“How Big Is Your Faith? Is It Well ROOTED? Mine Is a Mustard Seed!” – Luke 17:5-10†


 

Today is the Transitus of St. Francis

  

The Transitus is a Franciscan devotion to ritually remember the passing of Saint Francis from this life to God.  This ritual takes place each year, the evening of October 3rd.  

For me, to revisit the account of St. Francis’ death is essential; otherwise something significant would be missing.  It describes the living memory of St. Francis, and it deepens and strengthens our duty to follow Jesus Christ in the way of this “poor man of Assisi.” 

   

† 

 

Tomorrow is [his] the Feast of St Francis of Assisi.  The feast commemorates the life of St Francis, who born in the 12th century is the Catholic Church’s patron saint of animals and the environment.

St Francis (b.1181 or 1182 – d.1226), founder of the Franciscan order, lived during the late 12th and early 13th centuries in Italy.  He is remembered for his generosity to the poor and his willingness to minister to the lepers. However, what most people recall about him today is his love for animals and nature.  Many children bring their pets to the Church to be blessed on St Francis’ feast day because of this love for animals, as expressed in his “Canticle of Creatures.”

        

Today in Catholic History:


†   1226 – Death of St. Francis of Assisi (b. 1181 or 1181)
†   1247 – Willem II of Holland elected Roman Catholic German emperor
†   1877 – Death of James Roosevelt Bayley, first Bishop of Newark, New Jersey, and the eighth Archbishop of Baltimore (b. 1814)
†   2006 – Death of Alberto Ramento, Filipina bishop (b. 1937)

(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
otday.wordpress.com) &/OR
“Today in Catholic History”
zhttp://www.historyorb.com)

 

 

Quote or Joke of the Day:

 

Peace starts with a smile.

 

 

   

Today’s reflection is about Jesus teaching the Apostles the importance of faith and service to God.

 

5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”  6 The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to (this) mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.  7″Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?  8 Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat?  Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’?  9 Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?  10 So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'”  (NAB Luke 17:5-10)

 

In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus teach about faith and service to God. The framework of today’s reading is that it is a continuation of dialogue between Jesus and his followers in regards to what it means to be a “disciple” of His.  These “proverbs” of Jesus are exclusively Lucan biblically, and takes up again Jesus’ response to the Apostles’ request for an increase in their faith (see Luke 17:5-6 above): “And the apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’  The Lord replied, ‘If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to (this) mulberry tree, be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it would obey you.’”   This truism should remind all of the followers of Jesus, then and now, that His disciples can make no claim on God’s graciousness.  In truly fulfilling the sometimes challenging and demanding requirements of discipleship, we are only doing our duty.

The first proverb today is the Bibles very familiar illustration and important reminder that faith, even as little as the proverbial mustard seed, enables the followers of Jesus to do great and wondrous things.  Yet, this uplifting and inspiring teaching is immediately followed by a second instruction.  This caution-centered second doctrine is about having vigilance in knowing one’s place in God’s plan.  The followers of Jesus are to understand their role as being servants to God, and true instruments for God’s plan.  

Even when God brings about phenomenal marvels and miracles through us, our “mustard seed” faith should not seek praise or gratitude.  Our participation in God’s plan IS God’s grace to us; nothing more and nothing less!  When we are “graced” enough to cooperate with God and His actions through and in us, the work we do is nothing more than our obligation to Him as His faithful stewards.  Yet, our “mustard seed” size faith allows us to know that what we have done – what we have offered – to God can produce a “hundredfold” in return.

In our daily attempts as Christians to live up to the confidence and trust that others place in us, we come to know the wonders that God can do in and through us.  This is true even if we may possess just a minuscule amount of faith.  In life, we learn that obligations can be our own rewards.  The daily tasks that we do for one another are simply the expressions of our responsibilities to one another.

What have you done recently that made a big difference in another’s life?   Remember, we are all called by God to believe that He can work miracles in our lives and that He can, and DOES, use us to make a difference in the world!  Please pray daily for the grace that God will work through you to make a difference in the lives of those around you!

St. Gregory the Great once wrote that the entire mass of a large tree lies hidden within the one grain of a very small seed.  When planted, a root is produced from the seed; and then a shoot from the root; and a fruit from the shoot; and then yet, other seeds are produced in the fruit.  The same can be true about OUR seed of faith.

Like the mustard seed in today’s Gospel that uprooted the large formidable Mulberry tree, plant — by faith and service — Jesus’ love in your heart and soul.  Nurture this seed of faith and service and allow it to naturally grow out of you and into others.  Let the Holy Spirit “root out” your fears, concerns, and speculations.  Let Him “see” and touch every aspect of your life in the very unique way “planned” for you long before you were “you!”

 

“Just a Simple Prayer of Faith and Service”

 

“I am who I am in the eyes of God—
nothing more and nothing less.  Amen.”

 

Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO

 

*****

 

A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day:  St. Mother Theodore Guérin (1798-1856)

    

Trust in God’s Providence enabled Mother Theodore to leave her homeland, sail halfway around the world and to found a new religious congregation.

Born in Etables, France, Anne-Thérèse’s life was shattered by her father’s murder when she was 15. For several years she cared for her mother and younger sister. She entered the Sisters of Providence in 1823, taking the name Sister St. Theodore. An illness during novitiate left her with lifelong fragile health; that did not keep her from becoming an accomplished teacher.

At the invitation of the bishop of Vincennes, she and five sisters were sent in 1840 to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, to teach and to care for the sick poor. She was to establish a motherhouse and novitiate. Only later did she learn that her French superiors had already decided the sisters in the United States should form a new religious congregation under her leadership.

She and her community persevered despite fires, crop failures, prejudice against Catholic women religious, misunderstandings and separation from their original religious congregation. She once told her sisters, “Have confidence in the Providence that so far has never failed us. The way is not yet clear. Grope along slowly. Do not press matters; be patient, be trustful.” Another time, she asked, “With Jesus, what shall we have to fear?”

She is buried in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, and was beatified in 1998. Eight years later she was canonized.

Comment:

God’s work gets done by people ready to take risks and to work hard—always remembering what St. Paul told the Corinthians, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6). Every holy person has a strong sense of God’s Providence.

Quote:

During his homily at the beatification Mass, Pope John Paul II said that Blessed Mother Theodore “continues to teach Christians to abandon themselves to the providence of our heavenly Father and to be totally committed to doing what pleases him. The life of Blessed Theodore Guérin is a testimony that everything is possible with God and for God.”

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)

    

Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #’s 3 & 4 of 26:

    

The present rule, succeeding “Memoriale Propositi” (1221) and the rules approved by the Supreme Pontiffs Nicholas IV and Leo XIII, adapts the Secular Franciscan Order to the needs and expectations of the Holy Church in the conditions of changing times. Its interpretation belongs to the Holy See and its application will be made by the General Constitutions and particular statutes.

 

 

The rule and life of the Secular Franciscans is this: to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of St. Francis of Assisi who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people.

Christ, the gift of the Father’s love, is the way to him, the truth into which the Holy Spirit leads us, and the life which he has come to give abundantly.

Secular Franciscans should devote themselves especially to careful reading of the gospel, going from gospel to life and life to gospel.

 

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