Blessed Didacus Joseph of Cadiz
Born in Cadiz, Spain, and christened Joseph Francis, the youth spent much of his free time around the Capuchin friars and their church. But his desire to enter the Franciscan Order was delayed because of the difficulty he had with his studies. Finally he was admitted to the novitiate of the Capuchins in Seville as Brother Didacus. He later was ordained a priest and sent out to preach.
His gift of preaching was soon evident. He journeyed tirelessly through the territory of Andalusia of Spain, speaking in small towns and crowded cities. His words were able to touch the minds and hearts of young and old, rich and poor, students and professors. His work in the confessional completed the conversions his words began.
This unlearned man was called "the apostle of the Holy Trinity" because of his devotion to the Trinity and the ease with which he preached about this sublime mystery. One day a child gave away his secret, crying out: "Mother, mother, see the dove resting on the shoulder of Father Didacus! I could preach like that too if a dove told me all that I should say."
Didacus was that close to God, spending nights in prayer and preparing for his sermons by severe penances. His reply to those who criticized him: "My sins and the sins of the people compel me to do it. Those who have been charged with the conversions of sinners must remember that the Lord has imposed on them the sins of all their clients."
It is said that sometimes when he preached on the love of God he would be elevated above the pulpit. Crowds in village and town squares were entranced by his words and would attempt to tear off pieces of his habit as he passed by.
He died in 1801 at age 58, a holy and revered man. He was beatified in 1894.
Didacus was such a poor student that the Observant Franciscans wouldn't have him. When Capuchin Franciscans finally took him into their order and eventually ordained him, he proved to be a powerful preacher—to everyone's surprise. As we often do, Didacus's contemporaries expected little from someone with a slow mind. Didacus proved to them that intelligence is not the only measure. The person who has a loving heart, a listening ear and a wealth of compassion is, in the long run, much wiser.
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
My soul longs for your presence, Lord.
Lord, may I never take the gift
I ask how I am within myself today? Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form? If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?
The Word of God
Reading 1DT 4:1, 5-9
Moses spoke to the people and said:
"Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees
which I am teaching you to observe,
that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land
which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.
Therefore, I teach you the statutes and decrees
as the LORD, my God, has commanded me,
that you may observe them in the land you are entering to occupy.
Observe them carefully,
for thus will you give evidence
of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations,
who will hear of all these statutes and say,
'This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.'
For what great nation is there
that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us
whenever we call upon him?
Or what great nation has statutes and decrees
that are as just as this whole law
which I am setting before you today?
"However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children's children."
Responsorial Psalm PS 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20
R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
He spreads snow like wool;
frost he strews like ashes.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Gospel MT 5:17-19
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."
What is stirring in me as I pray? Am I consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side and share my feelings with him.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Meditation: Matthew 5:17-19
3rd Week of Lent
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17)
The Jews have recognized the Torah—the "Law," or "instruction," contained in the first five books of the Bible—as nothing less than the very revelation of God. It revealed his intimate thoughts about himself and the sacred way of life he was offering to his people. In centuries past, when the question was asked, "What is God doing in heaven?" the rabbis routinely answered, "Reading Torah!"
How did Jesus view the Torah? He told his followers that he was sent from the Father to fulfill the Law, to bring it to fruition. That is why his Sermon on the Mount focuses on the "heart," or "inner intention," behind the ancient commandments. For example, Jesus explained that it's not enough to avoid doing physical harm to one's neighbor. If we are to love from the heart, we must learn to live in peace with our neighbor as well. Again, it's not enough to avoid stealing and committing adultery. We need to do away with the desire to possess what rightfully belongs to someone else.
Even as he raised the requirements of God's commands, Jesus didn't paint a picture of God as a stern judge eager to punish our every sin. God loves us, and he invites us to embrace his love. He wants to change us by the power of his Spirit so that we can love what he loves and so that we can turn away from what is sinful.
God's love is a consuming fire. It burns away our evil desires and fills us with a longing to please him and to lay down our lives in humble service. St. Augustine once said, "Fulfill the commandments out of love. Could anyone refuse to love our God, so abounding in mercy, so just in all his ways? Could anyone deny love to him who first loved us despite all our injustice and all our pride?" Let's ask the Holy Spirit to purify our thoughts and fill our hearts with God's love. Then we will begin to desire only what is pleasing to God.
"Thank you, Lord, for giving me your Holy Spirit. Fill my heart with your surpassing love, and make me holy as you are holy."
Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9; Psalm 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20
The spanish reflection 5minutos:
"We are celebrating this intense spiritual time of Lent, 40 days towards the Easter of Christ, our Easter. We want with the help of the Spirit, that it be a time of grace. A time of conversion, that is to say, of renewal, of rejuvenating, of overcoming. A time to grow, to be, to love.
To grow; in the faith, in the knowing of Christ, in the growing of own's own capacities and talents.
To be; in line with the human and Christian authenticity. To be more human means to be more free, more responsible, more just, and more in solidarity. To be more Christian means to be more conscious and consequent of what we confess and believe, to be more more penetrated with the criteria and attitude of Jesus Christ, identify ourselves more with Him.
To Love; Because this is the true way to the grow and Christian experience. We are and grow in the measure we love. And to love means to share, serve, and surrender. It is a way that never stops going.
I present myself unto you, Lord, with an extremely sickened heart, stained, hardened, sclerotic; I need you to wash it and cure it, an operation surgical-creative, a new transplanted heart.
Create in me, Lord, a new heart, break my heart of stone with the hammer of your word, tear it, pulverize it with your word and mold a beautiful heart, like yours, with water, the fire and breath of your Spirit.
Do not depart your Holy Spirit from me. I shall truly be the new man, all an example; I shall dress in festival, perfumed with the odor of the joy of the Spirit; and I will offer my grateful tears like a song to your great mercy (Psalm 50). "
Thousands of years ago, the law was given to Moses. It was given to the people for them to be wise and more good. These laws are the same today, the commandments have not changed. Everything we read applies to you and me. Our Lord says today that He did not come to trash all of the old but to FULFILL it. Every day I write, I ask the Spirit, that exact same Spirit we read about to infuse into my being to reach out to you. The Spirit has always been and will always be. We give spirit, we give life to things, we are creators. Jesus did this on a level we will not understand. When the Spirit tells me to write, often times things are said that I will never know about but fulfill His plan. This is faith in fulfillment. We do what He says and trust the outcome to Him, not for me to know. So long as we listen, do what He says. So many times I want to "add" to the laws. Things He created are pure, all the "add ons" are unnecessary, hiding the true creation. Now, it is up to me and you to Fulfill the laws and prophecies. I will venture on a prophecy of old, and say, if we do what He says, we will be blessed, if not the curse ensues, if not now, then later. I write to people I do not know, and so I share the faith, and I want to share with you a secret; If you find that the Lord is good, and I led a prayer in our company safety meeting this morning stating that "we give thanks for all the good because all things good come from God", if you find for yourself that He is good, then pray that it never ends. Could this be Heaven? I pray for the gift, yes I bet we can pray for gifts, I pray for the gift of final perseverance. Living a life of grace allows you to see what life can be like with Him, and how it is without Him. I am not veering off from the subject, because it has everything to do with fulfilling the law, making it come true. I don't know how else to say it, or beg for it, I feel very few answer the call. My Child, God wants you on His side, by His side, and for His side. I want you to be everything the world needs, Jesus. Teach others, starting with your children. A brother said in friendship group this week, "the boys I took to the search retreat this weekend, they weren't my sons but I told them they were my sons now". This is living in the steps of our Father who art in Heaven. Suddenly you realize you have lots of children, those entrusted to your care, for their souls. Consider the gravity of the situation. Consider what is at stake. What good does it do me to tell someone I love them, if I couldn't care less if they go to hell? What good would it do me if they are good productful citizens if they know nothing about loving God? All for the world and nothing for Him. Dumb question, why do we ask people not to chew gum in church? They asked me last night in a liturgical meeting to perhaps announce to the congregations to silence their phones and spit out gum, announce after the rosary I lead before Mass. Question "why do we have to spit out the gum?", does God care? What if it were the president of the nation you were meeting, would you smack your gum and blow bubbles in front of him? What if it were the United Nations you attended in the most important meeting in the world? Would you answer phone calls or smack your gum? We are meeting God in Church. It's not about what He thinks of me, it's about what I think of Him. The same for the laws. God gave them for us, not for Him, He don't need us, He Just loves us. What I do in sacrifice is not for His Good, it is for my own good. Lent has re-routed me. I have given up stuff, thus opened my eyes more to Him. I have prayed more, opening myself up more to Him. I have given more, not realizing the need until I started to give. The laws are good for the Good. God loves in a way we don't understand, we just have to take it on. Funny, I didn't have anything planned to say to you, but the guts are spilled, the Spirit comes in. Let Him Love You, Let Him Lead You. Where this goes, it's going to be a surprise
Food For The Poor click image to give direct
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