†Saint Quote "Never give up prayer, and should you find dryness and difficulty, persevere in it for this very reason. God often desires to see what love your soul has, and love is not tried by ease and satisfaction." — St. John of the Cross
† MEDITATION OF THE DAY† "Moreover, beseech daily the eternal Father, His divine Son, and the Blessed Virgin, that you may be particularly under the protection of St. Joseph, the worthy spouse of the most chaste of virgins. Then addressing yourself to this loving protector, ask with great humility to be received into his care. For innumerable are the instances of assistance afforded to those who have called upon St. Joseph in their spiritual or temporal necessities. Particularly has he aided them when they stood in need of light from heaven, and direction in their prayers. And if God shows so much regard for the other saints who have loved and served Him here below, how much consideration and deference will He not show for the person He so honored as to pay him filial homage and obedience?" — Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, p. 154 AN EXCERPT FROM The Spiritual Combat
† VERSE OF THE DAY "If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you." John 15:18-19
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ST. JOHN EUDES
St. John Eudes (1601–1680) was born in Normandy, France, to a farming family. His devout parents consecrated him to the Blessed Virgin Mary when he was a child. At the age of fourteen he took a vow of chastity, and studied under the Jesuits where he earned the reputation of being a brilliant student. After his ordination to the priesthood he ministered to his countrymen who were suffering from an outbreak of the plague. He later became a missionary priest, traveling throughout France and preaching strong sermons to large crowds in churches, open fields, and in the courts of the royalty and nobility. The force of his sermons was bolstered by his great sanctity; he was considered to be a prodigy and the greatest preacher of his age. He was instrumental in spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary throughout France during a time when religious fervor had grown cold. He was responsible for influencing the Church to establish these two devotions with liturgical feasts, himself composing their Mass and Office. St. John Eudes founded several organizations including the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge, which provided a new life for repentant prostitutes, and the Society of Jesus and Mary (the Eudist Fathers) which specialized in improving the training of seminarians by promoting greater virtue and dedication to the preaching of parish missions. His feast day is August 19th.
Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 422 Reading I
The Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah. He passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and through Mizpah-Gilead as well, and from there he went on to the Ammonites. Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. "If you deliver the Ammonites into my power," he said, "whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites shall belong to the LORD. I shall offer him up as a burnt offering."
Jephthah then went on to the Ammonites to fight against them, and the LORD delivered them into his power, so that he inflicted a severe defeat on them, from Aroer to the approach of Minnith (twenty cities in all) and as far as Abel-keramim. Thus were the Ammonites brought into subjection by the children of Israel. When Jephthah returned to his house in Mizpah, it was his daughter who came forth, playing the tambourines and dancing. She was an only child: he had neither son nor daughter besides her. When he saw her, he rent his garments and said, "Alas, daughter, you have struck me down and brought calamity upon me. For I have made a vow to the LORD and I cannot retract." She replied, "Father, you have made a vow to the LORD. Do with me as you have vowed, because the LORD has wrought vengeance for you on your enemies the Ammonites." Then she said to her father, "Let me have this favor. Spare me for two months, that I may go off down the mountains to mourn my virginity with my companions." "Go," he replied, and sent her away for two months. So she departed with her companions and mourned her virginity on the mountains. At the end of the two months she returned to her father, who did to her as he had vowed.
40:5, 7-8a, 8b-9, 10
R. (8a and 9a) Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will. Blessed the man who makes the LORD his trust;
who turns not to idolatry
or to those who stray after falsehood. R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will. Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me. Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, "Behold I come." R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will. "In the written scroll it is prescribed for me. To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!" R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will. I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know. R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables saying, "The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those invited: "Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast."' Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then the king said to his servants, 'The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.' The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, 'My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?' But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, 'Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.' Many are invited, but few are chosen."
Daily Meditation: Matthew 22:1-14
Many are invited, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:14)
"Don't touch the stove; it will burn your fingers!" "Don't cross the street until you look both ways." Just as our parents gave us warnings to keep us safe, Jesus is giving us a warning in today's Gospel. He is warning us about the sad consequences people will face if they arrive at heaven's gate without the mysterious "wedding garment" (Matthew 22:11).
What is this wedding garment? The Book of Revelation gives us a clue. It describes the citizens of heaven as wearing robes that have been made white "in the blood of the Lamb" (7:14). It tells us that those who have been baptized into Christ—that great multitude who have immersed themselves in the gospel message of Jesus' death and resurrection—will know the privilege of joining the Lord at his final glorious banquet.
Now, it's one thing to receive this wedding garment at Baptism, but it's another thing to keep that garment clean and pure throughout our lives. Each and every day, God wants us to put on our wedding garment—the holy character of Christ—and let the grace it represents shape the way we think and act.
It is tempting to become so consumed with the demands of life in this world—as the people in today's parable were—that we lose sight of the magnificent feast that awaits us in heaven. That's why Jesus gives us a glimpse of that feast every time we celebrate Mass. There, gathered as royal wedding guests, we nourish ourselves with the words of Scripture and we receive Jesus' own Body and Blood. This beautiful assembly, coupled with the grace of Confession, gives us all we will ever need to keep our wedding garments clean and spotless as we await the final banquet call.
Jesus tells us, "Many are invited, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14). God is inviting you today. Accept his invitation! Heed his warning! A glorious life awaits all who keep their wedding garments clean.
"Thank you, Jesus, for clothing me in your grace. Help me to be pleasing to you today."
Judges 11:29-39 Psalm 40:5, 7-10
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From today's 1st Holy Scripture: "So she departed with her companions and mourned her virginity on the mountains. At the end of the two months she returned to her father, who did to her as he had vowed." Her warrior father had made a vow, that he'd offer up in sacrifice the first one to come out of his house if he won all the battles. And out first comes his first and only child. Nowadays, who does this? Who keeps their vows? Did you know that the Holy Sacraments are all vows? They are a swearing to God as Dr. Scott Hahn writes in his book. I remember my dad once told me about a father making a promise to God, that if his child pulled out of their dying experience, that he'd give his life, he'd take his own life. And his child survived. And the father committed suicide. My dad was upset when he recounted the story, like he knew something just had to be wrong with the story. Today, we heard of the reverse, though. But there's something to be said...about keeping one's word...especially to GOD!
We pray in the Holy Psalms: "I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know."
Our Lord speaks to us in the Holy Gospel: "The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come." And the story continues until the King says bring to me ANYONE!
What if I told you that most of today's story continues to be true? There's tons of rejections to God's invitation to the feast of His only Son offered to us all. It is called the mortal sin of not keeping Holy the Sabbath, by going to Mass. And then, in the feast, there are those who are found not worthy! Few are chosen, He says.
From Bishop Barron: "Friends, today's Gospel likens the kingdom of heaven to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. Notice that the father (God the Father) is giving a banquet for his son (God the Son), whose bride is the Church. Jesus is the marriage of divinity and humanity—and we his followers are invited to join in the joy of this union. The joyful intimacy of the Father and Son is now offered to us to be shared. Listen to Isaiah to learn the details of this banquet: "On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines." Now there is an edge to all of this. For it is the king who is doing the inviting, and it is a wedding banquet for his son. We can see how terribly important it is to respond to the invitation of the King of kings. We have heard the invitation of God to enter into intimacy with him, to make him the center of our lives, to be married to him in Christ—and often we find the most pathetic excuses not to respond."
Let's pray: Lord, Thou has invited me today to a special invitation...to love Thou rightly, to attend Thy feast of Thy most precious and only child, Jesus. May I respond with the proper garment, clothed in righteousness, to give glory to Thy son, both now and forever!
from your brother in Christ, Adrian
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1 Thessalonians 5:23–24
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
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