I am more and more convinced that the first commandment indeed needs to be the first: to love God with all our heart, all our soul and our entire mind. Our heart, soul and mind can never be divided between God and neighbor or anything else. God is a jealous God who wants our love without any reservations.
-from Love, Henri
†"If you suffer with Him, you will reign with Him. If you cry with Him, you will have joy with Him. If you die with Him on the cross of tribulation, you will possess the eternal dwelling place in the splendor of the saints. And your name, written in the book of life, will be glorious among men." — St. Clare of Assisi
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"The soul, enlightened by faith, judges of things in a very different way to those who, having only the standard of the senses by which to measure them, ignore the inestimable treasure they contain . . . the soul that recognizes the will of God in every smallest event, and also in those that are most distressing and direful, receives all with an equal joy, pleasure and respect. It throws open all its doors to receive with honor what others fear and fly from with horror. The outward appearance may be mean and contemptible, but beneath this abject garb the heart discovers and honors the majesty of the king. The deeper the abasement of his entry in such a guise and in secret the more does the heart become filled with love." — Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, p. 23-4 AN EXCERPT FROM Abandonment to Divine Providence
Saint Catherine of Alexandria
Saint of the Day for November 25 (d. c. 310)
Saint Catherine of Alexandria's Story
According to the Legend of St. Catherine, this young woman converted to Christianity after receiving a vision. At the age of 18, she debated 50 pagan philosophers. Amazed at her wisdom and debating skills, they became Christians—as did about 200 soldiers and members of the emperor's family. All of them were martyred.
Sentenced to be executed on a spiked wheel, Catherine touched the wheel and it shattered. She was beheaded. Centuries later, angels are said to have carried the body of Saint Catherine to a monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai.
Devotion to her spread as a result of the Crusades. She was invoked as the patroness of students, teachers, librarians and lawyers. Catherine is one of the 14 Holy Helpers, venerated especially in Germany and Hungary.
The pursuit of God's wisdom may not lead to riches or earthly honors. In Catherine's case, this pursuit contributed to her martyrdom. She was not, however, foolish in preferring to die for Jesus rather than live only by denying him. All the rewards that her tormentors offered her would rust, lose their beauty, or in some other way become a poor exchange for Catherine's honesty and integrity in following Jesus Christ. Saint Catherine of Alexandria is the
Lord, help me to be fully alive to your holy presence. Enfold me in your love. Let my heart become one with yours.
Dear Lord, instil in my heart the desire to know and love you more. May I respond to your will for my life.
Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life? By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit. If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.
I, John, saw an angel come down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a heavy chain. He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is the Devil or Satan, and tied it up for a thousand years and threw it into the abyss, which he locked over it and sealed, so that it could no longer lead the nations astray until the thousand years are completed. After this, it is to be released for a short time.
Then I saw thrones; those who sat on them were entrusted with judgment. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image nor had accepted its mark on their foreheads or hands. They came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Next I saw a large white throne and the one who was sitting on it. The earth and the sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them. I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. Then another scroll was opened, the book of life. The dead were judged according to their deeds, by what was written in the scrolls. The sea gave up its dead; then Death and Hades gave up their dead. All the dead were judged according to their deeds. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the pool of fire. (This pool of fire is the second death.) Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the pool of fire.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 84:3, 4, 5-6a and 8a R. (Rev. 21:3b) Here God lives among his people. My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the LORD. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
R. Here God lives among his people. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest in which she puts her young– Your altars, O LORD of hosts, my king and my God!
R. Here God lives among his people. Blessed they who dwell in your house! continually they praise you. Blessed the men whose strength you are! They go from strength to strength.
R. Here God lives among his people.
Alleluia Lk 21:28 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 21:29-33
Jesus told his disciples a parable. "Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ In the scriptures of the last few days Jesus has been telling us about the passing of things and the dreadful events associated with the ending of things as we know them. Today he sums it up with the story of the fig tree. Jesus is telling us to notice the signs of the times that will help us to discern between what is of true value and what is passing.
The words of Jesus have a truth that will never pass away.
Dear Lord, stay by my side always. Gain for me a trusting heart. Thank you for loving 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.
Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr (Optional Memorial)
I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)
When we think of preparing for a wedding, we normally think about the dress, the banquet hall, the food, and the music. But the truly remarkable—and demanding—part of wedding preparation is watching a man and woman grow together into a couple. As they prepare for married life, they slowly detach from their old lives and enter a new life, where two people "become one" (Genesis 2:24). This letting go can be difficult at times, but the joy of getting married makes it worthwhile.
It may seem odd that the Book of Revelation uses wedding imagery when talking about the end-time. At first glance, all the destruction described in the beginning of this reading seems at odds with the image of a bride preparing to meet her husband. Yet this wedding analogy is used so often that it's pretty clear that God doesn't want us to focus on the destruction, but on his return. He wants us to prepare as joyfully as a bride getting ready for her wedding.
Just as the bride and groom gladly give up their independence to become one, God wants us to joyfully detach from the sinful distractions of life in this world so that we can be united with him. He doesn't want us to get caught up in what we're leaving behind; he wants us to look forward to what's ahead.
Here's one way you can get ready for Jesus' return.
A bride and groom wear special wedding garments. Similarly, we have "ordinary clothes" that wouldn't be appropriate for a wedding. These are old habits or ways of thinking that may be sinful, or they may just be focused on passing concerns. If we want to wear our proper wedding garment, one woven of holiness and love for God, we'll need to "remove" the garments of bitterness or greed or self-centeredness. This takes time, of course, and Jesus is infinitely patient. But it's a detachment we need to be making gradually. Remember, a new life is waiting for you: an eternity of being united with the Lord.
"Jesus, help me let go of any fear or worldly attachments as I joyfully prepare for your heavenly wedding banquet."
Psalm 84:3-6, 8 Luke 21:29-33
my2cents audio my2cents: From Revelation: "I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God". Jesus overturned the tables in the Temple in Jerusalem, then He had it destroyed, and a new temple was built...a new Jerusalem, a place for Him to dwell and reign as KING. Does the Word of GOD reign in your life? We prayed today "Here God lives among his people." and "Blessed they who dwell in your house!" This is the new temple, the Body of Christ. This is the new temple, the Kingdom of Christ our Lord. The throne? Where Christ the King reigns...have you made it to the throne? What kind of throne have you seen or made for the Lord?
In comes the Lord, the King into our lives and says "...when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near". When you see wars and famine and destruction, Know that the Kingdom of God is near. You see, when you read the Holy Scripture, God is with us. He is near. The song goes " Yahweh, I know You are near, standing always at my side. You guard me from the foe. And You lead me in ways everlasting." This is Christ, He is leading us, guiding us, and we are to be that guiding light to the world, the bread to be bread, the light, to be light. I encourage you, from the moment you open your eyes, to be the guiding light. Because the first death has been participated in Holy Baptism, and the 2nd death awaits. This dying continuously to self must be a persevering gift that you are open to receive. And the Lord says "Take courage, for I have conquered the world".
Be encouraged to live the life of a saint. Be encouraged to be adorned as the bride of Christ. Be encouraged to be found in white, bathed by His blood. Be encouraged, to be ready, and be found serving Love, serving GOD