Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012 Assimilate, Mark 6:7-13, St. Bonaventure, Psalm 85

Sunday, July 15, 2012
Assimilate, Mark 6:7-13, St. Bonaventure, Psalm 85

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Sunday! 

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7..

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012

Today's Word:  assimilate   as·sim·i·late [v. uh-sim-uh-leyt; n. uh-sim-uh-lit, -leyt]

Origin:  1570–80;  < Latin assimilātus  likened to, made like (past participle of assimilāre ), equivalent to
noun or verb (used with object) take in and incorporate as one's own; absorb: He assimilated many new experiences on his European trip. bring into conformity with the customs, attitudes, etc., of a group, nation, or the like; adapt or adjust: to assimilate the new immigrants.
3.Physiology . to convert (food) to substances suitable for incorporation into the body and its tissues. cause to resemble (usually followed by to  or with ). compare; liken (usually followed by to  or with ). 
verb (used without object) be or become absorbed. conform or adjust to the customs, attitudes, etc., of a group, nation, or the like: The new arrivals assimilated easily and quickly.
8.Physiology . (of food) to be converted into the substance of the body; be absorbed into the system.
9 to bear a resemblance (usually followed by to  or with ).
10. Phonetics . to become modified by assimilation.

Today's Gospel Reading - 15th Sunday of ordinary time (B) Mark 6:7-13

The mission of the twelve

1. Opening prayer

Father, grant that we may see in your Son the face of your love, the Word of salvation and mercy, so that we may follow him with generous heart and proclaim him in word and deed to our brothers and sisters who look for the Kingdom and his justice. Pour out your Spirit upon us that we may listen attentively and that our witness may be authentic and free, even in difficult times and in times when we do not understand. Who lives and reigns forever and ever.

2. Understanding Today's Gospel
After the calling (in the text "institution") of the twelve (Mk 3: 13-19), Jesus teaches and heals as part of their schooling. Now the time has come for their first public practice: as a first experience, they have to go and proclaim. Two by two, they go among the people with tasks, which in Mark seem to be rather simple: a generic proclamation to conversion and various types of prodigies against evil. Jesus does not let the violent refusal of himself in Nazareth frighten him, a fact first recalled by Mark: Mk 6:1-6. He does not suspend his mission because our closed minds cannot block him.

The other two Synoptic Gospels (Mt 10: 1-42; Lk 9: 1-10) recount with greater precision the tasks and challenges the twelve will meet. However, in all the Gospels it is important to note that the mission comes from Jesus and only after they have learnt from him the manner and the content. The number "twelve" - so often repeated in connection with the foundation of the new community, even to the glories of the Apocalypse - signify continuity, but also the surpassing of the preceding saving economy. The sending "two by two" must be understood according to the Jewish mentality that accepts any witness only if it is brought by a "community" (at least minimal) and not by one person.

Sermon on the Mount
b) The Gospel: Mark 6:7-13
And he went about among the villages teaching. 7 And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, "Where you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them." 12 So they went out and preached that men should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.

3. A moment of silent prayer to re-read the text with our heart and to recognise in the words and structure, the presence of the mystery of the living God.

4. Some questions to see the important points in the text and begin to assimilate them.
a) In Mark, why is the driving out of the unclean spirits so important?
b) What is the sense of this insistence on poverty of means?
c) What is the content of this first proclamation?
d) Why does Jesus place together poverty and courage and freedom?
e) Why does the proclamation have to be itinerant and not stable?
f) What do the other Synoptic Gospels explain better?

5. A deepening of the reading
"He began to send them out two by two"
The mission of the disciples does not come from personal enthusiasm or from a desire for greatness. It begins when Jesus thinks that they are ready to speak, based on what they have heard and assimilated. According to Mark, until then they had seen many miracles, heard some teachings, important among the teachings being the theme of the seed that grows in several ways; they have also assisted at some arguments between Jesus and the leaders.

They were to refer themselves to Jesus' practice as healer, his call to conversion, his availability to move among the people, his itinerant preaching. They are certainly not mature yet. Under Jesus' supervision they will learn and better themselves: they will come up with the right words and the proper gestures. They will experience the enthusiasm that comes from great success, but in the end, they will have to go beyond even their focus on miracles in order to announce the death and resurrection of the Saviour.

"He gave them authority over the unclean spirits"

This concerns "exousia" which Jesus practised too: they are therefore empowered and authorised to use the same power. For Mark, it almost seems that this is the main exercise at this time; in fact, he concentrates on this aspect of Jesus as "thaumaturge" and one who drives out evil spirits.

We need to understand that "unclean spirits" meant many things: psychic diseases, forms of epilepsy, destructive spiritual forces, the enslaving power of the law, every form of psychic disability, physical malfunctions, etc.

Power is exercised in walking among these sufferings, accepting the challenge to faith in God provided by these challenges, accepting to live in solidarity, accepting the dignity of each human being. We must not identify "unclean" with sexual or legal impurity. It is a matter of "purity" as God sees it, that is, love, solidarity, justice, mercy, collaboration, welcoming, etc. That is why the twelve will have to call "to conversion" from these prejudices, perverse and "unclean" forms to live as children of God.

"Nothing for their journey, except a staff…"

Their mission must be an itinerant one, not sedentary; that is, the mission must constantly stimulate the going, new encounters, detachment from results, interior and exterior freedom. Hence the recommendation, found in all the Synoptic Gospels, to practise material poverty in dress and food, in security and guarantees. It was probably also a matter of the shortness of the experience: as a first exercise, it was not supposed to last long, and so, they had to travel light, free, focussed more on the importance of the proclamation than on the consolidation of results.

But when this text was written, the situation of the community of disciples was a lot more developed and consolidated. Thus, the memory of these recommendations not only served to recall this first joyful and adventurous experience, but also to confront the present style of life and customs with those of the time of Jesus, now so long ago. Thus the text aims at remembering and at a new missionary impetus, less fearful of the demands of comfort and security.

"When you leave, shake off the dust…"

The Lord's recommendations bring together two aspects, which only appear to be in contradiction. On the one hand, the disciples must be completely available to meet the people, without thinking of gain or survival. They must seek out sick people - that is, those sick for personal or social reasons, from the oppression of the law or from of human evil - and free them, pour the oil of consolation on them, heal their wounds and interior hurts. But, on the other hand, they must also avoid accepting any form of hypocrisy and irresponsible do-gooders.

Besides charity and care for the suffering, they must also have the courage to unmask hypocrisy, react to closed minds and accept personal failure. Where they are not received, they must leave without regrets or weakness. Rejection or hypocrisy render proclamation and witness sterile. He asks for a clear and unequivocal break, a thing that Jesus himself, perhaps, had not experienced much. He always tried to go back and dialogue, suffered from the closed minds of the Pharisees and the Scribes. He challenged their tenacious and insidious teachings. Yet now he imposes on his disciples the direction not to waste time on those who will not receive them. Probably, in this recommendation there is also an adaptation to the situation of the community: they must not regret the break with the Israelite community. There had been a closed attitude and a ferocious and aggressive refusal: well, Jesus had foreseen this too. There was no need to grieve. They must go to other people and they must not waste time trying to win back that which could not be won back.

6. Closing prayer
Lord our God, keep your Son’s disciples from the easy ways of popularity, of cheap glory, and lead them to the ways of the poor and scourged of the earth, so that they may recognise in their faces the face of the Master and Redeemer. Give them eyes to see possible ways of peace and solidarity; ears to hear the requests of sense and salvation of so many people who seek as by feeling; enrich their hearts with generous fidelity and a sensitiveness and understanding so that they may walk along the way and be true and sincere witnesses to the glory that shines in the crucified resurrected and victorious one. Who lives and reigns gloriously with you, Father, forever and ever. Amen

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,

Featured Items from Litany Lane

Saint of the Day:  Saint Bonaventure

Feast Day: July 15
Patron Saint: Doctor of the Universal Church

St Bonaventure, 1640 Zurbaran
Saint Bonaventure, O.F.M., (Italian: San Bonaventura; 1221 – 15 July 1274),[1] born John of Fidanza (Italian: Giovanni di Fidanza), was an Italian medieval scholastic theologian and philosopher. The seventh Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, he was also a Cardinal Bishop of Albano.

He was canonized on 14 April 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV and declared a Doctor of the Church in the year 1588 by Pope Sixtus V. He is known as the "Seraphic Doctor" (Latin: Doctor Seraphicus). Many writings believed in the Middle Ages to be his are now collected under the name Pseudo-Bonaventura. 


He was born at Bagnoregio in Latium, not far from Viterbo. Almost nothing is known of his childhood, other than the names of his parents, Giovanni di Fidanza and Maria Ritella.

He entered the Franciscan Order in 1243 and studied at the University of Paris, possibly under Alexander of Hales, and certainly under Alexander's successor, John of Rochelle. In 1253 he held the Franciscan chair at Paris and was proceeded as Master of Theology. Unfortunately for Bonaventure, a dispute between seculars and mendicants delayed his reception as Master until 1257, where his degree was taken in company with Thomas Aquinas.[2] Three years earlier his fame had earned him the position of lecturer on the The Four Books of Sentences—a book of theology written by Peter Lombard in the twelfth century—and in 1255 he received the degree of master, the medieval equivalent of doctor.

After having successfully defended his order against the reproaches of the anti-mendicant party, he was elected Minister General of the Franciscan Order. On 24 November 1265, he was selected for the post of Archbishop of York; however, he was never consecrated and resigned the appointment in October 1266.[3] It was by his order that Roger Bacon, a Franciscan friar himself, was interdicted from lecturing at Oxford and compelled to put himself under the surveillance of the order at Paris.

Bonaventure was instrumental in procuring the election of Pope Gregory X, who rewarded him with the title of Cardinal Bishop of Albano, and insisted on his presence at the great Council of Lyon in 1274. There, after his significant contributions led to a union of the Greek and Latin churches, Bonaventure died suddenly and in suspicious circumstances. The Catholic Encyclopedia has citations which suggest he was poisoned. The only extant relic of the saint is the arm and hand with which he wrote his Commentary on the Sentences, which is now conserved at Bagnoregio, in the parish church of St. Nicholas.

Feast day

Bonaventure's feast day was included in the General Roman Calendar immediately upon his canonization in 1482. It was at first celebrated on the second Sunday in July, but was moved in 1568 to 14 July, since 15 July, the anniversary of his death, was at that time taken up with the feast of Saint Henry. It remained on that date, with the rank of "double", until 1960, when it was reclassified as a feast of the third class. In 1969 it was classified as an obligatory memorial and assigned to the date of his death, 15 July.[4]

Philosophy and works

Bonaventure was formally canonized in 1484 by the Franciscan Pope Sixtus IV, and ranked along with Saint Thomas Aquinas as the greatest of the Doctors of the Church by another Franciscan Pope Sixtus V, in 1587. His works, as arranged in the most recent Critical Edition of his works by the Quaracchi Fathers (Collegio S. Bonaventura), consist of a Commentary on the Sentences of Lombard, in four volumes, and eight other volumes, among which are a Commentary on the Gospel of St Luke and a number of smaller works; the most famous of which are Itinerarium Mentis in Deum, Breviloquium, De Reductione Artium ad Theologiam, Soliloquium, and De septem itineribus aeternitatis, in which most of what is individual in his teaching is contained. Nowadays German philosopher Dieter Hattrup denies that De reductione artium ad theologiam might be written by Bonaventure, claiming that the style of thinking does not match Bonaventure's original style.

In philosophy Bonaventure presents a marked contrast to his contemporaries, Roger Bacon and Thomas Aquinas. While these may be taken as representing, respectively, physical science yet in its infancy, and Aristotelian scholasticism in its most perfect form, he presents the mystical and Platonizing mode of speculation which had already, to some extent, found expression in Hugo and Richard of St. Victor, and in Bernard of Clairvaux. To him, the purely intellectual element, though never absent, is of inferior interest when compared with the living power of the affections or the heart. He used the authority of Aristotle in harmony with Scriptural and Patristic texts, and attributed much of the heretical tendency of the age to the attempt to divorce Aristotelian philosophy from Catholic theology. Like Thomas Aquinas, with whom he shared numerous profound agreements in matters theological and philosophical, he combated the Aristotelian notion of the eternity of the world vigorously. Augustine, who had imported into the west many of the doctrines that would define scholastic philosophy, was an incredibly important source of Bonaventure's Platonism. Another prominent influence was that of a mystic by the name of Dionysius the Areopagite.

Bonaventure accepts the Platonic doctrine that ideas do not exist in rerum natura, but as ideals exemplified by the Divine Being, according to which actual things were formed; and this conception has no slight influence upon his philosophy. Like all the great scholastic doctors he starts with the discussion of the relations between reason and faith. All the sciences are but the handmaids of theology; reason can discover some of the moral truths which form the groundwork of the Christian system, but others it can only receive and apprehend through divine illumination. In order to obtain this illumination, the soul must employ the proper means, which are prayer, the exercise of the virtues, whereby it is rendered fit to accept the divine light, and meditation which may rise even to ecstatic union with God. The supreme end of life is such union, union in contemplation or intellect and in intense absorbing love; but it cannot be entirely reached in this life, and remains as a hope for the future. The mind in contemplating God has three distinct aspects, stages or grades—the senses, giving empirical knowledge of what is without and discerning the traces (vestigia) of the divine in the world; the reason, which examines the soul itself, the image of the divine Being; and lastly, pure intellect (intelligentia), which, in a transcendent act, grasps the Being of the divine cause.

To these three correspond the three kinds of theology: theologia symbolica, theologia propria and theologia mystica. Each stage is subdivided, for in contemplating the outer world we may use the senses or the imagination; we may rise to a knowledge of God per vestigia or in vestigiis. In the first case the three great properties of physical bodies—weight, number, measure—in the second the division of created things into the classes of those that have merely physical existence, those that have life, and those that have thought, irresistibly lead us to conclude the power, wisdom and goodness of the Triune God. So in the second stage we may ascend to the knowledge of God, per imaginem, by reason, or in imagination, by the pure understanding (intellectus); in the one case the triple division—memory, understanding and will,—in the other the Christian virtues—faith, hope and charity,—leading again to the conception of a Trinity of divine qualities—eternity, truth and goodness.

In the last stage we have first intelligentia, pure intellect, contemplating the essential being of God, and finding itself compelled by necessity of thought to hold absolute being as the first notion, for non-being cannot be conceived apart from being, of which it is but the privation. To this notion of absolute being, which is perfect and the greatest of all, objective existence must be ascribed. In its last and highest form of activity the mind rests in the contemplation of the infinite goodness of God, which is apprehended by means of the highest faculty, the apex mentis or synderesis. This spark of the divine illumination is common to all forms of mysticism, but Bonaventura adds to it peculiarly Christian elements. The complete yielding up of mind and heart to God is unattainable without divine grace, and nothing renders us so fit to receive this gift as the meditative and ascetic life of the cloister. The monastic life is the best means of grace.

Bonaventure, however, is not merely a meditative thinker, whose works may form good manuals of devotion; he is a dogmatic theologian of high rank, and on all the disputed questions of scholastic thought, such as universals, matter, the principle of individualism, or the intellectus agens, he gives weighty and well-reasoned decisions. He agrees with Saint Albert the Great in regarding theology as a practical science; its truths, according to his view, are peculiarly adapted to influence the affections. He discusses very carefully the nature and meaning of the divine attributes; considers universals to be the ideal forms pre-existing in the divine mind according to which things were shaped; holds matter to be pure potentiality which receives individual being and determinateness from the formative power of God, acting according to the ideas; and finally maintains that the intellectus agens has no separate existence. On these and on many other points of scholastic philosophy the "Seraphic Doctor" exhibits a combination of subtlety and moderation, which makes his works particularly valuable.

References: Courtesy of the Catholic Online, and Courtesy of Wikipedia,

Today's Snippet:  Psalm 85

Prayer for justice and peace

Show us thy steadfast love,
O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.
Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints,
to those who turn to him in their hearts.
Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
and righteousness will look down from the sky.
Yea, the Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him,
and make his footsteps a way.