Seeing things from God's perspective takes time and a readiness to question conventional wisdom. By prayer, fasting, and works of mercy, we learn to look at life from God's viewpoint.
-from Peace and Good
"I know well that the greater and more beautiful the work is, the more terrible will be the storms that rage against it." — St. Faustina
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞ "Throughout Sacred Scripture, we find that when God's people fast, the power of their prayers is increased, especially when they are engaged in spiritual warfare. In the Old Testament, the Lord told Isaiah that a fast properly undertaken would 'loose the bonds of wickedness ... undo the thongs of the yoke ... let the oppressed go free' (Is. 58:6) ... In the New Testament, we find that Jesus fasted for forty days and nights in the wilderness in preparation for His battle with Satan, who came to tempt Him (see Lk 4:1-2) ... If prayer is a spiritual weapon, fasting is the spiritual whetstone on which it is sharpened. It's the spiritual muscle that, when exercised regularly, strengthens the thrust of that weapon to pierce the Enemy and drive him away." — Paul Thigpen, p. 42 AN EXCERPT FROM Manual for Spiritual Warfare
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Saints Perpetua and Felicity
Saint of the Day for March 7
"When my father in his affection for me was trying to turn me from my purpose by arguments and thus weaken my faith, I said to him, 'Do you see this vessel—waterpot or whatever it may be? Can it be called by any other name than what it is?' 'No,' he replied. 'So also I cannot call myself by any other name than what I am—a Christian.'"
So writes Perpetua: young, beautiful, well-educated, a noblewoman of Carthage in North Africa, mother of an infant son and chronicler of the persecution of the Christians by Emperor Septimius Severus.
Perpetua's mother was a Christian and her father a pagan. He continually pleaded with her to deny her faith. She refused and was imprisoned at 22.
In her diary, Perpetua describes her period of captivity: "What a day of horror! Terrible heat, owing to the crowds! Rough treatment by the soldiers! To crown all, I was tormented with anxiety for my baby…. Such anxieties I suffered for many days, but I obtained leave for my baby to remain in the prison with me, and being relieved of my trouble and anxiety for him, I at once recovered my health, and my prison became a palace to me and I would rather have been there than anywhere else."
Despite threats of persecution and death, Perpetua, Felicity–a slavewoman and expectant mother–and three companions, Revocatus, Secundulus and Saturninus, refused to renounce their Christian faith. For their unwillingness, all were sent to the public games in the amphitheater. There Perpetua and Felicity were beheaded, and the others killed by beasts.
Felicity gave birth to a girl a few days before the games commenced.
Perpetua's record of her trial and imprisonment ends the day before the games. "Of what was done in the games themselves, let him write who will." The diary was finished by an eyewitness.
Persecution for religious beliefs is not confined to Christians in ancient times. Consider Anne Frank, the Jewish girl who with her family, was forced into hiding and later died in Bergen-Belsen, one of Hitler's death camps during World War II. Anne, like Perpetua and Felicity, endured hardship and suffering and finally death because she committed herself to God. In her diary, Anne writes, "It's twice as hard for us young ones to hold our ground, and maintain our opinions, in a time when all ideals are being shattered and destroyed, when people are showing their worst side, and do not know whether to believe in truth and right and God."
Thus says the LORD: Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down And do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, Giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19 R. (18b) From all their distress God rescues the just. Glorify the LORD with me, let us together extol his name. I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. R. From all their distress God rescues the just. Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame. When the poor one called out, the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him. R. From all their distress God rescues the just. The LORD has eyes for the just, and ears for their cry. The LORD confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth. R. From all their distress God rescues the just. When the just cry out, the LORD hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
Verse Before the Gospel Mt 4:4b One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
Gospel Mt 6:7-15
Jesus said to his disciples: "In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
"This is how you are to pray:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
"If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."
Saints Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs (Optional Memorial)
Our Father . . . (Matthew 6:9)
Has there ever been a more powerful or important prayer than the Our Father, the prayer that Jesus himself taught us to say? Yet how easy it can be for this prayer to become just another part of our routine! Let's take a little time right now and meditate on the Our Father, letting the teachings of St. Augustine help us find new life in a very familiar prayer.
"When we pray, Hallowed be thy name, we are counseling ourselves to desire that his name, which is always holy, may be held holy among all people. That is, we are praying that his name not be treated with disdain or contempt.
"When we pray, Thy kingdom come, which will certainly come whether we want it to or not, we can stir our desire for that kingdom. We can ask that it may come for us personally, and that when it comes we will be worthy to reign with God in his kingdom.
"When we pray, Give us this day our daily bread, we mean right now, this present moment. "Bread" can signify whatever will be sufficient for us live today. But it can also refer to the sacrament of the Eucharist, which is our spiritual food here and now that helps us obtain everlasting happiness.
"When we pray, Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, we are advising ourselves both as to what we should ask for, and what we should do to be worthy to receive it.
"When we pray, Lead us not into temptation, we are encouraging ourselves to look to God for his help so that we don't find ourselves left to our own inadequate defenses. How easy it is to give in to temptation through self-deception or self-pity!
"Finally, when we pray, Deliver us from evil, we can bring ourselves to reflect on the fact that we are not yet in that blessed condition where we will be free of all evil. This last petition in the Lord's prayer has such a wide scope, in fact, that a Christian in any trouble can use it to help them deal with whatever pains them or causes them tears. We can even pray it first, or at length, or at the end of our intentions."
—Adapted from St. Augustine's Letter to Proba.
"Come, Lord Jesus, and establish your kingdom in my heart today."
Isaiah 55:10-11 Psalm 54:4-7, 16-19
The Word of the Lord: "...Giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, So shall my word be...". It is interesting how the world works, this earth the Lord created. Take for example, the rain, and how all that water got up in the sky and comes down and makes at times huge floods that fills lakes and carves mountains. The waters fertilize the soil with vital nutrients. The waters give life to an arid land. The waters provide basically life. We are called to be water. We came into existence seemingly out of nowhere, but we are made of earthly material, but inside is the Spiritual. We are to be fruitful for the Lord, providing to the world what is good in both our temporal and life in the world, and in the spiritual, that what is eternal.
We pray today "From all their distress God rescues the just. The LORD has eyes for the just, and ears for their cry. The LORD confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth". And what if I said that the Lord is confronting an evildoer right now? Faced with the truth, what will the evildoer do? In our community faith sharing, a man said he wasn't going to church, until he just about had a life and death experience that left him paralyzed and in a coma for about a month and half. Today he reads the bible every day and is trying hard to learn God's will for him. The Lord is loving...in this way, isn't He? After my accident, I was frustrated, I remember the announcer's saying things like "are you ready to see some carnage!!", and I didn't like it, and then I went into the floor of the coliseum race and in the race had the bone breaking accident that had me screaming, and people where just in the stands yelling, I felt like a piece of meat, like a circus clown, I was so mad, "how come?", and "why?", I had prayed almost every night with my family that we'd be safe, I prayed a rosary on the way with my son, that we'd be safe, I asked a Christian Biker Ministry to pray for me before the race, WHY!?
From all their distress God rescues the just. The Word of the Lord is effective, and like a double edged sword. How can I ever be rescued if I am not in distress? And how can I ever be in distress if I am never engaged in the battle? That is why many non-church goers seem to have a happier life...they are not engaged. They seem to have it made in the shade...where it seems to say "avoid God, and avoid problems". This is why our world wants neutrality. To avoid the truth. They want you to be neutral, so the devil can move you and roll you off a cliff. No. We must be engaged! It is not too late to make this an awesome lent. It never will be too late to fast and begin a better life with and for Christ! In comes the Lord: ""In praying, do not babble like the pagans". This is why the Lord destroyed centuries earlier, the tower of Babylon, which had everything to do with the "talking", with their way of life. The babbling was self-aggrandizing, the act or practice of enhancing or exaggerating one's own importance, power, or reputation, or better said: pride, the root of all evil. This is what babbling is. It has nothing to do with repetition, unless the repetition is meaningless. I can pray an Our Father, the Lord's prayer easily and meaninglessly, and that is a fight I fight not to do. These are the Lord's words, because the Lord begins: OUR Father. As if He had made Himself a brother for us. As if, He made Himself a human being for us. As if He had come down from Heaven like the rains for us. And He did. He says "pray with Me". Our Father, who is in Heaven, HOLY be your Sacred name. Precious is the name above all names with power to make evil disperse and save a poor dying soul. Holy, praise, like angels prostrating themselves in Heaven before the Lord and they are doing it on earth. There are angels on earth saving souls and guiding towards Christ. For His Kingdom. What is being bound here is being bound there. This is for us to realize our every action has a critical effect on the affect of the world. Watch your eyes, what they see, watch your mouth, what it says, watch your ears what they hear, and watch your heart and what it loves. Train this body, make it go on its knees, make those hands raise up in prayer, bend, and bow, and let this act be a gesture of the inside, the soul. How to express love for God? Jesus turns into bread. Our daily bread, and forgives. He pours Himself out on the cross. We are to forgive all the way to the point of death and then pour ourselves out.
Lastly, lead us not into temptation. During lent, temptations are coming and strong to those making a great sacrifice. Already, I have experienced evil trying to separate a unity. I see it in families trying to destroy them. I see it, and what I also see is how it will make a huge commotion over here, so while you are not looking, it will get you from behind. Smoke and mirrors. I ask you to be ever on guard. The body is weak. But God is good. God has already crossed this desert. God has already known. Do you trust He knows the way? I want you now to be the water in the desert, life in a place of death. Believe in the Word, the bread, the Christ in the bread. Believe and hunger and thirst. You will become what He provides from Heaven........