Aug 25 – Memorial for St. Louis of France, married man; Memorial for St. Joseph Calasanz, priest, religious founder
As king of France, Louis (1214-1270) made numerous judicial and legislative reforms. He promoted Christianity in France; established religious foundations, aided mendicant orders, propagated synodal decrees of the Church, built leper hospitals, and collected relics.
“In prosperity, give thanks to God with humility and fear lest by pride you abuse God’s benefits and so offend him.” – St. Louis IX
Joseph Calasanz (1556-1648) and two fellow priests opened a small, free school for poor children. He was supervising several teachers and hundreds of students. When the school moved to larger quarters, the teaching priests were reorganised into a community recognised as a religious order called Le Sciole Pie (Religious Schools), also known as the Piarists, or Scolopii or Ordo Clericorum Regularium Pauperum Matris Dei Scholarum Piarum or Order of Poor Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools; Joseph acted as superior of the Order.
The community encountered many obstacles. It was dissolved, then reorganised after Joseph’s death. They were restored as a religious order in 1669, and continue their good work today.
– Patron Saint Index
Ruth 1:1, 3-6, 14-16, 22
In the days of the Judges famine came to the land and a certain man from Bethlehem of Judah went – he, his wife and his two sons – to live in the country of Moab. Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died, and she and her two sons were left. These married Moabite women: one was named Orpah and the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years. Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died and the woman was bereft of her two sons and her husband. So she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law and went back to her people. But Ruth clung to her.
Naomi said to her, ‘Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her god. You must return too; follow your sister-in-law.’
But Ruth said, ‘Do not press me to leave you and to turn back from your company, for ‘wherever you go, I will go, wherever you live, I will live.
Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.’
This was how Naomi, she who returned from the country of Moab, came back with Ruth the Moabitess her daughter-in-law. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees they got together and, to disconcert him, one of them put a question, ‘Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?’ Jesus said, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.’
Wherever you go, I will go, wherever you lodge, I will lodge.
I once read somewhere that Ruth’s journey with Naomi was very much a representation of discipleship with Jesus — the walk with Him would be fraught with ups and downs and ‘foreign territory’ to us at best.
After the death of her husband and sons, Naomi was distraught and depressed. She felt that she had nothing to live for; to the extent that when she returned to Bethlehem, she told her people to call her Mara, for she felt that God had dealt very bitterly with her. She exhorted her two daughters-in-law to return to their family homes, but Ruth insisted on following Naomi back to Bethlehem, determined to be with her and adopt Naomi’s life as her own.
How does this relate to being disciples of Jesus? When Jesus calls us to be His disciples, He does not promise a walk in the park. Yes, He does promise that whoever gives up their lives for Him and the Gospel, would be rewarded in the present age, and eternal life in the age to come, but He also warns that with the rewards would also come persecutions (Mark 10:30). Not an easy path! Like Naomi, we would taste bitterness.
The ‘easy’ way would be to return to what we know best, and are comfortable with, i.e. the ways of the world. For some, this might mean more than just earthly life, this might mean a return to a sinful life. Alternatively, we can carry our cross and face the road ahead with fierce loyalty and passion like Ruth did, to adopt the life that Christ has set for us as our own, including its trials and tribulations.
God promised never to leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). Will we be like Ruth and likewise not abandon or forsake Jesus? What will our choice be?
(Today’s Oxygen by Annette Soo)
Prayer – Lord, we know it isn’t easy to walk the path that you have set before us. But we pray for strength and courage, and take comfort in knowing that you will always be there for us.
Thanksgiving – We give thanks to the Lord for giving us a path to eternal life. Help us to be steadfast in our steps, no matter what lies ahead.