It is always a joyful experience for us to read and reflect on the Beatitudes! In proclaiming the Beatitudes, Jesus asks us to follow him and to travel with him along the path of love, the path that alone leads to eternal life. It is not an easy journey, yet the Lord promises us his grace and he never abandons us.
-from The Spirit of Saint Francis
† "The life of the body is the soul; the life of the soul is God." – St. Anthony of Padua
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"Francis [de Sales] insists that true devotion must touch every area of our life. True devotion is not just a matter of spiritual practices but of bringing all our life under the lordship of Christ. Francis is known for his slogan: 'Live, Jesus! Live, Jesus!' What he means by this is an invitation to Jesus to 'live and reign in our hearts forever and ever' . . . In other words, for Francis, to live the devout life is to reach the point in our love for God and neighbor that we eagerly ('carefully, frequently, and promptly') desire to do His will in all the various ways in which it is communicated to us: in the duties of our state in life, in the objective teaching of God's Word, in opportunities and occasions presented to us, in response to our interior inspirations." — Ralph Martin, p. 107 AN EXCERPT FROM Fulfillment of All Desire
Saint of the Day for January 19 (c. 200 – January 20, 250)
Saint Fabian's Story
Fabian was a Roman layman who came into the city from his farm one day as clergy and people were preparing to elect a new pope. Eusebius, a Church historian, says a dove flew in and settled on the head of Fabian. This sign united the votes of clergy and laity, and he was chosen unanimously.
He led the Church for 14 years and died a martyr's death during the persecution of Decius in 250 A.D. Saint Cyprian wrote to his successor that Fabian was an "incomparable" man whose glory in death matched the holiness and purity of his life.
In the catacombs of Saint Callistus, the stone that covered Fabian's grave may still be seen, broken into four pieces, bearing the Greek words, "Fabian, bishop, martyr." Reflection
We can go confidently into the future and accept the change that growth demands only if we have firm roots in the past, in a living tradition. A few pieces of stone in Rome are a reminder to us that we are bearers of more than 20 centuries of a living tradition of faith and courage in living the life of Christ and showing it to the world. We have brothers and sisters who have "gone before us with the sign of faith," as the First Eucharistic Prayer puts it, to light the way for us. The Liturgical Feast of Saint Fabian is January 20.
Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.
It was fitting that we should have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens. He has no need, as did the high priests, to offer sacrifice day after day, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did that once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests, but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law, appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever.
The main point of what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up. Now every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus the necessity for this one also to have something to offer. If then he were on earth, he would not be a priest, since there are those who offer gifts according to the law. They worship in a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary, as Moses was warned when he was about to erect the tabernacle. For God says, "See that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." Now he has obtained so much more excellent a ministry as he is mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 17 R. (8a and 9a) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will. Sacrifice or oblation you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me. Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not; then said I, "Behold I come." R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will. "In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, To do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!" R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will. I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know. R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will. May all who seek you exult and be glad in you, And may those who love your salvation say ever, "The LORD be glorified." R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Alleluia 2 Tm 1:10 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 3:7-12
Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea. Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, "You are the Son of God." He warned them sternly not to make him known.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ When we hear a story like this and experience how hectic Jesus' life was, we may feel that our lives are very uneventful by comparison. At such times it is important to realise that Jesus is present and speaks to us individually, in the inner eventfulness of our lives, loving each of us unconditionally. In his presence we can be fully who we are.
▪ Be with Jesus as he highlights for you what he most appreciates about your life, and all the devotion to him and others there is in it.
Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God? Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry? Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me, I speak out my feelings, as one trusted friend to another.
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 3:7-12
2nd Week in Ordinary Time
A large number of people came to him. (Mark 3:8)
Jesus has been involved in a whirlwind of activity since his baptism. He has preached repentance in preparation for the coming of God's kingdom. He has called disciples to follow him. He has spent hours in private prayer. He has cast out demons and healed a man with leprosy, a man who couldn't walk, and a man with a withered hand. He has answered criticism from religious legalists. Everywhere he goes, people are crowding around him, eager to touch him, to hear what he has to say, to experience miracles.
All of these crowds must have been overwhelming at times. And so in today's Gospel, Jesus takes the practical step of getting into a boat where he can be heard by many eager people without being trampled by them.
But despite the reality of these hordes of people, it's important to see that Jesus never related to a "crowd." He always had eyes and ears and a heart for each individual in front of him. He didn't wave his hand over the crowd to perform a mass healing. He reached out and touched one leper. He forgave one sinner. He answered one question. He was completely focused on whoever was standing before him at the time. No wonder he was tired at the end of the day!
Of course Jesus loves the whole world. He gave his all, everything he was and had, to save us. The sins of all humanity were laid upon him on the cross, and he brought our human nature to the fullness of resurrected life. But for all the "universality" of his work, he still wants to touch each and every person individually. He always takes the time to touch every wounded soul, to heal every broken heart, and to fill every man, woman, and child with his love.
Jesus cares about everyone, both together and individually. Every day, he reaches out to touch and save one person. And another. And another. And you. It doesn't matter whether he finds you in the midst of a large group or all by yourself in a quiet place. He will find you—especially if you seek him.
"Jesus, thank you for knowing me and loving me so completely. I lift my face to you. Come and touch me to the very core of my being."
We began today by hearing the Lord say in His Word, the Holy Scripture "Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them." He is always able to save, no one comes to the Father God, except through Him. And dare I say, there is only one way to Jesus? Through the Holy Spirit, and that my friend, that Holy Spirit is ALWAYS available, it is Christ! Had He not given His life in faith and obedience, the Holy Spirit would not be what it is today, or should I say, where it is today...everywhere, in the souls of every person alive. Yet, there are things that keep Him from shining, things like evil spirits, and our own whims and fancies, thinking that our minds can figure out GOD, when they can not. To think that our thinking can solve anything, and it can not, only He can, only through the Holy Spirit will we be led to Jesus, and Jesus offer this salvation, to be one with Him forever.
We prayed today "Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will. Sacrifice or oblation you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me." One of the spanish reflections I read today said "...it also insists on one of the most habitual and dangerous ways of relating to God: barter or almost commercial exchange ... That is: we offer you sacrifices and You, God, help us. Moreover, we can not even offer you sacrifices personally, but we need "official" mediators because we are not worthy to relate directly to you. With Jesus, this intimate conviction, was thrown into the air. That is why he was not a priest as understood by the people and at the same time, that is why we can rightly call him the High Priest, the only one in any case, who mediates between God and us. Now, his mediation not only leaves us alone but on the contrary: it includes us personally so that we each enter freely in relation to God and offer life, not things or animals."
In comes the Lord and is found being surrounded by an onslaught of sick people. Sick in the head, sick in the soul, sick in the body, and sick in the spirit, some even virtually dead. We've been discussing the Holy Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick in RCIA lately. It touches an important point...the soul. The Lord tells the disciples to get Him a boat so He can detach from the people so He can speak to them. Did He need to stop healing? Why can't he just be quiet and heal? One class student said last night that he wished the priest in Mass (any priest) would not say the prayer for the faithful that are sick where it says "that they may be united to Christ's suffering" and say instead "may they all be healed". I explained that we are in redemptive suffering and one question asked us "do you believe sickness can be a blessing?". The Lord steps away from the sick and begins His preaching. His Word begins. One question a deacon asked in an ultreya "what is more important, physical healing or spiritual healing?" He said spiritual. Some argued physical. But they are intimately united. This is why the Holy Church offers Sacraments of healing, and it begins with the soul. Bishop Barren said today "Have there been miracle workers and miraculous places up and down the centuries? Yes indeed. But the Church has customarily done this work through its hospitals and clinics, through figures such as John of God, Catherine of Siena, and Teresa of Calcutta. But the Church also serves through its sacraments, which heal sin-sick souls. This is the apostolic dimension of the Church's life, and without it, it would no longer be the Church. Parishes, parish priests, missionaries, servants of the poor and sick—the whole apostolic life of the Church is represented here."
The first Disciples healed with oils and prayers, and today, the priests do the same, in Holy Confession and the Anointing of the Sick which most people believe is for the dying! LOL. No. It is for the living! It is for those that want to live, for the soul to be sanctified and forgiven. I related a story of a brother in Christ that said his baby was growing and they noticed it developed a skin disorder as a toddler, and doctor's could not heal it, for months they suffered, to treat their baby constantly with ointments and treatments and covered its body with wet towels to soothe its suffering, to take up the stench and the pus that would ooze out. The brother in his testimony turned to God. He began to leave his worldly life and ways and began an inner holiness that the more it progressed, the child began to heal. We are intimately united. Our sin affect others. This is another reason we need healing, of the soul, because it's not all about me. It's not all about "me and my Jesus", it's so much more, it is OUR Lord and Our God, Our Father...