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Monday, July 31, 2017

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Book of Job Introduction[1]

Ever notice that the guy in front of you always gets the last apple fritter at Starbucks? On a Monday morning? When you skipped dinner the night before? And why does the subway train always leave just as you get through the turnstile? Does it know that you're already running late and it just wants to spite you? Why do you always get stuck in the middle seat on planes, no matter how far in advance you book? And why does the lady next to you always forget to wear deodorant that day? And, why oh why didn't you take the blue pill? The Book of Job deals with these exact issues. Well, not these exact issues, but the millennia-ago versions. If you think about it, these questions really get to the heart of most religious thought. If you believe in a righteous force that governs the universe, then why isn't activity on earth righteous? And didn't God say that the righteous would be rewarded and the wicked punished with fire? So why didn't you get your stinkin' apple fritter? Job is a nice guy who's been doing pretty well for himself out on the ranch—he's got a wife, some kids, and enough sheep to last him a lifetime. Then, suddenly, he loses it all. Does he whine and complain? No. He takes it one step further: he calls out God for letting all this misery happen to a righteous man. Yes, that's right—he calls God's bluff. We know you're ready to read it, so go ahead. And the next time you're asking "why me?" just remember—Job was there first.

Why Should I Care?

Did you know that the Andromeda Galaxy is eventually going to collide with the Milky Way? Pretty nuts. How do we know this? Um, it's obvious: humans know everything. We mean, really. If we know about things that are 2.5 million light years away, there can't be anything we don't know…right? Wrong. Job learns that he can't ask the universe for justice because he doesn't know how the universe works. And as much as we know about the mechanics of the world millennia after Job's time, we still have questions galore. Whether you're a priest or a scientist—or both—you'll agree: we can't know everything. Thanks, Job.

TUESDAY August 1
HOLY MACCABEES

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.

Job, Chapter 1, Verse 1
In the land of Uz there was a blameless and upright man named Job, who feared God and avoided evil.

Can a man be blameless and upright and yet not be filled with self-pride? Job teaches us that we need to be all in with God.



Four Lessons of Job[2]
  1. Believe with all your heart in the absolute sovereignty of God. Pray that God would give you that conviction.
  2. Believe with all your heart that everything he does is right and good. Pray that God will give you that assurance.
  3. Repent of all the times you have questioned God or found fault with him in the way he has treated you. Pray that God would humble you to see these murmurings as sinful.
  4. Be satisfied with the holy will of God and do not murmur.
Piety[3]

Being pious is not squeezing one’s eyes shut to the world and putting on a sweet little angel face, Pope Francis said.Piety is opening up one’s heart to God and one’s arms to embrace everyone as brothers and sisters. “The gift of piety that the Holy Spirit gives us makes us meek; it makes us peaceful, patient and at peace with God in gentle service to others,” The Pope said he wanted to clarify its meaning right away “because some people think that being pious is closing your eyes, putting on a sweet angel face, isn’t that right? No Piety is not to pretend to be a saint” and holier than thou; but piety is recognizing “our belonging to God, our deep bond with him, a relationship that gives meaning to our whole life and keeps us resolute, in communion with him, even during the most difficult and troubled moments” in life, he said. This personal bond with the Lord is not created out of obligation or force, he said; it is “a relationship lived from the heart,” a friendship that “changes our life and fills us with enthusiasm and joy,” gratitude, praise and “authentic worship of God.” “When the Holy Spirit helps us sense the presence of the Lord and all of his love for us, it warms our heart and drives us almost naturally to prayer and celebration,” the Pope said. Once people experience the loving relationship of God as father, “it helps us pour out this love onto others and recognize them as brothers and sisters”. Piety is about identity and belonging, he said, that is why it renders people “truly capable of being joyful with those who are happy; to cry with those who weep; to be near those who are alone or in distress; to correct those in error; to console the afflicted; to welcome and come to the aid of those in need.” Pope said the spirit of God is about kinship — a spirit of adoption, not “a spirit of slavery to fall back on into fear. Let us ask the Lord that the gift of his Spirit overcome our fears and uncertainties, our restless and impatient spirit, too, and that it may make us joyous witnesses of God and his love.” The Pope asked that people pray they could adore God in a genuine, not forced or fake, way, and to be in service to others “with gentleness and also a smile.”

“You can’t shape the future to protect your child but you can shape the child to cope with whatever the future brings”. This was the gift that my father gave to me and my sisters.

Today is my deceased father’s birthday. My father was not always a blameless and upright man but he had a great devotion to St. Jude. He always sworn it was St. Jude’s prayers and intercession that brought him home from the war in the pacific and maybe it was. He got my grandmother to sign the papers and he was in combat before his 18th birthday. He was a ghost diver during WWII; his job was to scuba dive in before invasions set up radio beacons for the invasion and avoid detection or capture. He went on 26 missions with 11 others in frogman teams. The normal mortality rate for these teams was 50%.  After the war; my father drank a lot to forget. As his disease of alcoholism ramped up he stopped going to church refusing to go to church drunk. I don’t know if my father was aware of this verse where St. Jude admonishes false teachers who used the church as a sort of country club and caroused fearlessly looking after themselves. My father did not see the church as a social institution but as a place where one encounters our Holy God, our Holy mighty one; our Holy immortal one. My father knew he was a sinner. He always said that St. Jude was his patron saint because; St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes and my father swore that’s what he was. As his disease progressed he stopped going to church but built a shrine to our Mother Mary. Every day he would cut fresh roses for the shrine and sit at twilight, with beer and cigarette in hand; silently staring at the shrine. In the end my father did receive his last rights and was ushered into our Lord by our Lady and St. Jude.

Holy Maccabees[4]

The seven Machabean brothers, together with their mother, were martyred about the year 164 B.C. by King Antiochus Epiphanes. The mother in particular deserves to be admired for the heroic fortitude with which she encouraged her children to suffer and die. Their remains were venerated at Antioch. After the church which was built above their resting-place was destroyed, they were taken to Rome; during the renovation of the high altar of St. Peter in Chains (1876), a sarcophagus dating from the fourth or fifth century was found; lead tablets related the relics to those of the Machabean martyrs and their mother. Seldom does it happen that the Roman Church venerates Old Testament saints in the Mass and Office; it is much more common in the Greek rite. Martyrdom before the advent of Christ was possible only through faith and hope in Christ. Today's feast is among the oldest in the sanctoral cycle. In the second Book of Machabees, sacred Scripture recounts the passion and death of the Machabees in a very edifying manner. St. Gregory Nazianz discusses why Christians honor these Old Testament saints: "They deserve to be universally venerated because they showed themselves courageous and steadfastly loyal to the laws and traditions of their fathers. For if already before the passion of Christ they suffered death as martyrs, what heroism would they have shown if they had suffered after Christ and with the death of the Lord as a model? A further point. To me and to all who love God it is highly probable that according to a mystic and hidden logic no one who endured martyrdom before the advent of Christ was able to do so without faith in Christ."

Daily Devotions/Prayers
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Novena to the Holy Face-Day 7


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