It was important for some saints to vanish from view, to "decrease" so that God could "increase" in the scheme of things. Many saints actively fought promotions. If obedience required embracing them, they found other ways to remain lowly.
Born in Grenoble, France, of a family that was among the new rich, Philippine learned political skills from her father and a love of the poor from her mother. The dominant feature of her temperament was a strong and dauntless will, which became the material—and the battlefield—of her holiness. She entered the convent at 19 and remained despite their opposition. As the French Revolution broke, the convent was closed, and she began taking care of the poor and sick, opened a school for homeless children and risked her life helping priests in the underground. When the situation cooled, she personally rented her old convent, now a shambles, and tried to revive its religious life. The spirit was gone, and soon there were only four nuns left. They joined the infant Society of the Sacred Heart, whose young superior, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, would be her lifelong friend. In a short time Philippine was a superior and supervisor of the novitiate and a school. But her ambition, since hearing tales of missionary work in Louisiana as a little girl, was to go to America and work among the Indians. At 49, she thought this would be her work. With four nuns, she spent 11 weeks at sea en route to New Orleans, and seven weeks more on the Mississippi to St. Louis. She then met one of the many disappointments of her life. The bishop had no place for them to live and work among Native Americans. Instead, he sent her to what she sadly called "the remotest village in the U.S.," St. Charles, Missouri. With characteristic drive and courage, she founded the first free school for girls west of the Mississippi.
It was a mistake. Though she was as hardy as any of the pioneer women in the wagons rolling west, cold and hunger drove them out—to Florissant, Missouri, where she founded the first Catholic Indian school, adding others in the territory. "In her first decade in America, Mother Duchesne suffered practically every hardship the frontier had to offer, except the threat of Indian massacre—poor lodging, shortages of food, drinking water, fuel and money, forest fires and blazing chimneys, the vagaries of the Missouri climate, cramped living quarters and the privation of all privacy, and the crude manners of children reared in rough surroundings and with only the slightest training in courtesy" (Louise Callan, R.S.C.J., Philippine Duchesne).
Finally at 72, in poor health and retired, she got her lifelong wish. A mission was founded at Sugar Creek, Kansas, among the Potawatomi. She was taken along. Though she could not learn their language, they soon named her "Woman-Who-Prays-Always." While others taught, she prayed. Legend has it that Native American children sneaked behind her as she knelt and sprinkled bits of paper on her habit, and came back hours later to find them undisturbed. She died in 1852 at the age of 83 and was canonized in 1988.
Divine grace channeled her iron will and determination into humility and selflessness, and to a desire not to be made superior. Still, even saints can get involved in silly situations. In an argument with her over a minor change in the sanctuary, a priest threatened to remove her tabernacle. She patiently let herself be criticized by younger nuns for not being progressive enough. For 31 years, she hewed to the line of a dauntless love and an unshakable observance of her religious vows.
She once said: "We cultivate a very small field for Christ, but we love it, knowing that God does not require great achievements but a heart that holds back nothing for self.... The truest crosses are those we do not choose ourselves.... He who has Jesus has everything."
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." Lord, Your words lead us to the calmness and greatness of your presence.
Saint Ignatius thought that a thick and shapeless tree-trunk would never believe that it could become a statue, admired as a miracle of sculpture, and would never submit itself to the chisel of the sculptor, who sees by her genius what she can make of it. I ask for the grace to let myself be shaped by my loving Creator.
Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence. Teach me to recognise your presence in others. Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.
I, John, saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. It had writing on both sides and was sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a mighty angel who proclaimed in a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?" But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to examine it. I shed many tears because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to examine it. One of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. The lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed, enabling him to open the scroll with its seven seals."
Then I saw standing in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures and the elders a Lamb that seemed to have been slain. He had seven horns and seven eyes; these are the seven spirits of God sent out into the whole world. He came and received the scroll from the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. When he took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones. They sang a new hymn:
"Worthy are you to receive the scroll and break open its seals, for you were slain and with your Blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on earth."
R. (Rev. 5:10) The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God. or: R. Alleluia. Sing to the LORD a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful. Let Israel be glad in their maker, let the children of Zion rejoice in their king. R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God. or: R. Alleluia. Let them praise his name in the festive dance, let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp. For the LORD loves his people, and he adorns the lowly with victory. R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God. or: R. Alleluia. Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy upon their couches; Let the high praises of God be in their throats. This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia. R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God. or: R. Alleluia.
As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If this day you only knew what makes for peace-- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation."
Let the high praises of God be in their throats. (Psalm 149:9) Imagine being at a championship game where your team won in the final seconds. What do you think you would do? Cheer? Dance? Sing? All of the above? Now, how long do you think that happiness will linger? A few hours? Maybe a couple of days? One last question: if you had been to such an event, don't you think it would be only natural to recall it from time to time, if only to reconnect with that feeling of delight that you experienced? Today's first reading and responsorial psalm describe the joy that comes to those who witness the greatest victory in the history of the world: Jesus' triumph over sin and death. In the first reading, we see the angels joyfully acknowledging that Jesus is the only One worthy to preside over God's final victory. They are filled with excitement as they anticipate the eternal salvation that he will bring about. Imagine what it will be like, after waiting thousands of years, to see the end finally come! Then comes Psalm 149, which breathes exuberant joy as it urges us to join in the celebration of God's goodness and provision. It tells us to sing and shout for joy because the Lord has clothed "the lowly with victory" (Psalm 149:4). It urges us to revisit that joy so that it can take up residence in our hearts. This strategy for joy, in fact, is the very thing that will help keep us from becoming like the people of Jerusalem in Jesus' day—the ones who rejected him and failed to see in him the anointed "visitation" of God in their midst (Luke 19:44). If we can recall and revisit all we know about Jesus' victories in our lives, there's no way we will turn away from his Spirit! So try to remember the Lord during your day. Meditate on his resurrection. Recall his goodness to you. Let these memories fill you with joy. Go ahead and dance! Sing! You are on the winning team, so savor your victory. And when you don't feel all that triumphant, spend a little time anyway. God wants you to recapture his joy! "Lord, help me reconnect with the joy of your salvation. I want to fill the corners of my life with the happiness and peace of knowing that I am victorious in you."
What do you think? Do you think our Lord was worried? In today's first Holy Scripture, we read of the Lord's 7 Spirits in the world. Guess what. They are still here. 7 is perfect and 7 is forever. Let's pray again the Psalm of today "The Lamb has made us a Kingdom of priests to serve our God". The lamb has made priests to serve God. They say there is a growth in vocations to the priesthood. This means God is serving more love. We need it don't we? Because when we live alone (in sin) we feel far from being loved and loving, that is being far from God. So what do you think? Do you think Jesus was worried as He looked at Jerusalem and cried? Remember yesterday I mentioned that we hurt God. Do you remember what hurts Him? The fact that He has to reprove. The fact that we did not choose peace, choose Life, choose Jesus. That hurts Him, to see us have to suffer for our own choosing. That's what makes Him cry over Jerusalem. "If you only knew". But He knew. He knew what it would take. The hard way. The only Way. This is one of various times Jesus would cry. He cried out of love. Tears of love. Remember the other time He cried? His friend had died. The Jews were astounded "See how He loved him". Laying in the tomb, He went to His friend. After crying what did Jesus do? He would raise Him up. As hard as it would be from this day forward, He would take the place of His friend in a tomb. That's love. That's Jesus. How can I not be moved by love? Then, the bible is a compilation of love letters, and the whole is a story of love, of God. Now comes you into the story. What is your role in the story of Love? Now let me tell you how backwards our love is. Let me start with this question, "do you worry?", now let me follow up with a second question, "what do you worry about?". And a third question, "what are you crying about?" and it all boils down to one question..."What For?". Because our Lord cried for the city that killed prophets...that is, the message of God and all the messengers. Lately in the news, AGAIN, we hear of another 100 Christians killed and 300 churches destroyed. The message and the messengers are still being killed. Just because you don't see it or hear about it doesn't mean it isn't happening. And guess what else? It is happening right before your eyes. Every time you don't see prayer or prayer is silenced or you don't care about praying, the messenger and the message is being killed. Why or how? The Spirits of God. Funny though, you can't kill life. And this is what God sees, a futile battle that just tortures us as we try to kill life, you'll just go crazy! So what are you crying about? What are your worries? There is only one thing to cry for... Salvation. Because on earth these cries are heard in the Heavens. After this life, those cries can not be heard, and this is death, a disconnect from God. I'm alive when I'm with God. I want to be with God all the time. As Jesus looks upon the hill to Jerusalem, His heart says "you are mine", while Jerusalem would not acknowledge Him. You tell me who is in love here...