Eighth Sunday after Pentecost (18th S. Ord. Time)
SAINT JOHN VIANNEY- NATIONAL SISTERS DAY
Tobit, Chapter 14, Verse 1-2
1 So the words of Tobit’s hymn of praise came to an end. Tobit died in peace at the age of a hundred and twelve and was buried with honor in Nineveh. 2 He was fifty-eight years old when he lost his eyesight, and after he recovered it he lived in prosperity, giving alms; he continued to fear God and give thanks to the divine Majesty.
May God in his grace open your eyes to your blessings! Tobit’s song of praise focuses on giving praise to God who is all powerful and yet has a love for us that grants us freedom and mercy.
- Tobit took the angel’s words seriously. He prayed out loud and long, proclaiming God’s great mercy to anyone who would listen. He also prayed for his countrymen. If God could bring about such healing in Tobit’s life, what more could he do for the people of Israel!
- Tobit, apparently, lived a happy life after that. He passed on when he was 112. He was 58 when he became blind and was blind for four years. He continued to give alms and to praise God.
- Before he died, he called Tobias (who now had seven sons) and told him to leave Nineveh and to return to Media. He predicted the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem as well as its restoration. When the temple would be rebuilt, people would see and be converted to the one God.
- He made Tobias promise that he would leave the day his mother was buried.
A Grateful Heart
Having and retaining a grateful heart is the key to making right judgments and being a person of character. John McCain highlights in his book, “Character is Destiny” the life of the Native American war Chief Tecumseh as an example of a man that never lost his gratitude in life. Tecumseh was a great Indian leader who lost a war but taught even his enemies how to live. Everyone knew that the great Tecumseh, fearless warrior and visionary, steadfast leader, did not tolerate torture or murder, or suffer intentional harm to be done to innocents. He was a man of honor. Even his enemies knew that, especially the man who had fought him the longest, William Henry Harrison. However, as a youth Tecumseh was unnerved in his first encounter with organized bloodletting, and fled the battle. It was the only time in his life his courage failed him. In a later raid near the end of the war, the Shawnees attacked the crew of a flatboat on the Ohio River. All but one of the crew was killed in the encounter. The lone survivor was dragged ashore and burned at the stake. The atrocity left a deep mark on Tecumseh, who, though he was too young to intervene in the victim’s behalf, denounced the murder after it occurred, and swore he would never again remain silent in the face of such an injustice. He would live and die determined to defend Indian land from the insatiable appetites of American settlers. In the course of his crusade, he became the greatest Indian leader of his time. Many would argue, including Americans who fought him, that he was the greatest war chief of all time. Raised by his older brother Chiksika, he took special care of his younger brother Tecumseh. He taught him to hunt and fish, and to learn the fighting skills of a Shawnee brave. He raised him to revere the memory of their courageous father, and the virtues he had exemplified as a warrior who preferred death to dishonor. There was something in his character that repelled despair, finding in life, with all its many tragedies, a reason to be thankful for the very fact that he could remain true to himself. He was the kind of person for whom life was a gift that could not be diminished by suffering, and it gave him a unique strength, a confidence that was superior to most people. Tall and sinewy, with an erect bearing, a superior skill at arms, exuding a sense of command, and possessing a gift for oratory that earned him admirers even among his enemies, he was renowned as a capable provider and protector of his clan, whose leadership had an ever-broadening appeal to neighboring tribes. Tecumseh delivered an address to his people as he prepared them for the coming struggle that has become famous not only as a measure of his own character, but as a code of honor that merits respect and emulation.
So, live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes, they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.
On the day of his final battle never having despaired over the vicissitudes of life, he would not do so now. He arose in the morning and gave thanks for the joy of living. At the Battle of the Thames in Ontario on October 5, 1813, British General Procter and his soldiers fled the field after the first volley was fired. Tecumseh dispensed with his sword and British officer’s jacket, and charged, as always, into the thick of the battle. When a musket ball shattered his right leg, he told his braves to leave him. He kept fighting until a crowd of American soldiers surrounded him. He sang his death song and died like a hero going home.
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
The importance of intelligent foresight and the fascinating passage on "the mammon of iniquity" (Lk. 16.9).
IN the Introit of the Mass the Church praises God, whose mercy and justice extend to the ends of the world. “We have received Thy mercy, O God, in the midst of Thy temple. According to Thy name, O God, so also is Thy praise unto the ends of the earth; Thy right hand is full of justice. Great is the Lord and exceedingly to be praised, in the city of our God, in His holy mountain”. (Ps. xlvii. 11, 1).
Prayer. Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, at all times, the spirit of thinking and doing what is right, that we, who cannot exist without Thee, may be able to live according to Thy will.
EPISTLE. Rom. viii. 12-17.
Brethren, we are debtors not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die but if by the spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live. For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry Abba (Father). For the Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God. And if sons, heirs also: heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ.
“The works of the flesh are,” according to St. Paul, “fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunkenness, reveilings, and such like” (Gal. v. 19, 20). Those who practise such vices are not children of God, and will inherit, not heaven, but eternal death. Examine yourself, therefore, whether you are not living according to the flesh, and for the future resist sinful desires with God’s assistance, and you will gain a crown in heaven.
Aspiration. Grant me, Lord, Thy spirit, that I may always remember the happiness of Thy kingdom, may mortify the lusts of the flesh, and may walk as Thy child in holy chastity.
Luke xvi. 1-9.
At that time Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: There was a certain rich man who had a steward: and the same was accused unto him, that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said to him: How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship: for now, thou canst be steward no longer. And the steward said within himself: What shall I do, because my lord taketh away from me the steward ship? To dig I am not able, to beg I am ashamed. I know what I will do, that when I shall be removed from the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. Therefore, calling together every one of his lord’s debtors, he said to the first: How much dost thou owe my lord? But he said: A hundred barrels of oil. And he said to him: Take thy bill and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then he said to another: And how much dost thou owe? Who said: An hundred quarters of wheat. He said to him: Take thy bill and write eighty. And the lord commended the unjust steward, forasmuch as he had done wisely: for the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light. And I say to you: Make unto you friends of the mammon of iniquity, that when you shall fail they may receive you into everlasting dwellings.
Who are meant by the rich man and his steward? By the rich man is meant God; by the steward, man. The goods intrusted to the steward are the different goods and gifts of soul and body, of nature and of grace.
Why did Christ use this parable? To teach us that God requires of every man a strict account of whatever has been given to him, to encourage us to be liberal to the poor, and to warn us against dissipation and injustice.
How are we to understand the direction “to make unto us friends of the mammon of iniquity”? Riches are called the mammon of iniquity because they so easily lead us to injustice, avarice, excess, and dissipation. Jesus intended to say that we should, according to our ability, employ in doing good those worldly goods which so easily carry us into sin. But He is not to be understood as saying that we should steal, or cheat, or use goods otherwise unjustly obtained, to give alms.
What friends are we thus to make? The friends are the good works which render us pleasing to God, and open to us heaven; the poor, the saints of God; the angels, who rejoice in our benevolence, and become our in tercessors; and finally Christ, Who regards what is given to the poor as so much given to Himself (Matt. xxv. 40). “The hands of the poor” says St. Chrysostom, “are the hands of Christ” through them we send our goods to heaven beforehand, and through their intercession we obtain the grace of salvation.
Aspiration. Grant me, O most just God and Judge, grace so to use the goods entrusted to me on earth, that with them I may make my self friends to receive me, at the end of my life, into everlasting habitations.
INSTRUCTION ON CALUMNY
Is calumny a grievous sin? When the occasion is important, and the slander is deliberately uttered, with evil intention, when one’s neighbor is thereby grievously injured, and his good name damaged, everyone may see how grievous and detestable, in such a case, this sin is. (Hmm…Fake News?)
Is it sinful to disclose the faults of our neighbor? To make public the faults and sins of our neighbor uselessly, merely for the entertainment of idle persons, is always sinful. But if, after trying in vain to correct his faults and sins by brotherly admonition, we make them known to his parents or superiors, for his punishment and amendment, so far from being a sin, it is rather a good work and a duty of Christian charity.
Is it a sin also to listen willingly to calumny? Yes; for thereby we furnish the calumniator an occasion for sin and give him encouragement. For which reason St. Bernard says: “Whether to calumniate be a greater sin than to listen to the calumniator I will not lightly decide.”
What ought to restrain us from calumny? The thought,
1, of the enormity of this sin;
2, of the number of sins occasioned thereby of which the calumniator, as the occasion of them, becomes partaker;
3, of the difficulty of correcting the harm done, since we cannot know the full extent of the injury, nor stop the tongues of people. Finally, we must think on the eternal punishment which follows this sin. The holy Fathers say that of young persons who are condemned the greater part is for impurity, but of the old, for calumny.
France before Saint John Vianney
Feast of Saint John Vianney
During the French Revolution a small band of Ursuline nuns was imprisoned in the Bastille. To cheer her disconsolate companions, one of the group passed wheaten discs of bread, cut from the loaf of the daily rations, to memorialize the happy days when they were free and could receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. At that time all religious schools and churches were closed, and those who harbored priests were imprisoned. At the Vianney farmhouse near Dardilly, France, fugitive priests were offered a refuge. Here their son was prepared in his tenth year for the reception of Holy Communion by a hunted priest. While tending his father's sheep, John Vianney fashioned a small statue of Our Lady out of clay. He hid it in the hollow of an old tree with this petition: "Dear Lady Mary, I love you very much; you must bring Jesus back to His tabernacles very soon!" On a visit to his aunt at Ecully, John listened to her praises of Father Balley, the parish priest, and he sought the Father's advice regarding his vocation to the priesthood. The pastor appraised the overgrown, awkward youth of faltering speech and devoid of general education. Though John was unable to answer the questions pertaining to earthly science which Father asked him, yet, when the priest put to him the questions of the catechism, his face became luminous with lively interest. He answered every question correctly, and in a manner beyond his years. The amazed pastor took this evidence as a sign from heaven, prophesying, "You will become a priest!" The ensuing years brought many trials to John. He was conscripted; his mother died; he failed often in his studies. Ordained as a Mass priest, August 12, 1815, he remarked to Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy: "Here is your priest, O Blessed Mother! Stay close to me. Help me to be a good priest!" As a curate and as a pastor, St. John Vianney's daily instruction on the catechism found an inspired audience, among whom were noted orators such as Père Lacordaire, O.P., the famed preacher of Notre Dame. The saintly pastor performed many miracles, but the greatest was his own manner of Eucharistic living. It was his Lord, living in Father Vianney, who made him "spend and be spent" in ceaseless service for both sinner and saint in the sacred tribunal of penance.
Things to Do
· The Collect praises St. John Vianney's zeal for souls and his spirit of prayer and penance. Say a special prayer today that by his example and intercession we too may win the souls of our brothers for Christ.
· Say a prayer for priests that they may persevere in their vocation. If you haven't been to confession for a while resolve to do so right away and be sure that you remember to say an extra prayer for your confessor.
· From the Catholic Culture library: Pope John XXIII holds St. John Vianney as a model for the priesthood in this Encyclical.
National Sister Day
National Sister Day Facts & Quotes
· Studies form Brigham Young University show that sisters give siblings better mental health.
· According to the Journal of Politics, boys with sisters are more likely to become republican. Young men who were raised with sisters are more typically more likely to express social conservative views on attitudes about gender roles.
· Men with sisters are more likely to have involved interactions and be liked significantly more by their female acquaintances than those who did not have a sister. In short, brother benefit from having sisters by having a higher likelihood of getting a date.
· There is nobody in this world that knows me better than my sister. – Tia Mowry, American actress and model.
· Sister is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship. – Margaret Mead, American Cultural Anthropologist.
The 8th of August will be my sister Linda’s Birthday I hope her day is special; please pray for her intentions.
· Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God.
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.