Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on April 11, 2013

5a282c06971e0b95038872f26bdaf8d9_w600Gospel reading of the day:

John 3:31-36

The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy. For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.

Reflection on the gospel reading: We are called to believe in Jesus, because the Father loves the Son. Our gift for our belief is eternal life. The evangelist seems to equate belief with obedience when he observes that the reward of belief is eternal life and the punishment for disobedience, the impossibility of seeing life. This passage of the gospel indicates then that an elemental part of our lives as Christians is belief in the Son whom the Father has sent into the world and belief in Jesus is obedience to the Father’s desires for us.

Saint of the day: Feliks Ducki was born to Julian Ducki and Marianna Lenardt in Warsaw on May 10, 1888 and was baptised seventeen days later. He attended elementary school in Warsaw. When the Capuchins returned to their friary in 1918 after the tsarist suppression of 1864, Feliks joined them first as an inquirer, assisting the friars in the reorganization of the friary. He became a postulant in June 1918. After a two year probation he began his novitiate at Nowe Miasto on May 19, 1920. The novitiate ended with temporary vows on May 20, 1921. He then devoted himself to the service of the brothers in the friaries of Watsaw, Lomza, and back in Warsaw again in May 1924 until his solemn profession in May 1925. His religious name was Symforian Ducki.

Symforian DuckiIn Warsaw he first had the role of brother questor, busy with the collection of donations for the construction of the minor seminary of Saint Fidelis. Then for a number of years he was appointed socius of the Provincial minister. A simple and friendly character, he easily won the sympathy of the people and new friends for the Order. Despite his very active life among people he never lost the spirit of prayer and devotion. In fact he distinguished himself for his devout and fervent prayer. The citizens of Warsaw esteemed him highly.

At the outbreak of the Second World War he busied himself so that the brothers and the need would not be in want of the necessities. He did this until June 27, 1941 when the Gestapo arrested all 22 Capuchins in the Warsaw friary. At first Symforian was interned in Pawiak, and then in Auschwitz on September 3. He was physically robust and therefore suffered persecutions more than the others. He bore it all silently. The paltry rations supplied by the Germans were insufficient to meet the physical requirements of even a person of average size.

One evening, when the Germans had begun the ghastly slaughter of the prisoners, cracking their skulls with clubs, Symfronian faced them and made the sign of the cross over them. An eyewitness and fellow inmate, Czeslaw Ostankowicz, states that there was a brief moment of consternation followed by the order to beat him. Br. Symforian was struck on the head by a club, and he crashed to the ground at the feet of the Germans, between them and the prisoners. Then they murdered him. It was April 11, 1942. The death of Symforian ended the terrifying execution that the Germans were perpetrating; about 15 prisoners were saved thanks to his intervention. With profound veneration those prisoners carried the Fr. Symforian’s body in a cart, along with the others, to the crematorium. One of the 108 Martyrs of World War II, he was beatified in 1999.

Spiritual reading: Death by bread alone means being alone and then wanting to be left alone; being friendless, yet distrusting and despising others; forgetting others and then being forgotten; living only for ourselves and then feeling unneeded; being unconcerned about other and wanting no one to be concerned about us; neither laughing nor being laughed at; neither crying for another nor being cried for by another. How horrible is this death by bread alone. (Death by Bread Alone by Dorothee Solle)


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