Thursday, August 23, 2018

⛪Summon the invited

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Christ Is Proclaimed by Our Lives

The Franciscan path of prayer that leads to peace is a path of transformation and witness. Christ is proclaimed not by words but by the example of one's life, one's willingness to suffer or perhaps offer one's life for the sake of another. Christ lives in that Christ lives in us––in our bodies, our hands, our feet and our actions. This is the challenge for our time with its emphasis on rationality and materialism, the challenge of divine risk, of allowing God to enter our lives and lift us out of the doldrums of mediocrity, privatism and individualism. We are called to be vulnerable to grace so that we may be transformed into the living Christ.

—from the book Franciscan Prayer


"The works of God are not accomplished when we wish them, but whenever it pleases Him."
— St. Vincent de Paul

"If the soul will analyze the desire it has of happiness, and the idea of happiness that presents itself to it, it will find that the object of this idea and of this desire is only and can only be God. This is the impression that the soul bears in the depths of its nature; this is what reason will teach it if it will only reflect a little, and this is what neither prejudice nor passion can ever entirely efface."
— Fr. Jean Nicholas Grou, p. 4
The Spiritual Life

"And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word."
John 17:3-6


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Saint Rose of Lima

(April 20, 1586 – August 24, 1617)

The first canonized saint of the New World has one characteristic of all saints—the suffering of opposition—and another characteristic which is more for admiration than for imitation—excessive practice of mortification.

She was born to parents of Spanish descent in Lima, Peru, at a time when South America was in its first century of evangelization. She seems to have taken Catherine of Siena as a model, in spite of the objections and ridicule of parents and friends.

The saints have so great a love of God that what seems bizarre to us, and is indeed sometimes imprudent, is simply a logical carrying out of a conviction that anything that might endanger a loving relationship with God must be rooted out. So, because her beauty was so often admired, Rose used to rub her face with pepper to produce disfiguring blotches. Later, she wore a thick circlet of silver on her head, studded on the inside, like a crown of thorns.

When her parents fell into financial trouble, she worked in the garden all day and sewed at night. Ten years of struggle against her parents began when they tried to make Rose marry. They refused to let her enter a convent, and out of obedience she continued her life of penance and solitude at home as a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic. So deep was her desire to live the life of Christ that she spent most of her time at home in solitude.

During the last few years of her life, Rose set up a room in the house where she cared for homeless children, the elderly, and the sick. This was a beginning of social services in Peru. Though secluded in life and activity, she was brought to the attention of Inquisition interrogators, who could only say that she was influenced by grace.

What might have been a merely eccentric life was transfigured from the inside. If we remember some unusual penances, we should also remember the greatest thing about Rose: a love of God so ardent that it withstood ridicule from without, violent temptation, and lengthy periods of sickness. When she died at 31, the city turned out for her funeral. Prominent men took turns carrying her coffin.

It is easy to dismiss excessive penances of the saints as the expression of a certain culture or temperament. But a woman wearing a crown of thorns may at least prod our consciences. We enjoy the most comfort-oriented life in human history. We eat too much, drink too much, use a million gadgets, fill our eyes and ears with everything imaginable. Commerce thrives on creating useless needs on which to spend our money. It seems that when we have become most like slaves, there is the greatest talk of "freedom." Are we willing to discipline ourselves in such an atmosphere?

Saint Rose of Lima is the Patron Saint of:
Latin America
South America


Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Ez 36:23-28

Thus says the LORD:
I will prove the holiness of my great name,
profaned among the nations,
in whose midst you have profaned it.
Thus the nations shall know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD,
when in their sight I prove my holiness through you.
For I will take you away from among the nations,
gather you from all the foreign lands,
and bring you back to your own land.
I will sprinkle clean water upon you
to cleanse you from all your impurities,
and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you,
taking from your bodies your stony hearts
and giving you natural hearts.
I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes,
careful to observe my decrees.
You shall live in the land I gave your ancestors;
you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19
R. (Ezekiel 36:25) I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins.
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. I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins.
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. I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins.
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. I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins.

Alleluia Ps 95:8
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 22:1-14

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables saying,
"The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast,
but they refused to come.
A second time he sent other servants, saying,
'Tell those invited: "Behold, I have prepared my banquet,
my calves and fattened cattle are killed,
and everything is ready; come to the feast."'
Some ignored the invitation and went away,
one to his farm, another to his business.
The rest laid hold of his servants,
mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then the king said to his servants, 'The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.'
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to meet the guests
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
He said to him, 'My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?'
But he was reduced to silence.
Then the king said to his attendants, 'Bind his hands and feet,
and cast him into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'
Many are invited, but few are chosen."


Meditation: Matthew 22:1-14

Saint Rose of Lima, Virgin (Optional Memorial)

How is it that you came in here without a wedding garment? (Matthew 22:12)

Suppose you're invited to a good friend's wedding. After the ceremony, you enter the reception hall and you notice another guest, his face unshaven, wearing blue jeans and a tattered T-shirt, greedily piling food on his plate and getting into arguments with the other guests. Feeling hurt and insulted, the groom walks over to him and says, "How could you? Please leave!" You're not surprised. After all, this man showed your friend terrible disrespect. His attitude was even worse than his clothing.

In the same way, the man at the end of Jesus' parable was out of place. He chose not to wear the wedding garment provided for him, snubbing the king's generous offer to clothe him with dignity. We can liken this to the clothing of the saints in heaven, "the righteous deeds of the holy ones" spoken of in the Scriptures (Revelation 19:8). We may think this fellow was treated harshly, but it's actually what he chose for himself. For the wedding garment—the righteousness available through Jesus' sacrifice—was his for the taking. He just didn't put it on.

You, too, have been invited to a wedding banquet, the "wedding feast of the Lamb" (Revelation 19:9). You will never receive an invitation more important than this one. So don't stick it in a drawer. Instead, take the grace you have been given and respond to it. Every day, set your heart on growing in virtue and holiness. Clothe yourself in "heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience" (Colossians 3:12).

Just one note of caution: beware of racking up good deeds just to impress the Lord. He is far more interested in quality than quantity. He wants to see a change in your heart, not just your actions. That's why he is pleased when you put aside selfishness and let his love flow out of you. It's why he is excited to see you embrace opportunities to bring his encouragement or wisdom to the people who need it. As long as you are trying to love, you need never fear ending up like this unfortunate man.

"Lord, I want to be your witness in the world today. Purify my heart, and give me the strength to put you and your people first in my life."

Ezekiel 36:23-28
Psalm 51:12-15, 18-19


Our Lord says today "I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts." Has our Lord done so? Has He removed your stony heart? Has He given you a natural heart? Has He put His Spirit in you? "I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees." I will MAKE YOU Live by my law, He says. Well, only if His Spirit is within you! Then you absolutely love His law, accept what He desires, and be careful to observe what He begins to ask. When His Holy Spirit enters your heart and soul, things happen that I dare say...are basically irreversible, once they take root. And this is...Good News.

Let us pray: " I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins.
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."

In the First Holy Scripture, God said He would simply sprinkle water on us to be cleansed of our sins...think baptism, think the side of Christ pierced and water sprinkled us with His blood when it happened to the soldier that pierced him. Our sins, washed away. Renewed in Confession and Sacrament of the sick. Grace upon grace. The grace you offered overshadowed by His grace. Think Mary, Blessed Mother, grace offered and His light overshadowed Her desire for Him. He comes inside.

In comes our Lord into our lives today: "Many are invited, but few are chosen." They ask "who is in Heaven?" Catholic should answer "only saints and angels are in Heaven, and anyone else God's grace reaches". Does it reach your ears? What? His invitation! The King of the Universe invites you to Himself. To live for Him. To die for Him. To come to Him. Yet, many say no, and go on minding their own business affairs. Too busy. Got other things to do. Yesterday, I texted about 20 or 30 men, many individually, inviting them to a Catholic Men's Conference. Maybe 3 responded, the rest no response. One said he had to work that day which is a couple weeks away. I told him I could talk to his boss to get him permission (because I know his boss, he happens to be another brother I texted) LOL. But no reply again. You see? Where there is a will, there is a way. A heart. A willing spirit. The other 2 responded "sign me up!". So what now? I am to be that persistent messenger of God, that's what angels do. Some wind up hating the angel, why? Because they can't handle the truth, don't want to hear it anymore. They want what they want, not what God wants. So what do I do? I keep praying for them and reaching out to them in unique ways. A drunkard brother says now he is looking to see if he can go, and I hang on to hope...for salvation. But until then, the answer is no. Until you arrive, that is the real yes. Many tell me yes and don't go. I even pay for their way into Cursillo or retreats, and they don't go. Some show up with a closed heart. This is the worst guest. The kind that hates everything. The kind that doesn't want to see the groom, or the king, just there for the good food and "what's in it for me". Like those that go to church for a social appearance to improve their status among circles. So who will wear the wedding garment? Who will listen? I have a problem, and I brought it up to my spiritual adviser. I want to make sure I am doing God's will, I want to make sure I am all ears. Speaking of ears, thank you for your prayers, the MRI says I don't have any loose screws or nuts, the distortions seem to be getting slightly better, thank you for your prayers. So, How to listen when God is Speaking, (this is actually a book I read by Father Mitch Pacwa a while back), is the most confounding part of my life.

How is God calling me? Is He speaking through me through my sickness? Is He speaking to me through others? Is He speaking to me with signs that I am not seeing or not understanding? What does God want? In all sincerity, there have been only a handful of times I have been communicated direct by Him, and it is not a voice heard by ears, it is communicated direct to the heart and soul, leaving a profound impact and mark, an unforgettable knowing, as if naturally you understood.

One time, a cousin asked me "Adrian, which retreat do you recommend me to go to?" I said "go to the next one you are invited to". And if you are not invited, then look for one. Seek and ye shall find. Knock, and the door shall be opened to the banquet. Jesus is there, desiring His church to be there in full. So God does the invitation to His Son. His beloved Son. How does God invite? He is persistent. He is in your face even. You can ignore it all you want, but it begins to take weight. And if you pray, it becomes more obvious. So, a good prayer life is essential. Holy Sacraments are a must. And being with Him in Church, ahh...God loves that His flock gathers. People make all the difference when it comes to love. Love becomes manifest through people. And the sweetest invitations are done with the greatest of loves. I text, up next, I hope I can do a personal phone call. Then, a hand shake and personal invitation. And then, more prayer, it should actually begin with prayer....hmmm

Today's Message: Hope.
God hopes for you.
If you are a messenger, take heart, for you are delivering a love offer from God.

If you are receiving the message, take heart, for God so loves you, a special feast awaits with His Son offering Himself in the most intimate of ways, a life giving.
If you are neither receiving or being a messenger, take heart, God is calling you to both!
We live in an inescapable world. God's will shall be done. Regardless.
His Love Wins.
Glory shall be eternally His.



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