Thursday, June 8, 2017

Worth More Than All

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Guidance of Angels

St. John Vianney taught that we should imitate the angels in their consciousness of the presence of God. In his "Sermon on Holy Communion," he said, "We ought to ask the Blessed Virgin, the angels, and the saints to pray for us that we may receive the good God as worthily as it is possible for us to receive Him."

Ponder these words and pray that your own guardian angel will enlighten you and guide you on the path to heaven. Here is a simple prayer:

Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here. Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

–from the book Our Lady of Fatima: 100 Years of Stories, Prayers, and Devotions


✞ "The patient and humble endurance of the cross—whatever nature it may be—is the highest work we have to do."
— St. Katharine Drexel

"While St. Teresa was well acquainted with methods of meditation and wished her young nuns to be instructed in them, she emphatically insisted that the primary need for beginners is not to find the ideal method but to do God's will from moment to moment throughout the day—which is probably the last thing the beginner thinks is primary. Her thought is strong and unambiguous: 'The whole aim of any person who is beginning prayer—and don't forget this, because it is very important—should be that he work and prepare himself with determination and every effort to bring his will in conformity with God's will'. She then adds that 'it is the person who lives in more perfect conformity who will receive more from the Lord and be more advanced on this road of prayer.'"
— Fr. Thomas Dubay, p. 112
Fire Within

"So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God."
Ephesians 2:19-22


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St. William of York (d. 1154) was born to a powerful family in England, the nephew of the king. He became a priest and then treasurer of York Minster Cathedral at the time when the English crown was contested by two grandchildren of William the Conqueror. When the Archbishop of York died, William was chosen to take his place. Kind-hearted and generous to the poor, he was well-liked by the people; however, he faced political and ecclesiastical opposition from the rival to the English throne. Because he was consecrated without papal approval, William was accused of wrongdoing by those who wanted their preferred prelate in the position; even St. Bernard of Clairvaux opposed him. Although the pope confirmed William's appointment, the pope died before the pallium was given, and the new pope took the side of William's detractors. A new archbishop was ordained in his place while William went to live as a monk with his uncle, a bishop, in quiet prayer and penance. The people of York, upset that their favorite had been deposed, took to rioting. Six years later the Archbishop of York died, and another new pope made William the successor. The people were overjoyed at his return, and so many came to greet him as he arrived into the city that a bridge collapsed under their weight; the fact that no one was hurt was considered a miracle. A few months later, after celebrating Mass on Trinity Sunday, William became ill and died. Poisoning was suspected but never confirmed. Miracles took place at his tomb which gave rise to his canonization in 1227. His feast day is June 8th.


Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Tb 6:10-11; 7:1bcde, 9-17; 8:4-9a

When the angel Raphael and Tobiah had entered Media
and were getting close to Ecbatana,
Raphael said to the boy,
"Tobiah, my brother!"
He replied: "Here I am!"
He said: "Tonight we must stay with Raguel, who is a relative of yours.
He has a daughter named Sarah."

So he brought him to the house of Raguel,
whom they found seated by his courtyard gate.
They greeted him first.
He said to them, "Greetings to you too, brothers!
Good health to you, and welcome!"
And he brought them into his home.

Raguel slaughtered a ram from the flock
and gave them a cordial reception.
When they had bathed and reclined to eat, Tobiah said to Raphael,
"Brother Azariah, ask Raguel to let me marry
my kinswoman Sarah."
Raguel overheard the words; so he said to the boy:
"Eat and drink and be merry tonight,
for no man is more entitled
to marry my daughter Sarah than you, brother.
Besides, not even I have the right to give her to anyone but you,
because you are my closest relative.
But I will explain the situation to you very frankly.
I have given her in marriage to seven men,
all of whom were kinsmen of ours,
and all died on the very night they approached her.
But now, son, eat and drink.
I am sure the Lord will look after you both."
Tobiah answered,
"I will eat or drink nothing until you set aside what belongs to me."

Raguel said to him: "I will do it.
She is yours according to the decree of the Book of Moses.
Your marriage to her has been decided in heaven!
Take your kinswoman;
from now on you are her love, and she is your beloved.
She is yours today and ever after.
And tonight, son, may the Lord of heaven prosper you both.
May he grant you mercy and peace."
Then Raguel called his daughter Sarah, and she came to him.
He took her by the hand and gave her to Tobiah with the words:
"Take her according to the law.
According to the decree written in the Book of Moses
she is your wife.
Take her and bring her back safely to your father.
And may the God of heaven grant both of you peace and prosperity."
Raguel then called Sarah's mother and told her to bring a scroll,
so that he might draw up a marriage contract
stating that he gave Sarah to Tobiah as his wife
according to the decree of the Mosaic law.
Her mother brought the scroll,
and Raguel drew up the contract, to which they affixed their seals.

Afterward they began to eat and drink.
Later Raguel called his wife Edna and said,
"My love, prepare the other bedroom and bring the girl there."
She went and made the bed in the room, as she was told,
and brought the girl there.
After she had cried over her, she wiped away the tears and said:
"Be brave, my daughter.
May the Lord grant you joy in place of your grief.
Courage, my daughter."
Then she left.

When the girl's parents left the bedroom
and closed the door behind them,
Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife,
"My love, get up.
Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us
and to grant us deliverance."
She got up, and they started to pray
and beg that deliverance might be theirs.
And they began to say:

"Blessed are you, O God of our fathers,
praised be your name forever and ever.
Let the heavens and all your creation
praise you forever.
You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve
to be his help and support;
and from these two the human race descended.
You said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone;
let us make him a partner like himself.'
Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine
not because of lust,
but for a noble purpose.
Call down your mercy on me and on her,
and allow us to live together to a happy old age."

They said together, "Amen, amen," and went to bed for the night.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
R. (see 1a) Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
Blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
Your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Alleluia See 2 Tm 1:10
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God."
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.


Meditation: Tobit 6:10-11; 7:1, 9-17; 8:4-9

9th Week in Ordinary Time

My love, get up. Let us pray. (Tobit 8:4)

Did you know that this reading from Tobit is one of the most popular readings chosen for Catholic weddings? It's actually not surprising when you consider the messages that it conveys about marriage and prayer.

The obvious attraction to this reading is the beautiful image of a courageous husband and wife kneeling to pray on their wedding night. It portrays the graces of unity and hope that God pours out whenever a married couple prays together. You can feel the bond between these two—just by the easy way they welcome the Lord into their marriage. You can imagine how moved Sarah must have felt to hear Tobit pray so openly about his fears, his faith, and his love for her. It's such a tender, inspiring scene!

But even beyond husbands and wives, today's reading shows us the value of praying together. It shows us that praying with a brother or sister in Christ can increase our own prayer. It reminds us of Jesus' words in Matthew 18:20: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

God will always bless our efforts when we pray together. He will always pour out his grace on us in a special way. He will use that prayer time to cement our relationships, to give us the grace to move forward, and to bless everyone we are praying for.

Today is a good day to take a look at your own prayer. If you're married, do you pray with your spouse? If you're single, have you found a close friend who can be your "prayer partner"? If not, consider making a change. Start small, with something simple like reading the day's Gospel passage together and sharing something that strikes you from it. Maybe pray the Lord's Prayer together for your intentions. It's a big step, but still consider taking it. God will bless you if you do. He will strengthen your relationship with that person. He will show both of you more of his heart and mind. And together, you will grow closer to Jesus.

"Thank you, Lord, for sending people into my life to encourage me and lift me up. Help us to grow closer together."

Psalm 128:1-5
Mark 12:28-34


We heard their prayer in the first Scripture right: "'It is not good for the man to be alone". And so God sends His only begotten Son from Heaven and encounters His Holy Bride. You see, the story of Tobit, Tobiah, Raquel, Sara, it is a communal affair. It is as if Joseph and Mary had met. It is steeped in theology, yet culminated in a love affair...that of the affairs, the business of God's will, to will to love God above all. A marriage began with blessings and sacrifices, prayers, and then, a union. I asked my wife one time, "before meeting me, had you prayed to meet me?" She said yes and truth is I had prayed to God for a fitting wife, to send me a wife I needed. And we met. I can see clearly God's choice, I can see how good and perfect are His ways. Fast forward to last year, I had been for about a year without a friendship group, somehow it had dissolved, and I was in need spiritually in this communal affair, and again, I began to pray for it, "God send a friend" to continue the cursillo method of Christianity, a communal affair. Suddenly two I met in church went to Cursillo, and we became friends in friendship group, a communal affair. God sees what is good and according to His will, and allows it to be. It, then, is a gift. This morning, as I got up from bed and was pondering the things of God as I got ready for work, thoughts hit me, "so many gifts from God...a bible study, an invitation to a Cursillo, even other retreats, the Holy Sacraments, a witness talk...."all communal affairs, to be in communion with God. Yet, in the world, so many gifts denied, rejected, and unaccepted. Even a hurt is a gift. Yet we reject it, we don't want it. We don't realize what God's will is, quite simply because we reject everything He offers. Ungratefulness, the exact opposite of Holy Communion, Thanksgiving...the Eucharist.

We pray today "Blessed are those who fear the Lord. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your home; Your children like olive plants around your table." I live in a world of rejection. There is no fear of the Lord. You should be fearful of Him, this means standing in reverence of Him, the KING, it means of highest of esteem, and means that of honoring Him as Lord of your life. Jesus feared the Father, this means He was in communal love, true love with the Father. The Father sees us in the world as Sarah, 7 times forever had the appointed husbands died before their marriage was consummated. And so, the bride had to be cleansed. We are the bride. And then...only then was it consummated. When we consume the Body of Christ, full communion of the gift of faith. And so, I pray for the grace of fulfilling God's will. And His will is for none to cease to receive the mercy, the invites to join, they shall never cease. This is how God works...this is how Love works.

Our Groom enters our life, let our sorrow be turned into joy! " You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." Fear in love enters the soul. It is said that in the Holy Catholic faith, those who follow its teachings, in marriage deal with faith, God first. If you love God, you will love your wife. If you are faithful to God, you will be faithful to your wife. This is communal love in a Trinitarian experience. Involve Him, and everything changes, in every aspect of our lives. "The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these". Bishop Barren said today "If we love God, but hate our neighbors, we're wasting our time. Why are the two loves so tightly connected? Because of who Jesus is. Jesus is not just a human being, and he is not just God. He is the God-man, the one in whom divinity and humanity come together. Therefore, it's impossible to love him as God without loving the humanity that he's created and embraced."
God said "you are fearfully and wonderfully made". This means He made each and every person, every soul in existence, to the tune of billions of lives and souls for thousands of years. Can you imagine? How much love does God have for one person, one soul? So much so, that our hearts, minds, and souls can not captivate in one life.

I want you to join me in this life, to form the unblemished bride Jesus desires, purified, exonerated, prayed with, purified. To meet that One. That one that is 3 in 1 and all totally devoted. Mind, Body, and SOUL



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