Monday, April 16, 2012

How do we know if we have a servant’s heart? By how we act when we are treated like one!

Responsorial Psalm Ps 2:1-3, 4-7a, 7b-9
R. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
Why do the nations rage
and the peoples utter folly?
The kings of the earth rise up,
and the princes conspire together
against the LORD and against his anointed:
"Let us break their fetters
and cast their bonds from us!"

R. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
He who is throned in heaven laughs;
the LORD derides them.
Then in anger he speaks to them;
he terrifies them in his wrath:
"I myself have set up my king
on Zion, my holy mountain."
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD.

R. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
The LORD said to me, "You are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.
Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.
You shall rule them with an iron rod;
you shall shatter them like an earthen dish."
R. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.

April 16th - Feast Day of St. Benedict Joseph Labre:
This French saint, born in 1748, led a most unusual life. He was the son of a store owner and was taught by his uncle, a priest. When the good priest died, Benedict tried to enter a monastery. However, he was told he was too young. Then he contacted another order of monks. He loved the life of prayer and penance. But when he joined them, Benedict became thin and frail. It was suggested that he return home to lead a good Christian life. He went home and slowly gained back his health. He prayed for God's help. Then he felt he was given an answer. He would become a pilgrim, a person on a holy journey of prayer and penance. As a pilgrim, he would travel to the famous shrines of Europe.

Benedict began his journey on foot. He visited one church after another. He wore a plain cloth robe, a crucifix over his heart and a rosary around his neck. He slept on the bare ground. The only food he had was what kind people gave him. If they gave him money, he passed it on to the poor. His "suitcase" was a sack. In it he carried the Gospel, as well as medals and holy books to give to others. St. Benedict paid no attention to the beautiful sights in the cities he visited. His only interest was in the churches where Jesus dwelt in the Blessed Sacrament.

As the years passed, St. Benedict looked more and more like a beggar. He was ragged and dirty. He ate crusts of bread and potato peels. He never asked for anything that would make his life more comfortable. In some places, children threw stones at him and called him names. People who didn't know him tended to avoid him. But when St. Benedict knelt in front of the tabernacle, he became as still as a statue. His pale, tired face glowed.

He died in 1783 at the age of thirty-five. The fame of this poor holy man spread far and wide. His journey had ended. The pilgrimage was over and he would be with Jesus and Mary forever. A century after his death, St. Benedict Joseph Labre was proclaimed a saint by Pope Leo XIII in 1883.

Reflection: “The smallest things become great when God requires them of us; they are small only in themselves; they are always great when they are done for God.”

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