The first Friday of Lent 2010. I even talked my wife into going to our favorite fish fry at a neighboring parish for dinner. This fish fry is so popular that she will need to be there by 2 pm, for its 3 o’clock start. Getting there at 2 pm will get her out of the parish hall at about 5 pm with the take out order. The fish is good, but the money they make has to be awesome, considering the lines usually go down the street.
Today we are reflecting on my favorite subject: banquets and feasts!
Quote or Joke of the Day:
God himself does not propose to judge a man until he is dead, so why should you?
The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. (NAB Mt 22:)
It’s party time! What a strange thing to say during lent: a time of renewal and sacrifice. Mardi-gras was the time to party, and now we are to wear sack cloths and ashes, in a figurative way anyhow.
Yes, this is true. We are to remember the Passion of Jesus: His trials on earth, and His torture and crucifixion. We are to meditate on the reason He came to us in human form, and the redemption given to us with His divine gift of dying for us.
Maybe we have to realize that Jesus wants us to remember, sacrifice, and meditate, but He also wants us to think of life as a feast. He has given us gifts, and we should celebrate.
Love, joy, laughter, passion, caring and concern for others, a wanting to help the down-trodden: these, and many more, are fabulous gifts from God and needs to be passed on to others. Share what you have, and don’t be obsessed with the acquisition and hording of material items. After all, the only thing you can take with you is your soul, and your track record of how you lived your life, and this feast, in heaven, could be considered is our final salvation.
Sharing God’s gifts is the best way to obtain more gifts and graces from God. I have seen it for myself. By giving more in the way alms, to organizations such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and in the collection basket at mass each week, it seems I have enough to pay the bills more easily, and have an easier time to give more back to others. There is always “just enough” to pay for the needs of my family when I give more to others in need.
Should we consider having enough as a type of lottery win? NO: It’s not. It is always work and sacrifice to have a feast. It takes time, talent, and treasure to take part in a feast of gifts with, and for, others.
Sometimes we seem to be too busy to come to the feast. We are too distracted, and in our own little world, to even think about the great gifts God has given us. We literally push God into the closet. How selfish can we be at times!
At other times we come to the feast, but then see an “obstacle,” and our response is a type of, “I can’t sit next to him.” As my parents used to tell me from time to time; “you take your ball and go home mad!” You only want to give your gifts with strings attached, and not freely; without ulterior motives. Love, joy, laughter, and so on, are given freely to you, and only gain value as they are dispersed to others.
Life is too short not to think of it as a feast. Jesus wants us to be happy. Life with Him in heaven is our greatest gift that we may receive from Him, but only if we choose it freely. Believe it or not, our joy here on earth can in no way compare to the joy we will experience with Jesus in heaven.
“Lord, thank you for allowing me to come to your feast. Please allow me to continue the feast with all people I come into contact with today, and in the future. Let me have an appetite and disposition to share all that you have given me. I pray that no one ever goes hungry in this world, or the next. Amen”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Franciscan Saint of the Day: St. Conrad of Piacenza 1290-1351
Conrad was born at Piacenza, Lombardy, in the year 1290, of a very noble family, and while still quite young, he married Euphrosyne, the daughter of a nobleman of Lodi. He had a great fondness for chivalrous sports and was an eager hunter.
One time when out hunting, his quarry hid itself in dense underbrush. To force it into the open, Conrad directed his attendants to set fire to the brushwood. The wind, however, drove the flames upon a nearby grain field, where it continued to spread, destroying the entire crop and a large forest besides. The governor of Piacenza at once sent out armed men to apprehend the incendiary.
Filled with consternation at the unfortunate turn of the conflagration, Conrad meanwhile fled into the city along certain lonely roads. The posse, however, came upon a poor peasant who had gathered a bundle of charred sticks and was carrying them into the city. Believing him to be the guilty person, the men seized him. He was tortured on the rack until they wrung from the poor man a statement that he had set fire to the woods out of sheer spite. He was condemned to death.
Not until the unfortunate victim was passing Conrad’s house on the way to execution, did Conrad learn why the sentence of death had been imposed on the peasant. Driven by his conscience, Conrad rushed out, saved the man from the hands of the bailiffs, and before all the people acknowledged that he was the guilty person. He went to the governor and explained that the conflagration was the result of a mishap; that he was willing to repair all the damage done. His wife joined him in his good will and sacrificed her dowry to assist in making restitution.
The incident taught Conrad the vanity of the goods of this world, and he resolved to give his attention only to eternal goods. He communicated his sentiments to his wife, and found that she entertained the same ideas. She went to the convent of Poor Clares and received the veil there, while Conrad, who was only 25 years old, left his native town and joined a group of hermits of the Third Order.
In a very short time he made such progress in virtue that the fame of his sanctity attracted many of his former friends and acquaintances to his hermitage. But it was Conrad’s wish to forsake the world completely; so he slipped away to Rome, and from there went to Sicily, to the Noto valley, near Syracuse, where he hoped he could remain unknown and in utter seclusion. He lived there for 36 years, the last of which he spent in a lonely cave on a height since named Mount Conrad.
There Conrad lived an extremely penitential life, sleeping on the bare earth and taking only bread and water with some wild herbs for nourishment. Nevertheless, he was subjected to some of the most terrible assaults of the devil. But by means of prayer so pleasing to God that he was granted the gifts of prophesy and miracles.
When Conrad perceived that his end was drawing near, he went to Syracuse to make a general confession of his life to the bishop. On the way flocks of birds flew about him and perched on his shoulders as they used to do to St. Francis, and on the way back to his solitude they accompanied him again, to the astonishment of all whom he met. On the very same day he was seized with a fever, which resulted in his death a few days later. He was kneeling before an image of the Crucified when he peacefully passed away on February 19, 1351. In accordance with his wishes he was buried in the church of St. Nicholas at Noto, where his remains still repose in a silver shrine. Many miracles have taken place there. In the year 1515 Pope Leo X permitted his feast be celebrated at Noto. Urban VIII canonized him in 1625.
from: The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, ofm.,
© 1959 Franciscan Herald Press
(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)
(From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #19:
Mindful that they are bearers of peace which must be built up unceasingly, they should seek out ways of unity and fraternal harmony through dialogue, trusting in the presence of the divine seed in everyone and in the transforming power of love and pardon. Messengers of perfect joy in every circumstance, they should strive to bring joy and hope to others. Since they are immersed in the resurrection of Christ, which gives true meaning to Sister Death, let them serenely tend toward the ultimate encounter with the Father.