1 Aug (Based on Mt 14:1-12)

The Mammoth Cave National Park, in central Kentucky, is a U.S. National Park.
It encompasses portions of the Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system known in the world.

In these caves, one can see enormous pillars which have been formed by the steady dropping of water from the roof of the cavern.

This masonry – formed of solid rock – made by the slow and silent process of nature, is a true marvel…
• A single drop of water, finds its way from the surface down through the roof of the cave, and deposits its sediment
• Another follows it and still another… each adding its imperceptible contribution, until the icicle of stone begins to grow, ultimately reaching the pillar which likewise has been forming on the bottom of the cave.

These become a massive pillar  – brilliant and classic.

This process is so similar that which occurs in our hearts…

Each thought, that awakens for a moment, sinks into the soul – just as each little drop of water, with its limestone deposit, makes its contribution to the pillar in the cave.

Other thoughts follow and yet others…erecting within our hearts, pillars of purpose that form our character.

 Think nobler, and our character will mould into being noble…
 Think wicked, and our character will decay into being evil…
What is the thought-pattern that we nurture in our lives?

The Gospel of the Day makes a dramatic presentation of two opposing characters – one of them holy and the other evil – John the Baptist and Herod the Tetrarch –  which were formed as a result of the accumulation of contrasting deposits of thoughts and feelings.

The Gospel passage is a sort of a “flashback” passage which recounts the visually-disturbing incident of the ‘beheading of John the Baptist’.

The increasing popularity of Jesus caused Herod the Tetrarch, the ruler of the land, to come face-to-face with his guilty conscience.

Truth is always very powerful!

It can, silently, yet very authoritatively …
… challenge faulty lives
… prick guilty consciences
… confront culpable actions

Herod bore the guilt of having killed John the Baptist, who was the voice of the Truth.
 He knew that he had done something extremely wicked and merciless
 He knew that he had acted in opposition to truth, to honesty and to sincerity.

Therefore, the rising fame of the Lord – whom he misunderstood as John – drove him to despair over that brutal act of the killing of the Baptist.

• The constant exposition to wicked thoughts and evil inclinations had caused his life to become a pillar of guilt-filled feelings!

 Think wicked, and our character will decay into being evil…

On the other hand, was the righteous life of John the Baptist.

He was born with a sense of purpose – of being a voice to the Truth.

He maintained this goal by always living in sincerity – fearless and courageous.
To this end, he even valiantly shed his blood!

• The constant nurturing of holy purposes and sacred acts had caused his life to become a pillar of a purpose-filled existence!

 Think nobler, and our character will mould into being noble…

What is the thought-pattern that we nurture in our lives?

• Is my life a Pillar…
… of guilt-filled feelings – formed by deposits of wickedness, evil and sin?

OR

• Is my life a Pillar…
… of a purpose-filled existence – formed by deposits of holy determination and sanctified lives?

Today we celebrate the Feast of a Great Saintly Doctor of the Church – St Alphonsus Liguori, the Patron Saint of Theologians.
 His life was lived in-purpose
 His being was filled with determination.

May His words…

“The more a person loves God, the more reason he has to hope in Him.
This hope produces in the Saints an unutterable peace, which they preserve even in adversity, because as they love God, and know how beautiful He is to those who love Him, they place all their confidence and find all their repose in Him alone”

… inspire and impel us to also live holy lives – and thus our lives may become a “marvellous edifice” and an “enormous pillar” of God’s graces.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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