22 June, Monday — Being Open to Love

Jun 22 – Memorial for St. Paulinus of Nola, bishop; Memorial for St. John Fisher, Bishop & St. Thomas More, martyrs

Paulinus (c.354–431) was a friend of St. Augustine of Hippo, and St. Nicetas of Remesiana, and was mentioned for his holiness by at least six of his contemporary saints.

He was a distinguished lawyer who held several public offices in the Empire, then retired from public ministry with his wife, Therasia, first to Bordeaux, where they were baptised, and then to Therasia’s estate in Spain. After the death of their only son at the age of only a few weeks, the couple decided to spend the rest of their lives devoted to God. They gave away most of their estates and dedicated themselves to increasing their holiness.

Paulinus became a priest and with Therasia, moved to Nola and gave away the rest of their property. They dedicated themselves to helping the poor. Paulinus was chosen bishop of Nola by popular demand. He governed the diocese for more than 21 years while living in his own home as a monk and continuing to aid the poor. His writings contain one of the earliest examples of a Christian wedding song.

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John Fisher (1469–1535) studied theology at Cambridge University, receiving degrees in 1487 and 1491. He was parish priest in Northallerton, England from 1491–1494. He gained a reputation for his teaching abilities. He was proctor of Cambridge University. He was confessor to Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII, in 1497. He was ordained Bishop of Rochester, England in 1504; he worked to raise the standard of preaching in his see. He became chancellor of Cambridge. He was tutor of the young King Henry VIII. He was an excellent speaker and writer.

When in 1527 he was asked to study the problem of Henry’s marriage, he became the target of Henry’s wrath by defending the validity of the marriage and rejecting Henry’s claim to be head of the Church in England. He was imprisoned in 1534 for his opposition, and he spent 14 months in prison without trial. While in prison, he was created cardinal in 1535 by Pope Paul III. He was martyred for his faith.

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Thomas More (1478–1535) studied at London and Oxford, England. He was a page for the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was a lawyer. Twice married, and a widower, he was the father of one son and three daughters, and a devoted family man. He was a writer, most famously of the novel which coined the word ‘utopia’. It was translated with the works of Lucian.

He was known during his own day, for his scholarship and the depth of his knowledge. He was a friend to King Henry VIII, and Lord Chancellor of England from 1529–1532, a position of political power second only to the king.

He fought any form of heresy, especially the incursion of Protestantism into England. He opposed the king on the matter of royal divorce, and refused to swear the Oath of Supremacy which declared the king the head of the Church in England. He resigned the Chancellorship, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was martyred for his refusal to bend his religious beliefs to the king’s political needs.

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2 Kgs 17:5-8,13-15,18
Mt 7:1-5

“.. the judgements you give are the judgements you will get…”

For a long time now, I have not seen myself as the judgemental sort of person.

Until I caught myself doing so, repeatedly.

I have been upset with someone recently; I felt that this person had not been very forthright in his dealings with me when I had been very candid and honest with him. I mulled over my thoughts for about two weeks, and I played out in my mind, repeatedly, how I could deal with the situation. As I mulled the myriad of possible scenarios in my head, I got angrier and angrier.

What stopped me in my tracks was when I prayed, and sat down to prepare for this reflection.

What hit me immediately was that there was no injustice which had been committed to me. Instead, what got me upset was over the perceived wrongs that I felt he had done. I had created a story in my mind and over time, built a whole plot around this initial spark of a story.

What occurred to me was that, because of this anger, I had failed to behave as a Christian should. Where love and concern should have been, there was anger and mistrust. Indeed, it was then I realised that the anger and mistrust were ‘planks’ in my eyes, blinding me to the good in others.

It is not just about hypocrisy; about us not being perfect while demanding the same perfection from others. Instead, being Christian means we have to continue to work at removing all impediments to recognising the good in others; to be open to both receiving, and giving to others.        

(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)

Prayer: We pray that we are always ready and alert to all possible planks in our own eyes. Help us, Father, to be able to remove these readily.

Thanksgiving: We praise You and thank You, Lord Jesus, for teaching us to be what it means to be Your disciple; to always be open to loving others.


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