Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I Hope to Visit

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A Tiny Thing in the Arms of God

"It seems to me that I am no more than a very tiny thing in the arms of God, and that I will remain so until I die. I do not know what He wants to do with me, but I desire it all."

—Venerable Marthe Robin, as quoted in Robert Ellsberg's The Franciscan Saints


✞ "The most deadly poison of our times is indifference. And this happens, although the praise of God should know no limits. Let us strive, therefore, to praise Him to the greatest extent of our powers."
— St. Maximilian Kolbe

"There is another reason also why the soul has traveled safely in this obscurity; it has suffered: for the way of suffering is safer, and also more profitable, than that of rejoicing and of action. In suffering God gives strength, but in action and in joy the soul does but show its own weakness and imperfections. And in suffering, the soul practices and acquires virtue, and becomes pure, wiser, and more cautious."
— St. John of the Cross, p. 149
Dark Night of the Soul

"When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.'"
Luke 1:39-40


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Saints Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang, and Companions

Saint of the Day for September 20

(August 21, 1821 – September 16, 1846; Companions d. between 1839 – 1867)

The first native Korean priest, Andrew Kim Taegon was the son of Christian converts. Following his baptism at the age of 15, Andrew traveled 1,300 miles to the seminary in Macao, China. After six years, he managed to return to his country through Manchuria. That same year he crossed the Yellow Sea to Shanghai and was ordained a priest. Back home again, he was assigned to arrange for more missionaries to enter by a water route that would elude the border patrol. He was arrested, tortured, and finally beheaded at the Han River near Seoul, the capital.

Andrew's father Ignatius Kim, was martyred during the persecution of 1839, and was beatified in 1925. Paul Chong Hasang, a lay apostle and married man, also died in 1839 at age 45.

Among the other martyrs in 1839 was Columba Kim, an unmarried woman of 26. She was put in prison, pierced with hot tools and seared with burning coals. She and her sister Agnes were disrobed and kept for two days in a cell with condemned criminals, but were not molested. After Columba complained about the indignity, no more women were subjected to it. The two were beheaded. Peter Ryou, a boy of 13, had his flesh so badly torn that he could pull off pieces and throw them at the judges. He was killed by strangulation. Protase Chong, a 41-year-old nobleman, apostatized under torture and was freed. Later he came back, confessed his faith and was tortured to death.

Christianity came to Korea during the Japanese invasion in 1592 when some Koreans were baptized, probably by Christian Japanese soldiers. Evangelization was difficult because Korea refused all contact with the outside world except for taking taxes to Beijing annually. On one of these occasions, around 1777, Christian literature obtained from Jesuits in China led educated Korean Christians to study. A home Church began. When a Chinese priest managed to enter secretly a dozen years later, he found 4,000 Catholics, none of whom had ever seen a priest. Seven years later there were 10,000 Catholics. Religious freedom came to Korea in 1883.

Besides Andrew and Paul, Pope John Paul II canonized 98 Koreans and three French missionaries who had been martyred between 1839 and 1867, when he visited Korea in 1984. Among them were bishops and priests, but for the most part they were lay persons: 47 women and 45 men.


We marvel at the fact that the Korean Church was strictly a lay Church for a dozen years after its birth. How did the people survive without the Eucharist? It is no belittling of this and other sacraments to realize that there must be a living faith before there can be a truly beneficial celebration of the Eucharist. The sacraments are signs of God's initiative and response to faith already present. The sacraments increase grace and faith, but only if there is something ready to be increased.


Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs
Lectionary: 445

Reading 1 1 TM 3:14-16

I am writing you,
although I hope to visit you soon.
But if I should be delayed,
you should know how to behave in the household of God,
which is the Church of the living God,
the pillar and foundation of truth.
Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion,

Who was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated in the spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed to the Gentiles,
believed in throughout the world,
taken up in glory.

Responsorial Psalm PS 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (2) How great are the works of the Lord!
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
Majesty and glory are his work,
and his justice endures forever.
He has won renown for his wondrous deeds;
gracious and merciful is the LORD.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!
He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
He has made known to his people the power of his works,
giving them the inheritance of the nations.
R. How great are the works of the Lord!

Alleluia SEE JN 6:63C, 68C

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life,
you have the words of everlasting life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 7:31-35

Jesus said to the crowds:
"To what shall I compare the people of this generation?
What are they like?
They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another,

'We played the flute for you, but you did not dance.
We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.'

For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine,
and you said, 'He is possessed by a demon.'
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said,
'Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.'
But wisdom is vindicated by all her children."


Meditation: 1 Timothy 3:14-16

Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gǒn, Priest, Paul Chǒng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs (Memorial)

Beloved. (1 Timothy 3:14)

Look up this passage in your Bible, and you won't find the word "beloved" there. The Church included this warm address in the Lectionary as a way of expressing Paul's relationship with his young disciple, Timothy. Timothy held a special place in Paul's heart, more like that of "a child with a father" than of a coworker or disciple (Philippians 2:22). Beloved, Paul calls him: dear one, precious, treasured, highly-regarded one. And that is how the Father sees you too: Beloved.

Look at how Paul addresses Timothy: he assures Timothy that he hopes to visit soon. Timothy is on his mind and heart, and Paul can't wait for the opportunity to share his thoughts and affection. He wants Timothy to know how to behave in the household of God, where to set his thoughts, and what to spend his energy on. And so Paul reminds, admonishes, and encourages Timothy in his efforts to spread the gospel and shepherd the Church.

You can almost imagine Paul as a father advising a child who has already left home: remember who you are, he tells Timothy. Don't minimize what God has done in your life. Don't be intimidated, but teach and instruct as you have learned. Speak the truth; live a pure, holy life; and be kind and gentle with others. Refuse to listen to accusations. And take care of your health!

Paul's admonitions go beyond mere instruction; they speak of the love and affection he had for Timothy. Paul helped Timothy overcome challenges, inspired confidence in his calling, and imparted much-needed wisdom. Doesn't God do exactly that for us?

Your heavenly Father doesn't tell you, "Try harder" or "Just do it." He helps you. He reminds you. He speaks affectionately and gently. He wants to assure you every day that he likes to spend time with you. You are always in his thoughts, which are tender and full of encouragement for you. He has given you the Holy Spirit to impart wisdom, to lead and guide and remind you of everything he has said to you. He cares for your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. He wants to speak just one word to you: "Beloved."

"Father, I want to live today in the full assurance that I am beloved. Help me to see it, feel it, believe it."

Psalm 111:1-6
Luke 7:31-35


The Holy Word said today at one point: "... I hope to visit you soon."

We pray today "How great are the works of the Lord! He has given food to those who fear him"

Jesus enters. And He says asking what can the people of this generation be compared to. "They are like children..." He says. Children though, that seemed distracted. They pay not attention to the flutes nor the dirge. The message plays on and we can't hear it. The dirge plays and we are not moved.

Tell me, of the earthquakes and calamities, hurricanes and wars, quite simply, they are a dirge, aren't they? I don't see everyone hitting their knees in repentance or prayer.

And in the goodness and marvels exclaimed about recent miracles, not a soul is moved to hit their knees.

No, we are too distracted, too busy, and in being so, too distraught. I speak of myself not only of others when I say this. I get so caught up in things and don't pay attention, and so I'm suffering a broken thumb. I heard of the Mexico earthquake and the death toll rising. It was shocking, but...honestly, I feel disconnected, I wasn't there, I am not there searching for bodies or helping the displaced like at the hurricanes, so I go about my business. Nothing moves hits home.
Last night I was driving home, my place out in the country is dark, no night lights, and as I drove through my driveway, I see a rabbit running, nothing unusual, it darts in front of my truck, and like a flash my boy's new dog chasing the rabbit...then I heard a thump and a cry. My heart sank when I seen he was dead. I looked to the skies in shock and disbelief, only the stars looked down in quietness. My heart didn't know what to do next. I walk inside the house and tell the knews and my 10 yr. old boy shakes and cries. Just the other day he had been saying "when I go to college I want to take my dog 'Buddy' with me". To which I had replied "if he lives that long....". As if a prophecy? I've been through many pets, experience talking.
The truth is the prophet. In the world we will always face calamities. It was hard but I told the boy to go with me to bury the dog. He obeyed, trembling. Out in the pasture I managed with the broke thumb to dig a shallow grave. Afterwards, I asked my boy to pray with me about the dog "....if there is a place for dogs, let him be enjoying rest" I prayed. I turned in the darkness only lit by my truck's headlights "let us thank God we saved the dog from the pound and gave him this much life and enjoyed being with him....". Albeit, a few months, these critters grow on you. Life is still precious. I threw my hand over my boy's shoulder and said "I'm sorry" and we went home.
But the calamities and atrocities of loss of human lives are a million times more. The unborn, the suffering, and the worst part? We won't wake up, living distraught and distracted. So stressed. So everything but...faithful.

A day or two ago, I heard a pitch on EWTN radio on a call to religious life. I thought, these people that become nuns or priests or monks even, for all their life...they seemingly "lose" their lives. But they have found it, and saved it if truly devout in love with the Lord. Because eternity is what matters.

This is what the Lord is aiming at in the Holy Gospel. The King of the Universe was in the midst and is in our midst and says "I hope to visit you soon"
Are we ready?



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