Lovers of Your Law have much peace, nor is it a stumbling block for them.  - Ps 119-165

Reflection. St. Anthony of Padua (whom we celebrate today) was a lover of God’s Will and a man of peace.  He was a priest and a Doctor of the Church, as well as a miracle worker.  He was also a man of deep prayer.

Prayer. Dear Jesus, teach me to be still in Your loving presence.  Help me to love Your Holy Will, even if at times it is difficult.  In Your Will is my peace.

Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the Law.  - Rom 13:10

Reflection.  I learned that Christ’s love in me impels me to show kindness when I want to be selfish.  It is His love that induces me to sacrifice my time and comfort, when others reach out to me.  It is no big deal, just a part of life.  However imperfectly I perform, I know it is the Lord working in me.  I am a channel of His love.

Prayer.  Jesus, You are my strength and my joy.  Thank You for helping me live the Gospel joyfully.

For the Lord hears the needy and does not turn His back on captives.  - Ps 69:34

Reflection.  Jean Vanier said: “I have learned more about the Gospels from handicapped people, those on the margins of our society, those who have been crushed and hurt, than I have from the wise and prudent.”

Prayer.  Dear Lord, I want to see Your face in the least of my brothers and sisters.  Teach me the secret of caring about the plight of the poorest of the poor.

Let the mountains shout for joy before the Lord.  He comes to govern the earth with justice.  - Ps 98:8-9

Reflection.  Joy is not attained through self-indulgence, or a life of religious posturing.  It is certainly not found in anxious activity.  Joy flows from our relationship with God.  Joy comes from the Lord.  He communicates it to us.  We merely respond to the promptings of His Spirit.

Prayer.  Fill me, Jesus, with your joyful Spirit that I may truly know Your strength.  Lift up my heart with gladness.

Rejoicing in the Lord is your strength.  - Neh 8:10

Reflection.  If that Scripture quote simply said, “The Lord is your strength,” it would not be difficult to understand, would it?  But God is like a three faceted diamond:  Love, Joy, and Peace.  God is not only love, God is joy.  Therefore, the Joy of the Lord is God Himself.  Let the Lord fill you with love, joy, and peace.

Prayer.  Thank You, Lord, for Your gift.  Help me to return the gift by giving myself right back to you.

“It is finished.”  - Jn 19:30

Reflection.  On the Cross, Jesus does not merely offer His pain and His life.  He offers all human pain, the entire process of evolution, plus “all the harnessed power” of our lives.  Nothing is wasted, nothing is fruitless.

Prayer.  Jesus, I unite my suffering with Yours.  Use me as You see fit.  It gives me joy to know that nothing is wasted.

Let us therefore love, because God first loved us.  - 1 Jn 4:19

Reflection.  If all the people of the world were symbolized by 100 people in one room, two-thirds would be poor.  Of the 66 poor people, about 35 would suffer from hunger and malnutrition, living in substandard housing or actually be homeless.  Only 50 out of 100 would be able to read and write, and only one out of 100 would have a college education.  If you really want to love God with all your heart, think of others.

Prayer.  Teach me to be sensitive to the needs of others, Lord, that I may experience the joy of loving You in each of them.

We may say with confidence: “The Lord is my helper.  I will not be afraid.”      - Heb 13:6

Reflection.  Jesus was sent by the Father to tell us that God loves us and wants to save us.  If you develop a taste for God now, and allow it to grow into a flaming desire, your soul will expand and magnify your love.  God is aware of every movement in your heart.  In fact, He leads you to new heights precisely through your own desires.

Prayer.  Dear Lord, as I contemplate Your love for me, my heart begins to leap for joy.  This joy is rooted in my love for You.

My heart says, “See His face.”  Your face, Lord, do I seek.  - Ps 27:8

Reflection.  St. Augustine wrote: “The entire life of a good Christian is in fact an exercise of holy desire.  You do not yet see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you so that when He comes, you may see and be utterly satisfied.”

Prayer.  Lord Jesus, come into my heart.  I am an unworthy vessel, but I long to be Your resting place.  I know that even now You are with me.  I have knocked and You have answered me.

A cheerful heart is excellent medicine, whereas a downcast spirit leaves one debilitated.  - Prov 17:22

Reflection.  One Independence Day we celebrate the birth of our nation.  Lift up your heart and join the celebration.  Rosalind Russell, the late actress, once said, “Laughter is like air and water to me.”  During the last 16 years of her life she suffered the ravages of rheumatoid arthritis, but “Roz” kept that cheerful spirit alive.  “Whatever comes to me,” she said, “I will accept.  Faith in God and ourselves gives us peace and the assurance we will overcome.”

Prayer.  Dear Lord, I pray for the grace to accept the things I cannot change.  Give me a cheerful heart that I may smile all the way home.

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