August 18th: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Dear Parish Family,
Of all the prophets Jeremiah was probably the most misunderstood and mistreated. He had the misfortune of living at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Babylonians (586 BC), and of having to preach about this coming destruction to his fellow Hebrews, who refused to listen to him and considered him to be a traitor. But he did not reject his prophetic mission from God, and kept on preaching until the end. Jeremiah had an essential virtue which we can all imitate: the virtue of fortitude. In the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of good” (CCC, no.1808). We admire people with strength of character who keep struggling to achieve a noble goal. It is the virtue of the athlete, the soldier, the mountain climber, and above all, of the saint. Saints are men and women who don’t quit or run away when they face obstacles, either from the outside or the inside (their own fears and hesitations). The followers of Christ need to be strong not only in human tasks, but also in spiritual ones. At times it will not be easy to get up and go to Mass on a cold and rainy Sunday. It will not be easy to commit to a daily plan of prayer, or to increase our study of the Catholic faith. It will not be easy to be patient and kind with people who annoy us. For this kind of strength, in both big and little things, we need God’s grace. You might be saying to yourselves: this is all too much. I could never become a saint. But don’t sell yourselves short, nor forget God’s grace working within you. Remember Saint Paul, who revealed to the first Christians the secret of his fortitude: “it is now no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20) and “I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). In his treatise on the cardinal virtues, Saint Thomas Aquinas distinguishes three aspects of the virtue of fortitude: to begin a difficult task, to persevere in it, to finish it. At times the hardest thing for us is to face what we must do each day without procrastinating: to begin cleaning a room that needs it; to make a phone call that will be difficult or unpleasant; to put away the phone or video game, and go to bed. But once we begin a difficult thing we can be sure that God will give us the grace to complete it, if we are humble and ask for his help. These will be the moments when we must draw from a strength beyond ourselves, namely the supernatural virtue of fortitude, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit. As we prepare for Holy Communion, let’s ask Christ now to give us that Spirit, that strength of mind and soul which resists human fears and doubts, and which goes forward to accomplish God’s will. (hprweb.com)
God bless you all!
Sister Maria Inviolata, SMDG