22 June, Wednesday — Fool me Once, Shame on You. Fool me Twice, Shame on Me. 

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.

  • Patron Saint Index

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 22:8-13,23:1-3
Mt 7:15-20

“I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits.”

How quick should we be to rely on our intuition about people or circumstances? Are we attuned to spotting red flags and ‘getting out of Dodge’ before too much damage is done? I have struggled with this balance – the one between being too generous and too cutthroat. I will also be the first to admit that it is unlikely that I would forgive seven times.

I am still trying to navigate the fine line between forgiveness and cutting loss. Maybe I will forgive a couple of times, and then protect myself moving forward as I still believe that giving people the benefit of the doubt is the Christian thing to do.

Developing intuition doesn’t happen by chance. It comes from being an active observer of the world around you, and always drawing reference from a reliable internal compass. If we do not know what values we stand for, how will be make sense of grey situations? Are there foundational tenets that we can turn to when we encounter tricky people or circumstances?

Once intuition has been developed, the next hurdle to overcome is a sense of guilt. Guilt at ourselves for not knowing better, and for not being the bigger person. But the bible does not call us to feel guilty and beat ourselves up if we make a mistake. The bible asks us to raise our frustrations to God, and to trust that He will make the circumstance whole in the way that is best for us. God does not waste any opportunities to do the right thing for his flock.

Friends, I found today’s gospel reading very inspiring. God’s assurance that I have the ability to make choices, and that making the choices that are right for ourselves are not selfish, gives me courage to be adventurous about the future. We need not always make the safest choice. We will need to take risks, as long as the choice is one that is aligned with God’s will.

It is my hope that you will see things anew, and make the right choices in your lives.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Gregory Mathew)

Prayer: Help us O Lord, to commit to decisions that lead us to you.

Thanksgiving: Thank you for protecting us from hurt and harm throughout our lives. We are safer and wiser thanks to your great love.

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