Friday, 23 October – Standing Guard

23 October – Memorial for St. John Capistrano, Priest

John (1386–1456) was the son of a former German knight. His father died when John was still young. He studied law at the University of Perugia, and became a lawyer in Naples, Italy. He was the reforming governor of Perugia under King Landislas of Naples. When war broke out between Perugia and Malatesta in 1416, John tried to broker a peace, but instead his opponents ignored the truce, and John became a prisoner of war.

During his imprisonment, he came to the decision to change vocations. He had married just before the war, but his marriage was never consummated and, with his bride’s permission, it was annulled. He became a Franciscan at Perugia on 4 October 1416 and was a fellow student with St. James of the Marshes, and a disciple of St. Bernadine of Siena. He was a noted preacher while still a deacon, beginning his work in 1420.

He was an itinerant priest throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia, preaching to tens of thousands. He established communities of Franciscan renewal, and was reported to heal by making the Sign of the Cross over a sick person. He wrote extensively, mainly against the heresies of the day.

After the fall of Constantinople, he preached Crusade against the Muslim Turks. At the age of 70, he was commissioned by Pope Callistus II to lead it, and marched off at the head of 70,000 Christian soldiers. He won the great battle of Belgrade in the summer of 1456. He died in the field a few months later, but his army delivered Europe from the Muslims.

–   Patron Saint Index

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Romans 7:18-25

I know of nothing good living in me – living, that is, in my unspiritual self – for though the will to do what is good is in me, the performance is not, with the result that instead of doing the good things I want to do, I carry out the sinful things I do not want. When I act against my will, then, it is not my true self doing it, but sin which lives in me.

In fact, this seems to be the rule, that every single time I want to do good it is something evil that comes to hand. In my inmost self I dearly love God’s Law, but I can see that my body follows a different law that battles against the law which my reason dictates. This is what makes me a prisoner of that law of sin which lives inside my body.

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death?

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

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Luke 12:54-59

 

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘When you see a cloud looming up in the west you say at once that rain is coming, and so it does. And when the wind is from the south you say it will be hot, and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the face of the earth and the sky. How is it you do not know how to interpret these times?

 

‘Why not judge for yourselves what is right? For example: when you go to court with your opponent, try to settle with him on the way, or he may drag you before the judge and the judge hand you over to the bailiff and the bailiff have you thrown into prison. I tell you, you will not get out till you have paid the very last penny.’

 

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…evil is at hand. 

It has been a trying two weeks and it ended yesterday with a closed-door outburst of anger, which some of my staff may have witnessed. After a long, tiring day, I was informed by a colleague of a mistake he made which was published in the dailies, resulting in a query from a counterpart in the government ministry we report to. So as I looked forward to leaving the office early and getting some rest, I ended up ‘stewing’ in my office for a good two hours or so, until everyone left so that I could avoid venting my anger. 

I have discovered that as I start claiming progressive victory over one sin, another has started to surface. And I am beginning to see first-hand how the evil one tries to claim us through our daily trials. Looking back, I can sense the spirit of anger slowly trying to take hold of me. How I know this is because I have had to consciously hold my tongue or even walk away from a meeting quite a few times, so as to avoid injuring others with my negative thoughts. Whilst ordinarily, I would probably have spoken out either sarcastically or verbally blasted the other party, something has told me to just take a breather and approach the situation calmly and rationally.

I know it is God’s spirit at work, guiding me and shielding me from causing more harm. But I have found myself questioning when these trials will end. I fear that my negative thoughts, especially my anger, will transfer to other members within my team. In fact, just a few days ago, at the height of a stress-filled morning, someone snapped and yelled at a junior staff – something that I certainly do not condone, especially from a new joinee. So I now have to set it right and to nip this behaviour in the bud. On reflection, the manger may have reacted to my own frustration when I found out that certain items had not been prepared prior to a ceremony. And while my team have always said they’d rather I just brush things off and accept mistakes, the perfectionist in me rises up and says ‘No, do not tolerate such things, otherwise it will deteriorate further.’

Brothers and sisters, the wicked one is always on the prowl to catch us just as we think we are on the verge of conquering sin. We must always be on our guard and not let it down, so that we can face the many challenges steeled in the confidence that our heavenly Father is moulding us and shaping us through these difficult times. We must never live in fear but always in hope that one day, we will eventually conquer our sins and will be fully ready to meet Jesus Christ as He welcomes us into His kingdom.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in our day of battle, be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Thanksgiving: Lord, we give you thanks for your constant protection.

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