Monday, November 25, 2019

⛪ . .More Than All The Rest. . .⛪

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Where Lion and Lamb Lie Down

Francis looked intently, and he looked with reverence and with love. He is moved. And it is that movement of the heart that leads to action. At the very least, it leads to praise; or if what is seen is broken or hurt, it leads to the need to help the other. And that need to help for Francis is not minimal. He pushes the envelope, for example, vis-à-vis the lepers. He doesn't simply give them a coin or food. He goes and lives among them and "works mercy with them." It is a mutual exchange. They both experience mercy. That mutual giving and receiving is, I believe, the bedrock of Franciscan peacemaking. By overcoming shame or fear; or whatever it is that is holding you back from reaching out to the poor and broken ones, you enter a startling world of sweetness of soul that is not just self-serving but that accomplishes a profound reconciliation of opposites that makes it possible to experience a new, unexpected bond with the other. And you want to stay there, not necessarily in that physical place but in that spiritual and psychological space where the lion and the lamb lie down together. Nor is the bond something static. It only endures if you continue to overcome new barriers, cross new and fearsome barriers so that you yourself become the place of reconciliation wherever you go. That kind of portable peacemaker was who St. Francis was.

—from Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis by Murray Bodo


† Saint Quote
"If you suffer with Him, you will reign with Him. If you cry with Him, you will have joy with Him. If you die with Him on the cross of tribulation, you will possess the eternal dwelling place in the splendor of the saints. And your name, written in the book of life, will be glorious among men."
— St. Clare of Assisi

"The soul, enlightened by faith, judges of things in a very different way to those who, having only the standard of the senses by which to measure them, ignore the inestimable treasure they contain . . . the soul that recognizes the will of God in every smallest event, and also in those that are most distressing and direful, receives all with an equal joy, pleasure and respect. It throws open all its doors to receive with honor what others fear and fly from with horror. The outward appearance may be mean and contemptible, but beneath this abject garb the heart discovers and honors the majesty of the king. The deeper the abasement of his entry in such a guise and in secret the more does the heart become filled with love."
— Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, p. 23-4
Abandonment to Divine Providence

"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30


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St. Catherine of Alexandria (4th c.) was born to a noble pagan family in Alexandria, Egypt, and her father was governor of the city. She was an intelligent child who devoted herself to study, and converted to the Christian faith after the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her in a vision. Many of her fellow Christians were put to death under the reign of Roman Emperor Maxentius. Catherine, at the age of 18, rebuked the emperor to his face for this injustice, giving a skillful defense of the Christian faith. In response, Maxentius brought fifty of his best philosophers to debate with her and refute her claims. St. Catherine not only won the argument by confounding her opponents, but she caused many of them to convert to the Christian faith. The emperor offered Catherine a royal marriage if she would renounce her faith, but she refused. She was imprisoned, and while in captivity, through her newfound fame, converted the emperor's wife and two hundred of his soldiers. When this was discovered, Maxentius had them all put to death. Catherine was to be tortured and killed by being torn apart on a spiked wheel, but the wheel fell to pieces when it touched her. She was finally martyred by beheading. St. Catherine is the patroness of philosophers, preachers, lawyers, apologists, scholars, and librarians, to name a few. Her feast day is celebrated on November 25th.


Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 503
Reading 1

Dn 1:1-6, 8-20

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah,
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came
and laid siege to Jerusalem.
The Lord handed over to him Jehoiakim, king of Judah,
and some of the vessels of the temple of God;
he carried them off to the land of Shinar,
and placed the vessels in the temple treasury of his god.

The king told Ashpenaz, his chief chamberlain,
to bring in some of the children of Israel of royal blood
and of the nobility, young men without any defect,
handsome, intelligent and wise,
quick to learn, and prudent in judgment,
such as could take their place in the king's palace;
they were to be taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans;
after three years' training they were to enter the king's service.
The king allotted them a daily portion of food and wine
from the royal table.
Among these were men of Judah: Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah.

But Daniel was resolved not to defile himself
with the king's food or wine;
so he begged the chief chamberlain to spare him this defilement.
Though God had given Daniel the favor and sympathy
of the chief chamberlain, he nevertheless said to Daniel,
"I am afraid of my lord the king;
it is he who allotted your food and drink.
If he sees that you look wretched
by comparison with the other young men of your age,
you will endanger my life with the king."
Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief chamberlain
had put in charge of Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah,
"Please test your servants for ten days.
Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.
Then see how we look in comparison with the other young men
who eat from the royal table,
and treat your servants according to what you see."
He acceded to this request, and tested them for ten days;
after ten days they looked healthier and better fed
than any of the young men who ate from the royal table.
So the steward continued to take away
the food and wine they were to receive, and gave them vegetables.

To these four young men God gave knowledge and proficiency
in all literature and science,
and to Daniel the understanding of all visions and dreams.
At the end of the time the king had specified for their preparation,
the chief chamberlain brought them before Nebuchadnezzar.
When the king had spoken with all of them,
none was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah;
and so they entered the king's service.
In any question of wisdom or prudence which the king put to them,
he found them ten times better
than all the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom.

Responsorial Psalm

Daniel 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56

R.(52b) Glory and praise for ever!
"Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages."
R. Glory and praise for ever!
"Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
praiseworthy and glorious above all forever."
R. Glory and praise for ever!
"Blessed are you on the throne of your Kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever."
R. Glory and praise for ever!
"Blessed are you who look into the depths
from your throne upon the cherubim,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever."
R. Glory and praise for ever!
"Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,
praiseworthy and glorious forever."
R. Glory and praise for ever!


Mt 24:42a, 44

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stay awake!
For you do not know when the Son of Man will come.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Lk 21:1-4

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people
putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, "I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood."


Meditation: Luke 21:1-4
Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr (Optional Memorial) (34th or Last Week in Ordinary Time)

This poor widow put in more than all the rest. (Luke 21:3)

Why did this widow catch Jesus' attention? Perhaps because he was well aware of the plight of widows. In first-century Palestine, a woman who had lost her husband and had no sons to support her could end up defenseless and destitute. Jesus probably suspected that this widow had little to give, so he commended her for offering "her whole livelihood" (Luke 21:4).

Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, God commands his people to take special care of widows, and Jesus took that command very seriously. When he entered the city of Nain, he saw a man being carried out on a funeral bier, "the only son of his mother, and she was a widow" (Luke 7:12). Taking pity on her, he raised the man and returned him to his mother. Later, he condemned those who took advantage of widows, just as the prophets had done (20:47; Isaiah 10:2).

On a more personal level, Jesus knew what it meant to care for a widowed mother: when Joseph died, Mary would have been left all alone but for his loving attention. Not only did his work as a carpenter support her, but he likely also cared for her spiritual needs. Can you imagine Jesus lighting the candles and reciting the prayers for their sabbath meal each week?

Although Jesus eventually left Nazareth to begin his public ministry, he must have ensured that Mary's needs would be met. Even from the cross, he made provision for her, entrusting her to his disciple John (John 19:26-27). Clearly, widows held a special place in Jesus' heart!

If you are a widow or widower, remember that Jesus looks on you with the same tenderness and respect he had for his own mother and for the woman in today's Gospel. Even if you are feeling alone, afraid, or vulnerable, know that Jesus cares deeply for you and is by your side.

Today's reading is also a good reminder of the sacred obligation we all have to care for those who are lonely and widowed. May we always show them the love and care that they both need and deserve.

"Jesus, bless all men and women who are widowed with a sign of your special love and care for them."

Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20
(Psalm) Daniel 3:52-56



The way that God is seen in this world is by following Christ; seeing is going, is being on the way for our whole life toward the living God, whereby Jesus Christ, by the entire way that he walked, especially by the Paschal Mystery of his suffering, death, Resurrection, and Ascension, presents us with the itinerary.
—Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
from On the Way to Jesus Christ


"Please test your servants for ten days." The good steward then tested them for 10 days. Mercy came. You see, we can ask for mercy, and you'd be amazed at who grants mercy. The amazing One grants mercy as He sees fit. These men put their lives in God's hands.


We pray today: "Glory and praise for ever!
"Blessed are you on the throne of your Kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever."
Let's just pretend that there is a magnificent throne in Heaven, and there is someone sitting there already. This makes some people mad. What people? The ones that want control. The ones who are....faithless.


In the short and beautiful Gospel today, our Lord says ""I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest". She put in 100%. So often we want to do what is basic minimums required. What does that do to you? For instance, in the credit card, if all you pay is the interest or minimum payment, you could very well never pay off the debt. But if you pay 100% of the balance? That is...if you will give! Why are we so afraid to give? And why are we afraid to give til it hurts? So many serve in ministries, but once it hurts, if it calls for sacrifice or humiliations, then they back off. Or what if your faith calls for faith when there seems to be no faith? Now who is the one giving? And I'm talking about the dark night of the soul, like one of the spiritual giants of our times...Mother Teresa. Who knows how much she hurt. Who knows how much she suffered. She didn't have to do that, you know very well. What made her so special? Was it her particular calling? Was it a special grace from God?

Why does someone choose to suffer? Let us ask our Lord in Heaven.
I have randomly opened the book IMITATION OF CHRIST, and our Lord speaks:
"I ask nothing more of you than this: your efforts to surrender yourself wholly to Me. I care for nothing else that you can give besides yourself; for it is not your gift but you that I seek.
2. Since it would not satisfy you if you had everything but Me, so neither am I pleased with anything you give if you do not offer Me yourself.
Give yourself to Me-your entire self to your God-and your offering will be accepted.

See how I offered Myself wholly to the Father for you; I gave My Body and Blood to be your food, that I might be all yours, and you completely Mine. But if you rely on yourself and will not offer yourself freely to My will, your offering is incomplete, and a perfect union will not exist between us.

Before all else, you must make a willing offering of yourself into God's hands, if you wish to obtain grace and freedom. The reason why so few are inwardly free and enlightened is because so few give themselves completely.
My words are unchanged: "Anyone of you who does not renounce all of his possessions cannot be my disciple" (Lk 14:33). Therefore, if you wish to be MY disciple, offer up yourself to Me with all your affections."

How does that tie in with today's Gospel? Giving 100% means something. Some will give all their money, but some will give all their heart, and there are a rare few who can do both, giving with great love. I challenge you to the latter. Our Lord has spoken. Oracle of the Lord. I'm going to tell you something I believe I have witnessed in a vision one time: I was covered with a veil, hidden in the mantle of our Blessed Mother, she let me see from lofty grandeur the epitomy of the Holy Mass, whereupon I witnessed myriads coming to the central throne of light, and there, they were presenting their gifts to the King in this grandiose ceremony, and all I can say in plain earthly words is that this was truly....a banquet of love. That is the meaning of your gift. How great your gift can be. You may think you are nobody, but your love means everything to Him.


hear it read

Random Bible Verse 1

Ephesians 6:10
The Whole Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

Thank You Lord

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