My Daily Bread: Looking Away from God 

Image may contain: 3 people

Conversion

CHAPTER 5

Looking Away from God

CHRIST: 

MY CHILD, the person who esteems anything for itself alone, forgetting My goodness and love, will always be small and inferior like the things which he values. Whatever does not help you to please Me, has no true value in your life. You should therefore consider it as nothing.

2. Unless you see Me in your daily life, you will sooner or later become discontented, wherever you are and wherever you turn.

3. If any man tries to enjoy anything as though it were his alone, he will not have a lasting joy nor true freedom. In many ways he will find himself tied down and shut off from Me.

4. He who thinks more of earthly things than he does of Me, will find nothing but insecurity, trouble and sorrow. He may not realize it, but he is planning his own destruction.

5. Be it ever so little, if anything is loved and valued more than it deserves, it holds you back from Me, the Highest Good, and it weakens your soul. The man who looks only for worldly satisfactions, becomes blind to the loving presence of his Creator.

THINK:

One who seeks only pleasure, ease, honor, or profit is a worldling, that is, he lives only for this life. Gradually he becomes a slave of his earthly desires, so that he cannot even think of God. He will believe in Heaven too late-when he finds its gates forever closed to him.

PRAY:

My God, I rely on Your assistance to keep myself free from the slavery of earthly attractions. I shall use my possessions and daily enjoyments as things which You have lent to me. May I never offend You with these gifts of Yours. As yesterday’s enjoyments passed away, so too will those of today. I want to live for the greatest Good-for You, my God and my All. You alone are best and highest. Only You can satisfy my heart’s longings forever. Amen.

Saint John Baptist de LaSalle

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and indoor

Saint John Baptist de LaSalle

Founder
(1651-1719)

Complete dedication to what he saw as God’s will for him, dominates the life of John Baptist de LaSalle. Founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, or Christian Brothers, he was canonized in 1900. In 1950 Pope Pius XII named him patron of schoolteachers.

Saint John Baptist was born of the nobility of Rheims in 1651, and after a very pious youth was ordained a priest at the age of 27, becoming at once a Canon of the Cathedral there. It was said that to see him at the altar was sufficient to give an unbeliever faith in the Real Presence of Our Lord. The people would wait for him to come from the church to consult him. His life was marked by a rule he set for himself, to maintain perfect regularity in all his duties.

He became interested in the creation of gratuitous schools for poor and abandoned children. He himself was invited to help in their education; and after directing the teachers for four years, decided to join them. In this he was opposed by most of the city, for whom such a life was very humiliating for a Canon of the Cathedral. His spiritual director, a virtuous Franciscan Minim priest, encouraged him, saying that for teachers, whose vocation is to aid the poor to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, the only suitable inheritance is the poverty of the Saviour.

Saint John Baptist divested himself of the patrimonial wealth he still controlled, then took religious vows with his co-workers. His tender and paternal charity soon sanctified the house and the labors; peace reigned, and the members of the new society loved one another sincerely. The Institute developed and spread amid a thousand difficulties and persecutions; these, by humiliating its members, brought down graces on them and made the Providence of the Lord more evident.

The blessed Founder died in 1719; a religious superior said of him that his humility was universal; he never acted without taking counsel, and the opinion of others always seemed better to him than his own. He listened to others in conversation, and was never heard to say any word tending to his own advantage… Indeed it is God who elevates those who take the last place for themselves, to place them among the first.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 15; Saint of the Day, edited by Leonard Foley, O.F.M. (Saint Anthony Messenger Press: Cincinnati, 1974), Vol. I

St. Dymphna

Image may contain: 3 people

St. Dymphna

Dymphna was born in Ireland sometime in the seventh century to a pagan father and devout Christian mother. When she was fourteen, she consecrated herself to Christ and took a vow of chastity. Soon afterwards, her mother died and her father – who had loved his wife deeply – began to suffer a rapid deterioration of his mental stability.

So unhinged was Dymphna’s father, Damon, that theKing’s counsellors suggested he remarry. Though he was still grieving for his wife, he agreed to remarry if a woman as beautiful as she could be found.

Damon sent messengers throughout his town and other lands to find a woman of noble birth who resembled his wife and would be willing to marry him, but when none could be found, his evil advisors whispered sinful suggestions to marry his own daughter. So twisted were Damon’s thoughts that he recognized only his wife when he looked upon Dymphna, and so he consented to the arrangement.

When she heard of her father’s misguided plot, Dymphna fled her castle with her confessor, a priest named Gerebran, two trusted servants, and the king’s fool. The group sailed toward what is now called Belgium and hid in the town of Geel.

Though it becomes uncertain what exactly happened next, the best-known version claims the group settled in Geel, where Dymphna built a hospital for the poor and sick, but in using her wealth, her father was able to discover her location.

When Damon found his daughter was in Belgium, he travelled to Geel and captured them. He ordered the priest’s head to be separated from his body and attempted to convince Dymphna to return to Ireland and marry him.

When Dymphna refused, Damon became enraged and drew his sword. He struck Dymphna’s head from her shoulders and left her there. When she died, Dymphna was only fifteen-years-old. After her father left Geel, the residents collected both Dymphna and Gerebran’s remains and laid them to rest in a cave.

In defence of her purity, Dymphna received the crown of martyrdom around the year 620 and became known as the “Lily of Éire. In 1349, a church honouring St. Dymphna was built in Geel, and by 1480, so many pilgrims were arriving in need of treatment for mental ills, that the church was expanded. The expanded sanctuary was eventually overflowing again, leaving the townspeople to accept them into their homes, which began a tradition of care for the mentally ill that continues to this day.

Unfortunately, in the 15th century, the original St. Dymphna Church in Geel burned to the ground, and the magnificent Church of St. Dymphna was erected and consecrated in 1532, where it still stands above the location her body was originally buried.

Many miracles have been proven to take place at her shrine in the church erected in her honour, and her remains were placed in a silver reliquary in the church. Some of her remains can also be found at the Shrine of Saint Dymphna in the United States.

The priest who had helped Dymphna was also sainted, and his remains were moved to Xanten, Germany.

The United States National Shrine of Saint Dymphna is at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Massillon, Ohio and St. Dymphna’s Special School can be found in Ballina, County Mayo, Republic of Ireland.

Saint Dymphna is the patroness of those suffering from nervous and mental afflictions as well as victims of incest.

Traditionally, Saint Dymphna is often portrayed with a crown on her head, dressed in royal robes, and holding a sword. In modern art, Saint Dymphna is shown holding the sword, which symbolizes her martyrdom, quite awkwardly. She is also often shown holding a lamp, while some holy cards feature her wearing green and white, holding a book and white lilies.

Prayer:
Hear us, O God, Our Saviour, as we honour St. Dymphna, patron of those afflicted with mental and emotional illness. Help us to be inspired by her example and comforted by her merciful help. Amen.