Monday, October 15, 2018

⛪ There is something greater

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Saint Teresa of Avila on Righteousness

Saint Teresa of Avila"May God give you fortitude so that you remain steadfast in righteousness, even if you find yourself surrounded by great danger. Blessed are trials when, however heavy, they do not make one turn aside in the least from righteousness."

—from the book Blessed Are You: Finding Inspiration from Our Sisters in Faith


"Work hard every day at increasing your purity of heart, which consists in appraising things and weighing them in the balance of God's will."
— St. Francis de Sales

"Love proves itself by deeds, and how shall I prove mine? ... I can prove my love only by scattering flowers, that is to say, by never letting slip a single little sacrifice, a single glance, a single word; by making profit of the very smallest actions, by doing them all for love. I want to suffer and even rejoice for love, for this is my way of scattering flowers."
— St. Therese of Lisieux, p. 4-5
The Story of a Soul

"If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."
James 1:26-27


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Saint Teresa of Avila

(March 28, 1515 – October 4, 1582)

Teresa lived in an age of exploration as well as political, social, and religious upheaval. It was the 16th century, a time of turmoil and reform. She was born before the Protestant Reformation and died almost 20 years after the closing of the Council of Trent.

The gift of God to Teresa in and through which she became holy and left her mark on the Church and the world is threefold: She was a woman; she was a contemplative; she was an active reformer.

As a woman, Teresa stood on her own two feet, even in the man's world of her time. She was "her own woman," entering the Carmelites despite strong opposition from her father. She is a person wrapped not so much in silence as in mystery. Beautiful, talented, outgoing, adaptable, affectionate, courageous, enthusiastic, she was totally human. Like Jesus, she was a mystery of paradoxes: wise, yet practical; intelligent, yet much in tune with her experience; a mystic, yet an energetic reformer; a holy woman, a womanly woman.

Teresa was a woman "for God," a woman of prayer, discipline, and compassion. Her heart belonged to God. Her ongoing conversion was an arduous lifelong struggle, involving ongoing purification and suffering. She was misunderstood, misjudged, and opposed in her efforts at reform. Yet she struggled on, courageous and faithful; she struggled with her own mediocrity, her illness, her opposition. And in the midst of all this she clung to God in life and in prayer. Her writings on prayer and contemplation are drawn from her experience: powerful, practical, and graceful. She was a woman of prayer; a woman for God.

Teresa was a woman "for others." Though a contemplative, she spent much of her time and energy seeking to reform herself and the Carmelites, to lead them back to the full observance of the primitive Rule. She founded over a half-dozen new monasteries. She traveled, wrote, fought—always to renew, to reform. In her self, in her prayer, in her life, in her efforts to reform, in all the people she touched, she was a woman for others, a woman who inspired and gave life.

Her writings, especially the Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle, have helped generations of believers.

In 1970, the Church gave her the title she had long held in the popular mind: Doctor of the Church. She and St. Catherine of Siena were the first women so honored.

Ours is a time of turmoil, a time of reform, and a time of liberation. Modern women have in Teresa a challenging example. Promoters of renewal, promoters of prayer, all have in Teresa a woman to reckon with, one whom they can admire and imitate.

Saint Teresa of Avila is the Patron Saint of:


Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Reading 1 Gal 4:22-24, 26-27, 31–5:1

Brothers and sisters:
It is written that Abraham had two sons,
one by the slave woman and the other by the freeborn woman.
The son of the slave woman was born naturally,
the son of the freeborn through a promise.
Now this is an allegory.
These women represent two covenants.
One was from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery;
this is Hagar.
But the Jerusalem above is freeborn, and she is our mother.
For it is written:
Rejoice, you barren one who bore no children;
break forth and shout, you who were not in labor;
for more numerous are the children of the deserted one
than of her who has a husband.
Therefore, brothers and sisters,
we are children not of the slave woman
but of the freeborn woman.

For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm
and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 113:1b-2, 3-4, 5a and 6-7
R. (see 2) Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Praise, you servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
both now and forever.
R. Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
From the rising to the setting of the sun
is the name of the LORD to be praised.
High above all nations is the LORD;
above the heavens is his glory.
R. Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Who is like the LORD, our God,
who looks upon the heavens and the earth below?
He raises up the lowly from the dust;
from the dunghill he lifts up the poor.
R. Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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

Gospel Lk 11:29-32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
"This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here."


Meditation: Luke 11:29-32

Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)

This generation is an evil generation. (Luke 11:29)

Isn't Jesus being a little hard on his generation? But then again, the same thought has probably gone through our minds at some point or another. It can be overwhelming to look around and see ways that our own generation seems to have rejected God. Every day we hear news of some new religious or political scandal, some act of hatred or violence, war or immorality. It can be discouraging!

But there's always reason for hope. Just look at the notorious city of Nineveh. The Ninevites repented when they heard just the beginning of Jonah's preaching. Or consider the pagan Queen of Sheba. She was awestruck and praised the God of Israel for Solomon's wisdom.

Better still, think about Jesus' generation. You could argue that it was one of the most evil. It was members of this generation who rejected Jesus and conspired to kill him—despite all the good that he had done. But even that generation, as bad as it might have been, gave us people like Peter, John, Mary Magdalene, and the Virgin Mary herself. These heroes and heroines, members of this "evil generation," changed the course of history (Luke 11:29). Through them and others like them, the gospel spread throughout the entire Mediterranean Basin—and in just a few decades!

Every generation is evil in its own way. But God pours out grace to every generation, and each generation responds to this grace in its own way. Generation after generation, God continues to gather a people to himself so that he can offer forgiveness, healing, and love to the people he created.

Do we live in an evil generation? Yes, in some ways we do. But in the midst of all the sin, division, hatred, and violence that surround us, we can still take courage. God is not limited by our sins no matter how serious they are. He still reaches out to men and women, and people still respond to him. No matter how bad things may seem, there is always a glimmer of hope, not because of who we are or what we do, but because of God's surpassing love and mercy toward us. We just need to open our eyes to see it.

"Holy Spirit, help me to find your presence in this generation. Help me also to hold onto my hope and trust in you."

Galatians 4:22-24, 26-27, 31–5:1
Psalm 113:1-7


We heard in today's first Holy Scripture: "For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery." Freedom. We love freedom right? But what about the freedom our Lord Christ died for? What about that kind of freedom? The kind that loosens us from the dungeons that the world locks people in, with false idols, ideas, and addictions? The kind of freedom only found when one is bound with Him? Tied with Him? So not much seems to matter, if there is not much love of Christ. His life was free. Born in a manger. No place to call a home. But Heaven.

Let us pray: "From the rising to the setting of the sun is the name of the LORD to be praised. High above all nations is the LORD; above the heavens is his glory. Blessed be the name of the Lord forever". Before going on, let me say thank you. Thank you for your prayers. Our festival was beautiful, a wonderful day. A torrential rain came down all night the night before our festival, so much water pouring all night, but a clearing was promised, just enough sunlight and warmth to warm the hearts of everyone. Thanks be to God. There is a promise. There is a rainbow. There is a heaven. And the promise is from Heaven, and when the heavens touch the earth, it appears colorful, a prism breaks for the light so we can see what it consists of.

In comes the Lord our Christ to introduce us to Heaven. And here, He is confronted, being asked for a sign. In Mathew Chapter 12 we hear: "Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, "Teacher,* we wish to see a sign from you." They want Christ to perform for them. Exactly like King Herod. They want Him to do tricks. They want to see to believe, maybe. He says " ...she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here." Something greater than wisdom? Something greater than the most richest and most wisest King that ever lived? Something....greater? It'd be like asking the world's richest man for 2 pennies when you could ask for thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. We don't ask properly. We don't receive simply because we don't ask rightly. We ask for all the wrong things. Why? Because we want all the wrong things. We want everything, except God's will. If God were to tell you what He really wants, we'd probably walk away like the rich young man who got sad when he was told to give up everything, sell everything and follow Christ. "we'd give everything except....". Except what? What does it cost to follow Jesus? It costs nothing. He doesn't need your money. He doesn't need your house. Love don't cost a thing, not when true love comes in the picture, you don't measure the cost, you just give with all your heart. I met a man at the festival, he is a little older than me and had his grand daughter with him by the hand, a 2 yr. old curly toddler. He said he took care of her even though her mommy and daddy don't care for him very well. I said "love is a one way street....this happens more than you think".

So what kind of sign do we need from Heaven? Do you want to see the stars fall? Do you want a catastrophe to happen? Do you want to see a man flying in the air? All this happens already. No. I bet you want to see love in action. So Jesus gives the sign. The sign of the cross. A man on the cross. A real man on the cross. There, we cross with Him. And only through Heaven



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