†Saint Quote "Just as in one man there is one soul and one body, yet many members; even so the Catholic Church is one body, having many members. The soul that quickens this body is the Holy Spirit; and therefore in the Creed after confessing our belief in the Holy Spirit, we are bid to believe in the Holy Catholic Church." — St. Thomas Aquinas
† MEDITATION OF THE DAY "There are two loves, the love of God and the love of the world. If the love of the world takes possession of you, there is no way for the love of God to enter into you. Let the love of the world take the second place, and let the love of God dwell in you. Let the better love take over." — St. Augustine, p. 34 AN EXCERPT FROM Augustine Day by Day
† VERSE OF THE DAY "For I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives." Luke 21:15-19
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St. Helen, also known as St. Helena (d. 327 A.D.), was a woman of humble means from Asia Minor. She married the future Roman Emperor Constantius Chlorus, and their son Constantine was born c. 272. Constantius divorced Helen in c. 293 to marry Emperor Maximian's daughter for the sake of political gain. When her son Constantine became the Roman Emperor, St. Helen was given the imperial title "Augusta" and was treated like royalty. After Constantine legalized Christianity across the Roman Empire, St. Helen, a Christian convert, went to the Holy Land in search of the actual cross on which Christ was crucified, despite being in her 80s. She questioned local Christians and Jews and learned that the cross was buried under the Temple of Venus. Helen had the temple demolished and excavated. There she discovered the Holy Sepulcher, three crosses, the board with Pilate's inscription, and the nails which pierced Jesus' Sacred Body. In order to determine which cross was the Lord's, the Bishop of Jerusalem touched them to a corpse, causing the man to come back to life. A second miraculous healing of a sick woman confirmed the discovery of the True Cross. Christians flocked to Jerusalem to venerate the Holy Cross. St. Helen then visited all the holy places of Jesus' life and built many churches over their locations, including Bethlehem, the Mount of Olives, and the Garden of Gethsemane. St. Helen is the patron of divorced people, empresses, difficult marriages, converts, and archeologists. Her feast day is August 18th.
Wednesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 421 Reading I
All the citizens of Shechem and all Beth-millo came together and proceeded to make Abimelech king by the terebinth at the memorial pillar in Shechem.
When this was reported to him, Jotham went to the top of Mount Gerizim and, standing there, cried out to them in a loud voice: "Hear me, citizens of Shechem, that God may then hear you! Once the trees went to anoint a king over themselves. So they said to the olive tree, 'Reign over us.' But the olive tree answered them, 'Must I give up my rich oil, whereby men and gods are honored, and go to wave over the trees?' Then the trees said to the fig tree, 'Come; you reign over us!' But the fig tree answered them, 'Must I give up my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?' Then the trees said to the vine, 'Come you, and reign over us.' But the vine answered them, 'Must I give up my wine that cheers gods and men, and go to wave over the trees?' Then all the trees said to the buckthorn, 'Come; you reign over us!' But the buckthorn replied to the trees, 'If you wish to anoint me king over you in good faith, come and take refuge in my shadow. Otherwise, let fire come from the buckthorn and devour the cedars of Lebanon.'"
21:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
R. (2a) Lord, in your strength the king is glad. O LORD, in your strength the king is glad; in your victory how greatly he rejoices! You have granted him his heart's desire; you refused not the wish of his lips. R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad. For you welcomed him with goodly blessings, you placed on his head a crown of pure gold. He asked life of you: you gave him length of days forever and ever. R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad. Great is his glory in your victory; majesty and splendor you conferred upon him. You made him a blessing forever, you gladdened him with the joy of your face. R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. The word of God is living and effective, able to discern the reflections and thoughts of the heart. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus told his disciples this parable: "The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o'clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.' So they went off. And he went out again around noon, and around three o'clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o'clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, 'Why do you stand here idle all day?' They answered, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard.' When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.' When those who had started about five o'clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, 'These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day's burden and the heat.' He said to one of them in reply, 'My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?' Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."
Daily Meditation: Matthew 20:1-16
They grumbled against the landowner. (Matthew 20:11)
Teddy Roosevelt once said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." Looking at today's Gospel, we can see a perfect example of just that phenomenon. The workers hired first were satisfied with the wage they had agreed on. But when they saw other workers who had labored only an hour getting paid the same, their outlook changed. Now their original agreement seemed unfair. Now they were dissatisfied and unable to take pleasure in a good day's work at a fair wage. Comparison stole their joy.
Of course, we make comparisons all the time. We learn how to improve by watching someone more skilled. We change our strategy after seeing someone else succeed. And that can be healthy.
But there is an unhealthy kind of comparison as well. When we look at someone and conclude that they are more beautiful or smarter or more talented than we are, jealousy can creep in. When we notice someone who seems more successful or richer, we become discontented with our own lives. Instead of seeing the gifts that God has given us and thinking about developing them, we focus on getting what someone else has. We might even feel worthless. In the end, we are not seeing ourselves as God sees us, and that robs us of joy.
That's what makes comparison such an effective tool of the devil. As long as our eyes are on what we lack or on the ways we don't think we measure up, we are blinded to the good things God has done for us. We start grumbling against him instead of thanking him for the ways he has blessed us. We might even start resenting the person who seems to have more than we do. In the end, we may question whether God even loves us.
So beware of unhealthy comparison in your life. If you find yourself going down that road, ask the Lord to help you turn around. Break the downward spiral of discontent by writing down a blessing you've received. Or take a minute to praise God for creating you and sustaining you. Trade grumbling for gratitude, and you will start to find joy right where you are.
"Thank you, Lord, for all blessings you've given me! Give me a grateful and joyful heart."
Judges 9:6-15 Psalm 21:2-7
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From today's 1st Holy Scripture: "All the citizens of Shechem and all Beth-millo came together and proceeded to make Abimelech king by the terebinth at the memorial pillar in Shechem. When this was reported to him, Jotham went to the top of Mount Gerizim and, standing there, cried out to them in a loud voice...". And the cry was a prophetic warning. Watch what you are choosing, for who you are choosing to be your king. Abimelech meant-"MY Father is King", and no sooner as he was voted in, chosen king, he changes his name to "my brother is king" Ahimelech. No longer was Father King, but people. Socialism takes place. Communism overrules all human rights. People become slaves. And this is a tell tale sign of the vicious circle of sin, what goes around comes around, how often we fall from grace. What you decide is a god, will be handed out to you. Because today, we get to vote in a democracy, but it is not a person that we vote for, but ideals that we vote for. And that is the same as the story we heard of today. Just WHO do you want as your king? Who do you love? Above all.
We pray in the Holy Psalms: "Great is his glory in your victory; majesty and splendor you conferred upon him. You made him a blessing forever, you gladdened him with the joy of your face. Lord, in your strength the king is glad." And we must always remember our Lord when we pray the Psalms. It is His victory in His glory that has made a blessing forever, with what? The joy of your face. What makes a parent smile? Their baby smiling back at them. It infuses a love relationship. The trust of the child. The innocence of the child. And the parent, is infused with self sacrifice for the child. Who is our King but our True Father that Loves us even MORE than this!
Our Lord speaks to us in the Holy Gospel: ""The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard." And the parable continues that at all hours of the day the landowner asked people to come work for a day's wage. All agreed, event to the last hour of the day. And then it was time to pay. And we heard: "'These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day's burden and the heat.' He said to one of them in reply, 'My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?' Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."
What comes to mind when you hear that the last will be first? How many times do you let others first? When are YOU last? When do you let others win? When do you let others have the upper hand? Think Jesus. Think Humility. Think of the tremendous gift of mercy. If you only knew how far one little sin goes, how terrible it is, and how much damage it does.
I remember one time, our church chapel was flooded inside when it was raining, but you could not tell where the water was coming from. I decided to pray (to Saint Anthony) to help me find where the rain water was coming from. I got up on a sprinkling day, with my latter on the roof, and investigated all the possible areas water could be entering. I cleaned the gutters. And something caught my attention. A pinhole near the spout was spiraling water, like a toilet flushed water in a toilet, it was swirling water into a literal pin sized hole, like the tip of a ballpoint pin. I knew that was it. I covered it with some silicon stuff I bought, and waited for the next rain. And it never flooded again.
Think now, of your little sins that you think are no bid deal. A small pin sized hole in your spiritual life will flood out the spirit and cause damage and devastation.
And it happened this year again at another spot, the rains began and the ceiling was falling in the restrooms at church. I prayed, took my boys, patched all the pinholes on the roof, and in the gutters, and the leaks stopped.
Check Yourself: ✔ How can I stop the leaks of sin in my life?
✔ How can I let others be first? ✔ How can I be last? ✔ Have I truly learned the Litany of Humility?
There is one person that always comes to mind when I hear "the last shall be first", and it is the thief that stole heaven. How did St. Dismas accomplish this? He stole God's heart. How does someone steal someone's heart?
At the last minute, as Jesus was dying pouring out His heart on the cross, St. Dismas was suffering alongside, dying too. He caught some of that heart pouring, at the agony and shared the cross moment with Christ and God enveloped Himself around Dismas, and gave Him all mercy necessary to enter "Paradise" with Jesus our Lord.
Many sinners are entering heaven before all the self proclaimed "holy rollers".
Many sinners are entering before even priests and bishops. What does this message say to me? That sin is ok? No. It means that mercy is AMAZING. It should change us into something beautiful.
If I cannot forgive, I am not amazing. If I cannot let others be first, I will never be first.
You see, the more I make others better than me, holier than me, the more I make myself better and holier, lower, and lowly. Love comes first. Father God, Father Love comes first.
Let's pray: Lord, I have a hard time letting others beat me, and beat me down. I need Your lesson of love, I need Your champion blood in my soul to flourish and give mercy like never before. I desire to be Yours, and I wish then...to love what You Love.
My ways are not good, and Your ways are simply amazing! Help us Love Thee more and more!
from your brother in Christ, Adrian
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ACTS 20:32 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
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