St. John Ogilvie
John Ogilvie's noble Scottish family was partly Catholic and partly Presbyterian. His father raised him as a Calvinist, sending him to the continent to be educated. There John became interested in the popular debates going on between Catholic and Calvinist scholars. Confused by the arguments of Catholic scholars whom he sought out, he turned to Scripture. Two texts particularly struck him: "God wills all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth," and "Come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you."
Slowly, John came to see that the Catholic Church could embrace all kinds of people. Among these, he noted, were many martyrs. He decided to become Catholic and was received into the Church at Louvain, Belgium, in 1596 at the age of 17.
John continued his studies, first with the Benedictines, then as a student at the Jesuit College at Olmutz. He joined the Jesuits and for the next 10 years underwent their rigorous intellectual and spiritual training. Ordained a priest in France in 1610, he met two Jesuits who had just returned from Scotland after suffering arrest and imprisonment. They saw little hope for any successful work there in view of the tightening of the penal laws. But a fire had been lit within John. For the next two and a half years he pleaded to be missioned there.
Sent by his superiors, he secretly entered Scotland posing as a horse trader or a soldier returning from the wars in Europe. Unable to do significant work among the relatively few Catholics in Scotland, John made his way back to Paris to consult his superiors. Rebuked for having left his assignment in Scotland, he was sent back. He warmed to the task before him and had some success in making converts and in secretly serving Scottish Catholics. But he was soon betrayed, arrested and brought before the court.
His trial dragged on until he had been without food for 26 hours. He was imprisoned and deprived of sleep. For eight days and nights he was dragged around, prodded with sharp sticks, his hair pulled out. Still, he refused to reveal the names of Catholics or to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the king in spiritual affairs. He underwent a second and third trial but held firm.
At his final trial, he assured his judges: "In all that concerns the king, I will be slavishly obedient; if any attack his temporal power, I will shed my last drop of blood for him. But in the things of spiritual jurisdiction which a king unjustly seizes I cannot and must not obey."
Condemned to death as a traitor, he was faithful to the end, even when on the scaffold he was offered his freedom and a fine living if he would deny his faith. His courage in prison and in his martyrdom was reported throughout Scotland.
John Ogilvie was canonized in 1976, becoming the first Scottish saint since 1250.
John came of age when neither Catholics nor Protestants were willing to tolerate one another. Turning to Scripture, he found words that enlarged his vision. Although he became a Catholic and died for his faith, he understood the meaning of "small-c catholic," the wide range of believers who embrace Christianity. Even now he undoubtedly rejoices in the ecumenical spirit fostered by the Second Vatican Council and joins us in our prayer for unity with all believers.
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.
Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I can afford to be honest about how I am. How has the last day been, and how do I feel now?
The Word of God
Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
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,
1st Week of Lent
This is how you are to pray. (Matthew 6:9)
Excerpts from St. Francis of Assisi's reflections on the Lord's Prayer:
"Our Father ... who art in heaven, in the angels and the saints, giving them light to know you since you, Lord, are light; setting them afire to love you, since you, Lord, are love; dwelling in them and giving them fullness of joy; since you, Lord, are the supreme, eternal good, and all good comes from you.
"Hallowed be thy name. May we grow to know you better and better and so appreciate the extent of your favors, the scope of your promises, the sublimity of your majesty, and the profundity of your judgments.
"Thy kingdom come, so that you may reign in us by your grace, and bring us to your kingdom, where we shall see you clearly, love you perfectly, and, happy in your company, enjoy you forever.
"Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, so that we may love you with all our heart, by always having you in mind; with all our soul, by always longing for you; with all of our mind, by determining to seek your glory in everything; and with all our strength, of body and soul, by lovingly serving you alone. May we love our neighbors as ourselves and encourage them all to love you, by bearing our share in the joys and sorrows of others, while giving offense to no one.
"Give us this day our daily bread, your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, so that we may remember and appreciate how much he loved us, and everything he said and did and suffered.
"And forgive us our trespasses, in your immeasurable mercy, by virtue of the passion of your Son, and through the intercession of Mary and all your saints.
"As we forgive those who trespass against us, and if we do not forgive perfectly, Lord, make us forgive perfectly, so that for love of you, we may really forgive our enemies and fervently pray to you for them, returning to no one evil for evil, by trying to serve you in everyone.
"And lead us not into temptation, be it hidden or obvious, sudden or persistent.
"But deliver us from evil, past, present or future. Amen."
"Jesus, thank you for teaching me to pray!"
Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 34:4-7, 16-19
There is nothing more to yours truly, that stands out, than the words "thy will be done". St. Francis put it beautifully in his reflection, to seek Him above all with all we got. Because in the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was made flesh. Because God provided and His word was deed, then God touched the earth in the form of a huMan, in the flesh He made His word to be and dwell among us in a personal manner, taking on our temptations, and death. I told my brother in Christ last night as we reflected on the rosary we prayed in the evening yesterday "we have only one answer to the Lord's call, and it is the same as our Blessed Mother's answer to God's call; "thy will be done". It has been happening to me lately, even when tempted, I ask the Lord in prayer "Lord, if I can do this...it is your will". The temptations then are figured out. I'll give you an example, I've always dreamed of going to a beach for our wedding anniversary, to the Caribbean or something. For some reason I had a hard time booking it, but throughout the ordeal, I had a nagging sense of "should I spend this money this way at all?". For that amount, think of how much I could help others, or take my whole family out. And so I asked God to let His will be done. I never booked the deal, opting still for His will to be done. But these times of temptation and trial have come, yet we ask in the Lord's prayer "lead us not into temptation". Remember the words "thy will be done". Everything should focus on our Lord from the beginning to the end. "Our Father, thy will be done." "Deliver us from evil, thy will be done". Because if you consider His will, you are taking into consideration what is right and just and holy, and we pray "hallowed (holy) be thy name". We are making Holy His name by word and the word becomes flesh. I have come to realize that in sharing my faith, like with my brother in Christ who just lived an ACTS retreat this weekend, as we spoke yesterday, I said "it's as if I'm learning as I'm speaking out with you". As we share in Christ He comes to be where two or three are gathered in His name. I studied one lent with my wife, the biblical Mass explained with theologian Dr. Brant Pitre in a set of like 22 CDs with my wife one lent. The Lord's prayer, explained Pitre, seems to be composed of about several important daily Jewish prayers. The Lord's prayer, if prayed fully, will be a blessing to the Lord and to ourselves. "Do not babble" these words. Do not just say them from the teeth out without meaning. Do not say "forgive me Lord as I (supposedly) forgive others". Do not say "Holy is your Name" if you do not intend to make it holy. Do not say "give us this day our daily bread" without a spirit of gratefulness and thanksgiving which are in of themselves acts of humility and righteousness. Do not say "lead us not into temptation" if you intend to lead yourself to temptation. Because I just gave you an example of temptation, and the atrocity of sin is the temptation to self. Some lapsed Catholics go to other "christian" denominations because they say they "are not filled". What fills a truly Catholic though is one who empties themselves of self and fills themselves with Christ, the You-Christ, the Eucharist, the Word made Flesh. This is the stark difference between the Catholic Christian and the denominations; we have the Word (The Holy Bible) and The Eucharist (The Body of Christ). The Word, and the Word made flesh. We have the bread in its fullness, what truly fills the soul, little by little, the more the more. That is to say, the more of self we give, no matter how little, the more He pours Himself into our souls. The angels wish they could receive our Lord in this way. And so what becomes of us is a communion, joining Christ with His words when we pray the Lord's prayer. As He prays to the Father, He says "Our Father". What if God is one of us? That thought alone makes me shiver, thinking every day we will run into Him somehow through some one without us even grasping the notion. Through who? That mean person? Or that Holy Person? I don't know, that is why we have the Lord's prayer. . . . .
The image prayer card is from Food For The Poor