April 2 is the memorial of Saint Francis of Paola. He was born in Calabria region of southern Italy on 1416. He found a religious order known as the Hermits of St. Francis .The name was later changed to Order of Minims. Francis of Paola’s order is similar to the Orders of St Francis of Assisi except is that the Minims practiced a perpetual Lent. Lent was strict in the Middle Ages. Pasta con sarde is a food dish that is associated with these friars. One might notice the holy card of this saint featured on this blog. Here is the Collect:
O God, exaltation of the lowly, who raised Saint Francis of Paola to the glory of your Saints, grant, we pray, that by his merits and example we may happily attain the rewards promised to the humble. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever
Timothy and Titus, early bishops whose feast we celebrate today. They are disciples and companion of Paul. Gentiles and Jewish-Gentile ethnicity. Some say wow! The right hand man of Paul, for certain they must have been important. But wait, stop and think. Paul as not revered in society, they tossed him into jail. If Paul was the criminal, they were much less. Outcasts and deviant the three of them, yet these two served Paul, in the name of the LORD. Fact from fiction, truth separated like fire tried gold. For those that pray the Liturgy of them Hours, Paul is celebrated as Apostle. The other two with the Common of Pastors. Peter the Popa , and the Church is served. Outcasts, prisoners, and warriors; they fought for the faith. Timothy and Titus did not gain respect from men, their celebration is because they taught the will of the LORD. Esteemed now, not then. One must look at them in their culture and not through the rose-colored glasses of today. They went against the grain, they challenged and provoked and served. Uncelebrated, downcast, persecuted, yet resolute. Think about the outcast and mumble the reading of today:
Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”
They were the seed that bore fruit, against all odds. Trampled and scattered, yet they still grew; and they did so against all odds. Let me correct myself, it was not they who grew. It was the message they spread, and scattered, and nurtured. It took hold, that word of God. For they were simple servants, let’s celebrate them. Today.
Basil and Gregory, in the years 300, knew each other. They became friends, scholars, and hermits. They then became Bishops. They shared in their quest for the Christ. Inspiration. They became hermits, on retreat and separated from their surroundings. Contemplative and cautious of the influence of the day. Through these; Christ, noble friendship, and contemplative pursuit, they became bishops in a Church at it’s infancy. What dwelled in Mary had dwelled in their hearts and minds.
Today is the Advent celebration of Saint Lucy’s Day, it is a festival of light. Lucy translates Lux or light, and her day occurs at the darkest time of year. Today also is the second day of Hanukkah, a festival of light.
Saint Lucy’s day is full of traditions, especially in Nordic countries. Hungary has the tradition of plants pot of wheat on this day. By Christmas that wheat will sprout to several centimeters in length, symbolic of the infant in the manger and the Body of Christ present in the Eucharist.
Next Sunday is Gaudete Sunday.