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

Spiritual Reading

  • Tuesday 8 June 2021

    Tuesday of week 10 in Ordinary Time 

    Spiritual Reading

    Your Second Reading from the Office of Readings:

    Tuesday of week 10 in Ordinary Time

    From St Ignatius of Antioch's letter to the Romans
    My bodily desires have been crucified

    All the kingdoms of this world are worth nothing to me. It is better for me to die in Christ Jesus than to be king over the ends of the earth. I seek him who died for our sake, I desire him who rose for us.
    The pains of birth are upon me. Be understanding, my brethren: do not hinder me from coming to life, do not wish me to die. I desire to belong to God: do not give me to the world, do not try to deceive me with material things. Allow me to receive the pure light: when I have reached it I shall become a man. Allow me to follow the example of the Passion of my God. If there is any man who has God within himself, let him understand what I wish, and let him sympathize with me, knowing the things which constrain me.
    The Prince of this world wishes to tear me in pieces and twist my mind away from God. Let none of you who are present help him, but be on my side: that is, on God’s. Do not speak of Jesus Christ but still desire the world. Let no envy dwell among you.
    Perhaps when I arrive I will ask you to save my life. Ignore what I say then, but give me what I am writing to ask you now. In the midst of life I write to you desiring death. My bodily desires have been crucified, and there is in me no fire of love for material things. Within me there is no fire, but only water living and speaking in me, and saying to me from within, “Come to the Father.” I have no pleasure in the food of corruption or in the delights of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David, and for drink I desire his blood, which is incorruptible love.
    I want no more of what men call life. And I can receive what I want, if that is your desire. Desire it, so that you also may be desired. I beg you by this short letter; believe me. And Jesus Christ shall make this plain to you, that I am speaking the truth. He is the mouth which cannot lie, by which the Father has spoken truly. Pray for me that I may attain my goal. I am writing to you not according to the flesh, but according to the mind of God. If I am given suffering, it will be proof of your goodwill; if it is denied to me, that will be a proof of your disfavour.
    Remember in your prayers the Church in Syria. God has now taken my place as its shepherd. Its bishop shall be Jesus Christ — Jesus Christ and your love. For myself I am ashamed to be called a member of that church, for I am not worthy. I am the least of them, a foetus born before its time. Yet, if I succeed in reaching God, then I shall have received true mercy, and I shall have become a human being.
    My spirit greets you, and the love of the Churches which have received me in the name of Jesus Christ, not as a mere passer by. Even those which did not lie on my path (as the world measures it) have escorted me from one city to the next.


    In other parts of the world and other calendars:

    Saint William of York, Bishop

    Address of Pope John Paul I to the Clergy of Rome
    On priestly discipline

    To a certain degree all priests are guides and pastors; but have they all the right idea of what it really means to be a pastor of a particular Church, that is a Bishop? On the one hand Jesus, the supreme Pastor, said of himself: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”. And on the other hand he added: “I came to serve”, and he washed his Apostles’ feet. In him, therefore, power and authority went together.
    Something similar should be said of the Apostles and Bishops. We Bishops preside, if we serve; our presidency is just if it consists of service or takes place for the purpose of service, with the spirit and style of service. This Episcopal service would be lacking, however, if the Bishop did not wish to exercise the powers received. Augustine said: “The Bishop who does not serve the public (by preaching, guiding) is only a scarecrow put in the vineyards so that the birds will not peck the grapes.” For this reason it is written in Lumen Gentium: “Bishops govern… by their counsel, exhortations and example, as well, indeed, as by their authority and sacred power.”
    Another element of priestly discipline is love of one’s own job. It is not easy, I know, to love one’s job and stick to it when things are not going right, when one has the impression that one is not understood or encouraged, when inevitable comparisons with the job given to others would drive us to become sad and discouraged. But are we not working for the Lord? Ascetical theology teaches: do not look at whom you obey but for whom you obey. Reflection helps too. I have been a bishop for twenty years. On several occasions I suffered because I was unable to reward someone who really deserved it; but either the prize position was lacking or I did not know how to replace the person, or adverse circumstances occurred. Then too, St Francis de Sales wrote: “There is no vocation that does not have its troubles, its vexations, its disgust. Apart from those who are fully resigned to God’s will, each of us would like to change his own condition with that of others. Those who are bishops wish they were not; those who are married wish they were not; and those who are not married wish that they were. Where does this general restlessness of spirits come from, if not from a certain allergy that we have towards constraint and from a spirit that is not good, which makes us suppose that others are better off than we are?”
    I have spoken simply and I apologise for it. I can assure you, however, that since I have become your Bishop I love you a great deal.

    Copyright © 1996-2021 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.