Thursday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
THURSDAY, February 4th Mk. 6: 7-13 “He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick; no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.”
- Some live their lives for whatever happiness they can find in it for themselves. Others live their lives for whatever good God can find in it for the salvation of immortal souls, including their own!
- Suffering was sanctified in the suffering, Passion and death of Jesus on the cross, shedding every drop of His precious blood for our salvation! This sanctification of suffering continued in the lives of the apostles after Pentecost, spreading the Gospel to the four corners of the earth until all but one died a martyr’s death, as well as the witness of the martyrs down through the centuries shedding every drop of their blood in imitation of Christ even to our present day. ”The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the faith.” (Tertullian)
- Living our Catholic Christian faith involves suffering. So much so, that if we don’t have any suffering in our lives, we should ask ourselves why!
- Our Lady of Fatima said we should pray and do penance (suffer) for those who don’t pray and don’t do penance, so they will not go to hell!
- In these times of the Covid pandemic, suffering seems to be built into the very fabric of our lives. Let us not waste the suffering, but beg for the grace to accept it for the salvation of immortal souls, beginning with those in our own families! And if the cross becomes too heavy to bear, let us ask our loving Savior to help us carry the cross, a request He will never fail to answer!
- “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
BE ENCOURAGED! By Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur (+1914)
Suffering is the great law of the spiritual world. God’s chosen ones escape it less than others; they pay the ransom for others, sometimes at a very high price. We will know only later the work accomplished by our suffering and our sacrifices. It all goes into the heart of God, and there, joined to the redemptive treasure, it expands in souls in the form of grace. We can convert, sanctify, console without going out of our home or out of ourselves. Ceaselessly united to the One who acts in all of us, we offer and obtain without flagging. And God lavishes our humble gifts on others.
When we present to Him the most intimate heartaches, this “blood of the heart” that makes spiritual martyrs, we become very powerful with Him. There is almost nothing our recent trials cannot accomplish, my friend. They will pass away, and you will obtain heaven.
In the final moments of Christ’s passion, when with pierced hands and feet, He poured out all of His precious blood on human soil to make it fruitful, lived His last hours, and experienced human suffering to a greater extent than we can understand, the Gospel tells us that the earth was covered with darkness. (Mk. 15:33) Lord, in our lives, there are also hours completely covered in darkness, sad hours in which the veil cast over our hearts hides even those things that could give us comfort, hours in which we suffer in such a way that nothing on earth can console us.
Happy are those who during such times of outer darkness can still at least contemplate you, Jesus Christ, the only Life! Happy are those whose weak arms can still clasp your feet on the cross, who can lean their weary heads against your pierced hands and their bruised hearts on the Heart that has suffered so much and is filled with such compassion and love!
CREED OF SUFFERING by Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur
I believe that God allows human suffering with a great intention of love and mercy.
I believe that Jesus Christ has transformed suffering, made it holy, and almost divine.
I believe that suffering is the great instrument of redemption and sanctification.
I believe that suffering is fruitful, as much as and sometimes more than our words and actions, and that the hours of Christ’s passion did more for us, and were more powerful with the Father than His years of preaching and earthly activity.
I believe that there is flowing through us – those on earth, those in purgatory, and those who have reached true life (heaven) – a great, unending stream of the sufferings, merits, and love of everyone, and that our least sorrow, our slightest efforts, can through grace reach others, whether near or far, and bring them light, peace, and holiness.
I believe that in eternity we shall find again our beloved ones who have known and loved the cross, and that their sufferings and our own will be lost in the infinity of Divine Love and the joy of final reunion.
I believe that God is love, and that suffering, in His hand, is the means His love uses to transform and save us.
I believe in the communion of saints, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen
About Elisabeth Leseur… For more, read the extraordinary life of this modern saint in The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur
Friends introduced Elisabeth to Felix Leseur. They became engaged on May 23, 1889 and married just a few months later. In the following months, Elisabeth would come to know that Felix had abandoned his Catholic faith and religious beliefs while studying at the Faculty of Medicine in Paris. Towards the end of the summer of 1889, Elisabeth fell ill with an abscess of the intestine. It took her several months to recover her strength, but this would be only the first of a series of health problems she would suffer for the rest of her life.
The primary focus of Elisabeth’s life was praying for the conversion of her husband. She also worked on several charitable projects in support of the poor. Given her loving and gentle nature, many non-believers sought her counsel.
In 1907 Elisabeth’s health deteriorated to the extent that she was forced to be at home and receive friends and visitors there. In 1911 she had surgery and radiation for a malignant tumor. She improved enough that she and Felix were able to make a trip to Lourdes. However, in the next two years her condition worsened. By July of 1913 she was bedridden as her recurring breast cancer continued to spread. She died in May 1914 at the age of 47. So many people attended her funeral, and expressed such profound distress at her death, that priests are reported to have asked Felix, “But who is this woman? We have never seen such a funeral before.”
After her death, Felix discovered Elisabeth’s journal where she had written of her pact with God, offering her life for the conversion of her beloved husband. She believed that not only would God’s grace bring about conversion but that Felix would go on to become a priest after her death.
Angry at the loss of his wife, Felix made a trip to Lourdes with the specific intention of writing an article exposing the healing stories of Lourdes as fraud. However, upon reaching Lourdes, he was overcome with a sense of Elisabeth’s presence, as well as God’s presence. This was the beginning of his journey back to Catholicism. And in time, he indeed became a Dominican priest.
In 1924, a young priest named Fulton Sheen made a retreat under the direction of Father Felix Leseur. Sheen learned of the life of Elisabeth and the conversion of Félix. Sheen subsequently repeated this conversion story in many of his presentations.
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