Our Inner Landscapes
There are outer landscapes in which we all move and breathe and experience our being and inner landscapes to nurture and visit too! We pray in the inner landscape of our soul, but the outer world can bring us to prayer with utter gratitude, sorrow and thanksgiving. At times the world around us seems to rush in, and we are moved to prayer as effortless as breath. We are in communion with our inner and outer worlds. Focus becomes clear and the nonessentials of daily life fade away. We are awake in the present moment, more alive, more present than ever before.
—from Your Spiritual Garden: Tending to the Presence of God
"The accidents of life separate us from our dearest friends, but let us not despair. God is like a looking glass in which souls see each other. The more we are united to Him by love, the nearer we are to those who belong to Him."
— St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"Yet such are the pity and compassion of this Lord of ours, so desirous is He that we should seek Him and enjoy His company, that in one way or another He never ceases calling us to Him . . . God here speaks to souls through words uttered by pious people, by sermons or good books, and in many other such ways. Sometimes He calls souls by means of sickness or troubles, or by some truth He teaches them during prayer, for tepid as they may be in seeking Him, yet God holds them very dear."
— St. Teresa of Avila, p.26
AN EXCERPT FROM
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY
Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
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Blessed Solanus Casey
(November 25, 1875 – July 31, 1957)
Barney Casey became one of Detroit's best-known priests even though he was not allowed to preach formally or to hear confessions!
Barney came from a large family in Oak Grove, Wisconsin. At the age of 21, and after he had worked as a logger, a hospital orderly, a streetcar operator, and a prison guard, he entered St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee—where he found the studies difficult. He left there, and in 1896, joined the Capuchins in Detroit, taking the name Solanus. His studies for the priesthood were again arduous.
On July 24, 1904, Solanus was ordained, but because his knowledge of theology was judged to be weak, he was not given permission to hear confessions or to preach. A Franciscan Capuchin who knew him well said this annoying restriction "brought forth in him a greatness and a holiness that might never have been realized in any other way."
During his 14 years as porter and sacristan in Yonkers, New York, the people there recognized Solanus as a fine speaker. James Derum, his biographer writes, "For, though he was forbidden to deliver doctrinal sermons, he could give inspirational talks, or feverinos, as the Capuchins termed them." His spiritual fire deeply impressed his listeners.
Father Solanus served at parishes in Manhattan and Harlem before returning to Detroit, where he was porter and sacristan for 20 years at St. Bonaventure Monastery. Every Wednesday afternoon he conducted well-attended services for the sick. A co-worker estimates that on the average day 150 to 200 people came to see Father Solanus in the front office. Most of them came to receive his blessing; 40 to 50 came for consultation. Many people considered him instrumental in cures and other blessings they received.
Father Solanus' sense of God's providence inspired many of his visitors. "Blessed be God in all his designs" was one of his favorite expressions.
The many friends of Father Solanus helped the Capuchins begin a soup kitchen during the Depression. Capuchins are still feeding the hungry there today.
In failing health, Solanus was transferred to the Capuchin novitiate in Huntington, Indiana, in 1946, where he lived for ten years until needing to be hospitalized in Detroit. Father Solanus died on July 31, 1957. An estimated 20,000 people passed by his coffin before his burial in St. Bonaventure Church in Detroit.
At the funeral Mass, the provincial Father Gerald said: "His was a life of service and love for people like me and you. When he was not himself sick, he nevertheless suffered with and for you that were sick. When he was not physically hungry, he hungered with people like you. He had a divine love for people. He loved people for what he could do for them—and for God, through them."
In 1960, a Father Solanus Guild was formed in Detroit to aid Capuchin seminarians. By 1967, the guild had 5,000 members—many of them grateful recipients of his practical advice and his comforting assurance that God would not abandon them in their trials. Solanus Casey was declared Venerable in 1995, and beatified on November 18, 2017.
His biographer James Patrick Derum writes that eventually Father Solanus was weary from bearing the burdens of the people who visited him. "Long since, he had come to know the Christ-taught truth that pure love of God and one's fellowmen as children of God are in the final event all that matter. Living this truth ardently and continuously had made him, spiritually, a free man—free from slavery to passions, from self-seeking, from self-indulgence, from self-pity—free to serve wholly both God and man" (The Porter of St. Bonaventure's, page 199).
Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Jer 13:1-11
The LORD said to me: Go buy yourself a linen loincloth;
wear it on your loins, but do not put it in water.
I bought the loincloth, as the LORD commanded, and put it on.
A second time the word of the LORD came to me thus:
Take the loincloth which you bought and are wearing,
and go now to the Parath;
there hide it in a cleft of the rock.
Obedient to the LORD's command, I went to the Parath
and buried the loincloth.
After a long interval, the LORD said to me:
Go now to the Parath and fetch the loincloth
which I told you to hide there.
Again I went to the Parath, sought out and took the loincloth
from the place where I had hid it.
But it was rotted, good for nothing!
Then the message came to me from the LORD:
Thus says the LORD:
So also I will allow the pride of Judah to rot,
the great pride of Jerusalem.
This wicked people who refuse to obey my words,
who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts,
and follow strange gods to serve and adore them,
shall be like this loincloth which is good for nothing.
For, as close as the loincloth clings to a man's loins,
so had I made the whole house of Israel
and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the LORD;
to be my people, my renown, my praise, my beauty.
But they did not listen.
Responsorial Psalm Deuteronomy 32:18-19, 20, 21
R. (see 18a) You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
You were unmindful of the Rock that begot you,
You forgot the God who gave you birth.
When the LORD saw this, he was filled with loathing
and anger toward his sons and daughters.
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
"I will hide my face from them," he said,
"and see what will then become of them.
What a fickle race they are,
sons with no loyalty in them!"
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
"Since they have provoked me with their 'no-god'
and angered me with their vain idols,
I will provoke them with a 'no-people';
with a foolish nation I will anger them."
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
Alleluia Jas 1:18
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 13:31-35
Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
"The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds,
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush,
and the 'birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.'"
He spoke to them another parable.
"The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch was leavened."
All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He spoke to them only in parables,
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:
I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation
of the world.
Meditation: Matthew 13:31-35
Saint Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)
The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. (Matthew 13:31)
The sesame seed on your bagel is about three times the size of a mustard seed. Yet from such a tiny seed springs a bush that can grow almost two stories high. The size of the seed doesn't determine its ultimate increase, and that is the point about the kingdom of God that Jesus wants us to understand today. It's God who makes his kingdom grow and increase. He is the One who causes it to spread and develop from his people's seeds of small acts of love and kindness. It's like the way Mother Teresa loved to talk about "doing small things with great love."
So where do we start? For most of us, those small seeds will be planted in our families first. Little acts of thoughtfulness, encouragement, and praise, sown and watered with kindness, can flourish in the soil of our closest relationships. Granted, it can be easy to focus on our family's faults or failures. It's much more challenging to see and highlight the positive. But ask any farmer, and he'll tell you that sowing good seeds can be hard work.
So dig in and do it! Praise your children, for even the smallest acts of obedience. Thank them even when they're just doing what you asked. Tell them the things God thinks about them: they are wonderful, creative, strong, talented, and lovable. Yield to your spouse's preference for something, even if it means eating tofu instead of T-bone steak. With heartfelt love, pick his socks or her towel up off the floor. Repent (quickly) for thoughtless words, and forgive even more quickly. These are all mustard seeds of the kingdom of God.
It's tempting to think we need to do grand and glorious things for the Lord. And maybe we will. But they probably will grow from the love and kindnesses, however small, you sow in your home. After all, words of praise and encouragement, thanks and kindness, are grand and glorious things in and of themselves!
So trust that God will give growth to all the mustard seeds you sow. Their fruit will become obvious in the ways your relationships open up and in the joy that begins to permeate the atmosphere of your home.
"Jesus, thank you for my family, where you've called me to sow seeds of the kingdom. Give me strength today to keep sowing."
(Psalm) Deuteronomy 32:18-21
"... be my people, my renown, my praise, my beauty. But they did not listen." Imagine, God made us the crowning gift of creation, enough to say we are His children. Who is His child? The baptized? Certainly. The un-batpized? They are the unborn. We are to cherish them spiritually. We are to help them be born. It is God's desire. To be incorporated to Him. To be In His flock. Why? For the good. For the good of the world. The good of your soul. You are God's crowning creation. You are to live in His loving eyes. He has eyes always on you...your guardian angel. If you look to Heaven, your angel looks to Heaven. If you steep into sin, your angel turns away. Our Lord sees everything. And calls us always to Himself.
Let us pray: " You have forgotten God who gave you birth. "I will hide my face from them," he said, "and see what will then become of them. What a fickle race they are, sons with no loyalty in them!" It must've occurred, that when our Lord Jesus came and inscribed the new law in our hearts, that He also implemented a loyalty. If you apply yourself, love the commandments, our Lord, then loyalty is implemented more so than ever before. But we are still like sheep. I was reading a book I highly advise, "Pslams Basics for Catholics" by John Begsman. He said domestic sheep have to be shepherded. It's in their genes it seems. Otherwise, they will get stuck in weeds/bushes/thickets, holes, or get stuck on a side of a mountain even. They are good at following the shepherd. Loyalty is implanted in them, and for those that don't follow well, a shepherd might break their leg and feed it until it realizes that the shepherd provides, and it depends on the shepherd for everything...to live.
In the Holy Gospel, our Lord speaks in parables "The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed...". Big things come in small packages, right? That's why the saints Teresas of our century have said to do little things with great love. You don't know how far a small act of love goes and grows. God reveals this parable only to the humble who will understand what this means. Only the person who can appreciate the value of the mustard seed will understand. And the value, only because our Lord cared enough to bring it up. And it has been brought up before your very eyes, perhaps for you to eat.
""The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast..." continues our Lord. What is yeast? A quick lookup brings the definition: a microscopic fungus consisting of single oval cells that reproduce by budding, and are capable of converting sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. It is used to make bread inflate. In the bread used to be converted into the Holy Eucharist, there is no yeast. No fungus. No Bacteria. We provide that part. They say the human body has all sorts of bacteria. It makes a percentage of the human body: "The human body contains trillions of microorganisms — outnumbering human cells by 10 to 1. Because of their small size, however, microorganisms make up only about 1 to 3 percent of the body's mass (in a 200-pound adult, that's 2 to 6 pounds of bacteria), but play a vital role in human health. So God needs us. Yes your crazy, and sometimes sinful self. Bring yourself onboard. You'd be amazed to see what He can do with you. Instead of doing your own thing, do His thing. Try humility. Try being compassionate. Try being obedient. Try on saintly holiness. Try on self induced penance. Try fasting. Try on what He is asking for. A heart like His.
The Eucharist is His heart. We can make His will and love grow exponentially. It starts one by one, and then two by two. And then our Lord commands us to go out to the whole world and to all the nations.
Yeast and seed.
Bread of life.
For the good of the world and your soul