Thought for the Day – 11 August – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 12:32–48 and the Memorial of St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)
St Pope John Paul II said of Saint Clare – “her whole life was a Eucharist because … from her cloister she raised up a continual ‘thanksgiving’ to God in her prayer, praise, supplication, intercession, weeping, offering and sacrifice.
She accepted everything from the Father in union with the infinite ‘thanks’ of the only begotten Son.”
St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)
“ Blessed be You, O God, for having created me. ”
St Clare’s Last Words
I Come, O Lord By St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)
I come, O Lord,
unto Thy sanctuary
to see the life and food of my soul.
As I hope in Thee, O Lord,
inspire me with that confidence
which brings me to Thy holy mountain.
Permit me, Divine Jesus,
to come closer to Thee,
that my whole soul may do homage
to the greatness of Thy majesty,
that my heart,
with its tenderest affections,
may acknowledge Thy infinite love,
that my memory may dwell
on the admirable mysteries
here renewed every day
and that the sacrifice,
of my whole being,
may accompany Thine.
Quote of the Day – 11 August – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C and the Memorial of St Alexander of (Died c 251) “The Charcoal Burner” Bishop and Martyr
Men look upon clothes and the face, But God looks at the soul and the heart. Glorious Alexander, a charcoal-burner, was, With the charcoal-burner, the body is blackened And from soot, which water cleanses, In the sinner, the heart is darkened Which only the fire of faith can cleanse, The fire of faith and the cry of repentance. It is easier to cleanse the skin of a charcoal-burner Than the blackened heart of a sinner. Alexander, with humility, covered In a cave concealed, as a hidden flame For laughter, to the gullible world, he was. The world did not see, Gregory saw, With an acute spirit, the charcoal-burner discerned And in him, found a saint, In the dark cave, a beautiful flame, Beneath the mask of insanity, great wisdom, Beneath the dirty soot, a pure heart, A royal soul in decayed rags. That the light be hidden, the Lord does not permit, At the appropriate time, the light proclaims, For the benefit and salvation of men. All is wonderful, what God judges!
Hymn of Praise of Saint Alexander, Bishop of Comana,
from the Prologue of Ohrid
Sunday Reflection – 11 August – The Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger and he who believes in me shall never thirst.”…John 6:34-35
“The soul’s bread is Christ, “the living bread that came down from heaven” (Jn 6:51) who gives food to His own, by faith here and by vision in the world to come. For Christ dwells in you by faith and faith in Christ, is Christ in your heart (Eph 3:17). The measure of your faith in Christ is the measure of your possession of Him.
… In this gift I have received, I possess Christ wholly and Christ wholly possesses me, just as the member belonging to the whole body likewise possesses the body in its entirety. And so this portion of faith you have received as your share, is like the morsel of bread in your mouth. But unless you often devoutly meditate over what you believe, unless you chew over it, so to speak, moving it about and turning it over with your teeth, that is to say with your spiritual senses, it will never enter your throat, in other words it won’t get as far as your understanding.
For indeed, how could you understand anything that you reflect over only rarely and carelessly, especially when it concerns something subtle and unseen?… So, by means of meditation, let “the Law of the Lord be ever on your lips” (Ex 13:9) so that a sound understanding may be brought to birth within you. Through a good understanding, spiritual food passes into your heart, so that you will not neglect what you have understood but will lovingly reflect over it.”
Guigo II the Carthusian “the Angelic” (?-1188)
9th Prior of the Grande Chartreuse
(Meditation 10 (SC 163, p. 181 rev.)
Guigo II is considered the first writer in the western tradition to consider stages of prayer as a ladder which leads to a closer mystic communion with God. The work was among the most popular of medieval spiritual works (in part because it commonly circulated under the name of the renowned Bernard of Clairvaux or even Augustine), with over one hundred manuscripts surviving. It was also translated into some vernacular languages, including into Middle English.
It is still a basic guide for those who wish to practice lectio divina.
Guigo II also wrote twelve Meditations, which were clearly less widely known as they survive in only a few manuscripts. From internal evidence, it appears they may have been written before the Scala Claustralium.
One Minute Reflection – 11 August – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 12:32–48 and the Memorial of St Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)
And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household….” … Luke 12:42
REFLECTION – “Wishing to emphasise the special office of the servants whom He has placed in charge of His people, the Lord says, ‘Who, do you think, is the faithful and wise steward whom the Lord sets over his household, to give to them their measure of wheat at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.” Who is that master, brethren? Without a doubt it is Christ, who says to His disciples: “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right for so I am” (Jn 13,13). What, too, is the master’s household? Doubtless it is the one which the Lord Himself ransomed… This sacred household is the holy, Catholic Church, which is spread through the whole earth with abundant fertility and glories in the fact that she has been redeemed by the precious blood of her Master. As He Himself says: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10,45). He is, too, the good shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep” (Jn 10,11)…
As to who the steward is, who ought to be faithful as well as wise, the Apostle Paul shows us, when, speaking of himself and his companions, he says: “This is how one should regard us, as the servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they should be found trustworthy” (1Cor 4,1-2). Now, lest anyone of us should think that it is only the apostles who have been made stewards… the blessed Apostle Paul shows us that the bishops also are stewards, when he says: “For a bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless” (Tt 1,7)…
We, therefore, who are the servants of the master of the household, we are the stewards of the Lord, we have received the measure of wheat to disburse to you.” … Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe (467-532) Bishop – Homily 1, on the Lord’s servants ; CCL 91A, 889 (trans. breviary Common of pastors)
PRAYER – Holy God, grant we pray, Your Holy Spirit of love and divine grace to grow ever more in faith. By our prayers and love for You and our neighbour, may we merit Your divine assistance. Lord Jesus, help us to dwell often on the manner in which we are following You. Let us strive each day to become more and more like You in all things and, to become beacons of Your Light, to all the world. St Clare of Assisi, you who were a light to all, pray for us, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 11 August – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
O Food of Life, Nailed to the Cross By Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464)
It is Your will that we proclaim Your Death
in the eating of the Bread of Life.
What more could You give to us,
who deserve to die through the eating
of the forbidden fruit,
than life through the eating of the Bread?
O Food of Life, nailed to the Cross,
who can grasp the bountiful gift
which You offer – the gift of Your very self as food?
Here is generosity beyond all measure,
when the Giver and Gift, are one and the same.
O Food, which truly nourishes and satisfies,
not our flesh but our soul,
not our body but our spirit.
O Memorial, worthy to be cherished
in our inmost soul,
to be deeply engraved on our mind
and, lovingly preserved in the tabernacle of our heart.
Its remembrance is a joy forever
and a cause for tears that well up
from a heart filled with overpowering joy.
Saint of the Day – 11 August – Saint Alexander of Comana (in Pontus, Turkey) (Died c 251) Bishop, Martyr, Preacher of renown – known as the Charcoal Burner – Greek born – died by being burned alive at Comana, modern Turkey, during the persecution of Diocletian. The saint’s curious name comes from the fact that he had, out of humility, taken up the work of burning charcoal, so as to escape worldly honours. He is called a philosopher but it is not certain that the term is to be taken literally. His philosophy consisted rather in his preference of heavenly to earthly things. The discovery of his virtues was due to the contempt with which he had been regarded.
In the mid-third century the Christians of Comana, in Pontus, sent representatives to St Gregory the Miracle Worker or Thaumaturgus (c 213-c 270), Bishop of Neocaesarea, requesting a Bishop for their city. So St Gregory went to Comana to look for a shepherd for the new Diocese.
A city commission had sought out candidates of noble birth, great eloquence, or other such qualities. When all these were presented to him, St Gregory advised the commission that they should consider virtue first, and not despise those of more humble appearance. One of these officials, deriding the counsel of St Gregory, replied: ‘If you don’t want one from among our most distinguished citizens, perhaps we should choose a Bishop from among the plebeians. In this case, I counsel you to bring forth Alexander the charcoal-burner so that we can all acquiesce in the matter.’
St Gregory asked: “Who is this Alexander?” Laughing, they brought Alexander to him.
Because of the charcoal dust, his face, hands and modest clothing were black with dirt. The assembly laughed at seeing such a figure among the candidates for Bishop. Alexander remained self-composed, unembarrassed at his modest condition. In fact, contrary to appearances, he was a gifted philosopher, a truly wise man. It was not need that caused him to take up that profession but his will to practice a life of virtue removed from public admiration. Young and handsome, he desired to live chastely avoiding occasions of sin. The charcoal dust disguised his face and, like a mask, prevented his features from being noticed. The work provided just enough for him to live and practice small works of charity.
St Gregory ordered Alexander to take a bath and put on his own episcopal robes. In a short time, a completely different man appeared, attracting the attention of all who were assembled there. St Gregory told them: “Do not be surprised if you were fooled in your judgement, which you only made according to what you could see. The Devil wanted to hide this vessel of election and keep him from being a Bishop.”
He consecrated Alexander as Bishop. In his first sermon, Alexander astonished the whole assembly with the wisdom and eloquence of his words. An Athenian who was present criticized him for lacking Greek elegance but was reprehended.
St Alexander became famous for his preaching and governed the church of Comana in a dignified way until the persecution under Emperor Diocletian, when he was burned to death, dying a martyr for the Catholic Faith.
He would have been absolutely unknown were it not for a discourse pronounced by St Gregory of Nyssa, on the life of St Gregory Thaumaturgus, in which the election of Alexander is described.
St Rusicola of Arles
St Rufinus of Marsi
St Susanna of Rome
St Taurinus of Evreux
Bl Theobald of England and Companion
St Tiburtius of Rome
Bl William Lampley
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War
Bl Armando Óscar Valdés
Bl Benjamín Fernández de Legaria Goñi
Bl Carlos Díaz Gandía
Bl Rafael Alonso Gutiérrez
Bl Ramon Rosell Laboria