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

Spiritual Reading

  • Sunday 8 May 2022

    4th Sunday of Easter 

    Spiritual Reading

    Your Second Reading from the Office of Readings:

    4th Sunday of Easter

    From a homily on the Gospels by Saint Gregory the Great, pope
    Christ the Good Shepherd

    I am the good shepherd. I know my own – by which I mean, I love them – and my own know me. In plain words: those who love me are willing to follow me, for anyone who does not love the truth has not yet come to know it.
    My dear brethren, you have heard the test we pastors have to undergo. Turn now to consider how these words of our Lord imply a test for yourselves also. Ask yourselves whether you belong to his flock, whether you know him, whether the light of his truth shines in your minds. I assure you that it is not by faith that you will come to know him, but by love; not by mere conviction, but by action. John the evangelist is my authority for this statement. He tells us that anyone who claims to know God without keeping his commandments is a liar.
    Consequently, the Lord immediately adds: As the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. Clearly he means that laying down his life for his sheep gives evidence of his knowledge of the Father and the Father’s knowledge of him. In other words, by the love with which he dies for his sheep he shows how greatly he loves his Father.
    Again he says: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them; they follow me, and I give them eternal life. Shortly before this he had declared: If anyone enters the sheepfold through me he shall be saved; he shall go freely in and out and shall find good pasture. He will enter into a life of faith; from faith he will go out to vision, from belief to contemplation, and will graze in the good pastures of everlasting life.
    So our Lord’s sheep will finally reach their grazing ground where all who follow him in simplicity of heart will feed on the green pastures of eternity. These pastures are the spiritual joys of heaven. There the elect look upon the face of God with unclouded vision and feast at the banquet of life for ever more.
    Beloved brothers, let us set out for these pastures where we shall keep joyful festival with so many of our fellow citizens. May the thought of their happiness urge us on! Let us stir up our hearts, rekindle our faith, and long eagerly for what heaven has in store for us. To love thus is to be already on our way. No matter what obstacles we encounter, we must not allow them to turn us aside from the joy of that heavenly feast. Anyone who is determined to reach his destination is not deterred by the roughness of the road that leads to it. Nor must we allow the charm of success to seduce us, or we shall be like a foolish traveller who is so distracted by the pleasant meadows through which he is passing that he forgets where he is going.


    In other parts of the world and other calendars:

    Blessed Aloysius Rabatà, Priest

    From the Canonical Process of Beatification of Aloysius Rabatà, priest
    Pray for those that persecute you

    I knew Brother Aloysius well and often conversed intimately with him when he was a member of the Carmelite community of Saint Michael in the town of Randazzo, where he was prior. He was a model of all virtues. He lived frugally on bread and water, and led the life of a real saint and exemplary religious. He shunned superfluous contacts and gave himself to honest work. Because of his virtuous life he came to be hated, and was persecuted by his fellow religious. These vexations and trials he bore with singular patience and he devoted himself unceasingly to his spiritual growth and to the good of the community. The austerity of his life showed in his emaciated appearance, his sunken eyes and his pallid features, through which, nonetheless, his goodness shone out. To visitors he appeared as a model of all that was good. One in particular who often came to see him has testified that he was so profoundly moved by his example and holy conversation as to dissolve in tears.
    Though he was prior, Brother Aloysius shared in every task, even the humblest, being willing to go from door to door in Randazzo begging bread, grain or other such gifts to support the community and to help others in need. While he was on his begging rounds, other poor people would in turn ask alms from him, knowing they would never be refused.
    Once, on Easter Sunday the community had meat for dinner, but he declined it, preferring his usual bread and water – I was told this by Brother Peter Cupani, a companion of Aloysius. He also recounted that once when Aloysius was collecting twigs and branches for firewood in the nearby fields and roadways, he was wounded in the forehead and suffered for a long time in consequence. Many people tried to find out from him who had dealt the blow, but he would never reveal it and always repeated with great patience, ‘I pray that God will pardon him, and will be glorified by what has happened.’
    The street that led to the monastery of Saint Michael was dangerous and had a bad reputation. To put an end to those scandals and shameful deeds, Brother Aloysius managed to secure a nearby piece of land, thereby opening up a good wide street. Though others aided in the project, he with his own hands worked as hard as any. Whenever he needed anything for his monastery, all were willing to aid him, for they recalled his kindness and hospitality towards everyone.
    After his death his body was enclosed in a casket and placed behind a grille under the altar of the church. Here many came with great piety and devotion to pray to him, especially those who were suffering from quartan fever, many of whom were cured. Quite a number of such cures were reported at the time, and the reports continue till the present day.

    Copyright © 1996-2022 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.