"The works of God are not accomplished when we wish them, but whenever it pleases Him." — St. Vincent de Paul
MEDITATION OF THE DAY "If the soul will analyze the desire it has of happiness, and the idea of happiness that presents itself to it, it will find that the object of this idea and of this desire is only and can only be God. This is the impression that the soul bears in the depths of its nature; this is what reason will teach it if it will only reflect a little, and this is what neither prejudice nor passion can ever entirely efface." — Fr. Jean Nicholas Grou, p. 4 AN EXCERPT FROM The Spiritual Life
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St. Rose of Lima
The first canonized saint of the New World has one characteristic of all saints—the suffering of opposition—and another characteristic which is more for admiration than for imitation—excessive practice of mortification.
She was born to parents of Spanish descent in Lima, Peru, at a time when South America was in its first century of evangelization. She seems to have taken Catherine of Siena (April 29) as a model, in spite of the objections and ridicule of parents and friends.
The saints have so great a love of God that what seems bizarre to us, and is indeed sometimes imprudent, is simply a logical carrying out of a conviction that anything that might endanger a loving relationship with God must be rooted out. So, because her beauty was so often admired, Rose used to rub her face with pepper to produce disfiguring blotches. Later, she wore a thick circlet of silver on her head, studded on the inside, like a crown of thorns.
When her parents fell into financial trouble, she worked in the garden all day and sewed at night. Ten years of struggle against her parents began when they tried to make Rose marry. They refused to let her enter a convent, and out of obedience she continued her life of penance and solitude at home as a member of the Third Order of St. Dominic. So deep was her desire to live the life of Christ that she spent most of her time at home in solitude.
During the last few years of her life, Rose set up a room in the house where she cared for homeless children, the elderly and the sick. This was a beginning of social services in Peru. Though secluded in life and activity, she was brought to the attention of Inquisition interrogators, who could only say that she was influenced by grace.
What might have been a merely eccentric life was transfigured from the inside. If we remember some unusual penances, we should also remember the greatest thing about Rose: a love of God so ardent that it withstood ridicule from without, violent temptation and lengthy periods of sickness. When she died at 31, the city turned out for her funeral. Prominent men took turns carrying her coffin.
It is easy to dismiss excessive penances of the saints as the expression of a certain culture or temperament. But a woman wearing a crown of thorns may at least prod our consciences. We enjoy the most comfort-oriented life in human history. We eat too much, drink too much, use a million gadgets, fill our eyes and ears with everything imaginable. Commerce thrives on creating useless needs on which to spend our money. It seems that when we have become most like slaves, there is the greatest talk of "freedom." Are we willing to discipline ourselves in such an atmosphere?
"If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life maimed or crippled than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into fiery Gehenna" (Matthew 18:8–9).
Patron Saint of:
Americas Florists Latin America Peru Philippines South America
Lord, help me to be fully alive to your Holy presence. Enfold me in your love. Let my heart become one with yours.
Lord, may I never take the gift of freedom for granted. You gave me the great blessing of freedom of spirit. Fill my spirit with Your peace and Your joy.
How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy-hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried or angry. I acknowledge how I really am. It is the real me that the Lord loves.
The Word of God
Tuesday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time audio readings Reading 1 2 Thess 2:1-3a, 14-17
We ask you, brothers and sisters, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling with him, not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed either by a "spirit," or by an oral statement, or by a letter allegedly from us to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand. Let no one deceive you in any way.
To this end he has also called you through our Gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 96:10, 11-12, 13 R. (13b) The Lord comes to judge the earth. Say among the nations: The LORD is king. He has made the world firm, not to be moved; he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them! Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth. Before the LORD, for he comes; for he comes to rule the earth. He shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Alleluia Heb 4:12 R. Alleluia, alleluia. The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 23:23-26
Jesus said: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. But these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Institutionalised religion always runs the risk of insincerity or in the worst case, hypocrisy, as salaried preachers have to match their behaviour to the principles of the faith. Interestingly the only people Jesus denounces in the Gospel are these Pharisees and their like. He accuses them of not understanding God because they don't see the importance of the fundamentals: justice, mercy and faith.
▪ Very often it takes one person to see and to state what is going wrong and to reset the priorities. Jesus does this again and again in his dealings with "sinners": people whose behaviour runs contrary to the Jewish Law. He heals and he forgives sins where Pharisees and others rush to condemn and even destroy.
▪ Pope Francis puts it so well: "Moreover, pastors and the lay faithful who accompany their brothers and sisters in faith or on a journey of openness to God must always re-member what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches quite clearly: 'Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors'. Consequently, without detracting from the evangelical ideal, they need to accompany with mercy and patience the eventual stages of personal growth as these pro¬gressively occur. I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber but rather an encounter with the Lord's mercy which spurs us on to do our best. A small step, in the midst of great human limitations, can be more pleasing to God than a life which appears outwardly in order but moves through the day without confronting great difficulties". (Evangelii Gaudium, IV 44)
Dear Jesus, I can open up my heart to you. I can tell you everything that troubles me. I know you care about all the concerns in my life. Teach me to live in the knowledge that you who care for me today, will care for me tomorrow and all the days of my life.
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.
Legend tells us that St. Francis of Assisi was hoeing in his garden one day when one of his fellow friars asked, "What would you do if you knew Christ were coming back today?" Francis answered, "I would keep right on hoeing." Nothing special. No anxious preparations or fretful trips to the confessional. He would live that day like any other, ready for Christ.
This is what St. Paul tells the Thessalonians as well: don't get caught up in predictions about the Second Coming. Just "stand firm and hold fast" to what you have believed (2 Thessalonians 2:15). This two-part advice can help us too. Current events, speculation about the end-time, or thoughts of our own last days can unsettle us. How should we respond?
First, we stand firm, trying our best to live the life God has given us and not worrying about the future. God's kingdom is at hand, whether we're scrubbing pots or writing reports, driving carpools or hauling trash. We stand firm by being faithful to what we've been called to do, making the most of God's presence in our daily activities.
Are you anxious about unresolved relationships? Worried that you aren't ready to meet Jesus? Each day offers the chance to draw closer to him, to mend broken relationships, and to care for his people. If you're trying to do this each day, your fears will slowly dissolve. You'll grow in confidence that you're living each day to its fullest. You'll be more peaceful.
Second, we hold fast. We know the Lord. We have been taught so much about him. Not only that, but he has touched our lives in so many ways. So we hold fast to that truth in the face of anxiety. God is our everlasting, almighty, and faithful Father!
If you're feeling "shaky," pick a Scripture from the day's Mass readings, and keep it close by. Type it into your computer, or write it on paper; and put it in your pocket so that you can go back to it during the day when you start to feel anxious. Let it become part of your solid foundation in the faith.
"Father, I believe you want me to walk in your peace. Help me to stand firm in the life you've given me and hold fast to your truth!"
my2cents: "Let no one deceive you in any way......Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours." Saint Paul exhorts us to be truly Catholic. Why do I say that? Because, in the Holy Catholic Church we have exactly this prescription, in Holy Tradition, with a capital T and a little t. The Holy Tradition as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) says "The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus' teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. the first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition." That is to say, it is a living and effective transmission of God's message, a real life proclaimer through the apostolic succession, the actual living Body of Christ. And so the oral statement lives on along with Holy Scripture, termed "the letter of ours" by Saint Paul. It's not about taking over the bible and knowing it, but knowing the Lord Himself.
We prayed today "The Lord comes to judge the earth." and "Before the LORD, for he comes; for he comes to rule the earth. He shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with his constancy." In the world, the devil knows the bible, and knows how to manipulate it and will get doubts in people's heads easily and twist a couple of words and get you to split and splinter, this is why there are thousands and thousands of Christian denominations, and this is why there are millions and millions that choose not to go to any church at all. A simple example that sinners love twisted by the devil is "thou shall not judge" as if it were a commandment. If this is the case, then, I should not judge anything!? LOL. The Lord deals with the hearts and just judgements, I can simply say "Hey, what you're doing is against Holy Church teaching, a mortal sin, STOP IT!!"
In comes the Lord of our lives to ours ""Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity." In the world we have many that appear to be righteous, but inside, they are wretched sinners, whitewashed tombs as the Lord says. He knows what is inside the tombs...bones, dead bones. The Lord comes to give life. Where people were asked to give sacrifice to the smallest herbs and spices, mint, dill, and cummin, Jesus wants us to be merciful to the tiniest bit as well. For if you are faithful in smallest of matters, you will equally be faithful in greatest of matters.
From the book "Imitation of Christ" by Thomas Kempis on not being too credulous, it warns us of not believing everything we hear from humans and then it says "Grant that my words be true and constant, and drive far from me a sly and malicious tongue. What I am unwilling to endure, I certainly ought to use all means to avoid myself. 5. How good and peaceful it is to remain silent about other people's words and deeds, not to believe without proof all that is said, nor lightly to repeat all we see or hear. We should open our own hearts to very few; for it is better to seek You, Lord, Who can see into every person's heart....let us shun as far as we can all worldly conversation, not desiring what appears outwardly pleasant and agreeable, but diligently following those things which bring amendment of life and fervor. A virtue that has been known and praised too hastily has harmed many a soul, while one kept in silence has proved beneficial in this uncertain life of temptation and warfare."
The Pharisees saw only "nothingness" in the Lord, only saw He didn't follow their law how they wanted, and thus...killed Him out of their lives. And this killing is killing of self, because that's the only way to get Him out of your life, mortal sin, mortal death. What do you see in your brethren? A sign of Holiness is seeing Jesus in the most wretched of sinners and being able to say "I would die for you" and actually do it.