Wednesday, September 7, 2011


A Prayer to Blessed Frederic Ozanam

Lord, we thank you for inspiring Blessed Frederic Ozanam
to establish the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Help us to follow his dream of 'embracing the
whole world in a network of love'
by bringing support and friendship to those we visit:

by helping them achieve self sufficiency and in solidarity to advocate and work for the changes required to create a more just and caring society.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.



Wednesday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Col 3:1-11

Brothers and sisters:

If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire,
and the greed that is idolatry.
Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.
By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way.
But now you must put them all away:
anger, fury, malice, slander,
and obscene language out of your mouths.
Stop lying to one another,
since you have taken off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self,
which is being renewed, for knowledge,
in the image of its creator.
Here there is not Greek and Jew,
circumcision and uncircumcision,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, free;
but Christ is all and in all.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 145:2-3, 10-11, 12-13ab

R. The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.

Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.

R. The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.

R. The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.

Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.

R. The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.

Lk 6:20-26

Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said:

"Blessed are you who are poor,
for the Kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude and insult you,
and denounce your name as evil
on account of the Son of Man.

Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets
in the same way.

But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
But woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way."


September 7

Blessed Frédéric Ozanam (1813-1853)

A man convinced of the inestimable worth of each human being, Frédéric served the poor of Paris well and drew others into serving the poor of the world. Through the St. Vincent de Paul Society, his work continues to the present day.

Frédéric was the fifth of Jean and Marie Ozanam’s 14 children, one of only three to reach adulthood. As a teenager he began having doubts about his religion. Reading and prayer did not seem to help, but long walking discussions with Father Noirot of the Lyons College clarified matters a great deal.

Frédéric wanted to study literature, although his father, a doctor, wanted him to become a lawyer. Frédéric yielded to his father’s wishes and in 1831 arrived in Paris to study law at the University of the Sorbonne. When certain professors there mocked Catholic teachings in their lectures, Frédéric defended the Church.

A discussion club which Frédéric organized sparked the turning point in his life. In this club Catholics, atheists and agnostics debated the issues of the day. Once, after Frédéric spoke about Christianity’s role in civilization, a club member said: "Let us be frank, Mr. Ozanam; let us also be very particular. What do you do besides talk to prove the faith you claim is in you?"

Frédéric was stung by the question. He soon decided that his words needed a grounding in action. He and a friend began visiting Paris tenements and offering assistance as best they could. Soon a group dedicated to helping individuals in need under the patronage of St. Vincent de Paul formed around Frédéric.

Feeling that the Catholic faith needed an excellent speaker to explain its teachings, Frédéric convinced the Archbishop of Paris to appoint Father Lacordaire, the greatest preacher then in France, to preach a Lenten series in Notre Dame Cathedral. It was well attended and became an annual tradition in Paris.

After Frédéric earned his law degree at the Sorbonne, he taught law at the University of Lyons. He also earned a doctorate in literature. Soon after marrying Amelie Soulacroix on June 23, 1841, he returned to the Sorbonne to teach literature. A well-respected lecturer, Frédéric worked to bring out the best in each student. Meanwhile, the St. Vincent de Paul Society was growing throughout Europe. Paris alone counted 25 conferences.

In 1846, Frédéric, Amelie and their daughter Marie went to Italy; there he hoped to restore his poor health. They returned the next year. The revolution of 1848 left many Parisians in need of the services of the St. Vincent de Paul conferences. The unemployed numbered 275,000. The government asked Frédéric and his co-workers to supervise the government aid to the poor. Vincentians throughout Europe came to the aid of Paris.

Frédéric then started a newspaper, The New Era, dedicated to securing justice for the poor and the working classes. Fellow Catholics were often unhappy with what Frédéric wrote. Referring to the poor man as "the nation’s priest," Frédéric said that the hunger and sweat of the poor formed a sacrifice that could redeem the people’s humanity

In 1852 poor health again forced Frédéric to return to Italy with his wife and daughter. He died on September 8, 1853. In his sermon at Frédéric’s funeral, Lacordaire described his friend as "one of those privileged creatures who came direct from the hand of God in whom God joins tenderness to genius in order to enkindle the world."

Frédéric was beatified in 1997. Since Frédéric wrote an excellent book entitled Franciscan Poets of the Thirteenth Century and since Frederick’s sense of the dignity of each poor person was so close to the thinking of St. Francis, it seemed appropriate to include him among Franciscan "greats."


O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Invitatory Psalm

Psalm 23 (24)
Let us worship the Lord, for he made us.

Let us worship the Lord, for he made us.
The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
the world and all who live in it.
He himself founded it upon the seas
and set it firm over the waters.
Let us worship the Lord, for he made us.
Who will climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who will stand in his holy place?
The one who is innocent of wrongdoing and pure of heart,
who has not given himself to vanities or sworn falsely.
He will receive the blessing of the Lord
and be justified by God his saviour.
This is the way of those who seek him,
seek the face of the God of Jacob.
Let us worship the Lord, for he made us.
Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of might and power.
The Lord, strong in battle.
Let us worship the Lord, for he made us.
Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of hosts
– he is the king of glory.
Let us worship the Lord, for he made us.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Let us worship the Lord, for he made us.


Thou madest all and dost control,
Lord, with thy touch divine.
Cast out the slumbers of the soul,
The rest that is not thine.
Look down, Eternal Holiness,
And wash the sins away,
Of those, who, rising to confess,
Outstrip the lingering day.
Our hearts and hands by night, O Lord,
We lift them in our need;
As holy Psalmist gives the word,
And holy Paul the deed.
Each sin to thee of years gone by,
Each hidden stain lies bare;
We shrink not from thine awful eye,
But pray that thou wouldst spare.
Grant this, O Father, Only Son
And Spirit, God of grace,
To whom all worship shall be done
In every time and place.

Psalm 88 (89)
The Lord's kindness to the house of David

Love and truth walk in your presence, Lord.
I will sing for ever of the kindnesses of the Lord:
to generation upon generation
my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said
“My kindness shall be established for ever”;
your faithfulness will be established in the heavens.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one.
I have sworn to David my servant:
To all eternity I will set your descendants firm;
I shall build your house to last for all generations.”
The heavens will proclaim your wonders, O Lord,
the assembly of your holy ones will proclaim your faithfulness.
For who in the sky can be compared to the Lord?
Who could resemble the Lord among all the sons of God?
God is to be feared in the council of his holy ones,
great and terrible above all who surround him.
Lord God of hosts, who is like you?
Yours is the power, and faithfulness surrounds you.
You subdue the pride of the sea:
when its waves rise high, you calm them.
You have trampled Rahab underfoot, like a wounded man;
through the strength of your arm you have scattered your enemies.
Yours are the heavens and yours is the earth,
you set firm the globe and all it contains.
You made the north and the south,
Tabor and Hermon will rejoice in your name.
Your arm it is that has the power,
your hand is strong, your right hand held high.
Your throne is founded on justice and right,
kindness and faithfulness are your attendants.
Happy the nation that knows the cry of praise!
They will walk in the light of your presence, Lord,
and rejoice in your name all the day –
for you are the splendour of their strength,
and by your good will our standard is held high.
For our shields belong to the Lord,
and our king to the Holy One of Israel.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Love and truth walk in your presence, Lord.

Psalm 88 (89)
The Son of God was born into the house of David when he came into this world.

In a vision you spoke to your holy ones.
You said, “I have given strength to a warrior,
I have raised a chosen one from the people.
I have found David my servant,
I have anointed him with my holy oil.
For my hand will always give him support,
my right arm will give him strength.
The enemy shall make no headway against him,
the son of iniquity shall have no power over him.
I will crush his foes in his sight
and strike down those who hate him.
My faithfulness and kindness shall be with him
and his strength will be triumphant through my name.
I shall extend his power over the sea,
and his right hand over the rivers.
He will call upon me: ‘you are my father,
my God and my safe refuge.’
And I shall make him my first-born,
supreme over all the kings of the earth.
My kindness to him will continue for ever,
my covenant with him will remain firm.
For all ages I shall establish his descendants,
and for all the days of heaven his throne will stand.”
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
The Son of God was born into the house of David when he came into this world.

Psalm 88 (89)
Once for all, I have sworn to David my servant: his dynasty shall last for ever.

“But if his children abandon my law
and walk no more in the paths of my decrees;
if they profane my judgements
and do not keep to my commandments,
I will punish their transgressions with a rod,
I will punish their wickedness with a beating.
Even so, I will not turn my kindness away from him,
nor will I be untrue to my word.
I will not profane my covenant,
I will not go against the word I have spoken.
I have sworn in my sanctuary, once and for all:
I will not lie to David.
His seed shall remain for ever,
his throne firm as the sun in my sight,
just as the moon stays firm for ever,
a faithful witness in the sky.”
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Once for all, I have sworn to David my servant: his dynasty shall last for ever.

The words that you utter give light
and understanding to the simple.

ReadingHabakkuk 2:5-20
Wealth is indeed a treacherous thing.
Haughty and unable to rest is he
who is as greedy as Sheol,
who is like death, insatiable,
who assembles all the nations for his own ends,
collects all the peoples to his own advantage.
On him, will not all men make satires,
and turn an epigram against him?
They will say:
Trouble is coming to the man who amasses goods that are not his,
(for how long?)
and loads himself with pledges.
Will not your creditors suddenly rise,
will not your duns awake?
Then you will be their victim.
Since you have plundered many nations,
all that remains of the peoples will plunder you;
for you have shed men’s blood and ravished the country,
the city and all who live in it.
Trouble is coming to the man who grossly exploits others for the sake of his House,
to fix his nest on high
and so evade the hand of misfortune.
You have contrived to bring shame on your House;
by making an end of many peoples
you have worked your own ruin.
For the stone from the very walls cries out,
and the beam responds from the framework.
Trouble is coming to the man who builds a town with blood
and founds a city on crime.
Is it not the will of the Lord of Hosts
that the labouring of peoples should end in fire,
and the toiling of nations come to nothing?
For the country shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
as the waters swell the sea.
Trouble is coming to the man who makes his neighbours drink,
who pours his poison until they are drunk,
to look at their nakedness.
You are drunk with ignominy, not with glory.
Your turn now to drink and show your foreskin.
The cup from the Lord’s right hand comes round to you,
and disgrace will overshadow your glory.
For the violence done to Lebanon is going to overwhelm you,
so will the slaughter of terrified beasts,
for you have shed men’s blood and ravished the country,
the city and all who live in it.
Trouble is coming to the man who says to the piece of wood, ‘Wake up!’
to the dumb stone, ‘On your feet!’
(And that is the oracle.)
Plated it may be with gold and silver,
but not a breath of life inside it.
What is the use of a carved image, or for its maker to carve it at all?
It is a thing of metal, a lying oracle.
What is the use of its maker trusting this
and fashioning dumb idols?
But the Lord is in his holy Temple:
let the whole earth be silent before him.
Sinners who were not subject to the Law of Moses will also perish, even beyond its jurisdiction, and those who live under the Law will be judged by it, for all alike have sinned and are deprived of the divine splendour.
God has abandoned all men to their rebellion, only to include them all in his forgiveness, for all alike have sinned and are deprived of the divine splendour.

ReadingFrom a sermon by St Bernard of Clairvaux
On the stages of contemplation

Let us take our stand on the tower, leaning with all our strength on Christ, the most solid rock, as it is written: He has set my feet on a rock, he has guided my steps. Thus firmly established, let us begin to contemplate, to see what he is saying to us and what reply we ought to make to him.

The first stage of contemplation, my dear brothers, is to consider constantly what God wants, what is pleasing to him, and what is acceptable in his eyes. We all offend in many things; our strength cannot match the rightness of God’s will and cannot be joined to it or made to fit with it. So let us humble ourselves under the powerful hand of the most high God and make an effort to show ourselves unworthy before his merciful gaze, saying Heal me, Lord, and I shall be healed; save me and I shall be saved. And again, Lord, have mercy on me; heal my soul because I have sinned against you.

Once the eye of the soul has been purified by such considerations, we no longer abide within our spirit in a sense of sorrow, but abide rather in the Spirit of God with great delight. No longer do we consider what is the will of God for us, but rather what it is in itself.

For our life is in his will. Thus we are convinced that what is according to his will is in every way better for us, and more fitting. And so, if we are concerned to preserve the life of our soul, we must be equally concerned to deviate as little as possible from his will.

Thus having made some progress in our spiritual exercise under the guidance of the Spirit who gazes into the deep things of God, let us reflect how gracious the Lord is and how good he is in himself. Let us join the Prophet in praying that we may see the Lord’s will and frequent not our own hearts but the Lord’s temple; and let us also say, My soul is humbled within me, therefore I shall be mindful of you.

These two stages sum up the whole of the spiritual life: when we contemplate ourselves we are troubled, and our sadness saves us and brings us to contemplate God; that contemplation in turn gives us the consolation of the joy of the Holy Spirit. Contemplating ourselves brings fear and humility; contemplating God brings us hope and love.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and they who live by it grow in understanding. Praise will be his for ever!
The love of wisdom means the keeping of her laws: all wisdom is the fear of the Lord. Praise will be his for ever!

Let us pray.

Since it is from you, God our Father,
that redemption comes to us, your adopted children,
look with favour on the family you love,
give true freedom to us and to all who believe in Christ,
and bring us all alike to our eternal heritage.
We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.


Let us bless the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.