Wednesday, July 24, 2019

⛪ ...When the SUN Rose.. .⛪

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Inspiration to feed your spirit.

One Foot in Front of the Other

I told my family that there was nothing complicated about the Camino. All I had to do was get up each day and walk. At times it was very hard, while at other times it was a great joy. But it was never complex. This is the case in the spiritual life, too. If you want to receive the prize prepared for you from the beginning of time, you only need to keep walking. There will be times when it will be tremendously difficult, and every part of you will cry out for you to stop. But you mustn't. Take a moment and be still. Pray for the strength to go on, and begin walking again. The grace will be there, and you can do it. Small steps. One foot in front of the other. There will be other times when the walk will be filled with great joy and beauty. Whatever the case, God is present.

−from Hiking the Camino: 500 Miles with Jesus


†Saint Quote
"Announcing the Gospel is the first and greatest act of charity."
— St. Arnold Janssen

"We have to accustom ourselves to pray in all places and at all times. The real place to pray in is the soul, for God dwells there. If we wish to obey our Lord's counsel, when we pray we should enter the chamber of our soul, close the door, and speak to the Father, whose loving eyes seek ever our own. This inner chamber of our soul is the true temple, the sacred sanctuary, and we carry it with us and can at any time either remain there or quickly return to it, should we have been obliged to leave it."
— Dom Augustin Guillerand, p. 111
The Prayer of the Presence of God

"What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done."
Matthew: 16:26-27


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St. Christina of Bolsena (1150-1224) was born to a peasant family in Belgium. She was orphaned as a child and raised by her two older sisters. When she was 21 she had what was believed to be a severe seizure, and was pronounced dead. At her funeral she suddenly revived and levitated before the bewildered congregation. She said that during her coma she had been to heaven, hell, and purgatory and had been given the option to either die and enter heaven, or return to earth to suffer and pray for the holy souls in purgatory. Christina chose the greater act of charity. From then on she lived in extreme poverty: wearing rags, sleeping on rocks, and begging for her food. She is called "Astonishing" because she did the most bizarre things and suffered the pains of inhuman feats without being physically harmed by them. She would roll in fire and hide in hot ovens; she would stand in freezing water for hours in the dead of winter; she allowed herself to be dragged under water by a mill wheel; she spent much time in graveyards. She would also climb trees to escape the strong odor of sin in those she met. Many thought her to be possessed by demons or insane, but many devout people recognized and vouched for her sincerity, obedience, and sanctity. They believed that she was a living witness to the pains that souls experience in purgatory, willingly suffering with them and for them. Christina the Astonishing is the patron of those with mental illness and disorders, mental health workers, psychiatrists, and therapists. Her feast day is July 24th.


Saint Sharbel Makhluf

(May 8, 1828 – December 24, 1898 )
Although this saint never traveled far from the Lebanese village of Beka-Kafra where he was born, his influence has spread widely.

Joseph Zaroun Makluf was raised by an uncle because his father, a mule driver, died when Joseph was only three. At the age of 23, Joseph joined the Monastery of St. Maron at Annaya, Lebanon, and took the name Sharbel in honor of a second-century martyr. He professed his final vows in 1853, and was ordained six years later.

Following the example of the fifth-century Saint Maron, Sharbel lived as a hermit from 1875, until his death. His reputation for holiness prompted people to seek him to receive a blessing and to be remembered in his prayers. He followed a strict fast and was very devoted to the Blessed Sacrament. When his superiors occasionally asked him to administer the sacraments to nearby villages, Sharbel did so gladly.

He died in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve. Christians and non-Christians soon made his tomb a place of pilgrimage and of cures. Pope Paul VI beatified Sharbel in 1965, and canonized him 12 years later.

John Paul II often said that the Church has two lungs—East and West—and it must learn to breathe using both of them. Remembering saints like Sharbel helps the Church to appreciate both the diversity and unity present in the Catholic Church. Like all the saints, Sharbel points us to God and invites us to cooperate generously with God's grace, no matter what our situation in life may be. As our prayer life becomes deeper and more honest, we become more ready to make that generous response.


Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Ex 16:1-5, 9-15

The children of Israel set out from Elim,
and came into the desert of Sin,
which is between Elim and Sinai,
on the fifteenth day of the second month
after their departure from the land of Egypt.
Here in the desert the whole assembly of the children of Israel
grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
The children of Israel said to them,
"Would that we had died at the LORD's hand in the land of Egypt,
as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!
But you had to lead us into this desert
to make the whole community die of famine!"

Then the LORD said to Moses,
"I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.
Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion;
thus will I test them,
to see whether they follow my instructions or not.
On the sixth day, however, when they prepare what they bring in,
let it be twice as much as they gather on the other days."

Then Moses said to Aaron, "Tell the whole congregation
of the children of Israel:
Present yourselves before the LORD,
for he has heard your grumbling."
When Aaron announced this to the whole assembly of the children of Israel,
they turned toward the desert, and lo,
the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud!
The LORD spoke to Moses and said,
"I have heard the grumbling of the children of Israel.
Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh,
and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread,
so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God."

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp.
In the morning a dew lay all about the camp,
and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert
were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground.
On seeing it, the children of Israel asked one another, "What is this?"
for they did not know what it was.
But Moses told them,
"This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 78:18-19, 23-24, 25-26, 27-28

R. (24b) The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
They tempted God in their hearts
by demanding the food they craved.
Yes, they spoke against God, saying,
"Can God spread a table in the desert?"
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
Yet he commanded the skies above
and the doors of heaven he opened;
He rained manna upon them for food
and gave them heavenly bread.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
Man ate the bread of angels,
food he sent them in abundance.
He stirred up the east wind in the heavens,
and by his power brought on the south wind.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
And he rained meat upon them like dust,
and, like the sand of the sea, winged fowl,
Which fell in the midst of their camp
round about their tents.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 13:1-9

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
"A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear."


Meditation: Exodus 16:1-5, 9-15

Saint Sharbel Makhluf, Priest

What is this? (Exodus 16:15)

Throughout the Israelites' forty years in the wilderness, God gave them bread from heaven—without fail. Every morning, they woke to a fine covering of manna on the ground, just enough food for the day. Then, just to be safe, God gave them a double portion on the day before the Sabbath so that they wouldn't have to work on the day of rest. Imagine how moving this must have been for the Israelites. They could trust that God would take care of them—and that he would do it in such a dramatic way!

But over time, the Israelites began to grow tired of the manna (Numbers 11:6). It was the same food, day in, day out, and they lost sight of how wondrous a gift it was. They lost sight too of what their lives would look like if God hadn't been so gracious to them.

How easy it can be for us, as well, to lose sight of the gift that Jesus gives us in the Bread of Life. After all, we believe that at every Mass, no matter what else happens, ordinary bread and wine are transformed into Jesus' sacred Body and Blood. Day in, day out, year after year, the same miracle happens on countless altars throughout the world.

On one level, it's understandable that receiving the Eucharist can become routine for us. We might even begin to lose sight of how special it is. Don't let that happen! Don't ever lose faith in what Jesus can do for you through the Eucharist! Before God gave them the manna, the Israelites faced the very real threat of starving to death in the harsh wilderness of Sinai. Similarly, if we didn't have Jesus' Body and Blood to nourish and empower us, we too would be lost in the desert of this world. We too would have little hope of reaching the promised land of heaven.

So treasure this gift. At every Mass, be sure you call to mind what it is that you are receiving. Let the truths behind the Bread of Life bring you to the altar with a new openness to God's power and grace.

"Lord Jesus, who are we that you should come to us in such a humble way? Praise to you, Lord, for your gift of divine life!"

Psalm 78:18-19, 23-28
Matthew 13:1-9



The sacrament of confession is not a psychological affair in which the essential elements are self-reflection and self-recognition. It is rather a matter of God's nearness, a nearness attained by the effective will to show oneself to God as one is, in a condition brought by the grace of the triune God to resemble that of the Son on the Cross.
—Adrienne von Speyr
from Confession


"I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.
Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not."
Is it fair that God tests His children? What is He testing? Why is He testing? Is it right to test someone to see if they really love you? Can't you just trust somebody and leave it at that? In the case of God, yes you can test perfection and see He is always right and trustworthy. In the case of humans, we can test and see that they will fail you at some point. Some fail all the time. All your tests you put out will bring back a big fat "F". But what you will see, is that God tests with an unhuman characteristic. He tests the heart and He grades with a pen of time. Time is a feature we like to believe we are familiar with. But with Him, everything stands still, there is no time like we know. So the time He grades with is all the time we have for Him and have lived with Him. That much do we love Him? Tell me now, if time is money, how much have you spent on Him? With Him? If time is so precious to you, how many times have you visited the Lord? In the Blessed Sacrament, the Sacraments, in the lost and lonely? Did you pass the test? Yesterday? Last week? Today indeed is the forever now to spend with Him. He gives bread from Heaven to this very day, and it is called Manna in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament it is called Eucharist. Manna means "what is this" and Eucharist means "thanksgiving". Yet the people grumbled as their bellies grumbled, they were "hangry" as they say, hungry for more, bored with Mass. They wanted to go back to their old lifestyles. They missed the "flesh pots" and parties. Now comes the real test. Who will remain ... humble.

Let us pray: "Yet he commanded the skies above and the doors of heaven he opened; He rained manna upon them for food and gave them heavenly bread.
The Lord gave them bread from heaven."
What does Manna taste like? It is unleavened bread. It glistens white in the sun light, and it tastes light. It is easy to eat. It dissolves and quickly becomes a part of you. It is brought about by the morning dew.
In the Bible we hear "Your dead will live; Their corpses will rise You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits." Jesus said of the Eucharist "whoever eats this bread this flesh of Mine shall live forever". Whence we die, those with this morning dew will live. They say some saints lived on Eucharist alone. In Christ alone. Is it possible? Tell me your desire.


In the Holy Gospel, our Lord spoke from the Seashore, on a boat. He speaks from a place where we can only hear Him as we stay on earth. And He begins a parable ""A sower went out to sow." And you know how the seeds are scattered throughout the entire world. And in your world? What kind of challenges does the seed face? They say some seeds can last in a dormant phase for years and years. Some do not last. Some seeds grow in seemingly impossible places. Many do not. Some seeds are transported through animals, some through wind, and some by water. Some are not. A couple of years ago, I invited some men to a Good Friday retreat day. A day of spiritual exercises and physical exercise. At one point, we found a wood beam to carry as a cross, to cross a field. When we crossed the field, after a prayer at a cross, we found a bag of seed behind the cross (which I had placed in preparation for the retreat). I asked the men on that windy and dry day, with parched land thirsting for water, to go and sow the seeds. They scattered them everywhere, among thorn bushes (mesquite) and mostly dry land with some weeds, for overgrazing was occuring by the cattle and critters. As I read the Gospel today, I said, let me take a picture of the area to show everyone what it looks like today.


There is rocky ground, and dry spots, but there is grass now. And grass among weeds, just like in the Parable our Lord taught. Some grass has died for lack of roots. Some has been choked by weeds. Now take a look at the next picture.


We made our way to a watering hole for the cattle. Fertile soil. The grass seed took well in the fenced in area, no weeds, no rocks, just fertile soil and grass.
When we were sowing, we were sowing with Hope.
Hope is Jesus.
When we threw the seeds, we knew something would happen, because we sowed with Faith.
Faith is our love of Jesus.
When we threw seeds, we were not withholding from the earth what belonged to the earth. Life. Our life with faith and hope is to be sowed. And then we will reap.
They say it takes money to make money. They say it takes exercise to build muscle. In the things of God, it takes great love to be love. Exertion. Exert seeds of faith, hope, and love. Those seeds we know of as Mercy, and Humility. Just keep putting them out there, everywhere, do not be stingy.
Some won't grow, but some will remain dormant. Have faith. You need not see results all the time, you need not see the future, and you need not worry about the past. I saw a sign yesterday that said "work harder today if you want a better tomorrow", and of course I think about our exertion in spiritual affairs. Yes, let's work harder. If it is hard, then work harder. How? Love more and love better.
Our choirs were suffering in our parish. Then one day the Priest, the Father, said "we need to have a meeting" and a few showed up. There, the Father said "we need to get better". We rolled our eyes and looked at each other, we've been trying for years to get better and things just seem to get worse!". But I took the message to heart. "OK Father." Now we are actually meeting, and the choirs are improving. Diamonds, they say, are hard pieces of carbon, compressed with much time. Isn't God worth so much?

Yes. Yes let's Give Him our ALL!


hear it read


Random Bible Verse1
Matthew 5:4 (Listen)

4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

Thank You Jesus

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