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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

† ".One Of These Little Ones ... "

 
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†Saint Quote
"Quote of the Day
"If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive."
–Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

†Today's Meditation
"Natural love is sufficient for earthly parents, but the love which [Joseph] bore to Jesus, as His appointed father, was not a mere human love, it was also a super eminently divine love; for, in loving his Son he was exercising the most perfect love of God; since He whom he called his Son was at the same time his God. As in creatures all is finite, so all is capable of increase. What, then, may we imagine, must have been the growth of this ardent love in the heart of our saint during the long period which he spent with Jesus! Those things which tend naturally to add to human love, in him ministered fresh fuel to the divine flame within him. The constant association with the Son of God made Man and given to him as his own Son, the serving Him and being served by Him for thirty years, and, we must add, their marvelous resemblance created a bond between them which was unequaled of its kind."
—Edward Healy Thompson, p. 363

An Excerpt From
The Life & Glories of Saint Joseph

†Daily Verse
"I know that whatever God does endures for ever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has made it so, in order that men should fear before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away."
–Ecclesiastes 3:14

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St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (1891–1942) was born as Edith Stein in Prussia, the youngest of eleven children from a devout Jewish family. She was a bright and gifted child, and as she matured she became an atheist. She went on to receive a doctorate in philosophy, studying under the famous philosophers Heidegger and Husserl. Despite her atheism, she was affected by several friends who displayed a great passion for the Catholic faith. One day, while staying at a friend's home, she saw the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila. She read it from cover to cover, and after finishing it she exclaimed, "This is the Truth." Edith was baptized in Cologne, Germany in 1922. From there she taught for a time at a Dominican school and studied St. Thomas Aquinas and other Catholic philosophers. When the rise of anti-semitism forced her to resign from a teaching post, she wrote to Pope Pius XI asking him to publicly denounce the Nazis. Discerning a call to the religious life, she became a Carmelite nun in Cologne 1934, taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross after her special devotion to the Cross of Christ. When the Nazi threat grew in Germany, her Order transferred her to a convent in the Netherlands for safety. There Edith grew in her desire to offer her life for the salvation of souls. The Nazis eventually came for her, and she, along with her sister Rose, who was also a convert, were sent to the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz. They were both killed in the gas chamber. St. Edith Stein is the patroness of martyrs and Europe. Her feast day is August 9th.

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Tuesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 EZ 2:8—3:4

The Lord GOD said to me:
As for you, son of man, obey me when I speak to you:
be not rebellious like this house of rebellion,
but open your mouth and eat what I shall give you.
It was then I saw a hand stretched out to me,
in which was a written scroll which he unrolled before me.
It was covered with writing front and back,
and written on it was:
Lamentation and wailing and woe!
He said to me: Son of man, eat what is before you;
eat this scroll, then go, speak to the house of Israel.
So I opened my mouth and he gave me the scroll to eat.
Son of man, he then said to me,
feed your belly and fill your stomach
with this scroll I am giving you.
I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.
He said: Son of man, go now to the house of Israel,
and speak my words to them.

Responsorial Psalm PS 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131

R. (103a) How sweet to my taste is your promise!
In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Yes, your decrees are my delight;
they are my counselors.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
How sweet to my palate are your promises,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Your decrees are my inheritance forever;
the joy of my heart they are.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
I gasp with open mouth,
in my yearning for your commands.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!

Alleluia MT 11:29

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
"Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?"
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever becomes humble like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.
"See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.
What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost."


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Daily Meditation: Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

Unless you turn and become like children . . . (Matthew 18:3)

Hollywood loves to make movies in which children find themselves in adult bodies. These stories work because it's entertaining to see an adult exhibiting the naïveté or mannerisms of a child. But that's not what Jesus had in mind when he told us to become like children.

Jesus does not want us to become immature or goofy like the adults-turned-kids in the movies. Rather, he wants us to grow in the virtues that we see in children. He doesn't want us to lose the wisdom or sense of judgment that we have learned; he wants us to add to them some of the childlike attributes that we may have lost along the way: humility and innocence, for example, as well as a willingness to trust people.

The ability to "become like children" doesn't happen overnight as it does in the movies. It takes effort and practice to become alert to prideful or selfish thoughts that may harden our hearts. It also takes relying on the power of the Spirit for help rather than trying to change our hearts on our own.

It isn't always easy to recapture our childlike innocence and trust—especially if we've been hurt in the past. That means we may get discouraged when we find ourselves falling back into patterns of cynicism or world-weariness or pride. But remember, becoming like children means coming to your heavenly Father. And like any good father, he is always proud whenever a child of his takes even a small step of progress. He rejoices every time you notice a fault and ask his help in overcoming it.

When Jesus said, "It is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost," he wasn't just talking about children (Matthew 18:14). He was talking about all of God's "little ones"—each one of us who is trying to live as his own beloved child. God doesn't want you to get "lost" in the maze of "grown-up" life in this world. He wants to help you. He is always ready to forgive you, encourage you, and strengthen you.

"Lord, help me let go of my pride and self-centered ways so that I can become more like the child of God you created me to be."

Ezekiel 2:8–3:4
Psalm 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131

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From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
"He said: Son of man, go now to the house of Israel,
and speak my words to them."

So much is done with speech, right? Words to heal. Words to convince. Words of salvation. Words of invitation and words of command. And our Lord asks for his words to come to into ourselves and manifest themselves into existence.

We pray in Psalms:
"I gasp with open mouth, in my yearning for your commands. How sweet to my taste is your promise!"
They say a family, the children especially, can thrive where there is order. And so the opposite is true, they cannot thrive where there is disorder.
They say that unstable marriages can cause unstable children.
They say that a family that moves many times can make the children unstable. Of course there are exceptions possible, but far and few between. I see at church instability. I see one parent going to Church, but not the other, and the children have less than 50% chance of being enticed to go to Mass now, especially if the father does not go to church.
Instability and disorder ensue. So what can we do? Is it too late for some? We always hold out our hand and heart...for hope...and our hope is in the Lord. For if we love...to what extent can we love?

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In today's Gospel we heard our Lord:
"See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father."

This verse haunts me. The Lord speaks about children, and about despising children. Yet, is it a certain age group? Or could it be all of His children? Beware! God sees not as we see. His children are His flock. Who do you despise? I've heard of time having to be served in purgatory for not paying attention to one's own children. How much more time will we serve for ignoring God's own children? Now we speak of the ones in the margins of life, those on the outskirts of your busy life, those who we dare to not care. But He cares. More than we'll ever know.

"Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."

What then is the humility of the child, so that we may become the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven? It is the Lord. He was referring in a way, to Himself, amen? He hides behind the child as He embraces the child. He hides behind the forgotten and the ones marginalized, and God asks us to embrace them, and thus becoming one with them....becoming humble. How crazy is that?

"If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?"

This question is for all the people that cannot see the value of a lost soul. "Oh well, I'll just keep going to church and say a prayer for them there" (like a levite priest passing the beaten Samaritan).
What does it mean to search for a lost lamb of God?
It is to seek Jesus. Remember the child story, of not despising a little child of God? Nobody in the room had noticed the child, or put the child at the forefront. But God does.

Nowadays, children are abused worse than any sexual abuse and scandal than ever before. They are showed disorder. They are shown that they are worthless, by "empowering them" to make their own choices without any voice of truth or true guidance of God. And they, in turn, become lost, and some lost souls become violent, to the point of spreading hatred. Can you see the seeds of darkness being spread throughout the land?

How can we make a return? Speak! Speak words of healing, and counseling, and let God do all the work, you simply make yourself available. Have I ever seen a lost soul? I see many empty church pews. Have I ever met a lost soul? I've met many prisoners with eyes of soul searching, castaways, some still violent, a product of their environment, trash of the world some would say. Where else have I encountered such people? In nursing homes. Often abandoned, like the Blessed Sacrament, like we treat God. How I wish we had a heart.

And a heart, a true love takes sacrifice.

Life is different when sacrificing love becomes true.
Jesus our Lord shows us this at every Holy Mass. Love is poured out eternally from the cross. As if to say "take this, My Body, and now, pour yourselves out for the world...my children".

This is a spectacular feat.
This is a fountain of life, true love at hand...the Kingdom of GOD our Father.

Lord, that we may become Thy Holy Children of Love our Father in Heaven!

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Monday, August 8, 2022

† ".Open Its Mouth ... "

 
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†Saint Quote

"Quote of the Day
"The important thing is not to think much but to love much; and so do that which best stirs you to love."
–St. Teresa of Avila - Teresa of Jesus

†Today's Meditation
"The human soul, by its very nature, is endowed with the faculty of knowing God and the capacity for loving Him. The intelligence of the soul, transporting itself above all that is created and finite, has power to raise itself even to the contemplation of that Being who alone is uncreated and infinite, who is the source of all good and all perfection; it is able to form of Him an idea that is clear and accurate and indelible. The will of the soul is made to love this sovereign Good, which the understanding presents to it. The desires of the soul, which no created object can ever satisfy and which reach far beyond the limits of this life, tend necessarily toward a Good that is supreme, eternal, and infinite, and which alone can content the soul and make it happy."
—Fr. Jean Nicholas Grou, p. 3-4

An Excerpt From
The Spiritual Life

†Daily Verse
"So turn from youthful desires and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord with purity of heart."
–2 Timothy 2:22

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St. Dominic de Guzman

St. Dominic (1170–1221) was born in Spain to a family of noble lineage. His mother, Blessed Jane of Aza, prayed at the church of St. Dominic Silos to conceive a male child, her first two sons being given to the priesthood. In answer to her prayer, she dreamed that a dog leaped from her womb carrying a torch in its mouth which set the world ablaze. At his baptism, his godmother beheld a star shining from his forehead. As a child Dominic showed signs of great sanctity and intelligence, and he was also given to the Church for the priesthood. When famine struck Dominic sold his rare and expensive theology books to feed the poor. As a priest he traveled with his bishop into southern France and discovered that it had been overrun with a heretical movement which led many away from the Church. This inflamed his desire to devote his life to apostolic preaching for the salvation of souls, at the time an office reserved to bishops. With the Pope's approval he founded the Order of Preachers, or the Dominicans, committed to defend the truth of the Catholic faith. St. Dominic's Order was novel in that it combined the active and contemplative religious life with the labor of scholarly study and itinerate preaching. St. Dominic was innovative in meeting the needs of his time to defend the Church against her enemies. To aid his mission, Our Lady appeared to him and gave him a new devotion—the Holy Rosary. St. Dominic is the patron saint of scientists and astronomers. His feast day is August 8th.

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• Readings for the Memorial of Saint Dominic, priest

Reading 1 Ez 1:2-5, 24-28c

On the fifth day of the fourth month of the fifth year,
that is, of King Jehoiachin's exile,
The word of the LORD came to the priest Ezekiel,
the son of Buzi,
in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar.—
There the hand of the LORD came upon me.

As I looked, a stormwind came from the North,
a huge cloud with flashing fire enveloped in brightness,
from the midst of which (the midst of the fire)
something gleamed like electrum.
Within it were figures resembling four living creatures
that looked like this: their form was human.

Then I heard the sound of their wings,
like the roaring of mighty waters,
like the voice of the Almighty.
When they moved, the sound of the tumult was like the din of an army.
And when they stood still, they lowered their wings.

Above the firmament over their heads
something like a throne could be seen,
looking like sapphire.
Upon it was seated, up above, one who had the appearance of a man.
Upward from what resembled his waist I saw what gleamed like electrum;
downward from what resembled his waist I saw what looked like fire;
he was surrounded with splendor.
Like the bow which appears in the clouds on a rainy day
was the splendor that surrounded him.
Such was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm PS 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14

R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights;
Praise him, all you his angels;
praise him, all you his hosts.
R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let the kings of the earth and all peoples,
the princes and all the judges of the earth,
Young men too, and maidens,
old men and boys,
R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
His majesty is above earth and heaven.
R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.
And he has lifted up the horn of his people.
Be this his praise from all his faithful ones,
from the children of Israel, the people close to him.
Alleluia.
R. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia See 2 Thes 2:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God has called you through the Gospel
To possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 17:22-27

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee,
Jesus said to them,
"The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,
and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day."
And they were overwhelmed with grief.

When they came to Capernaum,
the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said,
"Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?"
"Yes," he said.
When he came into the house, before he had time to speak,
Jesus asked him, "What is your opinion, Simon?
From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax?
From their subjects or from foreigners?"
When he said, "From foreigners," Jesus said to him,
"Then the subjects are exempt.
But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook,
and take the first fish that comes up.
Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax.
Give that to them for me and for you."


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Daily Meditation: Matthew 17:22-27

He will be raised on the third day. (Matthew 17:23)

Of course the disciples were "overwhelmed with grief" (Matthew 17:23)! Jesus had just told them he was going to die. But that's not all he said. He also told them that he would be raised up on the third day. Somehow, they missed that part.

It wasn't the first time this happened either. When Jesus first predicted his passion, Peter skipped right over the resurrection and focused only on the disturbing news that Jesus had to die first (Matthew 16:21-23). And the very same thing happened a third time (20:17-20). All the disciples could focus on was Jesus' death.

We often have similar reactions when we hear bad news or when we think we see dark times looming on the horizon. We wonder why Jesus would let this happen. Our fear and disappointment cloud our thinking, and we have a hard time trusting him or seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

We may think it would be so much better if Jesus would just explain everything to us right away. In the same way, the disciples might have wished that Jesus had explained what he meant by rising from the dead. But that's not how he operated. Instead, he gave them seeds of hope that would take root later. He knew that the apostles had to experience his resurrection in order to truly understand it. In a similar way, there are some situations that we just have to live through before we can see, with hindsight, how Jesus was with us.

So yes, some things take time. They also take the Holy Spirit. It was the Spirit who turned the disciples' grief into joy on Easter Sunday, and it's the Spirit who will help us whenever we feel overwhelmed with grief (John 20:22). He will give us not only the grace to endure trials, but also the grace to believe that no matter what we are facing, there will be a resurrection. We may not see it right away; we may even question our faith at times. But Jesus remains faithful and true. He will always give us new opportunities to start again, to die to sin and rise to new life with him. It's for us to experience!

"Holy Spirit, show me the power of Jesus' resurrection today!"

Ezekiel 1:2-5, 24-28
Psalm 148:1-2, 11-14

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From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
"Like the bow which appears in the clouds on a rainy day
was the splendor that surrounded him.
Such was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the LORD."

What's it like to sacrifice the love of your life?
What's it like to crucify all your own passions and desires?
It is like the glory of God in the hope and the promise that shines across the sky. A sign for the whole of the world, for fulfillment, to give God glory.
Did Abraham glorify God by offering his only son? God accepted obedience, a true sign of a true heart for God alone. They say you cannot ever out-give God!

We pray in Psalms:
"Praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; His majesty is above earth and heaven. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory"
How special do we make His name? We pray always in the Lord's prayer at the beginning "our Father, HALLOWED BE THY NAME", that is Holy Be His Name. How can we make His name special? Honor Him, by honoring others is a start. Who are the others? Those you encounter. You never know when it will be the Lord Himself.

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In today's Gospel we heard our Lord:
""The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,
and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day."

Raised on the third day? Why not right away? Who knows God's way? What can we say?

From Bishop Barron today:
"Friends, in today's Gospel, Jesus prophesies his Crucifixion and Resurrection: "The Son of Man is to be handed over to men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day."
What enabled the first Christians to hold up the cross, to sing its praises, to wear it as a decoration, is the fact that God raised up and ratified precisely this crucified Jesus. "You killed him, but God raised him up." Therefore, God was involved in this terrible thing; God was there, working out his salvific purposes.
But what does this mean? There have been numerous attempts throughout the Christian centuries to name the salvific nature of the cross. Let me offer just one take on it. It became clear to the first Christians that somehow, on that terrible cross, sin had been dealt with. The curse of sin had been removed, taken care of. On that terrible cross, Jesus functioned as the "Lamb of God," sacrificed for sin.
Does this mean that God the Father is a cruel taskmaster demanding a bloody sacrifice so that his anger might be appeased? No; Jesus' crucifixion was the opening up of the divine heart so that we could see that no sin of ours could finally separate us from the love of God."

..............................

How is it that our Lord is God and God is crucified? This is a demand and command from Heaven..."Thou Shalt Love ME YOUR GOD above all things, thou shalt not have other gods before ME", says the Lord in Heaven. Thus is the message of Love from Heaven upon that cross, that very throne we gave Him, instead of the best of our lives...the very scraps...and left to die. You see...if you will hear me, Lazarus is Jesus knocking at the door. You see, the rejection of Him daily? That is Him. And He still pays, because they say, whoever loves more....suffers more. I've got a taste of that, because at times, I feel like I'm the only one that cares. Most people would say "why should I care if nobody else does!?"

It is evident even in a place where He performed tons of miracles, Capernaum, he was still rejected in the temple in a way:
"...the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said,
"Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?"
They treated Him like a foreigner...or was money more important than honor? He fed thousands, He heals a bleeding woman, He heals a paralyzed man there, and raises a girl from the dead, and what? No pass to pray? Their obedience trumped charity. But watch what Jesus does...He obeys. And He goes fishing for the money to be able to enter...and He fishes through a man, a fisher man, Simon. Simon, perhaps perplexed, obeys, and what turns out, another amazing miracle at Capernaum seas. The Book of Heaven seems to make obedience supreme, but why? The world teaches disobedience. What was the cross but obedience, right? Had God willed any other way, there would've been no cross to brutally torture God, Jesus. Can you understand the Holy Spirit?

Better not to understand, but to trust. And to trust is to obey. But why should I obey, or how could I obey if I do not first have love of God?

After obedience, they were allowed into the temple.
Think of Heaven. I've gained much because of obedience. Even if I did not want to obey, or feel like it, in the end, it paid.

I always like to think of the Ultreyas, gatherings of faithful to pray and share testimony, so hard to do, but when you leave, you feel blessed and rewarded. Indeed, sometimes a fire is not easy to start. Only with time can one realize how, and what it takes.

We must learn then the virtues of God's goodness, patience and obedience.
I'll leave you with a snip:
from Monsignor Charles M. Manganfrom Catholic Online

"Anyone who is serious about obtaining Everlasting Life in Heaven will do all he can to increase in the virtue of obedience. For without it, one will never please the Lord, Who is our benevolent Creator and compassionate Master.
Yes, we are actually obliged to be obedient--it is our solemn duty. And in the future, God willing, we will see that it helped us to attain the crown of perfect beatitude--the unending face-to-face vision of the Most Blessed Trinity--in Paradise.
What do we mean by the virtue of obedience?
The eminent Jesuit theologian Father John Anthony Hardon, S.T.D. (1914-2000), in his helpful Pocket Catholic Dictionary (New York: Image Books, 1985), offered the following definition of obedience: "The moral virtue that inclines the will to comply with the will of another who has the right to command." (Page 291)
Therefore, a person who is rooted in obedience submits his will to the one who possesses legitimate authority over him.
In his Summa Theologica (II, II, Question 104, Articles 4 and 5), Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225?-1274) declared that God is to be obeyed in all things, while human authorities are to be obeyed in certain things. Father Hardon explained: " . . . obedience to God is without limit, whereas obedience to human beings is limited by higher laws that must not be transgressed, and by the competency or authority of the one who gives the orders."

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