Thursday, October 31, 2013
All Saints Novena Day 9
This is no longer the time for lone climbers of the heights, but for people who have the humility to be linked together as a team.
To become such will be possible only by overcoming the temptation of individualism and the desire to escape the company of others.
Let us remember:
we are as reeds
perhaps agile and elegant
but fragile in a strong wind.
we must unite ourselves
and become a network
rather a barricade
able to resist the storms.
Communicated in The Gospel Maximum of Love, Bishop Giaquinta’s solution to the pain in our society was to form a group of people, the Pro Sanctity Movement, to communicate the love of Christ to everyone. As I read the above I see that individually we can only do so much, but together with Christ working in us and through us, we truly can change the world.
Dear Jesus, Thank you for the gifts of the saints as examples and companions. Help us to know they are with us, and leading us on, Give us the compassion and thirst for the souls of our brothers and sisters that you yourself have and went to
Remind us that we can give no less than the maximum as we follow your
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
It is also easy to imagine what kind of world we would have if all persons, or at least Christians, would accept—not only in theory and in words but in the crudeness and reality of their lives—the maximum-love message of Christ.
· God would be at the center of the life of humanity;
· egoism would disappear, along with insane ambition and the spirit of violence;
· people would live perfectly moral lives, personally and as families;
· relationships would be based on true justice and fraternal love;
· society would have a harmonious development and progress; the eventual, inevitable evils, of whatever kind, would be faced and resolved with a spirit of solidarity and collaboration.
Wow, what an amazing world, Christ and our founder has envisioned for us. Can we even imagine what life would be like if these things were true? There would be no crime, no poverty, no hatred.
Dear Jesus, I know this is what the Father intended when He created us. Help us change our thinking that we might start to believe this is possible and work to achieve it.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
It is easy to see how much this Gospel, which Christ has left us with His words and His life, is far removed from our Christianity—formal, empty, on Sundays only—and realize that if this true Gospel came into contact with our mediocrity, it would make it explode, nullify it.
As we continue to look at the Gospel Maximum of Love, I am struck again by the directness of our Founder’s words. I feel very uncomfortable as I read them and I think I am intended to. We have to ask myself, as honestly as I can, how formal and empty is our Christianity? As I ponder the word “formal” and “empty” thinking of a room in a home for example, I am afraid to touch anything for fear I might break glass, or leave a black mark on a perfectly white wall. Formal and empty Christianity then must be a relationship with God and others where we are afraid of the “black marks” we might leave by being honest about our failures or not wanting to get close enough to others who are in difficulty for fear they might leave “black marks” on us.
Jesus never hesitated to reach out to everyone, rich and poor, clean and unclean, “sinner” and “righteous”
Dear Jesus, give me the courage to step out of my comfort zone, and truly spend myself for someone in need. You would not ask me to do something that You Yourself would not give me the strength to do
Monday, October 28, 2013
This is a continuation of Bishop Giaquinta’s basic principles of our faith. To me the first two focus on the knowledge of what Christ has done for us and the last 3 focus on our duty to respond to His love
· we must correspond with all our strength, that is, to the maximum, to this love of the Father and of Jesus, accepting and actuating the message received;
· love among ourselves as Jesus loved us, that is, to the point of heroism unto death, is a duty that Jesus has left us as his last will and testament;
· this unity and fraternal love must find a particular expression in our faithful participation in the life of the Church centered on the Eucharist, animated by the Spirit and the presence of Mary, and based on Peter and the Apostles.
Speaking for myself and maybe all of us, I am convicted that I rarely use all of my strength to do anything. Yes I work hard at my job and share love and kindness primarily with those who love me—but “heroism unto death” seems to frightening and difficult.
That is why I am so thankful for the very last point. We are not alone. Christ Himself in the Eucharist, the Church, the Spirit, Mary and the Apostles are our guides along the way.
Dear Jesus, thank you for the constant help you pour forth. We would be completely overwhelmed without it
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Continuing in The Gospel Maximum of Love
It is possible to synthesize some basic principles (that certainly do not exhaust the Gospel message) that give the essential content of this maximum love:
· we have a Father in heaven who loves us infinitely, watches over us unceasingly, and has sent his only Son, having him accept death for our salvation;
· Jesus, the Word of God, has come among us to bring the message of the Father, to make us one with himself as branches of a vine, showing us concretely how we must live, and He died to merit for us the strength to do this and to draw us to Himself with the example of His infinite love;
What amazing truths these words contain. There is no greater maximum than laying down one’s life. And as if that were not enough He wants to draw us to Himself and live in heaven with us forever. We should truly spend every day lost in amazement.
Dear Jesus, help us to truly believe that you love each of us infinitely, those who know this now and those who have yet to learn of your love. Help us to truly appreciate your incomparable sacrifice.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
All Saints Day Novena Day 4
Continuing in The Gospel Maximum of Love
Jesus embraces the person, who is poor and weak, and shows his pierced heart, not to authorize mediocrity but so that the person may strive to the maximum toward the perfection of the Father’s love.
The Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, the firmness of his reaction against scandal (pluck out your eye; cut off your hand), his unflinching position before they hypocrisy of the Pharisees, the decisive condemnation of a system that had killed the spirit of the law to exalt the letter (that then became the real cause of his Crucifixion), the example of an atrocious death accepted and lived with love and forgiveness, all show what Jesus had come to reveal to us by coming among us on earth.
He came to bring us, on the part of the Father, the message of maximum love.
The words of Bishop Giaquinta here could not be more direct and piercing, the infinite love and forgiveness of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are ours for the asking, but CANNOT be taken for granted as a “blank check” to live our lives the way we please. Our lives are not our own, for we have been purchased with a price.
Dear Jesus help us see and be sorry for how much we take you for granted. Help us begin to see through Your eyes what maximum love truly is.
Friday, October 25, 2013
As we continue to reflect on The Gospel Maximum of Love by Bishop Giaquinta we see his predominant theme of disdain for Christians who do just the minimum to get by when Christ gave everything He had for us. He writes: “(R)eductionism has been at fault in undermining true Christianity. It has been reduced from its true nature of maximum love into an easy and accommodating spiritual minimalism. Christianity no longer is lived as a great ideal; it has become a complex of catalogued obligations, observed with the indispensable minimum to reach the promised reign of heaven”.
As I read this my first inclination is to say that I do not fall into this category, that I am very active in my parish and volunteer much of my time for causes that are loving and just.
But as I reflect more deeply I know how little I truly use the multitude of gifts that God has given me: gifts of time that I would much rather spend watching a movie than truly sharing love and concern with a friend, gifts of financial resources that I would much rather spend on dinner out than to ever give so much that I had to deny myself something that I really wanted, gifts of talent that I would rather use by myself in my own room than with a nursing home full of lonely people who would truly enjoy an afternoon sing a long. Maybe there are others who are experiencing the same conviction that I am as they read these words
Dear Jesus Please help me find and make the opportunities to truly use my time, talent, and treasure to the maximum. I trust that you will open the doors if I just listen for your prompting.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
We continue reflecting on Bishop Giaquinta’s Gospel of Maximum love today with the remainder of the paragraph that was quoted in day 1:
“The absurd consequence (of being the cause of others finding Christ’s message alienating or repulsive – this portion added by me not a direct quote) has been that Christian truths, mutilated in their essence, concern, and relationship with Christ, have been taken over in distorted form by various non Christian philosophies and political parties”
This statement to me is full of truth, too often I, and many others I am sure, have been hesitant in mentioning Christ as the reason for our hope and the purpose for our lives. I believe everyone at his/her core is searching for something to believe in, and without being in relationship with Christ, there are multiple other persons/groups that seek to fill the void. If we truly love Christ as we say we do, this should break our hearts. I know these words as I write them are coming from the Holy Spirit. God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, longs more deeply than we can imagine for everyone to know His love for them.
Dear Jesus, give me the courage on this day to mention You and my relationship with You to one person who needs to hear of your love. Show me who that person is and what I should say. I trust that you will do this with all my heart.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
“We Christians must be the animating force that raises the world up. Instead, too often we have been the cause for people to find Christ and his message alienating or repulsive”
This is a powerful statement that both engages and challenges me. How can I raise (my corner of) the world up—a smile to a co worker or a stranger on the street, a letter or a phone call to a friend who I know needs a lift, praying for a person or a community in a difficult situation. On the other side too I know I have been guilty of hurting the cause of Christ—by engaging in hurtful gossip, by not standing up for my faith when someone asked about it’s importance to me, by judging others harshly instead of seeing with eyes of love and forgiveness
Dear Jesus, help me find a specific way to share your love today, show me the person who needs it the most, and keep me from things that would detract others from you
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
In honor of the approaching year of our founder Bishop Guglielmo Giaquinta, our novena this year will contain reflections on one of his writings: The Gospel of Maximum Love
Please join the Pro Sanctity Family in praying and reflecting together as we consider concrete ways to share Christ’s love to the maximum, and don’t hesitate to share your thoughts on our blog or on our facebook page.
Posted by Dan and Joan Kash at 11:55 PM