Jan 26th - Timothy and Titus
We cannot all know an Apostle personally, but we can all be entrusted to spread the good news.
For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began, but now made manifest through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus, who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed preacher and apostle and teacher. ...So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as well.
-- 2 Timothy 1:1-11, 2:1-2
Jan 27th - Angela Merici
I have to admit that until I visited St. Angela Merici parish in Metarie, I had never heard of her. I knew of the Ursuline Convent on Chartes in New Orleans but did not know the connection or the origin of the order. Well, they say that confession is good for the soul.
Angela was devoted to children. We often hear today about the ills of society caused by the ills in the family. This notion though, is hardly new; Angela stated as much back in the 1400's. She understood that love, compassion, and flexibility raised souls to God not the rod. She understood the ability for all of us to care, to be devoted to children, to struggling families - especially when spouses and parents died - to follow Mary in being mother to all.
Mothers and sisters most dear to me in Christ: in the first place strive with all your power and zeal to be open. With the help of God, try to receive such good counsel that, led solely by the love of God and an eagerness to save souls, you may fulfill your charge. Only if the responsibilities committed to you are rooted firmly in this twofold charity will they bear beneficial and saving fruit. As our Savior says: A good tree is not able to produce bad fruit. He says: A good tree, that is, a good heart as well as a soul inflamed with charity, can do nothing but good and holy works. For this reason Saint Augustine said: Love, and do what you will, namely, possess love and charity and then do what you will. It is as if he had said: Charity is not able to sin. I also beg you to be concerned about every one of your daughters. Bear them, so to speak, engraved upon your heart – not merely their names, but their conditions and states, whatever they may be. This will not be difficult for you if you embrace them with a living love. Mothers of children, even if they have a thousand, carry each and every one fixed in their hearts, and because of the strength of their love they do not forget any of them. In fact, it seems that the more children they have the more their love and care for each one is increased. Surely those who are mothers in spirit can and must act all the more in the same way, because spiritual love is more powerful than the love that comes from a blood relationship. Therefore, mothers most dear to me, if you love these your daughters with a living and unaffected charity, it will be impossible for you not to have each and every one of them engraved upon your memory and in your mind. I beg you again, strive to draw them by love, modesty, charity, and not by pride and harshness. Be sincerely kind to every one according to the words of our Lord: Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart. Thus you are imitating God, of whom it is said: He has disposed all things pleasantly. And again Jesus said: My yoke is easy and my burden is light. You also ought to exercise pleasantness toward all, taking great care especially that what you have commanded may never be done by reason of force. For God has given free will to everyone, and therefore he forces no one but only indicates, calls, persuades. Sometimes, however, something will have to be done with a stronger command, yet in a suitable manner and according to the state and necessities of individuals; but then also we should be impelled only by charity and zeal for souls.
-- From the Spiritual Testament
Jan 28th - Thomas Aquinas
Often people try to weight the merits of a saint through the eyes of history. Sometimes we come to conclusions that make us question the Church's wisdom in declaring someone a saint. But it is not about the merits of history but the merits of a spiritual life and the grace of God.
Certainly Thomas has his detractors, first and foremost his own contemporaries. He also has his champions among his contemporaries. He is responsible for both the height and the depths of Catholic theology. His brilliant integration of Aristotelian language into Medieval theology brought clarity and deep insights into the toolbox of Catholic theology. But the power of scholastic skepticism that he brought to theology gave rise to a humanism which both inspired and repulsed Martin Luther. It also created a legalism and rigidity that turned people away and fostered a counter laxness and individualism.
But it is the saint. It is his poetry and music, his mystical and spiritual writings given birth and nourished by his sound theology which we celebrate. These are his gifts to us.
We also celebrate that which Paul mentions to Timothy: that we should not be discouraged by others because of their/our perceived faults and shortcomings but fix ourselves on God and with a discerning spirit be led to holiness.
Pange lingua gloriosi
Quem in mundi pretium
Fructus ventris generosi,
Rex effudit gentium.
Verbum caro, panem verum
Verbo carnem efficit:
Fitque sanguis Christi merum,
Et si sensus deficit,
Ad firmandum cor sincerum
Sola fides sufficit.
Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
-- Pange Lingua, v 1, 4-5
Jan 29th - Dallan
There are a few saints to which we attribute music lyrics (yesterday's Thomas Aquinas being one) but most are not as well known as some of the tunes by Dallan.
For one, you might not recognize its Irish name: "Rop tú mo Baile" but you might recognize its translation: "Be Thou My Vision".
Modern martyrs remind us that the cost of following Christ is never cheap, even today. In addition, it is the martyrdom of people who live in what were once "Christian" countries that remind us that everyday is a call to discipleship, whether times are good or bad.
To me, the interesting thing is that David reflects in his own life the turmoil that led to his death. He started out down the path to priesthood but doubted and left, started living an hedonistic lifestyle, even to drunken violence against his girlfriend. As happen to many who intensely follow God down the vocation path, he just as intensely rebelled, only to come back again.
He came back and was ordained in a particularly difficult time for the Church in Mexico but he held to his vocation risking arrest and death for just following God in his vocation. Eventually he was killed for it and the suspicion it caused in those who, like he once had, abandoned the way of Love for power and control.
It is so often that we fight God, like Jacob wrestling with the angel, only to be given the courage to act like a chosen one of God.
Jacob was left there alone. Then a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn. When the man saw that he could not prevail over him, he struck Jacob’s hip at its socket, so that Jacob’s socket was dislocated as he wrestled with him. The man then said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go until you bless me.” “What is your name?” the man asked. He answered, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be named Jacob, but Israel, because you have contended with divine and human beings and have prevailed.”
-- Genesis 32:25-29
Jan 31st - John Bosco
In the great tradition of saints deferring their own holiness to the holiness of others, John Bosco founded the Salesians, named for the saint who inspired him, Francis de Sales. It shows that we never know what effect our lives have on others, even after we may be long dead and gone here on Earth.
But in one of the mysteries revealed to us we are not truly long dead and gone and that is the beauty of the doctrine of the Communion of Saints that we have; Francis de Sales is not gone and his influence is with us today as it was for John. John Bosco is not gone and he helps sustain and support not just those who follow his rule but each of us as well.
We are all in this together. The inspiration we draw from the saints is not based on the long-dead stories but in the constant aid they provide us from their place at the feet of the King. It is the gift that keeps on giving.
The work of John continues on in his brothers but most importantly the work of Christ continues on in all of us, his followers for he "lives and reigns" even today.
If a well-known and trustworthy person were to go to a public square and tell all the idlers loitering there that on a certain hill they would find a gold mine and could take all they wanted, do you think anyone would shrug his shoulders and say he did not care? They’d be dashing there as fast as they could!
Well, now, doesn’t the tabernacle hold the most precious treasure ever to be found on earth or in heaven? Unfortunately, there are many who cannot see it because they are blind. Yet our faith unerringly tells us that endless riches are to be found there. People sweat and toil to make money, and yet, in the tabernacle dwells the Lord of the universe. He will grant you what you ask, if you really need it.
Isn’t Our Lord Jesus Christ Lord and Master of all? Go to Him then. Ask and it shall be given you; knock and it shall be opened to you! Jesus longs to grant you favors, especially those you need for your soul.
A saint once saw the Infant Jesus on the altar holding the front of His tunic apron-like and overflowing with precious pearls. He looked sad. "Why so sad, my Lord?" the saint asked.
"Because nobody cares for My favors," Jesus replied. "I don't know anyone to give them to!"
-- Spiritual Bouquet, December 1, 1859
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.