God's Little Gifts
There is no closer bond than the one which gratefulness celebrates: the bond between giver and thanksgiver. Everything is a gift. Grateful living is a celebration of the universal give-and-take of life, a limitless "yes" to belonging. Can our world survive without it? Whatever the answer, one thing is certain: To say an unconditional "yes" to the mutual belonging of all beings will make this a more joyful world. This is the reason why Yes is my favorite synonym for God.
—from the book The Way of Silence by Brother David Steindl-Rast
"The Divine Heart is an ocean full of all good things, wherein poor souls can cast all their needs; it is an ocean full of joy to drown all our sadness, an ocean of humility to drown our folly, an ocean of mercy to those in distress, an ocean of love in which to submerge our poverty."
— St. Margaret Mary
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"If during vocal prayer your heart is drawn to mental prayer, do not restrain it, but let your devotion take that channel, omitting the vocal prayers which you intended to say: that which takes their place is more acceptable to God, and more useful to your own soul."
— St. Francis de Sales, p. 63
AN EXCERPT FROM
An Introduction to the Devout Life
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY
"For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, 'Do not fear, I will help you.'"
click to read more
Saint Salvator of Horta
(1520 – March 18, 1567)
A reputation for holiness does have some drawbacks. Public recognition can be a nuisance at times—as the confreres of Salvator found out.
Salvator was born during Spain's Golden Age. Art, politics, and wealth were flourishing. So was religion. Ignatius of Loyola founded the Society of Jesus in 1540.
Salvator's parents were poor. At the age of 21, he entered the Franciscans as a brother and was soon known for his asceticism, humility, and simplicity. As cook, porter, and later the official beggar for the friars in Tortosa, he became well known for his charity. He healed the sick with the Sign of the Cross. When crowds of sick people began coming to the friary to see Salvator, the friars transferred him to Horta. Again, the sick flocked to ask his intercession; one person estimated that 2,000 people a week came to see Salvator. He told them to examine their consciences, go to confession, and to receive Holy Communion worthily. He refused to pray for those who would not receive those sacraments.
The public attention given to Salvator was relentless. The crowds would sometimes tear off pieces of his habit as relics. Two years before his death, Salvator was moved again, this time to Cagliari on the island of Sardinia. He died at Cagliari saying, "Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit." He was canonized in 1938.
Medical science is now seeing more clearly the relation of some diseases to one's emotional and spiritual life. In Healing Life's Hurts, Matthew and Dennis Linn report that sometimes people experience relief from illness only when they have decided to forgive others. Salvator prayed that people might be healed, and many were. Surely not all diseases can be treated this way; medical help should not be abandoned. But notice that Salvator urged his petitioners to reestablish their priorities in life before they asked for healing.
Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Reading 1 Nm 21:4-9
From Mount Hor the children of Israel set out on the Red Sea road,
to bypass the land of Edom.
But with their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
"Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!"
In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said,
"We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents away from us."
So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,
"Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live."
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21
R. (2) O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
O LORD, hear my prayer,
and let my cry come to you.
Hide not your face from me
in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
in the day when I call, answer me speedily.
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
"The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die."
R. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
Verse Before the Gospel
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.
Gospel Jn 8:21-30
Jesus said to the Pharisees:
"I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come."
So the Jews said,
"He is not going to kill himself, is he,
because he said, 'Where I am going you cannot come'?"
He said to them, "You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.
For if you do not believe that I AM,
you will die in your sins."
So they said to him, "Who are you?"
Jesus said to them, "What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation.
But the one who sent me is true,
and what I heard from him I tell the world."
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said to them,
"When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me.
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him."
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.
Meditation: Numbers 21:4-9
Make a saraph and mount it on a pole. (Numbers 21:8)
This is one of the more peculiar stories in the Bible. What point is God trying to make with a snake on a pole?
Perhaps if we were to read this story in light of the Gospel, we might find some answers. St. Paul wrote that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Just as the Israelites' sin earned them a deadly snakebite, so too do we suffer death as the consequence of our sin. Venom does to the body what sin does to the soul.
The Israelites had to trust in God's plan for their deliverance, and so do we. In his mercy, God did not leave us in our sin. Rather, he provided a remedy. The wages of sin may be death, according to Paul, "but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). God healed the Israelites with the bronze serpent on a pole, just as he delivered us through his Son, who was "lifted up" and hung on a tree for our sins (John 8:28; 12:32). If sin is the serpent fatally biting us, then Jesus' blood is the antidote by which we are delivered from death.
What the Israelites did with the serpent, we are invited to do with the cross: look upon it with faith. That's where Jesus bore our sins and won victory. There are no hoops to jump through, no need to prove ourselves. Salvation comes from God, not from us. It comes because of Jesus' death and resurrection, not because of our best intentions or efforts.
Jesus once told Nicodemus: "Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life" (John 3:14-15). So the next time you look at a crucifix, see the mercy of the Father who sacrificed his Son for you. Lent isn't over yet, so take advantage of this time to go further with the Lord and experience the healing power of the cross. Ask Jesus to bear your burdens and wash away your sin and guilt, for his sacrifice and mercy are flowing for everyone.
"Father, thank you for your love. I trust in your mercy and look to your Son on the cross for healing and salvation."
Psalm 102:2-3, 16-21
"..."Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live." Nowadays, a symbol for prescriptions is a serpent on a pole, and then we get an Rx. The Rx means a recipe, and the symbol on the pole means healing and medicine, to this day. We look to medicine for physical healing. But for salvation? We look to Christ, Jesus, the Messiah, the savior. Look.
Let us pray: " O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you. Let this be written for the generation to come, and let his future creatures praise the LORD: "The LORD looked down from his holy height, from heaven he beheld the earth, To hear the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die." What prisoners were groaning? And what "future creatures" are they talking about? Keep reading back. "Lord, hear my prayer, and let MY Cry come to you". We are prisoners, and we are future creatures, creations in the making, as a caterpillar crawling the earth, soon to be entombed and released as a butterfly. Hope we see butterflies and feel butterflies on Holy Easter!
In the Holy Gospel, our Lord kept saying one powerful word after another, some so hard on the Jews that they were being hardened in their decision to have our Lord murdered. This is what is possible with a person living in sin. Their cries are hard to hear because they are not crying, they are shouting, louder, and louder, so they will not hear the humble message from our Lord's precious mouth. From which a kiss would move mountains, and the earth tremble. And He kisses a child when He embraces a child, a child that does not shout, but lets themself be held, contemplating and enjoying a reciprocating love in this symbiotic relationship, like a certain fish among a poisonous reef. Both gain something from one another, one feeds off of another.
Our Lord said ""I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come." I once wrote a song about these words of our Lord "I Am going away", He said "I belong to what is above". You belong to this world...why Lord? Why would you say this to us? Let's clear the air. He is talking to those who are in self-condemnation. God does not send anyone to hell, we have that free choice. If anything, it is an invitation to follow Him. ""When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM" that I AM GOD. When the earth trembles, and the dead arise, and your temple is destroyed, and I am raised up, then you will realize.
"The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him."
Our Lord once said "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven." Mt18:10.
Yet, the Jews despised the child of God: These people of God, supposedly. What am I trying to say to you right now?
I want you to be a nuclear family. The nucleus being God. And everything radiating from it. You have to be so holy, so devoted, so in love with God, so that those around you might get some radiation from this power.
How can you be so enriched? Easy. Focus all your efforts and loves on God. Do not look away for a moment. Every moment is precious to the Lord. Not to be wasted.
I have been wondering this morning, on how our Lord works the most powerful miracles in the most humble of ways. He only once raised His voice, because a temple was being taken over by strange gods, like Mammon and so forth. The rest, was a simple word. A simple touch. A simple look. And someone would be healed. Someone would be raised from the dead. And someone would completely change their lives in conversion, in belief, and in faith. That's if we dare to look at Him for all He is and offers...on the cross.
They say that in Heaven, we will be free from this attachment to sin. Oh what a glorious day that will be! Death will have no more hold, and neither will sin! I can only imagine! But this imagination can start becoming a reality. Practicing dying (to the world). Practicing freedom from sin, and attachment to it. That's what lent has been all about, in sacrificing and giving and praying. Jesus has words of eternal life. Let every word drop into your soul and sanctify it, and be enriched, and may this bring you great peace, and joy, all things grace that comes from God, into a soul in great need of healing, with this medicine of mercy, with this sign of a cure. A remedy from a poisonous and venomous animal's bite is to take that venom and turn it into a cure, with a willing agent donor to turn it into healing medicine. This is what God does. This is what happens in Holy Mass. As the priest mingles water and wine and prays and sacrifices with our prayers... the healing is there...all we have to do is come....
Fifth Tuesday of Lent
"The saints are the stars. In his providence,
Christ conceals them in a hidden place that they
may not shine before others when they might
wish to do so. Yet they are always ready
to exchange the quiet of contemplation for
the works of mercy as soon as they perceive
in their heart the invitation of Christ."
Saints are not totally committed to their own
agenda or to their personal projects. No, they are
available for what God may ask of them, as we see
in the example of St. Joseph, whose feast we celebrated yesterday.
Praying with Saint Anthony
Gracious God, help me set aside my personal preference and accept the way in which you wish to use the gifts that come from you so generously.
check out this Franciscan prayer for today, and God bless you
Fifth Tuesday of Lent