"For there are three ways of performing an act of mercy: the merciful word, by forgiving and by comforting; secondly, if you can offer no word, then pray - that too is mercy; and thirdly, deeds of mercy." — St. Faustina Kowalska
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"We will never be free of trials and temptations as long as our earthly life lasts. For Job has said: 'Is not the life of human beings on earth a drudgery?' (Job 7:1). Therefore, we should always be on our guard against temptations, always praying that our enemy, the devil, 'who never sleeps but constantly looks for someone to devour.' (1 Pet 5:8), will not catch us off guard. No one in this world is so perfect or holy as not to have temptations sometimes. We can never be entirely free from them. Sometimes these temptations can be very severe and troublesome, but if we resist them, they will be very useful to us; for by experiencing them we are humbled, cleansed, and instructed. All the Saints endured tribulations and temptations and profited by them, while those who did not resist and overcome them fell away and were lost. There is no place so holy or remote where you will not meet with temptation, nor is there anyone completely free from it in this life; for in our body we bear the wounds of sin—the weakness of our human nature in which we are born." — Thomas á Kempis, p. 31 AN EXCERPT FROM Imitation of Christ
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Friday, May 13, 2016
Our Lady of Fatima
Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, three Portuguese children received apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria, near Fatima, a city 110 miles north of Lisbon. (See February 20 entry for Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco Marto). Mary asked the children to pray the rosary for world peace, for the end of World War I, for sinners and for the conversion of Russia. The third visionary, Lucia dos Santos, became a Carmelite nun and died in 2005 at the age of 97.
Mary gave the children three secrets. Since Francisco died in 1919 and Jacinta the following year, Lucia revealed the first secret in 1927, concerning devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The second secret was a vision of hell.
Pope John Paul II directed the Holy See's Secretary of State to reveal the third secret in 2000; it spoke of a "bishop in white" who was shot by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows into him. Many people linked this to the assassination attempt against Saint John Paul II in St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981.
The feast of Our Lady of Fatima was approved by the local bishop in 1930; it was added to the Church's worldwide calendar in 2002.
The message of Fatima is simple: Pray. Unfortunately, some people—not Sister Lucia—have distorted these revelations, making them into an apocalyptic event for which they are now the only reliable interpreters. They have, for example, claimed that Mary's request that the world be consecrated to her has been ignored. Sister Lucia agreed that Pope John Paul II's public consecration in St. Peter's Square on March 25, 1984, fulfilled Mary's request. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith prepared a June 26, 2000 document explaining the "third secret" (available at www.vatican.va).
Mary is perfectly honored when people generously imitate her response "Let it be done to me as you say" (Luke 1:38). Mary can never be seen as a rival to Jesus or to the Church's teaching authority, as exercised by the college of bishops united with the bishop of Rome.
"Throughout history there have been supernatural apparitions and signs which go to the heart of human events and which, to the surprise of believers and non-believers alike, play their part in the unfolding of history. These manifestations can never contradict the content of faith and must, therefore, have their focus in the core of Christ's proclamation: the Father's love which leads men and women to conversion and bestows the grace required to abandon oneself to him with filial devotion. This too is the message of Fatima which, with its urgent call to conversion and penance, draws us to the heart of the Gospel" (The Message of Fatima, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 26, 2000).
I remind myself that, as I sit here now, God is gazing on me with love and holding me in being. I pause for a moment and think of this.
"In these days, God taught me as a schoolteacher teaches a pupil" (Saint Ignatius). I remind myself that there are things God has to teach me yet, and ask for the grace to hear them and let them change me.
How wonderful it is to be able to enter into your presence Lord. No matter what time it is. No matter which land I am in. I need only to speak your name.
The Word of God
Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 25:13b-21
King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea on a visit to Festus. Since they spent several days there, Festus referred Paul's case to the king, saying, "There is a man here left in custody by Felix. When I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him and demanded his condemnation. I answered them that it was not Roman practice to hand over an accused person before he has faced his accusers and had the opportunity to defend himself against their charge. So when they came together here, I made no delay; the next day I took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought in. His accusers stood around him, but did not charge him with any of the crimes I suspected. Instead they had some issues with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus who had died but who Paul claimed was alive. Since I was at a loss how to investigate this controversy, I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem and there stand trial on these charges. And when Paul appealed that he be held in custody for the Emperor's decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar."
Responsorial Psalm ps 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20ab R. (19a) The Lord has established his throne in heaven. or: R. Alleluia. Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven. or: R. Alleluia. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven. or: R. Alleluia. The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. Bless the LORD, all you his angels, you mighty in strength, who do his bidding.
R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 14:26 R. Alleluia, alleluia. The Holy Spirit will teach you everything and remind you of all I told you. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 21:15-19
After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, he said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs." He then said to Simon Peter a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
*Jesus' question, asked three times, echoes the three times Peter denied Christ. It may be hard to forgive, but it can be harder to accept forgiveness. The ability to believe we are forgiven is crucial to our spiritual growth. This was the defining difference between Peter and Judas. Vacillating Peter went from the shame of his threefold denial of Christ to become the rock on which Christ's church was founded. Judas could not contemplate the possibility of forgiveness. He, who had heard Christ say that one must forgive seventy times seven, could not bring himself to ask Christ to forgive him. Instead, he died in despair.
▪ Lord, grant that I may never cease asking for forgiveness. If we must be prepared to forgive limitlessly, then we must also be ready to ask for forgiveness – and believe we are forgiven – until the moment we die.
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.
They had some issues with . . . a certain Jesus who had died but who Paul claimed was alive. (Acts 25:19)
If someone "can't see the forest for the trees," it means they are so involved in the details of a problem that they can't see the situation as a whole. Well, if anyone could get caught up in the "trees" of the situation, it was Paul. He had been accused by some of the Jewish leaders of stirring up riots and desecrating the Temple. Arrested and put in jail, he spent two years in custody under Felix and was now standing before Festus facing the same charges. You can imagine all the details of his situation swirling in his mind day after day while he sat in prison.
But Paul had built his life on Jesus, so the "trees" didn't overshadow his vision. As he strove to stay close to the Lord, he was able to see beyond the details of his trials. He saw God's faithfulness and protection. He experienced Jesus' love and mercy. He saw his captors as being in the dark about Jesus, just as he had been, so he avoided hating them. He saw all the people who had never heard the gospel and longed to share it with them.
Our lives may be filled with the "trees" of trials—or maybe just the "trees" of a busy schedule and concerns about our loved ones. But like Paul, we can learn how to see the whole forest.
So what is this forest? It's the expansive heavenly vision that the Holy Spirit wants to give us. It's remembering that our world is filled with God's wonders and marvels. It's remembering that every act of love reveals another facet of our gracious, creative God. It's the ability to enjoy the blessings of family and home that we do have rather than focusing on the things we may be lacking. It's the decision to love our holy, beautiful Church even though we can see room for improvement.
Don't get caught up in the details! Don't let the "trees" wear you down! Let God fill you with his panoramic vision. Make it a point every day to stand back and rejoice in all the blessings that Jesus has given you.
"Jesus, open my eyes to see the work you have already done in my life. You never let go of me, even for a moment. Help me to trust in you today."
my2cents: Wow, upon an invocation to the Holy Spirit, the message comes to us "...the world has nothing, on the mercy of God". What we face today and will face tomorrow has nothing on the power of our God, our Father. LOL, a worker just came in my office and on walking out said "oooh it's Friday the 13th Mr. Adrian" and shook his hands like scary stuff, kind of joking. I said "God created all things good, it is us that turn things bad. The sign of the rainbow was the sign from God in the bible for hope and an end to the floods, but today the rainbow has been hijacked by the homosexual (and all sexual preferences thereof) movement, and the beads have been used as a sign of debauchery in mardi gras but they have been used for centuries for prayer, just like you have tattooed on your arms, the 13th of the months have been a special day of messages from Heaven, (from our Blessed Mother) and therefore are good days to pray". What else do we do with God's gifts? How do we use them? I asked a fellow to play at a prison ministry last month or so, he agreed, and this week he backed out. I had already started to pray for them not to back out, but it does happen. It is very natural to let other things overcome your will to do good, or better said, it is very tempting. I heard a cursillista saying "I regret ever stepping down from the cursillo, I got nowhere by doing it". And he was all riled up during the meeting to which I brought it up to his attention not to get carried away by feelings. Feelings are fleeting and passing, but the Lord...let me share some bits of reflections I read today: At the end of 5minutos today: "God gives the opportunity to recoup, to get up again. He gives us the opportunity to correct oneself, and the same hands that served to do evil, have to learn to do good, we heard that in Lent. If you used wrong your eyes, if you used wrong your mouth, if you used your heart wrong, if your body was used wrong, learn to use it for good, and like Peter, God will also give you the opportunity to recoup."
A story from the super long text message from Mexico: "If Jesus Christ returned to earth"
A religious made them their young students an exam, and in it, one question was:
If Jesus Christ returned to earth
A religious made them their young students an exam, and in it, one question was:
'If Christ returned to earth what would He do?
That same night she reviewed the tests, and found the following responses:
"He would go back to the same place where he came from, because in this world life is not worth living". and another, "I, would not come, because I would get killed again." and another, "I would found television and radio network, to transmit the message faster". and another, "No, better not come, because we have enough problems with the current doctrine." and another "I think if He came he would throw in face of all Christians as infidels and for being so disloyal to him. In addition, He would scold us for not fulfilling his commandments, and the bad example we give to others." and another replied, "Excuse me sister", wrote the last pupil, "Christ does not have to come again to the earth, as He has been with us forever in the Eucharist. Christ is always present among us."
We prayed the Holy Psalm today "The Lord has established his throne in heaven." and "Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name."
The Lord of our lives speaks today ""Do you love me?" and one has to put oneself in the shoes of Saint Peter. He wasn't Peter all his life, because before he met the Lord our King, his name was Simon. Not only was Simon's life changed when he encountered the Lord, but the Lord gave him a new name. When we are confirmed, we are to choose a new name. We will have confirmations this Sunday, and the candidates have to have a new name in mind, for that is who they will be, who they were, yet so much more, not someone else, but this person transformed. "Do you LOVE ME?" Does it show by how you love one another? Does it show by how you treat the Father? Does it show by how much love and attention you give Him? Or do you just say you love Him? And then say so and so is no good in your life? How quickly you get your feelings hurt should show you how much pride you have in your life. Even for one with supposed "low self esteem" there is much pride to deal with. "Do you Love ME?" Feed my sheep says our Lord. And the priests feed with the Body of Christ, the Eucharist from that day forth. There is no real presence except in the Holy Catholic Eucharist with the full communion of His Holy Apostleship. But there is the Holy Spirit among the world of believers. This Spirit, if asked to be led to truth will receive what it is looking for, the fullness and unity with Truth.
I remember at my Cursillo (An intense course in Christianity), an older man got up to exclaim on the microphone "if you really love Christ, how will you fail Him?" The words cut to my heart with truth. How can I say I love you and not really mean it with unfaithfulness? By not doing as He asks? By not following His commands? By not being one with Him totally? This message is a gathering message, to be one flock under the pastorship of the Holy Shepherd, the Lord Himself. What will transpire on Sunday is Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit.
It is being poured out. We can be like a rock and let it bounce off of us, or we can be like a sponge and soak it all in. And the Spirit is good. The Power of God is above all and almighty. It is an honor to revere Him, to praise Him, to worship Him, to live for Him and to die for Him.
And it starts from this moment on. Your name has been changed. Just when you thought you had made yourself up and figured things out...The Spirit God our Father comes to say "you will go where you do not want" and it is all because we let ourselves be taken by His SPirit. Doing what we do not want naturally. But un-naturally born, we know what He wants and we go against the flow of sin, to stop the flow of death and pain. This is why Jesus was the Christ, the one who was to heal us from an eternal death and sin.
Just because we don't ask for forgiveness doesn't mean forgiveness is not available. Be renewed, Be Transformed! Be forgiven! Be made ALIVE! Let the fire fall! LET HIS FIRE CONSUME YOU