Thursday, July 19, 2018

I Will Give You...

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Cultivate Wonder in Being Ordinary

Many of us grow up with the message that to be ordinary lacks value. The opposite is true in our spiritual journey. To be content with the ordinary is to be fully in tune with oneself. Holiness flows from the roots of the ordinary and humble. Nature reveals the complexity of this understanding to us. Jesus taught us to encounter riches in the ordinary events of the everyday: in a mustard seed, grain of wheat, pearl, lily of the field, while filling a water bucket, preparing a meal, washing feet. Jesus demonstrates how to cultivate a heart of wonder in our everyday, teaching us to see with new eyes.

—from Your Spiritual Garden: Tending to the Presence of God


"The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God."
— St. Irenaeus

"I will first, dearest daughter, speak to thee of the dignity of priests, having placed them where they are through My goodness, over and above the general love which I have had to My creatures, creating you in My image and likeness and re-creating you all to the life of grace in the Blood of My Only-begotten Son, whence you have arrived at such excellence, through the union which I made of My Deity with human nature; so that in this you have greater dignity and excellence than the angels, for I took your human nature and not that of the angels. Wherefore, as I have said to you, I, God, have become man, and man has become God by the union of My Divine Nature with your human nature. This greatness is given in general to all rational creatures, but, among these I have especially chosen My ministers for the sake of your salvation, so that, through them, the Blood of the humble and immaculate Lamb, My Only-begotten Son, may be administered to you."
— St. Catherine Of Siena, p. 137-8
Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena

"I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
John 13:34-35


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St. Macrina the Younger (d. 380 A.D.) was born in Cappadocia to a family of saints. Her mother was St. Emelia, and her father was St. Basil the Elder. Her grandmother was St. Macrina the Elder, after whom she was named. Her holy parents had ten children. Macrina was one of the oldest, and received an excellent religious education from her holy mother. Her parents betrothed her to a pious youth, but he died before the marriage took place. Macrina then consecrated her virginity to God and lived a life of great asceticism. She remained living with her parents, helping to raise her younger siblings, directing the household servants, and supporting the family with her domestic skills. Among her siblings were St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory of Nyssa (who both became Cappadocian Fathers and Doctors of the Church) and St. Peter of Sebaste. When their father died, Macrina became the main support for the family. It was Macrina who profoundly influenced the spiritual discipline of her younger brothers. When all her siblings were grown, Macrina convinced her mother to give up their family belongings, set their servants free, and convert their home into a monastery. Many of their servants joined them in this spiritual pursuit; they all lived together as a family, sharing all things in common. When her mother died, Macrina led the religious community. The biography of St. Macrina's life was written by her brother, St. Gregory. Her feast day is July 19th.


Thursday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Is 26:7-9, 12, 16-19

The way of the just is smooth;
the path of the just you make level.
Yes, for your way and your judgments, O LORD,
we look to you;
Your name and your title
are the desire of our souls.
My soul yearns for you in the night,
yes, my spirit within me keeps vigil for you;
When your judgment dawns upon the earth,
the world's inhabitants learn justice.
O LORD, you mete out peace to us,
for it is you who have accomplished all we have done.

O LORD, oppressed by your punishment,
we cried out in anguish under your chastising.
As a woman about to give birth
writhes and cries out in her pains,
so were we in your presence, O LORD.
We conceived and writhed in pain,
giving birth to wind;
Salvation we have not achieved for the earth,
the inhabitants of the world cannot bring it forth.
But your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise;
awake and sing, you who lie in the dust.
For your dew is a dew of light,
and the land of shades gives birth.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 102:13-14ab and 15, 16-18, 19-21
R. (20b) From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
You, O LORD, abide forever,
and your name through all generations.
You will arise and have mercy on Zion,
for it is time to pity her.
For her stones are dear to your servants,
and her dust moves them to pity.
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
"The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die."
R. From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

Alleluia Mt 11:28
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 11:28-30

Jesus said:
"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."


Meditation: Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

Think about all the times we hear commands in radio and TV ads. "Start using your checkout account today!" "Don't lose your reward!" "Buy now and save!" Such commands, clearly, are designed to stir us to action.

Jesus sometimes speaks this way to us, too. In today's Gospel reading, for instance, he issues a compelling command, one with promises attached that far outstrip any promise made by any advertiser. Come to me! he commands, and I will give you rest, he promises (Matthew 11:28).

And yet Jesus knows how easy it is for us to set aside his command to come to him and so miss out on his promise of rest. We have all kinds of reasons why we don't come to him. Guilt or shame can keep us away because we feel unworthy to be in Jesus' presence. Or maybe we are feeling overwhelmed, so busy trying to get things done that we just don't feel we can make the time for God. Distractions, especially the "noise" we face every day from the myriad forms of media and entertainment, can make it difficult to quiet our minds and settle into Jesus' presence. Or we might be tempted to think, "I'm okay. I don't need to rest with Jesus right now. I can do this if I just work harder."

Whatever the reason, Jesus still says, Come! Come to me when you're feeling bad about yourself. Come to me even when you think you're too busy. Come especially when you're distracted. Come when you are depressed or anxious or lonely. Come, even if you think you can do something without me.

So what are you waiting for? Using your faith and your imagination, place yourself in Jesus' presence right now. Tell him what's on your mind—your burdens, your victories, your worries, your workload. Even tell him about your sins. He won't judge you; he'll forgive you! Then close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. You may not feel anything right away, but you can still trust that he is pouring his blessings on you—precisely because you came to him.

"Jesus, I need your rest, so I come to you to take on your yoke and learn from you."

Isaiah 26:7-9, 12, 16-19
Psalm 102:13-21



The Word opens up today: "The way of the just is smooth;
the path of the just you make level." Our Lord says to take His yoke for it is easy. Centuries earlier, Isaiah had said the way is smooth for the just. So is it just smooth? He says the path of the just is level. Constant. Constantly in Him. Constancy makes a difference. Patience shows the way, and the way to endure is patience, for the very root word of patience "pator" means to suffer. So this is the smooth way? For sure, it soothes many rough edges. Patience is needed in an impatient world. Humility is needed in this proud world. Jesus is asking for so much, yet through so little.

We pray: 'Let this be written for the generation to come, and let his future creatures praise the LORD: "The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth, To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die." From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

And from Heaven God's word comes to us on earth: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest." If you would only let go of sin, you would fly to Heaven. If you would only turn from darkness, you would see the light. This guy said he died. He felt God's embrace (an immense love like never before) from behind him. He said that God told him, if he turned around, he could not come back to earth. What's more, its as if he did not let him turn around. The man said he returned to this earth, back to "life". This man did not believe, was not a believer, but is now a believer. Someone asked him "why are you getting baptized now?" He said "because I want to do what He says, I want to do what He did". Amazing words, right? Humble words. Obedience words, but out of sheer love. God's love is trans-formative that way. And so, our Lord says something incomprehensible "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me" humility right? He goes on: "for I am meek and humble of heart;". yes, He asks for the impossible, for that which we do not want to do. Meekness, stop your yelling. Stop your fighting it. Stop being mad, even with Him! And He goes on "and you will find rest for yourselves." He offers peace, like the world does not offer peace. The world offers compromise. In spanish the word compromiso means commitment. The world offers then a binding. It binds you to get peace. In socialist governments, they require your freedom to give you peace. You must be their slave. You must give up rights to have their rights. That is how evil works, with permissions. And one weak permission leads to more, and multiplies exponentially if allowed to run rampant. And so God offers a solution...a cross. And He goes on "For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." Simon of Cyrene was forced to help Jesus carry the cross to the crucifixion. Simon was hesitant, reluctant and filed a disclaimer saying he had no ties with this man Jesus. And He picked up the cross, locked eyes with Jesus and locked hearts embrace. Who carried the cross now? Simon all the way, Jesus could no longer carry it but through Simon. Simon gave his life to Jesus and Simon's wife and kids did too. He who negated the stranger now loved and died for the stranger. Such power of love. Such binding force this yoke.

It is incomprehensible really. A suffering love. To encounter Him suffering. Someone told me this suffering man had asked for me two days ago. He suffered a crippling deal in his head many years ago. His wife divorced him afterwards. He lives alone in a care facility, years of dialysis. He can't walk, he has to lay mostly. What does this say? Jesus is calling. "I'm suffering here. someone is calling you because I am calling you." You see, He uses others to call you. For what? To take the yoke with Him. How does this make my life smoother? It's actually super hard to see Him! But if you make the effort, to be with Him, smoothness comes. We lock eyes. He says thank you. And the one who needed to yoke and bind was me.

Jesus says "come see Me"
Come be with Me.
Let's live life together



This is how a spanish reflection ended today: (scroll past for english):
. . . .
Mientras leo de nuevo el texto, dejo que crezca en mí el amor por Jesús. Mis ganas de aprender de él, de estar con él, de ser humilde como él. Le pido al Señor que su amor me transforme, que me haga más tolerante, más sencillo, más limpio de corazón. Que me haga más de él.

Adora y confía
"No te inquietes por las dificultades de la vida,
por sus altibajos,
por sus decepciones,
por su futuro más o menos sombrío.
Desea aquello que Dios desea.
Ofrécele en medio de inquietudes y dificultades
el sacrificio de tu alma sencilla que,
pese a todo, acepta los designios
de su providencia.
Poco importa que te consideres un frustrado,
si Dios te considera plenamente realizado;
a su gusto.
Entrégate con confianza ciega en este Dios
que te quiere para Él.
Y que llegará hasta ti,
aunque no le veas nunca.
Piensa que te encuentras en sus manos,
más fuertemente sostenido,
cuando más decaído y triste te encuentres.
Vive feliz. Te lo suplico.
Vive en paz.
Que nada te turbe.
Que nada sea capaz de quitarte tu paz.
Ni el cansancio psíquico.
Ni tus fallos morales.
Haz que surja,
y conserva siempre sobre tu rostro,
una dulce sonrisa, reflejo de aquello
que el Señor continuamente te dirige.
Y en el fondo de tu alma coloca,
antes que nada,
como fuente de energía y criterio de verdad,
todo aquello que te llene de la paz de Dios.
Todo aquello que te reprima e inquiete es falso.
Te lo aseguro
en nombre de las leyes de la vida
y de las promesas de Dios.
Por eso, cuando te sientas afligido, triste,
adora y confía.
Para terminar, agradezco al Señor que siga siendo el consuelo de mi vida, que dé sentido a mis cargas y me ayude a ser su testigo allí donde pueda aligerar situaciones de sufrimiento y cansancio. Comparto con él lo que he sentido en este rato de oración, sintiendo que hoy y siempre me dice: ven a mí.
Gloria al Padre,
y al Hijo,
y al Espíritu Santo.
Como era en el principio,
ahora y siempre,
por los siglos de los siglos. Amén.
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .... .....
As I read the text again, I let love grow for me in Jesus. My desire to learn from him, to be with him, to be humble like him. I ask the Lord to help me transform myself, make me more tolerant, simpler, and cleaner in heart. That makes me more of him.

Love and trust

"Do not worry about the difficulties of life,
for its ups and downs,
for your disappointments,
for its more or less somber future.
Desire that what God wants.
Offer him amidst uneasiness and difficult
the sacrifice of your simple soul that,
despite everything, accept the designs
of his providence.
It does not matter that you consider yourself frustrated,
if God considered you fully realized;
as He wishes
Surrender with blind trust in this God
who ants you for Him
And that He will come to you,
Even if you never see him.
Think that you are in His hands,
more strongly sustained,
the more decadent and sad He finds you.
Live happy. I beg.
Live in peace.
Let nothing disturb you
That nothing could take away your peace.
Not the mental fatigue.
Not your moral failures.
Make it surge,
and always keep on your face,
a sweet smile, a reflection of that
which the Lord continually directs you
And in the depths of your soul place,
above all,
as a source of energy and a criterion of truth,
everything that fills you with the peace of God.
Everything that represses and disturbs you is false.
I assure you,
in the name of the lives of life
and of the promises of God.
Therefore, when you feel distressed, sad,
love and trust.
To finish, I thank the Lord who continues to be the consolation of my life, who gives me meaning to my burdens and helped me to be a witness of a collar that can suffer situations of suffering and fatigue. I share with him that he has sense in this time of prayer, feeling that today and always he says to me: come to me.
Glory to the Father,
and the Son,
and the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
now and always,
forever and ever. Amen.
... ... ...... . ...... ....... ..... . .. .. ....

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