"In the first place it should be known that if a person is seeking God, his beloved is seeking him much more." — St. John of the Cross
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"If, then, we wish to persevere and to be saved—for no one can be saved without perseverance—we must pray continually. Our perseverance depends, not on one grace, but on a thousand helps which we hope to obtain from God during our whole lives, that we may be preserved in his grace. Now, to this chain of graces a chain of prayers on our part must correspond: without these prayers, God ordinarily does not grant his graces. If we neglect to pray, and thus break the chain of prayers, the chain of graces shall also be broken, and we shall lose the grace of perseverance." — St. Alphonsus Liguori, p. 201 AN EXCERPT FROM The Sermons of St. Alphonsus Liguori
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St. Joseph Cafasso
Even as a young man, Joseph loved to attend Mass and was known for his humility and fervor in prayer. After his ordination he was assigned to a seminary in Turin. There he worked especially against the spirit of Jansenism, an excessive preoccupation with sin and damnation. Joseph used the works of St. Francis de Sales and St. Alphonsus Liguori to moderate the rigorism popular at the seminary.
Joseph recommended membership in the Secular Franciscan Order to priests. He urged devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and encouraged daily Communion. In addition to his teaching duties, Joseph was an excellent preacher, confessor and retreat master. Noted for his work with condemned prisoners, Joseph helped many of them die at peace with God.
St. John Bosco was one of Joseph's pupils. Joseph urged John Bosco to establish the Salesians to work with the youth of Turin. Joseph was canonized in 1947.
Devotion to the Eucharist gave energy to all Joseph's other activities. Long prayer before the Blessed Sacrament has been characteristic of many Catholics who have lived out the gospel well, St. Francis, Bishop Sheen, Cardinal Bernardin and Blessed Mother Teresa among them.
"O admirable heights and sublime lowliness! O sublime humility! O humble sublimity! That the Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles Himself that for our salvation He hides Himself under the little form of bread! Look, brothers, at the humility of God and pour out your hearts before Him! Humble yourselves, as well, that you may be exalted by Him. Therefore, hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves so that He Who gives Himself totally to you may receive you totally" (Saint Francis, Letter to the Entire Order).
To be present is to arrive as one is and open up to the other. At this instant, as I arrive here, God is present waiting for me. God always arrives before me, desiring to connect with me even more than my most intimate friend. I take a moment and greet my loving God.
A thick and shapeless tree-trunk would never believe that it could become a statue, admired as a miracle of sculpture, and would never submit itself to the chisel of the sculptor, who sees by his genius what he can make of it (Saint Ignatius). I ask for the grace to let myself be shaped by my loving Creator.
Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I look honestly over the last day, its events and my feelings. 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
Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 2 Kgs 11:1-4, 9-18, 20
When Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, saw that her son was dead, she began to kill off the whole royal family. But Jehosheba, daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash, his son, and spirited him away, along with his nurse, from the bedroom where the princes were about to be slain. She concealed him from Athaliah, and so he did not die. For six years he remained hidden in the temple of the LORD, while Athaliah ruled the land.
But in the seventh year, Jehoiada summoned the captains of the Carians and of the guards. He had them come to him in the temple of the LORD, exacted from them a sworn commitment, and then showed them the king's son.
The captains did just as Jehoiada the priest commanded. Each one with his men, both those going on duty for the sabbath and those going off duty that week, came to Jehoiada the priest. He gave the captains King David's spears and shields, which were in the temple of the LORD. And the guards, with drawn weapons, lined up from the southern to the northern limit of the enclosure, surrounding the altar and the temple on the king's behalf. Then Jehoiada led out the king's son and put the crown and the insignia upon him. They proclaimed him king and anointed him, clapping their hands and shouting, "Long live the king!"
Athaliah heard the noise made by the people, and appeared before them in the temple of the LORD. When she saw the king standing by the pillar, as was the custom, and the captains and trumpeters near him, with all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, she tore her garments and cried out, "Treason, treason!" Then Jehoiada the priest instructed the captains in command of the force: "Bring her outside through the ranks. If anyone follows her," he added, "let him die by the sword." He had given orders that she should not be slain in the temple of the LORD. She was led out forcibly to the horse gate of the royal palace, where she was put to death.
Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD as one party and the king and the people as the other, by which they would be the LORD's people; and another covenant, between the king and the people. Thereupon all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and demolished it. They shattered its altars and images completely, and slew Mattan, the priest of Baal, before the altars. Jehoiada appointed a detachment for the temple of the LORD. All the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet, now that Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the royal palace. Responsorial Psalm Ps 132:11, 12, 13-14, 17-18
R. (13) The Lord has chosen Zion for his dwelling. The LORD swore to David a firm promise from which he will not withdraw: "Your own offspring I will set upon your throne."
R. The Lord has chosen Zion for his dwelling. "If your sons keep my covenant and the decrees which I shall teach them, Their sons, too, forever shall sit upon your throne."
R. The Lord has chosen Zion for his dwelling. For the LORD has chosen Zion; he prefers her for his dwelling. "Zion is my resting place forever; in her will I dwell, for I prefer her."
R. The Lord has chosen Zion for his dwelling. "In her will I make a horn to sprout forth for David; I will place a lamp for my anointed. His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon him my crown shall shine."
R. The Lord has chosen Zion for his dwelling.
Alleluia Mt 5:3 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 6:19-23
Jesus said to his disciples: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.
"The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Jesus once again reminds us that God looks at the heart, and challenges us to ask ourselves where our real priorities lie. Where is my heart? My treasure? Is it something that is durable, that cannot be corrupted by moth or by rust, or is it something merely material or ethereal, like money or success or popularity?
When I look at my heart, I may find it is a divided one, undecided, torn between different or conflicting loyalties, whose light is weak and does not illuminate my path in life. I look with gratitude on those persons I admire for their integrity, and pray for the grace of an undivided heart.
If my heart is in darkness I thank Jesus for his word which is prodding me to walk towards the light.
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.
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.
Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord as one party and the king and the people as the other, by which they would be the Lord's people. (2 Kings 11:17)
All week long, the first readings at Mass have told the story of the prophet Elijah and his clashes with the leaders of Israel. They have shown us Elijah's mission, which was to call Israel back to God. Many times along the way, Elijah experienced dejection, but each time, he learned something new about the Lord: who he is, what place his people have in the world, and what his plan of salvation looks like.
In fact, Elijah's biography reads almost like a pattern of obstacle and revelation. A widow who shelters him loses her son to a serious illness. Elijah cries out and discovers that God answers prayers and even raises the dead. The wicked queen Jezebel pursues Elijah ruthlessly. He slumps dejectedly under a tree and discovers firsthand God's provision and protection.
After Elijah was taken up to heaven, a righteous king reclaimed the throne and got rid of idolatry. Great news? Well, not really. Before long, Israel and their leaders went back to their sinful ways.
Does this mean that Elijah failed? Not at all! Everything he had learned about God taught him to trust in God's plan, even if that meant that the good news would unfold well beyond his own lifetime. He learned that God will continue to build his kingdom, no matter what kingdom earthly rulers try to build. He learned the difference between earthly treasures and heavenly treasures. And though he fought for the conversion of Israel his whole life, looking back, we can see that Elijah himself experienced an ever-deepening relationship with God: he learned to listen to God and to follow his word faithfully.
Do you worry that you will fail in what God is calling you to or maybe that you already have failed? Remember: God is more interested in faithfulness than success. By staying close to him, even in the face of discouragement, you will come to know him more. And with that deepening relationship will come the hope, joy, and peace that Elijah experienced.
"Lord, help me hear your voice. Teach me to trust you. Come, Holy Spirit, and give me confident hope in your plans for this world."
my2cents: It's not the first time we read about someone in power ordering to kill many innocent, even children, so they can remain in power. Remember King Herod? But the lands have the cries of innocent blood. This is why we have to delve into God's Mercy. We heard about how the righteous heir, a little boy was raised in the temple when he was hidden there. Many a times we hear about this type deal, Moses, Joseph the dreamer, and our Lord Himself who had to take flight to Egypt because King Herod was wanting all the toddlers dead. Do we face this power tripping egotism nowadays? Yep. Abortions are the prime example. There are those in power right now seeking more power and they are fueled by the slaughter of innocents. We shouldn't hide the bible, because then we'd be hiding the truth. These truths are alive and evident. And just as these evils arise, so should hope arise even more, because the bible speaks of the victory of God's chosen ones, the faithful, and that leads to your very eyes today. We prayed today "The Lord has chosen Zion for his dwelling." and then "For the LORD has chosen Zion; he prefers her for his dwelling." "Walk about Zion, and embrace her" Psalm 47:11. Be it said to them who live ill, in the midst of whom is the people, which has received the mercy of God. In the midst of you is a people living well, "Walk about Zion." But how? "embrace her." Not with scandals, but with love go round about her: that so those who live well in the midst of you ye may imitate, and by imitation of them, be incorporate with Christ, whose members they are. "Walk about Zion, go round about her: speak in the towers thereof." In the height of her bulwarks, set forth the praises thereof." - newadvent.org Zion sounds like the place to be right? Heaven. Let Heaven dwell in your heart. For God is transcending, form here, to there...
The Lord of our lives enters our lives today, isn't it good!?
"...store up treasures in heaven". Those found in His temple are standing with Him in Zion. We read today that saints often spend most their time in adoration, in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Something like nuclear radiation is infusing into your soul, radiating from within the Tabernacle, that what gives light from the Altar. A light so bright that you can not see. And so you walk out glowing with His light, and it shows in the eyes of the faithful. Often, I will look you in the eye, if you ever met me personally. I will look and look for that depth of the soul. I will look for the light of God's love. I will not look to judge, and even though I am tempted, I look to get lost in God's love. The approach of a soul alive is a blessing. Our days are numbered, and how many have I known that have passed on? More are to come, therefore, I am grateful. The last line of today's 5minutos said "Our treasure will only have the value that we put in by having to pay for it!" Me, my wife and kids have been picking up the Sacred Heart chaplet which I suggest all families pick up this month. It is a fast prayer, pleading God to "Be My Love". It means to ask "Be My Light" and ultimately, "Be My Salvation". And how can you repay a savior? I've heard of people that are saved from death, and they try to keep in touch with those first responders in their appreciation, some even make a yearly dinner together or an outting. Much more should be our contact with our Lord and being with Him. Yet, have you been saved? Will you be saved? I want to be saved from a bad eye. And don't think about your physical eyeballs for crying outloud! LOL. The Lord is the Spirit of All. We are speaking of our spiritual eyes, how we see, if we can see the Lord we can see the light. If there is darkness, how much more darkness will there be. Therefore, never receive the Lord with darkness. Darkness is sin, and doubts that lead to sin. No, the Lord's children have lights about their eyes, and you can not see it with physical eyes but your soul sees and feels the truth of God's love. The Lord desires Zion and to dwell in Zion forever. We are called to be with Him. This is an invitation to God's Love, His Sacred Heart. I pray for you. Pray for me. Pray for one another. Let His will be done, and His will is an entire love, not just a bit, but all!