St. Stephen of Mar Saba
A "do not disturb" sign helped today's saint find holiness and peace.
Stephen of Mar Saba was the nephew of St. John Damascene, who introduced the young boy to monastic life beginning at age 10. When he reached 24, Stephen served the community in a variety of ways, including guest master. After some time he asked permission to live a hermit's life. The answer from the abbot was yes and no: Stephen could follow his preferred lifestyle during the week, but on weekends he was to offer his skills as a counselor. Stephen placed a note on the door of his cell: "Forgive me, Fathers, in the name of the Lord, but please do not disturb me except on Saturdays and Sundays."
Despite his calling to prayer and quiet, Stephen displayed uncanny skills with people and was a valued spiritual guide.
His biographer and disciple wrote about Stephen: "Whatever help, spiritual or material, he was asked to give, he gave. He received and honored all with the same kindness. He possessed nothing and lacked nothing. In total poverty he possessed all things."
Stephen died in 794.
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....
Your death on the cross has set me free.
How do I find myself today?
The Word of God
Jesus, You always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that You will never abandon me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
4th Week of Lent
Shout for joy... . I will rejoice in Jerusalem. (Isaiah 65:14, 19)
Lent is a serious season. It's a time to take a long, hard look at our sins and resolve to set them aside. It's a time for the discipline of extra prayer, sacrifice, and generosity.
Lent may be a serious time, but it doesn't have to be a gloomy time. Let's not forget the goal of the season. Lent isn't about punishing ourselves and denying ourselves. The purpose of Lent is to get ready to celebrate Easter as fully as possible, in the company of all the catechumens who are preparing for Baptism. The only reason to die to our sins is so that we can enter into the victory and gladness of Jesus' resurrection. That's what Lent is all about!
Perhaps the best way to sum up Lent is with a passage from Scripture: "For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross" (Hebrews 12:2).
We pray more so that we can be more fully united with the Lord who loves us completely. We let go of lesser things so that we can open our hands to receive the abundant, eternal life that he offers us. We give of ourselves to serve people in need so that we can bring them along with us as we journey toward the kingdom that has no end.
The prophet in today's first reading reminds us that God is doing something new. He is creating new heavens and a new earth. In fact, God is already rejoicing in the work he is doing—in the transformation he is working in his people. What's more, he is inviting us to rejoice with him, to "shout for joy" because we too can be transformed by his grace and power (Isaiah 65:14).
Perhaps your Lent is feeling heavy about now. It's hard to keep up those good intentions. You may feel that you're not making enough headway against ingrained habits. The people you are trying to serve don't seem to appreciate your efforts. It's hard to believe that God is at work in you and around you.
Lift your head and look up! Ask the Spirit to help you lighten up and keep the glorious goal in mind. Failure and disappointment, sin and death, do not have the last word, because Easter is coming!
"Spirit of God, help me keep my eyes on the joy you have set before me."
Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13; John 4:43-54
The first sign was when Jesus our Lord turned water to wine, and then spared the life of a son in Galilee. Jesus our Lord finds Himself being asked to do things, and more often than not we hear His answer, Yes. Question then is, what is my answer to Him? Sure we like Him to say yes but how often do we say yes to Him? And don't we find ourselves needing Him to say Yes every single day? He saves and He saves, and He saves again. If it were any other human, the answer would've been no. But His mother said yes, and He says yes, and now we who are brothers and sisters, what do we say? I am preaching to the choir mostly. I know you say yes to the Lord because you are reading this, but now that we know the so called "problem", then how do we encourage others to say yes too!? How? Tell me! I thank God for daily readings because I need daily encouragement. Of all the things I have ever done, I don't see any progress for the Lord, and this is where faith kicks in. When Jesus told the royal man "go, your son will live", HE BELIEVED and left. We just have to believe on go and do what our Lord says. You leave the rest to Him and stop being such a worry wart. If you want to see great numbers of people for the Lord then dedicate yourself to it or simply so No, not anymore to the Lord that says Yes. It is amazing how many sons God saves from death and Jesus was put to death, only to be saved and save everyone else and their mommas from sin and death! Think about this. How important is this? This is why for forty days we share with the Lord what leads to salvation, a simple yes. Here are a few questions to ponder now:
✞Do you love God?
✞With all your strength?
✞With all your heart?
✞With all your soul?
✞And do you love everyone the same?
✞That worry on you right now, do you believe God will use it for His greater good?
Because that royal man is you today, we are royalty in the eyes of God, if not, we would not have such a good life, with a job, running water and electricity, a roof over our heads and people that love us. But we find ourselves in great need, don't we? I want you to do a quick exercise now that you are vested in this reflection, LOL. Look away from the screen and look at your hands, face them palms up and look for a few seconds, then come back.
What is in your hands? Are all your worries carried in them? Of course not, Jesus has them, our only weight is the choice to come back to Him fully and embrace Him. There were no holes in your hands where the nails were in His. No, just white palms, Holy People, People He made to come to others and embrace them with empty hands, for empty they came, and empty they go in this life, and the only real difference they made was the lives they touched, healing, embracing, serving, stretched out continuously for the day He asks for a hand.
God, You are so good, I thank you for being patient for the many times I forget to be thankful. The Holy Mass ends with a dismissal and a blessing that we are not to walk out before we receive when we hear the words of Jesus send us off to evangelize, "You May Go"
Like the woman that was going to be stoned for adultery, like the royal man who's son was about to die, like the woman who's child was possessed, Jesus tells all the same "You may go". Can we not go to Jesus like all these people to receive absolution, forgiveness, and mercy and love? Yes we can, the answer should always be Yes, and for this, for each other
You May Go
food for the poor
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