Francis was becoming a happy man, not giddy, but a man whose whole being radiated joy. He had endured hatred and abuse in patience for two years already, and yet his spirit seemed more steadfast with the passing weeks and months and years – and Bernard looked and listened, and then one day he saw. He saw that what was happening to Francis was not madness but a great grace of God—a grace that had begun to draw Bernard himself. He began to see that what was happening was the religious conversion of Francis Bernardone. Bernard remembered the words of the Gospel he'd heard at Mass. The priest said that they were the first words of Jesus. "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news" (Mark 1:15).
—from the book Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis
†Quote "Would that I could exhaust myself in acts of thanksgiving and gratitude towards this Divine Heart, for the great favor He shows us, in deigning to accept our help to make Him known, loved and honored; He reserves infinite blessings for all those who devote themselves to this work." — St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
†Meditation "If you stay united with Christ, each one of you will be able to do great things. This is why, dear friends, you must not be afraid to dream with your eyes open of important projects of good and you must not let yourselves be discouraged by difficulties. Christ has confidence in you and wants you to be able to realize all your most noble and lofty dreams of genuine happiness. Nothing is impossible for those who trust in God and entrust themselves to Him." — Pope Benedict XVI AN EXCERPT FROM Pope Benedict XVI
† VERSE OF THE DAY "But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." Luke 6:35-36
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(543 – November 21, 615)
Columban was the greatest of the Irish missionaries who worked on the European continent. As a young man who was greatly tormented by temptations of the flesh, he sought the advice of a religious woman who had lived a hermit's life for years. He saw in her answer a call to leave the world. He went first to a monk on an island in Lough Erne, then to the great monastic seat of learning at Bangor.
After many years of seclusion and prayer, he traveled to Gaul with 12 companion missionaries. They won wide respect for the rigor of their discipline, their preaching, and their commitment to charity and religious life in a time characterized by clerical laxity and civil strife. Columban established several monasteries in Europe which became centers of religion and culture.
Like all saints, he met opposition. Ultimately he had to appeal to the pope against complaints of Frankish bishops, for vindication of his orthodoxy and approval of Irish customs. He reproved the king for his licentious life, insisting that he marry. Since this threatened the power of the queen mother, Columban was deported back to Ireland. His ship ran aground in a storm, and he continued his work in Europe, ultimately arriving in Italy, where he found favor with the king of the Lombards. In his last years he established the famous monastery of Bobbio, where he died. His writings include a treatise on penance and against Arianism, sermons, poetry, and his monastic rule. The Liturgical Feast of Saint Columban is November 23.
Reflection Now that public sexual license is becoming extreme, we need the Church's memory of a young man as concerned about chastity as Columban. And now that the comfort-captured Western world stands in tragic contrast to starving millions, we need the challenge to austerity and discipline of a group of Irish monks. They were too strict, we say; they went too far. How far shall we go?
Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Rv 14:1-3, 4b-5
I, John, looked and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. I heard a sound from heaven like the sound of rushing water or a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. They were singing what seemed to be a new hymn before the throne, before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn this hymn except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been ransomed from the earth. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been ransomed as the first fruits of the human race for God and the Lamb. On their lips no deceit has been found; they are unblemished.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6 R. (see 6) Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face. The LORD's are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it. For he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face. Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD? or who may stand in his holy place? He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain. R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD, a reward from God his savior. Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob. R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Alleluia Mt 24:42a, 44 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Stay awake! For you do not know when the Son of Man will come. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 21:1-4
When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, "I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood."
Meditation: Revelation 14:1-5
34th Week in Ordinary Time
These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. (Revelation 14:4)
You've probably heard someone say, "I'm not sure I want to go to heaven. It sounds pretty boring." You may have even had this thought yourself. Some of the images in today's first reading might reinforce that view. It might be wonderful to hear harps playing and hymns being sung for a while, but it's probably not something you'd want to hear twenty-four hours a day!
But look again: "The sound of rushing water or a loud peal of thunder" (Revelation 14:2). What is it like to be in the midst of a powerful thunderstorm, or to see breakers splash on a beach or a waterfall cascade over a cliff? These are by no means tame images of the glory that God has prepared for us! St. Paul tells us, in fact, that this glory is beyond anything we have ever heard or seen—anything that we could even imagine (1 Corinthians 2:9).
That doesn't sound boring, does it? Our most magnificent experiences and imaginings can't even begin to express the wonders that God has in store for us.
There's another clue in this passage about what heaven might be like: we will "follow the Lamb wherever he goes" (Revelation 14:4). Just think what it would have been like to follow Jesus during his public ministry. It was anything but boring. In fact, it was full of surprises. For instance, you didn't know where your next meal was coming from: a rich official or a little boy with a lunch basket. You didn't know what kind of reception awaited you in each town: you might be welcomed warmly or shooed away. You didn't know whom you would encounter next: a blind man, a funeral procession, a troubled demoniac, or even Moses and Elijah! And you certainly wouldn't expect him to send you off on a mission trip and tell you to take nothing with you but your sandals and a walking stick! If life with Jesus was this exciting then, it certainly won't be any less so with him in heaven.
We can't begin to imagine how wonderful heaven will be, but we certainly can rest assured that we won't be bored!
"Father, thank you for all the wonderful surprises you have prepared for me, both on earth and in heaven."
Psalm 24:1-6 Luke 21:1-4
2 cents : "...had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads" Boy, Revelation sure does have a way with words right? Are names literally written on Foreheads? Are people literally washed with a lamb's blood? For sure, there are books written in different literary styles. This one is poetic, and writes with a pen from eternity. Yes, there are names written, but can you see it? There those marked and saved. Yes. We too have been marked and are being saved. Who? Those who follow and are true.
Let us pray: "Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD, a reward from God his savior. Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob." Wouldn't you like a blessing, a reward from our Lord? Who then would receive? Those who are giving and seeking, and in their seeking are giving.
In the Holy Gospel, Jesus sees the poor widow "this poor widow put in more than all the rest". Boy, I was afraid I'd read this Gospel today. For some reason it had popped in my head a day or two ago. Because in the world, there are those who believe they are giving. But, in the world, there are only a few who are truly giving. Once a priest said in a talk, that a dollar bill is like a voucher of life. You spent so much time to make that dollar. And if you give it, it's like giving of your life. Right? How much are you giving to God? How much are you spending on yourself? How much are you spending on "miscellaneous" things? Look at your expenditures and see what you have spent and invested in! How much has been to our Lord? Some refuse to give. Especially in troubled times for the church or for themselves. Afraid. Afraid of what? Trust. There is a terrible lesson to learn here. Terrible in how horrible it is for us if we do not heed the message of Christ. Either you Trust Him or not. "Oh I just don't trust the priests or the church...". LIES. You don't trust in people, you don't trust in God. You have to have faith. So many in ministries leave ministries because they no longer believe. And some stay there thinking they are the only reason the ministry continues. Fools, all of us are fools. What is the terrible lesson to learn then? Trust in Jesus. He sees what's going on. Trust. I believe I'm a giver. But when I read this Gospel, I become afraid that I'm not giving as I should. Jesus said of the widow "she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood". She had no way of knowing how she would live tomorrow, or provide for her needs and even her kids needs if she had any. She had no husband, most widows could only resort to prostitution, or somehow fend for themselves. So every coin counted, that's why Jesus said the story of a woman who lost a coin and found it and was so happy. This woman then gave it to God. WHAT? Kind David was said to have wished for the waters of the land that was on the enemy side now. They brought him the water, and King David dumps it on the ground. WHAT? WHY? An offering to God.
Nowadays, who sacrifices and offers to God? Instead, we give into pleasures and sinful things.
Who wants to be a saint nowadays? The world is in big need of Holy People. And that person is you right now. You need that Holy Person. That person is inside. JESUS
Let HIM LIVE!!!
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