Sunday, September 22, 2013

50 Days of Prayer - Day 30

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Day Thirty

The Leaven

Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  (1 Cor. 5:6-8)
The Kingdom ... "is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”  (Luke 13:21)
"How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Mat. 16:11-12)

Yesterday we prayed the Mystery of the Crown of Thorns - the mocking and ridicule of Jesus, which served as an unwitting testimony to His truly regal nature.

When evil brings good to its low point - as it did when it paraded Our Lord bloodied and crowned with thorns through the streets of Jerusalem - we see the leaven of the Pharisees at work, "the leaven of malice and evil".  But there is another leaven, the leaven of tiny packets of culture, of good Christians quietly loving and growing in holiness, which spreads through the dough, "until it is all leavened".

Beware the one, but become the other.  As Orestes Brownson writes ...

We are too apt to forget that the Church is in the world, and that it is through her that society is redeemed – too apt to forget that the quiet and unobtrusive virtues of Catholics living in the midst of a hostile world are always powerful in their operations on that world; and that the world is converted, not by the direct efforts which we make to convert it, but by the efforts we make to live, ourselves, as good Catholics, and to save our own souls. The little handful of sincere and devout Catholics, the little family of sincere and earnest clients of Mary, seeking to imitate her virtues in their own little community, are as leaven hidden in three measures of meal. Virtue goes forth from them, diffuses itself on all sides, till the whole is leavened. No matter how small the number, the fact that even some keep alive in the community the love and veneration of Mary, the true ideal of womanhood, the true patroness of the Christian family, the mother of chaste love, adorned with all the virtues, and to whom the Holy Ghost says, "Thou art all-fair, O my love," [Song of Solomon 4:7] must have a redeeming effect on the whole community, and sooner or later must banish impurity, and revive the love of holy purity and reverence for Catholic morality.

Let us meditate upon the confidence we should have from seeing His strength made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9), His goodness effective even in hidden ways, even when mocked, even when hated as Our Lord and His mother are hated, even when active only as a tiny unseen culture, working quietly within the loaf.

And let us pray ...

To you, Immaculate Heart of Mary, we consecrate ourselves – our hearts, minds, wills and lives and all those works we undertake so they may be for the glory of God, for the sake of the Gospel and the salvation of souls. Holy Mother, our Queen and our Joy, give to our hearts the dimensions of yours and form us in the image of your beloved Son.

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