August 20, 2016

Aug. 20

August 20, 2016:  St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor

  • 'Angel' pin:  Angel led me to the gate which faces the east (1st reading)
  • 'Feet' pin:  "This is where I will set the soles of my feet" (1st reading)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  The Lord proclaims peace (psalm)
  • 'Scales' pin adjoining 'peace sign' tie bar:  "Justice and peace shall kiss" (psalm)
  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  "They love places of honor at banquets" (gospel)
  • White on T-shirt:  color for St. Bernard memorial

πάντα πιστεύει:  Here 'belief' has the sense of 'trust,' beyond simply presuming the other isn't lying or cheating.  Such trust recognizes God’s light shining and enables a relationship to be free.  It means we don't have to control the other, following their steps lest they escape our grip.  Love trusts, sets free; it doesn't control, possess, or dominate.  This freedom fosters independence, openness to the world, and new experiences, and enriches and expands relationships, so spouses can share with each other the joy of all they've received and learned.  The freedom also makes for sincerity and transparency, for those who know they're trusted and appreciated hide nothing.  Those whose spouses are suspicious, judgmental, and without unconditional love tend to keep secrets, conceal their failings and weaknesses, and pretend to be someone else, but a family marked by trust helps its members to be themselves and reject deceit, falsehood, and lies.  (IV:114-115)
  • Ps 85:9ab, 10-14  "The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land."  Kindness and truth shall meet, justice and peace kiss.
  • Mt 23:1-12  “Do whatever the scribes and Pharisees tell you, but don't follow their example; they don't practice what they preach.  They burden people but won't help them.  They do things to be seen.  They love places of honor.  You have but one teacher, one Father in heaven, and one master, the Christ.  The greatest among you must be your servant.  Whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
    • Creighton:  People are tempted to power and prestige, but Jesus shows that the way to exaltation is humility and service.  We should practice what we preach; we don't know something until we put it into practice and tell others about it.  Jesus doesn't want us to vie for titles of respect that just puff them up, just to serve with humility.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Glory be":  Because the people didn't repent, God's glory rose up from Jerusalem, but God promised his glory would return.  The promise was fulfilled when God became human.  "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory...."  Before his death, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him....  God will glorify him in himself, soon." Jesus' body was glorified in his resurrection.  Many of us don't experience the glory of God's presence and power. Like Ezekiel, we live for years without God's glory.  God's glory will come to us if we repent, give our lives to the Lord, and receive the Spirit in power.
    • Passionist:  Bernard was born into nobility but rejected his family's plans and gave his life to God, entering the austere Cistercians at 23, bringing 30 nobles along.  The order was growing, and he and some companions were sent out to found another abbey, in the Clair Valley, where he was elected abbot and remained all his life.  He emphasized austere and simple life, lectio divina and personal prayer, and devotion to Mary.  He also participated in Church Councils, brought unity to the papacy, and overcame heresies of the time.  He was a faithful disciple who used all his gifts to build God's Kingdom; may we do likewise.
      St. Bernard of Clairvaux
    •  "Humble yourself; be exalted":  Jesus warned the scribes and Pharisees to teach and serve with humility, but they drew attention to their status and practices.  In trying to be good models, they sought recognition for themselves rather than God and made practicing their faith a burden for those they were supposed to serve.  Respect for God inclines us to humble ourselves and listen and submit to God.
    Jesus wanted to warn about the temptation to seek honors that draw attention to ourselves, not God.  Pride tempts us to put ourselves above others; it goes before destruction.   "You have one teacher, and you are all brothers to each other... Ministers don't put themselves forward to be called teacher; they know when they do well it's Christ within them.  They should only call themselves servants..." (Origen).
    Respect for God inclines us to humility and simplicity, readiness to seek God. Humility isn't feeling bad about yourself or thinking yourself inferior. Humility frees us from preoccupation with ourselves, while low self-esteem focuses attention on ourselves. Humility is truth in self-understanding and action, seeing ourselves the way God sees us.  The humble assess themselves realistically.  Humility frees us to be ourselves, not despair or be proud, not wear a mask to look good to others, and not be swayed by fame, reputation, success, or failure.  Humility is the foundation of the other virtues because it enables us to see and judge correctly.  It helps us to be teachable, directs our energy and will to give ourselves to something greater, and frees us to love and serve selflessly.  The greatest example is Jesus who humbled himself and became obedient to death on a cross.
    Special greetings to and prayers for the communities at...

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