As Mother Teresa said, I'm very happy if you can see Jesus in me, because I can see Jesus in you. But holiness is not just for a few people. It's for everyone, including you…. Holiness is the greatest gift that God can give us because for that reason He created us.
-from Lent with St. Teresa of Calcutta
"Put aside your hatred and animosity. Take pains to refrain from sharp words. If they escape your lips, do not be ashamed to let your lips produce the remedy, since they have caused the wounds. Pardon one another so that later on you will not remember the injury. The recollection of an injury is itself wrong. It adds to our anger, nurtures our sin and hates what is good. It is a rusty arrow and poison for the soul. It puts all virtue to flight." — St. Francis of Paola
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"God's delays are mysterious; sorrow is sometimes prolonged for the same reason for which it is sent. God may abstain for the moment from healing, not because Love does not love, but because Love never stops loving, and a greater good is to come from the woe. Heaven's clock is different from ours." — Fulton J. Sheen, p. 357 AN EXCERPT FROM Life of Christ
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Saint Peter Damian
Saint of the Day for February 21 (988 – February 22, 1072)
Maybe because he was orphaned and had been treated shabbily by one of his brothers, Peter Damian was very good to the poor. It was the ordinary thing for him to have a poor person or two with him at table and he liked to minister personally to their needs.
Peter escaped poverty and the neglect of his own brother when his other brother, who was archpriest of Ravenna, took him under his wing. His brother sent him to good schools and Peter became a professor.
Already in those days, Peter was very strict with himself. He wore a hair shirt under his clothes, fasted rigorously and spent many hours in prayer. Soon, he decided to leave his teaching and give himself completely to prayer with the Benedictines of the reform of Saint Romuald at Fonte Avellana. They lived two monks to a hermitage. Peter was so eager to pray and slept so little that he soon suffered from severe insomnia. He found he had to use some prudence in taking care of himself. When he was not praying, he studied the Bible.
The abbot commanded that when he died Peter should succeed him. Abbot Peter founded five other hermitages. He encouraged his brothers in a life of prayer and solitude and wanted nothing more for himself. The Holy See periodically called on him, however, to be a peacemaker or troubleshooter, between two abbeys in dispute or a cleric or government official in some disagreement with Rome.
Finally, Pope Stephen IX made Peter the cardinal-bishop of Ostia. He worked hard to wipe out simony (the buying of church offices), and encouraged his priests to observe celibacy and urged even the diocesan clergy to live together and maintain scheduled prayer and religious observance. He wished to restore primitive discipline among religious and priests, warning against needless travel, violations of poverty, and too comfortable living. He even wrote to the bishop of Besancon complaining that the canons there sat down when they were singing the psalms in the Divine Office.
He wrote many letters. Some 170 are extant. We also have 53 of his sermons and seven lives, or biographies, that he wrote. He preferred examples and stories rather than theory in his writings. The liturgical offices he wrote are evidence of his talent as a stylist in Latin.
He asked often to be allowed to retire as cardinal-bishop of Ostia, and finally Pope Alexander II consented. Peter was happy to become once again just a monk, but he was still called to serve as a papal legate. When returning from such an assignment in Ravenna, he was overcome by a fever. With the monks gathered around him saying the Divine Office, he died on February 22, 1072.
In 1828, he was declared a Doctor of the Church. Reflection
Peter was a reformer and if he were alive today would no doubt encourage the renewal started by Vatican II. He would also applaud the greater emphasis on prayer that is shown by the growing number of priests, religious, and laypersons who gather regularly for prayer, as well as the special houses of prayer recently established by many religious communities.
My son, when you come to serve the LORD, stand in justice and fear, prepare yourself for trials. Be sincere of heart and steadfast, incline your ear and receive the word of understanding, undisturbed in time of adversity. Wait on God, with patience, cling to him, forsake him not; thus will you be wise in all your ways. Accept whatever befalls you, when sorrowful, be steadfast, and in crushing misfortune be patient; For in fire gold and silver are tested, and worthy people in the crucible of humiliation. Trust God and God will help you; trust in him, and he will direct your way; keep his fear and grow old therein.
You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy, turn not away lest you fall. You who fear the LORD, trust him, and your reward will not be lost. You who fear the LORD, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy. You who fear the LORD, love him, and your hearts will be enlightened. Study the generations long past and understand; has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed? Has anyone persevered in his commandments and been forsaken? has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed? Compassionate and merciful is the LORD; he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble and he is a protector to all who seek him in truth.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 37:3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40 R. (see 5) Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you. Trust in the LORD and do good, that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security. Take delight in the LORD, and he will grant you your heart's requests. R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you. The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted; their inheritance lasts forever. They are not put to shame in an evil time; in days of famine they have plenty. R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you. Turn from evil and do good, that you may abide forever; For the LORD loves what is right, and forsakes not his faithful ones. R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you. The salvation of the just is from the LORD; he is their refuge in time of distress. And the LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.
Alleluia Gal 6:14 R. Alleluia, alleluia. May I never boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 9:30-37
Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, "The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise." But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.
They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, "What were you arguing about on the way?" But they remained silent. For they had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all." Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, "Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me."
Saint Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)
When you come to serve the Lord . . . prepare yourself for trials. (Sirach 2:1)
"Prepare yourself for trials"? That's a phrase you might expect a drill sergeant to say to new recruits. Or a man might say it to his son who is raising teenagers. But serving God? What does that mean?
Sirach rightly understood that people who try to serve the Lord are certain to face spiritual trials like discouragement and anxiety—and all manner of challenges that will tempt them to give up their goals. That's why he is encouraging his readers to gear up for these trials, just as a soldier or a father would prepare for the hands-on challenges of their vocation.
So what is Sirach's specific advice? To guard against discouragement, he urges us to be "sincere of heart" (Sirach 2:2). In other words, when faced with adversity, we should be honest with God. Don't think he doesn't care. Instead, tell him your troubles in a spirit of faith and hope. Cast your cares on him, confident that he will care for you (1 Peter 5:7).
As for anxiety, Sirach tells us, "Hold on! Wait a little longer!" You might be tempted to give up on God's love in a small—or big—area of your life. But this is exactly the moment to cling to him all the more! Tell God, "I trust you—I know you won't give up on me." Say it over and over if you need to, until your heart is at rest. This may be hard, but think of it as an act of faith. And if there is anything that moves God's heart, it's faith.
Finally, there is self-pity. Absorbed in our troubles, we can feel like we are the only person in our predicament. But Sirach encourages us to reflect on heroes of the past like Abraham or Esther, people who trusted in God's faithfulness and were saved. Or look back on your own story. Chances are you'll find similar instances of God working in you, stories that nudge you to be grateful, even in the face of trials.
Remember, all servants of God will face spiritual trials. But with tools like sincerity, trust, and gratitude, you will be better prepared to face them when they come.
"Lord, I want to cling to you. Help me to counter trials with trust."
Psalm 37:3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40 Mark 9:30-37
my2cents: "You who fear the LORD, love him, and your hearts will be enlightened." "Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you" Our Lord said in Sirach and in the Psalm, commit to the Lord, thou shall love Him above all; it is the first commandment, thou shall love God first, and foremost.
The other day, my six year old daughter caught me by surprise when she came up to me as I was resting on the recliner this weekend, and she said "dad, God told me to tell you this", now, before I go forward, she asked me to repeat after her these words and now you repeat them after me: "I (say your name) promise God I will never fail Him. And I (God) promise I will never fail you".
I was in shock, and I couldn't say these words under oath, without adding my own words "with the help of Your grace", my daughter just smiled. I asked her when God told her that, but the important thing is, this child of God thing, how quickly we dismiss Him. How soon we fail to see who is the greatest. Because the disciples wanted to find out who was the greatest, and I'm sure they weren't arguing like "no, I think YOU'RE the GREATEST!" LOL. Jesus steps in, hugs the child that they had all missed. They missed and failed to see the greatest, the servant of all, the least of all. How soon we fail to see Him and love Him. In my cursillo, and older man yelled "If you really love God, how will you fail Him?" We fail to see Him when He does not come first. We fail when we lose sight, and He becomes invisible. We fail when we get caught up in ourselves. We fail, when we fail to see Jesus in one another....the greatest.