Francis of Assisi had it correct from the start: Each aspect of creation is our brother and sister; we are part of the same family, the same community of creation. In this sense, those who don't live up to their creational family obligation are not very pious at all.
–from God Is Not Fair
† "We must faithfully keep what we have promised. If through human weakness we fail, we must always without delay arise again by means of holy penance, and give our attention to leading a good life and to dying a holy death. May the Father of all mercy, the Son by his holy passion, and the Holy Spirit, source of peace, sweetness and love, fill us with their consolation. Amen." — St. Colette
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"Others, again, seeing their own imperfections, become angry with themselves with an impatience that is not humble. They are so impatient with their shortcomings as if they would be saints in one day. Many of these make many grand resolutions, but, being self-confident and not humble, the more they resolve, the more they fall, and the more angry they become; not having the patience to wait for God's time; this is also opposed to spiritual meekness. There is no perfect remedy for this but in the dark night. There are, however, some people who are so patient, and who advance so slowly in their spiritual progress, that God wishes they were not so patient." — St. John of the Cross, p. 24 AN EXCERPT FROM Dark Night of the Soul
click to go there
Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos
Saint of the Day for October 12 (January 11, 1819 – October 4, 1867)
Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos' Story
Zeal as a preacher and a confessor led Father Seelos to works of compassion as well.
Born in southern Bavaria, he studied philosophy and theology in Munich. On hearing about the work of the Redemptorists among German-speaking Catholics in the United States, he came to this country in 1843. Ordained at the end of 1844, he was assigned for six years to St. Philomena's Parish in Pittsburgh as an assistant to Saint John Neumann. The next three years Father Seelos was superior in the same community and began his service as novice master.
Several years in parish ministry in Maryland followed, along with responsibility for training Redemptorist students. During the Civil War, he went to Washington, D.C., and appealed to President Lincoln that those students not be drafted for military service, although, eventually, some were.
For several years, he preached in English and in German throughout the Midwest and in the Mid-Atlantic states. Assigned to St. Mary of the Assumption Church community in New Orleans, he served his Redemptorist confreres and parishioners with great zeal. In 1867, he died of yellow fever, having contracted that disease while visiting the sick. He was beatified in 2000.
Father Seelos worked in many different places but always with the same zeal: to help people know God's love and compassion. He preached about the works of mercy and then engaged in them, even risking his own health.
Dear Lord as I come to you today Fill my heart and my whole being with the wonder of Your presence
If God were trying to tell me something, would I know? If God were reassuring me or challenging me, would I notice? I ask for the grace to be free of my own preoccupations and open to what God may be saying to me.
In God's loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment. I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude. I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.
Brothers and sisters: If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6 R. (see Jn 8:12) Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life. 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. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life. 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. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life. 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. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Alleluia Jn 10:27 R. Alleluia, alleluia. My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord said: "Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others. Woe to you Pharisees! You love the seat of honor in synagogues and greetings in marketplaces. Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk."
Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, "Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too." And he said, "Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Once again, I let myself be impressed by the harshness of Jesus' words to the Pharisees. He must have found it very difficult to stomach religious hypocrisy, especially when it came from the leaders.
▪ He accuses lawyers of imposing heavy burdens on people and then not helping them carry them. I pray for the Church, for my religious leaders and for my religious community not to be guilty of such behaviour. May we be a sign of compassion and solidarity in a world where so many people carry very heavy burdens.
Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person Lord. I think I might say "Thank You Lord" for always being there for me. I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord. When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life.
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.
Skilled sailors know that in order to change course, all they need to do is nudge the boat forward in a series of small, gentle turns. While new sailors have a tendency to jerk the helm in one direction or another, seasoned sailors know that slight movements allow the wind to fill the sails and to do the bulk of the work.
You might say that the Galatians in today's first reading were like heavy-handed new sailors. They had turned away from paganism and were lurching toward full compliance with Jewish law and observances. But Paul showed them a better way. He reminded them they had received the Holy Spirit, who is a gentle guide. They could trust him to teach them and lead them in God's ways.
We could all do with more of the wind of the Holy Spirit. We could all benefit from a bit of "course correction" every now and then. So how do we adjust our helm to take advantage of the Holy Spirit's promptings?
First, listen. Try to notice the Spirit's voice. If you feel like you should offer someone an apology, that might be the Spirit's soft nudge. If you are curious about some aspect of the Bible and want to study it, go ahead! That could be the Spirit's movement. Maybe a fellow parishioner will ask you to get involved in a new way at your church. The Spirit might be showing you a new direction.
Then, respond. Say yes to the Spirit's direction, and you'll start seeing changes. The evidence of his guidance will come: you may find it easier to be patient with a child. You may find yourself able to hold your tongue or keep your peace when you're upset with your spouse. You may catch a judgmental thought about someone you don't like—and you may find it easier to change your thinking. These are the fruit of the Spirit that Paul talks about in today's reading. They are signs that you are on course.
Never doubt that the Holy Spirit is at work in you. Follow his promptings. Adjust yourself a little bit, and see what the wind of the Spirit can do!
"Come, Holy Spirit! Fill me, guide me, and blow through every area of my life!"
Today's Holy Scriptures began with "If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law." What law? The law of the world, the law of the flesh, the law of the immoral. What is proposed then, is the law of the opposite, the law of morals, and the laws of God's grace. And so today's 1st Holy scripture ended with "Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit." And all that was in between the first and last lines? Examples of sins, drunkenness, sex outside of marriage, and laziness, rage, hatred, and the licentiousness that this all entails even sorcery, horoscopes, witchcraft and so forth, no laws, living a life with no guides in morality, and these morals determine our immortality, the life after death that has no time, eternal. And can I throw this in there? Your thoughts are known, and every last word you say will be noted.
We pray today " Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life...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." Give no room for evil. Give more room for the Lord. And then ALL the room...your life.
In comes the Lord of our lives "Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others." You who are reading this, let me let you in on a secret, and it has everything to do with giving: the Lord had at one time in the beginning asked for tithes, first fruits. To this day, it has been moved away little by little. This is how you veer from faith, little by little. Yet, this is how you move to more faith, little by little, and sometimes with hops and skips. Tithing makes a tremendous difference. If you are a child, a married person, a single person, lay or clergy, tithing makes a tremendous difference. Lately I've been telling people that are broke to start tithing. Why? Why should you give what you don't have? It's like not having time for the Lord. And don't worry about that, because there is endless time when we die. So how little we spent for the Lord here will be magnified for better or worse when we die. So I said spend. Spend in the Lord first. Spend time, your precious time, give what is most precious to the Lord. Do not spend this precious gift on gossip (sin), ugly thoughts (sin) and on other gods of power, pleasure, and money. This is where the Pharisees were veering into...power tripping. Where the world focuses on self instead of Him, and we are speaking of your world today. The Lord says WOE, and this means you better stop it. "...you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God." Then the Pharisees said "Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too." AH HAA! You know what I see here? PRIDE. Power tripping. Next time you are insulted think of your pride being hurt. Yesterday I had an irate customer that as much as I let him talk, got more and more furious, and began cursing with very foul language and began threatening me and everyone I worked with. I tried to reason and make a deal, and we're talking about a grand total of about $100 or $200 for a day's worth of work we invested in for him with trucking and labor and fuel. The devil loves misery and misery loves company. Will you take the bait? "You have insulted US". Do you know that when there is a demonic possession of a soul, many evil spirits can reside in one person? "you have insulted US". And do you know how this comes to be? You allow it to be. There is a sin I read about as I reflected on today's scripture and it is called acedia, which basically means spiritual laziness. From our Catholic Catechism: 2755 Two frequent temptations threaten prayer: lack of faith and acedia—a form of depression stemming from lax ascetical practice that leads to discouragement. 2756 Filial trust is put to the test when we feel that our prayer is not always heard. The Gospel invites us to ask ourselves about the conformity of our prayer to the desire of the Spirit. 2757 "Pray constantly" (1 Thess 5:17) "You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them." You must practice what you preach. And let this weigh on your soul. Be what you desire to see for the Lord. Holiness and a true, authentic, and genuine love for God, with all your heart, mind, and soul.