|Commitment to the Poor || |
|Being Sisters of the Poor involves the commitment to never abandon those poor whom God gives us as brothers and sisters. --Blessed Savina Petrilli |
St. Thomas Becket
A strong man who wavered for a moment, but then learned one cannot come to terms with evil and so became a strong churchman, a martyr and a saint—that was Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, murdered in his cathedral on December 29, 1170.
His career had been a stormy one. While archdeacon of Canterbury, he was made chancellor of England at the age of 36 by his friend King Henry II. When Henry felt it advantageous to make his chancellor the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas gave him fair warning: he might not accept all of Henry's intrusions into Church affairs. Nevertheless, he was made archbishop (1162), resigned his chancellorship and reformed his whole way of life!
Troubles began. Henry insisted upon usurping Church rights. At one time, supposing some conciliatory action possible, Thomas came close to compromise. He momentarily approved the Constitutions of Clarendon, which would have denied the clergy the right of trial by a Church court and prevented them from making direct appeal to Rome. But Thomas rejected the Constitutions, fled to France for safety and remained in exile for seven years. When he returned to England, he suspected it would mean certain death. Because Thomas refused to remit censures he had placed upon bishops favored by the king, Henry cried out in a rage, "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest!" Four knights, taking his words as his wish, slew Thomas in the Canterbury cathedral.
Thomas Becket remains a hero-saint down to our own times.
In T.S. Eliot's powerful drama, Murder in the Cathedral, Becket faces a final temptation to seek martyrdom for earthly glory and revenge. With real insight into his life situation, Thomas responds: "The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason."
Daily Prayer - 2015-12-29
As I begin this prayer, God is here.
Around me, in my sensations, in my thoughts and deep within me.
I pause for a moment, and become aware
of God's life-giving presence.
"In these days, God taught me
as a schoolteacher teaches a pupil" (Saint Ignatius).
I remind myself that there are things God has to teach me yet,
and ask for the grace to hear them and let them change me.
I ask how I am within myself today?
Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form?
If any of these characteristics apply,
can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?
The Word of God
The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas
The way we may be sure that we know Jesus
is to keep his commandments.
Whoever says, "I know him," but does not keep his commandments
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:
whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.
Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you
but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.
The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
And yet I do write a new commandment to you,
which holds true in him and among you,
for the darkness is passing away,
and the true light is already shining.
Whoever says he is in the light,
yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness.
Whoever loves his brother remains in the light,
and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.
Whoever hates his brother is in darkness;
he walks in darkness
and does not know where he is going
because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
When the days were completed for their purification
R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty go before him;
praise and grandeur are in his sanctuary.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A light of revelation to the Gentiles
and glory for your people Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
according to the law of Moses,
the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
"Lord, now let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you prepared in the sight of every people,
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel."
The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
"Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
(and you yourself a sword will pierce)
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
- Simeon sings his song of farewell after a lifetime of watching for the sign of God salvation. Attuned to the Holy Spirit, he identifies Jesus from the many children who came up to Jerusalem. Jesus comes not in power but as a babe in his mother's arms. He comes as a light for all who are in darkness.
- Lord, may your Holy Spirit rest on me today. Like Simeon, may I too recognise that you have come in the form of a vulnerable child.
Lord, I know that when I turn to you there is no need for words.
You can see into my heart.
You know my desires and you know my needs.
I place myself into your hands.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
5th Day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord
Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. (1 John 2:9)
When was the last time your heart got a good spring cleaning? Think about it now: is there anything you've let sit around for too long? Old hurts, perhaps, or jealousies or grievances? We might not even realize they are there. Taken individually, they might be so small or inconsequential as to not even be worth rejecting. Could they really hold us back from God? Yes! If we aren't careful, these little annoyances can accumulate over time, until they become nearly insurmountable.
As today's passage says, when we hate our brother, we are still in darkness. This is strong language, and at first we might not think it applies to us. It's quite possible when you examine your heart you won't find that you hate anyone. But every little thing that we allow to remain in our hearts that isn't of God can have an effect on us. We might not be in darkness, but we certainly might find ourselves in the shade!
God wants us to live in the light of his love and grace. He knows that when we bask in his power—when the obstacles are cleared away—we grow. Like plants that thrive in sunlight, we become spiritually tall and strong as we reach towards the heavens. He wants us to be visible to all around us, living examples of what his grace can accomplish if given a clear path to our hearts.
We're coming to the end of another year. Now is the perfect time to clear away some of the things that are hindering the work that God is doing in us, even the small ones that we don't usually pay attention to. Let's open ourselves to his healing and empowering light. Is anything really worth holding onto if we can exchange it for a little more of his mercy? If you can't think of anything, you can ask him to show you what you can let go of. There's always room for more growth!
"Lord, thank you for your constant light shining down from above and filling me with grace. Help me to identify things that keep me in the shade so that I can put them aside permanently. Jesus, come and fill me!"
Psalm 96:1-3, 5-6
A light to reveal
Today's 5 minutos ended with the lines "we can examine our lives in light of this Child. Before Him are only two options: remain in Him or be against Him. In your heart is the answer". Today's first Holy Scripture said "Whoever says, "I know him," but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him." Our part of the world was hit with a blizzard over the weekend, and some were asking repeatedly if Mass would be cancelled because many churches were cancelling "services" due to the weather. The storm begins. And very few make it to Holy Mass. What if I were to have said that only those that made it to Mass were saved? Would that sound right? My sister in law said she was afraid to drive on the roads and I wrote back Sunday morning "then I'll go pick you up". In reality she was tempted to stay with her husband with a stomache bug. But we went. After Mass as we slid around on the roads, I said "any time you are ready to risk your life for the Lord, call me". Because it is one thing to say you love someone, and quite another to actually give your life for them. Take St. Thomas Becket, today's saint for example. He knew he was taking his own life, risking it by returning to his duties as archbishop of London, in England. He returned, was faithful, and was murdered inside the Sanctuary. Very few actually love God like that. Not everyone goes flying straight into Heaven without something that is key...a true love of God.
The Psalms we prayed today said "Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice! Announce his salvation, day after day. Tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds." A new day brings on a whole new chance for love of God. And it begins with your cross, that what keeps weighing you down, the pressure, what pressure? It'd be best to turn it a pressure of love than an opression of sin. His Salvation means just that. And it is being announced to you and me this very day. "I want to be yours". And the life of Christ has begun anew with the birth of the Lord. Fresh. There was a Simeon in the book of Genesis. His mother gave birth; "Then she conceived again, and again bore a son; Fresh gift, said she, is fresh proof the Lord has come to hear of the despite done me; so she called him Simeon, Hearing." A fresh gift called what? Hearing, which is what Simeon means. And what we are about to hear is spectacular, and dumbfounding, and a prophecy of how it was and is to be.
Simeon, in the new Testament was awaiting the Christ that the Holy Spirit said he would see in the temple. Simeon was hearing. Simeon begins to say things for Joseph and Mary to hear. And now it is for your ears to hear. What is there to hear? Haven't you heard it all already? What new deal could we possibly hear about in a scripture that has been said over and over again? Did you hear the message for you? Or did you think it was just for Joseph and Mary? Long before the time Jesus had entered the temple as a newborn baby, already Simeon was awaiting. You see, Simeon in Genesis had along with a brother revenged the rape of their sister Dinah. Because of this, they had no promised land, and were confined to a certain territory. And this day, the Lord had been welcomed back to spread the Kingdom and the territory would encompass the world. It boils down to light and dark: "Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness..." How many of us want to put people in their place, especially with revenge? St. John Paul II went to visit the man in jail that tried to kill him. This is the way, as we read today "This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked." And so the question comes down to you and me from Heaven "how much do you really, truly, and honestly love God?". Out of the handfuls that made to through the stormy weather to Mass only a hand select few there may have an actual love of God. Because it is one thing to give yourself in body, as we do in many earthly things, but it is a whole other to give one's entire soul. You see, in my confession, I had said "things of past are haunting me" and the priest/Jesus said "let us unbind those things now". WHOA! And here nearly 20 years later, they are finally becoming unbound!? Simeon all over again. And the words begin, "this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel (the people of God)" and this child is you, Christ in you!! Let's continue with the Word from Heaven "...and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce)" A sword pierced Jesus, a sword pierced the flesh of St. Thomas Becket, and the sword touched the heart of Mary in her soul...does it affect yours? And what for? Let's continue reading words from Heaven to you, "...so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." A revelation takes place when Christ takes center stage of your life. A revelation to others. A realization of the actualization of the love of God on earth. To capture you and others. To motivate you and others. When's the last time you said '"I'm tired of living this life, I'm ready for a change" and you actually began the conversion process? A preparation in self on its way. For the birth of the Lord, there was preparation. For the birth of the Lord is a preparation. Make room. For the bringing of the newborn Jesus, is a preparation of souls for what is going to be encountered. And what it is shall be tasted by all, a death, the second birth to life eternal, ever alive or dead to Him as it was on earth as it is to be in Heaven. The solid proclamation of Simeon, is to Hear. The proclamation of St. John the evangelist is to act on it. And the proclamation of the Lord is acceptance of total divinity into your life, to pierce the hearts of many, to bleed what was to have bled out, to make room for you in His Home
The Most Sacred Heart of JESUS