Tuesday, July 21, 2020

⛪ . "Stretching Out His Hand . . ."⛪

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The Spirit of God Sends Us Forth

All these gates led me finally to return to the entrance of another "cave" where Saint Francis is buried, in a crypt inside a hill outside the original walls of Assisi. It is a cave that, like all the others, reveals to us the treasure which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that sends us forth from Assisi, as it did Francis, to return to our original true place and find there the way into our own mountain where we find the Spirit of God who will send us forth, beyond our own protective walls, to find the poor among us and beyond us, beyond, at least, our former seeing and living.

And at some point we have to return to Assisi, at least in memory or imagination, and pass through the Capuchin Gate, hopefully in a springtime of the soul, and begin the slow ascent of Mount Subasio and reenter the caves of St. Francis looking for renewed energy and inspiration, for the silence and solitude that send us back to the plain below, to those, especially, who have no lightsome place to lay their head.

—from Enter Assisi: An Invitation to Franciscan Spirituality


†Saint Quote
"Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances."
— St. Vincent de Paul

"The Church, which has spread everywhere, even to the ends of the earth, received the faith from the apostles and their disciples ... Having one soul and one heart, the Church holds this faith, preaches and teaches it consistently as though by a single voice. For though there are different languages, there is but one tradition. ... Just as God's creature, the sun, is one and the same the world over, so also does the Church's preaching shine everywhere to enlighten all men who want to come to a knowledge of the truth. Now of those who speak with authority in the churches, no preacher however forceful will utter anything different—for no one is above the Master—nor will a less forceful preacher diminish what has been handed down. Since our faith is everywhere the same, no one who can say more augments it, nor can anyone who says less diminish it."
— St. Ignatius of Antioch, p. 194
Witness of the Saints

"With the loyal you show yourself loyal; with the blameless you show yourself blameless; with the pure you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you show yourself perverse. For you deliver a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down. It is you who light my lamp; the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness. By you I can crush a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God—his way is perfect; the promise of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all who take refuge in him."
Psalm 18:25-30


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St. Victor of Marseilles (d. 290 A.D.) was a Christian soldier serving in the Roman imperial army in Marseilles, France. Christianity was thriving there, until Emperor Maximian arrived with the intention of putting the Christians to death. This caused the Christians to fear, and St. Victor would go from house to house under the cover of night to admonish them to stand strong in their faith. This behavior drew attention, and during one of his nightly rounds he was arrested. The Roman prefects tried to dissuade him from following a "dead man" (Jesus), but St. Victor testified boldly for the truth of the Christian faith. Enraged, the prefects had him bound and dragged through the streets. Victor was undeterred and continued to denounce the Roman gods. His tortures were renewed until his torturers grew tired, after which he was thrown into a dungeon. That night he was visited by angels, and his three guards were converted and baptized that same night. The next morning the Emperor had the guards beheaded, while St. Victor was kept alive for fresh torments. After three days of abuse, the Emperor commanded Victor to burn incense to the gods. Instead, St. Victor walked up to the altar and kicked it over with his foot. In retaliation, his foot was cut off. Seeing that his efforts to cause Victor to apostatize were useless, the Emperor finally had him crushed to death on a grindstone. His body was thrown into the sea before being recovered and buried by Christians. His tomb became a place where many miracles occurred. St. Victor of Marseilles' feast day is July 21st.


Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 396

Reading 1

Mi 7:14-15, 18-20

Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your inheritance,
That dwells apart in a woodland,
in the midst of Carmel.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
as in the days of old;
As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt,
show us wonderful signs.

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea
all our sins;
You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
and grace to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our fathers
from days of old.

Responsorial Psalm

85:2-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (8a) Lord, show us your mercy and love.
You have favored, O LORD, your land;
you have brought back the captives of Jacob.
You have forgiven the guilt of your people;
you have covered all their sins.
You have withdrawn all your wrath;
you have revoked your burning anger.
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.
Restore us, O God our savior,
and abandon your displeasure against us.
Will you be ever angry with us,
prolonging your anger to all generations?
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.
Will you not instead give us life;
and shall not your people rejoice in you?
Show us, O LORD, your kindness,
and grant us your salvation.
R. Lord, show us your mercy and love.


Jn 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Mt 12:46-50

While Jesus was speaking to the crowds,
his mother and his brothers appeared outside,
wishing to speak with him.
Someone told him, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside,
asking to speak with you."
But he said in reply to the one who told him,
"Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?"
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said,
"Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother."


Daily Meditation: Micah 7:14-15, 18-20

Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old. (Micah 7:14)

What's so special about Bashan and Gilead? And why does Micah pray that God would pasture his people there?

The first time we hear of Bashan and Gilead in the Scriptures is when Moses and the Israelites soundly defeat Og, the king of Bashan, on their way to the Promised Land (Numbers 21:33-35). This fertile territory lay on the east side of the Jordan River and provided rich grazing land to the many flocks pastured there. Bashan was famous for its cattle, its goats, its wheat and wine, as well as its dense forests.

In Gilead grew the proverbial balm to soothe all ills. More than simply rich and fertile lands, Gilead's hill country was also known as a place of refuge. Jacob fled there to get away from his angry father-in-law, Laban (Genesis 31:25). Ishmaelites bearing resin from Gilead pulled Joseph out of the pit where his brothers had abandoned him (37:25). Some of Saul's soldiers hid there from marauding Philistines (1 Samuel 13:7).

So Bashan and Gilead were seen as places of safety and plenty. It's no wonder, then, that Micah asks the Lord to bring his people into these legendary places. Micah foresaw the suffering and exile that the Israelites were going to have to endure, but he was also confident that God wanted to give good things to his beloved people. So he prayed that God would ultimately deliver them, restore them to safety, and bless them with abundance.

Micah used Gilead and Bashan as images of the peace and restoration that God wanted to give his people after they had finished atoning for their unbelief and evil. He trusted that God would treat his people so gently and mercifully because he was convinced of God's faithfulness to his promises.

That's a good perspective to take as you intercede for your family or friends. However difficult things might seem, God still wants to bring you and the people you're praying for to a place of peace and safety, a place of abundance and bounty. You can count on it.

"Lord, I place all my hope in you. I believe that you are leading me to goodness beyond my imagining."

Psalm 85:2-8
Matthew 12:46-50



Self-forgetfulness in prayer cannot be pursued as a deliberately cultivated attitude. We forget ourselves only as our attention no longer rests on self. This occurrence has one primary requirement and condition. It happens when a deeper quality of love turns us in a purer manner toward God.
— Fr. Donald Haggerty
from Contemplative Enigmas


"Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever..."
Mercy calls for one thing, and righteousness for another. If you are forgiven, you are given a chance to repay, to make amends, restitution, this thing we call "reconciliation" in the Catholic Church. If I've been fruitful, I shall blame it on this gift of grace given to Abraham, and I fight for the gift of Jacob...faithfulness. For if Abraham thought himself disgraced, he was graced with mercy. And, if Jacob thought himself unfaithful, he was given faithfulness from God through His endless mercy. Where do you find yourself today? Are you in need of faith and grace? You've come to the right place. Here you will be guided to His Precious side, where we form the bride.


We pray: ". Lord, show us your mercy and love.
Restore us, O God our savior, and abandon your displeasure against us. Will you be ever angry with us, prolonging your anger to all generations?
Lord, show us your mercy and love."
It is said, in the cursillo, that our founder had a focus on the movement, and it was not to quench one's thirst, not to solve all one's problems, but to create a hunger, and to unveil the problem in one's soul. And that is what I hope too now. I hope that I make you thirsty my friend. For what? Mercy. Grace. All things Eucharist. But first mercy, to receive grace.


"Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you."
Jesus was crowded in a packed house, so much so that his own mother couldn't reach Him and so she called out for Him. At one point they wanted to "save Him" thinking He'd gone crazy. And then He said something crazy, not helping their situation when He says: "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother."
Is that crazy? Or is that truth? They say that you don't have much of a choice when it comes to believing Christ. It's like C.S. Lewis said "Either you'll make Him a liar, a lunatic, or Lord."

Meditate with me:
I claim my heritage. I claim my family. And for this claim, I will have to face the truth, wherever it takes me. _
I am a child of God. I am not only His friend, but brother/sister, mother. _
I am then His family. I belong to Him and He belongs to Me as in a true familial relation. He searches for me and I search for Him.
Yesterday afternoon, after work, I was walking around the house as I normally do before entering the house, and I do it for many reasons, to clean, to exercise, and to pray. My kids keep me busy. I could make them do it, but I need to get busy exercising, and praying. And in my rosary yesterday, in the Joyful mystery of the visitation, I envisioned myself in light of today's Holy Scripture, as a brother of Jesus, and if Elizabeth was perhaps Jesus' aunt, I would then call her my aunt. "Aunt Elizabeth, please hear my prayers for.....". And so I prayed like this and it actually made me feel a part of God's family, in a strange way. As I was about to finish the rosary, all kids and my wife pushing the baby in a stroller came out saying we were all going to pray the rosary. Secretly, I was about done...but not all. And so we prayed walking outside, and I said "we will stop walking and give praise and glory to God at each prayer Glory Be" and so it came to be. A familial thing happened. Something good has happened in all this pandemic chaos. I'm not so stressed at work, or about church ministries. I can focus on listening to people, because I'm not so mentally tied up. I'm more open to unity with others. There isn't much work at work, and there isn't much church work....but now the works must become real. All of Christ's teachings must be applied now.

On the 5th Joyful mystery I reiterated to everyone outloud Christ's 12 year old saying "did you not know I must be about My Father's business?"
Today He said "whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother."
It is about doing God's will, His business.
They say this is the entrance to Heaven; to be recognized. Otherwise, He will say "I do not know you, get away evil doer".
And so it is true about being His brothers and sisters and mothers.
He left out fathers. Because we have only one Father God. He is one with the Father. And Father God created His own mother. Tell that to the next confused protestant or agnostic. God was able to create His own Mother. And He made a marvelous creation. Someone to care and nurture and love Him like no one else ever could or would. Because He created her out of love. Blessed Sister Anne Emerich said in her visions of Mary, that Mother Mary never really was seen laughing, but she had this contemplative semi smile at times...and you know what that look is: Grace.
Mother full of grace. Mother most amiable, most beautiful. Mother most chaste. Pure and purity of virgins, and God was born, and she remains full of grace, inviolate, even more graceful as mothers become after bearing a child. She was born to need Christ and Christ was born to fulfill the need of her life as He looked to her for life giving

Who now will tend to Christ's ailing body?
Who now will tend to His precious wounds?
Who will feed Him when He is starving on the streets or alone in the prison? Momma does, and Momma will.
But what about you? You are called too....


Random Bible verse from an online generator:

Philipians 2:3
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.


If one day you don't receive these, just visit my website, surely you'll find me there. God Bless You! Share the Word. Share this, share what is good

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