A younger friend told me about a life crossroads, which felt weighted by conundrum. I asked, "So what's next?" She replied, "I'm just waiting for God to show me what he wants from me." "OK," I said to her. "But in the meantime, until you have your life and self figured out and straightened out, I have a suggestion: Live this day, with this self, without holding back. Today; savor, doubt, embrace, question, wrestle, give, risk, love, fall down, get up, accept your incomplete and fractured self, know that anything worth doing is worth doing badly, speak from your whole heart, and whenever you can, lavish excessive compassion and mercy and healing and hope and second chances and grace and restoration and kindness on anyone who crosses your path. Who knows, we may love one another into existence. And I'm sure God won't mind."
— from the book This Is the Life: Mindfulness, Finding Grace, and the Power of the Present Moment by Terry Hershey
†Saint Quote "What great faith our Lord Jesus Christ asks of us—and how just that is. Do we not owe him such faith? It looks impossible to us, but Jesus is Master of the impossible." — Blessed Charles de Foucauld
†MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Beloved brothers and sisters, we must strive with all our strength to repel the enemy of our soul, with full attention and vigilence, as he rages and aims his darts against every part of us that can be assaulted and wounded. This is what the Apostle Peter, in his epistle, warns and teaches us about, saying: 'Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour' (1 Pt. 5:8)." — Paul Thigpen, p.150 AN EXCERPT FROM Manual for Spiritual Warfare
† VERSE OF THE DAY "He is 'the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.' There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved." Acts 4:11-12
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ST. JUDITH OF PRUSSIA
St. Judith of Prussia (13th c.), also known as St. Jutta, was born to a wealthy family in Thuringia in what is now Germany. She desired to model her life after another noble saint from her country, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who lived in the previous century. Judith was married at age fifteen to a man of equal rank, and together they raised a family. Despite their great wealth, Judith desired that they should live in a simple way and share their fortune generously with the poor. Her husband was at first displeased with her because he desired a lifestyle according to their means and rank. However, Judith persevered and eventually won him over to join her in a life of greater humility and piety. Her husband later died while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, leaving Judith to raise her children alone. Once her children were grown, she rid herself of her costly clothes, jewelry, and other possessions and joined the Third Order of St. Francis. She committed herself to serving the poor and the sick, for which she incurred mockery due to her noble rank in society. In the final years of her life she relocated to Prussia to live as a hermitess in a simple hut. There she spent her days in prayer and penance for the conversion of the pagan Prussians. After she died many miracles occurred at her grave, and she became the patron saint of Prussia. Her feast day is May 5th.
Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 287 Reading I
Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved." Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and presbyters about this question. They were sent on their journey by the Church, and passed through Phoenicia and Samaria telling of the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brethren. When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the Church, as well as by the Apostles and the presbyters, and they reported what God had done with them. But some from the party of the Pharisees who had become believers stood up and said, "It is necessary to circumcise them and direct them to observe the Mosaic law."
The Apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter.
122:1-2, 3-4ab, 4cd-5
R. (see 1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. I rejoiced because they said to me,
"We will go up to the house of the LORD." And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem. R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity. To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD. R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. or: R. Alleluia. According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD. In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David. R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. or: R. Alleluia.
Jn 15:4a, 5b
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord; whoever remains in me will bear much fruit. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus said to his disciples: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples."
Daily Meditation: John 15:1-8
I am the true vine. (John 15:1)
Most of us are probably not experts in growing grapes. So a discussion of vines and branches, of pruning and bearing fruit, might seem far removed from our personal experience at first. But let's take a few minutes to see what grapes can teach us about life in Christ:
• A healthy vine: For grapes, as with many plants, the health and productivity of the entire plant depend on the strength of the vine, also known as the trunk. In fact, new plants are often grafted onto a healthy, established trunk to give them the best chance at success. Just so, our strength and life come from Jesus, the true vine. Since we are grafted into him, it's not up to us to try and bear fruit alone. We can receive strength and life from Jesus, who blesses our efforts and makes us fruitful.
• Remaining attached to the vine: For branches to bear abundant fruit, they have to remain firmly attached to the healthy vine. As we come to Jesus in regular prayer or study, as we turn to him throughout the day, or as we praise him in the ups and downs of our lives, we are learning to remain in him. We are attaching ourselves to him more firmly so that we can receive more of his life.
• Being pruned: Healthy, productive grapevines still need to be pruned every year. If the branches are not pruned, they bear poorer fruit and can fall prey to disease. Eventually they stop bearing fruit altogether. Examining our consciences and confessing our sins can be like a pruning for us. We may want to avoid the discomfort of putting off what separates us from God, but it's vital if we want to become more fruitful. We have to let go of whatever may be blocking our connection to Jesus.
Jesus has said he is the true vine. The more we acknowledge him as our source of life, remain in him, and ask him to remove obstacles to his grace in us, the more like him we will become. We will bear good and lasting fruit!
"Jesus, help me to remain in you as a branch in a vine. I want to bear fruit for your kingdom!"
Acts 15:1-6 Psalm 122:1-5
When feelings run deep, it is especially useful to strive to remain calm and wise and to resist the temptations of uncharity, to hate. — George Cardinal Pell from his book Prison Journal, Vol. II
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my2cents: "When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the Church, as well as by the Apostles and the presbyters, and they reported what God had done with them." So the church had already began! And there we had the Bishops and the Pope basically, right? With the Apostles, and now they had to discuss an important matter, a decision, the Magisterium was at work. And so it is today, getting together about matters and about what matters. Circumcision? For religion? Why in the world was there opening and cutting of flesh and bloodshed for the Lord anyways? It is my friend, a pact. It is a belonging. It is what was part of sacrifice. For God. And now they had to decide, if all these thousands of grown men would have to do it to themselves, for the Lord. But what would be the reason, if apparently now they had the Holy Spirit!! It was indeed an exciting, yet terrible time for the church! And the decision we will later hear, would bring tremendous joy to the new followers and joiners of the WAY of Christ!
"I rejoiced because they said to me, "We will go up to the house of the LORD." And now we have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord." Where is the house of the Lord? Church? Hmm, maybe. But where else? Let us think of Heaven. As I just read from an excerpt (click to read Catholic Stand) "When we pray, "Lord, whatever you want for me, I want. Whatever you ask of me, I will do. Whatever you wish for me, I trust it is for my benefit," we come closer to having a foretaste of the eternal uniformity with His will that all experience in Heaven. Or as St. Catherine of Siena said, "all the way to Heaven is Heaven." Therefore, let us go rejoicing then, to the House of the Lord. And my friend, like Scott Hahn the biblical scholar and convert said "Mass is Heaven on Earth" in his book "The Lamb's Supper".
Our Lord said today: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower."
Isn't this amazing? Has Jesus our Lord declared He is a creation of God? In a sense, yes, but not totally. Because in reality, we are the creation for the Kingdom. He continues: "He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit..." Non bearing fruit people are stripped away, naturally. My question is, how can they be grafted back! How do I revive a wilting plant? Cut off limbs! Cut off the dying parts. What is dying and not bearing fruit in my life...for God? Dead ends. Sin is a dead end my friend. Cut it out! And NOW!! Our Lord continues: "...and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit." Have you been pruned? Are you giving fruit? Yes if only you are removing sin from your life every day. We are all in this together. I cannot shake the thought of how important every person is in the body of Christ. His is a vine of holiness, and righteousness, and purity. All things contrary get pruned away quick. We must prune our very selves for the sake of the Kingdom, and this is why our Lord says it'd be better to enter His Kingdom with one eye, or one arm or one of anything of it has caused you to sin!
Therefore our Lord has said:
"Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.' What do you mean we can't do nothing! I can do whatever I want! That's what the world teaches! That's what the equality laws proposed declare! No moral values! Do whatever with whoever you want and feel like!
Our Lord continues: "Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned." Play with fire enough, and you will get burned. Play with sin enough and you will die. And now we are speaking in spiritual realms, whereupon billions have passed away and are facing flames of hades, of hell itself. Why are they burning right now? Because, they did not remain. They did not remain true, to self, nor to God. They lied to themselves and to God. Is an eternal fire...fair? Who talks about hell nowadays anyways? Only some far off distant religious nut case, right?
Well, here I am, and "you're welcome!" LOL. So who gets to decide what is fair? You see, that is what is at stake....the truth. The very truth that was crucified 2,000 years ago. That is the always "modern" problem. That is where people have a hard time, deciding what to believe. They don't know who to believe anymore! Do you? In college, or when you are out on your own, they'll make students or young people think for themselves and even force feed a broad sense of open-mindedness and how? Cultivation. And that brings us back to the vine. God has our Lord as the vine and we are asked to stick to the divine. We are hard wired for God. We need Him. For life, yes, but for truth, of course...but really, to go forth and bear much fruit! How and when will you know how much fruit you bore for God? You'll have to die to find out. And it starts daily...dying to sin, and surrendering to God more fully, and more truly.
Let us pray: MOST SWEET JESUS, REDEEMER -- ACT OF DEDICATION OF THE HUMAN RACE TO JESUS CHRIST KING
(lesu dulcissime, Redemptor)
Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before You. We are Yours, and Yours we wish to be; but to be more surely united with You, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to your Most Sacred Heart. Many Indeed have never known You; many, too, despising Your precepts, have rejected You. Have mercy of them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Your Sacred Heart.
Be King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken You, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned You; grant that they may quickly return to their Father's house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.
Be King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and the unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.
Grant, O Lord, to Your Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give tranquility of order to all nations; make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor forever. Amen. . . .
from your brother in Christ our Lord, adrian
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Random Bible Verse from online generator:
Psalm 104:24 24 O LORD, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom have you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
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