I am not defined by the story I tell or the experiences life has given me. I have experienced sorrow, but sorrow is not essentially who I am. I am the small green shoot of a flower making its way through the dark. I am the spirit experiencing what it is to be here in this form.
† "It is part of the discipline of God to make His loved ones perfect through trial and suffering. Only by carrying the Cross can one reach the Resurrection." — Archbishop Fulton Sheen
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞ "Ceaseless prayer is, therefore, especially necessary to counteract all the dangers of this world and to serve as a sturdy breastplate against the attacks of the enemy. Whoever does not pray does not fight; and he who does not fight or show resistance is quickly conquered and forfeits the victor's crown. But who can always pray and continually fight? All things are possible to him who calls upon God and puts his trust in Him." — Thomas à Kempis, p. 51-2 AN EXCERPT FROM Bountiful Goodness
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Feast Day October 21
Saints Stories for All Ages
Shortly after St. Hilarion's death, St. Jerome wrote about the life of this hermit who had introduced monasticism into Palestine. Jerome told of Hilarion's lifelong pursuit of solitude, where he could encounter God in prayer.
And he wrote about the divine irony of the fame that denied it to him because his miracles attracted so many people. In this brief excerpt, Jerome describes Hilarion's faith and a typical miracle:
Once . . . when he was eighteen years old, brigands tried to find him at night. Either they believed that he had something to steal or they thought he would scorn them if they didn't intimidate him. . . . From evening till dawn, they hunted in every direction but couldn't find him. In the broad daylight, however, they came upon him and apparently as a joke asked him: "What would you do if robbers attacked you?" He answered: "A naked person does not fear robbers." "You could be killed." "I could," he said. "But I am not afraid of robbers because I am ready to die." Admiring his faith, they confessed their folly of the night before and their blindness, and promised to reform their lives...
A woman of Eleutheropolis, despised by her husband of fifteen years because of her sterility, . . . was the first who dared to intrude upon blessed Hilarion's solitude. While he was still unaware of her approach, she suddenly threw herself at his knees saying: "Forgive my boldness. . . ., he asked her why she had come and why she was weeping. When he learned the cause of her grief, raising his eyes to heaven, he commanded her to have faith and to believe. He followed her departure with tears. When a year had gone by, he saw her with her son.
Like Anthony, Hilarion took only a little food once a day at sunset. When tempted sexually, he ate even less. "I'll see to it, you jackass," he said, "that you shall not kick." He never bathed nor changed his tunic until it wore out. He said, "It is idle to expect cleanliness in a hair shirt." Jerome relates that even though Hilarion suffered extreme dryness of spirit, he persevered in prayer and cured many people of sickness and demon possession. The parade of petitioners and would-be disciples drove Hilarion to retire to more remote locations. But they followed him everywhere. First he visited Anthony's retreat in Egypt. Then he withdrew to Sicily, later to Dalmatia, and finally to Cyprus. He died there in 371.
Even for saints like Hilarion who steadfastly pursued God, life is a battle of wills. Hilarion desired solitude, believing it was God's will for him. But God had other ideas and sent crowds to disrupt his aloneness. Before we get too far along on our journey, we need to check to see if we are following God's roadmap, not our own. Or we may be like Yogi Berra, who once said, "We're making good time, but we're lost."
Lord, God, my Creator, Be close to me now. My soul yearns for your presence.
Lord, grant me the grace to be free from the excesses of this life. Let me not get caught up with the desire for wealth. Keep my heart and mind free to love and serve you.
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.
Brothers and sisters: I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace; one Body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 24:1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6 R. (see 6) Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face. The LORD's are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it. For he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face. Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD? or who may stand in his holy place? He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD, a reward from God his savior. Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Alleluia See Mt 11:25 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 12:54-59
Jesus said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
"Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ We seem to be living in a world that is very flat, that finds it next to impossible to think beyond the pragmatic and the immediate. Jesus challenges us to 'interpret the present time', and behave wisely.
▪ In this Year of Mercy I am called to be merciful, as I consider how the merciful Father deals with me, a sinner who fails in so many things. I can never be the one to throw the first stone, and I feel called to be compassionate, towards myself first, and to others.
Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God? Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry? Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me, I speak out my feelings, as one trusted friend to another. Conclusion
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: Luke 12:54-59
Why do you not know how to interpret the present time? (Luke 12:56)
You might have seen a person on a street corner with a sign saying, "The end is near." Or maybe you've watched one of those superhero movies in which the villain threatens an apocalyptic end to the world. You may have even read a book trying to interpret Scripture in light of current events. All of these examples show just how preoccupied people can be with the end-time.
Can we predict the end of the world as we know it? No. Jesus says no one knows when that time will arrive, including him (Matthew 24:36)! Instead of focusing on the end, he wants us to pay attention to "the present time" so that we can understand what his Father is doing in the world right now (Luke 12:56). We pay attention, not to get exclusive insights into the future, but so that we can work with him today and contribute to the spread of his kingdom.
So what is God doing right now? Let's take a look:
• In places like Iraq and Syria, he is emboldening our brothers and sisters to declare their faith at the cost of their homes, their livelihoods, and even their lives. And he is moving those who are safe to support them as much as they can—through prayer and generous giving.
• In places where his Church is under pressure, like China or Latin America, he is bringing his people together in small faith communities, where his presence can shine brightly. And that light is bringing more people into his kingdom.
• Through the ministry of leaders like Pope Francis, he is inviting us to go out to the fringes and accompany people who seem different in the way they look and dress, speak, think, or worship. And people are taking notice.
• He is using scientists, researchers, and civic leaders to give his Church a new sense of urgency about the threats facing his creation. And people are beginning to take better care of our common home.
What time is it? We can't say if it's the end-time or not. But we can always say that it's the right time to do something to build God's kingdom!
"Holy Spirit, open my eyes to how I can cooperate with your work in the world today."
Saint Paul says today "I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit..." Keep these powerful words in mind as we will eventually hear the Lord speak more on this with eternal ramifications.
But first we pray "Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face." and "Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?or who may stand in his holy place? He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain." These are the people who will enter Heaven...Holy and sinless. This shuts the doors to many sinners doesn't it? But it opens the doors to many sinners desiring Heaven. Because in Heaven, the book of Revelation 21:27 says "but nothing unclean will enter it, nor any[one] who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." And this is in direct correlation to Isaiah 35:8 "A highway will be there, called the holy way; No one unclean may pass over it, but it will be for his people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray on it." No fools, no one fooled by the devil can wander into it. Only the Holy Way, the way of the Holy. Are you starting to desire to be sinless? Your faults and others' faults are beginning to be taken into account. Rev.3:5 "The victor will thus be dressed in white,* and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name in the presence of my Father and of his angels." In comes the Lord of LIFE: "why do you not know how to interpret the present time? "Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?" We certainly seem to claim to know what is "wrong" with others and the world, but for sure, it seems the Lord is telling is we don't judge what is RIGHT! This here is an eye opener. We seem to know things of science, but of faith? Very little. We seem to understand worldly things, but Heavenly things? Total loss. Even if God came from Heaven and explained, you would not understand, and much less believe. Yet, God did come from Heaven. Through His Son. God explains the importance of mercy, of receiving mercy, and BEING mercy. And so God came, and died like us, and then became one of us in the Holy Spirit, the same spark of life in a human at conception. This is why He says "If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way;", this is an exhortation to make the way on the way up there, turned into the HOLY WAY. Settle in life immediately your faults and the fits and fights with one another, to be turned into peace, to Holiness, to offerings of one another for one another. This is the Holy Way the Lord has left as the final example on the Holy Cross on His Holy way. God is amazing this way. He is saying this to you the reader, the fellow believer, so that you will be with Him in Heaven. Otherwise, you will pay; for every last action you did, for every last word you said, for every last thought you carelessly thought. Now is the time for mercy. And there is no better way to receive it than to give it. Because if you approach the Lord having been merciful, there is nothing for the judge to judge about. There would have been mercy already granted because of mercy lived through your soul.
Lord, reveal to me the people, the lives I'm affecting to make amends, restitution, a reconciliation with. I know I can't reach the ends of the earth for the sins I have caused, but I can reach you in a Holy Confession to reach the ends of the earth through you. Guide me Lord. Guide me to you in Heaven. You know Lord, before writing, I was thinking of what I would like to do in Heaven as a chore or job if you would so grant me...I thought maybe I could be a flower grower and picker to present to our Mother, that is, if you do not already do that Father. And I know what this means, it means that these flowers are prayers on earth, the more holy, the more fervent, the more faithful, the more beautiful they are. And so, the flower grows, buds, blossoms, and then is killed to be offered. This is the life You gave Lord. This is the life offered to the Father and for all of us, including Your Mother that only knew how to love You with her whole heart. And so, Lord, may my life be a living prayer, growing to be offered, budding and blossoming, ready for you, as you see fit, to be picked; picked up, and presented as gift, a Holy Holocaust in a gathered assembly of witnesses of a Heavenly Host.