Jesus wants us to be more childlike, more humble, more grateful in prayer. And we do not pray alone but with the knowledge that we belong to the mystical body of Christ, which is always praying. There is no such thing as isolated prayer but instead Jesus is praying in me and Jesus is praying with me. The body of Christ is always praying.
-from Thirsting for God: Daily Meditations
"Great love can change small things into great ones, and it is only love which lends value to our actions." — St. Faustina Kowalska
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
MEDITATION OF THE DAY "And it is only by the observance of the first and greatest commandment that we can keep the second. The more we love God, the more we shall love man; the less we love God, the less we shall, in the true sense of the word, love man. Our love will become capricious, fitful, and unreliable—not charity, but passion. If you feel that your love for your fellowman is dying out in the fumes of selfishness, there is but one way to revive it: strive for, pray for, the love of God. As the heart turns toward its source, it will be quickened and expanded. There is no true, no lasting spirit of charity apart from the practice of religion. Therefore, we cannot keep those commandments which teach us our duty to men unless we are keeping those which teach us our duty to God." — Fr. Basil W. Maturin, p. 160 AN EXCERPT FROM Christian Self-Mastery
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Seven Founders of the Servite Order
Saint of the Day for February 17
Can you imagine seven prominent men of Boston or Denver banding together, leaving their homes and professions, and going into solitude for a life directly given to God? That is what happened in the cultured and prosperous city of Florence in the middle of the 13th century. The city was torn with political strife as well as the heresy of the Cathari, who believed that physical reality was inherently evil. Morals were low and religion seemed meaningless.
In 1240, seven noblemen of Florence mutually decided to withdraw from the city to a solitary place for prayer and direct service of God. Their initial difficulty was providing for their dependents, since two were still married and two were widowers.
Their aim was to lead a life of penance and prayer, but they soon found themselves disturbed by constant visitors from Florence. They next withdrew to the deserted slopes of Monte Senario.
In 1244, under the direction of St. Peter of Verona, O.P., this small group adopted a religious habit similar to the Dominican habit, choosing to live under the Rule of St. Augustine and adopting the name of the Servants of Mary. The new Order took a form more like that of the mendicant friars than that of the older monastic Orders.
Members of the community came to the United States from Austria in 1852 and settled in New York and later in Philadelphia. The two American provinces developed from the foundation made by Father Austin Morini in 1870 in Wisconsin.
Community members combined monastic life and active ministry. In the monastery, they led a life of prayer, work and silence while in the active apostolate they engaged in parochial work, teaching, preaching, and other ministerial activities.
The time in which the seven Servite founders lived is very easily comparable to the situation in which we find ourselves today. It is "the best of times and the worst of times," as Dickens once wrote. Some, perhaps many, feel called to a countercultural life, even in religion. All of us are faced in a new and urgent way with the challenge to make our lives decisively centered in Christ.
The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words. While the people were migrating in the east, they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, "Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire." They used bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and so make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth."
The LORD came down to see the city and the tower that they had built. Then the LORD said: "If now, while they are one people, all speaking the same language, they have started to do this, nothing will later stop them from doing whatever they presume to do. Let us then go down and there confuse their language, so that one will not understand what another says." Thus the LORD scattered them from there all over the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the speech of all the world. It was from that place that he scattered them all over the earth.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 33:10-11, 12-13, 14-15
R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own. The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations; he foils the designs of peoples. But the plan of the LORD stands forever; the design of his heart, through all generations. R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own. Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he has chosen for his own inheritance. From heaven the LORD looks down; he sees all mankind. R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own. From his fixed throne he beholds all who dwell on the earth, He who fashioned the heart of each, he who knows all their works. R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Alleluia Jn 15:15b
R. Alleluia, alleluia. I call you my friends, says the Lord, for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 8:34—9:1
Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."
He also said to them, "Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power."
The Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order (Optional Memorial)
Let us build ourselves . . . a tower with its top in the sky, and so make a name for ourselves. (Genesis 11:4)
Did you know that the tower in this story sounds very much like the ancient ziggurats that dotted the Mesopotamian landscape? These elaborate pagan monuments stretched as high as three hundred feet into the sky. Some of them still stand today as testimonies to the creativity of the people who built them. So why did God object when the people of Babel built their tower? What was so bad about using their skill to craft a magnificent structure?
Of course God wants us to use our talents to create new and beautiful things—he applauds that, in fact. The problem was that the people were concerned with making "a name" for themselves (Genesis 11:4). Why would they do such a thing when God already had a name for them? He had created them, formed them, and protected them. They already had a dignity and identity that far outstripped any other name they could come up with.
God has a name for you too—one that reflects your place in his heart. Actually, he has more than one name.
Chosen. You are not an accident. God chose to create you with all your unique quirks and talents. Every day, he continues to choose you by inviting you to be with him. So believe that you are Chosen, not rejected.
Beloved. God loves you with a deep and abiding love. He loves you not because you are perfect, but because you are his own. He delights in you and sees the goodness he has created in you. So believe that you are Beloved, not forgotten.
Child. This might be the best name of all. You belong. You are part of his family. He is committed to you just as a Father is committed to his children. You are never alone. So believe that you are a Child of God, not an orphan.
You don't have to make a name for yourself. Your identity is wrapped up in who God has made you to be, not in the things you achieve. You are his chosen, his beloved, his child. Today in prayer, choose one of these names. Repeat it to yourself, thanking God and saying, over and over, "You call me ____________."
"Father, thank you for giving me a name that can never be taken from me."
Psalm 33:10-15 Mark 8:34–9:1
They said "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and so make a name for ourselves..." God visits them, sees where they are going with it, and decides it is time to scatter them, that what they didn't want to do. Jesus came in the exact same way at the perfect time and scatters His chosen ones. Some ran when they saw Him being arrested, some ran while He was arrested, and some ran while He was being crucified. God's plan? It is fulfilled perfectly.
We pray "Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own. The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations;he foils the designs of peoples. But the plan of the LORD stands forever; the design of his heart, through all generations." It's as if God's people...forgot God. It happened to the Jews in the time of Jesus, and it happens to Christians today. You say you are a believer, and you act like you are not. Jesus sees the heart. We ought to see the heart of Jesus, seek the Sacred Precious Heart of Jesus.
Jesus says to us today ""Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." Do not be ashamed of ME! Shame on anything but ME! Talk about me at work, to your friends, and especially your family. Do not be ashamed. Do not be ashamed to tell them that I loved you so much, that I died for you. Do not be ashamed and do not be afraid. Why should you be ashamed of the truth? Or is it that you are ashamed of being one with the truth? Do not be ashamed of coming to ME, I Am your Father! I should be your best friend: "I call you my friends, says the Lord, for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me". Can't I, your Father, be your friend? Your Best Friend? Can't I be everything? That way it is easy to deny yourself, and take up my life. Take up my cross, my yoke, my servitude, my serving of love into the world. Deny yourself selfishness. Deny yourself making a name for yourself. Deny you being you, and be ME. I love you and so you ought to love one another. I am standing in eternity with open arms. You can not pass through life without Me. You are mine. You are my slave. And I turn my slaves into service of love. What good is it to serve with anything else but this slavery of satisfaction, of knowing you are MINE! Of knowing eternal joy is yours, Me! Of knowing Me personally and loving Me more than anything or anybody! This outpouring on the cross I would do for you today. I do not regret anything because I couldn't possibly give more than my entire life....to God...and for you