When someone else comes to us and points out our own faults, we might not be very happy about it. But, when you think of it, that person often carries the same message Jesus carried to the Samaritan woman: take the living water, freely, and be renewed.
-from Sacred Silence
"The fast of Lent has no advantage to us unless it brings about our spiritual renewal. It is necessary while fasting to change our whole life and practice virtue. Turning away from all wickedness means keeping our tongue in check, restraining our anger, avoiding all gossip, lying and swearing. To abstain from these things— herein lies the true value of the fast." — St. John Chrysostom
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"Wait a little while, my soul, await the promise of God, and you will have the fullness of all that is good in heaven. If you yearn inordinately for the good things of this life, you will lose those which are heavenly and eternal. Use temporal things properly, but always desire what is eternal. Temporal things can never fully satisfy you, for you were not created to enjoy them alone . . . for your blessedness and happiness lie only in God, who has made all things from nothing." — Thomas a' Kempis, p. 133-34 AN EXCERPT FROM The Imitation of Christ
click to read more
Blessed Daniel Brottier
Saint of the Day for February 28
(September 7, 1876 – February 28, 1936)
Daniel spent most of his life in the trenches—one way or another.
Born in France in 1876, Daniel was ordained in 1899 and began a teaching career. That didn't satisfy him long. He wanted to use his zeal for the gospel far beyond the classroom. He joined the missionary Congregation of the Holy Spirit, which sent him to Senegal, West Africa. After eight years there, his health was suffering. He was forced to return to France, where he helped raise funds for the construction of a new cathedral in Senegal.
At the outbreak of World War I, Daniel became a volunteer chaplain and spent four years at the front. He did not shrink from his duties. Indeed, he risked his life time and again in ministering to the suffering and dying. It was miraculous that he did not suffer a single wound during his 52 months in the heart of battle.
After the war he was invited to help establish a project for orphaned and abandoned children in a Paris suburb. He spent the final 13 years of his life there. He died in 1936 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in Paris only 48 years later.
Blessed Daniel might be called "Teflon Dan" since nothing seemed to harm him while in the midst of war. God intended to use him in some pretty wonderful ways for the good of the Church and he willingly served. He is a good example for all of us.
To keep the law is a great oblation, and he who observes the commandments sacrifices a peace offering. In works of charity one offers fine flour, and when he gives alms he presents his sacrifice of praise. To refrain from evil pleases the LORD, and to avoid injustice is an atonement. Appear not before the LORD empty-handed, for all that you offer is in fulfillment of the precepts. The just one's offering enriches the altar and rises as a sweet odor before the Most High. The just one's sacrifice is most pleasing, nor will it ever be forgotten. In a generous spirit pay homage to the LORD, be not sparing of freewill gifts. With each contribution show a cheerful countenance, and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy. Give to the Most High as he has given to you, generously, according to your means.
For the LORD is one who always repays, and he will give back to you sevenfold. But offer no bribes, these he does not accept! Trust not in sacrifice of the fruits of extortion. For he is a God of justice, who knows no favorites.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 50:5-6, 7-8, 14 and 23 R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God. "Gather my faithful ones before me, those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." And the heavens proclaim his justice; for God himself is the judge. R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God. "Hear, my people, and I will speak; Israel, I will testify against you; God, your God, am I. Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you, for your burnt offerings are before me always." R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God. "Offer to God praise as your sacrifice and fulfill your vows to the Most High. He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me; and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God." R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
Alleluia see mt 11:25 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mk 10:28-31
Peter began to say to Jesus, 'We have given up everything and followed you." Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first."
Appear not before the Lord empty-handed. (Sirach 35:6)
Religious brother Carlo Carretto once had a dream that changed his life. He was living in the Sahara Desert and had chosen not to give an extra blanket to an elderly tribesman. That night, he dreamed that he was lying paralyzed under a huge rock. He could see the old man shivering in front of him and tried to give him the blanket, but he couldn't move. Awakening, he realized how far he still had to go in following Jesus.
Carretto's dream echoes Sirach's warning about appearing "empty-handed" before God: if you make an offering to God while failing to love your neighbor, it's an empty sacrifice. Even a religious like Carretto, who had given up literally everything for God, could see that he still needed a deeper conversion of heart.
What does this mean for us? Our love for God must be concrete. It must be visible in the way we treat one another. God wants us to eagerly embrace every opportunity he gives us to love, even when it hurts. These opportunities often occur as God comes to us in our brothers and sisters, even in the "distressing" disguise of those who are hard to love. Everything we do for them can be our way of saying, "I love you, Lord!"
This may be easy to understand, but it's not so easy to do. That's because, just like Carretto, we, too, can be stuck under a rock of some sort or another.
Today, ask God to help you identify one of these boulders. Do it by imagining yourself as actually lying on the ground, pinned down by something. What is it? Perhaps it's fear or perfectionism or the pain of a wounded relationship. You may think this is just an exercise of the imagination, but if the "boulder" you imagine makes sense to you—and if you feel a sense of hope that you can be set free—then it could well be the Holy Spirit working through your imagination. So linger for a time, and see what comes to mind.
Whatever it is, imagine Jesus lifting that boulder from you. Imagine that the weight is gone and that it is replaced with God's love and presence.
"Lord, set me free so that I can love your people. Teach me to love as you love."
Psalm 50:5-8, 14, 23 Mark 10:28-31
We heard today "The just one's offering enriches the altar and rises as a sweet odor before the Most High. The just one's sacrifice is most pleasing, nor will it ever be forgotten." I once was in an experience, where I was taken in a blurry way to Heaven's Celestial Feast, and at the eternal banquet, the Lord in His grandeur was receiving myriads of people and their offerings, and one could sense that many were bringing a little, and the good was being accepted. How little we give to the Lord...and He accepts little, but how much work it takes! Why is it so? Why so little to the Lord? Why are we so afraid?
We pray "To the upright I will show the saving power of God. "Offer to God praise as your sacrifice and fulfill your vows to the Most High. He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me; and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God." It is unfathomable, this sacrifice, this praise, and all culminated in this glory given to God, all seemingly bundled up into one, although they are not all exactly the same, yet they are. We are one in God as He is 3 in one, mind, body, and spirit, how can we fathom and contemplate this? Our minds can't really comprehend this trinity, and so all we got is faith, and trust, and relying on the Word of God!
And so our Lord is asked by Peter "'We have given up everything and followed you", what's in store for us? And the Lord lets him have it "hundreds" for one. It's as if the Lord says "If you give me that one, I'll give you 200, no 500, even 1000". But we have a hard time trusting to give up that one...life. We don't try hard to save that one life. Heroes are hard to find. I made that picture real big of today's saint of the day, although he is a "blessed" not saint yet. I like horses, I ride them sometimes, and to see this man on a horse with a cross on him on his chest and arms makes for an image of God's soldier, one laying down his life for strangers, but this man sought souls. Suddenly, the Gospel speaks volumes through Jesus...it's about souls...not about me. I read a Spanish reflection today which I will attempt to translate: "And because no one gains the Lord in righteousness, He is tremendously "unjust" and offers us a hundredfold." God is unjust, paying a full day's wages for those that worked only a little while, and paying the same to those who worked all day the same. He is paying first the last and the last the first. It is God's grace, and it is amazing. I will be a happy soul in Heaven if I see a wretched sinner in Heaven that I'd been praying so hard for all my life. I'd be so ecstatic. Nevermind all the sacrifices I'd made all my life, the blood, sweat and tears for the Lord that this guy never made, I don't care, because it's not about me. The Spanish reflection went on "In a world that submits everything to the mercantile relationship, it is difficult for us to understand that love is priceless, that it does not return only what has been given, that it does not measure or measure, but that it overflows gratuitously and generously when we enter into its dynamic: a hundred times plus. Have you ever felt that in giving one has received much more? Do you expect to receive?" and ends with "Today we close a month. Tomorrow we begin a new time of grace where we are called to a delivery without calculations or limits. Let us enter the desert of Lent with a firm and determined step, not forgetting that we enter into the dynamic of God's love, so that the more we surrender, the more we will receive. Let's risk it." Ah man that is awesome. Because I've been afraid of sacrificing this lent, been afraid of giving what I'm thinking about giving. And how crummy is that? Crumbs. Will I give crumbs to the poor? How much? How much will it cost? Will I give a break to the person that rubs me wrong? How much of a break? How much am I willing to give? Will I stop doing what I like and tend to what others like? Like spending time with God, like spending time doing productive things for God's flock, like attending one another with the love of God! How about giving up "people bashing", talking about them behind their backs! How hard is that to give up? How about becoming a "people defender" form the unborn to the elderly forgotten, and many who are abandoned in jails and hospitals and asylums, like nursing homes? How about giving more than you've ever given?