Thursday, July 6, 2017

"Courage, Child..."

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God Will Be with You

When Moses was called to lead the people out of Egypt, God told him, "I will be with you." When Joshua was called to lead Israel into the Promised Land, God said to him, "I will be with you."

In each case, the person was commissioned to take on a difficult task with many risks and challenges. Often they felt inadequate and ill-prepared. Nevertheless, God challenged them to step outside their comfort zones and rely on him as never before. While they may not have felt ready for the job, they were given the one thing they needed most to carry out their task: The Lord would be with them.

We need to hear that message too. How might God be asking you to rely on him more, to trust that the Lord is truly with you in whatever you might face in your life right now?

–from the book Praying the Rosary Like Never Before


✞ "All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle."
— St. Francis of Assisi

"Among the various indications that make the holiness of God known to men, the most convincing sign is the holiness of men, who are sanctified by the divine indwelling . . . In teaching us the words, 'hallowed be Thy name,' our Lord also bids us, when we pray, to ask that God may be glorified by our lives. The sense of the prayer is this: 'Grant us so to live, that all men may glorify Thee through us.' God is sanctified or hallowed in the minds of other men through us, to the extent that we are sanctified by Him. Hence when we say: 'hallowed be Thy name,' we pray, as Cyprian remarks, that God's name may be hallowed in us. Following the lead of Christ, who says: 'Be holy, because I am holy,' we beg that we, who have been sanctified in Baptism, may persevere in the state in which we began. Furthermore we pray daily to be sanctified in order that we, who daily fall, may wash away our sins by a constant process of purification."
— St. Thomas Aquinas, p. 350-51
Aquinas' Shorter Summa

"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe."
Proverbs 18:10


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Saint Maria Goretti

Saint of the Day for July 6

(October 16, 1890 – July 6, 1902)

One of the largest crowds ever assembled for a canonization—250,000—symbolized the reaction of millions touched by the simple story of Maria Goretti.

She was the daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write. When Maria made her First Communion not long before her death at age 12, she was one of the larger and somewhat backward members of the class.

On a hot afternoon in July, Maria was sitting at the top of the stairs of her house, mending a shirt. She was not quite 12 years old, but physically mature. A cart stopped outside, and a neighbor, 18-year-old Alessandro, ran up the stairs. He seized her and pulled her into a bedroom. She struggled and tried to call for help. "No, God does not wish it," she cried out. "It is a sin. You would go to hell for it." Alessandro began striking at her blindly with a long dagger.

Maria was taken to a hospital. Her last hours were marked by the usual simple compassion of the good—concern about where her mother would sleep, forgiveness of her murderer (she had been in fear of him, but did not say anything lest she cause trouble to his family), and her devout welcoming of Viaticum, her last Holy Communion. She died about 24 hours after the attack.

Alessandro was sentenced to 30 years in prison. For a long time he was unrepentant and surly. One night he had a dream or vision of Maria gathering flowers and offering them to him. His life changed. When he was released after 27 years, his first act was to go to beg the forgiveness of Maria's mother.

Devotion to the young martyr grew, miracles were worked, and in less than half a century she was canonized. At her beatification in 1947, her 82-year-old mother, two sisters and a brother, appeared with Pope Pius XII on the balcony of St. Peter's. Three years later at Maria's canonization, a 66-year-old Alessandro Serenelli knelt among the quarter-million people and cried tears of joy.


Maria may have had trouble with catechism, but she had no trouble with faith. God's will was holiness, decency, respect for one's body, absolute obedience, total trust. In a complex world, her faith was simple: It is a privilege to be loved by God, and to love him—at any cost.

Saint Maria Goretti is the Patron Saint of:

Catholic Youth




Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Gn 22:1b-19

God put Abraham to the test.
He called to him, "Abraham!"
"Here I am," he replied.
Then God said: "Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love,
and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a burnt offering
on a height that I will point out to you."
Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey,
took with him his son Isaac, and two of his servants as well,
and with the wood that he had cut for the burnt offering,
set out for the place of which God had told him.

On the third day Abraham got sight of the place from afar.
Then he said to his servants: "Both of you stay here with the donkey,
while the boy and I go on over yonder.
We will worship and then come back to you."
Thereupon Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering
and laid it on his son Isaac's shoulders,
while he himself carried the fire and the knife.
As the two walked on together, Isaac spoke to his father Abraham:
"Father!" he said.
"Yes, son," he replied.
Isaac continued, "Here are the fire and the wood,
but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?"
"Son," Abraham answered,
"God himself will provide the sheep for the burnt offering."
Then the two continued going forward.

When they came to the place of which God had told him,
Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.
Next he tied up his son Isaac,
and put him on top of the wood on the altar.
Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
But the LORD's messenger called to him from heaven,
"Abraham, Abraham!"
"Here I am," he answered.
"Do not lay your hand on the boy," said the messenger.
"Do not do the least thing to him.
I know now how devoted you are to God,
since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son."
As Abraham looked about,
he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket.
So he went and took the ram
and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son.
Abraham named the site Yahweh-yireh;
hence people now say, "On the mountain the LORD will see."
Again the LORD's messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said:
"I swear by myself, declares the LORD,
that because you acted as you did
in not withholding from me your beloved son,
I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore;
your descendants shall take possession
of the gates of their enemies,
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth
shall find blessing--all this because you obeyed my command."

Abraham then returned to his servants,
and they set out together for Beer-sheba,
where Abraham made his home.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 115:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
R. (9) I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name give glory
because of your kindness, because of your truth.
Why should the pagans say,
"Where is their God?"
R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
Our God is in heaven;
whatever he wills, he does.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the handiwork of men.
R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
They have mouths but speak not;
they have eyes but see not;
They have ears but hear not;
they have noses but smell not.
R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
Their makers shall be like them,
everyone who trusts in them.
The house of Israel trusts in the LORD;
he is their help and their shield.
R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia 2 Cor 5:19
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 9:1-8

After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town.
And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
"Courage, child, your sins are forgiven."
At that, some of the scribes said to themselves,
"This man is blaspheming."
Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said,
"Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,'
or to say, 'Rise and walk'?
But that you may know that the Son of Man
has authority on earth to forgive sins"–
he then said to the paralytic,
"Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home."
He rose and went home.
When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe
and glorified God who had given such authority to men.


Meditation: Genesis 22:1-19

Saint Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr (Optional Memorial)

On the third day Abraham got sight of the place from afar. (Genesis 22:4)

Let's imagine we are listening in on Abraham's conversation with God as he makes the three-day journey with Isaac toward Moriah:

"Lord, I started down this road the minute that I said yes to you. But it's been three days! And Isaac is following me, happy to join me to offer the sacrifice. He doesn't know what lies ahead. And I don't have the heart to tell him. This is a hard road, Lord!

"You promised that you would make me the father of a multitude of nations. You said that my descendants would be like the stars in the sky. How can this be if you're asking me to offer up my only child? He is the son you promised! He is the miracle you gave to Sarah and me in our old age.

"And yet I know that you have always been faithful to me, Lord. I don't want the heat and burden of this journey to make me forget that. You promised me a son, and then against all odds, Sarah became pregnant. He has brought so much joy to our lives. But he's not just for us. He's for you. If you have great plans for him, then why this?

"Lord, I believe that you will provide for us somehow. So I will keep walking. I said yes to you, and I am going to continue on, even though each step takes an act of my will to keep moving forward, even though I want to turn around and run when I think about what is going to happen to my dear son.

"I'm starting to understand that you're not looking for a simple onetime answer to the question 'Will you . . . ?' You want me to say yes all along the way. That's how I'll get stronger. Help me to trust you, Lord!

"Lord, we're getting close. I can see the place of sacrifice up ahead. I don't understand what you're going to do, but I will trust you. I will say yes to you again."

We all have times when we feel as if we're being called to sacrifice our own "Isaac." As we walk that journey, may God give us the faith to say yes.

"Thank you, Father, that you are completely trustworthy!"

Psalm 115:1-6, 8-9
Matthew 9:1-8


"Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied."

God calls, what is your reply? In Spanish, the soldier replies "Presente!" (present). As if to say, "I am here at your disposal, ready for orders!". And the order comes "sacrifice your only son". Abraham follows orders. The test begins. It is in the present.
We prayed " I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living. Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name give glory because of your kindness, because of your truth. Why should the pagans say, "Where is their God?"

It's not about me. It's not about what I want. When God calls, it's what He wants. Abraham offers family. Jesus says love God more than your children and more than your parents. For some, this is too much. For some, killing their unborn isn't so much. Human sacrifice to the tune of millions per day. God says thou shall not kill. Yet people and the devil say "family first!". And it is a sad illusion, because without God first, everything else false apart, to shambles, to pieces, to death, no eternity. I asked a man earlier this year "would you like to go to a cursillo, an encounter with the Lord?" The reply was "oh! that weekend is my daughter's birthday, sorry!". This week a reply was "I got family coming over, sorry!" Another response this year was "sorry, I got plans that weekend, I've got a work deal that offers $10,000 that weekend". And suddenly, the gods are talking, the false gods. For how many pieces of silver will we trade our Lord? Or for which earthly human being that He created?

Our Lord says today "Why do you harbor evil thoughts?" You see, a paralyzed man was just told ""Courage, child, your sins are forgiven." You see, in the Jewish faith, forgiveness is not like the forgiveness Jesus brought in, an eternal forgiveness. They had limits, thus, their faith was limited. And you? What limits do you put around God? "Yeah, you can come into my life, but only until I can't afford to lose anymore". Abraham's faith was unlimited. God was pleased. You too can please God. He is even pleased with little sacrifices. He is pleased when you teach your children His ways, and His love. Is there love for God?
And so, there are two deals here:
First, Love God Above All. This means true love and trust and faith.
No false gods allowed.
Second, love acts in forgiveness. Evil thoughts are what I combat daily. And the thoughts don't stop, so why should I stop in my prayers and sacrifices? Can't I control my body, my mind, and my will? Yes. Yes you can. Jesus institutes in the royal priesthood something that few take to....healing, in confession.

Strange, that they take a paralyzed man to Jesus, and instead of physical healing, the man is spiritually healed (saved). Only then is the body healed. I have an uncle that does "reflexology" on loved ones to help them feel better, these massages on pressure points on the body, he does, but with a long talk on spirituality. Some people are healed. Some are not. Some feel better, some leave the same.

It is the same with the Lord but a million times more. There is healing, and the world and the devil do not desire this for you because they do not have it and so it does not want you to have it either. Therefore, the protestant lies continue "you shouldn't go to a priest to confess your sins". And so people live on, un-healed. Sure, one or two are healed physically through prayer, but spiritually? Jesus cares more about the soul, than the body. Sadly, we care more about the body...than the soul.

What belongs to God?

Our entire love, mind, body, and soul.
It is the love of God that compels us to heal and be healed. And how can someone that is not healed go and heal?

If the world you live in is at your hands, what are your hands holding?
Mary our Blessed Mother held Jesus as a baby and as a dead young man, and now, she holds His hand in Heaven.

What are you holding? It was not Her child, she beheld God. She was like Abraham, had to let God's will be done and offer Him as a sacrifice...her only child.

Peter said "NO! you don't have to die!" Jesus says "AWAY FROM ME SATAN" you are thinking as human beings do in the world, why do you harbor evil thoughts, thoughts like "God is wrong".

Yesterday I was in a clinic and I saw a sign that said Psalm 18:30 "As for God, his way is perfect"
And to be perfect, we must follow His way. And to do so, it takes much...heart



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