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Jesus’ Loneliness – from Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey

When Jesus came close to his death, he no longer could experience God’s presence.  He cried out:  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  (Matthew 27:47).  Still in love he held on to the truth that God was with him and said:  “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”  (Luke 23:46).

The loneliness of the cross led Jesus to the resurrection.  As we grow older we are often invited by Jesus to follow him into this loneliness, the loneliness in which God is too close to be experienced by our limited hearts and minds.  When this happens, let us pray for the grace to surrender our spirits to God as Jesus did.

For further reflection…

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when when his glory is revealed.” – 1 Peter 4: 13 (NIV)

Thursday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Ex 40:16-21, 34-38

Moses did exactly as the LORD had commanded him.
On the first day of the first month of the second year
the Dwelling was erected.
It was Moses who erected the Dwelling.
He placed its pedestals, set up its boards, put in its bars,
and set up its columns.
He spread the tent over the Dwelling
and put the covering on top of the tent,
as the LORD had commanded him.
He took the commandments and put them in the ark;
he placed poles alongside the ark and set the propitiatory upon it.
He brought the ark into the Dwelling and hung the curtain veil,
thus screening off the ark of the commandments,
as the LORD had commanded him.

Then the cloud covered the meeting tent,
and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.
Moses could not enter the meeting tent,
because the cloud settled down upon it
and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.
Whenever the cloud rose from the Dwelling,
the children of Israel would set out on their journey.
But if the cloud did not lift, they would not go forward;
only when it lifted did they go forward.
In the daytime the cloud of the LORD was seen over the Dwelling;
whereas at night, fire was seen in the cloud
by the whole house of Israel
in all the stages of their journey.

Responsorial Psalm PS 84:3, 4, 5-6a and 8a, 11

  1. (2) How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
    My soul yearns and pines
    for the courts of the LORD.
    My heart and my flesh
    cry out for the living God.
    R. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
    Even the sparrow finds a home,
    and the swallow a nest
    in which she puts her young–
    Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
    my king and my God!
    R. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
    Blessed they who dwell in your house!
    continually they praise you.
    Blessed the men whose strength you are!
    They go from strength to strength.
    R. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
    I had rather one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere;
    I had rather lie at the threshold of the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
    R. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!

Alleluia See Acts 16:14b

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.
    Open our hearts, O Lord,
    to listen to the words of your Son.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 13:47-53

Jesus said to the disciples:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age.
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

“Do you understand all these things?”
They answered, “Yes.”
And he replied,
“Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom
both the new and the old.”
When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there.

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Just as Jesus resolutely traveled to Jerusalem, knowing that crucifixion awaited him, we know that we need to seek God’s will and embrace God’s support in all situations—even the necessarily painful ones.

-from Spiritual Resilience

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One of the difficulties we may have when our lives become unmanageable is that we find dealing with other people to be difficult and we may even struggle to maintain a relationship with God. Caring people especially can find themselves carrying unnecessary crosses as they become lost in the maze of trying to meet everyone’s crazy expectations—including their own!

-from Spiritual Resilience

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I just sent my manuscript, Every Tender Reed, to my publisher.

St. Leopold Mandic

Lived: (1887-1942) | Feast Day: Thursday, July 30, 2015

Western Christians who are working for greater dialogue with Orthodox Christians may be reaping the fruits of Father Leopold’s prayers.A native of Croatia, Leopold joined the Capuchin Franciscans and was ordained several years later in spite of several health problems. He could not speak loudly enough to preach publicly. For many years he also suffered from severe arthritis, poor eyesight and a stomach ailment.

Leopold taught patrology, the study of the Church Fathers, to the clerics of his province for several years, but he is best known for his work in the confessional, where he sometimes spent 13-15 hours a day. Several bishops sought out his spiritual advice.

Leopold’s dream was to go to the Orthodox Christians and work for the reunion of Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. His health never permitted it. Leopold often renewed his vow to go to the Eastern Christians; the cause of unity was constantly in his prayers.

At a time when Pope Pius XII said that the greatest sin of our time is “to have lost all sense of sin,” Leopold had a profound sense of sin and an even firmer sense of God’s grace awaiting human cooperation.

Leopold, who lived most of his life in Padua, died on July 30, 1942, and was canonized in 1982.

Comment:
St. Francis advised his followers to “pursue what they must desire above all things, to have the Spirit of the Lord and His holy manner of working” (Rule of 1223, Chapter 10)—words that Leopold lived out. When the Capuchin minister general wrote his friars on the occasion of Leopold’s beatification, he said that this friar’s life showed “the priority of that which is essential.”
Quote:
Leopold used to repeat to himself: “Remember that you have been sent for the salvation of people, not because of your own merits, since it is the Lord Jesus and not you who died for the salvation of souls…. I must cooperate with the divine goodness of our Lord who has deigned to choose me so that by my ministry, the divine promise would be fulfilled: ‘There will be only one flock and one shepherd’” (John 10:16).

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Putting Our Temperaments in the Service of God – from Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey

Our temperaments – whether flamboyant, phlegmatic, introverted, or extroverted – are quite permanent fixtures of our personalities.  Still, the way we “use” our temperaments on a daily basis can vary greatly.  When we are attentive to the Spirit of God within us, we will gradually learn to put our temperaments in the service of a virtuous life.  Then flamboyancy gives great zeal for the Kingdom, phlegmatism helps to keep an even keel in times of crisis, introversion deepens the contemplative side, and extroversion encourages creative ministry.

Let’s live with our temperaments as with gifts that help us deepen our spiritual lives.

For further reflection…

“Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you — guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” – 2 Timothy 1: 14 (NIV)

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Using Our Gifts

Heavenly Father, give me the grace to be grateful and to use my gifts and talents to show your love to others so that when they see me, they recognize you living in me and loving them through me. I ask this in Jesus’s name, Amen.

-from Stories of Jesus

Remember NOT TO JUDGE

Father, we are all sinners. I am a sinner. I beg for the grace to never judge the actions of others, since it is possible that I might do the same things if I were in their situation. I ask this in Jesus’s name, Amen.

-from Stories of Jesus

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CathNews's photo.

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CathNews's photo.

Digging Into Our Spiritual Resources – from Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey

When someone hurts us, offends us, ignores us, or rejects us, a deep inner protest emerges.  It can be rage or depression, desire to take revenge or an impulse to harm ourselves.  We can feel a deep urge to wound those who have wounded us or to withdraw in a suicidal mood of self-rejection.  Although these extreme reactions might seem exceptional, they are never far away from our hearts.  During the long nights we often find ourselves brooding about words and actions we might have used in response to what others have said or done to us.

It is precisely here that we have to dig deep into our spiritual resources and find the center within us, the center that lies beyond our need to hurt others or ourselves, where we are free to forgive and love.

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For further reflection…

“When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” – Psalm 73: 16, 17 (NIV)

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Church Leaders's photo.

Father, help me to be content and not complain when I am hurting or face obstacles. Send your Holy Spirit to touch my heart. Help me understand that there is no hurt, or problem, or tragedy that we cannot survive together. I ask this in Jesus’s name, Amen.

-from Stories of Jesus

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Overcoming Our Mood Swings – from Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey

Are we condemned to be passive victims of our moods?  Must we simply say:  “I feel great today” or “I feel awful today,” and require others to live with our moods?

Although it is very hard to control our moods, we can gradually overcome them by living a well-disciplined spiritual life.  This can prevent us from acting out of our moods.  We might not “feel” like getting up in the morning because we “feel” that life is not worth living, that nobody loves us, and that our work is boring.  But if we get up anyhow, to spend some time reading the Gospels, praying the Psalms, and thanking God for a new day, our moods may lose their power over  us.

For further reflection…

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” – Psalm 119: 105 (NIV)

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