Despair descends when we feel helpless and trapped in a dire situation. When hope breaks ground, we feel empowered. It propels us into tomorrow even though the situation remains the same. I think of those with life-threatening diseases who valiantly face the day. Despair descends when meaning disappears and our lives become flat and directionless. When hope is awakened, we recalibrate our lives and rediscover meaning and purpose. Hope returns the sparkle to life. I think of those in broken relationships who remain open to friendship and love. Despair descends when a loved one dies, leaving us feeling abandoned and forsaken. When hope is offered and received, we begin to celebrate the life of our beloved and grow in the awareness of one day being with the deceased again for all eternity. I think of those left behind by suicide who live with peace of mind. Hope empowers, enlightens, gives confidence and a sure footing, and blesses us with meaning and purpose. Though the Peace Prayer has us praying to sow the seeds of hope among those who despair, we know that is humanly impossible. As instruments of God, all we can do is train our souls and the souls of others to be open and receptive as we till the soil and await another experience of the gratuity of grace.
—from the book Soul Training with the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis by Albert Haase, OFM
†Saint Quote "Every pious desire, every good thought, every charitable work inspired by the love of Jesus, contributes to the perfection of the whole body of the faithful. A person who does nothing more than lovingly pray to God for his brethren, participates in the great work of saving souls." — Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich
†MEDITATION OF THE DAY "The life of our flesh is the delight of sensuality; its death is to take from it all sensible delight. The life of our judgment and our will is to dispose of ourselves and what is ours, according to our own views and wishes; their death, then, is to submit ourselves in all things to the judgment and will of others. The life of the desire for esteem and respect is to be well thought of by everyone; its death, therefore, is to hide ourselves so as not to be known, by means of continual acts of humility and self-abasement. Until one succeeds in dying in this manner, he will never be a servant of God, nor will God ever perfectly live in him." —St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, p. 126 AN EXCERPT FROM Cultivating Virtue: Self-Mastery With the Saints
†VERSE OF THE DAY "Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."" Matthew 28:18-20
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ST. VIRGINIA CENTURIONE BRACELLI
St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli (1587–1651) was born in Genoa, Italy, to an aristocratic family. She was pious and desired the religious life, however, at the age of fifteen she was forced into an arranged marriage. Her husband, a wealthy and illustrious man, lived dissolutely as a drinker and a gambler despite Virginia's good example. After having two daughters, Virginia was widowed at the age of twenty. Refusing another arranged marriage, Virginia took a vow of celibacy and began charitable works in service of the sick and poor while raising her children. Once her daughters were grown, she used her wealth to found a refuge center for the suffering which grew into a large hospital, and soon into two religious congregations: the Sisters of Our Lady of Refuge in Mount Calvary, and the Daughters of Our Lady on Mount Calvary. Virginia was committed not only to serving the poor and destitute—even to the point of seeking them out in the streets—she was also committed to training the underprivileged with skills so that they could attain a better way of life. She also worked as a peacemaker to help settle the frequent bloody rivalries which rose up between noble families. St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli's feast day is December 15.
Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 188 Reading 1
ZEP 3:1-2, 9-13
Thus says the LORD: Woe to the city, rebellious and polluted, to the tyrannical city! She hears no voice, accepts no correction; In the LORD she has not trusted, to her God she has not drawn near.
For then I will change and purify the lips of the peoples, That they all may call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one accord; From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia and as far as the recesses of the North, they shall bring me offerings.
On that day You need not be ashamed of all your deeds, your rebellious actions against me; For then will I remove from your midst the proud braggarts, And you shall no longer exalt yourself on my holy mountain. But I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly, Who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD: the remnant of Israel. They shall do no wrong and speak no lies; Nor shall there be found in their mouths a deceitful tongue; They shall pasture and couch their flocks with none to disturb them..
PS 34:2-3, 6-7, 17-18, 19 AND 23
R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor. I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Let my soul glory in the LORD; the lowly will hear me and be glad. R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor. Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame. When the poor one called out, the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him. R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor. The LORD confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth. When the just cry out, the LORD hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them. R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. The LORD redeems the lives of his servants; no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him. R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Alleluia R. Alleluia, alleluia. Come, O Lord, do not delay; forgive the sins of your people. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: "What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, 'Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.' The son said in reply, 'I will not,' but afterwards he changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, 'Yes, sir,' but did not go. Which of the two did his father's will?" They answered, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him."
Daily Meditation: Matthew 21:28-32
He changed his mind. (Matthew 21:29)
Do you think the religious leaders felt insulted when they heard this parable? They must have guessed that Jesus was comparing them to the second son in the story, the one who said yes to his father's request to work in the vineyard but ended up not following through. Perhaps even more insulting was how Jesus seemed to be identifying the first son, who eventually did his father's will: the tax collectors and prostitutes who had repented and believed. Of course they were offended!
Jesus was trying to drive home a point: these men needed a change of heart and mind. They had been resisting God's will by rejecting John the Baptist, and now they were rejecting Jesus, God's own Son, who had come to save them.
What Jesus wanted for the leaders in Jerusalem, he also wants for us. You may say, "I'm not like those Pharisees. I believe there's a God and I try to go to Mass." Praise God for that! But that's just the beginning of the Christian life. There's also the call to let God continually soften your heart so that you can follow him more closely.
Like the first son in the parable, we all need ongoing conversion—that "change of mind" that leads us back into the vineyard to love and serve the Lord. Working in the fields isn't just a matter of completing one task or duty; it means having a servant's heart and being open to whatever God asks of us. So to change our mind means making sure each day that we are not resisting God and his will but are trying to follow him, wherever he may lead.
So ask yourself, "How is God already doing this work in my life? In what ways am I saying yes to him, even if I initially resisted it?" Then thank him for the grace of helping you to grow and embrace his will, even if it sometimes feels like a burden.
But also spend some time looking for areas of resistance to God's invitations. Are there small ways—or big ones—in which you still don't trust his plan for your life? If so, ask the Holy Spirit for the grace of changing your mind.
"Thank you, Lord, for helping me obey you. Continue to change my heart this Advent."
No one is without a family in this world: The Church is a home and family for everyone, especially those who are "labor and are heavy laden. — St. John Paul II from Familiaris Consortio
my2cents: "Nor shall there be found in their mouths a deceitful tongue..." Deception is a dark veil that enveloped the world, that poison that we took, and deception hides in the dark. Much of lives has to deal with deception. But to God, there is no deception, He can see through darkness when we cannot. A scripture I always remember, is when our Lord met Nathanael and said in one translation "Here is an Israelite indeed [a true descendant of Jacob], in whom there is no guile nor deceit nor duplicity!"
Nathanael said to Jesus, "How do You know [these things about] me?" Jesus answered, "Before Philip called you, when you were still under the fig tree, I saw you." He sees what we cannot. He sees when we do not. His sight pierces the darkness. He Saves. He Says and He Saves.
We pray today: "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. The LORD redeems the lives of his servants; no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him. The Lord hears the cry of the poor." As I write, I recall a person's testimony that experienced hell, and in this life and death experience, the person experienced our Lord saving them by pulling them out with His hand. Those who take refuge in Him incur no guilt, what does this mean? It means entrusting our life in Him, away from the worldliness and into holiness. And the Lord hears those who seek Him truly, and in the tone of truth, let us hear Him today.
Our Lord asked about the two sons, "Which of the two did his father's will?" In the end, one son repents. And on the other end, the other rescinds and retracts.
Repent and believe. You have retracted for so long. You have withheld and for what purpose? Pride. Who am I speaking to? The ego.
Our Lord ends with: "When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him." Change your minds. Our lives are called for in today's passage.
In you faithful, in you resides a more powerful calling. There is nothing new under the sun. That is to say, the attitudes of today, are those of yesterday. Technology only improves on the old. That is why I like the message. We are building the future. There are some seeking to destroy the future and they call themselves architects, and that the whole of humanity depends on them and what they say and do. But as for us, we build on, not mankind, but on our Lord in Heaven, a temple. The old gods still exist, those that focus on the person and convenience. But the true God of all, exists, that focuses on Love and sacrifice. Today, our Lord asks for truth. Some are bold enough to admit they are sinful. Some Pharisees deny they are sinful. And I'm speaking about non church goers and those that go all the time. Some say they are not worthy to come to church. Some in church declare they are worthy and righteous. You see, the same attitudes exist today.
The faithful are called for more, and those who are unfaithful will fall into their own demise. What is your task? What is your calling? Truth and sincerity. Your every word, and your every thought is revealed in Heaven. That's how I live...afraid. Not of man and all the twisted things man does, but afraid of God and His truth revealed. I've been broken down and am being reshaped. There is nothing new, the truth is simply being revealed. That what was covered, is being uncovered. What does this mean?
You were designed and destined to be holy. Against all odds you have made it to this point. Now, in faith, take refuge into the Sacred Heart of Jesus. His fire purifies the soul. Think the confessional. Think sincerity. Think being covered in grace.
Lord, I want to live in Your refuge, Your temple, Your Home, and I know it begins now, my Lord and my refuge, my shield in whom I trust...
Random Bible verse from online generator
Mt 5:14 14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that1 they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
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