Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Video: The Stethoscope

"The Stethoscope" is a fun way to bring music into your prayer.:


"The Stethoscope" on Youtube.

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 4, 2011
Ezekiel 33:7-9; Psalm 95; Romans 13:8-10; Matthew 18:15-20

Advice is easy to give and often difficult to follow. Jesus says, "if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between him and you alone." While it is good advice, it can be risky business. Sometimes people react irrationally even when we try to spoon-feed them hard criticism with sugary words and careful concern. The power imbalance inherent within relationships makes it difficult to speak difficult realities with courage. We often stay silent when we have been harmed or sinned against - often swallowing our pride as a path to peace or at least an absence of aggression. In an ideal world, the words of Jesus sound nice, but I am challenged to stand up for myself.
He asks us to persist. If I cannot win over my brother to help him see his transgressions against me, I am to bring a few others along with me to help him see the error of his ways. If that doesn't work, I am asked to bring him to the church, and if that still doesn't work, I have to treat him as I would someone of a different tradition. When do I know if I am being the one who is strong-willed and not seeing the error of my ways? In all relationships, the error typically doesn't lie on only one party. I am probably complicit in creating the atmosphere for the transgression. While this may be so, I still am not responsible for the other's actions. Nothing is ever neat and tidy. Seldom is anything clear-cut or crystal clear.

One of the faults that Jesus is pointing out is the brother's refusal to listen. He is becoming hard of heart and closed off to an enriched understanding of wisdom. Failing to listen is a great sin. Ezekiel, the appointed watchman over Israel, was asked to warn the wicked and turn him from his ways. By doing so, his soul was saved. We are asked to intervene in a person's life when he or she goes astray. Our gentle intrusion can save their souls and our own.
Paul tells the Roman Christians that "the one who loves another has fulfilled the law." Loving one's neighbor as yourself is the answer to most of our moral dilemmas. Paul writes, "Love does no evil to the neighbor." However, loving another person demands constant work. We want it to be easier. We think of love as coming easy, but it is a sustained effort on our part, especially if the person is not flesh and blood. Jesus points out that to love well means that we must diligently work for the good of our neighbor. I tell you that the persons you are trying to help might not be dissuaded from their approach, but they will know your continued concern for them. If their hearts are touched, it will be due to your good-will efforts towards them.

Moral theologian Jim Keenan defines sin as "a failure to bother to love." If we write someone off and give up on a person, we sin as well. Sometimes that is the right course of events, especially if we are the one transgressed. We don't want to keep banging our heads futilely against some mad bugger's wall. It is a delicate balance between knowing when to move on and when to persevere. We know the stakes are high - the salvation of our souls are in the balance. Jesus asks us to try. He asks us to try again and again until the desired reconciliation occurs. Figuring out the right strategy with a gentle technique may help, but our offending neighbor will never be able to dispute that we tried our best. This memory will linger in his or her consciousness; it will linger in God's. So let us try - with wisdom and a pervading, expansive love. We will know that in difficult circumstances we bothered enough to love.
Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: In Colossians, Paul assures the faithful people that he is suffering for their sake and that he is working hard to bring other people to the faith just as the Colossians came to faith. Paul is very encouraged. He asks the people to be wary of empty, seductive philosophies and to remain faithful to Christ who has been laboring to remove obstacles for their reception of the Gospel. Think on what is above and put away the earthly parts of you: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and idolatrous greed. Paul greets Timothy as his child in the faith and reminds him that through God's mercy Paul was converted from a blasphemer and persecutor to a new way of life. He was treated mercifully because Christ came to save sinners. Christ was patient with him in his conversion.

Gospel: On one Sabbath, Jesus healed a man with a withered hand in opposition to the schemes of the Pharisees. He flaunted it in their face because he wanted them to see that it is right to do good and to save life on the Sabbath. Jesus then departed in solitude to pray. The next morning he chose twelve from among his disciples to be his inner circle. With them, he went down to a plain and a large number of people came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases and exorcised. He then began to teach them by calling out those who were blessed and those who would be reviled in the kingdom of God. As he continued his sermon, he spoke about the way of life a person is to live. These are some of his sayings: A disciples, when trained, will be like his teacher; a good tree produces good fruit (a heart full of goodness speaks only of goodness); the one who listens to good advice from a teacher and acts in accord and integrity will honor the teacher.
Saints of the Week

Thursday: The Birth of Mary was originally (like all good feasts) celebrated first in the Eastern church. The Roman church began its devotion in the fifth century. Her birth celebrates her role as the mother of Jesus. Some traditions have her born in Nazareth while others say she hails from outside of Jerusalem.
Saturday: Peter Claver, S.J. (1580-1654) became a Jesuit in 1600 and was sent to the mission in Cartegena, Colombia, a center of slave trade. For forty years, Claver ministered to the newly arrived Africans by giving them food, water, and medical care. Unfortunately, he died ostracized by his Jesuit community because he insisted on continuing the unpopular act of treating the slaves humanely.

This Week in Jesuit History
 
·         Sep 4, 1760. At Para, Brazil, 150 men of the Society were shipped as prisoners, reaching Lisbon on December 2. They were at once exiled to Italy and landed at Civita Vecchia on January 17, 1761.
·         Sep 5, 1758. The French Parliament issued a decree condemning Fr. Busembaum's Medulla Theologiae Moralis.
·         Sep 6, 1666. The Great Fire of London broke out on this date. There is not much the Jesuits have not been blamed for, and this was no exception. It was said to be the work of Papists and Jesuits. King Charles II banished all the fathers from England.
·         Sep 7, 1773. King Louis XV wrote to Clement XIV, expressing his heartfelt joy at the suppression of the Society.
·         Sep 8, 1600. Fr. Matteo Ricci set out on his journey to Peking (Beijing). He experienced enormous difficulties in reaching the royal city, being stopped on his way by one of the powerful mandarins.
·         Sep 9, 1773. At Lisbon, Carvalho, acting in the king's name, ordered public prayers for the deliverance of the world from the "pestilence of Jesuitism."
·         Sep 10, 1622. The martyrdom at Nagaski, Japan, of Charles Spinola and his companions.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Prayer: Henri Nouwen

God, give me the courage to be revolutionary as your Son Jesus was... Teach me to stand up free and to shun no criticism. God, it is for your kingdom.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Song: The Holy Spirit (verse 2)

Praise the Spirit, close companion of our inmost thoughts and ways;
who, in showing us God's wonders, is himself the power to gaze;
and God's will, to those who listen, by a still small voice conveys.

Spirituality: Holy Cross Brothers

For the kingdom to come in this world, disciples must have the competence to see and the courage to act, which is a call to do as Jesus did, working for justice though loving service to the poor.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Prayer: Augustine of Hippo

What do I desire?
What do I want?
Why do I speak?
Why do I live?
if not for this reason:
that together we might live with Christ...
I do not want to be saved
without you.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Prayer: Augustine of Hippo

We do not cease praying so long as we continue to do good. The prayer of the heart and of good deeds has more value than the prayer of the lips.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Prayer: Thomas Aquinas

Faith has to do with things that are not seen, and hope with things that are not at hand.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Prayer: Clare of Assisi

Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother: 'Blessed be you, my God, for having created me."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 28, 2011
Jeremiah 20:7-9; Psalm 63; Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 16:21-27

It is frustrating when we set out to do something good and it gets twisted around on us. Our motives are pure, our actions are decent, and still we get slapped around because it doesn't meet someone else's expectations. Jeremiah experiences this after he has been preaching for a while. He is a reluctant prophet and feels that God has enticed him through noble words, but has let him stand alone without support. He feels duped. He is quite angry with God because he is doing what God has asked of him and God simply remains silent. Now it is Jeremiah's turn to clam up. He is the one who will remain silent. He swears that he will not mention God's name again or do his bidding for him. He has had enough. His good will has been betrayed. If this is the way God treats his servants, God can do his work on his own.

Peter also gets figuratively slapped on the side of the head. Just a short while ago Peter was praised because he assertively answered the question of Jesus, "Who do you say that I am?" with "the Christ!" He was also given the keys to kingdom for his smart and prayerfully observant answer. Upon the fragile person of Peter, the church of Christ is to be built, but almost immediately Peter gets rebuked when Jesus tells him and the others that Jesus must suffer greatly, be handed over, and killed, but raised on the third day. Understandably, Peter stands up for his friend and says, "God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you." Instead of admired for his steadfast courage (because many others would not have supported Jesus as strongly), Peter gets unexpectedly whacked. It seems like a harsh response to his bravado. Like Jeremiah, he feels duped.

Suffering is a reality of discipleship. We expect to be misunderstood, taunted, ridiculed, and threatened by those who do not share our beliefs. We hardly expect people from our own faith tradition to be an adversary, but it hurts most when the people who are closest to us slap us on the side of the head. The harshest divisions are often within our own camps and understandably we feel duped and betrayed.

Fortunately, we know this is not the end of the story. Jeremiah returns to his important ministry with God's support; Peter learns of the greater intricacies of discipleship and becomes an exemplary leader. We, too, learn to travel along a road that has unexpected twists and turns. The suffering that we face will mysteriously lead us to grace and give us hope. We know that by giving ourselves away to others, even if it causes us great discomfort and pain, our sacrifice will be the vehicle to greater meaning, satisfaction, and a sustained contentment that we have lived well.

Perhaps our great lesson is to examine how we hold each other's pain. We often want to fix someone's situation and alleviate the causes of their suffering, but that is not what we are asked to do. We are simply asked to hold the person's pain while they move through their issues with Christ. Recovery from pain is a process that takes time. Running from the pain or avoiding it causes greater pain. This we know: everyone will confront the cross and it will cause great suffering. Can we be a companion that honors and respects a friends' suffering? Let us just hold their pain so they know that the love and grace of Christ flows from you to them for their benefit. The glory of God will be revealed through you in ways that will surprise you.

Themes for this Week’s Masses 

First Reading: In Thessalonians, Paul assures the community of their brothers and sisters in the faith who have died before the Day of the Lord has come. They and those who are alive will be taken up together to meet the Lord. We will always be with him. Concerning times and seasons, we are not to worry as we will stay alert and sober for the Lord's return. Colossians begins with Paul's thanksgiving for the easy reception of the Gospel by the people. Paul thanks God for their strength and patient endurance that he delivered them from darkness into the light of the Kingdom. The great hymn to Christ is then sung: Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. He is the head of the Body, the church, the alpha and omega, the firstborn from the dead. All things are reconciled in him. God has reconciled the Colossians who were once hostile to the Gospel and has made them holy, without blemish, and irreproachable. They are to persevere in the faith and remain grounded to receive the rewards of heaven.

Gospel: Jesus heads to Capernaum to teach on the sabbath. A man with the spirit of an unclean spirit recognizes Jesus and cries out, "What have you to do with us?" Jesus reveals his authority over demons. He then goes to Simon Peter's house and heals his mother-in-law. People hear of his great wonder-working and bring many people to be healed. To get some relief from the crowds, Jesus gets into a boat at the Lake of Gennesaret and instructs the unproductive fishermen to cast their nets where he tells them. Peter, James, and John leave their work and become his disciples. The scribes and Pharisees criticize the disciple of Jesus about their lack of fasting like John's disciples to which Jesus responds, "Do you expect the wedding guests to fast in the presence of the bridegroom?" The Pharisees once again criticize Jesus for picking grains and eating them on the sabbath. Jesus declares that the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.

Saints of the Week 

Monday: The Martyrdom of John the Baptist recalls the sad events of John's beheading by Herod the tetrarch when John called him out for his incestuous and adulterous marriage to Herodias, who was his niece and brother's wife. At a birthday party, Herodias' daughter Salome danced well earning the favor of Herod who told her he would give her almost anything she wanted.

Saturday: Gregory the Great (540-604) was the chief magistrate in Rome and resigned to become a monk. He was the papal ambassador to Constantinople, abbot, and pope. His charity and fair justice won the hearts of many. He protected Jews and synthesized Christian wisdom. He described the duties of bishops and promoted beautiful liturgies that often incorporated chants the bear his name.

This Week in Jesuit History

· Aug. 28, 1628: The martyrdom in Lancashire, England, of St. Edmund Arrowsmith.
· Aug. 29, 1541: At Rome the death of Fr. John Codure, a Savoyard, one of the first 10 companions of St. Ignatius.
· Aug. 30, 1556: On the banks of the St. Lawrence River, Fr. Leonard Garreau, a young missionary, was mortally wounded by the Iroquois.
· Aug. 31, 1581: In St. John's Chapel within the Tower of London, a religious discussion took place between St. Edmund Campion, suffering from recent torture, and some Protestant ministers.
· Sep 1, 1907. The Buffalo Mission was dissolved and its members were sent to the New York and Missouri Provinces and the California Mission.
· Sep 2, 1792. In Paris, ten ex-Jesuits were massacred for refusing to take the Constitutional oath. Also in Paris seven other fathers were put to death by the Republicans, among them Frs. Peter and Robert Guerin du Rocher.
· Sep 3, 1566. Queen Elizabeth visited Oxford and heard the 26-year-old Edmund Campion speak. He was to meet her again as a prisoner, brought to hear her offer of honors or death.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Spirituality: Martin Buber and Freedom

In a remarkable passage, Buber reflected on human freedom. One who is free, he wrote, ‘believes in the real solidarity of the real twofold entity I and Thou. He believes in destiny, and believes that it stands in need of him.’ Such a person, according to Buber, becomes free to promote relationships. In fact, anyone at ease in I-thou relationships has the main prerequisite for creating faith relationships by which people become free. Interpersonal encounter, one may infer from Buber’s observations, is faith in action and community-building in effect. By contrast, ‘the self-willed man does not believe and does not meet. He does not know the solidarity of connexion, but only the feverish world outside and his feverish desire to use it.’

Adrian Lyons, S.J. from Imagine Believing

Monday, August 22, 2011

Spirituality: Awareness by Anthony de Mello, S.J.

Most people don't live aware lives. They live mechanical lives, mechanical thoughts -- generally somebody else's -- mechanical emotions, mechanical actions, mechanical reactions.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Prayer: Tertullian

In Greek, the root meaning of repentance is not the confession of a sin but a change of mind.

Prayer: Quodvultdeus

To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Prayer: Confessions of Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Late have I loved you, Beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!

Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for you,
and upon the shapely things you have made
I rushed headlong – I, misshapen.

You were with me, but I was not with you.
They held me back far from you,
those things which would have no being,
were they not in you.

You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance, I gasped; and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst;
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.

Prayer: Philip Neri

A joyful heart is more easily made perfect than one that is cast down.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Transformed at River Cardoner

Prayer: Mass on the World by Teilhard de Chardin

Glorious Christ,
You whose divine influence is active at the very heart of matter.
And at the dazzling centre where the innumerable fibres
of the multiple meet:
You whose power is as implacable
as the world and as warm as life,
You whose forehead is of the whiteness of snow.
Whose eyes are of fire,
And whose feet are brighter than molten gold;
You whose hands imprison the stars;
You are the first and the last,
the living and the dead and the risen again;
It is to you to whom our being
cries out a desire as vast as the universe:
In truth you are our Lord and our God. Amen.

(from The Mass on the World)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Prayer: Benedict XVI

Our life does not exist by accident.... My life is willed by God, from eternity. I am loved, I am necessary. God has a specific plan for me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Should we close the churches?

16-Aug-2011

It might seem a startling proposal: that the Bishop of Port Pirie close all fifty-seven churches in the diocese! But might this be an effective way to bring about a more family-oriented Church, reviving the family as the community in which the faith is communicated, taught, practised and nourished?

Very much of the shape of Australian Catholicism was moulded in Ireland. A giant of the Irish Church was Cardinal Paul Cullen, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland from 1852 to 1878. He was the first Irish Cardinal, and was greatly committed to the Vatican and the Papacy.

Cardinal Cullen’s indirect influence on the Australian Church was profound. Cardinal Patrick Moran was his nephew, and the twelve Irish priests who were made bishops in Australia during Cullen’s time were all his pupils - and some were his relatives - all at a time when the character of Australian Catholicism was being shaped.

One of the great contributions of Cardinal Cullen was the ‘devotional revolution’ (as it is termed) that he initiated in Ireland, serving a Church that was coming out of the penal era, when Catholic churches were not allowed to be built, Catholic schools were forbidden, and there was a general discrimination against Catholics in British-run Ireland. Working with the new religious orders that were being founded then (the Sisters of Mercy, Christian Brothers and so on) changes were introduced among the Catholics of Ireland, through the many devotions that were promoted. Among the many fruits of this devotional revolution were multiplicity of vocations to the religious life, resulting in a great many sisters and brothers coming to mission countries like Australia. In addition, in Ireland, the churches became crowded with more than ninety percent of the population attending weekly Mass.

What was the situation like beforehand? In the days of strong discrimination against the Church under British rule, the priests had little option but to move from house to house to say Mass, and neighbours and people from the village would crowd in. The home became the principal place for the handing on of the faith. The life of the Church took place in the home.

As the Church became freer and the role of the parish church as the Mass centre grew, a balance was maintained between home and church for religious practice. For a century there was a very good balance, with the church the place for the Mass and the celebration of the Sacraments, and the home for the nurturing of the faith. It was our experience also in Australia where the home was the place where for most families the religious devotions like night prayers, the rosary, grace before meals, the sprig of palm from Palm Sunday, images of the Sacred Heart, Our Lady and some of the Saints, holy water, and so on, were practised. The home was the context for the faith, reinforced by the school, and celebrated in the church.

There has been a change. In many Catholic homes today there are no images of Mary and the Saints, no crucifix, no grace said, no prayers together as a family, not a Bible or missal readily to hand. We go to church if we want religious practice. The home is neutral. Clearly, I am painting a picture with very broad strokes, just to make a point. In our homes there is of course a massive example of Christian love and comfort through parents and child, but nevertheless little is done to express our faith as families in acts of prayer together.

Look, however, at the faith of the Jewish people enduring through centuries of persecution, against massive acts of annihilation of whole communities. In spite of everything, their faith has survived, and it is a family-based faith. The mother lights the candle in the home on the Friday evening and intones the psalms and the prayers. It is a family-centred, table-top liturgy, springing from the home. They go to the synagogue on the Sabbath, but the dynamism comes from the acts of worship in the home. On the other hand, we have grown to act as if religious experience only takes place in a church, not in our homes.

If we can rediscover how to be a family-based church, it will stop a hardening of attitudes. We are in danger of moving towards seeing our homes as the places for real living, and the church for the place of religious practice, a divorce that will over time enfeeble faith, and allow Christ not to be mentioned or celebrated where we live our real lives - in our homes.

Hence, if our churches were closed, and we had to go back to Masses in the homes as the only place to worship, would this, I ask with tongue in cheek, help revive our faith and worship, and help reduce the drift of our young away from their religious practice? If prayer or Scripture is not practised in the home, and our young people are not going to a church, then they are necessarily living lives where there is no hearing of the Word, no opportunity to ‘be still and know that I am God’, no developing of a maturing faith. There will be much input from other sources – music and media, texting and involvement in sport or fashion, but no input from the Gospel of Jesus to help mould their inner lives of faith, hope and love.

By Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ, Port Pirie Diocese. This article first appeared in The Witness magazine.

Photo: Wounded at Pamplona

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 21, 2011
Isaiah 22:19-23; Psalm 138; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16:13-20

          Every friendship has a critical moment that defines whether it will fade away or last. Jesus has his moment this week with the disciples. He places himself in a vulnerable spot because he wants to know if his disciples are understanding what he has been showing and telling them. In his recent history with them he fed the five thousand, healed the sick, walked on water, and fed the four thousand.   His actions have been declaring who he is. Now he wants to openly talk about that "elephant in the room." What do his disciples think about his real identity? He wants to know, "Who do you say that I am?"
          Their answer will define the course of ministry for Jesus. If his closest friends are not yet comprehending then the larger public is not getting it. Has his methodology been effective? This is a measuring stick for his program. After skillfully coaxing his friends along, what more does he need to do? Not only that, Jesus is coming to realize that he is a special emissary from God. He wants to be able to share that with his friends so they can talk about what has been unspoken. He would feel a lot freer to take what is shared in whispers out into the broad daylight.

          Fortunately, Peter saves the day. After tip-toeing around the question, he nails it, which brings great delight to Jesus. Peter calls him "the Christ," who is the Son of the Living God. It is as much a statement about God as it is about Jesus. Just as Peter has given Jesus a name and title, Jesus does the same for him. He is renamed Peter from his name Simon (Petrus - the Rock; or more affectionately, "Rocky") and is given a monumental task: to build his church. He was given a weighty responsibility because he named Jesus correctly.
          Peter was given the task of forgiving or keeping bound people's actions. This privilege was only reserved to God in the past, but now it has been passed on to humans. What we absolve in one another in the name of Christ will be forgiven by God in heaven. Our cooperation is key. All too often we refuse to forgive former close friends and especially our family members. They are the ones who hurt us most. Some of us die before we can achieve needed reconciliation with meaningful people. Primarily because of deep pain, we keep ourselves and others bound and closed off from God's redeeming actions. This is no way to live or to die. We must always work hard, through the grace of God, to become as open as possible to other aspects of the truth. It is the only way to achieve happiness.

          A distressing part of life in our church today is that people are closing themselves off to one another. If one does not hold the same position as another, a person can be called unorthodox and subsequently shunned and marginalized. This is not the way to peace. It is not the way to a responsible use of our gift of reconciliation and mercy. It does not open us up to grace. Let us learn from one another and hold each other's views with as much respect as we can. Rash, harsh judgments do not help out anyone - and it makes us unhappy as we close ourselves off to the possibilities for life. Jesus offers us incredible richness when we recognize that he (not ourselves) is the Lord. When we establish ourselves in right relationship with him, he blesses us generously.
Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: In Thessalonians, Paul gives thanks and praises the believers who turned to God from idol worship. Paul tells of the hardships of proclaiming the Gospel to them and the courage they needed to continue with the struggle. Paul explains his method is to please God and not humans, but that he wanted to remain among them with gentleness. He tells them how much he has prayed for them and that he is among them to remedy their deficiencies of faith and that they may abound in greater love for one another. Paul then gets to the point: they are to refrain from immorality. They are not to act as Gentiles do in taking a wife or to exploit a brother or sister. God called the people to holiness - a people set apart from the behavior of others. Paul then urges them to love one another more fervently. Their love can grow and they can aspire to live a more tranquil life and to conduct affairs in according with the Gospel.
Gospel: Jesus lashes out at the scribes and Pharisees for their lack of consistency in their preaching and actions, for perverting the child of God, and choosing to honor one's oath by gold while neglecting one's temple oath. They also neglect the more important considerations of judgment, mercy, and fidelity. They criticize one's outward appearance while their inner lives are filled with self-indulgence. Jesus turns to the crowds and appeals to them to stay awake for one does not know the hour of his or her judgment. His parable honors the faithful and prudent servant who waits for his master's return. He further illustrates it with the parable of the ten virgins who go out to meet the bridegroom. Five were foolish; five wise. Jesus tells the foolish ones, "I do not know you." In another parable, a man heading out on a journey entrusts talents to his servants. Those who invested well in their talents were greatly rewarded while those who hoarded and saved for themselves were cut off from the community.

Saints of the Week
Monday: The Queenship of Mary concludes the octave of the principal feast of Mary as she celebrates her installation as queen and mother of all creation. This feast was placed on our calendar in 1954 following the dogmatic proclamation of the Assumption.

Tuesday: Rose of Lima (1586-1617) was the first canonized saint of the New World. She had Spanish immigrant parents in Lima. Rose joined the Dominicans and lived in her parents' garden to support them while she took care of the sick and the poor. As a girl, she had many mystical experiences as she practiced an austere life. She also had many periods of darkness and desolation.
Wednesday: Bartholomew (First Century), according to the Acts of the Apostles, is listed as one of the Twelve Disciples though no one for sure knows who he is. Some associate him with Philip, though other Gospel accounts contradict this point. John's Gospel refers to him as Nathaniel - a Israelite without guile.

Thursday: Louis of France (1214-1270) became king at age 12, but did not take over leadership until ten years later. He had eleven children with his wife, Marguerite, and his kingship reigned for 44 years. His rule ushered in a longstanding peace and prosperity for the nation.  He is held up as a paragon of medieval Christian kings.
Saturday: Monica (332-387) was born a Christian in North Africa and was married to a non-Christian, Patricius, with whom she had three children, the most famous being Augustine. Her husband became a Christian at her urging and she prayed for Augustine's conversion as well from his newly adopted Manichaeism. Monica met Augustine in Milan where he was baptized by Bishop Ambrose. She died on the return trip as her work was complete.

This Week in Jesuit History

·         Aug. 21, 1616: At Pont a Mousson in Lorraine died Fr. William Murdoch, a Scotchman, who when only 10 years of age was imprisoned seven months for the faith and cruelly beaten by the order of a Protestant bishop. St. Ignatius is said to have appeared to him and encouraged him to bear the cross bravely.
·         Aug. 22, 1872: Jesuits were expelled from Germany during the Bismarckian Kulturkampf.
·         Aug. 23, 1558: In the First General Congregation, the question was discussed about the General's office being triennial, and the introduction of Choir, as proposed by Pope Paul IV, and it was decreed that the Constitutions ought to remain unaltered.
·         Aug. 24, 1544: Peter Faber arrived in Lisbon.
·         Aug. 25, 1666: At Beijing, the death of Fr. John Adam Schall. By his profound knowledge of mathematics and astronomy, he attained such fame that the Emperor entrusted to him the reform of the Chinese calendar.
·         Aug. 26, 1562: The return of Fr. Diego Laynez from France to Trent, the Fathers of the Council desiring to hear him speak on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
·         Aug. 27, 1679: The martyrdom at Usk, England, of St. David Lewis, apostle to the poor in his native Wales for three decades before he was caught and hanged.

Prayer: Gregory of Nyssa

The Creator comes to our aid so that our eyes, accustomed to darkness, may be gradually opened to the full light of truth.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Const.: GC 34, Decree 4: “Our Mission and Culture”, par. 28.8

We commit ourselves to the creation of genuinely “local churches” which can contribute to the richness of the universal communion of the church of Christ. We will also look for ways of creating indigenous theology, liturgy and spirituality, and of promoting the right and freedom of peoples to encounter the Gospel without being alienated from their culture.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Poem: Putting Out into the Deep from Gloucester

Paul Mariani, a noted author and professor of English at Boston College, wrote this poem during his retreat from August 6th - 14th.

A strong wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord - but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake - but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire - but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Reality is an Activity of the Most August Imagination. Wallace Stevens.

The sea wind whispers and the tall oaks shake,
their leaves shimmering in the August noon.
And now the dry grass wrinkles and the floorboards flame.
Saffron motes, a distant bird cry, this brackish sea.

What was it you figured the wind might say?
The oaks sway gently this way and that.
Like young girls they sway, their long locks
shaking in the golden green. They are singing

to themselves, something only they can understand,
the sequins of their shadows shimmering with song.
Like some burning bush touched only the by wind they shine.
For the past two days you've waited by the threshold,

tide out, tide in, then out and in again, as if calling someone.
Your old stone boat sits there on the shore, ready to take on
those deeper waters, as if it really could. Again
the plum-purple waves are beachward washing,

each cold comber composed of spume and granite.
And still nothing seems to happen the way you configured
to yourself, though somewhere out there in those depths
continents collide, and somewhere dying stars implode.

The frequencies of air are filled with foreign gargle
and all the indices are down or going under. "Nowhere
in Aquinas will you find a rationale for so-called private
property,: father is exhorting, as his little congregation,

composed mostly of seasoned religious women, nod their heads.
Cold comfort there, you think, considering what you've already lost,
but the Gospel seems to back them. It's the scene where Peter
goes out into the depths to fish as the Lord has told him to,

and - behold! - the first fish he catches has money where its mouth is,
enough to pay the noisome temple tax not once, but twice,
for his Master and himself. Found money, no? Mayhap there is
a lesson there for you? And if there is, pray tell me what it is.

When Jesus, striding the blue-black waves there in the pre-dawn
dark, called out to Peter to come to him, impetuous Peter leapt
overboard at once. Somehow, the yawning waves half-steadied him,
and with baby steps, or like a drunk man on the dizzying

ice, began walking on the waters towards the bedazzling figure,
who stood there like some blown beacon beckoning him.
At which point, Peter must have told himself that this was easy,
so who needed him? Which is when the Rock went under,

spluttering in that insane gasping sea. Only Christ's fast grip
upon his wrist had saved him then. How often he must have
thought back on that shock moment to try and sort out what
had happened. So take a moment now, oh scholar of one candle,

and look up from your desk. The oaks are quiet now, and the sun,
that King of Glory, has since moved on. The clouds, like full-fed
crowds, are gone, and the choiring girls have turned again into trees.
They know that somewhere, now as then, the wind keeps whispering still.

Paul Mariani
Eastern Point
August 8, 2011
For Fr. Harry Cain and Ginny Blass

Prayer: Francis de Sales

Always give good heed to the Word of God, whether you hear or read it in private or hearken to it when publicly preached. Listen with attention and reverence, seek to profit by it, and do not let the precious words fall unheeded but receive them into your heart.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Prayer: Jesus is everthing

Jesus is everything:
in that he judges he is law,
in that he teaches he is gospel,
in that he saves he is grace,
in that he begets he is the Father,
in that he is begotten he is Son,
in that he suffers he is sheep,
in that he is buried he is man,
in that he comes to life again he is God

Melito of Sardis

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Prayer: Theophane Venard

Happiness is to be found only in the home and in the family circle where God is loved and honored, and everyone loves and helps and cares for the other.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Prayer: Maximilian Kolbe

You must be prepared for periods of darkness, anxiety, doubts, fears, of temptations that are sometimes very, very insistent, of sufferings of body and, what is hundredfold more painful, of the soul.... If there were no trials, there would be no struggle. Without a struggle, victory would be impossible, and without victory, there is no crown, no reward.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Prayer: Peter Chrysologus

Each of us is called to be both a sacrifice to God and God’s priest. Do not forfeit what God confers on you. Put on the garment of holiness, let the cross on your forehead be your unfailing protection. Let your heart be an altar on which you offer yourself to God.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Prayer: Pio of Pietrelcina

Don’t lose heart if it is your lot to work much and gather little. If you considered what one soul alone costs Jesus, you would never complain.

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 14, 2011
Isaiah 56:1-7; Psalm 67; Romans 11:13-15, 29-32; Matthew 15:21-28

The encounter of Jesus with the Canaanite woman whose daughter was suffering with an illness offers a compelling portrait of his humanity. Secretly, people like the fact that Jesus has faults as a man. They like that he is like them, not above them, but of the same cut. It makes him more accessible. They can get angry with him when he acts coldly to the foreign woman. He gives her a cold shoulder and acts passive aggressively. He shows that he is still learning about his vocation and is coming into a new self-awareness.

The woman recognizes a special power in Jesus and calls him Lord. This is unusual for a foreigner to pay him homage as Lord. She asks him for help and he coolly resists because he does not want to bother with anything or anyone but his mission. Her persistence causes him to reconsider his attitude - and thankfully he changes. She forces him to do what is right. Though she reasons with him about 'the dogs eating the scraps that fall from the table of their masters,' I suspect that it was her pleading request to him to help her daughter recover from her illness. No one in his or her right mind would turn away someone in their heartfelt plea to assist a sick child. Jesus chooses the right action even if he did not see it as being in line with his mission to Israel.

Many see this as a 'growing-up' moment for Jesus. He is coming to grips with the larger reality around him and with his awareness that the rest of the world has great needs and suffering too. His heart warms to her as he affectionately calls her 'woman' and is amazed by her faith. He comes to like her.

Isaiah, in the first reading, mentions the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord and have the house of prayer opened up to them. Our faith always asks us to examine how we deal with foreigners - those who are different from us. Of course, we have some inherent tension because when we meet someone new, we want to make sure that our boundaries are respected. We are naturally cool to a foreigner and we fall into a protective mode. This Gospel passage and Isaiah's reminder to us tells us that we ought to take the risk of breaking beyond our boundaries to receive the foreigner as a potential ally rather than a threat.

We can easily examine our national policies about immigrants and those who want to become citizens, but the heart of the matter is the way we treat the local people of our world. We find ways to avoid people who do not retain the same values or views as we do and we insulate ourselves from those who might challenge our cultural assumptions. The divisive language of our political leaders and talk show hosts reflect the views of many people who fear the foreigner or alien. Our language tends to dehumanize anyone who is not like us. Language gives us power over the other. We give our neighbor the cold shoulder - sometimes with disdain.

Jesus shows us that when we are challenged by someone who is different from us, we can become enriched instead. New dimensions and possibilities can open and we need them to happen. When we act out of fear we are not being open to grace. Time and again Scripture instructs us to welcome and care for the foreigner. Though it is right to be cautious of our safety, we can experience great delight in coming to know the plight of our fellow sojourner. Our hearts can be warmed to others if we break open from the constraints we put upon ourselves. Learn who you neighbor is; you might be overjoyed with what and who you find.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: In Judges, Gideon (the lowliest in the tribe of Manasseh) feels like the Lord has abandoned them to the Midianites, but the Lord called him to save Israel from the hands of Midian.  When the Lord accepted his offering, he built an altar and called the place Yahweh-shalom. Jotham told a parable about a man who anoint himself a king. The moral was to beware of your own ambitions; God is the one who calls and anoints. The spirit of the Lord fell upon Jephthah who vowed to offer the first person he saw to the Lord if he delivers the Ammonites into his power. When he returned, his saw his only child, a daughter. Heartbroken, he kept his vow and gave away his only offspring. At the time of the judges, a famine occurred. Naomi's husband died, and eventually her two sons died. Ruth elected to stay with Naomi and take care of her. She was brought into the family of faith - with an unknown God. Boaz took special care of Ruth for the goodwill she offered Naomi. Eventually they married and conceived a child: Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Gospel: Jesus says discipleship is demanding and entrance into the kingdom of heaven is very difficult. He tells the religious leaders that the kingdom is like a landowner who hires laborers at dawn for the vineyard. Those who negotiated late are given the same result as those who agreed early - meaning that the kingdom is open to those who come to realize the great value of the kingdom, even if at a late stage. Jesus then tells the chief priests that the kingdom is like a wedding feast given in honor of his son. Many were invited, but some did not come prepared for the feast with proper honor and attire. When the Pharisees heard the Sadducees were silenced, a scholar tested him and asked about the greatest commandments. Jesus summarizes the whole set by saying radical love of God is most important; loving your neighbor as you love God is second. All will be worked out if you follow these commands. Jesus then told the crowds to follow the teachings of the scribes and Pharisees, but do not follow their example because their practice does not follow from what they preach.

Saints of the Week

Monday: The Assumption of Mary is the principal feast of Mary with her Queenship celebrated at the end of the octave. This feast celebrates that she was taken up to heaven, body and soul, at the end of her earthly life. The Council of Ephesus in 431 proclaimed her Mother of God and devotion of her dormition followed afterwards.

Tuesday: Stephen of Hungary (975-1038) tried to unite the Magyar families and was able to establish the church in Hungary through Pope Sylvester II's support. Rome crowed Stephen as the first king in 1001 and he instituted many reforms in religious and civil practices. He built churches and trained local clergy.

Friday: John Eudes, priest (1601-1680) preached missions, heard confessions, and assisted the sick and dying. He founded a new religious order for women, which includes Our Lady of Charity and the Good Shepherd Sisters. He eventually left the Oratorians to found the Congregation of Jesus and Mary.  

Saturday: Bernard, Abbot and Doctor (1090-1153) became a Benedictine abbey in Citeaux because of its strict observance. He was sent to set up a new monastery in Clairvaux with 12 other monks. He wrote theological treatises, sermons, letters, and commentaries that dominated the thought of Europe. His writings had a tremendous influence of Catholic spirituality.

This Week in Jesuit History

·         Aug 14, 1812. Napoleon I and his army arrived at Polosk, in White Russia. They plunder the property of the Society and violate the tombs of the Generals.
·         Aug 15, 1821. Fr. Peter DeSmet sailed from Amsterdam to America. He hoped to work among the Native Americans. He became the best known missionary of the northwest portion of the United States.
·         Aug. 15, 1955: The Wisconsin Province was formed from the Missouri Province and the Detroit Province was formed from the Chicago province.
·         Aug. 16, 1649: At Drogheda, Fr. John Bath and his brother, a secular priest, were shot in the marketplace by Cromwell's soldiers.
·         Aug. 17, 1823: Fr. Van Quickenborne and a small band of missionaries descended the Missouri River to evangelize the Indians at the request of the bishop of St. Louis. On this date in 1829, the College of St. Louis opened.
·         Aug. 18, 1952: The death of Alberto Hurtado, writer, retreat director, trade unionist and founder of "El Hogar de Christo," a movement to help the homeless in Chile.
·         Aug. 19, 1846: At Melgar, near Burgos, the birth of Fr. Luis Martin, 24th General of the Society.
·         Aug. 20, 1891: At Santiago, Chile, the government of Balmaceda ordered the Jesuit College to be closed.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Literature: Tales from Nagasaki

He left the university, he wrote, believing that a doctor held the patients’ lives in his hands’ but actual medical experiences taught him that all life is in God’s hands. He continues: “Those words in the Sermon on the Mount, ‘blessed are those who weep,’ should be taken literally by doctors. A real doctor suffers with each patient. If the patient is frightened of dying, so is the doctor. When the patient at long last gets well and says ‘Thank you,’ the doctor responds ‘Thank you.’… How mistaken I was as a young doctor when I thought medical practice was a matter of medical technique. That would make a doctor a body mechanic! No, a doctor must be a person who feels in his own body and spirit all that the patience suffers in body and spirit… I’ve come to understand that medicine is a vocation, a personal call from God – which means that examining a patient, taking an X-ray or giving an injection is part of the Kingdom of God. When I realized that, I found myself praying for each patient I treated.”

(ch. 29, “The Navel of the World,” pp. 234-235)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Spirituality: The Deliberation that Started the Jesuits

At the meeting on the first night, the following question was opened up: given that we had offered and dedicated ourselves and our lives to Christ our Lord and to his true and legitimate vicar on earth, so that he might dispose of us and send us wherever he judged it to be more fruitful.., would it or would it not be more advantageous for our purpose to be so joined and bound together in one body that no physical distance, no matter how great, would separate us?

In the end, we established the affirmative side of the question, that is, that in as much as our kind and affectionate Lord had deigned to gather us together and unite us, men so spiritually weak and from such diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds, we ought not split apart what God has gathered and united; on the contrary, we ought day by day to strengthen and stabilize our union, rendering ourselves one body with special concern for each other, in order to effect the greater spiritual good of our fellow men. For united spiritual strength is more robust and braver in any arduous enterprise than it would be if segmented.

Literature: Tales from Nagasaki

He expressed grave suspicions about “angry people” in peace movements. There is a great need for peace movements, he wrote, but only if made up of people with hearts that are at peace. He warned of any peace movement that was “merely political” or ideological and not dedicated to justice, love and patient hard work. Angry shouting in the streets about peace often cloaked very unpeaceful hearts, he commented…. In one place Nagai says all of us are called to “contemplation, which is not difficult. You see children praying this way, for instance, before the crib at Christmas time.” He quotes the Gospel: “I thank you Father for hiding these things from the clever and revealing them to little ones.”… Looking out at the nuclear wasteland Nagai said with the faith of Isaiah, “God will turn (Jerusalem’s) desolation into Eden, and the wasteland into a garden of Yahweh.”

(ch. 26, The Little Girl who Couldn’t Cry, pp. 213-214)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Photo: Ignatius at Prayer

Literature: Tales from Nagasaki

During this period he also returned to Urakami and tackled the problem of residual radiation. He had no instruments but when he discovered live ants and then earthworms he was convinced the autumn rains had washed most of the fall-out away. The rumors that all life would be impossible for 70 years were wrong. Like the ants, back to work! Helped by some friends he built a small hut by leaning charred beams against the stone retaining wall of his home, and roofing it with pieces of heat-buckled tin. … Many heeded Nagai’s call to rebuild the suburb and they put up huts around his. The remnant of the university staff set about planning a new university and Nagai joined in energetically.

(ch. 24, “Not from Chance our Comfort Springs,” p.185)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Literature: Tales from Nagasaki

“And just then, at 11.02 a.m., an atom bomb exploded over our suburb. In an instant, 8,000 Christians were called to God and in a few hours flames turned to ash this venerable Far Eastern holy place.

“At midnight that night our cathedral suddenly burst into flames and was consumed. At exactly that same time in the Imperial Palace, His Majesty the Emperor made known his sacred decision to end the war. On August 15, the Imperial Rescript which put an end to the fighting was formally promulgated and the whole world saw the light of peace. August 15 is also the great feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. It is significant, I believe, that Irakami Cathedral was dedicated to her. We must ask: Was this convergence of events, the end of the war and the celebration of her feast-day, merely coincidental or was it the mysterious Providence of God?

“I have heard that the atom bomb… was destined for another city. Heavy clouds rendered that target impossible and the American crew headed for the secondary target, Nagasaki. Then a mechanical problem arose and the bomb was dropped further north than planned and burst right above the cathedral… It was not the American crew, I believe, who chose our suburb. God’s providence chose Urakami and carried the bomb right above our homes. Is there not a profound relationship between the annihilation of Nagasaki and the end of the war? Was not Nagasaki the chosen victim, the lamb without blemish, slain as a whole-burnt offering on an altar of sacrifice, atoning for the sins of all the nations during World War II?”

(ch. 24, Not from Chance our Comfort Springs, p. 188)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Prayer: Ambrose

And do not be afraid that there will be any delay in healing. You must use the remedy which you have received. As soon as Jesus gives the command, healing occurs. So entreat the Lord, and fear no delay.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Poem by Matteo Ricci, S.J.

A shepherd boy fell sad one day,
Hating the hillside on which he stood;
he thought a distant hill he saw
more beautiful from afar,

and that going there would wipe away his sorrows.
So he set off to that distant hill,
but as he drew near it
it looked less good than it had from afar.

O shepherd boy, shepherd boy,
how can you expect to transform yourself
by changing your dwelling place?

If you move away can you leave yourself behind?
Sorrow and joy sprout in the heart.

If the heart is peaceful, you’ll be happy everywhere,
if the heart is in turmoil, every place brings sorrow.
A grain of dust in your eye
brings discomfort speedily.
How can you then ignore this sharp awl
that pierces your heart?

If you yearn for things outside yourself
you will never obtain what you are seeking.
Why not put your own heart in order
and find peace on your own hillside?

Old and new writers alike give this advice:
there’s no advantage to roaming outside.
Keep the heart inside, for
that brings the profit.

Literature: Tales from Nagasaki

It was a glorious April day and the little valley echoed with the songs of the bird Nagai had loved most since childhood, the uguisu, sometimes called the Japanese nightingale. Something told Nagai that all the beauty around him did not just happen. Wasn’t Pascal’s Creator-God a reasonable hypothesis? Nagai reflected: I am always ready to test a hypothesis in the laboratory. Why not try this prayer that Pascal is so insistent about, even if only as an experiment.

(Ch. 5, ’Tis an Ill Wind… pp.44-45)

Prayer: Pio of Pietrelcina

Go ahead! Courage!

In the spiritual life, one who does not go forward goes backward.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 7, 2011
1 Kings 19:9-13; Psalm 85; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:22-33

          The story of Jesus walking on water in the fury of a storm is a favorite of many. It is a call for greater trust and we easily find ourselves like Peter who impetuously answers the call to walk towards Jesus, but then gets sidetracked by the swirling storm and the deep sea. We lose our focus on the one who can calm us. If you are a high sensate like me, one who is notices the tiny, sensory, environmental details, keeping focus on Jesus is difficult. We are the ones who pay attention to the many distracting voices while searching for the one who can ultimately guide us to the right place.
          Having recently completed directing the 30-day Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, I recognize how difficult it is to earn trust even for those steeped in religious life. Some find it difficult to trust Jesus because of their images of Jesus Christ. If he is only a transcendent God-man, it is not easy to relate to him because he is always in control and is always God. If he is fully human, we can find a brother who endured the same difficulties we face. It is much easier to develop a friendship with one who is like us than one who is an altogether different being. The power balance can be too great to overcome.

          The disciples saw Jesus as merely a man. They prayed with him, learned from him, ate with him, and had leisure time with him. Because he was so like them, they were fearful when they encountered him in supernatural situations. It bent their minds so much to cause them to wonder about the source of his power. His humanity made him credible, and his humanity pointed to the power of God as the source of his words and works. Even when we have known before birth, we may find it difficult to talk with and place greater trust in him.
          Many factors prevent us from trusting him: our undeveloped catechesis, the strength of our will (because we have learned to do things to our satisfaction on our own), memories, disordered attachments and lack of awareness and freedom. We increase our trust in him when we get to know him more familiarly. I find it helpful to ask myself the same question at different points of the day. As I review my morning or afternoon, I ask, "Where were you, O Christ, in this past segment of my day?" Then I let him answer. I'm often pleasantly surprised at some insignificant event that becomes meaningful. I find Christ in the details of my unconsciousness that shape the way I respond to my environment for the rest of the day.

          I have come to relish the quiet moments of the day even if I can only snatch five minutes. Because of this, the reading from 1 Kings 19 has been meaningful to me. In the passage, Elijah is in a cave on Mount Horeb where he expects the meet God who can be found in storms, but he does not find him in the thunderous fury or the brilliant lightning. He finds him in the stillness that follows the whispering wind. When our storms settle down, we are able to hear the voice of Christ more clearly - in a way we can trust. Christ does not make himself known with clanging symbols, but with a still small voice that resonates in our hearts.
          It is right for us to pay greater attention to the stillness of our hearts. When the storms of our lives have passed over, we will certainly hear the comforting voice of Christ to take away our fear. As we become familiar with him, the volume of his voice can rise above the whipping winds and turbulent gales. With perseverance, his voice can be the only sound we hear despite the clamor that rages beyond us.

Themes for this Week’s Masses
First Reading: In Exodus, the frail and elderly Moses asks the people to remember the kindness of the Lord and to follow the commandments given to the people in loving protection. At 120 years of age, Moses says he cannot cross the Jordan to enter and occupy it; the Lord and Joshua will cross into it, but he will remain behind. The Lord promised to be with Joshua who ordered the priests to carry the ark of the covenant with them into the Jordan and to halt in the middle. The water stopped flowing and all Israel crossed over safely on dry land. Joshua gathered the twelve tribes at Shechem and spoke of behalf of the Lord recalling the Lord's favor to them throughout history beginning with Abraham. All this is the Lord's doing and not the achievement of the people or its leaders. In Joshua's speech, the people answered that they will serve the Lord and the Lord alone through him. Joshua made a covenant with the people that day and then set up a large stone in the sanctuary of the Lord as a witness to the covenant.

Gospel: Following the Transfiguration, Jesus predicts his Passion. Temple tax collectors try to trick Jesus about his attitude toward paying the taxes and Jesus cleverly respects both religious and civic observances. Young children are brought to Jesus and his disciples swish them away, but he beckons them to come to him and enjoy the blessings of playing lightly in his company. Jesus then reminds the people that their lives are to be like a grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies as it awaits its rebirth in fullness. Jesus then tells a parable of the necessity of constant forgiveness, but Pharisees immediately launch a debate about the conditions for divorce. Jesus tells them that divorce was introduced because of human attitudes; it is not how God intends for us to deal with our most intimate friends. Children are once again brought to Jesus where he blesses them and bestows the goodness of the kingdom of heaven upon them.
Saints of the Week

Monday: Dominic, priest (1170-1221), was a Spaniard who was sent to southern France to counter the heretical teachings of the Albigensians, who held that the material world was evil and only religious asceticism could combat those forces. Dominic begged and preached in an austere fashion and set the foundations for the new Order of Preachers for both men and women.
Tuesday: Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), martyr (1891-1942), became a Catholic convert from Judaism after reading the autobiography of Teresa of Avila. He earned a doctorate in philosophy, but was unemployable because she was a woman. She taught at a high school for eight years before entering the Carmelites in 1933 where she made final vows in 1938. She moved to Holland to escape persecution by the Nazis, but was arrested when the bishops spoke out against the persecution of the Jews.

Wednesday: Lawrence, deacon and martyr (d. 258) was martyred four days after Pope Sixtus II and six other deacons during the Valerian persecution. A beautiful story is told about Lawrence's words. When asked to surrender the church's treasure, Lawrence gathered the poor and presented them to the civil authorities. For this affront, he was martyred. He is the patron of Rome.
Thursday: Clare, founder (1193-1253), was inspired by Francis of Assist so much that she fled her home for his community to receive the Franciscan habit on Passion Sunday 1212. She lived in a nearby Benedictine convent until she was made superior of a new community in San Damiano. She practiced radical poverty by wearing no shoes, sleeping on the ground, and giving up meat.

Friday: Jane Frances de Chantal, religious (1572-1641), founded the Congregation of the Visitation with her spiritual advisor, Francis de Sales. This congregation was for women who wanted to live in religious life, but without the austerity of the other orders. Jane was married to a Baron with whom she had six children and she sought religious answers to her suffering. Her order established eighty-five convents dedicated to serving the poor before she died.
Saturday: Pontian, pope and martyr and Hippolytus, priest and martyr (d.236). Pontian's papacy was interrupted by a persecution when the Roman Emperor Maximinus arrested him and his rival, Hippolytus, and banished them to Sardinia. Pontian resigned so another pope could succeed him. Hippolytus, who formed a schismatic group and claimed to be the real pope, reconciled with the church before he and Pontian were martyred.

This Week in Jesuit History

·         Aug 7, 1814. The universal restoration of the Society of Jesus.
·         Aug 8, 1604. St Peter Claver takes his first vows at Tarracona.
·         Aug 9, 1762. The moving of the English College from St Omers to Liege.
·         Aug 10, 1622. Blessed Augustine Ota, a Japanese brother, was beheaded for the faith. He had been baptized by Blessed Camillus Costanzi on the eve of the latter's martyrdom.
·         Aug 11, 1846. The death of Benedict Joseph Fenwick. He was the second bishop of Boston, twice the president of Georgetown, and the founder of the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.
·         Aug 12, 1877. The death of Fr. Maurice Gailland. He was an expert in languages and spent many years at St Mary's Mission in Kansas. He wrote a 450.page dictionary and grammar of the Potawatomi language.
·         Aug 13, 1621. The death in Rome of St John Berchmans. He died while still in studies, preparing for a public disputation.