How Excellent!
Malvern Minute

 

November 17, 2017 – Friday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, 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 Book of Wisdom (13:1-9)

 

All men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God,
and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is,
and from studying the works did not discern the artisan;

But either fire, or wind, or the swift air,
or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty water,
or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world, they considered gods.
Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods,
let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these;
for the original source of beauty fashioned them.

Or if they were struck by their might and energy,
let them from these things realize how much more powerful is he who made them.
For from the greatness and the beauty of created things
their original author, by analogy, is seen.

But yet, for these the blame is less;
For they indeed have gone astray perhaps,
though they seek God and wish to find him.
For they search busily among his works,
but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair.
But again, not even these are pardonable.
For if they so far succeeded in knowledge
that they could speculate about the world,
how did they not more quickly find its Lord?

 

Reflect: Let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these; for the original source of beauty fashioned them. How excellent is the artisan of all creation! The Lord is the source of all that we can see, experience and observe. The Book of Wisdom challenges us to not be distracted by the beauty of creation to the point where we fail to acknowledge that the Lord is the creator and mover of it all. In fact, if we miss to recognize the source, Wisdom declares that: “All men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God, and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is, and from studying the works did not discern the artisan.” Perhaps, part of the underlying message in today’s first reading is: “Open your eyes to see the Lord!” How majestic, how excellent are his works! Saint Francis of Assisi, among others, viewed all of creation as a holy sanctuary that constantly called him to praise God, the Maker of it all.  We are surrounded by a fascinating world. Nature, technology, science, art, and so much more can add considerably to our human experience. At the same time, as people of faith, we are called to be intensely aware of our God as we enjoy, experience, and observe all that surrounds us. He, alone, makes and sustains it all. At the same time, our God asks that we collaborate with him through our respect of and reverence for his creation. We are foolish to destroy what God has made. May our good use of, appreciation and honor for God’s creation lift up our hearts and voices to declare “how excellent is the Lord our God!”

 

Questions: Am I conscious of God as the creator and source of the entire world around me? Do I honor God by the proper use of his creation? How might I better honor God by my appreciation for and use of his many gifts?

 

Pray: Loving God, I praise you, the source of all creation; from you all blessings flow. Help me to honor and praise you by my good use of all that you provide. I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

                                                                                                             

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary: Pray for us!

Elizabeth was of Hungarian royal birth, but grew up in the court of Thuringia in Germany. It was there that she married the kindly King Louis VI (Ludwig) when she was only fourteen years old. Despite her youth, her piety and preference for the poor set her apart. She was opposed by many, but her desire to follow Christ did not waiver. She became the mother of three children. After her husband’s untimely death in 1227, Elizabeth modeled her life on that of Saint Francis of Assisi. She founded a hospital at Marburg, where she personally tended to the sick and dying. She told her spiritual director that she “received from the poor special grace and humility.” She died in 1231 at the age of twenty-four. Elizabeth was canonized only four years after her death. She is the patroness of the Franciscan Third Order and of Catholic charities.

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