"Cast yourself into the arms of God and be very sure that if He wants anything of you, He will fit you for the work and give you strength." — St. Philip Neri
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"Do not be scared of the word authority. Believing things on authority only means believing them because you have been told them by someone you think trustworthy. Ninety-nine per cent of the things you believe are believed on authority. ... We believe them simply because people who did see them have left writings that tell us about them: in fact, on authority. A man who jibbed at authority in other things as some people do in religion would have to be content to know nothing all his life." — C.S. Lewis, p. 62 AN EXCERPT FROM Mere Christianity
click to go there
St. Albert Chmielowski
Born in Igolomia near Kraków as the eldest of four children in a wealthy family, he was christened Adam. During the 1864 revolt against Czar Alexander III, Adam's wounds forced the amputation of his left leg.
His great talent for painting led to studies in Warsaw, Munich and Paris. Adam returned to Kraków and became a Secular Franciscan. In 1888 he took the name Albert when he founded the Brothers of the Third Order of Saint Francis, Servants to the Poor. They worked primarily with the homeless, depending completely on alms while serving the needy, regardless of age, religion or politics. A community of Albertine sisters was established later.
Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1983 and canonized him six years later.
Reflecting on his own priestly vocation, Pope John Paul II wrote in 1996 that Brother Albert had played a role in its formation "because I found in him a real spiritual support and example in leaving behind the world of art, literature and the theater, and in making the radical choice of a vocation to the priesthood" (Gift and Mystery: On the Fiftieth Anniversay of My Priestly Ordination, p. 33). As a young priest, Karol Wojtyla repaid his debt of gratitude by writing The Brother of Our God, a play about Brother Albert's life.
The first reading at the canonization included Isaiah 58:6 ("Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?"). The pope referred to this passage and said: "This is the theology of messianic liberation, which contains what we are accustomed to calling today the 'option for the poor'.... In this tireless, heroic service on behalf of the marginalized and the poor, he [Albert] ultimately found his path. He found Christ. He took upon himself Christ's yoke and burden; he did not become merely 'one of those who give alms,' but became the brother to those he served..." (L'Osservatore Romano 1989, Vol. 49, No. 9).
As I sit here, the beating of my heart, the ebb and flow of my breathing, the movements of my mind are all signs of God's ongoing creation of me. I pause for a moment, and become aware of this presence of God within me.
I will ask God's help, to be free from my own preoccupations, to be open to God in this time of prayer, to come to know, love and serve God more.
At this moment Lord I turn my thoughts to you. I will leave aside my chores and preoccupations. I will take rest and refreshment in your presence Lord.
The Word of God
Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 1 Kgs 21:17-29
After the death of Naboth the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite: "Start down to meet Ahab, king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He will be in the vineyard of Naboth, of which he has come to take possession. This is what you shall tell him, 'The LORD says: After murdering, do you also take possession? For this, the LORD says: In the place where the dogs licked up the blood of Naboth, the dogs shall lick up your blood, too.'" Ahab said to Elijah, "Have you found me out, my enemy?" "Yes," he answered. "Because you have given yourself up to doing evil in the LORD's sight, I am bringing evil upon you: I will destroy you and will cut off every male in Ahab's line, whether slave or freeman, in Israel. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, and like that of Baasha, son of Ahijah, because of how you have provoked me by leading Israel into sin." (Against Jezebel, too, the LORD declared, "The dogs shall devour Jezebel in the district of Jezreel.") "When one of Ahab's line dies in the city, dogs will devour him; when one of them dies in the field, the birds of the sky will devour him." Indeed, no one gave himself up to the doing of evil in the sight of the LORD as did Ahab, urged on by his wife Jezebel. He became completely abominable by following idols, just as the Amorites had done, whom the LORD drove out before the children of Israel.
When Ahab heard these words, he tore his garments and put on sackcloth over his bare flesh. He fasted, slept in the sackcloth, and went about subdued. Then the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, "Have you seen that Ahab has humbled himself before me? Since he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his time. I will bring the evil upon his house during the reign of his son."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 11 and 16 R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned. Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned. For I acknowledge my offense, and my sin is before me always: "Against you only have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight."
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned. Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my guilt. Free me from blood guilt, O God, my saving God; then my tongue shall revel in your justice.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned. Alleluia Jn 13:34
R. Alleluia, alleluia. I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 5:43-48
Jesus said to his disciples: "You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
I can spend today's prayer time doing what Jesus is suggesting today: I will pray for those who make my life difficult. I bring them to mind, one by one, and I ask the merciful Father to purify my heart of anger and help me to look on them with more understanding and compassion.
I dwell on that phrase that strikes me most in today's reading, and I ask for the grace to try to be like my Father in his mercy.
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.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned. (Psalm Response)
Often, when we go to Confession, we put all the attention on our sins, on how badly we have acted. It's a bit ironic, though, considering how we have all been taught that our sinfulness is never greater than God's love and his mercy. Perhaps we should try to focus on the Lord just as much!
"Lord, I know you are good. I know that your plans are for my good and that you want nothing but good for me. And yet my choices aren't always for that good. Forgive me for those choices. Because you are a loving Father, remove my guilt. Give me the grace I need to make choices according to your love and not according to my selfishness.
"You are compassionate, Father! You are always concerned for me. You know how I am made. You know my strengths and my weaknesses. You feel for me when I suffer, even when the problem is of my own making. You shower me with kindness and gentle correction. You never lash out at me; instead, you reach toward me to draw me back to yourself. I acknowledge my offense against you and turn my heart toward you. Once more, I rest against your heart and allow your love to flow into me and heal me.
"Lord, you are thorough. Whenever you begin something, you see it to completion. That goes for your work in my life as much as for anything else. You want what is best for me, and you won't be satisfied until you have led me past the wounds and sins that keep me from you. Forgive me for doubting that I can ever change. Forgive me for doubting that you care about me even when I fall short of your plans. Fill me with unshakable trust in your loving and untiring help.
"Father, you are my teacher. I believe that you want to lead me in your way. Forgive me for the times when I have rejected you and have decided to set out on my own. Thank you that despite my waywardness, you continue to pursue me. I will rejoice in your goodness and kindness to me always."
"Thank you, Father, for your mercy. Thank you for your faithfulness to me. Lord, help me to follow you more closely."
my2cents: There is no greater example, no greater love, of loving thy enemies as our Lord Himself. Elijah is the voice of God, coming to bring the truth revealed before your very eyes. To give you a fair warning of what is to be expected for being unfaithful to God...therefore acting as His enemy. Think about your own sins now. Think how they are against God, and His will. Think then what an enemy is, against your will. But we like to sugarcoat the lump of poison, don't we? We choose sin over God, haven't we? But God relents, if you have the gall to fall on your knees, put on sack cloth and ashes of repentance, which means in Holy Confession "I no longer desire sin in my life, only You My Lord and My God!". How scary is it that your sins can be transferred to your children? Yesterday, a new worker told me that he lost his son, I asked how old the son was and he said "twenty years old" and he continued "what I can not understand is how such a young person can die of cancer, and even worse, the little children suffering cancers in the hospitals". I understand the baffled confusion, but we also have to understand the complexity of our sins. I told him "many times it is inherited...in the genes". And many times in the inheritance is the spiritual bindings. So do the children have a chance? To be free from such bondage to suffering? Do we as the children of God stand a chance for what Adam and Eve did? We stand a fair chance at repentance. The whole of the issue of our lives is the issuance, submissiveness to holiness, which we heard today was termed humility "...he has humbled himself before Me". We prayed today "Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense." I've been learning, this year of Mercy, that the most huge gift God offers is exactly that...Divine Mercy. To me, it means so much. It means the world to me, and it means salvation. Because, as our Father Joseph said in his homily said "they say the holiest person sins at least 7 times a day" and what about us? 7 times 70 times? If you had to pay for one of your sins, your life would become a living hell, now imagine tens of times per day. Imagine the debt owed to God? You may not believe, but it is truth. We don't know how far a good we do goes, much less how far a bad goes either. Better to do no evil, and to do good, because to do nothing is as good as that...no good. "Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me." The Lord of our lives speaks to us today " love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you". I'm recalling the Lord crucified. This weekend, pray for us who will help at a prison retreat (cursillo type) called St. Dismas. The good thief and the bad thief are on the sides of Christ and He is in the middle. On our sand dunes retreat this weekend, we heard of how God in the column of fire was ahead of Israel guiding them, and when the Egyptians came after them, the Fire of the Lord stood behind the Israelites, between them and the Egyptians. And so the Lord is set, sets Himself in between good and evil. Through Him, evil can be cured. You can go from bad thief to good. Last night I was practicing that song "Jesus remember Me when you come into your Kingdom" which were the words of Dismas on the cross. Humility gains God's love because you turned to love God's love. Hail Mary full of Grace, and Jesus was born. Only Grace can love with humility, only Grace could defeat sin. And God gives grace. And the Lord is with thee. And blessed will you be among women and men. Because blessed will be the fruit...of Jesus. Mary in humility at the foot of the cross. John at the foot, in humility, subdued and mesmerized by this love of enemy, this LOVE that came to not defeat them by putting them in their place, but to defeat what separated them from Him, evil itself. Never is the war amongst each other, but a war against the spirit. This morning's 6am text said Galatians 5:16-17 "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do." When I see a man on a shooting rampage, I see a possessed man by an evil spirit. Who will love that man? Jesus would, and did He before? He did. The man did not know Jesus. What the world needs is Jesus, the Lord, salvation, LIFE. Choosing life means this...Choosing Christ. Choosing to be fruitful. Choosing to love thy neighbor, and respecting His good(s). King Ahab was found wanting, and this means lacking. He wanted this and that, he had a beautiful and tempting wife that had many gods. His faithfulness was beginning to fall, worse and worse. Until one day, it is so bad, the world caves in with temporal things. I like to think of it like the mice that come into your house. If they come into my house out here in the country, and if I do not do something to keep them from coming in, just keep trapping them, eventually snakes find their way in through the same spots the mice came in. These are venial sins (the mice) and mortal sins follow, (the snakes). If you notice, the readings are aiming us to look up to God and be faithful to Him above all. Why? Because, it's not about me. I texted my cousin a beautiful picture of his wedding this weekend. I stood up in the middle of Mass to take a picture of them and in the caption I said to Him "The moment God enters your life...forever begins". His soul knew exactly what I was saying when I wrote these words, because his reply was "...yes sir, it was awesome to finally receive the EUCHARIST!!"
God enters our soul. God becomes flesh. Jesus comes in the middle, between good and evil. Jesus comes into the heart.
I wrote back to my cousin "Now the only sin will be to fail Him and Receiving Him".
<-- one of the many pics I snapped at the wedding.