Daily Archives: February 11, 2012

Friday, 10 Feb – Healing Powers Of Division

10 Feb – Memorial for St. Scholastica, Virgin

Scholastica (480-543) was the twin sister of St. Benedict of Nursia. Born to Italian nobility, her mother died in childbirth. She became a nun and led a community of women at Plombariloa near Montecassino.

– Patron Saint Index

From her earliest years, she had been consecrated to God. She was accustomed to visiting her brother once a year, and he would come down to meet her at a place on the monastery property, not far outside the gate. One day, she came as usual and her saintly brother went with some of his disciples; they spent the whole day praising God and talking of sacred things.

As night fell, they had supper together. Their spiritual conversation went on and the hour grew late. The holy nun said to her brother, “Please do not leave me tonight; let us go on until morning talking about the delights of the spiritual life.” “Sister,” he replied, “what are you saying? I simply cannot stay outside my cell.”

When she heard her brother refuse her request, the holy woman joined her hands on the table, laid her head on them and began to pray. As she raised her head from the table, there were such brilliant flashes of lightning, such great peals of thunder and such a heavy downpour of rain that neither Benedict nor his brethren could stir across the threshold of the place where they had been seated.

Sadly, he began to complain, “May God forgive you, sister. What have you done?” “Well,” she answered, “I asked you and you would not listen; so I asked my God and he did listen. So now go off, if you can, leave me and return to your monastery.” So it came about that they stayed awake the whole night, engrossed in their conversation about the spiritual life.

Three days later, Benedict was in his cell. Looking up to the sky, he saw his sister’s soul leave her body in the form of a dove, and fly up to the secret places of heaven. Rejoicing in her great glory, he thanked almighty God with hymns and words of praise. He then sent his brethren to bring her body to the monastery and lay it in the tomb he had prepared for himself.

– from Dialogues by Pope St. Gregory the Great
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1 Kings 11:29-32;12:19

One day when Jeroboam had gone out of Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah of Shiloh accosted him on the road. Ahijah was wearing a new cloak; the two of them were in the open country by themselves. Ahijah took the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve strips, saying to Jeroboam, ‘Take ten strips for yourself, for thus the Lord speaks, the God of Israel, “I am going to tear the kingdom from Solomon’s hand and give ten tribes to you. He shall keep one tribe for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.’

And Israel has been separated from the House of David until the present day.
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Mark 7:31-37

Returning from the district of Tyre, Jesus went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, right through the Decapolis region. And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they asked him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly. And Jesus ordered them to tell no one about it, but the more he insisted, the more widely they published it. Their admiration was unbounded. ‘He has done all things well,’ they said ‘he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.’
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And Israel has been separated from the House of David until the present day.

Would anyone accept that God’s plan involves one that consists of division? It certainly seems sad to read in the first reading of how the Kingdom of Israel was divided into the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah. Whenever there is a division, it often brings about much pain and unhappiness yet in division there can be found a deeper and more profound understanding.

I feel that the presence of sin in one’s spiritual journey is not going to help achieve the soul’s aim of being in closer union with God. Indeed sometimes, it may be required for us to actually cut off the causes of sin that prevent us from reaching out towards God. Indeed healing can only take place if we separate ourselves from the harmful effects of sin.

Jesus may have healed the deaf and dumb man of his infirmity but instead of the latter obeying Christ’s command to remain silent, he instead decided to publicise the news. We should reflect on this and ask if this is characteristic of our behaviour where we choose to go against the way of God and in the process cause division between God’s love and us to occur.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
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Prayer: Lord we pray for the will to accept what you have given us

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for those who are patient.

Saturday, 11 Feb – Sinful Actions

11 Feb
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1 Kings 12:26-32;13:33-34

Jeroboam thought to himself, ‘As things are, the kingdom will revert to the House of David. If this people continues to go up to the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices, the people’s heart will turn back again to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will put me to death.’ So the king thought this over and then made two golden calves; he said to the people, ‘You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough. Here are your gods, Israel; these brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ He set up one in Bethel and the people went in procession all the way to Dan in front of the other. He set up the temple of the high places and appointed priests from ordinary families, who were not of the sons of Levi. Jeroboam also instituted a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth of the month, like the feast that was kept in Judah, and he went up to the altar. That was how he behaved in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made; and at Bethel he put the priests of the high places he had established.

Jeroboam did not give up his wicked ways but went on appointing priests for the high places from the common people. He consecrated as priests of the high places any who wished to be. Such conduct made the House of Jeroboam a sinful House, and caused its ruin and extinction from the face of the earth.
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Mark 8:1-10

A great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat. So Jesus called his disciples to him and said to them, ‘I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. If I send them off home hungry they will collapse on the way; some have come a great distance.’ His disciples replied, ‘Where could anyone get bread to feed these people in a deserted place like this?’ He asked them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ ‘Seven’ they said. Then he instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them among the crowd. They had a few small fish as well, and over these he said a blessing and ordered them to be distributed also. They ate as much as they wanted, and they collected seven basketfuls of the scraps left over. Now there had been about four thousand people. He sent them away and immediately, getting into the boat with his disciples, went to the region of Dalmanutha.
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Such conduct made the House of Jeroboam a sinful House, and caused its ruin and extinction from the face of the earth

It would be horrifying to any ancestor or forefather if such a statement as mentioned above is to be prophesised. They will certainly be very upset that such an approach has been adopted by their descendants and prevent them from continuing the lineage that they have started. I believe that this course of action often stems from the lack of desire to remember the roots of one’s legacy.

In a similar way, detractors of the Catholic Church may say that the teachings and practices are not practical and lack the ability to handle the issues of modernity but it is my opinion that there must be some wisdom in an institution that has survived for such a long time. Indeed there is wisdom in the prescription of certain beliefs and practices.

The House of Jeroboam fell because he had refused to follow the way of truth. It was an action driven by pride and of fear. Our actions that prevent us from getting closer to God are also driven by fear and this is why we must continually seek the healing powers of the Sacrament of Reconciliation to ensure that we are in line with the teachings of God.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
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Prayer: Lord we pray for the grace to make a thorough Examination of conscience.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all Confessors.