Lord God, voice of truth, thank you for my voice. Thank you for having given me a way to whisper grace and sing out your goodness and affirm your will with conviction.
-from Who Does He Say You Are?
† "Love takes up where knowledge leaves off." — St. Thomas Aquinas
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"You judge me, O Lord, for, although no one 'knows the things of a man but the spirit of man which is in him,' there is something further in man which not even that spirit of man which is in him knows. But you, Lord, who made him, know all things that are in him. Although I despise myself before your sight, and account myself but dust and ashes, yet I know something of you which I do not know about myself. In truth, 'we see now through a glass in a dark manner,' and not yet 'face to face.' ... Let me confess, then, what I know about myself. Let me confess also what I do not know about myself, since that too which I know about myself I know because you enlighten me. As to that which I am ignorant of concerning myself, I remain ignorant of it until my 'darkness shall be made as the noonday in your sight.'" — St. Augustine, p. 197 AN EXCERPT FROM The Confessions of Saint Augustine
Blessed William Carter Saint of the Day for January 11 (c. 1548 – January 11, 1584)
Blessed William Carter's Story
Born in London, William Carter entered the printing business at an early age. For many years he served as apprentice to well-known Catholic printers, one of whom served a prison sentence for persisting in the Catholic faith. William himself served time in prison following his arrest for "printing lewd [i.e., Catholic] pamphlets" as well as possessing books upholding Catholicism.
But even more, he offended public officials by publishing works that aimed to keep Catholics firm in their faith. Officials who searched his house found various vestments and suspect books, and even managed to extract information from William's distraught wife. Over the next 18 months, William remained in prison, suffering torture and learning of his wife's death.
He was eventually charged with printing and publishing the Treatise of Schisme, which allegedly incited violence by Catholics and which was said to have been written by a traitor and addressed to traitors. While William calmly placed his trust in God, the jury met for only 15 minutes before reaching a verdict of guilty. William, who made his final confession to a priest who was being tried alongside him, was hanged, drawn, and quartered the following day: January 11, 1584.
He was beatified in 1987. Reflection
It didn't pay to be Catholic in Elizabeth I's realm. In an age when religious diversity did not yet seem possible, it was high treason, and practicing the faith was dangerous. William gave his life for his efforts to encourage his brothers and sisters to keep up the struggle. These days, our brothers and sisters also need encouragement—not because their lives are at risk, but because many other factors besiege their faith. They look to us.
I pause for a moment, aware that God is here. I think of how everything around me, the air I breathe, my whole body, is tingling with the the presence of God.
Lord God I thank you for the gift of freedom. Help me to use this gift with integrity. I am free to make choices. Help me to choose to follow you, to live in a Christian way by caring for others. Remind me to consider always those less fortunate than myself, the oppressed, the prisoner, those who are not free to worship in public. Guide me always to seek your holy will in all the events of my life.
Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life? By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit. If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.
Since the children share in blood and Flesh, Jesus likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the Devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.
Responsorial Psalm PS 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9 R. (8a) The Lord remembers his covenant for ever. or: R. Alleluia. Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name; make known among the nations his deeds. Sing to him, sing his praise, proclaim all his wondrous deeds. R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever. or: R. Alleluia.
Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD! Look to the LORD in his strength; seek to serve him constantly. R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever. or: R. Alleluia.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones! He, the LORD, is our God; throughout the earth his judgments prevail. R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever. or: R. Alleluia.
He remembers forever his covenant which he made binding for a thousand generations-- Which he entered into with Abraham and by his oath to Isaac. R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 10:27 R. Alleluia, alleluia. My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord. I know them, and they follow me. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 1:29-39
On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.
When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.
Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, "Everyone is looking for you." He told them, "Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come." So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ The Gospel stories tell us that as well as healing, casting out demons, and preaching, Jesus was in the habit of going off to a quiet place to pray. He felt this need to be in touch with the fact that he was the Father's beloved. He must have found the lack of human affirmation very wearing.
▪ In prayer, perhaps you might speak to Jesus about your shared experience of this lack of human acceptance and appreciation. Let him tell you how much he appreciates you as a companion and as one who shares his work. Notice and express how much you resist as well as relish what he says to you.
Jesus, you always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that you will never abandon me.
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.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: Mark 1:29-39
Simon's mother-in-law . . . (Mark 1:30)
Okay. So Peter was married. This passage referring to his mother-in-law confirms it. So we might wonder: How often did he see his wife and family after he had left everything to follow Jesus? How about the other apostles? In light of 1 Corinthians 9:5, did their wives travel with them? It's fun to think about these questions and try to speculate on the answers. Still, no matter what the situation was, there can be no doubt that the apostles and many other disciples made huge personal sacrifices to follow the Lord. In fact, Peter even spoke about how much they had given up: everything (Matthew 19:27)!
Something about Jesus must have compelled the disciples to give up so much. His teachings and his miraculous works convinced them to put aside their jobs and leave their homes and familiar surroundings—even their families—to follow him. Surely it was also their experience of Jesus that helped them sacrifice so much for him. And it wasn't just a onetime experience. As they saw more of who he was, their decision to stay with him only strengthened.
What about you? You have an ongoing relationship with Jesus. Like Peter, you really can experience him moving you to follow him more fully, even if it means leaving some of your former life behind.
Think about a time when you have felt especially close to the Lord. Didn't you want to put aside your tasks to be with him? That's because the closer we grow to the Lord, the more we want to surrender. And the more we surrender, the more we grow. It's like a divine exchange: God gives us grace, and we grow. Then we surrender our time or our priorities—and we grow more. And God gives us even more grace!
So go ahead—ask Jesus to help you grow closer to him. Ask for the grace to deepen your prayer life. God wants to be generous with you and convince you that he is worth everything. After all, Jesus revealed himself to his disciples over and over again. He was for them—and he is for us—a great treasure to be discovered and rediscovered day after day.
"Jesus, help me to know you more. I want to follow you all the days of my life."
The Word said today "Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested." God became man to endure, to show us endurance. He already knows what we suffer, but to show us His Love...He sends Jesus our Lord, His heart. The whole of suffering of Christ is a two edged sword itself, either it affects you...or not. Either it matters or not. Either it will change your life, or not. Either...you will be saved...or not.
"He remembers forever his covenant which he made binding for a thousand generations-- Which he entered into with Abraham and by his oath to Isaac. " And does this matter? This oath between God and Abraham and Isaac? Father, Spirit, Son. Yes, of course it matters because God had asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, to kill him on an altar, and God sends an angel to stop it right before it happened. God says GN22:16 : "Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, 16and said, "By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.…" And here we are, fruits of those seeds, and the Catholic Pope has the keys to Heaven beginning with Saint Peter passed on by Jesus, the power to forgive, the power to give mercy, the power to unlock Heaven in every human being...the soul, your soul...and mine.
In comes the Lord, and He is told Saint Peter's mom is down with a fever, something very dangerous, something very debilitating, something that may be even contagious, something deadly, unlike today with modern medicine, they could only wait and hope for a miracle, that they will pull out of it, and our Lord simply grabs her hand, pulls her up, and out of it she goes. No need to hope and wonder, Jesus is here. No need to fear death, Jesus is here. No need to be weak and ousted, Jesus is here. I want you to answer me something already for this year: What plans have you with the Lord? If you are like me, already, much of the first quarter of the year is already programmed with events, but how much of it is programmed time-outs, time with the Lord, in retreats, in solidarity with the Lord? I'm asking, because so much happens with the Lord, people pouring in and out to get their healings and leave, and the gratitude? God only knows who is truly thankful. God only knows who truly loves. And the time out is the time spent alone with God, to regroup, to re-energize, to re-collect, to re-unify and edify the mind, body, spirit, and soul. Open up your calendar, and book your retreats, find some, not just one, but find the times to retreat with God, every night, every morning, every day. Not just once a year, not just twice, but the more, the better. And a real retreat, with the Lord too, gathered with others in the same accord in the spirit where 2 or 3 or more gathered in His name to accomplish one will, one aim, that of edifying our soul. Go to a cursillo, go to a silent retreat, or if you don't have anything, program a retreat yourself with your priest! The importance is in the matters. Because His sacrifice will only matter if you love Him. When you are deeply involved with Him. I told my family at our family reunion this past weekend "you will only love something, the more you put into it, time and effort, and I love you all, I have spent alot of time putting this together". And it is a comment geared at growing the faith. People are looking to us for the light. People need a positive in this negative world, a smile where there are frowns, a life, where there is death. Jesus our savior is offering this and more...forever