There can be no greater pursuit of discovery and adventure than the quest for virtue that will someday bring us to our ultimate desire and absolute bliss. God challenges us to rise up, be valiant and by his power to pursue the way of heroic virtue.
-from Deep Adventure
"If a tiny spark of God's love already burns within you, do not expose it to the wind, for it may get blown out… Stay quiet with God. Do not spend your time in useless chatter… Do not give yourself to others so completely that you have nothing left for yourself." — St. Charles Borromeo
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"A spiritual Communion acts on the soul as blowing does on a cinder-covered fire which was about to go out. Whenever you feel your love of God growing cold, quickly make a spiritual Communion.' 'Quickly!' There's a sense of urgency here. The saints are trying to tell us that we should not limit our union with Christ in the Eucharist to sacramental Communion once a week, or even once a day. We need Christ's living presence in our lives moment-by-moment to nourish us and protect us from sin, so we need to renew our union with Him regularly, especially any time we feel ourselves drifting away. Christ is not merely present in the Eucharist during Mass! The Eucharist is an ongoing fulfillment of Christ's Gospel promise to remain with us: 'Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age' (Mt. 28:20)." — Vinny Flynn, p. 98-9 AN EXCERPT FROM 7 Secrets of the Eucharist
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Saint Josephine Bakhita
Saint of the Day for February 8
(c. 1869 – February 8, 1947)
For many years, Josephine Bakhita was a slave but her spirit was always free and eventually that spirit prevailed.
Born in Olgossa in the Darfur region of southern Sudan, Josephine was kidnapped at the age of 7, sold into slavery and given the name Bakhita, which means fortunate. She was resold several times, finally in 1883 to Callisto Legnani, Italian consul in Khartoum, Sudan.
Two years later, he took Josephine to Italy and gave her to his friend Augusto Michieli. Bakhita became babysitter to Mimmina Michieli, whom she accompanied to Venice's Institute of the Catechumens, run by the Canossian Sisters. While Mimmina was being instructed, Josephine felt drawn to the Catholic Church. She was baptized and confirmed in 1890, taking the name Josephine.
When the Michielis returned from Africa and wanted to take Mimmina and Josephine back with them, the future saint refused to go. During the ensuing court case, the Canossian Sisters and the patriarch of Venice intervened on Josephine's behalf. The judge concluded that since slavery was illegal in Italy, she had actually been free since 1885.
Josephine entered the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa in 1893 and made her profession three years later. In 1902, she was transferred to the city of Schio (northeast of Verona), where she assisted her religious community through cooking, sewing, embroidery, and welcoming visitors at the door. She soon became well loved by the children attending the sisters' school and the local citizens. She once said, "Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!"
The first steps toward her beatification began in 1959. She was beatified in 1992 and canonized eight years later.
Josephine's body was mutilated by those who enslaved her, but they could not touch her spirit. Her Baptism set her on an eventual path toward asserting her civic freedom and then service to God's people as a Canossian Sister.
She who worked under many "masters" was finally happy to address God as "master" and carry out everything that she believed to be God's will for her.
At the time when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens— while as yet there was no field shrub on earth and no grass of the field had sprouted, for the LORD God had sent no rain upon the earth and there was no man to till the soil, but a stream was welling up out of the earth and was watering all the surface of the ground— the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.
Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and he placed there the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow that were delightful to look at and good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it. The LORD God gave man this order: "You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 104:1-2a, 27-28, 29bc-30
R. (1a) O bless the Lord, my soul! Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD, my God, you are great indeed! You are clothed with majesty and glory, robed in light as with a cloak. R. O bless the Lord, my soul! All creatures look to you to give them food in due time. When you give it to them, they gather it; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. R. O bless the Lord, my soul! If you take away their breath, they perish and return to their dust. When you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth. R. O bless the Lord, my soul! Alleluia SEE Jn 17:17b, 17a
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Your word, O Lord, is truth: consecrate us in the truth. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 7:14-23
Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile."
When he got home away from the crowd his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, "Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?" (Thus he declared all foods clean.) "But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile."
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: Mark 7:14-23
Saint Jerome Emiliani (Optional Memorial)
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person. (Mark 7:15)
You can understand where the confusion came from. It all started with that tree in the garden, when God told our first parents, "From that tree you shall not eat; when you eat from it you shall die" (Genesis 2:17). So it must be all about what we eat, right? That means the best way to please God is to pay extra close attention to what goes into our mouths. But which diet should we follow? "Thou shalt not eat fat?" "Thou shall not eat carbs?" "Thou shalt not eat red meat?"
Jesus makes it clear that a new diet isn't the answer. Any of these eating plans could be fine if we're looking to lose weight or have a healthier lifestyle. But just as Jesus told the crowds, what we "eat"—fat or carbs or red meat—in and of itself does not defile us.
It's human nature to come up with a plan or reduce something complex to a manageable formula. That's why self-help books and self-improvement programs are so popular. But Jesus is asking us to shift our focus. The important thing is not a list of do's and don'ts. The important thing is whether we let God's love shape our behavior.
It's the relationship, not the formula, that matters. As we know Jesus better, we become more convinced of his love for us, and that changes us internally. And it's that interior change that affects what we choose to eat or say, how we spend our time, and how we treat the people around us.
So develop that relationship! Here's one approach: when you pray today, don't focus only on intercession. Take a few minutes to gaze at a crucifix. Imagine, not just the pain Jesus endured, but the love—his personal love for you—that held him on that cross. If you start to feel distracted, call your attention back. Think about how important you are to him and how much he has done for you. As those truths imprint themselves on your heart, you'll find that "the things that come out from" you is more and more pleasing to God (Mark 7:15).
"Jesus, I want to love you first and foremost, and I want that love to impact everything I do today."
Genesis 2:4-9, 15-17 Psalm 104:1-2, 27-30
Today's first Holy Scripture ended with the Word of God "From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die." And it was a commandment. And it wasn't about what he was going to eat, but what he was going to do...disobey, and break that relationship with Our Father. One thing He asks, and it's the one thing we can't do....remain One with HIM!
"O bless the Lord, my soul! If you take away their breath, they perish and return to their dust. When you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth. " To Him we can truly say "You take my breath away" and not to anyone else. That is to say, "You have all power and authority over my life my Lord and my God, you have power over life and death, in eternity". And this is the life that matters and Jesus prepares us for...forever.
In comes our Lord into our lives: "Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile." Let's look at the meaning of the "outside" coming "inside". We live in a world focused so much on the outside, in what we can see, feel, and touch with our senses. It is a deceiving world, because feelings can be false, what you see can be false, what you hear can be false, and so on. It is what's inside that counts...the heart. A case in point is today's Saint Bakhita, Josephine. She had a hard life growing up, kidnapped, abused, thrown around from place to place being treated and sold as an object. Yet, today we read about her as a saint. Her heart was at the matter. She survived...for the Lord. I want you now to examine your life: many of us have been abused, neglected, and abandoned, but you have survived this far....for the Lord. Because if we read about a saint, it is about your sainthood. It is about your life now with the Lord. It is a matter of the heart. From this point forward, it will be a question of authenticity, of truthfulness, of fidelity, faithfulness with the Lord. To "know" evil is having consented. Many times we hear in the bible of someone "knowing" like Mary did not know man. It mean she did not consent to evil. Today, we "know" so much. There is so much filth in the air, polluted by sinful thoughts and ideas, pornography, lies, drama, the air is filled all around. They are forces aiming to come into you. This is why God wants us to reinforce us with HIM. Especially in the Holy Sacraments. This past Saturday, a priest from Food For the Poor was brought into my home. He was to bring the Holy Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. He is a tall man, dressed in a white robe, and a logo on his chest for being a Passionist. He asked me if I wanted to confess before receiving Holy Communion. My mind went crazy "Whoaa! I'm about to receive 3 Holy Sacraments, in my own home!" I confessed, and it was edifying. I received the Lord in the Eucharist and it fortified me, sealed me more. I was annointed, and it gave me strength...grace. All 3 Sacraments were grace. I had to receive with open hands anointing. This means I should've been ready to receive with an open heart. This is an ongoing relationship. God will come into your home, when you are broken. God will come into your heart, when you invite Him. God will come inside...and remain...when you allow Him inside and never let Him go.