Feb 062005
 

Your Daily Tripod

"Your Daily Tripod" reflects the personal Fourth Day journeys of its authors and editors. We are happy to have companions like you share in this project. Our prayer is that these reflections will invite and inspire your Fourth Day journey of Piety, Study and Action as much as writing or editing them inspires our journey and brings us all close moments with Jesus and our neighbors.



“The One Who Is Righteous by Faith” by Melanie Rigney (@melanierigney)



For in (the Gospel) is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.” (Romans 1:17)


The heavens proclaim the glory of God. (Psalm 19:2a)


“Oh, you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil.” (Luke 11:39)


Piety

Let nothing disturb you

Let nothing frighten you

All things are passing

God never changes

Patience obtains all things

She who possesses God lacks nothing

God alone suffices

St. Teresa of Avila


Study

The New American Bible notes on Habakkuk 2:4, which Jesus quotes in today’s first reading, put it this way: “the faithful survive the impending doom because they trust in God’s justice and wait patiently for God to carry it out.”


Trusting in God’s justice? That’s not always easy for us, but it seems like a cakewalk compared with that second part—the waiting patiently.


Think about it. How many times in the past 24 hours have you looked at your watch or phone, tapped your foot, or sighed at the aggravation of delay? Maybe it’s about missing a traffic or walk light. Maybe it’s a child attempting to tie her shoes or selecting his clothes for the day. For me, triggers for impatience include waiting for elevators, waiting for files to upload, and waiting for that dratted ATM to take my deposit. I mean, they can all take, like, 30 seconds or a minute!


I take comfort in the fact that Teresa of Avila was, ahem, a less than patient woman as well, regardless of her famous prayer. She famously said that until she had a mystical encounter that opened the doors of prayer to her, she was more anxious that the hour of prayer at her convent would end than she was to remain. Teresa, you see, had things to do, just like us. She was young, pretty, vivacious, and witty, and convent life then wasn’t as we think of it today. The residents were known to wear jewelry and focus on their looks. Some of the sisters entertained friends and donors in the convent parlor, and Teresa’s charm was enticing to many.


I suspect Teresa struggled with patience until the last day of her life. But that cross became easier for her to bear as she grew in trust of the Lord. Being hauled up before the Spanish Inquisition would have caused most of us to have feelings of impending doom. Teresa trusted—and was cleared. Going back into that convent with the enticing parlor, this time as a reformist who was on a mission to take the Carmelites back to their simple roots would have caused most of us to have feelings of impending doom. Teresa trusted—and went in.


This Doctor of the Church is an inspiration to many for her writings on prayer. Few people are so gifted in that way. But we can all emulate the woman who spent many years, even some in the convent, focused on earthly things—then grew in trust and patience as she grew closer to the Lord.


Action

Say Teresa of Avila’s prayer out loud, emphasizing one word from each line. Let nothing disturb you.[i]

[i] Image credit: François Gérard [Public domain]


“Something Greater” by Rev. Paul Berghout (@FatherPB)



Piety

Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles, among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy. Grace to you and peace from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:5-7


At the judgment, the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation, and she will condemn them because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here. Luke 11:31-32


Study

In Sunday’s Good News, Jesus did not say, “Be made clean,” so that “leprosy left them immediately” (Luke 5:3). Instead, he tells them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests,” sending them off unhealed. “As they were going, they were cleansed.” Luke 17:14


When God says “Go” that’s a complete sentence.


As they went, the blessing came—cleansing them.


Sometimes it is hard to wait; we want instant results with diets, grades, etc.

That also is why in Sunday’s reading Naaman balked. Elisha instructs Naaman to wash in the Jordan seven times. But, Naaman was expecting hands-on treatment or something more complicated. He went away angry, but he is told by his assistant to follow the simple instructions of plunging into the Jordan river seven times. Only after doing that, did Naaman find healing.


The word “miracle” comes from a Latin word meaning “something wonderful by divine intervention.”


There is a lesson for us here. Jesus heals the lepers, but only in the course of their acting with obedience and faith to what Jesus says. Something wonderful will result.


“Where are the other nine?” That is Jesus’ question to us.


Speaking of one out of ten. I read that nine out of ten husbands agreed that their wives are always right. No one has seen the tenth one since the end of the study.


The Eucharist is public thanks! Jesus is the true God. We shall live our lives in perpetual thanksgiving and praise. The Samaritan leper, who Jesus healed, personally thanked the Lord. The Greek word used to describe his giving thanks is the very same word that we translate as “Eucharist.”


The lesson: It is one thing to feel grateful; it is another thing to express it. A clear indication is that Jesus expects us to show gratitude, publicly, in the Mass. The Third Commandment says keep holy the Lord’s Day, which is why there is a Sunday Mass obligation. If you stay at home and think that you can thank God privately, you are deceiving yourself.


This week, during the weekday readings, we begin reading Paul’s Letter to the Romans. After a powerful introduction, Paul writes to this community in Rome about God’s righteousness (mercy or kindness). He also preaches about justification (making us holy or one with God), which comes to us, not through the law but faith in Jesus. That is just what we saw Sunday with the ten lepers.  


In Romans 1:21 (during Tuesday’s Mass), we learn: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”


Each day, like today, we move through Luke’s gospel reading about people gathered around Jesus. Today, Jesus refuses to “give a sign other than the sign of Jonah.” Was cleansing the leper not enough? 


Later this week, Jesus will be at a Pharisee’s house calling for authenticity: “give alms, and everything will be clean for you.” 


Action

Jesus challenges the religious practices of the Pharisees, which miss the heart of fidelity to God and mercy toward others. Jesus tries to get them to see that, while they honor the prophets, they are no better than their ancestors who ignored and killed the prophets. Instead of hearing him, the religious leaders plot to trap Jesus. Warning his disciples about imitating religious hypocrisy, Jesus tells them not to be afraid, even of death, but to only fear losing their souls. Acknowledging Jesus is enough to save us. When we make our defense of our faith and way of life, the Holy Spirit will teach us what to say.[i]

We like the good things that we get in this world, but we do not associate them with Jesus’ healing presence in the Eucharist.


After receiving healing through the mediation of Jesus, this Samaritan returns to worship God at a new place, at the feet of Jesus. At the foot of the tabernacle. At the foot of the Sacrificial Eucharistic Altar. As for being at someone’s feet, this is always a way of acknowledging authority.


The Samaritan leper thought to himself: The certification process of verifying the healing by the priest could wait. Right now, it is the time to offer testimony and praise!


Everything else can wait.


Though ten lepers experience miraculous healing, nine of them miss “salvation” because the “seeing” not the healing is decisive. The narrator intends a sharp critique of the belief in healing miracles—which cannot be identical with salvation itself.


One of the ten lepers, realizing that Jesus healed him, started praising God publicly in gratitude and thanksgiving-- that is the biblical model. We cannot stay at home and thank God privately.


The louder you called for help, all the louder you should praise God publicly.


Amen.


“Trust and Obey” by Sam Miller


Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of Elisha, the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean of his leprosy. Naaman returned with his whole retinue to the man of God. On his arrival, he stood before Elisha and said, "Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel. (2 King 5:14-15)


All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God. Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands: break into song; sing praise. R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power. (Psalm 98:3b-4)


But the word of God is not chained. Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, together with eternal glory.This saying is trustworthy: If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him. (2 Timothy 2:9b-12a)


And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, "Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?" Then he said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you." (Luke 17:15-19)


Piety

“Trust and Obey” by Don Moen

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.


Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.


Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.


Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.


Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we'll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.


Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey…



Study

Our first reading today, relates what Paul Harvey referred to as “the rest of the story.”


The cure being revealed before the reason for this foreigner, Naaman, the army commander of the king of Aram, to have sought out Elisha the prophet for the cure!! Several “God wink” acts of FAITH/TRUST/BELIEF had preceded Naaman’s arrival at the door of Elisha’s house: the little Israeli girl spoke in FAITH/TRUST/ BELIEF to her mistress, Naaman’s wife, of Elisha; in FAITH/TRUST/BELIEF, Naaman’s wife talked to Naaman; in FAITH/TRUST/BELIEF, Naaman spoke of it to the King of Aram AND in FAITH/TRUST/ BELIEF, the retinue of Naaman persevered and persuaded Naaman to do as the message from Elisha had instructed him to do!!!! One more act of FAITH/TRUST/BELIEF by Naaman and “Wonder of Wonder,” he was made whole!! 

Persistence in FAITH/TRUST/BELIEF seems to be the theme of the Sunday readings lately.


Last Sunday, we were told to WAIT for Habakuk’s vision to come to pass! It will happen; it will NOT disappoint, hold to your faith!! In the second reading, more boldness, and perseverance in the strength from God through the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, FAITH/TRUST/ BELIEF. In the Gospel, we were reminded that faith as tiny as a mustard seed is compelling!! 


Today, we begin with Naaman, a foreigner, called, chosen to be converted, to live with FAITH/TRUST/BELIEF in the one God of Israel and by his life testify to his people. The Psalm response and verses speak of “all the ends of the earth,” seeing the saving power of God. Breaking into song and singing praise as those who are chosen to live their FAITH/TRUST/ BELIEF! Paul tells of the chosen, salvation, and perseverance in the truth. The Gospel story of the ten lepers wraps it up: they knew Jesus was their answer, they trusted, believed, and had faith that He could heal them. Only one leper out of ten, on realizing his healing, returned to Jesus to give thanks to God. This foreigner, this chosen one, was told that his faith had saved him, his FAITH/TRUST/BELIEF!! I believe he ran all the way home but not quietly, instead joyfully singing the praises of God and never tiring of telling the story of being made whole.


Action

The punch line, to me, how many times have I experienced a healing/cleansing and forgotten to give thanks? How often have I taken for granted the love and saving power of my Lord when it should have brought me to my knees in thanksgiving? God doesn’t need me, but somehow, He wants me!!! Alleluia!!!!



Always With Me



Piety

Woman in the Crowd: "Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed."


Jesus: "Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it." (Lk 11:27-28)


May we be the blessed who hear the gospel of love and mercy and observe it!


Study

Jesus does not diminish the honor bestowed on the Blessed Mother as much as give us all an opportunity to share in the blessing.


Action

Two weeks ago, when Beth’s mother died, Fr. Paul sent a short reading which brings amazing comfort at a time like this.  It is this passage from the book “No Death, No Fear” by Thích Nhất Hạnh:


“The day my mother died I wrote in my journal, "A serious misfortune of my life has arrived." I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut in my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother. I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk. She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died. When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear. I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.

I opened the door and went outside. The entire hillside was bathed in moonlight. It was a hill covered with tea plants, and my hut was set behind the temple halfway up. Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet... wonderful! Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. Those feet that I saw as "my" feet were actually "our" feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil.

From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was look at the palm of my hand, feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time.”


We should all be so lucky to have the love of a mother.  Fewer still are those lucky enough to share in the blessing of the love of two mothers.  Or THREE. Or FOUR!


Ruth DeCristofaro
1932-2012
Katharine R. Costea 1930-2019
Mother-in-Law

Micky Lawler, Godmother
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Beth DeCristofaro
Fairfax, VA





“Mercy and Compassion, not Snakes” by Beth DeCristofaro



And I will have compassion on them, as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. Then you will again see the distinction between the just and the wicked; Between the one who serves God and the one who does not serve him. (Malachi 3:17-18)


What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him? (Luke 11:11-13)


Piety

Almighty ever-living God, who in the abundance of your kindness surpass the merits and desires of those who entreat you, pour out your mercy upon us to pardon what conscience dreads and to give what prayer does not dare to ask. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, you Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.[i] 


Study

Who among us hasn’t “handed our son a snake when he asked for a fish”…metaphorically speaking? My daughter pulled a stupid stunt with friends, and I grounded her without listening to her side of the story. A third-party incident was related to me, and I immediately took offense and passed on gossip about a person who thought I was her friend. I yelled at my mother in frustration and impatience. If I am willing to face my truth, no wonder I have difficulty completely believing that God is ready – even in my those moments – to open the door to me if I but knock. I can’t always open my door of compassion for those I love the most. And, of course, life often hands scorpions to us as well. Are those scorpions deserved, we wonder? No wonder we aren’t confident that we deserve God’s door to open for us.


Jesus assures us that he is with God, and stands with us as our brother in our weakness should we rely on him. He offers us the chance again and again to knock. He revealed to his disciples that God was with them in his person and will be with them and us in the Spirit. We knock, and God answers, “surpassing our merits and our desires.”


This passage reminds me of Fr. Thomas Keating’s gentle explanation as I was beginning to practice centering prayer. When our active and distracted brain attends away from God’s presence, I can take it as an opportunity to focus again on God. Instead of chastising myself for not paying attention, I can be grateful to seek God’s face again. I can offer the distraction for God’s glory. If I can stop my self-centeredness and focus on Jesus’ way of loving my neighbor, then it is another chance to stand with Jesus and knock on God’s door despite myself. It takes, among other things, faith, trust, humility, forgiveness, courage, “yes” and accepting grace. That’s all — a tall order for anyone but God. And God will have compassion on me.


Action

Taking stock, as in the Examen, of the moments that I handed a snake to someone rather than a requested fish, gives me the opening to pray for God’s mercy. I also implore God to enlighten me the next time I have barred my door of compassion. Is there the need to ask forgiveness of my brother or sister? Knock and seek it.




[i] From the Collect, Mass for the day.




“Be Merciful as God is Merciful” by Colleen O’Sullivan



Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry that God did not carry out the evil he threatened against Nineveh. (Jonah 4:1)


Have mercy on me, O Lord, for to you I call all the day. Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. (Psalm 86:3-4)


… and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us. (Luke 11:4ab)


Piety

Lord, help us to be forgiving and compassionate toward others as you are toward us.


Study

Jonah is quite obviously having an off day. He sounds like a 3-year old, stamping his feet and raging at God, because God has chosen to be merciful to the Ninevites, who, granted, have always been the enemies of the people of Israel.  Evidently, Jonah would prefer a lot of fire and brimstone to rain down on the city.


If we’re honest with ourselves, isn’t this the way you and I act sometimes when we think someone we have a grievance against is getting off too easily?  Jonah, in effect, says, "Lord, this is exactly what I was afraid would happen when you sent me to Nineveh. I was worried you would go all soft and compassionate on these enemies of ours."


God doesn’t go head to head with Jonah. Instead, God causes a plant to grow up which provides Jonah with shelter from the hot sun. Jonah loves his shady space for 24 hours, at which point the plant is suddenly attacked by a worm, dries up and dies. And again, we see Jonah indulging in a temper tantrum.


God tries to reason with Jonah: Here’s a plant over which you have no power. You didn’t even put it on the earth. Yet look what a stew you’re getting into over it! I, on the other hand, did create all the people in Nineveh, and there are more than 120,000 of my creatures there who don’t know which end is up. I put them there, and I have every right to show compassion and mercy where I will. You will never be me, but it wouldn’t hurt you to act like me!


Jesus makes the same point in today’s Gospel when he teaches the disciples to pray. It’s difficult to say with any sincerity the words, “forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us.” Before we utter those words in prayer, we often need to stop and think about their veracity.


Action

Jesus knew just what he was doing in teaching the disciples to say those words. So often we need to stop and make amends before we can truthfully say we forgive others who have trespassed against us. When you are praying today, visualize someone who has hurt you in some way and make a point of forgiving him or her before the sun goes down.


“Worried About Many Things” by Melanie Rigney (@melanierigney)



When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do them; he did not carry it out. (Jonah 3:10)


If you O LORD, mark iniquities, LORD, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered. (Psalm 130:3-4)


“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing.” (Luke 10:41-42)


Piety

Jesus, help me pry my hands from the wheel and let You drive.


Study

Back in September 2001, my husband was working overnights. That gave him a lot of daytime hours to watch television and call me at my job with regular updates on the investigation into the September 11 attacks. When we were home together, it was all we talked about. I suspect your conversations might have been the same.


Then came the day he called, talking a mile a minute about anthrax. Born and bred in South Dakota, all I could think of was cattle anthrax and I couldn’t understand why that was national news. When I got home and saw the story on television, I got it.


But I just couldn’t do it anymore after a week or so. Finally, I said, “Look, I’ll continue to worry about Al-Qaeda. But you’re going to have to take on anthrax by yourself. I just don’t have the bandwidth.”


I am worried about many things right now, mainly things over which I have no control. Maybe they’re not as serious as terrorists attacking with bacteria or planes, but they’re taking up a great deal of space in my head and heart and soul. And so I am praying with St. Martha for the faith to let God take on these things. I know He sees my anxiety and worry and longs to relieve me. But He can’t do it unless I let Him.


Action

Consider what Martha’s reaction to Jesus’ rebuke was.
 Posted by at 8:28 am

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