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

Spiritual Reading

  • Wednesday 12 August 2020

    Wednesday of week 19 in Ordinary Time 
    or Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious 

    Spiritual Reading

    Your Second Reading from the Office of Readings:

    Wednesday of week 19 in Ordinary Time

    From a discourse on the psalms by Saint Augustine, bishop
    Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord

    As we have heard, so also have we seen. Truly blessed Church! You have both heard and seen. You have heard the promises, and you see their fulfilment; you have heard in prophecy, and you see in the Gospel. Yes, all that has now been brought to completion was prophesied in times past. Raise up your eyes, then, and cast your gaze around the world. See God’s people, your heritage, spread to the ends of the earth. See the Scripture now fulfilled: All the kings of the earth will adore him, all the nations will serve him. See fulfilled what has been said: Be exalted above the heavens, O God, and your glory above all the earth. See him whose hands and feet were pierced by nails, whose bones were numbered as they hung upon the wood, and for whose garments they cast lots. See him reigning, whom they saw hanging upon the cross; see him enthroned in heaven, whom they despised when he walked on the earth. See the word fulfilled: All the ends of the earth shall turn to the Lord, and all nations shall worship in his sight. See all this and shout with joy: As we have heard, so also have we seen.
    Deservedly then the Church is itself called from among the Gentiles: Hear, O daughter, and see, and forget your people and your father’s house. Hear and see. First you hear what you do not see; later you will see what you have heard. For he says: A people I did not know served me, as soon as they heard me they obeyed. If they obeyed as soon as they heard, it follows that they did not see. What then of the passage: Those who were not told of him will see, and they who have not heard will understand? Those to whom the prophets were not sent were the first to hear and understand the prophets, whereas those who at first did not hear them were astonished when they heard them later. Those to whom the prophets were sent remained behind, possessing the books of Scripture but not understanding the truth, possessing the tables of the law but not keeping their inheritance. As we have heard, so also have we seen also applies to us.
    In the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God, that is where we have heard; there too we have seen. God has made this city firm for ever. No one should say boastfully: See, here is Christ; see, he is there. Such a claim only leads to factions. But God has promised unity. The kings were gathered together in unity, not scattered through schisms. Yet perhaps that city which had gained possession of the world will at some time be overthrown? No, God has made it firm for ever. If God has made its foundation firm for ever, how can you fear that this foundation may collapse?


    Other choices for today:

    Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious

    From the memoirs of the secretary of St Jane Frances de Chantal
    The martyrdom of love

    One day Saint Jane said this: ‘My dear daughters, most of our holy Fathers, the pillars of the Church, were not martyrs. Why was this, do you think?’
    After each one of us had had her say, she went on: I think it is because there is such a thing as a martyrdom of love: God keeps his servants alive to work for his glory, and this makes them martyrs and confessors at the same time. I know this is the sort of martyrdom the daughters of the Visitation will suffer, that is, those of them who are fortunate enough to set their hearts on it.’
    A sister wanted to know just how this martyrdom worked out in practice.
    ‘Give God your unconditional consent,’ she said, ‘and then you will find out. What happens is that love seeks out the most intimate and secret place of your soul, as with a sharp sword, and cuts you off even from your own self. I know of a soul cut off in this way so that she felt it more keenly than if a tyrant had cleaved her body from her soul.’
    We knew, of course, that she was speaking about herself. A sister wanted to know how long this martyrdom was likely to last.
    ‘From the moment we give ourselves up wholeheartedly to God until the moment we die,’ she answered. ‘But this goes for generous hearts and people who keep faith with love and don’t take back their offering; our Lord doesn’t take the trouble to make martyrs of feeble hearts and people who have little love and not much constancy; he just lets them jog along in their own little way in case they give up and slip from his hands altogether; he never forces our free will.’
    She was asked whether this martyrdom of love could ever be as bad as the physical kind.
    ‘We won’t try to compare the two and look for equality; but I do not think the martyrdom of love is less painful than the other, because “love is strong as death”, and martyrs of love suffer infinitely more by staying alive to do God’s will than if they had to give up a thousand lives for their faith and love and loyalty.’


    In other parts of the world and other calendars:

    Blessed Isidore Bakanja, Martyr

    Homily of Pope John Paul II for the beatification of Isidore Bakanja
    Witness to the Faith, crowned by martyrdom

    You were a man of heroic faith, Isidore Bakanja, a young layman of Zaire. As one of the baptised, called to spread the Good News, you learned to share your faith and testified to Christ with such conviction that you seemed to your companions to be a catechist. Yes, Blessed Isidore, truly faithful to your baptismal promises, you were indeed a catechist; you laboured generously for the Church in Africa and her mission of evangelisation.
    On this day when we proclaim your merits, we would like to pay homage to all catechists who work to build up the Church on the African continent. Catechists are the indispensable co-workers of priests among their people, and their work prepares, accompanies and completes that of the priests. In numerous periods of history they have enabled the faith to survive persecution. They were true shepherds who knew their sheep and whose sheep knew them. When it was necessary, they defended the flock at the cost of their own lives. Catechists are fully aware that many of their brothers and sisters are not yet members of the fold and are waiting to hear from their fraternal concern the proclamation of the Good News. In all they do, catechists give genuine witness to Christ, the one Shepherd.
    Isidore, your sharing in the Paschal mystery of Christ, in that supreme work of His love, was total. Because you chose to remain loyal at all costs to the faith of your baptism, you suffered scourging like your Master. Like your Master on the Cross you forgave your persecutors; and you showed yourself to be a builder of peace and reconciliation.
    In an Africa sorely tried by ethnic strife, your shining example is an encouragement to harmony and reconciliation among the children of the same heavenly Father. You practised brotherly love toward all, without distinction of race or social condition; you won the esteem and respect of your companions, many of whom were not Christians. Thus you show us the path of dialogue so necessary among all people.
    You invite us, after your example, to accept the gift of his own Mother that Jesus made to us on the Cross. Clad in “Mary’s habit”, you advanced, like her and with her, on your pilgrimage of faith; like Jesus, the Good Shepherd, you gave your life for the flock. Help us, who must take the same path, to raise our eyes to Mary and to take her as our guide.

    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.