The Kingdom of God is a place where all is not only included but connected, whether we know it or not. It is a whole and it is orderly, but our understanding cannot comprehend it. It comprehends us, to be our subject we must recognize first that we are subject to it. We cannot know all of the creatures included in this kingdom or "the whole pattern or order by which it contains them."
–from the book: Wendell Berry and the Given Life
✞ "O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams." — St. Augustine
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "The strength of the soul consists in its faculties, passions and desires, all of which are governed by the will. Now when these faculties, passions and desires are directed by the will toward God, and turned away from all that is not God, then the strength of the soul is kept for God, and thus the soul is able to love God with all its strength." — St. John of the Cross, p. 259 AN EXCERPT FROM Ascent of Mt. Carmel
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming." 1 John 2:28
click to read more
Saint Louis IX of France
(April 25, 1214 – August 25, 1270)
At his coronation as king of France, Louis IX bound himself by oath to behave as God's anointed, as the father of his people and feudal lord of the King of Peace. Other kings had done the same, of course. Louis was different in that he actually interpreted his kingly duties in the light of faith. After the violence of two previous reigns, he brought peace and justice.
Louis "took the cross" for a Crusade when he was 30. His army seized Damietta in Egypt but not long after, weakened by dysentery and without support, they were surrounded and captured. Louis obtained the release of the army by giving up the city of Damietta in addition to paying a ransom. He stayed in Syria four years.
Louis deserves credit for extending justice in civil administration. His regulations for royal officials became the first of a series of reform laws. He replaced trial by battle with a form of examination of witnesses and encouraged the use of written records in court.
Louis was always respectful of the papacy, but defended royal interests against the popes, and refused to acknowledge Innocent IV's sentence against Emperor Frederick II.
Louis was devoted to his people, founding hospitals, visiting the sick, and like his patron Saint Francis, caring even for people with leprosy. He is one of the patrons of the Secular Franciscan Order. Louis united France—lords and townsfolk, peasants and priests and knights—by the force of his personality and holiness. For many years the nation was at peace.
Every day, Louis had 13 special guests from among the poor to eat with him, and a large number of poor were served meals near his palace. During Advent and Lent, all who presented themselves were given a meal, and Louis often served them in person. He kept lists of needy people, whom he regularly relieved, in every province of his dominion.
Disturbed by new Muslim advances in Syria, he led another crusade in 1267, at the age of 41. His crusade was diverted to Tunis for his brother's sake. The army was decimated by disease within a month, and Louis himself died on foreign soil at the age of 44. He was canonized 27 years later.
Louis was strong-willed, strong-minded. His word was trusted utterly, and his courage in action was remarkable. What is most remarkable was his sense of respect for anyone with whom he dealt, especially the "humble folk of the Lord." To care for his people he built cathedrals, churches, libraries, hospitals and orphanages. He dealt with princes honestly and equitably. He hoped to be treated the same way by the King of Kings, to whom he gave his life, his family and his country.
Saint Louis of France is the Patron Saint of:
Barbers Grooms Secular Franciscan Order
Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Ru 1:1, 3-6, 14b-16, 22
Once in the time of the judges there was a famine in the land; so a man from Bethlehem of Judah departed with his wife and two sons to reside on the plateau of Moab. Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons, who married Moabite women, one named Orpah, the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Chilion died also, and the woman was left with neither her two sons nor her husband. She then made ready to go back from the plateau of Moab because word reached her there that the LORD had visited his people and given them food.
Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye, but Ruth stayed with her.
Naomi said, "See now! Your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her god. Go back after your sister-in-law!" But Ruth said, "Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! For wherever you go, I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God."
Thus it was that Naomi returned with the Moabite daughter-in-law, Ruth, who accompanied her back from the plateau of Moab. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.
R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul! Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD, his God, Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them. R. Praise the Lord, my soul! The LORD keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets captives free. R. Praise the Lord, my soul! The LORD gives sight to the blind. The LORD raises up those who were bowed down; The LORD loves the just. The LORD protects strangers. R. Praise the Lord, my soul! The fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts. The LORD shall reign forever; your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia. R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
Alleluia Ps 25:4b, 5a R. Alleluia, alleluia. Teach me your paths, my God, guide me in your truth. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 22:34-40
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking, "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."
Meditation: Matthew 22:34-40
You shall love. (Matthew 22:37)
Jesus certainly caught the Pharisees by surprise.
Instead of answering their question with a lengthy dissertation on the Law and a detailed explanation of the greatest commandment, he kept it simple. He didn't focus on the "don'ts"—don't worship idols, don't work on the Sabbath, don't kill or steal or lie. Instead, Jesus drew out the heart of the Law: do love!
What a marvelous way for each of us to make decisions! "Will this decision help me to love God more? Am I loving this other person in the way I would want to be loved?" Love takes things to a new and higher level. It's not just a matter of avoiding sin; it's not just a matter of fulfilling the letter of the Law. It's a matter of infusing everything we do with the goal of loving as Jesus loves.
Ruth is an outstanding example of embracing the call to love. We might forget that her sister-in-law, Orpah, didn't do anything wrong when she left Naomi to return to the Moabites. Naomi had not pressed Orpah to stay with her, and Orpah certainly would have fared better with her own people and her own family. In other words, Orpah was not sinning. Ruth, however, went beyond the demands of the Law. She looked at Naomi with compassion and empathy and acted out of loyalty.
Ruth isn't the only example either. Remember Mary choosing "the better part" over Martha's bustling preparations (Luke 10:42) or St. Paul holding up love as the "more excellent way" over and above spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31–13:13) or Jesus' willingness to lay down his life for all of us (John 15:13).
Look over what you have planned for today, where you will go and whom you will meet. Look for ways that you can live out the law of love. Be alert to opportunities to go beyond choosing not to sin. When you meet a friend who has been hurt, don't just avoid gossip; help them seek reconciliation. If a co-worker annoys you, don't just hold your tongue; try to do an extra kindness for them. Each and every time you act in love, you are building the kingdom of God.
"Jesus, thank you for showing us the most excellent way. Help me to find ways to fulfill your law of love today."
Ruth 1:1, 3-6, 14-16, 22 Psalm 146:5-10
She said "Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! For wherever you go, I will go...". Faithful words in the first Holy Scripture, aren't they?
Let us pray the Psalms of the day " Praise the Lord, my soul! Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,whose hope is in the LORD, his God, Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them." God, Father, always has to remind us who He is, doesn't He? "I Created the world!" said the Lord.. And we falter at the slightest bit, we stress out over this and that, as if it was the end of the world...
The Lord is asked which is the greatest commandment, and He asks for Love which I've equated with faith. It's hard to love sometimes, isn't it? Last night I was asked to speak at our very poorly attended Ultreya, a gathering of cursillistas, those who have promised to say yes to the Lord. Of the 100 plus cursillistas, It was just me, another guy and a family. I stood there in an extreme anxiety, speaking of what it means to have faith, I was anxious because of a personal matter, a problem I was going through, and I had to sit there and try to encourage others, the few. I had to explain what faith is like, when I felt mine was being tested. I had to say something, and all I could equate faith was with a tenacity of perseverance. How to love God when you got nothing at all in your life. And, in the end, that's what's going to be like...all about you and Him, in that final test, it would've been that of love, and love of the Father. And so, I read on one of the many spanish reflections this morning and I'll attempt to translate it:
Father's love letter
It may be that you do not know me, yet I know all about you ... (Psalm 139: 1)
I know when you sit down and when you get up ... (Psalm 139: 2)
All your ways are known to me ... (Psalm 139: 3)
Even all the hairs of your head are numbered ... (Matthew 10: 29-31)
For you were made in my image ... (Genesis 1:27)
In me you live, move and are ... (Acts 17:28)
For you are my offspring ... (Acts 17:28)
I knew you even before you were conceived ... (Jeremiah 1: 4-5)
I chose you when I planned the creation ... (Ephesians 1: 11-12)
You were not a mistake, because all your days are written in my book ... (Psalm 139: 15-16)
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live ... (Acts 17:26)
You have been created in a wonderful way ... (Psalm 139: 14))
I formed you in the womb of your mother ... (Psalm 139: 13)
I brought you out of your mother's womb the day you were born ... (Psalm 71: 6)
I have been misrepresented by those who do not know me ... (John 8,41-44)
I am not angry or distant, but I am the perfect manifestation of love ... (1 John 4:16)
And it is my desire to share my unbridled love for you, simply because you are my son and I am your father ... (1 John 3,1)
I offer you much more than your earthly father could give you ... (Matthew 7:11)
Because I am the Perfect Father ... (Matthew 5:48)
Every gift you receive comes from my hands ... (James 1:17)
Because I am your provider who supplies for all your needs ... (Mt 6: 31-33)
The plan I have for your future has always been full of hope ... (Jeremiah 29:11)
For I love you with everlasting love ... (Jeremiah 31: 3)
My thoughts on you are countless like the sand on the seashore ... (Psalm 139: 17-18)
I rejoice over you with songs ... (Zephaniah 3:17)
I will never cease to do you good ... (Jeremiah 32, 40)
Because you are my most treasured treasure ... (Exodus 19: 5)
I want to assert you by giving you my whole heart and all my soul ... (Jeremiah 32:41)
And I want to show you great and wonderful things ... (Jeremiah 33: 3)
If you seek me with all your heart you will find me ... (Deuteronomy 4,29)
Delight in Me and I will give you all the desires of your heart ... (Psalm 37: 4)
For it is I who produces the desires of your heart ... (Philippians 2:13)
I can do much more for you than you can imagine ... (Ephesians 3:20)
For I am your greatest encouragement ... (2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17)
I am also the Father who comforts you during all your troubles ... (2 Corinthians 1,3-4)
When your heart is broken, I am close to you ... (Psalm 34:18)
As the shepherd carries a lamb, I carry you near my heart ... (Isaiah 40:11)
One day I will take away every tear from your eyes and take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth ... (Revelation 21: 3-4)
I am your Father and I have loved you as my son, Jesus ... (John 17,23)
Because in Jesus, my love for you has been revealed ... (John 17,26)
He is the exact representation of who I am ... (Hebrews 1: 3)
He came to prove that I am with you and not against you ... (Romans 8:31)
And also to tell you that I am not counting your sins ... (2 Corinthians 5: 18-19)
Because Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled ... (2 Corinthians 5: 18-19)
And his death was the supreme expression of my love for you ... (1 John 4,10)
I gave up all that I loved so that I might gain your love ... (Romans 8, 31-32)
If you receive the gift of my Son Jesus, you receive me ... (1 John 2:23)
And nothing can separate you from my love again ... (Romans 8: 38-39)
Return home and give the greatest heavenly feast ever seen ... (Luke 15: 7)
I have always been Father and forever will be Father ... (Ephesians 3, 14-15)
The question is ... Do you want to be my son? ... (John 1: 12-13)