Ultimately, God's will for us isn't complicated. He wants us to live with Him forever in Heaven: "We who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of His glory" (Ephesians 1:12).
-from Faith, Hope & Clarity
† "If you learn everything except Christ, you learn nothing. If you learn nothing except Christ, you learn everything." — St. Bonaventure
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"Man will not consent to drive away the money-changers from the temple of his soul until he realizes that it is a Holy of Holies—not a house of traffic, but in very truth the house of God. We thus reach two striking conclusions: There cannot be entire dependence upon the Holy Spirit's guidance, which is the true meaning of living in Christ, without complete self-renunciation. There cannot be complete self-renunciation without the constant underlying spirit of faith, without the habit of interior silence, a silence where God is dwelling. Many do not see the connection between thoughts about the King and the service of the King; between the interior silence ... and the continual detachment ... If we look closer, it will be seen that there is a strong, close, unbreakable link between the two. Find a recollected person, and he will be detached; seek one who is detached, and he will be recollected. To have found one is to have discovered the other ... Anyone who tries, on a given day, to practice either recollection or detachment cannot ignore the fact that he is doing a double stroke of work." — Raoul Plus, S.J., p. 39-40 AN EXCERPT FROM How to Pray Always
Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys
Saint of the Day for January 12 (April 17, 1620 – January 12, 1700)
Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys' Story
"God closes a door and then opens a window," people sometimes say when dealing with their own disappointment or someone else's. That was certainly true in Marguerite's case. Children from European as well as Native American backgrounds in seventeenth-century Canada benefited from her great zeal and unshakable trust in God's providence.
Born the sixth of 12 children in Troyes, France, Marguerite at the age of 20 believed that she was called to religious life. Her applications to the Carmelites and Poor Clares were unsuccessful. A priest friend suggested that perhaps God had other plans for her.
In 1654, the governor of the French settlement in Canada visited his sister, an Augustinian canoness in Troyes. Marguerite belonged to a sodality connected to that convent. The governor invited her to come to Canada and start a school in Ville-Marie (eventually the city of Montreal). When she arrived, the colony numbered 200 people with a hospital and a Jesuit mission chapel.
Soon after starting a school, she realized her need for coworkers. Returning to Troyes, she recruited a friend, Catherine Crolo, and two other young women. In 1667, they added classes at their school for Indian children. A second trip to France three years later resulted in six more young women and a letter from King Louis XIV, authorizing the school. The Congregation of Notre Dame was established in 1676 but its members did not make formal religious profession until 1698 when their Rule and constitutions were approved.
Marguerite established a school for Indian girls in Montreal. At the age of 69, she walked from Montreal to Quebec in response to the bishop's request to establish a community of her sisters in that city. By the time she died, she was referred to as the "Mother of the Colony." Marguerite was canonized in 1982. Reflection
It's easy to become discouraged when plans that we think that God must endorse are frustrated. Marguerite was called not to be a cloistered nun but to be a foundress and an educator. God had not ignored her after all.
The Holy Spirit says: Oh, that today you would hear his voice, "Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion in the day of testing in the desert, where your ancestors tested and tried me and saw my works for forty years. Because of this I was provoked with that generation and I said, 'They have always been of erring heart, and they do not know my ways.' As I swore in my wrath, 'They shall not enter into my rest.'" Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God. Encourage yourselves daily while it is still "today," so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin. We have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.
Responsorial Psalm PS 95:6-7c, 8-9, 10-11 R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the LORD who made us. For he is our God, and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides. R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Oh, that today you would hear his voice: "Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the desert, Where your fathers tempted me; they tested me though they had seen my works." R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Forty years I was wearied of that generation; I said: "This people's heart goes astray, they do not know my ways." Therefore I swore in my anger: "They shall never enter my rest." R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Alleluia Mt 4:23 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and cured every disease among the people. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 1:40-45
A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, "If you wish, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, "I do will it. Be made clean." The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. Then he said to him, "See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them." The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ The most painful wounds we carry with from the past are more wounds of the spirit than of the body. Of these spiritual wounds that one that causes us most pain is that of a belief that we are insignificant. In this Gospel story we hear in Jesus' words to the leper, his concern to heal this wound we carry with us from the past.
▪ In your prayer today tell Jesus of some way you were hurt or wounded by something people said or did to you. Listen to how sensitive and responsive he is when he is "moved with pity" or compassion for you. Tell him how you feel about him being like this.
Remembering that I am still in God's presence, I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting beside me, and say whatever is on my mind, whatever is in my heart, speaking as one friend to another.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: Mark 1:40-45
1st Week in Ordinary Time
A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, "If you wish, you can make me clean." (Mark 1:40)
Let's look at this healing story from three different dimensions: the spiritual dimension, the dimension of the soul, and the physical dimension. The physical dimension is the most obvious. We see a leper kneeling and Jesus stretching out his hand to touch the man. And we're amazed to see skin regenerate and new flesh appear on once-brittle bones.
But operating just beneath this physical dimension is the realm of our soul—our thoughts and emotions. Because leprosy was thought to be contagious, this man had to be separated from his family and society. He lost his job and his loved ones. Emotionally, he must have felt desperate and hopeless. As for Jesus, his heart is wrenched with pity and compassion. He affectionately answers, "Be made clean" (Mark 1:41). The man's body is healed, but just as important, his soul is healed. He can go home!
As for the spiritual dimension, Christians have always found in this story an allegory of the leprosy of sin that deadens our spirits—and of Jesus who redeems us. With a clean bill of health, this man can rejoin the worshipping synagogue. He has been restored to God!
You, too, are an incredibly multi-faceted creation, and God considers each dimension important. He cares for them all, and he wants to touch you on every level.
One of the best places this can happen is at Mass. That is where, more than any other place, you can connect to Jesus.
Think about how your body experiences the Mass. You receive Jesus' presence as you "take and eat" the Eucharist. You kneel, you make the Sign of the Cross, you recite the creed, and you sing hymns. Your soul benefits when the Scriptures are proclaimed because your mind engages with the word of God. Finally, the Eucharist has the power to awaken your spirit and bring you closer to Jesus.
Every time you go to Mass—indeed, every time you celebrate any other sacrament—imagine yourself as the man in today's Gospel. Imagine Jesus touching every part of you and bringing it to life!
"Lord, thank you for stretching out your hand to touch me."
The Lord says "Oh, that today you would hear his voice, "Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion in the day of testing in the desert, where your ancestors tested and tried me and saw my works for forty years." Last night, one of the questions in an RCIA class was to discuss a time you were healed, physically, spiritually, emotionally. Think about the answer for yourself, because, I can not divulge the responses I received, why? Because, they are personal, and only mean something when it is answered personally. The life of someone else's faith matters, but only so much. I try to share my faith daily, but what matters is you. Right? You are what matters right now...I mean, look at the Lord with the leper on his knees before Him. Pleading for healing, "If you wish, you can make me clean." And this goes on all levels, physically, spiritually and emotionally. I told one respondent "if you were healed emotionally, wouldn't you say it was a spiritual healing as well? And if the spirit is healed, is not the body healed too? Because problems take a toll on people and those around you. Your sin affects those around you. This is where healing comes in, in the Holy Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession. It is a time and place of healing, where the leper meets the Lord. I told them last night "there are really no people in confessions at our parish. Maybe one or two out of hundreds. It is a sad state of affairs. Where, the Lord is there, and nobody goes to kneel before Him wishing to be made clean. And I look at myself and ask "why?" Why is it that I love my sin so much that I do not want to give it up? It is like drugs. You rationalize them into your life, the sins. You then, make them OK. And then, the drug (sin) kills you without you even knowing, and it hurts your loved ones all along the way, and even if you die. The devil is deceit. We are fooled. I am fooled into believing, little white lies are ok, a little complaining about others is ok, a little cheating is ok, a little this and a little that, until all this little stuff winds up killing you. Suddenly...its the little things that count, right? All those little thoughts, all those little words, all those little moments become heaps of dung, a load carried by you, but you learn to live with the weight, and you are satisfied with how you live. Sin.
Jesus tells the leper ""I do will it. Be made clean." as if to say "I do desire you to be Holy" and "I do desire you to be whole again" with the body of Christ. "I DO" says the groom of the Holy Church. I Do will it. Now...Do I? Do I will to be made clean? Then the Lord sends off the leper to do what basically amounts to a penance, that what a priest prescribes him to do, an atonement for sin. Not that it pays for the sin, but we make an act of repair. Payment for sins are in His mercy alone. I'll ask you again...how much is His crucifixion is worth? People complained in Exodus 17:7 "The place was named Massah and Meribah,* because the Israelites quarreled there and tested the LORD, saying, "Is the LORD in our midst or not?" Doubt. Doubting that He is ever gone. Doubting He is not there, therefore making ok to sin. Doubting that He is really for you, not against you. Doubting that He would provide. Doubting He is really all that what He promised. Is He in our midst? The answer is yes. Are you in His midst? You are in His sight. Question is, is your site on His midst? Just because someone loves you, doesn't mean you love them. I often wonder how the Lord, being God, could see someone like today's leper, knowing he would not obey Him (to be silent) and that would cost Him His life, yet still he would restore the leper to church, family, and work. And this for every miracle ever granted, an outpouring of one way love, grace, and mercy. This is an unfathomable love. Can I keep His word? To remain silent among the onslaught of temptation? Jesus did....all the way to the Cross, only opening His Holy lips to utter blessings, praying for their forgiveness, and still granting mercy to those looking to Him... TODAY You Will Be With Me