Opposition can be painful and confusing. It is more hurtful when it comes from those closest to us. We must not let this kind of opposition interfere with our quest for holiness. Rather, we have to refrain from judging these critics (we can't see their whole heart), and keep our focus on loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
"Think well. Speak well. Do well. These three things, through the mercy of God, will make a man go to Heaven." — St. Camillus
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"Undertake courageously great tasks for God's glory, to the extent that he'll give you power and grace for this purpose. Even though you can do nothing on your own, you can do all things in him. His help will never fail you if you have confidence in his goodness. Place your entire physical and spiritual welfare in his hands. Abandon to the fatherly concern of his divine providence every care for your health, reputation, property, and business; for those near to you; for your past sins; for your soul's progress in virtue and love of him; for your life, death, and especially your salvation and eternity—in a word, all your cares. Rest in the assurance that in his pure goodness, he'll watch with particular tenderness over all your responsibilities and cares, arranging all things for the greatest good." — St. John Eudes, p. 363
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February 3. Popularly known as the saint who protects from ailments of the throat, Saint Blaise was a bishop and martyr of the fourth century. We know little else about him, except that he suffered persecution, even after the Edict of Toleration was to have freed the Roman world for worship. Saint of the Day
Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels. Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body. Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers. Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you. Thus we may say with confidence:
The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?
Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 27:1, 3, 5, 8b-9abc
R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life's refuge; of whom should I be afraid? R. The Lord is my light and my salvation. Though an army encamp against me, my heart will not fear; Though war be waged upon me, even then will I trust. R. The Lord is my light and my salvation. For he will hide me in his abode in the day of trouble; He will conceal me in the shelter of his tent, he will set me high upon a rock. R. The Lord is my light and my salvation. Your presence, O LORD, I seek. Hide not your face from me; do not in anger repel your servant. You are my helper: cast me not off. R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Alleluia Lk 8:15
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart, and yield a harvest through perseverance. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 6:14-29
King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying, "John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; That is why mighty powers are at work in him." Others were saying, "He is Elijah"; still others, "He is a prophet like any of the prophets." But when Herod learned of it, he said, "It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up." Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married. John had said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. His own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, "Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you." He even swore many things to her, "I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom." She went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask for?" Her mother replied, "The head of John the Baptist." The girl hurried back to the king's presence and made her request, "I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist." The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr (Optional Memorial)
Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. . . . And imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:7)
Whether you were born into the Catholic faith or converted to Catholicism, you most likely have people in your life who inspired or encouraged you in your walk of faith. And that's a really good thing!
Pope Francis once described it this way: "It is through an unbroken chain of witnesses that we come to see the face of Jesus. But how is this possible? . . . Persons always live in relationship. We come from others, we belong to others, and our lives are enlarged by our encounter with others" (The Light of Faith, 38).
Today's reading from Hebrews has a couple of things to say about how you can honor these influences in your life.
First, remember those people who have been part of your own "unbroken chain of witnesses." It may have been a parish priest whose homilies have moved you over the years; it may be a favorite pope or a saint whom you felt a real kinship with. Or it may be your parents or a neighbor who has encouraged you by sharing day-to-day life with you. Whoever they are, think about why they came to mind. What was it about their witness that enlarged your faith or helped you trust the Lord more deeply? If possible, find a way to thank these people. If they have already passed on, then write a prayer honoring them.
Next, imitate their faith. Think about how you answered the question above about how these models of faith have influenced you. If it is someone's prayer life, try to follow his or her example. If it's their humble way of caring for people, try to reach out a bit more today. You'll likely find that imitating their faith will also make you an inspiration to someone else!
That's the way faith works: we all influence each other. Just as your life was shaped by people who have inspired you, you can be a link in someone else's "chain of witnesses." And so the gospel is spread, and the Church continues to grow.
"Lord, thank you for the people in my life who have helped me grow closer to you. Help me to imitate their faith so that I can continue this 'unbroken chain of witnesses.'"
Psalm 27:1, 3, 5, 8-9 Mark 6:14-29
Today we heard at one point, the Word of the Lord "Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers." Marriage is supposed to be a marriage with God. This is why the Catholic Church only recognizes couples as married if they received the Holy Sacrament of Marriage, a union with God, a grace of God. And this stands for our faith, our relationship with Him, our fidelity to Him, our faithfulness. If He is always faithful and true, what about me? Shouldn't that make me full of joy and a feeling of being complete? What could be missing?
We prayed today "The Lord is my light and my salvation." and "Though an army encamp against me, my heart will not fear; Though war be waged upon me, even then will I trust." Keep this in mind, because Saint John the Baptist had to repeat these words while being imprisoned.
And He was imprisoned for Love. For love of God. For love of Jesus, for love of truth. And when he spoke the truth, Herod was perplexed and Herodias was infuriated to the point that her rebelliousness desired a disorder so extreme, that it would cost her "enemy" his life. We face the same today. There are those who love the truth, live for the truth, and some...even die for the truth. And there are those who are perplexed by the truth today, but are on the fence, neutral, meaning faithful to themselves and the other half open. And there are those who hate the truth, and want it out of their lives, whether it'd be religion, or an unborn baby, and this is carrying a darkness straight from the depths of hell. The truth becomes to them, an undue burden. A cross they detest. A Lord they do not want. Now, here is the dangerous part...when you become lukewarm. When you become that Herod. When you become someone that is unfaithful, when you are more faithful to anyone or anything...other than God. And so that whole marriage thing comes back. St. John then could be said to have died for speaking up about marriage, and this means our relationship with God. Herodias used her daughter to kill, through her words, through her desires, through her pride, used people to kill people. This is why today's quote we read earlier is extremely important ""Think well. Speak well. Do well. These three things, through the mercy of God, will make a man go to Heaven." — St. Camillus. As I pondered on these words, I thought "man, how will I speak well if don't think well?" And how will I do well if I can not speak well?
It is Christ then, that must be all of me. All my thoughts, all my words, and all my actions. I am learning an important lesson as I am bound to a walker and in pain throughout the day and night. I am learning that I can do nothing without God. Slowly people stopped visiting. And my desire is that I could go and make a visit. I would like to visit the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord in Church. I would like to visit anyone that is sick or in need. I would like to visit...the Lord. It is my love that is our love....the Lord. It becomes a question of faithfulness when I(we) think, speak, and act.