July 15, 2017 – Memorial of St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
On this feast day of St. Bonaventure, I offer some history of this little-known saint.
Born in Bagnorea in 1221, Saint Bonaventure was baptized John, but received the name Bonaventure when he became a Franciscan at the age of 22. Little is known about his childhood, but we do know that his parents were Giovanni di Fidanza and Maria Ritell. It seems that his father was a physician and a man of means. While Saint Francis died about five years after the saint’s birth, he is credited with healing Bonaventure as a boy of a serious illness.
Saint Bonaventure’s teaching career came to a halt when the Friars elected him to serve as their General Minister. His 17 years of service were not easy as the Order was embroiled in conflicts over the interpretation of poverty. Some friars even ended up in heresy saying that Saint Francis and his community were inaugurating the era of the Holy Spirit which was to replace Jesus, the Church, and Scripture. But because he was a man of prayer and a good administrator, Saint Bonaventure managed to structure the Order through effective legislation. But more importantly, he offered the Friars an organized spirituality based on the vision and insights of Saint Francis. Always a Franciscan at heart and a mystical writer, Bonaventure managed to unite the pastoral, practical aspects of life with the doctrines of the Church. Thus, there is a noticeable warmth to his teachings and writings that make him very appealing.
Shortly before he ended his service as General Minister, Pope Gregory X created him a Cardinal and appointed him bishop of Albano. But a little over a year later, while participating in the Second Council of Lyon, Saint Bonaventure suddenly died on July 15, 1274. There is a theory that he was poisoned.
Saint Bonaventure left behind a structured and renewed Franciscan Order and a body of work all of which glorifies his major love—Jesus.
July 14, 2017 – Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
On the feast day of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, we will pray the following collect at Mass:
Lord God, You called the virgin Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, to shine among the American Indian people as an example of innocence of life. Through her intercession, may all peoples of every tribe, tongue and nation, having been gathered into Your Church, proclaim your greatness in one song of praise. 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. Amen
Powerful unifying words for a troubled nation and world…”proclaim your greatness in one song of praise.”
Source: Roman Missal, from the collect of the Mass in honor of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.
July 13, 2017
“Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” (Matthew 10:7-15)
I once heard someone say, “Everything we have is on loan from God.”
We tend to be our own biggest fans. We take credit for all of the talent we possess and all of the success we enjoy. We deserve everything we have because we earned it, and we are entitled to everything else that will come our way in the future.
How did we get his way? When did we lose sight of the role God has played in the design of our lives?
Every breath we take, everything we own, even who we are, is a gift from God. They are products of His grace.
When we pass these gifts on to others, it becomes a prayer of gratitude.
“Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
July 12, 2017
Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. (Matthew 10:1)
I think it is important for us to remember that the apostles of Jesus were ordinary men. They were not chosen because they were special or had unique talents. They were ordinary men who were willing to answer the call of Jesus Christ. When Jesus said, “Follow me,” they dropped their fishing nets, left their fields, or stepped away from their lucrative tax collecting jobs and followed Him.
We know the rest of the story. The apostles doubted, they questioned, they denied, and they lacked faith. All the while, Jesus loved them and called them His own.
Jesus calls us, ordinary people, to follow Him as well. He understands that we are sinners, broken people who doubt and lack faith at times. In spite of that, Jesus offers us extraordinary love and calls us His own.
May we, and all ordinary people, have the courage to accept the authority He offers us. In so doing, we serve as witnesses to others who may be doubting their own ability to respond to the love of Jesus Christ.
Reminder to my followers in Indianapolis:
In the first 24 hours following last year’s horrific automobile accident, the BCHS boys received nearly 150 units of blood.
In an effort to “pay it forward,” Bishop Chatard will be hosting the Indiana Blood Center Bloodmobile on Wednesday, July 12 from 4:00-8:00 p.m.
If you can contribute to the cause by donating blood, you may RSVP for a time slot by clicking on the following link: https://www.donorpoint.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/114722
July 11, 2017
Today is the Memorial of St. Benedict. The following is a prayer attributed to him:
Gracious and holy Father,
please give me:
intellect to understand you;
reason to discern you;
diligence to seek you;
wisdom to find you;
a spirit to know you;
a heart to meditate upon you;
ears to hear you;
eyes to see you;
a tongue to proclaim you;
a way of life pleasing to you;
patience to wait for you;
and perseverance to look for you.
a perfect end,
your holy presence.
A blessed resurrection,
And life everlasting.
July 10, 2017
“My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.
A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.”
Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Your faith has saved you.” (Matthew 9:18-26)
Two examples of great faith are offered in today’s Gospel. First, a synagogue official asks Jesus to bring his daughter back to life. He has faith that Jesus can do this by simply placing His hand on her. Second, a long-suffering woman has faith she can be cured by simply touching the tassel on Jesus’ cloak. Both had total trust in the power of Jesus Christ.
Hearing of such faith makes me ashamed of my own tenuous faith. My inability to give up control sends the message to Jesus that I am not sure He can provide all that I need. Each time I ignore His help and instead rely on myself, my lack of trust is revealed.
I pray for the courage to place all my trust in Jesus, and perhaps someday hear His words: “Your faith has saved you.”