"You must make a sound and firm resolution to submit yourselves totally to His will and, with a lively and steadfast faith, to receive from Him what you have to do for love of Him. And in this (whatever may happen) to persevere with constancy to the very end."
— St. Angela Merici
MEDITATION OF THE DAY "I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus—one to one—you and Jesus alone. We may spend time in the chapel—but have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love? Do you really know the living Jesus—not from books but from being with Him in your heart? Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you? Ask for the grace; He is longing to give it. Until you can hear Jesus in the silence of your own heart, you will not be able to hear Him saying 'I Thirst' in the hearts of the poor. Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as the real living person—not just the idea." — Blessed Mother Teresa, p.129-30 AN EXCERPT FROM Manual for Eucharistic Adoration, 129
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St. Martin I
When Martin I became pope in 649, Constantinople was the capital of the Byzantine empire and the patriarch of Constantinople was the most influential Church leader in the eastern Christian world. The struggles that existed within the Church at that time were magnified by the close cooperation of emperor and patriarch.
A teaching, strongly supported in the East, held that Christ had no human will. Twice emperors had officially favored this position, Heraclius by publishing a formula of faith and Constans II by silencing the issue of one or two wills in Christ.
Shortly after assuming the office of the papacy (which he did without first being confirmed by the emperor), Martin held a council at the Lateran in which the imperial documents were censured, and in which the patriarch of Constantinople and two of his predecessors were condemned. Constans II, in response, tried first to turn bishops and people against the pope.
Failing in this and in an attempt to kill the pope, the emperor sent troops to Rome to seize Martin and to bring him back to Constantinople. Already in poor health, Martin offered no resistance, returned with the exarch Calliopas and was then submitted to various imprisonments, tortures and hardships. Although condemned to death and with some of the torture imposed already carried out, Martin was saved from execution by the pleas of a repentant Paul, patriarch of Constantinople, who was himself gravely ill.
Martin died shortly thereafter, tortures and cruel treatment having taken their toll. He is the last of the early popes to be venerated as a martyr.
The real significance of the word martyr comes not from the dying but from the witnessing, which the word means in its derivation. People who are willing to give up everything, their most precious possessions, their very lives, put a supreme value on the cause or belief for which they sacrifice. Martyrdom, dying for the faith, is an incidental extreme to which some have had to go to manifest their belief in Christ. A living faith, a life that exemplifies Christ's teaching throughout, and that in spite of difficulties, is required of all Christians. Martin might have cut corners as a way of easing his lot, to make some accommodations with the civil rulers.
The breviary of the Orthodox Church pays tribute to Martin: "Glorious definer of the Orthodox Faith...sacred chief of divine dogmas, unstained by error...true reprover of heresy...foundation of bishops, pillar of the Orthodox faith, teacher of religion.... Thou didst adorn the divine see of Peter, and since from this divine Rock, thou didst immovably defend the Church, so now thou art glorified with him."
Dear Lord as I come to you today Fill my heart and my whole being with the wonder of your presence.
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
Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 8:1b-8
There broke out a severe persecution of the Church in Jerusalem, and all were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria, except the Apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him. Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the Church; entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment.
Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. Thus Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ to them. With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing. For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice, came out of many possessed people, and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured. There was great joy in that city.
Responsorial Psalm PS 66:1-3a, 4-5, 6-7a R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. or: R. Alleluia. Shout joyfully to God, all the earth, sing praise to the glory of his name; proclaim his glorious praise. Say to God, "How tremendous are your deeds!"
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. or: R. Alleluia. "Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you, sing praise to your name!" Come and see the works of God, his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. or: R. Alleluia. He has changed the sea into dry land; through the river they passed on foot; therefore let us rejoice in him. He rules by his might forever.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia See Jn 6:40 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Everyone who believes in the Son has eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day, says the Lord. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 6:35-40
Jesus said to the crowds,
"I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. But I told you that although you have seen me, you do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Jesus, you shower me here with an abundance of promises. You are the bread of life for us: you will meet all our deepest needs. What needs? We hunger and thirst for happiness and joy; we want to be welcomed by the Father; we want to live eternally. And all we have to do is to give ourselves over to you for our needs to be satisfied. You are faithful to your promises, because promises are the language of love. Thank you!
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.
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.
Saint Martin I, Pope and Martyr (Optional Memorial)
Those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. (Acts 8:4)
Watch a pot of boiling water, and you'll see the simple act of steam rising above it. But so much is going on behind the scenes that it really is a marvel. As they approach boiling temperature, the water molecules begin moving so rapidly that they separate from each other and rise into the air. The water doesn't disappear—it just disperses.
By analogy, we can see what happened to the Christians in Jerusalem as a similar change of state. The persecution that arose against them heated things up, and as a result, many of them were "scattered" throughout the Mediterranean (Acts 8:4). You could say, then, that the Lord used the evil that had been intended to destroy the Church as a catalyst to make it spread farther. It was a result that no doubt surprised the persecutors—and probably those who were being persecuted as well!
God wants to surprise us, too. He wants to bring good out of whatever challenging situations we face. He wants us to know that those situations that get uncomfortably "hot" for us don't have to destroy us. Instead, they can help us grow. As St. Paul said, they can build our endurance, which builds our character, which in turn builds our hope (Romans 5:3-4). And with stronger hope, we become stronger witnesses—the same thing that happened to the first disciples.
What are you experiencing today that raises your temperature? It could be as simple as a long line at the grocery store or a glitch that slows down your Internet connection. Or it could be something much worse, like an ongoing conflict with a family member or a financial dilemma that brings you to your knees. Whatever it is, know that no matter how "hot" things become, if you stay close to the Lord, the heat won't consume you. You'll still be there, only different. Like steam hovering over a boiling pot, you may feel lighter. And like steam, you may find yourself willing to spread the warmth of God's love to the people around you.
"Father, I trust in you! When situations challenge me, help me to remember that you will never abandon me."
my2cents: We heard today "Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word." What's it going to take for us to go out and proclaim and spread the good news? Will the end of the world have to come for you to shape up and get up and move out and about for the Lord our Father in Heaven? Because when St. Philip finally did it, marvelous things happened and it can happen with you. Do you not believe what I just said? Because I have been inspired to preach what the Lord has me type and say and pray to you, this then is a plea for you to BELIEVE. Phillip did everything the Lord and the Apostles did, healing, bringing joy to the world and this joy is pounding hard at the door of your heart, open up IN THERE! We prayed today "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy." Alleluia! Shout joyfully to God, all the earth, sing praise to the glory of his name; proclaim his glorious praise." Say to God, "How tremendous are your deeds!" I will repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy, HOW TREMENDOUS are YOUR Deeds Lord. There. There I said a huge context clue, exclaim to God how great He is, and give Him praise and joy, give Him true thankfulness, begin to experience the joy of salvation...dare I say, the joy of HEAVEN. Oh, our Good Lord enters our lives today: "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." Spectacular those words of TRUTH. He wants us to break His bread, blessed and broken. Shatter your dreams and let HIS prevail, let HIS come to be, let HIS will begin to shine in your life.
"But I told you that although you have seen me, you do not believe." Even if Jesus appeared in front of your face, you would not believe, because He was right in front of them telling them this and they were not believing. That is why the first paragraph of my 2 cents said BELIEVE. Just do it. This is faith in action, and the world is thirsting for love and faith in action, and Jesus says we are hungry for more, and we are...more of HIM! MORE JESUS.
"Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me" and so it is the set direction in our lives, we have been led to the feet of Christ the Lord, and He is asking you "what do you want of me?" Will you ask for mortal temporal things? Or will you ask for more...like eternity with HIM, a true and sincere love of HIM forever...?
"Because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me." YES. The simple answer of the Virgin Mother Mary...YES. Yes Lord. Yes, I believe. YES I will follow. YES, to whatever the Lord asks of me YES. My own will goes flying out the door, only what He desires, YES. Will you stop living in sin? YES. Will you give up all your feelings on earth? YES. Will you give your life to HIM? YES. Will you accept His Body? YES. Will you take care of it and let it grow? YES. Will you desire HIS precious Body in the Eucharist? YES. Will you let His Body's light show? YES. Will you let everyone know you are in love with CHRIST? YES.