13 July, Friday – Sheep And Doves

Jul 13 – 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


Hosea 14:2-10

The Lord says this:

Israel, come back to the Lord your God;
your iniquity was the cause of your downfall.
Provide yourself with words
and come back to the Lord.
Say to him, ‘Take all iniquity away
so that we may have happiness again
and offer you our words of praise.
Assyria cannot save us,
we will not ride horses any more,
or say, “Our God!” to what our own hands have made,
for you are the one in whom orphans find compassion.’
– I will heal their disloyalty,
I will love them with all my heart,
for my anger has turned from them.
I will fall like dew on Israel.
He shall bloom like the lily,
and thrust out roots like the poplar,
his shoots will spread far;
he will have the beauty of the olive
and the fragrance of Lebanon.
They will come back to live in my shade;
they will grow corn that flourishes,
they will cultivate vines
as renowned as the wine of Helbon.
What has Ephraim to do with idols any more
when it is I who hear his prayer and care for him?
I am like a cypress ever green,
all your fruitfulness comes from me.

Let the wise man understand these words.
Let the intelligent man grasp their meaning.
For the ways of the Lord are straight,
and virtuous men walk in them,
but sinners stumble.


Matthew 10:16-23

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Remember, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as serpents and yet as harmless as doves.

‘Beware of men: they will hand you over to sanhedrins and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the pagans. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes; because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you. ‘Brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved. If they persecute you in one town, take refuge in the next; and if they persecute you in that, take refuge in another. I tell you solemnly, you will not have gone the round of the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.’


..I am sending you out like sheep among wolves…

Ever imagined yourself as a sheep and there were hungry wolves staring and grinning at you? That can really be scary. Jesus already foretold to the apostles that they would be facing a very challenging life. But even so, they had to overcome those challenges. They were instructed to be “cunning as serpents and yet as harmless as doves”. It is like being smart, yet staying humble.

Christ assured them about not having to worry about any hardship that they were going to face. “Whatever they are to say will be given to them when the time comes; because it is not them who will be speaking; the Spirit of the Father will be speaking in them.” The grace to know what they had to do would be granted to them in due time.

Jesus laid down all kinds of things that they will encounter. Their responses to those situations matters. “The man who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Can we also stand firm? Following Christ is a fulfilling yet uneasy task. It cannot just be like, “Voila! I followed Jesus!” It takes work, dedication, and grace from God. It is through Jesus Christ that we can stand firm to give glory to God. It is very easy to say, “Jesus I love you. Everything I do, all for You!” But are we actually doing something for Jesus? Do we admit that we are Catholics when other people ask? Do we stick with our Catholic faith even if other religions ridicule us? Are we able to explain that we are not worshipping idols? Defending our faith is not our work alone. The grace of God is poured upon us for us to stand up and defend our faith.

Most of the time, we worry about our own personal concerns. We think about our current hardships, our own fears and worries. Sometimes, we may feel that we are about to give up and surrender to what we believe in. As long as we put Christ in the midst of what we do, we will have the strength to surpass everything. Easier said and done. But nothing beats the power of prayer, faith, and the grace of God.

(Today’s Oxygen by Beryl Baterina)

Prayer: Father God, I will continue, O my God, to do all my actions for the love of you.

Thanksgiving: Ever dearest God, we thank you for giving us endurance to surpass all the trials that we face.

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