†Saint Quote "Preserve the warmth of the family, because the warmth of the whole world cannot make up for it." — St. Charbel Makhlouf
† MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Reading the holy Scriptures confers two benefits. It trains the mind to understand them; it turns man's attention from the follies of the world and leads him to the love of God. Two kinds of study are called for here. We must first learn how the Scriptures are to be understood, and then see how to expound them with profit and in a manner worthy of them . . . No one can understand holy Scripture without constant reading . . . The more you devote yourself to the study of the sacred utterances, the richer will be your understanding of them, just as the more the soil is tilled, the richer the harvest." — St. Isidore of Seville, p. 201 AN EXCERPT FROM Witness of the Saints
† VERSE OF THE DAY "O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand." Psalm 95:6-7
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ST. HYACINTH OF POLAND
St. Hyacinth (1185-1257) was born of noble lineage and reared in a Polish castle. His parents took great care of the development of his mind and soul, entrusting his education to his uncle, a priest who became the Bishop of Krakow. Hyacinth excelled in his studies and was sent to the best universities in Europe. After earning two doctorates, he visited Rome in 1220 and met St. Dominic, who had recently received papal approval for the founding of the Order of Preachers. Hyacinth became one of the first Dominican friars and was sent to establish the order in Poland. He was so effective in his preaching for the salvation of souls that he also preached in many other countries including Austria, Prussia, Lithuania, Bohemia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Russia, and China. He founded many monasteries and churches, and multitudes were converted to the faith through his astounding miracles, even the extraordinary feat of raising a dead boy to life. One day he was saying Mass in Kiev when enemy Tartars invaded the city. After Mass he fled with the Blessed Sacrament, but he stopped when he heard a voice from a statue of the Virgin Mary asking that he take her with him. Although the statue was much too heavy to carry, he found that it became so light that he lifted it with ease. When he came to the Dnieper river with the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Mother in his arms, he, along with his companions, walked dry-shod across the river as they fled from the Tartars. Worn out from his labors, he died on the Feast of the Assumption. St. Hyacinth is the patron of Lithuania, Krakow, and Poland. His feast day is August 17th.
Tuesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 420 Reading I
The angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite. While his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press to save it from the Midianites, the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, "The LORD is with you, O champion!" Gideon said to him, "My Lord, if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are his wondrous deeds of which our fathers told us when they said, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' For now the LORD has abandoned us and has delivered us into the power of Midian." The LORD turned to him and said, "Go with the strength you have and save Israel from the power of Midian. It is I who send you." But Gideon answered him, "Please, my lord, how can I save Israel? My family is the lowliest in Manasseh, and I am the most insignificant in my father's house." "I shall be with you," the LORD said to him, "and you will cut down Midian to the last man." Gideon answered him, "If I find favor with you, give me a sign that you are speaking with me. Do not depart from here, I pray you, until I come back to you and bring out my offering and set it before you." He answered, "I will await your return."
So Gideon went off and prepared a kid and a measure of flour in the form of unleavened cakes. Putting the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, he brought them out to him under the terebinth and presented them. The angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and unleavened cakes and lay them on this rock; then pour out the broth." When he had done so, the angel of the LORD stretched out the tip of the staff he held, and touched the meat and unleavened cakes. Thereupon a fire came up from the rock that consumed the meat and unleavened cakes, and the angel of the LORD disappeared from sight. Gideon, now aware that it had been the angel of the LORD, said, "Alas, Lord GOD, that I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!" The LORD answered him, "Be calm, do not fear. You shall not die." So Gideon built there an altar to the LORD and called it Yahweh-shalom.
85:9, 11-12, 13-14
R. (see 9b) The Lord speaks of peace to his people. I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD–for he proclaims peace To his people, and to his faithful ones,
and to those who put in him their hope. R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people. Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven. R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people. The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase. Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps. R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
2 Cor 8:9
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich so that by his poverty you might become rich. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus said to his disciples: "Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God." When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible." Then Peter said to him in reply, "We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first."
Daily Meditation: Matthew 19:23-30
Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first. (Matthew 19:30)
In a short story titled "Revelation," renowned Catholic author Flannery O'Connor describes a self-righteous character who believes she is far superior, in God's eyes, to people from a different social class than hers. But then a disturbing incident occurs that causes her to question whether God actually sees her in the way she sees herself. What if she is not of greater worth than those she scorns?
The possibility that her own assessment might be wrong is almost unthinkable to the woman, and deeply unsettling. As she angrily questions God, she suddenly has a vision of all those people she disdains making their way into heaven ahead of her. Stunned by what she sees, she is left to grapple with its message. The reversal of first and last is certainly not the order she expected!
In today's Gospel passage, it's clear that Jesus wants his disciples to understand that the people in his kingdom will not be judged according to the world's criteria. In his new order, class, wealth, status, position, power, and influence do not guarantee a place of honor. No, Jesus is establishing a whole new set of criteria for salvation, one based on love, repentance, and humility.
As Christians, we know this to be true. But because we are sinful people living in a sinful world, there is always a danger that we will slip into judging people by the world's superficial standards. We may even start to believe that we are somehow superior to other people.
How can we get our thinking in line with Jesus' way of seeing people? The answer lies in asking for the grace to see people with his eyes. With the eyes of faith, we see beyond mere appearances, which can often distract us. We perceive people as they really are—as Jesus does—with deep charity and respect for who God has designed them to be. And that's when we come to realize that we are all God's children. Whether first or last, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.
"Jesus, give us your vision for the kingdom of God."
Judges 6:11-24 Psalm 85:9, 11-14
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From today's 1st Holy Scripture: "While his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press to save it from the Midianites, the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, "The LORD is with you, O champion!" Gideon said to him, "My Lord, if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us?" The question of all atheists has been proposed to God Himself, "if You are here, why then are all these bad things happening?".
The Lord answers, with a purpose, and for those who obey, it becomes THE purpose driven life, to do as HE commands: "Go with the strength you have and save Israel from the power of Midian. It is I who send you." Gideon asks if it is truly God then to stay while He makes a meal/sacrifice to bring to Him. The angel agrees, and a meat and unleavened bread are offered. The angel touches the meal, it is devoured by flames of fire, and He disappears.
Think Mass. Think offering. Think God's command. Think the ushering forth at the end of Mass at the final blessing. Do we listen?
We pray in the Holy Psalms: "I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD–for he proclaims peace To his people, and to his faithful ones,
and to those who put in him their hope. The Lord speaks of peace to his people."
Peace comes now, to His faithful ones. But not at first. Most who take to God's Way, encounter much hardship, a heavy cross for weak arms. Soon, the love of the cross becomes strength, and soon the peace is revealed. Grace appears, and is to be cherished, and then you can admire Mother of Grace, the Mother of God, because she endured the cross like no other human being ever could.
Our Lord speaks to us in the Holy Gospel: "Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God."
This saying astonished even His own disciples.
Our Lord continues: ""Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible." Then Peter said to him in reply, "We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first."
How many of us have given up houses, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, and lands for the sake of God's Kingdom? It is the "left behind" thought in reverse. We must Love God's Kingdom first, we must cherish it more, we must detach ourselves of our earthly loves. For those who literally do this, many become saints, and many become forgotten. And many forgotten become saints.
You who are hearing this, the very few of you are in for a treat: To Behold God and Cherish Him with all our soul, is to have in us the Victory, to be a Champion of faith, is a win / win situation.
Gideon was the lowliest of all, yet was chosen to wipe out the oppressors, the enemy. The lowly will hear and be glad, says the Holy Scripture. Mary prays and praises God: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
And Jesus teaches: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30.
Let's take a simple prayer, of the lowly. When the lowly prays, God hears. And at times, an angel appears. Think Mary's Annunciation. Think Jesus, praying the night He is betrayed.
What happens next? Whatever happens next becomes a win / win situation for the lowly, and for God. Mary enters a life with God like no other, with richness and suffering, and the richness of suffering. I am confounded daily, as Mother Mary weeps in a statue at home. WHY? It is not a pretty sight. It is a suffering young mother. WHY? To a worldly person, that hates suffering, the sight is ghastly, an abhorrence to modern day thought, and it makes no sense, and could be seen even as evil, to see someone suffer. How can this be a win / win situation?
First, you must know what has happened to me in a vision with Mother Mary. Many years ago, I was praying alone in my studio, writing songs to our Lord, praying, if you will, meditating, and suddenly I was transported to a high place in a sanctuary in Heaven, and I knew, I just KNEW I was hidden in Mother's veils, like a little bitty baby, and she had transported me to a most special place in Heaven, where a burning light was at the center, as if the Altar of Mass. Millions of beings and people were present, I say that because it was a countless number. They were bringing gifts to the altar that were deposited into the light. The only thing that I could take was that this was a love offering, from earth as it is in Heaven.
Fast forward years later, I have this weeping statue, inexplicable really. And so, I know Mother's message to the Champion...never turn away from God, that will be the downfall of the soul, that's the only thing that is asked, that we persevere in perfection, from great, to lowly. And what a job! To deflate the ego! To be an enemy of pride! To reveal to the world what light really means. And so I leave you with confounding questions: +Is it that hard to really love God? +Why do we feel we are stuck, and unable to conquer? +What if the world just needs to see you become that first step to true love? + And, Am I afraid to be truly lowly?
Let's pray: Lord, God, In Heaven, Father, I need answers to questions. And then, I need grace to live out those answers. I pray that we here, tending to this message, I pray that we can become the Holy Body You desire to be on earth, so that we can honor God in this realm with a love that amazes You Father. How beautiful You Are Father, How Amazing You Are. How deserving of our every last breath of life!
from your brother in Christ, Adrian
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Psalm 3:3 3 But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
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