Prayer Bridges the Chasm
Prayer is almost as much a mystery as God. Prayer always seems to be more than the words we use to describe it or the ways in which we understand it. Prayer is as old as the human family, stretching all the way back to the fall of Adam and Eve. Prior to disobeying God, our first parents lived in friendship with him. The intimacy they shared precluded the need for prayer. Their sin, however, produced a chasm between themselves and God. Because God created them to share his life, the desire for him not only remained, it also intensified. St. Augustine describes this as a restlessness within the human heart that can only be satisfied by resting in God. We can say, therefore, with a fair degree of certainty that prayer is the action that enables communication between that which is human and that which is divine.
—from Prayer Everywhere: The Spiritual Life Made Simple
Cast yourself into the arms of God and be very sure that if He wants anything of you, He will fit you for the work and give you strength."
— St. Philip Neri
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"Do not be scared of the word authority. Believing things on authority only means believing them because you have been told them by someone you think trustworthy. Ninety-nine per cent of the things you believe are believed on authority. ... We believe them simply because people who did see them have left writings that tell us about them: in fact, on authority. A man who jibbed at authority in other things as some people do in religion would have to be content to know nothing all his life."
— C.S. Lewis, p. 62
AN EXCERPT FROM
✞VERSE OF THE DAY
"After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, 'Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!'"
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Saint Albert Chmielowski
(August 20, 1845 – December 25, 1916)
Born in Igolomia near Kraków as the eldest of four children in a wealthy family, he was christened Adam. During the 1864 revolt against Czar Alexander III, Adam's wounds forced the amputation of his left leg.
His great talent for painting led to studies in Warsaw, Munich, and Paris. Adam returned to Kraków and became a Secular Franciscan. In 1888, when he founded the Brothers of the Third Order of Saint Francis, Servants to the Poor, he took the name Albert. They worked primarily with the homeless, depending completely on alms while serving the needy regardless of age, religion, or politics. A community of Albertine sisters was established later.
Pope John Paul II beatified Albert in 1983, and canonized him six years later. His Liturgical Feast
Day is June 17.
Reflecting on his own priestly vocation, Pope John Paul II wrote in 1996 that Brother Albert had played a role in its formation "because I found in him a real spiritual support and example in leaving behind the world of art, literature, and the theater, and in making the radical choice of a vocation to the priesthood" (Gift and Mystery: On the Fiftieth Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination). As a young priest, Karol Wojtyla repaid his debt of gratitude by writing The Brother of Our God, a play about Brother Albert's life.
Thursday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 1 Kgs 18:41-46
Elijah said to Ahab, "Go up, eat and drink,
for there is the sound of a heavy rain."
So Ahab went up to eat and drink,
while Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel,
crouched down to the earth,
and put his head between his knees.
"Climb up and look out to sea," he directed his servant,
who went up and looked, but reported, "There is nothing."
Seven times he said, "Go, look again!"
And the seventh time the youth reported,
"There is a cloud as small as a man's hand rising from the sea."
Elijah said, "Go and say to Ahab,
'Harness up and leave the mountain before the rain stops you.'"
In a trice the sky grew dark with clouds and wind,
and a heavy rain fell.
Ahab mounted his chariot and made for Jezreel.
But the hand of the LORD was on Elijah,
who girded up his clothing and ran before Ahab
as far as the approaches to Jezreel.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 65:10, 11, 12-13
R. (2a) It is right to praise you in Zion, O God.
You have visited the land and watered it;
greatly have you enriched it.
God's watercourses are filled;
you have prepared the grain.
R. It is right to praise you in Zion, O God.
Thus have you prepared the land:
drenching its furrows, breaking up its clods,
Softening it with showers,
blessing its yield.
R. It is right to praise you in Zion, O God.
You have crowned the year with your bounty,
and your paths overflow with a rich harvest;
The untilled meadows overflow with it,
and rejoicing clothes the hills.
R. It is right to praise you in Zion, O God.
Alleluia Jn 13:34
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 5:20-26
Jesus said to his disciples:
"I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.
"You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa,
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."
Meditation: Matthew 5:20-26
Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees . . . (Matthew 5:20)
Infomercials. Self-improvement websites. Pop psychology books and slogans. It seems that everywhere you turn, you are encouraged not to think too deeply about life and its challenges. Just find the quick answer, and you'll be happy.
But the quick-and-easy approach to life doesn't work when it comes to living out our call to discipleship, does it? Try though we might, we just can't reduce God's eternal plan of salvation to three easy steps. If it were that simple, then the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees would be more than enough. They were quite rigorous, after all.
So on the one hand, we have the call to a challenging life. But on the other hand, we need to be careful not to think about it in terms of the amount of things we do, as in taking five steps instead of three. It's better to think of it in terms of the kind of things we do. For example, right after telling us to surpass the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus tells us not to be angry with each other. He tells us to be quick to forgive and gentle with our words. So it seems that the righteousness Jesus is talking about isn't a matter of doing more; it's a matter of loving more. It's a matter of giving generously, forgiving readily, and speaking compassionately.
So yet, this is a challenging message. Jesus is asking us to do nothing less than to rise above our human flaws and weaknesses and love other people with the same love that he has for us. Of course, he offers us his grace, but it is still up to us to choose this path of righteousness.
Is there someone you have tried to forgive but have been unable to? Or are you harboring anger or resentment against someone? Ask Jesus to help you take one step closer to his level of holiness. Ask him to show you his love so that you can love your brothers and sisters in Christ—and even your enemies—a little better today. It won't happen overnight, but it will happen if you keep on asking. Jesus will see to it.
"Jesus, teach me how to be merciful, just as you are merciful."
1 Kings 18:41-46
Elijah said "Go up, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain."
And we pray today: "It is right to praise you in Zion, O God. You have visited the land and watered it; greatly have you enriched it. God's watercourses are filled; you have prepared the grain." It is wrong to think we have done something, as if to have willed something into existence without the consent of our Lord. It is our Lord that provides everything, the air, the water, the land, the fruit. And He wills now, the fruit to come from within.
And so our Lord speaks: ""I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.".
Let's read it back to front:
"You will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven"
"unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees"
Scribes were followers, as were Pharisees. Scribes were into the laws, Pharisees were more faithful. But God wants us to be what I would claim to be Essenes, those who are true, those who love one another sincerely. It was to such a degree, that they were set apart. I can only compare it to an Amish community, or a religious place, as a monastery or convent. There, they provide for themselves and take care of each other. It is in a way, a very small glimpse of a Heavenly realm. There, you heavily depend on one another, and revolve around God. The Son. The same must be said of your community, where you live. You must be that center for God. You must be a part of that community, and be loving, and caring. 7 times Elijah sent the servant, and 7 times he had to have wondered why, like Naaman who had to bathe 7 times in the Jordan river. You have to do this 7 thing. Someone said that 7 means: "Seven is the symbolic number of charity, grace, and the Holy Spirit. It is the term that stands for perfection. There are seven sacraments, seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, seven deadly sins, seven joys, and seven sorrows of Our Lady." 10 means fullness. What is all of this? You must do your part in charity. In a Sacrament, two are involved, you and God. Charity must take place, grace. The Holy Spirit enacts. The Holy Spirit comes over the Eucharist. The Holy Spirit comes in Confession. The Holy Spirit comes into the Marriage. The Holy Spirit comes into ordination. The Holy Spirit comes into Baptism. The Holy Spirit comes into anointing of the sick. The Holy Spirit comes, and does His part, always. And you? You must be more holy than many theologians, and normal Christians. You must! For the simple fact that you have read this, it is a special call, for special ops, special operations, a special force to be reckoned with. But this force works with love, charity, grace, and humility. That is why it is tough, like Navy Seals. You must go through continuous and rigorous training. Many pains, yes. Many heartaches, yes. Many trials, yes, of course. Why? Because, this special strength is extremely special to God. Protestants, bless their souls, have oversimplified faith, they say "all you need to do is....". And that's it. Just accept the Lord as your savior. Be baptized. Whatever. No. And although, there actually are saintly protestants, many live contrary to God's will. Just like Catholics. Where are the Essenes? The righteous?
One favorite line of non-church goers is to say "oh I don't need church, I'm good, I don't kill anybody, and I'm not like those hypocrites that go to church". Eeek! Our Lord said "But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment....whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna." Fiery hell awaits for those calling others names. Boy, we got to watch our mouths. You can blurt out curses on others, or blessings. They said that a singer, Buddy Holly got on a plane after flipping a coin for it, the guy that lost the coin toss said "I hope you crash and die". And they did crash and die in a cold storm. They say the guy that said that could never forgive himself for saying those words, for he believed he had actually cursed them. he lived a life of inner turmoil, like hell. What is expected of us that blurt nonsense day in and day out? Surely, you will not prance right into Heaven, not if your righteousness does not line up to God's will.
Train to pray.
Pray to train.
Be Holy as our Father is Holy.
Be a blessing! Always bless!
Paying the last penny means something. You can pay now though. Pay with offerings of great love and reparation. Pay with prayer. Pay with giving. Pay with giving your life already and right now to God. Accept your Lord and Savior by being Holy and righteous, everything He wants and desires for us to be....fully HIS!