St. John Leonardi
"I am only one person! Why should I do anything? What good would it do?" Today, as in any age, people seem plagued with the dilemma of getting involved. In his own way John Leonardi answered these questions. He chose to become a priest.
After his ordination, he became very active in the works of the ministry, especially in hospitals and prisons. The example and dedication of his work attracted several young laymen who began to assist him. They later became priests themselves.
John lived after the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent (1545-63). He and his followers projected a new congregation of diocesan priests. For some reason the plan, which was ultimately approved, provoked great political opposition. John was exiled from his home town of Lucca, Italy, for almost the entire remainder of his life. He received encouragement and help from St. Philip Neri, who gave him his lodgings—along with the care of his cat!
In 1579, John formed the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, and published a compendium of Christian doctrine that remained in use until the 19th century.
Father Leonardi and his priests became a great power for good in Italy, and their congregation was confirmed by Pope Clement in 1595. He died at the age of 68 from a disease caught when tending those stricken by the plague.
By the deliberate policy of the founder, the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God have never had more than 15 churches and today form only a very small congregation.
What can one person do? If you ever glanced through a Christopher Notes pamphlet you know—plenty! In the life of each saint one thing stands clear: God and one person are a majority! What one individual, following God's will and plan for his or her life, can do is more than our mind could ever hope for or imagine. Each of us, like John Leonardi, has a mission to fulfill in God's plan for the world. Each one of us is unique and has been given talent to use for the service of our brothers and sisters for the building up of God's kingdom.
"Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy" (Luke 12:32-33).
Daily Prayer - 2015-10-08
As I begin this prayer, God is present,
Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
In the presence of my loving Creator,
The Word of God
Reading 1 Mal 3:13-20b
You have defied me in word, says the LORD,
yet you ask, "What have we spoken against you?"
You have said, "It is vain to serve God,
and what do we profit by keeping his command,
And going about in penitential dress
in awe of the LORD of hosts?
Rather must we call the proud blessed;
for indeed evildoers prosper,
and even tempt God with impunity."
Then they who fear the LORD spoke with one another,
and the LORD listened attentively;
And a record book was written before him
of those who fear the LORD and trust in his name.
And they shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts,
my own special possession, on the day I take action.
And I will have compassion on them,
as a man has compassion on his son who serves him.
Then you will again see the distinction
between the just and the wicked;
Between the one who serves God,
and the one who does not serve him.
For lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven,
when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble,
And the day that is coming will set them on fire,
leaving them neither root nor branch,
says the LORD of hosts.
But for you who fear my name, there will arise
the sun of justice with its healing rays.
Responsorial Psalm PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6
R. (Ps 40:5a) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Alleluia See Acts 16:14bR. Alleluia, alleluia.
Open our hearts, O Lord,
to listen to the words of your Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 11:5-13
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,'
and he says in reply from within,
'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.'
I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.
"And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him?"
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.
27th Week in Ordinary Time
How much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him? (Luke 11:13)
Were you ever taught the saying "Don't wear out your welcome"? One way or another, we all learn boundaries in relationships—how to act with tact and to avoid making presumptions about others. Lessons like these teach us to be considerate and help us build lasting relationships.
So Jesus' story in today's Gospel reading can make us cringe a bit. This guy wakes up a friend to get some food for an unexpected guest, and he won't stop knocking until he gets it. What is his friend going to think of him the next time they see each other? Even more to the point, what should I take away from this story? Does Jesus want me to be pushy and aggressive as well?
But don't stop reading there! Jesus is not telling us how to treat our friends. He is telling us how to treat his Father in heaven. Children don't learn the same kinds of boundaries with their parents as they do with their friends and acquaintances. That's because parents love to provide good things for their children. It's also much harder to impose on a parent than on a friend. So God won't be offended by your persistence, even if it seems like nagging to you!
Do you believe that God loves you this much? That he wants you to go to him the way a child goes to his father for help? If you're finding it hard to grasp this truth, take note of what Jesus says. The Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask not just because the Spirit is the greatest gift he can give us, but also because it's the Spirit who can help us experience the Father's love more and more deeply.
So push yourself to cross boundaries with God today. Pester him, hound him, open up your heart to him. Watch for those internal checks that tell you, "Don't go too far with God; you may make him angry." Whenever thoughts like these surface, tell yourself, "No, this is my Father I'm dealing with. I know he'll take good care of me."
"Father, help me to trust more fully in the love that you have for me."
Today's first Holy Scripture ended with the words of our Lord "But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays." This is said because as you live, the commandments of the Lord are being watered down, or taken away. This is said because the worldly people say that evildoers prosper, so what good is it to follow the Lord? The Lord gives to those who ask, and the question then is, what exactly are you asking for? That's what I asked the co-workers last night. Are you asking for money, to fix your financial situation? What are you asking for? Because as we lead into the Gospel today, notice what is being asked for. Recall the ending line "for you who fear my name", and recall your prayers...are you ever asking for a holy fear of the Lord?