Touching the Tassel on His Cloak on the Memorial of St. Scholastica
They laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.
At every Holy Mass we encounter the same Lord, the same Living Word, the same Incarnate One who has been raised from the dead. Healing still flows from Him, through His Holy Word and in His Holy Body and Blood which we receive from the Altar at every Mass. When we receive Him with living faith, we are changed, made new and capacitated to live our lives differently now, in Him. This miraculous encounter, heaven touching earth, is available to each of us today. All that is asked of us is our assent, and our cooperation with grace. We can learn how to pray in such a way that we bring down that cloud of Glory. We not only touch the hem or tassel of His Cloak when we approach the Altar, we receive Him, Body,Blood, Soul and Divinity, into our very selves. Now, we are invited to become what we receive.
Benedict and Scholastica, brother and sister in both the natural and the supernatural order, invite us to learn the way of prayer.
The unbreakable connection between the first part of the Liturgy, the Liturgy of the Word and the second part, the Liturgy of the Eucharist is a bond which the Holy Spirit forges in a man or woman of living faith. At Holy Mass, the Divine Liturgy, we venerate both, because they connect us to the One Lord Jesus Christ, the living Word and the Living Bread.
To venerate is to honor, to show deep respect, to defer to and to honor. Citing the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation entitled ( The Word of God, Dei Verbum) of the Second Vatican Council, the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that the Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord's Body. She never ceases to present to the faithful the bread of life, taken from the one table of God's Word and Christ's Body. (CCC #103)
Our first reading today is taken from the Old Testament Book of Kings. We hear of the Ark of the Lords Covenant being brought from the City of David at the request of King Solomon. This Ark was venerated by the People of Israel because in it was deposited the ten words, the tablets, the Ten Commandments, through which God made a covenant with Israel. To be in its presence was to experience heaven touching earth. In an excerpt we read:
The priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place beneath the wings of the cherubim in the sanctuary, the holy of holies of the temple. The cherubim had their wings spread out over the place of the ark, sheltering the ark and its poles from above. There was nothing in the ark but the two stone tablets which Moses had put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel at their departure from the land of Egypt. When the priests left the holy place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD so that the priests could no longer minister because of the cloud, since the LORD's glory had filled the temple of the LORD. (I Kings 8)
Then, in our Gospel text from the Gospel of Mark, we read of another encounter with heaven touching earth. The Living Word, sent from heaven, the Word made flesh, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, walked on the round of Gennesaret and people instinctively knew that heaven was touching earth. They brought the sick before the Lord, knowing that even touching the tassel on his cloak would bring healing and deliverance:
After making the crossing to the other side of the sea, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there. As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him. They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was.Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed. (Mk 6:53-56)
At every Holy Mass we encounter the same Lord, the same Living Word, the same Incarnate One who has been raised from the dead. Healing still flows from Him, through His Holy Word and in His Holy Body and Blood which we receive from the Altar at every Mass. When we receive Him with living faith, we are changed, made new and capacitated to live our lives differently now, in Him.
This miraculous encounter, heaven touching earth, is available to each of us today. All that is asked of us is our assent, and our cooperation with grace. We can learn how to pray in such a way that we bring down that cloud of Glory. We not only touch the hem or tassel of His Cloak when we approach the Altar, we receive Him, Body,Blood, Soul and Divinity, into our very selves. Now, we are invited to become what we receive.
In order to grasp this mystery and make it our own, the witness of our brothers and sisters in the faith can help us. They put legs on the faith for us. They show us with their lives how to respond. They help us with their intercession to tap into the same heavenly power which animated their own lives.
Today, we remember Scholastica, the sister of the Monk and Father of Western monasticism, Benedict. There is little about her in our patrimony. What we do know comes mostly from St Gregory the Great who writes concerning her in his Dialogues. Many accounts indicate that she was the twin sister of Benedict.
Like her brother, she was captured by Jesus Christ and responded heroically to His call to follow Him. She dedicated her entire life to embracing the evangelical counsels and founded a community of women who, like her, bore witness to heaven touch earth and called men and women to say Yes to God by their lived witness.
Once a year, after they both embraced the consecrated religious life, they would meet together, brother and sister both in both the natural and supernatural order. They would spend the day in prayer, read the scriptures and discuss the good things of the Lord. It is a wonderful testimony to what can happen in each of our own lives. Scholastica knew how to pray and we are invited to learn from her!
On this day of the memorial of Scholastica, I offer to you a beautiful excerpt of the last of these meetings between this brother and sister. It is taken from St Gregory the Great:
From the books of Dialogues by Saint Gregory the Great, Pope: She Who Loved More Could Do More
Scholastica, the sister of Saint Benedict, had been consecrated to God from her earliest years. She was accustomed to visiting her brother once a year. He would come down to meet her at a place on the monastery property, not far outside the gate.
One day she came as usual and her saintly brother went with some of his disciples; they spent the whole day praising God and talking of sacred things. As night fell they had supper together.
Their spiritual conversation went on and the hour grew late. The holy nun said to her brother: "Please do not leave me tonight; let us go on until morning talking about the delights of the spiritual life." "Sister," he replied, "what are you saying? I simply cannot stay outside my cell."
When she heard her brother refuse her request, the holy woman joined her hands on the table, laid her head on them and began to pray. As she raised her head from the table, there were such brilliant flashes of lightning, such great peals of thunder and such a heavy downpour of rain that neither Benedict nor his brethren could stir across the threshold of the place where they had been seated.
Sadly he began to complain: "May God forgive you, sister. What have you done?" "Well," she answered, "I asked you and you would not listen; so I asked my God and he did listen. So now go off, if you can, leave me and return to your monastery."
Reluctant as he was to stay of his own will, he remained against his will. So it came about that they stayed awake the whole night, engrossed in their conversation about the spiritual life.
It is not surprising that she was more effective than he, since as John says, God is love, it was absolutely right that she could do more, as she loved more.
Three days later, Benedict was in his cell. Looking up to the sky, he saw his sister's soul leave her body in the form of a dove, and fly up to the secret places of heaven. Rejoicing in her great glory, he thanked almighty God with hymns and words of praise. He then sent his brethren to bring her body to the monastery and lay it in the tomb he had prepared for himself.
Their minds had always been united in God; their bodies were to share a common grave.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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