"The patient and humble endurance of the cross—whatever nature it may be—is the highest work we have to do." — St. Katharine Drexel
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"While St. Teresa was well acquainted with methods of meditation and wished her young nuns to be instructed in them, she emphatically insisted that the primary need for beginners is not to find the ideal method but to do God's will from moment to moment throughout the day—which is probably the last thing the beginner thinks is primary. Her thought is strong and unambiguous: 'The whole aim of any person who is beginning prayer—and don't forget this, because it is very important—should be that he work and prepare himself with determination and every effort to bring his will in conformity with God's will'. She then adds that 'it is the person who lives in more perfect conformity who will receive more from the Lord and be more advanced on this road of prayer.'" — Fr. Thomas Dubay, p. 112 AN EXCERPT FROM Fire Within
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St. William of York
A disputed election as archbishop of York and a mysterious death. Those are the headlines from the tragic life of today's saint.
Born into a powerful family in 12th-century England, William seemed destined for great things. His uncle was next in line for the English throne—though a nasty dynastic struggle complicated things. William himself faced an internal Church feud.
Despite these roadblocks, he was nominated as archbishop of York in 1140. Local clergymen were less enthusiastic, however, and the archbishop of Canterbury refused to consecrate William. Three years later a neighboring bishop performed the consecration, but it lacked the approval of Pope Innocent II, whose successors likewise withheld approval. William was deposed, and a new election was ordered.
It was not until 1154—14 years after he was first nominated—that William became archbishop of York. When he entered the city that spring after years of exile, he received an enthusiastic welcome. Within two months he was dead, probably from poisoning. His administrative assistant was a suspect, though no formal ruling was ever made.
Despite all that happened to him, William did not show resentment toward his opponents. Following his death, many miracles were attributed to him. He was canonized 73 years later.
I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....
I ask for the grace to let go of my own concerns and be open to what God is asking of me, to let myself be guided and formed by my loving Creator.
How do I find myself today? Where am I with God? With others? Do I have something to be grateful for? Then I give thanks. Is there something I am sorry for? Then I ask forgiveness.
The Word of God
Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 1 Kgs 18:20-39
Ahab sent to all the children of Israel and had the prophets assemble on Mount Carmel.
Elijah appealed to all the people and said, "How long will you straddle the issue? If the LORD is God, follow him; if Baal, follow him." The people, however, did not answer him. So Elijah said to the people, "I am the only surviving prophet of the LORD, and there are four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. Give us two young bulls. Let them choose one, cut it into pieces, and place it on the wood, but start no fire. I shall prepare the other and place it on the wood, but shall start no fire. You shall call on your gods, and I will call on the LORD. The God who answers with fire is God." All the people answered, "Agreed!"
Elijah then said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one young bull and prepare it first, for there are more of you. Call upon your gods, but do not start the fire." Taking the young bull that was turned over to them, they prepared it and called on Baal from morning to noon, saying, "Answer us, Baal!" But there was no sound, and no one answering. And they hopped around the altar they had prepared. When it was noon, Elijah taunted them: "Call louder, for he is a god and may be meditating, or may have retired, or may be on a journey. Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened." They called out louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until blood gushed over them. Noon passed and they remained in a prophetic state until the time for offering sacrifice. But there was not a sound; no one answered, and no one was listening.
Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come here to me." When the people had done so, he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been destroyed. He took twelve stones, for the number of tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the LORD had said, "Your name shall be Israel." He built an altar in honor of the LORD with the stones, and made a trench around the altar large enough for two measures of grain. When he had arranged the wood, he cut up the young bull and laid it on the wood. "Fill four jars with water," he said, "and pour it over the burnt offering and over the wood." "Do it again," he said, and they did it again. "Do it a third time," he said, and they did it a third time. The water flowed around the altar, and the trench was filled with the water.
At the time for offering sacrifice, the prophet Elijah came forward and said, "LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things by your command. Answer me, LORD! Answer me, that this people may know that you, LORD, are God and that you have brought them back to their senses." The LORD's fire came down and consumed the burnt offering, wood, stones, and dust, and it lapped up the water in the trench. Seeing this, all the people fell prostrate and said, "The LORD is God! The LORD is God!"
Responsorial Psalm Ps 16:1b-2ab, 4, 5ab and 8, 11 R. (1b) Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope. Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge; I say to the LORD, "My Lord are you."
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope. They multiply their sorrows who court other gods. Blood libations to them I will not pour out, nor will I take their names upon my lips.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope. O LORD, my allotted portion and cup, you it is who hold fast my lot. I set the LORD ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope. You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
Alleluia Ps 25:4b, 5a R. Alleluia, alleluia. Teach me your paths, my God, and guide me in your truth. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 5:17-19
Jesus said to his disciples: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ The relationship between the Old Testament and the novelty brought by Jesus was one of the main issues the Gospel had to face. Here Jesus insists on the continuity between the Law and himself. Yet, by affirming that he is bringing the Law to its perfection he is claiming special powers for himself, divine powers. This is the real difference: Jesus is God himself.
▪ The perfection that Jesus brings to the Law is in its spirit and not in the individual observances: the Law is fulfilled by love, which becomes the greatest commandment of all, and in the spirit of freedom, the freedom of the children of God. I ask myself what is my manner of fulfilling the law and teaching it to others, I ask the Father for his pardon. I also ask him to give me his spirit of universal love and filial freedom.
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.
Answer me, that this people may know that you, Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to their senses. (1 Kings 18:37)
There's nothing like a showdown. Whether it's the daring knight against the dragon, Aslan's army charging toward the White Witch, or Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader, no story feels complete without a final face-off between the hero and the villain. The showdown Elijah set up between God and Baal was equally dramatic. The wicked King Ahab had been hunting Elijah down and surely gathered Israel only in order to capture him. But God had other plans.
It's easy to read this story as a simple display of power: God's might contrasted with Baal's weakness. But there is more here. Before raining down fire in an impressive demonstration, the Holy Spirit prompted Elijah to repair the altar of the Lord. First, Elijah set up twelve stones, one for each of the tribes of Israel. Then, in case the symbol had been missed, he had four jars of water poured over the sacrificial offering three times—which makes twelve jars, again recalling that number special to God's people. Finally, in his prayer, Elijah invoked the memories of the heroes of God's people: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Why did Elijah do all this? Because the people had forgotten who they were. Before he revealed God's power to his enemies, Elijah needed to help his own people reclaim their identity. He needed to remind them that God had set them apart for himself and called them to proclaim his greatness to the nations.
In the end, the people cried out, "The Lord is God!" (1 Kings 18:39). They were able to proclaim the truth of who God is because they returned to the truth of who they were. Wordless at the start of the encounter, slack and scared, they came to their senses, just as Elijah prayed they would.
Yes, heavenly fire is impressive, but God never wants to terrify his people into obedience. He wants to bring us back in love, not fear. So don't forget who you are! Every day, remember and proclaim that you are one of his people, his beloved son or daughter. Then you will be able to tell the world that the Lord is God!
"Bring us back to our senses every day, Lord! Never let us forget who we are."
Teaching error is the greater error. And it goes on from generation to generation. In our world, we have among us those who teach how to be impatient and unkind, un-like God. We suffer impatience, especially with God, don't we? LOL, I bought an old 98' Kia, a small SUV for a few hundred bucks to fix up, and I still am. I been driving it and one time took it to a nearby city, and it is standard/manual transmission. It sputtered at a light, and I had a slow take off when it turned green on a turning lane, when I hear a loud honking 2 or 3 times behind me, a black car seemingly in a rush to make the light. We made the light and they passed me and wouldn't look at me. Fast forward a couple weeks to yesterday, I was in my small hometown paying an insurance and pulled out of the tight lot in the Kia, and I see a black truck also pulling out coming towards me, and so I straighten up and try to pull into the busy street and out of the black truck's way when suddenly the honking begins, boy! I sure do get mad looks and honked at alot in this little old car, compared to my monster newer truck I normally drive (a dualley) for work. What kind of rage do I live in? It's like being among bullies just because of looks or size? It's a good teacher into humility, and as much as I try not to be in the way of others, I just can't help it.
And we are recalling the story of Elijah, at Mount Carmel. I'm wearing a Carmelite scapular, and it makes me feel somehow connected to this moment in history of our faith. The people of Baal, a made up god of the times were becoming more and more faithful to Baal than of the Israelites, God's chosen to be set apart. The numbers dwindle in His Church and so the others grow. To the point that Elijah was almost on his own to keep the faith. Last night, we prayed the rosary, and I told the kids at home "as you grow, more and more things and people will want to pull you away from God", and we continued with the Passion of the Lord in the sorrowful mysteries. A visiting girl said she was not allowed to pray with us because they don't believe in Mary and praying to her, I explained she is of God and I ask my mother across the road for prayers and our Mother in Heaven too. Later we prayed at the crucifixion and I asked them "who do you think was at the foot of the cross when HE was crucified?" and the visitor said "MARY!" and then I said "Jesus looked to the disciple and said 'Take your Mother' and then said to the mother "take your son". In this manner we are brothers and sisters of Christ" I continued, therefore, if Christ and Mary are alive, we can ask for prayers and we have been since the dawn of Christianity, but BAAL is the anti-Christ chasing down the prophets to have them killed, the truth killed, and Baal comes with the outward sign of "cutters", who slash their wrists for gratification and this is an evil spirit seeking death. When we ended the rosary, the visitor was in tears, and shared the story of her daddy who had a nightmare of a dream and woke up with cuts on his wrists, saying the dream was of him trying to save a man who was in a hole of fire and he himself fights an addiction. Who is Baal? Baal is around, false gods, false idols, and they in turn seek to turn the tables on the truth. I told the visitor, "who do you think they call for an exorcism, when it gets to the worst point? A Catholic priest. And who does a Catholic Priest often call on for help in an exorcism? Mother Mary. You see what is going on here?
My life is supremely dependent on Mother Mary, because I am of Eve but born of Mary through Christ, the new Eve, the new life.
And so I aim to teach the truth, the truth being twisted by newer and newer denominations of "Christianity". So much are they twisted that now many are saying abortions are ok, ripping children out of their wombs and killing them is ok. I was talking with someone this week about abortions, and they asked me "when does that spark begin the heart?" and I said "the heart begins pumping at 21 days, but before that, the spark already started when the egg became fertilized." We discussed this because someone we know had an abortion a few weeks ago. I said "she ripped out the baby out of herself" because she found out who she got pregnant with and an innocent life paid the price. Fast forward to today. We live in an impatient and unkind world of Baal, the anti-Christ. Myself, I am tested, do you think I do not cry myself to sleep with my own problems? Do you not think my faith isn't tested? My life is on the edge, constantly, perhaps like yours. I often ask myself "what is going on? and why can't I seem to have control?" Things are out of my hands. At work (family business), we are being sued, at home I am being pursued, and at church, things seem to just limp along, with very few joining to be active recruits of the Lord. It is enough to want to jump into the lake of complacency, of neutrality, of ...not caring anymore. But, Baal would have a hayday, because like Saint Peter our First Pope of the Holy Catholic Church said "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."1Peter5:8. And so I found myself teaching the commandments last night, in RCIA, and at home at the rosary, and at the rosary vigils before that, and every day to you. Often what you are being told is for me, not just you. It pulled my hair today to read that exerpt I shared with you "I propose to you the option of Love, which is the opposite of escape" by our latest Saint John Paul II. Now here is another truth: The Truth will live forever and has conquered the world, Jesus. I can follow the Truth and teach the Truth, or not, but it will go on regardless, and forever. I have then no choice, do I? My only choice is faith. Faith that God has heard my cries and prayers. Faith that limping along is still forward progress. Faith that my faith will help other faiths. Faith that the truth is with us. Faith that truth is hope, and Jesus is the truth. Faith that I can see beyond the horizon of the human eye. Faith of seeing beyond the grave and being united beyond the grave with the Heavenly court and courtship of God. Have faith then my Child, God is on the move
and asking us to see the fire of His love consuming our sacrifice.
And He provides the ultimate sacrifice out of Love....