New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Monday, August 8, 2011

St. Hormisdas - 8th August 2011

Isdegerdes, king of Persia, renewed the persecution which Cosroes II had raised against the church. It is not easy, says Theodoret, to describe or express the cruelties which were then invented against the disciples of Christ. Some were flayed alive, others had the skin torn from off their backs only, others off their faces from the forehead to the chin. Some were stuck all over with reeds split in two, and appeared like porcupines; then these reeds were forcibly plucked out, so as to bring off the skin with them. Some were bound hands and feet, and in that condition thrown into great vaults which were filled with hungry rats, mice, or other such vermin, which gnawed and devoured them by degrees, without their being able to defend themselves. Nevertheless, these cruelties hindered not the Christians from running with joy to meet death, that they might gain eternal life. Isdegerdes dying, the persecution was carried on by his son Varanes; and Hormisdas was one of the most illustrious victims of his tyranny and malice.

He was of the chief nobility among the Persians, son to the governor of a province, and of the race of the Achemenides. Varanes sent for him, and commanded him to renounce Jesus Christ. Hormisdas answered him: “That this would offend God, and transgress the laws of charity and justice; that whoever dares to violate the supreme law of the sovereign Lord of all things, would more easily betray his king, who is only a mortal man. If the latter be a crime deserving the worst of deaths, what must it be to renounce the God of the universe?” The king was enraged at this wise and just answer, and caused him to be deprived of his office, honours, and goods, and even stripped of his very clothes, except a small piece of linen that went round his waist; and ordered him in this naked condition to drive and look after the camels of the army.

A long time after, the king, looking out of his chamber window, saw Hormisdas all sunburnt, and covered with dust, and calling to mind his former dignity and riches, and the high station of his father, sent for him, ordered a shirt to be given him, and said to him: “Now at least lay aside thy obstinacy, and renounce the carpenter’s son.” The saint transported with holy zeal, tore the shirt or tunic, and threw it away, saying: “If you thought that I should so easily be tempted to abandon the law of God, keep your fine present with your impiety.” The king, incensed at his boldness, banished him again with indignation from his presence. St. Hormisdas happily finished his course; and is named in the Roman Martyrology.

Excerpts from 'The Joy of Loving' by Bl. Teresa of Calcutta

'Let us not be afraid to be humble, small, helpless to prove our love for God. The cup of water you give the sick, the way you lift a dying man, the way you feed a baby, the way you teach a dull child, the way you give medicine to a sufferer of leprosy, the joy with which you smile at your own at home - all this is GOd's love in the world today.'

' In Minneapolis, a woman in wheelchair, suffering continuos convulsions from cerebral palsy asked me what people like her could do for others. I told her: You can do the most. You can do more than any of us because your suffering is united with the suffering of Christ on the Cross and it brings strength to all of us. There is a tremendous strength that is growing in the world through this continual sharing, praying together, suffering together and working together.'

'There are sick and crippled people who cannot do anything to share in the work. So they adopt a Sister or a Brother, who then involves the sick co-worker fully in whatever he or she does. The two become like one person, and they call each other their second self. I have a second self in Belgium, and when I was last there, she said to me, 'I am sure you are going to have a heavy time, with all the walking and working and talking. I know this from the pain I have in my spine.' That was just before her seventeenth operation. Each time I have something special to do, it is she behind me that gives me all the strength and courage to do it.'

'God dwells in us. It doesn't matter where you are as long as you are clean of heart. Clean of heart means openness, that complete freedom, that detachment that allows you to love GOd without hindrance, without obstacles. When sin comes into our lives that is a personal obstacle between us and GOd. Sin is nothing but slavery.'

' To doctors: Have you experienced the joy of loving? You can do that as doctors. YOU have a beautiful opportunity when the sick come to you with great trust and confidence not only to receive a few tablets from you but to receive your tender love and care and especially when you have to make a sacrifice to look after the poor. Jesus said: 'Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me.'

'There is much suffering in the world - physical, material, mental. The suffering of some can be blamed on the greed of others. The material and physical suffering is suffering from hunger, from homelessness, from all kinds of diseases. But the greatest suffering is being lonely, feeling unloved, having no one. I have come more and more to realize that it is being unwanted that is the worse disease that any human being can ever experience.'

'To teachers: Do not neglect the weaker children. Consider the problems of the slow-witted, the dropouts - what will they become in society, if you do not look after them? Among the poor we have the rich poor - children who are better gifted. The rich poor child can still have a place but it is the child who is so dull, stupid, hungry that I must work for.'

'Let us beg form Our Lady to make our hearts 'meek and humble' like her Son's was. We learn humility through accepting humiliations cheerfully. Do not let a chance pass you by. It is so easy to be proud, harsh, moody and selfish, but we have been created for greater things. Why stoop down to things that will spoil the beauty of our hearts?'

'Nowadays, young people especially, want to see. You speak of love, you speak of prayer. They want to know how you love and how you pray, and what compassion means to you. That is how they judge. How you really live the life of a co-worker, a carrier of God's love.'

'Humility always radiates the greatness and glory of God. Through humility we grow in love. Humility is the beginning of sanctity.'

'Don't neglect your family. Be at home. If today so many young people are misled, it is because the grandparents are in some institution, mother is so busy that she is not there when the child comes home from school. There is nobody to receive them, or play with them and they go back into the streets where there are drugs and drinks and so many other things. It is the same everywhere. Everything depends on how much we love one another.'

' Please don't kill the child. I want the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and give him or her to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child. At our children's home in Calcutta alone, we have save 3000 children from abortion. these children have brought such love and joy to their adoptive parents and have grown up so full of love and joy.'

'When we have nothing to give, let us give Him that nothingness.  Let us all remain as empty as possible, so that God can fill us. Even God cannot fill what is already full. God won't force Himself on us. YOu are filling the world with the love God has given you.'

'The very fact that God has placed a certain soul in our way is a sign that God wants us to do something for him or her. It is not chance; it has been planned by God. We are bound by conscience to help him or her.'

'We have small 'listening groups' of co-workers who go to the homes of old people and sit down with them and let them talk. very old people love to have somebody listen to them and let them talk, even if they have to tell the story of thirty years ago. To listen, when nobody else wants to listen, is a very beautiful thing.'

'It is easy to smile at people outside your own home. It is so easy to take care of the people that you don't know well. It is difficult to be thoughtful and kind and smile and be loving to your own in the house day after day, especially when we are tired and in a bad temper or a bad mood. We all have these moments and that is the time that Christ comes to us in a distressing disguise.'

'Once we take our eyes away from ourselves, from our interests, from our own rights, privileges, ambitions - then they will become clear to see Jesus around us.'

'Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for god loves a cheerful giver. he gives most who gives with joy. If in your work you have difficulties accept them with joy, with a big smile. The best way to show your gratitude to God and people is to accept everything with joy.'

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Excerpts from "The Joy in Loving" by Bl. Teresa of Calcutta

'Keep the joy of loving God in your heart and share this joy with all your meet especially your family. Be holy - let us pray'

Lord give me this seeing faith, then my work will never be monotonous. I will find joy in humouring the fancies and gratifying the wishes of all poor sufferers. O beloved sick, how doubly dear you are to me, when you personify Christ; and what a privilege is mine to be allowed to tend you.

It is not enough to say: 'I love GOd' I also have to love my neighbour. In the Scriptures, St John says that you are a liar if you say you love God but do not love your neighbour. How can you love God whom you do not see, if you do not love your neighbour whom you see, whom you touch, with whom you live? And he uses a very big word. 'You are a liar.' It is one of those words that is frightening to read, and yet it is really true.

It is very important for us to realize that love, to be true, has to hurt. I must be willing to give whatever it takes not to harm other people and, in fact, to do good to them. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise there is no true love in me and I bring injustice, not peace to those around me.

Charity begins today. Today somebody is suffering, today somebody is in the street, today somebody is hungry. Our work is for today, yesterday has gone, tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today to make Jesus known, loved, served, fed, clothed, sheltered. Do not wait for tommorow. Tomorrow we will not have them if we do not feed them today.

Sometime ago a woman came with her child to me and said: 'Mother, I went to two or three places to beg for food, for we have not eaten for three days but they told me that I was young and I should work and earn my living. No one gave me anything.' I went to get some food for her and by the time I returned, the baby in her arms has died of hunger.

Everything starts form prayer. Without asking God for love, we cannot possess love and still less are we able to give it to others. Just as people today are speaking so much about the poor but they do not know or talk to the poor, we too cannot talk so much about prayer and yet not know how to pray.

How do we learn to pray? When Jesus was asked by His disciples how to pray, He did not teach them any methods or techniques. He said that we should speak to God as to our Father, a loving Father. Let us say this prayer and live it: Our Father who are in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. They will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

It is simple yet so beautiful. Is this prayer fitting me? Can i say this prayer with an open heart, with a clean heart? Everything is there: God, myself, my neighbour. If I forgive them I can pray. There are no complications and yet we complicate our lives so much, by so many additions.

To students: I pray that all those young people who have graduated, do not carry just a piece of paper with them but that they carry with them love, peace and joy. That they become the sunshine of God's love to our people, the hope of eternal happiness and the burning flame of love wherever they go. That they become carriers of God's love. That they be able to give what they have received. For they have received not to keep but to share.

Have a deep compassion for people. To be able to have a heart full of compassion we need to pray. Especially be kind, be loving to the poor. We think we do so much for the poor, but it is they who make us rich. We are in debt to them. Do you want to do something beautiful for God? This is a person who needs you. This is your chance.

Try to put in the hearts of your children a love for the home. Make them long to be with their families. So much sin could be avoided if our people really loved their homes.

I believe God loved the world through us - through you and through me. We use Mother Teresa'a name; it is only a name, but we are real co-workers and carriers of His love. Today God loves the world through us. Especially in times like these when people are trying to make God 'was', it is you and I, by our love, by the purity of our lives, by out compassion, who prove to the world that God 'is'.