What has been revealed to the apostles and the childlike is that God never fails to notice us. This is the foundation for the justice Christ brings. His justice does not destroy or disfigure but rather builds up and makes beautiful. God does not judge me by hearsay but according to the truth in my heart.
-from The Little Way of Advent
†"Only he will receive, will find, and will enter who perseveres in asking, seeking and knocking." — St. Louis de Montfort
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞ "The lover flies, runs and rejoices, he is free and not held. He gives all for all and has all in all, because he rests in one sovereign good above all, from whom all good flows and proceeds. He looks not at the gifts, but turns himself to the giver above all goods." — Thomas à Kempis, p. 87 AN EXCERPT FROM Imitation of Christ
Saint John of the Cross
Saint of the Day for December 14 (June 24, 1541 – December 14, 1591)
Saint John of the Cross' Story
John is a saint because his life was a heroic effort to live up to his name: "of the Cross." The folly of the cross came to full realization in time. "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me" (Mark 8:34b) is the story of John's life. The Paschal Mystery—through death to life—strongly marks John as reformer, mystic-poet, and theologian-priest.
Ordained a Carmelite priest in 1567 at age 25, John met Teresa of Avila and, like her, vowed himself to the primitive Rule of the Carmelites. As partner with Teresa and in his own right, John engaged in the work of reform, and came to experience the price of reform: increasing opposition, misunderstanding, persecution, imprisonment. He came to know the cross acutely—to experience the dying of Jesus—as he sat month after month in his dark, damp, narrow cell with only his God.
Yet, the paradox! In this dying of imprisonment John came to life, uttering poetry. In the darkness of the dungeon, John's spirit came into the Light. There are many mystics, many poets; John is unique as mystic-poet, expressing in his prison-cross the ecstasy of mystical union with God in the Spiritual Canticle.
But as agony leads to ecstasy, so John had his Ascent to Mt. Carmel, as he named it in his prose masterpiece. As man-Christian-Carmelite, he experienced in himself this purifying ascent; as spiritual director, he sensed it in others; as psychologist-theologian, he described and analyzed it in his prose writings. His prose works are outstanding in underscoring the cost of discipleship, the path of union with God: rigorous discipline, abandonment, purification. Uniquely and strongly John underlines the gospel paradox: The cross leads to resurrection, agony to ecstasy, darkness to light, abandonment to possession, denial to self to union with God. If you want to save your life, you must lose it. John is truly "of the Cross." He died at 49—a life short, but full. Reflection
John, in his life and writings, has a crucial word for us today. We tend to be rich, soft, comfortable. We shrink even from words like self-denial, mortification, purification, asceticism, discipline. We run from the cross. John's message—like the gospel—is loud and clear: Don't—if you really want to live! Saint John of the Cross is the Patron Saint of:
Dear Jesus, I come to you today longing for your presence. I desire to love you as You love me. May nothing ever separate me from You.
"I am free." When I look at these words in writing They seem to create in me a feeling of awe. Yes, a wonderful feeling of freedom. Thank You, God.
How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy-hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried or angry. I acknowledge how I really am. It is the real me that the Lord loves.
The Word of God
Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church audio link
Reading 1 Is 45:6c-8, 18, 21c-25
I am the LORD, there is no other; I form the light, and create the darkness, I make well-being and create woe; I, the LORD, do all these things. Let justice descend, O heavens, like dew from above, like gentle rain let the skies drop it down. Let the earth open and salvation bud forth; let justice also spring up! I, the LORD, have created this.
For thus says the LORD, The creator of the heavens, who is God, The designer and maker of the earth who established it, Not creating it to be a waste, but designing it be lived in: I am the LORD, and there is no other.
Who announced this from the beginning and foretold it from of old? Was it not I, the LORD, besides whom there is no other God? There is no just and saving God but me.
Turn to me and be safe, all you ends of the earth, for I am God; there is no other! By myself I swear, uttering my just decree and my unalterable word: To me every knee shall bend; by me every tongue shall swear, Saying, "Only in the LORD are just deeds and power. Before him in shame shall come all who vent their anger against him. In the LORD shall be the vindication and the glory of all the descendants of Israel."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 85:9ab and 10, 11-12, 13-14 R. (Isaiah 45:8) Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior. I will hear what God proclaims; the LORD–for he proclaims peace to his people. Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him, glory dwelling in our land.
R. Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior. Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior. The LORD himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase. Justice shall walk before him, and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior.
Alleluia See Is 40:9-10 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Raise your voice and tell the Good News: Behold, the Lord GOD comes with power. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 7:18b-23
At that time, John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?" When the men came to the Lord, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?'" At that time Jesus cured many of their diseases, sufferings, and evil spirits; he also granted sight to many who were blind. And Jesus said to them in reply, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ This time round, we might take a 'holistic' view of Jesus' own list of his 'works' - glimpsed together, they offer the kind of composite image which the Lord of salvation might present to his people when he arrives with final salvation.
▪ That is, of course, if the people were attuned to a prophetic vision like that of Isaiah - the saviour, the deliverer, will come with victory and strength. He will come as the creator to renew even the earth itself. He will come with tidings of new life and well-being not just for Israel, but even for all the nations.
▪ This is a picture of a joyful future for the earth and its people – and we can pray that religious belief may more and more be seen by the world as a source of optimism and hope.
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 him.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: Luke 7:18-23
Saint John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)
Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another? (Luke 7:19)
This may seem like a strange question to come from John the Baptist, especially since his very mission was to prepare the way for Jesus. But there might have been a good reason for it. John might have expected Jesus to be more like him—a radical zealot who preached a message of repentance. But instead of going into the desert and preaching against Herod, Jesus was traveling throughout the towns and cities, healing people and teaching them to love one another. Was he really the One who would bring a baptism of fire and convict sinners to change their ways?
Jesus' answer made it clear that he had come as a Savior, not a judge. He came to "bring good news to the afflicted," and "bind up the brokenhearted" (Isaiah 61:1). He wanted John's disciples to know that God was not dwelling on their sins—he had a much bigger agenda! Of course he wanted to forgive them, but he also wanted to bring them into a living relationship with him so that they could know the freedom of being his children.
Today, people are still asking if Jesus really is the One who is to come—and we are the ones they're asking! They are looking to us to see if Jesus is compassionate and merciful. They're looking to us to see if he is peaceful and gentle. Perhaps they have not known much compassion in their lives. Perhaps someone in the Church has hurt them, whether intentionally or not. We can show them a different face of God.
Your witness can have a special impact this time of year. During Advent, people almost instinctively think about heaven, angels, and Jesus. If they know that you believe in Christ, if they can tell that you have a relationship with him, half of the work is already done. The testimony of your life will soften their hearts and open them to the words you speak. Just as Jesus showed John, you can show your neighbors that they don't have to wait for someone else. Jesus is the Messiah who has come to heal and forgive and save.
"Jesus, give me the confidence I need so that I can share your love with those who are searching for you."
my2cents: The first lines of the first verses read like this: "I am the LORD, there is no other; I form the light, and create the darkness..." "For thus says the LORD, The creator of the heavens, who is God..." Turn to me and be safe, all you ends of the earth, for I am God; there is no other!
Let us keep this in mind, because the Gospel will lead us again to these Holy Words.
We prayed "R. (Isaiah 45:8) Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior."
John the Baptist is locked up, and in a supplication sends two messengers to Christ ""Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?" The reply came forth as an answer to the fall. The fall time of the year is a time of cleansing. The freeze kills off the old and the disease and the infestations, the bitter cold is the dark that God created for a purpose, to make things new. This is a reason for joy. St. John of the Cross too was in prison, and wrote the greatest writings in his life in the dark cell. He was shining light, he was being the light to the world, to this very day. All this serves you and me the one answer St. John of the Cross and Saint John the Baptist needed "I AM the LORD your GOD!" The hope is being born over and over. This is why they say in spanish when someone is born "dio Luz" (gave light).
For personal testimony, this year has been strange for me and my family. I lost my only grandma I ever knew. Then I lost an uncle. Then, a cousin not much older than me. Today, as I type, my sisters and parents are gathering at a hospital for my younger sister's surgery, who has been losing alot of blood lately. And I keep praying for my cousin's wife to heal from an odd skin thickening disorder that is life threatening, literally, being told she may only have a couple months to live. So I'm not out of "the dark" in these matters. At work, we are facing a lawsuit. At church, at a meeting, a friend was in tears, suffering inner turmoil with family that wants nothing to do with being Catholic...or do they? Hope my family. Hope is beyond us and among us. Giving light is giving hope. We got each other. My grandma had raised 13 kids. One passed before her, but the rest got each other. That's what we got, each other my dear family in Christ our Lord and Savior. And if Our Father is greater than all darkness (because He created it), then why not have hope that brings inner peace and it meets justice, a wholeness of holiness God wants for you?
The problem isn't the world, is it? Because God created it. The problem is, there is not a problem, but a solution that is introduced in our lives, an invitation, like the wise men that followed the light and found the truth. We too ought to be wise and traverse the world as an adventure and bringing home the GOOD NEWS. Bringing Home meaning sinking into our hearts and praising the Lord on our knees as a family, Children of the LIGHT