06 Oct – Memorial for St. Bruno, priest, hermit, religious founder
By your work you show what you love and what you know. When you observe true obedience with prudence and enthusiasm, it is clear that you wisely pick the most delightful and nourishing fruit of divine Scripture.
– from a letter by St. Bruno to the Carthusians
Bruno (1030-1101) was educated in Paris and Rheims, France, and ordained in 1055. He taught theology and one of his students later became Blessed Pope Urban II. He presided over the cathedral school at Rheims from 1057-1075. Bruno often criticized the worldliness he saw in his fellow clergy. He opposed Manasses, Archbishop of Rheims, because of his laxity and mismanagement.
Following a vision he received of a secluded hermitage where he could spend his life becoming closer to God, he retired to a mountain near Chartreuse in Dauphiny in 1084 and founded what became the first house of the Carthusian Order. He and his brothers supported themselves as manuscript copyists. He was assistant to Pope Urban II in 1090, and supported his efforts at reform. Retiring from public life, he and his companions built a hermitage at Torre, where in 1095, the monastery of St. Stephen was built. Bruno combined in the religious life the eremitcal (the life of a hermit) and the cenobitic (community life). His learning is apparent from his scriptural commentaries.
– Source: Patron Saint Index
Take courage, my people,
constant reminder of Israel.
You were sold to the nations,
but not for extermination.
You provoked God;
and so were delivered to your enemies,
since you had angered your creator
by offering sacrifices to demons, not to God.
You had forgotten the eternal God who reared you.
You had also grieved Jerusalem who nursed you,
for when she saw the anger fall on you
from God, she said:
Listen, you neighbours of Zion:
God has sent me great sorrow.
I have seen my sons and daughters taken into captivity,
to which they have been sentenced by the Eternal.
I had reared them joyfully;
in tears, in sorrow, I watched them go away.
Do not, any of you, exult over me,
a widow, deserted by so many;
I suffer loneliness because of the sins of my own children,
who turned away from the Law of God.
Take courage, my children, call on God:
he who brought disaster on you will remember you.
As by your will you first strayed away from God,
so now turn back and search for him ten times as hard;
for as he brought down those disasters on you,
so will he rescue you and give you eternal joy.
The seventy-two came back rejoicing. ‘Lord,’ they said ‘even the devils submit to us when we use your name.’ He said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Yes, I have given you power to tread underfoot serpents and scorpions and the whole strength of the enemy; nothing shall ever hurt you. Yet do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you; rejoice rather that your names are written in heaven.’
It was then that, filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, he said, ‘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 who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’
Then turning to his disciples he spoke to them in private, ‘Happy the eyes that see what you see, for I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it’.
Do you know that all Christians are given a secret at Baptism? Not all of us are aware of it; some of us have to be guided to discover this secret whilst others may be able to discover it through prayer. What is this secret?
God is with us in all our experiences in life especially when we think he is not present.
There are times where we decide to face life’s obstacles and troubles alone, believing that we can do without the help of God. When we stray from God, we stray away from the care and wondrous love he has for us.
This marks the beginning of an experience that may eventually make us feel exhausted and wonder why God has abandoned us. Prophet Baruch in the first reading tells us that it is “… by your will you first strayed from God”. It is a life-transforming experience whenever we realise the following:
1. We chose to abandon God and go our own way.
2. Our lives and the achievements that come with it all belong to God and not us.
Jesus tells us, in the Gospel, that his disciples should rejoice that they manage to see him in person. We should also be happy that we can see Jesus in person in the Blessed Sacrament. It is a privilege to be able to witness and see God right before our very eyes and offer to him all our troubles and distress. He is a faithful companion that will follow us in our journey of life.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nick Chia)
Lord, we pray for those that have lost hope. May they rediscover the childlike joy of knowing you as their Lord and saviour.
We give thanks for: the many chances that God has given to us to discover his immense love.
Sun, 7 Oct – Hebrews 1:2-3, 2:2-4; 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14; Luke 17:5-10; Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.