Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on December 22, 2009

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 1:46-56

Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home.

Reflection on the gospel reading: Mary comes to her cousin Elizabeth as a young pregnant woman. Her yes to God well may have caused her a loss of face among some members of her community: for instance, Matthew’s gospel tells us that Joseph doubted her. That someone believed her and credited her story, as Elizabeth did in yesterday’s gospel, must have been an immense relief to a very young woman in a difficult situation. The Magnificat reflects her joy that she was understood. It is an experience that all of us have had, that is, relief when someone has understood our situation when other people have not. The Magnificat is an expression of joy at being understood.

There are many lessons we can draw from this gospel passage. When we recognize that someone truly understands us, our joy is best experienced as a sign of God’s presence and expressed as thanksgiving to God. Even more, we always can strive, as Elizabeth did, to understand the circumstances that cause people to do the things they do and give them the benefit of any doubt we have. It is a kind of gift-giving all of us can afford to do.

Saint of the day: Frances Xavier Cabrini was born in 1850 at Sant’ Angelo Lodigiani in Lombardy, Italy. One of thirteen children raised on a farm, she received a convent education and training as a teacher. She tried to become a religious at age 18, but poor health prevented her. A priest asked her to teach at a girl’s school, the House of Providence Orphanage in Cadagono, Italy, which she did for six years. She took religious vows in 1877 and acquitted herself so well at her work that when the orphanage closed in 1880, her bishop asked her to found the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to care for poor children in schools and hospitals. She came to the United States to carry on this mission.

Mother Cabrini and six Sisters arrived in New York in 1889. They worked among immigrants, especially Italians. Mother Cabrini founded 67 institutions, including schools, hospitals, and orphanages in the United States, Europe, and South America. Like many of the people with whom she worked, Mother became a United States citizen during her life, and after her death, she was the first US citizen to be declared a saint. She died December 22, 1917 at Chicago, Illinois, USA of malaria and is interred at the very northern tip of the island of Manhattan at 701 Fort Washington Avenue in New York City.

Spiritual reading: Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ has come uninvited. But because he cannot be at home in it – because he is out of place in it, and yet must be in it – his place is with those others who do not belong, who are rejected because they are regarded as weak; and with those who are discredited, who are denied the status of persons, and are tortured, exterminated. With those for whom there is no room, Christ is present in this world. (The Time of No Room by Thomas Merton)

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