|Serving the Poor |
There is nothing better that you can do in this world than to totally give yourself to God in the person of the poor and our needy brother. --Blessed Dulce Lopes Pontes
St. Pius V
This is the pope whose job was to implement the historic Council of Trent. If we think popes had difficulties in implementing Vatican Council II, Pius V had even greater problems after Trent than four centuries earlier.
During his papacy (1566-1572), Pius V was faced with the almost overwhelming responsibility of getting a shattered and scattered Church back on its feet. The family of God had been shaken by corruption, by the Reformation, by the constant threat of Turkish invasion and by the bloody bickering of the young nation-states. In 1545 a previous pope convened the Council of Trent in an attempt to deal with all these pressing problems. Off and on over 18 years, the Church Fathers discussed, condemned, affirmed and decided upon a course of action. The Council closed in 1563.
Pius V was elected in 1566 and was charged with the task of implementing the sweeping reforms called for by the Council. He ordered the founding of seminaries for the proper training of priests. He published a new missal, a new breviary, a new catechism and established the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) classes for the young. Pius zealously enforced legislation against abuses in the Church. He patiently served the sick and the poor by building hospitals, providing food for the hungry and giving money customarily used for the papal banquets to poor Roman converts. His decision to keep wearing his Dominican habit led to the custom of the pope wearing a white cassock.
In striving to reform both Church and state, Pius encountered vehement opposition from England's Queen Elizabeth and the Roman Emperor Maximilian II. Problems in France and in the Netherlands also hindered Pius's hopes for a Europe united against the Turks. Only at the last minute was he able to organize a fleet which won a decisive victory in the Gulf of Lepanto, off Greece, on October 7, 1571.
Pius's ceaseless papal quest for a renewal of the Church was grounded in his personal life as a Dominican friar. He spent long hours with his God in prayer, fasted rigorously, deprived himself of many customary papal luxuries and faithfully observed the spirit of the Dominican Rule that he had professed.
"In this universal assembly, in this privileged point of time and space, there converge together the past, the present, and the future. The past: for here, gathered in this spot, we have the Church of Christ with her tradition, her history, her councils, her doctors, her saints; the present: we are taking leave of one another to go out toward the world of today with its miseries, its sufferings, its sins, but also with its prodigious accomplishments, values, and virtues; and the future is here in the urgent appeal of the peoples of the world for more justice, in their will for peace, in their conscious or unconscious thirst for a higher life, that life precisely which the Church of Christ can give and wishes to give to them" (from Pope Paul's closing message at Vatican II).
Saint of the DayLives, Lessons and FeastBy Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
Daily Prayer - 2015-04-30
Dear Lord as I come to you today
Fill my heart and my whole being
with the wonder of your presence
Your death on the cross has set me free.
I can live joyously and freely
without fear of death.
Your mercy knows no bounds.
I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God.
I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them.
Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment.
I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.
The Word of God
Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter
From Paphos, Paul and his companions
set sail and arrived at Perga in Pamphylia.
But John left them and returned to Jerusalem.
They continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the sabbath they entered into the synagogue and took their seats.
After the reading of the law and the prophets,
the synagogue officials sent word to them,
"My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation
for the people, please speak."
So Paul got up, motioned with his hand, and said,
"Fellow children of Israel and you others who are God-fearing, listen.
The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors
and exalted the people during their sojourn in the land of Egypt.
With uplifted arm he led them out,
and for about forty years he put up with them in the desert.
When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan,
he gave them their land as an inheritance
at the end of about four hundred and fifty years.
After these things he provided judges up to Samuel the prophet.
Then they asked for a king.
God gave them Saul, son of Kish,
a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
Then he removed him and raised up David as their king;
of him he testified,
I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.
From this man's descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
'What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.'"
R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, "My kindness is established forever";
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
"I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong."
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
"My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,
and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
He shall say of me, 'You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior.'"
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ, you are the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead,
you have loved us and freed us from our sins by your Blood.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
When Jesus had washed the disciples' feet, he said to them:
"Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.
I am not speaking of all of you.
I know those whom I have chosen.
But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.
From now on I am telling you before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send
receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me."
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.
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.
Saint Pius V, Pope
I am. (John 13:19)
Jesus probably startled his disciples when he identified himself as "I am" and then delivered what seems to be a word problem: "Whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me" (John 13:20).
Jesus wanted the disciples to be clear. They were to give the One he would send—that is, the Holy Spirit—the same fidelity and loyalty they were giving to him and his words. He also wanted them to know that having received him meant they had received the Father, too.
In this context, "to receive" is a very active thing. It means to lay hold of, to seize, to accept, to try out. It's not passive at all. "Go ahead and take it" rather than "Close your eyes and hold out your hands."
This is important! Jesus wants all of us to lay hold of the Holy Spirit, to pursue him and try him out. This is the only way we will be able to do his work on earth—and it's the only way we'll develop a personal relationship with God. Developing both an interior spiritual life and a more outward, practical experience of the Spirit are both essential to living the life Jesus offers us. Actively receiving is the key to experiencing a life that is creative, nurturing, exciting, and full of love.
You can live like that! You can, because you have received the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Is someone you know far from the Lord? Ask the Father to give you the words and love that will draw that person to him. Is a friend or family member sick or anxious? Pray with that person, and ask for Jesus' healing. Do problems loom at work? Ask the Spirit to inspire you with creative solutions. Your life with God is meant to overflow, touching everyone around you!
So go ahead and actively receive the Holy Spirit. Receive the Father, the One who sent Jesus. Seek to know his heart and thoughts. Spend time in his presence. Ask him questions. Ask him to make you look like him. You will be surprised and delighted by what he will do for you!
"Jesus, I want to go for it today! Holy Spirit, work in me and through me. Father, foster in me more of your character."
Acts 13:13-25; Psalm 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27
"Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.'" The litany of humility we read earlier this week demonstrates this is the way to live, away from pride, accepting the poor. But our minds are programmed backwards in the world as we grow up, thinking the poor folks are just those without money, maybe those homeless on the streets. As if I am more than them for having so much more money than them. Pride. As if they are not better than me? As if someone's ugly sin is worse than mine? As if Jesus isn't living in them as much as He is trying in mine? And so is the message of acceptance. But hold on, there's much more!
The Psalms pray today "For you have said, "My kindness is established forever"; in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness." God has chosen throughout history, who He wants. I'm going to divulge a secret. I've invited probably 5 people within the last 5 days to come to Jesus, in RCIA, or classes, or somehow. And you know what I done before and or after? I prayed to our Lord, asking for permission for them to come into His Kingdom. It is not for an elite group, but for those who can discern Him calling you, the Shepherd making an outreach, an effort, through messengers called angels among our lives. Because many said no by not responding, I am held by faith. I read in the catechism that 10,000 difficulties do not cause a doubt, and we are speaking about that seed, that faith that we are to nurture and grow and become fruitful.
Jesus comes into our lives, and oh so amazingly. He washes the feet of His chosen ones. He is humble, the servant, the attendant. Who do you serve? Who do you attend? Because your attendance makes a difference, that attention of the heart. What He says afterwards is amazing "I know those whom I have chosen". And later says "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me." Embrace His call. Love it. Perhaps my saying yes to the Lord has dragged me to the edge of an ocean of love. I want you to become a "Yes Lord" person. What other answer can you give to the Lord of all? As a matter of fact, as you are reading this, I am travelling to Kansas from Texas, because I said yes to the Lord, to a spanish retreat called "Escuela De La Cruz" (School of the Cross). Pray for us and our journey, for the Lord sent another person with me, a cousin, which I had asked the Lord to send someone with me on this 500 mile journey one way. Crazy huh? Leaving work? Leaving Family? All the church plans? First Friday Adoration? Saturday Mass? Spiritual Theology class on Sunday? Why leave all if the Lord is already here?
Because, the Lord wants us to receive Him in ways we don't even know! Newness is of Heaven, goodness is the best newness. I pray that you find yourself embracing His Word of humility and acceptance of HIM. Because as I read the Holy Gospel, I felt as if the Lord was taking a child among the disciples and embracing the child and saying ""Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."Mark 9:37. And that embrace? A person, a messenger, Christ. When is the last time you embraced a priest like that? Or someone who brought news of the Lord into your life? Did you receive them with great joy or ignored them or shut the door in their face? Because in them is the one who sent them...the Holy Spirit, the life of the world...
I Love You Oh My God!