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Saturday, October 19, 2019


MARTYRS OF NORTH AMERICA


Romans, Chapter 4, Verse 18-22
18 He believed, hoping against hope, that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “Thus shall your descendants be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body as [already] dead (for he was almost a hundred years old) and the dead womb of Sarah. 20 He did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief; rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God 21 and was fully convinced that what he had promised he was also able to do. 22 That is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”

What is hope against hope?

Hope against hope, to continue to hope, although the outlook does not warrant it.[1]

We all face difficult moments of darkness and anxiety when things can become difficult. Some may become disillusioned with life and lose hope. During these challenging times, hope can also be misunderstood. We may think that it is having a positive attitude or being optimistic. We may place our hope in things of this world, such as our work or charitable projects, thinking they will bring us happiness. Pope Francis reminds us that true hope is not built on human words or assurances, but on God’s Word and His promise of salvation and eternal life.

The Theological Virtue of Hope[2]


Hope is perhaps the most difficult of the three theological virtues to understand. It can be described as an unshakable trust and assurance that the promises of God will be fulfilled. This trust is based on what He has done for us in His Son Jesus, through His Death and Resurrection. Like faith, it is not a human attitude or opinion, but it is a gift of the Holy Spirit. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the true nature and meaning of the virtue. It states:

Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 1817)

God has placed in each of our hearts the desire and longing for true happiness. The virtue of hope responds to this innermost desire and helps us to place our trust in God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the work and function of hope. It states:

[This virtue] takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity. (CCC 1818)

Jesus used the image of the kingdom of God to express the content of our hope. He used parables, images, and symbols to describe what is eternal and invisible to the human eye. St. Paul declares, “Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees?” (Romans 8:24). This gift of the Holy Spirit helps us envision what still cannot be seen and which would otherwise be impossible to expect.

Martyrs in North America[3]


Today in the dioceses of the United States the Church celebrates the optional memorial of Sts. Issac Jogues and John de Brébeuf (priests and martyrs) and their companions (martyrs). They were Jesuit missionaries who died as martyrs in North America where they preached the Gospel.

·         Pray to the Holy Spirit to renew the evangelization of distant countries as well as the re-evangelization of our own nation.
·         More Christians have been martyred in the 20th century than in the previous nineteen centuries combined. For example, pastors are being arrested and sometimes shot in China and Cuba. Believers are forbidden to buy goods or own property in Somalia. Christians who testify to their faith in Iran or Saudi Arabia may be put to death for blasphemy. Mobs have wiped out whole villages of Christians in Pakistan. Pray for courageous and zealous missionaries in these countries where the Church is persecuted.
·         Support the Indian Missions in the USA.
·         Visit the National Shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, New York. This site offers a wonderful gallery of pictures of the shrine.
·         Learn more about each of the martyrs. You might also like to read this definitive scholarly biography, Saint Among Savages: The Life of St. Isaac Jogues, by Francis Talbot, S.J.
·         Learn for Christmas the Indian Christmas Carol, the first American Christmas carol John de Brébeuf wrote to teach the Christmas story to the Huron Indians.

1173 When the Church keeps the memorials of martyrs and other saints during the annual cycle, she proclaims the Paschal mystery in those "who have suffered and have been glorified with Christ. She proposes them to the faithful as examples who draw all men to the Father through Christ, and through their merits she begs for God's favors."

A Visit from King Solomon[4](Last day of the 7-day feast of Sukkot)


First Kings 10:4-5 “And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more breath in her.”

When the Queen of Sheba beheld the wisdom of Solomon and his material blessings, she prioritized what was most important and that was wisdom. Possessions can become a huge stumbling block for the believer since money can be like a god to them; it provides for all their needs, it gives them creature comforts when they desire them; and it lets them rest in the fact that they’re set for a life of ease…however, someone else once thought that way. Jesus told His audience about a man who had great wealth and said, “I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry” but “God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God”.

If we sin, we are Thine, knowing Thy power: but—we will not sin, knowing that we are counted Thine. For to know Thee is perfect righteousness: yea, to know Thy power is the root of immortality. —WISDOM OF SOLOMON xv. 2, 3.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Iceman’s 40 devotion



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