“Brothers and sisters:
Be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.
Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love,
as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us
as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.
Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you,
as is fitting among holy ones,
no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place,
but instead, thanksgiving.
Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person,
that is, an idolater,
has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no one deceive you with empty arguments,
for because of these things
the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.
So do not be associated with them.
For you were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light” – Ephesians 4:32, 5-8.
Father, all the elements of nature obey Your command. Calm the storms and hurricanes that threaten us and turn our fear of Your power into praise of Your goodness. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
“I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my word.
Show your wondrous mercies,
O savior of those who flee
from their foes to refuge at your right hand.
Hide me in the shadow of your wings,
But I in justice shall behold your face;
on waking, I shall be content in your presence”
(Psalm 17:6-7, 8B and 15).
“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27)
The desire for God is written into every human heart, so we should all have some sense of what Jesus demands of us as His disciples. Maybe that’s why many of us turn Him down when He calls us to be one, because we fear the weight of our crosses. I wonder how many aspirants in today’s Gospel abandoned the idea altogether when they learned what Jesus required of them.
Jesus warned us that it would be demanding. He wants us to look hard at what it’ll cost us and to consider the suffering that comes with it. He tells us to renounce our possessions and put Him first before our families and even our own lives!
It’s a severe message Luke’s Gospel brings, but as St. Paul tells us in our first reading, we must make every effort to persevere for our salvation and the salvation of others. Fortunately, we learn quickly that material possessions become less important to us the more we hunger for Jesus’ presence.
When we put Jesus before our own families, He sends us grace to see that He created the ones we love and they are His gifts to us. Without Him we have nothing, and that’s why we love Him more; that’s why we love Him first.
In reality, accepting the call is the most difficult part, but Jesus comes at once to give us courage and each trial leaves us with tremendous strength and even joy. As disciples we put to use all Jesus reveals to us, to accept our crosses with patience, speak our faith with courage and to bear witness to it with confidence, even at the cost of our own lives.
Such strength should have us repeating the words St. Paul left for us, “Even if I am poured out as a libation upon the sacrificial service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with all of you. In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.” (Philippians 2:17)
With more joy than ever imagined, we push forward as disciples of Christ. Some will think we’ve given up a great deal, but we’re still the same stars. We’re just shining brighter in a world that so desperately needs His light. e.
Happy St. Teresa of Calcutta Day!
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“The Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the oldest Marian Feast, returns every year in the heart of summer. It is an opportunity to rise with Mary to the heights of the spirit where one breathes the pure air of supernatural life and contemplates the most authentic beauty, the beauty of holiness.”
~ Pope Benedict XVI, homily on the Solemnity of the Assumption, August 15, 2008
Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Virgin and Martyr
“Things were in God’s plan which I had not planned at all. I am coming to the living faith and conviction that – from God’s point of view – there is no chance and that the whole of my life, down to every detail, has been mapped out in God’s divine providence and makes complete and perfect sense in God’s all-seeing eyes.”
St. Teresa Benedicta (1891-1942), began life as Edith Stein, the child of Jewish parents. By the time she was a teenager, though, she identified as an atheist. She earned a doctorate in philosophy, summa cum laude, and her thesis “The Problem with Empathy” earned her great renown. Later, while trying to gain a professorship, a near-impossible feat for women of the day, St. Teresa Benedicta had a conversion experience. St. Teresa of Avila’s autobiography inspired her, and in 1922 she was baptized. She continued academic life and translated works of Aquinas and Newman. In 1934, she professed in the Carmelite Order. Sadly, her path took an abrupt turn. As World War II engulfed Europe, St. Teresa’s Jewish heritage caused her to be arrested and placed in Auschwitz, where she was killed. She is remembered as a ‘daughter of Israel,’ who was faithful to both her Jewish heritage and her Christian beliefs.
Today’s Catholic Mass Readings here.
PEACE by Henry Vaughan, 1650
My soul, there is a country
Far beyond the stars,
Where stands a wingèd sentry
All skillful in the wars :
There, above noise and danger,
Sweet Peace sits crown’d with smiles,
And One born in a manger
Commands the beauteous files.
He is thy gracious Friend,
And—O my soul awake !—
Did in pure love descend,
To die here for thy sake.
If thou canst get but thither,
There grows the flower of Peace,
The Rose that cannot wither,
Thy fortress, and thy ease.
Leave then thy foolish ranges ;
For none can thee secure,
But One, who never changes,
Thy God, thy life, thy cure.
“God willed that man should be left in the hand of his own counsel (cf. Sir 15:14), so that he might of his own accord seek his creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him” (GS 17 § 1).
“Freedom is the power to act or not to act, and so to perform deliberate acts of one’s own. Freedom attains perfection in its acts when directed toward God, the sovereign Good” (CCC 1743, 1744).