Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on May 30, 2013

e444defbd49f8d8c9afcf0a01bf50c8d_w600Gospel reading of the day:

Mark 10:46-52

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

Reflection on the gospel reading: Bartimaeus, a blind man who sits by the road in Jericho, gives us one view on life. All of us, in some way or the other, sit by the roadside in need. Maybe we have problems making ends meet, or perhaps we suffer with some illness or disability. No matter what our material problems are, each of us in some degree or another is afflicted with some corruption of the heart, a turning away from the real purpose of our lives. Our hopes, attractions, and desires too often tend to wrong-headed things, like wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, gluttony, or any of a myriad of related soul sicknesses.

Bartimaeus, however, has something going for him that many of us do not. He is waiting: waiting for something. He doesn’t know what he is waiting for, but he anticipates a helping hand is coming. He perseveres from day-to-day, sure that someone will extend to him the hand he needs. When he does this, Bartimaeus assumes the attitude of prayer, which is an attitude of patient waiting.

The gospel tells us that Jesus is passing by, and when Bartimaeus senses the Lord’s presence, a prayer immediately comes to his lip, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” It is a self-activating prayer, the prayer of the heart. When Jesus hears him, the crowd, like the Church, comes to Bartimaeus and tells him to take courage, because Jesus is calling him. Jesus asks Bartimaeus what he wants, and Bartimaeus tells him he wants to see.

And what is it that Bartimaeus’s eyes see when Jesus opens them? What is it that we perceive as we sit with Bartimaeus patiently waiting?

It is Jesus.

Saint of the day: Eleonore Potvin was born on January 4, 1865 in Angers, a small village in Quebec. She was a prayerful girl who lost her father when she was 10-years-old. A cheerful and lively teenager, she walked six miles a day in all seasons to attend mass and receive communion. She would sometimes make a prolonged thanksgiving after mass and might not return Eleonorehome for hours. When she was 20, she left home to go to Hull and become a seamstress. She entered religious life, joining a community of women in Toronto, but in the first four weeks, she was sick three weeks, and the Mother Superior recommended that she consider returning home.

Eleonore did just that. After she returned home, she sought employment as a housekeeper in the local parish. The priest, Fr. Mangin, hired her and admired her skills in keeping the house as well as Eleanore’s practice of remaining for several hours a day in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. When another young woman, Sophie Chauvin, presented himself to the priest wishing to find some way to serve God, the priest recommended that she and Eleanore speak with each other. They found one another to be kindred souls and together joined the newly inaugurated Third Order of St. Sr_ZitaFrancis. Eleonore became Sr. Zita, and Sophie became Sr. Delphine.

After a series of mystical and other spiritual experiences, Fr. Mangin and Sr. Zita decided to found a cloistered congregation of women religious whose mission would be to pray for priests. Zita start the community in December 1894, and Delphine joined her as the first member of the community. Within months, two more women joined them. With the supportive if skeptical approval of the bishop, Fr. Mangin and Sr. Zita formally founded the Congregation of the Servants of Jesus-Mary on May 23, 1895. Zita became the community’s superior, but she chose to be called, “mother-servant,” a title which continues in the community to this day. By 1898, the community had 25 members and had to move several times in search of larger space. In 1902, they moved to Hull to a location which to this day remains the mother house of the community. Zita was diligent in serving the community, expanding its spiritual life, and writing its rule. She contracted tuberculosis in June 1902. On May 30, 1903, she died. She was only 38-years-old when she died, having lived eight of those years in religious life.

Spiritual reading: When we break bread and give it to each other, fear vanishes and God becomes very close. (Henri Nouwen)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: