Tough times can be an opportunity to not only grow in Christ but an opportunity to help others who struggle with their ideal life. In human suffering there is an immeasurable treasure, and that treasure has the power to assist in the redemption of mankind.
-from When You Suffer
"We must stand up for the rights of our neighbour who is suffering from injustice; we must defend them all the more vigorously because we see Jesus present in them. Surely this is our duty because of our love for others for his sake. We have no right to be 'sleeping watchmen' or dumb watch-dogs. Whenever we see evil we must sound the alarm." — Blessed Charles de Foucauld
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"When we continually 'see' the work of God in our life, there is less need for faith. When the perception of blessing or presence is removed, there is an opportunity to exercise faith on a deeper and purer level, which is very pleasing to God and unites us in a deep way with Him, even when His closeness to us might not be felt. John of the Cross tells us that it is this ever-increasing purification that most directly and immediately unites us to God. The act of deep trust and abandonment and fidelity that faith entails is very pleasing to God and brings us very close to Him." — Ralph Martin p. 170-71 AN EXCERPT FROM The Fulfillment of All Desire
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Saint Jerome Emiliani
Saint of the Day for February 9
(1486 – February 8, 1537)
Saint Jerome Emiliani's Story
A careless and irreligious soldier for the city-state of Venice, Jerome was captured in a skirmish at an outpost town and chained in a dungeon. In prison Jerome had a lot of time to think, and he gradually learned how to pray. When he escaped, he returned to Venice where he took charge of the education of his nephews—and began his own studies for the priesthood.
In the years after his ordination, events again called Jerome to a decision and a new lifestyle. Plague and famine swept northern Italy. Jerome began caring for the sick and feeding the hungry at his own expense. While serving the sick and the poor, he soon resolved to devote himself and his property solely to others, particularly to abandoned children. He founded three orphanages, a shelter for penitent prostitutes and a hospital.
Around 1532, Jerome and two other priests established a congregation, the Clerks Regular of Somasca, dedicated to the care of orphans and the education of youth. Jerome died in 1537 from a disease he caught while tending the sick. He was canonized in 1767. In 1928, Pius Xl named him the patron of orphans and abandoned children.
Very often in our lives it seems to take some kind of "imprisonment" to free us from the shackles of our self-centeredness. When we're "caught" in some situation we don't want to be in, we finally come to know the liberating power of Another. Only then can we become another for "the imprisoned" and "the orphaned" all around us.
The Liturgical Feast of Saint Jerome Emiliani is February 8.
The LORD God said: "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him." So the LORD God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.
So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said:
"This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called 'woman,' for out of 'her man' this one has been taken."
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh.
The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
R. (see 1a) Blessed are those who fear the Lord. Blessed are you who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways! For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; blessed shall you be, and favored. R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your home; Your children like olive plants around your table. R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord. Behold, thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD. The LORD bless you from Zion: may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Alleluia Jas 1:21bc
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 7:24-30
Jesus went to the district of Tyre. He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it, but he could not escape notice. Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, "Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs." She replied and said to him, "Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's scraps." Then he said to her, "For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter." When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: Mark 7:24-30
It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs. (Mark 7:27)
"Outsider." The dictionary defines it as someone who is "excluded from or does not belong to" a particular group. Outsiders don't have the same advantages that insiders do. In today's Gospel, we see an outsider desperate to gain access to the privileges of the ultimate inside group. The Gentile woman, frantic for her daughter to be set free from a demon, falls on her knees before Jesus and begs him to help her. She asks him to treat her the same way he treats the Israelites, God's chosen people.
Jesus' response may sound cruel to us, but let's look at two reasons why he might have said that children (Israelites) should be fed before the dogs (Gentiles). First, Jesus understood that his primary mission was to Israel. He was the Messiah that the Jews were hoping for, and they were his own chosen people.
Second, notice that Jesus didn't refuse to heal this woman's daughter. Instead, he taught his apostles—and us—that people on the "outside" can receive mercy too! In fact, the Gospels offer only two stories of Jesus healing from a distance, and in both cases, it's a Gentile who is healed: a centurion's servant (Matthew 8:5-13) and this Syrophoenician woman. Both of these people were outsiders, but Jesus offered them special treatment. Not only did he reveal his power in a remarkable way through these two, but he also did it quickly, without making them wait for him to arrive. He stopped their suffering right away—that's how much he loved them!
You may have people in your family who feel isolated or excluded. Reach out to them. Think about that terminally ill uncle who never makes it to family gatherings or that aunt in a nursing home whom nobody visits. Think about your grandson or nephew who isn't going to church anymore and just moved in with his girlfriend. Go and visit them. Spend time with them if you can; or reach across the distance, and send them an email. Jesus wants to touch them. You can make a difference!
"Lord, help me to reach out to those who feel like outsiders. Help me show them your love and mercy."
Genesis 2:18-25 Psalm 128:1-5
"This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called 'woman,' for out of 'her man' this one has been taken." What an amazing setting of the Word of God today. It's about a man and a woman, a woman made from man, by God, and it is all about God making us in His divine image, with only a frailty...that one that fell into sin. He loves her so much. He loves us so much. There was no shame in purity (nakedness), until the brokenness occurred. This is why many will not confess, shame. And shame is the blame of the devil. That what entered and divided. So if you see division now...you know where it comes from. If you see brokenness, you know where it comes from. If you see shame, you know that it is not from God, He is still pure, and He is still in love, and He can not help it...because He is love.
We pray today "Blessed are you who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways! For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; blessed shall you be, and favored. " You make your bed, now lay in it. Set yourself up. We set ourselves as disposed to grace or discard it. If you fear the Lord, you shall approach the Lord, because you will walk His Way.
On the approach comes a desperate woman. She knows no one else in the world that can help her out of her desperate situation, her offspring is suffering a torment that could last forever. If only our generation would care for their children like this. Nowadays, we fail to see a child possessed by a demon. We see things as normal when they fall into drugs and living in sin, like living with their girlfriend or boyfriend and having marital relations outside of a marriage in the Church. We see it, and say nothing. We are those mute watchdogs, our brother's keeper. And so when a rare instance like today, the woman approaches the Lord on her knees and begs, Jesus takes notice, and hears the incessant prayers, a most sincere prayer from the heart, for it is one of love, love enough to break the chains and bonds from evil....Jesus comes to forgive the woman her straying away, of not being one with God's people. He speaks about feeding His children, as He feeds Himself (especially in the Holy Eucharist), and she knows she has no right, but knows He is merciful and loving and is asking for love and mercy. "Just a scrap" she begs for, and God's love wraps around the poor woman, having represented all those who disobeyed and strayed "I still love you" He says. This is an act that should move us. It should propel us to be Christ, the new Adam. The brokenness, the shame, it leaves when you approach the Lord on your knees. Then you can stand. Then you can "walk in His ways!"