Just about half-way through the magnificent devotion from St. Louis de Montfort known as the “Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary.” It gets better every day. This is the 3rd or 4th time I have done this consecration, and I find a new revelation each time. Total Consecration is a giving of ourselves back to Christ through the hands of Mary.
Wife and I are going to “Vatican Splendors’” at the St. Louis History Museum today. I understand that it is truly spectacular. Without even seeing it myself, I recommend it.
Today in Catholic History:
† 1057 – Death of Pope Victor II
† Roman Catholicism: Saints Nazarius and Celsus; Saint Innocent I, pope; Saint Pantaleon, martyr
(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
Quote or Joke of the Day:
St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary was to be a turning point in my life…. This Marian devotion …has since remained a part of me. It is an integral part of my interior life and of my spiritual theology.” – Pope John Paul II
Today’s reflection is about finding the treasures in us, and what to do with them.
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. 46 When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it. (NAB Mt 13:44-46)
The two people in these parables sell all that they have in the world in order to acquire their discoveries. Similarly, the religious moral of these two parables stresses that the person who understands the supreme value of the Kingdom of God gives up whatever they must, in order to obtain eternity in paradise.
The dilemma in obtaining the moral of these parables is that the reader must decide whether the point is the priceless value of the treasure/pearl, OR that the point is the behavior of those who sell all they own, to gain possession of the found article. The emphasis in the second of the parables, to me, is decidedly clear: recognizing the value, he changes his behavior to obtain the object. It most likely holds true for the “treasure” parable as well.
The word “joy” in this Gospel reading parable cannot be overlooked. This word was used for a definite purpose. The Kingdom of God is a priceless treasure that any intelligent and perceptive person would gladly give everything they have and own, solely for a chance to take hold of the Kingdom. It is the ultimate opportunity of “divine intervention” in your lifetime, in the literal sense.
Who would bury priceless treasure in the ground? Countless people do: it is still done in many parts of the world even today. In the unsettled conditions of Palestine in Jesus’ time, it was not unusual to secure valuables by burying them in the ground; therefore not only hiding them from friends and foe, but also limiting any attempts at theft. As proved in these two parables, possessions can be easily taken away (bought or stolen) at any time; but God’s graces are yours to keep, and to share without any loss of value to you. Matter of fact, we are actually obliged to share our “treasures” from God with all possible. In doing so, we not only walk a little in Christ’s footprints; we also gain more talents and treasures (to share) as our reward for doing so.
How can you give up everything, and then become wealthy? St. Francis of Assisi is a prime example of someone who found a treasure; gave up everything for that treasure; and became wealthy again.
Francis grew up in a home of significant wealth. He was destined to inherit his father’s successful business. Instead of becoming a military knight, business owner, and a political leader in his homeland; he chose to embrace poverty with God. He had a personal revelation and miracle while recuperating from battle injuries, and illness obtained during captivity. While at prayer in the ruins of an old Church, God came to Francis and told him to “rebuild my Church!”
With this invitation, God’s priceless treasure to Francis, he left his family; and he left all material objects, including his clothes behind. With a rough wool tunic, and piece of rope tied around his waist; both actually lent to him, Francis entered into a new life: not of his choosing, but of God’s. Francis not only gave up all he knew and all he had in life; he gave up his life as well. Francis’ life now belonged to God, and he now did only what was directed of him by God from that day on.
From a person of wealth, to a poor pauper begging for food for his followers and others, Francis found new riches in the many graces bestowed to him by the Holy Spirit. Francis, though blind, sick, and in severe pain by the end of his life on earth, never once complained about what life had bequeathed to him.
St. Francis also gave the gift of three religious orders, all dedicated to the way of his life, and the spirituality of their Franciscan father: St. Francis. With humble certainty, I am sure that St. Francis is with Jesus, his (and my) seraphic Father, in paradise.
Attachment to items, and materialistic behaviors and attitudes, can block one’s way to paradise: God’s Kingdom in heaven AND on earth! Half-measures will not do for the Kingdom of God. Inadequate and ineffectual actions and behaviors are not a fitting way to be awarded the key to heaven.
The only way to get to heaven is to open oneself to total conversion on a daily basis. Marked with sin, we need to renew ourselves daily, and maybe even hourly. We need to dedicate ourselves, and allow the Holy Spirit to enter into us, and dwell in us forever. Testing the waters of faith may be fine for some, but it also may delay a full immersion into God’s graces until it is too late. Do not be afraid to receive the graces given to you; they have already been purchased, for you, by Jesus on the Cross.
So how do I find this treasure; and then what do I do with this treasure? Finding it is easy! You just have to invite Jesus to come into you. This can be done through prayer, adoration, frequent Confession and attendance at Mass, and frequent reception of our Lord through the Holy Eucharist: literally, a piece of heaven on earth.
Now here is the hard part: you MUST also share all the graces given to you by God with everyone you come into come into contact; and with love! There are three ways to share God’s grace: Time, Talent, and Treasure:
Time: Offer your time to the parish, a shelter or other institute. Spend time before the Holy Eucharist. Pray for yourself and others. This is just a start; there are many other ways.
Talent: We are all unique, and have something to offer. Be it cooking or baking for others in need, coaching the kiddies, repairs and maintenance to the parish and home-bound, etc. The list is endless, and some talents can be done with very little or no interpersonal skills whatsoever for those that choose to do things privately, or at home.
Treasures: Means exactly what it says. Though Catholics do not have a true “tithing” system, we still must support our parishes according to our means. In today’s world, this is sometimes more difficult than in the past. Being on disability, I understand more than most; but I have also realized that God gives back multifold; maybe not financially, but in other graces more valuable than any money on earth.
“Help Me to See the Way”
“Oh my dear God please help me understand in the world what I can not change . . . and help me to see the way . . . so that I can help you make a better world . . . Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day: St. Leopold Mandic (1887-1942)
Western Christians who are working for greater dialogue with Orthodox Christians may be reaping the fruits of Father Leopold’s prayers.
A native of Croatia, Leopold joined the Capuchin Franciscans and was ordained several years later in spite of several health problems. He could not speak loudly enough to preach publicly. For many years he also suffered from severe arthritis, poor eyesight and a stomach ailment.
Leopold taught patrology, the study of the Church Fathers, to the clerics of his province for several years, but he is best known for his work in the confessional, where he sometimes spent 13-15 hours a day. Several bishops sought out his spiritual advice.
Leopold’s dream was to go to the Orthodox Christians and work for the reunion of Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. His health never permitted it. Leopold often renewed his vow to go to the Eastern Christians; the cause of unity was constantly in his prayers.
At a time when Pope Pius XII said that the greatest sin of our time is “to have lost all sense of sin,” Leopold had a profound sense of sin and an even firmer sense of God’s grace awaiting human cooperation.
Leopold, who lived most of his life in Padua, died on July 30, 1942, and was canonized in 1982.
St. Francis advised his followers to “pursue what they must desire above all things, to have the Spirit of the Lord and His holy manner of working” (Rule of 1223, Chapter 10)—words that Leopold lived out. When the Capuchin minister general wrote his friars on the occasion of Leopold’s beatification, he said that this friar’s life showed “the priority of that which is essential.”
Leopold used to repeat to himself: “Remember that you have been sent for the salvation of people, not because of your own merits, since it is the Lord Jesus and not you who died for the salvation of souls…. I must cooperate with the divine goodness of our Lord who has deigned to choose me so that by my ministry, the divine promise would be fulfilled: ‘There will be only one flock and one shepherd’” (John 10:16).
Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From http://www.americancatholic.org website)
From the Prologue to the Rule of Secular Franciscan Order (SFO):
Concerning Those Who Do Penance
All who love the Lord with their whole heart, with their whole soul and mind, with all their strength (cf. Mk 12:30), and love their neighbors as themselves (cf. Mt 22:39) and hate their bodies with their vices and sins, and receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and produce worthy fruits of penance.
Oh, how happy and blessed are these men and women when they do these things and persevere in doing them, because “the spirit of the Lord will rest upon them” (cf. Is 11:2) and he will make “his home and dwelling among them” (cf Jn 14:23), and they are the sons of the heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:45), whose works they do, and they are the spouses, brothers, and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Mt 12:50).
We are spouses, when by the Holy Spirit the faithful soul is united with our Lord Jesus Christ; we are brothers to him when we fulfill “the will of the Father who is in heaven” (Mt 12:50).
We are mothers, when we carry him in our heart and body (cf. 1 Cor 6:20) through divine love and a pure and sincere conscience; we give birth to him through a holy life which must give life to others by example (cf. Mt 5:16).
Oh, how glorious it is to have a great and holy Father in heaven! Oh, how glorious it is to have such a beautiful and admirable Spouse, the Holy Paraclete.
Oh, how glorious it is to have such a Brother and such a Son, loved, beloved, humble, peaceful, sweet, lovable, and desirable above all: Our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave up his life for his sheep (cf. Jn 10:15) and prayed to the Father saying:
“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).