I will provide for you and for your children

Memorial of Saint Bonaventure

As I sit with today’s readings I begin think about the right order of things: having a proper order of ourselves in relation to God, the temporal in relation to the eternal, ourselves in relation to our siblings (blood or through Christ), and even the place of suffering and trials during this fleeting life.

During his homily at Mass, my priest, taking his queue from the OT reading, emphasized peace among siblings, but I can’t help think about the case of Charlie Gard, where the right order of things seems to be, well, squished. We have doctors, hospital administrators, British judges, and EU judges, people in positions of power (and responsibility) overreaching their authority and denying a baby and his parents their rights—a problem we will see more and more of as people misunderstand “separation of church and state” and who, not understanding their true place, fail to ask as our patriarch Joseph did, “can I take the place of God?” Rather, they try to do just that. And in doing so, don’t say “I will provide for you and for your child.”

In the Gospel reading, Jesus is clear about several things:

  • if we follow him as disciples, we can expect to suffer as he did.
  • we ought to trust in the Father’s love and care and know our value.
  • we ought not fear men or any harm they may try to do or even successfully carry out, but to fear God, who made us and knows every hair on our head.
  • if we acknowledge Jesus, Son of God, before men, Jesus will acknowledge us before his Father in Heaven.

As we know from the book of Genesis, Joseph, son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham and Sarah, suffered at the hands of his jealous brothers. He was almost killed, but after a plea by his eldest brother Reuben, Joseph was sold into slavery and taken down to Egypt. What not just man (but flesh and blood) planned for evil, God turned into a good for Joseph, and a life-saving blessing on those who wronged Joseph. Full of the gift of fear of the Lord, Joseph knows his place and understands his responsibility and accountability to God. He forgives and extends mercy to his brothers.

Joseph was wronged also while he was in Egypt. He lost his position, was thrown unjustly into jail, and then left there, forgotten by the one he helped set free. But Joseph endured his trial patiently and with trust, because he knew God. When we know who God is and who we are, we can joyfully sing Psalm 105 and to be glad, no matter how lowly we are.

As Pope Emeritus Benedict said recently when he met Pope Francis’ five newly elected cardinals: The Lord wins in the end. May the Lord also win your heart!

Scriptures of the Day

Old Testament: Genesis 49

Jacob gave his sons this charge:
“Since I am about to be taken to my people,
bury me with my fathers in the cave that lies
in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
the cave in the field of Machpelah,
facing on Mamre, in the land of Canaan,
the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite
for a burial ground.
There Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried,
and so are Isaac and his wife Rebekah,
and there, too, I buried Leah–
the field and the cave in it
that had been purchased from the Hittites.”

Now that their father was dead,
Joseph’s brothers became fearful and thought,
“Suppose Joseph has been nursing a grudge against us
and now plans to pay us back in full for all the wrong we did him!”
So they approached Joseph and said:
“Before your father died, he gave us these instructions:
‘You shall say to Joseph, Jacob begs you
to forgive the criminal wrongdoing of your brothers,
who treated you so cruelly.’
Please, therefore, forgive the crime that we,
the servants of your father’s God, committed.”
When they spoke these words to him, Joseph broke into tears.
Then his brothers proceeded to fling themselves down before him
and said, “Let us be your slaves!”
But Joseph replied to them:
“Have no fear. Can I take the place of God?
Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good,
to achieve his present end, the survival of many people.
Therefore have no fear.
I will provide for you and for your children.”
By thus speaking kindly to them, he reassured them.

Joseph remained in Egypt, together with his father’s family.
He lived a hundred and ten years.
He saw Ephraim’s children to the third generation,
and the children of Manasseh’s son Machir
were also born on Joseph’s knees.

Joseph said to his brothers: “I am about to die.
God will surely take care of you and lead you out of this land to the land
that he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
Then, putting the sons of Israel under oath, he continued,
“When God thus takes care of you,
you must bring my bones up with you from this place.”
Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten.

Responsorial Psalm: 105

Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
make known among the nations his deeds.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
R. Be glad you lowly ones; may your hearts be glad!

Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
R. Be glad you lowly ones; may your hearts be glad!

You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. Be glad you lowly ones; may your hearts be glad!

Gospel: Matthew 10:24–33

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“No disciple is above his teacher,
no slave above his master.
It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher,
for the slave that he become like his master.
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul,
how much more those of his household!
“Therefore do not be afraid of them.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

Questions of the Day

  • Can I take the place of God?
  • Who is master of your household?

Prayer of the Day

In honor of our God-fearing and merciful patriarch Joseph featured in the OT reading, I chose a selection of prayers to Saint Joseph, foster father of Jesus. And I chose these also because of the good St. Joseph has done for me in obtaining a great calm and peace of soul which has managed to conquer my easily agitated human nature and passionate and impulsive self!

Consecration to Saint Joseph

O, my beloved St. Joseph, adopt me as thy child, take care of my salvation, watch over me day and night, preserve me from the occasion of sin, obtain for me purity of soul and body! Through thy intercession with Jesus, grant me a spirit of sacrifice, of humility and self-denial, a burning love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and a sweet tender love for Mary, my mother. St. Joseph, be with me living, be with me dying, and obtain for me a favorable judgment from Jesus, my merciful Savior. Amen.

Prayer to St. Joseph by Pope St. Pius X

O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in the spirit of penance and expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously by placing love of duty above my inclinations; to gratefully and joyously deem it an honor to employ and to develop by labor the gifts I have received from God, to work methodically, peacefully, and in moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from it through weariness or difficulty to work; above all, with purity of intention and unselfishness, having unceasingly before my eyes death and the account I have to render of time lost, talents unused, good not done, and vain complacency in success, so baneful to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all to imitate thee, O Patriarch St. Joseph! This shall be my motto for life and eternity. Amen.

Intercession of St. Joseph, most loving of fathers and patron of departing souls

Oh St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, so that having engaged here below your heavenly power I may offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the most loving of fathers. Oh St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.

Holy Cloak Novena

 

 

 

 

For the Christian renewal of the world

Prayer of the Day
for the Centennial Celebration of Our Lady of Fatima

especially on behalf of Charlie Gard and his parents
and for all who have progressive diseases and a
diagnosis of terminal illness; may we love and care for them;
may we accompany them on their journey back to God;
may hope and trust in God prevail over discouragement and fear;
may we never condemn to death the sick and vulnerable;
may we never view the weak as burdens;
may we never declare that another person’s life is not worth living

O Sweet Mother of God, Ever Virgin Mary, Our Dear Lady of Fatima,
we lift up our prayers to you during this Centennial Celebration.
When the Angel Gabriel announced God’s plan, you listened
attentively with a receptive heart to the call of Heaven.
By your FIAT, our Savior entered into the world and the Word
became flesh and dwelt among us. Now in our generation you
have become the voice of the Holy Spirit, instructing the world
with the Truth about sin, righteousness, and judgment.
May we embrace your call to repent with a truly contrite spirit
and to enthrone God as the rightful King of our souls and our families.
O Queen of Peace, may your Immaculate Heart triumph and may
the Church be strengthened to defend the faithful against the many
errors of this age. May we heed your call to not fear, but to entrust
ourselves more completely to your Divine Son, Jesus. May our
heartfelt recitation of the Rosary and contemplation of its mysteries
help to renew our zeal for the salvation of souls and the Christian
renewal of this world. Amen.

Faithful and inexhaustible love

Prayer of the Day: Pope Francis’ Intention for July
that our brothers and sisters who have strayed from the faith
rediscover the beauty of the Christian life

 

In today’s scripture, we see the faithful and inexhaustible love of God demonstrated when Jesus relieves two men who are possessed by demons. Not only are two men free, but the road becomes safe for all to travel. Rather than rejoice, the people of the town reject Jesus and the freedom he desires to give. Later on in scripture, however, we learn that this town does turn to and follow Jesus, and we can do the same. Jesus awaits each one of us, no matter for what reason or for how long we have rejected him. He desires no less than to set us free and bestow his love upon us.

Scripture of the Day: Matthew 8:28–34
in which the people of a town reject Jesus and ask him to leave

When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes,
two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him.
They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.
They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God?
Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?”
Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding.
The demons pleaded with him,
“If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.”
And he said to them, “Go then!”
They came out and entered the swine,
and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea
where they drowned.
The swineherds ran away,
and when they came to the town they reported everything,
including what had happened to the demoniacs.
Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus,
and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.

Question of the Day

Have you turned away from Jesus? Why?

The prince is the minister of God

Song of the Day

Quote of the Day
from On the Origin of Civil Power

7. There is no question here respecting forms of government, for there is no reason why the Church should not approve of the chief power being held by one man or by more, provided only it be just, and that it tend to the common advantage. Wherefore, so long as justice be respected, the people are not hindered from choosing for themselves that form of government which suits best either their own disposition, or the institutions and customs of their ancestors.(3)

8. But, as regards political power, the Church rightly teaches that it comes from God, for it finds this clearly testified in the sacred Scriptures and in the monuments of antiquity; besides, no other doctrine can be conceived which is more agreeable to reason, or more in accord with the safety of both princes and peoples.

9. In truth, that the source of human power is in God the books of the Old Testament in very many places clearly establish. “By me kings reign . . . by me princes rule, and the mighty decree justice.”(4) And in another place: “Give ear you that rule the people . . . for power is given you of the Lord and strength by the Most High.”(5) The same thing is contained in the Book of Ecclesiasticus: “Over every nation he bath set a ruler.”(6) These things, however, which they had learned of God, men were little by little untaught through heathen superstition, which even as it has corrupted the true aspect and often the very concept of things, so also it has corrupted the natural form and beauty of the chief power. Afterwards, when the Christian Gospel shed its light, vanity yielded to truth, and that noble and divine principle whence all authority flows began to shine forth. To the Roman governor, ostentatiously pretending that he had the power of releasing and of condemning, our Lord Jesus Christ answered: “Thou shouldst not have any power against me unless it were given thee from above.”(7) And St. Augustine, in explaining this passage, says: “Let us learn what He said, which also He taught by His Apostle, that there is no power but from God.”(8) The faithful voice of the Apostles, as an echo, repeats the doctrine and precepts of Jesus Christ. The teaching of Paul to the Romans, when subject to the authority of heathen princes, is lofty and full of gravity: “There is not power but from God,” from which, as from its cause, he draws this conclusion: “The prince is the minister of God.”(9)

10. The Fathers of the Church have taken great care to proclaim and propagate this very doctrine in which they had been instructed. “We do not attribute,” says St. Augustine, “the power of giving government and empires to any but the true God.”(10) On the same passage St. John Chrysostom says: “That there are kingdoms, and that some rule, while others are subject, and that none of these things is brought about by accident or rashly . . . is, I say, a work of divine wisdom.”(11) The same truth is testified by St. Gregory the Great, saying: “We confess that power is given from above to emperors and kings.”(12) Verily the holy doctors have undertaken to illustrate also the same precepts by the natural light of reason in such a way that they must appear to be altogether right and true, even to those who follow reason for their sole guide.

11. And, indeed, nature, or rather God who is the Author of nature, wills that man should live in a civil society; and this is clearly shown both by the faculty of language, the greatest medium of intercourse, and by numerous innate desires of the mind, and the many necessary things, and things of great importance, which men isolated cannot procure, but which they can procure when joined and associated with others. But now, a society can neither exist nor be conceived in which there is no one to govern the wills of individuals, in such a way as to make, as it were, one will out of many, and to impel them rightly and orderly to the common good; therefore, God has willed that in a civil society there should be some to rule the multitude. And this also is a powerful argument, that those by whose authority the State is administered must be able so to compel the citizens to obedience that it is clearly a sin in the latter not to obey. But no man has in himself or of himself the power of constraining the free will of others by fetters of authority of this kind. This power resides solely in God, the Creator and Legislator of all things; and it is necessary that those who exercise it should do it as having received it from God. “There is one lawgiver and judge, who is able to destroy and deliver.”(13)And this is clearly seen in every kind of power. That that which resides in priests comes from God is so acknowledged that among all nations they are recognized as, and called, the ministers of God. In like manner, the authority of fathers of families preserves a certain impressed image and form of the authority which is in God, “of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named.”(14) But in this way different kinds of authority have between them wonderful resemblances, since, whatever there is of government and authority, its origin is derived from one and the same Creator and Lord of the world, who is God.

— Pope Leo XIII, 1881

Scriptures of the Day

Authority Given From God: John 19:10–11

So Pilate said to him, “Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?” Jesus answered [him], “You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above. For this reason the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”

Obedience in Authority: Romans 13:1–2, 5

Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves. …Therefore, it is necessary to be subject not only because of the wrath but also because of conscience.

Christian Citizens: 1 Peter 2:13–15

Be subject to every human institution for the Lord’s sake, whether it be to the king as supreme or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the approval of those who do good. For it is the will of God that by doing good you may silence the ignorance of foolish people.

Seek Wisdom: Wisdom 6:3–8

Because authority was given you by the Lord and sovereignty by the Most High, who shall probe your works and scrutinize your counsels! Because, though you were ministers of his kingdom, you did not judge rightly, and did not keep the law, nor walk according to the will of God, Terribly and swiftly he shall come against you, because severe judgment awaits the exalted—For the lowly may be pardoned out of mercy but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test. For the Ruler of all shows no partiality, nor does he fear greatness, Because he himself made the great as well as the small, and provides for all alike; but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends.

Prayers of the Day
from USCCB

That we would be servants of our country, but God’s first.

That the Church will have the freedom to carry out her mission of service and mercy in the whole world.

That the Spirit of Wisdom would illumine our minds and open our hearts, as we seek to know the truth about God and to live in the fullness of that truth.

For our sisters and brothers in the Middle East; that through the intercession of the Apostles, who established these most ancient churches, Christians and all religious minorities would be freed from violent persecution.

That all Christians would have the courage to serve God with our whole lives and to live out our faith with boldness and compassion.

That the Lord would protect all migrants and refugees, and that all those who work with people on the move would be free to serve.

That the Holy Spirit would give all Christians the courage and humility to serve Christ by serving the vulnerable.

That nurses, doctors, therapists, and all ministers of healing would be strengthened by the Holy Spirit in their imitation of Christ’s compassion and care for the sick.

That we would work to build a culture that recognizes and respects the dignity and freedom of all people.

Old as I am?

First Saturday and Feast of Saint Junipero Serra, Apostle of California

We’ve been reading about Abraham and his wife Sarah the past few days, and now we get to the point in their story where the Holy Trinity visits them and announces that, as promised, Abraham will have an heir by his wife. To the human mind, this is inconceivable—laughable—at their advanced age. But for God, all things are possible.

Fast forward to the Gospel reading: we have a centurion, not even Jewish, whose faith Jesus says is the greatest in all of Israel. This centurion knows not only that Jesus can heal his servant but also that Jesus need not touch the sick body. Quite a contrast with Sarah.

Questions of the Day

  • What would Jesus say about the size of your faith?
  •  Do you laugh at or fear those deep desires God has placed in your heart—the ones that seem so impossible? The ones, that if fulfilled, would have you sobbing on the ground with happiness and incredulity at the awesomeness, the mercy, the tenderness, and the care of the Almightyness of God?
  • Do you say “I am too old?” or “I am too weak?” or “I lack the strength?” or “this is impossible?”
  • Is anything too marvelous for the Lord to do?

Scriptures of the Day

Old Testament: Genesis 18:1–15

The LORD appeared to Abraham by the Terebinth of Mamre,
as Abraham sat in the entrance of his tent,
while the day was growing hot.
Looking up, he saw three men standing nearby.
When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them;
and bowing to the ground, he said:
“Sir, if I may ask you this favor,
please do not go on past your servant.
Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet,
and then rest yourselves under the tree.
Now that you have come this close to your servant,
let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves;
and afterward you may go on your way.”
The men replied, “Very well, do as you have said.”

Abraham hastened into the tent and told Sarah,
“Quick, three measures of fine flour!
Knead it and make rolls.”
He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice steer,
and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it.
Then Abraham got some curds and milk,
as well as the steer that had been prepared,
and set these before them;
and he waited on them under the tree while they ate.

They asked him, “Where is your wife Sarah?”
He replied, “There in the tent.”
One of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year,
and Sarah will then have a son.”
Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent, just behind him.
Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years,
and Sarah had stopped having her womanly periods.
So Sarah laughed to herself and said,
“Now that I am so withered and my husband is so old,
am I still to have sexual pleasure?”
But the LORD said to Abraham: “Why did Sarah laugh and say,
‘Shall I really bear a child, old as I am?’
Is anything too marvelous for the LORD to do?
At the appointed time, about this time next year, I will return to you,
and Sarah will have a son.”
Because she was afraid, Sarah dissembled, saying, “I didn’t laugh.”
But he replied, “Yes you did.”

Responsorial Psalm: Luke 1:46–47, 48–49, 50 and 53, 54–55

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
R. The Lord has remembered his mercy.

“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.”
R. The Lord has remembered his mercy.

“He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.”
R. The Lord has remembered his mercy.

“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.”
R. The Lord has remembered his mercy.

Gospel: Matthew 8:5–17

When Jesus entered Capernaum,
a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying,
“Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”
He said to him, “I will come and cure him.”
The centurion said in reply,
“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.
For I too am a man subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes;
and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes;
and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,
“Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven,
but the children of the Kingdom
will be driven out into the outer darkness,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
And Jesus said to the centurion,
“You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.”
And at that very hour his servant was healed.

Jesus entered the house of Peter,
and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.
He touched her hand, the fever left her,
and she rose and waited on him.

When it was evening, they brought him many
who were possessed by demons,
and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick,
to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet:

He took away our infirmities
and bore our diseases.

Prayer for Restoration of Health

O Sacred Heart of Jesus
I come to ask You for the gift of restored health
that I may serve you more faithfully
and love You more sincerely than in the past.
I want to be well and strong
if it is Your Will
and redounds to Your glory.

If on the other hand it is Your Will
that my sickness continue,
I want to bear it with patience.
If in Your Divine wisdom
I am to be restored to health and strength,
I will strive to show my gratitude
by a constant and faithful service rendered to You.

— #1164, New Saint Joseph People’s Prayer Book

Prayer to Love God More Than Health

Almighty God, You gave me health, and I forgot You.
You take it away, and I return to You.
How gracious You are to take away the gifts
that I allowed to come between You and me.
Take away everything that hinders my union with You.
Everything is Yours—
dispense comforts, success, and health
in accord with my real good.
Take away all the things
that displace my possession of You
so that I may be wholly Yours for time and eternity.

— #1165, New Saint Joseph People’s Prayer Book

My Lord, grant…

Prayer of the Day
courtesy of Russian monks

My Lord, grant that I may accept with a tranquil spirit all that this beginning day will bring.

My Lord, grant that I may fully surrender myself to your holy will.

My Lord, throughout every moment of this day, direct and sustain me in all things.

My Lord, whatever news I receive during this day, teach me to accept it with a quiet mind and firm conviction, knowing that your will is made manifest in all things.

My Lord, reveal your holy will for me and for those around me.

My Lord, may I never forget that it is you who send every unforeseen circumstance.

My Lord, teach me to adapt myself truly, simply and wisely to those with whom I live, to those surrounding me, to the aged, to my peers and to those younger than myself, that I may sadden no one but rather serve the happiness of all.

My Lord, grant me strength to bear the trials of this beginning day and whatever else may happen later today.

My Lord, may You Yourself guide my will and teach me to pray, to hope, to believe, to love, to endure and to forgive.

My Lord, do not let my adversaries get the best of me, but rather guide and direct me because of your holy name.

My Lord, enlighten my intellect and my heart that I may understand the enduring and unchanging laws which govern the world and that I, your sinful servant, may rightly serve you and my neighbor.

My Lord, I give you thanks for everything that will happen to me, because I firmly believe that for those who love you, all things work unto good.

My Lord, bless all my endeavors and tasks; bring my work, my words and my thoughts to fruition. Make me worthy to always praise you with joy, sing psalms to you and bless you, for you are blessed forever and ever.

Amen.