Laudteur Iesus Christus!
Nunc et in aeternum! Amen.
Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Well, day one of VBS went well. I started out with a crew of five and now have seven chilluns who range in age from preschool to fifth grade. They are really good kids and I think we’re going to have a fun week. I also have a great high school crew assistant so this will be a nice week.
Somehow, through the grace of God, I woke up on time at about 5am-ish. I had a rather strange wake-up call. I was having a rather scary dream when suddenly during the dream I start to hear my Mozart ringtone. It starts out whisper soft but then gets louder and louder until I wake up and saw my cell phone lit up. God provides.
Got out of bed. Got ready. Fought the gawdawful collicks that the Lord deigned to give my hair and went to 7am Mass.
After Mass, I prayed Office of Readings and then got out my iPod and prayed Lauds in Latin. I love praying Lauds in Latin. I love praying my Office in Latin. My favorite hour to do in Latin is Compline. I get my Latin Divine Office from the Vatican Radio feed that I have loaded to iTunes so it’s always up-to-date.
After I spent an hour with the Lord, I put my stuff away and went to get things ready for VBS.
Following a nice day with the kids, I made my way home since I had my phone interview with Admissions at the Seminary.
Got home, dried off the sweat that had accumulated on the back of my neck, and got ready for my phone call.
Then the phone rang, ’twas the Seminary.
The chat went well. She wanted my educational and spiritual background. What I planned to do with my MA and what led me to choose SHMS. She then gave me a list of things to do before 15 August; I already kinda knew what they were but it was good to have them confirmed.
With the help of Our Lord and Our Lady, I can do this. I will do this. I need to do this. I have waited long enough.
All right, now let’s get down to our novena:
Let’s start with our prayer:
O Holy Mary, my Mistress,
into thy blessed trust and special keeping,
into the bosom of thy tender mercy,
this day, everyday of my life and at the hour of my death,
I commend my soul and body;
to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life,
that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits,
all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for us!
Today, we are going to consider how saints like Aloysius who lived in past centuries can still be relevant to people today.
So many who do not understand why Catholics are so devoted to saints, you know, besides the whole “You Catholics worship statues” thing, say that persons who lives in centuries past could not possibly have any relevance to the experiences of people today.
But with that mentality, they miss a very obvious point: man is still a sinner.
Sin is as much a part of the world today (if not more) than it was during the time of the early Church, Middle Ages, Renaissance (the time of Aloysius), etc.
Men and women become saints because they rise above the fallen-ness of the world. They don’t just “go with the flow,” they went against the current of the culture of their time and followed in the footsteps of Christ Himself.
Aloysius was an aristocrat. He was of a noble lineage that possessed much wealth, power, and prestige. He could have very easily just gone along with the world that surrounded him that promoted vanity, greed, and, in many cases, other sinful things. But he didn’t.
And he suffered greatly for it.
And though he suffered for it, he knew that it was worth all the suffering in the world to doff the passing crown of the world (including the Marquisate) for the eternal crown of glory that he would earn for being a faithful follower of Christ and His Church.
Aloysius was surrounded by sinfulness, excess, and temptation. When he was at court, he was surrounded by persons who were controlled by their wealth and power when he was determined to give up both in order to become a Jesuit and serve the Church. He was surrounded by people who were controlled by their baser drives when he was determined to preserve his virginity and purity of heart and mind. He was surrounded by persons who had bad habits such as drinking and gambling (his father was a compulsive gambler with many debts) but he was determined to rise above his fallen human nature and unite his life more perfectly day-by-day to that of the perfection of Christ.
Sure some of Aloysius’ methods seem kind of extreme (the whole “not looking at any woman” thing could be an example) but its the underlying idea that remains the same: it is possible for an individual to go beyond his fallen nature and practice virtue to a heroic degree.
And it does not require anything extraordinary. We don’t need to have private revelations like Joan of Arc or visions of Our Lady like Aloysius. We don’t need to have long ecstasies. We need only live our lives with extraordinary and Christ-like love. When we fall, and we have the proclivity to do so, it takes a saint to pick oneself up, ask forgiveness, and work toward amending one’s faults in the future. To be a saint, we must not allow ourselves to become mired in our own sinfulness. We must rise above it.
Saintliness does not belong to one or another era in history. Saintliness is timeless. It’s not easy. It’s not a prance through the flowers. But what “thing” that is truly worthwhile not include suffering in one way or another? Any passing suffering we may endure in this life (though it may seem like it’s unbearable) is nothing compared to the glory that awaits us in Heaven.
Remember, Christ has saved a place for us in Heaven! Had He not prepared a place for us, would He have promised to bring us to it Himself? Basically, Christ does not leave us to our own devices to attain that reward. Christ will guide us and give us the grace we need every step of the way. He did it for Aloysius. He did it for Joan of Arc. He did it for Maria Goretti. He did it for all the saints of different eras in history. He will most certainly do it for us. The Lord wants us to be saints. And He gives us the saints as examples of how to do it and as proofs that it is possible for each of us to do!
Thank you, Lord, for Your gift of saints like Aloysius who teach us that holiness is attainable regardless of the situation or our state of life!
All right. This was day 6 but tonight I will post day 7. Don’t get me started on what happened last night. It was not pretty.
Have a wonderful day!