Friday, October 6, 2017

Whoever Listens

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We Exist in a World of Gift

When we exist in a world of gift, in which we ourselves are given, then our own labors must be gifts to those around us. To refuse that possibility is to refuse the thanksgiving to which we are properly called. Or, to put it another way, if we are not willing to see our lives and the creation as gifts, then we are not able to properly acknowledge our debts. Being so free, we then feel as though it is in our right to say that others owe us. Thus we can easily sell our labors, without any sense of obligation that perhaps we really owe them. That some should give their labors freely is then, properly, the response of those who owe what cannot be repaid—which includes us all.

–from Ragan Sutterfield, author of the book: Wendell Berry and the Given Life


✞ "In everything, whether it is a thing sensed or a thing known, God Himself is hidden within."
— St. Bonaventure

"What made the holy apostles and martyrs endure fierce agony and bitter torments, except faith, and especially faith in the resurrection? What is it that today makes true followers of Christ cast luxuries aside, leave pleasures behind, and endure difficulties and pain? It is living faith that expresses itself through love . . . It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future."
— Pope Benedict XIV, p. 205
Witness of the Saints

"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ's gift."
Ephesians 4:4-7


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Saint Bruno

(c. 1030 – October 6, 1101)

This saint has the honor of having founded a religious order which, as the saying goes, has never had to be reformed because it was never deformed. No doubt both the founder and the members would reject such high praise, but it is an indication of the saint's intense love of a penitential life in solitude.

Bruno was born in Cologne, Germany, became a famous teacher at Rheims, and was appointed chancellor of the archdiocese at the age of 45. He supported Pope Gregory VII in his fight against the decadence of the clergy, and took part in the removal of his own scandalous archbishop, Manasses. Bruno suffered the plundering of his house for his pains.

He had a dream of living in solitude and prayer, and persuaded a few friends to join him in a hermitage. After a while he felt the place unsuitable and through a friend, was given some land which was to become famous for his foundation "in the Chartreuse"–from which comes the word Carthusians. The climate, desert, mountainous terrain, and inaccessibility guaranteed silence, poverty, and small numbers.

Bruno and his friends built an oratory with small individual cells at a distance from each other. They met for Matins and Vespers each day and spent the rest of the time in solitude, eating together only on great feasts. Their chief work was copying manuscripts.

Hearing of Bruno's holiness, the pope called for his assistance in Rome. When the pope had to flee Rome, Bruno pulled up stakes again, and after refusing a bishopric, spent his last years in the wilderness of Calabria.

Bruno was never formally canonized, because the Carthusians were averse to all occasions of publicity. However, Pope Clement X extended his feast to the whole Church in 1674.


If there is always a certain uneasy questioning of the contemplative life, there is an even greater puzzlement about the extremely penitential combination of community and hermit life lived by the Carthusians.


Friday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 459

Reading 1 BAR 1:15-22

During the Babylonian captivity, the exiles prayed:
"Justice is with the Lord, our God;
and we today are flushed with shame,
we men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem,
that we, with our kings and rulers
and priests and prophets, and with our ancestors,
have sinned in the Lord's sight and disobeyed him.
We have neither heeded the voice of the Lord, our God,
nor followed the precepts which the Lord set before us.
From the time the Lord led our ancestors out of the land of Egypt
until the present day,
we have been disobedient to the Lord, our God,
and only too ready to disregard his voice.
And the evils and the curse that the Lord enjoined upon Moses, his servant,
at the time he led our ancestors forth from the land of Egypt
to give us the land flowing with milk and honey,
cling to us even today.
For we did not heed the voice of the Lord, our God,
in all the words of the prophets whom he sent us,
but each one of us went off
after the devices of his own wicked heart,
served other gods,
and did evil in the sight of the Lord, our God."

Responsorial Psalm PS 79:1B-2, 3-5, 8, 9

R. (9) For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
They have given the corpses of your servants
as food to the birds of heaven,
the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the earth.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
They have poured out their blood like water
round about Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury them.
We have become the reproach of our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
O LORD, how long? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name's sake.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.

Alleluia PS 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 10:13-16

Jesus said to them,
"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented,
sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon
at the judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum, 'Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.'
Whoever listens to you listens to me.
Whoever rejects you rejects me.
And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me."


Meditation: Baruch 1:15-22

Justice is with the Lord our God. (Baruch 1:15)

"It's not my fault!" Isn't this a constant refrain? Parents hear it all the time from their children. Coworkers try to avoid the consequences of their poor performance. So it's almost jarring in today's first reading to hear the exiled Israelites proclaim, "Justice is with the Lord" (Baruch 1:15).

With this jolt of honesty, the Israelites joined the likes of Daniel (9:4-19) and Nehemiah (9:1-37) in offering a prayer of humble, heartfelt repentance. They didn't shy away from admitting their faults and acknowledging that their own disobedience had caused their exile. As they confessed their sins, they remembered God's actions and his character: he was the gracious God who had brought them out of slavery, gave them the Law, and guided them into the Promised Land. Yet despite these blessings, the people had chosen to ignore the Lord's commands, and so found themselves taken captive and forced to march to Babylon. It was not the Babylonians' fault. It was not the Egyptians' fault. Israel and Israel alone had sinned, and now they were paying the price for it.

Sin has caused us all to experience separation from the Lord. Baruch's prayer, then, can show us the way back to God. Don't sugarcoat your sin. Own up to what you have done. Take responsibility for your actions. Tell the Lord, "I have sinned . . . in what I have done and in what I have failed to do." Even when you sin and suffer the consequences, you can take a lesson from the Israelites: rather than giving up, you can turn back to your God, the Just One, who loves to forgive and justify sinners.

And don't do this only when you are faced with "big" offenses against God. Every night, before going to bed, review your day and see if anything pricks your conscience. Get it out right away. Ask God's forgiveness, and trust in his mercy.

Pope Francis once shared what his nightly prayer looks like: "In the evening, before going to bed, I say this short prayer: 'Lord, if you will, you can make me clean!' And I pray five Our Fathers, one for each of Jesus' wounds, because Jesus has cleansed us with his wounds. . . . Jesus always hears us" (General Audience, June 22, 2016).

"Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."

Psalm 79:1-5, 8-9
Luke 10:13-16


The first holy Word said "For we did not heed the voice of the Lord, our God,
in all the words of the prophets whom he sent us...."
And so we prayed today " For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us".
At one point this week a thought kept going through my head "God don't need another numb skull in Heaven" as I thought about my iniquities, as I thought about my sins, as I thought about my impurities. Yes, the Lord said there were prostitutes and tax collectors entering the Kingdom of God before they'd enter, but that's only because these believed, these people therefore REPENTED, these people had a conversion of heart, mind, and soul which is called metanoia.

Our Lord says in the Holy Gospel " "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented...'. Now, do you need a mighty deed to be called to repent and believe? Is not His word enough? Jesus our King ends today with "Whoever listens to you listens to me.
Whoever rejects you rejects me." I often tell people when I speak about following the Lord "perhaps it is the Lord calling you" because the Holy Spirit works among us, through our bodies, our temples. Speaking of which, how is your house, your temple looking? I envisioned yesterday, entering someone's house, but I decided I didn't want to, because they had a mess inside, hoarders, stinky, not hospitable, not welcoming, not what one that says "come inside" and I'm talking about how we are with our Lord. Are we hoarders? Are we not clean? Are we stinky by messing with the dung of the word, the impurities of the world? How in the world will Christ enter our lives if so? How will He shine in my house? How will the world see the light?
But, there are some that are so clean, that it seems abandoned, there is nothing inside but emptiness. That too would not feel welcoming, but like a museum or a grave site. No. Christ must be welcomed into the alive. Accepted means full repentance, full conversion. We welcomed new cursillistas last night, before my and my family left, I went to say farewell to them all sitting at a table and I said, "Ok, now you are in grace, because you can be in grace or disgrace, it is a yes or a no". That is how it is with God, either alive, or not, either believing or not. The middle ground gives roots to perhaps the opposite. Be nourished. I had a vision last night as the speakers spoke in ultreya. It was that of tree roots. The Holy Sacraments give strong taproots into Christ, the largest being The Eucharist. The other roots are the other things we tap into for grace, rosaries, ultreyas, group reunions, studies, and so forth....tapped into grace....that which is brings us to SALVATION



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