The care of a mother embraces her child totally. Mary's motherhood has its beginning in her motherly care for Christ. In Christ, at the foot of the cross, she accepted John, and in John she accepted all of us totally. Mary embraces us all with special solicitude in the Holy Spirit. For as we profess in our Creed, he is "the giver of life." It is he who gives the fullness of life, open towards eternity.
–St. John Paul II
-from: Our Lady of Fatima: 100 Years of Stories, Prayers, and Devotions
✞ "We must not wish anything other than what happens from moment to moment, all the while, however, exercising ourselves in goodness. And to refuse to exercise oneself in goodness, and to insist upon simply awaiting what God might send, would be simply to tempt God." — St. Catherine of Genoa
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "When it comes to explaining the Blessed Virgin Mary, having a lot of love is more important than having a lot of answers. When we come up lacking, she'll make greater goods out of our deficiencies, as only a mother can do. Whenever we're humiliated and shown our weakness, we should get ready for something better than we could ever plan and prepare to accomplish. Evangelize with joy, then, and with confidence. Know from the start that you don't have all the answers—but your Savior does, and He loves His mother. He will give you everything you need, even if sometimes you need to fail." — Scott Hahn, p.162 AN EXCERPT FROM Hail, Holy Queen
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "But I say to you that listen, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. ... Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:27-31
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Saint of the Day for May 2
(c. 296 – May 2, 373)
Saint Athanasius' Story
Athanasius led a tumultuous but dedicated life of service to the Church. He was the great champion of the faith against the widespread heresy of Arianism, the teaching by Arius that Jesus was not truly divine. The vigor of his writings earned him the title of doctor of the Church.
Born of a Christian family in Alexandria, Egypt, and given a classical education, Athanasius became secretary to Alexander, the bishop of Alexandria, entered the priesthood and was eventually named bishop himself. His predecessor, Alexander, had been an outspoken critic of a new movement growing in the East—Arianism.
When Athanasius assumed his role as bishop of Alexandria, he continued the fight against Arianism. At first, it seemed that the battle would be easily won and that Arianism would be condemned. Such, however, did not prove to be the case. The Council of Tyre was called and for several reasons that are still unclear, the Emperor Constantine exiled Athanasius to northern Gaul. This was to be the first in a series of travels and exiles reminiscent of the life of Saint Paul.
After Constantine died, his son restored Athanasius as bishop. This lasted only a year, however, for he was deposed once again by a coalition of Arian bishops. Athanasius took his case to Rome, and Pope Julius I called a synod to review the case and other related matters.
Five times Athanasius was exiled for his defense of the doctrine of Christ's divinity. During one period of his life, he enjoyed 10 years of relative peace—reading, writing, and promoting the Christian life along the lines of the monastic ideal to which he was greatly devoted. His dogmatic and historical writings are almost all polemic, directed against every aspect of Arianism.
Among his ascetical writings, his Life of St. Anthony achieved astonishing popularity and contributed greatly to the establishment of monastic life throughout the Western Christian world.
Athanasius suffered many trials while he was bishop of Alexandria. He was given the grace to remain strong against what probably seemed at times to be insurmountable opposition. Athanasius lived his office as bishop completely. He defended the true faith for his flock, regardless of the cost to himself. In today's world we are experiencing this same call to remain true to our faith, no matter what.
Memorial of Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Reading 1 Acts 7:51—8:1a
Stephen said to the people, the elders, and the scribes: "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always oppose the Holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become. You received the law as transmitted by angels, but you did not observe it."
When they heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him. But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and Stephen said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him together. They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them"; and when he said this, he fell asleep.
Now Saul was consenting to his execution.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 31:3cd-4, 6 and 7b and 8a, 17 and 21ab R. (6a) Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. or: R. Alleluia. Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety. You are my rock and my fortress; for your name's sake you will lead and guide me. R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. or: R. Alleluia. Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God. My trust is in the LORD; I will rejoice and be glad of your mercy. R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. or: R. Alleluia. Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your kindness. You hide them in the shelter of your presence from the plottings of men. R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. or: R. Alleluia.
Alleluia Jn 6:35ab R. Alleluia, alleluia. I am the bread of life, says the Lord; whoever comes to me will never hunger. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 6:30-35
The crowd said to Jesus: "What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:
He gave them bread from heaven to eat."
So Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
So they said to Jesus, "Sir, give us this bread always." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst."
Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)
My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. (John 6:32)
No matter how much we think we know, there's always more to learn. Consider the world around us. Early cultures divided matter into earth, air, fire, and water. But over the centuries, scientists realized that matter was made up of atoms. Further discoveries identified smaller components, such as electrons, protons, and neutrons. Now experts have found even smaller particles like quarks, gluons, and bosons. There's always more to discover!
You could say that Jesus was saying something similar in today's Gospel. After having multiplied the loaves and fishes for them, he asked the people to go beyond what they already understood about being fed. They didn't need to be told what bread was—it was a big part of their diet. He wanted to offer them the "true bread from heaven" (John 6:32). This bread would not feed just their bodies; it would sustain their souls.
Jesus has a similar lesson for us. We know that the Eucharist is no ordinary bread, but when we go to the same church and sit in the same pew week after week, receiving Communion can become routine. Familiarity might make us pay attention only to the physical Host we are receiving rather than the sacramental presence of Christ.
If you feel as if Mass has become a little too familiar, try looking at Jesus more closely during the week. Every morning, choose one Scripture passage about him and try to remember it during the day. It might be a passage about the Eucharist: "This is my body, which will be given for you" (Luke 22:19). Or it might be a passage from the daily Gospel reading. Take just one verse, and ponder it. Ask the Spirit to help you understand Jesus more deeply.
As you read that Scripture passage, take the time to let Jesus show you something new about himself, something that builds on what you already know of him. You'll find that the deeper you go, the more you'll recognize the Eucharist as Jesus himself: the "true bread from heaven."
"Lord, take me deeper! Help me discover you more fully in the Sacrament of the Eucharist."
Acts 7:51–8:1 Psalm 31:3-4, 6-8, 17, 21
my2cents: In our first Holy Scripture, St. Stephen said: "You received the law as transmitted by angels, but you did not observe it." And then, they stoned him to death. Which prophet was not killed? Moses and Elijah? But the message is of angels. And the message is trying to get killed. But it is impossible, because it is of God...then you will find yourself fighting against God, much of what the name Israel means, and Jacob's hip was broke by an angel and sent on his way. Jacob then had to lead and live with this experience. Assuming he battled physically, he was a fighter, but after that, a follower...of God to heart. So let us get to the heart of the matter.
We prayed today "Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit"
And the Holy Eucharist is given to us. But I do not wish to receive the Body of Christ in to my hands, because sometimes I notice particles of His Divine and precious body remain on my dirty hands, and then I lick them in front of the people to know I found the Lord in the slightest bit and would not fall to the ground to be trampled on. This is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of our precious Lord. How do we treat Him? How do we honor Him? In the Gospel, the people wanted a sign to believe asking "What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do" and said Moses gave them bread from Heaven. Little did they know, Jesus was offering God Himself from Heaven...not just bread, "my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world" Then they wanted it "Sir, give us this bread always." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life". Jesus then...was offering Himself to them. If you want bread, take me in. Take me into your heart and soul. Take me then into the world with you. I want to be with you always, since you said you want this bread always.
And He is with us, not against us. He is with us through everything. If I can offer you a vision of Heaven, the epicenter would be the grand feast in the grand banquet and this is the best part of Heaven...Jesus Himself. Jesus basks and gives himself, because this is what sustains life. Him giving, and us giving thanks. And so Eucharist means thanksgiving.
As we live on earth, the thanksgiving is the offering. How do you offer thanksgiving? How do you approach the altar? Confused? Dazed? Disheartened? Angry? Burdened? Disillusioned? Hopeless? Troubled?
Why not approach Him: +Entirely disposed to receive grace. +Ready to receive the Lord of Lords. +Joyful +Repented +Confessed +Surrendered +Fearful (in awe) All things that end up like St. Stephen, in love to the end on his knees while getting stoned, giving glory to God, while the stoners covered their ears and attacked. Stephen praying "forgive them Lord" and "receive my spirit"