The Christmas ideal is different. Yes, take care of your health. But understand how important it is and central to the Christmas message, to be merry, to have a hopeful, positive, and optimistic attitude, even if your health is bad or if life is not at its best. The infant Jesus is lying in a barnyard crib, and yet the emotional atmosphere is glorious and full of hope. What a lesson for us living in a time of worldwide conflict and personal challenges.
-from The Soul of Christmas
† "Nothing seems tiresome or painful when you are working for a Master who pays well; who rewards even a cup of cold water given for love of Him." — St. Dominic
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞ "The temporal goods are created by the Most High for the sole purpose of sustaining life; having attained this end, the need of them ceases. And as this need is limited, soon and easily satisfied, there is no reason that the care for the immortal soul should be only fitful and temporary, while the hunger after riches should be so perpetual and unintermitting, as it has come to be among men. It is the height of perverseness for man to mix up the end and the means in an affair so important and urgent, that he devote all his time, all his care, all the exertion of his powers and all the alertness of his mind to the life of the body, of which he knows not the duration nor the end, and that on the other hand, in many years of his existence he spare for his poor soul only one hour, and that very often the last and the worst one of his whole life." — Venerable Mary of Agreda, p. 85-6 AN EXCERPT FROM Mystical City of God
Saint James of the Marche
Saint of the Day for November 28 (1394 – November 28, 1476)
Saint James of the Marche's Story
Meet one of the fathers of the modern pawnshop!
James was born in the Marche of Ancona, in central Italy along the Adriatic Sea. After earning doctorates in canon and civil law at the University of Perugia, he joined the Friars Minor and began a very austere life. He fasted nine months of the year; he slept three hours a night. Saint Bernardine of Siena told him to moderate his penances.
James studied theology with Saint John of Capistrano. Ordained in 1420, James began a preaching career that took him all over Italy and through 13 Central and Eastern European countries. This extremely popular preacher converted many people (250,000 at one estimate) and helped spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. His sermons prompted numerous Catholics to reform their lives and many men joined the Franciscans under his influence.
With John of Capistrano, Albert of Sarteano, and Bernardine of Siena, James is considered one of the "four pillars" of the Observant movement among the Franciscans. These friars became known especially for their preaching.
To combat extremely high interest rates, James established montes pietatis (literally, mountains of charity)—nonprofit credit organizations that lent money at very low rates on pawned objects.
Not everyone was happy with the work James did. Twice assassins lost their nerve when they came face to face with him. James died in 1476 and was canonized in 1726. Reflection
James wanted the word of God to take root in the hearts of his listeners. His preaching was directed to preparing the soil, so to speak, by removing any rocks and softening up lives hardened by sin. God's intention is that his word take root in our lives, but for that we need both prayerful preachers and cooperative listeners.
Dear Lord as I come to you today Fill my heart and my whole being with the wonder of your presence.
A thick and shapeless tree-trunk would never believe that it could become a statue, admired as a miracle of sculpture, and would never submit itself to the chisel of the sculptor, who sees by his genius what he can make of it (Saint Ignatius). I ask for the grace to let myself be shaped by my loving Creator.
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.
On that day, The branch of the LORD will be luster and glory, and the fruit of the earth will be honor and splendor for the survivors of Israel. He who remains in Zion and he who is left in Jerusalem Will be called holy: every one marked down for life in Jerusalem. When the LORD washes away the filth of the daughters of Zion, And purges Jerusalem's blood from her midst with a blast of searing judgment, Then will the LORD create, over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her place of assembly, A smoking cloud by day and a light of flaming fire by night. For over all, the LORD's glory will be shelter and protection: shade from the parching heat of day, refuge and cover from storm and rain.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. I rejoiced because they said to me, "We will go up to the house of the LORD." And now we have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. Jerusalem, built as a city with compact unity. To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. According to the decree for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. In it are set up judgment seats, seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May those who love you prosper! May peace be within your walls, prosperity in your buildings.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. Because of my relatives and friends I will say, "Peace be within you!" Because of the house of the LORD, our God, I will pray for your good.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Alleluia See Ps 80:4 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Come and save us, LORD our God; let your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 8:5-11
When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully." He said to him, "I will come and cure him." The centurion said in reply, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come here,' and he comes; and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, "Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
This remarkable centurion is a model of prayer. The effect of this man's faith on Jesus brought amazement and touched his heart. We too can touch the heart of Jesus when we pray with deep concern for someone in need.
Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person Lord. I think I might say "Thank You Lord" for always being there for me. I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord. When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life.
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.
I rejoiced because they said to me, "We will go up to the house of the Lord." (Psalm 122:1-2)
We've all felt it: that thrill of anticipation over an upcoming trip. We've counted the days till we can pack the car, board the plane, or hit the trail. Well, here we are in the first week of Advent, just starting our journey to the Christmas crib. Are you feeling the thrill? Can you say, in the spirit of today's psalm, I rejoiced when the calendar told me "We will go again to Bethlehem"? Whatever your answer, Psalm 122 suggests a way to help you find more joy during this Advent season.
This is a pilgrimage psalm, one of fifteen labeled "Song of Ascents" (Psalms 120–134). Most likely, they were sung by the people of Israel as they trekked to Jerusalem to celebrate the three great yearly festivals. Psalm 122 is sung by one of these pilgrims as he arrives, bursting with joy at finally reaching his destination. Picture him jubilant at the gates, singing Jerusalem's praises. To him, the holy city means protection and community, justice and peace, because it centers on the Temple, "the house of the Lord." He is awed and delighted to be approaching God's presence; he is eager to thank God for his blessings and to pray for peace.
This pilgrim clearly thought about where he was going and why he was going there. What about us? What is our destination, and why are we taking this journey?
Our destination is clear: Jesus. The journey leads to the One who can fill our hearts with joy and gladness. Why are we are taking this journey? Because like the psalmist, we too long for God's rest and peace. We are journeying because we know, deep down inside, that only the Lord can give us our hearts' desires.
The marvelous thing about Advent is that we can find joy in the journey as well as in the destination. That's because Jesus is with us every step of the way. He is speaking words of encouragement through the Scriptures; he is showering us with love through our friends and family; he is feeding us and refreshing us in Communion. He is the best traveling companion because he knows the way, and he is committed to bringing you home with him.
"Jesus, give me a spirit of joy as I travel to you."
Isaiah 4:2-6 Matthew 8:5-11
my2cents audio my2cents: The Word of the Lord spoke today: "Then will the LORD create, over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her place of assembly, A smoking cloud by day and a light of flaming fire by night." It reminds one of the times that God was with His people, the people He chose, Israel, to be with them on their exodus, their exiting of Egypt, to be freed from slavery, to be freed from the oppression, to no longer be their slaves, but HIS. And He would be found in a column of fire by night, and a column of smoke by day. This is why it is awesome to have incense in Mass, because you can see a cloud that says "I am Here, and I am answering prayers, and your prayers are being lifted up to the Heavens". And this is why it is awesome to have lights at night announcing the coming of our Lord in the darkest days of the year. We need this, we need this to see faith in action. I need to see your individual faiths in action, because if you see mine lit up, it is because I have seen others lit up, and the flame is to engulf the world...Jesus our Lord said so. We prayed today " Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord."..and "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May those who love you prosper!" Pray for peace. For peace means prosperity. For prosperity means joy. For joy means...oneness with the Lord! If I invite you to the house of the Lord, to Holy Mass, to be one with the Church, it means I want this peace in your heart, where mercy and grace abound, so immense, yet, so few go deep, most come to the beach and will not venture into the adventure of salvation. I see many souls, unmarried, go to Church on Sundays, but never get married by the Church, they take their kids, but they don't show them how to swim or go deep. Salvation is only found in the treacherous waters, not on the harbor of fear and neutrality of the beach. Why would you go to the pool and not go into the water? Just to say "Lord, I went to the pool!? Why don't you let me into Heaven?" Because we read and prayed the Psalm today "And now we have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem." It is a step in the right direction, now why don't you go deep and take of the Body of CHRIST?" The Centurion did so, and so we say his words before taking the body of Christ in every Holy Mass "LORD, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but only say the word, and I shall be healed". But it wasn't him that needed healing...it was his slave, his friend, his soldier...his servant. This means volumes. Because, if I am partaking of the body of Christ...it isn't so much for me as it is for the entirety of the Body of Christ. Yesterday, we set up our Christmas tree when my wife suggested it. At one point, someone brought up the presents, "time to get presents". I said "that's not what Christmas is about". Then I asked what it was about, and my little 1st grader said it was about Jesus' birthday, and then she brought up the happy birthday song we sing to Him, Happy Birthday Jesus. I just happened to have been born on December 25th, and it feels special. My birthday gets lost into His. I am dwarfed and it is good, because God should be overpowering and engulfing my life. It's as if the Lord desires for His presence, His love to overpower the world. That is His desire, but a lover, a sincere Love that is about giving, doesn't force Himself. And so, He comes in the most humble of people, and the most humble of places, and the most humblest of hearts. "Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof". Of course nobody is worthy...and He still comes. And a humble heart is affected, to a life changing result, like, being healed...from not just bodily sickness...but from death...that stuff that sin brings about. Jesus is amazed by what most would say is a non-believer. Sometimes I wish I could tell some people "I believe in your faith". These so called "non-believers". And sometimes I wish the Lord would just come into their lives already...but He will not force it. And so I keep praying, because at one point...the light will come into the darkness....