"If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive." — Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta
MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Natural love is sufficient for earthly parents, but the love which our saint bore to Jesus, as His appointed father, was not a mere human love, it was also a supereminently divine love; for, in loving his Son he was exercising the most perfect love of God; since He whom he called his Son was at the same time his God." — Edward Healy Thompson, p. 363 AN EXCERPT FROM The Life & Glories of Saint Joseph
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Edith Stein (1891-1942)
A brilliant philosopher who stopped believing in God when she was 14, Edith Stein was so captivated by reading the autobiography of Teresa of Avila that she began a spiritual journey that led to her Baptism in 1922. Twelve years later she imitated Teresa by becoming a Carmelite, taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.
Born into a prominent Jewish family in Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland), Edith abandoned Judaism in her teens. As a student at the University of Göttingen, she became fascinated by phenomenology, an approach to philosophy. Excelling as a protégé of Edmund Husserl, one of the leading phenomenologists, Edith earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1916. She continued as a university teacher until 1922 when she moved to a Dominican school in Speyer; her appointment as lecturer at the Educational Institute of Munich ended under pressure from the Nazis.
After living in the Cologne Carmel (1934-38), she moved to the Carmelite monastery in Echt, Netherlands. The Nazis occupied that country in 1940. In retaliation for being denounced by the Dutch bishops, the Nazis arrested all Dutch Jews who had become Christians. Teresa Benedicta and her sister Rosa, also a Catholic, died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz on August 9, 1942.
Pope John Paul II beatified Teresa Benedicta in 1987 and canonized her in 1998.
The writings of Edith Stein fill 17 volumes, many of which have been translated into English. A woman of integrity, she followed the truth wherever it led her. After becoming a Catholic, Edith continued to honor her mother's Jewish faith. Sister Josephine Koeppel, O.C.D. , translator of several of Edith's books, sums up this saint with the phrase, "Learn to live at God's hands."
In his homily at the canonization Mass, Pope John Paul II said: "Because she was Jewish, Edith Stein was taken with her sister Rosa and many other Catholics and Jews from the Netherlands to the concentration camp in Auschwitz, where she died with them in the gas chambers. Today we remember them all with deep respect. A few days before her deportation, the woman religious had dismissed the question about a possible rescue: 'Do not do it! Why should I be spared? Is it not right that I should gain no advantage from my Baptism? If I cannot share the lot of my brothers and sisters, my life, in a certain sense, is destroyed.'"
Addressing himself to the young people gathered for the canonization, the pope said: "Your life is not an endless series of open doors! Listen to your heart! Do not stay on the surface but go to the heart of things! And when the time is right, have the courage to decide! The Lord is waiting for you to put your freedom in his good hands."
Sacred Space (stop, slow down, breathe, we're about to receive the Word of God) Daily Prayer - 2016-08-09
At any time of the day or night we can call on Jesus. He is always waiting, listening for our call. What a wonderful blessing. No phone needed, no e-mails, just a whisper.
I ask for the grace to let go of my own concerns and be open to what God is asking of me, to let myself be guided and formed by my loving Creator.
In God's loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment. I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude. I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.
The Lord GOD said to me: As for you, son of man, obey me when I speak to you: be not rebellious like this house of rebellion, but open your mouth and eat what I shall give you.
It was then I saw a hand stretched out to me, in which was a written scroll which he unrolled before me. It was covered with writing front and back, and written on it was: Lamentation and wailing and woe!
He said to me: Son of man, eat what is before you; eat this scroll, then go, speak to the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth and he gave me the scroll to eat. Son of man, he then said to me, feed your belly and fill your stomach with this scroll I am giving you. I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. He said: Son of man, go now to the house of Israel, and speak my words to them.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131 R. (103a) How sweet to my taste is your promise! In the way of your decrees I rejoice, as much as in all riches.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise! Yes, your decrees are my delight; they are my counselors.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise! The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise! How sweet to my palate are your promises, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise! Your decrees are my inheritance forever; the joy of my heart they are.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise! I gasp with open mouth, in my yearning for your commands.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Alleluia Mt 11:29ab R. Alleluia, alleluia. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
The disciples approached Jesus and said, "Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?" He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.
"See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father. What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost."
Lord, I know that when I turn to you there is no need for words. You can see into my heart. You know my desires and you know my needs. I place myself into your hands.
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 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Virgin and Martyr (Optional Memorial)
See that you do not despise one of these little ones. (Matthew 18:10)
More than in our day, children in Jesus' time were expected to be "seen and not heard"—and especially in religious gatherings. So it was very surprising when Jesus used a little child to answer the disciples' question "Who's the greatest in God's kingdom?" He didn't choose a scholar, a ruler, or a wealthy man; he chose a little one no one else would call great.
This story tells us that if we want to draw near to God, we'll find him when we stoop down and put our arms around a little one. We'll get to know him better when we imitate Jesus by going out to the fringes in search of the least, the lost, and the lonely.
We tend to make allowances for little children. We don't criticize a toddler just learning to talk when he mispronounces a word. Preschoolers who don't know which way to run on the soccer field are adorable. Noises that would be obnoxious coming from a teenager sound cute on the lips of a four-year-old. Especially if the children in question are our children or grandchildren, we applaud their smallest efforts at doing the right thing.
In the same way, God the Father regards us as his children, "little ones" to be honored and loved (Matthew 18:10). We don't need to impress him in order to earn his favor. He seizes on the slightest kernel of goodness in everything we do and encourages us to develop it. He never puts us down or shames us. He always treats us with mercy.
This has implications for how we treat one another. Because we have all received God's great mercy, we should never feel overly impressed by a "great" person, and we certainly shouldn't dismiss a "lesser" one as unimportant. Rather, let's beg God for the grace to see each other as he sees us, everyone of great value.
Effective teachers try to catch each student being good instead of criticizing their misbehavior. May God help us to see where we can celebrate and encourage the smallest steps our brothers and sisters are taking on their journey to his kingdom.
"Jesus, sometimes I get confused about what really matters. Help me to value each individual as much as you do."
The Lord speaks to you and me today "As for you, son of man, obey me when I speak to you". Then, the prophet eats what God commands, and what he ate was what? "Lamentation and wailing and woe." And it tasted what? Let us pray the Holy Psalms "How sweet to my taste is your promise! Yes, your decrees are my delight; they are my counselors." Sweet as Honey is the Lord's command. So how can lamentation and wailing and woe, how can sadness taste sweet? Humility gives it this taste. God's ways taste better. Taste and see for yourself. The Goodness of the Lord. In comes the Lord of our lives "..unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven." Do you want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? You won't as an adult. Enough with your "adult" thoughts and ways of living. Don't you wish you could just be a child again? The days of joyful bliss of not knowing what you know now with darkness? The days of just you and the Lord, and your guardian angel. The days of innocence, the joys of jubilee in the warmth protection and embrace of the Lord? Do you not long for this? Because even if you were orphaned, God was your Father. Because even if you were abandoned, He was there. And now...have you gone astray? That's even greater news! Because He is on the search for you. And this is why we read this today. "I have come for the lost, not the found". And He goes across the Universe, and we only go a mile or two to meet, to be picked up. What they say is that shepherds break the bone of the lamb and he then feeds it until it heals and the lamb learns to never depart from the shepherd, the feeder, the protector ever again.
So let your broken self be brought to Him. He loves you, wants to heal you, and be with you. He loves the child, your angel. He loves like no other. And this is a key in humility, to be able to love like a child that knows no enemies or hatred. And now we are speaking of Heavenly beings, not merely human beings..."for theirs is the Kingdom of God".
Perhaps things here said aren't sticking like an easy story to read, but this is a Spiritual book, the Holy Bible. It is not a story book. It is the book of life. And so when our Lord begins with feeding, He means to feed the soul. And if He begins with a child and a shepherd, He is speaking of the flock, the lambs and He becomes the sacrificial lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, the perfect for the un-perfect and we eat of the perfection in the Most Holy Eucharist. And our souls are sanctified in this Holy Sacrament of precious love. The lamb then learns to love. I turn to you, and to the abandoned, and the ignored, and I seek the lost, the forgotten. Because a child of God does not ignore any of the mentioned. They aim to console one another and ask for the lost and seek the lost and find the lost and tend to the lost. I want you now to reach out to the lost. They lost their faith, they lost their way, they lost their true joy, and love they once knew. Find them. Because the Lord is speaking to the heart and the soul. Yours is a great task of angels. Because if there is a spec of darkness, there are tons of angels ready to cover it with light.
And God, I'm in love with you, please help me love you more and more.