|Make Room For God || |
|In humility, a woman ultimately forgets herself; forgets both her shortcomings and accomplishments equally and strives to remain empty of self to make room for Jesus, just as Mary did. |
St. Bernadette Soubirous
"Tsk, tsk. What is the problem with that poor, ignorant girl who claims that the Blessed Mother has appeared to her?"
Poor Bernadette, indeed. The uneducated French peasant who first reported visions of Mary in Lourdes, France, in 1858, was disbelieved by clergy and dismissed by townspeople. But she wasn't shaken. She insisted that Mary had appeared to her 18 times over six months. And, she reported, the Blessed Mother identified herself as the Immaculate Conception, a title given to Mary by Pope Pius IX only four years earlier.
According to young Bernadette, Mary called for the conversion of sinners through penance. She also urged people to visit the place of the apparitions and asked that a church be built on the site. Since then, millions of people have bathed in the springs at Lourdes and many have reported miraculous healings.
Bernadette joined the Sisters of Notre Dame at Nevers. There she lived as Sister Maria Bernarda until her death in 1879 at age 35. She was canonized in 1933.
Saint of the DayLives, Lessons and FeastBy Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
"I stand at the door and knock," says the Lord.
What a wonderful privilege
that the Lord of all creation desires to come to me.
I welcome His presence.
Lord, may I never take the gift
of freedom for granted. You gave
me the great blessing of freedom of
spirit. Fill my spirit with Your peace and
Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life? By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit. If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.
The Word of God
Wednesday of Holy Week
The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
That I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
And I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
My face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.
The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me,
let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let him confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?
R. (14c) Lord, in your great love, answer me.
For your sake I bear insult,
and shame covers my face.
I have become an outcast to my brothers,
a stranger to my mother's sons,
because zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak,
I looked for sympathy, but there was none;
for consolers, not one could I find.
Rather they put gall in my food,
and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving:
"See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not."
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot,
went to the chief priests and said,
"What are you willing to give me
if I hand him over to you?"
They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
the disciples approached Jesus and said,
"Where do you want us to prepare
for you to eat the Passover?"
"Go into the city to a certain man and tell him,
'The teacher says, "My appointed time draws near;
in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples."'"
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered,
and prepared the Passover.
When it was evening,
he reclined at table with the Twelve.
And while they were eating, he said,
"Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me."
Deeply distressed at this,
they began to say to him one after another,
"Surely it is not I, Lord?"
He said in reply,
"He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me
is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born."
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,
"Surely it is not I, Rabbi?"
He answered, "You have said so."
Conversation requires talking and listening. As I talk to Jesus may I also learn to be still and listen. I picture the gentleness in His eyes and the smile full of love as he gazes on me. I can be totally honest with Jesus as I tell Him of my worries and my cares. I will open up my heart to Him as I tell Him of my fears and my doubts. I will ask Him to help me to place myself fully in His care, to abandon myself to Him, knowing that He always wants what is best for me.
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 26:14-25
View NAB Reading at USCCB.org
Wednesday of Holy Week
One of you will betray me. (Matthew 26:21)
Lord Jesus, you really know how to upset people. "One of you will betray me"—what a bombshell! Sure, your disciples are aware that someone is going to hand you over (Matthew 17:22; 20:18; 26:2). But to learn that it's one of them! Who could it be?
I can picture the Eleven gripped with horror at the terrifying possibilities. I see their fearful faces turning to you, seeking assurance that they would never do such a thing: "Surely it is not I, Lord?" (Matthew 26:22). Even Peter is too stunned to deny the possibility of his own weakness. Defenses fall, and eleven hearts face the truth: Am I capable of betraying my Lord? Yes, I am.
You foresee, Jesus, what will happen. The moment of clarity will pass. Soon your little band will be justifying themselves and professing their undying loyalty (Matthew 26:35). But then they'll run away. How well you know these men—and how little they know themselves! Still, how deeply you love them and want them to be one with you. Right to the end, you work to call out the good you see in them.
You address that twelfth disciple, your betrayer, and offer him one last chance to change course. Then, before delivering yourself to your enemies, you hand yourself over to your wavering friends: "Take and eat... . Drink" (Matthew 26:26, 27). Who but you could have imagined this act of love!
Jesus, it is good for me to be here, reflecting on this scene. Tomorrow, Holy Thursday, will remind me in a special way that I'm in it. At every Mass, it's like I'm sitting elbow-to-elbow with the apostles at the Last Supper. Like them, I'm flawed and weak. But as I eat your Body and drink your Blood, your life flows through me and makes me strong. And so, looking not at my sins and liabilities but at your power at work in me, I boldly dare to offer a prayer that many Eastern Catholics recite before receiving Communion: "I will not betray you with a kiss, as did Judas, but like the repentant thief, I openly profess you: Remember me, O Lord, in your kingdom."
"Jesus, thank you for giving your life out of love for me. You make my heart leap with joy!"
Isaiah 50:4-9; Psalm 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34
From NewAdvent.org, on unleavened bread which we read about today:
Unfermented cakes used by the Jews in their various sacrifices and religious rites (Exodus 29:2,23; Numbers 6:15, 17, 19; Leviticus 2:4; 6:16-17; 7:12, 8:2, 26), as commanded by the Law (Exodus 23:18; 34:25; Leviticus 2:11). Their use was also prescribed for the Feast of the Passover (Exodus 12:8, 15; 13:3, 6, 7; Numbers 9:11; Deuteronomy 16:3, 4, 8). On account of the facility with which they could be prepared, they were also made in ordinary life for unexpected guests (Genesis 18:6; Judges 6:19-21, etc.) and in times of necessity, e.g., at the time of the Exodus (Exodus 12:34, 39), whence the name, "bread of affliction" (Deuteronomy 16:3). In 1 Corinthians 5:8, unleavened bread is the type of sincerity and truth. Why do I bring it up? We read today "Who disputes my right? Let him confront me. See, the Lord GOD is my help; who will prove me wrong?" And the prophet Isaiah is talking about the Messiah, just like the Psalms "Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak, I looked for sympathy, but there was none; for consolers, not one could I find. Rather they put gall in my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." The unleavened bread is true, and it is the new covenant, and I say this because it is Jesus. Tomorrow we will celebrate this on Holy Thursday. The bread delivers. Delivers what? Truth, and delivers us from temptation and even sin once received into a true and contrite heart. I say this because I recall at the closing of my cursillo we had a closing Mass. I believe my conversion came through the weekend but was sealed with the covenant, when I could no longer see the Eucharist as unleavened bread, but as the flesh of Jesus being held up by Jesus. This is the importance of giving reverence to a Catholic priest. I was thinking the other day, "how humble a position in the world to be a parish priest" giving one's life for one's friend. What friend? You and I? Jesus? I will leave your heart to answer that question. For now, the question is who will partake of the unleavened bread? I was asked to do "communion service" to prisoners, and I've yet to see what that is like or if the Lord will WILL it to be. It's weighed heavily on my mind, Jesus reaching into prison walls where nobody else will go, not even "loved ones" that supposedly "care" for them. Yet, could it be I that is imprisoned? Tied up so I can not preach? I read a quote today "The spirit of humility is sweeter than honey, and those who nourish themselves with this honey produce sweet fruit." -- St. Anthony of Padua. Humility frees, just like the Flesh of God, the Mana from Heaven. Let myself be pushed around? For the Lord? Yes, always yes. What God wants, we won't give. God gives what we don't want. We don't want a heavy cross or sufferings. We want all success, no failures. We want everyone to convert without a sweat, no troubles, no blood, sweat, or tears. They say Jesus did not hardly make a sound as He endured everything in the Passion and crucifixion. Yet we nag, whine, yell, and complain once something doesn't go "our way". Fitting, because it should be HIS Way. Enduring is suffering, is patience. What little we endure in His Holy Name is rewarded in the eternal, and that's what He wants and where He wants us to be. Years ago, He knew we would struggle and so He set forth all we would need, His Word, His Promise, and His Body on earth, along with His Spirit
THE SAME SHALL BE FOR HIM THROUGH ME