In the Psalm we said: "Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things" (Psalm 98:1). Today we consider one of the marvelous things which the Lord has done: Mary! A lowly and weak creature like ourselves, she was chosen to be the Mother of God, the Mother of her Creator.
At the message of the angel, she does not hide her surprise. It is the astonishment of realizing that God, to become man, had chosen her, a simple maid of Nazareth; not someone who lived in a palace amid power and riches, or one who had done extraordinary things, but simply someone who was open to God and put her trust in him, even without understanding everything: "Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word" (Luke 1:38). That was her answer.
—from Pope Francis, as quoted in the book Mother Mary: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis
✞ "Our perfection does not consist of doing extraordinary things, but to do the ordinary well." — St. Gabriel Possenti
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "No human motive should lead us to pray: neither routine, nor the habit of doing as others do, nor a thirst for spiritual consolations. No, we should go to prayer to render homage to God. It is not, however, a common-place visit of propriety, nor a conversation without any precise object; we want to obtain from Him some definite spiritual good, such or such progress in the uprooting of some vice, in the acquisition of some virtue. We have, therefore, a purpose upon which we are bent, and all our considerations, affections, petitions, and resolutions should combine for its attainment. God is there, surrounding us and penetrating us; but we were not, perhaps, thinking of this. We must, therefore, withdraw our powers from the things of the earth, gather them together, and fix them upon God; thus it is we place ourselves in His presence. Naturally, we approach Him by saluting Him with a profound and humble act of adoration. In presence of so much greatness and holiness, the soul perceives herself to be little and miserable; she humbles herself, purifies herself by an act of sorrow; apologizes for daring to approach a being of so lofty a majesty. Powerless to pray as she should, she represents her incapacity to God, and begs the Holy Ghost to help her to pray well." — Rev. Dom Vitalis Lehodey, p. 91 AN EXCERPT FROM The Ways of Mental Prayer
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:4-5
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Saint Ignatius of Antioch
(d. c. 107)
Born in Syria, Ignatius converted to Christianity and eventually became bishop of Antioch. In the year 107, Emperor Trajan visited Antioch and forced the Christians there to choose between death and apostasy. Ignatius would not deny Christ and thus was condemned to be put to death in Rome.
Ignatius is well known for the seven letters he wrote on the long journey from Antioch to Rome. Five of these letters are to churches in Asia Minor; they urge the Christians there to remain faithful to God and to obey their superiors. He warns them against heretical doctrines, providing them with the solid truths of the Christian faith.
The sixth letter was to Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, who was later martyred for the faith. The final letter begs the Christians in Rome not to try to stop his martyrdom. "The only thing I ask of you is to allow me to offer the libation of my blood to God. I am the wheat of the Lord; may I be ground by the teeth of the beasts to become the immaculate bread of Christ."
Ignatius bravely met the lions in the Circus Maximus.
Ignatius's great concern was for the unity and order of the Church. Even greater was his willingness to suffer martyrdom rather than deny his Lord Jesus Christ. He did not draw attention to his own suffering, but to the love of God which strengthened him. He knew the price of commitment and would not deny Christ, even to save his own life.
Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
Reading 1 Rom 1:16-25
Brothers and sisters: I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: for Jew first, and then Greek. For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith; as it is written, "The one who is righteous by faith will live."
The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness. For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.
Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 19:2-3, 4-5 R. (2a) The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge. R. The heavens proclaim the glory of God. Not a word nor a discourse whose voice is not heard; Through all the earth their voice resounds, and to the ends of the world, their message. R. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
Alleluia Heb 4:12 R. Alleluia, alleluia. The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 11:37-41
After Jesus had spoken, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home. He entered and reclined at table to eat. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal. The Lord said to him, "Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you."
Meditation: Luke 11:37-41
Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr (Memorial)
A Pharisee invited him to dine. (Luke 11:37)
One day, a mother of two was preparing chicken for dinner. As she trimmed the fat from the meat, a thought passed through her mind. She felt as if the Lord was telling her, "Sandra, this is what I am doing in your life—trimming away the things that distract you from me." It seemed a little silly, but the message stayed with her. Years later, when she shared the story with a group of parishioners, people could tell that the message still moved her deeply.
Sandra wasn't doing anything extraordinary when she sensed the Lord speaking to her. She was just going about her daily routine. She wasn't even praying. Similarly, in today's Gospel, the Pharisee in question wasn't at the Temple or immersed in prayer. He had simply invited Jesus over for dinner. It may not have been a religious context, but that didn't keep Jesus from talking to him about the state of his heart.
God doesn't need us to be doing anything special for him to speak to us. Of course, regular prayer and Scripture reading can help us become more attuned to God's voice in our everyday lives, but God isn't limited to those times. We might hear him while we are washing the dishes or driving to work. He might catch our attention through a friend's words or a newspaper article. Maybe a new thought pops into our mind and gives us a fresh perspective or brings a sense of peace we didn't have before. Or we have a disagreement with someone close to us, and we sense the Spirit helping us not get too upset. No matter how he chooses to speak to us, we can be sure that it is God when we feel drawn to love him and each other more fully.
So keep your heart and mind open today. Don't doubt God's involvement in your life. God has so much he wants to say. He has so much love he wants to share. He is not a distant God. He is your Father, and he loves spending time with you.
"Lord, come speak to me at any time of the day. Help me to recognize your voice."
Romans 1:16-25 Psalm 19:2-5
"I am not ashamed of the Gospel." And it costs me my life to prove it. But it does not cost me anything if I love. Be strong in your faith. Your zeal. You are not being fed to lions like today's saint, but you do travel into packs of wolves. You do pass through and spirits attempt to latch into you and they latch easier if you are ashamed. One spirit or the other wins. Let the Holy Spirit always win.
We pray today "The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The heavens declare the glory of God" and the glory of God was shown when He died for Love of Man. For all those years and centuries they had declared Him a hard god to deal with, He came to prove that He would love more than any person could ever love you. He came to show the way to love this way. He came to correct our view of God that had become distorted as night to night imparts knowledge. He came so that you may have life....with Him...eternal.
In the Holy Gospel, our Lord speaks: "You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?". My daughter last night told me that I wasn't seeing a picture I wanted in a youtube video because I had fell to what they call "click bait". One image for you to fall for. Looks. Deceiving, traps. Tried as I may to show the kids what I meant, they wondered off to play, and I was left the fool, fooled. Jesus warns us not to be deceived by the exterior. The Holy Sacraments deal with the interior. We see external signs to represent what is happening within. In baptism, sin washed away so that we are united with Him intimately in the rebirth. In Holy Matrimony, the spanish tradition is to have a lasso made of a rosary symbolizing the binding and unity with God in the two now 3. In Confession, the priest absolves sin by the authority of the Holy Church left by Jesus laying of hands on the first bishops and priests. They in turn lay their hands on us in absolution, a sanctification of the soul. Do not be deceived by your eyes and your mind in what it sees and thinks. Do not judge with a hardened heart that looks on another with disdain, but lift one another with Love, with Christ, as we are here briefly on this earth on this journey of faith. Most popular sayings are because of the bible, and perhaps today's would be "it's whats inside that counts". If this is true, then we are speaking about spirits and souls, not guts and flesh, but courage of spiritual guts. And it takes guts to be a saint, to be what we were designed to be.
I am simply encouraging you every day to persevere. I want to see you shine Saint and Child of God Learn to give, and the alms God wants are "almas" souls, giving to the poor gives a shining light to souls.