"Let us stand fast in what is right, and prepare our souls for trial. Let us wait upon God's strengthening aid and say to him: 'O Lord, you have been our refuge in all generations.'" — St. Boniface
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"Everything that exists is a gift from God. Yet oftentimes we look to the things and creatures created by God for a satisfaction and fulfillment that only God Himself can provide. When the soul wraps itself around the things and the people of this world, looking for satisfaction or fulfillment that only God can give, it produces a distortion in itself, and in others as well. Many spiritual writers call the process of unwinding this possessive, self-centered, clinging, and disordered seeking of things and persons 'detachment'. The goal of the process of detachment is not to stop loving the things and people of this world, but, quite to the contrary, to love them even more truly in God, under the reign of Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Things and people become even more beautiful and delightful when we see them in this light. There are almost always painful dimensions to this process of 'letting go' in order to love more, but it's the pain of true healing and liberation. Christian detachment is an important part of the process by which we enter into a realm of great freedom and joy." — Ralph Martin, p.205 AN EXCERPT FROM The Fulfillment of All Desire, p205
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St. Pedro de San José Betancur
Central America claimed its first saint with the canonization of Pedro de San José Betancur by Pope John Paul II in Guatemala City on July 30, 2002. Known as the "St. Francis of the Americas," Pedro de Betancur is the first saint to have worked and died in Guatemala.
Calling the new saint an "outstanding example" of Christian mercy, the Holy Father noted that St. Pedro practiced mercy "heroically with the lowliest and the most deprived." Speaking to the estimated 500,000 Guatemalans in attendance, the Holy Father spoke of the social ills that plague the country today and of the need for change.
"Let us think of the children and young people who are homeless or deprived of an education; of abandoned women with their many needs; of the hordes of social outcasts who live in the cities; of the victims of organized crime, of prostitution or of drugs; of the sick who are neglected and the elderly who live in loneliness," he said in his homily during the three-hour liturgy.
Pedro very much wanted to become a priest, but God had other plans for the young man born into a poor family on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Pedro was a shepherd until age 24, when he began to make his way to Guatemala, hoping to connect with a relative engaged in government service there. By the time he reached Havana, he was out of money. After working there to earn more, he got to Guatemala City the following year. When he arrived he was so destitute that he joined the bread line that the Franciscans had established.
Soon, Pedro enrolled in the local Jesuit college in hopes of studying for the priesthood. No matter how hard he tried, however, he could not master the material; he withdrew from school. In 1655 he joined the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later he opened a hospital for the convalescent poor; a shelter for the homeless and a school for the poor soon followed. Not wanting to neglect the rich of Guatemala City, Pedro began walking through their part of town ringing a bell and inviting them to repent.
Other men came to share in Pedro's work. Out of this group came the Bethlehemite Congregation, which won papal approval after Pedro's death. A Bethlehemite sisters' community, similarly founded after Pedro's death, was inspired by his life of prayer and compassion.
He is sometimes credited with originating the Christmas Eve posadas procession in which people representing Mary and Joseph seek a night's lodging from their neighbors. The custom soon spread to Mexico and other Central American countries.
Pedro was canonized in 2002.
As humans, we often pride ourselves on our ability to reason. But, as Pedro's life shows, other skills may be an even more crucial element of our humanity than a clever mind: compassion, imagination, love. Unable to master studies for the priesthood despite his efforts, Pedro responded to the needs of homeless and sick people; he provided education to the poor and salvation to the rich. He became holy—as fully human as any of us can ever be.
Speaking of Pedro and the four others beatified with him in 1980, Pope John Paul II said: "God lavished his kindness and his mercy on them, enriching them with his grace; he loved them with a fatherly, but demanding, love, which promised only hardships and suffering. He invited and called them to heroic holiness; he tore them away from their countries of origin and sent them to other lands to proclaim the message of the gospel, in the midst of inexpressible toil and difficulties" (L'Osservatore Romano).
As I begin this prayer, God is present, breathing life into me and into everything around me. For a few moments, I remain silent, and become aware of God's loving presence.
Lord, you created me to live in freedom. May your Holy Spirit guide me to follow you freely. Instil in my heart a desire To know and love you more each day.
How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy-hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried or angry. I acknowledge how I really am. It is the real me that the Lord loves.
The Word of God
Tuesday of Fifth Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 14:19-28
In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrived and won over the crowds. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered around him, he got up and entered the city. On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.
After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch. They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God." They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith. Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now accomplished. And when they arrived, they called the Church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. Then they spent no little time with the disciples.
Responsorial Psalm PS 145:10-11, 12-13ab, 21 R. (see 12) Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom. or: R. Alleluia. Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD, and let your faithful ones bless you. Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom. or: R. Alleluia. Making known to men your might and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages, and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom. or: R. Alleluia. May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD, and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia See Lk 24:46, 26 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, and so enter into his glory. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 14:27-31a
Jesus said to his disciples: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, 'I am going away and I will come back to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Lord, I need your gift of peace! So often I find myself unsure, anxious, worried, angry. Talk to me about how you coped when things were out of control in your life, especially at the end. What kept you going? You seem to have had such a deep sense that your Father was with you, and that he was asking you to reveal the limitless scope of divine love for the world.
Help me always to rise from prayer with renewed trust in you as I face the things you want done. May I always act out of love.
Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels. May I respond to your call today. Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.
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.
The disciples had more than enough reason to be troubled. Jesus was telling them that he was about to leave and that the "ruler of the world" was on his way (John 14:30). But while the disciples were troubled, Jesus was happy. He knew that his departure would bring them peace. With Jesus at the Father's right hand, he could pour his Spirit into their hearts, and that Spirit could reveal God's love to them in newer and deeper ways. Thus would their anxious hearts be put to rest.
So how can we come to know God's love in the same way? How can we experience the peace that Jesus promised the disciples? The key lies in dynamic prayer. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that prayer should engage "thought, imagination, emotion, and desire" (CCC, 2708). Mobilizing our God-given faculties in this way can bring the truths of our faith to life and lead us ever deeper into the Father's heart. Prayer works when we ask the Holy Spirit to lift up our natural imagination and give us spiritual insight.
St. Ignatius of Loyola often relied on his imagination when he prayed. With a Bible before him, he would picture the setting and time of whatever story he was reading and then imagine himself in the scene. In his imagination, he would pay close attention to the details and ask Jesus questions about what was going on. Ignatius especially liked to imagine himself at the Last Supper, at the Sermon on the Mount, or on Calvary as he watched Jesus give up his life for us.
Try it yourself. Imagine yourself at one of Ignatius' favorite scenes or one of your own. What is Jesus saying and doing? What is the expression on his face? What does his voice sound like? Now imagine Jesus talking right to you as the scene is playing out. What message does he have for you today? How can you best respond to him? It's amazing how much peace you can experience! Jesus can calm your anxious heart, just as he did for the disciples at the Last Supper!
"Father, I want to know you more. Show me your majesty, your love, and your joy. Let the knowledge of you remove my anxieties and fears."
my2cents: Today we heard ""It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God." Suffering for Him is a whole other story, it is a whole new world, a whole new life. Paul was left for dead after being stoned. Nowadays if a person is stoned to death or left to die, still no one cares, or very few care. And I mean this in various ways. If people are being put down, very few rise to defend them. I'm not talking about someone's pride, but also about the defenseless, the unborn, the elderly, the children, and in many parts of the world...The Christians, the Christ followers. You can be that voice. You can be that savior. The whole point of St. Paul getting back up was to reveal many things: God wasn't done, and Paul wasn't done either, and do not forget who was there, a person to encourage Paul and pick him up. This is the Holy Spirit, He picks you up, trust and believe, be grateful and get back up to do the Lord's work, what could be greater in life?
We pray today "Making known to men your might and the glorious splendor of your kingdom." The earth is spinning and on it are all the things put into place that will fade with time. The Kingdom of God is not spinning, there is no time. And so consider this revelation to my heart: Our earthly bodies have to be re-energized continuously, as if having to be wound up to go again until it wears out...but the Spirit works off the Son, more than nuclear energy, it works unending once it is set in motion. This my family, this is a life in the Spirit. I am asking you to plug in, and put in the Word of God and it builds the armor of God, with faith, trust, and love.
In comes the Lord of our Lives to enliven our spirits and give life to the world, life to the flesh:
""Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you." These words He said when approaching the disciples, especially after the Resurrection. Peace. Peace is evidence of God's grace in your heart. Peace is achieved when someone surrenders. Let evil subside and let God provide. Therefore it is true, He gives not as the world gives peace, not in trade but in giving. "Not as the world gives do I give it to you." Some of my songs have deeper meaning than what is on the surface. Hidden messages? Is this How God speaks? Perhaps, direct to the heart. Many a times when the Priest speaks in a homily, a sermon, or even in a retreat, you begin to get thoughts of God and may not even be directly tied to what your ears are hearing. The same happens with the Lord and here. The Lord is bringing you something not as the world gives in perception. Because inner peace is in the heart. I have no quarrels, therefore I can move forward for the Lord, and this is why a Holy Mass has a sending forth, an appeal to go on a mission, after getting back up, we are ready to light up the world. "Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid." says our Lord. Many times we have to like my dad says in spanish "hacer de tripas el corazon", turn the heart into guts. That is to say, forget the heart and do what you have to do. Because if you operate simply on depression, anxiety, or shock, you can not go in and save someone. And salvation is a hero's job, a savior's job, and the Lord is the SAVIOR OF THE WORLD. And we are His body. This is a lesson for all of us. Walking on water means taking a leap of faith. Being not afraid is following God's command. Be Not Afraid. Peace Be With You. If you suffer, suffer for Him. And it is a life lesson in this spinning world, in preparation for the next. Be ready. And be ready now. Be found loving the Lord. I would say serving the Lord but that is a part of Loving the Lord, not all. The Lord is in the stoned, needing mercy, needing of you. The Lord is in the heart. This is why the devil, the ruler of the world, took a stab at the dead body of the Lord on the cross, still trying to get at the heart. Do not let your hearts be troubled, take heart, the Heart of God. This is why His blood is infused in a Catholic in the state of Grace in Holy Communion. It is a transfusion of transubstantiation. What is seen is not what is within but more, Christ is before you and inside forever...