I would like to emphasize the beauty of a simple contemplative prayer, accessible to all, great and small, the educated and those with little education. It is the prayer of the Holy Rosary. In the Rosary we turn to the Virgin Mary so that she may guide us to an ever closer union with her Son Jesus, to bring us into conformity with him, to have his sentiments and to behave like him. Indeed, in the Rosary while we repeat the Hail Mary we meditate on the Mysteries, on the events of Christ's life, so as to know and love him ever better.
The Rosary is an effective means for opening ourselves to God, for it brings peace to hearts, to the family, to society and to the world.
—Pope Francis, as quoted in the book The Blessing of Family: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis
✞ "Don't spend your energies on things that generate worry, anxiety and anguish. Only one thing is necessary: Lift up your spirit, and love God." — St. Padre Pio
✞ "We should recall that no man is an island, entire of itself. Our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of others continually spill over into mine: in what I think, say, and do, and achieve. And conversely, my life spills over into that of others: for better or for worse. So my prayer for another is not something extraneous to that person, something external, not even after death." — Pope Benedict XVI AN EXCERPT FROM Pope Benedict XVI
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God's own people, to the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:13-14
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Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez
(1533 – October 30, 1617)
Tragedy and challenge beset today's saint early in life, but Alphonsus Rodriguez found happiness and contentment through simple service and prayer.
Born in Spain in 1533, Alphonsus inherited the family textile business at 23. Within the space of three years, his wife, daughter, and mother died; meanwhile, business was poor. Alphonsus stepped back and reassessed his life. He sold the business, and with his young son, moved into his sister's home. There he learned the discipline of prayer and meditation.
At the death of his son years later, Alphonsus, almost 40 by then, sought to join the Jesuits. He was not helped by his poor education. He applied twice before being admitted. For 45 years he served as doorkeeper at the Jesuits' college in Majorca. When not at his post, he was almost always at prayer, though he often encountered difficulties and temptations.
His holiness and prayerfulness attracted many to him, including Saint Peter Claver, then a Jesuit seminarian. Alphonsus' life as doorkeeper may have been humdrum, but centuries later he caught the attention of poet and fellow-Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins, who made him the subject of one of his poems.
Alphonsus died in 1617. He is the patron saint of Majorca.
We like to think that God rewards the good, even in this life. But Alphonsus knew business losses, painful bereavement, and periods when God seemed very distant. None of his suffering made him withdraw into a shell of self-pity or bitterness. Rather, he reached out to others who lived with pain, including enslaved Africans. Among the many notables at his funeral were the sick and poor people whose lives he had touched. May they find such a friend in us!
Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez is the Patron Saint of:
Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Rom 8:12-17
Brothers and sisters, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, "Abba, Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 68:2 and 4, 6-7ab, 20-21 R. (21a) Our God is the God of salvation. God arises; his enemies are scattered, and those who hate him flee before him. But the just rejoice and exult before God; they are glad and rejoice. R. Our God is the God of salvation. The father of orphans and the defender of widows is God in his holy dwelling. God gives a home to the forsaken; he leads forth prisoners to prosperity. R. Our God is the God of salvation. Blessed day by day be the Lord, who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation. God is a saving God for us; the LORD, my Lord, controls the passageways of death. R. Our God is the God of salvation.
Alleluia Jn 17:17b, 17a R. Alleluia, alleluia. Your word, O Lord, is truth; consecrate us in the truth. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 13:10-17
Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, "Woman, you are set free of your infirmity." He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, "There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day." The Lord said to him in reply, "Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?" When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.
Meditation: Luke 13:10-17
This daughter of Abraham . . . (Luke 13:16)
Occasionally, we receive stories from readers telling us how God has worked in their lives. We thought that today's Gospel reading was the perfect opportunity to share the story below.
"I was serving on the prayer ministry team at my church a few years ago when a woman came asking for prayer. 'It's my heart,' she said, 'Sometimes it feels like I'm going to have a heart attack and die.' Even to my untrained eye, she didn't look healthy. So my first thought was 'You really need to see a doctor!' But I remembered that Jesus has the power to heal, so I began to pray for her heart.
"As we prayed together, however, my thoughts shifted. I began to feel that I should also pray about another kind of heart problem: that she would know how much God loves her as his daughter. So my words changed from prayers for physical healing to declarations of God's love. 'You are created out of love and for love,' I told her. 'You are created to know God's love and to overflow with it. You are a daughter of the King, his beloved princess.' I asked God to make these truths more real to her.
"All of a sudden, she began to weep. She told me she had never really known God as her Father. She had always been somewhat afraid of him, but she could feel her fear fading away. As we finished praying, she wiped her eyes, and I saw the most beautiful, radiant smile on her face.
"My new friend is seeing a doctor and making it through day by day. Her prognosis remains unsure, but she knows deep in her heart that God loves her, and that has made all the difference in her life."
Perhaps the greatest healing that this woman or any of us could receive is to hear God say, "You are my son, my daughter." It was those words, "daughter of Abraham," that unbent the crippled back of the woman in today's Gospel. They can help all of us stand tall with dignity and gratitude.
So don't be afraid to ask God to speak these words to you. He may heal you in ways that surprise you.
"Jesus, you know better than I that I need healing. Open my heart to hear the words that will set me free."
Romans 8:12-17 Psalm 68:2, 4, 6-7, 20-21
"For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." Nobody asked me to write to you, but the Lord. Nobody told me to bombard you with these messages from various websites and my reflection upon several reflections, but the Lord. It is the Spirit of God that puts an end to the spirits that enter the flesh that holds the soul. His aim is for us, for Him, for unison, and a love that is a super power beyond human comprehension.
We pray today "Our God is the God of salvation. God arises; his enemies are scattered, and those who hate him flee before him. But the just rejoice and exult before God; they are glad and rejoice." If you are coming to God, it is a growing in knowing. And the growing is in love. Therefore, if you are getting further from, that is moving away from Him, it is to know less...to love less. If you remain, God remains. Not that he ever leaves, but that He accepts the invitation to your love. It is the story of the poor, the ones knocking at the door, and those before your very eyes, you do not see. Deacon Harold Burke, the Catholic "Dynamic Deacon" spoke at our Guadalupe Radio network benefit this weekend, and he spoke of an RCIA student he had, that finally spoke after months of not speaking much and said to him before class "what color is the tiger's nose on the cereal box of Frosted Flakes". Deacon Burke said "black, everyone knows tiger noses are black" but the student "Dan" said "no, it is not, it is blue, bright blue even". Deacon said he didn't have time to argue and left it at that until next class. His wife asked him to get milk and Deacon Burke flew to find a box of Frosted Flakes in the cereal isles. He looked at all the flavors, and types of cereal and AH HA, he found it....and looked at it....and saw....it was BLUE. He got back with the student and the student got to finish what he wanted to say. You see, he was an avid atheist and was very talented, he could dictate things one said word for word from years ago. And after 3 months of class with deacon he wanted to tell him "just like that cereal box you've had in front of you all your life and never noticed the nose, that's how I was with God, He was always right in front of me and I had never noticed". Deacon asked him what happened and Dan simply replied "I prayed for the first time in my life....". And this day, in Portland Oregon, Dan is the RCIA teacher as a new Catholic in love with the Lord.
The Lord once was sitting in the temple, as He always is on the Sabbath. He decides to hear a prayer of a faithful woman. He heard her prayer and new what was going to happen. His heart for hers was moved and would offer a moment of sacrifice, a mini-crucifixion to be had by the Jews and Him, Himself a Jew, but God. He says to her " "Woman, you are set free of your infirmity." He laid His hands on her and soon after the Jews would lay their hands on Him. Only, His hands healed, and their hands killed. What kind of spirit is moving you? To do what? Every Singe day. An interesting chain of events happened Friday. We took our youngest daughter to get a tooth pulled that had broke in half. This was in a nearby city. We went to the next city to make the lunch time daily Holy Mass. We had our meal, the Sacred Heart and Blood and Body of our Lord. My wife got to confess, I had just confessed at the Men's conference 6 days earlier. Right before Mass I remembered I had my guitar in my truck, I asked a helper leader if I could help sing, he said yes. I ran, got it, we agreed on a song we both knew and 2 minutes later the priest enters, a new very young Priest Fr. Tim. We begin singing and when he enters, I sense his spirit, as if the room lit up when he walked in, and indeed later he said how much he enjoyed the musical surprise. During the time of receiving the Holy Lord in the Holy Eucharist, I receive it from Fr. Tim's pious hands, and I say this for the reverence which He handles Christ as some priest's do. I go to my seat. My soul is deeply praying with God, "I am worthless God, I know I am nothing Lord....and the Lord spoke some words that make my eyes tear up automatically even as I write to you "who told you, you are worthless?". And I had an inner-vision of my tears being gulped inside and they fell into a waterfall of what I can only explain as mercy as it glimmered in light.
I had to dry my tears and my heart was burning. It was the Lord. A spanish reflection (5minutos) ends today "All of our life is like a Great "Sabbath" where no other activity fits except to practice love. Do not profane the Day of the Lord without practicing love!". Next time your heart burns and you shed tears of joy, IT IS THE LORD! Did we not pray today "But the just rejoice and exult before God; they are glad and rejoice." And we continue on praying "Blessed day by day be the Lord, who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation."
Day by day, hour by hour, minute to minute, second to second, BLESSED BE THE LORD