MONDAY, AUGUST 30, 2021
“Hypocrites are people who pretend, flatter and deceive because they live with a mask over their faces and do not have the courage to face the truth. For this reason, they are not capable of truly loving: a hypocrite does not know how to love. They limit themselves to living out of egoism and do not have the strength to show their hearts transparently.” Pope Francis
St. Sabina (d. 126 A.D.) was a wealthy Roman noblewoman, a widow and the daughter of Herod Metallarius. She was converted to Christianity by her virtuous female slave, St. Serapia, a devout Christian from Antioch who entered into voluntary slavery with Sabina after forsaking marriage and consecrating herself to Christ. Following her conversion, St. Sabina’s home became a secret meeting place for Christians where the sacraments were celebrated. St. Serapia was discovered to be a Christian and was burned alive and beheaded. St. Sabina recovered Serapia’s body and buried it in a tomb. Within the same year St. Sabina was also killed for her faith and buried alongside Serapia. After Christianity was legalized in the 5th century, a basilica was built over St. Sabina’s home on Aventine Hill. Originally dedicated to both saints, it is known today as Santa Sabina, one of Rome’s most ancient churches. St. Sabina’s feast day is August 29th.
St. John the Baptist was a cousin of Jesus, and his mission was to preach repentance to Israel in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. When John rebuked King Herod for his unlawful union with Herodias, his brother’s wife, Herod had John imprisoned. On his birthday, Herod celebrated with a great feast as Salome, the daughter of Herodias, danced before his guests. Herod, pleased with Salome’s performance, promised to give her whatever she asked for, even up to half his kingdom. On the advice of her wicked mother, Salome asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Herod regretfully ordered the execution. St. John the Baptist is the last and greatest of the Old Testament prophets, highly venerated by the Church. The feast of his martyrdom is August 29th.
Scripture tells us that sexual sins cause a kind of damage that other sins don’t cause (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).(1)
So why does culture celebrate the most damaging sins?(1)
The world doesn’t celebrate Gossip Pride or Irresponsibility Pride, but they celebrate LGBTQ Pride.
To build this “pride,” Satan first convinced people that premarital sex, living together, and adultery were unavoidable and good. And once he got past the basic sexual sins, he moved on to the unnatural ones (Romans 1:26-27). And if you think he’s reached his limit, think again.
It’s easy to understand why culture approves the most damaging sins when you realize Satan’s mission is “to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10).
He’s doesn’t want to wound us. He wants to “devour” us. The Amplified Bible says he’s “fiercely hungry” to devour us (1 Peter 5:8).
These are three of Satan’s many tricks:
1. He blinds people to truth (2 Corinthians 4:4).
2. He deceives people because “when he lies, he speaks his native language” (John 8:44).
3. He disguises bad things as good things (2 Corinthians 11:14).
When people buy Satan’s lies, they celebrate sins that do the most damage to people’s souls, sins that break God’s heart and inspire His wrath (Romans 1:18-32).
Let’s celebrate the Lord, dear Christians! And let’s not be intimidated by the world which is under Satan’s control (1 John 5:19).
What is the law really for? It’s not to make God love us. That issue is already solved, once and forever, and we are powerless to change it in one direction or the other. The purpose of spiritual law is simply to sharpen our awareness about who we are and who God is, so that we can name our own insufficiency and, in that same movement, find God’s fullness. That’s why saints like Francis are invariably saying, in effect, “I’m nothing. Everything I’ve done that’s good has come from God. The only things I can claim are my own sins.” He is not being overly humble, just truthful. In such people, the law has achieved its full purpose.
—from the book Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality by Richard Rohr, OFM
St. Fiacre (d. 670 A.D.) was born in Ireland and was raised from childhood in an Irish monastery. There he grew in knowledge as well as holiness, and became a priest. He retired to a hermitage to live in prayer and solitude, but men began to flock to him to imitate his way of life and become his disciples. To escape them, Fiacre left Ireland to establish a new hermitage in France. He went to the bishop and asked for land to plant a garden to grow food as well as herbs for medicinal healing, a science which he studied in the monastery. The bishop agreed to give Fiacre as much land as he could entrench. Fiacre picked a plot of land and walked around its perimeter, dragging his shovel behind him. Wherever his spade touched the ground, the land was miraculously cleared and the soil became entrenched. St. Fiacre lived a life of great mortification in prayer, fasting, vigils, and manual labor in his garden. Disciples gathered around him again, and soon formed a monastery. St. Fiacre then built an oratory in honor of the Virgin Mary, a hospice in which he received strangers, and a cell for his own dwelling. His fame for performing miracles became widespread, and his garden became a place of pilgrimage for centuries for those seeking healing. St. Fiacre is best known as the patron of gardeners, florists, and cab drivers. His feast day is August 30th.
“For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the first fruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”1 Corinthians 15:21-26
“I realize as never before that the Lord is gentle and merciful; He did not send me this heavy cross until I could bear it. If He had sent it before, I am certain that it would have discouraged me . . . I desire nothing at all now except to love until I die of love. I am free, I am not afraid of anything, not even of what I used to dread most of all . . . a long illness which would make me a burden to the community. I am perfectly content to go on suffering in body and soul for years, if that would please God. I am not in the least afraid of living for a long time; I am ready to go on fighting.”— St. Therese of Lisieux, p. 122