One cannot understand God without first believing in God. If you have any interest in knowing what's true, you must first have faith. It is by faith that God purifies your heart. Unless you first abandon yourself to God, you will never know God. The more you love God, the deeper your faith, and the more love and faith you possess, the more you know what's true. All of this is truly biblical, and represents well the tradition of the Church fathers and mothers.
–from the book The Saint vs. The Scholar: The Fight Between Faith and Reason
✞ "Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly, do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God." — St. Isidore of Seville
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "When we are living in the world, we can easily take on the mindset of a secular society. It is important for us to cultivate in our lives, with great care, God's way of looking at things and life in general. His Word guides us." — Rev. Thomas J. Donaghy, p. 22 AN EXCERPT FROM Inspirational Thoughts for Everyday
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing." Isaiah 40:25-26
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Saint of the Day for June 9
(c. 306 – June 9, 373)
Poet, teacher, orator, and defender of the faith, Ephrem is the only Syrian recognized as a doctor of the Church. He took upon himself the special task of opposing the many false doctrines rampant at his time, always remaining a true and forceful defender of the Catholic Church.
Born in Nisibis, Mesopotamia, he was baptized as a young man and became famous as a teacher in his native city. When the Christian emperor had to cede Nisibis to the Persians, Ephrem fled as a refugee to Edessa, along with many other Christians. He is credited with attracting great glory to the biblical school there. He was ordained a deacon but declined becoming a priest. Ephrem was said to have avoided presbyteral consecration by feigning madness!
He had a prolific pen, and his writings best illumine his holiness. Although he was not a man of great scholarship, his works reflect deep insight and knowledge of the Scriptures. In writing about the mysteries of humanity's redemption, Ephrem reveals a realistic and humanly sympathetic spirit and a great devotion to the humanity of Jesus. It is said that his poetic account of the Last Judgment inspired Dante.
It is surprising to read that he wrote hymns against the heretics of his day. He would take the popular songs of the heretical groups and using their melodies, compose beautiful hymns embodying orthodox doctrine. Ephrem became one of the first to introduce song into the Church's public worship as a means of instruction for the faithful. His many hymns have earned him the title "Harp of the Holy Spirit."
Ephrem preferred a simple, austere life, living in a small cave overlooking the city of Edessa. It was here that he died around 373.
Many Catholics still find singing in church a problem, probably because of the rather individualistic piety that they inherited. Yet singing has been a tradition of both the Old and the New Testaments. It is an excellent way of expressing and creating a community spirit of unity as well as of joy. An ancient historian testifies that Ephrem's hymns "lent luster to the Christian assemblies." We need some modern Ephrems—and cooperating singers—to do the same for our Christian assemblies today.
Reading 1 Tb 11:5-17
Anna sat watching the road by which her son was to come. When she saw him coming, she exclaimed to his father, "Tobit, your son is coming, and the man who traveled with him!"
Raphael said to Tobiah before he reached his father: "I am certain that his eyes will be opened. Smear the fish gall on them. This medicine will make the cataracts shrink and peel off from his eyes; then your father will again be able to see the light of day."
Then Anna ran up to her son, threw her arms around him, and said to him, "Now that I have seen you again, son, I am ready to die!" And she sobbed aloud.
Tobit got up and stumbled out through the courtyard gate. Tobiah went up to him with the fish gall in his hand, and holding him firmly, blew into his eyes. "Courage, father," he said. Next he smeared the medicine on his eyes, and it made them smart. Then, beginning at the corners of Tobit's eyes, Tobiah used both hands to peel off the cataracts.
When Tobit saw his son, he threw his arms around him and wept. He exclaimed, "I can see you, son, the light of my eyes!" Then he said:
"Blessed be God, and praised be his great name, and blessed be all his holy angels. May his holy name be praised throughout all the ages, Because it was he who scourged me, and it is he who has had mercy on me. Behold, I now see my son Tobiah!"
Then Tobit went back in, rejoicing and praising God with full voice for everything that had happened. Tobiah told his father that the Lord God had granted him a successful journey; that he had brought back the money; and that he had married Raguel's daughter Sarah, who would arrive shortly, for she was approaching the gate of Nineveh.
Tobit and Anna rejoiced and went out to the gate of Nineveh to meet their daughter-in-law. When the people of Nineveh saw Tobit walking along briskly, with no one leading him by the hand, they were amazed. Before them all Tobit proclaimed how God had mercifully restored sight to his eyes. When Tobit reached Sarah, the wife of his son Tobiah, he greeted her: "Welcome, my daughter! Blessed be your God for bringing you to us, daughter! Blessed is your father, and blessed is my son Tobiah, and blessed are you, daughter! Welcome to your home with blessing and joy. Come in, daughter!" That day there was joy for all the Jews who lived in Nineveh.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 146:1b-2, 6c-7, 8-9a, 9bc-10 R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul! or: R. Alleluia. Praise the LORD, O my soul; I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I live. R. Praise the Lord, my soul! or: R. Alleluia. The LORD keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets captives free. R. Praise the Lord, my soul! or: R. Alleluia. The LORD gives sight to the blind. The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the just. The LORD protects strangers. R. Praise the Lord, my soul! or: R. Alleluia. The fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts The LORD shall reign forever, your God, O Zion, through all generations! Alleluia. R. Praise the Lord, my soul! or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 14:23 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him and we will come to him. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 12:35-37
As Jesus was teaching in the temple area he said, "How do the scribes claim that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said:
The Lord said to my lord, 'Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet.'
David himself calls him 'lord'; so how is he his son?" The great crowd heard this with delight.
Meditation: Mark 12:35-37
Saint Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)
Inspired by the Holy Spirit . . . (Mark 12:36)
Have you ever taken a deep breath and said, "Wow, that's really good oxygen!" Probably not. We don't typically pay attention to things that are so familiar to us, no matter how vital they are to our lives.
Sometimes this happens in a spiritual sense too. In today's Gospel reading, we can almost miss it when Jesus mentions the Holy Spirit inspiring King David to speak about the coming Messiah. And that's unfortunate, because this Holy Spirit is the "oxygen" of our faith. From the beginning, he has been actively revealing God's mysteries to his people, and he continues this work today.
When we first encounter the Spirit in the Bible, he is described as a "mighty wind sweeping over the waters" at the moment of creation (Genesis 1:2). Then, throughout the Old Testament, we see him guiding leaders like Moses and David. We see him speaking through prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah. And we see him preparing his people for the coming Messiah.
Even after the Messiah had come, the Spirit continued to work mightily. At the Jordan, he revealed to John that Jesus was "the Son of God" (John 1:34). He came upon Jesus and empowered him at his baptism (Matthew 3:16). After Pentecost, he inspired the apostles to teach with authority, to pray for healing, and to proclaim the gospel with courage.
Brothers and sisters, this same Holy Spirit is active in your life! He is the One who makes Scripture come alive. He is the inner voice that nudges you to pray. He is the whisper of God's unstoppable love for you. He is constantly moving in your heart to draw you closer to Jesus. Don't miss him!
Try an experiment right now. Take in a deep breath of air. As the oxygen fills your lungs, ask the Holy Spirit to fill your heart. As you breathe out, remind yourself that the Spirit is as close to you as the air you breathe. Thank him for moving and acting in your life and in the lives of your loved ones. Do this a couple of times, and see if the Spirit helps you feel more peaceful and more connected to God. Then, all day today, remember that the Holy Spirit is with you and in you. You are a vessel of the Lord!
"Holy Spirit, come and fill me up."
Tobit 11:5-17 Psalm 146:1-2, 6-10
my2cents: "When Tobit saw his son, he threw his arms around him and wept. He exclaimed, "I can see you, son, the light of my eyes!" This is the story of the Father and the Son. This is the story of our life with our Father. Jesus was the chosen one. Jesus aims to unite ourselves with Him. And united, we are embraced by the Father we have in Heaven. In Heaven, there is such a great love, that it transforms a being into something unfathomable. We can experience a bit on earth, and it is available by way of giving our lives to Our Father!
We pray today "Praise the LORD, O my soul; I will praise the LORD all my life;I will sing praise to my God while I live." Sure is a lot of singing going on here, no? Can you sing? Yes you can. Will you? This song, is the song I live, that of a praising. Everything we have is through God's glorious love, He just keeps giving. Sing with me. "The Lord gives sight to the blind" and "The LORD keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry." I'm hungry. Only His Body (Eucharist) fills me. Physically, I'm hungry, I am not eating as a sacrifice for you. I will do my best to abstain from meat today. And I am offering my sacrifices for God's Kingdom, and you are in it, in my thoughts, in my prayers and why? Because I am hungry and only filling God's banquet table makes me full. I want you in full participation. I want you to be hungry too. I want you to earn your cross. And the cross is given. There are then two ways to suffer: By the cross you take, or the cross that is given. What does this mean? Either surrender your life, or your life will be taken. Which would you rather? Because the Lord has mercy on the lives that surrender....
In comes our Lord and our Savior: "The Lord said to my lord, 'Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet.'. Keep in mind, we are leading up to the Holy Trinity celebration this Sunday. God gives His Son, our Lord, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, one in being with the Holy Spirit. These things we pray in Holy Mass. It is in the Nicene Creed. It is the fundamentals of our Christian faith. And so, our Lord pours Himself out to defeat the enemies, sin and death. So many of them, that it cost His only life on earth. All Glory to Him, rightly. This is the life of God and He would have it no other way. I am so glad you have read this far, I love you for that and I encourage you to persevere. That is the whole point of these two bits, these coins from Heaven, these 2 cents. I encourage you to be strong. The body does not desire to be with God, the flesh, the mortal things. But the Spirit does. I am a zealous soul, and jealous for God. When people turn me down to join in God things, I get jealous. I pout. "BUT I LOVE YOU". It is God asking you. Don't you ever turn away from me! And I persist. Sometimes you listen my people. Sometimes I am alone. But I am with the great I AM. The Holy Spirit is so powerful that it can penetrate your every thought. My thoughts are with you. God's Son is with you. He never left, He never turns away. He is right there in front of you asking you to join this Trinitarian love..>God..>Son..>..Holy Spirit in every one......