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God Is Not a Clock-Watcher

We should not become slaves to time but live like God, unbound by time’s constraints. This is important when you begin to be alone with the Lord in prayer. Being absolutely fixated on the amount of time that has been set aside, down to the last second, is a common tendency. “I set aside twenty minutes, so I’m going to sit here until the twenty minutes are up.” Avoid this at all costs. It treats God as a cruel taskmaster, a clock-watcher, rather than the fount of love that has invited you into his presence. Eventually, you will come to resent having to sit there until time runs out. 

—from Prayer Everywhere: The Spiritual Life Made Simple

Prayer Everywhere

Saint Thomas More

Sir Thomas More | Hans Holbein the Younger
Image: Sir Thomas More | Hans Holbein the Younger

Saint Thomas More

Saint of the Day for June 22

(February 7, 1478 – July 6, 1535)

 

Saint Thomas More’s Story

His belief that no lay ruler has jurisdiction over the Church of Christ cost Thomas More his life.

Beheaded on Tower Hill, London, on July 6, 1535, More steadfastly refused to approve King Henry VIII’s divorce and remarriage and establishment of the Church of England.

Described as “a man for all seasons,” More was a literary scholar, eminent lawyer, gentleman, father of four children, and chancellor of England. An intensely spiritual man, he would not support the king’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn. Nor would he acknowledge Henry as supreme head of the Church in England, breaking with Rome, and denying the pope as head.

More was committed to the Tower of London to await trial for treason: not swearing to the Act of Succession and the Oath of Supremacy. Upon conviction, More declared he had all the councils of Christendom and not just the council of one realm to support him in the decision of his conscience.


Reflection

Four hundred years later in 1935, Thomas More was canonized a saint of God. Few saints are more relevant to our time. In the year 2000, in fact, Pope John Paul II named him patron of political leaders. The supreme diplomat and counselor, he did not compromise his own moral values in order to please the king, knowing that true allegiance to authority is not blind acceptance of everything that authority wants. King Henry himself realized this and tried desperately to win his chancellor to his side because he knew More was a man whose approval counted, a man whose personal integrity no one questioned. But when Thomas More resigned as chancellor, unable to approve the two matters that meant most to Henry, the king had to get rid of him.


Saint Thomas More is the Patron Saint of:

Attorneys
Civil Servants
Court Clerks
Lawyers
Politicians
Public Servants


Saint of the Day

 

Keep Moving Forward

Junipero Serra’s canonization and following his Camino in California should prompt us to awaken our own missionary spirit. Taking with him only the certainty that God was calling him to missionary discipleship, he came to the New World to be a witness to God’s love. As we follow in his way, let us keep his spirit before us, a vision of life encompassed in his motto recalled by Pope Francis:

 Fr. Serra had a motto which inspired his life and work, not just a saying, but above all a reality which shaped the way he lived: siempre adelante!  Keep moving forward! For him, this was the way to continue experiencing the joy of the Gospel, to keep his heart from growing numb, from being anesthetized. He kept moving forward, because the Lord was waiting. He kept going, because his brothers and sisters were waiting. He kept going forward to the end of his life. Today, like him, may we be able to say: Forward! Let’s keep moving forward!

–from Saint Junipero Serra's Camino: A Pilgrimage Guide to the California  Missions

Saint Junipero Serra's Camino

We Must Meet Christ to Follow Him

Christ has told us in his own words that he alone must be the rock foundation on which we build our lives. This can only happen if we have actually encountered him, as did the people that followed him in the Gospels. Once we have decided to leave everything to follow Christ, it becomes readily apparent that we need help in doing so. Thus, if we want to follow him, we must seek out and grab hold of those things that nourish and sustain us in doing so.

—from Prayer Everywhere: The Spiritual Life Made Simple

Prayer Everywhere

Assisi Is a Living Prayer

Assisi is a living prayer. Its narrow streets stream with pilgrims year after year, their hearts filled with hope that maybe here in this place their prayers will be answered. They ask St. Francis and St. Clare to intercede for them, to help them know what it is they are looking for. They cross the threshold of the Basilica of St. Clare and kneel before the San Damiano crucifix that gave St. Francis the direction for his life: “Go and repair my house which, as you see, is falling into ruin.” They pray before the same crucifix the prayer of St. Francis:

Most High, Glorious God,

enlighten the darkness of my heart,

and give me correct faith

sure hope and perfect charity,

with understanding and knowledge, Lord,

so that I may fulfill your holy and true command.

Amen.

—from Enter Assisi: An Invitation to Franciscan Spirituality

Enter Assisi

Become a Pilgrim

Saint Junipero Serra’s Camino is an ideal way of pilgrimage. Like the ancient pilgrimage routes—the path of Jesus through Galilee to Jerusalem, the way of the early martyrs in Rome, and the Camino of Santiago de Compostela—it challenges the traveler to make a transforming journey, an internal journey that parallels the external trip. In traveling this road, pilgrims encounter holy places, communities of faith, occasions for meditative prayer, and prospects for inner healing—opportunities to align their lives more closely with the Gospel in order to become missionary disciples of Jesus.

–from Saint Junipero Serra's Camino: A Pilgrimage Guide to the California  Missions

Saint Junipero Serra's Camino

Moving Within Our Hearts

The Lord moves within our hearts, conforming them to the Sacred Heart of his Son and building a beautiful reciprocity between the giving of ourselves and the giving of himself. Jesus said we will always know what to say concerning him, and that comes from our hearts resting in his. The infusion of knowledge happens so gradually, so subtly, that we are almost completely unaware. We only know that we must spend time with him, that we must listen attentively to the Scriptures, and that we must participate in the life of the community he has formed into his body. We must, because we know that if we do not, we will die.

—from Prayer Everywhere: The Spiritual Life Made Simple

Prayer Everywhere

God Reveals Himself in All Creation

Surely the Spirit of God was working within the indigenous people of California before the Gospel was proclaimed to them. God was revealing himself through the beauty and splendor of creation: “Ever since the creation of the world, his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made” (Romans 1:20). For this reason, people everywhere are attracted to the Gospel, God’s saving plan for the world, when they hear it proclaimed. God has created a template within the human spirit for the seeds of the Gospel to grow.

–from Saint Junipero Serra's Camino: A Pilgrimage Guide to the California  Missions

Saint Junipero Serra's Camino

Where Earth and Heaven Meet

So preoccupied had I been with Assisi that I couldn’t see beyond it to the goal of everything, that other threshold, that border where earth and heaven meet. The mountain is the symbol of that apogee in the soul where we meet God. This is not to denigrate or dismiss what is below, but to lift it up and give thanks to God for all that God has made; to bless it and praise God and see that everything is good because it comes from God and ultimately leads us beyond itself to the God who made it and redeems it. What is below makes the mountain. It does not rest on air, on spirit, but on matter, which is the mountain’s way to the heights of union with God. The mountain affirms incarnation, the entering of God into all that God has made.

—from Enter Assisi: An Invitation to Franciscan Spirituality

Enter Assisi

Prayer Bridges the Chasm

Prayer is almost as much a mystery as God. Prayer always seems to be more than the words we use to describe it or the ways in which we understand it. Prayer is as old as the human family, stretching all the way back to the fall of Adam and Eve. Prior to disobeying God, our first parents lived in friendship with him. The intimacy they shared precluded the need for prayer. Their sin, however, produced a chasm between themselves and God. Because God created them to share his life, the desire for him not only remained, it also intensified. St. Augustine describes this as a restlessness within the human heart that can only be satisfied by resting in God. We can say, therefore, with a fair degree of certainty that prayer is the action that enables communication between that which is human and that which is divine.

—from Prayer Everywhere: The Spiritual Life Made Simple

Prayer Everywhere