Monday, September 7, 2015

To Save Life

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Words Hold Power
Words hold so much power. We can use them to tear down our spouses, displaying disrespect and undermining their dignity, or we can work to build them up using words of love and encouragement. We must remember that our spouse holds the highest place in our hearts and lives, second only to God, and thus deserves all the respect we can give them.
— from Holy Marriage, Happy Marriage

Blessed Frédéric Ozanam

A man convinced of the inestimable worth of each human being, Frédéric served the poor of Paris well and drew others into serving the poor of the world. Through the St. Vincent de Paul Society, his work continues to the present day.

Frédéric was the fifth of Jean and Marie Ozanam's 14 children, one of only three to reach adulthood. As a teenager he began having doubts about his religion. Reading and prayer did not seem to help, but long walking discussions with Father Noirot of the Lyons College clarified matters a great deal.

Frédéric wanted to study literature, although his father, a doctor, wanted him to become a lawyer. Frédéric yielded to his father's wishes and in 1831 arrived in Paris to study law at the University of the Sorbonne. When certain professors there mocked Catholic teachings in their lectures, Frédéric defended the Church.

A discussion club which Frédéric organized sparked the turning point in his life. In this club Catholics, atheists and agnostics debated the issues of the day. Once, after Frédéric spoke about Christianity's role in civilization, a club member said: "Let us be frank, Mr. Ozanam; let us also be very particular. What do you do besides talk to prove the faith you claim is in you?"

Frédéric was stung by the question. He soon decided that his words needed a grounding in action. He and a friend began visiting Paris tenements and offering assistance as best they could. Soon a group dedicated to helping individuals in need under the patronage of St. Vincent de Paul formed around Frédéric.

Feeling that the Catholic faith needed an excellent speaker to explain its teachings, Frédéric convinced the Archbishop of Paris to appoint Father Lacordaire, the greatest preacher then in France, to preach a Lenten series in Notre Dame Cathedral. It was well attended and became an annual tradition in Paris.

After Frédéric earned his law degree at the Sorbonne, he taught law at the University of Lyons. He also earned a doctorate in literature. Soon after marrying Amelie Soulacroix on June 23, 1841, he returned to the Sorbonne to teach literature. A well-respected lecturer, Frédéric worked to bring out the best in each student. Meanwhile, the St. Vincent de Paul Society was growing throughout Europe. Paris alone counted 25 conferences.

In 1846, Frédéric, Amelie and their daughter Marie went to Italy; there he hoped to restore his poor health. They returned the next year. The revolution of 1848 left many Parisians in need of the services of the St. Vincent de Paul conferences. The unemployed numbered 275,000. The government asked Frédéric and his co-workers to supervise the government aid to the poor. Vincentians throughout Europe came to the aid of Paris.

Frédéric then started a newspaper, The New Era, dedicated to securing justice for the poor and the working classes. Fellow Catholics were often unhappy with what Frédéric wrote. Referring to the poor man as "the nation's priest," Frédéric said that the hunger and sweat of the poor formed a sacrifice that could redeem the people's humanity

In 1852 poor health again forced Frédéric to return to Italy with his wife and daughter. He died on September 8, 1853. In his sermon at Frédéric's funeral, Lacordaire described his friend as "one of those privileged creatures who came direct from the hand of God in whom God joins tenderness to genius in order to enkindle the world."

Frédéric was beatified in 1997. Since Frédéric wrote an excellent book entitled Franciscan Poets of the Thirteenth Century and since Frederick's sense of the dignity of each poor person was so close to the thinking of St. Francis, it seemed appropriate to include him among Franciscan "greats."


Frédéric Ozanam always respected poor while offering whatever service he could. Each man, woman and child was too precious for that. Serving the poor taught Frédéric something about God that he could not have learned elsewhere.


In his homily at the eatification Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral, Saint John Paul II mentioned that before World War II he belonged to the St. Vincent de Paul Society. He noted that Frédéric Ozanam "observed the real situation of the poor and sought to be more and more effective in helping them in their human development. He understood that charity must lead to efforts to remedy injustice. Charity and justice go together."

Daily Prayer - 2015-09-07


Lord, help me to be fully alive to your Holy presence.
Enfold me in your love.
Let my heart become one with yours.


Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
Mostly I take this gift for granted.
Inspire me to live in the freedom you intended,
with a heart untroubled and with complete trust in You.


Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life?
By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit.
If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.

The Word of God

Reading 1 Col 1:24--2:3

Brothers and sisters:
I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I am filling up
what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ
on behalf of his Body, which is the Church,
of which I am a minister
in accordance with God's stewardship given to me
to bring to completion for you the word of God,
the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past.
But now it has been manifested to his holy ones,
to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory
of this mystery among the Gentiles;
it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.
It is he whom we proclaim,
admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
For this I labor and struggle,
in accord with the exercise of his power working within me.

For I want you to know how great a struggle I am having for you
and for those in Laodicea
and all who have not seen me face to face,
that their hearts may be encouraged
as they are brought together in love,
to have all the richness of assured understanding,
for the knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ,
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Responsorial Psalm PS 62:6-7, 9

R. (8) In God is my safety and my glory.
Only in God be at rest, my soul,
for from him comes my hope.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed.
R. In God is my safety and my glory.
Trust in him at all times, O my people!
Pour out your hearts before him;
God is our refuge!
R. In God is my safety and my glory.

Alleluia Jn 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 6:6-11

On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught,
and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.
The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely
to see if he would cure on the sabbath
so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.
But he realized their intentions
and said to the man with the withered hand,
"Come up and stand before us."
And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them,
"I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?"
Looking around at them all, he then said to him,
"Stretch out your hand."
He did so and his hand was restored.
But they became enraged
and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

Some thoughts on today's scripture

  • The Pharisees had no care for the man with the withered hand, whereas for Jesus he was the most important person in the synagogue right then. Anyone in need is the focus of divine concern. Would I have cared about him if I had been there that day?
  • God is a God who is attracted to people in their need. He focuses on my needs too, and invites me to in turn to give space in my heart to the needs of others. By doing this I become a true disciple.
  • The Pharisees are 'filled with fury' because with Jesus the rule of love is taking over from the rule of law, and so their control of people is being challenged. I ask the Lord that love may win out in the choices that I make.


Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God?
Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry?
Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me,
I speak out my feelings, as one trusted friend to another.


I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.

Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Luke 6:6-11

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23rd Week in Ordinary Time (Labor Day, USA)

They became enraged. (Luke 6:11)

According to St. Thomas Aquinas, anger is a strong response to a perceived threat or injustice. Anger, he taught, is not sinful when the perceived injustice is real and when the response is controlled and in proportion to the injustice. Anger can even be a good thing if it moves us to fight for good and to resist evil. But if we let anger control us, we can become so obsessed with the offense that we lose objectivity and end up ill equipped to deal with whatever got us angry in the first place.

This seems to have been the case with the scribes and Pharisees who became furious at Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath. In their eyes, an injustice was committed—Jesus broke the Jewish sabbath restrictions—and a response was necessary. However, Jesus' actions in no way justified their plotting to put him to death. Something was out of order.

Why did they feel so threatened? It has been said that we all tend to fear something new—especially if we don't understand what the new thing is. The scribes and Pharisees had built a well-organized world based on ancient and cherished rituals, and Jesus seemed to be turning everything upside down. They focused so much on their fear of this new thing that they failed to recognize the healing power of God in their midst. As a consequence, they lost all objectivity.

We all become angry at times. There may even be times when we lose control of our emotions. When we feel anger rising up within us, let's be careful not to give it full rein. Let's also be careful not to bottle it up and let it eat away at us. Rather, let's step back for a moment, examine the situation that has made us angry, and ask the Holy Spirit to help us act only in ways that restore justice and peace. Let's ask him for the courage to stand up against wrongdoing and the compassion to love those who are offending us. Let's become like Jesus, who did know anger but who never sinned.

"Father, free me from any self-righteous attitude that separates me from you. Lord, you are just and merciful. Pierce my heart with your truth so that I can become more like Jesus."


Colossians 1:24--2:3
Psalm 62:6-7, 9

What is upsetting nowadays in Church?  Because it seems that the Lord upset some church people in their today right?  The Holy Scripture says they "became enraged".  Well, truth is, we shouldn't be getting upset, but perhaps more open to the truth.  Because what enraged them was their blindness.  They failed to see God's goodness.  This then good be the cause of rage.  All these persecutions are then blindness.  That's why our Lord prays from the cross "Lord, forgive them, for they know not what they do".  Because what if the Lord did something amazing in your life and you failed to see it?  Would it have been His fault?  Nowadays that's what people are doing, blaming others for their blindness...their pride.

The Psalms pray "In God is my safety and my glory" and "Trust in him at all times, O my people! Pour out your hearts before him;" Do not think Jesus knew He would be in "trouble" for doing good?  How many times do we shy away from doing good because we might get in trouble?  But God knows He is our safety and glory and we ae to TRUST in Him at ALL times so POUR out your heart!  What does pouring out your heart mean?  It means opening up your heart and start loving, and then you will begin to see the amazing things God is doing.

This is the case of St. Paul in today's 1st Holy Scripture,  most probably written from his jail cell.  He writes with His heart, encouraging the love of one another and especially that of Jesus Christ.  Was Paul seeing the glory of God?  It's hard to see what you are doing sometimes, but he was giving Glory to God.  This is our turn.  What do You do besides talk about God?

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