Monday, August 6, 2018

⛪ This Is My....

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The Gift of Understanding

How great is it that the Lord imparts to us the gift of understanding. Many think we receive this gift in order that we might comprehend the ways of God, but we receive this gift primarily so that we can understand ourselves. The Lord taught us that we must love others as we love ourselves, which is only possible to the extent that we have a deep understanding of both our strengths and our weaknesses. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux said she loved her nothingness; that is what kept her clinging to Christ.

—from Prayer Everywhere: The Spiritual Life Made Simple


"Where there is no obedience there is no virtue, where there is no virtue there is no good, where there is no good there is no love, where there is no love, there is no God, and where there is no God there is no Paradise."
— St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

"A sculptor who wishes to carve a figure out of a block uses his chisel, first cutting away great chunks of marble, then smaller pieces, until he finally reaches a point where only a brush of hand is needed to reveal the figure. In the same way, the soul has to undergo tremendous mortifications at first, and then more refined detachments, until finally its Divine image is revealed. Because mortification is recognized as a practice of death, there is fittingly inscribed on the tomb of Duns Scotus, Bis Mortus; Semel Sepultus (twice died, but buried only once). When we die to something, something comes alive within us. If we die to self, charity comes alive; if we die to pride, service comes alive; if we die to lust, reverence for personality comes alive; if we die to anger, love comes alive."
— Fulton J. Sheen, p. 219
Peace of Soul

The Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord takes place on August 6th, an event mentioned in all three synoptic Gospels. After revealing that he would be put to death in Jerusalem, Jesus took the three disciples of his inner circle to the summit of Mount Tabor in order to reveal his glory to them. Peter, James, and John saw Jesus transfigured before them, radiant in the fullness of his glory as he truly was, the Son of God. Next to Jesus were Moses and Elijah as witnesses to Christ's fulfillment of the Old Testament law and prophets. St. Matthew writes of the event by saying, "He was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow."

"The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak justice. The law of their God is in their hearts; their steps do not slip."
Psalm 37:30-31


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Saint Peter Julian Eymard

(February 4, 1811 – August 1, 1868)

Born in La Mure d'Isère in southeastern France, Peter Julian's faith journey drew him from being a priest in the Diocese of Grenoble in 1834, to joining the Marists in 1839, to founding the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in 1856.

In addition to those changes, Peter Julian coped with poverty, his father's initial opposition to Peter's vocation, serious illness, a Jansenistic overemphasis on sin, and the difficulties of getting diocesan and later papal approval for his new religious community.

His years as a Marist, including service as a provincial leader, saw the deepening of his Eucharistic devotion, especially through his preaching of Forty Hours in many parishes. Inspired at first by the idea of reparation for indifference to the Eucharist, Peter Julian was eventually attracted to a more positive spirituality of Christ-centered love. Members of the men's community which Peter founded alternated between an active apostolic life and contemplating Jesus in the Eucharist. He and Marguerite Guillot founded the women's Congregation of the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament.

Peter Julian Eymard was beatified in 1925, and canonized in 1962, one day after Vatican II's first session ended.

In every century, sin has been painfully real in the life of the Church. It is easy to give in to despair, to speak so strongly of human failings that people may forget the immense and self-sacrificing love of Jesus, as his death on the cross and his gift of the Eucharist make evident. Peter Julian knew that the Eucharist was key to helping Catholics live out their baptism and preach by word and example the Good News of Jesus Christ.


Transfiguration of the Lord

All three Synoptic Gospels tell the story of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9:28-36). With remarkable agreement, all three place the event shortly after Peter's confession of faith that Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus' first prediction of his passion and death. Peter's eagerness to erect tents or booths on the spot suggests it occurred during the week-long Jewish Feast of Booths in the fall.

According to Scripture scholars, in spite of the texts' agreement it is difficult to reconstruct the disciples' experience, because the Gospels draw heavily on Old Testament descriptions of the Sinai encounter with God, and prophetic visions of the Son of Man. Certainly Peter, James, and John had a glimpse of Jesus' divinity strong enough to strike fear into their hearts. Such an experience defies description, so they drew on familiar religious language to describe it. And certainly Jesus warned them that his glory and his suffering were to be inextricably connected—a theme John highlights throughout his Gospel.

Tradition names Mount Tabor as the site of the revelation. A church first raised there in the fourth century was dedicated on August 6. A feast in honor of the Transfiguration was celebrated in the Eastern Church from about that time. Western observance began in some localities about the eighth century.

On July 22, 1456, Crusaders defeated the Turks at Belgrade. News of the victory reached Rome on August 6, and Pope Callistus III placed the feast on the Roman calendar the following year.

One of the Transfiguration accounts is read on the second Sunday of Lent each year, proclaiming Christ's divinity to the Elect and baptized alike. The Gospel for the first Sunday of Lent, by contrast, is the story of the temptation in the desert—affirmation of Jesus' humanity. The two distinct but inseparable natures of the Lord were a subject of much theological argument at the beginning of the Church's history; it remains hard for believers to grasp.


Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

Reading 1 Dn 7:9-10, 13-14
As I watched:

Thrones were set up
and the Ancient One took his throne.
His clothing was bright as snow,
and the hair on his head as white as wool;
his throne was flames of fire,
with wheels of burning fire.
A surging stream of fire
flowed out from where he sat;
Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him,
and myriads upon myriads attended him.
The court was convened and the books were opened.

As the visions during the night continued, I saw:

One like a Son of man coming,
on the clouds of heaven;
When he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before him,
The one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;
all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 97:1-2, 5-6, 9
R. (1a and 9a) The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many islands be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about him,
justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R. The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
R. The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.
Because you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth,
exalted far above all gods.
R. The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth.

Reading 2 2 Pt 1:16-19
We did not follow cleverly devised myths
when we made known to you
the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For he received honor and glory from God the Father
when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory,
"This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased."
We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven
while we were with him on the holy mountain.
Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable.
You will do well to be attentive to it,
as to a lamp shining in a dark place,
until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Alleluia Mt 17:5c
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 9:2-10

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John,
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
"Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
from the cloud came a voice,
"This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.


Meditation: 2 Peter 1:16-19

The Transfiguration of the Lord (Feast)

Be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place. (2 Peter 1:19)

Peter was one of only three witnesses to the Lord's transfiguration. Along with James and John, he saw Jesus glorified; he saw Moses and Elijah talking with him; he heard God's voice of approval. Now, decades later, Peter is talking about this glorious event: "We had been eyewitnesses of his majesty . . . while we were with him on the holy mountain" (2 Peter 1:16, 18). Clearly, the transfiguration was one of the most memorable things Peter had ever witnessed.

You might expect Peter to talk about the transfiguration in glowing terms as a special revelation given to him—and he did. You might expect him to sing of the glory of the transfigured Christ—and he did. But he also described this glimpse into heaven as a light in the midst of darkness. Peter understood that Jesus had given him this vision as a way to encourage and prepare him for the darkness that would engulf him when Jesus faced his passion. Hold on to this vision, Peter. Recall it when you are tempted to give up hope. I am the Son of God, and I will rise again.

That's a message we all need to hear. It can seem as if no matter where we look, we see darkness—war, poverty, crime, abortion, broken families. All of these realities can discourage us and tempt us to give up on the call to holiness.

But remember Peter's words: the transfiguration of Christ reveals the true, unchanging foundation to all of reality. Jesus is glorified. He is the Father's beloved Son. He reigns over everything. Even if evil seems triumphant, Jesus' light is still stronger than the darkness.

Look around, and you'll find glimmers of light in unexpected places—in acts of compassion for the suffering, in acts of courage in the face of evil, in acts of self-sacrifice for the sake of a stranger or loved one. Just as Jesus' love shone during his own crucifixion, his light can shine in every dark corner today. That light will continue to shine until Jesus comes again. Place your faith in him, and it will shine more and more brightly in you too.

"Jesus, help me to fix my eyes on you in the midst of the darkness."

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 9
Mark 9:2-10


"Thrones were set up and the Ancient One took his throne. His clothing was bright as snow, and the hair on his head as white as wool". This was the vision of the Lord. What does it mean when it says that He "took His throne"? In a vision like this, where millions upon oceans were serving Him, it means this is the One. The One and The Only. If you immerse yourself in the vision, you will have a sentiment of fullness, security, and joy. It is the Lord. A chance has appeared to you, to be found worthy to be one of those counted in the myriads, to serve Him. How can millions serve Him? Quite easy. A gesture of love gives away the answer.

Let us pray: "The Lord is king, the Most High over all the earth. Because you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth, exalted far above all gods." There are many subjects to serve the King. There are many civilians in the kingdom. Most would say they owe an allegiance to the king. But many would rather serve their own self-interests. Most only pay allegiance just to stay out of trouble, but if a cohort were to arise, their allegiance would shift. What our Lord seeks is more than allegiance. He seeks a heart that desires something more than a word. This act is one of great love. The kind that acts on obedience because of love and nothing else.

Saint Peter said that he himself heard the voice thundering from the heavens ""This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased."

In the Holy Gospel, our Lord appears with Moses and Elijah. His clothes turned dazzling white, more pure, more white than ever thought imaginable, or possible. A conversation ensues in this trinity. The prophets that people did want to believe. The prophets that led the way. One through the desert, and another through the nations, and now this one, Jesus, would take us from death to eternity. If we but follow. If we but obey as the clouds thunder once again ""This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased." This seems like a recurring message when praying the mysteries of the life of Christ on Thursday, the luminous mysteries, let's see each and then sum it up:

1st: Baptism of Jesus: "And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Mt 3:17 Through the waters, like Moses. The Lamb of God is pointed out...this is the Way.

2nd: Wedding at Cana: "Mary said to the waiters: "Do whatever He tells you." And His first miracle occurs.

3rd: Proclamation of the Kingdom: ""Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand." "My kingdom is not of this world." "Unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven."

4th: The Transfiguration" "His face became as dazzling as the sun, his clothes as radiant as light." God says "Listen to Him".

5th: The Institution of the Eucharist - Jesus took bread, blessed it: "Take and eat, this is My Body." Taking the wine: "This cup is the new covenant in my Blood, shed for you." "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him."

Have you seen a recurring theme? When I pray this luminous rosary, I get a recurring theme repeated that says, listen, and obey. "Do whatever He tells you" says our mother. That's all she ever did. Obedience. Obey our God. But, learn to love obedience by a true love. I have been learning, that I am a busy body for Him. Busy busy. Every day, especially when things kick up in the school year, everyone is back from vacationing, even from our Lord. Meetings start. Ministries kick back up. Crosses picked back up, LOL. And there I am in the midst trying to kick things up too. Kicking up a whole lot of dust, and many times because of spinning wheels, no traction. Back to the crazy loop where everyone cries "nobody cares!". Well, let's not point the finger anymore. Jesus cares. He cared so much, He took this mind-boggling way to show us He cares, and there He is with wide open arms on the cross. "I Care". When our Lord turns white, He turns into light. The most beautiful of whites imaginable. And we follow the most beautiful light...Christ.

Whence, I was in deep prayer, and had a vision of myriads serving our Lord, the things seen blurry under our Mother's veil, I can not tell you in words. The word "amazing" does not do it justice, therefore it is an incorrect word. What is transpiring as we speak, this very moment, is something incomprehensible. How God gives and receives is beyond words. Our little minds can not wrap our thoughts on Him, ever. We just trust, and obey, and D.O.G., depend on God. For everything, air, food, life. All I can do is obey...and this gives me joy. "Yes Master, I'm here, at your door, ready for a treat, ready to go, ready to with You".
Until the end of time

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