"Love Mary! She is loveable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her." — St. Gabriel Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
Jesus Christ is the one whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and established as priest, prophet, and king. The whole People of God participates in these three offices of Christ and bears the responsibilities for mission and service that flow from them. On entering the People of God through faith and Baptism, one receives a share in this people's unique, priestly vocation: ... The baptized, by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated to be a spiritual house and a holy priesthood." "The holy People of God shares also in Christ's prophetic office," above all in the supernatural sense of faith that belongs to the whole People, lay and clergy, when it "unfailingly adheres to this faith . . . once for all delivered to the saints," and when it deepens its understanding and becomes Christ's witness in the midst of this world. Finally, the People of God shares in the royal office of Christ. He exercises his kingship by drawing all men to himself through his death and Resurrection. Christ, King and Lord of the universe, made himself the servant of all, for he came "not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." For the Christian, "to reign is to serve him," particularly when serving "the poor and the suffering, in whom the Church recognizes the image of her poor and suffering founder." The People of God fulfills its royal dignity by a life in keeping with its vocation to serve with Christ. — (CCC, 783-786) AN EXCERPT FROM
click to go there
St. Felix of Cantalice
Felix was the first Capuchin Franciscan ever canonized. In fact, when he was born, the Capuchins did not yet exist as a distinct group within the Franciscans.
Born of humble, God-fearing parents in the Rieti Valley, Felix worked as a farmhand and a shepherd until he was 28. He developed the habit of praying while he worked.
In 1543 he joined the Capuchins. When the guardian explained the hardships of that way of life, Felix answered: "Father, the austerity of your Order does not frighten me. I hope, with God's help, to overcome all the difficulties which will arise from my own weakness."
Three years later Felix was assigned to the friary in Rome as its official beggar. Because he was a model of simplicity and charity, he edified many people during the 42 years he performed that service for his confreres.
As he made his rounds, he worked to convert hardened sinners and to feed the poor–as did his good friend, St. Philip Neri, who founded the Oratory, a community of priests serving the poor of Rome. When Felix wasn't talking on his rounds, he was praying the rosary. The people named him "Brother Deo Gratias" (thanks be to God) because he was always using that blessing.
When Felix was an old man, his superior had to order him to wear sandals to protect his health. Around the same time a certain cardinal offered to suggest to Felix's superiors that he be freed of begging so that he could devote more time to prayer. Felix talked the cardinal out of that idea. Felix was canonized in 1712.
Grateful people make good beggars. St. Francis told his friars that if they gave the world good example, the world would support them. Felix's life proves the truth of that advice. In referring all blessings back to their source (God), Felix encouraged people to works of charity for the friars and for others.
"And let us refer all good to the most high and supreme lord God, and acknowledge that every good is His, and thank Him for everything, [He] from Whom all good things come. And may He, the Highest and Supreme, Who alone is true God, have and be given and receive every honor and reverence, every praise and blessing, every thanks and glory, for every good is His, He Who alone is good. And when we see or hear an evil [person] speak or act or blaspheme God, let us speak well and act well and praise God (cf. Rm 12:21), Who is blessed forever (Romans 1:25)" (St. Francis, Rule of 1221, Ch. 17).
Dear Jesus, I come to you today longing for your presence. I desire to love you as You love me. May nothing ever separate me from You.
"Leave me here freely all alone In cell where never sunlight shone should no one ever speak to me This golden silence makes me free." Part of a poem written by a prisoner at Dachau concentration camp
In God's loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment. I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude. I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.
The Word of God
Wednesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Jas 4:13-17
Beloved: Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town, spend a year there doing business, and make a profit"– you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears. Instead you should say, "If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that." But now you are boasting in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, it is a sin.
Responsorial Psalm PS 49:2-3, 6-7, 8-10, 11 R. (Matthew 5:3) Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs! Hear this, all you peoples; hearken, all who dwell in the world, Of lowly birth or high degree, rich and poor alike.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs! Why should I fear in evil days when my wicked ensnarers ring me round? They trust in their wealth; the abundance of their riches is their boast.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs! Yet in no way can a man redeem himself, or pay his own ransom to God; Too high is the price to redeem one's life; he would never have enough to remain alive always and not see destruction.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs! For he can see that wise men die, and likewise the senseless and the stupid pass away, leaving to others their wealth.
R. Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
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 Mk 9:38-40
John said to Jesus, "Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us." Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Once having known Jesus, there should be no halfway house. We can embrace him or resist him. We cannot say "yes" and "no" at the same time. As St Paul says, "in him it is always 'Yes'. For all the promises of God find their 'Yes' in him."
How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold? Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way? I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me, I turn and share my feelings with him.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that. (James 4:15)
Three churchgoers heard this passage from James 4 read at Mass. The first thought, "Well, if I'm only supposed to do God's will, I suppose I should pray more so that I can discover what he wants of me." So he stayed kneeling at the end of Mass until he felt God might be happy for him to stand up and walk out. Then, outside the church, he prayed until he felt it was okay to drive home, and so on for the rest of the day.
The second spent the rest of her day worried that God would suddenly decide that her time was up, that she would no longer "live to do this or that."
The third fared no better. He spent the day lounging in his armchair instead of going on that lunch date with his wife and attending the parish council meeting he had planned for that day. "I guess that's what it looks like to trust all those things to God, right?" he thought.
It's easy to laugh at these extreme examples of misunderstanding James' words. We assume that he is addressing an attitude of presumptuousness—some of his readers seemed to be making plans "doing this or that" without paying attention to the spiritual ramifications of their actions. We know that God doesn't want us to be super spiritual or fearful or apathetic—but how should we react to this passage?
Perhaps it's helpful to look at the sentence in reverse: we live to do this or that because the Lord wills it. This should reframe the outcome. Thinking this way reminds you that every moment of your life is a gift, held in place by God, and the right response is to be thankful. The remedy for presumptuousness is not the fear that you'll unwittingly disappoint the Lord. It's humility and gratitude.
Let gratitude take root in your heart today. Give thanks for the challenges that God has allowed you to go through. They have helped make you who you are. Give thanks too for the present moment, which is also filled with God's presence. And give thanks for a future you can be hopeful about, because your heavenly Father holds your whole life—including your future—in his hands!
"Lord, thank you for the generosity of your will."
my2cents: The Lord our God allows us to hear about what is evil so we will stay away from it...for our own good. Today we heard that "boasting is evil". It is the perfect DEMONstration of pride, the root of evil that casts you out of Heaven (as the angel of lights was, Lucifer). To think we know better than God, or worse, to "know" better than God. Instead, St. James exhorts to us, say ""If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that." Often I will say this and people I can tell are taken aback and agree "yes...yes if the Lord agrees, wills". As if you have complete control over your own life? You do not. You can not even control one day, how can you control one life? You can not even control your feelings, how can you control your life? Control then...it is to be left to Our Father, our Master, our King, and I am happy to be His child, His servant, and a subject, subjected to His will, and His will is for the good. Believe it, but more, be living it, and more, be in love with it. Because His desire is higher and greater, and this is His desire for all of us, to look beyond our meager attempts at greatness, He has the hands that created the universe, and the universe is a mere room in His heart. So expansive is His love and mercy, that to dip into this ocean is like a single cell in the entire world, and from this God can do great things. We prayed today "Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!" This poverty is blessed. The Virgin Mother of God, Mary, she was called "blessed among women" by an Archangel, and "blessed is the fruit of thy womb" the angel says. Poor then is good, not bad. The world says poverty is bad. If you've ever lived in a 3rd world country (and I have), poverty is life, and that life is rich. But God is speaking about spiritual poverty, where one is not full...especially full of oneself. Empty, and ready for God...that was our Blessed Mother, and in comes Jesus to fill her life and thus, our lives. Fullness of extreme riches from Heaven, because "Yet in no way can a man redeem himself, or pay his own ransom to God". In NO WAY can you present yourself paid for and saved on your own. There's nothing you can do for salvation except...accept, to accept His great and most awesome gift of our Lord, and how can one repay Him for such a great gift? That my family, that is the greatest question we could ask today. How to pay for such a wondrous gift? Appreciation, gratitude, this becomes a life worth living. In comes the gift of God into our lives...Himself...Jesus "There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me." If we can agree with one another, across all religious platforms, it is that God is asking us for mercy and compassion. This is the true God. For if you ask their religious affiliation, they would proclaim they have witnessed God in their lives. Shall we then strangle one another for our differences? No. But we should unite in our fight against death and destruction, and a self implosion, lives that are not giving and being fruitful and multiplying in the name of the Lord. This week, I've heard half a dozen different people comment on my large family, "oh you got the whole team here" and stuff like that. You see, what I have received from God is an anomaly, an abnormality if you wish, something that deviates from the standards that culture has set. It is because we are pro-life, and being pro-life is pro Jesus for Jesus, for Life, for He is the Truth, the Way, and the Life. People will attempt to insult me over and over with "you are being abusive" or "you are endangering the world", and it is true, I am abusing my powers to give life to the world with a child that fears God, and this is a danger to the dark world. It all starts at home. And home is where the heart is. You then, listen to this, you have been charged with life and the responsibility of your love to love God above all.
Pray more, learn some prayers, learn to pray. Listen more, learn how to listen, learn to listen. Give more, learn how to give, learn to give.
Because a great gift of life is this learning process we are all involved in. To advance in the life of grace, I suggest a life of Mary that follows Christ to the cross and beyond the grave she seeks Him evermore. For what is before us is an opportunity of life availed, through Him. That at His name all dominions take a knee. What is purchased for us then, our salvation, can be paid for with our lives. True thanksgiving. And Eucharist means to give thanks, and a pure thanks is a pure life offered to Him.
Lord, I pray for every soul these words have reached. You know I pray much and think much of them. I commend to you their goodness received from you. To be enriched by your love and grace. To be talkative with you oh Lord, and to live with you Father. And this is my prayer, of souls' salvation, if it is your will Father, my will is yours and I will for the greater good, for your greater glory.