Saturday, August 28, 2021

God is the Giver of ALL Good things.

"Dearest brothers and sisters: All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change." (James 1: 17 - 18).

Sunday 29th August 2021, in the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time.

I encountered our key Scripture from the James 1: 17 - 18 in a hymn/poetic format in Liturgy of the Hours and it truly changed the way I see God and the operations of Divine Providence. This is how I see the teaching of James in the poetic format:
"T'is not from chance springs any of our comforts but from Your gracious ordaining..."

It means that not even the least comfort, joy, kindness, break, cool breeze, smile of the supermarket checkout cashier, nurse, etc is an accident. God has arranged all these events to make you happy.
The same idea appears in 2 Corinthians 1: 3:

"Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort." (2 Corinthians 1: 3 AMP).

What is the above verse saying?
God our Father is the Father of ALL mercies. ALL mercies and ALL comforts. Not some mercies and some comforts.
The words  "accident, chance, coincidence, luck" do not appear in the Bible. Everything is governed by God's mighty, merciful and mysterious Providence. There is absolutely no exception to this rule.
To understand and believe this is life changing.

These spiritual writers have expounded brilliantly on the mystery of Divine Providence:
Augustine, Alphonsus Ligouri, Jean Pierre de Caussade, Claude de la Columbière, Jacques Philippe, John Flavel, Jean-Baptiste de Jure, etc.  Divine Providence is a subject of predilection in the Catholic tradition. French saints and spiritual writers of the 18th century truly delight in the Doctrine of Divine Providence.

When I owned this truth, I became free of bad lucks. There are no bad lucks. There are no good lucks.
"ALL THINGS work together for good to those who love God."

This knowledge increased my joy and gratitude in life. I went to a store two days ago. All the staff, about 6 of them greeted me with smiles and fist bump. I felt very happy not only when I was in the store but most of the day. Why? I knew without doubt that it was Jesus Himself showing me friendship through the staff of the store. Do not forget this hymn we sing in Church: "Ubi caritas, est ibi Deus." It means "Where love is, God is there." Where joy, friendship, kindness is, God is there.

When you believe this truth, you find yourself thanking God more than you had done all your life.

Speaking in IN SINU JESU, Jesus says: "What matters is not what you are thinking or saying, for I am pleased and comforted and glorified by your simply being with Me. Be present in My presence. This is what I ask of you. So many others among My priests leave Me alone in the Sacrament of My love. They grow cold, indifferent, and hard-hearted. An hour spent in My presence would be enough to reinflame their hearts, to move them to gratitude and love, and to open their souls to the grace of My friendship." (IN SINU JESU page 237).

To learn more about the God of ALL Providence, click the link below:

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Friday, August 27, 2021

The Feast of St Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

"Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away." (Matthew 25: 14 - 30).

Saturday 28th August 2021, 21st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Augustine. (354 - 430). African. Bishop, Doctor of the Church. Son of St Monica and Patricius.
Augustine was a prodigal in his youth. He kept a mistress for many years. He belonged to the heretical sect, the Manichaens for years. Monica shed bitter tears for his conversion and waited on God for many years before it happened.   St Augustine was baptized by St Ambrose of Milan, the great Bishop and Doctor of the Church.
St Augustine is a prolific writer and without doubt one of the greatest doctors of the Church. His greatest works are: THE CONFESSIONS and THE CITY OF GOD.
His influence on Church doctrine has not diminished with time. He is vastly quoted in the Documents of Second Vatican Council.

Our Gospel for today is the Parable of the Talents. God gives everyone gifts of time, talent and treasure according to His merciful and mysterious Providence for each human being. God demands an accounting at the end of the Ages for the use of the talents.
The wise and diligent who used their gifts well will hear from the Supreme Judge of all mankind:
"Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy."

The lazy and delinquent will hear:
"You wicked, lazy servant!....
"Throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."

Our saint of today, St Augustine is an exceptional genius. The solidity and integrity of his teaching was irrefutable. During the Reformation debacle of the 16th century, the reformers try to pick and choose from Augustine's many doctrines.  Augustine is known as the Doctor of Grace. They claimed the Catholic Church abandoned the truth of the Gospel.
Ask yourself:  How can the Catholic Church abandon its mission and survive for 2000 years? Show me any other institution on earth that abandoned its mission and survived for 50 years. St Augustine is one of the greatest apologist of the divine institution of the Catholic Church.
Jesus' promise that the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church is ironclad.

St Augustine is the patron saint of printers and theologians.

Quotes from St Augustine:
"God who created you without your cooperation will not save you without your cooperation" (Sermon 169, 11).
"Our entire life on earth should take the form of praise of God, for the never-ending joy of our future life consists in praising God, and no one can become fit for that future life unless he trains himself to render that praise now". (Enarrationes in Psalmos, 148).

"O God, You have made us for Yourself. Our hearts are restless till they rest in You."

Jesus says to the mystic:
"Conversions that are sudden and excessive are not My habitual way of leading souls in the way of holiness. I prefer to see souls advance by little steps along a way of spiritual childhood, trusting in Me to bring them to Calvary and to the fullness of joy in My presence and in the presence of My Father." (IN SINU JESU page 189).

St Augustine, pray for us.

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Thursday, August 26, 2021

Feast of St Monica.

"Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep."  (Matthew 25: 1 - 13).

Friday 27th August 2021, 21st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Monica (331 - 387). African. Mother of St Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

Almighty Father accepted the motherly tears of St Monica for the conversion of the once prodigal Augustine. St Monica also handled a difficult husband, the once alcoholic Patricius, a pagan city councilor. He died a baptized Christian.

Our Gospel for today is the Parable of the Ten Virgins. Five foolish and five wise. The bridegroom was delayed in his coming. The wise Virgins anticipated a delay and provided extra oil for their lamps. Because the foolish Virgins did not anticipate a delay, they provided no extra oil.

How do you deal with the Delay Factor in your life? The Second Coming of Jesus will be delayed. Most likely than not, the fulfillment of God's precious promise to you will be delayed. What do you do?

There are 106 occurrences of WAIT in the Bible. The message is uniform: Wait for the Lord.

“For the vision is yet for the appointed [future] time It hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail. Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it, Because it will certainly come; it will not delay." (Habakkuk 2: 3 AMP).

"Don’t be impatient. Wait for the Lord, and he will come and save you! Be brave, stouthearted, and courageous. Yes, wait and he will help you." (Psalm 27: 14 TLB).

Those who waited for the Lord:
Abraham and Sarah, Jacob, David, Elizabeth and Zachary, Simeon and the Prophetess Anna.  St Monica waited patiently for God for the conversion of her son, Augustine. 

The Lord does not delay. All His actions are guided by His mighty, merciful and mysterious Providence. God is not even one second late for His appointments. Always on time.

"In this Sacrament I wait for you. So many emphasize that they must wait for Me, and yet I am already present, close to them, and disposed to reveal to them the secrets of My Heart. They forget that it is I who wait for them to come to Me. How often did I say to My disciples, “Come to Me.” They understood, at least most of them did, the intensity of My longing for the company of souls. I would have all souls come to Me and remain with Me." (IN SINU JESU page 94).

Wait for the Lord!

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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Be Awake! Be Vigilant!

"Jesus said to his disciples: “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come." (Matthew 24 :42 - 51).

Thursday 26th August 2021, in the 21st Week in Ordinary Time.

What is the central message in today's Gospel? Jesus teaches the absolute necessity of being Always Ready! Always Prepared! For what? To meet our God. God decided in His mighty, merciful and mysterious Providence not to reveal the precise time He comes to take us home. You will not get a text message from God saying: Be ready on Thursday, August 21st at 9.30am at the Starbucks on Divine Ave.
No. The moment will come like a thief in the night. Very suddenly!

How do we prepare?
#1. Form a habit of daily prayer.
#2. Form a habit of daily feeding on the word of God.

Always be prepared!

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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

The Feast of St Louis, the King of France.

"Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing." (Matthew 23: 27 32).

Tuesday 25th August 2021, 21st Week in Ordinary Time. We celebrate the lives of two saints. Remember that in honoring these two saints, we are in fact glorifying our Lord Jesus Christ who is King of all the saints.  He promised that those who follow Him will reign forever with Him. And those who honor the saints glorify Him. Never miss an opportunity to glorify Jesus through honoring the saints on their feast day.

St Louis of France (1214 - 1270). He lived a simple life characterized by prayer and penance. God was pleased with Louis and raised him from the cares of earthly rule to the glory of heavenly kingdom.

We celebrate also today:
St Joseph Calasanz (1557 - 1648). Spanish Priest who dedicated his life in charity and patience to the education of poor children.

What is the common factor between King Louis and Father Joseph? They were separated by nearly 300 years. The key is in the first Reading for today:
"As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children, exhorting and encouraging you and insisting that you walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into his Kingdom and glory."  (1Thessalonians 2: 9 - 13).

St Louis the king of France had eleven children. As king of a great European power in the 13th century, Louis lived a life of penance and prayer and treated the French people as his children as St Paul treated the Thessalonians. (Cf First Reading). His people loved him much. St Louis perished near Tunis in North Africa in the 2nd Crusade.

St Joseph Calasanz dedicated his life in charity and patience to the education of poor children. He founded a religious order to cater for the poor and the abandoned children of Rome. His confrères hated him and the problem precipitated the abolition of the religious order St Joseph founded.  He surrendered the situation to God. His attitude was: God gives us everything.  He takes them away whenever He wants. Blessed be the name of God forever!

Our key Scripture for today deals with hypocrisy and lawlessness. We live in a time that seems to be marred by both vices. St Philip Neri teaches that frequent Confession will lead us to truth and humility. The Church teaches that frequent Holy Communion will transform us into the copy image of the Person we receive in the Eucharist.

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Monday, August 23, 2021

The Feast of St Bartholomew, Apostle.

"Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” (John 1: 45 - 51).

Tuesday 24th August 2021, 21st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Bartholomew, Apostle and Martyr. St Bartholomew also known as Nathanael is one of the Twelve Apostles. Tradition says that St Bartholomew worked and was martyred in India.

Here is the amazing faith of Philip in Jesus who had just launched His public ministry:  “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” Philip believes that Jesus is the Messiah.
When Philip told his friend Bartholomew that they found Jesus, he said:  “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
But Philip, a great evangelist said to Bartholomew, “Come and see.” Both Philip and Bartholomew spent some friendly time with Jesus that afternoon and both became His disciples. The interaction with Jesus closed the sale. And Bartholomew declared: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”

Who is Jesus planning to draw near Him through you? Evangelization   could be likened to seeing a great deal or sales promotion in the supermarket or Amazon and sharing that information with a friend. You share with family and friends what you value highly.

The first step in evangelization might be sharing Scripture or spiritual content with someone. For example, sharing Christian posts that move you from Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, etc with family or friends. You can follow up with inviting the friend to a special event in your church.

Be a Philip. Introduce somebody to Jesus today. Share your faith.

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Sunday, August 22, 2021

First canonized saints in the Americas: St Rose of Lima.

"Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves." (Matthew23: 13 - 22).

Monday 23rd August 2021, in the 21st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Rose of Lima. (1586 - 1617). Lima, Peru. Virgin and a Dominican tertiary. Rose admired St Catherine of Sienna from her youth and was deeply inspired by the Doctor of the Church who was a Dominican tertiary also. St Rose of Lima became a model of penitence, prayer and simplicity. St Rose of Lima was canonized less than 50 years after her death in 1671. She became the first native born saint in the Americas.

Here is what Jesus said to the crowds and His disciples in today's Gospel:  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves."

The sharp words of Jesus lead us to reflect on the Power of Example.
Bad example corrupts.
Good example edifies.
St Rose of Lima read the life of St Catherine of Sienna and became fired up by her zeal for evangelization.
St Ignatius Loyola while recovering from a serious wound from a war read the life of St Francis of Assisi and became highly motivated to do for Jesus what Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscans did. Ignatius underwent a profound conversion, did adult education and became the founder of the Society of Jesus.

If you are a teacher in the Church: Bishop, priest, catechist or theologian, you must shudder when you read the words of Jesus in today's Gospel.

"Until now, the precious grace of Eucharistic adoration has remained unknown to far too many of My priests. This accounts for the weaknesses, the scandals, the shame, and the falling away of so many. The world has grown cold, and it will become even more cold as the darkness of the Enemy enfolds it and turns to ice the hearts that I consecrated to be for Me hearts of love." (IN SINU JESU page 216).

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