St. Giles Mary of St. Joseph
In the same year that a power-hungry Napoleon Bonaparte led his army into Russia, Giles Mary of St. Joseph ended a life of humble service to his Franciscan community and to the citizens of Naples.
Francesco was born in Taranto to very poor parents. His father's death left the 18-year-old Francesco to care for the family. Having secured their future, he entered the Friars Minor at Galatone in 1754. For 53 years he served at St. Paschal's Hospice in Naples in various roles, such as cook, porter or most often as official beggar for that community.
"Love God, love God" was his characteristic phrase as he gathered food for the friars and shared some of his bounty with the poor—all the while consoling the troubled and urging everyone to repent. The charity which he reflected on the streets of Naples was born in prayer and nurtured in the common life of the friars. The people whom Giles met on his begging rounds nicknamed him the "Consoler of Naples." He was canonized in 1996.
People often become arrogant and power hungry when they try to live a lie, for example, when they forget their own sinfulness and ignore the gifts God has given to other people. Giles had a healthy sense of his own sinfulness—not paralyzing but not superficial either. He invited men and women to recognize their own gifts and to live out their dignity as people made in God's divine image. Knowing someone like Giles can help us on our own spiritual journey.
In his homily at the canonization of Giles, Pope John Paul II said that the spiritual journey of Giles reflected "the humility of the Incarnation and the gratuitousness of the Eucharist" (L'Osservatore Romano 1996, volume 23, number 1).
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
At any time of the day or night we can call on Jesus.
If God were trying to tell me something, would I know?
In God's loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment.
The Word of God
Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in you? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story you have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface of your consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to you?
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
5th Week in Ordinary Time
His heart was turned away from the Lord. (1 Kings 11:9)
Have you ever seen a dog sit by a table, begging for scraps? Even if he is trained not to beg or whine, that dog will sit there, as near to the table as he is allowed, with ears perked up and alert, and with imploring eyes, as he waits for just one morsel to fall his way.
In today's readings, we hear the story of a Syrophoenician woman who compares herself to a dog waiting for scraps to drop on the floor. She has endured great suffering through her daughter's demonic possession and is willing to do anything—even plead with this Jewish miracle worker—in order to secure healing for her daughter. You can just hear the persistence and strong determination in her voice as she begs Jesus for his help, even after he repeatedly dismisses her. She doesn't even believe in Yahweh, but somehow she knows that he can deliver her girl. This single-minded trust and faith in Jesus wins the day as she receives the desire of her heart: her daughter's deliverance.
In the first reading, we see that Solomon's situation is almost the complete opposite of the Syrophoenician woman. Solomon has been so amazingly blessed by God. He has sat at God's table and enjoyed the rich banquet of food and delights of wealth. But his passion for the one true God has faded. He is worried that the "Gods" of the nations around him are more powerful than Yahweh. He is seduced by the wealth and worldly status of these nations and wants Israel to join them rather than be the unique "light to the nations" that God has called it to be. God has given him so much, but it seems to have done little to convince Solomon of his goodness and love.
These readings show us that a desperate foreigner can receive more blessing than a powerful king of the chosen people. The key is faith and trust, not power and privilege. So dare to persist in your prayers to God. Know that he will reward you for your faithfulness!
"Lord, help me stay focused on you. Don't let my heart wander to areas that may hinder my trust, reliance, and faith in you. You are my all in all!"
1 Kings 11:4-13; Psalm 106:3-4, 35-37, 40
Today's 5 minutos said:
"I was a young little girl, my father remained in bed, while my mother sowed all day, to keep us going, with her old sowing machine. I never heard her complain about our luck. Things went bad especially in the summer and to top things off, a letter came in that was from the loan place that said that unless we paid the balance that we owed, they would take the machine that was ultimately our only possession. My mother would see it calmly. I cried thinking what would become of our family, while my mother would say that she had confidence, that something would happen and wouldn't lose the machine. The day came when when they would come for it and I heard knocking at the door of the kitchen. However, it was a man well dressed that carried a baby in his arms. He asked my mother if she was Mrs. Lopez and told her he had a problem. "My wife was in an accident yesterday and is hospitalized" he said, "we live here a short time and do not have relatives or friends. I need to open my office this very day. Can you watch our baby a few days? I will pay you in advance", showing her a fifty dollar bill. My mother took the money and the baby, and said to him: "Go unconcerned, we will take care of the baby while you need it." When the man left, my mother looked at us with tears running down her cheeks said to us: "I knew that God would not fail us." That is faith, like the woman of Canaanite woman of the Gospel."
During Holy Hour, we pray :
Jesus, my Lord, my God, my All,
Sweet Sacrament we Thee adore,
Had I but Mary's sinless Heart,