6 June – Memorial for St. Norbert, bishop, religious founder
St. Norbert (1080-1134) had been born to the nobility and raised around the royal court. There he developed a very worldly view, taking holy orders as a career move when he joined the Benedictines. A narrow escape from death led him to a conversion experience, and taking his vows seriously.
He founded a community of Augustinian canons, starting a reform movement that swept through European monastic houses. St. Norbert also reformed the clergy in his see, using force when necessary. He worked with St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Hugh of Grenoble to heal the schism caused by the death of Pope Honorius II, and for heresy in Cambrai, France with the help of St. Waltmann. He is one of the patron saints of peace.
- Patron Saint Index
Since the tribune wanted to know what precise charge the Jews were bringing, he freed Paul and gave orders for a meeting of the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin; then he brought Paul down and stood him in front of them. Now Paul was well aware that one section was made up of Sadducees and the other of Pharisees, so he called out in the Sanhedrin, ‘Brothers, I am a Pharisee and the son of Pharisees. It is for our hope in the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.’ As soon as he said this a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was split between the two parties. For the Sadducees say there is neither resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, while the Pharisees accept all three. The shouting grew louder, and some of the scribes from the Pharisees’ party stood up and protested strongly, ‘We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit has spoken to him, or an angel?’ Feeling was running high, and the tribune, afraid that they would tear Paul to pieces, ordered his troops to go down and haul him out and bring him into the fortress.
Next night, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Courage! You have borne witness for me in Jerusalem, now you must do the same in Rome.’
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:
I pray not only for these,
but for those also
who through their words will believe in me.
May they all be one.
Father, may they be one in us,
as you are in me and I am in you,
so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.
I have given them the glory you gave to me,
that they may be one as we are one.
With me in them and you in me,
may they be so completely one
that the world will realise that it was you who sent me
and that I have loved them as much as you loved me.
Father, I want those you have given me
to be with me where I am,
so that they may always see the glory you have given me
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Father, Righteous One,
the world has not known you,
but I have known you,
and these have known that you have sent me.
I have made your name known to them
and will continue to make it known,
so that the love with which you loved me may be in them,
and so that I may be in them.’
May they be one in us as you are in me and I am in you
The scenario is familiar – have more than one meeting (about a problem/rectification that needs to be solved/done), align the approach over email or a meeting, then proceed to call for vendors to provide their recommendations. Compile the various quotes/recommendations and send them ‘up’ to a committee of external people who will approve the vendor recommendation then away we go to get the work done.
At work, many of my colleagues deal with this scenario (and its various complicated manoeuvres) on an almost daily basis, causing much stress, annoyance and many fraught meetings (I have attended more than a few). Then again, millions of dollars are involved and these all add up to a significant sum which needs to be accounted for to a Board of Trustees. So, in the interests of ‘getting the job done’ and making sure the projects proceed efficiently, everyone is focussed on an outcome (desired or otherwise) and we just put our heads down and ‘get on with it’.
In today’s first reading, it appears that Paul possessed this single-mindedness of purpose, where he managed to find a way to evade judgement from both camps. I surely would have been quaking in my boots had I been in his predicament. However, I can fully appreciate if Paul was ‘possessed’ by the Holy Spirit and filled with courage to press on. Because at work, I don’t allow any hurdles or circumstances to hinder me from achieving what I set out to do, especially when I know that the desired outcome is right.
This is something I struggle with when it comes to those in my team who may lack that determination or drive. There is always some ‘excuse’ or circumstance beyond one’s control that causes a delay or a less-than-favourable outcome. It is always easy to shift the blame to another party or to a committee, but I find that if the desire to achieve something is already not there and one is prepared to be dictated by the situations that arise, then one is pre-determining a ‘compromise’ outcome.
So brothers and sisters, are we like Paul? If we find ourselves aimlessly wandering along each day whether at work, at home, or in our spiritual journey, are we truly being intentional each day by allowing Jesus to work fully within us? Do we wander along our spiritual journey and allow the winds to buffet us (and weaken our resolve)? Do we allow a boulder in our way to cause us to detour? Or do we persevere in faith and press on, regardless of the rocky roads and the hills and valleys that need to be conquered, knowing that the Holy Spirit will lead us to our one, intended, final destination – into the arms of our loving Father?
(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Father, we pray for the grace to live a life that is pleasing to you and that edifies your everlasting love for us so that those around us can be inspired as well.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for moulding us and for shaping us into your sons and daughters. And for never letting us go in spite of our failings and shortcomings as we navigate life.