Tuesday, 10 September 2013

I felt that my last night's entry was one of my most inspired ones...however, if you had read it between midnight and 1 am last night, and if you really know your liturgical stuff, you may  have realized that I had been commenting on the wrong readings. I was originally commenting on the readings that we have today rather than the ones that accompanied yesterday's service. It didn't impact my reflections too much, since I talked mostly about vocation and St Peter Claver, but I had to come back and change the readings. So  now I get to go through this again! To help us appropriate our readings today,  a simple man who lived with great zeal for the Lord. Sometimes, that's all it takes...through our saints, Jesus almost seems to be saying to us "live out of love! "

St. Nicholas of Tolentino
Feast: September 10

St. Nicholas of Tolentino 
Feast Day:September 10
Born:1246 AD
Died:1305 AD
Canonized:5 June (Pentecost) 1446 by Pope Eugene IV
Patron of:animals; babies; boatmen; dying people; mariners; sailors; sick animals; souls in purgatory; watermen

No, this is not THE Saint Nicholas who inspired the figure of Santa Klaus! This is a Nicholas who would form a young age be very interested in the life of hermits! In fact, as soon as he was old enough he was received into the Order of Augustinian friars.  He was a man in love with the Holy Mass. whenever he celebrated the holy Mystery he seemed aglow with the fire of his (and God's) love.
  Usually when Saints do this, it's enough for us Catholics to say 'what a great guy/gal". But St Nick here was not content with that alone. Like St Ignatius and many others I'm sure, he was interested in the salvation of souls. His preaching, instructions and work in the confessional brought about numerous conversions, and his many miracles were responsible for even more
 He was in short not afraid to live out his faith very publicly. The best example of that was how he responded to a conflict (basically a war) that had emerged between two different communities/tribes. His response to the conflict? To him, only one remedy to the violence was possible: street preaching! The success of this apostolic work was astounding.  During the last years of his life St. Nicholas was bedridden and suffered grievously. He died surrounded by his community. In 1345 a lay Brother cut off the arms of his body intending to take them to Germany as relics, and the friars then hid his body to prevent further attempts of this kind. It has not been found to this day, but the arms have been preserved.

Reflections: Based on St Nicholas's story, we can see that, living in Christ, really means, living for the well being of others. I guess this is a bit of a repetition from yesterday's theme of a higher vocation of service to others. But it's never a bad thing to repeat...repetition for Jesuits  only means acquiring more  depth! And as I've learned this week, there's no better way to achieve depth in our faith as Christians, than by reading Colossians. Honestly, I'll be sad to leave this book behind as of Thursday when we switch back to the Old Testament again. It's a book with profound richness that can only nourish one's reflections on deep questions about the nature of Christ, but also explores how we could be responding to the Call God has offered us. An appropriate theme to contemplate as we read today's Gospel on the calling of the 12!  The disciples already gave up quite a lot to follow Jesus, but we constantly read of their own struggles to 'live in Jesus'. It would take the resurrection for them to fully understand what was at stake, how important this man was to the world. 

  And we're still learning what is at stake when it comes to our faith. Anyone can call themselves Christians, but not everyone is a genuine follower of Jesus.  That's because we're afraid to live the fullness of life God offers us  through his only Son. Why? We come back to this image of being buried in him through our Baptism. It's a terrifying idea. It's exactly the same as this this  idea I discussed yesterday of dying to oneself.  And it's f  is incredibly unpleasant. But once we understand its implications, once we realize that this 'death' is what allows us to love more perfectly, and serve others most freely,  it becomes something many religious will want to strive for. That being said, even as religious, this is not something we achieve so easily. Once again, this is why I'm so grateful for the Saints who point the way for us and help us see that this complex process is simply lived, if we desire it strongly enough.

Colossians 2: 6 - 15

6As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him,
7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
8See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.
9For in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily,
10and you have come to fulness of life in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
11In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ;
12and you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
13And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
14having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
15He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him.

Psalms 145: 1 - 2, 8 - 11

1I will extol thee, my God and King, and bless thy name for ever and ever.
2Every day I will bless thee, and praise thy name for ever and ever.
8The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9The LORD is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.
10All thy works shall give thanks to thee, O LORD, and all thy saints shall bless thee!
11They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and tell of thy power,
Luke 6: 12 - 19

12In these days he went out to the mountain to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God.13And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles;14Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew,15and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot,16and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.17And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases;18and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured.19And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came forth from him and healed them all.

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