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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Wednesday, July 25, 2018



Introduction to 2 Corinthians
Here you have two letters written by Paul of Tarsus. He's one of the superstars of the early church and the guy people think is responsible for almost a third of the writing in the New Testament. If Jesus is taking home the statute for Best Biblical Hero, then Paul definitely has a lock in the Best Supporting category. The guy is A-list all the way. These two letters are just a couple of little theological blockbusters he wrote to the Christian church he founded in Corinth. 1 Corinthians is kind of like A New Hope or The Fellowship of the Ring. It's the first amazing installment in a can't-wait-to-see-how-it-ends series. This first letter's got everything a hit movie does: sex, love, marriage, divorce, conflict, betrayal, anger, and even an occasional discussion of penises. Don't worry, the rating is still G. So, if that was Paul's first box office hit, then 2 Corinthians is like the sequel that's even bigger and better than the original. Corinth: now with higher stakes, more expensive special effects, and bigger explosions (of apostolic anger)! This book also has a little bonus footage in it, because most scholars think that 2 Corinthians is actually two letters combined into one. It's what would happen if someone took Breaking Dawn: Part 1 and Part 2 and edited them into one movie. Corinthians would have fewer longing vampire glances, though. The best part about both of these is that you don't have to wait years between letters to see how it ends. Want to know what happened after that cliffhanger at the end of 1 Corinthians? Just flip the page and find out (spoiler alert: things do not go well). It's kind of like how we'd feel if Peter Jackson had made The Hobbit into one movie instead of three. (Which let's be honest, he should have: the book isn't that long, dude.) So, break out the popcorn, put on your 3-D glasses, and crack open your Bibles to the letters to the Corinthians. On second thought, maybe ditch the 3-D glasses. That might just make you dizzy.
Why Should I Care?
"Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." Quoting the Hulk (Bruce Banner), but we're also paraphrasing St. Paul the Apostle. What? Didn't think saints ever got mad? Well then, just take a peek at 1 and 2 Corinthians to have your world rocked. He may be a follower of Jesus, but Paul has feelings, too, you know. In these letters, they're mainly anger, jealousy, and frustration. All that good stuff. See, even though he founded the church in Corinth, Paul can't quite keep things under control there. Not only are the Corinthians rebelling left and right, but people keep coming into town telling everyone that Paul is actually a giant green monster that can't be trusted in civilized society. Paul calls these guys the false apostles and, for him, they're worse than a radioactive lab experiment gone wrong. But if the Hulk's super power is unstoppable strength, Paul's is sarcasm-laced letters and near-death experiences. While the false apostles spend most of their time bragging about how amazingly holy and spiritually-gifted they are, Paul puts pen to paper to record all his failures. He writes in his letters about being beaten, chained, tortured, imprisoned, starved, and almost beheaded. See, Paul thinks strength is actually found in weakness. We'd say Christianity has found its anti-hero. So, if you're looking for a guy from the Bible you can relate to—someone who occasionally gets mad and lashes out in letter form (as opposed to stomping buildings)—then, Paul is your biblical superhero. But remember, if make him angry with your unbelieving ways—PAUL SMASH!




JULY 25 Wednesday
FEAST OF ST. JAMES-ST CHRISTOPHER

2 Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 11
Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we are clearly apparent to God, and I hope we are also apparent to your consciousness.

Paul here is talking about the judgment seat of Christ. All will be judged on what they accomplished or failed to accomplish while sojourned here in flesh on earth. Imagine if at your judgment you discovered that you were using inches and feet as a measuring tool when all the time God was using the metric system. (The metric system has been legal in the US since 1866. However, we still don’t understand it.) According to John Maxwell we may be received into the kingdom, but our rewards could be different.

Rewards versus Inheritance[1]

1) We are indeed saved by the merits of Christ; but our reward will be based on our service. 2) We are given freely God’s grace; but our reward will be given in proportion to our work. 3) We receive the Kingdom because the Holy Eucharist forms us to the image of Christ; but our reward is based on our life as a servant of Christ. 4) Christ’s blood poured out for us and our baptism gives us a birthright, but our reward is based on our obedience to the eternal spirit. 5) Our faith makes us secure, but our reward is in being faithful to Him, which is still pending.

Here is a question to ponder on. Are you a cash cow[2] for the Lord or the world?

Feast of St James the Greater, Apostle[3]


Way of St. James[1]

Hikers travel the trail across the Castilian plateau. It’s a long walk to Santiago de Compostela on the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James), but the Christian faithful have made the pilgrimage since the bones of St. James the Apostle were unearthed here in the 9th century, spreading the cultural rebirth of Europe. The apparition of St. James was said to aid Christian armies in battles with the Moors, so Spaniards adopted Santiago Matamoros (aka St. James, the Moor-slayer) as their patron saint. Modern hikers follow in the footsteps of El Cid, Louis VII of France, and St. Francis of Assisi to this pilgrimage destination that’s on a par with Rome and Jerusalem. Whether their motives are spiritual or not, the experience of the walk lingers. Most travelers follow a variant of the French Route, which begins in the Basque village of Roncesvalles, in the Pyrenees at the French-Spanish border, and trek 500 miles through the Rioja wine country (see here) and the former kingdoms of northern Spain. Hostels, inns, and restaurants along the entire stretch cater to the pilgrims. Those who lack time or stamina for the 4-plus-week journey by foot walk only the final 62 miles, through rugged but green inland Galicia. At Monte de Gozo, 2 miles from Santiago de Compostela, tired but elated travelers typically get their first glimpse of the twin towers of Santiago’s cathedral. Construction of the majestic Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela began in 1078, on the site of a 9th-century basilica destroyed by the Moors, and Maestro Mateo’s original designs rank among Europe’s finest Romanesque art. The cathedral’s elaborate, two-towered Baroque façade, added in the 18th century, protects the now restored original Porta de Gloria from weathering. The impact of the cavernous interior—as simple as the façade is ornate—is heightened by the golden-cloaked, bejeweled statue of St. James above the main altar, embraced by arriving pilgrims. The cathedral shares the vast Plaza del Obradoiro (“work of gold”) with the Hotel Reyes Católicos (Catholic Kings), built by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel in 1499 as a hospice for pilgrims. Now one of the most renowned paradors in Spain, it has rooms overlooking the square and the cathedral and many more overlooking four courtyard cloisters. Only a short walk away, the Palacio del Carmen has transformed an 18th-century convent into comfortable if less majestic lodging. Where: Santiago de Compostela is 375 miles/603 km northwest of Madrid. The most popular route of the Camino de Santiago starts in Roncesvalle and runs 500 miles/800 km across the northern regions of Spain, from east to west. How: U.S.-based Saranjan, Inc., offers 1- to 2-week tours by minibus, on foot, or on bicycle. Tel 800-858-9594 or 206-720-0623; www.saranjan.com. Cost: 8-day hiking/biking tours from $3,150; all-inclusive. Originate in León. Hotel Reyes Católicos: Tel 34/981582200; www.parador.es; in the U.S., Palace Tours, 800-724-5120; www.palacetours.com. Cost: from $105 (off-peak), from $225 (peak). Palacio del Carmen: Tel 34/981-552444; www.palaciodelcarmen.com. Cost: from $100 (off-peak), from $115 (peak). Best times: late Feb or early Mar for Antroido (carnival); last 2 weeks of Jul for succession of fiestas; Jul 25 for feast day of Santiago, celebrated with fireworks, music, and processions.


JAMES, by birth a Galilean, a son of Zebedee and Salome, was brother to St. John the apostle, with whom he was called by Jesus to follow Him. He was present at the transfiguration on Mount Tabor, at the raising of the daughter of Jairus from the dead, and other like miracles, and at the bloody sweat in the Garden. After the sending of the Holy Ghost he preached the doctrines of Jesus in Judea, Samaria, and in Jerusalem, where Herod caused him to be beheaded in the year 44. His body was brought to Compostella, in Spain, where it is venerated by vast numbers of the faithful, who make pilgrimages to his grave. St. James was the first of the apostles who shed his blood for Christ.

The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela[4]

The history of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela stretches back more than 1000 years to the discovery of the body of St. James during the reign of King Alfonso II (792-842). St. James was already believed to have been the great evangelist of Spain and for many hundreds of years there had been a scholarly and literary tradition supporting this belief. The discovery of the relics of St. James then became a focal point for pilgrims. Though a few pilgrims to Santiago are recorded in the 10th century, and many more in the 11th, it was in the early 12th century, and particularly under the energetic promotion of Archbishop Diego Gelmírez (1100-1140), that Santiago came to rank with Rome and Jerusalem as one of the great destinations of medieval pilgrimage. The first Cathedral was built over the site of the tomb, and gradually houses were established, for example by monks from Cluny in Burgundy and from Aurillac in Cantal, France, along the developing pilgrimage route.
The 12th and 13th centuries are considered to have been the golden age of the pilgrimage to Santiago. Subsequently the years of the Renaissance and Reformation in Europe led to a decrease in the number of pilgrims. However, pilgrims still made their way to Santiago throughout the centuries. In 1884, following academic and medical research, Pope Leon XIII issued the Bull, Deus Omnipotens, which proclaimed that the relics in Santiago were those of St. James. This is recognized as the start of the modern development of the pilgrimage. It was thought that in the 20th Century the growth of mechanized means of transport such as cars and airplanes might lead to a reduction in the number of pilgrims travelling to Santiago on foot or on horseback. This was not to be the case and in the last 30 years in particular there has been a huge growth in interest and in the number of pilgrims travelling on foot, on horseback or by bicycle. Pilgrims were encouraged by the visits by Pope John Paul II in 1982 and in 1989 when World Youth Day was held in Santiago. The number of pilgrims continues to grow. In 1985 1,245 pilgrims arrived in Santiago. In the 2010 Holy Year 272,703 pilgrims qualified for the Compostela.


Things to Do[5]

·         Learn more about St. James.
·         It is traditional in Spain to make a yearly pilgrimage to St. James of Compostela on July 24. Read more about this custom. From Catholic Culture's Library: Pilgrimage To The Stars and Cycling through time on the Camino de Santiago.
·         Read about Santiago de Compostela, the third largest shrine in all of Christendom.
·         Learn more about the pilgrimage to St. James.
·         Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia and final destination of the famous pilgimage way is certainly among Spain's most beautiful cities. You can take a virtual tour and learn all about this area of the world here.
·         Watch this Spanish news broadcast of the faithful bringing flowers for Our Lady of the Pillar on October 12 during the celebration of the feast at the cathedral, notice the open devotion and enthusiam offered to Our Lady. Tradition says that Mary appeared to St. James before her Assumption. Read more about the apparition here.
·         Plan your own pilgrimage to a nearby shrine. Pope John Paul II said, "To go in a spirit of prayer from one place to another, from one city to another, in the area marked especially by God's intervention, helps us not only to live our life as a journey, but also gives us a vivid sense of a God who has gone before us and leads us on, who himself set out on man's path, a God who does not look down on us from on high, but who became our traveling companion." Read this letter and try to incorporate its spirit into your pilgrimage.

Bearer of Christ[6]



St. Christopher's feast day is still July 25, and the proper of the Mass in his honor is found in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal still authorized for the Tridentine Mass. The confusion over whether St. Christopher is still a saint arose when Pope Paul VI revised the Liturgical Calendar, which includes the feast days of saints that are commemorated at Mass. Due to the proliferation of the number of feast days over the centuries, the Second Vatican Council in its "Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy" proposed, "Lest the feasts of the saints should take precedence over the feasts which commemorate the very mysteries of salvation, many of them should be left to be celebrated by a particular Church, or nation, or family of religious. Only those should be extended to the universal Church which commemorate saints who are truly of universal importance" (No. 111). With this in mind, a special commission — Consilium — examined the calendar and removed those saints whose historical base was more grounded on tradition than provable fact, changed the feast days to coincide with the anniversary of a saint's death or martyrdom whenever possible, and added saints that were recently canonized and had universal Church appeal. Moreover, local conferences of bishops could add to the universal calendar those saints important to the faithful in their own country. In no way did the Church "de-canonize" St. Christopher or anyone else, despite the lack of historical evidence surrounding their lives. St. Christopher is still worthy of our devotion and prayers, and each of us should be mindful that he too is called to be a "bearer of Christ."


Novena of St. Ann[7]

Daily Prayer to Saint Ann

O glorious St. Ann, you are filled with compassion for those who invoke you and with love for those who suffer! Heavily burdened with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at your feet and humbly beg of you to take the present intention which I recommend to you in your special care.

Please recommend it to your daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and place it before the throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue. Continue to intercede for me until my request is granted. But, above all, obtain for me the grace one day to see my God face to face, and with you and Mary and all the saints to praise and bless Him for all eternity. Amen.

Our Father, . . . Hail Mary . . .

O Jesus, Holy Mary, St. Ann, help me now and at the hour of my death. Good St. Ann, intercede for me.

NINTH DAY

Good St. Ann, I have reached the end of this novena in your honor. I have asked and ask again. Good mother let not your kind ear grow weary of my prayers, though I repeat them so often.
Bounteous Lady implore for me from divine Providence all the help I need through life. May your generous hand bestow on me the material means to satisfy my own needs and to alleviate the plight of the poor.

Good St. Ann, fortify me by the sacraments of the Church at the hour of my death. Admit me into the company of the blessed in the kingdom of heaven, where I may praise and thank the adorable Trinity, your grandson Christ Jesus, your glorious daughter Mary, and yourself, dear St. Ann, through endless ages.

The Way[8]

"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."

29.  Selfish. Always looking after yourself You seem incapable of feeling the fraternity of Christ. In those around you, you do not see brothers: you see stepping stones. I can foresee your complete failure. And when you have fallen, you will want others to treat you with the charity you are not willing to show towards them

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Please pray for me and this ministry
·         Please Pray for Senator McCain and our country; asking Our Lady of Beauraing to intercede.




[1]Schultz, Patricia. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: Revised Second Edition (pp. 265-266)


[1] John Maxwell, The Maxwell Leadership Bible.
[2]Cash cow is business jargon for a business venture that generates a steady return of profits that far exceed the outlay of cash required to acquire or start it.
[3] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
[7]Blessed Sacrament Fathers, ST. ANN’S SHRINE, Cleveland, Ohio

[8]http://www.escrivaworks.org/book/the_way-point-1.htm

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