Always bear in mind as a safe general rule that while God tries us by his crosses and sufferings, he always leaves us a glimmer of light by which we continue to have great trust in him and to recognize his immense goodness. I urge you, therefore, not to be entirely disheartened in the face of the cross...heaven bestows on you, but to continue to have boundless confidence in the divine mercy.
—from the book The Joyful Spirit of Padre Pio: Stories, Letters, and Prayers
✞ "Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you." — St. Thomas Aquinas
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "All our perfection consists in being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus Christ; and therefore the most perfect of all devotions is, without any doubt, that which the most perfectly conforms, unites and consecrates us to Jesus Christ. Now, Mary being the most conformed of all creatures to Jesus Christ, it follows that, of all devotions, that which most consecrates and conforms the soul to Our Lord is devotion to His holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to Mary, the more it is consecrated to Jesus." — St. Louis De Montfort, p. 65 AN EXCERPT FROM True Devotion to Mary
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, 'Why could we not cast it out?' He said to them, 'Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there", and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.'" Matthew 17:20
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Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions
(1600 – September 29 or 30, 1637)
Lorenzo was born in Manila of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, both Christians. Thus he learned Chinese and Tagalog from them, and Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. He became a professional calligrapher, transcribing documents in beautiful penmanship. He was a full member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary under Dominican auspices. He married and had two sons and a daughter.
Lorenzo's life took an abrupt turn when he was accused of murder. Nothing further is known except the statement of two Dominicans that "he was sought by the authorities on account of a homicide to which he was present or which was attributed to him."
At that time, three Dominican priests, Antonio Gonzalez, Guillermo Courtet, and Miguel de Aozaraza, were about to sail to Japan in spite of a violent persecution there. With them was a Japanese priest, Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named Lazaro, a leper. Lorenzo, having taken asylum with them, was allowed to accompany them. But only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan.
They landed at Okinawa. Lorenzo could have gone on to Formosa, but, he reported, "I decided to stay with the Fathers, because the Spaniards would hang me there." In Japan they were soon found out, arrested, and taken to Nagasaki. The site of wholesale bloodshed when the atomic bomb was dropped had known tragedy before. The 50,000 Catholics who once lived there were dispersed or killed by persecution.
They were subjected to an unspeakable kind of torture: After huge quantities of water were forced down their throats, they were made to lie down. Long boards were placed on their stomachs and guards then stepped on the ends of the boards, forcing the water to spurt violently from mouth, nose and ears.
The superior, Fr. Gonzalez, died after some days. Both Fr. Shiwozuka and Lazaro broke under torture, which included the insertion of bamboo needles under their fingernails. But both were brought back to courage by their companions.
In Lorenzo's moment of crisis, he asked the interpreter, "I would like to know if, by apostatizing, they will spare my life." The interpreter was noncommittal, but in the ensuing hours Lorenzo felt his faith grow strong. He became bold, even audacious, with his interrogators.
The five were put to death by being hanged upside down in pits. Boards fitted with semi-circular holes were fitted around their waists and stones put on top to increase the pressure. They were tightly bound, to slow circulation and prevent a speedy death. They were allowed to hang for three days. By that time Lorenzo and Lazaro were dead. Still alive, the three priests were then beheaded.
In 1987, Pope John Paul II canonized these six and 10 others: Asians and Europeans, men and women, who spread the faith in the Philippines, Formosa, and Japan. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first canonized Filipino martyr.
We ordinary Christians of today—how would we stand up in the circumstances these martyrs faced? We sympathize with the two who temporarily denied the faith. We understand Lorenzo's terrible moment of temptation. But we see also the courage—inexplainable in human terms—which surged from their store of faith. Martyrdom, like ordinary life, is a miracle of grace.
Friday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 447
Reading 1 1 TM 6:2C-12
Beloved: Teach and urge these things. Whoever teaches something different and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the religious teaching is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes. From these come envy, rivalry, insults, evil suspicions, and mutual friction among people with corrupted minds, who are deprived of the truth, supposing religion to be a means of gain. Indeed, religion with contentment is a great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it. If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that. Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.
But you, man of God, avoid all this. Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Responsorial Psalm PS 49:6-7, 8-10, 17-18, 19-20
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs! Why should I fear in evil days when my wicked ensnarers ring me round? They trust in their wealth; the abundance of their riches is their boast. R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs! Yet in no way can a man redeem himself, or pay his own ransom to God; Too high is the price to redeem one's life; he would never have enough to remain alive always and not see destruction. R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs! Fear not when a man grows rich, when the wealth of his house becomes great, For when he dies, he shall take none of it; his wealth shall not follow him down. R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs! Though in his lifetime he counted himself blessed, "They will praise you for doing well for yourself," He shall join the circle of his forebears who shall never more see light. R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Alleluia SEE MT 11:25
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel LK 8:1-3
Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.
Meditation: Luke 8:1-3
24th Week in Ordinary Time
Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza . . . provided for them. (Luke 8:3)
We don't know much about Joanna, but we can glean a few things from this brief mention of her in today's Gospel. It's likely that she was well-off. Her husband, Chuza, was Herod's steward, which means he managed all of Herod's assets and property—a well-paying, important job to be sure. Joanna seemed to be a rather enterprising, independent woman herself. At least she was independent enough to feel free to spend her money supporting Jesus in his ministry.
So imagine this wealthy, self-sufficient woman making the transition from a comfortable home to life on the road. Imagine her giving up the security of her own bed and sleeping under the stars instead. Imagine her giving up her own servants and instead devoting herself to serving Jesus. Imagine too the risk she was taking. Remember, it was Herod, her husband's employer, who had arrested Jesus' kinsman John and had him beheaded. It was Herod who was fascinated by Jesus and who ultimately would hand him over to Pilate. How would Jesus' other disciples react to her joining their ranks?
But Joanna was so moved by Jesus that she willingly embraced a difficult and dangerous life in order to follow him. She had already experienced his healing touch (Luke 8:2), but it wasn't enough just to be restored and set free. She wanted to learn from him. She wanted to know God the way he did. She probably had many opportunities to go back and resume her old life, but she remained steadfast. Even when the disciples deserted Jesus in Gethsemane, Joanna stayed; she was one of a very small number of disciples who followed him all the way to Calvary (23:55).
In a way, we are all like Joanna. We may not want to give up our comfort in order to pray or to help the people around us. We may feel ill-equipped to be a true disciple. We may feel as if we don't fit in. But as Jesus welcomed Joanna and made a place for her, he will do the same for you. You might tell him, It's hard to follow you, but he responds, I know; let me help you. You might say, I don't belong, but he answers, You are always welcome in my house.
Don't ever disqualify yourself! You can make a difference.
"Jesus, make me your disciple."
1 Timothy 6:2-12 Psalm 49:6-10, 17-20
"Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness" said the Lord in the Holy Word. It wasn't Saint Paul talking nice things...God was telling us what to desire, not things that make us feel rich and full, those worldly desires, but seek what goes beyond, all found in faith, devotion, love and patience and being gentle. I find it hard to find God in all things not loving, not patient, and not gentle. Devotion to our Lord is only as hard as we make it. Being rich in these things is only as hard as we make it. Seek ye first the Kingdom of GOD!
We pray today "Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs". Blessed the poor, the empty, the ones not full...of themselves. Right? How can our Lord fit in your life if there is no room...no tolerance, no time, no desire. I've felt the desires of my heart lately, thwarted, things competing for my time with the Lord. It is a competition in the spiritual world and so that is why we heard in the Holy Word today "Compete well for the faith". Fight tooth and nail. They say we must shed blood to say we gave it our all. Why not for your faith? I say this practically, every day at least to someone, "what about God?".
In the Holy Gospel, God is walking from place to place, preaching and teaching and many followers, men and women are helping, learning about teaching and preaching. They all supported the ministry of God out of their resources. Time. Talent. Treasures. Many I see give time...but not treasure stating "my time is my treasure". False. You must give treasure too. You must learn to trust God. Stop being afraid...thus...unfaithful. I see some give treasures but no time. They say "my treasure is my time". False. You must give to God time, and the more...the better. As if all your daddy in the nursing home you put him in was needing was just money:? NO. Your "face time" is invaluable, why do you think God commanded you go to Mass at least once a week? TO SEE YOU!! I'm Serious! He is RIGHT THERE. Taking note of who is there and who is not, like when a mother asks for a missing child at a reunion. Now, talent. Some offer talents, but that's about as far as it goes. No more time, no more treasure, as if to say "all you need is this and no more". False. If there is a Trinity that begins with a T and some say the cross originally was shaped like a letter T, then, all things are bound into one.
These followers of Christ gave it their all, even their frailties.
I want you to trust me...but trust God more. I want you to follow me, but follow God closer. I want to lead you, but I want you to lead me closer to loving God and trusting Him more too. Jesus did not come to "do it alone". He said for us to move mountains. It is not impossible, and together it is much easier actually. I am a secret admirer. I admire the older people helping in church. I admire the younger people that help in the church. I admire those that are following Christ very closely. This is why I admire the Blessed Mother of God and so many saints. They are an amazing work of God. I admire, so I try to follow those ways....that lead us closer to light, the forever light, the forever truth....found in Jesus, who lives in you