"The closer one approaches to God, the simpler one becomes." — St. Teresa of Avila
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"Prayer is the duty of every moment. We ought always to pray, said our Lord. And what He said, He did; therein lay His great power. Action accompanied His words and corresponded with them. We must pray always in order to be on our guard. Our life, both of body and soul, our natural and supernatural life, is like a fragile flower. We live surrounded by enemies. Ever since man rejected the Light that was meant to show him the way, everything has become for us an obstacle and a danger; we live in the shadow of death." — Dom Augustin Guillerand, p. 9 AN EXCERPT FROM The Prayer of the Presence of God
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(c. 300) Saint Januarius' Story
Little is known about the life of Januarius. He is believed to have been martyred in the Emperor Diocletian's persecution of 305. Legend has it that Januarius and his companions were thrown to the bears in the amphitheater of Pozzuoli, but the animals failed to attack them. They were then beheaded, and Januarius' blood ultimately brought to Naples. Reflection
It is defined Catholic doctrine that miracles can happen and are recognizable. Problems arise, however, when we must decide whether an occurrence is unexplainable in natural terms, or merely unexplained. We do well to avoid an excessive credulity but, on the other hand, when even scientists speak about "probabilities" rather than "laws" of nature, it is something less than imaginative for Christians to think that God is too "scientific" to work extraordinary miracles to wake us up to the everyday miracles of sparrows and dandelions, raindrops and snowflakes.
I pause for a moment, aware that God is here. I think of how everything around me, the air I breathe, my whole body, is tingling with the the presence of God.
Dear Lord, instil in my heart the desire to know and love you more. May I respond to your will for my life.
I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God. I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them. Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment. I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.
Refuse no one the good on which he has a claim when it is in your power to do it for him. Say not to your neighbor, "Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give," when you can give at once.
Plot no evil against your neighbor, against one who lives at peace with you. Quarrel not with a man without cause, with one who has done you no harm.
Envy not the lawless man and choose none of his ways: To the LORD the perverse one is an abomination, but with the upright is his friendship.
The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, but the dwelling of the just he blesses; When dealing with the arrogant, he is stern, but to the humble he shows kindness.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 15:2-3a, 3bc-4ab, 5 R. (1) The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord. He who walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord. Who harms not his fellow man, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor; By whom the reprobate is despised, while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord. Who lends not his money at usury and accepts no bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be disturbed.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
Alleluia Mt 5:16 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 8:16-18
Jesus said to the crowd: "No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Commentators have struggled to interpret this short passage. What do you make of it? In what way do you make it part of your prayer? Are you conscious of your call to be a light for others, an inviting light to lead them to Christ? What is your reaction to being given that task? Ask the Lord to help you to see and accept that role.
Conversation requires talking and listening. As I talk to Jesus may I also learn to be still and listen. I picture the gentleness in His eyes and the smile full of love as he gazes on me. I can be totally honest with Jesus as I tell Him of my worries and my cares. I will open up my heart to Him as I tell Him of my fears and my doubts. I will ask Him to help me to place myself fully in His care, to abandon myself to Him, knowing that He always wants what is best for me.
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.
With the upright is his friendship. (Proverbs 3:32)
Three children gaze at a painting of a ship on the water when they are suddenly sucked into the scene! For the rest of C. S. Lewis' book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the children are no longer standing on the outside gazing at the painting; they're caught up in the action.
Sometimes, it might feel as if we are simply gazing at descriptions of how to live a godly life. We may wonder, "How could I possibly become as holy as Paul or Mary or Peter? Their lives look so perfect." Part of the answer lies in the Book of Proverbs. A collection of sayings from a variety of sources from the ancient Near East, the book's composition spans from the eleventh to the seventh centuries BC. It teaches us in very practical ways how we can live in an upright manner and find friendship with God.
So what does it look like when someone lives out the picture painted in Proverbs? Look at Jesus! More than anyone else, he brings this book to life. First, we hear countless echoes of its wisdom in his teachings. For example, when he says, "Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst" (John 6:35), he is recalling a passage in Proverbs, where wisdom personified encourages us: "Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed" (Proverbs 9:5).
We also see the Book of Proverbs embodied in Jesus' actions. "Do not say, 'As they did to me, so will I do to them; I will repay them according to their deeds'" (Proverbs 24:29). This sounds a lot like Jesus' words on the cross: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).
Today, choose a few verses from Proverbs: How do they apply to your circumstances? Then ask Jesus for the grace to put them into action.
If you do this every day, you'll become wiser. You'll be imitating Jesus and the apostles as you make the Book of Proverbs part of your life. Don't just gaze on this storehouse of wisdom as a distant ideal. Open your heart to it, and be a witness to it for others.
"Father, thank you for all the ways you reveal yourself to me. Open my eyes today!"
The first Holy Scripture ends today with "When dealing with the arrogant, he is stern, but to the humble he shows kindness."
We prayed today "The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord. He who walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue." Too many slander. For this, there is something to blame for...injustice. And it shall not be kept a secret.
The Lord speaks today "For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light." What good is it to be called a Christian? A Christ follower, if you will not follow His way. His Way is of the Holy Cross. Do you think He likes to sit in on your gossip...your, hatred, or envy, or animosity, or perverted jokes? He will remove Himself from there...and yourself. That is why we hear Him say of Himself today "Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away." To you who have very few friends, or spend your time with only a select few people, namely, your loved ones, consider this as the "little", and if you are faithful with the little, bring them to fruitfulness for the Lord, then you can expect to receive more to bless, more ground, more...souls. But to those who are not faithful with the little they have..."even what he seems to have will be taken away". That is, the very opportunity to save any souls..even your own will be taken away...and this is what is at stake.
So today, let your light shine. The other day my niece, she's only about 8 years old or so, went up to me at a family breakfast after Holy Mass (she is not Catholic), and it touched my heart when she asked me "can you play This Little Light of Mine" again? I was touched because this poor angel has parents that are at each others' throats in a divorce, with violence, lies, and slanders, with the ones suffering...the children. Yet, she asks for that little light song. I played and sang it for her as she sang it aloud to my mom, her grandma for it was her birthday.
This goes to show us many things. First and foremost, the humility of a child, an innocent soul shows much more light than a darkened soul. Who can shine their lights in the darkness? They say that when the Lord was crucified, the skies turned dark, so dark that you could see the stars shining..and the Lord's love was shining in the darkness.
When the Lord speaks, He speaks volumes with two words. Most importantly, today He is saying "Follow Me".