Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pope St. Pius X

Achille Ratti (1835-1914) was from Venice and a very humble family. As a priest, bishop, and later Patriarch of Venice he was noted for his pastoral zeal. As the Roman Pontiff, Pius X, he defended the Church from the false teachings of many modern heresies. He encouraged the development of Gregorian Chant as the music of the liturgy, and promoted frequent reception of Holy Communion, moving first communion to the age of seven, unfortunately in the process, separating Confirmation from its relationship with Baptism.

Today's readings tell us of Gideon, from the book of Judges. (Jdgs 6:11-24a) “Go with the strength you have. It is I who send you.” Gideon knew that he and his family were weak, so for God’s messenger to tell him that he was going to lead the people to victory over Midian was quite a surprise. Gideon pours out his frustration to the Lord: Forgive me, my lord, but if the Lord is with us, then why is it that all this is happening to us now? And where are all the wonders our ancestors tell us of when they say ‘Did not the Lord bring us out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has deserted us; he has abandoned us to Midian.

Why me? or Why us? can readily spring to our lips when we encounter difficulties in life. We have to understand though, that God has sent us into the world to do his work with the strength that we have. The common gifts that we possess, differently in each person, are the raw materials that God uses to bring about the triumph of his will for us and the world around us. I will be with you, and you shall crush Midian as if it were a single man. How often do we recoil at what God demands of us? We know our weaknesses almost as well as God does, but he will not leave us hung out to dry, but will bring about his will if we follow him faithfully.
Collect: Father to defend the Catholic faith and to make all things new in Christ, you filled St. Pius X with heavenly wisdom and apostolic courage. May his example and teaching lead us to the reward of eternal life. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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