Blessed Mary Frances Schervier
This woman who once wanted to become a Trappistine nun was instead led by God to establish a community of sisters who care for the sick and aged in the United States and throughout the world. Born into a distinguished family in Aachen (then ruled by Prussia but formerly Aix-la-Chapelle, France), Frances ran the household after her mother's death and established a reputation for generosity to the poor. In 1844 she became a Secular Franciscan. The next year she and four companions established a religious community devoted to caring for the poor. In 1851 the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis (a variant of the original name) were approved by the local bishop; the community soon spread. The first U.S. foundation was made in 1858. Mother Frances visited the United States in 1863 and helped her sisters nurse soldiers wounded in the Civil War. She visited the United States again in 1868. When Philip Hoever was establishing the Brothers of the Poor of St. Francis, she encouraged him. When Mother Frances died, there were 2,500 members of her community worldwide. They are still engaged in operating hospitals and homes for the aged. Mother Mary Frances was beatified in 1974.
Born into a distinguished family in Aachen (then ruled by Prussia but formerly Aix-la-Chapelle, France), Frances ran the household after her mother's death and established a reputation for generosity to the poor. In 1844 she became a Secular Franciscan. The next year she and four companions established a religious community devoted to caring for the poor. In 1851 the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis (a variant of the original name) were approved by the local bishop; the community soon spread. The first U.S. foundation was made in 1858.
Mother Frances visited the United States in 1863 and helped her sisters nurse soldiers wounded in the Civil War. She visited the United States again in 1868. When Philip Hoever was establishing the Brothers of the Poor of St. Francis, she encouraged him.
When Mother Frances died, there were 2,500 members of her community worldwide. They are still engaged in operating hospitals and homes for the aged. Mother Mary Frances was beatified in 1974.
The sick, the poor and the aged are constantly in danger of being considered "useless" members of society and therefore ignored—or worse. Women and men motivated by the ideals of Mother Frances are needed if the God-given dignity and destiny of all people are to be respected.
In 1868, Mother Frances wrote to all her sisters, reminding them of Jesus' words: "You are my friends if you do what I command you.... I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another" (John 15:14,17).
She continued: "If we do this faithfully and zealously, we will experience the truth of the words of our father St. Francis who says that love lightens all difficulties and sweetens all bitterness. We will likewise partake of the blessing which St. Francis promised to all his children, both present and future, after having admonished them to love one another even as he had loved them and continues to love them."
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M
I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....
Lord, may I never take the gift
Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I look honestly over the last day, its events and my feelings. Do I have something to be grateful for? Then I give thanks. Is there something I am sorry for? Then I ask forgiveness.
The Word of God
Reading 1 nm 24:2-7, 15-17a
When Balaam raised his eyes and saw Israel encamped, tribe by tribe,
Responsorial Psalm ps 25:4-5ab, 6 and 7bc, 8-9
R. (4) Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Alleluia Ps 85:8
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel mt 21:23-27
When Jesus had come into the temple area,
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Conversation requires talking and listening. As I talk to Jesus may I also learn to be still and listen. I picture the gentleness in his eyes and the smile full of love as he gazes on me. I can be totally honest with Jesus as I tell him of my worries and my cares. I will open up my heart to him as I tell him of my fears and my doubts. I will ask him to help me to place myself fully in his care, to abandon myself to him, knowing that he always wants what is best for me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Meditation: Matthew 21:23-27
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3rd Week of Advent
By what authority are you doing these things? (Matthew 21:23)
Dancers glide and spin with a grace and agility that dazzle those of us who struggle to touch our toes. We know they have found some new way of moving, but we have a hard time following their example. The same can be said about how God thinks. When Jesus came demonstrating a new vision about God, many people struggled. Steeped in their beloved traditions, they questioned Jesus' authority to speak so openly and freely. But the real problem was that they were too rigid in their ideas, and they couldn't handle the new things he was saying and doing.
Because these people favored their time-honored interpretations over everything else, they lost sight of how kind and flexible, generous and compassionate God is. So they saw Jesus as an enemy rather than a friend. They saw his words as a threat to the status quo rather than an invitation to a new and deeper experience of God.
We too can struggle to accept God's thoughts, especially when it means setting aside our own preconceptions. Think, for instance, of the renewal of the Church that St. John XXIII inaugurated with the Second Vatican Council. When the Council opened fifty years ago, few areas of ministry were open to lay Catholics. Since that time, however, laypeople have been able to take up so much of the Lord's work that it's practically miraculous! But there have always been a small group of people who view these new openings with a mixture of fear and worry.
God is always inviting us into a newer, deeper, more liberating relationship with him. Jesus came into this world to make this kind of relationship possible for you. You have only to be willing to set aside your well-worn thoughts and ways for his new paths. You have only to prefer his ways, even when they seem unfamiliar or new. Don't resist. Don't be surprised if God does something unexpected. Always remember: he is a creative, surprising, untamed God. He has every right to shake us up at times—all for the sake of bringing us closer to him!
"Father, your thoughts and ways are greater, kinder, and more creative than mine. I accept your invitation to a new understanding of your love and plan."
Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17
From Today's 5minutos:
"The First Scripture of this day shows Balaan, Prophet and pagan diviner that has before him the encampment of the Israelites by pace through the desert towards the promised land. And instead of cursing, by the Spirit of the Lord and although his, Someone important would reign over Israel and over numerous cities/people. This prophecy, the eclessial tradition has been understood as referring to the Mesiah Jesus, whose coming we await. The Gospel, at the time, comes to say that nobody is so deaf as the one who does not want to hear it. Of this type of persons were the jewish leaders that, while Jesus taught in the temple of Jerusalem, they would ask: With what authority do you do this? And, without doubt they were referring not just to His teaching, but also the acts/doings in His life. To these Jesus would reply: I will also ask you a question and if you answer I will tell you with what authority I do this. Does the Baptism of John come from Heaven or man? They simply answered: we do not know, so they wouldn't have to comit themselves. They did not want to accept the ways/paths that Jesus showed. Lord, you came to yours and they did not receive you. You come to us, and many times we do not accept You either. Change us, Lord, inside according to the style of Your mercy and tenderness, so that we are capable of surprising ourselves every day and follow your ways under your provident action and faithful presence. Today we pray/beseech/supplicate: illuminate, Father, the darkness of our spirit with the grace of the coming of your Son. Amen. "
The Star of Jacob would show the way. Jacob was encountered by an angel in his life, even wrestled and Jacob's was broken, and the Spirit blessed Him. Jacob would then have a vision of angels climing up and down a ladder, and he named the place Bethel. From Beth"lehem", came Jesus. The house of bread, the house of Jacob; Jesus. Jesus is the light of the sky, greater than any gods as the wise men had summized by the brightness of the star. And their attitude was one of learning. The Psalm prays "Teach me your ways O Lord". Yet sometimes I wonder if we really want to learn? Did the Pharisees really want to know what they asked the Lord? And so like all of us that show up to Church, a Holy Mass, do we REALLY want to learn or receive Christ? My little 6 yr. old boy asked me yesterday about wanting to race "it doesn't matter if you win or lose right dad?". I said, "well that's kind of the point, your supposed to try to win son". This whole notion of everyone can do their own thing and still win is hogwash, and I'm talking about salvation. Of course its not our merits (things we do) that will solely get us salvation, but the grace of God ultimately has the final answer. Yet we have to be disposed, otherwise, what's the point? The Star points the way, and I capitalize the S in star because the star we are speaking of is our Lord Jesus. Millions of people went out to buy the book "Purpose Driven Life" by Mr. Warren, a pastor, and I could see why people would by it, just the title alone shows what people are after...a purpose of their life.
Now look to the Star of Jacob. As He shows the way, we learn and walk, then we too must show the way for others to learn and walk. Atop of our china cabinet I set a new unwrapped bible that was being covered by miscelaneous items on a corner table, so I took everything off and set it on high so nothing would ever cover it again...except dust, as my oldest daughter asked me yesterday "how come we don't read that bible every day?" after I had said I already read scripture every day. Oh sure, daddy is reading lots but not sharing lots. Oh sure daddy is sharing with workers, at the church, anywhere but home...I guess. So it is like an unsettling thorn, and this is a prompt to move, to action, like the wise men that set pace towards Bethlehem. The time is now to move, it is not a time settle down, but to set on Christ our hearts.
Or else...what kind of question will I be asking the Lord when asking for truth? Do I really want to hear it? Do I really want to live it?
Or else again...what kind of gift will I be taking to the Lord when you and me finally see Him