"For all, regenerated in Christ, are made kings by the sign of the cross; they are consecrated priests by the oil of the Holy Spirit, so that beyond the special service of our ministry as priests, all spiritual and mature Christians know that they are a royal race and are sharers in the office of the priesthood. For what is more king-like than to find yourself ruler over your body after having surrendered your soul to God? And what is more priestly than to promise the Lord a pure conscience and to offer him in love unblemished victims on the altar of one's heart?" — St. Leo the Great
MEDITATION OF THE DAY "If, then, Heaven made Joseph the protector of Jesus and Mary, we may rest assured that he was at the same time made protector and patron of all men." — Edward Healy Thompson, p. 401 AN EXCERPT FROM Life & Glories of St. Joseph
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Blessed Franz Jaegerstaetter
Called to serve his country as a Nazi solider, Franz eventually refused, and this husband and father of three daughters (Rosalie, Marie and Aloisia) was executed because of it.
Born in St. Radegund in Upper Austria, Franz lost his father during World War I and was adopted after Heinrich Jaegerstaetter married Rosalia Huber. As a young man, he loved to ride his motorcycle and was the natural leader of a gang whose members were arrested in 1934 for brawling. For three years he worked in the mines in another city and then returned to St. Radegund, where he became a farmer, married Franziska and lived his faith with quiet but intense conviction.
In 1938 he publicly opposed the German Anschluss (annexation) of Austria. The next year he was drafted into the Austrian army, trained for seven months and then received a deferment. In 1940 he was called up again but allowed to return home at the request of the town's mayor. He was in active service between October 1940 and April 1941 but was again deferred. His pastor, other priests and the bishop of Linz urged him not to refuse to serve if drafted.
In February 1943 he was called up again and reported to army officials in Enns, Austria. When he refused to take the oath of loyalty to Hitler, he was imprisoned in Linz. Later he volunteered to serve in the medical corps but was not assigned there.
During Holy Week he wrote to his wife: "Easter is coming and, if it should be God's will that we can never again in this world celebrate Easter together in our intimate family circle, we can still look ahead in the happy confidence that, when the eternal Easter morning dawns, no one in our family circle shall be missing--so we can then be permitted to rejoice together forever." In May he was transferred to a prison in Berlin.
Challenged by his attorney that other Catholics were serving in the army, Franz responded, "I can only act on my own conscience. I do not judge anyone. I can only judge myself." He continued, "I have considered my family. I have prayed and put myself and my family in God's hands. I know that, if I do what I think God wants me to do, he will take care of my family."
On August 8, 1943, he wrote to Fransizka: "Dear wife and mother, I thank you once more from my heart for everything that you have done for me in my lifetime, for all the sacrifices that you have borne for me. I beg you to forgive me if I have hurt or offended you, just as I have forgiven everything…My heartfelt greetings for my dear children. I will surely beg the dear God, if I am permitted to enter heaven soon, that he will set aside a little place in heaven for all of you."
Franz was beheaded and cremated the following day. In 1946 his ashes were reburied in St. Radegund near a memorial inscribed with his name and the names of almost 60 village men who died during their military service. He was beatified in Linz on Occtober 26, 2007. His "spiritual testament" is now in Rome's St. Bartholomew Church as part of a shrine to 20th-century martyrs for their faith.
Franz Jaegerstaetter followed his conscience and paid the highest price possible. In December 2008 his widow and three daughters were introduced to Pope Benedict XVI in connection with the presentation of a new biography, Christ or Hitler? The Life of Blessed Franz Jaegerstaetter. Many people first learned about him from Gordon Zahn's book In Solitary Witness: The Life and Death of Franz Jaegerstaetter.
In his homily at the beatification Mass, Cardinal José Saraiva Martins quoted Giorgio La Pira, a 20th- century mayor of Florence, who wrote: "The holiness of our century will have this characteristic: It will be a holiness of laypeople. We encounter on the streets those who within 50 years may be on the altars–along the strees, in factories, in parliament and in university classrooms." Cardinal Martins noted that after long internal struggles, Franz arrived at an extraordinary life of Christian witness. "Saints and blessed have always given an example of what it means and signifies to be Christians, even in particular, concrete historical moments."
Lord, help me to be fully alive to your holy presence. Enfold me in your love. Let my heart become one with yours.
By God's grace I was born to live in freedom. Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me. Dear Lord, grant that I may live as You intended, with complete confidence in Your Loving care.
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
Tuesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 1 Kgs 17:7-16
The brook near where Elijah was hiding ran dry, because no rain had fallen in the land. So the LORD said to Elijah: "Move on to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have designated a widow there to provide for you." He left and went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the entrance of the city, a widow was gathering sticks there; he called out to her, "Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink." She left to get it, and he called out after her, "Please bring along a bit of bread." She answered, "As the LORD, your God, lives, I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar and a little oil in my jug. Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks, to go in and prepare something for myself and my son; when we have eaten it, we shall die." Elijah said to her, "Do not be afraid. Go and do as you propose. But first make me a little cake and bring it to me. Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son. For the LORD, the God of Israel, says, 'The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'" She left and did as Elijah had said. She was able to eat for a year, and Elijah and her son as well; the jar of flour did not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, as the LORD had foretold through Elijah.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 4:2-3, 4-5, 7b-8 R. (7a) Lord, let your face shine on us. When I call, answer me, O my just God, you who relieve me when I am in distress; Have pity on me, and hear my prayer! Men of rank, how long will you be dull of heart? Why do you love what is vain and seek after falsehood?
R. Lord, let your face shine on us. Know that the LORD does wonders for his faithful one; the LORD will hear me when I call upon him. Tremble, and sin not; reflect, upon your beds, in silence.
R. Lord, let your face shine on us. O LORD, let the light of your countenance shine upon us! You put gladness into my heart, more than when grain and wine abound.
R. Lord, let your face shine on us.
Alleluia Mt 5:16 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 5:13-16
Jesus said to his disciples: "You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Jesus seems recklessly confident of our potentialities: he calls us the salt and the light of the world, without whose witness the world will be a different place. Yet, we are always too ready to dismiss the influence our actions can have on others. But the life of the beatitudes gives flavour to our life together, and being a follower of Christ is not an individualistic choice, but one that involves the others.
▪ I give glory to the Father in heaven for the witness of someone I know whose life impresses me. I ask for the grace that my life too may throw light on the path of others so that they too may give glory to the Father.
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.
Isn't it funny how a statement like this can make us feel anxious? "Me? A light to the world? I've got a lot of work to do in order to live up to this! I'm sure I don't shine half as brightly as God wants me to. How can I possibly measure up to this?"
Relax! Jesus said you are the light, not you should be the light or you might be the light if you try hard enough. He said you are like a city on a hill; you can't help but be seen. Even if your light is under some kind of a basket, it still shines out through the cracks.
Jesus can say these things because the light in you comes from God, not from yourself. It's already there, even if you don't see it. This means that you don't have to try extra hard to shine. Jesus' light will shine out from you; it's what light does!
St. Philip Neri was like that. His friends called him "the electric eel" because he just seemed to draw people to himself—and even more so to God—naturally. You probably know someone like that yourself: a member of your parish perhaps or a friend from school or work. People are drawn to them because they seem to shine.
The good news is that you received that same light when you were baptized; you just need to let it shine out. If there are any "bushel baskets" blocking your light, let the Holy Spirit show them to you and help you remove them.
What does this light look like? Maybe it will shine as you smile at the cashier in the grocery store or as you get coffee for your co-worker or spouse. Maybe it will shine when you take the time to give your full attention to someone, even if you're in a hurry.
Little acts of love like these can bring light and warmth to the people around you. Not only will they enjoy being with you, but they will also get a glimpse of the life of God that is in you. And that heavenly light can draw them to Christ.
"Jesus, I believe that nothing can extinguish your light! Teach me how to let that light shine more and more brightly."
my2cents: The Lord said today, "MOVE" and we read "He left and went to Zarephath." Then we heard of the widow; "She left and did as Elijah had said." Can you see a pattern of obedience and faith? Abraham had left in obedience to the Lord. When asked for the ultimate sacrifice, the death of his own son to be killed by his own hands, the Lord stopped him, and we heard that another sacrifice was offered and provided for, therefore "Abraham named that place Yahweh-yireh; hence people today say, "On the mountain the LORD will provide." Elijah told the widow that she would not run out, because she gave. And she gave to the man of God first, the priest, the Father's chosen Father. Often I ask people with very little, to give. Today, I'm asking you to give, with the little you have to offer. Let the Holy Spirit flow. We prayed today "Lord, let your face shine on us." They say no one can see Him, the Son of God, as of now because it would be like staring into the sun directly. We've to use the tool of faith to see Him. "Know that the LORD does wonders for his faithful one", haven't you seen wonders? Then why the doubt? "the LORD will hear me when I call upon him. Tremble, and sin not; reflect, upon your beds, in silence." As today's future saint died for his clean consciousness, we too are to die for what is right, and it begins immediately. This conviction in your heart has to be lived out, no matter the cost. Let the conviction be Christ! In comes the Lord of our lives "You are the light of the world." If a light is designed to illuminate the whole house, why would you take this design and darken it? We are speaking of your soul and your life. If we are designed to light, designated to light the world, why would I darken the design? Simply enough because you have read this, you are called to live out your design. Christ is calling you to obedience and to move in love with Him. Love makes you do crazy things in which people will call you a freak show or a nut job, and in reality, when it comes to Christ, this is the case, the case of today's "Blessed" to be saint, even the Bishop told him not to refuse, but he chose to refuse to pledge an oath to Hitler, and instead, kept his oath to God. Where is your allegiance and obedience? What if God asks you for something crazy? Like, oh, I don't know...your Life!? Because today, Jesus is asking us to remain as good salt, not salt that loses its taste that is good for nothing. Salt is faith, remain faithful. My grandma would always say "no tengas miedo". Elijah said today "do not be afraid". Our Lord Jesus is asking us for much more when He asks us to be light and salt of the earth. Salt preserves, and this is our perseverance, a gift of God. We prayed another rosary for a vigil last night. For some odd reason, I felt I needed extra prayer, so I asked my wife for "palanca" leverage prayers, and I even prayed on my way to the funeral home which I have normally do not do. I arrive, and as I set up my stuff, guitar, prayer books, and rosary at the front, they tell me I'm not going to be doing the prayers as there was a mistake, even the funeral director apologized to me, but I remained faithful. I sat down and waited for the other man to come, a brother of our Mother Mary, I knew him and I wanted to pray with him. And we did. We all stood behind the coffin and then knelt before the coffin of a wonderful 93 yr. old man, "Don Alvaro". As we prayed, I recalled my family we buried this year, my grandma, about the same age, my cousin a few weeks ago, and more friends and relatives from later. From where I stood, at one point in prayer, and as a lady sung and spoke in tongues, I could only see the back of the open casket. As we reflected on the mystery of the rosary of the Nativity of Jesus, I envisioned the casket as the feeding trough that Jesus was born in. When Elijah said "your bread will not run out", it was Jesus speaking already "I will be with you always". Are you with HIM? Because when people are dating they say ask "are you with so and so?" meaning dating and seeing each other and spending time with each other. Today, I am asking are you WITH THE LORD JESUS? Are you with the love of Life?
Being with Him means always. Yesterday's people are gone, all the ones in the bible and slowly your loved ones too. What we have is now and today and our Lord. I will translate a bit of a reflection I read today:
"There is a story of a blind man who was walking in the middle of the night with a lamp in his hands. A neighbor finds him and asks: but why are you carrying that night light, if you're blind? It doesn't help you? The man replied: it serves to illuminate the path of those who encounter me. Reread the gospel, bringing to the heart those faces that are light today for you and appreciate them. Lord Jesus, sun of my life, may I let you pass through me. Do not let me put obstacles to your luminous presence. You, the taste in which I can like all things, the light in which I can see and recognize all the colors. Burn us, light the fire in us. Christ in us, light over us,