St. Paul the Hermit
It is unclear what we really know of Paul's life, how much is fable, how much fact.
Paul was reportedly born in Egypt, where he was orphaned by age 15. He was also a learned and devout young man. During the persecution of Decius in Egypt in the year 250, Paul was forced to hide in the home of a friend. Fearing a brother-in-law would betray him, he fled in a cave in the desert. His plan was to return once the persecution ended, but the sweetness of solitude and heavenly contemplation convinced him to stay.
He went on to live in that cave for the next 90 years. A nearby spring gave him drink, a palm tree furnished him clothing and nourishment. After 21 years of solitude a bird began bringing him half of a loaf of bread each day. Without knowing what was happening in the world, Paul prayed that the world would become a better place.
St. Anthony of Egypt [January 17] attests to his holy life and death. Tempted by the thought that no one had served God in the wilderness longer than he, Anthony was led by God to find Paul and acknowledge him as a man more perfect than himself. The raven that day brought a whole loaf of bread instead of the usual half. As Paul predicted, Anthony would return to bury his new friend.
Thought to have been about 112 when he died, Paul is known as the "First Hermit." His feast day is celebrated in the East; he is also commemorated in the Coptic and Armenian rites of the Mass.
The will and direction of God are seen in the circumstances of our lives. Led by the grace of God, we are free to respond with choices that bring us closer to and make us more dependent upon the God who created us. Those choices might at times seem to lead us away from our neighbor. But ultimately they lead us back both in prayer and in fellowship to one another.
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
Dear Lord as I come to you today
Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
To be conscious about something is to be aware of it. Dear Lord help me to remember that You gave me life. Thank you for the gift of life. Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me.
The Word of God
Jesus, You always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that You will never abandon me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
1st Week in Ordinary Time
The fever left her and she waited on them. (Mark 1:31)
Imagine Simon's mother-in-law and her friend chatting over tea. "What happened at your house the other day?" the friend asked.
Simon's mother-in-law said, "Well, I was pretty sick. I had a high fever, my whole body ached, and all I wanted to do was rest. But Jesus came into my room anyway and held my hand. Moments later, I felt so good that I began to make lunch for Simon and his friends. I was so excited by what happened that I had to get out and tell other people about it.
"I've discovered—both from my experience and from talking to other people—that when you meet Jesus, something happens inside of you. You can't help but act. That day, I did what I know how to do best. I didn't feel obligated; I could have kept lying in bed, but when you feel that kind of love, you just want to find ways to love people in return.
"I think that the love just starts to spill over. At least that's what happened that day. Word got out that Jesus had come to visit, and by nightfall the house was filled with sick or unhappy people, and he touched them all.
"What was unusual for me was that I didn't mind all these strangers at my door. Normally, I would be cautious, but something changed in me that day, and I felt a new kinship with these people whom I had never met. Some of them I may not have even liked before then, but it didn't matter. We were all looking for the same thing. We had all been brought together by a desire to be with Jesus. They felt like long-lost brothers and sisters, and I had no problem welcoming them."
"So that's all?" her friend asked. "You felt his love when he healed you, and that made you open your door to other people, and they were healed as well?"
"Yes. I know it sounds silly, but that's what happened. And it's happened for so many other people. You should try to find Jesus yourself. It's amazing what he can do!"
"I've got to find him! There are so many things I need help with."
"Lord, touch every heart with your healing love. Move us all to serve one another."
1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20; Psalm 40:2, 5, 7-10
God speaks, and we need to learn how to respond. We need to learn to discern His voice among the noise of the world. As a matter of fact, that is how the book ended "Theology For Beginners". It ended with an exhortation to the lay people, all of us who are not clergy, priests, and other ordained religious. But can I call them religious alone? All of us are called to be religious, because after all, things we love we are basically religious to anyway! So, why aren't we religious to our Lord? And if you are, you'll be bound to His Holy Bride, the Holy Church. Samuel was called, but thought it was not the Lord speaking, his ears and mind were not open to the fact that it could've been something or someone else. For me and you, the same could happen. But, an act of intelligence is to notice a pattern. He speaks to our feeble minds in patterns so that we may understand and realize to come to Him. Ever notice something happening repeatedly to you, as if a message were trying to come across? This is how the Holy Spirit works, very subtle, very beautiful, very amazing. I want you to be open to this very fact. What's awesome is that you will feel the call, "hey, He is calling me!" He Does Love Me! He Does Want Me!" Of course He does silly, he knows who all will be born ahead of time and enough for the end of time. I'm reverting and alluding to parts of the exhortation of the book, because I loved how it ended, appealing to the lay people as soldiers of God. No better arms will reach the souls than those of the lay. This is why it is crucial for clergy to be extremely Holy so the arms will be holy. This is why it is extremely crucial for those of us in arms to be holy so that those we touch will become holy, healed, and loved. But first comes love. I can not reach to those who are lost without taking care of their phsyical needs first, I won't come up to an ailing person and say "hey, uh, you need Jesus" LOL, no, that's not the way our Lord heals, He lifted up the woman in the Gospel, He grabbed her hand, and showed love. Love automatically sends the message. The book Theology for Beginners said though, that we can not just live by example, which is great, but we need to speak, for our utterance must convey the message, and the message we must know by heart, we must come to know self and know Him, for this, we are to be religious. The book said "Religious illiteracy was bad enough when practically nobody was literate anyway. But what we have now is stranger and more dangerous. To be secularly literate and religiously illiterate produces an unbalance within the man. He finds himself with two eyes which do not focus-a strong eye which sees life as the world sees it, a weak eye which sees life as Faith declares it to be. The temptation is overwhelming to close one eye, the weak eye naturally." It will always be more natural to shut down the weak faith. That is concupiscence and that is our fallen nature of Eve. What we have to learn is to be disciplined and strong. Jesus worked hard, into the night, and then got up early to start His day right...with our Father. They said "people are waiting for you" and He replied "Let us go on". The same message is for us, the faithful. The book by EJ Sheed, ended with the epilogue, The Layman In The Church. I got chills reading the title, because this is actually one of the rollos, talks, of a cursillo. I absolutely love it. I will skip around the intro just to give you a taste of what it says "By Confirmation, the layman is the miles of the Church Militant. The Church on earth is at war, an army therefore. It's officers are the clergy, we are the rank and file, the simple soldiery...We must consider our part in the warfare. To begin with we must understand what the warfare is. It is being fought not simply to enlarge the Church, but to bring souls into union with Christ. It is the strangest of wars which is fought for the enemy, not against him. Even the term enemy must not be allowed to mislead." Yesterday I said Jesus saw beyond the yelling man. We have to look beyond the yells, what is really going on here? Someone made a slanderous remark about our family business yesterday. After getting on the nerves of all, I made a realization, "that is someone we have to pray for". And if you really REALLY do this, you will gain peace, and love for the enemy. What if at Heaven's gates you show up and you are asked "where is 'so and so'? That person you never wanted to talk to?" Backwards, it's all backwards when you truly live the life of God. Because it is so, we have to learn how to discern His voice among all the "noise". This is one of the first steps a soldier of Christ must take. And then respond truly and rightly, boldly, and lovingly, "Speak Lord, Here I Am, Your Servant Is Listening!"