MONDAY THE FIRST OF OCTOBER, 2018
* Anthony Ashley Cooper and Mother Marie-Joseph Aubert *
Set our hearts on fire with love to you, O Christ our God, that in its flame we may love you with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul and with all our strength and our neighbours as ourselves, so that, keeping your commandments, we may glorify you, the giver of all good gifts. Amen.
( Eastern Orthodox Church, fifth century )
Wait on the Lord, for whom have you on earth or in Heaven but he?
Over your soul a watch he keeps, wherever your path may be.
Wait on the Lord, wait patiently, and you shall in him be blessed;
after the storm, a holy calm and after your labour rest.
Wait on the Lord, wait cheerfully, and he will your youth renew;
wait on the Lord obediently, whatever he bids you do.
Wait on the Lord, wait lovingly, confide in his care your all;
those that abide in perfect peace no danger can ever befall.
Wait on the Lord, wait joyfully, for then shall your heart be strong;
Lo! by his hand he will lead you and you shall be filled with song.
( Fanny Crosby, 1820–1915 )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Anthony Ashley Cooper: "poor man's earl"
Mother Marie-Joseph Aubert: divine Providence in New Zealand
Saint Laika’s starts off the month of October with a double commemoration. Two servants of God who cared for the poor and needy in their own unique way.
Anthony Ashley Cooper, or “Lord Ashley” as he preferred to be called was the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, born in 1801. He grew up in a loveless family and was affectionately cared for by his parents’ housekeeper, who was a model of Christian love for him. Most commentators on his life credit her with establishing his love for the poor and his activism on their behalf.
One of the major accomplishments of his life was the overhaul of the “Lunacy Laws” that committed people to insane asylums. The deplorable conditions in which these unfortunate people were held stripped them of every shred of human dignity. By his efforts conditions improved and inmates were treated with more care.
He was also instrumental in improving life for children by introducing a series of child labour laws. Because of Lord Ashley, companies were forbidden to send women and children into the mines where they would labour in the dark all day. He also got legislation passed to prohibit the use of children as “climbing boys” (children who spent their lives climbing into chimneys to act as chimney sweeps) and was instrumental in setting up schools for poor children where they could get a rudimentary education.
He died on the first of October, 1885. At his funeral, the streets were lined by the working poor, who called him the poor man’s earl.
Mother Marie-Joseph Aubert was born near Lyons, France in 1835. She felt a calling to join a religious order and to care for the sick. As a young woman, she was recruited by a missionary bishop and left France for New Zealand, where she would spend almost all of her life. She worked among the Maori people and cared for them.
She often ran afoul of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in New Zealand, who wanted to restrict her work to more traditional roles. One bishop ordered her to return to France.
She replied, “I have come here for the Maoris, I shall die in their midst.”
So for many years, she worked outside the convent as a laywoman until a different bishop invited her back to the mission work she loved. Her life was spent teaching the impoverished people, setting up clinics to improve their health and operating a home for the incurably ill. When government funds ran out, she simply said she would trust in divine providence.
She died on the first of October, 1926.
Scripture. In "Psalm One Hundred and Forty-Six," verses five to seven, we read:
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free.
... for peace in the world.
... for the poor and those who devote their lives to caring for them and improving their lives.
... for health and safety at work be adhered to throughout the world.
... for an end to all child labour and the exploitation of women in the workplace.
... for the elderly people of the world, that they may be valued and cared for by their families, communities and nations. DETAILS
... that all may have access to adequate shelter and that all may accept and fulfil their responsibility for conserving the world's habitats for the future generations of all its creatures. DETAILS
... for the people of the People's Republic of China, Cyprus, Nigeria and Tuvalu, who celebrate their national days today.
... for female scientists, that they may be respected, treated as equal to men in their places of work and allowed the same opportunities. DETAILS
... for the people of Indonesia affected by the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami; for the dead, the injured, the missing and all who have lost their homes and places of work; for the success of those searching for survivors, the medical and welfare services and all the aid agencies involved.
... for people with learning disabilities living in community homes and hospitals, that they may be safe, treated with respect and well cared for.
... for young people who are lonely.
... for victims of acid attacks and an end to this particularly nasty form of violence.
... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
"On Loving God" by Bernard of Clairvaux:
To love our neighbour's welfare as much as our own: that is true and sincere charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned (I Tim. 1:5). Whosoever loves his own prosperity only is proved thereby not to love good for its own sake since he loves it on his own account. And so he cannot sing with the psalmist, "O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious" (Ps. 118:1). Such a man would praise God, not because he is goodness, but because he has been good to him: he could take to himself the reproach of the same writer, "So long as you do well to him, he will speak good of you" (Ps. 49:18).
One praises God because he is mighty, another because he is gracious, yet another solely because he is essential goodness. The first is a slave and fears for himself; the second is greedy, desiring further benefits; but the third is a son who honours his father. He who fears, he who profits, are both concerned about self-interest. Only in the son is that charity which seeks not her own (I Cor. 13:5).
Wherefore I take this saying, "The law of the Lord is an undefiled law, converting the soul" (Ps. 19:7) to be of charity; because charity alone is able to turn the soul away from love of self and of the world to pure love of God. Neither fear nor self-interest can convert the soul. They may change the appearance, perhaps even the conduct, but never the object of supreme desire. Sometimes a slave may do God's work; but because he does not toil voluntarily, he remains in bondage. So a mercenary may serve God, but because he puts a price on his service, he is enchained by his own greediness. For where there is self-interest there is isolation and such isolation is like the dark corner of a room where dust and rust befoul. Fear is the motive which constrains the slave; greed binds the selfish man, by which he is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed (James 1:14). But neither fear nor self-interest is undefiled, nor can they convert the soul. Only charity can convert the soul, freeing it from unworthy motives.
Next, I call it undefined because it never keeps back anything of its own for itself. When a man boasts of nothing as his very own, surely all that he has is God's and what is God's cannot be unclean. The undefiled law of the Lord is that love which bids men seek not their own, but every man another's wealth. It is called the law of the Lord as much because he lives in accordance with it as because no man has it except by gift from him. Nor is it improper to say that even God lives by law, when that law is the law of love. For what preserves the glorious and ineffable unity of the blessed Trinity, except love? Charity, the law of the Lord, joins the three persons into the unity of the Godhead and unites the holy Trinity in the bond of peace. Do not suppose me to imply that charity exists as an accidental quality of deity; for whatever could be conceived of as wanting in the divine nature is not God. No, it is the very substance of the Godhead; and my assertion is neither novel nor extraordinary, since Saint John says, "God is love" (I John 4:8).
One may therefore say with truth that love is at once God and the gift of God, essential love imparting the quality of love. Where the word refers to God the giver, it is the name of his very being; where the gift is meant, it is the name of a quality. Love is the eternal law whereby the universe was created and is ruled. Since all things are ordered in measure and number and weight, and nothing is left outside the realm of law, that universal law cannot itself be without a law, which is itself. So love though it did not create itself, does surely govern itself by its own decree.
Lord God, your son came among us to serve and not to be served and to give his life for the life of the world. Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help, Through us give hope to the hopeless, love to the unloved, peace to the troubled, and rest to the weary; through Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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