Our Wounds Take Time to Heal
The cross of Jesus offers meaning to our suffering. In the garden of Gethsemane we discover we are not alone in our anguish. As Christians, when we stand at the foot of the cross, we also know of the hope of an empty tomb in a garden of promise. When we feel we are nailed to the cross and persecuted, God is already present with us, having gone to where we would rather not go. Our wounds take time—even a lifetime—to heal. The fireweed flower rises from burnt ash; a tree takes root in a rock crack. Compost provides new life for growing and established plants. Hope exists for the gardener of our soul to transform even the deadliest suffering into generous life and gift.
—from Your Spiritual Garden: Tending to the Presence of God
"When we go to confession, we ought to persuade ourselves to find Jesus Christ in the person of our confessor."
— St. Philip Neri
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"Our Lord's love shines out just as much through a little soul who yields completely to His Grace as it does through the greatest . . . Just as the sun shines equally on the cedar and the little flower, so the Divine Sun shines equally on everyone, great and small. Everything is ordered for their good, just as in nature the seasons are so ordered that the smallest daisy comes to bloom at its appointed time."
— St. Therese of Lisieux, p. 4-5
AN EXCERPT FROM
Story of a Soul
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY
Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
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(October 1, 1480 – August 7, 1547)
Like most of us, Cajetan seemed headed for an "ordinary" life—first as a lawyer, then as a priest engaged in the work of the Roman Curia.
His life took a characteristic turn when he joined the Oratory of Divine Love in Rome, a group devoted to piety and charity, shortly after his ordination at 36. When he was 42 he founded a hospital for incurables at Venice. At Vicenza, he joined a "disreputable" religious community that consisted only of men of the lowest stations of life—and was roundly censured by his friends, who thought his action was a reflection on his family. He sought out the sick and poor of the town and served them.
The greatest need of the time was the reformation of a Church that was "sick in head and members." Cajetan and three friends decided that the best road to reformation lay in reviving the spirit and zeal of the clergy. Together they founded a congregation known as the Theatines—from Teate [Chieti] where their first superior-bishop had his see. One of the friends later became Pope Paul IV.
They managed to escape to Venice after their house in Rome was wrecked when Emperor Charles V's troops sacked Rome in 1527. The Theatines were outstanding among the Catholic reform movements that took shape before the Protestant Reformation. Cajetan founded a monte de pieta—"mountain or fund of piety"—in Naples, one of many charitable, nonprofit credit organizations that lent money on the security of pawned objects. The purpose was to help the poor and protect them against usurers. Cajetan's little organization ultimately became the Bank of Naples, with great changes in policy.
If Vatican II had been summarily stopped after its first session in 1962, many Catholics would have felt that a great blow had been dealt to the growth of the Church. Cajetan had the same feeling about the Council of Trent, held from 1545 to 1563. But as he said, God is the same in Naples as in Venice, with or without Trent or Vatican II. We open ourselves to God's power in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, and God's will is done. God's standards of success differ from ours
Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Jer 30:1-2, 12-15, 18-22
The following message came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel:
Write all the words I have spoken to you in a book.
For thus says the LORD:
Incurable is your wound,
grievous your bruise;
There is none to plead your cause,
no remedy for your running sore,
no healing for you.
All your lovers have forgotten you,
they do not seek you.
I struck you as an enemy would strike,
punished you cruelly;
Why cry out over your wound?
your pain is without relief.
Because of your great guilt,
your numerous sins,
I have done this to you.
Thus says the LORD:
See! I will restore the tents of Jacob,
his dwellings I will pity;
City shall be rebuilt upon hill,
and palace restored as it was.
From them will resound songs of praise,
the laughter of happy men.
I will make them not few, but many;
they will not be tiny, for I will glorify them.
His sons shall be as of old,
his assembly before me shall stand firm;
I will punish all his oppressors.
His leader shall be one of his own,
and his rulers shall come from his kin.
When I summon him, he shall approach me;
how else should one take the deadly risk
of approaching me? says the LORD.
You shall be my people,
and I will be your God.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 102:16-18, 19-21, 29 and 22-23
R. (17) The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
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. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
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. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
The children of your servants shall abide,
and their posterity shall continue in your presence,
That the name of the LORD may be declared on Zion;
and his praise, in Jerusalem,
When the peoples gather together
and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
Alleluia Jn 1:49b
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Rabbi, you are the Son of God;
you are the King of Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 14:22-36
Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side of the sea,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
"It is a ghost," they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."
Peter said to him in reply,
"Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."
He said, "Come."
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,
and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
"Truly, you are the Son of God."
After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.
When the men of that place recognized him,
they sent word to all the surrounding country.
People brought to him all those who were sick
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak,
and as many as touched it were healed.
Or: Mt 15:1-2, 10-14
Some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,
"Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders?
They do not wash their hands when they eat a meal."
He summoned the crowd and said to them, "Hear and understand.
It is not what enters one's mouth that defiles the man;
but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one."
Then his disciples approached and said to him,
"Do you know that the Pharisees took offense
when they heard what you said?"
He said in reply, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted
will be uprooted.
Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind.
If a blind man leads a blind man,
both will fall into a pit."
Meditation: Matthew 14:22-36
Saint Sixtus II, Pope, and Companions, Martyrs (Optional Memorial)
Jesus went up on the mountain by himself to pray. (Matthew 14:23)
Walking across campus at the University of Marseilles, an economics student observed a priest praying his breviary. For Jean-Baptiste Chautard, this seemingly mundane experience "produced in me an urgent need to pray from then on." Eventually, Chautard decided to return to the faith of his childhood. He entered a Trappist monastery and was ordained a priest in 1877. All of this because of an anonymous priest's prayer!
Chautard later wrote The Soul of the Apostolate. Prayer, he wrote, should always undergird spiritual activities, especially missionary activity. Prayer should become the "soul" of any work in the name of the Lord.
On one occasion, Chautard was tasked with rescuing the Trappist community in Paris from financial ruin. Unfortunately, his eloquence and economic expertise proved useless. Despondent, he brought his concerns to God and the Virgin Mary at a nearby shrine. As he left the shrine, he met a stranger, who asked, "Are you a Trappist? Can I be of any assistance to you?" The monastery was saved through the stranger's generosity, and Chautard once again saw the importance of prayer.
Jesus continually circled back to prayer in the midst of the demands on his time. In today's Gospel, we see him withdrawing "by himself to pray" after a long day ministering to the crowds (Matthew 14:23). Repeatedly, he told people that he only did what he heard his Father tell him to do—in prayer.
If Jesus needed ample time with the Father, then so do we. And if he was blessed by times of prayer, we will be too.
Life is busy. Distractions are innumerable. Temptations seem unending. Don't let them pull you down! Persist in prayer. Every day, take the time you need to rest your heart in Jesus. Talk with him about your day, the highs as well as the lows. Or read a psalm slowly, and allow the words to wash over you. Seek Jesus' presence, and you will experience his peace and his direction. Remember, he loves you and he wants to spend time with you. As Fr. Chautard wrote, Jesus is calling out: "Come back to me. . . . Withdraw yourself a little from the crowd." Make prayer the soul of your life.
"Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of prayer."
Jeremiah 30:1-2, 12-15, 18-22
Psalm 102:16-23, 29
Our Lord said "When I summon him, he shall approach me; how else should one take the deadly risk of approaching me? says the LORD." It is a deadly risk to approach the Lord? Yes. It takes something for something. Doubt has to die. Fear has to die. Your old self has to die. A step forward and our Lord says "You shall be my people, and I will be your God." I want to be His people. I want Him to be my God. I need Him. More than any thing, or any soul, I need Him. The Lord summons us. This means, it is not an invitation. It is a solemn command from the King of Kings. Come here....
Let us pray: "The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
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." Who is doomed to die? This is a sincere question. They say that sin causes death. Spiritual death. Many are in sin, doomed to die. But we have a hope, and it is Jesus. Hope to be saved from what is worse than physical damnation...an eternal damnation. Had I known what sin really was when I was really young, I would've not dabbled in it. But it is taken lightly. The devil throws an anchor, a rope with a millstone around the neck, and fools us into putting it on, playing with death. A young man took his life, hung himself. 2 weeks later, his friend attempted the same, was found still breathing and is in critical condition. You see, your sin is not personal. It affects everyone. It affects complete strangers. Do not be fooled into lies, like "I'm not hurting anyone". You are. With your words and actions and even thoughts. Come now...
Our Lord comes in, He sends off the disciples on a boat, on their way without Him. A spiritual lesson is coming. He goes off to pray in the mountains. They venture into the dark. He begins making His way to them. They are beginning to get scared. These experienced fishermen, afraid of waves? What causes fear like this? Darkness. It is the unseen that is the unknown. That's what paralyzes us, isn't it? So when they saw Him, the jumped, saying it was a ghost. Indeed, it was the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit in real life, Jesus. The Spirit that blew over the sea in Genesis, the wind, it was Jesus. "Take Courage!" said our Lord, "It is I" and the next words were a hard pill to swallow, "do not be afraid". And this brave head, our first pope, Saint Peter tests Him: ""Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." With childlike faith, Peter steps on the water, and walks on water. Amazing. The winds blew, they huffed and they puffed. The spiritual lesson is still on. The winds scared Peter. So much so, that the waters gave way, and he begins to sink, "Lord Save Me!!!" Daddy! Daddy! HELP ME!
Help me, I'm scared! Help me, I don't know what's going on! Help me, I thought I had faith! Help me, the dark waters are sucking me down to a scary abyss! Help me, please, help!!
Jesus stretches His hand and catches Peter. An experienced fisherman, Peter, scared of the water, pulled out by an experienced fisher of men, as if to say "you know nothing...until now". Jesus says to Peter ""O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" You doubted what you knew you could do. You doubted that what was going on was real. The Kingdom is real. What Jesus asks is real. The whole ordeal was a spiritual lesson as is everything for God in eternity. Can you handle the truth? Jesus gets in the boat and they arrive and the healings begin. One day, Peter would do what Jesus does. Go through towns preaching and healing. Spiritual healing. The kind of healing that the soul needs to get through the storms.
Has God left you alone in the storm? Do you know He is coming? We are the Holy Church, we are in the boat of the fisherman, directed by the fisher of men. We do pass through nice waters and storms. We keep rowing to the next town, to the next dwelling, to the next soul. We are the Church of Christ, the first Church of God. You are the living hope if Christ lives in you. You are the solution God has found to be at this moment in time. You are maturing in your faith, and maturity means time to give fruit. Give thanks. Who do you owe...gratitude? Everyone, even your enemy, for who else would afford you an opportunity for great mercy? It is Christ.
I pray for you. Please pray for me. I am grateful for you. I am grateful Christ has joined us together...now, let no thing, no man ever separate us from the Love of Christ. What God has joined let nothing separate us from the love of God. The story of Jesus catching Peter is all of our story. Courage! Why do you doubt? Some say we need doubt to have faith. Well, logically, yes, you must have darkness to see light. But that's not true in Heaven.
What is Heaven like? Heaven may be likened to beautiful dwellings, beautiful, perfect really, but it seems they are not there...they are somewhere way more important...they are with God! God is preparing a dwelling. This body is a temporary dwelling, tied with our soul. Therefore, every human being from the tiny embryo to old age, is precious because what God sees. He sees you in the dark. Can you see Him?
He's coming, He's waiting for those walking on water to Him. Peter had faith, little faith LOL, but had faith. Watch what God can do with what little you offer.