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“WATCH OVER YOUR CHURCH, O LORD”

Watch over your Church, O Lord, with continued care; and since without you our mortal nature fails, may it be turned aside from all dangers by your unending assistance, and guided towards salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 
 

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TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (LUKE 11:15-26)

(Week 27 of the year: Friday)

IF IT IS THROUGH THE FINGER OF GOD THAT I CAST OUT DEVILS, THEN KNOW THAT THE KINGDOM OF GOD HAS OVERTAKEN YOU.

Some of the people said, “It is through Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that he casts out devils.” Others asked Jesus, as a test, for a sign from heaven; but knowing what they were thinking, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin, and a household divided against itself collapses. So too with Satan: if he is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? – since you assert that it is through Beelzebul that I cast out devils, through whom do your own experts cast them out? Let them be your judges, then. But if it is through the finger of God that I cast out devils, then know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you. So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own palace, his goods are undisturbed; but when someone stronger than he is attacks and defeats him, the stronger man takes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil.

“He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man it wanders through waterless country looking for a place to rest, and not finding one it says, ‘I will go back to the home I came from.’ But on arrival, finding it swept and tidied, it then goes off and brings seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and set up house there, so that the man ends up being worse than he was before.”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 
 

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TODAY’S PSALM (PSALM 110)

R. He keeps his covenant ever in mind.

1. I will thank the Lord with all my heart
in the meeting of the just and their assembly.
Great are the works of the Lord;
to be pondered by all who love them. (R.)

2. Majestic and glorious his work,
his justice stands firm for ever.
He makes us remember his wonders.
The Lord is compassion and love. (R.)

3. He gives food to those who fear him;
keeps his covenant ever in mind.
He has shown his might to his people
by giving them the lands of the nations. (R.)

ALLELUIA

Alleluia, alleluia!
The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice,
says the Lord,
I know them and they follow me.
Alleluia!

 
 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (GALATIANS 3:7-14)

(Week 27 of the year: Friday)

THOSE WHO RELY ON FAITH RECEIVE THE SAME BLESSING AS ABRAHAM, THE MAN OF FAITH.

Know ye therefore, that they who are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

And the scripture, foreseeing, that God justifieth the Gentiles by faith, told unto Abraham before: In thee shall all nations be blessed.

Therefore they that are of faith, shall be blessed with faithful Abraham.

For as many as are of the works of the law, are under a curse. For it is written: Cursed is every one, that abideth not in all things, which are written in the book of the law to do them.

But that in the law no man is justified with God, it is manifest: because the just man liveth by faith.

But the law is not of faith: but, He that doth those things, shall live in them.

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written: Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus: that we may receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

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“ROLLING AROUND IN STINGING NETTLES – DO WE REALLY HAVE TO IMITATE THE SAINTS ALL THE WAY?”

“The types of sanctity present within the Church are varied but, howsoever numerous and whatsoever may be their characteristic, the Saints are all heroes. Though it is not always possible to imitate them – points out Cardinal Newman – they all show us the invisible world and reveal to us the way which leads to Heaven.

TEMPTATIONS IN THE WILDERNESS

‘There was St Benedict, who, when a boy, left Rome, and betook himself to the Apennines in the neighbourhood. Three years did he live in prayer, fasting, and solitude, while the evil one assaulted him with temptation. One day, when it grew so fierce that he feared for his perseverance, he suddenly flung himself, in his scanty hermit’s garb, among the thorns and nettles near him, thus turning the current of his thoughts, and chastising the waywardness of the flesh, by sensible stings and smarts.

THE MINISTER OF SATAN PAID HIM A VISIT IN HIS STUDY

There was St Thomas, too, the Angelical Doctor, as he is called, as holy as he was profound, or rather the more profound in theological science, because he was so holy. Even from a youth he had sought wisdom, he had stretched out his hands on high, and directed his soul to her, and possessed his heart with her from the beginning; and so, when the minister of Satan came into his very room, and no other defence was at hand, he seized a burning brand from the hearth, and drove that wicked one, scared and baffled, out of his presence.

BY THE SOVEREIGN GRACE OF GOD

Not all Saints have been such in youth: for there are those on the contrary, who, not till after a youth of sin, have been brought by the sovereign grace of God. Others have been called, not from vice and ungodliness, but from a life of mere ordinary blamelessness, or from a state of lukewarmness, or from thoughtlessness, to heroic greatness; and these have often given up lands, and property, and honours, and station, and repute, for Christ’s sake.

KINGS HAVE DESCENDED FROM THEIR THRONES

Kings have descended from their thrones, bishops have given up their rank and influence, the learned have given up their pride of intellect, to become poor monks, to live on coarse fare, to be clad in rough cloth, to rise and pray while others slept, to mortify the tongue with silence and the limbs with toil, and to awow an unconditional obedience to another. In early times there were the Martyrs, many of them girls and even children, who bore the most cruel, the most prolonged, the most diversified tortures, rather than deny the faith of Christ.

… RATHER THAN DENY THE FAITH OF CHRIST

Then came the Missionaries among the heathen, who, for the love of souls, threw themselves into the midst of strangers, risking or perhaps losing their lives in the attempt to extend the empire of their Lord and Saviour, and who, whether living or dying, have by their lives or by their deaths succeeded in bringing whole nations into the Church. Others have devoted themselves in the time of war or captivity, to the redemption of Christian slaves from pagan or Mahometan masters or conquerors; others to the care of the sick in pestilences, or in hospitals; others to the instruction of the poor; others to the education of children; others to incessant preaching and the duties of the confessional; others to devout study and meditation; others to a life of intercession and prayer.

THEIR VERY VARIETY IS A TOKEN OF GOD’S WORKMANSHIP

Very various are the Saints; their very variety is a token of God’s workmanship; but however various, and whatever was their special line of duty, they have been heroes in it; they have attained such noble self-command, they have so crucified the flesh, they have so renounced the world; they are so meek, so gentle, so tender-hearted, so merciful, so sweet, so cheerful, so full of prayer, so diligent, so forgetful of injuries; they have sustained such great and continued pains, they have persevered in such vast labours, they have made such valiant confessions, they have wrought such abundant miracles, they have been blessed with such strange successes, that they have been the means of setting up a standard before us of truth, of magnanimity, of holiness, of love.

THE SAINTS POINT TO CHRIST

They are not always our examples, we are not always bound to follow them; no more than we are bound to obey literally some of our Lord’s precepts, such as turning the cheek or giving away the coat; no more than we can follow the course of the sun, moon, or stars in the heavens; but, though not always our examples, they are always our standard of right and good; they are raised up to be monuments and lessons, they remind us of God, they introduce us into the unseen world, they teach us what Christ loves, they track out for us the way which leads heavenward. They are to us who see them, what wealth, notoriety, rank, and name are to the multitude of men who live in darkness, – objects of our veneration and of our homage.’”
– Bl. John Henry Newman. This article was published in “De Vita Contemplativa” (Monthly magazine for Monasteries), Year V – Number 7 – July 2011

 
 

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TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (LUKE 11:5-13)

(Week 27 of the year: Thursday)

ASK, AND IT WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him in the middle of the night to say, ‘My friend, lend me three loaves, because a friend of mine on his travels has just arrived at my house and I have nothing to offer him'; and the man answers from inside the house, ‘Do not bother me. The door is bolted now, and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up to give it to you.’ I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it him for friendship’s sake, persistence will be enough to make him get up and give his friend all he wants.

So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. What father among you would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or hand him a snake instead of a fish? Or hand him a scorpion if he asked for an egg? If you then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 
 

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TODAY’S PSALM (LUKE 1:69-75)

(Week 27 of the year: Thursday)

R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel!
He has visited his people.

1. He has raised up for us a mighty saviour
in the house of David his servant,
as he promised by the lips of holy men,
those who were his prophets from of old. (R.)

2. A saviour who would free us from our foes,
from the hands of all who hate us.
So his love for our fathers is fulfilled
and his holy covenant remembered. (R.)

3. He swore to Abraham our father
to grant us, that free from fear,
and saved from the hands of our foes,
we might serve him in holiness and justice
all the days of our life in his presence. (R.)

ALLELUIA

Alleluia, alleluia!
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, says the Lord;
no one can come to the Father except through me.
Alleluia!

 
 

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