Sunday, July 10, 2011


“Seven Founders of the Servite Order”,
Artist and Date are UNKNOWN



Readings and Commentary:[2]


Brothers and sisters:
The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
And the one who searches hearts
knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
because he intercedes for the holy ones
according to God's will.
We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.
For those he foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the image of his Son,
so that he might be the firstborn
among many brothers.
And those he predestined he also called;
and those he called he also justified;
and those he justified he also glorified.
Commentary on Rom 8:26-30

In the first paragraph of this selection St. Paul speaks about the impact the Holy Spirit has upon prayer. Even if one cannot express their needs, the Paraclete will search it out and intercede for Christ’s followers.

In the second part of the reading the Evangelist outlines the Christian vocation as God intended it to be. Because Christ existed eternally those called to him were carefully chosen or elected from the beginning of time to be called to salvation. “Predestined: [means] Selected for divine adoption by an eternal decree of God (Ephesians 1:4). Predestination is a mystery revealed but not fully understood; what we know for certain is that God is free to act as he chooses (Psalm 135:6) and man is free to accept or reject his blessings (Romans 2:6-8; Sirach 15:11-13).No one is predestined by God for eternal damnation (CCC 1037).”[3]

CCC: Rom 8:26-39 2739; Rom 8:26-27 2634; Rom 8:26 741, 2559, 2630, 2736; Rom 8:27 2543, 2736, 2766; Rom 8:28-30 1821, 2012; Rom 8:28 313, 395; Rom 8:29 257, 381, 501, 1161, 1272, 2790

R . (2) I will bless the Lord at all times.
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 and be glad.
R . I will bless the Lord at all times.
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.
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.
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.
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.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
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

Peter said to Jesus,
"We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?"
Jesus said to them "Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life."
Commentary on Mt 19:27-29

St. Matthew’s Gospel continues the focus on valuing the spiritual life above the material pursuits of earthly existence. The disciples were dismayed at the asceticism required by the discipline and sacrifice required by Christ.  In response to Peter’s expression of this concern, Jesus, in an eschatological discourse, provides a vision of the heavenly kingdom in which those who have faithfully followed the Lord will receive an inestimable reward.

CCC: Mt 19:23-29 2053; Mt 19:23-24 226; Mt 19:26 276, 308, 1058; Mt 19:28 765

In discussions about vocations, a topic that is frequently brought up is the celibate priesthood.  It is often asked, especially by non-Catholics: Why are priests not allowed to marry in the Catholic Church?  Wouldn’t having a married priesthood solve so many problems?  As a Permanent Deacon, married for over forty years, I can say with personal certainty that the celibate priesthood is a gift and a blessing for the Church.  The sacrifice of those taking this vow is less (as some have postulated) about giving up sex, and more about focusing one’s life totally on service to God.  In the Gospel, St. Peter says: “We have given up everything and followed you.”  Those who are called to priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church follow that model of sacrifice and service completely.

The celebration of the feast day for the Seven Founders of the Orders of Servites emphasizes that virtue.  As we are told, these seven: Saint Alexis Falconieri, Saint Bartholomew degli Amidei, Saint Benedict dell’Antella, Saint Buonfiglio Monaldi, Saint Gherardino Sostegni, Saint Hugh dei Lippi-Uguccioni, and Saint John Buonagiunta Monetti (two of whom were widowers) gave up their secular lives. Under the influence of the Blessed Virgin Mary, they dedicated themselves as the Servants of Mary, to Christ.

It is a special blessing and vocation to be able to put aside all secular values to serve God.  Most of us are not called to that single minded service found in the presbyteral vocation or religious vows.  We live in the world and must struggle to remain apart from what the world values.  But we also see how God honors those who hear and follow the call to a life of service to Christ, sacrificing all of their posterity to him who emptied himself for our salvation.

Our faith is inspired by those Seven Founders of the Orders of Servites who fostered the servant Christ under the Blessed Mary’s influence.  May we also find some part in that single-minded dedication to the Lord in our lives.


[1] The Icon is “Seven Founders of the Servite Order”, Artist and Date are UNKNOWN
[2] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalm and its response which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL). This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only.
[3] Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, © 2010, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA. pp.268

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