Twins often share the same interests and ideas with an equal intensity. Therefore, it is no surprise that Scholastica and her twin brother, Benedict (July 11), established religious communities within a few miles from each other.
Born in 480 of wealthy parents, Scholastica and Benedict were brought up together until he left central Italy for Rome to continue his studies.
Little is known of Scholastica's early life. She founded a religious community for women near Monte Cassino at Plombariola, five miles from where her brother governed a monastery.
The twins visited each other once a year in a farmhouse because Scholastica was not permitted inside the monastery. They spent these times discussing spiritual matters.
According to the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great, the brother and sister spent their last day together in prayer and conversation. Scholastica sensed her death was close at hand and she begged Benedict to stay with her until the next day.
He refused her request because he did not want to spend a night outside the monastery, thus breaking his own Rule. Scholastica asked God to let her brother remain and a severe thunderstorm broke out, preventing Benedict and his monks from returning to the abbey.
Benedict cried out, "God forgive you, Sister. What have you done?" Scholastica replied, "I asked a favor of you and you refused. I asked it of God and he granted it."
Brother and sister parted the next morning after their long discussion. Three days later, Benedict was praying in his monastery and saw the soul of his sister rising heavenward in the form of a white dove. Benedict then announced the death of his sister to the monks and later buried her in the tomb he had prepared for himself.
Scholastica and Benedict gave themselves totally to God and gave top priority to deepening their friendship with him through prayer. They sacrificed some of the opportunities they would have had to be together as brother and sister in order better to fulfill their vocation to the religious life. In coming closer to Christ, however, they found they were also closer to each other. In joining a religious community, they did not forget or forsake their family but rather found more brothers and sisters.
"All religious are under an obligation, in accordance with the particular vocation of each, to work zealously and diligently for the building up and growth of the whole mystical body of Christ and for the good of the particular churches. It is their duty to foster these objectives primarily by means of prayer, works of penance, and by the example of their own lives" (Vatican II, Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops, 33, Austin Flannery translation).
Patron Saint of:
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
Lord, help me to be fully alive to your holy presence.
Lord you gave me life and the gift of freedom.
I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God. I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them.
The Word of God
Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God? Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry? Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me, I speak out my feelings, as one trusted friend to another.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Saint Scholastica, Virgin
The cloud filled the temple of the Lord. (1 Kings 8:10)
Have you ever noticed that when a couple moves into their first home together, they spend a lot of time and money making it "their space"? Furniture, rugs, pictures, and personal belongings create a unique and personal atmosphere. In today's first reading, a different kind of space was prepared, a holy space where the Lord could dwell among his people. And like that new couple, Solomon spared no expense in making this space as precious as possible.
There seems to be something very important about creating holy spaces. Think of the cathedrals around the world where people have worshipped for centuries. Or maybe you have a childhood memory of a chapel where you felt close to the Lord. All of these spaces have been set apart, dedicated for just one purpose. Somehow they help us to quiet our minds and hearts to be with Jesus.
Yet busy schedules and hectic lives can make it very difficult to find the time to visit a church every day. That's why it's a good idea to try to create a space in our homes that is set apart for prayer.
What would such a space look like? Well, it could be a separate room in your home or just a favorite chair in the corner of your living room. It doesn't have to be ornately decorated as Solomon's Temple was, but it should be set apart in some way. Maybe you could hang a crucifix or an icon on the wall in this space. Maybe a table with a candle and your Bible can set it apart. If you know that clutter distracts you, take it out. Let the simplicity of the space invite you to clear your mind and open your heart.
Today, brainstorm about a space that you can set apart as dedicated to prayer. Be creative. Don't worry if it doesn't happen all at once. When you have chosen and prepared your space, invite the Lord to fill it with his presence through his Holy Spirit. Even if you can't see the cloud of his glory as they did in the Old Testament, you can be sure that he is there.
"Lord, help me to find a place to meet with you every day."
Psalm 132:6-10; Mark 6:53-56
Allow me to translate today's reflection from Hermosillo (name is a derivative of the word "beautiful") Mexico:
"Jesus brings anew to the world the look of God. Anew, through the eyes of Jesus, we can experience that "everything is good", that there is a possibility of good including in the caverns and hallows of our ills and pains. Jesus convokes the affected by evil. He has a powerful attraction to those who are in the bad. Hard thing for Him, and for those that wanted to be with Him. Beautiful and good thing to those who wanted to encounter Him. Imagine what those men said that recognized Him and brought the sick? It'd be something like: "Hurry, hurry! Let us take father to the prophet! The road doesn't matter, we'll take him through many of us. Let's go, hurry! And one thinks: Thank you, Jesus. For bringing a light to this poor paralytic; for giving tears of joy to the one who only new the bitter tears; for filling with songs those rooms that were full of lamentations...Thank you Lord Jesus Christ! There is SomeOne who thinks of you more than you can imagine; SomeOne who is your defense with His divine hands. SomeOne who from the heavens reads your heart; perceives your longings and hears your prayer. God loves you immensely do not doubt it for one moment. Do not doubt it that God feels your bitterness and suffering. But, do not let discouragement come to you because God does not go backwards and affirmed with swearing(oaths/sacrament) that asking Him for something in your anxieties all you need, you will receive. Let yourself be touched by Jesus and His power that heals and forgives."
There would seem to be much hidden meanings in all we have read, but it is not, at least not for the humble and faithful, those ready to receive Jesus. And I would hope to be humble enough to divulge the meanings, faithful enough to share what light is being pronounced on our lives today, and so with all I've got, I give. And all I've got is this: God wants you to give, and love like no other. Such was the message that touched my heart when reading today's readings from the most Holy Bible. I found myself sitting in an awkward place in Holy Mass yesterday. I usually sit on the end of a pew, mostly because I get up alot, with our kids or to serve, but a couple and I'm guessing a mother in law came in late and the usher sat them in my pew, and rather letting them go through, I let them have my spot, so I sat in the middle of the long pew, stuck LOL. Throughout the Mass, I found myself distracted, couldn't see the priest well, and many around kept talking, even the people next to me, the old lady grabbed a book on the "Mystic Rose Rosary" a brother had just given me, was flipping through it during Mass, and the list of distractions went on. During around Holy Communion, the sacrifice of the Mass, something made me reflect on how this is in our daily lives. We find ourselves distracted, stuck among distractors, and I can't change them all at once, and so at once I would be the one to change. I prayed all the more, and when it was time to get up to receive the body of Christ, those latecomers had their kneeler down, and I bent down to pick it up, they realized I was coming through and tried to awkwardly move their knees as I made my way through. Were they distractions, stumbling blocks on my way? I say nay. I believe we encounter "distractors" as people seeking God. I was hoping my rosary hanging out of my pocket would catch their attention as I went to receive Jesus into my body and soul. At the end of Mass, the guy on the end, where I usually sit, he wouldn't let me exit, for he was awkwardly trying to kneel and pray. He let me through and he took a knee on another pew. What I want you to focus on is Jesus. Jesus not just for you, but for all. I laugh when I hear people say "it's just me and my Jesus" as if they were exclusive, when in reality, He is inclusive of all. This relationship with Him must be shared with all. That is why people came in droves to Jesus. Tomorrow will be the day of Our Lady of Lourdes, the very name of our little parish. We will have a Mass, and a healing service. Truth is though, every Mass is a healing service. Every Mass is an encounter with the Divinity of God and His Most Precious Blood. We are sacrificing, not Him, but ourselves. The reason I got sentimental in today's 1st Holy Reading, is because the type of sacrifice offered with King Solomon, well, it is rare if existent at all. They built a phenomenal Ark, and sacrificed an uncountable number of sacrifices, to which the Lord found pleasing and came to dwell. This is a message for all of us. How many times do we want God to dwell in our lives but we don't do a thing to make it happen? People came in droves, they did their part to meet with God...JESUS. The beautiful part of touching a tassel is not the tassel but the faith. The beautiful part of all the sacrifices is not what is sacrificed but with what heart it is done. The beautiful part of this action is Love in action. One of our pillars of being a cursillista is being a person of Action, but only the end of what has been, first piety (holiness), and then study (formation), and then we can rightly move how God wants us to move. We need to build a beautiful church, (with a small letter "c") only to bring about a beautiful Church (capital C, the people). You see, what I mean is we have to do things physically, to receive spiritually. We are not disconnected from the body until we die. Therefore, we are one. We are all made of the same dirt, and all made of the same Spirit. What is going to happen with our efforts is nothing short of the term Beautiful, and Good. Don't just hang on to life, but to the author of Life...Jesus. Start doing something for Him, start with a place in your heart, in your home, in your church, and go on from there and everywhere, through the ends of the earth, until the end of time...