Friday, May 22 ~ Seventh and Last Week in the Season of Easter
Saint Rita of Cascia, Religious
Holy Gospel: John 21:15-19 After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, he said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”
Meditation: Jesus calls us, even in our weakness and sin, to love him above all else. Saint Augustine in his book Confessions wrote: “Late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient and so new. Late have I loved you! …You shone your Self upon me to drive away my blindness. You breathed your fragrance upon me… and in astonishment I drew my breath…now I pant for you! I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst for you. You touched me! – and I burn to live within your peace.” Nothing but our stubborn human pride, our sinfulness, and our willfulness can keep us from the love of God. God’s love is a free gift, unmerited and beyond payment. We can never outmatch God in love. He loved us first; we must reciprocate with total love for Him by following His commands, and the teachings of His Son and His Catholic Church.
Prayer: Bestow on us, we pray, O Lord, the wisdom and strength of the Cross, with which you were pleased to endow Saint Rita, so that, suffering in every tribulation with Christ, we may participate ever more deeply in his Paschal Mystery. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Do you want the fire of God’s love to burn in your heart? John the evangelist tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:16). His love is unconditional, without limit, and everlasting. It’s the beginning and the end; and it’s the essence of Christianity. It draws us to the heart of God and it compels us to give to him our full allegiance and our very lives. Saint Paul the Apostle tells us that God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given us (ref. Romans 5:5). As so we ask ourselves: Do I love God with all my mind, all my heart, and all my soul? If not, then ask yourself: what is holding me back?
Scripture passages (NAB translation) courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;
prayers are from The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, 2011;
information about saints, solemnities, feasts and memorials courtesy of Catholic Culture.