"Faith is a habit of the mind whereby eternal life is begun in us, making the intellect assent to what is non-apparent." — St. Thomas Aquinas
MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Very pleasing to Me, dearest daughter, is the willing desire to bear every pain and fatigue, even unto death, for the salvation of souls, for the more the soul endures, the more she shows that she loves Me; loving Me she comes to know more of My truth, and the more she knows, the more pain and intolerable grief she feels at the offenses committed against me." — St. Catherine of Siena, p. 9 AN EXCERPT FROM The Dialogue of St. Catherine Of Siena
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St. Paschal Baylon
In Paschal's lifetime the Spanish empire in the New World was at the height of its power, though France and England were soon to reduce its influence. The 16th century has been called the Golden Age of the Church in Spain, for it gave birth to Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Peter of Alcantara, Francis Solano and Salvator of Horta.
Paschal's Spanish parents were poor and pious. Between the ages of seven and 24 he worked as a shepherd and began a life of mortification. He was able to pray on the job and was especially attentive to the church bell which rang at the Elevation during Mass. Paschal had a very honest streak in him. He once offered to pay owners of crops for any damage his animals caused!
In 1564, Paschal joined the Friars Minor and gave himself wholeheartedly to a life of penance. Though he was urged to study for the priesthood, he chose to be a brother. At various times he served as porter, cook, gardener and official beggar.
Paschal was careful to observe the vow of poverty. He would never waste any food or anything given for the use of the friars. When he was porter and took care of the poor coming to the door, he developed a reputation for great generosity. The friars sometimes tried to moderate his liberality!
Paschal spent his spare moments praying before the Blessed Sacrament. In time many people sought his wise counsel. People flocked to his tomb immediately after his burial; miracles were reported promptly. Paschal was canonized in 1690 and was named patron of eucharistic congresses and societies in 1897.
Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament occupied much of St. Francis' energy. Most of his letters were to promote devotion to the Eucharist. Paschal shared that concern. An hour in prayer before our Lord in the Eucharist could teach all of us a great deal. Some holy and busy Catholics today find that their work is enriched by those minutes regularly spent in prayer and meditation.
"Meditate well on this: Seek God above all things. It is right for you to seek God before and above everything else, because the majesty of God wishes you to receive what you ask for. This will also make you more ready to serve God and will enable you to love him more perfectly" (St. Paschal).
At any time of the day or night we can call on Jesus. He is always waiting, listening for our call. What a wonderful blessing. No phone needed, no e-mails, just a whisper.
Thank you for the gift of freedom, Lord. Grant that I may always choose to follow You. Keep me ever mindful of your ways. Of your love and concern for all people.
Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence. Teach me to recognise your presence in others. Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.
The Word of God
Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Ordinary Time Reading 1
Beloved: Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask. You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Adulterers! Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose that the Scripture speaks without meaning when it says, The spirit that he has made to dwell in us tends toward jealousy? But he bestows a greater grace; therefore, it says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
So submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you of two minds. Begin to lament, to mourn, to weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.
Responsorial Psalm PS 55:7-8, 9-10a, 10b-11a, 23 R. (23a) Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you. And I say, "Had I but wings like a dove, I would fly away and be at rest. Far away I would flee; I would lodge in the wilderness."
R. Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you. "I would wait for him who saves me from the violent storm and the tempest." Engulf them, O Lord; divide their counsels.
R. Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you. In the city I see violence and strife, day and night they prowl about upon its walls.
R. Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you. Cast your care upon the LORD, and he will support you; never will he permit the just man to be disturbed.
R. Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you.
Alleluia Gal 6:14 R. Alleluia, alleluia. May I never boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, "The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise." But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.
They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, "What were you arguing about on the way?" But they remained silent. For they had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all." Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, "Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ The tenderness of Jesus' love for children is immense. In every adult, there is an inner child, vulnerable, sensitive, playful, open. Before the world cast its film of familiarity, boredom and cynicism, the child in us was full of wonder. It is only through wonder that that we can experience the glory and the greatness of God.
▪ Many of the great saints retained that capacity for wonder, a delight in creator and creation, an enduring youthfulness. The great Dominican mystic, Meister Eckhardt, joyfully claimed that "that my soul is as young as when I was created, aye, much younger. And I tell you, I should be ashamed were she not younger tomorrow than today."
Jesus, you always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that you will never abandon me.
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.
Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? (James 4:1)
Wouldn't we all like to know? We see our world torn apart by war. We see conflicts at all levels of society, including divisions that threaten to destroy our families. Civilizations have been dealing with conflict in one form or another since history began. Of course, there are often complex political reasons, but James cuts through all the arguments and tells us that conflict stems from sin—from those things within us that are at enmity with God.
We may not always acknowledge it, but a war is raging right now in each of our hearts! Our desires for the things of God are directly opposed to our desires for the things of this world (Galatians 5:17). As we contend with these dueling desires, the internal conflict can become external and cause strife with other people. No one is exempt from this tension: even the disciples were arguing about who was the greatest (Mark 9:33-34)!
So what's the answer? Should we just throw up our hands and resign ourselves to a life of battles and wars? Absolutely not! James outlines two key steps to overcoming this conflict: we must submit ourselves to God and resist the devil. If we come to God, he will come to us (James 4:7-8). Before we can take any of those steps, however, we first have to look within ourselves and recognize the struggle we are facing. When we've realized that we can't deal with it on our own, then we are ready to ask God for help!
If you want peace in the world, start by building peace in your own life. Humbly turn your heart to God and ask him to help you resist the passions that pull you away from him. If you do, you will see victory little by little. You will become more peaceful as you become more closely attached to Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Then, the people in your family, at work, and in your community will be drawn to you as they sense that peace—and they'll start to change too. As the old song says, peace on earth really can "begin with me"!
"Lord, as you calmed the Sea of Galilee, please calm the storms within me. Let your peace abide in my heart and become a beacon to those around me!"
my2cents: Let the Spirit of the Lord flow, and let the prophecy be fulfilled today when you hear "The Lord wants you to be happy...the Lord wants you to be with Him." These words I write to you as a gift from the Holy Spirit. Be encouraged and be in love, and this means one thing...be in Love with our Father our God, our everything our all.
In today's first Holy Scripture, we heard very powerful words "Is it not from your passions that make war within your members?" It is not just the other person's fault we are at war, but it is our own spiritual unrest that adds to the fuel of that fire. For we are in this together. Do not be despondent, and do grow away from the fire of the Lord. Because if you are to receive power, then it is His fire. His is what makes for life, even in chains as the terrorists kidnapped a priest and bound him in chains, busted his nose with their knees and busted out his teeth with a hammer. In chains and blindfolded, he prayed for them. 9 days later of praying for them, he was released, with a rifle shot to the leg, and a torn body. And last night they asked him on EWTN, 'what would you recommend to the world to help the situation? Military help?' And he said no, "send teachers". Teachers to teach the love of God and the truth to re-write the constitution, the law of the heart. This is what God wants and is calling us to do. This is why we confess, because we are in this together, it's not just you and God, it's US and GOD. What you do matters, even in secret, even in thoughts. Because if adultery is raging havoc in the world today, it is a break, an unfaithfulness to God our Father. Adulterous thoughts, they are sin. They are raging war on God's children. And the first are the culprits, Adam and Eve, man and woman created for God, yet were unfaithful...adulterous. And they created a multitude to follow their steps. Teaching to love God, yet with concupiscence ( a tendency to sin). The apple falls not far from the tree (we are showing the way).
I randomly opened the book before writing to you upon meditating, the book "The Imitation of Christ" by Kempis. In it words of consolation placed themselves in my heart "Continue on with what you are doing; labor perseveringly in My vineyard, and I Myself will be your reward (Rom.7:24). Continue your writing, reading, singing, lamenting, keeping silence and praying, and bearing your troubles bravely; for eternal life is worth all these combats and more." Ahh, isn't that inspiring? The Lord urging us onward? A couple paragraphs later it said "Oh! if we could only see the unfading crowns of the Saints in heaven and in what great glory they now rejoice-they whom the world once scorned and thought hardly fit to live; with what alacrity we would humble ourselves to the dust, eager to be subject to all than to lord it over even one person. (keep this in mind for today's Holy Gospel as the Lord says who shall be least shall be the servant, least of all; keep in mind I randomly opened the book). You would not seek the pleasures of this life, but rather would be glad to suffer here for God's sake, esteeming it a great advantage to be thought nothing of by human beings. 4. If you were really eager to get to HEaven, you would relish with joy the struggles and conflicts of this world, never daring even once to complain; knowing in your inmost heart that where I am with all My Saints, here in the kingdom of My Father, is where you will remain safe and at rest after your tribulations in this world are at an end."
We prayed today the Holy Psalms "Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you". Enough said, unite in faithfulness with Him.
The Lord of our lives enters our lives today ""Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me." Amen? The child in their midst was ignored, was basically a nobody, someone like a slave, somewhat like unhuman until they reached all the prescribed notions man were to place on that child. Yesterday, I heard a pro-choice woman on the radio "a child is a living, breathing human outside of its mother's womb". So the child is not a child when this woman said, unless it met all the requirements and notions she put on the child, it was not a child. Yet God says to receive the child without all our preconceived notions and judgements. The child is indeed alive, the spark is pumping its heart and before that, a spark had lit the life in conception. That child has a soul. Not when you said it has one, but when God gave it at conception and holiness is carried within. Life is precious, yet we trash it and make the world trashy and we share in trashing with any little sin we involve ourselves in.
The reason I did not write yesterday is because where I was with my wife, kids, and our parish priest there was no internet. We went to a mountain to camp. We drove through a fierce thunderstorm of lightning and hail through the mountains and I prayed that when we arrive I could get a break from the rain to hook up at the campsite. We arrived, and it cleared up. My 3 and 4 year old children kept calling the priest "GOD" and "Jesus". Fittingly, we carried a consecrated human to be Jesus to the world. Men and women, love your children and your Father. Faithfulness. He lamented the sad state of affairs of our country, because where he is from, they face the same but do not bend the rules. Who will stay like the priest from Iraq in combat of Love? Muslims are only terrorists as long as you make them with your notions. Unborn children are blobs of tissue as long as you make them. The homosexual and sexual preferences movement is taking over as long as you let them. You are allowing the atrocities of the world. You are not reaching out to the Muslims to be delivered from the spirit of death and destruction. You are the one that has too much to do than to go pray for the unborn. You are the one who instead of talking with homosexuals, are letting them live a life against human conception in the way God designed. It is the least in the world, Jesus says, it is the least in the world that matter. And you are making yourself the most, when what you do and say is more important than what He says...faithfulness. The Life of the Holy Spirit is fabulously quiet and moving and great. My kids were tired and hungry as we made our way through the mountain camp site. "where are we going?" they asked, I said "to the ampitheatre, we are going to pray". They just obeyed. When we got there, we made our way down to a dry creek between mountains and a bridge was there leading to a trail. I said "let's pray the rosary". We began praying with the father. The kids apparently forgot they were tired and hungry and began exploring the creek as we prayed. In the middle of the rosary, I noticed a couple, a man and woman were to cross the bridge where we were praying. They crossed our prayer times and we never ceased praying. Perhaps they were touched by a family of faith, perhaps their life would change? As we left, I could seem them winding their way up, higher and higher up the mountain. This is faith. Never knowing, but persevering. Like last week, remember I said I couldn't "jive" with this Holy Spirit song by Francesca? I didn't really like it, but we sang it in front of the Bishop at Confirmation on Sunday. I spoke with the Bishop afterwards during our meal and he said "you know which song I liked? And I said, 'let me guess, the one in which the confirmation male students got up to sing "Make your Home In Me"? And he said no. He said that the night before Confirmation on Pentecost, he had gone to sleep listening to the Holy Spirit song by Francesca and had been thinking "I hope to hear this song at one of the Confirmations" and the next morning we sang it. It was all in God's writing. All we have to be is obedient to His will. If God has a place prepared for you, let it not remain empty. Let your place be a place for Him.