St. John Joseph of the Cross
Self-denial is never an end in itself but is only a help toward greater charity—as the life of St. John Joseph shows. John Joseph was very ascetic even as a young man. At 16 he joined the Franciscans in Naples; he was the first Italian to follow the reform movement of St. Peter Alcantara. John Joseph's reputation for holiness prompted his superiors to put him in charge of establishing a new friary even before he was ordained. Obedience moved John Joseph to accept appointments as novice master, guardian and, finally, provincial. His years of mortification enabled him to offer these services to the friars with great charity. As guardian he was not above working in the kitchen or carrying the wood and water needed by the friars. When his term as provincial expired, John Joseph dedicated himself to hearing confessions and practicing mortification, two concerns contrary to the spirit of the dawning Age of Enlightenment. John Joseph was canonized in 1839.
John Joseph was very ascetic even as a young man. At 16 he joined the Franciscans in Naples; he was the first Italian to follow the reform movement of St. Peter Alcantara. John Joseph's reputation for holiness prompted his superiors to put him in charge of establishing a new friary even before he was ordained.
Obedience moved John Joseph to accept appointments as novice master, guardian and, finally, provincial. His years of mortification enabled him to offer these services to the friars with great charity. As guardian he was not above working in the kitchen or carrying the wood and water needed by the friars.
When his term as provincial expired, John Joseph dedicated himself to hearing confessions and practicing mortification, two concerns contrary to the spirit of the dawning Age of Enlightenment. John Joseph was canonized in 1839.
John Joseph's mortification allowed him to be the kind of forgiving superior intended by St. Francis. Self-denial should lead us to charity—not to bitterness; it should help us clarify our priorities and make us more loving. John Joseph is living proof of Chesterton's observation: "It is always easy to let the age have its head; the difficult thing is to keep one's own" (G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, page 101).
"And by this I wish to know if you love the Lord God and me, his servant and yours—if you have acted in this manner: that is, there should not be any brother in the world who has sinned, however much he may have possibly sinned, who, after he has looked into your eyes, would go away without having received your mercy, if he is looking for mercy. And if he were not to seek mercy, you should ask him if he wants mercy. And if he should sin thereafter a thousand times before your very eyes, love him more than me so that you may draw him back to the Lord. Always be merciful to such as these" (St. Francis, Letter to a Minister).
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
To be present is to arrive as one is and open up to the other.
God is not foreign to my freedom.
How do I find myself today?
Thursday of the Second Week of Lent
Reading 1 Jer 17:5-10
Thus says the LORD:
Responsorial Psalm PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6
R. (40:5a) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Verse Before the Gospel See Lk 8:15
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
Gospel Lk 16:19-31
Jesus said to the Pharisees:
Listen to audio of this reading
Watch a video reflection
Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels. May I respond to your call today. Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Meditation: Jeremiah 17:5-10
Subscriber? Login to view archives.
2nd Week of Lent
I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart. (Jeremiah 17:10)
Jumping off the high dive or watching your child drive off by himself for the first time—events like these can be exhilarating and unnerving at the same time. The same can be said of the thought behind the above verse. It is exciting to learn that God knows what you mean, how you think, and what you truly intend, even when everyone else misunderstands you. He knows your difficulties and supports your efforts to love and serve him. But there's also something unsettling in the way that God sees everything in your heart—even those things you want to hide forever. There's no point in trying to fool the One who is all-knowing!
It's good to know that when God probes us, he is more like a surgeon working with a scalpel than a lumberjack wielding a blunt ax. The light he shines on your life is as warm as the glow of the sun, not the cold glare of searchlights. Carefully, gently, he uncovers the thoughts and intentions of your heart. Skillfully he separates doubts and defenses, hopes and desires, purposes and attitudes. Even when he reveals something that needs to change, he is quick to assure you of his love and to remind you of all that is good in you. He doesn't probe just to point out flaws; he does it so that he can bring you into a deeper relationship with him.
Lent is a good time to let the Lord probe your mind and test your heart. If the thought of doing that gives you pause or fills you with fear, take a minute and remind yourself who is doing the probing: the One who died to bring you eternal life. You are precious and honored in his eyes!
God is endlessly patient with us. He extends his forgiveness and grace in outrageous abundance. He is rich in truth, but also in love. So open your heart to him today. Sit quietly with him in prayer, and ponder a short Scripture passage, perhaps something from Mass that touches your heart. He will do the rest.
"Father, look into my heart today, examine my thoughts, and strengthen me in your love."
Psalm 1:1-4, 6
3/5/15: Someone Should Rise
36 Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"
37 But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?"
My oh my, the blind people speak. "If God were such a good God how could He allow this to happen" is the old faithful addage. Jesus knew what they said, and He proved He was a good God, He would defeat what they called victory...death. He raised Lazarus from the dead. Both in the Old Testament, and the New, and the life to come. "Oh please give us a chance" are the cries of the dead after death. God's justice says no. "Then send someone from the dead". Father Abraham said "They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.' If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuadedif someone should rise from the dead.'" And it is true. Because someone did come back from the dead...Jesus. And still people do not believe. We have Moses, the law, and the Prophets the pronunciation of the Word of God, and no, people refuse. They call the Word unholy names, things which have no forgiveness for it is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. So let us be careful when sin comes into our lives for we are treading on forgetting God, forgetting Jesus, forgetting Lazarus at the foot of our door.
2cents hipcast: http://www.hipcast.com/podcast/HS2yJb