In today's world, we seek immediate gratification. We want what we want, and we want it now. If it doesn't happen on our timetable, we become discouraged and give up, or impatient. When we turn our lives over to God's timing, we find peace, and we may be pleasantly surprised at what he has in store for us.
—from the book Sisterhood of Saints: Daily Guidance and Inspiration
✞ "Three things are necessary to everyone: truth of faith which brings understanding, love of Christ which brings compassion, and endurance of hope which brings perseverance." — St. Bonaventure
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, and especially for poor sinners. If only they could understand that I am the best of Fathers to them and that it is for them that the Blood and Water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy. For them I dwell in the tabernacle as King of Mercy. I desire to bestow My graces upon souls, but they do not want to accept them. You, at least, come to Me as often as possible and take these graces they do not want to accept. In this way you will console My Heart. Oh, how indifferent are souls to so much goodness, to so many proofs of love! My Heart drinks only of the ingratitude and forgetfulness of souls living in the world. They have time for everything, but they have no time to come to Me for graces." — St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, p. 367 AN EXCERPT FROM Diary of St. Faustina
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame." 1 Peter 3:14-16
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Blessed Frédéric Ozanam
(April 23, 1813 – September 8, 1853)
A man convinced of the inestimable worth of each human being, Frédéric served the poor of Paris well, and drew others into serving the poor of the world. Through the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, which he founded, his work continues to the present day.
Frédéric was the fifth of Jean and Marie Ozanam's 14 children, one of only three to reach adulthood. As a teenager he began having doubts about his religion. Reading and prayer did not seem to help, but long walking discussions with Father Noirot of the Lyons College clarified matters a great deal.
Frédéric wanted to study literature, although his father, a doctor, wanted him to become a lawyer. Frédéric yielded to his father's wishes and in 1831, arrived in Paris to study law at the University of the Sorbonne. When certain professors there mocked Catholic teachings in their lectures, Frédéric defended the Church.
A discussion club which Frédéric organized sparked the turning point in his life. In this club, Catholics, atheists, and agnostics debated the issues of the day. Once, after Frédéric spoke about Christianity's role in civilization, a club member said: "Let us be frank, Mr. Ozanam; let us also be very particular. What do you do besides talk to prove the faith you claim is in you?"
Frédéric was stung by the question. He soon decided that his words needed a grounding in action. He and a friend began visiting Paris tenements and offering assistance as best they could. Soon a group dedicated to helping individuals in need under the patronage of Saint Vincent de Paul formed around Frédéric.
Feeling that the Catholic faith needed an excellent speaker to explain its teachings, Frédéric convinced the Archbishop of Paris to appoint Dominican Father Jean-Baptiste Lacordaire, the greatest preacher then in France, to preach a Lenten series in Notre Dame Cathedral. It was well-attended and became an annual tradition in Paris.
After Frédéric earned his law degree at the Sorbonne, he taught law at the University of Lyons. He also earned a doctorate in literature. Soon after marrying Amelie Soulacroix on June 23, 1841, he returned to the Sorbonne to teach literature. A well-respected lecturer, Frédéric worked to bring out the best in each student. Meanwhile, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society was growing throughout Europe. Paris alone counted 25 conferences.
In 1846, Frédéric, Amelie, and their daughter Marie went to Italy; there he hoped to restore his poor health. They returned the next year. The revolution of 1848 left many Parisians in need of the services of the Saint Vincent de Paul conferences. The unemployed numbered 275,000. The government asked Frédéric and his coworkers to supervise the government aid to the poor. Vincentians throughout Europe came to the aid of Paris.
Frédéric then started a newspaper, The New Era, dedicated to securing justice for the poor and the working classes. Fellow Catholics were often unhappy with what Frédéric wrote. Referring to the poor man as "the nation's priest," Frédéric said that the hunger and sweat of the poor formed a sacrifice that could redeem the people's humanity.
In 1852, poor health again forced Frédéric to return to Italy with his wife and daughter. He died on September 8, 1853. In his sermon at Frédéric's funeral, Fr. Lacordaire described his friend as "one of those privileged creatures who came direct from the hand of God in whom God joins tenderness to genius in order to enkindle the world."
Frédéric was beatified in 1997. Since Frédéric wrote an excellent book entitled Franciscan Poets of the Thirteenth Century, and since his sense of the dignity of each poor person was so close to the thinking of Saint Francis, it seemed appropriate to include him among Franciscan "greats."
Frédéric Ozanam always respected the poor while offering whatever service he could. Each man, woman, and child was too precious to live in poverty. Serving the poor taught Frédéric something about God that he could not have learned elsewhere.
Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Col 1:9-14
Brothers and sisters: From the day we heard about you, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 98:2-3ab, 3cd-4, 5-6 R. (2) The Lord has made known his salvation. The LORD has made his salvation known: in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel. R. The Lord has made known his salvation. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God. Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands; break into song; sing praise. R. The Lord has made known his salvation. Sing praise to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and melodious song. With trumpets and the sound of the horn sing joyfully before the King, the LORD. R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
Alleluia Mt 4:19 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Come after me, says the Lord, and I will make you fishers of men. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 5:1-11
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch." Simon said in reply, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets." When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.
Meditation: Colossians 1:9-14
. . . that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Colossians 1:9)
What do you think when you hear the phrase "God's will"? Often enough, we think of it as a predetermined script that we are handed. Our role is spelled out—married or religious, teacher or homemaker—and all we have to do is memorize our lines and deliver them.
But experience shows us that this way of thinking can fall short. God's will isn't a hard-and-fast script that we act out. It's more like an unfolding collaboration, in which God is the playwright and we are the actors—and we're working together to make the show as successful as possible. God doesn't limit our creativity. He loves it when we improvise and try to move the story forward.
So what is one way that we can cooperate with our divine Author? According to St. Paul, it comes as we develop "spiritual wisdom and understanding" (Colossians 1:9). That sounds like another big concept, but again, it's not so intimidating. "Spiritual" wisdom and understanding come in the same way that "natural" wisdom and understanding do: it's what we learn as we reflect on our lives with the help of the Lord.
We become more wise and understanding as we take a few minutes in prayer every evening to review the day and ask where we saw God at work in and around us. Maybe he prompted us to enjoy a beautiful sunrise and to lift our hearts to him in praise. Maybe he moved us to reach out to a family whose father had just lost his job. Maybe he helped us treat an unruly child with gentle firmness.
Of course, these are just a few examples. The possibilities are endless. But if you can get in the habit of reviewing your day, you'll slowly begin to see how God is leading and guiding you. You'll begin to understand what he is asking of you—what his "will" is for you day by day.
You don't have to have all the answers right away. You don't need to know the whole script. You just need to work with your Author one day at a time. And you need to trust that he is working with you.
"Father, help me be more attentive to your presence every day."
Psalm 98:2-6 Luke 5:1-11
"He delivered us from the power of darkness" today's 1st Holy Scripture.
"The LORD has made his salvation known: in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice" we prayed in the Psalms today.
"Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets." said Simon to the Lord our God....Jesus.
The 5 minutos spoke about how these men had been fishing in darkness, and Jesus said to fish in broad daylight. Absurd. What an absurdity, this man hops in their boat, tells them to drop the nets into the water at the wrong time.
But it was time. It was God's time.
No longer would they fish in the dark. Now, they would fish in the day for Him.
Today, this speaks volumes for you and for me. Imagine everything you know, turned upside down in an instant. In the world, there are supreme evils seeking the destruction of the entire world. But in the world, there are supreme angels seeking to save the entire world from this destruction, this catastrophe, this horrible darkness. It becomes an issue of salvation, that is light.
Today, our Lord has hopped into our boat, our lives, our livelihood, and wants a new direction. His way, what He says. Last night a brother said he was surprised to learn he was appointed a CCD teacher, and he got right to it, last minute. I said "it is obviously the Lord's will, not a mistake". He agreed and seemed happier. There is something that pondered deeply in me, asking myself lately some serious questions in my life's direction with the Lord, this discernment of where to go next. And I find myself perplexed in deciphering God's will. And a deep question hits, "am I loyal to God only, or do I truly love Him?". One can obey like a mindless robot, but what about the Love He commands....invites, and suggests? A love of Him that is first and foremost.... Obedience is good, and it is key. But it is so much more when love is the reason. When you obey because you love, not because you "have to".
Joy comes out of this love, serving on your hands and knees, with joy, where nothing is so much that God can't help and handle with you.
Let us be this transformation, as Simon and friends, the fishers of fish now became fishers of men, of ... souls