Carry the gospel with you

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

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went 8ff7e95b7050fa83b0498d689425703c_w600off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: One of the greatest sources of unhappiness in the world is distraction. We are distracted from what we are doing, from the person we are with, from the present moment. The cure for distraction is attention. If I have a problem and go to my friend to seek advice, I tell my friend what is happening and ask my friend to give me attention. That’s the most important thing my friend can do for me in that moment. When people give us their attention in such circumstances, they give us the gift of self.

When we receive attention, we are receiving a loving gesture: the gift of self is a gift that is rich and rewarding for both the giver and the receiver. Attention is the essential quality of all human relationships. We pay attention to people whom we love. Five of the virgins in today’s gospel are distracted–they are not attuned to the Bridegroom; their distraction suggests that they have preferred something else to the Bridegroom, that they have fallen out of love with him. Attention means focus–being fixed on the work before us. When the five virgins pay attention to the arrival of the Bridegroom, they are loving him, and their love readies them to greet the Bridegroom upon his arrival.

11205112_119790598046Saint of the day: Blessed Alfredo Ludovico Schuster was born on January 18, 1880 in Rome, Italy. He entered the Benedictine monastery of St. Paul-Outside-the-Walls when he was 11 and was ordained a priest in 1904. He served his own community in various offices until he was elected abbot in 1918. He taught at several pontifical institutes, served as consultor to the Sacred Congregation of Rites, and held other high offices. He was appointed Archbishop of Milan in 1929 and subsequently became a Cardinal. Bishop Afredo gave priority to catechesis and promoted the role of the laity in the parish and in Catholic Action. He denounced Fascism and its racist ideology and refused to participate in a ceremony that involved Mussolini. He championed the cause of the poor during World War II, founded the Institute of Ambrosian Chant and Sacred Music and the Ambrosianeum and Didascaleion cultural centers. Above all, he proposed holiness as a goal for all, and the only means to human happiness. In 1954 he withdrew to Venegono Seminary, where he died on August 30, 1954 with an encouragement to become holy on his lips. He was beatified on May 12, 1996.

Spiritual reading: The spiritual life can only be lived in the present moment, in the now. All the great religious traditions insist upon this simple but difficult truth. When we go rushing ahead into the future or shrinking back into the past, we miss the hand of God, which can only touch us in the now. (Cynthia Bourgeault)

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