"Do not be anxious: go straight on, forgetful of self, letting the spirit of God act instead of your own." — St. Julie Billiart
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"As St. Paul points out, Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary. He told us to be not only 'as harmless as doves', but also 'as wise as serpents'. He wants a child's heart, but a grown-up's head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim." —C.S. Lewis, p. 77 AN EXCERPT FROM Mere Christianity
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In the twelfth century in the French region of Premontre, St. Norbert founded a religious Order known as the Praemonstratensians or the Norbertines. His founding of the Order was a monumental task: combating rampant heresies (particularly regarding the Blessed Sacrament), revitalizing many of the faithful who had grown indifferent and dissolute, plus effecting peace and reconciliation among enemies.
Norbert entertained no pretensions about his own ability to accomplish this multiple task. Even with the aid of a goodly number of men who joined his Order, he realized that nothing could be effectively done without God's power. Finding this help especially in devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, he and his Norbertines praised God for success in converting heretics, reconciling numerous enemies and rebuilding faith in indifferent believers. Many of them lived in central houses during the week and served in parishes on weekends.
Reluctantly, Norbert became archbishop of Magdeburg in central Germany, a territory half pagan and half Christian. In this position he zealously and courageously continued his work for the Church until his death on June 6, 1134.
A different world cannot be built by indifferent people. The same is true in regard to the Church. The indifference of vast numbers of nominal faithful to ecclesiastical authority and essential doctrines of the faith weakens the Church's witness. Unswerving loyalty to the Church and fervent devotion to the Eucharist, as practiced by Norbert, will continue immeasurably towards maintaining the people of God in accord with the heart of Christ.
On the occasion of his ordination to the priesthood, Norbert said, "O Priest! You are not yourself because you are God. You are not of yourself because you are the servant and minister of Christ. You are not your own because you are the spouse of the Church. You are not yourself because you are the mediator between God and man. You are not from yourself because you are nothing. What then are you? Nothing and everything. O Priest! Take care lest what was said to Christ on the cross be said to you: 'He saved others, himself he cannot save!'"
I reflect for a moment on God's presence around me and in me. Creator of the universe, the sun and the moon, the earth, every molecule, every atom, everything that is: God is in every beat of my heart. God is with me, now.
"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
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
Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 1 Kgs 17:1-6
Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab: "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, during these years there shall be no dew or rain except at my word." The LORD then said to Elijah: "Leave here, go east and hide in the Wadi Cherith, east of the Jordan. You shall drink of the stream, and I have commanded ravens to feed you there." So he left and did as the LORD had commanded. He went and remained by the Wadi Cherith, east of the Jordan. Ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the stream.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 121:1bc-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 R. (see 2) Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. I lift up my eyes toward the mountains; whence shall help come to me? My help is from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. May he not suffer your foot to slip; may he slumber not who guards you: Indeed he neither slumbers nor sleeps, the guardian of Israel.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. The LORD is your guardian; the LORD is your shade; he is beside you at your right hand. The sun shall not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. The LORD will guard you from all evil; he will guard your life. The LORD will guard your coming and your going, both now and forever.
R. Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Alleluia Mt 5:12a R. Alleluia, alleluia. Rejoice and be glad; for your reward will be great in heaven. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 5:1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Like the second Moses, Jesus goes up the mountain to give his new Law. It is a law of the heart, based not on fear or prohibitions, but on a heart wide open, ready to embrace the paradoxes of life, and live it to the full. It is based on a call to happiness and blessedness. I can best understand the Beatitudes by contemplating Jesus and the way he lived, openly and courageously.
The Beatitudes always strike a chord deep in my heart. Today I will stay with the one which speaks to me most, either because I feel called to that particular attitude or because it represents my present struggle. I ask Jesus for his blessing, and for the grace that I might be a blessing to others.
What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to 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.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst . . . for they will be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)
Imagine you've been wandering for a long time in a hot, dry desert. Then you spot a well in the distance. You're not sure if there's water in it, but that doesn't matter. Desperate, you sprint toward it with all the strength you can muster. That's what real thirst looks like.
In today's Gospel, Jesus talks about another kind of thirst—spiritual thirst. But rather than comparing the spiritually thirsty to someone desperately trudging through a desert, he calls them "blessed" (Matthew 5:6). They are happy—which is what the Greek word here, makarios, means. These thirsty people are actually in a good place. But how can that be?
The truth is, we all have a spiritual thirst that only God can satisfy. Whether we recognize it or not, we all long to be close to him and to be filled with his life and his love. Jesus knows this too. That's why he offered the Samaritan woman at the well a taste of his own "living water" (John 4:10). He knew that the fulfillment she had been trying to find in her many marriages could come only from him. It's also why he had such a long conversation with her; he wanted her to recognize her thirst.
Jesus is always ready to give us a drink. He is eager to fill us with his living water. But as he did for the Samaritan woman, he waits for us to recognize how thirsty we are. Many health experts urge us to drink plenty of water—as much as a full gallon a day! We shouldn't wait until we feel parched and thirsty. We should just keep drinking. That's exactly how it is with Jesus. We always need his living water, whether we feel it or not.
Don't worry about drinking too much either. If you go to the Lord and say, "I am thirsty," he won't reject you. Quite the opposite; he'll rejoice! He loves filling us up; he loves refreshing our spirits; he loves keeping us spiritually healthy. So go ahead, and drink up!
"Jesus, I thirst for you. Come, Lord, and give me your living water."
The Word we prayed said " Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth". Elijah was told to go into some place where he would only be able to depend on God's word. Is God putting you in this place now in your life? Father Ogbonna said yesterday that you're not a Christian until you are tested. Are you there yet? We sang in Holy Mass, "The Lord Hears, the Cry of the Poor, Blessed be the Lord!". That song stuck in my head all week and is still ringing in my head. I like to consider myself "the poor", but could it be that I like to play the "victim"? When it comes to sin, we often like to point the finger like Adam and blame someone else. No one makes you do something, we choose something and if it is against the Lord, then how can we blame Him? Because ultimately, many of my own anguishes I say "perhaps the Lord is testing me" and I play mr. innocent. Isn't it? Poor me, indeed, because I need mercy more than anyone. I am poor because of my sinfulness. The poor in spirit are blessed, but the poor sinner? Boy, do we need prayer. And so the Lord of our lives enters our lives and recites the Words from His heart, the beatitudes. And they are exactly to "be our attitudes".
"Blessed are the poor in spirit" and can you believe "theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven". Poor then, means something different than my woes for myself! Poor means having nothing...but GOD!
"Blessed are they who mourn" and in the world, there are many who mourn, but for what or for whom? Who can fill their heart" and the Lord says "they will be comforted."
"Blessed are the meek", meek equals humility no? The Lord says "they will inherit the land." Then we've to not worry, and trust and be meek!!
"Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness" because to be filled with what He provides.. the Lord our God says "...they will be satisfied." isn't this amazing? Elijah was sent in barren land where the skies had closed up, and the Lord provided the bread from the skies...Himself.
"Blessed are the merciful", for my ruthless mind and mouth, God shows the way, to be compassionate...equals grace, and the Lord says ".. they will be shown mercy.". If I want mercy, I must BE MERCY!!!
"Blessed are the clean of heart" oh ok now, our Lord is getting down to the nitty gritty, isn't He? Clean hearts? Ever wonder why you can't see God? Get a clean heart, and only then "... they will see God." Do it.
"Blessed are the peacemakers", children of the light seek peace. The peace in its fullness is Jesus. Jesus-makers. This is true peace, and our Lord says "... they will be called children of God."
"Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness", and being persecuted for the right reasons makes all the difference, for living a life of unwavering truth and holiness...not for self interests, and our Lord says "... theirs is the Kingdom of heaven."
"Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me." says the Lord our God. In a life of grace you will indeed do as He says automatically "Rejoice and be glad" because the blood we shed for Him, the heartaches, the sharing of the Passion of Christ, then rightly we too will live in the joyful knowing that "your reward will be great in heaven."
The Lord turns our sorrows to joy, just by simply divulging in the "Be Attitudes", the attitude that is opposite of the world, opposite of pride, opposite of darkness, and instead is meekness, and light, and a heart in love with Love itself.
Lord, help us live this life of grace that depends only on what you provide from Heaven!!!