St. Agnes of Assisi
Agnes was the sister of St. Clare and her first follower. When Agnes left home two weeks after Clare's departure, their family attempted to bring Agnes back by force. They tried to drag her out of the monastery, but all of a sudden her body became so heavy that several knights could not budge it. Her uncle Monaldo tried to strike her but was temporarily paralyzed. The knights then left Agnes and Clare in peace.
Agnes matched her sister in devotion to prayer and in willingness to endure the strict penances which characterized their lives at San Damiano. In 1221 a group of Benedictine nuns in Monticelli (near Florence) asked to become Poor Clares. St. Clare sent Agnes to become abbess of that monastery. Agnes soon wrote a rather sad letter about how much she missed Clare and the other nuns at San Damiano. After establishing other Poor Clare monasteries in northern Italy, Agnes was recalled to San Damiano in 1253 when Clare was dying.
Agnes followed Clare in death three months later, and was canonized in 1753.
God must love irony; the world is so full of it. In 1212, many in Assisi surely felt that Clare and Agnes were wasting their lives and were turning their backs on the world. In reality, their lives were tremendously life-giving, and the world has been enriched by the example of these poor contemplatives.
Blessed Charles de Foucauld, founder of the Little Brothers and Sisters of Jesus, said: "One must pass through solitude and dwell in it to receive God's grace. It is there that one empties oneself, that one drives before oneself all that is not God, and that one completely empties this little house of our soul to leave room for God alone. In doing this, do not fear being unfaithful toward creatures. On the contrary, that is the only way for you to serve them effectively" (Raphael Brown, Franciscan Mystic, p. 126).
Daily Prayer - 2015-11-19
Lord, you are always there
Lord, guide me always
My soul longs for your presence, Lord.
The Word of God
Reading 1 1 Mc 2:15-29
The officers of the king in charge of enforcing the apostasy
Responsorial Psalm PS 50:1b-2, 5-6, 14-15
R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
Alleluia Ps 95:8
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 19:41-44
As Jesus drew near Jerusalem,
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Meditation: Psalm 50:1-2, 5-6, 14-15
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33rd Week in Ordinary Time
God the Lord has spoken and summoned the earth, from the rising of the sun to its setting. (Psalm 50:1)
Try to stretch your mind around this: a single galaxy can contain trillions of stars. And right now, billions of galaxies are in motion around us.
These celestial communities pirouette through the heavens to the tune of gravity and other natural laws established by God. It's an immensely complex universe—yet it's all somehow ordered by the Lord! To paraphrase the psalmist, "When God speaks, the universe listens!"
Of course, stars don't really have a mind of their own. We do, though. And today's readings are a down-to-earth reminder that not all of creation is moving to God's rhythm. In 1 Maccabees, we see the zealous family of Mattathias following God into the desert, while other Hebrews are following a pagan king into apostasy. In Luke, we watch as Jesus weeps over Jerusalem because many there hadn't yet recognized and accepted him as the Son of God.
Out of all creation, we have been graced with the peculiar gift of a free will. It's peculiar because this gift actually gives us the ability to choose to ignore the voice of our own Creator. But as peculiar as it is, our free will is also an incredible privilege. Out of all creation, we can knowingly and freely say yes to God. And if Jesus weeps over those who are rejecting him, he also rejoices and sings over the ones who embrace him.
"This is love, that we walk according to his commandments" (2 John 1:6). We have opportunities every day, even this very moment, to do just that. We can choose to open ourselves up to the Lord and listen carefully as he speaks to us. In fact, you're probably doing that right now as you read this meditation, so you're off to a good start! Then, as we sense the gentle prompting of his Spirit during the day, we can choose again to say yes, and obey.
God will never take advantage of you. He has given you a free will, and he will never force you to follow him. Instead, he whispers in your ear, urging you to place your trust in him. Try to hear his voice today. Use your free will to listen and to follow him.
"Lord Jesus, I give you my yes because I love you."
1 Maccabees 2:15-29
It is kind of a nightmare and kind of an opportunity to seize the moment. For the terribleness should be an obvious sign to surrender and prove your love for God. When Mattathias and sons were being forced by government to sacrifice the way they wanted to whom they wanted, they chose loyalty to their religion founded by God. You know, it was said that at the moment the terrorists began their killing in France at the concert, the band had just began to sing a song that said "kiss the devil". And the slaughter began, it began exactly the wages of sin...death. And it so happened that the singers are still alive, the singers of that message. I often wonder when I am at a places of gathering..."if this place were to go down, is this where I would like to have been known to die"? Jesus died at the place of offering up...of prophets. He died at the moment the killers were offering up the lamb to God. Where would you like to die? How would you like to die? With who would you like to die? And the big question...for who would you like to die? Because this is the final punctation of the sentence of your life. Will it be a humdrum period? Or will it be just a big question mark? Or will it be an exclamation point, exclaiming the glory of God!
To the upright I will show the saving power of God. This is what we prayed with the Psalms today. He saves. He saves the upright. Saves from what? Sin and death. It's very simple, for those that desire holiness, He is there. For those that don't desire holiness...He is not there, for He will not force Himself on you...forever. And I say forever because we are speaking about eternity when it comes to speak about the Lord in Heaven. Even dying then is a step forward, and to where? This is a step you can not take back. How many times have you wondered if you could take back something? I have told people this week in meetings etc., that some of the saddest words I've heard are "I told you", and the other of my own lamentation that would say "I should've known" and these are the hardest words to bear for a sinner, and worse, for a sinner in hell. So I propose to you the steps in the right direction for the good of the world, not just your own life.
We follow our Lord. Our Lord today is taking steps towards Jerusalem, where the supposed people of God are to be. Where to this day they are divided, fighting, and restless, where peace seems to be offered and not accepted to this day...Jesus. They say the smallest religion there is Christianity, where Christ is the center and the center of Christ is peace. Jews love power and Muslims perhaps something else, and Christians are put down. To this day, the rejection of Christ exists. But what's worse? When it is happening in your own home, and in your own heart. A zeal for Christ would initiate Love and Peace. Where the Jews are still awaiting the Messiah, and where the Muslims have made another Messiah, we have the true Messiah, accepted into our lives, and the only reason Jews and Muslims don't believe along with all the other religions is because us Christians are setting a bad example, for who knows how many were in that concert that were supposed Christians yet raising their hands to those who sang "lets kiss the devil". No one forced them and no one is forcing you to live in sin. No one is forcing you to live aggrevated with no peace and grace of the Lord. We put ourselves in certain positions. They say that our Lord faced Jerusalem with a face like flint, pointing in one direction...the dying of self for the good of the rest. How many times do you put God first in your life? And how many times do you put others first in your life? People get ulcers and cancers just because they can't forgive someone. Where is God? Certainly not first. Where are the others placed in your life? Certainly not first. This then is an encouragement. Let go and let God lead your life. Listen to Him. He speaks clearly, and we clearly don't want to listen. A gentle heart is needed. Humble hearts are needed in the Christian faith if we are to be this Christ follower, the Christ, the Messiah, the chosen by God that prophecied everything that came true, that fed thousands, that saved thousands, that died and rose again and lived among us and still lives among us. What if you couldn't forgive Christ? And worse...couldn't believe?
Lord I believe...help my disbelief!
I was practicing a sending forth song for Sunday last night and my kids joined in, listen if you want.
Be encouraged. Be in love. Be stronger than evil because we are with Him who created all. The Lord, the lover and giver of Life wants followers, not talkers.
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