St. Benedict Joseph Labre
Benedict Joseph Labre was truly eccentric, one of God's special little ones. Born in France and the eldest of 18 children, he studied under his uncle, a parish priest. Because of poor health and a lack of suitable academic preparation he was unsuccessful in his attempts to enter the religious life. Then, at 16 years of age, a profound change took place. Benedict lost his desire to study and gave up all thoughts of the priesthood, much to the consternation of his relatives.
He became a pilgrim, traveling from one great shrine to another, living off alms. He wore the rags of a beggar and shared his food with the poor. Filled with the love of God and neighbor, Benedict had special devotion to the Blessed Mother and to the Blessed Sacrament. In Rome, where he lived in the Colosseum for a time, he was called "the poor man of the Forty Hours Devotion" and "the beggar of Rome." The people accepted his ragged appearance better than he did. His excuse to himself was that "our comfort is not in this world."
On the last day of his life, April 16, 1783, Benedict Joseph dragged himself to a church in Rome and prayed there for two hours before he collapsed, dying peacefully in a nearby house. Immediately after his death the people proclaimed him a saint.
He was officially proclaimed a saint by Pope Leo XIII at canonization ceremonies in 1883.
In a modern inner city, one local character kneels for hours on the sidewalk and prays. Swathed in his entire wardrobe winter and summer, he greets passersby with a blessing. Where he sleeps no one knows, but he is surely a direct spiritual descendant of Benedict, the ragged man who slept in the ruins of Rome's Colosseum. These days we ascribe such behavior to mental illness; Benedict's contemporaries called him holy. Holiness is always a bit mad by earthly standards.
Patron Saint of:
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....
Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
I ask how I am within myself today? Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form?
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,
Meditation: John 13:1-15
Holy Thursday: Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper
Not only my feet, but my hands and head as well. (John 13:9)
Science has shown that if you walk barefoot in public places, you risk picking up all sorts of nasty microorganisms: E. coli, tetanus, and many different types of fungi. These germs seem to consider the human foot a very welcoming environment, and they turn our feet into petri dishes!
Can you imagine how dirty people's feet were during the time of Jesus? The apostles' feet were probably tougher, more calloused, and just plain uglier than anything most of us have seen. No wonder it was the role of a slave to wash the feet of the wealthy—no one else would want to!
So you can understand Peter's shock at the sight of Jesus stooping to wash his feet. Through his time with Jesus, he had come to understand that Jesus was the Messiah. Just to share a meal with him was an honor. So why in the world would this holy, wise man take on such a menial task? Jesus had to explain the importance of this gesture patiently before Peter would relent. And even then, he got it mixed up! Jesus had to wash only Peter's feet because he had already believed. His head and hands were already clean.
The significance of this act of humility is so profound that some have called it the gospel in miniature. Others have likened it to the Eucharist. God so loved the world that he sent his only Son to save us. And he still loves us so much that he bends down at every Mass to teach us, feed us, and refresh us. Both in the Incarnation and at Mass, he sends his only Son as a humble servant—all so that we can be filled with his life and transformed into his image!
On this Holy Thursday, focus on this truth: Jesus loves you so much that he is willing to wash your feet. He cares for you so deeply that he wants to tend to your every need, even to the point of feeding you with his Bread of Life and the cup of his own Blood. How loving and generous is our Savior!
"Lord, thank you for offering me a whole new life with you! Teach me how to love and serve as fully as you have done."
Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14; Psalm 116:12-13, 15-18; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
There's blood in the water, or water in the blood and it comes from the heart, the heart of the matter. I give thanks to the Lord for having allowed us the opportunity to learn about him in our timeline bible study with Jeff Cavins. It puts things in more perspective, and reading Exodus today, the Psalm, and the Gospel according to John, it all is brought together perfectly. The passover feast of the Jews, the people of God, the Israel, the people God calls, the sacrifice is a matter of the heart. When blood is posted over the posts, it is a notice from the heart, the blood of the sacrifice "YOU ARE MINE" says God. That's what the note says on the post. It is phenomenal, this love of God. Can you imagine, just stop for a moment and imagine God washing your feet.
Stop Reading about it. just imagine Him, doing what He loves. I heard a child of ours calling out in the morning "mommy" and mommy got up immediately to tend to the child. In my mind, I wanted to tell them to hush and go back to sleep, children are to listen to the daddy and mommy, but mommy goes. How can a Father love like a mother that washes her children? It is the Spirit God wants in the heart to live. And not only did He wash their feet, He also gave us Himself in the Last Supper, the First Eucharistic celebration, tonight in Holy Thursday. Why people are not obligated to go to Mass on this day passes my thoughts. Today Our Lord offers Himself before He offers His mortal body. Once consecrated, the left over bread would have to be adored as the Blessed Sacrament. From tonight till Saturday, this indeed will occur in our Church. Adoration will occur from after tonight's Mass to Easter when His Body is taken away. What we have to realize is the extreme importance of what was accomplished this day we celebrate. The New Passover, the New Exodus. The new promise in front of all. "To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people." What we have taken on in baptism is a new life of salvation, yet not all, not all take to the life. I repeat my vows in Holy Mass, my beliefs, and give of myself, my time, talents, and treasures. That's what lent has been all about, leading up to the sacrifice of the Paschal (passover) Lamb forever. If you lived Lent right, you have learned something that will now be a part of your life forever, and soon it will be all of your life forever
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