The Enemy Within
Always, it seems, there is the "enemy" beyond the walls, which may be of our own making, who wants to sneak in and take over our city, appropriating as his or her own the property and goods and people within. And those of us within know and fear this threat to our lives and, in turn, wall ourselves in for protection, even though the "enemy" may already be inside our walls, may in fact reside within our own walled-in hearts.
—from Enter Assisi: An Invitation to Franciscan Spirituality
"Do not be anxious: go straight on, forgetful of self, letting the spirit of God act instead of your own."
— St. Julie Billiart
✞Meditation of the Day
"As St. Paul points out, Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary. He told us to be not only 'as harmless as doves', but also 'as wise as serpents'. He wants a child's heart, but a grown-up's head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim."
—C.S. Lewis, p. 77
An Excerpt From Mere Christianity
✞Verse of the Day
"For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. Therefore whoever rejects this rejects not human authority but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you."
1 Thessalonians 4:7-8
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(c. 1080 – June 6, 1134)
In the 12th century in the French region of Premontre, Saint Norbert founded a religious Order known as the Praemonstratensians or the Norbertines. His founding of the Order was a monumental task: combating rampant heresies—particularly regarding the Blessed Sacrament, revitalizing many of the faithful who had grown indifferent and dissolute, plus effecting peace and reconciliation among enemies.
Norbert entertained no pretensions about his own ability to accomplish this multiple task. Even with the aid of a goodly number of men who joined his Order, he realized that nothing could be effectively done without God's power. Finding this help especially in devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, he and his Norbertines praised God for success in converting heretics, reconciling numerous enemies, and rebuilding faith in indifferent believers. Many of them lived in central houses during the week and served in parishes on weekends.
Reluctantly, Norbert became archbishop of Magdeburg in central Germany, a territory half pagan and half Christian. In this position he zealously and courageously continued his work for the Church until his death on June 6, 1134.
A different world cannot be built by indifferent people. The same is true in regard to the Church. The indifference of vast numbers of nominal faithful to ecclesiastical authority and essential doctrines of the faith weakens the Church's witness. Unswerving loyalty to the Church and fervent devotion to the Eucharist, as practiced by Norbert, will continue immeasurably toward maintaining the people of God in accord with the heart of Christ.
Wednesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 2 TM 1:1-3, 6-12
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God.
He saved us and called us to a holy life,
not according to our works
but according to his own design
and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,
but now made manifest
through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus,
who destroyed death and brought life and immortality
to light through the Gospel,
for which I was appointed preacher and Apostle and teacher.
On this account I am suffering these things;
but I am not ashamed,
for I know him in whom I have believed
and am confident that he is able to guard
what has been entrusted to me until that day.
Responsorial Psalm PS 123:1B-2AB, 2CDEF
R. (1b) To you, O Lord, I lift up my eyes.
To you I lift up my eyes
who are enthroned in heaven.
Behold, as the eyes of servants
are on the hands of their masters.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift up my eyes.
As the eyes of a maid
are on the hands of her mistress,
So are our eyes on the LORD, our God,
till he have pity on us.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift up my eyes.
Alleluia JN 11:25A, 26
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me will never die.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel MK 12:18-27
Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection,
came to Jesus and put this question to him, saying,
"Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone's brother dies, leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.
Now there were seven brothers.
The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants.
So the second brother married her and died, leaving no descendants,
and the third likewise.
And the seven left no descendants.
Last of all the woman also died.
At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be?
For all seven had been married to her."
Jesus said to them, "Are you not misled
because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?
When they rise from the dead,
they neither marry nor are given in marriage,
but they are like the angels in heaven.
As for the dead being raised,
have you not read in the Book of Moses,
in the passage about the bush, how God told him,
I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob?
He is not God of the dead but of the living.
You are greatly misled."
Meditation: 2 Timothy 1:1-3, 6-12
Saint Norbert, Bishop (Optional Memorial)
Grace, mercy, and peace . . . (2 Timothy 1:2)
When we write a letter or an email we open with something like Dear Mary, so good to have seen you yesterday or Hi, Jim! I hope you're doing well. We take a moment to greet the person and offer some expression of goodwill. This is exactly what Paul did in today's second reading: "To Timothy, my dear child" (2 Timothy 1:2). But then he went a little further by offering Timothy God's "grace, mercy, and peace" (1:2).
Of course, some openings are more formal than others. But when we know the person, these kinds of greetings come out of a true sense of love. They are a far cry from Dear Sir or To Whom It May Concern.
Paul's greeting clearly falls in the first category. Paul expressed his love for his spiritual son, and he took a moment to point Timothy's eyes to heaven. He reminded Timothy that God stands ready to fill him with spiritual blessings and to give him peace and assurance of his love.
Look more specifically at the words Paul used. Grace is God's unmerited favor. Mercy is his gift of unlimited forgiveness. And peace is the gift that flows when we are open to receiving God's grace and mercy (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 4:16; Ephesians 2:4-5; John 14:27). There is a sense of fullness to these words—God isn't stingy with these gifts, and Paul wants Timothy to embrace them more and more deeply. This "more deeply" that Paul wants for him is less a matter of asking God to give Timothy more blessings and more about Timothy realizing just how much God is offering him every day.
Grace, mercy, and peace. These gifts are unlimited. They are constantly flowing into us, day in and day out. It's like a waterfall from heaven, a torrent and not a trickle. It's always flowing, always ready to flood our souls.
Today, imagine yourself standing under the waterfall. Let God's blessings fall on you. Go ahead and splash about in them. Tell Jesus that you want to receive all the grace he has prepared for you today. Then just rejoice in your good, generous, and loving God.
May grace, mercy, and peace be with you today.
"Thank you, Lord, for your superabundant blessings!"
St. Paul says "He saved us and called us to a holy life". We are being called. To something special. A life of God!
Let us pray: "To you I lift up my eyes who are enthroned in heaven.
Behold, as the eyes of servants are on the hands of their masters."
What is the Lord our Master going to do next? We can not fully anticipate, but our reaction speaks to the degree of our will, and our love.
Our Lord enters in response to a question on death and marriage " "Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?".
Many years ago, I remember my wife asking me a deep and sincere question on what would become of us and our marriage after death. I said that there is no marriage. We are like angels. These are words of Christ.
You no longer belong to one another but to God alone.
And this sets the tone for eternity.
Wouldn't you rather be His forever?
Angels in Heaven are something for us to be guided to God.
We are like angels, guiding others to Our Father.
Therefore, be holy.
As Our Father is Holy.
As Jesus is Holy.
As is the Holy Spirit.
As are all the saints and angels.