“What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments
is not the truest of guides for human life?” ~Saint Benedict, from the Rule of Saint Benedict (73:3)
“Prayer is the sure way that leads to holiness. Alas! We easily enter on the road to perdition when we neglect prayer. The prayer which humbles the soul, which inflames her with love and excites her to the practice of virtue, is never subject to illusion. In prayer the soul is united to God through love, He who, on account of the duties of his state of life, cannot devote much time to prayer, need not be troubled; the exact fulfilment of his duties, with a pure intention, having only God in view, is an excellent prayer.” ~ Saint Paul of the Cross
Monday, October 19, 2015 ~ Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs
Holy Gospel: Luke 12:13-21 Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”
Meditation: Why does Jesus call this wealthy landowner a fool? Jesus does not fault the rich man for his industriousness and skill in acquiring wealth, but rather for his egoism and selfishness – it’s mine, all mine, and no one else’s. This parable is similar to the parable of the rich man who refused to give any help to the beggar Lazarus (ref. Luke 16:19-31). The rich fool had lost the capacity to be concerned for others. His life was consumed with his possessions and his only interests were in himself. His death was the final loss of his soul! What is Jesus’ lesson on using material possessions? It is in giving that we receive. Those who are rich towards God receive ample reward – not only in this life, but in eternity as well.
Prayer: O God, who chose to manifest the blessed hope of your eternal Kingdom by the toil of Saints John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and their companions and by the shedding of their blood, graciously grant that through their intercession the faith of Christians may be strengthened day by day. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Where is your treasure? What is your treasure? Who is your treasure? Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place of desire and longing, the place of our will, our drive and our focus. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. What do you treasure above all else? Most importantly, whom do you treasure above all others?
About Saint Isaac Jogues, Saint John de Brébeuf and Companions: French Jesuits were the first missionaries to go to Canada and North America after J. Cartier discovered Canada in 1534. Their mission region extended from Nova Scotia to Maryland. Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf, Gabriel Lalemant, Noel Chabanel, Charles Garnier, Anthony Daniel, Rene Goupil and John de Lalande (the first six Jesuits, the last two laymen) preached the Gospel to the Iroquois and Huron Indians, and after being tortured, they were martyred in the area of what is now Auriesville, New York. The martyrdoms took place between 1642 and 1649. Ten years after the martyrdom of St. Isaac Jogues, Kateri Tekakwitha was born in the same village in which he died. These martyrs are co-patrons of Canada. The missionaries arrived in Canada less than a century after its discovery by Cartier in 1534, in the hope of converting the Indians and setting up “New France.” Their opponents were often the English and Dutch colonists. When Isaac Jogues returned to Paris after his first capture and torture, he said to his superior: “Yes, Father, I want whatever our Lord wants, even if it costs a thousand lives.” He had written in his mission report: “These tortures are very great, but God is still greater, and immense.”