The desire for happiness is, at its core, the desire for God. The fulfillment of true happiness can be found only in him. We were made for relationship with him. How mind-blowing is that? The God of the universe created you for him.
–from the book Deep Adventure: The Way of Heroic Virtue
✞ "Put your heart at His feet. It is the gift He loves most." — St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Certainly we need no greater proof of the eminent sanctity of Joseph than is implied in the choice made of him by God to be the husband of Mary. We have only to look at her to know what he must have been." — Edward Healy Thompson, p.109 AN EXCERPT FROM The Life & Glories of Saint Joseph
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21
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ST. FRANCIS OF GIROLAMO St. Francis de Girolamo (1642-1716) was the eldest of eleven children born to honorable and virtuous parents in Naples, Italy. As a child he was drawn to God and a life of prayer. Realizing his vocation to Holy Orders, he was ordained a Jesuit priest at the age of 28. He became a renowned public preacher with his distinguished loud and eloquent voice, described as 'a lamb when he talks and a lion when he preaches'. He had a heart for the missions after his patron St. Francis Xavier, but instead of traveling to distant lands he accepted Naples as his India. He went as a missionary priest into country towns and villages to do open-air preaching in the streets. He sought to convert sinners wherever they were—in brothels, prisons, galleys, hospitals, and asylums—as well as instructing the pious in their religious houses. He converted Muslim prisoners of war to the Christian faith, rescued chidren from dangerous and degrading situations, and opened a pawn shop for charity. The fruit of his labor was abundant. He converted many souls, even hardened sinners, and made them virtuous. Everyone knew him for his holiness and zeal. He also had a reputation for being a miracle worker during his lifetime and after his death. After spending 40 years in apostolic labor in Naples, he died of an illness from which he suffered greatly without complaint. His feast day is May 11th.
Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 13:13-25
From Paphos, Paul and his companions set sail and arrived at Perga in Pamphylia. But John left them and returned to Jerusalem. They continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia. On the sabbath they entered into the synagogue and took their seats. After the reading of the law and the prophets, the synagogue officials sent word to them, "My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation for the people, please speak."
So Paul got up, motioned with his hand, and said, "Fellow children of Israel and you others who are God-fearing, listen. The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors and exalted the people during their sojourn in the land of Egypt. With uplifted arm he led them out, and for about forty years he put up with them in the desert. When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance at the end of about four hundred and fifty years. After these things he provided judges up to Samuel the prophet. Then they asked for a king. God gave them Saul, son of Kish, a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. Then he removed him and raised up David as their king; of him he testified, I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will carry out my every wish. From this man's descendants God, according to his promise, has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus. John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel; and as John was completing his course, he would say, 'What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.'"
Responsorial Psalm Ps 89:2-3, 21-22, 25 and 27 R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. The favors of the LORD I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness. For you have said, "My kindness is established forever"; in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness. R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. "I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him, That my hand may be always with him, and that my arm may make him strong." R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. "My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him, and through my name shall his horn be exalted. He shall say of me, 'You are my father, my God, the Rock, my savior.'" R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia See Rv 1:5ab R. Alleluia, alleluia. Jesus Christ, you are the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, you have loved us and freed us from our sins by your Blood. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 13:16-20
When Jesus had washed the disciples' feet, he said to them: "Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it. I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled, The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me. From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me."
Meditation: Acts 13:13-25
4th Week of Easter
If one of you has a word of exhortation for the people, please speak. (Acts 13:15)
Many times in Acts, Paul had opportunities like this one to share the gospel, often in a synagogue. He always told the story of salvation, but he didn't always tell it in exactly the same way. In today's reading, the story focuses on David: Paul presents Jesus as the "Son of David" fulfilling God's promises to Israel's beloved king. In other places, he emphasizes Moses the Lawgiver or Abraham, the man of faith.
In all these tellings to Jewish hearers, Paul portrays God preparing his people for the Messiah. But when he preached to Gentiles or mixed audiences, he tended to stress the way the chosen people rejected Jesus, opening the way for God to fulfill his plan to bring salvation to the whole world.
Then again, on several occasions Paul told his own conversion story (Acts 22:1-21; 26:12-23; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Galatians 1:11–2:14). Again, he shaped the story in a way that would benefit his readers or listeners.
We have all experienced God working in our lives, but there are many different ways to shape our stories, depending on the situation and our audience. We should always be asking: "What is God asking me to say to this person?" and make that a central focus when we share about our lives. Should we share about a time when God brought us to repentance, comforted us in a difficult time, or filled us with his love?
Sometimes it is also good to tell ourselves stories about what God has done for us. How quickly we forget how far we have come, how clearly we have experienced the Lord! We can never wear out such stories.
Whenever you tell your story, be sure to start with this one unshakeable truth: "God loves me and has always acted in love toward me." And be sure to tell your story—whether to yourself or someone else—with the assurance that "all things work for good for those who love God" (Romans 8:28). So follow St. Paul's example and his own advice: "Do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord" (2 Timothy 1:8).
"Jesus, I love to tell the story of what you have done for me. Give me fresh eyes to see how you have been pursuing me, protecting me, and supporting me throughout my life."
Psalm 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27 John 13:16-20
my2cents: In the Holy Scriptures, there a couple times when we hear the words "I am not worthy", today, they come from Saint John the Baptist: "I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.'" The other time it was a centurion saying to the Lord "I am not worthy that you should come under my roof" But these are words of extreme honor and respect and reverence, words even, of humility that point to grace. Sadly, today we say "I am not worthy" as if from a filthy sinner that aims to stay away from the Lord, like a leper, a devil even. No. As I approached the Holy Eucharist, the Lord in daily Mass yesterday evening, these thoughts pervaded, "can anything filthy enter the realms of God?" and I'm speaking of Heaven, because I was approaching the Lord Himself. Nobody is worthy, but God invites to make us worthy. If we accept Jesus as our Lord, we must accept everything, not just a part of Him, even...dying. Suddenly, humility is becoming something new...not me, but Him.
We prayed today "The favors of the LORD I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness." I read in one of the many reflections today, that eternity begins now. Our lives now, are shaping our lives tomorrow. It would be good to start singing today, and proclaiming the Lord's faithfulness every day. It would be good to begin living with Him now...as it is in Heaven.
In comes our Lord into our lives at this moment: "If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it. I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen." And in the end says "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me." I want you to be careful on who you receive. That is to say, how you receive the Lord. He disguises Himself very easily. Sometimes, He is in that face of the wretched sinner. Sometimes, in the poor, the nagging person. Sometimes as a consoler. Sometimes, as a stranger. Someone said that "a stranger is a friend you have not met". I invite you then, to become familiar with Him, that is to become family with Him, to the point that He becomes truly, your Father, Our Father. Receiving the Lord unworthily is to receive Him having hurt His family severely, through mortal sin. I receive the Lord with venial sins and I try to confess as often as I can to receive Him more worthily. Venial sins are thoughts, or small sins, unlike murder, or adultery, or things of the like, fornication and such that destroy a bond..ultimately with Our Father when we do it to the least of His children. But my venial sins when compiled can be dangerous, a rampant unchecked mind, an accumulation of accusations, a loose tongue that has no reigns has no reign in Heaven. Receiving God is hard for a hard rock, and easy for a sponge to soak Him in. How do we become that sponge? Let Yourself. I like those Spanish words they kept hammering on us at a retreat "Si Tu Quieres". (If You Desire). If you wish. If you want. If you seek. Jesus promises, you will find. If you knock, it will be opened. But check this out; there are many doors to knock on in life, and the least knocked on is the door of humility, the door of faith, the door of compassion, the door of knowing God more. The doors most wore out of being knocked on are of health, finances, and self image. This Saturday, we will celebrate 100 years of Fatima's appearance, our Lady appeared to 3 young children. Angels appeared too. The angel asked them to pray, for peace, for the World War was going on. And of all the people, 3 little kids were asked to pray, and receive the Holy Eucharist, and make sacrifices, fasting, and praying. In idle times, he'd appear again, asking "what are you doing!? Pray!". The message of Fatima is very clear. We should never go idle. Things are asked of us. 2 of the 3 children died shortly after. Only one was left to tell the story. My dad had a life and death experience when he and his cousin were electrocuted to death. He came back to life after experiencing an out of body experience. His cousin died. The other day my dad said "it's as if like in the bible says "one was left to tell". To tell, to be a living testimony. Saint Paul did, the children at Fatima did, and today...who has a testimony? Will it take a jarring experience for you to tell the world the Good News? Or will it take a simple word, to a simple heart. God speaks, and the heart says "I Will".
Hey, all of this happened. Do you believe? Or will you have to taste death for yourself? Will you have to be slammed on the ground to see Jesus? Angels appear to few, only because few faithfully believe. Our Blessed Mother faithfully believed. These children faithfully believed. And they all ask us to hit our knees and pray, and live our lives focused, centralized on God Our Father. And it becomes a life of adoration.........