Friday, August 17, 2018

⛪Whoever Can Accept This....

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Sow Seeds of Peace for Others

When we pray the Peace Prayer, we imagine ourselves as farmers of the world. Like our Divine Master, we look beyond the pain inflicted upon "me" and refuse to strike back in violence. Indeed, we beat the swords of our hearts into plowshares and the spears of our souls into pruning hooks (see Isaiah 2:4). We then ask for the grace to actively sow the seeds of peace for others. As faithful servants tilling the earth, we wait with great anticipation for the harvest of justice and peace.

—from Instruments of Christ: Reflections on the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi


"Preserve the warmth of the family, because the warmth of the whole world cannot make up for it."
— St. Charbel Makhlouf

"Reading the holy Scriptures confers two benefits. It trains the mind to understand them; it turns man's attention from the follies of the world and leads him to the love of God. Two kinds of study are called for here. We must first learn how the Scriptures are to be understood, and then see how to expound them with profit and in a manner worthy of them . . . No one can understand holy Scripture without constant reading . . . The more you devote yourself to the study of the sacred utterances, the richer will be your understanding of them, just as the more the soil is tilled, the richer the harvest."
— St. Isidore of Seville, p. 201
Witness of the Saints

O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
Psalm 95:6-7


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Saint Joan of the Cross

(June 18, 1666 – August 17, 1736)

An encounter with a shabby old woman many dismissed as insane prompted Saint Joan to dedicate her life to the poor. For Joan, who had a reputation as a businesswoman intent on monetary success, this was a significant conversion.

Born in 1666 in Anjou, France, Joan worked in the family business—a small shop near a religious shrine—from an early age. After her parents' death she took over the shop. She quickly became known for her greediness and insensitivity to the beggars who often came seeking help.

That was until she was touched by the strange woman who claimed she was on intimate terms with the deity. Joan, who had always been devout, even scrupulous, became a new person. She began caring for needy children. Then the poor, elderly, and sick came to her. Over time, she closed the family business so she could devote herself fully to good works and penance.

She went on to found what came to be known as the Congregation of Saint Anne of Providence. It was then she took the religious name of Joan of the Cross. By the time of her death in 1736 she had founded 12 religious houses, hospices, and schools. Pope John Paul II canonized her in 1982.

The downtown areas of most major cities hold a population of "street people." Well-dressed folks usually avoid making eye contact, probably for fear of being asked for a handout. That was Joan's attitude until the day one of them touched her heart. Most people thought the old woman was crazy, but she put Joan on the road to sainthood. Who knows what the next beggar we meet might do for us?


Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Ez 16:1-15, 60, 63

The word of the LORD came to me:
Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations.
Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem:
By origin and birth you are of the land of Canaan;
your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.
As for your birth, the day you were born your navel cord was not cut;
you were neither washed with water nor anointed,
nor were you rubbed with salt, nor swathed in swaddling clothes.
No one looked on you with pity or compassion
to do any of these things for you.
Rather, you were thrown out on the ground as something loathsome,
the day you were born.

Then I passed by and saw you weltering in your blood.
I said to you: Live in your blood and grow like a plant in the field.
You grew and developed, you came to the age of puberty;
your breasts were formed, your hair had grown,
but you were still stark naked.
Again I passed by you and saw that you were now old enough for love.
So I spread the corner of my cloak over you to cover your nakedness;
I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you;
you became mine, says the Lord GOD.
Then I bathed you with water, washed away your blood,
and anointed you with oil.
I clothed you with an embroidered gown,
put sandals of fine leather on your feet;
I gave you a fine linen sash and silk robes to wear.
I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms,
a necklace about your neck, a ring in your nose,
pendants in your ears, and a glorious diadem upon your head.
Thus you were adorned with gold and silver;
your garments were of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth.
Fine flour, honey, and oil were your food.
You were exceedingly beautiful, with the dignity of a queen.
You were renowned among the nations for your beauty, perfect as it was,
because of my splendor which I had bestowed on you,
says the Lord GOD.

But you were captivated by your own beauty,
you used your renown to make yourself a harlot,
and you lavished your harlotry on every passer-by,
whose own you became.

Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you when you were a girl,
and I will set up an everlasting covenant with you,
that you may remember and be covered with confusion,
and that you may be utterly silenced for shame
when I pardon you for all you have done, says the Lord GOD.
Or:Ez 16:59-63

Thus says the LORD:
I will deal with you according to what you have done,
you who despised your oath, breaking a covenant.
Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you when you were a girl,
and I will set up an everlasting covenant with you.
Then you shall remember your conduct and be ashamed
when I take your sisters, those older and younger than you,
and give them to you as daughters,
even though I am not bound by my covenant with you.
For I will re-establish my covenant with you,
that you may know that I am the LORD,
that you may remember and be covered with confusion,
and that you may be utterly silenced for shame
when I pardon you for all you have done, says the Lord GOD.

Responsorial Psalm Isaiah 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6
R. (1c) You have turned from your anger.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. You have turned from your anger.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. You have turned from your anger.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. You have turned from your anger.

Alleluia See 1 Thes 2:13
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Receive the word of God, not as the word of men,
but, as it truly is, the word of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 19:3-12

Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying,
"Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?"
He said in reply, "Have you not read that from the beginning
the Creator made them male and female and said,
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?
So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate."
They said to him, "Then why did Moses command
that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?"
He said to them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts
Moses allowed you to divorce your wives,
but from the beginning it was not so.
I say to you, whoever divorces his wife
(unless the marriage is unlawful)
and marries another commits adultery."
His disciples said to him,
"If that is the case of a man with his wife,
it is better not to marry."
He answered, "Not all can accept this word,
but only those to whom that is granted.
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so;
some, because they were made so by others;
some, because they have renounced marriage
for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever can accept this ought to accept it."


Meditation: Matthew 19:3-12

Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever? (Matthew 19:3)

Doesn't it seem like the story of our lives? There's an ideal that we all want to reach toward, but it's so hard to attain. We feel inspired to aim high; yet we often fall short.

When Jesus spoke to the Pharisees about divorce, he upheld the ideal: "From the beginning it was not so" (Matthew 19:8). God made man and woman to become one flesh in an unbreakable bond. But Moses' provision for a "writ of divorce" acknowledged the messy and painful reality that some relationships become too damaged to continue.

Of course, Jesus wants every marriage to succeed. He wants us to be faithful in every aspect of our lives. But he knows we are weak and wounded. He knows that we aren't completely faithful to other commands against lying or cheating or gossip. He knows how we struggle to love one another, and how often we give into our fallen desires. He knows how it feels to be betrayed by our husband or wife. If the ideal can seem so far out of our reach in our day-to-day relationships, how much more poignant and painful it can become in a relationship as intimate as marriage.

But that's why Jesus became man in the first place! He came to meet us in our messiness, to walk with us in our struggles, and to show us the way through them. He offers us his mercy, his healing, and his compassion all along the way. It's not simple. It's not easy. We won't always succeed. But he's with us.

So if you're married and things are going well, bless and thank the Lord. And ask him to keep you and your spouse together in his love. If you're married and things are rough, know that Jesus is with you to strengthen you and that his grace is there to help you weather the storms. And if you've gone through the pain of a divorce, know that Jesus is still with you. He sees your pain. He sees all the factors that caused the division. And still he loves you and he offers you his mercy, his healing, and his companionship.

"Jesus, help me keep pressing on toward the ideal of love that you have shown me!"

Ezekiel 16:1-5, 60, 63
(Psalm) Isaiah 12:2-6


Our Lord spoke: "So I spread the corner of my cloak over you to cover your nakedness; I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you..." A corner of His cloak covered His love. This means He is much bigger, and we are His now. Dr. Scott Hahn wrote a book, Swear To God, it is about an oath, like the Romans would take, a life surrender forever. God swore an oath with you and entered a covenant with you...with His own blood, to cover our blood, our nakedness, our weakness, our vulnerability, our humanness to be in His likeness, to be with Him, to be His.

Let us pray: "You have turned from your anger. Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement; let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel!" There was a time, when all we would do is anger our God, when the people of Moses, they kept turning to other gods. Why? In the first Holy Scripture, Ezekiel said of the girl "But you were captivated by your own beauty" Pause: sin entered, vanity, and pride, the first root to spawn evil, turning in on oneself, an implosion. Play: " used your renown to make yourself a harlot, and you lavished your harlotry on every passer-by,
whose own you became." This is evident in the life of King David who passed on the Kingdom to his son Solomon, who was renowned all over the world, but Solomon, was like the harlot girl, who eventually gave into the ways of the world, thus...other loves, other gods.

In the Holy Gospel, our Lord speaks about fidelity and monogamy and thus, about faith and monotheism. You shall have only one love. It is the first commandment, isn't it? He said " what God has joined together, man must not separate." Man must not separate the one flesh that becomes from two. Is He talking about a man and a woman? The book of Genesis talks about one man and one woman. But it is way, WAY more than that. It is spiritual theology. It is about God and us and the Son of God and us. Adam, Jesus. Eve, us. The Son of Man and the woman, the naked girl. He formed her from man, from Himself, in His likeness. She was so beautiful, they lived for thousands of years together, until, one day, she caved inward, fell for temptation, like a harlot, infidelity. Adam had to die now, her spouse, for He was joined with her. You see? Jesus had to die now for us, to take back everything, all the infidelity caused by

And so our Lord has made a new covenant, a new oath and it's all about love. The beauty? It's His love. We need that love. Ours is vulnerable and susceptible to nakedness, to being exposed. I quickly read a story this morning about a couple that decided to travel across the world on bikes and show the world that it is not a big bad place. They were travelling and were caught and slaughtered by ISIS. Did this prove them wrong? Who's idea was it to embark on this dangerous journey? The woman?

Firstly, this does not prove the world is a big bad place, but it does prove there is evil in the world, where you can fall and be trapped into. Think addictions, think losing faith/love of God. Be astute and shrewd.
Secondly, the idea of traversing the world journey has to have the utmost importance given to safety and security. Think faithfulness and our oaths, our Sacraments, the important things to help us on our journey to Heaven.
Thirdly, the woman's idea is our idea, where vanity and pride enters. Didn't Satan say a lie "God told you not to eat it because he knew you'd become like Him". As if He were keeping something good from them. So they ate what was bad for them. We did. We have done so.
Dr. Scott Hahn wrote another book called The First Society.__ If you read a synopsis on it, it is eye opening: "In The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order, Scott Hahn makes the startling claim that our society's ills and its cures are rooted in whether we reject or accept the divine graces made available through the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
Man, he argues, is social in his very nature. We were created for community. As it was in the beginning, so it remains today. The family, formed through the Sacrament of Matrimony, is the most basic building block of every society—whether we like it or not. We've corrupted marriage, and so we have a corrupt society. If we get marriage right, our society, through God's grace, will flourish.
This is so because Matrimony, like all the sacraments, heals and elevates human nature...."
Marriage is extremely important, but what's more? Holiness. Holy Matrimony. God. God is what makes marriage work. Love is what makes marriage work. True Love. Like the eariler pic/quote said, if you love, you trust. If you don't love, you don't trust...God.

Today, let's evaluate the importance of our great Love, our God.
Does your life revolve around Him? The Son?

Or is it riddled with "problems" or other lures/traps?
They say when we partake of the Eucharist, we are renewing our wedding vows with Him. They say in a earthly marriage, intercourse is a renewal of wedding vows. Two become one flesh. What comes of it, is children. Souls. What God does with faithful so amazing. The human body is amazing, but the soul? Out of this world. He loves it so much, He loves you so much, it hurts Him to see us hurt ourselves. We need Him more than we will ever know. Divorce? It's a word that is not known in Heaven. There, one is intimately united with Him. And it starts here and now. Total freedom to love true Love!



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