The Grace of Suffering In our suffering, we collaborate with Christ for the salvation of the world. Our suffering is therefore anything but random an
The Grace of Suffering
In our suffering, we collaborate with Christ for the salvation of the world. Our suffering is therefore anything but random and meaningless. It is cosmically restorative, even though it may be a horrible burden to the sufferer. John Paul didn't intend to whitewash suffering. Doing so would have been both insensitive and false. But he did want to show that God can use even suffering for the betterment of humankind. It, like everything else, has a place in the economy of salvation. —from the book John Paul II: A Short Biography by Kerry Walters
✞ "Men do not fear a powerful hostile army as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary." — St. Bonaventure
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Essentially a soldier, the Christian is always on the lookout. He has sharper ears and hears an undertone that others miss; his eyes see things in a particularly candid light, and he senses something to which others are insensible, the streaming of a vital current through all things. He is never submerged in life, but keeps his head and shoulders clear of it and his eyes free to look upward. Consequently he has a deeper sense of responsibility than others. When this awareness and watchfulness disappear, Christian life loses its edge; it becomes dull and ponderous." — Fr. Romano Guardini, p. 177 AN EXCERPT FROM Meditations Before Mass
VERSE OF THE DAY "See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him."
1 John 3:1
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Saint of the Day for November 22
Saint Cecilia's Story
Although Cecilia is one of the most famous of the Roman martyrs, the familiar stories about her are apparently not founded on authentic material. There is no trace of honor being paid her in early times. A fragmentary inscription of the late fourth century refers to a church named after her, and her feast was celebrated at least in 545.
According to legend, Cecilia was a young Christian of high rank betrothed to a Roman named Valerian. Through her influence, Valerian was converted, and was martyred along with his brother. The legend about Cecilia's death says that after being struck three times on the neck with a sword, she lived for three days, and asked the pope to convert her home into a church.
Since the time of the Renaissance she has usually been portrayed with a viola or a small organ.
Like any good Christian, Cecilia sang in her heart, and sometimes with her voice. She has become a symbol of the Church's conviction that good music is an integral part of the liturgy, of greater value to the Church than any other art.
Saint Cecilia is the Patron Saint of:
Memorial of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr Lectionary: 499
Reading 1 2 MC 7:1, 20-31
It happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested and tortured with whips and scourges by the king, to force them to eat pork in violation of God's law.
Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother, who saw her seven sons perish in a single day, yet bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord. Filled with a noble spirit that stirred her womanly heart with manly courage, she exhorted each of them in the language of their ancestors with these words: "I do not know how you came into existence in my womb; it was not I who gave you the breath of life, nor was it I who set in order the elements of which each of you is composed. Therefore, since it is the Creator of the universe who shapes each man's beginning, as he brings about the origin of everything, he, in his mercy, will give you back both breath and life, because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of his law."
Antiochus, suspecting insult in her words, thought he was being ridiculed. As the youngest brother was still alive, the king appealed to him, not with mere words, but with promises on oath, to make him rich and happy if he would abandon his ancestral customs: he would make him his Friend and entrust him with high office. When the youth paid no attention to him at all, the king appealed to the mother, urging her to advise her boy to save his life. After he had urged her for a long time, she went through the motions of persuading her son. In derision of the cruel tyrant, she leaned over close to her son and said in their native language: "Son, have pity on me, who carried you in my womb for nine months, nursed you for three years, brought you up, educated and supported you to your present age. I beg you, child, to look at the heavens and the earth and see all that is in them; then you will know that God did not make them out of existing things; and in the same way the human race came into existence. Do not be afraid of this executioner, but be worthy of your brothers and accept death, so that in the time of mercy I may receive you again with them."
She had scarcely finished speaking when the youth said: "What are you waiting for? I will not obey the king's command. I obey the command of the law given to our fathers through Moses. But you, who have contrived every kind of affliction for the Hebrews, will not escape the hands of God." Responsorial Psalm PS 17:1BCD, 5-6, 8B AND 15
R. (15b) Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full. Hear, O LORD, a just suit; attend to my outcry; hearken to my prayer from lips without deceit. R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full. My steps have been steadfast in your paths, my feet have not faltered. I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my word. R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. But I in justice shall behold your face; on waking, I shall be content in your presence. R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
Alleluia SEE JN 15:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia. I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord. . Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel LK 19:11-28
While people were listening to Jesus speak, he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately. So he said, "A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return. He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, 'Engage in trade with these until I return.' His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, 'We do not want this man to be our king.' But when he returned after obtaining the kingship, he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money, to learn what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, 'Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.' He replied, 'Well done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities.' Then the second came and reported, 'Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.' And to this servant too he said, 'You, take charge of five cities.' Then the other servant came and said, 'Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.' He said to him, 'With your own words I shall condemn you, you wicked servant. You knew I was a demanding man, taking up what I did not lay down and harvesting what I did not plant; why did you not put my money in a bank? Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.' And to those standing by he said, 'Take the gold coin from him and give it to the servant who has ten.' But they said to him, 'Sir, he has ten gold coins.' He replied, 'I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.'"
After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.
Meditation: Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15 Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr (Memorial)
I shall be content in your presence. (Psalm 17:15)
Have you ever noticed a married couple who enjoy being together? They may not be doing anything special or even speaking. Just being with each other is enough. Why? Close to each other, they feel loved, safe, and content. Storms may rage about them, but they are at peace.
The peace we experience in family life can help us understand being content in God's presence. Just as family life isn't always peaceful and happy, so too our lives can be troubling, making us long for peace and security. But how can we find it when life's challenges beset us? Today's psalm gives us some clues.
The psalmist cries out to God for help. He feels under attack from his enemies and wants to be safe with the Lord. So what does he do? He recalls God's love and proclaims his goodness (Psalm 17:6-7). Then he asks God to hide him "in the shadow of your wings" (17:8). Close to the Lord, he finds the protection and safety he has longed for.
This contentment is for everyone, not just for the psalmist. We can all know God's love, protection, and peace. So here are a few steps to help us enjoy God's presence:
• First, pick a place. Whether it's an adoration chapel, a quiet room at home, or outdoors in the beauty of nature, choose a spot free from distractions so that you can be quiet with God.
• Next, remember all of the marvelous things God has done in your life. Think about how he created you and loves you, just as you are.
• Finally, try to sense his presence. Pray, "Lord, show me that you are with me." You might close your eyes and imagine him sitting beside you. Then wait.
How will you know if you are in God's presence? You already are—he is always with you. You may feel a sense of gratitude or hope. The stress of life may feel less overwhelming. You might experience contentment and know God's love. These are all signs of the Lord's presence.
Don't worry about feeling anything at first. Just keep spending time with the Lord and try to sense his presence. Over time, you will recognize how near God is to you, and you will know his peace.
"Lord, help me enjoy your presence today."
2 Maccabees 7:1, 20-31 Luke 19:11-28
Bishop Barron says today in his reflection; Friends, in today's Gospel Jesus uses images drawn from the world of business to instruct us in Christian living. And he especially liked the dynamic of investment, risk, and return as a model of the spiritual life. The reason is clear. God exists in gift form. Therefore, if you want his life in you, you have to learn to give it away.
Think of the coins we read about today as everything that we've received from God—life, breath, being, powers, and so on. Because they come from God, they are meant to become gifts. If you cling to them, in the manner of the third servant, they don't grow; in fact, they wither away.
Notice that the first two servants doubled their wealth precisely in the measure that they risked it. This means that the one who truly has the divine life knows how to make it a gift, and that in turn will make the original gift increase. And the opposite holds true: "From the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." This means that if you try to cling to the divine life, you will, in short order, lose it." In the first Holy scripture we heard of God's children giving their lives to God refusing the world, as if the world would offer life? No. God offers life eternal. Refuse to sin. Refuse to give in. It becomes easier the more you grow in love with our Lord. That love is a promise that is sealed in the Holy Sacraments...truth. The test of truth. The Lord asks again "do you love Me" Because it is first the First command....of life everlasting....
Yesterday this strange thought hit me as I pondered our Lord and I'll leave you with it, "It is to punish our Lord by not follwing His will" Like a child punishing his parents Or the Jews the children of Israel punishing Jesus our Lord.... Then you will receive what you sow. It is not wishy washy faith God desires....but a life that gives in return to Him....the greatest gift is Love Because God is love Learn to give lavishly