Daily Archives: April 3, 2017

4 April, Tuesday – On Distraction

4 Apr – Memorial for St. Isidore, bishop & doctor

Isidore (560-636) was the son of Severianus and Theodora, people known for their piety. He was the brother of Sts. Fulgentius, Florentina, and Leander of Seville, who raised him after their father’s death. Initially, he was a poor student, but after giving the problem over to God, he became one of the most learned men of his time. After he was ordained a priest, he helped his brother Leander, Archbishop of Seville, in the conversion of the Visigoth Arians. He was a hermit.

He became Archbishop of Seville in 601, succeeding his brother to the position. He was a teacher and was called ‘Schoolmaster of the Middle Ages’. He was a founder and a reformer. He required seminaries in every diocese, and wrote a rule for religious orders. He was a prolific writer whose works include a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a history of Goths, and a history of the world beginning with creation. He completed the Mozarabic liturgy which is still in use in Toledo, Spain. He presided at the Second Council of Seville, and the Fourth Council of Toledo. He introduced the works of Aristotle to Spain.

He was proclaimed Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XIV in 1722, and became the leading candidate for patron of computer users and the Internet in 1999.

  • Patron Saint Index

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Numbers 21:4-9

The Israelites left Mount Hor by the road to the Sea of Suph, to skirt the land of Edom. On the way the people lost patience. They spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this wilderness? For there is neither bread nor water here; we are sick of this unsatisfying food.’

At this God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel. The people came and said to Moses, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede for us with the Lord to save us from these serpents.’ Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord answered him, ‘Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live.’ So Moses fashioned a bronze serpent which he put on a standard, and if anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked at the bronze serpent and lived.

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John 8:21-30

Jesus said to the Pharisees:

‘I am going away;
you will look for me
and you will die in your sin.
Where I am going, you cannot come.’

The Jews said to one another, ‘Will he kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, “Where I am going, you cannot come”?’ Jesus went on:

‘You are from below; I am from above.
You are of this world; I am not of this world.
I have told you already:
You will die in your sins.
Yes, if you do not believe that I am He,
you will die in your sins.’

So they said to him, ‘Who are you?’ Jesus answered:

‘What I have told you from the outset.
About you I have much to say
and much to condemn;
but the one who sent me is truthful,
and what I have learnt from him
I declare to the world.’

They failed to understand that he was talking to them about the Father.

So Jesus said:

‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man,
then you will know that I am He
and that I do nothing of myself:
what the Father has taught me is what I preach;
he who sent me is with me,
and has not left me to myself,
for I always do what pleases him.’

As he was saying this, many came to believe in him.

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“For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins”

I turned off Instagram for Lent this year. What a great decision that has turned out to be! What started out as a curiosity when I downloaded it, had become a near obssession. It had taken over my life! Have you ever tried to account for how you spend the hours in your day? I did, and I found that 50% of the time, I was mesmerized by my phone, glancing to see who had posted updates and how many followers they had. What a colossal waste of time! I also found myself saying a lot of “I am so tired, I have no time, etc”. Yet I found time to ‘Follow’ people on Instagram?! I would look up from my screen and a whole morning would have gone by. It made no sense! It feels so empowering to take back a little bit of my life from my devices. Netflix is next on the chopping board!

Distraction is the number one cause why people fall away from the path. It’s social media for a lot of us. But it could just as easily be the pursuit of position, professional gain, family advancement, our material things, Tommy the Dog, Cleo the Cat, etc. Time is our scarcest resource, but so few of us make the effort to think about how we spend it. And Time, as surely as Day follows Night, will march steadily on, turning our best intentions into regrets and unfulfiled promises.

On our death beds, who will care how responsive we were to the people we followed on Instagram? Or how much money we accumulated through well thought out investments? Or how influential we were in life, how high we climbed to that position of power? We can take none of that with us, and these worldly achievements will count for nothing when we have to account to God how we lived our lives.

The image of the seraph, mounted on a pole was a precursor to Jesus’ words, “For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). So many of us claim we believe. We go through the motions required of us, we kneel in prayer, we take the Eucharist, we volunteer, we genuflect, what more does God want? But how many of us truly take the time to sit in meditation and reflection with Him? To know Him, to really say, I believe that HE IS The Lord?! There is almost always something better to be done than to be present to a mostly silent God. Maybe He is silent because His voice has been drowned out by the cacophony of our distractions. Maybe He won’t be found because we’ve squandered our chances with Him?

“Seek The Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6).

(Today’s Oxygen by Sharon Soo)

Prayer: We pray for the silence in our lives to seek and find Our Lord.

Thanksgiving:  We give thanks for His unending grace and mercy, that if we truly seek, He will be found.