"The stillness of prayer is the most essential condition for fruitful action. Before all else, the disciple kneels down." — St. Gianna Molla
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"God gives prayer growth precisely according to our degree of readiness for it. He forces no one. According as we are more or less receptive, He bestows more or less depth of communion. In the same manner, five hundred people in a parish church all hear the same sound waves during the homily, but they profit from it exactly as they are or are not disposed for the message. Jesus taught the same truth in his parable of the sower: from the word of God some hearers yield nothing at all, while others yield thirty or sixty or a hundredfold." — Fr. Thomas Dubay, p. 114 AN EXCERPT FROM Fire Within
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St. Bernardine of Siena
Most of the saints suffer great personal opposition, even persecution. Bernardine, by contrast, seems more like a human dynamo who simply took on the needs of the world.
He was the greatest preacher of his time, journeying across Italy, calming strife-torn cities, attacking the paganism he found rampant, attracting crowds of 30,000, following St. Francis of Assisi's admonition to preach about "vice and virtue, punishment and glory."
Compared with St. Paul by the pope, Bernardine had a keen intuition of the needs of the time, along with solid holiness and boundless energy and joy. He accomplished all this despite having a very weak and hoarse voice, miraculously improved later because of his devotion to Mary.
When he was 20, the plague was at its height in his hometown, Siena. Sometimes as many as 20 people died in one day at the hospital. Bernardine offered to run the hospital and, with the help of other young men, nursed patients there for four months. He escaped the plague but was so exhausted that a fever confined him for several months. He spent another year caring for a beloved aunt (her parents had died when he was a child) and at her death began to fast and pray to know God's will for him.
At 22, he entered the Franciscan Order and was ordained two years later. For almost a dozen years he lived in solitude and prayer, but his gifts ultimately caused him to be sent to preach. He always traveled on foot, sometimes speaking for hours in one place, then doing the same in another town.
Especially known for his devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, Bernardine devised a symbol—IHS, the first three letters of the name of Jesus in Greek, in Gothic letters on a blazing sun. This was to displace the superstitious symbols of the day, as well as the insignia of factions (for example, Guelphs and Ghibellines). The devotion spread, and the symbol began to appear in churches, homes and public buildings. Opposition arose from those who thought it a dangerous innovation. Three attempts were made to have the pope take action against him, but Bernardine's holiness, orthodoxy and intelligence were evidence of his faithfulness.
General of a branch of the Franciscan Order, the Friars of the Strict Observance, he strongly emphasized scholarship and further study of theology and canon law. When he started there were 300 friars in the community; when he died there were 4,000. He returned to preaching the last two years of his life, dying while traveling.
At Bologna, Bernardine preached mightily against the evils of gambling. As was the custom, a huge bonfire was made in the public square, to be a holocaust consuming all the instruments of vice—playing cards, dice and the like. A manufacturer of playing cards complained that Bernardine was taking away his livelihood The saint told him to start making the symbol IHS, and he made more money than ever before.
Another dynamic saint once said, "...I will not be a burden, for I want not what is yours, but you.... I will most gladly spend and be utterly spent for your sakes" (2 Corinthians 12:14). There is danger that we see only the whirlwind of activity in the Bernardines of faith—taking care of the sick, preaching, studying, administering, always driving—and forget the source of their energy. We should not say that Bernardine could have been a great contemplative if he had had the chance. He had the chance, every day, and he took it.
Patron Saint of:
Advertising Gambling, compulsive behavior Italy Public relations
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. Freedom
"I am free." When I look at these words in writing They seem to create in me a feeling of awe. Yes, a wonderful feeling of freedom. Thank You, God. Consciousness
I ask how I am within myself today? Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form? If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?
The Word of God
Friday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Jas 5:9-12
Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates. Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of the perseverance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, because the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
But above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath, but let your "Yes" mean "Yes" and your "No" mean "No," that you may not incur condemnation.
Responsorial Psalm PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 8-9, 11-12 R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful. Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful. He pardons all your iniquities, he heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful. Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. He will not always chide, nor does he keep his wrath forever.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Alleluia See Jn 17:17b, 17a R. Alleluia, alleluia. Your word, O Lord, is truth; consecrate us in the truth. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 10:1-12
Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom, he again taught them. The Pharisees approached him and asked, "Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?" They were testing him. He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?" They replied, "Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her." But Jesus told them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate." In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this. He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Jesus sets out the ideal for marriage. He reminds us of what it is meant to be, even though, perhaps through no fault of our own, we may fail to live up to it. God is always present lovingly to the partners, even if through human weakness they have to part.
▪ Jesus denounces any hardness of heart which can bring about divorce. Spouses must not treat each other as worthless property to be discarded. They are called instead to a life of mutual respect and inter-dependence.
I begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture I have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in me? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story I have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface in my consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to 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 Bernardine of Siena, Priest (Optional Memorial)
Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another. (James 5:9)
Sometimes perspective can make all the difference. Looking down from the air, you see only the green foliage of a tree merging into all the trees around it. However, the same tree, viewed from below, manifests a delicate, tapering spread of branches. The tree may be developing flowers or fruit that can only be seen from the ground.
In a similar way, when we look down on our brothers and sisters, our vision may also be very limited. Everyone melds together into an indistinguishable group of "others" whose faults and shortcomings make us want to distance ourselves from them. But if we join them "on the ground" and look at them as our equals in God's eyes, we would see details that we may have missed before. We would see strengths as well as weaknesses. We would see acts of love as well as actions that disturb us. And most important, we would see how similar to us they really are.
This lower place is a place of respect. It's the place where God can show us what he finds so lovable about our brothers and sisters. It's also the place where we can see how God is at work in them, always in love, encouragement, and joy. It's the place where, rather than trying to change people's hearts and actions, we find our hearts beginning to change.
So James tells us not to complain about each other. It's not our role to judge—that belongs to God. Rather than being judges, we should become traveling companions who live to encourage each other. We should be patient with each other, just as God has been patient with us.
As you've been reading this meditation, someone probably came to mind. Try looking at this person from below, not above. Take the lower place of respect, and see this person through God's eyes of love and mercy. Don't become discouraged if this seems hard. Remember, "the coming of the Lord is at hand," the Lord who "is compassionate and merciful" (James 5:8, 11). He will help you every step of the way.
"Holy Spirit, give me your eyes and your heart so that I can cherish each brother and sister you have placed in my life."
St. James speaks the Word of the Lord "Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged.", perhaps this is one of the greatest sins we face among our people, those of us who complain about others, usually in the form of gossip, about how they dress, how they talk, how bad they talk about others! LOL, and here we are talking about them! What gives? Where is the love of God? Stay with me, because our Lord is about to take this to a much deeper and meaningful dimension. But first, realize what St. James says when He exhorts the word of God "...we call blessed those who have persevered" and ends with " above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath, but let your "Yes" mean "Yes" and your "No" mean "No," that you may not incur condemnation." An encounter with one that says yes and does not mean it makes a double condemnation right? First they did not fulfill their promise, and secondly, they lied. Who are "them" folks that do this? Who says yes Lord and doesn't go through with it? I find myself in that group, especially when I am asked to say the act of contrition in the Sacrament of Confession. And a Sacrament is indeed a swearing, an oath to God, a promise, and the Sacraments are Baptism, Confirmation, Confession (Reconciliation, Holy Communion (The Eucharist), MARRIAGE (Holy Matrimony, and Holy Orders, annointing of the sick. I bet you can see where this is getting deep, but first, let's recall the Holy Psalm we prayed today:
"The Lord is kind and merciful." We are called to be the Lord on earth, kind and full of mercy. "Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. He will not always chide, nor does he keep his wrath forever." What is chide? To scold? To rebuke? To throw it in your face? To always be bringing up the past? Before writing I had read many points on "Instructions for Life" (Click To Read all of them) and they said: 29. A loving atmosphere in your home is so important. Do all you can to create a tranquil harmonious home.
1. In disagreements with loved ones, deal with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
God doesn't bring up the past, but the devil does, and constantly too. Over and over it goes through your head in order for you to lose your head and faith. This is the absolute marvel of Holy Confession, I sat there, brought my repeated sins before Him and He said through the priest "your sins are cast out into the vast and deep oceans of mercy". If they linger, it was me that won't let them go, but as far as He is concerned...they are gone.
In comes the Lord of our lives: "...from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate." No human, not the man, not the woman, nobody must separate. I read today from another spanish reflection "It is that discussions on the subject of divorce that are not only of our time. And in Jesus times they, the authors discussed. And He recalls that what God has joined together, no man can put asunder. They are harsh words, especially for people who do not believe in "forever".
And forever is what we are talking about in the Holy Sacraments.
That is to say this: Baptism: FOREVER HIS CHILD Confirmation: FOREVER GIVEN THE HOLY SPIRIT Confession: FOREVER FORGIVEN Communion: FOREVER GIVEN HIS BODY, BLOOD, Soul & Divinity Matrimony: FOREVER GIVEN TO GOD this man and woman Holy Orders: FOREVER GIVEN TO GOD this priest or religious clergy Annointing of Sick: FOREVER PRAYED FOR spiritual healing.
You see the giving forever? How can you give something to God and then take it back? We must not. Divorce has riddled and separated families for thousands of years. I have witnessed the devastation it causes in many lives. The mother wants to be her own and find herself. The father wants to get rid of all the problems. This is contrary to the Holy Family that had to struggle together and be together no matter what. St. Joseph could've given up, but he never did. That is why we read the Word today that said "Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered." And Mary never gave up on her faith in God's word. She knew what she was going to face, and when she faced it, didn't think it would be to such a degree, and still she moved forward in obedience to God's love. The Spirit of self surrender must thrive among us Christ followers. Do what is contrary to the flesh. Abstain. Refrain. Repent. Surrender to the Lord. Why? Because, He will trade your false happiness for true and everlasting joy. That's why. Because He doesn't know about love...HE IS love.
I promise to love you, says the Lord in the Holy Sacraments. I promise...