Thursday, September 28, 2017

Who Then Is This

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Embracing the Negative

Saint Francis and Saint Clare made what most would call negative or disadvantage shimmer and shine by their delight in what the rest of us ordinarily oppose, deny, and fear: things like being small, poor, disparaged, being outside the system of power and status, weakness in any form, or what Francis generally referred to as minoritas.

This is a different world than most of us choose to live in. We all seem invariably to want to join in the "majority" and the admired. Francis and Clare instead make a preemptive strike at both life and death, offering a voluntary assent to Full Reality in all its tragic wonder. They make a loving bow to the very things that defeat, scare, and embitter most of the rest of us. You might call it "dying before you die," which is always the secret of the saints, and the heart of any authentic spiritual initiation.

—from Richard Rohr, author of the book Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi


✞ "Let us make up for lost time. Let us give to God the time that remains to us."
— St. Alphonsus Liguori

"What are we to say of the charity and compassion of the Blessed Virgin, who for nine months bore, and still carries in her heart, the only Son of God, the uncreated charity which knows no bounds? If, as often as we approach a fire, we are affected by its heat, have we not reason to believe that whoever approaches the heart of the Mother of Mercies, ever burning with her most ardent charity, must be profoundly affected in proportion to the frequency of his petitions, the humility and confidence in his heart?"
— Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, p.151
Spiritual Combat

"I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Ephesians 4:1-3


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St. Wenceslaus (907–935 A.D.) was the son of the Duke of Bohemia. His grandfather was converted to Christianity by the missionaries Sts. Cyril and Methodius. His mother, Dragomir, was the daughter of a pagan tribal chief who was baptized at her marriage. After the death of his father, Wenceslaus received a Christian upbringing from his grandmother, St. Ludmila, while his mother reverted to her pagan ways. Dragomir reigned as regent, had St. Ludmila killed, and worked to oppose the spread of Christianity in Bohemia. When St. Wenceslaus was 18 he took control of the government and exiled his mother. St. Wenceslaus was described as a pious, humble, and intelligent ruler who worked to established Christianity in the land that would become part of the Holy Roman Empire. He was known for his vow of virginity, his many virtues, and his life of prayer and good works. After a political dispute arose, his mother and his younger brother, called Boleslaus the Cruel, plotted his murder along with a group of disaffected nobles. Boleslaus invited his brother to celebrate the feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, and arranged to have him assassinated on his way to Mass. St. Wenceslaus muttered words of forgiveness as he died, and his body was buried at the murder site. His brother succeeded him as Duke of Bohemia. Three years later Boleslaus repented of his crime, and had his brother's remains transferred to the Church of St. Vitus in Prague. Wenceslaus was considered a saint by the people at the time of his death. His feast day is September 28th.


Thursday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Stop and Breathe at least 3 times slow....proceed:


Lord, help me to be fully alive to your Holy presence.
Enfold me in your love.
Let my heart become one with yours.


I ask for the grace to believe
in what I could be and do
if I only allowed God, my loving Creator,
to continue to create me, guide me and shape me.


At this moment Lord I turn my thoughts to you.
I will leave aside my chores and preoccupations.
I will take rest and refreshment in your presence Lord.

Reading 1 Hg 1:1-8

On the first day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius,
The word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai
to the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel,
and to the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak:

Thus says the LORD of hosts:
This people says:
"The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD."
(Then this word of the LORD came through Haggai, the prophet:)
Is it time for you to dwell in your own paneled houses,
while this house lies in ruins?

Now thus says the LORD of hosts:
Consider your ways!
You have sown much, but have brought in little;
you have eaten, but have not been satisfied;
You have drunk, but have not been exhilarated;
have clothed yourselves, but not been warmed;
And whoever earned wages
earned them for a bag with holes in it.

Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Consider your ways!
Go up into the hill country;
bring timber, and build the house
That I may take pleasure in it
and receive my glory, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b
R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches;
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.

Alleluia Jn 14:6
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 9:7-9

Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening,
and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying,
"John has been raised from the dead";
others were saying, "Elijah has appeared";
still others, "One of the ancient prophets has arisen."
But Herod said, "John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such things?"
And he kept trying to see him.


Some thoughts on today's scripture

This time it is King Herod who is intrigued by Jesus, and asks himself whether he is actually John the Baptist raised from the dead. We too can find it difficult to accept the novelty of Jesus, and sometimes may end up reducing him to an imitation of someone we know or have heard about. I pray to be always open to the newness and mystery of Jesus, letting him enable me to know him.
Herod tried to see Jesus, and he managed to do so only during his trial. There he showed he was not really interested in having a personal encounter with Jesus, but rather in meeting a celebrity. Jesus once thanked the Father for showing the little ones who he really was, and hiding it from the wise and the proud. I pray to be small enough to desire a personal encounter with Jesus.


How has God's Word moved me?
Has it left me cold?
Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way?
I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me,
I turn and share my feelings with him.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning,
is now and ever shall be,
world without end.


Meditation: Psalm 149:1-6, 9
Saint Wenceslaus, Martyr (Optional Memorial)

The Lord takes delight in his people. (Psalm Response)

"Lord, I am overwhelmed by these words. I know that you made me. I can even accept that you love me because you love everything you made. But to hear that you take delight in me? That's more than I ever expected! It's such a personal claim: you look into my eyes—into my very heart—and you delight in what you see. You look past my sins. You look beyond my fears and anxieties. You see the goodness that you have placed in me. You see my desire to do the right thing. You see the love in my heart, even when I cannot see it. And all of this brings you great joy.

"Lord, your words dispel the dark cloud that hangs over me. For so many years, I have tried to be pleasing to you. For so long, I have worried that I am not good enough or holy enough or humble enough to win your approval. But here, now, with these words before me, I see that I was worrying about nothing. I see now that your love is not based on my performance or anything that I have done. It's based on you and your heart of mercy and tenderness.

"Lord, thank you that you delight in me in the way that an earthly father delights in his child. All you have to do is look at me, and your heart melts. You hear me call for help, and you rush to my side to give me your comfort and your grace. You teach me as a father teaches his child—sometimes with words and other times with actions. Because you delight in me, you never focus only on my shortcomings. You know how my life needs to change, but you never lose sight of how much I have already changed, how much I already reflect your goodness and kindness.

"Lord, I see that you delight in me, and that makes me want to love you in return. It makes me want to live a life worthy of your love. It makes me want to become a witness to other people of how good and pleasant it is to live under your mercy.

"Lord, I delight in you!"

Haggai 1:1-8
Luke 9:7-9



"Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways!" See how we provide for ourselves...but for the Lord?

We pray today "The Lord takes delight in his people. Sing to the LORD a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful. Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king." His people are His children and whomever He desires to be His child. Perhaps even...the despised.

In the Holy Gospel today, people were saying Saint John the Baptist had resurrected, or it was Elijah, and so forth...and the Gospel ends with the open ended line ""John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?" And he kept trying to see him."
In Luke 23:8, we hear "Herod was very glad to see Jesus; he had been wanting to see him for a long time, for he had heard about him and had been hoping to see him perform some sign.
He questioned him at length, but he gave him no answer.
The chief priests and scribes, meanwhile, stood by accusing him harshly."
It is the story of today. We want God to perform for us signs. We want to see the god that we want, to suit our needs to to fill our fancy. Isn't it?

We don't want a suffering God.
We don't want a quiet God.
We don't want a peaceful God.
We don't want a God that won't do what we say.
In the end....we don't want Him at all then...if this is the case.
This was the case of Herod, a king in his own world, in his own little world. Un-open. Not willing to open up to even God Himself.
What happens then? The world is a little darker, in your own nook. You put your hand over the sun, but the light still shines. You build a dark hut, but it gets hot in the sun.

Instead, we should enjoy the sun, the Son of God, the truth of true light.
In the Gospel, it ends with Herod who "kept trying to see Him". What are you trying to see? Nothing? Are you just curious? Not seeking with the heart. I see it. Many approach the Lord as if testing Him. Many see if He touches them, instead of us touching the tassel on His cloak.
I say this because of faith.
Because of faithless prayers.
I say this because I want you to be genuine.
And genuinely HIS !



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