Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Mighty Deeds

"Christian optimism is not a sugary optimism, nor is it a mere human confidence that everything will turn out all right. It is an optimism that sinks

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"Christian optimism is not a sugary optimism, nor is it a mere human confidence that everything will turn out all right. It is an optimism that sinks its roots into an awareness of our freedom, and the sure knowledge of the power of grace. It is an optimism that leads us to make demands on ourselves, to struggle to respond at every moment to God's call."
— St. Josemaria Escriva


"Many men keep the commandments in the way sick men take medicine: more from fear of dying in damnation than for joy of living according to our Savior's will. Just as some persons dislike taking medicine, no matter how pleasant it is, simply because it is called medicine, so there are some souls who hold in horror things commanded simply because they are commanded . . . On the contrary, a loving heart loves the commandments. The more difficult they are, the sweeter and more agreeable it finds them, since this more perfectly pleases the Beloved and gives Him greater honor."
— St. Francis de Sales, p. 20
Finding God's Will for You


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St. John Wall (John Jones and John Wall)

(c. 1620-1679;1530-1598)

These two friars were martyred in England in the 16th and 17th centuries for refusing to deny their faith.

John Jones was Welsh. He was ordained a diocesan priest and was twice imprisoned for administering the sacraments before leaving England in 1590. He joined the Franciscans at the age of 60 and returned to England three years later while Queen Elizabeth I was at the height of her power. John ministered to Catholics in the English countryside until his imprisonment in 1596. He was condemned to be hanged, drawn and quartered. John was executed on July 12, 1598.

John Wall was born in England but was educated at the English College of Douai, Belgium. Ordained in Rome in 1648, he entered the Franciscans in Douai several years later. In 1656 he returned to work secretly in England.

In 1678 Titus Oates worked many English people into a frenzy over an alleged papal plot to murder the king and restore Catholicism in that country. In that year Catholics were legally excluded from Parliament, a law which was not repealed until 1829. John Wall was arrested and imprisoned in 1678 and was executed the following year.

John Jones and John Wall were canonized in 1970.


Every martyr knows how to save his/her life and yet refuses to do so. A public repudiation of the faith would save any of them. But some things are more precious than life itself. These martyrs prove that their 20th-century countryman, C. S. Lewis, was correct in saying that courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form (shape) of every virtue at the testing point, that is, at the point of highest reality.


"No one is a martyr for a conclusion; no one is a martyr for an opinion. It is faith that makes martyrs" (Cardinal Newman, Discourses to Mixed Congregations).


Sacred Space
Daily Prayer - 2016-07-12


It is always nice to be in the presence of friends.
When I come into your presence, O Lord,
I know I am in the presence of my Creator.
You created me out of Love.
You even know the amount of hairs on my head.
Your presence, O Lord, is the greatest of all.


If God were trying to tell me something, would I know?
If God were reassuring me or challenging me, would I notice?
I ask for the grace to be free of my own preoccupations
and open to what God may be saying to me.


My soul longs for your presence, Lord.
When I turn my thoughts to you,
I find peace and contentment.

The Word of God

Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Is 7:1-9

In the days of Ahaz, king of Judah, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah,
Rezin, king of Aram,
and Pekah, king of Israel, son of Remaliah,
went up to attack Jerusalem,
but they were not able to conquer it.
When word came to the house of David that Aram
was encamped in Ephraim,
the heart of the king and the heart of the people trembled,
as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind.

Then the LORD said to Isaiah: Go out to meet Ahaz,
you and your son Shear-jashub,
at the end of the conduit of the upper pool,
on the highway of the fuller's field, and say to him:
Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear;
let not your courage fail
before these two stumps of smoldering brands
the blazing anger of Rezin and the Arameans,
and of the son Remaliah,
because of the mischief that
Aram, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah,
plots against you, saying,
"Let us go up and tear Judah asunder, make it our own by force,
and appoint the son of Tabeel king there."

Thus says the LORD:
This shall not stand, it shall not be!
Damascus is the capital of Aram,
and Rezin is the head of Damascus;
Samaria is the capital of Ephraim,
and Remaliah's son the head of Samaria.

But within sixty years and five,
Ephraim shall be crushed, no longer a nation.
Unless your faith is firm
you shall not be firm!

Responsorial Psalm Ps 48:2-3a, 3b-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (see 9d) God upholds his city for ever.
Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, fairest of heights,
is the joy of all the earth.

R. God upholds his city for ever.
Mount Zion, "the recesses of the North,"
is the city of the great King.
God is with her castles;
renowned is he as a stronghold.

R. God upholds his city for ever.
For lo! the kings assemble,
they come on together;
They also see, and at once are stunned,
terrified, routed.

R. God upholds his city for ever.
Quaking seizes them there;
anguish, like a woman's in labor,
As though a wind from the east
were shattering ships of Tarshish.

R. God upholds his city for ever.

Alleluia Ps 95:8
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 11:20-24

Jesus began to reproach the towns
where most of his mighty deeds had been done,
since they had not repented.
"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum:

Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the nether world.

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom,
it would have remained until this day.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."

Some thoughts on today's scripture

Jesus holds back no punches when he scolds the peoples of Chorazin and Bethsaida for not repenting. He chastises the townspeople of Capernaum too for failing to respond adequately to the word of God. Their inertia leaves them accountable in God's eyes.
Day by day through Sacred Space I also hear the word. Lord, take away my inertia so that I may respond rightly to what you are saying to me.


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?


I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.

Catholic Meditations
Meditation: Isaiah 7:1-9

15th Week in Ordinary Time

Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm! (Isaiah 7:9)

Judah's King Ahaz had reason to be afraid. Assyria was threatening every country in the Middle East. The northern kingdoms of Israel and Syria had invited Judah to join them in a military alliance, but Ahaz refused. He preferred to become a vassal of Assyria. So Israel and Syria besieged Jerusalem, intending to replace Ahaz with a non-Davidic ruler willing to join them. In the face of this threat, Ahaz and his people found their hearts trembling like leaves in the wind.

So God sent Isaiah to reassure Ahaz: "Remain tranquil and do not fear" (Isaiah 7:4). Trust in the Lord to deliver you, he said. If you have trouble trusting him, ask for a sign. But Ahaz chose to rely on Assyria rather than on the Lord. And in that choice, he showed that he preferred the security of a power he could see and feel over faith in an invisible God. Unable to follow Isaiah's urging to stand firm, he gave in to his fears and asked a pagan king to protect him instead.

What makes you "tremble" today? Perhaps you are perplexed about how to resolve a complicated situation. Perhaps you're aware of your inadequacies in dealing with a challenge. Perhaps you feel you've messed up so badly that it can't be fixed.

These are good starting points, actually. It's good to tremble every now and then. It's one way to be reminded of your limitations and your need for God. But for heaven's sake, don't stay there. Move forward! When you find yourself lacking in wisdom, lean into God's wisdom, and you'll find strength you never knew you had. When you know you can't do something, take a calming breath, and rejoice in God, who can do everything. When you are faced with your failures, thank the Lord that he is faithful to forgive and swift to cleanse your conscience.

Don't be like Ahaz! God will win out. He has a good plan, far better than anything you can devise. So "remain tranquil and do not fear" (Isaiah 7:4).

"Father, I surrender every situation to you today. I believe that you have a good plan for me. I know that you will help me to stand firm."

Psalm 48:2-8
Matthew 11:20-24




The Prophet Isaiah ends today's first Holy Scripture with "...Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm!" And this was to say, that beyond the nearly 70 years that were coming, it would be a time of preparation, for what life was to come for the people after those years. A life of no longer being at home, where they were used to living. God is speaking about your 70 years or so in life, the seemingly average life span we mark on this earth. Faith must be above all...or you will not be firm in eternity.

We prayed today "God upholds his city for ever." and "Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised in the city of our God." In 2 Chronicles Chapter 20 we read "Listen to me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Let your faith in the LORD, your God, be firm, and you will be firm.f Have faith in his prophets and you will succeed." 21* After taking counsel with the people, he appointed some to sing to the LORD and some to praise the holy Splendor as it went forth at the head of the army. They sang: "Give thanks to the LORD, whose love endures forever." This is a Holy War my brothers and sisters, and we are living it out daily in our lives, and the warriors are singing praises to God, and encamping upon His throne's threshold...welcome to a place where angels stand alongside with you.
We prayed today "Mount Zion, "the recesses of the North," is the city of the great King." I read today in Joel Ch. 4: "Crowds upon crowds in the Valley of Decision;{Where are we now?} " For near is the day of the LORD in the Valley of Decision. {Where are we now?}"15 Sun and moon are darkened,
and the stars withhold their brightness,i 16The LORD roars from Zion, and from Jerusalem raises his voice,j The heavens and the earth quake, but the LORD will be a shelter for his people, a fortress for the people of Israel."

In comes the Lord, the KING, MY KING, and is He your King? He re-enters the lives of those in Chorazin and Bethsaida. In Spanish Chorazin sounds like the spanish word for heart, corazon. Our Lord comes back to Chorazin, where He had made the blind see and everyone was astounded, but no heart was moved. They said "oh Wow!" and then went back to their normal daily lives. It happens and it is perplexing to me, this very day. A tremendous miracle, I see happen in lives of those around me, they ask for prayer, and prayers are answered, and there is no conversion, no change of heart, just a return to the same old life as before, nothing new to live for, much less die for. This is the type of situation our Lord sees. And this is the King of the Universe! How often am I amazed like the Lord, and what can I do? Remember, Isaiah said to remain firm. "Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the nether world." Listen to these words, as the Lord asks YOU, don't be thinking of others right now, the Lord is asking you, "will YOU be exalted?" Will you see to it that your feelings and respect are more than anyone else's? Because this egotism is what is fueling the downfall of our age, where the world revolves around self, even theology, moral relativisim shaped to what you want, and not as the Lord wants. "You will go down to the nether world". Or can we call it the "never world", never to see God because you never wanted to see Him as long as you lived. He was in prison, and you did not go see Him. He was hungry and you did not feed Him. He was alone and you did not tend Him. He was sick and you did not go be with Him to heal Him. He was thirsty and you did not give Him a cup of water. He was alone and you did not want to go be with Him. The Holy Eucharist symbolizes all the above very well. So often alone, and when visited, the visits are rushed. It is so with the elderly, especially in nursing homes, never visited, forgotten, and when visited, my visits are rushed for time. And the prisoners? Pshh, forget it, they got special visitation hours, you actually have to schedule your life around their time....OOOOHH
You mean I have to schedule my life around God?
On vacation? Yep. Schedule time to be with Him, on the way, pray, while you're there, pray and go see Him and be with Him, on the way back, pray.
It's only as hard as you make it.
When Chorazin, or Corozain (spanish) is approached by Jesus, what will your heart say? Because if the elderly and prisoners could come to you, the orphans and the widows as well, what would they say? Would they bother you? It's Jesus.
Truth rubs us awkwardly. It's Jesus. If I come on strong, I intend to do it, because Jesus comes on strong today.
It's because it is a wake up call.

Can't you see what the Lord did for you? He brought forgiveness! He brought Salvation! How grateful you should be! How....HOLY you should be by now!
How armed and ready and singing praises to God you should be at this very moment!
The Lord is the light and my salvation. To Him I see, with Him I seek other shores...