|Tear Down the Wall |
|When we are angry with someone we put up a wall between us and this person. And so we deprive ourselves of that person's love. Included in this love—which is probably the warmest love you can ever receive—is the love of God. So, I hope when the time is right, you can let the wall come down and let God love you.|
St. Ignatius of Loyola
The founder of the Jesuits was on his way to military fame and fortune when a cannon ball shattered his leg. Because there were no books of romance on hand during his convalescence, Ignatius whiled away the time reading a life of Christ and lives of the saints. His conscience was deeply touched, and a long, painful turning to Christ began. Having seen the Mother of God in a vision, he made a pilgrimage to her shrine at Montserrat (near Barcelona). He remained for almost a year at nearby Manresa, sometimes with the Dominicans, sometimes in a pauper's hospice, often in a cave in the hills praying. After a period of great peace of mind, he went through a harrowing trial of scruples. There was no comfort in anything—prayer, fasting, sacraments, penance. At length, his peace of mind returned.
It was during this year of conversion that Ignatius began to write down material that later became his greatest work, the Spiritual Exercises.
He finally achieved his purpose of going to the Holy Land, but could not remain, as he planned, because of the hostility of the Turks. He spent the next 11 years in various European universities, studying with great difficulty, beginning almost as a child. Like many others, his orthodoxy was questioned; Ignatius was twice jailed for brief periods.
In 1534, at the age of 43, he and six others (one of whom was St. Francis Xavier, December 2) vowed to live in poverty and chastity and to go to the Holy Land. If this became impossible, they vowed to offer themselves to the apostolic service of the pope. The latter became the only choice. Four years later Ignatius made the association permanent. The new Society of Jesus was approved by Paul III, and Ignatius was elected to serve as the first general.
When companions were sent on various missions by the pope, Ignatius remained in Rome, consolidating the new venture, but still finding time to found homes for orphans, catechumens and penitents. He founded the Roman College, intended to be the model of all other colleges of the Society.
Ignatius was a true mystic. He centered his spiritual life on the essential foundations of Christianity—the Trinity, Christ, the Eucharist. His spirituality is expressed in the Jesuit motto, ad majorem Dei gloriam—"for the greater glory of God." In his concept, obedience was to be the prominent virtue, to assure the effectiveness and mobility of his men. All activity was to be guided by a true love of the Church and unconditional obedience to the Holy Father, for which reason all professed members took a fourth vow to go wherever the pope should send them for the salvation of souls.
Ignatius recommended this prayer to penitents: "Receive, Lord, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. You have given me all that I have, all that I am, and I surrender all to your divine will, that you dispose of me. Give me only your love and your grace. With this I am rich enough, and I have no more to ask."
Daily Prayer - 2015-07-31
"Be still and know that I am God."
Lord, Your words lead us to the
calmness and greatness of Your Presence.
Everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life.
Yet my desires are often fixed, caught, on illusions of fulfillment.
I ask that God, through my freedom may orchestrate my desires
in a vibrant loving melody rich in harmony.
My soul longs for your presence, Lord.
When I turn my thoughts to you,
I find peace and contentment.
The Word of God
The LORD said to Moses,
"These are the festivals of the LORD which you shall celebrate
at their proper time with a sacred assembly.
The Passover of the LORD falls on the fourteenth day of the first month,
at the evening twilight.
The fifteenth day of this month is the LORD's feast of Unleavened Bread.
For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.
On the first of these days you shall hold a sacred assembly
and do no sort of work.
On each of the seven days you shall offer an oblation to the LORD.
Then on the seventh day you shall again hold a sacred assembly
and do no sort of work."
The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the children of Israel and tell them:
When you come into the land which I am giving you,
and reap your harvest,
you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest
to the priest, who shall wave the sheaf before the LORD
that it may be acceptable for you.
On the day after the sabbath the priest shall do this.
"Beginning with the day after the sabbath,
the day on which you bring the wave-offering sheaf,
you shall count seven full weeks,
and then on the day after the seventh week, the fiftieth day,
you shall present the new cereal offering to the LORD.
"The tenth of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement,
when you shall hold a sacred assembly and mortify yourselves
and offer an oblation to the LORD.
"The fifteenth day of this seventh month is the LORD's feast of Booths,
which shall continue for seven days.
On the first day there shall be a sacred assembly,
and you shall do no sort of work.
For seven days you shall offer an oblation to the LORD,
and on the eighth day you shall again hold a sacred assembly
and offer an oblation to the LORD.
On that solemn closing you shall do no sort of work.
"These, therefore, are the festivals of the LORD
on which you shall proclaim a sacred assembly,
and offer as an oblation to the LORD burnt offerings and cereal offerings,
sacrifices and libations, as prescribed for each day."
R. (2a) Sing with joy to God our help.
Take up a melody, and sound the timbrel,
the pleasant harp and the lyre.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our solemn feast.
R. Sing with joy to God our help.
For it is a statute in Israel,
an ordinance of the God of Jacob,
Who made it a decree for Joseph
when he came forth from the land of Egypt.
R. Sing with joy to God our help.
There shall be no strange god among you
nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
who led you forth from the land of Egypt.
R. Sing with joy to God our help.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of the Lord remains forever;
this is the word that has been proclaimed to you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.- - -
They were astonished and said,
"Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?
Is he not the carpenter's son?
Is not his mother named Mary
and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?
Are not his sisters all with us?
Where did this man get all this?"
And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them,
"A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and in his own house."
And he did not work many mighty deeds there
because of their lack of faith.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
- Jesus was rejected by his own people who were astonished by his wisdom and power. They couldn't accept this ordinary man, one of their own, whose family attended their synagogue, as their teacher. Though he spoke the truth they chose not to listen.
- I pray for wisdom and enlightenment so that I may listen to and reflect on the teachings of Jesus with renewed insight and wisdom, seeing their relevance to my walk of faith with him.
I begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture I have just read.
What part of it strikes a chord in me? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story I have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface in my consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to 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.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest (Memorial)
Where did this man get all this? (Matthew 13:56)
How could Jesus' townsfolk not see who he really was? He had already performed so many miracles and spoken so insightfully about the Law of Moses. But to them he was still the carpenter's son from down the street. So because they came to him with such low expectations, they were kept from experiencing the healings, deliverances, and other works of wonder that so many others had received. By their lack of faith, they placed limits on what they would allow God to do for them.
Do you limit Jesus? Has he become your Savior only on Sundays or in times of crisis and difficulty? Of course he wants to touch you during Mass. And yes, he loves to be with you in the hard times. But he wants to be so much more as well. He wants to talk with you and walk with you as he did with Adam and Eve in the garden. He wants to give you counsel in your decisions, cheer you on in your successes, and teach you from your mistakes. He wants to give you good gifts and teach you how to serve your loved ones more humbly. Jesus wants to be your constant companion!
It can be hard to believe, but God really does delight in revealing himself in the everyday events of our lives. What's more, he actually enjoys being with us, even when we're sitting through a meeting at work, watching television at home, or doing the laundry. The more we learn how to sense his presence, the more we will receive his blessings, his revelations, and his love.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus is completely committed to you! Even when your mind is taken up with the demands of the day, he is still close to you. You may not be able to feel his presence all the time, but he is there, speaking words of love, shielding you from the devil, and forming you in hidden, unseen, ways. In the face of such love, how can you do anything but place your faith and trust in him?
"Jesus, in so many ways, you remain a mystery to me. I don't always feel you, but I know you are with me. Thank you, Lord, for your unending love!"
Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34-37
Psalm 81:3-6, 10-11
Listening to God is key, it is of the most importance in our daily lives. Listening though, will come as a learned process of first obedience to Him, or shall you make the Lord listen to you first? No. We must put ourselves before Him, we must put ourselves before the tests for the glorious moment of hearing Him speak a single word.
Let us turn to the Word of God. First we prayed prayers by the saint we read of today, Ignatious who brought about the Jesuits. We must tune ourselves into the Word and ask for the Holy Spirit to speak. We can't just open a bible and go half-hazard and expect something magical to happen. Today, our Lord lays out what the Israelites are to do, certain feasts on certain days, certain fastings, certain mortifications, and certain offerings. Some they understood in rememberance and re-living a salvation of God with us, and some would have to be understood later in their fulfillment by Jesus our Christ our Lord. Because Jesus would become the Passover Lamb that which saves, through its blood. Jesus would then come offered as the unleavened bread already the lamb now offered in the bread that saved in the desert as bread from Heaven. And those who partake would witness Jesus in their lives in the resurrection, for 50 days He appeared to various groups and loved ones on earth...but notice: First They Obeyed.
The Psalms pray on: "There shall be no strange god among you nor shall you worship any alien god. I, the LORD, am your God
who led you forth from the land of Egypt." and " Sing with joy to God our help." When God says there should be no strange god among you, He means it. He says "I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD!". You shall trust in nothing or nobody more. You shall love nothing or nobody more. You shall do as I say. You shall follow as I have walked among you. The Lord is not saying this to be a boss, but to be your Father. Listen to your Father and trust in His ways. Yet the problem lays right there. Do you listen? So often we as mere animals, we listen to our stomach, instead of our gut. We listen to gossip instead of the truth. We listen to the law because we fear repercussion, instead of listening to God if His laws are moral. You see, we listen to everything that is convenient. We listen to our prejudice. We listen to the stereotype, and not the little. This past weekend, I took my wife and kids to an RV camp for the weekend. On our way, we stopped at a truckstop to grab a bite. My wife waited in the restaurant area and I took most of the kids, maybe 5 with me because they were restless. As we walked around the store, I saw an older hispanic fellow was putting up a shirt on a shirt rack and at one point he caught my attention and said he had 7 kids, and remembers when they were small and said "te dan ganas de trabajar" (it gives you enouragement to work) after he said how beautiful it was. I smiled and walked away. Most comments from other race of people were of astonishment, I guess large families are an anomoly today, perhaps even frowned upon, where in parts of the world like China they could only dream of such a thing. I digress, I heard the messages of strangers, but the poor fellow working at the truckstop (I think he worked there) was the only one I received in the heart. I want to be strong now. I want to work now. I want to listen to God now. For those of you who are reading this that are fighting an uphill battle in your family life that will not listen to you, realize the important: They did not listen to Jesus either, but eventually they would realize the truth. It is this persistence that should catch your attention. Perhaps the annoyance. Like my mom, perhaps a saintly person, she will annoy you with her pesky persistence. For example, when all are eating and after they have began eating, my mom comes in real loud praying, blessing the meals. It rubs the hardest the wrong way when we forget to pray before we eat, my dad complains, I can't even swallow my food. But it is now something that I do. Make an appearance and an annoyance. You see, nowadays, we don't want to "annoy" anybody or "hurt their feelings". But this stuff is going way overboard to the point of immorality being let through our society. Life and Family life have been hurt. Listen to that annoying message, maybe it's trying to tell you something.
And to realize one day for Jesus our God and King to say "I was with you" as if to say "I was the one asking you to be with me", saying "I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD" and listening to anything or anyone else above the Lord our God is false.
I'm hitting overtime with you...
or is there something more important?
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