"The devotion to the Eucharist is the most noble, because it has God as its object; it is the most profitable for salvation, because it gives us the Author of Grace; it is the sweetest, because the Lord is Sweetness Itself." — Pope St. Pius X
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Feast: March 31
Information: Feast Day: March 31 Died: 424 in Persia
Isdegerdes, son of Sapor III, put a stop to the cruel persecution against the Christians in Persia, which had been begun by Sapor II, and the church had enjoyed twelve years' peace in that kingdom when, in 420, it was disturbed by the indiscreet zeal of one Abdas, a Christian bishop, who burned down the Pyraeum, or temple of fire, the great divinity of the Persians. King Isdegerdes threatened to demolish all the churches of the Christians unless he would rebuild it. Abdas had done ill in destroying the temple, but did well in refusing to rebuild it; for nothing can make it lawful to contribute to any act of idolatry, or to the building a temple, as Theodoret observes. Isdegerdes therefore demolished all the Christian churches in Persia, put to death Abdas, and raised a general persecution against the church, which continued forty years with great fury. Isdegerdes died the year following, in 421. But his son and successor, Varanes, carried on the persecution with greater inhumanity. The very description which Theodoret, a contemporary writer, and one that lived in the neighbourhood, gives of the cruelties he exercised on the Christians strikes us with horror: some were flayed alive in different parts of the body, and suffered all kinds of torture that could be invented: others, being stuck all over with sharp reeds, were hauled and rolled about in that condition; others were tormented divers other ways, such as nothing but the most hellish malice was capable of suggesting. Amongst these glorious champions of Christ was St. Benjamin, a deacon. The tyrant caused him to be beaten and imprisoned. He had lain a year in the dungeon when an ambassador from the emperor obtained his enlargement on condition he should never speak to any of the courtiers about religion.
The ambassador passed his word in his behalf that he would not; but Benjamin, who was a minister of the gospel, declared that he could not detain the truth in captivity, conscious to himself of the condemnation of the slothful servant for having hid his talent. He therefore neglected no opportunity of announcing Christ. The king, being informed that he still preached the faith in his kingdom, ordered him to be apprehended; but the martyr made no other reply to his threats than by putting this question to the king: What opinion he would have of any of his subjects who should renounce his allegiance to him, and join in war against him? The enraged tyrant caused reeds to be run in between the nails and the flesh both of his hands and feet, and the same to be thrust into other most tender parts, and drawn out again, and this to be frequently repeated with violence. He lastly ordered a knotty stake to be thrust into his bowels, to rend and tear them, in which torment he expired in the year 424. The Roman Martyrology places his name on the 31st of March.
St. Ephrem, considering the heroic constancy of the martyrs, makes on them the following pious reflections: "The wisdom of philosophers, and the eloquence of the greatest orators, are dumb through amazement, when they contemplate the wonderful spectacle and glorious actions of the martyrs: the tyrants and judges were not able to express their astonishment when they beheld the faith, the constancy, and the cheerfulness of these holy champions. What excuse shall we have in the dreadful day of judgment, if we, who have never been exposed to any cruel persecutions, or to the violence of such torments, shall have neglected the love of God and the care of a spiritual life? No temptations, no torments, were able to draw them from that love which they bore to God; but we, living in rest and delights, refuse to love our most merciful and gracious Lord. What shall we do in that day of terror, when the martyrs of Christ, standing with confidence near his throne, shall show the marks of their wounds? What shall we then show? Shall we present a lively faith? true charity towards God? a perfect disengagement of our affections from earthly things? souls freed from the tyranny of the passions? silence and recollection? meekness? almsdeeds? prayers poured forth with clean hearts? compunction, watchings, tears? Happy shall he be whom such good works shall attend. He will be the partner of the martyrs, and, supported by the treasure of these virtues, shall appear with equal confidence before Christ and his angels." We entreat you, O most holy martyrs, who cheerfully suffered most cruel torments for God our Saviour and his love, on which account you are now most intimately and familiarly united to him, that you pray to the Lord for us miserable sinners, covered with filth, that he infuse into us the grace of Christ that it may enlighten our souls that we may love him..."
The world is charged with the grandeur of God. (Gerard Manley Hopkins) I dwell for a moment on the Presence of God around me, in every part of my body, and deep within my being.
By God's grace I was born to live in freedom. Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me. Dear Lord, grant that I may live as You intended, with complete confidence in Your Loving care.
My soul longs for your presence, Lord. When I turn my thoughts to you, I find peace and contentment.
The Word of God
Thursday in the Octave of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 3:11-26
As the crippled man who had been cured clung to Peter and John, all the people hurried in amazement toward them in the portico called "Solomon's Portico." When Peter saw this, he addressed the people, "You children of Israel, why are you amazed at this, and why do you look so intently at us as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus whom you handed over and denied in Pilate's presence, when he had decided to release him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses. And by faith in his name, this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong, and the faith that comes through it has given him this perfect health, in the presence of all of you. Now I know, brothers and sisters, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did; but God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer. Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment and send you the Christ already appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old. For Moses said:
A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kin; to him you shall listen in all that he may say to you. Everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be cut off from the people.
"Moreover, all the prophets who spoke, from Samuel and those afterwards, also announced these days. You are the children of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors when he said to Abraham, In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed. For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways."
Responsorial Psalm PS 8:2ab and 5, 6-7, 8-9
R. (2ab) O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth! or:
O LORD, our Lord, how glorious is your name over all the earth! What is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him?
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
You have made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting all things under his feet.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
All sheep and oxen, yes, and the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea, and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
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 Lk 24:35-48
The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way, and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread.
While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have." And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.
He said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, "Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Luke wants to affirm that the Risen Christ is not a ghost or a pure spirit. There is still a physicality about him even though his body is now transformed. Hence Luke presents the disciples as not just looking but also touching; and Jesus as not only speaking but also eating. Yet the precise nature of the risen body must remain a mystery.
"You are witnesses to these things". All through the 'Resurrection stories', people come to faith by meeting Jesus, and at the same time they become witnesses to others. How do you witness to those around you: family, workmates, friends?
Conversation requires talking and listening. As I talk to Jesus may I also learn to be still and listen. I picture the gentleness in His eyes and the smile full of love as he gazes on me. I can be totally honest with Jesus as I tell Him of my worries and my cares. I will open up my heart to Him as I tell Him of my fears and my doubts. I will ask Him to help me to place myself fully in His care, to abandon myself to Him, knowing that He always wants what is best for me.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
As the funeral service ends, a young man and his girlfriend walk out of the church. Unexpectedly, he turns to her, gets down on one knee, and asks her to marry him. While it may seem like an unusual setting for a proposal, the man was actually being strategic. "I will love you and care for you for the rest of your life," he tells her. "I want to be with you until the day of my funeral."
Is it any less strange—or strategic—that the greatest demonstration of God's love was the death of his Son? Or think about the way Jesus proved his resurrection to his disciples: by showing them his still-wounded hands and feet and side. Up until that point, the disciples thought they were seeing a ghost. But now came the "big reveal," the moment when they discovered that by dying he had overcome death. All at once, their sorrow was turned into amazement and joy.
Jesus' victory looked so different from what the disciples had expected. Instead of arriving with a king's crown or a huge army, he returned bearing the wounds of a brutal death. Even though he is now risen in glory, his body remains marred. He isn't just restored to his former state—he is transformed in a way that reflects the price he paid for our salvation. God didn't just press a reset button. He took Jesus through death into a new and eternal life.
Jesus' scars are the marks of his love for us—a love unto death. Every day, he invites us to gaze at these wounds and to see in them the proof of his victory. What's more, he wants to convince us that he can turn our own wounds into marks of triumph. There is no situation too desperate for him to overcome.
Jesus, the scarred and wounded Messiah, has already "proposed" to you. He is already living out his vows to love you and honor you and be true to you all the days of your life. If you ever find yourself doubting, just look at his hands and feet.
"Jesus, thank you for the marks of your victory! Strengthen my faith in your power to heal and restore."
my2cents: "As the crippled man who had been cured clung to Peter and John..." then, only then did the people run in amazement and wonder. The name of the crippled man was not mentioned. Perhaps he became a Christ follower, for it was faith that had saved him, with the faith of St. Peter and St. John. I like it though. He "clung" to them, as in gratefulness, as in appreciation, as in love, as in supreme thanksgiving. That's what I want to see when God saves you. This morning I got a few interruptions, you see, I'm at work, should be working but as I tell people, either you work for the business or you work for the Lord. One call was about a nearby fire, but another was an old friend, saying he lost my number, and then he let me know he finally got baptized. In my astonishment I asked "you mean, you've never been baptized?" He's older than me, and I have talked with him many a time about faith. He spoke as if he was in a new life. My only deal in my head now is, "why didn't I ever know he wasn't baptized?" I just assumed, for as much as we talked about faith, I guess it never came up? Yesterday we read in the Holy Scripture "repent and be baptized" and today we heard "Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away..." This is the blood of the lamb that sees to it that you shall not die forever. We pray the Psalms today "O LORD, our Lord, how glorious is your name over all the earth! What is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him? You have made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting all things under his feet." Many are confused about the world we live in. Take for instance, on Easter, Mother Angelica passed away beautifully in loving care of our Lord. Yet, the same day, I think in Pakistan, suicide bombers murdered other Christians celebrating easter. The lovers of death are in the world. Strange world? Mother Angelica was not the only one accepted into the Lord on Sunday. Let me share with you a couple things. First, realize, this whole email takes me about 1 to 2 hours per day with interruptions, and meditations. It comes through insights from various catholic websites, I take each part from different people and organizations, and the Holy Scripture as well from USCCB. And then I read two to 3 reflections daily and then I pray, and then I write to you. Here's one of the snips I read today, it's not short, but it is an eye opener that ties into what you and I would be tempted to call, a strange world: from morningoffering.com a.k.a. (The Catholic Company) ""I've appointed the Devil to tempt and to trouble My creatures in this life [St. Catherine of Siena reports that Our Lord said to her]. I've done this, not so that My creatures will be overcome, but so that they may overcome, proving their virtue and receiving from Me the glory of victory. And no one should fear any battle or temptation of the Devil that may come to him, because I've made My creatures strong, and I've given them strength of will, fortified in the Blood of My Son. Neither the Devil nor any other creature can control this free will, because it's yours, given to you by Me. By your own choice, then, you hold it or let it go if you please. It's a weapon, and if you place it in the hands of the Devil, it right away becomes a knife that he'll use to stab and kill you. On the other hand, if you don't place this knife that is your will into the hands of the Devil—that is, if you don't consent to his temptations and harassments—you will never be injured by the guilt of sin in any temptation. Instead, you'll actually be strengthened by the temptation, as long as you open the eyes of your mind to see My love, and to understand why I allowed you to be tempted: so you could develop virtue by having it proved. My love permits these temptations, for the Devil is weak. He can do nothing by himself unless I allow him. So I let him tempt you because I love you, not because I hate you. I want you to conquer, not to be conquered, and to come to a perfect knowledge of yourself and of Me."— St. Catherine of Siena, p. 159-60 AN EXCERPT FROM Manual for Spiritual Warfare, p159-60
Our Lord enters our lives, by surprise and even the apostles get scared thinking it's a ghost. And what does the Lord say? ""Peace be with you." Shaking in their boots, this is what happens when we believe the Lord is not with us. This is what happens when we are actually not with Him! I'm not speaking about others, I'm speaking of me too. I mean, when you're up to no good, even walking in the night in the dark out in the country can feel scary, like the fears get jumped to 50% to 80% more than normal. Watching your back is no life. This, this then needs to be a moment of reckoning and of truth. ""Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?" And the Lord says today, "LOOK" Look at me! Look at what I've done for you, look at my hands, look at my feet, feed me, I want to eat with you. ""Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer" and rightly so, if we are Christ followers, we must suffer. My grandma was a powerhouse of a lay (non clergy) Catholic, yet she suffered in her old age died at 92. Mother Angelica another powerhouse of (religious/clergy) Catholic and she suffered much of her older age died at 92. Physical suffering we must endure for Him, and it is hard isn't it? Yet these women died peacefully, unforced and totally surrendered to their love of life, their spouse...Jesus. And He goes on "and rise from the dead on the third day" which is what happens to the faithful, they too will rise. My dad was killed by electricity along with a cousin about 39 years ago. He speaks of having died and risen above his body and saw his body and saying "That's not me! People are going to think that's me! My mother is going to suffer so much!" And he must've prayed, and then got zapped back into pain and misery, literally suffering severe burns and having to carry his dead cousin. Why did they die? Because they were fooling around, having decided to take a break at work on the farm fields, saw a rabbit, wanted to catch it and they lifted an irrigation pipe that hit a powerline instantly killing them. There is no fooling around for what continues to be said when our Lord said today "...and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations". Teach repentance. And walk the talk. If something strikes me to the heart is having to write to you daily and not have a true heart. That is the struggle in our free world. All I have is my testimony. The reason my2cents exists is to give you a real life feel for faith. I want your faith to grow, and it can grow so much, it is crazy. Just think, you are so special in your world, that you can love Jesus like nobody else in the world can. Love Him in one another, be the living testimony of God. "You are witnesses of these things." says our Lord today to end. You are witnessing in your daily life. The Spirit has prompted me to say one more thing. You know how people go to Church on Sundays, and you know how they send their kids to Sunday School or for Catholics it's CCD, well that's good. When we go to Church you can see and be a witness, same with CCD. But what about everyday life? That is the testimony too. Your life at home and at work, that is your testimony, your witnessing. If we're so good about spreading rumors LOL like this morning I called the sherrifs about the fire and I gave them wrong directions because the hand told me wrong, but that's how rumors go, but if we're so good at spreading all sorts of news, why not the GOOD News? Don't know any? LOL. EXACTLY. That's when we have to immerse ourselves in Him... by the way... are YOU baptized??
your brother through the redemption of Christ, adrian