Morning Offering: O Jesus, through the most pure heart of Mary, I offer you all the prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of your divine heart, in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass. I offer them especially for the Holy Father's intentions:
Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for February is: "That by means of sincere search for the truth scholars and intellectuals may arrive at an understanding of the one true God".
His mission intention is: "That the Church, aware of her own missionary identity, may strive to follow Christ faithfully and to proclaim His Gospel to all peoples".
Prayers today: Lord, there is no god to compare with you; you are great and do wonderful things, you are the only God. (Ps 85:8, 10)
Merciful Father, fill our hearts with your love and keep us faithful to the gospel of Christ. Give us the grace to rise above our human weakness. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,.
Blessed Angela Salawa (1881-1922)
Angela served Christ and Christ’s little ones with all her strength. Born in Siepraw, near Kraków, Poland, she was the 11th child of Bartlomiej and Ewa Salawa. In 1897, she moved to Kraków where her older sister Therese lived. Angela immediately began to gather together and instruct young women domestic workers. During World War I, she helped prisoners of war without regard for their nationality or religion. The writings of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross were a great comfort to her. Angela gave great service in caring for soldiers wounded in World War I. After 1918 her health did not permit her to exercise her customary apostolate. Addressing herself to Christ, she wrote in her diary, "I want you to be adored as much as you were destroyed." In another place, she wrote, "Lord, I live by your will. I shall die when you desire; save me because you can." At her 1991 beatification in Kraków, Pope John Paul II said: "It is in this city that she worked, that she suffered and that her holiness came to maturity. While connected to the spirituality of St. Francis, she showed an extraordinary responsiveness to the action of the Holy Spirit" (L'Osservatore Romano, volume 34, number 4, 1991).
Henri de Lubac, S.J., wrote: "The best Christians and the most vital are by no means to be found either inevitably or even generally among the wise or the clever, the intelligentsia or the politically-minded, or those of social consequence. And consequently what they say does not make the headlines; what they do does not come to the public eye. Their lives are hidden from the eyes of the world, and if they do come to some degree of notoriety, that is usually late in the day, and exceptional, and always attended by the risk of distortion" (The Splendor of the Church, p. 187).
The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark (12.28~34)
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." "Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but Him. To love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no-one dared ask him any more questions.
We have a dream!
(Homily by Fr. E. J. Tyler)
One of the distinguishing first principles of modern Western culture — in theory if not in practice — is the place of individual human rights. The recognition of human rights is deemed to be fundamental in a civilized society, according to the Western vision of things. Of course, there are certain rampant violations of human rights in Western countries (such as the rights of the unborn), which show that the deeper matter of a true understanding of man and his destiny is more properly at stake. However, there is no doubt that the rights of each person is a defining element in the Western account of man and society. Now, one of the most famous speeches of the twentieth century was precisely a call based on what all in theory accept: human rights. I am thinking of the speech given by Dr Martin Luther King, the great “human rights” activist on behalf of the American Negro. His assassination is universally attributed to the resistance by some to his powerful demand for the full recognition of the human rights of the individual Negro. He had a dream: “I have a dream!” he rhetorically began in sentence after sentence. “I have a dream!” was the refrain of his speech, and now, every time a politician or leader uses these words, it is clear that he wishes all his hearers to associate him with the spirit of Martin Luther King. I have a dream! But ah! Another said this from the mists of eternity, and it was the archetype of all noble dreams. Any dream that Martin Luther King had, was a pale reflection of the dream that filled the heart of God from before the foundation of the world. I have a dream — a wonderful cry, indeed! But if there is a God — and of course there is a God — then does he have a dream, or does he exist as might a human being with no dreams at all? Ah yes! God has a dream. From the heart of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, there has come a glorious song, a heavenly symphony, a hymn that has burst on the scene of history. That hymn is, “We have a dream!” What is the dream that has filled the Holy Trinity from eternity? It is man’s salvation.
In our Gospel today (Mark 12: 28-34) we are told that one of the lawyers came and heard the debate between our Lord and his critics. He was full of admiration for our Lord in his answers, and was led to pose the question of questions about the Law, with its numerous commands and prescriptions. He asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Without any hesitation Christ gave the answer: “The most important one, answered Jesus, is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these.” The lawyer could not help but praise our Lord, and proceeded to show he understood. “Well said, teacher, the man replied. You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” That is the divine command, and it is the divine dream. It ought be our fundamental dream that is the absolute first principle of everything else, including the modern and most commendable dream of the recognition of the human rights of every person. The fundamental dream should be holiness of life and the overcoming of sin. If this is not the basic dream, the hope that is constantly ahead of us, then all other dreams will fall short of their goals. Sin is the source of the corruption and failure of man and society, as well as his eternal damnation. Sin must be conquered! Personal goodness and holiness of life must be gained! That is the best and truest of all human dreams, and it has been the dream of God for man from all eternity. It was his original gift to man whom he made in his image and likeness, but it was a gift that man squandered and threw away like the prodigal son of our Lord’s parable about the loving and indulgent father. So God’s dream has continued, it led to the Incarnation, the Atonement, the sending of the Spirit, and the Church.
“We have a dream!” This is the cry of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. With the Incarnation, with God the Son becoming man, the grand dream was implemented. The dream is that each of us will resist and overcome sin by the grace won for us at Calvary. We will thus gain such holiness of life that we will be able to firstly, love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and then to love our neighbour as ourself. Let us all, day after day, sing this divine melody, “I have a dream,” the dream being our redemption and sanctification — and that of all our brothers and sisters.