If we don't take time to reflect on the ways we have been forgiven, it will be hard to be merciful to others. And yet we set this as our goal each time we pray the Our Father: "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us."
-from The Hope of Lent
"Love is the most beautiful sentiment the Lord has put into the soul of men and women." — St. Gianna Molla
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"Jesus trembled and shuddered as He stood before the pillar, and took off His garments as quickly as He could, but His hands were bloody and swollen. The only return He made when His brutal executioners struck and abused Him was to pray for them in the most touching manner: He turned His face once toward His Mother, who was standing overcome with grief; this look quite unnerved her: she fainted, and would have fallen, had not the holy women who were there supported her. Jesus put His arms around the pillar, and when His hands were thus raised, the archers fastened them to the iron ring which was at the top of the pillar; they then dragged His arms to such a height that His feet, which were tightly bound to the base of the pillar, scarcely touched the ground. Thus was the Holy of Holies violently stretched, without a particle of clothing, on a pillar used for the punishment of criminals; and then did two furious ruffians who were thirsting for His blood begin in the most barbarous manner to scourge His sacred body from head to foot." — Bl. Anne Cathrine Emmerich, p. 218-9 AN EXCERPT FROM The Dolores Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ
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Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows
(March 1, 1838 – February 27, 1862)
Born in Italy into a large family and baptized Francis, Saint Gabriel lost his mother when he was only four years old. He was educated by the Jesuits and, having been cured twice of serious illnesses, came to believe that God was calling him to the religious life. Young Francis wished to join the Jesuits but was turned down, probably because of his age, not yet 17. Following the death of a sister to cholera, his resolve to enter religious life became even stronger and he was accepted by the Passionists. Upon entering the novitiate he was given the name Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.
Ever popular and cheerful, Gabriel quickly was successful in his effort to be faithful in little things. His spirit of prayer, love for the poor, consideration of the feelings of others, exact observance of the Passionist Rule as well as his bodily penances—always subject to the will of his wise superiors— made a deep impression on everyone.
His superiors had great expectations of Gabriel as he prepared for the priesthood, but after only four years of religious life symptoms of tuberculosis appeared. Ever obedient, he patiently bore the painful effects of the disease and the restrictions it required, seeking no special notice. He died peacefully on February 27, 1862, at age 24, having been an example to both young and old.
Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was canonized in 1920.
When we think of achieving great holiness by doing little things with love and grace, Therese of Lisieux comes first to mind. Like her, Gabriel died painfully from tuberculosis. Together they urge us to tend to the small details of daily life, to be considerate of others' feelings every day. Our path to sanctity, like theirs, probably lies not in heroic doings but in performing small acts of kindness every day.
Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows is the Patron Saint of:
To the penitent God provides a way back, he encourages those who are losing hope and has chosen for them the lot of truth. Return to him and give up sin, pray to the LORD and make your offenses few. Turn again to the Most High and away from your sin, hate intensely what he loathes, and know the justice and judgments of God, Stand firm in the way set before you, in prayer to the Most High God.
Who in the nether world can glorify the Most High in place of the living who offer their praise? Dwell no longer in the error of the ungodly, but offer your praise before death. No more can the dead give praise than those who have never lived; You who are alive and well shall praise and glorify God in his mercies. How great the mercy of the LORD, his forgiveness of those who return to him!
Responsorial Psalm Ps 32:1-2, 5, 6, 7 R. (11a) Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord. Blessed is he whose fault is taken away, whose sin is covered. Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt, in whose spirit there is no guile. R. Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord. Then I acknowledged my sin to you, my guilt I covered not. I said, "I confess my faults to the LORD," and you took away the guilt of my sin. R. Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord. For this shall every faithful man pray to you in time of stress. Though deep waters overflow, they shall not reach him. R. Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord. You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me; with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round. R. Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord.
Alleluia 2 Cor 8:9 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 10:17-27
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother." He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." At that statement, his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, "Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God." They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For men it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God."
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: Mark 10:17-27
8th Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus, looking at him, loved him. (Mark 10:21)
God is omniscient—he sees everything. Nothing is veiled to him, not even our hidden sins. This truth might make us apprehensive. But in reality, we should rejoice! Because, not only is God all-knowing, but he is also all-loving! More than seeing our sins, he is on the lookout for every sign of virtue in us.
Today's Gospel reading gives us a wonderful illustration of this point. As the rich young man rattles off all of his virtuous habits, Jesus looks at him with great love. He approves and even applauds all that this man has accomplished in his spiritual life. But then his penetrating gaze fixes on the one thing that is holding this man back: his attachment to his possessions. Only by giving them away can he find true freedom.
For his part, the young man recognizes the truth of Jesus' analysis but seems unwilling to act on it. So he turns away sad. We never learn what happens next, but we do know that Jesus' words found a home in him. Who knows? Maybe he eventually returned to become a disciple!
As you spend time with Jesus in prayer today, let him look on you with love. Let him recount all the good he sees in you. He knows how hard you try. He knows how faithful you are to your family and friends, to your job and to your parish. He hears and remembers every prayer you have ever lifted up to him. He feels everything that hurts in your body and your spirit. Now let him show you how precious you are to him.
Then take a further step. Let Jesus put his finger on one thing you may treasure more than him—one thing that may be holding you back. Perhaps money has become too important to you. Perhaps you are caught in a persistent habit of sin, or you are nursing a grudge that you are having a hard time giving up. Join Jesus in looking these stumbling blocks in the face. Let go of them. Let Jesus, who loves you, encourage you and show you the way of healing and hope he is providing for you.
"Jesus, thank you for knowing me and loving me. I place all my hope in you."
Sirach 17:20-24 Psalm 32:1-2, 5-7
my2cents: We begin today by hearing the Word of the Lord "To the penitent God provides a way back, he encourages those who are losing hope and has chosen for them the lot of truth." He provides a way back...to those who repent. We are about to embark on a 40 day journey, that what we call lent, that what is lent to the penitent, and the whole Church joins together, our prayers, our efforts, to strive for what God wants. We pray "Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord. Blessed is he whose fault is taken away, whose sin is covered. Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt, in whose spirit there is no guile." The Lord finds fault in the one who believes they are "good".
In comes the Lord and says "No one is good but God alone." He says this in reply to the man who had called Him "Good Teacher". The Lord shows the man to take a step down, to bow down, to be humble, to honor and revere who is truly God, who deserves all our attention...all our Love. The man was doing everything right, supposedly. And the Lord helps him in spiritual direction, which we all need, a spiritual director that will help us realize, with a different set of eyes, how we are doing in our spiritual life: "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor", and the man walks away struck to the heart. Say WHAT? How could the Lord ask this of me? Now, this is the story of you and me in our lives. Oh sure, we say "I'm not attached to possessions, they are just junk". And we say "Oh, I'm "good", (yet no one is good but God), because I do things right, I'm not a killer, or a thief, etc". And that is the exact mentality of the man in today's Gospel.
Who told you that you are "good"? It is an overinflated spiritual ego, rich in self, and poor in charity. I'll tell you what, I am sharing my testimony when I share my 2 cents, this accident a few weeks ago that landed me in the hospital, I have told many now in faith sharing groups in the last few weeks, that this has been a real eye opener. Because I too have been egotistical in my sense of spirituality. But in a sense that, I believed I was good in my faith, as if having plateaued, that is having maxed out and hit a ceiling in my spiritual growth, as if to have said without knowing "I'm good". Lies. Only God is good, and righteous and fully Holy. And He wants us to be like Him. And so I tell everyone that I have encountered, that I experienced a huge void in my life, where times I even cried "where are you God?!" If this has proven anything, this accident, and struggling to walk physically without crutches, this has proven one thing to me, this whole faith thing....God wants to me love Him MORE.
More than you think. More than you ever thought possible. And it is by Holiness, His Way. To be Wholy Holy. To not belong to this world, but to His and all His. And I am leading to perhaps a slightly overlooked completion of the invitation of Christ, to the man and to you and me in the Gospel: "....Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." Perhaps, selling all you have suddenly entails the true reality of what is being asked: to leave your world and follow Him. To leave all you love and follow Him. To become detached to what you believe is truth and happiness and take a leap of faith, and a lunge into unknown waters. The man wasn't looking for Jesus (God), but security. Jesus says, "I Am the rest and all of what you are looking for". And the man can't believe his ears. How hard is it to live for Him? It is hard, very few make into the Kingdom of Heaven, to which the disciples even asked ""Then who can be saved?"
You can be saved. Everyone can be saved. It is 100% possible, Jesus said it.