FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
February 12-18, 2017
This Sunday’s readings have strong references to “freedom of choice.” We are made in image of the Creator; one of the gifts is “free will.” What an awesome gift; we are free to choose against the Creator, but we must remember the consequences. As we look at our world, we see the extensive misuse of this gift and all the violence, hate, anger and misdeeds that follow. In Sirach: 15: 15-20 the passage begins, “If you choose…” Of course, if we choose in favor of God’s law, Jesus’ teachings as Christians, we will be saved. It seems like such an easy directive. However, we only need to examine our own lives to see our basket of choices is not always commendable.
St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 2: 9 paraphrases Isaiah 64:3 “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him, this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.” What a promise with which to proceed on our journey to our Creator.
It gives us more reason with which to use our “free will” properly. This means to “trust in the wisdom of God” by constantly striving to educate ourselves in righteousness and praying unceasingly.
You may ask, “How can I pray unceasingly? I have much to do.” Aw, but if you live a righteous life you are praying. There are also many moments throughout the day, when we can formally pray – putting dressing, brushing hair, driving, changing classes, preparing a meal, exercising, etc. One I like to say during these moments is, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son, Savior have mercy on me a sinner.” This is an ancient Christian prayer, often called, “The Jesus Prayer.” It is also very powerful, when you are afraid or threatened.
In Matthew’s Gospel 11: 25 Jesus further expands on some of the Ten Commandments. “You have heard it was said to your ancestors, “You shall not kill…I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” We may be proud that we have not killed anyone and, therefore, kept the commandment, but the deeper meaning includes anger. Have we, then, broken this commandment? A re-examination of the Ten Commandments may reveal deeper meanings and directives to a righteous life.
February 14, Valentine’s Day, gives us an opportunity to repair our relationships. Perhaps, it is a way for a husband or wife to say, “I’m sorry!” - friends who have been apart because of a misunderstanding or a child to thank a parent or just because we love one another and want to show it.
Actually, Valentine’s Day is a way in which the Church Christianized a pagan situation. Licentiousness
was strongly rampant around this time of year in pagan rites. Also, the emperor forbade marriage among young people because a married soldier was not good for the military. (Can you guess why?) St. Valentine, a priest of the Third Century, encouraged Christian marriage and gave instructions on this vocation. He was arrested and martyred for disobeying the law. He is the patron of marriage and love. Christian Broadcasting Network, CBN
Saints Cyril and Methodius, brothers from Greece, became priests and were asked to go to the Slavic nations and preach because they knew the language. They created a Slavic alphabet, translated the Bible and said Mass in that language. There were many protests about saying the Mass in the language of the people, but Pope Adrian II approved the practice in the ninth century. They are patrons of Europe. holyspiritinteractive.net
The Order of Servites was founded in the thirteenth century for the sanctification of its members, preaching of the Gospel and spreading of devotion to Mary. The founders, seven young men of wealthy families in Florence, Italy, formed a confraternity, called the “Praisers of Mary.” The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to them and asked them to form a religious community, using the Rule of St. Augustine. Catholic Encyclopedia
Sister Rosemarie Goins, Director