Creation Exalts the Creator
We are connected through time and space with all of creation, and our home is within a dynamic, expanding universe. We are made of stardust, along with everything else in the universe. As humans, we have evolved the capacity not only to know, but to reflect on what we know. Through humans, creation has become conscious. Because we can reflect on our knowing, we can make choices and thus change the course of things. We can learn from creation how to love and praise our common Creator, and we can use our human voice to speak on behalf of all that is created.
—from Care for Creation: A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth
"I will simply counsel every man and woman to beware of even the very least speck of [pride], which seems to me to be the mere delight and liking of ourselves for anything whatsoever that either is in us or outwardly belongs to us."
— St. Thomas More
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"For it was while Eve was yet a virgin that the ensnaring word had crept into her ear which was to build the edifice of death. Into a virgin's soul, in like manner, must be introduced that Word of God which was to raise the fabric of life; so that what had been reduced to ruin by this sex might by the selfsame sex be recovered to salvation. As Eve believed the serpent, so Mary believed the angel. The delinquency which the one occasioned by believing, the other effaced by believing."
— Tertullian, p.44
AN EXCERPT FROM
Hail, Holy Queen
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY
"The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore."
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SAINT OF THE DAY
ST. TERESA OF THE ANDES
St. Teresa of Jesus (1900 - 1920), also known as St. Teresa of the Andes, was born in Chile to an upper class family. She was a pious child with a profound spirituality and a deep devotion to Jesus and Mary. Yet she was also stubborn and self-centered, defects which she diligently set herself to overcome in preparation for her First Holy Communion at the age of 10. Inspired by reading the autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux, and confirmed by prayer, at the age of 14 she decided to become a Carmelite nun. Five years later her desire was realized. In May of 1919, at the age of 19, she entered the Carmelite monastery of Los Andes where she lived a life of prayer and sacrifice. She also took to writing letters through which she shared her remarkable spiritual life with the outside world. It was revealed to her in prayer that she would die young, which she accepted with happiness and confidence. A few months after her entry she contracted typhoid fever, from which she died in April of 1920 during Holy Week. Before her death she was permitted to profess her vows. She was canonized by Pope St. John Paul II in 1993, the first Chilean and the first Discalced Carmelite nun outside of Europe to be declared a saint. Her feast day is April 12.
Thursday of the Second Week of Easter
Reading 1 ACTS 5:27-33
When the court officers had brought the Apostles in
and made them stand before the Sanhedrin,
the high priest questioned them,
"We gave you strict orders did we not,
to stop teaching in that name.
Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
and want to bring this man's blood upon us."
But Peter and the Apostles said in reply,
"We must obey God rather than men.
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus,
though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.
God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him."
When they heard this,
they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.
Responsorial Psalm PS 34:2 AND 9, 17-18, 19-20
R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just man,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Alleluia JN 20:29
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel JN 3:31-36
The one who comes from above is above all.
The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.
But the one who comes from heaven is above all.
He testifies to what he has seen and heard,
but no one accepts his testimony.
Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.
For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.
The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life,
but the wrath of God remains upon him.
Meditation: John 3:31-36
2nd Week of Easter
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. (John 3:34)
When you hear the word "ration," what do you think? You may imagine times of war when food and gasoline are scarce, or certain products are set aside only for particular people. Or maybe you picture times of economic hardship when people stand in long lines waiting to purchase their necessities. You always feel a little uncertainty and anxiety when something has to be rationed, because you never know when it may run out.
What a relief to know that God does not ration his gifts! No matter how tight we are economically, no matter how little free time we have in our days, the one thing we can count on is the abundance of the gift of the Holy Spirit! God gives him to us without measure. He doesn't reserve his Spirit only for special people. He doesn't hoard the Spirit in case supplies get low. He is always ready—even eager—to give us more. So let's take him up on the offer!
If you ever doubt God's generosity with the Spirit, try to recall how many things Jesus promised the Spirit would do in your life. He wants to make spiritual truths come alive in your heart. He wants to convince you that Jesus is Lord. He wants to show you your sin so that you will repent and be set free. He wants to assure you that he has triumphed over evil and that Satan has been condemned. And he wants to give you the power to share the gospel with the people around you.Have you called on the Holy Spirit lately? He doesn't mind if you "pester" him. If you're facing a difficult decision and need some spiritual insight, he's ready to guide you. If you're struggling with doubt, he is ready to strengthen your faith. If you want to share your faith with someone, but you don't know what to do or say, he is ready to give you his words. If you are dealing with the chains of addiction or a pattern of sin that seems impossible to break, he is ready with his power and his encouragement.
God never rations the gift of his Spirit. May we never ration our response to that precious gift!
"Holy Spirit, I need you today. Help me trust in your presence and your power."
Psalm 34:2, 9, 17-20
"We must obey God rather than men" says our first Pope, Saint Peter. Eventually, it would cost him his life to prove these words. Are you willing to put up your life to backup your words? How easily we back out of even prayer! How can you say you'll back up words such as these? A brother told me that his daughter's coach texted everyone "from now on we will have mandatory practices on Wednesdays" the same day of CCD, bible study, faith study, and the daughter started to cry and the mother asks "now what do we do?" And my brother in Christ and new cursillista said "there's only one thing we can do...tell him WE QUIT!". The mom texted the coach and the coach replied "no, no, don't quit, we'll figure this out!". Ah ha. You see? Choices. What's more important, I asked the 3 or 4 students, 9th graders last night. Same thing as 8th graders when I was teaching. The roster shows at least a dozen, or 15 students, and I show up to 3 or 4, because some other "choices" were made, most because we do not stand up for our faith. We are not willing to...die for our faith. This daily cross is a daily dying my brothers and sisters. And sometimes the heavier ones...are the most sweet.
"The Lord hears the cry of the poor. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the LORD delivers him." I was asked to "say words" and lead a funeral service at the graveside yesterday. I don't know the family, but I had sung and recorded a couple songs for the dying woman, because my mom serves the sick that are homebound through Eucharistic Ministry and was requested. A priest was not available, and we are waiting for a deacon to be ordained. What do you say to brokenhearted people? I prayed before arriving, prayed before the Blessed Sacrament. This is the top secret of all those who are successful in ministries, a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, as Archbishop, Blessed Fulton Sheen said we must strive to spend one hour a day with our Lord So what did I say? Not much. The lady's casket was white dressed with flowers. It was glistening in the sun, a beautiful day in that moment, and so I said after many commital prayers and blessings, "...pray, offer daily rosaries, and masses for our sister, but don't just offer a Holy Mass and not show up to sacrifice yourself....God loves your sacrifices!". He does love heart sacrifices. Believe me. Better yet...believe GOD!!
In comes our Lord and Savior: "For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit." A priest comes in the name of the Lord. A deacon. And a lay person can come in the name of the Lord. A brother in another city wrote earlier this week "I got invited to be a part of a church team...but I'm not feeling the call". I wrote back, no bars held, "the call was made brother". I believe we want something else when we want a call though. How do you discern a calling? Like this:
1: Is it in line with Church teaching? (Catholic)
2: It keeps coming to you in prayer.
3: It asks for faith.
4: It fosters interior and exterior charity.
5: It often is repeated in intellect, and peace.
6: Idea grows stronger over time.
My secret way of "knowing", is hard to explain. It's like when God talks to you. It is an interior calling, an inexplicable pull that if you don't follow, you later regret, and that shows you clearly what "could've been". And those tears in death are horrible. "We should've" and "we could've". And the calling is not a feeling, it is more, it is an innate feature, like spiritual instincts. And watch that step #3 more carefully: IT ASKS for FAITH. That one thing that God asks us for...trust in Him. This is why I write to you. I call on the Holy Spirit to guide my words and I am often amazed. Like, when I don't say something in writing, and someone randomly responds saying what they heard in the message. This also happens during a homily in Mass. God speaks in a whole other way and language, He goes direct to the heart of the spirit.
"The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life..."
Obedience is the true mark of God's warrior...the obedience to humility...to God, before others. Sacrifice means love....