Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24)
The Church honors today Saint Philip Neri, a sixteenth-century Italian priest often referred to as the “third apostle of Rome” (after Peter and Paul). Not bad company! This reformer and founder once declared: “There is nothing more dangerous to the spiritual life than to wish to rule ourselves after our own way of thinking.”
The Scriptures for Mass are Paul’s farewell address to the elders of the church at Miletus and Jesus’ prayer for his disciples in the Upper Room shortly before his arrest. These are deeply moving, and reveal the most intimate sentiments of the heart of each as he looks on his life as the end nears.
Now don’t cue up Frank Sinatra’s I Did It My Way quite yet! Neither Jesus nor Paul would say, as Sinatra sang: “I planned each charted course, Each careful step along the byway, And more, much, much more, I did it, I did it my way.” In fact, if anything is true, each did it God’s way!
Paul, the observant Pharisee who prided himself on his own righteousness through works of the Law, preached the Gospel of grace. And Jesus, wrested from the tempter’s cunning seductions, walked the path of fidelity and self-emptying love to Calvary and the cross.
Saint Peter Julian Eymard, who loved the Eucharist ardently, discovered three years before his death, that self-pursuit and vainglory are illusory. He made a gift of self to God. “This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ” (John 17:3).
Let us pray:
God, I surrender my heart to you. Help me to do so with courage, cheer, patience, and faithfulness. Amen. (Based on a prayer by Mary DeTurris Poust)
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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