The things that we remember the best, the things that matter the most to us when we remember them, are the slightest things, by the measurement of the world; but they are not slight at all.
They are so huge and crucial and holy that we do not yet have words big enough to fit them, and have to resort to hints and intimations to even get anywhere close.
—from the book Eight Whopping Lies and Other Stories of Bruised Grace
"Just as in one man there is one soul and one body, yet many members; even so the Catholic Church is one body, having many members. The soul that quickens this body is the Holy Spirit; and therefore in the Creed after confessing our belief in the Holy Spirit, we are bid to believe in the Holy Catholic Church." — St. Thomas Aquinas
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "There are two loves, the love of God and the love of the world. If the love of the world takes possession of you, there is no way for the love of God to enter into you. Let the love of the world take the second place, and let the love of God dwell in you. Let the better love take over." — St. Augustine, p. 34 AN EXCERPT FROM Augustine Day by Day
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "For I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls." Luke 21:15-19
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St. Helen, also known as St. Helena (d. 327 A.D.), was a woman of humble means from Asia Minor. She married the future Roman Emperor Constantius Chlorus, and their son Constantine was born in c. 272. Constantius divorced Helen in c. 293 to marry Emperor Maximian's daughter for the sake of political gain. When her son Constantine became the Roman Emperor, St. Helen was given the imperial title "Augusta" and was treated like royalty. After Constantine legalized Christianity across the Roman Empire, St. Helen, a Christian convert, went to the Holy Land in search of the actual cross on which Christ was crucified, despite being in her 80's. Helen questioned local Christians and Jews and learned that the cross was buried under the Temple of Venus. Helen had the temple demolished and excavated. There she discovered the Holy Sepulcher, three crosses, the board with Pilate's inscription, and the nails which pierced Jesus' Sacred Body. In order to determine which cross was the Lord's, the Bishop of Jerusalem touched them to a corpse, causing the man to come back to life. A second miraculous healing of a sick woman confirmed the discovery of the True Cross. Christians flocked to Jerusalem to venerate the Holy Cross. St. Helen then visited all the holy places of Jesus' life and built many churches over their locations, including at Bethlehem, the Mount of Olives, and the Garden of Gethsemane. St. Helen is the patron of divorced people, empresses, difficult marriages, converts, and archaeologists. Her feast day is August 18th.
Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Jos 24:1-13
Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem, summoning their elders, their leaders, their judges and their officers. When they stood in ranks before God, Joshua addressed all the people: "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: In times past your fathers, down to Terah, father of Abraham and Nahor, dwelt beyond the River and served other gods. But I brought your father Abraham from the region beyond the River and led him through the entire land of Canaan. I made his descendants numerous, and gave him Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I assigned the mountain region of Seir in which to settle, while Jacob and his children went down to Egypt.
"Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and smote Egypt with the prodigies which I wrought in her midst. Afterward I led you out of Egypt, and when you reached the sea, the Egyptians pursued your fathers to the Red Sea with chariots and horsemen. Because they cried out to the LORD, he put darkness between your people and the Egyptians, upon whom he brought the sea so that it engulfed them. After you witnessed what I did to Egypt, and dwelt a long time in the desert, I brought you into the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I delivered them into your power. You took possession of their land, and I destroyed them, the two kings of the Amorites, before you. Then Balak, son of Zippor, king of Moab, prepared to war against Israel. He summoned Balaam, son of Beor, to curse you; but I would not listen to Balaam. On the contrary, he had to bless you, and I saved you from him. Once you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho, the men of Jericho fought against you, but I delivered them also into your power. And I sent the hornets ahead of you that drove them (the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites) out of your way; it was not your sword or your bow.
"I gave you a land that you had not tilled and cities that you had not built, to dwell in; you have eaten of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 136:1-3, 16-18, 21-22 and 24
R. His mercy endures forever. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever; Give thanks to the God of gods, for his mercy endures forever; Give thanks to the LORD of lords, for his mercy endures forever. R. His mercy endures forever. Who led his people through the wilderness, for his mercy endures forever; Who smote great kings, for his mercy endures forever; And slew powerful kings, for his mercy endures forever. R. His mercy endures forever. And made their land a heritage, for his mercy endures forever; The heritage of Israel his servant, for his mercy endures forever; And freed us from our foes, for his mercy endures forever. R. His mercy endures forever.
Alleluia See 1 Thes 2:13
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Receive the word of God, not as the word of men, but, as it truly is, the word of God. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 19:3-12
Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?" He said in reply, "Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate." They said to him, "Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?" He said to them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery." His disciples said to him, "If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry." He answered, "Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it."
Meditation: Matthew 19:3-12
Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted. (Matthew 19:11)
"Is divorce ever permissible?" the Pharisees ask. Jesus reminds them that God intends for marriage to be not only permanent but transformative as well. Its goal, he answers, is that a man and a woman leave their individuality aside and come together to create a whole new unity, a family.
Hearing this exchange, his disciples offer an honest and understandable response: if it's so hard, maybe it would be better not to marry at all. Jesus gazes at them with a sad smile. "Do you think it's easier to make a permanent commitment to being single?" he asks. Not on your life! Neither is it easy to live single while remaining open to marriage.
The truth is, living any state of life as God intends takes commitment. Circumstances change, and we scramble to adjust. In one way or another, we all fall short of God's ideal. We all fail God, our spouse, or our religious community from time to time. This doesn't mean we chose the wrong vocation. It simply means that we have momentarily forgotten how much we need to depend on God's abundant grace. Fidelity in marriage or singleness is only possible because God is faithful: faithful to guide us, faithful to sustain us, faithful to forgive us.
Look at the refrain for today's Psalm: "His mercy endures forever." God expresses it in many different ways at many different moments, but he is always faithful. His enduring mercy is the very thing we need in order to be faithful.
Spend some time today considering your vocation. Thank God for the call he has given you. Thank him too for being faithful to you as you strive to live out that call. Then ask him to show you one particular way to express your faithfulness today. Maybe it's a little note of encouragement and love for your spouse. Maybe it's a gesture of support to a priest or a sister religious who is going through a rough patch. Maybe God will show you something you are free to do because you haven't arrived at a place of permanent commitment. Whatever it is, rejoice and do it!
"Father, you are always faithful. Thank you for inviting and enabling me to live out a noble heavenly vocation."
Joshua 24:1-13 Psalm 136:1-3, 16-18, 21-22, 24
my2cents: The first Holy Scripture said today: " When they stood in ranks before God, Joshua addressed all the people: "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel:" and he goes on to state the history and with the Lord....never forget...and what is to come forever.
We pray today "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever; Give thanks to the God of gods, for his mercy endures forever; Give thanks to the LORD of lords, for his mercy endures forever." Eucharist means to give thanks. To give thanks is not and should not be just mere words "ahh gee thanks", This easily could lead to blasphemy, a sacrilege of God's divine body and honor. Because the body of Christ is to be honored and defended and loved and glorified above all. Do we?
The Lord of our lives speaks when asked about marriage and responds "
"Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh." This speaks volumes of history and future. From the beginning of time and to the end if time God calls on faithfulness. Because we live in a world of faithlessness we live in a world of infidelity....to God our Lord. JESUS left Mother and Father to be joined with His wife....the Holy Church. The Lord is faithful and true, therefore calling us to be faithful and true. We become one with Him in the most Holy Eucharist. We become one body. This in of itself speaks volumes of how we are to treat the Body of Christ. Life. Marriage is a Holy Sacrament cemented with God's love. It us to be nurtured and grow with hard work and faithfulness ...love is a choice and Love came from Heaven and chose us...to die for. Would you for your spouse....our Lord?
Bishop Barren says today; "Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus teaches about the sanctity and permanence of marriage. Now we begin to see why the love of a husband and wife is a sacrament of God's love. The Father and the Son—while remaining distinct—give themselves utterly to each other, and this mutual giving is the Holy Spirit. So when two people come together in love and form one flesh, they mimic the love between the Father and the Son. And when their love gives rise to a child, this mimics sacramentally the spiration of the Holy Spirit. Father, mother, and children are evocative of the divine Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And this is why Jesus speaks so forcefully about marriage, and why his Church, at its best, has echoed him up and down the centuries. It is because marriage is such a sacred sign that the Church has sought so assiduously to protect it. I know that the Church gets a bad rap for surrounding marriage and sexuality with so many rules. I realize that libertarians through the ages have fought against the supposed uptight moralism of the Church. But look: human beings always surround precious things with laws, restrictions, and prohibitions."
A elderly priest said once with a sad face "people don't get married anymore ". They do other things that mock marriage and want to turn marriage into what it should not be..comformed to self...other than conformed to Him