Seeking beauty is the pathway to seeking joy, and as women, we are endowed with unique gifts that allow us not only to long for that joy that is a reflection of our longing for heaven, but to create and birth things that are noble, good, and lovely in unique and creative ways. We see beyond the material pursuit of simple pleasure to the longing for joy that points our eyes and hearts toward the eternal.
—from When We Were Eve: Uncovering the Woman God Created You to Be franciscan media
✞Quote "Do not seek to be regarded as somebody, don't compare yourself to others in anything. Leave the world, mount the cross, discard all earthly things, shake the dust from off your feet." — St. Barsanuphius
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "The vow of chastity includes purity of body and soul; this is easily lost ... This great treasure is deposited in a castle, which has many portals and openings, and if these are not well guarded and defended, the treasure is without security. My daughter, in order to preserve perfectly this vow, it is necessary to make an inviolable pact with thy senses, not to use them, except for what is according to the dictates of reason and for the glory of the Creator. After once the senses are mortified, it will be easy to overcome thy enemies, for only through them can they conquer thee; for no thoughts can recur, or be awakened to activity, unless fomented and excited by the images and impressions admitted through the exterior senses." — Ven. Mary of Agreda, p. 86 AN EXCERPT FROM The Mystical City of God
✞VERSE OF THE DAY "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:3-6
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Saint Cristóbal Magallanes and Companions
(d. between 1915 and 1937)
Like Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro, SJ, Cristóbal and his 24 companion martyrs lived under a very anti-Catholic government in Mexico, one determined to weaken the Catholic faith of its people. Churches, schools, and seminaries were closed; foreign clergy were expelled. Cristóbal established a clandestine seminary at Totatiche, Jalisco. He and the other priests were forced to minister secretly to Catholics during the presidency of Plutarco Calles (1924-28).
All of these martyrs, except three, were diocesan priests. David, Manuel and Salvador were laymen who died with their parish priest, Luis Batis. They all belonged to the Cristero movement, pledging their allegiance to Christ and to the Church that he established, to spread the Good News in society—even if Mexico's leaders had made it a crime to receive baptism or celebrate the Mass.
These martyrs did not die as a single group but over 22 years time in eight Mexican states, with Jalisco and Zacatecas having the largest number. They were beatified in 1992 and canonized eight years later.
Reflection Every martyr realizes how to avoid execution, but refuses to pay the high price of doing so. A clear conscience was more valuable than a long life. We may be tempted to compromise our faith while telling ourselves that we are simply being realistic, dealing with situations as we find them. Is survival really the ultimate value? Do our concrete, daily choices reflect our deepest values, the ones that allow us to "tick" the way we do? Anyone can imagine situations in which being a follower of Jesus is easier than the present situation. Saints remind us that our daily choices, especially in adverse circumstances, form the pattern of our lives.
Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
Reading 1 Gn 3:9-15, 20
After Adam had eaten of the tree, the LORD God called to him and asked him, "Where are you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself." Then he asked, "Who told you that you were naked? You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!" The man replied, "The woman whom you put here with me— she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it." The LORD God then asked the woman, "Why did you do such a thing?" The woman answered, "The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it."
Then the LORD God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, you shall be banned from all the animals and from all the wild creatures; On your belly shall you crawl, and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel." The man called his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living.
Or Acts 1:12-14
After Jesus had been taken up to heaven, the Apostles returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away.
When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 87:1-2, 3 and 5, 6-7 R. (3) Glorious things are told of you, O city of God. His foundation upon the holy mountains the LORD loves: The gates of Zion, more than any dwelling of Jacob.
R. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God. Glorious things are said of you, O city of God! And of Zion they shall say: "One and all were born in her; And he who has established her is the Most High LORD."
R. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God. They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled: "This man was born there." And all shall sing, in their festive dance: "My home is within you." R. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.
Alleluia R. Alleluia, alleluia. O happy Virgin, you gave birth to the Lord; O blessed mother of the Church, you warm our hearts with the Spirit of your Son Jesus Christ. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 19:25-34
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I thirst." There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, "It is finished." And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately Blood and water flowed out.
Meditation: Mark 9:14-29
Saint Christopher Magallanes, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs (Optional Memorial)
I do believe, help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)
He had brought his son to Jesus, the healer and the wonder-worker. It was his last hope. But Jesus wasn't there, only some of his disciples. No matter. Surely they could help. But no—their prayers had no effect. The scribes mocked them; the disciples became frustrated. And still his son suffered. The man felt defeated.
Just then, Jesus came down from the mountain. The father's heart began to lift as Jesus asked him to bring the boy to him. With a mixture of fear, discouragement, and hope, he cried out, "I do believe, help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24).
This is what faith looks like. It isn't always picture-perfect. It's honest, and it asks God for the help and strength we don't have. That makes this father's prayer a good one for us to adopt today.
"Lord, I do believe; help my unbelief! I admit it; I am weak. I wish my faith were stronger. I wish I were better at trusting you, better at obeying you. Still, I want to approach you honestly, not as I think I should be, but as I am.
"I do believe, Lord! I know you have helped me in the past. Every time I feel a tug on my heart to pray for someone, it's because of the faith you've given me. Every time I try to look for your help with a problem, I'm exercising that gift of faith. But this situation right here? This one isn't as easy.
"Lord, I know that I will face something today that will challenge me. I might waver when you don't seem to be answering my prayers. I might worry about the future and start to doubt that you really will stick with me. I might fall into the trap of thinking I don't need you if things are going well today. I don't want these things to stop me. Help me to keep reaching out to you.
"Lord, help my unbelief! When my prayers aren't answered the way I expect, help me to hang on. When new issues arise unexpectedly, increase my faith. When the day is peaceful and prosperous, keep me close to you. Lord, I do believe!
"Lord, thank you that with you all things are possible!"
James 3:13-18 Psalm 19:8-10, 15
Adam said to our Lord: ""I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid...". The taste of sin made Adam afraid. Adam became "a dam" for the flowing waters of Christ's life. Instead of freely flowing, they came to a trickle. We are speaking of a life of grace. The book of Genesis is a tremendous book of revelation. It discovers who we are, and who God is. Always, God in realization in us, how He manifests Himself in us. The old testament is a compilation of our story, of a restoration to God's will. Our country has fallen within the last decades. A generation began like this, back in the 60s or 70s "you are free to do what you want". The lie was bitten and has stricken us and plagued us. In this generation over 60 million recorded unborn baby deaths have been slaughtered on a false altar of self. The new satanic temple unification has launched, and it is all about worshiping self. In this era, school prayer has been pushed out, and bibles. In this era, now, this day, the violence has arisen to record heights and it all began with nudity. Venerable Fulton Sheen was right, he said "...first comes nudity, and then comes violence". Adam discovered he was nude....and then he became afraid...of God. His own Father. His own creator. His own....best friend. And now, the hard restoration begins. And it is good.
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
Let us pray: "They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled: "This man was born there." And all shall sing, in their festive dance: "My home is within you." Glorious things are told of you, O city of God". Jesus says "my home is within you". Heaven is within us. Why should we be afraid? Who has taught us to be afraid? It was born of a lie. Jesus feeds us with truth.
In the Holy Gospel, Jesus feeds us...with His Sacred, precious Blood "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother."
Today we recognize the precious gift of His Holy Mother. He knew the world would need a mother. So...He made one. The new Eve. The new beginning. He made Mary. It could be said that the name Mary means "beloved" from which the "beloved Son" came from. He gave us His "beloved" everything. His mom. HIs body, His soul, His blood, and water, and flesh. What does Heaven taste like? Receive the Eucharist. The best way to describe it, is after a fresh confession, in grace you receive grace. A holy vessel to receive holiness. Mary with Jesus. Is it a feeling? No. It is more. It is a state of being. It is a true realization, a knowing. So how can we be restored? Pentecost serves the purpose of restoration. It is a fire that God wants. He said "How I wish the world was already ablaze!". He did leave His body for us and it is in us. Because God can, He lives in a loving heart. He speaks through people and things and nature. But we focus on temptations most. Like G.K. Chesterton "the apostle of common sense" said once about the commandments "if they are 10 things you can not do, then there is a million things that you can do". I said at an ultreya gathering, "it's like going to a big beautiful day at the park, and you focus on the dog poop at the park and it ruins your day".
This very day, we must use our baptism of fire, confirmation. We must pray the prayer of life. What is it? A pro-life prayer? What is it? Life Worth Living by Fulton Sheen? What is it? What is prayer? Someone said it is the breath for our souls. You are the voice and example of Christ. You must, in great love, be God's love. The people must know they should not be afraid of God's voice. They are in hiding places, and God wants them to come out into the light. You then, are honored to do this. It is an honor to serve God in this way. And I encourage you to be those holy hands of the "beloved". When Adam realized he was stripped naked, he had been stripped of full grace. Let us be the fulfillment of God's desire.
For questions or comments contact Adrian@going4th.com. For more go to www.Going4th.com