CACINA

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on September 7, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 6:1-5

While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath, his disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. Some Pharisees said, “Why are you doing Prince of Peace, Portrait of Christ, Thewhat is unlawful on the sabbath?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you not read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry? How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering, which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Life presents us a basic choice: we can sow division and disharmony, or we can be instruments of peace in whatever small or great measure that life allots us in the small corner of the world we inhabit. The Pharisees in this gospel passage exhibit a subtle intolerance. It is the kind of testiness that afflicts many of us; it is a fault that has bedeviled me throughout my life. But if we are people who believe that the flapping of the wings of a butterfly on one continent may lead to a windstorm on another continent–if we are people who believe in the oneness and interconnectedness of all all things–we must own our part in the division and disharmony of the world. Cultivating an interior peace can lead the world, and all the brutally troubled lands, such as Syria for which we are praying today, to real peace and justice.

Saint of the day: Today is the feast of Saint Cloud, a man whose life witnessed to the power of internal conversion to the ways of peace as an answer to the wounds of great civil discord brought about by selfishness and division. Saint Clodoald, popularly known as Cloud, escaped from violent political intrigue to pursue holiness as a monk and priest. Born in 522, Cloud was the grandson of the Frankish King Clovis I, whose conversion to orthodox Christianity–rather than the Arian heresy–made him the first Catholic ruler of present-day France. After Cloud’s father Clodomir was killed in 524, he and his brothers Theudovald and Gunthar were raised by their grandmother Queen Clothilde, whom the Church now honors as St. Clothilde. Clovis’ kingdom had been divided equally among his four sons following his death in 511. In an effort to secure Clodomir’s share of the territory after his death, two of Cloud’s uncles plotted to kill the three boys who were under the protection of the queen. While the uncles managed to kill Gunthar and Theudovald, Cloud fled and was taken in by the archbishop Saint Remigius of Rheims.

Saint_CloudForced into seclusion by the plot against him, the young man became determined to renounce the power and wealth that had brought grief to his family. Placing himself in God’s service, Cloud lived in a small monastic cell where he pursued a life of asceticism and contemplative prayer. He gave his inheritance to the poor, and eventually became a disciple of the hermit St. Severinus near Paris. No longer pursued by his uncles, Cloud appeared before the bishop of Paris in 542. He formally received the monastic habit from the bishop, who cut off the long hair that had signified his Frankish royal origins. Cloud eventually left Paris to live as a hermit in the forest for several years, growing closer to God in his contemplative vocation and studying scripture extensively.

During these years, pilgrims began making their way to the hermitage, seeking his prayers which were known to work miracles. Though he had left Paris to live in anonymity and solitude, the hermit now sensed a need to return to the city, where he was ordained a priest in 551. His two murderous uncles are said to have repented of their deeds during the time of his ministry. In 554 Cloud returned to the monastic life, founding and leading a community of monks in the village of Nogent near Paris. There, he was known for his generosity toward the poor, and his attention to the work of religious instruction among the people. He died on September 7, 560, at the age of 38. Saint Cloud is the namesake of several cities and towns. These include the Parisian suburb of Saint-Cloud, and later St. Cloud, Minnesota, whose Catholic diocese has been placed under his patronage.

Spiritual reading: Living God, our world is broken-hearted by the atrocity of chemical weapons being used in Syria, killing children, women, and men indiscriminately. And our hearts grieve no less for the many tens of thousands killed and millions displaced by the civil war there. We pray for peace, God of peace: not just the cessation of conflict, but a new day of reconciliation, civility, and collaboration for the common good … in the Middle East, and around the world.

We also pray for the United States, whose leaders are contemplating military strikes in retaliation for the atrocity, to punish those who ordered it, and to deter those who might plan similar atrocities in the future. prince2cWe acknowledge that our leaders are trying to do what is needed and right, based on the understanding they have. But on this day, as millions of us around the world pray, we ask for greater wisdom, greater understanding, greater foresight, so that we can find new, better, and non-violent ways to achieve lasting and profound peace.

We know from bitter experience that “our” violence promises to end “their” violence, but in the end, it only intensifies vicious cycles of offense and revenge. We also know from bitter experience that inaction and passivity also aid and abet evil. So on this day, we seek your wisdom, for a better way forward … a new way that we do not yet see.

We Americans sense that our nation is on the verge of rethinking its role in the world. In this moment of rethinking, we also pray for guidance. Help us learn from past mistakes, and help us imagine better possibilities for the future. In this time of political tension and turmoil – not only between, but within our political parties – may your Spirit move like the wind and give us a fresh vision of what can be, so that we do not repeat old, tired, and destructive cycles of what has been. May the wisdom and ways of Jesus, upon whom your Spirit descended like a dove, guide us now – to a wise and responsible role as good neighbors in our world. Amen. (Brian McLaren)

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