Wednesday, December 13, 2023

†.."All You Who Labor...."


†Quote of the Day
"Those whose hearts are pure are the temples of the Holy Spirit."
–St. Lucy

†Today's Meditation
"We can open our lives and homes to people placed in our path from other walks of life and world views. With a greatly diminished number of people actually practicing the faith, it becomes more likely that our homes are a rare opportunity for someone in our acquaintance to be invited into the intimacy of Catholic family life. To do this well we must first and foremost be constantly drawing from our Lord so that He might be reflected through us. We bear a great responsibility to represent Him well."
–Carrie Gress and Noelle Mering, p.146

An Excerpt From
Theology of Home

†Daily Verse
"A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly."
–John 10:10


St. Lucy

St. Lucy (Lucia) of Syracuse (283–304 A.D.) was born to a wealthy Christian family on the island of Sicily. Her father died when she was in her infancy. Lucy grew in piety, and at a young age secretly consecrated her virginity to Christ. Her mother pressured her into an arranged marriage with a pagan nobleman in order to provide for her daughter's future, which Lucy avoided. When Lucy's mother was struck with a long and serious illness, Lucy convinced her mother to accompany her to pray at the tomb of St. Agatha. As a result, Lucy's mother was miraculously cured of her malady. Lucy then told her mother about her vow of chastity, and her mother consented to her refusal to marry. Lucy gave herself to serving persecuted Christians hiding in the catacombs, wearing a wreath of candles on her head to illumine the dark underground caverns, with her arms full of provisions. The man to whom Lucy was betrothed, upon finding that Lucy was a Christian and had refused his hand in marriage, had her imprisoned under the persecutions of Diocletian. The judge sentenced Lucy to prostitution in a brothel, but God rendered her body immovable and the soldiers were unable to carry out the task. They then tried to set her on fire, but the wood underneath Lucy would not burn. Finally, she was killed by the sword. Among her tortures her eyes were gouged out, making St. Lucy the patron saint of eye problems and blind people, among others. St. Lucy is among the great virgin martyrs of the Church, her name appearing in the Roman Canon of the Mass. Her feast day is December 13th.


Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

• Readings for the Memorial of Saint Lucy, virgin and martyr

Reading 1 Is 40:25-31

To whom can you liken me as an equal?
says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high
and see who has created these things:
He leads out their army and numbers them,
calling them all by name.
By his great might and the strength of his power
not one of them is missing!
Why, O Jacob, do you say,
and declare, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God"?

Do you not know
or have you not heard?
The LORD is the eternal God,
creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint nor grow weary,
and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.
He gives strength to the fainting;
for the weak he makes vigor abound.
Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength,
they will soar as with eagles' wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 103:1-2, 3-4, 8 and 10

R. (1) O bless the Lord, my soul!
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. (1) O bless the Lord, my soul!
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. (1) O bless the Lord, my soul!
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. (1) O bless the Lord, my soul!

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, the Lord comes to save his people;
blessed are those prepared to meet him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 11:28-30

Jesus said to the crowds:
"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."


Daily Meditation: Isaiah 40:25-31

The Lord is the eternal God. (Isaiah 40:28)

We've all likely caught glimpses of God's great power. Maybe we looked at the starry heavens on a clear night or watched ocean breakers surge onto the shore. We might have witnessed long-estranged brothers embrace or gazed at a newborn baby. In today's first reading, Isaiah contemplates the immensity of the One "who has created these things" (Isaiah 40:26), and he comes to an unexpected conclusion: "He gives strength to the fainting; for the weak he makes vigor abound" (40:29).

Encountering our Creator's immensity might naturally make us feel that he is aloof and far removed from our lives. After all, "His knowledge is beyond scrutiny" (Isaiah 40:28). But Isaiah reminds us that because our Lord is the eternal God, he can see our past, present, and future at once. So his knowledge includes everything about us.

This is wonderful news! Even when we feel hidden and disregarded, we are infinitely precious to our God. He knows us inside and out, and he never tires of listening to our thoughts and prayers, our desires and disappointments. No matter how weak we feel, he delights in encouraging us.

Perhaps at this point in Advent, you are feeling worried or weary. In the hustle and bustle, what have you forgotten to plan or do? How will you get through this first Christmas without a departed loved one? How can you keep those prickly relatives from offending each other during Christmas dinner?

Your loving Father knows all your concerns. He has the resources to take care of everything. That's all part of his glorious magnificence. But right now, he's asking you to lay down your burdens at his feet and let him, the eternal God, strengthen and comfort you.

God's loving invitation echoes in Jesus' simple words from today's Gospel: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). That's his call to you today. The Lord of the universe is your personal friend. Draw near and let him love you, renew your strength, and give you just what you need to soar on eagles' wings (Isaiah 40:31).

"Almighty and eternal God, thank you for loving me so tenderly."

Psalm 103:1-4, 8, 10
Matthew 11:28-30


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Reflections with Brother Adrian:
Audio English

From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
"Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall, They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles' wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint........"_ end of verse.
. . .

A person once was leaving a ministry that we did at church stating he couldn't handle it anymore and said "I don't know how you do it". And I took it as a sincere question and thinking hard I said "It is the Eucharist that gives me strength". But it goes much further than that, because anybody can go and just "TAKE" the Eucharist. It goes much further into love. A love relationship that you work hard at, putting all your soul, strength, mind, and heart into. And since I do not have all the strength to love the Eucharist with all I have, then I am working on my weaknesses to be able to love Him more truly, with all that I am, and all that I have. And so, our Lord is not only offering Himself at the moment of Holy Communion, but I am offering myself. And this is key. Because in a vision I had of Heaven, it seemed as though all our love offerings were being ushered to the Almighty in what was the most amazing witness of force or power. What is being cultivated here is, not only our faith, but our love. Who is cultivating? In the end, the angels will be sent to pick up fruits at the appropriate time. They will yield the sickle. A monk and troubadour, John Michael Talbot, came to a local parish and said he was once dying on his way to the hospital, and saw his guardian angel and the angel of death taking him to see Heaven. He was not allowed inside, but said he could feel Heaven's presence, and it was pure peace and joy. He came back to life and continues to be an evangelist and troubadour for God.
And what then is our strength? LOL. It is not "what" gives us strength, but "who" gives us strength.


We pray today:
"Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
O bless the Lord, my soul!......"
end of psalm.


In the Gospel today we heard:
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."......"
end of Gospel verse.

Our Lord says today "Come to Me". If we do, we will find rest. But how many of us come to Him? How many go to see Him in the Blessed Sacrament where there is total silence? How many of us go to Him in the Holy Sacrament of Confession, a reconciliation with God? How many of us take at least an hour a day to converse with Him, to be with Him? I would say, that most of us can't, and will not. And those who will not, can not. For where there is a will, there is a way.

Now, bear with me, our Lord says some very impactful things today, if we dare to take a moment to care.
* "Take MY yoke upon you." Everyone goes immediately to the oxen in the fields where yokes were used to bind up animals. But let's take it further. What is the yoke of God? It means to be bound to Him. It means to live a sacramental life. But it means much more. It means to do the Father's will, God's will be done. Take His yoke and learn. The only on that yoked Himself with Jesus on His way to Calvary, to be crucified, literally, was Simon of Cyrene. The name "Simon" literally means "he who hears." And it was this Simon that helped our Lord carry the cross. It is those who hear God speak and help Him that get to have a special place in God's heart. So how can you carry the cross with Jesus?
Mind you, we've only dissected the first few words of today's Gospel!

Everyone believes that their sufferings are a cross. This is not the cross God is talking about when He says "take up your cross". Everyone has sufferings. I have NEVER met a person that does not need prayer.

So what cross? HIS Cross. We mostly suffer because of natural things or our own sins or a combination of the circumstances in our lives. But who gets to suffer with and for Christ? That is the cross. God's will. God's slavery is our slavery. What is God's slavery? Why was Jesus whipped and mocked and tortured like the worst of all slaves?

God wants servants. God wants friends. God wants servant friends. But He takes it a step further. He wants an obedient child.
Yesterday, our parish did a processional rosary with a parade float with youth dressed as Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe. I was to sing during the procession. I was surrounded by little children, as I was swinging my guitar around some kids ducked under my guitar and looked at me and smiled and I smiled back. At that moment, yes, me and my wife had our children walking, but those other children were also my children, to watch over, to lead, to lead in faith and on our walk, our journey.

And so it is on so many levels.
You are in charge, those you teach are your children.
God literally makes us His children in Baptism.
And so the child is to honor God, like a servant, and if a good servant, they will be like a slave, and if a good slave, they will love their master.
This morning, my uncle was telling me about some dark distant relations back in the day, maybe about the mid or early 1900's. He spoke of one son that in his bad temperament beat his own father to death with a hoe as they were working in the field. The pregnant wife of the killer ran to stop it screaming, traumatized, and it was too late, he had killed his own dad. They say the baby born was traumatized forever, was not right in the head forever and seemed to have brain issues.

There was no honor for the father. And from then on, suffering would ensue.

Take My Yoke Upon You, says our Lord.
Perhaps one day we can speak about the rest of the Gospel.
I cannot, and I will not ever stop exhorting the importance of the love of God and neighbor. What our Lord Jesus has taught is truth.
His yoke is easy, His burden is light.
Who else has burdened you to love like He has from Heaven?

Pray with me:
Lord, I get consumed with myself. I am consuming all sorts of things except with the things from Heaven. Help me consume You and hunger for You, and yearn for You, and desire to serve You, that in my serving I may find true peace, and joy from Heaven, life as was designed from Heaven.


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Random Bible Verse 1
Proverbs 17:22

22 A joyful heart is good medicine,

but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.


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