9 January: St. Andrew Corsini

January 9
SAINT ANDREW CORSINI
Bishop

Optional Memorial
In the provinces in Italy: Memorial

Andrew was born at the beginning of the fourteenth century in Florence and entered the Carmelite Order there. He was elected provincial of Tuscany at the general chapter of Metz in 1348. He was made bishop of Fiesole on October 13th, 1349, and gave the Church a wonderful example of love, apostolic zeal, prudence, and love of the poor. He died on January 6th, 1374.

From the Common of Pastors

Office of Readings

The First Reading

A reading from the Letter of St. James

James 2:1-9, 14-24

Faith without works is dead

My brothers, do not try to combine faith in Jesus Christ, our glorified Lord, with the making of distinctions between classes of people. Now suppose a man comes into your synagogue, beautifully dressed and with a gold ring on, and at the same time a poor man comes in, in shabby clothes, and you take notice of the well-dressed man, and say, ‘Come this way to the best seats;’ then you tell the poor man, ‘Stand over there’ or ‘You can sit on the floor by my footrest.’ Can’t you see that you have used two different standards in your mind, and turned yourselves into judges, and corrupt judges at that?

Listen, my dear brothers: it was those who are poor according to the world that God chose, to be rich in faith and to be the heirs to the kingdom which he promised to those who love him. In spite of this, you have no respect for anybody who is poor. Isn’t it always the rich who are against you? Isn’t it always their doing when you are dragged before the court? Aren’t they the ones who insult the honorable name to which you have been dedicated? Well, the right thing to do is to keep the supreme law of scripture: “you must love your neighbor as yourself;” but as soon as you make distinctions between classes of people, you are committing sin, and under condemnation for breaking the Law.

Take the case, my brothers, of someone who has never done a single good act but claims that he has faith. Will that faith save him? If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on, and one of you says to them, ‘I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty,’ without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that? Faith is like that: if good works do not go with it, it is quite dead.

This is the way to talk to people of that kind: ‘You say you have faith and I have good deeds’; I will prove to you that I have faith by showing you my good deeds — now you prove to me that you have faith without any good deeds to show. You believe in the one God — that is creditable enough, but the demons have the same belief, and they tremble with fear. Do realize, you senseless man, that faith without good deeds is useless. You surely know that Abraham our father was justified by his deed, because he ‘offered his son Isaac on the altar’? There you see it: faith and deeds were working together; his faith became perfect by what he did. This is what scripture really means when it says: ‘Abraham put his faith in God, and this was counted as making him justified’; and that is why he was called ‘the friend of God.’

You see now that it is by doing something good, and not only by believing, that a man is justified.

Responsory

R/. Pure, unspoiled religion in the eyes of God our Father is this: *
you must come to the help of orphans and widows in their need and keep yourself uncontaminated by the world

V/. Quick to be generous, he gave to the poor; his righteousness remains forever. *
you must come to the help of orphans and widows in their need and keep yourself uncontaminated by the world

The Second Reading

A reading from The Pastoral Rule of Pope St. Gregory the Great

Bk 1,10

Portrait of a good pastor

It is important that a man who is set up as a model of how to live should be one who is dead to all the passions of the flesh and lives by the spirit, turns his back on what the world has to offer, is unafraid of hardship, and is attracted only by the interior life. He does not let his body shirk its duty out of frailty; he does not become depressed when abused, for he realizes that things of this kind further his true ends. He does not readily covet what is not his, but with what he does possess he is generous. His loving nature is quick to forgive, though he never allows himself to be misled into condoning more than he should. While he does no wrong himself, he grieves over the misdeeds of others as if they were his own. His compassion for others when they are sick is heartfelt, and he is just as glad when good befalls his neighbor as when his own interests are advanced. His behavior is so exemplary in all respects that he need never fear being made to blush, even for past faults. He so conducts his life that those whose hearts are in need of refreshment can always find it in the guidance he gives. He is so well versed in the art of prayer that he can obtain anything he asks for from the Lord; it is as though he were singled out by a prophetic voice saying to him: “While you are still speaking I will say, ‘See, I am here.’”

If someone happened to come and ask one of us to intercede for him with an influential man we did not know and who was annoyed with him, we should at once say: ‘I cannot come and intercede — I do not know what he is like.’ So if a person is afraid to intercede with a mere man about whom he knows nothing, how can one, who is not sure whether or not his conduct makes him worthy to be counted God’s friend, take it upon himself to be the people’s advocate before God? How can he ask pardon for others if he is not sure that his own sins have been forgiven?

Responsory

R/. Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.*
Try then to imitate God, as children of his that he loves.

V/. Tend the flock that is placed under your care, willingly as God would have you do, being examples to your flock.*
Try then to imitate God, as children of his that he loves.

Prayer

God our Father,
You reveal that those who work for peace
will be called Your children.
Through the prayers of St. Andrew Corsini,
who excelled as a peacemaker,
help us to work without ceasing
for that justice which brings true and lasting peace.

We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be called children of God, says the Lord.

Canticle of Mary

Ant. The kingdom of God consists of justice and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit; whoever serves Christ in this way pleases God and wins the esteem of all.

 

andrew corsini_guido_reni,_s._andrea_corsini,_1639_pinacoteca_bologna
Il Beato Andrea Corsini
Guido Reni (Italian, 1575-1642)
Oil on canvas, 1635-1640
Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna

 

11 December: St. Maria Maravillas of Jesus

December 11
SAINT MARIA MARAVILLAS OF JESUS
Virgin

Optional Memorial

Maria Maravillas was born at Madrid in 1891. She entered the El Escorial Carmel, Madrid on 12th October 1919. In 1924 she was inspired to found a Carmel at Cerro de los Angeles, alongside the monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. From this foundation followed nine others in Spain and one in India. She always gave first place to prayer and self-sacrifice. She had a true, passionate zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Even while living a life of poverty in the cloister she helped those who were in need, initiating apostolic, social and charitable works. In a particular way, she helped those of her own order, priests, and other religious congregations. She died in the monastery of La Aldehuela, Madrid, on 11th December 1974. She was canonized on 4th May 2003 in Madrid.

From the common of virgins or of holy women (religious)

Office of Readings

Second Reading
From the letters of Saint Maravillas of Jesus, Virgin

(Letters to her spiritual directors: 305, 254, 101, 458b)

My delight is to be with the children of men

Yesterday, Sunday, on climbing the stairs to go to the upper choir for the sung Mass, I was quite recollected, yet without any particular thought, when I heard clearly within me, My delight is to be with the children of men. These words which made a strong impression on me, I understood were not for me this time, but rather in the nature of a request the Lord was making me to offer the whole of myself to give him these souls he so much desires. It is hard to explain, but I saw clearly, that a soul which sanctifies itself becomes fruitful in attracting souls to God. This so deeply moved me that I offered with my whole heart to the Lord all my sufferings of body and soul for this purpose, despite my poverty. It then seemed to me that this offering was right, but what was strictly important was to surrender myself, wholly and completely to the divine will, so that he could do what he desired in me, and likewise I would accept the pain along with the pleasure. I seemed to understand that what pleased him was not the greatest sacrifice but rather the exact and loving fulfillment in the least detail of that will. In this I understood many things I find hard to explain, and how he wished me to be very sensitive in this fulfillment, which would carry me a long way in self-sacrifice and love.

I offered myself in such a way that nothing would excuse me, not even hell (if there you can love the Lord), but then I am so cowardly. The Lord will remedy that, since I can do no more than commit myself to Him in all my misery. I began experiencing this as a desire to commit myself for souls and to be faithful for this purpose: thinking about what he had done for them, it seemed he was saying to me I could not do much, but he could, with my help. On feeling this immense desire of the Lord for the salvation of souls, it seemed so amazing that nothing remained but to be committed to God so that He could carry out all his work in the soul and thus make it, despite its poverty, capable of giving him what he desires. Each time it became clearer to my soul so that nothing of my own remained important, except that the Lord alone be glorified.

What a treasure the Lord has given me in allowing me to live in Carmel! Here, everything is arranged with such simplicity, yet in such a way that, living it to the full, you can do everything. How can we live in the House of the Virgin, pleasing the Lord with her, yet not imitating her, as the Holy Mother desired? I felt that this is the Carmelite’s way, imitating Mary, how we must grow less, to be truly poor, self-sacrificing, humble, nothing. I felt quite deeply how Jesus gives us in his own life continual examples of sacrifice, of humiliation, of making ourselves small, yet we do not understand. I felt his mercy and zeal for souls in this way, that here is the strength that can take hold of our life through his mercy. By his grace, may I, who am so absolutely poor in everything, be well able to imitate him in this with more ease than other creatures. I seemed also to understand that these lights were not given only for myself, but also for guiding my sisters. The sole thing I do, many times in the day, is to say to the Lord that I wish to live only to love him and to please him, that I desire all that he wishes in the way that he wills.

Responsory 
Cf Mt 25:1, 2, 10; Ps 119:16; 40:10

R/. Prudent virgin whom the Bridegroom found watching with her lamp alight,
enter into the eternal nuptial banquet.
V/. I find my delight in your will,
your saving justice in the depths of my heart.
Enter into the eternal nuptial banquet.

Prayer

Lord God,
who drew Saint Maria Maravillas of Jesus
into the secrets of the heart of your Son,
grant through her intercession and example,
that we may work together for the salvation of souls,
experiencing the delights of your love.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

 

Maravillas de Jesus portrait with rule
Saint Maria Maravillas of Jesus | Credit: Discalced Carmelites

29 November: Blesseds Denis and Redemptus

November 29
BLESSEDS DENIS OF THE NATIVITY, PRIEST,
AND REDEMPTUS OF THE CROSS, RELIGIOUS

Martyrs

Optional Memorial
in the provinces of India: Memorial

Denis of the Nativity, a priest, called in the world Pierre Berthelot, was born in Honfleur in France in 1600. He was a cartographer and naval commander for the kings of Portugal and France before he joined the Discalced Carmelites in Goa in 1635. It was also at Goa that the Portuguese lay brother, Thomas Rodriguez da Cunha, born in 1598, had made his profession in 1615, taking the name Redemptus of the Cross. They were sent to the island of Sumatra (Indonesia), where, in the town of Achen (Aceh), they received the martyr’s crown on November 29, 1638.

From the common of several martyrs

Office of Readings

Second Reading
From The Ascent of Mount Carmel by Saint John of the Cross

(Bk 2, Ch 7:5—ed. Kavanaugh-Rodriguez 1979, pp. 122-24)

True self-denial means carrying Christ’s Cross

If anyone wishes to follow my way, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For he who would save his soul shall lose it, but he who loses it for me shall gain it. Oh, who can make this counsel of Our Savior understandable and practicable and attractive, that spiritual persons might become aware of the difference between the method many of them think is good and that which ought to be used in traveling this road! They are of the opinion that any kind of withdrawal from the world or reformation of life suffices. Some are content with a certain degree of virtue, perseverance in prayer, and mortification, but never achieve the nakedness, poverty, selflessness, or spiritual purity (which are all the same) that the Lord counsels us here. For they still feed and clothe their natural selves with spiritual feelings and consolations rather than divesting and denying themselves of these for God’s sake.

Through this kind of conduct, they became, spiritually speaking, enemies of the cross of Christ. A genuine spirit seeks the distasteful in God rather than the delectable, leans more toward suffering than toward consolation, more toward going without everything for God rather than toward possession. It prefers dryness and affliction to sweet consolation. It knows that this is the significance of following Christ and denying self, that the other method is perhaps a seeking of self in God—something entirely contrary to love.

If a man resolutely submits to the carrying of this cross, if he decidedly wants to find and endure trial in all things for God, he will discover in all of them great relief and sweetness. A man makes progress only through imitation of Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one goes to the Father but through him. This way is nothing other than a death to our natural selves.

Responsory

If anyone wishes to follow my way,
let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
They have persecuted me, and they will persecute you.
Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Morning Prayer

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Blessed are you when you are persecuted on my account: rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

Prayer

Father,
we celebrate the memory of Blesseds Denis and Redemptus
who died for their faithful witnessing to Christ.
Give us the strength to follow their example,
loyal and faithful to the end.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Evening Prayer

Canticle of Mary

Ant. They loved Christ in their lives and imitated Him in their death: and so they reign with Him forever.

 

 

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Photos from the convent of the Discalced Carmelite Friars in Banda Aceh, Indonesia courtesy of the Discalced Carmelite General Curia (used by permission) 

Quote of the day: 25 September

Josefa_Naval_Girbés,_Leiga_e_Terciária_Carmelita_Descalça
Josefa Naval Girbés | Image credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

The Church intones a canticle of jubilation and praise to Christ for the beatification of Josefa Naval Girbés, a virgin, and a laywoman who dedicated her life to the apostolate in her native village Algemesi in the archdiocese of Valencia, Spain. A simple woman who was docile to the breath of the Spirit, throughout the course of her long life she reached the summit of Christian perfection, dedicated to the service of her neighbor, in times that were easy for no one in the 19th century, during which she lived and developed her intense apostolic activity…

A singular characteristic of Josefa was her secular status. She, who filled cloistered convents with her disciples, remained unmarried in the world, living the evangelical principles and being an example of Christian virtues for all those sons and daughters of the Church who “are by baptism made one body with Christ and… carry out for their own part the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world” (Lumen Gentium, 31).

Saint John Paul II

Homily for the Beatification of Six Servants of God
Saint Peter’s Square, 25 September 1988

Quote of the day: 20 August

I sacrifice my days of suffering for my parish and for those who are dear to me.

Blessed Georg Häfner
Letter from the Dachau concentration camp

 

Blessed Georg Häfner was a priest of the Diocese of Würzburg and a member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS). While he was the pastor of the parish at Oberschwarzach he came into conflict with Hitler’s agents, since he would never use the typical Hitler salute and always defended the doctrine and rights of the Church. He was arrested on 31 October 1941 and taken to the Dachau concentration camp on 12 December the same year. There, as a faithful priest he was exposed to all types of torture and injustice, yet always bearing up with a heroic attitude before each humiliation and maltreatment. His letters from Dachau show his deep faith and his capacity to pardon his executioners.

Learn more about Blessed Georg Häfner here and here.

 

Georg Häfner Stolpersteine_Würzburg_(Kollegiatstift_Neumünster)
The stolperstein (memorial cobblestone) marking the 31 October 1942 arrest of Blessed Georg Häfner in Oberschwarzach, Germany and his death in the Dachau concentration camp, 20 August 1942 | 1971markus / Wikimedia Commons

20 August: Blessed Georg Häfner

August 20
BLESSED GEORG HÄFNER
Priest and Martyr

Memorial, Diocese of Würzburg

Georg Häfner was born in Würzburg in 1900. From the time he was an altar boy, he was very close to the Carmelite nuns in Würzburg, where he joined the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS), taking the name of Aloysius of the Most Blessed Sacrament. He sang his first Mass on 21st April 1924, having been ordained on 13th April of the same year. After having carried out pastoral work in various parishes, on 12th November 1934 he was appointed Pastor of the Oberschwarzach parish; during this period Hitler was coming to power. Häfner soon came into conflict with Hitler’s agents, since he would never use the typical Hitler salute, and always defended the doctrine and rights of the Church. He was arrested on 31st October 1941 and taken to the Dachau concentration camp on 12th December the same year. There, as a faithful priest, he was exposed to all types of torture and injustice, yet always bearing up with a heroic attitude before each humiliation and maltreatment. His letters from Dachau show his deep faith and his capacity to pardon his executioners. One of his last phrases from the concentration camp was: “I do not want to curse anybody, nor take vengeance, I want to be good towards everyone.” Finally, exhausted by illness and, above all, by hunger, he died on 20th August 1942.

Prayer  

Almighty God,
you chose the priest and martyr Blessed George Häfner
as a witness of your mercy
and you accepted his life’s sacrifice in captivity;
through his example may we recognize the love of the Redeemer,
love you and all people,
and forgive our enemies above all.

We ask this 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.

 

Approbatum Imprimatur
Wurzburg, 1. March 2011
+ Friedhelm Hofmann
Bishop of Wurzburg

Nota bene: Working translation only. Original texts here

 

Georg-Haefner_Dachau-ID-photo-profile-view
Blessed George Häfner’s booking photo taken by the Wurzburg Gestapo | Würzburg Diocese

 

Quote of the day: 28 May

We have the duty to assist the pope

 

In the Church, the Holy Father is infallible in matters of faith and morals. The Holy Father appoints bishops who ordain priests, and approves and establishes religious congregations. Through the pastors of the Church, all of us receive the truth of the faith, and thus there is created a unity between us here present and the Holy Father. And if we obey the pope, we obey the Lord Jesus, according to his own words addressed to Peter and the other apostles: “Whoever hears you, hears me” [Lk 10:16].

Therefore, we have the duty to assist the pope, and if we are unable to do it in other ways, let us help with prayers and good works.

Saint Raphael Kalinowski
The Church is Our Home
Conference to the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order in Wadowice
Wednesday, 29 March 1893

 

Paten_of_Płock
Chalice and paten of Konrad of Masovia | Maksymilian Fajans / Wikimedia Commons

 

Saint Raphael Kalinowski: An Introduction to his Life and Spirituality (p. 41)
Szczepan T. Praskiewicz: translated by Thomas Coonan, Michael Griffin, and Lawrence Sullivan.
ICS Publications © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc. 1998, 2016

Lenten Online Retreat 2019

Carmelite Online Retreat
Lent 2019
with 
St. Edith Stein

Teresia Benedicta a Cruce OCD

Prepare yourself for the coming Easter together with the Discalced Carmelites

Saint Teresia Benedicta of the Cross is co-patroness of Europe. Before entering Carmel and taking this name, Edith Stein already had a long life as a philosopher and lecturer. Born in Prussia in 1891, a Jew who became agnostic, she undertook a quest for truth through philosophy and the events of her life, until her discovery of Christ.

Baptized at the age of 31, she became a remarkable Catholic intellectual. Forbidden to teach by the Nazis, she entered the Carmel of Cologne in 1933 and had to flee to the Carmel of Echt in Holland in 1939. Arrested with her sister Rosa Stein, she died at the Auschwitz camp on August 9, 1942, leaving us her work and a powerful message. During this Lent, her writings and her life will nourish our meditation on this paschal journey in the footsteps of Christ.

How do I make the retreat?

Click here to access the registration page; follow the instructions and complete the registration form on the page. Click Submit, you will be registered for the retreat. You will receive a confirmation message by email. Weekly, every Friday of Lent, you will receive another email message with a new point of inspiration for the following week, along with short texts for daily prayer.

Participation in this retreat is completely free!

If you have any difficulty in registering or if there are any problems, please email the retreat coordinators at retreat-online@karmel.at

With best wishes for a Lent filled with blessings from Heaven,

The Discalced Carmelite Friars of Paris and Austria

The retreat texts were written by Fr. Philippe Huguele ocd, from the Carmelites of Paris. The English translation is by Joanne Brydson ocds (Canada). 
CameliteRetreatOnline2019
Saint Edith Stein will be our guide for the Carmelite Online Retreat for Lent 2019 | To register, visit www.retreat-online.karmel.at

February 4: Blessed Marie-Eugène of the Child Jesus

February 4
BLESSED MARIE-EUGENE OF THE CHILD JESUS
Priest

Memorial

February 4 is the Memorial of Blessed Marie Eugene for the Carmelites and the Diocese of Avignon. For the Institute Notre Dame de Vie, it is celebrated as a Feast.

The texts for the liturgical propers for the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours have been approved in Italian but have not yet been translated into English.

To learn more, visit the website dedicated to promoting the cause of canonization of Blessed Marie-Eugene.

Quote of the day: 30 January

Honorius, Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God — to his beloved sons, the prior and the brother hermits of Mount Carmel, health and the apostolic blessing. We enjoin you and your successors, for the remission of your sins, to observe in the future, as faithfully as you can with the help of God, the rule which was given to you by the Patriarch of Jerusalem of happy memory, and which, as you have humbly contended, you received before the General Council.

Honorius III
Ut Vivendi Normam, 30 January 1226

Quote of the day: 26 January

Albert, called by God’s favor to be patriarch of the church of Jerusalem, bids health in the Lord and the blessing of the Holy Spirit to his beloved sons in Christ, B. and the other hermits under obedience to him, who live near the spring on Mount Carmel.

Saint Albert of Jerusalem
The Rule of St Albert, Chapter 1

Quote of the day: 16 January

You have entered an Order so holy and perfect, that by keeping its rules and constitutions faithfully, one will go directly from her deathbed to her home in heaven.

Servant of God Anne of Jesus
Autobiography of Blessed Mother Anne of St. Bartholomew

death of st teresa_carmenalto_quito
Death of Saint Teresa
Quito School, 17th c.
Mural painting
Upper cloister, Carmel of Carmen Alto, Quito
therese - i came to save souls spanish
Sí, el sufrimiento me tendió los brazos, y yo me arrojé en ellos con amor…
A los pies de Jesús-Hostia, en el interrogatorio que precedió a mi
profesión, declaré lo que venía a hacer en el Carmelo: «He venido para
salvar almas, y, sobre todo, para orar por los sacerdotes».  (Ms A, 69v)

Quote of the day: 15 January

She helped me… it is a very particular aspect of the spiritual wealth of the Virgin, the Mother of Christ, for her Carmelite mission, which begins on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land and is linked to a garment. This garment is called the holy Scapular. I owe much in my youth to this Carmelite Scapular.

Saint John Paul II
Remarks to the parishioners of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Rome
15 January 1989

Quote of the day: 13 January

The power of men is extended only to what concerns my body, but God alone has jurisdiction over my soul.

Blessed Sister St. Francis Xavier
(Elisabeth-Julie V
erolot)
To Quell the Terror, Chapter 10

Quote of the day: 10 January

The time for my reception of the Habit had arrived. I was accepted by the conventual chapter, but how could we dream of any kind of ceremony? Already they were talking of giving me the Habit without my going outside the cloister, and then they decided to wait. Against all expectation, our dear Father recovered from his second attack, and the Bishop set the ceremony for January 10.

St Therese of the Child Jesus
Story of a Soul, Ms A, 72r

9 January: St. Andrew Corsini

January 9
SAINT ANDREW CORSINI
Bishop

Optional Memorial

Andrew was born at the beginning of the fourteenth century in Florence and entered the Carmelite Order there. He was elected provincial of Tuscany at the general chapter of Metz in 1348. He was made bishop of Fiesole on October 13th, 1349, and gave the Church a wonderful example of love, apostolic zeal, prudence, and love of the poor. He died on January 6th, 1374.

From the Common of Pastors

Office of Readings

The First Reading
James 2:1-9, 14-24

A reading from the Letter of St. James

Faith without works is dead

My brothers, do not try to combine faith in Jesus Christ, our glorified Lord, with the making of distinctions between classes of people. Now suppose a man comes into your synagogue, beautifully dressed and with a gold ring on, and at the same time a poor man comes in, in shabby clothes, and you take notice of the well-dressed man, and say, ‘Come this way to the best seats;’ then you tell the poor man, ‘Stand over there’ or ‘You can sit on the floor by my footrest.’ Can’t you see that you have used two different standards in your mind, and turned yourselves into judges, and corrupt judges at that?

Listen, my dear brothers: it was those who are poor according to the world that God chose, to be rich in faith and to be the heirs to the kingdom which he promised to those who love him. In spite of this, you have no respect for anybody who is poor. Isn’t it always the rich who are against you? Isn’t it always their doing when you are dragged before the court? Aren’t they the ones who insult the honorable name to which you have been dedicated? Well, the right thing to do is to keep the supreme law of scripture: “you must love your neighbor as yourself;” but as soon as you make distinctions between classes of people, you are committing sin, and under condemnation for breaking the Law.

Take the case, my brothers, of someone who has never done a single good act but claims that he has faith. Will that faith save him? If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on, and one of you says to them, ‘I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty,’ without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that? Faith is like that: if good works do not go with it, it is quite dead.

This is the way to talk to people of that kind: ‘You say you have faith and I have good deeds’; I will prove to you that I have faith by showing you my good deeds — now you prove to me that you have faith without any good deeds to show. You believe in the one God — that is creditable enough, but the demons have the
same belief, and they tremble with fear. Do realize, you senseless man, that faith without good deeds is useless. You surely know that Abraham our father was justified by his deed, because he ‘offered his son Isaac on the altar’? There you see it: faith and deeds were working together; his faith became perfect by what he did. This is what scripture really means when it says: ‘Abraham put his faith in God, and this was counted as making him justified’; and that is why he was called ‘the friend of God.’

You see now that it is by doing something good, and not only by believing, that a man is justified.

Responsory

R/. Pure, unspoiled religion in the eyes of God our Father is this: *
you must come to the help of orphans and widows in their need and keep yourself uncontaminated by the world

V/. Quick to be generous, he gave to the poor; his righteousness remains forever. *
you must come to the help of orphans and widows in their need and keep yourself uncontaminated by the world

The Second Reading
Bk 1,10

A reading from The Pastoral Rule of Pope St. Gregory the Great

Portrait of a good pastor

It is important that a man who is set up as a model of how to live should be one who is dead to all the passions of the flesh and lives by the spirit, turns his back on what the world has to offer, is unafraid of hardship, and is attracted only by the interior life. He does not let his body shirk its duty out of frailty; he does not become depressed when abused, for he realizes that things of this kind further his true ends. He does not readily covet what is not his, but with what he does possess he is generous. His loving nature is quick to forgive, though he never allows himself to be misled into condoning more than he should. While he does no wrong himself, he grieves over the misdeeds of others as if they were his own. His compassion for others when they are sick is heartfelt, and he is just as glad when good befalls his neighbor as when his own interests are advanced. His behavior is so exemplary in all respects that he need never fear being made to blush, even for past faults. He so conducts his life that those whose hearts are in need of refreshment can always find it in the guidance he gives. He is so well versed in the art of prayer that he can obtain anything he asks for from the Lord; it is as though he were singled out by a prophetic voice saying to him: “While you are still speaking I will say, ‘See, I am here.’”

If someone happened to come and ask one of us to intercede for him with an influential man we did not know and who was annoyed with him, we should at once say: ‘I cannot come and intercede — I do not know what he is like.’ So if a person is afraid to intercede with a mere man about whom he knows nothing, how can one, who is not sure whether or not his conduct makes him worthy to be counted God’s friend, take it upon himself to be the people’s advocate before God? How can he ask pardon for others if he is not sure that his own sins have been forgiven?

Responsory

R/. Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.*
Try then to imitate God, as children of his that he loves.

V/. Tend the flock that is placed under your care, willingly as God would have you do, being examples to your flock.*
Try then to imitate God, as children of his that he loves.

Prayer

God our Father,
You reveal that those who work for peace
will be called Your children.
Through the prayers of St. Andrew Corsini,
who excelled as a peacemaker,
help us to work without ceasing
for that justice which brings true and lasting peace.

We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be called children of God, says the Lord.

Canticle of Mary

Ant. The kingdom of God consists of justice and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit; whoever serves Christ in this way pleases God and wins the esteem of all.

 

andrew corsini_guido_reni,_s._andrea_corsini,_1639_pinacoteca_bologna

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