Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. I think we somehow convince ourselves that Christ's suffering on the cross is sufficient for everyone but us. But true faith can help us to heal. Some say faith is blind. But it seems to me that sometimes faith opens our eyes.
— from Faith Under Fire
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St. Elizabeth of Portugal
Elizabeth is usually depicted in royal garb with a dove or an olive branch. At her birth in 1271, her father, Pedro III, future king of Aragon, was reconciled with his father, James, the reigning monarch. This proved to be a portent of things to come. Under the healthful influences surrounding her early years, she quickly learned self-discipline and acquired a taste for spirituality. Thus fortunately prepared, she was able to meet the challenge when, at the age of 12, she was given in marriage to Denis, king of Portugal. She was able to establish for herself a pattern of life conducive to growth in God's love, not merely through her exercises of piety, including daily Mass, but also through her exercise of charity, by which she was able to befriend and help pilgrims, strangers, the sick, the poor—in a word, all those whose need came to her notice. At the same time she remained devoted to her husband, whose infidelity to her was a scandal to the kingdom. He, too, was the object of many of her peace endeavors. She long sought peace for him with God, and was finally rewarded when he gave up his life of sin. She repeatedly sought and effected peace between the king and their rebellious son, Alfonso, who thought that he was passed over to favor the king's illegitimate children. She acted as peacemaker in the struggle between Ferdinand, king of Aragon, and his cousin James, who claimed the crown. And finally from Coimbra, where she had retired as a Franciscan tertiary to the monastery of the Poor Clares after the death of her husband, she set out and was able to bring about a lasting peace between her son Alfonso, now king of Portugal, and his son-in-law, the king of Castile.
Elizabeth was not well enough to undertake her final peacemaking journey, made all the more difficult by the oppressive heat of the season. She would not, however, permit herself to be dissuaded from it. She answered that there was no better way to give of her life and her health than by averting the miseries and destruction of war. By the time she had successfully brought about peace, she was so sick that death was imminent. After her death in 1336, her body was returned to the monastery at Coimbra for burial.
The work of promoting peace is anything but a calm and quiet endeavor. It takes a clear mind, a steady spirit and a brave soul to intervene between people whose emotions are so aroused that they are ready to destroy one another. This is all the more true of a woman in the early 14th century. But Elizabeth had a deep and sincere love and sympathy for humankind, almost a total lack of concern for herself and an abiding confidence in God. These were the tools of her success.
Lord, help me to be fully alive to your holy presence. Enfold me in your love. Let my heart become one with yours.
Many countries are at this moment suffering the agonies of war. I bow my head in thanksgiving for my freedom. I pray for all prisoners and captives.
In the presence of my loving Creator, I look honestly at my feelings over the last day, the highs, the lows and the level ground. Can I see where the Lord has been present?
The Word of God
Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 383
Reading 1 HOS 2:16, 17C-18, 21-22
Thus says the LORD: I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart. She shall respond there as in the days of her youth, when she came up from the land of Egypt.
On that day, says the LORD, She shall call me "My husband," and never again "My baal."
I will espouse you to me forever: I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the LORD.
Responsorial Psalm PS 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R. (8a) The Lord is gracious and merciful. Every day will I bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD and highly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful. Generation after generation praises your works and proclaims your might. They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty and tell of your wondrous works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful. They discourse of the power of your terrible deeds and declare your greatness. They publish the fame of your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your justice.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful. The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The LORD is good to all and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
Alleluia SEE 2 TM 1:10
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel MT 9:18-26
While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward, knelt down before him, and said, "My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live." Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples. A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. She said to herself, "If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured." Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, "Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you." And from that hour the woman was cured.
When Jesus arrived at the official's house and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion, he said, "Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping." And they ridiculed him. When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose. And news of this spread throughout all that land.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
*'Our God is an awesome God' - this is a line from a well-known song of worship. The confidence shown by the father and by the woman here tells me that they believed in his awesomeness too.
*Jesus broke all the conventions of the day by associating with social outcasts. His message to us today is simple. People living on the margins of society have so much to teach us about being humble and recognising our dependence on the grace of God. But for the grace of God I would be a marginal person like them.
What is stirring in me as I pray? Am I consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side 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.
Studies have shown that infants who are touched and held and cuddled tend to develop more quickly and more fully than infants who are given less attention. This makes sense, doesn't it? We were created to love and to be loved, and we suffer when that love is withheld.
We see this truth in today's Gospel reading. Two dramatic healings take place, and they both happen as love is expressed through touch. First, a woman touches Jesus' garment in faith and is healed of her bleeding disorder. Then, Jesus tenderly takes the hand of a little girl who has died and brings her back to life. You might think that Jesus is the common denominator here, and of course, he is. But many people had surrounded him that day, and not all of them were healed. No, that happened only when touch was combined with faith and love.
From the very beginning of the Church, the practice of the laying on of hands has played an important role in the gift of healing—and not just physical healing. What's more, because touch involves two people, the healing can flow both ways. Think of how St. Francis of Assisi, when he was still caught up in superficial pleasure, felt compelled to kiss a person with leprosy, even though the thought of it revolted him. Moved by Francis' embrace, the man returned the gesture. This encounter changed Francis' life. Many years later, after embracing and ministering to many more people who were poor, weak, and discarded, Francis wrote, "That which seemed bitter to me was changed into sweetness of soul and body."
The same can happen for us. We can reach out to people who are hurting or lost or forgotten. We can share the Holy Spirit with them, offering them a taste of his power to heal and restore, to raise up and renew. It may seem unnecessary. It may sound unrealistic. But a simple handshake, a tap on the shoulder, or a pat on the back—gestures as simple as these—can make a world of difference. May we all become Jesus' hands in this world!
"Lord, use my hands to reach out and bless those in need."
Hosea 2:16-18, 21-22 Psalm 145:2-9
Our God says today "I will espouse you to me forever: I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the LORD." This is what happens when the Lord enters you. His fidelity with yours. Our God is awesome just as we read earlier. He promises to be love and mercy to you...what is your promise, your vow to Him? These vows are renewed upon the Altar, between you and Him, in the most Holy Sacraments.
We pray "The Lord is gracious and merciful....slow to anger and of great kindness. The LORD is good to all and compassionate toward all his works." I am hesitant in writing to you, and why? Because, when the Lord speaks these most powerful and beautiful words, anything I say or do feels inadequate, but I am moved, His love moves me and I moved to reach out to you in His love and mercy.
In comes our Lord, full of compassion and mercy. They beg him to heal someone from death, of all things. And on His way, a suffering woman touches His cloak and is miraculously healed, and the Lord asks the crowds who touched Him...with faith, and love, and compassion. ""Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you." The bleeding stopped, she stopped bleeding to death, stopped seeking other cures, other healings, she found everything, salvation in the Lord our God, she was now one with Him, because of faith. And this is why I write to you. And the Lord arrives to a scene of sadness, a world lamenting, a world of doom and gloom, because a father lost his daughter, and the Lord says "she is sleeping" and they laugh at Him because they just "knew" what death looked like, they were among the dead, they were dead themselves! And He takes the girl by her hand, and they walk out, the espoused, the death of her united with His life, and this is your life, your taking be the hand by Him. Be not dead but alive with Him, alive with HIM! Taking His hand means so much more. At the altar we take Him by the hand, or better said, He takes our dead and sinful selves by the hand, so that we may live with Him. Be encouraged. The Lord said it again to you, "Have courage" your faith is what angels love about us, and it astonishes the Lord. And His saving powers are only a mere sign of love from above. I live in a world of miracles, and so do you. I live in a world of light, and so do you. Why then do we look to doom and gloom instead of the love and power of the Lord? Do you look forward to the next step, the next life? If so, bring it on right now "on earth as it is in Heaven". Your faith moves me. I hope my faith moves you. Your faith encourages mine. I hope mine encourages yours. Your love and mercy move me to be the same. I hope my love and mercy move you to more. This is Christ by the hand of His child. This unfathomable power from on High is a person, a Holy Spirit, and an awesome GOD!!!