Sunday, July 31, 2022

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In other years: Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 49 The Observance of Lent 

Mass: Ecclesiastes 2; 2:21-23; Resp Ps 90; Col 3:1-5, 9-11; Lk 12:13-21

If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.


Seek what is above.
(Col 3:1)

Embracing Saint Paul's words above in his letter to the Colossians should keep us focused and help us to prefer nothing whatever to Christ. God will provide what we need, not necessarily what we think we want. As Jesus says, one's life does not consist of possessions (Lk 12:15). It never hurts to look to the Holy Rule for guidance too since Saint Benedict tells us that our way of acting should be different from the world's way; the love of Christ must come before all else (Rule of Saint Benedict, 4:20-21). Furthermore, as "it is written:"

Distribution was made to each one as he had need.
By this we do not imply that there should be favoritism-God forbid-but rather consideration for weaknesses. Whoever needs less should thank God and not be distressed, but whoever needs more should feel humble because of his weakness, not self-important because of the kindness shown to him. In this way all the members will be at peace. First and foremost, there should no grumbling, no manifestation of it for any reason at all.
(Rule of Saint Benedict, 34:1-6)

For what profit comes to man from the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun?
(Ecclesiastes 2:22)

May Our Lady help us understand what the true goods of life are, the ones that last forever.
(Pope Francis, Angelus Address, July 31, 2022)


Today's photo: I was here yesterday. Our local land and water trust, Sanctuary Forest, was behind this adventure to experience and learn about the "Beauty of the Lost Coast: Layers of History." The day began at Needle Rock Visitors Center, where participants learned about the history of the area. This was followed by a three-mile hike to Bear Harbor, lunch on the beach, and then more education. After the three-mile return to Needle Rock, a full day was had. Thank you to the Jennings and Sanctuary Forest, "whose mission is to conserve the Mattole River watershed and surrounding areas for wildlife habitat and aesthetic, spiritual and intrinsic values" (

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary time

Saturday Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Saint: Saint Peter Chrysologus, Bishop, Doctor of the Church (380-450)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 48:22-25 The Daily Manual Labor

Mass: Jer 26:11-16, 24; Resp Ps 69; Mt 14:1-12

See you lowly ones and be glad.


Listen to the voice of the Lord your God.
(Jer 26:13)

Welcome to Saturday, a day customarily dedicated to the Virgin. It is also a day to commemorate Bishop of Ravenna, "the city of mosaics," Italy, and Doctor of the Church, Saint Peter Chrysologus, whose name means "golden speech." We also conclude our reading from another one of my favorite chapters of the Holy Rule of Saint Benedict, namely, Chapter 48 on the Daily Manual. It may just be that it is one where I am challenged as I am not necessarily a person of moderation. As it turns out, I read an article this morning entitled, "3 Tips for a Restful Sabbath," by Liz Montigny. The title alone prompts me to pass along some of Saint Benedict's wisdom from Chapter 48. And since tomorrow is the Sabbath, it all goes together. As we find in the Letter to the Hebrews, "therefore, a sabbath rest still remaims for the people of God. And whoever enters into God's rest, rests from his own works as God did from His" (Hebrews 4:9-10). What does Saint Benedict have to say about the sabbath of Sunday? Our holy father says that "on Sunday all are to be engaged in reading except those who have been assigned various duties" (RB 48:22). We have, then, another tip for a restful Sabbath. God is praised. Until tomorrow we go forth, united in faith and prayer. Thank you for being there. 

That the Creator is in His creature and God is in the flesh brings dignity to man without dishonor to Him who made him ...
He has made you in His image that you might in your person make the invisible Creator present on earth; He has made you His legate, so that the vast empire of the world might have the Lord's representative. Then in His mercy God assumed what He made in you; He wanted now to be truly manifested in man, just as He had wished to be revealed in man as an image. Now He would be in reality what He had submitted to be in symbol.
(From a sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop, in Office of Readings, July 30)

With you
have been hidden the unfailing treasures
of truth and grace
of peace and pity
of salvation and wisdom
of glory and honor.
(Adam of Perseigne, c. 1145-1221, in Mary Most Holy: Meditating with the Early Cistercians) 


Today's photo: I love the colors of this one, sighted early the other morning, in our garden of delights. I think the Blessed Mother is pleased, along with Saint Peter Chrysologus.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Friday, July 29, 2022

Friday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saints: Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 48:10-21 The Daily Manual Labor

Mass: 1 Jn 4:7-16 or Jer 26:1-9; Resp Ps 34 or Resp Ps69; Jn 11:19-27 or Lk 10:38-42

I will bless the Lord at all times.


Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed Him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at His feet listening to Him speak.
(Lk 10:38-39)

We are blessed to commemorate Saints Martha, her sister Mary and their brother Lazarus, friends of the Lord. Jesus loved Martha and her sister Mary and Lazarus (Jn 11:5). They believed what Jesus told them: I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die (Jn 11:25-26). It wasn't until last year, 2021, that we started to commemorate Martha, Mary and Lazarus together, as it had become relatively clear that Mary Magdalene (commemorated last Friday, July 22) is not the same person as Martha's sister Mary. Before 2021 then, July 29 was reserved to Martha alone. Thanks be to God that we have all these saints to pray for us!

It was some years ago that a friend of happy memory gifted me with 52 cards, one for each week of the year. Each card, a holy card, postcard, or a greeting card of one kind of another, had a quotation on the back. One year (he did this for at least three years), each card included a passage from Adrienne von Speyr's Three Women of the Lord. I include words for today, in honor of our beloved saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus too. 

As we contemplate the Lord on His journey it is axiomatic that love inspires His steps. It comes from the Father and goes to the Father and all the time He is in the Father. On His way He meets a woman and she too does something out of love; she takes Him into her house. This woman is like the rod of the tree, and her sister is the fruit ...
The fact that Mary's love radiates forth is a consequence of Martha's action in bringing the Lord into their house. Martha's action may be totally eclipsed by the brilliance of what follows upon it, but all the same it was the precondition for all that took place. It was the precondition for the Lord's coming: for the Lord's eternal Advent.

Welcome Jesus into your heart today, sit at His feet and listen.


Today's photo: I stumbled across this beauty yesterday in Eureka, CA, and received help with its name from my dear companion on the journey. This bold bougainvillea has three white stigmas, one for Martha, one for Mary, and one for Lazarus. Glorify the Lord with me, let us together extol His name.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Thursday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saints: Saint Victor (d. 198); Saint Sampson (-564); Saint Alphonsa Muttathupadathu (1910-1946)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 48:1-9 The Daily Manual Labor

Mass: Jer 18:1-6; Resp Ps 146; Mt 13:47-53

Praise the Lord, O my soul.


Open our hearts, O Lord, to listen to the words of your Son.
(Gospel Acclamation, Mass)

In haste for today, dear faithful readers, I thank you again for being there. We take with us the words of the Lord to the Prophet Jeremiah: Like clay in the hand of the potter, so you are in my hand (Jer 18:6). Dear Lord, shape us, mold us, help us to do your will. Amen.


Today's photo: This is awesome. I will praise the Lord all my life.
© Gertrude Feick 2022

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saints: Blessed Titus Brandsma (1881-1942); Blessed Robert Sutton (1545-1588); Blessed Rudolph Acquaviva and Companions (-1583)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 47 Announcing the Hours for the Work of God

Mass: Jer 15:10, 16-21; Resp Ps 59; Mt 13:44-46

O my strength for you I watch. 


I am with you, to deliver and rescue you, says the Lord.
(Jer 15:20)

It is Wednesday, sometimes called "hump day", a day when we find ourselves in the middle of the week. Much has happened with more to come. We count our blessings and reflect upon those things that have challenged us to grow closer to the Lord. It may be that we just need to rest a little in the arms of our tender, loving and merciful God. The words of the Lord above, to the Prophet Jeremiah, are most comforting. We sing with the psalmist, God is my refuge on the day of distress (Ps 59), and on days with not so much distress too. 

On a random opening of Therese of Lisieux's Story of a Soul, I found this, the first part the Little Flower borrowed from Saint John of the Cross's Spiritual Canticle (stanza 9, no. 7), words she inscribed on her coat of arms, January 1896.

O Jesus, I know it, love is repaid by love alone, and so I searched and I found the way to solace my heart by giving you Love for Love.
(Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul, A Study Edition, p. 303)


Today's photo: This dahlia is not quite ready yet. Not in distress, as the psalmist sings today, rather, taking refuge, waiting to sing God's praise! 

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Tuesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saints: Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 46 Faults Committed in Other Matters

Mass: Jer 14:17-22; Resp Ps 79; Mt 13:36-42

All generations will declare your praise.


Is it not you alone, O Lord, our God, to whom we look?
(Jer 14:22)

The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower; all who come to Him will live forever.
(Gospel acclamation, Mass)

Teach us your ways, O Lord. And, whoever has ears ought to hear (Mt 13:43). May we listen to the voice of the Lord, often through others who have formed us, and do form us in the faith: parents, grandparents, and teachers, religious and lay alike. May those who have gone before us rest in the peace of Christ. United in faith and prayer, all of us, pilgrims and companions on the journey, we go forth to bear good fruit.

Today the Church celebrates the parents of the Virgin Mary, the grandparents of Jesus, Saints Joachim and Anne; she was surrounded by their love and faith ... They were part of a long chain of people who had transmitted their faith and love for God, expressed in the warmth and love of family life, down to Mary, who received the son of God in her womb and who have Him to the world, to us.
(Pope Francis, Angelus Address, July 26, 2013)


Today's photo: In honor of Saints Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. Grandma and Grandpa with their precious, little grandson Teddy, on a stroll at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Let us praise Joachim and Anne, to whom, in their generation, the Lord gave him who was a blessing for all the nations.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Monday, July 25, 2022

Feast of Saint James the Apostle

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 45 Mistakes in the Oratory

Mass: 2 Cor 4:7-15; Resp Ps 126; Mt 20:20-28

The Lord has done great things for us.


We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may always be manifested in our body.
(2 Cor 4:8-10)

Welcome to Monday, our favorite day of the week. And we are off to a rousing start with the commemoration of Saint James the Apostle, brother of John, both sons of Zebedee. These two, along with their father, were busy mending their fishing nets when Jesus called them. Then they got busy with something else; they immediately left their boat and followed Jesus (Mt 4:21-22). It is their mother who gets involved in today's Gospel. She goes to Jesus, with James and John at her side, and did Him homage. Then she gets to the point: "Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom" (Mt 20:21). She wanted what was best for your sons, not unlike most mothers. However, did she know what she was asking? Jesus questioned her about it, then, replied with a question of His own: Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink? (Mt 20:22). It is a good question for all of us to reflect upon. The chalice of suffering we are asked to drink, the crosses that we asked to carry are not ones we would have expected. We are, like Saint Paul, afflicted, constrained, persecuted, struck down and so on. We are disciples of Jesus, however, and know that in order to be His disciple, we must pick up our crosses and carry them. Jesus did; He leads the way. In our hearts, we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us, together, in His presence, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God (2 Cor 4:14-15). United, with the same spirit of faith (2 Cor 4:12), we go forth and continue to pray for the Holy Father on "penitential pilgrimage" in Canada. For his health and well-being, and for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the people of Canada.

They drank the chalice of the Lord, and became the friends of God.
(Communion Antiphon, Mass)


Today's photo: We learned last Saturday that Saint Bridget of Sweden and her husband Ulf went on pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint James at Compostela, Spain, in the 14th century. These two, dear women went on pilgrimage to the same shrine in the 21st century. United in faith and prayer, they were pilgrims on El Camino. United in the same faith and prayer, we are all pilgrims on the journey, in all places, and in all times. O, the beauty of our faith tradition. They shall come back rejoicing.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Second World Day for Grandparents and Elderly, instituted by Pope Francis last year. May Saints Joachim and Anne intercede for all grandparents and the elderly.

In other years: Saint Charbel Makhlouf (1828-1898); Saint Declan, Irish bishop and abbot (early 5th century); Saint John Boste (c.1544-1594); Blessed Robert Ludlam and Nicholas Garlick (d. 1588); Blessed John Soreth (1394-1471); Blessed Maria Mercedes Prat (1880-1936)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 44 Satisfaction by the Excommunicated

Mass: Genesis 18:20-32; Resp Ps 138; Col 2:12-14; Lk 11:1-13

In the presence of the angels, I will sing your praise.


When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed by your name.
(Lk 11:2)

Prayer should therefore be short and pure, 
unless it is prolonged under the inspiration of divine grace.
(Rule of Saint Benedict, 20:4, Reverence in Prayer)

In today's Gospel, Jesus teaches us how to pray. As presented, Our Lord teaches us from the perspective of Saint Luke, He teaches us too, from the perspective of Saint Matthew (Mt 6:9-13). It is worth it to read from both perspectives. Either way, we need to be taught as Saint Paul tell us: "We do not know how to pray as we ought" (Rm 8:26). And if "the essential act of prayer", in the words and wisdom of Sister Wendy Beckett (1930-2018), "is to stand unprotected before God", then the Spirit can come to the aid of our weakness, and the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings (Rm 8:26). "What will God do?", asks Sister Wendy (Yes, that Sister Wendy, the art expert). "He will take possession of us. That He should do this is the whole purpose of our life." So, "when you set yourself down to pray, WHAT DO YOU WANT? If you want God to take possession of you, then you are praying. That is all prayer is. There are no secrets, no shortcuts, no methods. Prayer is the utterly ruthless test of your sincerity. It is the one place in the world where there is nowhere to hide. That is its utter bliss - and its torment" (Wendy Mary Beckett, "Simple Prayer", The Clergy Review, February 1978, pp. 42-45, here p. 43). And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God's will (Rm 8:27). Our Father, who art in heaven ... 

Our Father: at this name, love is aroused in us ... and the confidence of obtaining what we are about to ask ... what would He not give to His children who ask, since He has already granted them the gift of being His children.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2785, quoting Saint Augustine)

Prayer is our unchartered course to God.
(Mother Agnes Day, ocso)

Noteworthy for today:

The Holy Father Pope Francis is off on a "Penitential Pilgrimage" to Canada. We pray for Pope Francis's health and well-being, and the spiritual and temporal needs of the people of Canada. The Holy Father sent his customary greetings for unity and peace (via telegrams) to heads of state of the countries that the papal plane flew over on his journey. We pray then, too, for the people of Italy, Switzerland, France, the United Kingdom, and Iceland. 

In other years (if this was not a Sunday), we would commemorate Saint Charbel Makhlouf, Lebanese Maronite monk, priest, then hermit. It is said that as a hermit, Charbel refused to touch money and considered himself the servant of anyone who came to stay in the three other cells that the hermitage possessed. Charbel spent the last 23 years of his life as a hermit; many people visited him to receive his counsel and blessing (Universalis). I share this in honor of a Lebanese sister I lived with in Rome. We became friends and she took me to Mass at the local Maronite church, my first and only experience of a Maronite Liturgy. I remember the dignity and reverence in which the Holy Mass was celebrated, and how hospitable and gracious the Lebanese people were. I have here two postcards the sister gave me, one of Saint Charbel, the other of a scene in Lebanon, both with the Lebanese language on the back. Sadly, I've lost touch with the dear sister. May Saint Charbel Makhlouf intercede for the people of Lebanon and all in the Middle East. 


Today's photo: I managed to get this one yesterday morning before the sun got to it. I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with all my heart.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Saturday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint: Saint Bridget of Sweden, a patron saint of Europe (1303-1373)

Saturday Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 43:13-19 Tardiness at the Work of God or at Table

Mass: Jer 7:1-11; Resp Ps 84; Mt 13:24-30

Continually they praise you.


Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.
(Gospel acclamation, Mass)

Welcome to Saturday, a day dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and this one also commemorates one of my favorites, Saint Bridget of Sweden, devoted wife to a nobleman, mother of eight, lady-in-waiting to the queen. After Bridget and her husband Ulf went on pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint James at Compostela in Spain, they decided to spend the rest of their lives in monasteries. After Ulf's death in 1344, Bridget founded a double monastery (one for men and women both), which grew into the Bridgettines, officially the Order of the Most Holy Savior. Their generalate is in Rome and I would join the nuns for Vespers now and then. It was in Rome that Bridget spent the rest of life, cared for the poor and sick, and with a voice of authority, told the Pope to return from Avignon to Rome, the eternal city where he belonged. 

Another reason Saint Bridget of Sweden is a favorite of mine is because she was a favorite of a dear friend of happy memory, Father Paschal, OSB. When I studied in Rome, Father Paschal was always after me to visit the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls where, in a side chapel, is a crucifix that St. Bridget used to pray in front of. It is there that she received a revelation of 15 prayers, often called the devotion to the Holy Wounds of Jesus. Thankfully, I lived across the street from the basilica one year and went to Mass in that side chapel several times a week. Many years ago, Father Paschal gave me a little piece of paper that I still have. On it are typed the Prayers of St. Bridget. And fitting are they for a day dedicated to the Mother of Our Lord, with the last prayer invoking her as Mother of Peace, Light, and Love. The prayers follow. 

Lord, show me your way
and make me willing to follow it.

Lord God, for whom nothing is impossible,
who can do everything,
give me the power to do good
and to persevere.

Mary, Mother of Peace, Light, and Love
who gave birth to the Savior of the earth,
ask Jesus to show me the way
on my pilgrimage to eternal life.

United in faith and prayer, we are good seeds sown by the Sower; may we grow and bear fruit (see today's Gospel).


Today's photo: I took this photo at the end of the day yesterday, not the best time for photos. On the other hand, this pink beauty calls us to continual praise of Our God. 

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Friday, July 22, 2022

Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 43:1-12 Tardiness at the Work of God or at Table

Mass: Songs 3:1-4b or 2 Cor 5:14-17; Resp Ps 63; Jn 20:1-2, 11-18

My soul clings fast to you.


I seek Him whom my heart loves.
(Songs 3:2)

About today's photo. It is one of my favorite holy cards, an image of a 14th century fresco at the Sacro Speco, the holy cave at Subiaco, Italy, about 30 miles east of Rome, where Saint Benedict lived for three years. It is the apparition of Jesus to Mary Magdalene. Stop holding on to me, says the Lord, for I have not yet ascended to my Father (Jn 20:17). O, we sing, you are my God whom I seek; for my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water (Ps 63). We look, then, to the following homily by Pope Saint Great Gregory the Great and remember the words of the Lord to the Prophet Isaiah, words Our Lord says to each one of us: I have called you by name, you are mine (Is 43:1). United in faith and prayer, we keep on searching, "for the love of Christ impels us" (2 Cor 5:14).

Jesus says to her: Mary. Jesus is not recognized when He calls her "woman"; so He calls her by name; as though He were saying: Recognize me as I recognize you; for I do not know you as I know others; I know you as yourself. And so Mary, once addressed by name, recognizes who is speaking. She immediately calls Him rabboni, that is to say, teacher, because the one whom she sought outwardly was the one who inwardly taught her to keep on searching.
(From a homily on the Gospels by Gregory the Great, pope, in Office of Readings, July 22)

I have seen the Lord.
(Jn 20:18)


© Gertrude Feick 2022

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint: Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, Doctor of the Church  (1559-1619)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 42 Silence after Compline

Mass: Jeremiah 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13; Resp Ps 36; Mt 13:10-17

Your justice is like the mountains of God.


Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven have been granted to you.
(Mt 13:11)

Blessed are your eyes, says the Lord, because they see, and your ears because you hear (Mt 13:16). It is our privilege. May we be open, then, so that we see with our eyes and hear with our ears. The one who hears the word and understands it, indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold (Mt 13:23).

We turn to today's saint, Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, whose most important task in life was preaching. However, "he took care to ensure that his preaching was backed by sound learning, so that he could preach to and not at his audiences. Let us take care that our own apostolate is similarly well founded" (Universalis).

For the word of the Lord is light to the mind and a fire to the will. It enables man to know God and to love Him. And for the interior man who lives by the Spirit of God through grace, it is bread and water, but a bread sweeter than honey and the honeycomb, a water better than wine and milk. For the soul it is a spiritual treasure of merits yielding an abundance of gold and precious stones. Among the hardness of the heart that persists in wrongdoing, it acts as a hammer. Against the world, the flesh and the devil it serves as a sword that destroys all sin.
(From a sermon by Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, priest, in Office of Readings, July 21)

I have not forgotten about the Holy Rule of Saint Benedict. Another favorite chapter is up for today, Ch 42 Silence after Compline. Benedict begins the chapter telling us that "monks should diligently cultivate silence at all times, but especially at night, when, after Compline (or Night Prayer, the last prayer of the day), no will be permitted to speak further (RB 42:1, 8). It is the time of the Summum Silentium, the grand silence. And the privileged way to enter the night comes at the conclusion of Compline and the singing of the Salve Regina. The last word on our lips, then, each and every day, is a name, the name of the mother of Jesus, Mary. O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria ... O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. 


Today's photo: Another one from Mount Rainier is fitting for today, here with bear grass in abundance. O Lord, your mercy reaches to heaven; your faithfulness to the clouds.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saints: Saint Apollinaris, Bishop, Martyr (late 2nd century); Saint Elijah, Father of the Carmelites (1-2 Kings, Prophet)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 41 The Times for the Brothers' Meals

Mass: Jeremiah 1:1, 4-10; Resp Ps 71; Mt 13:1-9

I will sing of your salvation.


Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.
(Jeremiah 1:5)

Welcome to Wednesday, a day of scattered musings. 

First, the words of the Lord above that came to the Prophet Jeremiah are some of the most comforting. 

Second, and not entirely unrelated, it is worth it to read the second reading in today's Office of Readings (Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Wednesday). It comes from the Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. It begins in this way:

Turn to the Lord with your whole heart and leave behind this wretched world. Then your soul shall find rest. For the Kingdom of God is the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit. If you prepare within your heart a fitting dwelling place, Christ will come to you and console you.

Lastly, making my way through the lvii +729 pages of a book, I read this yesterday afternoon, a quotation fitting for yesterday's reflection, and for every day. 

Truly it is a great consolation for Christians to know that we are so united ... Where there is faith, there is no distance in time or space, no parents, no children; only one thing exists, and that is God, and there we shall all end up sooner or later.
(Rafael Arnaiz in a 1934 letter to his father, in Saint Rafael Arnaiz: The Collected Works, p. 100)


Today's photo: This one is to honor Saint Elijah, Father of the Carmelites, who, as we learned last Saturday on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, "defended Israel's pure faith in the living God" at Mount Carmel (see 1 Kings 18:16-46). Mount Carmel is also where the first Carmelites gathered. Today's photo isn't of Mount Carmel; it is snow-capped and magnificent Mount Rainier, at Shriner Peak, Mount Ranier National Park. It comes from Maddy and Becca on the Sunshine Nature Trail. This dear and faithful family - lovers of nature, lovers of camping and hiking, have this to say about the mountain: "As you know, we love this mountain and the meadows and forests all around it." I was gifted with the honor of spending a weekend with the family at Mount Rainier National Park, in 2017. Mountains and hills, bless the Lord. Thank you.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint: Saint John Plessington (c.1637-1679)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 40 The Proper Amount of Drink

Mass: Micah 7:14-15, 18-20; Resp Ps 85; Mt 12:46-50

Show us, O Lord, your kindness.


Graciously be present to your people, we pray, O Lord, and lead those you have imbued with heavenly mysteries to pass from former ways to newness of life.
(Prayer after Communion, Mass)

In today's Gospel Jesus replies with questions, questions intended not only for the crowds gathered around Him then, but also for the crowd of us gathered around Him now. Who is my mother? questions Jesus; Who are my brothers? (Mt 12:48). Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother (Mt 12:50), Jesus tells us. So too for us. United in our family of faith, we pray to our heavenly Father, "your will be done". And all the affections of our loved ones can be transformed into sublime, divine love, no matter our vocation; none of us leave anything behind. 

The following was written by 22-year-old Rafael Arnaiz in a 1933 letter to his grandmother, when he told her about his entrance into the Cistercian abbey of San Isidro de Duenas, Spain:

Don't think that I am going far away ... on the contrary I am going closer to God, and if through my prayers and sacrifices I can help others to grow closer to Him ... what more could I ask, what more could I desire? ... And so, I am not leaving behind the affection of my loved ones, which is very beautiful and very human ... but rather I want to transform it into sublime, divine love.
(Rafael Arnaiz in Saint Rafael Arnaiz: The Collected Works, p. 57)


Today's photo: Shall not your people rejoice in you?

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Monday, July 18, 2022

Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint: Camillus de Lellis (1550-1614)*

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 39 The Proper Amount of Food

Mass: Micah 6:1-4, 6-8; Resp Ps 50; Mt 12:38-42

To the upright I will show the saving power of God.


Welcome to another Monday as the summer marches on. It is time to once again thank you, faithful readers, for being there. We remain united in faith and prayer. As another week commences, then, and if you are wondering what to do, turn to the Prophet Micah in today's first reading, who tells us: "You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8). We go forth. 

Be an example for all believers in speech and conduct, in love, faith and purity.
-In this way you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
(Responsory, Office of Readings, Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

*NB. If your local church commemorated Saint Kateri Tekakwitha on July 14 instead of Saint Camillus de Lellis, the latter can be commemorated today. That is good news as we get another day to let his name roll off our tongues ... Camillus de Lellis, pray for us! 

Today's photo: This one was captured in the morning, at its best. Gather my faithful ones before me.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In other years: Saint Kenelm (-821); Blessed John Sugar, Priest, and Robert Grissold, Martyrs (16-17th century); Blessed Inacio de Azevedo (1528-1570); Blessed Therese of Saint Augustine and Companions (18th century) 

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 38 The Reader for the Week

Mass: Gn 18:1-10a; Resp Ps 15; Col 1:24-28; Lk 10:38-42

The Lord honors those who fear Him.


Martha welcomed Jesus ... Mary sat beside the Lord at His feet.
(Lk 10:38-39)

Buona domenica. Thoughts are few on this Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. What goes over and over is this: It took Martha to welcome Jesus so that Mary could sit at His feet. Behold, I stand at the door and knock, says the Lord. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door to me, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me (Communion Antiphon, Mass). Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart. Open it up and welcome Him. Then sit at His feet.

It is Christ in you, the hope for glory. It is He whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
(Col 1:28)


Today's photo: When doing the dishes, I glance now and then at this. It's a privilege.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Saturday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Our Lady of Mount Carmel or Saturday Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 37 The Elderly and Children

Mass: Micah 2:1-5; Resp Ps 10; Mt 12:14-21

Magnify the Lord.


Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which bore the Son of the eternal Father.
(Communion Antiphon, Mass)

On this Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we pray especially for all Carmelites, who instituted this feast in the 14th century. About this day, we learn that "Holy Scripture celebrates the beauty of Mount Carmel, where the prophet Elijah defended Israel's pure faith in the living God [see 1 Kings 18:16-46]. In the 12th century some hermits took up residence on this mountain and eventually set up the Carmelite Order, which is dedicated to living a contemplative life under the patronage of the Holy Mother of God" (The Liturgy of the Hours According to the Roman Rite). Dear Mary, Holy Mother of God, please pray for all the faithful. Amen.

You've read the following quotation before, a good one to remember. Hail, Mary, full of grace ...

How much more worthy in the eyes of God is one Hail Mary offered from the heart than the greatest deed done without pure love for God.
(Saint Rafael Arnaiz, 1911-1938, from Impressions of La Trappe, in Saint Rafael Arnaiz: The Collected Works, p. 23)


Today's photo: To honor Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In loving memory of Sister Carmel Wisner, OSB, and Father Kevin Alban, O.Carm. Pray for us.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Friday, July 15, 2022

Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saints: Saint Bonaventure, Cardinal-Bishop, Doctor of the Church (1218-1274): Saint Swithun (-862); Saint Osmund of Salisbury (-1099)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 36 The Sick Brothers 

Mass: Is 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8; Resp Ps (Is 38); Mt 12:1-8

Those live whom the Lord protects.


For the Son of Man is the Lord of the sabbath.
(Mt 12:8)

Heed the words of the Lord that the Prophet Isaiah delivered to Hezekiah in today's first reading: "Put your house in order, for you are about to die; you shall not recover" (Is 38:1). Hezekiah's response? He turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord (Is 38:2). Heart of Jesus, enriching all who invoke Thee, have mercy on us. Lord, yours is the life of my spirit. You have given me health and life (Hezekiah's song of thanksgiving, see Is 38:9-20). Amen.

We must suspend all operations of the mind and we must transform the peak of our affections, directing them to God alone. This is a sacred mystical experience ...
If you ask how such things can occur, seek the answer in God's grace, not in doctrine; in the longing of the will, not in the understanding; in the sighs of prayer, not in research; seek the bridegroom not the teacher; God and not man; darkness and not daylight; and look not to the light but rather to the raging fire that carries the soul to God with intense fervor and glowing love ...
Let us die, then, and enter into the darkness, silencing our anxieties, our passions and all the fantasies of our imagination ...
My flesh and my heart fail me, but God is the strength of my heart and my heritage for ever. Blessed be the Lord for ever, and let all the people say: Amen. Amen!
(From the Journey of the Mind to God by Saint Bonaventure, in Office of Readings, July 15)


Today's photo: Crocosmia adorned in brilliant red. 

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Thursday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saints: Saint Camillus de Lellis, Priest (1550-1614); Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, "Lily of the Mohawks", "Genevieve of France" (1656-1680)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 35:12-18 Kitchen Servers of the Week

Mass: Is 26:7-9, 12, 16-19; Resp Ps 102; Mt 11:28-30

From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.


Your name and your title, O Lord, are the desire of our souls.
(Is 26:8)

We have two great saints to commemorate today, one whose name rolls off the tongue ...Camillus de Lellis. I just may end up repeating it throughout the day. In fact, I started last night ... Camillus de Lellis. He's a powerful intercessor and can help us to grow in the virtue of charity. In poor health himself, Camillus devoted his to life to care of the sick, and eventually founded the Servants of the Sick (later known as Camillians). Camillus de Lellis did so by taking Jesus' words from today's Gospel to heart: Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest (Mt 11:28). Camillus longed to take other's labors and burdens upon himself, attested to by one of his companions:

Let me begin with holy charity. It is the root of all the virtues and Camillus' most characteristic trait. I can attest that he was on fire with this holy virtue-not only toward God, but also toward his fellowmen, and especially toward the sick. The mere sight of the sick was enough to soften and melt his heart and make him utterly forget all the pleasures, enticements and interests of this world. When he was taking care of his patients, he seemed to spend and exhaust himself completely, so great was his devotion and compassion. He would have loved to take upon himself their illness, their every affliction, could he but ease their pain and relieve their weakness.
(From the life of Saint Camillus, by his companion, in Office of Readings, July14)

Our other saint of the day is Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. Words from the Prophet Isaiah in our first reading of the day were likely in the heart of Kateri: "My soul yearns for you in the night, yes, my spirit keeps vigil for you" (Is 26:9). Pope Benedict XVI canonized Kateri not so long ago, on October 21, 2012. The Holy Father had this to say in his homily:

Kateri impresses us by the action of grace in her life in spite of the absence of external help and by the courage of her vocation, so unusual in her culture. In her, faith and culture enrich each other! May her example help us to live where we are, loving Jesus without denying who we are. Saint Kateri, Protectress of Canada and the first native American saint, we entrust to you the renewal of the faith in the first nations and in all of North America! May God bless the first nations!

We can certainly use the help of both of these great saints. We turn to them and say, 


Today's photo: The Lord looked down from His holy height on this little beauty of a crocosmia, also known as montbretia. This was the first of several photos I took yesterday morning. This one is a favorite; I've been waiting for them. Stay tuned for more from our garden of delights.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saints: Saint Henry (973-1024); Saint Teresa of Los Andes (1900-1920)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 35:1-11 Kitchen Servers of the Week

Mass: Is 10:5-7; Resp Ps 94; Mt 11:25-27

All the upright of heart shall follow it.


Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; 
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
(Gospel acclamation, Mass)

We will let today's photo and not yet two Teddy help us reflect. Here, Teddy walks tall among the giants in Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park, Crescent City, CA. I'm told that Teddy is quite the explorer and has constant commentary on everything. Our Father certainly revealed these things to the childlike. God is praised.
And some words too, from the ancient Life of Saint Henry, one of our saints of the day, included in the July 13 Office of Readings.

After the most blessed servant of God had been anointed king, he was not satisfied with the anxieties of his realm; so, in order to attain the crown of immortality, he determined to campaign for the King of all, for to serve Him is to rule ...
"Henry, king by the preordained mercy of God, to all the sons of the Church, both future and present. By the most salutary instructions of sacred eloquence we are taught and advised to abandon temporal riches, to lay aside earthly goods, and to strive to reach the eternal and everlasting dwelling-places in heaven. For present glory is fleeting and meaningless, while it is possessed, unless in it we can glimpse something of heaven's eternity. But God's mercy toward the human race provided a useful remedy when He made the reward for earthly existence a share in our heavenly country."


© Gertrude Feick 2022

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saints: Saints Louis Martin and Marie Azelie Guerin (19th century); Saint John Jones (-1598)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 34 Distribution of Goods According to Need

Mass: Is 7:1-9; Resp Ps 48; Mt 11:20-24

Great is the Lord and wholly to be praised.


Let not your courage fail.
(Is 7:4)

Even though we are no longer in the year dedicated to families, the Year of the Family "Amoris laetitia The Joy of Love," we always pray for families. And we have two great intercessors commemorated today, namely, Saint Louis Martin and Marie Azelie Guerin, the first-ever married couple with children to be canonized in the same ceremony. Remarkably, five of their nine children (four died in infancy) entered religious life, including the Little Flower, that is, Saint Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church. Still, their life was simple and faith filled. One Carmelite source has this to say: "Louis and Zelie did not do anything extraordinary in their lifetimes, but rather lived their faith in a very simple, humble way, teaching by example, knowing what it was like to mourn the loss of loved ones, nurturing the vocation of their children, and putting their faith into action by reaching out to others in need" (Society of the Little Flower).  At their 2015 canonization, Pope Francis preached this: "The holy spouses Louis Martin and Marie-Azelie Guerin practiced Christian service in the family, creating day by day an environment of faith and love which nurtured the vocations of their daughters, among whom was Saint Therese of the Child Jesus." Furthermore, "the radiant witness of these new saints inspires us to persevere in joyful service to our brothers and sisters, trusting in the help of God and the maternal protection of Mary. From heaven may they now watch over us and sustain us by their powerful intercession" (October 18, 2015). May we be inspired. Mary, queen of families, pray for us. Saint Joseph, pillar of families, pray for us.


Today's photo: This one was taken early this last Sunday morning. Nice. The joy of all the earth.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Monday, July 11, 2022

Solemnity of Our Holy Father Benedict, Abbot

Saint Benedict (480-547)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 33 Monks and Private Ownership

Mass: Pr 2:1-9; Resp Ps 34 (Taste and See the Goodness of God); Eph 4:1-6 or Col 3:12-17; Lk 22:24-27 or Mt 19:27-29 or Mt 5:1-12a

Listen carefully, my son, to the master's instructions.


Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ,
and may He bring us all together to everlasting life.
(Rule of Saint Benedict, 72:11-12)

Welcome to another Monday and the blessing of not just another Monday. Rejoice in the Lord, let me say it again, rejoice! It is the Solemnity of our holy father Saint Benedict, who Pope Saint Paul VI proclaimed the principal patron saint of Europe in his 1964 apostolic letter Pacis Nuntius. In the letter, Pope Paul VI gave Saint Benedict the illustrious titles of messenger of peace, creator of unity, teacher of civility, and above all the herald of the religion of Christ and the founder of western monasticism. We give glory to God and ask Saint Benedict, Pope Saint Paul VI, and Cardinal Basil Hume to intercede for all members of the Order of Saint Benedict throughout the world, for their spiritual and temporal welfare.

One thing hasn't changed about this Monday. Like others, it is busy. And at only 9:20 a.m. we've put in a fair share of ora, not without some labora. Since "idleness is the enemy of the soul", we "have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading" (Rule of Saint Benedict, 48:1). United in faith and prayer and "clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel as our guide, that we may deserve to see Him who has called us to His heavenly kingdom" (RB Prologue 21). Moreover, "as we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God's commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love" (RB Prologue 49).

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
(Col. 3:17)


Today's photo: Used with permission of the Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel, OR. Icon through the hand of Brother Claude, OSB. And attend to them with the ear of your hearts.

© Gertrude Feick 2022