Growing in Holiness – Secretly!
Malvern Minute

 

June 21, 2017 – Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (6:1-6, 16-18)

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;

otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.

And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door,
and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to others to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

 

Reflect: And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. Motivation. What is our motivation? Clearly, in today’s gospel, Jesus is challenging our motivations. He wants his followers to give alms, pray and fast for the right reasons: to give honor and glory to God; and to grow in our relationship with him. In today’s first reading (2 Corinthians 9:6-11), Saint Paul exhorts the faithful: “Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  Jesus asks us to purify our motives. Today, the Church commemorates Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, a Jesuit religious who died at an early age caring for victims of a plague in Italy. He renounced his family’s wealth to serve the poor and to beg for the needs of the sick and needy. May God help us to purify our hearts and minds so that we can make good choices not for earthly glory, but simply to please God and to advance his Kingdom – and our relationship with him – here on earth. We are all called to be saints. May our secret life before the Father help us to grow in holiness.

Questions: What is my motivation for the good things that I choose to do? How might God be calling me to be heroic in serving him and the needs of others? What blessings can I bestow upon others today – in secret?

Pray: Loving God, purify my heart. Help me to be motivated to serve others and to give you glory and honor by quiet acts of charity and prayer. May what I do for you and others be led by a joyful heart.  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga: Pray for us!

Saint Aloysius died in 1591 at the age of twenty-three while caring for the sick in Rome. Inspired by the Jesuit missionaries serving in India, he renounced his wealthy, noble heritage to become a Jesuit and to joyfully embrace a life of simplicity and sacrifice. He had great devotion to the Eucharist, interior prayer and charitable service. Near his death, while still serving the sick, he proclaimed to his Jesuit brothers anticipating his passing into eternal life, “We are going!” A fellow Jesuit remarked, “He talks of going to heaven as we talk of going to Frescati (a town in Italy).” Aloysius is the patron of youth and students, especially in Jesuit colleges and universities.                                     

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