† "A word or a smile is often enough to put fresh life in a despondent soul." — St. Therese of Lisieux
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞ "The beatitude of the saints is immutable, like that of the Son of God. . . Add ages to ages; multiply them equal to the sand of the ocean or the stars of heaven; exhaust all numbers, if you can, beyond what the human intelligence can conceive, and for the elect there will be still the same eternity of happiness. They are immutable, and this immutability excludes weariness and disgust. The life of an elect soul is one succession, without end, of desires ever arising and ever satisfied, but desires without trouble, satiety or lassitude. The elect will always see God, love God, possess God and always will wish to see Him, love Him and possess Him still more. This beatitude is the end destined for all; God has given us time only in order to merit it, being and life only to possess it. Reflect seriously on this great truth, and ask yourself these three questions at the foot of the crucifix: What have I done hitherto for heaven? What ought I to do for heaven? What shall I do henceforward for heaven?" — St. Ignatius of Loyola, p. 179 AN EXCERPT FROM Spiritual Exercises
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Saint Margaret of Scotland
Saint of the Day for November 16 (1045 – November 16, 1093)
Saint Margaret of Scotland's Story
Margaret of Scotland was a truly liberated woman in the sense that she was free to be herself. For her, that meant freedom to love God and serve others.
Not Scottish by birth, Margaret was the daughter of Princess Agatha of Hungary and the Anglo-Saxon Prince Edward Atheling. She spent much of her youth in the court of her great-uncle, the English king, Edward the Confessor. Her family fled from William the Conqueror and was shipwrecked off the coast of Scotland. King Malcolm befriended them and was captivated by the beautiful, gracious Margaret. They were married at the castle of Dunfermline in 1070.
Malcolm was good-hearted, but rough and uncultured, as was his country. Because of Malcolm's love for Margaret, she was able to soften his temper, polish his manners, and help him become a virtuous king. He left all domestic affairs to her, and often consulted her in state matters.
Margaret tried to improve her adopted country by promoting the arts and education. For religious reform she encouraged synods and was present for the discussions which tried to correct religious abuses common among priests and laypeople, such as simony, usury, and incestuous marriages. With her husband, she founded several churches.
Margaret was not only a queen, but a mother. She and Malcolm had six sons and two daughters. Margaret personally supervised their religious instruction and other studies.
Although she was very much caught up in the affairs of the household and country, she remained detached from the world. Her private life was austere. She had certain times for prayer and reading Scripture. She ate sparingly and slept little in order to have time for devotions. She and Malcolm kept two Lents, one before Easter and one before Christmas. During these times she always rose at midnight for Mass. On the way home she would wash the feet of six poor persons and give them alms. She was always surrounded by beggars in public and never refused them. It is recorded that she never sat down to eat without first feeding nine orphans and 24 adults.
In 1093, King William Rufus made a surprise attack on Alnwick castle. King Malcolm and his oldest son, Edward, were killed. Margaret, already on her deathbed, died four days after her husband. Reflection
There are two ways to be charitable: the "clean way" and the "messy way." The "clean way" is to give money or clothing to organizations that serve the poor. The "messy way" is dirtying your own hands in personal service to the poor. Margaret's outstanding virtue was her love of the poor. Although very generous with material gifts, Margaret also visited the sick and nursed them with her own hands. She and her husband served orphans and the poor on their knees during Advent and Lent. Like Christ, she was charitable the "messy way."
God is with me, but more, God is within me, giving me existence. Let me dwell for a moment on God's life-giving presence in my body, my mind, my heart and in the whole of my life.
Lord God I thank you for the gift of freedom. Help me to use this gift with integrity. I am free to make choices. Help me to choose to follow you, to live in a Christian way by caring for others. Remind me to consider always those less fortunate than myself, the oppressed, the prisoner, those who are not free to worship in public. Guide me always to seek your holy will in all the events of my life.
At this moment Lord I turn my thoughts to you. I will leave aside my chores and preoccupations. I will take rest and refreshment in your presence Lord.
I, John, had a vision of an open door to heaven, and I heard the trumpetlike voice that had spoken to me before, saying, "Come up here and I will show you what must happen afterwards." At once I was caught up in spirit. A throne was there in heaven, and on the throne sat one whose appearance sparkled like jasper and carnelian. Around the throne was a halo as brilliant as an emerald. Surrounding the throne I saw twenty-four other thrones on which twenty-four elders sat, dressed in white garments and with gold crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder. Seven flaming torches burned in front of the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. In front of the throne was something that resembled a sea of glass like crystal.
In the center and around the throne, there were four living creatures covered with eyes in front and in back. The first creature resembled a lion, the second was like a calf, the third had a face like that of a man, and the fourth looked like an eagle in flight. The four living creatures, each of them with six wings, were covered with eyes inside and out. Day and night they do not stop exclaiming: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come." Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before the one who sits on the throne and worship him, who lives forever and ever. They throw down their crowns before the throne, exclaiming:
"Worthy are you, Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things; because of your will they came to be and were created."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 150:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6 R. (1b) Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God! Praise the LORD in his sanctuary, praise him in the firmament of his strength. Praise him for his mighty deeds, praise him for his sovereign majesty.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God! Praise him with the blast of the trumpet, praise him with lyre and harp, Praise him with timbrel and dance, praise him with strings and pipe.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God! Praise him with sounding cymbals, praise him with clanging cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Alleluia.
R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!
Alleluia See Jn 15:16 R. Alleluia, alleluia. I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 19:11-28
While people were listening to Jesus speak, he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately. So he said, "A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return. He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, 'Engage in trade with these until I return.' His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, 'We do not want this man to be our king.' But when he returned after obtaining the kingship, he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money, to learn what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, 'Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.' He replied, 'Well done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities.' Then the second came and reported, 'Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.' And to this servant too he said, 'You, take charge of five cities.' Then the other servant came and said, 'Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.' He said to him, 'With your own words I shall condemn you, you wicked servant. You knew I was a demanding man, taking up what I did not lay down and harvesting what I did not plant; why did you not put my money in a bank? Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.' And to those standing by he said, 'Take the gold coin from him and give it to the servant who has ten.' But they said to him, 'Sir, he has ten gold coins.' He replied, 'I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.'"
After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
In this gospel, Jesus talks about the talents. We have all been given gifts. If we use these gifts wisely for our own benefit and the benefit of others, we grow and blossom. If on the other hand we fail to use them, we remain stuck and stagnant. It is in the order of things to grow and develop, and as we do so, we open our minds and hearts to all the goodness that God wants to give us.
Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels. May I respond to your call today. Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Have you ever been to an outstanding fireworks display? The first several minutes are exciting, but everyone is waiting to be wowed by the finale. Today's psalm is the last chapter in the Book of Psalms, and in its own way, it is a grand finale. Throughout this book, the Bible's prayer book, we read descriptions of God and his relationship with his people. The psalms tell of his might, his faithfulness, and his mercy. And many of them urge us to praise the Lord in response. But as a final call to worship, this psalm tells us where, why, and how to praise the Lord, as well as who should be doing the praising.
Where are we to praise God? In his sanctuary. For the psalmist, this would have meant the Temple, but for us, it is much broader. His sanctuary is in our churches, of course, but it is also in our homes and in the innermost part of our souls.
Why praise God? Because of his majesty and his mighty deeds. Over and over, he demonstrated his power and mercy to the Israelites. Likewise, he has revealed himself to us as a mighty Savior, healer, and restorer.
How should we praise? With music, singing, and even dancing. Our praise should involve our whole body. It should fill the atmosphere!
Finally, who should praise God? That's simple. Everyone who can breathe is called to praise the Lord!
This "who" includes you. So why not respond to the call right now? Wherever you are, turn to the Lord in the "sanctuary" of your heart. Call to mind all that he has done for you: how he has blessed you, loved you, guarded you, redeemed you, healed you, and transformed you. Next, find a way to praise him for all of this. If you are somewhere private, sing a familiar hymn. If you can't sing out loud, sing in your heart, or offer a quiet prayer of thankfulness. Or maybe you can express your praise by telling a friend about how good God has been to you.
Whether through singing or talking or even thinking your praise to the Lord, you can fill your environment with the beauty of prayer. So hold onto this call to praise all day long. Remember, you belong to the Lord, and "Alleluia" is your song!
We heard the Word of the Lord in the book of Revelation "They throw down their crowns before the throne, exclaiming: "Worthy are you, Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power..." worthy is the lamb of God. The one who went to take ownership of the world by setting His face like flint, faced the cross and defeated what it had to offer. And so, all we can do is praise the Lord, give praise, give and give, and the more we give...the better.
We prayed today "Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God! and "Praise the LORD in his sanctuary, praise him in the firmament of his strength. Praise him for his mighty deeds, praise him for his sovereign majesty." What if I told you, that your praise, and your works, and your heart measure where these coins in Heaven, that smile to the enemy, that love to the unlovable, that patience to the hater, that dollar for the person on drugs, that food to that poor person, that prayer for the forgotten...suddenly, the Kingdom of Heaven begins to be revealed.
Our Lord comes into our lives today " 'Engage in trade with these until I return.' and the people said "'We do not want this man to be our king.', in other words, they were disobedient, because they didn't want this man as their king, they wanted their own king...their own god, the kind chosen by them, not the one handed to them. It is the life of "knowing better" by our own whims and fancies. And so, there were these men that were faithful, and in return, they received a million times more than they had given. This parable serves as a purpose: Of encouragement, to be faithful, to be found HOT for the Lord and not cold blooded, not even warm, because warm means you are getting cold and have coldness in you. The reason so many abortions have happened is because so many have been warm, neutral on the issue. Russia wants more people, perhaps for more soldiers, but they are realizing the importance of people, but the people will not give birth, not even if you pay them. The world needs the saints and angels that come with the people, the light, the face of God in His creation, as Revelation said today "...for you created all things; because of your will they came to be and were created." But we squander His creation and call it evil, thus say God is NOT good by saying "if God were good why would he allow so much evil". It is the typical story of pointing the finger. Those who say this are evil, or have evil in their hearts, a false god. If God kills a serpent that wants to poison you, is He evil? Because that is what the Lord did on the cross. He came to claim the Land of the living and bring the dead to life. And so it boils down to you now. You have been given coins, and for faithful Catholics, even HIS Body in the Eucharist. What are you going to do with it?