Stigmata of St. Francis
Francis of Assisi lived out the Good News with such generosity and intensity that the stigmata, the marks of Christ's passion, became imprinted on Francis' hands, feet and side.
Known for his poverty, in 1213 Francis accepted from Count Orlando of Chiusi the verbal gift of Mount La Verna, located between the Tiber and Arno rivers in the province of Arezzo, north of Rome. For 12 years this mountain served Francis as a place of prayer and penance; it continues today as a place of pilgrimage and prayer.
Francis had such a great devotion to Saint Michael the Archangel that several times he observed a 40-day fast before the saint's feast on September 29. Near the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14) in 1224, Francis had a vision of a six-winged angel, a seraph, and then realized that his hands, feet and side now bore the marks of Christ's passion.
The fact of the stigmata was known only to a few people in Francis' lifetime because he wanted to avoid any sensationalism about them or himself. Because these wounds caused him pain from time to time, Saint Clare made him a special pair of sandals to make walking easier. After his death in 1226, reliable witnesses, including the future popes Gregory IX and Alexander IV, testified that they had seen the stigmata on Francis' corpse. Many people eventually interpreted the stigmata as a recognition of Francis' radical conformity to Christ.
Pope Benedict XI (1303-04) allowed this feast to be observed within the Franciscan family.
Francis was quite ready to die as a martyr when he visited Egypt in 1220. God obviously wanted him to continue preaching the Good News and supporting that work through prayer as well as penance. The stigmata, which deepened Francis' humble service of God and neighbor, are a rare gift within God's people. Generously living out the Good News of Jesus should characterize all disciples.
"And because he always bore and preserved Christ Jesus and him crucified in his heart with a wonderful love, he was marked in a most glorious way above all others with the seal of him whom in a rapture of mind he contemplated, sitting in inexpressible and incomprehensible glory at the right hand of the Father, with whom he, the co-equal and most high Son of the Most High, lives and reigns, conquers and governs in union with the Holy Spirit, God eternally glorious through all ages forever. Amen" (2 Celano, #115).
Daily Prayer - 2016-01-08
Dear Lord, you have called me by my name.
It is so easy to get caught up
There is a time and place for everything, as the saying goes.
The Word of God
Friday after Epiphany
Reading 1 1 Jn 5:5-13
Responsorial Psalm PS 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20
R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Alleluia See Mt 4:23
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 5:12-16
It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was;
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean. (Luke 5:12)
Obviously this man had faith. He sincerely believed that Jesus could heal him. Still, it seems he wasn't sure if Jesus would heal him. Having a disfiguring skin disease may have made him unwilling to ask for help. Also, many in his day viewed leprosy as the result of sin. Imagine the shame this man must have been bearing!
But none of this mattered to Jesus. The man's belief that Jesus could do the impossible and the fact that he was reaching out for help were all he needed. And so in this story, we have an illustration of something Jesus later told his apostles: "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you" (Luke 17:6). The man had faith, and the impossible happened.
This is the kind of faith that Jesus is looking for in us—not perfect faith, mind you; just enough to yield to him. But like this fellow, we may believe that God can bless and heal; we're just not sure he wants to do it for us. We may feel unworthy of his attention. We may think that some sin from our past disqualifies us. Or we may question our own faith, and so hesitate to reach out to the Lord for healing.
To each of these fears—and whatever other obstacles we may face—Jesus offers a very simple response: "I do will it" (Luke 5:13). He assures you of his love for you. He smiles when you think he will condemn you. He even laughs a bit at your thought that you don't matter to him. "Of course you matter! Come over here, and let me embrace you," he says with a warm smile.
What areas in your life need the touch of Jesus? Whatever they are, believe that he wants to help you. Let him heal your illness or help you accept it. He may help you reconcile with an old friend or family member. Maybe he will provide for a need you didn't know you had. Whatever the case, believe that he can, and that he wants to, work!
"Jesus, help me to believe in your goodness and kindness toward me. Thank you, Lord, for your love!"
1 John 5:5-13
Proof For Them
In today's 1st Holy Scripture we heard "Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" Then can we say that I am a victor, you are a victor, and together we can be a victor? Yes, the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God! Do you believe? And then towards the end says "God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life." Who do you possess? Who is possessing your heart and soul? Look at what the WOrd said before this though "Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son." Ouch! WHo's being called a liar? Whoever does not believe Him. Isn't that the truth? If you don't believe someone what they are saying then...they are lying! This Word of the Lord is carrying much more weight than we care to value then! If we doubt, and do not believe, then what are we to do? Ask the Lord, like the beggars, like the lepers, and like the man with a dying child "Lord, I do believe, help me overcome my disbelief!"(Mark 9:24). I don't want to be a liar Lord, help me!
The Psalms we prayed said "For he has strengthened the bars of your gates; he has blessed your children within you." and "Praise the Lord, Jerusalem." I would like to see if there is a book out there, if not, maybe you can write the book about how parents, married parents need children. The world has trained itself to believe children are to be limited or not to be had at all. Unmarried parents need children too, so that they may feel the urgency to be married with God. The common denominator? We need the blessings of God to bless God. "He sends forth his command to the earth; swiftly runs his word!" The command and His Word has encompassed the world, now, if it will sink into your heart? That is the crux of the matter, the faith the belief, the love of God!!!
The Lord enters our life today. The other day I said He has to work in spectacular ways in giving for hearts to be moved, and so do we. How much can we work in spectacular ways? Because this year, I want to challenge you. We keep hearing over and over to do little things with great love, but I want to up it, do GREAT things with TREMENDOUS love! Like what? LOL, you tell me, I'm waiting for the Lord to do great things. The leper today didn't limit the Lord, and neither shall we. It was unheard of to be cured of leprosy, until the Lord came into the life. The same can happen with you. What you thought was impossible, is exactly possible, your healing awaits! What's more important? The spiritual healing or physical? So that you may believe, listen to that, so that you MIGHT believe, the Lord does great tremendous things, but this only happens to those open to Him already, seeking, desiring to see their Father in Heaven. And so tons of people came "heal me too!", but the Lord would go away. For they were not seeking Him, they only wanted for themselves...to be served and not be served the Spirit of God. Look, I just opened the Imitation of Christ book by Thomas Kempis and it said to confirm:
CHRIST: My child, renounce yourself and you shall find Me. Stand as though you had not the power of choice. Cast out all self-seeking and it will always be to your true advantage; for you will always gain greater grace when you have given yourself up completely to Me without taking back your gift.
Disciple: Lord, how often must I forsake myself and in what things must I practice self-renunciation?
Christ: You must forget yourself always and in all things, in small things as well as in those that are great. I make no exceptions, but want you to be divested of your self-will in all things. For how can you be wholly Mine and I totally yours, if you still entertain self-will within and outside yourself? The sooner you accomplish this, the better will your condition be; and the more complete and sincere your renunciation, the more will you please Me and the greater will be your spiritual gain.
It goes on to say that there are those who don't fully commit themselves and do not fully trust God and so are busy providing for themselves. Some give up everything at first and then fall into temptation to go back to everything they gave up. Such persons will not acquire true liberty of one who is clean of heart, nor will they obtain the grace of a most joyful familiarity with HIM! Therefore to attain this they must first wholly renounce themselves and daily offer themselves as victims of sacrifice to HIM! for without this there cannot exist any lasting union.
I could go on and on, because this Gospel is so deep! It speaks of confession, penance (doing as prescribed by the priest) and about the mercy of God inundating a soul and it is healed and by second-hand blessing, the body is healed. They say the vast majority of people don't need any exorcisms but a good full hearted confession, which in of itself is also a renunciation where you are asked "do you promise to never forsake your loved one?" as if in marriage and indeed it is a Holy Sacrament. Do you renounce? Do you vow? Are you taking on the challenge of doing great Things!!!?
YES LORD YES YESSSS
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