Monday, July 16, 2018

Cup of Cold Water

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You Are the Gift God Wants

What is God showing you that you are to do with your life? However small or great that is, it must be yours and not someone else's. What a stripping, for example, is sickness or aging, or the loss of loved ones, or ultimately the stripping that is the embrace of Sister Death. The important thing is to give humbly and honestly of what God asks you to give. In the end you are the gift God wants; in the meantime each person struggles to know what God wants and whether or not one is really giving the gift of one's self to God.

—from Enter Assisi: An Invitation to Franciscan Spirituality


"Be gentle to all, and stern with yourself."
— St. Teresa of Avila

"The works of man, whether they are good or bad, are not always isolated, transitory acts; more often, especially in the case of the leaders of nations and those who are invested with public authority, they continue to subsist after they are concluded, either in the memory of other men or in public acclaim, as a result of the consequences they have had and the scandal they have caused. Thus, at first sight, a particular, secret crime seems to be only a private, personal deed; but it becomes social on account of its effects. Certainly it is of faith that there is a particular judgment, and that every man, at the instant of his soul's departure from the body, appears before the tribunal of God to hear his eternal sentence pronounced. Yet this judgment cannot suffice, and it is essential that it should be followed by another public judgment, in which God will not examine the actions in isolation and taken in themselves, but will examine them in their effects upon other men, in the good or evil deriving from them for families and peoples—in a word, in the consequences they produced and which those who perpetrated them ought to have foreseen."
— Fr. Charles Arminjon, p. 94
The End of the Present World



Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (1251 A.D.) is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites lived as hermits on Mt. Carmel in the Holy Land beginning in the 12th century. In the middle of their hermitages they built a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who became the protectress of the Carmelites under the title of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a Carmelite hermit, St. Simon Stock, under this title and gave him a piece of cloth—the brown scapular—as a sacramental to be worn by the faithful to whom she promised her special protection. At the apparitions in Fatima, in addition to appearing as Our Lady of the Rosary, the Virgin Mary appeared as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Her feast day is July 16th.
See More About Today's Feast >

"But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life."
Jude 1:17-21


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Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Saint of the Day for July 16

Hermits lived on Mount Carmel near the Fountain of Elijah in northern Israel in the 12th century. They had a chapel dedicated to Our Lady. By the 13th century they became known as "Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel." They soon celebrated a special Mass and Office in honor of Mary. In 1726, it became a celebration of the universal Church under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. For centuries the Carmelites have seen themselves as specially related to Mary. Their great saints and theologians have promoted devotion to her and often championed the mystery of her Immaculate Conception.

Saint Teresa of Avila called Carmel "the Order of the Virgin." Saint John of the Cross credited Mary with saving him from drowning as a child, leading him to Carmel, and helping him escape from prison. Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus believed that Mary cured her from illness. On her First Communion day, Thérèse dedicated her life to Mary. During the last days of her life she frequently spoke of Mary.

There is a tradition—which may not be historical—that Mary appeared to Saint Simon Stock, a leader of the Carmelites, and gave him a scapular, telling him to promote devotion to it. The scapular is a modified version of Mary's own garment. It symbolizes her special protection and calls the wearers to consecrate themselves to her in a special way. The scapular reminds us of the gospel call to prayer and penance—a call that Mary models in a splendid way.

The Carmelites were known from early on as "Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel." The title suggests that they saw Mary not only as "mother," but also as "sister." The word sister is a reminder that Mary is very close to us. She is the daughter of God and therefore can help us be authentic daughters and sons of God. She also can help us grow in appreciation of being sisters and brothers to one another. She leads us to a new realization that all human beings belong to the family of God. When such a conviction grows, there is hope that the human race can find its way to peace.

Mary, under the Title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, is the Patron Saint of:


Monday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Is 1:10-17

Hear the word of the LORD,
princes of Sodom!
Listen to the instruction of our God,
people of Gomorrah!
What care I for the number of your sacrifices?
says the LORD.
I have had enough of whole-burnt rams
and fat of fatlings;
In the blood of calves, lambs and goats
I find no pleasure.

When you come in to visit me,
who asks these things of you?
Trample my courts no more!
Bring no more worthless offerings;
your incense is loathsome to me.
New moon and sabbath, calling of assemblies,
octaves with wickedness: these I cannot bear.
Your new moons and festivals I detest;
they weigh me down, I tire of the load.
When you spread out your hands,
I close my eyes to you;
Though you pray the more,
I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood!
Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow.

Responsorial Psalm pS 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23
R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?"
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think you that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Alleluia Mt 5:10
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 10:34-11:1

Jesus said to his Apostles:
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one's enemies will be those of his household.

"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

"Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet's reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is righteous
will receive a righteous man's reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because he is a disciple–
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward."

When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples,
he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.


Meditation: Psalm 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23

Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Optional Memorial)

To him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God. (Psalm 50:23)

If you went to a doctor and discovered that you had a dangerous but curable illness, would you ignore your diagnosis and presume that you are fine? It's hard to imagine yourself just shrugging your shoulders and walking out the door. Most of us would gladly take our medicine or undergo whatever surgery was necessary so that we could live a long and healthy life. It would be foolish not to!

As illogical as this sounds, this is the approach we often take in our spiritual lives. Our spiritual sickness is sin, Jesus is our doctor, and faith and repentance are our remedy. Through his psalmist, God promises that he will not only forgive us, but he will also show us salvation. Yet we shy away from it. Why?

Sometimes it may feel as if God is nagging us to change or give up a bad habit. When we feel him putting his finger on an area of sin, we might think, "It's not that big a deal; don't overblow it, Lord." But God isn't trying to pound us. Quite the opposite! He is pleading with us to remove the sin that blocks us from receiving his love.

Sometimes we avoid repentance because we don't want to admit that we have sinned. We might feel ashamed or afraid that God won't love us if we admit our true state. But God is never surprised by our sin—he sees it far more clearly than we do. Still, he loves us too much to allow us to stay in that place of brokenness.

Sometimes we've ignored the Spirit's nudges for so long that we don't even notice them anymore. We are not even aware of our sins. That's why the Spirit sometimes mercifully makes us aware of our sins by "drawing them up" right before our eyes (Psalm 50:21).

Your divine Doctor is reaching out to you all the time. He is constantly pointing you toward salvation. So welcome those moments when the you feel a sense of godly guilt or conviction of sin. Behind every call to repentance lies God's tender love. Those moments are special times of grace as we allow Jesus to heal us and set us free.

"Holy Spirit, thank you for the gift of repentance!"

Isaiah 1:10-17
Matthew 10:34–11:1



Our Lord said "Though you pray the more, I will not listen." If a parent has a child that will not listen, will not the parent say "I will not listen to your wants either"? You may cry and scream, kick, and yell, and say you hate it, or Him, and it happens so often, but that doesn't phase Him. So many turn their backs on Him because they don't get things their way. All the bad things they blame on God and all the good things they take credit for themselves. It is a spoiled society. One where reprimand is needed then. Right? Our Lord said "Your hands are full of blood!" Innocent blood, because we are silent, neutral.
"Wash yourselves clean!" I seen hundreds in line to communion, and a handful at confessions.
"Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good." How do we learn to do good? Immerse yourself in Him, wash yourself with Him and in Him. Because the good of the world is not the good that is out of this world. The world teaches that wrong is good. Therefore, cling to what is truly Good...God.
"Make justice your aim: redress the wronged". If I love someone, I will redress them, and help them. How do you bring back a wayward soul? It is going to take much more than we care to give! No snapping of a finger here, no overnight successes here, it is going to take much more than we are comfortable with...holiness, and study, and action.

Let's pray: "To the upright I will show the saving power of God. "Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, Though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?" What is this discipline that we hate? We all know the popular verses in the bible. But the unpopular ones, you hardly hear. The kind of verses that speak about having to suffer. The kind of verses that speak of sacrifice. The kind of verses that speak about dying unto self. The kind of verses about purity.

No, rather, we hear of the soft verses, and so overall, discipline is hated. Hated? Because if there is no love, then there is no hate. There is no in between, love and hate. You either love or hate.

In comes our Lord to teach us discipline: ""Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword." Yikes! We don't see this sticker verse on the back of people's vehicles do we? It is unsettling. It is uncomfortable. We like to live comfortable faiths. The kind where nothing goes wrong. The kind where the war stories are of centuries ago, nothing within your own life. And I'm speaking about spiritual warfare. The kind where you must hit your knees and pray. The kind where the war room is the busiest room in the house, the prayer room. The kind where you actually fast. The kind where you actually sacrifice. On my desk there is a letter opener that is a sword with the inscription "For the Word of God is Living and Active sharper than any double edged sword." Hebrews 4:12. It is two things, living and active. It is nonstop. God's word is unending. It will go on past the existence of time. He has come to unite to Himself and the darkness can not stick to the light. Wash clean. Love discipline. The root word of discipline is disciple. Disciples gave their lives for the Word of God. How? They immersed themselves in Him, the Word from Heaven. The Word that became flesh. If there is division about God in your family, that's what God said it would be like. And it hurts. That's really the largest of my preoccupations, the family and friends that choose not to follow the discipline. How to make for their return? In my last confession 2 weeks ago, I was given the penance "ask the Lord to teach you to reach out".

Our Lord said we can not love family more than Him, and "whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." You will not take your family with you when you die. They will say goodbye at the tomb. And then you are off on your own. Then what? Who do you have to love now? The love of your life awaits...our Father who is in Heaven.

How will we find Him in the next life? Surely, it is based on how you have found Him now.

Where did you leave Him? Have you lost Him? When you find God, your eyes will water, your heart will swell, and you will apologize profusely, "I'm so sorry, how could I have ever forgotten you?". Because He is so gentle, so inspiring. So little, like a flower that struggled to grow and you trampled it. God is not just in flowers, or your children, or your parents, or spouse, He is in everything. How is it that He notices every sparrow in the sky? We can't hardly keep up with what we got, a handful of things, but God has the entirety of the living. God is active. Actively seeking souls and loving souls. It is by far His greatest of creations, the image and likeness of Himself.

Therefore, Love God with all your heart, mind, strength, and soul. More than anything. If you truly love Him, then you will truly love those around you.
And it is not hard to love. Hit your knees as a lover does when he pleas, "never leave!"

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