Thursday, 19 September 2013

Dancing with Wisdom: Readings for Wednesday, September 18th

I'm back in my old habits of writing entries the day after the readings appeared. So be it...for the time being, that's where I'm at. And yesterday ladies and gentleman...we had a floater...a floating Saint! 

Patron of:Aviation, astronauts, mental handicaps, test taking, students

San Giuseppe da Copertino si eleva in volo alla vista della Basilica di Loreto.jpg
Mystic, born 17 June 1603, in a stable; died at Osimo 18 September.In his eighth year Joseph had an ecstatic vision while at school and this was renewed several times; at the age of seventeen  applied to the Capuchins at Martino near Tarento, where he was accepted as a lay-brother in 1620, but his continual ecstasies unfitted him for work and he was dismissed.  Joseph did not lose hope. He succeeded in obtaining permission to work in the stable as lay help or oblate at the Franciscan convent. He now gave evidence of great virtues, humility, obedience, and love of penance to such an extent that he was admitted to the clerical state in 1625, and three years later,  he was raised to the priesthood. Joseph did not have much human knowledge, yet infused by knowledge and supernatural light he not only surpassed all ordinary men in the learning of the schools but could solve the most intricate questions.

His life was now one long succession of visions and other heavenly favours. Everything that in any way had reference to God or holy things would bring on an ecstatic state: the sound of a bell or of church music, the mention of the name of God or of the Blessed Virgin or of a saint, any event in the life of Christ, the sacred Passion, a holy picture, the thought of the glory in heaven, all would put Joseph into contemplation. Not many things would take him out of contemplation. Frequently he would be raised from his feet and remain suspended in the air. This was disruptive to the community, so at the age of 35, he  was ordered to remain in his room, where a private chapel was prepared for him. Evil-minded and envious men even brought him before the Inquisition; he was even  sent from one lonely house to another, as each community struggled to deal with him. Joseph Nevertheless retained his resigned and joyous spirit. canonized 16 July 1767 by Clement XIII; 

Reflections: What was most striking to me about St Joseph's story was how much he was chastised for his spiritual gifts. On the other hand,  if I saw a guy floating around downtown Toronto or Montreal today, I don't think I'd admire him for spiritual holiness. I'd either be jealous of his skills or concerned that he's defiling the laws of gravity. However, if the same person where in a Franciscan habit I'd probably turn the event into an add campaign with a picture of him floating and a text at the bottom saying ' Still think there is no God?!"  That would be kind of petty of me, I know! I mean, the whole point of these kinds of Saints is that we can admire from a far these great gifts they had, and maybe not  long to have them for ourselves, but at the very least appreciate the depth of their love for God.

 Because that's what triggers saints. It's not a desire to do extraordinary things,  but a profound love for the mystery of our Faith as St Paul named it in the first reading, and an ability to sit with it and let it work on them.  And I know, I know...many people out there HATE The word mystery. I don't care. We have to appropriate that mystery that has allowed so many Saints to have ecstatic  visions of the divine. And that mystery is not rocket science.

 " God(through Jesus) was  made visible in the flesh, 
justified in the Spirit, 
seen by angels, 
proclaimed to the gentiles, 
believed in throughout the world, 
taken up in glory"

 It's not rocket science, but it does challenge us (well parts of it do. That he was proclaimed to the gentiles and believed in all over the world is fact! A fact that wouldn't have been possible without the others parts of this mystery, but still a fact!) . However, when ever I struggle with believing any of these aspects of the Christ story, and I often do struggle, at the end, all I say myself to bring me back to a point of meditation on it is, 'but imagine if it were true. What then. How would you respond?" 
And I'm back to that question. It seems I spent most of last week meditating on that along with the readings.  It's kind of a theme for my paper as well, so it's an understandable point of return for me! And HOW would I respond? In faith. In gratitude. In love. This is what allows me to hear the message of Wisdom our Lord Communicates to us to this day. It's what opens me to at least, if I can't 'dance with the children'  of wisdom (a reference to the obscure Gospel passage...basically, Jesus and John are the Children calling out to other children, and being ignored.)   appreciate the dance, and perhaps, yearn to be able to dance, and mourn, and laugh and cry with them.

Reading 1, First Timothy 3:14-16

14 I write this to you in the hope that I may be able to come to you soon;
15 but in case I should be delayed, I want you to know how people ought to behave in God's household -- that is, in the Church of the living God, pillar and support of the truth.
16 Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is very deep indeed: He was made visible in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed to the gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 111:1-6

1 Alleluia! I give thanks to Yahweh with all my heart, in the meeting-place of honest people, in the assembly.
2 Great are the deeds of Yahweh, to be pondered by all who delight in them.
3 Full of splendour and majesty his work, his saving justice/wise designs stands firm for ever.
4 He gives us a memorial of his great deeds; Yahweh is mercy and tenderness.
5 He gives food to those who fear him, he keeps his covenant ever in mind.
6 His works show his people his power in giving them the birthright of the nations.

Gospel, Luke 7:31-35

31 'What comparison, then, can I find for the people of this generation? What are they like?
32 They are like children shouting to one another while they sit in the market place: We played the pipes for you, and you wouldn't dance; we sang dirges, and you wouldn't cry.
33 'For John the Baptist has come, not eating bread, not drinking wine, and you say, "He is possessed."
34 The Son of man has come, eating and drinking, and you say, "Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners."

35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.'

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