Daily Email

Monday, July 31, 2017

Prayer: Ignatius of Loyola

Jesus, fill us with your light and life that we may show forth your wonderful glory. Grant that your love may so fill our lives that we may count nothing too small to do for you, nothing too much to give, and nothing too hard to bear.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Spirituality: Eternal Newness, The Joy of the Gospel, Par. 11

A renewal of preaching can offer believers, as well as the lukewarm and the non-practising, new joy in the faith and fruitfulness in the work of evangelization. The heart of its message will always be the same: the God who revealed his immense love in the crucified and risen Christ. God constantly renews his faithful ones, whatever their age: “They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not be faint” (Is 40:31). Christ is the “eternal Gospel” (Rev 14:6); he “is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb 13:8), yet his riches and beauty are inexhaustible. He is for ever young and a constant source of newness. 

The Church never fails to be amazed at “the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God” (Rom11:33). Saint John of the Cross says that “the thicket of God’s wisdom and knowledge is so deep and so broad that the soul, however much it has come to know of it, can always penetrate deeper within it”. Or as Saint Irenaeus writes: “By his coming, Christ brought with him all newness”. With this newness he is always able to renew our lives and our communities, and even if the Christian message has known periods of darkness and ecclesial weakness, it will never grow old. Jesus can also break through the dull categories with which we would enclose him and he constantly amazes us by his divine creativity. Whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world. Every form of authentic evangelization is always “new”.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Spirituality: Taking the first step, being involved and supportive, bearing fruit and rejoicing, Par. 24

The Church which “goes forth” is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice. An evangelizing community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative, he has loved us first (cf. 1 Jn4:19), and therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast.

Such a community has an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of its own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy. Let us try a little harder to take the first step and to become involved. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. The Lord gets involved and he involves his own, as he kneels to wash their feet. He tells his disciples: “You will be blessed if you do this” (Jn 13:17). An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others.

Evangelizers thus take on the “smell of the sheep” and the sheep are willing to hear their voice. An evangelizing community is also supportive, standing by people at every step of the way, no matter how difficult or lengthy this may prove to be. It is familiar with patient expectation and apostolic endurance.

Evangelization consists mostly of patience and disregard for constraints of time. Faithful to the Lord’s gift, it also bears fruit.

An evangelizing community is always concerned with fruit, because the Lord wants her to be fruitful. It cares for the grain and does not grow impatient at the weeds. The sower, when he sees weeds sprouting among the grain does not grumble or overreact. He or she finds a way to let the word take flesh in a particular situation and bear fruits of new life, however imperfect or incomplete these may appear.

The disciple is ready to put his or her whole life on the line, even to accepting martyrdom, in bearing witness to Jesus Christ, yet the goal is not to make enemies but to see God’s word accepted and its capacity for liberation and renewal revealed. Finally an evangelizing community is filled with joy; it knows how to rejoice always. It celebrates every small victory, every step forward in the work of evangelization.

Evangelization with joy becomes beauty in the liturgy, as part of our daily concern to spread goodness. The Church evangelizes and is herself evangelized through the beauty of the liturgy, which is both a celebration of the task of evangelization and the source of her renewed self-giving.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Prayer: Anselm

God of love, whose compassion never fails, we bring you the griefs and perils of people and nations, the pains of the sick and injured, the sighing of prisoners and captives, the sorrows of the bereaved, the necessities of the homeless, the helplessness of the weak, the despair of the weary, the failing power of the aged. Comfort and relieve them, O merciful lord, according to their several needs and your great mercy.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Spirituality: A New Phase of Evangelization: Seven Questions, Par. 17

17. Here I have chosen to present some guidelines which can encourage and guide the whole Church in a new phase of evangelization, one marked by enthusiasm and vitality. In this context, and on the basis of the teaching of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, I have decided, among other themes, to discuss at length the following questions:

a) the reform of the Church in her missionary outreach;
b) the temptations faced by pastoral workers;
c) the Church, understood as the entire People of God which evangelizes;
d) the homily and its preparation;
e) the inclusion of the poor in society;
f) peace and dialogue within society;
g) the spiritual motivations for mission.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

July 30, 2017
1 Kings 3:5, 7-12; Psalm 119; Romans 8:28-30; Matthew 13:44-52

Once again Jesus describes what the kingdom of God is like. He compares it to a valuable treasure buried in a field, like a merchant searching for the pearl of great price, and like a net thrown widely into the sea that collects every kind of fish in its catch. The point is that there is great abundance of joy when we realize we are in the kingdom of heaven. When we get a glimpse of it, we have to savor it and build our lives around it because it is the only thing that will give us enduring joy.

You ask, “how do we get this treasure?” The first reading points the way. At the very beginning of King Solomon’s reign, the Lord appears to him in a dream and says, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” Solomon reflects on his options and responds, “Give me an understanding heart that I may govern and positively judge your people.” He gives a tremendously insightful answer because he realizes that the people are God’s great treasure. He does not ask for his own gain, but that his service be directed prudently towards the common good. What is the best part of this interchange? God is very pleased with Solomon’s request and therefore grants his request. God acts like the proud teacher when a student comes forward with a well-integrated answer. God smiles.

Now, I ask you, wise and understanding people, to carefully consider this question: If God granted you a wish for your life, what request would you make? Please take your time answering. Now, Solomon was at the beginning of his monarchy and had an important mission to guide the people, and you are in a different station in life, but an equally important one, so within your very own context, what is it that you most seek? Listen to your body because it will give the right answer, and then when you have identified it, ask the Lord for it.

When and how will you ask? Consider offering your prayer during mass at the offertory or during the petitionary prayers. See if the Lord accepts your request. Or, maybe you can unite it to the prayer of the priest when he lifts the bread and wine for consecration. Maybe the Lord accepts it at this moment of unity. Wait for his response. Is God pleased with what you have asked? Or does God want to prune and tweak your request? Do not be discouraged. We are all shaped and trimmed when we ask for something that needs adjustment. Solomon’s great secret iss that he wanted his gift blessed so it could be used for the benefit of others.

If God accepts your request, then align your life to that request and live out of it. Throw away all the other competing aspects in your life if it does not contribute to your attainment of this goal. That is the Gospel message because too often we let other immediate demands take us away from our life-long pursuits. For instance, family dramas, the pursuit of a promotion, the blessing of an influential person, earning the respect from others, or trying to fix an interpersonal relationship can be factors that pull us away from our life-long goal. We have to let go of our perceptions and images of our roles in life in order to be free enough to follow our treasure. Find out what you essentially want and let all the other peripheral stuff drop off from your life. The Gospel is not about hoarding everything and everyone who is in your life; it is selectively treasuring the sacred essence of God in your life.

Live your dream well. Because we are friends with God, we can ask God every day for what we want and need, and it is in God’s nature to give us what we want because God is generous. Never doubt God’s generosity. Because we are a people who value mutuality in our friendships, we are moved to ask God: Tell me. What can I give you? What do you want from me? As we honor each other’s requests, we find we are in the midst of the kingdom.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Exodus 32) Moses came down the mountain with the stone tablets and found the people worshiping a golden calf. In anger, he threw the stones down and they crumbled.
Tuesday: (Exodus 33) Moses would go inside the tent to meet with Lord when he appeared as a column of smoke. He fasted and prayed for 40 days and 40 nights.
Wednesday: (Exodus 34) When Moses came down from the mountain with the two tablets, he did not know his face was radiant and his hair whitened.   
Thursday: (Exodus 40) Moses erected the Dwelling as the Lord asked of him and he placed the ark of the covenant inside.
Friday (Leviticus 23) The schedule of the festivals of the Lord has been announced.
Saturday (Leviticus 25) After every 49th years, as a cycle of seven years, a Day of Atonement shall be announced and a Jubilee year proclaimed.

Monday: (Matthew 13) The kingdom is like a mustard seed that blossomed into a wide blooming tree though it began as the smallest of seeds. 
Tuesday: (Matthew 13) Jesus explained the parable of the seeds and the wheat and the role the Evil One plays in sowing the weeds.
Wednesday (Matthew 13) The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure in a field. When one finds it, he sells all that he has and he buys that field.
Thursday (Matthew 13) The kingdom of heaven is like a net cast into the sea that collects every kind of fish.
Friday (Matthew 13) Jesus returned to his native place and people asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph, the carpenter, and Mary? From where did he get this knowledge?
Saturday (Matthew 14) Herod heard of Jesus and wondered who he was. Some said John the Baptist raised from the dead. Mighty powers worked through Jesus.

Saints of the Week

July 30: Peter Chrysologus, bishop and doctor (406-450), was the archbishop of Ravenna, Italy in the 5th century when the faithful became lax and adopted pagan practices. He revived the faith through his preaching. He was titled Chrysologus because of his 'golden words.'

July 31: Ignatius of Loyola, priest (1491-1556), is one of the founders of the Jesuits and the author of the Spiritual Exercises. As a Basque nobleman, he was wounded in a battle at Pamplona in northeastern Spain and convalesced at his castle where he realized he followed a methodology of discernment of spirits. When he recovered, he ministered to the sick and dying and then retreated to a cave at Manresa, Spain where he had experiences that formed the basis of The Spiritual Exercises. In order to preach, he studied Latin, earned a Master’s Degree at the University of Paris, and then gathered other students to serve Jesus. Francis Xavier and Peter Faber were his first friends. After ordination, Ignatius and his nine friends went to Rome where they formally became the Society of Jesus. Most Jesuits were sent on mission, but Ignatius stayed in Rome directing the rapidly growing religious order, composing its constitutions, and perfecting the Spiritual Exercises. He died in 1556 and the Jesuit Order was already 1,000 men strong. 

August 1: Alphonsus Liguori, bishop and doctor(1696-1787), founded a band of mission priests that became the Redemptorists. He wrote a book called "Moral Theology" that linked legal aspects with kindness and compassion for others. He became known for his responsive and thoughtful way of dealing with confessions.

August 2: Peter Faber, S.J., priest and founder (1506-1546), was one of the original companions of the Society of Jesus. He was a French theologian and the first Jesuit priest and was the presider over the first vows of the lay companions. He became known for directing the Spiritual Exercises very well. He was called to the Council of Trent but died as the participants were gathering.

August 2: Eusebius of Vercelli, bishop (d. 371), was ordained bishop after becoming a lector. He attended a council in Milan where he opposed the Arians. The emperor exiled him to Palestine because he contradicted secular influences. He returned to his diocese where the emperor died.

August 2: Peter Julian Eymard, priest (1811-1868) left the Oblates when he became ill. When his father died, he became a priest and soon transferred into the Marists but left them to found the Blessed Sacrament Fathers to promote the significance of the Eucharist.

August 4: John Vianney, priest (1786-1859) became the parish priest in Ars-en-Dombes where he spent the rest of his life preaching and hearing confessions. Hundreds of visitors and pilgrims visited him daily. He would hear confessions 12-16 hours per day.

August 5: Dedication of the Basilica of Mary Major in Rome is celebrated because it is the largest and oldest of the churches in honor of Mary. The veneration began in 435 when the church was repaired after the Council of Ephesus in 431 when Mary was proclaimed the Mother of God. This is the church where Ignatius of Loyola said his first Mass and where Francis of Assisi assembled the first crèche.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jul 30, 1556. As he lay near death, Ignatius asked Juan de Polanco to go and obtain for him the blessing of the pope.
·      Jul 31, 1556. The death in Rome of Ignatius Loyola.
·      Aug 1, 1938. The Jesuits of the Middle United States, by Gilbert Garrigan was copyrighted. This monumental three-volume work followed the history of the Jesuits in the Midwest from the early 1820s to the 1930s.
·      Aug 2, 1981. The death of Gerald Kelly, moral theologian and author of "Modern Youth and Chastity."
·      Aug 3, 1553. Queen Mary Tudor made her solemn entrance into London. As she passed St Paul's School, Edmund Campion, then a boy of thirteen delivered an address.
·      Aug 4, 1871. King Victor Emmanuel signed the decree that sanctioned the seizure of all of the properties belonging to the Roman College and to S. Andrea.

·      Aug 5, 1762. The Parliament at Paris condemned the Society's Institute as opposed to natural law. It confiscated all Jesuit property and forbade the Jesuit habit and community life.