Tag Archives: St. Francis

October Synthesis

The month of October opens with the feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who is known for having preached “the Little Way”. By reminding us of the biblical teaching on spiritual childhood, St. Thérèse of Lisieux taught us that we should not be afraid of God nor of aspiring to be saints despite our weaknesses, because it is precisely our littleness that attracts God’s mercy and compassion.

The following day, October 2, is the feast of the Guardian Angels – our guides and allies in our quest for sanctity.

Devotees of St. Josemaria Escriva know that it was on the feast of the Guardian Angels that he founded Opus Dei – another reminder of the universal call to sanctity and of the truth that sanctity is an accessible, albeit challenging, goal.

The month ends with the eve of All Saints’ Day, more popularly known as Halloween.

The appropriateness of Catholics celebrating Halloween in the popular manner of doing it is hotly debated. It is hard to give a blanket condemnation or approval of it, however, because people do it in different ways. On one side of the spectrum are those who dabble in the occult on the occasion; on the other side are those who hold saint-themed costume parties. In between are those for whom Halloween is just an occasion for good clean fun, playing dress-up, and perhaps a little bit of spookiness.

My own take is that barring downright sinful activities, the celebration of Halloween is a matter for every Catholic’s prudential judgment. Furthermore, while dabbling in the occult is definitely a no-no, neither are saint-themed costume parties obligatory (though they definitely can be a good catechetical tool), nor should a reasonable degree of spookiness be forbidden.

In fact, just as a morbid fascination for the occult is dangerous, it is equally harmful to ignore the reality of evil as if the saints were born with halos and never had to contend with the dark side of life. It is healthy to remind ourselves that spiritual warfare is a reality. And scattered throughout the month of October are feasts to remind us of what are our weapons in spiritual warfare.

October 1 reminds us of the need for childlike trust in God that St. Thérèse of Lisieux reminded us. October 2 reminds us of the help of the Guardian Angels. The feast of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4 reminds us of the need to practice poverty and detachment. October 7 reminds us of the power of the Rosary. The feast of St. Teresa of Ávila on Oct. 15 reminds us of the need to develop a life of prayer. The feast of St. Luke the Evangelist on Oct. 18 reminds us to “use the force” of the Gospel. The feast of the apostles Sts. Simon and Jude on Oct. 28 reminds us that all of us are called to be apostles too; apostolate, after all, is also a form of spiritual warfare.

After the last day of October is All Saints’ Day. We have been reminded the whole month of what our goal is in life and how we are to attain it. So we begin a new month reminding us of the reward for our efforts, and renew our resolve to continue working and to fight once more.

Letter to Pope Francis

Your Holiness,

I love what you are doing. You are inspiring so many faithful and non-faithful by your actions. Whether it is paying your own bills, calling a person, kissing a baby, or visiting the neglected of our society, you have been a constant witness of Jesus Christ. I always enjoy hearing about these actions. Thank you for this example.

I was considering some things about your papacy and few ideas came to mind.

© arturko - Fotolia.com
© arturko – Fotolia.com

First, you started your papacy with a bang. You chose the name of saint that reformed the faithful in a time when many were not keeping with the Gospel message. I am still very enthusiastic with this namesake. A mutual friend of ours, GK Chesterton, called Francis “a fool; he would become more and more of a fool; he would be the court fool of the King of Paradise.” This court jester is exactly what this world needs. This world of ours is too serious and heavy. Whether it is the sickle of tyrants or the pride of relativism that sinks the soul into despair, it is joy and laughter that are wonderful antidotes that lift up the lowly. The human soul wants to fly but this means we need to take ourselves lightly and break the chains of sin. When I see your contagious smile, you remind me that if you can smile with all your responsibilities and crosses, then I can smile in the midst of my much smaller sacrifices.

Second, you are inspiring a revolution of hand walkers. This spiritual revolution to love our neighbor continues to enthrall so many. Your message of the light of faith in today’s cesspool of death and despair is about as contradictory as walking on your hands. You invite us to enter the cave that you have exited so that we can have “a profound spiritual revolution” like Chesterton remarks on St. Francis. In order to see the world through Christ’s eyes we will need to leave this cave. We need to come out like St. Frank and look “at the world as differently from other men as if he had come out of that dark hole walking on his hands.” Whether it be a cave or confessional, this is the only way to see the world. You are walking on your hands and you have millions of faithful that are trying to keep up. Our hands are not used to this work, please continue to show us how.

Finally, you teach us to depend on Christ. By your walking on your hands, you show us that the world is hanging as if upon nothing. Chesterton again shows us that it is both St. Francis and St. Peter that see the world upside down. This world likes to depend and place it’s faith on human achievement. However, by your jestering, you are showing us that the world is in our Father’s hands and that we should be grateful for God not dropping us.

Please know that I love you and continue to pray for you.

A stumbling and clumsy fool,

JQ Tomanek

Blessings for Fifo and Business

“Bless us, O Lord! and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord.  Amen.”

 

If you can’t find your pet tomorrow, don’t worry.  A sibling, son, or daughter has probably taken it to the Catholic school.  It is not Show-n-Tell Day, rather it is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.  Animals and pets of every shape and size will be leashed and pooping on school grounds.  Lines of Rexs, Mitsys, Tiggers, Mollys, and Kittys will be crowding the yard and waiting for a blessing.   

 

However, I would also like to see “Bless your business” on this feast too.  St. Frank is the patron of animals, the environment, and ecology but he is also a patron of merchants.  It would be a great example to show that the natural resources of the earth are God’s gift to mankind and stewardship (work) is man’s proper way of utilizing it.  If I create something with the resources, then I can trade the excess for other things that another person has created.  I would like to thank Rev. Sirico for pointing this out in his book, “Defending the Free Market.”  In today’s cultural dichotomy, the environment is often pitted against business.  Environmentalists accuse profit-makers of abusing natural resources and businessmen accuse environmentalists of hugging trees.  I posit they should consider both are needed, though not in dehumanizing forms.

 

© Kadmy – Fotolia.com

 

Again, like so many things, this is not an either/or choice.  Rather, the businessman needs the natural resources to create new products.  The environmentalist needs the business market’s price function to regulate the supply and demand of scarce resources.  “Recycle, reuse, reduce” is not only the mantra of those that want to save Mother Earth.  It is also the chant that saves the Mom and Pop. 

 

Both need to keep their eyes on the line.  The businessmen need to make sure that the bottom line is not the only consideration that determines a good business.  The environmentalists need to draw the line through the idea that the earth is the same as a person.  Both need to remember that business and the earth’s resources are meant to serve man, not make him the slave to either one.  Both need also to remember that man learns about himself when he works and when he names creation that he is supposed to subdue.  In the former, he puts his signature on creation.  In the latter, he works his rational mind by creating names for creatures.  It is easy to remove the person as the center of creation and business and replace him with a dollar sign or tree. This is because many forget that business and earth are for man, not man for Master Work and Master Earth.

 

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Both need to concern themselves with the green movement.  A business will not continue without profits for profits are the community’s vote that

© Stuart Miles – Fotolia.com

the business’s products are in demand.  The earth cannot continue being exploited and wasted away.  A good business strategy understands that exploitation and waste actually impair making a profit.  A good environmentalist society would recognize that it needs profit to provide funds for its continued existence.

 

St. Francis is not a patron of one or the other, rather with an understanding that man is a rational animal and highlight of creation he becomes the patron of both the market place and resources that are used in the production of the goods.  We do well to have our pets blessed, it is time to have our businesses blessed as well. 

 

“We give Thee thanks for all Thy benefits, O Almighty God, who livest and reignest world without end. Amen. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”