St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
Born in Grenoble, France, of a family that was among the new rich, Philippine learned political skills from her father and a love of the poor from her mother. The dominant feature of her temperament was a strong and dauntless will, which became the material—and the battlefield—of her holiness. She entered the convent at 19 and remained despite their opposition. As the French Revolution broke, the convent was closed, and she began taking care of the poor and sick, opened a school for homeless children and risked her life helping priests in the underground.
When the situation cooled, she personally rented her old convent, now a shambles, and tried to revive its religious life. The spirit was gone, and soon there were only four nuns left. They joined the infant Society of the Sacred Heart, whose young superior, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, would be her lifelong friend. In a short time Philippine was a superior and supervisor of the novitiate and a school. But her ambition, since hearing tales of missionary work in Louisiana as a little girl, was to go to America and work among the Indians. At 49, she thought this would be her work. With four nuns, she spent 11 weeks at sea en route to New Orleans, and seven weeks more on the Mississippi to St. Louis. She then met one of the many disappointments of her life. The bishop had no place for them to live and work among Native Americans. Instead, he sent her to what she sadly called "the remotest village in the U.S.," St. Charles, Missouri. With characteristic drive and courage, she founded the first free school for girls west of the Mississippi.
It was a mistake. Though she was as hardy as any of the pioneer women in the wagons rolling west, cold and hunger drove them out—to Florissant, Missouri, where she founded the first Catholic Indian school, adding others in the territory. "In her first decade in America, Mother Duchesne suffered practically every hardship the frontier had to offer, except the threat of Indian massacre—poor lodging, shortages of food, drinking water, fuel and money, forest fires and blazing chimneys, the vagaries of the Missouri climate, cramped living quarters and the privation of all privacy, and the crude manners of children reared in rough surroundings and with only the slightest training in courtesy" (Louise Callan, R.S.C.J., Philippine Duchesne).
Finally at 72, in poor health and retired, she got her lifelong wish. A mission was founded at Sugar Creek, Kansas, among the Potawatomi. She was taken along. Though she could not learn their language, they soon named her "Woman-Who-Prays-Always." While others taught, she prayed. Legend has it that Native American children sneaked behind her as she knelt and sprinkled bits of paper on her habit, and came back hours later to find them undisturbed. She died in 1852 at the age of 83 and was canonized in 1988.
Divine grace channeled her iron will and determination into humility and selflessness, and to a desire not to be made superior. Still, even saints can get involved in silly situations. In an argument with her over a minor change in the sanctuary, a priest threatened to remove her tabernacle. She patiently let herself be criticized by younger nuns for not being progressive enough. For 31 years, she hewed to the line of a dauntless love and an unshakable observance of her religious vows.
She once said: "We cultivate a very small field for Christ, but we love it, knowing that God does not require great achievements but a heart that holds back nothing for self.... The truest crosses are those we do not choose ourselves.... He who has Jesus has everything."
Daily Prayer - 2015-11-20
As I begin this prayer, God is here.
By God's grace I was born to live in freedom.
I ask how I am within myself today?
The Word of God
Reading 1 1 Mc 4:36-37, 52-59
Judas and his brothers said,
Responsorial Psalm 1 Chronicles 29:10bcd, 11abc, 11d-12a, 12bcd
R. (13b) We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.
Alleluia Jn 10:27
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 19:45-48
Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Jesus, you always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Meditation: Luke 19:45-48
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33rd Week in Ordinary Time
My house shall be a house of prayer. (Luke 19:46)
Jesus had a very close association with the Temple. Having traveled there each year for Passover, he was doubtless familiar with its grounds and its practices. He had even spent three days there as something of a runaway when he was twelve years old. His parents probably had bought their small animal sacrifice from the merchants in the Temple's outer courts—the very merchants whose tables he overthrew in today's Gospel reading!
This visit to the Temple turned out to be something altogether different. This time, Jesus chased out the merchants and money changers who had been plying their trades there for years. He even staged a bit of a takeover of the Temple, showing up there every morning and teaching the people who came to him (Luke 19:47). Why take action now?
We need to look at a bit of history to understand Jesus' gesture here. It seems that the merchants' stalls were set up in the part of the Temple that had been reserved for Gentiles. It was the only place where they could worship the God of Israel, but it had been overrun with the noise and bustle of commerce. Now, just days before his arrest, Jesus wanted to make the point that everyone, even non-Jews, should be given the opportunity to worship the Lord. He also pointed to his death on the cross, when he would "break down the dividing wall of enmity" between Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:14). So out went the money changers, and down came their tables.
This is good news! In Christ, everyone is welcome to worship God. No one need ever be kept away again. Jesus wants everyone to be free to encounter him. He, the living Temple of the Lord, is now open to the public.
For us today, it can be tempting to think that our practice of religion is meant just for our current parish members. But nothing could be further from the truth! Instead of waiting for outsiders to wander in on their own, we need to go out to them and make them feel welcome. It's what Jesus did, and it's what he is asking us to do as well.
"Jesus, help your Church be a light to all who seek you. Teach me how to shine that light to everyone around me."
1 Maccabees 4:36-37, 52-59
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"...let us go up to purify the sanctuary and rededicate it", we heard in today's 1st Holy Scripture. When we talk about government, it's usually in a bad tone, we refer to them as "they", they do this and they do that and they are all rotten. When in reality, they are a reflection of the people at its worst. They are greedy, they only care about their pockets, they don't care about nobody else, they are inconsiderate, and the list goes on and on. In a democracy, "they" are us. Funny thing is, to many, especially the unfaithful, the same is said about the Church. "They don't care, all they care about is the money, they are greedy, they don't reach out, they don't offer help" and once again, it is simply a Church of the people. So in reality, we are speaking about ourselves. I remember earlier this year a lady left our church and told me that the church was rotten and she fell away. She said there was "an underlying current" that seemed to plague our church that had manifested itself for years. Truth is, I've been here for all those years. Maybe it's me then? LOL. Usually people speak about themselves. They say others are greedy when they are stealing. They say others are darkness when they are not giving...light. Truth is whether we like it or not, God is in this Holy Church, whether we believe it or not. How then, how can you talk about God like that? Because He is in every soul. And this is why Jesus comes in today in a special way.
But first the Psalms, let me snip it in snips, and it goes as follows:
"Blessed may you be, O LORD... are we blessing Him with our lives?
from eternity to eternity...this is the end and the beginning with our Lord.
all in heaven and on earth is yours...He created both Heaven and earth and all that is in them.
Riches and honor are from you...How do we treat His gifts?
In your hand are power and might...He has the right to do with all that is His as He pleases.
it is yours to give grandeur and strength to all...He gives to those who ask.
We praise your glorious name, O mighty God...from the lips out?
Last night I was asked to lead a funeral vigil. I didn't know the deceased, as is normally the case, but I knew a couple of her children. I told them that I've been to funerals where I've seen little children lose one parent and it is heart breaking. Thank God you had so many years with yours. I said that the Lord gives and takes with what He pleases for it is His. So I asked that we pray that we learn to give. Give back to Him what is His.
In comes our Lord Jesus to reclaim what is rightly His...the temple. Recall though, recall how the Jews mocked Him when He said He could rebuild the temple in 3 days, and they smeared saying "how can this man do in 3 days, what took us 40 years to build?". Yet, they destroyed the temple, and He rose in 3 days. His Body is the temple. When He was re-claiming the Church, He was fighting for His bride, He was filled with zeal, a Holy Zeal, the only time we see our Lord use physical efforts to explain His actions, whipping out all the animals, the false gods, turning tables upside down, dropping the scales how we judge, and throwing the money on the floor, that which we focus more on. Look how attached we are to things. Every week a co-worker in our bible study says the same thing over and over "I invited my supervisor, but again said he has to tend to his horses". False gods, we make of things false gods very easily. Just tell me your excuse for not giving to our Lord in Heaven and I'll mention to you a possible false god in your life. Distractions that detract you from the Way; the way of zealousness for the Lord, the way of love of the temple, and your body is a temple of God. How are you treating it? What are you letting in? Most often...it is not Him. God will clean it out, but He will not force Himself into it. All He did was make the Jews even more mad and more willing to trap Him and kill Him. What happens when someone tells you the truth about your faith? Do you get on the offensive? Do you get defensive? Or do you accept it as truth and let it change you? What if I told you that I thought you were too proud? Because I've said that to some and they didn't like it. One man never accepted it, then, he cheated on his wife, got the other pregnant, divorced his wife and left town and even Church for a while. He was offended by my words "your emails always say "me this" and "I" that" as if to say I was selfish. Truth is, I do use myself as an example and how can I speak other than a first person point of view in a personal witness story? What if I ask you to be humble? I remember we told a guy in a meeting he needed to be more humble, to which he yelled back at us "But I'm SUPER HUMBLE!!!". LOL, humility is not seen very much nowadays. It is rather illusive. Humility is thrown to the back. And this is what was happening in the temple when Jesus walked in. All the honor and praise and glory that the temple was built to give to God was turning into a mad house of serving each others' interests instead of the interest of the Lord. This is happening right now. People are inside your local parish serving their own interests, and I believe some have even insinuated I have my own interests. And I do. My interest is unity. My interest is mercy. My interest is Jesus in every heart. I'm not interested in your accusations mr. devil. I'm only interested in making my faith stronger and my Church stronger. My interest is feeding this zeal for God. My interest is to see your humility come alive so that I may follow you because that is the way to Heaven. My interest is to receive a slap in the face and a stab in the back, to realize I have more to come, because these are the payments Jesus received from those in the temple. My interest is that you receive this, not even knowing me and believing the Word of God. Pope Francis asks for prayers, and why not? If he's got a big target on his back by many traitors, namely by those after their own interests. The same, I ask for your prayers. For the interest of the Lord means over turning the tables of your own life and the life of others...a conversion. It is like a quote I read today "To harbor no envy, no anger, no resentment against an offender is still not to have charity for him. It is possible without charity, to avoid rendering evil for evil, because it is the law. But to render, spontaneously, good for evil, such a disposition to do good to those who hate us belongs to a perfect spiritual love." -St. Maximus the Confessor
And this is how Jesus pays. Humility. No one else would stand up to the atrocities they saw going on in the church. So many times we sit there and complain and do nothing about it, but Jesus did. He said ENOUGH! I desire MERCY, not sacrifice. From then on, the only Sacrifice would be Himself. He leads the way. Being a Christ follower then is asking of us to give. It's not about taking as if to say "what can the church do for me?" instead one saying "what can I do for the Church!".
Respect and honor the priests no matter how bad you think they are or make them out to be. Priests love the people, love Christ. Love is giving and giving even when you do not receive anything back. We need to have a priest appreciation day. And on that day, everyone who appreciates has to be there because if they appreciate truely, they will be there. And when the few that show up are there, the priest will see something spectacular...Christ joining him. Those that don't appreciate? Christ must reach out to them. It would be a wonderful event of love. Because the temple would be honored in a special way, and celebrated. Because the physical church no matter how ugly or how beautiful, just like the lands, they can only filled with something that matters...you and I. We are the beauty we want to see. Let's make it beautiful together. And Jesus will return for His beautiful bride, the King of all Glory, for His praise, for His majesty, for His honor, for what was His all along!
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