To live like Francis, we are to live the Gospel—that is, live according to the Good News, live as God's children, brothers and sisters of Christ, temples of the Holy Spirit. Practically every detail of life has been modeled for us on the earthly life of Christ.
— from Live Like Francis
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St. Crescentia Hoess
Crescentia was born in 1682 in a little town near Augsburg, the daughter of a poor weaver. She spent play time praying in the parish church, assisted those even poorer than herself and had so mastered the truths of her religion that she was permitted to make her holy Communion at the then unusually early age of seven. In the town she was called "the little angel."
As she grew older she desired to enter the convent of the Tertiaries of St. Francis. But the convent was poor and, because Crescentia had no dowry, the superiors refused her admission. Her case was then pleaded by the Protestant mayor of the town to whom the convent owed a favor. The community felt it was forced into receiving her, and her new life was made miserable. She was considered a burden and assigned nothing other than menial tasks. Even her cheerful spirit was misinterpreted as flattery or hypocrisy.
Conditions improved four years later when a new superior was elected who realized her virtue. Crescentia herself was appointed mistress of novices. She so won the love and respect of the sisters that, upon the death of the superior, Crescentia herself was unanimously elected to that position. Under her the financial state of the convent improved and her reputation in spiritual matters spread. She was soon being consulted by princes and princesses as well as by bishops and cardinals seeking her advice. And yet, a true daughter of Francis, she remained ever humble.
Bodily afflictions and pain were always with her. First it was headaches and toothaches. Then she lost the ability to walk, her hands and feet gradually becoming so crippled that her body curled up into a fetal position. In the spirit of Francis she cried out, "Oh, you bodily members, praise God that he has given you the capacity to suffer." Despite her sufferings she was filled with peace and joy as she died on Easter Sunday in 1744.
She was beatified in 1900 and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2001.
Although she grew up in poverty and willingly embraced it in her vocation, Crescentia had a good head for business. Under her able administration, her convent regained financial stability. Too often we think of good money management as, at best, a less-than-holy gift. But Crescentia was wise enough to balance her worldly skills with such acumen in spiritual matters that heads of State and Church both sought her advice.
"Come to me all you who are burdened and I will give you rest" Here I am, Lord. I come to seek your presence. I long for your healing power.
Lord you gave me life and the gift of freedom. Through Your love I exist in this world. May I never take the gift of life for granted. May I always respect the right to life of others.
There is a time and place for everything, as the saying goes. Lord, grant that I may always desire to spend time in your presence. To hear your call.
The Word of God
Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 5:17-26
The high priest rose up and all his companions, that is, the party of the Sadducees, and, filled with jealousy, laid hands upon the Apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison, led them out, and said, "Go and take your place in the temple area, and tell the people everything about this life." When they heard this, they went to the temple early in the morning and taught. When the high priest and his companions arrived, they convened the Sanhedrin, the full senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the jail to have them brought in. But the court officers who went did not find them in the prison, so they came back and reported, "We found the jail securely locked and the guards stationed outside the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside." When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard this report, they were at a loss about them, as to what this would come to. Then someone came in and reported to them, "The men whom you put in prison are in the temple area and are teaching the people." Then the captain and the court officers went and brought them, but without force, because they were afraid of being stoned by the people.
Responsorial Psalm PS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Let my soul glory in the LORD; the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Glorify the LORD with me, let us together extol his name. I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame. When the poor one called out, the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Taste and see how good the LORD is; blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Alleluia Jn 3:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 3:16-21
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ It has been said that if all the Gospels had been lost early on except the first sentence above, that would be enough for us. Once we know that God 'loves the world to bits' we have hope. God is hard at work to save us – from evil and failure and ruin and darkness. God's plan is to bring us all into eternal life. Pope Francis puts it daringly: 'When everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved' (The Joy of the Gospel, 6). That can be my mantra for today and every day. Relationships are transformed when I catch on to the fact that the other person is 'infinitely loved'.
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.
If you have ever used dietary supplements, you've likely seen this disclaimer on the package: "This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease." The manufacturers want you to know that they are not legally liable if their product does not help you. They want you to understand what the product can't do as well as what it can do.
In today's Gospel reading, we find another disclaimer of sorts: "God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him" (John 3:17). John probably included this verse so that no one could misunderstand the message that came just before it: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (3:16). John wants us to be absolutely clear on what Jesus came to do—and what he did not come to do.
John's disclaimer is just as necessary today as it was in the first century. So many people have a negative view of the gospel. They fear God, picturing him as angry and vengeful, eager to punish the slightest misstep. We can hear the words "so that everyone who believes in him might not perish" as restrictive (John 3:16). The threat of perishing can loom large, and the stakes—"everlasting life"—can seem so high. "What if I don't believe strongly enough? What if I do something wrong and end up condemned to hell?"
And so comes John's disclaimer: God didn't send Jesus to condemn anyone. He sent him to save us. And not only us, but the whole world. That's about as expansive, generous, and hope filled as you can get!
So whenever you're feeling condemned, remember this truth. When you realize you've sinned or when you remember sins of the past, repeat this to yourself: "God gave Jesus to save me, not to condemn me." Let this verse become your mantra. The more you repeat it, the more it will settle into your spirit and the more free and joyful you will feel!
"Father, thank you for redeeming me! Help me to always see myself and other people in the light of your generosity and mercy."
my2cents: As I meditated before writing, in prayer with the Lord, and before going on, these words came to mind..."You Get What You Deserve". Now, with those words in mind, let's reflect on the Holy Scriptures of the day, with the first, where the Apostles, the disciples of Christ are preaching in the temple, and they are arrested. That night, the angel comes during their moment of prayer and says very important words of encouragement, "Go and take your place in the temple area, and tell the people everything about this life." The next morning they are found preaching in the temple, preaching and teaching about the life of Christ, because this is the life the angel was talking about...who knows, that angel perhaps was our Lord Jesus Himself. And what happens next? It seems all for nothing, because right back to jail they go. Had they not learned their lesson? I remember an ex-military warrior, brother Danny recounting the story of another military warrior our former cursillista director Greg Perez, and the story they tell goes something like this: A man hears God's voice telling him on a mountain to push on a great big rock. The man does it, and pushes for days on end. One day the devil comes by and asks the man "why are you pushing the rock? It's never going to move!". And the man is left with that thought, 'he's right, why am I pushing!" and so the Lord asks him from above "why did you stop pushing on the rock?" The man said "because, it's useless, it's never going to move", to which the Lord replied "I didn't tell you to move the rock, I simply asked you to push on it". The story reminds me of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta who so wisely said, "God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful."
Let us go forth. We pray with Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father "I will bless the LORD at all times;his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Let my soul glory in the LORD; the lowly will hear me and be glad." Life changing moments happened like this: I was a witness of a faithful follower, loving God. You are being watched closely, perhaps you will give Glory to God! We prayed on today "The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them." Realize, the first clue to a faithful follower is exactly what we have heard, one who has fear of the Lord, fear to be separated from Him in the slightest degree, fear of losing sight...the light. Therefore, "Taste and see how good the LORD is; blessed the man who takes refuge in him."
Today we heard the Word (the Lord Himself) "God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." You remember how we opened up today "You Get What You Deserve"? God Believes we deserve His best...His only Son of the Father. He was sent, into the poor, into the faithful. Not to the high priests, but to the faithful priests. The Descendant of King David, it's the story that keeps us moving, because it is our history and our future. What did we do as a people of God when He entered the earth? Many had taken ownership of the god-thing, the religion, no longer was it about God but about the people and many other things. As I reflected on this today, something seemed to be revealing itself...some of us, we don't have just one god, we have many. We claim to be monotheistic but are polytheistic, not about one god but about many. How can I say that? We make room for God, only as much as so many other things in life. In other words, our lives don't revolve around Him, they revolve around many things and He is just one of them to throw in the mix...gods. Isn't it true? Life is passing by fast. Yesterday flew by and is gone, and tomorrow? Will it fly by? Will it even come? We get what we deserve. These words are powerful and true, and it is not about Karma, but about a truth of the living Word. Either we choose the light, or we do not, therefore remaining in the dark. Either we choose to set our lives on Him, the rock, or on faulty sand. Either from this day forth, my life will focus solely on Him and His love, His children, or "other things" other god-like things that get all my love and attention, time and money.
Yesterday, as I dropped off my daughters in CCD, as I drove home I saw an ex-worker but friend of mine walking. I stopped and asked if he wanted a ride. This man is about my age, a little younger, walking, car broke down, not working much cuz he can't get to work, and struggling to pay bills and court fees for probation. Something told me this was my neighbor, and a good neighbor, and how? Because to the eyes of many, he is probably a slothful drug addict or a lazy selfish man that gets what he deserves. To me, he deserves much more. To me, this is a friend named Lazarus, living dead to the world, in need of the light and the light is nothing more than the Love of God. I told him I'd help him with the car thing. Life is happening too fast to not take advantage of a good neighbor like this. How is he good? I will pounce like a lion, this man needs God, this man needs help, this man needs salvation. I told him I'd pick him up after his probation class and he wanted to stay with me in the RCIA class I teach. He said he really liked it, and you could tell he was giddy about it, for I had been inviting him for months and it always slipped away. But, we get what we deserve, right? Yes. We deserve God's love. That's why Jesus was sent, as our friend, neighbor, and our God. Life revolves around the Son. Because when He was sent, the people were one of two kinds, the kind that rejected Him, and the kind that accepted Him. We get what we want.
I want you to savor Him, I want you to desire Him, and I want you to, yes, Taste and See how good the LORD is and Amen to: blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
Amen Praise be to God=Alleluia! Allah You YA! Praise be to God! My refuge, my Home, is with the Lord, in HIS temple We deserve all His Love amen?