|Fraternal Love |
|We all have our likes and dislikes, and perhaps at this very moment we are angry with someone. At least let us say to the Lord: "Lord, I am angry with this person. I pray to you for him." To pray for a person with whom I am irritated is a beautiful step forward in love, and an act of evangelization. Let us do it today!|
St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer
An estimated 300,000 people filled St. Peter's Square on October 6, 2002, for the canonization of Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei. His canonization came only 27 years after his death, one of the shortest waiting periods in Church history.
Opus Dei, which means Work of God, emphasizes that men and women can become holy by performing their daily duties with a Christian spirit. In his homily, Pope John Paul II emphasized the importance of every believer following God's will, as had the newly sainted founder of Opus Dei. "The Lord has a plan for each one of us. Saints cannot even conceive of themselves outside of God's plan: They live only to fulfill it."
Born in Barbastro, Spain, Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer sensed early in life that he had a vocation to the priesthood. Following his ordination in 1925, he briefly ministered in a rural parish. He moved to Madrid, where he obtained a doctorate in law. At the same time Father Escriva was beginning to envision a movement that would offer ordinary people help in seeking holiness through their everyday activities. It was officially founded in 1928.
As Opus Dei grew, Father Escriva continued his studies and his priestly work among the poor and sick. During the Civil War in Spain he had to exercise his ministry secretly and move from place to place. Only after the war did he return to Madrid and complete his doctoral studies. He later moved to Rome and obtained a doctorate in theology. Pope Pius XII named him an honorary prelate and a consultor to two Vatican congregations. All the while, Opus Dei grew in size and influence.
When Msgr. Escriva died in 1975, Opus Dei could be found in dozens of places around the globe. Today its membership includes approximately 83,000 laypersons and 1,800 priests in 60 countries. It is a "personal prelature," a special jurisdictional entity within the Church.
Daily Prayer - 2015-06-26
Lord, help me to be fully alive to your holy presence.
Enfold me in your love.
Let my heart become one with yours.
God is not foreign to my freedom.
Instead the Spirit breathes life into my most intimate desires,
gently nudging me towards all that is good.
I ask for the grace to let myself be enfolded by the Spirit.
Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I can afford to be honest about how I am. How has the last day been, and how do I feel now? I share my feelings openly with the Lord.
The Word of God
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him
and said: "I am God the Almighty.
Walk in my presence and be blameless."
God also said to Abraham:
"On your part, you and your descendants after you
must keep my covenant throughout the ages.
This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you
that you must keep:
every male among you shall be circumcised."
God further said to Abraham:
"As for your wife Sarai, do not call her Sarai;
her name shall be Sarah.
I will bless her, and I will give you a son by her.
Him also will I bless; he shall give rise to nations,
and rulers of peoples shall issue from him."
Abraham prostrated himself and laughed as he said to himself,
"Can a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old?
Or can Sarah give birth at ninety?"
Then Abraham said to God,
"Let but Ishmael live on by your favor!"
God replied: "Nevertheless, your wife Sarah is to bear you a son,
and you shall call him Isaac.
I will maintain my covenant with him as an everlasting pact,
to be his God and the God of his descendants after him.
As for Ishmael, I am heeding you: I hereby bless him.
I will make him fertile and will multiply him exceedingly.
He shall become the father of twelve chieftains,
and I will make of him a great nation.
But my covenant I will maintain with Isaac,
whom Sarah shall bear to you by this time next year."
When he had finished speaking with him, God departed from Abraham.
R. (4) See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
Your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ took away our infirmities
and bore our diseases.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him.
And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said,
"Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean."
He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said,
"I will do it. Be made clean."
His leprosy was cleansed immediately.
Then Jesus said to him, "See that you tell no one,
but go show yourself to the priest,
and offer the gift that Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
- A simple and uplifting scene! In prayer, become the leper and allow yourself to experience your own need of healing. Have you the faith to say to Jesus, "Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean"? What is Jesus' response to you? See if he will touch you.
- Note that leprosy (an unspecified skin disease) isolated the sufferer from contact with other Jews. So Jesus' healing of the leper enabled him to rejoin the Jewish community. (This is the background to the final sentence).
What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to him.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
12th Week in Ordinary Time
I will do it. (Matthew 8:3)
Lord, how awesome is that little word will. So much greater than "can," so much more hopeful than "shall." You will!
Jesus, I know that you have the power, for by your death you destroyed the one who had held us captive (Hebrews 2:14). By that power, the Father raised you from the dead and seated you in heaven, above all other power (Ephesians 1:19-22). You have the authority, Lord, because God himself has given it to you (Matthew 28:18). And you have the right, for he has put all things under you (John 13:3).
Lord, you will! Not simply because you can or may, but because you choose to! You choose to heal. You want us restored to you. It is your desire to see us happy, at peace, fulfilled in you. When the man with leprosy said, "If you wish, you can make me clean," you rejoiced at the chance (Matthew 8:2). You must have been tired, from having taught and cared for so many people, yet you didn't give a halfhearted "Okay, I'll do it." No, you exulted, "I will! I delight in it! Be healed!"
Jesus, should I expect less? You came to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth, a kingdom in which sin and sickness are unknown. You died to usher in—here and now—your reign in that kingdom. Let it come, Lord! Let it be so in me! You are pleased to forgive and heal. Lord, if you wish, you can make me peaceful. You can soothe the anger lodged deep inside me. You can drive out my anxiety and fill me with hope.
Jesus, you care. You cared that this man's skin was covered with sores. You were concerned that he was friendless and alone. You care about the things that trouble me as well. You are pleased to open my ears so that I can hear you speak. You rejoice to open my eyes so that I can see what you are doing in and around me. You delight to touch my life. Lord, if you wish, you can fill me with your divine life and love.
"Today, Lord, let me hear you say, 'I will do it!' "
Genesis 17:1, 9-10, 15-22
Today's 5 minutos ended with the line "Jesus has come to give you a new heart, a new spirit, a new mind, and a new body. Let Him transform you with His love and in doing so make you capable to receive His love in its totality of His being".
I get these super long group text messages from really a stranger, I think it was a lady that was going to our parish for a little while then moved back to Mexico. Since I never asked to be removed from them...I read them. It's either a yes or no, to ignore is to not do anything but compile uselessness. And I say all this because I am about to translate half of one of the messages, they are priestly reflections on the Gospel of the day, the same ones me and you read every weekday. Check this out reflection out:
"Out With The Exclusive Religion-
Upon coming down the mount, many people followed Him. In so, one came up, a leper, he kneeled and said: "Lord, if You want, You can cleanse me". He extened His hand and touched him, saying "I do want, be made clean. And immediately he was healed from leprosy. Jesus, finishing the sermon on the mount went down to the plains. Many followed before the sermon had started. And in weight of His demands, it seemed like the people were not disheartened. On the contrary, it's like they felt healed against the demands of the Law.
And the first thing with whom He encounters is preciscely one of those excluded and marginalized by the Law. Nothing less than a leper. Also the leper starts acting against the Law that prohibits him to get close to other people. He gets on his knees and begs with the best style of prayer: ' Lord, if You want, You can heal me'. It is not the prayer that he wants to impose. It is the prayer that puts himself in the hands of Jesus. It is Jesus who has the decision. It even seems like the prayer of Jesus in the Garden: "Father, if you want, if it is possible, let this cup/chalice pass me". Is it the prayer of abandonment into the hands of Jesus? Is it the prayer of resignation? Is it the prayer of trust that inspires the new covenant of beattitudes?
With the sermont of the mount, Jesus establishes between the old and the new: "You heard it said, but I say". "Jesus extended His hand and touched him." Jesus puts an end to what excludes. Jesus puts an end to the religion that marginalizes. Jesus puts an end to the religion that condemns you to loneliness. Jesus puts an end to a religion that lives off impurities. Because of this:
The first thing He does is extend His hand to the excluded.
The first thing He does is extend His hand to the marginalized.
The first thing He does is to deny invented impurities by men.
And because so, being Christian also starts: By extending the hand. To stretch out for the embrace...."
That is one of the 3 homilies that got cut off in the text message. But it is important, because Jesus is showing the WAY. And what of a life that is not on the WAY of Heaven? Well, the third texted homily I can try to abbreviate to show you what happens with a life not on the Way. It spoke of a woman that had approached Father Roberto DeGrandis. She said "My mother had 3 abortions after I was born. They always reminded me that I could've been aborted, but something didn't happened that I wasn't and I was born. In our house there were 3 glass jars filled with formalin and inside were 3 aborted babies, in 3 distinct stages of growth. They were there like pieces of exhibition. When I would act up, they would quickly remind me that I could've ended up like one of my brothers and sisters.
I myself had 4 abortions before getting married and, at twenty years old, I was addicted to drugs and alcohol. I attempted suicide 7 times, at not comprehending why I had to live a meaningless life. My husband, whom my parents had chosen, was an atheist. On certain occasion, a priest showed me a prayer that gave upset my life "Jesus, let your being flow in my life: let your body and blood be my nourishment and drink". After my priest friend died, an evangelic pastor became my friend and taught me to love the Bible. I was baptized in his church, but I was not satisified, for that congregation did not really believe in the words: Let your Body and Blood be my nourishment and drink.
Meanwhile, they diagnosed me with leukemia. This along with diabetes, that came along since I was twenty years old. I knew the secret for my healing would be to encounter a place where I could receive the body and blood of Christ. I found it in a Catholic Church during a healing Mass, which I attended with a woman friend...I was accepted as a catholic in May of 1985.
When I met Father DeGrandis in 1985, he told me to forgive my father for all the abuse and wounds I had suffered as a little girl. I started to repeat the prayer of forgiveness. And, in a retreat, I was healed of diabetes, and the leukemia got notably better. Today I give thanks to God...."
And the text message got cut off.
Let's focus on the message from our Lord today. Abraham and Sarah did the Lord's will from day one. Were they perfect? Nope. Were they faithful? That is the question for you. Because faithfulness deals with YOUR will. The Lord asked "If you WILL" which means "do You Want". That was a powerful question in this weird retreat I went to this spring "school of the cross" (escuela de la cruz). They said repeatedly throughout "si TU QUIERES" (if you want). It is a powerful question. And the power falls on the will. Do you WANT? And the prayer is "Lord, if You Want". That is a humble prayer, that prays in obedience, not defiance, not rejection of the Lord's will that is supreme over ours. The Psalms pray on "See how the Lord blesses those who fear Him". Blesses with what the world sees as wrong. As if wrong to have kids. As if wrong to go to church. As if wrong to do what God wants above all. As if wrong to state that the Lord's ways and creation is better. As if wrong to speak aloud about our faith. As if wrong to live our faith in public. The law of the land normally tries to put itself against the Law of the Lord, and succeeds only to weed out the weak and make the strong, stronger. This is the Lord's will. It is out of this world and it is good, for if it were of this world, it would be limited at best. That is why we have hope. That is why, as we breathe we can live the Way, and always pray. The will...to leave you with my dear loved one, the will of our Lord is this....THE CROSS.
Love it, Live it
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