Our Lady's Little Scribe seeks to use the internet for sharing the Catholic faith and Franciscan spirituality, going from Gospel to life and life to the Gospel.

The silk painting, shown above, is by Ty Mam Duw, Poor Clare Colettines, Hawarden, WALES GB. Their website is here. Ty Mam Duw is Welsh and means The House of the Mother of God. Our Lady of the Pearl cherishes their friendship and is grateful for their many kindnesses and prayers. The image is used with permission.

Entertaining Angels

Entertaining Angels
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Love One Another

On the night before he died, Jesus commanded us to love one another, and it is by this love that others will know we are his disciples. (John 13)

Love is expressed in many ways. One of them is hospitality which is one of the traditional corporal works of mercy. Recall the Old Testament stories of Abraham and Sarah, Lot, Manoah, and Tobit who gave hospitality to strangers who turned out to be angels. Christians who practice hospitality are welcoming Christ himself.

Christians also should see Christ in anyone who is experiencing suffering. We must remember the story of the Good Samaritan and the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 25 when he said, "for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." When did we do this, Lord? Jesus tells us that "as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."

Is this not what St. Francis finally understood when he kissed the leper? When he cleaned their sores and cared for them?

To practice charity towards God and others, the virtue of chastity is essential. Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8) Chastity expands one's capacity to love, which includes the love of all creation and the ability to see all of nature as holy. St. Francis saw all creation as a part of a divine family, deserving our love and respect.

In practicing charity and chastity, we also are called to be good stewards of all that God has given us, using his gifts as he intended. The good steward takes care of whatever it is that she or he has been entrusted. As the U.S. Catholic bishops said in Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response: “A Christian steward is one who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner, shares them in justice and love with others and returns them with increase to the Lord.”

The life of a Christian steward does not include waste, greed, lust for power, and lust for things for the sake of having. It does not include "conspicuous waste" or "conspicuous consumption." It does not include the acquisition and display of expensive stuff to flaunt wealth and promote self-importance and social standing. Was not paradise lost because of pride and the desire for pleasure and possessions?

Now let us consider chastity in marriage. Marriage is the calling by God to seek holiness in that state in life. "When there is chastity in the love of married persons, their marital life is authentic; husband and wife are true to themselves, they understand each other and develop union between them. When the divine gift of sex is perverted, their intimacy is destroyed, and they can no longer look openly at one another." (Blessed J. Escriva.)

Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3) He also said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up treasures in heaven." (Matthew 6:19-20a) St. Francis embraced poverty and by "possessing nothing, he belonged entirely to God."

As Secular Franciscans, we are called to detach ourselves from material possessions and to live a simple life. Jesus tells us to be not anxious about our lives, what we shall eat or drink or clothes for our body. (Matthew 6). He comforts us with these words: "I will never fail you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:8)

In all these things and more, we must be obedient and faithful to Christ and the Catholic Church, to his teachings, his commandments and the sacraments, and in unity with His Church, no matter the cost. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:10)

Thus are Secular Franciscans called - called to live in the spirit of the Beatitudes - upon a foundation of brotherly and sisterly love - sometimes entertaining angels unawares. (Hebrews 13:1-8.)


Tausign said...

Little Scribe: I just noticed your sidebar caption 'Those Who Sow in Tears'. Have you recovered from the catastrophe? Where do you stand now with repairs and rebuilding? Also I see others are incorporated into a team effort on this blog...very nice, indeed.

Peace and all good.

Little Scribe said...

The coast of Mississippi has not recovered from Hurrican Katrina. It will be years and years. We are forever changed. Our home had only minor damage, but the suffering goes beyond personal property into the community as a whole. The story for Our Lady of the Pearl Secular Franciscan Fraternity is on our website at at the Eighth Month page. Thanks for asking about us.