Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on October 5, 2013

LaborersGospel reading of the day:

Luke 10:17-24

The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: The parables of Jesus tell us that the Kingdom grows slowly, built up by countless acts and processes that we can neither see nor measure. Most of us will never know in this life how our lives have contributed to the unfolding of God’s plan to establish the Kingdom on earth. The project is so large, in fact, that none of us is charged with finishing it. Even if we will not know what our role is, we are not free to abandon the work. This is why it is so important to tend to our hearts’ promptings: the still small voice inside of us that leads us where we do not know, because it is through that voice that God is prompting us to build the small part of the Kingdom that is our small assignment. As the American Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne once observed, “We cultivate a very small field for Christ, but we love it, knowing that God does not require great achievements but a heart that holds back nothing for self.” We act in faith with the sureness of our hope.

Saint of the day: Bartolo Longo was born into a wealthy family on February 10, 1841 in the small town of Latiano, near Brindisi in southern Italy. His parents were devout Roman Catholics. In 1851 Longo’s mother died and he slowly began to drift from his childhood faith. In Bartolo’s time, from the 1860s onwards, the Church in Naples was experiencing a spiritual crisis. Bartolo_Longo_A_22_anniUnbelief, rebellion, and the occult were widespread and affecting the faithful, especially college students. Many of them took part in demonstrations against the pope, dabbled in witchcraft and consulted Neapolitan mediums. Longo became involved with a movement that led him into a Satanist cult. After some study and several “spiritual” experiences Longo was ordained as a satanic priest.

In the following years, Longo’s life became one of depression, nervousness, and confusion. Bothered by diabolical visions and ill health brought on by inordinate fasting, he turned to a hometown friend, Vincenzo Pepe, for guidance. It was Pepe who convinced him to abandon Satanism and introduced him to the Dominican Father Alberto Radente who led him to a devotion to the rosary. On Bartolo 2October 7, 1871 Longo became a Dominican tertiary and took the name Rosario. Around this time, he visited a séance and in his zeal held his rosary aloft, declaring, “I renounce spiritualism because it is nothing but a maze of error and falsehood.” He also came to know some Franciscans with whom he helped the poor and incurably ill for two years.

While performing these good works, Bartolo kept up his law practice, which took him to the nearby village of Pompei. In Pompei, Longo later recounted, he was shocked at the erosion of the people’s faith. Through talking to the citizens, Bartolo came to recognize their severe lack of catechesis. When he asked one man if there was only one God, the fellow answered, “When I was a bartololongo 3child, I remember people telling me there were three. Now, after so many years, I don‘t know if one of them is dead or one has married.” He worried, however, that he would still be condemned to hell for having been a Satanic priest. At the point of despair he was given the grace to internally understand that those who promote the rosary will enjoy God’s special blessing.

With his wife’s help, he inaugurated a confraternity of the Rosary and in October 1873 started restoring a dilapidated church. He sponsored a festival in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary. Over the years, the church he restored increased in size and attracted pilgrims as reports of miracles circulated. In 1939, the church was enlarged to a basilica, known today as the Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Pompei. Longo continued promoting the Rosary until his death on October 5, 1926, at the age of 85. He was beatified in 1980.

Spiritual reading: You are not required to finish the work. Neither are you free to desist from it. (The Talmud)


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