Posted by: RAM | March 2, 2017

Friday (March 3): Fasting for the kingdom of God

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of St. Joseph
Friday after Ash Wednesday
Lectionary: 221

First Reading: Isaiah 58:1-9
Psalms 51:3-6, 18-19: A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Gospel: Matthew 9:14-15
The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/03317.cfm

Reflection:  Are you hungry for God? Hungering for God and fasting for his kingdom go hand in hand. When asked why he and his disciples did not fast Jesus used the vivid picture of a wedding celebration. In Jesus’ time the newly wed celebrated their honeymoon at home for a whole week with all the guests! This was a time of great feasting and celebrating. Jesus points to himself as the bridegroom and his disciples as the bridegroom’s friends. He alludes to the fact that God takes delight in his people as a groom delights in his bride (Isaiah 62:5).

Humble yourself before the Lord your God
To be in God’s presence is pure delight and happiness. But Jesus also reminds his followers that there is a time for fasting and for humbling oneself in preparation for the coming of God’s kingdom and for the return of the Messianic King. The Lord’s disciples must also bear the cross of affliction and purification. For the disciple there is both a time for rejoicing in the Lord’s presence and celebrating his goodness and a time for seeking the Lord with humility, fasting, and mourning for sin. If we hunger for the Lord, he will not disappoint us. His grace draws us to his throne of mercy and favor. Do you seek the Lord with confident trust and allow his Holy Spirit to transform your life with his power and grace?

Fast and hunger for more of God and his righteousness
What kind of fasting is pleasing to God? Fasting can be done for a variety of reasons – to gain freedom from some bad habit, addiction, or vice, to share in the suffering of those who go without, or to grow in our hunger for God and for the things of heaven. Basil the Great wrote: “Take heed that you do not make fasting to consists only in abstinence from meats. True fasting is to refrain from vice. Shred to pieces all your unjust contracts. Pardon your neighbors. Forgive them their trespasses.” Do you hunger to know God more, to grow in his holiness, and to live the abundant life of grace he offers you?

“Come Lord, work upon us, set us on fire and clasp us close, be fragrant to us, draw us to your loveliness, let us love, let us run to you.” (Prayer of St. Augustine) http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/mar2.htm copyright (c) 2016 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Saint of the Day: St. Katharine Drexel, Patron of racial justice and philanthropists (1858-1955)
St. Katharine Drexel is the second American-born saint to be canonized by the Catholic Church. This amazing woman was an heiress to a large bequest who became a religious sister and a brilliant educator.

Katherine was born in Philadelphia on November 26, 1858, the second child of a prominent and wealthy banker, Francis Anthony Drexel and his wife, Hannah Langstroth. He mother passed away just five weeks after Katharine was born. Her father remarried to Emma Bouvier in 1860 and together they had another daughter in 1863, Louisa Drexel.

The girls received a wonderful education from private tutors and traveled throughout the United States and Europe. The Drexels were financially and spiritually well endowed. They were devout in the practice of their faith, setting an excellent example of true Christian living for their three daughters. They not only prayed but practiced what the Church calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

Katharine grew up seeing her father pray for 30 minutes each evening. And every week, her stepmother opened their doors to house and care for the poor. The couple distributed food, clothing and provided rent assistance to those in need. The Drexels would seek out and visit women who were too afraid or too proud to approach the home in order to care for their needs in Christian charity.

Though Katharine made her social debut in 1879, she never let her family’s money adversely affect the way she lived her life and faith. She was an example of a Christian with a proper understanding that the goods of this earth are given for the common good.

After watching her stepmother suffer with terminal cancer for three straight years, Katharine also learned that no amount of money could shelter them from pain or suffering. From this moment, Katharine’s life took a turn. She became imbued with a passionate love for God and neighbor, and she took an avid interest in the material and spiritual well-being of black and native Americans.

In 1884, while her family was visiting the Western states, Katharine saw first-hand the troubling and poor situation of the Native Americans. She desperately wanted to help them.

Katharine spent much of her time with Father James O’ Connor, a Philadelphia priest. He provided her with wonderful spiritual direction.

When her father passed away a year later, he donated part of his $15.5 million estate to a few charities and then left the remainder to be equally split amongst his three daughters.

He set up his will in a way to protect his daughters from men who were only seeking their money. If his daughters should die, the money was then to go on to his would-be grandchildren. If there were no grandchildren, the Drexel estate would be distributed to several different religious orders and charities, including the Society of Jesus, the Religious of the Sacred Heart, a Lutheran hospital and the Christian Brothers.

As one of their first acts following their father’s death, Katharine and her sisters contributed money to assist the St. Francis Mission of South Dakota’s Rosebud Reservation.

Katherine soon concluded that more was needed to help the Native Americans and the lacking ingredient was people.

In 1887, while touring Europe, the Drexel sisters were given a private audience with Pope Leo XIII. They were seeking missionaries to help with the Indian missions they were financing. The Pope looked to Katharine and suggested she, herself, become a missionary.

After speaking with Father O’ Connor, Katharine decided she would give herself and her inheritance to God through service to both Native Americans and African Americans. She wrote, “The feast of St. Joseph brought me the grace to give the remainder of my life to the Indians and the Colored.”

Katharine began her six-month postulancy at the Sisters of Mercy Convent in Pittsburgh in 1889.

On February 12, 1891, Katharine made her first vows as a religious and dedicated herself to working for the American Indians and African-Americans in the Western United States.

Taking the name Mother Katharine, she established a religious congregation called the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored, whose members would work for the betterment of those they were called to serve.

From the age of 33 until her death in 1955, she dedicated her life and her fortune to this work. In 1894, Mother Katharine took part in opening the first mission boarding school called St. Catherine’s Indian School, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Other schools quickly followed – for Native Americans west of the Mississippi River, and for the blacks in the southern part of the United States.

In 1897, Katharine asked the friars of St. John the Baptist Province of the Order of Friars Minor to help staff a mission for the Navajos in Arizona and New Mexico, and she would help finance their work with the Pueblo Native Americans.

In 1910, Katharine also financed the printing of 500 copies of A Navaho-English Catechism of Christian Doctrine for the Use of Navaho Children.

In 1915, Katherine founded Xavier University in New Orleans, the first Catholic University in the United States for African-Americans.

By the time of her death, she had more than 500 Sisters teaching in 63 schools throughout the country and she established 50 missions for Native Americans in 16 different states.

Katharine suffered a heart attack at 77-years-old and was forced to retire. She spent the remainder of her life in quiet and intense prayer. She recorded her prates and aspirations in small notebooks.

Mother Katharine died on March 3, 1955 at the age of 96. She is buried at her order’s motherhouse. Neither of Katharine’s sisters had any children, so after her death, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament lost the Drexel fortune that supported their ministries. However, the order continues to pursue Katharine’s mission with the African-Americans and Native Americans in 21 states and in Haiti.

Katharine was remembered for her love of the Eucharist and a desire for unity of all peoples. She was courageous and took the initiative to address social inequality within minorities. She believed all should have access to a quality education and her selfless service, including the donation of her inheritance, helped many reach that goal.

St. Katharine was beatified on November 20, 1988 and canonized on October 1, 2000 by Pope John Paul II.

Relics of St. Katharine can be found at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, and in the Day Chapel of Saint Katharine Drexel Parish in Sugar Grove, Illinois.

Katharine is the patron saint of racial justice and philanthropists. Her feast day is celebrated on March 3. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=193

More Saints of the Day:
St. Anselm of Nonantola
St. Arthelais
St. Calupan
St. Camilla
St. Cele-Christ
St. Cleonicus
St. Cunegundes
St. Felix
St. Foila
St. Hemiterius and Cheledonius
St. Katharine Drexel
St. Lamalisse
St. Marinus & Asterius
St. Non
St. Sacer
St. Teresa Eustochio Verzeri
St. Titian of Brescia
St. Winwaloc

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

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