I finished writing an article title, “Is ‘JPIC’ a Four-Letter Word?!” It was sent to the “Franciscan Action Network” earlier this week, and I am going to post it on my Facebook page, hopefully today. Please look for it, and read it. It is a great little commentary on Justice and Peace from a Conservative and Franciscan viewpoint.
The Rescue of the Miners in Chile:
The 33 miners were found on the 33rd week of the year. It took 33 days to drill the rescue tunnel passageway. They were rescued on 10/13/10 which equals 33; and is the anniversary of the “Miracle of the Dancing Sun” at Fatima as well! They were “buried alive” on the Feast of St. Mary Major. Their first full day was the “Feast of the Transfiguration.” They all believe that God was the “one other person” who was entombed with them throughout this ordeal, and Jesus was crucified when he was 33.
We have a new “Franciscan Saint” today. She is in the group of six to be beatified today by our great Pope.
Saint Camilla Battista da Varano (April 9, 1458 – May 31, 1524), from Camerino, Macerata, Italy, was an Italian princess and a Poor Clare Roman Catholic nun. She was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI in 1843 and canonized today by Pope Benedict XVI.
Born in Camerino to a wealthy noble family, her father was Giulio Cesare, the prince of Camerino. He initially opposed her wish to enter into religious life, wishing her to marry. When she was 23, she decided to enter the convent of the poor Clares at Urbino and then two years later to the Monastery of Santa Maria Nuova at Camarino, which was restored by her father in order to be closer to his daughter.
In 1502, her family suffered persecution and her father and brothers were killed. In 1505, Pope Julius II sent her to found a convent in Fermo. In 1521 and 1522 she traveled to San Severino Marche to form the local religious who in that period had adopted the rule of St. Clare.
She died on May 31, 1524, during a plague. Her remains rest in the Monastery of the Clares of Camerino.
Today in Catholic History:
† 532 – Boniface II ends his reign as Catholic Pope
† 1253 – Birth of Ivo of Kermartin, French saint (d. 1303)
† 1616 – Death of John Pitts, Catholic scholar and writer. (b. 1560)
† 1912 – Birth of John Paul I, [Albino Luciano], 263rd Roman Catholic pope (1978)
† 1923 – Catholic University of Nijmegen Neth opens
† 1979 – Mother Teresa awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
† 2006 – The United States population reaches 300 million. (Today’s Facebook population is 500 million [3rd largest country in the world]).
† Liturgical Calendar: Saint Ignatius of Antioch; translation of Saint Audrey (Æthelthryth); Saint Richard Gwyn; Saint Catervus; Saint Marguerite Marie Alacoque
(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
“Today in Catholic History”
Quote or Joke of the Day:
“When we pray to God we must be seeking nothing – nothing.” — Saint Francis of Assisi
Today’s reflection is about Jesus urging His disciples [and us] to pray and not lose heart, for God always hears and answers prayers.
1 Then he told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, 2 “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. 3 And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ 4 For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, 5 because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.'” 6 The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. 7 Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? 8 I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (NAB Luke 18:1-8)
Today’s reading is the first of two parables that Jesus gives in Luke, Chapter 18, about prayer and justice. The second parable will be read as the Gospel at next Sunday’s Mass, and it will emphasize our attitude in prayer. This particular Gospel reading of Luke’s is a real lesson in diligence and perseverance we should display in our prayer life, so we can keep from falling prey to “apostasy” (the renunciation of a religious or political belief or allegiance).
While the parable may seem to look to us as if our prayers should be harassing or irritating to God, this belief would be far off-track, and missing the point. God is not like the judge in the parable who is worn down by the widow’s frequent requests and coercion to take action. The judge in this parable could be described as “not respectful, unwilling, and dishonest” towards her. God, in being true and fully love, can never be impolite, unwilling, or dishonest! I understand Jesus to be saying in this parable that if even an “unjust” judge responds to the persistence of the widow, how much more will God listen to our prayers if we are persistent?!
Justice (e.g. for the widow in this parable) is simply a matter of giving what is due to her (and us). Justice should always be given irrespective of position, viewpoint, or feelings. In a perfect world, it should not have to be obtained by persistence, determination, or even coercion.
God’s justice is totally free of indifference. He has a special love though for the poor and marginalized that St. Francis knew and experienced so well in hugging, kissing, and caring for the poor lepers of Assisi. But, the poor is NOT just the materially needy and impoverished! When we lose heart; when we think that no one cares for us; or when we believe we alone in our earthly journey, with no one to “back us up” or to understand us, we are poor as well. We are then poor of “spirit!”
In the fifth verse, the phrase “strike me” is used. The original Greek verb translated as “strike,” actually means “to strike under the eye,” thus suggesting the extreme situation to which the intense persistence of the widow might lead. It may be used here although, in a weaker sense, meaning “to wear one out.”
God truly wants to hear our intentions and petitions, and to respond generously all our prayers, at an appropriate time. It is this final expression of grief from Jesus, in verse 8, which gets to the heart of this parable: “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Jesus, in this lamentation, observes and remarks on how easy it can be for us to lose heart.
Remember, today’s lesson is about the perseverance and determination of the person who prays. God wants us to be like this unrelenting widow, who had a personal, unrelenting, and loving relationship with God. She is confident that He hears and answers all prayers, when He sees fit.
We hassle, pester, and annoy others because it works! We also, like the judge in this parable, often get worn down by the constant harassment and badgering of others (especially our children), asking or demanding items or time from us. Indeed, these traits are not positive qualities, for anyone. But, with improper behaviors aside; confidence in the goodness of a “benefactor,” and the resolve, determination (and even the stubbornness) to stay in a relationship are “heavenly-bound” traits worth emulating in our special and loving relationship with God.
Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to us. If we want to live, grow, and persevere in our faith until the end, we must nourish it with prayer, adoration, and action!
We can easily become demoralized and give up. We can forget, or just stop asking our heavenly Father, God, for His grace and assistance. Jesus told this particular parable, I believe, to give a fresh hope and confidence to His followers. We can, and should expect trials and adversities in our lives, yet we should never be without hope and trust in God’s wisdom and actions. When Jesus returns in His magnificent glory, God’s justice will be totally revealed, triumphing over all the injustices carried out by mankind. God’s love is always stronger than injustice, and even “death!” Those of us that maintain a true faith and persistence for God’s love can look forward, with hope, to that day when we will receive our reward by Him.
Do you make your intentions and desires known to God in prayer? Bear in mind that God dearly wants to answer all our prayers. Remember, Jesus became one of us: fully human as well as fully God! He made us His own possession! He will always take care of us with a love we can never fully understand!
When you feel “poor” and believe that no one gives a darn, remember that God, who loves you no matter what you have done or not done, is next to you and in you. Have a heart-to-heart talk with Him; He always listens intently to you!
“Watch, O Lord”
“Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, & give Your angels & saints charge over those who sleep.
Tend Your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest Your weary ones.
Bless Your dying ones.
Soothe Your suffering ones.
Pity Your afflicted ones.
Shield Your joyous ones,
and all for Your love’s sake. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day: St. Ignatius of Antioch (d. 107?)
Born in Syria, Ignatius converted to Christianity and eventually became bishop of Antioch. In the year 107, Emperor Trajan visited Antioch and forced the Christians there to choose between death and apostasy. Ignatius would not deny Christ and thus was condemned to be put to death in Rome.
Ignatius is well known for the seven letters he wrote on the long journey from Antioch to Rome. Five of these letters are to Churches in Asia Minor; they urge the Christians there to remain faithful to God and to obey their superiors. He warns them against heretical doctrines, providing them with the solid truths of the Christian faith.
The sixth letter was to Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, who was later martyred for the faith. The final letter begs the Christians in Rome not to try to stop his martyrdom. “The only thing I ask of you is to allow me to offer the libation of my blood to God. I am the wheat of the Lord; may I be ground by the teeth of the beasts to become the immaculate bread of Christ.”
Ignatius bravely met the lions in the Circus Maximus.
Ignatius’s great concern was for the unity and order of the Church. Even greater was his willingness to suffer martyrdom rather than deny his Lord Jesus Christ. Not to his own suffering did Ignatius draw attention, but to the love of God which strengthened him. He knew the price of commitment and would not deny Christ, even to save his own life.
“I greet you from Smyrna together with the Churches of God present here with me. They comfort me in every way, both in body and in soul. My chains, which I carry about on me for Jesus Christ, begging that I may happily make my way to God, exhort you: persevere in your concord and in your community prayers” (Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Church at Tralles).
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 17 & 18 of 26:
17. In their family they should cultivate the Franciscan spirit of peace, fidelity, and respect for life, striving to make of it a sign of a world already renewed in Christ.
By living the grace of matrimony, husbands and wives in particular should bear witness in the world to the love of Christ for His Church. They should joyfully accompany their children on their human and spiritual journey by providing a simple and open Christian education and being attentive to the vocation of each child.
18. Moreover they should respect all creatures, animate and inanimate, which “bear the imprint of the Most High,” and they should strive to move from the temptation of exploiting creation to the Franciscan concept of universal kinship.