"Arm yourself with prayer rather than a sword; wear humility rather than fine clothes." — St. Dominic
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"In our self-centered culture and classic American emphasis on work, we often feel we have to accomplish something during our times of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. We rate our experience by how 'good' our prayer was, how heartfelt our devotion was, or how focused we could remain. Yet prayer and contemplation are fundamentally God's work, in which we are invited to participate. We need only to give Him the opening, and He will do the rest. By coming to adoration, we are handing Him the keys to our hearts, allowing the rays of His love and grace to bathe our souls in the light of His Presence, as the rays of the sun bathe our bodies in light. If we can take the time to pull away from the busyness and distractions of life and just sit at His feet, He will lead us." — Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, p. 33 AN EXCERPT FROM Manual for Eucharistic Adoration
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St. Damien de Veuster of Moloka'i
When Joseph de Veuster was born in Tremelo, Belgium, in 1840, few people in Europe had any firsthand knowledge of leprosy (Hansen's disease). By the time he died at the age of 49, people all over the world knew about this disease because of him. They knew that human compassion could soften the ravages of this disease.
Forced to quit school at age 13 to work on the family farm, Joseph entered the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary six years later, taking the name of a fourth-century physician and martyr. When his brother Pamphile, a priest in the same congregation, fell ill and was unable to go to the Hawaiian Islands as assigned, Damien quickly volunteered in his place. In May 1864, two months after arriving in his new mission, Damien was ordained a priest in Honolulu and assigned to the island of Hawaii.
In 1873, he went to the Hawaiian government's leper colony on the island of Molokai, set up seven years earlier. Part of a team of four chaplains taking that assignment for three months each year, Damien soon volunteered to remain permanently, caring for the people's physical, medical and spiritual needs. In time, he became their most effective advocate to obtain promised government support.
Soon the settlement had new houses and a new church, school and orphanage. Morale improved considerably. A few years later he succeeded in getting the Franciscan Sisters of Syracuse, led by Mother Marianne Cope (January 23), to help staff this colony in Kalaupapa.
Damien contracted Hansen's disease and died of its complications. As requested, he was buried in Kalaupapa, but in 1936 the Belgian government succeeded in having his body moved to Belgium. Part of Damien's body was returned to his beloved Hawaiian brothers and sisters after his beatification in 1995.
Damien was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11, 2009.
When Hawaii became a state in 1959, it selected Damien as one of its two representatives in the Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol.
Some people thought Damien was a hero for going to Molokai and others thought he was crazy. When a Protestant clergyman wrote that Damien was guilty of immoral behavior, Robert Louis Stevenson vigorously defended him in an "Open Letter to Dr. Hyde."
During the canonization homily, Pope Benedict XVI said: "Let us remember before this noble figure that it is charity which makes unity, brings it forth and makes it desirable. Following in Saint Paul's footsteps, Saint Damien prompts us to choose the good warfare (1 Tm 1:18), not the kind that brings division but the kind that gathers people together. He invites us to open our eyes to the forms of leprosy that disfigure the humanity of our brethren and still today call for the charity of our presence as servants, beyond that of our generosity."
My soul longs for your presence, Lord. When I turn my thoughts to You, I find peace and contentment.
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.
I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord. I will take refuge in His loving heart. He is my strength in times of weakness. He is my comforter in times of sorrow.
The Word of God
Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 20:17-27
From Miletus Paul had the presbyters of the Church at Ephesus summoned. When they came to him, he addressed them, "You know how I lived among you the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia. I served the Lord with all humility and with the tears and trials that came to me because of the plots of the Jews, and I did not at all shrink from telling you what was for your benefit, or from teaching you in public or in your homes. I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus. But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem. What will happen to me there I do not know, except that in one city after another the Holy Spirit has been warning me that imprisonment and hardships await me. Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God's grace.
"But now I know that none of you to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels will ever see my face again. And so I solemnly declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God."
Responsorial Psalm PS 68:10-11, 20-21 R. (33a) Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth. or: R. Alleluia. A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance; you restored the land when it languished; Your flock settled in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth. or: R. Alleluia. Blessed day by day be the Lord, who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation. God is a saving God for us; the LORD, my Lord, controls the passageways of death.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 14:16 R. Alleluia, alleluia. I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 17:1-11a
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.
"I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ As long as we have a breath left in our body, we have work to do on earth to glorify God. We can never begin this work too early, or too late. What work does the Lord call on me to do today?
▪ Audacious though it may seem, the words in this passage prompt me to pray that the Lord of the universe may be glorified in me.
Conversation requires talking and listening. As I talk to Jesus may I also learn to be still and listen. I picture the gentleness in His eyes and the smile full of love as he gazes on me. I can be totally honest with Jesus as I tell Him of my worries and my cares. I will open up my heart to Him as I tell Him of my fears and my doubts. I will ask Him to help me to place myself fully in His care, to abandon myself to Him, knowing that He always wants what is best for me.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Saint Damien de Veuster, Priest (Optional Memorial)
I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. (John 17:4)
If you find Jesus' prayer here difficult to understand at first, perhaps it is because what we have here is an exchange between two divine persons. The language of love between humans is hard enough to grasp at times, so it makes sense that we would have to read this expression of divine love slowly and carefully!
Jesus' first thoughts are for his Father. While he was on earth, he sought to obey his Father in every way possible, and so "vindicate" his Father's power, authority, and goodness. So what glory does Jesus ask for himself? Only to be with his Father once again. He doesn't ask for a great throne or for the unerring worship of all peoples. He simply wants to be with his Father.
Jesus' prayer doesn't remain focused only on his Father. The consuming love between them spills over into his love for his disciples. Imagine all the pressure that Jesus must have been feeling. He knew that he was about to bear the weight of all our sins. He knew that the devil was about to batter him with unspeakable hatred and temptation. He knew that all it would take was one slip, one little sin, and all would be lost. But what was Jesus concerned about? His Father's plan. His disciples. Each and every one of us. Now that's love!
We know how this story ends. Jesus triumphed. By dying in submission to God's plan, he both glorified his Father and redeemed us from sin. His love for his Father and his love for us carried the day.
This is the love that Jesus is offering us today: a love strong enough to repel every temptation, heal every wound, and repair every broken relationship. It is a love that doesn't discriminate and never grows tired or jaded. It's a love that we are meant to experience, not just learn about. Today in prayer, let Jesus shower that love upon you. Then throughout the day, look for signs that his love is still out there. He never stops caring for his people!
"Lord, I marvel at the love that you have for me and for your Father. Help me to open my arms ever wider to receive all that you have for me."
my2cents: Some words of encompassing prophecy "...if the Lord speaks, then we must be on our way". Do not ever think that prophecy is simply to know the future, but to live the present. And so we have St. Paul saying at one point today " I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God's grace." They asked a pastor to speak at the eulogy for my cousin Pachalo and he said that Pachalo (Joe Jr.) had finished his race. Never give up on your faith, never give up on your cross. I was at a meeting with a group of men on faith, and they all talked about their "heavy crosses". At lunch time I looked at a brother and asked sarcastically "oh you got a cross too?" As if we are the only ones with heavy burdens? As if St. Paul didn't carry a cross? As if our Lord HIMSELF didn't carry a cross? Then who am I not to carry this cross? And the cross is Glory to GOD. We prayed today "Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth." Sing! It is a command, it isn't a suggestion. Commands from God are not suggestions. I have to sing even when I don't feel like it, and I didn't really feel like it during my cousin's funeral yesterday. One feels disconnected, and that is the proper term for one who has dropped their eyes from the sight of the cross. So I took my guitar to the burial site, not for me, but to console the family suffering, even though I was one too. This is the part of giving that costs. It takes much effort to give when it is worth it. I say this, because to visit the elderly takes quite an effort, not to get there, but to stay there. I say this because even helping these orphans in Mexico is like jumping through hoops and obstacles just to try to help. I say this because it takes a heart of guts to forgive someone that gets under my skin, it takes a considerable amount of effort to do this...Give Glory. "Blessed day by day be the Lord,who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation." And I have to believe, especially when we pray today "God is a saving God for us; the LORD, my Lord, controls the passageways of death." If God is in control, then for sure He can control even death, the passages thereafter, all I have to do is commit my soul, we must commit our souls to Him, in obedience, self surrender, stay on the path that does not lead to temptation, but to Glory. In comes the KING OF GLORY, our Lord Himself into our lives today ""Father, the hour has come." The time for Glory has come! "Now this is eternal life,that they should know you, the only true God" Let us divulge this, digest this. How can we "know " the only and true God? Very easy, spend more time with Him, go visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament, pray more and more often, and spend more time reading about Him, and then reading His love letters in the Holy Scripture. Our Lord continues "I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do." The accomplishment was of works, works of mighty deeds, and the mighty deeds were simply great deeds of great love. This is what defeats death ultimately. This is what defeats sin, great work, and the Lord has chosen the work for us. How much do you love our loved ones? And how about Jesus in the stranger? Wouldn't you desire an eternal bliss for them? Our Lord speaks of eternity by speaking of the chosen and the glory, the sacrificial love of obedience to Our Father. The more family funerals I have to go to, the more I have to see how short our lives can really be here on earth. There isn't too much time to waste, especially not on self. As I drove home from choir practice, the sun was starting to set for the night, and I thought "I have to exercise, but my family is going to sleep, must I get fit, or must my family be saved as we pray together at the end of the day? Self loses, others come first. We prayed immediately, I still got a few minutes of jogging, but God comes first. My beat up body, and spirit had to be worked. We must work for the Lord, that is to say, live for the Lord. Imagine this reality, "not everyone goes to Heaven". Modern softened theology teaches in culture moral relativism, as if to say anything goes. Lies. Might as well say God doesn't exist, and this is all to say, what He says don't matter. God's Glory awaits. To KNOW, means to be intimate with. Mary is a virgin that did not "know" man, was never intimate, but God was intimate with her, and so the Glory of God became known. I want all of us to be intimate with this great friend, the creator of the Universe that hears your tears and knows where they come from in the heart. I looked to the sky, and I couldn't raise my arms as I've done last night, remembering that Pachalo was reported to have been seen in his backyard by neighbors raising his arms to God and saying "take me Lord, I'm ready!". But Jesus did. He followed the command of giving Glory, His life. For a real Christian, a real Christ follower...your cross is waiting And it leads to joy, can you believe it?