The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus told his disciples not to worry because the Holy Spirit would tell them what to say. When you face tough choices, pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance to know what is right and for the strength to do it.
–from the book A 40-Day Spiritual Workout for Catholics
✞ "If you ate only one meal a week would you survive? It is the same for your soul. Nourish it with the Blessed Sacrament." — St. André Bessette
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "We must beg God constantly in our prayers to uphold us by His hand; we should keep ever in our minds the truth that if He leaves us, most certainly we shall fall at once into the abyss, for we must never be so foolish as to trust in ourselves. After this I think the greatest safeguard is to be very careful and to watch how we advance in virtue; we must notice whether we are making progress or falling back in it, especially as regards the love of our neighbor, the desire to be thought the least of all and how we perform our ordinary, everyday duties. If we attend to this and beg Our Lord to enlighten us, we shall at once perceive our gain or loss." — St. Teresa of Avila, p.98-9 AN EXCERPT FROM Interior Castle
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "Surely there is no one on earth so righteous as to do good without ever sinning. Do not give heed to everything that people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you; your heart knows that many times you have yourself cursed others." Ecclesiastes 7:20-21
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ST. GEMMA GALGANI
St. Gemma Galgani (1878-1903) was born in Italy, the fifth of eight children of a prosperous pharmacist. Her mother and three siblings died of tuberculous when she was young, and when she was 18 her father died as well, leaving Gemma to help care for her younger siblings. She rejected two marriage proposals and became a housekeeper while trying to enter the religious life as a Passionist. She was rejected due to her poor heath, and later became a Tertiary member of the Order. Gemma developed spinal meningitis but was miraculously healed, which she attributed to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the intercession of St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Throughout her life she united herself with the Passion of Christ and experienced great suffering as a result, but not without receiving many remarkable graces as well. She experienced many visions and was often visited by her guardian angel, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary. For this she was known as a great mystic, and, according to her spiritual director, developed the stigmata at age 21. After a selfless life of love given to God for the conversion of sinners, she died on the Vigil of Easter at the age of 25. She is the patron saint of pharmacists, loss of parents, back illnesses, temptations, and those seeking purity of heart. Her feast day is April 11th.
Hear me, O islands, listen, O distant peoples. The LORD called me from birth, from my mother's womb he gave me my name. He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me. You are my servant, he said to me, Israel, through whom I show my glory.
Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, Yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God. For now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, That Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; And I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength! It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15 and 17 R. (see 15ab) I will sing of your salvation. In you, O LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice rescue me, and deliver me; incline your ear to me, and save me. R. I will sing of your salvation. Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are my rock and my fortress. O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked. R. I will sing of your salvation. For you are my hope, O Lord; my trust, O God, from my youth. On you I depend from birth; from my mother's womb you are my strength. R. I will sing of your salvation. My mouth shall declare your justice, day by day your salvation. O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds. R. I will sing of your salvation.
Verse Before the Gospel Hail to you, our King, obedient to the Father; you were led to your crucifixion like a gentle lamb to the slaughter.
Gospel Jn 13:21-33, 36-38
Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, "Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me." The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant. One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus' side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. He leaned back against Jesus' chest and said to him, "Master, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it." So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly." Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him, "Buy what we need for the feast," or to give something to the poor. So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.
When he had left, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, 'Where I go you cannot come,' so now I say it to you."
Simon Peter said to him, "Master, where are you going?" Jesus answered him, "Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later." Peter said to him, "Master, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times."
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: John 13:21-33, 36-38
Tuesday of Holy Week
One of you will betray me. (John 13:21)
Imagine how deeply Jesus must have grieved that a friend would turn on him: "Even my trusted friend, who ate my bread, has raised his heel against me" (Psalm 41:10).
Earlier, in the synagogue in Capernaum, when Jesus declared that he was the bread of life, many of his followers turned away from him (John 6:53, 66). John tells us that Jesus knew even then that Judas would betray him (6:70-71). Later, at the Last Supper, when he washed the disciples' feet, Jesus still had hope that Judas might turn back and abandon his plans.
It also appears that Judas was present when Jesus offered the bread and wine, his own Body and Blood, to his disciples (Luke 22:19-21). So it's likely that Judas received the first Eucharist. Still, he refused these overtures from the Lord and held fast to what he intended to do.
The story of Judas is a powerful illustration of how critical it is that we have the right disposition toward Jesus. This is especially true when we receive the Eucharist.
Can you imagine how Jesus felt as he looked at Judas at the Last Supper? Or how he felt every time he caught Judas grumbling against him or quietly siphoning off money from the disciples' common purse? He must have been brokenhearted. One of his own was going to betray him. One of his own had rejected his teaching and his will, preferring his own ideas and his own will instead. You can even imagine Jesus weeping over Judas' lack of faith. What was Judas thinking? How could he make such a poor decision?
Just as he looked at Judas, Jesus looks at us. He asks us, "What is your disposition toward me? Am I the Living Bread that brings you life? Or am I just one option among many that makes you happy?"
Let's not make a poor decision here. May we all repent for the ways we have preferred our own will to God's. May we always come to Communion with an open and willing heart. Let's all echo Peter's bold proclamation of faith: "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe . . . that you are the Holy One of God." (John 6:68-69).
"Lord, soften my heart so that I can become the Eucharist I eat."
Isaiah 49:1-6 Psalm 71:1-6, 15, 17
The Lord our God says "I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth." Isn't that something? That He turns darkness into light? Indeed, that is how our Easter Vigil will begin...in darkness, and we will hear the book of Genesis, and what does our Lord say in Genesis? Let there be light! LET THERE BE LIGHT! We pray today "I will sing of your salvation. Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are my rock and my fortress." Can you imagine Jesus our King...singing? I bet you He did. I bet there were songs to sing in the temple, and I bet He sang a song you'd never forget. Are you listening?
In the Holy Gospel, the Last Supper is brought to mind. Here, He introduces His body, gives His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, nobody ever took His life...He gave it. What do we do? Take it? Take it and what? What do we do with it? In a talk I'm giving in a Cursillo in the middle of summer on Christianity In Action, I speak about a warship, and it has many parts. One part is the repair center, and it is compared to the confessional with the priest. The tabernacle is the fuel tanks, and the fuel is the Eucharist, the Body of Christ. I say in it something like "once repaired, the fuel can burn more efficiently". More power, more grace, more holiness. But if you are not repaired, it could be the demise of the engine, your heart. Such was the case of Judas of Iscariot. Once the Body Of Christ enters his soul, the end of his life began. Now, this happens to us too. The end of your life may enter if you are now spiritually repaired and prepared to receive the Body of Christ. A simple silly example, watch your reaction next time you receive Him. What happens? It serves as a catalyst, and what does a catalyst do to the subject it enters? For some agents, it becomes a hardener. Will your heart get hard, or will your faith be made firm? Will you leave the altar mad, or will you leave so full of peace that nothing in the world can shake you? Or does nothing happen at all? That there is the danger...nothing...something neutral, where you leave and the winds of the world sway you. ""Master, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." I usually laugh inside when a new worker tells me "I will never quit on you", because I know he will not last. And I've been at this for about 15 years. Simon says beautiful words of faithfulness "I would die for you!" And at the first moment his faithfulness is tested...he denies even knowing Christ.
Jesus first gave His life, then His body. We must give our life, our hearts, then you can talk. Then you can walk the walk. How many times and daily do I have to battle with original sin. It is not a question. Original sin was of pride. Where "me comes first". Where " I'm on par with God". Where "I just know better and can do it alone". Where ...you are weak. Where you push God around. Where you feed into lies. Where He is not first.
I see people always "defending themselves" instead of giving themselves. I see people always choosing something else and it is always of pride. Where they say they believe and would die for God, and they can not hold their tongues in hatred. Where they say they believe in God and act worse than the non-believers of the world. Holy Week is of a culmination of darkness, and what God does with it is astounding, I have no words. Why it is not a Mass of Obligation on Thursday, I don't know, but it is indeed obligatory for one faithful soul. God gave HIS life, before He gave His body. In it, He is revealed, and the true you is revealed. And this is good. Stop asking God to open your eyes and your heart. The key is inside, and He is there waiting on the other side. Do you believe He is there? Do you believe?
Hail Mary, full of grace... Pray for us sinners until we die
Thought for the day: If God were to cease thinking about us, we would cease to exist. For every moment that we are alive, we are held in existence by God. For every breath we take, it is another chance to open our hearts to the One who gave us that ability in the first place. It's never too late to turn to Him.
Action for today: Pick up a copy of "Letters to a Young Catholic," by George Weigel. Then, read chapter 2. And then the whole thing for that matter. You won't regret it.
Prayer for today: Jesus, I trust in you. My breath is your breath. No matter what has come before, let us begin again, together.
Quote for today: "In the Catholic view of things, 'walking on water' is an entirely sensible thing to do. It's staying in the boat, hanging tightly to our own sad little securities, that's rather mad." – George Weigel
Be a Hero today – #ShareJesus: Perform a secret act of kindness for someone. Preferably, for someone you don't like. It will crucify your human sensibilities, and give you a window into the heart of a God who loves us, even when we are unaware or could care less.