30 April, Thursday — Right Teaching

30 Apr – Memorial for St. Pius V, pope

Antonio Ghislieri (1504-1572) was born to impoverished Italian nobility, the son of Paolo Ghislieri and Domenica Augeria. He worked as a shepherd as a boy, and received an excellent education in piety and holiness, including a scholastic education from a Dominican friar. He joined the Order in 1518, taking the name Michele. He studied in Bologna, Italy, and was ordained in 1528 in Genoa.

He was appointed teacher of philosophy and divinity in Genoa, and was a professor of theology in Pavia for 16 years. He was the Master of novices and prior of several Dominican houses, and he worked for stricter adherence to the Order’s rule.

He was an inquisitor in Como and Bergamo, and the commissary general of the Roman Inquisition in 1551. On Sep 4, 1556, he was ordained Bishop of Nepi and Sutri against his will. He was Inquisitor in Milan and Lombardy in the same year, and created cardinal on Mar 15 the following year, made Grand Inquisitor on Dec 14, 1558, and was part of the conclave of 1559. He was appointed Bishop of Mondovi, Italy on Mar 17, 1560. As bishop, he worked to lead his flock with words and examples, and served as a continual messenger encouraging personal piety and devotion to God.

He became the 225th pope in 1566, and immediately faced the task of enacting the reforms of the Council of Trent. New seminaries were opened, a new breviary, new missal, and new catechism were published. Foundations were established to spread the faith and preserve the doctrine of the Church. He spent much time personally working with the needy. He built hospitals and used the papal treasury to care for the poor. He faced many difficulties in the public forum, both in the implementation of the Tridentine reforms and interaction with other heads of state. He created 21 cardinals. At the time of his death, he was working on a Christian European alliance to break the power of the Islamic states.

– Patron Saint Index

Acts 8:26-40
John 6:44-51

“How can I,” he replied, unless I have someone to guide me?””

During this difficult time, I have been trying to make sense of what is happening around the world, and if there is some underlying message that God wants to tell me and us in general. Being a believer of Christ does not mean that I have an automatic understanding of all there is about Christ and God’s Word. In fact, I find that after all these years, I am still searching, still trying to understand what God’s will is for me. Perhaps I am not alone, as we all try to make sense of everything in our own ways. Like the Ethiopian eunuch, perhaps we are reading the Bible, yet not quite understanding how the teachings apply to us or what it means. In these times of searching, we must also be wary that our searching does not lead to confusion, by following the wrong teachings and beliefs.

I recall a time during university before my conversion, when my friends and I were approached by a middle-aged lady and her companion on campus. They sat down with us out of the blue and started asking us about our religion. My friends and I were too polite to ask them to excuse us, and we hoped that they would eventually move on. But they stayed and pressed on. They were talking about Jesus, but it did not sit well with me at the time. While they were being very civil, their approach was very direct, and ill-afforded any sort of explanation or meaning of Jesus. In fact, at one point, I felt that I was being pushed into something I wasn’t prepared for. I was asked to repeat a proclamation after the lady, to which she declared triumphantly that I was now converted. That frightened and confused me even more. After that incident, it put me off to talk to anyone about religion.

Years later though, I felt a longing to know more about Jesus out of my own accord. I attended RCIA classes at my local church, which eventually led to my baptism. This time round, I was more comfortable because I had the right instruction in the right environment. I received the right kind of guidance and more importantly, it was at a timing that God deemed right for me. I was looking for God, and He answered my heart.

Like the eunuch, our hearts need to be open to receive Christ’s teachings. If we are searching and ask God for guidance, He will provide it to us, even if we are in ‘barren desert’. The eunuch invited Philip to join him to explain the scripture to him, and he was rewarded with a most passionate and clear proclamation which led to his conversion.

Friends, if we are looking for help to understand more about God’s Word and will, we shouldn’t be afraid to ask God for help. Secondly, we should also ask Him to give us a discerning mind, lest we should be led astray into confusion. It is when we have the right guidance will we gain a better appreciation for Jesus, and be in a better position to share that appreciation with others.  

(Today’s Oxygen by Annette Soo)

Prayer: Dear Lord, in a world filled with fake news and misinformation coming at us from all directions, we ask for a discerning mind to filter out the right from wrong, and an open heart to receive Your Word and Love.   

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for the teachers and mentors whom You have sent to us in our lives who guide us, and instruct us to understand Your Word better. May we too, be good guides in return.

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