Monday, August 12, 2013


Prayer to St. Jane Frances de Chantal

Saint Jane,
you forgave the man who killed your husband.
Help me learn to forgive a particular person in my life who has caused me harm.
You know how difficult it is to forgive.
Help me to take the steps you took to welcome this person back into my life.



Monday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

DT 10:12-22

Moses said to the people:

“And now, Israel, what does the LORD, your God, ask of you
but to fear the LORD, your God, and follow his ways exactly,
to love and serve the LORD, your God,
with all your heart and all your soul,
to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD
which I enjoin on you today for your own good?
Think! The heavens, even the highest heavens,
belong to the LORD, your God,
as well as the earth and everything on it.
Yet in his love for your fathers the LORD was so attached to them
as to choose you, their descendants,
in preference to all other peoples, as indeed he has now done.
Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and be no longer stiff-necked.
For the LORD, your God, is the God of gods,
the LORD of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome,
who has no favorites, accepts no bribes;
who executes justice for the orphan and the widow,
and befriends the alien, feeding and clothing him.
So you too must befriend the alien,
for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.
The LORD, your God, shall you fear, and him shall you serve;
hold fast to him and swear by his name.
He is your glory, he, your God,
who has done for you those great and terrible things
which your own eyes have seen.
Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy strong,
and now the LORD, your God,
has made you as numerous as the stars of the sky.”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20

R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.

R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!

R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.

R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

MT 17:22-27

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee,
Jesus said to them,

“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,
and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.”

And they were overwhelmed with grief.

When they came to Capernaum,
the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said,
“Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?”
“Yes,” he said.
When he came into the house, before he had time to speak,

Jesus asked him,

“What is your opinion, Simon?
From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax?
From their subjects or from foreigners?”

When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him,

“Then the subjects are exempt.
But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook,
and take the first fish that comes up.
Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax.
Give that to them for me and for you.”


August 12

St. Jane Frances de Chantal (d. 1641)

What a way to start a marriage! Jane no sooner arrived at her new home then she discovered she might lose it. 
Her husband, Christophe, had not only inherited the title of baron but enormous debts as well.

But Jane had not come to the marriage empty-handed. She brought with her a deep faith instilled by her father who made daily religious discussion fun, allowing the children to talk about anything -- even controversial topics. 
She also brought a good-hearted way that made a friend comment, "Even stupid jokes were funny when she told them."

These qualities helped the twenty-year-old French woman take charge by personally organizing and supervising every detail of the estate, a method which not only brought the finances under control but won her employees' hearts as well.

Despite the early financial worries, she and her husband shared "one heart and one soul." 
They were devoted to each other and to their four children.

One way Jane shared her blessings was by giving bread and soup personally to the poor who came to her door. Often people who had just received food from her would pretend to leave, go around the house and get back in line for more. When asked why she let these people get away with this, Jane said, 
"What if God turned me away when I came back to him again and again with the same request?"

Her happiness was shattered when Christophe was killed in a hunting accident. Before he died, her husband forgave the man who shot him, saying to the man, "Don't commit the sin of hating yourself when you have done nothing wrong." The heartbroken Jane, however, had to struggle with forgiveness for a long time. At first she tried just greeting him on the street. When she was able to do that, she invited him to her house. 
Finally she was able to forgive the man so completely that she even became godmother to his child.

These troubles opened her heart to her longing for God and she sought God in prayer and a deepening spiritual life. Her commitment to God impressed Saint Francis de Sales, the bishop who became her director and best friend. Their friendship started before they even met, for them saw each other in dreams, 
and continued in letters throughout their lives.

With Francis' support, Jane founded the Visitation order for women who were rejected by other orders because of poor health or age. She even accepted a woman who was 83 years old. When people criticized her, she said, "What do you want me to do? I like sick people myself; I'm on their side." 
She believed that people should have a chance to live their calling regardless of their health.

Still a devoted mother, she was constantly concerned about the materialistic ways of one of her daughters. Her daughter finally asked her for spiritual direction as did may others, including an ambassador and her brother, an archbishop. 
Her advice always reflected her very gentle and loving approach to spirituality:

"Should you fall even fifty times a day, never on any account should that surprise or worry you. Instead, ever so gently set your heart back in the right direction and practice the opposite virtue, all the time speaking words of love and trust to our Lord after you have committed a thousand faults, as much as if you had committed only one. Once we have humbled ourselves for the faults God allows us to become aware of in ourselves, we must forget them and go forward."

She died in 1641, at sixty-nine years of age.


O Lord, open our lips.
And we shall praise your name.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 94 (95)

Let us come before the Lord,
giving thanks.

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
let us acclaim him with songs.

Let us come before the Lord,
giving thanks.

For the Lord is a great God,
a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
and his hands formed the dry land.

Let us come before the Lord,
giving thanks.

Come, let us worship and bow down,
bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
the sheep that follow his hand.

Let us come before the Lord,
giving thanks.

If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
“Do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
although they had seen my works.”

Let us come before the Lord,
giving thanks.

“For forty years they wearied me,
that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
they will never enter my place of rest.”

Let us come before the Lord,
giving thanks.

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 come before the Lord,
giving thanks.

Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

O God of truth, prepare our minds
To hear and heed your holy word;
Fill every heart that longs for you
With your mysterious presence, Lord.
Almighty Father, with your Son
And blessed Spirit, hear our prayer:
Teach us to love eternal truth
And seek its freedom everywhere.

Psalm 49 (50)
True reverence for the Lord

Our God comes openly,
he keeps silence no longer.

The Lord, the God of gods has spoken:
he has summoned the whole earth, from east to west.
God has shone forth from Zion in her great beauty.
Our God will come, and he will not be silent.
Before him, a devouring fire;
around him, a tempest rages.
He will call upon the heavens above, and on the earth, to judge his people.
“Bring together before me my chosen ones, who have sealed my covenant with sacrifice.”
The heavens will proclaim his justice; for God is the true judge.

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.

Our God comes openly,
he keeps silence no longer.

Psalm 49 (50)

Pay your sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.

Listen, my people, and I will speak;
Israel, I will testify against you.
I am God, your God.
I will not reproach you with your sacrifices,
for your burnt offerings are always before me.
But I will not accept calves from your houses,
nor goats from your flocks.
For all the beasts of the forests are mine,
and in the hills, a thousand animals.
All the birds of the air – I know them.
Whatever moves in the fields – it is mine.
If I am hungry, I will not tell you;
for the whole world is mine, and all that is in it.
Am I to eat the flesh of bulls,
or drink the blood of goats?
Offer a sacrifice to God – a sacrifice of praise;
to the Most High, fulfill your vows.
Then you may call upon me in the time of trouble:
I will rescue you, and you will honor me.

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.

Pay your sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.

Psalm 49 (50)

I want love, not sacrifice;
knowledge of God, not holocausts.

To the sinner, God has said this:
Why do you recite my statutes?
Why do you dare to speak my covenant?
For you hate what I teach you,
and reject what I tell you.
The moment you saw a thief, you joined him;
you threw in your lot with adulterers.
You spoke evil with your mouth,
and your tongue made plans to deceive.
Solemnly seated, you denounced your own brother;
you poured forth hatred against your own mother’s son.
All this you did, and I was silent;
so you thought that I was just like you.
But I will reprove you –
I will confront you with all you have done.
Understand this, you who forget God;
lest I tear you apart, with no-one there to save you.
Whoever offers up a sacrifice of praise gives me true honor;
whoever follows a sinless path in life will be shown the salvation of God.

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.

I want love, not sacrifice;
knowledge of God, not holocausts.

Listen, my people, and I shall speak.
– I am God, your God.

First Reading
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.


I will heal their disloyalty;
I will love them with all my heart,
for my anger has turned from them.

I will pardon the blood-guilt yet to be pardoned,
says the Lord,
and here in Zion the Lord will have his dwelling-place,
for my anger has turned from them.

Second Reading
From a treatise On the Incarnation of the Lord
by Theodoret of Cyr, bishop

I will heal their wounds

Of his own free will Jesus ran to meet those sufferings that were foretold in the Scriptures concerning him. He had forewarned his disciples about them several times; he had rebuked Peter for being reluctant to accept the announcement of his passion, and he had made it clear that it was by means of his suffering that the world’s salvation was to be accomplished. This was why he stepped forward and presented himself to those who came in search of him, saying: I am the one you are looking for. For the same reason he made no reply when he was accused, and refused to hide when he could have done so; although in the past he had slipped away on more than one occasion when they had tried to apprehend him.

Jesus also wept over Jerusalem because by her unwillingness to believe she was bent on her own ruin, and upon the temple, once so renowned, he passed sentence of utter destruction. Patiently he put up with being struck in the face by a man who was doubly a slave, in body and in spirit. He allowed himself to be slapped, spat upon, insulted, tortured, scourged and finally crucified. He accepted two robbers as his companions in punishment, on his right and on his left. He endured being reckoned with murderers and criminals. He drank the vinegar and the bitter gall yielded by the unfaithful vineyard of Israel. He submitted to crowning with thorns instead of with vine twigs and grapes; he was ridiculed with the purple cloak, holes were dug in his hands and his feet, and at last he was carried to the grave.

All this he endured in working out our salvation. For since those who were enslaved to sin were liable to the penalties of sin, he himself, exempt from sin though he was and walking in the path of perfect righteousness, underwent the punishment of sinners. By his cross he blotted out the decree of the ancient curse: for, as Paul says: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us; for it is written: “Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree.” And by his crown of thorns he put an end to that punishment meted out to Adam, who after his sin had heard the sentence: Cursed is the ground because of you; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth for you.

In tasting the gall Jesus took on himself the bitterness and toil of man’s mortal, painful life. By drinking the vinegar he made his own the degradation men had suffered, and in the same act gave us the grace to better our condition. By the purple robe he signified his kingship, by the reed he hinted at the weakness and rottenness of the devil’s power. By taking the slap in the face, and thus suffering the violence, corrections and blows that were due to us, 
he proclaimed our freedom.

His side was pierced as Adam’s was; yet there came forth not a woman who, being beguiled, was to be the death-bearer, but a fountain of life that regenerates the world by its two streams: the one to renew us in the baptismal font and clothe us with the garment of immortality, the other to feed us, the reborn, at the table of God, 
just as babes are nourished with milk.


He was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his wounds we are healed.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,
that we might die to sin and live for holiness,
and by his wounds we are healed.

Let us pray.

Almighty, ever-living God,
we confidently call you Father as well as Lord.
Renew your Spirit in our hearts:
make us ever more perfectly your children,
so that we may enter upon the inheritance you have promised us.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

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