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The straying sheep you have not recalled; the lost sheep you have not sought. In one way or another, we go on living between the hands of robbers and the teeth of raging wolves, and in light of these present dangers we ask your prayers. The sheep moreover are insolent. The shepherd seeks out the straying sheep, but because they have wandered away and are lost they say that they are not ours. “Why do you want us? Why do you seek us?” they ask, as if their straying and being lost were not the very reason for our wanting them and seeking them out. “If I am straying,” he says, “if I am lost, why do you want me?” You are straying, that is why I wish to recall you. You have been lost, I wish to find you. “But I wish to stray,” he says: “I wish to be lost.”

So you wish to stray and be lost? How much better that I do not also wish this. Certainly, I dare say, I am unwelcome. But I listen to the Apostle who says: Preach the word; insist upon it, welcome and unwelcome. Welcome to whom? Unwelcome to whom? By all means welcome to those who desire it; unwelcome to those who do not. However unwelcome, I dare to say: “You wish to stray, you wish to be lost; but I do not want this.” For the one whom I fear does not wish this. And should I wish it, consider his words of reproach: The straying sheep you have not recalled; the lost sheep you have not sought. Shall I fear you rather than him? Remember, we must all present ourselves before the judgement seat of Christ.

I shall recall the straying; I shall seek the lost. Whether they wish it or not, I shall do it. And should the brambles of the forests tear at me when I seek them, I shall force myself through all straits; I shall put down all hedges. So far as the God whom I fear grants me the strength, I shall search everywhere. I shall recall the straying; I shall seek after those on the verge of being lost. If you do not want me to suffer, do not stray, do not become lost. It is enough that I lament your straying and loss. No, I fear that in neglecting you, I shall also kill what is strong. Consider the passage that follows: And what was strong you have destroyed. Should I neglect the straying and lost, the strong one will also take delight in straying and in being lost.”

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“The people in the parks, the alcoholics, the homeless, they are looking at you. Do not be those who look and do not see. Look and see.” St Teresa of Calcutta

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What is the connection between minding our own affairs and growth in prayer? One reason for the advice [of St. Teresa of Avila] is that serious people are likely to be agitated and even shocked at all sorts of things that occur through the typical day. Their inner peace is unsettled, and prayer is hindered. Another reason is that those who meddle in other people’s concerns are likely to make mistakes in their judgment and even to offer misguiding advice. Thus, says Teresa, we ought to let God take care of his own. She observes likewise that pain is often enough caused to the one in whose business we are meddling, but the most pointed reason is that people who are minding others’ affairs are not minding their own. If our mind is free enough to notice what others are doing, it is free enough to carry out what Scripture repeatedly tells us, namely, to keep our eyes always on the Lord, to sing to Him in our hearts always and everywhere. The saint considers distress over the sins and failings of others in everyday life as a demonic temptation. The devil puts it into people’s heads that their meddling really arises from a desire that God be not offended and be better served. They usually focus on the petty faults of which the world is full. A pervasive concern disturbs peace. All the while meddlers consider that they are being virtuous in their preoccupations. Teresa’s conclusion is that ‘the safe path for the soul that practices prayer will be not to bother about anything or anyone and to pay attention to itself and to pleasing God’.

Fr Thomas Dubay, author of The Fire Within

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It is by the saints, and not by the mediocre, still less by the great sinners, that the Church is to be judged. It may seem a loading of the dice to demand that any institution be judged solely by its best members, but in this instance it is not. A medicine must be judged not by those who buy it but by those who actually take it. A Church must be judged by those who hear and obey, not by those who half-hear and disobey when obedience is difficult.

By Frank Shead, Theology

By Frank Shead, Theology

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St Lawrence


36610th August is the Feast of St Lawrence.

The esteem in which the Church holds Lawrence is seen in the fact that today’s celebration ranks as a feast. We know very little about his life. He is one of those whose martyrdom made a deep and lasting impression on the early Church. Celebration of his feast day spread rapidly.

He was a Roman deacon under Pope Saint Sixtus II. Four days after this pope was put to death, Lawrence and four clerics suffered martyrdom, probably during the persecution of the Emperor Valerian.

Legendary details of Lawrence’s death were known to Damasus, Prudentius, Ambrose, and Augustine. The church built over his tomb became one of the seven principal churches in Rome and a favorite place for Roman pilgrimages.

A well-known legend has persisted from earliest times. As deacon in Rome, Lawrence was charged with the responsibility for the material goods of the Church, and the distribution of alms to the poor. When Lawrence knew he would be arrested like the pope, he sought out the poor, widows, and orphans of Rome and gave them all the money he had on hand, selling even the sacred vessels of the altar to increase the sum. When the prefect of Rome heard of this, he imagined that the Christians must have considerable treasure. He sent for Lawrence and said, “You Christians say we are cruel to you, but that is not what I have in mind. I am told that your priests offer in gold, that the sacred blood is received in silver cups, that you have golden candlesticks at your evening services. Now, your doctrine says you must render to Caesar what is his. Bring these treasures—the emperor needs them to maintain his forces. God does not cause money to be counted: He brought none of it into the world with him—only words. Give me the money, therefore, and be rich in words.”

Lawrence replied that the Church was indeed rich. “I will show you a valuable part. But give me time to set everything in order and make an inventory.” After three days he gathered a great number of blind, lame, maimed, leprous, orphaned, and widowed persons and put them in rows. When the prefect arrived, Lawrence simply said, “These are the treasure of the Church.”

The prefect was so angry he told Lawrence that he would indeed have his wish to die—but it would be by inches. He had a great gridiron prepared with coals beneath it, and had Lawrence’s body placed on it. After the martyr had suffered the pain for a long time, the legend concludes, he made his famous cheerful remark, “It is well done. Turn me over!”

Shared from https://info.franciscanmedia.org/

Saint Lawrence is the Patron Saint of:

Cooks
Poor

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Tantrum2-380x380Today’s Gospel reading at Mass, father gave us an interesting homily. The Gospel reading today was according to St Matthew 12:46:

While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

The priest explained the circumstances  leading up to the above situation, where the Pharisees and enemies of Jesus were so enraged with Him and His teachings that they wanted to arrest and kill Him. So Jesus family came looking for Him to warn Him to come away and stop doing what He was doing. Just like any family would do today! They love us and try to warn of the dangers. But Jesus said to the people that He had to do the Will of His Heavenly Father, that the people who followed the will of God were his brothers and sisters. Jesus listened to His Heavenly Father and continued preaching and working miracles of Healing, forgiving the sinners, feeding the hungry, healing the sick.

How do we know which will to follow? There are 3 wills in every person’s life – God’s Will, our will and the world’s will. How do we discern the Will of God in this struggle between discerning God’s Will, our own will, our weaknesses and will of the world?

To discern God’s voice and His Will requires a daily life of prayer, by reading the scriptures, asking for God’s help in dealing with any issue we face daily and not giving into the will of the world. Sometimes we get a bit slack and lazy with this practice, but try to get back into this routine. I have lapsed into this routine myself, when I may get busy with work or other matters, I miss my daily prayer or its hurried, and then I catch up the next day.

Reading daily scriptures and talking to God through prayer, through your daily life, you can speak to God and He will guide you through a scripture reading or an inner voice or thought. A daily walk with God requires you to lead a virtuous life as well where you try to avoid or give up vices or sins that you know are blocking God’s Grace from entering your soul.

How do we soften our stubborn wills! A tough one for many! We can learn through the examples of the lives of Saints who lived virtuous lives of sacrifice.  Find a saint whose life story touches your heart and pray to them to help you and they will. Keep reading their life story and read how they dealt with life challenges. Sacrifice requires humility – humility before God. Some ways we can build up our spiritual muscles is by fasting and abstaining from food, drink, materialistic things. You can do it for short periods of time, skipping a meal or reducing your portion of food intake or eliminating sweets for some time. Suffering produces endurance to withstand human weakness. You can fill in these times of struggling with fasting and abstinence with prayers, attending Holy Mass or Eucharistic Adoration or even helping another person with alms-giving. We need super spiritual strength today in this strong culture to overcome the will of the world and to live according to God’s Will.

The voice of the Good Shepherd is gentle, quiet, soothes your soul, unity, holy, good, honour, respect, kindness, leading you to God. God says ‘Be still and know that I am God’. God speaks in the silence of your soul. Find some quiet time every day – either first thing in the mornings or during the day or last thing at night to be still and quiet for 5-15 minutes of prayer.

Dear Jesus, help us to listen only for your voice, so that we can discern your Will today! Help us to see Your Face through our suffering world and help us to overcome our weaknesses and stubborn wills! Amen!

 

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holy_fam.jpgThis morning I opened the bible to this reading:

Romans 3:9-18. “ What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11     there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”[a]
13 “Their throats are open graves;
    their tongues practice deceit.”[b]
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”[c]
14     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[d]
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16     ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”[e]
18     “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[f]

And the thought struck me, that we are all sinners, that we do let each other down many times. So who can we trust? The relationships in our family are very deep, very intimate, personal and sacred. The intimate relationship of husband and wife, father and mother relationship with their children, the relationship with each sister and brother is sacred. God is working within each relationship.

In this world culture today, we have allowed other worldly issues to come into the family home. People joke and say how is your relationship with your wife or husband, or children are asked to speak out about their parents, sometimes jokingly. But we need to change this behaviour. That one on one relationship within the family should be kept strictly within the family, fostered, supported and allowed to grow with the help of our God, in faith, prayer.

Sometimes we tend to gossip to others about some issue we have with our parent or spouse or sibling, to people who we think we can trust, but it doesnt always bear good fruit. If we do need to get another opinion, first seek the opinion with your close family members. Each family member needs to allow this to occur, we need to allow that time in our busy lives to spend with those closest to us. The family makes up a society, civilisation. If every family were to follow these simple rules and guidelines, we would find peace in the world.

There are people who are alone and have lost family, we do pray for them. Reach out to them, if you do come across the lonely. I know from my own experience in my parents life, they always welcomed the lonely, the homeless, the beggar with sharing a meal or shelter, clothing, money. So I have learned from their example to be merciful to the poor.

May the Holy Family of Jesus bless and protect you and your family and we pray for unity and peace in all families!

 

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