Monday, August 20, 2018

⛪If You Wish To Be Perfect

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Prayer Will Change Us

Those who seek God along the path of Franciscan prayer are to be transformed by the one they seek, the one they claim to love. Prayer centered on relationship with Christ, the Word of God incarnate, cannot help but change the life of the believer and the way one lives. Those who enter into Franciscan prayer, therefore, must be ready for change; they each must be willing to become "another Christ," for this is where the path of prayer leads, to a new birth of Christ in the lives of the believers.

—from Franciscan Prayerd


"We can't have full knowledge all at once. We must start by believing; then afterwards we may be led on to master the evidence for ourselves."
— St. Thomas Aquinas

"Action relies upon contemplation for its fruitfulness; and contemplation, in its turn, as soon as it has reached a certain degree of intensity, pours out upon our active works some of its overflow. And it is by contemplation that the soul goes to draw directly upon the Heart of God for the graces which it is the duty of the active life to distribute. And so, in the soul of a saint, action and contemplation merge together in perfect harmony to give perfect unity to his life."
— Dom Jean-Baptist Chautard, p. 62
Soul of the Apostolate

"Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account."
Hebrews 4:12-13


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Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

(1090 – August 20, 1153)

Man of the century! Woman of the century! You see such terms applied to so many today—"golfer of the century," "composer of the century," "right tackle of the century"—that the line no longer has any punch. But Western Europe's "man of the twelfth century," without doubt or controversy, had to be Bernard of Clairvaux. Adviser of popes, preacher of the Second Crusade, defender of the faith, healer of a schism, reformer of a monastic Order, Scripture scholar, theologian, and eloquent preacher: any one of these titles would distinguish an ordinary man. Yet Bernard was all of these—and he still retained a burning desire to return to the hidden monastic life of his younger days.

In the year 1111, at the age of 20, Bernard left his home to join the monastic community of Citeaux. His five brothers, two uncles, and some 30 young friends followed him into the monastery. Within four years, a dying community had recovered enough vitality to establish a new house in the nearby valley of Wormwoods, with Bernard as abbot. The zealous young man was quite demanding, though more on himself than others. A slight breakdown of health taught him to be more patient and understanding. The valley was soon renamed Clairvaux, the valley of light.

His ability as arbitrator and counselor became widely known. More and more he was lured away from the monastery to settle long-standing disputes. On several of these occasions, he apparently stepped on some sensitive toes in Rome. Bernard was completely dedicated to the primacy of the Roman See. But to a letter of warning from Rome, he replied that the good fathers in Rome had enough to do to keep the Church in one piece. If any matters arose that warranted their interest, he would be the first to let them know.

Shortly thereafter it was Bernard who intervened in a full-blown schism and settled it in favor of the Roman pontiff against the antipope.

The Holy See prevailed on Bernard to preach the Second Crusade throughout Europe. His eloquence was so overwhelming that a great army was assembled and the success of the crusade seemed assured. The ideals of the men and their leaders, however, were not those of Abbot Bernard, and the project ended as a complete military and moral disaster.

Bernard felt responsible in some way for the degenerative effects of the crusade. This heavy burden possibly hastened his death, which came August 20, 1153.

Bernard's life in the Church was more active than we can imagine possible today. His efforts produced far-reaching results. But he knew that they would have availed little without the many hours of prayer and contemplation that brought him strength and heavenly direction. His life was characterized by a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother. His sermons and books about Mary are still the standard of Marian theology.


Memorial of Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church

Reading 1 Ez 24:15-23

The word of the LORD came to me:
Son of man, by a sudden blow
I am taking away from you the delight of your eyes,
but do not mourn or weep or shed any tears.
Groan in silence, make no lament for the dead,
bind on your turban, put your sandals on your feet,
do not cover your beard, and do not eat the customary bread.
That evening my wife died,
and the next morning I did as I had been commanded.
Then the people asked me, "Will you not tell us what all these things
that you are doing mean for us?"
I therefore spoke to the people that morning, saying to them:
Thus the word of the LORD came to me:
Say to the house of Israel:
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will now desecrate my sanctuary, the stronghold of your pride,
the delight of your eyes, the desire of your soul.
The sons and daughters you left behind shall fall by the sword.
Ezekiel shall be a sign for you:
all that he did you shall do when it happens.
Thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
You shall do as I have done,
not covering your beards nor eating the customary bread.
Your turbans shall remain on your heads, your sandals on your feet.
You shall not mourn or weep,
but you shall rot away because of your sins and groan one to another.

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 Mt 5:3
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 19:16-22

A young man approached Jesus and said,
"Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?"
He answered him, "Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."
He asked him, "Which ones?"
And Jesus replied, "You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself."
The young man said to him,
"All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?"
Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me."
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.


Meditation: Matthew 19:16-22

Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)

If you wish to be perfect . . . (Matthew 19:21)

Many children dream of being an Olympic athlete. But that dream can't become a reality without a lot of hard work. Each day, the athlete has to wake up devoted to the exercise, diet, and mental training required to reach his or her Olympic dream. It requires an incredible amount of time, effort, and sacrifice—a single-minded dedication to do what it takes to meet the goal.

If qualifying for the Olympics requires such a commitment, how much more do our spiritual lives? The rich young man in today's reading wants to know what he needs to do to make it to heaven. But when Jesus speaks to him about single-minded devotion to God's kingdom, he walks away dejectedly because he feels the sacrifice is too great.

We know we can't work our way into heaven. But we do need to be single-minded in following Jesus. What does this mean? The dictionary defines single-minded as "having one driving purpose or resolve." Our purpose, our dream, is to be like Christ. And that requires resolve to focus our thoughts, words, and actions—even our relationships and the way we spend our time—towards this ideal of becoming like Christ.

Each of us has a different path to get us to our goal of becoming like Christ. That means that each of us needs to develop our own "training program." Of course, there are the obvious things: exercise (prayer and reading the Scriptures) and diet (receiving the sacraments). Other things might stem from what you know about your weaknesses or the gifts and virtues you're trying to develop. Maybe when people around you are gossiping, you need to remove yourself from the situation. Or maybe you strive to set aside some of your paycheck each month to give to charity.

It takes effort to deny ourselves, but the good news is that the more you do it, the easier it becomes. The closer you are to your goal, the more enthusiasm you'll have to do what it takes to go even farther.

So resolve to be single-minded for Jesus today. You might not be an Olympic hopeful, but you can think of today as the first day of your "training"!

"Jesus, you are the prize that I seek. Help me to be single-minded in following you."

Ezekiel 24:15-23
(Psalm) Deuteronomy 32:18-21



Our Lord said to Ezekiel: "I am taking away from you the delight of your eyes,
but do not mourn or weep or shed any tears."
And this became a sign for the previous sign, that of going into exile. God wanted them set apart. God wanted them Holy. God wanted them for Himself. Why? For the good of the entire world. Simple reason. For the greater good. So the wife dies. He sheds no tears. They go into exile. And then? God's promise can only be accomplished upon our return. We must return to Him. We must obey. Then we will see the other end of the promise.

Let us pray: " 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."
It seems, if you see the news, the glamour of Hollywood, and the attention given to libertarian-ism, it would seem their "no-god' and "vain idols" are actually a sought after reality. Right? And the sad truth is, that there is a "no life" after falling for "that lie" they have fallen for. The path of least resistance is the path to hell. It is easier to give up on God and live a crazy free life. But, there is hell to pay. Ezekiel had to suffer for the people. The delight of his life, his wife dies. Jesus has to suffer for the people, the holiest on earth, the death of his wife, the Jewish faith, would now have to be transformed into Christianity, Catholicity is her name. Raised from the dead to glory, for the better glory of God.

In the Holy Gospel, our Lord Jesus tells the rich young man ""If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." To gain Heaven, follow the commandments. This is tough alone, for number one is "LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD ABOVE ALL WITH ALL YOUR HEART!". Number two: Though shall not use the Lord's name in vain and not have false gods. Number three: GO TO CHURCH! Keep Holy the Sabbath. And the list goes on and on about how we are to treat one another with the greatest of loves. The rich young man said "I done those! What am I missing GOOD teacher?" Jesus says the impossible: Empty yourself. Your riches do not make you, I AM who makes you. If you want to see Me truly and seek Me truly, prepared to empty yourself completely. Many say nowadays they don't like the Catholic faith for various reasons, too old, too boring. I go to daily Mass. If I go distracted, mind on other things, get nothing out of it. But if I go empty, if I go prepared, if I get myself and my mind straight on what I am about to be a part a new birth coming, like the Holy Spirit entering, like God manifesting Himself in this part of the world, then I am brought to my knees and in tears. God's word is living and active, like a double edged sword. Either you will love Him or hate Him. The rich man turned his back on Jesus and walked away. But the story does not end. Jesus is still there! Turn back! Say YES Lord. OK! I will go and sell my goods, my possessions and then...follow you. You see, those other things keep you locked down and tied down so you can not freely follow the Lord. Idols, riches, gods. For Americans, the tie downs are easy to see, money, pleasure, leisure, all things that tickle the senses, all external gratifications. We want God to satisfy us. Right? I been suffering mental anguish and torments for weeks with this ear thing. I've seen 4 different doctors including a specialist. I wish I had instant gratification, a simple answered prayer to be gone with this torment and stress. I went to a daily mass out of town because on Tuesday our town don't got one. I received Jesus in my body, and He spoke with no words and I apologized with my heart "I'm sorry I've been such a baby, instead of thanking you, I'm crying". It gave me strength to endure and the blessing came, the curse becomes a blessing. God can do anything if we offer it to Him. What is a true sign of the Holy Spirit in you? A burning heart, tears come to extinguish it, and wonder and awe and amazement come. To be in awe of Jesus our Lover our Groom our everything...When He says follow Me, He is asking for your hand in marriage...a life with Him...and it's all about Him!

Jesus I love you



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