When you agree to live simply, you can understand what Francis meant when he said, "A brother has not given up all things if he holds onto the purse of his own opinions." Most of us find out that this purse is far more dangerous and disguised than a money purse, and we seldom let go of it.
–from the book Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi
✞ "God does not fit in an occupied heart." — St. John of the Cross ✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "I do not wish the soul to consider her sins, either in general or in particular, without also remembering the Blood and the broadness of My mercy, for fear that otherwise she should be brought to confusion. And together with confusion would come the devil, who has caused it, under color of contrition and displeasure of sin, and so she would arrive at eternal damnation, not only on account of her confusion, but also through the despair which would come to her, because she did not seize the arm of My mercy. This is one of the subtle devices with which the Devil deludes My servants, and, in order to escape from his deceit, and to be pleasing to Me, you must enlarge your hearts and affections in My boundless mercy, with true humility. You know that the pride of the Devil cannot resist the humble mind, nor can any confusion of spirit be greater than the broadness of My good mercy, if the soul will only truly hope therein." — St. Catherine Of Siena, p. 94 AN EXCERPT FROM Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it." Matthew 16:24-25
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Saint Veronica Giuliani
Saint of the Day for July 10
(December 27, 1660 – July 9, 1727)
Veronica's desire to be like Christ crucified was answered with the stigmata.
Veronica was born in Mercatelli, Italy. It is said that when her mother Benedetta was dying she called her five daughters to her bedside and entrusted each of them to one of the five wounds of Jesus. Veronica was entrusted to the wound below Christ's heart.
At the age of 17, Veronica joined the Poor Clares directed by the Capuchins. Her father had wanted her to marry, but she convinced him to allow her to become a nun. In her first years in the monastery, she worked in the kitchen, infirmary, sacristy, and also served as portress. At the age of 34, she was made novice mistress, a position she held for 22 years. When she was 37, Veronica received the stigmata. Life was not the same after that.
Church authorities in Rome wanted to test Veronica's authenticity and so conducted an investigation. She lost the office of novice mistress temporarily and was not allowed to attend Mass except on Sundays or holy days. Through all of this Veronica did not become bitter, and the investigation eventually restored her as novice mistress.
Though she protested against it, at the age of 56 she was elected abbess, an office she held for 11 years until her death. Veronica was very devoted to the Eucharist and to the Sacred Heart. She offered her sufferings for the missions, died in 1727, and was canonized in 1839.
Why did God grant the stigmata to Francis of Assisi and to Veronica Giuliani? God alone knows the deepest reasons, but as Celano points out, the external sign of the cross is a confirmation of these saints' commitment to the cross in their lives. The stigmata that appeared in Veronica's flesh had taken root in her heart many years before. It was a fitting conclusion for her love of God and her charity toward her sisters.
Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Gn 28:10-22a
Jacob departed from Beer-sheba and proceeded toward Haran. When he came upon a certain shrine, as the sun had already set, he stopped there for the night. Taking one of the stones at the shrine, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep at that spot. Then he had a dream: a stairway rested on the ground, with its top reaching to the heavens; and God's messengers were going up and down on it. And there was the LORD standing beside him and saying: "I, the LORD, am the God of your forefather Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you are lying I will give to you and your descendants. These shall be as plentiful as the dust of the earth, and through them you shall spread out east and west, north and south. In you and your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing. Know that I am with you; I will protect you wherever you go, and bring you back to this land. I will never leave you until I have done what I promised you."
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he exclaimed, "Truly, the LORD is in this spot, although I did not know it!" In solemn wonder he cried out: "How awesome is this shrine! This is nothing else but an abode of God, and that is the gateway to heaven!" Early the next morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head, set it up as a memorial stone, and poured oil on top of it. He called the site Bethel, whereas the former name of the town had been Luz.
Jacob then made this vow: "If God remains with me, to protect me on this journey I am making and to give me enough bread to eat and clothing to wear, and I come back safe to my father's house, the LORD shall be my God. This stone that I have set up as a memorial stone shall be God's abode."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 91:1-2, 3-4, 14-15ab R. (see 2b) In you, my God, I place my trust. You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, Say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." R. In you, my God, I place my trust. For he will rescue you from the snare of the fowler, from the destroying pestilence. With his pinions he will cover you, and under his wings you shall take refuge. R. In you, my God, I place my trust. Because he clings to me, I will deliver him; I will set him on high because he acknowledges my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in distress. R. In you, my God, I place my trust.
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 Mt 9:18-26
While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward, knelt down before him, and said, "My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live." Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples. A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. She said to herself, "If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured." Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, "Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you." And from that hour the woman was cured.
When Jesus arrived at the official's house and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion, he said, "Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping." And they ridiculed him. When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose. And news of this spread throughout all that land.
Meditation: Genesis 28:10-22
14th Week in Ordinary Time
The Lord is in this spot. (Genesis 28:16)
On a winter morning in 2007, a man dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, and a baseball cap strode into the alcove of a Washington, DC metro station and began to play the violin. As he played, people rushed past him, eager to get to their destinations. Occasionally, someone would pause to savor the music, but for the most part, the man was left to play alone. It's a shame because that man was the world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell, and the instrument he was playing was his $3.5 million Stradivarius.
Today's first reading tells a similar story: the place where Jacob lay down to sleep was a sacred site dedicated to the Lord, but Jacob didn't recognize it. Jacob could have completely missed the importance of this place if God had not grabbed his attention in a dream. But when he woke up, filled with wonder at what he had experienced, Jacob exclaimed, "Truly, the Lord is in this spot, although I did not know it! . . . How aweome is this shrine! This is nothing else but an abode of God, and that is the gateway to heaven!" (Genesis 28:16, 17).
How often do you feel like Jacob—or like those busy metro riders? Your faith tells you that God is everywhere, but you have a hard time recognizing his presence. You walk through your day taking care of your responsibilities, but you don't feel his grace surrounding you. Or you interact with lots of people in a day, but you experience them only as other individuals, not as vessels through whom Jesus is reaching out to meet you.
It's true that it can be hard to sense God, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. God wants us to find him. He wants us to enjoy his beauty all around us. A busy schedule may rush us, but it doesn't have to engulf us. Fear may clog our ears, but it doesn't have to deafen us. Distractions may cloud our vision, but they don't have to blind us. As one day flows into the next, we can learn how to find the Lord. And the best way to do it is to follow the example of those few people who paused long enough to enjoy Joshua Bell's craft: slow down and listen.
"Jesus, I am searching for you. Come and open my eyes."
Psalm 91:1-4, 14-15 Matthew 9:18-26
my2cents: "Truly, the LORD is in this spot, although I did not know it!" said Jacob. He is amazed. This is what God does. He amazes. And He amazes those with the gift of the Holy Spirit...faith.
We pray today "In you, my God, I place my trust. For he will rescue you from the snare of the fowler, from the destroying pestilence." And the destroying pestilence is death...eternal. Those suffering from depression are living a life of a living hell, because what seems eternal is in the temporal. Those suffering the burdens of sin and addiction are in this pestilence. Let us turn to the Lord as the official and the suffering and bleeding lady:
""My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live." He invited Jesus. He believed in Jesus. And Jesus joins him to save. An intercession occurs. An honest plea. A sincere prayer...and a sincere faith. And such faith is found in the lady that was bleeding for years and she touches Him with faith and is healed. Isn't it something....that we can touch the Lord? He knows when He is touched. His heart was touched. Because in another Gospel, He turns around and asked "who touched Me?". He knew, but He wanted everyone to know who touched Him...her faith, which equates to love.
They say "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". The same is with faith. This weekend, we were at a quinceanera, a sweet sixteen on the 15th birthday of a relative. We sang a song to her to kick things off, and I had my guitar and sung with relatives. I asked my son how it sounded and he said he could barely hear this or that, and someone else couldn't believe how great it sounded and was so impressed. Perhaps because it was in Spanish, or it was a duet or harmony, or an unprepared sound system, all spontaneous. But the truth? Beauty is in the beholder. For some, a message means very little, and to some, it means a life changing message.
To Jacob, it was life changing. To the hemorrhaging woman, it was life changing, that touch. To the official whose daughter was healed, it mean a change for life. Faith had changed everything. Now that I see what my eyes can not, my life is changed. Now that I feel what my previous heart could not, my love is changed.
I look into the world, and I see suffering and longing souls, those hemorrhaging spiritually and those desperate in their anxiety for life....and the answer, and the salvation is in Jesus and only in Him. Never in the world is there another who can save like this...eternally. Faith affects life, and the affection is an affliction of a genuine believer. I find myself praying internally. When I see people lost in drinking bouts or not going to church, I pray internally and silently for them, and I know the Lord hears the cry of the poor...the sincere, the genuine.... Lord we need You!