"Even when God's will does not correspond to your own desires, it is always beneficial for you." — St. Arnold Janssen
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"I believe we shall never learn to know ourselves except by endeavoring to know God, for, beholding His greatness we are struck by our own baseness, His purity shows our foulness, and by meditating on His humility we find how very far we are from being humble. Two advantages are gained by this practice. First, it is clear that white looks far whiter when placed near something black, and on the contrary, black never looks so dark as when seen beside something white. Secondly, our understanding and will become more noble and capable of good in every way when we turn from ourselves to God: it is very injurious never to raise our minds above the mire of our own faults." — St. Teresa of Avila, p. 17 AN EXCERPT FROM Interior Castle
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St. Stephen of Hungary
Feast: August 16
Information: Feast Day: August 16 Born: 975, Hungary Died: August 15, 1038, Esztergom or Székesfehérvár, Kingdom of Hungary Canonized: August 20, 1083, Esztergom, Hungary by Pope Gregory VII Major Shrine: Saint Stephen's Basilica in Budapest, Hungary Patron of: Hungary
He was a son of the Hungarian chief Géza and was baptized, together with his father, by Archbishop St. Adalbert of Prague in 985, on which occasion he changed his heathen name Vaik (Vojk) into Stephen. In 995 he married Gisela, a sister of Duke Henry of Bavaria, the future Emperor St. Henry II, and in 997 succeeded to the throne of Hungary. In order to make Hungary a Christian nation and to establish himself more firmly as ruler, he sent Abbot Astricus to Rome to petition Pope Sylvester II for the royal dignity and the power to establish episcopal sees. The pope acceded to his wishes and, in addition, presented him with a royal crown with which he was crowned at Gran on 17 August, 1001 (see HUNGARY.--History). He founded a monastery in Jerusalem and hospices for pilgrims at Rome, Ravenna, and Constantinople. He was a personal friend of St. Bruno of Querfurt and corresponded with Abbot St. Odilo of Cluny.
The last years of his life were embittered by sickness and family troubles. When on 2 September, 1031, his only son, St. Emeric, lost his life on a bear hunt, his cherished hope of transferring the reins of government into the hands of a pious Christian prince were shattered. During his lifetime a quarrel arose among his various nephews concerning the right of succession, and some of them even took part in a conspiracy against his life. He was buried beside his son at Stuhlweissenburg, and both were canonized together in 1083. His feast is on 2 September, but in Hungary his chief festival is observed on 20 August, the day on which his relics were transferred to Buda. His incorrupt right hand is treasured as the most sacred relic in Hungary.
Dear Jesus, today I call on you in a special way. Mostly I come asking for favours. Today I'd like just to be in Your presence. Let my heart respond to Your Love.
It is so easy to get caught up with the trappings of wealth in this life. Grant, O Lord, that I may be free from greed and selfishness. Remind me that the best things in life are free. Love, laughter, caring and sharing.
To be conscious about something is to be aware of it. Dear Lord help me to remember that You gave me life. Thank you for the gift of life. Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me. To be aware of the beauty that surrounds me. The marvel of mountains, the calmness of lakes, the fragility of a flower petal. I need to remember that all these things come from you.
The word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre: Thus says the Lord GOD:
Because you are haughty of heart, you say, "A god am I! I occupy a godly throne in the heart of the sea!"— And yet you are a man, and not a god, however you may think yourself like a god. Oh yes, you are wiser than Daniel, there is no secret that is beyond you. By your wisdom and your intelligence you have made riches for yourself; You have put gold and silver into your treasuries. By your great wisdom applied to your trading you have heaped up your riches; your heart has grown haughty from your riches– therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have thought yourself to have the mind of a god, Therefore I will bring against you foreigners, the most barbarous of nations. They shall draw their swords against your beauteous wisdom, they shall run them through your splendid apparel. They shall thrust you down to the pit, there to die a bloodied corpse, in the heart of the sea. Will you then say, "I am a god!" when you face your murderers? No, you are man, not a god, handed over to those who will slay you. You shall die the death of the uncircumcised at the hands of foreigners, for I have spoken, says the Lord GOD.
Responsorial Psalm Dt 32:26-27ab, 27cd-28, 30, 35cd-36ab R. (39c) It is I who deal death and give life. "I would have said, 'I will make an end of them and blot out their name from men's memories,' Had I not feared the insolence of their enemies, feared that these foes would mistakenly boast."
R. It is I who deal death and give life. "'Our own hand won the victory; the LORD had nothing to do with it.'" For they are a people devoid of reason, having no understanding.
R. It is I who deal death and give life. "How could one man rout a thousand, or two men put ten thousand to flight, Unless it was because their Rock sold them and the LORD delivered them up?"
R. It is I who deal death and give life. Close at hand is the day of their disaster, and their doom is rushing upon them! Surely, the LORD shall do justice for his people; on his servants he shall have pity.
R. It is I who deal death and give life.
Alleluia 2 Cor 8:9 R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich so that by his poverty you might become rich.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 19:23-30
Jesus said to his disciples: "Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God." When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible." Then Peter said to him in reply, "We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ The "Eye of the needle" was the name for a very small gate into Jerusalem. How often Jesus notices everyday things and uses them as images to convey his message.
▪ Yet again Jesus raises the standard for those who want to enter the Kingdom of God and again the disciples are exasperated. Jesus often goes to the extreme to convey a truth. We may be tempted to drift away in disillusionment or wait for the word of mercy he invariably adds.
▪ Can you trust his word about inheriting eternal life?
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.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: Matthew 19:23-30
Saint Stephen of Hungary (Optional Memorial)
For God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
Why did Jesus exhort the rich young man to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor? Was Jesus encouraging him to earn heaven by being more charitable? Or was he asking the man to root out self-reliance? Following laws doesn't get you into the kingdom of God; radical trust and faith in Jesus do.
"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:24). This was a hard saying for the disciples to grasp. Wealth was considered by many to be a sign of God's favor, and that means that the rich young man must have been blessed by God. So if this fellow, who clearly enjoyed God's blessing, could not enter the kingdom, who could?
Tradition tells us that the "eye of a needle" was a very small gate into the city of Jerusalem. In order for camels to make it through that gate, they had to lower themselves to their knees and crawl through. They also had to rid themselves of any excess baggage that got in their way. Jesus was asking the man to give up his material attachments, just as the camel needed to let go of its excess baggage. He was asking the man to trust in God for entrance into the kingdom of heaven, not in the blessings of his wealth.
Let's take a lesson from the camel! If we want to enter eternal life, we need to lower ourselves to our knees in prayer and humility. We need to acknowledge the sovereignty of Christ and the power of his salvation—a salvation that only comes through faith and baptism. Only Jesus can redeem us and bring us into his holiness.
So let's get rid of whatever extra sinful baggage is hindering our spiritual growth. Let's commit our lives to Jesus anew every morning, confessing our need for him and letting go of any sense of self-sufficiency that still clings to us. Let's strive for the perfection that comes only by faith in Jesus so that we, too, can know his power to save and sanctify.
"Jesus, you are my only hope. I commit myself to you as Lord and Savior. Help me to become the person you want me to be."
my2cents: In today's 1st Holy Scripture we heard the Lord say "By your wisdom and your intelligence you have made riches for yourself." The ending words are the key to remember...you did it for "yourself". And that is a sad place to be, because you did not do this for the Lord. This is why our lives must be based on God. This is why your everyday must have God planned in, for family prayer, for daily Mass, for Sunday Mass, on vacation, or not, and giving to Him, tithing, giving of your time, of your talents, your wisdom and intelligence..for HIM. How else will the Lord reach the poor, the ones who do not know the Lord? Or shall you call yourself blessed, and the rest not?
We prayed today "It is I who deal death and give life." and " Close at hand is the day of their disaster, and their doom is rushing upon them!" As we walked among the crowds this weekend, these young black guys were walking, making their way through the crowds, dressed in robes, one wearing a crown of thorns and another holding a sign "the end is coming" and another was blasting a trumpet. As people hustled along, and were eating and drinking and ignoring, they kept on marching. If ever a moment God invites you to work for Him, let it be an opportunity granted to very few, and even fewer respond with a yes.
In comes the Lord of our lives, availing to us an eye opening experience, ""Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven." And richness is not a particular quantity of money in your bank account, as if to say, $1,000, or $10,0000, or $1,000,000, because if you ask a millionaire if he is rich, he will compare himself to a billionaire and say "I'm not rich". And so we have the question of richness. Allow me to speak for me. To many people, they say I'm a rich person, because we are in a family business. When people tell me I'm rich, I feel like I have been insulted. Why? Because, perhaps the truth hurts, and what do you want me to do? Give you all my furniture? The car I got? What will satisfy your envy? If you only knew my richness that you desire, you would not say what you have said. The richness is the Catholic Faith. People that hate the Church also say the Catholic Church is "TOO RICH". What we have to realize, is one truth...it is true. It is rich in Holy Traditions. Rich in GRACES from God. Rich in Truth, a vast abundance of mercy and love and charity abound. The accusers look at buildings and gold and paintings hundreds of years old, but what they fail to see is that it was a gift to the world, a painting of a saint, or of the Lord, or a hand crafted tool to glorify God more and give worth and value to what we hold to be our treasure, and the highest treasure...our Lord.
It is the people that hold on to the money real tight that never make it. They live paycheck to paycheck and in debt. The givers make it easy, and the givers to God all the more. I was thinking yesterday one thing: I give much time in ministries, just about daily. There's the false concept of time in the world, that if you give too much time to God, you won't have time for work and family, as if the quantity is of great value, rather than quality, and some argue that quantity churns out quality. My experience is this: We employ nearly 70 employees and I have 7 kids. I have 7 days a week to fufill all my duties has a worker/manager, husband, and church leader, and I lead in all the fields. How do I make it? I follow the leader...Jesus. He is the boss. What He says goes. He makes things right, He straightens the paths. I find that the more I give, the more He gives. If I am in a tough situation, I have to give much more at times, only to be blessed with more. And I am referring to a life of faith. I face extreme pressures at work, home, and church. But they are only as extreme as I live with the Lord. If I let up on my life of striving to be Holy, the pressures start cooking. It is a question of riches, His, or mine. His world, or mine.
And I am not of this world. My job is to let myself be Jesus, let the Lord flow through my veins, pumping through the heart. What will it take to let go of me, and let Him be?