†Saint Quote "Even when God's will does not correspond to your own desires, it is always beneficial for you." — St. Arnold Janssen
† MEDITATION OF THE DAY "I believe we shall never learn to know ourselves except by endeavoring to know God, for, beholding His greatness we are struck by our own baseness, His purity shows our foulness, and by meditating on His humility we find how very far we are from being humble. Two advantages are gained by this practice. First, it is clear that white looks far whiter when placed near something black, and on the contrary, black never looks so dark as when seen beside something white. Secondly, our understanding and will become more noble and capable of good in every way when we turn from ourselves to God: it is very injurious never to raise our minds above the mire of our own faults." — St. Teresa of Avila, p. 17 AN EXCERPT FROM Interior Castle
† VERSE OF THE DAY "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching." 2 Timothy 4:1-2
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ST. ROCH / ROCCO
St. Roch, also known as St. Rocco (d. 1327), was born in Montpellier, France, the pious son of the city's governor. He was born with a red cross on his chest, a sign that the Virgin Mary answered his mother's prayer to heal her barrenness. His parents died when he was twenty, after which he gave his wealth to the poor and handed the government of the city over to his uncle. Free from earthly cares, he set off as a pilgrim for Italy. When he came upon a town badly struck by the plague, he sojourned there to help the sick. He cured many people by making the Sign of the Cross over them. These miracles occurred at every plague-infested area that he passed through on his way to Rome. When he reached Piacenza he himself contracted the disease in his leg, and awaited death in a remote forest hut. Providentially, a count's hunting dog found and befriended him, brought him food, and licked his wounds. A spring arose nearby, providing fresh water. The count, who followed his dog one day, discovered the saint and aided him in his recovery. Slowly St. Roch's health was restored, after which he returned to his native Montpellier. He refused to disclose his identity to the townspeople so that he could remain poor and unknown. This secrecy aroused suspicion that he might be a spy, and he was cast into prison by his own uncle, who did not recognize him. St. Roch died in prison five years later. His identity was then discovered by the red cross birthmark on his chest. At his funeral, many miracles attested to his sanctity, and a church was erected for his veneration. St. Roch is the patron saint of dogs, surgeons, invalids, bachelors, and against plague and pestilence. His feast day is August 16th.
Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 419 Reading I
The children of Israel offended the LORD by serving the Baals. Abandoning the LORD, the God of their fathers, who led them out of the land of Egypt, they followed the other gods of the various nations around them, and by their worship of these gods provoked the LORD.
Because they had thus abandoned him and served Baal and the Ashtaroth, the anger of the LORD flared up against Israel, and he delivered them over to plunderers who despoiled them. He allowed them to fall into the power of their enemies round about whom they were no longer able to withstand. Whatever they undertook, the LORD turned into disaster for them, as in his warning he had sworn he would do, till they were in great distress. Even when the LORD raised up judges to deliver them from the power of their despoilers, they did not listen to their judges, but abandoned themselves to the worship of other gods. They were quick to stray from the way their fathers had taken, and did not follow their example of obedience to the commandments of the LORD. Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, he would be with the judge and save them from the power of their enemies as long as the judge lived; it was thus the LORD took pity on their distressful cries of affliction under their oppressors. But when the judge died, they would relapse and do worse than their ancestors, following other gods in service and worship, relinquishing none of their evil practices or stubborn conduct.
Responsorial Psalm 106:34-35, 36-37, 39-40, 43ab and 44
R. (4a) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people. They did not exterminate the peoples,
as the LORD had commanded them, But mingled with the nations
and learned their works. R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people. They served their idols,
which became a snare for them. They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to demons. R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people. They became defiled by their works,
and wanton in their crimes. And the LORD grew angry with his people,
and abhorred his inheritance. R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people. Many times did he rescue them,
but they embittered him with their counsels. Yet he had regard for their affliction
when he heard their cry. R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A young man approached Jesus and said, "Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?" He answered him, "Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." He asked him, "Which ones?" And Jesus replied, "You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself." The young man said to him, "All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?" Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Daily Meditation: Judges 2:11-19
They followed the other gods . . . and by their worship of these gods provoked the Lord. (Judges 2:12)
Today's first reading can be unsettling in the way it depicts God as showing righteous anger over his people's faithlessness. But this same reading also shows him taking pity on those same disloyal, inconstant people—again and again. On balance, the Scriptures show us a God who is all-loving and always willing to forgive. It shows him persistently striving to draw his people—us—into a relationship of love with him. Just look at Israel's story up to this point.
After God had rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, he brought them to Canaan and helped them win victories over their enemies. His intention had always been to shower his people with loving kindness, to protect them, and to help establish them in the land he had given them. He wanted a relationship, a connection of their hearts to his.
Just as we do today, the Israelites often rejected this bond of love and disobeyed the Lord. And like us, they suffered the consequences of their deeds and lost their closeness with God. But look what happened every time they turned back: God "had regard for their affliction when he heard their cry" (Psalm 106:44). He welcomed them back and blessed them. This should impress upon us how serious human sin is and how complete God's justice is. But it can also fill us with gratitude: God loves us too much to abandon us to our sin. He even sent his Son, so that everyone who believes in him might experience the connection of hearts that God has always wanted for us.
So how do we experience that connection? By honoring the Lord and giving him first place in our lives. In our prayer and worship. In our relationships. And in the hard times we inevitably face. Israel wavered in that commission, and sometimes we do too. But God is ever faithful. He is always ready to rekindle your relationship with him. If you need to repent for resisting a connection of your heart to his, do so now. Tell him you want to deepen your relationship with him.
"Almighty God, help me to grow in my bond of love with you."
Psalm 106:34-37, 39-40, 43, 44 Matthew 19:16-22
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From today's 1st Holy Scripture: "The children of Israel offended the LORD by serving the Baals. Abandoning the LORD, the God of their fathers, who led them out of the land of Egypt, they followed the other gods of the various nations around them, and by their worship of these gods provoked the LORD." How can we offend our Lord today? What gods are out there that would make us turn from Him? Can't think of any? Let's go to the Gospel where our Lord speaks.
First, we pray in the Holy Psalms: "They served their idols, which became a snare for them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people." What if I told you that today, under a guise, a disguise that is, under an ideology, which is the fundamentals of a god, there is in existence the very same gods as there were in the times these Scriptures were written? Because today, millions upon millions of children are sacrificed still, to the gods, in the name of gods, albeit, in a guise, in disguise, not very much inadvertently but overtly. To satisfy this blood thirst of the gods, the gods offer a false peace, and security, and the gods are interconnected, Ba'al, and Molech go hand in hand. These demand child sacrifice. Abortion feeds these gods, with all the ideals that fuel "freedom FROM religion" instead of "freedom OF religion". There are some scary gods out there because they are intertwined with demons. Their symbols have horns, like bulls, and cows, and the ideology increases with flames of murder. Does this sound horrible? It's all about the ... what?
Our Lord speaks to us in the Holy Gospel: (You may skip this quote if you've read the Gospel): "A young man approached Jesus and said, "Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?" He answered him, "Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." He asked him, "Which ones?" And Jesus replied, "You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself." The young man said to him, "All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?" Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions."
A young man approaches our Lord in high hopes and expectations that he's good to go (to Heaven) and earn eternal life of the righteous. But whence our Lord speaks, the young man leaves dejected, saddened by...the truth.
"Oh I've never killed anybody!" Check mark.✔ "Oh I'm not a cheater, having affairs". Check Mark.✔ "Oh, I'm not a thief". Check. ✔ "Oh, I'm not a liar". Check. ✔ "Oh, I obey my parents." Check. ✔ "Oh, I love everybody." Check. ✔ And then our Lord asks one more question that binds up all the others with a belt of righteousness. And it wasn't a question. Not even a suggestion. It was more of a command. "...go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." So our Lord hits where it hurts. "How much do you love Me" is the call. Many say "money is not anything, I'm not in love with money". But that's not what our Lord said, directly. It says the young man had many possessions. Many possessive things, possessed by the material. Now Ba'al and Molech are rearing their horns. Remember the calf of gold in the times of Moses? These things anger our Lord, something else adored. The distrust hurts. Doesn't it hurt when someone does not trust you? I know it hurts me, because they say in a sense, that you are a liar. They say you are not true. They say many such hurtful things. How do you think this makes our Father feel like in Heaven? I don't know your situation, but I'd say, most faithful and unfaithful are thinking they are "good to go" to heaven, because they don't do major sins. But let me list a couple that keep most away from heaven. 1. Missing Mass (not keeping Holy the Sabbath). 2. Having other gods (more important than God Himself). 3. Not forgiving from the heart. 4. Fornication acts and related (impurity). 5. Being insincere with our Father.
These are just a few, but major acts against God. And believe it or not, Mr. Holy here writing to you has been involved with some of these atrocious acts against God. Both in the past, and maybe even to this day. And if you dare read the rest, I will divulge into the present. I went with my wife to spend a couple days away together for our wedding anniversary few days ago. We arrived, rested, and the next day, we went to a church we've been to before, so we could try to make daily mass, and confession. We missed Mass by a few minutes and waited for it to end to confess. The priest was in a hurry, as was evident when he took a break to tell everyone in line to keep it simple, because he had many in line and wanted to make sure all made it. Soon it was my turn. I felt rushed inside, and I do not believe I had a proper inventory of sins noted to dispose in the confessional, I know this because when I left, I remembered what else I needed to say but forgot. But with what I confessed, the priest left me astounded, and conflicted. Only in a confessional does this happen when the truth meets the insincere heart attempting to make amends. Towards the end, the priest, that is Christ in the confessional asked me "what is your daily prayer life like". That was easy for me, I said "I pray the rosary daily with my 8 kids and wife, and I go to daily Mass, and I spend at least an hour writing reflection on daily scripture in a blog, and lately attempting youtube podcasts".
Then Father says these words that left me uneasy, and very likely dejected like the rich young man. "I need you to spend 10 minutes a day alone with God, as if wasting time with Him".
Ouch. That hurt. You see, I do a LOT of things for God, but not what He truly desires.
That is why I write and busy myself and I know the teachings, but I don't walk the walk. I see many serve but not Love. And I'm attempting to serve Love but being empty. So here's why the message was bitter sweet. I just come to God, in confession, to spill my beans, my horrible sins, and I feel completely undeserving of God's love, yet, He dares to ask me to come closer to Him? Really? ME? Of all people? I feel like this is backwards. God only calls Holy People to come closer ...right? Wrong. Wrong again. We have Him completely wrong. I know what God is calling for, for the most precious thing in my life...time. For me, money is not as precious as time. For me, I cannot waste time, I won't repeat movies, my kids know I won't. I won't wait in lines for a restaurant, ask my wife. I will not sit idle. And my prayer life reflects this. I cannot even sit at the blessed Sacrament in silence for one minute, because I'm too busy making use of the time in prayers of petition or thanksgiving. But God calls me to SPEND my time with Him.
And I'm afraid of what this means. Sacrifice. Surrender. Things I'm not that willing to do...because I know what it calls for...true conversion, and true giving. It's time to put my money where my mouth is.
And you, what has Our Father spoken to your heart after hearing this?
I am, I believe, guilty of the sin of not being sincere with God, and this breaks the first commandment, the one that wraps up all other commandments: Thou shall love God our Father with all our heart, mind, soul, strength, above all things.
Let's pray: Lord, I put up a front and many excuses and I busy myself with other things in life. Little gods make their way, possessions that make me afraid to truly give. I pray that we can truly give You what You ask for today. Help me to not be afraid to take this step...towards the cross, the cross of love, and crossing into Heaven.
from your brother in Christ, Adrian
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Random bible verse generator:
Psalm 145:8 8 The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
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