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Gospel reading, Reflection of the Gospel, Saint and Divine Mercy Read and share…

No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.  If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.  Mark 2:21

We’ve all heard this analogy from Jesus before.  It’s one of those statements that we can easily hear and then dismiss without comprehending.  Do you understand what it means?

This analogy is followed by the analogy of pouring new wine into old wineskins.  Jesus states that no one does this because it will burst the old wineskins.  Therefore, new wine is poured into new wineskins.

Both of these analogies speak to the same spiritual truth.  They reveal that if we wish to receive His new and transforming Gospel message, we must first become new creations.  Our old lives of sin cannot contain the new gift of grace.  Therefore, to fully receive the message of Jesus, we must first become created anew.

Recall the Scripture: “To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Mark 4:25).  This teaches a similar message.  When we are filled with the newness of grace, we are graced all the more.

What is that “new wine” and “new patch” that Jesus desires to give you?  If you are willing to let your life be made new, you will discover that more will be poured upon you as you receive more.  Abundance will be given when abundance has already been received.  It’s as if someone won the lotto and decided to give it all away to the wealthiest person he can find.  This is how grace works.  But the good news is that God desires that all of us become spiritually rich in abundance.

Reflect, today, upon this teaching of Jesus.  Know that He wants to pour an abundance of grace into your life if you are willing to let yourself be first created anew.

My Lord of all generosity, I desire to be made anew.  I desire to live a new life in grace so that even more grace can be lavished upon me through Your sacred words.  Help me, dear Lord, to embrace the life of abundance that You have in store for me.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Saint of the day,

St. Anthony, Abbot
251–356

January 17—Memorial
Liturgical Color: White
Patron Saint of butchers, skin diseases, gravediggers, and swine

A solitary monk trades the world for the desert sands, and so forges a new path

Many extraordinary people who live heroic, path-breaking lives remain unknown to posterity for one simple reason—no one writes their biography. How many other saints, heroes, and martyrs would be known to mankind if just one witness to their actions had put pen to paper! Just one author is needed to introduce a great man to subsequent generations. Today’s saint may have been forgotten forever and may have wanted to remain unknown. But a talented and famous contemporary of his wrote what he knew. Saint Athanasius, the great champion of orthodoxy at the Council of Nicea, wrote a short biography of his fellow Egyptian, The Life of Saint Anthony the Great. Saint Athanasius’ work was so widely shared, and so often translated, that it was never lost to history. It has preserved St. Anthony’s memory down to the present.

The first three centuries of the Church saw sporadic persecutions of Christianity which at times turned vicious. These spasms of violence against Christians produced a large class of martyrs, many of whose last words and sufferings were recorded in official Roman judicial documents or the written testimonies of witnesses. As Christianity was legalized at the start of the fourth-century martyrdom ceased to be the primary form of Christian witness. A new form of radical witness to Christ emerged—the witness of radical isolation, fasting, prayer, and penance of the desert fathers. These monks retreated into remote places to lead solitary lives of dedication to Christ. Foremost among these desert fathers was St. Anthony of the Desert, born around 250 A.D. He was not the first ascetic, but he was perhaps the first to take the radical decision to retreat into the desert.

St. Anthony had money and property as a young man. But upon hearing at Mass the words of Christ to the rich young man to “…go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven”, St. Anthony decided to seek not silver or bronze, but pure gold. He sold his goods, he removed himself from all temptation except those intrinsic to human nature, he battled the devil, he fasted, he prayed, and he even actively sought martyrdom. He became famous for being holy. Saint Anthony preceded St. Benedict by two hundred years. He offers us an example of being a monk outside of a community of monks in a monastery. He sought Christ alone in every sense. Alone in the desert, without family, community, or money. Alone to the world, he clung to the only person who truly mattered—God himself. Saint Anthony’s path of holiness is both radical and refined. It is for few people to walk. But he was the first to walk it so well. He shows us that being alone, stripped of all worldly concerns, is a sort of rehearsal for death, where we will meet God alone, every last thread tying us to the world having been cut.

St. Anthony, we ask your intercession to help us cling to God alone. Help us to strip ourselves of those needs and concerns which stuff our lives from morning to night. Help us not to be distracted from the one thing, the only thing, the last thing, God Himself.

Divine Mercy Reflection
17: Turn to Our Blessed Mother in Prayer

Turn to our Blessed Mother in confident prayer.  She holds you close to her Immaculate Heart and will direct you to her Son, Jesus.  She is the perfect Mother, the Mother of All Grace.  Trust in Her maternal care and intercession.  She knows how to unlock the graces of the Mercy of her Son. And she longs to do so for you, her precious child (See Diary #11).

Sincerely reflect, today, upon your relationship with Mother Mary, the Mother of Mercy.  Do you trust in her maternal care and intercession?  If you are not wholeheartedly in love with our Blessed Mother and if you do not completely trust in her motherly care, spend time today opening your heart more fully to all that God wants to bless you with through her care.  Don’t be afraid to turn to her.  She will point you to her Son.

Mother, my Queen.  The Lord has entrusted to you the storehouse of His Mercy.  The King of Kings has set you on a throne and given you charge of His Mercy.  May I come to you, this day and always, seeking that which you wish to bestow upon me.  Thank you for bringing me the Divine Mercy of your Son. Dearest Mother, pray for me.  Jesus, I trust in You.

By @peacewriter51

Life is like a bunch of roses. Some sparkle like raindrops. Some fade when there's no sun. Some just fade away in time. Some dance in many colors. Some drop with hanging wings. Some make you fall in love. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Life you can be sure of, you will not get out ALIVE.(sorry about that)