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Baking the Holy Spirit Into Our Daily Bread


”No one was ever lost because his sin was too great, but because his trust was too small.” ~ Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos

We certainly have a lot going on in the Catholic Church today on this the 5th day of October. But then again, when don’t we? Provocative gospel passages, feast day celebrations commemorating the true giants of our church, Old Testament prophets foreshadowing the arrival of the King of Kings. Today we even see a rare disagreement between Saints Peter and Paul over what Paul believed was an inconsistency of behavior on behalf of the Rock of Our Church. As you may recall, this incident was the cause of friction between Saint Augustine and the man we celebrated just a few days ago, Saint Jerome

When it comes to the day in and day out machinations of the liturgical calendar, there’s something for everyone. G.K. Chesterton once so famously said “The difficulty of explaining ‘why I am a Catholic’ is that there are ten thousand reasons, all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.“ To plumb the depths of God’s mysteries, of which Chesterton, calling them “riddles,” said “are more satisfying than the solutions of men,” is a joyful pursuit to be certain, an exhilarating journey which crescendoes in the Kingdom that will never end.

So with that in mind, let’s first allow the Saints to come marching in. Today we recognize two great Members of the canonized elite in Saints Faustina and Francis Xavier Seelos. Saint Faustina is the Patroness of Divine Mercy and the vehicle through which our Lord chose to bring this message of redemption, compassion and mercy into the world. Divine Mercy Sunday is now celebrated Liturgically every year on the Sunday after Easter

Saint Francis Xavier Seelos (1819-1867), the second Saint Francis we commemorate in as many days, was a Redemptorist missionary priest who ministered to German immigrants here in the U.S. in the mid-1800s, serving as an assistant to Saint John Neumann at Saint Philomena Parish in Pittsburgh. He was dubbed the “Doctor of Souls” due to his powerful intercession in healing many people in both body and soul. Detroit, Baltimore, and New Orleans were a few of his other Missionary destinations. He would ultimately succumb to yellow fever that he contracted from caring for victims of the disease.

In today’s Gospel (Luke 11:1-4), Jesus gives us the Our Father Prayer . Prayer would certainly seem to be a powerful and recurring theme this week as Friday will bring with it the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary , a day which allows us to reflect on “that monotony of Hail Marys which purifies the monotony of your sins!” as Saint Josemaria Escriva used to say.

Seemingly ubiquitous, the Our Father andHail Mary are two powerful building blocks of any vibrant prayer life. As we reflect today on Saint Faustina’s life, we are reminded of the fact that she introduced the world to another potent prayer, the Divine Mercy Chaplet. In one of her more memorable Diary entries, she wrote “While I was saying the chaplet [of Divine Mercy], I heard a voice which said, Oh, what great graces I will grant to souls who say this chaplet; the very depths of My tender mercy are stirred for the sake of those who say the chaplet.” (No. 848).

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In tomorrow’s Gospel (Luke 11:5–3), Jesus continues to discuss prayer by encouraging those in his midst to “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” As Dr. Tim Gray points out in his morning meditation on this passage, there is clearly a growing progression in intensity here. It is one thing to “ask,” quite another to “seek,” an activity that is more intensive. And then finally to “knock” in the holes that the door to God’s grace is even louder and more intense. In his Epistle, James tells us “You have not because you ask not.” (4:2). Do you pray big? Do you possess the trust in God that Saint Francis Xavier alludes to in the quote that kicks off today’s reflection, a trust that so many seem to lack these days?

In this passage, Jesus goes so far as to define “Daily Bread,” a term that can of course apply to many things. For those who attend daily mass for instance, it takes on a quite literal meaning as they are nourished by the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus every day. But for the purposes of today’s teaching, Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit as our Daily Bread (Luke 11:13). So for those who perhaps struggle with their prayer life or perhaps this who are just beginning to develop one, might I suggest that you pray for the Holy Spirit to infuse your soul, which will in turn shape and transform you? God‘s promise to us, an awesome promise I might add, is that he will give the gift of the Holy Spirit to all those who ask, seek and knock for it.

So on this day when prayer takes center stage, I leave you with one more, a prayer to the Holy Spirit, of which Saint Peter Damian said “As the soul is the life of the body, so the Holy Spirit is the life of our souls.”

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the earth.

O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy his consolations.Through the same Christ Our Lord.

~ Amen.

Saint Francis Xavier Seelos, pray for us…

Saint Francis Xavier Seelos, pray for us…

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