“Third Sunday of Lent”
- 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:
I have been chosen to be on another “ACTS” retreat team at my local parish. For those that do not know, ACTS is a parish-based retreat similar to cursillo-type retreats. ACTS is an acronym meaning Adoration, Community, Theology, and Service. They are some of the most moving and spirit based movements one can experience. I have been on many and each one hits me differently. I can’t wait for the retreat.
The latest about Fr. Corapi on his forced leave of absence. I received an e-mail from Santa Cruz Media. Their official “Statement” relative to Fr. Corapi’s suspension included the following paragraph:
“We have consulted with a number of canon lawyers. They have assured us that the actions of the Bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas are, on several points of canon law, illicit. It is our fervent hope that The Dallas Charter will be changed because of false accusations like this. There is no evidence at this time that Fr. Corapi did anything wrong, only the unsubstantiated rant of a former employee, who, after losing her job with this office, physically assaulted me and another employee and promised to “destroy” Father Corapi. We all continue to pray for this person, and we ask you to do the same.”
Today in Catholic History:
† 1191 – Death of Pope Clement III
† 1309 – Pope Clement V excommunicates Venice and all its population.
† 1329 – Pope John XXII issues his ‘In Agro Dominico’ condemning some writings of Meister Eckhart as heretical.
† 1378 – Death of Gregory XI, [Pierre R the Beaufort], last French Pope (1370-78)
† 1642 – The sixth Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Joseph takes his office.
† 1935 – Birth of Fr. Stanley Rother, Roman Catholic Priest, Martyr and Missionary to Guatemala (d. 1981)
† 1962 – Archbishop Rummel ends race segregation in New Orlean Catholic school
† Memorial/Feasts: Rupert of Salzburg
(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
“Today in Catholic History”
Quote of the Day:
“The greatest kindness one can render to any man consists in leading him from error to truth.” ~ St. Thomas Aquinas
Today’s reflection is about Jesus revealing himself to the Samaritan woman at the well, as recorded in John. (The “shorter” form: John 4:5-15,19b-26,39a,40-42)
(NAB John 4: 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42) 5 Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon.
7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 11 (The woman) said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; 14 but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking with you.”
39 Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him. 40 When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41 Many more began to believe in him because of his word, 42 and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”
Today, and for the next two Sundays, we read from John’s Gospel instead of from Matthew’s at Mass. The Gospel of John is the only Gospel not assigned to a particular liturgical year (A, B, or C). Instead, readings from John’s Gospel are interspersed throughout our three-year liturgical cycle and calendar. (We are presently in Cycle A; predominately Matthew’s Gospel.)
Also, for today’s Mass, the Deacon or Priest has the option of reading a long and short form of the Gospel. I have chosen to comment predominately on the short form of the reading, otherwise, this reflection would be twice as long.
Let me give you a little history and geography lesson for the three places in today’s reading/reflection that may be unfamiliar to you.
“Sychar” is a place that St. Jerome identified with “Shechem”. St. Jerome, in his research while translating Holy Scripture to Latin from the original Greek discovered this link between the two names Syriac manuscripts.
Per biblical scholars, the mountain in verse 20 of today’s Gospel is believed to be Mount Gerizim. A temple was built on the mountain in the fourth century B.C. by Samaritans.
“Jacob’s well” was about a mile and a half from the nearest town (Sychar). The well was located in a strategic fork of the road between Samaria and Galilee. It wasn’t easy to draw water from this well as it was over a hundred feet deep, and Jesus did not bring a rope or bucket.
In today’s Gospel, the dialogue between Jesus and a Samaritan woman is among the most surprising for me. A conversation between a Jewish man and a Samaritan woman rarely, if ever, happened. Jesus, a devoutly observant Jew of that time (DAH!), was expected (almost required by law) to avoid conversations with any woman in public, regardless of their nationality.
On top of the societal norms barring men from talking to women in public, the long-held dislike and hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans should have prevented conversation between the two as well. The woman herself alludes to the break from Jewish tradition:
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (John 4:9)
However, not only does Jesus talk with the woman, He also asks to share her drinking vessel. Touching her cup, or her, is an action that would make Him unclean according to Jewish law. (Samaritans must have had major “Kooties”!)
The history of the Samaritan people is quite interesting. They originated in the period of the conquest of Samaria by the Assyrians in the 8th century B.C., as found in 2 Kings 17:
“The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the Israelites. They took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its cities. When they first settled there, they did not venerate the LORD, so he sent lions among them that killed some of their number. A report reached the king of Assyria: ‘The nations whom you deported and settled in the cities of Samaria do not know how to worship the God of the land, and he has sent lions among them that are killing them, since they do not know how to worship the God of the land.’ The king of Assyria gave the order, ‘Send back one of the priests whom I deported, to go there and settle, to teach them how to worship the God of the land.’ So one of the priests who had been deported from Samaria returned and settled in Bethel, and taught them how to venerate the LORD. But these peoples began to make their own gods in the various cities in which they were living; in the shrines on the high places which the Samarians had made, each people set up gods. Thus the Babylonians made Marduk and his consort; the men of Cuth made Nergal; the men of Hamath made Ashima; the men of Avva made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the men of Sepharvaim immolated their children by fire to their city gods, King Hadad and his consort Anath.” (2 Kings 17:24-31)
Samaritans shared Jewish ancestry, but Samaritans had intermarried with the Jewish inhabitants and “foreigners” during their rule under the Assyrians. Like the Jews, the Samaritans believed that a Messiah would come. However, Samaritan religion not only included the worship of Yahweh, it was also influenced by the worship of other gods.
The Samaritans did integrate rather quickly with the Jewish people of the region in a very limited and somewhat precarious way. After the Babylonian captivity, they tried to ally themselves with the Jewish people for political reasons, and to contribute to the rebuilding of the Temple, but the Jewish people refused. These two groups of people seemed to be always unfriendly, and sometimes hostile towards each other.
The initial dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman is better understood if we recognize the importance of water, especially in an arid climate such as Palestine. First, the Samaritan woman comprehends Jesus’ promise of “living water” in the literal sense, as “flowing” water. There was no flowing water in her area that was easily accessible. The daily trip to the well by the women of the community was of vital importance. Most women normally trekked to the water well in the early morning when the day was much cooler.
Why did this woman come to the well at the hottest time of the day – – noon? A realistic expectation for her late arrival at the well, when all the other women had already gone, is that she is an outcast within her own Samaritan community (She was an adulterer). She, in essence, tells Jesus that she is an outcast because of her “many husbands.”
Water in the arid land of Palestine was extremely scarce. And we all know that water brings about life in its beauty. When the Israelites complained about lack of water in the wilderness, God instructed Moses to “strike the rock” and a stream of fresh living water gushed out:
“I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb. Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.” This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel.” (Exodus17:6).
The image of “living water” is used throughout Holy Scripture as a symbol of God’s wisdom, a wisdom that imparts life and blessing to all who receive it.
“The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life” (Proverbs 13:14).
Jesus offered this woman His “living water”, the water of life: the revelation that Jesus brings. This Samaritan woman thinks Jesus is talking of “flowing” waters instead, which is so much more desirable – – “sweeter” – – than the stagnant cistern water which she had to use every day. The water she used had to be collected the few rains they experienced in the area, and then sat gathering sand, dirt, parasites, trash, and other waist products. However, the “flowing” water this woman considered so supreme and sweet is not anywhere near as supreme and sweet as God’s revelation within us, nor is it as refreshing to the soul.
For me, it is interesting that John’s method of recording such a misunderstanding in what the Samaritan woman understood from the words of Jesus’, reminds me of another verse from earlier in John’s Gospel:
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’” (John 3:3.)
One can’t truly “see”, or understand the kingdom of God – – along with Jesus’ words and actions in His kingdom, – – unless “born again”. The word attached to “born” (again) is a Greek adverb that means both “from above” and “again.” Jesus meant this word to be understood as “from above”, – – as with and in the Holy Spirit – – and not “again”, as being born “twice”. I am sure there are a lot of Protestants saying, HMM right now.
As I said earlier, Samaritans and Israelites did not trust or like each other. (It seems this still is the case between the Palestinians and Jewish people in the Middle East areas still today.)
For the woman to say, “sir” toward Jesus is impressive for me. “Sir” comes from the Greek word “kyrios” meaning “master” or “lord”. The word “sir” is a respectful mode of address for either a human being or a deity, and the Samaritan woman’s meaning is further revealed in verse 19 of today’s reading:
“The woman said to him, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.” (John 4:19).
“Sir” is a word sometimes used in the Septuagint (the Torah) for the Hebrew “adonai”, substituted for the tetragrammaton “YHWH”.
Jesus captures the woman’s attention with His reply to her question about Him being greater than Jacob of the Old Testament. He IS greater than Jacob! Jesus Christ is capable of quenching her thirst – – once and for all! Jesus offers a “drink” of changed through sanctifying grace; a grace that works in each of us through the Holy Spirit. Sanctifying grace allows us the ability to share in God’s own life, and Him in ours, through the presence of the “Advocate” – – the Holy Spirit – – in our individual souls and hearts. What a supreme and great gift to receive from Him, to be in Him, and Him in us!
This Samaritan woman became aware that she was speaking to someone of authority. So, she asks an important question indirectly that affected the religious life of the two groups of people:
“Where was the right place to worship God?”
The Jewish people said “only Jerusalem would do”! The Samaritans believed the shrine on Mount Gerizim was also legitimate, basing their claim on verses from Genesis:
“The LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’ So Abram built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him.” (Genesis 12:7)
“Then God said: ‘Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.’” (Genesis 22:2)
“He set up a memorial stone there and invoked ‘El, the God of Israel.’” (Genesis 33:20)
Jesus not only answers her question, but also confirms the teachings of the prophets, and, further affirms His revealed truth. The Samaritans, not being Israelites (God’s chosen people) are in the dark about many of God’s plans. (They were not “in-the-know”!) The Samaritans do not accept any revelation that is NOT found in the first five books of Holy Scripture – – the Law of Moses – – The Torah. On the other hand, the Jewish people are closer to the truth since they accepted the whole, the entirety, of the Old Testament.
Both, the Samaritans and the Jewish people, needed to open themselves to the new revelation found in, and of Jesus Christ. Both religious communities were awaiting the “Messiah” – – the true dwelling place of God among men. Jesus is the Messiah, the new Temple for both communities:
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.’” (John 2:19)
The mountain in verse 20 of today’s Gospel is believed to be Mount Gerizim. A temple was built on the mountain in the fourth century B.C. by Samaritans. The Old Testament book of Deuteronomy mentions this mountain and the building of a structure:
“When, moreover, you have crossed the Jordan, besides setting up on Mount Ebal these stones concerning which I command you today, and coating them with plaster” (Deuteronomy 27:4).
Mount Ebal in Deuteronomy is the Jewish peoples’ term for Mount Gerizim.
Under King’s David and Solomon, the Temple in Jerusalem was designed, funded, built, and worshipped in. Neither Temples in Gerizim and Jerusalem exist any longer, nor are they needed! As I just said, Jesus is the new Temple of God. By accepting Him in body, blood, soul, and divinity, we are offering to Him worship from the heart; an offering the Holy Spirit of God stirs people to bestow.
Being “in Spirit and truth” (verse 23) is not a reference to an interior and personal worship within one’s own mind and body. The “Spirit” is THE Holy Spirit, given by God to us as a grace, which reveals His truth to us and enables us to worship God in appropriate ways. The evangelist John qualifies this concept and “truth” in two consecutive verses found in the long-form of today’s Gospel reading:
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17).
Due to their different paths in history and religious focus, the Samaritans expected a “prophet” Like Moses to come, and take them on a new “exodus” to paradise, They did not expect a “Messianic” king from the house of David. Their expectations of a new “prophet” stems from their tradition, history, and a particular verse in Deuteronomy:
“A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you from among your own kinsmen; to him you shall listen.” (Deuteronomy 18:15).
This “adulteress and outcast” Samaritan woman becomes a “disciple” of Jesus Christ! Even with her past history as an outcast in her community, and her not being a Jew, as Jesus is, she still gains the courage to return to her town telling others of her revelational discovery in the Jewish Jesus’ words. This Samaritan woman then leads other non-Jew Samaritans to Jesus. Though Jesus does not meet her initial expectation, thinking He is a prophet, she’s now knows she had truly found the “Messiah”. Her belief was so strong and convincing that members of the Samaritan community return with her to meet Jesus personally and many of them come to believe in Him, and follow Him.
The Samaritan woman in today’s story not only comes to acknowledge Jesus Christ being someone of importance, but also acknowledges her sins. She accepts the “true” teaching about worshipping God the Father in “spirit and truth”. Though she shows and demonstrate favorability to Jesus Christ, she still had to grow to recognize Him as the “Messiah”. Seeing this favorability emitting from her, Jesus reveals that He IS the “Messiah” she and her people had been awaiting:
“I am he, the one who is speaking with you.” (John 4:26)
Jesus could not be more direct in verse 26, when He declares, “I am He”! These three simple words is rooted in the well-known Old Testament name of Yahweh – – “I am”. Jesus declares He is the Messiah, AND He evokes the words Yahweh used to reveal Himself to Moses:
“God replied, “I am who am.” Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:14),
These words by Jesus are used to indicate a revelation not only of His being the Messiah, but also of His divinity:
“But he said to them, ‘It is I. Do not be afraid.’” (John 6:20),
“That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins. So Jesus said (to them), When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me.” (John 8:24, 28),
“Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.’” (John 8:58),
“From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.” (John 13:19),
“They answered him, ‘Jesus the Nazorean.’ He said to them, ‘I AM.’ Judas his betrayer was also with them. When he said to them, ‘I AM,’ they turned away and fell to the ground. Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I AM. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.’” (John 18:5-6, 8).
Mark even makes a reference to “I AM” and His divinity in an indirect way:
“They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them, ‘Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!’” (Mark 6:50).
Jesus Christ is displaying and teaching to us “evangelization at work” in His conversation with a lowly Samaritan Woman. She was enthusiastic to His words and eager to learn.
St. Augustine understood Jesus’ role as an Evangelist when he wrote:
“The same thing happens today with those who are outside, who are not Christians: they receive tidings of Christ through Christian friends; like that woman, they learn of Christ through the Church; then they come to Christ, that is, they believe in Christ through this report, and then Jesus stays two days among them and many more believe, and believe firmly, that he indeed is the Saviour of the world” (St. Augustine, In Ioann. Evang., 15, 33).
There are several reasons for the importance of the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. First, the woman changed in heart, mind, and soul. She gained a belief in Jesus Christ as the true “Messiah”. Through Jesus, she came to recognize her sins.
This woman, who was deemed to be so immoral as to be an outcast in her own society, becomes a stout and fervent evangelist to her own people. She went from being a “sinner” to a believer and messenger of God’s word; goes from being a “foreigner” to a loved member of the family!
Finally, the dialogue from the Samaritan people that came to see this “prophet named Jesus” is a foretaste of the type and beauty of the “open” community that will be created among those who believe openly and truly in Jesus Christ as the “Messiah”.
The Samaritan woman gained a gift – – a grace – – based on faith. Faith comes from the Holy Spirit indwelling in each of us, and acting in and through each of us, individually. I came across a nice little comment about faith that I would like to share:
“Faith comes to us as a grace, a gift from the Holy Spirit. We do not earn faith or create it out of our own efforts and talents. The Holy Spirit plants an attraction to God in our hearts as well as the faith we need to come to God. It is a strong yet gentle impulse that honors our freedom and fills us with gratitude.” (Alfred McBride, Truth for Your Mind, Love for Your Heart, Our Sunday Visitor)
In Summary, why do we have this reading at this time of the year? Our Lenten season is one of repentance. It is a season during which we are called to reflect upon, and to live acutely and respectfully, the promises of Baptism. The water well, and all the talk about water in today’s Gospel reading, should immediately call to mind in us the Sacrament of Baptism. As the Samaritan woman was changed in heart, mind, and soul, – – “converted,” – – and then sent on a mission to her community as an evangelist, we too are converted and sent by our Baptism to preach the good news of Jesus Christ to others on a daily basis.
The Catholic Church’s Magisterium teaches that we become true worshipers of God through Baptism:
“By baptism men are plunged into the paschal mystery of Christ: they die with Him, are buried with Him, and rise with Him; they receive the spirit of adoption as sons ‘in which we cry: Abba, Father’ (Romans 8 :15), and thus become true adorers whom the Father seeks.” (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 6)
Do you thirst for God and for the life of the Holy Spirit within you? Reflect upon the importance of Baptism to you. How is Jesus’ discourse with the woman at the well like Baptism? (Hint: Jesus knows the woman’s sin and forgives her. The woman comes to know Jesus as the Messiah. And, the woman invites others to meet Jesus.)
Jesus broke through the obstacles, impediments, and walls of prejudice, hatred, aggression, and conviction to bring peace, love, and reconciliation to all people – – Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles – – alike. He demonstrated the universality (Kathlicos – Catholic) of the Gospel in word AND deed. No one is barred from the love of God and His grace of salvation. There is only one thing that can keep us from God and His redeeming love – – OURSELVES, by turning away from Him.
“Sing joyfully in the presence of the Lord.”
“Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD; cry out to the rock of our salvation.
Let us greet him with a song of praise, joyfully sing out our psalms.
Enter, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For this is our God, whose people we are, God’s well-tended flock. Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the desert.
There your ancestors tested me; they tried me though they had seen my works. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day: Blessed Francis Faà di Bruno (1825-1888)
Francis, the last of 12 children, was born in northern Italy into an aristocratic family. He lived at a particularly turbulent time in history, when anti-Catholic and anti-papal sentiments were especially strong.
After being trained as a military officer, Francis was spotted by King Victor Emmanuel II, who was impressed with the young man’s character and learning. Invited by the king to tutor his two young sons, Francis agreed and prepared himself with additional studies. But with the role of the Church in education being a sticking point for many, the king was forced to withdraw his offer to the openly Catholic Francis and, instead, find a tutor more suitable to the secular state.
Francis soon left army life behind and pursued doctoral studies in Paris in mathematics and astronomy; he also showed a special interest in religion and asceticism. Despite his commitment to the scholarly life, Francis put much of his energy into charitable activities. He founded the Society of St. Zita for maids and domestic servants, later expanding it to include unmarried mothers, among others. He helped establish hostels for the elderly and poor. He even oversaw the construction of a church in Turin that was dedicated to the memory of Italian soldiers who had lost their lives in the struggle over the unification of Italy.
Wishing to broaden and deepen his commitment to the poor, Francis, then well into adulthood, studied for the priesthood. But first he had to obtain the support of Pope Pius IX to counteract the opposition to his own archbishop’s difficulty with late vocations. Francis was ordained at the age of 51.
As a priest, he continued his good works, sharing his inheritance as well as his energy. He established yet another hostel, this time for prostitutes. He died in Turin on March 27, 1888, and was beatified 100 years later.
It wasn’t Francis’ lack of scholarly ability or deep-down goodness that almost kept him from the priesthood, but his bishop’s distrust of “late vocations.” Until the later part of the 20th century, most candidates for the priesthood entered the seminary right out of grade school. Today no bishop would refuse a middle-aged applicant—especially someone whose care for people in need is constant. Francis is a holy reminder that God’s call to reassess our life’s direction can reach us at any age.
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)
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.
There is only one change in the “Holy, Holy”. Where we now say, “God of power and might,” with the new liturgical text we will say:
“God of hosts”.
While this may make many people think of round Communion wafers, the meaning here is “armies,” and it refers to the armies of angels who serve God.
Material from “Changing How We Pray”, by Rev. Lawrence E. Mick
Franciscan Formation Reflection:
What kind of nourishment do you seek when you receive Jesus Christ in the Eucharist?
How do you use “Communion” to renew your pledge to sacrifice for the Body of Christ?
How do you use “Communion” to renew your pledge to accept the Body of Christ, with all her limitations and weaknesses?
While we speak of receiving the Consecrated Bread and Wine, do we include adoration of the Divinity in our prayers at Communion?
In what way(s) is the Eucharist for healing?
Prologue to the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule:
Exhortation of Saint Francis to the Brothers and Sisters in Penance
In the name of the Lord!
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).