There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church—which is, of course, quite a different thing. --Bishop Fulton Sheen
Columban was the greatest of the Irish missionaries who worked on the European continent. As a young man who was greatly tormented by temptations of the flesh, he sought the advice of a religious woman who had lived a hermit's life for years. He saw in her answer a call to leave the world. He went first to a monk on an island in Lough Erne, then to the great monastic seat of learning at Bangor. After many years of seclusion and prayer, he traveled to Gaul (modern-day France) with 12 companion missionaries. They won wide respect for the rigor of their discipline, their preaching, and their commitment to charity and religious life in a time characterized by clerical laxity and civil strife. Columban established several monasteries in Europe which became centers of religion and culture.
Like all saints, he met opposition. Ultimately he had to appeal to the pope against complaints of Frankish bishops, for vindication of his orthodoxy and approval of Irish customs. He reproved the king for his licentious life, insisting that he marry. Since this threatened the power of the queen mother, Columban was deported to Ireland. His ship ran aground in a storm, and he continued his work in Europe, ultimately arriving in Italy, where he found favor with the king of the Lombards. In his last years he established the famous monastery of Bobbio, where he died. His writings include a treatise on penance and against Arianism, sermons, poetry and his monastic rule.
Now that public sexual license is becoming extreme, we need the Church's jolting memory of a young man as concerned about chastity as Columban. And now that the comfort-captured Western world stands in tragic contrast to starving millions, we need the challenge to austerity and discipline of a group of Irish monks. They were too strict, we say; they went too far. How far shall we go?
Writing to the pope about a doctrinal controversy in Lombardy, Columban said: "We Irish, living in the farthest parts of the earth, are followers of St. Peter and St. Paul and of the disciples who wrote down the sacred canon under the Holy Spirit. We accept nothing outside this evangelical and apostolic teaching.... I confess I am grieved by the bad repute of the chair of St. Peter in this country.... Though Rome is great and known afar, she is great and honored with us only because of this chair.... Look after the peace of the Church, stand between your sheep and the wolves."
Saint of the Day Lives, Lessons and Feast By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
God is with me, but more, God is within me, giving me existence. Let me dwell for a moment on God's life-giving presence in my body, my mind, my heart and in the whole of my life.
I will ask God's help, to be free from my own preoccupations, to be open to God in this time of prayer, to come to know, love and serve God more.
In the presence of my loving Creator, I look honestly at my feelings over the last day, the highs, the lows and the level ground. Can I see where the Lord has been present?
I, John, saw in heaven another sign, great and awe-inspiring: seven angels with the seven last plagues, for through them God's fury is accomplished.
Then I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire. On the sea of glass were standing those who had won the victory over the beast and its image and the number that signified its name. They were holding God's harps, and they sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:
"Great and wonderful are your works, Lord God almighty. Just and true are your ways, O king of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, or glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All the nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed."
R. (Rev. 15: 3b) Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God! Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds; His right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm. R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God! The LORD has made his salvation known: in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel. R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God! Let the sea and what fills it resound, the world and those who dwell in it; Let the rivers clap their hands, the mountains shout with them for joy. R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God! Before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to rule the earth; He will rule the world with justice and the peoples with equity. R. Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!
Jesus said to the crowd: "They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives."
Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in you? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story you have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface of your consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to you?
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. ________________________________________________
They sang ... the song of the Lamb. (Revelation 15:3) Have you ever missed the ending of a good story? Maybe the power went out just before the movie finished, or you were reading a book only to find the last few pages torn out when you got there. It's so frustrating! You begin to think that you would have been better off never to have started watching or reading in the first place. In a sense, the history of the world is one huge, complex story, and today's first reading gives us a glimpse of the ending. Though it speaks in story and symbol, and though there's a lot we aren't told, we do know that it's a happy ending. God will be victorious over his enemies, and he will right all wrongs! But here we are, still in the middle of the story. We may have a sense of how it's going to end, but it still can be easy to lose sight of that ending. There are times when it can feel as if life is a never-ending story, and the plot doesn't seem to make much sense. So it's helpful to remind ourselves that we're in the part of the story where there is confusion and conflict. There are still a number of loose ends that God has yet to tie up. But we can be assured that God will eventually make sense of it all and that everything we are facing will somehow turn out for good. Do you have something in your life that seems painful or paradoxical? Maybe an estranged family member or physical pain? Maybe a sense of distance from God that you don't understand? This isn't the end of the story! God is still unfolding the plot, and he never loses track of the details. Sit for a few minutes with the song in today's reading. This is a vision of God's servants praising him at the end of the world, when the story is finished. Take the scene in, and rejoice that you will join in this chorus when the great Storyteller has written the final chapter. "Lord, thank you for writing such a dramatic story of the world. I rejoice that the ending is safe in your hands."
Psalm 98:1-3, 7-9; Luke 21:12-19 __________________________________________
Today's 5minutos (an attempt to translate it by yours truly): "A study conducted by the National Retail Dry Goods Association shows that the first attempts without success take about half of sellers to a certain failure. Pay attention: 48% of the sellers make a call and give up/stop calling/desist. 25% of sellers make two calls and give up/desist. 15% of all callers make three calls and give up/desist. 12% of all callers insist and insist and insist. They make about 80% of all sales. Insistence is a resort that impulses a great leap of new opportunities. They are many who have been left frustrated on the way, when in reality there was ahead of them the greatest opportunity of their life. Insist, insist, and insist because soon the door will be opened to you. Perseverance is a seed that when it germinates produces one of the greatest trees & most leafy in life. More the one that fell on good dirt, these are the ones with good and upright heart retain the word that was heard, and give fruit with perseverance. Jesus has announced it to us, in the moment He was about to give Himself on the cross, not to scare us, but to give us confidence, to encourage us to be strong in the daily fight: "with your perseverance you will save Souls". The Love, friendship and fortitude and our faith, are not demonstrated when all is well, but when put to the test. " Amazing huh? I wonder how many seeds and pollen have to go out to make a plant? In humans it takes millions of cells, and one in a million is you. It is actually perfection. Too bad nowadays there are those that think this is a mistake, a life...unwanted. And I'm not just talking about unborn children, but a LIFE unwanted. A LIFE of Christ. A LIFE of total surrender. A LIFE unafraid to be ridiculed by family and friends. A LIFE where you will talk to God and not be ashamed. I told my friendship group Monday night "...I believe really it takes guts to be able to come to your priest and confess your worst parts of your life". Yet people are afraid. Call it pride, I call it being a scaredy cat. Call it esteem, I call it being chicken. Sin makes you a chicken. Grace makes you a hero. And what's great about this all is that it is God that takes you from zero to hero. This is the song of the Lamb. Salvation. The song of Moses? Trust. Trust in Salvation and don't let yourself get in the way. If your family isn't coming to Jesus, don't blame the world, blame the lack of zeal in your heart that is contagious. Once they see your joy of the Lord, one day they will say "...I want some of that!". And this is Jesus. The Psalm prays "Great and Wonderful are ALL your works, Lord, mighty GOD!". We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. Fearfully means what? Perhaps holy. With an instilled fear of the Lord that we sadly lose as we grow up. Wonderfully? What does that mean? Made in awe and wonder, a miracle, to wonder and ponder upon the Lord and all His deeds. Jesus said "they will seize you and persecute you" and eventually will lead to your testimony. He continues "you are not to prepare your defense beforehand" for I will be the one doing the talking! WOW. Our part is joined with His. Don't worry, not a hair will be harmed. Even if your body is burned to the ground, the King of Life will make sure it is not again, resurrected in body. Isn't that the hardest part to believe? To believe in trust? To believe in the song of Moses? To believe the song of the Lamb? Listen. Perseverance is for winners, giving up is for losers, and what is at stake? Souls. Nothing more important but the souls of those around you. My kids didn't want to really pray in a circle last night. Who's fault is it? Theirs? Or their friends? Point the finger, most point to myself. I have not led them to love. I have failed miserably, most probably because they see me forcing myself to pray. I opened my eyes during a prayer and saw one or two little ones looking at me, and I said "I better really be praying" and opened my heart to God. Now, I was leading in a song last night in a funeral vigil. I opened my eyes and saw one or two children of God looking, following along and singing, and I said "I better really be singing and praying to GOD!". You see, this is your life at every moment. You really better be doing your part of opening your heart. Otherwise my perseverance for them is for nothing, because perseverance for myself was never there. God listens to insistence. I write to you a lot, I am insisting over and over and over for you to believe, and all the while the message in turn is for me. I prayed as I led our company safety meeting this morning before writing to you, as I led the prayer, I not once opened my eyes to see who was praying because I was too caught up with my heart speaking to God...