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Sunday, June 13, 2021

 


Third Sunday after Pentecost (11th S. Ord. Time)

ST. ANTHONY

 

2 Kings, Chapter 6, Verse 16

Elisha answered, “Do not be AFRAID. Our side outnumbers theirs.” 

Many people are afraid to speak out against the injustices of our modern age because we are so few in number. Likewise, here Elisha states to the Israelites to not be afraid for although our physical army is outnumbered in this contest, we far outweigh them with the armies of the Lord. 

Tzevaot “God the armies of Israel”[1]



·         The Arameans are at war with Israel. The King of Aram decides to set his camp at a certain place where he can ambush the Israelites.

·         Elisha prophetically warns the King of Israel not to pass by that place, successfully saving them. Then, he pulls the same prophetic miracle again.

·         The King of Aram asks his soldiers if one of them is a traitor, but they tell him that it must be the prophet, Elisha.

·         So, the King of Aram sends a huge army to track down Elisha. It surrounds the city where Elisha is staying.

·         When Elisha's servant gets up in the morning, he's terrified by the sight of the Aramean army. But Elisha tells him that they (Elisha and the servant) have more allies on their side.

·         Elisha asks God to open the servant's eyes and the servant suddenly sees that, on the mountain surrounding them, the fiery chariots and horses of the divine army are arrayed in massive numbers.

·         As the Arameans attempt to attack him, Elisha asks God to strike them blind. He does.

·         Elisha pretends to help them and leads the blind army to Samaria and to the King of Israel. When he restores their vision, they realize where they are.

·         The King of Israel asks Elisha if he should kill them, but Elisha says no, that wouldn't be fair.

·         So, they treat the Arameans to a great feast and then… let them go.

Apostolic Exhortation[2]

Veneremur Cernui – Down in Adoration Falling

of The Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix,
to Priests, Deacons, Religious and the Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Phoenix on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist

My beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Part III

Loving and Adoring the Eucharistic Lord

IV. Invite a friend to join you in adoration.

85. Call to mind a loved one who feels himself or herself to be far from the Church. Think of a friend who finds the Mass difficult to understand and to engage. Consider an acquaintance in your life who does not believe in God or in Christ. Now imagine each of these persons sitting quietly and peacefully next to you in a beautiful place of adoration for ten minutes of Eucharistic adoration. What gentle but profound effect might it have in his or her heart?

86. The Gospels present a clear pattern in which Jesus makes Himself present to people before He teaches, and certainly long before He draws them into His act of worship in His Paschal Mystery. We might say the general pattern is: first His presence, then His worship. The Lord is present in many ways. But do we trust that the Eucharistic Christ can and will touch the hearts of our friends, if we but invite them to be near Him there?

87. Of course, it takes prudence and discernment to know when and how to offer such an invitation. But the times for such friendly invitations do come! In the Gospels we see persons bringing others into the bodily presence of Christ in various ways. I’ll mention three different approaches which are instructive for us today: testimony, invitation, and carrying.

To be continued

St. Anthony[3]

Anthony is one of the most popular saints in the Church. He is the patron of lost things and numerous other causes. In Brazil, he is considered a general of the army; he is the patron of the poor and has been recognized as a wonderworker from the moment of his death. He was born in Portugal and entered the Augustinian monastery of Sao Vicente in Lisbon when he was fifteen. When news of the Franciscan martyrs in Morocco reached him, he joined the Franciscans at Coimbra. At his own request, he was sent as a missionary to Morocco, but he became ill, and on his return journey his boat was driven off course and he landed in Sicily. He took part in St. Francis' famous Chapter of Mats in 1221 and was assigned to the Franciscan province of Romagna. He became a preacher by accident. When a scheduled preacher did not show up for an ordination ceremony at Forli, the Franciscan superior told Anthony to go into the pulpit. His eloquence stirred everyone, and he was assigned to preach throughout northern Italy. Because of his success in converting heretics, he was called the "Hammer of Heretics" and because of his learning, St. Francis himself appointed him a teacher of theology. St. Anthony of Padua was such a forceful preacher that shops closed when he came to town, and people stayed all night in church to be present for his sermons. He became associated with Padua because he made this city his residence and the center of his great preaching mission. After a series of Lenten sermons in 1231, Anthony's strength gave out and he went into seclusion at Camposanpiero but soon had to be carried back to Padua. He did not reach the city but was taken to the Poor Clare convent at Arcella, where he died. He was thirty-six years old, and the whole city of Padua turned out in mourning for his passing. He was canonized within a year of his death and was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII in 1946.

Patron: Against shipwrecks; against starvation; against starving; American Indians; amputees; animals; asses; barrenness; boatmen; Brazil; diocese of Beaumont, Texas; domestic animals; elderly people; expectant mothers; faith in the Blessed Sacrament; Ferrazzano, Italy; fishermen; harvests; horses; Lisbon, Portugal; lost articles; lower animals; mail; mariners; oppressed people; Padua, Italy; paupers; poor people; Portugal; pregnant women; sailors; seekers of lost articles; shipwrecks; starvation; starving people; sterility; swineherds; Tigua Indians; travel hostesses; travellers; watermen.

Things to Do

·         St. Anthony was a great lover of the poor. Deprive yourself of some treat and put the money saved in the poor box.

·         St. Anthony's Bread refers to an episode told in the Rigaldina, the oldest life of St. Anthony. A Paduan mother, who lived near the Basilica during its construction, had left little Thomas, her 20-month-old son, alone in the kitchen. The little boy, while playing, ended up headfirst in a tub of water. His mother found him lifeless. She screamed desperately but she didn't give up. She called on the Saint. She made a vow: if she obtained the blessing of her child back to life, she would donate to the poor bread equal to the weight of her son to the poor. Her prayer was answered. Read more about St. Anthony's Bread and consider donating to St. Anthony's charities.

·         St. Anthony is invoked by women in search of good husbands, so if you're single and in search of a spouse, today is a good day to make a visit to a church or shrine dedicated to St. Anthony to make your petition to this generous saint!

·         Because St. Anthony was buried on a Tuesday and many miracles accompanied his funeral, Tuesdays are special days of honoring him throughout the year. It is customary to pray a Novena to him on thirteen consecutive Tuesdays.

Third Sunday after Pentecost[4]

 

Because of God's mercy, the Holy Spirit works to build the kingdom of God even in sinful souls.

ON this Sunday, in the Introit of the Mass, the Church invites the sinner to call on the Lord with confidence and humility. “Look Thou upon me and have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am alone and poor. See my abjection and my labor, and forgive me all my sins, O my God. To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul; in Thee, O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed” (Ps. xxiv.).

Prayer. O God, the protector of those who hope in Thee, without Whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy, multiply Thy mercy upon us, that under Thy rule and guidance we may so pass through the goods of time as not to forfeit those of eternity.

EPISTLE. I. Peter v. 6-11.

Dearly Beloved: Be you humbled under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in the time of visitation. Casting all your care upon Him, for He hath care of you. Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist ye, strong in faith, knowing that the same affliction befalleth your brethren who are in the world. But the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will Himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you. To Him be glory and empire forever and ever. Amen.


GOSPEL. Luke xv. 1-10.

At that time the publicans and sinners drew near unto Jesus to hear Him. And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying: This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And He spoke to them this parable, saying “What man of you that hath an hundred sheep, and if he shall lose one of them, doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the desert, and go after that which was lost until he find it? And when he hath found it, lay it upon his shoulders rejoicing; and coming home call together his friends and neighbors, saying to them: Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost? I say to you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance. Or what woman having ten groats*, if she lose one groat (small coin) doth not light a candle and sweep the house and seek diligently until she find it? And when she hath found it, call together her friends and neighbors, saying: Rejoice with me, because I have found the groat which I had lost. So, I say to you, there shall be joy before the angels of God upon one sinner doing penance.”

Why did the Pharisees murmur?

Because they thought themselves better than other men, and as they avoided the company of sinners themselves, they required others to do likewise. They did not know, or rather did not wish to know, that a truly just man always feels compassion for sinners, and that the saints always desired and endeavored to promote their conversion and eternal welfare. “True justice, says St. Gregory, has compassion for sinners, while false and hypocritical justice is angry with them. Love sinners, therefore, in imitation of Jesus, and pray earnestly for their conversion.”

What does the parable of the lost sheep teach us?

It teaches us the love of Jesus, Who seeks out sinners, brings them back to the Father, and reinstates them in the privileges of the children of God. We find in this parable an excuse for sinners. The sheep is a very simple animal which, while grazing in the field, does not notice that it has left the fold. It is lost, and when lost does not know the way back to the fold. It seems, therefore, when Christ compared the sinner to a sheep He intended to say that the sinner goes astray from the true path and from God through pure and natural ignorance; because being dazzled and delighted by the things of the world, he follows them; he separates himself from the just without knowing it, and, lost in the desert of this world, he does not know his misfortune and has not, humanly speaking, the means of returning again, if God in His infinite mercy does not go in search of him and rescue him.

What is meant by the words, “there shall be more joy over one sinner that does penance than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance?

Thereby it is not to be understood that the penitent sinner is more pleasing to God than ninety-nine just, but that, as men have a special joy in finding that which they supposed to be lost, so also God, the angels, and saints have an extraordinary joy over the conversion of one sinner; because, in the conversion of the sinner, they see the glory, love, and power of God exalted.

Aspiration.

O Lord, what profit hast Thou in the conversion of a sinner, that Thou art thereby so greatly pleased? The happiness of one of Thy poor creatures can add nothing to Thine own. But Thou lovest me, and therefore it is that Thou art pleased if I return to Thee. O my God, is it possible that I can know this Thy love, and remain any longer in sin?

Building up the Kingdom[5]

 

This Sunday focuses on God's mercy, the Holy Spirit works to build the kingdom of God even in sinful souls. 

 

Scripture and the Church teach us that we have three divinely ordained purposes that give our lives meaning:

 

·         Salvation seeking to save our eternal souls and help save the souls of others (that salvation, the Church teaches, is God's free gift but requires our cooperation through faith in God, obedience to his commandments, and repentance of our grave sins).

·         Service using our God-given talents to build God's kingdom here on earth.

·         Sanctity growing in holiness.

 

The third of these life goals, sanctity, is central to building Catholic character. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says something that is stunning: "Be thou made perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5:48). St. Gregory put it this way: "The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God." Scripture tells us, "God is love" (1 Jn 4:16). If we want to be like God, our vocation is to love. The essence of love is to sacrifice for the sake of another, as Jesus did. Love is self-gift. What, then, is our goal if we want to develop Catholic character in our children and ourselves? Look to the character of Christ: A life of self-giving.

 

Natural Virtues

 

The high goal of Christ-like character builds on a base of what the Church calls "natural virtues." Among the natural virtues that families and schools should nurture are the four advanced by the ancient Greeks, named in Scripture (Wis 8:7), and adopted by the Church as "the cardinal virtues": prudence, which enables us to judge what we should do; justice, which enables us to respect the rights of others and give them what they are due; fortitude, which enables us to do what is right in the face of difficulties; temperance, which enables us to control our desires and avoid abuse of even legitimate pleasures. These natural virtues are developed through effort and practice, aided by God's grace. To develop a Christ-like character, however, we need more than the natural virtues. We also need the three supernatural, or "theological," virtues:

 

Spiritual Virtues

 

1.      Faith in God, which enables us to believe in God and the teachings of his church.

2.      Hope in God, which leads us to view eternal life as our most important goal and to place total trust in God.

3.      Love of God, which enables us to love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.

 

The three theological virtues are considered supernatural because they come from God and have as their purpose our participation in God's divine life. As the Catechism (1813) teaches, the theological virtues are not separate from the natural virtues; rather, they "are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character." The Catholic writer Peter Kreeft points out, "The Christian is prudent, just, courageous, and self-controlled out of faith in God, hope in God, and love of God." The supernatural virtues, like the natural virtues, grow stronger through our effort and practice, in cooperation with God's grace. 

The '20-5-3' Rule-How Much Time to Spend Outside[6]

Americans today spend 92 percent of their time indoors, and their physical and mental health are suffering. Use this three-number formula to make yourself stronger and happier.

The herd of 400-pound caribou was running 50 miles an hour and directly at me. The 30 animals had been eating lichen in the Arctic tundra in Alaska when something spooked them. I was sitting in their escape route. The ground began to vibrate once they cracked 100 yards. At 50 yards, I could see their hooves smashing the ground and kicking up moss and moisture. Then they were at 40 yards, then 35.

I could hear their breathing, smell their coats, and see all the details of their ornate antlers. Just as I was wondering if the rescue plane would be able to spot my hoof-pocked corpse, one of the caribou noticed me and swerved. The herd followed, shaking the earth as they swept left and summited a hillcrest, their antlers black against a gold sky.

That moment when those caribou shook the earth also shook my soul. It was transcendent, wild as a religious experience. And it’s not even the most intense thing I did in Alaska. I experienced savage weather, crossed raging rivers, and faced a half-ton grizzly. My brain was feeling less hunkered down in its typical foxhole—a state I’d compare to that of a roadrunner on meth, dementedly zooming from one thing to the next. My mind felt more like it belonged to a monk after a month at a meditation retreat. I just felt . . . better. The biologist E. O. Wilson put what I was feeling this way: “Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive, and even spiritual satisfaction.”

When I returned from the wild, my Zen-like buzz hung around for months. To understand what was happening, I met with Rachel Hopman, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Northeastern University. She told me about the nature pyramid. Think of it like the food pyramid, except that instead of recommending you eat this many servings of vegetables and this many of meat, it recommends the amount of time you should spend in nature to reduce stress and be healthier. Learn and live by the 20-5-3 rule.

20 Minutes

That’s the amount of time you should spend outside in nature, like a neighborhood park, three times a week. Hopman led a new study that concluded that something as painless as a 20-minute stroll through a city botanical garden can boost cognition and memory as well as improve feelings of well-being. “But,” she said, “we found that people who used their cell phone on the walk saw none of those benefits.”

Other research discovered that 20 minutes outside three times a week is the dose of nature that had the greatest effect on reducing an urban dweller’s levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

In nature, our brains enter a mode called “soft fascination.” Hopman described it as a mindfulness-like state that restores and builds the resources you need to think, create, process information, and execute tasks. It’s mindfulness without the meditation. A short daily nature walk—or even a walk down a tree-lined street—is a great option for people who aren’t keen on sitting and focusing on their breath. But turn off your phone—alerts from it can kick you out of soft-fascination mode.

5 Hours

The minimum length of time each month you should spend in semi-wild nature, like a forested state park. “Spending more time in wilder spaces does seem to give you more benefits,” said Hopman.

A 2005 survey conducted in Finland found that city dwellers felt better with at least five hours of nature a month, with benefits increasing at higher exposures. They were also more likely to be happier and less stressed in their everyday lives.

The Finnish government then funded another study in 2014 in which the scientists dumped people in a city center, a city park, and a forested state park. The two parks felt more Zen than the city center. No shocker. Except that those walking in a state park had an edge over the city-park people. They felt even more relaxed and restored. The takeaway: The wilder the nature, the better.

Nature has these effects on the mind and body because it stimulates and soothes us in unusual and unique ways. For instance, in nature you are engulfed in fractals, suggested Hopman. Fractals are complex patterns that repeat over and over in different sizes and scales and make up the design of the universe. Think: trees (big branch to smaller branch to smaller branch and so on), river systems (big river to smaller river to stream and so on), mountain ranges, clouds, seashells. “Cities don’t have fractals,” said Hopman. “Imagine a typical building. It’s usually flat, with right angles. It’s painted some dull color.” Fractals are organized chaos, which our brains apparently dig. In fact, scientists at the University of Oregon discovered that Jackson Pollock’s booze-and-jazz-fueled paintings are made up of fractals. This may explain why they speak to humans at such a core level.

Nature lifts us in other ways, too: Think smells and sounds. The feeling of the sun’s warm rays. Or just the fact that you’re getting out of the stress of your home or office. “It’s probably a mix of a lot of things,” said Hopman. Environments like cities, with their frenetic pace, right angles, loud noises, rotten smells, pinging phones, and to-do lists, don’t offer this.

3 Days

This is the top of the pyramid. Three is the number of days you should spend each year off the grid in nature, camping or renting a cabin (with friends or solo). Think: places characterized by spotty cell reception and wild animals, away from the hustle and bustle.

This dose of the wildest nature is sort of like an extended meditation retreat. Except talking is allowed and there are no gurus. It causes your brain to ride alpha waves, the same waves that increase during meditation or when you lapse into a flow state. They can reset your thinking, boost creativity, tame burnout, and just make you feel better.

This is likely why one study found that three days in the wild boost’s creativity and problem-solving abilities and another found that U. S. military vets who spent four days white-water rafting were still buzzing off the wild a week later. Their PTSD symptoms and stress levels were down 29 and 21 percent, respectively. Their relationships, happiness, and general satisfaction with their lives all improved as well.

When I returned from Alaska, my wife and I moved to the edge of the desert in Las Vegas. She wanted a shorter commute, and I wanted more access to nature. I now walk my dogs through red-rock trails for at least 20 minutes daily and on Sunday do a long trail run deep into the canyons to rack up my five-hour quota for the month. This summer, I’m planning a weeklong backcountry fly-fishing trip in Idaho’s Frank Church–River of No Return Wilderness Area. Hoping I’ll return less frazzled, fitter, and feeling more alive.

Adapted from the book The Comfort Crisis: Embrace Discomfort to Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self, by Michael Easter, out now from Rodale Books. Copyright © 2021 by Michael Easter.

Daily Devotions

·         Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 6 pm Saturday till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.

·         Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·         Make reparations to the Holy Face

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

·         Rosary




[4] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896

* medival silver coin

[5]http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/education/catholic-contributions/building-catholic-character-5-things-parents-can-do.html

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