†Saint Quote ""It is not the actual physical exertion that counts towards a man's progress, nor the nature of the task, but by the spirit of faith with which it is undertaken." –St. Francis Xavier
†Today's Meditation "Thus sin renders the soul miserable, weak and torpid, inconstant in doing good, cowardly in resisting temptation, slothful in the observance of God's commandments. It deprives her of true liberty and of that sovereignty which she should never resign; it makes her a slave to the world, the flesh, and the devil; it subjects her to a harder and more wretched servitude than that of the unhappy Israelites in Egypt or Babylon. Sin so dulls and stupefies the spiritual senses of man that he is deaf to God's voice and inspirations; blind to the dreadful calamities which threaten him; insensible to the sweet odor of virtue and the example of the saints; incapable of tasting how sweet the Lord is, or feeling the touch of His benign hand in the benefits which should be a constant incitement to his greater love. Moreover, sin destroys the peace and joy of a good conscience, takes away the soul's fervor, and leaves her an object abominable in the eyes of God and His saints. The grace of justification delivers us from all these miseries. For God, in His infinite mercy, is not content with effacing our sins and restoring us to His favor; He delivers us from the evils sin has brought upon us, and renews the interior man in his former strength and beauty. Thus He heals our wounds, breaks our bonds, moderates the violence of our passions, restores with true liberty the supernatural beauty of the soul, reestablishes us in the peace and joy of a good conscience, reanimates our interior senses, inspires us with ardor for good and a salutary hatred of sin, makes us strong and constant in resisting evil, and thus enriches us with an abundance of good works. In fine, He so perfectly renews the inner man with all his faculties that the Apostle calls those who are thus justified new men and new creatures." —Venerable Louis Of Grenada, p. 46
An Excerpt From The Sinner's Guide
†Daily Verse "For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love." –Ephesians 3:14-17
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St. Margaret of Cortona
St. Margaret of Cortona (1247-1297) was born in Tuscany, Italy, the only child of a working-class family. She lost her mother at age seven, and had a poor relationship with her stepmother. Margaret was spoiled, willful, reckless, and beautiful, and at the age of seventeen she left her father's house in the night and became the mistress of a young nobleman. She lived with him in his family castle for nine years and bore him a son, but he did not marry her due to her lower social class. One day he did not return home from a journey, and his hound came back to the castle alone. The dog led Margaret into the nearby wood where she discovered her lover brutally murdered. This shook her to her core. Her eyes were opened to the sinfulness of her way of life, and she became deeply repentant. She left his family castle with her son and sought out the Franciscan friars for spiritual direction. She then reformed her life through intense prayer, penance, and self-discipline, eventually joining the Third Order of St. Francis, and living in strict poverty and great charity towards the poor. St. Margaret of Cortona is the patron saint of the homeless, reformed prostitutes, midwives, single laywomen, the mentally ill, and the falsely accused. Her feast day is February 22nd.
Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle
Lectionary: 535 Reading I
1 Pt 5:1-4
Beloved: I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed. Tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly. Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
23:1-3a, 4, 5, 6
R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose; Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul. R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side With your rod and your staff
that give me courage. R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes; You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows. R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come. R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church; the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Daily Meditation: Matthew 16:13-19
The gates of the netherworld shall not prevail. (Matthew 16:18)
What must have been going through Peter's mind when Jesus told him that one day he would be in charge of the Church? He probably felt some pride and pleasure, similar to the way a student might feel when his teacher singles out his work on a test. He was probably also excited to have been assigned a leadership role among the apostles. It probably sounded more prestigious than his job as a fisherman!
What Peter couldn't foresee were all the difficulties, conflicts, and mistakes he would have to deal with, before and after taking up his new role. Experiencing the shame of denying Jesus. Mourning Jesus' death. Settling disagreements among the early church members. And suffering his own martyrdom.
Do you know what else he couldn't foresee? That he would become the first leader of the world's oldest and largest institution—the Church. Peter couldn't have imagined that the most famous church in the world would be named after him or that his name would be known worldwide more than two thousand years after his death.
Of course, this feast is not a celebration of St. Peter's life. What this feast does celebrate is God's grace at work in Peter and his successors. It celebrates their role as teachers and guardians of the truths that Jesus handed on to Peter and the apostles. These are truths that Peter himself saw unfolding in real time during his life: the truths of salvation that flow from Jesus' death and resurrection.
Over the centuries, the Church has had its share of scandals and corruption as well as its shining moments. But if you ever find yourself discouraged, remember Jesus' words. Take comfort in knowing that when it comes to the Church, sin won't have the last word; Jesus will. His grace—the same grace that sustained Peter and his successors—will continue to sustain the whole Church. It will always find a home in the hearts of the humble and the faithful.
"Holy Spirit, keep protecting your Church from the darkness both within and without."
1 Peter 5:1-4 Psalm 23:1-6
From today's 1st Holy Scripture: "Tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly."
A hired shepherd doesn't watch the flock, like the owner of the flock. God owns the flock. He will see to it that His own are taken care of. I say this because, in the world, there's all sorts of people that get hit with all sorts of things, both physically and spiritually, and it happens in Church. There are all sorts of "shepherds" and many don't like some priests, or even the pope. Yet, I have to remind everyone that, yes, we have some "not so good" ones at times, but this is God's church, His flock, He is ultimately in control.
We pray in Psalms: "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; Beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul."
Our Lord speaks in the Holy Gospel: ""Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
This is a personal question to you. I asked people to reflect on who is on the cross. Do you know that man? Does He matter? Who is He? Who is He to you personally?
I went on to explain that, perhaps that stranger needs to be revealed to you as He has to me. It is God the Father's image to mankind. Love outstretched for you. Love suffered for you. And if you love God, this image should cut our hearts open...for Him.
Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Our Lord said "Blessed are You" for having said this, because it was God the Father who revealed it. It came from Peter's heart...love for God. From love comes the other gifts, of hope, and faith. There's that born in me, when God revealed to me something that has completely comforted me when I was crying at the Blessed Sacrament for the passing of my dad, and our Father said "Am I not capable of loving him more than you?". That completely consoled me. God loves a million times better. How can I not trust in Him? And trust His decisions in the Holy Church? And in my daily life? And with all my heart? All my love.
Let's pray: Lord, Heavenly Father,
You are the very essence of true love. I am only learning about this with all my aches and pains in life. With all the void, with all the questions, I am learning that the fundamental relation You desire is true Love, and therefore, true worship is born. I want to worship You as You desire.
from your brother in Christ, Adrian
Reflecting this morning, I realized a miracle greater than my dad's healing had occurred, through all the suffering and all the prayers: dad, Martin Gonzales, was being purified, for on his last day, I saw a whole new man, pure, purified, clear beautiful eyes with a light and glimmer we had never seen, confident and unafraid. I saw a transformation from a good person, into a real saint. I have you to thank, and I have God to thank for a better answer.
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Random bible verse generator:
12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
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