Monday, 23 September 2013

An act of love: Readings for Monday, September 23rd

Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God's heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips, but with your heart. In fact on certain occasions you should only speak to Him with your heart."Padre Prio

September 23

Saint Padre Pio


Like the Apostle Paul, Padre Pio da Pietrelcina placed at the center of his life and apostolic work the Cross of his Lord as his strength, his wisdom and his glory. Inflamed by love of Jesus Christ, he became like him in the sacrifice of himself for the salvation of the world.
This worthy follower of Saint Francis of Assisi was born on 25 May 1887 at Pietrelcina in the Archdiocese of Benevento,  On 6 January 1903, at the age of sixteen, he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars at Morcone, where on 22 January he took the Franciscan habit and the name Brother Pio. At the end of his novitiate year he took simple vows, and on 27 January 1907 made his solemn profession. Filled with love of God and love of neighbor, Padre Pio lived to the full his vocation to work for the redemption of man, in accordance with the special mission which marked his entire life and which he exercised through the spiritual direction of the faithful: the sacramental reconciliation of penitents and the celebration of the Eucharist.
For Padre Pio, faith was life: he willed everything and did everything in the light of faith. He was assiduously devoted to prayer. He passed the day and a large part of the night in conversation with God. He would say: “In books we seek God, in prayer we find him. Prayer is the key which opens God’s heart”. Faith led him always to accept God’s mysterious will.

Reflection:  An act of faith is an act of love. This is a basic truth for many religions, but it's especially mentioned by Christians. It means, we don't believe in God out of fear, or out of  (self imposed) blindness  to the wisdom of the world. We believe in God out of love. Am I saying that people who don't believe in God can't love? Obviously not. I do however believe to God is alive in our world through love, so that even those who do not believe, still experience God in that love they have for another -so, maybe I'm saying that people who can't love others, who only themselves, they don't experience God!! Let's pray for the narcissists of our world!-  

 But with people of deep faith, it's different.  Love, like  faith and hope are not things that are just experienced. They're lived every day of their lives. Very deeply. We see it with today's Saint, Padre Pio, a man whose entire life was shaped  by prayer and devotion. It's something that is also evident in the first reading, where the Israelites who had been living in Exile for a good 50 years, are suddenly invited to return to their holy city, and to return to their devotional practices. This is not about cultural's about a people who had been lost in the wilderness of exile, being allowed to return to their spiritual home, and being able to sing praise to this God who has provided for them once again. 

 So when Jesus calls on us to be light of the world...he's really saying 'let your love radiate before others. Let your faith fill your days with light. Let your hope be ever constant'. As I discussed last week, being religious is a lot of work. Much is expected of us. However, God will take all the time needed to work on's not about how much work we do, but how much we allow God to work in us! An important distinction!
Blessings on your Tuesday!

 Ezra 1:1-6

1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia -- to fulfil the word of Yahweh spoken through Jeremiah -Yahweh roused the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia to issue a proclamation and to have it publicly displayed throughout his kingdom:
2 'Cyrus king of Persia says this, "Yahweh, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build him a Temple in Jerusalem, in Judah.
3 Whoever among you belongs to the full tally of his people, may his God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem, in Judah, and build the Temple of Yahweh, God of Israel, who is the God in Jerusalem.
4 And let each survivor, wherever he lives, be helped by the people of his locality with silver, gold, equipment and riding beasts, as well as voluntary offerings for the Temple of God which is in Jerusalem." '
5 Then the heads of families of Judah and of Benjamin, the priests and the Levites, in fact all whose spirit had been roused by God, prepared to go and rebuild the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem;
6 and all their neighbours gave them every kind of help: silver, gold, equipment, riding beasts and valuable presents, in addition to their voluntary offerings.

Israelites return to Jerusalem to rebuild their Holy city

 Psalm, 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6

1 [Song of Ascents] When Yahweh brought back Zion's captives we lived in a dream;
2 then our mouths filled with laughter, and our lips with song. Then the nations kept saying, 'What great deeds Yahweh has done for them!'
3 Yes, Yahweh did great deeds for us, and we were overjoyed.
4 Bring back, Yahweh, our people from captivity like torrents in the Negeb!
5 Those who sow in tears sing as they reap.
6 He went off, went off weeping, carrying the seed. He comes back, comes back singing, bringing in his sheaves.

Luke 8:16-1816 “No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. 18 Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.”

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