"He who seeks not the Cross of Christ seeks not the glory of Christ." — St. John of the Cross MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Oh, how painful it is to Me th
"He who seeks not the Cross of Christ seeks not the glory of Christ."
— St. John of the Cross
MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"Oh, how painful it is to Me that souls so seldom unite themselves to Me in Holy Communion. I wait for souls, and they are indifferent toward Me. I love them tenderly and sincerely, and they distrust Me. I want to lavish My graces on them, and they do not want to accept them. They treat Me as a dead object, whereas My Heart is full of love and mercy. In order that you may know at least some of My pain, imagine the most tender of mothers who has great love for her children, while those children spurn her love. Consider her pain. No one is in a position to console her. This is but a pale image and likeness of My love."
— Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska, 1447
AN EXCERPT FROM
Diary of St. Faustina
click to go there
St. Jane Frances de Chantal
Jane Frances was wife, mother, nun and founder of a religious community. Her mother died when Jane was 18 months old, and her father, head of parliament at Dijon, France, became the main influence on her education. She developed into a woman of beauty and refinement, lively and cheerful in temperament. At 21 she married Baron de Chantal, by whom she had six children, three of whom died in infancy. At her castle she restored the custom of daily Mass, and was seriously engaged in various charitable works.
Jane's husband was killed after seven years of marriage, and she sank into deep dejection for four months at her family home. Her father-in-law threatened to disinherit her children if she did not return to his home. He was then 75, vain, fierce and extravagant. Jane Frances managed to remain cheerful in spite of him and his insolent housekeeper.
When she was 32, she met St. Francis de Sales who became her spiritual director, softening some of the severities imposed by her former director. She wanted to become a nun but he persuaded her to defer this decision. She took a vow to remain unmarried and to obey her director.
After three years Francis told her of his plan to found an institute of women which would be a haven for those whose health, age or other considerations barred them from entering the already established communities. There would be no cloister, and they would be free to undertake spiritual and corporal works of mercy. They were primarily intended to exemplify the virtues of Mary at the Visitation (hence their name, the Visitation nuns): humility and meekness.
The usual opposition to women in active ministry arose and Francis de Sales was obliged to make it a cloistered community following the Rule of St. Augustine. Francis wrote his famous Treatise on the Love of God for them. The congregation (three women) began when Jane Frances was 45. She underwent great sufferings: Francis de Sales died; her son was killed; a plague ravaged France; her daughter-in-law and son-in-law died. She encouraged the local authorities to make great efforts for the victims of the plague and she put all her convent's resources at the disposal of the sick.
During a part of her religious life, she had to undergo great trials of the spirit—interior anguish, darkness and spiritual dryness. She died while on a visitation of convents of the community.
It may strike some as unusual that a saint should be subject to spiritual dryness, darkness, interior anguish. We tend to think that such things are the usual condition of "ordinary" sinful people. Some of our lack of spiritual liveliness may indeed be our fault. But the life of faith is still one that is lived in trust, and sometimes the darkness is so great that trust is pressed to its limit.
St. Vincent de Paul said of Jane Frances: "She was full of faith, yet all her life had been tormented by thoughts against it. While apparently enjoying the peace and easiness of mind of souls who have reached a high state of virtue, she suffered such interior trials that she often told me her mind was so filled with all sorts of temptations and abominations that she had to strive not to look within herself...But for all that suffering her face never lost its serenity, nor did she once relax in the fidelity God asked of her. And so I regard her as one of the holiest souls I have ever met on this earth" (Butler's Lives of the Saints).
(stop, slow down, breathe, we're about to receive the Word of God)
Daily Prayer - 2016-08-12
As I sit here, the beating of my heart,
the ebb and flow of my breathing, the movements of my mind
are all signs of God's ongoing creation of me.
I pause for a moment, and become aware
of this presence of God within me.
"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.
I ask how I am within myself today?
Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form?
If any of these characteristics apply,
can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?
The Word of God
Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Ez 16:1-15, 60, 63
The word of the LORD came to me:
Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations.
Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem:
By origin and birth you are of the land of Canaan;
your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.
As for your birth, the day you were born your navel cord was not cut;
you were neither washed with water nor anointed,
nor were you rubbed with salt, nor swathed in swaddling clothes.
No one looked on you with pity or compassion
to do any of these things for you.
Rather, you were thrown out on the ground as something loathsome,
the day you were born.
Then I passed by and saw you weltering in your blood.
I said to you: Live in your blood and grow like a plant in the field.
You grew and developed, you came to the age of puberty;
your breasts were formed, your hair had grown,
but you were still stark naked.
Again I passed by you and saw that you were now old enough for love.
So I spread the corner of my cloak over you to cover your nakedness;
I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you;
you became mine, says the Lord GOD.
Then I bathed you with water, washed away your blood,
and anointed you with oil.
I clothed you with an embroidered gown,
put sandals of fine leather on your feet;
I gave you a fine linen sash and silk robes to wear.
I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms,
a necklace about your neck, a ring in your nose,
pendants in your ears, and a glorious diadem upon your head.
Thus you were adorned with gold and silver;
your garments were of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth.
Fine flour, honey, and oil were your food.
You were exceedingly beautiful, with the dignity of a queen.
You were renowned among the nations for your beauty, perfect as it was,
because of my splendor which I had bestowed on you,
says the Lord GOD.
But you were captivated by your own beauty,
you used your renown to make yourself a harlot,
and you lavished your harlotry on every passer-by,
whose own you became.
Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you when you were a girl,
and I will set up an everlasting covenant with you,
that you may remember and be covered with confusion,
and that you may be utterly silenced for shame
when I pardon you for all you have done, says the Lord GOD.
Responsorial Psalm Is 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6
R. (1c) You have turned from your anger.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. You have turned from your anger.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. You have turned from your anger.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. You have turned from your anger.
Alleluia See 1 Thes 2:13
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Receive the word of God, not as the word of men,
but, as it truly is, the word of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 19:3-12
Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying,
"Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?"
He said in reply, "Have you not read that from the beginning
the Creator made them male and female and said,
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?
So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate."
They said to him, "Then why did Moses command
that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?"
He said to them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts
Moses allowed you to divorce your wives,
but from the beginning it was not so.
I say to you, whoever divorces his wife
(unless the marriage is unlawful)
and marries another commits adultery."
His disciples said to him,
"If that is the case of a man with his wife,
it is better not to marry."
He answered, "Not all can accept this word,
but only those to whom that is granted.
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so;
some, because they were made so by others;
some, because they have renounced marriage
for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever can accept this ought to accept it."
Some thoughts on today's scripture ▪ Rabbi Jesus knows his Scripture! He re-states God's standards in the face of human hard-heartedness. As a result the disciples' doubts about marriage seem entirely understandable.
▪ But some situations require careful pastoral discernment because as Pope Benedict XVI put it "no 'easy recipes' exist".
▪ Pope Francis states: "The Church's way, from the time of the Council of Jerusalem, has always been the way of Jesus, the way of mercy and reinstatement ... The way of the Church is not to condemn anyone for ever; it is to pour out the balm of God's mercy on all those who ask for it with a sincere heart."
▪ Are you in touch with somebody struggling in marriage or a commitment to celibate service?
Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read.
What part of it strikes a chord in you?
Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story you have heard recently -
will slowly rise to the surface of your consciousness.
If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to you?
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 19:3-12
Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious (Optional Memorial)
But from the beginning it was not so. (Matthew 19:8)
Your neighbor knocks on your door in tears. Her husband just told her that he wants a divorce, and she feels devastated. They had been married for twelve years and have two children. She's a faithful Catholic, and she has always tried to do what's right. But now, she feels as if her world is crumbling around her.
Jesus tells us God always intended marriage to be forever, to be a sacrament, a reflection of God's love for us. So if there are no "loopholes," what about your neighbor? Is Jesus angry with her?
Saddened is more like it. Jesus longs for married couples to experience the unity and love that were God's intention "from the beginning" (Matthew 19:8). It always breaks his heart when a relationship becomes so damaged that the couple cannot receive these blessings.
Situations like these cry out for the love, the mercy, and the compassion of God. The last thing a person needs is a lecture or any comment that would increase his or her sense of guilt and anguish.
This is why, in his apostolic exhortation on the family, Pope Francis wrote, "When faced with difficult situations and wounded families . . . pastors are to avoid judgments that do not take into account the complexity of various situations, and they are to be attentive, by necessity, to how people experience and endure distress because of their condition" (On the Joy of Love, 79).
What is true for pastors is true for all of us. God wants us to be instruments of his healing and mercy. He wants us to leave the judgment to him. So let's keep this point in mind as we pray for our friends who are struggling in their marriages. Let's ask our heavenly Father to flood each person with the experience of his extraordinary and concrete love for them. Let's ask Jesus to pour his grace on husbands and wives today so that, secure in God's love for them, they can once again experience the solidarity and love that made them no longer two but one.
"Father, pour your mercy on every struggling married couple today. Let them know your consolation so that they can turn to you for healing and guidance."
Ezekiel 16:1-15, 60, 63
(Psalm) Isaiah 12:2-6
It is a sophisticated book of God's love and theology when we break open the Holy Scriptures today. It is important to always relate the story of the Old Testament, to the living New Testament of our Lord Jesus. We heard the Lord say "Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations." And the story of a newborn girl growing up in the wild is brought before our eyes. A newborn that nobody wanted, worse and just the same as an abortion, the child is left to die, but at least this child has a living breath, a dying chance after being born. Because God is in our breath, we stand a living chance. New cursillistas, and I can even ask myself, "where were you 10, 20, 30 years ago? for the Lord's Kingdom?" Were you bearing fruit for Him? No, most were gone, doing their own thing in the wild, just trying to survive in a dog eat dog world (the land of Canines). Now that you are ready for a covenant relationship, a deep and meaningful and perpetual HOLY Sacrament, the Lord will begin to speak about Holy Matrimony, The Lord with His Creation, as Adam with Eve...theology is taking on a whole new meaning, because Jesus is coming into the world like no other being in existence...except that of God Himself.
Let us pray the Holy Psalms "You have turned from your anger."
"God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid."
"My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior."
"With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation." And Jesus meets a Canaanite at the well, the well that provided no quenching in life, and so the Lord offers the water from His side that will never let her thirst again. He comes for the harlot of Jerusalem, the lost, the prostitute that knows not of a Holy Marriage, a true and real love.
This is the case of a metanoia, a total transformation of heart, mind, and soul, much of what happens to a touched soul in a Cursillo, or an encounter with the Lord in one's life. And so our Lord enters our life at the well where we meet up with Him "Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?" This is clear, a man and woman shall be joined and become one...with the Father...and create the new, and that is how you were born, of flesh and the SPIRIT of God. That is why every soul that is CONCEIVED in conception, has a soul, because not only flesh is created, but a soul. That is why contra-ception is evil, because it kills not only the "blob of flesh (tissue) "as abortionists call it, but a soul is granted in its creation. A man and a woman are joined with God in HOLY MATRIMONY, an unbreakable perpetual Holy Sacrament to be honored and revered like that of a man that becomes a Holy Catholic Priest of the Lord. Because the priest is Jesus in the Holy Sacraments, and because a man and a woman are to become united by the priest, and the father is joined to the mother in a Sacred Mystery with God the Holy Mystery Himself. If you've got God figured out, you have belittled His greatness and are at a loss of the Holy Spirit. Last night a cursillista testified in a gathering "me and my wife are here and here (as he stretched his hands pointing) then he pointed to the top of the triangle, "and God is here, we should always be looking to God in this union". And thus, it becomes a Trinitarian union. Three in one Holy Relationship. Is God in Holy Matrimony in your life? Or is the devil the third party? Because either one or the other is officiating the union. And this is not a union for the same sex, because that is the ULTIMATE Contraception, the two can not be one flesh (make a baby).
The people I know, I keep asking to get married with God. If they are shacked up, I keep telling them to get married by the Holy Church and they keep putting me off...immature. But God wants maturity...Holiness. If I've learned something after my metanoia that is ongoing, it is that to be a real man, you must be a real man of God. Everything else is childish.
I wrote a song called Warrior and recorded it last Sunday. The song is as if the Lord is speaking, "I come to show the way" and "Come to me and you'll know what I mean", and "When you pierce me you will know, when the blood and water flow, this you have to show" and at the end it says "I'm a WARRIOR and You're my bride!". It is God's relationship with us in a love that is not romance, but a love that is a supernatural love that actually lasts beyond time.
God is trusting you with this love already....
to listen to the upcoming song "Warrior" on the CD for this year try this link:
my gift the gift of the Lord, pray with me: