23 August, Tuesday — Inner cleansing

Aug 23 – Memorial for St. Rose of Lima, virgin

A beautiful girl and devoted daughter, Rose (1586-1617) was so devoted to her vow of chastity, she used pepper and lye to ruin her complexion so she would not be attractive. She lived and meditated in a garden, raising vegetables and making embroidered items to sell to support her family and help the other poor. She was the founder of social work in Peru.

“Our Lord and Saviour lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: ‘Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven.’”

from the writings of St. Rose of Lima

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

Clean the inside of cup and dish first so that the outside may become clean as well.”

One of the fascinating things about consumer culture is how shoppers value packaging. I have seen how such packaging is valued by the the giver of the gift and also the recipient. This means luxury brands will spend time and effort to create paper bags, logos, and even boxes, to ensure that the item is perceived to be exclusive and valuable.

I do feel that packaging is an important part of giving a gift, but it has to be more than just the external appearance. This same demand can be made of the Catholic faith. Some people are drawn to certain types of worship because of the music and the external setting. Others may feel drawn towards the spirit of community which is within the church. What I feel matters the most is that the actions of everyone draws them closer towards a more fulfilling relationship with God. In particular, if we take away the externals, e.g. great singing, wonderful architecture and any other activity which is able to engage the senses, will we still be able to deepen our relationship with Jesus?

The joy of being a Christian is that Jesus went through the same struggles we did. He has also shown us that what matters is the importance of our faith in Him. The externals such as music, wonderful architecture and even good company is helpful, but we must always remember to stay faithful to Him. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available for us to have an encounter with Jesus whenever we feel that sin has kept us away from Jesus. This allows us to purify the inner being in our lives and allow us to encounter Jesus meaningfully. We will then have a clean interior which will allow us to radiate the wonderful love of God in our lives.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)

Prayer: Jesus, I pray that we have time to acknowledge our interior faults so that we can deepen our relationship with you.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all confessors.

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