St. Mary Ann of Jesus of Paredes
Mary Ann grew close to God and his people during her short life.
The youngest of eight, Mary Ann was born in Quito, Ecuador, which had been brought under Spanish control in 1534. She joined the Secular Franciscans and led a life of prayer and penance at home, leaving her parents' house only to go to church and to perform some work of charity. She established in Quito a clinic and a school for Africans and indigenous Americans. When a plague broke out, she nursed the sick and died shortly thereafter.
She was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1950.
Francis of Assisi overcame himself (and his upbringing) when he kissed the man afflicted with leprosy. If our self-denial does not lead to charity, the penance is being practiced for the wrong reason. The penances of Mary Ann made her more sensitive to the needs of others and more courageous in trying to serve those needs.
"At times when especially impelled by love for God and fellowmen, she afflicted herself severely to expiate the sins of others. Oblivious then to the world around her and wrapped in ecstasy, she had a foretaste of eternal happiness. Thus transformed and enriched by God's grace, she was filled with zeal to care not only for her own salvation, but also for that of others to the utmost of her ability. She generously relieved the miseries of the poor and soothed the pains of the sick. And when severe public disasters such as earthquakes and plagues terrified and afflicted her fellow citizens, she strove by prayer, expiation and the offering of her own life to obtain from the Father of mercies what she could not accomplish by human effort" (Pope Pius XII).
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
The more we call on God
God is not foreign to my freedom.
To be conscious about something is to be aware of it. Dear Lord help me to remember that You gave me life. Thank you for the gift of life. Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me.
The Word of God
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to him.
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.
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. (Deuteronomy 30:19)
A man and woman say, "I do" on their wedding day. A new president "solemnly swears" to uphold the nation's constitution on Inauguration Day. A young woman vows to "never do harm" on the day she takes the Hippocratic Oath and becomes a doctor. All of these are pivotal moments in a person's life, moments when an important choice is made and a new path opens up.
The Israelites faced a similar moment when Moses called them to embrace their covenant with God as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. It was a life-and-death choice, and Moses urged them to choose wisely.
Scripture has countless other examples of people facing important choices: Adam and Eve in the garden; Mary deciding whether to accept the angel's invitation to be Mother of the Redeemer; Matthew's choice to leave his tax collection table and follow Jesus. The list goes on and on!
All of these initial, life-altering choices need to be "fleshed out" in everyday life. The newlyweds have to choose every day to uphold their vows, "for better or worse." Matthew had to reaffirm his choice to follow Jesus, even on those days when he missed his comfortable life back home. And Mary must have prayed, "May it be done to me according to your word" on a regular basis (Luke 1:38).
Especially during the season of Lent, we might want to focus on all the choices we have to make. What should we give up? How much time should we spend praying? What about fasting? But this year, let's shift the focus to see what God wants to do for us. Day in and day out, we face choices—this is true. But it's just as true that our heavenly Father is with us day in and day out, offering us grace upon grace so that we can choose life every time.
God wants to bless you. He wants to do everything he can to keep you on the path of life. That's why he is so merciful and forgiving. So don't give up. Choose life every day!
"Heavenly Father, thank you for your desire to bless me! I choose you today. I choose to receive the grace that comes from following you."
Psalm 1:1-4, 6; Luke 9:22-25
This is today's 5minutos:
"The Goal of our life is God. But we are clueless and walk in other directions. Because God is a mystery, it surpasses us, we don't see him, we propose other more comprehensible goals and available, some gods more obtainable. " "Come, make us a god who will go before us..."Ex32:1. And we make precious gods, full of might and enchantment. And we say: "these are our gods, the ones that free us from ancient slavery and miseries, ones who propose well being and happiness, an excellent level of life, ones who satisfy our desires and hopes, who cure our sickness and prolong our lives, those who defend us of threats and dangers. And we call them economy, science, technology, consumerism, entertainment, beauty, fashion, art, enjoyment, and power... To all of them we adore, render exaggerated cult, to all we feel devoted. But the truth is that reality is very distinct and that the promises of these gods prove to be deceitful. It is a very high price to pay to obtain favor of these idols and, once received, they do not satisfy; instead of giving us freedom, they make us slaves, they anguish and stress life. That is why the prophets yell; "Return to the Lord, because He is compassionate and merciful, slow to anger and rich in love", it is the conversion, leave our vanities and return to who is the fountain of all happiness, who can fill the anxieties of the heart. Convince yourself first that all those gods that you worship are false and dangerous. Surely you have experienced the emptiness and the bitterness they leave....."
Last night after Ash Wednesday Mass, as we pulled out in the van my wife sat in the back with the kids and would say "watch out there is some pedestrians" or "Watch out a car is backing out" and every time she would say that as I tried to drive out of the packed parking lot I would say "I do not see it, therefore I do not believe". I don't know why I kept joking with those words, I could see them in my mirrors only after she would announce though. The prophets are the same. The message is being said. Just because we do not see, does not necessarily mean it won't come to be. Much like today's 1st holy Scripture, where Moses is given a message for the world and another covenant, an unbreakable promise of us with God because His side never breaks. He gives the power to choose, life or death. I have this exact scripture verse as a quote on the back of my truck, "Choose Life Dt 30:19". He gives us the choice and even tells us what to choose! Wouldn't it be great though for all those "perfect world people" for us not to have a choice in life? Ah, what a danger. They say "if God is so good then why does he allow evil?". Choice. If have no choice then this is the answer, but He gives free will and choice because of the sin of Adam and Eve, a broken promise with hell to pay and suffering. Choice. We got out late from Mass and still us co-workers had bible study, another 1.5 hours of our Lord. There is not choosing anything else it had to be. Towards the end, after learning about the Patriarchs of the faith, Abraham and such, one of the final questions was "in what way do you feel God is calling you to trust Him?" After all had answered, they saw I was pensive, and asked "well, what is your answer?". "I believe God is asking me to trust in a whole new way, a more powerful way, in such a way that I would've never thought possible because we seem to put limits on His power". And this is the truth to realize on our journey of conversion. I was happy to see the church overflowing with people, the back doors had to be left open for people to see from the outside in. Come communion time, before walking up, I was in communion with God in prayer; "Lord, I wonder how you feel about so many here to be with you, all your children gathered as one family..." and I kept in communion until I felt something of an answer "...I do indeed bless all who come, but what you see are bodies and I see souls" as if to say, there are more bodies than souls turned into Him. There is where the work lies ahead for each one of us, because all the sacrifice we do is to be of the heart, "Go and learn the meaning of the words,f 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'* I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."Mt 9:13. God wants your body, but also your soul. So often we give one, but not the other. What's His is His, rightly, and so is unjust to not let Him have back what is already His...our heart and souls, our loves, whims and desires, our entire will and affection...because He is affectionate, merciful, and above all faithful, full of faith, that which we lack, can not see but must believe
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