"Those whose hearts are pure are the temples of the Holy Spirit." — St. Lucy
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"No one who follows Me will ever walk in darkness (Jn 8:12). These words of our Lord counsel all to walk in His footsteps. If you want to see clearly and avoid blindness of heart, it is His virtues you must imitate. Make it your aim to meditate on the life of Jesus Christ. Christ's teachings surpasses that of all the Saints. But to find this spiritual nourishment you must seek to have the Spirit of Christ. It is because we lack this Spirit that so often we listen to the Gospel without really hearing it. Those who fully understand Christ's words must labor to make their lives conform to His." — Thomas á Kempis, p.15 AN EXCERPT FROM The Imitation of Christ, p15
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St. Conrad of Parzham
Conrad spent most of his life as porter in Altoetting, Bavaria, letting people into the friary and indirectly encouraging them to let God into their lives.
His parents, Bartholomew and Gertrude Birndorfer, lived near Parzham, Bavaria. In those days this region was recovering from the Napoleonic wars. A lover of solitary prayer and a peacemaker as a young man, Conrad joined the Capuchins as a brother. He made his profession in 1852 and was assigned to the friary in Altoetting. That city's shrine to Mary was very popular; at the nearby Capuchin friary there was a lot of work for the porter, a job Conrad held for 41 years.
At first some of the other friars were jealous that such a young friar held this important job. Conrad's patience and holy life overcame their doubts. As porter he dealt with many people, obtaining many of the friary supplies and generously providing for the poor who came to the door. He treated them all with the courtesy Francis expected of his followers.
Conrad's helpfulness was sometimes unnerving. Once Father Vincent, seeking quiet to prepare a sermon, went up the belltower of the church. Conrad tracked him down when someone wanting to go to confession specifically requested Father Vincent.
Conrad also developed a special rapport with the children of the area. He enthusiastically promoted the Seraphic Work of Charity, which aided neglected children.
Conrad spent hours in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. He regularly asked the Blessed Mother to intercede for him and for the many people he included in his prayers. The ever-patient Conrad was canonized in 1934.
As we can see from his life as well as his words, Conrad of Parzham lived a life that attracted others because of a special quality, something Chesterton alluded to when he wrote, "The moment we have a fixed heart we have a free hand" (Orthodoxy, p. 71). If we want to understand Conrad, we have to know where he fixed his heart. Because he was united to God in prayer, everyone felt at ease in Conrad's presence.
"It was God's will that I should leave everything that was near and dear to me. I thank him for having called me to religious life where I have found such peace and joy as I could never have found in the world. My plan of life is chiefly this: to love and suffer, always meditating upon, adoring and admiring God's unspeakable love for his lowliest creatures" (Letter of Saint Conrad).
"I stand at the door and knock," says the Lord. What a wonderful privilege that the Lord of all creation desires to come to me. I welcome His presence.
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.
I ask how I am within myself today? Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form? If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?
The Word of God
Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 12:24—13:5a
The word of God continued to spread and grow.
After Barnabas and Saul completed their relief mission, they returned to Jerusalem, taking with them John, who is called Mark.
Now there were in the Church at Antioch prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Symeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then, completing their fasting and prayer, they laid hands on them and sent them off.
So they, sent forth by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived in Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues.
Responsorial Psalm PS 67:2-3, 5, 6 and 8 R. (4) O God, let all the nations praise you! or: R. Alleluia. May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us. So may your way be known upon earth; among all nations, your salvation.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you! or: R. Alleluia. May the nations be glad and exult because you rule the peoples in equity; the nations on the earth you guide.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you! or: R. Alleluia. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you! May God bless us, and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. O God, let all the nations praise you! or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 8:12 R. Alleluia, alleluia. I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 12:44-50
Jesus cried out and said, "Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Jesus is always pointing us to his Father. Their relationship is good beyond our imagining. They are ecstatic about one another, they share everything and work perfectly together. They think the world of one another. Imagine the most harmonious relationship you have, expand it a thousand times, and then you have a dim sense of how Father and Son get along!
▪ But the great revelation is that all of us are invited into the family life of God. We will be swept off our feet and made radiantly happy when we meet God directly. If I want this to begin even now, I can open myself more and more to God in my daily prayer.
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.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Let's imagine Jesus speaking directly to us today.
"My brothers and sisters, I came to earth so that everyone who believes in me may not remain in the darkness. So come! Come into my light!
"Come into my light so that you can see the path you should go. Many of you are facing important decisions right now. You don't have to make these decisions all on your own. Come into my light so that I can help you find the way. Let me show you my hopes, plans, and dreams for you. So often you wonder: 'Am I on the right path? Is this what I am supposed to be doing with my life?' Don't let yourself be consumed with worry. Come into my light, and I will help you.
"Come into my light, for there you will experience the warmth of my love for you. It is cold outside in the darkness. Come and be warmed by the light of my love. Don't ask if you are worthy to come. Don't list all the things you need to fix first. Your coming does not depend on your worthiness. It depends on my mercy, and I have already done all that is necessary for you to come! I have already endured the cross. I have already risen from the grave. I have already ascended to heaven and poured my grace into your heart. So come! Come into my light, and let my love warm your heart.
"Come into my light, for no sin will be able to find you there. My light is pure, holy, and true. So come to the light, and let your sin be exposed so that I can cleanse you for good. You say, "How can I rid myself of this thing that has hobbled me for so long?" But you have not yet felt the relief of seeing years of guilt and shame burned away by my light, so that you can shine forth to the world. So come; come and receive my light, and be cleansed."
"Jesus, Light of the World, I come to you. Fill my heart with your light and your truth. Let that light dispel any darkness in me, and let this light shine brightly from me for the whole world to see."
my2cents: We heard the Word of the Lord, didn't we? What did you hear? What did you read? Feel free to respond, you have the email address, because if we let ourselves, we will receive from the Lord the prophecies, the speakings of His Word to us direct, and today, the Lord spoke to them and they agreed when the Lord said ""Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." What does this mean to you? Insert your name where it says the other person's name in the bible ""Set apart for me Barnabas and you for the work to which I have called them." And what does "set apart" mean? It means holiness. Setting apart for God means to make Holy, and when He sets you apart it is to make Holy, and this in its way is a consecration, that of making sacred, that of making His what is His and His is the mission of evangelizing the world through those set apart, and believe it or not, your eyes are reading this to set apart you, from the world, to set it for Him. We prayed the Psalms " O God, let all the nations praise you! May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you! May God bless us, and may all the ends of the earth fear him!" This is the Words God wants us to use and to do. To spread love of Him, a holy fear of Him, which means a special love and setting apart our lives for Him. And not setting "a part" but setting our whole lives apart for Him. This dedication works, because He works through a willing spirit...patience, persevere, these are gifts from above to be given to a spirit in His will. The Lord of our Lives speaks the truth to us today "...I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness." Last night in RCIA, I brought up the shroud of Turin, the believed shroud to have covered the body of Christ. I brought it up because I brought up the altar. I brought up the altar because we heard that His body was placed on a stone slab. And this is the body of Christ on the Altars across the world, and the shroud was said to have been the cloth, and His image was imprinted like with lasers, extreme and pure light having passed through the material. This is what light can do, because there is something holding us together in the universe, just like there is something holding your body together. This is God. We are united. This is why you are to pray and help one another, because you are helping yourself too and the Body of Christ, His Holy Church. And so we must believe to remain in the light, not in darkness, not in separation from Him, but set apart from darkness to Him. "And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. " For all of those out there thinking God is mean, and a big police man in the sky, you have fallen for the lies that God is not merciful. Today, Jesus says "I Do Not Condemn"...truth is, we condemn ourselves. I either choose to love Him, or I do not. I either set myself for Him, or I do not. And the Word of the Lord reaches your soul today and "I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. "
_Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit_Mt 28:19