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

Spiritual Reading

  • Saturday 9 July 2022

    Saturday of week 14 in Ordinary Time 
    or Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and his Companions, Martyrs 

    Spiritual Reading

    Your Second Reading from the Office of Readings:

    Saturday of week 14 in Ordinary Time

    From a discourse of St Augustine on Psalm 126
    The true Solomon is our Lord Jesus Christ

    Because Solomon had built a temple to the Lord – a prototype and an image of the future Church, the Lord’s body, which is why the Gospel says Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up – because the Solomon of history had built that temple, our Lord Jesus Christ, the true Solomon, built a temple for himself. The name ‘Solomon’ means ‘Bringer of Peace’, and our Lord, the true Solomon, is the true bringer of peace, which is why the Apostle says He is our peace, who has made both into one. He is the true bringer of peace, who has taken two walls coming from different directions and joined them through himself, becoming the cornerstone that unites them: the believers who come from the people of the circumcision and the believers who come from the uncircumcised. He has made one Church from the two peoples, he has become their cornerstone and their peacemaker.
    So because the historical Solomon, son of David and Bathsheba, king of Israel, was prefiguring this peacemaker when he built the Temple, Scripture takes care that you should not think that he himself was the peacemaker. Scripture shows you another Solomon, by beginning a psalm with the words, Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain. So the Lord builds the house, the Lord Jesus Christ builds a house for himself. Many labour to build it, but if he is not the architect, in vain have its builders laboured.
    Who are they who work at building it? They are everyone in the Church who preaches the word of God or administers the sacraments of God. We all rush around, we all labour, we all build; and before us, others rushed, laboured, built; but unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain. For this reason, when they saw some of the people fall, the Apostles, and Paul himself, said: You and your special days and months and seasons and years! You make me feel I have wasted my time with you. Because he knew that he had been built up by the Lord from within, he wept over these others because he had worked among them to no avail.
    We speak in public, but he builds inside. How well do you listen? We can tell. What do you think of it? He alone knows, who sees your thoughts. It is he who builds, he who gives advice, he who instils fear, he who opens the understanding, he who directs your perceptions and leads you to faith; and yet we too work, as labourers in the harvest.


    Other choices for today:

    Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and his Companions, Martyrs

    From the homily of Pope John Paul II at the canonization of the Chinese martyrs
    The blood of the martyrs gives witness to Christian faith

    “Your word is truth; sanctify us in your love”. This invocation, an echo of Christ’s prayer to the Father after the Last Supper, seems to rise from the host of saints and Blesseds whom the Spirit of God continues to raise up in his Church from generation to generation. Today, 2,000 years since the beginning of Redemption, we make these words our own, while we have before us as models of holiness Augustine Zhao Rong and his 119 companions, martyrs in China. God the Father “sanctified them in his love”, granting the request of the Son, who “opened his arms on the Cross, put an end to death and revealed the resurrection, in order to win for the Father a holy people”.
    The Church is grateful to her Lord, who blesses her and bathes her in light with the radiant holiness of these sons and daughters of China. Young Ann Wang, a 14-year-old girl, withstood the threats of the torturers who invited her to apostatise. Ready for her beheading, she declared with a radiant face: “The door of heaven is open to all”, three times murmuring: “Jesus”. And 18-year-old Xi Guizi, cried out fearlessly to those who had just cut off his right arm and were preparing to flay him alive: “Every piece of my flesh, every drop of my blood will tell you that I am Christian”.
    The other 85 Chinese men and women of every age and state, priests, religious and lay people, showed the same conviction and joy, sealing their unfailing fidelity to Christ and the Church with the gift of their lives. This occurred over the course of several centuries and in a complex and difficult era of the history of the Church in China.
    Resplendent in this host of martyrs are also the 33 missionaries who left their land and sought to immerse themselves in the Chinese world, lovingly assimilating its features in the desire to proclaim Christ and to serve those people. Their tombs are there as if to signify their definitive belonging to China, which they deeply loved, although with their human limitations, and for which they spent all their energies. “We never wronged anyone”, Bishop Francis Fogolla replied to the governor who was preparing to strike him with his sword. “On the contrary, we have done good to many”.


    In other parts of the world and other calendars:

    Blessed Jane Scopelli, Virgin

    From 'De vita Mariae-formi et Mariana' by Michael of St Augustine
    Mystical life with Mary

    We have shown previously how the deiform and divine life, life in God, is to be practised. Here we shall show how the mariform and marian life is to be practised.
    In order to live in God, we must, in all our actions, omissions, and sufferings, perform the will of God. We must accept with a loving and reverent attitude of soul whatever trials may come to us whether they be corporal or spiritual, whether they arise from within ourselves or come from without, whether they are inflicted by our fellow men or by the demon himself. And we must keep our soul turned towards God, in contact with the Divine Essence as with the very air we breathe. Thus did our Saviour allow his works to be performed by his Father abiding within him, and thus did he labour and live with his soul lovingly and reverently inclined towards his heavenly Father.
    Likewise can we live in Mary, our Mother, most worthy of all love. We can live in Mary if we will strive, in all our deeds and omissions, in our penances and trials and afflictions, to preserve and promote within ourselves a filial, tender inclination of soul towards Mary also – if we will strive always to aspire towards Mary as towards our most loving and most beloved Mother in God. Our love will then flow, as it were, from God to Mary and from Mary back to God.
    It would seem that sometimes the Spirit of God causes such life in a soul through a superior gift of love. This gift brings about a superabundance or overflow of divine love which is then directed towards Mary, only to return again from her to God.
    “Because you are sons of God, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father,” writes Saint Paul. From this we learn that the Spirit of Jesus abides in the children of God, producing in them, according to their capacity, a tender love for God the Father. But just as this Spirit produced in Jesus a filial love for his Eternal Father, so it also produced in him a filial affection for his most dear Mother, and this it will continue to do for all eternity. Is it any wonder, therefore, if the Spirit of Jesus which, in the hearts of the children of God cries Abba, Father (that is, produces love for the Father of Jesus), also cries from those same hearts Ave, Mater (that is, produces filial and reverential love and affection for Mary), even as happened in Jesus himself during his lifetime and happens now in heaven?
    Therefore, to souls in love with Mary these words might well be addressed: “Because you are the sons and daughters of Mary, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, there to cry out: Ave, Mater” – that is, there to produce filial, tender love for Mary as a most dear and worthy Mother. For it is one and the same Spirit of Jesus which produces all in these souls; namely, both divine and marian love, without hindering either. Only think how this took place in Christ without prejudice to the highest perfection, and you will realise how it can take place in certain of Mary’s chosen children without prejudice to the contemplative life of perfection.
    This all seems to be understandable enough. For what wonder is there if the Spirit of Christ, where it lives and dwells, has diverse operations: contemplation and love of God and contemplation and love of Mary, and so on? One and the same Spirit of Jesus, as we have said, accomplishes all this in the faithful soul, according to the capacity of each one and the desire of the Spirit.

    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.