READING OF THE DAY: 31 JANUARY, 2013

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“He said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand?

For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light.

Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”

He also told them, “Take care what you hear. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you.

To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” -Mark 4:21-25.

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SAINT OF THE DAY: 31 JANUARY, 2013

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Saint John Bosco
Founder
(1815-1888)

Saint John Bosco accomplished what many people considered an impossibility; he walked through the streets of Turin, Italy, looking for the dirtiest, roughest urchins he could find, then made good men of them. His extraordinary success can be summed up in the words of his patron Saint, Francis de Sales: The measure of his love was that he loved without measure.

John’s knowledge of poverty was firsthand. He was born in 1815 in the village of Becchi in the Piedmont district of northern Italy, and reared on his parents’ small farm. When his father died, Margaret Bosco and her three sons found it harder than ever to support themselves, and while John was still a small boy he had to join his brothers in the farm work.

Although his life was hard, he was a happy, imaginative child. Even as a boy, John found innocent fun compatible with religion. To amuse his friends he learned how to juggle and walk a tightrope; but he would entertain them only on condition that each performance begin and end with a prayer.

As he grew older, John began to think of becoming a priest, but poverty and lack of education made this seem impossible. A kindly priest recognized his intelligence, however, and gave him his first encouragement, teaching him to read and write. By taking odd jobs in the village, and through the help of his mother and some charitable neighbors, John managed to get through school and find admittance to the diocesan seminary of nearby Turin.

As a seminarian he devoted his spare time to looking after the ragamuffins who roamed the slums of the city. Every Sunday he taught them catechism, supervised their games and entertained them with stories and tricks; before long his kindness had won their confidence, and his Sunday School became a ritual with them.

After his ordination in 1841, he became assistant to the chaplain of an orphanage at Valocco, on the outskirts of Turin. This position was short-lived, for when he insisted that his Sunday-school boys be allowed to play on the orphanage grounds, they were turned away, and he resigned. He began looking for a permanent home for them, but no decent neighborhood would accept the noisy crowd.

At last, in a rather tumbledown section of the city, where no one was likely to protest, the first oratory was established and named for Saint Francis de Sales.

At first the boys attended school elsewhere, but as more teachers volunteered their time, classes were held at the house. Enrollment increased so rapidly that by 1849 there were three oratories in various places in the city.

For a long time Don Bosco had considered founding an Order to carry on his work, and this idea was supported by a notoriously anticlerical cabinet minister named Rattazzi. Rattazzi had seen the results of his work, and although an Italian law forbade the founding of religious communities at that time, he promised government support.

The founder-priest went to Rome in 1858 and, at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, drew up a Rule for his community, the Society of Saint Francis de Sales (Salesians).

Four years later he founded an Order for women, the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians, to care for abandoned girls. Finally, to supplement the work of both congregations, he organized an association of lay people interested in aiding their work.

Exhausted from touring Europe to raise funds for a new church in Rome, Don Bosco died on January 31, 1888. He was canonized in 1934 by Pope Pius XI. The work of John Bosco continues today in over a thousand Salesian oratories throughout the world.

No modern Saint has captured the heart of the world more rapidly than this smiling peasant-priest from Turin, who believed that to give complete trust and love is the most effective way to nourish virtue in others.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 30 JANUARY, 2013

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SAINT BATHILDES
Queen.
(c. 634-680)

St. Bathildes was an Englishwoman, who was carried over whilst yet young into France, and there sold for a slave, at a very low price, to Erkenwald, mayor of the palace under King Clovis II. When she grew up, her master was so much taken with her prudence and virtue that he placed her in charge of his household.

The renown of her virtues spread through all France, and King Clovis II. took her for his royal consort. This unexpected elevation produced no alteration in a heart perfectly grounded in humility and the other virtues; she seemed to become even more humble than before. Her new station furnished her the means of being truly a mother to the poor; the king gave her the sanction of his royal authority for the protection of the Church, the care of the poor, and the furtherance of all religious undertakings.

The death of her husband left her regent of the kingdom. She at once forbade the enslavement of Christians, did all in her power to promote piety, and filled France with hospitals and religious houses.

As soon as her son Clotaire was of an age to govern, she withdrew from the world and entered the convent of Chelles. Here she seemed entirely to forget her worldly dignity, and was to be distinguished from the rest of the community only by her extreme humility, her obedience to her spiritual superiors, and her devotion to the sick, whom she comforted and served with wonderful charity.

As she neared her end, God visited her with a severe illness, which she bore with Christian patience until, on the 30th of January, 680, she yielded up her soul in devout prayer.

(SOURCE: Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894])

READING OF THE DAY: 30 JANUARY, 2013

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“On another occasion he began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.

And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them,

Hear this! A sower went out to sow.

And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up.

Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.

And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.

Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain.

And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

And when he was alone, those present along with the Twelve questioned him about the parables.

He answered them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been granted to you. But to those outside everything comes in parables,
so that ‘they may look and see but not perceive, and hear and listen but not understand, in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.'”

Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables?

The sower sows the word.

These are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them.

And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.

But they have no root; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit.

But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” -Mark 4:1-20.

MY TAKE ON IT: 29 JANUARY, 2013

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~WORDS OF WISDOM TO BE PASSED ALONG~
(By Friar J.L. Wallace, Mendicant Friar, humble servant of God, and avid shoe wearer)

1) GET SLEEP…sleep is the most important activity you can do, it helps maintain your body and ease your troubled mind for a while.

2) DO NOT GET ATTACHED TO POSESSIONS!… There are many things in this world that can happen. They can break, get damaged, lost, stolen, or mislplaced. If you love them more than you love your fellow man, you need to rethink your life.

3) ALWAYS TRY TO COMPLIMENT AT LEAST ONE PERSON A DAY….People are there in the trenches of life WITH you, and sometimes a simple compliment can make their ENTIRE day not seem worthless, so encourage someone…it may just turn their lives around.

4) NEVER CRITICIZE SOMEONE FOR THEIR CHOICE…be it life, looks, music, movies, books, or politics, we ALL have our own choices in life to make. Each of us also has to deal with the consequences of our choices as well. Your criticism cannot change their minds, only harden their hearts.

5) OFFER ADVICE WHENEVER POSSIBLE…People always need variety. It could be that they themselves have not thought of the angle to a problem you have, and even if they reject your advice NOW, who is to say it may not come in handy later??

6) ACCEPT ADVICE FROM PEOPLE….see number 5!

7) BE PATIENT WITH EACH OTHER… Not everyone is as quick to a point as you are. Sometimes they just need to take it at THEIR pace to get to the finish, it does not mean they are slow…just perhaps YOU are too fast!

8) FIND SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN….Faith is the greatest attribute a person can have. It gives you morals, scruples, and a sense of greater being. Even if you can find no Deity to believ in, at LEAST believe in YOURSELF.

9) FALL IN LOVE WHENEVER POSSIBLE…For some it is shoes, or for some: chocolate, others books, still others it is “that one person” who completes them…whatever you do, ALWAYS find SOMETHING (or someone) to love…it gives your life completion, goals, and a sense of belonging to someone or something besides your own self.

10) NEVER MAKE PLANS MORE THAN A WEEK IN ADVANCE…This world is hectic, trying, and sometimes downright evil. A person never knows when they fall asleep at night if they will wake up in the morning. So do not make long reaching plans because NOTHING in this life is promised, merely assumed.

11) HAVE A MOMENT TO YOURSELF EVERY DAY….Each and every day you need to find at least ONE HOUR where it is just YOU. This allows you to contemplate your life, your choices, and your directions.

12) BECOME LEARNED… Watch a play, go to a museum, read a good book (I can suggest ONE! LOL!) but whatever you do, try to fill your head or heart with a CLASSIC piece of knowledge at least once in your life that you will always remember. Do not just read it and dismiss it, PONDER IT!

13) DO NOT READ TOO MUCH INTO THE WAYS OF OTHERS…they may simply be off, or slightly crazy, either way they are only as God made them. Your life is just that, YOUR LIFE….theirs equally so.

14) NEVER LOOK BEHIND…your past is there, yes, like everyone elses. Looking back only reminds you of either failures, regrets, or sorrows. If you look back, they have a chance to catch up to you and drag you BACK to their woes.

15) NEVER REGRET YOUR DECISIONS… even if you fall flat on your face, you STILL can use it as a learning experience…hence why asking advice of friends or family is ALWAYS encouraged! They may have been there, and can help!

16) DANCE…you may look a fool, or feel like one, but shuffling your body to music is both excercise AND fun. It frees up the emotions from all the burdens of the day. So, turn up the music, pop in a groove, and SHAKE IT!

17) DO NOT BE CONCERNED WITH HOW OTHERS SEE YOU…Your life, your choices, NOT THEIR BUSINESS. Even if you wear orange and purple socks and a scarf in summer, YOU need to be comfortable..not them. (see 18!)

18) Your life = YOUR LIFE… Do not compare yourself to others, nor try to emulate another persons life. Their path may not be for your feet. Strike out on your own and find YOUR way of living that YOU are comfortable with, and leave them to theirs.

19) LEAVE THE BEATEN PATH WHENEVER YOU CAN… sometimes in the journey of life we get into the ruts and forget that there is an ENTIRE WORLD out there. Leave the beaten path every once in a while so you can EXPERIENCE life, not just live it.

20) GO SOMEWHERE YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN… a foriegn country, a different part of your city, or even into a shop you never been into before. Exploration leads to discovery…who knows, you may find what you are looking for there! (also ties in nicely with 19!)

21) EAT ICE CREAM…few things in life can lift the human spirit like a good ice cream (err… CHOCOLATE ALSO WORKS!!) Sometimes we just need a lift, and I can think of NO ONE who has EVER eaten an ice cream angrily!

22) TRY SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY…be it food, or a stretch of road you never drove on before. This world is filled with AMAZING things, and all it takes is resolve to experience them.

23) AVOID CONFRONTATION WHENEVER POSSIBLE…people LOVE to argue and you do not need that in your life. If someone wants to thrust their opinion onto you and make you do as they want, kindly smile and nod, then walk away. They are not worth the salt in your tears if they cannot see your side of YOUR life.

24) GIVE GENEROUSLY…food, time, money, clothes…it makes no difference. To you it may just be an old sweater or blanket laying in the closet, but to someone without one, it may be the difference between living happily, or suffering in despair.

25) ALWAYS WATCH WHERE YOU ARE GOING… this world can blindside you in an instant. Never take ANYTHING for granted or assume that just because it HAS been there that it WILL be there the next day. (see number 2!!)

26) NEVER HOLD BACK…the only thing that keeps you from life is YOU. In order to say “I’ve done that’ you actually HAVE to DO it. So, take a deep breath, squelch that lump of fear, and JUMP!

27) REGRET NOTHING… when you get old, you will want to look back at your life and say you have FILLED it. So, bungee jump, parasail, go skiing, SURF, run a marathon, or simply go up to that cute person and ask them out…who knows, they may be the one your looking for!

28) LAUGH WHENEVER POSSIBLE, EVEN IF IT IS AT YOURSELF…Laughter lightens the soul, and it lessens the woes. Even if it IS at a dirty joke, laughter can bring you back to a centering of your soul and a lessening of your problems!

And….
Finally, NEVER BERATE YOURSELF… there are plenty of people out there willing to beat you up emotionally. If someone is trying to bring you down, lift your head up high, flip them off, and walk away knowing YOU have BETTER things to do in life. You have too much living to do in such a short space of time as allowed on this planet, beating yourself up will do nothing more than bunge you up inside and you will lose the plot…which is easy to explain: LIFE IS MEANT TO BE LIVED…NOT MERELY EXISTED IN…so encourage yourself at every opportunity.

But then again, this is just MY advice…

Peace be with you….Friar Jeff.

READING OF THE DAY: 29 JANUARY, 2013

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“Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of them, it can never make perfect those who come to worship by the same sacrifices that they offer continually each year.

Otherwise, would not the sacrifices have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, once cleansed, would no longer have had any consciousness of sins?

But in those sacrifices there is only a yearly remembrance of sins,
for it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats take away sins.

For this reason, when he came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight in.

Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll, Behold, I come to do your will, O God.'”

First he says, “Sacrifices and offerings, holocausts and sin offerings, you neither desired nor delighted in.” These are offered according to the law.

Then he says, “Behold, I come to do your will.” He takes away the first to establish the second.

By this “will,” we have been consecrated through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” – Hebrews 10:1-10.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 29 JANUARY, 2013

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Saint Francis de Sales
Bishop, Doctor of the Church
(1567-1622)

Saint Francis de Sales was born in 1567 near Annecy, of noble and pious parents, and studied with brilliant success at Paris and Padua. On his return from Italy he gave up the grand career which his father had destined for him in the service of the state, and became a priest.

When the duke of Savoy resolved to restore the shattered Church in the Chablais, Francis offered himself for the work and set out on foot with his Bible and breviary, accompanied by one companion, his cousin Louis of Sales. It was a work of toil, privation and danger. Every door and every heart was closed against him. He was rejected with insult and threatened with death, but nothing could daunt him or resist him indefinitely. And before long the Church blossomed into a second spring. It is said that he converted 72,000 Calvinists.

He was compelled by the Pope to become Coadjutor Bishop of Geneva, and succeeded to that see in 1602. Saint Vincent de Paul said of him, in praise of his gentleness, How good God must be, since the bishop of Geneva, His minister, is so good! At times the great meekness with which he received heretics and sinners almost scandalized his friends, and they protested when he received insults in silence.

One of them said to him, Francis of Sales will go to Paradise, of course; but I am not so sure about the Bishop of Geneva: I am almost afraid his gentleness will play him a shrewd turn! Ah, said the Saint, you would have me lose in one instant all the meekness I have been able to acquire by twenty years of efforts?

I would rather account to God for too great gentleness than for too great severity.

God the Father is the Father of mercy; God the Son is a Lamb; God the Holy Ghost is a Dove; are you wiser than God?

When a hostile visitor said to him one day, If I were to strike you on the cheek, what would you do? Saint Francis answered, with his customary humility, Ah! I know what I should do, but I cannot be sure of what I would do.

With Saint Jane Frances of Chantal, Saint Francis founded at Annecy the Order of the Visitation nuns, which soon spread over Europe.

Though poor, he refused provisions and dignities, and even the great see of Paris. He died at Avignon in 1622.