Thoughtfulness and generosity come from a meek and humble heart. This is the contradiction of what the devil says: "I will not serve" and what Jesus says: "I have not come to be served, but to serve!"
-from Thirsting for God: Daily Meditations
† "All the science of the Saints is included in these two things: To do, and to suffer. And whoever had done these two things best, has made himself most saintly." — Saint Francis de Sales
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"By accepting the sufferings 'offered' by life and allowed by God for our progress and purification, we spare ourselves much harder ones. We need to develop this kind of realism and, once and for all, stop dreaming of a life without suffering or conflict. That is the life of heaven, not earth. We must take up our cross and follow Christ courageously every day; the bitterness of that cross will sooner or later be transformed into sweetness." — Fr. Jacques Philippe, p. 49 AN EXCERPT FROM Interior Freedom
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Saint Vincent de Paul
Saint of the Day for September 27 (1580 – September 27, 1660)
Saint Vincent de Paul's Story
The deathbed confession of a dying servant opened Vincent's eyes to the crying spiritual needs of the peasantry of France. This seems to have been a crucial moment in the life of the man from a small farm in Gascony, France, who had become a priest with little more ambition than to have a comfortable life.
It was the Countess de Gondi (whose servant he had helped) who persuaded her husband to endow and support a group of able and zealous missionaries who would work among poor tenant farmers and country people in general. Vincent was too humble to accept leadership at first, but after working for some time in Paris among imprisoned galley-slaves, he returned to be the leader of what is now known as the Congregation of the Mission, or the Vincentians. These priests, with vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and stability, were to devote themselves entirely to the people in smaller towns and villages.
Later, Vincent established confraternities of charity for the spiritual and physical relief of the poor and sick of each parish. From these, with the help of Saint Louise de Marillac, came the Daughters of Charity, "whose convent is the sickroom, whose chapel is the parish church, whose cloister is the streets of the city." He organized the rich women of Paris to collect funds for his missionary projects, founded several hospitals, collected relief funds for the victims of war, and ransomed over 1,200 galley slaves from North Africa. He was zealous in conducting retreats for clergy at a time when there was great laxity, abuse, and ignorance among them. He was a pioneer in clerical training and was instrumental in establishing seminaries.
Most remarkably, Vincent was by temperament a very irascible person—even his friends admitted it. He said that except for the grace of God he would have been "hard and repulsive, rough and cross." But he became a tender and affectionate man, very sensitive to the needs of others.
Pope Leo XIII made him the patron of all charitable societies. Outstanding among these, of course, is the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, founded in 1833 by his admirer Blessed Frédéric Ozanam.
The Church is for all God's children, rich and poor, peasants and scholars, the sophisticated and the simple. But obviously the greatest concern of the Church must be for those who need the most help—those made helpless by sickness, poverty, ignorance, or cruelty. Vincent de Paul is a particularly appropriate patron for all Christians today, when hunger has become starvation, and the high living of the rich stands in more and more glaring contrast to the physical and moral degradation in which many of God's children are forced to live.
Lord, help me to be fully alive to your holy presence. Enfold me in your love. Let my heart become one with yours.
"Leave me here freely all alone In cell where never sunlight shone should no one ever speak to me This golden silence makes me free." Part of a poem written by a prisoner at Dachau concentration camp
To be conscious about something is to be aware of it. Dear Lord help me to remember that You gave me life. Thank you for the gift of life. Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me. To be aware of the beauty that surrounds me. The marvel of mountains, the calmness of lakes, the fragility of a flower petal. I need to remember that all these things come from you.
Job opened his mouth and cursed his day. Job spoke out and said:
Perish the day on which I was born, the night when they said, "The child is a boy!"
Why did I not perish at birth, come forth from the womb and expire? Or why was I not buried away like an untimely birth, like babes that have never seen the light? Wherefore did the knees receive me? or why did I suck at the breasts?
For then I should have lain down and been tranquil; had I slept, I should then have been at rest With kings and counselors of the earth who built where now there are ruins Or with princes who had gold and filled their houses with silver.
There the wicked cease from troubling, there the weary are at rest.
Why is light given to the toilers, and life to the bitter in spirit? They wait for death and it comes not; they search for it rather than for hidden treasures, Rejoice in it exultingly, and are glad when they reach the grave: Those whose path is hidden from them, and whom God has hemmed in!
Responsorial Psalm Ps 88:2-3, 4-5, 6, 7-8 R. (3) Let my prayer come before you, Lord. O LORD, my God, by day I cry out; at night I clamor in your presence. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my call for help.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord. For my soul is surfeited with troubles and my life draws near to the nether world. I am numbered with those who go down into the pit; I am a man without strength.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord. My couch is among the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, Whom you remember no longer and who are cut off from your care.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord. You have plunged me into the bottom of the pit, into the dark abyss. Upon me your wrath lies heavy, and with all your billows you overwhelm me.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
Alleluia Mk 10:45 R. Alleluia, alleluia. The Son of Man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 9:51-56
When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?" Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ 'To go to Jerusalem' in Saint Luke's gospel means to go to his passion. The passage indicates the hostility between the Jews and the Samaritans. However, the disciples' way of dealing with the issue and the Lord's way differ greatly.
▪ In the parable 'The Good Samaritan', the Samaritan is the hero and through it the Lord teaches that everyone is our neighbour and should be treated as such. We all agree with the ideal but most of us struggle with it in practice.
▪ Are there groups you have difficulty treating as neighbours? Reflect on them in the light of the Lord's teaching and example. Discuss the issue with him.
What is stirring in me as I pray? Am I consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side and share my feelings with him.
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 9:51-56
Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest (Memorial)
He resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51)
Surgery looms—or a tax audit or a trip to the dentist. Sometimes we have to set our faces resolutely to the unpleasantness ahead and keep moving forward, even if it's all we can think about.
That's not the case with Jesus. Surely thoughts about the horrible death that awaited him were in his mind as he "resolutely determined" to go to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51). But one thought, which he expressed as he passed through Jericho, prevailed: "The Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost" (19:10).
Jesus came for all men and women, even the ones who don't understand him or his message. Even the ones who reject him and, like the Samaritans, refuse to welcome him. Even us. None of the suffering to come overshadowed his desire to seek and save. He didn't give heed to the thoughts that reminded him who we are or what we've done. He treasures us—all of us—too much. That's how deeply he wants us to be with him.
Jesus places no limits on whom he will and will not accept. Zacchaeus the tax collector, pawn of the Romans and despised by the Jews, received Jesus and salvation, joyfully. Mary Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, welcomed him and traveled with him and the apostles. The thief who hung on the cross next to him begged to enter the kingdom of heaven, and he promised him paradise that very day. Lying, cheating, stealing, committing adultery—Jesus loves you and invites you to turn to him.
He never gives up on you either. Even to those who don't welcome him at first, he gives another chance. And another. And another. He is as resolute and determined in his pursuit of you as he was in his journey to the cross. The Samaritans finally accepted Jesus "with one accord" and in "crowds" when Philip preached, some years after Jesus' death and resurrection (Acts 8:6). Healed and delivered, they were filled with joy. Jesus is never too put off to be merciful. May we never give up hope—for ourselves or our loved ones!
"Jesus, you came to seek and save me. You are welcome in my life!"
We heard Job say today "Why did I not perish at birth, come forth from the womb and expire?" His anguish questioned his very existence. His suffering was to the point of looking forward to dying. In this world, there are people in your life, they smile, they live another day, but truly, their life lies in shambles inside, destroyed, and this is the aim of the devil, and the devil got what it wanted; to truly test the faith and try to win over with darkness the soul of a just, a holy and righteous man. The temptation is great, the temptation to give in and give up and the greatest temptation? To turn from God instead of praising God any longer. But Job praises in the storm and continues in faithfulness...and so we go forth. We prayed today in the Psalms "Let my prayer come before you, Lord. O LORD, my God, by day I cry out; at night I clamor in your presence. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my call for help." As the Lord lived His life on earth, He lived the Holy Psalms. The shear terror of the night opposed and threatened His very being, what was coming, He could see hanging on crosses as He would enter Jerusalem, the house of terrors awaited Him, and He was set like flint, an arrow to pierce the darkness and let the light shine. In comes the Lord asking for Samaritans to make room for Him. And there was not a good Samaritan that would help Him on His Holy journey. He had converted the woman at the well, and her people would not accept Him. He had saved a wretched soul, and the people would not help one soul. And so the disciples ask "Shall we call down fire from Heaven to consume them?" And the Lord rebukes them as He rebukes Satan many times. "But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."Mt9:13 It's these people that are rejecting Him that He has come to die for. This should be an eye opener in your life right now. All those people that reject you...would you die for them? Jesus did...Jesus died. They say it was a play on words in the old language, to say "man of God" and "the Lord's fire" because they sounded almost the same. And Jesus said at one point ""I came to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already set ablaze! ..." Lk.12:49. And what He did began a fire to consume the world to this day over 2,000 years later. His Holy Spirit burns bright and the devil still attempts to extinguish the light, like the light of love of Job. Here within the last couple of weeks, there have been priests kidnapped and killed. It is a direct attempt of the devil to put out the light. But what this does is quite the opposite, the fire of the Lord burns brighter, because the body of Christ is spread throughout the world. And this is why there is evil in the world, an attempt to extinguish but only makes it burn brighter...is it not right that there is kindling for the fire?
If you do not understand, I want you to think about your ugly sins. You know what they are. You are living in sins and among sinners. Imagine now, burning them up, (your sins), use them as firewood, in the confessional, in your repentance, in your reconciliation, and your love of God grows when you do so. The lines to confessionals are very short. The lines to receive the Eucharist are very long. The fire is small flames. Whose fault is it? If you pointed a finger, look at the rest pointing back. Look no further in the mirror. Jesus desires His fire in your heart.
The reason I write is because there is a burning in my heart. A churning and burning of sins that continuously run through my life, and God's light is doing the purification. This is why Lot's wife became a pillar of salt, to see God's glory and not being pure. The only way to see God is to be on fire. This is why Jesus shows the way...no guts, no glory.