John Henry Newman, the 19th-century's most important English-speaking Roman Catholic theologian, spent the first half of his life as an Anglican and the second half as a Roman Catholic. He was a priest, popular preacher, writer, and eminent theologian in both Churches.
John Henry Newman has been called the "absent Father of Vatican II" because his writings on conscience, religious liberty, Scripture, the vocation of lay people, the relation of Church and State, and other topics were extremely influential in the shaping of the Council's documents. Although Newman was not always understood or appreciated, he steadfastly preached the Good News by word and example.
Newman composed this prayer: "God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another.
"I have a mission; I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons; He has not created me for naught.
"I shall do good—I shall do his work. I shall be an angel of peace while not intending it if I do but keep his commandments. Therefore, I will trust him."
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
"Be still and know that I am God."
Everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life.
In God's loving presence I unwind the past day,
I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude.
Reading 1 gal 3:7-14
Brothers and sisters:
Responsorial Psalm ps 111:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6
R. (5) The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
Gospel lk 11:15-26
When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said:
Listen to audio of this reading
Watch a video reflection
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?
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
The last condition of that person is worse than the first. (Luke 11:26)
Imagine that you own an apartment, and its tenants are destructive and negligent. You decide to evict them. All of their belongings are removed, and you have the apartment cleaned so that all traces of the former occupants are gone. But there's a problem: you don't change the locks, and no new tenants move in. It's a situation similar to Jesus' parable of the demon returning to its original host with extra spirits. Appealing and vacant, the poor soul was fair game for a return by its previous occupant.
Although we may not have to deal with demonic possession, we do deal with repeated sin. So often, we confess the same sins time and again. We know that the Sacrament of Reconciliation gives us the grace to be set free. But once we're cleansed, we need to be filled with something. We can't go around vacant!
So what can we do to fortify our "house" against repeat occupation? How do we go beyond cleansing our souls and actually refurnish them?
From the earliest centuries, the Church has understood that sin, or vice, has what are called opposing virtues: virtues that by their very nature counteract and weaken the influence of the sin in our lives. Following this tradition, St. Ignatius of Loyola recommended developing virtues that strike to the heart of our most troublesome sins.
It goes something like this: we examine our consciences carefully. We go to Confession and get "swept clean and put in order." Then we get to work refurnishing our house. We identify the virtue that will help us displace the sin. Chastity counteracts lust. Temperance uproots gluttony. Generosity counterbalances greed. Diligence displaces sloth. Forgiveness and meekness offset wrath or anger. Kindness replaces envy. And humility supplants pride. With each subsequent confession, the process continues on a deeper and deeper level until we find ourselves set free.
Experiment with the virtues that oppose your sins. It's true that only God's grace can help you progress in holiness, but you still have to decide to take those small steps each day to fill the gap left by the uprooted sin. So refurnish your house, and you'll find the Holy Spirit living there more comfortably—and more powerfully!
"Holy Spirit, fill me with virtue, which is the fruit of your life in me!"
Galatians 3:7-14; Psalm 111:1-6