Wednesday, May 16, 2018

They Do Not Belong

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Grace In All Things

I began to see that the intent of Christ was never to relegate redemption to the spiritual realm, leaving us to wait desperately to shed this cumbersome physical world. No, he is in all things and he holds everything together. He is in the bread we eat, he is in the touch of our neighbor, he is in the tears of our children, he is in the dirt we dig up, and he is in the voice of the poor.

I can't escape the million proofs of a Creator's delight in creation nor his determination to use it to woo me on earth.

—from When We Were Eve: Uncovering the Woman God Created You to Be
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"I have been all things unholy; if God can work through me, He can work through anyone."
— St. Francis of Assisi

"On the whole, God's love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him. Nobody can always have devout feelings: and even if we could, feelings are not what God principally cares about. Christian Love, either towards God or towards man, is an affair of the will. If we are trying to do His will we are obeying the commandment, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.' He will give us feelings of love if He pleases. We cannot create them for ourselves, and we must not demand them as a right. But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and, therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him."
— C. S. Lewis, p. 132
Mere Christianity

"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ."
Ephesians 2:13


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St. Simon Stock (1165-1265) was born in Kent, England. He was strongly drawn to God as a child, and at the age of twelve he began to live as a hermit in the hollow of an oak tree. After two decades of this solitary and penitential life, he entered the world again to study theology and become a priest. His studies complete, he then returned to his hermitage. At this time the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him, intructing him to join the Carmelite Order that was just entering England. St. Simon became a Carmelite in 1212. By 1215 he became the order's leader and worked to establish it across Europe, especially at the great universities. He also traveled to Rome and Mt. Carmel in the Holy Land, and revised the Carmelite Rule to make them mendicant friars instead of hermits. Tradition holds that the Virgin Mary appeared to him again and presented him with a brown scapular, the habit of his order, promising that those who wore it would not be eternally lost in hell. This apparition is known as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and her "scapular promise" is that she will intercede with her Son to ensure that the wearer of the scapular obtains the grace of final perseverance, that is, of dying in a state of grace. This is the origin of the Brown Scapular devotion which soon spread to the laity to obtain the graces promised by Our Lady, a devotion later encouraged by many popes. St. Simon Stock's feast day is May 16th.


Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Reading 1 Acts 20:28-38

At Miletus, Paul spoke to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus:
"Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock
of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers,
in which you tend the Church of God
that he acquired with his own Blood.
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you,
and they will not spare the flock.
And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth
to draw the disciples away after them.
So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day,
I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.
And now I commend you to God
and to that gracious word of his that can build you up
and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.
I have never wanted anyone's silver or gold or clothing.
You know well that these very hands
have served my needs and my companions.
In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort
we must help the weak,
and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said,
'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

When he had finished speaking
he knelt down and prayed with them all.
They were all weeping loudly
as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him,
for they were deeply distressed that he had said
that they would never see his face again.
Then they escorted him to the ship.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 68:29-30, 33-35a, 35bc-36ab
R. (33a) Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.
Show forth, O God, your power,
the power, O God, with which you took our part;
For your temple in Jerusalem
let the kings bring you gifts.
R. Sing to God, O Kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.
You kingdoms of the earth, sing to God,
chant praise to the Lord
who rides on the heights of the ancient heavens.
Behold, his voice resounds, the voice of power:
"Confess the power of God!"
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.
Over Israel is his majesty;
his power is in the skies.
Awesome in his sanctuary is God, the God of Israel;
he gives power and strength to his people.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia See Jn 17:17b, 17a
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth;
consecrate us in the truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 17:11b-19

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying:
"Holy Father, keep them in your name
that you have given me,
so that they may be one just as we are one.
When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me,
and I guarded them, and none of them was lost
except the son of destruction,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I am coming to you.
I speak this in the world
so that they may share my joy completely.
I gave them your word, and the world hated them,
because they do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world
but that you keep them from the Evil One.
They do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth.
Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
so I sent them into the world.
And I consecrate myself for them,
so that they also may be consecrated in truth."


Meditation: John 17:11-19

Your word is truth. (John 17:17)

Are today's readings hinting at a secret password to God's kingdom? First, Paul mentions a word that can "give you the inheritance," but he doesn't divulge what that word is (Acts 20:32). Then we find that this word resounds throughout the universe and bestows strength on God's people (Psalm 68:33-35). And in the Gospel, we hear that this word is able to save us from sin (John 17:12).

What is this word? Ultimately, it's the name of Jesus himself. In the first chapter of his Gospel, St. John identifies Jesus as the Word of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that his name "contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation" (2666). Jesus Christ, Son of God, is the Word that gives us access to unlimited grace. You might say he is the password to the kingdom!

So far, this could sound like abstract theory. What does it mean for you, personally? Here are two ways to look at it:

Jesus reveals God's love for you. Whenever you encounter Jesus in the Scriptures, one thing stands out: he is full of compassion. He is moved deeply with love for the hungry and the blind, for sinners and the oppressed, for the sick and the well, for everyone. He loved Judas as much as Peter. He loved the Romans as much as the Jews. He loved the Pharisees who persecuted him as a man as much as the shepherds who adored him as a baby. And he loves you.

Jesus reveals God's grace. In the Gospels, Jesus never leaves people where they are. He feeds the hungry. He shepherds the lost. He forgives the wayward. He restores the broken-hearted and sets captives free. He even offered his enemies the chance to find the same mercy and love that had changed the hearts of everyone else around him. And that grace is available to you.

Through Jesus, God's love and grace are available. What do you need it for? Maybe you need the Lord's peace to squelch anxiety. Or to help you become more kind and understanding toward your children. Whatever it is, the Word of God is not going to leave you alone to struggle by yourself. In Jesus, you have all the grace and love you'll ever need.

"Jesus, eternal Word of God, I praise you for bringing me into God's kingdom!"

Acts 20:28-38
Psalm 68:29-30, 33-36



Saint Paul: ""Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers,
in which you tend the Church of God that he acquired with his own Blood". It cost our Lord all His blood to have a baptized soul be one with Him. How can I let that soul wander astray? You have been appointed to read this and for the flock of God, our Lord Jesus. We are in the vineyard. We are called. And Saint Paul shows the way. For 3 years he was on a mission, and pleaded, and cried, and showed the way of Christ. He became a living Christ. And you? Have you got to the point of shedding tears for Jesus? Suffering tears? Joyful tears? How about...shedding blood? Because, you know, we can always give more...right? But that too, is a special calling. A special time for Christ to shine. Offer now, your sufferings. Learn what this means, to offer your life to our Lord.

Let us pray: "Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth. Over Israel is his majesty;
his power is in the skies. Awesome in his sanctuary is God, the God of Israel;
he gives power and strength to his people." A caller called in EWTN Catholic radio, "how can Christ be locked up in the sanctuary" (I'm paraphrasing). They responded "He is everywhere". And the response from the caller said it more elegantly "it's like when Jesus walked this earth but God was still everywhere". Yes, Jesus is in the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist. Yet God is everywhere. But spending time with Him at the Blessed Sacrament is being at the feet of Jesus Martha, why do you worry? Am I not with you? Mary has chosen the better part....a heart to heart moment with Christ.

In the Holy Gospel our Lord says:
"The world Hated them" because, they do not belong to the world.
"keep them from the Evil One.' Jesus pleads. And God heeds. Prayers heard. Jesus is with us.
"Consecrate them in the truth." Jesus pleads. And God heeds.

"I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth."
A whole new covenant has been laid down for us with God. Consecration. Consecration left and right.
When Mary appears, she asks for consecrations to God.
When saints appear, they ask for consecrations of hearts.
Consecrate your heart now to the immaculate heart of Jesus and Mary. Use sacramentals in daily living. Learn what these are, sign of the cross, blessed holy objects, blessed rosaries, praying rosaries, holy water and more. Learn to be a consecrator, bless your children, show them the way of sacrificial living. Show them how important God really is.

These little ones, their faces look always to Jesus. And we are all His little children, never look with disdain on others. Jesus died so He could lift us up. Jesus loved this way to defeat the ugly way of sin and the terrible grip death has on many souls. Death is all around us dressed in fake clothes. Homosexuality life is death to life, no newborn can come of two men, nor women. Death to the unborn. Death to the faith. Death on kids clothes, last night my nephew joined our prayer circle with skulls all over his shirt. Death advertised as glamor. Death as an option now in hospitals. Death in fashion. Death on tv to those who believe in Christ. Death is ugly. And what leads to death? Sin.

Therefore, be consecrated.
Be Holy. Be His.
Be a light in shining armor....the armor of God that glistens when you are living a life of grace! If the sun is bright, the light of God and His angels is many time brighter, gives more life and purity than humans can comprehend. And the good news is truth, and the truth is, Jesus the Life and the Way wins. Be then a conquerer of souls with your precious acts of humility, of being able to give, of time and efforts for one another, His flock...and doing it for the love of God!



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