"You must speak to Jesus, not only with your lips, but also with your heart; actually, on certain occasions, you should speak with only your heart." — St. Padre Pio
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues. There is no getting away from it; the Christian rule is, 'Either marriage, with complete faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence.' Now this is so difficult and so contrary to our instincts, that obviously either Christianity is wrong or our sexual instinct, as it now is, has gone wrong. One or the other. Of course, being a Christian, I think it is the instinct which has gone wrong." — C. S. Lewis, p. 95 AN EXCERPT FROM Mere Christianity
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St. Kateri Tekakwitha
The blood of martyrs is the seed of saints. Nine years after the Jesuits Isaac Jogues and John de Brébeuf (October 19) were tomahawked by Iroquois warriors, a baby girl was born near the place of their martyrdom, Auriesville, New York.
Her mother was a Christian Algonquin, taken captive by the Iroquois and given as wife to the chief of the Mohawk clan, the boldest and fiercest of the Five Nations. When she was four, Kateri lost her parents and little brother in a smallpox epidemic that left her disfigured and half blind. She was adopted by an uncle, who succeeded her father as chief. He hated the coming of the Blackrobes (Jesuit missionaries), but could do nothing to them because a peace treaty with the French required their presence in villages with Christian captives. She was moved by the words of three Blackrobes who lodged with her uncle, but fear of him kept her from seeking instruction. She refused to marry a Mohawk brave and at 19 finally got the courage to take the step of converting. She was baptized with the name Kateri (Catherine) on Easter Sunday.
Now she would be treated as a slave. Because she would not work on Sunday, she received no food that day. Her life in grace grew rapidly. She told a missionary that she often meditated on the great dignity of being baptized. She was powerfully moved by God's love for human beings and saw the dignity of each of her people.
She was always in danger, for her conversion and holy life created great opposition. On the advice of a priest, she stole away one night and began a 200-mile walking journey to a Christian Indian village at Sault St. Louis, near Montreal.
For three years she grew in holiness under the direction of a priest and an older Iroquois woman, giving herself totally to God in long hours of prayer, in charity and in strenuous penance. At 23 she took a vow of virginity, an unprecedented act for an Indian woman, whose future depended on being married. She found a place in the woods where she could pray an hour a day—and was accused of meeting a man there!
Her dedication to virginity was instinctive: She did not know about religious life for women until she visited Montreal. Inspired by this, she and two friends wanted to start a community, but the local priest dissuaded her. She humbly accepted an "ordinary" life. She practiced extremely severe fasting as penance for the conversion of her nation. She died the afternoon before Holy Thursday. Witnesses said that her emaciated face changed color and became like that of a healthy child. The lines of suffering, even the pockmarks, disappeared and the touch of a smile came upon her lips. She was beatified in 1980 and canonized in 2012..
We like to think that our proposed holiness is thwarted by our situation. If only we could have more solitude, less opposition, better health. Kateri repeats the example of the saints: Holiness thrives on the cross, anywhere. Yet she did have what Christians—all people—need: the support of a community. She had a good mother, helpful priests, Christian friends. These were present in what we call primitive conditions, and blossomed in the age-old Christian triad of prayer, fasting and alms: union with God in Jesus and the Spirit, self-discipline and often suffering, and charity for her brothers and sisters.
Kateri said: "I am not my own; I have given myself to Jesus. He must be my only love. The state of helpless poverty that may befall me if I do not marry does not frighten me. All I need is a little food and a few pieces of clothing. With the work of my hands I shall always earn what is necessary and what is left over I'll give to my relatives and to the poor. If I should become sick and unable to work, then I shall be like the Lord on the cross. He will have mercy on me and help me, I am sure."
God is with me, but more, God is within me. Let me dwell for a moment on God's life-giving presence in my body, in my mind, in my heart, as I sit here, right now.
"In these days, God taught me as a schoolteacher teaches a pupil" (Saint Ignatius). I remind myself that there are things God has to teach me yet, and ask for the grace to hear them and let them change me.
I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God. I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them. Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment. I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.
The Word of God
Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin Reading 1 Is 26:7-9, 12, 16-19
The way of the just is smooth; the path of the just you make level. Yes, for your way and your judgments, O LORD, we look to you; Your name and your title are the desire of our souls. My soul yearns for you in the night, yes, my spirit within me keeps vigil for you; When your judgment dawns upon the earth, the world's inhabitants learn justice. O LORD, you mete out peace to us, for it is you who have accomplished all we have done.
O LORD, oppressed by your punishment, we cried out in anguish under your chastising. As a woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pains, so were we in your presence, O LORD. We conceived and writhed in pain, giving birth to wind; Salvation we have not achieved for the earth, the inhabitants of the world cannot bring it forth. But your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise; awake and sing, you who lie in the dust. For your dew is a dew of light, and the land of shades gives birth.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 102:13-14ab and 15, 16-18, 19-21 R. (20b) From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth. You, O LORD, abide forever, and your name through all generations. You will arise and have mercy on Zion, for it is time to pity her. For her stones are dear to your servants, and her dust moves them to pity.
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth. The nations shall revere your name, O LORD, and all the kings of the earth your glory, When the LORD has rebuilt Zion and appeared in his glory; When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute, and not despised their prayer.
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth. Let this be written for the generation to come, and let his future creatures praise the LORD: "The LORD looked down from his holy height, from heaven he beheld the earth, To hear the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die."
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
Alleluia Mt 11:28 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 11:28-30
Jesus said: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Since Jesus uttered this glorious invitation it has been a constant support to many people. Today, as I reflect on it let me be encouraged and comforted.
▪ I imagine Jesus saying these words to me, now. Jesus offers me rest for my soul. This invitation opens a refreshing space in my soul, by inspiring hope that God is always with me.
Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in you? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story you have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface of your consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to you?
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: Matthew 11:28-30
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin (Memorial)
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
"The list of time- and labor-saving devices at our disposal seems to stretch from here to eternity, and I still feel tired and pressed for time." If this statement describes you in any way, then Jesus wants to speak to you. "Come to me . . . and I will give you rest. . . . Learn from me . . . and you will find rest" (Matthew 11:28, 29). Here is our hope, the promise of comfort and release from all the pressures we experience.
Come to me; come, sit with me for a few minutes. Tell me your troubles, your hopes, and your dreams. Let me comfort you. Let me soothe your mind and spirit. Enjoy my company, and let me enjoy yours.
Make no mistake: Jesus enjoys being with us. He created us, he loves us, and he wants to share our lives—both the good and the not so good.
Learn from me; learn my love for you. Learn my delight in you. Let me tell you my thoughts and desires for you. Let me tell you about my Father, about his kindness, compassion, and faithfulness.
Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us and to revive us as we open our hearts and minds to God in prayer. He gave us the Spirit to refresh us as we celebrate the Eucharist, as we enjoy our families, and even as we go about our daily activities. All that is needed is that we come to him.
I will give you rest; I will lift you up. I will feed you. I will pour out grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Sit with me. Rest in me. Receive my teaching.
At Mass, in prayer, as we are waking up, and as we are going to sleep at night—at all these times, we can relax in God's presence. We can trust that he will do the work needed to build us up. Distractions may abound, but God is faithful, and he will give us his rest.
"Jesus, I want to sit quietly with you. Thank you for spending time with me, restoring and reviving me."
Today's 1st Holy Scripture begins with "The way of the just is smooth; the path of the just you make level." Let's read it with justice in His view as Holiness..."The way of the Holy is smooth; the path of the Holy you make level. If I could show you a line graph of life, for most of my life, it'd be like the graph you see of a heart monitor, with its ups and downs and some more than others, some more scrunched up, stressed, and some more spaced out, not so stressed and some extreme highs and lows, all varied. Not very smooth. If you could see that graph at a certain point, where the Lord enters, after a cursillo I lived, it would still seem the same, but it keeps levelling out, not so highs, not so lows, not many scrunched up lines and so forth. The way of the WAY, Jesus, has entered my life and I hope and pray more and more of Him, His way of living becomes my way of living. And rightly, Isaiah prays on in prophecy today "Your name and your title are the desire of our souls. My soul yearns for you in the night...", later he says "We conceived and writhed in pain, giving birth to wind" and remember we are not mere mortals, not just physical bodies, because the Word of God, His mere word brings flesh to bones. Ezekial 37:10 says "I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath entered them; they came to life and stood on their feet, a vast army." and the Holy Spirit prayer we always pray as Catholics says at one point the Psalm 104:30 "Send forth your spirit, they are created and you renew the face of the earth." And this Spirit is what our Lord is offering, His Holy Spirit...eternity, salvation, all in one. Our Lord says in Hosea 6:6 "For it is loyalty that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."
We pray today "From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth". Psalm 14 says "The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if even one is wise, if even one seeks God. All have gone astray; all alike are perverse. Not one does what is good, not even one. Will these evildoers never learn? They devour my people as they devour bread; they do not call upon the LORD. They have good reason, then, to fear; God is with the company of the just. They would crush the hopes of the poor, but the poor have the LORD as their refuge." And the song "Rest" by Matt Maher keeps playing in my head since I first read the Holy Scriptures. "Oh my Lord, You are my shepherd and I shall not want, Oh my Lord, beside still waters You repair my heart I trust in You, Even though I walk through the valley of death / You restore my soul and You give me rest/ All the memories of Your faithfulness You restore my soul and You give me rest/ Oh my Lord, You prepare a table for You and me/ Oh my Lord, in the middle of a fight with my enemies I trust in You, Oh I trust in You/ I will fear no evil for You're here with me Your goodness and Your love, they will never leave Just a closer walk with Thee, just a closer walk ."
In comes our Lord into our lives today "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest." Listen to the first three words "Come". Because if the Lord has said a most important word today, it began with that one word of invitation, that word of openness, that word of changing your plans, your thoughts, and heart. Because, we can zip through scriptures, and never let God Speak. Only one word is enough from Him. How precious are His every words to us, and only one word is necessary to change the world and even...save the world. And the trajectory He invites us to, is to Himself. The direction comes from the second word "To". He says Come and says where to go. The third word is "Me". It is an invitation to His Sacred Heart, to Heaven. To change your heart beat, your chart graph, to level out. LOL. "You mean to die? Mr. Adrian?" LOL, yes, eventually. Eventually my line that is smoothing out will be totally smooth...and that point is Heaven. Today's saint, her face changed and was healed when she died, became like a child. Isn't that our goal, to live as happy and innocent as a child? Yes, for the Lord it is so, because our "ADULT" life is almost a bad word, with adult drinks and recreations and pleasures. It is not what we are, because inside, is the child of God, in every single soul. "Take MY yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart" Because I am not meek and humble, God is, Jesus is. I must then bind myself to Him and nothing else. That's what will give us rest. In place of the yoke of the law, complicated by scribal interpretation, Jesus invites the burdened to take the yoke of obedience to his word, under which they will find rest. (USCCB) From the book of Sirach 51:27 (found only in Catholic Bibles) "Take her yoke upon your neck; that your mind may receive her teaching. For she is close to those who seek her, and the one who is in earnest finds her...See for yourselves! I have labored only a little, but have found much."
I have found much...rest. Much peace. Much joy. It comes by binding, sacramentalizing yourself, to find yourself amazed by Him doing all the Heavy Work because He is stronger. I am a mere baby. And I am, and you are His baby. Let us never forget our place in the world...we are His children. He is binding the world to Him. He binds it through Love. He binds it through Saint Peter our first Pope, "What is bound in Heaven". The Holy Church is bound to Him. His yoke is quite simply that binding love, and you are invited to it. To His feast, His wedding. His love.