Each of our calls to holiness is unique and becomes manifest to the world in the particular circumstances of our life. May we pray for the grace to find how best to make holiness come alive in the world.
Today's feast of St. James (the greater), commemorates the first of Jesus' apostles to meet with martyrdom.
Called James the Greater because he was called by Jesus before James, Son of Alphaeus and to distinguish him from St. James the Just, the cathedral of Santiago (a local corruption of the Latin for St. James) de Compestela containing his relics became a site of pilgrimage from the earliest days of the church.
James is therefore a patron of pilgrims and is sometimes depicted clothed as one. His immediate readiness to follow Jesus and his courage in defending the faith are examples in every age.
If you haven't made a contribution to this year's Annual Catholic Appeal, please consider doing so. You may write your designation on any check you donate to the collection basket or mail to the Parish Office.
You may also contribute directly online at the Diocesan webpage or be taken there by clicking on this link:
Today the church commemorates the Prophet Elijah, a foundational figure for the Carmelite Order. A statue of Elijah on Mt. Carmel depicts Elijah denouncing a prophet of Baal whom he has conquered through the power of the God of Israel.
"And the prophet Elijah stood up, and his word burned like a torch" is inscribed in several languages on the base of the statue.
Our reredos' painting is approximately 2/3 complete. The basic colors and blocking in have been done and the layers of more subtle colors, lights and darks are yet to be added. It was amazing seeing the painting 15 feet high!
Monarchs love coneflowers, one reason I planted so many. So far this year, our coneflower crop has attracted quite a few and it seems more arrive each day.
Founder of the Camillans, an order of priests and brothers who care for the sick even at peril to their own lives. St. Camillus first popularized the sign of his order, The Red Cross, as a symbol for help and protection on the battle field or the bed of illness. Later, the International Red Cross adopted his already popular emblem.
When clearing the wedding flowers away from the altar after a recent wedding, our sacristan made a discovery in the bottom of our urns which contain the florists arrangements.
The rectory garage door is sometimes open during the day's heat and needing some weight to keep the urns upright, the florist must have been exploring. The nearest handy, heavy items were cans of dog food which were added to the bottom of the urns.
An interesting, but nosy solution at the same time. Lucky I had extra!
The Carmelite "Brown" Scapular was shown by the Virgin Mary to St. Simon Stock, an early superior of the Carmelites during a time when their Order was under persecution, as an assurance of Mary's intercession especially at the hour of their deaths. The small, portable scapular of today derives from the work garment of the Carmelites. Keeping this in mind, the wearing of the brown scapular reminds us our responsibility to work for the Kingdom and of Mary's loving intercession for the disciples of her Son.
Daytime and night time scapulars from the late 1800's worn by the Carmelites.
Most of us cope with little superstitions without too much of an impact on our daily lives. Saying "God bless you," after a sneeze is even attributed to a superstition regarding the devil.
Sometimes superstitions and arbitrary actions can become compulsory for the individual and begin to hem their lives in with restrictive rituals they must perform or avoid. Their daily rituals become far more oppressive than crossing fingers or throwing salt over their shoulder. Let us pray that those who are held prisoner to these compulsive rituals are loosed from their bonds by God's grace and the compassionate, knowledgeable care of others.
Too often even our religious faith can become more about following rules or avoiding sin than cultivating a relationship with a God who loves us. Let us ask to experience God's love more fully especially in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist.
The first married couple canonized together, Louis and Zelie were the parents of St. Therese of Liseux, but were recognized for their own sanctity, especially the sanctity they exhibited in their vocations are spouses and parents. They were canonized on 18 October 2015 by Pope Francis.
Think for a moment about the genius of a rule written over one thousand years ago, which still has relevance for a community of persons to live in harmony for their whole lives. It's often summarized in a short phrase, "ora et labora," i.e. pray and work, but that doesn't quite do it justice. It's not as if you go off to work everyday, come home and then pray. No, the prayer and the work are one. Both are done for God.
It's too beautiful a day not to take at least a few pictures of God's blooms. Some of the perennials in the rectory front yard are coming on strong, not bad since they have only had a couple of years to get going.
In the meantime, a wildflower mix of annuals has provided some color while the lavender, Russian sage and clematis become more established. The stand of coneflowers is really impressive this year; I was relieved since while they were growing I thought they might be weeds!
Faith is a two way street
A relationship between two persons.
Divine faith is a relationship
Between us and Jesus.
It’s unlikely that anyone hard of face
And obstinate of heart
Will have faith with you.
The first reading says it: they'll have a frozen look, no matter what you say;
They'll exhibit a stubbornness of heart that remembers every slight.
When we tell our spouse, our friend
Our son or daughter
"I have faith in you" – then we work toward
Real trust, real love.
Jesus offered himself in faith
And was rejected by those who
Watched him grow up.
They prejudged him;
Their minds were made up;
Their conclusions already drawn.
He was the carpenter’s son
Nothing else, surely nothing greater.
Their faces were frozen
And their hearts hardened.
It can be the same way with us:
I’ve prayed before, I’ve asked for this 1.000 times
I know what the church will say
That freezes us into an old way of being
And eliminates the possibility of
A living faith strengthening
Our relationship with Jesus.
Faith is offered to us
To grow, to change,
To cooperate with God’s grace.
I think of the Thai soccer team
Trapped deep in the cave.
Their hopes were rewarded
When help arrived.
Now they need faith in God,
In their own ability,
In the skill and care of the divers
And in prophet-like courage
To save themselves and the others.
They need to learn how to dive,
To overcome their fears
And do it quickly and well.
One headline read: Fear and courage are both contagious.
Your own courage helps someone else.
And they need to cooperate
With the grace they have been given
To be rescued.
So do we.
The sanctity of the soul remains even when the body is violated, the sanctity of the body is not lost; and that, in like manner, the sanctity of the body is lost when the sanctity of the soul is violated, though the body itself remains intact.
City of God, Book I, chapter 16.
Augustine's comments were made during a discussion of the virgin martyrs in the early church who chose martyrdom rather than be sexually violated.
He counsels that victims of sexual abuse should not feel shame since the blame for the sexual transgression is not their own, but rather on the aggressor.
The mind and will can remain pure and chaste, even in face of non voluntary acts the body is made to perform.
One of Gustave Dore's many beautiful illustrations of the Bible. The prophet Amos finds himself isolated by God's truth and set apart for a mission to preach repentance and faithfulness to God's covenant.