Most people's glorious gates of perception creak on rusty hinges. How much of the splendor of life is wasted on us because we plod along half-blind, half-deaf, with all our senses throttled, and numbed by habituation? How much joy is lost on us. How many surprises we miss. It is as if Easter eggs had been hidden under every bush and we were too lazy to look for them. But it need not be so. We are able to stop the advance of dullness like the spread of a disease. We can even reverse the process and initiate healing. We can deliberately pay attention each day to one smell, one sound which we never appreciated before, to one color or shape, one texture, one taste to which we never before paid attention.
–from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life
✞"The poor have much to teach you. You have much to learn from them." — St. Vincent de Paul
MEDITATION OF THE DAY ✞"Consider that the love of divine charity is so closely joined in the soul with perfect patience, that neither can leave the soul without the other. For this reason (if the soul elect to love Me) she should elect to endure pains for Me in whatever mode or circumstance I may send them to her. Patience cannot be proved in any other way than by suffering, and patience is united with love as has been said. Therefore bear yourselves with manly courage, for, unless you do so, you will not prove yourselves to be spouses of My Truth, and faithful children, nor of the company of those who relish the taste of My honor, and the salvation of souls." — St. Catherine Of Siena, p. 10 AN EXCERPT FROM Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." 1 John 5:11
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Saint Cyril of Alexandria
(378 – June 27, 444)
Saint Cyril of Alexandria's Story
Saints are not born with halos around their heads. Cyril, recognized as a great teacher of the Church, began his career as archbishop of Alexandria, Egypt, with impulsive, often violent, actions. He pillaged and closed the churches of the Novatian heretics–who required those who denied the faith to be re-baptized–participated in the deposing of Saint John Chrysostom, and confiscated Jewish property, expelling the Jews from Alexandria in retaliation for their attacks on Christians.
Cyril's importance for theology and Church history lies in his championing the cause of orthodoxy against the heresy of Nestorius, who taught that in Christ there were two persons, one human and one divine.
The controversy centered around the two natures in Christ. Nestorius would not agree to the title "God-bearer" for Mary. He preferred "Christ-bearer," saying there are two distinct persons in Christ–divine and human–joined only by a moral union. He said Mary was not the mother of God but only of the man Christ, whose humanity was only a temple of God. Nestorianism implied that the humanity of Christ was a mere disguise.
Presiding as the pope's representative at the Council of Ephesus in 431, Cyril condemned Nestorianism and proclaimed Mary truly the "God-bearer"–the mother of the one Person who is truly God and truly human. In the confusion that followed, Cyril was deposed and imprisoned for three months, after which he was welcomed back to Alexandria.
Besides needing to soften some of his opposition to those who had sided with Nestorius, Cyril had difficulties with some of his own allies, who thought he had gone too far, sacrificing not only language but orthodoxy. Until his death, his policy of moderation kept his extreme partisans under control. On his deathbed, despite pressure, he refused to condemn the teacher of Nestorius.
Lives of the saints are valuable not only for the virtue they reveal but also for the less admirable qualities that also appear. Holiness is a gift of God to us as human beings. Life is a process. We respond to God's gift, but sometimes with a lot of zigzagging. If Cyril had been more patient and diplomatic, the Nestorian church might not have risen and maintained power so long. But even saints must grow out of immaturity, narrowness, and selfishness. It is because they—and we—do grow, that we are truly saints, persons who live the life of God.
Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Gn 13:2, 5-18
Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.
Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support them if they stayed together; their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. There were quarrels between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and those of Lot's. (At this time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were occupying the land.)
So Abram said to Lot: "Let there be no strife between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land at your disposal? Please separate from me. If you prefer the left, I will go to the right; if you prefer the right, I will go to the left." Lot looked about and saw how well watered the whole Jordan Plain was as far as Zoar, like the LORD's own garden, or like Egypt. (This was before the LORD had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) Lot, therefore, chose for himself the whole Jordan Plain and set out eastward. Thus they separated from each other; Abram stayed in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the Plain, pitching his tents near Sodom. Now the inhabitants of Sodom were very wicked in the sins they committed against the LORD.
After Lot had left, the LORD said to Abram: "Look about you, and from where you are, gaze to the north and south, east and west; all the land that you see I will give to you and your descendants forever. I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth; if anyone could count the dust of the earth, your descendants too might be counted. Set forth and walk about in the land, through its length and breadth, for to you I will give it." Abram moved his tents and went on to settle near the terebinth of Mamre, which is at Hebron. There he built an altar to the LORD.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 15:2-3a, 3bc-4ab, 5 R. (1b) He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord. He who walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue. R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord. Who harms not his fellow man, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor; By whom the reprobate is despised, while he honors those who fear the LORD. R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord. Who lends not his money at usury and accepts no bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be disturbed. R. He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord. Alleluia Jn 8:12 R. Alleluia, alleluia. I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 7:6, 12-14
Jesus said to his disciples: "Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.
"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few."
Meditation: Matthew 7:6, 12-14
Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. (Matthew 7:14)
Exercise isn't always fun. There are days when we just don't feel like doing what we need to do to keep fit. It can tire us out, and sometimes it can even be painful, if we're out of shape. But knowing the benefits of exercise can motivate us to keep going. It helps us lose weight, prevents disease, reduces stress, improves our mood, and boosts our energy level. Paradoxically, the people who don't make the sacrifice to exercise often feel worse, and their bodies wear out faster.
That paradox is one way to look at Jesus' teaching on the "narrow" or "constricted" road. This image can seem foreboding when we focus on how tough the road is. That's why it's always better to focus on where this road is leading us: to joy and freedom. When we choose to keep walking the narrow road, we become more free, not less. By contrast, the easy, wide road takes us away from God and leaves us feeling more empty and hopeless.
We know what it's like to face a "narrow" gate—a choice to pray or not, to serve or not, to forgive or not. Making the harder choice may not appeal to us at first, but like exercise, it will benefit us in the end. When we exercise our legs, they get stronger. When we exercise forgiveness, our mercy becomes stronger. Little by little, the daily choices we make for God are making us more like him.
As you encounter those "narrow gate" choices today, try to see them as opportunities. God does! He sees them as moments of grace to draw you closer to his side. You're participating in the best fitness program that has ever existed—Jesus is making you fit for heaven! Every situation that comes your way is really part of his divine fitness package. Every exercise you go through brings you closer to your goal: God himself.
"Lord, you are the prize I'm seeking! Keep my heart set on you, and help me to see every obstacle as another step on the road to glory!"
Genesis 13:2, 5-18 Psalm 15:2-5
my2cents: Abram said to Lot "If you prefer the left, I will go to the right; if you prefer the right, I will go to the left." They parted ways. I remember a guy that worked for us, there was a weird vibe there for a while, and soon we parted ways. Later, he wound up taking away from us a contract, and even workers, and we were left stranded, without work for a while, hurting, not because of the money, nor the betrayal of the employees, but because of the trust that was broken. I am the son of the boss in our family business, and I remember something the boss told me to do...he said "let's go pray before the Blessed Sacrament" and we did, we knelt there, and a knot wanted to form in my throat as we commended ourselves to God's will. In all honesty, I had heard of little stories that worker was doing of unfaithfulness to his own family and in reality, it would be better not to associate with him...question being, like Father John Of the Holy Spirit said in our local church this past Sunday "how much is your soul worth? How much money?" Or would you even trade it for the love of a mere mortal? Pay attention to this because it will be Sunday's Gospel. So we parted ways, and we are at peace and righteousness, meek, the loser. You have to be the loser in the conversational argument, if you are the humble one. You have to be prepared to lose things in life. Abram lost the better looking land, closer to the better looking City of Sodom, with lots of luxury, lots of power, lots of whims among the people. God took him aside and said "I'm about to make you descendants like no other in the world", to an old man with no kids! We prayed today "He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord." and "He who walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue." I can not speak evil, but I can speak truth. But I can not speak truth with evil. This is the temptation of gossip, a little truth used to slander someone's name. This is why I will never use someone's name in these writings unless they are of goodness and even then, I will not often if they are newbies in the faith so that the evil one will not see who they are and attack them, because I've seen it happen, and I will protect the weak. I've written of great priests, huge movers in the faith, I write their names and people look up to them, and then, they are attacked and pulverized to the ground, one such name was a Father Corapi, who used to be a great speaker, and now, has left the priesthood and disappeared. He was the reason I got into the pro-life movement. So what happens? Fame becomes the game. Humility has to win. Abram lived justice, which means holiness, which means I'll go left if you go right. Look at the fish symbols of Christians, they swim and point left instead of right...we swim against the current.
In comes our Lord and our King to our lives today "Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces." And we give ourselves to the swine of sin, don't we? We throw ourselves into the new fads, the new worldly music, the huge parties, the things that "make you feel happy", drinking, divulging in foods, and even worse. This is what the prodigal son did, and wound up, the son of the Boss, wound up in a pig-pen, having squandered his inheritance with people who lived in a place like Sodom, they used him, and when he ran out of money, he ran out of friends. And his true friend, his father was hurting, bad. Yeah he had other sons, but he longed for the lost son. That is a true friend. "Don't go!" was his endless prayer. Our Father in Heaven hurts when we leave Him. Can true love hurt? Yes. It hurts. There is a Spanish song that said a line I can't forget that the one who loves more suffers more. You see, savages don't love, they go all out on worldly feelings, especially that of hatred, no love. I digress. True love is meek. True love takes the abuse. True love turns the cheek. True love follows Christ. True love is Christ our Lord Jesus. Our Lord continues: "Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets." And man, do I love being served, catered, tended to, especially when I'm down, or alone. In old Mexico, my memories are of people flinging open their doors to their humble mud homes, and cement or dirt floors and offering you all they got, "would you like to eat? Would you like something to drink? Here have a place to sit and rest". A cup of cold water on a hot suffered day soothes the soul, because it quenches the thirst....of love. Soon, you are serving love. And love is a one way street, awaiting NOTHING in return. You will hear these words on Sunday, God speaks. "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many." My mom used to tell us as kids that the road to destruction is wide and beautiful, with roses everywhere, meanwhile, the road to Heaven was little bitty and has stickers and thorns every where. It makes for a serious image, especially if you are thinking walking barefooted. They asked our Lord once if "many will be saved" and He answered in Luke 13:24 "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. 25 After the master of the house gets up and shuts the door, you will stand outside knocking and saying, 'Lord, open the door for us.' But he will reply, 'I do not know where you are from.'…" He will say "I do not know where you are from" because we will have had answered "I do not know you" while we lived on earth by negating Him, denying Him, being embarrassed of Him, not getting to know Him, much less loving Him. Love is being proved right now. And we are on the hot seat of it, with more martyrs (those killed for the faith) in the last century than ever recorded in history. For some, it cost their physical lives (for the Lord), how lucky they are. For the rest, they are losing their souls to perdition, pornography, work, false idols, false ideals, fake flowers, fake food, fake laws, not obeying the commandments, fake lives. To this day, we are in a fight for "freedom of religion", and it is not really being "taken away" it is being "given away" because we live in a lost world, losing faith, losing a grip on reality. Sodom shining brightly, false lights.
These words have reached you as a prophecy. And the same messages pulsates from Heaven, "REPENT" and "Return To Me".
Can you imagine God saying "come back to Me"? As if we were in Heaven at one point?