Christ Jesus conquered suffering by love. Because we are joined to him, our own suffering takes on redemptive value.
-from When You Suffer
"Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." — St. Francis of Assisi
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"No one denies what everyone knows, for nature herself teaches it: that God is the Creator of the universe, and that it is good, and that it belongs to humanity by the free gift of its Creator. But there is a vast difference between the corrupted state and the state of primal purity, just as there is a vast difference between Creator and the corruptor. ... We ourselves, though we're guilty of every sin, are not just a work of God: we're image. Yet we have cut ourselves off from our Creator in both soul and body. Did we get eyes to serve lust, the tongue to speak evil, ears to hear evil, a throat for gluttony, a stomach to be gluttony's ally, hands to do violence, genitals for unchaste excesses, feet for an erring life? Was the soul put in the body to think up traps, fraud, and injustice? I don't think so." — Tertullian, p. 11
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photograph of Lúcia Santos and Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto.
Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco Marto
Saint of the Day for February 20
(Jacinta: 1910 – d. February 20, 1920; Francisc0: 1908 – d. April 14, 1919)
Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, three children, Portuguese shepherds from Aljustrel, received apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria, near Fatima, a city 110 miles north of Lisbon. At that time, Europe was involved in an extremely bloody war. Portugal itself was in political turmoil, having overthrown its monarchy in 1910; the government disbanded religious organizations soon after.
At the first appearance, Mary asked the children to return to that spot on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months. She also asked them to learn to read and write and to pray the rosary "to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war." They were to pray for sinners and for the conversion of Russia, which had recently overthrown Czar Nicholas II and was soon to fall under communism. Up to 90,000 people gathered for Mary's final apparition on October 13, 1917.
Less than two years later, Francisco died of influenza in his family home. He was buried in the parish cemetery and then re-buried in the Fatima basilica in 1952. Jacinta died of influenza in Lisbon, offering her suffering for the conversion of sinners, peace in the world, and the Holy Father. She was re-buried in the Fatima basilica in 1951. Their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, became a Carmelite nun and was still living when Jacinta and Francisco were beatified in 2000. Sister Lucia died five years later. The shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is visited by up to 20 million people a year.
The Church is always very cautious about endorsing alleged apparitions, but it has seen benefits from people changing their lives because of the message of Our Lady of Fatima. Prayer for sinners, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and praying the rosary—all these reinforce the Good News Jesus came to preach.
All wisdom comes from the LORD and with him it remains forever, and is before all time The sand of the seashore, the drops of rain, the days of eternity: who can number these? Heaven's height, earth's breadth, the depths of the abyss: who can explore these? Before all things else wisdom was created; and prudent understanding, from eternity. The word of God on high is the fountain of wisdom and her ways are everlasting. To whom has wisdom's root been revealed? Who knows her subtleties? To whom has the discipline of wisdom been revealed? And who has understood the multiplicity of her ways? There is but one, wise and truly awe-inspiring, seated upon his throne: There is but one, Most High all-powerful creator-king and truly awe-inspiring one, seated upon his throne and he is the God of dominion. It is the LORD; he created her through the Holy Spirit, has seen her and taken note of her. He has poured her forth upon all his works, upon every living thing according to his bounty; he has lavished her upon his friends.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 93:1ab, 1cd-2, 5
R. (1a) The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty. The LORD is king, in splendor robed; robed is the LORD and girt about with strength. R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty. And he has made the world firm, not to be moved. Your throne stands firm from of old; from everlasting you are, O LORD. R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty. Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed: holiness befits your house, O LORD, for length of days. R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
Alleluia 2 Tm 1:10
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 9:14-29
As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John and approached the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them. Immediately on seeing him, the whole crowd was utterly amazed. They ran up to him and greeted him. He asked them, "What are you arguing about with them?" Someone from the crowd answered him, "Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit. Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so." He said to them in reply, "O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him to me." They brought the boy to him. And when he saw him, the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions. As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around and foam at the mouth. Then he questioned his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" He replied, "Since childhood. It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." Jesus said to him, "'If you can!' Everything is possible to one who has faith." Then the boy's father cried out, "I do believe, help my unbelief!" Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering, rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it, "Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!" Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out. He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, "He is dead!" But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up. When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, "Why could we not drive the spirit out?" He said to them, "This kind can only come out through prayer."
wau.org Meditation: Mark 9:14-29 7th Week in Ordinary Time
I do believe, help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)
Let's do some basic chemistry. We know that a water molecule is made out of two elements: hydrogen and oxygen. Both elements must be present for water to exist. If either is missing, it wouldn't be water.
In a similar way, intercessory prayer has two essential components: proclaiming our faith and crying out to the Lord. And that's exactly what today's Gospel reading shows us.
Imagine yourself standing in the middle of today's scene. A man is imploring Jesus to heal his son, and Jesus replies by telling him, "Everything is possible to one who has faith" (Mark 9:23). This is when the man utters one of the shortest prayers in the whole Bible: "I do believe, help my unbelief!" In just a few words, he has perfectly encapsulated both of the necessary components of prayer.
First, he says, "I do believe" (Mark 9:24). Perhaps he has heard stories about Jesus' healing power or life-giving words. With the confidence of a new and growing faith, he decides to bring his son to Jesus. He hopes that the confidence he is beginning to feel will be rewarded by a miracle.
But next, he says, "Help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24). As confident as he is, the man also realizes his weakness. Maybe his new faith isn't all that strong yet; maybe he has some doubts that Jesus can heal his son—especially since the disciples couldn't do it. But it doesn't matter. He is not ashamed to cry out to Jesus, and he acknowledges his need in honesty and humility.
Today, make sure that your prayer of intercession is just as complete as this man's. Tell Jesus you believe. Take the Nicene Creed or the Apostle's Creed, and proclaim each tenet of the faith with all the conviction you can muster. Or take today's psalm and read it aloud, proclaiming your trust in the Lord. Then, ask Jesus to help your unbelief. Bring him your struggles; if a family member is suffering, ask Jesus to help you believe that he is with them. Or if you worry that you can't witness to your faith, ask him to remind you of the ways he has worked through you in the past.
Keep these two components together, and you'll feel God's presence wash over you like cool, clear water.
"I believe, Lord! Help my unbelief."
Psalm 93:1-2, 5 Sirach 1:1-10
"He has poured her forth upon all his works, upon every living thing according to his bounty; he has lavished her upon his friends."
We prayed today "The LORD is king, in splendor robed; robed is the LORD and girt about with strength."
The Lord had just been transfigured, and the Lord's voice had just been heard from Heaven "This is My Beloved Son with whom I Am well pleased. Listen to Him", and we heard ""'If you can!' Everything is possible to one who has faith."Then the boy's father cried out, "I do believe, help my unbelief!" We wish we could have faith to move mountains. And we are afraid, so we won't lift one stone, not one finger. We are afraid we can't make a difference in the world, and so we don't make a difference for the world of one person...not even our own. We get seized, locked in doubt and fear, and despair, all things that lack faith.
Today, the Lord asks us to step out. Always be ready with fasting and prayer, to liberate the soul. Be ready. Be awake. Be radiating light as He was transfigured for us to see how bright the Son of God can shine in our lives!