Isaiah 42: 1-7
“…Not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break…”
Psalm 27: 1, 2, 3, 13-14 “…I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD in the land of the living....”
John 12: 1-11 “…So Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’…”
St. Francis of Paola (1416 – 1507), a true contemplative from early on, his parents prayed for his birth and dedicated him to the Lord. He started many monasteries and many people were healed by him. At one point the Pope asked him to go to King Louis XI of France who had been asking for Francis. Out of obedience he left his contemplative life, and went to France and ended up having a great influence on the King’s life. How amazing is it to live in a time and witness someone emulating our good Lord so well. He tried to live out of the lime light and it was also well known that he held himself and the order to the Lenten way of life the whole year to atone for the many who were lukewarm in their experience of the same. His piety, humility and charity were amazing. He was the great decreaser, in fact he asked for the name Minims for his Order (to signify that they were the least in the house of God). He spent so much time in prayer, all the while decreasing while Christ was increasing in him. People flocked to see him, similarily to the way they pursued Christ in His time. More about this wonderful saint can be found at the EWTN library. http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/frapaula.htm
Here we are in Holy Week, and I love the lines of our first reading from Isaiah particularly, 42:3, “A bruised reed he shall not break…”. This is such a tender way to describe our Saviour. And while Isaiah may have been speaking about Jerusalem then, with Jesus living amongst us now, this passage perfectly describes Jesus. They also remind of today’s saint, Francis of Paola.
Nearing the end of the Lenten season, we are beginning to listen at deeper levels. “Until he establishes justice on the earth, the coastlands will wait for his teaching.” This is where we come in, to keep spreading His teachings, by living the Gospel. But, how do we do that? This is one reason I like to study the saints, because they were just like us, but more committed to prayer. St. Francis lived in a Lenten poverty of self throughout the whole year. Many people have talked about prayer and fasting to bring more peace into our world; to usher in a more collaborative culture of charity and understanding among peoples. There is no doubt that our troubles are growing and peace among people seems fleeting.
For now, this week we still have Jesus with us. In John’s Gospel he is visiting his good friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus (whom he’s brought back to life); and Mary is applying some aromatic nard to his feet. Judas of course is told to back off his criticism and allow Mary to keep the fine perfume to be used later for his burial. In our varied ways, we are preparing for this day as well. Let us commit to giving Jesus the royal treatment this week, by spending more time with Him.
It’s not too late to ask for the special grace allotted during this Holy season to rethink our wants and needs list. How can we participate in working for the justice, spoken of in Isaiah 42:4, to include all people born and unborn? For Jesus willed it to be so; “That they may be one, as the Father and I (Christ) are one.” Happy Holy Week.