"Know that the greatest service that man can offer to God is to help convert souls." — St. Rose of Lima
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"The soul, however, cannot be perfectly purified from these imperfections, any more than from the others, until God shall have led it into the passive purgation of the dark night, of which I shall speak immediately. But it is expedient that the soul, so far as it can, should labor, on its own part, to purify and perfect itself, that it may merit from God to be taken under His divine care, and be healed from those imperfections which of itself it cannot remedy. For, after all the efforts of the soul, it cannot by any exertions of its own actively purify itself so as to be in the slightest degree fit for the divine union of perfection in the love of God, if God Himself does not take it into His own hands and purify it in the fire, dark to the soul." — St. John of the Cross, p.14 AN EXCERPT FROM Dark Night of the Soul, p14
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St. Adalbert of Prague
Opposition to the Good News of Jesus did not discourage Adalbert, who is now remembered with great honor in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Germany.
Born to a noble family in Bohemia, he received part of his education from St. Adalbert of Magdeburg. At the age of 27 he was chosen as bishop of Prague. Those who resisted his program of clerical reform forced him into exile eight years later.
In time, the people of Prague requested his return as their bishop. Within a short time, however, he was exiled again after excommunicating those who violated the right of sanctuary by dragging a woman accused of adultery from a church and murdering her.
After a short ministry in Hungary, he went to preach the Good News to people living near the Baltic Sea. He and two companions were martyred by pagan priests in that region. Adalbert's body was immediately ransomed and buried in Gniezno cathedral (Poland). In the mid-11th century his relics were moved to St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.
Preaching the Good News can be dangerous work whether the audience is already baptized or not. Adalbert fearlessly preached Jesus' gospel and received a martyr's crown for his efforts. Similar zeal has created modern martyrs in many places, especially in Central and South America. Some of those martyrs grew up in areas once evangelized by Adalbert.
"O God, [you] bestowed the crown of martyrdom on the Bishop St. Adalbert, as he burned with zeal for for souls, grant, we pray, by his prayers, that the obedience of his flock may never fail the shephered, nor the care of the shepherd be ever lacking to the flock." (Roman Missal, Common of a Martyr in the Easter season).
As I begin this prayer, God is here. Around me, in my sensations, in my thoughts and deep within me. I pause for a moment, and become aware of God's life-giving presence.
Lord, guide me always to do your holy will knowing that your strength will carry me through.
Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life? By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit. If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.
The Word of God
Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 13:26-33
When Paul came to Antioch in Pisidia, he said in the synagogue: "My brothers, children of the family of Abraham, and those others among you who are God-fearing, to us this word of salvation has been sent. The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize him, and by condemning him they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets that are read sabbath after sabbath. For even though they found no grounds for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him put to death, and when they had accomplished all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. These are now his witnesses before the people. We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you that what God promised our fathers he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus, as it is written in the second psalm, You are my Son; this day I have begotten you."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 2:6-7, 8-9, 10-11ab R. (7bc) You are my Son; this day I have begotten you. or: R. Alleluia. "I myself have set up my king on Zion, my holy mountain." I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; this day I have begotten you."
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you. or: R. Alleluia. "Ask of me and I will give you the nations for an inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession. You shall rule them with an iron rod; you shall shatter them like an earthen dish."
R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you. or: R. Alleluia. And now, O kings, give heed; take warning, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him; with trembling rejoice. R. You are my Son; this day I have begotten you. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 14:6 R. Alleluia, alleluia. I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father except through me. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 14:1-6
Jesus said to his disciples: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way." Thomas said to him, "Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Dear Jesus, I invite you into my heart-space now. Let me be quiet and listen while you speak the precious words of this passage to me. They form one of the most consoling statements of your Good News. They reveal such love and appreciation of me. They put all my troubles into second place. My future is with you.
Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God? Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry? Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me, I speak out my feelings, as one trusted friend to another.
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.
Your brother is going on a business trip, but he won't say where. "You should know me well enough by now to know where I'm going," he says. Evidently, it's not knowledge of geography you need; it's knowledge of your brother—his ways and his habits.
The night before his death, Jesus tells his disciples that he is going to his "Father's house." He says there are plenty of "dwelling places" for them there and, surprisingly, that they already know how to get there (John 14:2).
You can appreciate the disciples' surprised reaction: "We do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" (14:5). What the disciples don't yet understand is that they don't need a map to reach this destination; they need a person. They need him—his way of living, the truths that he has taught them, and his life poured out in sacrifice for them.
What a revolutionary teaching! Of course Jesus gave us commandments as a way to live, but he also summed up all of them in the two greatest commands: to love God and to love one another. If we can just try to do these two things, everything else will fall into place.
Don't you find it comforting that you don't need to adhere to every single direction in order to find your heavenly "dwelling place"? In fact, that dwelling place isn't far off at all. A little bit after he told his disciples that he was the way, Jesus made another promise: "Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him" (John 14:23). You are the dwelling place of God—he is already in you!
This is a great paradox of the Christian life: the more you settle down and spend time with Jesus, the farther you will travel on the road to union with him. The way isn't a set of prescriptions to follow; it's a Person to love. And even better still: this Person loves you even more. He wants to dwell with you.
my2cents: There was no real reason to condemn Jesus to death, it was made up, and what is made up is false, a lie, and the king of lies is behind this kind of action. Think about your life. What is "made up". What has your life been "made up" of? The Lord wants us to make up. Make up our house, our temple into something beautiful. Because where He dwells is precious. It is in the beautiful Churches...and in the people of God where He dwells profoundly. "...what God promised our fathers he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus" everything the prophets said came to be through our Lord. And everything the Lord said would be has become and will become. The reality then has been made manifest through Him and will be made manifest in our very own lives. Because this powerful God, this Almighty and everlasting God sent His self to the world, "flesh of my flesh", bones of my bones, Jesus is the new Adam, and the bride is the Holy Church, flesh of His flesh, bones of His bones, we come from Him and belong to Him. "...as it is written in the second psalm, You are my Son; this day I have begotten you." That was the Psalm today we prayed "You are my Son; this day I have Begotten you". I read from newadvent.org "The Father, possessing His existence from Himself, begot the Son, as we said, and did not create Him, as a river from a well and as a branch from a root, and as brightness from a light, things which nature knows to be indivisible; through whom to the Father be glory and power and greatness before all ages, and unto all the ages of the ages. Amen." And the Lord, the only "begotten" Son of the Father, for a new light and creation to give us the Spirit and life speaks to our hearts today ""Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. " This He said perhaps at the Last supper. And He died the next day. Can you imagine having been left with these words? HAVE FAITH. Then die. He had to go this way, to show the way, where He would go to prepare us a place. And imagine, He prepares a place for you and we do not arrive? We must go the way. Our Lord and King said "I will come back again and take you to myself". I WILL come BACK. Poor doubting Thomas speaks up "but, but, but Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" And why do I say "poor" Thomas, Saint Thomas? Because he was poor in faith, as we all tend to be, exactly like this Saint. Jesus looks to Him with loving eyes and tender compassion and the look says to Him everything "Thomas, my son, I have just given you my body in the breaking of the blessed bread, broken and shared, my blood in the chalice, look at Me, and listen to what I am about to say, I am speaking to your heart, do not worry about where you will go, HAVE FAITH" and then He speaks aloud these words to be recorded forever in the generations of the world until He comes again ""I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
When you are lost, my child, I AM the Way. When you are in doubt, and when things are "made up" in your life, I AM the truth. When you are surrounded by darkness and death, know that I AM the Life.
There is no more joy without Him, it is made up. There is no more peace without Him, it is a life sold for silver pieces instead of the Gold of forever with Him. There is no fullness without Him, there is emptiness. The aim here then, is to fill your heart, and it begins giving fruit. For the Lord, the New Adam came to be with His Bride to make fruit, children of the light, for all the children of the world to be made one with Him, baptized and saved, begotten in the light and never forgotten...