A Kingdom of Justice, Love, and Peace
Our mission is to work toward bringing about a kingdom of justice, love, and peace. By laying down our lives and taking up our cross, we extend into the world the kingdom of God, even as we daily pray for its coming. Through love and service, we build up the kingdom of heaven on earth. Through love and service, we will inherit the land, for meekness derives from the strength to resist controlling, manipulating, and subjugating others. Our royal mission is to be emissaries of Christ, who came not to condemn the world, but to save it through sacrificial love.
—from Prayer Everywhere: The Spiritual Life Made Simple
"If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive."
— St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"Natural love is sufficient for earthly parents, but the love which our saint bore to Jesus, as His appointed father, was not a mere human love, it was also a supereminently divine love; for, in loving his Son he was exercising the most perfect love of God; since He whom he called his Son was at the same time his God. As in creatures all is finite, so all is capable of increase. What, then, may we imagine, must have been the growth of this ardent love in the heart of our saint during the long period which he spent with Jesus! Those things which tend naturally to add to human love, in him ministered fresh fuel to the divine flame within him. The constant association with the Son of God made Man and given to him as his own Son, the serving Him and being served by Him for thirty years, and, we must add, their marvelous resemblance created a bond between them which was unequalled of its kind."
— Edward Healy Thompson, p. 363
AN EXCERPT FROM
The Life & Glories of Saint Joseph
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY
I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by.
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ST. TERESA BENEDICTA OF THE CROSS
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (1891–1942) was born as Edith Stein in Prussia, the youngest of eleven children from a devout Jewish family. She was a bright and gifted child, and as she matured she became an atheist. She went on to receive a doctorate in philosophy, studying under the famous philosophers Heidegger and Husserl. Despite her atheism, she was affected by several friends who displayed a great passion for the Catholic faith. One day, while staying at a friend's home, she saw the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila. She read it from cover to cover, and after finishing it she exclaimed, "This is the Truth." Edith was baptized in Cologne, Germany in 1922. From there she taught for a time at a Dominican school and studied St. Thomas Aquinas and other Catholic philosophers. When the rise of anti-semitism forced her to resign from a teaching post, she wrote to Pope Pius XI asking him to publicly denounce the Nazis. Discerning a call to the religious life, she became a Carmelite nun in Cologne 1934, taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross after her special devotion to the Cross of Christ. When the Nazi threat grew in Germany, her Order transferred her to a convent in the Netherlands for safety. There Edith grew in her desire to offer her life for the salvation of souls. The Nazis eventually came for her, and she, along with her sister Rose, who was also a convert, were sent to the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz. They were both killed in the gas chamber.
St. Edith Stein is the patroness of martyrs and Europe. Her feast day is August 9th.
The writings of Edith Stein fill 17 volumes, many of which have been translated into English. A woman of integrity, she followed the truth wherever it led her. After becoming a Catholic, Edith continued to honor her mother's Jewish faith. Sister Josephine Koeppel, O.C.D. , translator of several of Edith's books, sums up this saint with the phrase, "Learn to live at God's hands."
Thursday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Jer 31:31-34
The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel
and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers:
the day I took them by the hand
to lead them forth from the land of Egypt;
for they broke my covenant,
and I had to show myself their master, says the LORD.
But this is the covenant that I will make
with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD.
I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives
how to know the LORD.
All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD,
for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19
R. (12a) Create a clean heart in me, O God.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners shall return to you.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Alleluia Mt 16:18
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 16:13-23
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
and he asked his disciples,
"Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter said in reply,
"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Then he strictly ordered his disciples
to tell no one that he was the Christ.
From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
"God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you."
He turned and said to Peter,
"Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."
Meditation: Jeremiah 31:31-34
Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Virgin and Martyr (Optional Memorial)
I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:34)
Picture the scene. The city of Jerusalem has been devastated by the armies of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Jerusalem's king has been captured and taken back to Babylon. The Temple is burnt to the ground, and many of the people have been taken along with their king into captivity and exile.
For years the prophet Jeremiah had been warning the people of Jerusalem that a disaster like this would happen if they didn't turn from their sins. But the people would not listen, so they ended up reaping the bitter fruits of their actions. Jeremiah's words or, rather, God's words through Jeremiah, were vindicated—words of judgment, punishment, and wrath.
But now the worst has happened, and Jeremiah's tone has shifted dramatically. No longer are there threats of destruction, warnings of judgment, or pleas for repentance. Now there are visions of restoration, promises of forgiveness, and poems of consolation. All the sins he had denounced? It was as if they had never existed. God would remember them no more. All the evil they had done? It was washed away and replaced with the promise of a new covenant written on each person's heart. Where once the wrath of God blazed, now there was only his tenderness and love.
What the Israelites experienced on a massive scale, we can experience every day on a more personal scale. Day after day, the Holy Spirit sends us messages, guiding us along the path of holiness and warning us against other dangerous paths. He knows he can only do so much, that it's up to us to choose which way we will go. He also knows we will not always follow his guidance, and we risk ending up like the people of Jerusalem. And so he is prepared to offer us his mercy no matter how far we may have fallen.
God forgives everything, big and little. Marital infidelity. White lies. Abortion. Harsh words. Theft. Gossip. Every act born of lust or envy or selfishness. If he could forgive Jerusalem for its many sins and crimes—if he could continue to treat them as his own special people—surely he can forgive you. Surely he can forgive everyone around you too. Everyone.
"Jesus, I am in awe of your mercy!"
Psalm 51:12-15, 18-19
"All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more." Once in a Holy Sacrament of Confession, I was told by a priest that my sins were being cast off into the bottom of the ocean. What happens at the bottom of the ocean? Things dissolve. Things are forgotten. Things are eaten by bottom feeders and then turned into life by nourishing them and a new part of the cycle begins. And so, our Lord said all things would be made new. What about your soul? Right now, your soul is unified in your body. If we are made in His image, our soul has much of our image print of Him. How come we live in a material and carnal world? Because, simply...because. The cause, be. The all-being and eternal being, has caused it to be. Ours is a venture, and the venture of the new heart persists into eternity of thanksgiving, of what it means to be purely whole and holy His.
Let us pray: "A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me." What would cause us to be cast from Heaven? Take a point from the fallen angel Lucifer, the prince of lights. His beauty gave him pride. Pride grew to the point of no return...no return to love for the Lord. What happens when you lose love for one you said you loved? Strange things happen, like a huge disconnect and even hatred, all things spurning from a twisted love. I've never seen a beautiful divorce. Oh yes, one of the spouses is happy, but the other is spurned and the children are the real ones that suffer. And so, we must turn to the one who can makes things new.
In comes our Heavenly Lord: ""Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" This question has different answers because there are different walks of faith. The disciples had some good answers, people had a good inclination, people said He was Elijah, or John the Baptist, powerhouses of faith. But our first Pope, Peter, had the right answer, the heart of the matter, "You are the Son of the living God", Christ, which means Messiah and Savior. Some people think that was Jesus' last name! DOH! Well, there is a grain of truth to that. For this He was born, for this He is known. He is that crucified man on the cross that everyone talks about, mostly good things. He was a good man, wasn't He? If you get to know Him, you will see, that He is the source of all good, the power to the house. Even electrical poles out here all look like crosses. And the supports look like His arms. But the question is not so much for what "they" say, but who "you" say He is. This answer means everything. To say "Jesus is God our Savior" means much, if you mean it.
From this point forward, Jesus said He was going to suffer and be put to death. Peter, I mean Satan said ""God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you." Satan talks like this to this day. He says "you shouldn't have to suffer" and so causes divorces, abortions, and pornographic filth to fill you with empty desires. Most haters of the faith, hate the notion of a suffering Christ. They hate that they've had to suffer. Most people want all laughs, and joy, but nothing to do with suffering with or for Christ. I count myself as one of them. I look to people that look so happy, while inside I fight inner turmoils. I don't necessarily want want they have, but, at the same time, I don't necessarily want what I have either. I don't want a false happiness. Yet, I am not happy with my daily torments, mostly dealing with this ailing ear thing. I hear echoes, high pitches, people sound like robots, and the volume is loud at times and amplifies the distortions. If I'm with my kids, it is torment. If I am at work, I work twice as hard to pay attention to what is being said. It is only in the quiet and solitude that I find some peace, and I find solace in prayer. This stress, along with work stress, last week a truck was stolen, prior to that our guy was struck from behind while getting on the highway, now talking to laywers, and this week started off with one of our guys smashing his arm in a dump truck accident, bones didn't break but muscles, nerves and tendons are damaged, he's already had 2 surgeries and that's not even half of what he needs. I went to visit him yesterday, and had to hear robotic voices in the conversation. As for spirituality? All things are on the decrease but spirit life is on the increase. These things push me to a more austere and sincere life with God. I got spiritual direction, real formal, spiritual direction on Sunday with a visiting hermit priest, a former redemptorist priest. My wife made breakfast for us, but the real meat and potatoes was in our private conversation afterwards. What happened was, this big ball of a mess was cracked open, a ray of light shone through the hardened shell. And this is what is needed for this seed to grow. I advise you to always have spiritual direction. It's been hard without. It's hard going it alone. Without someone to, not really show the way, but to help the way. We want definite answers, right, left, up, down, but the answers have to come from within.
Where is your heart?
Where is God in your heart?
Who is He?
A stranger still?
Where is He?
Does He care?
The spiritual direction saw how involved I am, and how much this 2 cents is part of my faith and day. It is probably the most important thing to me. Yet, he dared to ask if I was willing to let it go and other things. This? This what I've done for over 10 years? This faith sharing? This moment with Christ and sinking into scriptures and the life of God every morning? Really?
This can't be God talking, was a doubt in my head.
Well "who do you say that I Am?"
So I put my suffering head down.
-Everything I love, music, ears for music, sharp sounds, daily scripture and sharing, being immersed in ministries...
and He asks again 'Who Do YOU Say That I AM?"
"What God are you serving?"
-PLease God, you know I'm serving You.
"Who Am I?"
An estranged wife asked her sick husband (a brother at church couple weeks ago), said to him, "I don't think we are communicating anymore, I don't know you" and the sick husband, focused so much on his sickness, had no answer other than, "i'm sick, I can't help it", today they will operate on him, gall bladder, we pray all goes well.
"Who am I?" the Lord asks.
Can I see beyond myself of evil Satan? Can I put my sufferings aside to see the sufferings of others? Can I look past myself to see Christ anymore?
Christ suffered. But not for Himself.
Christ was brutally tortured, because of obedience that was caused by great love...of the Father. Our Father.
So what are the voices in your head telling you?
Is evil telling you "you shouldn't have to suffer"?
"Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me."
I shall suffer for Christ. This has united me in tears with Christ. The poor man with a messed up arm was trying to console me from his sick bed. I know his pain, I was laying there with a broke hip not too long ago. People that even touched my bed made me feel pain. But I loved them for visiting me. I just closed my eyes and clinched my teeth " I love you too".
Why the suffering Christ? Why that kind of love?
Because it is what unites us. Death will unite us to Him, if we have given our life to Him. It'd be funny to look back and realize, Christ was everywhere and in everything, and we never even noticed. All because of the shifted focus.
I feel a little better today, but, I feel much better spiritually.
By His stripes we are healed. He says "you will never outdo Me....
I Love You More"