Sep 19 – Memorial for St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr
St. Januarius (d. 305) was arrested on account of his profession of the Christian religion during persecution of Christians. He was cast into the fiery furnace, through which he passed wholly unharmed. On the following day, along with a number of fellow martyrs, he was exposed to the fury of wild beasts, which laid themselves down in tame submission at his feet.
Timotheus, the governor who pronounced the sentence of death upon Januarius, was struck with blindness but was immediately healed by the powerful intercession of the saint, a miracle which converted nearly five thousand men on the spot. The ungrateful judge, only roused to further fury by these occurrences, caused the execution of Januarius by the sword to be forthwith carried out. The body was ultimately removed by the inhabitants of Naples to that city, where the relic became very famous for its miracles.
- Patron Saint Index
“…for anyone who has will be given more; from anyone who has not, even what he thinks he has will be taken away.”
Growing up, there were many, many loves in my life – most of them unrequited! I would often try to console myself after yet another heartbreak with the quote from Oscar Hammerstein:
“The love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay. Love isn’t love ’til you give it away.”
It did not always make me feel better, but it sometimes did help me move on. As I grew with age (and, hopefully, maturity) I began to realise that this phrase, while often romanticised, is much more than that. It also encompasses our words, thoughts and actions as we journey through life.
Stewardship of our emotions and behaviour towards the others in our life matter a lot in how we grow up and relate to the people around us. God, Our Father, has blessed us with many gifts and talents. We hold stewardship over these talents and they can be withdrawn from us if we do not use them in accordance with His will.
Love — and I speak not of Eros, but of Phila (friends and equals), Storge (familial), Agape (altruistic), Pragma (long term, with commitment).
Over the last few months, I have been volunteering at a pro-bono clinic, where most of the applicants have familial issues and concerns. The single thread I notice amongst most of these cases is the absence of love. Some are spousal conflicts, some are conflicts amongst siblings, some between parents and children. But the distinct absence is — love.
Love is a strange thing. It is in your heart from the time you are born. No baby or toddler looks at his or her parents with hate, distrust or malice. It’s always a warm smile, a gentle gurgle, a happy laugh. That is why many of us love playing with, or being around, children.
But if we don’t take care to nurture that love and keep growing it, it can turn to resentment, unforgiveness, distrust and sometimes, even hate. These become unnecessary burdens that we carry through life and leave us miserable, empty and eventually unhappy.
Brothers and sisters, that love in our heart needs to be constantly nurtured and grown, and it can only happen with regular reflection, thought and yes – prayer. Without constant work at loving, the ways of the world will consume us and leave us with less love to give and eventually, receive.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Gerard Francis)
Prayer: We pray for the grace to love and forgive. We pray Lord, that you heal our pain, bitterness and disappointments. Help us to surrender them and, in turn, receive your graces
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the gift of love — one of the most precious gifts you have gifted us with.
Thank you for your reflection. The absence of love – and how you shared the reality of that for us in common life experiences.