Today in Catholic History:
† 1131 – Death of Adjutor, Roman Catholic Saint
† 1555 – Death of Pope Marcellus II (b. 1501)
† 1623 – Birth of François de Laval, first bishop of New France (d. 1708)
† 1651 – Birth of Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, French educational reformer, Catholic saint (d. 1719)
† Liturgical feasts: Saint Adjutor, Saint Eutropius, Saint Maximus, 3rd century martyr, Saint Suitbert the Younger (d. 807), Saint Pope Pius V
Today’s reflection is about faith.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
“Faith makes all things possible: love makes all things easy.”
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where (I) am going you know the way.” Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (NAB John 14:1-6)
This gospel reading is about the start of dialogue about Jesus’ departure and return. This conversation will eventually end the same way it started, with John 14:1, 27: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
“You have faith” is an essential element of Christianity. What is faith? The twinkle in the eyes of Children on Christmas morning, before even spying what Santa had brought them, and placed under the tree, is faith. Faith is also the grip your child has on your hand the first time they get stitches or a cavity filled. And faith is the child going to sleep after you rid their room of the boogey-man one stormy evening.
Faith, for me as an adult Christian, is looking at the monstrance holding that piece of bread, and knowing that it had been changed into the true and actual body of the living Christ, through the actions of the Holy Spirit. Faith knows that God, who being perfect could not suffer, so He came to us in the form of a human so He could suffer for us, in order to gain our redemption. Faith knows my suffering is living in the footsteps of Christ, so that I can gain perfection in heaven.
Patrick Overton wrote, “When you have come to the edge of all light that you know, and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.” This is what most children believe. As young adults, we come to think of faith by what St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” Being a “well seasoned” adult, I have finally come to think of faith the same as Mother Teresa of Calcutta believed: “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.”
In this gospel reading Jesus talks about coming back again. In the bible, it is reiterated time and time again that He will return. He also wants us to return to Him on a daily basis. Let’s face it; we are all sinners, and need to convert ourselves to Christ on a daily basis. This phrase has a special significance for me. At my lowest point in life, a time when I was angry at everyone including myself and especially at God, I was in Church giving Him a piece of my mind (to say it nicely). I actually heard God say to me (not in a thunderous voice, but in that little internal feeling), “It has been a very long time since you actually came to me and talked openly. Come back tomorrow, and let’s do this again!” I nearly fell out of the pew!
There are two ways to know the “way” that Thomas is asking about. The first is through a genuine relationship with Jesus himself; and also through following the tenants of Christianity in your life. Neither is an easy path. Actually, both are very difficult paths to follow; having many pitfalls and obstructions. The many roads away from Jesus and a Christian life are much easier to navigate, but do not offer the reward of eternal life in paradise, that the difficult one does.
We already covered the “way” to Jesus. Now, “the truth and the life:” the divinely revealed reality of God the Father being manifested in the person and works of Jesus. Jesus, possessing the truth and life of perfection, has the knowledge, and the ability to liberate us from sin.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Franciscan Saint of the Day: Blessed Benedict of Urbino, OFM Cap.
Born at Urbino, Italy; died at Fossombrone, Italy, 1625; beatified in 1867. Born into the de’Passionei family, Benedict was a lawyer in his home town before joining the Capuchins at Fano in 1584. His previous training, complemented by his faith, made him an effective preacher. He was the companion of Saint Laurence of Brindisi, whom he followed to Austria and Bohemia.
(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)
Prologue to Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule, Chapter 1:
… “Oh, holy Father, protect them with your name (cf. Jn 17:11) whom you gave me out of the world. I entrusted to them the message you entrusted to me and they received it. They have known that in truth I came from you; they have believed that it was you who sent me. For these I pray, not for the world (cf. Jn 17:9). Bless and consecrate them, and I consecrate myself for their sakes. I do not pray for them alone; I pray also for those who will believe in me through their word (cf. Jn 17:20) that they may be holy by being one, as we are (cf. Jn 17:11). And I desire, Father, to have them in my company where I am to see this glory of mine in your kingdom” (cf. Jn 17:6-24).