I believe we have the power to end global poverty, change the systems of injustice, drive economic opportunity, and end modern-day slavery, and that part of the reason we have not yet done so is because so many of us don't believe that. So many of us negate our own power of influence, of impact, by thinking of ourselves as too small.
–from Colleen Mitchell
† "He who labors as he prays lifts his heart to God with his hands." — St. Benedict of Nursia
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"The story of Christ's life and ministry cannot be told without giving due space to Satan's activity. The Gospel writers carefully distinguish between cases of mere physical ailments and cases of a demonic character (both of which Jesus cures). Jesus frequently refers to the devil in his parables and other teachings, and the devil himself tempts Jesus in the desert and returns again later to engineer Judas' betrayal (cf. Jn 13:2). This Gospel motif teaches us an undeniable, if uncomfortable lesson: the devil is real, and he is interested in counteracting the work of grace. In one sense, accepting this fundamental truth, and keeping it always in the back of our minds, can comfort us tremendously: it helps us make sense of all the unpleasant influences at work in and around us. We are not crazy; we are not failures; we are simply engaged in a spiritual battle. If we believe in Jesus Christ, we must also believe in the devil—doomed as he is, he would love to take as many souls as he can along with him." — Fr. John Bartunek, p. 350 AN EXCERPT FROM The Better Part
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Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
Saint of the Day for November 17 (1207 – November 17, 1231)
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary's Story
In her short life, Elizabeth manifested such great love for the poor and suffering that she has become the patroness of Catholic charities and of the Secular Franciscan Order. The daughter of the King of Hungary, Elizabeth chose a life of penance and asceticism when a life of leisure and luxury could easily have been hers. This choice endeared her in the hearts of the common people throughout Europe.
At the age of 14, Elizabeth was married to Louis of Thuringia, whom she deeply loved. She bore three children. Under the spiritual direction of a Franciscan friar, she led a life of prayer, sacrifice, and service to the poor and sick. Seeking to become one with the poor, she wore simple clothing. Daily she would take bread to hundreds of the poorest in the land who came to her gate.
After six years of marriage, her husband died in the Crusades, and Elizabeth was grief-stricken. Her husband's family looked upon her as squandering the royal purse, and mistreated her, finally throwing her out of the palace. The return of her husband's allies from the Crusades resulted in her being reinstated, since her son was legal heir to the throne.
In 1228, Elizabeth joined the Secular Franciscan Order, spending the remaining few years of her life caring for the poor in a hospital which she founded in honor of Saint Francis. Elizabeth's health declined, and she died before her 24th birthday in 1231. Her great popularity resulted in her canonization four years later. Reflection
Elizabeth understood well the lesson Jesus taught when he washed his disciples' feet at the Last Supper: The Christian must be one who serves the humblest needs of others, even if one serves from an exalted position. Of royal blood, Elizabeth could have lorded it over her subjects. Yet she served them with such a loving heart that her brief life won for her a special place in the hearts of many. Elizabeth is also an example to us in her following the guidance of a spiritual director. Growth in the spiritual life is a difficult process. We can play games very easily if we don't have someone to challenge us. Saint Elizabeth of Hungary is the Patron Saint of:
Bakers Catholic Charities Secular Franciscan Order
When I come into your presence, O Lord, I know I am in the presence of my Creator. You created me out of Love. You even know the amount of hairs on my head. Your presence, O Lord, is the greatest of all.
Guide me always to do your holy will knowing that your strength will carry me through.
My soul longs for your presence, Lord. When I turn my thoughts to you, I find peace and contentment.
I, John, saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. It had writing on both sides and was sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a mighty angel who proclaimed in a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?" But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to examine it. I shed many tears because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to examine it. One of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. The lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed, enabling him to open the scroll with its seven seals."
Then I saw standing in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures and the elders a Lamb that seemed to have been slain. He had seven horns and seven eyes; these are the seven spirits of God sent out into the whole world. He came and received the scroll from the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. When he took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones. They sang a new hymn:
"Worthy are you to receive the scroll and break open its seals, for you were slain and with your Blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on earth."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b R. (Rev. 5:10) The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God. or: R. Alleluia. Sing to the LORD a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful. Let Israel be glad in their maker, let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God. or: R. Alleluia. Let them praise his name in the festive dance, let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp. For the LORD loves his people, and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God. or: R. Alleluia. Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy upon their couches; Let the high praises of God be in their throats. This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Ps 95:8 R. Alleluia, alleluia. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 19:41-44
As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If this day you only knew what makes for peace– but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
Peace and contentment are two blessings that we desire in life and when we lack them we are greatly disturbed. Jesus, too, was disturbed and wept at the future destruction of his beloved Jerusalem. He offers us a peace that the world cannot give and can only be found in friendship with him.
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.
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 19:41-44
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious (Memorial)
He saw the city and wept over it. (Luke 19:41)
"Jesus, you are overflowing with compassion! You saw that 'what makes for peace' was hidden from the eyes of your people, and you wept over them (Luke 19:42). It made you suffer, but you did not turn away. You did not condemn. You wept!
"Thank you, Lord, that you are not aloof from us. When we separate ourselves from you, it stirs your compassion and sorrow, not your judgment. You did not come to condemn us, but to save us. And when we miss out on that, when our eyes are blinded, you suffer with us. When we cut ourselves off from your grace, you weep. You enter into the misery we're bringing on ourselves.
"Even when we suffer physically, when we die, you weep over us. Just as you wept over your friend Lazarus, your heart is stirred whenever we hurt. You are our brother, and you long for the best for us.
"Thank you, Lord, that your love for us produces so much more than sympathy! You took on our humanity, and you share all our human emotions. You weep with us, but you also rejoice with us. In our victories, no matter how small, you rejoice. When the disciples returned from their missionary trip, you rejoiced to see how the Father worked through them. When the couple was married in Cana, you celebrated with them. When you see us reach out to someone in need, you smile.
"Jesus, help me to see your tears when I am the one who has separated myself from you. Move my heart to repentance by the compassion and love in your eyes. Draw me to you, and make me whole again. Let me rejoice in your lavish tenderness.
"Give me your heart, Lord! Just as you are close to each of us, help me not to hold myself aloof from my brothers and sisters. Even if they seem to be cutting themselves off from you, stir my compassion. Help me see over everything else that they are my brothers and sisters, that we are all children of the same Father in heaven. Help me to suffer with them and rejoice with them, to welcome them and accompany them, just as you do.
"Jesus, give me a heart like yours—a heart of compassion and solidarity."
We heard the Word of the Lord "...for you were slain and with your Blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on earth." They will reign, for the High Priest Jesus, has made a priesthood in the world. Priests are those chosen by the Lord to bring God into the world. Such priests should serve God and be the Lord's body. One question was asked in class last night "how can you be a reconciler?" The question brought answers like "we must partake of reconciliation to realize reconciling in our lives". Be what you partake...for Catholics...we partake of the Body of CHRIST. The Priests bring Christ to the world. No matter who they are, or what they do, this is what happens in Holy Mass. And before we move on...realize this: every little thing matters.
We prayed today "The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God." In daily Mass, in a little chapel, I often look to the only stained glass window there...a white lamb portrayed with a staff that pierces it and blood flows from it. It is through this priest, it is through this lamb that we are connected to God. There is no way around the Lord, there is no other means for salvation than through Him and what He offers...grace, mercy, and love, a life that strengthens Scripture when He says "I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life".
The Lord comes in today ""If this day you only knew what makes for peace– but now it is hidden from your eyes." If you only knew, says the Lord. To a closed heart, it would seem to say "you should've known", or "sorry! but now it's too late!". But it is not too late. Because the reason the Lord went into Jerusalem saying this is because the Jewish system would no longer be the way...it would be JESUS, and all about Him whom they rejected. There would now be a NEW WAY. It is Christ. Different, yes. Set apart, yes. And to be set apart means to be Holy. A Christian should not blend in with the crowd, they should stand out, and how? By being different, yes. Set apart, yes. And this makes them visible, in an invisible world. So visible, that they are ridiculed and attacked. So visible, that God sees them, and evil does not, because we are cloaked with His majesty, the robe of the High Priest. And just like every particle of the Holy Eucharist is Sacred, so is every moment of life. The other day, I stood after Mass and made an announcement and in it, I said that we must come dressed for Mass. This means, to be prepared. If you come with shorts, it means you did not prepare the best for Mass, you did not wash your pants, you have nothing to wear because you did not make time for the Lord in anticipation, in preparation for Him. This should be speaking to you, in spiritual terms. We should come dressed our best, be prepared our best, reconciled with neighbor and with God, white as a Lamb coming for sacrificial offering. The more pure, the better for God, who will accept the pure heart. Be prepared to die. And this means a sacrificial union, of a lamb joining the flock...of eternity