The three vows that Saint Francis took—poverty, chastity, and obedience—were the same as those that monks had taken for centuries. However, he lived without the safety net that most monks had in their monasteries. If working with his hands did not earn enough to live on, Francis begged. But first the friars had to work hard and live simply. They did not wait for people to come to them. The friars went to the people and preached the word of God that too often was not preached effectively. Today, we "preach" by the way we live out the Gospel in our own lives.
—from Pat McCloskey, OFM, author of the book Peace and Good: Through the Year with Francis of
✞ "Holiness consists simply in doing God's will, and being just what God wants us to be." — St. Therese of Lisieux
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Through the sacraments of Christian initiation, man receives the new life of Christ. Now we carry this life 'in earthen vessels', and it remains 'hidden with Christ in God'. We are still in our 'earthly tent', subject to suffering, illness, and death. This new life as a child of God can be weakened and even lost by sin. The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health, has willed that his Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, his work of healing and salvation, even among her own members. This is the purpose of the two sacraments of healing: the sacrament of Penance and the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick." — (CCC, 1420-21) AN EXCERPT FROM Catechism of the Catholic Church
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will make your vindication shine like the light, and the justice of your cause like the noonday. Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices." Psalm 37:5-7
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Blessed Pope Paul VI
Saint of the Day for September 26
(September 26, 1897 – August 6, 1978)
Born near Brescia in northern Italy, Giovanni Battista Montini was the second of three sons. His father, Giorgio, was a lawyer, editor, and eventually a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. His mother, Giuditta, was very involved in Catholic Action.
After ordination in 1920, Giovanni did graduate studies in literature, philosophy, and canon law in Rome before he joined the Vatican Secretariat of State in 1924, where he worked for 30 years. He was also chaplain to the Federation of Italian Catholic University Students, where he met and became a very good friend of Aldo Moro, who eventually became prime minister. Moro was kidnapped by the Red Brigade in March 1978, and murdered two months later. A devastated Pope Paul VI presided at his funeral.
In 1954, Fr. Montini was named archbishop of Milan, where he sought to win disaffected workers back to the Catholic Church. He called himself the "archbishop of the workers" and visited factories regularly while overseeing the rebuilding of a local Church tremendously disrupted by World War II.
In 1958, Montini was the first of 23 cardinals named by Pope John XXIII, two months after the latter's election as pope. Cardinal Montini helped in preparing Vatican II and participated enthusiastically in its first sessions. When he was elected pope in June 1963, he immediately decided to continue that Council, which had another three sessions before its conclusion on December 8, 1965. The day before Vatican II concluded, Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras revoked the excommunications that their predecessors had made in 1054. The pope worked very hard to ensure that bishops would approve the Council's 16 documents by overwhelming majorities.
Paul VI had stunned the world by visiting the Holy Land in January 1964, and meeting Athenagoras, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in person. The pope made eight more international trips, including one in 1965, to visit New York City and speak on behalf of peace before the United Nations General Assembly. He also visited India, Columbia, Uganda, and seven Asian countries during a 10-day tour in 1970.
Also in 1965, he instituted the World Synod of Bishops, and the next year decreed that bishops must offer their resignations on reaching age 75. In 1970, he decided that cardinals over 80 would no longer vote in papal conclaves or head the Holy See's major offices. He had increased the number of cardinals significantly, giving many countries their first cardinal. Eventually establishing diplomatic relations between the Holy See and 40 countries, he also instituted a permanent observer mission at the United Nations in 1964. Paul VI wrote seven encyclicals; his last one in 1968 on human life–Humanae Vitae–prohibited artificial birth control.
Pope Paul VI died at Castel Gandolfo on August 6, 1978, and was buried in St. Peter's Basilica. He was beatified on October 19, 2014.
Blessed Pope Paul's greatest accomplishment was the completion and implementation of Vatican II. Its decisions about liturgy were the first ones noticed by most Catholics, but its other documents—especially the ones about ecumenism, interfaith relations, divine revelation, religious liberty, the Church's self-understanding and the Church's work with the entire human family—have become the Catholic Church's road map since 1965.
Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 450
Reading 1 EZR 6:7-8, 12B, 14-20
King Darius issued an order to the officials of West-of-Euphrates: "Let the governor and the elders of the Jews continue the work on that house of God; they are to rebuild it on its former site. I also issue this decree concerning your dealing with these elders of the Jews in the rebuilding of that house of God: From the royal revenue, the taxes of West-of-Euphrates, let these men be repaid for their expenses, in full and without delay. I, Darius, have issued this decree; let it be carefully executed."
The elders of the Jews continued to make progress in the building, supported by the message of the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, son of Iddo. They finished the building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus and Darius and of Artaxerxes, king of Persia. They completed this house on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. The children of Israel–priests, Levites, and the other returned exiles– celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. For the dedication of this house of God, they offered one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, and four hundred lambs, together with twelve he-goats as a sin-offering for all Israel, in keeping with the number of the tribes of Israel. Finally, they set up the priests in their classes and the Levites in their divisions for the service of God in Jerusalem, as is prescribed in the book of Moses.
The exiles kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. The Levites, every one of whom had purified himself for the occasion, sacrificed the Passover for the rest of the exiles, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.
Responsorial Psalm PS 122:1-2, 3-4AB, 4CD-5
R. (1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. I rejoiced because they said to me, "We will go up to the house of the LORD." And now we have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem. R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. Jerusalem, built as a city with compact unity. To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD. R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. According to the decree for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. In it are set up judgment seats, seats for the house of David. R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Alleluia LK 11:28
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel LK 8:19-21
The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him but were unable to join him because of the crowd. He was told, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you." He said to them in reply, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it."
Meditation: Ezra 6:7-8, 12, 14-20
Saints Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs (Optional Memorial)
King Darius issued an order. (Ezra 6:7)
The Bible is filled with examples of unlikely heroes. When Samuel went to anoint a king for Israel, he chose David, the youngest and least likely of Jesse's seven sons. When it was time for Jesus to become man, God chose Mary, a poor, little-known girl from Nazareth, to be his mother. And as today's reading shows, God even uses unbelievers to advance his plan. When it was time for his people to finish rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem, he chose the pagan King Darius to make it happen!
The Jews were returning to Jerusalem from exile. They had started rebuilding the Temple when Cyrus was king of Persia. But when Cyrus died, foot-dragging, foreign interference, and political complications halted work for about fifteen years. What could get them back on track? The decree of a new king.
Darius was not intentionally following a prophetic word from God when he made his decree; he was making a political calculation. It's probably fair to say his plans for the Jews were not the same as what God had in mind. But that didn't stop God from blessing the king's order and using it to bring about the reconstruction of the Temple.
It just goes to show, sometimes God sends help from unexpected places. Even this pagan king could help pave the way for the fulfillment of God's plan. He didn't have to be perfect; he didn't have to understand God's intentions; he didn't even have to be a believer. God was not confined by the king's limitations; in spite of them all, the Temple was rebuilt in Jerusalem—thanks to King Darius!
That's just the way God operates. Even today, he uses unlikely characters like Darius and David and Mary to bring about his plans. Maybe you are mired in a problem that you can't resolve, but an offhand comment from a friend who doesn't go to church shows you the way out. Maybe seeing two of your children playing nicely together (for once!) gives you a new insight into Jesus' call to love one another. Or maybe, just maybe, your example at work impresses a coworker so much that she starts asking about your faith. You never know what God will do.
"Lord, you can work through anyone. I believe even I can be essential to your kingdom."
Psalm 122:1-5 Luke 8:19-21
The First Holy Scripture said at one point "...continue the work on that house of God". In the cursillo we hear the words "I am the Church, you are the Church, we are the Church".
We pray today "I rejoiced because they said to me, "We will go up to the house of the LORD." When I go to a cursillo or to a Mass, this is the attitude I go in, happy to be called, rejoice at the call, and on the way, the journey to the ultimate trip to Heaven....
In comes our Lord found in the Mass of people and saying "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it." Yes it is true and it goes way deep. I told a brother (In CHRIST) because I don't have blood brothers, last night I said "I take joy to hear you are getting along better with your wife, that makes me feel better....more whole" and I said that I noticed another cousin, a couple were eating together.... I thought they were separated never to reunite again and with their only child; I said "that makes me feel healed, reunited, joined together, because we are in this as a whole..as a mass." And this is the Body of Christ. Those who come to Him, listen to Him, and move on His behalf.
Because there are many of us who hear the word and do not act on it: This is why on Sunday we will hear the parable of the two sons, one who said yes, and did not listen to their father, and the other who originally said no, but eventually obeyed. These who act on it are in the book of acts being co-missioned, that is to say in partnership with the Lord. With a willing body, He moves, with a willing spirit, He speaks, with a willing mind, He accomplishes great things for what it is set out for. Today, Jesus calls us "His family". Those who love Him and are one with Him. Those of us who act on His every word. The bible calls us to action. We must relive the Bible, we must live it out over and over again, the words of our Lord Jesus are of everlasting impact, and life.
The other day, I noticed an older man with a suitcase on a corner of a street. Just standing there at a red light, with a bucket and window cleaner. So I drove passed. On the way back home, this time, he had his thumb up as if looking for a ride. I passed him again, LOL, until my mind listened to my Spirit, and my body followed suit. I went around and finally stopped on the busy intersection and asked if he wanted a ride and he said yes he was wanting to go to the next town. I told him to hop in. As we travelled the 25 minute ride to the destination we spoke and I told him we should have a homeless shelter in our town (because I realized he was homeless). He said he was 69 years old. We kept on talking up a storm but all the while he was talking, the bible was talking to me, Scriptures, of the good samaritan especially. What did he do? He took him to the hotel, and left extra money, and made sure he was taken care of. I did just that. Checked in a motel. I helped him settle in his room. He was really grateful. I said "wait up, I got something for you" and went into my truck and got the vision of cash I had received and gave it to him. He was astounded, with head kind of tilted and mouth kind of open, (he had no teeth, one of the many things we talked about), and his look said it all...amazement. God provides. And so, a couple days later, my wife gets stranded coming from another town, and I was busy and was about to go help her fix her flat when a brother (in Jesus Christ) says he seen her and asked if everything ok. I had deeply inside yearned for an angel to help them get off that same busy highway. Before I knew it, they were safely on their way. God provides. The Mass is alive. Yesterday it was nearing 3pm and I had not eaten all day, and was following my uncle/coworker to lunch in my own truck out the parking lot. I noticed a vehicle pull up and as I passed them on my way rushing out, I heard them honk. I said 'no that's not for me' playing it off, playing dumb. I look in the rearview mirror and I see who it was, this lady of a child with a crippling disease we been helping for years, spinal bifida I believe. I stepped on the gas, LOL, I am ashamed to say, I pass on, my "No" to the Lord. But my heart listens to the Spirit as I am rushing on the highway I call the office "help these people, I'm sure they just want donation again". My friend/coworker says "no I forgot to tell you, the little girl is on a walker and with leg braces and were wanting to show you her first footsteps" and she is 9 years old, I know this and witnessed this because when I heard this I slammed the brakes and busted a U-turn on that busy highway (of life). So I saw the little girl, we all spoke briefly, her donated walker was too tall and they'd be travelling to Dallas for yet another round of hospital visits, this time to size up crutches and a walker. As they said farewell, I got another vision of money, now I had to do this. I go look in my office for my saved cash, and when I come outside, no one is there but I knew they were going with my coworker/friend/brother in Christ to fuel up. I see them and stop and open the door to their car "Here" I said, "go to a toy store and get something". A huge smile came upon her face. I have read that this disease won't let you live pass 20 years of age if that long. And me and my wife have 7 kids, some are this age. It was heart wrenching. So I left. When the coworker joins us to finally eat lunch, he said "you know what they said when you left?" No. "They said that the little girl said "mommy I can finally buy shoes!".
I guess she's not worn shoes and I don't know. The purpose of the stories are for one thing. The bible comes alive, God comes alive, Jesus comes alive when we are moved to become this Christ. In a spanish reflection today at the end in part, it spoke of our Blessed Mother in prayer "Today I ask you Virgin Mary, that you help me receive the Word to give it flesh, to give it life. You know I am far away from these excellencies, that is, to see life as an engendering of Jesus in the world. I, a poor sinner, so immersed in a thousand things...." You who have ears ought to hear. Ears for God. Ears ready to act, which is the act of listening, as a dog or a slave ready to move at the call of our Master. A brother said "I am wanting to know how God wants to use me and my talents". I meant to reply but never did as the dinner and conversation went on....."you will know when you simply follow"