Today is the optional memorial for the “Lady of Fatima;” and only 10 days left of Easter, and till the “birth” of the Church: Pentecost. Most Catholics will celebrate the Feast of the Ascension at mass on Sunday.
Today is the “Feast of the Ascension:”
The Feast of the Ascension commemorates Jesus’ ascension into heaven 40 days after his resurrection. Thus Ascension Day falls 40 days after Easter, on the 6th Thursday of Easter. In some parts of the world, the solemnity is celebrated on the Sunday after the traditional date.
Forty Days after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Acts of the Apostles records Jesus’ ascension into heaven. The ascension is an important Christian feast attesting and celebrating the reality of the God-Man Jesus Christ’s returning to the Father, to return again in the future parousia. The Ascension is the final component of the paschal mystery, which consists also of Jesus’ Passion, Crucifixion, Death, Burial, Descent Among the Dead, and Resurrection. Along with the resurrection, the ascension functioned as a proof of Jesus’ claim that he was the Messiah. The Ascension is also the event whereby humanity was taken into heaven. Finally, the ascension was also the “final blow” so-to-speak against Satan’s power, and thus the lion (Jesus) conquering the dragon (Satan) is a symbol of the ascension. Early Christian art and iconography portrayed the ascension frequently, showing its importance to the early Church.
Today in Catholic History:
† 1024 –Birth of Hugh of Cluny, French saint (d. 1109)
† 1497 – Pope Alexander VI excommunicates Girolamo Savonarola.
† 1655 – Birth of Pope Innocent XIII (d. 1724)
† 1704 – Death of Louis Bourdaloue, French Jesuit preacher (b. 1632)
† 1792 – Birth of Pope Pius IX (d. 1878)
† 1917 – The Nuncio Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, is consecrated Archbishop by Pope Benedict XV.
† Memorials or Feasts in the Catholic Church: Our Lady of Fatima, Abban the Hermit, Saint Servatus, Saint Robert Bellarmine, Saint Gerald of Villamagna, Saint John the Silent
Quote or Joke of the Day:
“In his search-and-rescue mission, St. Francis saw countless conversions, not as a result of his own clever preaching, but because of the power and mercy of God. What God needed was someone to take His message to the people, and St. Francis recognized that he was merely the messenger.” — Patrick Madrid Search and Rescue, Sophia Institute Press
Today’s reflection: What charism of St. Francis speaks the loudest to your spirit?
I suppose I need to define what charism is. From Wikipedia:
“A charism (plural: charismata) in Greek means ‘gift of grace’. Mentioned in Rom 12:6, it is a power whose source is the Holy Spirit. The nature of charism is spiritual ability, endowment and power; and the purpose of charism is service or ministry. Charism is believed to be a freely given gift by the grace of God.
These gifts are given mainly to build the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:8). Some of these gifts are called Isaiahan gifts: wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, fear of the Lord, and piety. The charismatic gifts are revelational gifts (word of wisdom and knowledge, discernment of spirits), sign gifts or power gifts (faith wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude), and word gifts (prophecy, tongues, teaching and preaching).”
From a Franciscan viewpoint, charism for me is taking an active role in the mission of the Catholic Church: to make Christ present in the world. All Franciscans (laity, religious, and priests) join our Seraphic Father, St. Francis, in the common effort to aid and support the aforementioned life and mission of the Church. I wish to walk in the footsteps of my Orders founder: St. Francis of Assisi.
Charism can be also defined as a particular way in which people respond to God’s call. “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.” Secular Franciscans mission and charism is to “go from gospel to life and life to gospel.”
What does “from gospel to life and life to gospel” mean? When I first heard this frequently used phrase of all the Franciscan families (1st, 2nd, and 3rd Orders), I believed it was just a simple statement of fact. Upon reflecting on this phrase, I discovered its complexity. Living this dynamic phrase includes many aspects: spirituality, community, apostolic ministries, and a simple life style.
As a secular in the Franciscan family, I share my life as a person living in the world, but not of the world. No, I haven’t gone over the edge, or lost some marbles; and there are no new holes in my head (Now my wife may disagree with this statement). Basically, I have given over my personhood to God to do with as He wishes. I have chosen to take seriously the common Christian belief that we are temples of God; allowing the Holy Spirit to dwell in me, and work through me. I live the famous prayer associated to St. Francis that embodies the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi’s simplicity and poverty: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. (Prayer is printed below.)
Rule number one of the Secular Franciscan order, in part states, “The Franciscan Family, as one among many spiritual families raised up by the Holy Spirit in the Church, unites all members of the people of God—laity, religious, and priests-who recognize that they are called to follow Christ in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi.” I, in union with all other Franciscans of the various Orders, have a common charism: to share the Good News of Our Lord with His, yours, and my brothers, sisters, neighbors, and community.
The following prayer has a lot to say, and a lot to absorb. This prayer is not just for Franciscans. If all people observed even just a small part of these charisms, the world would be a much better place. Please read it slowly; one part at a time, then stop and reflect, before continuing with this most beautiful prayer.
“ Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred,
Let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, Joy.
O Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled
As to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Catholic Saint of the Day: St. John the Silent
Bishop of Colonia in Palestine and a hermit. Born in Nicopolis, Armenia, he established a monastery at the age of eighteen. Appointed a bishop at the age of twenty-eight, he spent nine years in his office before retiring to Jerusalem to embrace the eremitical life. Through a vision, he found his way to the monastery, or laura, of St. Sabas, asking to be walled up and living for seventy-five years as a silent recluse. His Feast Day is May 13th.
(From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #13:
As the Father sees in every person the features of his Son, the firstborn of many brothers and sisters, so the Secular Franciscans with a gentle and courteous spirit accept all people as a gift of the Lord and an image of Christ.
A sense of community will make them joyful and ready to place themselves on an equal basis with all people, especially with the lowly for whom they shall strive to create conditions of life worthy of people redeemed by Christ.