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“Where there is no love, put love — and you will find love.”   — St. John of the Cross

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Someone once told Pope Francis that his words had inspired him to give a lot more to the poor. Pope Francis’s response was to challenge the man not to just give money, but to roll up his sleeves, get his hands dirty, and actually reach out and help.”

-from Deep Adventure

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Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin

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Scott Hahn's photo.

Gospel Lk 1:39-56

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.

If you are with me, Lord, I will not be afraid.

I Love My Catholic Faith by MyCatholicFaith.org's photo.
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Burned at the stake as a heretic after a politically-motivated trial, Joan was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920.

Born of a fairly well-to-do peasant couple in Domremy-Greux (southeast of Paris), Joan was only 12 when she experienced a vision and heard voices that she later identified as Sts. Michael the Archangel, Catherine of Alexandria, and Margaret of Antioch.

During the Hundred Years War, she led French troops against the English and recaptured the cities of Orléans and Troyes. This enabled Charles VII to be crowned as king in Reims in 1429. Captured near Compiegne the following year, she was sold to the English and placed on trial for heresy and witchcraft. Professors at the University of Paris supported Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beauvis, the judge at her trial; Cardinal Henry Beaufort of Winchester, England, participated in the questioning of Joan in prison. In the end, she was condemned for wearing men’s clothes. The English resented France’s military success–to which Joan contributed. 

On this day in 1431, she was burned at the stake in Rouen, and her ashes were scattered in the Seine River. A second Church trial 25 years later nullified the earlier verdict, which was reached under political pressure.

Remembered by most people for her military exploits, Joan had a great love for the sacraments, which strengthened her compassion toward the poor. Popular devotion to her increased greatly in 19th-century France and later among French soldiers during World War I. Theologian George Tavard writes that her life “offers a perfect example of the conjunction of contemplation and action” because her spiritual insight is that there should be a “unity of heaven and earth.”

Joan of Arc has been the subject of many books, plays, operas, and movies.

Comment:
“Joan of Arc is like a shooting star across the landscape of French and English history, amid the stories of the Church’s saints and into our consciousness. Women identify with her; men admire her courage. She challenges us in fundamental ways. Despite the fact that more than 500 years have passed since she lived, her issues of mysticism, calling, identity, trust and betrayal, conflict and focus are our issues still.” (Joan of Arc: God’s Warrior, by Barbara Beckwith) 

Quote:

As she was being burned at the stake, Joan called on Jesus.

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Audition for Sainthood

if he was fire then oh! she must be wood.   Leonard Cohen, “Joan of Arc”

Stirred by high notes from a flute
soaring in descant: the harmony of a woodwind
in contrast to deep melodic praise
from the orchestra’s string section:
violin, cello, lovely viola.

A loud cymbal crash stimulates, punctuates:
metal dinging out each measure like the glottal
stop in the word “forgotten.” Drum-beat
ignites my smolder. Brass emotes into outright
desire. The conductor attracts me as his waving

baton enhances musical interpretation. Still,
I wonder if he’s holy or might lustify vision,
lead me astray. The room fills with smoke and fire.
I offer uplifted hands; eyes that search the rafters
for God’s presence, before I close them in prayer.

Joan is a martyr. Joan is a Saint. Joan
sings soprano with an angel choir, and oh, how
my soul cries out that I may be overcome
like Joan. I shudder hopefully as the conductor
steps from his podium. Can I give myself up

to be wholly undone, body emptied
in this holy place where a single flute
first sparked my quest for sainthood?  Can I be
burned free from dross, which must be consumed,
if not by cleansing music, then by purgatory’s fire?

from Every Tender Reed, now available form Helen Losse

“I call upon you, my God, my mercy, who made me, and did not forget me, although I forgot you. I call you into my soul, which you prepare to accept you by the longing that you breathe into it. Do not desert me now when I call upon you, for before I called upon you, you went ahead and helped me, and repeatedly you urged me on by many different words, so that from afar I would hear you, and be converted, and call upon you as you called to me.”

— St. Augustine

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“Absolutely speaking, the sacrament of the Eucharist is the greatest of all the sacraments…First of all because it contains Christ Himself substantially: whereas the other sacraments contain a certain instrumental power which is a share of Christ’s power… that which is essentially such is always of more account than that which is such by participation.

“…This is made clear by considering the relation of the sacraments to one another. For all the other sacraments seem to be ordained to this one as to their end. For it is manifest that the sacrament of order is ordained to the consecration of the Eucharist: and the sacrament of Baptism to the reception of the Eucharist: while a man is perfected by Confirmation, so as not to fear to abstain from this sacrament. By Penance and Extreme Unction [Anointing of the Sick] man is prepared to receive the Body of Christ worthily. And Matrimony at least in its signification, touches this sacrament; in so far as it signifies the union of Christ with the Church, of which union the Eucharist is a figure: hence the Apostle says (Ephesians 5:32): ‘This is a great sacrament: but I speak in Christ and in the Church.’”

–Thomas Aquinas

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I Love My Catholic Faith by MyCatholicFaith.org's photo.

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Responsorial Psalm Ps 110:1, 2, 3, 4

  1. (4b) You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
    The LORD said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand
    till I make your enemies your footstool.”
    R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
    The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion:
    “Rule in the midst of your enemies.”
    R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
    “Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
    before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you.”
    R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
    The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent:
    “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”
    R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek

“We have a responsibility to balance the scales, to show love where there is hate, to provide food where there is hunger, and to protect what is vulnerable. If life has treated you well, then justice demands that you help balance the scales.”

-from Deep Adventure

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“Helping a person in need is good in itself. But the degree of goodness is hugely affected by the attitude with which it is done. If you show resentment because you are helping the person out of a reluctant sense of duty, then the person may receive your help but may feel awkward and embarrassed. This is because he will feel beholden to you. If, on the other hand, you help the person in a spirit of joy, then the help will be received joyfully. The person will feel neither demeaned nor humiliated by your help, but rather will feel glad to have caused you pleasure by receiving your help. And joy is the appropriate attitude with which to help others because acts of generosity are a source of blessing to the giver as well as the receiver.”

— St. John Chrysostom

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“Teresa [of Avila] is as insistent as [St. John of the Cross] that there is no prayer development unless it be accompanied by purification from faults. Given what a love communion with utter Purity demands, one could not conceive the matter to be otherwise: only the pure can commune deeply with the all-pure One. Obvious as this is to the saint, the lesser of us have difficulty in understanding that we have many defects that need to be rooted out. … In working actively at rooting out what is amiss, we are to be guided by the principles of revelation, not by a naturalistic common sense. There are people, says Teresa, who desire penance that they may serve God the better, but they are overly careful about not injuring their health. ‘You need never fear that they will kill themselves . . . their love is not yet ardent enough to overwhelm their reason.’ Going on ‘at a snail’s pace . . . we shall never get to the end of the road . . . So for the love of the Lord, let us make a real effort.'”

— Fr. Thomas Dubay

“Be brave and try to detach your heart from worldly things. Do your utmost to banish darkness from your mind and come to understand what true, selfless piety is. Through confession, endeavor to purify your heart of anything which may still taint it. Enliven your faith, which is essential to understand and achieve piety.”

— St. John Bosco

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“A hero isn’t someone born with unconquerable strength and selflessness. Heroes are not formed in a cataclysmic instant. Heroism is developed over time, one decision after another, moment by moment, formed by a deliberate, chosen, and habitual response to life.”

–from Deep Adventure

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Scott Hahn's photo.

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“We need do no more than we are doing at present; that is, to love divine Providence and abandon ourselves in his arms and heart.”

—St. Padre Pio         -from Talking to God

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Lord, open my mind that I may be aware of your presence in my daily life. Open my heart that I may offer you all my thoughts. Open my mouth that I may speak to you throughout my day. I am grateful that you wish to hear my voice. To you I give my all. Help me to do your will, every hour of every day.”

-from Talking to God

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“Lord, keep me in your care. Guard me in my actions. Teach me to love, and help me to turn to you throughout the day. The world is filled with temptations. As I move through my day, keep me close. May those I encounter feel your loving presence. Lord, be the work of my hands and my heart. Amen.”

-from Talking to God

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I Love My Catholic Faith by MyCatholicFaith.org's photo.

Father, Holy Spirit, Son – You are three in one!

I Love My Catholic Faith by MyCatholicFaith.org's photo.

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“Go forth and set the world on fire.”  — St. Ignatius of Loyola

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“Place yourself in God’s presence in the first moments of each day. You will discover the whole day improves with that small offering. Talk to him. He waits for you in the stillness, in the silence of your heart. Speak.”

-from Talking to God

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