An inner nature (the true self) is waking up and life is no longer a series of events through which we pass, but rather a mystery within which we awaken. There is a growing awareness that we are made for something more than the small story of our human life. We are intended to reach a greater potential. from Stars At Night
† "The soul hungers for God, and nothing but God can satiate it. Therefore He came to dwell on earth and assumed a Body in order that this Body might become the Food of our souls." — St. John Vianney
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"In the old days, people demanded 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,' and to repay evil for evil. Patience was not yet on the earth, because faith was not on the earth either. Of course, impatience made full use of the opportunities the Law gave it. That was easy when the Lord and Master of patience was not here. But now that he has come and put the grace of faith together with patience, we are no longer allowed to attack someone even with a word—not even to call someone a fool without facing the danger of judgment. The Law found more than it lost when Christ said, 'Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven' (Matthew 5:44-45). This most important commandment summarizes in a word the universal discipline of patience, since it does not allow us to do evil even to people who deserve it." — Tertullian , p. 104 AN EXCERPT FROM A Year with Church Fathers
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Saint Anthony Mary Claret
Saint of the Day for October 24 (December 23, 1807 – October 24, 1870)
Saint Anthony Mary Claret's Story
The "spiritual father of Cuba" was a missionary, religious founder, social reformer, queen's chaplain, writer and publisher, archbishop, and refugee. He was a Spaniard whose work took him to the Canary Islands, Cuba, Madrid, Paris, and to the First Vatican Council.
In his spare time as weaver and designer in the textile mills of Barcelona, he learned Latin and printing: The future priest and publisher was preparing. Ordained at 28, he was prevented by ill health from entering religious life as a Carthusian or as a Jesuit, but went on to become one of Spain's most popular preachers.
Anthony spent 10 years giving popular missions and retreats, always placing great emphasis on the Eucharist and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. His rosary, it was said, was never out of his hand. At 42, beginning with five young priests, he founded a religious institute of missionaries, known today as the Claretians.
He was appointed to head the much-neglected archdiocese of Santiago in Cuba. He began its reform by almost ceaseless preaching and hearing of confessions, and suffered bitter opposition mainly for opposing concubinage and giving instruction to black slaves. A hired assassin (whose release from prison Anthony had obtained) slashed open his face and wrist. Anthony succeeded in getting the would-be assassin's death sentence commuted to a prison term. His solution for the misery of Cubans was family-owned farms producing a variety of foods for the family's own needs and for the market. This invited the enmity of the vested interests who wanted everyone to work on a single cash crop—sugar. Besides all his religious writings are two books he wrote in Cuba: Reflections on Agriculture and Country Delights.
He was recalled to Spain for a job he did not relish—being chaplain for the queen. He went on three conditions: He would reside away from the palace, he would come only to hear the queen's confession and instruct the children, and he would be exempt from court functions. In the revolution of 1868, he fled with the queen's party to Paris, where he preached to the Spanish colony.
All his life Anthony was interested in the Catholic press. He founded the Religious Publishing House, a major Catholic publishing venture in Spain, and wrote or published 200 books and pamphlets.
At Vatican I, where he was a staunch defender of the doctrine of infallibility, he won the admiration of his fellow bishops. Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore remarked of him, "There goes a true saint." At the age of 63, he died in exile near the border of Spain.
Jesus foretold that those who are truly his representatives would suffer the same persecution as he did. Besides 14 attempts on his life, Anthony had to undergo such a barrage of the ugliest slander that the very name Claret became a byword for humiliation and misfortune. The powers of evil do not easily give up their prey. No one needs to go looking for persecution. All we need to do is be sure we suffer because of our genuine faith in Christ, not for our own whims and lack of prudence. Saint Anthony Mary Claret is Patron Saint of:
Lord, God, my Creator, Be close to me now. My soul yearns for your presence.
Lord grant me the grace to have freedom of the spirit. Cleanse my heart and soul so I may live joyously in your love.
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.
Brothers and sisters: Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.
Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma. Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among holy ones, no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. So do not be associated with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6 R. (see Eph. 5:1) Behave like God as his very dear children. Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, But delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Behave like God as his very dear children. He is like a tree planted near running water, That yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Behave like God as his very dear children. Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. For the LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Behave like God as his very dear children.
Alleluia Jn 17:17b, 17a R. Alleluia, alleluia. Your word, O Lord, is truth; consecrate us in the truth. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 13:10-17
Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, "Woman, you are set free of your infirmity." He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, "There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day." The Lord said to him in reply, "Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?" When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ For Jesus mercy and compassion are paramount, trumping all other considerations. This is certainly a very challenging position. I imagine myself present in the synagogue, and observe my spontaneous reaction during the argument between Jesus and the head of the synagogue: I ask for a heart that is like the heart of Jesus, always compassionate and ready to defend the poor and suffering.
▪ I wonder at how easily religion can become a source of a hard heart rather than a Christ-like mercy. I ask for light to be aware of my prejudices and of the rationalisations that justify them.
What is stirring in me as I pray? Am I consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side and share my feelings with 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: Luke 13:10-17
Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop (Optional Memorial)
Ought she not to have been set free? (Luke 13:16)
Of course this woman should have been set free! Having suffered with a disability for eighteen years, she has every right to approach Jesus. Still, her healing draws a firestorm of criticism. Though you would expect the synagogue leader to join his congregation in rejoicing in the miracle he has just witnessed, he rebukes the woman by quoting the Law of Moses to her. In response, Jesus asks the leader an obvious rhetorical question: "Ought she not to have been set free?" (Luke 13:16).
This one simple question shines light on a profound issue. Perhaps, technically, this woman shouldn't have been cured on the Sabbath. But Jesus cares more about people than technicalities—and we should too. As we face crippling conditions around us, we too should ask, "Ought not everyone have access to adequate food, housing, and clean water? Ought not the unborn be loved and protected? Ought not everyone receive medical care and enjoy friendship?" Of course they ought to!
With just one question, Jesus unmasked what Pope Francis has called the "culture of indifference." He also named the remedy: build a "culture of encounter." Jesus didn't just heal the woman; he called her a "daughter of Abraham" (Luke 13:16). He placed her on the same level as everyone else and treated her with great dignity.
"Daughter of Abraham"—three simple words. Sometimes that's all it takes. Even the slightest gesture of solidarity "builds bonds, cultivates relationships, creates new networks of integration and knits a firm social fabric" (The Joy of Love, 100). It doesn't require a lot of effort to begin dismantling indifference and to start building bridges instead.
It can start with something as small as a kind look. It can be the decision to slow down and listen attentively to someone or the choice to offer a bottle of water to someone on the side of the road. That's where it starts, but it can go on from there. Once you start breaking down indifference, try to double your efforts over time. As you do, you'll see a double portion of God's blessing being poured out. Ought not everyone in need be set free? Yes!
"Yes, Lord, your children ought to be set free. I want to help whomever you put in my path. Open my eyes!"
The Word of God says today "Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma. Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you..." and ends with "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light." What if I told you that only saints get into Heaven? Those that lived disposed to God's will, those living His will, those doing His will only, and all the "good" people? Probably most are not in Heaven, because the impure can not enter. And this is a heavy burden and a heavy pill to swallow, because we all would like to believe we are all going to walk right into Heaven when we die...right? Yet the Lord says today "Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God." I ask dozens of men to join me, either for Mass or a retreat (time with God) and the idolatry rears its head, kids, work, or just "no time", and last night I read that a saint once said that having no time is the same as saying "I got no love". It'd be better to be honest and say "I have no love" for prayer, (no time for prayer). I got no time for God is better said "I got no love for God". Yet, we expect something for nothing in this gimme gimme society. When Our Lord is asking us to be children of light, it is of GIVING Light...a giving of CHRIST, to BE what HE is to us....compassionate mercy, not just for some...but for ALL. We prayed today "Behave like God as his very dear children." and "Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, But delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night." Psalm 119 says "Blessed those whose way is blameless, who walk by the law of the LORD. Blessed those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with all their heart. They do no wrong; they walk in his ways." And pay attention to Sirach 39 when it says "How different the person who devotes himself to the study of the law of the Most High!" Everyone likes to be different, and the greatest difference is those who are not indifferent to the WORD of the Lord. Different, because they are devoted, and they are in love with CHRIST. And the difference between holiness and darkness is obvious when you see the cross and the crucifixion bestowed upon the soul. God gives a cross to those He loves, and a crucifixion as a holy holocaust, an offering of glory to God. In comes the Lord of our lives ""Woman, you are set free of your infirmity." There are no sweeter words than to hear these words from the Lord. To hear "you have been forgiven" "You have been set free" "You are loved" "You are free to love Me more" "You no longer have to be burdened with the weight of sin" And the place to hear them is in the confessional, in the presence of Christ in the priest. I want to make a big sign that says "repent and sin no more". The world needs to hear this. Why? Because, to repent means to have a change of heart, and this means choosing light, and choosing life, life for you soul. And choosing light means to bring light to life to others. When the woman was healed, the leaders used the law of man to put the Lord in his place, as if trying to correct Him. But the law of Christ is the law of the heart. Humanity is Christ, humans from conception to natural death is Christ. He would leave to please 99 to save 1. This means many things on many levels, but importantly, that God is on all levels, and He is willing to save you that are disposed to being saved. Notice, the woman was in the synagogue, she was seeking the light...she was seeking Christ, and God knew this, being healed physically is only a byproduct of being healed spiritually. Next time your loved ones are sick, or you are sick, seek healing inside first. Seek holiness. And then seek doctors, and when healed, seek Christ even MORE to give thanks and live forever, eternally grateful for this great gift of life. For the Lord came to do just that...to: GIVE LIFE LIGHT