Mary as a good mother teaches us to be, like her, capable of making definitive decisions; definitive choices, at this moment in a time controlled by, so to speak, a philosophy of the provisional. It is very difficult to make a lifetime commitment. And she helps us to make those definitive decisions in the full freedom with which she said "yes" to the plan God had for her life (cf. Luke 1:38). Let us ask Mary to help us fix our eyes intently on Jesus, to follow him always, even if this is demanding.
-from the book Mother Mary: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis
✞ "Oh, my soul, how much longer do you wish to be so stingy with Jesus? Why so negligent towards Jesus who made You? Why so lazy towards Jesus who redeemed you? Who do you want to love, if you do not want to love Jesus?" — St. Gemma Galgani ✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Solomon prayed for prudence and wisdom so that he might govern God's people rightly. Because his request was unselfish, God granted what he sought. When we pray, we should make sure that our desires are not motivated by selfishness. We should only want those gifts that help us most to serve others." — Rev. Jude Winkler, p. 105 AN EXCERPT FROM Daily Meditations with the Holy Spirit
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action." 1 John 3:16-18
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ST. IVO (IVES) OF KERMARTIN St. Ivo of Kermartin (1253–1303) was born to a noble family in Brittany, France. He studied civil and canon law, philosophy, and theology. He went on to practice law for many years in both the civil and ecclesiastical courts. He graciously defended the poor without charge, and visited them in prison as they awaited trial. He also worked to settle matters out of court to save litigants money and time. For these good works he became known as "Advocate of the Poor." St. Ivo also practiced a life of asceticism; he wore a hairshirt under his clothing, fasted regularly, and became a Franciscan Tertiary. These spiritual disciplines aided him in his practice of virtue in the courtroom: he fought the State in court on behalf of the rights of the Church, and became a diocesan judge who was unable to be tempted by bribes. St. Ivo eventually resigned from practicing law and joined the priesthood. He used the funds from his years practicing law to build a hospital for the poor, and he fed them with the harvests of his land. He became a miracle-worker during his life, feeding hundreds from a single loaf of bread. St. Ivo is the patron saint of judges, attorneys, lawyers, orphans, bailiffs, advocates, and canon lawyers. His feast day is May 19th.
Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 15:22-31
The Apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole Church, decided to choose representatives and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers. This is the letter delivered by them: "The Apostles and the presbyters, your brothers, to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia of Gentile origin: greetings. Since we have heard that some of our number who went out without any mandate from us have upset you with their teachings and disturbed your peace of mind, we have with one accord decided to choose representatives and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we are sending Judas and Silas who will also convey this same message by word of mouth: 'It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage. If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right. Farewell.'"
And so they were sent on their journey. Upon their arrival in Antioch they called the assembly together and delivered the letter. When the people read it, they were delighted with the exhortation.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 57:8-9, 10 and 12 R. (10a) I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord. or: R. Alleluia. My heart is steadfast, O God; my heart is steadfast; I will sing and chant praise. Awake, O my soul; awake, lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn. R. I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord. or: R. Alleluia. I will give thanks to you among the peoples, O LORD, I will chant your praise among the nations. For your mercy towers to the heavens, and your faithfulness to the skies. Be exalted above the heavens, O God; above all the earth be your glory! R. I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 15:15b R. Alleluia, alleluia. I call you my friends, says the Lord, for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 15:12-17
Jesus said to his disciples: "This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another."
Meditation: John 15:12-17 5th Week of Easter
I no longer call you slaves. . . . I have called you friends. (John 15:15)
Do you remember how your relationship with your best friend developed? You probably spent a lot of time with that person, confiding in him and sharing some of your deepest thoughts, fears, and desires. You built a relationship on trust, honesty, and loyalty. Your best friend may be the only one who knows how you got that scar next to your right ear. And he may be the only one who knows just why that confession you made last March was so important.
In today's Gospel reading, Jesus calls his disciples his closest friends. But we are mistaken if we think that his love is limited to just these few believers. He wants to tell you the same thing! Remember, he gave up his life so that you and he could be joined together. He gave everything so that you could find rest and comfort, encouragement and inspiration, in his presence, just as you find with your best friend on earth. That's right! Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, the Lord of the universe, calls you his friend! Isn't that wonderful?
A slave has very few rights, little dignity, and no freedom. He works tirelessly just to please his master. But a friend serves out of love. He gives generously because he holds his friend in high esteem. That's how Jesus looks at you. He invites you into a sharing of respect, love, and intimacy with him. He never tries to bully you or scare you into following him. Rather, he helps you see how fulfilling your life can be as you let his plan unfold. In a word, he loves you for who you are.
Take a few minutes today and think about who Jesus is to you. Then think about who you are to Jesus. Imagine and listen, as Jesus calls you his friend. Speak to him as you would speak to a close friend. Let him look you in the eye, and don't be afraid to look right back at him. You belong together!
"Jesus, I love you. I give my life to you, not as a slave dedicates himself to his master, but as someone who opens his heart to a friend. Help me to see myself through your eyes."
Acts 15:22-31 Psalm 57:8-10, 12
my2cents: Our first holy Scripture said "The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers..." What's so great about this? They were chosen by the Holy Spirit. That's all!
We prayed today " I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord" and this is what happens in the Holy Eucharist: A person goes up in the state of grace, without mortal sin, and is offering themselves a thanksgiving to God and He comes in to the measure we offer.
In comes our Holy Lord our God, Jesus the Christ, the giver: "No one has greater love than this,to lay down one's life for one's friends". He chose the 12, and died for the world to see His love for them. Even though they turned their backs, even though one betrayed Him, He'd truly love and die for them. I want you to take a deep look at your relationship with our Lord.
Q: "Would you lay your life for Him?" If you answered yes, then: "would you lay your life for a sinner? and would you be willing to stop sinning?" Because defeating the enemy is about claiming what is rightly ours...our claim to be not only a child of God, but friends.
How many times have you heard of a child not getting along with a parent? And how many times have you heard of brothers and sisters fighting? And worse, a stranger killing strangers. Yesterday I went to take a driving test for an endorsement to carry passengers on a bus. I spent so much time on this, I took the written test twice, I went again to get set up and pay for driving test, and I make the one hour drive to take the federal test, wait in line, and finally they attend me, and a few minutes later the testing lady says basically that I failed. Unbelievable. I was totally unprepared. Throughout the inspection test she kept asking me "Did you not read Chapter 11?" It did not help, but she kept asking me over and over. I told her I thought I did (I had glanced over it). I thought things were going to go down one way, but they went down another. I thought I'd be told and guided through the test and I'd answer and follow instructions. Nope. Things aren't like they were 20 years ago! So, I was sent on my way. Why do I tell you this nutty story of a failure about me? Shouldn't you be only hearing positive and encouraging things? I texted some buddies (brothers) "Either you didn't pray for me or I did not study! Bombed the test!"
I tell you this story because this is how our spiritual life will be. We suppose we are "good enough" and "ready" for the test, but are you? What if I told you that you failed the Lord yesterday? You could've stopped, you should've talked with Him, and you may have had more time for Him and with Him if you would...care...to lay your life...for your friend.
I reflected on this on my way home. I was relying way too much on the "chance" of a fluke or grace to be let through on the test. I had spent no time studying, yeah, I did a lot to get to the test, but I did not study. I went through all the motions and "did my time" but I was not ready, I wasn't "good" as I pre-supposed.
I texted several families if they'd like to do a bible study for the summer, they got a bunch of good ones from Ascension Press with Jeff Cavins.
Let's study. Let's always be ready. For what? The final test? It's always happening. In eternity, it is always now. Let's not just "do stuff" but actually immerse ourselves in Him and it is impacting, because He is asking that we immerse ourselves in His outpouring of Himself, even....His blood