The support of friends, especially in times of crisis, is vital to helping us through the emotions that flood and fuel our hearts. They will help us see clearly enough to move through mourning, provide lighter moments, too, especially if we might seem to teeter on the edge of truly losing hope. They will be the personification of God's unconditional love and help us find even greater spiritual depth.
–from: Don't Panic: How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough
✞ ""The last degree of love is when He gave Himself to us to be our Food; because He gave Himself to be united with us in every way." — St. Bernardine of Siena
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Prayer brings our mind into the brightness of divine light, and exposes our will to the warmth of divine love. Nothing else can so purge our mind from its ignorance, and our will from its depraved affections. It is a blessed fountain which, as it flows, revives our good desires and causes them to bring forth fruit, washes away the stains of infirmity from our soul, and calms the passions of our hearts." — St. Francis de Sales, p. 61 AN EXCERPT FROM An Introduction to the Devout Life ✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "My child, if you accept my words and treasure up my commandments within you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding; if you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures—then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God." Proverbs 2:1-5
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Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen
Saint of the Day for April 24
(1577 – April 24, 1622)
Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen's Story
If a poor man needed some clothing, Fidelis would often give the man the clothes right off his back. Complete generosity to others characterized this saint's life.
Born in 1577, Mark Rey became a lawyer who constantly upheld the causes of the poor and oppressed people. Nicknamed "the poor man's lawyer," Rey soon grew disgusted with the corruption and injustice he saw among his colleagues. He left his law career to become a priest, joining his brother George as a member of the Capuchin Order. Fidelis was his religious name. His wealth was divided between needy seminarians and the poor.
As a follower of Francis, Fidelis continued his devotion to the weak and needy. During a severe epidemic in a city where he was guardian of a friary, Fidelis cared for and cured many sick soldiers.
He was appointed head of a group of Capuchins sent to preach against the Calvinists and Zwinglians in Switzerland. Almost certain violence threatened. Those who observed the mission felt that success was more attributable to the prayer of Fidelis during the night than to his sermons and instructions.
He was accused of opposing the peasants' national aspirations for independence from Austria. While he was preaching at Seewis, to which he had gone against the advice of his friends, a gun was fired at him, but he escaped unharmed. A Protestant offered to shelter Fidelis, but he declined, saying his life was in God's hands. On the road back, he was set upon by a group of armed men and killed.
Fidelis was canonized in 1746. Fifteen years later he was recognized as a martyr.
Fidelis' constant prayer was that he be kept completely faithful to God and not give in to any lukewarmness or apathy. He was often heard to exclaim, "Woe to me if I should prove myself but a halfhearted soldier in the service of my thorn-crowned Captain." His prayer against apathy, and his concern for the poor and weak make him a saint whose example is valuable today. The modern Church is calling us to follow the example of "the poor man's lawyer" by sharing ourselves and our talents with those less fortunate and by working for justice in the world.
Monday of the Second Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 4:23-31
After their release Peter and John went back to their own people and reported what the chief priests and elders had told them. And when they heard it, they raised their voices to God with one accord and said, "Sovereign Lord, maker of heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them, you said by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of our father David, your servant:
Why did the Gentiles rage and the peoples entertain folly? The kings of the earth took their stand and the princes gathered together against the Lord and against his anointed.
Indeed they gathered in this city against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed, Herod and Pontius Pilate, together with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do what your hand and your will had long ago planned to take place. And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and enable your servants to speak your word with all boldness, as you stretch forth your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are done through the name of your holy servant Jesus." As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. Responsorial Psalm Ps 2:1-3, 4-7a, 7b-9
R. (see 11d) Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. Why do the nations rage and the peoples utter folly? The kings of the earth rise up, and the princes conspire together against the LORD and against his anointed: "Let us break their fetters and cast their bonds from us!" R. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. He who is throned in heaven laughs; the LORD derides them. Then in anger he speaks to them; he terrifies them in his wrath: "I myself have set up my king on Zion, my holy mountain." I will proclaim the decree of the LORD. R. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; this day I have begotten you. Ask of me and I will give you the nations for an inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession. You shall rule them with an iron rod; you shall shatter them like an earthen dish." R. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. Alleluia Col 3:1
R. Alleluia, alleluia. If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 3:1-8
There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him." Jesus answered and said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother's womb and be born again, can he?" Jesus answered, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
wau.org Mass Reading & Meditation for April 24, 2017 Catholic Meditations Meditation: John 3:1-8
Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Priest and Martyr (Optional Memorial)
Do not be amazed. (John 3:7)
But Nicodemus was amazed! Jesus told him that to see the kingdom of God, he had to be "born from above" (John 3:3). Of course, Jesus wasn't talking about physical birth; he was talking about a spiritual birth.
This concept of being "born from above" may sound just as unfamiliar to us as it did to Nicodemus. We live in a world that relies on the physical senses—what we can see and touch and hear. But Jesus came to enliven our spiritual senses so that we could "see" him and "touch" him in a deeper way. He came to teach us how to walk by faith and not just by sight.
So what does it mean to be "born of the Spirit"? A lot of things! Here are just a few.
First, being born of the Spirit makes us vessels of the Spirit. It means that the Holy Spirit lives in us, always ready to encourage us, convict us of sin, fill us with peace, and stir us to do his will. It means that we can be led by the Spirit instead of the desires and drives of our fallen nature.
Second, being born of the Spirit means that we can begin to think as Jesus thinks, to have the "mind of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 2:16). We may want to react with bitterness, anger, or vengeance when we are wronged, but the Spirit can teach us to look on our offender as someone created by God and equally loved by him. He can teach us to forgive quickly, to discern good from evil more clearly, and to be more ready to serve instead of expecting to be served.
Finally, being born of the Spirit means becoming different—at least from the world's perspective! Nicodemus saw something truly unique in Jesus. Was it the miracles? Was it his sense of peace? Or was it the way Jesus' words resonated in his heart? Whatever it was, we can be sure that people will notice something out of the ordinary in us as we stay close to the Lord—and they will be intrigued. They will see us living by a different set of standards, and that will make them more receptive to the good news of Christ.
"Lord, open my spiritual eyes. Holy Spirit, I need more of you today."
Acts 4:23-31 Psalm 2:1-9
my2cents: The first Holy Scripture said "...they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness"
We prayed today "Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord. The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; this day I have begotten you. Ask of me and I will give you"
Our Lord said today ""Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God." "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God." Are you a born again Christian? The question is funny. You should only be born once, of flesh, and once of spirit, and once of water. What if we are 3 parts then, body, soul, and spirit? Then there are 3 births we must come about through. You didn't choose to be born, in the flesh. It is a gift from God and it is a gift of parents. I didn't have a choice on my soul's birth in water, Holy Baptism. It was a gift of God and my parents and Holy Mother Church. So what's left? The spirit. I must be born of the Spirit, and I made that choice in Holy Confirmation, baptized with fire. Now, what's left of my births? Growing up. I have some growing to do. These here grounds we live in are growing compounds. We must flourish for the Lord.
"The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes". These winds have been around since the dawn of creation. It is the Lord. Only He knows where He will go. This here is where trust comes in. Do you want to see Heaven? Then you must be born from above. Do you want to enter Heaven? Then you must be born in His water and Spirit. How many of you know your baptism date? The date you were born from above? No, we mostly only know and celebrate our fleshly birthday. To me, finding out my baptism day has changed my outlook on life. Do you remember your Confirmation day? I need to find out, because that's the day I said "Holy Spirit, come into my life, guide it, and stir your love inside to do your Holy Will".
As this happens, you see the Kingdom of God at hand. It's not as far off as you think. Many times Jesus appears and people don't know...where He goes is amazing