On days when we deal with Memorials or feast days of more important Saints, I'll be using the text found at the Divine Office webpage, which I'm linking below. A shorter, more succint bio of these Saints about whom one could write for pages and pages! To begin, A quote from today's saint, a Doctor of our Church:
“There is nothing more worthwhile than to pray to God and to converse with him, for prayer unites us with God as his companions. As our bodily eyes are illuminated by seeing the light, so in contemplating God our soul is illuminated by him. Of course the prayer I have in mind is no matter of routine, it is deliberate and earnest. It is not tied down to a fixed timetable; rather it is a state which endures by night and day.”
- St. John Chrysostom, ‘Prayer is the light of the soul,” in Homily 6 on Prayer.
St. John Chrysostom was born in Antioch around 347 A.D. Raised by his mother after his father’s death; St. John attended the best schools. Around age 20, St. John met Bishop Meletius who introduced him to an ascetic life. St. John joined a religious society and four years later, became a recluse. In 381, he returned to the world, becoming ordained in his late thirties. He became renowned for his brilliant preaching, which focused on individual and social morality taught by the gospels. In 398, he was consecrated Bishop of Constantinople. As bishop, he denounced lavish living and extravagance. This boldness, and his efforts at Church reform, led to him twice being exiled. He died in exile in 407. Most beloved for his preaching, St. John is remembered as being ‘golden-mouthed’ and is a Doctor of the Church.
Reflections: As the next few months progress, I have a feeling the theme of my reflections will be influenced by the paper I'm currently researching and writing in the final months of my degree. The focus of this research revolves around the question of 'how to Evangelize Justice in our 21st century Church' building up on the 2nd Vatican council (1962-1965), and the Synod on evangelization (which took place last fall) among other things. There will be two main areas of focus here: 1) Exploring what scripture and Catholic tradition teaches us about justice. The goal of this section will be to do a mini review of who the Jesus of Justice is, and how he has given us tools to progress in our faith. 2) Looking at the various ways in which we already live Justice in our Church, or how we have lived it in the past. This section will especially focus on the lives of mystics and Saints, but also on certain movements within the Church -the principal one I'll be looking at is the controversial Liberation Theology, but I'm sure others will emerge-. The final part of this section will focus on the question 'where do we go from here', and I will turn to these same mystics and movements to answer some of those questions. So I have a feeling many of my blog entries will reflect that same search, that quest for guidance from above on how to proceed below. It's a good thing...it just means I'll be more open to the movement of the spirit in scriptures, and consequently in my life. The movement today, and perhaps this whole week in some ways, revolved around understanding this grace we're receiving from God everyday. Our first reading names that Grace as something that ' overflowed (for us) with the faith and love that are in.. Jesus." Remember how this week, a deeper intimacy with Christ was often prayed for...well, now we understand that it's not just because he's Jesus, and we should seek to be united to him anyway. It's really because there are gifts to be gained by anyone who achieves that closeness to him. This love that he carried, this faith he lives, becomes a small part of our own lives. We in fact, spend the rest of our earthly journey trying to make these things a much bigger part of our lives! And we see in the Gospel today that, letting that love take it's rightful place in our lives implies learning not to judge others when we ourselves have faults. The summary of the teaching today is a bit of a challenge for many -if not, for all people-: We have no right to judge, unless we are ever perfect. And since we are NEVER perfect, then we have no absolutely no right to point to the fault in our brothers and sisters. For as Jesus points out...how foolish would you look if you're accusing someone of something, when you yourself are doing something far worse. Boy, the world would be so much of a better place if we all understood this. But no...we, silly humans that we are, love judging. It's almost as if it brings us a sense of peace to mock, criticize and judge others. If that were our response to Jesus, he'd probably say to us 'it's a false sense of peace, not the authentic peace I put before you. It's an easy peace, not one you have to strive and live for. Don't take the easy way...walk with me on the way of the Cross" But the easy way's so much more comfortable Lord....but yes, we get it. And we will spend the rest of our lives continuing to get it!!
1 Timothy 1: 1 - 2, 12 - 14
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I thank him who has given me strength for this, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful by appointing me to his service,
though I formerly blasphemed and persecuted and insulted him; but I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief,
and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Psalms 16: 1 - 2, 5, 7 - 8, 11
Preserve me, O God, for in thee I take refuge.
I say to the LORD, "Thou art my Lord; I have no good apart from thee."
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; tyou have made my destiny secure.
I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore. Luke 6: 39 - 42 39He also told them a parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?40A disciple is not above his teacher, but every one when he is fully taught will be like his teacher.41Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?42Or how can you say to your brother, `Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.