13 July – Memorial for St. Henry II
Henry II (972–1024) was the son of Gisella of Burgundy and Henry II the Quarrelsome, Duke of Bavaria. He was educated at the cathedral school in Hildesheim by Bishop Wolfgang of Regensburg. He became Duke of Bavaria himself in 995 upon his father’s death, which ended Henry’s thoughts of becoming a priest. He ascended to the throne of Germany in 1002, and was crowned King of Pavia, Italy on 15 May 1004. He married St. Cunegunda, but was never a father. Some sources claim the two lived celibately, but there is no evidence either way.
Henry’s brother rebelled against his power, and Henry was forced to defeat him on the battlefield, but later forgave him, and the two reconciled. Henry was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1014 by Pope Benedict VIII; he was the last of the Saxon dynasty of emperors. He founded schools, quelled rebellions, protected the frontiers, worked to establish a stable peace in Europe, and to reform the Church while respecting its independence.
He fostered missions, and established Bamberg, Germany as a centre for missions to Slavic countries. He started the construction of the cathedral at Basel, Switzerland; it took nearly 400 years to complete. Both Henry and St. Cunegunda were prayerful people, and generous to the poor.
At one point he was cured of an unnamed illness by the touch of St. Benedict of Nursia at Monte Cassino. He became somewhat lame in his later years. Following Cunegunda’s death, he considered becoming a monk, but the abbot of Saint-Vanne at Verdun, France refused his application, and told him to keep his place in the world where he could do much good for people and the advancement of God’s kingdom.
– Patron Saint Index
The Lord of hosts says this:
Woe to Assyria, the rod of my anger,
the club brandished by me in my fury!
I sent him against a godless nation;
I gave him commission against a people that provokes me,
to pillage and to plunder freely
and to stamp down like the mud in the streets.
But he did not intend this,
his heart did not plan it so.
No, in his heart was to destroy,
to go on cutting nations to pieces without limit.
For he has said:
‘By the strength of my own arm I have done this
and by my own intelligence, for understanding is mine;
I have pushed back the frontiers of peoples
and plundered their treasures.
I have brought their inhabitants down to the dust.
As if they were a bird’s nest, my hand has seized
the riches of the peoples.
As people pick up deserted eggs
I have picked up the whole earth,
with not a wing fluttering,
not a beak opening, not a chirp.’
Does the axe claim more credit than the man who wields it,
or the saw more strength than the man who handles it?
It would be like the cudgel controlling the man who raises it,
or the club moving what is not made of wood!
And so the Lord of Hosts is going to send
a wasting sickness on his stout warriors;
beneath his plenty, a burning will burn
like a consuming fire.
Jesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’
That is what it pleased you to do.
Have you ever worked with a stubborn person before? Or perhaps one who pretends to listen to your instructions but does otherwise instead, only to realise that it is all too late, thereby causing a mess for you to clean up? I certainly have and very often, in fact, when we hire casuals who do not have a sense of ownership or attachment to the company that they have been assigned to. They just do however they please when you turn your back away from them.
In today’s gospel, however, the one who does whatever he pleases is God the Father. In some way, He is a stubborn yet loving God whom we should not fear. God always has a plan for us, from the beginning of time and the future ahead. As for us, we are probably the ones who mess things up for ourselves and feel helpless not knowing what to do. Just look at the troubles and unrest in those cities written about in the Old Testament, about how disobedient the people were and how our Father came to save all of us. Many of us think we are adult enough to please God, and to be a faithful follower of Christ. On the other side, being rather successful in our jobs and careers make us complacent and, sometimes arrogant, at how we treat others. God reveals himself to those who show kindness to others, and have humility in ourselves, even when we can be as innocent as a child.
Let us watch our actions towards others, to be able to know how to control our emotions that could hurt someone else unintentionally. Try to put yourself in another person’s shoes, as that enables us to feel and think how the other will feel. Let our actions and words be a great testament of Christ in our lives. We need not be too clever for our own good, which could work against us at end of the day. Perhaps begin to take in instructions which our Father has laid out, so that we live a very fulfilling life each day.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)
Prayer: We think it is a matter of balance between living faithfully and chasing the dreams of this world, no it is not. O Lord, guide us and grace us with the love to live just as You want us to.
Thanksgiving: There is so much to be grateful for, and I thank you for being a peaceful day today.