Tuesday, August 25, 2009

AUGUST 25 SAINT JOSEPH CALASANZ

“The Last Communion of
St. Joseph of Calasanz”
by Francisco de Goya, 1819
AUGUST 25

SAINT JOSEPH CALASANZ, PRIEST

Biographical Information about St. Joseph Calasanz[1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Joseph Calasanz [2]

Readings and Commentary:

FIRST READING

Long Form
1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13

Brothers and sisters:
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.

But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues
but do not have love,
I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
And if I have the gift of prophecy
and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge;
if I have all faith so as to move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away everything I own,
and if I hand my body over so that I may boast
but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, love is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice
over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.
If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing;
if tongues, they will cease;
if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

When I was a child, I used to talk as a child,
think as a child, reason as a child;
when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror,
but then face to face.
At present I know partially;
then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.
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Commentary on
1 Cor 12:31-13:13

St. Paul shifts his focus from the diversity of the different functions within the Body of Christ (which is the Church) to the gifts common to those enlightened by Christ. First among these gifts is love which informs all reason, directing the Christian to the love of Christ.
“In speaking of love, Paul is led by spontaneous association to mention faith and hope as well. They are already a well-known triad (cf 1 Thessalonians 1:3), three interrelated features of Christian life, more fundamental than any particular charism. The greatest . . . is love: love is operative even within the other members of the triad, so that it has a certain primacy among them. Or, if the perspective is temporal, love will remain (cf "never fails,") even when faith has yielded to sight and hope to possession.” [3]
 
CCC: 1 Cor 12 1988, 2003; 1 Cor 13 735, 800; 1 Cor 13:1-4 1826; 1 Cor 13:4-7 1825; 1 Cor 13:5 953; 1 Cor 13:8 773; 1 Cor 13:12 163, 164, 314, 1023, 1720, 2519; 1 Cor 13:13 1813, 1826, 1841
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OR

Short Form
1 Corinthians 13:4-13

Brothers and sisters:
Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, it is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.
If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing;
if tongues, they will cease;
if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child,
think as a child, reason as a child;
when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror,
but then face to face.
At present I know partially;
then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.
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Commentary on
1 Cor 13:4-13

This shorter version of St. Paul’s discourse on the characteristics of Christian love (faith, and hope) omits the beginning verses but retains the focus on unselfish and selfless nature of the relationship between members of the community; imitating Christ’s love for the Church.

CCC: 1 Cor 13 735, 800; 1 Cor 13:1-4 1826; 1 Cor 13:4-7 1825; 1 Cor 13:5 953; 1 Cor 13:8 773; 1 Cor 13:12 163, 164, 314, 1023, 1720, 2519; 1 Cor 13:13 1813, 1826, 1841
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RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

R. (2) I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R.
(9) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Fear the LORD, you his holy ones,
for nought is lacking to those who fear him.
The great grow poor and hungry;
but those who seek the LORD want for no good thing.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
or:
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
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Commentary on
Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

Psalm 34 is a song of thanksgiving and a favorite for celebrating the heroic virtue of the saints. The psalmist, fresh from the experience of being rescued (Psalm 34:5, 7), can teach the "poor," those who are defenseless, to trust in God alone. This psalm, in the words of one being unjustly persecuted, echoes hope for deliverance and freedom. The promise of salvation for those who follow the Lord gives hope to the poor and downtrodden.

CCC: Ps 34:3 716; Ps 34:8 336
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GOSPEL
Matthew 18:1-5

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
"Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?"
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me."
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Commentary on Mt 18:1-5

Jesus, in this selection from St. Matthew’s Gospel (also recorded in St. Luke’s Gospel at Luke 9:46-50.), summarizes what is known as “church order”. It is called this because, in response to the question “who will be greatest in the Kingdom of heaven”, Jesus refutes the rank and privilege of the secular world and indicates that those whose faith is like a small child will find greatness in heaven. The beginning allegory is thought to deal less with the innocence of a child and more with the child’s complete dependence upon its parents. The lesson then drives home the fact that the faithful disciple must be dependent upon God alone.

CCC: Mt 18:3-4 526; Mt 18:3 2785
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Reflection:

There are numerous examples in Church history when the example Jesus gives in St. Matthew’s Gospel have been ignored. When we think about the first Saints tasked with building the Church, the Apostles, we can understand that the example and instructions Jesus left us are, to say the least, challenging.

We can see in the disciples question some signs of envy and competition between them; vying for superiority. Even these, the first to take Christ’s teachings into the world, were not above the temptations of authority. St. Joseph Calasanz encountered the same problem in his ministry.

St. Joseph started with a simple, faith driven ideal; educate the poor. He wanted to help those least able to help themselves, the children of the poor who otherwise would not have been able to find education and hence a way out of their wretchedness.

Like many authentic calls to ministry, St. Joseph’s idea quickly gained supporters at all levels of the Church hierarchy. In post reformation Italy, he found new fervor for the faith and his following grew. He soon was able to establish his apostolate as a religious order, dedicated to education. Who knows how far this effort could have spread. However, some in his community encountered the same influence that had caused the Lord’s disciples to question who will be greatest. Without the direct guidance of the Lord, this caused dissension among the member of the now established Order of Poor Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools (Piarists).

As with many wonderfully intentioned efforts by the people of God, this dissension ultimately caused the Church to react, disbanding the order and placing the priests involved back under the authority of their local Bishops. Ultimately, St. Joseph was vindicated and his heroic virtue recognized. The order was eventually reconstituted in 1669 and continues today.

On his day, we ask for the intercessions of St. Joseph Calasanz. We ask that when we seek to do God’s will, especially in fellowship with others of the faith community, we remember to do so with the faith and lack of guile of a little child; seeking always the greater glory of God.

Pax


[1] The picture is “The Last Communion of St. Joseph of Calasanz” by Francisco de Goya, 1819
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.
[3] See NAB footnote on 1 Corinthians 13:13

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