Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on May 29, 2013

ecce-homo.jpg!BlogGospel reading of the day:

Mark 10:32-45

The disciples were on the way, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus went ahead of them. They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them what was going to happen to him.

“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him, spit upon him, scourge him, and put him to death, but after three days he will rise.”

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?” They answered him, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” They said to him, “We can.” Jesus said to them, “The chalice that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. Jesus summoned them and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Like all of us, at least from time to time, James, John, their mother, and the other 10 apostles are caught up in a world of illusion where powerful men and women act out charades of power which, lacking justice, are little more than organized robbery. But Jesus teaches a gospel of authenticity: he models something different, that what is really real is commitment of the will to the true good of the other. Every area of our lives confronts us with a challenge to bet our lives that the world we see around us, while real, is not the really real–not reality itself. This eschewing of power, this embrace of justice, this willingness to sacrifice ourselves is exactly what it means to drink from the cup from which Jesus drinks.

Saint of the day: Julia Maria Ledóchowska was born on April 17, 1865 in Loosdorf, Lower Austria, to Count Antoni Halka-Ledóchowski, whose ancestors lived in eastern Poland, and his second wife, Countess Josephine Salis-Zizers, a descent of an old Swiss aristocratic family. She was the fifth child of a family that came to have ten children. Cardinal Mieczysław Halka Ledóchowski was a paternal uncle.

Ursula_Leduhovskaya_in_1907Due to financial reverses, the family moved in 1874 to Sankt Poelten, where Julia and her sister attended a grammar school run by the Religious Sisters of Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commonly known as the Sisters of Loreto. In 1882 her father acquired an estate in Lipnica Murowana near Tarnów (then in Galicia, Austrian Lesser Poland) and in 1883 the family moved there. The count died in February 1885 from smallpox. The siblings’ uncle, Cardinal Ledóchowski, assumed responsibility for them.

On August 18, 1886 Julia Maria entered the novitiate of the Ursulines of Kraków. The next year she received the religious habit and was given the religious name Ursula Maria. In 1904 she was elected as Mother Superior of the monastery. In Kraków she opened a home for female university students. At that time that was a new phenomena. She went to St. Petersburg in Russia, where she worked to build up St. Catharine House, which was a residence for Polish youth living there. She wore civil clothes, because Catholic institutions were illegal in the Russian Empire. As the tsarist government oppression to Catholics grew, she moved to Russian-controlled Finland, where she translated prayers and songs for Finnish fishermen, who usually were Protestants. In 1914 she finally was expelled from the empire.

Ursula LedóchowskaAfter then settling in Stockholm, Sweden, Ursula Maria Ledóchowska started a language school and a domestic science school for girls. In Denmark she founded an orphanage. In 1920 she moved back to Poland with 40 other nuns who had joined her in her mission. With permission from Rome she changed her independent monastery in Pniewy into the then newly founded Congregation of the Ursulines of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus. In 1928 she founded a religious center in Rome. In 1930 she sent 30 nuns to female Polish workers in France.

In early May 1939 she traveled to Rome, where she died on May 29, 1939 at the age of 74, in the Gray Ursuline convent, Via del Casalet, of natural causes. Her incorrupt body was taken to the Gray Ursuline motherhouse in Pniewy, Poland in 1989. Ursula Maria was beatified in 1983 and canonized in 2003. In 2003 the congregation founded by her numbered about 900 Sisters in 100 communities located in 12 countries around the world. There are communities in Italy, Poland and the Philippines.

Spiritual reading: Nearly all areas of life in which we could become spiritually competent (hearing God, praying, receiving guidance, leadership) confront us with the same type of challenge. They all require of us a choice to be a spiritual person, to live a spiritual life. We are required to “bet our life” that the visible world, while real, is not reality itself. (Dallas Willard)

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