Born in Casoria (near Naples), Arcangelo Palmentieri was a cabinet-maker before entering the Friars Minor in 1832, taking the name Ludovico. After his ordination five years later, he taught chemistry, physics and mathematics to younger members of his province for several years.
In 1847 he had a mystical experience which he later described as a cleansing. After that he dedicated his life to the poor and the infirm, establishing a dispensary for the poor, two schools for African children, an institute for the children of nobility, as well as an institution for orphans, the deaf and the speechless, and other institutes for the blind, elderly and for travelers. In addition to an infirmary for friars of his province, he began charitable institutes in Naples, Florence and Assisi. He once said, "Christ's love has wounded my heart." This love prompted him to great acts of charity.
To help continue these works of mercy, in 1859 he established the Gray Brothers, a religious community composed of men who formerly belonged to the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later he founded the Gray Sisters of St. Elizabeth for the same purpose.
Toward the beginning of his final, nine-year illness, Ludovico wrote a spiritual testament which described faith as "light in the darkness, help in sickness, blessing in tribulations, paradise in the crucifixion and life amid death." The local work for his beatification began within five months of Ludovico's death. He was beatified in 1993 and canonized in 2014.
Saintly people are not protected from suffering, but with God's help they learn how to develop compassion from it. In the face of great suffering, we move either toward compassion or indifference. Saintly men and women show us the path toward compassion.
Ludovico's spiritual testament begins: "The Lord called me to himself with a most tender love, and with an infinite charity he led and directed me along the path of my life."
God is with me, but more, God is within me, giving me existence. Let me dwell for a moment on God's life-giving presence in my body, my mind, my heart and in the whole of my life.
Lord, I pray for your gift of freedom. May your Holy Spirit guide those in power to work for equality for all your people.
To be conscious about something is to be aware of it. Dear Lord help me to remember that You gave me life. Thank you for the gift of life. Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me. To be aware of the beauty that surrounds me. The marvel of mountains, the calmness of lakes, the fragility of a flower petal. I need to remember that all these things come from you.
The Word of God
Tuesday in the Octave of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 2:36-41
On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jewish people, "Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other Apostles, "What are we to do, my brothers?" Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call." He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.
Responsorial Psalm PS 33:4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22
R. (5b) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Upright is the word of the LORD, and all his works are trustworthy. He loves justice and right; of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness, To deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Our soul waits for the LORD, who is our help and our shield. May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us who have put our hope in you.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Alleluia Ps 118:24
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 20:11-18
Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken my Lord, and I don't know where they laid him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" She thought it was the gardener and said to him, "Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni," which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, "Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and then reported what he had told her.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ How well we come to know Mary Magdalen in this scene! Grief-stricken at the loss of her beloved Jesus, she stands disconsolate and disoriented at the empty tomb. See how Jesus turns her heartache into joy, her misery into delight, simply by calling her by name. Her dear one lives! And more, he has a mission to entrust to her. She is to tell the other disciples: "I have seen the Lord". This is the testimony we too are called to give to the world.
▪ A common theme in all the resurrection stories is the difficulty the disciples first encounter in recognising the risen Jesus. He is taken for a gardener, a stranger, a ghost. Why is this? What prevents even those who knew Jesus from "seeing"?
What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to 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.
_Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38) _
"This is the plank after shipwreck." Those are the words of an influential theologian, referring to Peter's call to repentance and baptism at Pentecost. Think back to last week, when we reflected on human weakness, on the scandal of God's creation sending his own Son to death. When we participate in dramatic readings of the Passion over the Easter Triduum, we cry out, "Crucify him" as a way of admitting that we have sinned, just as they did. It really is a shipwreck!
Now this week we begin a new season in which we celebrate Jesus' triumph over our sin. Peter's call to repentance and baptism tells us that though we have sinned, we don't have to drown in it. Peter's words on Pentecost were not a criticism of his listeners—they were an offer of liberation from the burden of sin and guilt.
That same offer is extended to us each day. In baptism, God pulled you out of the water and embraced you, and in Confession, he embraces you again and again and again.
As comforting as this thought is, there's something even greater in Peter's words. Remember, he was addressing a whole crowd of people. Not only has God saved us individually, but he has saved us together and built us into a Church. You could say that he didn't just leave us a plank to float on—he has built an entire ship! God's plan was never just to fish you out of sin and let you float along until his return. He has brought you aboard the Church.
Like a ship on the ocean, God's people are on a voyage; our course has been set. This means you have crewmates, brothers and sisters to encourage and support you. It means that God knows you are worth bringing aboard. And it means that you have a role to play in the ship's mission. Take some time in your prayer today to reflect on God's goodness in not only rescuing you but also joining you to his people and giving you a role to play in his plan of salvation.
"Lord, thank you for saving your people and establishing your Church."
my2cents: I can only imagine the encounter Saint Peter, our first Pope was declaring to the Jewish audience, because what was said aimed the thousands to be convinced and "when they heard this, they were cut to the heart". If only I had the words of Saint Peter to convince thousands to repent and be baptized! Saint Peter was convinced first. Convinced of what though? Because this man had betrayed the one he told himself he would never betray. It's good to make promises to the Lord, and if you break them, let them have all the more recourse to a stronger promise. And a Sacrament is a promise. It is a love pact...with God. "See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness, To deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine." I once was lost, but now I am found. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. Grace, my fears relieved. How precious did that Grace appear The hour I first believed. And the appearance of our Lord is extraordinary, take it from Mary, the Magdalene, who was crying, faithful to her love, and watch what happens to a faithful follower on Easter...a special encounter. Can a woman love a man like this without being called a prostitute? Yes. Because He is Lord, He is King, He is the Father in the Son. Yes because anything is possible, like a pure love. I remember several years ago, I was at a Dairy Queen (probably there for an ice cream), and I saw a jar asking for donations for a baby born with cystic fibrosis, a debilitating and even crippling condition. I typically don't have cash, I was paying with a credit card, so I jotted the phone number down to offer help. Throughout the last years, the baby has been growing, at times walking, then on a little wheelchair, and they are still trying to get her braces to walk, and last year they had a tube put in her so she could go to the bathroom. It is a heart wrenching ordeal that I have been honored to partake in their sufferings by offering help. Throughout the years though, I've been (jokingly?) accused of being a lover, not of this angel of God, but of the mother of the child. My oh my how twisted the devil makes minds work. But it is the thanks one gets and deserves for being the hand of Christ. Once you get involved you will know. And I say all of this for you to realize the possibility of a pure love of God, like Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mother of God. Pure love exists and it is out of this world. For it was out of Pure Love that Christ resurrected, it was for Pure Love of His daughters and sons and brothers and mothers that He rose again. It was for...get this...He came especially for a wretch, a twisted sinner that the world decides to outcast. Ever feel like an outcast? Good. Now come to the Lord. At first you won't recognize Him, but keep on, and soon you'll find yourself wrapped around Jesus. And then He'll say to stop holding on, and GO.
Do you believe? If you only knew how much it cost to avail you the opportunity you have now. This country was won by much hardship and bloodshed. But much more, and worth more was the blood shed for your true freedom, by the Christ, our Lord. Because where we are free with Him is completeness. Last night I wrote and recorded a song about a car, asking you to hop on and drive and I'll teach you how to stop riding low and get on high, to come on let's hit the road, the road to the Lord, hit the gas, where we'll be free at last, free AT LAST FREE AT LAST!!! (email me if you want to listen to it, I had a hard time downloading it will get to it later)
Taste and see what LOVE (GOD) Is like, it is peace it is joy it is freedom and it is new and it is Him and it's with you...