Born in northern France during the French Revolution—a time when congregations of women and men religious were being suppressed by the national government, Jeanne would eventually be highly praised in the French academy for her community's compassionate care of elderly poor people.
When Jeanne was three and a half years old, her father, a fisherman, was lost at sea. Her widowed mother was hard pressed to raise her eight children (four died young) alone. At the age of 15 or 16, Jeanne became a kitchen maid for a family that not only cared for its own members, but also served poor, elderly people nearby. Ten years later, Jeanne became a nurse at the hospital in Le Rosais. Soon thereafter she joined a third order group founded by St. John Eudes (August 19).
After six years she became a servant and friend of a woman she met through the third order. They prayed, visited the poor and taught catechism to children. After her friend's death, Jeanne and two other women continued a similar life in the city of Saint-Sevran. In 1839, they brought in their first permanent guest. They began an association, received more members and more guests. Mother Marie of the Cross, as Jeanne was now known, founded six more houses for the elderly by the end of 1849, all staffed by members of her association—the Little Sisters of the Poor. By 1853 the association numbered 500 and had houses as far away as England.
Abbé Le Pailleur, a chaplain, had prevented Jeanne's reelection as superior in 1843; nine year later, he had her assigned to duties within the congregation, but would not allow her to be recognized as its founder. He was removed from office by the Holy See in 1890.
By the time Pope Leo XIII gave her final approval to the community's constitutions in 1879, there were 2,400 Little Sisters of the Poor. Jeanne died later that same year, on August 30. Her cause was introduced in Rome in 1970, and she was beatified in 1982 and canonized in 2009.
Jeanne Jugan saw Christ in what Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata would describe as his "distressing disguises." With great confidence in God's providence and the intercession of St. Joseph, she begged willingly for the many homes that she opened, relying on the good example of the Sisters and the generosity of benefactors who knew the good that the Sisters were doing. They now work in 30 countries. "With the eye of faith, we must see Jesus in our old people—for they are God's mouthpiece," Jeanne once said. No matter what the difficulties, she was always able to praise God and move ahead.
In his homily at the canonization Mass, Pope Benedict XVI said: "In the Beatitudes, Jeanne Jugan found the source of the spirit of hospitality and fraternal love, founded on unlimited trust in Providence, which illuminated her whole life. This evangelical dynamism is continued today across the world in the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Poor, which she founded and which testifies, after her example, to the mercy of God and the compassionate love of the Heart of Jesus for the lowliest."
As I begin this prayer, God is here. Around me, in my sensations, in my thoughts and deep within me. I pause for a moment, and become aware of God's life-giving presence.
Thank you God for my freedom May I use this gift to do what I can for those who are oppressed or burdened.
I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God. I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them. Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment. I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.
Brothers and sisters: The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God. Among men, who knows what pertains to the man except his spirit that is within? Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God. And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms.
Now the natural man does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it, because it is judged spiritually. The one who is spiritual, however, can judge everything but is not subject to judgment by anyone.
For "who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to counsel him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13ab, 13cd-14 R. (17) The Lord is just in all his ways. The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The LORD is good to all and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is just in all his ways. Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD, and let your faithful ones bless you. Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom and speak of your might.
R. The Lord is just in all his ways. Making known to men your might and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom. Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages, and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. The Lord is just in all his ways. The LORD is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works. The LORD lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. The Lord is just in all his ways. Alleluia Lk 7:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!" Jesus rebuked him and said, "Be quiet! Come out of him!" Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm. They were all amazed and said to one another, "What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out." And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ It's a really horrible scene portrayed for us here by Mark. It opens with the totally corrupt Herod at a royal banquet. We can only imagine the sumptuousness of the feast and the entertainments laid on. And then through his selfish cupidity he is cornered into taking the life of John, the outspoken Baptist and adding that horror to the entertainments of the evening. Nothing is sacred to this king.
▪ Contrast this with the quiet humility of John's disciples who mercifully look after his body and honour it with burial. What a sorrowful and humble group they appear as they bring some humanity to this awful scene.
▪ We know this affected Jesus deeply. Does it bring to mind any situations that you know?
Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God? Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry? Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me, I speak out my feelings, as one trusted friend to another. 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.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: Luke 4:31-37
What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out. (Luke 4:36)
"The word is mightier than the sword" is one way that we might describe today's Gospel reading. When Jesus cast out an unclean spirit, the people were shocked that his words had such power. He didn't physically battle the spirits or use any fancy curse or proclamation: just a simple command. It took him only a few seconds, and Satan was sent running while the audience looked on in amazement.
This story shows us just how powerful Jesus' words are. And the fact that this story is preserved in the Bible emphasizes all the other words of Jesus that are collected in the Scriptures. Each and every one of them has power to cast out evil, to melt hearts, and to heal wounds. They are the words we hear every day at Mass. They are the words we read every time we pick up a Bible. They are the words we memorized when we were little children. These words are here for us, so let's embrace them with open hearts!
It's not uncommon that our time of personal prayer and Scripture reading touches our hearts. We gain new insights into God's love, or we are moved to repentance or worship. But there's another side to Jesus' words: the power they have when we speak them to other people and even more so when we live them out day after day. It's the power to break the chains of those bound by sin and fear.
Isn't Jesus wonderful? He didn't just come and speak his truths to us once and then expect us to grasp them automatically and live them out. He filled his words with divine grace and power so that they would never lose their effect. He breathed his Spirit into them so that no matter how many times we pray about them or obey them, we find more and more grace for our lives. We also find more and more grace flowing from us and touching other people's lives.
Truly, his words never come back to him void (Isaiah 55:11)!
"Lord, thank you for speaking your word to me. Thank you for the power of your word to change lives."
1 Corinthians 2:10-16 Psalm 145:8-14
my2cents: "We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God"
We prayed "The Lord is just in all his ways" In comes the Lord and we heard "Jesus rebuked him and said, "Be quiet! Come out of him!""What is there about his word?" When the Disciples were walking to Emaus, after the Lord had resurrected, they only realized the Lord joined them in their walk when He broke the bread, Himself before them, and then they asked when He disappears again "weren't our hearts burning as He spoke with us?" I am on my way, 500 miles drive to a funeral for my uncle. I pray that these words find you with your heart burning for the Lord.