10 November, Thursday — A gesture of love

Nov 10 – Memorial for St. Leo the Great, pope, doctor

St. Leo (c.400 – 461) was born of Italian nobility. He was a strong student, especially in scripture and theology. As a priest, he was an eloquent writer and homilist.

He was pope from 440-461 during the time of the invasion of Attila the Hun. When Attila marched on Rome, Leo went out to meet him and pleaded for leave. As Leo spoke, Attila saw the vision of a man in priestly robes, carrying a bare sword, and threatening to kill the invader if he did not obey Pope Leo. As Leo had a great devotion to St. Peter, it is generally believed that the first pope was the visionary opponent to the Huns. When Genseric invaded Rome, Leo’s sanctity and eloquence saved the city again.

Pope Leo called the Council of Chalcedon to condemn the heresies of the day, which were Nestorianism (Christ as a human person joined to the divine person of God’s Son), Monophysitism (Christ’s human nature ceases to exist when the divine person of God’s Son assumed it), Manichaeism (Gnostic system resting on a dualistic concept of the world’s structure), and Pelaianism (no supernatural grace is needed for one to choose good).

He built churches and wrote letters and sermons encouraging and teaching the flock, many of which survive today. It is for these writings that Leo was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1574.

“Virtue is nothing without the trial of temptation, for there is no conflict without an enemy, no victory without strife.” – Pope St. Leo the Great

  • Patron Saint Index

Phi 7-20
Lk 17:20-25

I am so delighted, and comforted, to know of your love

I have visited many churches and one of the factors that indicates to me the vibrancy of the church community is the hospitality ministry of the church. These volunteers are the face of the church and ensure that guests are welcome into the church with warmth. It is the simple gesture of a smile and asking how a person is for us to discover the depths of Christian charity which exists within the church.

The love that we show to each other is the most important witness we can use as Christians to evangelise. For some of us, we read the Gospel every day but for others, we are the only Gospel that we read. As we continue with our work, we will discover that God puts forth before us opportunities for us to evangelise through our actions and deeds. Sometimes it is important that we keep our mouths shut and not spread untruths. Sometimes, we need to speak up for a colleague who is misunderstood so that the truth prevails. We will often get persecuted for such actions but then again, the acts of persecutions signal to us that perhaps we are doing something proper, because people often find fault with things that are not done in accordance with what the world expects.

The psalmist assures us that “He is happy who is helped by Jacob’s God” and indeed this is something which we can count on amidst the challenges we have in our lives. The importance of depending on prayer to guide our actions will then allow us to be able to discern how we can respond to the needs of the world

Ultimately, Jesus reminds us that the “kingdom of God is among you!” There exists people within our daily lives who are always present for us to evangelise and reach out to in charity and love. The methods that we use will depend on our understanding of the circumstances in which we are in. Nonetheless, let us ask God the Holy Spirit to guide us towards knowing what is the most suitable way to reach out to a person who would benefit from our presence.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)

Prayer: Jesus, let us know when to speak and when to be silent so that we can reach out to you with grace and love.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who show us their love and patience.

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