in Ordinary Time
- Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations
- Today in Catholic History
- Quote of the Day
- Today’s Gospel Reading
- Reflection on Today’s Gospel
- New Translation of the Mass
- A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day
- Franciscan Formation Reflection
- Reflection on part of the SFO Rule
Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations:
Starting next Wednesday, July 13th, I will begin my yearly “Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary”, popularized and created by St. Louis de Monfort. I will be posting the prayers for the four sections on both my blog and Facebook sites. All you need to add is the 10 or so minutes each day, and a proper heart and soul. So, please join me.
Today in Catholic History:
† 983 – Death of Benedict VI, Italian Pope (974-83)
† 1086 – Death of Knut IV, the Saint, king of Denmark (1080-86), murdered
† 1609 – Catholic German monarchy forms Catholic League
† 1900 – Birth of Sampson Sievers, Russian Orthodox Christian monk, priest and wonder-worker (d. 1979)
† 1998 – Roman Catholic sex abuse cases: The Diocese of Dallas agrees to pay $23.4 million to nine former altar boys who claimed they were sexually abused by former priest Rudolph Kos.
(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
“Today in Catholic History”
Quote of the Day:
“When GOD solves your problems, you have faith in HIS abilities; when GOD doesn’t solve your problems HE has faith in your abilities.” ~ Unknown author
Today’s reflection is about Jesus teaching that the kingdom of heaven is like a seed that has been sown on good soil.
(NAB Matthew 13:1-23) 1 On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. 3 And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, 6 and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. 7 Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. 8 But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. 9 Whoever has ears ought to hear.” 10 The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. 12 To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’ 14 Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: ‘You shall indeed hear but not understand you shall indeed look but never see. 15 Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.’ 16 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. 17 Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. 18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. 20 The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. 21 But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. 22 The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. 23 But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”
Today’s Gospel marks the beginning of a lengthy teaching or dialogue (His third discourse in Matthew) given by Jesus. Over the next few weeks at Mass, the Gospel readings will cover of the whole of Matthew’s 13th Chapter.
What was (and still is) the best and easiest way to help people understand God’s kingdom? Like the Temple leaders and Rabbis of first-century Palestine, Jesus very often used “parables” – – short stories and images taken from everyday life – – to communicate “unknown” truths about the kingdom of God. Jesus was a skilled artist of speech and imagery; a great orator and teacher. Through His words, He etched in the listeners mind, vividly brilliant and unforgettable images.
A well-constructed image can speak more loudly and clearly than many words. (Remember the old adage: “A picture says a thousand words.”) Jesus epitomized this saying by using the ordinary everyday well-known images of everyday life and nature as a way to point to a different (and hidden) order of reality. Jesus, through the use of parables, points to a different, visible order of reality for those who had “eyes to see” and “ears to hear“, and those who heard with faith.
Jesus communicated His teachings with vivid and dramatic images, such as soil conditions, plants, and trees. These images, these parables, grabbed ahold of the imagination of His audience more powerfully than any nonfigurative talk ever could. His parables were like a “buried treasure” waiting to be discovered:
“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.” (Matthew 13:44).
(Note the inspiration of that salesman – – his “JOY”!)
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus’ teaching of “parables” is known as the “third great discourse” of His ministerial life. It makes up the second of three parts of Matthew’s Gospel as well. Matthew used only two of a set of three, and this one is number two of the three. Matthew uses five other parables taken from other sources known collectively by Biblical Scholars as “Q” and “M”. The authors of these two documents are unknown; that’s why they are indentified as “Q” and “M”.
In addition to Matthew’s seven parables, Jesus’ discourse in Matthew 13: 1-53, gives the reason why He uses a “parable” approach to teaching the faith and way of God:
“The disciples approached him and said, ‘Why do you speak to them in parables?’ He said to them in reply, ‘Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because “they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.” Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: “You shall indeed hear but not understand you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.”’” (Matthew 13: 10-15).
Jesus declares the “blessedness” of those who understand His teaching:
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” (Matthew 13: 16-17):
He then goes on to explain the “parable of the sower”:
“Hear then the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” (Matthew 13: 18-23):
In verse 24 through 53 (not included in today’s reflection), Jesus explains the parable of the weeds, and ends with a concluding summary statement of teaching to His disciples. He is stating in His summary that we are all to be “Scribes” in the new kingdom of God:
“Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.” (Matthew 13:52)
What can a parable about “seeds” and “roots” teach us about the kingdom of God? Well, any successful farmer (I am not one! I have a black thumb – even killing a cactus once) will attest to the extreme importance for the need of “good soil” to supply the necessary nutrients for growth and fruit production. After all, a plant gets all necessary food, water, and other nutrients by its roots?
Holy Scripture repeatedly uses the image of “fruit-bearing” plants or trees to express the principles of spiritual life and spiritual death. Here are just two examples from the Old Testament:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8);
“They are like a tree planted near streams of water that yields its fruit in season; Its leaves never wither; whatever they do prospers.” (Psalm 1:3)
There are different ways of accepting God’s “Word”, which, hence, produce different kinds of “fruit” as a result. There is the opinionated “hearer”, who shuts one’s mind to differing views. Such a person is, in reality, non-teachable, and “deaf” to what ne could hear, and blind to what lies behind what he sees.
Then there is the “shallow” hearer. This person fails to meditate, reflect, and think things out completely. They lack a “depth” of faith, knowledge, and openness to God’s “Word”. They may initially respond with even a strong emotionally charged reaction; however, when this feeling wears off, their mind begins wandering to something else which will give them another “charge” without much effort.
A third type of hearer is the person who has many interests or concerns, but who “lacks the ability to hear or comprehend what is truly important”. Such people are too “busy” to pray, or too “pre-occupied” to study and meditate on God’s “Word”. Their focus is totally on the “here and now”.
Finally, there is “the one whose mind is open”. This person, this disciple, is willing to listen and to learn – – AT ALL TIMES, ever looking for the spiritual truth lying beneath the surface of what they heard and see. They are never too “proud” or too “busy” to learn the message and teachings of God; instead they listen with anticipation to His Word, in order to understand Him and His kingdom they will inherit.
God gives a great gift, a great grace, to those who search for, yearn for, and hunger for His “Word”. They are “consumed” in Him so that they may understand His will, His way, and His truth. And, through His “Word”, they have the strength to live according to God the Fathers plan for salvation and redemption.
In Palestine, sowing (sort of loosely planting the seeds) was often preceded by plowing. In “sowing” seeds, the seeds are literally thrown from the hand (similar to spreading salt/calcium on an icy driveway). Much of the seed is thus oft times scattered on ground unsuitable for any growth.
Yet while many of the seeds are “wasted”, the seed which falls on “good” ground bears “fruit” in an exceptionally large amount. The point of Jesus’ parable of the “Sower” is that, in spite of some failure, (usually because of opposition and indifference to His message), the trusting and hopeful “true” message of Jesus Christ, about the coming of His kingdom, will have an enormous success – – in those who, like little children, hear Him with faith:
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4)
The word “parable” (from the Greek, “parabole”) is used to translate the Hebrew word, “mashal”, a designation for a variety of literary forms such as axioms, proverbs, similitude’s, and allegories. What these literary forms have in common is a “hidden message” for the receiver. The New Testament authors, and Jesus Christ Himself, consciously use “mashal” and “parable” to designate and illustrate comparisons and inter-relatedness of “kingdom truths” and everyday life events. Sometimes, these everyday life events have a strange element quite different from an otherwise “usual” experience of everyday life: for instance, in the parable of the yeast, Matthew 13:33, the enormous amount of dough was produced by adding a small amount of yeast. Thus, “parables” are meant to sharpen and hone the curiosity and interest of the hearer to leads them to internalize the “true” meaning of the parable.
In today’s reading, Jesus told His disciples that not everyone would gain an understanding of His parables. Do you think He was deliberately confusing and/or hiding the meaning of His parables, His stories, His message, from His listeners? I don’t believe so.
Jesus was speaking from experience – – past, present, and future experience! His “experience” is not only internal, but His awareness of “experience encompasses ALL time at ONCE! He is aware of all things and all times. He is aware that “some” who hear His parables would refuse to understand them. It isn’t that these people could not understand them; but rather that their hearts would be hardened, shut, closed, and blinded to what Jesus Christ was really saying. In reality, they had already made up their minds NOT to believe. What a pity, as God can only reveal the hidden truths of His kingdom to those who are not blinded spiritually. God can only reveal the hidden truths to those individuals who have a deep hunger for Him and His “Word”, and humbly submit to His truth and Word. As He Himself said to them:
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
Also, in last week’s Gospel reading, Jesus prayed to His heavenly Father the following prayer of praise:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” (Matthew 11:25)
Since a parable is “figurative speech” requiring an amount of reflection for its understanding, only those who are open and prepared to explore and discover its true meaning can come to know it, and to internalize its meaning. To understand Jesus’ teachings and parables is a gift (a grace) of God Himself, “granted” to His disciples, yet, not to those in the crowds when Jesus said:
“… it has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.”Matthew 13:11)
In reading this verse, it is evident that both Jesus’ disciples’ understanding of His parables and the crowd’s ignorance to their meanings are both attributed to God’s will. The question of human responsibility for a lack of knowledge is asserted in Matthew 13:13:
“This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’” (Matthew 13:13).
Jesus mentions the “mysteries” in verse 11. This word can also be found in Luke and Mark’s Gospel:
“Knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God has been granted to you; but to the rest, they are made known through parables so that ‘they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.’” (Luke 8:10);
“The mystery of the kingdom of God has been granted to you.” (Mark 4:11).
And, the word “mystery” can even be found in the Old Testament:
“They might implore the mercy of the God of heaven in regard to this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision, and he blessed the God of heaven. In the king’s presence Daniel made this reply: ‘The mystery about which the king has inquired, the wise men, enchanters, magicians, and astrologers could not explain to the king but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what is to happen in days to come; this was the dream you saw as you lay in bed..’” (Daniel 2:18, 19, 27-28);
The word “mystery” is used to designate a divine plan or declaration affecting the course of history; which can only be known and understood when revealed by God. Knowledge of the “mysteries” of the kingdom of heaven means recognizing God’s kingdom present in the person of Jesus Christ, and in His ministry.
“To anyone who has, more will be given” (verse 12). Throughout the New Testament this axiom of practical “wisdom” is used several times:
“For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Matthew 25:29);
“To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Mark 4:25);
“Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” (Luke 8:18);
“I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Luke 19:26).
Its reference goes beyond one’s original gaining time, talent, and treasures. In essence, God declares a granting of a further understanding of His kingdom to all who accept His “revealed” mystery. And, from the one who does not accept or use His graces, He takes it away (The ultimate “use it or lose it” principle!)
Jesus speaks in “parables” so that the non-believing crowds may not understand:
“This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’” (Matthew 13:13);
“They may look and see but not perceive, and hear and listen but not understand, in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.” (Mark 4:12),
Making the parables so that the non-believers cannot understand them is looked at by me as a form of discipline to the “crowds” (non-believers). This “lack of understanding” is allowed them, by God, because He respects their “free will” in choosing not to accept His teachings.
In verse 14, Jesus’ cites Isaiah:
“Go and say to this people: Listen carefully, but you shall not understand! Look intently, but you shall know nothing! You are to make the heart of this people sluggish, to dull their ears and close their eyes; else their eyes will see, their ears hear, their heart understand, and they will turn and be healed.” (Isaiah 6: 9-10).
The “old” truly lives in the “new”, and the “new” truly FULFILLS the “old”!!
I find it interesting and confusing that there are people who are, or become, fruitless and/or uncaring of God’s “Word”!! Differing priorities, believed more important than God, can distract some from what is truly important and worthwhile. Allowing our hearts, minds, and souls to be consumed with material items and secular ideals can easily weigh us down, drawing us away from God’s eternal heavenly “treasure”.
We all need to realize and keep current in our minds that God’s “Word” can only take root in a receptive and humble heart, mind, and soul; a heart, mind and soul, ready and willing to “hear” what God has to say to each of us, personally and intimately. The parables of Jesus make clear to us what we need to know in order to grow in faith and life. We need to approach His teachings with an attitude ready to let His teachings challenge us. (No pain, no gain!) Can you submit to God’s “Word” with the love, trust, and obedience He wishes for you to have?
“Gross is the heart of this people …” (verse 15)! “Gross” is a strong word that can mean the following: disgusting, unpleasant, foul, vulgar, nasty, uncivilized, repugnant, and grotesque. This is definitely NOT a pleasant or hopeful image for the person who chooses to be blinded to the “mysteries” and “wonders” of a true and total faith in Jesus Christ.
Unlike the non-believing “crowds” of people accompanying Jesus, His true disciples, – – His true followers of the way, – – have seen the reality, revelation, and fulfillment of the prophets and the “righteous” people of the Old Testament (the Old Covenant). These “chosen” people searched and yearned to “see”, without having their search and yearning being fulfilled during their “earthly” time of life.
The four types of persons visualized in today parable of the “Sower and the Seed” are:
- Those who never accept the word of the kingdom (Matthew 13:19);
- Those who believe for a while but fall away because of persecution (Matthew 13:20-21);
- Those who believe, but in whom the word is choked by worldly anxiety and the seduction of riches (Matthew 13:22);
- Those who respond to the word and produce fruit abundantly (Matthew 13:23).
Jesus’ emphasis on the various types of soil on which the seed falls is an explanation on the “dispositions” with which one “sees” and “hears” Jesus’ preaching’s and teachings. Similar stories and emphasis of the “Sower Parable” can be found in Mark 4:14-20 and Luke 8:11-15.
Let’s look at the second and third types of “sown” seeds from Matthew’s parable:
“Seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away.” (Matthew 13:20-21)
“Seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit.” (Matthew 13:22)
These two can be explained in such a way as to support views held from many bible scholars that these examples derive not from Jesus Christ directly, but from an early Christian “reflection” on apostasy (a refusal to accept religious beliefs anymore) from the Catholic faith. This “apostasy” became a major real-time consequence of first-century Christian persecutions, and the secularism of human society at that time.
However, other scholars maintain that the explanation of these two situations comes from Jesus even though it was developed in the light of later Christian experience. (Can we say, “Grace of the Holy Spirit!”)
In conclusion, throughout Jesus’ teachings or dialogues (called a discourse), He offers several “parables” to His followers, illustrating in their (and our) minds what He means by the “Kingdom of Heaven”. He begins His teaching in Chapter 13 of Matthew with what appears to be a rather straightforward parable of the “Sower and the Seeds”.
Even “urban dwellers” (such as me) know seeds grow best in good soil. Seeds which miss the soil, sown on rocky ground, or sown among other plants will not grow to harvest. However, even with the loss of so many “seeds”, there is still a great and overwhelming “yield” from seeds sown on good soil.
Jesus explains why He uses parables. He suggests that He uses “parables” to teach because the meanings of parables are not self-evident without some reflection to find the true meaning. Those who are willing to engage themselves in the effort to understand, willing to open themselves up to the Holy Spirit, will be rewarded with the discovery – – the revelation – – of the message, yielding much fruit.
Jesus interprets the parable of the sower to His disciples in order to show what can be revealed in His teachings via parables. The different types of soil in which “seeds” are sown are metaphors for the disposition with which each individual hears the teaching about the kingdom of heaven. Some will be easily swayed away from the kingdom of heaven. Some will receive it for a time but will lose it when faced with difficulties. Some will hear the word but will then permit other cares to choke it out. Yet some will receive it well, and the seed will produce abundant fruit. (AND THAT’S US!! – – Hopefully!!)
One lesson from today’s parable is made clear to all of us, even today: a great “harvest” is sure to come! While some “seed” will fall away, never to bloom or fully grow to fruition, a harvest will most certainly come (at a time unknown to us):
“But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matthew 24:36).
The seed that falls on good soil, – – on one’s heart, mind, and soul receptive to His “Word”, – – will produce bountiful fruits. God is continuously ready to speak to each of us, personally and intimately, wanting so dearly to share with us an understanding of His “Word”.
Today’s Gospel reminds us that in order for God’s “Word” to take root in us and produce abundant fruit, we must strive to be like the good soil in today’s parable. Families, friends, peers, spouses, and the Catholic Church all have a responsibility for “preparing ‘your’ soil” so that the seeds of God’s Word can grow strong in you, producing a great harvest. How can we “prepare the soil”? Hold true to our Faith and Traditions in which our faith is celebrated, prayed, and fed by reading Holy Scripture (the Bible – it doesn’t bite), and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In these ways, you will fulfill the promises made at your Baptism when you received the lighted candle:
“For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism.” (CCC, Paragraph 1254).
Please reflect on today’s Gospel reading and also on the Sacrament of Baptism for a short time. Look at any pictures that may have been taken of the event. Remember that one of the promises made at one’s Baptism is to grow in the practice and tenets of our Catholic faith. How important is this promise to you? How do you practice your faith (daily prayer, Mass attendance, religious instruction, etc.)? We do these things and actions as a “family of God” in order that God’s “Word” can take root in our lives and produce an abundant awesomely tasteful fruit.
A prayer of praise to God for his abundance
“You visit the earth and water it, make it abundantly fertile. God’s stream is filled with water; with it you supply the world with grain. Thus do you prepare the earth: you drench plowed furrows, and level their ridges. With showers you keep the ground soft, blessing its young sprouts. You adorn the year with your bounty; your paths drip with fruitful rain. The untilled meadows also drip; the hills are robed with joy. The pastures are clothed with flocks, the valleys blanketed with grain; they cheer and sing for joy. Amen.” (Psalm 65:10-14)
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
New Translation of the Mass
In November of 2011, with the start of the new Liturgical year and Advent, there will be a few noticeable changes in the Mass. It will still be the same ritual for celebrating the Eucharist. The Mass will still have the same parts, the same patterns, and the same flow as it has had for the past several decades. It is only the translation of the Latin that is changing.
The new translation seeks to correspond much more closely to the exact words and sentence structure of the Latin text. At times, this results in a good and faithful rendering of the original meaning. At other times it produces a rather awkward text in English which is difficult to proclaim and difficult to understand. Most of those problems affect the texts which priests will proclaim rather than the texts that belong to the congregation as a whole. It is to the congregation’s texts that I will address with each blog, in a repetitive basis until the start of Advent.
In the words of Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium, #11, the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of Christian life. Anything we can do to understand our liturgy more deeply will draw us closer to God.
The Glory to God (Gloria) has been significantly changed, with more words and many lines rearranged.
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you,
we bless you,
we adore you,
we glorify you,
we give you thanks for your great glory,
Lord God, heavenly King,
O God, almighty Father.
Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world,
receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of
have mercy on us.
For you alone are the Holy One.
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the Glory of God the Father.
Material from “Changing How We Pray”, by Rev. Lawrence E. Mick
A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day: St. Veronica Giuliani (1660-1727)
Veronica’s desire to be like Christ crucified was answered with the stigmata.
Veronica was born in Mercatelli, Italy. It is said that when her mother Benedetta was dying she called her five daughters to her bedside and entrusted each of them to one of the five wounds of Jesus. Veronica was entrusted to the wound below Christ’s heart.
At the age of 17, Veronica joined the Poor Clares directed by the Capuchins. Her father had wanted her to marry, but she convinced him to allow her to become a nun. In her first years in the monastery, she worked in the kitchen, infirmary and sacristy and also served as portress. At the age of 34, she was made novice mistress, a position she held for 22 years. When she was 37, Veronica received the stigmata. Life was not the same after that.
Church authorities in Rome wanted to test Veronica’s authenticity and so conducted an investigation. She lost the office of novice mistress temporarily and was not allowed to attend Mass except on Sundays or holy days. Through all of this Veronica did not become bitter, and the investigation eventually restored her as novice mistress.
Though she protested against it, at the age of 56 she was elected abbess, an office she held for 11 years until her death. Veronica was very devoted to the Eucharist and to the Sacred Heart. She offered her sufferings for the missions. Veronica was canonized in 1839.
Why did God grant the stigmata to Francis of Assisi and to Veronica? God alone knows the deepest reasons, but as Celano points out, the external sign of the cross is a confirmation of these saints’ commitment to the cross in their lives. The stigmata that appeared in Veronica’s flesh had taken root in her heart many years before. It was a fitting conclusion for her love of God and her charity toward her sisters.
Thomas of Celano says of Francis: “All the pleasures of the world were a cross to him, because he carried the cross of Christ rooted in his heart. And therefore the stigmata shone forth exteriorly in his flesh, because interiorly that deeply set root was sprouting forth from his mind” (2 Celano, #211).
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)
Franciscan Formation Reflection:
How do you use Holy Scriptures in your daily life?
Have you read the “Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation” (presented to us at Vatican Council-II)? Here is the link: http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651118_dei-verbum_en.html
Have you come to know the differences of Catholic interpretation of the Bible from that of Christians of other faith traditions? What are the differences?
What is the difference between Divine Revelation and Sacred Scripture?
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO)
Rule #’s 10 & 11 of 26:
10. United themselves to the redemptive obedience of Jesus, who placed His will into the Father’s hands, let them faithfully fulfill the duties proper to their various circumstances of life. Let them also follow the poor and crucified Christ, witness to Him even in difficulties and persecutions.
11. Trusting the Father, Christ chose for Himself and His mother a poor and humble life, even though He valued created things attentively and lovingly. Let the Secular Franciscans seek a proper spirit of detachment from temporal goods by simplifying their own material needs. Let them be mindful that according to the gospel they are stewards of the goods received for the benefit of God’s children.
Thus, in the spirit of the Beatitudes, and as pilgrims and strangers on their way to the home of the Father, they should strive to purify their hearts from every tendency and yearning for possession and power.