9 days till the BIRTH of CHRIST,
and this is the 17th day of the ADVENT season.
“HO, HO, HO-ly God, We Praise Thy Name!”
Quote or Joke of the Day:
God created woman from the side of man.
Not from his head to be above him,
nor from his feet to be trampled by him.
From his side to be equal to him,
from under his arm to be protected by him,
from near his heart to be loved by him.
And you, child [John], will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins … (NAB Lk 1: 76 -77)
Zechariah, awaken to the realization of the unique relation his son has with God, knows that John had been marked for a special role in the plan for salvation. Zechariah was not an ‘average joe’ in his town. He was a temple priest, and thus very familiar with the Old Testament, and its prophesies towards a new ‘Messiah’ to come.
I wonder if Zechariah knew Mary’s child was ‘that’ Messiah prophesied in the OT? Did he wonder why John was chosen as the prophet to tell the people of the Messiah’s arrival? Did Elizabeth and Zechariah realize John’s future ending in imprisonment and death? These questions, though they may have been in John’s parents thoughts, take a back seat to God’s love for mankind, and their faith and trust in Him..
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Franciscan Saint of the Day: Blessed Mary Frances Schervier
Born in 1819, Frances Schervier was a descendant of a distinguished family in the old imperial city of Aachen or Aix-la-Chapelle. Her desire to enter a religious order was thwarted by the early death of her mother in 1832, when Frances was only 13 years old. She was obliged to remain at home and attend to the household. But she did not let these circumstances prevent her from caring in a very special way for the poor and the sick. So lavish was her liberality that one of the old servants once remarked, “One of these days the child will have dragged everything out of the house.” Later she was an active member of several benevolent societies of women and also of what was known as St. John’s soup kitchen, a charitable enterprise organized to feed the needy.
Frances joined the Third Order of St. Francis in 1844. Henceforth she and four other young women resolved to lead a community life. They found a dwelling at the old city gate of St. James, and took possession of their first religious abode on the eve of the feast of St. Francis in 1845. Prayer and works of mercy were their principal occupation. Mother Frances and her first companions – the number soon increased to 23 — received the religious habit on August 12, 1851, and a new religious family was formed. Appropriately, she called the new congregation the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis. The poverty of St. Francis and his love for the poor of Christ superseded everything else in the eyes of the foundress. On one occasion she wrote to her sisters: “The impress of poverty and penance should mark even our chapels and churches, and be their distinctive feature.”
The first foundation of the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis in the United States was made in 1858. Twice Mother Frances came to the US. The first time in 1863 and the second time in 1868. During her first sojourn in this country, she joined her sisters in ministering to wounded soldiers of the Civil War; and to the sick, the homeless, and the orphaned. The second time, while visiting the various institutions conducted by her sisters, she also lent a helping hand in caring for the sick, aged, and the poor.
Mother Frances sacrificed everything for the poor out of love for God, and she was amply repaid by Him who cannot be outdone in generosity. Her foundation increased visibly; and to this day it enjoys the special blessing of Divine Providence. At her holy death on December 14, 1876, Mother Frances was mourned by thousands of daughters in religion, as well as by the poor; and was venerated as a saint. Unusual conversions and other remarkable events occurred even during her lifetime in answer to her trustful prayer; and since her departure from this world, such things have happened even more frequently.
from THE FRANCISCAN BOOK OF SAINTS
edited by Marion Habig, ofm
Copyright 1959 Franciscan Herald Press
(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #15:
Let them individually and collectively be in the forefront in promoting justice by the testimony of their human lives and their courageous initiatives. Especially in the field of public life, they should make definite choices in harmony with their faith.