Friday, August 19, 2022

† "You shall love your . "


†Saint Quote
"Never give up prayer, and should you find dryness and difficulty, persevere in it for this very reason. God often desires to see what love your soul has, and love is not tried by ease and satisfaction."
–St. John of the Cross

†Today's Meditation
"Moreover, beseech daily the eternal Father, His divine Son, and the Blessed Virgin, that you may be particularly under the protection of St. Joseph, the worthy spouse of the most chaste of virgins. Then addressing yourself to this loving protector, ask with great humility to be received into his care. For innumerable are the instances of assistance afforded to those who have called upon St. Joseph in their spiritual or temporal necessities. Particularly has he aided them when they stood in need of light from heaven, and direction in their prayers. And if God shows so much regard for the other saints who have loved and served Him here below, how much consideration and deference will He not show for the person He so honored as to pay him filial homage and obedience?"
—Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, p. 154

An Excerpt From
The Spiritual Combat and A Treatise on Peace of Soul

†Daily Verse
"If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you."
–John 15:18-19


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St. John Eudes

St. John Eudes (1601–1680) was born in Normandy, France, to a farming family. His devout parents consecrated him to the Blessed Virgin Mary when he was a child. At the age of fourteen he took a vow of chastity, and studied under the Jesuits where he earned the reputation of being a brilliant student. After his ordination to the priesthood he ministered to his countrymen who were suffering from an outbreak of the plague. He later became a missionary priest, traveling throughout France and preaching strong sermons to large crowds in churches, open fields, and in the courts of the royalty and nobility. The force of his sermons was bolstered by his great sanctity; he was considered to be a prodigy and the greatest preacher of his age. He was instrumental in spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary throughout France during a time when religious fervor had grown cold. He was responsible for influencing the Church to establish these two devotions with liturgical feasts, himself composing their Mass and Office. St. John Eudes founded several organizations including the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge, which provided a new life for repentant prostitutes, and the Society of Jesus and Mary (the Eudist Fathers) which specialized in improving the training of seminarians by promoting greater virtue and dedication to the preaching of parish missions. His feast day is August 19th.


Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 EZ 37:1-14

The hand of the LORD came upon me,
and led me out in the Spirit of the LORD
and set me in the center of the plain,
which was now filled with bones.
He made me walk among the bones in every direction
so that I saw how many they were on the surface of the plain.
How dry they were!
He asked me:
Son of man, can these bones come to life?
I answered, "Lord GOD, you alone know that."
Then he said to me:
Prophesy over these bones, and say to them:
Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!
Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones:
See! I will bring spirit into you, that you may come to life.
I will put sinews upon you, make flesh grow over you,
cover you with skin, and put spirit in you
so that you may come to life and know that I am the LORD.
I prophesied as I had been told,
and even as I was prophesying I heard a noise;
it was a rattling as the bones came together, bone joining bone.
I saw the sinews and the flesh come upon them,
and the skin cover them, but there was no spirit in them.
Then the LORD said to me:
Prophesy to the spirit, prophesy, son of man,
and say to the spirit: Thus says the Lord GOD
From the four winds come, O spirit,
and breathe into these slain that they may come to life.
I prophesied as he told me, and the spirit came into them;
they came alive and stood upright, a vast army.
Then he said to me:
Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.
They have been saying,
"Our bones are dried up,
our hope is lost, and we are cut off."
Therefore, prophesy and say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD:
O my people, I will open your graves
and have you rise from them,
and bring you back to the land of Israel.
Then you shall know that I am the LORD,
when I open your graves and have you rise from them,
O my people!
I will put my spirit in you that you may live,
and I will settle you upon your land;
thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm PS 107:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (1) Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say,
those whom he has redeemed from the hand of the foe
And gathered from the lands,
from the east and the west, from the north and the south.
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
They went astray in the desert wilderness;
the way to an inhabited city they did not find.
Hungry and thirsty,
their life was wasting away within them.
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
They cried to the LORD in their distress;
from their straits he rescued them.
And he led them by a direct way
to reach an inhabited city.
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his mercy
and his wondrous deeds to the children of men,
Because he satisfied the longing soul
and filled the hungry soul with good things.
R. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting.

Alleluia PS 25:4B, 5A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Teach me your paths, my God,
guide me in your truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law, tested him by asking,
"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?"
He said to him,
"You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."


Daily Meditation: Ezekiel 37:1-14

Breathe into these slain that they may come to life. (Ezekiel 37:9)

Have you ever heard of a sport called freediving? A swimmer dives into the open water without an oxygen tank and so must hold his breath for long periods of time. When he surfaces, he is gasping for air because he desperately needs the oxygen to breathe.

In today's first reading, we see the need for a different kind of oxygen—the breath of the Holy Spirit. The prophet Ezekiel, speaking to the Jewish exiles in Babylon, depicts the desolation and loss of hope they are experiencing through the image of dry, lifeless bones (37:4). But God says he wants to breathe his spirit into them so that they come back to life (37:5). And what is that spirit or breath? The Holy Spirit!

Did you know that the Hebrew word for breath, wind, and spirit is the same? It's ruach. Like oxygen, the breath of God is fundamental to our existence. We see this in the opening verses of Scripture, when the Spirit of God hovers over the waters (Genesis 1:2). In the New Testament, after Jesus rises from the dead, he breathes the Spirit into his disciples and sends them out to proclaim the gospel (John 20:21-22). With the Holy Spirit working through them, the disciples evangelized and spread the good news around the world.

We have all received the Holy Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation. He lives in you, but maybe you aren't experiencing his presence right now. You may be feeling like those dry bones in Ezekiel's vision, "lost" and "cut off" from God (37:11). Or maybe you are struggling with disappointment or weariness and feel as if you're running out of air. If so, know that he is always there, ready to revive and refresh you again and again.

And you don't even have to wait until you're completely depleted! Every day—every moment of every day—you can ask the Spirit to come and fill you with his life-giving power and grace.

As you pray today, take a deep, deep breath. Imagine that the Holy Spirit is filling you in the same way that air is filling your lungs. Keep asking him to fill you. We all need the breath of God. We can't survive without it, and it is his delight to fill us.

"Holy Spirit, come and fill me today!"

Psalm 107:2-9
Matthew 22:34-40


From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
"Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones:
See! I will bring spirit into you, that you may come to life."

When did life begin?
When did life begin for you? And for the world? What if it begins at death with what you put in? A launch into inertia, that which will go on indefinitely unless altered.

Life begins long before conception. Today, others will teach you that it is at birth, but life has already begun. Others and our beautiful Church teaches that it is at conception, but truly, it still goes further at the Holy Inception of God's mind. You were known, thought of, and chosen to be like the many points, pixels on a screen, all to form a great and highly defined and refined picture...and what will that picture be? Only God knows and shows to whom and when He desires. And what is a picture like with a dead pixel? With many, it begins to mar the image, and we are made to be His image.

We pray today;
"They went astray in the desert wilderness; the way to an inhabited city they did not find. Hungry and thirsty, their life was wasting away within them. Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting."

They went into the city...swindled, they had been led astray from the wilderness. It's kind of like that farm raised child that wants a "better" life and moves to the big city. Is it really better? It becomes really a matter of the heart. I'm the opposite. I was raised mostly out of town, on farms, or just on the outskirts with some land, cattle, horses and such. I moved to the city for college, at a university. I longed to be free, not enclosed and caged in apartments or cookie cutter homes 5 feet away from each other. The loneliness of the wild makes me ponder much about God. But even in the city I was attempting to find God, even going to church retreats and even put on a couple retreats, renting a charter bus and hauling in all I could to make a retreat with the Lord. You see? It's where the heart is. I probably could do more in a city, if my heart isn't swindled. Right? This is what it be set to be holy for God, for Love's sake.


Our Lord speaks;
"You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

From Bishop Barron:
"Friends, in today's Gospel, some Pharisees challenge Jesus to answer which commandment of the Law is the greatest. Jesus responds that every power, every capacity in us must be given over to the love of God. But what exactly does it mean to love God?
St. Bernard of Clairvaux is helpful here. He said that the goal of the spiritual life is to love God alone, for the sake of God alone. Obviously, there are many things that compete for the love of God alone—money, sex, power, pleasure. But what Bernard saw is that even if God alone is the center of my life, I still might not be truly loving him for his sake alone. I might be using him.
He makes a helpful little distinction. He says that a slave has a kind of love for his master, but it is not truly love, for it is much more like fear. This can be very helpfully applied to the spiritual life. Many people who claim they love God really fear him. What might he do to me? If I don't do the right things, I will be punished. Such attitudes are a long way from love."

There's that old song that says "What is Love?" Don't hurt me! Baby don't hurt me! No more! LOL.
But let's declare what love is. The Bible says Love is patient, kind, holds no grudges, and so much more, but what else does the bible say that all these words explain? Love is God.

And there's another old song that says "Love hurts". I'd say that is true...because true love hurts. True love costs something. And in the things of God, it means sacrifice of Love. What if what I keep sensing is true, and even in my vision I had once...that I'm sensing that the Heavens are fueled by Love? We then, can be said are being stoked to fuel Heaven! For better or for worse, take it as you may, in the winds up being all about Love.

I was perplexed yesterday...I was texted as we walked out of daily Mass, that my friend in the nursing home had just passed away. He's not an elderly man, but a paralyzed man, Michael Vasquez who had an anyerism I believe many years ago. A married man, suddenly found in a coma, and suddenly lost ability to move as well after waking. Fast forward some time, and he can move a little bit of an arm. Fast forward more, and he can move a leg, after couple years. Fast forward short time later, and his wife divorces him, for whatever reason. Fast forward some more time and he's found alone. Did he have kids? Yes. But, they couldn't do much and eventually had a hard time relating with him anymore. Love hurts. My friend Michael hurt a lot. I don't know how many years it was ago, but he kept in contact with many, especially when he could use a computer, using social media mostly. I never heard him complain or put down his wife, or kids. No. Rather, he always spoke good about them, and I don't think he ever stopped calling his wife, his wife, even after she remarried. He said when he was in a coma, that he had seen his dad who had passed away before him. His dad said "you'll be ok". And I wonder, what he meant by "Ok".

Let's get back to where we are situated in life. God has a plan, no matter why we don't understand. I can't see the whole picture, but I don't want to burn out. I want to see what God sees. The person texted thanking me for loving Michael so much and doing so much for him. In the last couple weeks, Michael was texting thank yous and I love yous. I don't have lovey dovey feelings for people. I don't really go for all that mushy gushy stuff. To me, love is a decision. I choose to love you and help you in the name of love...Jesus. It was Jesus in Michael. I got one more friend still in a nursing home, a blind one. I got more chances to show more love still...for I still don't believe I gave enough love to Michael. And so now I pray for him to walk and run to the light of Christ that awaits us. Michael wasn't perfect my friends, he got frustrated, but boy did he try. Lately he wanted me to buy him a $50,000 machine to help his muscles wake up on the other part of his body. That's what I mean...maybe I still could've done more...I'll never know. Hard lessons learned when we put limits on love.

And God is Love.

Lord, You love us without limits. Help us break down our barriers to Love You TRULY


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Random bible verse generator:

Matthew 5:46–48
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,1 what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


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