Monday, July 24, 2023

† ' There is something greater....


†Saint Quote of the Day
"The Cross is the way to Paradise, but only when it is borne willingly."
–St. Paul of the Cross

†Today's Meditation
"What sorrow Mary especially must have felt at losing Jesus [in the Temple]! But, my Savior, Mary had not lost You through her fault. You had left her in order to devote Yourself to Your Father's business. I, on the contrary, have often lost You through my own fault because of my sins. I often forced You to abandon me, and I should have felt great sorrow at this loss and abandonment…Mary had lost only the bodily presence of Jesus; His friendship for her was untouched. But I lost the dearest thing in all the world; the grace and friendship of Jesus."
—Alexander De Rouville, p. 139-140

An Excerpt From
The Imitation of Mary

†Daily Verse
"What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct."
–Matthew: 16:26-27


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St. Christina the Astonishing

St. Christina (1150-1224) was born to a peasant family in Belgium. She was orphaned as a child and raised by her two older sisters. When she was 21 she had what was believed to be a severe seizure, and was pronounced dead. At her funeral she suddenly revived and levitated before the bewildered congregation. She said that during her coma she had been to heaven, hell, and purgatory and had been given the option to either die and enter heaven, or return to earth to suffer and pray for the holy souls in purgatory. Christina chose the greater act of charity. From then on she lived in extreme poverty: wearing rags, sleeping on rocks, and begging for her food. She is called "Astonishing" because she did the most bizarre things and suffered the pains of inhuman feats without being physically harmed by them. She would roll in fire and hide in hot ovens; she would stand in freezing water for hours in the dead of winter; she allowed herself to be dragged under water by a mill wheel; she spent much time in graveyards. She would also climb trees to escape the strong odor of sin in those she met. Many thought her to be possessed by demons or insane, but many devout people recognized and vouched for her sincerity, obedience, and sanctity. They believed that she was a living witness to the pains that souls experience in purgatory, willingly suffering with them and for them. Christina the Astonishing is the patron of those with mental illness and disorders, mental health workers, psychiatrists, and therapists. Her feast day is July 24th.


Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Ex 14:5-18

When it was reported to the king of Egypt
that the people had fled,
Pharaoh and his servants changed their minds about them.
They exclaimed, "What have we done!
Why, we have released Israel from our service!"
So Pharaoh made his chariots ready and mustered his soldiers—
six hundred first-class chariots
and all the other chariots of Egypt, with warriors on them all.
So obstinate had the LORD made Pharaoh
that he pursued the children of Israel
even while they were marching away in triumph.
The Egyptians, then, pursued them;
Pharaoh's whole army, his horses, chariots and charioteers,
caught up with them as they lay encamped by the sea,
at Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.

Pharaoh was already near when the children of Israel looked up
and saw that the Egyptians were on the march in pursuit of them.
In great fright they cried out to the LORD.
And they complained to Moses,
"Were there no burial places in Egypt
that you had to bring us out here to die in the desert?
Why did you do this to us?
Why did you bring us out of Egypt?
Did we not tell you this in Egypt, when we said,
'Leave us alone. Let us serve the Egyptians'?
Far better for us to be the slaves of the Egyptians
than to die in the desert."
But Moses answered the people,
"Fear not! Stand your ground,
and you will see the victory the LORD will win for you today.
These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.
The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still."

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me?
Tell the children of Israel to go forward.
And you, lift up your staff and, with hand outstretched over the sea,
split the sea in two,
that the children of Israel may pass through it on dry land.
But I will make the Egyptians so obstinate
that they will go in after them.
Then I will receive glory through Pharaoh and all his army,
his chariots and charioteers.
The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD,
when I receive glory through Pharaoh
and his chariots and charioteers."

Responsorial Psalm Ex 15:1bc-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (1b) Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant;
horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
He is my God, I praise him;
the God of my father, I extol him.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
The LORD is a warrior,
LORD is his name!
Pharaoh's chariots and army he hurled into the sea;
the elite of his officers were submerged in the Red Sea.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
The flood waters covered them,
they sank into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O LORD, magnificent in power,
your right hand, O LORD, has shattered the enemy.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

Alleluia Ps 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 12:38-42

Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus,
"Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you."
He said to them in reply,
"An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign,
but no sign will be given it
except the sign of Jonah the prophet.
Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights,
so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth
three days and three nights.
At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah;
and there is something greater than Jonah here.
At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon;
and there is something greater than Solomon here."


Daily Meditation: Exodus 14:5-18

Fear not! Stand your ground. . . . The Lord himself will fight for you. (Exodus 14:13, 14)

Of course the people were terrified! The wrath and power of Pharaoh's army were bearing down on them. But look at the antidote to fear that Moses offers: simply to stand firm and be still. Not because there's any special power in stillness, but because there is a God who loves and cares for you. So stand firm; look to the Lord so that fear won't overwhelm you.

Stand firm. That's easy to do when things are going well. But when you are feeling confused or afraid, you might need some extra help. So here's one strategy that has proven effective: lean into the word of God.

Try memorizing a Scripture passage that strikes at the root of whatever makes you most fearful. Recall it. Repeat it. Preach it to yourself. Resolve to hold onto it when fear threatens. And if you can't think of a passage, you might find one of these helpful:

• The Lord himself will fight for you. (Exodus 14:14)

• Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will act. (Psalm 37:5)

• I will never forget you. (Isaiah 49:15)

No matter which passage you choose, let it remind you that your heavenly Father cares for you. Let it tell you that he has a plan for how he will defend you. Let it encourage you to move forward. Remember: at the word of the Lord, the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea while the source of their fear was swallowed up. The same can happen for you when fear strikes—not because you are fearless, but because God himself is giving you the strength to take the next step. So look to him, trust in him, and cling to his word—even when all you can see are swirling seas.

Recalling truths from Scripture can help you become aware of God's presence in every situation. It can calm your heart and bring you peace. When your mind is steadied on the Lord, you will be able to know what to do. And in the stillness of his peace, the Lord himself will fight for you.

"Jesus, calm my heart when I am afraid. Help me to stand firm in your peace, knowing that you are at my side."

(Psalm) Exodus 15:1-6
Matthew 12:38-42


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Reflections with Brother Adrian:

From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
"Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me?
Tell the children of Israel to go forward.
And you, lift up your staff and, with hand outstretched over the sea,
split the sea in two,
that the children of Israel may pass through it on dry land...."
end of verse.

That's it? That's all Moses had to do, was to lift up the staff to split the sea in two? Yes! More than anything, just obey, and watch what God will do through a holy and willing soul to follow His every last beckoning call and demand. Boy, nowadays nobody likes to be demanded anything, or commanded. We live in a world where we just want things our way. But our ways lead us to weakness, and weakness leads to slavery. God is trying to free us, completely, if only we would trust, believe, do and see as He does.


We pray today:
"My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
He is my God, I praise him;
the God of my father, I extol him. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory...."
end of Psalm.

How did our Lord give "Glory" to God the Father? He shed blood on the cross, gave his life.

The Egyptians gave glory to God, unbeknownst to them. Our God was to prove to Moses and Israel what it means to be chosen by the almighty. This alone should've produced a great fear in them to every betray our Lord. But it did not...for long. Does that happen today? Oh yes. I've no further to look than myself. How quickly I forget how mighty God is, and how quickly I forget how terrible my sins are. How quick am I to forget gratitude? A true child shall always mind the business of its father.


In the Gospel today we heard:
""An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet....." end of Gospel verse.

From a spanish Friar reflection today:
"We are faced with the mystery of belief and unbelief. We see that some people, before the words and signs of Jesus, accept and follow him, and others, before those same words and signs, reject him. It gives the impression that they have closed the doors of their hearts and do not let Jesus enter and take possession of it. We are facing a real mystery. " -Friar Manuel Santos Sánchez O.P., end quote.

Do you need a sign in order to believe? There have already been signs given! Look no further than the cross! The problem is, that we do not have an intimate relationship with the Father. Most problems in the world stem from a fatherhood problem.
Either there is no good relationship or it is absent or has been absent, and then there is the problem of the father too, if he is really there and faithful, as a real father should be in imitation of our True Father in Heaven.
I digress. The sign of Jonah. Last week I saw some clips on my phone of whales popping out of the water and just about swallowing up a couple of men on a canoe. We remember the story of Jonah being swallowed up and spit onto the beach of Nineveh, the very place he did not want to preach repentance because he wanted God to punish them for the evil they were doing. But that's not what God wanted. God wanted a chance of mercy given to the people, no matter how evil they were.

God does not think as we do. He does not deal with us according to our miserable sinful ways...always.
The sign of Jonah then, is one of great mercy.

The sign of Jonah is one of the Word.
The sign of Jonah is one of receiving the blessed one who comes in the name of the Lord our God.
Back to me and you.
Something made me dream about and look at my sword letter opener on my desk which has the inscription:
"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword." Hebrews 4:12
The word of God that brings us Jonah's sign is here and now.
Repent. What does this mean? Come closer. Come closer to God our Father. He is waiting with open arms...haven't you seen the sign...on the cross?

Let's pray:
Lord, your sign of Jonah used to be a hidden sign. I didn't understand what You meant. But now I do, it means everything to one who means salvation is at hand. What an amazing opportunity to help and live the Word of God.
Thank you!


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Psalm 18:1–2

The Lord Is My Rock and My Fortress
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who addressed the words of this song to the LORD on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said:

I love you, O LORD, my strength.

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,

my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,

my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.


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God Bless You! Peace

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