"The bread you store up belongs to the hungry; the cloak that lies in your chest belongs to the naked; the gold you have hidden in the ground belongs to the poor." — St. Basil the Great
MEDITATION OF THE DAY "We must cultivate that sacred silence which makes people remember the words of Jesus: See how they love one another. How often we find ourselves speaking of the faults of another. How often our conversation is about someone who is not present. Yet see the compassion of Christ toward Judas, the man who received so much love yet betrayed his own master. But the master kept the sacred silence and did not betray Judas. Jesus could have easily spoken in public—as we often do—telling the hidden intentions and deeds of Judas to others. But he didn't. Instead, he showed mercy and charity. Rather than condemning Judas, he called him his friend." — Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, p. 41 AN EXCERPT FROM Thirsting for God: Mother Teresa, p41
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St. Gianna Beretta Molla
In less than 40 years, Gianna Beretta Molla became a pediatric physician, a wife, a mother and a saint!
She was born in Magenta (near Milano) as the 10th of Alberto and Maria Beretta's 13 children. An active member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Gianna earned degrees in medicine and surgery from the University of Pavia and eventually opened a clinic in Mesero. Gianna also enjoyed skiing and mountain climbing.
Shortly before her 1955 marriage to Pietro Molla, Gianna wrote to him: "Love is the most beautiful sentiment that the Lord has put into the soul of men and women." She and Pietro had three children, Pierluigi, Maria Zita, and Laura.
Early in the pregnancy for her fourth child, doctors discovered that Gianna had both a child and a tumor in her uterus. She allowed the surgeons to remove the tumor but not to perform the complete hysterectomy that they recommended, which would have killed the child. Seven months later, Gianna Emanuela Molla was born. The following week, her mother Gianna died in Monza of complications from childbirth. She is buried in Mesero.
Gianna Emanuela went on to become a physician herself. Gianna Beretta Molla was beatified in 1994 and canonized 10 years later.
With great faith and courage, Gianna Molla made the choice that enabled her daughter to be born. We can often wish that we were in different circumstances, but holiness frequently comes from making difficult choices in bad situations.
In his homily at the canonization Mass, Pope John Paul II said: "Gianna Beretta Molla was a simple, but more than ever, significant messenger of divine love…Following the example of Christ, who 'having loved his own…loved them to the end' [John 13:1], this holy mother of a family remained heroically faithful to the commitment she made on the day of her marriage. The extreme sacrifice she sealed with her life testifies that only those who have the courage to give of themselves totally to God and to others are able to fulfill themselves."
Gianna Beretta Molla made a heroic choice, but it was something her family members and friends testified she prepared for every day of her life. Her heroic virtue, genuine holiness of life, selflessness, and quiet joy remind all of us that God entrusts us with a personal vocation. Each and every day presents us with choices that have the power to prepare us to take heroic action whenever it will be called for. We can do that, however, only if we surrender ourselves and what we desire to God and His will for us.
" Dr. Molla threw light on the importance of the Christian family, by her life and conscious sacrifice. She threw light on the importance of Christian schools and Catholic Action, in the formation of the human being in Christian values and it gives us guiding principles, to which the Christian subordinates his own life, as Dr. Beretta Molla knowingly did. The heroism of her Christian life will bear fruit."
This example of lay sanctity, lived in the Sacrament of Matrimony, as the Vatican Council II teaches, will encourage many Christians to seek God in holy Matrimony. The exemplary fame of Christian conduct, lived by Gianna Beretta Molla is valid proof.
Prayer Of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla
Jesus, I promise You to submit myself to all that You permit to befall me, make me only know Your will. My most sweet Jesus, infinitely merciful God, most tender Father of souls, and in a particular way of the most weak, most miserable, most infirm which You carry with special tenderness between Your divine arms, I come to You to ask You, through the love and merits of Your Sacred Heart, the grace to comprehend and to do always Your holy will, the grace to confide in You, the grace to rest securely through time and eternity in Your loving divine arms.
It is always nice to be in the presence of friends. When I come into your presence, O Lord, I know I am in the presence of my Creator. You created me out of Love. You even know the amount of hairs on my head. Your presence, O Lord, is the greatest of all.
Many countries are at this moment suffering the agonies of war. I bow my head in thanksgiving for my freedom. I pray for all prisoners and captives.
At this moment Lord I turn my thoughts to you. I will leave aside my chores and preoccupations. I will take rest and refreshment in your presence Lord.
The Word of God
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 11:19-26
Those who had been scattered by the persecution that arose because of Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but Jews. There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however, who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. The hand of the Lord was with them and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart, for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. And a large number of people was added to the Lord. Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the Church and taught a large number of people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.
Responsorial Psalm PS 87:1b-3, 4-5, 6-7 R. (117:1a) All you nations, praise the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. His foundation upon the holy mountains the LORD loves: The gates of Zion, more than any dwelling of Jacob. Glorious things are said of you, O city of God!
R. All you nations, praise the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. I tell of Egypt and Babylon among those who know the LORD; Of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia: "This man was born there." And of Zion they shall say: "One and all were born in her; And he who has established her is the Most High LORD."
R. All you nations, praise the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled: "This man was born there." And all shall sing, in their festive dance: "My home is within you."
R. All you nations, praise the Lord. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 10:27 R. Alleluia, alleluia. My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 10:22-30
The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter. And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father's name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father's hand. The Father and I are one."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ If my prayer and my Christian life are dull and lifeless, is it because I 'do not believe' all that Jesus has told me about his love for me? We Christians should be the happiest of people, no matter what our problems. Why? Because our future is fully secure and totally attractive. There are no terms and conditions.
Lord, I know that when I turn to you there is no need for words. You can see into my heart. You know my desires and you know my needs. I place myself into your hands.
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.
If you are the Christ, tell us plainly. (John 10:24)
Picture yourself standing with these Jewish elders as they listened to Jesus. Would you be as skeptical as they were? Of course, knowing what we know today, you would be filled with gratitude at being able to see the Lord in person. You couldn't imagine questioning his truthfulness or being upset with him in any way. But what if you were one of these elders, born into the Jewish culture and practicing the Jewish faith? What if you were living against a backdrop of pagan occupation and oppression? You might be just as hesitant and skeptical as they were.
For Jews, who weren't even allowed to speak God's name, God was shrouded in mystery and awe. Yet here was an ordinary carpenter from a tiny village performing miracles and saying that he was equal to the Father (John 10:30). It wasn't that the Jews who doubted him didn't love God. It was that they were shocked by the idea that someone like Jesus could be the Messiah. They weren't prepared to accept something so radical.
Perhaps understanding the bewilderment of these Jews can help us understand our own lives of faith a little better. It's possible that even if we've known the Lord for some time, there are still some aspects of his teaching that we find hard to put into practice. For instance, how ready are you to extend forgiveness to someone who has deeply hurt you or a loved one? Or maybe your past experience of friendships gone sour has limited your expectations of how much you can trust the Lord. Perhaps you are a very rational person, and the thought of Jesus being present in the Blessed Sacrament still leaves you scratching your head.
The point of these examples is not to accuse us of weak faith or unbelief. Rather, it's to show that we are still pilgrims on a journey toward heaven. Some may be farther along on the road than others, but none of us has reached the destination! What really matters is that we are all moving forward, fixing our eyes on the goal and willingly parting with whatever may be weighing us down.
"Lord, you know that there are still areas in which I struggle. Please give me the grace to press on in knowing you and surrendering more of myself to you."
my2cents: Today the Word of our Lord said "When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart". Today, I am arriving at your place, at your heart, and upon seeing the grace of God working in you, I want to simply encourage you in your faithfulness to the Lord and have a firm heart in the Lord our God. This then, this is the work of the Holy Spirit. We prayed the Holy Psalms today "All you nations, praise the Lord. His foundation upon the holy mountains the LORD loves: The gates of Zion, more than any dwelling of Jacob. Glorious things are said of you, O city of God!" I recorded a song a few days ago, that says "I want to be sitting with you, in the city of gold (Heaven). I'm not going alone, I want you to go, to that city of Gold!" This brings to mind two things: first, our death. Second, our life. Life goes on in the hands of the Lord. And so our Lord our God says today "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish." I see people that love one another to death, but Jesus loves us to LIFE. We can love each other for a few years, but God can love for an eternity and more. And listen to His promise immediately after: "No one can take them out of my hand." He had followers, and nobody was going to take them away from Him. This is why Scripture says in Romans 8:38 "in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Nothing can separate us from His love, His Life. Be assured of Heaven then and strive for it like today's saint. She is the kind of person I look up to for saintly lives, a normal married person that becomes a saint while still having kids, and a day to day life. Fr. Joseph Ogbonna, our priest from Nigeria said in a quinceanera this weekend to the youth "you can be a doctor, a worker, a teacher, a politician and still be a good Catholic." Nothing can take Him away from us. There are laws though, (let this be a prophecy), there are laws that are in motion and works going on that will aim to separate you from your faith. This is nothing new, but be on guard, and they come in the name of "equality" for marriage, as the "inequality" has been handed down to the unborn, with no rights, no voice. I say this because we just heard that NOTHING, and NOBODY can separate us from His Love and Mercy. Have no fear. We hear His voice, and the Good Shepherd leads us into forever. Together we shall die with Him, for Him, and through Him. This is the importance of the Bread that He gives in the Holy Mass turned into His Body. He is already feeding us Heaven, fortifying what is inside and edifying His Holy Church to be one with Him. So, what is in your life? How much more can He fit in your life? What if I, in the name of the Lord asked you for any of the following: * "I am tired of receiving your money, I want all your time. May I have it? * "I am tired of you giving time, may I have all of your money (your treasures)? * " I am tired of you complaining. May I have some joy please? * "I am tired of your tormenting yourself in your sin. May I come into your life? * "I am tired of waiting, but I am not tired of loving you, will you come now please? * "Will you stop thinking what God is and just let me be all your God, all your life? * "Do you need some spectacular sign to believe? Or can I join you in your life and love you where you are? * "If you love me, do as I say, feed my sheep, this way, the world will know that I am alive in you and in them. Do you love me?