.

Blessed be the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before Him. 
(Ephesians 1:3-4)

Welcome to the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, in the midst of a HOT July dedicated to the Precious Blood of Our Lord. Thank you for being there with this posting of late in the day.

I am most often attracted to the second reading for Mass on Sunday's, and this week's powerful, once again, words from Saint Paul. In short, let what Saint Paul writes to us sink in. He chose you; He chose me, to be holy and without blemish before Him, yes, He who loves us with an everlasting love. To the praise of His glory then, we keep going, with Saint Rafael Arnaiz who wrote to his Aunt: "The Lord asks me to keep going and not stop. What am I to do: look up, up high ... and keep going and not stop ... You ought to do the same." United in faith and prayer, may we do the same. Jesus and Mary, please help us. 

For our voices of the week, I turn to a book I reviewed, Mark O'Keefe and Maria Gonzalo-Garcia, To Live for God Alone: The Life and Spirit of Saint Rafael Arnaiz (Cistercian, 2023). There is no end to the number of quotations to be collected. So, all voices this week come from wisdom to be found in the book, both from Rafael and others as well. 

I enjoy flowers and birds and children. Everything is a reason to praise God: stars, nighttime, fields covered in light.
(Saint Rafael Arnaiz)

Once you understand the purpose of life, which is to live for God and for Him alone, there is nothing in the world that can trouble your soul.
(Saint Rafael Arnaiz)

The interior life ... the spiritual life, a life of prayer. "My God! that must be difficult!" But it's not at all. Get rid of everything in your heart that's in the way. And you'll find God there ... Behold the life of prayer. We don't need to add to something that's already there. Rather, we need to get rid of what's in the way.
(Saint Rafael Arnaiz)

We human beings can do nothing more than trust in His divine providence, knowing that what He does is well done, even if at first glance it might go against our desires. But I believe that true perfection is to have no other desire other than "may His will be done in us."
(Saint Rafael Arnaiz)

Forgetfulness of created things,
remembrance of the Creator,
attention toward inward things,
and loving the Beloved.
(Saint John of the Cross, "The Sum of Perfection")

If you take little account of yourself, you will have peace, wherever you live.
(Abba Poemen, 4th century desert father, in The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection)

The specific value that draws a Christian into the 'desert' and 'solitude' (whether or not he remains physically 'in the world') is a deep sense that God alone suffices.
(Thomas Merton, in Contemplation in a World of Action)

SAINT CAMILLUS OF LELLIS,
SAINT KATERI TEKAKWITHA,
SAINT BONAVENTURE, BISHOP, DOCTOR,
SAINT SWITHUN,
SAINT OSMUND OF SALISBURY,
OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL,
SAINT HELIER,
SAINT KENELM,
BLESSED JOHN SUGAR, PRIEST, AND ROBERT GRISSOLD, MARTYRS,
BLESSED INACIO DE AZEVEDO,
BLESSED THERESE OF SAINT AUGUSTINE AND COMPANIONS,
POPE SAINT LEO IV,
SAINT ELIZABETH OF SCHONAU,
SAINT JOHN PLESSINGTON,
SAINT ARSENIUS,
SAINT APOLLINARIS, BISHOP, MARTYR,
BLESSED VIRGIN MARTYRS OF ORANGE, 
SAINT MARGARET OF ANTIOCH,
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: And justice shall look down from heaven.

© Gertrude Feick 2024

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

July is the month dedicated to the Precious Blood of Our Lord

Readings for the Rule of Saint Benedict for the Week: Ch 30 The Manner of Reproving Boys- Ch 35:11 Kitchen Servers of the Week  

Our eyes are fixed on the Lord.

BLOOD OF CHRIST, STREAM OF MERCY,
SAVE US.

MARY, MOTHER OF OUR SAVIOR,
SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL, 
PRAY FOR US.

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.
(2 Cor 12:8)

Welcome to the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time, in the month dedicated to the Precious Blood of Our Lord, and a week when we celebrate our holy father Saint Benedict, the principal patron saint of Europe as declared by Pope Saint Paul VI in the Apostolic Letter, Pacius Nuntius, October 24, 1964. Indeed, Saint Benedict was a "messenger of peace, maker of unity, the master of civilization, and especially the herald of Christianity and the author of monasticism in the West." And his voice continues to resound throughout all the earth. San Benedetto, prega per noi.

The second reading from today's Mass (2 Cor 12:7-10) is powerful. In fact. it is not a bad idea to read the entirety of Chapter 12 in Saint Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians. Paul went to the Lord and begged Him about the thorn in his side; Paul went to the Lord not one time, but three times. Lord, remove the thorn from my side; Lord, remove the thorn from my side; Lord, remove the thorn from my side. And what did Our Lord say? My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. Let that sink in. Power in weakness. How does Paul respond to the words of Our Lord? I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, then, in order that the power of Christ my dwell in me. I am content, says Paul, with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, I am strong. A question, then, is, "Who doesn't want the power of Christ to dwell in them?" The question is not so different from one Saint Benedict poses in the Prologue of his holy rule: "Is there anyone here who yearns for life and desires to see good days?" (RB Prologue 15). Yes, we want the power of Christ to dwell in us. Yes, we yearn for life and desire to see good days. Go to Our Lord with your thorns, your weaknesses. His grace is sufficient for you. If you are going to boast, then, make your boast in the Lord, for His grace, for His power is made perfect in your thorny weaknesses. The love of Christ must come before all else ... prefer nothing whatever to Christ (RB 4:21/72:11).

For our voices of the week, we turn to the wisdom of our holy father Saint Benedict contained his Holy Rule.

The fourth step of humility is that in this obedience under difficult, unfavorable, or even unjust conditions, his heart quietly embraces suffering and endures it without weakening or seeking escape. For Scripture has it: Anyone who perseveres to the end will be saved, and again, Be brave of heart and rely on the Lord.
(Rule of Saint Benedict, 4:35-36)

Whenever we want to ask some favor of a powerful man, we do it humbly and respectfully, for fear of presumption. How much more important, then, to lay our petitions before the Lord God of all things with the utmost humility and sincere devotion.
(RB 20:1-2)

He will regard all utensils and goods of the monastery as sacred vessels of the altar, aware that nothing is to be neglected.
(RB 31:10)

Care of the sick must rank above and before all else, so that they may be truly served as Christ.
(RB 36:1)

Your way of acting should be different from the world's way.
(RB 4:20)

You must honor everyone.
(RB 4:8)

The younger monks, then, must respect their seniors, and the seniors must love their juniors.
(RB 63:10)

We go forth, then, united in faith in prayer, and "then with Christ's help, keep this little rule that we have written for beginners" (RB 73:8). May Christ bring us all together to everlasting life (RB 72:12). Amen.

BLESSED PETER TO ROT,
SAINT MAELRUAIN,
SAINT KILIAN,
SAINT AQUILA AND PRISCILLA,
SAINT WITHBURGA,
SAINT AUGUSTINE ZHAO RONG AND HIS COMPANIONS, MARTYRS,
THE MARTYRS OF GORCUM,
SAINT PAULINA OF THE HEART OF THE DYING JESUS,
SAINT LEO IGNATIUS MANGIN, PRIEST, MARY ZHU WU AND COMPANIONS, MARTRYS,
BLESSED JANE SCOPELLI,
VENERABLE AUGUSTUS TOLTON,
SAINT AMALBERGA, or SAINT AMELIA,
OUR HOLY FATHER SAINT BENEDICT, ABBOT,
SAINT JOHN JONES,
SAINTS LOUIS MARTIN AND MARIE AZELIE GUERIN,
SAINT VERONICA,
SAINT HENRY,
POPE BLESSED EUGENE III,
SAINT JOHN GUALBERTI, ABBOT,
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: Pleading for His mercy.

© Gertrude Feick 2024

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

June is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart

July is the month dedicated to the Precious Blood of Our Lord

Readings for the Rule of Saint Benedict for the Week:  Ch 23 Excommunication for Faults- Ch 29 Readmission of Brothers Who Leave the Monastery

Sing praise to the Lord, you His faithful ones.

HEART OF JESUS, DELIGHT OF ALL THE SAINTS,
HAVE MERCY ON US.

BLOOD OF CHRIST, PEACE AND TENDERNESS OF HEARTS,
SAVE US.

VIRGIN MOST POWERFUL,
SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL,
PRAY FOR US.

God did not make death,
nor does He rejoice in the destruction of the living.
(Wisdom 1:13)

Welcome to the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary, a week that begins with the end of the month of June dedicated to the Sacred Heart and gets going on Monday with the beginning of July dedicated to the Precious Blood of Our Lord. And not only that, we commemorate Saint Thomas the Apostle to warm us up for the celebration of our country's national holiday - July 4th, Independence Day! We have plenty of saints to commemorate and will include our "wholly American" Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. My country, 'Tis of Thee ...

There are two things that come from reflection on this Sunday's readings. First, there is living; second is faith. God is not God of the dead, but of the living (Luke 20:38). Jairus, the synagogue official whose daughter was at the point of death, fell at the feet of Jesus and pleaded earnestly with Him to come and lay hands on his daughter so that she would get well and live (see Mark 5:22-23). Then there is the woman afflicted with hemorrhages for 12 years. 12 long years of bleeding and not getting any help from doctors who only made her suffering worse. It seems to me that she was fed up and instead of dying, the woman was determined to live. So, she fought the crowd and went to Jesus, the God of the living, and simply touched His clothes. Immediately the woman was healed (see Mark 5:25-29). Both Jairus and the woman had courage. They found strength in the Lord to go straight to Jesus. Yes, they believed; they had faith in the Healer. It was a simple faith, uncomplicated. Faith. Jesus is speaking to you, to me: Daughter, your faith has saved you (Mark 5:34). Do not be afraid; just have faith (Mark 5:36). The woman went in peace; the synagogue official's 12-year-old daughter arose and walked around. All of them lived. God is not God of the dead but of the living, for to Him all are alive. This may be a week to first chose living over dying. Be alive. Pray for courage and a greater faith. Go to Jesus. Straight to Jesus with your needs. And if you haven't read Fredrik Bachman's A Man Called Otto and then seen the very well-done film starring Tom Hanks, consider it. Otto too, decided to live. Enough was enough. I believe, help my unbelief.

Now with our voices for the week. They are a cascade of sorts ...

The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples. As he touches Christ and is won over to belief, every doubt is cast aside and our faith is strengthened. So the disciple who doubted, then felt Christ's wounds, becomes a witness to the reality of the resurrection ... The true believer practices what he believes. But of those who pay only lip service to faith, Paul has this to say: 'They profess to know God, but they deny him in their works.' Therefore James says: 'Faith without works is dead.'
(From a homily on the Gospels by Saint Gregory the Great, pope, in Office of Readings, July 3)

What the world is in particular need of today is the credible witness of people enlightened in mind and heart by the word of the Lord, and capable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and true life, life without end.
(Pope Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei, 15)

Embracing the words of Pope Benedict XVI, then, we turn to the Second Letter to Timothy:

Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient of inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.
(2 Timothy 4:2)

God does not discriminate against anyone because He loves everyone.
(Pope Francis, Angelus Address, June 30, 2024)

Happy the person who at each gift of grace returns to God in whom is the fullness of grace ... For the only thing that hinders us from advancement in the spiritual life is our ingratitude.
(Saint Bernard of Clairvaux "Doctor Mellifluous", 1090-1153)

Now with a fitting introduction to our last voice: "Let us join our praise to the praise of all creation as we rejoice in the One who is the God of the living."*

By virtue of being created, of being held in existence by the loving power of the Creator Spirit, all beings give glory to God simply by being themselves.
(Elizabeth Johnson, in Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love)

As we go forth this week, united in faith and prayer, we go with the motto of Saint Junipero Serra: siempre adelante, always go forward. And Jesus will help us as He said: Do not be afraid; just have faith. At the same time, as we reflect on living and faith this week, we turn to the woman healed from her suffering. She went in peace. May we too go in peace this week for as Saint Peter Chyrsologus preached: 

Peace is the mother of love, the bond of concord and the manifest sign of a pure soul, one which seeks to please God, which seeks to be fulfilled and has it desire rewarded ... We must keep peace before all other virtues, since God is always in peace. Love peace, and all the world will be tranquil and quiet. By doing so you store up rewards for me, and joy for yourselves, that the Church of God may be founded on the bond of peace and may cling to perfect observance in Christ.
(From a sermon attributed to Peter Chrysologus, bishop, 380-450, in Office of Readings, July 13, commemoration of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, 1271-1336)

THE FIRST MARTYRS OF THE SEE OF ROME,
SAINT OLIVER PLUNKETT,
BLESSED NAZJU FALZON,
SAINT JUNIPERO SERRA, APOSTLE OF CALIFORNIA, THE FATHER OF CALIFORNIA MISSIONS,
SAINT OTTO, BISHOP OF BAMBERG, APOSTLE OF THE POMERANIANS, FATHER OF THE MONKS,
SAINT THOMAS, APOSTLE,
SAINT ELIZABETH ANN SETON,
SAINT ANTHONY MARY ZACCARIA,
SAINT MODWEN,
BLESSED GEORGE NICHOLS, RICHARD YAXLEY, THOMAS BELSON, HUMPHREY PRITCHARD,
SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL,
BLESSED JOHN CORNELIUS,
BLESSED MARIA CROCIFISSA CURCIO,
BLESSED PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI,
SAINT MARIA GORETTI, VIRGIN, MARTYR,
PRAY FOR US.

*Magnificat, July 30, 2024, Intercessions, p. 418.

Today's photo: A favorite color of mine. Dew and rain, bless the Lord; praise and exalt Him above all forever. 

© Gertrude Feick 2024

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

June is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart

Readings for the Rule of Saint Benedict for the Week: Ch 18:7 The Order of the Psalmody- Ch 22 The Sleeping Arrangements of the Monks

He brought them to their desired haven.

HEART OF JESUS, OUR PEACE AND OUR RECONCILIATION,
HAVE MERCY ON US.

MARY, HOUSE OF GOLD,
SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL,
PRAY FOR US.

They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
"Who then is this whom even the wind and sea obey?"
(Mark 4:41)

And as seen in today's photo, even the clouds obey Our Lord. It is He who created heaven and earth. We too, then, should be filled with great awe.

Welcome to the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time, in the middle of the month of June dedicated to the Sacred Heart, in these weeks leading up to the 10th National Eucharistic Congress scheduled for next month in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Hoosier State. It's hot here folks, making it very difficult to sleep. However, we had a bit of relief last night, Still, summer has arrived with force. 

How did you do last week? Take another look at last week's reflection. Have you taken inventory? Were there changes that needed to be made so you could rest both soul and body so as to better love and serve God, your neighbor and yourself? If not, we can take another look this week. We worry, we become anxious, we are overwhelmed. If this weren't so, why would Jesus, in today's Gospel (Mt 6:24-34), bother to tell us not to worry or be anxious? Things come; things go. However, we worry about tomorrow. So, Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow. Sufficient for a day is its own evil. No kidding. Jesus helps us grow in faith. Our Lord beckons us to trust Him. No matter what. Please, Lord, help us to grow in faith, in trust. We are not in this alone. We anchor ourselves in the Rock, Jesus. Blessed Clelia Merloni (1861-1930) encourages us: "In your trials, don't give up turning to God with filial trust. If you call upon Jesus with faith and trust, I assure you, your prayer will be heard by Him. Remember Jesus is sensitive to our ills and has compassion on all our suffering." And His mother will help too. After all, never was it known, that anyone who fled to her protection, or sought her intercession, was left unaided (The Memorare). May we be inspired, may we grow in trust and in faith. O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me. I believe, help my unbelief.

Keep going, faithful readers. We remain united in faith and prayer.

I will not mistrust Him, Meg, although I shall feel myself weakening and on the verge of being overcome with fear. I shall remember how St. Peter at a blast of wind began to sink because of his lack of faith, and I shall do as he did: call upon Christ and pray to Him for help. And then I trust He shall place His holy hand on me and in the stormy seas hold me up from drowning.
(Saint Thomas More, 1478-1535, in a letter to his daughter Meg, while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London)

In God's will there is great peace.
(Saint Josephine Bakhita, 1869-1947)

By the Mass and Communion, I must become more and more like Christ.
(Blessed Marcel Callo, 1921-1945)

The Holy Face is my life. He is my strength ...
If we wish to adore the real face of Jesus ... we can find it in the divine Eucharist, where the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ and the Face of Our Lord is hidden under the white veil of Host.
(Saint Gaetano Catanose, 1879-1963)

The rest of this week's voices come from Madeliene Delbrel, The Little Monk: Wisdom from a Little Friend of Big Faith (Crossroad, 2005). Little monk; little friend; delightful little book; from the little chapter "Humility."

To shine is not the same thing as to enlighten.
(On a day of great eloquence)

The center of the monastery is God's place: don't put yourself in the wrong chair.
(When the little monk had been pontificating)

When certain people question your character, don't respond by doubting theirs.
(When some awfully correct folks told the little monk why he was wrong)

And one last voice from the little chapter "Greatness," which is about humility in any case.

To call oneself "humble" rarely means that one is humble; the truly humble know that they are but novices in matters of humility.
(When the little monk had been self-effacing all around)

SAINT JOSEPH CAFASSO,
SAINT JOHN BOSCO,
SAINT ETHELDREDA,
SAINT THOMAS GARNET,
SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST,
SAINT WILLIAM OF VERCELLI,
SAINT JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA,
SAINT LUAN,
BLESSED MARY JOSEPHINE CATANEA,
SAINT JOHN SOUTHWORTH,
OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL SUCCOUR,
BLESSED NYKYTA BUDKA,
BLESSED VASYL VELYCHKOVSKY,
SAINT CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA, BISHOP, DOCTOR,
SAINT LADISLAUS, 
SAINT IRENAEUS, BISHOP, MARTYR, DOCTOR,
SAINT VINCENTIA GEROSA,
SAINTS PETER AND PAUL, APOSTLES,
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: I captured this glorious sight last Thursday morning. They rejoiced when they were calmed.

© Gertrude Feick 2024

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

June is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart

Readings for the Rule of Saint Benedict for the Week: Ch 13 The Celebration of Lauds on Ordinary Days - Ch 18:6 The Order of the Psalmody

Vigorous and sturdy shall they be.

    HEART OF JESUS, OUR PEACE AND OUR RECONCILIATION,
HAVE MERCY ON US.

MARY, MOTHER OF HOPE,
SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL,
PRAY FOR US.

We are always courageous, although we know that while we are home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.
(2 Cor 5:6-7)

Welcome to the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, still in the month of June dedicated to the Sacred Heart. Happy Father's Day to all fathers and soon to be fathers. We also remember our fathers who have died. May they, and Saint Joseph, pray for all of us. 

Thanks to today's "Meditation of the Day," in my monthly missal,* I was introduced to Blessed Stefan Wyszynski's (1901-1981, Polish archbishop, cardinal, and teacher of Pope Saint John Paull II) book, Sanctify Your Daily Life: How to Transform Work into a Source of Strength (EWTN, 2018). In the passage, the Cardinal speaks of the seventh day, the Sabbath, the Lord's Day, a day a rest from labor. We know from the Book of Genesis that God rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. And He blessed the seventh day, sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which He had created and made (see Genesis 2:1-3). God rested and blessed that day; Our Lord gifted that day of rest to us. Blessed Stefan comments: "From the moment this blessing was linked with rest from labor, the seventh day has had a double task in the history of God's world: the giving of worship to God and the granting of rest to the tired body and mind ... It is not enough for the human heart to devote the whole day or even six days of the week to binding sheaves: for it to be fully satisfied there must be a possibility, either in the evening or at the end of the toilsome week, for him to offer his sheaves to God." If we look to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we find what the Church teaches us: "'Just as God rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done,' human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord's Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives" (CCC 2184). Saint Benedict, in his chapter the Daily Manual Labor, has something to say too: "On Sunday all are to be engaged in reading except those who have been assigned various duties. If anyone is so remiss and indolent that he is unwilling or unable to study or to read, he is to be given some work in order that he may not be idle" (RB 48:22-23). Today, and this week, then, may be a time to reflect on your work and your rest. Are there things that hinder your worship to God? Are you getting rest so that you can fully engage, with energy and joy, in your service to God and others? What is the state of your health and well-being? Certainly, everyone has obligations and responsibilities that include family life, employment, community involvement, and so on. However, our minds and bodies need a rest. Blessed Stefan continues with this: "The fulfillment of one's duties toward God and the fulfillment of the needs of the mind and the heart are the main aims of freedom from work, a freedom that should do good to both soul and body." We have been gifted with freedom. Might your soil need more cultivation? How might you yield a richer harvest? God, give us the grace and courage. I believe, help my unbelief.

And here come the voices for the week. The first two are from Saint Cyprian, here with his treatise on the Lord's Prayer, one of my favorites. And it is certainly fitting as Jesus teaches us how to pray in this Thursday's Gospel (Mt 6:7-15). After the Bishop and Martyr, we hear from Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Cardinal Robert Sarah, il poverello Saint Francis of Assisi, the Holy Father Pope Francis, and Saint Richard of Chichester who had a life that was anything but dull.

When we pray, our words should be calm, modest and disciplined. Let us reflect that we are standing before God. We should please Hime both by our bodily posture and the manner of our speech. It is characteristic of the vulgar to shout and make a noise, not those who are modest. On the contrary, they should employ a quiet tone in their prayer.
(From a treatise on the Lord's Prayer by Saint Cyprian, bishop and martyr, in Office of Readings, Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time)

My dear friends, the Lord's Prayer contains many great mysteries of our faith. In these few words there is great spiritual strength, for this summary of divine teaching contains all our prayers and petitions. And so, the Lord commands us: Pray then like this: Our Father, who art in heaven.
(From a treastise on the Lord's Prayer by Saint Cyprian, bishop and martyr, in Office of Readings, Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus taught us how to pray, and He also told us to learn from Him to be meek and humble of heart. Neither of these can we do unless we know what silence is. Both humility and prayer grow from an ear, mind, and tongue that have lived in silence with God, for the silence of the heart God speaks. 
(Saint Teresa of Calcutta, No Greater Love, in Robert Cardinal Sarah with Nicolas Diat, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise, p. 45)

In the presence of God, in silence, we become meek and humble of heart. God's meekness and humility penetrate us, and we enter into a real conversation with Him. Humility is a condition and a result of silence. Silence needs meekness and humility, and it also open for us the way to these two qualities. The humblest, meekest, and most silent of all beings is God. Silence is the only means by which to enter into this great mystery.
(Robert Cardinal Sarah with Nicolas Diat, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise, p. 48)

Humble yourselves that you may be exalted by Him! Hold nothing back of yourselves for yourselves, that He who gives Himself totally to you may receive you totally!
(Saint Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226)

If I turn something negative into positive, I win! But that can only happen with the grace of Jesus.
(Pope Francis to African Youth, 2015)

Thanks be to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ
for all the benefits which Thou hast given us,
for all the pains and insults which Thou hast borne for us:
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,
may we know Thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
and follow Thee more nearly.
Amen.
(Saint Richard's Prayer)

SAINT RICHARD OF CHICHESTER,
SAINT BOTOLPH,
SAINT ALBERT CHMIELOWSKI,
SAINT OSANNA ANDREASI,
SAINTS ALBAN, JULIAN AND AARON,
THE IRISH MARTYRS,
SAINT JOHN RIGBY,
SAINT OSANNA ANDREASI,
SAINTS JOHN FISHER, BISHOP, AND THOMAS MORE, MARTYRS,
SAINT PAULINUS OF NOLA,
BLESSED M-JOSEPH CASSANT, MONK, PRIEST,
SAINT ROMAULD, ABBOT,
SAINT ALOYSIUS GONZAGA,
PRAY FOR US.

*Magnificat, June 16, 2024, pp. 255-257.

Today's photo: This beauty comes as gift from Germany. Vielen herzlichen Dank, meine liebe Moni. It is good to give thanks to the Lord.

© Gertrude Feick 2024

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

June is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart

Readings for the Rule of Saint Benedict for the Week: Ch 7:35-59 Humility

Let Your ears be attentive.

HEART OF JESUS, SOURCE OF ALL CONSOLATION,
HAVE MERCY ON US.

MARY, MOTHER OF HOPE,
SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL,
PRAY FOR US.

Where are you? ... 
Who told you that you were naked?
(Genesis 3:9, 11)

Welcome to the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time in the month of June dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It's certainly a nice place to be, that is, in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. You can't go wrong there. At the same time, it is also nice to be in the Immaculate Heart of His Mother, Mary. Place yourself in the heart of both Son and Mother. All will be well and all manner of things will be well, Julian of Norwich (c.1343-1416) tells us.

Thoughts are scattered today. Here, there, and everywhere as it goes. Just like the breeze. The lines included above from the Book of Genesis come from the first reading for Mass today. (Genesis 3:9-15). There, God goes looking for Adam and his wife who were hiding in the garden. It was at the breezy time of the day. ☺The couple was afraid, because they were naked, so they hid from God. So, God poses the questions, even though He knows the truth. At this breezy time of the day, then, just what was blowing around? Hmmm. When I read this account, something that comes to mind is the blame game. "It was 'her' fault," or, "It was 'his' fault." I think of the Family Circus cartoons I used to love. There it was the "Not me," game. The mom (Thelma), or dad (Bil) would ask who did this or that, and the children would respond, "Not me." It occurs to me too that in such a scene there was a little ghost in the photo. Was is the "Not me" ghost? I will have to take a look. I just did and found that I still love the cartoon, especially now as I smile and see the "Not me" ghost in a few scenes. Classic. Bil walks in the door carrying his tennis racket and asks two of his four children in the entryway. "Who left my racket out in the rain?, " asks Daddy. "Not me." Not me," are the responses of the two little boys, Billy and Jeffy. At the same time, the "Not me" ghost stands on the counter. Um huh. In any case, I reminded about the importance of taking responsibility for what I have done or haven't done. Instead of pointing the one finger at someone else, I am better to look at the three fingers pointing at myself. Take ownership and responsibility. No blaming allowed. The grace of God will carry us on. Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name give the glory. Please, help us to do your holy will. For, as Jesus tells us in today's Gospel (Mark 3:20-35), whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother. No hiding allowed. 

Keep going, faithful readers. We are not discouraged, Saint Paul tells us in the second reading at Mass (2 Cor 4:13-5:1). "Although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For any momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven" (2 Cor 4:16-5:1). Together, united, "we are always courageous ... for we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor 5: 6-7). As in the words of the psalmist: "Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it" (Ps 127:10).

Our voices for the week are varied. All come from saints who promoted Eucharistic devotion. Except for the first voice, that comes from Cardinal Robert Sarah in his powerful book, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise, Ignatius 2017. I pick it up now and then.  I didn't know where to begin with the number of passages I've marked so far. Let's start with this one, that, as it turns out, might be responded to by a visit to the Blessed Sacrament.

It is necessary to leave our inner turmoil to find God. Despite the agitations, the busyness, the easy pleasures, God remains silently present. He is in us like a thought, a word, and a presence whose secret sources are buried in God Himself, inaccessible to human inspection.

The language that everyone understands is love.
(Saint Joseph Freinademetz, 1852-1908)

It is at the foot of the altar that we find the strength we need in our isolation.
(Saint Damien de Veuster, 1840-1889)

My dear ones, the visit to the Blessed Sacrament is an extremely necessary way to conquer the devil ... the devil is deathly afraid of fervent Communions and frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament
(Saint John Bosco, 1815- 1888)

Make my tongue, O Lord, like a swift arrow to declare they marvelous works.
(Saint Anthony of Padua, "Ark of the New Testament," Doctor of the Church, 1195-1231)

Jesus Eucharistic is a conqueror ... He wants to subject the universe to His gentle sway.
(Saint Peter Julian Eymard, 1811-1868)

In other years on the date I write this, June 9, which this year falls on a Sunday, the Church commemorates Saint Ephrem (306-373), Deacon and Doctor. Saint Ephrem was a poet and a theologian, famous for, among other things, "not only for the beauty of expression of his homilies but also for his hymns, which have spread far beyond his native Syriac church and are in use in East and West alike." The following is from one his hymns used as the patristic reading for the June 9 Office of Readings. And here, Saint Ephrem too, speaks of the Eucharist.

In Your sacrament we daily embrace You and receive You into our bodies; make us worthy to experience the resurrection for which we hope. We have had Your treasure hidden within us ever since we received baptismal grace; it grows ever richer at Your sacramental table. Teach us to find our joy in Your favor! Lord, we have within us Your memorial, received at Your spiritual table; let us possess it in its full reality when all things shall be made new.
(From a sermon by Saint Ephrem, deacon, in Office of Readings, June 9)

From the following line-up, you see that there are several saints to commemorate this week. Pray to them, they will help you respond more fully to the universal call to holiness. Included is Saint Anthony of Padua, Patron Saint of Lost and Found. And how fitting it is to turn to Saint Anthony when something is lost. It's like he immediately gets to work. Just this last week, in the midst of a busy day, I misplaced my Carmelite scapular. After Mass, I asked Saint Anthony to please get busy and find it. Not surprisingly, in less than an hour, a sister appeared holding it ... she found it in the laundry! Go, Saint Anthony, go! Thank you. Saint Simon Stock, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us.

SAINT EPHREM, DEACON AND DOCTOR,
SAINT COLUMBA,
SAINT JOSE DE ANCHIETA,
BLESSED EDWARD POPPE,
SAINT BARNABAS THE APOSTLE,
SAINT ONUPHRIUS,
BLESSED ALPHONSUS MAZUREK AND COMPANIONS,
BLESSED HILARY JANUSZEWSKI,
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA, PATRON SAINT OF LOST AND FOUND,
SAINT DAVNET,
SAINT LIDWINA,
SAINT ALICE OR ALEYDIS,
SAINT GASPAR BERTONI,
SAINT ELISHA, PROPHET,
BLESSED MARIA CANDIDA OF THE EUCHARIST,
SAINT METHODIUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE,
BLESSED PETER SNOW AND RALPH GRIMSTON,
BLESSED GERARD, CISTERCIAN MONK, OLDER BROTHER OF BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX,
SAINT GERMAINE COUSIN,
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: To my voice in supplication.

© Gertrude Feick 2024

Sunday, June 2, 2024

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ/Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

June is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart

Readings for the Rule of Saint Benedict for the Week: Ch 7:35-59 Humility

I will take up the cup of salvation, 
and call on the name of the Lord.

HEART OF JESUS, TABERNACLE OF THE MOST HIGH,
JESUS, SOURCE OF NEW LIFE,
HAVE MERCY ON US.

MARY, HOUSE OF GOLD,
SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL,
PRAY FOR US. 

I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.
(John 6:51)

Buon domenica and welcome to Corpus Christi, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. What a privileged way to enter the month of June dedicated to the Sacred Heart. For all this, we give God the praise.

There is certainly quite a bit to reflect upon today. One line that stood out is found in the first reading at Mass, from the Book of Exodus. It is the people's response to Moses, when Moses came to all the people and related all the words and ordinances of the Lord. With one voice, all the people answered: "We will do everything that the Lord has told us." Hmmm. Are you ready to do everything that the Lord tells you? You might consider something Saint Therese of Lisieux wrote: "Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be." Or as Dante wrote, "In His will is our peace." When you receive Holy Communion today and every day, ask for the grace to do everything that the Lord tells you. May we do God's holy will and find the peace that only the Lord can give.

Our voices for this week are all about the Eucharist. After all, not only is it Corpus Christi, our country is preparing for the 10th National Eucharistic Congress to converge upon Indianapolis, Indiana, yes, the Hoosier State, July 17-21. 

Indeed, the Eucharist is God's response to the deepest hunger of the human heart, the hunger for authentic life, because in the Eucharist Christ Himself is truly in our midst to nourish, console, and sustain us on our journey.
(Pope Francis, Greeting to the Organizing Committee of the National Eucharistic Congress in the United States of America, June 19, 2023)

The Eucharistic sacrifice is the fount and apex of the whole Christian life.
(Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 11)

If the sacred liturgy holds the first place in the life of the Church, then the Eucharistic Mystery stands at the heart and center of the liturgy, since it is the font of life that cleanses us and strengthens us to live not for ourselves but for God and to be united to each other by the closest ties of love.
(Pope Saint Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei, 2)

Keep yourselves free from sin so that every day you may share in the mystic meal; 
by doing so our bodies become the body of Christ.
(Saint Hesychius of Jerusalem, d. 433)

Let us encourage one another to walk joyfully, our hearts filled with wonder, towards our encounter with the Holy Eucharist, so that we may experience and proclaim to others the truth of the words which with Jesus took leave of His disciples, "Lo, I am with you always until the end of the world" (Mt 28:20)
(Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, 97)

There is nothing so great as the Eucharist. 
If God had something more precious, He would have given it to us.
(Saint John Vianney, 1786-1859)

Holy Communion is the safest and shortest way to heaven.
(Pope Pius X "Pope of the Eucharist," 1835-1914)

SAINTS MARCELLINUS AND PETER,
SAINT POTHINUS AND BLANDINA,
SAINT CHARLES LWANGA AND HIS COMPANIONS,
SAINT KEVIN,
SAINT CLOTILDE,
SAINT OPTATUS,
SAINT BONIFACE "APOSTLE OF GERMANY", BISHOP, MARTYR,
SAINT NORBERT,
SAINT MARCELLIN CHAMPAGNAT,
SAINT JARLATH,
SAINT COLMAN OF DROMORE,
SAINT ROBERT OF NEWMINSTER,
BLESSED ANNE OF ST BARTHOLOMEW,
SAINT JAMES BERTHIEU,
SAINT WILLIAM OF YORK,
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: Precious in the eyes of the Lord.

© Gertrude Feick 2024

Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity/Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

May is the month dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary

June is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart

Readings for the Rule of Saint Benedict for the Week:  Ch 7:1-34 Humility

All His words are trustworthy.

MARY, VIRGIN MOST PRUDENT,
SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL,
PRAY FOR US.

HEART OF JESUS, SON OF THE ETERNAL FATHER,
HAVE MERCY ON US.

Blest be God the Father, and the Only Begotten Son of God, and also the Holy Spirit, 
for He has shown us His merciful love.
(Entrance Antiphon, Mass)

Attenzione! Listen to the words of our holy father Saint Benedict: "As soon as the cantor begins to sing 'Glory be to the Father,' let all the monks rise from their seats in honor and reverence for the Holy Trinity" (Rule of Saint Benedict, 9:7). Welcome to the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. So, rise from your seats in honor and reverence and sign yourself BIG: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen! And as things go smoothly and not so smoothly this week, remember what Jesus tells us in today's Gospel: And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age (Mt 28:20). Not sometimes, rather, always. Jesus is always with us.  Come, Holy Spirit, enlighten our words and deeds so that we cry with gratitude, "Abba, Father!" May your kindness, O Lord, be upon us who have put our faith in you (Ps 33). 

Monday is Memorial Day, a day when our country honors those who have died in military service for the United States. It also happens to be the unofficial start to summer. As we honor the Americans who gave their lives in military service, and get busy this summer, we remember three American priests who not only lost their lives as they served as military chaplains but are also candidates for sainthood! So important were chaplains, that in 1915, British field marshal Sir Douglas Haig (1861-1928) had this to say, "A good chaplain is as valuable as a good general."

SERVANT OF GOD EMIL KAPAUN (India, Burma, and Korea),
SERVANT OF GOD VINCENT CAPODANNO (Vietnam War),
SERVANT OF GOD JOSEPH VERBIS LAFLEUR (World War II in the Philippines),
PRAY FOR US.

As we celebrate today's Solemnity and travel through the last days of May 2024, some of our voices have something to say about the Holy Trinity, others speak of Mary, Our Lady, and one speaks of both. 

The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in Himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the "hierarchy of truths of faith."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 234)

The Virgin Mary, in her docile humility, became the handmaid of divine Love: she accepted the Father's will and conceived the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. In her the Almighty built a temple worthy of Him and made her the model and image of the Church, mystery and house of communion for all human beings. May Mary, mirror of the Blessed Trinity help us to grow in faith of the Trinitarian mystery.
(Pope Bendict XVI, Angelus Address, Trinity Sunday, June 7, 2009)

The Feast of the Most Holy Trinity leads us to contemplate the mystery of God who unceasingly creates, redeems and sanctifies, always with love and through love, and enables every creature that welcomes Him to reflect a ray of His beauty, goodness and truth,
(Pope Francis, Angelus Address, Trinity Sunday, May 27, 2018)

Jesus is Our Lord and Mary is Our Lady. She takes total care and responsibility for us; she happily exercises this dignity and responsibility ...
During your prayer, go to Mary and have a heart-to-heart talk with her. If we put our life into her hands, if we really and truly ask for her help, we can be sure that we will never get into serious trouble because she will provide before we even know it. Only in heaven will we know how many mistakes we avoided, how many sins we did not commit because she was helping us, imploring for us, giving so much to us out of the goodness of her heart.
(Servant of God Ida Peterfy, 1922-2002)

The Blessed Virgin Mary can do more than all the physicians in the world ...
true veneration of the Blessed Virgin consists in not offending her divine Son in any way.
(Saint Crispin of Viterbo, 1668-1750)

There is no surer or easier way than Mary for uniting all persons with Christ.
(Pope Saint Pius X, 1835-1914)

We pray Mary most holy to obtain for us the grace of lives oriented completely toward God. Mary the Virgin knew how to reply: Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word. May her disposition be ours also. May she who was conceived without sin help us all, poor sinners, to seek only God, to do penance, and to live always for righteousness (1 Pt 2:14) ...
Mary is the "Morning Star" that announces the arrival of the Rising sun, the Sun of Justice, Jesus the Savior. May she bring us to Jesus, she who is the first to believe.
(Francis Cardinal Arinze)

And as we go forth this week, we hear once more from dear Saint Crispin of Viterbo. Just when you feel all dried up and ready to take a breather remember something Saint Crispin said: "Paradise is not for lazybones."! So, as we hear what the Lord God said to the Prophet Ezekiel, "Prophesy over these bones and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: See! I will bring spirit into you, that you may come to life” (Ezk 37:4-5). Then ask yourself a question from the psalmist included in Saint Benedict's Holy Rule: "Is there anyone here who yearns for life and desires to see good days?" (RB Prologue 15). What will it be then? Keep going.

SAINT PHILIP NERI, "PIPPO BUONO"
SAINT AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY,
BLESSED ANDREW FRANCHI OP,
BLESSED MARGARET POLE, COUNTENSS OF SALISBURY,
BLESSED BARTHOLOMEW BAGNESI OP,
BLESSED ANTONI JULIAN NOWOWIEJSKI,
POPE SAINT PAUL VI,
BLESSED RICHARD THIRKELD,
BLESSED JOSEPH GERARD,
BLESSED ELIA OF SAINT CLEMENT,
BLESSED WILLIAM ARNAUD OP AND COMPANIONS, MARTYRS,
SAINT ZDZISLAWA OF LEMBERK OP,
SAINT LUKE KIRBY,
THE YORKSHIRE MARTYRS,
SAINT JOAN OF ARC,
SAINT WALSTAN,
BLESSED JAMES SALOMONIO OP,
SAINT JUSTIN MARTYR,
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: This beauty bows in honor and reverence for the Most Holy Trinity. For He spoke and it was made.

© Gertrude Feick 2024