Fr. Greg Friedman, gives us his take on the 6th week of Easter.
Just how important is Mary to many Catholics? Mary and Elizabeth are wonderful heroines in Luke’s account. He loves the faith of these women. The thing that impresses him most, it appears, is the lowliness and cheerful humility of Elizabeth and Mary. Elizabeth says (1:43): “And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord would come to me? And Mary says (1:48): The Lord has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden.” The only people whose soul can truly magnify the Lord are people like Elizabeth and Mary–people who acknowledge their lowly estate and are overwhelmed by the condescension of the magnificent God.
From: Lutheran Church Doctrine of Beliefs, LCMS. The first Protestants “never objected to denoting the Virgin Mary as the “Mother of God” (theotokos, “God-bearer”), since she was the mother of Jesus and Jesus was and is indeed God. Since the Son of God was and is sinless, it is evident that some miraculous “exception” was made in the conception of Jesus through Mary that prevented original sin from tainting the Christ-child.”
Although the first Protestants again reaffirmed the Apostolic Christian position that Mary had no other Children, and the ‘Brothers’ of our Lord were either cousins or children of Joseph from another marriage. It was not until the post-reformational era that these ideas surfaced. Again, as Sola Scriptura allows, modern Protestants reject not only Apostolic Christianity but also the ideas of their own reformers.
We know that St. Francis desired and believed his life to be an imitation of
Jesus. His conviction
that he was but an imitator preserved him from all temptation to pride,
and enabled him to proclaim his views with incomparable vigor, without
seeming in the least to be preaching himself.
This is naturally explained by the fact that St. Francis never consented
to occupy himself with questions of doctrine. For him faith was not of
the intellectual but the moral domain; it is the consecration of the
heart. St Francis said to his disciples:
“Let us consider that God in his goodness has not called us
merely for our own salvation, but also for that of many men,
that we may go through all the world exhorting men, more by our
example than by our words, to repent of their sins and bear the
commandments in mind. Be not fearful on the ground that we
appear little and ignorant, but simply and without disquietude
preach repentance. Have faith in God, who has overcome the
world, that his Spirit will speak in you and by you, exhorting
men to be converted and keep his commandments.
“You will find men full of faith, gentleness, and goodness, who
will receive you and your words with joy; but you will find
others, and in greater numbers, faithless, proud, blasphemers,
who will speak evil of you, resisting you and your words. Be
resolute, then, to endure everything with patience and
A long account by the Three Companions gives us a picture of
these at preaching:
Many men took the friars for knaves or madmen and refused to
receive them into their houses for fear of being robbed. So in
many places, after having undergone all sorts of bad usage, they
could find no other refuge for the night than the porticos of
churches or houses. There were at that time two brethren who
went to Florence. They begged all through the city but could
find no shelter. Coming to a house which had a portico and under
the portico a bench, they said to one another, “We shall be very
comfortable here for the night.” As the mistress of the house
refused to let them enter, they humbly asked her permission to
sleep upon the bench.
She was about to grant them permission when her husband
appeared. “Why have you permitted these lewd fellows to stay
under our portico?” he asked. The woman replied that she had
refused to receive them into the house, but had given them
permission to sleep under the portico where there was nothing
for them to steal but the bench.
The cold was very sharp; but taking them for thieves no one gave
them any covering.
As for them, after having enjoyed on their bench no more sleep
than was necessary, warmed only by divine warmth, and having for
covering only their Lady Poverty, in the early dawn they went to
the church to hear mass.
The lady went also on her part, and seeing the friars devoutly
praying she said to herself: “If these men were rascals and
thieves as my husband said, they would not remain thus in
prayer.” And while she was making these reflections behold a man
of the name of Guido was giving alms to the poor in the church.
Coming to the friars he would have given a piece of money to
them as to the others, but they refused his money and would not
receive it. “Why,” he asked, “since you are poor, will you not
accept like the others?” “It is true that we are poor,” replied
Brother Bernardo, “but poverty does not weigh upon us as upon
other poor people; for by the grace of God, whose will we are
accomplishing, we have voluntarily become poor.”
In his book “My utmost for His highest”, Oswald Chambers says “We are too much given to thinking of the Cross as something we have to get through; we get through it only in order to get into it. The Cross stands for one thing only for us – a complete and entire and absolute identification with the Lord Jesus Christ, and there is nothing in which this identification is realized more than in prayer.”
Let me conclude with these prayerful words written by St Francis:
Let us desire nothing else
let us wish for nothing else
let nothing else please us and cause us delight
except our Creator and Redeemer and Saviour,
the One True God, Who is the Fullness of Good,
all good, every good, the true and supreme Good;
Let nothing hinder us,
nothing separate us or nothing come between us
In today’s Gospel Our Lord tells us to be prepared for the Day of the Lord when he comes the second time to judge the living and the dead. He will come publicly in the end times in full Glory and those alive at that time should indeed be ready for it. But Fr. Dominic focuses on our personal Day of the Lord when we will die and meet our Lord to be judged. This is something that all of us will face and we do not know when it will come. As such, Father exhorts us to organize our lives to be continually prepared for that day, doing prayer and penance so that we can be with Our Blessed Lord for all eternity.
Ave Maria! Mass: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - OF Readings: 1st: mal 3:19-20 Resp: psa 98:5-6, 7-8, 9 2nd: 2th 3:7-12 Gsp: luk 21:5-19
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Today is the feast of St Elizabeth of Hungary patron saint of the Franciscan Third Order. Fr. Dominic preaches on her short life focusing on her acts of charity and her heroic patience when her husband died and her royal in-laws kicked her out of the palace where she had to live in poverty. Even after being reinstated in the palace she decided to live a poor life in a convent doing good works. Ave Maria! Mass: St. Elizabeth of Hungary – Franciscan Feast – Form: OF Readings: 1st: sir 26:1-3, 15-18, 24 Resp: psa 31:8-5, 8-9, 20, 24-25 2nd: 1ti 5:3-10 Gsp: mat 25:31-40
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On this memorial to St. Cecilia we have the Gospel of the widow who gives her last mite. Our Lord praises this generosity and Fr. Bonaventure connects this to the life of St Cecilia who gave here all for God, even her life. Ave Maria! St. Cecilia – Mass: OF – Readings: 1st: rev 14:1-3, 4-5 Resp: psa 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6 Gsp: luk 21:1-4
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