Wis 2:23-3:9; Ps 34:2,3,16-19; Lk 17:7-10
"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted."
Saint Leo the Great Pope was deeply concerned for the well-being and for the faith of the whole Church of Christ. This great servant-leader in the Church in the world revealed the compassion and closeness of the LORD for the brokenhearted, for those who were crushed in spirit. These courageous believers in time of great confusion and danger were taught to bless the LORD at all times, in times of success and of failure. For the LORD hears the just when they cry out, and from all their distress he rescues them. As the author of Wisdom teaches us, so Pope Saint Leo, the Great, taught his sisters and brothers, "Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love." This great pope and his fellow servant bishops were faith filled leaders who sought only to praise the Lord and serve his crushed and brokenhearted children, who were afraid and confused throughout the land. They sought no glory for themselves or rewards in this life; their hands and hearts were filled with the glory of God and the lowly heard their praise-filled voices, and they were glad.
One of the most difficult human situations that everyone must face is death. We are often crushed and brokenhearted by the death of a loved one. The saints of every age have given spoken and written testimony about death. Many of the saints have taken comfort in the book of Wisdom. This holy book teaches us that we were formed by the LORD to be imperishable, in the image of our Creator. This original intention of the LORD was challenged by the envy of the Devil. Death entered the world through the original sin of our first parents who submitted to the temptation of the evil one. This original disobedience of the human race brought death into life. Because of the limitations of death, we are punished but not utterly destroyed. Even during this time in the history of God's people, there was a fledging belief in the survival of the soul after the death of the body. This faith became the backdrop for the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. Even before the Paschal Mystery, some of the faithful in Israel believed that death was merely a sacrificial fire that purified the soul and proved its true worth. Indeed, the souls of the just would shine brightly when the Lord became the King of all peoples. This relatively late teaching of Judaism is amazing from our perspective after the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. It is this truth, anticipated in the Book of Wisdom, that is fulfilled in the Gospel. When confronted with the anguish of death, we can trust in the LORD and abide with him in love, "because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect."
It is a sign of living in the transforming union, of truly becoming one with Christ, that a person seeks only the Master’s will and not his own will. The true servant of the LORD does not seek affirmation, praise, or honors for doing what the LORD wants. Saint Leo, the Great and all the saints in glory delight in one thing only, to do the will of the LORD! This detachment from our own needs and wants enables us to be attached to God alone. Once we have such an enlightened interior, we are delightful and surprised by whatever the LORD has in store for us. It is not the LORD’s gratitude or his whispering; "thank you!" that motivates our service and our adoration. Rather, it is our love, our desire to do what he wants us to do, the way he wants is to do it, for as long as he wants us to do it, because he wants us to do it. This is our prayer and the deepest desire of our hearts. Until it is, we carry around some resentment and some degree of entitlement. Pope Saint Leo the Great, elected in 440, guided his fellow bishops as equals in service and in weakness. He took responsibility for the total flock by combating Pelagianism and other heresies and powers of the world. God's own self-gift is what this and every true servant longs for; everything else is worth no more than rubbish.