Pope Francis reminds us that prayer is the best way to overcome blind spots in our attitudes toward others. He doesn't say it will be easy. But neither does he let us off the hook. If we search our hearts, we know that we've all been guilty of that desire to hold someone accountable long after we think we've forgiven him or her.
-from The Hope of Lent
MARCH 9, 2017 "Realize it, my brethren; —every one who breathes, high and low, educated and ignorant, young and old, man and woman, has a mission, has a work. We are not sent into this world for nothing; we are not born at random; . . . God sees every one of us; He creates every soul, He lodges it in the body, one by one, for a purpose. He needs, He deigns to need, every one of us. He has an end for each of us; we are all equal in His sight, and we are placed in our different ranks and stations, not to get what we can out of them for ourselves, but to labor in them for Him. As Christ has His work, we too have ours; as He rejoiced to do His work, we must rejoice in ours also." — Blessed John Henry Newman
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"When one is given the Spirit of wisdom, one is able to perceive God's fingerprints upon the wonders of the world. One is able to see the pattern God has established in history (world history, faith history, and even our own personal history). This should leave us with a sense of comfort, for it means that life is not chaotic. God has a plan." — Rev. Jude Winkler, OFM, p.62 AN EXCERPT FROM Daily Meditations with the Holy Spirit
MORNING OFFERING PRAYER O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, for the salvation of souls, the reparation of sins, the reunion of all Christians, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father this month. Amen.
PRAYER INTENTIONS OF THE HOLY FATHER
MONTH OF MARCH Theme: Support for Persecuted Christians That persecuted Christians may be supported by the prayers and material help of the whole Church.
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Saint Frances of Rome
Saint of the Day for March 9
(1384 – March 9, 1440)
Frances' life combines aspects of secular and religious life. A devoted and loving wife, she longed for a lifestyle of prayer and service, so she organized a group of women to minister to the needs of Rome's poor.
Born of wealthy parents, Frances found herself attracted to the religious life during her youth. But her parents objected and a young nobleman was selected to be her husband.
As she became acquainted with her new relatives, Frances soon discovered that the wife of her husband's brother also wished to live a life of service and prayer. So the two, Frances and Vannozza, set out together—with their husbands' blessings—to help the poor.
Frances fell ill for a time, but this apparently only deepened her commitment to the suffering people she met. The years passed, and Frances gave birth to two sons and a daughter. With the new responsibilities of family life, the young mother turned her attention more to the needs of her own household.
The family flourished under Frances' care, but within a few years a great plague began to sweep across Italy. It struck Rome with devastating cruelty and left Frances' second son dead. In an effort to help alleviate some of the suffering, Frances used all her money and sold her possessions to buy whatever the sick might possibly need. When all the resources had been exhausted, Frances and Vannozza went door to door begging. Later, Frances' daughter died, and the saint opened a section of her house as a hospital.
Frances became more and more convinced that this way of life was so necessary for the world, and it was not long before she requested and was given permission to found a society of women bound by no vows. They simply offered themselves to God and to the service of the poor. Once the society was established, Frances chose not to live at the community residence, but rather at home with her husband. She did this for seven years, until her husband passed away, and then came to live the remainder of her life with the society—serving the poorest of the poor.
Looking at the exemplary life of fidelity to God and devotion to her fellow human beings which Frances of Rome was blessed to lead, one cannot help but be reminded of Saint Teresa of Calcutta, who loved Jesus Christ in prayer and also in the poor. The life of Frances of Rome calls each of us not only to look deeply for God in prayer, but also to carry our devotion to Jesus living in the suffering of our world. Frances shows us that this life need not be restricted to those bound by vows.
Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, had recourse to the LORD. She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids, from morning until evening, and said: "God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you, for I am taking my life in my hand. As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you. Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O LORD, my God.
"And now, come to help me, an orphan. Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy, so that he and those who are in league with him may perish. Save us from the hand of our enemies; turn our mourning into gladness and our sorrows into wholeness."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 138:1-2ab, 2cde-3, 7c-8 R. (3a) Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me. I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth; in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise; I will worship at your holy temple and give thanks to your name. R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me. Because of your kindness and your truth; for you have made great above all things your name and your promise. When I called, you answered me; you built up strength within me. R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me. Your right hand saves me. The LORD will complete what he has done for me; your kindness, O LORD, endures forever; forsake not the work of your hands. R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Verse Before the Gospel Ps 51:12a, 14a A clean heart create for me, O God; give me back the joy of your salvation.
Gospel Mt 7:7-12
Jesus said to his disciples: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.
"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets."
Saint Frances of Rome, Religious (Optional Memorial)
Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, had recourse to the Lord. (Esther C:12)
Where do you turn when you are feeling anxious? Often, it's a cup of coffee or an invigorating run. But what about when the cause of anxiety is more serious—when a loved one's health or happiness is at risk or when national unrest disturbs your peace of mind? Quick fixes aren't usually enough then. So what can we do in times like these? Let's see if Queen Esther has anything to teach us.
At the moment when we enter Esther's story, she is at her lowest low. Not only has she been taken away from her family and forced to join the king's harem, but now her people, the Jews, are about to be systematically killed.
In the midst of this darkness, Esther turns to God in prayer. So far so good. We all know how to do that. But look closely at Esther's prayer, and you'll find something both unusual and inspiring. Rather than letting her needs tumble out in desperate rapid succession, she begins by recalling who God is: "God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob." She doesn't blame, she doesn't complain, she doesn't accuse God of abandoning her people. She simply proclaims her faith in God's goodness. Then she says, "Help me" (Esther C:14).
Esther's first move was a declaration of faith. Her second move was to ask God to guide her. Only then did she take action and try to save her people. Through this sequence of events, Esther put herself in a position of humility and trust. She opened herself to the wisdom and courage that come from God rather than relying on her own wit and strength. And God answered her.
You can turn to God in the same way today. When you find yourself in a challenging situation, resist the pull to spring into action. First, sing God's greatness in your heart. Use today's Responsorial Psalm to help you. Then, ask him for his help, and do whatever you think is right. Each time you do this, you are telling God that you trust him and that you need his help. With an attitude like that, you are sure to hear his voice—and see his power at work!
"Jesus, in all things, I turn to you. Help me to trust in your power and rely on your wisdom."
Psalm 138:1-3, 7-8 Matthew 7:7-12
Esther says ""And now, come to help me, an orphan" as she prostrates herself for the Lord in tears and supplication. Why such stress and duress? Her people were about to be killed. Right now, there is a program called 40 Days for life going on. It is people praying across the nation and in other nations, praying for the unborn. They are pleading. They are acting as an Esther. Praying for their people not to be killed. I too pray every single day of my life for the unborn. Not a day goes by that they are not remembered, the truly persecuted. I remember one time, years ago, we prayed at an abortion place and a strange lady prayed too. Then, she began talking with someone on the inside of the fence, arguing about a girl inside. "PLease! That's my grandbaby! Tell her not to do it! The lady cried: I'll give her anything, even my house! I got the papers in my car!!" and the girl inside the abortion clinic called Planned Parenthood would say "she's not in there for an abortion". But that's what this place does. When asked by our current president if they would cease to do abortions, the CEO responded flat out, that they ares "proud" to commit abortions, that federal funds should pay for them, and that abortion was "an American value." Meanwhile, Esther cries.
We pray "Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me." These prayer vigils involve fasting, and lots of prayer. These prayer vigils save lives, both mothers and babies. These vigils are supported by our prayers. And many death camps shut down across the country. The abortionists see the truth suddenly, they see a real human being. They see...LIFE
In the Holy Gospel today we heard our Lord ""Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." I said this to a worker yesterday in my office "you see, ask and ye shall receive", he smirks, rubs his chin and replies jokingly "hmm, in that case, I want....". I bring up scripture so perhaps it will turn on the lights for the Lord, to say "I am waiting for you". One time, the Lord said "ask of me anything" and I froze. I didn't know what to ask for. I was silent, running through a million ideas. We don't know what to ask for. Daily we pray for our loved ones and so forth, but we don't ask for what God wants...more. Because the whole universe was made available, and we ask for this and that, but what about what's important? We ask for peace, we ask for help, we ask for health and so forth, but we fail to ask for more.
God is asking you, in your face, what do you want? Ask. Ask anything. We look here and there for happiness, we look for this and that in the world, but God keeps asking: Ask Me!
And so we pray for good things, all the good things we can think of and run to the point of exhaustion, to the ground we go. And God would say in the end: Why Didn't you ask for Me....
There's a song I sing in Spanish in communion when we partake of the Holy Eucharist, "Como no te voy Adorar" and in one part of the song it says twice, repeats "ya no me falta nada, tengo todo, tengo a Ti" which means "Now nothing is missing, I have everything, I have You". And it has cost me everything to get to this point. It costs me my sins. I have to give them up. I have to confess. I have to give up family, work, pleasures. But I am filled. I go physically hungry to Mass in the mornings, and I leave physically filled perfectly, not hungry, not thirsty. And it is a daily feeding. I keep going back. I go back for grace. I go back to be filled. I go back because I get hungry again, I somehow lose some of that grace, some of Christ. I go back asking for more with my heart and body. I ask God for things during Mass, like for the unborn to be protected every day, but in Holy Communion, I am asking for HIM.
I just want you God. I want you in my life. I want you to be the Son the shines and brightens my day. I want you to be my everything. I want YOU!!