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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Feast of the Seven Founders of the Servites

Seven young men in Florence joined the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin between 1225 and 1227. Inspired by visions of Our Lady, they dedicated themselves to prayer and service. They built a church and hermitage on a deserted mountain; the bishop made them adopt a rule and accept recruits. They changed their name to Servants of Mary or Servites after another vision of Our Lady in 1240. Of the original seven, all but one became priests. The lay-brother lived to be 110 and saw the Order fully recognized in 1304.

Mark's Gospel for today (8:14-21) tells us, "The disciples has forgotten to bring bread; they had only one loaf with them in the boat. Jesus enjoined them, 'Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.'" They did not understand what Jesus has said and concluded among themselves that it was because they had no bread. Jesus then asked them, "Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember...? He reminds them of how he has multiplied the bread to feed five thousand and they had twelve baskets of left over fragments and when he fed the four thousand, they picked up seven full baskets of left overs. It is not a question of lacking bread. It is trying to understand the message of Jesus. I need to reflect today if some of these same questions are not being asked of me by Jesus - Do I understand? Is my heart hardened? Do I see and hear with the eyes and ears of Jesus? Do I remember all that he has done for me?

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