A "do not disturb" sign helped today's saint find holiness and peace. Despite his calling to prayer and quiet, Stephen displayed uncanny skills with people and was a valued spiritual guide. His biographer and disciple wrote about Stephen: "Whatever help, spiritual or material, he was asked to give, he gave. He received and honored all with the same kindness. He possessed nothing and lacked nothing. In total poverty he possessed all things." Stephen died in 794.
A "do not disturb" sign helped today's saint find holiness and peace.
Despite his calling to prayer and quiet, Stephen displayed uncanny skills with people and was a valued spiritual guide.
His biographer and disciple wrote about Stephen: "Whatever help, spiritual or material, he was asked to give, he gave. He received and honored all with the same kindness. He possessed nothing and lacked nothing. In total poverty he possessed all things."
Stephen died in 794.
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me: I am created in the image and likeness of God; I am God's dwelling-place.
Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
Consciousness I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God. I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them. Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment. I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.
I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God. I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them. Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment. I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.
Tuesday of Holy Week
Reading 1 Is 49:1-6
Hear me, O islands,
Responsorial Psalm Ps 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15 and 17
R. (see 15ab) I will sing of your salvation.
Verse Before the Gospel
Hail to you, our King, obedient to the Father;
Gospel Jn 13:21-33, 36-38
Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold?
Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way?
I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me,
I turn and share my feelings with
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Meditation: John 13:21-33, 36-38
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Tuesday of Holy Week
Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. (John 13:31)
Root vegetables are some of the most challenging crops for a new gardener to harvest. Because you can't easily tell then they are fully ripened, it's easy to pull them up at the wrong time. Carrots, for instance, are supposed to be harvested after they produce a full plume of leaves. Yet there's always that chance that this beautiful fountain of leafy stems is hiding a small, underformed carrot. Potatoes, on the other hand, are best harvested when it looks like the above-ground plant is dead. If you pull them out too soon, you can't replant them. And if you wait too long, they will have gone bad. You have only one chance.
The night of the Last Supper posed a similar kind of confusion for the apostles. They saw all the signs that made them think that Jesus was about to take his place as King: cheers and palms upon their entry into Jerusalem, adoring crowds, and amazing miracles. With such powerful displays, they thought it was surely harvest time!
In the upper room, Jesus tried to show them the kind of king he was destined to become. He even tried to prepare them for their new roles in his kingdom. But then he started talking about leaving them and how they would not be able to follow him where he was going. It was all so baffling! His glory was so close, but they didn't understand that he had to die first in order to take up his throne. So in their confusion, they made a few mistakes.
Imagine how Peter felt when, after denying Jesus three times, he heard the cock crow. Imagine how all the disciples felt at the Last Supper when they began arguing about who was the greatest in the kingdom.
We all make mistakes. Jesus understands that we are novice farmers. Today, remember that his grace can cover any of our blunders, and his harvest is rich in mercy and love. The miracle of Christianity is that quite often, we can undo our mistakes. We can replant something and still watch it grow!
"Lord, you know that I will sometimes make mistakes. Still, I thank you for always being willing to forgive me and for patiently teaching me how to prepare the best harvest."
Life For Me
The 1st Holy Scripture ends today with "I will make you a light to the nations,that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth." Last night we were asked in the Lenten Longings final class at the end "...how can you be a better disciple of Christ" (I'm paraphrasing, forgive me I've slept since then). And I had to extract the answers of every one in the quiet room. One young man said "we should keep in contact", and then another said "I'm going to start going to church, so I can tell others to go, but I set the example" and another said "I'm going to make a special place in my home for prayer", and another said "I'm going to visit the elderly in nursing homes" and another said "I'm going to be more open, for whenever someone needs help". Sounds like good answers right? The Holy Spirit was prevailing among us, and I kept pointing out throughout the evening the moments the Holy Spirit was taking over. At one point the young man wouldn't answer a question and I said "open your mouth" and let the Lord speak, and the answer we needed to hear was on the tip of his tongue.
You see, too often we are simply locked in fear and doubt, all counters to what should be our faith. The Holy Psalms pray today "I will sing of your salvation". And they continue on, listen to God:
"For you are my hope, O Lord;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother's womb you are my strength."
Of course they tell of the life of Jesus, but who do you think we have to depend on from birth as well? Only the Lord. And for those that depend on Him, well, blessings will arise. I was telling one yesterday "look, you have to start tithing" after he said he wanted to save money including his income tax. He asked me what I was doing with mine and I said "I'm going to give it to the church", if not all at least half. His mouth opened wide. LOL. I explained how the church needed it for the building fund more than my debts. How can this be? That the Church needs my money more than my needs and debts? Very simple. God is more important.
Last week I told a student in Lenten Longings "I've been at this several years, and I've noticed that the church loses. When it comes to sports, the church loses. When it comes to work, the church loses. People just "can't" make it, and the church loses. You don't feel like it and the church loses. The kids sports games are more important, or work, and so forth." I asked where that guy was last night, turns out, he was at his kids' soccer game. LOL. It just doesn't register does it? "The priest was really hard on us for not knowing the Sacraments" the couple said in class. I said "was he being harder than I am being on ya'll right now?" LOL. They said yes. And so I explained how we (in the parish) are tired of losing. "There used to be a day when I was younger", I said, "when kids would miss a sporting event to go to a church deal". Not anymore. The church loses. You see, people come and sing at the church, but what are you singing? Definitely not God's tune. Because His was one of humility and obedience and love of God above all!
Jesus comes, and we hear of the encounter with Satan through Judas. I told the class last night about this exact moment in the life of Christ, when they were at Holy Thursday, the Last Supper, and the students asked "how did Jesus know who was the betrayor?". It became a subject of discussion, too much for this bit. But the important part is at the heart. I told them "look, all of you will one day (Lord Willing) partake of the Holy Eucharist. Never take Him with evil in you, because it will make it hard and you will be hardened in your sin. This is how Judas took the bread and was possessed by the devil. We can not say we accept Christ, eat with Him and eat HIM and also accept the ways of the world. I told the class, we have to walk backwards in the world, because we are not of this world. "You who are shacked up living in sin, you still have to go to Church and fall in love with the Lord above all...otherwise you are compounding your sins by not going to church". The aim of course is to one day be in complete union with God. Holiness. And that is our whole focus, the focus the world leads you away from.
And so the lies in the world are as follows:
-You don't have to go to Mass on Sundays, just once a year if you can.
-You don't have to confess your sins, just keep them to yourself and God.
-Your sins don't hurt anybody if nobody is being hurt.
-You can make up your own beliefs about God and that is the truth.
-You don't have to listen to the magisterium (the Holy Church's teachings) just do what everyone else says is right.
And so there inside the religion is the betrayor. Judas. The anti-Christ. It wasn't the scribes and Jews that finally got Jesus, it was someone that was his disciple that got Him...killed.
The real danger of not loving Christ as we ought is more than words can explain. I asked the young couple how old their baby was they are baptizing. Then I said "you know why I'm here doing what I'm doing? For that baby". For his soul. For their souls. Should I be quiet about your sins? Or make light of them? I will indeed put the light on them. As we speak, they are coming up with more laws on making homosexual marriage legal across the United States. So what's the big deal? About 30 states already legalize it, like decades ago when they started legalizing abortions. The big deal is that we are pro-life. Homosexuality is not on the side of life even though they say it does not contradict. There is a disorder. And the church teaches against disorder. Our moments of glory in the United States are many, yet they are counted, like the days of our lives. So what can we do in the mean time? I didn't like the answers last night when someone would just blurt out "pray". I pray. I think I pray. I fast. Yet there's more to it. Can one be on their knees all the time? Jesus got up after praying alone. We have to get up after praying. Then what did He do when they came and arrested Him thanks to the kiss goodbye from Judas? He gave Himself. We have to give ourselves to God. At the heart of the matter is what is at stake for the world.
Salvation at hand.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Where do you stand?