August 8 – St. Dominic

Today is the Feast of Saint Dominic

From the Office of Readings:

Frequently he made a special personal petition that God would deign to grant him a genuine charity, effective in caring for and obtaining the salvation of men. For he believed that only then would he be truly a member of Christ, when he had given himself totally for the salvation of men, just as the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of all, had offered himself completely for our salvation. So, for this work, after a lengthy period of careful and provident planning, he founded the Order of Friars Preachers.

In his conversations and letters he often urged the brothers of the Order to study constantly the Old and New Testaments. He always carried with him the gospel according to Matthew and the epistles of Paul, and so well did he study them that he almost knew them from memory.

Two or three times he was chosen bishop, but he always refused, preferring to live with his brothers in poverty. Throughout his life, he preserved the honour of his virginity. He desired to be scourged and cut to pieces, and so die for the faith of Christ. Of him Pope Gregory IX declared: “I knew him as a steadfast follower of the apostolic way of life. There is no doubt that he is in heaven, sharing in the glory of the apostles themselves”.


Books by Michael Dubruiel

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God – 24 a

This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel. The previous posts are below and in the archives to the right. This is the 24th step:

(24) Not to entertain deceit in the heart.

Our Lord is the way, the truth and the life. Anything that tempts us toward falseness is not of Him. Again, St. Benedict warns us not even to “entertain” the idea of deceit in our emotions, symbolized by the heart.

Everyone deserves the truth. As Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and it shall set you free.”

Unfortunately many people do not believe that the truth is helpful to others. To quote a phrase from the movie A Few Good Men, that was a favorite of students that I once taught Ethics to, “You can’t handle the truth,” seems to be most people’s guiding principle.

Doctors are not honest with patients who come to them expecting honesty. Parents, sometimes keep the truth from their children, leading them to search for it elsewhere. Even bishops now are not known for standing for the truth but rather hiding and trying to conceal it.

The result of such deceit lives with us for years. It destroys our capacity to trust. One can see how it could destroy a tight knit community like a monastery, but we should not let that excuse us.

A meditation on the effects of deceit that we have been on the receiving end might help us to appreciate why as St. Benedict counsels us, we should not even entertain the idea of being that way to anyone.

Everyone deserves the truth. The truth is a good and valuable commodity. Whatever perceived good we might think that hiding the truth from someone might bring, usually back fires.

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist – part 24

From How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel

From Chapter 3 – Adore. Part 11

F U R T H E R H E L P S

1. Keep Your Focus on Jesus

When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert, Our Lord rebuked the devil saying, “Begone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall  worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve’”(Matthew 4:10).

When you are tempted to worship anything else, no matter how lofty it might seem, call to mind this incident from Our Lord’s life.

2. Learn from the Blessed Virgin Mary

When the Blessed Virgin Mary was called “Blessed among women” by her cousin Elisabeth she responded with “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” (Luke 1:46–47). She pointed to God and worshiped only him.

Following Mary’s example, we should seek to “decrease” in order that God may “increase” as we adore him above all.

3. Foster an Attitude of Adoration

St. Paul told the Thessalonians to Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God

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in Christ Jesus for you”(1 Thessalonians 5:16–18).When we foster this attitude our hearts will be focused on adoring God at every moment of our lives.

4. Developing a Eucharistic Spirituality

A concrete way to prefer the love of Christ throughout the day when faced with countless other “loves” is to hear the words Jesus spoke to Peter addressed to yourself: “Do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15).

5. A Prayer for Today

Recite this prayer of St. Teresa of Ávila often:

Let nothing trouble you, let nothing make you afraid.

All things pass away.

God never changes.

Patience obtains everything.

God alone is enough.

Pope Benedict on the Angels

Brilliant! From Asia News Italy:

In his moving homily the pope recalled that in the early Church – and in Revelations – bishops are referred to as “angels”.  Just as angles, explained the pope, bishops must lead humanity to God; they must knock on the door to their hearts to announce Christ; they must heal the wounds of relations between man and woman and save them from sin with reconciliation and forgiveness.

Throughout his entire discourse the pontiff referred to this similitude, starting with the names of the three Archangels, which contains the suffix “El”, which in Hebrew is the name of God.  “God – said the pope – is written in their names, in their very nature…. they are His messengers.  They bring God to mankind, they reveal the heavens and thus, they reveal earth….. the Angels speak to man about what constitutes his true being, what is often is often covered or buried in his life.  They call man to himself, touching him on God’s behalf”.  And he added: “In this way even we humans must become angels for one another – angels who lead us from the wrong path and guide us once again towards God…..A bishop must be a man of prayer, who intercedes on behalf of mankind with God”.

Benedict XVI then went on to highlight the characteristics of the three Archangels of the feast (the only ones named in the Bible), illustrating other aspects of the Bishop’s role.

Michael (“Who is as God?”) “defends the cause of the one God against the dragon’s presumption, the “ancient serpent” as his called by John.  It is the serpent’s continuous attempts to make men believe that God must disappear, in order for making to obtain greatness; that God stands in the way of our freedom and so we must be rid of Him”.

In reality, explains the pontiff, “he who puts God aside, does not make mankind great, rather he denies mankind his dignity.  And thus, man becomes an unsuccessful product of evolution”.

This is why, adds the pope; “it is the Bishop’s duty, as a man of God, to make space in the world for God against those who would negate Him and in doing so defend the greatness of man”.  And again: “Faith in God defends man from all of his weaknesses and inadequacies: God’s radiance shines on every individual”.

 Gabriel (“Man of God”) is the archangel who announces the Good News to Mary.  He said the pope “is the messenger of the incarnation of God.  He knocks on Mary’s door …… repeatedly God knocks on the human heart ….. on the world’s door and on the door to the heart of every individual.  He knocks waiting to enter”. And turning to the candidates the pope added: “Dear friends, it is your duty to knock on the man’s hearts in Christ’s name. By entering in union with Christ, you will be able to take on Gabriel’s role: bringing Christ’s call to men”.

Raphael (“God heals”) is the archangel healer, protagonist of the Book of Tobias.  The pope recalls that Raphael heals the relationship between Tobias and Sarah, marked by the curse of death: “he heals the wounded union between man and woman. He heals their love.  He crushes the demons which tine and time again attempt to destroy their love.  He purifies the atmosphere between the two and gifts them the ability to welcome and accept one another always”. “In the New Testament – recalls the pontiff – the order of marriage, established in creation and threatened in a multifaceted way by sin, is healed by the fact that Christ gathers it into his redeeming love.   He makes marriage a sacrament: His love, which takes on the cross for us, is the saving strength, which in the midst of confusion, gifts us the ability to be reconciled, purifies the atmosphere and heals all wounds”.  The bishop (and indeed every priest) “is entrusted with the duty of guiding men towards the reconciling power of Christ’s love.  He must be the “healing angel” who helps them to anchor their love to the sacrament and live their love with renewed commitment drawn from the sacrament”.

 “The book of Tobias – added the pope – speaks of the healing of blind eyes.  We all know that today we are threatened with blindness to God…… healing this blinded through the message of the faith and witness of love, is Raphael’s service which is entrusted each and every day to priests and in a particular way to bishops.  Thus we are spontaneously led to think of the sacrament of reconciliation and penitence, which in the deepest meaning of the word, is a haling sacrament.  The true wound of the soul, in fact is sin.  And only is a forgiveness in virtue of the power of God, in virtue of the power of Christ’s love exists, can we be healed, can we be redeemed”.

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