St. Therese of Lisieux: Saint of the Day for Saturday, October 01, 2022

Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called her the “Little Flower”, and found in her short life more inspiration for their own lives than in volumes by theologians.
Yet Therese died when she was 24, after having lived as cloistered Carmelite for less than ten years. She never went on missions, never founded a religious order, never performed great works. The only book of hers, published after her death, was an brief edited version of her journal called “Story of a Soul.” …

A Prayer to Saint Therese De Lisieux for Guidance: Prayer of the Day for Saturday, October 01, 2022

Govern by all Thy Wisdom, O Lord,
so that my soul may always be serving Thee as Thou dost Will,
and not as I may choose.
Do not punish me, I beseech Thee,
by granting that which I wish
or ask if it offended Thy Love,
which would always live in me.
Let me die to myself,
so that I may love Thee.
Let me live to Thee,
Who art in Thyself,
the True Life.

Dear St. Therese,
guide me in your Little Way,
so that I may ascend to the heights and happiness of Heaven.

Our Place / Nuestro Lugar

I know a lot of people say this, but my dad was one of the smartest men I have ever known. I will go a step further — he was one of the wisest men I ever knew. When I was a kid monkeying around at the dinner table, he would put me in my place. I deserved it. And when my wife and I got married and my parents came to visit us, my dad shocked me, asking if he could sit in the recliner. At home, he always sat in the recliner. But he knew this was my home, not his. He knew his place, too. I wish he was still alive to sit in my recliner any time he wanted.

I share this because today’s readings are all about our place. Specifically, they’re all about how we see ourselves, where we are, in our relationship with God. In the First Reading, we are nearing the end of the book of Job. He has suffered much but refused to turn from his God. And when he gets that audience with the Lord, he begins to question what has been going on. But does God give him comforting words? Far from it. To paraphrase, God asks, almost sarcastically, “Hey, where were you, Job, when I created this? Did you help when I made that?”

Job is taken aback. Is this the response to expect from a loving God? Job rightfully replies, however, “I won’t say another word.” Because Job realizes, as should we, that this is God. God, who created everything, to whom everything belongs, has chosen to reveal himself to Job. He has everything, He can do anything, but He has chosen to be with Job, and with us. He has chosen to love us. Didn’t God, after all, originally bet on Job’s faithfulness? He is in our corner, but he isn’t some simple buddy. We have to remember he is God — God! — who has chosen to create us, care about us, love us. And send us His son.

This brings us to the Gospel. Jesus has done some amazing things in Bethsaida and Capernaum and Chorazin. Why, if Tyre and Sidon, two of the most sinful places in the Old Testament, had witnessed these things, they would have repented immediately. Jesus is speaking to us here. We have seen what he did. We have heard it preached and read about it in the Gospels. What does it mean to us? How do we react? Do we repent and believe in the Gospel? Do we become disciples and try to live as Jesus wants us to live? What is our place in relationship to this Lord and Savior, and the One who sent Him?

Let’s contemplate that today. Do I know my place when it comes to God, when it comes to Jesus? Is it the right place? Do I treat our Lord as some great vending machine, “gimme this, gimme that”, or do I give him the love, the praise, and the worship deserving of the Lord of the universe, who is all good and deserving of all our love. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy. 

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Sé que mucha gente dice esto, pero mi papá fue uno de los hombres más inteligentes que he conocido. Iré un paso más allá: fue uno de los hombres más sabios que he conocido. Cuando yo era niño haciendo el tonto en la mesa, él me ponía en mi lugar. Me lo merecía. Y cuando mi esposa y yo nos casamos y mis padres vinieron a visitarnos, mi papá me sorprendió cuando me preguntó si podía sentarse en el sillón reclinable. En casa, siempre se sentaba en el sillón reclinable. Pero él sabía que esta era mi casa, no la suya. Él también conocía su lugar. Quisiera que todavía estuviera vivo para sentarse en mi sillón reclinable cuando quisiera.

Comparto esto porque las lecturas de hoy son todas sobre nuestro lugar. Específicamente, se trata de cómo nos vemos a nosotros mismos, dónde estamos, en nuestra relación con Dios. En la Primera Lectura, nos acercamos al final del libro de Job. Ha sufrido mucho, pero se negó a apartarse de su Dios. Y cuando obtiene esa audiencia con el Señor, comienza a cuestionar lo que ha estado pasando. Pero, ¿le da Dios palabras de consuelo? Para nada. Parafraseando, Dios pregunta, casi con sarcasmo: “Oye, ¿dónde estabas, Job, cuando creé esto? ¿Me ayudaste cuando hice eso?

Job se sorprende. ¿Esta es la respuesta que se espera de un Dios amoroso? Sin embargo, Job responde correctamente: “No diré una palabra más”. Porque Job se da cuenta, al igual que nosotros, de que esto es Dios. Dios, que creó todo, a quien todo pertenece, ha elegido revelarse a Job. Él tiene todo, Él puede hacer cualquier cosa, pero ha elegido estar con Job y con nosotros. Él ha elegido amarnos. Después de todo, ¿no apostó Dios originalmente por la fidelidad de Job? Él está en nuestro rincón, pero no es un simple amigo. Tenemos que recordar que él es Dios, ¡Dios! que ha elegido crearnos, cuidarnos, amarnos, y envíanos a Su hijo.

Esto nos lleva al Evangelio. Jesús ha hecho algunas cosas asombrosas en Betsaida y Capernaum y Chorazin. Bueno, si Tiro y Sidón, dos de los lugares más pecaminosos del Antiguo Testamento, hubieran sido testigos de estas cosas, se habrían arrepentido inmediatamente. Jesús nos está hablando aquí. Hemos visto lo que hizo. Lo hemos oído predicar y lo hemos leído en los Evangelios. ¿Qué significa para nosotros? ¿Cómo reaccionamos? ¿Nos arrepentimos y creemos en el Evangelio? ¿Nos convertimos en discípulos y tratamos de vivir como Jesús quiere que vivamos? ¿Cuál es nuestro lugar en relación con este Señor y Salvador, y Aquel que lo envió?

Consideremos eso hoy. ¿Conozco mi lugar cuando se trata de Dios, cuando se trata de Jesús? ¿Es el lugar correcto? ¿Trato a nuestro Señor como una gran máquina expendedora, “dame esto, dame aquello”, o le doy el amor, la alabanza y la adoración que merece el Señor del universo, quien es todo bueno y merecedor de todo nuestro amor. Nuestro Salvador Jesucristo sufrió y murió por nosotros. En su nombre, Dios mío, ten piedad.

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Mike Karpus is a regular guy. He grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, graduated from Michigan State University and works as an editor. He is married to a Catholic school principal, raised two daughters who became Catholic school teachers at points in their careers, and now relishes his two grandchildren, including the 3-year-old who teaches him what the colors of Father’s chasubles mean. He has served on a Catholic School board, a pastoral council and a parish stewardship committee. He currently is a lector at Mass, a Knight of Columbus, Adult Faith Formation Committee member and a board member of the local Habitat for Humanity organization. But mostly he’s a regular guy.

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St. Jerome: Saint of the Day for Friday, September 30, 2022

Before he was known as Saint Jerome, he was named Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus. He was born around 342 AD, in Stridon, Dalmatia. Today, the town, which ceased to exist in JeromeÂ?s time, would likely be in Croatia or Slovenia.

The young Jerome was educated by Aelius Donatus, who was a famous Roman grammarian. From him, the young Jerome learned Latin and Greek. Little else is known of his childhood other than his parents were probably well-to-do and Christian. Despite their efforts to raise …

Guardian Angel Prayer #2: Prayer of the Day for Friday, September 30, 2022

(This is an old Guardian Angel Prayer)

O Holy Angel,
attendant of my wretched soul
and of mine afflicted life,
forsake me not, a sinner,
neither depart from me for mine inconstancy.
Give no place to the evil demon to subdue me
with the oppression of this mortal body;
but take me by my wretched and outstretched hand,
and lead me in the way of salvation.
Yea, O holy Angel of God,
the guardian and protector
of my hapless soul and body,
forgive me all things …

In the Sight of the Angels / A la Vista de los Ángeles

I remain a parishioner at the church where I was baptized 55 years ago, meaning I have spent well over 2,000 Sunday mornings there. As a child, my mind and my eyes tended to wander, and the stained glass windows provided both entertainment and enlightenment, as they are meant to do. Later, as I struggled to quiet my small children during Mass, I whispered the stories of the saints in those same windows to them.

A favorite window depicts St. Michael casting the fallen angels out of Heaven, as today’s alternate First Reading from Revelations describes. It’s a graphic representation, even a little scary, showing the Archangel poking at skeletal creatures with his sword. Children, of course, love this.  Similarly, it is especially satisfying to call on St. Michael at the end of Mass, asking him to “thrust into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world.”

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Archangels, Michael the warrior, Gabriel the messenger, and Raphael the healer. Our readings draw us into contemplation of heavenly glory, when we will see God on His throne, attended by “myriads and myriads” of angels, and where “in the sight of the angels” we will sing His praises. 

We are also directed to consider Jesus’ place in God’s glory, as “one like a son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven.” Indeed, Jesus tells Nathanael that he “will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Angels are God’s attendants, and thus Jesus’ declaration to Nathanael clearly implies his own divinity, and calls to mind the Gospel passage after his temptation in the desert when angels came and ministered to him. 

The angels have always been in Heaven in the presence of God, whereas human beings have to learn to know, love, and serve Him here on Earth before being admitted to Paradise.  While today’s readings provide a glimpse of the glory that awaits us, they do not provide a road map for getting there.  Truly in these passages salvation is presented as a gift of God for which we praise Him, not something we can earn. 

Though we do not earn salvation, we are called to cooperate in it. This is where the example of Nathanael is helpful. Just before the passage in today’s Gospel, Nathanael’s friend Philip obeyed when Jesus said, “Follow me.” He then went to Nathanael and extended an invitation to him: “Come and see.”

Nathanael accepted, and although he was initially skeptical (asking Philip if anything good can come from Nazareth) he believed in Jesus after only one exchange.

We see in Nathanael an openness to relationship with Jesus and humility in putting aside his prejudices. Being himself a person “without deceit,” perhaps he is able to sense the same honesty in Philip and in Jesus himself.  We can also learn from Philip, who not only follows Jesus unquestioningly but shares the invitation with his friend.   

Today, and every day, let us be open to the invitation of Jesus, so that one day we too will sing his praises “in the sight of the angels.”

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Sigo siendo feligrés de la iglesia donde fui bautizado hace 55 años, lo que significa que he pasado allí más de 2000 domingos por la mañana. Cuando era niña, mi mente y mis ojos tendían a distraerse, y los vitrales de colores servían para entretenerme e iluminarme, como se suponía que debían hacer. Más tarde, mientras luchaba por calmar a mis niños pequeños durante la Misa, les susurré las historias de los santos en esas mismas ventanas.

Una de mis ventanas favoritas muestra a San Miguel expulsando a los ángeles caídos del cielo, como lo describe la Primera Lectura alternativa de hoy de Apocalipsis. Es una representación gráfica, incluso un poco aterradora, que muestra al Arcángel hurgando en las criaturas esqueléticas con su espada. A los niños, por supuesto, les encanta esto. Del mismo modo, es especialmente satisfactorio invocar a San Miguel al final de la Misa, pidiéndole que “arroje al infierno a Satanás y a todos los espíritus malignos que andan dispersos por el mundo”.

Hoy celebramos la Fiesta de los Arcángeles, Miguel el guerrero, Gabriel el mensajero y Rafael el sanador. Nuestras lecturas nos llevan a la contemplación de la gloria celestial, cuando veremos a Dios en Su trono, asistido por “miríadas y miríadas” de ángeles, y donde “a la vista de los ángeles” cantaremos Sus alabanzas.

También se nos indica que consideremos el lugar de Jesús en la gloria de Dios, como “a alguien semejante a un hijo de hombre,
que venía entre las nubes del cielo”. De hecho, Jesús le dice a Natanael que “verá el cielo abierto y a los ángeles de Dios ascendiendo y descendiendo sobre el Hijo del Hombre”.

Los ángeles son los asistentes de Dios y, por lo tanto, la declaración de Jesús a Natanael implica claramente su propia divinidad y recuerda el pasaje del Evangelio después de su tentación en el desierto cuando los ángeles vinieron y lo ministraron.

Los ángeles siempre han estado en el Cielo en presencia de Dios, mientras que los seres humanos tienen que aprender a conocerlo, amarlo y servirlo aquí en la Tierra antes de ser admitidos en el Paraíso. Si bien las lecturas de hoy brindan un vistazo de la gloria que nos espera, no brindan un mapa de ruta para llegar allí. Verdaderamente en estos pasajes la salvación se presenta como un regalo de Dios por el cual lo alabamos, no como algo que podamos ganar.

Aunque no ganamos la salvación, estamos llamados a cooperar en ella. Aquí es donde el ejemplo de Natanael es útil. Justo antes del pasaje del Evangelio de hoy, Felipe, el amigo de Natanael, obedeció cuando Jesús dijo: “Sígueme”. Luego fue a donde Natanael y le extendió una invitación: “Ven y ve”.

Natanael aceptó, y aunque al principio se mostró escéptico (le preguntó a Felipe si algo bueno podía salir de Nazaret) creyó en Jesús después de un solo intercambio.

Vemos en Natanael una apertura a la relación con Jesús y humildad para dejar de lado sus prejuicios. Siendo él mismo una persona “sin engaño”, quizás sea capaz de intuir la misma honestidad en Felipe y en el mismo Jesús. También podemos aprender de Felipe, quien no solo sigue a Jesús sin cuestionar sino que comparte la invitación con su amigo.

Hoy, y todos los días, estemos abiertos a la invitación de Jesús, para que un día también nosotros cantemos sus alabanzas “a la vista de los ángeles”.

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Leslie Sholly is a Catholic, Southern wife and mother of five, living in her hometown, Knoxville, Tennessee. She graduated from Georgetown University with an English major and Theology minor. She blogs at Life in Every Limb, where for 11 years she has covered all kinds of topics, more recently focusing on the intersection of faith, politics, and social justice.

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St. Michael the Archangel: Saint of the Day for Thursday, September 29, 2022

Saint Michael the Archangel isn’t a saint, but rather he is an angel, and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title “Archangel” means, that he is above all the others in rank.

St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we know from scripture and Christian tradition.

The first is to combat Satan.
The second is to escort the faithful to heaven at their hour of death.
The third is to be a champion of all Christians, and the Church itself.
And the …

Holy Archangel Who Strengthened Our Lord in His Agony: Prayer of the Day for Thursday, September 29, 2022

I salute thee, holy Angel who didst comfort my Jesus in His agony, and with thee I praise the most holy Trinity for having chosen thee from among all the holy Angels to comfort and strengthen Him who is the comfort and strength of all that are in affliction. By the honor thou didst enjoy and by the obedience, humility and love wherewith thou didst assist the sacred Humanity of Jesus, my Savior, when He was fainting for very sorrow at seeing the sins of the world and especially my sins, I …

Wednesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Jb 9:1-12, 14-16

Job answered his friends and said:

I know well that it is so;
but how can a man be justified before God?
Should one wish to contend with him,
he could not answer him once in a thousand times.
God is wise in heart and mighty in strength;
who has withstood him and remained unscathed?

He removes the mountains before they know it;
he overturns them in his anger.
He shakes the earth out of its place,
and the pillars beneath it tremble.
He commands the sun, and it rises not;
he seals up the stars.

He alone stretches out the heavens
and treads upon the crests of the sea.
He made the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south;
He does great things past finding out,
marvelous things beyond reckoning.

Should he come near me, I see him not;
should he pass by, I am not aware of him;
Should he seize me forcibly, who can say him nay?
Who can say to him, “What are you doing?”

How much less shall I give him any answer,
or choose out arguments against him!
Even though I were right, I could not answer him,
but should rather beg for what was due me.
If I appealed to him and he answered my call,
I could not believe that he would hearken to my words.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 88:10bc-11, 12-13, 14-15

R. (3) Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
Daily I call upon you, O LORD;
to you I stretch out my hands.
Will you work wonders for the dead?
Will the shades arise to give you thanks?
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
Do they declare your mercy in the grave,
your faithfulness among those who have perished?
Are your wonders made known in the darkness,
or your justice in the land of oblivion?
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
But I, O LORD, cry out to you;
with my morning prayer I wait upon you.
Why, O LORD, do you reject me;
why hide from me your face?
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.

Alleluia Phil 3:8-9

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I consider all things so much rubbish
that I may gain Christ and be found in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 9:57-62

As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding
on their journey, someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

God Knows Best / Dios Sabe Mejor

This week, we are making a brief run through the Book of Job. The excerpts that we receive at Mass may seem a bit confusing out of context. It’s helpful to get the context of the other chapters of Job, too. At the beginning of the saga, Satan was allowed to test Job, thinking that if what he loves is taken away, he will no longer be the most righteous man on earth: “But now put forth your hand . . . and surely he will blaspheme you to your face” (Job 1:11). God allows Satan to go ahead. We know throughout the book that God has done this, but we never really know why He chose to let Satan have so much freedom. He could have simply told him he was wrong and left it there.

Most of the remaining chapters consist of Job’s three friends trying to convince him that he has been afflicted because either he or his family have sinned. Job maintains his innocence, and says that while he recognizes God’s authority, he does not understand His actions and needs an explanation. Job is right, but his friends are persistent.

When God finally answers, this is how it begins: “Who is this that darkens counsel with words of ignorance? Gird up your loins now like a man; I will question you, and you tell me the answers! Where were you when I founded the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding” (Job 38:1–4). God then gives his résumé, so to speak, and Job is dumbfounded.

Where we come in today, Job is acknowledging that God vindicates the righteous, but at the same time has the right to act as He wills without condescending to our desires. “Even though I were right, I could not answer him, but should rather beg for what was due me. . . . I could not believe that he would hearken to my words” (Job 9:15–16). The Psalmist echoes this desperate begging in our Responsorial Psalm.

Job is speaking profound wisdom, taken in the context of the entire book. When we think about it, by the end of this story, God doesn’t really give Job a satisfying explanation. Instead, He argues that because of His sovereign power, providence, and justice, He is surely right and does not need to explain the things that He does.

This might seem arrogant, and it would be if God were not 100 percent right. In reality, God’s ways are unfathomable, and we can receive explanations as to why He runs the universe the way He does, but these are often incomplete. The ultimate answer to Job comes in the form of the Paschal Mystery, but even then, it does not quite explain why Job had to suffer in just the way that he did. Drawing from Job’s wisdom, we can begin to see that this is not the point. It might be nice to have the explanation for every suffering, but God shows us that regardless of the specifics, we ought to trust in His providence. He knows best, and He is in control. It is for us to be humble, knowing that in the end all will be revealed. 

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Esta semana, estamos haciendo un breve repaso por el Libro de Job. Los párafos que leimos en la Misa pueden parecer un poco confusos fuera del contexto. También es útil obtener el contexto de los otros capítulos de Job. Al comienzo de la saga, a Satanás se le permitió probar a Job, pensando que si le quitan lo que ama, ya no será el hombre más justo de la tierra: “Pero hazle sentir un poco el peso de tu mano… y verás cómo te maldice en tu propia cara” (Job 1:11). Dios permite que Satanás siga adelante. Sabemos a lo largo del libro que Dios ha hecho esto, pero nunca sabemos realmente por qué eligió dejar que Satanás tuviera tanta libertad. Podría simplemente haberle dicho que estaba equivocado y dejarlo ahí.

La mayoría de los capítulos restantes consisten en los tres amigos de Job tratando de convencerlo de que haya sido afligido porque él o su familia hayan pecado. Job mantiene su inocencia y dice que si bien reconoce la autoridad de Dios, no comprende sus acciones y necesita una explicación. Job tiene razón, pero sus amigos son persistentes.

Cuando Dios finalmente responde, así es como comienza: “¿Quién es este que oscurece el consejo con palabras sin conocimiento? Ciñe ahora tus lomos como un hombre, y Yo te preguntaré, y tú me instruirás. ¿Dónde estabas tú cuando Yo echaba los cimientos de la tierra?
melo, si tienes inteligencia.” (Job 38, 1–4). Entonces Dios le da su currículum, por así decirlo, y Job se queda estupefacto.

Donde entramos hoy, Job está reconociendo que Dios vindica a los justos, pero al mismo tiempo tiene el derecho de actuar como Él quiere sin condescender a nuestros deseos. “Aunque yo tuviera razón, no me quedaría otro remedio que implorar su misericordia. Si yo lo citara a juicio y él compareciera, no creo que atendiera a mis razones” (Job 9,15–16). El salmista se hace eco de esta súplica desesperada en nuestro Salmo Responsorial.

Job está hablando de sabiduría profunda, tomada en el contexto de todo el libro. Cuando lo pensamos, al final de esta historia, Dios realmente no le da a Job una explicación satisfactoria. En cambio, Él argumenta que debido a Su poder soberano, providencia y justicia, ciertamente tiene razón y no necesita explicar las cosas que hace.

Esto puede parecer arrogante, y lo sería si Dios no estuviera 100 por ciento en lo correcto. En realidad, los caminos de Dios son insondables, y podemos recibir explicaciones de por qué Él dirige el universo de la manera que lo hace, pero a menudo son incompletas. La respuesta definitiva a Job viene en la forma del Misterio Pascual, pero aun así, no explica del todo por qué Job tuvo que sufrir de la forma en que lo hizo. Partiendo de la sabiduría de Job, podemos comenzar a ver que ese no es el punto. Puede ser bueno tener la explicación de cada sufrimiento, pero Dios nos muestra que, independientemente de los detalles, debemos confiar en Su providencia. Él sabe mejor, y Él tiene el control. Nos corresponde ser humildes, sabiendo que al final todo se revelará.

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David Dashiell is a freelance author and editor in Nashville, Tennessee. He has a master’s degree in theology from Franciscan University, and is the editor of the anthology Ever Ancient, Ever New: Why Younger Generations Are Embracing Traditional Catholicism.

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