Pause for a moment and look around you. Simply thank God for all the gifts that you have right now, all the gifts saved from the wreck of life: the lamp that illumines this page, the chair that gives you comfort, the home that provides shelter. That's a good exercise of stewardship.
Thank God for the sun and stars in the sky, for the support of friends, for the opportunities of a new day, for the ability to laugh and cry. A disciple receives everything with gratitude. It is prayer that helps keep the heart grateful and filled with joy.
—from the book Living Prayer: A Simple Guide to Everyday Enlightenment by Robert F. Morneau
✞ "The soul hungers for God, and nothing but God can satiate it. Therefore He came to dwell on earth and assumed a Body in order that this Body might become the Food of our souls." — St. John Vianney
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "In the old days, people demanded 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,' and to repay evil for evil. Patience was not yet on the earth, because faith was not on the earth either. Of course, impatience made full use of the opportunities the Law gave it. That was easy when the Lord and Master of patience was not here. But now that he has come and put the grace of faith together with patience, we are no longer allowed to attack someone even with a word—not even to call someone a fool without facing the danger of judgment. The Law found more than it lost when Christ said, 'Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven' (Matthew 5:44-45). This most important commandment summarizes in a word the universal discipline of patience, since it does not allow us to do evil even to people who deserve it." — Tertullian , p. 104 AN EXCERPT FROM A Year with Church Fathers
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone." Psalm 91:11-12
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Saint Anthony Mary Claret
(December 23, 1807 – October 24, 1870)
The "spiritual father of Cuba" was a missionary, religious founder, social reformer, queen's chaplain, writer and publisher, archbishop, and refugee. He was a Spaniard whose work took him to the Canary Islands, Cuba, Madrid, Paris, and to the First Vatican Council.
In his spare time as weaver and designer in the textile mills of Barcelona, Anthony learned Latin and printing: The future priest and publisher was preparing. Ordained at 28, he was prevented by ill health from entering religious life as a Carthusian or as a Jesuit, but went on to become one of Spain's most popular preachers.
Anthony spent 10 years giving popular missions and retreats, always placing great emphasis on the Eucharist and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It was said that his rosary was never out of his hand. At age 42, he founded a religious institute of missionaries beginning with five young priests, known today as the Claretians.
Anthony was appointed to head the much-neglected archdiocese of Santiago in Cuba. He began its reform by almost ceaseless preaching and hearing of confessions, and suffered bitter opposition mainly for opposing concubinage and giving instruction to black slaves. A hired assassin–whose release from prison Anthony had obtained–slashed open his face and wrist. Anthony succeeded in getting the would-be assassin's death sentence commuted to a prison term. His solution for the misery of Cubans was family-owned farms producing a variety of foods for the family's own needs and for the market. This invited the enmity of the vested interests who wanted everyone to work on a single cash crop—sugar. Besides all his religious writings are two books he wrote in Cuba: Reflections on Agriculture and Country Delights.
He was recalled to Spain for a job he did not relish—being chaplain for the queen. Anthony went on three conditions: He would reside away from the palace; he would come only to hear the queen's confession and instruct the children; and he would be exempt from court functions. In the revolution of 1868, he fled to Paris with the queen's party, where he preached to the Spanish colony.
All his life Anthony was interested in the Catholic press. He founded the Religious Publishing House, a major Catholic publishing venture in Spain, and wrote or published 200 books and pamphlets.
At Vatican I, where he was a staunch defender of the doctrine of infallibility, Anthony won the admiration of his fellow bishops. Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore remarked of him, "There goes a true saint." At the age of 63, he died in exile near the border of Spain.
Jesus foretold that those who are truly his representatives would suffer the same persecution as he did. Besides 14 attempts on his life, Anthony had to undergo such a barrage of the ugliest slander that the very name Claret became a byword for humiliation and misfortune. The powers of evil do not easily give up their prey. No one needs to go looking for persecution. All we need to do is be sure we suffer because of our genuine faith in Christ, not for our own whims and lack of prudence.
Saint Anthony Mary Claret is Patron Saint of:
Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Rom 5:12, 15b, 17-19, 20b-21
Brothers and sisters: Through one man sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned.
If by that one person's transgression the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many. For if, by the transgression of the one, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one Jesus Christ. In conclusion, just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all, so, through one righteous act acquittal and life came to all. For just as through the disobedience of one man the many were made sinners, so, through the obedience of the one the many will be made righteous. Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through justification for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 17 R. (8a and 9a) Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will. Sacrifice or oblation you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me. Burnt offerings or sin offerings you sought not; then said I, "Behold I come." R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will. "In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, To do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!" R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will. I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know. R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will. May all who seek you exult and be glad in you, And may those who love your salvation say ever, "The LORD be glorified." R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Alleluia Lk 21:36 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 12:35-38
Jesus said to his disciples: "Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master's return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants."
Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop (Optional Memorial)
He will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. (Luke 12:37)
Picture a state dinner in a foreign capital: a lavish dining hall, silver and crystal lining the table, waiters standing tall, ready to serve the guests. A military band strikes up a fanfare, and the prime minister enters. But instead of sitting down, he removes his dinner jacket, dons an apron, and asks the waiters to be seated at the table. Then, slowly and carefully, he proceeds to serve them the meal. Crazy, right?
Amazingly, the reality at the center of our faith transcends even this illustration. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, gave up his life to save us from sin. And this wasn't just one exceptionally heroic act; it's part of who he is. In today's Gospel reading, Jesus tells his disciples that when he returns, he will once again serve those whom he finds waiting for him.
But how does this truth about God affect our lives now? Certainly, it fills us with awe and gratitude. As St. Paul has said, "God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). But how about our relationships with other people? Do we say, "God serves me; so should you!" Of course not! God's heart of service is meant to humble us and move us to serve as well.
Jesus tells us that love is expressed most fully in laying down our lives for each other. When we allow this kind of servant love to be the center of our relationships rather than selfish interests, it changes everything. We find that we are able to connect more deeply with our spouses and children, with our friends and co-workers. Our self-serving motivations begin to weaken, and we become more aware of the needs of the people around us. In short, we give God's love a foothold in our lives.
How can you lay down your life today? Take a look at the next twenty-four hours, and anticipate the opportunities that God will give you to imitate him through acts of service. Then, when these opportunities arise, accept them eagerly. Know that as you step into the role of a servant, something holy is happening: you are becoming Christ to another person.
"Lord, teach me how to serve as selflessly and humbly as you do."
Romans 5:12, 15, 17-21 Psalm 40:7-10, 17
The Holy Word spoke today "Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through justification for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Notice the last words "FOR eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord". For what? For CHRIST! For what? An eternity. A little secret of mine, lately, when I am about to receive the Holy Eucharist in Holy Communion I have been praying inside deeply "may I receive eternal mercy". Because we experience mercy, don't we? But to live in mercy? That's a whole other world....
We pray today " Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will. May all who seek you exult and be glad in you, And may those who love your salvation say ever, "The LORD be glorified."
Seek the Lord...that you may be found! Have you seen those survivor shows where men are dropped in remote areas of the world? They don't stay put! They take off looking for signs and seeking their way out, don't they? Of course not in a snow storm, but if you can, GET OUT. Snap out of your little world and seek HIM. It's all about HIM.
In comes our Lord "...be like servants who await their master's return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks". The interesting part was before that when He said "Gird your loins and light your lamps...". Put yourself in His blessed shoes/sandals; imagine, Him coming in the dark, and He sees the lights shining for Him like light towers guiding the way to His love. As if you were saying to Him "We've been waiting faithfully". And with great love. The Lord says "should He come on the 2nd or 3rd watch" blessed are they. Not blessed will they be, but blessed are they. God expects faithfulness. He expects trust and belief. And I expect you read this to increase belief. Rightly so, you've come to the right place.
Last night a brother said that he had a co-worker working the church festival "Jamaica" we had. I had been praying sincerely to our Lord to join us, because I knew many who would not come, could not, and so forth. "Please Lord, I know you will come and join us". The forecast called for a cold front to come in that night. The day though, it was so beautiful, and the evening even greater calmness and you could just feel electricity it seemed. Anyhow, my brother in Christ said last night "my co-worker doesn't really go to church or anything but he turned and said to me "you know what? I can feel Christ here at this place". I'm smiling as I write to you now. This is amazing. I thought I was the only one feeling His presence. But it was a reaffirmation and a confirmation of the reality of Jesus. I told my brother in water filled tears before we parted ways "this joy of the Lord will NEVER go away, I promise, I've been at this for 14 years and it only gets better". And if this is any sign of Heaven, greater things are coming. The Lord comes knocking on various times of the day and every day is a new life. Let it be life with Him. As earth as in Heaven. You wake up, you are born. You go to sleep, you die. It's a new life, and the future is looking brighter as He comes nearer.....
I see you in the disguise Lord, you can't fool me, I am a fool for you always watching for you! I love you, adrian