Through prayer, we experience closeness with God and the true love of his heart. This love sets us straight, conquers our fears, and completes us. And in turn, as we come to know the greatness of God's love, we begin to look for ways to help others know it too. Our hope to know and receive God's love in all of its fullness and promise of restoration comes through our prayerful dialogue with the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
–from the book Healing Promises: The Essential Guide to the Sacred Heart
✞ "Many people [in authority] oppose us, persecute us, and would like even to destroy us, but we must be patient. As long as their commands are not against our conscience, let us obey them, but when the case is otherwise, let us uphold the rights of God and of the Church, for those are superior to all earthly authority." — St. John Bosco
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's Passover, that is, of the work of salvation accomplished by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, a work made present by the liturgical action. It is Christ himself, the eternal high priest of the New Covenant who, acting through the ministry of the priests, offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. And it is the same Christ, really present under the species of bread and wine, who is the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice." — (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1409-10) AN EXCERPT FROM Catechism of the Catholic Church
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6
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Saint Eusebius of Vercelli
Saint of the Day for August 2
(c. 300 – August 1, 371)
Someone has said that if there had been no Arian heresy denying Christ's divinity, it would be very difficult to write the lives of many early saints. Eusebius is another of the defenders of the Church during one of its most trying periods.
Born on the isle of Sardinia, he became a member of the Roman clergy, and is the first recorded bishop of Vercelli in Piedmont in northwest Italy. Eusebius was also the first to link the monastic life with that of the clergy, establishing a community of his diocesan clergy on the principle that the best way to sanctify his people was to have them see a clergy formed in solid virtue and living in community.
He was sent by Pope Liberius to persuade the emperor to call a council to settle Catholic-Arian troubles. When it was called at Milan, Eusebius went reluctantly, sensing that the Arian block would have its way, although the Catholics were more numerous. He refused to go along with the condemnation of Saint Athanasius; instead, he laid the Nicene Creed on the table and insisted that all sign it before taking up any other matter. The emperor put pressure on him, but Eusebius insisted on Athanasius' innocence and reminded the emperor that secular force should not be used to influence Church decisions. At first the emperor threatened to kill him, but later sent him into exile in Palestine. There the Arians dragged him through the streets and shut him up in a little room, releasing him only after his four-day hunger strike. They resumed their harassment shortly after.
His exile continued in Asia Minor and Egypt, until the new emperor permitted him to be welcomed back to his see in Vercelli. Eusebius attended the Council of Alexandria with Athanasius and approved the leniency shown to bishops who had wavered. He also worked with Saint Hilary of Poitiers against the Arians.
Eusebius died peacefully in his own diocese at an advanced age.
Catholics in the U.S. have sometimes felt penalized by an unwarranted interpretation of the principle of separation of Church and state, especially in the matter of Catholic schools. Be that as it may, the Church is happily free today from the tremendous pressure put on it after it became an "established" Church under Constantine. We are happily rid of such things as a pope asking an emperor to call a Church council, Pope John I being sent by the emperor to negotiate in the East, or the pressure of kings on papal elections. The Church cannot be a prophet if it's in someone's pocket.
Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Ex 34:29-35
As Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands, he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the LORD. When Aaron, then, and the other children of Israel saw Moses and noticed how radiant the skin of his face had become, they were afraid to come near him. Only after Moses called to them did Aaron and all the rulers of the community come back to him. Moses then spoke to them. Later on, all the children of Israel came up to him, and he enjoined on them all that the LORD had told him on Mount Sinai. When he finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. Whenever Moses entered the presence of the LORD to converse with him, he removed the veil until he came out again. On coming out, he would tell the children of Israel all that had been commanded. Then the children of Israel would see that the skin of Moses' face was radiant; so he would again put the veil over his face until he went in to converse with the LORD.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 99:5, 6, 7, 9 R. (see 9c) Holy is the Lord our God. Extol the LORD, our God, and worship at his footstool; holy is he! R. Holy is the Lord our God. Moses and Aaron were among his priests, and Samuel, among those who called upon his name; they called upon the LORD, and he answered them. R. Holy is the Lord our God. From the pillar of cloud he spoke to them; they heard his decrees and the law he gave them. R. Holy is the Lord our God. Extol the LORD, our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for holy is the LORD, our God. R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Alleluia Jn 15:15b R. Alleluia, alleluia. I call you my friends, says the Lord, for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 13:44-46
Jesus said to his disciples: "The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it."
Meditation: Exodus 34:29-35 Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop (Optional Memorial)
The skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the Lord. (Exodus 34:29)
Have you ever noticed the Book of the Gospels when you're at Mass? It's hard to ignore: a large ornate volume with a rich gold cover. The deacon or lector carries it in procession at the beginning of Mass and places it on display in the middle of the altar. That can seem like quite a lot of ceremony for one book.
But the Gospels are not just a book. They are the word of God. The Book of the Gospels is precious because it tells the story of Jesus and his cross and resurrection. It's also precious because the word of God has the power to lift up people's hearts and change their lives. His light shines forth from his word, just as the light bounces off the book's ornate gold cover.
This is the word that made Moses' face shine. The light of God's presence radiated out of him because he had received God's word, not just on tablets of stone, but also in his heart. And so Moses proclaimed the word of God to the people both by speaking that word and by witnessing to the power of that word to change people's lives.
Today is a good day to ask how God's word has changed you. Perhaps you may not see too much evidence of a change, at least not as dramatic as Moses' shining face. But think again. When you hold your tongue instead of joining in gossip, your witness shines out. When you share stories about your faith with your children or grandchildren, you are showing how God's word has changed you. Simply by making it a point to attend Mass every Sunday is evidence that the word of the Lord has found a place in your heart.
As for that shining face: what do you think it looks like when you go out of your way to help out a friend or when you offer forgiveness to someone who has wronged you? Your face may not shine like Moses' face did, but God's presence still shines out of you. The warmth of his love still radiates and touches the people around you. All because the word of God has found a place in your heart.
"Thank you, Jesus, for your word, which has changed me. Lord, help me to reflect your love even more today!"
Psalm 99:5-7, 9 Matthew 13:44-46
We heard the first holy Scripture: "On coming out, he would tell the children of Israel all that had been commanded." The Word of God spread through Moses. Do you trust in the Word?
We prayed today "Holy is the Lord our God. Extol the LORD, our God, and worship at his footstool; holy is he!" So Holy that not everyone could see, only those called to see the radiance of God's splendor and truth, like that written all over the face of one who has experienced God in a way like no other, and the message of Him reaches you...today.
In the Holy Gospel, the Word speaks to us in parables when our Lord says ""The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." In business, we talk much about "diversification" and "not having all our eggs in one basket", especially when we experienced a tremendous loss when one (the biggest) customer and one of our salesmen were lost when the salesman took all the work! But we did not diversify, we did not add to our services portfolio, we did not add a plethora of clientele, I will tell you what the boss, my father had me go do, and I'll never forget; He said let's go pray at the Blessed Sacrament. And we did, and I remember with choking and tearful eyes those moments of trial. You see, we must trust everything to one. If someone goes and sells all he has, it is because he has found something more valuable. It is God. God would see us through. And so, fast forward nearly 10 years later, our ethics in business always hinge on the Lord, because everything is His. The other day, the boss was offered a nice tempting work offer, but he said "no, we will keep going as we have been, we are in business to provide for all these people that work for us". We are God's stewards of His gifts and His grace.
When our Lord proposes today in the Holy Gospel, He is asking "Are you all in?" Are you cashing in on what you have found? Or is it of no value? Because there is the heart of the matter.
I wondered yesterday as I was to retake my driving test to get a "People" endorsement on my Class A license so I can haul people on a bus (for church), I was wondering if it was all worth it as I drove up there, "why am I doing this, going through all this trouble?" I would think to myself, because I don't see myself really ever using the bus, its usually driven by someone else for church events. And so, I truly wondered if I had any heart in it, because if i didn't, I probably could care less...about the test. And so I tried to care. And I made a real effort to pass the federal vehicle inspection exam which is riddled with nuances, up to 150 things "you should know", and I do know, but the hard part is explaining to the examiner all "what you know". I almost passed and the examiner was impressed because apparently the first time I took the exam I totally bombed it. She said "you told me several times "i'll get back to that" but you never did" and so I did not receive credit as I had rushed through the exam perhaps out of nerves. I had intentions (to get back), but that gets you nowhere. The case in point here being, do you really care. Yes, you are spending time and effort, but for the life of you...do you really care? Because if you care you will put all your heart in it, you will cash in all your chips, put all your eggs in one basket. Jesus is asking if we are all in or not, because those who are lukewarm will be spit out in the end. We all know John 3:16 but do we all know Revelation 3:16 that says "I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other. 16 So because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of My mouth! " You see, in the things of God it is a yes or a no. Now, don't be silly and say I'm not perfect therefore giving yourself a pitiful excuse not to try, because God says "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Mt 5:48. God wants your heart, He wants to win over your heart. Will He win your heart? Or will you give it to Him in its totality?