Thursday, 23 May 2013

St.John Baptiste de Rossi
Feast: May 23

Feast Day:May 23
Born:February 22, 1698, Voltaggio, Province of Alessandria, Piedmont, Duchy of Savoy
Died:May 23, 1764, Rome, Papal States
Canonized:December 8, 1881, Rome by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine:Church of San Giovanni Battista de Rossi, Rome

Another saint who like St Rita whom we encountered yesterday, was considered greatly pious even in his youth and early days. His own piety, besides personal devotions to the Blessed Virgin and other spiritual practices, took the form of visits to the sick in the hospitals and in other works of mercy.

For a number of years John was afraid, on account of his sickness to the point where he would not hear any important confession, passing more difficult confessors.  In 1738 a dangerous sickness befell him, and to regain his health he went to Cività Castellana, a day's journey from Rome. The bishop of the place induced him to hear confessions, and after reviewing his moral theology he received the unusual faculty of hearing confessions in any of the churches of Rome. He showed extraordinary zeal in the exercise of this privilege, and spent many hours every day in hearing the confessions of the illiterate and the poor whom he sought in the hospitals and in their home, so that he became the apostle of the abandoned. In 1763, worn out by such labours and continued ill-health, his strength began to ebb away, and after several attacks of paralysis he died at his quarters in Trinità de' Pellegrini. He was buried in that church under a marble slab at the altar of the Blessed Virgin. God honoured his servant by miracles, and only seventeen years after his death the process of beatification was begun, but the troubled state of Europe during the succeeding years prevented progress in the cause until it was resumed by Pius IX, who on 13 May, 1860, solemnly pronounced his beatification. As new signs still distinguished him, Leo XIII, on 8 December, 1881, enrolled him among the saints.

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 Have you ever wondered why it was that Jesus insisted on communicating so much to his disciples in Parables and metaphores that left them confused and in the dark? If it means so much to him that they have the ability to go out into the world to communicate the Gospel to all in it, why not make the message more straight forward?
 Simple answer: Because the message is not straight forward. It's not simple, it's not easy, at times, it's even unpleasant.  Even something as tangible, uncomplicated as the image of being salt...this seemed straightforward to me for many years: We have flavor to bring to the world. Share the flavor.
That's more or less what Jesus meant, but there's another angle. Jesus mentions that salt can go bad, but he doesn't talk about the why that's relevant, or what salt necessarily represents.
 In essence, it refers to the gifts. What makes Christianity such an challenging religion, is that we're called to not only recognize our gifts..but share them with all the world. If we don't do so, what good are these gifts. Look at Today's saint. He knew his mission was one of charity among the sick, and yet, because of his fears of his own bad health he failed to dedicate himself completely to his ministry as a confessor, until he got over that block, and was able to serve the faithful with a pious heart and mind through his deeds and his listening heart.
 Are gifts are countless, and they are meant to be shared. If they're not shared, they go bad. Simple as that. If they're not shared, we can not claim to be, as the Psalmist today states ' a tree by the streams that prospers in season', for it we do not use those gifts for the betterment of the world, then' we're wasting away, not prospering.
 These are harsh words, but they cut to the heart of the message of the Post Pentecost period: We've been given new life.  Now what? We share it. We help others find it. We get involved. Like I said, not easy stuff, but ever so important. Our world depends on it.

Sirach 5: 1 - 8

1Do not set your heart on your wealth, nor say, "I have enough."
2Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your heart.
3Do not say, "Who will have power over me?" for the Lord will surely punish you.
4Do not say, "I sinned, and what happened to me?" for the Lord is slow to anger.
5Do not be so confident of atonement that you add sin to sin.
6Do not say, "His mercy is great, he will forgive the multitude of my sins," for both mercy and wrath are with him, and his anger rests on sinners.
7Do not delay to turn to the Lord, nor postpone it from day to day; for suddenly the wrath of the Lord will go forth, and at the time of punishment you will perish.
8Do not depend on dishonest wealth, for it will not benefit you in the day of calamity.
Psalms 1: 1 - 4, 6

1Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
4The wicked are not so, but are like chaff which the wind drives away.
6for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Mark 9: 41 - 50

41For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward.
42"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
43And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.
45And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell.
47And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,
48where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.
49For every one will be salted with fire.
50Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its saltness, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."

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