This saint has the honor of having founded a religious order which, as the saying goes, has never had to be reformed because it was never deformed. No doubt both the founder and the members would reject such high praise, but it is an indication of the saint's intense love of a penitential life in solitude.
Bruno was born in Cologne, Germany, became a famous teacher at Rheims and was appointed chancellor of the archdiocese at the age of 45. He supported Pope Gregory VII in his fight against the decadence of the clergy and took part in the removal of his own scandalous archbishop, Manasses. Bruno suffered the plundering of his house for his pains.
He had a dream of living in solitude and prayer, and persuaded a few friends to join him in a hermitage. After a while he felt the place unsuitable and, through a friend, was given some land which was to become famous for his foundation "in the Chartreuse" (from which comes the word Carthusians). The climate, desert, mountainous terrain and inaccessibility guaranteed silence, poverty and small numbers.
Bruno and his friends built an oratory with small individual cells at a distance from each other. They met for Matins and Vespers each day and spent the rest of the time in solitude, eating together only on great feasts. Their chief work was copying manuscripts.
The pope, hearing of Bruno's holiness, called for his assistance in Rome. When the pope had to flee Rome, Bruno pulled up stakes again, and spent his last years (after refusing a bishopric) in the wilderness of Calabria.
He was never formally canonized, because the Carthusians were averse to all occasions of publicity. However Pope Clement X extended his feast to the whole Church in 1674.
If there is always a certain uneasy questioning of the contemplative life, there is an even greater puzzlement about the extremely penitential combination of community and hermit life lived by the Carthusians.
"Members of those communities which are totally dedicated to contemplation give themselves to God alone in solitude and silence and through constant prayer and ready penance. No matter how urgent may be the needs of the active apostolate, such communities will always have a distinguished part to play in Christ's Mystical Body..." (Vatican II, Decree on the Renewal of Religious Life, 7).
Daily Prayer - 2015-10-06
"I stand at the door and knock," says the Lord.
Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God.
The Word of God
Reading 1 Jon 3:1-10
The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
"Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you."
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD's bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day's walk announcing,
"Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,"
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small,
put on sackcloth.
When the news reached the king of Nineveh,
he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe,
covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh,
by decree of the king and his nobles:
"Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep,
shall taste anything;
they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water.
Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth
and call loudly to God;
every man shall turn from his evil way
and from the violence he has in hand.
Who knows, God may relent and forgive,
and withhold his blazing wrath,
so that we shall not perish."
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.
Responsorial Psalm PS 130:1b-2, 3-4ab, 7-8
R. (3) If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
Let Israel wait for the LORD,
For with the LORD is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
Alleluia Lk 11:28R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are those who hear the word of God
and observe it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 10:38-42
Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
"Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me."
The Lord said to her in reply,
"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
What is stirring in me as I pray?
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Saint Bruno, Priest (Optional Memorial)
God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath. (Jonah 3:9)
Wow! It took Jonah only one day to bring the entire city of Nineveh to its knees in repentance. And he had only one message: "Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed" (Jonah 3:4). Just that one vague threat of total destruction—from a reluctant prophet, no less—turned the entire city around. Imagine the scene as everyone in the land put on sackcloth and sat in ashes as they cried out words of repentance. And it wasn't just the people. They also clad their livestock in rags and made the cattle cry out (perhaps by braying?) to God for forgiveness.
If we look at this story with a realist's eyes, we can see that the Book of Jonah most likely falls into the category of a fable more than an accurate historical account. With its fantastical fishes, its hapless and moody hero, and its comedic touch (a ravenous worm that devours a shade tree overnight—Jonah 4:6-8), the book relies on exaggeration to make its point.
So what is that point? As the next chapter spells out, it's that God is far more compassionate and caring than we can imagine. Again and again in this book, we see him pardoning, teaching, cajoling, even playing practical jokes on people in the hopes that they will turn away from sin and embrace his commands.
Despite the Ninevites' over-the-top fear of the "blazing wrath" of God, even despite Jonah's threat of the city's total collapse, God shows himself to be "gracious and merciful ... slow to anger, abounding in kindness, repenting of punishment" (Jonah 3:9; 4:2). He is playful, not peevish; merciful, not maniacal; kind, not cranky. He is a good God who wants to see everyone—even pagans—healed, whole, and happy.
In two months, Pope Francis will open a Holy Year of Mercy. For an entire year, he will call us to rediscover how merciful, kind, loving, and gracious our heavenly Father is. As we approach this special year of grace, keep the story of Jonah in mind. Remember that God is always ready to forgive. He is always ready to welcome you into his warm embrace. He loves you!
"Father, I am overwhelmed by your mercy. Help me to receive your love today so that my life can be a witness to your goodness and kindness."
Psalm 130:1-4, 7-8
How in the world did Jonah get to Nineveh? For sure, it's not about Jonah...it's about God our Lord in Heaven. I corrected a brother that texted yesterday something like "Pope Francis made a miracle". I said "God is the one that provides the miracles". And if you heard of a man come out of a fish and was believed and the people were saved, why wouldn't you believe a man that died, and came back to life after 3 days and everyone gets to be saved? And I say "get to" because we have the opportunity at hand. How will we "get to" be saved? Faith without works? Works without faith? Because that has been the subject of division among some Christians. As Catholics we know it takes everything at our disposal for a life of grace, and then...it all depends on His grace. I haven't done anything that deserves Heaven...except to repent which makes room for my heart to fall in love with God our Heavenly Father.
The Psalms pray on today "If you, O LORD, mark iniquities, LORD, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered." What causes me to worship God? His forgiveness. The very reason He died for me. How can I leave the confessional just "knowing" I was forgiven? Sometimes one leaves still feeling guilt! Where is your faith Martha! Where is your love! Because we fret over the littlest things that we make out to be the biggest things. It takes a whole new person to give you a whole new perspective, and in this case...it is our Lord, your encounter with Him means an encounter with mercy. So was the case with St. Paul, who was converted...who had now repented. So one could say, repenting means conversion. When I repented...my life changed. Things are not the same. Leave what is dirty in your life. Go for what is clean. Don't you just love the smell of fresh clean sheets or clothes or towels? That's what your soul needs, and this is a glimpse of the life of Heaven, pure, and Holy.
Our Lord speaks to us today "There is need of only one thing." This was the selling point of Dr. Brant Pitre when me and my wife were sold into his Spiritual Theology course which I spoke of many times to you earlier this year. And the whole thing was on our life of prayer...and it became a conversion tool, just like it was for Brant, it was for me and my wife. Conversion to what? It is a spiritual awakening. Martha asks "do you not care?" to our Lord. As if to say "do you not care that she is not here serving, slaving away with me to serve you in this way?". It's the first and most common complaint of a person that finds themselves slaving away for the Lord, and of which I am guilty of myself. Even yesterday evening as we were loading up the prize booth and sorting things for the family festival on Saturday (which I ask for you prayers to go well), I said to one "I been too busy, being busy for the Lord". Do I have a "real life"? You mean do I have a "worldly life"? LOL. I thank God I really don't. I have a boat, 4 wheelers, and I've not taken them out this whole year because I've been too busy with my real life...with the Lord. And I don't miss the other life. This I speak of is a life with the Lord. I want you to have a real life. Like Martha and Mary. Because they symbolize faith and works. We have to work but we have to have faith. We have to have faith but we also have to work. I told a young cousin as he helped with the prize booth, "I'm proud of your young sister graduating from college, but all this success is all for not, if we do not have our Lord!". Everything you do, you may make yourself proud or your family proud, but what about God? Doesn't His opinion matter more? Doesn't it matter more what He says and wants? I am very jealous for Him. It gets under my skin when people tell me constantly they have a sporting event to go to rather than Church (activities). That's the Martha in me. But, they are not choosing sports over God are they? False gods? That's my real worry...their souls. That's why I sit here and write in the name of our Lord to you. Mary was at the feet of Jesus. Our Mother Mary was at the feet of Jesus...she chose the better part.
Where were all the other worry warts? Stressed, anxious, hiding, buried under a list of "things to do". Spiritual Theology became a course of our life with God. How much time do you spend with Him? In prayer? In striving to consume Him? How can you love someone you don't spend hardly any time with? Who is the love of your life? Nineveh repents...shows love for God. Martha repents and falls at the feet of Jesus, because she too wanted the better part...the better part of life, the part that never ends and she hears "come to me all who labor and are burdened...and I will give you rest". Our burdens are the worldly life and sin. Come to the feet of Jesus, choose the better part. And if you want, try the Catholic faith to taste these morsels of Divine Mercy that open us to a life of grace! Then, we will become Jesus lovers, not just doers.
LORD I GIVE YOU MY HEART
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