Patience

The man who knows how to be strong will not be in a hurry to receive the reward of his virtue. He is patient. Indeed it is fortitude that teaches us to appreciate the human and divine virtue of patience. ‘“By your patience you will gain possession of your souls.” (Luke 21:19) The possession of the soul is attributed to patience, which in effect is the root and guardian of all the virtues. We secure possession of our souls through patience, for, by learning to have dominion over ourselves, we begin to possess that which we are.’ And it is this very patience that moves us to be understanding with others, for we are convinced that souls, like good wine, improve with time.

We have to be strong and patient and, therefore, calm and composed, but not with the composure of the man who buys his own tranquility at the expense of ignoring his brothers or neglecting the great task (which falls to us all) of tirelessly spreading good throughout the world. We can keep calm because there is always forgiveness and because there is a solution for everything, except death; and for the children of God, death is life. We must try to keep our peace, even if only so as to act intelligently, since the man who remains calm is able to think, to study the pros and cons, to examine judiciously the outcome of the actions he is about to undertake. He then plays his part calmly and decisively.

– St Josemaria, Friends of God, 78-79

Prayer for the addicted

“God of life, You made me in Your perfect image, to live in Your love and to give You glory, honour and praise. Open my heart to Your healing power. Come, Lord Jesus, calm my soul just as you whispered “Peace” to the stormy sea.

St Jude, most holy Apostle, in my need I reach out to you. I beg you to intercede for me that I may find strength to overcome my illness. Bless all those who struggle with addiction. Touch them, heal them, reassure them of the Father’s constant love. Remain at my side, St Jude, to chase away all evil temptations, fears, and doubts. May the quiet assurance of your loving presence illuminate the darkness in my heart and bring lasting peace. Amen.”

  • St Jude is the patron saint of impossible causes

God is real

There are certain things that we all long for in life—happiness, love, truth, goodness, beauty, and healing. We challenge you to consider the possibility that you can experience these things most fully as a disciple of Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church he founded. God is real, and He desires to fill your heart with lasting peace. The reality is that we are all broken in some way, but regardless of where you’ve been or what you’ve done, you have a chance to live the meaningful life you are searching for and to be accepted by a God who loves you unconditionally. God is the answer to the hole that exists in the human heart, to that longing for “something more.” Find him, and you’ll find the meaning and purpose in your life you are searching for.

Go perseveringly to the Tabernacle

Go perseveringly to the Tabernacle, either bodily or in your heart, so as to feel safe and calm: but also in order to feel loved… and to love.

I copy some words which a priest wrote for those who followed him in an apostolic enterprise: “When you contemplate the Sacred Host exposed on the altar in the monstrance, think how great is the love, the tenderness of Christ. My way to understand it is by thinking of the love I have for you: if I could be far away, working, and at the same time at the side of each one of you, how gladly I would do it! But Christ really can do it! He loves us with a love that is infinitely greater than the love that all the hearts of the world could hold; and he has stayed with us so that we can join ourselves at any time to his most Sacred Humanity, and so that he can help us, console us, strengthen us, so that we may be faithful.'”

St Josemaria, The Forge

The external signs of love should come from the heart and find expression in the testimony of a christian life. If we have been renewed by receiving our Lord’s body, we should show it. Let us pray that our thoughts be sincere, full of peace, self-giving and service. Let us pray that we be true and clear in what we say — the right thing at the right time — so as to console and help and especially bring God’s light to others. Let us pray that our actions be consistent and effective and right, so that they give off “the good fragrance of Christ,” evoking his way of doing things.

St Josemaria, Christ is Passing

Forgiveness

Regardless of where you have been or what you have done, be at peace. The same God who forgave Moses the murderer, Rahab the prostitute, David the adulterer, and Peter the denier will forgive you. All you have to do is seek that forgiveness with a contrite heart. The only sin God won’t forgive is the one you will not ask forgiveness for.

What can a Christian accomplish through meditation?

In meditation a Christian seeks silence so as to experience intimacy with God and to find peace in his presence. He hopes for the sensible experience of his presence, which is an undeserved gift of grace; he does not expect it, however, as the product of a particular technique of meditation. Meditation can be an important aid to faith that strengthens and matures the human person. Nevertheless, techniques of meditation that promise to bring about an experience of God, or even the soul’s union with God, are deceptive. On account of such false promises, many people believe that God has abandoned them just because they do not perceive him. But God cannot be compelled to show up by particular methods. He communicates himself to us whenever and however he wishes

Prayer of the day

Today is the optional memorial of St John of Capistrano, a priest.

Prayer: O God, who raised up Saint John of Capistrano to comfort your faithful people in tribulation, place us, we pray, under your safe protection and keep your Church in everlasting peace. Almighty ever-living God, grant that we may always conform our will to yours and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

How can my everyday routine be a school of prayer?

Everything that happens, every encounter can become the occasion for a prayer. For the more deeply we live in union with God, the deeper we understand the world around us. Someone who already seeks union with Jesus in the morning can be a blessing to the people he meets, even his opponents and enemies. Over the course of the day he casts all his cares on the Lord. He has more peace within himself and radiates it. He makes his judgments and decisions by asking himself how Jesus would act at that moment. He overcomes fear by staying close to God. In desperate situations he is not without support. He carries the peace of heaven within him and thereby brings it into the world. He is full of gratitude and joy for the beautiful things, but also endures the difficult things that he encounters. This attentiveness to God is possible even at work.

Meditation on today’s Gospel

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 9:38-43.45.47-48

John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward. Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe (in me) to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenaa, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fir is not quenched.'”

Meditations

Do you rejoice in the good that others do? Jesus reprimands his disciples for their jealousy and suspicion. They were upset that someone who was not of their company was performing good work in the name of Jesus. They even “forbade” the man “because he was not following us.” Jesus’ reply is filled with wisdom: “No one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me.” Are we not like the disciples when we get upset at the good deeds of others who seem to shine more than us? Paul says that “love is not jealous… but rejoices in the right” (1 Corinthians 12:4,6).

Envy and jealousy must be rooted out of our hearts

Envy and jealousy, its counterpart, are sinful because they lead us to sorrow over what should make us rejoice namely, our neighbour’s good. The reason we may grieve over our another’s good is that somehow we see that good as lessening or own value or excellence. Envy forms when we believe that the other person’s advantage or possession diminishes or brings disgrace on us. Envy is contrary to love. Both the object of love and the object of envy is our neighbour’s good, but by contrary movements, since love rejoices in our neighbour’s good, while envy grieves over it.

How can we overcome envy? Witht he love that God has put into our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). THe Holy Spirit purifies our heart and frees us from our disordered passions, such as envy, jealousy, greed, and bitterness. God’s love is a generous and selfless love which is wholly oriented towards our good and the good of all his creatures. The love that God places in our hearts seeks the highest good of our neighbour. God’s love purifies and frees us from all envy and jealousy – and it compels us to give generously, especially to those who lack what they need.

God rewards those who do good to others

Every one in need has a claim on us because they are dear to God who created them in his own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). God created us in love for love. We are most free and happy when we love as he loves. The love and charitable help we show to our neighbour also expresses the gratitude we have for the abundant mercy and kindness of God towards us. Jesus declared that any kindness shown and any help given to those in need would not lose its reward. Jesus never refused to give to anyone in need who asked for his help. As his disciples we are called to be kind and generous as he is. Are you grateful for God’s mercy and kindness towards you and are you ready to show that same kindness and generosity towards your neighbour?

Gregory of Nyssa, an early church father (330-395 AD), comments on this passage: God never asks his servants to do what is impossible. The love and goodness of his Godhead is revealed as richly available. It is poured out like water upon all. God furnished to each person according to his will the ability to do something good. None of those seeking to be saved will be lacking in this ability, given by the one who said: whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means loses his reward (Mark 9:41). Do you allow the love of Christ to transform your heart that you may treat your neighbour with kindness and mercy?

Avoiding evil and the near occasion of sin

Was Jesus exaggerating when he urges his followers to use drastic measures to avoid evil and its harmful consequences (Mark 9:42-48)? Jesus set before his disciples the one supreme goal in life that is worth any sacrifice, and that goal is God himself and his will for our lives which leads to everlasting peace and happiness. Just as a doctor might remove a limb or some part of the body in order to preserve the life of the whole body, so we must be ready to part with anything that causes us to sin and which leads to spiritual death.

Jesus warns his disciples of the terrible responsibility that they must set no stumbling block in the way of another, that is, not give offense or bad example that might lead another to sin. The Greek work for temptation (scandalon) is exactly the same at the English word scandal. THe original meaning of scandal is a trap or a stumbling block which causes one to trip and fall. The Jews held that it was an unforgivable sin to teach another to sin. If we teach another to sin, he or she in turn may teach still another, until a train of sin is set in motion with no foresseable end. The young in faith are especially vulnerable to the bad example of those who should be passing on the faith. Do you set a good example for others to follow, especially the young?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, free my heart from envy and jealousy, and every disordered thought and wrong desire, that I may always treat each person with respect and goodness for the glory of you name.