"At each step we can admire the grandeur, the power, the goodness of God. How bountifully He provides for all our wants —I would even say for our pleasures!" — St. Théodore Guérin
"Do not look for the faults of your friend. Do not repeat the shortcomings of your neighbors in your talk. You are not the judge of creation. You do not have dominion over the earth. If you love righteousness, admonish your soul and yourself. Be the judge of your own sins, and chastise your own transgressions." — St. Ephrem the Syrian AN EXCERPT FROM A Year with the Church Fathers, p237
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St. John Baptist de la Salle
Complete dedication to what he saw as God's will for him dominated the life of John Baptist de la Salle. In 1950, Pope Pius XII named him patron of schoolteachers for his efforts in upgrading school instruction. As a young 17th-century Frenchman, John had everything going for him: scholarly bent, good looks, noble family background, money, refined upbringing. At the early age of 11, he received the tonsure and started preparation for the priesthood, to which he was ordained at 27. He seemed assured then of a life of dignified ease and a high position in the Church.
But God had other plans for John, which were gradually revealed to him in the next several years. During a chance meeting with M. Nyel of Raven, he became interested in the creation of schools for poor boys in Raven, where he was stationed. Though the work was extremely distasteful to him at first, he became more involved in working with the deprived youths.
Once convinced that this was his divinely appointed mission, John threw himself wholeheartedly into the work, left home and family, abandoned his position as canon at Rheims, gave away his fortune and reduced himself to the level of the poor to whom he devoted his entire life.
The remainder of his life was closely entwined with the community of religious men he founded, the Brothers of the Christian School (Christian Brothers, or De La Salle Brothers). This community grew rapidly and was successful in educating boys of poor families, using methods designed by John. It prepare teachers in the first training college for teachers and also set up homes and schools for young delinquents of wealthy families. The motivating element in all these endeavors was the desire to become a good Christian.
Yet even in his success, John did not escape experiencing many trials: heartrending disappointment and defections among his disciples, bitter opposition from the secular schoolmasters who resented his new and fruitful methods, and persistent opposition from the Jansenists of his time, whose moral rigidity and pessimism abut the human condition John resisted vehemently all his life.
Afflicted with asthma and rheumatism in his last years, he died on Good Friday at 68 and was canonized in 1900.
Complete dedication to one's calling by God, whatever it may be, is a rare quality. Jesus asks us to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30b, emphasis added). Paul gives similar advice: "Whatever you do, do from the heart..." (Colossians 3:23).
"What is nobler than to mold the character of the young? I consider that he who knows how to form the youthful mind is truly greater than all painters, sculptors and all others of that sort" (St. John Chrysostom).
Lord, help me to be fully alive to your Holy presence. Enfold me in your love. Let my heart become one with yours.
Dear Lord, instil in my heart the desire to know and love you more. May I respond to your will for my life.
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
Memorial of Saint John Baptist de la Salle, Priest
Reading 1 Acts 5:27-33
When the court officers had brought the Apostles in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, "We gave you strict orders did we not, to stop teaching in that name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man's blood upon us." But Peter and the Apostles said in reply, "We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him."
When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.
Responsorial Psalm PS 34:2 and 9, 17-18, 19-20
R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or: R. Alleluia. I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. 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.
or: R. Alleluia. The LORD confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth. When the just cry out, the LORD hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or: R. Alleluia. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the LORD delivers him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 20:29
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord; blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 3:31-36
The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy. For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Lord, when I look at you I feel so earth-bound. I am stuck in the mud, busy about my little anxieties and desires. Raise me up: keep reminding me that you want me to be with you in that divine dimension that you inhabit. All things are in your hands, including me, so help me believe more deeply in you and your promise of eternal life. Let me be like you and speak 'the words of God' to others.
What is stirring in me as I pray? Am I consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side and share my feelings with him. Conclusion
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
What a wild ride! For the past three years, the apostles have abandoned home and careers to follow Jesus. Then, in shock, they watch as he is crucified and buried. Only days later, they step inside his tomb and discover it empty. They have seen Jesus, alive, walk through walls. They felt the fire of Pentecost and have begun performing signs and wonders themselves. And now, they're being hauled before a grand jury of the Sanhedrin and high priest to answer for the trouble they've caused.
Did they really sign up for this roller-coaster life? No. They had no idea what they were getting themselves into when they answered Jesus' call. They just saw something in him that they were willing to trust, something they were willing to risk their plans for. Perhaps it was his authority and power. Maybe it was his love. Whatever it was, something awakened inside them. When they said yes to him, they stepped out in faith, and their lives were catapulted into an adventure that would leave them changed forever.
It's true. This adventure of discipleship is fraught with challenge. The psalmist even vented, "Many are the troubles of the just man" (Psalm 34:20)! It's a sure bet that when we say yes to God, we will eventually experience troubles. Just look at the apostles and the saints. None of them were strangers to hardship. We may focus on the miracles and victories, but there were also persecutions, imprisonments, bullyings, and, for some, martyrdom.
And yet despite all the hardships he faced, John still wrote, "God is trustworthy" (John 3:33). Why? Because he also knew that the Father doesn't ration his love. He has given his Son and his Spirit to us completely, without reservation.
What does that say to you? Everything! It tells you how deeply God treasures you. He has given everything to you! That's why you can consider him to be trustworthy.
Whether today feels like Pentecost or a grand jury inquest like the apostles faced, keep giving your yes to Jesus. None of us have any idea what tomorrow holds. But God does, and he has equipped you with everything you need to keep following him. He himself is trustworthy to walk with you in the adventure of a lifetime.
"Lord, I have tasted and seen your goodness. I give my yes to you."
my2cents: From today's super long text reflection, let me translate: "Enflame the SPIRITUAL FLAME
What is the secret to focus our attention on God, and have a more interior life?
There was a very rich king that was reputed to be indifferent to material wealth, and a deeply religious man, something rather unusual for a character in its category.
In this situation, and driven by curiosity, a subject wanted to find out the secret of the sovereign to not be dazzled by gold, jewelry and excessive luxury that characterized the nobility of his time. Immediately after the necessary greetings and courtesy call, the man asked:
▪ "Majesty, what is your secret to cultivating the spiritual life, in the midst of so much wealth?" The king said: - "I shall tell, if you journey through my palace, to understand the magnitude of my wealth. But take a lit candle, and If it goes out, I will behead you..". At the end of the ride, the king asked: - "What do you think of my wealth?" The person replied: - "I saw nothing..
I only worried that the flame will not turn off " and the king said: -." That's my secret! I'm so busy trying to stoke my inner flame, that the riches of the world does not interest me." Many times we want to live as better Christians, and have a better spiritual life, but we decide to look away from the things around us and dazzle with their apparent beauty. Let us try to "see inside" and enliven our spirit, as we are called. - By having our mind and heart on the Lord, we can learn to know and love Him. Trivialities and anxieties of life may not deviate us from the right path. - It will grow our love for the family and our fellow men, who are God's image. - We will live happy in this life, preparing for eternal happiness with our Father. While you have light, believe in the light to be illuminated, (Jn 12:36)" end of long text LOL, I told you it was a long text message, and that was only about half! The rest of snips of books I have attached. The rest comes from other sources. But let's focus on the supreme source of all eternal goodness...the Lord. Today we heard the words of the Lord ""We must obey God rather than men. " His laws are more. When people ask me how I am voting, I vote according to God's laws, not any opinions, and HIS Law is LIFE. I am never a democrat, I am never a republican, I am never an independent, I AM FOR LIFE and being so, a staunch follower of God, I will vote who will honor LIFE and GOD Is ETERNAL LIFE!
"The Lord hears the cry of the poor. I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Taste and see how good the LORD is" I want you to realize the infinite in the finite, that is, eternal life in our mortal life. The realization is true, because we have a spirit of God inside of us, and this is why LIFE is precious, every life, beginning from the conception to natural end. It is sad to see humans treated as animals. "Let's put her down" says the vet when he don't see a promising life in the animal, but that's the words used for elderly, or unborn humans. Eternal life hinges on this...dealing with the finite. The Lord speaks Truth to everyone today "The one who comes from above is above all." You may recall, the gods thing I mentioned yesterday, that what is at the center of our lives makes for the gods of your life. Jesus says the One from Above is a ABOVE ALL." This reality is our challenge, to become out-centered, not self-centered. To put others before you, by putting God first. The challenge sends us into a battle. Why? Naturally, a battle against self until self is conquered in the name of Jesus. This is what the Jews didn't want, and this is what the world doesn't want, because it is focused on self. Just look out to the moon, and the other moons and the other stars. What awaits? Lights don't last and life don't last, but Jesus promises everlasting life. I'm going to let you in on a revelation, it's your reward for reading so much today! LOL, let these words change you forever, and God Bless You with them because they are a truth that makes life worth living:
"For all your pains For all your longings For all your desires For all your emptiness For all your failures For all your strife For all your life You've ever sought hopeful to see Him and be with Him, to fill your life, take heart, it will come to be...and it is in eternity." So set your sights on high. Completeness and joy awaits, and this will last forever. Everything else is passing.