17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 30, 2017)

In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of heaven is worth pursuing at any cost. St. Francis de Sales gives us some practical advice on how to keep advancing in our pursuit of the Kingdom:

All we have to do is nothing more than what we are doing: adore the lovable providence of God, and throw ourselves into God’s arms and keeping. Oh, how blessed are they who choose to place themselves in God’s hands! To renew and conform ourselves to this choice, we merely need to say that we love only God and love all else for the love of God. This continual aspiration is very helpful in applying all our works to love; it is especially useful for our ordinary little actions in everyday tasks. The tasks required for each person’s calling increase divine love, and gild a work of holiness.

Let us be like the valiant woman of the Old Testament. “She puts her hand to strong, generous, and exalted things and yet does not disdain to spin and turn the spindle.” Put your hands to strong things, by training yourself in prayer and meditation, receiving the sacraments, bringing souls to love God and infusing good inspirations into their hearts. Perform important works according to your vocation. But never forget your spinning and spindle. That is, practice those little virtues of simplicity, patience, humility and gentleness that grow like flowers when we do little deeds with great love.

The nightingale has no less love for its song when it pauses than when it sings. Similarly, the devout heart has no less love when it turns to external duties than when it prays. In such hearts their silence and their speech, their work and their rest equally sing with joy-filled love. Their daily prayer life overflows into their daily actions. They seek the Kingdom of God at all cost and it is revealed to them.

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales

especially his Treatise on the Love of God).