Monday, May 7, 2018

You May Remember that....

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The Warmth of God's Mercy

It is God's love that is still holding me by the shoulder as, spoonful by spoonful, I consume the warmth of his mercy into my physical and spiritual being. And when I am fully restored and well, it will be with love and great delight that he touches my hand and calls me to serve again.

We women are not called to live a life of servitude to a demanding Father. We are his daughters whom he wants to heal and feed, then lift into service as evidence of his great love and delight in us. Let us not confuse the two any longer but open our eyes and be fed so that we might serve him from the fullness of our hearts and our confidence in his love.

—from When We Were Eve: Uncovering the Woman God Created You to Be
franciscan media


"The Lord has turned all our sunsets into sunrise."
— St. Clement

"The freshness of a living hope in God fills the soul with such energy and resolution, with such aspirations after the things of eternal life, that all this world seems to it—as indeed it is—in comparison with that which it hopes for, dry, withered, dead, and worthless. The soul now denudes itself of the garments and trappings of the world, by setting the heart upon nothing that is in it, and hoping for nothing that is, or may be, in it, living only in the hope of everlasting life. And, therefore, when the heart is thus lifted up above the world, the world cannot touch it or lay hold of it, nor even see it. The soul then, thus disguised and clad in the vesture of hope, is secure from its second foe, the world, for St. Paul calls hope the helmet of salvation. Now a helmet is armor which protects and covers the whole head, and has no opening except in one place, where the eyes may look through. Hope is such a helmet, for it covers all the senses of the head of the soul in such a way that they cannot be lost in worldly things, and leaves no part of them exposed to the arrows of the world."
— St. John of the Cross, p.175
Dark Night of the Soul

"Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, 'If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
John 8:31


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Saint Rose Venerini

(February 9, 1656 – May 7, 1728)

Rose was born at Viterbo in Italy, the daughter of a doctor. Following the death of her fiancé she entered a convent, but soon returned home to care for her newly widowed mother. Meanwhile, Rose invited the women of the neighborhood to recite the rosary in her home, forming a sort of sodality with them.

As she looked to her future under the spiritual guidance of a Jesuit priest, Rose became convinced that she was called to become a teacher in the world rather than a contemplative nun in a convent. Clearly, she made the right choice: She was a born teacher, and the free school for girls she opened in 1685 was well received.

Soon the cardinal invited her to oversee the training of teachers and the administration of schools in his diocese of Montefiascone. As Rose's reputation grew, she was called upon to organize schools in many parts of Italy, including Rome. Her disposition was right for the task as well, for Rose often met considerable opposition but was never deterred.

She died in Rome in 1728, where a number of miracles were attributed to her. She was beatified in 1952 and canonized in 2006. The sodality, or group of women she had invited to prayer, was ultimately given the rank of a religious congregation. Today, the so-called Venerini Sisters can be found in the United States and elsewhere, working among Italian immigrants.

Whatever state of life God calls us to, we bring with us an assortment of experiences, interests and gifts—however small they seem to us. Rose's life stands as a reminder that all we are is meant to be put to service wherever we find ourselves.


Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 16:11-15

We set sail from Troas, making a straight run for Samothrace,
and on the next day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi,
a leading city in that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony.
We spent some time in that city.
On the sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river
where we thought there would be a place of prayer.
We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there.
One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth,
from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened,
and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention
to what Paul was saying.
After she and her household had been baptized,
she offered us an invitation,
"If you consider me a believer in the Lord,
come and stay at my home," and she prevailed on us.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b
R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people.
R. Alleluia.
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.
R. Alleluia.
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.
R. Alleluia.
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.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia Jn 15:26b, 27a
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord,
and you also will testify.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 15:26—16:4a

Jesus said to his disciples:
"When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.

"I have told you this so that you may not fall away.
They will expel you from the synagogues;
in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you
will think he is offering worship to God.
They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me.
I have told you this so that when their hour comes
you may remember that I told you."


Meditation: Acts 16:11-15

The Lord opened her heart. (Acts 16:14)

Can you imagine being evangelized by Paul? This larger-than-life figure must have had a commanding presence. What about the story of his own conversion? Who could dismiss a man whose life had been changed so dramatically? It would have been nearly impossible to resist him. So it's easy to think that it was Paul's eloquent explanation of the gospel that persuaded Lydia to become a Christian. But Scripture tells us that it was the Lord who opened her heart (Acts 16:14). Yes, Paul's words certainly played an important role. But when all is said and done, conversion is God's work, not ours.

What a relief! It's not up to us to change a person's mind. It's not our job to pierce their hearts or alter their behavior. That's God's job. It's his grace, his Holy Spirit, who works in someone's life. Whether we are trying to encourage one of our children to come back to church or we are attempting to be a godly influence in our workplace, our efforts can accomplish only so much. The rest—indeed, the most important part—is up to the Spirit.

Of course, this doesn't mean that we should do nothing. Like Paul, we have an important role to play. If Paul had not been there, Lydia and her household might not have ever accepted the Lord. Our persistence, our compassion, and even our creativity are vital in paving the way for people to open their hearts to the Lord. As St. Augustine has said, we should pray as if everything depends on God and work as if everything depends on us.

So intercede and don't give up. Do what you can to help people along the way. Love them in gentle, practical ways so that they can come to see Jesus in you. Speak encouraging words to them so that they can come to trust that God loves them. Even offer to pray an Our Father or Hail Mary with them when they are burdened so that they can experience what it's like to talk with the Lord. But always remember that God is the One who makes the biggest difference. He will complete the good work he has begun (Philippians 1:6).

"Thank you, Father, for opening people's hearts to your love! And thank you for inviting me to work with you in the task of evangelization."

Psalm 149:1-6, 9
John 15:26–16:4



"If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home," and she prevailed, the Word said. God cannot resist to come inside a heart that wants Him inside. He comes inside so humble, and so gentle, as gentle as a gentleman can be, gracious, extreme graciousness; where do you believe Mary received grace from? It is the Lord!

And so we pray "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. The Lord takes delight in his people" Our Lord, your Lord loves you, and all His people. And He has a special crown for those who are lowly... the crown of victory. Think of our Heavenly Mother. "... for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant." And the servant, the lowly, gave birth to Christ. Poor but yet had everything. She had nothing, but Christ. She bore light. And this lowliness is right. It is what our world needs.

Our Lord says today "When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify". You will testify what is in your heart. If it is light, you will testify light. If it is darkness you will speak lies. 13 days from today, we will celebrate Pentecost. It is the day the church is born again. It is the day our Lord comes with this spirit, which leads us to testify. Why don't youth testify much nowadays? Have they ever? Some. You see, in some homes, there is witness. Some grownups take the time to talk to their children about the Bible and God. Some even try to be lowly. Some try to serve. And some actually serve Love, and God is love. Yesterday, Jesus said "love one another as I have loved you". I thought at Mass "that there is a tall order". Who can love like that? Who can serve like that? Oh sure we can all serve till our hands fall off, but to serve love with the love of God? But God calls us to the impossible.

St. Francis of Assisi said ""Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
What is "necessary" though? Let's go to our Lord's words from His mouth "...but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Think prayer. Think adoration. Think solitude with our Father. Mary chose what? Jesus. To be with Jesus. To be doing nothing but being with Jesus. You see? I know who I am writing to. You. You who are some times just so caught up serving, at work, at home, and even in church. You are so busy. So caught up in serving what you think is right. But God says take His yoke. This service. This service to the world. It is like this, you lover of God; I was in adoration, or in Mass a few days ago, and a message was trying to reveal itself to me, and it said something to the effect "in this world, it is very few who tend to God's needs, and therefore found at His feet, serving with God's saints and angels, yet, in Heaven, it may be the opposite is quite true, that there will be very few that will get to help those on earth, with God's saints and angels....". If this makes any sense at all. You have heard "think outside the box" and yesterday's message in Mass to me was "think outside the flocks". You would be amazed who is ready for God...



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