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Arch Bishop Ralph Vendegna S.O.S.M.A.

Spiritual Reading

  • Wednesday 1 July 2020

    Wednesday of week 13 in Ordinary Time 
    or Saint Junipero Serra 

    Spiritual Reading

    Your Second Reading from the Office of Readings:

    Wednesday of week 13 in Ordinary Time

    "The Way of Perfection" of St Teresa of Ávila
    Thy kingdom come

    What person, however careless, who had to address someone of importance, would not spend time in thinking how to approach him so as to please him and not be considered tedious? He would also think what he was going to ask for and what use he would make of it, especially if his petition were for some particular thing, as our good Jesus tells us our petitions must be. This point seems to me very important. Could you not, my Lord, have ended this prayer in a single sentence, by saying: “Give us, Father, whatever is good for us”? For, in addressing One Who knows everything, there would seem to be no need to say any more.
    Eternal Wisdom! Between you and your Father this was quite sufficient. This is how you made your request of him in the garden of Gethsemane. You showed him what you wished for and what you feared, but left it all in his hands. But you know us, my Lord, and you know that we have not given ourselves up to the will of your Father as completely as you did. For us, it is best to pray for specific things, so that as each of them comes to mind we can pause to consider whether it is something good that we are asking for; so that if it is not, we should refrain from asking for it. Otherwise (being what we are, free will and all) we will not accept what God chooses to give us even if it is far better than what we asked for, simply because it is not exactly what we asked for. We are the sort of people who cannot feel rich unless we feel the weight of the actual coins in our hand.
    Now the good Jesus bids us say these words, in which we pray that the Kingdom may come in us: Hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come. See how great our Master’s wisdom is! I am thinking of what it is we are asking for when we ask for the Kingdom: it is important that we should understand this. His Majesty saw that because of our weakness we could not hallow or praise or magnify or glorify the holy name of the Eternal Father in a way adequate to its greatness. We could not, that is, do it by ourselves, if His Majesty did not help us by giving us his kingdom here on earth. And so the good Jesus places these two petitions – Hallowed be thy name and Thy kingdom come next to each other, so that we can understand what we are asking for and why it is important to beg for it and to do all we can to please the one who is able to give it to us. Let me explain how I understand it.
    Now, then. The greatest joy in the kingdom of heaven (the greatest among many) seems to me to be that we will no longer be tied up with earthly concerns but will have rest and glory within us – rejoicing that gives joy to everyone, peace that lasts for ever – satisfaction in ourselves, a satisfaction that comes from seeing how everyone is praising the Lord and blessing and hallowing his name, while no-one offends him. Everyone loves him. Each soul has no wish other than to love him: it cannot stop loving him because it knows him truly.
    If only we knew him like that even here on earth, we would love him in the same way – not with that degree of perfection, of course, but in a very different way from the way we love him now.


    In other parts of the world and other calendars:

    Saint Oliver Plunket, Bishop, Martyr

    A letter of St Oliver Plunkett
    We shall have martyrs' blood to irrigate and fertilise the Church

    The kindness and charity of your lordship are such that you have been pleased to express appreciation of my poor service in cultivating the vineyard of the Lord in this afflicted country and in corresponding with the Holy See, venerated and loved by me with a spiritual affection and reverence, as also with an earthly affection because as a good mother it nourished me for many years in Rome while I lectured there, as well as with other honours too great for my weakness to bear. God knows that I think of nothing else, day and night, than the service of souls, which is the service desired of me by the Sacred Congregation and the Holy See. Political or temporal matters have no part in my life: neither in my mind nor on my lips nor with my pen are they given any place. God knows how I laboured last year, 1670, in visiting six large dioceses, in holding a provincial council and various diocesan synods, and how I laboured this present year in the dioceses of Clogher, Down and Dromore, as well as my own.
    We are in greater fear and trembling here now. In Scotland parliament has decreed that for the future it will be a lèse-majesty to hear Mass. It seems as if the times of Nero, Domitian and Diocletian have come round again. We shall have martyrs’ blood to irrigate and fertilise the Church. These edicts do not at present include Ireland, because it is not named by the King in them, but I am sure that, as usual, we shall not be forgotten.
    Sentence of death was passed against me on the fifteenth. It has not caused me the least terror or deprived me of even a quarter of an hour’s sleep. I am as innocent of all treason as the child born yesterday. As for my character, profession and function, I did own it publicly, and that being also a motive of my death, I die most willingly. And being the first among the Irish, I shall, with God’s grace, give good example to the others not to fear death. I expect daily to be brought to the place of execution where my bowels are to be cut out and burned before my face, and then my head to be cut off. What speech I will have at my death will be sent to you. If I had obtained sufficient time to have brought my witnesses from Ireland, I think I should have defended myself as regards these romances of treason; but it was not granted to me, and I was brought to my trial destitute of all legal ways of defence.

    Copyright © 1996-2020 Universalis Publishing Limited: see www.universalis.com. Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible are published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. Text of the Psalms: Copyright © 1963, The Grail (England). Used with permission of A.P. Watt Ltd. All rights reserved.