Wednesday, August 22, 2018

⛪Am I not Free to....

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You Have a Unique Spiritual Path

Your prayer path will be like no one else's path. You are not the same as any other person. You are uniquely you and God knows this—you were created this way! Therefore, your prayer may appear different from the prayer of a partner or spouse, friend or sibling, monk or nun. Although there are expected, normal patterns and transitions in prayer, the practices that best nurture you will be determined by your personality and temperament, life experience, personal commitments and desire. Your intention and attentiveness is what enables you to pray without ceasing, in good times and bad.

—from Your Spiritual Garden: Tending to the Presence of God


"Let all nations know that Thou art God alone, and that Jesus Christ is Thy Son, and that we are Thy people and the sheep of Thy pasture."
— St. Clement

"Let us say boldly with St. Bernard that we have need of a mediator with the Mediator Himself, and that it is the divine Mary who is the most capable of filling that charitable office. It was through her that Jesus Christ came to us, and it is through her that we must go to Him. If we fear to go directly to Jesus Christ, our God, whether because of His infinite greatness or because of our vileness or because of our sins, let us boldly implore the aid and intercession of Mary, our Mother. She is good, she is tender, she has nothing in her austere and forbidding, nothing too sublime and too brilliant. In seeing her, we see our pure nature."
— St. Louis de Montfort, p. 42
True Devotion to Mary


August 22nd is the Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This title of Our Lady, Queen of Heaven (Regina Caeli), is rooted in biblical history where the mother of Israel's king had the royal title of Queen Mother. Church Tradition holds that once Mary, the Mother of God, was assumed body and soul into heaven at the end of her earthy life, she was crowned as Queen of Heaven and Earth to reign alongside her Son, Jesus the King of Kings.

"You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near."
James 5:8


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Queenship of Mary

Saint of the Day for August 22

Pope Pius XII established this feast in 1954. But Mary's queenship has roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary's Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary "mother of my Lord." As in all the mysteries of Mary's life, she is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus' kingship. We can also recall that in the Old Testament the mother of the king has great influence in court.

In the fourth century Saint Ephrem called Mary "Lady" and "Queen." Later Church fathers and doctors continued to use the title. Hymns of the 11th to 13th centuries address Mary as queen: "Hail, Holy Queen," "Hail, Queen of Heaven," "Queen of Heaven." The Dominican rosary and the Franciscan crown as well as numerous invocations in Mary's litany celebrate her queenship.

The feast is a logical follow-up to the Assumption, and is now celebrated on the octave day of that feast. In his 1954 encyclical To the Queen of Heaven, Pius XII points out that Mary deserves the title because she is Mother of God, because she is closely associated as the New Eve with Jesus' redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection, and because of her intercessory power.

As Saint Paul suggests in Romans 8:28–30, God has predestined human beings from all eternity to share the image of his Son. All the more was Mary predestined to be the mother of Jesus. As Jesus was to be king of all creation, Mary, in dependence on Jesus, was to be queen. All other titles to queenship derive from this eternal intention of God. As Jesus exercised his kingship on earth by serving his Father and his fellow human beings, so did Mary exercise her queenship. As the glorified Jesus remains with us as our king till the end of time (Matthew 28:20), so does Mary, who was assumed into heaven and crowned queen of heaven and earth.


Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Reading 1 Ez 34:1-11

The word of the Lord came to me:
Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel,
in these words prophesy to them to the shepherds:
Thus says the Lord GOD: Woe to the shepherds of Israel
who have been pasturing themselves!
Should not shepherds, rather, pasture sheep?
You have fed off their milk, worn their wool,
and slaughtered the fatlings,
but the sheep you have not pastured.
You did not strengthen the weak nor heal the sick
nor bind up the injured.
You did not bring back the strayed nor seek the lost,
but you lorded it over them harshly and brutally.
So they were scattered for the lack of a shepherd,
and became food for all the wild beasts.
My sheep were scattered
and wandered over all the mountains and high hills;
my sheep were scattered over the whole earth,
with no one to look after them or to search for them.

Therefore, shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
As I live, says the Lord GOD,
because my sheep have been given over to pillage,
and because my sheep have become food for every wild beast,
for lack of a shepherd;
because my shepherds did not look after my sheep,
but pastured themselves and did not pasture my sheep;
because of this, shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I swear I am coming against these shepherds.
I will claim my sheep from them
and put a stop to their shepherding my sheep
so that they may no longer pasture themselves.
I will save my sheep,
that they may no longer be food for their mouths.

For thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness will follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Alleluia Heb 4:12
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern the reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 20:1-16

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o'clock,
he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.'
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o'clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o'clock,
he found others standing around, and said to them,
'Why do you stand here idle all day?'
They answered, 'Because no one has hired us.'
He said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard.'
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
'Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.'
When those who had started about five o'clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
'These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day's burden and the heat.'
He said to one of them in reply,
'My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?'
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."


Meditation: Matthew 20:1-16

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Memorial)

Am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? (Matthew 20:15)

Imagine the following impossible scenario: you walk into a car dealership and say, "I want to buy one of your cars, but I only have five dollars." Then the dealer hands you the keys to a brand-new Mercedes- Benz and says, "It's all yours." You stand there in complete astonishment for a moment. Then you ask the dealer, "Why did you do that?" And the owner says, "I'm so rich that I just felt like giving something away today. Please take the car and enjoy it—it's on me."

Today's parable presents a similar situation involving an impossibly generous landowner. It's the end of the day, and the landowner is paying his day laborers. He gives the laborer who worked only one hour a full day's pay—the same amount that he gave those who had worked since dawn. We can imagine the laborer's shocked response: "But I haven't worked enough hours to deserve this!" And perhaps the landowner replies, "The number of hours you worked doesn't matter. I just want to be generous, and you can't earn someone's generosity."

We know that the landowner in this parable represents God. And we know that God cannot be outmatched in generosity. He even gave us his only Son, and that is a gift we could never earn. No matter what any of us do for the Lord, whether we follow him perfectly, make huge charitable donations, or sacrifice our lives as martyrs, it still wouldn't be enough to merit such a priceless gift. The love behind such generosity can be hard to grasp, but that only makes it all the more appealing.

Some of us may think that this "impossible" love is too good to be true. We know that God loves us in theory. But in the back of our minds, we're thinking about how much work we still have to do to clean up our bad habits and sins.

Never forget: the riches of God's immeasurable grace far outweigh your sins and flaws. Jesus has carried each of your sins. He has forgiven you. He has given you his own Holy Spirit to help you live as a child of God. So have confidence in God's mighty power—and freely receive his mercy and generosity!

"Lord, I receive the 'impossible' gift of your unending love for me!"

Ezekiel 34:1-11
Psalm 23:1-6



The Lord said today "So they were scattered for the lack of a shepherd,
and became food for all the wild beasts." And you my friend? Are you a good shepherd? Are you the Christ in the world, of the body of Christ? You should be. You have a little flock. God's flock. Those little ones all around you. And not just little in age! LOL. God loves them. He trusts that you will shepherd them to good...Heaven. For Heaven's sake then, do as our Lord told Peter when He asks Peter: "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?"

Peter- "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You."

Jesus our Lord said to him, "Tend My lambs."

Jesus, a second time- "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?"

Peter- "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You."

Jesus our Savior - "Shepherd My sheep."

Jesus, the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?"
Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You."

Jesus- "Tend My sheep."

Let us pray: " The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want."
I shall desire nothing else now, nothing above Him ever...again.
Pray: "He guides me in right paths for his name's sake." For His name is Holy and above all names, and in His name He guides me. Jesus, the sweetest name on earth.
"Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff that give me courage." The Lord is my rock, and my refuge, my shield in whom I trust. He walks on stormy waters and calms the stormy sea and the dark clouds settle to let the light shine through and see His Holy face.

In the Holy Gospel, there is the landowner...Jesus comes in, and hires at all times of life and all times in the world, various of all walks. Hired hands, laborers scattered throughout the day are found. Like scattered sheep. And He calls them to a reward if they join Him in His work. This Holy Gospel, is one of great mercy. A lifetime slave for Christ goes to Heaven, and meets a convert on his death bed, a wretched sinner. Is it fair? Mercy knows no boundaries. This is good news. So do we have anything to worry about? Any thing to work for then if His mercy is so great? Yes! Every single day is a day in the vineyard of our Lord. It is the present, the now, the moment where Heaven counts on you and me to do a special thing called...sacrificial love. An opportunity for someone to see Christ in you. What then is sacrificed? The lamb of God. Freely given body to those who will have His holy precious body. Sacrificial love. You see, our hearts can implode or explode. Either they will implode focused on self, or they will explode focused on others....for Christ. The true lifetime servant of God would rejoice to see a hardened sinner in Heaven, "wow! God is so great!" they would say. And not say "what is HE or SHE doing here!?" God told Ezekiel He was tired of seeing the leaders hoarding all the love and glory. The sheep were being left unattended. They needed seeking, to be healed. The lost needed to be found, the injured bound up. But no, they were treated harshly, they were brutal with them.

So what is your mouth doing to the lost? What is your prayer life doing for them? What is your time schedule like when it comes to seeking and finding the stray? Little too busy? I hear harsh remarks on the lost.

On homosexuals I've heard: "They are a dying breed".
On the homeless: "just tell their lazy butts to get a McDonald's application".
On the drunkard: "He's a lost cause".
On the faithless: "They will pay for their wretchedness".
And the list goes on and on. And on the other hand, we say we are not like that, but don't lift a finger for the cause of...salvation.
I read a text on my phone this morning from Holy Scripture that said: "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." James2:17
Jesus says ""But go and learn what this means: 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
In the world, most people feel alienated. Aliens in their own life. Alienated meaning, cast and scattered, isolated and estranged. An estranged spouse. An estranged child. An isolated ...lamb. Why? Because the Lamb of God is alienated. A stranger. The question comes from Jesus "Who am I to you?" Most don't know.
Their own shepherd.
We must introduce the world to the Good Shepherd who takes us to everlasting life.

He feeds us of Himself for He put His life at the doors of death to say "I am making the way for you to go through".
It is an exile into a glorious feast where it's all about giving, an eternal explosion.
Giving Glory to God.
Giving Praise to God.
Honor and worship.
And it starts here and now.

Jesus asks you right now "Do you love Me?"

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