†Saint Quote ""We find rest in those we love, and we provide a resting place for those who love us." –St. Bernard of Clairvaux
†Today's Meditation "Since all our love for God is ultimately a response to His love for us, we can never love Him in the same way He loves us, namely, gratuitously. Since we are fundamentally dependent on God and in His debt for our creation and redemption, our love is always owed to Him, a duty, a response to His love. But we can love our neighbor in the same way that He loves us, gratuitously—not because of anything the neighbor has done for us or because of anything that we owe him, but simply because love has been freely given to us. We thereby greatly please the Father. God the Father tells Catherine [of Siena]: This is why I have put you among your neighbors: so that you can do for them what you cannot do for me—that is, love them without any concern for thanks and without looking for any profit for yourself. And whatever you do for them I will consider done for me." – Ralph Martin, p. 261
An Excerpt From Fulfillment of all Desire, p261
†Daily Verse "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid." –John 14:27
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St. Dwynwen (5th c.) was a princess from Anglesey in Wales, the beautiful and virtuous daughter of King Brychan Brycheiniog. According to legend she fell in love with a young man, yet refused to marry him due to her piety and desire for the religious life. She prayed that her desire for marriage would be removed, and that God would give happiness to all lovers. Dwynwen became consecrated to God as a nun and set up a convent on Llanddwyn Island, and her church and its 'holy well' became a pilgrimage shrine from the Middle Ages down to today, especially for lovers. St. Dwynwen is the patron saint of lovers, and in Wales her feast is the equivalent of St. Valentine's Day. Dwynwen translated means 'she who leads a blessed life', and her feast day is January 25.
Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle
Reading I Acts 22:3-16
Paul addressed the people in these words: "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city. At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today. I persecuted this Way to death, binding both men and women and delivering them to prison. Even the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify on my behalf. For from them I even received letters to the brothers and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem in chains for punishment those there as well.
"On that journey as I drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' I replied, 'Who are you, sir?' And he said to me, 'I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.' My companions saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me. I asked, 'What shall I do, sir?' The Lord answered me, 'Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything appointed for you to do.' Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light, I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.
"A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law, and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me and stood there and said, 'Saul, my brother, regain your sight.' And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him. Then he said, 'The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice; for you will be his witness before all to what you have seen and heard. Now, why delay? Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away, calling upon his name.'"
Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" He said, "Who are you, sir?" The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do." The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.
There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, AAnanias." He answered, "Here I am, Lord." The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is there praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, that he may regain his sight." But Ananias replied, "Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name." But the Lord said to him, "Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name." So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, "Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.
He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus, and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. All who heard him were astounded and said, "Is not this the man who in Jerusalem ravaged those who call upon this name, and came here expressly to take them back in chains to the chief priests?" But Saul grew all the stronger and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus, proving that this is the Christ.
Responsorial Psalm 117:1bc, 2
R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News. or: R. Alleluia, alleluia. Praise the Lord, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples! R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News. or: R. Alleluia, alleluia. For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the Lord endures forever. R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News. or: R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia See Jn 15:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia. I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 16:15-18
Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
Daily Meditation: Acts 22:3-16
About noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me. (Acts 22:6)
Why did Paul mention the time of day when he first encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus? It was a small detail, but he included it as part of his testimony before the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. Perhaps the answer lies in what Ananias said to Paul after he regained his sight: "You will be [God's] witness before all to what you have seen and heard" (Acts 22:15). Paul was witnessing to the risen Jesus, and in his life-changing encounter with the Lord, the details mattered.
The same holds true for any eyewitness. If we've witnessed a crime, for example, recalling and sharing the details allow a fuller picture of the truth to emerge. As witnesses, we recall what we have seen and heard—including the small things—about God's goodness and grace so that we can give others a fuller picture of the truth of who he is. Not only Paul, but the Gospel writers as well, often added seemingly insignificant details in their accounts of how Jesus had manifested himself in people's lives—the when, the where, the how. Such details give credence and concreteness to the stories they tell and bring them to life.
Becoming conscious of God's activity around you (and giving him credit for it!) is the beginning of becoming his witness. For example, maybe a friend reached out to you with a phone call when you needed to unburden some worry you were harboring that day. A small incident, yes, but it showed God's compassion for you. Or you might recall how a hymn sung at Mass moved you and made you grateful for God's love. It was just one song, yes, but it helped you realize how much God loves you.
The more we can see God's hand in our everyday circumstances, the more natural it becomes to share these small personal "testimonies" about what we have seen and heard with other people. You don't have to have a dramatic conversion story like Paul's to be a witness. You just have to be alert to the details in your life!
"Lord, help me be a witness to others of your goodness."
Psalm 117:1-2 Mark 16:15-18
From today's 1st Holy Scripture: "He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" Once we are baptized, we are baptized into the body of Christ, we are washed by His blood, and enter into His Body. Can you imagine hurting Christ, a member of His Body? We do so by gossiping, spreading rumors, taking from them, not helping others, anything uncharitable, thus, unholy. Therefore, we are called to God's love, from the heart.
We pray in Psalms: "For steadfast is his kindness toward us, and the fidelity of the Lord endures forever. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News." God is faithful they say. It is us that become unfaithful, and how? By being forgetful. To forget His grace, to forget His gift, to forget what He has done for us. The world needs to know this message, that we are to atone for sin, turn our lives to Him and never look back.
Our Lord speaks in the Holy Gospel: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned."
So we are baptized, even as infants...but do we believe? Faith. Our Lord says to proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Have you proclaimed to all peoples and animals around you? St. Francis of Assisi did, and birds would flock around him to listen and to go off glorifying God our Creator and our Father. Is God serious? Is this pandemic serious? Last week I sung at two funerals, a young man and a lady that died of this disease that is spreading like wildfire. Do you know how hard it is to do that as my own loved one is in the hospital? God is serious. He wants the gospel proclaimed from the heart, in secret and upon rooftops. For even what is said in secret will be proclaimed on rooftops.
"These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
Are there those who drive out demons? Yes. Only Exorcists? No. Only priests in the confessional when people sincerely confess? No. We all can drive them out of our lives, by doing God's will...of living a true life of sincerity and holiness with our Lord in Heaven. But notice everything God says today in all Scripture..."believe".
Have we been losing the sense of belief?
They say only about 1 out of 3 Catholics believe in our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. A few decades ago I think it was 1 out of 2. What has been happening? Self reliance. People believe they can make it on their own without all that Church stuff. And there is a downfall to that. For God call us to faith. To believe. Those who believe cast out demons. Those who believe pick up serpents with their hands. Those who believe will lay hands on the sick and heal them. If you honestly believe, then you will convert. If you truly believe you will be transformed like Saul into Paul. And if you honestly believe...you will see God as your ultimate love.
Heavenly Father, our Lord, We come here to seek Your Holy Word, to be enlivened in our faith, that we may believe...and become the healing agents the world needs...to convert...to repent, and be baptized..and be saved...into an intimate Union with Christ our Lord.
from your brother in Christ, Adrian
Let us continue our prayers, that those who touch my dad in the hospital have a healing touch, and help him see that God is with him. There seems now to be stability and he had a tranquil night, even without my mom there because visitation rules changed. May our prayers and angels accompany him all the while to complete recovery. Because we believe. Because we love.
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Random bible verse generator:
Romans 8:38–39 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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