†Saint Quote "You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds . . . What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can." –St. Thomas More
†Today's Meditation "Do you know what it is to be truly spiritual? It is for men to make themselves the slaves of God—branded with His mark, which is the Cross. … Unless you make up your minds to this, never expect to make much progress, for as I said humility is the foundation of the whole building and unless you are truly humble, Our Lord, for your own sake, will never permit you to rear it very high lest it should fall to the ground. Therefore, sisters, take care to lay a firm foundation by seeking to be the least of all and the slave of others, watching how you can please and help them, for it will benefit you more than them. Built on such strong rocks, your castle can never go to ruin. I insist again: your foundation must not consist of prayer and contemplation alone: unless you acquire the virtues and praise them, you will always be dwarfs; and please God no worse may befall you than making no progress, for you know that to stop is to go back—if you love, you will never be content to come to a standstill." —St. Teresa of Avila, p. 209-210
An Excerpt From Interior Castle
†Daily Verse "For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good." –Titus 2:11-14
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St. Margaret of Antioch
St. Margaret (289-304 A.D.) was born in Antioch, the daughter of a pagan priest. Her mother died when she was an infant, and she was raised by a Christian nurse who baptized her and gave her a Christian education. St. Margaret grew into a pious and virtuous young woman under her nurse's care, to the delight of her father. When she came of age, Margaret returned to live with her father. She quickly angered him, however, when she refused to take part in offering sacrifices to idols. Furious at her steadfast refusals, he drove her out of his home. Margaret then returned to live with her nurse as a household servant. One day a Roman prefect noticed Margaret's beauty and desired to have her for himself. Margaret declined, citing that she had consecrated her virginity to Jesus Christ, a reply for which she was severely persecuted. She was brought to trial for her Christian faith, scourged, tortured, and thrown into prison by her suitor. In her moment of weakness, the devil appeared to her in the form of a dragon to intimidate her and break her faith. Margaret trusted in God and made the Sign of the Cross, and the dragon fled defeated. At this triumph over her enemy, Margaret's cell was filled with light and her wounds were miraculously healed. Enraged to find her healed, her suitor had new tortures applied to her body, which did her no harm and caused many witnesses to convert to the Christian faith. She was finally killed by beheading. St. Margaret of Antioch was one of the saints who appeared to St. Joan of Arc. She is the patron saint against sterility, of the dying, and of pregnancy, labor, and childbirth. Her feast day is July 20th.
Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Jer 1:1, 4-10
The words of Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah, of a priestly family in Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin.
The word of the LORD came to me thus:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you. "Ah, Lord GOD!" I said, "I know not how to speak; I am too young."
But the LORD answered me, Say not, "I am too young." To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. Have no fear before them, because I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.
Then the LORD extended his hand and touched my mouth, saying,
See, I place my words in your mouth! This day I set you over nations and over kingdoms, To root up and to tear down, to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15 and 17
R. (see 15ab) I will sing of your salvation. In you, O LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice rescue me, and deliver me; incline your ear to me, and save me. R. I will sing of your salvation. Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are my rock and my fortress. O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked. R. I will sing of your salvation. For you are my hope, O Lord; my trust, O God, from my youth. On you I depend from birth; from my mother's womb you are my strength. R. I will sing of your salvation. My mouth shall declare your justice, day by day your salvation. O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds. R. I will sing of your salvation.
Alleluia R. Alleluia, alleluia. The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower; all who come to him will live for ever. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 13:1-9
On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: "A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear."
Daily Meditation: Matthew 13:1-9
A sower went out to sow. (Matthew 13:3)
It can be easy to skip over this sentence since it is at the beginning of Jesus' parable. But in these few simple words, Jesus gives us a glimpse of his Father as a God who sows generously. Let's take a few moments to let that truth sink in.
Imagine the eager anticipation of a farmer who is about to plant his crop. He has chosen the land. He has tilled and prepared the soil. He has selected his seeds. He has planned how he will care for the field throughout the planting and growing season so that the land produces a good yield. And so, with the seeds in hand, the sower goes out to sow.
Our heavenly Father is like this farmer. He has carefully chosen us and laid out his plans for us even before we were born (see Jeremiah 1:5). Now, when he looks at us, he eagerly anticipates the work he will do in our lives and the fruit that we will bear.
God is well aware of the hard paths, the rocky ground, or the thorns that are in our hearts. He knows the distractions, the shallowness, and the worries we face. But even when the soil of our hearts seems unwelcoming, God still sows the seed of his word. He is confident that our hearts can become more fertile. During difficult times, as we call out to him and do our best to say yes to him, those life circumstances "till the soil" and help make us more fruitful.
God has an unlimited supply of different types of seeds to sow into our hearts. One day it might be a word from the day's Mass readings or meditation. Another day it might be something a friend or family member says to us. He knows the best time to plant these seeds and just when we will be receptive to them so that they can take root in us.
And the fruit that might come from God's planting? One day you find love growing for a family member you struggled to tolerate. Or you find yourself more prayerful and peaceful when you used to worry. Or you talk with a suffering neighbor and bring comfort and hope to them.
All because God, the sower, went out to sow!
"Father, I offer you my heart. May your word bear rich fruit in my life!"
Jeremiah 1:1, 4-10 Psalm 71:1-6, 15, 17
From today's 1st Holy Scripture: "Say not, "I am too young." To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. Have no fear"
How can we get our youth to go out and proclaim God's word? We have to start the fire. And what kind of seeds make for the greatest of fire? Fire seeds! We need the seeds of the Holy Spirit that will live inside and flourish!
We pray in Psalms: "For you are my hope, O Lord; my trust, O God, from my youth. On you I depend from birth; from my mother's womb you are my strength. I will sing of your salvation"
And so we must train our children to love and to trust in God from their youth, and the younger the better, because nowadays, so much is vying for their attention from a very young age, even...spirits.
In today's Gospel we heard our Lord: ""A sower went out to sow."
And of course, our Lord is sowing, He IS the sower, right? With His Word that can touch and change and save lives, right? And this is a most wonderful analogy, because it is an exact truth! It is not just an analogy, but this is real, and even more than real because our world will seem not too real in the next life! Reality is attempting to enter our reality. And so, we have the Word of God entering our very eyes, our very minds, and attempting to enter even deeper and deeper...this very word of God, as it enters our senses, ears, listening, and comprehending what is at hand.
And the seeds are always and constant, always being poured out everywhere, and has the land been good? The other day I went and bought seeds for grass for my patchy lawn in need of better grass type to get rid of stickers, thorns. It was dark, and I threw seed everywhere. To this day, I haven't seen growth, from a few days ago, but I'm pretty sure I know why. In one area my new mixed Great Pyranese dogs dug up where I really wanted grass, they made an absolute mess. In another area, there was overgrowth of the other grass, in need of mowing, and the open areas, well the dirt was just packed hard, and in another area, dogs again, and sandy soil, no water. So, is it the seed's fault it won't grow? Is it God's fault that things aren't growing for His Kingdom lately? Are the dogs and birds guilty? What is it about the soil? The soil needs work. If I want this to be a success, it needs work, back breaking work if need be. Right? And this takes much will power. And I'm talking about you and me, the soil, the humus, the humans made of humus, which is an old word for dirt! We are in every way exactly what God says, like plants, like trees, like the vine and the branches, and there is no way out of it, for that is what we are. We must work on ourselves to allow His seeds to flourish in us all.
We need to rip open the hard ground which is called plowing and tilling. We need to tear up what is not good and not allowing God's word to enter. And that's the first step! Then the seed will attempt to reach for the Son, and that's when from the womb of our heart, this new life will meet new challenges and many "new Christians" may or may not survive the challenges. Either weeds will attempt to take over. Or there may not be enough water. What are weeds? Things and distractions of the world. What is the water? The very life source of God which we channel through prayer. And what of seeds in hard rock areas? LOL, then let us uproot from the rock area and be planted in the sea. This is faith. They say God is everything, even faith. Let us cherish the faith, let us make it grow. Let us make His Kingdom come.
Lord, Thy will be done in me, today, and always. And let the beauty of Your design be known and shown and grown!
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