25 August, Tuesday — Will you wash the feet?

Aug 25 – Memorial for St. Louis of France, married man; Memorial for St. Joseph Calasanz, priest, religious founder

As king of France, Louis (1214-1270) made numerous judicial and legislative reforms. He promoted Christianity in France; established religious foundations, aided mendicant orders, propagated synodal decrees of the Church, built leper hospitals, and collected relics.

“In prosperity, give thanks to God with humility and fear lest by pride you abuse God’s benefits and so offend him.” – St. Louis IX

St. Joseph Calasanz (1556-1648) and two fellow priests opened a small, free school for poor children. He was supervising several teachers and hundreds of students. When the school moved to larger quarters, the teaching priests were reorganised into a community recognised as a religious order called Le Sciole Pie (Religious Schools), also known as the Piarists, or Scolopii or Ordo Clericorum Regularium Pauperum Matris Dei Scholarum Piarum or Order of Poor Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools; Joseph acted as superior of the Order.

The community encountered many obstacles. It was dissolved, then reorganised after Joseph’s death. They were restored as a religious order in 1669, and continue their good work today.

  • Patron Saint Index

2 Thes 2:1-3, 14-17
Mt 23:23-26

You who clean the outside of cup and dish and leave the inside full of extortion and intemperance.”

To let ‘no one deceive you’, to ‘not be quickly shaken’ and to not ‘swallow a camel’, one must be convicted of WHO they are and WHO they are following. In other words, a person who doesn’t think of themselves. A person who doesn’t need to be the boss, the center of attention, the biggest anything; in fact, a person who doesn’t have a need to be recognized for anything. 

I have been deceived, and I am sure I have deceived others in my life.  Nothing big, nothing illegal, but small deceptions. I wasn’t really that sick, I didn’t really tell you the whole story. He didn’t say it in those exact words, I didn’t really…..When I was in the fifth grade, my elementary school had an October Festival. Kathleen, my 10-year old best friend, was sick so I went with other ‘cooler’ friends. At the festival, Kathleen’s younger sister saw me and was coming toward me when I turned away; I didn’t want to be talking to a 4th grader with this group of friends. I still remember Kathleen telling me that I hurt her sister’s feelings and, ashamed of what I done,  I LIED and said I didn’t even see Susan. That happened 51 years ago and I still remember (I am sure they don’t), but I know I was purposely deceitful. It’s easy to view this as a simple unimportant incident, and in the big picture of life, it certainly seems insignificant. But, it wasn’t insignificant at the time. At 10 years old, I swallowed a camel pretending it was a gnat… I was ‘quickly shaken’ as I changed who I was (a good honest girl) to look cool to the group I was with; and I followed that up by deceiving Kathleen with my lie so that she wouldn’t be angry with me and stop being my friend.

It is so much easier to cleanse the outside so that we look good, acceptable, better. Cosmetics. Lights. Smoke and mirrors. And let’s not forget the father of all lies who does his work with lights and smoke and mirrors; the one who makes things, even dirt (and all things sinful that lead to our inner destruction), look fun and shiny. The inside takes more work, and it hurts.  Our image is the ‘outside’ of us and in today’s world, that image is all that matters to many. We celebrate, we idolize and we follow the OUTSIDE of many people. People we don’t know on a personal basis, people who don’t know us and, if truth be known, most likely wouldn’t choose us as a friend even if they knew us. In idolizing people, some people even change the way they look and speak, and even change their interests to be more like their ‘idol’. If I could just look more like this celebrity…if, if, if…my life would be better. From a distance this is pathetic, but from close up it is sad beyond belief. Who we are is not the clothes we wear, the car we drive, the house we live in, the job we have, the toys we own, the number of people who follow us, the number of LIKEs our posts receive –- we are not the outside of us or what others think of us.

Who we are IS the motives behind our words and actions. This is a truth that is expressed so many times in the New Testament. There are two quotes from Oswald Chambers that, to me, expresses this truth to our focus on celebrity/fame/success/fortune/power today; this total focus to be the one being served. The one with the money. The one in charge. 

“The real test of a saint is not preaching the gospel, but washing disciples’ feet. That is, doing the things that do not count in the natural estimate of men, but count everything in the estimate of God.”

“Drudgery is the touchstone of character. The great hindrance in spiritual life is that we will look for BIG things to do. Jesus took a towel and began to wash the disciples feet.” 

(Today’s Oxygen by Gina Ulicny)

Prayer: Father God, how much easier it is to cleanse the outside. Lord, help us to live our lives with You as our focus so that justice, mercy and faith are the motives behind all our words and actions.

Thanksgiving: We thank you for scripture, God. We thank you for our brothers and sisters in Christ who love you and us enough to hold us to the character and standards that Christ asked of us.

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