Saint of the Day ~ July 1

SAINT JUNÍPERO SERRA (1713-1784), priest and missionary

Prior to the days of the American Revolutionary War, another part of the future United States was being born on the west coast in California. A gray-robed Franciscan by the name of Padre Junípero Serra established several missions, bringing Christianity to the Native Americans in Mexico and California, and it is he whom the Church honors today.

Miguel José Serra was born on the island of Majorca, part of the kingdom of Spain, on November 24, 1713.  At the age of fifteen, he entered the Franciscan University at Palma, Spain, and joined the Order of Saint Francis two years later, taking the name Junípero. Due to his considerable excellence in his studies, he was appointed as lector of philosophy before his ordination to the priesthood in 1737. Later he received a doctorate in theology.

Padre Junípero was thirty-six years old when he determined that his calling was to become a missionary in the New World. In 1749, he crossed the Atlantic Ocean in company with a number of Franciscan monks, several among them who afterward came with Father Junípero to California.

He remained but a short time in Ciudad de México (Mexico City), and was soon sent as a missionary to the Indians in the Sierra Madre, in the district now known as the State of San Luis Potosi. He spent nine years there, and then returned to Mexico City where he stayed for seven more years in the Convent of San Fernando.

In 1767, when he was fifty-four years of age, he was appointed to the responsibility of establishing missions in California. He arrived at San Diego in 1769, and, with the exception of one journey to Mexico, he spent the remainder of his life in the several missions he established.

Padre Junípero was a man to whom his religion was everything. All his actions were governed by the ever-present and predominant idea that life is but a brief probation, a time in which we contemplate the eternity which awaits us – with the unimaginable joys of Heaven on one side and the eternal torment of Hell on the other.

Earth for its own sake had no joys for him, for he did not recognize this life as his home. Rather, he lived his priesthood as a representative of the Church, bringing the Truth of Jesus Christ to the Native Americans in the New World. And, as a missionary priest, he is known to have baptized more than 6,000 people, and confirmed over 5,000.

Suffering from tuberculosis, Padre Junípero died peacefully at the Mission San Carlos Borromeo of Carmel which he established near Monterey, California, on August 28, 1784 at the age of seventy; and his remains are entombed in the mission. He was beatified on September 25, 1988 by Pope St. John Paul II and canonized a saint by Pope Francis I in Washington, DC on September 23, 2015, calling him “the evangelizer of the West in the United States.”

Saint Junípero Serra is the namesake of the “Serra Club”, an international Catholic organization dedicated to the promotion of vocations, and the support of seminarians and religious novices. Many of Saint Junípero’s letters and other writings have survived, and the diary of his travels to the West was published in 1902 titled Out West.

We commemorate his feastday on July 1.

(From saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org, sfmuseum.org and newadvent.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saint Junípero Serra)

“God Most High, Your servant Junípero Serra brought the gospel of Christ to the peoples of Mexico and California and firmly established the Church among them. By his intercession, and through the example of his apostolic zeal, inspire us to be faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

DAILY PRAYER REQUESTS

Please feel free to post your prayer request for today as a comment to this post. Your needs and intentions will be included in our daily offerings throughout the day and at the 3 o’clock hour for Divine Mercy, and your requests will be personally offered to our Heavenly Father, having faith in the words our Lord spoke to Saint Faustina, “Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will.” (Diary, 1731)

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“Lord God, please look upon all Your children with compassion and understanding in the midst of whatever difficulties we experience in life, quelling the storms which assail our peace;

– in the quiet of our hearts, may we hear Your voice speak to us, the voice of our Most Loving Father; for in Your Divine Love, You enlighten and inspire us to embrace Your will for us in our daily lives, always calling us to trust in Your Divine Providence, so that the path we follow may be the path You have designed specifically for us – as we embrace Your Loving Presence in our continuing pilgrimage here in this life. We humbly pray this in Jesus’ Most Holy Name. Amen.”

Mercy Minutes with Jesus (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

June 30 ~ Novena for Poland

Theme:  Prayers and Novenas of Saint Faustina

“1933: On one occasion I heard these words in my soul, ‘Make a novena for your country. This novena will consist of the recitation of the Litany of the Saints. Ask your confessor for permission.’ [probably Father Sopocko or Father Andrasz].” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 59)

My prayer response:

Lord Jesus, our country, too, needs sustained prayer for mercy. Our homeland has become secularized and materialistic. It no longer pays attention to Your moral law, nor does it seek to know You and trust in You. Lord, please have mercy on our nation and upon the whole world! (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

June 30 ~ Dying of Longing for You

Theme:  Desire for the Lord

“You know very well, Jesus, that my heart is dying of longing for You. Everything that is not You is nothing to me.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 587)

“From the moment when You, Yourself, drew me to Yourself, O my Jesus, the more I have known You, the more ardently I have desired You.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 591)

“My God, I desire nothing but the fulfillment of Your will. It does not matter whether it will be easy or difficult.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 615)

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Meditation for the Day

Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time, June 30

May We Always Recognize God’s Loving Presence Amidst the Storms in Our Lives, and May He Always Still the Surging Seas Which Threaten to Wash Over Us.

We read in today’s Gospel how the Apostles were filled with fear, and they cried out to Jesus with the words, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

Whenever I read this account in the Scriptures, it brings to mind an event which happened to my wife and myself several years ago. We were crossing the Delaware Bay in a boat we owned at the time.

And for those who are unaware, the Delaware Bay can be very much like the Sea of Galilee which we read about in today’s Gospel. The seas can start out very calm. Then, all of a sudden and out of nowhere, the winds pick up in intensity, and what was once a relatively calm sea can turn into something rather foreboding and threatening, especially for those in small crafts!

And for us, what were relatively calm seas, only a couple of hours earlier, were now six foot swells slamming into our boat broadside! I remember telling my wife to put on her vest and to help me with mine, for I had everything I could do to maintain course and keep us from being swamped by the seas which were beginning to crash over the deck of the boat!

We read about a similar storm in today’s Gospel. It apparently had gotten so bad that our Lord’s disciples were afraid of drowning. Out of fear and in the midst of the storm, they woke our Lord, who had fallen asleep, and cried out, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

In essence, to paraphrase our Lord’s words, He replied, “Why are you afraid? Where is your faith?”

When we look at our Readings for today, the lack of faith is an issue we find as the common thread which courses its way through today’s Scripture Readings. The Jewish people were God’s chosen people. God had given them His Covenant, and they in turn, over time, had turned their backs on His loving protection.

As a result, God says to them, as found in the Book of Amos, in a very chastising way, “So now I will deal with you in my own way, O Israel! …prepare to meet your God…”

As Catholic Christians, we have been given the gift of the fullness of God’s Truth. Jesus tells us in John’s Gospel, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him.” In other words, our coming to know Jesus has been a gift, from the moment of our conception, for which we owe an eternal debt of gratitude.

Our coming to know Jesus’ Father is a result of our Lord’s invitation which He has placed within our hearts. Our growth in our faith to know, love and serve Him is a gift freely given to us through the Holy Spirit working within us – again, all gifts for which we should be eternally grateful.

And what did our Lord once say to us – to all His children throughout all generations? “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

For those who ignore the gifts freely given, we see the result of God’s displeasure in our First Reading. It behooves each of us to hear the words our psalmist prays today, “Lead me in your justice, Lord.” – a prayer asking God to lead us in the life of faith, a prayer to God asking that He lead us to all righteousness – especially during those times when the storms, which life may throw against us, test our faith, our trust and our virtues.

Just as Jesus quieted the storm on the Sea of Galilee, we, too, can turn to Him in our times of need, praying that He will quiet the storms in our daily lives, or at least help us to weather whatever squalls we may be subjected to from time to time, for He is truly a God of unfathomable Love.

The disciples asked in utter amazement, What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?” They had not yet come to know the fullness of who Jesus is. But by virtue of the gift of faith which we have all received, we do know who He is; we know of His Love and Mercy; we also know of His Justice.

Let us pray that we may always recognize Jesus’ abiding presence within us and within our daily lives. In times of trouble or fear, may we find courage and strength to respond as we should.

Let us turn to our Lord and rely upon Him in ALL circumstances, and may we trust in His help against the storms of adversity and in temptation and in the trials of daily life.

And may each of us be filled with faith and trust, when we cry out, “Lord, save us!”

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Scripture for the Day

  • “You alone I have known, among all the families of the earth…Yet you did not return to me – says the LORD.” (Amos 3:2a, 4:11c)
  • “Therefore thus I will do to you, Israel: and since I will deal thus with you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!” (Amos 4:12)
  • “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear…” (1 John 4:18a)
  • “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
  • “Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but [Jesus] was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’” (Matthew 8:24-25)
  • “He said to them, ‘Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?’ Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, ‘What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?’” (Matthew 8:26-27)
  • “Your mercy is before my eyes; I walk guided by your faithfulness…I walk in my integrity; redeem me, be gracious to me!” (Psalm 26:3, 11)
  • “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
  • “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” (Luke 12:48b)
  • “You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shade of the Almighty, Say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and fortress, my God in whom I trust.’ He will rescue you from the fowler’s snare, from the destroying plague, He will shelter you with his pinions, and under his wings you may take refuge; his faithfulness is a protecting shield.” (Psalm 91:1-4)
  • “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)

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Prayer for the Day

“O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your Presence,
Your Love, and Your Strength.

“Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting Love and strengthening Power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us;
for, living close to You, we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.”

Saint Ignatius of Loyola

DAILY PRAYER REQUESTS

Please feel free to post your prayer request for today as a comment to this post. Your needs and intentions will be included in our daily offerings throughout the day and at the 3 o’clock hour for Divine Mercy, and your requests will be personally offered to our Heavenly Father, having faith in the words our Lord spoke to Saint Faustina, “Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will.” (Diary, 1731)

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“Eternal and Most Loving Father, You have given to us the example of true discipleship by the lives of many holy men and women throughout the ages, including the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul whom we honor in a special way today;

– as members of the Body of Christ, may we truly embrace our baptismal calling by living our lives faithfully and selflessly, always being of service to the needs of one another. For in this, we truly become the extension of Christ, Himself, in our individual walks of faith, which we humbly pray in His Most Holy Name. Amen.”

Mercy Minutes with Jesus (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

June 29 ~ Your Resting Place

Theme:  The United Hearts of Jesus and Saint Faustina

“I heard a voice coming from the Host: ‘Here is My repose.’ During Benediction, Jesus gave me to know that soon a solemn moment would take place on this very spot. ‘I am pleased to rest in your heart and nothing will stop Me from granting you graces.’ This greatness of God floods my soul, and I drown in Him, I lose myself in Him, I am melting away in Him…” (Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 1136)

“June 1, 1937. Today, the Corpus Christi procession took place. At the first altar, a flame issued from the Host and pierced my heart, and I heard a voice, ‘Here is My resting place.’(Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 1140)

“During Holy Mass, which was celebrated by Father Andrasz, I saw the Infant Jesus who, with hands outstretched toward us, was sitting in the chalice being used at Holy Mass. After gazing at me penetratingly, He spoke these words: ‘As you see Me in this chalice, so I dwell in your heart.’(Mercy Minutes with Jesus/Diary, 1346)

My prayer response:

Lord Jesus, please dwell in my heart as Your resting place. May nothing in me stop You from granting me the graces I need in life. (Mercy Minutes with Jesus)

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Mercy Minutes (from Saint Faustina’s Diary)

June 29 ~ The Burning Desire to Love Him More

Theme:  Desire for the Lord

“I desire to go throughout the whole world and speak to souls about the great mercy of God.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 491b)

“I desire nothing but to fulfill God’s desires. Lord, here are my soul and my body, my mind and my will, my heart and all my love. Rule me according to Your eternal plans.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 492)

“With love and joy I carry out [God’s] will, and the more I come to know Him, the more I desire to love Him. I burn with the desire to love Him ever more and more.” (Mercy Minutes/Diary, 525)

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

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