It is no accident that Jesus connects God's work with faith in him. The way one best proclaims his or her faith is by good works, for actions really can speak louder than words.
–from God Is Not Fair
† "Cheerfulness prepares a glorious mind for all the noblest acts." — St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞ "Our first duty, therefore, precisely in order to heal this world, is to be holy, configured to God; in this way we emanate a healing and transforming power that also acts on others, on history. . . In this regard, it us useful to reflect that the Twelve Apostles were not perfect men, chosen for their moral and religious irreproachability. They were indeed believers, full of enthusiasm and zeal but at the same time marked by their human limitations, which were sometimes even serious. Therefore Jesus did not call them because they were already holy, complete, perfect, but so that they might become so, so that they might thereby also transform history, as it is for us, as it is for all Christians." — Pope Benedict XVI, p. 45 AN EXCERPT FROM Take Five
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Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher
Saint of the Day for October 13 (October 6, 1811 – October 6, 1849)
Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher's Story
Canada was one diocese from coast to coast during the first eight years of Marie-Rose Durocher's life. Its half-million Catholics had received civil and religious liberty from the English only 44 years before. When Marie-Rose was 29, Bishop Ignace Bourget became bishop of Montreal. He would be a decisive influence in her life.
He faced a shortage of priests and sisters and a rural population that had been largely deprived of education. Like his counterparts in the United States, Bishop Bourget scoured Europe for help and himself founded four communities, one of which was the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Its first sister and reluctant co-foundress was Marie-Rose.
She was born in a little village near Montreal in 1811, the 10th of 11 children. She had a good education, was something of a tomboy, rode a horse named Caesar and could have married well. At 16, she felt the desire to become a religious but was forced to abandon the idea because of her weak constitution. At 18, when her mother died, her priest brother invited her and her father to come to his parish in Beloeil, not far from Montreal.
For 13 years, she served as housekeeper, hostess, and parish worker. She became well known for her graciousness, courtesy, leadership, and tact; she was, in fact, called "the saint of Beloeil." Perhaps she was too tactful during two years when her brother treated her coldly.
As a young woman, she had hoped there would someday be a community of teaching sisters in every parish, never thinking she would found one. But her spiritual director, Fr. Pierre Telmon, O.M.I., after thoroughly (and severely) leading her in the spiritual life, urged her to found a community herself. Bishop Bourget concurred, but Marie-Rose shrank from the prospect. She was in poor health and her father and her brother needed her.
She finally agreed and, with two friends, Melodie Dufresne and Henriette Cere, entered a little home in Longueuil, across the Saint Lawrence River from Montreal. With them were 13 young girls already assembled for boarding school. Longueuil became her Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Gethsemani. She was 32 and would live only six more years—years filled with poverty, trials, sickness, and slander. The qualities she had nurtured in her "hidden" life came forward—a strong will, intelligence and common sense, great inner courage, and, yet, a great deference to directors. Thus was born an international congregation of women religious dedicated to education in the faith.
She was severe with herself and by today's standards quite strict with her sisters. Beneath it all, of course, was an unshakable love of her crucified Savior.
On her deathbed, the prayers most frequently on her lips were "Jesus, Mary, Joseph! Sweet Jesus, I love you. Jesus, be to me Jesus!" Before she died, she smiled and said to the sister with her, "Your prayers are keeping me here—let me go."
She was beatified in 1982. Reflection
We have seen a great burst of charity, a genuine interest in the poor. Countless Christians have experienced a deep form of prayer. But penance? We squirm when we read of terrible physical penance done by people like Marie-Rose. That is not for most people, of course. But the pull of a materialistic culture oriented to pleasure and entertainment is impossible to resist without some form of deliberate and Christ-conscious abstinence. That is part of the way to answer Jesus' call to repent and turn completely to God.
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the holy ones who are in Ephesus and faithful in Christ Jesus: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.
In Christ we have redemption by his Blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4, 5-6 R. (2a) The Lord has made known his salvation. Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds; His right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation. The LORD has made his salvation known: in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God. Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands; break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation. Sing praise to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and melodious song. With trumpets and the sound of the horn sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
Alleluia Jn 14:6 R. Alleluia, alleluia. I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father except through me. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 11:47-54
The Lord said: "Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets whom your fathers killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building. Therefore, the wisdom of God said, 'I will send to them prophets and Apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute' in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood! Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter." When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Violence and religion is a hot topic for all times, including our own. It is not so easy to dismiss the topic, nor see it only in 'the others'. Yet justifying violence by reference to God or his will ranks as one of the most serious forms of blasphemy. We humbly acknowledge that we form part of this violent history; as I ask for pardon and mercy I recall that Jesus himself was a victim of religiously inspired violence.
▪ Today I pray for the Christian communities who are suffering persecution in so many parts of the world. I pray especially for the Christians in the Middle East where Christianity first appeared and where it is running the real risk of disappearing.
Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in you? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story you have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface of your consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to you?
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.
. . . every spiritual blessing in the heavens. (Ephesians 1:3)
On his thirteenth birthday, a boy opened a large package from his father. Wide-eyed with wonder, he lifted out a fully equipped toolbox. "Wow! Thanks, Dad!" he exclaimed. Then he put it aside and turned to open his next gift.
Fast-forward ten years. That boy, now a young man, has just moved into his first home and discovers several small problems, including a loose doorknob and a leaky sink. "What am I going to do?" he wonders. Although he has lugged the toolbox down to the basement, he has never opened it. He has no idea how to use any of the tools. He never took time to learn by working alongside his father or experimenting with the tools on his own. As a result, some of those once new tools have become rusty from disuse.
St. Paul tells us we are God's adopted sons and daughters. Like the father in the story above, God has given us a fully equipped tool chest. We have the sacraments, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the fruits of the Spirit. Whether we need to "fix a leak" in our hearts because we haven't been consistent in prayer, "mend a fence" in a relationship, or "build a bridge" between ourselves and a co-worker, our spiritual toolbox has what we need.
It's a good thing God doesn't hand us a toolbox and then leave us on our own to figure everything out. He offers to teach us the craft of holiness, as a mentor would teach an apprentice. He can show us what instrument works best in each situation. We still have a part to play, but as we labor alongside him, we can become more comfortable with his tools. We may make mistakes once in a while, but over time we become more discerning about what to do and how to do it.
So don't let your spiritual toolbox sit on a shelf and gather dust! Open it, and look at what's inside. Take out one tool, and work with it today. The more you use your tools, the more you'll be able to fix not only your own house, but your neighbors' houses as well.
"Father, I want to learn from you. Teach me how to use the tools you've given me."
In the first Holy Scripture we heard at one part "... he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him." It goes back to the scripture "before I formed you in the womb, I knew you". And "He knit me in my mother's womb". He who would form us, already knew us, and we would know to be chosen, and chosen for what? Look at Christ on the cross. That is what. Holy. Without blemish before the Lord. Sinless as we could be, and desire to be with His grace as He desires us to be. We pray today "The LORD has made his salvation known: in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel." And remember the key element of this exaltation: Mercy. For the Lord says "I desire mercy more than sacrifice" because mercy is the ultimate sacrifice, a gift of love, that is rich and available, yet very poorly given. And so we have the Lord approached by the "keepers of the law" those "keepers of the religion" that wound up keeping God from the people. And inadvertently keeping Mercy from the people, and Love from the people. Can you imagine a world, in my Catholic world, without confession? Where we can obtain mercy? Can you imagine a Church without the love of God? It existed and persists to exist to this day, and why? Because people and their weakness. Not only do the keepers keep it out, but the people do not desire mercy, nor God's love. I find myself in ministries perplexed, people don't desire God, are not hungry for God, perhaps deep inside they are, but as much as I invite them, they just will not respond. They do not respond to years of invitations, and months of prayers. Perhaps it will take years of prayers and months of invitations with love. So it is impossible to point the finger, as to who's fault it is that God is not in our lives. We can not ask the Lord like the traitors "surely it is not I Lord...is it?" Notice the Lord say today "You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter." If you yourself wills not, how will your loved ones will the Lord into their lives? If you yourself are showing the way away from Him, how will your loved ones be saved? You must be the light of holiness. You must be the most perfect in Holiness. You must be the one with least sin. You must be the Christ in your world. You must save. You must be merciful. You must be love. And how? Simply reach to Him for the grace. And He will come with the embrace!