January 24, 2018

Francis de Sales

January 24, 2018:  St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor

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Listen
For gospel
For Psalm 89
Pope Francis
General audience:  In my recent Apostolic Journey to Chile and Peru, I had the joy of encountering God’s pilgrim people and encouraging the growth of harmony respecting the nations' diversity.  The peace each of us needs can only come from Jesus.  Keep praying for peace.  Listen to the poor, the young, the elderly, immigrants, and the earth.  Bear witness through a style of closeness.  Unity isn't sterile uniformity where all are equal but rather bringing together the riches of the differences we've inherited from history and culture.  I encouraged the Church in its path of purification and renewal and encouraged educators to help the young to build a just and inclusive society.  I'm confident Peru's environmental, spiritual, and cultural riches can help build unity and cooperation in meeting their challenges.  I stressed the importance of mutual respect and care for the environment.  I invited all to work together to confront the 'storms' of crime, corruption, and lack of education, employment, and housing.  I appealed to the example of the saints and asked their intercession as the Church pursues the path of conversion and mission and strives for unity, hope, and peace for all.  More





His World Communications Day message on "fake news" was released today.  Watch for it serialized here.


Read
  • 2 Sm 7:4-17  God told David via Nathan:  Should you build me a house?  Did I ever ask my judges to build me a house?  I chose you; I've been with you.  I'll establish a house for you.  Your heir shall build me a house, and I'll make his Kingdom firm; I'll be a father to him and won't withdraw my favor.  Your house shall endure.
  • Ps 89:4-5, 27-30  "For ever I will maintain my love for my servant."  I've made a covenant with David my chosen to make your dynasty endure.  I'll maintain my love for and covenant with him.
  • Mk 4:1-20  Jesus taught a parable:  "A sower sowed:  some seed fell on the path; birds ate it.  Other seed fell on rocky ground and withered.   Some fell among thorns that choked it.  And some fell on rich soil and produced fruit....  The sower sows the word. To the ones on the path, Satan comes and takes it away.  The ones on rocky ground receive it but have no roots and so fall away.  The ones among thorns hear it but, choked by anxiety and cravings, bear no fruit.  Those on rich soil accept it; they bear fruit.”
Reflect

    • CreightonJesus tells us that the seed falling on good soil yields thirtyfold, sixtyfold, or a hundredfold.  We are to prepare the soil, but it's the Lord’s choice to decide what is to be planted in us.  When we think we're yielding “only” thirtyfold or sixtyfold, we may be looking at our optimal yield. When we judge others’ apparent yield, we don't know what their optimal yield should be.  Instead, may we focus on preparing our soil for its optimum yield....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Putting God in a box?"  With good intentions, David wanted to do something great for God, but God never asked for a house.  Thank God for church buildings, but God can't be contained.  When Solomon completed the Temple, he recognized that even the heavens couldn't contain God.  Yet God was contained in Mary's womb, in Jesus' flesh.  And the Lord is in the Eucharist, in the tabernacle, and in us.  God lets himself be contained not to be limited and boxed but to live through us, flowing out of us as a river of life.  May we act as someone Jesus dwells in.
    • Passionist:  "The Word":  God's Word is precious to us; it comes from God's mind and heart and is spoken to ours.  Anyone desiring God is deeply concerned about the mind of Christ and wants to be a person after the Lord's heart.  They said of Jesus:  “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.”  People ”were amazed [ekplēssō, astonished] at his teaching.”  Another word used about Jesus' words and deeds is existēmi (stand beside/outside of ourselves), from which comes 'ecstasy....'
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Jesus taught people using parables":  Jesus used parables to help people understand God and his kingdom, using images and characters from everyday life to illustrate his message. Over a third of the synoptics contain his parables.  "Parables are word pictures not of visible things, but rather of things of the mind and spirit.  What our eyes can't see, a parable reveals to the eyes of the mind, informing the intellect by means of things perceivable by the senses." (Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, Sermon 41)
    The sower parable is aimed at hearers of Jesus' word. There are different ways of accepting God's word and they produce different kinds of fruit:  prejudiced ones with closed minds, unteachable and blind to what they don't want to hear; shallow ones who don't think things through and eventually wander off; ones with many cares who don't hear what's really important; and open-minded ones willing to listen, learn, and understand, never too proud or busy.
    St. Francis de Sales
    Origen re why Jesus distinguishes between those ready to hear and understand from those not ready:  "Sometimes it's not an advantage to be healed quickly or superficially, especially if it makes the disease more shut up inside to rage.  So God, who knows all, delays healing of such persons, healing by not healing, lest premature recovery render them incurable.  This pertains to those our Lord addressed as 'those outside,' whom he searches out.  Jesus covered up deeper mysteries to those not yet ready to receive his teaching directly; he wanted to prevent them from being speedily converted and only cosmetically healed.  If the forgiveness of their sins were too easily obtained, they'd fall into the same sin they imagined could be cured easily" (On First Principles 3.1.7, paraphrased)
    The Lord will give us understanding if we approach him with faith, humility, and readiness to be taught....
    • Universalis:  Francis de Sales studied law, and was ordained priest despite his father's opposition.  He preached so effectively that many Calvinists returned to Catholicism.  After being made bishop, he reformed the diocese, preached, and gave spiritual guidance, teaching that everyone can attain a devout life:  “Religious devotion perfects”; to be more holy, be more yourself.  “To preach effectively, preach with love.”  "Half an hour's meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy.  Then a full hour is needed."  Read Introduction to the Devout Life online at CCEL or Catholicity.  He lived simply, sharing with the poor.  With St. Jane Frances, he founded the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, where gentleness and humility are also stressed.  Other orders were founded based on his spirituality.
    Dress legend
    • 'Wood block' tie pin:  I haven't asked you why you haven't built me a house of cedar (1st reading)
    • 'Castle' pin:  House of David (1st reading)
    • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "I took you from care of the flock to lead my people" (1st reading)
    • 'Crown' tie bar:  I'll raise up your heir and make his Kingdom firm (1st reading); I'll establish his throne (psalm)
    • 'LOVE' suspenders sticker:  Forever I'll maintain my love for my servant (psalm)
    • 'Scroll' pin:  I've made a covenant with my chosen one (psalm)
    • 'Boat' tie bar:  Jesus got into a boat... (gospel)
    • 'Bird' pin:  birds ate seed that fell on the path (gospel)
    • 'Rock' tie pin:  seeds that fell on rocky ground withered (gospel)
    • 'Roses' pin:  thorns choked some seeds (gospel)
    • 'Apple' pin:  seeds on good soil bore fruit (gospel)
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  To those outside everything comes in parables, so they may see but not perceive (gospel)
    • Green suspenders:  Ordinary Time season
    • 'Doctor's office' tie:  Francis de Sales, 'doctor' of the church
    • White shirt:  St. Francis de Sales