On a Thursday, of Week Six

And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

There comes a time in the life of Faith, when one realizes the Truth of the fact — Jesus Christ is Lord.

We realize we can no longer live in fear, or in ignorance, or in sin; our lives are profoundly changed.

Jesus Christ is Lord
“A fountain of life is the mouth of the just, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. … Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a foul is imminent ruin. … The just man’s lips nourish many, but fools die for want of sense.” from Proverbs 10

“Meditate, then, at all times, on the things of God and speak the things of God, when you sit in your house. By house we can understand the Church, or the secret place within us, so that we are to speak within ourselves. Speak with prudence, so as to avoid falling into sin, as by excess of talking…. You speak along the way if yo speak in Christ, for Christ is the way.”

I’m often called, with readings like this, to think again upon the word ‘meditation’. It simply means to direct our thoughts towards a subject, which is easy enough to do. And turning our thoughts to Jesus Christ is an obvious source of activity for every Christian.

So, it’s good to remember that we are called to simple spiritual exercises throughout the day if we intend to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. Directing our thoughts to Christ, to the mysteries and wisdom of Sacred Scripture, helps our words and actions to be filled with life. Our interior disposition is the largest key in the outward polish of our lives as Christians.

On a Wednesday, in the 6th Week

?”The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.” ~ Pope St. Gregory the Great
St. Leo

Who, dear brother, is capable of describing the great joy of believers when they have learned what the grace of Almighty God and your own cooperation achieved among the Angles? They abandoned the errors of darkness and were bathed with the light of holy faith. With full awareness they trampled on the idols which they had previously adored with savage fear. They are now committed to Almighty God. The guidelines given them for their preaching restrain them from falling into evil ways. In their minds they are submissive to the divine precepts and consequently feel uplifted. They bow down to the ground in prayer lest their minds cling too closely to earthly things. Whose achievement is this? It is the achievement of him who said: My Father is at work until now and I am at work as well.

God chose illiterate preachers and sent them into the world in order to show the world that conversion is brought about not by men’s wisdom but rather by his own power. So in like manner God worked through weak instruments and wrought great things among the Angles. Dear brother, in this heavenly gift there is something which should inspire us with great fear and great joy.

For I know through your love for that people, specially chosen for you, that Almighty God has performed great miracles. But it is necessary that the same heavenly gift should cause you to rejoice with fear and to fear with gladness. You should be glad because by means of external miracles the souls of the Angles have been led to interior grace. But you should tremble, lest on account of these signs, the preacher’s own weak soul be puffed up with presumption; lest, while seeming externally raised aloft in honour, it fall internally as a result of vainglory.

We should remember that when the disciples on their joyous return from their preaching mission said to their heavenly master: Lord, in your name even devils were subjected to us, he immediately retorted: Do not rejoice about this but rather that your names are inscribed in heaven.

I love these quotes from Gregory, and consider that they speak to the readings this day, this week. God makes a covenant with Noah after the epic flood, fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who is working miracles amongst the people and being tested by the Scribes and Pharisees. He tells those healed not to go into the village, not to tell anyone; he warns the disciples against the leaven of the Scribes and Pharisees.

Despite the signs and wonders, the call is always to interior conversion, which will lead to an outward manifestation of that conversion.

A Cloud of Witnesses

“Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2

I love this image in Sacred Scripture, from the readings for today. (We also hear ‘Talitha Koum‘ today, but that’s a separate story. Or is it Hmmm….)

But the image of the Saints and Angels in heaven, cheering us on is something I often call to mind. And I love looking up art pictures about it….heavenly witnesses

On the angels, from Hebrews 1:14… “Are they not all ministering spirits sent to serve, for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?”

Romans 8:35-39 – “Death does not separate the communion of the body of Christ because we are united in Christ.”

Ephesians 3:14,15 – “We are all one family united together, whether we are on heaven or on earth.”

saints
saints

Talitha Koum.

St. John Bosco

Don BoscoDon Bosco — what a great Saint! Several sites informing on his life and work are New Advent / Catholic Encyclopedia 1917; the Wikipdedia article is good; American Catholic does a good job; and of course, the mother of all St. John Bosco Sites, Saint Bosco dot org.
Don Bosco's Vision

Now, a few quotes from the saint:

“Do you want Our Lord to give you many graces? Visit Him often. Do you want Him to give you few graces? Visit him seldom. Visits to the Blessed Sacrament are powerful and indispensable means of overcoming the attacks of the devil. Make frequent visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and the devil will be powerless against you.”

“Everything and everyone is is won by the sweetness of our words and works.”

“Our Lady wishes us now to honor Her especially under the title of ‘Help of Christians’. In these evil days we need Her help.”

“Our Lady does not care for the homage of those who want to remain in mortal sin.”

“Avoid idleness and idle people; carry out your duties. Whenever you are idle you are in serious danger of falling into sin, because idleness teaches us all kinds of vice.”

“Go to Mass every day and if possible, serve it. Do a little spiritual reading. Say devoutly your morning and evening prayers. Every morning make a brief meditation on a truth of our faith.”

“The music of the young should be listened to with the heart and not with the ears.”

“A school without music is a school without a soul, for music aids education. It is a most effective means to obtain discipline, morality, and help good feeling…”

“There can be no virtue without obedience.”

“To do what we are told, for love of Jesus, makes us very pleasing to God.”

“In all the miracles of healing performed by Our Divine Savior, we must admire the remarkable goodness which caused Him to heal first the sickness of the soul, then that of the body. He teaches us the great lesson that we must first purify our consciences before turning to God for help in our earthly needs.”Bosco

Lydia's Example of Faith

lydia

One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying.

After she and her household had been baptized, she offered us an invitation, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home,” and she prevailed on us.

Lydia is an interesting figure in Acts. She was a ‘woman of God’, and she ‘listened’ when Paul spoke. She heard and understood, and within her heart the flame of knowledge quickened. She invited the missionaries to stay with her, opening her home to them.

She was the first European convert in Paul’s 2nd missionary journey, and was a dealer in purple cloth. Her work required considerable capital, as purple dyes were quite expensive and purple cloth was used for such things as the stripes in Roman Senator’s robes. So Lydia was faithful and emminently successul in working through the ways of the world. In other words, like many early Christians she was wealthy. And the European Church more than likely first convened in her living room.

One often considers that success in the world precludes true faithfulness or growth in holiness. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. To put it humorously:  It’s good to give God credit, but He needs cash too.

Remaining faithful amidst life’s trials is rarely as trying as remaining faithful during times of great success, when our minds and lives are wont to wander and we consider that perhaps we don’t need God since after all we’re succesful. Lydia is one of the many holy woman of the Bible who demonstrates great faith amidst a life of wealth and success.