On the Seventh Day…

I just returned from vacation, and having a family that needs to eat, we have to stop at a store for essentials, before arriving home.  The first thing I did, when I got home, was check my garden.  It’s exciting to see the growth and blooms on the plants, the promise of delicious things in the future.  There is also, of course the two week accumulation of weeds.    Then I have to deal with a mound of mail, and wash clothes from our suitcases, and there’s the lawn, house cleaning, and other things that have been without my attention.

Everyone faces their own brand of aftermath following vacation.  We know what we face, when we get home, yet vacation is planned, anticipated, and worked for.  It’s that span of time that we get to pretend that our lives are a Garden of Eden, and we have not a care, but to enjoy this beautiful planet, its nature, people and fruits.  We are even blessed to choose almost anywhere we want to go in the world.  Vacation is meant to refresh us.  

God planned this very respite for us weekly.  I think that I have failed at Sunday, this day of rest. I don’t think I have been doing it right. I don’t think He meant just  “don’t work”.  I think He meant, look around you, at Who I Am, and who you are.  Not in an egotistical way, but as a loving Father. We are creation, and He, the Creator.  Indulge in that moment, and leave the world and its cares behind….vacation (verb).  Think of Him saying to you. “I loved you into this world…I created it for you.  Remember once a week Who I Am, and that I Am loves you with everything that Creation is….  it’s people, nature, fruits and Wisdom. 

He invites us to join Him.

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Gn 2:3

Tomorrow you can empty your suitcases.

To See What I Could See

I drove over a majestic green bridge, and it was exhilerating to see the view from its peak, and I was curious about what was on the other side.  The next day, I drove over the same bridge, but a fog had set in, and I couldn’t see very far out front.  I still went forward, since I was confident the bridge was still intact.

I think sometimes, that my spiritual journey is like that.  Sometimes my path is so clear, and I know what I should do next.  I go forward with confidence and fortitude.  Other times, I can’t see well.  I know God’s will is still there in the fog, but I will tell you that I go forward more freely on that man made bridge than I do in God’s Divine path.  How ridiculous is that?  Maybe the “fog” in my path is to teach me to trust that the Bridge is still there.  I can get frustrated and think what do I gain from blind trust?  Hmmmm, Peace.  Assurance.  Providence.

Not sure why, but I was drawn back to this foggy bridge again, with my camera on yet another day.  It was foggy once again….the air seemed like insulation and it seemed so peaceful.  There it was, in the fog, I found the blind trust, God’s will, in the Silence.

A Week of Saints: June 10-16, 2019

Monday, June 10:  Mary Mother of the Church

Pope Francis recently declared the new memorial Mary Mother of the Church.  This memorial is celebrated every Monday after Pentecost.  The title of Our Lady comes from the early Church Fathers.  It has been so named, because of Our Lady’s presence at the foot of the Cross, when she was given to the Church through St John, and when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and all those, who were present there. St Leo the Great says that The birth of the Head is also the the birth of the body, thus indicating that Mary is at once Mother of Christ, the Son of God, and mother of the members of His Mystical Body, which is the Church.

“The Holy Father wishes to promote this devotion in order to encourage growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety.”

Cardinal Robert Sarah

Tuesday, June 11, St. Barnabas, Apostle, Martyr (died c 61)

Barnabas of Cyprus was born Joseph, but was given the name Barnabas (son of encouragement) by the Apostles.  He traveled often with St Paul on missionary journeys, even introducing Paul to Peter.  He was cousin to Mark (the Gospel writer).  He is thought to have been martyred in Cyprus.

Wednesday, June 12: St John of Sahagun, Priest, Hermit (1419-1479)

St John was born to a pious family.  First educated by benedictine monks he was ordained, and was a faithful parish priest.  Later he was called to join the Hermits of St Augustine.  He was a fearless preacher with a special power to  penetrate the secrets of conscience, helping his sinners make a good confession.  St John was devoted to the Blessed Sacrament and frequently saw the Sacred Host in resplendent glory.  At times, when walking in the streets, he would be pelted by stones by those, who were accused by the words he preached.  There is thought that he could have been poisoned by one of these.

“A preacher must be prepared in his soul to speak the truth, both in denouncing and correcting shortcoming and in praising virtue, to such a point that he is willing in that cause even to face death.”

Thursday, June 13, St. Anthony of Padua, Priest & Doctor of the Church (1195-1231)

St Anthony responded to the call to leave everything and follow Christ several times in his life.  Whenever God would call Anthony to something new, he responded with zeal and sacrifice. Anthony entered the Franciscan Order, fell ill, and was sent to a small hermitage, where he prayed and read scripture.  Once when spontaneously called to speak, he agreed and the spirit filled Anthony astounded those expecting an unprepared speech.  He was a man of prayer and well versed in scripture, and so became a teacher of theology and preacher.

“The creator of the heavens obeys a carpenter; the God of eternal glory listens to a poor virgin. Has anyone ever witnessed anything comparable to this? Let the philosopher no longer disdain from listening to the common laborer; the wise, to the simple; the educated, to the illiterate; a child of a prince, to a peasant.”

“Attribute to God every good that you have received. If you take credit for something that does not belong to you, you will be guilty of theft.”

Patron:  lost items and people, lost souls, amputees, animals, oppressed people, mail

Friday, June 14:  St Ciaran (870)

St Ciaran was known as one of the “Twelve Apostles of Ireland.”  He founded the monastery of Clonmacnoise, one of the most revered learning centers in Ireland.  St. Pope John Paul II prayed a Mass there on his way to Our Lady of Knock.  St Ciaran and St Kevin were soul friends.  When He was dying he asked to be shut up in the church, until St Kevin arrived.  Kevin arrived three days after Ciaran’s death, but upon his arrival Ciaran’s spirit entered his body, so that he could commune with Kevin and welcome him. The two friends stayed together for a long time, engaged in mutual conversation, and strengthening their friendship. Then Ciaran blessed Kevin, and Kevin blessed water and administered the Eucharist to Ciaran.

“He was a lamp, blazing with the light of wisdom.”

St Columba

June 15:  St Vitus, Martyr (died c 290)

St Vitus was martyred during the time of the emperors Diocletian and Maximian, during the persecution of Christians. He is remembered as one of the “Fourteen Holy Helpers” of medieval Roman Catholocism. On his feast day in Germany, he was celebrated by dancing around his statue, thus became the patron of dancers and Sydenham’s chorea (St Vitus Dance).

Patron:  actors, comedians, dancers, epilepsy, Sydenham’s Chorea

Sunday, June 16:  St Curig, Bishop (7th Century)

Curig traveled Ireland, and rested in Wales on the summit of a high mountain, known as Eisteddfa Gurig (Curig’s seat).  He became a bishop in Wales, and has several Catholic Churches name after him.

A Week of Saints (June 3-9, 2019)

Monday, June 3:

St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyr (died 1886)

One of 22 Ugandan martyrs, who suffered imprisonment and martyrdom rather than submit to immoral homosexual acts.  Charles protected and encouraged his fellow pages, and inspired them by his courage to remain chase.  He taught them the Catholic Faith.

Patron: Youth, Catholic Action

St Kevin of Glendalough (498-618)

St Kevin, born in Ireland, was baptized by St Patrick.  He lived as a hermit, for seven years, and was very close to nature.  He was persuaded to leave his solitude, and built two monasteries, but finally resided in Glendalough, which became a seminary for many saints.  He was soul friends to St Kieran of Clonmacnois.  King Colman of Ui Faelain entrusted the raising of his son to St Kevin.  One of the most famous stories about St Kevin, is that he held his hand out for a blackbird to build a nest, and lay and hatch eggs.  He held still in a trance like state.  St Kevin live for 120 years, and Glendalough is a popular place for pilgrimage.

Patron:  blackbirds

Tuesday, June 4:  St Francis Caracciolo, Priest, Religious Founder (1563-1607)

He was born of a noble family in Naples.  He had a rare skin disease that was like leprosy, and his condition was considered hopeless.  He made a vow to devote his life to God, if he recovered.  His skin conditioned miraculously disappeared, and he became a priest. He spent countless hours before the Eucharist, and cofounded the Minor Clerks Regular, who’s main work was perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  He died on the eve of the feast of Corpus Christi.  When he was opened after his death, these words were found on his heart,“The zeal of Thy house hath eaten me up.”

Patron: Italian cooks

Wednesday, June 5:  St. Boniface, Priest, Bishop, martyr (672-754)

Boniface was a brilliant monk, but felt called to be a missionary.  He traveled to the Northern Netherlands and Germany.  In Eastern Germany he preached and built monasteries, schools and convents for 35 years.  When he was an old man, he was working among pagans, and was murdered by them, along with about 50 converts.

“In her voyage across the ocean of this world, the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life’s different stresses. Our duty is not to abandon ship but to keep her on her course.”

Patron:  Germany.

Thursday, June 6:  St. Norbert, Bishop (1080-1134)

St Norbert lived in France and founded a religious order the Norbertines.  In order to do so, he had to combat heresies and revitalize many of the indifferent faithful.  He found his help in devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.  He reluctantly became a bishop.

“O Priest! You are not of yourself because you are of God. 

You are not of yourself because you are the servant and minister of Christ. 

You are not your own because you are the spouse of the Church. 

You are not yourself because you are the mediator between God and man. 

You are not from yourself because you are nothing. 

What then are you? 

Nothing and everything.

O Priest! 

Take care, lest what was said to Christ on the cross be said to you: 

‘He saved others, himself he cannot save!”

Patron:  safe delivery in childbirth

Friday, June 7: Bl Anne Of St Bartholomew, Religious (1549-1626)

Anne was an orphan in Spain.  She was devoted to the Passion of Christ, and wanted to be a religious.  She was afraid her brother would oppose her wish.  As she accounted later:  I decided one day that if I were to find a man very rich, very handsome, very agreeable, very holy, and who would have helped me in the service of God, that I would have been glad with such companionship. Then, Christ appeared to her and said, I am the man whom you are seeking.  After a vision from the Blessed Mother, Anne became a Carmelite.

“Silence is precious; by keeping silence and knowing how to listen to God, the soul grows in wisdom, and God teaches it what it can not learn from men.”

Saturday, June 8:  St Bron, Bishop (died 511)

St Born was a disciple of St Patrick.  He was bishop of Cassel-Irra in Ireland.  He continued St Patrick’s missionary work, but also introduced literary and artistic elements in Irish monastic life.

Sunday, June 9:  Pentecost

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were.  Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem.  At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language.  They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”

They were all astounded and bewildered 

Acts 2:1-13

Bl Diana, Religious (1201-1236)

Bl Diana was blessed with outstanding beauty.  She is also described as eloquent, learned, high spirited and courageous.  Her life was touched by three of the most famous Dominican friars, St Dominic, Bl Jordan of Saxony and Bl Reginald of Orleans.  Upon hearing Bl Reginald, she wanted to devote her life to God.  Her family was opposed to her vocation, and violently removed her, and brought her home. After escaping her family, she made her vow to religious life and to build a monastery in Bologna, at the feet of St Dominic.  Bl Jordan was her spiritual director, and helped her found her monastery. Diana with the other sisters prayed to support “the Holy Preaching”.  These were the first cloistered nuns of the Dominican Order.