THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK November 11-17, 2018

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF, Director

November 11-17, 2018

aaeaaqaaaaaaaafoaaaajdlmytawyzqzlwi4nwmtndk3ms04ogvllti3yzywotm4ndvhmwJesus makes an interesting observation in Sunday’s reading from Mark 12: 41-44.  He sees many rich people donating to the temple’s treasury from their surplus of which they are proud.  He is not impressed by this giving.  We, too, see this kind of giving.  A very wealthy employer or corporation gives a pittance of a raise in salary to its employees and the news bureau makes a big proclamation of this “generosity.” Perhaps we ourselves put in that small amount at Sunday services for all the needs of the parish and feel proud of ourselves for helping out. Was it from our surplus or our poverty?

We see so many first responders giving of their “surplus,” as well as, their poverty – hours on the fire line when their own home has burned down, strangers on the road risking their lives to pull a person from a burning car, a police officer rushing in to save people from a shooter and losing his own life, a caregiver of a parent with alzheimers, a parent sitting up at night with a sick child and the list is boundless. Many people go beyond what is expected and do the extraordinary.  We can raise our flag of thanksgiving for all incidences of courage and humanity.  Love is not dead; it is often unseen, surprising and unsung. Just as the widow in today’s Gospel story was hailed as a giving person by Jesus, all the other like actions will be blessed by Jesus and praised for all eternity.

Italian born St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, the first United States citizen to be canonized, founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart.  Her main ministry was service to the immigrants and she is their special patron. We can ask her to protect the many immigrants heading our way from the south.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary is a woman, though a queen, who cared for the poor at a risk to her own life.  When the greedy royal family confronted her and accused her of giving away the goods of the palace, they found only roses in her shawl. When her husband died, she and her children were thrown out of the palace by the family.  This Franciscan woman gave not only from her surplus, but her poverty, too.

The opportunity to thank veterans for all that they have sacrificed in defense of our country, as well as, so many other countries throughout the world is NOW.  Many of us probably have members of our families who are veterans or have died because of war.  My own father died of injuries, suffered during combat in World War II. The grieving extents around the globe and the need for peace is the cry of millions.  The mental, emotional and physical anguish veterans suffer is beyond our imagination.  They need our care and compassion upon their return to civilian life.  When I drive past the cemetery on my way from school, I am saddened by the many crosses of our young men and women lost in war.  It is incomprehensible as to the pain of the parents and families of these soldiers. We have much for which to pray and to console.

May God have mercy on our veterans and their families,

Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK November 4-10, 2018

FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF  Director

November is a special month of thanksgiving.  Though we should be thankful people all year long, it is good to set aside a time to be more thankful and aware of the great gifts with which we have been blessed.

Perhaps, a litany can be said during this month of all these gifts, “For life. Thanks be to God. For parents. Thanks be to God. For good friends.  Thanks be to God. For flowers. Thanks… For the five senses. Thanks… For a loving husband or wife.  Thanks… For the delight of children.  Thanks…” It’s a good family practice and can be fun, too. You know.  Let’s be thankful for the pet frog…

William A. Ward has given us a very insightful quote about thanks, “God gave you 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say, ‘thank you’?” That’s certainly food for thought.

he readings for this Sunday strongly emphasize obedience to God’s laws, as we hear from Moses in Deuteronomy 6: 2-6. However, the major commandment he enjoins upon the people is beautifully stated.

“…you shall love the Lord, your God,

with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.”

When Jesus is asked by a scribe which is the first commandment in Mark 12: 28-34, he quotes Moses and adds the second, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”  Later, Jesus will change the second law with these words from John 15: 12 “Love one another as I have loved you.”  Sometimes we don’t love ourselves very much, so Jesus’ standard is clearer but, also, very challenging.

If you have ever been to Rome, you may have visited St. John Lateran Basilica outside the walls of Rome.

It is named the Most Holy Savior and honors Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist St. John and is the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, the ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. In 193 A.D. it was a fort for the Imperial guards of the Roman emperor, which was demolished and them the palace of the Laterani family was built. They served as consuls to several emperors, but lost their property under Emperor Nero. Sometime before 313 A.D. the buildings and property were given to the Church by Emperor Constantine. The great hall or basilica was expanded and decorated, becoming the “golden church,” a magnificent edifice.  The Vandals stripped it of its treasures and though it has been restored a number of times, it has never regained the splendor of the 4th century. Though, seeing it today, it still looks amazing. The popes resided there until 1309, when the pope moved his residence to France. During this time deterioration and several fires reduced the edifice and the palace to shambles. When the pope finally returns to Rome, the Lateran is unfit for a residence. Eventually, the present residence was erected next to St. Peter’s.  However, the Lateran Basilica is still consider the “mother church of the world.” newadvent.org

The day to honor St. Leo the Great is Saturday.  His feast comes close to St. John Lateran, because in 460 A.D. he is the Pope who restored the basilica after the Vandals’ destroyed it.  Pope Leo’s main aim was to maintain unity in the church.  He fought many heresies and brought about the primacy of the papacy. He was the Pope who met Attila the Hun at the games of Rome and negotiated his promise to leave Rome unharmed and even Italy. Leo also convinced the Vandals not to destroy or harm the people of a certain area of Italy.  He must have had amazing diplomatic skills and moral integrity.  No wonder he is called “the Great.”

“If the only prayer you said your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.” Meister Eckhart

Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK October 28-November 3, 2018

FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
Sister Rosemarie Goins, Directoraaeaaqaaaaaaaafoaaaajdlmytawyzqzlwi4nwmtndk3ms04ogvllti3yzywotm4ndvhmw

“Master, I want to see,” cries Bartemaeus in today’s Gospel from Mark 10: 46-52.  Though he was asking for physical healing, Jesus recognized his spiritual condition of faith and praised him for this

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faith. This is a beautiful prayer that can be said daily for spiritual growth and the healing of the blindness of prejudice, selfishness, control issues and racism.  Oftentimes the blindness of fear prevents the recognition of what needs to be done to bravely face the issues that can paralyze Gospel values.  Perhaps the frequent recitation of this prayer, “Master, I want to see,” can energize courageous actions and bring the world closer to peace.

Another point in this Gospel is the statement, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”  Would that spiritual blindness would not prevent the quick response to this calling.  Each day presents an opportunity to respond to the call of Jesus to make a difference in the world.  Listening to those who “rebuke us and tell us to be silent” can only lead to more abuse and suffering in the world.  In the wake of these pressures, like Bartemaeus, we must “keep calling out all the more.”

 

 

Halloween, All Hallow Eve, originated with the Celtic festival, SamHain, thousands of years ago, where great bon fires were built and costumes were donned to ward off evil spirits and ghosts. November 1 was considered the beginning of a new year.  The old year was dying with the entrance into dark and wintry months.  The people needed assurances of protection because death seemed to be more rampant in

 

winter and it was believed that the dead walked the earth on Halloween.  When the Romans conquered the Celts in 43 A.D., they combined SamHain with their harvest festivals.  Through the centuries it has taken many forms until we have today’s activities of tricks and treats.

 

This week the Feast of All the Saints is celebrated on Thursday, November 1.  It is a special day for all of us to remember the saint for whom we were named.  This was a person who strove to live Gospel values. Though they may have failed many times, they kept up the struggle, answered Jesus’ call and met the challenge head on.  Their courageous lives give us an example to follow.  We do not worship the saints, as some mistakenly think, but are encouraged by those who have gone before us in the living of the Gospel. We see in them the possibility for ourselves to rise above fear and plow forward in the shaping of a better and kinder world.  The youth of today

 

need good role models who appeal to their better nature, not to frivolity, licentiousness, self-absorption and materialism.

 

Though the Catholic Church calls November 2 the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed or All Souls Day, the Mexican culture calls it Dia de Muertos.  It originated with the Aztec people centuries ago. Though it began with the indigenous people, Mexico eventually declared it a national holiday and the Christian Church accepted it as part of its celebration of remembering the dead.  On this day family and friends who have died are remembered with flowers on their graves, special foods, pictures and festivities.

You may just find a skull on your doorstep or table. This type of celebration appears in many cultures, such as, the Spanish/Latino customs in Central and South America, Spain and other parts of the world.

 

 

Saturday is the Feast of St. Martin de Porres, a Dominican Brother of Lima, Peru.  Because he was of mixed racial blood, an African woman and a Spanish soldier, Martin suffered much abuse.  However, his loving and cheerful nature won him many friends, even, as the legend goes, the mice who he promised to feed, if they left the bins of grain alone for the monastery.  He was also a healer and took care of the members of his community, as well as, many sick people who came to the monastery for help.

May your week be filled with many celebrations and blessings from God.

 

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK October 21-27, 2018

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FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER

Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF
Director

In Sunday’s Gospel from Mark 10: 35-45 we hear Jesus’ teaching about what our relationship to each other should be.  This teaching occurred after James and John requested that Jesus give them the seats next to him one at his right and the other at his left when he enters his kingdom. The other apostles grumbled because they wanted the seats for themselves.  We can see Jesus shaking his head in sadness, as he prepares to straighten them out about his kingdom.

Jesus says that we should not try to control each other and use power to oppress others.  Instead, we should be each other’s servant.  Our call is to serve and to give life to all.  This is what greatness consists of to accept, respect and protect each other.

Another lesson we can learn from this Gospel story is how we relate to God.  If we examine ourselves closely, we may find ourselves trying to control God or telling him what to do.  Give me this, give me that or do what I want.  We question his love for us, when we don’t get what we want or expect.  This sounds like the behavior of a child, but often our relationship with God has not grown much beyond that of a child.  It takes a deeper development of our spiritual life to progress to the point of trust and acceptance of God’s will.  He knows best as to what we need.  It is difficult to let go of our wants, but practicing servanthood will lead us to a better place in our relationship with God and each other.

This week on Monday we can call to mind St. Pope John Paul II. He was a man who suffered under Communist Rule in Poland.  He saw family members and friends die during this oppression, yet he moved forward and strove to be a better person, who would bring life, not revenge to his people and eventually the whole world.

October 22 is “Make a Difference Day.”  What would be one thing we would select to make a difference?

Will it be something material? A gift given perhaps to a friend, a parent or shut in or a poor person?  Will it be a smile to a passerby? Will it be an elimination of a judgment of another person?  Will it be a kind thought or word toward another?  Should we relinquish trying to control others to do what we want?  Will we listen more kindly to those who have opposing opinions? Will we forgive and apologize to those with whom we have bitterly argued?  The list becomes more and more difficult.  If we really want to make a difference, then we must learn to serve all, as Jesus instructs.   That’s what it means to be a Christian and to make a difference.

May your week be full of challenges to create a world of peace, joy and love.