†Saint Quote "Just as in one man there is one soul and one body, yet many members; even so the Catholic Church is one body, having many members. The soul that quickens this body is the Holy Spirit; and therefore in the Creed after confessing our belief in the Holy Spirit, we are bid to believe in the Holy Catholic Church." –St. Augustine
†Today's Meditation "There are two loves, the love of God and the love of the world. If the love of the world takes possession of you, there is no way for the love of God to enter into you. Let the love of the world take the second place, and let the love of God dwell in you. Let the better love take over." —St. Augustine, p. 34
An Excerpt From Augustine Day by Day
†Daily Verse "For I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives." –Luke 21:15-19
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St. Helen, also known as St. Helena (d. 327 A.D.), was a woman of humble means from Asia Minor. She married the future Roman Emperor Constantius Chlorus, and their son Constantine was born c. 272. Constantius divorced Helen in c. 293 to marry Emperor Maximian's daughter for the sake of political gain. When her son Constantine became the Roman Emperor, St. Helen was given the imperial title "Augusta" and was treated like royalty. After Constantine legalized Christianity across the Roman Empire, St. Helen, a Christian convert, went to the Holy Land in search of the actual cross on which Christ was crucified, despite being in her 80s. She questioned local Christians and Jews and learned that the cross was buried under the Temple of Venus. Helen had the temple demolished and excavated. There she discovered the Holy Sepulcher, three crosses, the board with Pilate's inscription, and the nails which pierced Jesus' Sacred Body. In order to determine which cross was the Lord's, the Bishop of Jerusalem touched them to a corpse, causing the man to come back to life. A second miraculous healing of a sick woman confirmed the discovery of the True Cross. Christians flocked to Jerusalem to venerate the Holy Cross. St. Helen then visited all the holy places of Jesus' life and built many churches over their locations, including Bethlehem, the Mount of Olives, and the Garden of Gethsemane. St. Helen is the patron of divorced people, empresses, difficult marriages, converts, and archeologists. Her feast day is August 18th.
Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 EZ 36:23-28
Thus says the LORD: I will prove the holiness of my great name, profaned among the nations, in whose midst you have profaned it. Thus the nations shall know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD, when in their sight I prove my holiness through you. For I will take you away from among the nations, gather you from all the foreign lands, and bring you back to your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees. You shall live in the land I gave your ancestors; you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
Responsorial Psalm PS 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19
R. (Ezekiel 36:25) I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins. A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me. R. I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins. Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me. I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners shall return to you. R. I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins. For you are not pleased with sacrifices; should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it. My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. R. I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins.
Alleluia PS 95:8
R. Alleluia, alleluia. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel MT 22:1-14
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)
Weddings are joyous occasions. Recall that Jesus' first miracle—his first sign of the good news of salvation—happened at the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11)! But in today's parable, a king makes elaborate preparations for the wedding feast of his son, yet many refuse his invitation. What's going on here?
Jesus was trying to make clear that he had come to gather his people and usher in a new, heavenly kingdom. If those invited to join him chose not to come, then he would find people who would—even if it meant going to unexpected places to find them.
So who were those guests who rejected the invitation to the royal banquet? Many of Jesus' own people—among them many of Israel's religious and political leaders. And who were the ones who accepted the invitation? Many other Jews, including the poor, along with "public sinners" like tax collectors and prostitutes. Over time, even Gentiles, who were not part of God's covenant people, began to come and join the celebration!
What about us? God's invitation to us isn't just once and done. Every day, he calls us to celebrate the wedding feast of his son. Every day he invites us to enter into his joy. Whether it's in the more private celebration of personal prayer or the communal celebration of the Mass, God is welcoming us into his presence, where we can know his joy and feast on his word.
Today, ask yourself, "Am I listening for the Lord's invitation? Am I prepared to accept it?" If you're hesitating, think about what might be holding you back. Maybe it's time to reexamine your priorities. Perhaps lesser things have subtly crept into your life, and it's time to again put God and his kingdom back at the center. Or maybe anxiety over your child, your job, or your finances is preventing you from even expecting an invitation to the banquet of the Lord.
Whatever it might be, recommit yourself to your heavenly Father so that you don't miss out on what he has for you. He longs to draw you into the richness of his wedding feast. May nothing hold you back!
"Father, give me the grace to accept your invitation, today and every day."
Ezekiel 36:23-28 Psalm 51:12-15, 18-19
From today's 1st Holy Scripture: _"I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees."
When did God enter the heart of humans? We can trace it back to the first man...of the chosen ones, when God said "I'll make them in My image". In a rollo I will give in Christianity In Action, I speak about how God created us to be naturally holy. But as we go through life, we lose this natural tendency with all the accidents, that is, the elements of the world we are exposed to. Nevertheless, God sends out His Spirit, through us all, he speaks, and moves, and is.
We pray today; "For you are not pleased with sacrifices; should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it. My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins".
Let's go to church as it is meant to be: a trip to Heaven. Let's pray as it is meant to be, sincere...true...as if face to face. Let's go beyond works...and dive deep into Him.
Our Lord speaks; "He said to him, 'My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?' But he was reduced to silence."
Wedding garment? Let's go to Mass to feast...as if a wedding...where vows are called to be constantly. How do you dress to the most honorable wedding imaginable? Do you prepare? My cousin is getting married...yay! It's been a long time since anyone has gone through the rigorous process of wedding preparation in the Holy Sacrament of marriage...with God! Most choose to skip it...be lazy and just shack up and see how it goes. Terrible. Bad things happen to careless...lazy people and those involved in their families. What's more...spiritual laziness can be caused by evil spirits living within. Hence...no evil thing is allowed at God's feast...in Heaven. And so,we wonder why so many don't go to Church.
By now, we must open up to God's will. We cannot be lazy boy Christians. We are people on the move...true pilgrims on this journey...and I write to encourage you on your journey to Heaven. It's tough at times...but the rewards are everlasting.
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Random bible verse generator:
Proverbs 14:30 [Proverbs 14]
30 A tranquil1 heart gives life to the flesh,
but envy2 makes the bones rot.
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