St. John Leonardi
"I am only one person! Why should I do anything? What good would it do?" Today, as in any age, people seem plagued with the dilemma of getting involved. In his own way John Leonardi answered these questions. He chose to become a priest.
After his ordination, he became very active in the works of the ministry, especially in hospitals and prisons. The example and dedication of his work attracted several young laymen who began to assist him. They later became priests themselves.
John lived after the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent (1545-63). He and his followers projected a new congregation of diocesan priests. For some reason the plan, which was ultimately approved, provoked great political opposition. John was exiled from his home town of Lucca, Italy, for almost the entire remainder of his life. He received encouragement and help from St. Philip Neri, who gave him his lodgings—along with the care of his cat!
In 1579, John formed the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, and published a compendium of Christian doctrine that remained in use until the 19th century.
Father Leonardi and his priests became a great power for good in Italy, and their congregation was confirmed by Pope Clement in 1595. He died at the age of 68 from a disease caught when tending those stricken by the plague.
By the deliberate policy of the founder, the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God have never had more than 15 churches and today form only a very small congregation.
What can one person do? If you ever glanced through a Christopher Notes pamphlet you know—plenty! In the life of each saint one thing stands clear: God and one person are a majority! What one individual, following God's will and plan for his or her life, can do is more than our mind could ever hope for or imagine. Each of us, like John Leonardi, has a mission to fulfill in God's plan for the world. Each one of us is unique and has been given talent to use for the service of our brothers and sisters for the building up of God's kingdom.
"Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy" (Luke 12:32-33).
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.
"I am free."
How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy-hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried or angry. I acknowledge how I really am.
The Word of God
Reading 1 gal 2:1-2, 7-14
Brothers and sisters:
Responsorial Psalm ps 117:1bc, 2
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
Gospel lk 11:1-4
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
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How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold? Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way? I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me, I turn and share my feelings with him.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
27th Week in Ordinary Time
He clearly was wrong. (Galatians 2:11)
Have you ever let someone down? Overpromised and underdelivered? Of course. We all have. Unfortunately, we often compound our mistake by beating ourselves up about it, convincing ourselves that we just don't have what it takes to be faithful.
What we tend to forget is that we are not alone. We forget incidents like the one we find in today's first reading. When Paul reported to Peter (Cephas) and the other leaders about his work in bringing the gospel to the Gentiles, Peter was all for it. Even when he was visiting the church in Antioch, which was composed of Jews and Gentiles, Peter put aside Jewish tradition and freely shared meals with all of them, regardless of their religious backgrounds. But when other people from Jerusalem arrived, he pulled back, apparently deciding not to cross this boundary in front of other Jews, who might take it the wrong way.
We don't know exactly what Peter was thinking. Perhaps he had valid concerns about creating unnecessary conflict in the young Church. But it does seem clear that his actions caused offense and hurt among the believers in Antioch and led Paul to rebuke him publicly. Then we remember another time that Peter also assured Jesus that he would never turn his back on him, but then denied the Lord three times.
Both of these failures must have caused Peter great anguish and embarrassment. The important thing to recognize, though, is that this wasn't the end of the story for Peter. Far from it. Peter made mistakes. He let people down. But he never stopped following the Lord and trying his best to live in Christ's love. Because he kept himself open to God's forgiveness and grace, the Church has been impacted throughout the ages.
So let's go back to where we started. Have you ever let someone down or felt like you failed someone who needed you? How about this one: have you let God forgive you for these failures? Have you let him separate your sin from you as far as the east is from the west, as he has promised to do? Open yourself to God's grace today; let him pick you up and dust you off. Never stop giving yourself to him.
"Father, give me the grace to receive your forgiveness."
Psalm 117:1-2; Luke 11:1-4