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TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (LUKE 6:20-26)

(Week 23 of the year: Wednesday)

HOW HAPPY ARE YOU WHO ARE POOR. BUT ALAS FOR YOU WHO ARE RICH.

Fixing his eyes on his disciples Jesus said:

“How happy are you who are poor: yours is the kingdom of God.
Happy you who are hungry now: you shall be satisfied.
Happy you who weep now: you shall laugh.

“Happy are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal, on account of the Son of Man.
Rejoice when that day comes and dance for joy, for then your reward will be great in heaven. This was the way your ancestors treated the prophets.

“But alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now.
Alas for you who have your fill now: you shall go hungry.
Alas for you who laugh now: you shall mourn and weep.

“Alas for you when the world speaks well of you! This was the way their ancestors treated the false prophets.”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

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Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Prayers for Ordinary Time

 

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27th FEBRUARY, RESPONSORIAL PSALM (PSALM 48)

R. How happy are the poor in spirit;
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

1. This is the lot of the self-confident,
who have others at their beck and call.
Like sheep they are driven to the grave,
where death shall be their shepherd
and the just shall become their rulers. (R.)

2. With the morning their outward show vanishes
and the grave becomes their home.
But God will ransom me from death
and take my soul to himself. (R.)

3. Then do not fear when a man grows rich,
when the glory of his house increases.
He takes nothing with him when he dies,
his glory does not follow him below. (R.)

4. Though he flattered himself while he lived:
“Men will praise me for doing well for myself,”
yet he will go to join his fathers,
who will never see the light any more. (R.)

ALLELUIA

Alleluia, alleluia!
Blessed are those who,
with a noble and generous heart,
take the word of God to themselves
and yield a harvest through their perseverance.
Alleluia!

 
 

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WHAT DOES “POOR IN SPIRIT” MEAN? HOW DO WE BECOME “POOR IN SPIRIT”?

What does “poor in spirit” mean? It means that we are not enslaved by material possessions but free, by loving and worshipping Jesus Christ alone, and not the false god of money (thereby automatically turning at least partly away from God and neighbour, where God explicitly says we should fully love Him, as our only God, and not have other gods beside Him.).

Setting one’s heart on money and possessions is inviting not God, but sin into one’s life, the sins of greed, envy, being uncharitable and many more.

Due to the character of money combined with human weakness, we start having money in the hand (or, rather, in the accounts, investments etc.) first, and before long the money has us in ITS hand.

God asks us not to love wealth, but to love Him and neighbour. If we have money, it is good to give most of it to the poor, to avoid us being gripped in its clutches and end up worshipping money more than God by our thoughts, plans and daily actions centring more and more around money and all to do with it.

We cannot serve two masters, says Jesus Christ, He does not say that to be a ‘spoilsport’, but because He knows human nature and its pitfalls. He says this because He loves us and has our best interests at heart.

If we do need to keep wealth and money, we need a lot of prayer and be very strong spiritually, so that wealth does not poison us but rather, that we use the wealth only for God’s glory. This is very difficult, given our weakness, that is why Jesus Christ said, that it is very difficult for a rich man to get to heaven.

Therefore: happy are the “poor in spirit”, those whose hearts are not set on wealth and who are not in the clutches of wealth. They can love God and neighbour with an undividided heart, and theirs is the Kingdom of God.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Prayers for Ordinary Time

 

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WHO ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT?

BEATI PAUPERES SPIRITU

“‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’.

The poor in spirit are all those whose hearts are free from attachment to the things of earth, aspire only to the possession of God. They are poor, but even in this life, how great are their riches, and how perfect their contentment. Thus our Saviour declares, not that the kingdom of heaven shall belong to them sooner or later, but that it belongs to them now. ‘Ipsorum est’. ‘It is theirs’. In truth, God loads them with all sorts of heavenly blessings, and even if they were wanting in all the things of this world, they would experience no want with regard to the things of the soul.

The rich [those who love material things and money], on the contrary, in spite of their abundance, are poor and unhappy, because earthly goods, far from quenching their thirst, serve but to increase it. The more they possess, the more they wish to possess. But since the desires of their heart cannot be satisfied, they are reduced to the depths of unhappiness.

Blessed is he who wishes for God alone, and who says with Saint Paul: ‘Let the rich abound in delights, and let kings place their happiness in splendour and power; as for me, my riches, my happiness, my glory is Jesus Christ!’ Happy is he who cries out with David: ‘What do I desire in heaven or on earth, save thee, O God of my heart, and my portion for ever!’

PRAYER:

Behold me, O Lord, abandoned entirely to thy good pleasure. Indeed I wish for nothing but thee, and thou knowest better than I what is necessary for my soul, for my happiness, for my safety. Dispose of me, as it pleases thee. I love thee, and I only ask from thee the grace to love thee always.”
(S. Alph. Pious Reflections) – Reflections, Laverty & Sons (publishers), Leeds, 1905

 

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“HOLINESS SCORES HIGHER THAN SCHOLARSHIP” – ABOUT ST ROBERT OF NEWMINSTER

ST ROBERT OF NEWMINSTER; MEMORIAL: JUNE 7

“Robert of Newminster (c 1100-59) was a learned Yorkshireman who understood that holiness scores far higher than scholarship in the scale of Christian values. Probably born at Gargrave, near Skipton, into a family which a 14th-century biography described as ‘honourable according to their moderate means’, Robert proved so clever that he was sent to Paris to study philosophy. He came to concentrate on theology and wrote a treatise, long since lost, on the Psalms.

‘BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT’

The lesson which Robert imbibed most deeply, however, came from the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ Having been ordained, he returned to Yorkshire and took charge of the church at Gargrave. Soon, though, feeling the need for a more ascetic life, he joined the community at Whitby Abbey. Still unsatisfied, in 1133 he attached himself to a group of monks from St Mary’s York, who in the previous year had gone to live in the wilds of Skelldale, near Ripon, and decided to adopt the Cistercian rule.

LIVING UNDER A TREE

At first the monks lived in a thatched hut under an elm tree, subsisting on a diet of herbs and boiled leaves. In 1135, thanks to the wool merchants of York, they were able to begin building Fountains Abbey, which would be the largest Cistercian monastery in England. In 1138, however, Robert left Skelldale with 12 other monks to found Newminster Abbey, near Morpeth in Northumberland. The project was financed by a local aristocrat called Ranulf de Merly.

ABSOLUTE POVERTY

As abbot, Robert insited upon absolute poverty, forswearing not just luxuries but sometimes, as it seemed, necessities. When a nobleman came across him in a field and asked to see the head of the monastery, Robert skilfully evaded him. ‘When I was at the grange,’ he vouchsafed the abbot was here. Perhaps his ascetic ways were too much for some of his companions. There was evidence of resistance to his rule when some of his monks whispered that he was becoming too friendly with a local noblewoman. To defend himself, in 1147 Robert went to see St Bernard at Clairvaux.

‘MODEST IN DEMEANOUR’

Bernard declared there could be no culpability in so upright a figure, and gave the visitor his girdle, famed for its curative properties. At Citeaux, Robert met Pope Eugenius III, who persuaded the Bishop of Durham to confer land on Newminster Abbey. It was said that Robert once saw the Devil standing at the entrance to the choir at Newminster, prior to extracting one of the weaker brethren with the aid of a three-pronged fork. In the ‘Chronicle of Fountains’ Robert is remembered as ‘modest in demeanour, gentle in companionship, merciful in judgment and exemplary in holy conversation. Today the remains of Newminster Abbey are covered with weeds.”
– This article (headed “Saint of the Week”, [capital subtitles added afterwards]) was published in “The Catholic Herald”, issue June 7 2013. For subscriptions, please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link)

 

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THE PRAYER ON THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

PRAYER ON THE BEATITUDES

O Lord Jesus, You said:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”
Keep us from being preoccupied
with money and worldly goods
and trying to increase them
at the expense of justice.

O Lord Jesus, You said:
“Blessed are the gentle,
for they shall inherit the earth.”
Help us not to be ruthless with one another,
and to eliminate the discord and violence
that exists in the world around us.

O Lord Jesus, You said:
“Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.”
Let us not be impatient under our own burdens
and unconcerned about the burdens of others.

O Lord Jesus, You said:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they shall be filled.”
Make us thirst for You,
the Fountain of all holiness,
and actively spread Your influence
in our private lives and in society.

O Lord Jesus, You said:
“Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall receive mercy.”
Grant that we may be quick to forgive
and slow to condemn.

O Lord Jesus, You said:
“Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they shall see God.”
Free us from our senses and our evil desires,
and fix our eyes on You.

O Lord Jesus, You said:
“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.”
Aid us to make peace in our families,
in our country, and in the world.

O Lord Jesus, You said:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted
for the sake of justice,
for the Kingdom of heaven is theirs.”
Make us willing to suffer for the sake of right
rather than to practise injustice;
and do not let us discriminate against our neighbours
or oppress and persecute them.
Amen.

 
 

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CLINGING TO OUR MONEY AND POSSESSIONS? WOULD OUR ANCESTOR ABRAHAM HAVE HELD ON TO ALL HIS DESIGNER SUITS AND FLASH FOUR-WHEEL VEHICLE IF HE HAD OWNED THEM?

WHAT IS OUR HEART FIXED UPON?

Abraham, ordered by the Lord to leave his country and family and the home of his father, at once, so to speak, stripped himself of everything – fatherland, property, relatives, parents – and obeyed the Word of the Lord. Then he underwent many trials and temptations as when his wife was taken from him or when he, living in an alien land, was subjected to injustices.

Yet through all he proved that God alone was his sole love over all things. Then when, through a promise and after many years, he had his only son whom he so very much wanted, he was ordered to sacrifice him with his own hands. Abraham stripped himself and truly went against himself. He showed how by the sacrifice of his only son he loved nothing more than God.

If indeed he so generously gave up his own son, how much more, if he had been ordered to surrender all other possessions, or to give them all up in one moment, he would have willingly done it. Do you not see the complete centring upon the Lord of a perfect love freely given? And so also those who wish to follow in their footsteps must love nothing besides God so that, when they are tried, they may be found authentically prompt in preserving their love, their perfect love for the Lord.

Such as these are able to endure conflict to the end who have completely and with their whole heart loved God alone and who have freed themselves from all other loves for the world.

– Pseudo-Macarius, 4th century, Desert Father

 
 

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