Heavenly Father, I don't have to look very far—barely outside my front door—to see people who desperately need a word of hope, who need to know about you. Give me courage to open my mouth and share my faith with someone today.
† "The true measure of loving God is to love Him without measure." — St. Bernard of Clairvaux
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"Voluntary poverty restores to man the nobility of his condition, liberating him from vile servitude and reinstating him his noble freedom and mastery of all things. The soul is never more a mistress than when she despises them, and only then has she the more firm possession and makes the more excellent use of riches, when she gives them away or leaves them of her own free will; only then her appetite for them is best satiated, when she does not care to possess them. Then above all is the heart set free and made capable of the treasures of the Divinity, for which it is furnished by the Creator with almost infinite capacity." — Ven. Mary of Agreda, p. 85 AN EXCERPT FROM Mystical City of God
click to go there
Saint Leo the Great
Saint of the Day for November 10 (d. November 10, 461)
Saint Leo the Great's Story
With apparent strong conviction of the importance of the Bishop of Rome in the Church, and of the Church as the ongoing sign of Christ's presence in the world, Leo the Great displayed endless dedication as pope. Elected in 440, he worked tirelessly as "Peter's successor," guiding his fellow bishops as "equals in the episcopacy and infirmities."
Leo is known as one of the best administrative popes of the ancient Church. His work branched into four main areas, indicative of his notion of the pope's total responsibility for the flock of Christ. He worked at length to control the heresies of Pelagianism (overemphasizing human freedom), Manichaeism (seeing everything material as evil) and others, placing demands on their followers so as to secure true Christian beliefs.
A second major area of his concern was doctrinal controversy in the Church in the East, to which he responded with a classic letter setting down the Church's teaching on the two natures of Christ. With strong faith, he also led the defense of Rome against barbarian attack, taking the role of peacemaker.
In these three areas, Leo's work has been highly regarded. His growth to sainthood has its basis in the spiritual depth with which he approached the pastoral care of his people, which was the fourth focus of his work. He is known for his spiritually profound sermons. An instrument of the call to holiness, well-versed in Scripture and ecclesiastical awareness, Leo had the ability to reach the everyday needs and interests of his people. One of his sermons is used in the Office of Readings on Christmas.
It is said of Leo that his true significance rests in his doctrinal insistence on the mysteries of Christ and the Church and in the supernatural charisms of the spiritual life given to humanity in Christ and in his Body, the Church. Thus Leo held firmly that everything he did and said as pope for the administration of the Church represented Christ, the head of the Mystical Body, and Saint Peter, in whose place Leo acted.
At a time when there is widespread criticism of Church structures, we also hear criticism that bishops and priests—indeed, all of us—are too preoccupied with administration of temporal matters. Pope Leo is an example of a great administrator who used his talents in areas where spirit and structure are inseparably combined: doctrine, peace, and pastoral care. He avoided an "angelism" that tries to live without the body, as well as the "practicality" that deals only in externals.
I pause for a moment, aware that God is here. I think of how everything around me, the air I breathe, my whole body, is tingling with the the presence of God.
Lord, you granted me the great gift of freedom. In these times, O Lord, grant that I may be free From any form of racism or intolerance. Remind me, Lord, that we are all equal in your Loving eyes.
At this moment Lord I turn my thoughts to you. I will leave aside my chores and preoccupations. I will take rest and refreshment in your presence Lord.
The Word of God
Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church readings audio
Reading 1 Phlm 7-20
Beloved: I have experienced much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the holy ones have been refreshed by you, brother. Therefore, although I have the full right in Christ to order you to do what is proper, I rather urge you out of love, being as I am, Paul, an old man, and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus. I urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment, who was once useless to you but is now useful to both you and me. I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. I should have liked to retain him for myself, so that he might serve me on your behalf in my imprisonment for the Gospel, but I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary. Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother, beloved especially to me, but even more so to you, as a man and in the Lord. So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me. And if he has done you any injustice or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, write this in my own hand: I will pay. May I not tell you that you owe me your very self. Yes, brother, may I profit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 146:7, 8-9a, 9bc-10 R. (5a) Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob. or: R. Alleluia. The LORD secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets captives free.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob. or: R. Alleluia. The LORD gives sight to the blind. The LORD raises up those who were bowed down; the LORD loves the just. The LORD protects strangers.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob. or: R. Alleluia. The fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts. The LORD shall reign forever; your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 15:5 R. Alleluia, alleluia. I am the vine, you are the branches, says the Lord: whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 17:20-25
Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, "The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, 'Look, here it is,' or, 'There it is.' For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you."
Then he said to his disciples, "The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. There will be those who will say to you, 'Look, there he is,' or 'Look, here he is.' Do not go off, do not run in pursuit. For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ The Jews were expecting someone to be sent from God who would bring about the Kingdom of God on this earth – The Messiah. Jesus is for us The Messiah, who came among us. But as he told Pilate,' My kingdom is not of this world', but a kingdom of the Spirit.
▪ We can all partake of this Kingdom by living as Jesus taught us, by living a truly Christian life. His help is continually present to us in our journey of faith.
How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold? Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way? I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me, I turn and share my feelings with him.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)
Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while. (Philemon 15)
While he was a prisoner in Rome, Paul wrote this rather personal letter to Philemon, a fellow Christian and owner of a slave named Onesimus. Onesimus had fled from his master and gone to Rome where he was converted under Paul's ministry. Paul wanted the slave to return to Philemon, so he sent this letter along to help the two men reconcile.
As horrible as slavery is, it was an accepted part of the culture during Paul's time. Paul didn't attack the institution of slavery; small Christian communities in the Roman Empire were in no position to do so. Instead, Paul took a position that was revolutionary for his time. He asked his friend to receive Onesimus back, not as a slave, but as a brother in the Lord (Philemon 16).
Paul saw how unity in the body of Christ cuts across worldly position, occupation, socioeconomic status, race, and nationality. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).
We have been called to this same unity as brothers and sisters of the Lord. Tragically, slavery still exists in many parts of the world. Division and prejudice are everywhere—even within our parishes and our families. So often, we separate ourselves from others simply because of their race, nationality, occupation, politics, educational background, or social status. And each instance of division saddens the Lord a little bit more.
Paul encouraged Philemon to see Onesimus as his brother in Christ. We, too, need to see each other in the same way. Because of Jesus' death and resurrection, the barriers of sin that divide us have been broken down. And because Jesus has poured his Spirit into our hearts, it is now possible for all of us to come together.
How can you help make this dream of unity a reality? Maybe you can focus on one relationship that you can help to reconcile. Maybe you can ask God for a greater outpouring of the Spirit in your parish to bring people closer together. Maybe you can fast from one meal a week as a way of praying for unity between the churches.
"Jesus, you hate division. By your Holy Spirit, empower us to love one another. Lord, make us one."
We heard today the Word of the Lord: "I have experienced much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the holy ones have been refreshed by you...". I recall the scripture Mt10:42 "And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward." A cup of refreshment, because God is the cup of water to a thirsty soul. I want to give God to you, then, I want to give love to you. And the reward is freedom, from bondage which is slavery, and in today's world, there is a slavery and bondage to an evil lust and desire. I say this so that what is being offered extinguishes those fires and turns on the light for Christ. Because today, the innocent products of this slavery are the unborn, and so they are without a voice, and without a choice, and are denied human rights. Only because they can not speak, death is brought to them. And now this death is extending to the elderly and to the sickly and now, into the next vulnerable...the spiritless, those without a spirit for the Lord, those who you are called to reach out to right now, and what great courage this will take, to swim against the current, to do what no one will do, to love like no other can love. We prayed today "Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob." and "The LORD secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry." Saint Paul became a voice for Onesimus. He became One-with-Us. The Spirit of the Lord sets us free. St. Paul became the voice for the oppressed. We too can become the voice for the slaves of today, being traded for dollars, being slaughtered, those poor slaves of the trade of sex, those poor slaves that have no one to set them free, to live, and to love, and perpetuate what God has set forth. "The fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts." And never forget "The LORD gives sight to the blind. The LORD raises up those who were bowed down; the LORD loves the just." He has come to give sight, to raise up, and to love the just, the Holy. And how come the Holy, and is it only the Holy Ones? Does a mother not love her son when he is in prison? Or does the son in prison not love his mother as he ought, to have obeyed, to have loved enough to listen? It is never the love taken away from him, but it was his love taken away from her.
Today, the Lord speaks "The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed" that is to say, your earthly eyes can not see what He sees, unless the grace of God can give you a glimpse. " and no one will announce, 'Look, here it is,' or, 'There it is.', lest there be a false prophet among you, leading away from the truth of the Word of the Lord our God! "For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you." And the call is made out now to our hearts, because if this is God calling, everything else in life must take second place. And if God is first, those among you shall be served as the Lord Himself. Like St. Mother Teresa of Calcuta once said as she went to a restroom to inspect, and once seeing how spotless it was, she smiled and said "someone must really love Jesus". Such tenderness, such joy. Such a refreshment to the soul. And it's back to work for the Lord, because His Kingdom is among us. That is why we pray His prayer "on earth as it is in Heaven". That is why the Lord revealed to me that eternity will be a reflection of what we lived and how we lived on earth...either lost, or either found. Either lived for self, or lived for Him. Either darkness, or either light. Either entering into His joy or entering into eternal sadness.
My encouragement to you is this: Live as if tomorrow is not promised.
Live as if the Lord is hugging you really tight right now, and the only way to not explode from so much love is to love back by loving every soul you encounter. And if you truly love, you will want Heaven for them and do whatever it takes, even to act the fool to the world, swimming against the currents that lead to a fall. May God Bless you on your way with the WAY