Ordinary Time: December 1st
Saturday of the Thirty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time
Other Commemorations: St. Charles Eugène de Foucauld, Priest (RM); St. Eligius, Bishop (RM)
Today is the last day of the liturgical year. But the Church proposes no special liturgy to mark its close because already here on earth she lives an eternal life. One day follows another like the links of a chain; the end of one ecclesiastical year merges into the next like an endless circle. The feasts and seasons of the Church have no finale as they fade away into eternity.
As individuals, however, we may use the occasion to make a spiritual survey of the past and to plan for the future. Use this day to examine our sins, offenses and negligences, have contrition and go to confession. Spend some time thanking God for all the benefits we have received and look forward to the future asking for the grace to be faithful in the upcoming year.
Keep Watch: He Is to Come Again
To prevent His disciples from asking the time of His coming, Christ said: About that hour no one knows, neither the angels nor the Son. It is not for you to know times or moments. He has kept those things hidden so that we may keep watch, each of us thinking that He will come in our own day. If He had revealed the time of His coming, His coming would have lost its savor: it would no longer be an object of yearning for the nations and the age in which it will be revealed. He promised that He would come but did not say when He would come, and so all generations and ages await Him eagerly.
Though the Lord has established the signs of His coming, the time of their fulfillment has not been plainly revealed. These signs have come and gone with a multiplicity of change; more than that, they are still present. His final coming is like His first. As holy men and prophets waited for Him, thinking that He would reveal Himself in their own day, so today each of the faithful longs to welcome Him in his own day, because Christ has not made plain the day of His coming.
He has not made it plain for this reason especially, that no one may think that He whose power and dominion rule all numbers and times is ruled by fate and time. He described the signs of His coming; how could what He has Himself decided be hidden from Him? Therefore, He used these words to increase respect for the signs of His coming, so that from that day forward all generations and ages might think that He would come again in their own day.
Keep watch; when the body is asleep nature takes control of us, and what is done is not done by our will but by force, by the impulse of nature. When deep listlessness takes possession of the soul, for example, faint heartedness or melancholy, the enemy overpowers it and makes it do what it does not will. The force of nature, the enemy of the soul, is in control.
When the Lord commanded us to be vigilant, He meant vigilance in both parts of man: in the body, against the tendency to sleep; in the soul, against lethargy and timidity. As Scripture says: Wake up, you just, and I have risen, and am still with you; and again, do not lose heart. Therefore, having this ministry, we do not lose heart.
Excerpted from the 2nd Reading from the Office of Readings of the Liturgy of the Hours for Thursday the First Week of Advent, from a commentary on the Diatessaron by Saint Ephrem, deacon
St. Charles de Foucauld (Brother Charles of Jesus)
Saint Charles de Foucauld was born in Strasbourg, France on September 15th, 1858. Orphaned at the age of six, he and his sister Marie were raised by their grandfather in whose footsteps he followed by taking up a military career.
He lost his faith as an adolescent. His taste for easy living was well known to all and yet he showed that he could be strong willed and constant in difficult situations. He undertook a risky exploration of Morocco (1883-1884). Seeing the way Muslims expressed their faith questioned him and he began repeating, “My God, if you exist, let me come to know you.”
On his return to France, the warm, respectful welcome he received from his deeply Christian family made him continue his search. Under the guidance of Fr. Huvelin he rediscovered God in October 1886. He was then 28 years old. “As soon as I believed in God, I understood that I could not do otherwise than to live for him alone.”
A pilgrimage to the Holy Land revealed his vocation to him: to follow Jesus in his life at Nazareth. He spent 7 years as a Trappist, first in France and then at Akbès in Syria. Later he began to lead a life of prayer and adoration, alone, near a convent of Poor Clares in Nazareth.
Ordained a priest at 43 (1901) he left for the Sahara, living at first in Beni Abbès and later at Tamanrasset among the Tuaregs of the Hoggar. He wanted to be among those who were, “the furthest removed, the most abandoned.” He wanted all who drew close to him to find in him a brother, “a universal brother.” In a great respect for the culture and faith of those among whom he lived, his desire was to “shout the Gospel with his life”. “I would like to be sufficiently good that people would say, “If such is the servant, what must the Master be like?”
On the evening of December 1, 1916, he was killed by a band of marauders who had encircled his house.
He had always dreamed of sharing his vocation with others: after having written several rules for religious life, he came to the conclusion that this “life of Nazareth” could be led by all. Today the “spiritual family of Charles de Foucauld” encompasses several associations of the faithful, religious communities and secular institutes for both lay people and priests.
—Excerpted from the Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Highlights and Things To Do:
- See the website dedicated to St. Charles.
- Read more about St. Charles:
- Here are some quotes by Charles de Foucauld at Jesus Caritas and a picture biography.
- Another excellent biography of Charles de Foucauld which can be downloaded as a pdf file.
- Some short biographies from the Dictionary of African Christian Biography.
Eligius, a goldsmith at Paris, was commissioned by King Clotaire to make a throne. With the gold and precious stones given him he made two. Struck by his rare honesty, the king gave him an appointment at court, and demanded an oath of fidelity sworn upon holy relics; but Eligius prayed with tears to be excused, for fear of failing in reverence to the relics of the Saints.
On entering the court he fortified himself against its seductions by many austerities and continual ejaculatory prayers. He had a marvellous zeal for the redemption of captives, and for their deliverance would sell his jewels, his food, his clothes, and his very shoes, once by his prayers breaking their chains and opening their prisons. His great delight was in making rich shrines for relics.
His striking virtue caused him, a layman and a goldsmith, to be made Bishop of Noyon, and his sanctity in this holy office was remarkable.
He possessed the gifts of miracles and prophecy, and died in 665.
—Excerpted from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. 
Patronage: against boils; against epidemics; against equine diseases; against poverty; against ulcers; agricultural workers; basket makers; blacksmiths; boilermakers; cab drivers; candle makers; carpenters; carriage makers; cartwrights; clock makers; coachmen; computer scientists; craftsmen; cutlers; electricians; engravers; farmers; farriers; gilders; goldsmiths; guards; gunsmiths; harness makers; horse traders; jewelers; jockeys; knife makers; laborers; lamp makers; livestock; locksmiths; mechanics; metalsmiths; miners; minters; numismatics; Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers; saddle makers; scissors grinders; security guards; servants; silversmiths; tinsmiths; tool makers; veterinarians; watch makers; wheelwrights; Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths; coin collectors; garages; gas stations; horses; livestock; metal collectors; numismatists; peasants; petrol stations; precious metal collectors; sick horses; Eloois-Vijve, Belgium; Sint-Eloois-Winkel, Belgium; Carrozzieri, Italy; Schinveld, Netherlands (from CatholicSaints.info)
Symbols and Represented As: anvil; hammer; horseshoe; pincers
bishop with a crosier and miniature church of chased gold; bishop with a hammer, anvil, and horseshoe; bishop with a horse; courtier; goldsmith; man grasping a devil‘s nose with pincers; man holding a chalice and goldsmith‘s hammer; man holding a horse‘s leg, which he detached from the horse in order to shoe it more easily; man shoeing a horse; man with hammer and crown near a smithy; man with hammer, anvil, and Saint Anthony; with Saint Godebertha of Noyon; giving a ring to Saint Godebertha (from CatholicSaints.info)
Highlights and Things To Do:
- Read more on St. Eligius:
- St. Eligius' remains are in the Noyon cathedral.
- Geometry plays a role in today's feast day. "Recent studies regarding Fractal patterns and French Gothic Cathedrals constructed from the 12th to 15th century proved new understanding in the design of these Cathedrals. It was determined that not only did Noyon Cathedral and others follow Euclidean Geometry, but also Fractal Geometry and Fractal Dimensions." See The Fractal Pattern of the French Gothic Cathedrals.