While proofreading a manuscript, I better keep my mind on the text, not on God. If my mind is torn between the two, the typos will slip through like little fish through a torn net. God will be present precisely in the loving attention I give to the work entrusted to me. By giving myself fully and lovingly to that work, I give myself fully to God. This happens not only in work but also in play, say, in bird-watching or in watching a good movie. God must be enjoying it in me, when I am enjoying it in God. Is not this communion the essence of praying?
—from Brother David Steindl-Rast, author of the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life
✞ "All the science of the Saints is included in these two things: To do, and to suffer. And whoever has done these two things best, has made himself most saintly." — Saint Francis de Sales
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "By accepting the sufferings 'offered' by life and allowed by God for our progress and purification, we spare ourselves much harder ones. We need to develop this kind of realism and, once and for all, stop dreaming of a life without suffering or conflict. That is the life of heaven, not earth. We must take up our cross and follow Christ courageously every day; the bitterness of that cross will sooner or later be transformed into sweetness." — Fr. Jacques Philippe, p. 49 AN EXCERPT FROM Interior Freedom
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. John 14:23-24
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Saint Vincent de Paul
(1580 – September 27, 1660)
The deathbed confession of a dying servant opened Vincent de Paul's eyes to the crying spiritual needs of the peasantry of France. This seems to have been a crucial moment in the life of the man from a small farm in Gascony, France, who had become a priest with little more ambition than to have a comfortable life.
The Countess de Gondi–whose servant he had helped–persuaded her husband to endow and support a group of able and zealous missionaries who would work among poor tenant farmers and country people in general. Vincent was too humble to accept leadership at first, but after working for some time in Paris among imprisoned galley slaves, he returned to be the leader of what is now known as the Congregation of the Mission, or the Vincentians. These priests, with vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and stability, were to devote themselves entirely to the people in smaller towns and villages.
Later, Vincent established confraternities of charity for the spiritual and physical relief of the poor and sick of each parish. From these, with the help of Saint Louise de Marillac, came the Daughters of Charity, "whose convent is the sickroom, whose chapel is the parish church, whose cloister is the streets of the city." He organized the rich women of Paris to collect funds for his missionary projects, founded several hospitals, collected relief funds for the victims of war, and ransomed over 1,200 galley slaves from North Africa. He was zealous in conducting retreats for clergy at a time when there was great laxity, abuse, and ignorance among them. He was a pioneer in clerical training and was instrumental in establishing seminaries.
Most remarkably, Vincent was by temperament a very irascible person—even his friends admitted it. He said that except for the grace of God he would have been "hard and repulsive, rough and cross." But he became a tender and affectionate man, very sensitive to the needs of others.
Pope Leo XIII made him the patron of all charitable societies. Outstanding among these, of course, is the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, founded in 1833 by his admirer Blessed Frédéric Ozanam.
The Church is for all God's children, rich and poor, peasants and scholars, the sophisticated and the simple. But obviously the greatest concern of the Church must be for those who need the most help—those made helpless by sickness, poverty, ignorance, or cruelty. Vincent de Paul is a particularly appropriate patron for all Christians today, when hunger has become starvation, and the high living of the rich stands in more and more glaring contrast to the physical and moral degradation in which many of God's children are forced to live.
Saint Vincent de Paul is the Patron Saint of:
Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest
Reading 1 EzR 9:5-9
At the time of the evening sacrifice, I, Ezra, rose in my wretchedness, and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees, stretching out my hands to the LORD, my God.
I said: "My God, I am too ashamed and confounded to raise my face to you, O my God, for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads and our guilt reaches up to heaven. From the time of our fathers even to this day great has been our guilt, and for our wicked deeds we have been delivered up, we and our kings and our priests, to the will of the kings of foreign lands, to the sword, to captivity, to pillage, and to disgrace, as is the case today.
"And now, but a short time ago, mercy came to us from the LORD, our God, who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in his holy place; thus our God has brightened our eyes and given us relief in our servitude. For slaves we are, but in our servitude our God has not abandoned us; rather, he has turned the good will of the kings of Persia toward us. Thus he has given us new life to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins, and has granted us a fence in Judah and Jerusalem."
Responsorial Psalm Tobit 13:2, 3-4a, 4befghn, 7-8 R. (1b) Blessed be God, who lives for ever. He scourges and then has mercy; he casts down to the depths of the nether world, and he brings up from the great abyss. No one can escape his hand. R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever. Praise him, you children of Israel, before the Gentiles, for though he has scattered you among them, he has shown you his greatness even there. R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever. So now consider what he has done for you, and praise him with full voice. Bless the Lord of righteousness, and exalt the King of ages. R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever. In the land of my exile I praise him and show his power and majesty to a sinful nation. R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever. Bless the Lord, all you his chosen ones, and may all of you praise his majesty. Celebrate days of gladness, and give him praise. R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
Alleluia Mk 1:15 R. Alleluia, alleluia. The Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 9:1-6
Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He said to them, "Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them." Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.
Meditation: Luke 9:1-6 They set out. (Luke 9:6)
Pause for a few minutes right now and imagine that you are among the Twelve as Jesus is giving them power and authority to cast out demons and cure diseases. Picture him looking you right in the eye and saying, "Go. Proclaim the kingdom of God. Heal the sick. Don't take any food or drink, clothes or money, along with you." A few of you might be raring to go right now. Many, however, are probably contemplating a single word: How?
Look at the Twelve. They didn't have provisions; they probably had no idea how to do what Jesus told them. But they took the first step. They shared about their experience of God's love or reached out to a sick person. For his part, God supplied them with what they needed in their particular situation: words, wisdom, power.
Jesus is sending you out today, just as he sent the apostles. Are you ill-equipped? Yes; but knowing that is a good place to start! The apostles were not well-equipped, but they started out when Jesus said "Go!" Like them, you can take that first step and watch as God gives you exactly what you need to complete your task.
This can happen in many ways, but here's one example: you hear that one of your friends has lost his job. You are surprised and feel sad for him, so you decide to pray for him. That's your first step. Then, while you're at the grocery store, you run into him. You ask him about the situation and he seems discouraged. A thought comes into your head: pray with him. So you ask him if he'd like to pray with you. He says yes, and the two of you say a prayer together that he can find a new job soon.
At the beginning, you might never have imagined praying with your friend in the grocery store. But you took the first step, and God equipped you for the rest of the job.
Don't worry about whether or not you have what it takes. Just step out. Take that first step. Jesus will give you what you need.
"Jesus, I don't know how to be your messenger, but I trust you to be with me as I take the first step in faith today."
Ezra 9:5-9 (Psalm) Tobit 13:2-4, 7-8
We heard the first Word say today "Thus he has given us new life to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins...." Think about it. Think about Jesus. They say, the church is in ruins in parts of the world.
I say, there is the opportunity to evangelize, search, seed, and fertilize. LOL, there are many "meanings" of my name Adrian, one of them says of celtic origin meaning "cheerful" and the other "dark rich soil". These two go hand in hand. Because to be rich soil, you must live in the joy of the Lord. Why? Because people love to be happy, don't we? It is a magnet. It is attractive, but only the true joy sticks forever.
We pray today "Blessed be God, who lives for ever. He scourges and then has mercy; he casts down to the depths of the nether world, and he brings up from the great abyss. No one can escape his hand. ..... So now consider what he has done for you, and praise him with full voice." One of the scariest things I can think of in the spiritual life is failing to recognize God's mercy, and God's love and to respond with the appropriate gratefulness, thankfulness, a sincere devotion as if a dog saved from destruction, has a new Master " I give my life to you ' is the appropriate response.
In comes the Lord and only to send us off "he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick." He says at one point "Taking nothing with you..." and "Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them." That is the truth of the spiritual life. We are pilgrims on journey. We enter a house and we leave. Do not think this life is forever..Therefore...Glorify God. If a house does not welcome you, it does not welcome God. Shake the dust, do not let it affect you or stick to you, all the negativity of the world. We are the attraction that not all are immediately attracted to. But eventually, some are able to see.
I want you to see what God wants us to see. As I reflected this morning, a thought hit me, "I've witnessed many miracles, and looking back, I could dismiss them all, easily, I could say they are all coincidences....but, I can not negate God, not what I have experienced in my heart, and I can not negate what I desire most....to be with Him forever". Jesus asks us to beat down walls, because the doors won't open. People build up walls. We build walls instead of doors. Jesus wants us to enter houses. Jesus wants to enter houses through us. Jesus wants to reside in us ALL. It is His desire through ours. Then healing begins. Salvation comes. Because of mercy...and LOVE