Monday, July 9, 2018

And the little girl...

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Are We Opening Our Hearts to Jesus?

If any of the things that make up my spiritual practices are done out of a hope for gaining something, then I should immediately stop doing them! Our Lady does not care how many rosaries one says or even if one says it at all. However, she does care about the extent to which we are evermore opening our hearts to her Son. Jesus remains the focus and foundation of her eternal life; thus, she continues to serve him by encouraging us to do the same.

—from Prayer Everywhere: The Spiritual Life Made Simple



"Young people need the light of watchful guides to lead them on the path of salvation."
— St. John Baptist de la Salle

"Heaven is the birth-place and home of love. Its blessed inhabitants love much, love forever, and love only what is worthy of love. Joseph, however, was blessed by anticipation, for he passed all his days in the exercise of divine love, and lived a life of love upon earth. The Evangelists do not record a single word of this great saint; he observed, indeed, a marvelous silence. Not, however, an ungracious silence. The silence of ordinary men, as well as their irrepressible flow of words, is often merely selfish. But Joseph's silence and his speech were alike prompted and regulated by the law of charity ... His words, indeed, were never superfluous, for they had their source in love, but they were also ruled by his will, not forced from him as the expression of his feelings."
— Edward Healy Thompson, p. 362
The Life and Glories of St. Joseph

"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."
2 Timothy 2:7-8


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Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

(d. 1648 – 1930)

Christianity arrived in China by way of Syria in the 600s. Depending on China's relations with the outside world, Christianity over the centuries was free to grow or was forced to operate secretly.

The 120 martyrs in this group died between 1648 and 1930. Eighty-seven of them were born in China, and were children, parents, catechists, or laborers, ranging in age from nine years to 72. This group includes four Chinese diocesan priests. The 33 foreign-born martyrs were mostly priests or women religious, especially from the Order of Preachers, the Paris Foreign Mission Society, the Friars Minor, Society of Jesus, Society of St. Francis de Sales (Salesians), and Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.

Augustine Zhao Rong was a Chinese soldier who accompanied Bishop John Gabriel Taurin Dufresse of the Paris Foreign Mission Society to his martyrdom in Beijing. Not long after his baptism, Augustine was ordained as a diocesan priest. He was martyred in 1815.

Beatified in groups at various times, these 120 martyrs were canonized together in Rome on October 1, 2000.

The People's Republic of China and the Roman Catholic Church each have well over a billion members, but there are only about 12 million Catholics in China. The reasons for that are better explained by historical conflicts than by a wholesale rejection of the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Chinese-born martyrs honored by today's feast were regarded by their persecutors as dangerous because they were considered allies of enemy, Catholic countries. The martyrs born outside China often tried to distance themselves from European political struggles relating to China, but their persecutors saw them as Westerners and therefore, by definition, anti-Chinese.

The Good News of Jesus Christ is intended to benefit all peoples; today's martyrs knew that. May 21st-century Christians live in such a way that Chinese women and men will be attracted to hear that Good News and embrace it.


Reading 1HOS 2:16, 17C-18, 21-22

Thus says the LORD:
I will allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak to her heart.
She shall respond there as in the days of her youth,
when she came up from the land of Egypt.

On that day, says the LORD,
She shall call me "My husband,"
and never again "My baal."

I will espouse you to me forever:
I will espouse you in right and in justice,
in love and in mercy;
I will espouse you in fidelity,
and you shall know the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm PS 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R. (8a) The Lord is gracious and merciful.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
They discourse of the power of your terrible deeds
and declare your greatness.
They publish the fame of your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your justice.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.

Alleluia SEE 2 TM 1:10
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 9:18-26

While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward,
knelt down before him, and said,
"My daughter has just died.
But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live."
Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.
A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him
and touched the tassel on his cloak.
She said to herself, "If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured."
Jesus turned around and saw her, and said,
"Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you."
And from that hour the woman was cured.

When Jesus arrived at the official's house
and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion,
he said, "Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping."
And they ridiculed him.
When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand,
and the little girl arose.
And news of this spread throughout all that land.


Meditation: Hosea 2:16-18, 21-22

Saint Augustine Zhao Rong, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs (Optional Memorial)

I will allure her . . . and speak to her heart. (Hosea 2:16)

The prophet Hosea lived in the eighth century BC. It was a time of prosperity for the northern kingdom of Israel, but it was also a time when the people were turning from their covenant relationship with God and embracing pagan religions and rituals instead. So why would he talk in today's first reading about God alluring the people and speaking to their hearts? The imagery sounds almost romantic, as if God were wooing his people rather than upbraiding them for their infidelity.

And so it should! Earlier in Hosea, we read about the prophet's unfaithful wife and God's command for Hosea to reach out to her over and over in order to bring her back. Hosea's persistent love for his wife is meant to reflect the love that God has for his people—and for us as well.

That's why God promised to lure his wayward people into the desert: not to castigate them for their sins, but to win over their hearts again. He wanted to take them away from distractions so that they could again hear him speak about his commitment to them, his faithful love, and his willingness to forgive every sin.

This is one of Hosea's most important messages: God, our divine spouse, is always taking the initiative. He is always taking a step toward us even when we are unfaithful to him. He doesn't want to see us turn away from him, but if we do, he will try to win back our affections so that we can be faithful again.

God wants to coax you today. He wants you to come away with him to a place free of distractions. Let him speak to your heart. Let him convince you of his faithfulness and his love. If you feel that your failures are too great, don't let that stop you from joining him.

Jesus promised, "When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself" (John 12:32). Jesus has been lifted up. He was lifted up at his ascension, and he is lifted up every day at Mass. As the "lifted up" Lord, he is focused on just one thing: drawing you, and everyone else, to his side. So turn your heart to him, and let him woo you.

"Lord, help me to quiet my heart. I trust that your love is leading me."

Psalm 145:2-9
Matthew 9:18-26


"I will allure her" God speaks about us...the Holy Church, the "chosen".
"I will lead her into the desert", Jesus goes into the Desert as Moses goes into the desert.
"and speak to her heart." and to this day, His soft voice speaks to His wife's heart...our hearts. What is it about us that He loves? God, perhaps Adam, creates something from Him, His side, us, the Church, and He loves us so much, so He wouldn't be alone. When you go to Church, what's the beauty? The people. It's the people. It's not the building. We are the Church. People are His beauty, He loves and woos every single one inside...

Let us pray: "The Lord is gracious and merciful." says us the spouse the Church.
"Every day will I bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever." says our lips, if only we had an eternity to bless God and tell Him how much we love Him...right? And yet He offers that!! WOW!
"Great is the LORD and highly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable." says the lips of a true lover of our Heavenly Spouse!

In comes our Lord ""Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you." He saves the faithful. Those full of faith! He raises up a dead daughter, just be the please of the earthly father. Prayer reaches Jesus and Jesus wakes the dead. He takes the daughter, His beloved and and takes her by the hand. He sends away the nay sayers, the commotion makers, sends them off "Go away". And enters the room and walks out with His beloved. Will he not do the same to anyone else that is approached by Him? Intercede for the dead. We pray for the dead. Don't we? Catholics do. And this is why. So they will rise with Jesus. So we can love one another ...... forever.


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