"Just as in one man there is one soul and one body, yet many members; even so the Catholic Church is one body, having many members. The soul that quickens this body is the Holy Spirit; and therefore in the Creed after confessing our belief in the Holy Spirit, we are bid to believe in the Holy Catholic Church." — St. Thomas Aquinas
MEDITATION OF THE DAY "There are two loves, the love of God and the love of the world. If the love of the world takes possession of you, there is no way for the love of God to enter into you. Let the love of the world take the second place, and let the love of God dwell in you. Let the better love take over." — St. Augustine, p. 34 AN EXCERPT FROM Augustine Day by Day
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St. Louis of Toulouse
When he died at the age of 23, Louis was already a Franciscan, a bishop and a saint!
Louis's parents were Charles II of Naples and Sicily and Mary, daughter of the King of Hungary. Louis was related to St. Louis IX on his father's side and to Elizabeth of Hungary on his mother's side.
Louis showed early signs of attachment to prayer and to the corporal works of mercy. As a child he used to take food from the castle to feed the poor. When he was 14, Louis and two of his brothers were taken as hostages to the king of Aragon's court as part of a political deal involving Louis's father. At the court Louis was tutored by Franciscan friars under whom he made great progress both in his studies and in the spiritual life. Like St. Francis he developed a special love for those afflicted with leprosy.
While he was still a hostage, Louis decided to renounce his royal title and become a priest. When he was 20, he was allowed to leave the king of Aragon's court. He renounced his title in favor of his brother Robert and was ordained the next year. Very shortly after, he was appointed bishop of Toulouse, but the pope agreed to Louis's request to become a Franciscan first.
The Franciscan spirit pervaded Louis. "Jesus Christ is all my riches; he alone is sufficient for me," Louis kept repeating. Even as a bishop he wore the Franciscan habit and sometimes begged. He assigned a friar to offer him correction — in public if necessary — and the friar did his job.
Louis's service to the Diocese of Toulouse was richly blessed. In no time he was considered a saint. Louis set aside 75 percent of his income as bishop to feed the poor and maintain churches. Each day he fed 25 poor people at his table.
Louis was canonized in 1317 by Pope John XXII, one of his former teachers.
When Cardinal Hugolino, the future Pope Gregory IX, suggested to Francis that some of the friars would make fine bishops, Francis protested that they might lose some of their humility and simplicity if appointed to those positions. Those two virtues are needed everywhere in the Church, and Louis shows us how they can be lived out by bishops.
"All the faithful were edified by the fervor of his devout celebration of Mass, the efficacy of his deep humility, his tender compassion, his upright life, the harmonious congruity in all his actions, words and bearing. Who without wonderment could look upon a most charming young man, the son of so mighty a king, outstanding for his generosity, raised to such dignity, renowned for his influence, preeminent for humility, living a life of such mortification, endowed with such wisdom, clothed in so poor a habit yet renowned for the charm of his discourse and a shining example of upright life?" (contemporary biography).
Thus says the LORD: I will prove the holiness of my great name, profaned among the nations, in whose midst you have profaned it. Thus the nations shall know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD, when in their sight I prove my holiness through you. For I will take you away from among the nations, gather you from all the foreign lands, and bring you back to your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees. You shall live in the land I gave your ancestors; you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19 R. (Ezekiel 36:25) I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins. A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins.
Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me. I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners shall return to you.
R. I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins. For you are not pleased with sacrifices; should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it. My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins.
Alleluia Ps 95:8 R. Alleluia, alleluia. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 22:1-14
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables saying, "The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those invited: "Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast."' Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then the king said to his servants, 'The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.' The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, 'My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?' But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, 'Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.' Many are invited, but few are chosen."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ This is an altogether strange little parable and the treatment meted out to the guest without the party clothes seems particularly harsh: tied up and dumped at the edge of town. If you turn up at a party underdressed you certainly stick out like a sore thumb, unless, of course, you couldn't care less.
▪ The guests are of all types, good and bad, and every one of them is dressed up appropriately. They took the trouble to follow the dress code and this shows respect for the host. Except that is for our careless one who appears to have no respect.
▪ Could it be that the Kingdom is open to the strong and the weak but not to the careless?
Dear Lord, stay by my side always. Gain for me a trusting heart. Thank you for loving me.
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 22:1-14
20th Week in Ordinary Time
How is it that you came in here without a wedding garment? (Matthew 22:12)
Imagine you are set to attend a friend's wedding in a few hours, but you're really preoccupied. You're thinking about everything but the wedding—family, work, car troubles, challenges with the kids, you name it. You throw on your best suit and stop in the kitchen for a quick snack. But in your haste, you accidentally spill your food right down the front of your jacket and pants! There's no time to do anything about it. So you put on an old jacket, a wrinkled tie, and your best pair of jeans and head out the door.
In a more relaxed social climate, you might actually get away with going "casual" to a wedding like this. But for the unfortunate guest in Jesus' parable, that didn't quite work. That's because at imperial weddings, the guests were provided with lavish garments by the royal host; so it would have been seen as an insult not to wear it.
This is not how we want to appear dressed for the wedding feast that is going on in heaven! We've told Jesus we're coming, and we want to be sure we're wearing the garment he has provided for us. It's the garment of purity we received at baptism. It's the same white garment that the saints in heaven are wearing, the "righteous deeds of the holy ones" (Revelation 19:8). We need to protect it, keep it spotless, and make sure it's shining brightly when we meet the Lord. But how can we do this?
There are two answers. The first, of course, is prayer—both personal prayer and prayer in the liturgy. When we come before the Lord, we trade in our old dirty cloak for his brand-new raiment. The second is through our "righteous deeds." Every act of kindness cleans us up a bit more. Every decision to forgive removes our own stains. Every gift given to the needy lifts us up.
When you stop to think about it, it's not all that hard to wear the right garment. Jesus has given us countless opportunities to do just that—because he wants you to be with him forever!
"Lord, wrap me in the mantle of your grace. May all that I receive from you lead me to care for my brothers and sisters."
We heard today in the first Holy Scripture: "I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts." and in the end says "I will be your God".
Is there anything else to say? It ends with a period. It is a command. I SHALL BE YOUR GOD. Because the wedding is about a bride and a groom, and the Lord Jesus is the groom, and we are the Church. If the Church veers, that's when the heart becomes stone, your heart is what matters. Do you love God? Don't answer. Let the people see the truth. And so we prayed today "I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins." Baptism washes away the sin we are born in to and already, the wedding garments are beginning to be your clothing, as one destined for God. "For you are not pleased with sacrifices; should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it. My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn." There is this interesting fact, there are two forces at work, good and evil in this world. I was in a deep heart-aching prayer a few weeks ago, and as I prayed to my Mother in Heaven for help, it was as if my prayer through her was presented to the Lord and I was watching this through her being, and I was at a feast gathering, I could even hear what seemed to be sounds of clanging of chalice and plates and there were people in line, by the thousands, perhaps millions presenting themselves to the Lord with their offerings and He would decipher and accept the good offerings. Yet the people did not seem to know it, but it was being accepted. The Lord nodded to my Mother, our Mother, and I was zoomed back to where I was...praying intensely. I opened my eyes and thought, "what in the world was all that???" Was it the facts of a Holy Mass or daily living? How are we offering to God? Surely He is accepting the good of our hearts. Then, the inverse could be true. In the world, the devil is feeding off our evilness, and I am going to dare to say something very scary. We live in a world with false peace. The antichrist has offered a false peace and we have fallen for it. For decades now. The devil, this beast is being satiated, satisfied, with millions of sacrificial offerings of death and pride, the unborn. The reason there is no great calamity as is the norm, is because the unborn are taking the hit for you to live happily as they are slaughtered, and thrown away, offered in evil spirit. Oh but people raise awareness for everything else. And to quiet the noise they give in. To live in silence, people give in. A false peace. The sword God brought is not used, that what divides families...the very name of Jesus...is silenced. "Don't speak about it, it will make people uncomfortable". In comes the Lord of our Lives: "But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment." So many of God's people had turned away, nations, through generations. And this man, not dressed as was asked, but "doing his own thing" as if to not care, brought about his own demise, thrown into a lake of fire. Why? Isn't God supposed to be a goody goody tushu man in the sky? NO. He is HOLY. We are to be dressed for holiness, that what we rightly are baptized into. Because many appear before the Lord empty handed, or worse, ridiculing the wedding, just "not into it". Suddenly, the second face of hypocrisy should be appearing. Who am I in the parable? Why do you keep offering evil instead of good? Why do you keep sinning? Why can't you seem to change? This whole parable is directed to you, and the Lord, the Holy Groom.
You know, they say that people that love each other, kind of start looking like each other after a while.
If this is the case, then, if we truly love the Lord, we should begin to look like Him. Isn't it kind of obvious when you run into somebody that they look religious? They look "good". They haven't even said nothing and you can already tell. My family in Christ and our Mother, dressing the part is only one step. Then you must approach Him with your pure offerings, chastity, purity, charity, and the most beautiful gift...humility. All offered and what happens in this Holy Communion? What happens in this intimacy of Heavenly Love? He gives something in return...an incredible grace of a seal that seals your fate with Him, your destiny, that Heavenly destination that awaits, because everyone has a place in Heaven with Him...now, if that place is filled...with your body, mind, and soul, your Spirit...that is the here and now awaiting to be accomplished in this life today. Because if we ask the Lord to give us a human heart, a natural heart, and to remove our stony heart, be ready. Be ready to accept what you asked Him to give.
And for many...that is the Holy Cross
your brother in Christ and our Blessed Mother Mary,