Blessed Mannes, O.P.

Today we honour the memory of Blessed Mannes, an older brother of Saint Dominic, born c. 1170.  He joined the Order and established the Convent of Saint James in Paris in 1217.  A contemporary described him as “a contemplative and holy man, meek and humble, joyful and kind and a zealous preacher”.  He died in 1235 and was beatified in 1833.

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When Our Lord taught his disciples that it was hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God, they were confused.  They asked, “Then who can be saved?”  Maybe the comment confuses us as well: especially if we get into thinking that salvation is only for certain types of people.  Does this mean the rich automatically fail the entrance requirement?  Will heaven be filled only with the poor?  But let’s not forget Our Lord’s response to the disciples’ question: “With men, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”.

God shows no partiality; he offers salvation to everyone.  Our Lord is not opposed to wealth in and of itself.  He invites the rich as well as the poor to enter his kingdom, and he offers each person the specific kind of help they need to embrace his kingdom.  We all tend to cling to different types of “riches” that hinder us from receiving God’s life fully.  Material wealth is merely one example of how relying on something other than God can blind us to our need for him and lead us astray.  If we fill ourselves with things of the world—whatever those “things” may be—then we close ourselves to the things of heaven.

And so, what can we expect from God as we put aside our “wealth”?  For one thing, we can expect him to give us a new mind, one that thinks differently from the world and chooses as he chooses.  We also receive a new heart, with the capacity to love as unconditionally as God loves.  Considering these two gifts alone, it’s no wonder God doesn’t feel threatened by any of the other things we cling to or place our trust in.  What could possibly compete with God?  The more we understand the inheritance that is ours in Christ, the more fully we will be drawn to discard every hindrance and distraction and turn to him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

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