"The Creator of the universe awaits the prayer of one poor little person to save a multitude of others, redeemed like her at the price of His Blood." — St. Therese of Lisieux
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"God never caused the virtues and singular merit of Joseph to shine with greater splendor than when He said to him by the mouth of the angel, 'Take the Child and His mother' (Matt. 2:13, 20); for in them He committed to him His most precious treasures, giving him thus the preference over all the blessed spirits of Heaven; and Joseph received these two sacred persons into his care, to be their protector, their guardian, and defender." — Edward Healy Thompson, p. 401 AN EXCERPT FROM The Life & Glories of Saint Joseph
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St. Camillus de Lellis
Humanly speaking, Camillus was not a likely candidate for sainthood. His mother died when he was a child, his father neglected him, and he grew up with an excesive love for gambling. At 17 he was afflicted with a disease of his leg that remained with him for life. In Rome, he entered the San Giacomo Hospital for Incurables as both patient and servant, but was dismissed for quarrelsomeness after nine months. He served in the Venetian army for three years. Then in the winter of 1574, when he was 24, he gambled away everything he had–savings, weapons, literally down to his shirt. He accepted work at the Capuchin friary at Manfredonia, and was one day so moved by a sermon of the superior that he began a conversion that changed his whole life. He entered the Capuchin movitiate, but was dismissed because of the apparently incurable sore on his leg. After another stint of service at San Giacomo, he came back to the Capuchins, only to be dismissed again, for the same reason.
Again, back at San Giacomo, his dedication was rewarded by his being made superintendent. He devoted the rest of his life to the care of the sick, and has been named, along with St. John of God, patron of hospitals, nurses and the sick. With the advice of his friend St. Philip Neri, he studied for the priesthood and was ordained at the age of 34. Contrary to the advice of his friend, he left San Giacomo and founded a congregation of his own. As superior, he devoted much of his own time to the care of the sick.
Charity was his first concern, but the physical aspects of the hospital also received his diligent attention. He insisted on cleanliness and the technical competence of those who served the sick. The members of his community bound themselves to serve prisoners and persons infected by the plague as well as those dying in private homes. Some of his men were with troops fighting in Hungary and Croatia in 1595, forming the first recorded military field ambulance. In Naples, he and his men went onto the galleys that had plague and were not allowed to land. He discovered that there were people being buried alive, and ordered his brothers to continue the prayers for the dying 15 minutes after apparent death.
He himself suffered the disease of his leg through his life. In his last illness he left his own bed to see if other patients in the hospital needed help.
A doctor in Philadelphia is a modern-day Camillus. An AP news story reports that the 31-year-old bachelor does not have an office, and gave up a lucrative health center job to treat the chronically ill in the inner city who cannot get to a clinic. He limits his practice to house calls in that inner city neighborhood.
Saints are created by God. Parents must indeed nurture the faith in their children; husbands and wives must cooperate to deepen their baptismal grace; friends must support each other. But all human effort is only the dispensing of divine power. We must all "try" as if everything depended on us. But only the power of God can fulfill the plan of God–to make us like himself.
The more we call on the Lord the more we can feel his Presence. Day by day he draws us closer to his loving heart.
If God were trying to tell me something, would I know? If God were reassuring me or challenging me, would I notice? I ask for the grace to be free of my own preoccupations and open to what God may be saying to me.
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.
Hear what the LORD says: Arise, present your plea before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice! Hear, O mountains, the plea of the LORD, pay attention, O foundations of the earth! For the LORD has a plea against his people, and he enters into trial with Israel.
O my people, what have I done to you, or how have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, from the place of slavery I released you; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow before God most high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my crime, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 50:5-6, 8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23 R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God. "Gather my faithful ones before me, those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." And the heavens proclaim his justice; for God himself is the judge.
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God. "Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you, for your burnt offerings are before me always. I take from your house no bullock, no goats out of your fold."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God. "Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, Though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?"
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God. "When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it? Or do you think that I am like yourself? I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes. He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me; and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
Alleluia Ps 95:8 R. Alleluia, alleluia. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 12:38-42
Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, "Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you." He said to them in reply, "An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ I need a spiritual transformation in my life so that I become alive to God. That will be a resurrection for me. Then I can become a helpful sign to this generation.
▪ True Christians are signs that the world can see, and so come to know Jesus. People see Jesus through you and me. As Christians, as the Church, we are always to witness to God's saving mercy.
What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to 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.
Saint Camillus de Lellis, Priest (Optional Memorial)
The Lord has a plea against his people. (Micah 6:2)
When we picture the Last Judgment, we often see a stern-faced God in regal robes. Trembling in terror, each of us is dragged into the courtroom in chains to face the punishment we deserve for all the sins we have committed in our lifetime. We despair of ever scraping together enough to pay whatever fine we feel we must owe.
Suddenly the scene shifts. The stern judge smiles softly and removes his robe. He asks you to step up to the bench, put on the robe, and take the gavel. Then the judge steps down and sits in the docket. "What is your accusation against me?" he asks. "How have I disappointed you?"
You, the former prisoner, are speechless. You dimly remember times you have blamed God for things in your life that didn't go quite the way you expected. But at the moment, you can't come up with a single convincing complaint. You are in awe over the fact that God would humble himself so deeply.
"No," you insist, "I'm the guilty one. Any sentence you impose is more than just. In fact, I can't think of any punishment that could possibly make up for all my wrongdoing."
The judge takes up the papers containing the charges against you and stamps them Canceled. Despite your objections, he takes out another stamp. Case Dismissed. Then he puts his arm around your shoulders. "Enough of this courtroom drama," he says. "It wasn't my idea in the first place. Let's have a party instead so that we can celebrate your homecoming."
You continue to protest. "Surely there must be something I can do to show you how sorry I am. You can't just set me free like this. I didn't do anything to earn this pardon!"
"No, you didn't," the judge assures you. "But that doesn't matter. But from this point on, let's agree to do justice, to love goodness, and to walk humbly together."
Spend some time prayerfully imagining yourself in this scene. Yes, the Lord has a plea against you—he is pleading for you to know how much he loves you!
"Heavenly Father, your love is overwhelming! How can I possibly grasp its depths?"
The 1st Holy Scripture says to us: "the LORD requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God."
We pray the Psalms: To the upright I will show the saving power of God. "Gather my faithful ones before me, those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice."
Our Lord comes into our lives ""An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it." I bet 8 out of 10 people have seen a sign from God, and still find it hard to believe.
The sun moves backwards, the Son of God raises from the dead, and still, too hard to believe.
We want to believe though, don't we? The Lord makes His requirements today, love goodness, and walk humbly WITH our God. Evil people rarely see a sign if any at all. The faithful and humble then, see signs continuously. Most often because an easy scenario is happening...they continuously seek Him. Today's saint sought Jesus in each sick soul he assisted.
Today, I don't think much seeking is going on, perhaps a very faint seeking, like by chance. And so, it takes people like you and me to be the light for those vaguely seeking, to be able to "feel" their way to Christ, as blindness allows. This is the sign, and there is no greater sign than that of Christ on the cross. He becomes one with us in this Holy Sacrament, this giving of self so you can give yourself to Him. In these 2 cents, I have explained and given testimony to God in my life. A personal witness of dead coming to life, in my own spiritual awakening, and that of even seeing the Lord at the most precious moment of consummation...Him on the cross. And for all the splendid "stories" that's what they simply become...another movie, another flicker in the wind, because the world is not enough.
There must be a massive movement to Christ. And it begins in Holy Mass. Because imagine this, the darker it gets, the less light is needed to see. What does that say to your heart? It could say various things: 1.) It will only take a very small number to make a great difference. 2.) It will take just a few more to make more light. 3.) In a moment great light could encompass the darkness. And this is the sign, and it has been given. That God gave us His Son. And the Son gave us His life. And His life is offered forever.
If life becomes a life of salvation, then the living sign must live. If you're whole life became something, it should be a living sign, a billboard, a poster board, a living sign that points to Heaven, to the Lord. And this is the sign that the Lord gives to the world...