Blessed Jacopone da Todi
Jacomo, or James, was born a noble member of the Benedetti family in the northern Italian city of Todi. He became a successful lawyer and married a pious, generous lady named Vanna.
His young wife took it upon herself to do penance for the worldly excesses of her husband. One day Vanna, at the insistence of Jacomo, attended a public tournament. She was sitting in the stands with the other noble ladies when the stands collapsed. Vanna was killed. Her shaken husband was even more disturbed when he realized that the penitential girdle she wore was for his sinfulness. On the spot, he vowed to radically change his life.
He divided his possessions among the poor and entered the Secular Franciscan Order (once known as the Third Order). Often dressed in penitential rags, he was mocked as a fool and called Jacopone, or "Crazy Jim," by his former associates. The name became dear to him.
After 10 years of such humiliation, Jacopone asked to be a member of the Order of Friars Minor(First Order). Because of his reputation, his request was initially refused. He composed a beautiful poem on the vanities of the world, an act that eventually led to his admission into the Order in 1278. He continued to lead a life of strict penance, declining to be ordained a priest. Meanwhile he was writing popular hymns in the vernacular.
Jacopone suddenly found himself a leader in a disturbing religious movement among the Franciscans. The Spirituals, as they were called, wanted a return to the strict poverty of Francis. They had on their side two cardinals of the Church and Pope Celestine V. These two cardinals, though, opposed Celestine's successor, Boniface VIII. At the age of 68, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned. Although he acknowledged his mistake, Jacopone was not absolved and released until Benedict XI became pope five years later. He had accepted his imprisonment as penance. He spent the final three years of his life more spiritual than ever, weeping "because Love is not loved." During this time he wrote the famous Latin hymn, Stabat Mater.
On Christmas Eve in 1306 Jacopone felt that his end was near. He was in a convent of the Poor Clares with his friend, Blessed John of La Verna. Like Francis, Jacopone welcomed "Sister Death" with one of his favorite songs. It is said that he finished the song and died as the priest intoned the Gloria from the midnight Mass at Christmas. From the time of his death, Brother Jacopone has been venerated as a saint.
"Crazy Jim," his contemporaries called Jacopone. We might well echo their taunt, for what else can you say about a man who broke into song in the midst of all his troubles? We still sing Jacopone's saddest song, the Stabat Mater, but we Christians claim another song as our own, even when the daily headlines resound with discordant notes. Jacopone's whole life rang our song out: "Alleluia!" May he inspire us to keep singing.
Daily Prayer - 2015-12-22
"Be still and know that I am God"
"Leave me here freely all alone
I ask how I am within myself today?
The Word of God
Reading 1 1 Sm 1:24-28
In those days,
Responsorial Psalm 1 Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8abcd
R. (see 1a) My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 1:46-56
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Dear Jesus, I can open up my heart to you.
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: Luke 1:46-56
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4th Week of Advent
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. (Luke 1:46)
Yes, Father, my soul proclaims your greatness, and my spirit rejoices in you! You are good and kind, loving and compassionate, toward me. You know who I am, and you understand my weakness. You delight in how you created me, and you never cease to teach me how to live the life you have created me for. Daily you come to meet me with mercy and strength. Daily you supply what I lack and help me when my own ideas and ability are not enough.
Father, you count me among those in every generation on whom you have mercy! You forgive me when I cave in (again) to temptation—every time! You meet my repentance with your pardon, and you surround me anew with your love, compassion, and tender mercy. I rejoice today because you are slow to anger, and you never hold a grudge. You always show me mercy, even when I don't deserve it. I am amazed because you delight in me and show me the kind and gentle sympathy of a father for his child.
You are great, Father, and you continually draw me up into your greatness! When fear stops me, you meet me with peace, wisdom, and direction. The strength of your arm holds me, lifts me up, and gently moves me forward at a pace that allows me to breathe again. When I am feeling tired and weary, you support me and fill me with your strength. You show me where to find rest in the midst of all my busyness. You protect me from discouragement, disappointment, and defeat.
Thank you, Father, for being ready to fill me with your presence every day! Your promises give me hope, even when the circumstances of my life speak the worst. You give me the reassurance that I am loved and precious in your sight, even when I feel frustrated by my weaknesses and overwhelmed by temptation. You convince me that I can know joy and peace if I but come to you in prayer every day.
Father, how good you are! I try to be faithful to you, and you increase my faithfulness. I come to you hungry for your grace, and you fill me. I pour out my heart to you, and you pour out your love on me.
"My soul proclaims your greatness, Father, and my spirit rejoices in you!"
1 Samuel 1:24-28
For He Remembered
Podcast Page: http://hipcast.com/podcast/HQSPgFBk
The 5 minutos ended today with a quote from St. Augustine " "Lord, give me what you ask of me and ask me what you will." And what an appropriate quote as we reflect on today's Holy Scriptures. In the first, Hannah brought her only son to give him to the Lord as promised. He was offered at the temple, along with a sacrifice. You see, Hannah was considered barren, infertile. This kind of world was backwards to today's. Nowadays being infertile doesn't matter, and many make themselves infertile with contraceptives, against conception. And on that note, contraceptives are deceptive. They kill a fertilized/conceived egg. And worse? They kill the woman, both phsyically and spiritually. It is an option then, for death. Backwards to the day of Hannah, where she cried for a baby. She would do anything for a baby, just to have one, to hold, for a few months, just until she could wean him and then give him to God. And it was granted. "Lord, give me what you ask of me and ask me what you will". Her son was taken as the sacrifice was given, and all this to tell us how Jesus our Lord would be given as the sacrifice was being offered in the temple. I read a quote today that said ""The whole life of Christ was a continual passion; others die martyrs, but Christ was born a martyr. His birth and death were but one continual act, and his Christmas-day and Good Friday are but one morning and evening of the one and the same day." -John Donne. Destined for greatness by being offered to God. Backwards to today's thoughts. I asked all the people in a packed house last night at the posadas "what is a Messiah", after a long pause an answer was said, "savior". Then, when I asked for prayers, vocal prayers, silence again. Everyone should pray. But silence is given. Is there an embarrassment? Even my kids in prayer time don't know what to say, and we encourage the toddlers "say thank you Jesus".
The Psalms pray and encourage us to pray today " My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior. "He raises the needy from the dust; from the dung heap he lifts up the poor". Hannah cried bitter tears as her sister wife ridiculed her for being infertile. The Psalms pray "Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy." And Hannah leaves at the temple the love God gave her.
In comes the the Lord of our lives through Mary, and Mary's magnificat is given. The Magnificat (Latin for: [My soul] magnifies) —also known as the Song of Mary is a powerful message to the people of God. All she says dates back to Abraham, and then, further...to the love of God. Because when God chose Adam and Eve, He was with them...in the beginning...Love. Love was with them until they separated from Him. I propose to you that contraception separates you from God. You kill the love of God by being against what He gives. We snatch up from Him and want Him out. Every night I implore God's children in posadas "Christmas is about giving, and letting God in, into your heart, a conversion, more love for Jesus". Mary magnifies, her soul magnifies the love of God. The more we imitate her and take these words from the bible, the Word of God to heart, the more we can allow Him into our lives...room at the inn. Every night, 2 houses reject our carolling, pleading for room to stay. And we are pushed away until one last house lets us in. A house for 5 turns into a house for 30 to 40. Suddenly, the house holds more than originally thought. I joked at one house, "we will all be spending the night, I'll sleep here on the kitchen floor". But what is being served now to you, is the same. What is cooking is on the altar, served fresh, with the old made new. The old wine, new in your blood. "My spirit rejoices in God my savior"-Mother Mary. It is said your heart will never be full until Jesus fills it. Feeling empty? This is good news. How? We got the filling, the stuffing for your stocking, the love you have been longing. What we have here on earth is temporary, what we have with Him is everlasting. Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy. "He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty." Who are the rich? Those that don't need anything, especially not our Lord our God. You feeling empty? Poor? That's good! You feeling alone? Good. Now stretch out your hand. Open it. Open your heart. Let the Lord begin to fill you. You see, it's not about feelings from earth but fillings from Heaven!