Monday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
MONDAY, JANUARY 11th Mk. 1: 14-20 “Jesus said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’”
Part 1: Fruitful Apostolic Zeal… by Saint Maximilian Kolbe (+1941)
Part 2: FIFTEEN STEPS TO BECOME FISHERS OF MEN by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
PART 1: Fruitful Apostolic Zeal … by Saint Maximilian Kolbe (+1941)
Grace, nothing else but grace, which enlightens the mind and strengthens the will, is the cause of conversion or liberation, i.e., the deliverance of souls from the bonds of evil.
Mortification is necessary and indispensable for all of us, because by it we secure divine grace for ourselves. Like gold in the furnace, so in the fire of mortification the soul is purified, radiates its own love, and becomes more like God, more pleasing to Him, and therefore, more capable of receiving very abundant graces for itself and for others, its poor brothers. What, indeed, can one obtain by love of God without suffering?
Love for one’s neighbor. We need to love our neighbor, but not just because he is pleasant or helpful or rich or influential or even because he shows us gratitude. Genuine love rises above creatures and soars up to God. In Him, by Him, and through Him, it loves all men, both good and wicked, friends and enemies. To all it stretches out a hand filled with love; it prays for all, suffers for all, wishes what is best for all, desires happiness for all, because that is what God wants.
The Immaculate! Whoever with a prayer to the Immaculate on his lips or in the depths of his heart, purified through suffering, on fire with an ardent love of God, and inspired by that love, does what he can to win the greatest possible number of souls for God through the Immaculate, to free them from the bonds of evil, to make them happy – he, and he alone, will celebrate his triumph.
PART 2: FIFTEEN STEPS TO BECOME FISHERS OF MEN by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
In the Gospel of Saint Luke, Chapter Five, Jesus is busy with His work of preaching the Word of God. At the same time, several of His future Apostles, who were fishing all night without any success, are now cleaning their nets. Jesus asks Peter to let Him in the boat, and He continues teaching from the boat of Peter.
After Jesus has finished teaching, He tells Peter to put out into the deep and drop the nets for a catch. Even though Peter has worked hard all night and does not expect any success at that time of day, still he obeys Jesus, rows to deeper waters and lowers the nets. The result is so fantastic that Peter has to call his mates in another boat to come and help pull in the abundant catch.
Why such a catch? For the simple reason that Jesus was with Peter in the boat, Peter listened to the words of Jesus, and Peter obeyed Jesus by dropping the nets at the Lord’s command.
Like Peter, we are called to catch fish. Jesus said, “You will now be fishers of men.” That is the purpose of the apostolic life — to fish for men; in other words to drop the nets and save souls.
Following are fifteen concrete suggestions on how all of us can become “fishers of men”— to be true apostles and to collaborate with Jesus in saving immortal souls for the Kingdom of God. Prayerfully read and meditate on these suggestions! Then choose whatever projects the Holy Spirit inspires in you, talk it out with your spiritual director, and Go Fishing!
1. FAMILY MEALS AND FAMILY PRAYER.
Eat at least one meal together each day! If it is unavoidable that one or two are working or at school, have the rest of the family gather for a meal. Encourage your family to bless the meal before eating!
2. FAMILY ROSARY.
“The family that prays together, stays together.” (Ven. Fr. Patrick Peyton) Pray the family Rosary together every night. Our Blessed Mother brings unity to a family! Let the children participate in leading the decades and naming prayer intentions for the Rosary, or even for each decade of the Rosary.
3. HOLY IMAGES.
Replace calendars with mundane and worldly images for calendars with Holy Images—pictures of Jesus, Mary, the angels and saints.
Enthrone images of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and Divine Mercy in your home. May Jesus reign as King and Mary as Queen in your home!
Enthrone the Bible in a prominent place, perhaps between two candles. However, make sure that it is not simply a decoration but a book to be read and meditated upon daily. The saying is true: “He who has a Bible that is falling apart, will not have a life that is falling apart.”
Have a good library with good books: the Bible, Lives of the Saints, Examination of Conscience, the writings of the Popes, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, as well as good catholic magazines or newspapers. Reading a good book can save a soul! A real life example is Saint Ignatius of Loyola! Convalescing from a battle injury, he requested books on the chivalrous deeds of knights in shining armor, in other words, pulp fiction. Instead, his sister-in-law brought him the Lives of the Saints, and he was radically changed! Inspired by their love for Christ, Ignatius decided to follow in their footsteps.
7. FILM LIBRARY
In the modern electronic world, we should keep up with the times. Especially in the past ten to fifteen years, Ignatius Press has done marvels in not only publishing excellent books but also in making available excellent movies, especially depicting the lives of the saints. Some worthy of mention are movies on Saint Augustine, Saint John Bosco, Saint Padre Pio, Saint Philip Neri, Saint Rita, Saint Bakhita, Saint Maria Goretti, Saint Therese, Saint Bernadette and The Passion of Bernadette, and Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima. There are also movies on the Popes—these were declared Venerable or Saint in the 20th Century: Ven. Pope Pius XII, Saint Pope John XXIII, Saint Pope Paul VI, and Saint Pope John Paul II. These are just a handful of excellent films among a multitude!
8. MOVIE NIGHT
These films are not meant to simply collect dust, but to be seen! Choose a night every week as Family Night. Buy Pizza and watch the life of a saint together, and then discuss it afterward. This could be a very powerful means by which you can evangelize yourself and your family using modern electronic media. Go for it!
9. MONTHLY CONFESSION
Let Dad decide, organize and carry out the monthly day or night of Confession. All must go! Why? We are all sinners, except Jesus and Mary! Let Mom and Dad go first so as to give good example to the children. A parent’s example speaks more powerfully than words. Monthly Confession restores peace to our souls, and that brings peace to our family! If you like, stop for an ice cream cone after to celebrate!
10. FAMILY APOSTOLATE
With the whole family why not do some type of Apostolate together, as a team? There are many options to choose from! As a family, you can walk and pray the Rosary in front of an abortion mill in defense of the unborn child. This apostolate will leave an indelible impression on your children of the value of human life, even into their adult years. Our contemplative life must overflow into our active life or apostolate.
11. BE A MARIAN APOSTLE
First of all, be fervent and faithful in praying your own daily Rosary. Moving into the apostolic field, why not get others to pray the Rosary. If your family, which is the “Domestic Church”, is not already praying the Rosary, it is never too late. START NOW! Next encourage the Rosary in your Parish. Then promote it wherever the opportunity arises.
12. THE EXTENDED-FAMILY ROSARY
Get multiple families to pray the Rosary together on a weekly basis. It could be done outdoors or on ZOOM. Change the Host Family leading the Rosary each week. Set up an altar with a statue of Mary and candles, and light the candles before you begin. When the pandemic is over, you can have Rosary pamphlets and Rosaries available to give as gifts.
13. NOVENA OF ROSARIES
It is a very opportune time to pray the Rosary after someone dies. Even Catholics who have wandered from the fold—and they are in the millions—are vulnerable and open to praying for a deceased loved one. Why not visit the home and pray the Rosary for nine days consecutively. Again, this can be done outdoors or by ZOOM. This practice of a Novena of Rosaries is a great charity to the deceased to speed them on their way to heaven, and also serves to fortify the faith of the stronger believers and recover the faith of the weak and struggling believers.
14. FREQUENT CONFESSION
Ven. Pope Pius XII stated: “The sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin.” There is an urgent need to form the consciences of believers, but especially of non-practicing believers. What better way than to invite them to come back to the Church by means of a good sacramental confession! Be ready with a bulletin or information on confession times. Then why not invest some resources in acquiring good Examination of Conscience booklets to help them prepare? It is interesting how people who read a detailed Examination of Conscience will often say over and over: “I didn’t know that is a sin!” Why this response? Because a poorly-formed conscience is almost universal today. At the time of Jonah, many people did not know their left hand from their right hand. Today, many people do not know their left hand from their right hand in the spiritual life! In sum, become an apostle of the Sacrament of Confession!
15. BE AN APOSTLE OF DIVINE MERCY
Jesus said, through Saint Faustina Kowalska, that His greatest attribute is His Infinite Mercy. Saint Pope John Paul II reiterated this key Christian concept in his encyclical Dives in Misericordia—God is rich in Mercy! Maybe you are called to be an apostle of Divine Mercy! How? Read the Diary of Saint Faustina and then live it out! A concrete way that this can be done is to get people to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at the mercy hour of 3:00 p.m. or any time.
However, there is also a special time and place to promote this wonderful practice of Divine Mercy and the praying of the Chaplet: when somebody is on their deathbed about to pass from this life into the next, to be judged by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Why not carry on your person the small Divine Mercy prayer cards and then pass them out free of charge? Next, get as many people as possible to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy as the dying person passes from this life into the next. The wonderful promise of Jesus is that if someone is praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy as the person is dying, then this soul will attain the Mercy of God and eternal salvation!
Therefore, become an Apostle of Divine Mercy! What an excellent manner to express apostolic zeal for the salvation of our dying brothers and sisters in Christ!
Copyright 2021 Oblates of the Virgin Mary
St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA