Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on April 9, 2014

948d42887d54c37c9e12f3727dc676a9_w600Gospel reading of the day:

John 8:31-42

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son always remains. So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free. I know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you are trying to kill me, because my word has no room among you. I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence; then do what you have heard from the Father.”

They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works of Abraham. But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God; Abraham did not do this. You are doing the works of your father!” So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication. We have one Father, God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and am here; I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount that we will know a tree from the fruit it bears. He says something quite similar in this passage from John. If we are Abraham’s children, we will do the works of Abraham, but insofar as we falter, something else is at work in us. It is the difference between talking the talk and walking the walk. If we love Jesus, our lives will shout the gospel from the rooftops.

Saint of the day: Prince August Franciszek Maria Anna Józef Kajetan Czartoryskiwas born in 1858 in Paris, the only child of Prince Ladislaus (Władysław) Czartoryski and Princess Maria Amparo, Countess of Vista Alegre (daughter of Maria Christina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Queen of Spain, and her secret husband Augustín Fernández Muñoz, Duke of Riansares). The Czartoryski magnate was one of the most powerful families in Poland during the 18th century, but in the 19th century they were exiled from Poland by the Russians and had their base of operations at the Hôtel August Franciszek Maria Anna Józef Kajetan CzartoryskiwasLambert in Paris. To his family, the young prince was known as “Gucio”. He was a sickly child, having contracted tuberculosis from his mother at the age of six (she later died of the disease, leaving him her title of Count of Vista Alegre). Much of his life was spent being shuttled to different health spas in the mountains and along beaches that had “good air” for the afflicted. From the age of 10 to 17 he studied in Paris and Kraków.

In 1872, when Gucio was 14, his father Prince Ladislaus remarried to Marguerite Adelaide and had two more sons in 1872 and 1876. A tutor was hired for Gucio in 1874; this tutor was named Joseph Kalinowski, a Polish patriot who had just returned to Poland from a ten-year sentence in Siberia. Joseph, who also suffered from respiratory ailments, accompanied Gucio to many of his destinations. In a letter to his sister Mary, Fr. Joseph wrote that he was “father, mother, nurse, brother, companion and caretaker” for the boy. Joseph and August remained close companions until 1877, when Joseph joined the religious order of the Discalced Carmelites and took the name “Raphael of St. Joseph”. (Joseph Kalinowski was canonized in 2004.)

Crucifix circa 1913 by Eric Gill 1882-1940Prince Ladislaus desired that his son Gucio pursue a diplomatic career, but the young prince felt a different calling. He was encouraged to follow Don Bosco (later Saint Don Bosco) of the Salesians. In 1887, after meeting Don Bosco, Gucio joined that order in Turin, with the ailing Bosco’s blessing. He studied theology and philosophy but his health continued to decline. On April 2, 1892 he was ordained as a priest by the Bishop of Ventimiglia, though his family discouraged this and refused to attend the ceremony. He died only a year later, on April 9, 1893, in Alassio, Italy, of tuberculosis, at the age of 34. He was beatified in 2004.

Spiritual reading: Therefore if you want to have in your heart the affections and dispositions that were those of Christ on earth, consult not your own imagination but faith. Enter into the darkness of interior renunciation, strip your soul of images, and let Christ form Himself in you by His Cross. (Thomas Merton)


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