Stay Calm, Don’t Retaliate / Mantener la Calma y no Buscar la Venganza

Today we take a look at Mt 5: 38-42. This passage states “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”

Throughout these verses Jesus challenges us to transcend the natural impulse for retaliation and instead respond with love and generosity. He teaches us that rather than seeking revenge, we should not only turn the other cheek, but go the extra mile and give freely to those who we want to retaliate against. There are many opportunities to do this in our everyday lives. Whether it be trying to stay calm on the busy highway, or reaching out to someone who may have wronged you, and not only forgiving them, but going the extra mile to mend the relationship. 

Reflecting on this passage I see it as a call to break the cycle of violence and respond to aggression with grace and compassion. This reading challenges us to examine our own attitudes towards conflict and to strive for a deeper, more transformative love in our interactions with others.

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Hoy echamos un vistazo a Mt 5,38-42. Este pasaje dice: “Ustedes han oído que se dijo: Ojo por ojo, diente por diente; pero yo les digo que no hagan resistencia al hombre malo. Si alguno te golpea en la mejilla derecha, preséntale también la izquierda; al que te quiera demandar en juicio para quitarte la túnica, cédele también el manto. Si alguno te obliga a caminar mil pasos en su servicio, camina con él dos mil. Al que te pide, dale; y al que quiere que le prestes, no le vuelvas la espalda”.

A lo largo de estos versículos, Jesús nos desafía a trascender el impulso natural de buscar venganza y, en cambio, responder con amor y generosidad. Nos enseña que en lugar de buscar venganza, no sólo debemos presentarle la otra mejilla, sino hacer un esfuerzo adicional y dar generosamente a aquellos contra quienes queremos tomar represalias. Hay muchas oportunidades para hacer esto en nuestra vida diaria. Ya sea tratando de mantener la calma en una carretera concurrida o acercándose a alguien que puede haberte hecho daño, y no sólo perdonarlo, sino hacer un esfuerzo adicional para reparar la relación.

Al reflexionar sobre este pasaje, lo veo como un llamado a romper el ciclo de violencia y responder a la agresión con gracia y compasión. Esta lectura nos desafía a examinar nuestras propias actitudes hacia el conflicto y a luchar por un amor más profundo y transformador en nuestras interacciones con los demás.

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Heather Orlowski and her husband are busy parents of two little girls (ages 2 and 4). The Catholic Church holds a special place in her heart and in her entire life. She attended Catholic schools from Kindergarten through college. She graduated from Aquinas College with a degree in Elementary/Special Education. Catholic Education is very important to her and she now teaches 1st and 2nd grades at St. Therese Catholic School. In her free time, she loves creating memories with her family and watching her little girls play soccer. 

Feature Image Credit: Matt Collamer, unsplash.com/photos/man-holding-card-with-seeking-human-kindness-text-8UG90AYPDW4

Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 Kgs 21:1-16

Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel
next to the palace of Ahab, king of Samaria.
Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard to be my vegetable garden,
since it is close by, next to my house.
I will give you a better vineyard in exchange, or,
if you prefer, I will give you its value in money.”
Naboth answered him, “The LORD forbid
that I should give you my ancestral heritage.”
Ahab went home disturbed and angry at the answer
Naboth the Jezreelite had made to him:
“I will not give you my ancestral heritage.”
Lying down on his bed, he turned away from food and would not eat.

His wife Jezebel came to him and said to him,
“Why are you so angry that you will not eat?”
He answered her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite
and said to him, ‘Sell me your vineyard, or,
if you prefer, I will give you a vineyard in exchange.’
But he refused to let me have his vineyard.”
His wife Jezebel said to him,
“A fine ruler over Israel you are indeed!
Get up.
Eat and be cheerful.
I will obtain the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite for you.”

So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and,
having sealed them with his seal,
sent them to the elders and to the nobles
who lived in the same city with Naboth.
This is what she wrote in the letters:
“Proclaim a fast and set Naboth at the head of the people.
Next, get two scoundrels to face him
and accuse him of having cursed God and king.
Then take him out and stone him to death.”
His fellow citizens—the elders and nobles who dwelt in his city—
did as Jezebel had ordered them in writing,
through the letters she had sent them.
They proclaimed a fast and placed Naboth at the head of the people.
Two scoundrels came in and confronted him with the accusation,
“Naboth has cursed God and king.”
And they led him out of the city and stoned him to death.
Then they sent the information to Jezebel
that Naboth had been stoned to death.

When Jezebel learned that Naboth had been stoned to death,
she said to Ahab,
“Go on, take possession of the vineyard
of Naboth the Jezreelite that he refused to sell you,
because Naboth is not alive, but dead.”
On hearing that Naboth was dead, Ahab started off on his way
down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite,
to take possession of it.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 5:2-3ab, 4b-6a, 6b-7

R. (2b) Lord, listen to my groaning.
Hearken to my words, O LORD,
attend to my sighing.
Heed my call for help,
my king and my God!
R. Lord, listen to my groaning.
At dawn I bring my plea expectantly before you.
For you, O God, delight not in wickedness;
no evil man remains with you;
the arrogant may not stand in your sight.
R. Lord, listen to my groaning.
You hate all evildoers.
You destroy all who speak falsehood;
The bloodthirsty and the deceitful
the LORD abhors.
R. Lord, listen to my groaning.

Alleluia Ps 119:105

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A lamp to my feet is your word,
a light to my path.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 5:38-42

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one to him as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

St. Albert Chmielowski


St. Albert Chmielowski

Feast date: Jun 17

Founder of the Albertine Brothers and Sisters, and one of the saints who inspired the vocation of the young Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II was born on August 20, 1845 in (near Kraków) as Adam Hilary Bernard Chmielowski. Born into a wealthy and aristocratic family, Adam was the oldest of four children. Actively involved in politics from his youth, Adam lost a leg fighting in an insurrection against Czar Alexander III at age 18. In Krakow, he became a popular artist and his talent in the subject led him to study in Munich and Paris.

 

A kind and compassionate person, Adam was always deeply aware of human suffering, and felt called to help those in need.  Realizing that God was calling Him to a life of service, he returned to Krakow in 1874, determined to dedicate his talents to the glory of God.  Instead of continuing his work as an artist, he decided to care for the poor and became a Secular Franciscan, taking the name Albert.

 

In 1887, Albert founded the Brothers of the Third Order of Saint Francis, Servants of the Poor, known as the Albertines or the Gray Brothers.  Then, in 1891, he founded a community of Albertine sisters, known as the Gray Sisters.

 

The Albertines organized food and shelter for the poor and homeless of any age or religion.  Albert preached on the great crisis that results from a refusal to see and aid the suffering individuals in society.

 

In 1949, Pope John Paul II, who was at the time Father Karol Wojtyla, wrote a well-received play about Albert called Our God’s Brother.  John Paul II later said that he found great spiritual support for his own vocation in the life of St. Albert, whom he saw as an example of leaving behind a world of art, literature, and theater to make a radical choice for the priesthood.

 

Brother Albert died on Christmas Day, 1916.  He was canonized on November 12, 1989 by Pope John Paul II.  The Church celebrates St. Albert’s feast day on June 17.

 

 

Dust, Seeds, and Flowers / El Polvo, las Semillas y las Flores

I stopped to stare and take in all that my child is today. That which I often overlook – the innocence of today, the unknowns of tomorrow. I think of all the potential inside, waiting to flourish, to serve the Lord above all else, God-willing. 

How delicate is life in the womb. That soul can be anything, so infinite the possibilities! 

As Catholics, it is our duty to invest in our youth, both those clearly in front of us as well as the unborn. We must be there to teach and guide them what is just. I pray my children will find the Lord’s narrow way, striving for Him alone and that which is eternal, rather than the distractions of this temporary world. 

Meanwhile, many adults, including myself, struggle with humility. I shouldn’t have to do this or that, I’ve worked too hard, I’m more important than that. And on the other hand, many struggle with self-confidence. I’m not good enough. I’m a nobody. The mustard seed parable reminds us of the significance of littleness. Something small has the greatest potential for growth, and ultimately becomes something magnificent. 

This is one of the most common themes of the Bible. Being asked to go forth and proclaim the Kingdom, we begin as a speck of dust but have infinite power to grow, all because of God’s grace.

“The good God does not need years to accomplish His work of love in a soul; one ray from His Heart can, in an instant, make His flower bloom for eternity…” (St. Therese of Lisieux)

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Me detuve para mirar y asimilar quien es mi hijo el día de hoy. Lo que a menudo paso por alto: la inocencia de hoy, lo desconocido de mañana. Pienso en todo el potencial interior, esperando florecer, para servir al Señor por encima de todo, si Dios quiere.

Qué delicada es la vida en el útero. Esa alma puede ser cualquier cosa, ¡son tan infinitas las posibilidades!

Como católicos, es nuestro deber invertir tiempo en los jóvenes, tanto la que está claramente frente a nosotros como la que está por nacer. Debemos estar allí para enseñarles y guiarles lo que es justo. Rezo para que mis hijos encuentren el camino angosto del Señor, esforzándose solo por Él y por lo que es eterno, en lugar de las distracciones de este mundo temporal.

Mientras tanto, muchos adultos, incluyéndome a mí, luchamos con la humildad. No debería tener que hacer esto o aquello, he trabajado demasiado, soy más importante que eso. Y, por otro lado, muchos luchan con la confianza en sí mismos. No soy lo suficientemente bueno. No soy nadie. 

La parábola de la semilla de mostaza nos recuerda el significado de la pequeñez. Algo pequeño tiene el mayor potencial de crecimiento y, en última instancia, se convierte en algo magnífico. Este es uno de los temas más comunes de la Biblia. Al pedirnos que salgamos y proclamemos el Reino, comenzamos como un puntito de polvo pero tenemos un poder infinito para crecer, todo gracias a la gracia de Dios.

“El buen Dios no necesita años para realizar su obra de amor en un alma; un rayo de su Corazón puede, en un instante, hacer florecer su flor para la eternidad…” (Santa Teresa de Lisieux)

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Dr. Alexis Dallara-Marsh is a board-certified neurologist who practices in Bergen County, NJ. She is a wife to her best friend, Akeem, and a mother of two little ones on Earth and two others in heaven above.

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Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 Ez 17:22-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I, too, will take from the crest of the cedar,
from its topmost branches tear off a tender shoot,
and plant it on a high and lofty mountain;
on the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it.
It shall put forth branches and bear fruit,
and become a majestic cedar.
Birds of every kind shall dwell beneath it,
every winged thing in the shade of its boughs.
And all the trees of the field shall know
that I, the LORD,
bring low the high tree,
lift high the lowly tree,
wither up the green tree,
and make the withered tree bloom.
As I, the LORD, have spoken, so will I do.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16

R. (cf. 2a) Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praise to your name, Most High,
To proclaim your kindness at dawn
and your faithfulness throughout the night.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
The just one shall flourish like the palm tree,
like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow.
They that are planted in the house of the LORD
shall flourish in the courts of our God.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
They shall bear fruit even in old age;
vigorous and sturdy shall they be,
Declaring how just is the LORD,
my rock, in whom there is no wrong.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

Reading 2 2 Cor 5:6-10

Brothers and sisters:
We are always courageous,
although we know that while we are at home in the body
we are away from the Lord,
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Yet we are courageous,
and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.
Therefore, we aspire to please him,
whether we are at home or away.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
so that each may receive recompense,
according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.

Alleluia <a href="https://bible.usccb.orgroute? “>

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower.
All who come to him will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

St. Lutgardis


St. Lutgardis

Feast date: Jun 16

St. Lutgardis is the patron saint of the blind and physically disabled. Born in the 12th century, she came to her vocation in part due to her father’s bad business sense. Her father lost her dowry in a failed business venture and sent her to a Benedictine convent at the age of 12.

A few years later, she received a vision of Christ showing her his wounds, and at age 20 she became a Benedictine nun. Her visions continued and she is said to have levitated and dripped blood from her head when meditating on the Passion.

Seeking a stricter life, she joined the Cistercians and displayed the gifts of healing, prophecy, spiritual wisdom and teaching on the Gospels.

She accepted the blindness that afflicted her for the last 11 years of her life as a gift that helped reduce the distractions of the outside world. In her last vision, Christ told her when she was to die, the day after the Feast of the Holy Trinity, June 16, 1246. She was 64.

St. John Francis Regis


St. John Francis Regis

Feast date: Jun 16

On June 16 the Catholic Church celebrates the memory of Saint John Francis Regis, a 17th-century French Jesuit known for his zealous missionary efforts and his care for the poor and marginalized.

In a 1997 letter to the Bishop of Viviers, Pope St. John Paul II commemorated the fourth centenary of St. John Francis Regis’ birth, honoring him as a “lofty figure of holiness” and an example for the Church in the modern world.

“In less than 10 years of ministry, this saintly Frenchman succeeded, with God’s help, in leading back to Christ an immense crowd of men, women and children of all ages and walks of life,” the Pope recalled. He urged the faithful to imitate the saint and “put themselves in God’s hands with total trust.”

Born in 1597, John Francis Regis was the son of a wealthy merchant father and a mother descended from nobility. As a boy he was sensitive, devout, and eager to please his parents and teachers. Educated by Jesuits from the age of 14, he entered the Society of Jesus in December of 1616.

As he followed the traditional Jesuit path of teaching and extensive studies, John also became known as a skilled catechist. He was eager to enter the priesthood, and offered his first Mass in 1631. John spent much of the rest of that year caring for victims of a plague outbreak in the city of Toulouse.

In 1632, John received his assignment as a missionary to the French Protestants – known as Huguenots – as well as the country’s lapsed Catholics and others in need of evangelization. The rest of his life would be devoted to this mission, with remarkable success.

John’s missionary work spanned both a large geographical distance and a broad social spectrum. In over 50 districts of France, he preached the Gospel to children, the poor, prisoners, and others forgotten or neglected by society. His best-known work involved helping women escape prostitution.

John’s labors reaped a harvest of conversions. However, his boldness – perceived as arrogance in some cases – led to a conflict with certain other priests, a period of tension with the local bishop, and even threats of violence from those whose vices he condemned.

Against these obstacles, the priest persevered, sustained by fervent prayer and severe asceticism. His missionary work involved difficult winter journeys, and a witness at his beatification testified to John’s habit of preaching outdoors all day, then hearing confessions throughout the night.

St. John Francis Regis died at age 43, in late December of 1640. Though suffering from a lung ailment, he insisted on preaching a parish mission and hearing confessions. A penitent found him unconscious in the confessional, though he revived long enough to receive the last rites before dying.

Hailed as a confessor of the faith and a model for Jesuit missionaries, St. John Francis Regis was beatified in 1716 and canonized in 1737. Although June 16 was established as his feast day, there are differing local and particular customs, including the Jesuits’ celebration of his feast on July 2.

The Words That Changed My Life / Las Palabras que Cambiaron mi Vida

The single most important shift I have experienced in my relationship with God, the deepest transformation I have received in my prayer life, is connected to today’s Gospel passage… I am not the Center of the universe. I do not and cannot ever understand what life is all about. Relying on my powers of understanding has led me repeatedly down a dead-end street. And God said to me on one quiet day of retreat, “I know. Only I know.” Those words have changed my life.

Someone who swears something on oath is basically exhibiting their reliance on their own personal power of making sense of the world. One who swears an oath manipulates words to convince others of their own version of what is real, true, or good. Perhaps their version does correspond to what is real, but most of us have to admit that we have only a slight comprehension of the total picture of anything that concerns us or the world. In a disordered way, the one who swears an oath proclaims, “I know. Only I know.”

In this passage Jesus says that the vast reaches of the cosmos should give a person pause. The wonder that the universe should spark in our heart should humble us to realize our own impotence and dependence on the Creator. 

God knows all things. Only God knows what is true, what is really happening. God alone can see how everything is connected and how all things participate in a mysterious way in the overflowing of his loving wisdom that guides all things. We can simply and sincerely only attempt to understand all that is unfolding.

Before the glory of heavens and the beauty of earth, therefore, I can only humbly bow. I can leave God free. I can leave others free. I can entrust myself to him, holding nothing back. I am secure enough to let things be.

Because of this transformation, I can examine my words. Are they manipulative? Are they pressured? Are they self-oriented? Am I inwardly disturbed? Or are my words simple? Are they free? Are they trusting? Am I at peace?

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El cambio más importante que he experimentado en mi relación con Dios, la transformación más profunda que he recibido en mi vida de oración, está conectado con el pasaje del Evangelio de hoy. No soy el centro del universo. No entiendo ni podré entender nunca de qué se trata la vida. Confiar en mis poderes de comprensión me ha llevado repetidamente a un callejón sin salida. Y Dios me dijo en un tranquilo día de retiro: “Lo sé. Sólo yo lo sé”. Esas palabras han cambiado mi vida.

Alguien que hace algo bajo juramento básicamente muestra su confianza en su propio poder personal para darle sentido al mundo. Quien hace un juramento manipula las palabras para convencer a otros de su propia versión de lo que es real, verdadero o bueno. Quizás su versión corresponda a lo real, pero la mayoría de nosotros tenemos que admitir que sólo tenemos una ligera comprensión del cuadro completo de todo lo que nos concierne a nosotros o al mundo. De manera desordenada, el que hace un juramento proclama: “Lo sé. Sólo yo lo sé”.

En este pasaje Jesús dice que las vastas extensiones del cosmos deberían hacer reflexionar a la persona. La maravilla que el universo debería encender en nuestro corazón debería humillarnos para que nos demos cuenta de nuestra propia impotencia y dependencia del Creador.

Dios sabe todas las cosas. Sólo Dios sabe lo que es verdad, lo que realmente está pasando. Sólo Dios puede ver cómo todo está conectado y cómo todas las cosas participan de manera misteriosa en el desbordamiento de su amorosa sabiduría que guía todas las cosas. Sólo podemos intentar, sencilla y sinceramente, comprender todo lo que se está desarrollando.

Por lo tanto, ante la gloria de los cielos y la belleza de la tierra, sólo puedo inclinarme humildemente. Puedo dejar a Dios libre. Puedo dejar a otros libres. Puedo confiar en él sin ocultar nada. Tengo la confianza de dejar que las cosas sean como son.

Gracias a esta transformación, puedo examinar mis palabras. ¿Son manipuladores? ¿Son presionados? ¿Son orientados a mí mismo? ¿Estoy perturbada interiormente? ¿O mis palabras son simples? ¿Son libres? ¿Confían? ¿Estoy en paz?

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Sr. Kathryn J. Hermes

Sr. Kathryn James Hermes, FSP, is an author and offers online evangelization as well as spiritual formation for people on their journey of spiritual transformation and inner healing. Website: www.touchingthesunrise.com My Books: https://touchingthesunrise.com/books/
Public Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/srkathrynhermes/ HeartWork Spiritual Formation Group: https://touchingthesunrise.com/heartwork/

Feature Image Credit: Noel Bauza, pixabay.com/photos/northern-lights-aurora-borealis-1197755/

Saturday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 Kgs 19:19-21

Elijah set out, and came upon Elisha, son of Shaphat,
as he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen;
he was following the twelfth.
Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak over him.
Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said,
“Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,
and I will follow you.”
Elijah answered, “Go back!
Have I done anything to you?”
Elisha left him and, taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them;
he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh,
and gave it to his people to eat.
Then he left and followed Elijah as his attendant.

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 16:1b-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10

R. (see 5a) You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Alleluia Ps 119:36a, 29b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Incline my heart, O God, to your decrees;
and favor me with your law.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 5:33-37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
Do not take a false oath,
but make good to the Lord all that you vow.

But I say to you, do not swear at all;
not by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
nor by the earth, for it is his footstool;
nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
Do not swear by your head,
for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’
Anything more is from the Evil One.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

St. Germaine Cousin


St. Germaine Cousin

Feast date: Jun 15

June 15 is the feast day of St. Germaine Cousin, a simple and pious young girl who lived in Pibrac, France in the late 1500s. Germaine was born in 1579 to poor parents. Her father was a farmer, and her mother died when she was still an infant. She was born with a deformed right arm and hand, as well as the disease of scrofula, a tubercular condition.

Her father remarried soon after the death of her mother, but his new wife was filled with disgust by Germaine’s condition. She tormented and neglected Germaine, and taught her siblings to do so as well.

Starving and sick, Germaine was eventually kicked out of the house and forced to sleep under the stairway in the barn, on a pile of leaves and twigs, because of her stepmother’s dislike of her and disgust of her condition. She tended to the family’s flock of sheep everyday.

Despite her hardships, she lived each day full of thanksgiving and joy, and spent much of her time praying the Rosary and teaching the village children about the love of God. She was barely fed and had an emaciated figure, yet despite this she shared the little bread that she had with the poor of the village.

From her simple faith grew a deep holiness and profound trust in God. She went to Mass everyday, leaving her sheep in the care of her guardian angel, who never failed her. Germaine’s deep piety was looked upon with ridicule by the villagers, but not by the children, who were drawn to her holiness.

God protected Germaine and showered his favor upon her. It was reported that on days when the river was high, the waters would part so that she could pass through them on her way to Mass. One day in winter, when she was being chased by her stepmother who accused her of stealing bread, she opened her apron and fresh summer flowers fell out. She offered the flowers to her stepmother as a sign of forgiveness.

Eventually, the adults of the village began to realize the special holiness of this poor, crippled shepherdess. Germaine’s parents eventually offered her a place back in their house, but she chose to remain in her humble place outside.

Just as the villagers were realizing the beauty of her life, God called her to Himself. Her father found her body on her bed of leaves one morning in her 22nd year of life.

Forty-three years later, when a relative of hers was being buried, Germaine’s casket was opened and her body was found incorrupt. People in the surrounding area began praying for her intercession and obtaining miraculous cures for illnesses.

St. Germaine was canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1867 and inscribed into the canon of virgins.