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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

He Rejoices More

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Minute Meditations

Learn to Praise God  
The desire to praise God, which is written on the human heart, is often obscured or deadened by the cares and worries of life in a fallen world. Praise is a kind of prayer, so understanding what distinguishes it may help you in your efforts to do it.
— from Answers


St. Jane Frances de Chantal
(1562-1641)
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Jane Frances was wife, mother, nun and founder of a religious community. Her mother died when Jane was 18 months old, and her father, head of parliament at Dijon, France, became the main influence on her education. She developed into a woman of beauty and refinement, lively and cheerful in temperament. At 21 she married Baron de Chantal, by whom she had six children, three of whom died in infancy. At her castle she restored the custom of daily Mass, and was seriously engaged in various charitable works.

Jane's husband was killed after seven years of marriage, and she sank into deep dejection for four months at her family home. Her father-in-law threatened to disinherit her children if she did not return to his home. He was then 75, vain, fierce and extravagant. Jane Frances managed to remain cheerful in spite of him and his insolent housekeeper.

When she was 32, she met St. Francis de Sales who became her spiritual director, softening some of the severities imposed by her former director. She wanted to become a nun but he persuaded her to defer this decision. She took a vow to remain unmarried and to obey her director.

After three years Francis told her of his plan to found an institute of women which would be a haven for those whose health, age or other considerations barred them from entering the already established communities. There would be no cloister, and they would be free to undertake spiritual and corporal works of mercy. They were primarily intended to exemplify the virtues of Mary at the Visitation (hence their name, the Visitation nuns): humility and meekness.

The usual opposition to women in active ministry arose and Francis de Sales was obliged to make it a cloistered community following the Rule of St. Augustine. Francis wrote his famous Treatise on the Love of God for them. The congregation (three women) began when Jane Frances was 45. She underwent great sufferings: Francis de Sales died; her son was killed; a plague ravaged France; her daughter-in-law and son-in-law died. She encouraged the local authorities to make great efforts for the victims of the plague and she put all her convent's resources at the disposal of the sick.

During a part of her religious life, she had to undergo great trials of the spirit—interior anguish, darkness and spiritual dryness. She died while on a visitation of convents of the community.



Comment:

It may strike some as unusual that a saint should be subject to spiritual dryness, darkness, interior anguish. We tend to think that such things are the usual condition of "ordinary" sinful people. Some of our lack of spiritual liveliness may indeed be our fault. But the life of faith is still one that is lived in trust, and sometimes the darkness is so great that trust is pressed to its limit.

Quote:

St. Vincent de Paul said of Jane Frances: "She was full of faith, yet all her life had been tormented by thoughts against it. While apparently enjoying the peace and easiness of mind of souls who have reached a high state of virtue, she suffered such interior trials that she often told me her mind was so filled with all sorts of temptations and abominations that she had to strive not to look within herself...But for all that suffering her face never lost its serenity, nor did she once relax in the fidelity God asked of her. And so I regard her as one of the holiest souls I have ever met on this earth" (Butler's Lives of the Saints).
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
 
 

 
Presence

At any time of the day or night we can call on Jesus.
He is always waiting, listening for our call.
What a wonderful blessing.
No phone needed, no e-mails, just a whisper.

Freedom

God is not foreign to my freedom.
Instead the Spirit breathes life into my most intimate desires,
gently nudging me towards all that is good.
I ask for the grace to let myself be enfolded by the Spirit.

Consciousness

To be conscious about something is to be aware of it.  Dear Lord help me to remember that You gave me life.  Thank you for the gift of life.   Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me. To be aware of the beauty that surrounds me. The marvel of mountains, the calmness of lakes, the fragility of a flower petal. I need to remember that all these things come from you.

The Word of God

Reading 1 ez 2:8-3:4

The Lord GOD said to me:
As for you, son of man, obey me when I speak to you:
be not rebellious like this house of rebellion,
but open your mouth and eat what I shall give you.

It was then I saw a hand stretched out to me,
in which was a written scroll which he unrolled before me.
It was covered with writing front and back,
and written on it was:
Lamentation and wailing and woe!

He said to me: Son of man, eat what is before you;
eat this scroll, then go, speak to the house of Israel.
So I opened my mouth and he gave me the scroll to eat.
Son of man, he then said to me,
feed your belly and fill your stomach
with this scroll I am giving you.
I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.
He said: Son of man, go now to the house of Israel,
and speak my words to them.

Responsorial Psalm ps 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131

R. (103a) How sweet to my taste is your promise!
In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Yes, your decrees are my delight;
they are my counselors.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
How sweet to my palate are your promises,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Your decrees are my inheritance forever;
the joy of my heart they are.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
I gasp with open mouth,
in my yearning for your commands.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!

Gospel mt 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
"Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?"
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever becomes humble like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.
What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost."
Conversation

I begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture I have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in me? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story I have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface in my consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to me?

Conclusion

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.



Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

View NAB Reading at USCCB.org

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious

Unless you turn and become like children ... (Matthew 18:3)

We've heard this adage so many times—just be childlike! It can evoke an image of angelic figures innocently clasping hands in prayer or little children playing together so nicely. But in fact, being childlike is one of the hardest biblical metaphors to unravel. How do we, as mature adults, become like children? We have jobs to manage, bills to pay, families to take care of, and difficult decisions to make. Isn't Jesus being just a bit na├»ve here?

Being childlike doesn't mean being weak or indecisive. Jesus isn't asking us to become irresponsible or incompetent. So just what is he asking us to do?

Let's start by looking at Jesus himself. He is the epitome of childlikeness. We can see this in the way he related to Mary and Joseph—and to his heavenly Father. So when Jesus tells us that the Son can do nothing of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing (John 5:19), he isn't being overly pious. He is telling us that a child looks to his or her father for direction and guidance and teaching. He is telling us that even the maker of the universe humbled himself to submit to his Father!

But this attitude of submission also led Jesus to action. Think of how Jesus' love for his Father led him to drive the money changers out of the Temple! Think, too, how Jesus' childlike reliance on his Father helped him resist the devil's temptations. He refused to let pride and self-sufficiency have the upper hand.

Even if you feel the weight of all your responsibilities, you can still take up a childlike attitude. You can do this by putting a priority on prayer because that's where you'll hear your Father teaching you and guiding you through the pressures of your life. Instead of squaring your shoulders and saying, "I've got this, Lord!" go ahead and listen to him. It may seem childish and unnecessary—even immature—at first. But over time, you'll find that just like the meek, it's the childlike who will inherit the kingdom!

"Father, strip away my self-sufficiency so that I can look to you for guidance. Teach me how to be your child!"

Ezekiel 2:8--3:4; Psalm 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131


my2cents:
Do not be rebellious and open your mouth.  Sounds like our Father trying to feed us.  I know my toddlers don't want to eat when it's time to eat.  They won't open their mouth, too distracted, too much else other than the task at hand...to do what the Father wants.  Later they are hungry and crying for food. That's us as so called "grown ups" many times.  The Lord wants us to be fed with what He feeds but we don't want...not right now, I'm not hungry...for God.  So what happens many times?  God will make you hungry, even go astray like the lost lamb.  So you know the love of God and that's what He wanted to feed.  He brings you back so you are one again and fed with what He feeds, not what you thought was good.  This is sweeter than honey.  Too sweet?  Taste and see for yourself how good it is to swallow His Word which propels us to go out to the world and proclaim.  Ok, all this sound to fantastical?  Last night we went to pray the rosary with our brother in Christ who is in the hospital.  On our way back, my brother in law told me in conversation that he too was rejected on daily scriptures he sent out.  He said this because I mentioned the world does not want God, they want the god stuff to hush, silence to be no more, to simply believe whatever you feel like and that is god.  He said that a cell number he was texting he thought was his niece and the number texted back saying not to be sending those bible versus anymore.  Later on, his other niece would come personally to him to ask him to stop sending those daily scriptures too, she didn't want them, she (a high school student) was too busy for that.  Can you begin to see the world doesn't want what God feeds?  In the internet, there is a term called "feeds" and they are news or information that you can subscribe to.  You can literally "feed" yourself whatever you want.  What are you eating the most of ?  Is it God feedings?  In the Holy Catholic Church, we believe we are being fed the body of Christ, literally (well, most Catholics believe,  but not all).  But what in the world are we eating?  The last time I consumed the Eucharist the thoughts ran through my head "I am about to partake of peace, and hope, and power..and" and the list went on and on.  Because this is the power in what we are fed.  But to believe?  We have to be like children, the obedient ones that accept what is offered.  My daughter receives the same scriptures my brother in law sends, she is half the age of the teenager that told him to stop texting her.  She accepts them and says thank you in text reply sometimes.  What a difference right?  And it's not because she is my daughter, but because of the childlike nature.  Too often we want to be "adults" and the "adult world" is plagued with perversion, most of which detracts you from our Lord our Father.  Childlike then must mean holiness. But it just don't fit in a sinful life, so one must go in, and the other out.  Either it's all God or nothing.  Either faith comes in or doubt comes in; one wins, and the other loses.  So what's it going to be in my life this day and every day?  Children seem to have the most fun and many of us wish we could be like them again right?  Well, YOU CAN BE.  The youthful heart is proven in today's saint of the day, with cheer, devotion, and love.  Sure we're experiencing great loss, millions of children killed in abortion, sure the economy ain't great, and sure the people of God are silenced in sin, but what does that tell a true Christian?  It is to say, what a great opportunity to be a Saint.  Who? ME?  Yes you.  Why me though?  The question is, why not?  Why not you to show the Way of Christ?  Especially you who can glow with the Holy Spirit when you consume Jesus Christ?  Want Jesus?  Open your mouth.  Ask.  And Receive.  What else could we want?
adrian
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