June 21, 2016

Aloysius Gonzaga

June 21, 2016:  St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious

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Pope Francis Amoris Laetitia capsule
Today's many situations pose new challenges that they pose.  Families face problems rearing children:  parents come home exhausted, not wanting to talk, many families don't eat together, and distractions abound, including TV addiction; this makes handing on the faith harder.  Families are stressed out trying to secure their future, at the cost of the present.  Fears about employment, finances, and children's futures exacerbate the problem.
Addiction to alcohol, other drugs, or gambling causes family suffering and breakup.  Families could help prevent or overcome these addictions, but society doesn't see that families at risk can't help their members.  Families get torn apart, the young uprooted, the elderly abandoned, and orphans, adolescents, and young adults confused and unsupported.  Violence within families breeds aggression.  In families where communication is lacking, members are defensive, don't support one another, and don't do things to encourage participation; relationships can be conflictual, violent, or hostile.  Family violence breeds resentment and hatred in human relationships. (II:50-51)
Read
  • 2 Kgs 19:9b-11, 14-21, 31-35a, 36  Sennacherib, king of Assyria, sent envoys to Hezekiah:  The kings of Assyria have doomed all other countries!  Will you be saved?’”  Hezekiah read the letter, then prayed, You alone are God.  Hear Sennacherib taunting you.  The kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and cast their gods into the fire because they were the work of human hands.  Save us from this man, that all may know you alone are God.”  Isaiah told him, “The Lord answers your prayer.  Out of Jerusalem shall come a remnant.  The king of Assyria won't reach this city.  I'll save this city....”  That night the Lord struck down 185,000 in the Assyrian camp, and Sennacherib went back home.
  • Ps 48:2-4, 10-11  "God upholds his city for ever."  Great is the Lord and wholly to be praised.  We ponder Your mercy and justice.
  • Mt 7:6, 12-14  “Don't give what's holy to dogs, or your pearls to swine, lest they trample them then tear you to pieces.  Do to others what you'd have them do to you.  Enter through the narrow gate; many take the wide gate to destruction, but few find the narrow gate to life.”
Reflect
    • Creighton:  Aloysius was heir to the family title, but riches and honor didn't excite him.  Aloysius’ extreme ascetic practices were tempered in the novitiate. He said: “I'm a piece of twisted iron; I entered religion to get twisted straight.” When the plague broke out, he helped, overcoming his repulsion, but  became seriously ill and died at 23.  He chose the narrow gate, following Christ in freedom and love, letting go of riches, honor, and pride.
    St. "Luigi"
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Magnify the Lord":  Hezekiah was surrounded by an enemy trying to divert his focus from God to his problems.  Hezekiah went up to the temple and prayed, seeing the Lord's power and the world's problems, small in comparison.  When we focus on our problems instead of the Lord, they threaten to swallow us up.
    • Passionist: Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount guides us to be doers of the Word, to live as God's children, starting from the Beatitudes, continuing through practical lessons on right living, about money, marriage, almsgiving, fasting, and praying.  The "narrow gate" can make us cringe, but it's about focusing on where we want to go as we make choices.  The Sermon on the Mount helps form a pattern of thought and behavior leading to life with God.  What does our faith and love lead us to do today with the gifts we've been given?  Am I doing to others today what I'd want them to do to me?”
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Don't throw your pearls before swine":  Pearls were of great value, worn as jewels to make one appear more beautiful.  Holiness, likewise, is a jewel that radiates the beauty of God's truth and goodness through how we think, speak, act, and treat others.  The Talmud calls something that appears incongruous an "ear ring in a swine's snout"; Jesus' "pearls before swine" and "not giving dogs what is holy" expressions are similar.  Swine were considered unclean, and wild dogs were considered unfit for close contact.  Jesus’ concern is with keeping the faith and way of life God entrusted to us.  Before Communion the early church proclaimed:  Holy things to the holy, and teh 1st-century Didache stated, "Only the baptized may eat or drink of your Eucharist; the Lord has said, 'Don't give what's holy to dogs.'"
    May we love others and treat them like we want God to treat us.  Holy Spirit, transform my life with the fire of God's love.  Psalms begins with an image of one who has chosen to follow the way of those obedient to God's word, not those who act contrary to it.  Our choices affect our lives.  Do my choices move me towards loving and following God?  "Let me love you, Lord, and see myself as I am, a pilgrim, a Christian called to respect and love all I touch, those in authority over me or those under my authority, my friends and my enemies.  Help me conquer anger with gentleness, greed by generosity, apathy by fervor.  Help me forget myself and reach out." (Clement XI)
      • John Rigby:  martyr
    Dress legend
    • 'Crown' tie bar:  Kings Sennacherib and Hezekiah et al. (1st reading); Zion, city of the great King (psalm)
    • 'Letter' tie bar:  Hezekiah took the letter... (1st reading)
    • 'Hand' tie pin:  ...from the messengers' hand; the gods were the work of human hands,... (1st reading); Your hand is full of justice (psalm)
    • 'Wood block' and 'stone' tie pins:  ...wood and stone. (1st reading)
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  Open your eyes, O Lord, and see!  (1st reading)
    • Orange suspenders:  The kings of Assyria have cast their gods into the fire; "Technology on Fire:  Igniting Ministry" theme of DISC 2016 (starting tomorrow)
    • 'Pearl' tie pin, 'swine' suspenders (1st time I've worn two sets of suspenders):  "...or throw your pearls before swine,..." (gospel)
    • 'Shield' tie pin:  "He won't come before the city with a shield"; "I'll shield this city" (1st reading)
    • 'Angel' pin:  Angel of the Lord struck down 185,000... (1st reading)
    • 'Castle' button:  God is with his city's castles (psalm)
    • 'Olympics' tie pin:  God's name and praise reach to the ends of the earth (psalm)
    • 'Dogs' tie:  “Don't give what's holy to dogs,..." (gospel)
    • 'Precious feet' pin:  "...lest they trample them underfoot" (gospel)
    • Gold-colored accessories:  Golden rule (gospel)
    • "Prayer:  the original wireless connection" T-shirt (faint under dress shirt; see here though mine has black text on grey background):  Hezekiah's prayer (1st reading)
    • White shirt:  liturgical color for St. Aloysius memorial