· Thursday Evening before First Friday
make a 1-hour adoration and meditate on the FIRST; SECOND and THIRD STATIONSPope Benedict XVI Stations of the Cross
From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 22:41-44Jesus withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will but yours be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.Jesus was in agony. Grief and anguish came upon him. The sin of all mankind weighed on him heavily. But the greater his pain, the more fervently did he pray. Pain always remains a challenge to us. We feel left alone. We forget to pray, and break down. Some even take their lives. But if we turn to God, we grow spiritually strong and go out to help our fellow-beings in trouble. Jesus continues to suffer in his persecuted disciples. Pope Benedict XVI says that even in our times “the Church does not lack martyrs”. Christ is in agony among us, and in our times. We pray for those who suffer. The mystery of Christian suffering is that it has a redemptive value. May the harassments that believers undergo complete in them the sufferings of Christ that bring salvation.
Lord Jesus, enable us to delve deeper into the great “mystery of evil” and our own contribution to it. As sufferings came into human life through sin, it was your plan that humanity be saved from sin through suffering. May none of the little annoyances, humiliations, and frustrations that we undergo in our daily lives and the great shocks that take us by surprise, go to waste. Linked with your own agony, may the agonies we endure be acceptable to you and bring us hope. Lord, teach us to be compassionate, not only to the hungry, thirsty, sick, or those in some special need, but also to those inclined to be rude, argumentative and hurtful. In this way, as you have helped us in all our troubles, we may in turn “comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort that we ourselves have received”.
From the Gospel according to Saint Luke 22:47-50 and according to Saint Matthew 26:52.56While Jesus was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of man with a kiss?” And when those who were about him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.It is one of his trusted friends that betrays Jesus, and with a kiss. The way Jesus confronted violence has a message for our times. Violence is suicidal, he tells Peter: it is not defeated by more violence, but by a superior spiritual energy that reaches out in the form of healing love. Jesus touches the High Priest’s slave and heals him. The violent man today too may need a healing touch that comes from a love that transcends the immediate issues. In times of conflict between persons, ethnic and religious groups, nations, economic and political interests, Jesus says, confrontation and violence are not the answer, but love, persuasion and reconciliation. Even when we seem to fail in such efforts, we plant the seeds of peace which will bear fruit in due time. The rightness of our cause is our strength.
Lord Jesus, you consider us your friends, yet we notice traces of infidelity in ourselves. We acknowledge our transgressions. We are presumptuous at times and over-confident. And we fall. Let not avarice, lust or pride take us by surprise. How thoughtlessly do we fly after ephemeral satisfactions and untested ideas! Grant that we may not be tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine… but speaking the truth in love, grow up in every way into Christ the head. May truth and sincerity of purpose be our strength. Restrain, Lord, our impetuosity in situations of violence, as you restrained Peter’s impulsive character. Keep us unruffled in spirit before opposition and unfair treatment. Convince us that “A gentle answer quiets anger” in our families, and that “gentleness” combined with “wisdom” restores tranquility in society. “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.”
From the Gospel according to Saint Matthew 26:62-66And the High Priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you? But Jesus was silent. And the High Priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the High Priest tore his robes, and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgement? They answered, “He deserves death.”In every land, there have been innocent persons who suffered, people who died fighting for freedom, equality or justice. Those who struggle on behalf of God’s little ones are promoting God’s own work. For he presses for the rights of the weak and the oppressed. Whoever collaborates in this work, in the spirit of Jesus, brings hope to the oppressed and offers a corrective message to the evildoer himself. Jesus’ manner of struggling for justice is not to rouse the collective anger of people against the opponent, so that they are led into forms of greater injustice. On the contrary, it is to challenge the foe with the rightness of one’s cause and evoke the good will of the opponent in such a way that injustice is renounced through persuasion and a change of heart. Mahatma Gandhi brought this teaching of Jesus on non-violence into public life with amazing success.
Lord, often we judge others in haste, indifferent to actual realities and insensitive to people’s feelings! We develop stratagems of self-justification and explain away the irresponsible manner in which we have dealt with “the other”. Forgive us! When we are misjudged and ill-treated, Lord, give us the inner serenity and self-confidence that your Son manifested in the face of unjust treatment. Keep us from an aggressive response which goes against your Spirit. On the contrary, help us to bring your powerful word of forgiveness into situations of tension and anxiety, so that it may reveal its dynamic power in history. “In His will is our peace.”
· Friday arise before the "cock crows" (2 hrs. before sunrise)meditate on the FOURTH STATION
From the Gospel according to Saint Luke. 22:54-62Then they seized Jesus and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance; and when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. Then a maid, seeing him as he sat in the light and gazing at him, said, “This man was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man was also with him; for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.Peter claimed to be strong, but he broke down before a servant girl. Human weakness takes us by surprise, and we collapse. That is why Jesus asks us to watch and pray. He urges self-renunciation and closeness to God. There is a rebellious “self” within us. We are often of “two minds”, but we fail to recognize this inner inconsistency. Peter recognized it when his eyes met the eyes of Jesus, and he wept. Later, Thomas, encountering the Risen Lord, acknowledged his own faithlessness and believed. In the light of Christ, Paul became aware of the inconsistency within himself, and he overcame it with the Lord’s help. Going deeper still, he discovered: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.”
Lord, how easily do we allow a distance to grow between what we profess to be and what we really are! How often do we fail to carry out our own decisions, or even fulfil our most solemn promises! And as a result we often hesitate to make any permanent commitment, even to you! We confess that we have failed to bring into our life that inner discipline that is expected of any adult person and required for the success of any human endeavor. Give sturdiness to our inner determination; help us to bring every good work we have begun to a successful conclusion. Enable us to stand firm, as mature and fully convinced Christians, “in complete obedience to God’s will”.
Overview of July
The month of July is dedicated to The Precious Blood of Jesus. The entire month falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green. This symbol of hope is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. It is used in the offices and Masses of Ordinary Time.
July is usually hot and a time for relaxing. It is also the time when crops planted in the Spring are maturing and growing. Just as the crops are dependent upon summer rains not only to grow but to survive so our spiritual development is dependent upon our frequenting the sacraments and receiving the Blood of Christ.
The main feasts of this month are St. Junipero Serra (July 1) (statue was a BLM execution victim), St. Thomas the Apostle (July 3), St. Maria Goretti, (July 6), St. Augustine Zhao Rong (July 9), St. Benedict (July 11), St. Henry (July 13), Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha (USA - July 14), St. Bonaventure (July 15), Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (July 16), St. Camillus (July 18), St. Apollinaris (July 20), St. Lawrence of Brindisi (July 21), St. Mary Magdalene (July 22), St. Bridget (July 23), St. Sharbel (July 24), St. James (July 25), St. Peter Chrysologus (July 30), St. Ignatius of Loyola (July 31).
The Blood that coursed through the veins of Christ was a part of that Sacred Humanity made possible by the maternity of Mary, whose parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne are honored this month. (July 26). Our Lord's blood poured out on the Cross purchased our salvation, washed clean the robes of the martyrs, and gave birth to the Church as it flowed from his wounded side. The Precious Blood of Christ — now pulsing through his Mystical Body — continues its salvific work, preserving and purifying, repairing and providing nourishment for regeneration and renewal of its members.
July’s longer and warmer days also provide us with the opportunity for renewal, both interior and exterior. Schedules relax and pressures ease, inviting travel. But whether we travel or not, like the missionary, St. Junipero Serra (July 1), we preach to others — by our conduct, our speech, even the clothes we wear. May we be modest in everything we do, imitating St. Maria Goretti, the young martyr for purity (July 6), and “preaching” Christ to everyone we meet.
The summer Readings of Ordinary Time remind us that our earthly pilgrimage is also a journey, a great adventure towards union with Christ, the Beginning and the End of our journey. Each Sunday with its Easter renewal becomes a mile marker along the way, linking where we have been with where we are going. May the Precious Blood of Jesus sustain us as we journey to our true home, with Mary and the angels as our companions on the way.
· Macy's 4th of July Fireworks
Pop! Boom! Bang! July spells independence, with glorious fireworks nationwide. Celebrate Independence Day with a visit to the annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks display over the Hudson River. And if N.Y.C.’s not on your itinerary, check out more of America’s best fireworks displays — in St. Louis, Addison, Texas and Chicago’s Navy Pier.
· Outlaw Run (Branson, Missouri)
Ready for a 68-mph adrenaline rush? Kick off July on the only wooden coaster to twist upside down with a record-breaking three versions — and a stomach-in-your-mouth 81-degree drop. Take advantage of Outlaw Run’s extended hours this month at Silver Dollar City. Can’t make it to Branson this July? Check out our complete guide to US amusement parks.
· Tour de France
Celebrate France’s biggest sporting event this month — the Tour de France. The official kick-off takes place on the island of Corsica then crosses onto France’s mainland. Cruise the French countryside as you follow the grand event. Or if you can’t make it abroad, head to one of America’s top bicycling cities.
· Hemingway Days Festival (Key West, Florida)
Can’t make it to Pamplona this month? Head to Key West instead! Hemingway Days Festival honors the late author, who lived and worked on the southern coast of the island. The annual event includes its own "Running of the Bulls" — this one with Ernest Hemingway lookalikes pushing fake bulls on Key West’s famed Duval Street.
· California Wine Festival (Santa Barbara, California)
Head to one of the biggest wine festivals under the sun! Celebrate wine harvest season this July with a visit to California wine country. Held this year in Santa Barbara, the annual California Wine Festival showcases vintage wines, along with gourmet appetizers including artisan breads and cheeses. Cheers!
· Alaska Cruise Season
Escape the heat, and take in awe-inspiring glacial views, with a cruise to Alaska. Cruise ships dock alongside towns from Seward, along Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, to Ketchikan, in the Alexander Archipelago. Cruise ships also dock near Katmai National Park, where July is prime time to see bears gulp up Atlantic salmon on their run. And if cruise prices prove too high in July, fret not: Alaska’s prime cruise season stretches through September.
· Taste of Chicago (Grant Park)
This July don’t miss the world’s largest food festival — yes, the largest! Held annually in mid-July, Taste of Chicago draws dozens of food vendors and participating restaurants to Chi-Town’s Grant Park. The annual event attracts upwards of 3 million people each year — and with foodie indulgences like the famous deep-dish pizza, we know why! This is food to die for!
· National Ice Cream Month
This July we all scream for ice cream. Celebrate National Ice Cream Month — designated a national holiday by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 — with a trip to America’s coolest ice cream shops. And why not head to the granddaddy of them all — Bassett’s Ice Cream in Philadelphia — the oldest ice cream company in the U.S., founded in 1861!
· Calgary Stampede
Our "Neighbor to the North" marks its birthday this month. Get in on the festivities during the Calgary Stampede! This 10-day event is Canada’s largest annual rodeo, and one of its largest festivals to boot. Billed as the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth," the rodeo draws more than 1 million visitors each year.
· Gettysburg’s 158th Anniversary
Retrace one of America’s biggest moments. This July the Battle of Gettysburg marks its 156th anniversary. Tour Gettysburg and its historic town, and take in battle reenactments of events that culminated in more than 51,000 casualties and the setting for President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
JULY 1 Thursday
OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD-JUNIPERO SERRA
2 Chronicles, Chapter 20, Verse 29
And the FEAR of God came upon all the kingdoms of the surrounding lands
when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel.
Fear is a natural response to the unknown and to powers beyond comprehension. After experiencing our Lord for forty days after the resurrection and seeing him leave again and without the Holy Spirit’s presence the disciples were heartbroken but He promised them that He would send the Holy Spirit saying it is better for us that He leave us so we may receive power from on high. The first gift of the Holy Spirit is the gift of Holy fear; to respond to God’s love as a son or daughter rather than a servant.
Feast of the Precious Blood
July first is the Feast of the Precious Blood. This is a feast that does not exist in the new Roman Calendar of Pope Paul VI. It is still, however, in the traditional Roman calendar of the 1962 usage. Both halves of the year, in January and July, begin with the commemoration of the Precious Blood of Jesus. January 1 is the feast of the Circumcision, when the Precious Blood of Jesus was first shed. July 1 is the commemoration of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus as it is preserved in all Catholic churches at the hour of Mass. The Precious Blood of Jesus was given to Him to divinize by Mary, the Mother of God. Between Jesus and Mary there was a perpetual interflow of blood for nine months when He was a Child in her womb. Anyone can see how divinized Mary became by this interchange of blood for nearly a year. Everyone who wishes to become a son of God the Father, as he becomes by Sanctifying Grace, must also become a child of Mary the Virgin, by receiving in his mouth the Blessed Eucharist which is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. All the saints of the Old Testament, when their bodies rise from the grave on the Last Day, will receive the Precious Blood of Jesus. Our Lord said of the chalice which contained His Precious Blood at the Last Supper, “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it with you new in the Kingdom of My Father.” The Kingdom of God the Father, whose sons we divinely by adoption, is also the Queendom of Mary the Virgin, whose children we must incarnately become in order to enjoy the happiness of Heaven forever.
California might not have any Confederate statues, but we do have plenty of monuments to Junipero Serra, widely known as the "father" of the California Missions. The story of the mass destruction of the Native population in California is less prevalent in the history books. The statue was torn down with a rope around the neck, its head splashed with blood-red paint. As the statue lay on the ground, Native children used it as a bench. Activists tore down a Serra statue in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park last week, as well as a statue of Francis Scott Key, author of the American anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner," who was a known slave owner. Serra was a Spanish priest, who came to what was then Alta California (part of Mexico), to spread Catholicism to the indigenous population. (Here in L.A. that was mostly people from the Tongva tribe. And by "spread" Catholicism, we mean force it upon them. Serra eventually spearheaded 21 missions on the coast, from San Diego to San Francisco. The missionaries were responsible for the ultimate destruction of Tongva culture. Tongva people who joined the missions in California essentially became slaves, forced to do manual labor. They suffered from disease, many of the women were raped, and thousands died or were killed. Those who resisted and remained in the countryside often starved, as their hunting grounds were turned into farms by the colonizers. This according to BLM (communist organization) supporters.
St. Junipero Serra
In 1776, when the American revolution was beginning in the east, another part of the future United States was being born in California. That year a gray-robed Franciscan founded Mission San Juan Capistrano, now famous for its annually returning swallows. San Juan was the seventh of nine missions established under the direction of this indomitable Spaniard. Born on Spain's island of Mallorca, Serra entered the Franciscan Order, taking the name of Saint Francis' childlike companion, Brother Juniper. Until he was thirty-five, he spent most of his time in the classroom-first as a student of theology and then as a professor. He also became famous for his preaching. Suddenly he gave it all up and followed the yearning that had begun years before when he heard about the missionary work of Saint Francis Solanus in South America. Junipero's desire was to convert native peoples in the New World.
Arriving by ship at Vera Cruz, Mexico, he and a companion walked the 250 miles to Mexico City. On the way Junipero's left leg became infected by an insect bite and would remain a cross, often life-threatening, the rest of his life. For eighteen years he worked in central Mexico and in the Baja Peninsula. He became president of the missions there.
Enter politics: the threat of a Russian invasion south from Alaska. Charles III of Spain ordered an expedition to beat Russia to the territory. So the last two conquistadores-one military, one spiritual-began their quest. Jose de Galvez persuaded Junipero to set out with him for present-day Monterey, California. The first mission founded after the nine-hundred-mile journey north was San Diego (1769). That year a shortage of food almost canceled the expedition. Vowing to stay with the local people, Junipero and another friar began a novena in preparation for Saint Joseph's day, March 19, the scheduled day of departure. On that day, the relief ship arrived.
Other missions followed: Monterey/Carmel (1770); San Antonio and San Gabriel (1771); San Luis Obispo (1772); San Francisco and San Juan Capistrano (1776); Santa Clara (1777); San Buenaventura (1782). Twelve more were founded after Serra's death.
Junipero made the long trip to Mexico City to settle great differences with the military commander. He arrived at the point of death. The outcome was substantially what Junipero sought: the famous "Regulation" protecting the Indians and the missions. It was the basis for the first significant legislation in California, a "Bill of Rights" for Native Americans.
Because the Native Americans were living a nonhuman life from the Spanish point of view, the friars were made their legal guardians. The Native Americans were kept at the mission after Baptism lest they be corrupted in their former haunts — a move that has brought cries of "injustice" from some moderns.
Junipero's missionary life was a long battle with cold and hunger, with unsympathetic military commanders and even with danger of death from non-Christian native peoples. Through it all his unquenchable zeal was fed by prayer each night, often from midnight until dawn. He baptized over six thousand people and confirmed five thousand. His travels would have circled the globe. He brought the Native Americans not only the gift of faith but also a decent standard of living. He won their love, as witnessed especially by their grief at his death. He is buried at Mission San Carlo Borromeo, Carmel, and was beatified in 1988.
Excerpted from Saint of the Day, Leonard Foley, O.F.M.
Things to Do:
· Read this excellent article at Catholicism.org.
· Send someone an e-card for St. Junipero's feast.
· Purchase a copy of The Man Who Founded California: The Life of Blessed Junipero Serra from Amazon.com.