We are called as Christians to proclaim the liberating news that forgiveness for sins committed is possible, that God is greater than our sinfulness, that he freely loves us at all times, that we were made for communion and eternal life.
-from The Hope of Lent
✞ "At each step we can admire the grandeur, the power, the goodness of God. How bountifully He provides for all our wants—I would even say for our pleasures!" — St. Théodore Guerin
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Do not look for the faults of your friend. Do not repeat the shortcomings of your neighbors in your talk. You are not the judge of creation. You do not have dominion over the earth. If you love righteousness, admonish your soul and yourself. Be the judge of your own sins, and chastise your own transgressions." — St. Ephrem the Syrian AN EXCERPT FROM A Year with the Church Fathers
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "Thus says the Lord: 'Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool; what is the house which you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things are mine, says the Lord. But this is the man to whom I will look, he that is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.'" Isaiah 66:2
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Saint John Baptist de la Salle
Saint of the Day for April 7
(April 30, 1651 – April 7, 1719)
Complete dedication to what he saw as God's will for him dominated the life of John Baptist de la Salle. In 1950, Pope Pius XII named him patron of schoolteachers for his efforts in upgrading school instruction. As a young 17th-century Frenchman, John had everything going for him: scholarly bent, good looks, noble family background, money, refined upbringing. At the early age of 11, he received the tonsure and started preparation for the priesthood, to which he was ordained at 27. He seemed assured then of a life of dignified ease and a high position in the Church.
But God had other plans for John, which were gradually revealed to him in the next several years. During a chance meeting with Monsieur Nyel, he became interested in the creation of schools for poor boys in Raven, where he was stationed. Though the work was extremely distasteful to him at first, he became more involved in working with the deprived youths.
Once convinced that this was his divinely appointed mission, John threw himself wholeheartedly into the work, left home and family, abandoned his position as canon at Rheims, gave away his fortune, and reduced himself to the level of the poor to whom he devoted his entire life.
The remainder of his life was closely entwined with the community of religious men he founded, the Brothers of the Christian School (Christian Brothers, or De La Salle Brothers). This community grew rapidly and was successful in educating boys of poor families, using methods designed by John. It prepared teachers in the first training college for teachers and also set up homes and schools for young delinquents of wealthy families. The motivating element in all these endeavors was the desire to become a good Christian.
Yet even in his success, John did not escape experiencing many trials: heart-rending disappointment and defections among his disciples, bitter opposition from the secular schoolmasters who resented his new and fruitful methods, and persistent opposition from the Jansenists of his time, whose moral rigidity and pessimism abut the human condition John resisted vehemently all his life.
Afflicted with asthma and rheumatism in his last years, he died at 68 on Good Friday, and was canonized in 1900.
Complete dedication to one's calling by God, whatever it may be, is a rare quality. Jesus asks us to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30b, emphasis added). Paul gives similar advice: "Whatever you do, do from the heart…" (Colossians 3:23).
Saint John Baptist de la Salle is the Patron Saint of:
I hear the whisperings of many: "Terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him!" All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. "Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail, and take our vengeance on him." But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph. In their failure they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion. O LORD of hosts, you who test the just, who probe mind and heart, Let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause. Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD, For he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!
Responsorial Psalm Ps 18:2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 7 R. (see 7) In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice. I love you, O LORD, my strength, O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer. R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice. My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold! Praised be the LORD, I exclaim, and I am safe from my enemies. R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice. The breakers of death surged round about me, the destroying floods overwhelmed me; The cords of the nether world enmeshed me, the snares of death overtook me. R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice. In my distress I called upon the LORD and cried out to my God; From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. R. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.
Verse Before the Gospel See Jn 6:63c, 68c Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of everlasting life.
Gospel Jn 10:31-42
The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus. Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?" The Jews answered him, "We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God." Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, 'You are gods"'? If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and Scripture cannot be set aside, can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? If I do not perform my Father's works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father." Then they tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power.
He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained. Many came to him and said, "John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true." And many there began to believe in him.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: John 10:31-42
Saint John Baptist de la Salle, Priest (Optional Memorial)
Even if you do not believe me, believe the works. (John 10:38)
Wherever he went, Jesus was accompanied by miracles. He healed the sick, cast out demons, multiplied food, and raised the dead. Whenever he saw a need, he sought to meet it. Scripture is filled with stories of how Jesus came to the rescue of people who were suffering.
We all know about these miracles and acts of mercy. But did you know that because of Jesus' death and resurrection, you too can manifest the glory of God? We should never forget that his Spirit lives in us, empowering us to live in holiness and to do the things Jesus did.
Do you believe that God wants to work powerfully through you? That he wants to use you to help build his kingdom? People need to know God's love and power. So many are suffering from wounds, both physical and emotional, and God has called us to offer them his healing touch!
This can sound awfully intimidating, can't it? But it doesn't have to be. It's not as if God expects us to swoop down on someone, heal them miraculously, and then fly away. Love is the foundation of everything Jesus did, and so it should be for us. So start off simply with prayer. Just pray for someone you know who is sick or hurting in any way. If it's a friend or neighbor you feel comfortable with, offer to pray for them. If a family member is feeling discouraged, bitter, or upset, pray that they be set free. If you feel the situation is right, offer to pray with that person, asking them to join you in the prayer. Together, state your trust that God will accomplish his purposes.
Never doubt that God has called you to be an instrument of his peace and healing. You can do great things for him simply by touching the lives of the people close to you. So put aside any thoughts that say you are unworthy, insignificant, or incapable. Saints became saints because they pressed on in faith and stood against all the negative voices that tried to defeat them. You can do the same thing.
So get to work! Become an instrument of Jesus' healing, restoring touch. All it takes is a little courage, a little prayer, and a healthy dose of God's grace.
"Lord, use me to build your kingdom."
Jeremiah 20:10-13 Psalm 18:2-7
my2cents: The first Holy Scripture said ""Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail, and take our vengeance on him." But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph." These words were said hundreds of years before Christ. And they came to be fulfilled in Christ...yet, was Christ already in the world? God was, always has been, always will be. Jesus came to fulfill it in every way, and He wants to fulfill your life.
We pray today " In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice. I love you, O LORD, my strength, O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer." Today is the first Friday of the month, and I invite you to join me in a visit to our Lord. Today we will pray "I Love You Oh My God" among many Holy Hour prayers. The format I use is found at therealpresence.org. When you partake of the Holy Sacraments, you say "I love you God" and God says I love you. And we go through distress and He hears the call. Can you hear Him? Can you see? Him?
In the Holy Gospel, the Jews wanted to stone Him. They could not see Him. They could not hear Him. They were blind spiritually, just going by the book. How many times have you seen someone going by the book and not by the living Word? The real Presence is the Living Word, the flesh in the Eucharist merely awaits your acceptance. And so, because they could not see Him, they wanted him dead. It is the same with abortions, and it is the same with the elderly or sick that are put to death, even a prisoner. But worse...it is the same when you can't see Jesus in your fellow human being. When all you see is the devil, there is something wrong inside of you. Sure you can blame the world for your anger or depression, but what about the lemons in your life? You need something to make it sweet lemonade, you need Jesus. And don't think of someone else right now. Jesus is talking to you. Don't be deaf and don't be blind. It's as if one bad thing about a person makes the whole person bad right? That's how I hear things. For instance, a person comes to me and says "oh this man is mean, he cusses and he is brutal with his workers". And then I hear the man is a pastor at his church. In my mind, there has got to be something good about that pastor. But what about the gossiper? They got stones in their hands...who am I to believe? And who am I to believe in? Can Jesus be in the stone thrower? Who did Christ come to die for? And who did you come to die for?
This is revealed in the real presence of Christ. So many are caught up looking for God in their lives, searching and looking, maybe a sign? Maybe a word? But I Am is right here. He's reached out to you. He's asked if He could join you on your journey. He has leaped in front of you and you walked passed Him. He no longer leads the way because you can not see Him. Who comes first? And how will you see Him?
Bishop Barren brought up Philip in his reflection today: "At the Last Supper, Jesus would further explain his intimate relationship with the Father. There he lays out for us the co-inherence that obtains at the most fundamental dimension of being, that is to say, within the very existence of God. "Lord," Philip said to him, "show us the Father, and that will be enough for us." Jesus replied, "Philip, after I have been with you all this time, you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father."
I AM with you, the Lord says. Even if your mother leaves you, I will not. Even if the world hates you, I will not. Do you Love Me? Asks the Lord. "Oh Yes Lord, but..."
What will it take for you to love me with all your heart, mind, and soul...all your strength? Our Lord says " I DO"
Thought for today: All too often, Lent becomes like most mid-January letdowns. We begin with big plans and drastic promises, convinced that this time is going to be different than every previous attempt to improve ourselves. But what if we let our failures turn our hearts back to God? What if our broken promises and our backpedaling, instead of burying us, could point us to our need for a Savior? After all, Lent is less about our strength and more about God's unrelenting faithfulness to us in the midst of our brokenness.
Action for today: Call to mind one way that you've fallen short this Lent, and offer this up to God in prayer. Recognize your inability to fix yourself and call out to the God who comes to heal and restore.
Prayer for today: Jesus, I wish I could offer you a list of my accomplishments. But You know me too well, and You know that I fall short every day. I surrender my shortcomings, my sins, and my inability to save myself. I need You. Thank you for the opportunities to love you and for the ways that even my failures point me back to you. Thank you for loving me unconditionally.
Quote for Today: "Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.' I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me." – 2 Corinthians 12: 8-9