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Thursday, May 12, 2016

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Sts. Nereus & Achilleus
St. Pancras
Pentecost Novena - Day 7

Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11
John 17:20-26

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from bad times come the best times

"Just as you have given testimony to Me here in Jerusalem, so must you do in Rome." —Acts 23:11

Do you think you're having a bad week? Compare your worst week to St. Paul's bad week. Paul was quietly praying in the Temple. Some antagonistic Jews who knew Paul from Asia recognized him and "began to stir up the whole crowd there. They seized him" (Acts 21:27). The whole city came after Paul (Acts 21:30). "Attempts were being made on his life" (Acts 21:31). Soldiers "arrested Paul and had him bound with double irons" (Acts 21:33). A crowd followed Paul, "shouting, 'Kill him! Kill him!' " (Acts 21:36) A little later, the crowd again "began to shout, 'Kill him! Rid the earth of the likes of him! He isn't worthy to live!' " (Acts 22:22) Subsequently, in a trial before the Sanhedrin, Paul was nearly torn to pieces (Acts 23:10).

At this low point, Jesus appeared to Paul that night and encouraged him. Jesus then commissioned Paul to testify to Him in Rome (Acts 23:11), which represented "the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). The Lord used these traumatic disasters to orchestrate Paul's mission to Rome, the center of power at the time.

When the sky is falling around you, "keep up your courage!" (Acts 23:11) Though you may not be able to see it, your own Rome might be just around the corner. God can transform the present disasters into far-reaching, earth-shaking triumphs.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, light Your fire on the earth (Lk 12:49), even if that means I have to be tried in that fire (1 Pt 1:6-7).

Promise:  "Father, all those You gave me I would have in My company where I am, to see this glory of Mine." —Jn 17:24

Praise:  Fourteen-year-old St. Pancras courageously refused to deny his Lord and was beheaded for his faith in Jesus.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 6, 2015

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