Let's start with a holy person more 'remembered' in Canada, one who carries the name of my hometown in his name (Laval!). My data today comes from EWTN and Catholic.org/ wiki, with some of my own edits! I'm going to be focusing on EWTN as a source from now on, because it looks prettier when I copy/paste from that site than from Catholic.org. Unfortunately, EWTN didn't have a full version of the Gospel today. They also didn't have any info on our Blessed of the day...
Readings: As a Jesuit, I have often heard of stories of how the First Missionaries to Canada like Jean De BreBeuf and Gabriel Lalemant sent stories about the New World to France that inspired many people...I had just never heard of any specific person having been inspired by them, so I was glad to hear of Msgr de Montmorency. His is the kind of vocation our Church seems to be paying more attention to with the election of Pope Francis. If you read some of Francis' daily homilies, they are very often focused on simplicity, poverty, and the marginalized. There are some people out there who are rather uncomfortable around his closeness to the poor. Perhaps they fear his focus on social issues may compromise his spirituality or his faithfulness to doctrine and tradition. But like Msgr de Montmorency, he continues to have wonderful insights on scripture and on our faith. Perhaps, like him, Francis' proxmity to the poor is what clears his mind to more authentically understand deep theological ideas and discuss important movements in our spiritual lives, especially those of the Holy Spirit.
Bl. Francis de Laval
Blessed Francois-Xavier de Montmorency-Laval
Feastday: May 6
1623 - 1708
Beatified By: June 22, 1980, Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
Blessed François-Xavier de Montmorency-Laval was the first Roman Catholic bishop of Quebec and was one of the most influential men of his day. Born of noble, but poor parents,he had a rather illustrious career as a religious. Throughout his life, Laval’s mother continuously served as an example of piety and encouraged him to be charitable to those who were less fortunate. Thanks to remaining close to these values, and being more clear minded than many because of it, he ascended rather quickly into “privileged ranks". In such a position, he heard more about the reports of the Jesuit missions amongst the Huron in Canada, which influenced his desire to become a missionary, like his patron saint, Francois Xavier.[9}
He received holy orders in 1647 despite pressures from family to take control of the family business (and title. Even though they were poor...a noble title is still worth something!) .
Laval’s nomination as Bishop of New France in 1658 was the result of increasing tensions regarding the ecclesiastical state of the colony. New France had been left without a bishop for the first 50 years of its settlement. Immediately upon his arrival Laval began his work; on the same day his ship docked, he baptized a young Huron and gave a dying man his last sacraments. Laval was serious about his appointment in New France and had a vision for the colony. In 1674, thirteen years after his arrival to New France, Laval asked for his position to be promoted. His request was granted, and he was given a diocese as Bishop of Quebec. He continued to collaborate with the colony’s high religious authorities, until his very last days. Laval helped the poor with his presence and his gifts of charity. He would die May 6th, 1708.His body was placed in a coffin in the Cathedral; however his heart was kept in the chapel of the seminary to which he had dedicated most of his life and fortunes.The remains of Bishop Laval have been entombed in a shrine for public veneration in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Quebec, which he had founded.
This is the main theme of today's readings as Jesus focuses on the Paraclete (another name for the Spirit which refers to the "Person of God who is always there to protect us and support us. " - from Pope Francis' homily on May 6th- ). But as Jesus makes clear in his words today, the spirit is so much more than that. It's also the spirit of truth, coming from God that will testify, not on our behalf, but on the behalf of Jesus. Yes, perhaps our words will help in the process, but we remain tools of the spirit and consequently of the great divine.
However, that doesn't mean our work is merely to let the spirit act, while we take the back seat in a idle matter. We too must testify to what we've seen, what we hear by how we live, how deeply we love. Through the work of the Spirit, we testify to, and continue to receive, Christ's light for the world.
And are we given this light for our own benefit? In part yes, but we can not selfishly cling to it. When we do, that is when we stumble. It is our call to let the spirit Guide us as we strive to join the nations in their praise of God's greatness, not to do our own will in this world, but to act according to God's will, God's love, and God's concern for all his children. That love, in many ways, becomes the greatest tool we have to truly praise God and exult him.
|Acts 16: 11 - 15|
|11||Setting sail therefore from Tro'as, we made a direct voyage to Sam'othrace, and the following day to Ne-ap'olis,|
|12||and from there to Philip'pi, which is the leading city of the district of Macedo'nia, and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days;|
|13||and on the sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.|
|14||One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyati'ra, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul.|
|15||And when she was baptized, with her household, she besought us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.Psalms 149: 1 - 6, 9|
1Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the faithful!2Let Israel be glad in his Maker, let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King!3Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with timbrel and lyre!4For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with victory.5Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their couches.6Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands,9to execute on them the judgment written! This is glory for all his faithful ones. Praise the LORD! ------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gospel, John 15:26--16:4
26 When the Paraclete comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father, he will be my witness.
27 And you too will be witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning.
1 I hav0e told you all this so that you may not fall away.
2 They will expel you from the synagogues, and indeed the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is doing a holy service to God.
3 They will do these things because they have never known either the Father or me.
4 But I have told you all this, so that when the time for it comes you may remember that I told you. I did not tell you this from the beginning, because I was with you;