In the host of saints of the Catholic Church, there has never been one so connected to the earth, yet so joined to the Spirit. The rhythm of the seasons, the cycles of the moon, the bounty of the harvests, and the elements of wind and fire surrounded her each day. And from this organic simplicity, a huge capacity for spiritual communion with Christ was nurtured and matured like a mighty tree, the symbol of the Iroquois. Yet Saint Kateri Tekakwitha remained a gentle lily.
–from the book Lily of the Mohawks
✞ "You must speak to Jesus, not only with your lips, but also with your heart; actually, on certain occasions, you should speak with only your heart." — St. Padre Pio
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues. There is no getting away from it; the Christian rule is, 'Either marriage, with complete faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence.' Now this is so difficult and so contrary to our instincts, that obviously either Christianity is wrong or our sexual instinct, as it now is, has gone wrong. One or the other. Of course, being a Christian, I think it is the instinct which has gone wrong ... God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them. Before we can be cured we must want to be cured. Those who really wish for help will get it; but for many modern people even the wish is difficult ... We may, indeed, be sure that perfect chastity—like perfect charity—will not be attained by any merely human efforts. You must ask for God's help. Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given. Never mind. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again. For however important chastity (or courage, or truthfulness, or any other virtue) may be, this process trains us in habits of the soul which are more important still. It cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God. We learn, on the one hand, that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and, on the other, that we need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven. The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection." — C. S. Lewis, p. 95 AN EXCERPT FROM Mere Christianity
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "'Come now, let us settle the matter', says the Lord. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.' For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." Isaiah 1:18-20
SAINT OF THE DAY
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Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
Saint of the Day for July 14
(1656 – April 17, 1680)
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha's Story
The blood of martyrs is the seed of saints. Nine years after the Jesuits Isaac Jogues and John de Brébeuf were tomahawked by Iroquois warriors, a baby girl was born near the place of their martyrdom, Auriesville, New York.
Her mother was a Christian Algonquin, taken captive by the Iroquois and given as wife to the chief of the Mohawk clan, the boldest and fiercest of the Five Nations. When she was four, Tekakwitha lost her parents and little brother in a smallpox epidemic that left her disfigured and half blind. She was adopted by an uncle, who succeeded her father as chief. He hated the coming of the Blackrobes–Jesuit missionaries–but could do nothing to them because a peace treaty with the French required their presence in villages with Christian captives. She was moved by the words of three Blackrobes who lodged with her uncle, but fear of him kept her from seeking instruction. Tekakwitha refused to marry a Mohawk brave, and at 19 finally got the courage to take the step of converting. She was baptized with the name Kateri–Catherine–on Easter Sunday.
Now she would be treated as a slave. Because she would not work on Sunday, Kateri received no food that day. Her life in grace grew rapidly. She told a missionary that she often meditated on the great dignity of being baptized. She was powerfully moved by God's love for human beings and saw the dignity of each of her people.
She was always in danger, for her conversion and holy life created great opposition. On the advice of a priest, Kateri stole away one night and began a 200-mile walking journey to a Christian Indian village at Sault St. Louis, near Montreal.
For three years she grew in holiness under the direction of a priest and an older Iroquois woman, giving herself totally to God in long hours of prayer, in charity, and in strenuous penance. At 23, Kateri took a vow of virginity, an unprecedented act for an Indian woman whose future depended on being married. She found a place in the woods where she could pray an hour a day—and was accused of meeting a man there!
Her dedication to virginity was instinctive: Kateri did not know about religious life for women until she visited Montreal. Inspired by this, she and two friends wanted to start a community, but the local priest dissuaded her. She humbly accepted an "ordinary" life. She practiced extremely severe fasting as penance for the conversion of her nation. Kateri Tekakwitha died the afternoon before Holy Thursday. Witnesses said that her emaciated face changed color and became like that of a healthy child. The lines of suffering, even the pockmarks, disappeared and the touch of a smile came upon her lips. She was beatified in 1980 and canonized in 2012.
We like to think that our proposed holiness is thwarted by our situation. If only we could have more solitude, less opposition, better health. Kateri Tekakwitha repeats the example of the saints: Holiness thrives on the cross, anywhere. Yet she did have what Christians—all people—need: the support of a community. She had a good mother, helpful priests, Christian friends. These were present in what we call primitive conditions, and blossomed in the age-old Christian triad of prayer, fasting and almsgiving: union with God in Jesus and the Spirit, self-discipline and often suffering, and charity for her brothers and sisters.
Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin
Reading 1 Gn 46:1-7, 28-30
Israel set out with all that was his. When he arrived at Beer-sheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. There God, speaking to Israel in a vision by night, called, "Jacob! Jacob!" He answered, "Here I am." Then he said: "I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you a great nation. Not only will I go down to Egypt with you; I will also bring you back here, after Joseph has closed your eyes."
So Jacob departed from Beer-sheba, and the sons of Israel put their father and their wives and children on the wagons that Pharaoh had sent for his transport. They took with them their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in the land of Canaan. Thus Jacob and all his descendants migrated to Egypt. His sons and his grandsons, his daughters and his granddaughtersB all his descendants—he took with him to Egypt.
Israel had sent Judah ahead to Joseph, so that he might meet him in Goshen. On his arrival in the region of Goshen, Joseph hitched the horses to his chariot and rode to meet his father Israel in Goshen. As soon as Joseph saw him, he flung himself on his neck and wept a long time in his arms. And Israel said to Joseph, "At last I can die, now that I have seen for myself that Joseph is still alive."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 37:3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40 R. (39a) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord. Trust in the LORD and do good, that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security. Take delight in the LORD, and he will grant you your heart's requests. R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord. The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted; their inheritance lasts forever. They are not put to shame in an evil time; in days of famine they have plenty. R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord. Turn from evil and do good, that you may abide forever; For the LORD loves what is right, and forsakes not his faithful ones. R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord. The salvation of the just is from the LORD; he is their refuge in time of distress. And the LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Alleluia Jn 16:13a, 14:26d R. Alleluia, alleluia. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you to all truth and remind you of all I told you. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 10:16-23
Jesus said to his Apostles: "Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes."
Meditation: Genesis 46:1-7, 28-30
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin (Memorial)
Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt. (Genesis 46:3)
The separation had been long and filled with pain and bitterness. Each one thought he would never see the other one again. And yet they both prayed, hoping that God would work some kind of miraculous reunion. Countless tales of separation and reunion, even up to the present day, echo this ancient story of Jacob and Joseph.
The journey toward their longed-for reunion required faith from both men. Jacob thought his son was dead. The news that he was alive seemed too good to be true—not to mention, Egypt was a foreign land many miles away. How could this elderly patriarch make such a trek? But when God told him not to be afraid, Jacob believed his promise of protection. He packed up his family and all his belongings and immediately started on the journey.
Joseph, too, needed to exercise his faith. Bitter experience had told him that his brothers were far from trustworthy. But when Judah told him that their father was on his way, Joseph overcame his suspicions and rushed out to meet him. Despite all that had happened in the past, he still decided to trust his brother.
In prayer today, bring to mind one or two relationships that have grown distant. Maybe it's a close friend you have lost track of. Perhaps it's your aging parents who live far away or your children who have taken jobs in other cities. You never see them; days, even months, can go by without any contact with them. What a blessing it would be to see them again!
Pray for these people every day. You never know how God might bring about your longed-for reunion. It may take time—maybe months or even years. But why not take that first step today? Call them or send them a letter. Maybe even plan to visit them.
Whatever you do, remember what the Lord said to Jacob: "Do not be afraid"! Remember: he longs for unity even more than you do. He loves to see his children coming together again. That means you can trust that he has a good plan.
"Jesus, thank you for reunions! Pour your grace into all my relationships today."
Psalm 37:3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40 Matthew 10:16-23
The last verse of today's first holy Scripture said ""At last I can die, now that I have seen for myself that Joseph is still alive." There is another time the Bible brings this up, and it happened when the baby Jesus was brought in by Mary and Joseph into the temple, and they received a prophecy from a man long awaiting to see the salvation, the mercy, the....son promised:
"Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel." Luke2:22-38 The prefigure of Christ is Joseph, and his father, Israel, had long awaited the savior that became Christ.
We pray today "The salvation of the just comes from the Lord. Turn from evil and do good, that you may abide forever; For the LORD loves what is right, and forsakes not his faithful ones." The just, means, the Holy. Everyone thinks they are just, but not everyone thinks they are holy. Everyone thinks they are right, but not everyone thinks they are faithful. So there is something to rectify, something to justify, to make holy. I asked the Lord as I walked up to receive the Eucharist yesterday, "Lord, make me worthy to receive You". Is anyone worthy of being 'just' as the Lord? He says so. Just means Holy, and deep inside, God designed us to be holy just as human means to be holy. The world's ideas offer all the contrary.
In comes the Lord of our lives: ""Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves." So many after living a cursillo are ready to take on the world. Yet few will realize that it takes the mind of patience, and the simplicity that is humility of doves. Calm down, God is control. Follow Him, and pounce at the right moment. People admire the patience of some in sports like boxing, the mental challenge of any sport, but why is it not applied, like business to God's will and Kingdom? You got to take some hits, and miraculously, some of those make you stronger...and wiser. And some, are knocked down, as we will hear about Sunday in the Gospel, about the seeds the sower throws and how the plants grow in different soils. I said last night in Ultreya, "yet, that story goes on, and the truth of the plant of our faith is, that we can seek an eternal water in our roots, an everlasting river, and grow like a tree and grow past the limited weeds that try to choke us at first and soon, they will be smothered with our shade and our roots will eat their roots". There is always more to the story, when God is involved. The missing piece always is God. The cure is always God. The solution is always Jesus. The fulfillment of all prophecies is Jesus. The healing and reconciliation happens only with Jesus our Lord, because God is love and is completed in Himself.
I urge you, if you have missed Mass or an opportunity to reconcile with someone (and in Confession), seek the first opportunity. This is what happens today. "...do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say." says our Lord today, all you need to worry about is showing up, take the first big step, this is the major feat of success in the Lord's work...faith. "You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved." And this is a life like a race that seeks the goal, the end, the beginning of a triumphant life found only with and in Jesus the Christ our Lord. You have to this point, feared all the wrong things. Now fear the right things, fear to ever lose our salvation, our love of the Lord. Would you trade it for...a mortal sin, like missing Mass on a Sunday? Or an adulterous affair? Or would you trade it in for all these other sins, like dishonoring your parents, or stealing, or desiring what is not yours? Would you trade it for other loves that are in the world? Thus...making them gods? Hate is a strong word, but truth is, the devil hates what is good. And there is a huge wave of hatred in the world. Hatred of the unborn that bring light to the world. Hatred of holy and righteous matrimony as designed by God. Hatred of the Word made flesh, if it were not so, how could it destroy so many lives? When I see lost souls, I see so much potential for the Lord, because he who owes much, has much more mercy to receive.
Today, aside from fasting and prayers for salvation for lost souls, let us say to one person at least "God Loves You". That should instigate a fire that says inside "maybe I should love Him too". And begin the journey of reconciliation of one world to the eternal....