Vocation and Freedom / Vocación y Libertad

We must have complete freedom to follow Christ. 

I’ve had a deep love for our Lord from a very young age when our home was only half a block away from our family Church. I was a dedicated altar server. If the priest or nun asked me to help with anything for the Church, I was all over it. In my bedroom, there was a corner that looked like a small chapel. Any money that I made cutting grass or received from my allowance, I would ask my Mom or Dad to take me to our local religious goods store so that I could buy more Catholic items.  I really loved our Lord and anything that represented His Church.

In the 8th grade I began to wonder if I was called to the vocation of priesthood. At the time, it seemed to me I didn’t get the support I needed to follow this path from my family or the other adults around me. This lack of support meant I wasn’t free to follow this vocation. 

This was also about the same time my parents decided to get divorced. I remember riding my bike to Church and praying, asking for God’s help to not let my parents get divorced. It felt like my prayers fell on deaf ears. In my teenage mind, I ended up very angry at the Church. My anger prevented me from being free to follow a priestly vocation. 

I was set to enter a Catholic high school. I asked my mom if I could go to a public high school instead. Because I was still mad at God, I wanted to cut that part of myself out. My friends, sports and dabbling on the wild side of life a little bit left me unhappy most of the way through high school. Focusing on earthly things meant I wasn’t free to follow a vocation.

But God had a plan and when I went to college, my roommate was Catholic. I never opened up to him about my faith but he and his girlfriend always asked me to go to church with them. I would graciously decline…until one Saturday I agreed. I felt like I was home again.

It was also about this time that I met the most loving, beautiful woman in the world who wasn’t Catholic. But again, God had a plan. After college, we got married and she joined the Church. As time went on my love for the Lord grew. Since my love for God was free to grow again, the thoughts of a vocation began to grow again too. 

I am happy to say the Lord is #1 in my life again (my wife is a close second) and by the time you read this, God willing, I will have been ordained a Permanent Deacon for the Catholic Church. I think it will be the greatest honor and most humbling moment of my life. But none of it would have happened if I hadn’t freed myself from my ties to this life, so that I was free to follow when I was called. 

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Debemos tener plena libertad para seguir a Cristo.

He tenido un profundo amor por nuestro Señor desde muy joven cuando nuestra casa estaba a tan sólo media cuadra de la Iglesia. Yo era un monaguillo dedicado. Si el sacerdote o la monja me pedían ayuda con algo para la Iglesia, lo hacía de inmediato. En mi dormitorio había un rincón que parecía una pequeña capilla. Cualquier dinero que ganaba cortando pasto o que recibía de mi paga, le pedía a mi mamá o a mi papá que me llevara a la tienda de artículos religiosos local para poder comprar más artículos católicos. Realmente amaba a nuestro Señor y todo lo que representaba a Su Iglesia.

En octavo grado comencé a preguntarme si estaba llamado a la vocación del sacerdocio. En ese momento, me pareció que no recibía el apoyo que necesitaba para seguir este camino ni de mi familia ni de los demás adultos que me rodeaban. Esta falta de apoyo significó que no era libre de seguir esta vocación.

También fue casi al mismo tiempo que mis padres decidieron divorciarse. Recuerdo ir en bicicleta a la Iglesia y orar, pidiendo ayuda a Dios para no permitir que mis padres se divorciaran. Sentí como si mis oraciones cayeran en oídos sordos. En mi mente adolescente, terminé muy enojado con la Iglesia. Mi ira me impidió ser libre para seguir una vocación sacerdotal.

Estaba preparado para ingresar a una escuela secundaria católica. Le pregunté a mi mamá si podía ir a una escuela secundaria pública. Como todavía estaba enojado con Dios, quería eliminar esa parte de mí. Mis amigos, los deportes y probar un poco de la vida loca me dejaron infeliz durante la mayor parte de la escuela secundaria. Centrarme en las cosas terrenales significaba que no era libre de seguir una vocación.

Pero Dios tenía un plan y cuando fui a la universidad, mi compañero de cuarto era católico. Nunca le hablé de mi fe, pero él y su novia siempre me invitaban a acompañarlos a la iglesia. Yo les diría amablemente que no… hasta que un sábado acepté. Me sentí como si estuviera en casa de nuevo.

También fue en esa época cuando conocí a la mujer más bella y amorosa del mundo que no era católica. Pero nuevamente, Dios tenía un plan. Después de la universidad, nos casamos y ella se unió a la Iglesia. A medida que pasó el tiempo, mi amor por el Señor creció. Desde que mi amor por Dios fue libre para crecer nuevamente, los pensamientos de una vocación comenzaron a crecer nuevamente también.

Me alegra decir que el Señor es el número uno en mi vida nuevamente (mi esposa le sigue de cerca) y para cuando leas esto, si Dios quiere, habré sido ordenado diácono permanente de la Iglesia Católica. Creo que será el mayor honor y el momento más humilde de mi vida. Pero nada de eso hubiera sucedido si no me hubiera liberado de mis ataduras a esta vida, para ser libre de seguir cuando fuera llamado.

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Tom O’Connor is a candidate for the Diaconate in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. He is currently serving at Sacred Heart Parish in Watson and St. Stanislaus in Dorr, Michigan. He is married to Sheryl O’Connor. They have recently discovered the joy of kayaking and can be found out on a quiet lake as often as possible. 

Feature Image Credit: Chad Greiter, unsplash.com/photos/photography-of-inside-black-structure–0gBnnMdQPw

Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Is 10:5-7, 13b-16

Thus says the LORD:
Woe to Assyria! My rod in anger,
my staff in wrath.
Against an impious nation I send him,
and against a people under my wrath I order him
To seize plunder, carry off loot,
and tread them down like the mud of the streets.
But this is not what he intends,
nor does he have this in mind;
Rather, it is in his heart to destroy,
to make an end of nations not a few.

For he says:
“By my own power I have done it,
and by my wisdom, for I am shrewd.
I have moved the boundaries of peoples,
their treasures I have pillaged,
and, like a giant, I have put down the enthroned.
My hand has seized like a nest
the riches of nations;
As one takes eggs left alone,
so I took in all the earth;
No one fluttered a wing,
or opened a mouth, or chirped!”

Will the axe boast against him who hews with it?
Will the saw exalt itself above him who wields it?
As if a rod could sway him who lifts it,
or a staff him who is not wood!
Therefore the Lord, the LORD of hosts,
will send among his fat ones leanness,
And instead of his glory there will be kindling
like the kindling of fire.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 94:5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 14-15

R. (14a) The Lord will not abandon his people.
Your people, O LORD, they trample down,
your inheritance they afflict.
Widow and stranger they slay,
the fatherless they murder.
R. The Lord will not abandon his people.
And they say, “The LORD sees not;
the God of Jacob perceives not.”
Understand, you senseless ones among the people;
and, you fools, when will you be wise?
R. The Lord will not abandon his people.
Shall he who shaped the ear not hear?
or he who formed the eye not see?
Shall he who instructs nations not chastise,
he who teaches men knowledge?
R. The Lord will not abandon his people.
For the LORD will not cast off his people,
nor abandon his inheritance;
But judgment shall again be with justice,
and all the upright of heart shall follow it.
R. The Lord will not abandon his people

Alleluia Mt 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 11:25-27

At that time Jesus exclaimed:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

St. Leo IV


St. Leo IV

Feast date: Jul 17

The universal Church celebrates the life of St. Leo IV on July 17. Both a Roman and the son of Radoald, Leo was unanimously elected to succeed Sergius II as Pope. At the time of his election, there was an alarming attack of the Saracens on Rome in 846, which caused the people to fear the safety of the city. Because of the tension of the situation, Leo was consecrated on April 10, 847 without the consent of the emperor.

Leo received his early education at Rome in the monastery of St. Martin, near St. Peter’s Basillica. His pious behaviour drew the attention of Gregory IV, who made him a subdeacon, and he was later created Cardinal-Priest of the church of the Quatuor Coronati by Sergius II.

As soon as Leo, much against his will, became Pope, he began to take precautions against a repetitious acts of the Saracen raid of 846. He began a project to put the walls of the city into a thorough state of repair, entirely rebuilding fifteen of the great towers. He was the first to enclose the Vatican hill by a wall. In order to do this, he received money from the emperor, and help from all the cities and agricultural colonies (domus cultae) of the Duchy of Rome. The work took him four years to accomplish, and the newly fortified portion was called the Leonine City, after him. In 852 the fortifications were completed, and were blessed by the Pope with great solemnity.

It was by this Pope that the church of S. Maria Nova was built, to replace S. Maria Antiqua, which the decaying Palace of the Caesars threatened to engulf, and of which the ruins have recently been brought to light. In 850, Leo associated with Lothair in the empire of his son Louis, by imposing on him the imperial crown. Three years later “he hallowed the child Alfred to king [says an old English historian] by anointing; and receiving him for his own child by adoption, gave him confirmation, and sent him back [to England] with the blessing of St. Peter the Apostle.”

In the same year, 853, he held an important synod in Rome, in which various decrees were passed for the furtherance of ecclesiastical discipline and learning, and for the condemnation of the refractory Anastasius, Cardinal of St. Marcellus, and sometime librarian of the Roman Church. Equally rebellious conduct on the part of John, Archbishop of Ravenna, forced Leo to undertake a journey to that city to inspire John and his accomplices with respect for the law. It was duing his engaging endeavour to inspire another archbishop, Hincmar of Reims, with this same reverence, that Leo died.

He was buried in St. Peter’s on July 17, 855. He is credited with being a worker of miracles both by his biographer and by the Patriarch Photius. His name is found in the Roman Martyrology.

Servant of God Francis Garces and Companions


Servant of God Francis Garces and Companions

Feast date: Jul 17

A contemporary of the American Revolution and of Blessed Junipero Serra, Francisco Garcés was born in 1738 in Spain, where he joined the Franciscans.

After ordination in 1763, he was sent to Mexico. Five years later he was assigned to San Xavier del Bac near Tucson, one of several missions the Jesuits had founded in Arizona and New Mexico before being expelled in 1767 from all territories controlled by the Catholic king of Spain. In Arizona, Francisco worked among the Papago, Yuma, Pima and Apache Native Americans. His missionary travels took him to many places, including the Grand Canyon and California.

Friar Francisco Palou, a contemporary, writes that Father Garcés was greatly loved by the indigenous peoples, among whom he lived unharmed for a long time. They regularly gave him food and referred to him as “Viva Jesus,” which was the greeting he taught them to use.

For the sake of their indigenous converts, the Spanish missionaries wanted to organize settlements away from the Spanish soldiers and colonists. But the commandant in Mexico insisted that two new missions on the Colorado River, Misión San Pedro y San Pablo and Misión La Purísima Concepción, be mixed settlements.

A revolt among the Yumas against the Spanish left Friars Juan Diaz and Matias Moreno dead at Misión San Pedro y San Pablo. Friars Francisco Garcés and Juan Barreneche were killed at Misión La Purísima Concepción, the site of Fort Yuma.

Woe To You? / ¿Ay de ti?

God has an awesome plan for humanity – a plan of rescue and radiance for each one of us and all of us. It began in the Garden of Eden and is woven throughout the whole history of the world, from Adam and Noah and Moses and Abraham and David, through Jesus and the Church, the martyrs of the Colosseum and the French Revolution, the rise and fall of nations and peoples, the choices of saints and sinners, and the lives of you and me.

But we usually settle for so much less than He desires for us because we cannot see the big picture, the plan of salvation, the utterly breathtaking reason of the universe. We need to repeatedly look at our place in the universe and in time – which is infinitesimally small – and then come to appreciate and receive our position in the Heart of God – which is disproportionately large! We are each large in God’s Heart.

God loves us. In truth, He loves us so much that He chose to create a world and a Heaven that would not be complete without you and me. He loves us so much that He gave Himself over to a life of poverty and toil and laid down His life in a humiliating execution to prove His love and secure our place with Him forever.

We like happy endings, but God loves beginnings with no ending. You and I are created to live with Him in indescribable joy and peace forever. Forever.

It is the deep desire of His Heart that we receive this gift and allow Him to save us. We must open our eyes and our minds and our hearts to this rescue operation and take up His yoke to work with Him to achieve the goal He has for us. But we find it hard to accept, because we are fallen and free. We can choose to reject this great plan.

Jesus reproaches those who have seen the mighty deeds that were intended to free them from their slavery to sin and darkness so that they could be rescued, because they refused to receive this great gift of freedom. They refused to see and receive His loving offer. His reproach is not full of anger, but full of mourning; love that is not received grieves because it sees clearly that a rejection of love leads to misery.

Let us pray today for the grace to receive this awesome offer of rescue from the Heart of Love, so that we take up the yoke of true freedom and follow in His footsteps to live with Him forever.

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Dios tiene un plan maravilloso para la humanidad: un plan de rescate y resplandor para cada uno de nosotros y para todos nosotros. Comenzó en el Jardín del Edén y está tejido a lo largo de toda la historia del mundo, desde Adán y Noé y Moisés y Abraham y David, pasando por Jesús y la Iglesia, los mártires del Coliseo y la Revolución Francesa, el ascenso y la caída de naciones y pueblos, las decisiones de santos y pecadores, y las vidas de ustedes y de mí.

Pero normalmente nos conformamos con mucho menos de lo que Él desea para nosotros porque no podemos ver el panorama general, el plan de salvación, la razón absolutamente impresionante del universo. Necesitamos mirar repetidamente nuestro lugar en el universo y en el tiempo – que es infinitamente pequeño – y luego llegar a apreciar y recibir nuestra posición en el Corazón de Dios – ¡que es desproporcionadamente grande! Cada uno de nosotros somos grandes en el Corazón de Dios.

Dios nos ama. En verdad, Él nos ama tanto que eligió crear un mundo y un Cielo que no estaría completo sin ti y sin mí. Él nos ama tanto que se entregó a una vida de pobreza y trabajo duro y entregó su vida en una ejecución humillante para demostrar su amor y asegurar nuestro lugar con él para siempre.

Nos gustan los finales felices, pero a Dios le encantan los comienzos sin fin. Tú y yo fuimos creados para vivir con Él en un gozo y una paz indescriptibles para siempre. ¡Para siempre!

Es el profundo deseo de Su Corazón que recibamos este regalo y le permitamos salvarnos. Debemos abrir nuestros ojos, nuestra mente y nuestro corazón a esta operación de rescate y tomar Su yugo para trabajar con Él para lograr la meta que Él tiene para nosotros. Pero nos resulta difícil aceptarlo, porque somos caídos y libres. Podemos optar por rechazar este gran plan.

Jesús reprocha a quienes han visto las maravillas que pretendían liberarlos de su esclavitud al pecado y a las tinieblas para poder ser rescatados, porque se negaron a recibir este gran regalo de la libertad. Se negaron a ver y recibir su amorosa oferta. Su reproche no está lleno de ira, sino lleno de luto; el amor que no se recibe se entristece porque ve claramente que el rechazo del amor conduce a la miseria.

Oremos hoy por la gracia de recibir esta maravillosa oferta de rescate del Corazón de Amor, para que tomemos el yugo de la verdadera libertad y sigamos sus pasos para vivir con Él para siempre.

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Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including Father Rob), and eight grandchildren. She is President of the local community of Secular Discalced Carmelites and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 30 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE, and as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio. Currently, she serves the Church by writing and speaking, and by collaborating with various parishes and to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is www.KathrynTherese.com

Feature Image Credit: Jonathan Dick, OSFS, unsplash.com/s/photos/sacred-heart-of-jesus

Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Is 7:1-9

In the days of Ahaz, king of Judah, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah,
Rezin, king of Aram,
and Pekah, king of Israel, son of Remaliah,
went up to attack Jerusalem,
but they were not able to conquer it.
When word came to the house of David that Aram
was encamped in Ephraim,
the heart of the king and the heart of the people trembled,
as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind.

Then the LORD said to Isaiah: Go out to meet Ahaz,
you and your son Shear-jashub,
at the end of the conduit of the upper pool,
on the highway of the fuller’s field, and say to him:
Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear;
let not your courage fail
before these two stumps of smoldering brands
the blazing anger of Rezin and the Arameans,
and of the son Remaliah,
because of the mischief that
Aram, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah,
plots against you, saying,
“Let us go up and tear Judah asunder, make it our own by force,
and appoint the son of Tabeel king there.”

Thus says the LORD:
This shall not stand, it shall not be!
Damascus is the capital of Aram,
and Rezin is the head of Damascus;
Samaria is the capital of Ephraim,
and Remaliah’s son the head of Samaria.

But within sixty years and five,
Ephraim shall be crushed, no longer a nation.
Unless your faith is firm
you shall not be firm!

Responsorial Psalm PS 48:2-3a, 3b-4, 5-6, 7-8

R. (see 9d) God upholds his city for ever.
Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, fairest of heights,
is the joy of all the earth.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
Mount Zion, “the recesses of the North,”
is the city of the great King.
God is with her castles;
renowned is he as a stronghold.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
For lo! the kings assemble,
they come on together;
They also see, and at once are stunned,
terrified, routed.
R. God upholds his city for ever.
Quaking seizes them there;
anguish, like a woman’s in labor,
As though a wind from the east
were shattering ships of Tarshish.
R. God upholds his city for ever.

Alleluia Ps 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 11:20-24

Jesus began to reproach the towns
where most of his mighty deeds had been done,
since they had not repented.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum:

Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the nether world.

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom,
it would have remained until this day.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel


Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Feast date: Jul 16

On July 16 the Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Mount Carmel is the mountain in the middle of the plain of Galilee on which the prophet Elijah called down a miracle of fire from the Lord, to show the people of Israel who had strayed that “The Lord is God!” and that the prophets of Baal were worshipping a false god.

There is a tradition that traces the Carmelite Order’s informal beginnings to the prophet Elijah himself, even though there is no evidence of this.

The formal beginnings are attributed to a group of monks who, in the 13th century, began living and praying on the mountain. They venerated the Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and from this veneration was derived the name Carmelite.

In 1226 the rule of the order was approved by Pope Honorius III, and 21 years later St. Simon Stock, an Englishman, was elected superior of the order. On July 16, 1251, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Simon and gave him the brown scapular and promised her protection to all those who wear the brown habit.

Pope Pius X decreed in the early 20th century that this blessing of the Blessed Virgin would extend to all who wear the medal of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was instituted by the Carmelites sometime between 1376 and 1386.

Love in Heart and Deed / Amar de Corazón y de Obra

Jesus explains what is meant by “learn to do good” (Is 1:16) in the Gospel, saying, “Whoever loves father or mother . . . . son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. . . . Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:37–39). We are to do good in the sense of being just and charitable, but also in the sense of loving God without hesitation, letting no other love surpass our love for Him. We should be willing to lose our lives for His sake, recognizing that anything He asks of us is infinitely more important than our own aims.

This is critical for the life of a disciple. As God points out through Isaiah in the first reading, it is crucial for us to be good if God is to honor our sacrifices and ritual observations. If we read the first reading quickly, we may think that God does not care about sacrifice, and that His only concerns are justice and mercy. But really God is saying that He does not care how many sacrifices the Israelites make if they do not do good outside the confines of the Temple. Ritual observation is important, but it is fruitful in the context of a life of love for God. This is why later in Matthew’s Gospel Jesus speaks out against the hypocrisy of paying tithes while neglecting judgment, mercy and fidelity. (see Matt 23:23). It is not that tithing is immaterial, but it needs to be united with actions and attitudes of judgment and mercy and fidelity.

If we are to truly heed the words of God, we must not skew toward either extreme of piety. On the one hand, we cannot rely exclusively on frequent Mass attendance and liturgical devotion to carry us to heaven if we do not live a virtuous, holy life in love of God and neighbor. On the other hand, we should not focus soley on charitable works while neglecting liturgical living. Jesus teaches us to do good by loving both in heart and in deed.

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Jesús explica lo que se entiende por “aprendan a hacer el bien” (Is 1,16) en el Evangelio, diciendo: “El que ama a su padre o a su madre…a su hijo o a su hija más que a mí, no es digno de mí; y el que no toma su cruz y me sigue, no es digno de mí. El que salve su vida, la perderá y el que la pierda por mí, la salvará.” (Mateo 10,37-39). Debemos hacer el bien en el sentido de ser justos y caritativos, pero también en el sentido de amar a Dios sin vacilación, sin permitir que ningún otro amor supere nuestro amor por Él. Deberíamos estar dispuestos a perder la vida por Él, reconociendo que cualquier cosa que Él nos pida es infinitamente más importante que nuestros propios objetivos.

Esto es fundamental para la vida de un discípulo. Como Dios señala a través de Isaías en la primera lectura, es crucial que seamos buenos para que Dios honre nuestros sacrificios y observaciones rituales. Si leemos rápidamente la primera lectura, podemos pensar que a Dios no le importa el sacrificio y que sus únicas preocupaciones son la justicia y la misericordia. Pero realmente Dios está diciendo que a Él no le importa cuántos sacrificios hagan los israelitas si no hacen el bien fuera de los confines del Templo. La observación ritual es importante, pero es fructífera en el contexto de una vida de amor a Dios. Por eso, más adelante en el Evangelio de Mateo, Jesús habla contra la hipocresía de pagar el diezmo descuidando el juicio, la misericordia y la fidelidad. (ver Mateo 23:23). No es que el diezmo sea inmaterial, sino que tiene que estar unido a acciones y actitudes de juicio, misericordia y fidelidad.

Si realmente queremos prestar atención a las palabras de Dios, no debemos inclinarnos hacia ninguno de los dos extremos de la piedad. Por un lado, no podemos depender exclusivamente de la asistencia frecuente a Misa y la devoción litúrgica para llevarnos al cielo si no vivimos una vida virtuosa y santa por amor a Dios y al prójimo. Por otro lado, no debemos centrarnos únicamente en las obras de caridad y descuidar la vida litúrgica. Jesús nos enseña a hacer el bien amando tanto de corazón como de obra.

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David Dashiell is a freelance author and editor in Nashville, Tennessee. He has a master’s degree in theology from Franciscan University, and is the editor of the anthology Ever Ancient, Ever New: Why Younger Generations Are Embracing Traditional Catholicism.

Feature Image Credit: Maria Oswalt, unsplash.com/photos/gold-round-framed-mirror-on-white-textile-Nh8KuVsfuv0

Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Reading 1  IS 1:10-17

Hear the word of the LORD,
princes of Sodom!
Listen to the instruction of our God,
people of Gomorrah!
What care I for the number of your sacrifices?
says the LORD.
I have had enough of whole-burnt rams
and fat of fatlings;
In the blood of calves, lambs and goats
I find no pleasure.

When you come in to visit me,
who asks these things of you?
Trample my courts no more!
Bring no more worthless offerings;
your incense is loathsome to me.
New moon and sabbath, calling of assemblies,
octaves with wickedness: these I cannot bear.
Your new moons and festivals I detest;
they weigh me down, I tire of the load.
When you spread out your hands,
I close my eyes to you;
Though you pray the more,
I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood!
Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.

Responsorial Psalm PS 50:8-9, 16BC-17, 21 AND 23

R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold.”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think you that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Alleluia  MT 5:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel  MT 10:34-11:1

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s enemies will be those of his household.

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is righteous 
will receive a righteous man’s reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because he is a disciple–
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples,
he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

St. Bonaventure


St. Bonaventure

Feast date: Jul 15

Today, July 15, marks the feast day of St. Bonaventure, who is called “The Seraphic Doctor” of the Church. St. Bonaventure is known for his leadership of the Franciscans and his great intellectual contributions to theology and philosophy.

St. Bonaventure was born in Bagnorea in Tuscany, Italy. He is widely believed to have been born in the year 1221, although some accounts say 1217.

Sources recount that in his youth, St. Bonaventure was cured of a dangerous illness by the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi. He went on to join the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor in 1243.

After making his vows, he was sent to complete his studies in Paris. He was taught first by Alexander of Hales, an English doctor and Franciscan, and later by John of Rochelle.

While in Paris, he became good friends with St. Thomas Aquinas, with whom he received the degree of Doctor. He also developed a friendship with St. Louis, King of France.

In 1257, St. Bonaventure was chosen to serve as the superior of the Friars Minor. In this position, which he filled for 17 years, he brought peace and order. His impact was so great that today he is sometimes referred to as the second founder of the Franciscans.

Taking on the position after a period of extraordinary expansion for the order, St. Bonaventure worked to preserve a spirit of unity. He calmed the threat of internal dissension that arose over differences in interpreting the message of St. Francis of Assisi. Central to this work was his understanding that the study of philosophy and theology did not oppose the call to poverty that was so central to Franciscan spirituality.

St. Bonaventure proposed a unified and collected text regulating the daily life of the Friars Minor. The text was accepted and ratified in 1260 by the General Chapter of the Order in Narbonne.

Wishing to present an authentic image of the life and teaching of their founder, he zealously collected documents about St. Francis of Assisi and heard testimonies of those who had actually known him. From this information, he compiled a biography of the saint that was adopted as his official biography by the General Chapter of the Friars Minor in 1263.

St. Bonaventure also wrote numerous mystical and ascetical treatises, most famously, “The Soul’s Journey into God.”

In 1273, he was appointed by Pope Gregory X as Cardinal and Bishop of Albano. The Pope also asked him to help prepare the Second Ecumenical Council of Lyons, an ecclesial event aimed at re-establishing communion between the Latin and Greek Churches.

St. Bonaventure worked to prepare the Ecumenical Council, but never saw its completion. He died on July 15, 1274, while the council was still in session. He was canonized in 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV.

In his General Audience on March 3, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the life of St. Bonaventure. He called to mind the great works of literature, art, philosophy and theology that were inspired by the Christian faith during the time period in which the saint lived.

“Among the great Christian figures who contributed to the composition of this harmony between faith and culture Bonaventure stands out, a man of action and contemplation, of profound piety and prudent government,” Pope Benedict said.

The Pope called on the faithful to take note of “the central role that Christ always played in Bonaventure’s life and teaching,” and to imitate the way in which “the whole of his thinking was profoundly Christocentric.”

“Meditation on Christ in His humanity is corporeal in deed, in fact, but spiritual in mind. . . . By adopting this habit, you will steady your mind, be trained to virtues, and receive strength of soul….Let meditation of Christ’s life be your one and only aim, your rest, your food, your desire, your study.”  –  St. Bonaventure