Almighty God, who gave to the just man from Nazareth, St. Joseph, the privilege of serving as earthly Father to Jesus your Son, through his intercession, watch over our families and guide us in your ways. May this son of David, in whom the shoot from the stump of Jesse has blossomed, guide your people with care and protect your Church from harm. United with Mary his spouse and Jesus our Lord, may we be joined forever in the joys of your heavenly kingdom.
-from: Saint Junipero Serra's Camino: A Pilgrimage Guide to the California Missions
✞ "Reading the Holy Scriptures confers two benefits. It trains the mind to understand them; it turns man's attention from the follies of the world and leads him to the love of God." — St. Isidore of Seville
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Man was created for a certain end. This end is to praise, to reverence and to serve the Lord his God and by this means to arrive at eternal salvation. All other beings and objects that surround us on the earth were created for the benefit of man and to be useful to him, as means to his final end; hence his obligation to use, or to abstain from the use of, these creatures, according as they bring him nearer to that end, or tend to separate him from it." — St. Ignatius of Loyola, p.18 AN EXCERPT FROM The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8
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Saint Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi
Saint of the Day for May 24
(April 2, 1566 – May 25, 1607)
Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint."
Catherine de' Pazzi was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for her to have married into wealth and enjoyed comfort, but Catherine chose to follow her own path. At 9, she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10, and made a vow of virginity one month later. At 16, Catherine entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there.
Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near, so her superiors let her make her profession of vows in a private ceremony from a cot in the chapel. Immediately after, Mary Magdalene fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths.
As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, Admonitions, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious.
The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, Mary Magdalene appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people.
It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi died in 1607 at age 41, and was canonized in 1669.
Intimate union, God's gift to mystics, is a reminder to all of us of the eternal happiness of union he wishes to give us. The cause of mystical ecstasy in this life is the Holy Spirit, working through spiritual gifts. The ecstasy occurs because of the weakness of the body and its powers to withstand the divine illumination, but as the body is purified and strengthened, ecstasy no longer occurs. See Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle, and John of the Cross' Dark Night of the Soul, for more about various aspects of ecstasies.
The Liturgical Feast of Saint Saint Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi is May 25.
Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 17:15, 22—18:1
After Paul's escorts had taken him to Athens, they came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.
Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said: "You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious. For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, 'To an Unknown God.' What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything. Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything. He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us. For 'In him we live and move and have our being,' as even some of your poets have said, 'For we too are his offspring.' Since therefore we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination. God has overlooked the times of ignorance, but now he demands that all people everywhere repent because he has established a day on which he will 'judge the world with justice' through a man he has appointed, and he has provided confirmation for all by raising him from the dead."
When they heard about resurrection of the dead, some began to scoff, but others said, "We should like to hear you on this some other time." And so Paul left them. But some did join him, and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the Court of the Areopagus, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
After this he left Athens and went to Corinth.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14 R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. or: R. Alleluia. Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights. Praise him, all you his angels; praise him, all you his hosts.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. or: R. Alleluia. Let the kings of the earth and all peoples, the princes and all the judges of the earth, Young men too, and maidens, old men and boys.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. or: R. Alleluia. Praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; His majesty is above earth and heaven.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. or: R. Alleluia. He has lifted up the horn of his people; Be this his praise from all his faithful ones, from the children of Israel, the people close to him. Alleluia.
R. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 14:16 R. Alleluia, alleluia. I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 16:12-15
Jesus said to his disciples: "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you."
Catholic Meditations Meditation: John 16:12-15
6th Week of Easter
I have much more to tell you. (John 16:12)
Many of us are familiar with the television commercials that tell us, "But wait; there's more!" Jesus has more for you too, and you don't have to pay any additional shipping or handling charges. More knowledge, more wisdom, more understanding, more love—he wants them to be yours!
When Jesus spoke these words to his disciples, he knew that they were anxious and worried about the future. He had just told them that he was going away. He also told them that after he had gone, they would experience increased opposition and persecution. It was a lot to take in. All that they had learned from Jesus and experienced for themselves seemed insufficient as they faced the prospect of life without him.
Don't you feel that way sometimes too? We all face times when we wish Jesus were right here with us, guiding us as he once guided the apostles. How encouraging, then, is his promise that the Holy Spirit will guide us in the truth!
The next time you feel that way, close your eyes and listen as Jesus tells you, "I may not be with you physically, but here is Someone who will keep speaking my words and revealing my love to you. Listen to him."
Of course, very few of us will hear something as clear as a voice ringing in our ears. We will most likely experience the Spirit whispering in the privacy of our thoughts.
Perhaps today you will experience peace about a decision you are making. That could be the Spirit. As you consider a difficult situation or stressful conversation, you might suddenly think of a line from a hymn that lightens your heart. That could be the Spirit. A Scripture verse at Mass might strike you as something that could help one of your children. That also could be the Spirit. A friend might offer a word of advice that pierces your heart. Again, that could be the Spirit.
You are a unique creation of God, and he will tell you "more" in ways that fit the way he made you. Words, pictures, friends, feelings: there's no end to the ways the Spirit speaks!
"Holy Spirit, open my ears and heart, thoughts and imagination, to hear you today."
Acts 17:15, 22–18:1 Psalm 148:1-2, 11-14
my2cents: Saint Paul said to them "I even discovered an altar inscribed, 'To an Unknown God.'" I asked many people to join a bible study this summer. I asked many so called believers and a couple of unbelievers. Some are onboard, many more are not.
And the funny thing is the study is called "Unlocking the Mysteries of the Bible" from Ascension Press. To get to know this "unknown God" simply answer to the invitations that God lays out. Just say yes. I remember a cousin asking me from a far off 200 person town in the mountains, "what retreat do you recommend", and I replied "any and all, just say yes to the next one, and yes to the next". God reveals Himself by bits and pieces, our human minds can not capture everything, that is why our Lord says today " "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now". He had already spoke enough to fill more volumes than any library could ever hold. But only snips and pieces were retained.
Yet, He still is here. He is still explaining. We want this God thing figured out in one sentence, and why? So He is no longer a mystery? The people rejected Saint Paul. They rather keep it a mystery, but what is the fun in not being part of the mystery? This is why today's saint is unique, because her raptures in ecstasy were mysterious. Strange. This strange God was enveloping a child in a bit of His love. How? She learned to be with God in a unique way...meditating, and this levitates the soul, and if you are not careful, your body may levitate as well, and that is the power of the Spirit of God. He wants to raise us up, and especially from what we know in this world.
Lord "Heaven and earth are full of your glory" I want to ask you a serious question: "Are you prepared to give glory to God?" It is the culmination of our life offering. It is a giving. It is a sacrifice. It is guts. It is giving what most won't. It is surrendering to the mystery of God and following Him who is not fully revealed until we give Glory....our entire everything....