A great way to end your workout each day is to spend time thanking God for what He's done and praising God for who He is. By doing so you let God do "heart surgery": "I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).
-from A 40-Day Spiritual Workout for CatholicsSilence
† "In order to be an image of God, the spirit must turn to what is eternal, hold it in spirit, keep it in memory, and by loving it, embrace it in the will." – St. Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"Prayer is, as it were, being alone with God. A soul prays only when it is turned toward God, and for so long as it remains so. As soon as it turns away, it stops praying. The preparation for prayer is thus the movement of turning to God and away from all that is not God. That is why we are so right when we define prayer as this movement. Prayer is essentially a 'raising up', an elevation. We begin to pray when we detach ourselves from created objects and raise ourselves up to the Creator." — Dom Augustin Guillerand, p. 91 AN EXCERPT FROM The Prayer of the Presence of God
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Saint Angela Merici
January 27. Saint Angela Merici was a courageous woman who saw a need and answered it even though society may not have been ready for her solution. Women teaching and, what we call today, a secular institute were new forms of living and ministering which proved very beneficial to the Church.
Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering. At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction; at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated. You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, knowing that you had a better and lasting possession. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense. You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.
For, after just a brief moment, he who is to come shall come; he shall not delay. But my just one shall live by faith, and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him.
We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and will possess life.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 37:3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40
R. (39a) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord. Trust in the LORD and do good, that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security. Take delight in the LORD, and he will grant you your heart's requests. R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord. Commit to the LORD your way; trust in him, and he will act. He will make justice dawn for you like the light; bright as the noonday shall be your vindication. R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord. By the LORD are the steps of a man made firm, and he approves his way. Though he fall, he does not lie prostrate, for the hand of the LORD sustains him. R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord. The salvation of the just is from the LORD; he is their refuge in time of distress. And the LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Alleluia 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 Mk 4:26-34
Jesus said to the crowds: "This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come."
He said, "To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade." With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Saint Angela Merici, Virgin (Optional Memorial)
Of its own accord the land yields fruit. (Mark 4:28)
Are you familiar with the Chinese bamboo tree? This fascinating plant grows to a height of ninety feet and can be used for everything from home construction to furniture, from paper to pipes. It also has a very unusual growth pattern. It takes five years for a bamboo seed to sprout, but once it does, that tiny sprout reaches its full height in only six weeks—almost overnight! During those first five years, the farmer must water the seed every single day, all the while never seeing any growth. You can imagine an inexperienced farmer wondering if anything will ever happen. He might even give up.
Just as with the bamboo tree, the same is true both in the kingdom of God and in our own spiritual life: the most important growth is invisible. In today's Gospel parable, the farmer plants a seed. But that seed doesn't become a plant overnight. It takes the right combination of soil, water, and, the most important ingredient, God's grace, to turn that seed into the "largest of plants" (Mark 4:32). In the end, it looks awfully impressive, but most of the work has already happened underground!
This is the encouraging message in the Gospel: God is always working beneath the surface. He is always providing the nourishment of his grace so that we can grow and blossom. Yes, we need to cooperate with that grace, but like the bamboo tree, the growth that we experience will far outstrip the effort we put into it.
Because most of God's important work happens unnoticed, we should be careful to water that seed of faith even when we don't see impressive results right away. We can trust that God will bring the growth in his time and in his fashion.
So imagine yourself as that bamboo farmer. Every time you pray, you're going to the well to get water. Every time you repent, you're improving the soil. You may not be seeing or feeling much growth right now. But every day that you come to Jesus, growth is occurring. God is making you holy. One day you, too, will stand tall with the saints.
"Lord, I trust you to bring about my growth. Help me cooperate with your work of grace."
The Lord says to us today "Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense. You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised." These words alone are not a suggestion, they are not mere nice thoughts, but commands, commands from Heaven. You need endurance, and if you don't got any...just ask!
We pray today "The salvation of the just comes from the Lord. Commit to the LORD your way; trust in him, and he will act." I'm asking myself right now, how can my brokenness better serve the world? God knows. I offer my prayers for you to be blessed and granted endurance, and this is a booster for your faith.
In comes the Lord today "the Kingdom of God...It is like a mustard seed" so small, yet, that's all it takes. I received a get well card yesterday from an aunt. It was nice, because all that surrounds the card, the time and effort, the gesture...of love...that reaching out to Jesus. Faith is like that. It is an act of love to God. God, I'm really REALLY hurting right now, but I love you. Tiny seeds are laid out everywhere. Tiny seeds grow...seeds of love. Tiny things that become great big things. I ask you today, to do that. Take that tiny step out on to the water, that scary water, of loving who you can't, being with who can't. Let it be CHRIST