Sts. Marian and James
Often, it's hard to find much detail from the lives of saints of the early Church. What we know about the third-century martyrs we honor today is likewise minimal. But we do know that they lived and died for the faith. Almost 2,000 years later, that is enough reason to honor them. Prior to their persecution, Marian and James were visited by two bishops who encouraged them in the faith not long before they themselves were martyred. A short time later, Marian and James were arrested and interrogated. The two readily confessed their faith and, for that, were tortured. While in prison they are said to have experienced visions, including one of the two bishops who had visited them earlier. On the last day of their lives, Marian and James joined other Christians facing martyrdom. They were blindfolded and then put to death. Their bodies were thrown into the water. The year was 259.
Often, it's hard to find much detail from the lives of saints of the early Church. What we know about the third-century martyrs we honor today is likewise minimal. But we do know that they lived and died for the faith. Almost 2,000 years later, that is enough reason to honor them.
Prior to their persecution, Marian and James were visited by two bishops who encouraged them in the faith not long before they themselves were martyred. A short time later, Marian and James were arrested and interrogated. The two readily confessed their faith and, for that, were tortured. While in prison they are said to have experienced visions, including one of the two bishops who had visited them earlier.
On the last day of their lives, Marian and James joined other Christians facing martyrdom. They were blindfolded and then put to death. Their bodies were thrown into the water. The year was 259.
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
Daily Prayer - 2015-05-06
Dear Lord, help me to be open to you
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.
How do I find myself today?
The Word of God
Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 15:1-6
Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers,
Responsorial Psalm PS 122:1-2, 3-4ab, 4cd-5
R. (see 1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Alleluia Jn 15:4a, 5b
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 15:1-8
Jesus said to his disciples:
Listen to audio of this reading
Watch a video reflection
Some thoughts on today's scripture
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
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.
5th Week of Easter
Remain in me, as I remain in you. (John 15:4)
What do you do when you need to recover from a head cold? You get extra rest, drink more fluids, and take vitamins. But these remedies aren't directly making you better. They can facilitate the process, but in the end, it's your own immune system that fights off the sickness, and that process isn't completely under your control.
Spiritual growth is a little like getting over a cold: our efforts are only aids to our growth. The real growth comes from God. In today's Gospel reading, Jesus explains this by saying that he is the vine, and we are the branches. Because we're just branches, we can't produce fruit on our own. Only as we are attached to the vine, receiving its vitality, are we fruitful.
Sometimes we get these roles confused. We can begin to think that we are the active agent in spiritual growth. "God made the world," we think, "He sent Jesus to redeem us; now it's up to me." While it may sound noble, this approach can lead us to be disconnected from the Lord. And that will render us fruitless.
This passage shows us how important it is that we try to stay connected to Jesus. None of us wants to be fruitless. None of us wants to wither and die and fall off of the vine! We want to be useful to the Lord, don't we? We want to be filled with his vitality, his energy, and his wisdom.
This is why it's important to be faithful to daily prayer, Scripture reading, and the sacraments. It's also why we need to stay connected with fellow Christians and why we need to serve as he served. These things on their own won't bring spiritual growth, but they will keep us connected to the life-giving vine.
All we have to do is try our best to stay close to Jesus. Abiding in his presence is nothing more than trying to think and act the way we think Jesus would want us to in our day. If we can do just that, we will be giving his Spirit the freedom to shape us and change us. We will become more fruitful!
"Thank you, Jesus, for promising to make me fruitful. Help me, Lord, to stay connected to you."
Acts 15:1-6; Psalm 122:1-5
Today's 1st Holy Scripture said "When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the Church". There was already a Church, with a capital "C", which means the people of Christ, and that same Church lives today, still being picked on by non-believers or better said, fallen believers, and this is the Holy Catholic Church, for no where on earth will you see a more picked on Church than the one that has the truth and the truth hurts. Jesus says REMAIN, and we remain. Jesus says "DO THIS IN REMEMBERANCE OF ME" and is asking us to remain in Him. Jesus says "...bear much fruit" and the Holy Catholic Church has bore fruit and will continue until the end of the world. I can not say what is not true because the keys were handed to Peter by Jesus and Jesus said it Himself. If you are not a Catholic and are reading this, then so much at least remain WITH the Catholic Church, because we are remaining in Christ. How come there are divisions? The answer should not be asked to God but to the devil whose name means "to divide". REMAIN, says our LORD. REMAIN!
The Psalms pray "According to the decree for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. In it are set up judgment seats, seats for the house of David." The body of Christ on the Altar in Holy Mass is called "EUCHARIST" or, Thanksgiving to be better understood. We offer ourselves, our sins, our money, our time, and then our bodies to Christ on the altar, and all for THANKS, this giving. Jesus is there, whether you choose to believe it or not. When we partake of Christ, become His disciple, we are to bear fruit. Bear what He bore. And what did He bear for us? Well even if I tell you, you may not want to hear it.
So we go back to the 1st reading, whereupon the Holy Church (I didn't say PERFECT Church), was in a dispute on doctrine. They figured out they must rely on the Holy Spirit for an answer, and would receive it. Sadly, around the year 1500 A.D., they would find the Holy Church once again in dispute about doctrine, only to find the people divide and not remain with the Holy Church, with Martin Luther, and then a King of England, making Himself King of even the Catholic Church in his own way, and ultimately making himself the equivalent of Jesus which is abhorrent, establishing your own church makes you the ultimate end of that church, because you are saying you have the truth but not all the truth remains, and so you can not bear all the fruit God intends.
You see, this is when faith has to kick in. If I told you what is being asked of you, you would not do it. Because Jesus says today "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you." Notice, I said, "what is being asked of you". He is asking for us to REMAIN, and THEN whatever you want will be done. Let me explain in it with this: last week, we began an RCIA class and I asked the students "what if God asked what you wanted of Him, what would you ask for?" Most answers said something like praying for their families or for their families something. I said, "wait, if you could've had anything in the world, you would not have asked God for Him!?" You see, that is why I say we won't do it. We won't ask for HIM. This is proof that we do not remain, therefore what all we ask for is not granted. And I'm talking about perfect unity in HIM.
I am talking about HOLINESS. That what you won't do! And I'm asking you through the Holy Spirit to do JUST THAT.
Too often the messages are filtered through too many heads, you go by what others say and not what the Holy Spirit says. You can reply to me and tell me I am wrong, if I said something wrong. But I won't ever get a reply. Because we never listen to CHRIST. I say this because we pray, and we talk, and we sing, and we do this and that, but we rarely ask for Him to speak to our hearts with the truth. The truth is Holy. The truth is not of this world and yet is in this world. And I do not proclaim myself any better than you, because I am probably worse than you. But something has happened in my life's journey with God that has allowed Him to speak through me. Because I ask the Holy Spirit to come, I ask of Him, and when I speak to others about God, I learn about God because it is not me speaking, I am an instrument of His body, as we all are. I am a spec of sand in the beach, and He takes notice. I am a tear of bitter weakness in the dark, and God decides to catch it for the better good of the world. And rightly so, for He offered His own body in thanksgiving to the Father of all. As if to say "For YOur WAYS are GREAT, and I give you Honor and Glory". The tree will always bear fruit..."bear much fruit and become my disciples". Jesus is united to the tree to bear fruit. Unite to the cross that bears fruit, unite with HIM and be of the disciples alive for the LORD OUR GOD!!